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Publication numberUS20080277363 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/116,915
Publication dateNov 13, 2008
Filing dateMay 7, 2008
Priority dateMay 7, 2007
Publication number116915, 12116915, US 2008/0277363 A1, US 2008/277363 A1, US 20080277363 A1, US 20080277363A1, US 2008277363 A1, US 2008277363A1, US-A1-20080277363, US-A1-2008277363, US2008/0277363A1, US2008/277363A1, US20080277363 A1, US20080277363A1, US2008277363 A1, US2008277363A1
InventorsClaudette Y. McDonough
Original AssigneeMcdonough Claudette Y
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular Display Rack and Related Methods
US 20080277363 A1
Abstract
A modular display rack includes a frame having a plurality of frame elements, and a first holding unit having a plurality of holding slots. The first holding unit is supported by the frame. By selecting appropriate frame elements, the frame is readily dimensionable to accommodate one or more holding units therein. The frame can include first and second sidewalls and a first holding unit support element extending between the first and second sidewalls. The first holding unit support element supports the first holding unit. The first holding unit can be dimensioned to accommodate multiple holding units side-by-side. Also, second or subsequent holding units can be accommodated between the first and second sidewalls to accommodate additional holding units, for example, in a stepwise fashion.
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Claims(23)
1. A modular display rack comprising:
a frame having a plurality of frame elements; and
a first holding unit having a plurality of holding slots, the first holding unit being supported by the frame.
2. The display rack of claim 1, wherein the plurality of frame elements include first and second sidewalls with a first holding unit support element extending therebetween, the first holding unit support element underlying the first holding unit.
3. The display rack of claim 2, wherein, with the display rack on a level surface, the first holding unit support element extends substantially non-parallel with the level surface.
4. The display rack of claim 2, wherein the plurality of frame elements further includes a rear wall extending between the first and second sidewalls.
5. The display rack of claim 4, wherein the rear wall is connected to the first holding unit support element.
6. The display rack of claim 4, wherein the rear wall extends substantially perpendicular to the first holding unit support element.
7. The display rack of claim 4, wherein the first holding unit includes a front panel extending along the holding unit support element between the first and second sidewalls, and a divider extending along the holding unit support element between the rear wall and the front panel.
8. The display rack of claim 7, wherein a plurality of divider guide grooves are formed in the holding unit support element and the rear wall to accommodate the divider.
9. The display rack of claim 7, wherein a plurality of panel grooves are formed in the holding unit support element and the first and second sidewalls to accommodate the front panel.
10. The display rack of claim 2, wherein the display rack further comprises a second holding unit having a plurality of holding slots, and the frame elements further include a second holding unit support element extending between the first and second sidewalls, the second holding unit support element underlying the second holding unit.
11. The display rack of claim 107 wherein the second holding unit support element is arranged in a stepwise manner relative to the first holding unit support element.
12. The display rack of claim 1, wherein the first holding unit is a molded plastic holding unit with integrally formed holding slots.
13. The display rack of claim 12, further comprising a second holding unit, the second holding unit also being molded plastic with integrally formed holding slots.
14. The display rack of claim 13, wherein the first and second holding units are arranged side-by-side.
15. The display rack of claim 13, wherein the second holding unit is arranged in a stepwise manner relative to the first holding unit.
16. A modular display rack frame comprising:
first and second sidewalls;
a first holding unit support element extending between the first and second sidewalls for supporting a holding unit thereon between the first and second sidewalls.
17. The frame of claim 16, wherein the first holding unit support element is dimensioned to support a plurality of holding unit arranged side-by-side thereon between the first and second sidewalls.
18. The frame of claim 16, further comprising a second holding unit support element extending between the first and second sidewalls and arranged stepwise relative to the first holding unit support element.
19. The frame of claim 16, further comprising a rear wall extending between the first and second sidewalls and adjacent to the first holding unit support element.
20. The frame of claim 19, further comprising a front wall extending between the first and second sidewalls.
21. The frame of claim 16, wherein slots are formed on upper surfaces of the first and second sidewalls for connecting banding elements thereto.
22. A method of forming a modular display rack, the method comprising steps of:
determining a minimum number of holding slots for inclusion in the display rack;
selecting a number of holding units to supply at least the minimum number of holding slots;
selecting prefabricated frame elements, including sidewalls and a holding unit support element, to accommodate the number of holding units; and
assembling the frame elements to form a frame; and
disposing the number of holding units within the frame.
23. The method of claim 22, a plurality of holding units are selected.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/916,394, filed on May 7, 2007, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to display racks, and more particularly, to display racks for displaying a plurality of business cards.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of business cards for identification and networking purposes is centuries old. With the growth of modern organizations, including businesses, government agencies and other entities, there are sometimes dozens or more individuals within the organization having their own business cards. It is often desirable to keep business cards for each of these individuals at a central location, such as a front desk or reception desk. Using currently available devices, this frequently results in a clutter of business cards and card racks, and a generally unprofessional appearance.

