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Publication numberUS3673724 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 4, 1972
Filing dateNov 25, 1970
Priority dateNov 25, 1970
Also published asCA934158A1
Publication numberUS 3673724 A, US 3673724A, US-A-3673724, US3673724 A, US3673724A
InventorsBell Randall P, Vanderhoef John P
Original AssigneeIntercraft Ind Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Interconnecting picture frames
US 3673724 A
Abstract
The picture frames are of one-piece construction and used for displaying pictures, photographs, or the like. On one of the side walls of each frame is a hook which is constructed frictionally and removably to engage the side wall of another picture frame.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ 1 July 4,1972

United States Patent Bell et al.

[54] INTERCONNECTING PICTURE FRAMES [72] Inventors:

Randall P. Bell, Oak Park; John P. Vanderhoei, Evanston, both of III. lntercralt [73] Assignee: Industries Corporation,

Chi a 11], Primary Examiner-Robert W. Michell Assistant Examiner-Wenceslao .l. Contreras Attorney-Prangley, Clayton, Mullin, Dithmar & Vogel [22] Filed: Nov. 25, 1970 ABSTRACT [2]] Appl. No.1

piece construction and used for photographs, or the like. On one of the hook which is constructed frictionally and removably to engage the side wall of another picture frame.

The picture frames are of one displaying pictures, side walls of each frame is a 225 5 4 fl AML New u 2 u l mm u 0 n4. Wmm mmr a n e "ms in 0 W d td UmF 1111] 2 8 555 [iii [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3 Claims, 17 Drawing Figures Mallory PKTENTEflJuH I972 3. 673.724

' sum 1 us 3 3 W Mm 4 Inventors RANDALL P. BELL JOHN P VANDERHOEF INTERCONNECTING PICTURE FRAMES An important object of the present invention is to provide picture frames which are interconnectable by means of elements that are integral with and form part of the picture frames themselves.

Another object of the invention is to provide interlocking picture frames which are simple to separate, yet are held rigidly and securely together.

Still another object of the invention is to provide picture frames which enable interconnection thereof in a variety of orientations.

In summary, there is provided a one-piece picture frame comprising a front wall having an opening therein to expose a picture mounted in the frame, a plurality of side walls on the front wall along the periphery thereof and extending rearwardly therefrom, and a hook on one of the side walls near the rear thereof and having a forwardly-extending tongue spaced from the last-mentioned side wall and disposed generally parallel thereto, the hook being adapted frictionally and removably to engage the side wall of another similarly constructed picture frame so as to enable interconnection of the two frames.

Further features of the invention pertain to the particular arrangement of the parts of the interconnecting frames, whereby the above-outlined and additional operating features thereof are obtained.

The invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following specification, when taken with the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of three interconnected picture frames respectively incorporating the features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the line 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged front view of one of the frames;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the frame shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. Sis a rear view of the frame shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a front view of a pair of square interconnecting picture frames embodying a second form of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a rear view of the frames in FIG. 6, with portions of the backing broken away to expose the interconnecting elements;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged view in vertical cross section taken along the line 88 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a view in perspective of the frames in FIG. 6 preparatory to being interconnected;

FIG. 10 is a front view of interconnecting, hexagonally shaped picture frames embodying a third form of the invention;

FIG. 11 is a side view of one of the picture frames of FIG. 10, a portion being broken away to expose the interconnecting elements;

FIG. 12 is a rear view of the picture frame of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is a view in cross section taken along the line l3 13 of FIG. 10, on an enlarged scale;

FIG. 14 depicts six of the hexagonally shaped picture frames interconnected in the form of a hexagon;

FIG. 15 depicts four of the hexagonally shaped picture frames arranged in a staggered row;

FIG. 16 depicts three of the hexagonally shaped picture frames arranged diagonally; and

FIG. 17 depicts six of the hexagonally shaped frames arranged in two juxtaposed diagonal lines.

Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1 thereof, there is shown a set of three picture frames 20 interconnected in a vertical arrangement. It is to be understood that the word picture" is intended to have a broad connotation throughout the scope of the specification and includes photo frames and the like, Referring now specifically to FIGS. 1-5, each of the picture frames 20 is generally rectangular in outline and is of a one-piece construction, preferably molded of plastic, and has a front wall 21. Disposed centrally in the front wall 21 is an oval-shaped, laterally curved surface 23 having its innermost end facing rearwardly and defining a ledge 24. The outer edges 25 of the wall 21 are bevelled as indicated. Four side walls 26, two short and two long, are on the periphery of the front wall 21 and extend rearwardly therefrom. Each side wall 26 is formed of an outer strip 27 and an inner strip 28, the space between said strips defining a channel 29 extending around almost the entire periphery of the frame 20. A set of spacers 30, integrally formed in the frame 20, is provided to maintain the desired separation between the strips 27 and 28. The lowermost (as viewed in FIG. 5) inner strip 28 has on the outwardly facing surface thereof an indentation 31 (seeFIG. 2) for reasons to be explained hereinafter.

