US 3924834 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
US. Patent Dec.9,1975 sheetlom 3,924,834
U.S. Patent 'Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 2 014 3,924,834
US. Patent Dec. 9, 1975 Sheet 4 of4 3,924,834
BALUSTRADE UNITS This invention relates to balustrade units which can be connected to spaced newel posts to form a balustrade around verandahs, balconies, bridges, stair wells, roof tops and the like, and to balustrades so formed.
Balustrade units comprising at least upper and lower bars interconnected by balusters, for installation around verandahs, balconies, stair wells and the like, are well known and have been fabricated from amny conventional materials such as iron, steel, wood, aluminum and synthetic plastics materials by conventional forming techniques such as welding, gluing, casting and similar techniques. All of these conventional constructions have suffered from the disadvantage that in order to ensure even spacing of the balusters along the bars the balustrade units have had to be manufactured individually in a factory or workshop for each installation site. This procedure has necessitated considerable manual labour to individually measure each installation site, fabricate the bars to the appropriate dimensions and to then interconnect the bars with evenly spaced balusters. The interconnection of the bars has involved skilled labour in order to form a joint or other connection between the bars and the balusters at the pre scribed position to ensure even spacing of the balusters. The present invention is, by contrast, designed to provide standard components which can be preformed in a factory or workshop and which can be assembled at any desired site with a minimum of manual labour.
The present invention resides in a balustrade unit comprising a pair of spaced apart channel section members, the open faces of the members being directed towards one another, and the free edges of each of the members being turned inwardly to form a pair of opposed longitudinally extending flanges; a plurality of balusters extending between the bars, each baluster being provided adjacent each end with a pair of transverse shoulders, the balusters each being of such a cross-sectional shape adjacent each end that an end thereof can be inserted into the space between the flanges of one of the said members and can then be rotated through a predetermined angle to engage the shoulders of the baluster adjacent the said end with the inner surfaces of said flanges; and a spacing member extending between adjacent balusters, in juxtaposition with at least one of the said members.
As used throughout this specification the term balustrade unit includes any unit for incorporation in a balustrade whether horizontally disposed or sloping, and whether fixed to a substrate or movable such as a sliding or swinging gate.
The components of the balustrade units are preferably formed of extruded aluminum, however, any other suitable material could be used such as galvanized steel, rolled formed aluminum or steel or a synthetic plastics material. The components may be provided with any desired surface finish e.g. they may be anodised, plated, painted or sealed in known manners depending upon the material from which the components have been fabricated.
The spacing members are preferably provided to cover the open face of at least the lower channel shaped member to give the finished balustrade unit a pleasant appearance; it is, however, more preferable to provide spacing members covering the open faces of both the upper and lower channel shaped members as 'this provides more positive positioning of the balusters in the channel shaped members.
The spacing members are preferably of such a shape, that they will achieve a snap tit between the flanges of the channel shaped members and will be retained in position by engagement with the flanges. The spacing members preferably abut closely against the balusters over their full width in order to present a pleasing ap pearance and to prevent water ingress. It is, however, merely necessary for practical purposes that the spacing members should engage or closely juxtapose the balusters at some point in order to maintain them in their correct relative positions.
The spacing member may comprise a panel of a sheet material such as glass, a synthetic plastics material or wall board. In this embodiment of the invention a neoprene, rubber or like seal iis preferably provided about the panel for engagement with the surrounding channel shaped members and balusters.
The balustrade units are preferably connected to newel posts along their length and/or at their ends. The newel posts are preferably removably affixed to the substrate upon which the balustrade is to be erected, however, the newel posts may be permanently embedded in the substrate if desired. In one embodiment the newel posts are connected to the channel shaped members by L-shaped brackets while in another embodiment the channel shaped members are provided adjacent their ends with transverse shoulders which can be engaged against the inner surface of opposed longitudinally extending flanges on the newel post by positioning the end of the bar between the flanges and rotating it through a predetermined angle to engage the shoulders behind the flanges. If the latter construction is employed it is desirable to provide a cover strip covering the space between the opposed flanges above and below the channel shaped members and therebetween to assist in retaining the balustrade unit and the newel post in the desired spatial relationship. The newel post itself may be interconnected with a hand rail of channel shaped cross section by having adjacent its upper end a pair of transverse shoulders which can be engaged behind opposed flanges extending towards one another from the longitudinally extending free edges of the hand rail by positioning the newel post between the said flanges and rotating it through a predetermined angle to effect the engagement.
