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Title:
LENGTH ADJUSTABLE MEMBER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/109959
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A length adjustable member includes an outer tubular member (12,112), an inner tubular member (14,114) slidably disposed within the outer tubular member, and a locking mechanism (28,128) located within the inner and outer tubular members for locking the inner and outer tubular members in any of plural longitudinal positions relative to each other. Upon rotation of one of the tubular members with respect to the other tubular member to a release position, the locking mechanism disengages to allow one tubular member to be slid with respect to the other to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member, and, when the release position is no longer held, the locking mechanism is biased to re-engage to lock the inner and outer tubular members in one of the plural longitudinal positions.

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Inventors:
KEYVANLOO, Aydin (3 Harcourt Street, Doncaster, Victoria 3108, AU)
Application Number:
AU2008/000363
Publication Date:
September 18, 2008
Filing Date:
March 14, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GESSWEIN, Andreas Klaus (Am Lichten Holz 21, Rinteln, 31737, DE)
TUNG, Liang (5F. No.22 ALY 60 2N 114, Chungshan N. Road Sec. 7, Taipei, TW)
KEYVANLOO, Aydin (3 Harcourt Street, Doncaster, Victoria 3108, AU)
International Classes:
A47F5/13; B25G1/04; E04G1/18; E04G3/00; E04G5/16; F16B1/04; F16B7/10; F16B7/14; F16S3/04
Foreign References:
DE29622771U1
US4782845A
US4329076A
US4645081A
US4782845A
GB2325397A
US2884270A
Other References:
See also references of EP 2124680A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FREEHILLS PATENT & TRADE MARK ATTORNEYS (Level 43, 101 Collins StreetMelbourne, Victoria 3000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A length adjustable member, including:

an outer tubular member;

an inner tubular member slidably disposed within the outer tubular member; and

a locking mechanism located within the inner and outer tubular members for locking the inner and outer tubular members in any of plural longitudinal positions relative to each other;

wherein, upon rotation of one of the tubular members with respect to the other tubular member to a release position, the locking mechanism disengages to allow one tubular member to be slid with respect to the other to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member, and wherein, when said release position is no longer held, the locking mechanism is biased to re-engage to lock the inner and outer tubular members in one of said plural longitudinal positions.

2. A length adjustable member according to claim 1 , wherein said bias arises from a spring fitted between a component rotatable with the inner tubular member and a rotationally fixed component.

3. A length adjustable member according to claim 1 or 2 where the locking mechanism including interengaging formations that mechanically block relative longitudinal movement of the tubular members.

4. A length adjustable member according to claim 1 , 2 or 3, wherein the locking mechanism includes a tubular component that is attached to the inner tubular member at the end within the outer tubular member.

5. A length adjustable member according to claim 4, wherein said tubular component includes a first formation for engaging a formation associated with the outer tubular member.

6. A length adjustable member according to claim 5 further including an innermost longitudinal member fixable at its base with respect to the outer tubular member and extending within the outer tubular member, which innermost longitudinal member has plural formations engageable by said first formation and defining said plural longitudinal positions.

7. A length adjustable member according to claim 6, wherein there is provided a tubular supporting member that extends inside the inner tubular member to slidably engage said innermost longitudinal member, such that said tubular supporting member is slidable longitudinally with the inner tubular member and said tubular component, and the inner tubular member and tubular component are rotatable relative to the innermost longitudinal member and the tubular supporting member.

8. A length adjustable member according to claim 7, wherein the tubular supporting member is connected at its distal end to a mounting device.

9. A length adjustable member according to claim 8, wherein the mounting device allows an accessory, such as a horizontal arm, to be mounted to the mounting device and thereby to the length adjustable member such that the accessory does not rotate with the inner tubular member.

10. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 1 to 7 further including means to mount a cantilevered arm or other accessory to the length adjustable member.

11. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 1 to 10, incorporated in a merchandising display stand.

