US 3541714 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
v- 70 M. BRUCK. JR
DETACHABLY SECURED PANEL ASSEMBLY FOR MOUNTING A PICTURE OR THE LIKE Filed Jan. 22, 1969 0O 2 O .1 b ZZZ ZZZ T 3 w m m H INVENTOR, MARVIN [ESTER BRUCK JR. BY CW (3 ATTORNEY Patented Nov. 24, 1970 3,541,714 DETACHABLY SECURED PANEL ASSEMBLY FOR MOUNTING A PICTURE OR THE LIKE Marvin Lester Bruck, Jr., Westport, Conn., assignor to Bruck Industries, Inc., Westport, Conn., a corporation of Connecticut Filed Jan. 22, 1969, Ser. No. 793,017 Int. Cl. G09f 1/12 U..S. Cl. 40-156 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A panel assembly for mounting a flat article such as a photograph or other picture or document, including a rigid backing panel, a rigid transparent front panel superposed thereon, and a plurality of spring clips disposed around the perimeter of the assembly, each engaging edge portions of the two panels to hold them together. The picture to be mounted is placed between the two panels, facing the transparent panel. Each spring clip has a flange received in an outwardly slanting groove formed in the rear surface of the backing panel and parallel to an edge thereof; the clip extends outwardly and thence forwardly from the groove around the adjacent portions of the edges of the two panels, exerting oppositely directed spring forces against the outer side wall of the groove and the adjacent edge of the backing panel so that the clip is held fixed in position on the backing panel. Manual depression of a raised portion of the spring clip intermediate the groove and backing panel edge resiliently deforms the clip sufiiciently to relieve the spring forces and permit sliding movement of the clip along and ultimately out of the groove, for release and separation of the two panels. A hole may be provided in the raised portion of the clip to receive a picture hook or the like, for hanging the assembly on a wall.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to structures for detachably securing a stack or assembly of panels to each other in superposed facing relation. In an important specific sense, the invention is directed to detachably secured panel assemblies adapted to serve as mounts for pictures or the like.
As an alternative to a conventional picture frame, one convenient, economical and aesthetically pleasing type of mount for exhibiting and protecting an article such as a picture or document comprises a rigid backing panel and a glass or other transparent cover panel secured to each other in facing relation by small clips or brackets positioned at spaced localities around the perimeter of the panels. The article to be mounted is interposed between the two panels and pressed flat by them, being viewed through and protected by the glass cover panel. An eyelet or wire may be fastened to the rear of the backing panel to enable the mount to be hung on a Wall, e.g. by means of a conventional picture hook, nail or screw. Examples of articles that may be mounted in this way include photographs, etchings, prints and other pictorial or graphic representations on flat sheet material such as paper, thin cardboard, or cloth, as well as diplomas, certificates or other documents desired to be displayed.
The provision of satisfactory means for securing the backing and cover panels together in mounts of the type described above presents various problems. Clips or brackets used for this purpose should preferably be small and unobtrusive, so as not to interfere with the desired aesthetic effect of a plain unbordered transparent panel covering the mounted article. Also, they should be easily detachable by simple manipulations to facilitate separatron of the panels for removal or insertion of an article to be mounted. At the same time, it is important that the clips be ordinarily fixed inposition, and that they hold the panels securely together. If the clips are readily slidable along the edges of the mount, they maybe accidentally moved out of their desired positions by casual contact of a person or object with the mount; such displacement of the clips may detract from the appearance of the mount and may also reduce the effectiveness of the clips in holding the panels together. When the mount is hung on a wall in a vertical position, the entire weight of the cover panel is borne by the clip or clips positioned along the lower edge of the mounting; and if the clip or clips are not adequately secure, this load may cause them to become dislodged with the result that the cover panel and/ or the mounted article may fall from the backing panel.
