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Publication numberUS3923354 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 2, 1975
Filing dateDec 23, 1974
Priority dateNov 13, 1974
Publication numberUS 3923354 A, US 3923354A, US-A-3923354, US3923354 A, US3923354A
InventorsYoung Herbert
Original AssigneeKidde Merchandising Equipment
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rolling shelf system
US 3923354 A
Abstract
A storage system of the type wherein shelf units are movably mounted, such that only one access aisle is required, is provided with manually operable drive means for moving the shelf units. The storage system includes carriage means supported on a track means for movement therealong. The shelf units are mounted on the carriage means for movement therewith. The manually operable drive means includes a manually rotatable member which is supported on a shelf unit for rotation relative thereto, a drive means which is supported on the carriage means for driving the latter along the track means, and chain means connecting the manually rotatable member and the drive means such that rotational movement of the rotatable member is imparted to the drive means by the chain means whereby to drive the carriage means along the track means and thus move the shelf units relative to each other thereby to create or eliminate an aisle therebetween.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1 Dec. 2, 1975 1 1 ROLLING SHELF SYSTEM [75] Inventor: Herbert Young, West Simsbury,

Conn.

[73] Assignee: Kidde Merchandising Equipment Group, South Windsor, Conn.

[22] Filed: Dec. 23, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 535,802

Related U.S. Application Data [63] Continuation of Ser. No. 306,376, Nov. 13, 1974,

abandoned.

[52] U.S. Cl. 312/201; 312/198; 312/199 [51] Int. Cl. A47B 53/00; A47B 49/00 [58] Field of Search 312/198, 199, 201

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,584,438 2/1952 Boff et al. 312/199 2,915,195 12/1959 Crosby 312/199 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 256,210 10/1964 Australia 312/198 696,130 lO/l964 I Canada 312/199 96,024 5/1963 Denmark 312/198 Primary ExaminerPaul R. Gilliam Assistant ExaminerVictor N. Sakran [57] ABSTRACT A storage system of the type wherein shelf units are movably mounted, such that only one access aisle is required, is provided with manually operable drive means for moving the shelf units. The storage system includes carriage means supported on a track means for movement therealong. The shelf units are mounted on the carriage means for movement therewith. The manually operable drive means includes a manually rotatable member which is supported on a shelf unit for rotation relative thereto, a drive means which is supported on the carriage means for driving the latter along the track means, and chain means connecting the manually rotatable member and the drive means such that rotational movement of the rotatable member is imparted to the drive means by the chain means whereby to drive the carriage means along the track means and thus move the shelf units relative to each other thereby to create or eliminate an aisle therebetween.

8 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures Sheet 1 of 5 U.S. Patent Dec. 2, 1975 Dec. 2, 1975 Sheet 2 of 5 3,923,354

US. Patent US. Patent Dec. 2, 1975 Sheet 3 of5 3,923,354

Law

US. Patent Dec. 2, 1975 Sheet 5 of5 3,923,354

ROLLING SHELF SYSTEM This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 306,376, filed Nov. 13, l974, now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION To minimize the space occupied thereby, storage systems have been developed in recent years which necessitate the employment of only one access aisle. In accordance therewith, the shelf units of the storage systems are movably mounted thereby to permit adjacent shelf units to be moved into and out of abutting engagement to eliminate or create an aisle therebetween. It has been found that such storage systems may provide over 40% extra storage capacity in the same area normally used for fixed shelving with multiple aisles.

Commonly, storage means of this type include a fixedly mounted shelf unit provided at either end thereof and two or more movably mounted, i.e., mobile shelf units supported for movement between the fixedly mounted end units. Such storage systems vary as to the number of mobile shelf units that are provided therein. Theoretically, a storage system can be provided with any given number of shelf units. However, from a practical standpoint, there is a limit as to the number of mobile units which is feasible to employ in a given storage system. In general, this number is arrived at as a result of a consideration of how many mobile units it would be necessary to move to open an end aisle when the access aisle is located in the center of the storage system.

Although the storage systems which have been provided heretofore, generally speaking, have varied somewhat from each other insofar as concerns their particular structural arrangement, there has nevertheless existed in all of them a functional requirement that an external force be applied to the shelf units to cause the latter to move. In some storage systems, for example, the shelf units are caused to move as the result of the application thereto of the physical force of an individual pushing thereagainst. In other cases, electrically operated motors equiped with suitable manually operated switch controls are employed to move the shelf units. Finally, in some systems, some form of manually operable mechanical member is utilized for this purpose.

