US 3838529 A
A nameplate for a directory comprising a strip and blank in which the strip is comprised of a thin, flexible, resilient, deformable material having rounded ends forming lobes, and the blank being a plastic engravable blank being secured to the strip; the nameplate is flexible to be bent in a slight curvature and is resilient to return to that shape when flattened; the nameplate is deformed and/or positioned to cause only the strip of the nameplate to fit into and engage folded-over edge portions of a holder.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Aybar [451 Oct. 1, 1974  DIRECTORY NAMEPLATE 2,903,808 9/1959 Anderson 40/64 R CONSTRUCTION 3,460,281 8/1969 Levy 40/63 R  Inventor: wgfi t gzg b'igi Primary Examiner-J. H. Wolfi I Attorney, Agent, or FirmOstrolenk, Faber, Gerb &  Filed: May 16, 1973 Soffen  Appl. No.: 360,979
.  ABSTRACT v  US. Cl 40/64 R A nameplate for a directory comprising a strip and  Int. Cl. G09f 1/00 lank in hich the strip is comprised of a thin, flexi-  Field of Search.'...... 40/ 104.13, 104.18, 104.19, ble, re ili n f rmable material having rounded 40/63 R, 64 R, 65, 78, 124, 124.2, 124,4 ends forming lobes, and the blank being a plastic engravable blank being secured to the strip; the name-  References Cited plate is flexible to be bent in a slight curvature and is UNITED STATES PATENTS resilient to return to that shape when flattened; the 1 121809 2/1914 D SW3 410/63 R nameplate is deformed and/or positioned to cause l123215 H1915 i 40,63 R only the strip of the nameplate to fit into and engage 1:263:589 4/1918 Moore "Ni II. ii iiiiijjjij lio iotw folded'over edge POrtiOns of a holder- 1,548,2ll 8/1925 Russell 40/63 R 2,524,306 10/1950 Buzzerd 40/104.19 20 Drawmg Fgures ll" l ll I: l a; l l I I F I /4 10 l I I 0'" 1111" i- -ADAMS,J.Q. 2|65 (9 6 CM ul i M MONROE,J. mse l i 1' l' ||ll 2 TRUMAN,H. 410s X34 II ll l l WlLSOl l,W. 1. 21mm lll l 'l II I |l PATENTED 11974 SHEUZBF 3 DIRECTORY NAMEPLATE CONSTRUCTION This invention relates to directory nameplates for directories used in buildings, offices or the like; and particularly to a directory nameplate construction comprised of both a resilient metal strip and a plastic engraving blank wherein with a few variations of directory nameplates, one size can be selected so that they can be used in all standard size, or special size nameplate holders or frames. In particular, each resilient metal strip has lobes at each end, protruding beyond the plastic blank, to enable the metal strip to be easily adapted and adjusted for use with various sizes and configurations of frames or holders.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In multiple dwellings, apartment houses, office and commercial buildings, a directory is used to indicate the name and locations of the occupants.
The principal and most relevant form of directory includes a holder comprising a sheet and folded-over vertical marginal hem edges, which extend the length of the holder. The holder is usually oriented so that the marginal edge portions are along the vertical sides, giv ing the holder a C-shaped horizontal cross-section. A holder can carry a plurality of nameplates. When first installed, the nameplates are inserted into the holder from its top.
In one alternative embodiment of prior art, the holder has no backplate, but is instead comprised of only two U-shaped brackets facing toward each other and defining guideways for the edges of the nameplates.
Conventionally a nameplate is of a length such that its ends extend into both of the folded-over marginal hem edge portions of the holder. The opening within the edge portions is a particular thickness. If the thickness of the nameplate is the same as that of the opening in the marginal edge portion, the nameplate can be supported in a position above the base of the holder, but it will require manipulation to fit into place.
To insert, remove or replace a particular nameplate, it is usually necessary to remove nearly all, if not all, the nameplates above the particular nameplate.
A nameplate conventionally has indicia engraved on it, and are usually of laminated plastic stock. To be engraved, the nameplate is placed in a supporting jig. The different length nameplates available from various manufacturers require different supporting jigs of the engraving apparatus which applies the indicia. It would be preferable to design a nameplate wherein a few jig arrangements and/or set-ups can be used for engraving indicia on different size nameplates than can be used in all holders.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, directory nameplates are comprised of flexible resilient metal strips and plastic blanks. The metal strips have lobes at each end, extending beyond the plastic blank, wherein the lobes have rounded ends. The strip is preferably comprised of thin metallic material which is flexible, deformable, resilient, such as spring tempered steel. For any one size of indicia carrying blank, one of several metal strip lengths can be used so that the directory nameplate can be assembled to fit a variety of different directory holders or frames.
