The present invention relates generally to cascade shelving of the general type which is employed in such establishments as stationary stores, drug stores, book stores, and discount stores and also in similar places where magazines, children's books, paper backs, periodicals, and the like are displayed and sold. More particularly, the invention is concerned with knockdown display shelving of the cascade type wherein different cascade arrangements may be selectively erected at a given sales location or establishment in order to accommodate different floor areas, the erection being manually performed without the use of fastening devices such as nails or screws, and without the aid of ordinary or special tools.
Cascade shelving of the type under consideration is usually prefabricated in its entirety in various sizes, i.e., length, so as to accommodate the requirements of various stores, the proper size then being sold on order. This requires that the manufacturer of the shelving either maintain a large inventory of varying size shelving or correlate the shelving manufacturing or assembling operations with the requirements of the market or, in other words, that the manufacturer manufacture to order the shelving to be sold. It occasionally happens that where a particularly large shelving unit is required by a given establishment, entrance space dictates that the shelving must be finally assembled on the premises, thereby necessitating the services of a skilled workman to perform the assembly work.
The present invention is designed to overcome the above-noted limitation that is attendant upon the manufacture and sale of conventional cascade shelving and, toward this end, the invention contemplates the provision of a novel form of knockdown cascade shelving assembly embodying the usual cascade units, end pieces and medial dividers, the various parts being separately pre-formed and having interlocking facilities so that they may be assembled in various ways to provide unit shelving lengths which are arranged in end-to-end fashion, thus establishing a cascade shelving assembly, the over-all length of which is a multiple of such unit length. According to the invention, it is contemplated that each unit of shelving length (for example, 4 feet) shall embody a set of cascade units, preferably a two or three tier set as is commonly the practice with such display shelving, although a greater number of such tiers in a single set may be employed if desired. Regardless of the number of cascade units in each set, shelving of one unit length will embody two end pieces and a set of cascade units with no medial divider. Shelving of two unit lengths will embody two end pieces, two sets of cascade units, and one medial divider. Each additional unit length of shelving will employ an additional set of cascade units and an additional divider unit. The aforementioned interlocking facilities enable the shelving assembly to be quickly and easily erected directly at the display or sales location without the use of tools, it being necessary merely to hook the cascade units in place on the adjacent end pieces or dividers, as the case may be, and upon release of the thus hooked parts, the force of gravity causes the parts to lock rigidly together to form an assembly, the stability of which is increased as each unit of display load is applied thereto. If, at any time, it is decided that an additional unit length of cascade shelving shall be added to an existing shelving assembly, it is merely necessary to uncouple one end piece from its associated cascade units, substitute a medial divider therefor, attach an additional set of cascade units to the medial divider, and replace the uncoupled end piece to the added cascade units.
An additional and equally important limitation that is attendant upon the construction and marketing of conventional cascade type shelving resides in the relatively large packaging volume which is involved for each shelving assembly, thus greatly limiting the number of paperboard cartons which can be transported in a truck or railway car for shipment purposes. According to the present invention, because the shelving assembly is possessed of knockdown features, and also because all of the components which comprise the same are relatively flat, i.e., possessed of small transverse width, it is possible to stack the components together in a relatively small space and enclose the stacked components in a relatively small paperboard carton, the dimensional characteristics of any given packaged shelving assembly being such that the stacked components thereof consume something less than one-quarter of the space which is required in packaging a conventional shelving assembly having the same capacity but without the particular knockdown feature of the present invention.
The provision of knockdown cascade type shelving such as is briefly outlined above and possessing the stated advantages, constitutes the principal object of the present invention.
Other ancillary advantages of the invention are the provision of a shelving assembly which is of lightweight construction, is capable of being manufactured at a low cost, is rugged and durable and, therefore, will withstand rough usage without becoming damaged, is extremely stable when erected despite the absence of nails and other fastening devices, and is attractive in its general or over-all appearance and pleasing in its design.
Other objects and advantages of the invention, not at this time enumerated, will readily suggest themselves as the nature of the invention is better understood from a consideration of the following detailed description.
The invention consists in the several novel features which are hereinafter described and are more particularly defined by the claims at the conclusion hereof.
