Title:
Movable combination storage and room divider system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A movable combination storage and room divider system is provided incorporating a plurality of individual movable storage cabinets and supporting tracks. The individual storage cabinets are constructed of planar sheet materials that are assembled into a hollow box. Rigid connection members at the corners of the box support cabinet bracing and accept tie members that when tensioned hold together the hollow box. Elongated rigid z-section members are used to join to the assembled hollow box a rigid planar back or rigid planar doors, and may be used to conceal from external view panel edges and mechanical fasteners, making the storage cabinet finished on all sides and allowing it to be used also as a room divider. Individual storage cabinets move on castors having a circumferential groove in their wheels, which groove articulates with a spine fabricated into a dedicated track to guide cabinet movement.



Inventors:
Rockcastle, Garth Carl (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/827858
Publication Date:
10/20/2005
Filing Date:
04/20/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B53/00; A47B53/02; A47B67/02; A47B77/00; A47B87/00; A47B95/00; (IPC1-7): A47B53/00; A47B67/02; A47B77/00; A47B87/00; A47B95/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, HANH VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PETER PAPP (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A movable combination storage and room divider system comprising: a) at least one movable combination storage cabinet and room divider comprising two substantially similarly dimensioned substantially vertical rigid side panels, substantially similarly dimensioned and substantially horizontal rigid top and bottom panels, a substantially vertical rigid back panel, said panels all of substantially equal edge dimension and assembled to form a hollow box, at least four elongated rigid z-section connection members each having a middle rib substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said top panel, a first flange extending substantially orthogonally from one long edge of said rib and substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said back panel, a second flange extending substantially orthogonally from the long edge of said rib opposite that long edge of said rib from which said first flange extends and in the direction opposite the direction of extension of said first flange, two of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the height of said assembled hollow box, two of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the width of said assembled hollow box, each of said at least four z-section connection members having ends mitered at angles sufficient to permit said mitered ends to continuously meet the mitered ends of adjacent z-section connecting members, said side, top, and bottom panels seated into the right angles created between said middle ribs and said second flanges of said z-section connection members with the rearward-facing edges of said top, bottom, and side panels immediately adjacent and parallel to said middle ribs, and said back panel seated into the right angles created between said middle ribs and said first flanges of said z-section connection members with the edges of said back panel orthogonal to said middle ribs and parallel to said first flanges, and said top, bottom, side, and back panels fixedly connected to said z-section connection members using adhesive means, at least three substantially similarly dimensioned castors fixedly connected to the underside of said bottom panel, a part of the rolling surface of each of the wheels of said castors extending below the lowest point of any other component of said movable combination storage cabinet and room divider, no part of any of said castors extending beyond the perimeter of the area defined by said substantially horizontal bottom panel when said bottom panel is viewed from directly above, a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and b) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable combination storage cabinet and room divider is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

2. A knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider comprising: a) two substantially similarly dimensioned substantially vertical rigid side panels; b) substantially similarly dimensioned and substantially horizontal rigid top and bottom panels; c) a substantially vertical rigid back panel, said side, top, bottom, and back panels all of substantially equal edge dimension and assembled to form a hollow box; d) at least four elongated rigid z-section connection members each having a middle rib substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said top panel, a first flange extending substantially orthogonally from one long edge of said rib and substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said back panel, a second flange extending substantially orthogonally from the long edge of said rib opposite that long edge of said rib from which said first flange extends and in the direction opposite the direction of extension of said first flange, two of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the height of said assembled hollow box, two of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the width of said assembled hollow box, each of said at least four z-section connection members having ends mitered at angles sufficient to continuously met the mitered ends of adjacent z-section connecting members, said side, top, and bottom panels seated into the right angles created between said middle ribs and said second flanges of said z-section connection members with the rearward-facing edges of said top, bottom, and side panels parallel to said middle ribs, and said back panel seated into the right angles created between said middle ribs and said first flanges of said z-section connection members with the edges of said back panel orthogonal to said middle ribs and parallel to said first flanges, and said top, bottom, and side panels fixedly connected to said z-section connection members using first mechanical screw-type fasteners, said back panel fixedly connected to said z-section connection members using second mechanical screw-type fasteners; and e) at least three substantially similarly dimensioned castors fixedly connected to the underside of said bottom panel using third mechanical screw-type fasteners, a part of the rolling surface of each of the wheels of said castors extending below the lowest point of any other component of said movable combination storage cabinet and room divider, no part of any of said castors extending beyond the perimeter of the area defined by said substantially horizontal bottom panel when said bottom panel is viewed from directly above.

3. A knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider comprising the knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider of claim 2, wherein the bodies of said first mechanical screw-type fasteners connecting said top, bottom, and side panels to said z-section connection members pass through corresponding first through-holes in said second flanges of said connection members and the threaded ends of said first fasteners are embedded within the bodies of said top, bottom, and side panels, said first fasteners each having an overall length of less than said edge dimension of said top panel, and wherein the bodies of said second screw-type fasteners connecting said back panel to said z-section connection members pass through corresponding second through-holes in said middle ribs of said connection members and the threaded ends of said second fasteners are embedded within the body of said back panel, and the heads of said second fasteners are flush with those surfaces of said middle ribs of said connection members opposite those surfaces of said middle ribs contacted by said back panel, said second fasteners each having an overall length of less than said edge dimension of said back panel.

