US 3765541 A
Various types of structures are made by combining a plurality of elongated bodies, each in cross section at the ends thereof, including a pair of spaced bars intermediately connected by a web portion, and means connecting said bodies comprising an elongated connecting member having flat ends slotted inwardly, the sides of said slots embracing said web portions whereby said elongated bodies are united. By uniting four of said elongated bodies and connecting them with corner posts three dimensional structures are formed which can be used as such as display or advertising units or can be assembled together in superposed relationship. Due to the nature of the elongated bodies and the connecting members structures of various sizes, shapes and appearance can be made.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Madey et al.
[ Oct. 16, 1973 1 STRUCTURAL UNITS AND METHOD OF ASSEMBLING THEM  Inventors: Marion J. Madey; Norman A.
Groneman, both of Park Ridge, 111.
 US. Cl 211/182, 211/148, 287/54 C,
287/l89.36 H  Int. Cl A471 5/00, F16b 7/04  Field of Search 211/182, 177, 148;
287/l89.36 H, 20.92 D, 54 C; 40/152, 155; 52/475, 476; 108/114 3,513,606 5/1970 Jones 211/177 X 3,603,627 9/1971 Kaffel 2'87/18936 H FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,072,282 6/1967 Great Britain 211/182 281,702 3/1953 Switzerland 21 1/148 Primary Examiner-Ramon S. Britts Att0rneyJohnston, Root, OKeeffe, Keil, Thompson & Shurtleff [5 7] ABSTRACT Various types of structures are made by combining a plurality of elongated bodies, each in cross section at the ends thereof, including a pair of spaced bars intermediately connected by a web portion, and means connecting said bodies comprising an elongated connecting member having flat ends slotted inwardly, the sides of said slots embracing said web portions whereby said elongated bodies are united. By uniting four of said elongated bodies and connecting them with corner posts three dimensional structures are formed which can be used as such as display or advertising units or can be assembled together in superposed relationship. Due to the nature of the elongated bodies and the connecting members structures of various sizes, shapes and appearance can be made.
13 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures PAIENTEDUBI 15 ms SHEET 1 UF 5 I N VEN TORS.
k ll l MARION J. MADEY NORMAN A. GRONEMAN BgA zs W% ATM g FATENTEDnm 16 ms 3,765,541
ATT'YS PATENTEDUCT 16 I975 SHEET 30? 5 IINVENTORSI MARION J. MADEY ATT'YS wmwunmn H mm 3.765.541
MARION J. MADEY NORMAN A. GRONEMAN ATT'YS PATENTEDUET 16 I973 M m M m T N N T EDO A W R WM% N N mm Rang AO RWMN B 0 m E M STRUCTURAL UNITS AND METHOD OF ASSEMBLING THEM BACKGROUND It is known in the art as shown by U.S. Pat. No. 3,208,170 to provide a supporting device which is highly useful in stores and elsewhere for supporting signs and various articles of merchandise. This device consists of an elongated body including a pair of spaced bars intermediately connected by a web portion. Each bar has on its outer side two substantially straight portions extending in opposite directions from an area opposite the web portion and slightly angularly positioned relative to one another, the included angles between said straight portions in each bar being slightly less than 180 and each bar on its inner side being connected to said web portion and having a substantially straight portion extending in opposite directions from said web portion, the included angles between opposing inner straight portions of said bars being less than 30. These supporting units also have opposing lips on the outer sides forming recesses which receive letters, signs or other indicia and converging lips at the top and bottom on the inner sides forming track ways adapted to receive signs, shelves or supporting devices. As ordinarily constructed the supporting devices described in the aforesaid patent are mounted in a vertical position so that the lips which form recesses for letters, signs and other indicia are on the sides and the track ways are at the top and bottom.
OBJECTS One of the objects of the present invention is to provide new and improved structures by connecting'together elongated bodies of the type previously described in a novel manner to form new and useful structural units in which the unit is either essentially in the same plane or can be three dimensional.
A further object is to provide new and improved structures which are especially useful in display advertising.
