Title:
Display Box and Method for Displaying an Image of a Housed Article
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A display box for displaying an image of an article, the display box including a lower box portion including a mounting surface for placing the article for display; an upper box portion that reversibly closes with the lower box portion, the upper box portion including a parabolic chamber having a reflective convex surface positioned above a reflective concave surface and a transparent port at each of two opposing apexes, the parabolic chamber configured to display an image of the article through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface; and a structure for holding the article in place and preventing the entirety of the article from entering the parabolic chamber during display.



Inventors:
Huynh, Chi (San Dimas, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/932443
Publication Date:
01/01/2015
Filing Date:
07/01/2013
Assignee:
HUYNH CHI
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/769
International Classes:
A45C11/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PAGAN, JAVIER A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wagenknecht IP Law Group, PC (12396 WORLD TRADE DRIVE SUITE 312 SAN DIEGO CA 92128)
Claims:
1. A display box for displaying an image of an article, the display box comprising: a lower box portion including a mounting surface for placing the article for display; an upper box portion that reversibly closes with the lower box portion, the upper box portion comprising a parabolic chamber having a reflective convex surface positioned above a reflective concave surface and a transparent port at each of two opposing apexes, the parabolic chamber configured to display an image of the article through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface; and a structure for holding the article in place and preventing the entirety of the article from entering the parabolic chamber while the image of the article is displayed.

2. The display box according to claim 1, wherein the display box is a jewelry box and the article is jewelry.

3. The display box according to claim 1, wherein the mounting surface positions the entirety of article below the concave surface.

4. The display box according to claim 1, wherein the upper box and lower box portions are hinged.

5. The display box according to claim 1, wherein the transparent port of the concave surface is an aperture defining an area for positioning the article for display.

6. The display box according to claim 1, wherein the parabolic chamber comprises an outward extending flange.

7. The display box according to claim 6, wherein the upper box portion comprises an overhang surface, further wherein the flange is attached to the overhang surface.

8. The display box according to claim 1, wherein the upper box portion further comprises a complementary mounting surface that is shaped complementary to the mounting surface of the lower box portion, wherein the mounting surface and complementary mounting surface together form the structure for holding the article in place and preventing the entirety of the article from entering the parabolic chamber

9. The display box according to claim 8, wherein the structure prevents any part of the article from entering the parabolic chamber during display.

10. An article of jewelry housed in the display box according to claim 1 such that an image of the jewelry is displayed through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface.

11. A method of displaying jewelry comprising: providing the display box according to claim 1; positioning an article of jewelry on the mounting surface for displaying an image of the jewelry through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface without directly viewing the article of jewelry; and closing the upper box portion to hold the article of jewelry in place.

Description:

Technical Field

The invention relates generally to display boxes, such as jewelry boxes and more specifically to a display box and method for displaying an image of an article that is housed within the box without directly viewing the article itself.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Jewelry is often displayed in open jewelry boxes within glass counters. Since jewelry is highly sought after and is relatively small, jewelry counters are typically locked to limit their access. When purchasing jewelry the sales person unlocks the counter and removes the desired object. Once the jewelry leaves the counter the sales person must closely monitor it since it can easily be removed from an open jewelry box, stolen or dropped and therefore lost. Further, when viewing jewelry often the purchaser views it from different angles by turning, raising or lowering the jewelry object. This is especially true when viewing artistic carved pearls as they have a variety of unique designs around the perimeter of the pearl. Accordingly there remains a need to improve the security of precious objects while permitting the purchaser to view multiple angles of the object.

In addition to the above, jewelry is often stored at home in its original jewelry box. However, jewelry boxes themselves are produced in bulk and thus one box frequently looks like another. Accordingly, searching for a desired jewelry item stored in its original box requires the user to continually open and close boxes. Thus, there remains a need to provide a jewelry box that clearly indicates the identity of its contents.

Still further, collectors also face challenges of how to store their collections. For instance, while collectors of valuable objects such as numismatists, stamp collectors or the like enjoy viewing their collections, direct handling of the collection can often jeopardize the value of the collection itself. For example, coins can scratch or tarnish and paper products can degrade when handled. While objects can be sealed in plastic capsules, the capsules are unsightly and thus interfere with the enjoyment of viewing the collection. Thus, there also remains a need to provide an apparatus that permits the collector to appreciate or study a collection without requiring physical manipulation of the collected objects themselves.