4. A knockdown movable combination storage and room divider system comprising: a) at least one knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider as in claim 2; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

5. A knockdown movable combination storage and room divider system comprising the knockdown movable combination storage and room divider system of claim 4, wherein the bodies of said first mechanical screw-type fasteners connecting said top, bottom, and side panels to said z-section connection members pass through corresponding first through-holes in said second flanges of said connection members and the threaded ends of said first fasteners are embedded within the bodies of said top, bottom, and side panels, said first fasteners each having an overall length of less than said edge dimension of said top panel, and wherein the bodies of said second screw-type fasteners connecting said back panel to said z-section connection members pass through corresponding second through-holes in said middle ribs of said connection members and the threaded ends of said second fasteners are embedded within the body of said back panel, and the heads of said second fasteners are flush with those surfaces of said middle ribs of said connection members opposite those surfaces of said middle ribs contacted by said back panel, said second fasteners each having an overall length of less than said edge dimension of said back panel.

6. A movable storage cabinet comprising: a) two substantially similarly dimensioned substantially vertical rigid side panels, b) a substantially horizontal rigid top panel; c) a substantially horizontal rigid bottom panel, substantially similarly shaped as said top panel, all of said panels having substantially equal depth; d) four corner connection members, each member is rigid and elongate and substantially equal in length to the depth of said top panel, each member having a middle rib, a first flange having fourth through-holes and extending substantially orthogonally from one long edge of said middle rib, a second flange extending substantially orthogonally from the long edge of said middle rib opposite that long edge of said middle rib from which said first flange extends and in the direction opposite the direction of extension of said first flange, one of said corner connection members fixedly connected using connecting means to each of the top edge and bottom edge of each of said substantially vertical side panels at said second flanges such that said second flanges contact the outside faces of said side panels, such that the top edges of said side panels are parallel to said middle ribs of said corner connection members and are spaced from said middle ribs by a distance substantially equal to the edge dimension of said substantially horizontal top panel so as to form two substantially similar continuous channels, the left and right ends of said substantially horizontal top panel seated snugly into said channels, and such that the bottom edges of said side panels are parallel to said middle ribs of said corner connection members and are spaced from said middle ribs by a distance equal to the thickness of said substantially horizontal bottom panel so as to form two substantially similar continuous channels, the left and right ends of said substantially horizontal bottom panel seated snugly into said channels; e) at least two tensioning means passing through the fourth through-holes of said first flanges of said corner connection members, at least one of said at least two tensioning means connecting to each other the two corner connection members located at opposite ends of said substantially horizontal top panel, at least one of said at least two tensioning means connecting to each other the two corner connection members located at opposite ends of said substantially horizontal bottom panel, such that when said tensioning means experience tensile force, said substantially horizontal top and bottom panels each experience compressive force and are thereby fixed to the assemblies formed by the connection of said corner connection members and said substantially vertical side panels to form a hollow box; f) means for preventing racking motion; and g) at least three substantially similarly dimensioned castors fixedly connected to the underside of said bottom panel, a part of the rolling surface of the wheel of each of said castors extending below the lowest point of any other component of said movable storage cabinet, no part of any of said castors extending beyond the perimeter of the area defined by said substantially horizontal bottom panel when said bottom panel is viewed from directly above.

7. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 6, wherein each of said at least two tensioning means comprises: a) at least one first tie member having two threaded ends, said threaded ends dimensioned to fit through said fourth through-holes in said first flanges of said corner connection members; and b) at least two fourth mechanical fasteners, each having a thread designed to threadably engage said threaded ends of said at least one first tie member on the outside faces of said first flanges of said corner connection members such that a continuously variable tensile force may be applied to said at least one first tie member as said fifth fasteners are tightened against the outside faces of said first flanges of said corner connection members.

8. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 7, wherein said means for preventing racking motion comprises a rigid back panel fixedly connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels.

9. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 8, further comprising at least one rigid member interposed between the underside of said bottom panel and said at least one first tie member connecting to each other the two corner connection members located at opposite ends of said substantially horizontal bottom panel, such that when tensile force is applied to said at least one first tie member, compressive force is experienced by said at least one rigid member and a negative bending moment is thereby experienced by said bottom panel.

10. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 9: b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

11. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 10, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, wherein said rigid back panel is connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels using sixth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

12. A knockdown movable storage cabinet comprising the movable storage cabinet of claim 9, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, wherein said rigid back panel is connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels using sixth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

13. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 8; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

14. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 13, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, wherein said rigid back panel is connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels using sixth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

15. A knockdown movable storage cabinet comprising the movable storage cabinet of claim 8, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, wherein said rigid back panel is connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels using sixth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

16. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 7, wherein said means for preventing racking motion comprises: a) two substantially similar rigid second tie members having threaded ends, said second tie members arranged substantially in a cross and joined at the point of their intersection, each of said two second tie members joining the corner connection member at the top of one of said side panels to the corner connection member at the bottom of the other of said side panels; b) said corner connection members wherein said substantially vertical first flange is substantially square in cross-section and is hollowed-out, said corner connection members having fifth through-holes dimensioned to pass the threaded ends of said second tie members, said fifth through-holes positioned to accept the threaded ends of said second tie members after said top panel and said bottom panel have both been clamped into place between said side panels; c) sixth through-holes in each of said top panel and said bottom panel, said sixth through-holes dimensioned to pass said threaded ends of said second tie members, said sixth through-holes positioned to pass the threaded ends of said second tie members after said top panel and said bottom panel have both been clamped into place between said side panels, said sixth through-holes generally aligned with said fifth through-holes in said corner connection members; d) at least four square washers, said washers each having a substantially centered seventh through-hole dimensioned only sufficiently to pass the threaded ends of said second tie members, each of said washers positioned between the interior walls of said hollowed-out first flange and positioned surrounding one threaded end of one of said second tie members; and e) at least four seventh fasteners, each having a thread designed to threadably engage said threaded ends of said two second tie members such that a continuously variable tensile force may be applied to said two second tie members as said seventh fasteners are tightened against said square washers.

17. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 16, further comprising at least one rigid member interposed between the underside of said bottom panel and said at least one first tie member connecting to each other the two corner connection members located at opposite ends of said substantially horizontal bottom panel, such that when tensile force is applied to said at least one first tie member, compressive force is experienced by said at least one rigid member and a negative bending moment is thereby experienced by said bottom panel.

18. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 17; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

19. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 18, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

20. A knockdown movable storage cabinet comprising the movable storage cabinet of claim 17, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

21. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 16; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

22. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 21, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

23. A knockdown movable storage cabinet comprising the movable storage cabinet of claim 16, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

24. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 7, further comprising at least one rigid member interposed between the underside of said bottom panel and said at least one first tie member connecting to each other the two corner connection members located at opposite ends of said substantially horizontal bottom panel, such that when tensile force is applied to said at least one first tie member, compressive force is experienced by said at least one rigid member and a negative bending moment is thereby experienced by said bottom panel.

25. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 24; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

26. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 7; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

27. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 6, wherein said means for preventing racking motion comprises a rigid back panel fixedly connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels.

28. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 27; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

29. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 28, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, wherein said rigid back panel is connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels using sixth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

30. A knockdown movable storage cabinet comprising the movable storage cabinet of claim 27, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, wherein said rigid back panel is connected to each of said side, top, and bottom panels using sixth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

31. A movable storage cabinet as in claim 6, wherein said means for preventing racking motion comprises: a) two substantially similar rigid second tie members having threaded ends, said second tie members arranged substantially in a cross and joined at the point of their intersection, each of said two second tie members joining the corner connection member at the top of one of said side panels to the corner connection member at the bottom of the other of said side panels; b) said corner connection members wherein said substantially vertical first flange is substantially square in cross-section and is hollowed-out, said corner connection members having fifth through-holes dimensioned to pass the threaded ends of said second tie members, said fifth through-holes positioned to accept the threaded ends of said second tie members after said top panel and said bottom panel have both been clamped into place between said side panels; c) sixth through-holes in each of said top panel and said bottom panel, said sixth through-holes dimensioned to pass said threaded ends of said second tie members, said sixth through-holes positioned to pass the threaded ends of said second tie members after said top panel and said bottom panel have both been clamped into place between said side panels, said sixth through-holes generally aligned with said fifth through-holes in said corner connection members; d) at least four square washers, said washers each having a substantially centered seventh through-hole dimensioned only sufficiently to pass the threaded ends of said second tie members, each of said washers positioned between the interior walls of said hollowed-out first flange, and positioned surrounding one threaded end of one of said second tie members; and e) at least four seventh fasteners, each having a thread designed to threadably engage said threaded ends of said two second tie members such that a continuously variable tensile force may be applied to said two second tie members as said fasteners are tightened against said square washers.

32. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 31; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

33. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 32, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

34. A knockdown movable storage cabinet comprising the movable storage cabinet of claim 31, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

35. A movable storage system comprising: a) at least one movable storage cabinet as in claim 6; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks mounted upon the surface across which said at least one movable storage cabinet is to move, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

36. A knockdown movable storage system comprising the movable storage system of claim 35, wherein said corner connection members are fixedly connected to said side panels using fifth mechanical screw-type fasteners, and wherein said castors are fixedly connected to said bottom using third mechanical screw-type fasteners.

