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Publication numberUS20050223611 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/819,971
Publication dateOct 13, 2005
Filing dateApr 8, 2004
Priority dateApr 8, 2004
Publication number10819971, 819971, US 2005/0223611 A1, US 2005/223611 A1, US 20050223611 A1, US 20050223611A1, US 2005223611 A1, US 2005223611A1, US-A1-20050223611, US-A1-2005223611, US2005/0223611A1, US2005/223611A1, US20050223611 A1, US20050223611A1, US2005223611 A1, US2005223611A1
InventorsWarren Dennis
Original AssigneeMontecito Research
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Picture frame assembly
US 20050223611 A1
Abstract
A picture frame assembly enables the user to hang picture frames with any desired orientation. When many frames are to be hung, a mounting track having a raised rail is affixed to a wall. A support disc member has fixed and spring biased teeth to grip the rail at a desired location. Mounting means on picture frames cooperate with an arcuate mounting surface on the support disc for mounting the frames with a desired orientation. A support disk may also be mounted directly on the wall. Side bars may be employed as frame side extenders to adjust the outer configuration of a frame.
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Claims(18)
1. a picture frame assembly, comprising:
a support member having an arcuate surface;
means mounting said support member on a wall surface; and
a picture frame structure including means for mounting a picture element to be displayed; and
picture frame structure mounting means for adjustably mounting said picture frame structure on said support member with a selected angular orientation.
2. A picture frame assembly of claim 1 wherein said support member has an arcuate surface, and said picture frame structure has a back wall, and said mounting means comprises an arcuate wall complementary to said arcuate surface, said arcuate wall being provided on said back wall, said arcuate wall being mountable on said arcuate surface at a selected position to mount said picture frame structure with said selected orientation.
3. A picture frame assembly of claim 2 wherein said mounting means comprises means for retaining said selected orientation.
4. A picture frame assembly of claim 3, wherein said means for retaining said selected orientation comprises friction tabs contiguous to said arcuate wall.
5. A picture frame assembly of claim 3, wherein said means for retaining said selected orientation, comprises a spring tab formed in said back wall, said spring tab being formed with an abutment shoulder positioned at a distance from said arcuate wall permitting said mounting means to be snapped onto said support member with said arcuate wall engaging a selected portion of said arcuate surface and said abutment shoulder engaging said support member at a point opposed to said selected portion to retain said selected orientation.
6. A picture frame assembly of claim 1, wherein support member has an arcuate surface and said mounting means comprises a set of spaced spring fingers arranged along a circle complementary to said arcuate surface, said spring fingers being mountable along said arcuate surface to retain said picture frame structure on said support member with said selected angular orientation.
7. The picture frame assembly of claim 1, wherein said means mounting said support member on a wall surface comprises a track means mounted on said wall surface and means for adjustably mounting said support means on said track means at a selected position along said track means.
8. The picture frame assembly of claim 7, wherein said track means comprises a raised rail, spaced ribs supporting said raised rail, and gaps between said spaced ribs, and wherein said support means comprises retaining teeth engagable with said raised rail in selected gaps of said track means to retain said support member at a selected position along said track means.
9. A picture frame assembly of claim 8, wherein said support means comprises spring biased means for engaging said retaining teeth with said rail in said selected gaps to retain said support means in said selected position, said spring biased means permitting said teeth to be held disengaged from said rail so that said support means may be moved along said track means to a selected position.
10. A picture frame assembly of claim 9, wherein said retaining teeth bridge at least one of said ribs to provide support for said support means when said track means is not horizontal.
11. A picture frame assembly of claim 9, wherein said track means comprises a first row of gaps on one side of said raised rail and a second row of said gaps on the opposite side of said raised rail, and wherein said support means further comprise fixed teeth engagable with said rail through said one row of said gaps on said one side of said rail, said spring biased teeth being engagable with said rail through said second row of gaps on said opposite side of said rail.
12. A picture frame assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein said picture frame structure comprises a back wall, a frame member having four frame sides establishing a display opening on one side of said back wall, an entry slot through one side of said frame member providing an opening for inserting a picture member into said display opening on a side of said back wall facing said display opening.
13. A picture frame assembly of claim 12, further comprising frame extender members and means for mounting at least one of said frame extender members to said picture frame structure to widen one of said frame sides.
14. A picture frame assembly of claim 13, wherein said means for mounting at least one of said frame extender members comprises slot means on a back wall of said picture frame structure, and mounting fingers mounted on said extender member, said fingers being insertable in said slot means to bring said frame extender member into abutting engagement with said one of said frame sides.
15. A picture frame assembly, comprising a picture frame structure having four frame sides establishing a display opening;
at least one frame extender member having the same length as one of said four frame sides;
a mounting structure attached to a rear side of said frame member and comprising a pair of mounting fingers; and
a pair of mounting slots formed on a rear side of said picture frame structure, said mounting slots each being positioned to receive one of said mounting fingers to position said frame extender member in abutting relationship with a frame side effectively to widen said frame side.
16. A picture frame assembly, comprising:
a support means for supporting a picture frame structure;
track means for mounting said support member on a wall, said track means having a plurality of track sections, each section having a raised rail;
coupler means for coupling adjacent track sections, end-to-end, said coupling means comprising a coupling bar having spring fingers for gripping said raised rail of one track section and additional spring fingers for gripping said raised rail of an adjacent track section; and
means for mounting said support means on said track means.
17. The picture frame assembly of claim 16, wherein said coupler means is so constructed that it does not interfere with said means for mounting said support means on said track means.
18. A picture frame assembly of claim 1, wherein said support member is mounted directly on said wall surface.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to picture frame assemblies for displaying one or more pictoral images and, more particularly, to such an assembly in which picture frames can be mounted with selected orientations.

