Title:
Adjustable universal faceout bracket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable bracket assembly has a hooked attachment prong or flange that is adjustable at the end of a faceout by way of a threaded screw between the end of the faceout and the bracket flange. The hooked attachment flange is shaped to fit within all slots within the various manufacturers' standards. Generally, once the attachment flange is inserted within a slot, the flange end cannot turn within the standard. The faceout is attached to the standard from outside the display by remotely inserting the flange into a slot and turning the faceout bar, thereby screwing the faceout tightly against the standard. The faceout bar could be telescoping to allow the attachment flange to be inserted within the slot from an even greater distance away.



Inventors:
Weshler, Benjamin S. (Old Westbury, NY, US)
Moore, Stephen (New York, NY, US)
Fox, Jeffrey (Bellrose, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/781526
Publication Date:
08/15/2002
Filing Date:
02/09/2001
Assignee:
WESHLER BENJAMIN S.
MOORE STEPHEN
FOX JEFFREY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/221.11, 248/225.21
International Classes:
A47F5/08; A47F5/10; (IPC1-7): A47K1/00; E04G3/00; E04G5/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAXTER, GWENDOLYN WRENN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mr. Benjamin S. Weshier (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. An bracket assembly for adjustable mounting to a vertical mounting support having a front surface and a back surface and at least one vertically-oriented slot formed therethrough, said bracket assembly comprising: a shaft having a proximal end and a distal end, said proximal end having a front face and a threaded bore formed at least partway into said shaft proximal end; an attachment member comprising a free end and a base end, said free end comprising a flange, and said base end comprising a threaded screw sized to be threaded into said bore; whereby said screw is threaded at least partway into said bore, said flange is fit into one of said slots and said shaft is turned such that said screw is threaded further into said bore and such that said flange is tightened against the back surface of said mounting plate.

2. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein the width of said flange is slightly smaller than the width of said slot opening.

3. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein the height of said flange is slightly smaller than the height of said slot opening.

4. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein said flange has two leg portions, such that said flange is in the shape of the letter T.

5. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein said flange has one leg portion, such that said flange is in the shape of the letter L.

6. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein said front surface of said vertical mounting support is flat and said front face of said proximal end of said shaft is flat, whereby, when said shaft is turned such that said flange is tightened against the back surface of said mounting plate, said front face of said proximal end of said shaft abuts against said front surface of said vertical mounting support.

7. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 6 further comprising an annular washer having aperture through which said bolt is passed, whereby said washer is between said front face of said proximal end of said shaft and said front surface of said vertical mounting support when said shaft is turned such that said flange is tightened against the back surface of said mounting plate.

8. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein said vertical mounting support further has at least one side surface adjacent to said at least one vertically-oriented slot and wherein said flange has at least one leg portion, whereby, when said shaft is turned, said at least one flange leg portion abuts against said vertical mounting support side surface, preventing said flange from turning with said shaft, thereby allowing said screw to be threaded further into said bore and said flange to be tightened against the back surface of said mounting plate.

9. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein said flange has at least one leg portion, whereby, when said shaft is turned, said at least one flange leg portion abuts against said vertical mounting support back surface, preventing said flange from turning with said shaft, thereby allowing said screw to be threaded further into said bore and said flange to be tightened against the back surface of said mounting plate.

10. The adjustable bracket assembly of claim 1 wherein said shaft further comprises at least two telescoping sections to allow said shaft to be extended in length.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to the field of support systems for use in display devices and other elements. More particularly, this invention relates to support bracket assemblies for adjustably securing a horizontal mounting bar to an upright member for height-adjustable support of display shelves.

[0002] In the field of retail sales, items for sale or other merchandise is generally displayed on a display or support system. Many different forms of custom-built support systems are known, and these generally include partition walling and upright support posts. The upright support posts of such retail merchandise display units, a portion of which is shown in FIG. 1, often called “standards,” are generally made of roll formed steel sections mounted into weighted bases. Such standards typically have vertically-oriented slots cut into the front of the standards along the height of the standard, from top to bottom, and these slots are of varied height, width, depth (thickness of the standard), slot-to-slot spacing and slot-to-edge spacing. Wall structures, themselves also often having apertures formed therethrough, are typically held between the standards.

