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Publication numberUS3809142 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 7, 1974
Filing dateDec 23, 1971
Priority dateDec 23, 1971
Also published asCA968115A1, DE2262900A1, DE7246891U
Publication numberUS 3809142 A, US 3809142A, US-A-3809142, US3809142 A, US3809142A
InventorsBleeker R
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multiple height space divider system and connector assembly therefor
US 3809142 A
Abstract
A streamlined, modern, space dividing system for use in environmental office design applications and the like which includes one or more hollow tubular vertical post of two or more differing heights having two or more panel connector adapters axially aligned therewith. Each panel connector adapter includes a vertically oriented annular slot therein adapted to receive complementary hook connectors associated with the vertical edges of at least two spaced dividing panels of differing heights, thereby providing support for panels of differing heights in any angular orientation about the axis of the post.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 11 1 Bleeker 5] May 7, 1974 [54] MULTIPLE HEIGHT SPACE DIVIDER 3,333,808 8/1967 Boff 52 /726 SYSTEM AND CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY use a.. THEREFOR 3,690,365 9/1972 Thompson 160/135 [75] Inventor: Raymond A. Bleeker, Grand Rapids,

Mich Primary Examiner-Peter M. Caun [73] Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Corporation, y Agent, F" smdebaker Pittsburgh, Pa.

[22] Filed: Dec. 23, 1971 [57] ABSTRACT [21] Appl. No.: 211,584 A streamlined, modern, space dividing system for use in environmental ofiice design applications and the like which includes one or more hollow tubular verti- CCll. cal post of two or more differing heights having two or I! 0 I u... g more panel connector adapters axially aligned there [58] 3 1 7 5 with. Each panel connector adapter includes a vertically oriented annular slot therein adapted to receive complementary hook connectors associated with the vertical edges of at least two spaced dividing panels of [56] References (med differing heights, thereby providing support for panels UNITED STATES PATENTS of differing heights in any angular orientation about 3,204,689 9/1965 Howell 160/135 the axis of the post. 3,559,352 2/1971 Magnuson 52/36 3,517,467 6/1970 Propst et a1 52/36 11 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEBHAY 7 I974 SHEU 1 0? 4 VUQQU- l r w minimum H974 I 3.809.142

' sum 30? 4 FIG. 3.

PATfNTEDm 7 1914 saw u or 4 FIG.4.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is related to application Ser. No. 159,360 filed July 2, 1971 by William C. Anderson and Raymond A. Bleeker' for SPACE DIVIDER SYSTEM AND CONNECTOR ASSEMBLY THEREFOR and constitutes an. improvement thereover to the extent that it provides for the utilization of space divider panels of differing heights.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to space dividing systems and more particularly to a novel connector assembly and support post for connecting space dividing panels of differing heights commonly employed in the modern planning of interior office spaced involving the socalled concept of office landscaping". Although the field of office landscaping is realtively new, there has been a high level of developmental activity over the recent past few years culminating in a multitude of varied connector assemblies and concepts. For the most part, these prior art systems have left something to be desired from an aesthetic standpoint in that much of the connecting hardware and devices necessary to the assembly of the space dividing system are completely visible thereby detracting from the unitary appearance of the space dividing structure. Furthermore, many of the prior art space dividing systems-require numerous different kinds of hardware to assemble the various elements of the space dividing system. In general, prior art space dividing systems were incapable of interchangeably handling space dividing panels of different heights.

An additional and significant, factor in the design of interior space dividing systems is the relative ease of assembly, dissassembly and mobility of the units. For example, many systems have adjustable connectors on the support postsas well as adjustable connectors on the panels and the relative adjustment of these various connectors require careful assembly to insure aesthetically complementary appearance from the standpoint of symmetry and alignment. The interior space divider arrangement disclosed in US. Pat. 3,559,352 to R. A. Magnuson is illustrative of an interior space dividing system which solves many of the problems of the prior art and represents a significant advance in terms of aesthetics and ease of assembly. However, the connecting collars of theMagnuson system are quite visible and in assembling the space divider system of that patent the adjustable collar feature requires careful alignment to insure symmetrical and plumb relationships between the various panels.

