Title:
Customizable storage and display systems
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A custom display storage system includes storage and display assemblies. One embodiment of the storage assembly includes an album or scrapbook containing pages for mounting graphic works and other generally planar objects. An embodiment of the display assembly includes a display unit joined at the edges with a backing to form a pocket. The display unit includes openings for display of character strings and/or graphic images. The backing includes a slot, hinge, or some other opening system to provide access to the pocket. A customizable insert assembly for insertion into the pocket includes a base sheet having guidelines for mounting images and/or character strings; a clear synthetic resin sheet; and a mat including cut outs aligned with the guidelines of the base sheet. An alternative embodiment of the system includes a container for storing three dimensional items as well as graphic works. The custom display storage system may also comprise a kit with a selection of character units, multiple variations of mats (i.e. color, thickness, cut-out sizes, etc.) and an album or storage container with a variety of display units. Another embodiment of the display system of the instant invention is provided that allows for the display of a either three dimensional or two dimensional items, or combinations of the same. The display system includes a frame, a display glass, an injection molded spacer, and a backing. The spacer provides spacing between the display glass and the backing to accommodate three dimensional items and/or to provide a three dimensional look to the display.



Inventors:
Seymour, Curt D. (Parkville, MO, US)
Stanley, Kay L. (Parkville, MO, US)
Application Number:
10/764977
Publication Date:
01/06/2005
Filing Date:
01/26/2004
Assignee:
SEYMOUR CURT D.
STANLEY KAY L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G1/06; A47G1/12; (IPC1-7): A47G1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOGE, GARY CHAPMAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DENTONS US LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A custom display and storage system comprising: a display unit having an opening, said opening adapted for display of an image or character string; a customizable insert assembly adapted for display of an image or character string, said insert assembly including a matting, said matting including a cut out corresponding to said opening of said display unit; a releasable connection between said display unit and said insert assembly adapted to removably mount said insert assembly to said display unit, and a storage unit coupled with said display unit.

2. The custom display and storage system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said insert assembly further comprises a base sheet for mounting of the image or character string.

3. The custom display and storage system as claimed in claim 2 wherein said base sheet further comprises guidelines adapted for alignment of the image or character string.

4. The custom display and storage system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said releasable connection comprises a backing coupled with said display unit.

5. The custom display and storage system as claimed in claim 4 wherein said backing includes an elongate slot.

6. The custom display and storage system as claimed in claim 4 wherein said backing is coupled to said display unit via a hinge.

7. The custom display and storage system as claimed in claim 1 wherein said storage unit comprise an album type storage unit.

8. A custom display system comprising; a frame, said frame including a lip; a transparent display panel supported within a front side of said frame by said lip; an injection molded single piece spacer positioned within said frame on an opposing side of said panel to said lip; and a backing positioned on an opposing side of said spacer to said panel, said backing adapted to maintain said spacer and said panel within said frame from a back side of said frame.

9. The custom display system as claimed in claim 8 wherein said backing comprises a matting component and a backing component.

10. The custom display system as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spacer has a width similar to a width of said lip.

11. The custom display system as claimed in claim 8 wherein said spacer has an inner circumference generally similar to an outer circumference of said lip.

12. A method of manufacturing a spacer for providing a gap between a display panel and a backing in a three dimensional custom display system, comprising the steps of: determining an inner circumference of the display system; and injection molding a single piece body, said body including an outer circumference that fits within said inner circumference of the display system.

Description:

This application claims priority pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/442,452, filed Jan. 25, 2003 and to co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/507,906, filed Sep. 30, 2003.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to systems for storage and display. More particularly, one embodiment of the instant invention is concerned with a system providing storage for prints and the like and a display for graphic images and character strings, such as custom character strings formed from a selection of character units, or preprinted character strings. Another embodiment of the instant invention is concerned with a system providing simultaneous storage and display of three dimensional items as well as graphic images and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Display devices and storage systems are well known. Examples of a prior art custom display systems are referenced in U.S. Pat. No. 6,460,279 issued to Stanley et al. on Oct. 8, 2002 (the “'279 Patent”), and in U.S. Pat. No. 5,918,398 issued to Stanley et al. on Jul. 6, 1999, which patents are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. Such prior art display systems include custom displays as well as a displays combined with a convenient storage unit for a quantity of additional items. The prior art displays may be easily personalized with two-dimensional graphic images and characters according to individual taste, and are specially designed to permit easy modification without damage to the system.

