US 3738728 A
A removable lock panel has two springs extending out of it which engage the drawer guides in a cabinet whereby the panel can be inserted in the cabinet, the springs will engage drawer guide notches therein, and a drawer can then be placed adjacent thereto and locked. So long as the drawer is locked there is no access to the springs or other means to remove the panel. This panel construction along with its associated cabinet and drawer parts permits adding a lockable drawer or tray to an existing cabinet with a minimum amount of cabinet alterations and actually without the necessity of using fasteners (nails, screws, adhesives).
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Eckard 1 REMOVABLE LOCK PANEL FOR CABINET AND FURNITURE  US. Cl 312/330, 312/350, 312/333  Int. Cl A47b 88/16  Field of Search 312/222, 107, 11 1,
 5 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6/1918 Sciannamea 312/222 X 2,763,526 9/1956 Falek 312/270 2,625,456 1/1953 Rostau 312/350 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 654,435 8/1963 Italy 312/107 June 12, 1973 Primary Examiner-James T. McCall Attorney-Daniel P. Worth  ABSTRACT A removable lock panel has two springs extending out of it which engage the drawer guides in a cabinet whereby the panel can be inserted in the cabinet, the springs will engage drawer guide notches therein, and a drawer can then be placed adjacent thereto and locked. So long as the drawer is locked there is no access to the springs or other means to remove the panel. This panel construction along with its associated cabinet and drawer parts permits adding a lockable drawer or tray to an existing cabinet with a minimum amount of cabinet alterations and actually without the necessity of using fasteners (nails, screws, adhesives).
10 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures REMOVABLE LOCK PANEL FOR CABINET AND FURNITURE SUMMARY AND BACKGROUND OF INVENTION a need for components to alter such furniture, or modules thereof, in pre-selected fashion and with-preferably-no destruction or permanent alteration of the module components. That is, it is desired to avoid sawing, nailing, gluing, etc. module components to make alterations. An example of modular construction is illustrated in copending US. Patent Application Ser. No. 39,733 now US. Pat. No. 3,688,458 and its corresponding patent in France, Ser. No. 71.18407 filed May 21, 1971, granted Nov. 22, 1971, by lnmon and Sanderford entitled Structural Joint". Another example of modular construction and one which is preferably used in conjunction with the present invention is in my contemporaneously filed copending application Ser. No. 200,930 and entitled Interchangeable Side Panel and the Like for Modular Furniture. Both said applications are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention involves a panel member which can be inserted into an existing modular cabinet to engage the drawer guide members therein in a difficultly removable fashion and there-by create a security compartment which can be completely closed by the addition of a tray or drawer which can be locked. The present panel covers the top of the tray or drawer in such an installation thereby affording the requisite security. So long as the drawer is locked in place there is no access to the securing or detent means of the present panel. Removal of the drawer, or substantial opening of it, permits such access whereby the panel can be removed and the cabinet returned to its former condition.
The cabinet walls preferably use herewith employ drawer guides shaped as shown in my above mentioned contemporaneously filed copending'case. The drawer guides or runners are each a horizontal member extending from front to rear inside of the cabinet wall with an elongated notch in both the top and bottom of the guide that terminates somewhere near the front end of the cabinet. At the notch termination point the drawer 'g uide abruptly rises vertically a short distance (or drops vertically a short distance depending on whether one is talking about the top or bottom of the guide), then resumes its horizontal course until it reaches the front of the cabinet. A typical drawer guide structure is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the appended drawings; Sides with such guides are interchangeable between left and right cabinet sides.
The present locking panel must completely fill the space between two adjacent drawer guides so that intruders who would break the security of the lock compartment will not be able to rattle the panel up and down or for that matter from side to side in order to remove it. Removal would have to be by destruction of the panel or some other component of the cabinet.
It is an object of this invention to provide an improvement in modular furniture construction. Another object of the invention is to provide a lock panel which is removable but which in service permits the forming of a lockable security compartment in a modular cabinet without requiring any permanent alteration of cabinet parts whereby the cabinet can be returned to its former status upon removing the instant panel and such drawer, door, tray or the like which may have been temporarily installed to provide a security compartment.
Other objects, advantages and features will be appreciated from a reading of the following specification and claims in conjunction with the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an assembled modular cabinet with a removable lock panel and drawer combined to form a security compartment;
FIG. 2 is a perspective exploded view of an assembled locking panel; and
FIGS. 3 and 4 are respectively front and side along 3-3 and 4-4 of FIG. 1 and are views of a locking panel assembled to a drawer guide portion of a side panel.
Like reference numbers are used for like parts with postscripts A,B,C,etc. added thereto where convenient in discussing like parts separately.
In FIG. 1 is illustrated a cabinet 2 constructed according to the aforementioned copending application Ser. No. 39,733 and my contemporaneously filed application Ser. No. 200,930. This is the preferred system with which my invention is used. The cabinet includes a security compartment 5 comprising a drawer and the herein locking panel. It also comprises top panel 8, bottom panel 8, side panels, 9, 9 held together by corner joint assemblies 10 at the cabinet corners. These assemblies as already noted are made in accordance preferably with the details of copending application Ser. No. 39,733. The top, bottom and sides are preferably, as described in detail in the aforementioned applications, composed of extruded aluminum frame members, foamed polyurethane filling and some form of vinyl skin (e.g., polyvinyl chloride polymer or copolymer sheet) on the surfaces.
The sides 9 for the cabinet are described in greater detail as to drawer guide 12 structural features which are important both to my aforesaid copending application Ser. No. 200,930 and the instant application because they are made to be interchangeable between left and right and can accommodate different depths of drawers 6 by reason of the special design and arrangement of the drawer guides 12. While the details of this design and arrangement are described in my said application Ser. No. 200,930 it is worthwhile noting that the drawer guides here have the same structural features on their tops and bottoms whereby the left-right interchangeability is achieved. Also and more importantly for the present invention each drawer guide 12 is enabled by reason of its structure to coact with the present locking panel 7 as well as with such drawer 6 as may be present to seal the security compartment. Each of the guides 12 has (FIGS. 3, 4) an elongated notch 14 sloping gently downward from approximately the middle of the panel to a point about a quarter of an inch below the level of the plane in which the front and rear 18, 19 guide surfaces 1 lie. At said point the notch is terminated by an abrupt vertical face 21 that rises to an intersection with the front guide top (or bottom) surface 18 which extends forward to the end of the guide adjacent the front end of the cabinet assembly.
As best illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4 the top of the lowest drawer guide 12A cooperates with an element of the locking panel 7 while the bottom of the next guide above, 123 ordinarily (when no locking panel is used) serves the function of acting as a drawer stop when the drawer is pulled open. The unique configuration of this guide also enables the left right interchangeability as elsewhere noted.
The locking panel 7 is an assembly (FIG. 2) comprising a panel member 25, edges or edge members 26, and detent means 27 preferably comprising springs.
The panel member 25 is preferably made from tempered hard-board and provides shelf surfaces extending substantially from side to side and from front to back. A spring support slot 28 and concealing recess 29 are provided at appropriate places in each side of the panel and a lock slot 30 to receive the bolt 31 of the lock 32 is provided at a suitable place on the panel member.
The panel edge members 26 are extruded plastic and are thick enough in a vertical direction to fill the space between the guides on the cabinet sides. Actually, they are thick enough to fill the space between the planes in which the top 18A, 19A and bottom 18B, 19B of the drawer guides 12A, 12B lie. In order that the locking panel assembly can be slid easily into place, the top and bottom of these edge members are likewise parallel. In cross-section the edge members (FIG. 3) are S shaped but they may also be substantially rectangular with a cut-out which forms a groove 34 for receiving the panel member. The edge member also has a spring recess 36 formed by the removal of sufficient material on its lower surface to provide an opening in which the spring member or other detent means can be received. The edge member is preferably made from plastic (impact styrene) and is secured to the panel by friction: a snug groove 34 to panel 25 fit is preferred.
In FIGS. 2 and 3 are illustrated the spring 27 which is preferably made from spring steel and has what I prefer to call a Z" shape. The rear end is preferably bent square and has vertical and horizontal parts 38, 39. The vertical rear 38 is received in support slot 28.
The leaf member 40 of the spring is the third part of the Z and extends obliquely downwardly at an angle approximately like that of the sloping portion of the drawer guide. At the foremost end of the spring is a vertical stop tab 41 that will engage face 21 of the guide. Preferably the oblique spring actually presses against the adjacent portion of the guide. When the locking panel is slid into place, the spring is thus received in the drawer notch in a barb-like fashion whereby the short vertical portion of the notch prevents removal of the locking panel by reason of the engagement therewith by the oblique spring leaf. However, the panel can be removed by sliding a screwdriver or similar instrument underneath each oblique spring blade 40, flexing it up within the recess 36 on the panel edge and removing the panel 25.
The drawer for use with the present invention can be of about any construction which would enable its riding on the drawer guide and engaging the drawer stop. However, in order to provide the security compartment here, the drawer is also fitted with a lock 32. The lock 32 is a conventional piece of hardware available from any of several manufacturers and the details of its construction form no part of the present invention.
When the drawer 6 is in place and locked, it precludes access to the springs 27 whereby a security compartment is provided within the cabinet. This compartment can be made larger or smaller as one chooses according to the depth of the drawer chosen. Opening of the drawer not only gives access to the contents thereof but also to the springs or other detent means whereby the locking panel may be removed if desired.
It willbe evident to those skilled in the art that numerous modifications and adaptations of this invention can be made while keeping within the spirit of the specification and claims hereof. For example, it is not essential that a one-piece modular panel be used for the top, bottom, sides or other portions of the cabinet. Nor is it essential that the spring members on the panel, for example, must be shaped exactly like that illustrated.
The invention claimed is:
l. A lock panel that can be removably mounted in a cabinet and comprising a panel member with surfaces for extending substantially between the two opposite sides of the cabinet and from front to rear;
edges on opposite sides of said panel member thick enough to fill the space between guides on the cabinet sides;
detent means in each said panel edge for engaging the guides said detent means being inaccessible when a drawer is in place on the vertically adjacent guides on the cabinet sides and closed.
2. A lock panel according to claim 1 wherein said detent means includes a resilient member urging said means into engagement with said guide.
3. A lock panel according to claim 1 wherein each said detent means is a spring normally extending vertically from the edge of the panel into engagement with the vertically adjacent guide and compressible to within the confines of its associated edge.
4. A lock panel with a spring according to claim 3 wherein said spring extends obliquely from said panel edge for engaging like a barb a notch for that purpose in the cabinet guide.
5. A lock panel with a spring according to claim 3 wherein said panel member is thinner than the vertical space between said guides and said edges are affixed thereto.
6. A lock panel according to claim 5 wherein said detent is a spring, said panel member has spring-receiving slots at the panel sides, and each of said edges fits over said slot.
7. A lock panel according to claim 6 wherein each said spring extends obliquely forward and down relative to the cabinet and has a mounting end shaped to resiliently engage both the upper and lower surfaces of said panel adjacent its said slot.
8. A lock panel according to claim 5 wherein each said spring is "Z shaped, with a detent portion that extends from one side of said U obliquely forward and down out of said recess.
9. A removable lock panel assembly in a cabinet comprising opposed cabinet side walls on at least one of which is a pair of vertically spaced drawer guides each drawer guide having a notch near its front end to act as a drawer retainer when a drawer is pulled almost out;
a horizontally extending lock panel on the upper of said drawer guides;
said lock panel having means for lockably engaging a movable lock member on such drawer as may be located on the other drawer guide;
said lock panel also having an edge with a recess in which is located a resiliently biased or spring mem- 5 bet that normally extends vertically out of the recess into said notch, which member or spring can be pushed back into said recess in order to remove said lock panel;
said member being accessible only when said drawer said notch.