Title:
Table and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A table for offices and the like includes an elongate center beam and two center posts having lower ends abuttingly supported on a floor surface and upper ends connected with opposite ends of the center beam. Two outrigger beams are positioned on opposite sides of the center beam in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and have inner ends connected with one of the center posts. Two outrigger posts are positioned on opposite sides of the center beam, and have lower ends thereof abutting the floor surface and upper ends connected with the outside ends of the outrigger beams to stabilize the table. Two elongate worksurfaces are positioned along opposite sides of the center beam and have a length generally commensurate with the same. The worksurfaces have inside edges connected with and at least partially supported by the center beam, end segments abutting and at least partially supported by the upper ends of the outrigger posts, and outside edges which protrude outwardly from the outrigger posts in a cantilevered fashion and extend freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the worksurfaces.



Inventors:
Mead, Karl J. (East Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Hamilton, John R. (Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Ludwig, James N. (East Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/412969
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
04/27/2006
Assignee:
Steelcase Development Corporation
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GALLEGO, ANDRES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICE HENEVELD COOPER DEWITT & LITTON, LLP (695 KENMOOR, S.E., P O BOX 2567, GRAND RAPIDS, MI, 49501, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is as follows:

1. A table for offices and the like, comprising: a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends thereof defining a predetermined length therebetween; first and second center post members, positioned adjacent to said first and second ends of said center beam member, and having lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends thereof operably connected with said first and second ends of said center beam member to support said center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface; first and second rigid outrigger beam members positioned on opposite sides of said center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and having outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof operably connected with opposite sides of said first center post member; first and second outrigger post members positioned on said opposite sides of said center beam member adjacent said first center post member, and having lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof operably connected with said outside ends of said first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize said table; and first and second elongate worksurfaces positioned along said opposite sides of said center beam member, and having predetermined lengths thereof generally commensurate with said predetermined length of said center beam member, inside edges thereof operably connected with and at least partially supported by said center beam member, end segments thereof abuttingly engaging and at least partially supported by said upper ends of said first and second outrigger post members, and outside edges thereof protruding outwardly from said first and second outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to said first and second worksurfaces.

2. A table as set forth in claim 1, including: third and fourth rigid outrigger beam members positioned on opposite sides of said center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and having outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof operably connected with opposite sides of said second center post member; and third and fourth outrigger post members positioned on said opposite sides of said center beam member adjacent said second center post member, and having lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof operably connected with said outside ends of said third and fourth outrigger beam members to further stabilize said table.

3. A table as set forth in claim 2, wherein: said first and second worksurfaces abuttingly engage and are at least partially supported by said upper ends of said third and fourth outrigger post members.

4. A table as set forth in claim 3, wherein: said first center post member has a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said first center post member; and said first end of said center beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said first center post member.

5. A table as set forth in claim 4, wherein: said inner ends of said first and second outrigger beam members are detachably connected with second and third ones of said flanges on said first center post member.

6. A table as set forth in claim 5, wherein: said first outrigger post member has a generally X-shaped cross-sectional configuration that is generally commensurate with said cross-sectional configuration of said first center post member, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said first outrigger post member; and said outer end of said first outrigger beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said first outrigger post member.

7. A table as set forth in claim 6, wherein: each of said flanges of said first center post member includes a T-shaped slot extending along an outer edge thereof; and including a first connector retained in said T-shaped slot of said one flange on said first center post member and detachably connected with said first end of said center beam member.

8. A table as set forth in claim 7, including: a second connector retained in said T-shaped slot of said second flange on said first center post member and detachably connected with said inner end of said first outrigger beam member.

9. A table as set forth in claim 8, wherein: each of said flanges of said first outrigger post member includes a T-shaped slot extending along an outer edge thereof; and including a third connector retained in said T-shaped slot of said one flange on said first outrigger post member and detachably connected with said outer end of said first outrigger beam member.

10. A table as set forth in claim 9, wherein: said center beam member includes mounting slots extending along opposite side faces thereof; and including a plurality of brackets detachably retained in said mounting slots, and detachably connected with said first and second worksurfaces to at least partially support said inside edges thereof.

11. A table as set forth in claim 10, wherein: said first and second center post members have a height greater than the height of said first, second, third and fourth outrigger post members, such that at least an upper portion of said center beam member protrudes vertically above said first and second worksurfaces.

12. A table as set forth in claim 11, wherein: said mounting slots on said center beam member are disposed vertically above said first and second worksurfaces, and are configured to receive and detachably retain accessories therein.

13. A table as set forth in claim 12, including: a plurality of accessories detachably retained in said mounting slots on said center beam member.

14. A table as set forth in claim 13, wherein: said first and second outrigger beam members have a lateral cross-sectional shape which is generally commensurate with the lateral cross-sectional shape of said center beam member.

15. A table as set forth in claim 14, wherein: said center beam member defines a first center beam member; and including a second rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends thereof defining a predetermined length therebetween; and wherein said first end of said second center beam member is detachably connected to a fourth one of said flanges on said first center post member.

16. A table as set forth in claim 15, including: a third center post member, positioned adjacent to said second end of said second center beam member, and having a lower end thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and an upper end thereof operably connected with said second end of said second center beam member to support said second center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface in alignment with said first center beam member; fifth and sixth rigid outrigger beam members positioned on opposite sides of said second center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and having outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof operably connected with opposite sides of said third center post member; fifth and sixth outrigger post members positioned on said opposite sides of said second center beam member adjacent said third center post member, and having lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof operably connected with said outside ends of said fifth and sixth outrigger beam members to stabilize said table; and third and fourth elongate worksurfaces positioned along said opposite sides of said second center beam member, and having predetermined lengths thereof generally commensurate with said predetermined length of said second center beam member, inside edges thereof operably connected with and at least partially supported by said second center beam member, end edges thereof abuttingly engaging and at least partially supported by said upper ends of said fifth and sixth outrigger post members, and outside edges thereof protruding outwardly from said fifth and sixth outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to said third and fourth worksurfaces.

17. A table as set forth in claim 16, wherein: said third center post member and said fifth and sixth outrigger post members have a generally X-shaped cross-sectional configuration that is generally commensurate with said cross-sectional configuration of said first and second center post members and said first, second, third and fourth outrigger post members; and said second center beam member and said fifth and sixth outrigger beam members have a lateral cross-sectional shape that is generally commensurate with said lateral cross-sectional shape of said first center beam member and said first, second, third and fourth outrigger beam members.

18. A table as set forth in claim 17, wherein: each of said first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth outrigger beam members includes a T-shaped slot extending along a lower edge thereof; and said accessories include at least one electrical outlet member detachably mounted in said T-slot in an associated one of said outrigger beams.

19. A table as set forth in claim 18, including: at least one shroud positioned around and enclosing at least a portion of said one outrigger beam and said one of said outrigger post members connected therewith.