The oval-shaped ledge 24, which is generally parallel to the outer face of the front wall 21, supports a pane of glass 32 which is rectangular in shape and essentially fills the space between the inner strips 28. A picture such as a photograph 33, is placed on the glass, followed by a backing member 34 which preferably is formed of corrugated cardboard. The backing member 34, as shown, has dimensions to fill the space between the inner strips 28 and resiliently to bear against the inwardly facing surfaces thereof. The backing member 34 is press-fitted into the frame 20 against the photograph 33, the frictional engagement of the sides of the backing 34 with the inner strips 28 serving to hold the various elements in position. The backing member 34 may be provided with a hole 35 for use in mounting the frame on a nail, hook, or the like.

The picture frame 20 further comprises a hook 40 disposed on the uppermost (as viewed in FIG. 5) one of the side walls 26, and includes a flange 41 located at the rear of the associated outer strip 27, extending laterally outwardly therefrom. On the outer end of the flange 41 is a forwardly extending tongue 42 spaced from the outer strip 27 and disposed generally parallel thereto. The outer surface 43 of the tongue 42 slopes or tapers inwardly, so that the front end of the tongue 42 is of a thickness slightly less than the rear end. Located laterally centrally on the outer surface 43, but towards the rear, is a protuberance 44 having a shape to conform to the shape of the indentation 31. The tongue 42 has formed therein a forwardly extending slit 45 which enables slight compressive deformation of the tongue 42.

To interconnect two of the picture frames 20, the tongue 42 of the hook 40 on one frame is aligned with the channel 29 on the other frame. For example, if it is desired to have the frames in a vertical column as shown in FIG. 1, the tongue 42 of a first frame 20 may be aligned with the portion 29a of the channel 29 of a second picture frame 20. The tongue 42 may then be forcibly inserted into the channel portion 29a, the engagement of the protuberance 44 with the adjacent surface of the inner strip 28 causing slight compressive deformation of the tongue 42. As the tongue progresses inwardly, the protuberance 44 will become aligned with the indentation 31 and will snap thereinto, whereupon the tongue 42 will return to its uncompressed condition, so as to provide a secure frictional engagement between the two frames. Despite the good connection, separation of the two frames is accomplished easily and rapidly by forcibly removing the tongue 42 from its channel portion 290 with a twisting motion of one frame with respect to the other.

It should be understood that the tongue 42 may be inserted at any selected point in the channel 29. Thus, the tongue 42 may be inserted in the channell portion 29b to achieve a staggered vertical orientation in one direction or in the channel portion 290 to achieve a vertically staggered arrangement in the other direction. Alternatively, the tongue 42 may be inserted in either of the channel portions 29d and 29e at any point along the extent thereof. Indentations such as the indentations 31 may be provided throughout the outwardly facing surface of the inner strip 28 to accommodate the protuberance 44. Alternatively, such indentations need not be provided, by virtue of the secure connection caused by the tongue 42 being compressed during insertion and having a tendency to return to its uncompressed condition. The tongue 42 may, in fact, be inserted in' either the channel portion 29for 293 by merely placing the frames 20 at about 90with respect to each other with the tongue 42 of the first frame 20 being aligned with the channel portion 29e of the second frame 20, for ex ample, and the tongue 42 of the second frame being aligned with thecorresponding channel portion 29e of the first frame 20. The frames 20 may then be twisted with respect to each other until both tongues are inserted in their respective channel portions 29c.

In an operating formof the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, the over-all width of the'frame 20 was 4 inches and the over-all width of the tongue was 1% inches. It should also be understood that the frames 20 may be interconnected and separated merely by withdrawing the tongue 42 from the associated channel. There is no need to remove the backing member 34, the pane of glass 32, etc. Also, when in its interconnected forrn, the frame grouping is relatively rigid, with the connecting elements, at least between adjacent frames, being concealed from view.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 to 9, there is shown a second embodiment of the instant invention. FIG. 6 depicts a set of two picture frames 50 interconnected in a vertical arrangement. Each of the picture frames 50 is generally square in outline and of a one-piece construction, preferably molded of plastic, and hasa front wall 51. Disposed centrally in the front wall is an annular surface 53 having its innermost end facing rearwardly and defining a ledge 54. The outer edges 55 of the wall 51 are bevelled as indicated. Four side walls 56 on the periphery of the front wall 51 extend rearwardly therefrom. A pair of guide members 57, integrally formed .in the frame 50, is provided ononeof the side walls 56.