Another object of the invention is to provide a new and'improved method for making structures of the type described.
Still a further object of the invention is to provide new and improved structural assemblies and new and improved connecting members for making structures.
THE DRAWINGS Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear from the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which 7 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a structural unit illustrating one embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged exploded view in perspective of one corner of the structural unit shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the manner in which the component parts are assembled;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of three different types of connecting members which can be employed in the practice of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view with parts broken away of four different types of corner posts which can be employed in making structural units in accordance with the invention;
' FIG; 5 is a perspective view of a portion of one of the elongated body members showing the manner in which panels can be inserted;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a corner member and various types of fixtures that can be employed with said corner members;
FIG. 7 is a view showing in perspective different types of side members which can be added to the cubical structure shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a partial sectional view illustrating the manner in which corner posts are connected through corner members and connecting members to various types of top and bottom members;
FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 are perspective views of various assemblies of units of the type shown in FIG, 1;
FIGS. 12 and 13 are perspective views illustrating modifications of the invention with respect to top and bottom panels and side panels;
FIGS. 14 to 18 are perspective views illustrating modifications of the invention with respect to corner connecting members and connecting members for sus- Y pending cubical structures from one another; and
FIG. 19 is a perspective exploded view of another modification of the invention.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In its broadest aspect the invention relates to a structure and a method of making a structure wherein a plurality of elongated bodies, each in cross section at the ends thereof including a pair of spaced bars intermediately connected by a web portion, are connected together by one or more elongated connecting members having flat ends slotted inwardly, the sides of said slots embracing said web portions whereby said elongated bodies are united. I
The connection between the slotted connecting members and the web portions of the spaced bars can be a friction or press fit or the connecting members can be secured through the web portions of the bars bya screw, rivet, or the like. The slotted connecting members can have reverse sawtooth indentations or barbs therein. An adhesive can also be used to bond the slotted connecting members to the web portions of the spaced bars.
The cross section of the elongated bodies is usually generally X-shaped but it can also have other shapes, for example, an I-I-shape or a K-shape.
By connecting four of said elongated bodies together in the manner described, a four-sided structure with the sides substantially in the same plane is formed. Two of these four-sided structures can then be assembled together by corner posts to form a three-dimensional structure, for example, one which is cubical. This is accomplished by providing an aperture between the slotted ends of the connecting member and connecting the corner post to the aperture in any suitable manner as hereinafter described.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring to the drawings, one type of structure which can be provided in accordance with the invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. This structure is essentially cubical and consists of four elongated bodies 1, 2, 3 and 4 in one plane, and four more elongated bodies 5, 6, 7 and 8 in another plane, each of said elongated bodies being connected together at the corners as hereinafter described and constructed to form a threedimensional figure by connecting them to corner posts 9, 10, 11 and 12. The corner posts are connected at opposite ends to spherical members 13,14, 15,16, 17,18, 19,20. Each corner is also provided with two spacer members 21,22, 23,24, 25,26, 27,28, 29,30, 31,32 and 33,34.
As shown by the exploded view in FIG. 2, each of the elongated bodies 2 and 3 comprises a pair of substantially parallel spaced allochiral bars generally indicated at 35 and 36. These bars are connected together centrally by a web portion 37. Each bar has two substantially straight portions 38 and 39 which are slightly angularly positioned relative to one another so that the included angles between said straight portions in each bar are slightly less than 180, the included angle being generally indicated at 40. The inner sides of the straight portions of each bar form an angle with the web portion as an apex which is less than 30 as indicated at 41 (see also FIG.
Each of the bars 35 and 36 on its outer side has lips 42 and 43 which form recesses 44 and 45 adapted to receive a panel 46. Each of the bars 35 and 36 also has inwardly extending portions 47 which form a space 48 sometimes referred to as a trackway.
