Title:
Shallow box display frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shallow box display frame is provided for a three-dimensional ornamental object. The display frame is formed with a surrounding border having inner and outer surfaces. A hollow bubble projects from the outer surface of the border. The bubble is closed at the inner surface of the border by a flat closure member that is thinner than the border and which seats in a seating recess that surrounds the bubble on the inner surface of the border. The flat closure member resides in the seating recess so that its exposed surface is in coplanar relationship with the surrounding portion of the inner surface of the border. A hollow enclosed cavity is defined within the bubble and a three-dimensional display object is loosely entrapped within the hollow cavity.



Inventors:
Tran, Lam H. (Westminster, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/880947
Publication Date:
08/15/2002
Filing Date:
06/15/2001
Assignee:
TRAN LAM H.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/768
International Classes:
B65D5/42; B65D83/08; (IPC1-7): A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SILBERMANN, JOANNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CISLO & THOMAS LLP,Charles H. Thomas (Suite 405, Long Beach, CA, 90807-2022, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A shallow box display frame having a display frame core formed with a border having inside and outside surfaces and defining at least one display window therein surrounded by said border and including a blister formed of stiff, resilient, transparent material and having an open side at said inside surface of said border and a raised bubble portion projecting outwardly from said border at said outside surface thereof, and said bubble portion projects beyond said outside surface of said border, and a bubble closure member extends across said open side of said blister to define a hollow cavity within said bubble portion of said blister.

2. A shallow box display frame according to claim 1 wherein said window includes a window opening in said display frame core and said blister is formed as a structure separate from said core that includes said bubble portion and also a base surrounding said open side, and said base has base flanges residing in contact with and secured to said inside surface of said display frame core and said bubble portion projects through said window opening.

3. A shallow box display frame according to claim 2 wherein said window opening and said bubble portion of said blister both have a rectangular shape.

4. A shallow box display frame according to claim 2 wherein said base is formed as a circumscribing peripheral lip of said bubble portion that forms said flanges as a continuous margin extending laterally from and surrounding said open side of said bubble portion of said blister.

5. A shallow box display frame according to claim 2 wherein said bubble portion includes a lip that extends laterally from all sides of the periphery of said base of said blister, and said inside surface of said border defines a continuous recessed inner margin that surrounds said window opening and provides a seat for said lip of said blister, and a raised outer periphery that surrounds said recessed inner margin.

6. A shallow box display frame according to claim 5 further comprising an inner display frame backing sheet that extends across both said open side of said blister and said lip of said blister and which resides within said seat and is entrapped between said inside surface of said display frame core and said bubble closure member.

7. A shallow box display frame according to claim 5 wherein said core is formed of inner and outer flat stiff sheets both having central openings therethrough, and said central opening in said outer sheet serves as said window opening and said central opening in said inner sheet is a seating opening that is larger in area than said window opening and said sheets are secured together in contact with each other so that said seating opening surrounds said window opening and exposes an inner marginal surface of said outer sheet therethrough, and said exposed inner marginal surface of said outer sheet serves as said recessed inner margin that provides said seat.

8. A shallow box display frame according to claim 5 wherein said bubble closure member is a stiff panel that is thinner than said display frame core and is insertable into said seat thereby closing said cavity and covering said base of said blister and alternatively removable from said seat thereby exposing said base of said blister.

9. A shallow box display frame according to claim 2 wherein said bubble portion projects through said window opening and beyond said outer surface of said display frame core.

10. A shallow box display frame according to claim 1 further comprising a three-dimensional object loosely entrapped in said hollow cavity.

11. A shallow box display frame according to claim 1 wherein both said core and said blister are fabricated as parts of a unitary transparent structure.

12. A shallow box display frame according to claim 11 wherein said unitary transparent structure is injection molded plastic.

13. A display frame for an ornamental object comprising a display frame border formed with inside and outside surfaces and a display window is defined entirely within the surrounding structure of said display frame border, and said display window includes a closed side formed by a raised bubble at said outside surface of said border and an opposite open side at said inside surface of said border surrounded by a base, and said base has a laterally extending periphery forming mounting flanges that project laterally from opposite sides of said base, and a bubble closure member is disposed across said base to define a hollow enclosed cavity within said bubble.