12. A length adjustable member, including:

an outer tubular member;

an inner tubular member that is slidably disposed within the outer tubular member;

an innermost longitudinal member fixable at its base with respect to the outer tubular member and extending within the outer tubular member, the inner tubular member being slidable between the outer tubular member and the innermost longitudinal member; and

a locking mechanism that includes a first formation, connected to either the inner tubular member or the innermost longitudinal member, for selective engagement with one of a plurality of longitudinally spaced formations on the other of the inner tubular member and the innermost longitudinal member, wherein the first formation is biased into an engaged position;

wherein the inner tubular member is rotatable against the bias to a release position to disengage the first formation to allow the inner tubular member to longitudinally slide with respect to the outer tubular member to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member, and wherein, when said release position is no longer held, the locking mechanism biases the first formation into engagement with a respective formation of the plurality of longitudinally spaced formations.

13. A length adjustable member according to claim 12 wherein the formations mechanically block relative longitudinal movement of the tubular members.

14. A length adjustable member according to claim 12 or 13, wherein the plurality of longitudinally spaced formations include an upper and a lower surface between which the first formation engages to prevent longitudinal sliding in either direction.

15. A length adjustable member according to claim 12, 13 or 14, wherein the first formation is a lug and is connected to the inner tubular member.

16. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 15, wherein the plurality of longitudinally spaced formations are defined by a plurality of longitudinally spaced projections from the innermost longitudinal member, where the first formation engages between the surfaces of adjacent projections.

17. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 15, wherein the plurality of longitudinally spaced formations are defined by a plurality of longitudinally spaced notches in the innermost longitudinal member.

18. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 17, wherein the formations are of a width to allow the first formation to be rotated out of engagement by turning the inner tubular member by up to ninety degrees.

19. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 18, wherein there is provided a base from which the innermost longitudinal member extends.

20. A length adjustable member according to claim 19, wherein the outer tubular member is also fixed to the base.

21. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 20, wherein the locking mechanism includes a tubular component that is attached to the inner tubular member at the end within the outer tubular member.

22. A length adjustable member according to claim 21 , wherein the tubular component includes said first formation.

23. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 22, wherein said bias arises from a spring fitted between a component rotatable with the inner tubular member and a rotationally fixed component.

24. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 23, wherein there is provided a tubular supporting member that extends inside the inner tubular member to slidably engage said innermost longitudinal member, such that said tubular supporting member is slidable longitudinally with the inner tubular member and said tubular component, and the inner tubular member and tubular component are rotatable relative to the innermost longitudinal member and the tubular supporting member.

25. A length adjustable member according to claim 24, wherein the tubular supporting member is connected at its distal end to a mounting device.

26. A length adjustable member according to claim 25, wherein the mounting device allows an accessory, such as a horizontal arm, to be mounted to the mounting device and thereby to the length adjustable member such that the accessory does not rotate with the inner tubular member.

27. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 26 further including means to mount a cantilevered arm or other accessory to the length adjustable member.

28. A length adjustable member according to any one of claims 12 to 27, incorporated in a merchandising display stand.

29. A length adjustable member, including:

a longitudinal member fixed at its base;

a tubular member slidably disposed about the longitudinal member;

a tubular supporting member that extends inside the tubular member and is slidably disposed about the longitudinal member; and

a locking mechanism that includes a first formation, connected to either the tubular member or the longitudinal member, for selective engagement with one of a plurality of longitudinally spaced formations on the other of the tubular member and the longitudinal member, wherein the first formation is biased into an engaged position;

wherein the tubular member is rotatable against the bias to disengage the first formation to allow the tubular member to longitudinally slide with respect to the longitudinal member to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member and wherein, upon release, the locking mechanism biases the first formation into engagement with a respective formation of the plurality of formations, and wherein the tubular supporting member slides with the tubular member but does not rotate.

30. A length adjustable member according to claim 29 or 30, wherein the tubular supporting member includes a mounting device at its end displaced from the longitudinal member.

31. A length adjustable member according to claim 29 wherein the formations mechanically block relative longitudinal movement of the tubular members.

