US 3730605 A
Modular furniture has a vertical side panel with a plurality of drawer runners so spaced and designed that drawers of different depths may interchangeably be supported by the panel when incorporated in a cabinet. Further, the panel does not come in right and lefthand members when applied to the outside of a cabinet but instead is interchangeably used on either side of the cabinet.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 1 1 3,730,605
Eckard May 1, 1973 [541 INTERCHANGEABLE SIDE PANEL 2,766,092 10/1956 Dennison ..312/357 R D H LIKE FOR MODULAR 3,087,764 4/1963 Schless ..312 351 x FURNITURE Inventor: Robert Lewis Eckard, Hickory,
Assignee: U.S. Plywood Champion' Papers Inc., Hamilton, Ohio Filed: Nov. 22, 1971 Appl. No.: 200,930
US. Cl. ..312/257, 312/126, 312/330, 312/350, 312/351, 211/184 Int. Cl ..A47b 43/00, A47b 88/00, A471 3/14 Field of Search ..3 12/357, 357.4, 308, 312/309-31 1, 330, 323, 348,119,122, 351;
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Kilmer ..3l2/35l UX FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 6/1970 Great Britain ..3l2/350 7/1938 Great Britain ..312/248 Primary ExaminerPau1 R. Gilliam AttorneyDaniel P. Worth 5 7] ABSTRACT Modular furniture has a vertical side panel with a plurality of drawer runners so spaced and designed that drawers of different depths may interchangeably be supported by the panel when incorporated in a cabinet. Further, the panel does not come in right and lefthand members when applied to the outside of a cabinet but instead is interchangeably used on either side of the cabinet.
12 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures INTERCHANGEABLE SIDE PANEL AND THE LIKE FOR MODULAR FURNITURE SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND OF INVENTION tical panels such as the side or intermediate vertical 1O panels and upon which one or more drawers or shelves may be supported within the cabinet.
Modular furniture construction incorporates the concept of using standard parts to fit together items of furniture adapted for a particular situation. For example, the present invention deals with cabinet construction, or case goods as they are sometimes called in the furniture trade, where it may be desired to provide a variety of cabinets with various drawer depths, shelf spacing and the like. The cabinets are composed of standard components such as tops, sides, bottoms, etc.
The present invention enhances the commonality of parts by providing a unique panel construction that is interchangeable between the right and left sides of a cabinet. Many features of this panel construction can and in some instances must be incorporated in partitions or intermediate vertical cabinet walls, e.g., means are provided to support drawers and shelves in horizontal positions regardless of whether the panel is on the right or left side.
The design of drawer guides or runners contributes greatly to this commonality and interchangeability. This has the advantage and feature of reducing the number of parts required for a given cabinet construction and in the present instance to permit the use of a variety of drawer or tray depths in the cabinet. At the same time, a drawer stop is provided on each runner so that a drawer cannot be accidentally pulled all the way out of the cabinet without first being temporarily restrained.
According to the present invention a modular cabinet would comprise a top panel, a bottom panel, and right and left side panels and four interlocking corners that can be interchanged with each other, means connecting said panels into a generally rectangular cabinet with the right and left side panels substantially vertical; each of said side panels having a surface with a plurality of substantially parallel equally vertically spaced horizontal drawer guides; each drawer guide having upper and lower surfaces which are respectively the mirror image of the other; and each such surface having a coplanar front and a rear horizontal support portion, a central tapered part which gradually slopes inwardly of the guide from the rear support portion to a necked-down site at the rear of the front portion, and a substantially vertical face at said site connecting said tapered part to said rear of the front support surface; the side panel surfaces being opposed to each other and facing inwardly of the cabinet; and the front and rear horizontal support portions on both side panel being substantially in one plane.
Other advantages, features, and objects of the invention will become apparent from the reading of the following detailed description, the claims, and the drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a cabinet (with drawers) embodying the invention;
FIG. 2 shows an assembled cabinet similar to FIG. 1 but having a partition;
FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C respectively are the inside, front and outside views of a side panel for the cabinets of FIGS. 1 and 2 showing the guides and back grooves;
FIGS. 4A and 4B are respectively the front and right side views (as seen from the cabinet front) of a partition as used in the cabinet of FIG. 2, the left being as in FIG. 3A;
FIG. 5 is a cutaway side partial cross-section view of a typical drawer; and
FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a typical top and bottom panel suitable fro use in the FIG. 2 cabinet.
