US 3845864 A
An improved display shelf molded from a synthetic plastic material incorporating longitudinal embedded reinforcing bars, slotted ends for the reception and concealing of mounting brackets and a specially contoured top and bottom surface for aesthetic and functional purposes.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
nited States Patent i191 einrich 5] Nov. 5, 1974 1 DISPLAY SHELVING  Inventor: Wilhelm Heinrich, D-344l,
I Oberhone, Germany  Filed: July 5, 1973  Appl. No: 376,621
[52} US. Cl. 211/153  Int. Cl. A471 '5/00  Field of Search 52/309, 576; 211/153;
 References Cited 1 UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,832,518 11/1931 Wettlaufer 211/153 3,313,674 4/1967 Mathews 52/309 X 3,771,466 11/1973 Ferdinand et al. 21 l/l53 X 3,778,949 12/1973 Hellerich 52/309 Primary Examiner-Roy D. Frazier Assistant ExaminerR0bert W. Gibson, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Warren F. B. Lindsley 57 ABSTRACT An improved display shelf molded from a synthetic plastic material incorporating longitudinal embedded reinforcing bars, slotted ends for the reception and concealing of mounting brackets and a specially contoured top and bottom surface for aesthetic and functional purposes.
11 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to prefabricated shelves for home or commercial use and more particularly to a relatively inexpensive molded plastic shelf having a number of aesthetic and functional features.
Heretofore, such shelves have been made from glass, wood and steel, with steel shelving having the advantages of physical strength and low cost. Although used for displaying groceries and hardware, steel shelving is usually unattractive and unacceptable for displaying decorative items where aesthetic considerations are important.
Wood veneer shelving has a more attractive appearance and a better acoustic quality than steel, but has a lower load capacity. Furthermore, the fabrication of wooden shelves to achieve both beauty and utility is relatively expensive.
Glass shelving highlights or emphasizes items being displayed, such as, for example, cosmetics, porcelain and fine textile wear, ehile wooded shelving tends to subdue their appearance or even give the displayed item a wooden appearance. Glass shelving may be rendered more elegant by giving it a very narrow rounded front edge, thereby exhibiting a light and delicate appearance. Even though it is generally less expensive than wood shelving of comparable quality or elegance, glass shelving is much more fragile.
Additionally, all of the aforementioned shelving materials are difficult or impossible to fabricate in forms that are easy to maintain and keep clean, and no one of these materials is universally adaptable in terms of synthetic plastic shelving since the weight capacity was unattainable and the manufacturing methods needed to produce acceptable plastic shelving unknown.
' It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide an improved plastic display shelf.
Another object of the invention is to provide a plastic shelf that is stronger than comparable wooden shelves.
A further object of the invention is to provide a plastic shelf that is-more attractive than a steel shelf.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a plastic shelf that is more attractive than steel and, at the same time, stronger than wood or glass.
A still further object of the invention is'to provide a plastic shelf that is easier to assemble than prior art shelving designs.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a plastic shelf having a number of additional features involving utility owing to its unique form and structure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The present invention may be more readily described by reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the underside of the shelf shown in FIG. 1 including additional structural details of its front edge and ends.
FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the shelf shown in FIG. 1 with a cutaway section displaying internal supporting members.
FIG. 4 shows a cross-section view of FIG. 3 taken along the line 4-4.
FIG. 5 is a partial end view of a modification of the shelf shown in FIGS. 1-4 embodying an electrical outlet.
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of FIG. 2 taken along the line 6-6. 7
FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of a supporting strut for use between an upper and lower shelf of the type shown in FIGS. 1-6.
FIG. 8 illustrates a special clip designed to hold a display or information card which is adapted to fit over I DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring more particularly to the drawings by characters of reference, FIG. 1 discloses a shelf 10 having a slightly concave or shallow upper surface 11 which is higher at its front edge 12 than at its center. This feature prevents objects from vibrating or rolling off the shelf. The front edge of shelf 10 is thin and rounded off to present a delicate or elegant appearance. A rectangular hole 13 is provided at each corner of shelf 10 which may be utilized, if desired, for special mounting struts.
