US 3496665 A
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v. I R. GOLDMAN 3,496,665 SELF-CONTAINED .REARRANGEABLE DIS-PLAY SIGN Feb. 24,.1'9'70 mm AND INTEGRAL surron'r Filed 001;. 5. 1967 ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,496,665 SELF CONTAINED REARRANGEABLE DISPLAY SIGN UNIT AND INTEGRAL SUPPORT Robert L. Goldman, 163 Woodland Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15236 Filed Oct. 5, 1967, Ser. No. 673,091 Int. Cl. G09f 7/08 U.S. Cl. 40-129 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates generally to a sign panel having removable and changeable lettering or numerals mounted thereon, and pertains particularly to a pricedisplay panel in combination with a large plurality of reversible character cards or indicia uniformly arranged in separate stacks (recessed in the display) surface of the panel and (removably-secured thereto), together with a unique support means for said panel.
My invention broadly includes a support means in combination with a sign unit having rearrangeable and reversible display characters to be supported by a sign panel, with a unique yet simple means of retaining unique rearrangeable characters upon the support means in a (removably-attached) relation thereto.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of invention In the automobile sales business, the use of placards or similar means of displaying the list price or other given information in or about an automobile has come to be regarded as a very useful advertising aid in inducing the interest of prospective customers. My experience in this field has taught me that the average salesman is primarily concerned with the more immediately productive aspects of his work and does not Wish to be responsible for drawing or painting signs for each automobile as it is placed on display in a showroom or a car lot. As presently accomplished, preparation and mounting of such advertising material is a laborious time-consuming job. In its various forms such work may involve using soap or other suitable means to inscribe a price quotation on a Window of a car, painting a message on heavy paper or cardboard to be taped to the windshield of a car, or interchanging rigidly formed numerals or letters on a frame device, etc. The latter method, ostensibly designed to save time, generally results in time lost due to seeking additional characters from a remote storage area, or frustration because the required characters have been lost, broken, or are in short supply.
My invention has developed as a result of my quest for an improved display means for use by a car dealer in presenting a written message such as a price quotation on an automobile. The display means I have devised includes a plurality of rearrangeable characters for use in setting up a written message, in combination with a support means for supportably-maintaining the selected characters in a readable order. Some of the advantageous characteristics embodied in my invention are as follows:
(1) My display unit is conspicuous and attention- I arresting so that the message displayed is comprehendable to a viewer standing away at a considerable distance therefrom.
(2) It may be mounted for display at any desired location, such as on or within an automobile as hereafter described.
(3) It is easily positioned for display with respect to an automobile or other location Without the need of special mounting equipment or tools therefor.
3,496,665 Patented Feb. 24, 1970 Description of prior art In the prior art no sign has been disclosed which has a practical system for displaying a large variety of information with interchangeable parts all normally contained therein and with integral support means for holding said sign either inside or outside an automobile windshield.
In the prior art, various display signs or changeable pricing or lettering systems have been introduced to convey a message that is conspicuous and readable at a substantial distance, with such message being changeable by removal and replacement of the letters or numerals thereon. U.S. Patent No. 1,933,013, issued to J. B. Hamilton, discloses a plate 'or signboard having slits or pockets provided about display openings through the body of a dis- .play panel or plate, with the cards being interchangeable for different price combinations. US. Patent No. 2,821,039, issued to P. B. Nash et al., discloses a price tag supporting bracket comprising a horizontal bar which serves as a support for the characters extended therefrom downwardly and progressively along the length of the bar. Nash teaches in particular the use of his invention for display through the windshield of an automobile.
The foregoing patents are typical of the major contributions by the prior art, each of which nevertheless has inherent limitations that my invention is deliberately intended to overcome. For example, the display sign bracket device of Nash requires considerable time to manipulate and adjust the connective bracket thereof for attachment in an automobile. Replacement numerals for his device must be stored at a separate location, requiring considerable time to change the message displayed thereby. As compared to my simplified unit, the sign of Nash would cost considerably more to produce.
As will be apparent hereinafter in reference to the preferred embodiment of my invention, the lattering system of Patent No. 1,971,738 of Wenar is not satisfactory for the purposes stated herein because the cards will fall out if the sign is turned upside down, only the top row of cards can be easily inserted and the cards cannot be removed from the front.
The sign disclosed by Hamilton, like that of Nash, also requires a separate storage area for interchangeable characters, since it is not designed to support a large plurality of rearrangeable characters thereon. The construction of Hamiltons sign is much more elaborate than my unit, and will not permit the rough treatment that I have found to be desirable in such a device.
