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Publication numberUS3276400 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 4, 1966
Filing dateDec 13, 1965
Priority dateDec 13, 1965
Publication numberUS 3276400 A, US 3276400A, US-A-3276400, US3276400 A, US3276400A
InventorsBrunette Fredrick F
Original AssigneeBrilliant Products Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Display racks
US 3276400 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 4, 1966 F. F. BRUNETTE DISPLAY RACKS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Original Filed July 27, 1964 38 FIG. 4.

EDRICK F. BRUNETTE ATTORNEYS Oct. 4, 1966 U N ETTE 3,2 76,400

DISPLAY RACKS Original Filed July 27, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 NVENTOR.

I FREDRICK F. BRUNETTE \MaM ATTORNEYS United States Patent Qlaims. (Cl. 108-111) This application is a continuation of my application Serial No. 385,277, filed July 27, 1964, now abandoned.

This invention relates to racks for displaying or storing merchandise and more particularly has reference to a rack of this type adapted to accommodate shelves of various configurations, these shelves being supportable in tier fashion at any one of a number of vertical spacings.

Modern merchandising techniques require that goods offered for sale in supermarkets, department stores and the like be displayed upon racks temporarily arranged in various combinations and at different locations about the interior of the store. The size and arrangement of these groups of racks in the store must be varied in accordance with the latest changes in consumer demand for certain products, the introduction of new products, and other similar factors. As a result, these display racks must be extremely simple and convenient to erect and disassemble. They must be constructed of a limited number of interchangeable components so that they may be stored in disassembled form without creating problems caused by losing parts. They must be sufficiently rigid and strong to support the merchandise to be displayed and it is highly desirable that this be accomplished in a manner which does not require a large number of parts and fittings and which does not impede assembly and disassembly. in addition, it is necessary that the spacing of the shelves be variable in order to accommodate goods of various types and sizes.

Heretofore proposed display racks have not met each of these requirements. Certain types of these display racks presently in use are characterized by tiers of horizontal elongated shelves supported by a frame assembly which is in turn mounted to vertical end supports. A rack of this general type is disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 2,919,034 issued to E. M. Levy on December 29, 1959. Such racks in addition to the limitations in demountability and assembly and the additional costs produced by the utilization of an interior frame member attached to the end supports and upon which the shelves are mounted also utilizes a frame member having posts provided with a plurality of vertically spaced slots to which the shelves attach. Slotted tubing which is used for the posts is quite expensive and in addition this hook and slot type of connection is frequently inadequate where goods of substantial weight are placed on the shelves. It is also common for the shelves to Work their way free of the slots under constant handling. Further in such a construction due to the particular connection employed between the shelves and the frame and also due to the fact that the shelves are not connected directly to the end members the shelves contribute very little to the overall strength and rigidity of the rack. Further there is no provision in this rack for end shelves.

Another display rack commonly used is the type illustrated in U.S. Patent No. 2,910,187 issued October 27, 1959, to E. M. Levy et al. This type of rack employs a base member which provides the primary support for the shelf supporting end members. Further support is provided by an interior frame member to which the side shelves are attached by a slot and hook connection. Again such a rack while suificiently rigid is unduly expensive and fails to utilize the shelves as a part of the supporting structure for the end members.

Other display racks have been heretofore proposed in which the shelves themselves have been the primary means for securing the end members in a rigid and supported position. Some of these, however, have had no provision for adjusting the position of the shelves or for removing some or all of the shelves without seriously impairing the strength of the rack or producing its collapse. Examples of these types of racks can be found in U.S. Patent No. 3,145,851 issued to L. E. Magers, August 25, 1964, French Patent No. 1,250,525 issued December 5, 1960, and Great Britain Patent No. 871,884 published July 5, 1961.

The aforementioned U.S. patent and French patent disclosed racks in which the position of the shelves cannot be adjusted. The British patent discloses a rack in which although the shelves are adjustable the secondary supporting means does not support the upper portion of the end members so that if the shelves are completely removed or are positioned in the lower portion of the rack the upper portion of the rack becomes very weak. Further this rack utilizes the slot and hook connection for the shelves which also reduces strength and rigidity. Since without the shelves the rack will not be self supporting such an arrangement makes assembly difiicult since at least until a shelf member is attached to the upper portion of the rack it must be supported by other means.