One form of clip that may be used to hold the cover and backing panels together has portions respectively bearing against the rear surface of the backing panel and the front surface of the cover panel and exerting oppositely directed forces on these surfaces to clamp the two panels together. Such a clip does not positively engage the mount, but instead is held in place by friction. If the clamping force exerted by the clip is too light, the clip may slide or become otherwise dislodged; on the other hand, if the clamping force is excessive, the clip may be undesirably diflicult to detach, and the force may in some cases even create stresses in the glass cover panel suflicient to crack or break the glass.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention broadly contemplates the combination, in a panel assembly, of a rigid straight-edged backing panel having on its rear surface a groove, extending in adjacent but spaced parallel relation to one edge of the panel and opening through a second edge of the panel, the groove having outwardly slanting walls; and a spring clip mounted in the groove. The clip comprises a unitary strip of stiffiy resilient material having flat surfaces bent at plural localities perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the strip to form a first leg extending outwardly from the groove to the adjacent edge of the backing panel across the rear surface of the panel and having a raised portion spaced rearwardly from the rear surface; a first flange projecting forwardly and outwardly from the inner end of the first leg in slanting relation thereto, being received in the groove and having a thickness less than the width of the groove; a second leg projecting forward from the outer end of the first leg across and beyond the aforementioned panel edge; and a second flange projecting inwardly from the forward end of the second leg in forwardly spaced relation to the backing panel and cooperating therewith to define a channel for holding an edge of a second panel positioned in superposed facing relation to the front surface of the backing panel.
The first flange ,bears against the outer wall of the groove, while the second leg bears against the adjacent edge of the backing panel, the first flange and second leg exerting cooperating oppositely directed spring forces against the outer groove wall and the backing panel edge respectively so as to hold the clip fixed in position on the backing panel. The clip is resiliently deformable by manual pressure on the raised portion of its first leg for relieving the spring forces to permit sliding movement of the clip along and ultimately out of the groove.
It is to be understood that the terms rear and rearward as used herein refer to the direction away from the second panel and toward the backing panel, while the terms front and forward as used herein refer to the direction away from the backing panel and toward the second panel. The terms outer and outward refer to the direction away from the center of the panel assembly toward the edges thereof, while the terms inner and inward refer to the direction away from the edges of the assembly and toward its center.
In an illustrative embodiment of the invention, the backing panel and second panel are each rectangular and are identical to each other in dimensions and configuration. In such a structure, a pair of the described spring clips, respectively engaging opposite edge portions of the panels and respectively mounted in grooves extending along opposite edges of the backing panel, will serve to hold the second panel in the desired superposed facing relation to the backing panel. However, it is preferred to provide a groove extending parallel to each of the four edges of the backing panel, and to mount at least one spring clip in each of these grooves, so that the panels are secured together at each of their four edges.
To constitute the structure as a mount for a picture, document or like article, the second panel is fabricated of glass or other suitably rigid transparent material, and the article to be mounted is interposed between the two panels, being viewed through and protected by the second panel. Since the clips are secured by clamping spring forces exerted on opposed (groove and edge) surfaces of the backing panel, no clamping force at all need be exerted against the second panel to hold it in place, and thus the second panel is not subjected to excessive pressure at the localities of its engagement with the clips.
The clamping spring force exerted by each clip against groove and edge portions of the backing panel is fully adequate to hold the clip fixed in position against undesired sliding movement or other dislocation. However, when it is desired to detach the clip, manual depression of the raised portion of the first leg of the clip relieves the spring forces so as to enable the clip to be moved easily by sliding along the groove to the open end of the groove, and the clip is then simply withdrawn from the backing panel through the open end of the groove. When the clips are removed in this manner, the panels are separable to permit insertion or removal of the picture or other article.
Moreover, the disposition of the first clip flange in an outwardly slanting groove, and the projection of the second flange over an edge portion of the second panel, provides positive engagement of the clip with the panel assembly, preventing accidental dislodgement of the clip.