37. A kit capable of being assembled into a knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider, said kit comprising: a) two substantially similarly dimensioned rigid side panels; b) a rigid top panel substantially equal in depth to the depth of one of said side panels and substantially equal in edge dimension to the edge dimension of one of said side panels; c) a bottom panel substantially equal in width to the width of said top panel and substantially equal in depth to the depth of said side panels and substantially equal in edge dimension to the edge dimension of one of said side panels; d) a rigid back panel substantially equal in height to the height of one of said side panels and substantially equal in width to the width of said top panel; e) four corner connection members, each member is rigid and elongate, having a middle rib, a first flange having fourth through-holes and extending substantially orthogonally from one long edge of said middle rib, a second flange extending substantially orthogonally from the long edge of said rib opposite that long edge of said rib from which said first flange extends and in the direction opposite the direction of extension of said first flange, said second flange having a plurality of third through-holes, each member is substantially similar in length to the front-to-back depth of one of said side panels; f) at least one rigid brace member substantially equal in length to the front-to-back depth of said bottom panel, said brace greater in height than the shortest distance from the middle rib of a corner connection member to a fourth through-hole in the first flange of that same corner connection member; g) at least four elongated rigid z-section connection members each having a middle rib, a first flange extending substantially orthogonally from one long edge of said middle rib and substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said back panel, a second flange extending substantially orthogonally from the long edge of said rib opposite that long edge of said rib from which said first flange extends and in the direction opposite the direction of extension of said first flange, said second flanges of all of said at least four z-section connecting members being of substantially equal width, two of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the sum of the height of one of said side panels plus the edge dimension of said top panel plus the edge dimension of said bottom panel and each having a middle rib substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of one of said side panels, one of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the width of said top panel and having a middle rib substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said top panel, one of said at least four z-section connection members substantially equal in length to the width of said bottom panel and having a middle rib substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said bottom panel, all of said at least four z-section connection members having ends mitered at angles sufficient to permit said mitered ends to continuously meet the mitered ends of adjacent z-section connecting members, said middle ribs of said z-section connection members having a plurality of second through-holes, said second flanges of said z-section connection members having a plurality of first through-holes; h) at least two first tie members each having two threaded ends, said threaded ends dimensioned to fit through said fourth through-holes in said first flanges of said corner connection members; i) at least four fourth mechanical fasteners each having a thread designed to threadably engage said threaded ends of said at least two first tie members; j) a plurality of first screw-type fasteners dimensioned such that the collars of said first fasteners pass through said first through-holes in said second flanges of said corner connection members, said first fasteners dimensioned such that the heads of said first fasteners do not pass through said first through-holes in said second flanges of said corner connection members, said first fasteners dimensioned such that the overall length of each of said first fasteners is less than the edge dimension of one of said side panels; k) at least three similarly dimensioned castors having eighth through-holes in the mounting flange of each of said castors, said castors dimensioned such that a part of the rolling surface of the wheel of each of said castors extends below the lowest point of any other component of said knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider; i) a plurality of third screw-type fasteners dimensioned such that the collars of said third fasteners pass through said eighth through-holes in said mounting flange of each of said castors, said third fasteners dimensioned such that the heads of said third fasteners do not pass through said eighth through-holes in said mounting flange of each of said castors, said third fasteners dimensioned such that the overall length of each of said third fasteners is less than the edge dimension of said bottom panel; and m) a plurality of second screw-type fasteners dimensioned such that the collars of said second fasteners pass through said second through-holes in said middle ribs of said z-section connection members, said second fasteners dimensioned such that the heads of said second fasteners do not pass through said second through-holes of said z-section connection members, said second fasteners dimensioned such that the overall length of each of said second fasteners is less than the edge dimension of one of said rigid back panel.

38. A knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider comprising the assembled kit of claim 37.

39. A kit capable of being assembled into a knockdown movable combination storage and room divider system, said kit comprising: a) at least one kit for a knockdown movable combination storage cabinet and room divider as in claim 37; b) a continuous channel extending the entire circumference of the rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel substantially centered upon said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said channel shaped substantially like a bell curve; and c) at least two rigid and bendable tracks, said tracks each having a width no smaller than the width of said rolling surface of each of said wheels, said tracks each having a substantially flat upper surface, said tracks each having sloped thresholds, said tracks each having wheel stopping means at each of their ends, said tracks each having a raised spine extending from the entire length of the upper surface of each of said tracks, said spine extending from substantially the center of each of said tracks, said spine shaped to fit snugly into said channel in said rolling surface of each of said wheels.

40. A knockdown movable combination storage and room divider system comprising the assembled kit of claim 39.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to residential storage systems, and more specifically relates to a combination storage cabinet and room divider, a track and wheel system for their moving, knockdown versions of the same, and kits for making the same.

Traditional residential storage systems provide for article storage in a variety of configurations. Although some smaller storage solutions are movable, larger systems are primarily designed to remain stationary. Furthermore, existing residential systems that are capable of carrying substantial loads are generally available only as pre-fabricated units that are incapable of being disassembled and re-assembled by a user. Storage systems designed for heavy-duty industrial and institutional use are often designed to be movable and to carry a substantial load, but they rarely are able to be disassembled. When such heavy-duty systems are able to be disassembled, assembly and disassembly are usually complex and often require specialized tools. Further, their method of construction and assembly do not generally lend themselves to the substitution by a user of the supplied system components with identically configured components composed of different materials. Further yet, many heavy-duty systems are designed to be suspended from above rather than to be placed upon a supporting surface. Finally, such heavy-duty systems often leave mechanical connections exposed to view.

