|20090260551||TRANSPORTATION PAD||October, 2009||Mattson|
|20050204967||Over-head creeper||September, 2005||Wrinkle|
|20060075937||Order picker pallet||April, 2006||Mcdonald|
|20080236455||PLASTIC PALLET WITH SNAP-PINS AND ASSOCIATED METHOD FOR MAKING THE SAME||October, 2008||Naidu|
|20090064906||Method for Enhancing the Racking (Bending) Strength of Low Cost Plastic Pallets||March, 2009||Cance et al.|
|20050241546||Trailer hitch mounted table and umbrella support apparatus||November, 2005||Royse|
|20060169184||GOLFEE table||August, 2006||Funkhouser|
|20050061209||Table adapted to an invalid chair arm||March, 2005||Tien|
|20090276319||ADVERTISEMENT MANAGEMENT AND DISPLAY SYSTEM||November, 2009||Lungu et al.|
|20060102054||Open slot and cavity for wire and cable management||May, 2006||Warriner|
|20060049070||Shipping base||March, 2006||Johanson|
 1. Technical Field
 The invention pertains to artificial trees, and more specifically to artificial evergreen or pine trees. More particularly, the invention relates to artificial Christmas or holiday trees designed to include shelves for use in displaying ornamental items.
 2. Background Information
 The use of evergreen or pine trees, often also referred to as Christmas trees, to celebrate the Christmas holiday is widely practiced. More specifically, it has become common practice over many decades to hang decorations and candles or more recently lights, upon the tree branches. In more recent times, artificial trees have become very popular including over the past couple of years artificial trees with lights and/or ornaments permanently affixed therein.
 Lots of other decorations have also become popular in association with the Christmas holidays. These include displaying collectibles including miniature houses, a collection of which are sometimes referred to as a Christmas village. In recent years it has become very popular to display these under the Christmas tree, on the top surface or shelves of a popular furniture item, on the fireplace mantle, and so on.
 In addition to miniature houses and the like, other decorations and collectibles are also often displayed on shelves, mantles, and/or under the Christmas tree including: presents, nativity sets, villages (with streets, cars, miniature trees, paths, ice rinks, and other life like miniature models), model railroad layouts including electric or ornamental trains, miniature forest, party food, books, tree skirts, tree toppers, and toys. All of these shall be collectively referred to as “decorations” hereinafter.
 U.S. Pat. No. D414,056 shows an ornamental design for one type of a special Christmas shelf designed specifically for the display of decorations on shelves. This device retains the precise ornamental design of a natural tree with a single stem. A single stem design often presents several difficulties including difficulty in firmly mounting each shelf to the single main stem, instability or rocking of the shelves and particularly when significant weight is placed upon the shelves, and sagging of the shelves over time around the outer periphery due to the weight of the collectibles and/or persons viewing the collectables leaning against or pulling on that outer periphery. The single large square stem of the '056 patent is also difficult to fit into the ornamental layout of certain collectables including miniature houses.
 Display stands in the form of Christmas trees wherein shelves are mounted upon a central column are known as shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,577,207 and 3,674,612. However, such devices, while in the general shape of a Christmas tree, do not employ needled branches, and for most people would not be a proper substitute for a more traditional Christmas tree.
 It is known to incorporate a shelf into an artificial Christmas tree for display purposes as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,085,901. In this patent, a shelf is disclosed at mid-height whereby houses, candy, packages and the like may be mounted on the shelf and are readily visible. The practice of this invention requires a single gap not consistent with the remainder of the tree. The tree configuration immediately above the shelf must be devoid of branches at only one level. The concept of this patent limits the display area.
 It is desirable to create or provide a shelf system embodied as a tree such as a Christmas tree or tree for other holidays, and more specifically to provide a solid, stable, rugged support that will firmly hold heavy and valuable collectables, be easy to put up, be easy to take down, use low cost standard technology with available standard hardware and/or manufacturing methods, be able to adjust the size/height, be easy to display things on or hang ornaments and lights, and be easy to store.
 An optional object of the preferred embodiment is for the support structure to blend into the layout of miniature house arrangements and other miniature arrangements making the tree seem like a forest with tree trunks supporting a forest canopy which is really the next shelf up.
 These and other objectives and advantages are obtained by the improved multiple stem artificial Christmas tree with shelves of the present invention, the general nature of which may be stated as an artificial tree including a first shelf of a generally planar design having a top surface and a bottom surface with an edge therebetween, a second shelf of a generally planar design having a top surface and a bottom surface with an edge therebetween, and a plurality of legs extending from the bottom surface of the second shelf and resting against the top surface of first shelf to support the second shelf on the first shelf.
 The preferred embodiment of the invention, illustrative of the best mode in which applicant has contemplated applying the principles, is set forth in the following description and is shown in the drawings and is particularly and distinctly pointed out and set forth in the appended claims.
