Title:
Bed frame & method of assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A support frame for a bed includes a pair of side rails having attached thereto a pair of cross bar segments each having an outer end including a wall portion comprising a malleable material. Upon assembly the outer ends of individual cross bar segments of one side rail are aligned with and connected to the outer ends of the individual cross bar segments of the other side rail by interlocking connector elements punch pressed in the malleable material of the wall portions. One connector element comprises a finger member projecting from the wall portion of one aligned and connected cross bar segment. The other connector element comprises a slot in the wall portion of the other aligned and connected cross bar segment that receives the finger member.



Inventors:
Harrow, Lawrence (Commerce, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/725164
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/16/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C19/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
POLITO, NICHOLAS F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CONNORS ASSOCIATESpc (13421 Danbury Lane #135i, SEAL BEACH, CA, 90740, US)
Claims:
1. A support frame for a bed, including a pair of side rails, each side rail having attached thereto a pair of cross bar segments, each cross bar segment having an inner end connected to the side rail to which it is attached and an outer end including a wall portion comprising a malleable material, said cross bar segments on each side rail being spaced apart and the outer ends of individual cross bar segments of one side rail being aligned with the outer ends of the individual cross bar segments of the other side rail, said aligned outer ends being interlocked together by connector elements punch pressed in the malleable material of their respective wall portions, each individual connector element being integral with the wall portion from which it is punch pressed, and where one connector element in one aligned outer end comprises an outwardly projecting finger member and the connector element in the other aligned outer end comprises an elongated slot in the wall portion of said other aligned outer end, said finger member and slot each having predetermined configurations to enable the interlocking engagement thereof upon the finger member being inserted into the slot and the cross bar segments being moved away from each other and disengagement upon the cross bar segments being moved towards each other and separated.

2. The support frame of claim 1 where the wall portions of the cross bar segments each have predetermined thicknesses that are substantially equal, and the finger member comprises an elongated, planar element offset from and substantially parallel to the wall portion from which said finger member is formed, said planar element terminating at one end in a barrier wall section integral with the wall portion from which said finger member is formed and an opposed free end, said barrier wall section projecting outwardly from the wall portion from which said finger member is formed so the planar element is offset a predetermined, substantially uniform distance from the wall portion that is substantially equal to said predetermined thickness of said wall portion.

3. The support frame of claim 2 where the finger member is inserted into the slot and the cross bar segments are moved away from each other so the finger member and slot engage and interlock, said finger member and slot having predetermined dimensions so that upon interlocking engagement the finger member extends through the slot and said planar element overlaps an exterior surface of a portion of the cross bar segment adjacent the slot, said exterior surface sliding under said free end and the barrier wall section abutting an edge of the slot upon connection.

4. The support frame of claim 3 including a locking element in the wall portion of one aligned and connected cross bar segment and a receptacle in the wall portion of the other aligned and connected cross bar segment, said locking element and receptacle being formed by punch pressing the malleable material in the wall portions of their respective aligned and connected cross bar segments.

5. The support frame of claim 4 where the locking element and receptacle are at predetermined positions in the wall portions in the outer ends of their respective aligned and connected cross bar segments so that, upon connection with said exterior surface under said free end of the finger member and the barrier wall section abutting the edge of the slot, the locking element fits snug within the receptacle to prevent any substantial lateral movement between the aligned and connected cross bar segments, said locking element and the receptacle in which the locking element is received having substantially the same shape and size and, when the locking element and receptacle are aligned, the locking element snaps into and fits snugly in the receptacle and is wedged in a locked position.

6. The support frame of claim 4 where the slot is substantially rectangular and has opposed edges and a predetermined length dimension and a predetermined width dimension, said planar element of the finger member having a length that is less than the length dimension of the slot and said barrier wall section having a width dimension substantially equal to said width dimension of the slot, said barrier wall section being nearby one opposed edge upon inserting the finger member in the slot and abutting the other opposed edge upon moving the cross bar segments away from each other, said locking element and receptacle in predetermined positions to engage upon said barrier wall section abutting said other opposed edge when the cross bar segments are moved away from each other.

