US 3799639 A
A multi-drawer file cabinet of the type vulnerable to pitching or tipping forward if subjected to the weight shift occasioned by the opening of more than one drawer at a time, in which the opening of the drawers is regulated to one at a time by a pivotal lever, the pivotal traverse of which is produced initially by the opening movement of the drawer and thereafter by spring urgency. The control is thus not significantly dependent on spring urgency which is vulnerable to malfunction over prolonged periods of use.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Friend FILING CABINET  Inventor:
Rockaway, N.Y. l 1691  Filed: Nov. 21, 1972  Appl. No.: 308,346
 U.S. Cl. 312/221  Int. Cl. E05c 7/06  Field of Search 312/216, 218, 220-222  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,323,849 6/1967 Stark 312/221 Irvin Friend, 1427 Waterloo Pl., Far
[4 1 Mar. 26, 1974 Primary Examiner.lames C. Mitchell 5 7 ABSTRACT A multi-drawer file cabinet of the type vulnerable to I pitching or tipping forward if subjected to the weight shift occasioned by the opening of more than one drawer at a time, in which the opening of the drawers is regulated to one at a time by a pivotal lever, the piv- .otal traverse of which is produced initially by the opening movement of the drawer and thereafter by spring urgency. The control is thus not significantly dependent on spring urgency which is vulnerable to malfunction over prolonged periods of use.
1 Claim, 3 Drawing Figures 1 FILING CABINET The present invention relates generally to filing cabinets, and more particularly to an improved drawer- Y movement control for limiting the opening of only one drawer at a time, and thereby minimizing tipping of the cabinet.
If the cabinet shape is one in which its width greatly exceeds its depth, the weight shift forward which is occ asioned by the opening of a drawer requires some control over drawer movement. With such cabinets, there is usually provided a device which, after any one drawer is opened, is effective in locking all the remaining closed drawers in place. These known drawermovement controls usually employ a compressed spring to urge a member into locking relation with the closed drawers, such spring being released to achieve its function incident to the opening of any one drawer. While such a control is somewhat effective, the spring which it employs is vulnerable to failure or other malfunction because it is always under compression, and thus 'such control for this and other reasons isnot totally satisfactory.
Advantageous use can be made of the opening movement of the drawer to urge a drawer-locking member into locking relation with the closed drawers, but heretofore this could only be effectively achieved with a physical connection of such member 'to each of the drawers. This, however, is objectionable as being unduely complicated and as constituting a possible source of interference or restriction with drawer movement.
Broadly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved drawer-movement control for a multi-drawer filingcabinet overcoming the foregoing and other shortcomings of the prior art. Specifically,
drawer to actuate the control, but without any physical interconnection of said control to any of the drawers.
. spring isalso loaded and when urged past a dead-center point in the lever pivotal traverse, such spring is effective in urging the lever through the terminal portion of its traverse, such that the lever is moved clear of the drawer, i.e., clear of the depending wall on such drawer, so that the drawer can continue in unimpeded fashion to complete itsopening movement.
The above brief description, as well as further objects, features and advantages of the present invention, will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of a presently preferred, but nonetheless illustrative embodiment in accordance with the present invention, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a filing cabinet embodying the improved drawer-movement control means of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a partial perspective view, on an enlarged scale, illustrating the functioning of said improved drawer-movement contol means; and
it is an object to utilize the opening of any selected FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, partially in section, further' illustrating the functioning of the drawermovement control means hereof, and in which positions of movement of the various parts are illustrated in full line and phantom line perspective.
Reference is now made to the drawings, and in particular to FIG. 1, wherein there is shown a filing cabinet, generally designated 10, which is of the type requiringdrawer-movement supervision or control and which includes the means according to the present invention, to achieve this objective.