Referring to FIG. 1, a molded, plastic display rack 1010 includes a plurality of integral slots 1012 for holding business cards or similarly-sized items. It will be appreciated that the rack 1010 is lightweight and liable to being knocked over or displaced, and additionally, may not convey the desired visual impact. Moreover, obtaining more slots 1012 would require either adding a separate rack 1010, thereby adding to the clutter, or generating a new mold to make a new display rack with more slots. Creating a new mold can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide a modular display rack and related methods that allow great flexibility in determining the number of holding slots for business cards and the like that are to be included in the display rack.

According to an embodiment of the present invention, a modular display rack includes a frame having a plurality of frame elements, and a first holding unit having a plurality of holding slots. The first holding unit is supported by the frame. By selecting appropriate frame elements, the frame is readily dimensionable to accommodate one or more holding units therein.

According to an aspect of the present invention, the frame includes first and second sidewalls and a first holding unit support element extending between the first and second sidewalls. The first holding unit support element supports the first holding unit. The first holding unit can be dimensioned to accommodate multiple holding units side-by-side. Also, second or subsequent holding units can be accommodated between the first and second sidewalls to accommodate additional holding units, for example, in a stepwise fashion.

According to a method aspect of the present invention, a method of forming a modular display rack includes determining a minimum number of holding slots for inclusion in the display rack. One or more holding units are selected to supply at least the minimum number of holding slots. Prefabricated frame elements, including at least sidewalls and a holding unit support element, are selected to accommodate the holding units, and are assembled to form a frame. The holding units are then disposed within the frame.

These and other objects, aspects and advantages of the present invention will be understood in view of the drawings and following description of preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an existing plastic display rack;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a modular display rack including a frame and a holding unit, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the frame of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is side view of the frame of FIG. 2, in wire frame to show hidden components;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the frame of FIG. 2, in wire frame to shown hidden components;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a modular display rack, according to another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a modular display rack, according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 2, according to one embodiment of the present invention, a modular display rack 10 includes a frame 12 and a plurality of holding units 14. Each of the holding units 14 has a plurality of holding slots 16 for business cards or other items. The holding units 14 are advantageously prefabricated, for instance, as molded plastic units with integral slots 16.

Referring to FIG. 3, the frame 12 is formed of a plurality of frame elements, including first and second sidewalls 20, 22 and first and second holding unit support elements 24, 26 extending therebetween. The frame elements also include a rear wall 30 and a front wall 32. In the embodiment shown, the first and second holding unit support elements 24, 26 are arranged stepwise relative to each other.

The frame elements are preferably formed from wood or a composite wood product, fiberboard or the like. A veneer can be applied to the frame elements. In the embodiment shown, banding 36 is arranged on upper surfaces of the sidewalls 20, 22 and the rear and front walls 30, 32. The banding 36 has, for example, a metallic gold finish.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the holding unit support elements 24, 26 and the rear wall 30 are connected at respective ends to the first and second sidewalls 20, 22. Additionally, the first holding unit support element 24 is connected to the rear wall 30 and the second holding unit support element 26 is connected to the front wall 32. The frame elements 20-32 are connected by, for example, a plurality of cam lock elements 40, including cams and corresponding bolts.