7. The support frame of claim 4 where the wall portions of each aligned and connected cross bar segment include a top wall and a sidewall, with said locking element being in the top wall of one cross bar segment and receptacle being in the top wall of the other cross bar segment, whereby, upon placing a boxspring on the assembled support frame, said boxspring bears down on the locking element to tend to maintain said locking element in said receptacle, and with said finger member being in the sidewall of one cross bar segment and slot being in the sidewall of the other cross bar segment.

8. The support frame of claim 2 where the slot has a substantially rectangular configuration with a predetermined length and width and the planar element has a length less than the length of the slot and the barrier wall section has a width substantially the same as the width of the slot.

9. The support frame of claim 2 where each wall portion has a predetermined thicknesses and the free end of planar element is spaced outward from the wall portion from which said planar element is formed a distance substantially the same as the thickness of the wall portion of the slot in which said of planar element is received during interlocking engagement.

10. A support frame for a bed, including a pair of substantially parallel side rails, each side rail having attached thereto substantially at a right angle to the side rail a pair of spaced apart, L-shaped, cross bar segments comprising a malleable material, each cross bar segment having a top wall, a sidewall substantially at a right angle to the top wall, an inner end connected to the side rail to which it is attached, and an outer end, the outer ends of individual cross bar segments of one side rail being aligned with, overlapping, and nested in the outer ends of the individual cross bar segments of the other side rail, said aligned, overlapping, and nested outer ends being connected by interlocking connector elements integrally formed in the malleable material, said connector elements of each aligned and connected cross bar segments comprising a substantially hook shaped finger member projecting from the sidewall of one connected cross bar segment and a slot in the sidewall of the other connected cross bar segment that receives the finger member, and a locking element in the top wall of one aligned and connected cross bar segment and a receptacle in the top wall of the other aligned and connected cross bar segment, said locking element and receptacle being integrally formed in the malleable material.

11. The support frame of claim 10 where the connector elements are punched pressed in the malleable material and each comprises a pair of longitudinally aligned finger members and a pair of longitudinally aligned slots, said pair of finger members and said pair of aligned slots respectively positioned so, upon connection, one individual finger member extends into one slot and the other individual finger member extends into the other slot, said finger members and slots having predetermined dimensions so individual finger members extend through individual slots to (a) engage as the individual aligned and connected cross bar segments are moved into alignment with each other and the finger members are inserted into the slots and then the cross bar segments are moved away from each other so the slots and finger members interlock, and (b) disengage as the cross bar segments are moved towards each other and then separated to withdraw the finger members from the slots, said individual finger members each including an elongated, planar element offset from the wall portion from which said planar element is formed, leaving an opening in said wall portion beneath said planar element, said planar element terminating at one end in a barrier wall section integral with the wall portion from which said planar element is formed and an edge of said opening, and terminating at an opposed free end, said planar elements oriented so their free ends each are substantially aligned and pointing in substantially the same direction and overlapping surfaces of the cross bar segments adjacent said individual slots receiving said individual finger members when the cross bar segments are moved away from each other, said surfaces sliding under the free ends of said individual planar elements.

12. The support frame of claim 11 where the locking element and receptacle are at predetermined positions in the top wall of their respective aligned and connected cross bar segments so that, upon connection with said exterior surfaces adjacent said slots under said free ends of the finger members and the stop sections abutting the edges of the individual slots in which they are received, the locking element fits within the receptacle to prevent any substantial lateral movement between the aligned and connected cross bar segments.

13. The support frame of claim 11 where the locking element and the receptacle in which the locking element is received have substantially the same shape and size, and, when the locking element and receptacle are aligned and positioned to be coupled together, the locking element fitting snugly in the receptacle and is wedged in position.

14. The support frame of claim 11 where the receptacle comprises a hole in one the top wall of one of the aligned and connected cross bar segments.

15. The support frame of claim 11 where the locking element has spring action and goes into compression during connection of the cross bar segments when the segments are moved towards each other.

16. The support frame of claim 11 where the slots each have a substantially rectangular configuration with a predetermined length and width and the planar elements each have a length less than the length of the slot and the wall section has a width substantially the same as the width of the slot.