The nameplate strip is of lesser thickness than the thickness of the openings in the marginal edge portions of the holder. The strips would normally freely slide through the holder to its base, except that before the strips are placed in the holder. the deformable strips are deformed, curved or bent, such that the strips press against the interior wall of the hem edge.
Various indicia are applied to an engravable plastic blank which is attached to the resilient strip. A few standardized length blanks can be used for the few different length strips needed to be used in the numerous size and type holders sold by different suppliers. This enables use of a standardized jig arrangement to apply indicia to nameplates of various lengths. This avoids the requirement for many different style and size jig arrangements usually required for each size nameplate.
The thickness dimension of the nameplate. comprising the flexible resilient strip and the indicia-carrying plastic blank, is not critical. The thin, flexible resilient strip will fit in the frame or holder, even with a plastic blank laid over it, because the resilient strip can be held in position in the frame or holder through deformation of either the strip or the'holder, rather than through the nameplate having a preselected total thickness.
In the novel nameplate of this invention, the ends of each of the strips are rounded and relatively shortened in height with respect to the height of the rest of the strip, e.g., to about one-half the height of the strip. Each strip can be emplaced in a holderby being rotated and the rounded strip ends permit such rotation. It is thus unnecessary to slide the strips out of the end of the holder. I I
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved nameplate construction for a directory.
It is a further object of the present invention to effectively support a nameplate in a nameplate directory.
It is another object of the present invention to ease insertion and removal of the nameplates from a directory holder.
It is another object of the present invention to reduce the number of different size engraving or indiciacarrying blanks for directory nameplates.
It is yet another object of the present invention to minimize the number of different jig arrangements necessary for applying indicia to directory nameplates.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a nameplate construction adaptable for use with various types and styles of directory holders or frame constructions.
These and other objects of the invention will become apparent from the following description of the accompanying drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a directory in accordance with one prior art embodiment;
FIG. 2 is a horizontal cross-sectional view through the directory of FIG. 1 in the direction of and along the line of arrow 22 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of another type of directory in accordance with prior art;
FIG. 4 is a front elevation view illustrating yet another embodiment of directory in accordance with the prior art; 7
FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of another embodiment of directory nameplate holder in accordance with nameplate can be held; 5 FIG; 6 is a front view of a nameplate in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 6a is a front view of the metal strip of FIG. 6 that i is part of my invention;
- FIG. 6b is a back view of the strip of FIG. 6a and shows outer orientation guide lines for use in positioning the plastic blank on the front of the strip, and inner orientation guide lines for centering the engraving indi- -cia on the front of the plastic blank;
FIG. 6c is a front view of the plastic blank of FIG. 6
before the indicia is engraved thereon;
FIG. 6a is a back view of the plastic blank of FIG. 60 and shows the adhesive thereon;
FIG. 6e is a top view of the plastic blank of FIG. 60 showing its limited thickness;
FIG. 6f shows the top view of the nameplate of FIG.
I 6 and the manner in which it may be bent before insert- FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of a novel directory metal holder to be used especially for the novel nameplate of this invention.
FIG. 10a is a horizontal cross-sectional view of FIG.
10 taken in the direction of the arrows 10a 10a, illustrating the new holder and novel nameplate used together; FIG. 10b is ahorizontal cross-sectional view of a holder shown in FIG; 10, but in which the holder was slightly flexed along its entire vertical center before the novel nameplates are inserted;
FIG. 11 is a horizontal cross-sectional view through yet another version of nameplate holder, illustrating the holder and my novel nameplate used therewith; and
FIG. 12 is a front elevation view of another embodiment of holder for the novel directory nameplate of FIG. 6.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, directory 10 is comprised of a frame or holder 11 and vertical, longitudinal marginal edge hem portions 12 and 14. Edge hem portions 12 and 14 are curved and folded over so that holder 11 has a C-shaped horizontal cross-section, as seen in FIG. 2. The edge portions each have an interior surface including a portion that is forward of and opposite frame 11. The openings in edge hem portions l2, 14 are on the order of about 1/16 thickness. I
Edge hem portions 12, I4 guide nameplates 13 in the frame or holder 11. As can be seen in FIG. 2, nameplate 13 has substantially the same thickness as the thickness from the front to the back of the opening in the marginal hem edge portions 12, 14 of holder 11. Nameplates 13 can he slid into holder 11 from the top,
- or rotated into position, and can be held in position in the holder 11 by the stop member 15 at the bottom thereof. The type of nameplate 13 is not always easily inserted because their thickness prevents easy entrance into hems 12, l4,of holder 11. It is apparent that any slight variation in thickness of nameplate 13 or any inadvertent bending or improper shaping of edge hem' portions l2, 14 will preclude proper-support of the nameplates 13 in the holder 11.
