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Publication numberUS3916972 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 4, 1975
Filing dateSep 28, 1973
Priority dateSep 28, 1973
Also published asCA1011525A1, DE2446080A1, DE2446080C2
Publication numberUS 3916972 A, US 3916972A, US-A-3916972, US3916972 A, US3916972A
InventorsBreiner Frank S
Original AssigneeSteelcase Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Partition system
US 3916972 A
Abstract
The specification discloses a partition system including a single link for joining adjacent partitions which can be used to join them in rigid aligned relationship or in an angular and preferably pivotable relationship while still maintaining a smooth flowing rather than staggered inside corner appearance.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Breiner PARTITION SYSTEM [75] Inventor: Frank S. Breiner, Kentwood, Mich.

[73] Assignee: Steelcase Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

[22] Filed: Sept. 28, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 401,821

52 U.S.Cl. 160/135; 16/135; 52/239;

52/71 51 Int. l. ..A47G 5/00 58 FieldofSearch l6/l2,13l, 135,149;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,372,977 4/1945 North 16/135 2,632,533 3/1953 MacKenzie 46/29 X 2,694,614 11/1954 Dent ..108/64X Nov. 4, 1975 3,319,801 5/1967 3,337,904 8/1967 3,428,108 2/1969 3,510,188 5/1970 3,538,976 ll/l970 3,646,635 3/1972 Primary Examiner-Marion Parsons, Jr.

Assistant Examiner-Peter A. Aschenbrenner Attorney, Agent, or FinnPn'ce, Heneveld, Huizenga and Cooper [57] ABSTRACT The specification discloses a partition system including a single link for joining adjacent partitions which can be used to join them in rigid aligned relationship or in an angular and preferably pivotable relationship while still maintaining asmooth flowing rather than staggered inside corner appearance.

15 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet 1 of2 3,916,972

US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet 2 of2 3,916,972

1 PARTI'IION SYSTEM 7 BACKGROUND or THE'INVENTION 3 f In prior art space divider partition systems individual partition panels are generally free standing and have perpendicular supporting legs positioned at their lower portions. To form a wall or space divider the panels are placed in abutting relationship. Since the separate pan elsjare not secured together some of them may shift out of alignment rendering an unsightly appearance. Some systems include an elongated hinge or the like connected between adjacent pairs of panels allowing them to be shifted at an angle with respect to each other. These systems are however, typically complicated. Links have also been provided at the top and bottom of a pair of panels to allow swinging with respect to each other but these are generally found to be wobbly both laterally and longitudinally with respect to each other. Also, when one partition is rotated with respect to another, the inside corner defined by the partitions takes on an unsightly, staggered appearance. In other systems rigidly bolted connectors are used to fix pairs of panels together. These rigidly fixed connectors however do not facilitate the changing of the angle of the partitions with respect to one another and separate angle connectors must also be provided. These and other systems all suffer from the drawback that many complicated brackets and special connectors must be provided for each different arrangement of panels.

SUMMARY The present invention overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art partition systems in its provision of a single inexpensive link member which makes it possible to provide in line or angular arrangements of partitions using only a single basic linking component. The link includes a first set of connectors for cooperating with the fastening means on adjacent partitions to join the partitions together in aligned relationship. A second set of connectors are provided for cooperating with the partition fastening means for joining them in an angular relationship with respect to one another.

As a result of this construction, the first connectors can be made to facilitate rigid, inline connection of the partitions and the second set of connectors can be constructed so as to facilitate pivotable, angular connection. Further, the second set of connectors can be oriented with respect to the link as a whole in such a way that when the second set of connectors is used to. join the link to a first partition, the joining point for a sec- 'ond partition is actually out of alignment with the first partition. This makes it possible to provide a smooth and less staggered inside corner appearance when two partitions are joined together in an angular relationship with respect to each other. I n

The many important objects and advantages of ,the present invention will be more fully appreciated by those skilled in the art when reading the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a plurality of panels interconnected to form a space divider system;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary plan view taken generally along the plane II-II of FIG. 1 illustrating theconnection of a pair of adjacent panels;

portion of a partition panel; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view illustrating the lower support means for the partition panel with the link mounted thereon.