In. addition, the majority of the prior art space devicing systems can, accommodate only space dividing panels having a uniform height and such systems are not conducive to dividing office space for differing uses and accessibility. In many instances it is highly desirable to employ panels of greater height for enclosing executive offices, medical examination rooms, etc. which may be directly associated with secretarial spaces and nurses stations, etc. The direct association or connection of offices having walls of different heights, out of necessity or desirability, have not heretorefore been readily available in commercial standardized space dividing systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The space dividing of this invention is significantly superior to prior art developments in that all of the connecting hardware is substantially hidden from view with the universal connector assemblies on the support posts completely hidden within the silhouette of the support post while additionally providing fixed locations for the connectors facilitating quick and simple assembly of the space divider system. The system additionally pro vides for the interconnection of space divider panels of differing heights on a single vertical post. The foregoing is provided in the space dividing system of this invention by including in combination at least one connector assembly and support post for supporting and connecting space dividing panels of differing heights, said connector assembly and support post comprising a two part vertically disposed tubular body member having panel connector means disposed intermediate the separated tubular body members and additional panel connector means connected at each remote end of the tubular body members and forming extensions thereof which are of the same diameter as the spaced tubular body members. Each of the panel connector means include horizontally disposed axially aligned slots therein adapted to receive connector hooks which extend from the vertical edgeof the vertically disposed planar panels to thereby supportthe planar panels at any angular relationship with respect to the axis of the connector assembly and the suppport post. The connector assembly and support post further includes a post leveler threadably received at the bottom of the support post and a post cap which includes an elongated bolt extending therefrom which extends throughthe upper panelconnector means, the upper tubular body member and is threadably secured into the intermediate panel connector means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 3 is a perspective view illustrating the interconnection of two higher space dividing panels with one lower space dividing panel and the associated support posts; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the interconnection of one higher space dividing panel with three lower space dividing panels and the associated assembly and support posts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now in detail to the drawingwherein like reference characters represent like parts throughout the several views there is illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 the connector assembly and support posts, generally designated 10, for supporting and connecting one or more space dividing panels of different heights; The principal constituent of the connector assembly and support post is an elongated, open-ended, hollow tubular body member 12 of predetermined length and predetermined external diameter adapted for vertical orientation. The tubular body member 12 is closed off at its upper end by a plug like panel connector element 14 which is of the same external diameter as the tubular body at its maximum diameter and includes a tapered and shouldered portion illustrated at 16 which is force fit into the upper end of the hollow tubular body member. At the bottom of the hollow tubular body member 12 is a second plug like panel connector element 18 which also includes a plug like tapered and shouldered portion at20 which closes off the open bottom by a force fit into the bottom of the hollow tubular body member 12. The post top connector element 14 includes in its upper outer surface 21 an annular slot 22 which is adapted to receive a complementary hook connector from the space dividing panel in a manner to be described. The post top connector element also includes a threaded, axially aligned, central bore 24 which is adapted to receive the post cap 26 which includes a stud member 28 threaded at 29 and a screw driver key 30. The post bottom connector element 18 as illustrated in FIG. 2 is shwon in two parts, the plug portion 18a and a second cylindrical portion 18b which is force fit into the part 18a-and is of the same maximum external diameter as the portion 18a and the hollow tubular body member 12. Although illustrated in a .two part construction the bottom connector element 18 may be a single element. The bottom connector element 18 includes an internally disposed, externally accessible, axially aligned annular slot 32 therein which is accessible through the radially directed annular cutout portion 34 situated between the portions 18a and 18b. The bottom panel connector element further includes an axially aligned threaded bore which is adapted to receive the threaded stud 36 of a leveler foot support 38. Alternatively, among other possibilities, a caster may be substituted for the foot support to provide mobility to the system.