To replace one or more directory nameplates 13, depending upon the location of that nameplate 13, it may be necessary to remove some or all of the nameplates above it. This is because. as illustrated in FIG. 2. it is conventional and essential to make each nameplate almost precisely the thickness of the hem l2, 14, whereby rotating or twisting of the nameplates into position, as suggested in FIG. 9, is precluded or difficult because the corners of nameplates 13 may block this motion. Nameplates 13 are of such thickness that they may be removed by being slid out from the top or by being bent. However. if the blank 13 is bent, it may be sufficiently deformed to prevent reuse, since it-does not have the benefit of a metal strip 30 to give it body and resilience, and is thicker than the plastic blanks 40 used in my nameplate 20. v
FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of prior art directory 10a. Holder 11a is comprised of two channel brackets 12a and 14a, which have a U-shaped horizontal cross-section. The open sides of the Us face toward each other, thereby defining facing channels for receiving nameplates 13. Channels 12a and 14a perform the same function as edge hem portions l2. 14 in the embodiment of FIG. 1. To properly-space and position brackets 12a. 14a, they are permanently mounted at the desired spacing in directory mounting blocks 18. or in a similarly functioning fixed position mounting such as an extruded aluminum inner frame. Hence, holder 11a is a permanent installation.
Normally. it might be expected that nameplates 13 will settle to the bottom of holder Ila. To hold a nameplate 13 above the bottom of holder 11a, a strip of adhesive tape 19, or other supporting and/or securing means is used. Such securing means may not be esthetically pleasing and may be cumbersome to work with.
In another embodiment of the prior art, illustrated in the directory 10b of FIG. 4, the nameplates 13 are adhered to the adhesive strips 12b, 14b on the front surface of a sheet 11b. The support 11b has a width selected such that it will extend across and a thickness such that it will fit or slide into the U-shaped channels formed by brackets 12a, 12a of FIG. 3. Changing the information on holder 11b, e.g to maintain proper alphabetical sequence of names, is cumbersomebecause it may require removing the entire holder llb from its mounting and will require subsequently removing some adhesively attached nameplates l3, and applying substitute ones. It is apparent that shifting of nameplates 13 to make space for a name which belongs between two adjacently positioned, names becomes quite difficult and time-consuming, especially if a large number of nameplates 13 must be moved.
In still another embodiment of the prior art shown in the directory of FIG. 5, holder carries forwardly projecting, inwardly directed prongs 12c, Me
which are inserted in the open ends of clear plastic en- I velopes, as seen at the top, in which labels 13c are inserted. Holder 11c is permanently mounted on brackets by way of screws. Changing information is as cumbersome as in the embodiment of FIG. 4. Also, the nameplates 13 are usually spaced apart from each other so that a directory 100 of this type does not use space economically. With the use of my novel nameplates 40, as seen at the bottom of FIG. 5, the need for plastic envelopes is eliminated, since one conventional type window, as in FIG. I, 3 and 4 can be used.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The features of FIGS. 1 and 2 that are carried over to FIGS. 312 are similarly numbered.
Referring to FIGS. 6, and 6a to 6f. in accordance with the present invention, directory nameplate 20 is comprised of flexible strip 30 of FIGS. 6a, 6b and plastic engraving blank 40 of FIGS. 6c, 6d, 6e. Strip 30 is resilient, flexible metal and has a generally elongated, rectangular shape. Preferably, the strip 30 is of spring tempered steel. Strip 30 is 1/64 inch thick, considerably thinner than the 1/16 inch thickness of edge hem portions 12, 14. Strip 30 terminates at both ends in rounded lobes 32, 34 which are rounded for reasons to be described below. Beneath lobes 32, 34 are notches 36 and 38 with rounded lower corners 37 and 39, the purpose of which notches is described below.
The adhesive 43 is on the back of plastic blank 40 as seen in FIG. 6d. The adhesive-backed plastic engraving blank 40 is secured to the front surface (FIG. 6a) of strip 30, as seen'in FIG. 6. I have found it preferable to have the adhesive applied to the back of the blank 40 rather than the front of the strip 30, since the former arrangement permits the blank to be easily removed and repositioned or replaced, and such is very difficult with the latter arrangement. When strip 30 is placed in a holder 11, the indicia on the front surface 42 of plastic blank 40 faces outwardly and forward of said holder 11. Blank 40 is slightly longer than the distance between the inner edges of notches 36 and 38 and provides a protective overlap for the metal edges of the notches, which prevents rubbing against the hard metal of the notches. The use of attachable engraving blanks 40 is preferred. However, a whole roll of embossed or imprinted labels can be easily imprinted and later cut out in the appropriate lengths and easily applied to strips 30. The additional thickness to the strip 30 resulting from application of indicia-carrying blank 40 does not interfere with proper operation of the invention.