Shelf 10, as shown in FIG. 2, is provided with a convex under surface 14 which not only adds to its supportive strength, but also adds to its aesthetic beauty. At each end of the shelf is arranged a downwardly extending protrusion or flange 15 which provides a means by which the shelf may securely rest on supportive brackets (not shown), which fit into slot 16 molded into the under side of protrusion 15. Protrusions l5 and slots 16 provide means by which the shelf may be quickly and securely mounted on supporting brackets without the use of screws or other fastening means while at the same time providing a covering for the supporting brackets so that they do not detract from the appearance of the shelf, add to the difficulty of cleaning, or block the view of the items displayed on the shelves. Because of the convenience with which such shelves may be installed and removed, they may be readily disassembled for washing and other maintenance or rearrangement purposes.
ployed to secure in position the special clip shown in FIG. 8 which will be hereinafter described.
In FIG. 3 the cutaway section shows that a multiplicity or reinforcing means, such as rods, bars or pipes 20 are arranged longitudinally of the shelf and embedded in the body of the shelf during the molding or forming operation. These rods, bars or pipes of a hollow or solid configuration, and formed or steel, aluminum, plastic or other suitable material, add significantly to the mechanical strength of the shelf. Although these five reinforcing means are shown evenly spaced across the width of the shelf, they may be of any number and any arrangement across the width of the shelf.
The'cross-section view of FIG. 4 shows further detail of FIGS. 1-3 wherein the longitudinal positioned reinforcing means are shown as hollow pipes. Solid bars may be employed but may add unneccessarily to the weight of the shelf. FIG. 4 also illustrates clearly the arcuate concave form of the upper surface 11 and the convex form of the lower surface 12 as well as the contours of the protrusions 15. It should be noted that the groove or slot 16 molded into protrusion 15 forms two lips 21 and 22. Outer lip 22 extends beyond inner lip 21 to obscure more effectively the supporting bracket from the end view of the shelf.
FIG. illustrates that an electrical outlet 23 may be incorporated in the upper surface 11 of the shelf. An opening to accept such an outlet may be readily molded into the shelf in the forming operation in addition to an aperture through which the electrical wires for the outlet may be routed. The wires may be dressed along the under surface of the shelf behind protrusion to a source of electrical power behind the wall on which the shelves are mounted. A means is thus provided for supplying electrical service to the shelf without the obvious display of unsightly electrical wiring. The convenience of the electrical outlet is readily apparent for illuminating the display or operating small appliances such as radios, clocks, television sets and the like.
FIG. 6 illustrates in more detail the form of slots 16 and lips 21 and 22. The form of hole 17 is also shown as including a counter-sunk depression 24 for obscuring the end of the supportive strut which it is made to accept. A second smaller extension 25 of depression 24 is shown for threadedly receiving the threaded end of the strut. The hole 25 may be threaded after molding or a suitable threaded or pliable insert may be installed in the hole during the molding operation.
The structure of the hole 17 and its utility will be more readily apparent when considered in relationship to the supportive strut 26 shown in FIG. 7. A threaded end section 27 of reduced diameter relative to the di ameter of the shoulder 28 of the strut is designed to be received by threaded section 25 of the shelf 10 shown in FIG. 6. Shoulder 28 fits inside depression 24 of FIG. 6 for an attractive and substantial joining of strut 26 to the shelving structure.
FIG. 8 shows a clip 29 which is designed to be mounted on the edge of the shelf and arranged to hold an information card 30 thereon. As shown, card 30 slips into slot 31 of the clip. Clip 29 comprises in addition to slot 31 a pair of flanges 32 and 33 joined at one end to form a U-shaped channel, and is preferably formed of a'flexible plastic material appropriately dimensioned so that when the channel is slipped over the edge of the shelf, flanges 32 and 33 are forced apart.