In the accompanying two sheets of drawings forming a part of this specification, one illustrative embodiment of the invention is shown.
In these drawings:
FIG. 1 is a diagonal front perspective view of a two-unit length of cascade shelving embodying the invention and in which each unit length embodies a three-tier set of cascade units;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the shelving of FIG. 2 with certain parts broken away in order more clearly to reveal the nature of the invention;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged exploded view of certain parts of the shelving of FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 3a is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on the vertical line 3a--3a of FIG. 3;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view taken on the line 4--4 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken on the line 5--5 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of a single unit length of shelving embodying the invention.
Referring now to the drawings in detail and in particular to FIG. 1, an exemplary all-wood cascade shelving assembly embodying the principles of the present invention is designated in its entirety by the reference numeral 10. The assembly which has been selected for illustration herein is considered to be of two-unit length wherein each unit length is comprised of two wall-forming side pieces with an intervening set of cascade units or trays which are arranged in three tiers. The term "side pieces" as employed herein is a relative term in that it relates to the intervening cascade units, but since the disclosure of FIG. 1 is concerned with a two-unit length of cascade shelving, the outside wall-forming "side pieces" actually are end pieces, while the medial wall-forming piece is a divider. Accordingly, the end pieces are designated by the reference numerals 12 and 14, while the divider is designated by the reference numeral 16. The three cascade units or trays of each unit length are designated by the reference numerals 18, 20, and 22, 18 being the upper cascade tier, 20 being the intermediate cascade tier, and 22 being the lower cascade tier. The term "tier" may be defined alternatively as either a row or set of objects, or one object of such a set. Accordingly, for purposes of description herein, it will be understood that the latter definition is employed, there being two sets of cascade units with the units of each set including upper, intermediate, and lower tiers, each tier consisting of one individual cascade unit.
The shelving assembly 10 further includes two backboards, namely, an upper backboard 24 and a lower but intermediately disposed backboard 26. The lower back region of the shelving assembly 10 is preferably open.
The three cascade units 18, 20, and 22 are substantially identical in construction and design and, therefore, a description of one of them will suffice for all. The cascade unit 22, as is conventional with similar cascade constuctions, includes, in general, a series of substantially vertical but slightly backward leaning slot-like partitions or partition walls (see FIGS. 2 and 3) which are supported on a zig-zag or stairlike bottom wall. Such a general arrangement is preserved in the present shelving assembly, but in a specific manner and for purposes that will be made clear presently.
The details of the various cascase units are best illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, each unit consisting of a pair of side walls 32 and 34, between which there extends a relatively wide and thick rear wall 35 and a relatively narrow and thick front wall 36. Considering the cascade unit 22 in the positional relationship which it assumes when operatively installed in the shelving assembly 10, the rear wall extends vertically, while the front wall 36 leans backwards, which is to say it assumes an angle on the order of approximately 10° with respect to the vertical. Also extending between the side walls 32 and 34 is a series of four equally spaced partition walls 40. These partition walls are parallel to one another and also to the front wall 36 so that they also lean backwards at a small angle. Although four such partition walls 40 are disclosed or illustrated herein, it will be understood that a greater or a lesser number thereof may be employed if so desired. Also unequal spacing between the partition walls 40 may be resorted to in order to accommodate the grouping of magazines or books of different thicknesses. Irrespective, however, of the number and spacing of the partition walls 40, the essential features of the invention are at all times preserved.
Still referring to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 of the drawings, the various partition walls 40, the back wall 35 and the front walls 36 of the cascade unit 22 are disposed in progressively offset relationship so as to provide an ascending series of walls, the lower edge of each wall projecting forwardly from a bottom wall 42 which extends at a right angle with respect to the partition wall or walls to which it is attached, such bottom walls thus being inclined rearwardly and downwardly at a small angle from a horizontal plane. The forward edge of each bottom wall 42 is secured in edge-to-face relationship to the medial region of the next adjacent forward partition wall 40, while the rear edge of such bottom wall is secured in edge-to-edge relationship to the lower edge of the next adjacent rearward partition wall 40. The foremost bottom wall 42 which is designated with the suffix a is somewhat wider than the other bottom walls 42 and is attached to the lower edge of the front wall 36 in edge-to-edge relationship. The additional width of the bottom wall 42a is provided so as to accommodate the positioning of wider books or other literature at the front of the cascade shelving assembly. As shown in FIG. 4, the rearmost partition wall 40 has its upper horizontal edge bevelled at a sharp angle and adhesively secured to the front face of the back wall 35 as indicated at 43.
