US 3743372 A
A modular storage system designed with reference to a modular base unit having a height equal to one height module and a width equal to one width module and including at least two removably interconnectable storage units each of rectangular cross section and having a height equal to an integral number of height modules and a width equal to an integral number of width modules, each side wall of each storage unit carrying an integral number of interconnection systems, the number of systems of each wall being equal to the height or width of the particular wall in height or width modules, and each interconnection system of each unit being adapted for removable interconnection with the other unit.
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United States Patent [191 Ruggerone 1 July 3,1913
[ STORING  Inventor: Gulseffe Ruggerone, Confienza  US. Cl 312/108, 312/111  Int. Cl A47b 87/00  Field of Search 312/107, 108, 204,
312/111, 234, 234.5; 220/234; 206/DIG. 29
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 7 1,079,472 8/1967 Great Britain 312/111 Primary Examiner-James C. Mitchell Attorney-W. R. Hulbert s7 ABSTRACT A modular storage system designed with reference to a modular base unit having a height equal to one height module and a width equal to one width module and including at least two removably interconnectable storage units each of rectangular cross section and having a height equal to an integral number of height modules and a width equal to an integral number of width modules, each side wall of each storage unit carrying an integral number of interconnection systems, the number of systems of each wall being equal to the height or width of the particular wall in height or width modules, and each interconnection system of each unit being adapted for removable interconnection with the other unit.
8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures IIIIIII.IIIIII.
STORING This invention relates to storing.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a system of storage units that may be securely interlocked together in any of a number of different arrangements. Other objects include providing such a system of units of different sizes, color coded according to size and storage type, which may be suspended from a wall or other support, in which each unit is inexpensive to manufacture and of durable and rigid construction and in which the storage arrangement and capacity of different units may be varied.
The invention features a modular storage system designed with reference to a modular base unit having a height equal to one height module and a width equal to one width module and including at least two removably interconnectable storage units each of rectangular cross section and having a height equal to an integral number of height modules and a width equal to an integral number of width modules, each side wall of each storage unit carrying an integral number of interconnection systems, the number of systems of each wall being equal to the height or width of the particular wall in height or width modules, and each interconnection system of each unit being adapted for removable interconnection with the other unit. In preferred embodiments there is featured color coded units having integrally molded plastic frames of varying heights and widths and carrying different numbers of storage drawers, the four side walls of each frame being of the same overall thickness, two adjacent side walls of each frame defining longitudinally extending male interlocks and the other two adjacent side walls of each frame defining mating female interlocks, each interlock being a respective one half height or width module in width, the system including means for hanging the storage units on a wall or other support, each drawer having a handle defining an indicator-mounting recess and the interior of each drawers including a plurality of storage compartments.
Other objects, features and advantages will appear from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, taken together with the attached drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a storage system constructed in accord with the present invention;
FIGS. 2 and 3 are exploded perspective view of storage units of the system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of the storage systems of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 5 and 6 are sectional views illustrating the manner of interlocking adjacent ones of the units of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a drawer of the unit of FIG. 2;
FIG. 8 is a sectional view of a portion of the drawer of FIG. 7; and,
FIG. 9 is a perspective view illustrating another arrangement of the units of the system of FIG. 1.
Referring more particularly to the drawings, there is illustrated a modular storage system, generally designated 8 in FIG. 1, comprising six removably interconnected storage units, designated 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively. As shown, the storage units are all different, but each is designed with reference to the same modular base unit to make possible the units interconnection in any desired arrangement. The modular base unit of system 8 is storage unit 4, which is one height module h high, one width module w wide, and carries one storage drawer 24. Expressed in height modules, h, and width modules, w, the height and width of the different units of system 8 is as follows:
Unit Height Width 1 h 4w 2 2h w 3 h 2w 4 h w 5 h w 6 h 2w Although none are included in system 8, other storage units could, for example, have both heights and widths that are greater than single height or width modules. Similarly, the entire storage system could be designed with reference to a modular base unit whose height and width is l/n, n being an integer, that of the smallest storage unit.
Each storage unit of system 8 includes a rectangular in transverse-cross section, integrally molded plastic frame, designated 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 respectively, adapted for receiving one or more storage drawers. One storage drawer, designated 21, 22, 23, 24, fits into the respective one of each of frames 11, 12, 13, 14; units 5 and 6 each include two drawers 25a, 25b and 26a, 26b, respectively.
