US 3655159 A
An improved base member for a freestanding shelving system comprised of two or more upright columns interconnected by lateral reinforcing members and supporting shelves at various heights. Each base member is formed with a pocket for receiving the lower end of an upright column and a locking means comprised of a pair of wedge members interconnected by a central wedge member that are manipulated to lock the column within the pocket. The base members are constructed to be utilized separately with decorative side panel attachments or to be connected by surrounding kickplate members.
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United States Patent Held, Jr. [451 Apr. 11, 1972  FREESTANDING SHELVING 958,644 5/1910 Huff ...248/48 APPARATUS WITH IMPROVED BASE 1%; Oliver et al. "348/158 F rest 48 158 AND COLUMN LOCKING 3,160,281 12/1964 0 ..211/177 3,015,466 1/1962 Levy ..248/158 lnventor: Charles J. Held, .1r., San Jose, Calif.
Assignee: W. R. Ames Company, Milpitas, Calif.
Filed: Mar. 19, 1970 Appl. No.: 21,128
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Bibb ..211/148 Primary ExaminerWilliam H. Schultz Attorney0wen, Wickersham & Erickson [5 7] ABSTRACT An improved base member for a freestanding shelving system comprised of two or more upright columns interconnected by lateral reinforcing members and supporting shelves at various heights. Each base member is formed with a pocket for receiving the lower end of an upright column and a locking means comprised of a pair of wedge members interconnected by a central wedge member that are manipulated to lock the column within the pocket. The base members are constructed to be utilized separately with decorative side panel attachments or to be connected by surrounding kickplate members.
17 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures PKTENTEWKH I972 SHEET 1 UF 5 INVENTOR.
CHARLES J. HELD JR.
ATTORNEYS PATENTEDAPR 1 I I972 3,655,159
sum 2 0F 5 INVENTOR.
(D CHARLES .J. HELD JR. BY 1.1..
ATTORNEYS PATENTEDAPR 1 1 m2 SHEET 4 UF 5 FIG...8
CHARLES J. HELD JR. BY
ATTORNEYS PATENTEDAPR 11 I972 SHEET 5 [1F 5 I N VEN TOR.
CHARLES g. HELD JR.
AZFTRS FREESTANDING SHELVING APPARATUS WITH IMPROVED BASE MEMBER AND COLUMN LOCKING MEANS This invention relates to freestanding shelving systems, and more particularly to an improved base member and locking means for gripping a shelf supporting column.
Freestanding shelving for libraries, schools and the like must be strong and rigid structurally so as to be capable of carrying substantial weight loads and yet it is necessary that they be easy to assemble or dismantle for shipment or relocation.
Heretofore, various shelving units attempting to fulfill theserequirements have either been structurally weak and unstable or overly bulky as well as difficult to assemble and knockdown. A general object of the present invention is to provide an improved shelving system that solves the aforesaid problems.
Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved knockdown shelving system that is not only strong and stable but is unusually attractive in appearance.
Another object of my invention is to provide a base member unit for a freestanding shelving system that can be supplied with various exterior, attachable accessories of different textures and colors to adapt it to different decorating preferences and requirements.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a shelving unit and a base member therefor that is particularly well adapted for ease and economy of manufacture.
A further object of the present invention is to provide an improved base member for a shelving system comprised of a series of interconnected upright columns with a locking means that connects the base member to an upright column with unusual strength and stability. In the present invention, this locking means utilizes three slidably interconnected wedge block members. I-leretofore, a similar wedge type locking member for shelving units described in US Pat. No. 3,127,020 was only partially effective because, due to the distribution of forces applied and the deflection of the column walls, it provided for essentially a point contact of locking members when in use, and this limited the strength and stability-of this prior connection unit. However, the locking means of the present invention provides a plurality of line'contacts that increase the total bearing area and force of the locking means, thereby overcoming the limitations of prior locking connections for an upright column in a base member.
In addition to the improved locking means, the base member of the present invention has other advantages and may be fabricated from sheet metal material rather than expensive castings that are heavy and require machinery. Moreover, the configuration of the base member is such that decorative wood or plastic panels may be attached easily to their sides, or a surrounding kickplate of connected metal members may be attached thereto.
Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description thereof presented in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of an assembled shelving unit embodying the principles of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view in perspective of another form of shelving unit according to my invention and utilizing a kickplate;
FIG. 3 is an exploded view in perspective showing a base member for a shelving unit according to the present invention with detachable side panels;
FIG. 3a is a view in section taken along the line 3a-3a of FIG. 3;
FIG. 3b is an enlarged view in perspective of a connector pin for a detachable side panel;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged view in side elevation of a base member for my shelving unit with a portion broken away to conserve space and the locking means removed;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the base member shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a further enlarged fragmentary view in section of the central portion of the base member of FIGS. 4 and 5 showing the locking means in place in the unlocked position;
FIG. 7 is a view in elevation and in section similar to FIG. 6 showing the locking means in the locked position;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary plan view in section taken along the line 88 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary plan view in section taken along the line 9-9 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged view in section taken along the line 10-10 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 11 is an exploded view in perspective showing a shelving unit according to the present invention using kickplate members attached to the base members; and
FIG. 12 is a view in perspective showing a modified form of base member.
