Title:
Display device stand with rotatable storage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a combined support and rotary storage apparatus for use with a display device, preferably a computer monitor. In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube extending downward from the top and having an axis. The apparatus further includes a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base. The second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube. A base plate is coupleable to the first cylindrical tube. As such, the carousel is advantageously rotatable about the first cylindrical tube axis and on the base plate without touching a surface upon which the base plate and/or stand rest. The carousel may further include space dividers or storage compartments, which may be removable, having varying shapes and sizes.



Inventors:
Richet, Bruno (Paris, FR)
Simonian, Michael (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/366034
Publication Date:
12/04/2003
Filing Date:
02/12/2003
Assignee:
ACCO Brands, Inc. (Lincolnshire, IL)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
G9B/33.012, 211/163
International Classes:
F16M11/08; F16M13/00; G11B33/04; G11B33/10; (IPC1-7): A47F5/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP - West Coast (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A combined support and rotary storage apparatus for use with a display device, the apparatus comprising: a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube having an axis; a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base, wherein the second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube; and a base plate coupleable to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel is rotatable about the first cylindrical tube axis and on the base plate.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the display device comprises a computer monitor.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the display device comprises a flat panel display.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base plate has an opening.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the base plate is capable of maintaining an elevated position of the second cylindrical tube relative to the first cylindrical tube.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the first cylindrical tube fits in the base plate opening and terminates in the same horizontal plane as the base plate.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base plate further comprises a plurality of clips to from a ring lock with the first cylindrical tube.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base plate and the first cylindrical tube each have at least one aligned opening for receiving a fastener that locks the base plate with the first cylindrical tube.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising soft pads attached to an underside of the base plate.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base plate is substantially the same size as the top.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the base plate has a central protrusion.

12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the base plate is circular.

13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top and the base plate are circular and have substantially the same diameter.

14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top is circular.

15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top has ribs.

16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top is translucent.

17. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first cylindrical tube has ribs.

18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a proximal portion of the first cylindrical tube is rotatably mountable to a distal portion of the first cylindrical tube which is coupleable to the base plate.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein the top and proximal portion of the first cylindrical tube is independently rotatable of the carousel, distal portion of the of the first cylindrical tube, and the base plate.

20. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the top includes a peripheral support skirt extending downward from the top, wherein the skirt and the base plate terminate in the same horizontal plane.

21. The apparatus of claim 20, wherein the skirt comprises three support legs.

22. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising at least one spacer coupleable between the first cylindrical tube and the base plate.

23. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the carousel is circular and a has a diameter in the range from about 13 inches to about 18.25 inches.

24. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the carousel includes compartments.

25. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the compartments are removable.

26. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the carousel includes removable space dividers.

27. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a diameter of the first cylindrical tube is in the range from about 1 inch to about 3 inches.

28. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a diameter of the second cylindrical tube is slightly wider than a diameter of the first cylindrical tube.

29. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a thickness of the first cylindrical tube and the second cylindrical tube is about 3 mm.

30. A combined support and rotary storage apparatus for use with a computer monitor, the apparatus comprising: a stand having a top with a first cylindrical tube extending downward from the top and a peripheral support skirt extending downward from the top, wherein the skirt and the first cylindrical tube terminate in the same horizontal plane; a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base, wherein the first cylindrical tube is coaxial with the second cylindrical tube and the support skirt rests radially outside of the base; and a ring lock maintaining an elevated position of the second cylindrical tube relative to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel rotates about the first cylindrical tube.

31. The apparatus of claim 30, wherein the apparatus is plastic.

32. The apparatus of claim 30, wherein the base has a lip around its circumference.

33. The apparatus of claim 30, wherein the ring lock includes an opening and the first and second cylindrical tubes align with the opening and the first cylindrical tube fits within the opening.

34. The apparatus of claim 30, wherein the carousel includes a curved lip around an edge of the carousel.

35. The apparatus of claim 34, wherein the carousel includes a compartment.

36. The apparatus of claim 35, wherein the curved lip forms a wall for the compartment.

37. A combined support and rotary storage apparatus for use with a computer monitor, the apparatus comprising: a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube having an axis; a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base, wherein the second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube; and a ring lock maintaining an elevated position of the second cylindrical tube relative to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel rotates about the first cylindrical tube.