Each of these various force applying means, however, possesses some characteristic disadvantage. For example, in systems wherein the shelf units are manually pushed from one position to another, it is essential that the roller means on which the shelf units move be carefully constructed such as to ensure the capability therein of allowing the desired movement to occur without incurring excessive binding, frictional resistance, or other conditions which could cause excessive drag. To provide the necessary tolerance in the parts to achieve this objective, obviously increases the cost of manufacture thereof. In addition, as the shelf units are filled, the amount of force needed to move them, of course, increases to the point where some difficulty may be encountered in attempting to move the units. With regard to storage systems which utilize electrically operated motors, although such motors are perfectly capable of providing the desired degree of force needed to move the mobile shelf units, such means by their very nature are both relatively costly and complex, and accordingly, increase the cost of manufacture and installation. As a means of increasing the amount of force capable of being employed to move the shelf units above that available solely through the efforts of one individual pushing against the shelf units while at the same time minimizing the cost required to make available this additional force relative to the cost, for example, of employing an electrically operated motor for this purpose, manually operating members have been employed. These have not proven to be entirely satisfactory, however, heretodate primarily because of their limited ability to effectively and efficiently produce the desired movement.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved rolling shelf system of the type embodying a plurality of mobile shelf units and including a force applying means for moving the shelf units such that access may be afforded to each shelf unit through the provision of space for only one aisle.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide such a roll shelf system wherein movement of the shelf units is accomplished by means of a manually operable rotating member.

Another object of the present invention is to provide such a rolling shelf system wherein the force available to move the shelf unit is greater than that capable of being generated by an individual pushing against the shelf units, and wherein the means employed to apply the force is simpler in construction and less costly to manufacture and install than are force applying means of the motorized type.

A further object of the present invention is to provide such a rolling shelf system wherein the manually operable rotating member employed therein is readily adaptable for use in structurally different rolling shelf systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It has now been found that the foregoing and related objects can be readily attained in a rolling shelf system of the type wherein shelf units are movably mounted, such that only access aisle is required. The rolling shelf system includes parallel track means mounted on a surface in a pre-determined arrangement, and carriage means including an elongated axle and a pair of wheels supported on the elongated axle for rotation therewith. The carriage means further includes at least one other axle and one other pair of wheels supported on the carriage means. The wheels function to support the carriage means on the track means for movement therealong. A shelf unit is mounted on the carriage means for movement therewith. A manual force applying drive means is provided for moving the shelf unit along the track means. The manual force applying means includes a manually rotatable member supported on the shelf unit, rotatable drive means supported on the carnage means for rotating the elongated axle and wheels supported thereon, and chain means connecting the rotatable member and the rotatable drive means for transmitting rotation of the rotatable member into rotation of the rotatable drive means thereby to rotate the elongated axle and wheels thereon to cause movement of the carriage means along the track means whereby to move the shelf unit along the track means.

In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, the rolling shelf system includes a carriage means supported for movement of the track means, the latter being mounted on a surface in a predetermined arrangement. The carriage means further includes a plurality of axles and a plurality of wheels supported thereon for rotation therewith. At least a pair of mobile shelf units are mounted on the carriage means for movement therewith. A manual force applying drive means is provided for moving the pair of mobile shelf units between a first position wherein the pair of mobile shelf units are in abutting relation and a second position wherein the pair of mobile shelf units are spaced apart to create an aisle therebetween. The manual force applying means includes a manually rotatable member supported on one of the mobile shelf units and connected to a pulley member also supported thereon. In addition, the manual force applying means includes an axle drive means supported on the carriage means for driving one of the axles, the manual force applying means includes chain means which connects the rotatable member and the axle drive means for transmitting rotation of the rotatable member into rotation of the axle drive means thereby to rotate one of the axles to cause movement of the carriage means along the track means whereby to move the pair of mobile shelf units between the aforesaid first and second positions thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rolling shelf system constructed in accordance with the present invention:

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the track means of the rolling shelf system of FIG. 1 illustrated in the disassembled condition and with parts broken away for pur poses of clarity of illustration;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of a manual force applying drive means capable of being employed in the rolling shelf system of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the manual force applying drive means illustrated in FIG. 3, taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a portion of another embodiment of manual force applying drive means capable of being employed in the rolling shelf system of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an end view of the portion of the manual force applying drive means illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an end view of the remaining portion of the embodiment of manual force applying drive means illustrated in FIG. 5 and 6;

FIG. 8 is a front view of the embodiment of manual force applying drive means of FIGS. S7, with portions thereof illustrated in schematic form;

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of manual force applying drive means of FIGS. 5-7, with portions thereof illustrated in schematic form;

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of the carriage means of the rolling shelf system of FIG. 1, with portions thereof illustrated in schematic form; and

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the track engaging portion of the carriage means of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIG. 1 of the drawings, there is illustrated therein a rolling shelf system, generally designated by reference numeral 10, constructed in accordance with the present invention. As illustrated therein, the system 10 includes a pair of fixedly mounted end units 12 and 14 at either end thereof. Between the end units 12 and 14 there are mounted for movement, in a manner to be set forth subsequently, five mobile shelf 4 units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. For purposes of this description, five mobile shelf units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 have been illustrated, but it is to be understood that a greater or a lesser number of such units could be employed in the rolling shelf system 10 without departing from the essence of the invention.