As best shown in FIG. 4 of the drawings, the two side walls 32 and 34 of the cascade unit 22 are identical in size and configuration, each such wall being in the form of a relatively narrow elongated strip of wood of irregular contour having upturned front and rear end portions 44 and 46 respectively. The side edges of the various partition walls 40 and bottom walls 42 are secured in edge-to-face relationship to the inside faces of the two side walls 32 and 34 in the medial regions of the latter so that the lower edge regions of such side walls project a slight distance below the various bottom walls 42 exclusive of the bottom wall 42a. For a purpose that will be set forth in detail presently, the lower edge of each side wall 32 and 34 is formed with a right angle notch or cut-out 48 adjacent to the forward end thereof and immediately behind or rearwards of the upturned end portion 44. Additionally, the upper horizontal edge of the rear wall 35 is formed with a coextensive groove 50 (see FIG. 4) therealong, while the lower edge of such wall is similarly formed with a coextensive groove 52. The function of these two grooves 50 and 52 will be made clear subsequently.
Considering now the nature of the end pieces 12 and 14 of the shelving assembly 10, and referring particularly to FIG. 1, these two pieces are identical in outline but they are complementary to each other in that the end piece 12 serves to support the left-hand sides of one set of cascade units, while the end piece 14 serves to support the right-hand sides of a second set of cascade units. Where a single or unit length of shelving is concerned, it is obvious that the medial divider 16 will be omitted and the two end pieces 12 and 14 will support therebetween a single set of the cascade units as shown in FIG. 2 and as will be described in greater detail subsequently. Accordingly, each end piece 12 or 14, as the case may be, is generally of flat E-shape configuration, which is to say that it is provided with a vertical stem portion 54 from which there projects forwards a vertical series of three generally horizontal webs 56. Preferably, but not necessarily, the vertical distance between the lowermost and intermediate webs is slightly greater than the vertical distance between the intermediate web and the uppermost web, thus resulting in a similar unequal vertical spacing between the corresponding cascade units 18, 20 and 22.
Fastened in any suitable manner to the inside face of each end piece 12 or 14 is a series of three vertically spaced, ledge forming, cascade unit supporting strips 60, (FIG. 3) each strip being generally of divergent L-shape. Each strip 60 is provided with a long forwardly and downwardly inclined leg 62 and a short forwardly and upwardly inclined foot portion 64, thus imparting to the strip the general outline or configuration of a hockey stick. The strips 60 extend from points adjacent to the rear vertical edges of the end pieces 12 and 14 and project forwardly into the various horizontal webs 56 as clearly shown in FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 3a, each strip 60 is generally rectangular in transverse cross section and is secured in face-to-face relationship with respect to the end piece with which it is associated. The upper side edge of each strip 60 is formed with a coextensive corner relief 66 (FIG. 3a) which, in combination with the inside face of the adjacent side piece, establishes a seating channel for removable reception therein of the lower edge region of one of the side walls 32 or 34 of an adjacent cascade unit 18, 20 or 22. It has previously been stated that the lower edge of each side wall 32 and 34 projects below the level of both the partition walls 40 and the bottom walls 42 and, thus, as clearly shown in FIG. 4, each side wall presents a downwardly directed edge portion which is conformably shaped to the contour of the sealing channel which is established by the relief area 66, this downwardly directed edge portion being capable of entering the channel in hook-like fashion, thus providing a tongue and groove connection so that one side of the associated cascade unit may be supported on the bottom wall of the channel.
