Title:
Wall mountable display racks, hangers, and associated display methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots includes an elongate rack. In position, the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation. The elongate rack is configured to releaseably engage with at least one of the mounting slots. An elongate hanger is suspended from the rack and has a plurality of slot patterns therein. The elongate hanger resides in a substantially vertical orientation. A plurality of discrete, soft fabric articles are held by the slot patterns of the hanger.



Inventors:
Mcgarry, Matthew (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/848531
Publication Date:
02/17/2005
Filing Date:
05/18/2004
Assignee:
MCGARRY MATTHEW
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/103
International Classes:
A47F5/08; (IPC1-7): A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070084811Portable storage unitApril, 2007Dolson et al.
20060243687Peg board tool organizerNovember, 2006Hilger et al.
20050173361Do-it-yourself assembly construction piecesAugust, 2005Lin
20060283823Adjustable shelf systemDecember, 2006Gilles et al.
20030146180Basket / bin free-standing shelving systemAugust, 2003Craft
20080308515ADJUSTABLE SHELFDecember, 2008Lange et al.
20050284827Device for storing and dispensing parts in particular rivetsDecember, 2005Auriol et al.
20050218091Mounting fastener for a rackOctober, 2005Westphall
20060243683MERCHANDISING DISPLAYNovember, 2006Onachilla et al.
20100044325Merchandise Display SystemFebruary, 2010Lowenbraun et al.
20090294391SHELF ASSEMBLY FOR CUSTOMIZABLE FURNITUREDecember, 2009Goldin et al.



Primary Examiner:
NEWTON, JARED W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MYERS BIGEL SIBLEY & SAJOVEC (PO BOX 37428, RALEIGH, NC, 27627, US)
Claims:
1. A wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots, the rack assembly comprising: an elongate rack, wherein, in position, the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation, and wherein the elongate rack is configured to releaseably engage with at least one of the mounting slots; an elongate hanger suspended from the rack and having a plurality of slot patterns therein, the elongate hanger residing in a substantially vertical orientation; and a plurality of discrete, soft fabric articles held by the slot patterns of the hanger.

2. A rack assembly according to claim 1, further comprising an elongate frame suspended from the rack, the frame sized and configured to receive the hanger.

3. A rack assembly according to claim 2, wherein the frame further comprises an interior grooved perimeter configured to slideably receive the hanger.

4. A rack assembly according to claim 2, wherein the frame comprises two substantially parallel elongate vertical portions and a substantially horizontal lower end portion, wherein the elongate vertical portions are, in position, each suspended from the rack.

5. A rack assembly according to claim 4, wherein the frame comprises an open uppermost portion and wherein the hanger is slideably received into the frame through the uppermost portion.

6. A rack assembly according to claim 2, wherein the frame further comprises at least one upwardly extending fastener configured to mount to the rack to suspend the frame from the rack.

7. A rack assembly according to claim 6, wherein the rack further comprises a mating downwardly extending fastener configured to engage the frame fastener.

8. A rack assembly according to claim 1, further comprising an elongate second rack, wherein, in position, the second rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation substantially parallel to and beneath the first rack, and wherein the second rack is configured to releaseably engage with the mounting wall or panel, the second rack comprising a support end that releasably engages a side portion of the hanger.

9. A rack assembly according to claim 4, further comprising an elongate second rack, wherein, in position, the second rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation substantially parallel to the first rack, and wherein the second rack is configured to releaseably engage with another mounting slot, the second rack comprising a support end that releasably engages a medial vertical portion of the frame.

10. A rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the hanger is a unitary member.

11. A rack assembly according to claim 2, wherein the hanger comprises a plurality of vertically stacked discrete members received in the frame.

12. A rack assembly according to claim 1, further comprising a fastener member attached to the rack, the fastener members being configured to releaseably mount the rack to a slot in the upstanding support wall or panel.

