US 3796169 A
This covers a table structure having two parallel vertical legs and a tabletop which is tiltable over a predetermined angle, such as 90 DEG . The structure includes pivot means held stationary alongside both legs and two pairs of spring-loaded latching devices associated respectively with the two legs. Each latching device includes a lever and a cam which are held together under constant pressure by a spring. The tabletop may be tilted from a horizontal position to a vertical position by manipulating two of the levers which are respectively associated with the two legs, so that the tabletop may be tilted from its vertical position to its horizontal position by manipulating the other two levers respectively associated with said legs.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States atent Bales et a1.
[ 1 Mar. 12, 1974 TILTABLE TABLE STRUCTURE  Inventors: Emmett R. Bales; Clarence F. Estes,
Jr., both of Manchester, Ind.
 Assignee: American Standard lnc., New York,
221 Filed: Sept. 25, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 291,861
152] US. Cl 108/116, 16/42, 16/145, 108/91, 108/146, 248/188.8, 403/93  Int. Cl A47b 3/08  Field of Search 108/6, 1, 8, 144, 146, 108/2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9,115,116;248/188.8, 188.9, 454, 457; 297/124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 159; 287/14, 92, 99; 16/42, 145
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,846,761 8/1958 Evans 108/8 X 2,594,533 4/1952 Baker.... 287/14 3,199,825 8/1965 Bellows 108/6 UX 3,425,365 2/1969 Thoreson et a1 l 108/6 1,979,568 1l/l934 OConner et a1. 287/14 X 2,051,490 8/1936 Lightfoot 180/5 X 3,139,045 6/1964 Rojaltovich 108/144 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 863,184 l/1960 Great Britain 248/1888 Primary ExaminerBobby R. Gay
Assistant ExaminerWilliam E. Lyddanc Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Jefferson Ehrlich; Robert G. Crooks 1 57 1 ABSTRACT This covers a table structure having two parallel vertical legs and a tabletop which is tiltable over a predetermined angle, such as 90. The structure includes pivot means held stationary alongside both legs and two pairs of spring-loaded latching devices associated respectively with the two legs. Each latching device includes a lever and a cam which are held together under constant pressure by a spring. The tabletop may be tilted from a horizontal position to a vertical position by manipulating two of the levers which are respectively associated with the two legs, so that the tabletop may be tilted from its vertical position to its horizontal position by manipulating the other two levers respectively associated with said legs.
14 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PMENFEWHQW 3396; 169
SHEEI 5 BF 5 TILTABLE' TABLE STRUCTURE This invention relates to furniture, such as tables, writing boards, space dividers, etc.
Tables and like furniture, although available in various forms, may be constructed so that they can be convertible into writing boards or space dividers or screens, etc.
One of the objects of this invention is to provide convertible furniture that can be readily used in all types of schools and like institutions and, moreover, can be readily converted from oneposition in which a tabletop is in a horizontal position, to another position where the tabletop is in a vertical position, and vice versa.
Another of the objects of this invention is to provide such furniture items, such as tables, arranged so that they can be readily stackable and storable in a limited space when they are to be unused and thereby provide room for other activities and readily returned to their normal positions.
Another of the objects of this invention is to provide table and like furniture with tiltable tops so arranged and organized that the tabletops may be firmly held in a horizontal position or in a vertical position, as may be desired, and they may be changed from one position to another only by multiple manipulations and adjustments made by two people working together to fully coordinate their operations.
This invention is directed to a form of furniture which can be easily and conveniently used in a school or like institution as a writing or working table, then easily and quickly convertible into a space divider or a writing board, and then stored or stacked in a limited space, perhaps with many like tables. Thereafter, any of the stacked structures may be separated from the group and separately used with the tabletop horizontal or vertical, as desired.
The table of this invention is also directed to a form of furniture provided, for example, with two pairs of spring-loaded latches so arranged and organized that two of the latches, one from each pair, must be manipulated to change the orientation of the tabletop from a horizontal position to a vertical position and then held firmly in the vertical position, and later, the remaining two latches must be manipulated'to return the tabletop to a horizontal position and then held firmly in the horizontal position.