DESCRIPTION F THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The partition system of the present invention employs a specially configured connector member 40 (FIG. 4) to connect pairs'of adjacent partitions 10 together in alignment or at angles with respect to each other to efficiently provide a space divider system for modern modular office layouts. A representative partition assembly is shown in FIG. 1 wherein a plurality of partitions 10 are arranged in a space dividing' layout. A number of modular components as desks 30 a shelf 32 files 34 and the like are positioned on the partitions and held in place by a conventional hook-type bracket 36. Adjacent pairs of partitions 10 are secured together in alignment with each other or at an angle with respect to each other by means of special connector or link 40 (FIGS. 2, 3 and 4) as will be more fully described hereinafter.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, partitions 10 have a general hollow interior formed of sheet metal vertical channels 12 an upper horizontal channel 14 and a lower horizontal channel 16. The various channels are welded to each other to form the interior framework. Cover panels 18 made of particle board or the like are fixed over the interior framework and are covered with a decorative fabric 20 or the like. The side edges of the partitions include decorative trim strips 22 and the top edges are provided with a removable decorative cap or cover 24.

Partitions 10 are support at the bottom on support brackets (only one is shown) positioned adjacent side trim strip 22. Lower supports 50 are welded to the lower horizontal channel ,16 and support the entire weight of the panel. Leveling-"guides 52 threaded into lower supports 50 serve to level the partitions on a floor surface in a conventional-manner. Support 50 includes an "outwardly extending, threaded, apertured portion to receive fastening means to secure linking member '40 as will be more fully described hereinafter.

Upper horizontal channel 14 is shaped as an inverted U and extends along the top of the partition assembly belowcover 24; At its ends, adjacent, and forming part of the side trim strip 22, upper horizontal channel 14 "has a threaded plate member 26 which includes two 'upp'er horizontal channel 14. Cover member 24 is also formed of sheet material and has a generally hollow interior. When positioned to cover the top of a panel assembly a slight gap exists at the ends of cover 24 adjacent side trim strips 22 to allow link 40 to extend therefrom (FIG. 6). 7

Link 40 (FIG. 4) has a generally rectangular main body portion 42 with a series of spaced openings 43 placed generally at the corners of the rectangle. An additional opening 44 is positioned generally in the center of the rectangular main body portion. A leg 45 extends outwardly from the body from the longer side thereof and includes an angular edge or wall portion 46 extending from one of its longer sides outwardly to form an intersection with an outermost rounded extremity or head 47 of the leg 45. An opening 48 is provided in the rounded end of the leg and another opening 49 is positioned along the length of leg 45, generally adjacent the intersection of angular edge 46 with the rounded end portion or head 47.

It will be noted that the first set of connector holes 43 of link 40 are used to join the partitions 10 together in aligned relationship while the holes 44, 49 and 48 provide a second set of holes which facilitate joining the partitions together in a pivotable, angular relationship with respect to each other. The first set of holes 43 are oriented generally at the corners of the main body portion 42 in a regular, rectangular fashion such that when the respective fastening means 70 and 72 of the respective adjacent partitions are passed therethrough, the entire link 40 lies in alignment with the two partitions. Even the projecting leg 45 is positioned in alignment with the first partition. This, coupled with the relative size of link 40 with respect to the size of the partitions insures that all of link 40 will lie within the confines of the opposite faces, defined by surface panels 20, of the partitions and, except for its side edge, will not be exposed to view.

The second set of cooperating connector holes, however, are oriented with respect to link 40 in such a way that when holes 44 and 49 are secured to one of the partitions 10 by means of bolt 72 passing through hole 44 and into hole 28a at the top of partition 10 and fastener 70 passing through hole 49 and into a corner hole 28, link 40 is cocked at an angle with respect to the longitudinal plane defined by the partition 10 and leg 45 actually projects out of alignment with respect to partition 10. In this way, the point of connection for the adjacent partition, i.e., hole 48, is offset from alignment with the first partition such that a smoother inside corner is obtained when the two partitions are joined together (FIG. 3). If the point of connection 48 for the second partition were in alignment with the first partition, the inside corner defined by the two partitions would have a more staggered appearance and would not be as attractive to the user. j I

As an aid to the user, the face of link 40 is stamped with a line 40a which connects the first set holes 43. This advises the user that these holes are ,to be used in conjunction. Similarly, the second set holes 44, 49 and 48 are connected by a second line 40b stamped into the face of link 40 to show the user that these holes are used in conjunction.