38. The apparatus of claim 37, wherein the ring lock is substantially the same size as the top.

39. A combined support and rotary storage apparatus for use with a computer monitor, the apparatus comprising: a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube having an axis; a carousel having a base, a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base, and removable space dividers or compartments, wherein the second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube; and a base plate coupleable to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel is rotatable about the first cylindrical tube axis and on the base plate.

40. The apparatus of claim 39, wherein the first cylindrical tube has ribs.

41. The apparatus of claim 39, further comprising at least one spacer coupleable between the first cylindrical tube and the base plate.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/356,647, filed Feb. 13, 2002, and is a continuation-in-part and claims the benefit of priority from U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/759,873, filed Jan. 12, 2001, which claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/175,719, filed Jan. 12, 2000, and Provisional Patent Application No. 60/231,733, filed Sep. 11, 2000, the full disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention generally relates to storage devices and more particularly to rotatable storage devices having a stand for a display device.

[0003] Rotatable storage devices are known in the prior art. Many of these devices are used to store CDs, disks, or the like. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 3,608,739 to Duboff describes a revolving storage table. A base member, preferably metal, is provided for support of the device. A through bore extends through the center portion of the base. An elongated pole extends upward from the base, the lower end of the bore being internally threaded. A nut is threaded onto the pole to secure the pole in a vertical position. A first collar means is then placed over the pole and slid down to the bottom adjacent the base member. A first tray means is slid down the pole and contacts the collar means. The tray is removably journaled for rotation on the pole. A second tray including a central bore is also removably journaled for rotation on the pole a distance above the first tray. A second collar means is disposed on the pole immediately beneath the second tray for supporting the second tray.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 4,424,904 to Applegate, Jr. describes a rotary display rack for albums. The rack has a circular, planar turntable. The turntable has a vertically extending cylinder affixed to a circular hub at the center of the turntable. The cylinder is inserted into the hub and can be secured to the hub by a fastener. The cylinder has an open top and bottom. A closure member or a cap may be inserted into the top opening of the cylinder. The turntable is rotatably attached to a rectangular base or support and is coupled to the base by means of a circular ball bearing plate. The ball bearing plate allows the turntable to rotate with respect to the plate.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 4,534,471 to Zahn et al. discloses a clip and support rack. In one embodiment of the invention, circular clip supports form storage bins for small items such as paper clips and stamps. The clip supports are adapted to be mounted in a free standing tier arrangement by a central post. Each hub has a reduced threaded portion on its upper end that threadably receives the lower portion of a post segment. The upper portion of each post segment is received within the hub of the next higher unit so that the unit can rotate about the post about a vertical axis in the manner of a carousel or Lazy Susan.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 4,826,261 describes a carousel holder for computer disks. The holder has a circular stationary base plate with an upper surface having rotary wheels. The carousel includes a carousel wheel that has an annular track on its bottom surface that is supported for rotation by the base plate wheels. The carousel wheel has a hub which rotates around a stationary central cylindrical tube. The hollow cylindrical housing has a central circular aperture which is secured coaxially to the central tube. A sliding door is formed in the cylindrical sidewall of the stationary housing. A radially outwardly extending rim of the carousel wheel extends beneath the bottom of the cylindrical housing.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 5,020,043 to Kohler describes a carousel like unit for the storage of floppy disks that rotates about a vertical axis. The storage assembly rests upon a base and is enclosed by a cover. The cover contains a door, which is hinged at two points and pivots about a vertical axle. Within the cover are guide plates for holding disks vertical. A vertical axle and spacers holds the guide plates apart. The storage apparatus can be rotated about the vertical axle. The under surface of the guide plate, adjacent to the base, rests upon a friction reducing washer.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 5,031,779 to Szenay et al. discloses a carousel for storing and displaying compact disk albums or cases. The carousel comprises one or more reels rotatably mounted on a turntable base. The reels include a central core and a pair of parallel spaced apart disks. A CD case fits between the pair of circular disks and is held upright with ribs. Two circular disks may be snapped together by fitting the central core of the top disk into the central core of the lower disk. A reel may be coupled together with another reel by inserting a portion of the core that extends below the bottom surface of the lower disk of one of the reels into a circular opening found within the upper disk of a second reel. The reels are vertically aligned with a pair of dimensioned detents that facilitate the turning of all of the reels at once. The base assembly includes a stationary circular tray and a plurality of wheels riding in the circular tray. At least one reel is placed upon the tray and rides on the wheels.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,176,264 to DePalma describes a circular stackable display case for floppy disks or compact disks, which consists of a mechanism for radially storing the disks and a mechanism for rotating the case. The radially storing mechanism includes a bottom circular platter member having a central aperture and a plurality of spaced apart radial slots for storage on the top surface of the bottom platter. The mechanism also includes a top circular platter member with a central aperture and a plurality of spaced apart radial slots. The rotating mechanism includes a spindle member insertable up through the central aperture of the bottom platter. A cap member is insertable down through the central aperture in the top circular platter to engage with the spindle member and to allow for rotation of the radially storing mechanism. The spindle member includes an upright barrel with an internally threaded bore. The cap member includes an externally threaded boss that threadably engages with the internally threaded bore. An externally threaded boss can engage with a central threaded aperture in a circular base member for stabilizing the spindle member or a flat horizontal surface.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,397 to Chow describes a stackable storage rack that receives compact disk cases. The rack includes a turntable with radially extending grooves for receiving the objects. A bearing assembly rotatably mounts a turntable to a base. The bearing assembly comprises a disc on the bottom of the turntable and a base beneath the disc. A spindle extends vertically upwards from the base and rotatably through an aperture in the disc. There is a washer mounted on the bottom of the disc and a similar second washer beneath the first washer mounted on the base. The washers allow for smooth rotation of the turntable on the base.

