US 3892095 A
A panel structure for an article of furniture including an open interior and an opening which allows access to the open interior, and a closure for the opening including a cover and a resilient spring arm extending laterally outwardly and downwardly at an inclined angle from the cover and generally to one side thereof and extending into and engaging the top and bottom walls of a cavity which is positioned laterally and generally to one side of the peripheral edge of the access opening, the top surface of the spring arm engaging the top wall of the cavity and the bottom surface of the spring arm engaging the bottom wall of the cavity whereby the cover is biased by this interaction into a position closing the opening in the panel.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11 1 Vankuik et al.
 July 1, 1975 1 1 WIRING ACCESS COVER  Inventors: Dirk J. Vankuik, Jenison; Glae F.
Wilcox, Wayland. both of Mich.
Related US. Application Data  Continuation of Ser. No. 371,305,.1une 18. 1974,
 US. Cl 52/221; 244/129 H; 24/73 MF; 24181 B; 52/127; 292/87; 312/244  Int. Cl EO4f 19/08; EO4f 17/08  Field of Search 24/73 MF. 81 B; 52/220,
2510.745 6/1950 Kilgore 220/318 2565636 8/1951 Tinnermanm, 3.121.383 2/1964 Parrish 1. 49/465 Primary ExaminerErnest R. Purser Assistant Examiner-James Ll Ridgill, Jr.
Anurney, Agent. or FirmPrice Henevcld. Huizenga & Cooper  ABSTRACT A panel structure for an article of furniture including an open interior and an opening which allows access to the open interior. and a closure for the opening including a cover and a resilient spring arm extending laterally outwardly and downwardly at an inclined angle from the cover and generally to one side thereof and extending into and engaging the top and bottom walls of a cavity which is positioned laterally and generally to one side of the peripheral edge of the access opening, the top surface of the spring arm engaging the top wall of the cavity and the bottom surface of the spring arm engaging the bottom wall of the cavity whereby the cover is biased by this interaction into a position closing the opening in the panel.
WIRING ACCESS COVER This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 371,305, filed June 18, 1974 now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In office furniture such as desks and the like, access openings are sometimes provided in one or more of the exterior vertical panels to provide a means to pass wires and other cabling to the top surface for telephones, dictating equipment, and like electrical appliances. Such openings are generally punched through one of the panels and lined with a rubber O ring to prevent cutting or abrasion of the wire. Other constructions utilize rectangular slots provided with a slidable access door to close the opening when wiring is not utilized. The O ring type openings are particularly unsightly and severely detract from the aesthetic appearance of furniture.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a panel for use in of free furniture and the like including an open interior and an access opening into the panel, the access opening being normally closed by a closure which includes a cover member having a laterally outwardly and downwardly extending spring arm adapted for positioning in a cavity within the interior of the panel, the cavity being positioned laterally and generally to one side of the peripheral edge of the access opening and including spaced top and bottom walls which engage the top and bottom surfaces respectively of the spring arm to thereby bias the cover downwardly into position on the access opening. The spring arm is a leaf-spring arm which bears at one point against the top wall and its end against the bottom wall of the cavity.
In another aspect of the invention, the cover member itself has a wiring window formed therein through which wiring may be passed from the interior of the end panels to the surface of the furniture article. However, a closable wiring window is provided in a side wall of the end panel adjacent the access opening. Wiring can, under some conditions, be passed through this adjacent window so the cover member with no wiring opening can be used. Other important objects and the many advantages of the present invention will become more fully appreciated when reading the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred and alternate embodiment of the invention BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is an exploded perspective view illustrating the closure member and a fragmentary section of the end panel supporting structure for an article of furniture;
FIG. 2 is a front view of the apparatus shown in FIG. I with the closure member shown in the process of being inserted into the access opening;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 illustrating the closure member biased into a second position closing the access opening;
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of an alternate closure member incorporating a wiring window; and
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a slug member for closing the wiring window in the end panel adjacent the main access opening.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, the end panel supporting structure for an article of furniture is generally designated by the numeral 10. Supporting structure 10 and the associated mechanisms by which it forms an integral part of a desk, bookcase, table, or the like are more fully expalined explained a copending application, assigned to the assignee of this application, entitled END PANEL SUPPORT SYSTEM filed June I, 1973, Ser. No. 366,218 by Jack Hockenberry, Ronald R. Hodges, Robert G. Mohr, Douglas Sheerhorn and Gale F. Wilcox, and incorporated herein by reference. Accordingly, only a minimum number of the component parts of the end panel supporting structure will be described herein necessary to an understanding of the operation of the invention.
Basically, end panel structure 10 is positioned at either side of an article as a deck top or the like (not shown) to be supported. The supported article abuts and is secured at the outer surface of an inner wall 12. Inner wall 12 has a generally flat, planar surface to which an outer wall structure 14 is secured to provide a rigid panel structure. A cover member 16 is secured to the outer wall by releasable fastening means as described in the above-identified application. The inner wall, the outer wall, and the end cover cooperatively form end panel structure l0 having a hollow interior or cavity 17 in which wiring for telephones, dictating equipment, and the like may be hidden and brought out to the work surface of the supported article of furniture.
