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Publication numberUS3677203 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 18, 1972
Filing dateJun 16, 1970
Priority dateJun 16, 1970
Publication numberUS 3677203 A, US 3677203A, US-A-3677203, US3677203 A, US3677203A
InventorsBarrineau Wade H
Original AssigneeSouthern Cross Ind Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandise support with hinged shelf
US 3677203 A
Abstract
A merchandise shelf arrangement which may be used to display and arrange soft drink bottles in a supermarket. Each of a number of spaced shelves is hinged to a vertical support for vertical adjustment thereon relative to the merchandise above or below. The shelf may be injection molded with a plastic pressure adjustment bracket on one end to which the shelf is hinged along a living hinge of plastic material such as polypropylene material. The bracket is also hinged in two pieces along a plastic hinge line whereby the pieces may be confined in a channel in the shelf in place at a selected position while permitting manual relocation by applying pressure to the bracket. A flat spring inserted in the bracket and extending across the hinge line is "cocked" in place by the load of the merchandise whereby the shelf will rise when the load is removed.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[151 3,677,203 [451 July 18,1972

United States Patent Barrineau Primary ExaminerBobby R Gay Assistant Examiner-Garry Moore Attorney-Patrick F. Henry [57] ABSTRACT A merchandise shelf arran pla Inc., Atlanta,

[73] Assignee:

gement which may be used to disy and arrange soft drink bottles in a supermarket. Each of a number of spaced shelves is hinged to a vertical support for vertical adjustment thereon relative to the merchandise above [22] Filed: June 16,1970

[21] Appl.No.: 46,768

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2. Description of the Prior Art Shelf arrangements such as that shown in U. S. Pat. Nos. 2,992,742 and 2,637,445, are made from wire and welded or otherwise attached and the shelves are fitted in place in an assembly operation which includes bringing springs into position to operate the shelves as well as other operations which cost money and take time. Welded wire shelves are more costly than plastic. The coil springs are not insignificant in cost and must be the right characteristics required to exert the proper pressure and to function repeated numbers of times. Stopping the shelves in the proper position when extended as well as retracted requires some amount of proper assembly and the shelves must be vertically adjustable without a great deal of trouble as this must be done by supermarket personnel. These requirements cause the rack to be at a certain cost level when made of wire and fabricated and assembled in that manner.

SUMMARY Slidably mounted on a substantially vertical support, one or more foldable merchandise shelves suitable for supporting soft drink bottles is capable of execution in plastic or other material which may be formed to provide a hinge structure to divide the shelf into folding sections and a hinge between the shelf and a pressure slide bracket mounted on the vertical support, thereby eliminating wire shelves and coil springs and reducing the cost of construction accordingly. Also, a positive pressure arrangement is adjustable by hand to selectively adjust the shelf from a position upwardly therefrom by means of portions of the bracket engaging the vertical support which in one form can be a track channel with part of the bracket under pressure therein. An ordinary metal leaf spring may be used at the hinge to provide the self-raising feature of the shelf which folds on itself when empty and this is the only part of the shelf and bracket which is metal. Assembly of the entire structure is simplified over previous all-wire arrangements and assembly of the leaf spring is simplified. Therefore, original assembly is easier and less expensive and replacement of the shelves or other parts has been simplified.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of a merchandise rack of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the rack shown in FIG. 1 in partial dis-assembly.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of the shelf support bracket of a shelf in the rack shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side elevation view of the plastic bracket shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 5-5 in FIG. 7.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 6-6 in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of the rack shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the shelf bracket in position to receive the spring inserted therein.

FIG. 9 is a plan view of the spring slots of the bracket portion of the shelf.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The rack is designated generally and overall by reference numeral 10 and comprises a vertical back 12 which may be constructed from roll formed steel and which is attached to a metal based 14 by means of hook lock tabs 16 on brackets 18 fitted into slots 20 in the back 12. Base 14 is made from metal plate in a box-like formation with a top 22, sides 24, front 26 and back end 28. Atop shelf 30 may be used if desired and is made from sheet metal formed like a tray with a bottom 32 and upstanding sides and ends 34. Shelf 30 attaches like base 14 by means of hook tabs 16 mounted on side angle brackets 36 fitted into slots 38 in the top of the back 12.

