Title:
Shadowbox storage/display case for earrings
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shadowbox storage and display case is particularly adapted for displaying and storing earrings having post or wire extensions. The storage and display case has a housing which is formed by an upright peripheral wall and a rear planar wall. A picture frame having a perforated rigid sheet mounted within its central open area is pivotally attached to the peripheral wall of the housing to form a door for the housing. Post or wire extensions of earrings are inserted through apertures in the perforated rigid sheet and, when necessary, secured by an associated clasp. Hook and loop fastening material on the rear of the storage and display case permits detachable mounting of the storage and display case to a wall, closet door, or other vertical support surface.



Inventors:
Flagg, Margaret E. (Stockton, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/465560
Publication Date:
12/25/2003
Filing Date:
06/20/2003
Assignee:
FLAGG MARGARET E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/85.2
International Classes:
A45C11/16; A45C11/12; (IPC1-7): A45C11/04
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Arlington, VA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A storage and display case for earrings having post or wire extensions, comprising: (a) a housing defined by a rear planar wall and an upright peripheral wall disposed about the rear wall; (b) a picture frame having an open central area, the picture frame being pivotally attached to said housing; (c) a perforated rigid sheet mounted within the open central area of said picture frame, said picture frame and said perforated rigid sheet together defining a door; and (d) means for detachably mounting said storage and display case onto a vertical support surface; wherein said perforated rigid sheet is adapted to receive the post or wire extensions of earrings; and whereby said door and said housing define a shadowbox for storage and display of earrings.

2. The storage and display case according to claim 1, wherein said means for detachably mounting said storage and display case onto a vertical support surface comprises at least one patch of hook-and-loop fastening material attached to the rear wall of said housing, said patch being adapted for releasable attachment to a mating patch of hook-and-loop fastening material disposed on the vertical support surface.

3. The storage and display case according to claim 1, further comprising at least one hinge attached to said frame and to said housing for pivotally connecting said frame and said housing.

4. The storage and display case according to claim 1, further comprising means for releasably securing said door in a closed position.

5. The storage and display case according to claim 1, further comprising: a first patch of hook-and-loop fastening material attached to said frame; and a second patch of hook-and-loop fastening material attached to said housing, said first and second patches releasably interlocking to secure said door in a closed position.

6. The storage and display case according to claim 1, wherein said rear wall is a decorative mat board.

7. The storage and display case according to claim 1, wherein said rear wall is particle board.

8. The storage and display case according to claim 1, wherein said perforated rigid sheet is made from metal.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/389,938, filed Jun. 20, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a storage and display case for earrings, and specifically, to a storage and display case for earrings that can be detachably mounted on a vertical support surface.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] The most common device used to store jewelry has in the past been the standard jewelry box, a box-like structure with a lid and one or more internal compartments for storing jewelry. Such boxes, however, are not ideal for storing smaller jewelry items, particularly post-type and wire earrings. Post-type and wire earrings have an ornamental or design portion attached to a post or wire. The post or wire is an elongated member suitable for fitting through the hole in a pierced ear. The post-type earring is secured in place on the ear by an associated clasp.

[0006] If stored in a standard jewelry box, post-type and wire earrings can easily become intertwined with or buried underneath other items of jewelry. Consequently, finding a matching pair of earrings with the associated clasps becomes very difficult. Also, storing earrings in a box keeps them hidden from view of the user, making it difficult to decide on a particular earring pair from among an extensive selection of pairs. In addition, as standard jewelry boxes are generally stored on a dresser or other horizontal surface, they cannot be hung from walls or closet doors to allow the user a view of the earring selection from areas in which outfits are typically assembled and worn. Consequently, a standard jewelry box hinders accessibility of earrings contained therein.

[0007] Some of the prior art has attempted to overcome the limitations of the standard jewelry box. A number of earring holders have been designed to simultaneously store and display post-type and wire earrings. Such designs generally incorporate a mesh material or screen through which the post-type or wire earrings are hooked or otherwise attached. While these earring holders display the earrings in such a way that the user can easily choose between them, they either fail to provide an easy mechanism by which the earrings can be attached and detached, are not versatile, or they are not secure enough to prevent earrings from falling out of the holder if jostled during the selection process.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 4,420,084, issued Dec. 13, 1983 to E. Whelan, discloses a device for holding earrings, comprising a pair of frames connected by hinges, each frame having a thin rigid sheet mounted in the center of the frame by spacers with the rigid sheet having apertures for receiving the earrings. Earrings can be mounted on both frames and the two frames can be closed together in a book-like shape with the decorative faces of the earrings facing each other, or opened to display the earrings. This device is only designed to rest upon a dresser or other horizontal surface and cannot be hung. As such, the locations from which the user may view the display are limited.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 5,419,063, issued May 30, 1995 to C. Lane, discloses a device for storing objects having protruding wires. The device comprises a panel that is retained in position by a frame. The panel is formed from self-sealing foam. An object such as an earring post can be inserted into the foam panel without removal of the clasp. This may be unsuitable for earrings whose posts do not extend a great deal beyond the clasp, making it difficult to insert the post into the foam panel.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 5,050,745, issued Sep. 24, 1991 to P. Sanders, discloses a device for holding earrings comprising a frame mounting a net or screen about its edge marginal region and a loop-like leash attached to the top of the frame. The post of an earring is inserted through the front of the net or screen, then secured by an earring clasp on the other side of the net or screen. The device must be hung on a wall or other vertical surface by use of a hook or nail. As such, insertion and removal of the earring clasps becomes awkward and difficult.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,815, issued Sep. 14, 1999 to H. Yetman-Bellows, discloses a universal holder for post and open hook jewelry, comprising a soft plastic mesh supported by a frame with hinged and locking legs and a key hole aperture providing two modes of support. The post of an earring is inserted through the front of the plastic mesh and secured in place by an earring clasp through which the post is inserted from behind the plastic mesh. The device is capable of standing, hanging, and stacking. However, when hung, insertion and removal of the earring clasps becomes awkward and difficult.

