Title:
Display shelf for stackable products
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A display shelf which employs a mounting or support panel for attachment to one face of a transparent wall is provided with a floor which projects horizontally from the support panel, a containment wall which projects upwardly from the floor, and a retaining wall positioned above and in register with the containment wall to retain products stacked on products resting on the floor. The support panel does not extend above the floor so that product resting on the floor and product stacked thereon are directly visible through the transparent wall. The containment wall and/or retaining wall may be appropriately shaped to provide individual compartments for each unit of product displayed. Advertising material may be displayed on the support panel adjacent the transparent wall.



Inventors:
Belokin, Paul (Denton, TX, US)
Belokin, Martin P. (Denton, TX, US)
Belokin, Norman P. (Corinth, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/144304
Publication Date:
11/13/2003
Filing Date:
05/13/2002
Assignee:
BELOKIN PAUL
BELOKIN MARTIN P.
BELOKIN NORMAN P.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/88.01
International Classes:
A47F5/08; A47F7/28; (IPC1-7): A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CUOMO, PETER M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP/HAK DA (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A shelf for supporting and displaying stackable products having a finite vertical height adjacent one face of a substantially transparent panel comprising: (a) a support panel having a first face lying in a substantially vertical plane and defining a lower edge, first and second laterally opposed end edges, and an upper edge; (b) a floor having a top face lying in a substantially horizontal plane substantially normal to and intersecting said vertical plane of the support panel between the laterally opposed ends of the support panel; (c) a containment wall extending upwardly from the top face of said floor with a substantial portion thereof spaced horizontally from and substantially parallel with the plane of said first face of said support panel; and (d) a retaining wall supported on said support panel above said top face of said floor a distance greater than the finite height of stackable products to be placed on said floor and substantially in register with said containment wall.

2. A shelf as defined in claim 1 wherein said support panel displays advertising material on a portion of the front face thereof between said laterally opposed edges and below said floor.

3. A shelf as defined in claim 1 wherein said containment wall includes a plurality of sections with each section shaped to define a containment compartment for an individual product.

4. A shelf as defined in claim 3 wherein said containment wall comprises a plurality of joined semi-cylindrical sections.

5. A shelf as defined in claim 3 wherein said retaining wall includes a plurality of sections with each section shaped to define a retaining wall for an individual product.

6. A shelf as defined in claim 4 wherein said retaining wall comprises a plurality of joined semi-cylindrical sections, each aligned with a corresponding semi-cylindrical section of said containment wall.

7. A shelf as defined in claim 1 wherein said containment wall defines openings which aid in removal of product from said shelf.

8. A shelf as defined in claim 1 wherein the ends of said containment wall and said retaining wall joins said support panel at positions interiorly spaced from said first and second laterally opposed edges and said support panel extends upwardly from the plane of the floor and outwardly from the ends of said containment wall to define spaced apart support flanges.

9. A shelf as defined in claim 8 including at least one mounting slot in each said support flange.

10. The combination comprising: (a) a substantially transparent wall having first and second oppositely disposed and substantially vertically aligned faces; and (b) a shelf for supporting and displaying stackable products adjacent the first face of said substantially transparent wall comprising: (i) a support panel having a first face lying in a substantially vertical plane and defining a lower edge, first and second laterally opposed end edges, and an upper edge; (ii) a floor having a top face lying in a substantially horizontal plane substantially normal to and intersecting said vertical plane of the support panel between the laterally opposed ends of the support panel; (iii) a containment wall extending upwardly from the top face of said floor with a substantial portion thereof spaced horizontally from and substantially parallel with the plane of said first face of said support panel; (iv) a retaining wall supported on said support panel above and substantially in register with said containment wall; and (v) means attaching said support panel to and substantially parallel with the first face of said substantially transparent wall.

11. The combination defined in claim 10 wherein said substantially transparent wall forms at least part of one wall of a refrigerated vault.

12. The combination defined in claim 10 wherein said substantially transparent wall forms at least part of a door.

13. The combination defined in claim 10 further comprising: (i) a first stackable product arranged substantially vertically on said floor and visible through said substantially transparent wall; and (ii) a second stackable product arranged substantially vertically on said first stackable product and visible through said substantially transparent wall.

