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Патент USA US3073569

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Jan. l5, 1963
Filed June 13, 1960
Fia. 6
4ilite States atet ,i ÉC@
hatented Jan. 15, 1963
yarticulated support-beam which can be pre-set to hold
a generally arcuate configuration as it is fed through 'a
small opening and then can be manipulated easily into
John C. Reed, 631 Morse St., San Francisco, Calif.
Filed .lune 13, 1960, Ser. No. 35,604
4 Claims. (Cl. 248-205)
its straight rigid position when within the confined area,
to assume its load-supporting position.
According to one 'embodiment of my invention, the
This invention relates to an improved support beam
and, more particularly, it relates to an articulated support
beam whose shape can be temporarily pre-adjusted to
facilitate its installation -into relatively inaccessible areas
having a limited space in which to maneuver the beam.
The installation of new fixtures and similar improve
- foregoing objects are fulfilled by Ia novel composite beam
which -is formed from a series of short interconnected
beam segments of extruded or sheet-metal material. The
segments are joined end-to-end by a hinging, pivotal con
nection in such a rnv-ander that they can be pre-set man
ments during the renovation of old buildings has long
beam is -bent in a semi-rigid arcuate shape during its
installation. After the curved beam has been inserted
ually in a predetermined angular relationship so that the
presented serious problems to the construction contractor.
One serious problem arose from the necessity to install
through .a small opening and conveniently maneuvered
into position Within the confined, blind area, the beam
segments are snapped into -alignment by manual manipu
lation of the Ibeam lfrom the end thereof. In the `aligne-d
adequate supporting structure for the additional fixtures,
Within the walls or ceilings of the existing building strue
ture, so that the fixtures would =be supported and their
load properly distributed to other internal load-carrying
position with their rigid load-resisting connections be
’members of the building. Heretofore, to position prop 20 tween them nearest the opening, the beam segments form
erly this additional fixture-supporting structure required
a straight, rigid, load-carrying beam. A hanging recep
the expensive and time-consuming removal -and subse
tacle is attached to the beam «and adjustable along the
quent replacement of large «areas of ceiling or wall cover
ing, in order to gain access to the internal load-carrying
length of the beam so that it can be located at the sm-all
opening through which the beam is installed. A fixture
25 then may be attached to this receptacle, which fully
For example, many of the existing oliice buildings
utilize standard ceiling construction wherein the original
ceiling for all the rooms is formed by small beams of
structural steel or channel iron suspended by wires from
the main concrete building structure. These suspended 30
beams «are tied to metal lathing and wire mesh which
provide a surface for pl-astering. If, after this original
ceiling has been constructed, it is later desired to mount
new lighting fixtures, or to lower the ceiling, or to pro
covers the access-opening in the ceiling, and thus lthe
need for extensive rebuilding of the ceiling has been elimi
Other objects, features and advantages of the present
invention will be apparent from the lfollowing description,
`and from the drawings, in which:
FIG. l is a view in elevation of `a ceiling structure with
a beam according to the present invention, being installed
vide some other means for an overhead support, the origi
through a small opening -in the ceiling;
FIG. 2 is a view in elevation »of the ceiling structure
nal ceiling surface must be penetrated in order to place
a supporting-beam »above the suspended-beams of the
original ceiling, to provide thereby a hanging support of
sufficient strength to comply with the standard building
shown in FIG. l, with the beam in its rigid supporting
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view in elevation «and in cross
section, taken along the line 3-3 of the beam shown lin .
40 FIG. 2, showing the fixture-receptacle in detail; »
Prior to the present invention, the standard straight steel
FIG. 4 is ia plan view showing end-portions of‘two
supporting-beam member or channel iron was used for
adjoining beam segments in the Ialigned position;
FIG. 5 lis a fragmentary view in perspective showing
support purposes, 'and the limited clearance available above
the suspended-beams made it necessary to open 4a large
the’adjoining beam segments of FIG. 4 in a non-aligned
hole in the ceiling surface in order to install the support
beam in its proper position. This damage to or com 45
FIG. 6 is a view in elevation and in cross-section of
plete removal of the ceiling amounted to a large cost
a modified _form of fixture-receptacle; and
for installation, since it required extensive replastering,
FIG. 7 is a view in elevation Iand in cross-section taken
rep-ainting, etc., `after the support-beam finally was in
along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
place, .and often required complete rebuilding of an entire
In broad terms, my novel articulated beam, as shown
ceiling area.