20. A table for offices and the like, comprising: a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends thereof defining a predetermined length therebetween; first and second center post members, positioned adjacent to said first and second ends of said center beam member, and having lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends thereof operably connected with said first and second ends of said center beam member to support said center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface; at least one outrigger beam member positioned on one side of said center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and having an outer end thereof, and an inner end thereof operably connected with an associated side of said first center post member; at least one outrigger post member positioned on said one side of said center beam member adjacent said first center post member, and having a lower end thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and an upper end thereof operably connected with said outside end of said outrigger beam member to stabilize said table; and at least one elongate worksurface positioned along said one side of said center beam member, and having a predetermined length thereof generally commensurate with said predetermined length of said center beam member, an inside edge thereof operably connected with and at least partially supported by said center beam member, an end segment thereof abuttingly engaging and at least partially supported by said upper end of said outrigger post member, and an outside edge thereof protruding outwardly from said outrigger post member in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to said worksurface.

21. A table as set forth in claim 20, wherein: said first center post member has a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said first center post member; said first end of said center beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said first center post member; and said inner end of said outrigger beam member is detachably connected with a second one of said flanges on said first center post member.

22. A table as set forth in claim 21, wherein: said outrigger post member has a generally X-shaped cross-sectional configuration that is generally commensurate with said cross-sectional configuration of said first center post member, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said outrigger post member; said outer end of said outrigger beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said outrigger post member; and said outrigger beam member has a lateral cross-sectional shape which is generally commensurate with the lateral cross-sectional shape of said center beam member.

23. A table as set forth in claim 22, wherein: said center beam member includes mounting slots extending along opposite side faces thereof; and including a plurality of brackets detachably retained in said mounting slots, and detachably connected with said worksurface to at least partially support said inside edge thereof.

24. A table as set forth in claim 23, wherein: said first and second center post members have a height greater than the height of said outrigger post member, such that at least an upper portion of said center beam member protrudes vertically above said worksurface; said mounting slots on said center beam member are disposed vertically above said worksurface, and including a plurality of accessories detachably retained in said mounting slots on said center beam member.

25. In a table for offices and the like, the improvement comprising: a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends thereof defining a predetermined length therebetween; at least one center post member, positioned adjacent to said first end of said center beam member, and having a lower end thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and an upper end thereof operably connected with said first end of said center beam member to support at least a portion of said center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface; first and second rigid outrigger beam members positioned on opposite sides of said center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and having outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof operably connected with opposite sides of said center post member; first and second outrigger post members positioned on said opposite sides of said center beam member adjacent said center post member, and having lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof operably connected with said outside ends of said first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize said table; and first and second elongate worksurfaces positioned along said opposite sides of said center beam member, and having predetermined lengths thereof generally commensurate with said predetermined length of said center beam member, inside edges thereof operably connected with and at least partially supported by said center beam member, end segments thereof abuttingly engaging and at least partially supported by said upper ends of said outrigger post members, and outside edges thereof protruding outwardly from said outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to said first and second worksurfaces.

26. A table as set forth in claim 25, wherein: said center post member has a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said first center post member; said first end of said center beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said first center post member; and said inner ends of said first and second outrigger beam members are detachably connected with second and third ones of said flanges on said center post member.

27. A table as set forth in claim 26, wherein: said first outrigger post member has a generally X-shaped cross-sectional configuration that is generally commensurate with said cross-sectional configuration of said center post member, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said first outrigger post member; said outer end of said first outrigger beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said first outrigger post member; and said first and second outrigger beam members have a lateral cross-sectional shape which is generally commensurate with the lateral cross-sectional shape of said center beam member.

28. A table as set forth in claim 27, wherein: said center beam member includes mounting slots extending along opposite side faces thereof; and including a plurality of brackets detachably retained in said mounting slots, and detachably connected with said first and second worksurfaces to at least partially support said inside edges thereof.

29. A table as set forth in claim 28, wherein: said center post member has a height greater than the height of said first and second outrigger post members, such that at least an upper portion of said center beam member protrudes vertically above said first and second worksurfaces; said mounting slots on said center beam member are disposed vertically above said first and second worksurfaces; and including a plurality of accessories detachably retained in said mounting slots on said center beam member.

30. In a table for offices and the like, the improvement comprising: a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends thereof defining a predetermined length therebetween; at least one center post member, positioned adjacent to said first end of said center beam member, and having a lower end thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and an upper end thereof configured for operable connection with said first end of said center beam member to support at least a portion of said center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface; said center post member having a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, and including four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said center post member, and wherein said first end of said center beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said first center post member; at least one rigid outrigger beam member positioned on one side of said center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and having an outer end thereof, and an inner end thereof operably connected with an associated side of said center post member; said outrigger beam member has a lateral cross-sectional shape which is generally commensurate with the lateral cross-sectional shape of said center beam member; at least one outrigger post member positioned on said side of said center beam member adjacent said center post member, and having a lower end thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and an upper end thereof operably connected with said outside end of said outrigger beam member to stabilize said table; said outrigger post member having a generally X-shaped cross-sectional configuration that is generally commensurate with said cross-sectional configuration of said center post member, and including four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of said outrigger post member, and wherein said outer end of said outrigger beam member is detachably connected with a first one of said flanges on said outrigger beam member; and at least one elongate worksurface positioned along said one side of said center beam member, and having a predetermined length thereof generally commensurate with said predetermined length of said center beam member, an inside edge thereof operably connected with and at least partially supported by said center beam member, an end segment thereof abuttingly engaging and at least partially supported by said upper end of said outrigger post member, and an outside edge thereof protruding outwardly from said outrigger post member in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to said worksurface.

31. A table as set forth in claim 30, wherein: each of said flanges of said center post member includes a T-shaped slot extending along an outer edge thereof; and including a first connector retained in said T-shaped slot of said one flange of said center post member and detachably connected with said first end of said center beam member.

32. A table as set forth in claim 31, wherein: said center beam member includes mounting slots extending along opposite side faces thereof; and including a plurality of brackets detachably retained in said mounting slots, and detachably connected with said first and second worksurfaces to at least partially support said inside edges thereof.

33. A table as set forth in claim 32, wherein: said center post member has a height greater than the height of said outrigger post member, such that at least an upper portion of said center beam member protrudes vertically above said first and second worksurfaces.

34. A table as set forth in claim 33, wherein: said mounting slots on said center beam member are disposed vertically above said first and second worksurfaces; and including a plurality of accessories detachably retained in said mounting slots on said center beam member.

