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.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20030034319 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/932,056
Publication dateFeb 20, 2003
Filing dateAug 16, 2001
Priority dateAug 16, 2001
Publication number09932056, 932056, US 2003/0034319 A1, US 2003/034319 A1, US 20030034319 A1, US 20030034319A1, US 2003034319 A1, US 2003034319A1, US-A1-20030034319, US-A1-2003034319, US2003/0034319A1, US2003/034319A1, US20030034319 A1, US20030034319A1, US2003034319 A1, US2003034319A1
InventorsTommy Dodson, G. Meherin
Original AssigneeMeherin G. Scott, Dodson Tommy R.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for compartmentalizing a shelf
US 20030034319 A1
Abstract
The present invention allows a user to compartmentalize shelf. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a modular apparatus that allows compartmentalizing a shelf into compartments of various dimensions.
Images(11)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(16)
What is claimed is:
1. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus, comprising:
a front sidewall;
a rear sidewall;
a base coupling the front and rear sidewall that are substantially opposite of each other;
the front and rear sidewalls having means for interlocking a first divider between the front and rear sidewalls;
the first divider having a means for interlocking a second divider.
2. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising:
an information holder having a clip;
the information holder adapted to couple to the base;
the clip adapted to display information.
3. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the information holder is a transparent material.
4. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the front sidewall, the rear sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of polystyrene.
5. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the front sidewall, the rear sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of metal.
6. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the front sidewall, the rear sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of cardboard.
7. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the front sidewall, the rear sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of plastic.
8. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the means for interlocking the first divider is a slit formed on the rear sidewall and a slot formed on the front sidewall.
9. A shelf compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the means for interlocking the second divider is a slit formed on the first divider.
10. A compartmentalizing apparatus, comprising:
a base having a first sidewall and a second sidewall opposing each other;
the first and second sidewall are adapted to interlock with a first divider wherein the first sidewall has a slit adapted to receive a slit on the first divider and the second sidewall has a slot adapted to receive a protrusion on the first divider;
the first divider adapted to interlock with a second divider wherein the first divider has a slit adapted to receive a slit on the second divider.
11. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 10, further comprising:
an information holder having a clip adapted to couple to the base, the clip adapted to display information.
12. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 11 wherein the information holder is a transparent material.
13. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the first sidewall, the second sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of polystyrene.
14. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the first sidewall, the second sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of.
15. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the first sidewall, the second sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of cardboard.
16. A compartmentalizing apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the first sidewall, the second sidewall, the base, the first divider, and the second divider are made of plastic.
Description
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of illustrating the general principles of the invention. The section titles and overall organization of the present detailed description are for the purpose of convenience only and are not intended to limit the present invention.

[0021]FIG. 1 illustrates by way of example a compartmentalizing apparatus 10 on a shelf 12 having a base 14, a left vertical divider 16, a rear sidewall 18, a middle vertical divider 20, a horizontal divider 22, a right vertical divider 24, and a front sidewall 26. The front and rear sidewalls 18, 26 are preferably interlocking but may be permanently adjoined to the base 14. The assembly is modular in that the horizontal divider 22 can be positioned at several locations substantially perpendicular to the vertical dividers 16, 20, 24. The horizontal divider may also be angled with respect to the vertical diviers. The vertical dividers 16, 20, 24 can be positioned at several locations substantially perpendicular to the front and rear sidewalls 18, 26. In this exemplary embodiment, four compartments are created by utilizing one horizontal divider and three vertical dividers. Also, two of the vertical dividers 16, 24, function as left and right sidewalls of the base 14. The use of one horizontal and three vertical dividers to define four compartments is for exemplary purposes only. It is within the scope of the present invention to use only vertical dividers or a plurality of both horizontal and vertical dividers to create compartments of varying dimensions. For example, utilizing two middle vertical dividers or utilizing two horizontal dividers in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 would create six compartments.