Referring to the drawing, FIG. 1 shows a typical freestanding shelving unit 20 embodying the principles of the present invention as it appears when assembled before being loaded with books or other items as in a library. Generally, the unit shown comprises three upright columns 22, each of which is connected to a base member 24. Adjacent columns are interconnected by a series of lateral bracing members 26 and they also support a plurality of shelf members 28. The column members are preferably formed from sheet steel with a rectangular shaped cross section. Along their walls are a multiplicity of spaced apart slots or openings 30 which are adapted to receive hook portions on the bracing and shelving members, thereby providing a means for easily attaching them without fasteners. Such slot and hook connections are well known in the art and therefore not a unique part of the present invention. Other forms of bracing and shelving members could be used.
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the base members 24 are exposed and provided with removable decorative side panels 32. However, in the embodiment of FIG. 2, base members without these side panels are interconnected by a series of members forming a kickplate 34 around the base of the unit.
With reference to FIGS. 3 5, each base member 24 is comprised of a pair of opposite side members 36 which are joined together by a central channel shapedmember 38. All three of these members are preferably formed from a suitable sheet metal such as mild steel having a gauge (e.g. 1/64 inch) that is sufficient to afford desired strength and rigidity. Each side member is formed to have a central box-like portion 40 that projects outwardly from one side from which extend elongated vertical portions that preferably taper toward their outer ends. The upper edge of each side member is bent over at to form a substantially horizontal flange 42 and at its opposite ends the outer edges are bent 90 to form vertical flanges 44 having the same width as the flanges 42. The channel shaped member 38 has a uniform cross section and is preferably welded at particular points to the two base side members 36. The parallel leg portions of the channel member lie flush along the opposite inside surfaces of the base side members (See FIG. 10). Its web portion 46 is wider than twice the width of the flanges 42 and 44 so that an elongated opening 48 of uniform width is formed between the base side members, and this opening extends from the central portion 40 along the upper flanges and also between the end flanges.
When the two base side members 36 are joined together by the channel member 38 their central portions 40 together form a rectangular shaped pocket 50 for receiving the lower end of a column. The channel member extends through the lower end of the pocket and is secured to the base members on opposite sides of the pocket by a series of weldments 52. Other weldments 54 are provided to secure the channel member to the outer ends of the base side members. The location of the weldments on opposite sides of the pocket portions is important because it provides a rigid structure that eliminates any possibility that the base side members will spread apart when a column member is within a pocket.
The dimensions of the pocket are slightly greater than those of the lower end of the column so that it will fit easily therein, with clearance around it. Situated within the pocket and surrounded by the lower end of the column is a locking means comprised of an inner wedge block 56 and a pair of outer wedge blocks 58 which are interconnected but movable relative to each other. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the outer wedge blocks are identical with each other and have an inner face 60 that slopes from a relatively narrow horizontal top face 62 to a wider bottom face 64. Extending vertically along the center of the inner face is an undercut dovetail shaped slot 66 while the outer side of each block 58 opposite the inner face 62 has two pairs of vertical faces 68 forming a pair of vertical edges 70. The inner block 56 is complementary to the outer blocks 58 and has a relatively wide top surface 72 and a narrower bottom surface 74 connected by opposite outer faces 76 that slope inwardly at the same angle as the inner faces 60 on the outer blocks 58. The center wedge block also has parallel vertical side faces 78 extending between its sloped faces 76, each with a vertical slot 80 to accommodate the inner connecting flanges 82 formed on standard column members, as shown in FIG. 9. Projecting outwardly along the center of each outer face is an elongated tongue portion 84 having the same dovetail shaped cross section with slightly small dimensions so that it will fit fairly loosely within an undercut groove 66. A bolt 86 having a head 88 that bears against the web 46 of the channel member 38 extends upwardly through a hole 90 therein and is threadedly engaged to the central wedge block member 56. As will be seen by reference to FIGS. 6-9, the bolt may be turned to draw the center block member 56 downwardly, while the outer blocks 58 bear on the legs of the channel member 38 thus restraining their vertical movement. The downward movement of the center block member 56 causes its outer sloped faces 76 to bear against and slide relative to the faces 60 of the outer block members, thereby causing them to move horizontally. As this action occurs, the vertical edges 70 of the outer blocks 58 engage and bear against the opposite side walls 92 of the column. The mechanical advantage obtained by rotation of the bolt 86 is of a high order and the force created along the edges 70 of the outer wedge members 58 causes the column side walls to deflect outwardly and bear against the adjacent walls of the pocket 40. The initial clearance between the column walls and the pocket is thus eliminated and the column is soon held tightly within the pocket as the bolt is turned and the central wedge block 56 is drawn down. The elongated edge portions 70 of the outer block members provide an extremely effective locking force because they make line contacts along the column walls 92 rather than a mere point contact, which would permit oscillating or rotating movement of one member with respect to the other.
