Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3302799 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date7 Feb 1967
Filing date29 Mar 1965
Priority date29 Mar 1965
Publication numberUS 3302799 A, US 3302799A, US-A-3302799, US3302799 A, US3302799A
InventorsBlodee Leif
Original AssigneeMiller Herman Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pole structure for suspended furniture
US 3302799 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

m 7 Kg 3 Feb. 7, 1967 BLODEE 3,302,799

POLE STRUCTURE FOR SUSPENDED FURNITURE Filed March 29, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 L L 34 Z1 23 J2 J0 Z;

I NVENTOR. 1 0 5109/55 m ATTORNEYS Feb. 7, BLQDEE POLE STRUCTURE FOR SUSPENDED FURNITURE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 29, 1965 ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,302,79a Poms srnucrunn son snsrnnnnn rnanrrbnn Leif Elodee, Holland, Mich, assignor t0 Herman Miller,

This invention relates to floor mounted, pole type support assemblies, especially floor-to-ceiling support and display apparatus for mounting service units such as desks, bookshelves, storage cabinets, file cabinets and the like, and more particularly relates to an improved floor-toceiling post assembly with excellent stability and versatility, and at far less cost than that previously known.

This invention is an improvement on the structure in United States Patent No. 3,043,642, assigned to the assignee herein.

Support structures of the type described and claimed in the above patent enable a tremendous variety of floorto-ceiling assemblies to be formed, to thereby suspend service units in conveniently accessible condition while using the space in optimum manner.

However, certain disadvantages were noted in these prior assemblies. One disadvantage is the difiiculty of accommodating service units with electricity without either having the electrical wires dangling valong side the posts, or alternatively, putting the wires in a loosely contained relation inside the channels of the post and therefore, subject to damage when the mounting connectors are inserted. Another disadvantage is the high cost of the structure when stability and strength are properly considered as design factors. Of course, if just t-hin wall tubing is employed, cost can be minimized, but this is not properly employed for suspending heavy units such as desks, beds, several book shelves, or other heavy equipment.

Also, minor length adjustments to accommodate small variations in ceiling height are made with prior units in vertical step by step amounts, rather than gradually varying amounts, so that the compression spring which forces the ceiling pad against the ceiling may or may not be at optimum compression. Then too, providing cross ties between the vertical posts to further stabilize the assembly normally necessitated special expensive, and often unattractive connectors.

It is an object of this invention to provide an improved floor-to-ceiling support post assembly that has excellent strength, stability and aesthetic appeal while also being substantially less costly than prior units. The structure moreover has excellent sturdiness even in the foot and leg portions due to its unique cross-sectional configuration.

Another object of this invention is to provide a floor to-ceiling post assembly that accommodates electrical wiring in a generally hidden, protected condition, while enabling the wire to initially be fed through the unit in a simple manner.

Another object of this invention is to provide an improved floor-to-ceiling structural post assembly achieving excellent rigidity as well as operational versatility, with the structure having a strong stable telescopically adjusting connection allowing variable height adjustment in gradual manner.

The components of the structure have extruded crosssectional configurations enabling multiple use thereof. More particularly, the same stock is useful for the basic post elements and the cross tie elements. The cross section of the telescopically interfitting bottom leg achieves improved strength, while also allowing more secure anchoring thereof in the post.

These and several other objects of this invention will become apparent upon studying the following specification in conjunction with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevational fragmentary view of a pair of the novel posts interconnected by cross ties to show a simple form of the assembly;

FIG. 2 is a sectional View through one of the posts and legs, taken on plane 11-11 of FIG. 1, but prior to securement of the leg to the post;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary, elevational view of the base portion of one of the post assemblies;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on plane IV-IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the bottom end of the post and leg assembly taken on plane VV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the post and connected cross tie, taken on plane VIVI of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the assembly in FIG. 6, taken on plane VIIVII;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view of the upper end of the post assembly, taken on plane VIIIVIll of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken on plane IX-IX of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a perspective end view of a portion of the post and a section of electrical wire showing insertion thereof;

FIG. 11 is a sectional view similar to that in FIG. 2, but showing the connection being made between the post and the leg when secured;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of one of the ceiling contacting plugs;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary sectional view of a wall connector of the assembly; and

FIG. 14 is a sectional view of a modified wall pole or post.

