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Publication numberUS3865249 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 11, 1975
Filing dateDec 29, 1972
Priority dateDec 29, 1972
Publication numberUS 3865249 A, US 3865249A, US-A-3865249, US3865249 A, US3865249A
InventorsHerzog Milton W
Original AssigneeGoodman & Sons Inc H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Merchandise displays and method of manufacture
US 3865249 A
A display panel having a pattern of sockets is vacuum-formed of a thermoplastic sheet. The sockets have firm walls and flimsy domes. In the forming process, the domes maintain the pressure difference at opposite faces of the sheet being formed, and in the finished panel the domes cover the bottoms of the sockets for enhancing the panel's appearance. The domes are easily penetrated by prongs of article-supporting brackets, which may be mounted on the display panel in selected arrangements.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Herzog 1 1 MERCHANDISE DISPLAYS AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE [75] Inventor: Milton W. Herzog, Valley Stream,

[73] Assignee: II. Goodman 8L Sons, Inc., Kearny,

[22] Filed: Dec. 29, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 319,754

[52] US. Cl 211/163,.211/57, 211/177, 248/DIG. 3, 264/273 [51] Int. Cl. A47f 5/02 [58] Field of Search 211/163, 87,169, 57, 59,'

211/54; 264/92, 273; 248/DIG. 3, 223, 225; 161/109, 130, 116, 125; 52/100, 511- [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,828,393 3/1958 Wingard 264/273 X 3,308,225 3/1967 Wells 264/273 X 3,322,287 5/1967 Ragir 3,438,507 4/1969 Kreuger 211/126 X 3,484,835 12/1969 Trounstine et ill 161/130 3,502,226 3/1970 Marschak 211/163 3,544,416 12/1970 Gebhard 52/511 X 3,591,996 7/1971 Shanok et 211.. 264/273 X 3,756,421 9/1973 Wilkins ..'2l l/l63 FORElGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 137,771 9/1948 Australia 52/100 1 Feb. 11, 1975 Primary Examiner-Roy D. Frazier Assistant Examiner--Robert W. Gibson, Jr.

[57] ABSTRACT A display panel having a pattern of sockets is vacuumformed of a thermoplastic sheet. The sockets have firm walls and flimsy domes. In the forming process, the domes maintain the pressure difference at opposite faces of the sheet being formed, and in the finished panel the domes cover the bottoms of the sockets for enhancing the panels appearance. The domes are easily penetrated by prongs of article-supporting brackets, which may be mounted on the display panel in selected arrangements.

Plural display panels are assembled to form an exemplary display unit, and in the display unit, each display panel includes a first wall with its pattern of sockets and'a second wall'that covers much of the back of the first wall but is spaced therefrom to accommodate the bracket prongs. Where lateral edges of the first and second walls are joined by an integral hinge, the display panel has a smooth margin that is pleasant to handle in using the displayunit. The form of the display panels and their assembled relationship result in a sturdy display unit that is easily assembled at the point of use.

Brackets for supporting the panel are united to the panel by blistered portions of the panel extending snugly across edges of the bracket and through holes in the bracket, the blisters at the edges and through the holes having overhangs locking the bracket to the panel.

13 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures MERCHANDISE DISPLAYS AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURE This invention relates to display panels containing apertures for receiving the prongs of article-bearing brackets, to display panels having supporting brackets, to the method of making such panels, and to display apparatus incorporating such display panels.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION A widely used type of merchandise display requires panels having a modular pattern of apertures for replastic material, but such panels. evidently have had little if any practical success.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In one aspect, the present invention provides novel display panels having a modular pattern of sockets to receive prongs of standard article-supporting brackets. These sockets have lateral walls extending rearward and integrally from a relatively thin thermoplastic panel, and domes or caps on the walls close the bottoms of the sockets. The lateral walls of the sockets are firm and provide bearing strength for said'prongs and those lateral walls simulate the thickness of standard perforated panels, so as to utilize standard articlesupporting brackets effectively. The domes are very thin and are easily ruptured when article bracket prongs are pushed into the sockets.

In'another aspect of the invention, the novel thermoplastic panels with the modular pattern of sockets is made by the so-called vaccum-forming process, using carefully proportioned mold cavities. These socketforming cavities are made deep enough to produce domes that are easily ruptured by prongs of articlesupporting brackets, yet they are not so deep that the domes are ruptured during the forming operation. Even when a dome becomes paper-thin, the socket wall is firm and of substantial thickness, diminishing rather abruptly at the transition between the wall and the dome. The domes sustain the pressure differential developed at opposite faces of the thermoplastic sheet during the forming operation, and the domes contribute to the attractive appearance of the finished panel. The thermoplastic sheet in which said sockets are formed is shaped to incorporate strengthening and attractive frames in the same vacuum-forming operation.

