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Publication numberUS3137251 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 16, 1964
Filing dateFeb 13, 1961
Priority dateFeb 13, 1961
Publication numberUS 3137251 A, US 3137251A, US-A-3137251, US3137251 A, US3137251A
InventorsPendergrast Jr John Brittain
Original AssigneeSouthern Spring Bed Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandise racks
US 3137251 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 1964 J. B. PENDERGRAST, JR 3, 37, 5



ATTO NEf 'shelf or tray or with one another.

United States Patent 3,137,251 MERQ'JHANDISERAGKS John Brittain lendergrast, In, Atlanta, Ga.,,assignorto Southern Spring Bed Company, Atlanta, Ga.,a corporation of Georgia Filed Feb. 13,1961, Sen'l lo. 88,736

Claims. (@l. 108-410) This invention relates to a merchandise ra'ckand particularly to a multi-shelf rack of the sort adapted to be used in stores, supermarkets and the like for displaying merchandise and for exposing a constant supply of that merchandise as the packages and the like are removed from the shelves.

Inmy co-pending application serial No. 43,936, filed above, there is shown a merchandise or commodity rack which is particularly useful with so-called hard goods,

or goods that are packaged or supported in rigid containers and arenot readily damaged by contact with the In those racks, it was immaterial whether the higher shelves or trays touched or actually rested'upon the goods on the shelf or tray below and it was possible, if desired, to make use .of this by having the shelf or "tray rest upon the mer- .sist of aback frame of substantially quadrilateral formation, having .a pair of'upstanding side members. The back frame maybe supported on thelfloor by means of a substantially. flat, wire frame bottom platform which is attached to the back frame and. has a bottom portion of wire runners which rest upon the floor, or any other suitable support. Extending outwardly and substantially horizontally in extended position from the back frame area plurality of merchandise support shelves or trays that are pivotally or swingably mounted upon the back frame, each independently of the other shelf, and each having a particular retractable'mounting consisting of one or more coil springs encircling a transverse wire member which ,extends transversely behind the back frame and with one enjdof the coil spring attached to the back rod, while the other end. of the coil spring is attached to the shelf itself. A second transverse back rod member .extends transversely across said back frame and is substantially parallel with said first rod member and is connected thereto by .a pair of short, vertical rods. The ends of the second rod are placed in front of theback frame member whereby a counter-clockwise torque or twisting motion exerted by the-springs on said top and bottom rod member and. shelf push the top member against the back and the bottom member against the front, thereby holding the composite members in a sta tionary position on said frame. This arrangement is utilized for the purpose of adjustment of the shelf as will appear hereinafter. The shelf itself may be an open wire frame member having a substantially U-shaped back member pivotally or swingably mounted upon the top of said transverse rod and having forwardly extending side rod members to which the other end of the coil spring is attached,.whereby, upon pulling said shelf down- Wardly, .the coil spring is coiled tighter and the tendency is for the coil springs to return the shelf to an up ward position when the load on the shelf isrremoved.

7 July 19, 1960; now US. Patent 3,045,831 referred to ice The back U-shaped member of the shelf rests upon and is stopped by contact with the bottom rod member, by which arrangement the top of the U-frame pulls forwardly on the top rod and the bottom of the U-frarne pushes rearwardly on the bottom rod, thereby holding said entire shelf support frame assembly in a stationary position on saidback and thereby preventing said tray from dropping below the horizontal. In order to assure positive positioning and adjustment of said shelves on said back, since with soft goods it is vitally important that the shelf not displace itself out of position; either vertically at the back or below the horizontal, the side frame members of the back'frame, in one embodiment, are sinuous, that is, have been formed in a wavy-shape, whereby the top rod at the ends rests in one depression or indentations in the wavy-shape, and the bottom or second rod at its end on the front, rests in a lower wavy depression, thereby assuring more positive positioning of the shelf.

