Title:
Desk and hutch assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A furniture assembly is provided including a desk, a hutch having a base and a rear panel extending below the base, and a support. The support comprises a post extending between the desk and the hutch, a platform at an upper end of the post supporting the base, and a bracket extending below the platform and engageable with the rear panel of the hutch.



Inventors:
Grubb, Jeffrey A. (Anaheim, CA, US)
Hawker, Alistair R. (Irvine, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/747093
Publication Date:
06/27/2002
Filing Date:
12/22/2000
Assignee:
GRUBB JEFFREY A.
HAWKER ALISTAIR R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B17/03; (IPC1-7): A47B27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KNOBBE MARTENS OLSON & BEAR LLP (IRVINE, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A furniture assembly, comprising: a desk; a hutch having a base and a rear panel extending below said base; and a support comprising a post extending between said desk and said hutch, a platform at an upper end of said post supporting said base, and a bracket extending below said platform and engageable with said rear panel.

2. The furniture assembly of claim 1, wherein said platform comprises a top wall extending forwardly and rearwardly of said upper end of said post, and first and second side walls extending downwardly from said top wall along an outer side surface of said post.

3. The furniture assembly of claim 1, wherein said bracket comprises a first bracket portion extending downwardly from said platform along a front side of said rear panel, a second bracket portion extending rearwardly from said first bracket portion beneath said rear panel, and a third bracket portion extending upwardly from said second bracket portion along a rear side of said rear panel.

4. The furniture assembly of claim 3, wherein said platform and said bracket comprise a unitary structure having bend lines between said platform and said first bracket portion, between said first bracket portion and said second bracket portion, and between said second bracket portion and said third bracket portion.

5. The furniture assembly of claim 1, wherein an opening is provided in a desktop surface of said desk and a lower end of said post extends into said opening, said support further comprising a collar extending outwardly from said post above said lower end thereof, said collar supported on said desktop surface of said desk.

6. A support for supporting a hutch above a desk, said hutch having a base and a rear panel extending below said base, said support comprising: a post positionable between said desk and said hutch; a platform at an upper end of said post, said platform positionable beneath said base to support said base; and a bracket extending downwardly from said platform and engageable with said rear panel.

7. The support of claim 6, wherein said bracket comprises a generally U-shaped portion engageable with a lower end of said rear panel.

8. The support of claim 6, wherein said post is tubular and includes a first opening near said upper end of said post and a second opening near a lower end of said post for passage of electrical cords.

9. The support of claim 6, further comprising an adjustable accessory bracket for adjustably mounting an accessory on said post, said accessory bracket comprising: a strip having a first end and a second end, said strip extending downwardly and partially around an outer side surface of said post from said first end to said second end; a gap formed between said first and second ends, said gap being of sufficient size to allow removal and replacement of said strip on said post; and a clip at said second end, said clip engageable with said accessory to support said accessory at a desired location on said post.

10. The support of claim 8, wherein at least a portion of said post has a circular cross section, and said strip is generally helical in shape.

11. A method of supporting a hutch above a desk, said hutch having a base and a rear panel extending below said base, said method comprising the steps of: providing a support between said hutch and said desk, said support comprising a post, a platform at an upper end of said post, and a bracket extending downwardly from said platform; positioning a lower end of said support in an opening formed in a top surface of said desk; positioning said hutch on said support wherein said base abuts said platform and a lower end of said rear panel is engaged by said bracket; and adjusting said hutch laterally as desired by sliding said hutch with respect to said support.

12. An adjustable accessory bracket for adjustably mounting an accessory on a post, said accessory bracket comprising: a strip having a first end and a second end, said strip shaped to extend downwardly and partially around an outer side surface of said post from said first end to said second end; a gap formed between said first and second ends, said gap being of sufficient size to allow removal and replacement of said strip on said post; and a clip at said second end, said clip engageable with said accessory to support said accessory at a desired location on said post.

13. The accessory bracket of claim 12, wherein a cushioning material is provided on at least a portion of said strip to prevent damage to said post and to increase friction between said strip and said post.

14. The accessory bracket of claim 12, wherein said clip comprises a first clip portion connected to said strip and extending generally parallel with said post and a second clip portion extending generally perpendicularly to said post from a lower end of said first clip portion, said first and second clip portions serving to support said accessory and to retain said accessory adjacent to said post.

15. The accessory bracket of claim 12, wherein said strip is helical in shape and extends more than 180 degrees around a central longitudinal axis.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to furniture assemblies and, more particularly, to desk and hutch assemblies.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Desk and hutch assemblies are well known. A hutch typically is supported on a desktop surface of a desk to provide additional shelf and/or storage space. The hutch typically has side panels that extend below the lowest shelf or storage compartment of the hutch. The side panels serve as legs to support the hutch on the desktop surface.

