US 3888232 A
A device to cover the opening of a fireplace and shutoff passage of air when the fireplace is not in use and thereby save energy. The device has friction type clips which provide for easy placement and removal. The device is substantially thin and painted black so that when in position, a conventional removable type screen can be placed in its usual position on the hearth and thereby effectively hide the shutoff. Alternatively, the device is transparent so that the interior of the fireplace is visible and thus causing one to be less aware of the presence of the device.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Le Brun 1 1 FIREPLACE SHUTOFF Clarence A. Le Brun, 693 Hidden Valley Rd, King of Prussia. Pa. 19406  Filed: July 17 1974  Appl. No: 489,136
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation of Scr. No. 455.626. Feb. 25. 1974.
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 176.363 4/1876 Schwarz 126/140 2.396.535 3/1946 Rumery 126/121 2.398.240 4/1946 Mcrryweather 126/140 [451 June 10, 1975 3.459.173 8/1979 Lydlc 126/138 X 3.789.825 2/1974 Reiner 126/140 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 176.996 10/1961 Swcdcn 98/114 Primary ExaminerWilliam F. ODea Assistant ExaminerPeter D. Ferguson Attorney. Agent, or FirmFrederick .l. Olsson [5 7] ABSTRACT A device to cover the opening of a fireplace and shutoff passage of air when the fireplace is not in use and thereby save energy. The device has friction type clips which provide for easy placement and removal. The device is substantially thin and painted black so that when in position, a conventional removable type screen can be placed in its usual position on the hearth and thereby effectively hide the shutoff. Alternatively, the device is transparent so that the interior of the fireplace is visible and thus causing one to be less aware of the presence of the device.
8 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures FIREPLACE SHUTOFF This application is a continuation in part of my copending application Ser. No. 445,626 filed Feb. 25, 1974, now abandoned, and entitled FIREPLACE SHUTOFF.
This invention relates to fireplaces and in particular it relates to a device to be installed when a fireplace is not in use to thereby close off the opening and impede the passage of air.
The device finds particular utility in houses both in the heating and airconditioning seasons for energy saving purposes. One object of the invention is to provide a device of the kind in question which is relatively thin so as not to interfere with placement of a conventional removable fireplace screen.
Another object of the invention is to provide a device of the kind in question which can be used in association with the conventional fireplace removable screen in a manner so that when the device and screen are in place, the device is effectively hidden.
Another object of the invention is to provide a device of the kind in question which is extremely easy to place on and remove from a fireplace.
Another object of the invention is to provide a device of the kind in question which may be advantageously manufactured from a wide variety of standard materials.
The prime purpose and distinct advantage of the invention is that it provides an inexpensive, easy-to'use unobtrusive means for saving energy both for heating and airconditioning seasons which might otherwise be lost through an open fireplace. For example, among the problems encountered with the ordinary home fireplace is that in many instances draft dampers cannot be effectively closed. Also, draft dampers are difficult and messy to operate and in many instances the homeowner simply will leave the damper open, particularly in the heating season when the fireplace is used only once or twice a week. This results in loss of heat and if the damper remains open in the airconditioning season, the cooling efficiency is reduced. The present invention provides a ready solution to the open damper problem. Indeed, even if the damper is closed the use of the invention minimizes heating or cooling losses.
Preferred forms of the invention will be explained below in connection with the following drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a front elevational view illustrating the shutoff device of the invention in position in a fireplace opening;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the lines 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 1 and illustrating a friction clip for holding the device in position;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the rear of the shutoff device of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a view of the rear of a modified arrangement; and FIG. 6 is a view taken along the lines 66 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of a modified friction clip arrangement;
FIG. 8 is a view taken along the lines 8-8 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary perspective view of a modified friction clip arrangement; and
FIG. 10 is a view taken along the lines l010 of FIG. 9.
The fireplace F has a brick front face 1 and a generally rectangular shaped opening 2 with a bottom 3 usually formed by the hearth 4, vertical side walls 5 and 6 and top wall 7. The shutoff device of the invention is generally indicated at 10 and as will be observed extends across the opening 2.
The shutoff includes the substantially flat rectangular shaped plate 11 which extends clear across the opening 2 and engages the front face 1 around the periphery of the opening. The bottom edge 11a of the plate rests on the hearth 4, the top edge llb extends just above the top wall 7 and the vertical edges 11c and 11d extend just beyond the side walls 5 and 6 of the opening.
The front face 12 of the plate 11 is ordinarily painted a dull black or provided with a dull black finish so as to correspond with the usual dull black interior of a fireplace.
The plate 11 is adapted to be held in the position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 by friction clip means mounted on back side 13 of the plate and bear on one or more of the opening side walls so that the device can be quickly installed and quickly removed.