A primary object of this invention is to provide a merchandise rack having a plurality of shelves thereon which are adjustable in vertical position and which are prevented by the particular support of this shelf from displacing themselves vertically due to the load thereon.

-An additional object of this invention resides in the positive positioning of shelves above the next successive shelves on a merchandise rack, whereby soft goods on lower shelves will not be compressed or touched by the shelves thereabove which do not depress below the horizontal. I

A further object of this invention is to provide a wire frame merchandise rack having a plurality of open, wireframe shelves thereon swingably supported in such a manner as to be stopped from downward movement by positive abutment with a solid member, thereby preventing said shelf from depressing below the horizontal and contacting or from transferring any weight to the soft merchandise on a shelf immediately therebelow.

An additional object ofthis invention resides in the construction of a device set forth in the paragraph immediately preceding and wherein there is positive spring action to return said shelf to normalstQred retracted position after the merchandise has been removed therefrom and to expose the next lower merchandise on the next lower shelf therebelow.

A further object of this invention resides in the provision of positive positioning means on'said wire frame at the back thereof whereby each shelf may be adjusted and'positioned as a whole at a positive position on said rack and whereby it' may be readily shifted to a lower or higher position by one person in a simple and expedient manner so that the shelves may be adjusted for the size or quantity of goods placed thereon.

Another object of this invention is to provide a rack having retractible shelves or trays which will swing downwardly to a merchandise supporting position and having built-in stop means which positively prevents the shelf from swinging below the horizontal.

Other and further objects of my invention will become apparent upon reading the following specification taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective View of a typical rack made in accordance with my invention and showing all of the shelves in extended position, which'would occur normally when there is merchandise contained thereon.

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the top portion of the rack shown in FIG. '1 with. sample merchandise shown dotted. thereon.

V FIG ,3 is an enlarged perspective view of the connecting portion of one side of the adjustable shelves on the wire frame of the device shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of the end of one shelf of a modified form of the invention.

The device is designated over-all and in general by the reference numeral iii and comprises a back frame 12 consisting of a pair of opposed and normally and substantially vertical sinuous side frame members 14, 16, that is, of curvy or wavy-formation somewhat like an extended sine curve. Members i4, 16 are connected at the bottom thereof to a bottom floor support frame and platform or base support 18, which may vary according to the individual rack, comprising a pair of floor runners 2d, 22 normally resting on the floor and having fastened thereacross a plurality of rods 24 forming an Mounted on the back frame 12 and adapted normally X to extend horizontally and cantilevered therefrom with merchandise thereon and to extend substantially parallel thereto and rising vertically therewith when they are empty are a plurality of cantilivered merchandise shelves 2% adapted to hold various types of merchandise and in the particular invention, especially suitable for holding that class of merchandise which is known as soft goods.

In the present embodiment, there are four of the shelves 28 arranged on the front in vertical spaced relation and adapted to extend parallel with one another when loaded with merchandise; and one back shelf 28 arranged the same. Shelves 28 are substantially identical in construction and normally in the ensuing description, reference will be made sometimes only to one shelf, 28, or to the front shelves only, it being understood that the other shelves 28, back and front, are substantially the same in construction and contain essentially the same components, differing only in location. It is also to be understood that while there are four front shelves 28 shown in the embodiment of this invention, other shelves may be added to the front or back and there may be more or less shelves 28 in other embodiments simply by constructing same in identical fashion with the other shelves 28 and mounting them upon the back frame.

The number of shelves 2% in a particular rack would depend largely upon the purpose of which the rack is to be used and that would be governed, of course by a the sort of merchandise which one expects to display and sell on the rack. All of the shelves 28 of the present invention are adjustable in height or distance between one another for the purpose of readily being used to store mixed goods and goods of different sizes and dimensions. For example, king-size loaves of bread can be stacked or intermixed on one or more shelves while other loaves of bread of differing thickness may be stored on lower shelves and various numbers of layers of such merchandise can be placed on each shelf and the shelf thereabove and the shelf therebelow adjusted to clear this merchandise.