35. A method for making a table: comprising: forming a rigid, elongate center beam member with first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a predetermined length therebetween; forming rigid first and second center post members with lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends thereof configured for operable connection with the first and second ends of the center beam member; forming rigid first and second outrigger beam members with outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof configured for operable connection with opposite sides of the first center post member; forming rigid first and second outrigger post members with lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof configured for operable connection with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members; forming first and second elongate worksurfaces with predetermined lengths thereof generally commensurate with the predetermined length of the center beam member, and including inside edges, end segments and outside edges; detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second center post members with the first and second ends of the center beam member to support the center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface; positioning the first and second outrigger beam members on opposite sides of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith; detachably connecting the inner ends of the first and second outrigger beam members with opposite sides of the first center post member; positioning the first and second outrigger post members on the opposite sides of the center beam member adjacent the first center post member; detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members with the outer ends of the first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize the table; positioning the first and second worksurfaces along the opposite sides of the center beam member with the inside edges thereof extending generally parallel and adjacent to the opposite sides of the center beam member, the end segments thereof positioned adjacent to the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members, and the outside edges thereof protruding outwardly from the first and second outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the first and second worksurfaces; detachably connecting at least a portion of the inside edges of the first and second worksurfaces with the center beam member to at least partially support the same thereon; and abuttingly engaging at least a portion of the end segments of the first and second worksurfaces with the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members to at least partially support the same thereon.

36. A method as set forth in claim 35, including: forming rigid third and fourth outrigger beam members with outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof configured for operable connection with opposite sides of the second center post member; forming rigid third and fourth outrigger post members with lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof configured for operable connection with the outside ends of the third and fourth outrigger beam members; positioning the third and fourth outrigger beam members on opposite sides of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith; detachably connecting the inner ends of the third and fourth outrigger beam members with opposite sides of the second center post member; positioning the third and fourth outrigger post members on the opposite sides of the center beam member adjacent the second center post member; and detachably connecting the upper ends of the third and fourth outrigger post members with the outer ends of the third and fourth outrigger beam members to stabilize the table.

37. A method as set forth in claim 36, including: abuttingly engaging at least a portion of the end segments of the first and second worksurfaces with the upper ends of the third and fourth outrigger post members to at least partially support the same thereon.

38. A method for making a table; comprising: forming a plurality of rigid, elongate center beam members with first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a variety of different predetermined lengths therebetween; forming rigid first and second center post members with lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends thereof configured for operable connection with the first and second ends of an associated one of the center beam members; forming rigid first and second outrigger beam members with outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof configured for operable connection with opposite sides of the first center post member; forming rigid first and second outrigger post members with lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof configured for operable connection with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members; forming a plurality of pairs of elongate worksurfaces with a variety of different predetermined lengths generally commensurate with the predetermined lengths of the center beam members, and including inside edges, end segments and outside edges; selecting one of the center beam members with a predetermined length generally commensurate with the desired length of the table; detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second center post members with the first and second ends of the one center beam member to support the one center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface; positioning the first and second outrigger beam members on opposite sides of the one center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith; detachably connecting the inner ends of the first and second outrigger beam members with opposite sides of the first center post member; positioning the first and second outrigger post members on the opposite sides of the one center beam member adjacent the first center post member; detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members with the outer ends of the first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize the table; selecting one pair of the worksurfaces with predetermined lengths substantially commensurate with the predetermined length of the one center beam member; positioning the first and second worksurfaces along the opposite sides of the center beam member with the inside edges thereof extending generally parallel and adjacent to the opposite sides of the center beam member, the end segments thereof positioned adjacent to the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members, and the outside edges thereof protruding outwardly from the first and second outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the first and second worksurfaces; detachably connecting at least a portion of the inside edges of the first and second worksurfaces with the center beam member to at least partially support the same thereon; and abuttingly engaging at least a portion of the end segments of the first and second worksurfaces with the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members to at least partially support the same thereon.

39. A method as set forth in claim 38, including: forming rigid third and fourth outrigger beam members with outer ends thereof, and inner ends thereof configured for operable connection with opposite ends of the second center post member; forming rigid third and fourth outrigger post members with lower ends thereof configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends thereof configured for operable connection with the outside ends of the third and fourth outrigger beam members; positioning the third and fourth outrigger beam members on opposite sides of the one center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith; detachably connecting the inner ends of the third and fourth outrigger beam members with opposite sides of the second center post member; positioning the third and fourth outrigger post members on the opposite sides of the one center beam member adjacent the second center post member; and detachably connecting the upper ends of the third and fourth outrigger post members with the outer ends of the third and fourth outrigger beam members to stabilize the table.

40. A method as set forth in claim 39, including: abuttingly engaging at least a portion of the end segments of the first and second worksurfaces with the upper ends of the third and fourth outrigger post members to at least partially support the same thereon.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to furnishings for open office spaces and other similar environments, and in particular to a furniture construction for tables, workstations and the like.

The efficient use of building floor space is an ever-growing concern, particularly as building costs continue to escalate. Open office plans have been developed to reduce overall officing costs, and generally incorporate large, open floor spaces in buildings that are equipped with modular furniture systems that can be readily reconfigured to accommodate the ever-changing needs of a specific user, as well as the divergent requirements of different tenants.

Desks and desking systems are generally well known in the art, and have typically been configured to support either individual workers, such as in private offices or workstations, or a group of workers, such as with conference tables, library tables and the like.

More recently, desking systems have been used in open office plans, particularly to support group work and/or temporary workers, visitors and other similar personnel. Desking systems have been developed to provide flexible furnishings, which allow companies to create temporary spaces where groups can meet and present, or work on team projects.

Changing technology and changing work processes demand that current office furnishings be readily adapted to efficiently support the ever-changing needs of workers. Therefore, the quick and easy reconfigurability of desking systems is desired to meet these needs. Also important is ready user accessibility and power and data capabilities, as well as visual appeal and style, while effectively managing the ever-growing web of wires vital to business and education collaborations. The cost of office furniture, and reconfigurability of the same, are also important factors, such that an uncomplicated design that is economical to manufacture and reconfigure is clearly beneficial.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention is a table for offices and the like, comprising a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a predetermined length therebetween. First and second center post members are positioned adjacent to the first and second ends of the center beam member, and have lower ends configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends operably connected with the first and second ends of the center beam member to support the center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface. First and second rigid outrigger beam members are positioned at opposite sides of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and have outer ends, and inner ends operably connected with opposite sides of the first center post member. First and second outrigger post members are positioned on opposite sides of the center beam member adjacent the first center post member, and have lower ends configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends operably connected with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize the table. First and second elongate worksurfaces are positioned along the opposite sides of the center beam member, and have predetermined lengths generally commensurate with the predetermined length of the center beam member, inside edges operably connected with and at least partially supported by the center beam member, end segments abutting and at least partially supported by the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members, and outside edges protruding outwardly from the first and second outrigger posts in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the first and second worksurfaces.