[0022] The horizontal divider 22 connects to the left, right, and middle vertical dividers 16, 20, 24, at positions 32, 32′, 32″ respectively. Positions 32, 32′, 32″ are shown forming a 90° angle with the bottom edge of the vertical dividers. The horizontal divider may be angled so that positions 32, 32′, 32″ will form an angle greater than or less than 90°. The vertical dividers 16, 20, 24, connect to the front and rear sidewalls 16, 20, at positions 30, 34, 30′, 34′, 30″ and 34″. A variety of simple interlocking means known to one skilled in the art may be used. For example, a divider and/or sidewall may include slits which mate with slits on other dividers and/or sidewalls. Alternatively, a divider and/or sidewall may define protrusions or tabs which mate with slots on other dividers and/or sidewalls.

[0023]FIG. 2 illustrates an alternative embodiment for a compartmentalizing apparatus of the present invention. A rear sidewall 54 and a front sidewall 56 are adjoined to a rectangular base member 52. The rear sidewall 54 and the front sidewall 56 may be attached to the rectangular base member with a crease line at the connection area. This would permit the entire base member to be constructed as a planar sheet of material, and allow an assembler to fold up the front and rear sidewalls to construct the apparatus. This would facilitate convenient transportation of the entire base member 52. Alternatively, the rear sidewall 54 and the front sidewall 56 may be adjoined to the base member 52 as a solid construction. The rectangular base member 52 may be cut to define an opening 66, though this is not necessary to the present invention. Although the opening 66 is shown as a rectangular opening, any shape may be used.

[0024] Three vertical dividers 58 are shown coupling the front sidewall 54 to the rear sidewalls 56. A fourth horizontal divider 64 is shown coupling the three vertical dividers 58, 60, 62 together. It is to be understood that any number of vertical dividers coupling the front and rear sidewalls 54, 56 may be used and any number of horizontal dividers coupling the vertical dividers may be used. The left most vertical divider 58 serves as a left sidewall to the apparatus. Accordingly another divider (not shown) may serve as a right sidewall to the apparatus. Although only three vertical dividers 58 are shown in FIG. 2, it is within the scope of the present embodiment to have any number of vertical dividers.

[0025] The vertical dividers 58 connect to the rear sidewall 54 at connection areas 70, and connect to the front sidewall at areas 74. The horizontal divider 64 connects to the vertical dividers at connection areas 72. In the present embodiment, the interlocking connection between the vertical dividers 58 and the rear sidewall 54 and between the vertical dividers 58 and the horizontal divider 64 is realized through slits, both on the rear sidewall 54 and the vertical dividers 58 and the horizontal divider 64. The interlocking connection between the vertical dividers and the front sidewall is realized through a protrusion which is inserted into a slot.

[0026] In a further embodiment, a information holder 80 is provided to allow an individual to label and categorize merchandise placed in the compartments created by the present invention.

[0027]FIG. 3 shows the compartmentalizing apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 disassembled into individual components. The vertical divider 100 (shown in FIG. 2. as 58) is shown having an end slit 102, a middle slit 104, and a protrusion 106 with a slit 108. The horizontal divider 120 is shown having a plurality of slits 122. The rectangular base member 130 is shown, with a plurality of slits 132, a plurality of slots 134, and a rectangular opening 136.

[0028] The protrusion 106 on the vertical divider 100 is adapted to mate with any one of the slots 134 on the front sidewall 138. The front sidewall 138 and the rear sidewall 140 are adjoined to the bottom 142 of the rectangular base 130. The slit 102 on the vertical divider 100 is adapted to mate with any one of the slits 132 on the rear sidewall. When assembling the apparatus, an assembler may first insert the protrusion 106 into a desired slot 134. During this insertion, the vertical divider 100 is preferably kept perpendicular with the front sidewall 138. The protrusion 106 on the vertical divider 100 contains a small slit 108 which provides further structural rigidity when mated with a slot 134. The assembler then mates the end slit 102 with the appropriate slit 132 on the rear sidewall 140, which corresponds to the slot 134 chosen on the front sidewall 138. The particular slit 132 on the rear sidewall must correspond to a slot on the front sidewall to ensure that when the vertical divider is installed, it is substantially perpendicular to both the front and rear sidewalls. The assembler may place any desired number of vertical dividers 100 on the rectangular base 130, based upon the organizational needs for shelving various merchandise.

