Title:
FRAME WITH INTEGRATED SURFACE ATTACHMENT FOR DRYWALL AND DRYWALL-LIKE SURFACES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A frame that includes a framing member and at least one integral mounting member extending from the back surface of the framing member. The frame may be mounted to a mounting surface such as a wall by simply pushing on the frame, thereby piercing the mounting surface with the mounting member. The mounting member may integrally retained within, or integrally formed with the framing member. A second mounting post may be provided that extends from the back surface of the framing member a shorter distance than the distance that the first mounting post extends from the back surface of the framing member, to facilitate positioning and alignment of the frame before final placement.



Inventors:
Van Bortel, Brett (Winfield, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/936592
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
11/07/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/745
International Classes:
A47G1/22
View Patent Images:
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20060242868Method and corresponding label for labellingNovember, 2006Kobayashi
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20040093780Three-dimensional indication with sign-figuresMay, 2004Atanasov
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20050086844Three-dimensional frameApril, 2005Niester



Primary Examiner:
ISLAM, SYED A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEAL, GERBER, & EISENBERG (SUITE 2200, 2 NORTH LASALLE STREET, CHICAGO, IL, 60602, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A frame comprising: a framing member having a front surface and a back surface; a first mounting member extending from the back surface of the framing member; and a second mounting member extending from the back surface of the framing member at a distance from the first mounting member sufficient to support the frame when the first and second mounting members are penetrated into a surface by applying a force to the front surface of the framing member.

2. The frame of claim 1, wherein the first mounting member extends from the back surface of the framing member a first distance, and the second mounting member extends from the back surface of the framing member a second distance, wherein the second distance is greater than the first distance.

3. The frame of claim 1, wherein the first and the second mounting members are protrusions that are integrally formed as part of the framing member.

4. The frame of claim 1, wherein the first and the second mounting members are protrusions that are integrally retained within the framing member.

5. The frame of claim 4, wherein the first and second mounting members each include a blunt first end retained within the framing member.

6. A frame comprising: a framing member having a front surface and a back surface; a first mounting member extending from the back surface of the framing member a first distance; and a second mounting member extending from the back surface of the framing member a second distance that is longer than the first distance.

7. The frame of claim 6, wherein the difference between the first distance and the second distance is between about ¼ and ⅜ inches.

8. The frame of claim 6, wherein the framing member has a first corner and a second corner and the first mounting member is mounted to the framing member in general proximity to the first corner and the second mounting member is mounted to the framing member in general proximity to the second corner.

9. A method for mounting a frame to a mounting surface, the frame having a framing member, a first mounting member that extends from a back portion of the framing member a first distance, and a second mounting member that extends from the back portion of the framing member a second distance that is shorter than the first distance, the method comprising the steps of: piercing the mounting surface with the first mounting member; pivoting the frame about an axis defined by the first mounting member to align and position the frame; and piercing the surface with the second mounting member to maintain the alignment and position of the frame.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the difference between the first distance and the second distance is between about ¼ and ⅜ inches.

11. A frame comprising: a framing member having a front surface and a back surface; and at least one mounting post extending from the back surface, the mounting post having a shaft and a retention member extending outward from the shaft, the retention member being integrally disposed within the framing member and the shaft extending from the back surface of the framing member; the disposal of the mounting post within the framing member capable of withstanding a mounting force applied to the front surface of the framing member sufficient to cause penetration of the shaft of the mounting post into a mounting surface.

12. The frame of claim 11, wherein the retention member comprises a flange extending radially outward from the shaft at a first end of the shaft.

13. The frame of claim 11, wherein the framing member comprises a first framing portion and a second framing portion mounted to the first framing portion, the retention member abutting the first framing portion and the second framing portion.

14. The frame of claim 13, wherein the second framing portion includes a bore having the shaft of the mounting post disposed therein as it extends from the back surface of the framing member.

15. The frame of claim 14, wherein at least one of the first framing portion and the second framing portion includes a recess having geometry similar to at least part of the retention member.

16. A frame comprising a framing member having a front surface and a back surface, the framing member including a plurality of mounting members extending from the back surface of the framing member, the mounting members positioned at a distance from each other sufficient to support the frame when the mounting members are penetrated into a mounting surface by applying a force to the front surface of the framing member.