2. Description of Related Art

U.S. Pat. No. 3,952,435, FIG. 11, shows a plurality of picture frames mounted on a wall by a common rail extending through recesses in the frames. The rail may be horizontal as shown in FIG. 11 or vertical.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,878,633 mounts and displays a plurality of framed paintings and the like on a display panel having a plurality of parallel, spaced mounting channels.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,659,991 provides a picture frame assembly for displaying several pictures. A background panel for affixation to a room wall has one or more apertures, each releasably receiving a picture frame.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,912,863 shows a modular picture frame system in which frames are mounted on bases which have slots receiving connecting bars enabling frames to be connected one to the other to form a unitary assemblage of any size, configuration or organization.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,712,322 disclose a multiple modular frame apparatus, including a plurality of frames, each connected by means of dove tail grooves to other frames.

A variety of three dimensional displays are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,123,862.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,553,704 provides a picture frame with slide out picture holders. The frame has entrance slots for inserting the holders and slots for receiving the edges of picture holders.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,374,523 shows a holder for displaying a sheet of material which is slid into the holder through an open side and is held by channels along inside edges of the holder.

As indicated above, it is known in the prior art to employ a wall-mounted track, or rail, for mounting a plurality of pictures. Although such a track may extend in different directions, this often results in pictures which are not easily oriented correctly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, accordingly, an object of the invention to provide an improved wall-mounted picture frame assembly in which picture frames are easily adjusted to a desired orientation.

To this end, a preferred embodiment of a picture frame assembly of the present invention includes a disk-shaped support member mounted on a mounting track which is, itself, mounted on the wall in a selected direction, such as horizontal, vertical, or at an angle as in the case of pictures to be hung on a wall adjacent a stairway. The support member has an arcuate mounting surface.

In order to adjustably mount a picture frame structure on the disk-shaped support member, a semi-circular flange, or wall, which has a surface complementary to the arcuate mounting surface on the support member, is mounted on the rear side of the picture frame structure. When mounting the picture frame structure, the semi-circular flange is engaged with the complementary arcuate mounting surface on the disk-shaped support member. This supports the picture frame structure on the support member. The orientation of the picture frame member may be adjusted by moving the picture frame structure angularly around the support member until the desired orientation of the picture frame is attained. In this way, a picture frame member may be positioned in either landscape or portrait orientation even when the mounting track is in an orientation other than horizontal or vertical, as when it is mounted at an angle up a stairway. Means are provided to retain the picture frame structure in the desired orientation; this means comprises friction tabs provided as an extension of the semi-circular mounting flange so that the flange grips the mounting surface to retain the picture frame member in the selected orientation.

The wall track comprises a base having a pair of base sections, one on each side of a raised rail positioned between the base sections. The raised rail is supported by ribs extending from the base sections, which ribs are spaced longitudinally of the track to provide tracking gaps therebetween. Fixed and movable teeth are provided on the support member to extend through selected gaps to engage opposed edges of the rail. The movable teeth are spring-biased towards engagement with the rail. When positioning a support member on the track, the user moves the movable teeth in a direction away from engagement with the rail. This enables the support member to be adjusted longitudinally of the track to a selected mounting position. The user then releases the movable teeth, and the fixed and movable teeth are engaged with the opposite edges of the rail through selected gaps. This retains the support member at a selected longitudinal position along the track. In order to insure that the support member is suitably supported when the track is not horizontal, the fixed and movable teeth are constructed to bridge at least one of said ribs.