The table structure of this invention is also so arranged and organized that the tabletop can be changed in its orientation only by manipulating corresponding latches of both pairs of latches and the tabletop orientation cannot be changed merely by manipulating only one of the latches.
This invention, together with its objects and features,
will be, better and more clearly understood from the more detailed description and explanation hereinafter following when read in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 represents a perspective view of the table structure of this invention, the table-top being shown in dotted lines in its horizontal position;
FIG. 2 illustrates a partial cross-sectional view when seen along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 shows a partial cross-sectional view when seen along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 shows a partial cross-sectional view as seen along the lines 44 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 represents a partial cross-sectional view taken along the lines 5-5 of FIG. I;
FIG. 6 illustrates a side elevational view of the table structure of this invention, the table top being in its horizontal position.
FIG. 7 shows a front elevation of the lower leg member of the table structure of this invention;
FIG. 8 depicts a partial elevational view of the latch mechanism of this invention;
FIG. 9 shows a top plan view of the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 shows an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the lines 10-10 of FIG. 8, some portions of the equipment being broken away; 1
FIG. 11 illustrates a bottom plan view of the latch mechanism of FIG. 8;
FIG. 12 schematically shows a plurality of the table structures of this invention stacked and aligned with each other with their table-tops in their vertical positions; and
FIG. 13 shows an enlarged illustration for locking the leg members to each other in fixing the vertical height of the table structure.
Similar parts will be represented by the same or simi- I lar reference characters wherever they may occur throughout the drawing.
Referring to the drawing and especially to FIG. I of the drawing, the table and like furniture of this invention includes, in addition to a tabletop TT of any desired shape, such as rectangular, square, round, elliptical, trapezoidal, etc., two legs LG] and LG2 which are fairly well spaced from each other, a stretcher bar SB interconnecting the legs LGl and LG2, and two floor rails RLl and RL2, sometimes called gliders or sliders. Each of the legs LGl and LG2 is composed of two telescoping leg members, leg members LGIO and LGll together composing leg LGl and leg member's LG20 and LG21 together composing leg LG2. Each of these leg members is hollow and substantially elliptical or ovular in shape and is preferably made, for example, of carbon steel. Each upper leg members LGIO and LG20 has a cross-section somewhat larger than the respective lower leg members LGll and LG21 so that the lower leg members LGll and LG21 will closely fit within, and may be slidable along, their corresponding and cooperating upper leg members LG10 and LG20 for adjusting the height of the two legs LGl and LG2 to any desired level, as well'as for correspondingly adjusting the height of the tabletop TT above the floor to a somewhat corresponding level. Two so-called nut plates NPl and NP2 (see also FIGS. 2, 3 and 5) are respectively inserted within the inner or smaller leg members LGll and LG21 and these nut plates are preferably made of, for example, carbon steel.
The legs LGl and LG2 and the corresponding nut plates NP] and NP2 within the respective leg members LGll and LG21 are provided with substantially equally spaced apertures AP which are of somewhat different sizes or proportions to receive specially designed threaded bolts BT. The differences in the sizes of the apertures and of the characteristics of the apertures AP and of the bolts BT will be described in somewhat greater detail hereinafter especially in connection with FIG. 13.
Each of the legs LGl and LG2 is provided with two metallic channel members, channel members LCMl and UCMl being associated with leg LGl and channel members LCM2 and UCM2 being associated with leg LG2. Lower channel members LCM] and LCM2 are welded or otherwise affixed to the respective upper leg members L610 and L620, and upper channel members UCMl and UCM2 are pivoted to the respective lower channel members LCM] and LCM2 at pivots PV] and PV2, as seen in FIG. 1. Each of the lower channel members LCM] and LCM2 is provided with two spring loaded latches, as shown. The pair of latches LTCII and LTCIZ and the corresponding pair of latches LTC2] and LTC22 (see FIGS. 1, 6, 8 and II especially) are associated with the respective legs L6] and L62 and selected latches of each pair, such as LTClZ and LTC22, are separately manipulated whenever the tabletop TT is to be tilted to a vertical position, while latches LTCll and LTCZ], which are also associated with respective legs LG] and L62, are separately manipulatable whenever the tabletop TT is to be returned to a horizontal position. As will be explained hereinafter, the selected latches LTC12 and LTC22 must be substantially simultaneously initiated and manipulated into operation whenever the tabletop TT is to be verticalized, and both of the other selected latches LTCll and LTCZ] of these pairs must be substantially simultaneously initiated and manipulated into operation whenever the tabletop TT is to be horizontalized.