A preferred form of clip is indicated at 14 in FIG. 3. The clip is mounted on a clip bracket 15 which is secured on the back side 13 adjacent the edge 11d. Paranthetically, it is to be noted at this point that in the instant case the clip bracket is part of a frame which will be mentioned later. The clip 14 includes the elongated rectangular shaped support arm 16 and the contoured friction arm 17. The arms extend parallel to and overlie each other. The arms 16 and 17 are rotatably connected to the clip by means of the pivot 20. At the pivot end, the arms are spot welded or otherwise joined together so that they can be rotated in unison. At the opposite end, the end 170 slidably engages the support arm 16. The bent contour of the arm 16 causes the midsection 17b of the arm to engage the side wall 6 of the fireplace.
Normally, the arm 17 is contoured so that when the device is removed from the fireplace the radius of the bend is smaller. Thus, when the device is inserted in the fireplace the arm 17 will engage and exert a holdrelease pressure on the side wall 6. Expansion of the arm is permitted by motion of the free end 170.
An identical clip 21 is mounted on an identical clip bracket 22 adjacent the opposite edge 110 of the plate 1 l. The friction arm of the clip 21 engages the side wall 5 and functions in the same manner as described above.
As noted in FIGS. 3 and 4, the clips 14 and 21 extend normal to the plate 11. This is the operative position wherein the clips are conditioned to engage the inner walls of the fireplace. After the device is removed, the clips may be rotated downwardly so that they lie substantially parallel to the plate 11. This is the inoperative position. In this position, the device is conditioned so that it may be easily stored. Also, for shipping purposes the clips are rotated down to the inoperative position.
From a foregoing description it will be apparent that even a very inexperienced person can insert and remove the device from the fireplace.
The overall size of the plate 1 1 is chosen so that it will cover practically of the standard fireplace openings. Normally, the height is 30% inches and the width is 37% inches. Moreover, the clip brackets 15 to 21 are positioned on the plate and the friction arms are contoured so that the clips will function in the standard openings. However, where the opening may be a little smaller or larger, the support arms of the clips can be bent toward or away from the edges 11c or 11d and/or the contour of the friction arms changed so as to adjust the clips to accomodate the non-standard size.
Normally, the plate 11 is made from thin metal such as aluminum or steel sheet and for rigidity purposes it is preferred therefore to provide a frame on the back side. A typical frame is shown in FIG. 4. The side pieces 22 and 23 which respectively include the clip brackets and 22 are spaced from edges 11d and 11c. The top piece 25 is spaced from the edge 11b and bottom piece 26 is flush with the bottom edge 11a. The frame also includes a centerpiece 27 which is connected to and extends between the top and bottom pieces 25 and 26. The foregoing pieces are rigidly connected together and to the back 13.
For nonstandard size openings in fireplaces the invention contemplates a frame on the back side of the plate which can be adjusted for the particular application involved. A typical frame 29 mounted on a plate 30 is shown as FIG. 5.
The frame includes a lower T section 31 which includes a C shaped horizontal portion 32 and a rectangular shaped vertical portion 33. The T section 31 is affixed to the frame 29. An upper T section 34 includes a horizontal C shaped section 35 and a vertical C section 36. As noted, the C section 36 fits over the rectangular section 33. The upper T is slidably supported on the plate 30 by a pair of slide assemblies 37 and 38. The frame 29 also includes the lower L section 40 which has a rectangular portion 41 and a C shaped section 42. As noted, the lower section 41 fits into the C section 32. Above the lower C section 40 is an upper L section 45, the ends of which respectively fit into the C sections 35 and 42. The lower L 40 is supported by the slide assemblies 43 and 44.
On the left hand side a lower L section 46 similar to the section 40 is supported by the slide assemblies 47 and 48 which are similar to the assemblies 43 and 44. An upper L section 50 corresponds to the L section 45. The C section 42 of the lower L section 40 carries the friction clip 51 as by the pivot 52 (FIG. 6). Clip 51 is similar to clips 14 and 21. A similar friction clip 53 is mounted on the C section 54 of the lower L 46.
The various slide assemblies 37, 38, 43, 44, 47, 48 are all attached to their respective sections and all operate in an identical fashion. This is indicated in FIG. 6 for the assembly 43. The assembly has a plate 55 and a slot 56 through which extends the threaded studs 57 and 58 carrying the wing nuts 59 and 60. The studs 57 and 58 are welded to the plate 30. By loosening these wing nuts, the frame 29 can be made to expand or contract depending upon the condition of the opening.
While Ive indicated the preferred form of the invention as including a relatively thin piece of sheet metal forming the plate 11 which is supported by a frame on the back side thereof, it will be understood that the invention contemplates that the plate be self-supporting. Thus, the plate can be thicker as by being formed from conventional plastic material. in such instances, the plastic has a flat, black color or is provided with a flat, black front surface so as to correspond to the interior of the fireplace. Alternatively, the plate may be formed from a relatively transparent plastic having a very light black hue such as Lucite" so that while in position in the fireplace the interior of the fireplace is somewhat visible and maintains the effect of being open.
Furthermore, it will be understood that where the plate is made of thicker material without a frame on the back side thereof, the invention contemplates that the clip bracket be mounted on the top side (i.e., in the position of the section 25) so that the clip will engage the top wall 7 of the fireplace.
A typical example of the foregoing is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 wherein a Lucite plate 61 mounts a friction clip 62 by means of a rivet-like friction clip bracket 63.