Another aspect of the present invention is a table for offices and the like, comprising a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a predetermined length therebetween. First and second center post members are positioned adjacent to the first and second ends of the center beam member, and have lower ends configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends operably connected with the first and second ends of the center beam member to support the center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface. At least one outrigger beam member is positioned on one side of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and has an outer end, and an inner end operably connected with an associated side of the first center post member. At least one outrigger post member is positioned on the one side of the center beam member adjacent the first center post member, and has a lower end configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and an upper end operably connected with the outside end of the outrigger beam member to stabilize the table. At least one elongate worksurface is positioned along the one side of the center beam member, and has a predetermined length generally commensurate with the predetermined length of the center beam member, an inside edge operably connected with and at least partially supported by the center beam member, an end segment abutting and at least partially supported by the upper end of the outrigger post member, and an outside edge protruding outwardly from the outrigger post member in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the worksurface.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an improvement in tables for offices and the like, comprising a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a predetermined length therebetween. At least one center post member is positioned adjacent to the first end of the center beam member, and has a lower end configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and an upper end operably connected with the first end of the center beam member to support at least a portion of the center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface. First and second rigid outrigger beam members are positioned at opposite sides of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and have outer ends, and inner ends operably connected with opposite sides of the center post member. First and second outrigger post members are positioned on opposite sides of the center beam member adjacent the center post member, and have lower ends configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends operably connected with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize the table. First and second elongate worksurfaces are positioned along the opposite sides of the center beam member, and have predetermined lengths generally commensurate with the predetermined length of the center beam member, inside edges operably connected with and at least partially supported by the center beam member, end segments abutting and at least partially supported by the upper ends of the outrigger post members, and outside edges protruding outwardly from the outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the first and second worksurfaces.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is an improvement in tables for offices and the like, comprising a rigid, elongate center beam member having first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a predetermined length therebetween. At least one center post member is positioned adjacent to the first end of the center beam member, and has a lower end thereof configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and an upper end configured for operable connection with the first end of the center beam member to support at least a portion of the center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface. The center post member has a generally X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration, including four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of the center post member, and wherein the first end of the center beam member is detachably connected with the first one of the flanges on the first center post member. At least one rigid outrigger beam member is positioned on one side of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and has an outer end, and an inner end operably connected with an associated side of the center post member. The outrigger beam has a lateral cross-sectional shape which is generally commensurate with the lateral cross-sectional shape of the center beam member. At least one outrigger post is positioned on the side of the center beam member adjacent the center post member, and has a lower end configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and an upper end operably connected with the outside end of the outrigger beam member to stabilize the table. The outrigger post member has a generally X-shaped cross-sectional configuration that is generally commensurate with the cross-sectional configuration of the center post member, and includes four mutually perpendicular flanges extending outwardly from a central region of the outrigger post member, and wherein the outer end of the outrigger beam member is detachably connected with a first one of the flanges on the outrigger post member. At least one elongate worksurface is positioned along the one side of the center beam member, and has a predetermined length generally commensurate with the predetermined length of the center beam member, an end segment abutting and at least partially supported by the upper end of the outrigger post member, and an outside edge protruding outwardly from the outrigger post member in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the worksurface.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is a method for making a table, comprising the steps of forming a rigid, elongate center beam member with first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a predetermined length therebetween, and forming rigid first and second center post members with lower ends configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends configured for operable connection with the first and second ends of the center beam member. The method further includes the steps of forming rigid first and second outrigger beam members with outer ends, and inner ends configured for operable connection with opposite sides of the first center post member, forming first and second outrigger post members with lower ends configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends configured for operable connection with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members, and forming first and second elongate worksurfaces with predetermined lengths generally commensurate with the predetermined length of the center beam member. The method further includes the steps of detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second center post members with the first and second ends of the center beam member to support the center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface, positioning the first and second outrigger beam members on opposite sides of the center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and detachably connecting the inner ends of the first and second outrigger beam members with opposite sides of the first center post member. The method further includes the steps of positioning the first and second outrigger post members on opposite sides of the center beam member adjacent the first center post member, and detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize the table. The method further includes the steps of positioning the first and second worksurfaces along the opposite sides of the center beam member with inside edges thereof extending generally parallel and adjacent to the opposite sides of the center beam member, end segments positioned adjacent to the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members, and outside edges protruding outwardly from the first and second outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the first and second worksurfaces. The method further includes the steps of detachably connecting at least a portion of the inside edges of the first and second worksurfaces with the center beam member to at least partially support the same thereon, and abuttingly engaging the end segments of the first and second worksurfaces on the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members to at least partially support the same thereon.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is a method for making a table, comprising the steps of forming a plurality of rigid, elongate beam members with first and second oppositely disposed ends defining a variety of different predetermined lengths therebetween, and forming first and second center post members with lower ends configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends configured for operable connection with the first and second ends of an associated one of the center beam members. The method also includes the steps of forming rigid first and second outrigger beam members with outer ends, and inner ends configured for operable connection with opposite sides of the first post member, forming first and second outrigger post members with lower ends configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends configured for operable connection with the outside ends of the first and second outrigger beam members, and forming a plurality of pairs of elongate worksurfaces with a variety of different predetermined lengths generally commensurate with the predetermined lengths of the center beam members. The method further includes the steps of selecting one of the center beam members with a predetermined length generally commensurate with the desired length of the table, and detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second center post members with the first and second ends of the one center beam member to support the one center beam member in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface. The method further includes the steps of positioning the first and second outrigger beam members on opposite sides of the one center beam member in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and detachably connecting the inner ends of the first and second outrigger beam members with opposite sides of the first center beam member. The method further includes the steps of positioning the first and second outrigger post members on opposite sides of the one center beam member adjacent the first center post member, and detachably connecting the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members with the outer ends of the first and second outrigger beam members to stabilize the table. The method further includes the steps of selecting one pair of the worksurfaces with predetermined lengths substantially commensurate with the predetermined length of the one center beam member, and positioning the first and second worksurfaces along the opposite sides of the center beam member with inside edges thereof extending generally parallel and adjacent to the opposite sides of the center beam member, end segments positioned adjacent to the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members, and outside edges protruding outwardly from the first and second outrigger post members in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to the first and second worksurfaces. The method further includes the steps of detachably connecting at least a portion of the inside edges of the first and second worksurfaces with the center beam member to at least partially support the same thereon, and abuttingly engaging at least a portion of the end segments of the first and second worksurfaces with the upper ends of the first and second outrigger post members to at least partially support the same thereon.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is to provide a table and method with improved user accessibility and power and data capabilities, as well as visual appeal and style. The table is extremely flexible, adaptable, compact, sturdy, and economical to manufacture in a wide variety of different sizes and shapes using common parts.

Yet another aspect of the present invention is a table construction capable of using common accessories on and interchanged among portable partition systems, post and beam partition systems and tables. Such accessories may include power and data communication outlets, varied receptacles, file cabinets, partition screens, tables, light fixtures and utility managers, as well as other various support devices. Preferably, the table construction uses common parts and/or systems from a post and beam furniture system to create a table, workstation or the like. The table construction utilizes a common aesthetic appearance between the various configurations, as well as common utility routing techniques between the various configurations.