50 in FIGS. l and 2, comprises a series of similar beam seg
It is therefore yone important object of the present in_
ments 11 which are cut to a predetermined length and
vention to provide an articulated support-beam which
joined end-to-end by hinged connections 12 to form a
can first be placed in a generally curved configuration
continuous-beam structure. The segments 11 are inter
and then inserted through a relatively small opening so
connected so that each segment 11 can be moved to an
as to be pla-ced in a load-supporting position within a 55 angular position relative to its adjoined member and will
confined, blind area having limited clearance, to thus
hold this position so that the entire beam 10 can assume
eliminate the necessity for removinf»7 or damaging a large
a generally curved configuration (FIG. l) to enable its
'area of the original structure to form the opening.
manipulation through an opening 13 into a confined area
Another object is to provide a support-beamy which,
14. After being positioned, the segments 11 of the beam
though bendable to form a generally arcuate shape in one 60 I@ are snapped into alignment and, in that position, they
direction, has the equivalent rigidity and strength of a
continuous, unarticulated beam of the same cross-section,
lie across support-beams 15 of the original building struc- ‘
ture, to provide a rigid support for a downwardly-directed
load such as a fixture 16. An adjustable re
Another object is to provide an articulated support
beam that is inexpensive and easy to manufacture.
65 ceptacle 17 fits around the beam 10 and is -slidable there
on so that it can be moved and fixed at a desired posi
Another object is to provide an articulated support
to resist bending-loads in the opposite direction.
beam in combination with an Iadjustable support-fitting
that is slid-able along the beam so that it can be located
tion along the beam 10. With the receptacle 17 located
within the access-opening 13, the fixture 16 having a
at any point Ialong the beam to support la suspended
threaded arm 13 to match the receptacle 17 may be at
fixture therefrom.
70 tached in place.
Still another object of the inventionÍ is to provide an l
Although I have shown the beam 1t) as made >up of three
connected segments 11, any number of segments can be
used to form beams of various lengths. Length of seg
ments and the number used to form the beam are depend
ent upon the requirements of the particular installation,
An important feature of my novel hanging support
beam is the adjustable hanging receptacle 17, which is
shown in one form, in detail, in FIG. 3. As adapted for
use in combination with beam 10, having the channel
with regard for such factors as the distance between sup
ports for the beam and the relative diñiculty of installing
cross-section, receptacle 17 comprises generally a sleeve
opposite ilanges 19, 2% which are connected by a back-web
material, can be the same as would be used on a straight
In the embodiment of the receptacle 17 shown in FIG.
3, an opening 35 is provided in sleeve 32 within the area
on the sleeve 32 covered by the boss 33, so that the ñxture
bracket 18 can be threaded-up to engage the web 21 of the
beam-segment 11, and thus ñx the location of the sleeve
32 to a predetermined position thereon.
Where a iixture-bracket 13 of suñicient length is not
one-piece beam, since my articulated beam is equal in
strength to the straight beam.
be provided to position the receptacle-sleeve 32 longitudi
To interconnect the beam segments 11, the tlanges 19 ‘
'and 20 at one end 22 of each segment 11, as shown in
FIG. 3, are bent slightly inwardly to narrow the width
be understood by reference to FIGS. l and 2. Here is
of the segment along an extended end-portion 23 that
nests snugly within an opposite end 24 of an adjoining seg
construction. Essentially, it comprises a reinforced con
32 having a rectangular cross-section which lits over the
beam 10 with a relatively loose, freely slidable fit. At
the beam on those supports.
tached to the sleeve 32, as by welding, is a cylindrical boss
The beam segments 11 are formed from mild steel or a
33 which is internally threaded to receive an attaching
suitable structural beam material and, as shown in FIGS.
3-7, each segment 11 has a channelled cross-section with IG iixture bracket 18.
member 21. Other beam cross-sections could be used to
form an articulated beam, utilizing some basic principles
of the present invention; but I have found that the chan
nelled section is particularly well-adapted for this purpose.
The size of the channel used, including the thickness of the
ment 11a having a normal width. The extended end-por- i
tion 23 is slightly greater in its width between the outside
surfaces of the flanges 19 and 20 than the distance between
the inside surfaces of the ilanges 19a and 20a and the ad
joining segment lla, so that the extended end-portion 23 `
of the segment 11 forms a slight interference-fit when
nested in the adjoining segment member 11a. This inter
ference between the flanges 19', 19a, and 20a of adjoin
ing segments 11 and 11a provides a nominal friction force
that serves to maintain the segments in a set angular posi- l
tion relative to one another when they are moved to such i
a position, and until they are acted upon by some other
external force to snap them into alignment. When the
available, a set-screw 29 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 may
nally on the beam 10.