[0005] One disadvantage of such desk and hutch assemblies is that the side panels of the hutch take up space on the desktop surface. To provide a stable support for the hutch, the side panels typically extend the entire depth of the hutch from the rear of the desktop surface towards the front of the desktop surface. As a result, the side panels substantially interfere with the desktop workspace. The problem is made worse if the hutch is substantially narrower than the desk, because the side panels take up space in the middle of the desktop. In addition, it is impossible to use a hutch that is wider than the desk, because the distance between the side panels of the hutch is greater than the width of the desktop surface.

[0006] To overcome the above problems, desk and hutch assemblies have been constructed in which the hutch is supported by brackets that extend between the desk and the hutch, rather than by the side panels of the hutch. The brackets typically are attached to the sides or the rear comers of both the desk and the hutch with threaded fasteners or other hardware. The brackets typically require little desktop space and thus interfere less with the workspace of the desk. However, because the brackets attach to the sides or comers of the desk and the hutch, the hutch must be the same width as the desk. In addition, because the brackets are attached to the desk and the hutch with threaded fasteners or other hardware, assembly is typically complex and time consuming.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The desk and hutch assembly of the present invention maximizes desktop space, is conveniently assembled, and provides flexibility for creating a variety of different desk and hutch configurations.

[0008] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a furniture assembly is provided including a desk, a hutch having a base and a rear panel extending below the base, and a support. The support comprises a post extending between the desk and the hutch, a platform at an upper end of the post supporting the base, and a bracket extending below the platform and engageable with the rear panel.

[0009] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a support is provided for supporting a hutch above a desk, the hutch having a base and a rear panel extending below the base. The support comprises a post positionable between the desk and the hutch and a platform at an upper end of the post. The platform is positionable beneath the base to support the base. A bracket extends downwardly from the platform and is engageable with the rear panel.

[0010] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method of supporting a hutch above a desk is described. In accordance with the method, a support is provided between the hutch and the desk. The hutch has a base and a rear panel extending below the base. The support includes a post, a platform at an upper end of the post, and a bracket extending downwardly from the platform. A lower end of the support is placed in an opening formed in a top surface of the desk. The hutch is placed on the support so that the base abuts the platform and a lower end of the rear panel is engaged by the bracket. The hutch is then adjusted laterally as desired by sliding the hutch with respect to the support.

[0011] In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, an adjustable accessory bracket is provided for adjustably mounting an accessory on a post. The accessory bracket comprises a strip having a first end and a second end. The strip is shaped to extend downwardly and partially around an outer side surface of the post from the first end to the second end. A gap of sufficient size to allow removal and replacement of the strip on the post is formed between the first and second ends. A clip is provided at the second end. The clip is engageable with the accessory to support the accessory at a desired location on the post.

[0012] These and other aspects of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and the attached figures, the invention not being limited to any particular embodiment disclosed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a support having certain features and advantages in accordance with the present invention;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a desk having a pair of supports in accordance with FIG. 1 installed thereon;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a right side elevational view of a furniture assembly including a hutch provided above the desk and supports of FIG. 2.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an accessory bracket having certain features in accordance with the present invention illustrated on a post of the support of FIGURE

[0017] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the accessory bracket of FIG. 4 engaging an accessory tray.

[0018] FIG. 6A is a right side elevational view of the accessory bracket of FIG. 4, with the accessory bracket rotated relative to the post to allow adjustment of the position of the accessory bracket.

[0019] FIG. 6B is a right side elevational view of the accessory bracket of FIG. 4, with the accessory bracket in a standard position on the post.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0020] A desk hutch support having features in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1 and designated generally by the reference numeral 12. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the support 12 comprises a post 14 having an upper end 16 and a lower end 18. The post 14 is preferably tubular and fabricated from a high strength material, such as steel. A circular collar 24 is provided above the lower end 18 of the post 14. The collar 24 preferably is welded to an outer side surface 28 of the post 14 and extends outwardly therefrom.

[0021] A platform 30 is provided at the upper end 16 of the post 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the platform 30 comprises a top wall 34 that extends forwardly and rearwardly of the post 14, and first and second side walls 36, 38 that extend downwardly from the top wall 34 along the outer side surface 28 of the post 14. The top wall 34 preferably is welded to the upper end 16 of the post 14, and the side walls 36, 38 are welded to the outer side surface 28. The side walls 36, 38 provide added strength to the platform 30 against bending as well as additional contact area between the platform 30 and the post 14 for welding.