These and other advantages of the invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following written specification, claims and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the table.

FIG. 3 is an exploded, fragmentary view of the table, wherein worksurfaces therefor are shown in broken lines.

FIG. 4 is an exploded, fragmentary view of a frame portion of the table.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a post portion of the table.

FIG. 6 is a vertical cross-sectional view of a beam portion of the table.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a T-nut portion of the table.

FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of the T-nut.

FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the T-nut.

FIG. 10 is an exploded, fragmentary perspective view of a beam-to-post connector assembly portion of the table, shown prior to installation on an associated beam.

FIG. 11 is a top plan view of an anchor portion of the beam-to-post connector assembly.

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view of the anchor.

FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the anchor.

FIG. 14 is a rear elevational view of the anchor.

FIG. 15 is a bottom plan view of the anchor.

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of a nut plate portion of the beam-to-post connector assembly.

FIG. 17 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the nut plate.

FIG. 18 is a top plan view of the beam-to-post connector assembly, shown installed between an associated post and beam to interconnect the same.

FIG. 19 is an exploded, perspective view of two beam-to-post connector assemblies, shown prior to connection between an associated post and beam.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a worksurface support bracket portion of the table.

FIG. 21 is a fragmentary perspective view of a pair of worksurface support brackets, shown attaching a worksurface to an associated beam.

FIG. 22 is a fragmentary perspective view of the worksurface support bracket, shown attaching a worksurface to an associated beam.

FIG. 23 is a fragmentary perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 24 is a fragmentary top plan view of the table shown in FIG. 23.

FIG. 25 is another fragmentary perspective view of the table shown in FIG. 23.

FIG. 26 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 27 is a perspective view of a storage portion of yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 28 is a perspective view of a support post portion of the table shown in FIG. 27.

FIG. 29 is an exploded, perspective view of the support post shown in FIGS. 27 and 28.

FIG. 30 is a perspective view of a frame portion of yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 31 is an end elevational view of the table frame shown in FIG. 30.

FIG. 32 is an exploded, perspective view of the table frame shown in FIG. 30.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper”, “lower”, “right”, “left”, “rear”, “front”, “vertical”, “horizontal” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification, are simply exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims.

The reference numeral 1 (FIG. 1) generally designates a table for offices and the like, embodying the present invention. As best illustrated in FIG. 4, table 1 includes a rigid, elongate center beam 2 having first and second oppositely disposed ends 3 and 4 defining a predetermined length therebetween. First and second rigid center posts 5 and 6 are positioned adjacent to the opposite ends 3 and 4 of center beam 2, and have lower ends 7 and 8 configured for abutting support on an associated floor surface, and upper ends 9 and 10 operably connected with the opposite ends 3 and 4 of center beam 2 to support center beam 2 in a generally horizontal orientation at a predetermined height above the floor surface. First and second rigid outrigger beams 11 and 12 are positioned on opposite sides of center beam 2 in a generally mutually perpendicular relationship therewith, and have outer ends 13 and 14, and inner ends 15 and 16 operably connected with opposite sides of the first center post member 5. First and second rigid outrigger post members 17 and 18 are positioned on opposite sides of center beam 2 adjacent the first center post 5, and have lower ends 19 and 20 configured for abutting support on the floor surface, and upper ends 21 and 22 operably connected with the outside ends 13 and 14 of outrigger beams 11 and 12 to stabilize table 1. First and second elongate worksurfaces 23 and 24 (FIG. 1) are positioned along opposite sides of center beam 2, and have predetermined lengths generally commensurate with the length of center beam 2, inside edges 25 and 26 operably connected with and at least partially supported by center beam 2, end segments 27 and 28 abuttingly engaging and at least partially supported by the upper ends 21 and 22 of outrigger post members 17 and 18, and outside edges 29 and 30 protruding outwardly from outrigger post members 17 and 18 in a cantilevered fashion and extending freely therealong to permit unencumbered access to worksurfaces 23 and 24.

In the example illustrated in FIG. 4, center beam 2, center posts 5 and 6, outrigger beams 11 and 12, and outrigger posts 17 and 18 are all detachably interconnected to one another by connectors or connector assemblies 40 to define a rigid frame 41 on which worksurfaces 23 and 24 are securely supported in the fashion described in greater detail hereinafter.

It is to be understood that the modular construction of table 1, as well as the related method of manufacture, permit constructing a wide variety of tables having different shapes, sizes and heights. For example, the table 1 illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 has two center beams 2 and 2a, three center posts 5, 6 and 6a, and six outrigger beams 11, 12, 11a, 12a, 11b, and 12b, all of which are interconnected by connectors 40 to form frame 41 on which two worksurfaces 23 and 24 are supported on opposite sides of center beams 2 and 2a. In the illustrated example, center beams 2 and 2a have substantially identical lengths, and outrigger beams 11, 12, 11a, 12a, 11b and 12b also have substantially equal lengths, such that the table is symmetrical. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, an additional center beam may be added to increase the overall length of table 1, which would in turn be supported at its free end by an associated center post, a pair of outrigger beams, and a pair of outrigger posts (not shown). The width of the table may also be increased by increasing the lengths of outrigger beams 11, 12, 11a, 12a, 11b and 12b, and increasing the widths of the associated worksurfaces 23 and 24.

Each of the illustrated center beams 2 and 2a has a lateral cross-sectional shape and size that is substantially identical to the beam disclosed in Applicants' related application Ser. Nos. 10/087,324 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,751,914), 10/753,663 and 11/122,899, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference. More specifically, as best illustrated in FIG. 6, each center beam 2 has a generally rectangular end elevational configuration defined by a flat top surface 50, a flat bottom surface 51, and flat opposing side surfaces 52 and 53. A pair of slots 54 and 55 extend along the top and bottom surfaces 50 and 51 of center beam 2, and have a generally T-shaped lateral cross-sectional configuration defined by enlarged track portions 56 and 57, reduced neck portions 58 and 59 which open upwardly and downwardly, and arcuate clamping portions 60 and 61 which mate with connectors 40. Fastener apertures 62 and 63 are formed vertically through slots 54 and 55, and extend into the interior of center beam 2 at locations adjacent to the opposite ends 3 and 4 thereof to facilitate attachment of connectors 40 in the manner described in greater detail hereinafter. The side surfaces 52 and 53 of the illustrated center beam 2 include a pair of T-shaped hanger slots 64 and 65 extending longitudinally therealong, defined by enlarged interior track portions 66 and 67, and reduced neck portions 68 and 69 which open laterally outwardly. Two horizontally extending upper slots 70 are formed in the interior of center beam 2 at the opposite ends 3 and 4 thereof, directly below apertures 62 and along the interior surfaces of track portion 66. A pair of ribs 71 and 72 extend laterally inwardly in a horizontal fashion along the lower portion of center beam 2 at the opposite ends 3 and 4 thereof, and define two horizontally extending lower slots 73 directly above apertures 63.