[0029] Once the vertical dividers are inserted, the assembler attaches the horizontal divider 120 by mating a slit 122 in the horizontal divider with the middle slit 104 in the vertical divider. If multiple vertical dividers 100 are used, the assembler must mate each middle slit 104 with the a slit 122 on the horizontal divider 120. In an alternative embodiment, the vertical divider 100 may contain any number of middle slits 104 so that more horizontal dividers 120 may be installed.

[0030] The optional information holder 150 (shown in FIG. 2 as 80) consists of an elongated planar strip 152 of material with a front portion 156 that acts as a clip. A support strip 154 is adjoined to the planar strip and allows the information holder 150 to rest under the rectangular base member 130 and on top of a shelf. When assembled, the rectangular base member 130 applies pressure to the support strip 154 and keeps the information holder 150 secure in place.

[0031]FIG. 4 shows a cross sectional view of the vertical divider 100 having an end slit 102, a middle slit 104, and a protrusion 106 with a slit 108.

[0032]FIG. 5 shows a front view of the horizontal divider 120 having a plurality of slits 122.

[0033]FIG. 6 shows an orthogonal top view of the rectangular base member 130 with a plurality of slits 132, a plurality of slots 134, and a rectangular opening 136.

[0034]FIG. 7 shows a side view of the information holder 150 having an elongated planar strip 152 of material with a front portion 156 that acts as a clip and a support strip 154.

[0035]FIG. 8 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the present invention similar to the embodiment described in FIGS. 2 and 3. The present embodiment uses two horizontal dividers 210, 220. Two slits 204, 205 on the vertical divider 200 are adapted to mate with the slits 212, 222 on the horizontal dividers 210, 220. In the present embodiment, the slits 204, 205, are angled forming an angle 203 of approximately sixty-eight degrees with the edge of the vertical divider. It is not necessary to the invention that the slit angle be sixty-eight degrees. The slit angle may be any angle greater than zero degrees and less than one-hundred and eighty degrees. If multiple vertical dividers 200 are used, the assembler must mate each middle slit 204, 205, with a slit 212, 222 on the horizontal dividers 210, 220. In an alternative embodiment, the vertical divider 200 may contain any number of middle slits 204, 205 so that more or less of the horizontal dividers 210, 220 may be installed.

[0036] The optional information holder 250 (similar to the information holder shown in FIG. 2 as 80) consists of an elongated planar strip 252 of material with a middle portion 254 that functions as a first clip with the planar strip 252 and a front portion 256 that functions as a second clip with the middle portion 254. Any type of information may be placed in the first and second clips such as for example, pricing information, merchandise information, graphics, product labels, etc. A lower support strip 258 is adjoined to the planar strip 252 and allows the information holder 250 to rest under the rectangular base member 242 and on top of a shelf. An upper support strip 260 may be adjoined to the planar strip to provide increased structural rigidity to the information holder 250. When assembled, the rectangular base member 230 applies pressure to the support strip 258 and keeps the information holder 250 secure in place.

[0037]FIG. 9 shows a cross sectional view of the vertical divider 200 having an end slit 202, a first middle slit 204, a second middle slit 205, and a protrusion 206 with a slit 208.

[0038]FIG. 10A shows a perspective view of the optional information holder 250 illustrated in FIG. 8.

[0039]FIG. 10B shows a cross sectional side view of the optional information holder 250 illustrated in FIG. 8.

[0040] A wide range of dimensions and/or sizes may be used in the construction of all of the components of the apparatus of the present invention. Any length, width, height, thickness, slit size, slot size, protrusion size, cut-out size, etc., for the various components may be used. Also, the disclosed shapes of the various components are not intended to limit the present invention. It is within the scope of the present invention to use different geometrical shapes for different components.

[0041] As disclosed, a divider and/or sidewall may include slits, slots, and/or protrusions which mate with slits, slots, and/or protrusions on other dividers and/or sidewalls. However, the system of slits, slots, and protrusions or tabs is not intended to limit the present invention. A variety of mechanical interlocking means on the dividers and the sidewalls known to one skilled in the art may be used.