17. A support frame for a bed, including first and second of side rails, each side rail having attached thereto spaced apart first and second L-shaped cross bar segments, with each cross bar segment having a top wall and a sidewall disposed at a right angle to the top wall, an inner end connected to the side rail to which it is attached and an outer end, said side rails being adapted to be coupled together so that said rails are substantially parallel to each other and spaced apart by connecting their respective cross bar segments together by laterally moving the cross bar segments together with respect to each other, said cross bar segments extending outward from the side rails at substantially a right angle and positioned opposite each other and aligned and connected together at their respective outer ends to form the support frame, with the top wall of one cross bar overlying and abutting the top wall of the other cross bar and the sidewalls of each aligned and connected cross bars abutting each other, each cross bar segment having in its top and sidewalls near its outer end a connection section comprising a malleable material, with one connection section in one top wall of one of the aligned opposed cross bars segments overlying the connection section of the other cross bar segment to which it is connected, and one connection section in one top wall of one cross bar segment having a locking element and the other connection section of the other cross bar segment having a receptacle into which is received the locking element, said locking element and said receptacle being formed by punch pressing in the malleable material in their respective connection sections, the locking element and the receptacle in which the locking element is received having substantially the same shape and size and, when the locking element and receptacle are aligned, the locking element fitting snugly in the receptacle and being wedged in position, and one of the cross bar segments having a connector member in the connection section extending from its sidewall and the other cross bar to which said one cross bar segment is connected having a slot in its sidewall that receives the connector member of said one cross bar segment when the cross bar segments are connected, said connector member and slot being formed by punch pressing in the malleable material in their respective connection sections.

18. A method of assembling a bed frame comprising (a) providing a pair of side rails, each side rail having attached thereto a pair of cross bar segments, each cross bar segment being substantially at a right angle to side rail to which it is attached and each cross bar segment having an outer end including a wall portion comprising a malleable material, said individual outer ends of the cross bar segments attached to one side rail including one component of a two-part connector which is formed by punch pressing in the malleable material and said individual outer ends of the cross bar segments attached to the other side rail each including the other component of the two-part connector element which is formed by punch pressing in the malleable material, one component being a finger member projecting from the wall portion and the other component being a slot in the wall portion, (b) aligning the outer ends of the pair of cross bar segments of one side rail with the outer ends of the pair of cross bar segments of the other side rail, and (c) inserting the finger member in the slot and then moving the cross bar segments away from each other to lock together said two components of the two-part connector.

19. The method of claim 18 where the finger member comprises an elongated member having a wall section integral with the wall portion from which said finger member is formed and an opposed free end spaced outward from said wall portion from which said finger member is formed, said finger member and slot having predetermined dimensions so the finger member extends through the slot and said elongated member overlaps an exterior surface of a portion of the cross bar segment adjacent the slot, said exterior surface sliding under said free end and the stop section abutting an edge of the slot upon connection.

20. The method of claim 18 including a locking element in the wall portion of one aligned and connected cross bar segment and a receptacle in the wall portion of the other aligned and connected cross bar segment, said locking element and receptacle being formed by punch pressing the malleable material in the wall portions of their respective aligned and connected cross bar segments, said locking element and receptacle engaging and locking together when the outer ends of the aligned pairs of cross bar segments of the side rails are connected.

Description:

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

The inventor incorporates herein by reference any and all U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and other documents, hard copy or electronic, cited or referred to in this application.

DEFINITIONS

The words “comprising,” “having,” “containing,” and “including,” and other forms thereof, are intended to be equivalent in meaning and be open ended in that an item or items following any one of these words is not meant to be an exhaustive listing of such item or items, or meant to be limited to only the listed item or items.

“Rectangular” includes square.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Bed frames are commonly used devices to support a boxspring and a mattress position on top of the boxspring. These bed frames are typically made of steel angle irons that are welded or connected together by various types of connecting devices. A typical connecting device is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,415,465, where the cross bars of a bed frame have their ends attached by a rivets that extend through key slots to hold the ends of the cross bars together. It would be highly desirable to reduce the costs, and simplify the manufacture of, such connecting devices.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

This invention has one or more features as discussed subsequently herein. After reading the following section entitled “DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS OF THIS INVENTION,” one will understand how the features of this invention provide its benefits. The benefits of this invention include, but are not limited to: low cost manufacture and ease of assembly and disassembly of bed frame components.