The picture frame structure has a back wall, and a frame member having four sides establishing a display opening is affixed to one side of the back wall. An entry slot is formed through one side of the frame member so that a picture member may be inserted into the display opening. The other sides of the frame member have edge-receiving slots facing the display opening and extending only partially through the side. These edge-receiving slots receive and retain respective edges of the picture member so that the picture member stays in place in the display opening.

In a second embodiment of the invention, the mounting means for adjustably mounting the picture frame structure on the support member comprises a similar arcuate wall complementary to the arcuate mounting surface of the support disc member and a spring tab formed in the back wall of the picture frame structure, the spring tab having an abutment shoulder positioned at a distance from the arcuate wall permitting the mounting means to be snapped onto the support member with the arcuate wall engaging a selected portion of the arcuate surface of the support member and the shoulder abutment engaging the support member at a point opposed to the selected portion of the arcuate surface of the support member to retain the selected orientation of the picture frame structure on the support member.

A third embodiment of the invention employs mounting means comprising a set of spaced spring fingers arranged along a circle complementary to the arcuate surface of the support member. The picture frame structure is mounted on the support member by snapping the spring fingers onto the arcuate surface of the support member with the picture frame structure at a desired orientation.

In cases where it is desired to hang a picture frame alone, a support member may be attached directly to a wall. In this embodiment, a support disk member having an arcuate surface is attached to a wall by means of Velcro, an adhesive, or nails. A picture frame structure uses mounting means of the type employed in the first three embodiments for support on the support member with a selected orientation.

An optional feature relates to the use of side bars as frame extenders for changing the shape of a rectangular frame to a square or to otherwise enlarge a frame as desired. A frame extender, or side bar, is mounted on a mounting member having a pair of parallel mounting fingers. The back wall of the picture frame is provided with corresponding mounting slots. When a user wishes to extend the width of a frame, the fingers of the mounting member are inserted into the corresponding mounting slots, and the side bar is abutted with a side of the frame to widen the frame.

The mounting track may include several aligned sections which are connected by means of a coupler bar having spring fingers to grip the adjacent ends of the raised rail track sections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be more fully appreciated with references to the accompanying Figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a picture frame assembly of the invention showing picture frames mounted on a mounting track extending at an angle up a stairway;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a support disc of the invention mounted on a mounting track fixed to a wall;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a coupler linking two sections of mounting track;

FIG. 4A is an elevation view of a support disc of the invention as seen in the direction of the wall;

FIG. 4B is an elevation view of a support disc of the invention as seen from the wall;

FIG. 5A is a sectional view of the support disk, with movable teeth retracted, as the support disk is moved towards or from the mounting track as it is being mounted or dismounted from the track or moved longitudinally of the track;

FIG. 5B is a sectional view of he support disk with the movable teeth engaged with the raised rail of the mounting track;

FIG. 6A is a perspective view, as seen from the wall with a first embodiment of mounting means supported on a rear wall of a picture frame structure, showing movement of the picture frame structure toward engagement of the mounting means with the support disc mounted on a mounting track;

FIG. 6B is a perspective view corresponding to FIG. 6A with the mounting means engaged with the support disc;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing mounting means of a second embodiment of the invention formed on the back wall of the picture frame structure;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view showing mounting means of a third embodiment of the invention formed on the back wall of the picture frame structure;

FIG. 8A is a partial elevation view of a detail of the embodiment of FIG. 8;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a wall on which picture frames having frame side extenders are hung;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a frame side extender of the invention;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the back wall of a picture frame structure of the invention showing receiving slots for mounting a frame side extender;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the back wall of a picture frame structure as seen in FIG. 11 with the frame side extender fully inserted;

FIG. 13 is a cross-section view of a picture frame structure of the invention; and

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a disc-shaped support member mountable directly on a wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A picture frame assembly of the invention is shown in FIG. 1 installed up a flight of stairs 20. Pictures frames 22, 24 and 26 are mounted on a wall 28 by means of a mounting rail 30 (to be described in more detail below), which is mounted at an angle of about 45 degrees. As shown, frame 22 and 26 are oriented horizontally in a landscape mode; and frame 24 is oriented vertically in a portrait mode. As will be explained below, the frames may be oriented at any desired angle relative to track 30 to accommodate the angle of the stair and be rotated into either landscape or portrait mode.

As seen in FIG. 2, mounting track 30 comprises a pair of base portions 32 and 34. A raised rail 36 is integral with and supported by means of spaced ribs 38 integral with and extending up from base portions 32 and 34 to support rail 36. Two rows of tracking gaps 40 are provided between ribs 38.