[0022] A bracket 44 extends from a rear side of the platform 30. In the illustrated embodiment, the bracket 44 is generally U-shaped and comprises a first bracket portion 46 that extends downwardly from a rear side of the platform 30, a second bracket portion 48 that extends rearwardly from the first bracket portion 46, and a third bracket portion 50 that extends upwardly from the second bracket portion 48.

[0023] In illustrated embodiment, the platform 30 and the bracket 44 comprise a unitary structure. Bend lines 58 are formed between the top wall 34 of the platform 30 and the first bracket portion 46, between the first bracket portion 46 and the second bracket portion 48, and between the second bracket portion 48 and the third bracket portion 50. Similarly, bend lines 58 are formed between the side walls 36, 38 and the top wall 34 of the platform 40. By forming the platform 30 and the bracket 44 as a unitary structure, assembly of the support 14 is simplified and manufacturing costs are reduced.

[0024] With reference now to FIG. 2, a desk 70 is shown having an opening 74 provided in a desktop surface 76 thereof. The opening 74 is spaced only a short distance from the rear and side of the desk 70 to interfere as little as possible with the desktop surface 76. The opening 74 preferably has a shape that corresponds to a cross-sectional shape of the lower end 18 of the post 14.

[0025] To install the support 12, the lower end 18 of the post 14 is inserted into the opening 74, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. The collar 24 is supported on the desktop surface 76. A grommet 82 may be provided around the opening 74 to prevent damage to the desk 70.

[0026] Desirably, the lower end 18 of the post 14 is sized to fit snugly in the opening 74 so that fasteners are not required to stabilize the support 12. However, one or more fasteners (not shown) extending through the collar 24 and into the desk 70 can be provided for added safety and stability. In the illustrated embodiment, a second opening is also provided in the desktop 76 on a side of the desk 70 opposite the first opening 74. A second support 12 is installed in the second opening 86 in a manner similar to the first support 12.

[0027] With reference now to FIG. 3, a hutch 90 is shown positioned on top of the support 12. The hutch 90 includes a base 92, a front panel 94, a rear panel 96, and a pair of side panels 98. The front panel 94, rear panel 96, and side panels 98 extend below the base 92 of the hutch 90.

[0028] The hutch 90 is positioned on the support 12 so that the base 92 abuts the top wall 34 of the platform 30 and the rear panel 96 is engaged by the bracket 44. In the illustrated embodiment, the first bracket portion 46 extends downwardly from the top wall 34 of the platform 30 along a front side of the rear panel 96, the second bracket portion 48 extends rearwardly from the first bracket portion 46 beneath the rear panel 96, and the third bracket portion 50 extends upwardly from the second bracket portion 48 along a rear side of the rear panel 96.

[0029] The platform 30 and the bracket 44 provide a stable support for the hutch 90. By engaging the rear panel 96 between the first bracket portion 46 and the third bracket portion 50, the bracket 44 prevents the hutch 90 from tipping forwardly or rearwardly on the platform 30. As a result, it is not necessary to fasten the bracket 44 to the rear panel 96. However, one or more fasteners (not shown) extending through the bracket 44 and into the rear panel 96 can be provided for added stability. Desirably, the platform 30 and the bracket 44 are wide enough to also provide a degree of lateral stability for the hutch 90. In the illustrated embodiment, one support 12 is provided on each side of the hutch 90 to substantially eliminate any lateral tipping of the hutch 90.

[0030] While the U-shaped bracket 44 of the present embodiment is advantageous because it does not require attachment to the rear panel 96, other bracket configurations are also possible. In one alternative embodiment, for example, the bracket 44 may comprise only the first bracket portion 46 that extends downwardly from the top wall 34 of the platform 30 along the front side of the rear panel 96. In this alternative embodiment, one or more fasteners extending through the first bracket portion 46 and into the rear panel 96 would be provided to prevent tipping of the hutch 90 on the platform 30.

[0031] Once the hutch 90 is positioned on the support 12, the lateral position of the hutch 90 can easily be adjusted by sliding the hutch 90 laterally relative to the support 12. The base 92 of the hutch 90 slides along the top wall 34 of the platform 30, and the rear panel 96 slides in the bracket 44 between the first bracket portion 46 and the third bracket portion 50.

[0032] Because the support 12 need not be attached to a specific lateral location on the hutch 90, greater flexibility is afforded for creating various desk and hutch configurations. This is convenient for both the manufacturer and the user. The manufacturer can produce a single hutch to fit several different desk configurations. The user can choose a hutch that is wider, narrower, or the same size as a particular desk, and, having purchased a particular desk and hutch combination, has more flexibility in arranging the desk and hutch to fit a desired location in a home or office.