Without limiting the scope of this invention as expressed by the claims that follow, some, but not necessarily all, of its features are:

One, the bed support frame of this invention includes a pair of side rails, each side rail having attached thereto a pair of cross bar segments, with each cross bar segment having an inner end connected to the side rail to which it is attached and an outer end including a wall portion comprising a malleable material. The cross bar segments may be L-shaped having a top wall and a sidewall substantially at a right angle to the top wall. The cross bar segments on each side rail are spaced apart and the outer ends of the pair of cross bar segments of one side rail are aligned with the outer ends of the pair of cross bar segments of the other side rail. The aligned outer ends are interlocked together by connector elements punch pressed in the malleable material of the wall portions using conventional sheet metal stamping equipment. Each individual connector element is integral with the wall portion from which it is punch pressed. One connector element in one aligned outer end comprises an outwardly projecting finger member and the connector element in the other aligned outer end comprises an elongated slot in the wall portion of the other aligned outer end.

Two, the finger member and slot each have predetermined configurations to enable interlocking engagement thereof upon the finger member being inserted into the slot and the cross bar segments being moved away from each other. For example, the finger member may be substantially hooked shape, and the elongated slot may be substantially rectangular. Upon interlocking, the finger member extends through the slot and overlaps an exterior surface of the wall portion of the cross bar segment adjacent the slot. The wall portions of the cross bar segments may be of substantially uniform and of equal thicknesses, and the finger member may comprise an elongated, planar element offset from and substantially parallel to the wall portion from which the finger member is formed. Formation of the finger member leaves an opening in the wall portion beneath the planar element. The planar element terminates in a free end and opposite the free end is a barrier wall section integral with the planar element. The barrier wall section projects outwardly from the wall portion from which the finger member is formed so the planar element is offset a predetermined, substantially uniform distance from this wall portion that is substantially equal to the thickness of the wall portion. This offset distance ranges substantially from 0.100 to 5/32 inch and is substantially uniformly along the length of the planar element.

Three, a substantially rectangular slot may be used to facilitate interlocking connection of the cross bar segments. A substantially rectangular slot has opposed, substantially parallel lateral edges, a forward edge and an opposed rear edge, which are substantially parallel, and predetermined length and width dimensions. The planar element of the finger member has a length that is less than the length dimension of the slot and the barrier wall section has a width dimension substantially equal (but slightly less to provide clearance) to the width dimension of the slot. The barrier wall section is nearby, and may be abutting, the forward edge of the slot upon inserting the finger member in the slot. The barrier wall section has opposed outer extremities, each one next to one lateral edge. As the interlocking connection of the cross bar segments is made as the cross bar segments are moved away from each other, the free end of the planar element slides over the exterior surface of the wall portion of the cross bar segment adjacent the rear edge of the slot and the finger member is guided by the opposed lateral edges of the slot engaging the extremities of the barrier wall section. The rear edge of the slot acts as a stop, abutting the barrier wall section when the finger member has traveled the length dimension of the slot as the cross bar segments are moved away from each other. Due to the predetermined dimensions of the finger member and slot, upon interlocking engagement, the finger member extends through the slot and the planar element overlaps the exterior surface of the cross bar segment adjacent the slot near the rear edge.

Four, the bed support frame of this invention may include a locking element in the wall portion of one aligned and connected cross bar segment and a receptacle in the wall portion of the other aligned and connected cross bar segment. The locking element and receptacle are formed by punch pressing the malleable material in the wall portions of their respective aligned and connected cross bar segments. The locking element and the receptacle in which the locking element is received have substantially the same shape and size and, when the locking element and receptacle are aligned, the locking element snaps into and fits snugly in the receptacle and is wedged in a locked position. For example, the receptacle may comprises a circular hole and the locking element may be a circular tab. The locking element has spring action and goes into compression during connection of the cross bar segments when the segments are moved towards each other.

