US 3872802 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
llited States Scheerhorn et a1.
[451 Mar. 25, 1975 1 1 FILING CABINET [751 Inventors: Douglas Scheerhorn; Robert C. Van Gessel, both of Grand Rapids, Mich.  Assignee: Steelca se Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.  Filed: Jan. 8, 1973  Appl. No.: 321,561
 US. Cl 108/61, 108/110, 211/184  Int. Cl A47b 57/28  Field of Search 108/60, 61, 107, 109, 110; 211/184, 135
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 417,439 12/1889 Olsen 211/184 794.759 7/1905 Wege 108/60 1,112,506 10/1914 Weiss l 108/60 2,074,915 3/1937 Jones l 211/184 X 2,364,912 12/1944 Paxton 211/184 X 3,044,631 7/1962 Grcenman 108/110 X 3,700,300 10/1972 Davis 108/61 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 607,105 7/1960 Italy 211/184 277,602 12/1951 Switzerland 108/107 X 1111 1 III H \11 Primary ExaminerFrancis K. Zugel Attorney, Agent, or Firn1-Pricc, Hencveld, Huizenga & Cooper  ABSTRACT A cabinet, desk or the like having vertical doublewalled space dividers on its shelves. Each divider includes a pair of tabs projecting downwardly therefrom for seating in slots on a lower shelf. It also includes a spring wire disposed between its walls which defines an upwardly projecting detent for releasably engaging a slot in an upper shelf, The actuator for the detent is accessible through an open window extending com pletely through both walls of the divider.
For supporting small shelves between adjacent dividers, each wall of the divider includes an outwardly projecting vertical rib having a plurality of horizontal slots therein. Each slot is sufficiently wide that the shelves can be oriented horizontally or cocked at an angle.
A wiring channel disposed in the end wall of the cabinet is covered by a hingedly mounted, spring-biased door. Where the channel passes a shelf, the shelf is notched to allow one to open the door and thereby pass wiring into the channel. A looped and barbed leaf spring arrangement provides both the hinging mechanism and the spring-biasing means.
17 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures memo 2 19?" FIG.
P/KTENTED 2 5 I975 sum 2 u? 3 all FILING CABINET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to cabinets, desks, or the like. One aspect of the invention relates particularly to space dividers for use in such articles of furniture.
Space dividers are positioned on horizontal shelves for dividing the storage space available along the length of the shelf. Such dividers generally include tabs which fit into receiving slots in the shelves. Some are secured to the shelves by means of a spring-biased detent means which cooperates with a slot or aperture in the shelf. Typically, such spring-biased mechanisms are cumbersome and expensive to produce. Further, they utilize a projecting actuator which protrudes into the storage space between: adjacent dividers.
One divider system employs a piece of spring wire mounted on one side of the divider and bent downwardly to define downwardly projecting detents. The wire is readily visible along its entire .length and it detracts from the appearance of the divider.Further, it is accessible from only one side of the divider.
Vertical space dividers sometimes include means for supporting additional smaller horizontal shelves between adjacent dividers. Such support may be provided by tabs projecting from the sides thereof. Another technique is to punch projections in the wall of the divider. One system employs a first row punched outwardly on one side of the divider and an adjacent row punched outwardly on the other side of the divider. One drawback to this arrangement includes the fact that when two such dividers are positioned opposite one another, their respective rows of shelf-supporting projections arenot disposed directly opposite one another. Thus, one is restricted to placing the shelf horizontally between the dividers. The shelf cannot be canted at an angle since it would not set properly on its respective mounting projections.
Another aspect of the present invention relates to wiring channels in such articles of furniture. Typically, recessed channels are provided into which wiring or the like can be stored. Usually, such channels are provided with cover panels which are secured over the opening .in the channel. The cover panels sometimes become loose and are generally cumbersome to attach in the first place.
Another drawback to such systems occurs when the wiring channel goes past the edge of a shelf. It is difficult to install wiring into the channel between the edge of the shelf and the back wall of the channel.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION tor and the detent are defined by a piece of spring wire which is anchored at one end between the partition walls. The wire is bent one way to define the detent projecting beyond the divider and then back into position between the divider walls where it is bent into an actuator extending into the access window.