[0042] All of the components of the apparatus of the present invention may be constructed out of any type of material known to one ordinarily skilled in the art, such as, but not limited to, metals, cardboards, plastics, transparent materials etc. All figures described herein are for exemplary purposes only and are not drawn to scale.

[0043] In closing, it is noted that specific illustrative embodiments of the invention have been disclosed hereinabove. With respect to the claims, it is applicant's intention that the claims not be interpreted in accordance with the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. §112 unless the term “means” is used following by a functional statement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] A detailed description of exemplary embodiments according to the invention will be made with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0009]FIG. 1 is an exemplary view of an assembled compartmentalizing apparatus in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

[0010]FIG. 2 is an exemplary view of an assembled compartmentalizing apparatus in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

[0011]FIG. 3 shows the compartmentalizing apparatus in FIG. 2 disassembled;

[0012]FIG. 4 shows the divider in the compartmentalizing apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3;

[0013]FIG. 5 shows the front view of a divider of the compartmentalizing apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3;

[0014]FIG. 6 shows an orthogonal top view of a base member of the compartmentalizing apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3;

[0015]FIG. 7 shows a side view of a information holder of the compartmentalizing apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3;

[0016]FIG. 8 shows an alternative embodiment for a compartmentalizing apparatus;

[0017]FIG. 9 shows the divider in the compartmentalizing apparatus of FIG. 8;

[0018]FIG. 10A shows a perspective view of an information holder; and

[0019]FIG. 10B shows a cross sectional side view of an information holder.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to compartmentalizing shelves, more particularly, to a modular apparatus that allows compartmentalizing a shelf into compartments of various dimensions.

[0003] 2. General Background and State of the Art

[0004] Merchandising shelves have been in use by stores for a number of years. A shelf typically consists of a planar structure attached to some type of back support. This structure allows for the placement of various types of merchandise on the shelf. One of the problems with placing merchandise on a shelf is that the merchandise is not compartmentalized. That is, if an individual desires to place, for example, bottles of different substances on the shelf, there is no compartment and/or divider which separates the different items on a single shelf. Moreover, individuals may easily disorganize and/or misplace items on a shelf. Further, many items sold in general merchandise stores have shapes which are not conducive to mere placement on a shelf, and thus require additional packaging to accent their display.

[0005] Therefore, there is a need for an apparatus to compartmentalize and allow a shelf to be divided into separate compartments of various dimensions.

INVENTION SUMMARY

[0006] The present invention solves the aforementioned problems by providing a compartmentalizing apparatus that can be placed onto any type of shelf. The apparatus consists of a base member which is placed on a shelf and dividers which are used to construct compartments of various sizes. There are a number of advantages to the present invention. One of the advantages is that an individual can choose the desired shape, and size of a compartment. Another advantage is that since compartments can be created on a shelf, merchandise can be better organized. Still another advantage is the cost savings because less time from personnel is needed to constantly reorganize merchandise on a shelf.

[0007] The above described and many other features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8167150 *Jan 6, 2009May 1, 2012Hsueh-Kan ChuDrawer partition kit
US8287060 *Nov 13, 2008Oct 16, 2012Metal Fabricating CorporationCabinet shelf with keyed slot
US20120305508 *May 30, 2012Dec 6, 2012Brozak Emory NVertical roll wrap product tray kit
US20120319550 *Jun 14, 2012Dec 20, 2012Mark MannisoParts storage drawer system
US20130213911 *Feb 22, 2012Aug 22, 2013Target Brands, Inc.Tester display fixture
EP2319351A1Oct 27, 2010May 11, 2011Wilfrid EstremsWall arrangement for dividing a storage volume, such as the internal storage volume of a suitcase
EP2425742A1 *Sep 3, 2010Mar 7, 2012Rickard NilssonRetrofitting system for shelf levels
WO2012028217A1 *May 25, 2011Mar 8, 2012Rickard NilssonRetrofitting system for shelves
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/184, 108/61, 211/135
International ClassificationA47F5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/005
European ClassificationA47F5/00D1