Each cantilevered shelf 28 is substantially of rectangular construction and comprises a substantially U-shaped support 39 with bight 31 and having the opposite sides 32 thereof bent around and pivotally or swingably supported upon the upper or top or first rod 34 of a particular sort of adjustable back'support'arrangement 36 now to be described. The back support arrangement 36 consists of the top or upper rod 34 placed with the bentends 38 thereof behind the back frame members 14, 16. A second or lower or bottom transverse rod member 40 extends substantially parallel with the top member 34 and has bent-ends 42 thereof extending in front of and around said frame members 14, 16 whereby said top rod 34 and said bottom rod 49 are substantially in parallel relationship but with one in front and the other in back of said frame members 14, 16. The rods are physically and rigidly connected together by means of a pair of short pins or shafts 44 welded between rods 34, 40 substantially in the'middle thereof. Each of a pair of identical coil springs 46 is wrapped about one end of the upper rod 34 and has its own terminal end 47 on the inside looped around one of the respective vertical short bars 44 and has its other end 47 on the outside looped around the outside of a forwardly extending side bar member 50 of the shelves 28. Both of the coil springs 46 are arranged in this manner, each attached at one end to the inner short bars 44 and looped and attached at the outer end to a respective outside side member 50 of a shelf 23. Coil springs 46 are inserted in place with some pre-tension thereon which is readily overcome by the placing of merchandise on the shelves 28. However, when the merchandise is completely removed, the tension on the coil springs will lift the shelf to a vertical position to the dotted lines shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2.

Shelves or trays 28 may be in whatever particular form, size and shape is desired, however, for purposes of illustration, the shelves are shown in the simplest form, consisting of the side bar members 50 already mentioned and a forward transverse portion 52 bent from the side bar members 50 and having attached thereon by Welding or otherwise a plurality of spaced, substantially parallel bottom support rods 54 providing a platform or support surface across the shelf. The rear ends of rods 54 are welded to the bight 31 of the U-shaped support 30.

The tension of coil springs 46 interposed between the upper bar 34 and bar members 50 tends to force upper bar 34 firmly in place against the back of the side back members 14, 16 and to force the front bar 40 firmly in place against the front of the side bar members 14, 16. Since the outer ends of the side bar members 34, 40 are located in a respective position in a detent or depression in the back side bar members 14, 16, the tendency is and the structural arrangement requires that the bars 34, 40 and the shelf 28 swung therefrom remain firmly in place at whatever position they are located manually.

As is readily seen in FIG. 2, shelves 28 are less than, certainly no more than, horizontal in downward mer- V chandise-supporting position so that the merchandise 56 I from that position to another, it is necessary only to grasp with one hand the top bar 34 with the inside of the hand and the bottom bar 40-with the fingers of the hand and to rotate or twist the bars about an imaginary transverse axis therebetween so as to push the upper bar 34 away from the back and the lower bar 40 away from the front. This loosens both of the bars 34, 40 with respect to the back members 14, 16 and permits one to shift the entire bar assembly, including the springs'46 and the whole shelf 28, upwardly or downwardly and vertically along the back members 14, 16 to whatever new position is desired. Upon relocating the shelf at a new position, when the bars 34, 40 are released from the pressure being exerted by the hand, coil springs 46 immediately operate to return the shelf to its normal raised position through the spring tension action pushing on bar 34 and bar member 50. Since each of the bars 34, 40 are resting in a detent or depression formed in one of the back members 14, 16, it is very unlikely that the weight of any merchandise placed on the shelf 28 by a vertical component force thereof could cause the shelf to slide downwardly against a lower shelf. This has been a problem with prior art devices where soft goods were being displayed on the bottom shelves because the weight of the goods on the shelves thereabove caused those higher shelves to slide down- The modified form shown in FIG. 4 is identical in construction in most respects with that shown in FIGS. 1, 2,