The illustrated outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b each have a lateral cross-sectional shape and size which is substantially identical to center beam 2, as illustrated in FIG. 6 and described above, such that similar portions are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “′” in the numerals of the latter. Preferably, each of the center beams 2 and 2a and the outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b are constructed from preselected lengths of similarly shaped rigid channel constructed from extruded aluminum or the like.

The illustrated center posts 5, 6 and 6a have a substantially identical construction, wherein each has a lateral cross-sectional shape and size that is substantially identical to the post disclosed in Applicants' related application Ser. Nos. 10/087,324 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,751,914), 10/753,663 and 11/122,899, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference. More specifically, each center post 5, 6 and 6a has a generally cruciform or X-shaped transverse cross-sectional configuration defined by four mutually perpendicular flanges 80-83, which extend outwardly from a generally square central region 84. Each of the flanges 80-83 has a square plan configuration and a flat end face 85 with a single longitudinal slot 86 extending centrally along end face 85. Each of the slots 86 has a generally T-shaped lateral cross-sectional configuration defined by an enlarged interior track portion 87, a reduced neck portion 88 which opens laterally outwardly, and arcuate clamping portions 89 which mate with connectors 40. The shape and size of slots 86 in center post 5 are similar to the shape and size of the slots 54 and 55 in center beam 2, so as to accept a common connector 40 therein. Each of the illustrated center posts 5, 6 and 6a includes a circular base or foot 90 attached to the lower end 7, 8 and 8a thereof to facilitate abutting support on an associated floor surface. Foot 90 may be vertically adjustable to accommodate for undulations or unevenness in the floor surface.

The illustrated outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b each have a lateral cross-sectional shape and size which is substantially identical with the center posts 5, 6 and 6a, as illustrated in FIG. 5 and described above, such that similar portions are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “′” in the numerals of the latter. As discussed in greater detail below, the illustrated outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b each have a length which is less than the length of center posts 5, 6 and 6a, so as to position center beams 2 and 2a above worksurfaces 23 and 24, and position the upper ends 21 and 22 of outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b directly below worksurfaces 23 and 24 to support the same thereon. Preferably, each of the center posts 5, 6 and 6a and outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b are constructed from preselected lengths of similarly shaped rigid channel constructed from extruded aluminum or the like.

The worksurfaces 23 and 24 illustrated in FIG. 1 have a generally rectangular plan configuration defined by inside edges 25 and 26, outside edges 29 and 30, and end edges 95 and 96. Worksurfaces 23 and 24 are rigid, can be constructed from reinforced composite wood panels, or the like, and may also be provided in a wide variety of different lengths and widths to accommodate a specific table application. Preferably, worksurfaces 23 and 24 are elongate to define multiple side-by-side workstations along both outside edges 29 and 30 of worksurfaces 23 and 24. When center beams 2, 2a are elevated above worksurfaces 23 and 24, as shown in FIG. 1, the same divide the worksurface area longitudinally into two opposite sides. However, it is to be understood that the center beams 2, 2a can be positioned flush with worksurfaces 23 and 24 to create a single, open work area. In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, the end segments 27 and 28 of worksurfaces 23 and 24 are positioned inwardly from the associated end edges 95 and 96, such that the end edges 95 and 96 of worksurfaces 23 and 24 project or extend longitudinally outwardly from the endmost center posts 5 and 6a, and associated outrigger posts 17 &18 and 17b &18b. Filler center beam segments 97 extend from center posts 5 and 6a to the end edges 95 and 96 of worksurfaces 23 and 24. However, it is to be understood that table 1 can be configured such that the end edges 95 and 96 are flush with the endmost center posts and associated outrigger posts.

In the table 1 illustrated in FIG. 19, a pair of connector assemblies 40 are used at both ends 3 and 4 of the center beams 2 and 2a, as well as outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b, to detachably connect the same with associated center posts 5, 6 and 6a and outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b. Each of the connector assemblies 40 has a construction, which is somewhat similar to the connector illustrated in Applicants' related application Ser. Nos. 10/087,234 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,751,914), 10/753,663 and 11/122,899, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference. FIG. 19 illustrates the attachment of one end 3 of center beam 2 to an associated center post 5. It is to be understood that the attachment of the opposite end 4 of center beam 2 to center post 6 is similar, as is the attachment of all outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b to center posts 5, 6 and 6a, as well as outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b.

With reference to FIG. 19, each of the illustrated connector assemblies 40 includes an anchor 100 which is mounted in one of the horizontal top and bottom slots 54 and 55 of center beam 2 by vertically extending fasteners 101, a nut plate 102, and a T-nut 103 having an outer head portion 104 received in the vertical T-slot 86 on an associated flange 81 of center post 5, and a body portion 105 detachably connected with anchor 100 by horizontally extending fasteners 106. Connector assemblies 40 provide a very rigid interconnection between center beam 2 and center post 5 which is readily detachable, and also permits vertical adjustment of the position of center beam 2 along the length of center post 5.

With reference to FIGS. 7-9, each T-nut 103 has a generally T-shaped plan configuration, wherein body portion 105 has substantially rectangular sidewalls 107, a substantially rectangular rear wall 108, and a substantially rectangular head portion 104 which includes outer wing areas 109 that project laterally outwardly from the sides 107 of body 105 and include inwardly extending arcuate ribs 110 along opposite sides 111, which are configured to be closely received within the arcuate clamping portions 60 and 61 of center beams 2 and 2a, outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b, center posts 5, 6 and 6a, and outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b. The forward wall or face 112 of T-nut 103 has beveled side edges 113 and generally flat top and bottom edges 114. A threaded aperture 115 extends through the rear wall 108 of T-nut 103 into body 105 at a generally central location, and is configured to threadedly receive therein the threaded end of an associated fastener 106.

With reference to FIGS. 11-15, the illustrated anchor 100 has a generally rectangular plan configuration defined by opposite ends 120, and opposite sides 121 which are spaced apart so as to be closely received within the upper and lower slots 54 and 55 of center beam 2 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 18. Each anchor 100 has a step-shaped side elevational configuration defined by an inclined forward portion 122 and a notched rearward portion 123. With reference to FIG. 11, the forward portion 122 of the illustrated anchor 100 includes a central recess 125 which extends from the forward end 120 of anchor 100 to a perpendicularly extending anchor wall 126, which includes a horizontally extending fastener aperture 127 through which an associated fastener 106 is received. The forward portion 122 of the illustrated anchor 100 includes a vertical fastener aperture 129 extending through recess 125 with a mating circular boss 130 at the opposite end thereof, which projects outwardly from the lower surface 131 of anchor 100 and is adapted to be closely received within an associated one of the fastener apertures 62, 63 in center beam 2. The rearward portion 123 of the illustrated anchor 100 also includes a vertically extending aperture 132 with a circular boss 133 at the opposite end thereof which is shaped to be closely received within one of the vertical apertures 62, 63 in center beam 2.