There are a plurality of slots 20 and 38 in spaced, aligned relation along the back 12 to provide a number of selective locations for the base 14 as well as the shelf 30 and also to accommodate a diagonal strut or brace member 44 formed from tubular metal and with flattened, formed ends to fit into a slot 38 and into a slot 46 in the base 14. When assembled this provides a strong, rigid rack that may be placed on the floor in a supermarket to hold bottles such as and including large soft drink bottles and packages of bottles such as packages 46 shown in FIG. 1 with six bottles 48 each. The intermediate shelf assemblies 50, now to be described, hold these bottles 48 and are extended when in use but fold out of the way of the lower shelf when the upper shelf is depleated. When one shelf is empty it folds substantially medially upon itself and moves out of the way so that the customer can see and have access to remove the bottles on the next shelf.

It should be noted that the base 14 is optional and can be eliminated and the back 12 attached in some other fashion, such as to a wall or to a goldola cart (not shown) or any other fixture (not shown). Back 12 is formed with two vertical guides or tracks 52 therein made by forming the sheet material into a pair of opposed, spaced channels 54 having an entrance 56 thereinto from the front thereof (see FIGS. 2 & 3). These channels 54 and tracks 52 provide a means to support a shelf bracket 60, also called a slide or slide bracket, so that under certain conditions of adjustment a bracket 60 and its shelf 62 can slide vertically for adjustment but is retained against movement even when fully loaded with bottles. The back wall of channel 54 is designated by reference numeral 66.

Shelf 62 is integrally molded from polypropylene (also called polypro) with the bracket 60 and folds along a transverse hinge into parts 62a and 6212. It is a characteristic of polypropylene that when properly oriented it has a memory and the molecular structure resists breaking at a hinge line thereby permitting considerable bending repetitions. Bracket 60 is molded along line 70 to the edge 72 of shelf 62 which is molded with openings 74 defined by a pattern of plastic material 76. The line 70 is a flexible polypropylene hinge. Bracket 60 is molded in two principal parts upper part 78 and lower part 80 connected along a hinge line 82 which permits flexing between part 78 and part 80. Each part 78, 80 is formed with side elements 86, 88 molded therein and each element 86, 88 comprises offset lugs 90 corresponding somewhat and somewhat complimentary to the shape of the channels 54in which said lugs 90 and element 86, 88 are confined as seen in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6. Shelf 62 is formed with a middle section 94 having a spring slot 96 therein leading into a spring tunnel 98 in section 94 to accommodate one end of a leaf spring 100 made from suitable spring material tempered for repeated use etc. Each part 78, 80 has a side member 102, 104 supporting the lugs 90 at right angles to the transverse strips 106, 108. Strip 108 has a spring slot 110 therein with a beveled surface leading thereto. Strip 106 has a narrow slot 112 therein leading to the slot 96 in section 94 and from there into tunnel 98. Slot 112 in strip 106 defines a narrow strip 114 which in molding has been reduced in thickness to accommodate a part of the spring 100 bent therearound when assembled and inserted as shown in FIGS. 3, 8 and 9. The entire bracket 60 is a shelf slide which is hinged at 82 in such a way that the leaf spring 100 threaded through slots 110, 114 into tunnel 98 so that when inserted and with the shelf and bracket 60 in place in the channels 54 the spring 100 is bent (see FIG. 6) causing the hinged bracket or slide 60 to cock in the channels 54 providing a tight frictional bind which will not allow the slide (bracket) 60 to be moved up and down in the channels 54 until enough pressure has been applied to overcome the resistance. The amount of resistance of pressure is a function of the strength of the spring 100 used and the angle at which the spring is bent in the section 106, 108 and 94. For ease of adjustment, the slide preferably is designed in such a way that the frictional bind can be eased by pushing on the bracket 60 in the manner shown in FIG. 4 to bring the surfaces of elements 86, 88 and lugs 90 contacting the walls of channels 54 substantially out of engagement with the walls of channels 54 and moving the bracket 60 and shelf 62 upwardly or downwardly as desired while holding the bracket 60 by hand.