It should be noted that the angle of angular wall 46 of link 40 with respect to the body 42 of link'40 issuch that this edge wall 46 does not projectbeyond the .confines of the space between the opposing faces of the partitions when the second set of holes, 44, 49anid 48,

are used. At the juncture of angular edge wall 46 with the head 47 of leg' 45,.an inwardly recessed notch 51 is defined. This makes it possible to provide an enlarged head 47 to ensure a rigid connecting point for the angularly disposedpartition, and yet eliminates excess material whichwould otherwise project outwardly into the space at the inside comer defined by the two partitions. T

Openings 43, 44, 48 and 49 in link 40 are slightly oversize with respect to the bolt size which passes therethrough into the retaining means in the panels and in the lower support bracket. The holes are also spaced apart a predetermined distance on the link so that any selected adjacent pair of openings will be in general alignment with any selected pair of adjacent threaded openings in the retainers. The link accordingly can be positioned in an adjacent pair of threaded openings in the partitions to thereby connect pairs of partitions at an angle or in line with respect to each other as will be hereinafter described.

, bower support bracket 50 shown in FIG. 7 includes apertured portion 60 in which a series of spaced apart threaded openings 61, 62 and 63 are provided. The threaded openings 61 and 62 are positioned adjacent the outermost ends at the corners of apertured portion 60 while opening 63 is generally centrally located and spaced inwardly a slight distance. The spacing and alignment of the threaded openings in the support bracket corresponds to that of the openings 28 and 28a in threaded plate 26 located at the upper portion of the partitions. When the panelsare assembled, threaded plate 26 and the threaded apertured portion 60 of lower support 50 are arranged to be in vertical alignment at the side edges of each individual partition 10.

Lower support 50 includes a central threaded aperture 53 which receives the corresponding threaded portion of leveling guide 52 in a conventional manner. An aperture tongue like projection 54 opposite aperture portion 60 is utilized to support closure mechanisms (not shown) for the base of the wiring channel formed in the base of the panels. The structure and operation of lower support 50 other than the aperture portion 60 form no part of the present invention, and accordingly, will not be described in greater detail. For a more detailed discussion of lower support 50 and its novel features, reference may be had to copending, commonly assigned, application entitled SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR PARTITIONS, U.S. Ser. No. 401,625 invented by Alexander A. Karrip, filed on even date herewith, and incorporated herein by reference.

To facilitate assembly an upwardly extending tapered stud is fixed in one of the threaded openings 28 of plate 26 (FIGS. 2 and 5). The studs are preferably provided on eachend of an individual partition at opposite sides thereof so that when a pair of partitions are placed in abutting relationship as shown in FIG. 2 the link may be conveniently dropped over the studs which serve to tempora'rilyhold the link in position. To secure a pair of partitions in abutting relationship all that is required is to insert bolts 72 through adjacent holes in link 40 and fasten themsecurely into the top edge of the partition in threaded plate 26. The lower portions of an adjacent pair of partitions are similarly secured by removing the cover plate2l at the lower portion (FIG. 5) andpositioning a link over adjacent threaded portions 60 of lower support bracket 50. The link is secured at the lower support by a bolt 72 passing through the openings. in the link and into corresponding theaded openings 61 and2 in the lower support. Decorative cover plate 21 and top cover 24 are then replaced and the assembled partitions are ready for use.

. In FIG. 3 the angular relationship of a pair of paititions is illustrated wherein openings 44 and 49 in the link are used to secure the link to one of the partitions while opening 48 in the leg is utilized to secure the adjacent partition at an angle with respect to the first; In this arrangement stud 70 in the left hand partition passes through opening 49 and the centrally threaded opening 28 receives fastening means 72 through opening 44 in the link. In the adjacent panel only one threaded opening is utilized to receive fastening bolt 72 passing through opening 48 in the leg of the link. Stud .70 is not utilized in the adjacent partition at this time.

The lower portion of the partitions are similarly affixed by means of an identical link 40, bolts 72 and stud 70 passing through and secured in the threaded portion 60 of lower support 50. One slight variation is that a stud 70 is used at the bottom of partition to pass through hole 48 in head 47 instead of a bolt 72 so that connection is effected at this point by simply setting the head 47 of link 40 over stud 70 at the bottom of partition 10.

Those skilled in the art will recognize that virtually any I desired angular relationship of a pair of adjacent partisaid first set of connectors being oriented with respect 1 to each other such that said leg is in alignment with said firstpartition when said link is joined to said first partition by said first two connectorsof said first set of coni with respect to said first partition when joined thereto through said second set of connectors, whereby when said second partition is joined to said second setthird connector in an angular relationship, the inside corner defined by said first and second partitions will be relatively smooth flowing and less staggered than would be the case if said second set third connector were in f alignment with said first partition when said link is tions can be achieved through the use-of the novel link structure of the invention. When not in use the link can be conveniently storedwithin the partition assembly by simply facing the leg inwardly and securing the link in place by means of the bolts provided. When the cover 24 is fixed in place only the side edge of the link is visible and it may be plated or finished to complement the finish of the partition assembly.