Both of the latches LTCl] and LTC2] are normally biased by springs toward their respective pivots PV] and PV2, while latches LTCl2 and LTC22 are normally biased away from their respective pivots PV] and PV2.
Each of the upper channel members UCMI and UCM2 is provided with two contoured surfaces CTR] and CTR2 (see FIGS. 6 and 8, for example) which control the movements of latches associated with the respective lower channel members LCM] and LCM2 after the respective associated latches, such as LTCll and LTCl2, are initiated into operation. One of the contoured surfaces CTR] in upper channel member UCM] is associated with latch LTCll, as shown in FIG. 8, and its other contoured surface CTR2 is associated with latch LTC12. The contoured surface CTR] includes an arcuate segment AR] and an angular segment ANl, which may resemble a right angle as shown, while the contoured surface CTR2 of the same channel member UCMl includes a grooved surface GR] and a linear surface LN]. Similar contoured surfaces are employed in the other upper channel member UCM2, and these contoured surfaces bear the same reference characters, but different subscripts.
When the tabletop TT is in its horizontal position, the lever LV12 oflatch LTC12 (see FIGS. 8 to 1]) is held within the grooved segment 6R1 to prevent any angular displacement of the tabletop TT. At the same time, the lever LVll will rest passively against the arcuate segment ARI. When one person deflects lever LV12 against its biasing spring pressure toward its pivot PV] at leg L61 while, at the same time, another person also deflects corresponding lever LV22 toward the pivot PV2 at the other leg L62, the upper channel members UCMI and UCM2 will then be rotatable through about 90, causing levers LV]] and LV21 to ride over their respective arcuate segments AR] and become latched onto the angular segments AN]. The tabletop TT will be positioned vertically. The levers LVll and LV21 will be held fixed under spring tension at the apex of the respective angular segments AN] and AN2 to prevent any angular displacement of tabletop TT from its vertical position.
When the tabletop TT is to be returned to its horizontal position, two peopleare required to manually defleet the respective spring-biased levers LV] 1 and LV21 out of their arcuate cam segments AR! and ARZ, respectively. The latter levers will make return trips over their respective contour surfaces CTR] and CTR2 until the two levers LVIZ and LV22 are enveloped in and held under substantial spring pressure in their respective grooved segments GR] and 6R2. The tabletop TT will be firmly held in its horizontal position against any angular displacement unless and until the levers LVI2 and LV22 are again together manually deflected as previously noted.
As already noted, the two cooperating leg members L610 and L611 and the corresponding nut plate NP] are operatively associated with the leg LG], and the corresponding components are associated with the other leg LG2. All three such components have apertures which are substantially equally spaced linearly from each other so that the components may be easily and properly aligned with, and fastened to each other to facilitate prompt adjustments of the height of the tabletop TT to any desired level for children or students or taller people.
A special form of structure is employed for the sturdy and stable interconnection of each such set of components, such as L610, L611 and NP] in fixing the desired elevation. The leg members L610 and L611 and the nut plate NP] will be properly arranged and set preliminarily to expose the appropriate apertures therein at the desired level to join the components at their desired relative elevations.
As shown in FIG. 13, the leg member L610 will have a circular aperture of, for example, a diameter 0,, which will be larger than the circular aperture 0 of the leg member LG] 1 with which it is associated. The nut plate NP] will have a threaded opening which has an external diameter 03 somewhat smaller than diameter and which will substantially correspond tothe exterior of threads TH of the bolt BT to be employed to join the three components to each other at their desired positions for the appropriate fixation of the elevation of the tabletop TT.
The bolt BT has a frusto-conical head HD tapered so that the maximum diameter of the head HD will exceed the diameter 0 of leg member L610, while the minimum diameter of the taperedhead will be somewhat less than the smaller diameter 0 of the aperture in the leg member L611. The minimum diameter of the head HD will be about equal to the external diameter of the threaded segment TH of the bolt ET. The head HD of bolt BT will also have a slot, whether for a screwdriver or an Allen wrench or other tool, so that a considerable tangential force may be applied by the tool to the head HD of bolt BT, so as to expand the internal surfaces of the openings of leg segments L610 and L611 somewhat as shown in FIG. 13.