The present invention provides a display rack overcoming these difliculties. As will become more apparent as the description proceeds the display rack comprises a pair of inverted U shaped end members preferably constructed of hollow square tubing and provided with an intermediate vertically extending tubular member. Means are provided for attaching end shelves to the end members and for attaching side shelves to the vertically extending members. The particular attaching means employed as will be described in greater detail below provides a rigid connection between the shelves and the end members so that with a number of shelves in place a rigid strong and free standing display rack is provided. To provide additional support and to permit the rack to be assembled easily to a free standing position in which the shelves can be attached, support means are provided for attachment between the end members. As will become apparent as the description proceeds the additional support means incorporates a novel attaching means for reducing the likelihood of accidental detachment without reducing the necessary ease of assembly and disassembly of the present display rack.

The means for attaching the shelves to the end members comprises in place of the usual hook and slot arrangement a plurality of square tubular support members welded or otherwise aflixed to the end members and adapted to telescopically receive arms provided on the shelves. The arms are of the same cross-sectional configuration as the support members are adapted to snugly fit therein so that once several shelves are in place the end members are prevented from twisting or moving from parallel vertical planes. Further to prevent relative shifting between the end members and also to provide for ad justability of the shelves, the arms are provided with spaced holes adapted to receive a plunger mounted in the support member. By varying the hole into which the plunger is introduced the spacing of the shelves may be quickly and readily accomplished with the result that the shelves are securely locked to the end members and the rack is rigidly supported.

The additional support means in one preferred embodiment thereof preferably comprises a pair of horizontally extending support rods having each end bent downwardly to be received in perforated brackets carried on opposing faces on the vertical tubular members near the upper and lower ends thereof to prevent the support rods from working free from the brackets an intermediate support rod is provided and is connected with the horizontal support rods. The intermediate support rod is bent at each end in a horizontal plane and is received in holes provided in the faces adjacent those faces of the tubular member carrying the brackets. Thus upon insertion of the downwardly bent end portions in the brackets and the horizontally bent end portions in the holes the end members are securely locked together and the likelihood of the downwardly bent portions working themselves free from the brackets is substantially eliminated.

It is an object then of the present invention to provide an improved display rack of the type having shelves which may be adjusted by providing such a rack having a minimum number of interchangeable and readily assembled and disassembled parts.

It is another object of the present invention to facilitate the assembly and disassembly of display racks without impairing their strength and rigidity by providing such a display rack in which the shelves form a part of the support structure for the rack and by providing additional support in the form of a support assembly which can be readily locked in place.

It is still another object of the present invention to reduce the number of different components in display racks and the like by providing such a rack comprising a pair of spaced inverted U shaped end members, shelves adjustably carried by and providing support for the end members and additional support means releasably locking one end member to the other.

It is another object of the present invention to more securely lock the end members of a display rack one to the other in a supported position by providing a new means for releasably and variably attaching the shelves of the rack to the end members.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention Will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description of several preferred embodiments thereof. The description makes reference to the drawings in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present rack with certain of the shelves removed for purposes of clarity;

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the rack of FIG. 1 with the shelves and their support members omitted for purposes of illustration.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged detail perspective view of a portion of one of the shelves of FIG. 1 and its arm member mounted in a support member.

FIG, 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 44 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the lines 5-5 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a rear elevational view of the rack employing a modified spacer assembly, and illustrating shelves, shown broken away, mounted along one end thereof, the remaining shelves and support members being omitted for purposes of illustration.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 77 of FIG. 6; and

FIG. 8 is an elevational fragmentary view of the end of one of the support members.

Referring to the drawings in detail, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention generally comprises a pair of vertical end members 10 supported in parallel spaced relation by means of a spacer assembly generally indicated at 12 and by shelves 14 as will become more apparent as the description proceeds.