The connector assembly and support post abovedescribed is substantially identical with that disclosed in the above-referenced copending application Ser. No. 159,360, filed July 2, 1971 by William C. Anderson and Raymond A. Bleeker. By merely employing a post cap 26 with a shorter stud member 28 the abovedescribed panel connector and support post can be employed to support space dividing panels of similar height.

The versatility of the connector assembly and support post of this invention will become more readily apparent as this description proceeds in that by the addition of a few simple but similar parts a connector assembly and support type post is made available which can handle two distinct sizes of space divider panels. In this connection, an upper hollow tubular body member 42 is closed off at the upper end by an upper plug like panel connector element 44 which is identical with the plug like panel connector element 14 and includes a tapered and shouldered lower portion illustrated at 46 which is force fit into the upper end of the hollow tubular body member 42. At the bottom of the hollow tubular body member 42 is a second plug like panel connector element 48 which is again identical with the upper part 18a of the lower plug like panel connector element.

Space dividing panels of differing heights as for example space dividing panels of a lower height generally designated 50 and higher space dividing panels generally designated 52 can be supported by the single connector assembly and support post 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. The space dividing panels 50, 52 include along at least one edge thereof, and preferably the two side edges, an external mounting strip or edge bracket which is secured to the edges of the panels by any one of several conventional means. The outer face 54 of the mounting strip or end bracket 56 is'preferably somewhat concave as will be apparent from FIG. 1 with a radius of curvature substantially similar to the radius of curvature of the support post 10. Alternatively, any recess in the strip which provides a similar light seal between the post and the panel could accomplish the same result. Formed at the top and bottom of the end brackets are hook connector extensions 58 and 60 which are formed preferably integrally with and directly from the end of bracket and terminate in hook portions 62 which have substantially the same radius of curvature as the annular slots 22, 32 and 43. The side walls 64 of the end brackets include a plurality of notches 66 which serve to mount shelves, desk tops and similar items as will be later described.

As will be apparent the higher space dividing panel 52 can be utilized with a single elongated connector assembly and support post, as described in the aforementio'ned earlier filed application, when it is not desirable to interconnect the higher panel 52 with one or more lower panels 50. If a hook connector 58 was formed in the face of the end bracket 56 at the appropriate height to coincide with annular slot 22 that hook connector would interfere with the mounting of a space dividing panel 52 on a single post support 10. To render the higher space dividing panels 52 adaptable for interconnection through a connector assembly and support post to both other panels 52 and panels 50, the edge bracket 56 is provided with a rectangular aperture 68 approximately the same distance above the hook connector 60 as the hook connector 58 is situated above the hook connector 60 on the shorter panel'50. Although the upper hook connector 58 and lower hook connector 60 are sufficeint to provide comparatively rigid support for the panel 52, where desirable, a connector clip may be employed to provide further rigidity and an additional interconnection where a panel 52 is connected to a connector assembly and post support constructed in accordance with this invention. The connector clip 70includes a tongue member 72, a pair of ear members 74 and a hook portion 76 similar to the hook portions 62 on connectors 58 and 60. The connector clip 70 when employed is placed into the aperture 68 in a side ways orientation and then rotated to wedge the tongue 72 and cars 74 behind the back of the mounting strip or end bracket 56 to provide an additional hook connector for association with the connector assembly and post support 10. As will be apparent, the connector assembly and support post receives in its annular slots 22, 32, and 43 the hook extensions 58 and 60 and the hook 76 on connector clip 70. The space dividing panels 50 and 52 can then be situated at any angular relationship with the post through the entire 360 and each connector assembly and support post can accommodate a plurality of such space dividing panels. When a space dividing panel, through hook connectors 58 and 60, is mounted on'theconnector assembly and support post itis retained in position by tightening the threaded post cap 26 down against the top hook connector 44to thereby grip the hook connector 58 betweenthe underside of the post cap 26 and the upper surface of the panel connector element 44. The entire space dividing system can then be leveled through the threadablyadjustable leveling foot 38.