32. A length adjustable member according to claim 31 , wherein the mounting device fixes a horizontal member to the length adjustable member.

33. A length adjustable member according to claim 31 or 32, wherein as the tubular supporting member does not rotate with the tubular member, when the length is adjusted, the horizontal member is longitudinally displaced, but is not rotated.

Description:

Length adjustable member

Field of the invention

The present invention is directed to a length adjustable member. It will be appreciated that the member may be used in either a horizontal or vertical orientation. The length adjustable members find particular application as support uprights, e.g. poles and stands, for rack assemblies, being particularly, though not exclusively, suitable for merchandising display structures.

Background of the invention

In retail stores, clothing and goods for sale are displayed on racks that either protrude from a wall or are free standing and therefore include a vertical member. In the case of

"mid-floor" display stands, the vertical member may have any one of a number of types of heads, such as a circular hangrail that has supporting members that fix it to the vertical member. The rack may include a single horizontal member or a plurality of, usually four, horizontal members that protrude from the top of the vertical member. A single horizontal member may extend between two vertical members.

Display racks, particularly those used for displaying clothing, are configured to a height so that the clothing garments are suspended without the bottom of the garments touching the floor and generally so that the garments are displayed at eye level. However, it is advantageous that these same display racks can be used for garments of different lengths and other goods. It is therefore advantageous to make the vertical member adjustable.

There have been several attempts to provide an adjustable vertical member for "mid- floor" display racks. These generally include an inner tube housed within an outer tube, such that the overall length of the vertical member may be adjusted by sliding the inner tube with respect to the outer tube. The tubes may be held at the required height by providing apertures spaced down the length of the inner and outer tubes and inserting a pin through respective apertures that line up. There are a number of other systems that require additional hardware or tools to lock the vertical members at the desired height.

One way to lock the inner tube at the required height without additional tools or components is to provide a plurality of apertures that are spaced down the length of the outer tube. A retractable pin extends from the inner tube and locks into an aperture on the outer tube. To adjust the vertical member, the pin is manually pushed using a finger out of engagement with the aperture and the tubes are slid to the desired height and the pin is lined up and is biased to lock into another aperture. Another known system does not use pins and apertures, but has a button arrangement at the top of the inner tube.

One of the problems with the above attempts to provide a solution for this need is that the display racks have external locking devices. These external locking devices can be accidentally unlocked in the store, or if additional tools are required, it can be difficult for staff to quickly and easily adjust the rack. External apertures and pins make the appearance of display racks relatively industrial looking and detract from the garments and goods for sale, while a button arrangement at the top is a hindrance to the flexible mounting of accessories such as racks and arms in the upper part of the assembly.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved length adjustable member that is adaptable as an upright in merchandising display structures, is visually appealing, can be adjusted without additional tools, and allows greater flexibility in the mounting of accessories.

Summary of the invention According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a length adjustable member, including:

an outer tubular member;

an inner tubular member slidably disposed within the outer tubular member; and

a locking mechanism located within the inner and outer tubular members for locking the inner and outer tubular members in any of plural longitudinal positions relative to each other;

wherein, upon rotation of one of the tubular members with respect to the other tubular member to a release position, the locking mechanism disengages to allow one tubular member to be slid with respect to the other to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member, and wherein, when said release position is no longer held, the locking mechanism is biased to re-engage to lock the inner and outer tubular members in one of said plural longitudinal positions.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a length adjustable member, including:

an outer tubular member;

an inner tubular member that is slidably disposed within the outer tubular member;

an innermost longitudinal member fixable at its base with respect to the outer tubular member and extending within the outer tubular member, the inner tubular member being slidable between the outer tubular member and the innermost longitudinal member; and

a locking mechanism that includes a first formation, connected to either the inner tubular member or the innermost longitudinal member, for selective engagement with one of a plurality of longitudinally spaced formations on the other of the inner tubular member and the innermost longitudinal member, wherein the first formation is biased into an engaged position;

wherein the inner tubular member is rotatable against the bias to a release position to disengage the first formation to allow the inner tubular member to longitudinally slide with respect to the outer tubular member to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member, and wherein, when said release position is no longer held, the locking mechanism biases the first formation into engagement with a respective formation of the plurality of longitudinally spaced formations.