In another aspect of the invention, plural thermoplastic panels are incorporated into an exemplary display unit. Each panel is provided with another wall for covering the back of each socket-bearing wall that otherwise would be exposed in a free-standing display unit. The two walls are connected by an integral hinge that extends continuously along a common lateral edge, making it unnecessary to unite the two walls. In the exemplary display unit which has a vertical central supporting shaft, the hinge forms a smooth panel margin that is pleasing to handle in manipulating the display unit, to rotate it about the shaft.

In a further aspect of the invention, thermoplastic sheets that are more or less frail are united to sheetmetal members for stiffening the panels. Additionalto their stiffening effect, the sheet-metal members form brackets for supporting the panels, and for structurally integrating the panel into an assembled display unit. The sheet-metal members are united to the panel by forming blisters in the panel immediately adjacent edges of the sheet-metal, snugly against such edges and/or through holes in the sheet-metal, the blisters overhanging and bearing against the rear of the sheetmetal. Where the panel is to have sockets as mentioned above, the sockets and the bracket-unifying blisters are formed in one operation.

It is evident that certain of the novel features mentioned above and in the detailed description that follows can be used to advantage separately, but they achieve excellent results when used together as in the illustrative embodiment described in detail below and shown in the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a lateral view, greatly reduced, of display apparatus constituting an illustrative embodiment of certain features of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary front view of a thermoplastic sheet in the configuration in which it is formed, for use as one of four display panels in the display apparatus of FIG. 1, drawn to reduced scale but to a scale larger than FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of the formed sheet of FIG. 2 as viewed from the cross-section plane 3-3 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary greatly enlarged portion of the cross-section shown in FIGS;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary vertical-planecross-section of a'portion of panel B and article-supporting bracket shown in FIG. I, drawn to reduced scale, but to much larger scale than FIG. 1;

FIG. 5A is a view like FIG. 5 of modified panel B with another form of article-supporting bracket;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary cross-section of the structure in FIG. 5 as viewed from the horizontal plane 66 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary cross'section of a panel-supporting bracket and a portion of the panel of FIGS. 2 and 3 and of a mold for forming the panel and 1 FIG. 9 is a fragmentary elevation partly in crosssection at the plane 9-9 of FIG. 8, of a portion of the display apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a support bracket for the panels in the apparatus of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 11 isan enlarged fragmentary perspective of a support bracket of FIG. 10 united to a panel of FIG. 2, viewed from the rear of FIG. 2.

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an article-display apparatus 10 that includes four identical article-display panels A, B, C and D united to each other, a supporting pedestal 12, and an upstanding shaft 14 about which the four-panel unit A, B, C and D is rotatable. A pair of brackets 17 are secured to each wall 22,

' 3 7 near the top and bottom of the wall, of each of the panels A, B, C and D (FIG. 8). Brackets 17 are fixed to bottom and top bearing blocks 16 and 16 supported on shaft 14 (FIG. 9). Block 16 rests on a ball-bearing unit 16a supported by pin 16b in shaft 14. A square tube 19 received in square cavities in members 16 and 16' to assure rotation of members 16 and 16' as a unit.

Each article-display panel incorporates a modular pattern of sockets 18 to receive prongs 20a of articlesupporting brackets 20 (FIGS. and 6) shown extending from article-display panel B in FIG. 1. A pattern of sockets 18 in each display panel (see panel A, FIG. 1) is available for article-supporting brackets. These brackets may be assembled to the panels in any desired distribution, for supporting signs and packages in attractive arrangements that use display space efficiently, as shown for example, in US. Pat. No. 3,650,408 entitled DISPLAY APPARATUS, issued Mar. 21, 1972. I

Each panel A, B, C and D in this illustrative embodiment ismade of a single sheet of thermoplastic material, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 8. The sheet is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 as it appears after being formed and trimmed, with its two walls 22 and 24 side-by-side and generally coplanar. The two walls are joined by an integral hinge 26 which is shown in greatly enlarged crosssection in FIG. 4. Each wall 22 and 24 has amarginal frame upstanding from the corresponding generally flat panel area 22a, 24a thereof. The frames, flat panel areas, sockets l8 and hinge 26 form an integral member which, ideally, is made of a single thermoplastic sheet by the so-called vacuum-forming process. In applying that process here, a sheet of thermoplastic material is first heated to render it suitably soft. It is supported above its mold M (FIG. 7) and forced against the mold by vacumm developed through passages P in the forming mold. Sometimes positive air pressure is built up at the'opposite side of the heat-softened sheet in addition to or in place of the vacumm at the mold-supported side of the sheet. The whole process, which includes the preliminary step of heat-softening the thermoplastic-sheet and then forcing the softened sheet againt a mold by a pressure differential is here called vacuumforming generically, not only when vacuum alone is used in the forming operation, but also when positive or above-atmospheric pressure is used additionally at the opposite side of the sheet, and it is also used to refer to the equivalent process in which only positive pressure is used at the side of the sheet remote from mold M.