The elongated bodies comprising the previously described spaced bars are connected by a connecting member 49 which contains slots 50 and 51 in opposite ends thereof adapted to embrace the web portions 37 of the elongated bodies 2 and 3. In the embodiment illustrated in the drawings each of the connecting members 49 has in the slotted ends thereof a generally circular recessed portion 52 adapted to receive a screw 53 which is inserted through an opening 54 in bar 35 whereby when the connecting member 49 is inserted with the slotted end over the web portion 37 the screw 53 inserted through opening 54 will pass through opening 52 and secure the connecting member 49 to elongated body member 3. This is not absolutely essential in all cases because it is possible to have a friction fit or a press fit which will securely hold these members together. They can also be bonded by an adhesive placed at the juncture of the web portion 37 with the slots 50 of connecting member 49.
Connecting member 49 is also provided with an aperture 55 which is placed in the space between the slotted ends. Referring to FIG. 2, after the elongated bodies 2 and 3 have been connected by the connecting member 49 in the manner previously described, the spacer members 27 and 28 are assembled above and below connecting member 49 with apertures therein 56 and 57 aligned with aperture 55 of connecting member 49. The corner post 9 is provided with a threaded rod 58 at the ends which is inserted through openings 57, 55 and 56, in that order, and secured in place by means of the internal threads 59 of spherical member 15. In a similar manner the other corner posts are assembled with the connected elongated bodies to form a cubical structure of the type previously described in FIG. 1.
In order to enhance the attractiveness of the resultant structure, panels such as illustrated at 46 can be inserted in the top and the bottom of each of the elongated bodies. These panels can be constructed of paper, plastic, metal or other suitable material. If flexible panels are used they can be inserted merely by bending them and snapping them into place after the remainder of the structure has been completed. The panels on the top of each member can be different from those on the bottom. For example, the top panel can have an antique finish and the bottom panels can have a modern finish such as, for example, a chromium finish, or vice versa. Then when a structure of the type shown in FIG. 1 is inverted, the appearance will be changed and can be completely different.
As shown in FIG. 3 the connecting members do not have to be in the form of a right angle. They can be straight or T-shaped as illustrated at 60 or in the shape of a cross as illustrated at 61. In this way the essential components can be used to make many different types and shapes of structures.
Referring to FIG. 4 it will be seen that various types of corner posts can be used as illustrated at 62, 63, 64 and 65.
In FIGS. 1 and 2 the cap members which are secured to the threaded portions of the corner members are spherical but different shapes can be used. Thus in FIG. 6 a more ornamental type of cap member 66 is provided. As an alternative the top spacer member 27 can be internally threaded at 67 so as to engage the external threads on the threaded portion 58 of the corner member. Also, in this case the threaded portion 58 of the corner member can be shorter and a circular disc as illustrated at 68, 69 or 70 can be inserted in the recess 71.
In the structure shown in FIG. 1 the sides, top and bottom are open. However, a feature of the invention as illustrated in FIG. 7 involves the use of various types of side panels illustrated at 72, 73, 74 and 75 which can be made ofglass, plastic or metal and can be transparent, translucent or opaque and either rigid or flexible. The tops and bottoms of these side panels fit into the depression created by the angle 40 in each of the elongated bodies. If rigid side panels are used they are inserted before the corner members are tightened into place. If flexible side panels are used they can be bent slightly and then allowed to snap into place. Top and bottom shelf panels are inserted in the inner trackways 48.
FIG. 9 illustratesan assembly in which four cubical structures of the type illustrated in FIG. 1 are mounted from one corner on a single rod so that they are free to rotate to various positions. In this case the corner members 76, 77, 78 and 79 have a longitudinal bore, not shown, adapted to accommodate the rod and in addition there is a spacer member 80 which is similarly constructed. Only the opposite ends of the rod running through the internal bores of members 76, 77, 78, 79 and 80 is required to be threaded and secured to cap member 81 and bottom member 82.
In the modification illustrated in FIG. 10 the structure illustrated has an open top at 83 and two of the corner posts or spacers are omitted at 84.