Description:

DISPLAY SHELF FOR STACKABLE PRODUCTS

[0001] This invention relates to display of stackable or nestable products and product containers such as bottles, cans and the like. More particularly, it relates to display shelves adapted for mounting on one face of a substantially transparent wall to support stacked products on the wall and display the products through the transparent wall.

[0002] Retail businesses commonly display chilled products for sale in refrigerated vaults or the like which have a transparent door or wall panel. Because a passing customer is more likely to select and purchase products displayed where they can be readily seen and recognized, the retailer desires to maximize visibility of products on display and also to maximize utilization of space within the refrigerated area.

[0003] Various devices are used to support and display product on a wall, door or the like. However, most displays support only a single horizontal row of product. Since the horizontal space is limited, the product-carrying capacity is limited. However, many products are nestable or packaged in vertically stackable or nestable containers such as bottles, cans and the like. To advantageously display such products, they must be arranged vertically and maintained adjacent the transparent panel. In order to maximize use of visible space on a transparent panel, the display shelf must permit unobstructed view of the displayed product, selectively position the product units adjacent the transparent panel, and also display advertising or the like related to the displayed products. Where the product or container is vertically stacked, the upper product (or container) in the stack must be securely restrained on the display shelf but should be readily visible and easily removeable.

[0004] In accordance with the present invention, display shelves are provided which are adapted to be mounted on the face of a substantially transparent panel such as a glass window or door. The display shelves are adapted to support one or more layers (or rows) of product stacked vertically on a first layer (or row) of product which rests directly on the support shelf floor. The shelf of the invention finds particular utility when mounted in a refrigerated vault or the like to display products through a transparent wall or door of the vault. However, the display shelf of the invention may be used in conjunction with any transparent wall, window, door or the like.

[0005] The display shelf of the invention comprises a mounting or support panel which has a vertically arranged front face and mounting slots, holes or the like for mounting the front face of the support panel adjacent the surface of a substantially transparent wall, window, door or the like. The support panel defines a face lying in a substantially vertical plane and has a lower edge, two laterally opposed end edges and an upper edge. A floor extends horizontally (normal to the plane of the support panel) from the support panel. A containment wall is positioned at the edge of the floor remote from the support panel and cooperates with the transparent wall to contain a first row or layer of stackable products or product containers on the floor adjacent the transparent wall on which the display shelf is mounted. The containment wall may be shaped to conform to or otherwise restrict movement of individual product units and thereby confine them to restricted positions on the floor. The upper edge of the containment wall may also be slotted and/or curved outwardly to permit easy access to and removal of products from the shelf.

[0006] The support panel extends upwardly from the outer edges of the floor and is adapted to be attached to a supporting wall, window or the like, thus providing rigid support for the floor. A retaining wall extending from the support panel above the containment wall is aligned substantially in register with the containment wall. The retaining wall, however, is not associated with a floor. Instead, the retaining wall is positioned above the containment wall to restrain lateral movement of product which is stacked on and supported by product resting on the floor. The retaining wall thus permits a second row of nested or stacked products to be displayed on the supporting wall in a single display shelf, thus increasing the number of products contained in the display without substantially increasing the surface area occupied by the display. The support panel does not extend into the area directly above the floor so that the entire vertical height of stacked product is visible through the transparent wall. However, the support panel may extend below the floor and/or above the stacked product to provide a surface on which advertising material or the like may be displayed and visible through the transparent wall without obstructing the view of the product. The shelf of the invention thus permits the support and display of multiple rows of stacked products on a supporting panel, each of which is fully visible and readily removeable. Other features and advantages of the invention will become more readily understood from the following detailed description taken in connection with the appended claims and attached drawing in which:

[0007] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the display shelf of the invention;

[0008] FIG. 2 is an end view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 illustrating attachment of the display shelf on a transparent wall and placement of stackable products thereon; and

[0009] FIG. 3 is a fragmentary front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the display shelf of the invention.

[0010] The above-described drawing is incorporated into and forms part of the specification to illustrate several exemplary embodiments of the present invention. Throughout the drawing, like reference numerals designate corresponding elements. This drawing, together with the description, serves to explain the principles of the invention and is only for the purpose of illustrating preferred and alternative examples of how the invention can be made and used. The drawing is not to be construed as limiting the invention to the illustrated and described examples.