Secured near the opposite ends of the channel section for each base member are mounting plates 94 each having a threaded bore 96 for receiving an adjustable disc-like floor pad 98. On the bottom side of the pocket 50 for each base member 36 is a cap member 100 for closing the pocket and also providing a central floor contacting surface. As shown in FIG. 3, the cap member may have a flat bottom surface if the shelving assembly is to be on a hard floor, or a cap member 100a with an irregular bottom surface may be used where the assembly is used on a carpeted floor. The irregular surface may be formed by a molded plastic cap member having a series of downwardly extending projections 102 of equal length. On the upper surface of each cap member 100 and 100a are a pair of U-shaped ridge members 104 set inwardly from the edge and spaced apart so that they provide a press fit with the pocket opening 50 on its bottom side.
Another important feature of the base members 24 is their ability to combine with other elements to thereby facilitate their use in various shelving configurations. As shown in FIG. 3, the base side members 36 are each provided with a series of openings 106 which are drilled at precisely predetermined locations. Secured in each opening. is a conventional pin gripping receptor 108 adapted to receive and grip a cylindrical pin member 110 (See FIG. 3b). A series of side panel members 32 are each provided with an outer finished surface and an inner surface having holes 112 which are also provided with pin gripping receptors. These side panel members may be made from any suitable material such as wood or molded plastic (as shown in FIG. 3), and they may be finished on their outer surface with any ornamental or decorative color or design such as a wood grain texture. When the side panels are in place on the base member and held firmly by the pins, a decorative strip trim member 114 having a generally T-shaped cross section is preferably inserted into the uniform gap 48 between the top flanges 42 of the side members 36. As shown in section in FIG. 3a, the upper portion of this trim strip 114 may be slightly convex with a decorative outer surface and has a downwardly extending central portion 116 which is ribbed or serrated along its length so as to retain itself in the gap between the side panel members. When the side panels 32 and the trim strips 114 are in place on the base member they appear in shelving unit, as shown in FIG. 1.
In some instances it may be desired to provide a peripheral ground or kickplate frame 34 around the base members 24 instead of exposing each base member with attached decorative side plates 32. As shown in FIG. 11, this is accomplished by an end kickplate member 118 of relatively light sheet material having a top portion 120 with a central cutout 122 to fit around the pocket portion 40 of the base member 24. A vertical end portion 124 is provided at each end of the member 118 and has a narrow flange 126 which is parallel to the member 118 and fits within the slot 48a between the end flanges 44 of the base side members 36. A pair of side kickplate members 128 having a channel shaped cross section also have end flange portions 130 that fit within the slots 48a of the base member. Sections of side kickplate members are provided for each adjacent series of base members. At each location, the side kickplate members are connected to the base member by a bolt 132 that extends through a slot 134 in the end flange 130 of each side kickplate member 128.
While I have shown base members utilizing the central pocket portion 40 and side portions extending from both sides thereof, it may be desirable in some instances to provide a base member 240 with a single side portion 36a extending from only one side of the pocket portion as shown in FIG. 12. In the example shown, this single sided base member is provided with decorative side panels 32 but it may also be used with a kickplate frame with members such as 118 and 128 made in the same general manner as shown in FIG. 11.
The assembly of my shelving unit 20 in any desirable configuration can be readily accomplished with ease in a relative short period of time by unskilled labor and without any special tools. For example, when it is desirable to use base members 24 with the decorative side panels 32, the latter are merely pressed to the base members 36 and held there in position by the pins 110. With the bottom cap 100 removed from the pocket 50 of a base member 24, a bolt 86 is inserted through the hole 90 and is threaded initially only a few turns in a center wedge member 56 so that the outer wedge members 58 are relatively close together. This will enable a column member 22 having a simple tubular shape to be dropped easily into a pocket 50 around the outer locking wedge members 58. Thereafter, the bolt 86 within the pocket can be turned to push apart the outer wedge members 58 and hold the column firmly within the pocket. When the assembly of all of the columns 22 is accomplished, they may be erected in their proper alignment and connected by whatever bracing members 26 are used. Thereafter the shelves 28 can be quickly attached to the column members by hanging them within the slots of the column members by the hook portions on the shelves. In the case of the shelving unit shown in FIG. 2 utilizing a kickplate frame 34, the kickplate members may be attached after the columns have been erected and the shelves attached thereto.