[0011] Rotatable storage devices are also described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,637,172, 4,762,237, 5,020,043, 5,244,270, and 6,075,758.

[0012] Though these devices act as rotatable storage devices they fail to provide a mechanism that would allow for a display device, such as a computer monitor, to be supported on the storage device. Additionally, these devices are quite complex and require numerous components for assembly.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,783 to Chimner describes a rotatable disk storage assembly within a housing upon which a monitor may rest. The storage assembly has a base, an enclosed cover with a front access opening, and a rotatable wheel with dividers to provide storage compartments for diskettes. The storage compartments are accessible upon rotation of the wheel. The rotatable wheel is supported on a bearing assembly including grooves formed on the upper surface of the base and the lower surface of the wheel to facilitate rotation. The assembly also includes ball bearings supported in a bearing race held in between the base and the rotatable wheel. The base, the rotatable wheel, and the cover include a magnetic shield for protecting disks when the enclosure is supported between a central processing unit and a monitor.

[0014] The Chimner apparatus is big, bulky and not easily transported. This apparatus also requires many components, including ball bearings and a bearing race, and therefore is not easily manufactured or assembled. Furthermore, this apparatus fails to provide storage for a wide variety of items.

[0015] The full disclosures of each of the above references are incorporated herein by reference.

[0016] Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a rotatable storage apparatus having a stand for securely supporting a display device, such as a computer monitor. It would be further desirable to provide a rotatable storage apparatus and stand that provide storage for a wide variety of items. It would still be further desirable to provide a rotatable storage apparatus and computer monitor stand that can be easily manufactured and assembled and allows for use of space around a computer monitor that is normally difficult to access for use. At least some of these objectives will be met by the inventions described hereinafter.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0017] The present invention provides a rotatable storage apparatus having a stand for securely supporting a display device, preferably a computer monitor. The present invention further provides a rotatable storage apparatus and stand that provide storage for a wide variety of items. Still further, the rotatable storage apparatus and computer monitor stand of the present invention can be easily manufactured and assembled and allow for use of space around a computer monitor that is normally difficult to access for use.

[0018] In a first aspect of the present invention, the apparatus includes a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube extending downward from the top. The apparatus further includes a carousel beneath the stand top. The carousel has a base and an opening within the base. A second cylindrical tube extends upward from the base. The first and second cylindrical tubes have a coaxial relationship relative to one another. The carousel, including the second cylindrical tube, is elevated. A base plate elevates the carousel and clips secure the carousel to the stand. The elevated carousel advantageously rotates about the first cylindrical tube of the stand and on the base plate without touching a surface upon which the stand and/or base plate rest. Therefore, scratching of the table surface is prevented.

[0019] A major challenge exists in designing devices which are able to support the weight of a computer monitor, or like objects, yet that are easy to assemble and manufacture. In the present invention, a computer monitor, or the like, rests on top of the stand of the apparatus. In this embodiment, the first cylindrical tube of the stand rests upon the surface beneath the carousel, providing support. The first cylindrical tube supports most of the weight of the computer monitor. Ribs may be incorporated into the stand top to strengthen the surface that the computer monitor sits upon and to provide some additional support. The apparatus shape is desirable, in that it does not require much material to manufacture, yet it is sturdy.