14. A display frame according to claim 13 wherein said border is formed by a core having a window opening defined therethrough, and said bubble and said base are parts of a transparent, open sided box that is formed as a separate structure from said core and which is assembled with said core so that said bubble projects through said window opening.

15. A display frame according to claim 14 wherein said open sided box is formed of a stiff plastic material and said bubble is shaped so that said enclosed cavity has the shape of a rectangular prism.

16. A display frame according to claim 14 wherein said open sided box includes a continuous lip that extends laterally from all sides of said base to form laterally projecting flanges surrounding said base, and said bubble closure member is a flat, stiff panel that is positioned at said inside surface of said border to press against said lip.

17. A display frame according to claim 16 wherein said core defines a recessed seat surrounding said window opening and said lip of said open sided box resides within said recessed seat and is laterally surrounded by the structure of said core.

18. A display frame according to claim 13 further comprising a three-dimensional object located within said hollow cavity.

19. A display frame according to claim 13 wherein said three-dimensional object is entrapped loosely within the confines of said hollow cavity, and further comprising a thin, flat backing panel located between said three-dimensional object and said bubble closure member.

20. A shallow box display frame comprising: a stiff border having inner and outer surfaces and a transparent window bubble projecting from said outer surface and surrounded by the structure of said border, and a seating recess surrounding said window bubble is formed at said inner surface of said border, and a flat closure panel thinner than said border is disposed across said bubble and seated in said seating recess.

Description:

[0001] The present invention is a continuation in part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/728,386 filed Dec. 4, 2000, presently pending.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to an improved display frame for a decorative or ornamental three-dimensional article.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Conventional display frames for small, relatively thin, three-dimensional articles are usually formed with a flat, expansive, rectangular display frame core, often formed of chipboard, fiberboard, cardboard, plastic, or some other stiff material, having a central opening defined therethrough. Often the display frame core has a planar outside surface covered with a film of transparent plastic. The planar inside surface of the display frame core is often covered with a sheet of paper or plastic. The three-dimensional article is thereby trapped within the hollow cavity defined between the two sheets on the outer and inner surfaces of the core and within the surrounding structure of the core.

[0006] Conventional display frames of this type require an excessive amount of material to create the core structure. A relatively massive amount of core material is utilized to extend from the lateral delineation of the hollow, enclosed cavity to the lateral extremities of the frame. The large mass of core material utilized unnecessarily increases the cost of the material utilized to form the core, and also the weight of the display frame. Cheaper and lighter weight display frames for decorative or ornamental three-dimensional articles have been needed, but until now no suitable alternative to heavy, massive, and expensive ornamental article display frames have heretofore been available.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention provides a display frame with a unique, three-dimensional construction. According to the invention, a window opening is defined in the display frame core and a transparent plastic blister or box is located in this window opening. Three-dimensional objects may be positioned in the transparent blister or box. The blister has a hollow, concave bubble portion surrounded by a base. The bubble is initially open on the base side which is located at the inside surface of the display frame core. This allows insertion of a three-dimensional object into the bubble. The base side of the bubble or blister is thereafter closed by an inner display frame closure panel to form an enclosed box having a transparent face that serves as a window pane for viewing into the box. The three-dimensional object positioned in the box is thereby visible to an observer when the display frame is disposed in an upright orientation.

[0008] An object such as a dried flower, seed, photograph, collectible pin, badge, medallion, or any other small decorative or ornamental object or article may be positioned in the box located in the display frame. The object is preferably loosely encapsulated within the box so that it exhibits some movement within its confines when the display frame is moved. This adds to the three-dimensional effect created. The display frame thereby has a far more unique and interesting appearance as contrasted with conventional display frames. Moreover, the display frame of the invention can be constructed with far greater economy of manufacture, shipping, and storage than the conventional display frames which it replaces.

[0009] In one broad aspect the present invention may be considered to be a shallow box display frame having a display frame core formed with a border having inside and outside surfaces. The display frame core defines at least one display window therein surrounded by the border. The display frame also includes a blister formed of stiff, resilient, transparent material and having an open side at the inside surface of the border and a raised bubble portion projecting outwardly from said border at the outside surface thereof. The bubble portion projects beyond the outside surface of the border. A bubble closure member extends across the open side of the blister to define a hollow cavity within the bubble portion of said blister.