Although thebottom edge of the plug like panel connector element 48can be employed to secure the hook connector 48 of the smaller panel 50 in the'slot 22 it has been found that it is preferable to employ a washer 78 between the bottom edge of plug like connectorelement 48 and the upper surface of connector element 14 to provide a metallic surface for contact with the metallic hook connectors. Furthermore, it becomes extremely difficult to connect panels to the support post without the presence of the movable washer 78.

In accordance with the preferred embodiment, the elongated hollow tubular body members 12 and 42 are manufactured from cold rolled steel with a vinyl coating and have an external diameterof about 1 h inches. The post topand post bottom panel connector elements 14, 1'8, 44 and 48 are preferably of rigid polyvinyl chloride as is the post cap 26. All of the post cap 26, washer 78, and panel connector members 1'4, 18, 44 and 48 are also of approximately l '55 inches in diameter. The panels are preferably a standard framed honeycomb core 80 coated with afhigh pressure decorative laminate 82. The external mounting strip 56 ispreferably cold rolled steel and the leveler foot.38 is also constructed of steel with a plastic bottom portion 84.

The series of notches 66 are adapted to receive hooked brackets as illustrated at 86 which may in turn support book shelves, cabinets, desk topsor the like- 88 in a manner which is well known in the art.

In a specific embodiment of this invention, thepanels 50 are generally 60inches in height while the panels 52 are 80 inches in height with the vertical support post being approximately 60. inches from the bottom surface of element 18b to the top surface of washer 78 and inches from the bottom surface of element 48 to the top surface of the post .cap stud .26.

The concave curve portion 54 of the end bracket 56, when a panel is connected to a support post, serves to eliminate the ability to see between the panel and the post and hence facilitates privacy between adjacent spaces separated by the space dividing system.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate space dividing systems utilizing at least one connector assemblyand support post and space dividing panels in accordance with this invention. FIG. 3 illustrates the assembly of two higher panels 52 with a single shorter panel 50. As will be apparent a connector assembly and support post 10 secures the three panels together while one shorter support post 92 and two longer support posts 90constructed in accordance with the earlier filed, abovereferenced, application support the panels at their ends. FIG. 4 illustrates the assembly of three shorter panels 50 with a single larger panel 52 about a connector assembly and support post l0tofthisinvention.The panels 50 and 52 are again supported attheir ends by connector assembly and supportpost90 and 92 constructed in accordance with the earlier filed application. It should be noted, however, that any of the support posts 92 could be readily converted to a support post 10 of this invention with the addition of a tubular body member 42 and its associated accessories and larger panels'52, extending fromt'hosepost assemblies, added to provide additional spaces orcubicles.

What is claimed is: a y

l. A space dividing system including in combination at least one connector assembly and support post for supporting and connecting space dividing panels of different "heights, said connector assembly and support post comprising:

a pair of vertically disposed axially aligned tubular body members and forming "extensions thereof, a

each of said panel connector means including an internally "disposed axially aligned annular slot therein,

each of said space dividing panels including a vertically disposed planar panel having an elongated channel secured to its verticaledge, each of said elongated channels including at least upper and lower connector hooks, said upper and lower connector hooks being constructed and arranged to be 1 retained in the annular slots in at least two of said panel connector means to thereby support said space dividing panel means on said connector assebly and support post.

2. A space dividing *system according to claim 1 wherein a post cap member extends through the upper panel connector means and the upper tubular body member and is threadably received in the top'of said intermediate panel connector means and coacts with the top surface of the uppermost connector hook to thereby secure said space dividing panels in a stationary relationship with respect to said connector assemblyand support post.

3. A space dividing system according to claim 1 wherein said panel connector means connected intermediate said tubular bodytnem'bers and said panel connector meansformingextensions of said tubular body members are secured to said tubular body members through a plug like extension which is force fitted into theinteriorofsaidtubular body member.

4. A space dividing system according to claim 1 wherein said upper and lower connectorhooks include an extendedportion and ahook portion, said hook portion being slightly concavely curved with said curve .havingsubstantially the same radius of curvature as the channel and at its other end into the axially aligned annular slot in said intermediate panel connector means.