Thus, the external diameter of the threads TH of bolt BT will be caused to traverse and expand the openings 0 and 0 of the two leg members L610 and L611, and the tapered side wall of the head HD will cut into and deflect the openings 0 and 0 respectively, of the leg members L610 and L61 1. As the bolt ET is further advanced through the apertures 0 and O to complete the joinder of the components, the larger segment of the head HD of the bolt BT will further cut away and deflect the openings in the leg members L010 and L011. Schematical representations of the segments of leg members L010 and LGll that may be cut away in practice are shown in the exemplary illustration of FIG. 13. The differences in the relative hardnesses of the materials are important factors in this matter.
To achieve the desired fixation of the bolt BT into the leg components L010, L011 and NPl so as to maintain them in sturdy and stable positions which are not changeable while so interconnected, it is important that the bolt member BT be made, for example, of hardened steel. So constructed, the use of an Allen wrench or like tool may apply sufficient tangential and axial force so as to cut away the openings 0 and 0 of the leg members L010 and LGll which are made, for example, of carbon steel. On the other hand, the inner plate NPl mounted within the leg member LGll may also be made of carbon steel so that its threads will properly receive and hold the threaded shank segment TH ofthe bolt ET.
The references to hardened steel and carbon steel are merely illustrative. Other materials of sufficient hardnesses will suffice. It is desirable, however, to have the threaded and tapered bolt member BT made ofa mate rial which is considerably harder than that of the leg members L010 and L011.
Because of the leg segment construction, no nut is required to join the several components together as just described. In fact, the threaded openings of each plate member, such as NPl, acts as a nut. By pre-threading apertures of the plate member NPll, no nuts will be required.
Similar apertures of the components L010, L011 and NPl may be also fitted with similar bolts BT to provide added fixation of the components. It has been found, however, that, in the average case, when two bolts such as BT are applied through appropriate properly aligned apertures similar to those just described, the interconnected mechanism will be free of play and sufficiently strong to withstand rather large loads.
In one arrangement, the leg member L010 was made of No. 14 gauge carbon steel,- leg member L011 was made of No. 16 gauge carbon steel, plate NPl was made of a heavy plate of carbon steel, about 3/l6 of an inch in'thickness, and the bolt BT was formed of hardened steel which is much harder than the carbon steel components.
FIG. 6 shows a side view of the table structure exhibiting the rail RLl, for example, supporting the leg member L011 within which may be mounted a nut plate NP2, as shown and described above. FIG. 7 shows a partial end view of the structure of FIG. 6. It will be observed that FIG. 6 includes two glider members GL10 and GL1 1 which not only close and seal the elliptical end openings of the floor rail RLZ, but also improve the mobility of the overall structure by reducing the area of contact with the floor and the resistance interposed by the limited area of the gliding elements GL10 and GLll which are and remain in contact with the floor.
FIG. 4 shows an enlarged cross-section of an end part of the floor rail RLl as seen along the line 4-4 of FIG. 1. Here the floor rail RLl has the glide component inserted into the open, hollow end of rail RLl so as to be held within the oval contour of the rail RLI. The glide component GL10 is provided with an opening OP] contiguous to an enlarged opening 0P2 into which may be inserted a pan head screw PS. A nut NT, sometimes called a Tinnerman nut, is inserted into the glide GL10 via opening OP The glide component GL10 is then inserted into the open end of rail RL,. The screw PS is then inserted into the opening 0P through a clearance hole in rail RL, and is threaded into nut NT. The nut NT then serves to fasten the glide element GL10 to the floor rail RLll so that the glide element GL10 may not be removed without the use of a screwdriver or other tool. The same type of glide element, such as GL10, will be inserted into both open ends of each rail RL,, as shown in FIG. 6, for example.
Although the structure will be transportable with but little resistance when dragged along the floor due to the reduced area of contact with the floor, the glide element GL10 may be supplemented, if this is desired, by an additional glide component GLlfla, shown in dotted lines in FIG. 4. This obviates the need for screw PS. The glide component GLlOa, with a case-hardened steel base, may be inserted in lieu of the screw PS where a high floor abrasion resistance is encountered.