Further in accordance with the invention, a hole or opening may be provided in the raised portion of one or all of the clips for receiving a picture hook or like projection enabling the panel assembly to be hung on the wall. In other words, the clip of the invention serves in such case both as a means for hanging the panel assembly and as a means for holding the panels together. The effectively hooked engagement of the first flange of the clip with its associated groove in the backing panel permits such use of the clip as a hanging means without any possibility that the panel assembly may slip from the clip.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partly broken away, of a picture mount embodying the present invention in a particular form;
FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the mount of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 33 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of one of the spring clips of the mount of FIG. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Referring to the drawing, the invention in its illustrated embodiment includes a rigid rectangular backing panel 10, e.g. fabricated of fiberboard, wood, or plastic, and a glass or like substantially rigid transparent cover panel 11, also rectangular in shape and having a length and width respectively identical to the corresponding dimensions of the backing panel. The cover panel 11 is positioned in superposed facing relation to the backing panel 10, so that its edges are coplanar with the corresponding edges of the backing panel, and is secured in such relation to the backing panel by four spring clips 12 respectively disposed at central localities of each of the four edges of the mount.
Between the two panels, there is positioned a flat sheet article 14, for example a photograph, to be viewed through and protected by the transparent cover panel 11. While the picture or sheet article 14 is shown as extending to the edges of the mount, it may be smaller in length and/ or width than the mount, and in such case a decorative mat (not shown) may be interposed between the article 14 and the backing panel to provide a border around the article. The article is pressed flat and held between the two panels 10 and L1.
As particularly shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, a groove 16 is cut into the rear surface of the backing panel 10, adjacent to but spaced from the top edge 18 of the panel. This groove extends, in parallel relation to the panel edge 18, across the full width of the rear surface of the panel, from the side edge 19 to the side edge 20 of the backing panel, and the opposite ends of this groove respectively open through the two side edges 19 and 20. Throughout the full length of the groove, the inner and outer walls of the groove (respectively designated 22 and 23) slant outwardly toward the panel edge 18, i.e. forming an outwardly opening acute angle with the rear surface of the panel 10.
Similar outwardly slanting grooves 25, 26 and 27 extend along the rear surface of the panel 10 in adjacent but spaced parallel relation to the side edges 19 and 20 and the bottom edge 28 of the panel, respectively. Each of the grooves 25 and 26 extends to,and opens through, the top and bottom panel edges 18 and 28, while the groove 27 (like groove 16) extends to and opens through the side edges 19' and 20 of the panel.
The spring clip 12 mounted in the groove 16 comprises a unitary strip of stiflly resilient material (e.g. steel, or a suitable plastic) having flat surfaces bent at plural localities perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the strip. As thus bent, the clip includes a first leg 30 extending from the groove .16 outwardly across the rear surface of the panel 10 to the upper edge 18 of the panel. Intermediate the groove 16 and edge 18, the leg 30 is bent successively rearwardly, outwardly, forwardly, and again outwardly, so as to provide in the leg a central raised portion 32 spaced substantially rearwardly from the rear surface of the panel 10.
At its inner end, the leg 30* is bent to form a flange 34 which slants forwardly and outwardly with respect to the leg 30 and is received in the groove 16. This flange bears against the outer wall 23 of the groove. The thickness of the flange 34 is somewhat less than the width of the groove 16, so that as shown in FIG. 3, when the flange 34 bears against the groove wall 23, there is a space or clearance between the flange and the inner groove wall 22.
At the outer end of the first leg 30, the clip 12 is bent forwardly to form a second leg 36 which extends perpendicularly forward from the first leg 30 across the backing panel edge 18 and the corresponding top edge of the cover panel 11. This leg 36 bears against the top edge 18 of the panel 10. At its forward extremity, leg 36 is bent perpendicularly inward to form a second flange 38 which projects inwardly in forwardly spaced relation to the backing panel 10 and cooperates therewith to define a channel for receiving and holding the top edge of the cover panel 11.