Referring now spectifically to the drawings, the assembly 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 is representative of a large number of adjacent, vertically elongated, and horizontally spaced posts, cooperatively forming a support system. The construction can assume a variety of arrangements as illustrated in the several drawings in United States Patent No. 3,043,642. Since the basic general arrangement is old, only the improvement features are particularly disclosed and claimed herein for purposes of brevity and clarity. The assembly 16 is shown to include a first vertical post assembly 12, a second vertical post assembly a pair of horizontal, vertically spaced post connecting cross tie devices 14 and 14', and a wall connector tie device 15 attached to a wall 17.

Each post assembly 12 includes the main post 16, a ceiling contacting plug unit 18 on the upper end, and a floor contacting leg and foot unit 20.

Each post 16 is vertically elongated, having a cross section generally rectangular in dimension, with the sides being a pair of spaced parallel panels 22 and 24 interconnected by a pair of spaced transverse vertically extending web walls 26 and 28. These webs are spaced inwardly from the lateral edges of panels 22 and 24. Adjacent these panel edges are two pairs of cooperative flanges 3t? and 32 on one side, and 34 and 316 on the opposite side. These form a pair of slots 38 and 40, respectively therebetween. Each slot leads into a channel type passage 44 and 46. These passages receive anchor clips behind the flanges for securing connecting means for service units between the posts. These flanges are recessed slightly from the edges of the panels to provide a more secure connection for the units mounted thereto as explained in the previous patent identified above. These elements of the post are all integrally interconnected. The post is preferably an aluminum extrusion.

Each of the walls or cross webs .26 and 28 has a cen tral portion Which is thickened and offset toward the opposite web. The thickened portion is hollow. Firstly, these form a pair of guide tracks 5t) and 52 which extend e? the length of the central passage 54 into which they extend. They form guide means for the telescopically interfitted foot element 66. Also, the hollow nature of these offset portions form oblong conduits 62 and 64- extending therethrough to form wire receiving grooves for the electrical wires 66 (FIG. 2). These wire grooves each have an open slot, i.e. into channels 41 and 46. This enables the wire to be fed down through the groove with maximum convenience and accessibility. Yet, since the slots are narrower than the width of the groove, the wire cannot fall into the channel but is retained neatly in this tightly held condition.

Fitted within central passage 54 at its lower end is the foot and leg assembly 20. More specifically, the upper end portion of leg 60 is telescopically slidably received in this passage. The leg is an extrusion of aluminum. It has a particular cross-sectional configuration which provides excellent strength. That is, it has four corner portions which project into the four corners of passage 54 astraddle tracks 50 and 52, to somewhat resemble an I beam in structure. Its center 72 is hollow. An elongated opening along one side of the hollow center forms a slot 77 facing one track 52. The opposite side has a thin connecting web 70 adjacent the hollow center 72.

Into this hollow center, at the lower end of leg 60, is threadably engaged a steel stud 76 that has foot pad 78 mounted on the lower end thereof. A pair of nuts 80 and 82 on the stud enable threaded adjustment of the stud with respect to leg 60. This adjustment of the threaded element with respect to the leg provides minor adjustment of the length of the unit.

Major adjustment is achieved by relative telescoping sliding of leg 60 with respect to post 16. The leg is secured in a particular position in the post by a plurality, here two, of screws 84 and 86 (FIG. 3). These extend through the offset portion 52 of web 28, through opening slot 77 in leg 60, and are threadably engaged with a pair of orificed fasteners 90 and 92 behind the post flanges (FIG. 11). The heads of these screws may be countersunk to keep wire conduit 64 completely free of the screws (see FIG. 11). Thereby, after the units are assembled, the wire can be inserted without interference from the screws.

Screws 84 and 86 are longer than the width of leg 60 so that they puncture an opening through web 70 (FIGS. and 11). Thus, not only do the screws draw leg 60 tightly against track 52 (from the initial position in FIG. 2 to the tightened position in FIG. 11) by the use of the fasteners, but also the screws puncture this web to rigidify the entire assembly more effectively when attached. Since this web is aluminum, and the screws are steel, this puncture can be made without previously drilling open- 1ngs.