The manner in which storage space is provided internally in each of the shelf units 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 is only indirectly related to the subject matter of the present invention. As such, only a brief description thereof will be set forth hereinafter. Thus, one exemplary form of shelving which may be utilized for this purpose constitutes the subject matter of my copending patent application, Ser. No. 58,214, filed July 27, 1970, and assigned to the same assignee as the present invention now U.S. Pat. No. 3,677,202 granted July 18, 1972. In accordance therewith and as best understood with reference to the illustration in FIG. 1 of shelf unit 18, the latter is provided with a plurality of vertically extending load bearing members, i.e., spaced metal uprights, a portion 26 of one of which is shown in FIG. 3. Extending in a vertical plane between the uprights 26, there are preferably provided a plurality of panels 28 which when suitably supported on the uprights 26 form the side and end walls of a given shelf 30. Similar panel like members 32 are utilized to form the top and bottom walls of the shelves 30. As shown in FIG. 1, shelf unit 18 is provided with 15 storage spaces, i.e., shelves 30 of approximately equal size. However, it is to be understood that as set forth in the aforereferenced patent application, the number and size of shelves 30 can be varied by utilizing different size panels 28. Also, as set forth therein, if so desired, rather than utilize individual panels 28 and 32 to form the walls of the shelves 30, integral members could be utilized to form either the vertically extending walls or the horizontally extending walls of the shelves 30. The base of the shelf unit 18 houses a carriage means 34, yet to be described, which includes the means whereby the shelf unit 18 is capable of being rolled from a first position as shown in FIG. 1 wherein shelf unit 18 is in abutting engagement with shelf unit 16 and a second position (not shown) wherein shelf unit 18 is out of engagement with shelf unit 16 such that an access aisle is created between shelf units 16 and 18. Although the above description has been directed solely to a brief explanation of one form of shelving structure for shelf unit 18, it is to be understood that each of the other shelf units shown in FIG. 1, i.e., shelf units 12, 14, 16, 20, 22 and 24 preferably embody a shelving structure of a similar nature. For a more detailed description thereof, reference may be had to the aforementioned patent application.

With reference now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, there is illustrated therein one embodiment of track means 36 which is preferably utilized in the rolling shelf system 10. The track means 36 functions as a guide and support structure on which the mobile shelf units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24, travel when moved from one position thereof to another. The track means 36 consist of a plurality of elongated tubular tracks 38 and a plurality of mounting means 40, only one of each of which has been depicted in FIG. 2. Each of the tracks 38 is of generally hollow construction and corresponds in length to the length of the rolling shelf system 10. At suitable intervals, each of the tracks 38 is provided with a circular opening 42 in the base thereof as viewed with reference to FIG. 2, a smaller circular opening 44 in the top thereof, and a pair of slots 46 and 48 in at least one side wall thereof.

A mounting means 40 consists of a support member 50 to which a cylindrically shaped member 52 is suitably affixed. Support member 50 is provided with a pair of spaced elongated openings 54, each capable of receiving a suitable fastener (not shown) for mounting a support member 50 to a floor surface. The cylindrical member 52 is of lesser diameter than the diameter of the circular opening 42 whereby the cylindrical member 52 is insertable through the opening 42 into the interior of track 38. When inserted in the aforesaid fashion, cylindrical member 52 functions as a form of support pedestal as seen in FIG. 6 upon which the track 38 is supported by virtue of the engagement of the inner surface of the top wall thereof with the outward free end of member 52. In accordance with the preferred construction thereof, cylindrical member 52 is provided with adjustment means whereby to enable the track 38 to be adjusted relative to the floor surface to which the support member 50 is attached. For this purpose, cylindrical member 52 is provided with a screw 56 which is threaded into the free end of member 52. By varying the extent to which the screw 56 is threaded into the member 52, the relative heighth of the member 52 may be adjusted and thereby the relative positioning of the track 38. Preferably, the screw 56 is provided with a recess 56a whereby to provide a means of imparting rotation to the screw 56. When in the assembled condition, the alignment between openings 42 and 44, and the member '52 and screw 58 are such that access to recess 56a may be had through the opening 44 by means of a suitable tool, such as for example an Allen wrench. As such, the track 38 is capable of being easily and rapidly leveled without necessitating any need of employing shims, etc.