17. The frame of claim 16, wherein one of the plurality of mounting members extends from the back surface of the framing member a distance that is greater than each distance that each of the other mounting members extends from the back surface of the framing member.

18. The frame of claim 16, wherein the mounting members are protrusions that are integrally formed as part of the framing member.

19. The frame of claim 16, wherein the mounting members are protrusions that are integrally retained within the framing member.

20. The frame of claim 16, wherein the framing member has a plurality of corners, each of the mounting members being located in general proximity to one of the corners of the framing member.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to frames used for displaying items, and, more particularly, a frame having an integrated surface attachment, such as integrated mounting posts, so that the frame can be mounted to a surface, such as a wall constructed with drywall, simply by pushing on the frame, thereby penetrating the surface with the integrated mounting posts.

BACKGROUND

Many different types of frames for displaying various items such as pictures, posters, paintings and objects have been developed over the years and numerous mounting devices for attaching such frames to a surface such as a wall have been developed. Although some of these mounting devices have provided adequate results, many of them suffer from several chronic problems or drawbacks. For example, many of these mounting devices are separate from the frame and require that a user first make precise measurements and then attach the mounting device to the wall, and later add the frame to the mounting device. This multi-step process is not only cumbersome, but often results in a situation where the mounting hardware does not perfectly align with the frame, which results in a misplaced or misaligned frame, especially when a user is mounting multiple frames that are intended to be aligned with one another. Some of these mounting devices also result in a gap between the frame and the wall that may be aesthetically displeasing. In addition, some of these mounting devices result in a frame that can be knocked off of the mounting device. Some such mounting devices may leave a large hole in the wall or other disfiguration when they are removed.

Others of these mounting devices use mounting posts with tapered ends that are driven into or screwed into a frame. One drawback of such mounting posts is that they may split a wooden or plastic frame when they are driven or screwed into the frame. Another drawback of some such mounting posts is that they may pull away from the frame if the user attempts to remove the frame from wall surface to reposition it. Yet another drawback of some such mounting posts is that they require a special tool to attach the mounting post to the frame so that an assembler does not injure themselves on the tapered end of the post that pierces the wall surface.

The present invention addresses these and other concerns and generally provides an improved frame with integral mounting posts that can be mounted to a wall having drywall or drywall-like construction simply by pushing on the frame. The present invention can also easily be removed from the wall and repositioned.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a cost-effective frame that provides, among other things, simple and efficient mounting, alignment, and repositioning of the frame on a wall having a drywall or drywall-like surface. The frame includes a mounting arrangement that allows the frame to be aligned and mounted to the wall simply by pushing the frame against the wall to force at least one mounting member of the mounting arrangement to penetrate the wall and mount the frame on the wall.

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, the frame includes at least two integrated mounting members, preferably in the form of mounting posts, extending from a back surface of the frame. However, more than two mounting member arrangements are also contemplated. In a preferred embodiment, the frame includes two mounting posts, one which is longer than the other, and which are located at opposite corners of the frame. This configuration permits a user to push the longer post partially into the wall, while the shorter post does not pierce the wall. The longer post fixes a mounting point on the wall, while allowing the user to rotate or pivot the frame about the axis of the longer post in order to level the frame. When the frame is at the desired position, the user then pushes the frame such that its back surface is flush with the wall, thereby further penetrating the wall with the longer post and allowing the shorter post to penetrate the wall and preventing further movement of the frame relative to the wall.

In another aspect of the preferred embodiment, the mounting members are positively retained in a framing member, thereby simulating an integrated mounting member arrangement. Specifically, in a preferred embodiment, the mounting posts have a retention member and a shaft portion. The retention member extends outward from the shaft and is mounted within a framing member such that the mounting posts will not pull away from the frame when the frame is removed from a wall. For example, in one such embodiment, the framing member may be made of a first portion and a second portion that are joined together. Prior to the first and second portions being joined together, the shaft of the mounting post may be inserted through a hole in the second framing portion having a diameter smaller than the width of the retention member so that the retention member is held between the first and second framing portions.