In FIGS. 1 and 2 are illustrated an assembled modular cabinet 1 having a top 2, bottom 2, right and left side panels 3, a back 4, a plurality of drawers 5 of different depths, and a partition 7. The cabinet may be mounted on a base member 9. The top and bottom 2 are interchangeable with each other. In FIGS. 1 and 2 the right and left sides 3 are respectively interchangeable with each other. The drawers are interchangeable to the extent that drawers of different depths can be located anywhere due to the unique cooperative design of the drawers and spacing of the drawer support means on the sides. The top, bottom and sides are held together at the corner by a suitable joining member 10 preferably constructed as shown in the copending application of Inmon and Sanderford for a Structural Joint Ser. No. 39,733, filed May 22, 1970 now US. Pat. No. 3,688,458 and its corresponding French Pat. No. 71.18407, filed May 21, 1971, granted Nov. 22, 1971 which is incorporated herein. Rivets 11 on the top, bottom and sides engage the Structural Joint. The present invention can, of course, be used on panels and cabinet constructions of different types, e.g., it could be formed of wood and secured to a wooden panel in wooden cabinet.
The sides or vertical panel members 3 each have a s'urfacel4 facing toward the inside of the cabinet with means 15 for supporting the drawers. Actually, these means 15 consist of a plurality of substantially parallel equally vertically spaced horizontal drawer guides.
Each drawer guide has an upper and lowersurface 16 (FIG. 38, 4A) which are respectively the mirror image of each other. Each such surface has a coplanar front 18 and rear 19 horizontal support portion, i.e., the portions 18, 19 lie in substantially the same plane; a central tapered part 20 which gradually slopes inwardly of the guide from the rear support portion to a neckeddown site at the rear of the front support portion; and substantially vertically face 21 at said site connecting said tapered part to the rear of the front support surface. In addition, at the rear of the side panels are a .back panel support rib 22 and a back groove 23 which extend vertically along the back of the guides. The back panel fits in the grooves. The support rib runs vertically along the panel at the very rear of the front support portions of the guides with the rearmost surface of said rib being an extension of or coplanar with one of the back groove sides.
As seen in FIGS. 2, 3A and 4 the partition 7 is constructedin a fashion similar to the sides 3 but has drawer guides 15 on both sides thereof and lacks rivets 11 on the top and bottom. The partition, as with other members contributes to the modular construction of the entire assembly, is interchangeable with other partitions, and is an optional feature depending on the width and ultimate use of the assembled modular cabinet involved. The partition does not have a groove for receiving the back panel. The drawer support guides are spaced the same as on the side panels so that drawers can be supported thereon in cooperation with the sides.
The drawer is illustrated in FIG. 5. The drawers 5 for this modular construction may be of any depth but I prefer to have them vary in depth 29 (FIG. 5) by a multiple of the center-tocenter spacing 30 (FIGS. 3A, 3B) of the drawer guides on the sides and partitions. In this way, drawers of different depths can be used, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 with no interference with each other. The drawers I prefer to use are molded from one piece of plastic and have a front face molded integrally therewith. In the illustrated embodiment the front face is molded to the tray portion of the drawer.
' The tray portion of the drawer consists in two sides 32,
a rear 33 and a bottom 34 with drawer runners 35 extending along either side for support on the drawer guides as illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6. The bottom 37 of the drawer runners is spaced from the top 38 of the drawer front by a distance about equal to the nominal vertical spacing of the guides or a multiple thereon using an integer as the multiplier. The guides are actually spaced by the nominal amount plus a small increment for mechanical clearance, e.g., an increment of 3/32 inch of one-eighth inch. A drawer stop 39 is located at the rear of the drawer on the upper face of the runner 35.
By way of example, when the nominal drawer guide spacing on the sides is l inches (actually 1 19/32 inches to l inches including the clearance) I can use drawers that are multiples of 1 11% inches deep, for example, 1 k, 3, 4%, 6 ..,l2,13%, and 15 inches. Other spacing with other progressions of drawer sizes may also'be used.
When the drawer 5 is pulled out too far, the rear end tips up, pivoting about the leading edge of surface 18 whereby stop 39 hooks onto face 21 and keeps the drawer from being pulled out too far. Preferably the vertical dimension of stop is substantially equal to the vertical spacing between spaces 18 on adjacent means 15, differing only by a convenient tolerance for clearance (e.g., l/32 inch to l/l6 inch).
It should also be evident that shelves or the like as illustrated in FIG. 2 canbe supported on the drawer guides. One such shelf which is particularly suitable for providing a security compartment in conjunction with a lockable drawer or door is described in my copending application for Removable Lock Panel for Cabinet and Furniture", Ser. No. 200,915 this will be supplied in due course after the Patent Office advises of same and filed on the same date as'the present application.
The top and bottom 2 of the modular cabinet of FIG. 2 are illustrated in FIG. 6. As already noted, these are interchangeable with each other by reason of a symmetrical construction. Of importance here is the fact that the top and bottom, when one or more partitions are to be used, are provided with pairs of ribs 40 premolded or prefabricated into the surface thereof at the places where the partitions are to be mounted. The assembled modular cabinet of FIG. 2 has rib pair 40A that divides the cabinet into two equal halves and also rib pairs 40B and 40C (FIG. 6) division into quarters and thirds. Of course if it is desired to remove the partition or to add additional ones after the cabinet has been initially assembled, it is easy to do so. The partitions 7 are held in place by the rib pairs 40 (FIg. 2) which in turn are vertically opposite each other. FIG. 6 shows in dotted lines how a partition 7 is supported within each rib pair.
