US 20060108494 A1
Provided is a bookstand having an upper and a lower member, each pivotally attached to a backing support member. An outer edge of the upper member fits into slots provided in the lower member, thereby allowing the angle at which a book or other reading material is inclined to be changed by a user. In addition, a latch on the lower member permits the selected angle to be locked in. In certain configurations, the backing support member also is provided with a removable scented element.
1. A bookstand, comprising:
(a) support means for holding at least one of a book and a paper, said support means including:
(i) a backing element having a top edge and a bottom edge; and
(ii) a ledge extending forwardly from the backing element, near the bottom edge of the backing element; and
(b) positioning means for adjusting the support means into a desired position, said positioning means including:
(i) an upper member having a proximal edge and a distal edge, pivotally attached to the backing element at its proximal edge; and
(ii) a lower member that includes:
(1) a proximal edge and a distal edge, the proximal edge of the lower member being pivotally attached to the backing element at a position closer than the upper element to the bottom edge of the backing element,
(2) a plurality of slots that are configured to accept the distal edge of the upper member, thereby permitting the support means to be fixed at a plurality of different angles of inclination, and
(3) at least one latch that is movable so as to cover at least one of the slots when the distal edge of the upper member is inserted therein.
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1. Field of the Invention
The present invention pertains to an apparatus for holding a book or other reading material and is particularly applicable to an adjustable bookstand having a locking mechanism for locking the bookstand into a desired position.
2. Description of the Related Art
Bookchair Company Ltd. produces and sells, among other things, a line of small portable stands for supporting a book or other reading material, thereby allowing a user to read such material even when his or her hands are otherwise occupied. Most of such stands are made of wood, are sized appropriately to accommodate a single book or magazine, and are adjustable so that the angle at which the reading material is held can be varied by the user. This adjustment is accomplished by a pair of members extending from, and pivotally attached to, a member that supports and holds the reading material. More specifically, the distal end of the upper pivotally attached member has a crossbar that fits into any of a plurality of notches in the lower pivotally attached member. Thus, a user merely needs to select the appropriate notch to obtain the desired angle of inclination. The pivotally attached members are arranged such that the entire bookstand can be folded flat. Variations on the bookstands sold by Bookchair Company Ltd. include models that have a scented pouch in the support element, as well as models that have a fabric backing with wood support beams and models that have a backing made entirely from wood.
While the foregoing models have been popular and are quite useful for their intended purposes, the present inventors have continued to refine the designs.
One result of these efforts has been the present invention, which improves the earlier bookstands by utilizing a locking mechanism to lock the bookstand into a desired angle of inclination.
Thus, in one aspect the invention is directed to a bookstand that includes support means for holding a book and/or a paper and positioning means for adjusting the support means into a desired position. The support means includes a backing element having a top edge and a bottom edge and also includes a ledge extending forwardly from the backing element, near the bottom edge of the backing element. The positioning means includes an upper member and a lower member. The upper member has a proximal edge and a distal edge, and is pivotally attached to the backing element at its proximal edge. The lower member includes a proximal edge and a distal edge, the proximal edge of the lower member being pivotally attached to the backing element at a position closer than the upper element to the bottom edge of the backing element. A plurality of slots in the lower member are configured to accept the distal edge of the upper member, thereby permitting the support means to be fixed at a plurality of different angles of inclination. The lower member also includes at least one latch, movable so as to cover at least one of the slots when the distal edge of the upper member is inserted therein.
By utilizing at least one latch in the foregoing manner, a bookstand according to the present invention can be locked into a desired angle of inclination, thereby preventing a situation in which, e.g., the bookstand accidentally is jolted out of its desired orientation.
In more particular aspects of the invention, a scented element is incorporated into the bookstand. Preferably, such a scented element is removably disposed within the backing element of the support means, thereby permitting replacement of the scented element. This can be accomplished, for example, by incorporating a fabric pouch into the bookstand's backing element, inserting the scented element into the pouch and then temporarily closing the pouch (e.g., using a zipper). In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the scented element has a number of separately sealed compartments (e.g., sewn together) for holding scented particles, such as scented ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) beads.
The foregoing summary is intended merely to provide a brief description of the general nature of the invention. A more complete understanding of the invention can be obtained by referring to the claims and the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments in connection with the accompanying figures.