[0020] Additionally, a peripheral skirt, extending downward from the top of the apparatus may be included in some embodiments. The skirt supports some of the monitor weight as well as primarily prevents the stand from tipping side to side. As the peripheral skirt supports significantly less weight than the first cylindrical tube, it need not surround the entire stand. Therefore, little material is required to manufacture the skirt. Spaces within the skirt provide a user with easy access to the storage carousel.

[0021] The carousel may be divided into storage compartments having varying shapes. A curved or radiused lip, found around an edge of the carousel, may be used to form a wall of one or more compartments. Compartments may be used to store a user's items, such as keys, CDs, pens, cell phones, glasses, PDAs, MP3 players, paperclips, or office supplies, thus utilizing the space around a monitor that often times goes unused.

[0022] In a second aspect of the present invention, a combined support and rotary storage apparatus for use with a display device may comprise a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube having an axis. The apparatus further includes a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base. The second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube. A base plate is coupleable to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel is rotatable about the first cylindrical tube axis and on the base plate. As such, the carousel rotates without touching a surface upon which the base plate and/or stand rest which in turn minimizes scratching of the surface. The display device preferably comprises a computer monitor or a flat panel display.

[0023] In one embodiment, the base plate has an opening. The base plate is capable of maintaining an elevated position of the second cylindrical tube relative to the first cylindrical tube. Moreover, the first cylindrical tube fits in the base plate opening and terminates in the same horizontal plane as the base plate to provide display device support. The base plate (with or without an opening) further comprises a plurality of clips to from a ring lock with the first cylindrical tube. Alternatively, the base plate and the first cylindrical tube may each have at least one aligned opening for receiving a fastener that locks the base plate with the first cylindrical tube. Soft pads may be additionally attached to an underside of the base plate to further minimize any scratching of the desktop surface and/or prevent the base plate from spinning when the carousel is rotated.

[0024] The base plate, in some embodiments, is substantially the same size as the top, i.e., the base plate can a be a little larger or smaller than the top. The base plate may also have a central protrusion to provide further elevation of the carousel. The base plate, top, and carousel are preferably circular for ease of manufacturability and functionality purposes. It will be appreciated however that the apparatus of the present invention may have a non-circular shape as well. The top and the base plate may also have substantially the same diameter. Preferably, the top and the first cylindrical tube has ribs to further reinforce the display device stand strength. The top may also be formed from translucent materials so that a user may easily view and identify stored items within the carousel.

[0025] In some instances, a proximal portion of the first cylindrical tube is rotatably mountable to a distal portion of the first cylindrical tube which is coupleable to the base plate. As such, the top and proximal portion of the first cylindrical tube is independently rotatable of the carousel, distal portion of the of the first cylindrical tube, and the base plate. Rotation of the top stand advantageously allows a user to easily access a rear side of the display device supported by the stand. As such, a user may be able to easily access cables and plugs that reside at the rear side of the display device.

[0026] The apparatus may further comprise at least one spacer coupleable between the first cylindrical tube and the base plate to allow for ergonomic height adjustment of the stand and display device. The apparatus top may also include a peripheral support skirt extending downward from the top, wherein the skirt and the base plate terminate in the same horizontal plane. As noted above, the skirt comprises three support legs which prevent the stand from tilting.

[0027] The carousel is circular and a has a diameter in the range from about 13 inches to about 18.25 inches. It will be appreciated that the top, in some embodiments, particularly those without a peripheral support skirt, may be smaller than the carousel diameter so as to provide easier viewing, identification, and access to items stored within the carousel. The carousel includes compartments, which may be separate removable structures or integrated as one unit within the carousel. Independently removable structures allow for increased utility as a user may place such a compartment within the carousel for storage or alternatively arrange such a storage compartment on a desktop for actual use. Alternatively, the carousel may include removable space dividers to allow a user to divide the carousel storage space according to his/her needs. Hence, the present invention provides a wide variety of storage compartments (integrated or separate compartments or removable space dividers) to allow for optimization of storage capacity and storage of a wide variety of items. A diameter of the first cylindrical tube is in the range from about 1 inch to about 3 inches. A diameter of the second cylindrical tube is slightly wider than a diameter of the first cylindrical tube. A thickness of the first cylindrical tube and the second cylindrical tube is about 3 mm.