The top and bottom panels 2 each has a rear groove for holding the back panel. The groove is located so that it is in the same plane with the side panel back grooves when the entire unit is assembled.
The back panel may be any type of sheet material suitable for closing the rear. Plywood and hardboard are suitable. Where the cabinet is employed for school or classroom work, it may be convenient to have the outer surface of the back panel finished with the material so that it can be used as a blackboard, or as a bulletin board, or the like.
The foregoing description has set forth the external structural features of the present invention. The various panels 2, 3, 7 here comprise in the preferred embodiment a construction such as illustrated in the aforesaid copending case by lnmon and Sanderford Ser. No. 39,733. That construction, generally speaking, involves an aluminum frame, a foamedpolyurethane core, and a skin of vinyl (i.e., polyvinyl chloride) which is glued to the frame. The vinyl skin is vacuum formed to have the means 15, 22, 23. The panels are built by assembling the frame, gluing the vacuum formed vinyl to it using a contact cement adhesive, and then pump.- ing foamed polyurethane resin within the cavity defined by the vinyl skin or covering and the aluminum frame. Thus, the panel surface containing means 15, 22,23 is of one sheet or material.
On the left and right side panels the front and rear aluminum frame members have a groove which ultimately becomes the back panel groove. The vinyl skin is pressed down into the groove in the rearmost of the side panel frame members, but is not pulled into the groove in the forward one thus providing a functional feature where needed but eliminating it where not needed even though the same aluminum extrusion shape is employed at the two different places.
By reason of the unique panel construction employ- I ing the skin, both of the sides with their various drawer guides and the top and bottoms with their respective partition rib'pairs present a surface to the inside of the cabinet, respectively, which is formed of one sheet of formed material supported on the frames as aforesaid. The drawer guides on the side panels are spaced from the top and bottom panels by a distance equal to one drawer guide spacing.
The invention claimed is:
l..A panel for installation as a vertical member in a modular cabinet or the like having a surface with a plurality of substantially parallel equally vertically spaced horizontal drawer guides;
each drawer guide having upper and lower surfaces which are respectively the mirror image of the other; and
each such surface having a coplanar front and a rear horizontal support portion, a central tapered part which gradually slopes inwardly of the guide from the rear support portion, and a substantially vertical face connecting said tapered part to the rear of said front support surface. 2. A panel according to claim 1 wherein said surface is of one sheet of formed material supported on a frame.
3. A panel according to claim 2 wherein said material is polyvinyl chloride.
4. A modular cabinet comprising a top panel, a bottom panel, and right and left side panels that can be interchanged with each other;
means connecting said panels into a generally rectangular cabinet with the right and left side panels substantially vertical;
each of said side panels having a surface with a plurality of substantially parallel equally vertically spaced horizontal drawer guides;
each drawer guide having upper and lower surfaces which are respectively the mirror image of the other;
each such surface having a coplaner front and a rear horizontal support portion, a central tapered part which gradually slopes inwardly of the guide from the rear support portion to a necked-down site at the rear of the front support portion, and a substantially vertical face at said site connecting said tapered part to said rear of the front support surface;
the side panel surfaces being opposed to each other and facing inwardly of the cabinet; and
the front and rear horizontal support portions on said right and left side panel surfaces being substantially in on horizontal plane.
5. A cabinet according to claim 4 further comprising a drawer with a runner extending from either side and supported on an opposed pair of said left and right support panel guides.
6. A cabinet according to claim 5 wherein the distance from the drawer top to the bottom of the said runner is about the nominal vertical spacing of said guides multiplied by an integer.
7. A cabinet according to claim 4 having a plurality of drawers of different depths to slide on said guides,
each drawer having a runner extending from either side and supported on said left and rightsupport panel guides.
8. -A cabinet according to claim 7 wherein the distance from each drawer top to the bottom of the said runner is about the vertical spacing of said guides multiplied by an integer.
9. A cabinet according to claim 7 wherein each of said side panels has a back groove extending vertically along the back end of the guides; and
a back panel fitted in said grooves.
10. A cabinet according to claim 4 wherein each of said side panels has a back groove extending vertically along the back end of the guides; and
a back panel fitted in all of said grooves.
11. A modular cabinet according to claim 4 wherein said top and'bottom panels are interchangeable.
12. A modular cabinet according to claim 4 further including a vertical partition intermediate said side panels and constructed and arranged with drawer guides as on the side panels and opposed pairs of ribs on the top and bottom panels in which said partition is supported.