The ledge 54, which is generally parallel to the plane of the front'wall 51, supports a pane of glass 62 which is square in shape and essentially fills the space between the walls 56. A photograph is placed on the glass, followed by a backing member 64. which may, be formed of corrugated cardboard.

Thebacking member 64, as shown, has dimensions to fill the space between the walls 56 and resiliently to bear against the inwardly facing surfaces thereof. The backing member 64 is press-fitted into the frame 50 against the photograph, the frictional engagement of the sides of the backing 64 with the walls 56 serving to hold the various elements in position. The backing member 64 it is provided with a hole 65 for use in mounting the frame.

The picture frame 50 further comprises a hook 70 disposed on one of the side walls 56, and includes a flange 71 located at the rear of that wall, extending laterally outwardly therefrom. On the outer end of the flange 71 is a forwardly extending tongue 72 spaced from the adjacent wall 56 a distance approximately equal to the thickness of the wall 56 and disposed generally parallel thereto.

To interconnect two of the picture frames 50, they are first placed at an angle with respect to each other (see FIG. 9) with the tongue 72 of the first frame 20 being aligned with the space between the guides 57 on the second frame 50, and the tongue :72 of the second frame 50 being aligned with the space between the guides 57 on the first frame 50. The frames 20 may then be twisted with respect to each other until the associated side walls 56 are respectively frictionally received in the spaces between the walls 56 and the tongues 72.

A third embodiment is shown in FIGS. 10 to 13, wherein each frame 80 is hexagonal in outline and is of a one-piece construction, preferably molded of plastic, and has a front wall 81. Disposed centrally in the front wall 81 is an annular, laterally curved surface 83 having its innermost end facing rearwardly and defining a ledge 84. The outer edges 85 of the wall ,81 are bevelled as indicated..Six side walls 86 are on the periphery of the front wall 81 and extend rearwardly therefrom. Each sidewall 86 is formed of an outer strip 87 and an inner strip 88,. the space between said strips defining a channel 89, including channel portions 89a-e along five of the six side walls 86 of the frame 80. The inner strip 88 associated with each of five channel portions 89a-e has on the outwardly facing surface thereof an indentation 91.

The ledge 84, which is generally parallel to the front wall 81, supports an annular pane of glass 92. A photograph 93 is placed on the glass, followed by a hexagonal backing member 94. The backing member 94, as shown, has dimensions to fill the space between the inner strips 88 and resiliently to bear against the inwardly-facing surfaces thereof. The backing member 94 is press-fitted into the frame against the photograph 93, the frictional engagement of the sides of the backing member 94 with the inner strips 88 serving to hold the various elements in position. The backing member 94 has a hole 95 for use in mounting the frame.

The picture frame 80 further comprises a hook disposed on the uppermost one (as viewed in FIG. 12) of the side walls 86, and includes a flange 101 located at the rear of the associated outer strip 87, essentially coextensive therewith and extending laterally outwardly therefrom. On the outer end of the flange 101 and substantially coextensive therewith is a forwardly extending tongue 102 spaced from the outer strip 87 and disposed generally parallel thereto. The outer surface 103 of the tongue 102 slopes inwardly, so that the front end of the tongue 102 is of a thickness slightly less than the rear end to facilitate entry of the tongue in a selected channel portion. Located laterally centrally on the outer surface 103, but towards the rear, is a protuberance 104 having a shape to conform to the shape. of the indentations 91. The tongue 102 has formed therein a forwardly extending slit 105 which enables slight compressive deformation of the tongue 102.

To interconnect two of the picture frames 80, the tongue 102 of the hook 100 on one frame is aligned with a selected one of the channel portions 89a-e. The tongue 102 may then be forcibly inserted into the selected channel portion 8%, the engagement of the protuberance 104 with the adjacent inner strip 88 causing slightly compressive deformation of the tongue 102. As the tongue progresses inwardly, the protuberance l04will become aligned with the associated indentation 91, whereupon thetongue 102 will return to its uncompressed condition, so as to provide a secure frictional engagement between the two frames. Separation of the two frames is accomplished easily and rapidly by forcibly removing the tongue 102 from the channel portion 89b. It should be understood that the tongue 72 may be inserted in any one of the channel portions 89a-89e.