Hereinafter given by way of example only are preferred embodiments of the present invention described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:-
FIG. 1 shows diagramatically a portion of a balustrade unit according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 shows the method of connection of the arrangement shown in FIG. 1 to a newel post.
FIG. 3 shows a variation of the arrangement shown in FIG. 1 in which the spacing member is comprised by a panel of glazing.
FIG. 4 shows diagramatically a portion of a further balustrade unit according to this invention and a further method of connecting the balustrade unit to a newel post.
Throughout the drawings similar numbers are used to indicate similar integers in the various embodiments of the invention.
The balustrade unit is made up of a pair of aluminum channel members 10 and 10a interconnected by a plurality of aluminum balusters, the balusters being, simi- 3 lar to baluster 11 shown retained in position by spacing members 17, 17a.
Each of the channel members and 10a comprises a base 12, 12a, a pair of side walls 13, 13a and a pair of intumed flanges 14, 14a. The base 12, 12a of the channel members 10, 10a are each provided with a pair of longitudinally extending, upstanding resilient wings 15, 15a. The free edges of the flanges 14, 14a are chamfered off as at 16, 16a to assist in the interconnection of the channel members 10 and 10a with the balusters 11.
Each baluster 11 is of H-shaped cross section comprising a pair of side arms 19, 19a and a web 21 and is provided adjacent either end with a pair of transverse slots 18, 18a which extend through the full thickness of the side arms 19. The slots 18, 18a form shoulders 20, 20a spaced from each end of the baluster 11 by a distance slightly greater than the distance between the level of the flanges 14, 14a of channel members 10 and 10a and the level of the portion of the wings 15, 15a closest to the flanges 14, 14a. The width of the slots 18, 18a is very slightly smaller than the thickness of the flanges 14, 14a respectively.
The spacing members 17, 17a are also of channel shape in cross section and are so dimensioned that the arms thereof can be clipped between the flanges 14, 14a of the channel members 10, 10a. The spacing members 17, 17a, are of such a length that they extend between adjacent balusters 11 to maintain them in position, relative to one another, between the channel members 10 and 10a.
The balustrade unit is assembled by arranging the channel members 10, 10a in parallel spaced apart array with the open faces of the channel members facing one another. The balusters 11 are then, one at a time, positioned with their ends projecting between flanges 14, 14a of the channel members 10, 10a with the web 21 extending along the longitudinal axes of the channel members. The balusters 11 are then each rotated through 90 until the web 2 1 extends transversely of the axes of the channel members 10, 10a and the flanges 14, 14a engage respectively, in slots 18, 18a. The dimensions of the channel members 10, 10a the dimensions of the slots 18, 18a and the spacing of the slots 18, 18a from the adjacent end of the baluster 11 are such that a tight interference fit is obtained between the flanges 14, 14a and the opposed shoulders of the slots 18, 18a and between the end portion of the baluster 11 and the shoulder 20, 20a and the wings 15, 15a.
The spacing members 17, 17a are clipped in place against each of the balusters 11 after it has been positioned and the next succeeding baluster 11 is butted up against the already positioned spacing members 17, 17a. The spacing members are so dimensioned that when positioned between flanges 14 or 14a the free edges of the flanges engage in longitudinal recesses 23 in the side arms of the spacing members to lock them in position. The width of the spacing members is such that it can fit between the inside surfaces of the side arms 19, 19a of the balusters 11 and abut against the web 21 to completely cover the open face of the channel members between adjacent balusters 11.
The arrangement of FIG. 2 shows the means used to connect a newel post 24 to a balustrade unit of the type shown in FIG. 1.
The newel post 24 is of substantially rectangular cross section having a tubular body 25 and a pair of cranked flanges 26 extending from one side thereof. At its lower end the newel post is anchored to a substrate by wedges 27 which serve to clamp the newel post 24 to a boss 28. The bolt 29 serves to engage the wedges and cause them to bear against the inside wall of the body 25 of the newel post 24 and against the sides of the boss 28 as well as serving to clamp the boss 28 to an expanding nut 30 positioned in a bore in the substrate (not shown.)
The upper end of the newel post is closed by a cover 32 which is held in place by a grub screw 33. L-shaped brackets 34 and 34a are used to clamp the channel members 10 and 10a respectively to the newel post 24. The brackets 34 and 34a are each clamped to the newel post 24 by slides, of which only slide 35 is shown; the slides engage behind the flanges 26 and the flanges 26 are clamped between the brackets 34, 34a and the associated slide by allen bolts 36 and 36a. The flanges 14 and 14a of channel members 10 and 10a are similarly clamped respectively between the brackets 34 and 34a and slides 37, 37a by bolts 38, 38a.