Shelves are supported between adjacent dividers in oppositely disposed horizontal slots which are disposed in ribs which project outwardly from the surface of the dividers. The ribs are generally continuous, and the rib on one divider faces and is directly opposite a corresponding rib on the other divider. Slots in the ribs are sufficiently wide that a shelf can be supported either horizontally between adjacent dividers and front and rear slots on the same level or on an angle in front and rear slots on a different level. Each rib is defined by an outward deformity in one of the divider walls along a vertical axis. Each of the divider walls includes two outwardly projecting ribs, one at the front and one at the rear thereof.
The wiring channel in the end wall of the cabinet of present invention includes a cover door which is hingedly mounted to the cabinet. Bias means operably connect the cover door to the cabinet over the channel and act to bias the door to a normally closed position. Where the channel passes the end of a shelf, the shelf includes an inwardly projecting notch which allows the door to be opened outwardly, thereby making it easier to lay wire in the channel and feed it past the end of the shelf.
The hinge and springbiased mounting for the channel door are provided by a single combination of leaftype spring and hinge. One end of the leaf spring is mounted on the hidden surface of the channel, projects away from one of the side walls and is bent into loop back towards the side wall. It then passes through an aperture in the side wall and is secured at its other end to the door. Preferably, the door is generally L-shaped in cross section, having a face and a leg, and the leg extends into the channel generally along the side wall with an aperture therein. The leg includes an aperture and the end of the leaf spring is bent into a barb configuration.- The barb passes through the aperture and snaps into position on the leg to thereby hold the cover door in place.
These and other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be further understood and appreciated by reference to the written specification and appended drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a slightly elevated perspective view ofa preferred embodiment cabinet;
FIG. 2 is a slightly lower perspective view of the cabinet;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view of a divider for the cabinet;
FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the divider of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along plane V-V of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, perspective view looking at the inside of the end wall of the cabinet;
FIG. 7 is generally the same view as FIG. 6 with the cover door for the wiring channel being slightly open;
FIG. 8 is generally the same view as FIG. 6 with the cover door for the wiring channel being deflected inwardly from its normally closed position;
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along the plane IX-IX of FIG. 6, showing the mounting structure for the wiring channel cover door; and
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary end view of the cabinet.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the preferred embodiment, cabinet 1 includes a bottom shelf and a top shelf 12 between which are mounted a plurality of vertical dividers (FIGS. 1 and 2). Each divider 20 includes a pair of tabs 23 projecting downwardly therefrom (FIG. 3) for insertion into slots 11 in bottom shelf 10 (FIG. 1). Each divider 20 includes two spaced walls 21 (FIG. 4) between which is interposed a spring wire 30 bent to define a projecting detent 33 and an actuator 34 (FIG. 3). Detent 33 cooperates with slots 13 on the underside of top shelf 12 (FIG. 2) to hold divider 20 in place. Detent 33 can be retracted by pulling an actuator 34 which is readily accessible from either side of divider 20 through an access window (FIG. 3). In this manner, detent 33 can be retracted to facilitate insertion of the divider into position between bottom shelf 10 and top shelf 12 and can then be allowed to spring upwardly and engage a slot 13 in top shelf 12 to positively hold divider 20 in place.
Each divider 20 includes fore and aft ribs 40 projecting from each side thereof (FIGS. 3 and 4). Each rib 40 is generally continuous, but includes a plurality of horizontal slots 41 therein in which can be positioned various shelves 80. In this mannerfa number of smaller shelves 80 can be mounted between adjacent dividers 20 (FIGS. land 2).
The end wall 14 includes a wiring channel 50 therein which is covered by a hingedly mounted cover door 70 (FIGS. 6 through 9). Wiring 90 can be passed from outside of the cabinet into channel 50 through a slidably mounted exterior access door 17 (FIG. 10). The wiring can then be readily inserted into channel 50 by pulling hinged door 70 slightly open (FIG. 7). Bottom shelf 10 includes a notch 18 at the end thereof which allows door 70 to be opened slightly. Door 70 is hingedly mounted and spring biased by a leaf-spring hinge 60 (FIG. 9).