Track 30 is mounted on a wall by means of double-sided foam tape on the bottom sides of base portions 32 and 34. Alternatively, mounting holes 42 through base portions 32 and 34 may accommodate nails for attaching track 30 to a wall.

A support disc member 44 has an arcuate mounting surface 45 used for mounting a picture frame structure on support disc member 44, as will be explained below. Structural details of support disc member 44 will be described more filly below with respect to FIGS. 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B.

As seen in FIG. 3, mounting track 30 may be formed of a plurality of track sections. These may be coupled by a coupler bar 76 which has gripping spring fingers 78 which are dimensioned to grip an end of raised rail 36. As shown, coupler bar 76 is slipped on an end of raised rail 36 on one track section and then the raised rail 36 of the adjacent track section is slipped into spring fingers 78 of coupler bar 76. Coupler bar 76 and fingers 78 are so constructed that they do not interfere with the mounting of disc support member 44 on track 30. A number of track sections may be coupled in this way. A screw and screw holes may be added for additional support.

Support disc member 44 is shown in more detail in the elevation view of FIG. 4A, showing member 44 as it appears when mounted on a mounting track as viewed in the direction of the wall. Member 44 is molded of a suitable plastic and is disc-shaped with an outer annular mounting wall 45. A movable teeth carrier 46 is biased by springs 48 and 49 to the position shown. Springs 48 and 49 are seated in recesses 50 and 51 around posts 52 and 53 and engage carrier bar 59 about posts 61 and 63. Carrier 46 is guided for movement in guide slots 60 and 66 formed through a wall 47 of disc member 44. Slides 56 and 58 are formed on one leg of arch structure 54 and move in slot 60, and slides 62 and 64 are formed on the opposite leg of arch structure 54 and move in slot 66.

The mounting teeth are seen in FIG. 4B, which is an elevation view of support disc member 44 as seen from the wall. Movable teeth 80 are mounted on carrier bar 59 and, as will be seen in FIGS. 5A and 5B, are angled upwardly at an angle of approximately 45°. As seen in FIG. 4B, slides 56 and 58 ride on rails 84 and 85 on opposite sides of slot 60, and slides 62 and 64 ride on rails 86 and 87 in slot 66. Fixed teeth 82 project from wall 47 of support disc member 44.

Turning to FIG. 5A, a support disc member 44 is shown as it is about to be mounted on mounting track 30, or just after it has been dismounted from track 30. The bias springs, of which spring 48 is shown in FIG. 5A is retracted by a user pushing down on carrier bar 59. This increases the space between movable teeth 80 and fixed teeth 82 making it possible either to mount disc 44 on rail 36 or dismount it therefrom. As shown in FIG. 5B, after disc 44 is positioned to move teeth 80 and 82 through gaps 40 from respective rows of gaps to opposite sides of rail 36, carrier bar 59 is released by the user permitting teeth 80 and 82 to engage and grip rail 36. If the user wishes to position disc 44 to another location along track 30, bar 59 is again depressed releasing the grip on rail 36 and permitting disc 44 to be moved to a new location. When mounting track 30 is not mounted horizontally on the wall, fixed and movable teeth 80 and 82 should bridge at least one of ribs 38 to provide support for support disc 44.

FIGS. 6A and 6B show how a picture frame structure 68 is mounted on support disc 44. FIG. 6A shows a picture frame structure 68 being moved into engagement with annular surface 45 of support disc member 44. A first embodiment of a mounting member 70 is formed as part of back wall 71 of picture frame structure 68 or is formed as a separate part glued to back wall 71. A half-round arcuate flange or mounting wall 72 is formed on back wall 71 and is complementary to the annular mounting surface 45 of support disc member 44. In order to retain picture frame structure 68 with a selected orientation relative to support disc member 44, friction tabs 74 and 75 are formed at the ends of arcuate wall 72.

As seen in FIG. 6B, mounting member 70 has been moved into its mounting position with annular wall 72 engaged on annular surface 45. Picture frame structure 68 is rotated to bring it to a desired angular orientation. Friction tabs 74 and 75 grip surface 45 to retain this selected orientation.

A second embodiment of mounting means is shown in FIG. 7. The mounting means 170 comprises a half-round (semi-circular) mounting wall 172 which is formed in plastic back wall 171 of the picture frame structure. Wall 172 is complementary to arcuate surface 45. A spring finger, or tab, 84 is formed in back wall 171 by slots 85 and has an abutment shoulder 86 positioned at such a distance from mounting wall 172 that mounting wall 172 can be engaged with a selected portion of mounting wall 45, while shoulder abutment 86 engages a portion of mounting wall 45 which is on its opposite side to lock mounting means 170 in a preferred position providing a desired orientation of the picture frame structure.