For convenience of illustration, the support member 50 has been depicted as having its long sides extending in the same direction as the track 38. However, in ac-. cordance with the preferred manner of use, support member 40 is positioned relative to the track 38 such that the long axis of the former is substantially at right angles to the long axis of track 38 whereby the openings 54 and the fasteners (not shown) received therein are not concealed by the track 38 and, thus, access thereto is readily available if needed.

Referring further to FIG. 2, there is also depicted therein a floor panel support member 58. The latter consists of a U-shaped member having a pair of up wardly extending tabs 60 projecting from one edge thereof as seen with reference to FIG. 2 and a pair of smaller upwardly extending tabs 62 formed by bending portions of the center section of the member 58 out of the plane thereof. The tabs 60 are suitably configured such as to be insertable in the slots 46 and 48 whereby the member 58 is detachably mounted on the track 38. The tabs 62 are provided as a means of engaging the floor panel 63 when the latter as shown in FIG. 1 are inserted between the tracks 38 whereby to provide a flooring for the access aisle, such as to minimize sliding movement, etc., of the floor panels 63 relative to the members 58. It is to be understood that the members 58 are provided in sufficient numbers to provide adequate support for the panels 63. Further, it is readily apparent that the interaction between the members 58 and the tracks 38 is such as to provide a means of quickly and easily providing a flush floor surface between the tracks 38. In addition, the manner of mounting the members 58 to the tracks 38 is such that the 6 members 58 are raised and lowered as the tracks 38 are leveled, thus, ensuring level flooring.

Turning now to a consideration of FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings, there is illustrated therein one embodiment of a manually operable force applying drive means 64 for imparting motion to the mobile shelf units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 to move the latter whereby to create an access aisle therebetween where desired. Each of the shelf units l6, 18, 20, 22 and 24 embodies such a drive means 64 and as such a description of only one such drive means 64 is set forth hereinafter. A drive means 64 includes a manually rotatable handle member 66 which is mounted on a bracket member 68 which in turn is suitably supported on a pair of uprights 26. More particularly, the bracket member 68 is provided with a plurality of spaced openings 70. The latter are suitably spaced such that the spacing therebetween corresponds to the spacing of a plurality of tabs 72 which are formed by being bent out of the surface of the uprights 26. As best seen with reference to FIG. 3, for purposes of supporting the handle member 66 on the uprights 26, a member 74 having a pair of openings 76 formed therein is hooked on to the uprights 26 such that the tabs 72 of the latter are inserted in the openings 76. Thereafter, the bracket member 68 on which the handle member 66 is mounted, in a manner yet to be described, is hooked on to the uprights 26 by hooking pairs of tabs 72 through the openings 70. The member 74 and the bracket member 68 are fastened together in accordance with the preferred form of the invention by a pair of fasteners 78 which are suitably received in openings (not shown) provided for this purpose in the flange portion 68a of bracket member 63 and the flange portion 74a of member 74. The fasteners 78 are screwed into suitably threaded nut-like members 80 whereby the positioning of the member 68 relative to the member 74 may be adjusted simply by varying the extent to which the fasteners 78 are threaded into the members 80.

As best illustrated in FIG. 4, the bracket member 68 has suitably fixedly mounted thereon a circular stub member 82. integrally formed at the outer free end of the stub member 82 is a shaft portion 84 of lesser diameter than the stub member 82. A hub-like member 86 is mounted on the shaft portion 84 for rotation relative thereto. To this end, the hub-like member 86 has a hollow interior 86a, the diameter of which is somewhat greater than the diameter of the shaft portion 84 such that the latter is capable of being received in the opening 88a. In order to retain the hub-like member 86 on the shaft portion 84, the former is provided with a recess 86b at one end thereof whereby space is provided for securing a washer 88 and a suitable fastener 90 such as a C-shaped clamp ring on the end of shaft portion 84. The handle member 66 is provided with an opening 66a into which a portion of the hub-like member 86 is insertable. The handle member 66 is fastened to the hub-like member 86 by means of a set screw 92. At the other end thereof from that at which the recess 86b is formed, the hub-like member 88 is provided with a drive pulley 94, preferably formed as an integral part of hub-like member 86.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a chain 96 extends between the drive pulley 94 at one end and a pulley wheel 98 which is fixedly mounted for rotation therewith on an axle 100 by means of a set screw 102. Referring now to FIG. 10, the elongated axle 100 has a plurality of wheels 104 fixedly mounted thereon in suitably spaced relation corresponding to the spacing between the tracks 38 whereby as the axle 100 is caused to rotate the rotational movement thereof is imparted to the wheels 104 such as to cause the latter to roll along the tracks 38. The wheels 104, axle 100, pulley wheel 98 constitute a portion of the carriage means with which each of the mobile drive units l6, 18, 20, 22 and 24 is provided, and the remaining portion of which will be referred to hereinafter in connection with the description of FIGS. 10 and 11.