It will be noted that the back surface of the metal strips 30 may have orientation guide lines marked thereon, as seen in FIG. 6b where the outer lines serve to indicate the mounting limitations for securing the adhesive back surface 43 of plastic blank 40 to the front surface, seen in FIG. 6a, of the strip 30 to thereby form the nameplate 40 of FIG. 6. The inner orientation guide lines on the back of strip 30 of FIG. 6b are used to center the engraving indicia to be applied to the front surface 42 of the plastic blank 40.'As seen in FIG. 6e, the thickness of the plastic blank 40 can be, and is intended to be substantially less than the thickness of the prior art blanks 13. Hence, with the blank 40 secured to the strip 30, the strip 30 will control the resilience and flexibility of the blank 40.
On the other hand, in the prior art of FIG. 2, it is apparent that an addition of a strip would undesirably increase the thickness of nameplate 13 and preclude its emplacement in holder ll.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 6-9, strip 30 can be deformed, bent or curved before use. as seen in FIG. 6f. preferably concavely about the front side which carries indicia blank 40, in order that it stay in position in holder 11 under the curved marginal edge hem portions 12, 14. The end lobes 32, 34 of concavely curved nameplates 20 in FIG. 8 press against the forward surface of the curved interiors of hem portions 12, 14 and the rear surface of strip 30 presses against the front of holder 11. The resilience of strip 30 forces it against the surfaces of the holder 11 and supports the strip in position. As a result, nameplates 20 can be arranged as in FIG. 7 to provide a separation between neighboring nameplates. as shown at 16. This could be helpful. for example, to leave spaces for additional names, for separating succeeding letters of the alphabet. etc. ln new buildings, the nameplates for the initial occupants can be kept in a central location in the directory until most spaces in the directory panel are completed.
The construction of the nameplate 20, with strips 30 and blanks 40, enables them to be readily inserted or removed from the holder 11, without having to remove all of the strips above or below the one which is being added, replaced or removed. Because lobes32, 34 are curved, nameplate 20 can be positioned in holder 11, as seen in FIG. 9, by placing it at an angle to occupy no more than three nameplate spaces and then rotating it around from the top position illustrated in 'FIG. 9, where lobes 32,- 34 can then be moved into edge portions l2, 14. The curvature of lobes 32, 34 enables the rotation just described. The short height of these lobes additionally assists in the rotation. Were'the ends of strip 30 straight and squared off, as with blanks 13 of FIGS. 1 and 2, the points at its corners would preclude the twisting of the strip to enable its insertion. Removal of nameplate 20 from holder 11 is accomplished simply by pulling. or prying it out. Insertion can also be easily achieved by flexing and snapping in place, through spring action of the resilient metal strip 30, without having to make space for more than one nameplate 20.
A further development of a holder is seen in FIGS. and 10a where the edge hem portions 12e, 142 of metal holder lle are crimped to define a quite narrow opening, on the order of H64 inchfor example. which would not interfere with the insertion of the lobes 3 2, 34 of strips 30 in accordance with the technique shown in FIG. 9, but will permit the nameplate to be held securely, and which will preclude insertion of prior art nameplates l3. Holder 1 1e is comprised of resilient, deformable metal material that can be slightly predeformed convexly toward nameplates 20, as seen in FIG.
10b. The holder lle need only be deformed about 2 on each side from its original position of the dotted line of FIG. 10b. Thus, the center of holder lle would press against the center of nameplates 20. The lobes 32, 34 contact the interior surfaces of the marginal edge portions l2e, 142 respectively, and the center of strip could cooperate with the center of holder 11 e to hold the nameplates 20 in place. This arrangement provides holding friction between the holder lle and the nameplate just by flexing or curving the nameplate, without bending it. v
It should be noted that an alternate way of obtaining greater friction for holding the nameplates 20 in holder lle is by slightly bending the nameplate 20, as seen in in substantially the same manner illustrated and described in. H6. 8.