As shown in FIGS. 3 and 5, the medial divider 16 is identical in contour or outline to the end pieces 12 and 14, but since it is obliged to support both sets of cascade units 18, 20, and 22 of the two-unit lengths of the shelving assembly 10, it is provided with cascade unit supporting strips 60 on opposite sides thereof, these strips being symmetrically positioned in conformity with the positioning of the corresponding cascade unit supporting strips 60 on the end pieces 12 and 14. The medial divider 16 cooperates with the end piece 12 in supporting one three-tier set of cascade units 18, 20, and 22, and it cooperates with the end piece 14 in supporting the other three-tier set of such cascade units. The manner in which the side wall 34 of the cascade unit 20 of the left-hand set of cascade units hooks into the channel 66 of its associated cascade suuporting strip 60 on the medial divider 16, and in which the side wall 32 of the cascade unit 20 of the right-hand set of cascade units hooks into the adjacent supporting strip 60 on the other side of the medial divider 16 is clearly shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings.
From the above description, it will be apparent that when a given cascade unit 18, 20, or 22 is seated on a pair of associated supporting strips 60, the normal tendency for the cascade unit is to slide forwardly and downwardly on the inclined portions of the bottom walls of the channels 66. However, such sliding movement is limited by reason of the upturned, inclined foot portions 64 which register with the right angle notches or cut-outs 48 in the front portions of the side walls 32 and 34. Thus, in effect, each side wall of any one cascade unit rests in the crotch of a V-shaped support where it possesses stable equilibrium under the influence of the gravitational weight of the cascade unit and its load considered as a whole.
Considering now the backboard structure for the shelving assembly 10, each unit length of shelving includes a five-piece composite backboard assembly which is made up of the three rear walls 35 of the three tiers of cascade units 18, 20, and 22, together with the aforementioned upper and lower backboards 24 and 26. In the absence of the two backboards 24 and 26, each unit length of the shelving assembly would be quite stable, but there would be a see-through void between the upper cascade unit 18 and the intermediate cascade unit 20, as well as between the latter unit and the lower cascade unit 22. The two backboards 24 and 26 of each unit length of the shelving assembly 10 are provided solely for the purpose of closing these voids or gaps and imparting a closed shelving effect to the assembly as a whole. A modicum of rigidity may be offered to the shelving by reason of these two backboards, but their primary function is one of preventing a direct line of vision through the shelving assembly as a whole.
Except for size, the two backboards 24 and 26 are substantially identical and each backboard is of rectangular configuration and assumes the form of a relatively thin panel, the vertical side edges of which are reinforced by stiffener strips 70 (see FIGS. 3 and 4). The length of the stiffener strips 70 is slightly less than the vertical height of the backboards to which they are applied, thus allowing the upper and lower edges of the backboards to fit into the various grooves 52 and 50 in the lower and upper edges of the rear walls 35 of the cascade units as shown in FIG. 4. Since the slanting lower cascade unit 22 has its front wall 36 in close proximity to the floor or other foundation surface, no vision can be had through the lower region of the shelving and, therefore, no backboard is necessary between the lower edge of the rear wall 35 of such cascade unit and the floor.
From the above description, it will be apparent that the backboard structure for each unit length of the shelving assembly 10 consists of five pieces, namely, the rear wall 35 of the lower cascade unit 22, the backboard 26, the rear wall 35 of the intermediate cascade unit 20, the backboard 24, and the rear wall 35 of theuppermost cascade unit 18, successively and in the order named. All of these pieces lie in the same vertical plane and are disposed in edge-to-edge contiguity.
The foregoing description sets forth the essential features of the present invention when applied to a cascade shelving assembly of the two-unit length, three-unit type wherein the principal components of the shelving assembly are formed of wood, and the manufacture thereof is largely a matter of carpentry work. It will be understood that the aforementioned hook-in feature whereby the shelving assembly is erected by the simple expedient of setting up the two end pieces 12 and 14 and the medial divider 16 in their approximate spaced positions and, thereafter, causing the depending lower edge regions of the various side walls 32 and 34 of the various cascade units to hook into and seat within the channels which are formed by the corner reliefs 66 (see FIG. 3a) of the supporting strips 60 will produce a stable shelving arrangement without further fastening means. Usually, erection of such shelving assembly is made by first causing the lower cascade units 22 to be hooked in place, after which the assembly may progressively be built up by applying the backboards 26, the intermediate cascade units 20, the backboards 24, and finally the upper cascade units 18.