A decorative trim strip 18 surrounds the edge sur faces of end panel 10 and is secured thereon on an upper wall flange 24 which is an integral part of inner wall 12. Outer wall 14 also includes an extending flange or ledge 22 spaced slightly downwardly from upper wall flange 24 to cooperatively form therewith a channel or cavity 20. Ledge 22 defines the bottom wall of the cavity and flange 24 the top wall.
An access opening 30 is provided through decorative trim 18, wall flange 24 and ledge 22 to allow access to the interior of the end panel structure. Wiring can be passed through opening 30. Also, opening 30 allows access to a release mechanism lever on the interior of panel 10. Actuation of release mechanism lever 100 facilitates removal of cover 16. A wiring window 31 may also be provided in inner wall 12 through which wiring may be passed from interior 17 to the surface of the supported article of furniture. Wiring window 31 is preferably formed in a backing plate 32 fixed to the inside surface ofinner wall 12. Hacking plate 32 includes a rolled annular flange 34 defining the edges of wiring window 31. The flange is adapted to hold a slug member 72 (FIG. 5) having a configuration corresponding to the window opening. When wiring is not passed through the window, slug 72 is simply slipped into place between inner wall 12 and flange 34 to close the window.
Access opening 30 is as previously mentioned, formed through the decorative trim strip 18 through upper wall flange 24 and ledge 22 to allow access to the interior of panel structure 10. While a large portion of upper wall flange 24 is cut away to form access opening 30, tabs 26 and 26a are formed in wall flange 24 to provide a side and a top stop for closure member 40 when it is positioned to close the opening as will be more fully described hereinafter.
Closure member 40 includes a main body portion or cover member 42 having depending flanges 44 and 44 thereon such that the closure has a configuration corre sponding to decorative trim strip 18 including its integral sid flanges 46. Closure 40 preferably carries the same finish as the decorative trim strip such that when positioned to close opening 30, it blends with trim strip 18 and is barely discernible. The closure also includes an extending spring arm 50 formed of resilient material extending laterally outwardly and downwardly at an in clined angle from cover 42. The inner end 52 of spring 50 is secured to closure 40 by bent tabs 48 fixed on the inner surface of body 42 (FIG. 4). Spring 50 extends outwardly from end 52 a slight distance forming a flat area 53 parallel to the main body 42. From flat 53 the spring arm includes a central downwardly bent resilient section 54 which terminates in a curved foot 56 at the outer end of one spring.
An elongated flange 60 extends downwardly from the interior of closure 40 and has an elongated slot 62 formed therein. The flange and the slot are provided to receive a tool such as a screwdriver or the like inserted through a slight upward deviation 64 formed in flange 44' for removal of the closure as will be more fully explained hereinafter.
As is clear from FIG. I, cavity within the interior of panel 10 is positioned laterally and generally to one side of the peripheral edge of access opening 30. In FIGS. 2 and 3, the simple installation of closure member 40 to cover access opening is illustrated Spring arm 50 is inserted through access opening 30 such that foot 56 enters cavity or channel 20 formed by ledge 22 and upper wall flange 24. As foot 56 and resilient section 54 of spring arm 50 enter channel 20, the force exerted along spring arm 50 urges the closure downwardly into the position shown in FIG. 3. When closed, the bottom surface of foot 56 abuts ledge 22 and the upper surface of flat portion 53 of the spring arm abuts upper wall flange 24. Actually, spring arm is resiliently deformed by the upward force on foot 56 and the downward force on flat 53. This, of course, urges closure 40 into position to close the access opening. Tabs 26, meanwhile. serve to prevent closure 40 from being urged through the access opening and prevent accidental side slipping of closure 40.
Closure 40 is simply removed by inserting a tool such as a screwdriver or a coin through deviation 64 in flange 44' and into slot 62 of flange and by applying a slight lifting or twisting force to overcome the biasing force of spring arm 50.
While a wiring window 31 is shown in inner wall 12, it is also desirable to provide a wiring window in the decorative trim strip itself. Accordingly, a slightly modified form of the closure member is provided for this purpose as illustrated in FIG. 4. This embodiment is essentially identical to that previously described with the exception of a wiring window 80 provided in body 42 of closure 40. Since the structures are identical, only a few reference numerals are included in this figure for an understanding thereof. Wiring window 80 passes through body 42 and flange 44. Operation of this embodiment is identical to that previously described wherein spring arm 50 is adapted for positioning in channel 20 formed in the end panel structure.
OPERATION In operation, an end panel 10 having an access open ing 30 is provided with two closures 40, one having an opening and another which is closed. To obtain access to the interior of the end panel, closure 40 is removed and lever is shifted to release cover 16. Wire can then be run through cavity 17 from the bottom of the end panel and out through access opening 30. Cover 40 having window 80 therein is then positioned to close access opening 30 by inserting spring arm 50 into channel 20. The wiring passes through opening 80 to the surface of the supported article of furniture. in furniture constructions where end panel 10 projects above the top of the work surface, slug 72 may be removed from opening 3] and the wiring passed therethrough. In this case, access opening 30 is covered with a closure 40 without any opening.