FIGS. 14-17 respectively illustrate four ways in which the hexagonal picture frames 80 may be interconnected. In FIG. 14, six such frames are arranged in a hexagonal grouping. FIG. 15 illustrates four frames, arranged in a staggered horizontal row. FIG. 16 illustrates three hexagonal frames 80 arranged diagonally; of course, by merely rotating this row about the center of the middle frame, various orientations may be obtained, such as a horizontal row, vertical column, etc. In FIG. 17, six hexagonal frames 80 are arranged in two adjacent diagonal rows. It may be appreciated that the number of dif ferent arrangements utilizing the hexagonal frames 80 is vertically limitless.-

Although there have been described what are at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be understood that various modifications may be made therein, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A one-piece picture frame comprising a front wall having an opening therein to expose a picture mounted in the frame, a plurality of side walls on saidfront wall along the periphery thereof and extending rearwardly therefrom, a hook on one of said side walls near the rear thereof and having a forwardly-extending tongue spaced from said one side wall and disposed generally parallel thereto, at least a portion of one of said side walls having a rearwardly-facing channel of a width approximately equal to the thickness of said tongue, whereby said tongue is removably insertable in the channel of another similarly constructed picture frame for frictional engagement in the channel to enable interconnection of the two frames, said tongue having a forwardly extending slit therein to enable lateral compression of the tongue while being inserted in the associated channel, the tendency of said tongue to return to its uncompressed state assisting in holding the tongue in its associated channel.

2. A one-piece picture frame comprising a front wall having an opening therein to expose a picture mounted in the frame, a plurality of side walls on said front wall along the periphery thereof and extending rearwardly therefrom, a hook on one of said side walls near the rear thereof and having a forwardly extending tongue spaced from said one side wall and disposed generally parallel thereto, at least a portion of one of said side walls having a rearwardly facing channel of a width approximately equal to the thickness of said tongue, whereby said tongue is removably insertable in the channel of another similarly constructed picture frame for frictional engagement in the channel to enable interconnection of the two frames, and a protuberance on said tongue and an indentation on the associated surface in said channel, said protuberance snapfitting into said indentation upon insertion of said tongue in the associated channel.

3. A one-piece picture frame comprising a front wall having an opening therein to expose a picture mounted in the frame, a plurality of side walls on said front wall along the periphery thereof and extending rearwardly therefrom, a hook on one of said side walls near the rear thereof and having a forwardly extending tongue spaced from said one side wall and disposed generally parallel thereto, at least a portion of one of said side walls having a rearwardly facing channel of a width approximately equal to the thickness of said tongue, whereby said tongue is removably insertable in the channel of another similarly-constructed picture frame for frictional engagement in the channel to enable interconnection of the two frames, said tongue tapering in thickness from a relatively thick rear end to a relatively thin forward end, thereby to facilitate entry of the tongue into the associated channel.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3339302 *Feb 1, 1966Sep 5, 1967Mallory Gary EInterlocking photograph frame
US3471959 *Sep 6, 1967Oct 14, 1969Seger Ben JModular sign combination
US3523382 *Jul 18, 1968Aug 11, 1970Dreyer Ronald LVariable picture frame assembly
GB191221788A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4017989 *Dec 24, 1975Apr 19, 1977Dimensional Industries, Inc.Wall frames with interlocking clips
US4244127 *Aug 14, 1978Jan 13, 1981George BuzzardInterconnectable picture frames
US4319419 *Jul 31, 1980Mar 16, 1982Traill Gerald LMolded picture frame with attachable displays
US4706397 *Oct 30, 1985Nov 17, 1987Walter HesenerPicture frame
US4912863 *Sep 30, 1988Apr 3, 1990Fitzgerald HarveyModular picture frame system
US5544438 *Apr 3, 1995Aug 13, 1996Fazekas; James I.Card and picture holder
US5887373 *Jan 10, 1995Mar 30, 1999Byers; Thomas L.Card display frame
US6705034Feb 9, 1999Mar 16, 2004Snap Dragon Displays LtdDisplay system
US7222449 *Sep 19, 2003May 29, 2007Gourand Claude DWall-mounted picture display device
US7363739 *Feb 22, 2005Apr 29, 2008Dalsey Crystal ADisplay of pictures in decorative settings
EP0183645A1 *Nov 4, 1985Jun 4, 1986HESENER, WalterPicture frame
EP0304661A2 *Nov 4, 1985Mar 1, 1989HESENER, WalterInterconnected picture frames
EP0370123A1 *Nov 22, 1988May 30, 1990Chung-Cheng LiVariable photo frame set
Classifications
U.S. Classification40/729, 40/757
International ClassificationA47G1/12, A47G1/00, A47G1/06
Cooperative ClassificationA47G1/065, A47G1/12
European ClassificationA47G1/12, A47G1/06F