The vertical end members 10 are preferably constructed of square tubing or similar material and are each comprised of a pair of vertical posts or uprights 16 curved and joined along their upper ends by means of an arch section 18. The uprights 16 and arch section 18 may thus be constructed of a single piece of square tubing suitably bent into an inverted U-shaped form as shown in FIG. 1. A horizontal brace member 20 extends between the uprights 16 adjacent their lower ends and is welded rigidly thereto. A vertical post or upright 22 is welded at each end to a connector plate 24, each of the plates being welded respectively to the arch section 18 and the brace 20.

A plurality of support members 26 are welded at spaced points along the opposite vertical faces of the posts 22, and along the side faces of the uprights 16 of the end structures 10. Each of these support members 26 comprises a short section of square tubing welded rigidly against its attached post 22 or upright 16. The support member thus forms interiorly an elongated enclosure having a uniform rectangular cross-section throughout its length. Alternatively, the support member might be constructed of a U-shaped member having its open face welded as to the adjacent post or upright.

As shown in FIG. 5, the support members 26 may also be provided with plungers or stop members 28 each comprising a short rod 30 slidably mounted in an opening 32 in one face of the support member 26, and a spring 34 mounted between the interior of a dome-shaped cover 35 welded to the support member and the outer face of the support member, and having one end extending through the rod 39 so as to normally bias the rod inwardly through the opening 32. The outer end of the rod 30 projects through the cover 35 and includes a small cap 36 which is easily grasped with the fingers when pulling the plunger rearwa-rdly against the force of the spring 34.

As shown in FIG. 1, each display shelf 14 comprises spaced longitudinal wire members 38 supporting spaced transverse wire members 40. The transverse members 40 are welded to the longitudinal members 38 which in turn are welded at each end to arm members 42. Each arm member is formed of square tubing and includes a sharply bent downwardly projecting end 44. A plurality of small holes 46, as illustrated in FIG. 8 may be vertically spaced along the end 44.

In FIG. 1, two different configurations are shown for the wire members 38 and 4t) and the arm members 42. The lower shelf and that second from the top of the rack have their wire and arm members lying in a horizontal plane. The top shelf and that third from the top of the rack are shown in detail in FIGS. 3 and 4. In this second construction of the shelf 14, the wire members 38 and 40 and the arm members 42 lie in a plane sloped slightly from the horizontal. These members slope downwardly as they extend forward away from the bent ends 44, and include a hooked goods-retaining edge 48 formed of double bends at the forward ends of the transverse members 4i) welded on a longitudinal wire member 50.

The shelves 14 are mounted intermediate the end structures 10 as shown in FIG. 1. The downwardly bent ends 44 fit snugly and telescopically within the interior of the support members 26; the plungers 28 are retracted manually and the arms 42 moved vertically until the proper holes 46 are in line with the plungers. The plungers are then released, thereby locking the shelves 14 in place. The spacing of the shelves 14 will be determined by the selection of the hole 46 into which the plunger 28 will extend.

Alternatively, the plungers might be mounted interiorly of the arm members and adapted to engage holes provided in the support members.

The shelves 14 shown in FIG. 1 are interchangeable in that either of the two types of shelves shown can be mounted at any level in the rack. Similarly, shelves having various other types of configuration could also be mounted in the rack provided they have arm members at each end similar to that shown in the drawings.

The spacer assembly 12, as shown in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, comprises a pair of square horizontal tubes 52 bent downwardly at each end. The tubes 52 are disposed respectively adjacent the upper and lower ends of the end structures 10. The ends of the tubes fit within support members 26 welded to the interior face of the posts 22. For each tube 52, the support members 26 at each end of the rack include a plunger 28 adapted to lock in a hole (not shown) provided in the downwardly bent end of the tube.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show a second embodiment of the spacer assembly 12. In this construction, upper, middle and lower horizontal rods or bars 54 are provided. The middle bar 54 is hooked or bent in a horizontal plane at each end 51 which snap into holes 56 disposed midway along the rear faces of the posts 22. The upper and lower bars 54 have downwardly bent ends 53 and are disposed within holes provided in small brackets 57 fixed respectively at the upper and lower ends of the posts 22 on the faces thereof adjacent the rear faces. A vertical bar 58 is welded to the upper and lower bars 54 adjacent each post 22. Diagonal bars 60 are welded to the horizontal bars 54 and to each other at the common intersection 59 of the bars at the center of the assembly. The resulting assembly is somewhat flexible, thereby permitting the hooks or bends to be easily inserted and retained in place in the brackets 56 and 57. This arrangement of the bars in the spacer assembly 12 provides sufficient structural rigidity, and is extremely resistant to loosening under constant and heavy handling.