Five, the locking element, receptacle, finger member and slot are at predetermined positions relative to each other to insure interlocking connection when the finger member is inserted into the slot and the cross bar segments are moved away from each other. Upon connection with the exterior surface adjacent the rear edge of the slot under the free end of the finger member and the barrier wall section abutting the rear edge of the slot, the locking element fits snug within the receptacle to prevent any substantial lateral movement between the aligned and connected cross bar segments. In other words, the locking element and receptacle and the finger member and slot are in predetermined positions relative to each other to prevent any substantial lateral movement between the aligned and connected cross bar segments upon the barrier wall section abutting the rear edge of the slot when the cross bar segments are moved away from each other. The locking element may be in the top wall of one cross bar segment and the receptacle may be in the top wall of the other cross bar segment. Thus, upon placing a boxspring on the assembled support frame, the boxspring bears down on the locking element to tend to maintain the locking element in the receptacle.

In one embodiment, pairs of longitudinally aligned finger members and pairs of complimentary, longitudinally aligned slots are used. The planar elements of the finger members are oriented so their free ends each are substantially aligned and pointing in substantially the same direction. The pair of finger members and the pair of slots are positioned so, upon connection of the cross bar segments, one individual finger member extends into one slot and the other individual finger member extends into the other slot. The individual finger members extend through individual slots to (a) engage as the individual aligned and connected cross bar segments are moved into alignment with each other and the finger members are inserted into the slots and then the cross bar segments are moved away from each other so the slots and finger members interlock, and (b) disengage as the cross bar segments are moved towards each other and then separated to withdraw the finger members from the slots. The pair of finger members may be on the same cross bar segment or one finger member may be on one cross bar segment and the other finger member on the other cross bar segment. Also, the pair of slots may be on the same cross bar segment or one slot may be on one cross bar segment and the other slot on the other cross bar segment.

These features are not listed in any rank order nor is this list intended to be exhaustive.

This invention also includes a method of assembling a bed frame. This method comprises

(a) providing a pair of side rails, each side rail having attached thereto a pair of cross bar segments, each cross bar segment being substantially at a right angle to side rail to which it is attached and each cross bar segment having an outer end including a wall portion comprising a malleable material,

the individual outer ends of the cross bar segments attached to one side rail including one component of a two-part connector which is formed by punch pressing in the malleable material and the individual outer ends of the cross bar segments attached to the other side rail each including the other component of the two-part connector element which is formed by punch pressing in the malleable material, one component being a finger member projecting from the wall portion and the other component being a slot in the wall portion,

(b) aligning the outer ends of the pair of cross bar segments of one side rail with the outer ends of the pair of cross bar segments of the other side rail, and

(c) inserting the finger member in the slot and then moving the cross bar segments away from each other to lock together said two components of the two-part connector.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

Some embodiments of this invention, illustrating all its features, will now be discussed in detail. These embodiments depict the novel and non-obvious bed frame and method of this invention as shown in the accompanying drawing, which is for illustrative purposes only. This drawing includes the following figures (Figs.), with like numerals indicating like parts:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of an assembled bed frame of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the cross bars of the bed frame shown in FIG. 1 and taken along line 2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2A is a fragmentary front elevational view of a finger member in a slot and the cross bar segments moved away from each other.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3A-3A of FIG. 5.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary, exploded perspective view showing the aligned and overlapping cross bar segments depicted in FIG. 1 prior to connecting these cross bar segments.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary, exploded perspective view of an alternate embodiment of this invention showing aligned and overlapping cross bar segments prior to connecting these cross bar segments.

FIG. 6A is a cross-sectional view taken along line 6A-6A of FIG. 6.

FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view similar to that of FIG. 6 but showing the cross bar segments moved away from each other.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THIS INVENTION

As depicted in FIG. 1, one embodiment of the bed frame of this invention, generally designated by the numeral 10, includes a pair of L-shaped side rails 62 and 64 that are connected together by a center bar 66 and a pair of cross bars 68 and 70. At the ends of each of the side rails 62 and 64 are headboard brackets 72. Typically, the opposed ends of the center bar 66 are bolted, or otherwise connected, to the central portions of the side rails 62 and 64 and a leg 69 extends downward from the middle of the center bar to rest on a floor (not shown). At each corner of the bed frame 10 are legs 71 with casters 73 that rest on the floor.