The mode of operation of the drive means 64 is such that when the handle member 68 is manually rotated by an operator, this rotation is imparted by means of drive pulley 94 and chain 98 to the pulley wheel 98 and thereby to the axle 100. Rotation of the axle 100 causes rotation of the wheels 104 on the tracks 38 and thereby movement of the corresponding shelf unit along the tracks 38. The direction of movement of the particular mobile shelf unit is dependent on the direction of rotation of the handle member 68. By varying the spacing between the member 74 and the bracket member 68 through the use of the fasteners 78 in the manner described above, the tension on chain 96 can be increased or decreased. Suitable enclosure means 106 are provided for enclosing the rotating drive pulley 94, chain 96, pulley wheel 98 and axle 1110 such as to prevent engagement therewith by an operator moving therepast.

Turning now to FIGS. 9 of the drawings, there is illustrated therein another embodiment of manually operable force applying drive means, generally designated by reference numeral 108, which is capable of being employed in the rolling shelf system to impart movement of the mobile shelf units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 on the tracks 38. With particular reference to FIG. 7, the drive means 108 includes a wheel member 110 which is manually rotatable by an operator. Rotational movement of the wheel member 110 is imparted to a drive pulley 112 to which the wheel member 110 is af fixed by means of suitable fastening means (not shown) such that the member 110 and the drive pulley 112 rotate together as a unit. The pulley 112 is suitably positioned on a shaft means 114 whereby to be capable of rotating relative thereto. The shaft means 114 in turn is fixedly mounted by means of suitable fasteners 116 to a bracket member 1 18. The latter is suitably supported on the load bearing members such as uprights 26 with which each of the mobile shelf units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 is provided. if desired the bracket member 118 may be hooked on the upright 26 through the interengagement of the tabs formed on the uprights 26 and suitable openings which could be provided for this purpose in the bracket member 118 in a manner similar to that which was described above in connection with the mounting of bracket member 68 of drive means 64. Inasmuch as the shaft means 114 projects into the center of the wheel member 110, a plate member 120 is preferably secured by means of fasteners 122 across the outer end of the opening in the wheel member 110 whereby to prevent accidental engagement with the shaft means 114 by an operator. For similar reasons, enclosure means 124 are provided to enclose the moving parts of drive means 108 which have been described above as well as those yet to be described.

In FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings, there is depicted the remaining components of drive means 108. The drive pulley 112 rotates the chain 126 which passes therearound as well as around pulley wheel 128. The latter as best seen with reference to FIG. 6 is supported on a shaft 130 on which there is also mounted another pulley wheel 132. The pulley wheel 132 serves to drive a chain 134 which passes therearound and also around a third pulley wheel 136 which is suitably mounted on an axle which is similar in function and construction to the axle 100 described above in connection with the description of drive means 64. There is also affixed on the axle 100 in spaced relation to pulley wheel 136 one of a plurality of wheels 104, the latter being similar to the wheel 104 previously described above. Although only one wheel is shown in FIG. 6, it is to be understood that axle 100 is provided with a plurality of wheels 104 corresponding in number to the number of tracks 38 being employed and spaced such as to correspond to the spacing between the tracks 38.

Drive means 108 is also provided with an adjustment means 138 for automatically varying the tension on the chains 126 and 134. The latter includes a link member 140 which has one end thereof supported on the shaft interposed between the pulleys 128 and 132. The other end of the link member is supported for movement on a pin 142 which passes through a suitable opening 144 provided for this purpose in a projection 146, the latter in turn being formed as an integral part of a bracket 148 which is secured by fasteners 150 to the framework of the shelf unit. The third end of link member 140 is provided with an opening 152 through which a rod 154 passes. The rod 154 is secured at one end to a projection 158 similar in structure to the aforedescribed projection 146, and in like fashion is formed as an integral part of the bracket 148. The other end of rod 154 is threaded for at least a portion of the length thereof. A spring 158 encircles the rod 154 with one end of the spring 158 engaging the link member 140 and the other end of the spring 158 engaging the under surface of a nut 160 which is threaded on the rod 154. The spring 158 functions to bias the link member 140 downwardly whereby to place tension on the claims 126 and 134. By virtue of the nature of the pivotal mounting of the link member 140, it is possible to obtain automatic adjustment of the tension on chains 126 and 134. Further, by varying the position of the nut 160 on the rod 154, the tension on the chains 126 and 134 can likewise be increased or decreased.