[0010] In one preferred embodiment of the shallow box display frame of the invention, the window of the shallow box display frame includes a window opening in the display frame core. The blister is formed as a structure separate from the core that includes the bubble portion and also a base surrounding the open side. The base has base flanges residing in contact with and secured to the inside surface of the display frame core. The bubble portion of the blister projects through the window opening. The transparent enclosure contains a small decorative or ornamental three-dimensional article or object which is loosely trapped in the hollow cavity formed by the blister and the base closure member which extends across the base of the blister at the inside surface of the display frame core.

[0011] In one preferred form of construction, the base is formed with a circumscribing, peripheral lip extending from the bubble portion. The lip forms the base flanges as a continuous margin extending laterally from and surrounding the open side of the bubble portion of the blister. The lip may extend laterally from all sides of the periphery of the blister base. The inside surface of the border may define a continuous recessed inner margin that surrounds the window opening and provides a seat for the lip of the blister, and a raised outer periphery that surrounds the recessed inner margin.

[0012] The bubble portion of the blister has a shape that conforms to the shape of the window opening. For example, the window opening may have a square shape so that the bubble portion of the blister also has a square configuration when viewed through its exposed transparent face. The transparent, exposed face of the bubble portion of the blister may project through the window opening and beyond the outer surface of the display frame core to thereby a form an enclosing cavity for the three-dimensional object that is thicker than the display frame core. Alternatively, the transparent, exposed face of the bubble portion of the blister may reside in coplanar relationship with the outer surface of the display frame core. In some instances the box cavity may be extremely shallow and the transparent face of the bubble portion of the blister may even be recessed below the level of the outer surface of the display frame core.

[0013] The base flanges of the transparent blister prevent the blister from passing entirely through the window opening and are often utilized to secure the blister firmly in position, anchored to the display frame core. Mutually engaging hook and fabric fastening strips, such as those sold under the registered trademark, Velcro®, may be utilized to attach the base flanges to the inside surface of the display frame core. Alternatively, an adhesive may be utilized for this same purpose instead.

[0014] In one form of construction the core is formed of inner and outer flat, stiff sheets, both having central openings therethrough. The central opening in the outer sheet serves as the window opening and the central opening in said inner sheet is a seating opening that is larger in area than the window opening. The two sheets are secured together in contact with each other so that the seating opening surrounds the window opening and exposes an inner marginal surface of the outer sheet therethrough shaped as a band entirely surrounding the window opening. The exposed inner marginal surface of the outer sheet thereby serves as a recessed seat surrounded by the structure of the inner sheet.

[0015] The base closure member is a stiff panel that is thinner than the display frame core and is insertable into the recessed seat. The base closure panel closes the cavity and covers the base of the blister. The base closure panel is alternatively removable from the seat, thereby exposing the base of the blister.

[0016] In another arrangement the border and blister of the shallow box display frame may be formed as a single, unitary structure, which may be fabricated from transparent injection molded plastic. Alternatively, it may be blow molded or vacuum formed from a sheet of plastic, such as polyethylene or polypropylene. In either construction a base closure seating ledge is preferably defined at the inside surface of the surrounding core to receive the base closure panel.

[0017] In some embodiments of the invention the blister may be provided with an inner backing panel that extends across the open side of the blister and in contact with the recessed seat at the bubble base. This backing panel may serve as a decorative backdrop for the ornamental article enclosed in the hollow cavity. Sometimes the backing panel is permanently sealed to the flanges of the blister at the base of the bubble. In these embodiments of the invention the backing panel permanently seals off the hollow cavity formed within the blister. In such embodiments the three-dimensional article or object must be placed in the blister enclosure during manufacture of the blister, and cannot be changed.

[0018] Other embodiments of the invention allow a user to customize the display frame of the invention. In these embodiments the base closure member may be formed as a stiff panel that is thinner than the display frame core. This panel may be set into a recessed area of the display frame core and held in position by friction, hook and loop fabric fasteners, pressure sensitive adhesive, or swivel tabs.

[0019] The invention may be described with greater clarity and particularity by reference to the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one preferred embodiment of the shallow box display frame of the invention.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the display frame shown in FIG. 1.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the display frame shown in FIG. 2.

[0023] FIG. 4 is side sectional view illustrating a unitary structure that may be used to form both the surrounding border and the transparent plastic blister employed in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view illustrating an alternative embodiment of the display frame to that depicted in FIGS. 1-4.