Specifically, the shape of the cabinet 10, being one in which the width greatly exceeds the depth, as illustrated, makes the cabinet 10 vulnerable to pitching forward if more than one drawer is opened at a time. Thus, there must be provided in conjunction with the superposed or vertical arrangement of file drawers 12, 14, 16 and 18, a suitable means, preferrably contained internally of the housing 20, which cooperates with the drawers so that if any one of these drawers is opened,
the remaining closed drawers are lockedin their closed position. That is, as illustrated in FIG. 1, for example, once drawer 14 is moved into its open position with respect to the housing 20, unless the other drawers are locked or held in their closed position, particularly upper drawer 12, the opening of any such drawer, such as upper drawer 12, would undoubtedly result in the entire cabinet 10 pitching forward about its forward bottom edge 22 under the influence of the tipping moment induced by the shifting of the weight of the open drawers to a position forward of the bottom edge 22.
Naturally, the forward pitching or falling of cabinet 10 could cause serious injury or damage to anyone or anything in the vicinity.
.In accordance with the present invention, an improved drawer-movement control means, generally designated 24, is embodied internally within the cabinet housing 20, in a corner thereof as illustrated in FIG. 1, or possibly in the center of a very wide file cabinet. The construction of the control 24 is better illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, to which figures reference is now made. Control 24 includes avertically oriented drawerlocking member 26.which may bea bar or a U-shaped channel and which is arranged in any appropriate manner for vertical movement inopposite directions 28 along an elongated clearance space or. compartment 30 which is defined between the cabinet rear wall 32 and the rear walls 34 of each of the drawers, when said drawers are in their rearwardly disposed or closed positions. As may best be appreciated by comparison of FIGS. 2 and 3, the normal or starting position for the member 26 is one which locates latching hooks, such as the hooks 36 and 38 shown in FIG. 2, in a clearance position from and thus in unconnected relation to cooperating laterally extending latching notches, such as the notches 40 and 42, on the drawers. In this starting or unconnected condition of the member 26, it is of course readily possible to move any closed drawer from within the cabinet 20 into its open position relative thereto, since such opening drawer movement is not prevented by the member 26.
However, lifting movement of the member 26 contemplates the movement of the hooks 36, 38 into their cooperating notches 40, 42, and thus the latched en gagement of the member 26 with any of the file drawers which are still in their closed positions, all as is clearly illustrated in FIG. 3. Once such latching occurs, of
course, the latched or engaged drawers are held in their closed position.
Cooperating with the drawer-locking member 26 are pivotally mounted levers, generally designated 44, which are preferably provided in a number which equals the number of drawers comprising the cabinet 10. It would be possible in a three or more drawer file, however, to dispense with a lever 44 for the bottom drawer 18, since the movement of this drawer does not contribute materially to instability or tipping of the cabinet 10. n
For simplicitys sake, only one lever 44 is illustrated in FIG. 3. Said illustrated lever 44 is generally of an L- shape and will be understood to be pivoted at the juncture of its legs, as at 46, on a side wall of the cabinet 20. Lever 44, in its proper operative position, has one leg 48 extending laterally or horizontally in intersecting relation to the vertical path 28 of the member 26. Specifically, leg 48 extends through a cooperating notch 50 ofmember 26. The upper free end of the other leg 52 of lever 44 is projected within a compartment 54 bounded between two walls 56. and 58 depending from the bottom of the drawer which cooperates with the lever 44, in the illustrated instance the same being drawer 12. Holding the lever 44 in its two significant positions of pivotal movement is a conventional helically wound or tension spring 60 connected at one end, as at 62, to an interior wall of the housing and at its other end, as at 64, to the lever 44 at a point on the remote side of the pivot 46. Thus lever 44 is under the urgency of the spring 60 in the starting position of lever 44, as illustrated in phantom perspective in FIG. 3, and