Those skilled in the art will recognize other arrangeinents of the invention can be provided. All modifications of the invention are to be considered as included in the appended claims unless these claims by their lanv guage expressly state otherwise.

1., A partition system comprising: first and second partitions and a link for joining said partitions, each of said partitions having fastening means to facilitate fastening of said partition to said link; said link havin'ga body and a leg projecting from said body; a first set of at least three connectors located in said body, a first two connectors of said first set for cooperating with said first partition fastening means and a third connector for cooperating with said second partition fastening means for joining saidfirst and second partitions together in alignment'with one another; said link having a separate second set of at least three different connectors, a first and second connector for cooperating with said first partition fastening means and a third connec tor for cooperating with said second partition fastening means for joining said first and second partitions together in an angular relationship with respect to each other; said first set of connectors being located so as to be in alignment with said first partition when said link is joined to said first partition by said first two connectors of said first set of connectors, whereby said second partition will be in alignment with said first partition when joined to said third connector of said first set of connectors; at least said third connector of said second set of connectors being located in said leg; said leg and joined to said first partition by said first two connectors of said second set of connectors.

' 2. The partition system of claim l inwhich said connectorsof said first set'of connectors are'interconnected by a first line in the face of said link and said connectors of said second set of connectors are interconnected by a second line in the face of said link whereby a user can tell at a glance which connectors are to be used in conjunction with one another.

3. The partition system of claim 1 in which said first 7 set of connectors comprises a fourth connector cooperating with said second partition fastening means whereby when said first set of connectors is used to join The embodiment of the invention in which an exclu- 4Q sive property or privilege are claimed are described as follows:

said first and second partitions together, the first and second partitions are held in rigid alignment with respect to one another.

4. The partition system of claim ond partition, and one of said first and second connectors is located in the body of said link and the other of saidfirst and second connectors along the length of said leg, between said third connector at the-end ofsaid v.legandsaidbody. I

of claim 4 in which said con-- I nectors of said first set of connectors are intercon nected by a first line in the face of said link and said 5. The partition system connectors of said second set of connectors are inter-, connected by a second line in the face of said link whereby a user can tell at a glance which connectors are to be used in conjunction with one another.

6. The partition system of claim 4 in .which'said first s'et of connectors are oriented in said body such that said body is generally in alignment with the longitudinal joined to said first partition by said first set of connectors; said second set of connectors being oriented with respect'to said link such that said link is oriented at an angle with respect to the longitudinal plane defined by said first partition when said link is joined to said first partition by said second set of connectors; said body of said link being sufficiently small and being configurated such that it fits within the confines of the opposite faces of said first partition when oriented in alignment with respect to said first partition and when oriented at an angle with respect to said first partition.

3 in which said second setthird connector is located in the end of said leg i for cooperation with saidfastening means on said sec-' t 7. The system of claim 6 in which said leg of said link includes one edge wall extending generally straight outwardly from one edge wall of said body, said leg including another edge wall which extends generally at an angle outwardly from another edge wall of said body such that when said link is oriented at an angle with respect to the longitudinal plane defined by said first partition, said angular edge wall of said leg is positioned generally within the confines of the opposite faces of said first partition whereby only the end of said leg projects laterally out of alignment with said first partition.

8. The partition system of claim 7 in which said leg terminates at a head, said angular edge wall extending outwardly to its juncture with said head; said link including an inwardly deviating notch at the juncture of said head of said leg and said angular edge wall of said leg whereby a large head is provided at which said third connector of said second set of connectors is located, said notch eliminating an excess of link material protruding into the inside corner defined by said first and second partitions when joined in an angular relationship with respect to one another.

9. The partition system of claim 1 in which said first set of connectors are oriented in said body such that said body is generally in alignment with the longitudinal plane defined by said first partition when said link is joined to said first partition by said first connectors; said second set of connectors being oriented with respect to said link such that said link is oriented at an angle with respect to the longitudinal plane defined by said first partition when said link is joined to said first partition by said second set of connectors; said body of said link being sufficiently small and being configurated such that it fits within the confines of the opposite faces of said first partition when oriented in alignment with respect to said first partition and when oriented at an angle with respect to said first partition.