The clip 12 is so formed that in its unstressed condition, the minimum distance between the first flange 34 and the second leg 36 is slightly less than the minimum distance between the portion of groove wall 23 engaged by flange 34, and the top edge 18 of the channel 10. Thus, when the spring clip 12 is mounted on the backing panel in the position shown in FIG. 3, with the flange 34 received in groove 16 and the leg 36 bearing against edge 18, the flange 34 and leg 36 are necessarily spread apart to some extent from their unstressed positions relative to each other; i.e. the spring clip is resiliently deformed as thus mounted so that oppositely directed restoring or spring forces are respectively exerted by flange 34 and leg 36 against the groove wall 23 and the panel edge 18. These oppositely directed spring forces, acting on opposed surfaces of the backing panel, clamp the spring clip securely in fixed position on the backing panel and thereby prevent sliding or other movement of the spring clip relative to the backing panel.
The raised central portion 32 of the spring clip leg 30 may be depressed forwardly (i.e. toward the rear surface of panel as indicated by arrow 40, by pres sure of a finger. Such pressure on the raised central portion 32 increases the resilient deformation of the spring clip, spreading the flange 34 and leg 36 slightly further apart relative to each other, this deformation being accommodated by the width of groove 16 which, as stated, is somewhat greater than the thickness of flange 34. In other words, manual pressure in the direction 40 on the spring clip portion 32 tends to move the flange 34 away from bearing engagement with the outer groove wall 23, and relieves the oppositely directed spring forces exerted by the clip on the groove wall 23 and the panel edge 18, sufficiently to permit the spring clip 12 to be slid readily along the groove 16 by means of the fingers. With pressure maintained on the raised portion 32, the spring clip 12 may be easily slid along the groove 16 to either open end thereof, and then removed from the groove through such open end, for detachment of the spring clip from the panels.
To facilitate relief of the clamping or spring forces of the clip by pressure on the portion 32, the clip may be so dimensioned that the entire extent of leg 30 is spaced slightly rearwardly from the rear surface of the panel 10, also as shown in FIG. 3.
After the clip has been removed from the panel 10, it may be replaced on the panel by reinserting the flange 34 in the groove 16 and, with pressure maintained on the raised portion 32, the clip is slid along the groove 16 to its desired position at a central locality of the top panel edge 18. Finger pressure is then removed from the raised portion 32, and the clip once again clamps against the groove wall 23 and panel edge 18, being thus once more fixed in position on the panel 10.
Three further spring clips 12, identical in structure and operation to the clip just described, are respectively mounted in the three grooves 25, 26 and 27. Each of these clips may be removed from the panel 10 in the described manner by pressure on the raised central portion of the first leg of the clip and sliding movement of the clip along the groove in which it is mounted, to and through either open end of such groove. When all four clips are removed, the panels 10 and 11 are completely detached from each other and may be separated to permit removal and/or insertion of an article 14 to be mounted. When the four clips 12 are returned to their illustrated positions, mounted on the panel assembly, they hold the two panels 10 and 11 securely together, with the sheet article 14 mounted between them.
Since each of the spring clips 12 is held in position by oppositely directed clamping or spring forces respectively exerted against a wall of a groove in the panel 10 and an adjacent edge of the panel 10, secure fixed position of the clips does not require exertion of any pressure against the transparent cover panel 11, that panel being held in the desired fixed facing relation to the panel 10 by the interfering engagement of the flanges 38 of the four spring clips 12 with central portions of the four edges of panel 11.
It will be further appreciated that since the outwardly slanting flange 34 of each spring clip effectively serves as a hook engaging the outwardly slanting groove in which it is received, each spring clip 12 is positively engaged with the panel assembly and cannot be slipped off the assembly by outward movement relative to the panels or rearward movement relative to the panels. This hooking engagement of each spring clip flange 34 with an associated groove of the panel 10 permits the top one of the spring clips 12 to be used as a fastening means for connecting the panel assembly to a picture hook, nail, screw, or like projection secured to a vertical wall, for hanging the panel assembly on the wall. To this end, as particularly shown in FIG. 4, there may be provided a suitable opening 42 in the raised central portion 32 of the top one of spring clips 12. The opening 42 is illustrated as being of keyhole shape, with the narrow portion of the keyhole directed outwardly, so that a screw head (for example) may be inserted through the large portion of the keyhole, and the narrow portion of the keyhole then may he slipped downwardly over the neck of the screw behind the head, thereby to hang the panel assembly securely on the screw mounted in a vertical wall. To permit the panel assembly to be thus hung on a wall in any of four orientations, each of the spring clips 12 may be provided with a similar opening 42 in its central portion. The spacing of the central portion 32 from the rear surface of the panel 10 accommodates the head of the screw or other projection extending through opening 42.