Each unit frame is of molded plastic and includes integrally molded top, bottom, left (viewed from the front) and right side walls, each of the same overall thickness, and a rear wall, having a thickness approximately twice that of the side walls. The left and right side walls are designated 31-36 and 41-46, respectively. The units top and bottom side walls are respectively designated 51-56 and 61-66. The rear walls, which together with the side walls form frames closed on all sides but the front, are designated 71-76, respectively.
For interlocking adjacent ones of storage units l-6 together, at least one longitudinally extending, trapezoidal in transverse cross section groove is provided in the outwardly facing surface of each of the particular units left and bottom side walls, and at least one mating, trapezoidal in transverse cross section land is provided at the outer surface of each of the units right and top side walls. As shown most clearly in FIGS. 5 and 6, which are cross-sectional views of the interconnected portions of units 4 and 5, each groove 80 extends to a depth equal to approximately one-half the thickness of the respective side wall, and each land is formed by removing to a depth of one-half the respective wall thickness the plastic wall portions on either side of the land. The width of each land and groove is approximately one-half module of, depending on the particular side wall defining the respective landor groove, height or width, i.e., h/2 or w/2.
The length of each groove 80 and land 90 is slightly less than the overall depth (front to rear) of the respective storage unit. Each groove 80 and land 90 extends frm the extreme rear surface of the respective unit rear wall 71-76 to a point spaced slightly to the rear of the front, designated 101-106, of the respective unit. Thus, each of left side walls 31-36 and bottom side walls 61-66 defines a stop wall portion 82 forming the forward edge of the groove 80 on the respective side wall. A projecting triangular lug 84 is provided in each groove 80 with the forward tip of the lug 84 engaging stop wall 82. The height of the lug is approximately one-half the overall groove depth, or one-fourth the overall wall thickness. A mating triangular recess 94 is provided in each land 90, with the point of the recess extending to the forward end 92 of the respective land 90.
The number of lands or grooves on each side wall of a particular unit depends on the units modular size. One land or groove, as appropriate depending on the particular side, is provided for each module of height or width of the side wall. In determining a units overall height and width of each unit, i.e., number of height and width modules, the full thickness of side walls 31-36 and 61-66 (which include grooves 80) is included, but the half-side wall thickness of side walls 41-46 and 51-56 provided by the outwardly projecting lands 90 is disregarded. Left side walls 31, 33, 34, 35 and 36 which are each one height module (h) high, each define one groove 80; and one land is provided on each of right side walls 41, 43, 44, 45 and 46 which, similarly, have a height of one height module. The left and right side walls of unit 2, which are two height modules high, carry two grooves 80 and lands 90, respectively. Similarly, the top and bottom side walls of units 2, 4 and 5, which are one width module high, carry one land (top side walls 42, 44, 45) or one groove (bottom side walls 52, 54, 55). Two width module wide units 3 and 6 each carry two lands 90 or grooves 80 on their respective top side walls 43, 46 and bottom side walls 53, 56, and four lands or grooves are provided on the top and bottom side walls 41, 51 of unit 1, which has a width of four width modules. On each unit, the center lines of one land 90 on the units top side wall and of one groove 80 on the units bottom side wall are parallel to the units left and right side walls and are located at a distance equal to one-half width module (w/2) from the left side wall. In those units which are more than one width module wide, e.g., units 1, 3 and 6, the other lands and grooves on the top and bottom side walls are regularly spaced at one width module intervals. Similarly, one land on each units right side wall and one groove on each units left side wall are positioned with their respective center lines parallel to and one-half height module (h/2) from the units top side wall, and any other lands or grooves on the respective left and right side wall (as in unit 2) are spaced at one height module intervals.
