Title:
Table Top
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A table top (1) comprising a pellucid top panel (3) and at least one pellucid display panel (13), the display panel bearing a design or script. A light source is provided to illuminate the design or script on the display panel such that it is visible through the top panel permitting the design to have a high visual impact when viewed through the top panel. The table top (1) is suitable for displaying advertising material particularly in a bar, shop, restaurant or club environment. The table top may form part of a table or may be incorporated into a bar or counter.



Inventors:
Ford, Robert Daglish (Watford, GB)
Application Number:
11/575793
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
07/15/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F10/00; A47B3/12; G09F23/00; G09F23/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CARTER, WILLIAM JOSEPH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WITHROW & TERRANOVA, P.L.L.C. (100 REGENCY FOREST DRIVE, SUITE 160, CARY, NC, 27518, US)
Claims:
What We claim is:

1. 1-17. (canceled)

18. A table top comprising a pellucid top panel, at least one pellucid display panel bearing a design or script arranged below the top panel and a light source arranged to illuminate the design or script such that the design or script is viewable through the top panel.

19. The table top as claimed in claim 18, wherein the at least one display panel is transparent.

20. The table top as claimed in claim 18, wherein the at least one display panel has the design or script etched on it.

21. The table top as claimed in claim 18, comprising a plurality of display panels arranged one below the other each bearing a different design or script.

22. The table top as claimed in claim 18, wherein the light source is arranged to clip to at least one edge of a display panel and illuminate the panel by transmitting light through the panel in the plane of the panel.

23. The table top as claimed in claim 22, wherein the light source comprises a strip of light emitting diodes in a case arranged to clip onto the edge of the at least one display panel.

24. The table top as claimed in claim 18, comprising a battery for powering the light source.

25. The table top as claimed in claim 18, comprising a compartment housing the light source and the at least one display panel, the compartment being arranged to be accessible to permit the at least one display panel to be substituted for a different display panel.

26. The table top as claimed in claim 25, wherein the compartment comprises a drawer arranged to be slid out from under the top panel to permit the at least one display panel to be changed.

27. The table top as claimed in claim 25, comprising a rack within the compartment, the rack being arranged to permit one or more display panels to be slid into place below the top panel.

28. The table top as claimed in claim 18, wherein the design or script is an advertisement.

29. A freestanding table comprising the table top as claimed in claim 18.

30. A bar top comprising the table top as claimed in claim 18.

31. A counter comprising the table top as claimed in claim 18.

32. A bar top comprising a pellucid top panel, at least one pellucid display panel bearing a design or script arranged below the top panel and a light source arranged to illuminate the design or script such that the design or script is viewable through the top panel.

33. A countertop comprising a pellucid top panel, at least one pellucid display panel bearing a design or script arranged below the top panel and a light source arranged to illuminate the design or script such that the design or script is viewable through the top panel.

Description:

The present invention relates to a table top and particularly to a table top for use in commercial premises, such as public houses, restaurants, shops and clubs, for displaying advertising material, graphical art or similar.

In the context of the present specification, a “table top” is defined as any flat upper surface intended for standing items on and the term particularly includes bar tops and countertops in addition to a table top forming a part of a free standing or built-in table.

It is known to place advertising material on table tops and the like by placing self-adhesive advertisements on the table tops, or by sandwiching a sheet bearing advertising material between a surface of the table top and a glass sheet extending over the table top.

When advertising material is placed on the upper surface of the table top, it is exposed to wear and tear and may rapidly deteriorate, especially in a bar environment. An advertisement which is worn or scruffy may not convey the desired image of the product to a potential customer.

Displaying advertising material below the glass top of a table protects the advertising material from damage, however it is then difficult and potentially dangerous changing this advertising material, requiring removal of the glass top. In turn, having a removable glass top may result in the ingress of spilt beverage between the glass top and the table top.

Advertising in the manner discussed above may also have a relatively low visual impact, especially if the advertisement is illuminated only by low levels of ambient light, for example as may be encountered in a bar environment.

According to a first embodiment of the present invention there is provided a table top comprising a pellucid top panel and at least one pellucid display panel bearing a design or script arranged below the top panel and a light source arranged to illuminate the design or script such that the design or script is viewable through the top panel.

By having a pellucid (transparent or translucent) top panel and a pellucid display panel bearing a design or script, which may be an advertisement, it is possible to employ a light source within the table top to illuminate the design or script such that it is viewable through the top panel. This permits the top panel to be sealed in place providing a safe and hygienic top surface while permitting the design or script to have a high visual impact by being illuminated from below.

Preferably, the display panel is transparent and advantageously has a design or script etched in it. This enables the design or script to be illuminated by a light source mounted on or adjacent to one edge of the or each display panel, such that when viewed from above only the etched design or script is illuminated, thereby providing a high visual impact.

The table top may comprise a plurality of display panels arranged one below the other and each bearing a different design or script. These may be illuminated individually and/or in different colours. For example, a display panel may be arranged to bear the logo or trade mark of an establishment in one colour, with a further lower display panel bearing the logo or brand name of particular type of goods, for example a type of drink, which may be illuminated in a different colour.