[0011] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 the display shelf comprises a mounting or support panel 10 which has a first face 11 lying in a substantially vertical plane and defining lower edge 12, first and second laterally opposed end edges 13, 14 and upper edge 15. Floor 20 is supported on the support panel and has a top face 21 which lies in a plane substantially normal to the plane of first face 11 and intersects the plane of the first face 11 well below the upper edge 15 of the support panel. The support panel 10 does not extend directly above the floor 20 for a substantial lateral portion thereof between the laterally opposed edges 13, 14 of the support panel 10 so that products supported on floor 20 may be placed directly adjacent the wall on which the shelf is mounted.

[0012] A containment wall 30 extends upwardly from the top face 21 of the floor 20. A major portion of wall 30 is spaced horizontally from the plane of first face 11 of the support panel 10. The ends of the containment wall join the support panel 10 to define a open-topped cavity 31 defined by floor 20, containment wall 30 and the transparent wall 50 (see FIG. 2) on which the display shelf is mounted. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the ends of containment wall 30 join support panel 10 at positions interiorly spaced from first and second edges 13, 14 and the support panel 10 extends upwardly from the plane of top face 21 of the floor 20 and outwardly from the ends of the containment wall 30 to define flanges 33, 34. Flanges 33, 34 thus form coplanar spaced apart portions of support panel 10.

[0013] In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 the containment wall 30 defines a plurality of joined vertically extending semi-cylindrical sections shaped to define individual containment compartments for a plurality of individual vertically arranged cylindrical or otherwise vertically extending products or packages. Each section 36 defines a semi-cylindrical arc extending upwardly from the floor 20. Each of the arcuate sections 36 is shaped to define a containment compartment for cylindrical objects such as cans, bottles, etc. Obviously, shapes other than arcuate or semi-cylindrical may be employed, depending on the shape and dimensions of the product units to be displayed. Furthermore, it is to be understood that terms such as “containment wall” and “containment compartment” as used herein are meant to describe structures which restrain lateral movement of an object placed within the boundaries thereof and are not intended to describe fully enclosed compartments. For example, the semi-cylindrical sections 36 of wall 30 do not define enclosed containment compartments but define boundaries for supporting substantially cylindrical objects vertically and act as containment walls or the like for limiting lateral movement of individual products positioned on the display shelf Therefore, sections 36 need not be joined to form a continuous wall structure. Accordingly, a first horizontal row or layer of vertically arranged products such as beverage cans 40 (see FIG. 2) may be placed in the open-topped cavity 31 with each can 40 confined to the surface area bordered by one of the semi-cylindrical sections 36 and transparent wall 50. One face 41 of each can 40 is thus held adjacent and visible through transparent wall 50. The can 40, however, may be withdrawn vertically from the shelf as desired.

[0014] Many products and product containers are nestable or stackable so that one row or layer of such products may be stacked on another row or layer and the stacked arrangement remain at least somewhat stable. The terms “stackable” and “nestable” are used interchangeably herein to refer to any product package or container which has a top end adapted to receive the bottom end of a like product package or container so that the product package or container may be vertically stacked to form a substantially stable vertical column. The mating top and bottom ends may be in the form of mating male and female ends as currently found in beverage cans, mating beads and recesses as found in many food containers, or any other arrangement wherein the bottom end of the product package or container nests in or on the top end of a like product package or container.

[0015] In order to support a second row or layer of stackable products on a first row as described above, the display shelf of the invention includes a retaining wall 25 supported by the support panel 10 above and substantially in register with containment wall 30. As illustrated in FIG. 1, retaining wall 25 is preferably formed of joined vertically extending semi-cylindrical sections shaped to complement the shape of the product to be retained therein. In the case of cylindrical products such as cans 40, each section 26 is semi-cylindrical and supported above and in register with a similar semi-cylindrical section 36 in containment wall 30. It will be readily recognized, however, that the shelf of the invention is not limited to use with cylindrical products. The shape of containment wall 30 and/or retaining wall 25 may be varied as desired to accommodate various other shapes of stackable products. Furthermore, since the products are nestable, the containment wall 30 and retainer wall 25 need not be particularly shaped to accommodate such products. Instead, containment wall 30 and/or retainer wall 25 may be simple flat walls. Retainer wall 25, however, should be vertically spaced above and substantially in register with containment wall 30 to prevent products stacked on the first row of products from falling off the product on which it rests.