At the top of the post assembly is the ceiling contacting cap or plug subassembly 18. This subassembly, as shown in FIGS. 6, 8 and 9, includes a first, inverted, generally U-shaped member 100, and a second upright, generally U-shaped member 102 inside the parallel legs of member 100. Member 1% has its pair of parallel straddling vertical legs connected by a horizontal cross piece or cross leg 104 therebetween to integrate the unit. Element 102, also generally U-shaped, has a cross piece 166 at its bottom. Its pair of parallel legs are positioned between the legs of the first member. Both are sections of an extrusion, and therefore, can be inexpensively formed. Both pairs of legs of these two members are vertically oriented, with those of member 102 being normal to those of member 1041 as shown in FIG. 12. The parallel legs of member 100 fit astraddle tracks 50 and 52 when this unit is telescopically inserted as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8. These two members, when in engagement with each other, are biased away from each other by a compression coil spring 110 that extends vertically between the cross legs of both members. A retention pin 112 extends between the legs of member 100 and beneath the bottom surface of mem- A} ber 1W2 to retain these two members in engagement with each other in a biased condition.

The upper edges of the legs of member 102 have horizontally extending side flanges 114 which extend the width of the legs of member 100 and project over tracks 52 and 54. These flanges limit insertion of the plug subassembly down into passage 54 in the center of the post.

Mounting of each post assembly 12 or 12 is achieved by connection of leg 60 with foot element 78 using stud 76. Then this leg is inserted telescopically into the bottom end of the post, specifically into passage 54. The leg is anchored by tightening screws 84 and 86 to secure fasteners and 92.

These elements are adjusted to obtain the desired vertical length of the post needed for the specific ceiling height. Then, the resilient pad 111 on the upper end of the ceiling contacting plug is placed into contact with the ceiling and the post pushed upwardly to compress compression spring 110 further by forcing element down inside the post further. This forces it toward element 102 which is anchored in its fixed position by contact of its flanges 114 against tracks 52 and 54 (FIG. 9). The post is held in this compressive state by the spring. Instead of the resilient pad 111 on the upper end of the unit, an opening may be drilled through cross leg 104 of member 100 to secure this element to the ceiling by a screw.

When a plurality of the posts are mounted as illustrated in FIG. 1, it is often desirable to secure short cross ties 14 and 14 between them for maximum stability. These cross ties have a cross-sectional configuration exactly like that shown for the post members themselves. They are formed by cutting off sections of the basic extrusion used for the posts. Thus, their cross section looks exactly like that shown in FIG. 10. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, it will be noted that the cross ties 14 and 14 have connectors (see also FIG. 1) which are normally hidden inside the ends of the cross tie sleeves and which secure both ends of the cross tie to the posts. These connectors are identical in cross-sectional configuration to the leg elements 60, and merely are secured to the post in a slightly modified manner. That is, the same extrusions as are used for legs 60 are used for these connectors. The cross tie outer element is secured to the connectors in exactly the same manner as that shown in FIGS. 3 and 5 with respect to securing of the post to the leg. The same type of set screws and fasteners are used as those shown. Therefore, this figure is not repeated to illustrate this again.

The securement of each end of the connector to the vertical posts is slightly different, however. This is achieved by extending a cross pin transversely of elements 120 through a drilled opening. Then, a machine screw 132 is placed through an opening in this pin and extended into channel 44 where it is connected to a typical fastener 136 behind connecting flanges 30 and 32.

In making these connections, therefore, the individual connector elements 120 are first secured to the vertical posts using screws 132 in the manner just mentioned, and then the section of sleeve which has an identical cross section to the vertical post members are inserted over these connectors in a manner shown in FIG. 1. They are attached by tightening the screws equivalent to those shown in FIG. 5 to bind the assembly together.

Tie elements may also in some instances be employed to bind the posts to a wall instead of or in addition to connecting two posts together. Referring to FIG, 1, the wall connector tie device 15 is attached at one end to wall 17 and at the other end to one of the post assemblies 12. Attachment is made by connector plugs 120' and 120 which are similar to connector 120 and are inserted and secured in opposite ends of sleeve 121. The connection of connector 120 is exactly like that previously described with respect to element 120. The connection of element 120 is like that shown in FIG. 13. That is, element 120" is fastened inside sleeve 121 (which is identical to a portion of either post) by a screw 150 threaded into a fastener 152. It is secured to the wall 17 by a Wood screw 156 extending through a transverse pin 130' like that at 130 in FIG. 7.