The shelf 62 is activated by the same spring 100 by means of the hinge line 82 and the spring 100 in the tunnel 98, so that shelf 62 can swing in an arc of 90 from substantially horizontal to substantially. vertical. With no load on the shelf 62 the shelf 62 will always return to the vertical position and normally cannot spring below horizontal. The shelf arrangement prevents excessive bending of the spring 100 to prevent the spring 100 from taking a permanent set.

With reference to FIG. 8, it is possible to thread and insert the leaf spring 100 in the assembly of each shelf 62 and bracket (slide) 60 assembly substantially in a straight or slightly curved line with little or no tension of the spring until the shelf assemblies 50 are mounted in place in the channels 54. Spring 100 can be relatively inexpensive compared with some of the helical and coil springs used in folding shelf construction and molding of the entire shelf assembly 50 from polypropylene is less expensive than folding shelves made from metal with coil springs, etc.

Advertising material such as decals or screen print 106 may be placed on the top of shelf 50 so that when folded as shown in FIG. 1 the advertising will be displayed.

While I have shown and described a particular embodiment of my invention this is by way of illustration only and various alterations,vchanges, revisions, modifications, additions, substitutions, additions, and departures may be made in the form shown without departing from the scope of my invention defined within the interpretation of the appended claims.

What is claimed:

1. In a merchandise support:

a. a substantially vertical shelf support structure which may be a rectangular metal frame, there being a normally vertical guide means on said shelf support in which one end of a shelf is mounted and supported for normal position to support merchandise including soft drink bottles loose or in cartons,

b. a shelf structure comprising a normally substantially horizontal shelf when loaded with merchandise and a vbracket connected to said shelf along a hinge therebetween whereby said shelf will move along said hinge from a substantially horizontal to substantially vertical position so that said shelf may raise when empty to expose merchandise on an identical shelf which may be located therebelow,

c. said shelf structure bracket being slidably supported on said vertical shelf support for sliding adjustment thereon and being held in place from movement when fully loaded with a heavy load of merchandise such as large soft drink bottles by means of pressure exerted between portions of said bracket and portions of said vertical shelf support, said bracket being so arranged as to be manually displaced as to the portions in contact so as to relieve said pressure sufficiently to adjust said shelf relative to said vertical shelf support, said shelf and said bracket being molded integrally with an integral, flexible hinge. line therebetween from a plastic material such as polypropylene.

2. The device in claim 1:

said shelf and said bracket having a spring means interposed therebetween and said spring means being operated when said shelf is extended into load bearing condition to bias said shelf upwardly when said load is removed.

3. The device in claim 2:

said spring means being a flat leaf spring extending from said shelf across said hinge and into said bracket. 4. The device in claim 2: said shelf and said bracket being molded integrally with an integral, flexible line therebetween from a plastic material such as polypropylene.

5. The device in claim 3: said shelf and said bracket being molded integrally with an integral, flexible hinge line therebetween from a plastic material such as polypropylene.

6. In a merchandise support:

a. substantially vertical shelf support structure which may be a rectangular metal frame, there being a normally vertical guide means on said shelf support in which one end of a shelf is mounted and supported for normal position to support merchandise including sofi drink bottles loose or in cartons,

ba shelf structure comprising a normally substantially horizontal shelf when loaded with merchandise and a bracket connected to said shelf along a hinge therebetween whereby said shelf will move along said hinge from a substantially horizontal to substantially vertical position so that said shelf may raise when empty to expose merchandise on an identical shelf which may be located therebelow,

c. said shelf structure bracket being slidably supported on said vertical shelf support for sliding adjustment thereon and being held in place from movement when fully loaded with a heavy load of merchandise such as large soft drink bottles by means of pressure exerted between portions of said bracket and portions of said vertical shelf support, said bracket being so arranged as to be manually displaced as to the portions in contact so as to relieve said pressure sufficiently to adjust said shelf relative to said vertical shelf support,

. said bracket having the bracket portions relatively movable and connected about a hinge line and normally being positioned in angular displacement about said hinge line under pressure on said shelf support structure to hold said shelf in place but being relatively movable about said hinge line from the angular displacement to relieve said pressure sufficiently to permit said shelf to be moved by hand.