The operation of my novel support-beam 10 may best
shown typical hung ceiling structure as used in building
crete ilooring 36 with integral concrete beams 37 which
contributed greatly to the extreme ditliculty of installing
support-beams, prior to the present invention. From the
structural concrete flooring 36 are suspended embedded
wires 38 to which are attached the supported channel
Ibeams 15 and tied across the underside of the beams 15
are metal lathings 39, to which usually are attached wire
mesh 40 and then plaster 41 to form the original finished
ceiling 42. With this typical ceiling structure, and with
other, similar structure, the standard ybuilding code re
quires that a support-beam 10 be installed on top of the
suspended beams 15, in order to support adequately a tix
ture 16. To use an ordinary straight-section of support
beam would require removal of a large portion of ceiling
adjoining segments 11 and 11a are completely parallel,
the extended end-portion 23 is nested within the end 24 of 40 (i.e., plaster and mesh) to install the beam in its proper
position on top of the suspended beams 15. However,
the adjoining segment 11a and if a downward force is
this expensive, time-consuming process is not necessary
applied to either of the two adjoining segments 11 or 11a
the present invention.
they will remain in alignment and the `force'will be dis
Using my novel, articulated beam 10, the opening 13
tributed all along4 the beam 10, as if the beam were a rigid,
one-piece section.
At the wide end 24 of each segment 11a there is a cut
out-portion in the back-web 21 leaving extended ñange
portions 26 and 27 of the flanges 19a and 20a through
which the hinge-means 12 is attached. This cutout-por
is made at the exact location where the fixture 16 is to be
installed, as shown in FIG. l. Segments 11 of the beam
10 are moved to an angular position relative to each
other, so that a generally-curved beam 10 is so formed;
the friction between the nested flanges 19, 20 and 19a,
tion 25 allows the adjoining segments 11 and 11a to move,
29a of the adjoining segments 11 and 11a serves to main
11 and 11a. With this range of movement between the
`segments 11 and 11a, the beam 10 can be given any shape
necessary to accomplish its positioning within a confined
tire beam is within the contines of the ceiling. The beam
segments 11, 11a may be of any suitable type and are
aligned on an axis perpendicular to the longitudinal axis
of the beam.
can be attached to receptacle 17 as shown in FIG. 3 and
relative to each other, while avoiding interference by the 50 tain the relative position of the segments as the beam 10
is moved upward into the opening 13. As the beam 10
back-web 21 of the inner-segment 11, as shown in FIG. 5.
passes into the confined area 14, it may hit obstructions
By cutting the back web 21a of the end 24 of the adjoining
(such as the concrete beam 37) and, when necessary,
segment 11a an amount equal to approximately the width
the relative positions of the segments 11 can be altered
of the segment-flanges 19 an-d 2l), almost 90° of angular
ldisplacement can be obtained between adjoining segments 55 by movement from the end of the beam 10, until the en
10 then is snapped into its aligned position and backed
up until both ends are supported by suspended-beams 15.
The adjustable receptacle 17 then is positioned within
To provide a hinge-means for the adjoining beam seg 60 the center of the opening 13 and tightened, either by the
ñxture-bracket 18 or by a set-screw 29. The ñxture 16
ments 11 and 11a, I prefer to use connecting-rivets 12,
then can attached to the threaded bosses 33, while cover
although other equivalent means could be used. Each
rivet 12 is installed through an extended flange-portion 26
ing the opening 13 as shown in FIG. 2.
Where it is impractical for the worker installing the
or 27 on the end 24 of the outside segment 11a and
passes through the flanges 19, 20 of the inside nested 65 beam 10 to reach his hand through the opening 13 to
segment 11. The rivets 12 on both sides of the nested
manipulate the beam into position, the fixture-bracket 18
initially tightened against the beam-web 21, to provide
the worker with a handle by which to maneuver the beam
A locking means is provided between each of the adjoin 70 10 from outside the opening 13. After the beam 10 is
ing segments 11 and 11a to assure rigidity of the beam 16
up inside the ceiling 42. it then can be backed into posi
in the aligned position. I may use, a “dimple” or detent
tion by alternately gripping and releasing the beam 10
30 near the end of the inner-nested end-portion 22, which
with the lìxture-bracket 18. When the beam 10 and its
becomes aligned with a mating dfetent 31 on llange 20 of
75 receptacle 17 are in the desired position, the ñxture
the end 24 ofthe segment 11a.
bracket 1S then can be tightened and the fixture 16 con
veniently installed.