A residential storage system is desired that is flexible in use, movable, and that rests upon a supporting surface, yet that is capable of carrying a substantial load and that is easily able to be assembled and disassembled by a user without special tools. The system must contain individual movable storage cabinets that can be used either singly or in combination, with or without a movement guidance system. When used in combination, adjacent movable storage cabinets must pack together efficiently, leaving a minimum of space therebetween. The method of construction must result in a finished system that is both durable over many moving cycles, and that is functionally and aesthetically appropriate in a residential environment. The method of construction must allow a user to interchange major supplied components with identically configured ones composed of different materials. Finally, all components involved should pack efficiently for cost-effective shipping in kit form.

Accordingly, a storage system is desired solving the aforementioned problems and having the aforementioned advantages.

SUMMARY

In one aspect of the present invention, a storage cabinet is provided for the storage of articles. The storage cabinet includes two side panels, a top panel, a bottom panel, and four identical and therefore interchangeable corner connection members. The corner connection members are attached to the outer surfaces of the side panels at the top and bottom edges of the side panels, this attachment creating channels dimensioned to receive side edge portions of the top and bottom panels. The top and bottom panels are then held in place by tensioning means that pull the side panels toward each other and thereby clamp into place the top and the bottom panels. The corner connection members strengthen the corner joints by helping to counteract racking forces, and also provide rigid and durable points of attachment for whatever tensioning means is employed.

In a further aspect of the invention, wheeled castors are affixed to the underside of the bottom panel to render the cabinet movable over a supporting surface. Handles are affixed to the outside faces of one or both side panels to facilitate manual moving of the cabinet. The castors can be fixed, or can swivel, or can be some combination of the two, depending upon the implementation chosen. Cabinet accelerations having a horizontal component as occur when the motion of the cabinet is started or stopped, when the motion of the cabinet is speeded up or slowed down, or when the direction of motion of the cabinet is changed, may be accompanied by racking forces. Provision is made for a variety of means to resist racking forces, and both planar and cross-braced cabinet back members are specifically mentioned. Numbering and placement of the wheeled castors are governed by competing functional concerns, including stability, absolute load carried by the cabinet, flexibility of moving, and distribution of downward force on the bottom panel of the cabinet.

While a back member used to resist racking forces may take many forms, and may be affixed to the top, bottom, and side panels in a variety of ways, another aspect of this invention is the joining of a planar back panel to each of the side panels, the top panel, and the bottom panel in a manner that allows for both a strong resulting joint and the smooth and safe finishing of corners, and that contributes to the finished appearance of the cabinet when viewed from the sides and from the rear. The joint described uses rigid, elongated z-section connection members to which two orthogonal panels may be attached in such a manner that no method of connection is visible from the outside of the cabinet, yet which manner of attachment allows a knock-down capability. Additionally, this manner of attachment hides the edge portions of the back, top, bottom, and side panels, creating a finished appearance while allowing a knockdown capability. When the elongated z-section connection members are fastened to the top, bottom, and side panels the z-section members provide an angle dimensioned to receive the edge portions of not only a fixed back panel, but also of a planar door or doors, thereby concealing from view these edge portions of said door or doors from view when said door or doors are in a closed position. The qualities of this joint enable the resulting cabinet to be successfully used as a room divider as well as a storage device, the cabinet having a finished appearance on all faces.

Another aspect of this invention is the provision of a cross-braced back member designed to resist racking forces. The cross-braced back mentioned is characterized by two cross-members arranged to form an “X” or cross and joined at the point of their intersection, with the ends of these members passing through appropriate holes in the top panel, in the bottom panel, and in the corner connection members. Such a cross-brace could be implemented at any point along the front-to-back depth of the cabinet, and provision is made in the corner connection members for cross-brace mounting at any point along their length, including but not limited to the front, back, or middle of the cabinet.

Yet another aspect of this invention is the pre-stressing of the bottom panel of the cabinet to permit the supporting of greater loads than would be otherwise possible. An appropriate pre-stressing capability is integrated into the design of the corner connection members and the tensioning means for holding the top and bottom panels firmly between the two side panels. To pre-stress the bottom panel, at least one rigid brace is interposed between the tensioning means and the underside of the bottom panel of the cabinet, such that when tension is experienced by the tensioning means, compression is applied to the interposed brace, and a negative bending moment is produced in the bottom panel, which moment tends to counteract any positive bending moment produced in the bottom panel by the cabinet contents. This configuration allows knockdown capability, does not require additional fasteners beyond those already required by the tensioning means, and allows the amount of negative bending moment produced in the bottom panel to be continuously adjusted in response to changing load conditions.