Preferably, the light source is arranged to clip to at least one edge of the or each display panel and illuminate the panel by transmitting light through the panel in the plane of the panel. The light source preferably comprises a strip of light emitting diodes in a case arranged to clip onto the edge of the display panel, but alternately could comprise a fluorescent light, ultra violet strip light, fibre optic or any other suitable light source. Such an arrangement permits effective illumination of the panel without excess illumination of the region about the panel, which would detract from the design or script. Additionally, in the case of light emitting diodes, these have a very low power requirement. This is particularly advantageous if the table additionally comprises a battery for powering the light source.

The table top preferably comprises a compartment housing the light source and the at least one display panel, with the compartment being arranged to be accessible to enable the at least one display panel to be substituted for a different display panel. This permits advertising material to be displayed on the display panel, without committing an owner to display that material throughout the lifetime of the table top.

Preferably, the compartment comprises a drawer arranged to be slid out from under the top panel to permit a display panel to be changed. This is a particularly convenient for it enables the top panel to be sealed to the table top preventing the ingress of dirt or liquid, while permitting the display panel to be readily changed.

The compartment may comprise a rack, the rack being arranged to permit one or more display panels to be slid into place below the top panel. Such a rack ensures the panels are correctly located and maintained spaced from the bottom surface of the compartment minimising illumination of that bottom surface.

A table top according to the invention may be comprised in a table, in a bar top or in a countertop.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a bar top comprising a pellucid top panel, at least one pellucid display panel bearing a design or script arranged below the top panel and a light source arranged to illuminate the design or script such that the design or script is viewable through the top panel.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a countertop comprising a pellucid top panel, at least one pellucid display panel bearing a design or script arranged below the top panel and a light source arranged to illuminate the design or script such that the design or script is viewable through the top panel.

One embodiment of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a table having a table top in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a drawer of the table top of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation of the table and table top of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section along the line IV-IV of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative rack to that of FIG. 4; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a bar or countertop incorporating a table top in accordance with the present invention.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, there is illustrated a table, indicated generally as 1, having a table top 2 comprising an top panel 3 of clear or tinted glass bonded into frame 4. The table can be made from any suitable material, for example wood, metal, plastic or glass.

In table 1, there is located a drawer 7, illustrated in FIG. 2. The drawer comprises two or more battery packs, 8 and 9, wired via respective switches 10 and 11 to respective light sources, only the upper one 12 of which is shown. The each light source comprises an array of LEDs within a casing, which casing is slid onto the front edge of a respective one of three transparent panels 13, 15, 16, each of which can be viewed through the top panel 3. In the front of the drawer 7 is located a lock 14 for securing the drawer in place in the table 1. The drawer 7 of FIG. 2 is shown in cross-section along the line IV-IV in FIG. 4. From FIG. 4 it is seen that the panels 13, 15, 16 are supported on a rack 17 comprising two side members 17a and 17b.

Panel 13 is etched or engraved with the word DELLING and panel 15 is etched or engraved with the word TABLE. When these panels are illuminated from the side by their respective light sources, the words DELLING and TABLE are visible through the region 6 of the glass top 3, as shown in FIG. 1. The respective light sources are of different colours such that DELLING is clearly visible in a first colour above the word TABLE in a contrasting colour. A third word, logo or shape could be carried by panel 16 and this could have an additional light source and battery. If desired, more than three display panels can be included and each may be selectively illuminated depending on the type of client expected to be sitting at the table at a certain time of day and the advert carried by a particular panel.

Referring to FIG. 5, an alternative rack is shown for supporting the three display panels 13, 15 and 16 comprising support 18a and 18b. The front of the draw must be hinged if this rack is used

With the rack of FIG. 4 the panels 13, 15 and 16 may be lifted or slid from the rack whereas with the rack of FIG. 5 the panels 13, 15 and 16 have to be slid into the rack.

The table may be of any appropriate shape or configuration and may for example be built into units comprising areas of seating and areas of table space. Where the table is not arranged to be moveable, it may be wired directly to the mains, dispensing with the need for batteries 8 and 9.

Where the light source is powered from an external supply then to reduce manufacturing costs the drawer can be substituted with an opening flap, corresponding to the drawer front 7 of FIG. 3, whereby the light sources can be slid off the front edge of the panels and the panels slid out from the table, allowing the panels to be interchanged as desired.

Although described above with reference to a table, the table top, in accordance with the present invention, can be built into a bar top or countertop and such a bar or countertop is illustrated in FIG. 6. Here the glass top 3 is recessed in the bar or countertop 19 with the display panels being accessible via the drawer 7, in the same manner as described above with reference to the table.

The invention has been described above by way of example only and it will be apparent that numerous different designs and configurations are possible within the scope of the appended claims. Particularly, the invention is not limited to any type of light source although the invention may advantageously employ UV tubes or florescent tubes to illuminate the display panels, when mains power is available. The top and display panels may be formed of any suitable material such as glass, plastic or acrylic and the pattern on the display panels may be formed by any appropriate method such as etching or engraving the panels infusing dyes into the panels or painting the panels possibly with florescent paints which may be illuminated with UV light. Alternatively, vinyl transfers, Duratrans or screen printed images may be applied to the panels. Appropriate materials for the panels are PRISMEX™, OPALANE™ clear plastic or clear glass.

As an alternative to the panels being flat, as illustrated, the display panels could have a three dimensional shape by being vacuum formed or by being created from three dimensional shapes with etched outlines on the display panel.