Thus, it is apparent from the above that the present
invention provides a unique supporting-beam which is un
be suspended from said beam and bracket means retained
yin said boss means and adjustable therein for connecting
. said hanger support means at a iixed position on said
beam, and for maneuvering said beam into position with
usually strong, reliable, and yet deformable temporarily
in said ceiling.
to a shape which enables its installation in extremely
coniined and partially obstructed areas. The invent-ion,
therefore, is highly useful in situations which heretofore
3. A composite structural beam comprising: a plurality
of similar longitudinal adjoining sections, each 'of said
required the expensive tearing out and subsequent re
placing of ceiling or wall structure.
To those skilled in the art to >which this invention re
lates, many changes in construction and widely diiîering
embodiments and applications of the invention will sug
gest themselves without departing from the spirit and
sections having a channel cross-section with a main web
and side ñanges extending therefrom at substantially right
angles, said side iianges on each said section being de
formed slightly at one end so that a predetermined por
tion of each section can nest snugly within an opposite
end-portion of an adjoining similar section; hinge means
connecting each two adjoining sections, the axis of said '
-scope of the invention. The disclosures and the descrip 15 hinge means being perpendicular to the longitudinal axis
tion herein are purely illustrative and not intended to be
of said nested sections and located near the extreme end
in any way limiting.
of each outer section to `connect the ñanges of said nested
I claim:
inner and outer sections so that said predetermined portion
1. A sectional structural beam for supporting a fixture
`of each said inner member is nested within each said outer
in an opening formed in a pre-constructed ceiling, said
member with its back web adjacent the back web of said
opening being slightly larger than the cross section of
outer -inember when the beam is in its straight, rigid,
said beam, said beam comprising: a series of connected
load-carrying position; friction means provided by said
longitudinal members, each of said members having a
flanges near said hinge means for hoiding said connecting
channel cross-section with a main web and side flanges
longitudinal sections in a temporarily ñxed angular posi
extending therefrom, said side ñanges on each said mem
tion relative to each adjoining section, said friction means
ber being bent slightly inwardly toward each other for a
being yieldable in response to a downward force exerted
predetermined distance from the end of each member so
on one of said longitudinal sections to bring said longi
that the bent-in portion of one end of each member will
tudinal sections into alignment; hanger support means on
nest snugly within an opposite end-portion of an adjoin
said beam and slidable along the complete length of said
ing outer member; hinge means connecting each two said
beam and over said hinge means; said hanger means hav
adjoining members, said hinge means being located near
ing means `for suspending a fixture from said beam; where
the extreme end- of the said outer member and connected
Eby said beam may be manipulated to a predetermined
to the ñanges of said nested inner member at substantially
shape by movement of each section relative to its adjoin
said predetermined distance from the end of said inner
ing section to vfacilitate the installation of said beam into
member so that an end-portion of each said inner member
a confinedv area of limited clearance, after which said is nested within each said outer member with its back
beam ,can be placed in its rigid position to support said
web adjacent the back web of Said outer member when
the beam is in its straight, rigid, load-carrying position;
4. The «device described in claim 3 wherein said hanger
friction means on said ñanges near said hinge means for
support means comprises a sleeve member having a rec
lholding said connected longitudinal members in a tempo 40 tangular cross-section larger than the cross-section of said
rarily fixed angular position relative to each adjoining
beam so .as to provide an easily slidable clearance there
member, said friction means being yieldable in response
with, an internally threaded cylindrical boss attached to
to a downward `force exerted on one of said longitudinal
said sleeve and means for iixing said hanger support
members to bring said longitudinal members into align
45 means at a predetermined position along said beams.
ment, whereby said sectional beam may be manipulated
to a predetermined shape by movement of each member
References Eited in the tile of this patent
relative to its adjoining member to facilitate the installa
tion of the beam into an area of limited clearance, after
which said beam `can be placed in its rigid position to 50
support a load.
2. The device described in claim 1 including in com
bination a hanger support means on said beam, being
slidable thereon, boss means for connecting a fixture to
Lutz et al ____________ __ Tune 16,
Eastman ____________ __ Sept. 19, 1933
Visness et al. ________ __ Mar. 10‘, 1942
AWelsh ______________ __ Sept. 20, 1955
Maier ________ __ ____ __ Mar. 29, 1960
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