I It should be noted that two factors control the positioning of the nameplate 20 within the holder lle to provide appropriate directory alignment. Namely, the
lobes 32,. 34 of the strip 30 extend close to the extreme I edges .of the marginal hems 12a, 14e (i.e., with 1/32 tom to hold the nameplate's 20 in position. I FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment of'a directory 10f, 7 similar to the directory '1 la of FIG. '3, for. mounting the inventive nameplates 20. Nameplate may or may not be curved convexly toward the viewing window 48 of holder 11f and end lobes 32, 34of strip are positioned in the track 12f, l4fof holder 11]". A transparent plastic or glass viewing window 48 is rigidly positioned at the front of holder 1 1 f. Normally theprior art na'meplates 13 are mounted in the back track 12f, 14).- However, with my novel arrangement. the nameplates 20 are positioned in the from track '1 2f, 14f which also defines a track for window 48. A backdrop 47 may be'in sorted in the backtrack 12f, "14f directly behind the nameplates 20.
.COnvexlycurved 'nameplates 20 press against tabs 12f, 14f and at their center, pressagainst window 48,
and are thereby held securely in position against ing vertically through holder 11 f.
'nFlG. .12 shows yet another embodimentof a directory the nameplates 20 are magnetically held in place. Also, instead of magnetic strips'l2gl or'14g, the holder 11g can be made of magnetic material to there provide a magnetic support for nameplates 20.
Applicants novel nameplates 20, for use in'a directory, permit the nameplates to be used with a standardized holder of the prior art, such as holders 1 1' of FIG.
' l, as seen in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9; holder 11a of FIGJ3;
holder 11b of FIG. 4; holder 11c of FIG. 5 as seen at the bottom thereof; or a modified'new holder 112 as seen in FIG. '10, 100; many other type of holder such as llfof FIG. 11 and llg'of FIG. 12.
Also, applicants novel nameplate holder lle of I FIGS. 10,104, 101) can be used in prior art directories by having the edges 12, Me inserted in tracks such as 12a, 14a of FIG. 3.
Although the present invention has been described in connection with preferred embodiments thereof, many closure herein, but only by the appended elaims. The embodiments of the invention in which an'excluv sive privilege or propertyis claimed aredefined as follows:
i I l, A vertical directory, including in combination:
a holder comprised of a rectangular sheet having forwardly folded over, marginal; hem edges along two each defining'an'opening to rece'ive'the end lobe of. I I
a nameplate strip;
plural, elongate rectangular nameplate strips each being thin and having opposed flat surfaces. each I said strip being comprised of flexible resilient, yet permanently deformable material; each said strip having two opposite ends, a respective rounded shape lobe projecting from eachsaid end for'securing each said strip in .said hem edgeopeningsand for enabling-the insertion and removal of said strip; each said strip being of a length, such that itsjsaid .lobes each extend into a respective one said marginal hem edge opening; 1 ,7 each said strip being permanently deformed and concavely curved with respect to the front of the holder around an axis transverse to a linejoining said strip ends such that said strip lobes can be flexed to engage said hem edgesof said holder in the respective said openings thereof. and the resilk iency of said strips biases them into fixed position along said holder vertical sides by their inherent flexible-deformation,
a plurality of blanks of engravable material, each extend into said holder'marginal hern edge openlugs 3. The directory of claim 1., wherein said strip is of-a first height and said lobes are of a shorter height. 1 T
4. The directory of claim 3 in which said strip iscom prised of aspring tempered steel,
5.-The directory of claim 1 in which orientation guide lines are positioned on a back. surface of: said strip to providemounting limitation for-a blank to'ibe to a front surface of said strip; 1' r v 6. The directory of claim 1 in which a notch with a rounded corner is formed below each lobe, V 7. The directory of claim 6, wherein said blank of ena gravable material has an adhesive surface on the back thereof and said blank is secured by its adhesive surface I to said strip. y
8. A vertical directory, including in combination:
a holder comprised of a permanently deformable,
metal, flexible, resilient, rectangular sheet having forwardly folded over. marginal hem edges along two opposite vertical sides: said folded over hem edges each defining an opening to receive the end lobe of a nameplate strip; I plural, elongate, rectangular nameplate strips, each being thin and having opposed flat surfaces;.each said strip having two opposite ends, a respective rounded shape lobe projecting from each said strip end for securing each said strip in said hem edge openings and for enabling the insertion and-removal of saidstrip; each said strip'being of 'a length such that its said lobes eachextend into a respective one said marginal hem edge opening;
5 I said holder being-permanently deformed convexly opposite vertical'sidesjsaid foldedove'r hem edges with respect to thefront' of said holder around the vertical height of said holder, which moyes said secured marginal hem edges close together and twists said said openings thereof and the resilient deformation marginal hem edges, thereby to provide greater of said holder biasing said strips into position along friction for holding said strip in position: said hem edges. said strip lobes engaging said hem edges in respective