The plurality of longitudinally spaced formations may include an upper and a lower surface between which the first formation engages to prevent longitudinal sliding in either direction. The first formation may be a lug and is preferably connected to the inner tubular member. The plurality of formations may be defined by a plurality of longitudinally spaced projections from the innermost longitudinal member, where the first formation engages between the surfaces of adjacent projections. Alternatively, the formations may be defined by a plurality of longitudinally space notches in the innermost longitudinal member. The formations are preferably of a width to allow the first formation to be rotated out of engagement by turning the inner tubular member by up to ninety degrees, or a quarter turn.

Preferably, there is provided a base from which the innermost longitudinal member extends. The outer tubular member may also be fixed to the base.

According to an embodiment of the invention, the locking mechanism includes a tubular component that is attached to the inner tubular member at the end within the outer tubular member. The tubular component includes the first formation, or lug. However it will be appreciated that this component may be formed as an integral assembly with the inner tubular member.

Preferably, there is provided a tubular supporting member that extends inside the inner tubular member to slidably engage the innermost longitudinal member such that the tubular supporting member is slidable longitudinally with the inner tubular member and the tubular component, and the inner tubular member and tubular component rotate relative to the innermost longitudinal member and the tubular supporting member. The innermost longitudinal member preferably includes a keyway and the tubular supporting member includes a corresponding longitudinal key, such that the tubular component is slidable relative to the innermost longitudinal member but does not rotate.

Advantageously, the tubular supporting member is connected at its distal end to a mounting device. The mounting device allows an accessory, such as a horizontal arm, to be mounted to the length adjustable member. The base preferably includes additional

mounting means to allow the adjustable member to be connected to a supporting base to hold the member upright.

According to a third aspect, the present invention provides a length adjustable member, including:

a longitudinal member fixed at its base;

a tubular member slidably disposed about the longitudinal member;

a tubular supporting member that extends inside the tubular member and is slidably disposed about the longitudinal member; and

a locking mechanism that includes a first formation, connected to either the tubular member or the longitudinal member, for selective engagement with one of a plurality of longitudinally spaced formations on the other of the tubular member and the longitudinal member, wherein the first formation is biased into an engaged position;

wherein the tubular member is rotatable against the bias to disengage the first formation to allow the tubular member to longitudinally slide with respect to the longitudinal member to adjust the overall length of the adjustable member and wherein, upon release, the locking mechanism biases the first formation into engagement with a respective formation of the plurality of formations, and wherein the tubular supporting member slides with the tubular member but does not rotate.

The tubular supporting member preferably includes a mounting device at its end displaced from the longitudinal member. The mounting device may fix a horizontal member to the length adjustable member. As the tubular supporting member does not rotate with the tubular member, when the length is adjusted, the horizontal member is longitudinally displaced, but is not rotated.

Brief description of the drawings

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a rack assembly having a length adjustable upright according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a selectively cut-away perspective view of the length adjustable upright of the rack assembly depicted in Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a perspective exploded view of the length adjustable upright of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is another view of the tubular locking component shown in the left-hand exploded sub-view of Figure 3;

Figures 5a and 5b are corresponding fragmentary axial cross-sections and end-views of the locking mechanism, respectively in the released and locking conditions;

Figure 6 is a cross-section on the line 6-6 in Figure 5b;

Figures 7 and 8 are cross-sections on the lines 7-7 and 8-8 in Figure 6;

Figures 9a - 9d are perspective views of the assembling of the rack assembly of Figure 1 ;

Figure 10 is a front perspective view of a length-adjustable pole assembly according to a second embodiment of the invention, suitable for application in a floor-to-ceiling tension mounted pole system;

Figure 11 is a selectively cut-away perspective view of the length-adjustable pole assembly depicted in Figure 10;

Figure 12 is a perspective exploded view of the length-adjustable pole assembly of Figures 10 and 11 ;

Figure 13 is a plan view of the base sub-assembly depicted in Figure 12;

Figure 14a is a cross-section on the line D-D in Figure 13 and Figure 14b is a corresponding view in a different operational condition; and

Figure 15a is a cross-section on the line E-E in Figure 13, and Figure 15b is a corresponding view in a different operational condition.