From the foregoing, it should be apparent that the present invention provides a highly versatile as well as attractive shelving unit and also one with a unique construction that allows it to be manufactured with considerably less labor and material than shelving units heretofore designed. The majority of the elements and particularly the base members of my shelving unit may be made from sheet metal stock in accordance with standard production procedures. The column members may be of standard tubular construction and need not have any special design at their lower ends. The locking wedge members and the decorative side panels may be made from inexpensive castings. Thus, the cost of complicated precise castings and machined parts with close tolerances has been entirely eliminated.
To those skilled in the art to which this invention relates, many changes in construction and widely difiering embodiments and applications of the invention will suggest themselves without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The disclosures and the description herein are purely illustrative and are not intended to be in any sense limiting.
1. In a freestanding shelving apparatus of the type wherein a plurality of columns interconnected by bracing members are adapted to support horizontal shelving members attached thereto with a base support member on the lower end of each column, the improvement wherein each of said base support members comprises:
a pair of juxtaposed elongated side members each formed with an outwardly projecting portion intermediate its ends;
channel means for interconnecting said pair of side members so that said projecting portions coincide to form an open pocket with opposite flat interior sidewalls;
locking means within said pocket including a pair of outer wedge members with vertical exterior surfaces and separated by a slidably engaged central wedge member;
and bolt means connected to said central wedge member and retained by said channel means for moving said central wedge member vertically and thereby move both said outer wedge members horizontally so that said vertical exterior surfaces can clamp the lower end of a column firmly against said flat sidewalls of said pocket.
2. The base member as described in claim 1 including detachable decorative side panels adjacent said side members, and means for removably retaining said side panels on said side members.
3. The base member as described in claim 1 wherein each of said side members has a flange portion along its upper edge, and said channel means has a central web portion with a width that is more than twice the width of said flange portions, said channel means thereby holding said flange portions apart and forming a slot of uniform width between them.
4. The base member as described in claim 3 including a decorative strip having a T-shaped cross section with a downwardly extending portion retained in said slot.
5. The base member as described in claim 3 wherein said side members have end flange portions that are spaced apart to form an open end slot, and means forming a kick frame having flange means, and means for retaining said flange means within said end slots.
6. The base member as described in claim 1 wherein said side members have elongated portions extending from opposite sides of said outwardly projecting portion.
7. The base member as described in claim 1 wherein said side members have elongated portions extending from only one side of said outwardly projecting portion.
8. A base support member for a freestanding shelving apparatus of the type wherein a plurality of columns interconnected by bracing members are adapted to support horizontal shelving members attached thereto comprising:
a pair of juxtaposed elongated side members each formed from sheet metal material with an outwardly projecting portion intermediate its ends;
a channel member interconnecting said pair of side members so that said projecting portions coincide and extend in opposite directions to form an open pocket with flat opposite sidewalls;
locking means within said pocket including a pair of movable wedge-shaped outer members having vertical exterior surfaces and separated and slidably engaged by a central wedge-shaped operating member;'and
bolt means connected to said central member and retained by said channel member for moving said outer members horizontally to engage opposite walls of a column and press them against walls of said open pocket.
9. The base member as described in claim 8 including a plurality of spaced apart openings in each said side member, each opening providing a pin gripping means, pin members removably attached to said side members and detachable decorative side panels having openings for gripping said pin members so that said panels are retained on said side members.
10. The base member as described in claim 9 wherein said side panels are made from molded plastic material.
11. The base member as described in claim 9 wherein said side panels are made from wood having a natural grain exterior finish.
12. The base member as described in claim 8 wherein each of said side members has a topflange portion along its upper edge and a vertical flange portion at its end, said channel member having a web with a width greater than twice the width of said flange portions thereby holding the side members apart and forming a slot of uniform width between their flanges.
13. The base member as described in claim 8 wherein said locking means comprises a wedge shaped central operating member having opposite converging faces with ridge portions extending outwardly therefrom, said outer members each having a sloped inner face with an undercut groove to receive a said ridge portion and outer vertical faces that move horizontally when said central operating member is moved by said bolt means relative to said outer members.
14. The base member as described in claim 13 wherein said outer vertical faces of said outer members have vertical edges that each make a line contact with the inside wall surface of a column with said pocket.
15. The base member as described in claim 8 including a bottom cap closure member for said pocket providing the main contact with the floor for said base member, and pad means forming an adjustable secondary contact point near the outer end of said base member with respect to its pocket.
16. The base member as described in claim 15 wherein said pad means comprises a disc-like member fixed to a threaded stem and fixed mounting means on said channel member having a threaded base for receiving said stem.
17. The base member as described in claim 15 wherein said bottom cap closure has a plurality of spaced apart projections adapted to penetrate a carpet surface under said base member.
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