Mirrored parabolic chambers are commercially available as toys. They are formed from two parabolic mirrors facing one another with the upper convex mirror having an aperture at its apex. The two opposing mirrors are detached from one another and a toy is inserted into the chamber. The opposing mirrors are reattached and a holographic image is displayed above the aperture of the convex top mirror. While this optical illusion is known in the art, the parabolic chamber must be held in place to avoid movement of the toy out of the focal area else the hologram will disappear. Further, fragile toys risk breaking while tumbling around a parabolic surface. Therefore there remains a need to retain objects in such mirrored parabolic chambers; however, there are a number of challenges that one must face. That is, even securing a toy within the parabolic chamber presents a number of challenges. For instance, while one could glue a toy to the base of the lower concave half, the toy could no longer be removed from the chamber. Alternatively, one could devise a holding structure within the chamber for a toy; however, this would present still further challenges since the holding structure would form part of the hologram. In addition, a variety of holding structures would be needed to hold toys with a variety of shapes and sizes. Thus, while parabolic chambers present entertaining toys, they are currently unfit for instances where the user wishes to move the object along various axes in the xyz plane.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the above a display box for displaying an image of an article has been developed which addresses the above needs. The display box includes a lower box portion including a mounting surface for placing the article for display; an upper box portion that reversibly closes with the lower box portion, the upper box portion including a parabolic chamber having a reflective convex surface positioned above a reflective concave surface and a transparent port at each of two opposing apexes, the parabolic chamber configured to display an image of the article through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface; and a structure for holding the article in place and preventing the entirety of the article from entering the parabolic chamber. In some embodiments the display box is a jewelry box and the article is jewelry, optionally with a precious or semi-precious gem.

Although the invention encompasses configurations where only a portion of the article remains outside of the parabolic chamber, in some embodiments the mounting surface positions the entirety of article below the reflective concave surface and thus outside of the inner surfaces defining the parabolic chamber.

Positioning the article is accomplished in part by identifying a region that is in proper optical alignment with the parabolic chamber and transparent ports for proper display. To this end, in some embodiments the transparent port of the concave surface is an aperture defining an area for positioning the article for display. The article can be held in place and thus prevented from entirely or partially entering the parabolic chamber by providing the upper box portion with a complementary mounting surface that is shaped complementary to the mounting surface of the lower box portion, thereby permitting the mounting surface and complementary mounting surface to close against one another and sandwich the article between the surfaces.

Attachment of the parabolic chamber within the upper box portion can be accomplished by providing the parabolic chamber with an outward extending flange, and the upper box portion with an overhang surface or a ledge for a snap fit or for gluing.

In a related embodiment, the invention also includes an article of jewelry housed in the display box such that an image of the jewelry is displayed through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface. That is, the image of the actual article can be viewed without viewing the article directly. As such, the article of jewelry can remain securely housed.

In another related embodiment, a method of displaying jewelry is provided, which includes the steps of providing the display box; positioning an article of jewelry on the mounting surface for displaying an image of the jewelry through the transparent port at the apex of the convex surface without directly viewing the article of jewelry;

and closing the upper box portion to hold the article of jewelry in place. In further embodiments, the article of jewelry is partially sandwiched between the mounting surface and a complementary mounting surface to ensure the article is securely held.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front top view of a display box in a closed configuration displaying an image of an article in the form of a pendent.

FIG. 2 is a front right view of a display box in an open configuration showing the pendent for display.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the display box of FIG. 1 depicting the actual pendent itself.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a parabolic chamber showing a reflective convex surface above a reflective concave surface.

FIG. 5 is a cutaway view of the display box of FIG. 1 in a closed configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Beginning with FIGS. 1 and 3, in one aspect of the invention a display box 10 for displaying an image 12 of an article 14 is provided. The image 12 appears as a projection or hologram of the article 14 at or above the top of the display box 10.

Only looking downward through a port 42 reveals the article 14 itself. The skilled artisan will appreciate that by permitting the user to view an image 12 corresponding to a housed article 14, the user can observe the appearance of the article 14 while the article 14 remains safely housed within the box 10. Accordingly, the display box 10 is useful in a variety of instances where there exists a risk of damage, theft or loss of the article 14. In some instances, the display box 10 is equipped with a security sensor tag, a bar code, a radio frequency identifier (RFID) tag, or the like to further track or identify the article 14. In some embodiments the display box 10 is locked to prevent direct access to a housed article. Such locks may be key/keyhole locks, combination locks or the like.

In a preferred embodiment, the display box 10 is a jewelry box for displaying jewelry. In such instances, the article 14 can be a ring, a pendent, earrings, cufflinks and the like. Jewelers will appreciate that the display box 10 is particularly useful for displaying jewelry with precious or semi-precious stones such as diamonds, pearls, carved pearls and the like which are generally small in size but quite valuable. Thus, by providing each article of jewelry in its own box 10, a plurality of display boxes 10 can safely and securely display a plurality of jewelry articles 14, which permits a potential purchaser to examine or compare a wide array of articles 14 without risk of damage or loss of the articles 14 themselves, whether by theft or by accidental dropping or misplacement.