13. A rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of slot patterns includes at least 10 patterns.

14. A rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the hanger is substantially planar.

15. A rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the hanger is formed of a thermoplastic material.

16. A rack assembly according to claim 1, wherein the hanger is translucent and/or transparent.

17. A wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots, the rack assembly comprising: an elongate rack, wherein, in position, the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation, and wherein the elongate rack is configured to releaseably engage with at least one of the mounting slots; an elongate frame suspended from the rack; an elongate hanger suspended from the rack and received in the elongate frame, the elongate hanger residing in a substantially vertical orientation; and a plurality of articles held by the hanger.

18. A rack assembly according to claim 17, wherein the frame further comprises an interior grooved perimeter configured to slideably receive the hanger.

19. A rack assembly according to claim 17, wherein the frame comprises two substantially parallel elongate vertical portions and a substantially horizontal lower end portion, wherein the elongate vertical portions are, in position, each suspended from the rack.

20. A rack assembly according to claim 19, wherein the frame comprises an open uppermost portion and wherein the hanger is slideably received into the frame through the open uppermost portion.

21. A rack assembly according to claim 17, wherein the frame further comprises at least one upwardly extending fastener configured to mount to the rack to suspend the frame from the rack.

22. A rack assembly according to claim 21, wherein the rack further comprises a mating downwardly extending fastener configured to engage the frame fastener.

23. A rack assembly according to claim 17, further comprising an elongate second rack, wherein, in position, the second rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation substantially parallel to and beneath the first rack, and wherein the second rack is configured to releaseably engage with the mounting wall or panel, the second rack comprising a support end that releasably engages a side portion of the frame.

24. A rack assembly according to claim 17, wherein the hanger is a unitary member.

25. A rack assembly according to claim 17, wherein the hanger comprises a plurality of vertically stacked discrete members received in the frame.

26. A rack assembly according to claim 17, further comprising a fastener member attached to the rack, the fastener members being configured to releaseably mount the rack to a slot in the upstanding support wall or panel.

27. A rack assembly according to claim 17, wherein the hanger further comprises a plurality of slot patterns configured to receive and hold the plurality of articles.

28. A display system comprising: a wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more slots, the rack assembly comprising: an elongate rack, wherein, in position, the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation, and wherein the elongate rack is configured to releaseably engage with at least one of the mounting slots; an elongate hanger suspended from the rack and having a plurality of slot patterns therein, the elongate hanger residing in a substantially vertical orientation; and a plurality of discrete, soft fabric articles held by the slot patterns of the hanger; and a storage unit adjacent the rack assembly, wherein the hanger extends outwardly a distance beyond from the storage unit.

29. A method of displaying articles, comprising: positioning a wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots; attaching an elongate rack to a mounting wall or panel so that the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation; suspending an elongate hanger from the rack so that the elongate hanger resides in a substantially vertical orientation, wherein the hanger has a plurality of slot patterns therein; and attaching a plurality of discrete, soft fabric articles in the slot patterns of the hanger.

30. The method of claim 29, wherein the articles are window covering samples.

31. The method of claim 29, further comprising placing the wall mountable rack adjacent a storage unit so that the hanger extends outwardly a distance beyond the storage unit.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/491,511, filed Jul. 31, 2003, and 60/471,664, filed May 19, 2003, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to devices and systems for displaying goods.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Consumer goods or samples are often displayed on shelves or floor-mounted racks in stores for customer viewing. Such displays may be cumbersome to install and/or modify and aesthetic display choices may be limited. Moreover, it may be difficult for a consumer to locate a retail product near a sample display.

SUMMARY

Embodiments according to the present invention provide a rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots. The rack assembly includes an elongate rack such that, in position, the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation. The elongate rack is configured to releaseably engage with at least one of the mounting slots. An elongate hanger is suspended from the rack and has a plurality of slot patterns therein. The elongate hanger resides in a substantially vertical orientation. A plurality of discrete, soft fabric articles are held by the slot patterns of the hanger.

