US 3856248 A
An appliance leveling device for aligning the vertical axis of an appliance relative adjacent cabinet structure. The device includes a bottom bracket disposed to be attached to the bottom surface of the appliance, a hemispherical pivot formed in the bottom bracket, a support frame attaching to the cabinet structure to provide indexing and support to the pivot, and lateral threaded shafts mounted respectively at one end within the bottom bracket and threadably engaged at the other end to the frame for securing the lateral rotation of the support bracket relative the frame. Further included is an upper bracket adapted to be attached to the upper end of the appliance and a securing frame horizontally mounted to the cabinet structure substantially parallel with the upper bracket. The upper bracket and securing frame are connected by a threaded shaft substantially normal therewith and a geared shaft terminating in a rack and pinion arrangement to facilitate lateral and fore and aft adjustment of the top of the appliance relative the bottom pivot.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Labelle Dec. 24, 1974 APPLIANCE LEVELING DEVICE  Inventor: Donald J. Labelle, 3148 Tevis Ave.,
Long Beach, Calif. 90808  Filed: June 25, 1973 21 Appl. No.2 373,197
 US. Cl 248/188.2, 248/201, 312/251  Int. Cl. F16m 11/24  Field of Search 248/1882, 201, 202, 446;
Primary Examiner-Marion Parsons, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Fulwider, Patton, Rieber, Lee & Utecht [5 7 ABSTRACT An appliance leveling device for aligning the vertical axis of an appliance relative adjacent cabinet structure. The device includes a bottom bracket disposed to be att aclied to the bottom surface of th e appliance, a hemispherical pivot formed in the bottom bracket, a support frame attaching to the cabinet structure to provide indexing and support to the pivot, and lateral threaded shafts mounted respectively at one end within the bottom bracket and threadably engaged at the other end to the frame for securing the lateral rotation of the support bracket relative the frame. Further included is an upper bracket adapted to be attached to the upper end of the appliance and a securing frame horizontally mounted to the cabinet structure substantially parallel with the upper bracket. The upper bracket and securing frame are connected by a threaded shaft substantially normal therewith and a geared shaft terminating in a rack and pinion arrangement to facilitate lateral and fore and aft adjustment of the top of the appliance relative the bottom pivot.
8 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures APPLIANCE LEVELING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention:
The present invention relates to leveling apparatus, and more particularly to apparatus adapted to provide leveling adjustment to appliances mounted in a mobile home.
2. Description of the Prior Art:
Appliances like refrigerators and the like often require some leveling adjustment when located in a mobile home particularly after each instance where such home is brought to a fixed position, such position often varying from a horizontal in each case. In particular many appliances, like refrigerators which are useful for storing various food containers, are typically designed for a substantially vertical alignment and any amount of misalignment from vertical thereof presents both a storage and an operational problem. Furthermore many appliances are operative only if properly aligned and convenient adjustment of the position thereof is desired where off-level orientation of the supporting structure is possible, such as in mobile home applications. Heretofore most leveling methods involved the routine and tedious task of extending threaded supports on the bottom of the appliance in order to align the appliance vertical. Such leveling usually requires the lifting of the appliance from the floor in order to permit the extension of the legs and is therefore both typically difficult and inconvenient, particularly when such appliance is confined within narrow cabinet openings usually provided.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is the general purpose and object of the present invention to provide an appliance leveling device adjustable around three orthogonal angular degrees of freedom to align the appliance both in a vertical relationship and in alignment with the front surface thereof along the front surface of the adjoining cabinetry. Other objects of the invention are to provide for convenient means of alignment of an appliance within a cabinet recess provided therefor. Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a means for positively securing an appliance within the structure of a mobile home, thus securing the appliance during transit.