As shown most clearly in FIGS. 1 and 4, the units are interlocked together, building from left to right and from bottom to top, by placing the forward end of the land 90 on the top or right side wall of one unit into the rear of the groove 80 on the bottom or left side wall of another unit, and sliding the two units relative to each other to move the engaged land 90 completely into the mating groove 80. As indicated in FIGS. 1, and 6, the units will slide relatively together until the forward end 92 of each land 90 contacts the stop wall 82 of the mating groove 80, and each groove lug 84 snaps into the associated land detent 94. In this position, the front and rear walls of the joined units are substantially coplanar. I
As shown most clearly in FIG. 4, the rear wall of each unit is provided with at least one pair of key-hole shaped openings 190 for mounting the unit on a vertical wall. Each opening 190 includes a circular hole 192 at the base thereof, and a slot 194 of width less than the hole diameter extending upwardly from the hole. A circular recess or countersink 196 is provided on the interior of each unit rear wall communicating with the upper end of each slot 194. The number of pairs of openings 190 depends on the height of the particular unit. As shown, one pair is provided on rear walls 71, 73, 74, and 76 of the units whose height is equal to a single height unit, and two pairs are provided on rear wall 72 of unit 2, which is two height units high. The slot 194 of each opening 190 extends generally parallel to the unit side walls and each slot is located approximately one-fourth of a width module (w/4) from the most closely adjacent left or right side unit side wall.
Alternatively, the storage system may be hung on a shelf or attached to a wall by attaching a mounting plate 170 (see FIG. 4) to the storage system unit side walls. As shown, mounting plate 170 has a plurality of spaced grooves 80 (each identical to grooves 80 of units 1-6 and spaced at intervals of one module) on one surface, and a plurality of spaced lands (also identical to the storage unit lands and spaced at one module intervals) on its other surface. A number of mounting holes 172 extend through the plate. Half of holes 172 have a countersink 174 at the plate groove surface, and the other half have a similar countersink at the plate land surface. Mounting plate 170, accordingly, may be mounted on the top of a shelf (as shown in FIG. 4) with its lands engaging the bottom side wall grooves 80 of unit 1, or on the underside of a shelf with its grooves 80 facing downwardly in position for engaging the lands 91) on the top side walls of storage units, or on a vertical wall with either its lands 90 or grooves 80 facing outwardly for engaging, as desired, the right or left side walls of storage units.
As previously indicated, one storage drawer is provided in each of units 1, 2, 3, 4 and two storage drawers are provided in each of units 5 and 6. Each storage drawer extends the full width of the opening defined by the unit side walls; drawers 21, 22, 23 and 24 extend the full opening height; drawers 25a and 25b and 26a and 2612 each are approximately half the height of the openings of the respective units 5, 6. A handle, generally designated 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116 system is parallel on the front of each drawer, and a pair of longitudinally-extending slides, such as slides 118 shown on the bottom of drawer 26b in FIG. 7, are provided on the lower surface of each drawer. Additionally, a rectangular in transverse cross-section, longitudinally extending recess, such as recesses 1 19 shown on drawer 26b in FIG. 10, are at the intersection of the left and bottom side walls and at the intersection of the right and bottom side walls of each of drawers 25a and b, 26a and b. As shown in FIG. 2, the inner surface of the left and right side walls of double drawer unit 6 (and also the corresponding surfaces of double drawer unit 5) include guides 117 arranged for engaging recesses 119 and slidingly supporting the upper drawer in the unit. A transversely-extending lug 120 projects downwardly from the top side wall of each unit, spaced inwardly from the front of the unit, in position for engaging the rear wall of the unit drawer (see FIG. 5) and preventing it from accidently sliding out of the unit.
As is evident from the drawings, each of handles 1 1 l, 113, 114, and and 116 has the same general design, the size of the particular handle depending on that of the drawer on which it is mounted. Accordingly, only the handle 116 of drawer 26b which is shown in crosssection in FIG. 8 will be described in detail. As illustrated, handle 116 is an integrally molded portion of drawer 26b and includes an upper portion 122 which projects forwardly of the drawer front, a double front portion 128 depending from the front of portion 122, and two depending side portions I30 connecing the drawer front and the front and upper portions. Double front portion 128 defines a vertical recess 132, open at its front and having slots along its side and bottom for receiving an indicating card.