[0003] Other elements, such as horizontal pole brackets or bars (called “faceouts”), shelves, drawers or the like, can be adjustably secured to the standards by interaction between the slots and hooked prongs or flanges that are formed on the attachment portion of the faceouts, shelves or other attachments, also as shown in FIG. 1. These prongs or flanges are either integrally formed as part of the attachment portion of the faceout or are welded or soldered onto the attachment end of the faceout after manufacture. A typical prior art attachment flange has a gripping gap, as shown in FIG. 1, within which the bottom edge of the slot, i.e., the thickness of the standard, fits snugly when the attachment flange is inserted into the slot and forced downwards. By removing the attachment flange from one slot in the standard and setting it within another slot, faceout bars and other attachments can be vertically adjustable relative to the upright, so as to allow the retailer to raise or lower these attachments and the items displayed thereon, as desired.

[0004] Typically, however, once a display unit is constructed, adjusting the height and positions of shelves or individual faceouts can be very difficult, and adjusting the height and position of an entire shelving unit can be that much more onerous. This is especially so where the shelves or standards are placed in close relation to one another, where the shelving units project away from the wall and where the items are already loaded onto the display unit. In each of these instances, it will be very difficult to maneuver the hooked attachment prongs or flanges into the slots for height adjustment, and often the entire display must be deconstructed in order to adjust even just one portion of the display. A means to remotely adjust the faceout position without having to break apart the entire display is needed.

[0005] In retail situations, there is a need for a faceout to be quickly and easily adjustable so that a salesperson can change the retail display without using tools. In addition, because these displays are often changed and moved about by people who are not skilled technicians, the adjustability of the faceouts should be foolproof, sturdy and tight-fitting so that the displays will not be broken during adjustment and so that, once adjusted, the position of the faceout will not change. Unfortunately, many of the assemblies that use screws or other external attachment mechanisms for adjustment are not suitable, because tools are generally required for adjustment of these mechanisms, and there is often little or no room for manipulation of tools at the retail site. In addition, even if tools were not required and they can be installed by hand, there is often very little room between or among display units for manipulation of hands in installation of faceouts.

[0006] In addition, the slots that are cut into the front of the standards along the height of the standard, from top to bottom, are very often unique from manufacturer to manufacturer and from standard to standard, often varying in height, width, spacing between slots, spacing from slot to edge and particularly depth, i.e., the thickness of the material of the standard. As shown in FIG. 1, a typical prior art attachment flange has a gripping gap within which the bottom edge of the slot fits snugly when the attachment flange is inserted into the slot and forced downwards. Accordingly, the hooked attachment flanges that are used with the standards are likely to be slot-specific, meaning that each attachment flange will fit tightly and best onto the bottom edge of one sized slot and will be loosely-fit or will be too small for other slots. This often causes confusion and improperly constructed shelving units, as hooked attachment flanges that are meant to be used with one standard and its slots may be used with another standard and its slots. Even worse, a display unit constructed using attachment flanges that do not match the standard may collapse due to the improper construction of the display unit. Moreover, if a particular retailer possesses a specific standard or wall unit, any display that is built for that retailer using that standard or wall unit will necessarily have to employ only hooked attachment flanges that are specific for and fit within the slots of that standard or wall unit of the retailer. This is inconvenient for the display designer, who is now obligated to use the attachment flanges that match the standard possessed by the retailer instead of other, perhaps more appropriate, attachment flanges. Thus, there is a need for a universal faceout attachment flange that is adjustable so as to be used with all different sizes of slots.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, it is one object of this invention to provide an improved assembly for securely attaching a horizontal faceout display bar to an upright standard or wall unit for retail display purposes.

[0008] It is another object of this invention to provide an improved retail display apparatus that would allow a horizontal faceout display to be easily and quickly removed from and secured to an upright standard or wall unit while still providing a secure and stable attachment.

[0009] It is a further object of this invention to provide an improved display apparatus having an attachment assembly that allows a horizontal faceout display bar to be easily and securely attached to an upright standard or wall unit from a distance away.

[0010] It is still another object of this invention to provide an improved display apparatus having an attachment assembly that is universal such that it could be used with most if not all display unit attachment slots.