The spacing members 17, 17a are replaced in the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3 with a single sheet of reinforced glass 40. The sheet of glass 40 extends across the full width between adjacent balusters 11 and across the full height between the upper and lower channel members 10, 10a. The sheet of glass 40 is supported between the side arms 19, 19a of each of the balusters 11 by a U-section neoprene moulding 41 which fits within the recess formed between the side arms 19, 19a and the web 21 of the baluster. The recess 39 in the moulding 41 resiliently receives the sheet 40. A pair of substantially triangular neoprene mouldings 42, 42a are provided between the longitudinal free edges of the flanges 14, 14a of the channel members. Each moulding 42, 42a is provided with a flat face in contact with the sheet of glass 40 which the adjacent flange edge is received in a longitudinally extending recess in the apex of the moulding opposite the said face. The sheet of glass 40 rests on neoprene strips laid between the wings 15a of the lower channel member 10a.
The arrangement shown in FIG. 4 is essentially similar to that shown in FIG. 2, however, alternative extrusion sections are used for the channel members 10, 10a for the balusters l1 and for the newel post 24 and a different method is used to interconnect the channel members 10, 10a with the newel post 24. In this embodiment of the invention the newel post 24 is positioned between individual balustrade units and extends above the level of the balustrade unit for connection to a hand rail 43.
The newel post 24 comprises a pair of back to back channel portions 44, 44a and each of which has a pair of inwardly extending longitudinal flanges 45, 45a. Each of the channel members 10, 10a is provided with a pair of transverse slots, as at 46, closely adjacent each end thereof.
The channel members 10, 10a are connected to the newel post 24 by positioning an end portion of a channel member between flanges 45 or 45a and rotating the channel member through to engage the flange 45 or 45a in the slots 46. A cover strip 47 is positioned to fill the space between flanges 45 or 45a above and below each of the channel members 10, 10a. In an essentially similar manner the newel post 24 is provided with slots 48 adjacent its upper end which engage with the free edges 49 of the C-shaped hand rail 43.
In use the newel posts 24 are first connected to the hand rail 43 at their correct spacings. One of the end sections of cover strip 47 is then positioned in each of the facing channel portions 44, 44a of the newel post 24 and the first channel members or 10a is then positioned between the newel posts. The next adjacent portions of cover strip 47 are then placed, followed by the second channel member 10a or 10 and then the remaining portions of cover strip. The balusters 11 are positioned sequentially between the channel members 10, 10a and the spacing thereof is controlled by spacing members 17, 17a.
Using the arrangement according to this invention it is possible to build up balustrades on-site using stock components. It is only necessary fora workman to cut the channel section members and the spacing members to size; this job can be done simply on-site without the use of complicated machinery.
1. A balustrade unit comprising a pair of spaced apart channel section members, the open faces of the members being directed towards one another, the free edges of each of the members being turned inwardly to form a pair of opposed longitudinally extending flanges and a pair of longitudinally extending divergent resilient wings provided in the base of the channel section members and formed integrally therewith; a plurality of balusters extending between the channel section members, each baluster being provided adjacent each end with a pair of transverse shoulder, the balusters each having one cross-sectional dimension adjacent each end smaller than the distance between the opposed longitudinally extending flanges such that the end can be inserted into the space between the flanges of one of the said channel section members and can then be rotated through a predetermined angle to engage the shoulders of the baluster adjacent the said end with the inner surfaces of said flanges and bring the end face into resilient engagement with said engagement means of the associated channel section member; and a spacing member extending between adjacent balusters, in juxtaposition with at least one of the said channel section members.
2. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 1 including at least a pair of newel posts connected to the ends and/or sides of the balustrade unit.
3. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 1 in which the balusters are of H-shaped cross section.
4. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 1 in which each spacing member is of channel shape and fits resiliently between the flanges of one of the channel section members to cover the open face thereof between two adjacent balusters.
5. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 1 in which the spacing member comprises a panel of a sheet material extending between adjacent balusters and being in juxtaposition with both of the channel members.
6. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 1 in which the balusters are each provided adjacent each end with a pair of transverse slots defining the said shoulders and a further pair of shoulders opposed thereto, the further pair of shoulders engaging the outer surfaces of the said flanges.
7. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 2 in which the channel members are provided adjacent each end with a pair of transverse slots which engage with a pair of opposed flanges formed on the newel post.
8. A balustrade unit as claimed in claim 2 in which the upper end of the newel post extends above the level of the upper channel sloped member and is connected to a hand rail extending parallel to the channel shaped members.