Title:
Modular conference table
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular conference table may be expanded from an assembly of two identical end sections by adding one or more extension sections with all configurations utilizing the same connection assemblies. The two and three module tables use the same single center leg. The use of structural connecting blocks at the joints between the extension section and each of the end sections obviates the need for additional supporting legs.



Inventors:
Gray, Daniel G. (Kohler, WI, US)
Weinfurter, Steven D. (Sheboygan, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/447674
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
06/06/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/65
International Classes:
A47B13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AYRES, TIMOTHY MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANDRUS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW, LLP (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A modular table assembly comprising: a pair of end sections, each having a flat upper main table portion defined by a finished edge and a connection end edge, and a pair of side edges; an end supporting leg attached to the underside of each table portion, each end supporting leg extending between the side edges and parallel to the end edges, said leg positioned closer to the finished end edge than to the connection end edge; a center leg assembly including a center supporting leg parallel to and midway between the end supporting legs; and, fastening means operatively interconnecting the center leg and the connection end edges of the end sections.

2. The table assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein said fastening means holds the connection end edges of the end section in abutting relation and further comprises: connecting plate means attached to the top of the center leg and to the undersides of the main table portions adjacent their connection end edges; and, bearing plate means attached to the undersides of the main table portions adjacent their connection end edges and spaced laterally outside the center leg.

3. The table assembly as set forth in claim 2 wherein said connecting plates means comprises a pair of first rectangular plates spanning the center leg and set in adjoining first rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portions.

4. The table assembly as set forth in claim 3 wherein said bearing plate means comprises a pair of second rectangular plates set in adjoining second rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portions.

5. The table assembly as set forth in claim 4 including a pair of stiffening beams attached to the undersides of the main table portions, spanning and perpendicular to the abutting connection end edges, and positioned between said first and second plates.

6. The table assembly as set forth in claim 2 including a pair of rectangular vertically oriented modesty panels extending between the end supporting leg and the center supporting leg in a parallel laterally spaced orientation, said panels attached to both legs and to the undersides of the main table portions.

7. The table assembly as set forth in claim 6 including a U-shaped cable management trough attached to the underside of the table portion and extending between the legs in the space between the modesty panels, cable access openings extending through the main table portion to provide open communication between the cable management trough and a cable slot in the top surface of the main table portion, and a removable cover for the slot.

8. The table assembly as set forth in claim 1 wherein the center leg assembly comprises: an extension section having a flat upper extension table portion defined by opposite extension connection edges and opposite side edges, said center leg attached to the underside of the extension table portion and said fastening means comprising fastener assemblies directly connecting the connection end edge of each main table portion to an extension connection edge of the extension table portion to provide a tight joint along the connected edges.

9. The table assembly as set forth in claim 8 wherein the fastener assembly comprises: a connecting block extending along the joint; connecting plate means attached to the top of the connecting block and to the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion; and, bearing means attached to the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion and spaced laterally outside the connecting block.

10. The table assembly as set forth in claim 9 wherein said connecting plate means comprises a pair of first rectangular plates spanning the connecting block and set in adjoining first rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion.

11. The table assembly as set forth in claim 10 wherein said bearing plate means comprises a pair of second rectangular plates set in adjoining second rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion.

12. The table assembly as set forth in claim 11 including a pair of stiffening beams attached to the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion, spanning and perpendicular to the joint along the connected edges.

13. The table assembly as set forth in claim 9 including a pair of rectangular vertically oriented modesty panels extending between the center leg and the connecting block in parallel laterally spaced orientation, said panels attached to the center leg, the connection block and the underside of the extension table portion.

14. The table assembly as set forth in claim 13 including a U-shaped cable management trough attached to the underside of the extension table portion and extending between the center leg and the connecting block in the space between the modesty panels, cable access openings extending through the extension table portion to provide open communication between the cable management trough and a cable slot in the top surface of the extension table portion, and a removable cover for the slot.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to large conference tables and, in particular, to tables of modular construction which can be extended to accommodate varying desired lengths.

Modular tables are well known in the art and include large conference tables of the type used for business meetings requiring seating for relatively large numbers of people. From the standpoint of the manufacturer and seller of such tables, it is convenient if a modular table can be easily assembled to meet a customer's size and length requirements. From the standpoint of the buyer and user, such tables should be relatively easy to assemble and should possess adequate strength and rigidity, particularly as the length increases with the addition of modules. In modular prior art table constructions, inadequate support of the modules and lack of strength and rigidity has been a problem.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the subject invention, a modular table assembly includes two or more table sections with strategically positioned supporting legs and module interconnection assemblies that provide uniform weight distribution and necessary strength and rigidity, regardless of the table length.

In a primary embodiment of the invention, a modular table assembly includes a pair of end sections (or starter sections), each of which has a flat upper main table portion that is defined by a finished end edge and a connection end edge. An end supporting leg is attached to the underside of each main table portion, each end supporting leg positioned to extend between the side edges of the main table portion and parallel to the end edges. The leg is positioned closer to the finished end edge than to the connection end edge. A center leg assembly includes a center supporting leg that is positioned parallel to and midway between the end supporting legs. Fastening means are provided to operatively interconnect the center leg and the connection end edges of the end sections.