[0028] In a third aspect of the present invention, the apparatus includes a stand having a top with a first cylindrical tube extending downward from the top and a peripheral support skirt extending downward from the top. The skirt and the first cylindrical tube terminate in the same horizontal plane. The apparatus further includes a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base. The first cylindrical tube is coaxial with the second cylindrical tube and the support skirt rests radially outside of the base. A ring lock maintains an elevated position of the second cylindrical tube relative to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel rotates about the first cylindrical tube. The apparatus is preferably formed from plastic materials. The base may have a lip around its circumference or the carousel may include a curved or radiused lip around an edge of the carousel. The carousel includes a compartment, wherein the curved lip forms a wall for the compartment. Such radiused compartment walls allow a user to easily and smoothly slide objects out of a storage compartment as well as allows for easy cleaning of the carousel at the edges. The ring lock may include an opening, wherein the first and second cylindrical tubes align with the opening and the first cylindrical tube fits within the opening.

[0029] In a fourth aspect of the present invention, the apparatus includes a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube having an axis. The apparatus further includes a carousel having a base and a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base. The second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube. A ring lock maintains an elevated position of the second cylindrical tube relative to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel rotates about the first cylindrical tube. In such an embodiment, the ring lock is substantially the same size as the top.

[0030] In a fifth aspect of the present invention, the apparatus includes a stand having a top and a first cylindrical tube having an axis. The apparatus further includes a carousel having a base, a second cylindrical tube extending upward from the base, and removable space dividers or compartments. The second cylindrical tube coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube. A base plate is coupleable to the first cylindrical tube, wherein the carousel is rotatable about the first cylindrical tube axis and on the base plate. The first cylindrical tube and top preferably have ribs. Additionally, at least one spacer may be coupleable between the first cylindrical tube and the base plate to adjust the computer monitor height.

[0031] A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the present invention will become apparent by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0032] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

[0033] FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the support and rotary storage apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0034] FIG. 3A is a first top view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0035] FIG. 3B is a second top view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0036] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional side view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0037] FIG. 5 is a partial cross sectional side view of the apparatus of FIG. 4.

[0038] FIG. 6 is a top view of a stand of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

[0039] FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a second embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

[0040] FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a third embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

[0041] FIG. 9A is a first top view of the apparatus of FIG. 8.

[0042] FIG. 9B is a second top view of the apparatus of FIG. 8.

[0043] FIG. 10A is a first side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8.

[0044] FIG. 10B is a second side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8.

[0045] FIG. 11 is a cross section side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8 without carousel space dividers.

[0046] FIG. 12 is a cross section side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8 with carousel space dividers.

[0047] FIG. 13 is a partial cross sectional side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8.

[0048] FIG. 14A is a cross section side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8 with a stand spacer for adjusting a stand height.

[0049] FIG. 14B is a cross section side view of the apparatus of FIG. 8 with two stand spacers.

[0050] FIG. 15 is an exploded view of a fourth embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0051] The apparatus of the present invention provides a secure support for a display device, preferably a computer monitor or flat panel display, and maximal use of space beneath a monitor and/or in between a monitor and keyboard that often times goes unused. Additionally, the apparatus of the present invention allows for organized storage of and easy access to many items needed for office or home use. Still further, the apparatus of the present invention can be easily manufactured and assembled.

[0052] Referring to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a first embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus 10 of the present invention is shown. The apparatus 10 includes a stand 14, which is preferably immobile but in certain instances may be rotatable as described below with respect to FIGS. 9B and 10B, and a rotating carousel 16. The stand 14 has a thickness of approximately 3 mm. Both the stand 14 and the carousel 16 may be manufactured using inexpensive injection molded plastics, such as polycarbonate. Other materials that may be used to manufacture the apparatus comprise, but are not limited to, thermoplastics, metals, wood, glass, rubber, polymers, and ceramics. Furthermore, the parts of the apparatus have been designed for “simple draw” tooling. Therefore, expensive side pulls or lifters in the tools are not required. The plastic material may be translucent allowing the user to see through the stand to view contents stored within compartments 32 of the carousel 16. The following depictions are for illustration purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the actual shape, size, or dimensions of the support and rotary storage apparatus 10.

[0053] A computer monitor 12, with keyboard 13 and mouse 15, is shown in association with the apparatus 10. The apparatus 10 supports the computer monitor 12, or the like. For example, the apparatus 10 may support various items such as, but not limited to, a flat panel display, printer, a television, laptop computer, a personal digital assistant, and like display devices. The apparatus 10 has a height of approximately 2 to 4 inches. This stand height allows the computer monitor 12 to sit at a height that is ergonomically desirable for viewing by the user. This stand height may be adjustable as described in more detail below.