.6. A connector assembly and support post for connecting and supporting one or more panel dividers of a space divider system, said connector assembly and support post comprising: a

a first hollow tubular body member of predetermined length;

a first plug like connector member secured in and closing off the top end of said first hollow tubular body member, and first plug like connector member having an annular slot in its surface remote from said first tubular body member and a threaded aperture therein centrally of said annular slot;

a second plug like connector member secured in and closing off the bottom end of said first tubular body member, said second plug like connector having a radially directed annular cutout portion with an axially directed annular slot therein adjacent the base of said radially directed annular cutout portion and a threaded aperture in the bottom side of said second plug like connector; second tubular body member of predetermined length, third plug like connector member secured in and closing off the top end of said second hollow tubular body member, said third plug like connector member having an annular slot in its surface remote from said second tubular body member and anaperture therein centrally of said annular slot;

a fourth plug like connector member secured in and closing off the bottom end of said second tubular body member, said fourth plug like connector having an aperture therethrough, each of said first and second hollow tubular members and said first, sec ond, third and fourth plug like connectors have a uniform maximum external diameter and give the appearance of a unitary member; and,

cap means having an elongated stud forming a part thereof, said elongated stud extending through the centrally disposed apertures in said third and fourth plug like connector members and being threadably received in the threaded aperture in said first plug like connector member.

7. A connector assembly and support post according to claim 6 wherein said hollow tubular body members are constructed from cold rolled steel and have a vinyl coating thereon and said plug like connector members are constructed of rigid polyvinyl chloride.

8. A connector assembly and support post according to claim 7 wherein a washer member is interposed between the bottom surface of said fourth plug like connector member and the upper surface of said first plug like connector member' 9. A connector assembly and support post for connecting and supporting one or more panel dividers of 8' a space divider system, said connector assembly and support post comprising:

a first elongated hollow tubular body member of prev determined length and predetermined external diameter adapted for vertical orientation;

a first connector element associated with and closing off the upper end of said first tubular body member, said first connector member having an annular slot in the upper surface thereof;

a second connector element associated with and closing off the bottom end of said first tubular body member, said second connector-element having an internally disposed, externally accessible, axially aligned, annular slot therein; 7

a second elongated hollow tubular body member of predetermined length and predetermined external .diameter adapted for vertical orientation above said first elongated hollow tubular body member;

a third connector element associated with and closing off the upper end of said second tubular body member, said third connector element having an annular slot in the upper surface thereof;

a fourth connector element associated with and closing off the bottom end of said tubular body member; and 1 cap means having an elongated stud associated therewith, said elongated stud extending through said third connector element, said second elongated hollow tubular body member and said fourth connector element and being threadably received in said first connector element, said cap means overlying the annular slot in the upper surface of said third connector element, each of said first and second tubular body members and said first, second third and fourth connector elements being of a uniform maximum external diameter.

10. A connector assembly and support post according to claim 9 wherein connector assembly and support post leveling means is threadably engaged in the bottom of said second connector element and each of said tubular body members and each of said connector elements, said cap means and said leveling means have substantially identical maximum external diameters.

11. A connector assembly and support post according to claim 9 wherein said first, second, third and fourth connector elements have plug like end portions which are receivable in force fit relationship with said hollow tubular body members to thereby secure said first, second, third, and fourth connector elements in said tubular body members.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3895670 *Sep 10, 1973Jul 22, 1975Laminite Plastics Mfg CorpSpace divider
US3987836 *Feb 19, 1975Oct 26, 1976Standard Desk LimitedScreen partition assembly
US4024686 *Nov 21, 1975May 24, 1977Ronald GronertAssembly building having floor elements supported between superimposed columns
US4047342 *May 5, 1975Sep 13, 1977Paul BoulvaPanel assembly
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US20130111827 *Oct 31, 2012May 9, 2013Bellcomb, Inc.Tool-less modular panel system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification160/135
International ClassificationE04B2/74, E04B2/78, E04B2/76
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2/7444
European ClassificationE04B2/74C3E3C