also in its pivoted position, as illustrated in full line in 'in the starting position of lever 44, as illustrated in phantom perspective, the upper or free end of lever 44 is projected within compartment 54. Thus, movement of drawer 12 from its closed to its open position relative to the housing 20 results in depending wall 56 engaging the lever vertical leg 52 and thus in the pivotal movement of such leg about the pivot 46. This movement occurs, of course, for the interval during which there is engagement of the depending wall 56 with the upper portion or face 66 of lever 44. It will be understood that such engagement between the wall 56 and face 66 exists at least until spring 60 partakes of a pivotal traverse from its starting position, as illustrated in phantom perspective, to a position where it is located directly on an imaginary line from point 62 through the pivot 46. Once spring 60 travels beyond this line through the pivot 46, or past a so-called dead center point of the pivotal traverse of the lever 46, the spring 60 which has been elongated during this pivotal traverse then exerts a force or urgency on the lever 44 which results in continued clockwise rotation of the lever 44 about the pivot 46. This terminal portion of the pivotal traverse caused by spring 60 is significant because it clears lever 44 from the path of the withdrawing lip or wall 56 and thus assures that the opening movement of the drawer the notch 50 is urged into engagement with the upper wall which bounds the notch 50 and, following such engagement, results in lifting movement 28 in the member 26. As already noted, lifting movement 28 in the member 26 results in the latching hooks 36, 38 projecting through the latching notches 40, 24 and thus the holding closed by the member 26 of any of the drawers which are still in their closed position. In this manner, only one drawer at a time is permitted to be opened by the drawer-locking member 26 thereof.
To reset member 26 in its starting or unconnected condition, it is necessary only to move the open drawer back into its closed position. The movement of such drawer, assuming it to be illustrated drawer 12 of FIG. 3, results in depending wall 58 engaging the upper end of lever 44 and causing the counterclockwise pivotal traverse of the lever. This, in turn, results in corresponding pivotal movement in the other lever leg 48 and thus in descending movement in member 36 which results in disengagement or unlatching of the cooperating hooks and notches. Following this unlatching, any drawer can thereafter be opened, and the opening thereof will result in the remaining closed drawers being held closed until the opened drawer is returned to its closed position.
Member 26 is also advantageously used as a security drawer locking device, and thus independently of the drawer-movement control or supervision function just described. As a drawer locking device for security purposes, member 26- includes an upper notch 68 which accommodates therethrough a projecting portion 70 of an operative member 72 pivotally mounted to a cabinet side wall, as at 74. The opposite end of member 72 is connected to an actuating rod 76 which, at its other end, is connected to a conventional lock 78 (see FIG. 1) of the type having a push-in and pull-out movement. Thus, when lock 78 is pushed in, this results in clockwise pivotal movement in the member 72 about the pivot 74 and thus in member 26 being urged through lifting movement by portion 70 engaged with it. Naturally, as already explained, lifting movement in member 26 results in the file cabinet drawers which are in their closed position, in this instance being all of the drawers 12, 14, 16 and 18, being held in said closed position and thus inaccessible except as to authorized personnel who can open the lock 78. Upon the opening of the lock 78, and thus an appropriate directional movement thereof which results in withdrawing movement in the rod 76, member 72 will be urged through corresponding counterclockwise pivotal movement about the pivot 74, thereby resulting in descending movement in the member 26. This, in turn, will result in release of the drawersby the member 26.
A latitude of modification, change and substitution is intended in the foregoing disclosure, and in some instances some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the spirit and scope of the invention herein.
What is claimed is:
1. A filing cabinet including an outer housing, a superposed arrangement of at least two file drawers within said housing each having depending wall means thereon, each drawer being operatively arranged for lateral movement between closed and open positions relative to said housing, and drawer-movement control be contacted by said depending wall means thereon such that opening movement of any one said drawer results in said pivoting movement of said cooperating lever and the further movement of said drawer-locking member into latching engagement with said other closed drawers, and an elongated spring for each said pivoting lever operatively arranged to hold said lever in said pivoted positions of movement thereof, whereby only one drawer of said superposed arrangement can be opened at a time.