The mode of operation of the drive means 108 is similar to that of drive means 64. In accordance therewith, rotation of the wheel member 110 by an operator imparts rotation to the drive pulley 112. This rotational movement of drive pulley 112 is transmitted through chain 136 to pulley wheel 128 and thereby to the shaft 130. Inasmuch as pulley wheel 132 is mounted for rotation with shaft 130, when the latter rotates, pulley wheel 132 is also caused to rotate. The rotational movement of pulley wheel 132 is transmitted through chain 134 to pulley wheel 136 and thereby to axle 100'. The rotational movement of axle 100' produces a rotation of the wheel 104 along the tracks 38 and thereby movement of a given shelf unit along the tracks 38. The direction of movement of the particular mobile shelf unit along the tracks 38 is dependent on the direction of rotation of the wheel member 110 by the operator.

As shown in FIG. 10, the carriage means for each of the mobile shelf units 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 includes a second grouping of wheels 162. The actual number of such wheels 162 employed corresponds to the number of tracks 38 being utilized in a given rolling shelf system 10.. Similarly the spacing between wheels 162 corresponds to the spacing between the tracks 38. Thus, the

particular carriage means depicted in FIG. includes three such wheels 162. In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, each of the wheels 162 is supported for rotation on a short stub shaft 164. The latter shaft 164 as best illustrated in FIG. 1 1 is suitably supported on frame means 168, consisting of a pair of spaced substantially horizontally extending frame members 168 and a pair of spaced vertically extending frame members 170. The frame members 168 and 170 are suitably secured together such as to define a housing for the shaft 164.

In the preceding description, reference has been made to various modifications which might be made in the rolling shelf system 10 as illustrated in the drawings without departing from the essence of the invention. Thus, for example, more or less mobile shelf units could be employed in the rolling shelf system 10 without departing from the essence of the invention. Similarly the internal shelving structure of each of the shelf units 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 could take various forms. There have been illustrated in the drawings, two embodiments of drive means which could be utilized to impart movement to the mobile shelf units whereby to relocate the access aisle therebetween. Both of these embodiments of drive means are capable of being manually operated, and by virtue of the mechanical advantage provided thereby function to facilitate the movement of a heavily loaded mobile shelf unit from position to position. At the same time this result is achieved without recourse to complex and costly motorized drive means. Also, it has been pointed out that the number of wheels employed in the carriage means is variable being dependent essentially on the number of tracks 38 which are present. Normally, if three tracks 38 are utilized, the carriage means will be provided with three wheels 104 or 104 and three wheels 162. In accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention, the carriage means includes one elongated axle 100 or 100' which is driven by drive means 64 or drive means 108 and on which a plurality of wheels 104 or 104' are suitably mounted for rotation therewith. The other wheels 162 are preferably each suitably mounted on a stub shaft 164 such as to rotate therewith. It has been found that the use of an elongated axle of sufficient length to span the tracks 38 is helpful in guiding wheels 104 or 104' as the latter rotate along the tracks 38. That is, an elongated axle is helpful in minimizing the whipping action which might otherwise occur as the mobile shelf unit moves along the tracks 38. However, it is to be understood that if so desired the wheels 104 or 104 could be mounted on stub shafts similar to the shafts 164, or that the wheels 162 could also all be mounted on an elongated axle similar to the axle 100 or 100' without departing from the essence of the invention.

Thus, it can be seen that the present invention provides a novel and improved rolling shelf system of the type embodying a plurality of mobile shelf units. In accordance therewith the rolling shelf system includes a force applying means for moving the shelf units such that access may be afforded to each shelf unit through the provision of space for only one aisle. In the rolling shelf system of the present invention, movement of the shelf units is accomplished by means of a manually operable rotating member. In accord with the invention, a rolling shelf system has been provided wherein the force available to move the shelf units is greater than that capable of being generated by an individual pushing against the shelf units, and wherein the means employed to apply the force is simpler in construction and less costly to manufacture and install than are force ap plying means of the motorized type. Moreover, the rolling shelf system of the present invention embodies a manually operable force applying drive means which is readily adaptable for use in other structurally different rolling shelf systems.