In some embodiments, the rack assembly includes an elongate frame suspended from the rack that is sized and configured to receive the hanger. The frame can include an interior grooved perimeter configured to slideably receive the hanger. The frame can include two substantially parallel elongate vertical portions and a substantially horizontal lower end portion. The elongate vertical portions may be each suspended from the rack. The frame can include an open uppermost portion and wherein the hanger is slideably received into the frame through the uppermost portion. The frame can include at least one upwardly extending fastener configured to mount to the rack to suspend the frame from the rack. The rack can include a mating downwardly extending fastener configured to engage the frame fastener. In certain embodiments, the rack assembly includes an elongate second rack so that, in position, the second rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation substantially parallel to the first rack. The second rack is configured to releaseably engage with another mounting slot and includes a support end that releasably engages a medial vertical portion of the frame.

In particular embodiments, an elongate second rack is provided so that, in position, the second rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation substantially parallel to and beneath the first rack. The second rack is configured to releaseably engage with the mounting wall or panel and includes a support end that releasably engages a side portion of the hanger.

In some embodiments, the hanger is a unitary member. In other embodiments, the rack assembly includes a frame and the hanger comprises a plurality of vertically stacked discrete members received in the frame. The hanger may be substantially planar, the hanger can be formed of a thermoplastic material, and/or the hanger may be translucent and/or transparent.

According to further embodiments of the present invention, a wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots is provided. The rack assembly includes an elongate rack such that, in position, the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation. The elongate rack is configured to releaseably engage with at least one of the mounting slots. An elongate frame is suspended from the rack. An elongate hanger is suspended from the rack and received in the elongate frame. The elongate hanger resides in a substantially vertical orientation. A plurality of articles are held by the hanger.

In particular embodiments, the frame includes an interior grooved perimeter configured to slideably receive the hanger. The frame can include two substantially parallel elongate vertical portions and a substantially horizontal lower end portion, so that the elongate vertical portions are, in position, each suspended from the rack. The frame can include an open uppermost portion so that the hanger is slideably received into the frame through the open uppermost portion.

According to still further embodiments of the present invention, a display system is provided. A wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more slots is provided. The rack assembly can be configured as described above. A storage unit is adjacent the rack assembly so that the hanger of the rack assembly extends outwardly a distance beyond from the storage unit.

According to further embodiments of the present invention, methods of displaying articles include positioning a wall-mountable rack assembly for holding articles for display on an upstanding mounting wall or panel having one or more mounting slots. An elongate rack is attached to a mounting wall or panel so that the elongate rack projects outwardly a distance from the mounting wall or panel to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation. An elongate hanger is suspended from the rack so that the elongate hanger resides in a substantially vertical orientation. The hanger has a plurality of slot patterns therein. A plurality of discrete, soft fabric articles are attached in the slot patterns of the hanger.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a wall mountable display rack assembly according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a display system employing the display rack assembly shown in FIG. 1 in use next to a storage unit.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the display system as shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a front view of a hanger assembly according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIGS. 5A-5C are front views of various hanger configurations according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 6A is an exploded front view of a portion of the rack assembly of FIG. 1 showing a lower rack according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 6B is an exploded view of the portion of the lower rack of FIG. 6A rotated ninety degrees along a horizontal axis.

FIG. 7 is a front view of an upper rack according to embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a side view of a display system according to embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying figures, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout. In the drawings, layers, regions, or components may be exaggerated for clarity. As used herein, “connect” or “connectable” means that the referenced elements are either directly or indirectly connected, i.e., that the referenced elements may be attached either to each other or by way of one or more common intermediate elements. It will be understood that when an element is referred to as “on” or “suspended” by another element, it can be directly on or suspended by the other element or intervening elements may also be present. It will be understood that when an element is referred to as being “adjacent” another element, it can be immediately adjacent the other element or spaced apart from but in proximity to the other element.

With reference to FIG. 1, a wall-mountable rack assembly 100 according to embodiments of the invention is shown therein. The rack assembly 100 includes an upper rack 20, a lower rack 22, and a hanger assembly 10 that is configured to hold multiple articles 12 for display. As used herein, a “rack” refers to a framework or stand on which to hold or hang various objects. The hanger assembly 10 includes a frame 45 that is configured to receive hangers 41. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the hangers 41 are suspended from the upper rack 20 and held by the frame 45. However, in some embodiments, the frame 45 may be omitted, and the hangers 41 may be suspended directly or indirectly from the rack 20, for example, using integral hooks or other fasteners.