[0025] FIG. 6 is an exploded side sectional view illustrating the embodiment of the display frame depicted in FIG. 5.

[0026] FIG. 7 is a side sectional view illustrating another alternative embodiment of a core structure of a display frame according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT

[0027] FIG. 1 illustrates a display frame 10 for a decorative, three-dimensional article 12, which may, for example, be a pressed flower, as illustrated. The display frame 10 includes a core 14 formed with a stiff, thin, generally rectangular border 16 having an inner surface 18 and an outer surface 20. The display frame 10 defines a display window 22 therein, surrounded by the border 16 and including a blister 24 formed of a stiff, resilient, transparent material and having an open side 26, as illustrated in FIG. 4, and a raised bubble portion 28 projecting outwardly from the border 16. The bubble portion 28 projects out beyond the outside surface 20 of the border 16. A bubble closure member 30 in the form of a stiff, thin panel extends across the open side 26 of the blister 24 to define a hollow cavity or enclosure 32 within the bubble portion 28 of the blister 24. The decorative pressed flower 12 is encapsulated within the enclosure 32 defined between the bubble portion 28 of the blister 24 and the bubble closure panel 30 and within the lateral confines of the border 16.

[0028] As illustrated in FIG. 4, the display frame core 14 and the window 22 are both formed as portions of a single, unitary, transparent, injection molded plastic structure. The core 14 and the window 22 may be formed together of an economical, transparent plastic such as polyethylene or polypropylene. The shallow box display frame 10 is thereby formed as a two-part structure that requires only the injection molded plastic part forming the window 22 and the core 14 as the first part, and a single sheet of flat plastic that forms the bubble closure panel 30.

[0029] As best illustrated in the detail view of FIG. 4, the border 16 is formed with a sunken region that defines a continuous, recessed, inner marginal surface area 34. The recessed area 34 forms a band that surrounds the window 22 and provides a recessed seat for the closure panel 30. That is, the recessed marginal surface area 34 of the inner surface 18 of the border 16 is depressed beneath the remaining portion of the inner surface 18 of the border 16.

[0030] The rectangular bubble closure panel 30 is thinner than the border 16 and has a thickness equal to the distance that the recessed surface area 34 is depressed beneath the surrounding portion of the inside surface 18 of the border 16. The exposed back surface of the bubble closure panel 30 thereby resides in coplanar relationship with the portion of the inside surface 18 of the border 16 surrounding it.

[0031] FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate an alternative embodiment of a display frame 110 according to the invention. In this embodiment the core 114 is formed of a flat, stiff inner sheet 112 and a flat, stiff outer sheet 116. Both of the sheets 112 and 116 have central openings therethrough. The central opening 118 in the outer sheet 116 serves as the window opening for the window 122 in the display frame 110. The central opening 120 in the inner sheet 112 is a seating opening that is larger in area than the window opening 118. The sheets 112 and 116 are secured together in contact with each other so that the seating opening 120 surrounds the window opening 118 and exposes an inner marginal surface 134 of the outer sheet 116 therethrough. The exposed inner marginal surface 134 of said outer sheet serves as a recessed inner margin that provides a seat for the transparent blister or open sided box 124. The display box or blister 124 is formed of a stiff, transparent plastic material, such as acrylic, polypropylene or polyethylene. The box or blister 124 may be shaped so that the enclosed cavity defined therewithin has the shape of a rectangular prism.

[0032] The transparent plastic blister 124 has a raised, interior bubble portion 128 designed to fit into the window opening 118. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the raised bubble portion 128 is formed with one side closed by a transparent, rectangular face 140 encompassed by surrounding walls 142. The bubble portion 128 of each blister or box 124 is thereby formed as a shallow, transparent tray defined by the flat, rectangular, transparent base 140 and the surrounding, laterally encompassing walls 142. The opposite side of the bubble portion 128 is open and forms a base 144. The blister 124 includes a flat lip 146 that extends laterally from all of the sides 142 of the periphery of the bubble portion base 144. The base 144 is thereby provided with outwardly projecting flanges extending in all lateral directions.

[0033] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the base 144 has flat, narrow mounting flanges projecting laterally outwardly away from the bubble portion 128 from all of its sides, as best illustrated in FIG. 5. The laterally projecting planar flanges formed on the base 144 by the lip 146 extend away from the walls 142 in a plane parallel to that of the transparent face 140 that serves as a window pane.