The fastening means functions to hold the connection end edges of the end section in abutting relation and further includes connecting plate means that are attached to the top of the center leg and to the undersides of the main table portions adjacent their connection edges. Bearing plate means are attached to the underside of the main table portions adjacent their connection end edges and spaced laterally outside the center leg.

Preferably, the connecting plate means includes a pair of first rectangular plates that span the center leg and set in adjoining first rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portions. The bearing plate means includes a pair of second rectangular plates that are set in adjoining second rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portions. The assembly of the present invention preferably also includes a pair of stiffening beams which, in one embodiment, are attached to the undersides of the main table portions, spanning and perpendicular to the abutting connection end edges and positioned between said first and second plates.

The table assembly also includes a pair of rectangular vertically oriented modesty panels which extend between the end supporting leg and the center supporting leg in a parallel laterally spaced orientation. The panels are attached to both legs and to the undersides of the main table surface portions.

The table assembly may also include a U-shaped cable management trough that is attached to the underside of the table portion and extends between the legs in the space between the modesty panels. Cable access openings are also provided to extend through the main table portion to provide open communication between the cable management trough and a cable slot in the top surface of the main table portion. A removable cover is provided for closing and opening the slot.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention and to provide an extended length table assembly, the center leg assembly includes an extension section that has a flat upper extension table portion that is defined by opposite extension connection edges and opposite side edges extending therebetween. The center leg is attached to the underside of the extension table portion and the fastenings comprises fastener assemblies that directly connect the connection end edge of each main table portion to an extension connection edge of the extension table portion to provide a tight joint along the connected edges. More specifically, the fastener assembly includes a connecting block that extends along the joint, connecting plate means that are attached to the top of the connecting block and to the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion. Bearing plate means are attached to the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion and are spaced laterally outside the connecting block.

Preferably, the connecting plate means comprises a pair of first rectangular plates which span the connecting block and are set in adjoining first rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion. Preferably, the bearing plate means comprises a pair of second rectangular plates that are set in adjoining second rectangular recesses in the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion.

The table assembly may also include a pair of stiffening beams that are attached to the undersides of the main table portion and the extension table portion, said stiffening beams spanning and perpendicular to the joint along the connected edges.

The table assembly preferably also includes a pair of rectangular vertically oriented modesty panels that extend between the center leg and the connecting block in parallel laterally spaced orientation. The panels are attached to the center leg, to the connecting block and to the underside of the extension table portion. A U-shaped cable management trough may be attached to the underside of the extension table portion and to extend between the center leg and the connecting block in the space between the modesty panels. Cable access openings are provided to extend through the extension table portion to provide open communication between the cable management trough and a cable slot in the top surface of the extension cable portion. A removable cover encloses the slot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an assembled modular table assembly of the present invention in its most basic form comprising a pair of interconnected end sections.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one of the two end sections used in the modular assembly of FIG. 1

FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of the main table portion of the modular end section shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a detail of the interconnection assembly and center leg used in assembling the two end sections shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of the table assembly of FIG. 1 with the two main table portions removed.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of the modular table assembly of the present invention including a center extension section interconnecting two end sections.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the center extension section of the assembly of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective view of the extension table portion of the extension section.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the support and interconnection assembly for the extension section.

FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the support and interconnection assembly shown in FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A modular table assembly 10 of the most basic form of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. The table assembly 10 includes a pair of identical end sections 11 each having a flat upper main table portion 12. Each main table portion has a finished end edge 13 and a connection end edge 14 and a pair of opposite side edges 15. Each table end section 11 has an end supporting leg 16 that extends between the side edges 15 and parallel to the end edges 13 and 14. As is also apparent in FIG. 2, the end leg 16 is positioned closer to the finished end edge 13 than it is to the connection end edge 14.

Referring also to FIGS. 3-5, the table end sections 12 are supported by a common center leg 17 that is connected to both main table portions 12 and also provides connection for other structural and functional components of the assembly, as will be described in greater detail below. The center supporting leg 17 is sized and shaped generally the same as the end legs 16 and is positioned in direct alignment with the joint 18 between the abutting connection end edges 14 when the two table portions 12 are interconnected.

A pair of rectangular connecting plates 20 are attached centrally to the upper face 21 of the center leg 17. The connecting plates 20 extend in opposite directions and their ends are received in rectangular recesses 22 in the undersides 23 of the main table portions 12. The connecting plates 20 are secured to the center leg and the main table portions with suitable threaded fasteners 24.

The interconnection assembly also includes a pair of rectangular bearing plates 25 which span the joint 18 and are set in rectangular recesses 26 also formed in the underside 23 of the main table portions 12. The bearing plates 25 are secured in their respective recesses 26 with suitable threaded fasteners 27.