Each cross bar 68 and 70 comprises a pair of L-shaped cross bar segments 68a and 68b and 70a and 70b, respectively. The inner ends 68c and 68d and 70c and 70d of each of the cross bar segments 68a, 68b, 70a and 70b are connected to a corresponding side rail 62 or 64, as the case may be. Preferably, each of the cross bar segments 68a, 68b, 70a and 70b are pivotally attached to a side rail. This enables the cross bar segments to be folded inwardly against their respective side rails during storage and shipment as shown in dotted lines. During assembly, the crossbar segments 68a, 68b, 70a and 70b are moved outwardly at a right angle with respect to the side rail to which they are attached. The two side rails 62 and 64 are then positioned opposite each other and in parallel, and each pair of cross bar segments 68a and 68b, and 70a and 70b, are aligned and their respective ends brought into an overlapping and abutting relationship. The precise manner in which this is accomplished is discussed in detail with respect to the cross bar segments 70an and 70b in connection with FIGS. 2 through 5. The cross bar segments 68a and 68b are attached and detached in the same manner as the cross bar segments 70an ad 70b.

Referring to FIGS. 2 through 5, the entire cross bar segments 70a and 70b, but at the minimum their outer ends A and B, comprise a malleable material, preferably a metal such as, for example, steel. Each cross bar segment 70a and 70b has an L-shaped cross section with top walls 70g and 70h, respectively, adjoined at right angles, respectively, to sidewalls 70i and 70j. The top walls 70g and 70h and sidewalls 70i and 70j all have substantially the same thickness t1, which ranges substantially from 0.100 to 5/32 inch. The outer ends A and B of the cross bar segments 70a and 70b each include one component of a two-part connector. In the sidewall 70i of the cross bar segment 70a near the end A are a pair of spaced-apart, aligned finger members 74 and 76, each having a substantially hook shape, with the pair of finger members being longitudinally oriented and aligned with each other. Using a convention sheet metal stamping equipment, these finger members 74 and 76 are formed by partially punching them out in the malleable material in the sidewall 70i of the cross bar segment 70a. The pair of finger members 74 and 76 comprise one component of the two-part connector. The other component of the two-part connector comprises a pair of longitudinally aligned, elongated, rectangular slots 80a and 80b in the sidewall 70j of the cross bar segment 70b formed by completely punching out in the malleable material a substantially rectangular hole in the sidewall 70j of the cross bar segment 70b. As shown in FIG. 2A, each slot 80a and 80b has opposed, parallel lateral edges LE and a forward edge FE and an opposed parallel rear edge RE. As illustrated best in FIG. 3A, initially the pair of aligned finger members 74 and 76 and the aligned slots 80a and 80b, respectively, are positioned so, upon connection, the one individual finger member 74 extends into the one slot 80a and the other individual finger member 76 extends into the other slot 80b.

As best shown in FIG. 3, each finger member 74 and 76 projects outward from the sidewall 70i of the cross bar segment 70a, with each individual finger member including an elongated, planar element PE (FIG. 3A) offset from a wall portion (FIG. 3A) from which the planar element is formed, leaving an opening 90 in the wall portion beneath the planar element. As shown in FIG. 3A, the offset distance d1 between the underside of the planar element PE and the inside surface IS of the sidewall 70i is substantially equal to the thickness t1 of the sidewall 70i. The planar element PE, which is substantially parallel to the sidewall 70i from which it is formed, terminates at one end in a barrier wall section 92. The barrier wall section 92 is integral with the sidewall 70i from which the planar element is formed and projects outwardly from the opening 90. The barrier wall section has opposed outer extremities 92a and 92b that bear respectively against the opposed lateral edges LE of the slot as a finger member moves to and fro within a slot. The barrier wall section 92 functions as a stop member when the finger members 74 and 76 and slots 80a and 80b interlock as shown in FIG. 2.

