Title:
Easel with storage rack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An easel is provided having a support structure, a planar surface for display of charts and the like, and a storage rack for holding additional charts. The storage rack is positioned so that the charts stored on the rack are positioned to be perpendicular to the line of axis of the storage rack. The easel allows for easier selection and display of prepared charts, and the like.



Inventors:
Mitchell, Wendy Anne (Toronto, CA)
Warren, Sandra Diane (Brampton, CA)
Application Number:
10/355086
Publication Date:
08/05/2004
Filing Date:
01/31/2003
Assignee:
MITCHELL WENDY ANNE
WARREN SANDRA DIANE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B97/04; (IPC1-7): A47B19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RAMIREZ, RAMON O
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ridout & Maybee LLP (Burlington, ON, CA)
Claims:

We claim:



1. An easel having at least one planar surface for the display of a display material, a support structure for supporting the planar surface at a display height, and a storage rack comprising at least one rod extending transversely across the easel structure, and connected to the support structure, on which storage rack, display materials are stored perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the storage rack, and perpendicular to the user.

2. An easel as claimed in claim 1 wherein said support structure has an “A-frame” structure comprising a set of two, parallel front legs and a set of two parallel rear legs, each set of legs being angled towards each other, and a common cross member to which each leg is attached.

3. An easel as claimed in claim 2 wherein each set of rear legs has a support arm attached to the leg, and said support rod is attached to said support arm.

4. An easel as claimed in claim 1 wherein said planar surface additionally comprises a peg, post or hook on which said display material is hung.

5. An easel as claimed in claim 4 wherein said display material comprises a chart, map or poster, and a hanger device for hanging said display material on said rod.

6. An easel as claimed in claim 5 wherein said hanger device is used to hang said display material on said rod, and to hang said display material on a peg, post or hanger on said planar surface.

7. An easel having: at least one planar surface for the display of a display material and having a peg, post or hook, at or near the top of said planar surface; a support structure having an “A-frame” structure comprising a set of two, parallel front legs and a set of two parallel rear legs, each set of legs being angled towards each other, and a common cross member to which each leg is attached for supporting the planar surface at a display height; and, a storage rack comprising support arms attached to each rear leg, and a rod extending transversely across the easel structure, and connected to the support arms, and wherein display materials can be stored perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the storage rack, and perpendicular to the user.

8. An easel assembly comprising an easel as claimed in claim 7, and at least one display material wherein said display material comprises a hanger for hanging said display material on said planar surface.

9. An easel assembly as claimed in claim 8 wherein said display material is a chart, map or poster.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to the field of display devices, and in particular, relates to easels for the display of flipcharts, and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Easels are widely used for the display of charts, flip charts, maps, posters and the like, and many variations of standard easel arrangements are known. Traditionally, the standard easel would comprise a planar surface on which the charts etc. would rest when being viewed, and a pair of legs for support of the planar surface. Easels are still widely used in business presentations, in spite of a number of alternative products. Further, easels are commonly used in education situations where the ability to present easily customizable material to children is desirable. These easel systems do provide a method for the display of standard, pre-prepared materials in a pre-prepared flip chart arrangement or the like. However, by using this system it can be difficult to refer to previous charts or to arrange for the charts to be shown in different order.

[0003] A typical easel design variant is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,098,009 with a further variant shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,472,288. Multi-station easels are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,088,678 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,680,497. A disadvantage of all of these devices is the lack of storage for additional display materials, other than having the stored material stacked one on top of the other on the display surface of the easel. This storage arrangement can be unsatisfactory if the user wishes to refer to pre-prepared materials while having the option of displaying the materials in varying order, or while having the flexibility to refer to earlier charts etc. in a random fashion.