Briefly, these and other objects are accomplished within the present invention by providing an appliance leveling apparatus including a bottom pivotal frame disposed to be attached to the floor of a mobile home and providing a central pivot supporting the appliance, such frame further including a pair of threaded bolts attached at one end to the frame and secured at the other end to the bottom edge of the appliance for aligning the front of the appliance with the adjacent structure. An upper frame comprising an attaching structure or bracket disposed for attachment to the appliance and a substantially parallel securing structure or frame attached to the adjacent cabinet walls, such frame and bracket being adjustable in translation relative each other by a pinion secured for rotation to the frame slidably engaging a rack on the bracket, and adjustable in separation by a threaded shaft attached for rotation to the cabinet structure threadably engaging the bracket. In this manner the appliance is secured in rotation about a vertical axis to the adjacent structure and is furthermore pivoted about the pivot supporting the bottom thereof by the rack and pinion adjustment and the threaded adjustment to provide two angular degrees of freedom about the pivot to provide angular adjustment of the vertical axis thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of a leveling apparatus constructed according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view, in partial cross section, of the upper assembly of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a plan view, in partial cross section, of the lower assembly of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of yet another embodiment of the upper assembly constructed according to the present invention; and
FIG. 5 is a side view, in partial cross section, of a section taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENT The present invention is generally directed at providing angular adjustment to the orientation of an appliance. Although specifically shown in combination with a refrigerator, such teachings are for the purposes of illustration only, it being not intended to limit the scope of application of the present invention thereby.
As shown in FIG. 1, a refrigerator 15 is supported by a bottom assembly 20 including a mounting frame 21 secured between adjacent cabinet structures pivotally supporting a bracket 22. Bracket 22, in turn, is attached to support the bottom surface of refrigerator 15. As described further hereinbelow the pivotal connection between bracket 22 and frame 21 allows for full articulation about three orthogonal axes of the refrigerator thereabout, such articulation being limited only by structural interferences selected to accommodate the range of possible misalignment of the cabinets. In order to secure and adjust the top of the refrigerator in rotation about two orthogonal transverse horizontal axes an upper assembly is attached to the top surface thereof, including an attaching frame 61 secured to the cabinet structure surrounding the refrigerator l5 and a holding bracket 62 secured to the top of the refrigerator. The structural connection between frame 61 and bracket 62 is adjustable both in lateral displacement and in normal separation, as described hereinbelow, to permit both lateral and fore and aft motion of the top of the refrigerator relative the pivot, thereby allowing the alignment thereof with vertical for any off-level alignment of the floor.
More specifically frame 21 of the lower assembly 20 includes two metal planar bands 23 and 24 joined together at a vertex to form a V-shaped planar structure and terminating at the free ends in vertically bent down tabs 25 and 26. Bands 23 and 24 joining to form bracket 22 are secured to the bottom of refrigerator 15 by any conventional fasteners inserted through mounting bores 27 formed therein it being contemplated that the normal orientation of the bracket 22 being such that tabs 25 and 26 are aligned generally downwardly relative the floor. Attached further to the vertex of bracket 22 in planar attachment with the bands 23 and 24 is a circular plate 28 disposed on the surface thereof distally opposed to the surface adjacent refrigerator 15, such plate further forming a central hemispherical dome 29 extending towards the floor having projecting to the exterior thereof a central pin 30. Frame 21 includes a central L-shaped extrusion section 31 disposed to support on the exterior of the horizontal leg thereof dome 29 in an indexed relationship with an oversized central bore 32 receiving the pin 30. In this manner bracket 22 can assume any angular orientation against dome 29, being secured in translation by pin 30 passing through bore 32. In order to secure the horizontal orientation of bracket 22 relative frame 21 the distal ends of section 31 include in the vertical sides thereof keyed bores 33 and 34 having received therein respective threaded adjustment links 35 and 36 which at the other end thereof pass through corresponding bores 37 and 38 formed in tabs 25 and 26 to threadably engage by the projecting free ends adjustment nuts 41 and 42. In this manner the horizontal position of frame 21 relative bracket 22 can be adjusted and positively secured by virture of the adjusting advancement of nuts 41 and 42 on links 35 and 36. Links 35 and 36 furthermore terminate at the other ends thereof on the distally opposed sides of section 31 in corresponding end caps 43 and 44, being secured against rotation within the bores 33 and 34 by any conventional keying arrangement, the cooperating receiving relationship between bores 33 and 34 and links 35 and 36 being loose to allow for angular displacement of the links within the bores to ac commodate the various alignments of bracket 22 relative the section 31. The section 31 on the respective distal ends thereof engages in sliding linear attachment corresponding extendable end caps 45 and 46, where the end caps 45 and 46 terminate at the free ends in attaching vertical flanges 47 and 48 including mounting bores 49 for attachment thereof to the adjacent cabinet structure. End caps 45 and 46 are attached to the distal ends of section 31 by nut and bolt assemblies 51 extending through bores 52 in the section 31 to be received in slots 49 formed in caps 45 and 46. In this manner the length of frame 21 can be adjusted to accommodate any cabinet width and secured to that width by the tightening of the nut and bolt assemblies 51.
