BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to improvements in shower doors and, more particularly, to a rattle silencer bearing member for fitting over an edge, e.g., the bottom edge of a sliding glass shower door.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Presently available bearing elements or silencers for sliding glass shower doors include long bearing members placed along the lower margin of the shower door and clamped in place. A further type of bearing element is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,653,157 to Casebolt. This element includes mating interlocked portions which extend through holes formed in the bottom of the glass door.
Bearing elements and silencers of the type set forth above are limited in use due to their size, or the position of the holes provided for insertion of the mating portions.
The present invention provides a silencer capable of being mounted on a sliding frameless glass door panel in any position along the bottom thereof to silence or suppress rattle noises caused by vibratory contact of the panel with metallic guide or stop surfaces. The silencer does not require tools for mounting the same. In addition, no holes are needed. The silencer of the present invention is merely slipped in position over the bottom edge of the glass door panel and held in position by frictional engagement therewith.
SUMMARY OF THE INVETION
A silencer for mounting on the bottom of a frameless sliding glass door comprising a U-shaped holding member having a bottom and upwardly extending side portions. Resilient sound eliminating elements are provided on each of the side portions and include bottom faces which face toward each other, whereby, the silencer may be inserted over the bottom of a sliding glass door and frictionally held in engagement therewith.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore an important object of this invention to provide a rattle suppressing or silencing bearing element for easy and convenient mounting on the bottom edge of a sliding glass door.
A further object of the present invention is the provision of a silencing bearing element for a frameless glass shower door which is simple in construction and may be formed from extruded parts which may be easily removed and replaced by other identical parts.
It is another object of the instant invention to provide a bearing element for mounting on a frameless glass shower door of the sliding type which may be easily positioned or slid onto the bottom portion of the sliding glass door for properly guiding and silencing the door during movement thereof in contact with a rigid guide channel.
It is a still further object of the invention to provide a bearing element composed of a metallic extrusion forming a retaining element, with resilient extrusions provided over facing side portions thereof.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a bearing element for a sliding glass door having resilient elements made from a plastic material which does not create sound when moved in contact with a rigid surface and wherein the gripping portions thereof are provided with grooves to improve the gripping characteristics of the bearing elements.
IN THE DRAWINGS
Other objects of the invetion will become apparent as the following specification progresses, reference being had to the accompanying drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a pespective view of a pair of sliding glass shower doors having bearing elements of the present invention mounted thereon;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial sectional view taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial sectional plan view taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a preferred embodiment of the silencer of the instant invention; and
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
The present invention is a silencer bearing element for use with a sliding glass shower door. The bearing element comprising a U-shaped metallic retaining member, having resilient sound-damping bearing members mounted on the opposed, upwardly extending sides thereof, whereby, the silencer may be easily secured to or removed from the bottom portion of the door.
Referring now to the drawings, there shown in FIG. 1 is a sliding glass door assembly 11 having a pair of frameless glass door panels 13, 15 mounted in a generally rectangular door frame 17. The door panels are capable of independent transverse movement in parallel, generally vertical planes, and are preferably formed from pre-cut portions of tempered glass, requiring no supporting frame. The frame 17 includes an upper, inverted channel header member having channeled tracks which support rollers or the like attached to the upper edge of the glass door panel whereby the doors are supported in the vertical position but may be slid in a lingitudinal direction for opening and closing as in conventional practice.
The door frame further includes a lower channel tread member 19, as shown in FIG. 2, said member 19 having a lower transverse section 20 with upwardly projecting sidewalls 21, 22. A pair of parallel guide channels 23, 24 are defined therein through provision of a median dividing wall member 25. Opposing guide rail pairs 26 with 27 and 29 with 31, are formed as transversely projecting lip extensions of sidewall 21, median wall 25 and sidewall 22 members respectively, and thereby define a pair of spaced parallel narrowed longitudinal guide slots in the upper portion of channel member 19 to receive and guide the lower edges of said doors 13 and 15 in a loose fit relation.
It will be appreciated that with the structure constructed as presently described, the suspended door panels 13 and 15 would be free to undergo lateral movement as a result of wind or mechanical pressure, etc., so that severe rattling noises would be produced. In accordance with the present invention at least one and generally several silencer bearing units 33 are secured directly to the bottom edge of door panels 13 and 15 interpassing bearing portions of a selected sound eleminating bearing material between the panels and said guide rails.
More particularly, each of the silencer bearing units 33 includes a U-shaped clip retainer member 35, which in the preferred embodiment, is formed by transversely sectioning an extruded aluminum stip having a substantially U-shaped cross-section. The upwardly extending side portions of this member are provided with resilient sound eliminating bearing elements 37 which preferably slip into position. These resilient elements are formed from a self-lubricating material, such as polyfluorinated organic plastic (teflon), polyamide, polyvinyl (nylon) or similar thermoplastic molding or extrusion plastic. Rubberlike materials such as neoprene, hypalon, etc., rubbers which are lubricated by water or which include wax additives may also be used, or the like. These elements can simply be extruded in a single ribbon-like strip which is cut to length before insertion on the side portions of retainer member 35.
The silencing bearing units 33 are formed generally in the shape of a channel having a flat bottom wall with a plurality of grooves or teeth 39 formed on the opposite surface thereof. The side or edge portions of the elements extend in overlapping folded fashion away from the bottom wall to form a grooved opening 41 which fits over the upwardly extending side portions of the U-shaped holding member. These overlapping edge portions outwardly terminate in bulbous or rounded ridge portions 43. The inside surface of each bulbous or dome-shaped portion bears against the outside face of the side portion of the holding members to hold the resilient members in position. The outer surface of each bulbous portion forms a bearing surface for silently and slidably contacting the edge portions 26, 27, 29, 31 of the openings within the guides 23, 24.
With the resilient elements slid into place on each side of the U-shaped holding member the teeth formed on the bottom portions thereof face inwardly toward each other. The U-shaped holding member is preferably formed so that the upwardly extending side portions taper slightly inwardly to form a narrower end portion. In this manner, the holding member acts to clamp the resilient elements to the bottom of the door when the same are mounted on the door. The teeth on each bottom wall provide a biting or gripping surface to prevent the elements from falling off. That is, the biasing or clamping force of the U-shaped holding member 35 forces the teeth to frictionally hold each element in position on a glass door.
With the silencers mounted on the doors, and the doors mounted in the frame, the outwardly extending bulbous portions 43 move into engagement with or are sufficiently close to the edges 26, 27, 29, 31 of the guide members to prevent any substantial lateral movement of the panels relative to the plane of the frame. The lubricating qualities of the material used to form the resilient elements substantially muffle all noise due to the sliding action of the bulbous portions 43 along the facing edge portions within the guides 23, 24.
While the term "resilient" has been used to describe the nature of the material used in fabricating the bearing members 37, it may be noted that a high degree of resiliency is not needed. Rather such material may have a limited compliancy property being sufficiently soft to avoid impact sounds. Also, the viscoelastic properties of the mentioned thermoplastic and rubber materials tend to damp transmitted sound providing an active silencer effect.
The materials used to form the elements, together with the minimum contact which takes place between the silencers and the guides, should lead to relatively long lives of each of the elements. However, if replacement of any of the elements is deemed necessary, the entire element 33 is merely slipped off the bottom of the glass door. The U-shaped retainer membe 35, and either or both of the resilient elements 37 may then be replaced by identical elements, previously cut to size either at the factory or on the job site from easily obtainable extruded lengths which may easily and economically be supplied for this purpose.
While the invention has been described in considerable detail, it is not to be limited to such details as have been set forth except as may be necessitated by the appended claims.