The planar element PE terminates opposite the wall section 92 in a free end 94. The planar elements PE of the finger members 74 and 76 are oriented so their free ends 94 are each substantially aligned and pointing in substantially the same direction. Each free end 84 overlaps an exterior surface ES (FIG. 5) of a portion of the cross bar segment adjacent an individual slot (slot 80a or 80b as the case may be) receiving an individual finger member when the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are moved away from each other as indicated by the arrows b1 and b2 in FIGS. 2 and 3A. As the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are moved away from each other, the individual free ends 94 of the individual planar elements PE each slide over the exterior surface ES near the rear edges RE of the slots. The free ends 94 of the planar elements PE are spaced outward from the wall portion 70i from which these planar elements are formed a predetermined distance substantially equal to the thickness t1 of the wall portion adjacent the slot (slot 80 a or 80b as the case may be) receiving the finger member, typically substantially from 0.100 to 5/32 inch.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 3A and 5, the barrier wall section 92 has a width substantially equal to the distance between these parallel lateral slot edges LE, enabling these edges to serve as guide members. Thus, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, when the ends 70e and 70f of the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are brought into an overlapping and abutting relationship and the finger members 74b and 76b are in registration with the slots 80a and 80b, the finger members 74b and 76b pass through these slots. By moving the cross bar segments away each other the finger members grasp the wall portions of the cross bar segment adjacent a rear edge RE of a slot to hold the sidewalls and top walls of the two segments 70a and 70b snugly together.

A finger member, and its corresponding slot in which the finger member is received, each have predetermined dimensions to enable interlocking connection. As discussed above, the thickness of the sidewall 70j of this crossbar 70b is approximately equal to the distance d1 the free ends 94 of the planar elements PE are spaced of the sidewall 70i of the cross bar segment adjacent the slots. So upon interlocking engagement, each individual finger member 74 and 76 extends through its corresponding slot 80a and 80b, as the case may be, and the planar elements PE overlap an exterior surface ES of a sidewall of the cross bar segment adjacent the slots, and this exterior surface ES slides under the free end 94 and the barrier wall section 92 abuts a rear edge RE of a complimentary slot upon moving the cross bar segments 70a and 70b away from each other in the directions of the arrows b1 and b2.

The outer extremities 92a and 92b of the barrier wall section 92 are positioned with each extremity next to a lateral edge LE of a slot. As the interlocking connection of the cross bar segments is made as the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are moved away from each other, the free end 92 of the planar element PE slides over the exterior surface ES of the wall portion of the cross bar segment adjacent the rear edge RE of the slot and the finger member 74 or 76, as the case may be, is guided by the opposed lateral edges LE of the slot engaging the extremities of the barrier wall section. The rear edge RE of the slot acts as a stop, abutting the barrier wall section 92 when the finger member has traveled the length dimension of the slot as the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are moved away from each other.

Initially, the finger members 74 and 76 and the slots 80a and 80b are placed in alignment with each other as shown in FIGS. 3A and 5 and then moved towards each other in the direction indicated by the arrow a1 so the finger members 74 and 76 are inserted into the slots 80a and 80b as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3A. Then the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are moved away from each other in opposite directions as indicated by the arrows b1 and b2 so the finger members 74 and 76 and slots 80a and 80b interlock as shown in FIG. 3. To disengage the interlocked cross bar segments 70a and 70b are moved towards each other, bringing the finger members 74 and 76 and the slots 80a and 80b into alignment as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3A, and then separated to withdraw the finger members from the slots by moving the cross bar segments 70a and 70b in the direction indicated by the arrow a2.

The inner end B of the cross bar segment 70b has therein a locking element 78. This locking element 78 is formed by partially punching out a semi-circular section in the top wall 70h of the cross bar segment 70b. This semi-circular locking element 78 has a portion 78a (FIG. 4) that remains integral with the top wall 70h. The bulk of the semi-circular locking element 78 projects inward and faces in a direction that facilitates disconnection of the segments 70a and 70b when they are moved towards each other as shown in FIG. 2. The underside of the locking element 78 provides a ramp surface 78b. The outer end A of the top wall 70g of the cross bar segment 70a has therein a punched out hole 73, preferably in the form of a circle, but other geometric shapes may also be used. The locking element 78 may be a circular tab having a portion integral with the in the top wall 70h of the cross bar segment 70b. Upon connection of the cross bar segments 70a and 70b, the locking element 78 is wedged into the hole 73.