In yet another embodiment, the mounting members are unitary with the frame, i.e., completely integrated as an integral part of the frame. For example, in a particular embodiment, the mounting posts may be integrally formed as part of a cast metal frame or an injection molded plastic frame in a protrusion-like form.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon consideration of the drawings, written specification, and claims set forth herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a particular embodiment of a frame in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a second particular embodiment of a frame in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the frame of FIG. 2 illustrating a first stage of engagement wherein the frame is partially mounted in a wall.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the frame of FIG. 2 illustrating a second stage of engagement wherein the frame fully mounted in a wall.

FIG. 5 is a back view of the frame of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a partial exploded view of a cross-section of an embodiment of the frame of FIG. 5 taken along line I-I.

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the frame of FIG. 5 taken along line I-I.

FIG. 8 is a partial cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the frame of FIG. 5 taken along line I-I.

FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the frame of FIG. 5 taken along line I-I.

FIG. 10 is a partial cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the frame of FIG. 5 taken along line I-I.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an exemplary mounting post of the frame of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The description that follows describes, illustrates and exemplifies one or more particular embodiments of the present invention in accordance with its principles. This description is not provided to limit the invention to the embodiments described herein, but rather to explain and teach the principles of the invention in such a way to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to understand these principles and, with that understanding, be able to apply them to practice not only the embodiments described herein, but other embodiments that may come to mind in accordance with these principles. The scope of the present invention is intended to cover all such embodiments that may fall within the scope of the appended claims, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.

It is noted that in the description and drawings, like or substantially similar elements may be labeled with the same reference numerals. However, sometimes these elements may, but not always, be labeled with differing numbers in cases where such labeling may facilitate a more clear description. Additionally, the drawings set forth herein are not necessarily drawn to scale, and in some instances proportions may have been exaggerated to more clearly depict certain features.

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, FIGS. 1-10 show a frame 10. The frame 10 has a framing member 12. The framing member 12 shown in FIGS. 1-10 has a front surface 16, a back surface 17, a top portion 13 and a bottom portion 14. The framing member 12 is shown in this embodiment as a rectangle having corners 18a-d, however, the framing member may be any shape. Although the figures depict a framing member having four sides and a hollow middle portion, alternatively or additionally, the framing member may comprise a solid back portion such as the backing of a plaque or the back portion of a display case or of a picture frame. The framing member 10 is preferably made from a rigid material such as wood, plastic, or metal.

As shown in FIG. 1, the frame 10 further includes a mounting member arrangement, preferably in the form of at least two mounting posts 20a and 20b, which provides a dual point attachment that eliminates shifting and movement of the frame when attached to a wall, as will be described in more detail below. The mounting posts 20a and 20b each have a shaft 22 extending from the framing member 15. The mounting posts 20a and 20b also have a tapered end 24. The mounting posts 20a and 20b further have a blunt end 26, as shown in FIG. 7. The mounting posts are preferably made of metal, but may be a rigid plastic or any other material sufficiently strong to pierce a mounting surface, such as a wall incorporating sheetrock or drywall, without breaking or buckling. Although the mounting members described herein are cylindrical, numerous other geometries could also be employed without departing from the principles of the present invention. For simplicity, the embodiments herein will be described with respect to mounting posts, with the understanding that the present invention is not limited to mounting posts, as other mounting member embodiments could also be employed.

A user can simply push the frame 10 against a mounting surface, which is typically a wall, thereby piercing the mounting surface with the mounting post in order to mount the frame 10 to the surface. The frame 10 can be mounted to any surface capable of being penetrated by the mounting posts under typical forces applied by hand to the frame 10. In a preferred embodiment, the frame 10 is mounted to drywall or sheetrock constructed walls. However, some forms of walls made of plaster, wood, wood paneling, cork or foam bulletin board may be suitable as well if the mounting posts can penetrate the wall material without excessive force or the use of tools. Such materials are considered “drywall-like” materials for purposes of this specification. For convenience, the mounting surface will be referred to herein as a wall, without specific regard for any particular wall material.

As shown in FIG. 2, multiple mounting posts 20a-20d may be used to provide greater retention to the wall, distribution of weight for larger frames, and to provide for alignment of the frame 10 to the wall. In a preferred embodiment, mounting post 20a is longer than the other posts to provide the positioning and alignment functionality as described below with respect to the two-post arrangement of FIGS. 1, 3 and 4.