Cabinet 1 itself is generally conventional, being made preferably of metal. It includes, by way of example, end walls 14, a back wall 19, a top shelf 12 and a bottom shelf 10 (FIGS. 1 and 2). This particular cabinet is designed especially for setting on top of a desk. Bottom shelf 10 includes two rows of slots 11 for cooperating with tabs 23 and divider 20. Top shelf 12 includes one row of slots 13 for cooperating with the detent portion 33 of spring wire of divider 20. The spacing between adjacent slots 13 is identical to the spacing between adjacent slots 11 in a given row and a given slot 13 and a pair of front and rear slots 11 lie in the same vertical plane. In this manner, a divider 20 can be perpendicularly erected.
Each of the end walls 14 comprises an inner wall 15 and an outer wall 16 (FIG. 9). Channel 50 is formed in innerwall 15 in a manner apparent from the drawings. Outer wall 16 includes a slidably mounted access door 17 which can be opened to allow one to pass wiring from outside of cabinet 1 through an opening 55 at the base of channel 50 and into channel 50 itself. Notch 18 in the end of bottom shelf 10 .is cut therein during stamping of shelf 10.
Divider 20 'is also preferably formed of metal, by bending a single sheet of metal over to define two spaced walls 21 (FIG. 4). Walls 21 are spaced apart at the bottom by a bottom spacer 22 (FIGS. 3 and 4). Bottom spacer 22 includes a pair of downwardly projecting tabs 23 which project below the level of divider 20 for mating engagement with slots 11 of bottom shelf I0. At its top, the walls 21 of divider 20 are spaced by two top spacers 24. There is a gap between top spacer 24 to facilitate mounting of spring wire 30 between walls 21.
Spring wire 30 is held in place between walls 21 at its anchor end 31. Each wall 21 includes a slot 27 therein (FIG. 5). In the area of these slots 27, the walls 21 are depressed inwardly together, i.e., at depressions 26 (FIG. 5). The anchor end 31 of spring wire 30 fits into slot 27 and is bent downwardly at 31a(FlG. 3) on one side of depressions 26 so that it will not slide out of position in slots 27. The depressed portions 26 of walls 21 are spot welded on either side of slot 27 so that the anchor end 31 of spring wire 30 is positively locked in position in slot 27. On the side opposite depressed areas 26 from downwardly bent end 31a, spring wire 30 is bent immediately upwardly to prevent it from sliding in slot 27. In this manner, spring wire 30 is positively anchored in position between walls 21 of divider 20.
From anchor end 31, spring wire 30 extends upwardly at an angle. This angular upwardly extending portion 32 acts as a spring portion which biases the spring wire 30 into the position shown in FIG. 3. Detent 33 is defined by a sharp upward bend in spring wire 30 and then a downward bend so that detent 33 is generally V shaped. It projects outwardly from between walls 21 in an upward direction. At the top of one leg of the V, spring wire 30 is bent back towards anchor end 31 to define an actuator 34. Each wall 21 of divider 20 includes an aperture therein to define a single access window 25. Actuator 34 extends into window 25 and is readily accessible from either side of divider 20. By pulling downwardly on actuator 34, one retracts detent 33 in its position between walls 21. This makes it possible to insert or remove divider from between top shelf 12 and bottom shelf 10.
While broadly speaking, access window 25 and spring wire 30 can be located at the bottom of divider 20, it is preferable that they be located at the top. In this manner, access window 25 is tucked in under top shelf 12 and is less visible to the casual observer.
Each wall 21 of divider 20 includes an outward deviation at the front and the rear thereof, each deviation extending along a vertical line to define fore and aft outwardly projecting ribs 40 (FIG. 4). Each rib 40 is generally continuous and thereby tends to reinforce and rigidify dividers 20. However, ribs 40 also serve as means for mounting additional shelves because of several spaced, horizontal slots 41 stamped therein. The slots 41 on each of the fore and aft ribs 40 for each divider 20 are identically spaced on the same fore and aft levels with one'another. In this manner, the slots of adjacent dividers 20 will be directly opposite one another. Additionally, each slot 41 is sufficiently wide that a shelf can either be oriented generally horizontally or cocked at an angle (FIG. 3). It is the sufficient width of the slot 41 and the fact that the slots in adjacent dividers 20 are directly opposite one another which makes this angular positioning of shelves 80 possible. Yet, slots 41 are not so large that they detract from the reinforcing function of the ribs 40.