Wall 22 includes inner and outer lateral frame portions 28 and 30 and top and bottom frame portions 32, all of which extend out of the plane of the generally fiat panel area 22a. correspondingly, wall 24 has outer and inner lateral frame portions 34 and 36, and top and bottom frame portions 38 that extend out of the plane of the generally flat panel area 24a.

After the sheet is vacuum-formed and then trimmed, wall 24 is swung about hinge 26 to the rear of wall 22. The top and bottom frame portions 32 and 38 are shaped so that their edges are aligned and, preferably, so that they are in contact with each other after wall 24 is swung to the back of wall '22. Advantageously, these edges are then united, as by means of adhesive tape or other fastening means. Hinge 26 represents a smooth continuous connection between the front and back walls 22 and 24 along the vertical edge of each panel A, B, C and D (FIGS. 1 and 8) of the display unit.

Each panel supporting bracket 17 includes arms 17a and an elongated strip 17b having holes 17c (FIG. 10) distributed along its length. In an example, holes 17c are 5/l6-inch in diameter, and bracket 17 is of sheetmetal approximately 0.105-inch thick. Brackets 17 are unified with the panel in the same operation that forms sockets 18. The panel forms bulges projecting into mold recesses underlying bracket edges 17d and holes l7e forming bulges 21 and 23 (FIGS. 10 and II). The mold cavities underlying marginal edges 17:! and underlying the edges of holes 17c are recessed or undercut at e under bracket 17 so that as blistering proceeds and bulges develop, the material forms firmly against the edges of the bracket and'develops enlargements or overhangs E snugly behind the bracket, unifying the bracket and the panel. Bulges 23 engage opposite edges 17d of the bracket, to lock the bracket between them. Separately, bulges 21 extend through the holes 17c of the bracket, spreading over the edge portions of the bracket defining each hole. These-bulges act like rivets integral with the rest of the panel to unite the bracket tion 36 of display panel C. The same arrangement is repeated for each of the other pairs of inner lateral frame portions, with the result that a hollow rectangular central column is formed by the four walls 22 of panels A, B, C and D. Panels A, B, C and D, unified to pairs of brackets 17, are fixed to top and bottom members 16 and 16 by arms 17a which extend to the rear of each panel between frame portions 28 and 36 of that panel. The whole constitutes a relatively rigid display unit which is rotatably carried by shaft 14.

The outer frame portion 30 of each display panel constitutes a handle,-making it convenient for the user to rotate the display unit about vertical bearing shaft 14. The continuous integral hinge 26 joining frame portions 30 and 34 assures a smooth surface along the handle. The frame portions impart stiffness and strength to each display panel, and the separation between flat panel areas 22a and 24a imparts stiffness to each display panel. The'separation between panel areas 22a and 24a also provides space to accommodate sockets 18 and projecting prongs 20a when inserted into sockets 18 (FIG. 5).

As mentioned above, each wall 22 has a modular pattern of sockets 18. Each socket'when formed has a lateral wall 18a (FIG. 7) that is nearly cylindrical, but is slightly tapered in the direction away from the flat wall area 22a. Lateral wall 18a of the socket 18 is formed of material drawn from the plane of fiat panel area 22a, and therefore the'lateral wall is thinner than the flat panel from which the socket extends. Lateral wall 18a of the socket is nevertheless quite thick and strong. A dome 18b closes the bottom of each socket 18. Dome 18b which is carried by lateral wall is extremely thin and fragile. The thickness of wall 18a as contrasted with thin dome 18b occurs automatically in the vacuum.-forming process, as a result of the proper proportioning of the diameter and depth of the socket-forming cavity in mold M, the thickness of panel area 22a, and the temperature and nature of the thermoplastic sheet. The thickness of the lateral wall 18a is greatest near the flat area 22a and diminishes somewhat toward dome 18b, but it has substantial thickness up to what amounts to a narrow transition from the lateral wall into the dome. An excessively thick dome would make it difficult to insert prongs 20a when article-supporting brackets are to be mounted. An excessively thin dome should also be avoided, because in that case some domes would be breached during the vacuum-forming operation. That would cause loss of vacuum, resulting in poor shaping of the panel and blisters 21 and 23. The appearance of the panel and the strength of the panelto-bracket joint would suffer.