The illustrated nut plate 102 has a substantially rectangular plan configuration defined by opposite ends 140 and opposite sides 141 which are shaped to be closely received within the notches 70 and 73 of center beam 2. Each of the illustrated nut plates 102 includes a pair of threaded apertures 142 extending laterally therethrough at a medial portion of the associated nut plate 102, which are configured to threadedly receive therein associated fasteners 101.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 10 and 19, the end 3 of center beam 2 is attached to center post 5 in the following manner. A pair of nut plates 102 are inserted into the slots 70 and 73 at the end 3 of center beam 2 and positioned so that threaded apertures 142 are vertically aligned with the vertical apertures 62 and 63 at the end 3 of center beam 2. A pair of anchors 100 are positioned in the T-slots 54 and 55 in the upper and lower faces 50 and 51 of center beam 2, with fastener apertures 129 and 132 aligned with the vertical apertures 62 and 63 at the end 3 of center beam 2, as well as the apertures 142 in nut plates 102. Fasteners 101 are then inserted through the fastener apertures 129 and 132 in anchors 100 through the vertical apertures 62 and 63 in center beam 2 and threadedly engaged into the apertures 142 of nut plates 102 to securely, yet detachably, mount anchors 100 on center beam 2. A pair of T-nuts 103 are inserted into the vertical T-slot 86 on a selected one of the flanges 81 of center post 5 at a selected location. In the illustrated example, the upper T-nut 103 is positioned in T-slot 86 so as to support center beam 2 in a generally flush or horizontally aligned relationship with the top of center post 5. Fasteners 106 are then inserted through the apertures 127 in the anchor wall 126 of anchors 100 and into the threaded apertures 115 in T-nuts 103 to securely, yet detachably, mount the end 3 of center beam 2 to center post 5.

As noted above, the opposite end 4 of center beam 2 is attached to center post 6 in a similar fashion, and the opposite ends of outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b are attached to outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b, as well as center posts 6a, in a similar fashion.

Preferably, the inner ends 15 and 16 of outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b are attached to center posts 5, 6 and 6a at locations vertically below the top surface 50 of center beam 2, such that at least a portion of center beam 2 extends upwardly above worksurfaces 23 and 24 in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1, so as to facilitate attachment of selected accessories 150. Accessories 150 can be supported in either of the two side T-slots 64 and 65 of center beams 2 and 2a or the top T-slot 54. In the illustrated example, accessories 150 include task lights 151, document management trays 152, shelves 153 and visual partitions or screens 154. It is to be understood that table 1 is adapted to mount thereon a wide variety of different types of accessories, as illustrated and described in Applicants' related application Ser. Nos. 10/087,324 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,751,914), 10/753,663 and 11/122,899, and the same can be located at various locations along the length of center beams 2 and 2a.

With reference to FIGS. 20-22, the illustrated worksurfaces 23 and 24 are at least partially supported on frame 41 by vertically adjustable worksurface support brackets 160. The illustrated worksurface support brackets 160 are substantially identical to the support brackets disclosed in Applicants' related application Ser. Nos. 10/087,324 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,751,914) and 10/753,663, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference. More specifically, each illustrated worksurface bracket 160 includes a U-shaped body 161 having an upstanding, flat tab 162 at the upper end thereof which is closely received within one of the horizontal hanger slots 64 and 65 of an associated one of the center beams 2 and 2a, and a T-nut assembly 163 at the lower end thereof which is received within T-slot 55 at the bottom surface of one of the center beams 2 and 2a so as to securely, yet detachably, mount body 161 on an associated one of the center beams 2 and 2a at a variety of different locations along the length thereof. An L-shaped jaw 164 is slidingly received and retained within body 161 by horizontally oriented fasteners 165 which extend through an associated slot 166 in the vertical portion of jaw 164 to permit jaw 164 to shift vertically relative to body 161. Jaw 164 also includes a horizontal leg 167 with upstanding fasteners 168 which are anchored in the bottom of worksurfaces 23 and 24. By releasing fasteners 165, the vertical position of jaw 164, along with the associated worksurface 23, 24, can be varied relative to the center beam 2, 2a on which body 161 is mounted.

In the table 1 illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, worksurfaces 23 and 24 are supported on frame 41 in the following manner. At least two support brackets 160 are mounted along the inside edges 25 and 26 of each worksurface 23 and 24 in a laterally spaced apart relationship, and attach the same to center beams 2 and 2a. A sufficient number of support brackets 160 are used to provide adequate support for worksurfaces 23 and 24, depending upon the specific application contemplated. In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, four support brackets 160 are provided for the inside edge 25 of worksurface 23, and four support brackets 160 are provided for the inside edge 26 of worksurface 24. The end segments 27 and 28 of worksurfaces 23 and 24 are abuttingly supported on the upper ends 21 and 22 of outrigger posts 17 &18 and 17b &18b. In a similar manner, the central portions of worksurfaces 23 and 24 are abuttingly supported on the tops of outrigger posts 17a and 17b. Tie plates (not shown) may be used to positively, yet detachably, connect the bottom surfaces of worksurfaces 23 and 24 to the upper ends of outrigger posts 17 &18, 17a &18a, and 17b &18b. The outside edges 29 and 30 of worksurfaces 23 and 24 protrude outwardly from the outrigger posts 17, 18, 17a, 18a, 17b and 18b, and thereby are supported in a cantilevered fashion so as to extend freely along the exterior of the worksurfaces to permit unencumbered access to the worksurfaces anywhere along outside edges 29 and 30.

With reference to FIGS. 1-3, table 1 may be equipped with both power and data to support electronic equipment, such as telephones, computers, lighting, and the like. In the illustrated example, U-shaped frames 170 are supported from the T-channels 55′ in the bottom edges of one or more of the outrigger beams 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 11b &12b at a desired location therealong. Power boxes 171 are mounted in the lower portions of frames 170, and plates 172 are mounted on opposite sides of frames 170, and include a plurality of data ports 173 and power outlet receptacles 174. In the example illustrated in FIG. 2, a floor mounted monument 175 is provided to route wiring to receptacles 173 and 174. U-shaped shrouds 176 are provided to enclose the spaces between outrigger posts 11 &12, 11a &12a, and 12b &12b and center posts 5, 6 and 6a, so as to conceal and protect the wiring associated with receptacles 173 and 174. Preferably, a longitudinally extending space or gap is formed between the inside edges 25 and 26 of worksurfaces 23 and 24 and the exterior faces 52 and 53 of center beams 2 and 2a through which wires may be routed from shrouds 176 to the accessories 150 mounted on center beams 2 and 2a, as disclosed in Applicants' related application Ser. No. 11/112,899. It is to be understood that power and data may also be routed longitudinally along the center of table 1 by supporting the same from the T-slot 54 in the bottom of center beams 2, 2a.