10. The system of claim 9 in which said leg of said link includes one edge wall extending generally straight outwardly from one edge wall of said body, said leg including another edge wall which extends generally at an angle outwardly from another edge wall of said body such that when said link is oriented at an angle with respect to the longitudinal plane defined by said first partition, said angular edge wall of said leg is positioned generally within the confines of the opposite faces of said first partition whereby only the end of said leg projects laterally out of alignment with said first partition.

1 l. The partition system of claim 10 in which said leg terminates at a head, said angular edge wall extending outwardly to its juncture with said head; said link including an inwardly deviating notch at the juncture of said head of said leg and said angular edge wall of said leg whereby a large head is provided at which said third connector of said second set of connectors is located, said notch eliminating an excess of link material protruding into the inside comer defined by said first and second partitions when joined in an angular relationship with respect to one another.

12. A partition system comprising: first and second partitions and a link for joining said partitions; each of said partitions having a first and second fastening means for facilitating joining of said link to each of said partitions; said link having a body and a leg projecting from said body; said body including a first set of four connectors, two of said connectors being provided for cooperating with said first and second fastening means of said first partition and two of said connectors being provided for cooperating with said first and second fastening means of said second partition whereby said first and second partitions are joined together in rigid aligned relationship with respect to each other; said link including a second set of at least a first connector and a second connector, at least said second connector being located generally at the end of said leg of said link, said first connector of said second set of connectors cooperating with one of said first and second fastening means of said first partition and said second connector of said second set of connectors cooperating with one of said first and second fastening means of said second partition whereby said first and second partitions can be joined together by said link in pivotable, angular relationship with respect to one another.

13. The partition system of claim 12 in which said second set of connectors includes a third connector located in said body, said second set first connector being located generally between said second set third and second connectors; said first partition including a third fastening means located equidistant from said first and second fastening means; said third connector cooperating with said third fastening means of said first partition whereby said link is rigidly joined to said first partition and is pivotally connected to said second partition.

14. The partition system of claim 13 in which said first and third connectors of said second set of connectors are oriented in said link such that when said link I is connected to said first partition thereby, said link is oriented at an angle with respect to said first partition with said leg projecting generally laterally out of alignment with respect to said first partition, whereby the inside corner defined by said first and second partitions will be smoother flowing and less staggered than would be the case if said leg were located in alignment with said first partition when said first and third connectors of said second set of connectors is used to join said link to said first partition.

15. The partition system of claim 14 in which said connectors of said first set of connectors are interconnected by a first line in the face of said link and said connectors of said second set of connectors are interconnected by a second line in the face of said link whereby a user can tell at a glance which connectors are to be used in conjunction with one another.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4161850 *Feb 1, 1978Jul 24, 1979Peterson Brent ARoom divider
US4338990 *Feb 7, 1980Jul 13, 1982American Seating CompanyPanel wall systems with modular component build-up
US4715154 *Dec 10, 1984Dec 29, 1987Steelcase Inc.Space partition module
US4856242 *Dec 18, 1987Aug 15, 1989Steelcase Inc.Space partition arrangement
US4874027 *May 20, 1988Oct 17, 1989Westinghouse Electric Corp.Office space dividing arrangement
US5152698 *Feb 7, 1989Oct 6, 1992Steelcase Inc.Floor track system for office furniture and the like
US5775034 *Jun 10, 1996Jul 7, 1998Logue; Michael F. D.Folding screen environment system
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US6161347 *Dec 23, 1998Dec 19, 2000Haworth, Inc.Panel arrangement
US6481163Oct 20, 2000Nov 19, 2002Steelcase Development CorporationPartition panel
US6591563Jun 15, 2001Jul 15, 2003Steelcase Development CorporationPanel system
US6711871Apr 26, 2001Mar 30, 2004Herman Miller, Inc.Wall panel with off-module components
US7150127Jun 3, 2003Dec 19, 2006Kimball International, Inc.Partition system
US7540115Mar 10, 2004Jun 2, 2009Kimball International, Inc.Partition system
US7891148Sep 19, 2006Feb 22, 2011Kimball International, Inc.Partition system
US7908805Jan 9, 2009Mar 22, 2011Kimball International, Inc.Partition system
US8393122Feb 11, 2011Mar 12, 2013Kimball International, Inc.Partition system
WO2003104581A2 *Jun 3, 2003Dec 18, 2003Kimball IntPartition system
Classifications
U.S. Classification160/135, 16/389, 52/239, 52/71
International ClassificationE04B2/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2/7431, E04B2/7427, E04B2/7425, E04B2002/7483
European ClassificationE04B2/74C3D3, E04B2/74C3D3B, E04B2/74C3D2