Title:
LOCKING SHELF BRACKET SUPPORT STRUCTURE
United States Patent 3697034


Abstract:
A lockable coupling is provided for shelving assemblies employing bracket members and upright members which are assembled to each other in a cantilever fashion. The coupling incorporates hook-shaped projections at the end of the bracket members which engage receiving slots in the upright members, and in addition, a spring biased bar is provided at the end of the bracket member which springs outward into one of the receiving slots in the upright member upon completion of assembly of the two members.



Inventors:
SHELL IRVING W
Application Number:
05/002106
Publication Date:
10/10/1972
Filing Date:
01/12/1970
Assignee:
IRVING W. SHELL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/192, 248/222.13, 248/225.21
International Classes:
A47B57/42; A47G29/02; (IPC1-7): A47G29/02
Field of Search:
248/73,224,241,243 211
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
2127280Lock bracket1938-08-16Zimbalist
1473817Metal frame and interlocking joint1923-11-13Gorsline
0977609N/A1910-12-06
0857543N/A1907-06-18



Foreign References:
CA810026A1969-04-08
Primary Examiner:
Schultz, William H.
Claims:
I claim

1. A locking coupling for shelving assemblies including an upright member having one wall with vertically spaced slots located therein and a bracket member including a hollowed end portion having at least two outwardly extending hook-shaped members vertically positioned one above the other, said hook-shaped members being dimensioned to be receivable into successive ones of said slots and provide an engagement with said one wall upon relative vertical downward movement of the bracket member into a position of engagement with said upright member, whereupon an opening is left at the upper portion of each of said successive ones of said slots above said received hook shaped members, comprising:

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to display and shelving assemblies held together by interlocking upright and bracket components and more particularly to a lockable coupling for such assemblies.

Shelving systems using interlocking components are commonly used to support commercial merchandising displays as well as in home decor arrangements where ease of installation, flexibility, portability, and cost are important factors. The basic components of such systems comprise slotted upright members which are usually mounted vertically, and structural members such as brackets equipped for engaging said upright members in a cantilever fashion. These interlocking members form the skeleton of the shelving system. They are used to support shelves, cabinets and various other fixtures which are used to make up integrated merchandising and storage units.

A disadvantage of many such shelving systems has been the tendency for the interlocking uprights and bracket members to loosen and move relative to one another. This was especially troublesome wherein a particular bracket was used to form a pedestal at the base of an upright to make a free standing shelving unit. In such an arrangement, the forces acting on the bracket leg member are opposite to the usual loading forces and tend to uncouple the bracket from the upright. For this and other reasons it is desirable to have bracket members which are capable of being locked to the upright members to prevent their accidental separation after assembly.

One method of locking the members in the past has been to bolt the upright and bracket members together. However this defeated the major advantages of such shelving systems, as they were more difficult to assemble and disassemble and were therefore rendered more complex and less flexible. Also the holes drilled in the various system members and the necessary additional hardware tended to weaken the structure as well as to make it more expensive. Another disadvantage is that most methods of providing lockable couplings which use additional hardware are incompatible with existing systems using the basic bracket and upright members described.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a locking bracket support which requires no hardware to effect locking.

A further object is to provide a locking bracket support which is readably unlocked for disassembly.

A still further object is to provide a locking bracket support which is compatible with existing shelving systems and upright members.

In accordance with my invention a locking coupling is provided for shelving assemblies including at least one upright member having at least one wall with vertically spaced slots located therein and a bracket member having hook-shaped projections adapted to enter and interlock said slots upon vertical movement therein. The bracket member includes a moveable projection both positioned and outwardly biased so that upon assembly of said bracket member to said upright member said moveable projection is caused to enter one of said slots to thereby prevent substantially all relative vertical movement between said bracket member and said upright member. Disassembly is effected by using a suitable tool, such as an ordinary screwdriver, to retract the locking bar.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

These as well as other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description together with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bracket member engaged in an upright support member.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a bracket incorporating the locking feature of the present invention.