Referring to the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the frame 10 has a first mounting post 20a and a second mounting post 20b. As shown in FIG. 3, the first mounting post 20a extends from the back surface 17 of the framing member 12 a distance E, which is greater than the distance G that the second mounting post 20b extends from the back surface 17. This embodiment enables the user to mount the frame 10 to the wall 30 by first positioning the frame 10 by inserting the first mounting post 20a and then rotating the frame 10 relative to the wall 30 about the first mounting post 20a to level the frame 10. When the desired level is achieved, the user can then press the second mounting post 20b into the wall 30, resulting in the mounted frame as shown in FIG. 4.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show the two stages of engagement of this embodiment. Specifically, a user can mount the frame 10 by first pressing the frame 10 against the wall 30 so that the first mounting post 20a pierces into the wall 30, but the second mounting post 20b does not, as shown in FIG. 3. The user then rotates the frame 10 relative to the wall 30 about the axis of the first mounting post 20a to the desired position. As shown in FIG. 4, when the frame is in the desired position, the user then presses the framing member 12 closer to the wall 30 so that the second mounting post 20b pierces the wall, thereby preventing further rotation of the frame 10 relative to the wall 30.

In a preferred embodiment, the mounting posts 20a and 20b are sized such that the maximum length of the portion of the mounting posts 20a and 20b extending from the back surface 17 of the framing member 12 is less than the typical thickness of standard wallboard, such as ½ inch and ⅝ inch thick drywall, so that the mounting posts do not risk contacting electrical wires located in the wall 30. However, to ensure compatibility with various walls, longer lengths can be employed. In the preferred embodiment, the length of the second mounting post 20b is between ¼ and ⅜ inches shorter than the first mounting post 20a, so that the first mounting post 20a does not slip from the wall 30 while the user is rotating the frame 10 prior to seating the second mounting post 20b in the wall 30.

As shown in FIGS. 5-9, the mounting posts 20 may be mounted in the framing member 12 in a variety of ways. For simplicity, each of the embodiments with respect to FIGS. 6-10 are described in terms of a cross-sectional view taken along line I-I in FIG. 5, with the understanding that each of these cross-sectional views represents a distinct embodiment.

One embodiment of the attachment of the mounting post 20 in the framing member 12 is shown in FIG. 7. In FIG. 7, the framing member 12 has a bore 40 formed in the back surface 17 of the framing member 12. The mounting post 20c has a shaft 22c, a tapered end 24c and a blunt end 26c. The diameter of the shaft 24c is smaller than the diameter of the bore 40 such that the mounting post 20c can be positioned in the bore 40. The mounting post 20c is further secured to the framing member 12 via an adhesive layer 45 that adheres the mounting post 20c to the walls of the bore 40. The adhesive 45 may be a thermoplastic adhesive such as a hot melt adhesive, a chemically reactive adhesive such as an epoxy adhesive or any other suitable adhesive.

The bore 40 typically has an axis generally perpendicular to the back surface 17 of the framing member 12. Thus, the axis of the mounting post 20c, which is seated in the bore 40, is generally perpendicular to the back surface 17 of the framing member 12 and the surface of the wall in which the mounting post is seated. Therefore, the force directed on the attachment of the mounting post 20c and the bore 40 by the weight of the framing member 12 and framed object, is generally perpendicular to the axes of the bore 40 and the mounting post 20c. This prevents the mounting post 20c from separating from the bore 40 under the weight of the framing member 12 and the framed object. Similarly, the axes of the mounting post 20c and the hole formed in the wall by the mounting post 20c are generally perpendicular to the force generated by the weight of the framing member 12 and framed object, thereby preventing the mounting post 20c from pulling loose from the wall.