FIG. 9 shows a top plan view of one of the upper channels, such as member UCMI. This channel member is one of the two channel members employed in the overall assembly of the tabletop TT on its base structure. The upper surface of the channel members UCMl is provided with four key-hole openings, each designated KI-I as shown. These key-hole openings are provided for concealingly receiving the heads of screws (not shown) which interconnect each of the upper channel members, such as UCMl and UCM2, to the underside of the tabletop TT. By shifting the physical position of the channel member UCMl with respect to the tabletop T1", the heads of the screws will be located within the necks or narrow spaces of the key holes KH and the position of the tabletop TT may be retained and affixed to the base structure against removal. A short fifth screw is driven in place through a round clearance hole in UCMI to prevent shifting.
The several levers LVl l, LVlZ, LV2l and LV22 are spring loaded, as previously noted, and supply continuous bias. They are continuously biased by the coil springs, such as SP1 I, which are of the form shown in FIG. 10. The several levers are manually rotatable; their respective axes, such as AXll, AX l2 etc., are welded or otherwise affixed to the undersurface of the lower channel members, such as LCMI. Each axial pivot, such as PVl, is provided with terminal caps, such as CPU. The coil spring SP1 1, is interposed between the lever member [N11, for example, and the undersurface of the channel member LCMI. A cap, such as CF31, is fastened to the axial end of the pivot AXll of each spring loaded latch, such as LVlll, to retain the lever member in its position.
Each lower channel member, such as LCMl, is provided with a protective bumper, such as BPll, which is retained against the channel member LCMl. Each bumper is held by two screws, such as SCI (see FIG. 11).
FIG. 12 shows three of a plurality of table structures, with their tabletops in vertical positions, so arranged that the several table structures may be aligned with each other and stacked when they are not in use. When so stacked, the table structures will occupy a minimal of floor space, however large they may be. The space saving is due in large measure to the alignment of the tabletops TT in their vertical positions. The bumper BTl are positioned so that, during alignment, each bumper BPl will be adjacent to or in contact with the tabletop TT of the next adjoining table structure.
When the table structures are to be put into use again, each table structure may be easily moved along the floor due to the reduced contact between the rails RLl and RL2 and the floor, and due also to the elevation of the rails by the gliding components GLlt) and GL1] which may definitely contact the floor area.
One of the unique features of the deck structure of this invention resides in the employment of leg members, such as L010 and LBll which are ovular, i.e. elliptical, in cross-section. Both leg members are hollow and one of the leg member, i.e., the lower leg member LGll, is telescoped and slidable within the ovular or elliptical opening of the upper leg member L610. By virtue of this cross-sectional construction, it is virtually impossible for either leg member to be rotated about the other. This will prevent a mischievous child or student from upsetting the equilibrium of the table structure by causing it to swing about either leg LGl or L02 as an axis.
It is significant to note that the base of our structure is a unitized construction and, therefore, does not depend upon the size or shape of the tabletop TT, nor depend in any way upon the tabletop TT for structural support. This, therefore, renders the indicated base adaptable to changes in the size or shape of the tabletop TT whenever desired.
Another of the important features, as already suggested above, is in the arrangement of the upper and lower channel members and their spring loaded levers in preventing any person, acting alone, from changing the relative position of any tabletop TT. It requires two persons, not one, to change the tabletop from its horizontal position to its vertical position, or vice versa, and furthermore, it is necessary for the two people, in making a change in the position of the tabletop, to operate the appropriate levers substantially simultaneously. Unless both of the assigned levers are correctly manipulated substantially simultaneously, it is impossible to change the orientation of the tabletop TT. Hence, an unruly child or student cannot unbalance the tabletop and upset its orientation and equilibrium.
When the tabletop TT is in its horizontal location, it may be employed as a desk top, for example, for one or more students. On the other hand, when the tabletop is tilted to its vertical position, the tabletop may be used as a space divider, or as a projection screen, etc. The flexibility of the table structure for the various uses, its easy manipulation for employment in its different capacities, are outstanding features. In any case, no change in the setup may be achieved without cooperative handling by two people who are familiar with the components of the under-structure and their manipulation.