Having thus described the invention, I claim:

1. A rolling shelf system comprising:

a. parallel track means including at least a pair of elongated track members mounted on a surface extending in parallel spaced relationship, said track means including means for adjusting the height of said track members above said surface to dispose the upper surfaces of said track members in a common horizontal plane;

an elongated shelf unit overlying said parellel track means and extending transversely of said track members, said pair of elongated track members being disposed adjacent the ends of said shelf unit; c. carriage means having a length spanning said pair of track members and underlying said shelf unit to provide rolling support for said shelf unit on said track members, said carriage means including an elongated axle having a length extending between said pair of track members adjacent the ends of said shelf unit and a pair of wheels supported on said elongated axle adjacent the ends thereof for rotation therewith on said pair of parallel spaced track members, at least one other axle and one other pair of wheels supported on said carriage means, said wheels supporting said carriage means on said track means for movement therealong;

d. a manual force applying drive means for moving said shelf unit along said track means, said manual force applying means including a manually rotatable member supported on said shelf unit, rotatable drive means supported on said carriage means for rotating simultaneously said elongated axle and both of said wheels supported thereof adjacent the ends thereof, chain means connecting said rotatable member and said rotatable drive means for transmitting rotation of said rotatable member into rotation of said rotatable drive means to rotate said elongated axle and wheels thereon to cause movement of said carriage means and said shelf unit along said track means and adjustment means operable for adjusting the tension of said chain means to maintain a predetermined amount of tension on said chain means, said adjustment means including means for varying the vertical spacing between said manually rotatable member on said shelf unit and said rotatable drive means on said carriage means; and

. floor panel support means comprising support mounting means on the sidewalls of said track members and spaced along the length thereof, floor panel supports engaged with said support mounting means on the sidewalls of said track members and having a horizontally extending portion for seating floor panels thereon to provide a floor surface between said track members, said floor panel support means being movable vertically upon vertical adustment of the height of said track members.

2. A rolling shelf system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said parallel track means includes a plurality of support means mounting said track members on said surface and providing said adjusting means, each of said track members being of tubular construction with a generally rectangular cross section and having a plurality of pairs of vertically aligned openings in the top and bottom walls thereof, and each of said plurality of support means comprising a mounting member mounted on said surface and having an upstanding portion extending through the opening of said bottom wall of said track member, said upstanding portion including a threadably adjustable vertical extending member at the upper end thereof of greater width than the opening in the top wall of said track members to provide the vertical support therefor, the upper end of said adjustable member having engagement means thereon accessible through said opening in said top wall for adjusting the height of said one of said plurality of said track members relative to said surface.

3. A rolling shelf system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said manually rotatable member comprises a wheel member, said rotatable drive means includes a carriage frame rotatably seating said elongated axle and a first pulley wheel mounted on said elongated axle for rotation therewith, a link member pivotally mounted at its lower end on said carriage frame, a second pulley wheel supported on said link member adjacent the upper end thereof in spaced relation to said first pulley wheel and a first chain connecting said first and second pulley wheels such that rotation of said second pulley wheel is transmitted by said first chain to said first pulley wheel to drive the latter, and said chain means includes a drive pulley rotatable by said wheel member, a third pulley wheel supported on said link member in driving engagement with said second pulley wheel so that rotation of said third pulley wheel is imparted to said second pulley wheel, a second chain passing around said drive pulley to be driven thereby and around said third pulley wheel to drive the latter and said second and first pulley wheels, said carriage frame having an upstanding element thereon spaced from said second and third pulley wheels and said link member having an arm projecting therefrom to said upstanding element, and adjustable spring means providing a spring loaded interconnection between said upstanding element and said arm to provide spring tensioning of said first and second chains.

4. A rolling shelf system as set forth in claim 3 wherein there is additionally included floor panels seated upon said fioor panel supports and providing a floor surface between said track members substantially closing the space therebetween.

5.. A rolling shelf system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said support mounting means on the sidewalls of said track members comprises apertures in said sidewalls of said track members and wherein said floor panel supports include portions seating in said apertures in the sidewalls of said track members.

6. A rolling shelf system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said manually rotatable member comprises a wheel member, said rotatable drive means includes a carriage frame rotatably seating said elongated axle and a first pulley wheel mounted on said elongated axle for rotation therewith, a link member pivotally mounted at its lower end on said carriage frame, a second pulley wheel supported on said link member adjacent the upper end thereof in spaced relation to said first pulley wheel and a first chain connecting said first and second pulley wheels such that rotation of said second pulley wheel is transmitted by said first chain to said first pulley wheel to drive the latter, and said chain means includes a drive pulley rotatable by said wheel member, a third pulley wheel supported on said link member in driving engagement with said second pulley wheel so that rotation of said third pulley wheel is imparted to said second pulley wheel, a second chain passing around said drive pulley to be driven thereby and around said third pulley wheel to drive the latter and said second and first pulley wheels, said carriage frame having an upstanding element thereon spaced from said second and third pulley wheels and said link member having an arm projecting therefrom to said upstanding element, and adjustable spring means providing a spring loaded interconnection between said upstanding element and said arm to provide spring tensioning of said first and second chains.

