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Publication numberUS3565381 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 23, 1971
Filing dateOct 21, 1968
Priority dateOct 21, 1968
Publication numberUS 3565381 A, US 3565381A, US-A-3565381, US3565381 A, US3565381A
InventorsEarl J Oliver
Original AssigneeEarl J Oliver
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bracket structure
US 3565381 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,199,822 8/1965 Ruhnke 248/250 3,355,134 11/1967 Chesley 248/250 FOREIGN PATENTS 231,650 6/1963 Austria 248/243 779,813 3/1968 Canada 211/176 383,576 l/1965 Switzerland.

Primary ExaminerMarion Parsons, Jr. Attorney-Gardner & Zimmerman ABSTRACT: Shelf structure of the type used in supermarkets and other retail outlets for merchandise display. The shelf structure includes a bracket equipped with hooks at an end thereof adapted to be inserted through openings provided therefor along an upright column secured to a generally vertical support wall, and which column has a sequence of vertically spaced openings adapted to receive such hooks therein to support a shelf at selected elevations. Fasteners removably mounted upon the bracket secure such shelf thereto. The shelf extends between and is carried by a pair of spaced apart brackets respectively mounted upon a pair of such upwardly extending columns.

[72] inventor EarlJ. Oliver 555 Montague Ave., San Leandro, Calif. 94577 [21] AppLNo. 768,989 [22] Filed 0ct.21, 1968 [45] Patented Feb. 23, 1971 [54]- BRACKETSTRUCTURE 7 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.

[52] U.S.CI 248/243, 248/250 [51] 1nt.Cl A47f5/04 [50] FieidofSearch 248/243, 250, 223,407,408,161;l08/106,107,108; 312/351;211/176 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 857,543 6/1907 Thomas 248/243 2,531,251 11/1950 Bruno..... 211/176 2,971,657 2/1961 Zadek 248/250 3,054,511 9/1962 Erismann 248/243 59 49 18a 4 i l l f" Tf 60 t] 51 52 41 NE 7' Plait. j.

27' a i0 -U 129 PATEN TED FEB23 l9?! m T N E V W BY 8M1 d. Glivar W ba -4A0- ATTORNEYS BRACKET srsuc'runs This invention relates to shelf structure and, more particu-' larly, to shelf structure especially suited for use in merchandise displays such as those presented in supermarkets, drug stores and similar retail outlets.

In environments of the type noted, generally vertical support walls are usually provided along the sidewalls of the room space in which such retail outlet is located and also on piers or islands disposed at appropriate locations along the floor of such room space, and such support walls are adapted to carry a plurality of shelves upon which merchandise is displayed. In the usual instance, upright columns each having a sequence of slots or openings therein oriented in spaced vertical relation are secured to such support walls at spaced locations therealong and provide a mounting for brackets each equipped with a plurality of hooks insertable into such openings to support the bracket at predetermined or selected elevations. A pair of such brackets has a shelf extending therebetween and supports the same either directly or indirectly through fastener devices that connect such shelf to the brackets. It a has been found that there is considerable variation in the distance between the vertically spaced openings in the upright column from installation to installation and, consequently, it is difficult to provide a bracket which can accommodate such variation'and thereby'be usable with substantially all uprights irrespective of the distance between the vertically spaced openings therealong.

In view of the foregoing, an object, among others, of the present invention is to provide an improved shelf structure able to quickly and easily, substantially automatically, accommodate such disparities or differences in the distance between successive openings in sequence thereof along a vertical column adapted to have shelf brackets mounted thereon. Another object of the invention is that of providing shelf structure comprising a bracket equipped with a fixedly located hook and having an adjustable latch movably supported thereon which is spring-biased in one direction so as to automatically grip a vertical column upon which the bracket is mounted; such latch being displaceable against the biasing force of the spring to any incremental position necessary to effect alignment of a hook carried thereby with such opening in a vertical column. Still another object is that of providing a bracket of the character described having an automatic camming or wedging action to tightly secure the bracket to such vertical column when mounted thereon.

Yet another object is in the provision of shelf structure as indicated having fasteners of improved character adapted to secure a shelf to a bracket, and which fasteners cooperate with an associated bracket to constrain a shelf mounted thereon from longitudinal or horizontal displacements relative thereto. Additional objects and advantages, especially as concerns particular features and characteristics of the invention, will become apparent as the specification develops.

Embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a broken perspective view illustrating shelf structure embodying the invention in position along a support wall therefor;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, side view in elevation of the shelf structure, the support wall and upright column mounted thereon being shown in section;

FIG. 3 is a further enlarged, broken transverse sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a broken perspective view illustrating the bracket and latch in spaced apart relation;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one of the fasteners used to secure a wire shelf to one of the brackets; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing another bracket used for this purpose.