The reference numeral 1c (FIGS. 23-25) generally designates another embodiment of the present invention, having side-by-side, vertically adjustable worksurfaces 23c. Since table 1c is similar to the previously described table 1, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-22 and FIGS. 23-25, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “c” in the numerals of the latter. In table 1c, worksurface 23c (FIG. 25) is vertically adjustable relative to center beam 2c. More specifically, vertically adjustable worksurface brackets 160c, as described hereinabove, are positioned along the rear edges 25c of worksurfaces 23c, and provide vertical adjustability with respect to the same. Furthermore, at least a pair of outrigger posts 18c associated with the vertical adjustable worksurfaces 23c include two vertically adjustable support pads 180 and 181, which are telescopingly mounted in the upper ends of outrigger posts 18c, and are independently vertically adjustable to support the end edges 95c of worksurfaces 23c at selected elevations. Laterally adjacent worksurfaces 23c can thereby be positioned along a single center beam 2c at different heights, as shown in FIG. 25, to accommodate for specific tasks.

The reference numeral 1d (FIG. 26) generally designates yet another embodiment of the present invention having associated storage, which is similar to that disclosed in Applicants' related application Ser. No. 11/122,899. Since table 1d is similar to the previously described table 1, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-22 and FIG. 26, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “d” in the numerals of the latter. Table 1d is configured to support associated storage, which in the illustrated example, includes generally rectangularly-shaped elevated cabinets 185 and 186. A floor supported cabinet 187 is positioned adjacent to and integrated with one end of table 1d, but is not supported thereby. Elevated cabinets 185 are overhead cabinets that are supported at opposite ends by vertically extending posts 188, which are connected with the center beam 2d using the upper T-slot 54d. Cabinets 186 are at worksurface height, and have one end supported abuttingly on the worksurfaces 23d and 24d, and the opposite end supported by legs 189 which engage the floor surface.

The reference numeral 1e (FIGS. 27-29) generally designates yet another embodiment of the present invention having a storage support post which wraps around the associated center beam 2e. Since table 1e is similar to the previously described table 1, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-22 and FIGS. 27-29, respectively, are represented by the same corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “e” in the numerals of the latter. In table 1e, overhead storage cabinet 195 is supported by a pair of posts 196, which have upper ends 197 attached to the lower surface of cabinet 195 at opposite ends thereof, and lower ends 198 with slots 199 that are received over center beam 2e. A T-shaped key 200 is mounted in the lower T-slot 55e on center beam 2e, and is attached to the lower end of posts 196 by an associated end cover 201 and fasteners 202. A cap or shroud 203 is positioned at the upper end 197 of each post 196 to cover the interface with the lower surface of cabinet 195.

The reference numeral 1f generally designates yet another embodiment of the present invention, having an exposed wireway. Since table 1f is similar to the previously described table 1, similar parts appearing in FIGS. 1-22 and FIGS. 30-32, respectively, are represented by the same, corresponding reference numerals, except for the suffix “f” in the numerals of the latter. Table 1f includes a pair of exposed wireway channels 210 which extend between a center post 5f and an outrigger post 18f directly below the associated outrigger beam 12f on opposite sides thereof. In the illustrated example, wireways 210 have a substantially identical construction, and include generally C-shaped channels 211, having a pair of openings or windows 212 through which power outlet receptacles 213 protrude. A frame 214 is mounted in the lower T-slot 51f of outrigger beam 12f, and is adapted to support receptacle 213 thereon. Both ends of each of the wireways 210 include a slotted end cap 215 which mounts channels 211 to center post 5f and outrigger post 18f. The vertically oriented slots 216 in end caps 215 are received over the associated outwardly protruding flanges 80f-83f of center post 5f and outrigger post 18f. A pair of U-shaped shrouds 217 are provided to enclose wires extending between the floor and the wireways 210, and are configured to be mounted on the inwardly extending flanges 80f-83f of center post 5f and outrigger post 18f in the manner illustrated in FIG. 30.

Tables 1-1d may be made in the following manner. A plurality of center beams 2 and 2a are cut from channel stock into lengths commensurate with the length desired between associated center posts 5 and 6. A plurality of outrigger beams 11, 12, 11a, 12a, 11b, and 12b are similarly cut to length from the same channel stock, but in shorter lengths in accordance with the desired width of the table. A plurality of center post members 5, 6 and 6a are cut to length from X-shaped channel at a length commensurate with the height at which the center beams 2 and 2a are to be supported. The outrigger posts 17, 18, 17a, 18a, 17b, and 18b are similarly cut from the same X-shaped channel to a length commensurate with the height at which worksurfaces 23 and 24 are to be supported. Feet 90 are attached to the lower ends of center posts 5, 6 and 6a, as well as outrigger posts 17, 18, 17a, 18a, 17b, and 18b. Connector assemblies 40 are then used to interconnect each of the center beams 2, 2a with the center posts 5, 6 and 6a in the manner described above. Outrigger beams 11, 12, 11a, 12a, 11b, and 12b are then connected with the center posts 5, 6 and 6a, as well as the outrigger posts 17, 18, 17a, 18a, 17b, and 18b, using connector assemblies 40. Worksurfaces 23 and 24 are then formed and/or selected of an appropriate length and width commensurate with the desired dimensions of the table. In the example illustrated in FIG. 1, worksurfaces 23 and 24 extend all the way between the opposite end center posts 5 and 6a. However, worksurfaces 23 and 24 may be slit or bifurcated at their centers, so that the inward edges are supported by the center outrigger beams 11a and 12a and associated outrigger posts 17a and 17b. In any event, the selected worksurfaces 23 and 24 are operably connected with center beams 2 and 2a, as well as the upper ends of outrigger posts 17, 18, 17a, 18a, 17b, and 18b, in the manner described hereinabove.

Tables 1-1d can therefore be made in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes using parts which are not only common to one another, but also common to the related post and beam furniture system disclosed in Applicants' prior application Ser. Nos. 10/087,324 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,751,914) and 10/753,663. Tables 1-1d therefore present a common aesthetic appearance which permits the furniture systems to be used in close proximity and in various configurations. Furthermore, tables 1-1d are capable of using accessories common with Applicants' related furniture systems, such that they can be easily and quickly interchanged among the tables 1-1d and related post and beam furniture systems.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description, tables 1-1d may be provided in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. For example, the various segments of the frame can be interconnected to create tables with not only rectangular configurations, but also tables having “L”, “T”, “X”, zigzag and other similar plan shapes. The worksurfaces may also be configured to provide corner surfaces, and may assume a wide variety of different geometric shapes, including, but not limited to, rectangular, square, triangular, round, oval, elliptical, etc., as well as nonsymmetrical shapes. Consequently, tables 1-1d can be configured to support many varied applications, and can even be reconfigured into different shapes if desired.

In the foregoing description, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the concepts disclosed herein. Such modifications are to be considered as included in the following claims, unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.





 
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