None of the foregoing patents taught or recognized that an improved and simplified display unit could be quite easily constructed from flat sheet material composition with a single step required in the construction.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION More specifically defined, my invention is a novel sign panel system or changeable-display unit comprising a sign panel for displaying on the face thereof a visual or written message to the public. The panel has on its face a substantially large plurality of reversible inscribed cards with the cards uniformly arranged in stacks that are securelyretained against the display surface of the panel. The
stacks of cards are retained upon the panel in a manner that permits the cards in any given stack to be rearranged as desired to change the message on the panel. The means of retaining the cards to the panel is simple but uniquely capable of preventing the cards from becoming lost or disarranged when the panel is moved about from place to place.
The specific inventive concept embodied in my invention will be best understood when considered in reference to its primary purpose. The novel display sign unit that I present as my invention is intended primarily for use in conjunction with the sale of automobiles. The panel is to be placed with its lower edge upon the ledge above the dashboard of an automobile, with its display surface adjacent the inside surface of the windshield so that it can be easily seen by a person standing away from the vehicle and facing generally toward the front end thereof.
The sign unit is deliberately constructed so that it may be readily withdrawn from its position upon the shelf or ledge above the dashboard in a car without danger of disrupting the information thereon.
The message on the face of the sign can then be quite easily changed by rearranging the order of the cards in each stack, mounted on the face of the panel, thus changing the characters or words on the outer visible surface of the stack. Then the sign can be reinstalled to its original display position adjacent the inner side of the windshield, or it may be moved for display within a different automobile to be sold.
The inventive concept of the display unit is thus the combination of highly flexible very thin cards held in groups in a unique manner on a panel together with a unique integral means for retaining and positioning the sign either inside or outside of a car. The employment of the special holding means of my invention allows the use of very thin resilient character cards on the panel.
My invention resides in the construction, arrangement, and combination of the various parts of my rearrangeable display sign unit whereby the objectives and features contemplated are attained as hereinafter fully described and as specifically set forth in the appended claims. The construction and various advantages of the preferred embodiment of my invention and modifications thereof will be best understood from the ensuing detailed description when read with reference to the accompanying drawing wherein like reference numerals denote like parts and in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a front elevational view of the display panel of a preferred embodiment of my invention as shown in a display position;
FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view of a preferred embodiment of my invention with the information cards in place on the display panel shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a horizontal section taken on lines IIIIII of FIGURE 1 and partially cut away;
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged view of one corner of the device shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is a schematic showing of a display sign in accordance with my invention in position in and out of an automobile.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS There is shown in FIGURE 5 an automobile having a front glass window or windshield and an interiorly mounted downward-extending rear view mirror 10!). In accordance with the preferred embodiment 12 of my selfcontained display system unit, it is mounted adjacent the inner surface of the window and includes a display panel 14 with removably-separate card stacks 16 which are uniformly positioned against the display surface 14b of the panel 14 in a recessed manner.
As shown particularly in FIGURES 1 and 2, the means of retaining each stack 16 against the display surface 14b comprises slots 18 in the panel 16, and respective card ends extend through the slots 18 opening through the body of panel 14.
In the preferred embodiment of my invention, the panel 14 is rounded cornered rectangular piece of molded plastic material such as acrylonitrite butadienne-styrene. The thickness of the panel 14 need only be that which is required to enable it to remain stationarily upright in its display position.
The plurality of cards 16a (see FIGURE 4) utilized in each stack 16 are of rectangular configuration and may be of the same basic material composition as the panel 14, but the thickness of each card 16a is exceedingly less than that of the panel 14. The thickness of one of the cards 16 may be very thin, approximately fifteen to twenty-five thousandths of an inch as compared to an approximate thickness of /6 of an inch for the panel 14. By using the very thin cards, as many as thirty to fifty may be used in a single stack without making the total weight of the unit prohibitive.
Each card 16a has a word, number, letter or phrase printed or inscribed on both flat surfaces thereof. Thus, the order of the cards 16 in each stack may be deliberately rearranged and any card therein may be reversed in order to transform the message displayed on the face of panel 14.
In the preferred embodiment of my invention, the number of cards 16 employed in a given stack is such that their total thickness is only slightly less than the depth of the slots. Thus the corners of the cards are supported a substantial distance from their edges or corners by the unique configuration of my invention so that their distance of flexure is greatly reduced when the sign is turned face down. In the preferred embodiment of my invention, a stack of cards 16 containing therein a separate card surface for the name of each automobile brand name may include as many as twenty cards, thus allowing the listing of forty or more brand names and other information. Since in the price card stacks each card will bear two interchangeable numerals, from zero through nine, on the respective surfaces thereof, five cards can cover the ten digits, thirteen cards can cover all the letters in the alphabet, and the other cards can be used for additional information.
As shown in FIGURE 1, my display unit 12 includes, with the retaining slots 18, indentations to maintain the cards 16 in each stack in alignment with other cards in the stack, and in the intended uniform position relative to the face of the panel 14.