The storage units themselves are color coded according to their particular size and drawer arrangement. In the preferred embodiment, this coding is accomplished by making the drawers of each unit of a different and distinctive color plastic, the colors of the different drawers being as follows:
Grey Green Yellow Red Orange Blue QUIQUNi- Referring now to FIG. 2, a plurality of plastic cups 140 are fitted into the drawers of each unit other than unit 2. Each cup 130 is of generally rectangular horizontal cross-section including four side walls extending upwardly from a bottom, and has a height equal to that of the respective drawer. As shown in FIG. 2, six cups of one size and three cups of a different size are nested within each of drawers 26a, 26b with the bottom of each cup resting on the drawer bottom and the cup sides engaging the sides of the drawer or of adjacent cups. Cups (not shown) similarly are nested in each of drawers 21, 23, 24, 25a, 25b. Drawer 21 includes a total of six cups, all of width equal to one-fourth the drawer width, four having a depth equal to one-half the drawer depth, and two having a depth equal to that of the drawer. Drawer 23 includes four cups, each the same size as one of the four k drawer depth cups of drawer 12. There are two cups, each extending full width and one-half drawer depth, in drawer 243; and three full width, one-third drawer depth cups in each of the drawers 25a, 25b.
In lieu of cups, drawer 22 of unit 2 (which is the only illustrated unit two height modules high) includes three spaced vertical dividers 150, each of which fits into a pair of respective vertical grooves 152 (one on each side of the drawer) and divides the drawer into four compartments. Drawer 22 also includes a transparent cover 160 which fits within a pair of vertical grooves 166 closely adjacent the drawer top. As shown, the top front of drawer 22, above handle 112, is removed to permit the slide to the withdrawn from grooves 166 into the position (shown in FIG. 3) permitting access to the drawer compartments.
In FIG. 1, storage units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are shown arranged in a regular rectangular array three height modules (3h) high and four width (4w) modules wide. As each unit includes interlocks, i.e., lands or grooves, on each side thereof, the units may also be intercon heated in any other desired arrangement. One additional possible arrangement -is shown in FIG. 12. As there shown, the units are interconnected to provide an open space above the left half of unit 1, and below unit 5.
Other arrangements and embodiment will occur to those skilled in the art and will be within the scope of the following claims.
1. A modular storage system designed with reference to a modular base unit having a substantially square transverse cross-section with a height and a width each substantially equal to one modular unit, said system comprising: I
a first storage unit;
a second storage unit; and,
a third storage unit,
each of said storage units having longitudinallyextending top, bottom, left, and right walls defining a substantially rectangular in transverse crosssection frame having a height and a width each respectively equal to an integral number of modular units, one of the height and width of each of said units being equal to one modular unit,
each of said storage units including at least one drawer slidably mounted within the frame thereof,
each of said units having one of a different height, a
different width, and a different number of drawers than each of the others of said units,
each of said longitudinally-extending sidewalls of each of said units carrying an integral number of interlock systems, each of said interlock systems being symmetrical about a longitudinally-extending center line. thereof, the number of said interlock systems being carried by each of said side walls being equal to the width of the respective side wall in modular units, the center line of each interlock system on each side wall of each of said units extending parallel to another side wall of said each unit at a distance therefrom equal to one-half a modular unit and the center lines of the interlock systems carried by side walls carrying more than one interlock system being regularly spaced at intervals equal to one modular unit,
each of said units being adapted for removable interconnection to any of the interlock systems of the others of said units,
the interlock system carried by each of a respective pair of adjacent side walls of each of said units being a male interlock system comprising a longitudinally-extending land having a width of about one-half a modular unit, and the interlock system on each of a respective second pair of adjacent side walls of each of said units being a female interlock system including a longitudinallyextending groove having a width of about one-half a modular unit and adapted for receiving one of said lands in slidably removable mating engagement, and
said interlock systems including stops for limiting sliding engagement of said lands in said grooves.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein each of said side walls is of substantially the same overall thickness, and the thickness of each of said lands and the depth of each of said grooves is substantially equal to one-half said overall thickness.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein each of said lands includes a detent and each of said grooves includes a lug adapted for engaging one of said detents when the land carrying said one detent is in mating engagement therewith.
4. The system of claim 1 wherein the color of the drawer of each of said units is predetermined with reference to the configuration of said each unit and is different than the color of the drawer of the others of said units for visually differentiating said units.
5. The system of claim 1 wherein one of said units includes a pair of drawers mounted therein, each drawer of said pair extending substantially the width of said one unit and substantially one-half the height of said one unit, one drawer of said pair including a longitudinally-extending recess adjacent each lower longitudinally-extending edge thereof, and the left and right side walls of said one unit define inwardly projecting rails units for mounting said units on a support.
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