By the use of these interchangeable extrusion portions, it can be readily realized that the total expense of the construction is far less than that previously necessary. Also, the U-shaped members forming the top end plug, since comprising segments of an extruded section interfitted with each other, are far less expensive than the structure previously used. The particular features noted above enable aluminum to be the basic stock material for the extrusions, and yet, due to the peculiar and advantageous cross-sectional configurations employed for each element, the over-all assembly has tremendous rigidity and sturdiness, enabling heavy service units to be mounted thereon and enabling it to assume substantial loads without difiiculty. The several features noted cooperatively achieve substantial strength for supporting units of various types and, even though each individual feature noted above has distinct individual advantages, the entire assembly does achieve a cooperative function in an improved manner over that type of structure known previously.

POST MODIFICATION In some instances, a modified post construction 160 (FIG. 14) can be employed, particularly as a wall abutting pole. This unit is like one edge portion of the first post, having elongated opposite, parallel, spaced side walls 22a and 24a interconnected integrally by a trans verse elongated web wall 28a. The side walls have integral flanges 34a and 36a recessed inwardly from the outer wall edges, and project toward each other astraddle an elongated slot 400. Again, the central portion of web 28a is hollow to form a wire conduit 64a. The web is not reduced in thickness on opposite sides of the hollow central area since no tracks are needed for an insert connector.

The wall abutting edge of the post includes ribs 161 and 163 which are integral extensions of walls 22a and 24a, to form an intermediate recess 165 to insure proper seating against the wall 170. Attachment to the wall is by wood screws 167.

It is conceivable that certain minor variations in construction could be employed on the apparatus shown, within the concept presented. Therefore, the invention is intended to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims and the reasonably equivalent structures to those defined therein,

I claim:

1. A floor-to-ceiling support post for mounting service units in a room, comprising: an elongated vertical post formed of a pair of spaced parallel panels and a pair of continuous vertical connecting cross webs between and integral with said panels, spaced from the lateral edges of said panels, forming three, adjacent, in-line, elongated passages therethrough, including a central passage and a pair of outer, straddling channel passages; said cross webs being in common with said central passage and said channel passages, and each having an elongated portion protruding into said central passage, forming a pair of opposite tracks projecting toward each other; a ceiling abutting cap on one end of said post, and a leg and foot assembly at the opposite end of said post; the leg of said leg and foot assembly being telescopically received in said central passage and having track receiving grooves on opposite sides thereof interfitting with said tracks; and said tracks being hollow, forming electrical wire receiving groove means extending therethrough to receive and retain wiring in a concealed protection position.

2. A floor-to-ceiling support post assembly for mounting service units comprising: an elongated vertical post formed of a pair of spaced parallel panels and a pair of continuous vertical connecting cross webs between and integral with said panels spaced from their lateral edges; a passage between said panels and webs; mounting means on the ends of said panels for mounting service units thereon; said webs having enlarged, offset, elongated portions extending toward each other into said passage and forming track means; a ceiling abutting cap at the top of said post, extending down into said passage and biased therefrom; and a leg and foot assembly at the bottom of said post; said leg being telescopically received in said passage and having track receiving grooves on opposite sides thereof facing said webs.

3. The assembly in claim 2 wherein said leg has a hollow center and threadably receives in said center a threaded stud to which said foot is attached.

4. The assembly in claim 2 wherein said leg is anchored in said post by a plurality of screws extending through a web of said post into said leg, and a plurality of fasteners are in said leg attached to said screws.

5. The assembly in claim 4 wherein said leg has an elongated opening on one side into said hollow center, and a cross web on the other side; and said screws extend through said opening into said fasteners, and also through punctured orifices in said cross web.

6. The assembly in claim 2 wherein said post web tracks are hollow, forming electrical wire conduits along the length of said post, said conduits having slots on the sides opposite said passage, of lesser width than said conduits, to enable wire feeding therethrough while retaining the wire therein.