In another embodiment, the display box 10 is used to display an article 14 to prevent user manipulation of the article 14 to protect the integrity, condition or grade of the article 14. For instance, rare coins and stamps can suffer from direct contact with skin and thus when providing the coin or stamp as the article 14 the user can freely enjoy viewing the image of the coin or stamp while protecting it from staining, tarnishing, or degradation. Similarly, the display box 10 may be adapted for use with sports memorabilia such as player cards, game or autographed balls, and the like where condition of the article 14 substantially contributes to its value and thus its handling is discouraged.

Turning to FIG. 2, in a preferred embodiment, the display box 10 includes a lower box portion 20 and an upper box portion 30, which are capable of opening and closing. To this end the upper 30 and lower 20 box portions can be reversibly detachable as shown in FIG. 2, or may be hinged as known in a variety of arts, such as the jewelry arts. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, the lower box portion 20 includes a mounting surface 22 for placing the article 14 for display. That is, the image 12 is displayed while the box 10 is closed as shown in FIG. 1 and while article 14 itself is safely housed within the closed box 10 at the lower box portion 20 and thus usually not directly viewed. Preferably, the mounting surface 22 may be removed from the lower portion 20 to access a storage space 24. The storage space 24 can store paperwork related to the article 14, such as its authenticity, grading or the like. When the display box 10 is used as a jewelry box and the article 14 is a pendent with necklace, the storage space 24 may provide extra storage to store a portion of the necklace, such as an extended chain portion.

As shown in FIG. 5, within the upper box portion 30 is housed a parabolic chamber 32 having a reflective convex surface 34 positioned above and joined to a reflective concave surface 36. Reflective surfaces may be formed through the use of mirrors, reflective or polished metals, metal alloys, reflective coatings and the like. As shown in FIG. 4, the surfaces 34, 36 may be surrounded by outward extending flanges 38A, 38B to facilitate attachment of the parabolic chamber 32 to an overhang 40 or an inward extending ledge of the upper box portion 30. The flanges 38 and overhang 40 or ledge may have complementary engaging surfaces to provide a snap-fit configuration or may be planar or ridged to facilitate gluing.

A transparent port 42, 44 is provided at opposing apexes of the parabolic chamber 32, namely, at the apex of the convex portion 34 and at the apex of the concave portion 36. By “transparent port 42, 44” it is meant that an aperture or througbore exists, which is optionally covered by a transparent material that can visually be seen through. By a transparent port 42, 44 being “at opposing apexes of the parabolic chamber 32,” it is meant that the concave and convex surfaces have parallel or near parallel cutaways prior to the apex or vertex of the curve, which results in a convex surface with a flattened top and a concave surface with a flattened bottom as evident in FIG. 4. Thus the transparent ports 42, 44 are aligned one directly above the other vertically. Preferably, the transparent ports 42, 44 have a same or about a same diameter, which is within about 5%, 10% or so. The transparent port 42 of the convex surface 34 continues through the upper box portion 30 of an assembled display box 10; however, the materials that form the transparent port 42 at the upper box portion 30 may differ. Preferably, the article 14 is placed on the mounting surface 22 and aligned within an area defined or bordered by the transparent port 44 of the concave surface 36. By “defined” it is meant that the area is a region that is directly beneath and centered with the transparent port 44. The transparent ports 42, 44 may be formed from a transparent material such as transparent glass or plastic. Alternatively, the transparent ports 42, 44 may be throughbores or apertures free of material. The material in forming or the lack of material in forming the upper port 42 and lower port 44 may be the same or different. In some embodiments, lower port 44 is an aperture or throughbore and the article 14 extends into the parabolic chamber 32. Although in some instances the article 14 can extend into the parabolic chamber 32, at least a portion of the article 14 remains outside of the parabolic chamber 32 so that the article 14 can be properly secured in place. Most preferably, the entirety of the article 14 remains outside and beneath the reflective concave surface 36 of the parabolic chamber 32, as shown in FIG. 5.

The skilled artisan, such as a jeweler will appreciate that articles 14 of jewelry can be of different heights and thus this could present a challenge for using the display box 10 with articles having varying dimensions, such as a ring versus a pendant with necklace. Positioning of the article 14 relative to the chamber 32 can be varied by altering the positioning of the mounting surface 22 such as by providing the mounting surface 22 with a recessed or raised area. That is, by providing a series of different lower box portions 20, a same upper box portion 30 can be used with a variety of articles 14 having different heights. Alternatively, different upper box portions 30 can be provided that provide a sufficiently sized gap below the concave surface 36 or as will become evident, a complementary mounting surface 46.

