|Publication number||US3703964 A|
|Publication date||Nov 28, 1972|
|Filing date||Aug 4, 1970|
|Priority date||Aug 4, 1970|
|Publication number||US 3703964 A, US 3703964A, US-A-3703964, US3703964 A, US3703964A|
|Inventors||Field Frank P|
|Original Assignee||Field Frank P|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (31), Classifications (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent Field  SHELF DIVIDER STRUCTURE WITH LOOP AND COLLAR ARRANGEMENT  Inventor: Frank P. Field, 122 Eucalyptus Drive, El Segundo, Calif. 90245  Filed: Aug. 4, 1970  Appl. No.: 60,852
 US. Cl ..2ll/184, 24/260 51 Int. Cl. ..A47f 5/00  Field of Search ..21 1/184, 43; 312/140.4; 248/243, 228, 226 R, 227; 108/61; 24/260, 251
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,369,789 2/1968 Harris ..248/245 3,501,019 3/1970 Armstrong etal ..2l1/184 3,497,081 2/1970 Field ..211/184 1,624,187 4/ 1927 Schlafly ..248/228 UX 2,583,680 1/1952 Brennan ..24/260 X 3,176,367 4/1965 Risse ..24/260 [451 Nov. 28, 1972 Primary Examiner-Ramon S. Britts Attorney-Bums, Doane, Benedict, Swecker & Mathis ABSTRACT A shelf divider comprising a flexible resilient material. A base portion of the shelf divider is integrally formed with a U-shaped section. The legs of the U-shaped section may be resiliently spread so that the longitudinal extent of the base portion is increased by applying tensile force thereto. A collar member may be provided to fit over thev U-shaped section of the base portion. The U-shaped section may be tapered along the extension thereof so that the fit between the collar and the U-shaped section becomes tighter as the collar is moved along the U-shaped section toward the base portion. Clamping means may be provided on the base portion of the shelf divider for engagement with a shelf upon the longitudinal contraction thereof in response to the movement of the collar along the U- shaped section.
4 Clains, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEDKUYZB I972 INVENTOR FRANK P FIELD ATTORNEYS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to merchandise display apparatus and, more specifically relates to shelf dividers.
Modern merchandising techniques require that goods be isolated or supported in defined shelf areas. Frequently, it is necessary to change the size or location of such display areas. Where changes are required, or where new display areas must be created, shelf dividers must be used which are capable of being easily relocated or installed by mechanically unskilled sales personnel.
A number of approacheshave been taken in the merchandising display art in an effort to provide effective apparatus for mounting and relocating shelf dividers. In many instances, however, these approaches have entailed excessive manufacturing costs or excessive difficulties in mounting dividers on shelving. Many existing such devices have failed to provide ease of removal and relocation while supplying the necessary support.
In US. Pat. Application Ser. No. 708,169, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,497,081 the inventor of the present invention provides a unique shelf divider mechanism which may be easily relocated or installed. It has been found, however, that it would be advantageous if the resilient flexibility of the shelf engaging base portion of such a shelf divider could be increased without sacrificing the support provided thereby.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a shelf divider construction having greater resilient flexibility during installation than existing such shelf dividers and yet which provides the necessary support for proper merchandising. g
It is another object of the present invention to provide a shelf divider structure which is easy and inexpensive to manufacture.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a shelf divider structure which may be easily initially installed by mechanically unskilled sales personnel.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a shelf divider structure which may be easily removed from an initial position and relocated without the danger of incurring damage thereto.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a shelf divider structure which is adaptable to a variety of shelf sizes.
In accomplishing at least some of these objectives, a shelf divider is provided which includes laterally and transversely extending portions. A longitudinally extending base portion is formed with an integrated U- shaped section along the longitudinal extension thereof. The base portion is provided with gripping means which are operable to clamp upon a shelf when the terminal ends of the base portion are moved together. A collar member is fit over the U-shaped member after the clamping means of the base portion has been set on a surface of a shelf. The collar member provides longitudinal rigidity to the base portion and prevents the re-expansion thereof until the collar has been removed. In one independent feature of the invention, the U-shaped section may be tapered so that the fit between the collar member and the U-shaped portion becomes tighter as the collar member is moved along the extension of the U-shaped member towards the base portion of the shelfdivider.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective pictorial view of a shelf divider according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a elevational view of a shelf divider according to the present invention with the base portion thereof in an expanded condition;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the U-shaped portion of the shelf divider shown in FIG. 1 taken along line 3-3;
FIG. 4 is elevational view of the shelf divider shown in FIG. 2 installed on a shelf with the base portion thereof in a contracted condition;
FIG. 5 is a fragmented pictorial view of another embodiment of the present invention; and,
FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 5 taken along line 6-6.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals are used to indicate like parts throughout the various views thereof, FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 1 shows a shelf divider comprising a resilient flexible plastic. The shelf divider comprises longitudinally extending portions 10, 12 and 14. The longitudinally extending or generally upstanding member 10 is curved at its terminal ends to form transversely extending members 16 and 18 which terminate at the longitudinally extending member 14. Additional transversely extending members include portions 20, 22 and 24. Of course, the number of the transverse and longitudinally extending portions may be chosen to be commensurate with the size of the shelf to be divided and the strength of the shelf divider necessary to support associated merchandise.