Detailed description of the embodiments

As can be seen from Figure 1 , the present invention relates to a length adjustable member in the form of an upright 10 for a display stand. The upright has an outer tubular member or tube 12 and an inner tubular member or tube 14, both typically of steel. The tubes 12, 14 have respective proximal ends 16, 18 and distal ends 20, 22. Positioned at the distal end 22 of the inner tube 14 is a cantilevered arm 24, being attached to the inner tube 14 by mounting means to be described in more detail below.

As illustrated by the arrows in Figure 1 , the inner tube 14 is slidably disposed within the outer tube 12 and may be rotated to allow the inner tube 14 to slide with respect to the outer tube 12 to adjust the overall length of the upright 10. In the embodiment illustrated, the arm 24 does not rotate as the inner tube 14 is rotated. This is described further below.

As can be seen in Figures 2 and 3, a locking mechanism 28 is provided for locking the inner and outer tubes 12, 14 in a longitudinal position relative to each other. One part of the locking mechanism is an innermost longitudinal member or post 32 that extends upwardly from a cylindrical base segment 33, and is conveniently an aluminium extrusion. Base segment 33 has a central passage 35 that slidably receives post 32 and matches it in cross-section so that the post 32 cannot rotate in base segment 33. Post 32 is locked in base segment 33 by a transverse pin 37, and base segment 33 is in turn fixed atop a base 34 in outer tube 12 by multiple screws 39 screwed in from beneath. The outer tube 12 is fixed to the base 34 via radial screws (not shown). The post 32 extends within the outer tube 12, as best illustrated in Figure 3. The post 32 includes a plurality of longitudinally spaced formations 36, defined in the illustrated

embodiment by multiple-spaced projections 38, to provide upper and lower engagement surfaces 40, 42. As will be seen, lug formation 30 engages between the surfaces 40, 42 to prevent relative longitudinal movement of the outer tube 12 and inner tube 14 in either direction by mechanically blocking such relative movement.

The locking mechanism 28 further includes a tubular locking component 44 connected to the proximal end 18 of the inner tube 14. The inner tube 14 seats in an end rebate 45 of locking component 44, at a location determined by a matching tooth 45a and recess 45b, and the two parts are fixed together by pair of radial screws 45c. The outer face 44a of tubular locking component 44 is flush with the outer face of the inner tube 14, and has an annular groove 41 that seats a slightly protruding polymeric band 43 for providing a smooth sliding engagement with the inner surface of outer tube 12.

Locking mechanism 28 further includes a hollow, flanged spigot 46 that slidably receives locking component 44 and, between component 44 and the flange 46a of spigot 46, a helical compression spring 48. The spring has end projections 82,83 that extend in the axial direction of the assembly and are received into matching holes 84,85 (Figure 7) in flange 44a and tubular locking component 44.

The bore 86 of spigot 46 has a cross-section that matches post 32 so that it is irrotationally slidable along the post. Tubular locking component 44, on the other hand, is rotatable on spigot 46 (by grasping and rotating inner tube 14) about the post against the bias of spring 48 between a locked condition, in which internal lug 30 on component 44 engages between any pair of engagement surfaces 40,42 on post 32 to mechanically block longitudinal movement of the inner tube 14 in either direction, and a release condition in which longitudinal movement is freely possible.

The proximal end 16 of the outer tube 12 includes an annular sealing sleeve 17 to provide stability between the inner and outer tubes. Sleeve 17 also serves as a stop to prevent the inner tube 14 from being removed from the outer tube 12: the upper edge of the flange 46a of spigot 46 strikes the inner rim of the sealing sleeve 17 as the upright

10 reaches its maximum length.