FIGS. 3a and 3b show a cutaway plan view of a bracket member incorporating the invention respectively as it is being inserted into the upright member and as it appears when in a locked position.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, a bracket member 1 is shown assembled to an upright member 2. Hook-shaped projections 5 and 6 (FIG. 2) engage one wall of the upright member 2 to form a secure coupling therewith. The bracket member 1 is first positioned so that the projections 5 and 6 extend through slots 3 located in the said one wall and then is pushed downward so that the projections engage said one wall. Without my invention the bracket could be released from the upright member by an upward force to disengage the hooked projection from the one wall of the upright and allow the removal of said projections from the slots.

Referring to FIG. 2, the details of my invention will now be described. In the end of the bracket member 1, a third projection 7 is provided. This projection is called a locking bar. The locking bar 7 is preferably of the said width as the projections 5 and 6 so that it may enter one of the slots 3 provided in the standard upright member 2. Unlike the hook-shaped projections 5 and 6, the locking bar 7 is dimensioned lengthwise so that it substantially fills one of the slots 3 in the upright member 2. In the preferred embodiment illustrated the bar 7 is the same width as the projections 5 and 6. The vertical dimension of the bar 7 together with that of projection 6 is slightly smaller than the vertical dimension of a slot 3.

In an alternate embodiment (not illustrated) the locking bar 7 has a vertical dimension which itself substantially fills a slot 3. Such a bar is positioned on the end of a bracket member so that it is aligned with a slot in an upright member upon assembly, i.e., when the bracket member is pushed downward to engage the wall of the upright with one or more of the conventional hooked shaped projections also located on the end of the bracket member.

FIGS. 3a and 3b show the operational and structural details of the preferred bracket structure embodiment described above and illustrated in FIG. 2. FIG. 3a shows the bracket member 1 as it appears when it is inserted into the upright 2. The maximum vertical dimension of hook-shaped projections 5 and 6 is limited to the vertical dimension of the slots 3 in the wall of the upright 1. The locking bar projection 7 is attached to a flexible strip 8, preferably constructed from a strip of spring steel. One end of the strip 8 is attached to the rear end of the locking bar and the other end is attached to any suitable portion of the bracket by fastening means such as rivet 9.

FIG. 3b depicts the bracket in its locked position. Locking is achieved by applying a downward force to the bracket member once it is in position shown in FIG. 3a. When the hook-shaped projections 5 and 6 engage the wall of the upright member 2 and are positioned in the lower portion of the slots 3, the locking bar 7 springs outward into the unoccupied portion of the same slot that is partially occupied by projection 6. The effect of this is many fold. First, the bracket is securely locked in the upright member as the hook-shaped projections can no longer be moved upwards to release the bracket. Secondly, the bracket becomes equally capable of supporting upwardly directed loading forces as well as downwardly directed loading forces. This result is achieved because the locking bar transfers any upward loading force to the upper portion of the hooked shape projection 6. Third, the locking and support action described above is achieved without the need of special upright members, additional hardware, or assembly tools of any kind.

To unlock the assembly shown in FIG. 3 the locking bar is depressed so that it is clear of the slot 3. Most upright members are constructed with one side having an open portion. This portion 4, shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, greatly facilitates the insertion of a suitable tool, such as a screwdriver, to depress the locking bar and thereby unlock the bracket 1 from the upright 2.

It is apparent that the locking bar may be of different design than the one shown in this embodiment. For example it may consist of an outwardly biased resilient strip formed by cutting an inverted-shaped slit in a portion of the end part of the bracket member itself. The upper end of such a strip would engage the top edge of a slot 3 in an upright member upon complete engagement of the upright unconventional hooked shaped projections. Also the locking bar may be a separate member, or it can be formed integral with the spring bias means used to urge said means in an outward axial direction along said bracket member.

The primary use of this lockable coupling is in the area of shelving assemblies of cantilever construction. Other uses and embodiments of my invention are possible without departing from the concept disclosed herein as set forth in the following claims.