[0004] Other display systems are known in which brackets are mounted to a wall, or the like. These include the systems described in, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,890,604 and 6,109,456, in which a support bracket is shown which can hold a number of charts, posters etc. wherein each poster can be individually accessed and moved to the front of the unit for display. However, the charts etc. are again stored one on top of the other which would have the same accessibility problems as the previously described devices if used on a traditional easel. A similar display system is shown in U.S. patent application Publication No. 2002/0116850 A1.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 1,687,859 shows a map storage unit in which removable tabs are used for hanging the maps when not in use. In use, the maps are removed from the storage device and laid on a table, light box, or the like. For terminology purposes applicable to the present invention, it should be noted that the maps are stored perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the storage rack (much the same as clothes hung in a traditional closet). As such each map can be individually accessed without distrubing other maps, and the maps can be easily used in any particular sequence. However, this map storage unit does not provide a convenient display system.

[0006] To overcome these difficulties, it would be advantageous to provide an easel with a integrated storage rack which allowed for easy access to any individual chart, poster etc., or pre-arranged series of charts, poster or the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, it is a principal advantage of the present invention to provide an easel with an integrated storage rack.

[0008] It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide an easel with a storage rack wherein materials stored on the rack can be easily accessed and moved to the display position on the easel.

[0009] The advantages set out hereinabove, as well as other objects and goals inherent thereto, are at least partially or fully provided by the easel of the present invention, as set out herein below.

[0010] Accordingly, in one aspect, the present invention provides an easel having at least one planar surface for the display of a display material, a support structure for supporting the planar surface at a display height, and a storage rack comprising at least one rod extending transversely across the easel structure, and connected to the support structure, on which storage rack, display materials are stored perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the storage rack, and perpendicular to the user.

[0011] In a further aspect, the present invention also provides for the use of the easel of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0012] In the present application, the term “display material” is used. The skilled artisan will be aware that this term can be used to describe a wide variety of different materials including, but not being limited to, charts, posters, paintings, maps, papers, newspapers, chalk boards, white boards, screens, or any other product that can be used for displaying material. The display material can also comprise a pre-arranged series of materials such as, for example, a pre-arranged set of flip charts, or the like. For ease of reference, the term “chart” will be primarily used hereinafter in this description, however, by use of this term, it is to be understood that any suitable display material might be used.

[0013] The chart preferably includes some means for hanging the chart on the storage rack and on the planar surface. Preferably, the same means is used on both the storage rack and the planar surface. This means might simply be a hanger-like attachment on the chart which can be used to hang the chart on the rod, or hang the chart on the planar surface. The means can be permanently affixed to the chart, or might be removable.

[0014] The attachment means might also be permanently affixed to the storage rack (or rod) and/or the planar surface. However, it is preferred that each chart include a hanging means for hanging the chart on the planar surface or the storage rack.

[0015] The planar surface is preferably merely a flat surface on which the chart can rest when being displayed. The planar surface also preferably includes a support device for holding the chart in place while being displayed. In a preferred embodiment, this support device is merely a peg, post, or hook on which the chart can be hung, particularly in the situation where a hanger-like attachment is affixed to the chart. Typically each easel will have one planar surface, however, an easel might also be used which has two or more planar surfaces.

[0016] The support structure can be of any suitable size or shape which holds the planar surface and the storage rack in place. The support structure is preferably of a size wherein it rests on the ground while holding the planar surface at a height where the display material is easily seen by the audience. The support structure might also rest on a table or the like.

[0017] A preferred support structure is a simple “A-frame” structure commonly used on prior art easels. These typically include two sets of essentially parallel legs which are angled towards each other and meet at a common cross-member. The planar surface will normally rest on one set of legs, while the support arms and rod of the storage rack are attached to the other set of legs. The support structure might also include a hinge which would allow the support structure to be folded for storage. Support braces (with a slot for movement of the legs) could also be included to stabilise the legs of the support structure.

[0018] Other devices could also be used for the support structure including devices having one support pole at the middle of the easel to which the planar surface and the storage rack can be attached.

[0019] The storage rack is preferably mounted on the support structure and comprises a rod on which the charts can be hung and/or attached. The rod can be directly connected to the support structure, but more preferably is connected to the support structure through support arms which hold the rod away from the back of the planar surface, and thus allows for additional room for the charts to be hung/attached. Preferably, the rod extends between the two legs of the support structure, and thus extends transversely across support structure of the easel, and is perpendicular to the normal viewing position of the user.