Channel 50 in end wall 14 comprises a side wall 51, back wall 53, and side wall 52 (FIG. 9). Notch 55 at the bottom of channel 50 passes through back wall 53 (FIG. 10). Side wall 52 includes at least two spaced hinge apertures 54 therein through which leaf spring hinges 60 pass.
Each leaf spring hinge 60 comprises a piece of spring steel band or wire anchored at its anchor end 61 by welding to back'wall 53 of channel 50. From anchor end 61, leaf spring hinge 60 is bent into a spring loop 62. It extends back towards side wall 52 and through aperture 54. At a point where it projects into channel 50, spring steel hinge 60 is bent into the shape of a'barb 63 having barb shoulders 64 and an angularly projecting tail 65.
Cover door 70 is generally L-shaped in crosssectional configuration, including a face 71 and a leg 72. Leg 72 extends into channel 50 along side wall 52. Leg 72 includes an aperture 73 therein for each leaf spring hinge 60. Barb 63 of leaf-spring hinge 60 snaps into aperture 73. Barb shoulders 64 rest against the inside surface ofleg 72 and tail 65 is bent away from barb 63 at an outwardly projecting angle so that barb 63 is positively biased into position with its barb shoulders 64 against the inside of leg 72. Leaf-spring hinge 60 biases cover door 70 to a normally closed position as shown in full line in FIG. 9. However, it makes possible the opening or depressing of cover door 70 in the manner shown in phantom in FIG. 9.
The shelves 80 which are used in conjunction with dividers 20'are generally conventional in construction, being formed of sheet metal or the like.
In use, cabinet 1 can be provided with any number of dividers 20 and supplemental shelves 80. Each divider 20 is easily located by inserting bottom tabs 23 into any of the pairs of slots 11 running along bottom shelf 10.
One then pulls downwardly on actuator 34 to retract detent 33 as divider 20 is rotated into an upright position. Once divider 20 is vertically oriented, one releases actuator 34 and the spring portion 32 of spring wire 30 biases detents 33 upwardly and into a slot 13 on the bottom of upper shelf 12. I
Once adjacent dividers 20 are in position, and several supplemental shelves 80 can be positioned therebetween, each shelf 80 is inserted into oppositely disposed slots 41 and projecting ribs 40. A shelf 80 can be oriented either horizontally, or cocked at an angle (FIG. 3).
Wiring can be passed into wiring channel 50 from the outside or inside thereof. From the outside, access door 17 is opened and wiring is passed through notch 55. Cover door 70 of channel 50 can then be held open, as shown in FIG. 7, and wiring 90 slipped into channel 50. A notch 18 in bottom shelf 10, by which channel 50 must pass, facilitates opening cover door 70. There may be instances in which it is difficult to pass a large plug on the end of a wire or other similar fixture by shelf with door 70 open. In these instances, door 70 can be pushed inwardly, as shown in FIG. 8, and the plug or other obstacle moved past notch 18 to the outside of door 70. Once the obstacle is passed, door 70 can then be opened outwardly and wiring 90 inserted into channel 50. Once the wiring is completed, spring hinges 60 bias cover door 70 to its normally closed position as shown in FIG. 6.
As a result of the various aspects of this improved construction, the user enjoys space dividers which can readily be inserted or removed from the horizontal shelves. The spring detent means is simple in construction and therefore reliable. Yet, it is almost completely hidden from view when the shelf is erected, only the actuatorportion thereof being visible through the access window.
The means for supporting supplemental shelves is also a convenient asset to the user. This support means can be economically constructed during the stamping of the divider 20. The slots are constructed and arranged in such a manner that one can orient a shelf either horizontally or angularly.
Finally, a convenient wiring system is provided in which the wiring channel cover door is always secured to the cabinets and yet can be conveniently operated to allow one to insert wiring into the wiring channel. The combination leaf-spring and hinge arrangement effects a significant economy in the construction of such a hingedly mounted, spring-biased cover door.