In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the backing element 12 is approximately 10-40 centimeters (cm) wide by 12-50 cm long and includes: (i) an outer frame structure having side elements 21, an upper element 23 and a lower element 24; (ii) a crossbar 25 or other central support structure; and (iii) a fabric element 27 attached to the outer frame structure (e.g., top and bottom elements 23 and 24, respectively, in the present embodiment). More specifically, in the present embodiment fabric element 27 is made of cotton and includes a metal eyelet 30 in each corner to which is sewn a pair of fabric straps 32 for tying to the top and bottom elements 23 and 24, respectively. However, in alternate embodiments fabric element 27 may be made of canvas or any other material and may be permanently sewn or glued to the outer frame structure or attached using other temporary means, e.g., a combination of hook and loop materials, such as Velcro.
Fabric element 27 may be configured as an essentially flat sheet of fabric material. However, in the current embodiment of the invention, fabric element 27 instead is provided with a pouch 34, into which may be inserted a scented element 36. For example, scented element 36 may have a lavender, lemon or rose scent. Preferably, pouch 34 is provided with closure means, such as a zipper 37, a combination of hook and loop materials, or similar means for securing and then subsequently permitting easy access to pouch 34. In the present embodiment of the invention, the scented element 36 is configured as an array of separately sealed compartments 39 sewn together, each of which containing scented beads, e.g., made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The use of separately sealed compartments 39 often is advantageous in that it can help prevent the scented beads from collecting at the bottom of pouch 34. However, other configurations instead may be used. In addition to providing scent, the scented element 36 also can provide a certain amount of cushioning. Alternatively, or in addition, a separate cushioning element may be inserted into fabric element 27.
Extending from the bottom portion of backing element 12 is a ledge 44, upon which a book or other reading material may rest. Two rotatable latches 46 are pivotally attached to the distal edge of ledge 36. As a result, a user may rotate latches 38 over the top of the pages of an open book resting on ledge 36, thereby keeping the book open to a desired page.
In the current embodiment, as shown most clearly in
Preferably, as shown in
In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the entire structure of bookstand 10 (including upper pivotally attached member 14, lower pivotally attached member 16, side elements 21, upper element 23, lower element 24 and crossbar 25) is fabricated from wood. However, other materials may be used instead (or in addition).
A variety of different sizes may be employed, but in each case the specific model preferably is sized appropriately to accommodate the desired size of book or other reading material. Typical sizes are: 15 cm high by 13 centimeters wide, 21 centimeters high by 16 centimeters wide, 32 centimeters high by 24.5 centimeters wide, and 41 centimeters high by 33 centimeters wide.
Preferably, the structure of bookstand 10 has a natural wood appearance, and the fabric element 27 is provided with a single uniform color or a patterned design. However, in alternate embodiments the structure itself may be painted and/or otherwise ornamented as appropriate to the intended user. For example, the fabric element 27 and/or the structure of bookstand 27 may be colored and/or otherwise decorated in a manner that is particularly appealing to young children.
In the embodiments described above, both the upper member 14 and the lower member 16 are pivotally attached to backing element 12. This configuration, in addition to allowing for adjustment of backing element 12's angle of inclination, also can permit the entire bookstand 10 to be folded flat, as shown in
Where a scented element 36 is utilized, the scent may be selected to correspond to the physical and/or ornamental aspects of the bookstand 10. For example, if bookstand 10 is sized for use by children, and/or ornamented so as to appeal to children, the scent might be selected so as to appeal to children, e.g., a bubblegum scent.
Also, several different embodiments of the present invention are described above, with each such embodiment described as including certain features. However, it is intended that the features described in connection with the discussion of any single embodiment are not limited to that embodiment but may be included and/or arranged in various combinations in any of the other embodiments as well, as will be understood by those skilled in the art.
Similarly, in the discussion above, functionality may be ascribed to a particular module or component. However, unless any particular functionality is described above as being critical to the referenced module or component, functionality may be redistributed as desired among any different modules or components, in some cases completely obviating the need for a particular component or module and/or requiring the addition of new components or modules. The precise distribution of functionality preferably is made according to known engineering tradeoffs, with reference to the specific embodiment of the invention, as will be understood by those skilled in the art.
Thus, although the present invention has been described in detail with regard to the exemplary embodiments thereof and accompanying drawings, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that various adaptations and modifications of the present invention may be accomplished without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited to the precise embodiments shown in the drawings and described above. Rather, it is intended that all such variations not departing from the spirit of the invention be considered as within the scope thereof as limited solely by the claims appended hereto.