The shelf structure of the present invention is adapted to be supported along a generally vertical wall therefor such as the upright wall of a pier or island upon which merchandise is displayed in a grocery store or other retail outlet. Such a generally vertical support wall is shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 and is denoted in general with the numeral 10. Mounted upon the wall 10 along at least one side thereof are a pair of generally vertical channel-shaped columns or uprights 11 and 12 which may be secured to the wall 10 by any suitable means, as for example, by a plurality of screws 13 and 14 respectively associated therewith.

Each column is provided with a sequence of vertically spaced openings therealong, and it will be observed that the column 11 has one row of such openings respectively denoted with the numeral 15 and that the column 12 has two transversely spaced parallel rows of openings respectively denoted with the numerals 16 and 17. The columns 11 and 12 are essentially the sameexcept that the column 12 is about twice the width of the column 11 and is intended for use in those instances in which a plurality of individual shelves are disposed in side-by-side adjacency and may support articles which are too heavy to be carried by a single bracket, as will be described hereinafter.

The shelf structure illustrated comprises a pair of brackets 18a and 18b which are identical and, accordingly, only one will be described in detail. Referring to FIG. 2 in particular, the bracket 18a is seen to be elongated in a direction substantially normal to the plane of the wall 10 or in a generally horizontal direction. Adjacent its rear end, the bracket is equipped with a hook or hook-shaped extension or tongue 19 adapted to extend through one of the openings 15 in the associated channel and interlockingly engage the same,-as illustrated. Also extensible through another opening 15 in the channel 11 is a hook or hook-shaped tongue or extension 20 provided by a latch21 movably carried by the bracket 18a for generally vertical displacements with respect thereto.

More particularly in this respect, the bracket 18a is provided with a pair of longitudinally spaced slots 22 and 23, the latter of which is slightly longer than the former (see FIG. 4). The slots 22 and 23 are substantially parallel, are disposed adjacent the rear end portion of the bracket, and are generally normal to the upper edge 24 of the bracket, as is most evident in FIG. 2. The latch 21 (see FIG. 3 in particular) is somewhat U-shaped in cross section throughout the central portion thereof to provide spaced legs 25 and 26 that respectively extend through the openings 22 and 23, and interconnecting the legs along one side of the bracket is a central panel or latch section 27 slidable along the facing surface of the bracket. Slidable along the opposite face of the bracket are a pair of end panels or latch sections 28 and 29 respectively connected with the legs 25 and 26. The end panel 29 terminates in the aforementioned hook 20, as shown in FIG. 2.

The latch 21 is resiliently biased upwardly toward the book 19 or upper edge 24 of the bracket 18a by a spring which in the embodiment illustrated takes the form of an elongated spring wire 30 secured along one end portion thereof to the bracket by means of a pair of clips or fingers 31 and 32 struck therefrom in opposite directions, and secured at its opposite end portion to the latch 21 by means of a clip or finger 33 struck from the central panel 27 of the latch. It will be observed in FIG. 2 that the hooks l9 and 20 are oppositely oriented and in'the fonn shown face each other, wherefore the spring 30 acting against the latch 21 forces the hooks toward each other. The uppermost position which the spring 30 can enforce upon the latch 21 is defined by abutment of the upper ends 34 and 35 of the legs 25 and 26 with the respectively associated termini of the slots 22 and 23.

Along the rear edge 36 of the bracket 18a it is provided with a stop or abutment 37 projecting outwardly therefrom in the same direction as that of the book 19, and such abutment is adapted to engage the forward face of the column 11 so as to establish a predetermined position of the bracket with respect thereto. It may be noted that the edges of the hooks 19 and 20 which respectively face the rear surface of the channel 11 are inclined or angle slightly so as to accommodate channels having a forward wall or face of various thickness while still confining the same tightly against the abutment 37. In this same reference, the latch 21 has an inclined or cam edge 38 also adapted to engage the forward wall of the column 11 so as to wedge the latch tightly thereagainst when the bracket is secured in position along the column 11, as shown in FIG. 2 and as will be described further hereinafter.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a pair of transversely spaced brackets are used to support a shelf 39 thereon, and which shelf in the form shown is a wire shelf constituted of a plurality of longitudinally extending wires spaced apart transversely and rigidified by transverse components extending therebetween and secured thereto. The shelf may be turned upwardly at its outer end (as shown at 40) to retain merchandise supported thereon. The shelf is secured to the brackets by means of a plurality of fasteners or clips which may all be identical or may vary somewhat depending upon whether more than one shelf is to be supported by any particular bracket. Two different types of fasteners are illustrated in FIG. 1, and in FIGS. and 6, and they are respectively denoted with the numerals 41 and 42. The essential difference between the two fasteners 41 and 42 is that the first is intended for use at an end of a pier or island or at an intermediate location at which only one shelf is supported by a bracket, and the fastener 42 is equipped to connect two successive shelves to a common bracket for support thereby.