If the present rack is to be employed in conjunction with other racks of a similar kind in order to create an aisle along which the customers may walk, the racks are placed in an end-to-end position with the end structure of one rack abutting that of the next. The shelves 14 of the aligned racks will also be aligned, thereby permitting the goods displayed to appear to be disposed upon one long continuous shelf.

If the rack is to be used as an individual island rack, the shelves 14 are mounted along the front of the rack in the manner discussed above. Shelves are also mounted at each end of the rack in the support members 26 mounted along the face of the uprights 16 in the end structures 10 in the manner shown in FIG. 6. The support members 26 for each shelf may include plnngers identical to that previously described. It can be seen that the construction of the shelves and the method of mounting them on the rack is the same as that of the shelves at the front of the rack.

Support members 26 are also provided on the rear face of the posts 22 and are adapted to receive the same type of shelves as those at the front of the rack. This permits both the front and rear of the rack to be employed for supporting shelves whether the rack is to be used with other racks or as an island display. In the latter case, it can be seen that shelves may be mounted on all four sides of the rack.

The rack is easily disassembled by retracting the plungers on the support members and lifting the shelves vertically off the rack. The space-r assembly is also easily removed, thereby permitting the end structures to be moved independently to a new location identical to that previously described. It can be seen that the construction of the shelves and the method of mounting them on the rack is the same as that of the shelves at the front of the rack.

Support members 26 are also provided on the rear face of the posts 22 and are adapted to receive the same type of shelves as those at the front of the rack. This permits both the front and rear of the rack to be employed for supporting shelves whether the rack is to be used with other racks or as an island display. In the latter case, it can be seen that shelves may be mounted on all four sides of the rack.

The rack is easily disassembled by retracting the plungers on the support members and lifting. the shelves vertically off the rack. The spacer assembly is also easily removed, thereby permitting the end structures to be moved independently to a new location for re-assembly or storage. In can be seen that the entire rack can be assembled or disassembled in a few minutes without tools of any kind. The shelves may similarly be mounted or removed in seconds without tools.

Further in the particular rack disclosed, the shelves are attached directly to the end members .10 and themanner of attachment in addition to affording adjustability, produces a rack in which the shelves contribute substantially to the strength and the rigidity of the rack. The particular support members 26 and the arm members 42 as well as the plungers 28 provide a means of attachment which prevents relative twisting or moving of the end members and which maintains the end members in a parallel position. Even with the shelves removed, however, the rack is self-supporting and will be maintained in a position to receive the shelves by the spacer or support assembly 12. In each embodiment the spacer assembly is readily attached to the end members and once attached, it is not likely to become accidentally detach-ed.

It is apparent that although I have described several preferred embodiments of my invention many changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention as expressed by the scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A rack for displaying or storing articles and the like comprising (a) a plurality of spaced upright members,

(b) a plurality of horizontally extending shelves and means attaching said shelves to said upright members,

(c) a spacer assembly for supporting and spacing said upright members, said spacer assembly comprising a pair of horizontally extending rod members,

each of said rod members being provided with downwardly bent portions at each end,

bracket members carried by said upright members for receiving the downwardly bent portions of said rod members, and

a horizontal rod member disposed intermediate the first mentioned rod members and connected therewith,

said second mentioned rod member having portions bent at each end in a plane substantially normal to the plane of said downwardly bent portions of said first mentioned rod members, and

means provided on said upright members for axially receiving said bent end portions of said second mentioned rod member.