[0020] The rod may be any suitable device on which the charts can be hung and/or attached. The term “rod” can include, for example, a length of wire, string, or rope, etc., but more preferably is a length of wooden, plastic or metal dowelling which would be suitable for receiving the hangers preferably used on the charts.

[0021] The present invention is particularly suitable in educational situations, and in particular, for the education of younger children wherein the children or teacher can locate a desired chart, and easily move it to the display position. However, the easel of the present invention is equally suitable for business presentations or the like, and thus, the easels use is equally applicable in other non-educational applications.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0022] Embodiments of this invention will now be described by way of example only in association with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0023] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a preferred embodiment of an easel according to the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the easel shown in FIG. 1;

[0025] FIG. 3 is detailed perspective view of the support arms and the rod of the storage rack;

[0026] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of an easel of the present invention;

[0027] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of the present invention; and,

[0028] FIG. 6 is a front view of a chart with hanger of use in the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0029] The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the present invention, as to its structure, organization, use and method of operation, together with further objectives and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following drawings in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention will now be illustrated by way of example only. In the drawings, like reference numerals depict like elements.

[0030] It is expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.

[0031] Referring to FIGS. 1 to 3, a preferred embodiment of an easel 10 is shown in accordance with the present invention comprising a support structure having a front set of legs 12, a rear set of legs 14, a common member 16 at which the two sets of legs meet to establish an “A-frame” structure, hinges 17 to allow legs 12 and 14 to be moved towards each other (for storage), and support braces 18 (with a slot 19) between one leg of each of legs 12 and 14, in order to stabilize the support structure.

[0032] Easel 10 also includes a planar surface 20, a hook 22 at or near the top of planar surface 20. Shown on planar surface 20 is a chart 30 which has been hung on hook 22 using a hanger 32 attached to chart 30. On the back of easel 10 is a storage rack having two support arms 40, one arm being attached to each of legs 14, and a rod 42 attached to support arms 40. A series of additional charts (all designated as 30) are hung on rod 42 using hangers 32. It should be noted that all of the charts hanging on rod 42 are oriented so as to be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the storage rack, and are thus, perpendicular to the user who wishes to search through the stored charts.

[0033] It can clearly be seen that the user can browse through the charts stored on the storage rack, and select any of the charts without needing to undo clips or the like, or to move or remove any of the other charts. The user can then take the selected chart to the front of the easel and easily hang it on the planar surface using hook 22.

[0034] In FIG. 4, an alternative embodiment is shown wherein the easel 100 comprises two planar surfaces 102 and 104, and wherein the storage rack is connected to the front and rear legs.

[0035] In FIG. 5, a further alternative embodiment is shown having a central rod 110, with a base 112, to which support arms 114 are attached to hold a planar surface 20. Additional support arms 116 are provide to hold rod 118.

[0036] FIG. 6 shows an enlarged view of the chart 30 and hanger 32 of a preferred chart according to the present invention.

[0037] Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the present invention, an easel with a storage rack which fully satisfies the goals, objects, and advantages set forth hereinbefore. Therefore, having described specific embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that alternatives, modifications and variations thereof may be suggested to those skilled in the art, and that it is intended that the present specification embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the scope of the appended claims.

[0038] Additionally, for clarity and unless otherwise stated, the word “comprise” and variations of the word such as “comprising” and “comprises”, when used in the description and claims of the present specification, is not intended to exclude other additives, components, integers or steps.

[0039] Further, while this discussion has addressed prior art known to the inventor, it is not an admission that all art discussed is citable against the present application.

[0040] Moreover, the words “substantially” or “essentially”, when used with an adjective or adverb is intended to enhance the scope of the particular characteristic; e.g., substantially planar is intended to mean planar, nearly planar and/or exhibiting characteristics associated with a planar element.

[0041] Moreover, use of the terms “he”, “him”, or “his”, is not intended to be specifically directed to persons of the masculine gender, and could easily be read as “she”, “her”, or “hers”, respectively.