[0016] In each of the embodiments illustrated, the first face 11 of support panel 10 is positioned parallel with the surface of a transparent wall 50 on which the shelf is mounted and below the floor 20 of the shelf. Thus first face 11 may conveniently be used to support advertising or the like which is visible through the transparent wall 40 immediately below the product supported by the shelf 20. Positioning the support panel 10 to extend the full length of and past the outer edges of floor 20 provides rigid support for the floor 20 and permits display of advertising or other information associated with the displayed product on the support panel 10 without obstructing view of the displayed product.

[0017] The outer edges of support panel 10 terminate in flanges 33, 34 as described hereinabove. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the flanges 33 and 34 may include slots 51 for mounting the support panel 10 adjacent the inner surface of a transparent wall 50 as shown in FIG. 2. Various means for securing the support panel 10 to the transparent wall, such as suction cups 60 or the like, may be used. As illustrated in FIG. 2, suction cups 60 each have a shank 61 which extends through a slot 50 to support the first face 11 of support panel 10 parallel with a surface of transparent wall 50. While the use of suction cups is illustrated in FIG. 2, it will be readily appreciated that various other means such as adhesives, clamps, magnets, bolts and the like may be used to attach the display shelf to a transparent wall.

[0018] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, slots 51 are formed adjacent the inner edges of flanges 33. If desired (and to permit more secure mounting of the shelf) slots 51 may be formed in the lower edge of support panel 10 and arranged so that the entrance of each slot 51 is at the lower edge of support panel 10. Alternatively (or in conjunction with other slots, holes or the like), slots 51 may be formed in flanges 33, 34 and arranged to have their entrances at the outer edge of the flange. It will be appreciated that various other combinations and arrangements of slots, holes and the like may be used to mount the display shelf adjacent a transparent wall.

[0019] The retaining wall 25 should be spaced from and above the containment wall 30 a sufficient distance that it does not interfere with removal of stacking product from the bottom row when there is no product directly above it. Preferably, the vertical height of the retaining wall 25 is substantially less than the vertical height of the stackable product and the retaining wall positioned to engage the stackable product 40 near the upper end thereof as illustrated in FIG. 2. Since each stackable product to be placed on the floor has a finite height, the retaining wall 25 should be spaced from the floor 20 a distance greater than the finite height of the product so that product 40 placed directly on floor 20 may be removed without interference by retainer wall 25. In this position, the upper stackable product may be easily removed as desired. The lower stackable product 40 in the same column may then be removed without interference by adjacent columns of product or the retaining wall 25.

[0020] To further aid in removal of product from the display shelf of the invention the upper surface of each section 26 of retaining wall 25 and/or section 36 of containment wall 30 may be slotted or recessed to form an access opening 33 (see FIG. 3). The access opening 33 may, of course, take many forms but essentially reduces the vertical height of a small section of the wall to permit each grasping of the product 40 for removal. The vertical height of the wall can be reduced by forming an access opening 33 in the upper edge of the wall or forming a similar access opening 34 in the lower edge of the wall. A similar access opening 35 may be formed in the floor 20 as shown in FIG. 3.

[0021] It will be apparent from the foregoing that the principles of the invention may be used to form display shelves which support stackable products such as bottles, cans and the like stacked vertically horizontally extending rows. In each case first row is supported on the floor of the shelf and visible through the transparent wall on which the shelf is mounted and the second row is nestably stacked vertically on the first row. The second row is held in place by a retaining wall which holds a face of each product in the second row adjacent and visible through the transparent wall and prevents the second row of product form falling off the shelf.

[0022] It is to be understood that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the invention have been set forth in the foregoing description together with details of the structure and function of the invention, this disclosure is to be considered illustrative only. Various changes and modifications may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size, arrangement and combination of parts, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.





 
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