It should be understood that the aesthetic effect or appearance of the unit as shown in FIGURE 1 can be improved by proper selection of colors, paints, or ink, on the surface of the cards. Luminescent paint or other means of highlighting the imprintation on the cards can be employed, and the background color on the face of the cards and the display face of the panel can be such that the retaining cards will blend therewith and not be conspicuously visible to the viewer.
As shown in FIGURE 5, the preferred embodiment of my display unit is specifically designed for advertising to the public the list price of a new or used automobile. The unit 12 is deliberately constructed so that it can be easily slipped into position with its lower edge resting on the ledge above the dashboard or control panel of a car.
The rear view mirror, which is commonly mounted near the top edge of the windshield of an automobile to extend downwardly for a short distance, serves as an upper support to maintain the panel 14 of the unit 12 erect and in substantially parallel alignment with the inner surface of the windshield, by engaging the support groove or notch 22 in the top of the panel 14.
In accordance with the preferred embodiment of my invention, I provide a rubber tipped, spring loaded to the closed position, hinged support rod 27. This rod is hinged to the back of the sign midway between the ends thereof and approximately a distance one-third longer than its length above the bottom edge of the sign. I have found that with such an arrangement the sign may be readily propped both outside and inside of a car windshield with the same support rod 27. On the outside, the rod 27 holds the sign away from the sloping windshield in an upright manner and inside the car the support rod 27 rests on the dash when the car mirror arm is too high to engage the support groove in the top edge of the sign.
The entire unit 12 can be easily removed from its position adjacent the car windshield by swinging a front door open on either side of the car. Any given stack 16 may be removed from the panel inserting a finger in the finger grooves 24 and pulling the cards out. The cards in the stack may then be rearranged, bringing to the top of the stack the card bearing the numeral or word selected to be displayed at the front of the stack. The stack may then be replaced against the display surface of the panel by bending the center of the cards outwardly and slipping the corners of the stack into position in the four slots surrounding each display region 14b.
A weather-proof composition for the parts of the combination is preferred since the unit is intended for outdoor as well as indoor locations. In this connection, the sign is provided with rubber nipples or nodes 26 on the lower edge and extending toward the rear past the lower rear edge of the panel. These nipples permit the sign to be placed outside the windshield with the wipers supporting the panel and the nipples protecting the car from scratching.
What I claim is:
1. A rearrangeable display sign unit comprising: a panel formed of a single piece of molded plastic material having a plurality of generally flat first indentations therein, said first indentations having substantially parallel sides and parallel ends and shortened corners, said shortened corners having slot-like openings therein, a stack of substantially rectangular thin flexible cards removably mounted in each of said first indentations with parts of the corners of each of said stacks extending through said openings in the corners of said first indentations, a plurality of finger receiving indentations in said panel contiguous to said first indentations whereby cards mounted in said first indentations may be removed therefrom, and spring loaded hinged support means attached to the back of said panel to support said panel in a substantially upright position.
2. A rearrangeable display unit as defined in claim 1 wherein: the outer edges of said panel are bent backward perpendicular to the main surface of said unit and a plurality of soft flexible pieces are located on the lower outer edge of said unit and extending back beyond the edge of said unit.
3. A rearrangeable display unit as defined in claim 2 wherein: an automobile windshield supports said sign from the rear and automobile windshield wipers hold said sign against said windshield.
4. A rearrangeable display unit as defined in claim 2 wherein: an automobile windshield is provided in front of said sign, said sign panel has a mirror open receiving groove in the top thereof, and a mirror arm engages said groove to hold said panel in place adjacent said windshield.
5. A rearrangeable display unit as defined in claim 4 wherein the indentations in said panel comprise an upper and a lower row of indentations, each of said rows comprising a horizontally elongated panel followed by four horizontally shortened panels, and each of said indentations contain at least ten cards.
6. Apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said support means comprises a support rod which is attached to the back of said sign approximately seven inches from the bottom edge of said sign and is of a length approximately four and one-half inches.
7. Apparatus as described in claim 6 wherein the length of said support rod bears a relationship to the distance which it i attached above the bottom edge of the sign approximately as a leg of a triangle bears to the hypotenuse of a triangle.
8. Apparatus as described in claim 11 wherein each of said thin flexible cards is between fifteen and twentyfive thousandths of an inch thick and the total thickness of said stacks is substantially equal to the thickness of said slot-like openings in the corners of said first indentations.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 823,008 6/1906 Vendig 40-5 X 2,288,570 6/ 1942 Mungen 40-63 2,336,196 12/1943 Sparling 40-154 X EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner WENCESLAO J. CONTRERAS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 40-63