The fastener 41 is folded upon itself to provide spaced apart spring or gripper legs adapted to frictionally engage the relatively thin, generally planar bracket 18 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; and such gripper legs are defined by a generally planar leg 43 that is substantially continuous from end to end thereof, and by a pair of gripper legs 44 and 45 respectively located adjacent the opposite end portions of the leg 43 for cooperation therewith. The continuous leg 43 together with the spaced apart legs 44 and 45 are adapted to slidably receive a bracket 18 therebetween, and because of the inherent resilience of the spring legs they frictionally grip such bracket to maintain the fastener thereon.

The fastener 41 is also provided with ledge structure adapted to receive and support a portion of the shelf 39 thereon, and such ledge structure takes the form of a pair of longitudinally spaced and transversely extending support fingers 47 and 48 that are generally normal to the plane of the leg 43. Disposed above the fingers 47 and 48 intermediate the same is a locking finger 49 having a downwardly curved end adapted to be deformed over the underlying edge of a shelf supported upon the fingers 47 and 48 so as to lock the shelf thereto, as shown in FIG. 1. It will be evident that all of the elements of the fastener 41 are integral, and that the fastener is formed from a single rectangular blank from which the fingers 47, 48 and 49 are struck, and which is bent into the generally U-shaped configuration shown to define the gripper legs 43, 44 and 45.

The fastener 42 is similarly formed from a rectangular blank and is substantially the same as the fastener 41 except that the uninterrupted leg 43 thereof has an additional pair of support fingers and an additional gripper finger struck therefrom so as to enable the fastener 42 to receive two successive shelves and connect the same to a single bracket. Thus, at one end of the fastener 42 has spaced apart spring or gripper legs 50 and 51 and, at its opposite end, spaced apart spring or gripper legs 52 and 53 which are adapted to receive a bracket 18 therebetween and grippingly engage the same, as shown in FIG. 1. Along one side thereof, the fastener 42 has ledge structure defined by spaced apart support fingers 54 and 55 which cooperate with a locking finger 56 in securing a shelf thereto; and along its opposite side, the fastener has spaced apart support fingers 57 and 58 and a locking finger 59 cooperative therewith for securing another shelf thereto.

It may be observed that each bracket 18 is provided adjacent the outer end thereof with a stop 60 adapted to be engaged by an edge of the fastener 41 to prevent it from being slidably removed from the bracket by limiting its movement therealong in the outward longitudinal direction. For a similar purpose, each bracket 18 is provided intermediate the ends thereof with a stop 61 adapted to be engaged by an edge of the fastener 41 associated therewith to prevent it from being moved outwardly along the bracket beyond the point of abutment of the fastener with the stop. The fastener associated with the stop 61 is also constrained against longitudinal displacements in the opposite direction by substantial abutment with the free edge of the panel 28 of the latch 21.

As a result of such arrangement, any shelf 39 supported by a pair of fasteners 41 (or 42) is constrained thereby in their cooperative relation with the associated bracket 18 against longitudinal displacements therealong. In this same reference, the shelf 39 is constrained against longitudinal displacements relative to the fasteners 41 (or 42) in one direction by substantial abutment of the inner terminal edge 62 of the shelf with the support wall 10, and in the opposite direction by substantial abutment of a transversely bent stop 63 along each transverse edge thereof with the locking finger 49 (or one of the fingers 56 or 59) of the adjacent fastener.

In use of the shelf structure, the order of interconnection of the various components thereof is not critical but, ordinarily, a pair of brackets 18 first will be secured to a vertical column attached to the face of a support wall 10, and this is accomplished by inserting the upper hook 14 of each bracket through an opening 15 in the vertical column 11 or 12 at the desired elevation. The lower hook 20 carried by the latch 21 is then inserted through another opening 15, and upon release of the latch it is displaced upwardly by the biasing force of the spring 30 until it engages the edge defining the opening 15 in which it is positioned. As explained hereinbefore, the abutment 37 together with the inclined edges of the hooks 19 and 20 and camming edge 38 of the latch 21 assures a tight, and substantially fixed or relatively rigid interconnection of the bracket with the column.