In view of the above, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the present invention provides a novel closure member for an access opening in an article of furniture. When in use, the closure is securely fastened in place by means of the novel biasing arm structure and yet is easily removed for access. The further provision of a wiring window in the closure member adds to its versatility. In either of the embodiments when the closure is used to cover an access opening, it does not detract from the general overall attractiveness of the furniture. Although a specific embodiment and a minor modification of the invention have been described and illustrated in detail, those skilled in the art will also appreciate that many other modifications can be made in the light of the foregoing disclosure. Accordingly, these modifications are to be considered as included in the appended claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as fol lows:
1. In a panel having an open interior, an access opening into said interior and a closure member for said ac cess opening, said access opening having a peripheral edge, the improvement comprising: said closure member including a cover having a configuration corresponding to that of said access opening; a resilient biasing spring arm extending laterally outwardly from said cover and generally to one side thereof and having a top surface and a bottom surface, said biasing spring arm being positionable through said access opening and into said interior of said panel; said interior of said panel including a cavity positioned laterally adjacent and generally to one side of said peripheral edge of said access opening and including spaced top and bottom walls; said spring arm extending into said cavity between said spaced top and bottom walls of said cavity, said top wall engaging said top surface of said spring arm and said bottom wall engaging said bottom surface of said spring arm at spaced points along the length of said spring arm to thereby force said cover downwardly into position closing said access opening.
2. In a panel structure for an article of furniture or the like, said panel including an open interior, an access opening into said interior and a closure for said opening, said opening including a peripheral edge, the improvement comprising: said closure including a cover portion having a configuration corresponding to that of said access opening; a resilient spring arm ex tending laterally outwardly and downwardly at an inclined angle from said cover portion and generally to one side thereof and having top and bottom surfaces, said spring arm being adapted for positioning through said access opening into said interior of said panel; said panel including a cavity within said interior generally adjacent and positioned laterally and generally to one side of said peripheral edge of said access opening, said cavity including spaced top and bottom walls said spring arm extending into said cavity between said spaced top and bottom walls of said cavity, said top wall engaging said top surface of said spring arm and said bottom wall engaging said bottom surface of said spring arm at spaced points along the length of said spring arm whereby said spring arm tends to force said cover downwardly into position on said access opening as a result of its spaced engagement with said top wall and said bottom wall of said cavity.
3. The apparatus as defined in claim 2 wherein said outwardly and downwardly extending biasing member spring arm includes a first portion thereon extending generally parallel to said cover and a second portion extending downwardly from said first portion, said first portion being adapted to abut said top wall adjacent said access opening and said second portion being adapted to abut said bottom wall.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 in which said panel includes a first wall with a peripheral flange projecting laterally therefrom to generally define the periphery of said panel; said panel including a rail projecting from said wall at a point spaced inwardly from said peripheral flange, said peripheral flange defining said top wall of said cavity and said rail defining said bottom wall of said cavity.
5. The apparatus of claim 3 and further including said cover having a wiring window formed therein, said wiring window being adapted to hold and guide a wire passing from said interior of said panel means to the exterior thereof.
6. The apparatus of claim 2 in which said panel includes a first wall and a peripheral edge wall extending laterally from said first wall; said access opening lying in said peripheral edge wall; said first wall including a wiring window therein positioned adjacent said access opening and being in communication therewith whereby wiring or the like can be brought out of the interior of said panel and through said wiring window when said closure is removed from said access opening and can subsequently be prevented from removal out of said access opening by replacing said closure on said access opening.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 in which: said wiring window includes means for receiving a closure therefor; a closure for said wiring window being releasably positioned within said receiving means whereby said wiring window can be closed when not in use.
8. The apparatus of claim 2 in which: said panel includes a first wall and a cover wall which is removably secured to said first wall; actuator means positioned in the vicinity of said access opening for releasably securing said cover wall to said first wall whereby one can remove said closure from said access opening and thereby gain access to said actuator means.
9. The panel of claim 8 in which: a peripheral edge wall extends laterally from said first wall; said access opening being positioned in said peripheral edge wall.
10. The panel of claim 9 in which said cover of said closure defines generally a continuation of said peripheral edge wall. said cover including a pair of spaced side walls, one of said side walls extending downwardly to a position just above the edge of said cover wall; said one side wall of said cover member including an up ward deviation therein, deviating upwardly away from said cover wall whereby a screwdriver or like tool can be inserted therethrough; said cover including a flange projecting downwardly from the top wall thereof, said flange including a slot therein for engagement by a screwdriver or the like whereby said cover can be removed by inserting said screwdriver or like tool through said deviation and into said slot and prying upwardly thereon.
11. The apparatus as defined in claim 3 and further including means on said closure member adapted to receive a tool whereby said closure member may be removed from said access opening.
12. The apparatus as defined in claim 9 wherein said tool-receiving means on said cover includes a downwardly extending flange member, said flange having a slot formed therein to receive said tool.