Thus, reactive forces are exerted by these flanges against the upper and lower surfaces of the shelf to hold clip 29 in place.
FIG. 9 shows clip 29 in position over the front edge 12 of the shelf. Flange 32 is seen as being somewhat longer than flange 33 to cause flange 32 to pass over the wedge-shaped projection 19 on lower surface 14 of the shelf. Flange 32 thus exerts a reactive force against edge 34 of projection 19. The point of pressure application at edge 34 is directly opposite the point at which flange 33 also exerts a reactive force against the upper surface 11 of shelf 10. The directly opposite positioning of these two reactive or grasping forces results in a secure gripping action.
All of the above described features are incorporated in the structure of the shelf during the original forming or molding operation. For this reason, a high degree of utility is realized through a very minimum of fabricating operations and the cost of producing the shelf is accordingly low. An inexpensive molded plastic shelf is thus provided which is both aesthetically attractive and mechanically strong and which, in addition incorporates such additionally desirable features as obscured mounting means, arcuate upper and lower surfaces (which add strength and present objects from rolling off of the shelf), ease of maintenance and assembly, and provision for additional supporting struts, information cards and electrical outlets.
In order to enhance the strength and beauty of the shelf, the outer surface 35 of the shelf, as shown in FIG. 4, may be of the same or different plastic material, but of a denser consistency than the inner core of the shelf. This not only makes it possible to acquire a glossy surface, but adds to the strength of the structure without unduly adding to its weight.
While the principles of the invention have now been made clear in an illustrative embodiment, there will be immediately obvious to those skilled in the art many modifications of structure, arrangement, proportions, the elements, materials and parts used in the practice of the invention, and otherwise, which are particularly adapted for specific environments without departing from these principles. The appended claims are therefore intended to cover and embrace any such modifications, within the limits only of the true spirit and scope of the invention.
' What is claimed is:
1. A unitary molded display shelf formed from plastic material comprising:
an elongated solid support member having a substantially flat top surface and a convex bottom surface fonning relatively thin front and rear edges,
each end of said member being provided with a flange integral with and extending laterally from said top surface and provided with a slot extending along its free edge laterally of the longitudinal axis of said member forreceiving a supporting bracket therein, and
a plurality of spaced reinforcing means embedded in said member and arranged to extend longitudinally thereof.
2. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said flanges are of a predetermined width at the rear edge of said member and tapering toward the width of said thin front edge at the front of said shelf.
3. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said top surface is provided with a shallow concave configuration extending longitudinally thereof to aid in keeping displayed items thereon. 4. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said plurality of reinforcing means comprises at least some hollow tubular members. 5. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said plurality of reinforcing means comprise hollow metallic tubes. 6. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 wherein:
the outer skin of said member having a greater density than the inner portion of said member. 7. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 6 wherein:
said outer skin is of the same type of plastic material as the inner portion of said member. 8. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 in further combination with: Y
an electrical outlet mounted in an aperture in the top surface of said support member. 9. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 in further combination with:
apertures molded in the lower surface of support member for receiving support poles arranged to extend between the top surface of a juxtapositioned lower shelf. 10. The unitary molded display shelf set forth in claim 1 wherein: V
said reinforcing means are evenly spaced across the width of said member. 11. A unitary molded display shelf formed from a plastic material comprising:
an elongated solid support member having a slightly concave top surface and a convex bottom surface forming relatively thin front and rear edges, each end of said member being provided with a flange integral with and extending laterally from said top surface and provided with a U-shaped slot extending along its free edge laterally of the longitudinal axis of said member for receiving and concealing a supporting bracket therein, and said flanges being of a predetermined width at the rear edge of said member and tapering toward the width of said thin front edge at the front of said shelf,
a plurality of spaced reinforcing means embedded in said member and arranged to extend longitudinally thereof,
.said reinforcing means comprising hollow metallic tubes, the density of the outer skin of said member being of a greater density than the density of the inner portion of said member.