The interconnection assembly may also utilize a pair of stiffening beams 28, each of which also spans and extends perpendicular to the joint 18 between the table portions 12. Each stiffening beam 28 is positioned between a connecting plate 20 and a bearing plate 25 and spaced laterally away from the center leg 17. The stiffening beams, which are preferably made from solid steel bar stock, are attached to the underside 23 of the table portions 12 with suitable threaded fasteners 30.

As is best seen in FIG. 5, each of the main table portions 12 includes a pair of rectangular vertically oriented modesty panels 31. Each pair of panels 31 extends between an end supporting leg 16 and the center leg 17 in a parallel laterally spaced orientation. Each of the modesty panels 31 is attached to both legs 16 and 17 and to the underside of the main table portion 12. All connections may be conveniently made with cam bolt assemblies 32. The modesty panels 31 also impart added structural rigidity to the table assembly.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 3 and 4, a U-shaped cable management trough 33 is attached to the underside 33 of the main table portion 12 and extends between the legs 16 and 17 in the space between the modesty panels 31. The cable management trough 33 includes upper edge flanges 34 that lie flush against the table underside 23 and are secured thereto with suitable threaded fasteners 35. Cable access openings 36 extend through the main table portion 12 and are aligned with the cable management trough 33. The access openings 36 provide open communication between the cable management trough and a cable slot 37 formed in the top surface of the main cable portion 12. Cable slot 37 is closed by a removable cover 38.

Referring to FIG. 6, the basic modular table assembly 10 previously described may be expanded to any desired length with the addition of one or more cable extension sections 40. An important feature of the present invention is that the connection assemblies previously described for the basic assembly of two end sections 11 are used for the addition of the extension section 40 as well. The extension section 40 includes a flat extension table portion 41 that is rectangular in shape and includes opposite extension connection edges 42 that correspond in length to connection end edges 14 of the main table portion 12. The side edges 43 of the extension table portion 41 align directly with the side edges 15 of the main table portions 12 in the extended modular table assembly 39.

The extension section 40 includes the same center leg 17 used with the modular table assembly 10 having only the pair of end sections 11 (FIG. 1). As best seen in FIGS. 9 and 10, the relocated center leg 17 is attached directly to the underside 44 of the extension table portion 12 in a longitudinally and laterally centered position.

As indicated previously, the same fastener assemblies previously described are used to provide direct connections between the connection end edges 14 of the two main table portions 12 and the extension connection edges 42 of the extension table portion 41 to provide the joints 45. To facilitate the edge connections, a connecting block 46 is provided beneath and in direct alignment with each of the joints 45. A pair of connecting plates 20 are positioned between the connecting block and the undersides 23 and 44 of the adjoining main and extension table portions 12 and 41. Each connecting plate 20 is connected to the connecting block 46 and set with one end in a rectangular recess 22 in the underside 23 of one main table portion 12 and a similar rectangular recess 47 in the underside 44 of the extension table portion 41. The same threaded fasteners 24 may be used for securing the connecting plates 20 in position.

Similarly, a pair of rectangular bearing plates is further used to secure the connection between each main table portion 12 and one edge of the extension table portion 41. Each bearing plate 25 is set in recess 26 in the underside 23 of the main table portion 12 and a similar rectangular recess 48 in the underside 44 of the extension table portion 41. Again, the same threaded fasteners 27 may be used to secure the bearing plates in position.

In a like manner, pairs of stiffening beams 28 may be used to further stiffen each of the joints 45. Each stiffening beam 28 is attached to the underside 23 of one main table portion 12 and the adjoining underside 44 of the extension table portion 41. Threaded fasteners 30 are used to secure the stiffening beams to table portions 12 and 41.

A pair of modesty panels 50, somewhat shorter in length than the modesty panels 31 associated with the end sections 11, are similarly vertically oriented and extend between the center leg 17 and the connecting block 46 in parallel laterally spaced orientation. In a manner identical to that previously described, modesty panels 50 are attached to the center leg 17, the connecting block 46 and the underside of the extension table portion 41 with suitable connectors, such as cam bolt assemblies 32. In the space between each pair of modesty panels 50, extending in opposite directions from the center leg 17, there is positioned a U-shaped cable management trough 51 constructed the same as cable management trough 33, but somewhat shorter in length. The cable management troughs 51 include upper edge flanges 52 by which the troughs may be secured to the underside 44 of the extension table portion 41 with suitable fasteners 35.

The extension table portion 41 is provided with three cable access openings 53 aligned centrally with the cable management troughs 51 and providing open communication between the cable management troughs and a cable slot 54 in the top surface of the extension table portion 41. Cable slot 54 and the cable access openings 53, as well as the cable management troughs 51 in the extension table portion 41 are all directly aligned with the respective cable slots 37, cable access openings 36 and cable management troughs 33 in the main table portions 12. The cable slot 54 is closed with a removable cover 55.

To accommodate wires and cabling at least in the cable mounting troughs 33 and 51, the center leg 17 is provided with a U-shaped slot 56 that aligns with the troughs. Similarly, each of the connecting blocks 46 is provided with a similar U-shaped slot 57.