The bracket 63 is formed with in-board retaining shoulders 64 and 65. The friction clip 62 is of the same construction as the clip heretofore described except that support arm 66 has a leg 70 which is slotted at 71. As indicated, the slot 71 provides for the leg 70 to fit over the bracket 63 between the retaining shoulders 64 and 65. The fit between the leg 70 and the bracket provides for the clip bracket to be held firmly in the position shown but which can be removed and replaced.
The position of the clip as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 is the operative position wherein the friction arm 72 will engage the top of the fireplace when the shut-off device is in position. The clip is removed so as to be in the inoperative position. This conditions the device for storage and shipping purposes. In summary, the clip 62 is mounted on the bracket 63 for movement between the operative and inoperative positions by being removed and replaced. While I have shown a single clip, it will be understood what a typical arrangement will include a clip at each corner and may in some instances include a clip on each side.
One of the principal advantages of the structure providing for the removal of the clip for the inoperative position is that the clips and plate may be independently packaged and this enhances savings in space for shipping and storage purposes.
When constructing the plate out of Lucite or other plastic having a black hue with either a single clip on the top or clips along opposite vertical edges the invention contemplates that a strip be placed on the front side around the periphery so as to provide some screening of the clips and/or provide a decorative effect.
Irrespective of the type plate 11, the thickness of the same is conventionally held less than A inch so that when the shutoff device is mounted on the fireplace, a conventional removable screen can be placed on the hearth and up against the shutoff. Ive indicated this in FIG. 2 where the conventional screen is shown by the dot dash lines 28.
The plate of the type described in connection with FIG. 4 may also be arranged with the removable friction clip. A typical arrangement is shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 wherein the plate 73 mounts the friction clip 74 by means of the clip bracket 75.
The clip bracket 75 is comprised of the frame side 76 and stud 77 having a retaining head 78.
The clip 74 is similar to the clip 62 except that the leg 80 is unslotted and support and friction arms 81 and 82 are formed with a keyhole slot 83.
The friction clip 74 is placed in the position as shown by sliding leg 80 between the side 76 and the plate 73 and pushing the clip so that the larger section of the keyhole slot 83 passes the head 78. The clip is then pushed downwardly so that the smaller portion of the keyhole slot passes the stud and the head 78 retains the support and friction arms 81 and 82 against the side 80. The leg 80 is retained between plate 73 and side 76.
The position of the clip shown in FIG. is the operative position. The clip is removed for the inoperative position. The reverse procedure is followed in removal.
Before closing, it is pointed out that where the shutoff is made of fireproof material the same can be installed while embers are still present and the fireplace left unattended without fear of sparks entering the room. In such applications the shutoff acts as a safety device.
1. A fireplace shutoff device comprising:
a flat plate generally rectangular in shape and adapted to be moved toward and away from the opening of a fireplace whereby to cover and uncover the same;
at least one friction clip bracket disposed on the back side and adjacent one edge of said plate;
friction clip means displacably mounted on said clip bracket for movement between an operative position and an inoperative position, the clip means having mechanism providing for the same to be self-supporting in the operative position whereby to extend normal to the plate in position to engage the inside surface of the fireplace opening, the engagement providing for the clip means to be slidable over the surface to permit the plate to be moveable toward and away from the opening to cover and uncover the same and the engagement also providing for the clip means to exert sufficient pressure on the surface to hold the plate in position covering the opening and in the inoperative position the clip means being spaced away from the operative position so as to condition the device for storage and shipping purposes.
2. A construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein the clip means comprises a flat, elongated support arm and a contoured friction arm made of spring-like material, the arms extending parallel to and overlying one another and connected together at one end for rotation in unison and slidably engaged at the opposite end so that the friction arm can move relative to the support arm.
3. A construction in accordance with claim 1 further including a second friction clip bracket and a second friction clip means rotatably mounted on said second bracket for movement between said operative and inoperative positions, said first and second clip brackets respectively being disposed adjacent opposite edges of the plate, said edges being vertically oriented when the plate covers the fireplace opening.
4. A construction in accordance with claim 3 wherein said second friction clip means comprises a flat, elongated support arm and a contoured friction arm made of spring-like material, the arms extending parallel to and overlying one another and connected together at one end for rotation in unison and slidably connected at the opposite end so that the friction arm can move relative to the support arm.
5. A construction in accordance with claim 4 wherein each said clip bracket includes frame means secured to the rear of the plate the frame having a top portion, a bottom portion, a center portion joined to and extending between the top and bottom and portions and side portions including said clip brackets.
6. A construction in accordance with claim 5 wherein said bottom portion is fixed to the plate and the top and side portions are each respectively mounted on the plate to be movable back and forth for purposes of expanding or contracting the size of the frame.
7. A construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein the friction clip means is displacable between the operative and the inoperative positions as by being rotatable between said positions.
8. A construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein the friction clip means is displacable between the operative and the inoperative positions as by being removable from the bracket for the inoperative position and placable on the brackets for the operative position.