[0011] These and other objects and advantages of the invention are accomplished in accordance with the principles of the invention by providing a hooked attachment prong, flange or bracket that is adjustable at the end of a faceout by way of a threaded screw between the end of the faceout and the bracket prong. The hooked attachment prong or flange is shaped to fit within all slots within the various manufacturers' standards. Generally, once the attachment flange or prong is inserted within a slot, the prong end cannot turn within the standard. The faceout is attached to the standard from outside the display by remotely inserting the prongs into a slot and turning the faceout bar, thereby screwing the faceout tightly against the standard. The faceout bar could be telescoping to allow the attachment flange to be inserted within the slot from an even greater distance away.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which the reference characters refer to like parts throughout and in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a prior art slotted standard and faceout having an attachment flange;

[0014] FIG. 2 shows a side view of the prior art apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0015] FIG. 3 shows an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of the invention;

[0016] FIG. 4 shows a side and partially transparent view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3; and

[0017] FIG. 4 shows another embodiment of the attachment flange.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0018] FIG. 1 shows a typical prior art upright support post or standard 10 of a retail merchandise display unit, which is generally made of roll formed steel and is mounted into a weighted base. Standard 10 typically has vertically-oriented slots 12 cut into the front side 14 of the standard 10 along its height. Standard 10 may also have sides 11 on either side of front side 14 for support of standard 10. Separate attachment elements, collectively called faceouts 16, can be adjustably secured to standard 10 by interaction between slots 12 and hooked prongs or flanges 18, one or more of which are formed on the attachment portion of faceouts 16. Attachment flanges 18 are generally either integrally formed as part of faceout 16 or are welded or soldered onto the end of faceout 16 after manufacture. A typical prior art attachment flange 18 has a gripping gap 24 between the tip 20 and base 22 of flange 18, within which the bottom edge 13 of slot 12, i.e., the thickness of standard 10, fits snugly when attachment flange 18 is inserted into slot 12 and forced downwards onto bottom edge 13 of slot 12, as shown in FIG. 2. Faceout 16 and other attachments can be vertically adjustable relative to the standard 10 by removing attachment flange 18 from one slot 12 in standard 10 and setting it within another slot 12.

[0019] Referring to the drawings, in particular to FIG. 3, the retrofit faceout bracket of the present invention consists preferably of an attachment flange 28 that cooperates with a faceout 26. Attachment flange 28 is shaped preferably as the letter “T”, having two distal, free ends 30,31, an elongated proximal base portion 32 for adjustable mounting to faceout 26, and a neck 33 between free ends 30,31 and base portion 32. Elongated base portion 32 is most preferably a threaded bolt. Attachment flange 28 could be formed in any of many known ways and with any of many known materials, but is preferably formed of a molded plastic or a metal, such as roll formed steel or aluminum, for strength and relative inexpensiveness, and made such that free ends 30,31, neck 33 and attachment base 32 are all integrally formed.

[0020] Faceout 26 can have any shape, as it normally would, as a horizontal pole bracket or bar, shelf, drawer or the like. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, faceout 26 has a shaft 25, at the proximal, attachment end 27 of which attachment flange 28 is adjustably mounted. A second, telescoping faceout portion 26′ may be used in order to provide faceout 26 with additional extension when used in a tight spot. Attachment end 27 preferably has an end cap 34 with a flat face 35. Attachment end 27 preferably also has an annular bore 36, which is most preferably threaded, in at least the region closest to end cap 34. Threaded bolt 32 fits into annular bore 36 and is adjustable relative thereto due to cooperation between the respective threads on threaded bolt 32 and annular bore 36.

[0021] As shown in FIG. 4, faceout 26 is attached to standard 10 by first threading bolt 32 part of the way into annular bore 36. Attachment flange 28 is then inserted into slot 12 within standard 10 and moved downward so that neck 33 of attachment flange 28 rests on bottom edge 13 of slot 12. In order to set attachment flange 28 within slot 12, shaft 25 of faceout 26 is then twisted (screwed), preferably clockwise, so that bolt 32 proceeds farther into bore 36 and so that free ends 30,31 are drawn closer to cap 34. Generally, free ends 30,31 do not turn within standard 10; this is often due either to friction between free ends 30,31 and the back side of standard 10 or to the fact that free ends 30,31 are prevented from turning because they abut against and are braced by the sides of standard 10. In order to create friction between free ends 30,31 and the back side 15 of standard 10, faceout 26 is pulled away from standard 10 at the time shaft 25 is being twisted or screwed, such that free ends 30,31 abut the back side 15 as bolt 32 is being screwed into bore 36.