While the invention has been described as embodied in a mount for a picture, document or the like, having a transparent cover panel 11, it may be employed in other embodiments to provide an assembly of panels detachably secured in facing relation. For example, the panel 11 may itself bear a picture, ornamental design, graphic illustration, or description, and the panel 10 may simply be used as a backing and support therefor (e.g. to facilitate hanging of such panel :11 on a wall), with no picture or other article 14 interposed between the two panels.
1. In a panel assembly, in combination,
(a) a rigid straight-edged backing panel having on its rear surface a groove, extending in adjacent but spaced parallel relation to one edge of the panel and opening through a second edge of the panel, said groove having outwardly slanting walls; and
(b) a spring clip, mounted in said groove and comprising a unitary strip of stitiiy resilient material having flat surfaces bent at plural localities perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of said strip to form (i) a first leg extending outwardly from said groove to said one edge across said rear surface and having a raised portion spaced rearwardly from said rear surface;
(ii) a first flange projecting forwardly and outwardly from the inner end of said first leg in slanting relation thereto, said first flange being received in said groove and having a thickness less than the width of said groove and bearing against the outer wall of said grove;
(iii) a second leg projecting forward from the outer end of said first leg across and beyond said one edge and bearing against said one edge, said first flange and said second leg exerting cooperating oppositely directed spring forces against said outer groove wall and said one edge respectively for holding said clip fixed in position on said backing panel, said clip being resiliently deformable by manual pressure on said raised portion for relieving said spring forces to permit sliding movement of said clip along said groove; and
(iv) a second flange projecting inwardly from the forward end of said second leg in forwardly spaced relation to said backing panel and cooperating therewith to define a channel for holding an edge of a second panel positioned in superposed facing relation to the front surface of said backing panel.
2. A panel assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein said backing panel has on its rear surface at least a second groove extending in adjacent but spaced parallel relation to an edge of said backing panel opposite to said one edge, opening through at least one other edge of said backing panel and having outwardly slanting walls, said assembly further including a. second spring clip mounted in said second groove and identical to said one clip.
3. A panel assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein said backing panel has on its rear surface a plurality of additional grooves respectively extending in adjacent but spaced parallel relation to each edge of said backing panel other than said one edge, each of said additional grooves opening through an edge of said backing panel and having outwardly slanting walls, said assembly further including a plurality of additional spring clips at least equal in number to said additional grooves, respectively mounted in said additional grooves and each identical to said one clip. 1
4. A panel assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein said raised portion of said one clip has an opening for receiving a projecting element to support said assembly on a vertical surface to which the projecting element is secured.
5. A panel assembly as defined in claim ,1, further including a substantially rigid transparent front panel 8 positioned in superposed facing relation to the front surface of said backing panel and having an edge received in said channel, said backing panel and front panel being adapted to support a flat sheet interposed between them for viewing through said front panel.
6. A panel assembly as defined in claim 5, wherein said backing panel and said front panel are rectangles substantially identical to each other in dimensions and configuration, wherein said backing panel has on its rear surface three additional grooves respectively extending in adjacent but spaced parallel relation to each edge of said backing panel other than said one edge, each of said grooves opening at each end through an edge of said backing panel and having outwardly slanting walls, said assembly further including three additional spring clips respectively mounted in said additional grooves and each identical to said one clip, each of said clips having in its raised portion an opening for receiving a projecting element to support said assembly on a vertical surface to which the projecting element is secured.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,281,054 4/1942 Smith 156 2,656,632 10/1953 Detje 40-156 3,003,272 10/1961 Kulicke 40-155 3,425,147 2/1969 Marx 40-155 EUGENE R. CAPOZIO, Primary Examiner W. I. CONTRERAS, Assistant Examiner