When using a display box 10 with a lower transparent port 44 provided as a throughbore or aperture, there remains a challenge of securing the article 14 to prevent its entry or loss into the parabolic chamber 32. This is an essential feature because losing an article 14 into the parabolic chamber 32 can cause improper alignment for display and more importantly risks damage to article 14. For instance, one challenge faced when including a parabolic chamber 32 in such a display box 10 is that the the convex 34 and concave 36 surfaces are manufactured for optically projecting an image 12 or hologram from a particular position, this position also referred to as the focal region. Thus movement of the article 14 from this position can cause improper alignment thereby causing the image 12 or hologram to vanish. This would then require the user to directly access the article 14 so that it can be repositioned into alignment; however, this directly conflicts with a central object of the invention, namely to avoid direct contact with the article 14. In addition, losing the article 14 into the parabolic chamber 32 would result in the article 14 tumbling across the convex 34 or concave 36 surfaces which in the case of a diamond could scratch the surfaces 34, 36 or in the case of intricate settings could dislodge a precious stone, break portions of the jewelry item or the like. In some instances, even partially extending the article 14 into the parabolic chamber 32 risks contact with the concave surface 36, which can scratch or damage the article 14. In furtherance of the above, while arguably a conventional parabolic chamber 32 can merely be held in place for viewing its contents such as by resting it on a table surface, the display box 10 permits the user to lift, move and rotate the box 10 to closely examine the image 12 for desired characteristics sought in the article 14. To this end, safely securing the article 14 is of great importance. Since the object is to display an image 12 corresponding to the article 14, most preferably securing the article 14 avoids displaying the securing structure itself.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, the article 14 is securely mounted for proper alignment or to prevent entry into the parabolic chamber 32 by providing the upper box portion 30 with a complementary mounting surface 46 that complements the surface features of the mounting surface 22 of the lower box portion 20 thereby permitting the article 14 to be securely held using a pressing or sandwiching approach when the display box 10 is in a closed configuration. By sandwiching a portion of the article 14, inadvertent movement of the article 14 is prevented when the box 10 is closed, yet the article 14 can be easily accessed in an open configuration. In another embodiment, the structure for holding the article 14 in place and preventing entry of the article 14 partially or entirely into the parabolic chamber 32 is a recessed slit in the mounting surface 22 that pinches the article 14. Such a slit is aligned with the transparent port of the concave surface 36 to ensure proper optical alignment. In still another approach clips are used to clip the article 14 to the mounting surface 22.

In view of the above, in a related embodiment, the invention also includes an article 14 in the form of jewelry, housed in the display box 10 such that an image 12 of the article 14 of jewelry is displayed through the transparent port 42 at the apex of the convex surface 34. That is, the image 12 of the actual article 14 can be viewed at the top of the display box 10 without viewing the article 14 directly. As such, the article 14 of jewelry can remain securely housed.

In still another related embodiment, a method of displaying jewelry is provided, which includes the steps of providing the display box 10; positioning an article 14 of jewelry on the mounting surface 22 for displaying an image 12 of the jewelry through the transparent port 42 at the apex of the convex surface 34 without directly viewing the article 14 of jewelry; and closing the upper box portion 30 to hold the article 14 of jewelry in place. In further embodiments, the article 14 of jewelry is partially sandwiched between the mounting surface 22 and a complementary mounting surface 46 to ensure the article 14 is securely held.

While the invention has been primarily described in regards to the display box 10 itself, the invention also includes a method of manufacturing the display box 10. In an exemplary method, the display box 10 is manufactured by forming the lower box portion 20, forming the upper box portion 30 and joining the portions 20, 30 to form the display box 10. The lower box portion 20 can be formed as an outer shell of plastic or cardboard with a mounting surface 22 positioned therein. The mounting surface 22 may be padded, coated with velvet or the like.

The upper box portion 30 is generally constructed of a cardboard or plastic shell with the parabolic chamber 32 mounted to an overhang 40 or ledge via an outward extending flange 38. The parabolic chamber 32 is generally formed by mating a convex surface 34 as a top portion and a concave surface 36 as a lower portion. The shape of the parabolas that form the concave 36 and convex 34 shapes can be determined by those skilled in the optical arts. Parabolic chambers used in the toy industry are useful as a starting point for determining whether the concave or convex shape requires further or lesser curve. The convex and concave surfaces 34, 36 may be formed from reflective materials such as polished metals, may be coated with reflective material or may be made as reflective mirrors. Apertures are formed at opposing ends of the parabolic chamber 32 such as by drilling, cutting, slicing, or may be formed concurrently while forming the convex or concave curve to establish ports 42, 44.

The parabolic chamber 32 is inserted into the upper portion 30 and attached. In preferred embodiments, a complementary mounting surface 46 (also with an aperture) is then added below the parabolic chamber 32 such as by gluing. This hides the parabolic chamber 32 in the upper box portion 30 while concurrently providing part of a structure for holding the article 14 in place and thus preventing the entirety of the article 14 from entering the parabolic chamber 32.