FIG. 11 illustrates one way in which three structures 85, 86 and 87 each consisting of three cubical units can be assembled with various articles of merchandise on the shelves of each unit and other merchandise such as tires displayed in between the structures. It will be recognized that the same type of panel used as a side panel according to the illustration in FIG. 7 can also be used as a shelf panel. By using either transparent, translucent and/or opaque panels with different kinds of ornamentation, many different effects can be obtained. Furthermore, it is relatively simple to change the appearance of various types of merchandising display units merely by altering one or more components of structures of the type described.
FIG. 12 illustrates another modification of the invention in which a triangular corner member 88 is inserted in the corner formed by trackways 89 and 90. The corner member 88 is preferably made from clear rigid plastic but can be made from any other suitable material. It is used to support rectangular panel of glass, wood, or other material so as to form a top shelf which can be readily removed merely by lifting it. In the same manner four corner members can be inserted in the lower part of a cubical structure to afford support for a bottom shelf.
A further modification of the invention is also illustrated in FIG. 12 wherein the connecting member 91 is offset downwardly adjacent the corner at 92 and 93 as illustrated in FIG. 15. Another feature illustrated in FIG. is the provision of barbs 94, 95, 96 and 97 which are reverse sawtooth indentations whereby when the connecting member 91 is attached, with the sides of the slots 98 and 99 embracing the web portions 100 and 101, the barbs 94-97 will resist separation of the connecting member 91 from the elongated bodies 102 and 103. While this structure is normally sufficient to hold the elongated bodies 102 and 103 securely to connecting member 91 additional fastening means can be provided by forming recesses 104 and 105 in the sides 98 and 99 and inserting screws or rivets 106 and 107 in holes 108 and 109. If it is desired to form two cubical structures connected at their corners, another connecting member 110 which has offset portions 111 and 112 and is identical with connecting member 91 except that it is inverted, can be employed. The apertures 113 and 114 are aligned and a threaded member 115 connected to the corner post 116 is inserted through opening 117 in lower spacer block 118, then through the two connecting members 91 and 110 as illustrated in FIG. 16, and finally through spacer block 119 and into an internally threaded portion of member 120.
By using two offset L-shaped connecting members as shown in FIG. 15, two cubical structures can be united without using a member of the type shown at 61 in FIG. 3 thereby permitting a greater standardization of parts. At the'same time, the offset portions of the L-shaped connecting members assure horizontal evenness.
In the modification illustrated in FIG. 13, the spacer member 121 has vertical recesses 122 and 123 adapted to accommodate the edges of panels 124 and 125 made of glass or other material which form sides of cubical structures of the type previously described.
The method of assembling structures of the type described with offset connecting members 91 and 110 is further illustrated in FIG. 14 which also illustrates another modification of the invention for connecting one cubical structure to another by means of a connector 126 made of metal or other suitable material as shown in FIG. 17 and in FIG. 14. The connector 126 has an aperture 127 at one end which is adapted to receive a threaded rod 115. At the other end of connector 126 is a larger aperture 128 which is large enough to receive a supporting rod 129 mounted on a pedestal 129A. By using the connecting member 126 any number of cubical structures 130 can be rotatably mounted on rod 129 (FIG. 18) separated and supported by decorative tubular spacers 129B, 129C, 129D which are slidably mounted on rod 129. As shown in FIG. 14, aperture 127 of connector 126 is placed between apertures 113 and 114 and the threaded member is inserted through said apertures. Aperture 128 is then placed over rod 129 (FIG. 18). The same procedure is used at the top and bottom corners of each cubical structure. Two or more cubical structures are prefera bly used so they will balance each other on opposite sides of rod 129.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 19 the structure is similar to that shown in FIG. 2 except that corner post 131 and the top member 132 which may be a corner post or an end member are internally threaded and adapted to receive a threaded rod 133. The spacer members 134 and 135 can also be internally threaded at 136 and 137 to receive threaded rod 133 thereby making it possible to assemble elongated body 138 with elongated body 139 connected by connecting member 140 without corner members 131 and 132. In this way four-sided units connected at the corners can be shipped or stored flat and assembled into threedimensional units merely by securing the internally threaded members 131 and 132 to opposite ends of the threaded rod 133.
It will be understood that the elongated body members as well as other components of the structures described can be made of metal, plastic, wood, or other suitable materials. The elongated body members 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are preferably made from extruded aluminum.