[0033] Because the front panel 94 and the side panels 98 of the hutch 90 extend below the base 96, the platform 30 and the bracket 44 are substantially hidden from view. This results in a more pleasing overall appearance of the desk and hutch assembly. In addition, in the illustrated embodiment, a first opening 102 is provided near the upper end 16 of the post 14 and a second opening 104 is provided near the lower end 18 of the post 14 for passage of electrical cords (not shown) between the desk 70 and the hutch 90. This also improves the overall appearance of the desk and hutch assembly by allowing the electrical cords to be hidden within the post 14.

[0034] With reference now to FIGS. 4 and 6A, an accessory bracket 110 is shown installed on the post 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the accessory bracket 110 comprises a strip 112 having a first end 114 and a second end 116. The strip 112 extends downwardly and partially around the outer side surface 28 of the post 14 from the first end 114 to the second end 116. A cushioning material 118, such as rubber, is preferably provided on an inner portion of the strip 112 to prevent damage to the post 14 and to increase friction between the strip 112 and the post 14.

[0035] A gap G is formed between the first end 114 and the second end 116 of the strip 112. The gap G is preferably of sufficient size to allow removal and replacement of the strip 112 on the post 14.

[0036] With reference to FIGS. 5 and 6B, a clip 126 is provided at the second end 116 of the strip 112. The clip 126 is engageable with an accessory, such as a tray 128 for holding papers or other materials. In the illustrated embodiment, the clip 126 comprises a first clip portion 130 connected to the strip 112 and extending generally parallel to the post 14, and a second clip portion 132 extending generally perpendicularly to the post 14 from a lower end of the first clip portion 130.

[0037] The first clip portion 130 includes a first flange 134 at an upper end thereof. The first flange 134 comprises an outwardly extending portion 136 and a downwardly extending portion 138. The second clip portion 132 includes a second flange 140 that extends upwardly from an end of the second clip portion 132.

[0038] The tray 128 is shown engaged by the clip 126 in FIG. 5. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, the tray 128 is of a wire-frame variety and comprises a base 150, a first end 152, and a second end 154. The first end 152 extends upwardly from the base 150 at approximately 90 degrees and includes a first end member 156. The second end 154 extends upwardly from the base 150 at an obtuse angle and includes a second end member 158. The base 150 includes a first cross-member 160 and a second cross-member 162.

[0039] In the illustrated embodiment, the clip 126 engages the first end 152 of the tray 128. The first and second clip portions 130, 132 cooperate to support the tray 128 and retain the tray 128 adjacent to the post 14. The first flange 134 engages the first end member 156 and the second flange 140 engages the first cross member 160 to support the tray 128 generally perpendicularly to the post 14. Alternatively, the tray 128 can be turned so that the clip 126 engages the second end 154 of the tray 128. The first flange 134 would then engage the second end member 158 and the second flange 140 would engage the second cross-member 162 to support the tray 128 at a downardly sloping orientation relative to the post 14.

[0040] One advantage of the accessory bracket 110 of the illustrated embodiment is that it is adjustable. To move the accessory bracket 110 upwardly or downwardly on the post 14, the second end 116 of the strip 112 is simply lifted to rotate the accessory bracket 110 upwardly, as illustrated in FIG. 6A. When the accessory bracket 110 is rotated as in FIG. 6A, the strip 112 no longer contacts the outer side surface 28 of the post 14, and the accessory bracket 110 can be moved upwardly or downwardly on the post 14. In addition, the angular position of the accessory bracket 110 in a horizontal plane can be adjusted relative to the post 14. When the desired vertical and angular position is obtained, the accessory bracket 110 is returned to its non-rotated orientation, as illustrated in FIG. 6B, wherein the strip 112 contacts the outer side surface 28 of the post 14. The accessory bracket 110 is retained in place by friction between the strip 112 (or, in the illustrated embodiment, the cushioning material 118) and the outer side surface 28 of the post 14.

[0041] The tray 128 can conveniently be detached from the clip 126 by lifting the end of the tray 128 opposite the end that is engaged by the clip 126. This releases the associated end member and cross member from the first and second flanges 134, 140 of the clip 126.

[0042] Although the invention has been disclosed in the context of certain preferred embodiments and examples, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the invention and obvious modifications and equivalents thereof. For example, while the clip 126 and tray 128 of the illustrated embodiment constitute one convenient clip and accessory combination, it is to be understood that a number of other clip and accessory combinations and configurations are also possible. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present invention herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above, but should be determined only by a fair reading of the claims that follow.