The frame 45 defines an interior perimeter for receiving the hangers 41 and has two substantially parallel elongate vertical frame portions 44 each having a hook 18 at one end and a substantially horizontal lower end portion 48 extending between and connecting the other ends of the frame portions 44. The upper rack 20 includes mating hooks 16 that are configured to engage hooks 18 to suspend the hanger assembly 10. Other hooking or attachment mechanisms can be used, including brazing, welding, and/or fasteners such as screws, pins, nails, clamps, or adhesives.

As shown, the hangers 41 each have three slot patterns 14 that are configured to receive the articles 12. The slot patterns 14 include laterally extending tongues 38 that extend from opposing side portions of the hanger 41. Each article 12 is configured to engage the tongues 38. For example, as shown in FIG. 1, the article 12 has a lateral channel 42 with an opening 40 through which the tongues 38 can be placed. As used herein, the term “slot pattern” refers to a pattern of one or more perforations or slits. Examples of suitable slot patterns are discussed with respect to FIGS. 5A-5C. However, any suitable slot pattern can be used. For example, a single narrow opening (i.e., a slit) can be used to receive a soft fabric article therein. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the articles 12 are held on a respective hanger 41 so that the articles 12 have their fronts facing the same direction with their primary surfaces all generally parallel to one another.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the racks 20, 22 include upper and lower rods 24, 28, and planar mounting plates 26, 30, respectively. The mounting plates 26, 30 are arranged in a substantially vertical orientation and have hooks 31, 33, respectively, which are configured to releasably engage with at least one slot 34 in a wall or panel 32. It should be understood that the wall or panel 32 can be any suitable support structure, such as structural walls, walls of furniture, and stand-alone panels. The lower rod 28 includes a support end 25 that is shaped to receive and provide stability and/or support to the frame 45. An expanded view of the support end 25 of the lower rod 28 is shown in FIGS. 6A and 6B. As shown in FIG. 6B, the support end 25 has a prong 25′ that forms a C-shaped end and is configured to receive the vertical frame portions 44. Accordingly, the lower rack 22 can brace the hanger assembly to reduce and/or prevent motion of the hanger assembly 10. As discussed above, the upper rack 20 includes hooks 16 for holding the frame 45. The upper rack 20 is shown in detail in FIG. 7.

Other rack and bracket or mounting hardware configurations may also be used. For example, the racks 20, 22 may be configured with hollow cores rather than mounting plates 26, 30 that are sized and configured to receive a respective protruding channel member (which themselves may be formed with solid or open cores) therein (not shown). Alternatively, the mounting plates 26, 30 may be configured with a stepped edge pattern to be received in a slot in a wall or panel. Examples of various alternative configurations are shown in co-owned U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/471,664, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

Any number of racks can be used. In some embodiments, a single rack, such as the rack 20, is provided and a hanger is suspended therefrom and the lower rack 22 can be omitted. In other embodiments, an upper rack 20 and a plurality of lower racks 22 are provided. Moreover, the lower rack 22 can be configured so that an additional hanger and/or hanger assembly can be suspended from the lower rack 22.

The rack assembly 100 may be particularly suitable for displaying samples of window covering materials, including soft drapery fabric samples. The articles 12 can be arranged on the hanger assembly 10 so that their primary forward faces are aligned to face the same direction. In certain embodiments, the rack assembly 100 can be configured and sized to hold at least about 10, typically about 20, and in certain embodiments, at least about 30 articles. Moreover, any number of hangers 41 and/or slot patterns 14 can be used. For example, a single, unitary hanger can extend the entire length or a portion of the length of the frame.

According to some embodiments, the articles 12 are samples of soft drapery fabrics. The term “soft drapery fabrics” refers to fabrics that can be draped over a curtain rod or backing so that the fabric yields to pressure or weight and may include fabrics ranging in texture and density from fine to relatively stiff. As will be discussed further below, the soft drapery fabric sample may be formed with a rod pocket across its width (see, e.g., FIGS. 1 and 5A) and/or a header portion that may form an open channel. However, the rack assembly 100 may also be useful for displaying other home-improvement items, such as, but not limited to, other fabric samples such as samples of bedding, sheets, tablecloths, and towels, as well as paper (such as paint) samples, tile samples, flooring samples, cabinet samples, paneling samples, countertop samples, wallpaper samples, and the like.