In an excellent example, 0.062-inch thick high impact styrene incorporating a substantial rubber content was used to make sockets 18 having an outer diameter of /4-II'lCh and 5/l6-inch height with a 5 outside taper, these being the measurements of the cavity in the mold M. Larger-diameter sockets may be formed in the same manner with mold cavities having a 5/ 16-inch diameter, 5/16-inch depth and 5 taper. The dome 18a in each case tends to be made thin, even of tissue-paper thinness, and the lateral walls are amply strong to resist firm thumb pressure, axially applied. In a successful example, sockets of these sizes have been used for display panels 22 measuring about inches by 70 inches, with a modular-socket area 22a of about 10 inches by 60 inches.

In addition to styrene with a high rubber content, suitable thermoplastic sheets that may be used include cellulose acetate and cellulose butyrate, as well as other suitably strong thermoplastic sheet materials that may be formed by the vacuum-forming process. Some attention should be exercised in selection of a flexible plastic where hinge 26 is utilized. The hinge is formed in the vacuum-forming step, by equipping the mold with parallel rails 5/l6-inch apart, for example. The height of such rails isadjusted to produce thinned lines 26a that are about 0.0l0-inch thick in a sheet of about 0.060-inch thickness. Sockets 18 are arranged in a modular pattern, for example /2-inch on centers along horizontal and vertical rows. Some rows of the sockets may be predictably unnecessary, and of course they may be omitted. The sockets are provided to receive prongs 20a of article-supporting brackets 20. These prongs are simply pushed into the selected sockets and the prongs break through the domes 18b. Brace 20b of the bracket then presses against the front of wall portion 22a.

Bracket 20 is of standardized design, widely available for use with /;-inch and Aa-inch panels having perforations on /zinch or 1 inch centers. Such brackets are here effectively supported by the display panel wall, the panel thickness being augmented by the lateral socket walls 18a. The domes 18b of those sockets which are not used for prongs 20a remain closed, enhancing the appearance of the panel. The walls and the domes of the sockets inherently have the same attractive color as the panel itself.

The same panel and its modular sockets are useful with anoother standard style of bracket 20 in FIG. 5A. Bracket 20 can be used effectively in the panel of FIG. 5A. Bracket 20 can be used effectively in the panel of FIGS. 5 and 6. Depending on the fit of some brackets in some panels, and especially if the articles to be carried by the brackets may be expected to impose significant weight, the brackets might slope downward, away from the panel. A horizontal rib 22b (FIG. 5A) or other raised formation formed in wall portion 220' between each horizontal row of sockets and the next is useful to correct for such anticipated slope of the articlesupporting brackets 20 or 20.

As mentioned above, the construction involving double walls 22, 24 and the frames upstanding from the flat front and rear panel areas 22a and 24b imparts strength and stiffness to the display unit. The rear wall also con ceals the back of the panel area 22a with its sockets l8, and it also conceals the ends of bracket prongs 20a, thus greatly enhancing the appearance of the display panel and making possible a free-standing display unit in which the panels are exposed to view from the front and rear. Frame portion 30 and the smooth continuous hinge 26 of each panel A, B, C and D form a convenient handle for turning the display unit A, B, C and D as desired about the vertical shaft 14.

The foregoing represents an'exemplary but illustrative embodiment of several novel features of the invention which may be modified, and variously, applied, and some of which may be used without others. The described panels serve admirably for displaying merchandise, but evidently they can be used for a variety of other purposes, for example in displaying tools in a home workshop. The panels can be used separately and in endlessly varied configurations, depending on the particular application. Integral hinge 26a extending continuously along a margin of the back-toback assembled panels has its own distinctive advantages, but that feature could be omitted in favor of adhesive tape or other fastening means where edges of panels are to be joined. These and other variations will be evident within the ordinary skill of the art. Consequently the invention should be construed broadly, in a manner consistent with its true spirit and scope.