The longitudinallyextending member 14 may comprise a base portion of the overall shelf divider and may be formed with hook-shaped clamps 26 and 28 at the tenninal ends thereof. The hook-shaped clamps 26 and 28 may be formed as an integral part of the base portion 14 of the shelf divider or may be secured thereto by means of rivets or pins 30, 32, 34 and 36. Longitudinally extending rib portions 38 and 40 may be formed in the hook-shaped clamps 26 and 28 respectively in order to lend additional strength thereto. For the purposes of directional reference, the direction of the extension of the base portion 14 will be taken as the longitudinal direction.
The base portion of the shelf divider is formed with a U-shaped section 42 so that the terminal ends of the U- shaped section 42 opposite a far end and integrally comprise the overall base portion 14 of the shelf divider. Due to the resilient flexible nature of the materia1 comprising the shelf divider and due to the unique U- shaped configuration of the base portion 14, a relatively large degree of longitudinal expansion is available for spreading the clamps 26 and 28 apart to engage edge surfaces 50 and 52 of a shelf (see FIG. 4).
A closed loop collar member 44 is provided to be disposed over the U-shaped section 42 of the base portion 14 for locking the U-shaped section 42 against reexpansion after the shelf divider has been properly installed on a shelf. As seen in FIG. 2, the U-shaped section 42 may be formed with a slight taper widening toward the base portion 14 so that the collar 44 is operative to force the legs 46 and 48 of the U-shaped.
section 42 together as the collar 44 is moved along the extension of the U-shaped section toward the base portion 14 of the shelf divider.
In operation, tensile force is applied to the base portion 14 of the shelf divider to separate the legs 46 and 48 of the U-shaped section 42 in the manner shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings. The expanded shelf divider is placed transversely across a shelf (see FIG. 4) with the hook-shaped clamp members 26 and 28 aligned for engagement with the longitudinal edges 50 and 52 of the shelf. The collar member 44 is then forced along the extension of the U-shaped section 42 toward the base portion 14 of the shelf divider to force and hold the legs 46 and 48 of the U-shaped section 42 together in a manner shown in FIG. 4 of the drawings. As the leg portions 46 and 48 of the U-shaped section 42 are v moved together, the hook-shaped clamp members 26 and 28 are biasly urged against the longitudinalsurfaces 52 and 50 of the shelf, respectively. The collar member 44 thereby operates to bias the hook-shaped members 26 and 28 onto the shelf and to lock the members 26 and 28 in engagement therewith until the collar 44 is removed. When it is desired to relocate the shelf divider, the collar 44 is removed from the U-shaped section 42 of the base portion 14 and tensile force is applied to the base portion 14 until the hooklike clamp members 26 and 28 are moved from engagement with the edges 52 and 50 of the shelf. Once the clamps 26 and 28 are expanded to clear the edges 50 and 52, the divider may be lifted for the easy removal thereof.
FIG. 5 shows an alternative embodiment of the clamping means for securing the shelf divider to a shelf. In using the clamping means of FIG. 5, a shelf must be used which is formed with apertures 60 as shown in FIG. 6 of the drawings. The base portion 14 of the shelf divider shown in FIG. 5 is formed with the same U- shaped section 42 as provided in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings. A planar plate-like projection 62 is formed on the base portion 14 of the shelf divider shown in FIG. 5 and extends normally to the planar extension of the transverse and longitudinally extending members of the shelf divider. Lugs 64 are formed on the underside of each planar projection 62 and are formed with notches 66 facing toward the center of the shelf divider construction. The notches of the lugs at one end of the base are are in opposed face relationship with the notches in the lugs at the other end. One or more of the lugs 64 may be provided on each planar projection 62.