 Similar numerals refer to similar parts throughout the drawings.
 The present invention is a multiple stem artificial tree
 Basically, the invention is a tree
 In more detail and referring to
 In one embodiment (not shown), a base shelf sits on the floor thereby providing substantial stability and a flat shelf surface for display purposes. Alternatively in other embodiments including those shown, base legs may be provided extending up from the floor to this base or lowermost shelf
 All, some or none of the shelves may be permanently connected to the adjacent shelves. Alternatively, all, some or none of the shelves may be removably connected to the adjacent shelves. The embodiment in
 Any number of shelves may be used to provide the height, size or appearance desired. For example, a one foot shelf (adder shelf
 To give the appearance of a typical evergreen or pine tree that is used as a Christmas tree, typically each shelf is larger than the one that sits on it substantially adding to the pyramid like stability of the structure. This is shown in the Figures. The shelves may each be of a round or oval design as shown in the Figures, or optionally may also include a flat face thereon for better positioning the tree against a wall or in a corner.
 As noted above, the shelves are separated from one another using legs that are either removably mounted or securely affixed to the respective shelf that the legs set on and shelf the legs support. Specifically, legs
 The bottom end of the leg may be similarly secured to the adjacent shelf, or alternatively may be removably affixed or merely rested against the adjacent shelf. In one embodiment as shown in
 Artificial pine garland
 In addition to adding artificial pine tree garland to the shelves to make the tree look more like a real tree the legs may be natural wood logs or be molded plastic made to look like natural logs. For quicker set up and take down an option is to use collapsible legs like on a card table or such.
 It is also contemplated that quick set up may also be accomplished by having the electrical system incorporated. Each shelf could have a multi-plex outlet mounted. The garland would be pre-cut to length with light bulbs and twist ties. Once assembled each shelf could be independent electrically with one plug. Each shelf cord would follow, and be concealed by, the rear leg to a main multi-plex outlet. For take down and storage the user may only need to remove the collectables and ornaments, unplug electrical, remove the legs and stack the shelves in a compact space.
 It is contemplated that the legs may be constructed of or by blow molding plastic, injection molding plastic, steel tubes, extrusion, wicker, wire, sheet metal, wood, particle board, actual tree branches, or the like. The shelves may be constructed of or by wire, wire frames, blow molding plastic, injection molding plastic, steel tubes, extrusion, wicker, woven basket material, foam sheets, sheet metal, plywood, particle board, plexiglass, or the like. The edge molding
 In one embodiment, the plastic foam may be white that would give the appearance of a snow covered ground. The legs may be molded to appear as tree trunks, and/or be actual branches to give the appearance of tree trunks where by the garland encapsulated edge of the shelves give the appearance of tree tops above the tree trunks.
 In another embodiment, the legs include passages therein through which wires may pass thereby functioning to hide the wires which is both aesthetically pleasing and safer. The shelves may include corresponding holes through which the wires pass. In legs designed to be or appear to be logs, this hole may have the appearance of a crack or crevice in the log such as a “raccoon hole”.
 In yet a further embodiment, the shelves include recesses that act as seats for the legs. This provides a designated spot for the legs to be placed thus better assuring proper assembly and a more secure seating of each shelf. The legs include passages that extend into the base of the leg and correspond with a passage extending out of the recess and through to the bottom of the shelf for wire passage.
 Power strips or extension cords with one or more outlets may be incorporated into the tree
 It is also contemplated that the shelves not need to be stacked in a uniform or symmetrical fashion. The shelves for instance may be staggered, or a particular level may include more than one shelf. The distance between shelves need not be uniform.
 As to storage, the legs may be readily removable via a snap fit, a threaded fit, or any other connections means. The legs may alternatively be hinged and thus fold or retract out of the way. It is also contemplated that the legs may be positioned such that the shelves may be flipped over and the smaller shelves may be stacked within the larger shelves.
 It is even further contemplated that a base may be added beneath the tree whereby the base is an enclosed chamber which may have doors therein. This provides storage which may be desirable in a residential or more likely in a commercial setting.
 Accordingly, the artificial tree is simplified, provides an effective, safe, inexpensive, and efficient device which achieves all the enumerated objectives, provides for eliminating difficulties encountered with prior devices, and solves problems and obtains new results in the art.
 In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness and understanding; but no unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirement of the prior art, because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed.
 Moreover, the description and illustration of the invention is by way of example, and the scope of the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described.
 Having now described the features, discoveries and principles of the invention, the manner in which the improved artificial tree is constructed and used, the characteristics of the construction, and the advantageous, new and useful results obtained; the new and useful structures, devices, elements, arrangements, parts and combinations, are set forth in the appended claims.