It will be evident that each bracket 18 automatically accommodates spaced openings 15 in a vertical column irrespective of the precise distance between the successive openings in a sequence thereof since the latch 21 slidably engages the associated bracket 18 through a substantial extent, thereby enabling the latch to be displaced downwardly through a considerable distance, if necessary, to effect such alignment of the lower book 20 with an opening 15.

Next, fasteners 41 and 42 or a combination thereof (as necessitated by any particular installation) are secured to a shelf 39, and are then displaced downwardly into gripping engagement with brackets 18, the rearrnost fastener aligned between the latch 21 and abutment 61 and the forward fastener positioned generally adjacent the stop 60. After the fasteners have been so mounted upon the respectively associated brackets, the forward fasteners can be displaced forwardly to bring them into abutment with the stops 60. If a pair of adjacent shelves are to be secured to a single bracket 18, the fasteners 42 are used rather than the fasteners 41; and in those instances where a double column 12 is required, a pair of brackets will be disposed in side-by-side adjacency and the fasteners 41 used thereat.

The brackets 18 including the latches 21 thereof and the fasteners 41 and 42 are all metal stampings and are, therefore, inexpensively fabricated. The wire shelf 39 may be formed by conventional wire bending and spot welding techniques, and the columns 11 and 12 may be conventional metal channels of generally U-shaped configuration in cross section, as is most evident in FIG. 3. Where necessary, each column may be provided at the upper end thereof with a hanger adapted to overlie :1 horizontal beam or stringer disposed along the upper edge of the divider wall of an island or pier, and which stringer affords adequate support to carry the weight of the shelving and products displayed thereon, whereas in certain instances the support walls 10 of such islands lack the requisite strength.

While in the foregoing specification embodiments of the invention have been set forth in considerable detail for purposes of making a complete disclosure thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous changes may be made in such details without departing from the spirit and principles of the invention.

I lclaim:

l. Bracket structure adapted ,to column having a sequence of vertically spaced openings provided therefor so as to secure a support shelf to such column at a selected elevation therealong, comprising a. bracket equipped at the rear end thereof with a .hook extensible through one such opening to attach the bracket to such column, a latch carried by said bracke't'for generally vertical displacements relative thereto and being equipped at the rear end thereof with a hook extensible through another opening in such column to further attach the bracket thereto, a spring structure connected with said bracket and latch and operative therebetween to bias the latter in a direction to cause the hook thereof to lockingly engage such column along the associated opening through which it extends, saidbracket being provided with a vertically extending slot,- said latch extending through said slot and being slidable therealong and being urged in the aforesaid direction by the biasing force of said-spring structure toward a limiting position and being displaceable thereagainst in the opposite direction, said bracket being provided with a pair of longitudinally spaced and vertically extending slots including the aforesaid slot disposed in substantially parallel relation, said latch having a central section disposed along one side of said bracket and a pair of end sections extending in opposite directions along the other sideof said bracket, and said end sections being connected with said central section through integral portions respectively disposed within said slots and slidably movable therealong;

2. The bracket structure of claim 5 in which said spring structure is an elongated wire connected adjacent one end to said latch and adjacent its other end to said bracket.

be mounted upon anupright 3. The bracket structure of claim 5 in which said hooks are oriented so as to face in opposite directions.

4. The bracket structure of claim'7 in which said hooks face toward each other.

5. The bracket structure of claim 1 in which said spring structure is in the form of an elongated straight wire extending longitudinally along a side of said bracket and latch and retains said latch against a side of said bracket.

6. Bracket structure adapted to be mounted upon an upright column having a sequence of vertically spaced openings provided therefor so as to secure a support shelf to such column at a selected elevation therealong, comprising a bracket equipped at the" rear end thereof with a hook extensible through one such opening to attach the bracket to such column, a latch carried by said bracket for generally vertical displacements relative thereto and being equipped at the rear end thereof with a hook extensible through another opening in such column to further attach the bracket thereto, and spring structure connected with said bracket and latch and operative therebetween to bias the latter in a direction to cause the hook thereof to lockingly engage such column along the associated opening through which it extends, said latch being provided with an inclined cam surface therealong between said hooks and engageable with such column to tighten said bracket in engagement therewith.

7. The bracket structure of claim 6 in which said bracket is provided with a rearwardly extending abutment intermediate said hooks and engageable with said column independently of said can surface.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification248/243, 248/250
International ClassificationA47B57/42, A47F5/10
Cooperative ClassificationA47B96/024, A47F5/103, A47B57/42
European ClassificationA47F5/10B1, A47B57/42