2. The rack as defined in claim 1 and in which said attaching means comprises (a) a plurality of hollow support members mounted along said upright members in vertically spaced horizontal alignment, each of said support members forming a longitudinally extending enclosure displaced from said upright members,

(b) arm members integral with said shelves and having annular portions adapted to fit within said support members, and

(c) means preventing relative displacement between said arm members and the support members receiving same whereby said upright members are fixed in vertical parallel position and said upright members and said shelves provide mutual support for said rack.

3. The rack as defined in claim 2 and in which said last mentioned means comprises (a) said support members being rectangular in lateral cross section, and

(b) said arm members being rectangular in lateral cross section and being telescopically and snugly received by said support members.

4. The rack as defined in claim 2 and in which said last mentioned means further comprises (a) said angular portions having a plurality of spaced holes therein, and

(b) plunger means on each of said support members each comprising releasable means interlocking with one of said perforations whereby the elevation of a shelf along said upright members may be varied.

5. The rack as defined in claim 1 and in which said 8. The display rack as defined in claim 1 and in which (a) said upright members each comprise an inverted U-sh-aped member and vertical posts secured to said U-shaped member intermediate the legs thereof, (b) said shelf attaching means being fixed to said posts. 9. The display rack as defined in claim 8 and in which said spacer assembly is removably attached to said posts.

10. The display rack as defined in claim 8 and including support members carried on the legs of said U-shaped members so ortin shelves at each e d of s id ra k. upright members each comprise a vertically extending 10 pp g n a 0 member,

(a) said bracket members being carried by opposing faces of said vertical members, and

(b) faces of said vertical members adjacent said bracket members being provided with holes for axially receiving said bent end portions of said second mentioned rod member.

6. The display rack as defined in claim 5 and including diagonally disposed rod members connecting said aforementioned rod members together.

7. The display rack as defined in claim 2 and in which said upright members include a vertical post and Wherein said support members are provided along both the forward and rear face of said post so as to thereby permit mounting of said shelves both forwardly and rearwardly of said posts.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 541,323 6/1895 Gowiss 248-224 747,709 12/ 1903 Hoffman 248-224 805,145 11/1905 Lewis 248-224 2,235,977 3/1941 Bitney 211-148 2,910,187 10/ 1959 Levy 248224 2,919,034 12/1959 Levy 108-108 3,055,462 9/1962 Steele 211148 3,145,851 8/1964 Magers 211--148 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,250,525 12/ 1960 France.

87 L884 7/1961 Great Britain.

FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner. F. K. ZUGEL, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US2235977 *Jan 7, 1939Mar 25, 1941Union Steel Prod CoDisplay rack
US2910187 *Jul 26, 1957Oct 27, 1959Reflector Hardware CorpMerchandising device
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3322077 *Apr 27, 1966May 30, 1967Henry KovacikTable stand
US3977528 *May 19, 1975Aug 31, 1976Orschler Produktion KgRack having supporting tubes connected by means of releasable couplings
US3977529 *Jun 3, 1974Aug 31, 1976Mcmillin Wire & Plating, Inc.Display rack
US4299327 *Dec 10, 1979Nov 10, 1981General Housewares Corp.Placemat rack
US4345526 *Dec 7, 1979Aug 24, 1982Techplastics, Inc.Shelving display and support
US4523722 *Apr 29, 1983Jun 18, 1985Melrose Displays, Inc.Adjustable display apparatus
US5452812 *Jul 13, 1993Sep 26, 1995Sycamore Systems, Inc.Shelving system
US6405880 *Jul 2, 2001Jun 18, 2002Rtc Industries, Inc.Rack merchandising system
US6607083 *Jun 18, 2002Aug 19, 2003Rtc Industries, Inc.Rack merchandising system
US6783012 *May 14, 2003Aug 31, 2004Rtc Industries, Inc.Rack merchandising system
US7900784 *Dec 13, 2007Mar 8, 2011American Greetings CorporationConfigurable retail displays
Classifications
U.S. Classification108/181, 211/187
International ClassificationA47F5/01
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/01
European ClassificationA47F5/01