A third embodiment of mounting means is shown in FIG. 8. Mounting means 270 includes a set of spaced spring fingers 88 projecting from back wall 271 of the picture frame structure. These spring fingers 88 are arranged along a circle 90 which is complementary to mounting wall 45 of support disc 44. As seen in the detail shown in FIG. 8A, spring fingers 88 have an arcuate bulge 89 facing the center of circle 90, the bulge beginning at a point corresponding to circle 90 as shown. When mounting a picture frame structure having this embodiment of mounting means, the picture frame structure is positioned to align circle 90, about which spring fingers 88 project, with support disc 44, adjust the angular orientation of the picture frame structure to a desired orientation, and then move the picture frame structure toward support disc 44 so that spring fingers 88 snap on mounting surface 45 with bulges 89 gripping surface 45. The spring pressure of spring fingers 88 will then retain the selected orientation.

An additional feature is shown in FIG. 9. Three picture frames 92, 93 and 94 are shown hung in a vertical row in abutting relationship. Frames 92 and 94 are in a vertical “portrait” orientation, while frame 93 is in a horizontal “landscape” orientation. If frame sides of uniform width are used the side edges will not be aligned. In order to provide more pleasing aligned edges, frame side extenders 96 are used on frames 92 and 94 so that the side edges of the three frames are aligned.

FIG. 10 shows a frame side extender 96 of the invention. A frame extender bar 98, which has the same length as a frame side to be extended, is mounted on a mounting member 100 by means of screws 102 and spacers 104. Mounting member 100 has projecting mounting fingers 106.

As seen in FIG. 11, the back wall 271 of the picture frame structure 68 is formed to provide receiving slots 110 which are positioned to receive mounting fingers 106 allowing a frame extender bar 98 to be mounted in abutting relationship with the existing frame side 108 of picture frame structure 68. The width of frame extender bar 98 is selected to add the desired width to the frame side. Although in FIG. 9, alignment of the frame sides was desired, it will be understood that frame extender bars 98 can be used for any desired visual objective.

In FIG. 12, frame side extenders 96 are shown fully inserted with frame extender bars 98 abutting frame sides 108. As seen in FIG. 12, this aligns the sides of the picture frame with the wider frame which is immediately beneath the frame which is extended.

Additional receiving slots 111 are formed on mounting members 100 so that additional frame side extenders may be added as desired.

FIG. 13 illustrates an important feature of the picture frame structure 68. A front frame member 112 is spaced at one side from a rear frame member 114 to provide an entry slot 116 providing entry to display space 118 on the front side of rear wall 271. Picture element receiving notches 120 are provided on the three other sides of display space 118. A picture element is inserted through entry slot 116 until at least one of its edges is received in a retaining notch 120, which retains the picture element in a fixed position.

There are times when only a single picture frame is to be mounted on a wall. For such situations, a support disc member 124, as shown in FIG. 14, is used. Member 124 is simply attached to a wall by means of double sided adhesive tape, nails, or, in the case of a wall with a cloth covering, by means of Velcro. Member 124 has an annular mounting wall 126 and a flat mounting wall 128. The diameter of arcuate mounting wall 128 should have the same diameter as other support discs used in the picture frame assembly so that it may cooperate with any of the three embodiments of mounting means disclosed above.

It will be understood that important elements of the picture frame assemblies of the invention, including wall track 30, support disc members 44 and 124, the back walls of the picture frame structures, and mounting fingers and receiving slots for mounting the frame side extenders are preferably formed of molded plastic materials.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that many variations are possible within the teachings and scope of the invention as claimed.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7610708Jan 11, 2007Nov 3, 2009Scholl Margaret CChair rail picture frame
US7891124 *Dec 10, 2009Feb 22, 2011Willis David EPicture hanger
US7934331May 13, 2009May 3, 2011Snap Gallery, LlcSystem for displaying photographs
US8371052 *Jan 13, 2012Feb 12, 2013Everbrite, LlcIlluminated sign
US20120110882 *Jan 13, 2012May 10, 2012Chad BoylesIlluminated sign
US20140115935 *Nov 1, 2012May 1, 2014Cassandra J. MasonSystem for changing the appearance of framed components
Classifications
U.S. Classification40/729, 40/757
International ClassificationA47G1/08, A47G1/16, A47G1/06
Cooperative ClassificationA47G1/1613, A47G1/065, A47G1/08
European ClassificationA47G1/06F, A47G1/16, A47G1/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 8, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: MONTECITO RESEARCH, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DENNIS, WARREN E.;REEL/FRAME:015199/0800
Effective date: 20040330