Another aspect of the present invention is the provision of a movable storage system for the high density storage of articles. The storage system is made up of a plurality of storage cabinets as previously described, with the wheeled castors on their bottom panels articulating with rigid yet bendable tracks laid on a supporting surface. The wheels engage a raised spine on the upper surface of each track via a circumferential groove fabricated into each wheel. To minimize interference with crossing traffic, the tracks are shaped so as to provide gently sloping threshold profiles. The storage cabinets can move in any direction in a substantially horizontal plane-longitudinally along the depth of the cabinet, laterally along the width of the cabinet, or in curved paths, depending upon the implementation. Appropriate handles are provided on corresponding side panels of the cabinets, and the cabinets are designed to pack together with no space left therebetween. One pair of tracks may be used for all cabinets, or any one pair of tracks may support something less than all of the cabinets.

Provision is made for the mounting inside the cabinet of shelves, racks, hinges, bars, and other attachments by two parallel vertical lines of holes on the inside surfaces of each of the two sides, spaced to an industry standard and designed to receive corresponding mounting pins fabricated into said attachments. Since a wide variety of pre-fabricated attachments including drawer slides, hinges, racks, shelves, bars, etc. is made to articulate with such standard mounts, maximum flexibility of internal cabinet configuration is preserved.

A final aspect of this invention is the provision of kits containing knocked-down parts of the aforementioned cabinets and storage systems. These kits include structural elements, fasteners, wheeled castors, tools, and instructions required for assembly of the kit by the layperson. To provide for cost-effective shipping, the component parts are engineered to pack efficiently, primarily by ensuring that any large component is planar in configuration.

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

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevated perspective view, partially broken away, of a typical installation of a movable storage system incorporating the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an elevated perspective view of a typical installation of a movable storage system incorporating the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the top of a storage cabinet.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a corner connection member.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a corner connection member.

FIG. 6 is a transverse cross-sectional view taken substantially along the plane 6 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a transverse cross-sectional view that is a partially disassembled view of the right side of FIG. 6., showing the assembly relationship between a top panel, a corner connection member, and a side panel.

FIG. 8 is a transverse cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 6 but displaying recessed corner connection members.

FIG. 9 is a rear elevational view of a movable combination storage cabinet and room divider.

FIG. 10 is a plan view of orthogonal panels fixedly connected using an elongated z-section member.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of orthogonal panels fixedly joined using an elongated z-section member.

FIG. 12 is a plan view of orthogonal panels fixedly joined using an elongated z-section member, and showing placement of screw-type fasteners.

FIG. 13 is an elevated perspective view of a rear corner of a storage cabinet using elongated z-section members to join the back panel to top and side panels.

FIG. 14 is an elevated perspective view of a movable combination storage cabinet and room divider having a planar back panel joined to top, bottom, and side panels using elongated z-section members.

FIG. 15 is a bottom perspective view of a movable storage cabinet showing a bottom brace.

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a track having a wheel resting on its upper surface.

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of a track and wheel assembly.

FIG. 18 is an elevated perspective view of an embodiment of a combination storage cabinet and room divider.

FIG. 19 is an elevated perspective view of an embodiment of a combination storage cabinet and room divider.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now in detail to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1 thereof, a movable storage system 1, in accordance with one preferred embodiment of the present invention, is shown as comprising a plurality of movable storage cabinets, generally designated by the numeral 2, that are arranged in a generally aligned relationship. Each of the storage cabinets comprises a pair of side-by-side storage or shelf sections 3. The storage cabinets 2 are adapted to be movable longitudinally along a generally linear path upon a plurality of tracks, generally designated 4. The particular length of the tracks 4 is at least equal to the width of a typical aisleway or walkway, designated by the numeral 5 in FIG. 15, plus the sum of the overall dimension in the direction of the tracks 4 of the plurality of movable storage cabinets 2 when the cabinets 2 are located directly adjacent one another. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, at such time as it is desired to provide access to one of the movable storage cabinets 2, the cabinets 2 there adjacent are moved or traversed along the tracks 4 such that the appropriate access aisleway 5 is provided adjacent to the particular cabinet 2 to which access is desired.

Depicted in FIG. 2 is another preferred embodiment of a movable storage system 1. Each storage cabinet 2 of a plurality of storage cabinets is adapted to be movable laterally along a generally linear path upon a plurality of tracks 4. The particular length of the tracks 4 is at least equal to double the overall dimension of the cabinets 2 in the direction of the tracks 4.

Referring now in detail to the construction of the storage cabinets 2 and in particular to the corner connection members 6 thereof, as best seen in FIG. 3, the details of one of the corner connection members 6 are illustrated, with such corner connection member 6 being representative of all of the corner connection members 6 associated with the storage cabinets 2. One such corner connection member 6 is located at each of the two junctions between the top panel 13 and side panels 10, and at each of the two junctions between the bottom panel 28 and side panels 10. As illustrated, the corner connection member 6 comprises a substantially vertical first flange 9, a substantially horizontal middle rib 8 extending substantially orthogonally from the lower margin of the first flange, and a substantially vertical second flange 7 extending substantially orthogonally from the outer margin of the middle rib 8. The corner connection member 6 consists of a single piece fabricated, for example, of suitable metallic alloy or metal such as aluminum. The vertical first flange 9 is preferably fabricated to have a significant ability to resist bending forces.