With the cross bar segments 70a and 70b coupled together, the hole 73 serves as a receptacle for the locking element 78 upon moving the cross bar segments 70a and 70b away each other as indicated by the arrows b1 and b2. This relative movement of the cross bar segments 70a and 70 pushes the wall section 92 against the edge E1 as shown in FIG. 3. This also brings the locking element 78 into alignment with the hole 73. Because of the lateral edges E3 and E4 are substantially parallel, and the wall section 92 has a width substantially equal to the distance between these parallel edges, the wall section is guided by these edges as the cross bar segments 70a and 70b move relative to each other. As the cross bar segments 70a and 70b move relative to each other, the tip 78c of the ramp surface 78b rides over the top 70g of the cross bar segment 70a, and is bent slightly to compress the locking element 78. When the locking element 78 is in registration with the hole 73, the spring action of the locking element assists in forcing the locking element into the hole. The diameter of the locking element 78 is about the same as the diameter of the hole 73, so consequently, the locking element is wedged into the hole. The hole 73 is located precisely, so that when the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are properly connected as shown in FIG. 3, the locking element 78 securely locks the cross bar segments together. When a boxspring is placed on the assembled bed frame 10, the weight of the boxspring bears down on the locking element seated in the hole 73 to assist in maintaining the locking element in the hole.

To disassemble the side rails 62 and 64, the cross bar segments 70a and 70b are disconnected. Again with reference to the cross bars segments 70a and 70b, this is accomplished by first moving these segments towards each other in directions opposite the arrows b1 and b2, bringing the finger members 74 and 76 into registration with the elongated slots 80a and 80b as depicted in FIG. 3A. The locking element 78 faces in a direction so that the ramp surface 78b facilitates connection of the cross bar segments 70a and 70b when the finger members 74 and 76 are inserted into the slots 80a and 80b and these segments are moved away from towards each other in directions indicated by the arrows b1 and b2. The locking element 78, however, inhibits disconnection when the finger members 74 and 76 are towards each other. Because of the ramp surface 78b provided by the underside of the locking element 78, the locking element does not slide easily from the hole 73 and a tool may be required to dislodge the locking element 78. In other words, when the segments 70a and 70b are moved towards each other and a tool is used to lift the locking element 78 from the hole 73, the locking element is withdrawn from the hole. This relative movement of the segments 70a and 70b causes the ramp surface 78b the slide over the top 70g of the segment 70a withdrawing the locking element 78 from the hole 73. The cross bar segments 70a and 70b are now be separated by withdrawing the planar elements PE of the finger members 74 and 76 from the slots 80a and 80b.

As depicted in FIGS. 6 and 6A, another embodiment of the bed frame of this invention, generally designated by the numeral 100, also includes a pair of cross bar segments 101a and 101b that are similar to the cross bar segments 70a and 70b and attached and detached in a similar manner as the cross bar segments 70a and 70b. These cross bar segments 101a and 101b include a pair of finger members 102a and 102b and elongated slots 104a and 104b that interact with the finger members. These finger members 102a and 102b and elongated slots 104a and 104b are formed by punch pressing in malleable end portions of the cross bar segments 70a and 70b. The main differences between the bed frame 100 and the bed frame 10 are: (1) that the one finger member 102a is on the cross bar segment 101a and the other finger member 102b is on the cross bar segment 101b, and (2) that the one slot 104a is on the cross bar segment 101b and the other slot 104b is on the cross bar segment 101a. The finger member 102b projects outward from the interior surface IS of the wall 70j of the bar segment 101b and faces the exterior surface ES of the wall 70i of the bar segment 101a.

The cross bar segments 101a and 101b are first aligned as depicted in FIG. 6 in solid lines with the finger member 102a positioned to be inserted into the slot 104a and pointing towards the slot 104a, and the finger member 102b positioned to be inserted into the slot 104b, and pointing towards the slot 104b. The relative positions of the finger members 102a and 102b and the slots 104a and 104b are shown in dotted lines upon insertion of the fingers in the slots and prior to the cross bar segments 101a and 101b being moved away from each other. When moved away from each other in opposite directions x1 and x2 (FIG. 6A), the finger members 102a and 102b and the slots 104a and 104b are moved into the interlocking relationship shown in FIG. 6B.

SCOPE OF THE INVENTION

The above presents a description of the best mode contemplated of carrying out the present invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains to make and use this invention. This invention is, however, susceptible to modifications and alternate constructions from that discussed above which are fully equivalent. Consequently, it is not the intention to limit this invention to the particular embodiment disclosed. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications and alternate constructions coming within the spirit and scope of the invention as generally expressed by the following claims, which particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter of the invention: