US 3758995 A
A mobile theater-type classroom comprising an elongated and generally horizontally extending enclosure formed by a front vertical end wall, a rear vertical end wall, substantially vertical side walls spaced from each other and connecting at their side edges with the side edges of said end walls, a substantially horizontal roof extending across and connecting with the top edges of the side and end walls, and a floor member extending across and connecting with the bottom edges of the side and end walls, the floor member extending in a generally horizontal direction but having a major portion at least thereof inclined downwardly from a location near the front end of the enclosure towards and to a location near the rear end of said enclosure, the slope of said inclined portion being between 11/2 inches and 1/4 inch per foot.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Connely, Jr.
[ Sept. 18, 1973 MOBILE THEATER-TYPE CLASSROOM  Inventor: Ralph R. Connely, Jr., 710 W. 9th
St., Claremore, Okla. 74017  Filed: Mar. 24, 1972 [211 App]. No.: 237,771
Primary Examiner-John E. Murtagh Attorney-William S. Dorman  ABSTRACT A mobile theater-type classroom comprising an elongated and generally horizontally extending enclosure formed by a front vertical end wall, a rear vertical end wall, substantially vertical side walls spaced from each other and connecting at their side edges with the side edges of said end walls, a substantially horizontal roof extending across and connecting with the top edges of the side and end walls, and a floor member extending across and connecting with the bottom edges of the side and end walls, the floor member extending in a generally horizontal direction but having a major portion at least thereof inclined downwardly from a location near the front end of the enclosure towards and to a location near the rear end of said enclosure, the slope of said inclined portion being between 1% inches and V4 inch per foot.
2 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures MOBILE THEATER-TYPE CLASSROOM FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a mobile classroom, sometimes referred to as a trailer. More particular, the mobile classroom of the present invention is of the theater type in that a portion of the flooring is inclined so that suitable training units can be disposed upon the inclined floor in auditorium fashion.
THE PRIOR ART Mobile classrooms have been provided heretofore for the same general purposes as that of the present invention. The prior art mobile classrooms included vertical end walls, vertical side walls, a substantially flat roof and a substantially flat flooring. Although the terms front and rear" are obviously relative, a blackboard and/or projector screen are generally located at the rear of the classroom and the instructors console is generally mounted at the front of the vehicle. Between the instructors console and the blackboard there are generally mounted, along each side of the classroom, six or seven individual training consoles for the students. If, for example, the classroom is designed for driver education, each unit for the student would have a clutch, steering wheel, brake pedal, etc., plus a plurality of buttons to be pushed for answering questions that might be asked by the instructor. The reactions and answers of the students are conveyed by suitable wiring, generally located beneath the flooring, to the instructors console where he can monitor the results. Where desired, a projector can be mounted on or adjacent the instructors console to project onto the blackboard or onto a screen which might be superimposed on the blackboard. Occasionally, the instructor will position himself in front of the blackboard using the latter for purposes of instruction.
In order to prevent interference between successive student consoles for viewing the blackboard or screen or the instructor at the blackboard, it has been generally necessary to provide successive incremental elevation in the form of pedestals beneath the student consoles as well as beneath the instructors console. Thus, starting from the rear towards the front of the classroom the pedestals will be successively higher to provide at least 2 inches in elevation between successive student consoles. Thus, if there are seven consoles in a row (on each side) the last pedestal will add 14 inches of height from the floor. Therefore, the instructor's console will have to be mounted on a platform (or other pedestal) so that he can see over the last student console. With the pedestals and/or platform referred to above, it is sometimes difficult or inconvenient for the students to properly sit themselves in their consoles and, occasionally, a student will trip over or against a pedestal or platform.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention involves a mobile theater-type classroom having conventional wheels and a generally conventional trailer hitch; by virtue of the additional clearance provided in the front of the classroom of the present invention, however, the trailer hitch can be located 2 feet behind the forward end of the classroom thereby providing an advantage in towing length as will hereinafter appear. The mobile classroom will have a front end wall, a rear end wall, side walls and a roof.
The flooring, however, will not be horizontal as in the case of the conventional prior art mobile classroom. Rather, a major portion of the flooring will be inclined downwardly and rearwardly. Preferably, the first portion of flooring to the rear of the front wall will be flat and will extend rearwardly approximately 8 feet, the trailer in this instance being approximately 56 feet in length. The inclined portion will extend rearwardly and downwardly from the rear end of this first flat section and will connect with the forward end of another flat section which extends from this point to the rear of the mobile classroom. The second flat section preferably is about 14 feet in length, leaving 34 feet as the longitudinal extent of the inclined floor portion. The inclination of the inclined floor portion is preferably about seveneighths of an inch per foot giving a total drop of about 29% inches from the rear end of the first flat portion to the end of the second flat portion.
The flooring immediately described above is the interior flooring of the mobile classroom. The bottom exterior of the unit, preferably constructed of suitable structural steel members, will be located perhaps 6 inches below and parallel with the interior flooring referred to above to provide a space for the inclusion of the necessary wiring which will be described hereinafter.
A blackboard and/or projection screen will be located on the rear end wall as would be conventional. Also, the instructor's console will be located on the first flat section adjacent the front end of the classroom. One student console can be mounted on the rear flat portion and six student consoles can be located along the incline at each side of the classroom. In order to,
make the bottom of each student console horizontal, it is necessary to provide a wedge shaped element beneath each student console. However, the wedges are substantially identical and provide relatively little hazard as far as tripping is concerned. Also, we do not have the situation where the rearmost student console is 14 inches above the floor. Thus, all of the student consoles are relatively close to the flooring and a uniform distance therefrom to minimize the wiring difficulties and the amount of wiring which will be required to connect from the instructors console through a power source to the individual student consoles.
Another advantage of the present invention involves the effective hook-up length of the classroom (trailer). With the conventional prior art trailer, the trailer hitch will project forward from the front end of the trailer for approximately 5 feet giving a hook-up length (assuming a 56 foot trailer) of 61 feet. In the case of the present invention, however, with the forward flat portion being elevated above the lower flat portion, it is possible to locate the trailer hitch beneath the forward flat portion. In fact, the hook-up point on the trailer hitch is actually 2 feet behind the front end of the mobile unit of the present invention giving a hook-up length of about 54 feet. Thus, the mobile classroom of the present invention, plus towing vehicle will be less than feet allow ing transportation through any state without exceeding the maximum overall length, which is not possible with the conventional mobile classroom.
Another advantage of the present invention is that the heat exchange unit for the air conditioner can be located on the cradle for the trailer hitch instead of on the side or front of the trailer as would be necessary in the case of the conventional type of mobile classroom.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a mobile theater-type classroom constructed in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross section (minus hitch and wheels) of the mobile classroom shown in FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 shows a mobile classroom having wheels 12 and a trailer hitch 14. In the position shown in FIG. 1, the mobile classroom 10 is disconnected from any suitable towing vehicle (not shown) and the jack portion 16 of the hitch 14 is in the lowered position such that the mobile classroom is supported in the proper attitude on the ground 18. If desired, suitable chocks (not shown) can be placed against opposite sides of the wheels 12 to prevent accidental movement of the mobile classroom 10.
Referring now to FIG. 2 which shows the internal longitudinal cross section of the mobile classroom 10 (minus hitch and wheels), the classroom is formed by a generally vertical front end wall 20 and a vertical rear end wall 22. The terms front and rear" are merely relative terms and should not be considered as limiting as far as the invention is concerned. The roof is essentially a flat horizontal member 24 which is suitably supported in any conventional manner (not shown). The bottom of the mobile classroom is provided with a forward flat horizontal section 26, a rear flat horizontal section 28, and an inclined flat section 30 extending from point A (the juncture between section 26 and inclined section 30) and point B (the juncture between the inclined section 30 and the flat section 28.)
Along the sides of the mobile classroom 10 are substantially flat vertical side walls 31, 31, only one of which is shown in FIG. 1. The exterior of the side and end walls as well as the exterior of the roof are preferably covered with sheet metal and all walls, roofing and flooring are constructed and reinforced in essentially conventional manner (not shown). Preferably, the mobile classroom of the present invention is provided with a front door and a rear door (not shown) preferably located in one or the other of the side walls 31.
The interior floor of the mobile classroom is provided with a forward horizontal flat section 32 which is spaced above and parallel with section 26; a lower horizontal flat section 34 which is spaced above and parallel with the flat section 28; and an inclined flat section 36 which extends from the rear end of the upper flat section 32 and the forward end of the lower flat section 34 and connecting therewith immediately above the points A and B.
Purely by way of example, the embodiment of the mobile classroom 10 shown in FIGS. l and 2 is 56 feet in length and 12 feet in width. The external height of the rear vertical wall 22 is approximately 10% feet; allowing for the spacing between the floor 34 and the flat section 28 and the thickness of the roof 24, the inside available vertical space on the end wall 22 is about 9% feet. Similarly, the front end wall 20 is about 8 feet high externally, leaving approximately 7 foot vertical space available at the interior of the wall. The front flat section 32 extends rearwardly from the front of the unit 10 approximately 8 feet. The sloping portion of the floor 36 extends rearwardly for another 34 feet. The rear flat portion 34 extends from the end of the sloping portion approximately 14 feet to the rear end of the mobile unit 10. The slope of the sloping floor portion 36 is approximately seven-eighths of an inch per foot giving a total drop over the 34 foot length of approximately 29% inches.
Whereas the flooring has been described in terms of a forward flat section, a rear flat section and an intermediate inclined section, it might be possible in some circumstances, especially with a shorter classroom, to omit, for example, the forward flat section, in which case the inclined section would connect directly from the lower flat section to the front end wall. Under some circumstances, it might be possible to retain the front flat section while omitting the rear flat section. At any event, it should be understood that a major portion, preferably between one-half and two-thirds, of the flooring will be inclined. Again, the slope of the sloping floor portion has been described as being approximately seven-eighths of an inch per foot. In certain circumstances, it might be desirable to increase or decrease the slope. However, within the scope of the present invention it is preferable that the slope be at least one-quarter inch per foot and no greater than I inches per foot.
The overall exterior height of the mobile unit described above will be about 13 feet. Considering the fact that 13% feet is the maximum permissible height for road clearance in most jurisdictions, then the front, rear and side walls can be increased in height about 6 inches with the roof being elevated about 6 inches. On the other hand, it is possible to decrease the overall height of the classroom below that described but this might be inconvenient in that tall persons might tend to strike their heads against the ceiling adjacent the forward end of the classroom.
Assuming now that it is desired to have the mobile classroom 10 equipped for a driver training system, there will be mounted a plurality of driver training car units 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 and 50, which will be essentially identical to each other and which will simulate the operations of an automotive vehicle. The teachers console will be designated by the reference character 52. It should be noted that the lowermost driver training unit 50 is resting on the flat portion 34 and the teachers console 52 is resting on the upper flat portion 32; the remaining driver training car units 38 to 48, inclusive, however, are supported on the inclined floor portion 36. For this purpose, it is necessary to provide a wedge-shaped element 54 under each of the units 38 to 48, inclusive. The purpose of the wedge-shaped element 54 is to make the bottom of each of these units horizontal.
With the relationship described previously the vertical staggering of the driver training car units 38 to 50, inclusive, is such that each student operator (not shown) sitting in such a unit is easily capable of seeing a blackboard 56 which can be mounted on the rear wall 22. Also, this blackboard could serve as means for holding a screen (not shown) upon which pictures could be projected from the console 52, which is also sufficiently elevated above the driver training car units themselves that the instructor can clearly see the blackboard 56. Again, if the instructor wishes to stand on the flat portion 34 to the rear of the unit 50, all of the students seated in the various units would be capable of seeing the instructor because of the difference in elevation of the units.
The arrangement as shown in FIG. 2 is such that, with six driver training units on the inclined portion 36 the difference in elevation between the adjacent units is approximately 434 inches as compared with the difference in elevation of 2 inches provided by the old system.
Returning to a consideration of FIG. 1, the hitch por tion 14 can be made to accommodate the heat exchange portion of an air conditioning unit thus obviating the necessity for placing such a unit on one of the sides of the mobile classroom 10. Also, the point of connection or hook-up point 58 is located approximately two feet rearwardly of the front end 20 of the mobile classroom 10, thus providing a hook-up length of 54 feet. Thus, the mobile classroom of FIG. 1 plus towing vehicle (not shown) will provide an overall combined length of less than 70 feet to permit transportation through those states where the maximum limit is 70 feet.
The various individual driver training car units 38 through 50 are connected by means of suitable wiring (not shown) to the console 52 whereby the classroom teacher can tell at any given moment what is going on in connection with each of the units, and can check the responses of the individual student operators. The wiring preferably connects from the console 52 to a suitable power source (not shown) and to the individual training car units through the space provided between the flooring 32, 36 and 34 and the bottom of the unit 26, 30 and 28. Because the units 38 to 48 are located as close to the inclined portion 36 as possible, and in a uniform manner, the amount of wire needed to connect the console 52 to the individual units 38 through 50, inclusive, can be kept at a minimum, thus realizing a savings in wiring costs.
Whereas the present invention has been described in particular relation to the drawings attached hereto, it should be understood that other and further modifications, apart from those shown or suggested herein, may be made within the spirit and scope of this invention.
1. A mobile theater-type classroom comprising an elongated and generally horizontally extending enclosure formed by a front vertical end wall, a rear vertical end wall, substantially vertical side walls spaced from each other and connecting at their side edges with the side edges of said end walls, a substantially horizontal roof extending across and connecting with the top edges of the side and end walls, and a floor member extending across and connecting with the bottom edges of the side and end walls, the floor member extending in a generally horizontal direction but having a first flat floor portion extending rearwardly from the bottom of said front vertical end wall towards said rear vertical end wall substantially horizontally to a first predetermined location, a second flat floor portion extending forwardly from the bottom of said rear vertical end wall substantially horizontally towards said front vertical end wall to a second predetermined location, said second flat floor portion lying in a horizontal plane spaced below the horizontal plane of said first flat floor portion, an inclined floor portion constituting the major portion of said floor member extending slightly downwardly from the rear of said first flat floor portion to the forward end of said second flat floor portion, the slope of said inclined floor portion being between 1% inches and one-quarter inch per foot, external wheel means located below said enclosure and connected thereto adjacent said second predetermined location, trailer hitch means located beneath said enclosure rearward of said front vertical end wall and connected to said enclosure adjacent said first predetermined location, jack means mounted on said trailer hitch means for supporting the forward end of said enclosure, said jack means and said wheel means being adapted to support said enclosure on the ground with said first and second flat floor portions disposed in substantially horizontal relationship, an instructor's console located on said first flat floor portion, and a plurality of student consoles arranged in spaced relation along said floor member from said instructors console towards said rear vertical end wall.
2. A mobile theater-type classroom as set forth in claim 1 wherein said student consoles are substantially identical and wherein the student consoles which are mounted on said inclined floor portion are supported from said inclined floor portion are supported from said inclined floor portion by means of wedge-shaped elements which are all identical in structure.
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