[0054] Referring to FIG. 2, it is seen that the stand 14 of the apparatus 10 includes a top surface 18 having a first central opening 24. A first cylindrical tube 22, supporting a large percentage of the weight of the computer monitor 12, extends downward from the opening 24. Tube 22 has, for example, a diameter in a range from 1 inch to about 3 inches and a thickness of approximately 3 mm. A peripheral skirt 20 extends downward from the top surface 18. The skirt 20 supports primarily prevents the stand 14 from tipping side to side. As the peripheral skirt 20 supports significantly less weight than the first cylindrical tube 22, it need not surround the entire stand. Therefore, little material is required to manufacture it. Spaces within the skirt 20 provide a user with easy access to the storage carousel 16. Preferably, the skirt 20 forms three support legs as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. The top surface 18 is pictured to be circular in shape, however other shapes, such as oblong, square, etc., may be used.

[0055] The carousel 16 of the apparatus 10 includes abase 29, a second central opening 25, and a second cylindrical tube 28 extending downward from the opening 25 and upward from the base 29 having an opening 31. Tube 28 typically has a diameter slightly larger or wider than the first tube 22 and a thickness of approximately 3 mm. The base 29 is pictured to be circular in shape, however other shapes, such as oblong, square, etc., may be used.

[0056] The carousel 16 includes compartments 32 that may be used to store various items such as, but not limited to, keys, CDs, pens, cell phones, glasses, PDAs, MP3 players, paper clips, scissors, business cards, clips, adhesive tape, push pins, letter openers, or office supplies. A lip 30 found along an outer edge of the carousel 16 acts as a compartment wall. It has a height of, for example, of approximately 1 inch, allowing users to easily slide objects out of the storage compartments 32. Other compartment walls 34 are present in various shapes and sizes. Compartments are connected to other compartments by connector walls 35. Connector walls 35 together form a housing 39 within which the second cylindrical tube 28 is located.

[0057] The apparatus further includes a base plate 36 upon which the carousel 16 rotates. In this embodiment, the base plate 36 has clips 38. Together clips 38 and base plate 36 comprise a ring lock 37. The clips 38 assist in securing the first cylindrical tube 22 of the stand 14 to the carousel 16. The clips 28 however are not necessary. The cylindrical tube 22 includes indentations or slots 40 that match up with the clips 38 of the ring lock. The clips 38 are attached to the indentations 40 so that the apparatus 10 can be lifted and carried as one unit. The simple 3-piece apparatus 10, having stand 14, carousel 16, and base plate 36, allows for quick and easy assembly.

[0058] J When assembled, as pictured in FIG. 1, the skirt 20 of the stand 14 rests outside of the carousel 16. The first cylindrical tube 22 of the stand 14 also has a coaxial relationship with the second cylindrical tube 28 of the carousel 16 when assembled.

[0059] With reference to FIG. 3A and FIG. 3B, the apparatus 10 is seen in a pre-rotation position and a post-rotation position, respectively. An alignment line Y is shown to indicate movement of the carousel 16. Dotted lines Z indicate the position of some of the carousel walls beneath the surface of the stand 14. In FIG. 3A, the carousel walls Z are substantially perpendicular to the alignment line Y. In FIG. 3B, the carousel 16 has been rotated in a clockwise direction as indicated by the arrow C and it is seen that the carousel walls are no longer perpendicular to line Y. When comparing FIG. 3A to FIG. 3B it is seen that the stand 14, and the base plate 36, including clips 38, remain stationary, as they are in the same position with respect to line Y, while the carousel 16 rotates.

[0060] With reference to FIG. 4, it is seen that the first cylindrical tube 22 and the peripheral skirt 20 of the stand 14 terminate in the same horizontal plane. Cylindrical tube 22 fits within cylindrical tube 28 and an opening 60 (FIG. 2) of the base plate 36, which is optional. Cylindrical tube 22 and skirt 20 terminate in the same plane as the base plate 36.

[0061] With reference to FIG. 5, there is seen a partial cross sectional view of the apparatus 10 taken along the lines 5-5 delineated in FIG. 4. The carousel 16 is elevated in relation to the stand 14, by base plate 36, which comprises for example ring lock 37 having clips 38. The base plate 36 elevates the carousel 16 above a table or desk surface 100. This prevents marring or scratching of the table surface as the carousel 16 rotates on the base plate 36, not the table surface 100. The base plate 36 provides a low friction bearing surface for the carousel 16 to rotate on and eliminates the need for extra parts such as wheels for providing low friction rotatability. The carousel 16 rotates about the first cylindrical tube 22 and beneath the top 18 while the stand 14 and the base plate 36 remain stationary. The surface of contact of the base plate 36 and the carousel tube 22 is close to the axis of rotation and therefore generates smooth and predictable friction.