' The upper end or surface of refrigerator is secured to the adjacent cabinet structure by the upper assembly 60 comprising the attaching bracket 62 and frame 61. Bracket 62 is also formed of an L-shaped extrusion having a horizontal surface conformed to the dimensions of the refrigerator top terminating in distally opposed bent down tabs 63 and 64 secured to the sides of the refrigerator by any conventional securing devices passed through securing bores 65. The vertical side of bracket 62 is cut off over the central section of the bracket to provide clearance for a shaft 66 passing transversely thereacross, shaft 66 having formed thereon a pinion 67 which is aligned to slidably engage a rack 68 formed on the horizontal adjacent surface of bracket 62. A threaded shaft 69 is aligned in substantially parallel relationship with shaft 66 engaging in threadable engagement a threaded nut assembly 70 attached to a vertical tab 71 formed on the vertex of a V- shaped frame 72 which at the free ends thereof is received between the top of refrigerator 15 and bracket 62, being further secured to the bracket by vertically projecting pins 75 slidably received in elongated openings 76 formed in the bracket. Shafts 66 and 69 on the respective forward ends thereof are received in respective bores 77 and 78 formed in a mounting plate 79 which is secured by securing bores 80 to any front surface of the cabinet structure. Shafts 66 and 69 furthermore terminate on the exposed side of plate 79 in hexagonal caps 81 and 82 which facilitate the turning of the associated shafts by any devices like wrenches and the like. The other ends of shafts 66 and 69 are received within receiving bores 91 and 92 formed in the vertical side of a center section 85 which, similar to frame 21, terminates in end caps 86 and 87 slidably secured to slots 88 and 89 formed in the center section to permit adjustment of the length of frame 61 to accommodate any width of cabinet structure. In this manner the lateral position of frame 62 can be selectively adjusted relative frame 61 by the turning of cap 81 which in turn drives the pinion 67 thereby advancing the rack 68 transverse thereto and thus displacing frame 62 relative frame 61. The fore and aft motion is similarly adjusted by advancing nut 70 along the threaded surface of shaft 69 to thereby adjust the separation distance between frames 61 and 62. Shafts 66 and 69 furthermore are secured in a parallel alignment at both ends thereof in plate 79 and the vertical surface of section 85.
In operation the refrigerator is attached to the bottom assembly 20 which in turn provides a pivotal support secured in rotation about a vertical axis by the selective adjustment of links 35 and 36. The connection between frame 21 and bracket 22 is spherically pivotal allowing for the angular adjustment thereabout as provided by the upper assembly 60. The upper assembly provides both lateral and fore and aft adjustment to the top of the refrigerator thereby providing for a leveling adjustment thereof. Pinion 67 slidably engages rack 68 extending to a dimension greater than rack 68 thereby assuring for a positive gear contact over the range of the fore and aft adjustment provided by shaft 69. Shaft 69 on the other hand is secured to the tab by threaded engagement and thereby advances frame 72, which is secured at the other ends in a transverse direction only relative bracket 62, thus separating the translational adjustment from the fore and aft adjustment to preclude any possibility of a binding at various adjustment combinations.