The limits of rotational movement of locking component 44 are determined by interaction between an arcuate slot 87 in the component and a protruding screw- mounted grommet 88 on spigot 46.

A tubular support 50 extends inside the inner tube 14 and is suspended from a device 66 at the top of tubular member 14. The support 50 is, like post 32, conveniently an aluminium extrusion, and includes a longitudinal internal key 54 that slots into a corresponding keyway 56 on post 32. This prevents the tubular support 50 from rotating with respect to the post 32 and the outer tube 12, but allows it to slide longitudinally with the inner tube 14. By providing a tolerance fit between the tubular support 50 and the post 32, the overall stability of the upright 10 is increased. The tubular support 50 is also shaped to fit over the projections 38.

It will be seen from Figure 8 that lug formation 30 has a shape - with a depending portion 29 - by which it drops over a side edge of a projection 38 in its locked condition, and so must be lifted a few millimetres before it can be disengaged from the projection. This is a safety feature to prevent inadvertent release of the upright simply by relative rotation of the tubes. To disengage the lug 30, the inner tube 14 must therefore first be lifted slightly before being rotated to rotate the locking component 44. By this action, against the return bias of spring 48, the lug 30 is rotated clear of the projections 38, and the tubes 12,14 have been relatively rotated to a release position. If this position is held against spring 48, the inner tube 14 and the tubular support 50 can be slid longitudinally with respect to the outer tube 12, the post 32 and the base 34, whereby to adjust the overall length of the upright 10. When the release position is no longer held, the locking mechanism is biased by spring 48 to re-engage, so that with some sliding relative movement of tubes 12,14, lug 30 will lock in the adjacent one of the longitudinal positions defined on post 32.

The projections 38 are of a width to allow the lug 30 to be rotated out of engagement by turning the inner tube 14 by about ninety degrees, or a quarter turn. The projections 38 are shaped to project at angles from the post 32 to allow ease of locking and to prevent jamming of the components.

At the upper end of the tubular support 50 there is provided a mounting device 66, already mentioned, that provides a closed cap for the end of the support 50 and is fixed into place with screws 68. This sub-assembly is longitudinally fixed to inner tube 14 by means of a pair of protruding screw-mounted grommets 92 on tubular support 50

5 engaging arcuate slots 90 on tube 14. A square nut 70 is provided that has an internally threaded shaft to receive a threaded screw 72 (shown in Figures 9a-9d). As best shown in Figure 2, a cap 74 is connected to the mounting device 66 to close the distal end of the inner tube 14. The cap 74 is dimensioned to provide a tolerance fit between the inside diameter of the inner tube 14 and the outside diameter of the mounting device 66. O The cap 74 is prevented from longitudinal movement by a groove (not shown). The cap 74 is able to rotate relative to both the inner tube 14 and the mounting device 66.

As is shown in Figures 9a to 9d, a horizontal member or arm 24 is attached to the length adjustable upright 10. A lower clamping section 76 includes a square aperture, which is positioned over the square nut 70, and a semi-circular surface 78. The semi-

15 circular surface 78 is positioned at the appropriate right angle to allow the arm 24 to project in the required direction relative to the base 34. The arm 24 is positioned in the semi-circular surface 78 and includes an aperture which is lined up with the internally threaded shaft 71. The upper clamping section 80 is positioned on top of the arm 24, which also has an aperture. A threaded screw 72 is then used to clamp the arm 24

10 between the clamping sections 76, 80 and secure the arm 24 to the mounting device 66 by locking into the internally threaded shaft 71. The screw 72 includes a head having a diameter equal to the inner tube 14. The mounting device 66 and the arm 24 are connected to the tubular support 50 and not the inner tube 14. Therefore, when the inner tube 14 is rotated, the arm 24 maintains its direction with respect to the base 34.