When it is desired to install a shelf divider according to FIGS. 5 and 6, tensile force is applied to the base portion 14 thereof in a manner similar to the application of force to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. After the base portion 14 has been expanded by the tensile force, the lugs 64 are inserted within the apertures 60 formed in the shelf. The edges 68 of the shelf defining the apertures 60 may be of a square configuration or of any configuration desired for biased engagement within the notches 66 of projection 64.
After the lugs 64 have been inserted within ,corresponding holes 60, the collar 44 is forced down over the U-shaped section 42 in the same manner as is done in connection with the shelf divider shown in FIG. 1 of the drawing. The collar member 44 is operable to move the legs 46 and 48 of the U-shaped section 42 together so that the notches 66 formed in the lugs 64 disposed within the holes 60 of the shelf are biasly urged against the surface 68 of each hole. Once again, if it is desired to remove and relocate the shelf divider according to the alternative embodiment of the present invention, the collar 44 is removed from its lowermost engagement with the U-shaped section 42 of the base portion 14. The collar member need not be entirely removed, but merely moved far enough to release the base portion to permit sufficient expansion thereof so the lug members 64 may clear the engaging edges 68 of the apertures 60. Once the divider has been removed, the installation procedure may be carried out once again for reinstallation.
It has been found that the most convenient configuration for the expansible U-shaped section is to form the U-shaped section to lie within the general planar extension of the overall shelf divider. However, it must be understood that the U-shaped section need not lie within the planar extension of the overall shelf divider, but may be at virtually any angle depending on the nature of the intended application of the shelf divider. It has been found that the tapered nature of the U-shaped section 42, shown in the drawing, provides the best clamping action when used in combination with a collar 44 as demonstrated in FIG. 4. However, it is not necessary that the U-shaped section be tapered to practice the present invention.
Any configuration of shelf engaging clamping member may be used in combination with the shelf divider of the present invention as long as the clamping member secures the shelf divider to a shelf upon the contraction of at least one longitudinal portion thereof. The shelf divider of the present invention may comprise any resiliently flexible material such as plastic or certain types of metal. The divider construction may be one unitary piece as in FIG. 5 or a simple composit as shown in FIG. 1. I
It can best been seen that a uniquely adaptable mechanism has been herein provided for resiliently mounting a shelf divider on a shelf and for rigidly anchoring the shelf divider in a secure fashion. The operations required to install or relocate a shelf divider according to the present invention are simple and may be performed by mechanically unskilled personnel. The strucutre of the shelf divider according to the present invention is uniquely simple but structurally rugged. Furthermore, the shelf divider according to the present invention is relatively easy and inexpensive to manufacture and yet provides effective divider support for most merchandising applications.
While what has been shown herein comprises two embodiments of the present invention, it is of course understood that various modifications and changes dinal member between outermost ones of said plul0 rality of generally upstanding transverse members and comprising:
a generally inverse substantially resilient U-shaped portion;
a closed loop locking collar operably carried by and slidably encompassing said inverse U-shaped portion to lock said first longitudinal member against expansion; and
a second longitudinal member coextensive with and positioned generally parallel above said first longitudinal member and connected with said plurality of generally upstanding transverse members and extending in close proximity to a free end of said generally inverse U-shaped portion of said longitudinal member wherein the spacing between said second longitudinal member and the free end of said U-shaped portion is less than the height of said closed loop locking collar to prevent said collar from sliding out of encompassing engagement with the free end of said generally inverse U-shaped portion. 2. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said shelf engaging means comprises:
hook-like projections extending from terminal ends of a longitudinal extension of said shelf divider and disposed with open portions of each of said hooklike projections in opposed face relationship.
3. A shelf divider according to claim 1 wherein said shelf engaging means comprises:
lug means extending generally transversely of the longitudinal extension of said shelf divider, said lug means spaced to fit within corresponding apertures formed within a shelf to be divided; and
notch means formed within each said lug means, said notch means positioned in opposing face relationship and operable to biasly engage upon opposing edge portions defining said apertures in response to the contraction of the longitudinal extension of said shelf divider.
4. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said generally inverse U-shaped portion includes:
outwardly inclined legs, whereby movement of said locking collar from a free end of said generally inverse U-shaped portion toward the remainder of said longitudinal member is operable to contact said longitudinal member of said shelf divider and to lock the longitudinal member of said shelf divider against expansion.
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|U.S. Classification||211/184, 24/537, 24/542|