[0022] Faceout 26 is twisted to such an extent and bolt 32 proceeds into bore 36 until the point that free ends 30,31 of flange 28 and flat face 35 of end cap 34 grip and clamp standard 10 between them. In this position, once attachment is complete, flat face 35 abuts the front side 14 of standard 10, and free end 30 of attachment flange 28 abuts the back side 15 of standard 10. As such, faceout 26 is thereby screwed tightly against standard 10. Because the gripping gap between flange 28 free ends 30,31 and flat face 35 is adjustable due to the threading action of bolt 32 in bore 36, faceout 26 can be used with a standard of any front wall thickness.

[0023] If desired, a washer 38 having a flat face 39 may be placed between attachment flange 28 and end cap 34 of faceout 26, as shown in FIG. 3. Washer 38 has a central aperture 40 through which threaded bolt 32 of attachment flange 28 is passed. When washer 38 is used with attachment flange 28, as shown in FIG. 4, attachment flange 28 is set within slot 12 such that standard 10 is gripped and clamped between free ends 30,31 and flat face 39 of washer 38. In this position, flat face 39 abuts the front side 14 of standard 10, and free end 30 of attachment flange 28 abuts the back side 15 of standard 10.

[0024] In an alternative embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIG. 5, attachment flange 28′ is shaped as the letter “L” and has only one distal, free end 30′, which is bent downward. When this alternative embodiment is used, the attachment of faceout 26 to standard 10 is accomplished without much change from its attachment using the first embodiment of FIG. 3. Bolt 32′ is first threaded into annular bore 36 of faceout 26, and attachment flange 28′ is then inserted into slot 12 within standard 10 and moved downward so that neck 33′ of attachment flange 28′ rests on bottom edge 13 of slot 12 and so that free end 30′ points downward. Faceout 26 is then twisted, preferably clockwise, so that bolt 32′ proceeds further into bore 36 and so that free end 30′ is drawn closer to cap 34. Faceout 26 is twisted further such that standard 10 is gripped and clamped between free end 30′ and flat face 35 of end cap 34. In this position, flat face 35 abuts the front side 14 of standard 10, and free end 30′ of attachment flange 28′ abuts the back side 15 of standard 10.

[0025] When it is desired for the vertical position of faceout 26 to be changed, shaft 25 of faceout 26 is twisted (unscrewed), preferably counterclockwise, so that attachment flange 28 is threaded out of bore 36, and the grip of free ends 30,31 and end cap 34 is loosened. Again, free ends 30,31 turn within standard 10 due only either to friction between free ends 30,31 and the back side of standard 10 or to the fact that free ends 30,31 are prevented from turning because they abut against and are braced by the sides of standard 10. Friction between free ends 30,31 and the back side 15 of standard 10 can be created by pulling faceout 26 away from standard 10 at the time shaft 25 is being twisted or screwed, such that free ends 30,31 abut the back side 15 as bolt 32 is being screwed out of bore 36. Once attachment flange 28 has been loosened from slot 12, faceout 26 is lifted slightly, in order to allow free ends 30,31 of attachment flange 28 to be disengaged from back side 15 of standard 10, free ends 30,31 are removed from slot 12, and attachment flange 28 is pulled away from standard 10. The height of the faceout 26 relative to standard 10 can then be readjusted by resetting attachment flange 28 into another slot 12.

[0026] In order to allow the faceout 26 to easily and firmly attach to slotted standard 10, even when standard 10 is equipped with custom designed slots 12 whose widths, depths or spacing is not typical, attachment flange 28 need not necessarily match slots 12 in standard 10 in both depth and spacing, provided that the width of attachment flange 28 from the farthest edge of free end 30 to the farthest edge of free end 31 is less than the length and width of slot 12, in order that attachment flange 28 will fit within slot 12.

[0027] Thus, an adjustable universal faceout bracket has been provided. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the described embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration and not limitation.