In addition to the structure as described above, further rigidification or strengthening of any or all of the seven wooden pieces which constitute each unit length of the shelving assembly 10 may be resorted to by various means. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the rearmost partition walls 40 of the cascade units may be braced against the adjacent back walls 35 by inserting wedge-like filler pieces 72 between such partition walls and back walls. Also, if desired, stiffener strips 74 may be applied to the end pieces 12 and 14 and the medial divider 16 along the lower edges thereof as shown in FIG. 3. Other similar reinforcing devices may be employed wherever desired.
In FIG. 6 of the drawings, a single unit length of cascade shelving assembly of the three-tier or unit type is illustrated and designated in its entirety by the reference numeral 80. Except for the elimination of the medial divider 16 and one set of cascade units, no new components are required for the erection of such shelving assembly. Since the same components are employed in constructing the shelving assembly 80 of FIG. 6 as are used in constructing the shelving assembly 10, the same reference numerals are employed in describing the single unit shelving assembly. The shelving assembly 80 is erected by setting up the two end pieces 12 and 14 in their approximate vertical and spaced apart positions and then causing the various cascade units 18, 20 and 22 to be hooked into the channels which are formed by the corner reliefs 66 of the supporting strips 60 on he inner faces of the two end pieces 12 and 14 in the manner previously described in connection with either end piece and the divider 16, it being understood that the backboards 24 and 26 will be applied to the grooves 50 and 52 in a manner similar to the disclosure of FIG. 4 at the appropriate times during erection of the shelving assembly 80.
It will be understood that an additional unit length of shelving may readily be added to any existing shelving assembly by the simple expedient of unhooking the adjacent set of cascade units 18, 20 and 22 fron either end piece 12 or 14 and substituting therefor an additional medial divider 16, after which an additional set of cascade units may be applied to the outer side of such divider strip and the previously removed end wall finally applied to the added set of cascade units.
The invention is not to be limited to the exact arrangement of parts shown in the accompanying drawings or described in this specification since various changes in the details of construction may be resorted to without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. For example, although in the all-wood embodiment of the invention illustrated and described herein, no specific means have been described whereby the component parts of the cascade units 18, 20 and 22, the end pieces 12 and 14, the medial divider 16, and the backboards 24 and 26, are fastened together, it will be understood that such component parts may be secured together by adhesive means such as glue, accompanied, if desired, by the use of small nails or brads. However, no fastening devices are required for maintaining in their assembled relationship the various wooden pieces which cooperate to make up the shelving assembly 10 or 80. Additionally, although the invention has been described in connection with shelving which is constructed substantially entirely of wood, it will be understood that, if desired, other materials may be used as, for example, sheet metal, molded plastic material, fiberglas or the like. Where molded plastic material is employed, it is obvious that many of the parts which have been disclosed herein as being separately fashioned and fastened together may be integrally formed, the supporting strips 60, for example, being integral with the end pieces with which they are associated. Although the invention has been described in connection with cascade shelving of the three-unit or tier type, it will be understood that a greater or lesser number of cascade units or tiers may be employed if desired. Whereas in the illustrated three-unit arrangement, the various end pieces 12 and 14 and the medial divider 16 are generally of E-sape configuration, it is obvious that in constructing two-unit cascade arrangements, these end pieces and medial divider will have only two forwardly and horizontally extending webs 56 and will, thus, be generally of C-shape configuration. Finally, although the herein described shelving has been stated as being used principally for the display of magazines, books, and the like, and the individual cascade units 18, 20 and 22 are illustrated as being provided with partition walls 40 and bottom walls 42 for supporting and holding such articles in an appropriately displayed condition, it is contemplated that by suitable modification of the units 18, 20 and 22, they may be adapted for use in supporting other articles such as cosmetic items. For this purpose, the various partition walls 40 may be dispensed with and, in their place, there may be substituted two or more cascade tiers of flat horizontal shelf supports. Therefore, only insofar as the invention is particularly pointed out in the accompanying claims is the same to be limited.