It will be seen from the foregoing description that the structures made as described herein can be employed not only for display purposes but also for various types of furniture. The method of supporting horizontally placed glass or other types of panels by inserting triangular plastic wedges in the trackways at the corners of the structures makes it possible to remove these panels for cleaning or for the substitution of other panels in order to change the decor. Furthermore, since cubical structures of the type described can have various types of panels such as the panel 46 in FIG. 2 inserted in the upper and lower portions of the elongated bodies, the appearance can be changed radically simply by turning a cube or table upside down. Finally, the connecting member 126 as illustrated in FIG. 17 and as further described with respect to FIGS. 14 and 18 makes it possible to assemble two or more three-dimensional structures and to facilitate the creation of self-supporting and customized store fixtures.
The invention is hereby claimed as follows:
1. A structure comprising a plurality of elongated bodies, each in cross section at the ends thereof including a pair of spaced bars intermediately connected by a web portion, and means connecting said bodies comprising a flat elongated connecting member having spaced flat ends defining bifurcated leg portions slotted inwardly in the same plane, the sides of said slots embracing said web portions whereby said elongated bodies are united with the spaces between said bars in the same plane in adjacent connected bodies, each of said elongated bodies comprising a pair of substantially parallel spaced allochiral bars, each bar on its outer side having two substantially straight portions extending in opposite directions from said web portion and slightly angularly positioned relative to one another, said outer sides defining the upper and lower horizontal faces of said elongated bodies, the included angles between said straight portions in each bar being slightly less than and each bar on its inner side being connected to said web portion and having two substantially straight portions each extending in opposite directions from said web portion, the opposed inner sides of said bars defining acuate angles therebetween, the outer edges of said opposing inner straight portions defining the vertical sides of said elongated bodies and being spaced to form trackways receiving the leg portions of said connecting member therebetween, said bodies being connected so that said trackways adjacent one another in adjacent connected bodies are in the same horizontal plane.
2. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which said elongated bodies are generally X-shaped.
3. A structure as claimed in claim 1 comprising means for fastening said slotted elongated connecting members to said bar.
4. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which said slotted connecting members are right angled and four of said elongated bodies are connected together by four of said connecting members to form a four sided structure.
5. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which said slotted connecting members are right angled and each has an aperture in the corner thereof, four of said elongated bodies being connected together by four of said slotted connecting members to form a four sided structure and two of said four sided structures being assembled by corner posts connected to said apertures to form a three dimensional structure.
6. A three dimensional structure as claimed in claim 5 which is cubical.
7. An assembly of structures comprising a plurality of three dimensional structures as claimed in claim 5 held together in superposed relationship by at least one corner post connected to at least one said aperture in at least one said slotted connecting member.
8. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which said elongated bodies are connected at right angles and triangular pieces adapted to support one corner of a panel are inserted in the inner trackways at the corners.
9. A structure as claimed in claim 5 in which said connecting members have inner and outer spacer members on opposite sides thereof and the inner spacer members contain vertical recesses each adapted to receive the edge of a side panel.
10. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which said connecting member is L-shaped and has an aperture adjacent the intersecting legs of the L with spacer members each having an aperture therein aligned with said aperture in said connecting member on the oppo site sides of said connecting member, said spacer members being internally threaded and being secured to said connecting member by an externally threaded rod.
11. A structure as claimed in claim 10 in which four of said elongated bodies are connected by four of said slotted connecting members to form a four-sided structure and two of said four-sided structures are assembled by corner posts internally threaded at the ends to receive said threaded rod to form a three-dimensional structure.
12. An assembly of structures comprising a plurality of three-dimensional structures as claimed in claim 5 each held together in lateral relationship one above the other by connecting members, each said connecting member having an aperture at one end aligned with an aperture in one of said slotted connecting members and an aperture at another end adapted to receive and be rotatably mounted on a supporting rod.
13. A structure as claimed in claim 1 in which panels are inserted in said trackways in one or both sides of said elongated bodies.