The rack assembly 100 may also be suitable for displaying other consumer items such as clothing or accessory items (for example, socks, belts, and purses) as well as other articles including toys, batteries, posters, magazines, books, packaged food items, and the like.

In some embodiments as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, in use, the rack assembly 100 is attached to an upstanding support panel 50 on a wall 32′ by the upper and lower racks 20, 22 so that the hanger assembly 10 is displayed along one side of a storage unit 56. The panel 50 includes a groove 52 having slots 54 into which the upper and lower racks 20, 22 are received and supported. Various configurations of panels can be used for panel 50, including panels having a channel spaced apart from the wall, such as with a U-shaped channel, with mounting slots provided therein. The storage unit 56 includes shelves 58 for displaying products 60 near the articles 12 (shown in FIG. 3). In this configuration, an article 12 can be held in the slot patterns 14 and a corresponding product placed on the shelves 58. For example, the article may be a fabric sample for a curtain, and the corresponding retail curtain products can be accessible from the shelves 58. In some embodiments, the storage unit 56 can include drawers or other storage mechanisms.

Accordingly, the rods 24, 28 project outwardly a distance from the wall or panel 32 to reside in a substantially horizontal orientation so that the hanger assembly is suspended in a substantially vertical orientation. In some embodiments, the storage unit 56 projects about 12 inches from the support wall or panel 32 and the rack assembly 100 is configured so that the hanger assembly 10 extends beyond the storage unit 56, e.g., the hanger assembly 10 hangs greater than 12 inches from the support wall or panel 32. In some embodiments, the upper rack 20 is about 23 inches long and the frame 45 is about seven and one-quarter inches wide and a length of about 48 inches. [Matt, please confirm dimensions| As shown, the near edge of the hanger assembly 10 is spaced forward from the front edge of the storage unit 56 by a distance w. In some embodiments, the hanger assembly 10 can be immediately adjacent or closely proximate the front edge of the storage unit 56 (i.e., w=0), or the hanger assembly 10 can overlap the front edge of the storage unit 56.

The rack assembly 100 and mounting bracket(s) should be configured to hold the weight of the hanger assembly 10 and the articles 12 and hangers 41 thereon so as that the racks 20, 22 are able to maintain the horizontal (level) orientation of the racks 20, 22 even when loaded with articles 12.

The rack assembly 100 can be adjacent the storage unit 56 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 so that the major surfaces of the articles 12 held by the rack assembly 100 are substantially parallel to the sidewall of the storage unit 56. However, other configurations can be used. For example, the racks 20, 22 can reside inside the storage unit 56. The racks 20, 22 can be affixed to the back wall of the storage unit 56 by slots similar to the slots 54 shown on the wall or support panel 50. Alternatively, the racks 20, 22 can be held in place by a bracket adjacent the inside of the sidewall of the storage unit 56. In some embodiments, racks can be provided that are shorter in length than racks 20, 22 such that the hanger assembly 10 can be suspended proximate a support wall or panel. For example, the racks 20, 22 can be sized and configured to connect to the side of the storage unit or other support structure without extending all the way to the support wall or panel 50.

Two hangers 41 may be placed in the frame 45 in a “back-to-back” arrangement so that the articles 12 may be displaced on two sides of the hanger assembly 10 as shown in FIG. 3. In some embodiments, two forty-eight inch hangers 41 are provided that extend substantially the entire length of the frame and display eight articles 12 each, i.e., so that eight articles 12 are displaced on each side of the hanger assembly 10.