Although the tabletop is shown to be tiltable over an angle of 90, the angle may be changed to any desired value within the scope of this invention.
While this invention has been shown and described in certain particular embodiments merely for illustra' tion and explanation, it will be apparent that the table structure of this invention may be set up in still other forms all within the scope of this invention.
What is claimed is:
1. Table structure comprising two substantially parallel vertical legs, an individual tabletop, means for coupling the tabletop to said legs to render the tabletop tiltable over a predetermined angle, said coupling means including pivot means held stationary alongside both legs, two pairs of spring-loaded latching devices respectively corresponding to said two legs, each latching device having a lever and a cam held together by a spring to press said lever against said cam, the tabletop being tiltable from a first position to a second position only by manipulation of two selected of the levers respectively associated with said legs and tiltable from its second position to its first position only by manipulation of the other two of said levers.
2. Table structure according to claim ll including two pairs of brackets associated with the respective legs, each pair of brackets being joined to each other by the pivot means, one of the brackets of each pair being affixed to the tabletop and the other brackets of said pairs being affixed to the legs.
3. Table structure according to claim 2 in which each of the legs is formed by two ovular tubes of different major and minor axes so that one of the tubes is slidable and telescoped within the other for setting the height of the tabletop.
4. Table structure according to claim 3 in which ovular tubes are affixed to the bottoms of the legs to form floor rails. I
5. Table structure according to claim 4 including gliding components which are plugged into the open ends of the ovular tubes forming the floor rails.
6. Table structure comprising two substantially parallel, vertical legs, single intergrated a tabletop, means for coupling the tabletop to said legs to render said tabletop tiltable, said coupling means comprising two pairs of channel members respectively associated with said legs, one of the channel members of each pair being immovably fixed to its respective leg, the other respective channel member being pivotally movable about the fixed channel member and having two cams thereon, the two movable channel members being affixed to the tabletop, two pairs of spring-loaded latching devices respectively corresponding to said two legs, each latching device having a lever and an associated biasing spring holding said lever to one of the cams, two of the levers, one corresponding to each leg, being separately manipulated over their associated cams to move the tabletop to one position, the other two levers being separately manipulated over their respective cams to move the tabletop to a different position.
7. Table structure according to claim 6 in which each of the legs is formed of two elliptical tubes of different dimensions so that one is telescopically slidable within the other for adjustment of the height of said tabletop.
8. Table structure according to claim 7 including two linear floor gliders affixed to the bottoms of the legs, each floor glider being elliptical in shape and arranged so that the major axis is vertical and the minor axis is horizontal.
9. Table structure according to claim 8 including a stretch bar positioned between, and affixed to, both legs, the stretch bar being elliptical in cross-section.
10. Table structure according to claim including a hollow tube extending between, and affixed to, both legs.
11. Tiltable table structure comprising a tabletop, a two-legged base for the tabletop, means for adjusting the angular position of the tabletop relative to the base overan angle substantially equal to 90 degrees, said adjusting means including:
a. Two pairs of first and second plate members, the members of each pair being pivoted to each other, the first members being affixed to the tabletop, the second members being affixed to the respective legs of the base;
b. two pairs of latching devices respectively associated with the two legs of the base and positioned between the respective plate members, each latching device having a lever and a cam held under continuous pressure against the lever by a spring, each cam having first and second contours, two selected levers one from each of the two pairs of latching devices being together manipulated to move the respective first contours of said earns over the corresponding levers to move the tabletop to a predetermined position relative to the base, the other of the levers from each of the two pairs of latching devices being selectively manipulated together to move the respective second contours of said cams over the corresponding levers to return the tabletop to its original position.
12. Tiltable table structure according to claim 11 in which each leg of the base comprises two linear tubes which are non-circular in cross-section and are telescopically slidable one within the other, and means for fixing the relative heights of both legs.
13. Tiltable table structure according to claim 12 in which the non-circular tubes are elliptical in crosssection.
14. Tiltable table structure according to claim 13 in which the two legs also include elliptical glider members interposed between the bottoms of the respective legs and the floor to reduce friction in the movement of the table structure along the floor.