FIGS. 6 and 8 show an alternative embodiment of the attachment of the mounting post to the framing member. FIG. 8 is a cross section of the mounting post and framing member. FIG. 6 is an exploded view of cross-section shown in FIG. 8. In this embodiment, the mounting post 20d is positively retained to the framing member 12. The mounting post 20d has a retention member 28 extending outward from the shaft 22d of the mounting post 20d. An exemplary embodiment of the retention member 28 is shown most clearly in FIG. 11 as a flange extending radially outward from the shaft 22d at an end of the mounting post 20d. However, the retention member may be any other shape provided that it extends outward from the shaft 22d.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 8, the framing member is comprised of a first framing portion 12a and a second framing portion 12b. The second framing portion 12b is attached to the first framing portion 12a preferably by an adhesive (not shown), however it may be attached by any other attachment method as would be obvious to those of skill in the art. As shown in FIG. 6, the second framing portion 12b has a bore 50 formed therein, through which shaft 22d of the mounting post 20d passes. The diameter of the bore 50 is sized so that the retention member 28 of the mounting post 20d cannot pass through the bore 50, thereby retaining the mounting post 20d to the framing members 12a and 12b. In this embodiment, the diameter of the shaft 22d is preferably only slightly smaller than the diameter of bore 50 so that the mounting post 20d does not rock or slide with respect to the framing member.

The second framing portion 12b has a recess 60 having geometry similar to the geometry of the retention member 28 of the mounting post 20d, so that the retention member 28 of the mounting post 20d is seated between the first framing portion 12a and the second framing portion 12b. Alternatively, the first framing portion 12a may contain the recess 60, or both the first framing portion 12a and the second framing portion 12b may each a recess 60.

FIG. 9 shows another embodiment of the attachment of the mounting post 20d to the framing member 12. FIG. 9 is a cross sectional area of the mounting post and framing member. In this embodiment, the mounting post 20d is positively retained in the framing member 12. The mounting post 20d has a shaft 22d and a retention member 28. The retention member 28 is surrounded by the material of the framing member 12 thereby tightly securing the mounting post 20 in the framing member 12. One method of producing this embodiment is to utilize insert molding techniques to mold the framing member 12 around the retention member 28.

FIG. 10 shows another embodiment of the invention in which the framing member 12 and the mounting post 20e are unitary. In this embodiment, the mounting post 20e extends from the back surface 17 of the framing member 12. The mounting post 20e has a shaft 22e and a tapered end 24e. This embodiment may also include a fillet 29 where the shaft 22e meets the framing member 12 to reduce the stress concentration at this location. This embodiment may be produced by injection molding plastic or casting metal, or by any other method of forming or machining a rigid material.

A benefit of the two mounting post arrangement is its dual fixed point attachment, which eliminates canting and tilting of picture frames, particularly in high traffic areas, such as a staircase. The fixed point attachment eliminates the hardware “links” that are typically associated with other mounting schemes. In other mounting schemes, hardware is usually mounted to the wall, such as a nail or hook, and also to the frame, such as a hook, loop, or cable, and these two pieces of hardware are then “linked” together. This linkage creates the opportunity for movement between the frame, the hardware, and the wall. With the fixed point attachment of the present invention facilitated by the mounting posts, all of these links are eliminated, resulting in a rigid, non-moving connection directly between the frame and the wall. By utilizing dual, or other multiples of these fixed point attachments, canting and tilting of the frames is also eliminated.

Other advantages of the present invention are numerous. For example, and without limitation, the frame of the present invention is easily mounted to the wall by simply pressing on the front of the frame without the need for tools and without the need to align hardware linkages between cables, eyelets, hooks, etc. Since the mounting arrangement is integrated with the frame, it is ready to be mounted out of the package without the need to first mount hardware to the wall or the frame. In addition, the present invention can be removed from one location and remounted in another location simply by pulling the frame out of the wall at its first location and pushing it into the wall at a second location. The present invention can also easily be leveled or aligned with other objects or frames via the dual-length mounting post arrangement. The mounting posts of the present invention are robustly attached to the framing member so that the frame can be remounted many times. Furthermore, such remounting only leaves small holes in the wall. The present invention is also easily and safely and cost-effectively manufactured by attaching the mounting posts to the framing member by any of the attachment means described above. The present invention also enables the frame to be mounted to the wall with a minimal gap between the wall and the framing member. These are just some of the many advantages that may become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art upon review of the disclosure set forth herein.

As previously stated, the foregoing description is not provided to limit the invention to the embodiments described herein. Rather, the scope of the present invention is intended to cover all embodiments that may fall within the scope of the following claims, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.