Of course, it is understood that the above is merely a preferred embodiment of the invention and that various changes and alterations can be made thereof without departing from its spirit and broader aspects.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclu-' sive property is claimed are defined as follows:
1. In a cabinet having at least one horizontal shelf and at least one vertical divider including a movable detent for releasably cooperating with a keeper in said shelf to thereby releasably hold said divider in position, the improvement comprising: said detent being positioned within said divider and including a portion extending therebeyond; an actuator being positioned within said divider and being operably connected to said detent; an access aperture extending completely through said divider, said actuator extending into said access aperture whereby it is readily accessible from either side of said divider and can be operated to facilitate retraction or extension of said detent member with respect both to said divider and to said keeper with which it releasably cooperates.
2. The cabinet of claim 1 including spring means biasing said detent to a position normally projecting from said divider and into engagement with said keeper.
3. The cabinet of claim 2 in which said detent and said actuator comprise a single spring wire, anchored at one end and bent to define said detent and said actuator.
4. The cabinet of claim 3 in which said access aperture and said actuator are located. generally at the top of said divider.
5. In a cabinet having at least one horizontal shelf and at least one releasably mounted vertical divider thereon,said shelf including a keeper for cooperation with said divider, the improvement comprising: said divider including two spaced walls; an aperture in each wall, said apertures being aligned to define a single access window; and a spring wire anchored between said walls and being formed to define an interconnected detent and actuator, said detent extending out from between said walls for engagement with said keeper; said actuator extending into said access window whereby one can operate said actuator to retract said detent into a position between said walls to thereby disengage said detent and said keeper.
6. The cabinet of claim 5 in which said spring wire is anchored at one end between said walls and extends from said anchor end a sufficient distance to define a leaf spring portion; said wire being bent at the end of said spring portion so as to project outwardly from between said walls, then being bent back so as to extend back into position between said walls and then being bent laterally so as to extend into said access window.
7. The cabinet of claim 6 in which spacers are mounted between said walls, said spacers having a thickness which allows said spring wire to move between said walls, but prevents any degree of lateral movement of said spring wire.
8. The cabinet of claim 7 in which said spaced walls are depressed inwardly towards one another around said anchored end of said spring wire to thereby hold said spring wire in place.
9. The cabinet of claim 8 in which there is a slot in each of the inwardly depressed portions of said walls, said anchor end of said spring wire extending into said slot, said spring wire being deflected laterally on either side of said inwardly depressed areas of said wall to thereby prevent sliding movement of said spring wire within said slot.
10. The cabinet of claim 9 in which said inwardly depressed areas of said walls are spot welded together both above and below said slot.
11. The cabinet of claim 8 in which said inwardly depressed areas of said walls are spot welded together both above and below said slot.
12. The cabinet of claim 6 in which said spaced walls are depressed inwardly towards one another around said anchored end of said spring wire to thereby hold said spring wire in place.
13. The cabinet of claim 12 in which there is a slot in each of the inwardly depressed portions of said walls, said anchor end of said spring wire extending into said slot, said spring wire being deflected laterally on either side of said inwardly depressed areas of said wall to thereby prevent sliding movement of said spring wire within said slot..
14. The cabinet of claim 13 in which said inwardly depressed areas of said walls are spot welded together both above and below said slot.
15. The cabinet of claim 13 in which said access window is located generally at the top of said divider so as to be less conspicuous to the casual observer.
16. The cabinet of claim 13 in which each of said walls of said divider are deformed outwardly away from one another along the same spaced front and rear vertical lines to define spaced front and rear vertical ribs; each of said ribs being generally continuous, but including a plurality of generally horizontal slots therein; said slots being sufficiently wide that a supplemental shelf can be supported horizontally between adjacent ones of said dividers in said front and rear slots either on the same level or on an angle in front and rear slots which are on different levels.
17. The cabinet of claim 8 in which each of said walls of said divider are deformed outwardly away from one another along the same spaced front and rear vertical lines to define spaced front and rear vertical ribs; each of said ribs being generally continuous, but including a plurality of generally horizontal slots therein; said slots being sufficiently wide that a supplemental shelf can be supported horizontally between adjacent ones of said dividers in said front and rear slots either on the same level or on an angle in front and rear slots which are on different levels.