[0012] Other patents disclosing devices which can be used for both storing and displaying earrings include U.S. Pat. No. 4,739,886, issued Apr. 26, 1988 to D. Seaberg (upright perforated standard for attaching earrings, mounted to a base tray); U.S. Pat. No. 4,767,011, issued Aug. 30, 1988 to S. M. Butler (mesh material for attaching earrings, enclosed by frame); U.S. Pat. No. 4,905,821, issued Mar. 6, 1990 to M. Corbett (panel of woven material or mesh for attaching earrings, mounted in frame); U.S. Pat. No. 4,923,069, issued May 8, 1990 to S. Germain (panel of a retention medium such as foam for inserting jewelry having a post, mounted to a support means); U.S. Pat. No. 5,087,105, issued Feb. 11, 1992 to J. White (an earring rack comprising a grid frame for attaching hook earrings and two perforated shutters for attaching post earrings); U.S. Pat. No. 5,121,833, issued Jun. 16, 1992 to S. Lindsay (a rollable device comprising apertures for attachment of jewelry items, a detachable mirror, and a time piece); U.S. Pat. No. 5,240,120 issued Aug. 31, 1993 to C. McDonough (a flexible sheet with apertures to receive the post of earrings); U.S. Pat. No. 5,253,750 issued Oct. 19, 1993 to M. Keffer (rectangular frame having a front surface overlaid by a section of fabric capable of receiving earrings and pinnable jewelry); U.S. Pat. No. 5,261,529 issued Nov. 16, 1993 to Joanne P. Holland (earring storage apparatus consisting of a multiplicity of individual vertical panels having a mesh plastic layer for supporting accessory items having posts or post-like structures); and U.S. Pat. No. 5,295,587 issued Mar. 22, 1994 to Glenn W. Downes (strip of fabric and means for suspending fabric, wherein stems of earrings pierce into fabric).

[0013] None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The present invention relates to a shadowbox storage and display case for earrings. The storage and display case comprises a housing formed by an upright peripheral wall forming its perimeter and a rear planar wall which attaches to the peripheral wall and forms a backing or base for the housing. Although the housing can be of any shape, it is preferably rectangular, having a sidewall on each side and a rear planar wall at its base. The storage and display case is opened and closed by a door which is pivotally attached to a sidewall of the housing. The door is formed by a picture frame which has mounted within its central open area a perforated rigid sheet.

[0015] The storage and display case is particularly adapted for earrings having post or wire extensions. The post or wire extensions are simply inserted through the side of the door which faces away from the housing (the exterior side of the door). Earrings having a post are then attached to an associated clasp on the side of the door that faces the housing (the interior side of the door) to hold the earring in place. When the framed door is closed, its exterior side, bearing the ornamental design of each earring, is visible. In this manner, the earrings can be displayed in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and easily accessible.

[0016] On the back of the storage and display case are three hook and loop fastener strips which allow the storage and display case to be detachably mounted to any wall or closet door that would facilitate a better view of the display and which stabilize the storage and display case so that when it is opened and closed, it does not shift from side to side or otherwise damage the surface from which it is hung.

[0017] Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a new and improved device for storing and displaying earrings.

[0018] It is another object of the invention to provide a device for storing and displaying earrings which allows easy access to a variety of earring pairs.

[0019] It is another object of the invention to provide a device for storing and displaying earrings which is versatile and capable of being hung at a location convenient to the user.

[0020] It is a further object of the invention to store earring pairs in a manner that keeps them segregated from other earring pairs.

[0021] Still another object of the invention is to store and display earrings in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing.

[0022] It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.

[0023] These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] FIG. 1 is an environmental, front perspective view of a shadowbox storage/display case according to the present invention with the door in a closed position.

[0025] FIG. 2 is a front view of a shadowbox storage/display case according to the present invention with the framed door in an open position.