[0062] Tight tolerances of the dimensions of the cylinders 22 and 28 enable minimal tilt to no tilt of the carousel 16 relative to the table surface 100. The first cylindrical tube 22 having a vertical axis A, and found for example within the second cylindrical tube 28, acts as an axle about which the second cylindrical tube 28 rotates. The coaxial relationship keeps the carousel 16 centered beneath the stand 14 and also provides a bearing surface for the carousel 16 to spin.

[0063] In FIG. 6, support ribs 50 located on an undersurface of the stand 14 are seen. Translucent plastic used in this embodiment allows the ribs 50 to be seen from the top view. The ribs 50 flow in multiple directions and serve to strengthen the peripheral skirt 20, the top surface 18 on which the monitor 12 sits, and the first cylindrical tube 22 which acts as the central support column for the weight of the computer monitor 12. The ribs 50 are, for example, approximately 2 mm thick.

[0064] Referring to FIG. 7, an exploded view of a second embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus 90 constructed in accordance with the principles of the present is illustrated. In this embodiment, a stand 72 comprises a top surface 74 and a cylindrical tube 78 having a vertical axis B. The carousel 16 remains as described previously. Base plate 80 is wider than plate 36. Plate 80 has substantially the same diameter of the carousel base 29 and top 74. The base plate 80 provides a low friction bearing surface upon which the carousel 16 rotates. It also assists in supporting some of the weight of the monitor 12. In one example, this embodiment includes clips 94 or other fastening mechanisms for securing the stand 72 to the carousel 16.

[0065] Referring now to FIG. 8, an exploded view of a third embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus 100 constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention is illustrated. The apparatus 100 may comprise a stand 102 having a top 104 and a first cylindrical tube 106 having an axis. The apparatus 100 further includes a carousel 108 having a base 110 and a second cylindrical tube 112 extending upward from the base 110. The second cylindrical tube 112 coaxially surrounds the first cylindrical tube 106. A base plate 114 is coupleable to the first cylindrical tube 106, wherein the carousel 108 is rotatable about the first cylindrical tube axis and on the base plate 114. The stand 102, carousel 108, and base plate 114 may be manufactured using inexpensive injection molded plastics, such as polycarbonate, or stamped metals. Other materials that may be used to manufacture the apparatus comprise, but are not limited to, thermoplastics, metals, wood, glass, rubber, polymers, and ceramics. The top 104 may also be formed from translucent materials so that a user may easily view and identify stored items within the carousel 108.

[0066] The base plate 114 elevates the carousel 108 above a table or desk surface (not shown). This prevents marring or scratching of the table surface as the carousel 108 rotates on the base plate 114, not the table surface. The base plate 114 provides a low friction bearing surface for the carousel 108 to rotate on and eliminates the need for extra parts such as wheels for providing low friction rotatability. The carousel 108 rotates about the tube 106 and beneath the top 104 while the base plate 114 remains stationary. The surface of contact of the base plate 114 and the carousel tube 106 is close to the axis of rotation and therefore generates smooth and predictable friction.

[0067] The base plate 114 is substantially the same size as the top 104, i.e., the base plate in this case being slightly smaller than the top. The base plate 114 may also have a central protrusion 116 to provide further elevation of the carousel 108. The base plate 114, stand 102, and carousel 108 are preferably circular for ease of manufacturability and functionality purposes. It will be appreciated however than the apparatus of the present invention may have a non-circular shape as well. The top 104 and the base plate 114 may also have substantially the same diameter. This simple 3-piece apparatus 100, having a stand 102, carousel 108, and base plate 114 also allows for quick and easy assembly.