Depicted in FIG. 4 is another preferred embodiment of the corner connection member 6, wherein the first flange 9 is thickened to better withstand bending forces. Depicted in FIG. 5 is yet another preferred embodiment of the corner connection member 6, wherein the first flange 9 shown in FIG. 4 is hollowed-out, to preserve much of the ability of the first flange 9 to withstand bending forces while substantially reducing the amount of material required in its production.

As is best shown in FIG. 6 and FIG. 7, the corner connection members 6 are fixedly secured to the side panels 10 of the storage cabinet 2. The details of the two joints between the top panel 13 and side panels 10 as illustrated in FIG. 6 are representative of the details of the two joints between the bottom panel 28 and side panels 10, and the details of the corner joint as illustrated in FIG. 7 are representative of the details of all corner joints associated with the storage cabinets 2. Suitable means such as screws 11, screws combined with threaded inserts, nuts and bolts, adhesive, or other appropriate fastening means may be utilized for fixedly securing the second flange 7 to the side panels 10. As shown in FIG. 7, the corner connection members 6 are secured to the side panels 10 of the storage cabinet 2 in such a position that creates a channel 12 between the edge of a side panel 10 and a middle rib 8, this channel having a width substantially equal to the thickness of the chosen top panel 13 or bottom panel 28 as appropriate. Another possible placement of the corner connection members 6 is shown in FIG. 8, wherein recesses are created within the top panel 13, bottom panel 28, and side panels 10 such that the corner connection members 6 can be flush-mounted with said panels. As shown in FIG. 8 and FIG. 9, flush-mounting of corner connection members 6 combined with suitable fastening means allows production of a cabinet 2 having planar sides that exhibit no surface discontinuities, which allows placement of a cabinet 2 immediately adjacent another cabinet 2, or immediately adjacent a planar wall without any gap resulting therebetween. The resulting smooth quality of the side surfaces of a cabinet 2 eliminates the possibility of articles such as clothing catching on surface discontinuities appearing on the cabinet sides, and said smooth quality also presents a finished appearance.

Turning again to FIG. 7, a preferred embodiment of a tensioning means for clamping into place the top panel 13 is depicted. The details of the corner joint as illustrated in FIG. 7 are representative of the details of all corner joints associated with the storage cabinets 2. At least one elongated tension member 14 having threaded ends is placed between first vertical flanges 9 of opposite corner connection members 6 as the side edges of top panel 13 or bottom panel 28 are seated into channels 12 in opposing corner connection member-side panel assemblies. Said at least one tension member 14 has an overall length of slightly less than the distance between vertical flanges 9 of opposite corner connection members 6 when said corner connection members are mounted on side panels 10 and top panel 13 or bottom panel 28 is in place. Threaded bolts 15 are inserted through through-holes in first vertical flanges 9, said through-holes dimensioned to pass the threaded portions of the threaded bolts 15 such that the first vertical flange 9 does not threadably engage the threaded bolts 15. The threaded bolts 15 threadably engage the threads on tension members 14, and create tension in tension members 14 when said bolts 15 are tightened against the outer surfaces of first vertical flanges 9. The diameter of the head of each of said bolts 15 is dimensioned to exceed the diameter of the through-hole such that the bolt 15 cannot slip through the through-hole. Compressive force is thereby experienced by both top panel 13 and bottom panel 28, effectively clamping them into place as they are frictionally engaged by corner connection members 6. It will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that any of a number of well-known mechanical assemblies could be used to tension said at least one elongated tension member 14, including but not limited to a threaded nut that threadably engages a threaded end of said at least one elongated tension member 14, which said threaded end is dimensioned to pass through said through-holes such that the first vertical flange 9 does not threadably engage the threaded end of said at least one elongated tension member 14, and which threaded nut is dimensioned to exceed the diameter of said through-hole. The preferred embodiment hereinbefore described is provided for illustrative purposes only, and is not to be construed as limiting the scope of any of the claims herein presented.

Referring now to FIG. 10, the details of the joint between a side panel 10 and a rigid planar back panel 18 in an embodiment including such a planar back panel 18 are illustrated. The details of this joint are representative of the details of the joint between the top panel 13 and back panel 18, as well as of the joint between bottom panel 28 and back panel 18. A rigid elongated z-section connection member 19 has a middle rib 20 substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of whichever of the top panel 13, bottom panel 28, or side panel 10 is involved in the joint, a first flange 21 extending substantially orthogonally from one long edge of said middle rib 20 and substantially equal in width to the edge dimension of said back panel 18, and a second flange 22 extending substantially orthogonally from the long edge of said rib 20 opposite that long edge of said rib 20 from which said first flange extends and in the direction opposite the direction of extension of said first flange 21. Said elongated z-section connection member 19 is seated between edges of back panel 18 and side panel 10 or top panel 13 or bottom panel 28 such that the side panel 10 or top panel 13 or bottom panel 28 seats into the right angle created between the middle rib 20 and the second flange 22 with the edge of the side panel 10 or top panel 13 or bottom panel 28 parallel to the middle rib 20, and such that the back panel 18 seats into the right angle created between the middle rib 20 and the first flange 21 with the edge of the back panel 18 orthogonal to said middle rib 20 and parallel to said first flange 21. Suitable means for fixedly connecting the elongated z-section connection member 19 to the side panel 10 or the top panel 13 or the bottom panel 28 and to the back panel 18 are employed, for example screws, screws combined with threaded inserts, or adhesive means 33. The resulting joint between two orthogonal panels, when adhesive means 33 are employed to connect said panels to an elongated z-section connection member 19, is as shown in FIG. 11.