[0026] FIG. 3 is a rear view of a shadowbox storage/display case according to the present invention.

[0027] FIG. 4 depicts a method by which earrings are attached and detached from a shadowbox storage/display case according to the present invention.

[0028] Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0029] The present invention is a shadowbox storage and display case for earrings, designated generally as 5 in the drawings.

[0030] As depicted in FIG. 1, the storage and display case comprises a housing 10 to which is attached a door 11 having an exterior side 13 and an interior side 14. Interior side 14 can be seen in FIG. 2. The storage and display case 5 may be of any suitable shape, however, as is shown in FIGS. 1-4, a rectangular shape is preferred.

[0031] As depicted in FIGS. 2 and 3, the housing 10 is formed by an upright peripheral wall 12 and a planar rear wall 25. In a preferred embodiment, the peripheral wall 12 is rectangular and includes a left sidewall 16, a right sidewall 17, a top sidewall 18, and a bottom sidewall 19. The top sidewall 18 and the bottom sidewall 19 connect with the left sidewall 16 and the right sidewall 17 at mitered corners 15. The peripheral wall 12 may be made from wood or other suitable material including, but not limited to, injection molded plastic, extruded plastic, and

[0032] The planar rear wall 25 is connected to the peripheral wall 12 about the length of the peripheral wall 12 to form the back of the box-shaped housing 10. The planar rear wall 25 is preferably a decorative mat board; however, other suitable material, including, but not limited to, particle board and Masonite™ with a decorative mat attached thereto may be used.

[0033] The door 11 is formed by a picture frame 30 having the same or about the same shape and size as the housing 10, and a perforated rigid sheet 35 disposed in the opening defined by the frame 30. The picture frame 30 comprises top, bottom, right, and left side members, 31, 32, 33, 34, of the same or about the same lengths as top, bottom, right, and left sidewalls, 18, 19, 17, 16, respectively, of the housing 10. The top and bottom side members 31, 32 join at their opposite ends with right and left side members 33, 34 to define a central open area in which the perforated rigid sheet 35 is mounted. Apertures 36 in the perforated rigid sheet should have a diameter of about 0.15 inch. While it is preferable to use hot glue to attach the perforated rigid sheet 35 to the back edges of the peripheral wall 12 of the picture frame 30, any other suitable means may be employed. The perforated rigid sheet 35 can be made from metal or any other suitable material, e.g., transparent acrylic.

[0034] On the interior side 14 of the door 11, the left side member 34 of the picture frame 30 is pivotally attached to the left sidewall 16 of the housing 10 by two non-mortised hinges 20 A first patch of hook-and-loop fastening material 40 (e.g., double-stick Velcro™ dot) is attached to the right side member 33 on the interior side 14 of the door 11 and a mating patch of hook-and-loop material 40 is attached to a corresponding position on the right sidewall 17 of the housing 10 so that the patches 40 interlock with one another when the door 11 is in the closed position. Although a mechanical or magnetic catch could be used, the use of hook-and-loop fastening material is more economical, easier to install, and less prone to damage after repeated use.

[0035] As depicted in FIG. 3, an upper patch 45 and two lower patches 50 of hook-and-loop fastening material are attached to the back of the rear wall 25. Preferably, the upper patch of hook-and-loop fastening material 45 is a two inch strip of double-stick Velcro™ which is attached in the upper mid-section of the rear planar wall 25. The lower two patches of hook-and-loop fastening material 50 are each preferably a one inch strip of double-stick Velcro™ which is attached to the bottom corners of the storage and display case 5. The respective mating strips (not shown) for each patch of hook and loop fastening material 45, 50, are affixed to a corresponding position on a wall or other vertical support surface on which the storage and display case 5 is to be hung.

[0036] Hook-and-loop fastening material eliminates the problem of locating a wall stud or installing a suitable anchor in drywall. Additionally, hook-and-loop fastening material has great strength in shear for supporting the weight of the shadowbox 5. However, a conventional picture hanger (not shown) can be used in place of the upper patch 45, if desired, for hanging the storage and display case 5 on a wall.

[0037] As depicted in FIG. 4, the earring post 7 of an earring 6 is inserted into the exterior side 13 of the door 11 through the aperture 36. The earring post 7 is then attached to its associated clasp 9 to hold the earring 6 in place on the interior side 14 of the framed door 11. Wire earrings (not shown) may be inserted in the same manner, although, they do not need to be secured in place with an associated clasp.

[0038] As shown in FIG. 1, when the door 11 is in the closed position, only the exterior side 13 of the door 11 bearing the ornamental design 8 of each earring 6 is visible. Therefore, the rigid sheet 35 is selected to provide a background color which highlights the appearance of the earrings for display purposes, or may be transparent so that the decorative mat board forming the rear wall 25 provides a decorative backdrop, and together with the frame 30 provides a shadowbox effect. The housing 10 protects the earring clasp 9 and post 7 from damage with the door 11 in the closed position.

[0039] It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the sole embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.