,wardly against me merchandise on the lower shelf, pushing l 1t and rendering it unsuitable or unattractive for purchase.

et al. except'that in place of and in lieu of the sinuous.

back rods 14, 16, there is substituted a pair of flat bar members 70 (one on the opposite side not shown), havfront thereof and having the same transverse support member arrangement 34' of the previous embodiment with the bentends thereof resting in said notches 72. The operation of the rack 10 is'the same as in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 and the relocation of individual shelves 28 is performed in precisely the same manner and the a main difference is that insteadof relocating theshelvesin a sinuousrod arrangement, the relocation is being done in a flat bar with grooves 72 therein.

While I have shown and described a particular embodiment of my invention,.together with suggested modifica- 6 1 on said back support in spaced vertical arrangement, at least one shelf on said back support mounted for sliding movement upwardly and downwardly thereon, a shelf mounting means mounted on said back support adapted to hold said shelf at a selected position in pairs of said indentations and to be released to move said shelf upwardly or downwardly, saidshelf mounting means including a reing grooves or notches 72 formed in the back and/or tions thereof, this is for purposesof illustration and description only and is not to be construed as any sort of limitation on the scope thereof, since various alterations, changes, eliminations, substitutions, additions and revisions may be made in the embodiment shown and described without departing from the scope of my appended claims. I

.Iclaimz, I p

1. In a merchandise rack, a pair of substantially vertical, sinuous members including a plurality of spaced and and aligned depressions on both the back and front thereon, support means for said sinuous members, a shelf support on said members comprising an upper transverse rod member having the ends thereof on one side of said members and pressing thereagainst normally in a pair of taining member that rests in one of said indentations when said shelf is positioned at a selected position thereby positively holdingsaid shelf from sliding on said back support, means on saidmounting means urging said retaining member into said indentation and resisting dc placement therefrom, said shelf being'hingedly mounted on said self-mounting means for arcuate movement from upward stored position to downward merchandise support position, a spring means providing pressure on said shelf when substantially empty to return same to stored position, and positive stop means between said shelf and said back support to prevent said shelf from swinging downwardly below the horizontal whereby one shelf can be positivelyset at a position above another shelf and is prevented eitherfrom sliding lower or from being swung below the horizontal against merchandise on the lower said aligned depressions, a bottom, transverse rod'forming j part of said shelf support and. having the outer ends" thereof on the, other side of, said vertical members and normally pressing thereagainst in a pair of said aligned depressions thereon, a plurality of outwardly extending shelfmembers pivotally attached on said upper rodsand extending therefrom, spring means connected to each shelf support and each shelf member and exerting torque on the rod members and also biasing said shelf member to retu'rn'to upward position when empty and unloaded'of merchandise thereon. t 2. In a merchandise rack, a substantially vertical, sinuous support frame having a plurality of vertically spaced depressions formed thereon, means supporting saidframe the substantiallyvertical position, atleast one adjustable shelf attachment on said frame comprising one transa end thereof fastened to saidshelf, a U-member on said i shelf hingedly mounted on said upper rod-member, said -U-shaped member contacting said second transverserod "to prevent said shelf from swinging below'the horizontal.


4. In a merchandise rack, an'upstanding support having a plurality of spaced shelf depressions formed thereon, V means for retaining said support in an upstandingposition,

at least one shelf pivoted on said rack, a shelf support on said rack comprising a first member on one side. of said upstanding support anda second .member'on the other.

side of said support; at least one of said first and second members being in one of said shelf depressions, a springassociated with said first and second members and having one end thereof fastened between said first and second members and having the other end thereof fastened to said shelf, said spring being tensioned between said first and second members and the shelf to create a clamping action about said upstanding support, said spring being further tensioned in the downward position of said shelf to return said shelf when empty and to exert additional pressure between said first and second members thereby to retain the shelf support in 'position. i

