United States Patent 3851601

A stand is disclosed herein for supporting a shelf holding a variety of articles intended to be displayed for public viewing. The display stand includes a modular framework having upright corner posts supporting releasable side rails that detachably retain a shelf panel. Each framework corner post consists of a plurality of extensions coupled at their opposing ends by a corner joint having a cylindrical body carrying laterally directed projections insertably receivable into openings provided in the terminating ends of the shelf panel supporting rails. The opposing ends of the framework post extensions carry interlocking couplings for snap locking the extensions together so as to capture and hold the corner joint in position whereby a unitary framework is produced.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/192, 211/182, 403/171, 403/349
International Classes:
A47B87/02; F16B12/02; (IPC1-7): A47B3/06
Field of Search:
108/153,154,111,91 211
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3759598SUPPORTING FRAME1973-09-18Limberger
3268252Frame structure having improved joint means1966-08-23Rolland
2723876Parachute release1955-11-15Langlois et al.
2664002Coupling for drink mixers1953-12-29Anderson
2060523Beater rod locking device1936-11-10Packer

Primary Examiner:
Gilliam, Paul R.
Assistant Examiner:
Marquette, Darrell
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Marrs, Roger A.
What is claimed is

1. In a modular display stand having a plurality of individual, readily assembled components, the combination comprising:

2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein:

3. The invention as defined in claim 2 wherein:

4. The invention as defined in claim 3 wherein:

5. The invention as defined in claim 4 wherein:

6. The invention as defined in claim 5 wherein:


1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to display stands and more particularly to a novel corner joint for use in assemblying a modular framework.

2. Description of the Prior Art

In the past, it has been the conventional practice to employ display stands for supporting a variety of articles intended to be viewed by potential customers and the general public. These stands generally include a framework which support at least one shelf on which the variety of items or articles are supported. At the present time, it is the customary practice to use frameworks and shelves which may be readily assembled and disassembled so that the stand can be erected at a display site and supported in its erected condition until the close of a show at which time the framework is disassembled and shipped to another location.

Difficulties and problems have been encountered when employing conventional portable display stands that stem largely from the fact that the hardware employed requires close tolerances in its manufacture so that the plurality of parts necessary to form the complete assembled framework will fit and join properly. Since these individual parts and pieces are handled by workmen during the assemblying and disassemblying of the framework, the parts are often-times dropped and damaged so that they cannot be fitted or joined. Also, conventional portable display framework generally require hand tools for assembly and disassembly such as wrenches, screw drivers, hammers and the like. Obviously, the necessity for such hand tools greatly increases the time required for assembly and disassembly of the framework and also increases the potential for damaging the mating parts. In some instances, skilled personal is required which not only increases the cost of erection, but requires scheduling of time.

Therefore, a long standing need has been in existence for providing a modular framework with a means for readily attaching and detaching respective components of the framework without the necessity of tools, skilled personal or elaborate preparations.


Accordingly, the difficulties and problems encountered with conventional portable display stands are obviated by the present invention which provides a modular framework having a plurality of posts for supporting at least one shelf at the respective corners thereof. Each of the posts comprises a plurality of extensions which are joined at their opposite ends by a novel corner joint comprising a cylindrical body having laterally projecting support members. The opposing ends of respective post extensions are formed with a snap lock fastening means adapted to couple with the cylindrical body of the corner joint in releasable engagement. This latter means further includes a resilient means for forcibly urging the fastener means into the snap lock engagement. The corner joint supports horizontally disposed rails by insertably positioning the laterally projected members into openings at the end of each of the rails whereby the rails are supported at their opposite ends by the respective corner joints of the assembly. Resilient snap lock means may be provided for cooperatively retaining the rails on the corner joints so that a rigid and stablized display stand is produced.

Therefore, it is among the primary objects of the present invention to provide a novel modular framework for a display stand wherein the components of the framework may be readily snap locked into joining relationship to produce a stable and rigid display stand.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel display stand having a modular framework including snap lock joints for supporting at least one shelf whereby a modular framework may be readily assembled and disassembled by unskilled personal.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel corner joint for a display stand framework whereby the opposing ends of extensions forming each posts of the framework may be readily attached and detached by means of snap lock fasteners to support shelves for displaying a variety of items or articles.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel modular framework for a display stand that may be rapidly assembled and disassembled by unskilled personal and wherein the individual parts of the assembly are not readily damaged or deformed by inadvertent dropping or impacting against hard surfaces or damaged by improper assembly.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a novel display stand for a variety of articles or items that provides a pleasant appearance and which may be readily assembled and disassembled by unskilled personal.

The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The present invention, both as to its organization and manner of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.


FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a modular framework for supporting a panel shelf employing the novel corner joint of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the novel corner joint of the present invention for releasably securing opposing ends of framework post extensions as employed in the framework shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the corner joint showing assembly thereof to opposing extension ends of the framework posts;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view, partly in sections, showing a completed joint and illustrating attachment of a side rail thereto;

FIG. 5 is a transverse cross-sectional view taken in the direction of arrows 5--5 of FIG. 4 showing the snap lock attachment of the corner joint to the side rail.


Referring to FIG. 1, a display stand is illustrated in the general direction of arrow 10 which includes a modular framework comprising an upright vertical post 11 arranged at each corner of a panel shelf 12 having its marginal regions by a pluality of side rails identified by numerals 13, 14 and 15 respectively. Each of the side rails include means for supporting a trim edging as indicated by numerals 16 and 17. Post trim caps 18 and 19 are provided for finishing or terminating the end of an upright post 11. These latter caps are snapped into the hollow of each post for securement. Therefore, it can be seen that the display stand 10 includes corner posts which support side rails 13-15 inclusive that in turn support panel shelf 12. The side rails further support finishing edge trimming as indicated by numerals 16 and 17. The entire framework for supporting the shelves is modular in concept and construction so that the unit may be readily assembled and disassembled by unskilled personal. The most important or critical portion of the modular framework resides in a corner joint 20 that detachably joins or connects the opposing ends of extensions 21 and 22 comprising a length of post 11. By this means, post 11 comprises joint 20 as well as a plurality of extension which may be of suitable length for placing the panel 12 at a desired distance above the floor.