Yet another embodiment of the present invention includes a sliding pinion 101, secured for rotation on shaft 66 and slidably engaged therewith, such pinion riding on a rack 102 formed within the interior of a guide channel section 103 which in turn is attached to bracket 62 thus advancing the pinion along shaft 66 as the bore and aft adjustment is made on shaft 69.
Some of the many advantages of the present invention should now be readily apparent. The invention provides a means of adjustment of the level of any appliance within the constraints of the opening formed in the associated cabinet work which is both simple, convenient, and includes few cooperating parts. Furthermore, following adjustment, the invention provides a convenient manner of securing the appliance in the adjusted position thereby providing the further additional feature of secured positioning of the appliance during transit.
Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention may be made with regard to the foregoing detailed description without departing from the first support means attached to said structure for pivotally supporting the bottom surface of said appliance; and
second support means attached to said structure in substantially parallel alignment with the top surface thereof and connected to said appliance for providing adjustment in translation of the relative position of the top surface thereof along two orthogonal axes.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein:
said second support means including an upper frame attached to said structure in substantially parallel alignment with the top surface of said appliance, an upper bracket attached to the top surface of said appliance in substantially parallel alignment with said upper frame, and adjustment means connected between said upper frame and bracket for adjusting the lateral displacement and separation of said upper bracket relative said upper frame.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein:
said adjustment means including a support plate attached to said structure in parallel alignment with said upper frame and disposed substantially vertical relative said appliance having a first and second bore formed therein, a first and second shaft secured at the respective one ends thereof in longitudinal translation to said upper frame to transversely project therefrom over said upper bracket to be respectively received for rotation at the other ends thereof in said first and second bore, a connecting bracket threadably engaged at one end thereof to said first shaft intermediate said upper frame and said support plate and slidably connected at the other ends thereof to said upper bracket, a rack attached to said upper bracket in opposing transverse relationship with said second shaft, a pinion formed on said second shaft for slidable engagement with said rack and turning means formed on the respective other ends of said first and second shaft distal of said support plate to facilitate the turning thereof.
4. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein:
said first support means including a lower frame attached to said structure disposed in substantially transverse parallel alignment below the bottom surface of said appliance, a mounting bore formed in said lower frame in substantially vertical alignment relative the bottom surface of said appliance, a lower frame attached to the bottom surface of said appliance including a hemispherical dome formed thereon in opposing relationship with said lower frame, a pin affixed on said dome to project concentrically therefrom to be received in said mounting bore and securing means connected between said lower frame and bracket for securing the relative angular alignment thereof.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein:
said securing means including a threaded shaft secured in longitudinal translation at one end thereof to said lower frame and extending to threadably engage said lower bracket at the other end thereof, and turning means formed on the other end of said shaft for facilitating the turning thereof.
6. Alignment apparatus, comprising in combination:
supporting means including a first element adapted to be attached to adjacent structure, and a second element supported on said first element for relative angular articulation therewith and adapted to support an appliance thereon; and
adjusting means including a third element adapted to be attached to adjacent structure and a fourth element connected for adjustable displacement and translation relative said third element and adapted to connect to the appliance.
with said receiving bore in the other one thereof.
Patent No. 6,248
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE v CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Dated December 24, 1
Inventor) Donald J. LaBelle It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
On the front page, upper left-hand section, in two places,
correct the inventor's last name from "Labelle" to LaBelle I Signed and sealed this 1st day of July 1.975.
C. I'IARSHALL DANN Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks RUTH C IZAS ON Attesting Officer