To optimize the viewing angle for items in the holding slots 16 (see FIG. 2), with the frame 12 on a level surface 42, the holding unit support elements 24, 26 are connected so as to be non-parallel with the surface 42. The rear and front walls 30, 32 are arranged substantially perpendicular to their respective holding unit support elements 24, 26. The upper surfaces of sidewalls 20, 22 and rear and front walls 30, 32 define slots 44 to accommodate tabs 46 on the banding 36.

When assembling a modular display rack according to an aspect of the present invention, a minimum number holding slots is determined. For example, a business with ten business card carrying employees may want at least ten holding slots. A number of holding units is selected to supply at least the minimum number of slots. For instance, two six-slot holding units could be selected to supply twelve slots, two more than the minimum.

Frame elements are then selected that can be combined to accommodate the selected number of holding units. The frame elements are then assembled into the frame and the holding units are disposed therein. Advantageously, the frame can be assembled with cam lock, or other, connection elements not fully tightened. The holding units can be disposed within the frame and then the connection elements can be fully tightened with close engagement between frame elements and holding units maintaining the holding units in place due to friction, engagement of complementary surfaces, or the like.

It will be appreciated that the present invention is not necessarily limited to the above embodiment. Rather those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous modifications, and adaptations for particular circumstances, are possible within the scope of the invention as herein shown and described.

For instance, the present invention is not necessarily limited to a particular size, design or number of holding units, or a particular material of construction thereof. Likewise, the present invention is not necessarily limited to a particular size, design or number frame elements, or a particular material of construction thereof. In fact, the present invention allows great flexibility in selecting a number, size or design of holding units to be used, with advantageously pre-fabricated frame elements being combinable to accommodate the holding units.

For example, referring to FIG. 6, according to another embodiment of the present invention, a modular display rack 110 includes a frame 112 and a plurality of holding units 114. In the modular display rack 100, the plurality of holding units are arranged side-by-side, so only a single holding unit support element is employed. It will be understood that that multiple holding support elements could be employed, allowing for a combination of side-by-side and stepwise placement of holding units.

Referring to FIG. 7, according to a further embodiment of the present invention, a modular display rack 210 includes a frame 212 and a plurality of holding units 214. The frame 212 includes sidewalls 220, 222 with holding unit support elements 224, 226 extending therebetween. Stepped rear walls 230, 248 extend between the sidewalls 220, 222 behind respective support elements 224, 226.

In the display rack 210, the holding units 214 include front panels 250 and a plurality of dividers 252. The front panels 250 extend along the support elements 224, 226 between the sidewalls 220, 222 seated in grooves 254 formed in sidewalls 220, 222 and the respective support elements 224, 226. The dividers 252 extend along the support elements 224, 226 between the front panels 250 and respective rear walls 230, 248 seated in grooves 256. The holding units 214 are dimensioned to accommodate business cards with a vertical orientation. It will be appreciated that additional holding units 214 can be readily accommodated, for instance, by selecting frame elements dimensioned to accommodate additional holding unit support elements, or by selecting longer holding unit support elements, such that longer front panels and additional dividers can be included.

Additionally, the present invention is not necessarily limited to connections using the cam lock elements 40. For example, adhesives, screws, nails, pins, dowels, biscuits or other connection elements could also be employed. However, the cam lock elements advantageously facilitate visual concealment of the connection points and readily enable partial assembly of the frame, such that holding units can be disposed therein before fully tightening the cam lock elements.

The foregoing is not an exhaustive list of modifications or adaptations that are possible within the scope of the present invention. Instead, those skilled in the art will appreciate that these and other modifications and adaptations fall within the scope of the invention as herein shown and described.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7798337 *Jul 13, 2007Sep 21, 2010Batesville Services, Inc.Method of mounting casket portion to display
US7992727Sep 20, 2010Aug 9, 2011Batesville Services, Inc.Method of mounting casket to display
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/189, 29/428
International ClassificationA47B47/00
Cooperative ClassificationG09F1/10, A47B63/00, G09F1/14, A47F7/145, B42F7/10
European ClassificationA47B63/00, A47F7/14D1, G09F1/10, G09F1/14, B42F7/10