7. The device in claim 6:

e. said vertical shelf support structure having continuous, opposed contact surfaces engageable by said movable portions on said bracket for adjustment upwardly or downwardly.

8. The device in claim 7:

f. said bracket portions comprising transverse members connected by a hinge therebetween and projecting members from said transverse members extending from said hinge and said projecting members and transverse members at times being at an angle to said hinge line, and said hinge biasing said transverse members to resist displacement toward each other whereby said transverse members are forced against said pressure to assume a position against said opposed contact surfaces.

9. The device in claim 6: a leaf spring interposed between said shelf and said bracket.

10. The device in claim 8: a leaf spring interposed between said shelf and said bracket.

11. The device in claim 6: said shelf and said bracket and said bracket portions all being integrally molded from a plastic material such as polypropylene.

12. The device in claim 7: said shelf and said bracket and said bracket portions all being integrally molded from a plastic material such as polypropylene.

13. The device in claim 8: said shelf, said bracket, said bracket portions, said transverse members and said projecting members all being integrally molded from a plastic material such as polypropylene.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2500135 *Jun 15, 1946Mar 7, 1950American Seating CoTheater chairs having tip-up seats
US3045831 *Jul 19, 1960Jul 24, 1962Browning Jr Wayne FCommodity rack
US3203375 *Nov 26, 1962Aug 31, 1965Brunswick CorpShelf structure
US3551940 *Aug 19, 1968Jan 5, 1971Lilly Co EliBox hinge
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4148533 *Feb 16, 1977Apr 10, 1979The Coca-Cola CompanyDisplay rack for packaged and dispensable beverages
US4322005 *Mar 27, 1981Mar 30, 1982DisplaycoDisplay stacker with biased pivoted trays
US4369715 *Jul 31, 1980Jan 25, 1983The Mead CorporationResilient hinge assembly for a display structure
US4415090 *May 21, 1981Nov 15, 1983Leggett & Platt, IncorporatedAisle end merchandising display device
US4620489 *Sep 7, 1982Nov 4, 1986The Kent CorporationExtendible merchandise shelving display
US4646922 *Feb 10, 1986Mar 3, 1987Arrow Art Finishers Co.Beverage display stand
US4809855 *Jun 24, 1987Mar 7, 1989Legettt & Platt, IncorporatedDisplay rack
US5111943 *Jan 22, 1991May 12, 1992Marley Mouldings Inc.Method and apparatus for displaying a plurality of articles
US5234113 *May 11, 1992Aug 10, 1993Marley Mouldings, Inc.Method and apparatus for displaying a plurality of articles
US5297685 *Jul 16, 1993Mar 29, 1994Ramey Arthur JMethod and apparatus for displaying a plurality of articles
US6112918 *Oct 30, 1998Sep 5, 2000Thomas BurgessProduct shelving construction
US6450599Mar 30, 2001Sep 17, 2002Betty J. MamuyacLocker apparatus
US7748803 *Jul 6, 2010Bradford CompanyHorizontal dispensing container having multiple removable, sliding, hinged shelves
US7954655 *Jun 7, 2011Alexander VirvoDisplay with folding shelves
US8584872 *Aug 5, 2011Nov 19, 2013Denise EisemanFolding utility tray
US20070000854 *Dec 7, 2005Jan 4, 2007Alexander VirvoDisplay with folding shelves
US20070210594 *Nov 7, 2006Sep 13, 2007Paul WongEgg dipper for use in egg decorating kit
US20080078729 *Mar 13, 2007Apr 3, 2008Bradford CompanyHorizontal Dispensing Container Having Multiple Removable, Sliding, Hinged Shelves
US20100324444 *Jun 17, 2009Dec 23, 2010Mollere Rebecca JMRI Biopsy Targeting Grid Wall Guide
EP0113929A1 *Mar 30, 1983Jul 25, 1984Frank P. FieldMerchandise display device
EP0233743A2 *Feb 9, 1987Aug 26, 1987Arrow Art Finishers CoBeverage display stand
Classifications
U.S. Classification108/166, 211/59.4, 211/150, 211/149
International ClassificationA47F7/28, A47F5/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47F7/281, A47F5/0087, A47F5/0037
European ClassificationA47F5/00C1B, A47F5/00M1, A47F7/28B