7. A rolling shelf system comprising:

a. parallel track means including at least a pair of elongated track members mounting on a support surface and extending in parallel spaced relationship, said track means including means for adjusting the height of said track members above said surface to dispose the upper surfaces of said track members in a common horizontal plane;

b. a pair of elongated shelf units overlying said parallel track means and extending transversely of said track members, said pair of elongated track members being disposed adjacent the ends of said shelf unit;

0. a pair'of carriage means having a length spanning said pair of track members and underlying each of said shelf units to provide rolling support for said shelf units on said track members, said carriage means including a plurality of wheels supported on said plurality of axles; and

d. at least one manual force applying drive means for moving said pair of shelf units between a first position wherein said pair of shelf units are in abutting relation and a second position wherein said pair of shelf units are spaced apart to create an aisle therebetween, said manual force applying means include a manually rotatable member supported on one of said pair of shelf units, rotatable drive means supported on said carriage means for rotating at least one of said plurality of axles, chain means connecting said rotatable member and said rotatable drive means for transmitting rotation of said rotatable member into rotation of said rotatable drive means thereby to rotate said one of said plurality of axles to cause movement of said carriage means relative to said surface to move said shelf unit between said first and second positions, and adjustment means for said chain means, said adjustment means including first support means on said shelf unit, second support means mounting said manually rotatable member thereon and rotatably adjustable hanger means mounting said second support means on said first Support means to permit adjustment of the vertical spacing between said rotatable member and said drive means; and

e. floor panel support means comprising support mounting, means on the sidewalls of said track members and spaced along the length thereof, floor panel supports engaged with said support mounting means on the sidewalls of said track members and having a horizontally extending portion for seating floor panels thereon to provide a floor surface between said track members; said floor panel support 3 ,9 2 3 ,3 5 4 13 14 means being movable vertically upon vertical adb. carriage means including an elongated axle and a justment of the height of said track members, pair of wheels supported on said elongated axle for 8. A rolling shelf system comprising: rotation therewith, at least one other axle and one a. parallel track means mounted on a surface in apreother pair of wheels supported on said carriage determined arrangement; said parallel track means 5 comprising a plurality of spaced parallel track members and a plurality of support means for mounting said plurality of track members on said surface, each of said plurality of track members means, said wheels supporting said carriage means on said track means for movement therealong;

c. a shelf unit mounted on said carriage means for movement therewith; and

a d. a manual force applying drive means for moving being of tubular construction and having a plurality 1O said shelf unit along said track means, said manual of openings therein, and each of said plurality of force applying means including a manually rotatsupport means comprising a mounting member able member supported on said shelf unit, rotatable mountable on said surface and having a cylindrical drive means supported on said carriage means for member secured thereto, said cylindrical member 15 rotating said elongated axle and said wheels supbeing insertable in one of said plurality of openings ported thereon, and chain means connecting said in one of said plurality of track members to support rotatable member and said rotatable drive means the latter and including adjustment means for adfor transmitting rotation of said rotatable member justing the height of said one of said plurality of into rotation of said rotatable drive means thereby said track members relative to said surface, said to rotate said elongated axle and wheels thereon to parallel track means further including floor panel cause movement of said carriage means along said support means for supporting floor panels thereon, track means whereby to move said shelf unit along said floor panel support means including mounting said track means floor panels seated upon said means insertable into others of said plurality of floor panel support means and providing a floor openings in said plurality of track members for desurface between said track members substantially tachably mounting said floor panel support means closing the space therebetween. thereon;

UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORECTEON PATENT NO. 3,923,354

DATED I December 2, 1975 |NV ENTOR(S) Herbert Young It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 10, line 41, "thereof" should be thereon Column 12, line 62, comma after "mounting" should be deleted;

Column 14, line 22, semicolon should be inserted after "means" Signed and Scaled this second Day of March 1976 [SEAL] Arrest:

RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer (nmmisximzer ofParenrs and Trademarks

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Classifications
U.S. Classification312/201, 312/198, 312/199
International ClassificationA47B53/00, A47B53/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47B53/02
European ClassificationA47B53/02
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Jun 8, 1992ASAssignment
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