In another preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 12, a special arrangement of mechanical screw-type fasteners 23 is used to fixedly join a planar back panel 18 to a side panel 10. This arrangement of fasteners 23 is representative of the arrangement of fasteners at the junction of the back panel 18 and the top panel 13, as well as the arrangement of fasteners 23 at the junction of the back panel 18 and the bottom panel 28. The bodies of the fasteners 23 connecting the back panel 18 to z-section connection members 19 pass through corresponding through-holes in the middle rib 20 of the z-section connection member 19 and the threaded ends of said fasteners 23 seat into the body of the back panel 18 such that the heads of said fasteners 23 are flush with the surface of the middle rib 20 opposite the surface of the middle rib 20 contacted by said back panel 18. The bodies of the fasteners 23 connecting the side panel 10 to the z-section connection members 19 pas through corresponding through-holes in the second flange 22 of the z-section connection members 19 and the threaded ends of said fasteners 23 seat into the body of the side panel 10. In this embodiment, there are no fasteners 23 visible from the outside of the cabinet 2, and the end grains or edges of back panel 18, side panels 10, top panel 13, and bottom panel 28 are not visible. FIG. 13 depicts the outer appearance of the joints between the top panel 13 and the back panel 18, and between a side panel 10 and the back panel 18, when said panels are connected using z-section connection members 19, and when either said special arrangement of screw-type fasteners 23 or adhesive means 33 is used to fixedly connect said panels to said z-section connection members 19. FIG. 13 is representative of the outer appearance of the joints between the bottom panel 28 and the back panel 18 and a side panel 10 and the back panel 18, and of the outer appearance of z-section connection members 19, and of the joint between the top panel 13 and a side panel 10 when said side panels are connected using said z-section connection members 19, and when a planar door pivoting on appropriate hinges contained within the cabinet enclosure is seated into the z-section connection member 19. FIG. 14 depicts z-section connection members 19, and the joint between either a planar back panel 18 or a planar door and side panels 10 and top panel 13 and bottom panel 28 when said panels are connected using a z-section connection member 19.

Shown in FIG. 15 is a preferred embodiment of a rigid brace 30 designed to support bottom panel 28. One or more of such braces 30 is placed between tension members 14 and the underside of bottom panel 28, and braces 30 are dimensioned to have a height greater than the shortest distance from the underside of bottom panel 28 to an end of a tension member 14 such that when tension is applied to tension members 14, compression is experienced by brace 30.

Shown in FIG. 16 is a preferred embodiment of a rigid yet bendable track 4 and a wheel 25 engineered to roll equally well over the upper surface of the track 4, or over a flat horzontal surface. The track 4 has a raised spine 26 extending the entire length of track 4, which spine is generally shaped like a bell curve. The spine 26 fits snugly into a circumferential groove 27 in the wheel 25. The thresholds 28 of track 4 are sloped at an angle sufficiently shallow that little resistance is offered to objects crossing the track 4. The track 4 is dimensioned such that the overall width of the track 4 is no less than the width of the wheel 25. The track 4 may have a flat underside, or as shown in FIG. 17 may have standoffs 29 that enable the track 4 to be more effectively laid over a compressible floor treatment such as carpeting.

Referring now to FIG. 18, a preferred embodiment of a combination storage cabinet and room divider 2 is depicted in which the top panel 13 is composed of a transparent or translucent material such as glass or plastic, to allow illumination of the cabinet interior by external overhead lighting.

Referring now to FIG. 19, a preferred embodiment of a storage cabinet 2 is depicted in which side panels 10 are composed of a resinous or plastic material. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a variety of suitable rigid and planar materials will be able to be used for any one of, or any combination of, side panels 10, top panel 13, bottom panel 28, back panel 18, and brace 30, including but not limited to woods, composites, cast resins, plastics, glasses, metals, and composite assemblies.

Referring again to FIG. 1, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that a variety of configurations are possible inside a storage cabinet 2. FIG. 1 depicts a preferred embodiment having two side-by-side storage or shelf sections 3 and an internal vertical support 31. The provision of parallel vertical rows of holes 32, spaced to an industry standard, allows the utilization of a wide variety of pre-fabricated attachments including but not limited to drawer slides, hinges, and bars, and also permits the modification of the internal cabinet configuration to meet changing storage requirements.

While it will be apparent that the preferred embodiment illustrated herein is well calculated to fulfill the objects above stated, it will be appreciated that the present invention is susceptible to modification, variation, and change without departing from the scope of the invention.