What is claimed is:

1. A display panel comprising a sheet of thermoplastic material including an article-displaying wall having a pattern of sockets therein, said sockets being defined by respective relatively thick and strong lateral walls extending integrally and essentially erectly from a generally flat area of said sheet and having essentially transverse domes extending integrally from and carried by said lateral walls, there being a narrow transition from the lateral wall to the dome of each socket, said domes being much thinner and weaker than said lateral walls for enabling prongs of article-supporting brackets to be readily forced through said domes for mounting such brackets at selected locations on said wall which thus constitutes a bracket-supporting wall, the sockets that are free of article-bracket prongs remaining closed by their respective domes.

2. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, wherein said sheet of thermoplastic material includes a further wall united along an edge thereof to an edge on the aforesaid wall by an integral hinge, said further wall being disposed to conceal at least part of the side of the bracket-supporting wall from which the sockets extend.

3. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, wherein said sheet includes the aforementioned bracket-supporting wall and a further wall covering at least part of the side of said bracket-supporting wall from which the sockets extend, each said wall having panel areas and frame formations upstanding from said panel areas and constituting integral portions of said sheet, frame formations of each said wall being opposed to frame formations of the other said wall, and said frame formations being effective to space said panel areas apart for accommodating the portions of said prongs which penetrate selected ones of said sockets when article-supporting brackets are assembled to said bracket-supporting wall.

4. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, including a further wall joined along a first lateral edge thereof to a first lateral edge of said bracket-supporting wall, said further wall being narrower than said bracket-supporting wall and being disposed to cover part of the side of the latter wall from which the sockets extend but being spaced therefrom to accommodate projecting prongs of article-supporting brackets, said further wall thereby having a second lateral edge spaced from said joined first edges, the foregoing being combined with plural like display panels, each said display panel having said second lateral edge of said further wall thereof disposed adjacent the second lateral edge of the bracket-supporting wall of another of said display panels, thereby forming a multi-panel display unit having a hollow central column.

5. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, wherein said thermoplastic sheet .is approximately 0.06-inch thick, wherein said sockets are circular in transverse cross-section and have an external diameter of the order of A-inch, and wherein said domes are paper-thin.

6. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, wherein said panel has a generally planar area from which said sockets extend rearward, and hollow ribs projecting forward from said planar area near but spaced from a plurality of said sockets, said ribs being shorter than said sockets as measured from the adjacent surface of said planar area.

7. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, wherein said thermoplastic sheet. is approximately 0.06-inch thick, wherein said sockets are circular in transverse cross-section and have an external diameter of the order of A-inch, a height of approximately 5/ 16- inch and a taper of about 5, and wherein said domes are paper-thin.

8. A display panel in accordance with claim 1, wherein each of said sockets in the region of the lateral wall thereof has only a slight taper, and has a transverse extent measured anywhere from the top to the bottom thereof that is roughly equal to the height thereof.

9. A display panel of thermoplastic sheet material having first and second sides and a member having a front surface thereof bearing against the second side of said panel, the panel having at least one integral hollow bulge extending snugly across an edge portion of said member and snugly overhanging the rear of said memll. A display panelin accordance with claim 9,

wherein said member has opposite spaced-apart peripheral edge portions and wherein said panel includes a plurality of said integral hollow bulges embracing said opposite spaced-apart edge portions.

12. A display panel in accordance with claim 9, wherein said panel has a modular pattern of integral sockets projecting from said second of said panel for receiving hooks of an article-supporting bracket, each of said sockets having a sturdy essentially erect lateral wall and'a fragile essentially transverse dome thereon.

13. A display panel in accordance with claim 9, wherein said member is of sheet-metal having at least one hole therein providing an edge portion of said member and wherein said hollow bulge projects through said hole.

i i i

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4722284 *Sep 8, 1986Feb 2, 1988Wilson Jewell EDisplay rack
US5211295 *Jun 18, 1992May 18, 1993Dunn WoodworksRotatable package display rack with cross arms
US5215700 *Nov 6, 1991Jun 1, 1993Garganese Richard SMethod of molding a display card
US7045090 *Jun 6, 2003May 16, 2006Bayer Materialscience LlcMethod of preparing an article
US7063811 *Sep 30, 2005Jun 20, 2006Bayer Materialscience LlcMethod of preparing an article
US20040226901 *May 16, 2003Nov 18, 2004Berg Joel J.Board for pegboard system
US20040247828 *Jun 6, 2003Dec 9, 2004Brozenick Norman J.Method of preparing an article
US20060022381 *Sep 30, 2005Feb 2, 2006Brozenick Norman JMethod of preparing an article
U.S. Classification211/163, 211/57.1, 248/220.41, 211/205, 264/273
International ClassificationA47F5/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47F5/02
European ClassificationA47F5/02
Legal Events
Feb 8, 1991ASAssignment
Effective date: 19910206