7. A floor-to-ceiling support post assembly for mounting service units, comprising: an elongated vertical post formed of a pair of spaced parallel panels and a pair of continuous vertical connecting cross webs between and integral with said panels generally intermediate their lateral edges; a passage between said panels and webs; mounting means adjacent the edges of said panels for mounting service units thereon; said webs having enlarged offset elongated portions extending toward each other into said passage and forming track means; a ceiling abutting cap at the top of said post, extending down into said passage and biased therefrom; and a leg and foot assembly at the bottom of said post; said leg being telescopically received in said passage; said cap having a first inverted U-shaped member, the cross leg of which abuts the ceiling and the parallel legs of which are telescopically received in said passage astraddle said tracks; a second upright Ushaped member between said parallel legs of said first member, and with its parallel legs normal to said first member parallel legs; a compression spring between said members biasing them apart, and a stop pin between said first member parallel legs and abutting the bottom of the second member to limit the parting movement therebetween; and said second member having horizontally extending flanges abutting said post webs to limit insertion of said plug into said passage.

8. A floor-to-ceiling support assembly including at least a pair of post subassemblies each having an elongated vertical post formed of a pair of spaced parallel panels and a pair of continuous vertical connecting cross webs between and integral with said panels spaced from their lateral edges; a passage between said panels and webs; mounting means on the ends of said panels for mounting service units thereon; said webs having enlarged, offset, elongated portions extending toward each other into said passage and forming track means; a ceiling abutting cap at the top of said post, extending down into said passage and biased therefrom; and a leg and foot assembly at the bottom of said post; said leg being telescopically received in said passage and having track receiving grooves on opposite sides thereof facing said webs, and a cross tie means connecting a pair of said posts; said cross tie means including a sleeve of identical cross section to said posts, and a pair of end connectors of identical cross section to said leg, and received by and secured to said sleeve; a cross pin through the outer end of each connector, and a screw through each cross pin and extending out the end of said connector into a fastener in said post.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Cousino 248 -245 Maciunas S2403 Levy 248-356 Webster 52400' 8 3,043,642 7/1962 Nelson et al. 312111 3,228,646 1/1966 Hinrichs et a1. 248354 References Cited by the Applicant UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,345,650 4/ 1944 Attwood. 2,744,714 5/1956 Parke.

CHANCELLOR E. HARRIS, Acting Primary Examiner.

10 CLAUDE A. LE ROY, Examiner.

W. D. LOULAN, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2345650 *12 Oct 19404 Apr 1944Charles W AttwoodSkeletonized structure
US2744714 *27 Dec 19518 May 1956L A Darling CompanyFrame unit and bracket structure
US2767951 *6 Nov 195323 Oct 1956Ex CorpShelf lock
US2985263 *19 Nov 195723 May 1961Olin MathiesonField fabricated curtain wall construction
US2991040 *19 Oct 19594 Jul 1961Reflector Hardware CorpDisplay stand
US3040847 *28 Apr 196026 Jun 1962Webster Clifford LPartition construction
US3043642 *26 Jun 195910 Jul 1962Miller Herman IncSuspended furniture
US3228646 *31 Jan 196311 Jan 1966Structural Products IncSupport structure assemblies
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3648304 *23 Dec 196914 Mar 1972William Maldonado OguiArticle of furniture
US3655254 *19 Nov 196911 Apr 1972Sprecher & Schuh AgCabinet, particularly for electrical installations
US3747885 *16 Apr 197124 Jul 1973Ciancimino Design LtdModular joint
US3995923 *20 Mar 19757 Dec 1976Shell Irving WPanel locking arrangement
US4162113 *17 Nov 197724 Jul 1979Piero PallaviciniComposite modular furniture
US4552270 *1 Mar 198412 Nov 1985Lentz Scott BStorage system for athletic equipment or the like
US20060207063 *13 Jan 200621 Sep 2006Multiquip. Inc.Vibration dampening handle
DE9407428U1 *4 May 199411 Aug 1994Witte Horst EntwicklungRohrstrebe zum Aufbau von Vorrichtungen, Gestellen und anderen Fachwerken
U.S. Classification211/107, 312/111
International ClassificationA47B96/14
Cooperative ClassificationA47B91/022, A47B96/1425
European ClassificationA47B96/14D