!5 The height of the upright 10 can be adjusted without affecting the arm 24 and any garments hanging from it. This is particularly advantageous when an arm 24 extends between two uprights 10 to provide a clothes rack. The height of the two uprights 10 can be adjusted simultaneously, one with each hand, whilst the arm 24 extends between the two of them.

•0 It will be appreciated that the display stand system illustrated in Figures 1 to 9 is an elegant and aesthetically pleasing product in which the length adjustability is provided

without any visual and physical interruptions to the continuity of the upright. Moreover, the adjustability feature does not rely on any button arrangement at the top of the upright, meaning that in this area there is no restriction of the form or arrangement of mounting accessories: maximum flexibility in this respect is available. Notwithstanding 5 the lack of external physical manifestations, such as apertures, pins or buttons, the lock within is a mechanical lock and not merely reliant on a fictional hold, which would place undesirable load limits on the structure and give rise to long term wear problems.

A second embodiment of the invention is illustrated in Figures 10 to 15. This embodiment is a floor-to-ceiling tension mounted pole system 100. Corresponding I O parts relative to the embodiment of Figures 1 to 9 are indicated by like reference numerals preceded by a 1. Common features will not be restated, but modified and additional aspects will now be described.

Because the inner tube is not required to mount accessories such as cantilevered arms at its upper end but instead engages a ceiling, there is no requirement for an irrotational

15 internal structure extending to the top of the assembly, as in the first embodiment. Hence, while post 132 remains, there is no counterpart of tubular support 50. In its place are a pair of matching collars 200,205 that are mounted by means of radial screws at the top of post 132 and at a predetermined position lower down. Both provide a smooth internal bearing for inner tube 114 and thereby prevent undesirable rattling 0 noises and looseness in the structure. The lower mounted collar 205 serves the second purpose of providing an upper limit for the travel of tubular locking component 144, and therefore for the inner tube 114: this limit position, the maximum length of the pole, is depicted in Figure 11.

The upper end of inner tube 114 has a fitting 210 with a collar component 212 fixed into 5 the end of the tube and a freely rotatable end disk 214 joumalled in a bearing piece 215 so that when the disk strikes a ceiling surface during adjustment of the post inner tube 114 can continue to be rotated (e.g. to allow it to return to the locked condition) relative to the now stationary disk in contact with the ceiling.

The other additional feature of the second embodiment is the arrangement of base assembly 215 by which the pole can be tensioned and clamped into position once adjusted, by the mechanism according to the invention, approximately to the correct position. The lower end of post 132 is mounted, by a bolt 222, in a saddle 224 of a threaded diecast coupler component 220 mounted within a matching generally annular diecast casing 230. Casing 230 has a threaded bore that engages the external threads 225 at the lower end of coupler component 220, and is itself irrationally mounted atop base 134 and in turn fixed inside the lower end of tube 112. Coupler component 220 is normally latched against rotation within casing 230 by a finger releasable button 240 pivotally mounted on base 134. This button is biased by spring 248 into one of a number of vertically extending flutes 228 in the threaded lower portion of coupler component 220 (the condition shown in Figure 14a).

In this case, threads 225 on coupler component 220 and diecast casing 230 are arranged such that, once inner tube 114 has been rotated in one direction, e.g. anti- clockwise, to disengage the lug 130 from the projections 138 on post 132, the inner tube can be raised, while maintaining the rotation against spring 148, to extend the pole to the ceiling. If button 240 is now held down (Figure 15a) and the inner tube 112 released back to the locking condition and then rotated further in that other direction (e.g. clockwise), coupler component 220 will rotate and thereby adjust its length relative to casing 230 (Figure 15b), whereby to tension and clamp the pole in position. The position is maintained by releasing the button 250 to reengage flutes 228: some slight rotational adjustment of the pole may be necessary until the button pops out upon engagement with a flute 228.

As with the first embodiment, an elegant and aesthetically pleasing pole assembly has been provided that is easily adjustable and mechanically locked without visible apertures, pins or buttons along the length of the pole. The pole can be readily put to whatever use is required in an overall merchandising display system.




 
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