In certain embodiments, the rack assembly 100 may be configured from a material that is sufficiently malleable so that it can be formed into the desired shape. The material may be a metal, polymer and/or co-polymer, plastic, thermoplastic, ceramic, fiber-reinforced resin, or blends and/or mixtures thereof. In some embodiments, the frame 45 and racks 20, 22 are formed of a metal material. In certain embodiments, the hanger(s) 41 may be formed of an elastomeric material, which may include polymers, co-polymers, cellulose, and derivatives, blends and mixtures thereof. In particular embodiments, hanger(s) 41 can be formed from a thermoplastic and/or plexiglass or polyvinylchloride material. In certain embodiments, the hanger 41 can be translucent and/or transparent. In some embodiments, the hanger 41 can be opaque. In particular embodiments, the hanger 41 is formed of a unitary plexiglass planar body.

As shown in FIG. 8, a display system 150 illustrates that the rack assembly 100 may be used to display articles near a multi-level storage unit 110. The multi-level storage unit 110 includes a top portion 112 and a bottom portion 114. The bottom portion 114 extends further from a back wall 32″ than the top portion 112. Accordingly, the rack assembly 100 is placed so that the hanger assembly 10 extends beyond the top portion 112 of the storage unit 10. In the configuration shown in FIG. 8, the hanger 10 overlaps a portion of the bottom portion of the storage unit 114 so that the hanger 10 is unlikely to interfere with a pedestrian walking in the vicinity of the display system.

Referring to FIG. 4, the frame 45 of the hanger assembly 10 includes a groove 66 that extends along the vertical frame portions 44 and the end frame portion 48. The hangers 41 are slideably received in the groove 66. In this configuration, the hangers 41 can be removed or added to the frame 45 from one end of the frame 45. Accordingly, the hangers 41 may be sufficiently difficult to remove that tampering with the hangers 41, for example, by members of the public, may be discouraged. However, hangers 41 may be removed and/or replaced with sufficient ease for purposes of display changes.

The frame 45 further includes a support rod 68 that is situated behind the hanger 41 as shown in FIG. 4. The support rod 68 (also shown in FIG. 3) can provide sufficient support to the frame 45 so that the shape of the frame 45 is maintained under normal usage. Other mechanisms can be used to retain the hangers 41 in the frame 45, including snaps, adhesives, pins and other retaining mechanisms.

Other hanger assembly configurations can be used. In some embodiments, a hanger can be provided that connects to a rack without requiring a frame. For example, a hanger may include a hook for attachment to a rack. A hanger and a hook can be provided as a single, unitary member.

A slot pattern 14 is shown in FIG. 5A that is configured to receive another article 12′. The article 12′ can be a fabric or material sample having at least one, and typically two, laterally extending channels 421, 422 and corresponding openings 401, 402. In particular embodiments, the article 12′ is a soft drapery fabric sample and is formed to have at least one channel that corresponds to a rod pocket and/or header. FIG. 5A illustrates two laterally extending tongues 38 that can be inserted into a selected channel 421, 422 to hold the fabric sample in a display configuration. FIG. 5B illustrates an alternative slot pattern having a single tongue 70 that can be inserted into the opening 40 of a channel 42 of an article 12. FIG. 5C illustrates embodiments of a slot pattern having separate upper and lower slots 76, 78 that are spaced apart by a continuous center support segment 80. As shown by the direction of the arrows in FIG. 5C, to position the sample on the slot pattern, the sample 40 can be inserted through the upper slot 76 threaded around the center segment 80 and then back into the lower slot 78 to hold the sample on the hanger in a substantially looped fashion. The term “looped” means that the material has a nearly or completely closed turn. Examples of various alternative slot pattern configurations are shown in co-owned U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/471,664.

The strip of fabric may be about 3-6 inches wide and about 4-18 inches long, and is typically arranged on the hanger 41 to extend for viewing with about 5 inches in width and 8 inches long. In some embodiments, the hangers 41 can be about 7 inches wide and about 48 inches long and extend substantially the entire length of the frame 45. [Matt, please confirm dimensions] The hanger assembly 10 can weigh between about one pound. In some embodiments, the hanger assembly 10 when loaded with articles 12 is less than 1-½ pounds.

In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. The following claims are provided to ensure that the present application meets all statutory requirements as a priority application in all jurisdictions and shall not be construed as setting forth the scope of the present invention.





 
Previous Patent: Mounting device

Next Patent: Shelf liner and shelf panel