[0068] With reference to FIGS. 9A and 10A, the carousel 108 is circular and a has a diameter in the range from about 13 inches to about 18.25 inches, preferably about 13 inches. It will be appreciated that such a compact carousel further complements space saving monitors, such as flat panel displays, takes up less desk space as well as retail space, and is less costly to tool and produce. It will be appreciated that the top 104, in this embodiment, may be smaller than the carousel 108 diameter so as to provide easier viewing, identification, and access to items stored within the carousel 108. The carousel 108 includes space dividers 118 which may be separate removable structures, as illustrated, or integrated as one unit within the carousel 108. Typically, the space dividers 118 may be secured into the carousel 108 by snaps 120 or like fasteners. Independently removable structures allow for increased utility as a user may place such a divider 118 within the carousel 108 to divide the carousel storage space according to his/her needs. Hence, the present invention provides a wide variety of storage compartments 122 to allow for optimization of storage capacity and storage of a wide variety of items, such as, keys, CDs, pens, cell phones, glasses, PDAs, MP3 players, paper clips, scissors, business cards, clips, adhesive tape, push pins, letter openers, or office supplies.

[0069] Referring now to FIGS. 9B and 10B, in some instances, a proximal portion 124 of the first cylindrical tube 106 is rotatably mountable to a distal portion 126 of the first cylindrical tube 106 which is coupleable to the base plate 114. As such, the top 104 and proximal portion 124 of the first cylindrical tube 106 is independently rotatable of the carousel 108, distal portion of the of the first cylindrical tube 126, and the base plate 114, as depicted by arrow D. Rotation of the top stand 104 advantageously allows a user to easily access a rear side of the display device supported by the stand 102. As such, a user may be able to easily access cables and plugs that reside at the rear side of the display device. Arrow E denotes rotation of the carousel 108 independent of the of the base 114 and stand 102.

[0070] With reference to FIGS. 11 and 12, the stand underside 102 and the first cylindrical tube 106 has ribs 128 to further reinforce the top surface 104 on which the monitor sits and the first cylindrical tube 106 which acts as the central support column for the weight of the computer monitor. The ribs 50 are, for example, approximately 2 mm thick. It will further be appreciated that the base plate 114 also assists in supporting some of the weight of the monitor. Soft pads 130 may be additionally attached to an underside of the base plate 114 to further minimize any scratching of the desktop surface and/or prevent the base plate 114 from spinning when the carousel 108 is rotated.

[0071] Referring now to FIG. 13, in this embodiment the base plate 114 and the first cylindrical tube 106 each have at least one aligned opening for receiving a fastener, in this instance screws 132, that lock the base plate 114 with the first cylindrical tube 106. Screw attachments 132 are provided so that the apparatus 100 can be lifted and carried as one unit. Reference numerals 134 and 136 illustrate the low friction areas where the carousel tube 112 slides against the base 114 and first cylindrical tube 106. Low friction area 134 is where the weight of the carousel 108 is supported on the base 114. Since this area is close to the axis of rotation, friction is minimized. Low friction area 136 is where the carousel rotates about the first cylindrical tube 106. The surface area of this interface is minimized, thus reducing friction and providing for a smooth rotation. Tight tolerances of the dimensions of the cylinders 106 and 112 enable minimal tilt to no tilt of the carousel 108 relative to a table surface. The first cylindrical tube 106 found within the second cylindrical tube 112 acts as an axle about which the second cylindrical tube 112 rotates. The coaxial relationship keeps the carousel 108 centered beneath the stand 102 and also provides a bearing surface for the carousel 108 to spin.

[0072] With reference to FIGS. 14A and 14B, the apparatus 100 may further comprise at least one spacer 138 coupleable between the first cylindrical tube 106 and the base plate 114 to allow for ergonomic height adjustment of the stand 102 and display device. The apparatus 100 has a height of approximately 2 to 4 inches. This stand height may be adjustable with height spacers 138 to an ergonomically desirable display stand height for viewing by the user.

[0073] Referring to FIG. 15, an exploded view of a fourth embodiment of the support and rotary storage apparatus 200 constructed in accordance with the principles of the present is illustrated. In this embodiment, the stand 102 and base 114 remains as described previously. The carousel 202 in this embodiment includes independently removable storage compartments 204. Independently removable compartments 204 allow for increased utility as a user may place such a compartment 204 within the carousel 202 for storage or alternatively arrange such a storage compartment 204 on a desktop for actual use. The removable storage compartments 204 and the carousel 202 may additionally have complementary locating features 206, such as extrusions, so that the compartments 206 may be safely secured within the carousel 206 and will not slide during rotation of the carousel 206.

[0074] Although certain exemplary embodiments have been described in some detail, for clarity of understanding and by way of example, it will be apparent from the foregoing disclosure to those skilled in the art that variations, modifications, changes, and adaptations of such embodiments may be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the apparatus shape may be non-circular. Therefore, the above description should not be taken as limiting the scope of the invention which is defined by the appended claims.