[0034] When the core 114 and the blister 124 are assembled together, the raised, bubble portion 128 of the blister 124 projects into and is located within the lateral confines of the window opening 118 in the display frame core 114, as illustrated. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the blister 128 is formed with a substantially rectangular exposed window pane face 140 surrounded by four short walls 142 that extend from the face 140 to the base 144. The walls 142 are oriented perpendicular to the plane of the expansive display frame core 114 and are slightly greater in length than the thickness of the display frame core 114. The peripheral lip 146 extending laterally from the base 144 resides in contact with the seating surface 134. As a consequence, the transparent face 140 of each blister 124 resides in a plane located slightly beyond the exposed outer surface of the outer core sheet 116 of the display frame core 114.

[0035] The dimensions of the bubble portion 128 of the blister 124 closely conform to the dimensions of the window openings 118. As a consequence, the walls 142 of the bubble portion 128 of the blister 124 fit snugly into the confines formed by the window opening 118. A fairly secure frictional fit is thereby established that holds the blister 124 in position within the window opening 118 with the bubble portion 128 projecting outwardly through the window opening 118. Alternatively, or in addition, the lip 146 of the blister 124 may be secured to the seating surface 134 of the core 114 by adhesive or some other conventional means.

[0036] In the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, a three-dimensional object, for example a dried flower 12, is placed within the bubble portion 128 of the blister 124. At this point in the fabrication of the display frame 110 the peripheral margin of an inner display frame backing sheet 148 is then coated with adhesive and laid across the facing surface of the lip 146 at the base 144 of the blister 124. The raised, interior bubble portion 128 projects into the window opening 118 and the display frame backing sheet 148 is disposed across the base 144 of the blister or box 28. The inner display frame backing sheet 148 is thereby adhesively sealed to the blister 124 to encapsulate the dried flower 12 in the cavity defined within the bubble portion 128.

[0037] The rectangular base closure panel 150 is thereafter inserted in behind the backing sheet 148. It is pressed against the backing sheet 148, the lip 146, and the seating surface 134 of the core 114. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 the base closure panel 150 is provided with a conventional picture frame stand 152. The frame stand 152 has a short fastening tab 154 secured to the rear surface of the base closure panel 150 and a longer, inclined supporting leg 156.

[0038] In some instances the use of a backing sheet 148 may be neither necessary nor desirable. FIG. 5 shows the display frame 110 in use without a backing sheet 148. In this arrangement, the base closure panel 150 is inserted directly into contact with the lip 146 of the blister 124 to close the open side of the blister 124 and form an encapsulating enclosure within the blister 124.

[0039] FIG. 7 illustrates another embodiment of a display frame core 224 which may be utilized in place of the core 114 employed in FIGS. 5 and 6. In the embodiment of FIG. 7 the core 224 is formed as a single piece, extrusion molded structure defining a seating margin 234 surrounding a window opening 218. Alternatively the core 224 can be formed of wood, pressboard, metal, or any other stiff material. The core 224 has an inner surface 212 and an outer surface 216. The central stepped portion 220 of the central opening through the structure of the core 224 formed at the inside surface 212 is larger than the window opening portion 218 formed at the outer surface 216. The stepped openings 220 and 218 thereby form a marginal seating area 234 that serves as a seating ledge for the blister 128 and performs the same function as the seat 134 in the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6.

[0040] Undoubtedly, numerous other variations and modifications of the invention will become readily apparent to those familiar with display frames and office supply products. For example, the window openings can be die cut as round openings and the bubbles formed by the blisters can be generally hemispherical in shape. Also, the opening that is die cut or otherwise formed through the structure of the core of the display frame may be die cut or molded at an angle, so that the walls of the blister or box are not perpendicular to the face of the blister, as in the embodiments illustrated. Rather, the opening can be die cut or molded at an angle so that the perimeter of the opening on the inside surface is slightly larger than the perimeter of the opening on the outside surface of the core of the display frame. When the window opening is cut in this manner, the structure of the blister or box does not have the shape of a rectangular prism, but rather the shape of a truncated pyramid. That is, the side walls of the blister may slope in converging fashion from the inside toward the outside of the display frame core. Numerous other embodiments of the shallow box display frame of the invention are also possible. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should not be construed as limited to the specific embodiments depicted and described, but rather is defined in the claims appended hereto.