Referring now in detail to FIG. 2, corner joint 20 may be said to comprise a cylindrical body 23 having a central bore 24 extending therethrough in a vertical plane. Body 23 further includes a pair of laterally projecting members 25 and 26 that are disposed at right angles to one another from their fixed connection with the cylindrical body 23. Each of the laterally projection members 25 and 26 includes an open ended slot 27 and 28 respectively serving as receivers for snap lock engagement with side rails to be described later.

The opposing ends of members 21 and 22 are cooperatively arranged with a snap-lock fastener for detachably connecting the post members to each other and to the corner joint 20. In one form, the snap-lock fastener comprises a pair of reduced diameter portions 30 and 31 coaxially formed in the terminating end of post member 22 so that a substantial portion of each length forms a mounting surface for cylindrical body 23 and the opposing end of member 21 respectively. In greater detail, reduced portion 31 is intended to be received within bore 24 so that the cylindrical body 23 is supported on reduced portion 31. When reduced portion 31 is inserted through bore 24 so as to mount body 23 thereon, second reduced portion 30 will project out of bore 24 from the opposite side of body 23. Post member 21 is inserted over reduced portion 30 and includes a projection 32 carried on a spacer 33 that passes through a slot 34 formed in the second reduced portion 30. Slot 34 terminates in a laterally disposed cam-lock aperture indicated by numeral 35 that terminates in an enlarged opening for receiving pin 32. In essence, pin 32 and the cam-lock slot 34 and 35 constitute a bayonet type socket snap-locking the opposing ends of members 21 and 22 together so as to capture or confine corner joint 20 therebetween.

It is of significance to note that first reduced portion 31 joins with member 22 at a shoulder 36 against which a resilient O-ring 37 is disposed. The O-ring 37 is assembled over the first reduced portion 31 and is slid against the annular shoulder 36. When the cylindrical body 23 is inserted over the portion 31, the body 23 is pressed against the seal or O-ring 37 until the snap-lock fastener of members 21 and 22 are engaged. After engagement, the resiliency of the O-ring 37 places an expanding force to resiliently hold the fastener in its snap-lock condition and provides a yieldable tension against the corner joint 20 for holding it in place.

Referring now to FIG. 3 in detail, the assembly procedure is further illustrated in that corner joint 20 is illustrated as having its cylindrical body 23 positioned over reduced portion 31 preparatory to receiving the end of member 21 over reduced portion 30. It is to be particularly noted that when the corner joint 20 has been slid over reduced portion 31 to the extent that body 23 rests on O-ring 37, a portion of body 23 at its opposite end extends above or beyond first reduced portion 31. The distance of this extension is indicated by the letter d between the arrows. This distance is eventually taken up by compression of the ring or washer 37 when member 21 is forced against body 23 during the snap-lock fastening of pin 32 with the cam-slot 35. When the pin and slot have been properly connected so that washer or ring 37 is compressed, the corner joint is secured between the opposing ends of members 21 and 22 as shown in FIG. 4.

In FIG. 4, a force F is imparted to the corner joint via body 23 urging the body into contact with the terminating end of member 21. This force is generated by the resiliency or expanding tendency of the resilient washer 37.

It is also noted in FIG. 4 that lateral projection member 25 supports the end of rail 14. Rail 14 includes a pair of spaced-apart elements 40 and 41 which define the upper and lower limits of an opening insertably receiving lateral projection member 25. The sides of the opening are defined by flanges 42 and 43 which are arranged fixed spaced-apart relationship to provide an elongated slot 44 intended to receive the edge marginal region of panel 12 for support thereon. Upper and lower elements 40 and 41 also include a small opening 45 for receiving a stop element 46 that is carried on the end of a resilient leaf spring 47. Stop member 46 passes through opening 45 and resides within slot 27 of the projection member 25 so that the rail is held in position on the member. For release, a probe may be inserted through a lower slot 47 formed in lower element 41 and engaged with the stop 46 so that the stop may be forced upward out of opening 45. This latter position is shown in broken lines by the leaf spring.

With respect to FIG. 5, it can be seen that the panel 12 is supported between the flanges 42 and 43 and that the stop 46 is inserted into the slot 27 to retain the rail 14 on the member 25. Furthermore, the rail includes upright members 50 and 51 in a fixed spaced relationship so as to define a space intended to be occupied by the lower edge of trim panel 16. By this means, the trim panel is supported on the side rail as well as the shelf panel 12.

In view of the foregoing, it can be seen that the display stand of the present invention provides a modular framework for supporting one or more shelf panel adapted for supporting a variety of items or articles to be displayed. The frame including the framework is adapted to be readily assembled at a particular display site and readily disassembled when the display event is terminated.

The highth of the display stand may be of any suitable nature depending upon the length of the individual post extensions used in the assembly. Also, as many shelf panels as desired may be used and in each instance, individual and separate corner joints 20 will be used along with associated side rails supported therefrom by the lateral projection members. By employing a resilient washer or ring 37, a constant force or tension is placed on the corner joint that secures the joint in position relative to the opposing ends of the post extensions and which places a force on the pin and cam-lock fastener between opposing ends of the post extensions.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects and, therefore, the aim in the appended claims is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.