5. In aamerchandise rack, normally verti port means having a plurality of vertically spaced and aligned depressions formed thereon, means supporting said back support means in upstanding position, atleast one 1 shelf support on said rack comprising a first transverse rod member having the ends thereof on one side of said support meansand pressing thereagainst-normally in one of saidaligned depressions, a second transverserod forming part of said shelf support and havingthe outer ends thereof on the other side of, saidsupport means and normally pressing thereagainst in one of said'aligned de pressions, a shelf pivoted on each shelfsupport, and spring means interposed between the first and second rods 1 and the shelf .3. 'In a merchandise rack, a back support, meansnor I finally supporting'said back support in substantial uprig ht position abovethe floor, a pluralityof indentations formed 'References Cited injthefile of this patent 5 UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,314,490 Goldman l ;,Mar. 23, 1943 r 2, 37,445 Patterson; May 5, 1953 2,736,526" Forbes, Feb. 28,1956 j 2,908,395 Patterson oct. 13; 1959 cal back sup- Pendergrast July 1961

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US234490 *Nov 16, 1880 clark
US2637445 *Jan 25, 1952May 5, 1953Patterson Lawrence WDisplay rack for bottled goods
US2736526 *Jun 2, 1952Feb 28, 1956Forbes Robert ALifting device for lifting heavy objects
US2908395 *Jan 11, 1957Oct 13, 1959Spring A Way Displays Of CalifDisplay racks with folding and vertically adjustable trays
US2992742 *Jul 18, 1960Jul 18, 1961Pendergrast Jr John BrittainCommodity rack
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3295471 *Jun 14, 1965Jan 3, 1967Robert W CookFolding-shelf
US3358621 *Jun 22, 1966Dec 19, 1967Lajos SzacskoShelf systems
US3868019 *Dec 29, 1972Feb 25, 1975Xerox CorpTray apparatus
US4099625 *Jul 13, 1977Jul 11, 1978Leggett & Platt, IncorporatedDisplay rack
US4159831 *Dec 14, 1977Jul 3, 1979The Coca-Cola CompanyMobile extra display container
US4322005 *Mar 27, 1981Mar 30, 1982DisplaycoDisplay stacker with biased pivoted trays
US4809855 *Jun 24, 1987Mar 7, 1989Legettt & Platt, IncorporatedDisplay rack
US5005712 *Apr 27, 1989Apr 9, 1991Ford Motor CompanyStoring and transporting rack for body panels and other flat components
US5284258 *Mar 6, 1991Feb 8, 1994Genero Claude PTowel or blanket support device
US7806236 *Nov 12, 2008Oct 5, 2010Target Brands, Inc.Method of displaying a product on a product display system
US7954655 *Dec 7, 2005Jun 7, 2011Alexander VirvoDisplay with folding shelves
US8757419 *Oct 14, 2004Jun 24, 2014Bsh Bosch Und Siemens Hausgeraete GmbhCrockery basket comprising height-adjustable racks
US9044107 *Feb 23, 2010Jun 2, 2015Artskills, Inc.Modular rack system for displaying flat articles
US20070000854 *Dec 7, 2005Jan 4, 2007Alexander VirvoDisplay with folding shelves
US20070039904 *Aug 16, 2006Feb 22, 2007Electrolux Home Products, Inc.Brackets for supporting article holders
US20070131696 *Oct 14, 2004Jun 14, 2007Bsh Bosch Und Siemens Hausgerate, GmbhCrockery basket comprising height-adjustable racks
US20090065454 *Nov 12, 2008Mar 12, 2009Target Brands, Inc.Product display system
US20110204007 *Feb 23, 2010Aug 25, 2011Golden Steven BModular rack system for displaying flat articles
U.S. Classification108/110, 211/150, 108/135, 211/59.4
International ClassificationA47F5/01
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/01
European ClassificationA47F5/01