Broadly speaking, the prior art disclosed in the '279 Patent includes a storage assembly and a display assembly. The storage assembly includes an album or scrapbook containing pages for mounting graphic works and other generally planar objects. The display assembly includes a display unit joined at the edges with a backing to form a pocket therebetween. The display unit includes openings for display of custom character strings as well as graphic images. The backing includes a slot providing access to the pocket.

A base sheet having a guide grid for mounting images, including a string of preprinted character units, may be slid through the slot and into the pocket. The base sheet is sized to fit snugly within the pocket so that the character string and graphics are aligned for display via the display unit openings without the need for adhesive strips or other fasteners.

Alternatively, the system may include a container for storing three dimensional items as well as graphic works. In such embodiments, the top and/or sidewall of the container is constructed with a display assembly to include one or more pockets for receiving a base sheet with images and character units. The custom display and storage system may also comprise a kit including a character assortment corresponding to the alphabet and numerals and an album or storage container with a variety of display unit configurations.

FIGS. 1 through 3 show a prior art custom display and storage system 10 in the form of a scrapbook as taught by U.S. Pat. No. 6,460,279. Scrapbook 10 includes a display assembly 12 and a storage assembly 14. The display assembly 12 includes a display unit 16 coupled at the edges with a backing 18 to form a pocket 20 therebetween for receiving a display sheet 22.

The display unit 16 includes a front surface 24 and a back surface 26 and a window array 28, including an image window 30 and a character window 32. A clear synthetic resin glazing is coupled with the display unit back surface 26 by adhesive or other means. The configuration of both display unit and windows 28 may be of any suitable geometric shape, and any number of image and character windows 30 and 32 may be provided.

The display unit 16 may also be constructed in layers to permit insertion of additional material such as polyester fiberfill between the front and back surfaces 24 and 26 to give a padded appearance. Additionally, the layered construction may include a matting layer located between the front and back surfaces 24 and 26 to give a more elegant, frame-like appearance to the display. Alternatively, the back surface 26 itself may be cut so as to extend slightly into windows 28 to provide a matting look. The display unit front surface 24 may be constructed of paper, cloth, synthetic resin, wood or any suitable material and it may be figured with a design. Ribbons, bows or findings may be applied to the front surface 24.

The backing 18 also includes a front surface 36 and a back surface 38. The front surface 36 is coupled with the display unit back surface 26 at the edges to form the pocket 20. The surfaces may be coupled at one or more intermediate locations to form two or more pockets 20.

The backing 18 is equipped with a slot 40 having a pair of generally transverse end cuts 42 and 44, which form a flap 46. FIG. 2 depicts the slot 40 in a generally horizontal orientation. A corresponding slot 40 is provided for access to each pocket 20, and more than one slot 40 may be provided for access to a single pocket 20. Thus, any number of slots may be provided and they may be oriented in any suitable arrangement, such as vertically or diagonally. Additionally the flap may be omitted and a wider opening may be substituted.

The display sheet 22 is sized to be received and frictionally held in place within the pocket 20 and it includes a base sheet 50, character subassemblies 76 and graphic images 80. The base sheet 50 is of thin, planar construction, including front and back surfaces 56 and 58 surrounded by a perimeter edge 60. The front surface 56 is imprinted with an image locator grid 62 and a character guide grid 64.

The character guide grid 64 is configured to correspond to the dimensions and locations of the corresponding character window opening 32 to display a character string 78 formed by multiple character subassemblies 76. The character grid 64 has a generally rectangular overall configuration with printed lines indicating individual character locations 66 as well as fractional space dividers 68. The image locator grid 62 is imprinted in accordance with the dimensions of the corresponding image window and with appropriate standard sizes of photographic prints. In this manner, for example, a 4″×6″ rectangular photographic print may be aligned with a 4″×6″ oval image window 30, without the need for cropping of the print.

A graphic image, 80, is sized to generally correspond to the image locator grid 62. The image 80 is mounted on the base sheet 50 by suitable adhesive mount 82, such as a liquid adhesive composition or double-sided tape strip.

An album-type (scrapbook) storage assembly 14 is depicted in FIG. 1 and includes a front cover formed by the display assembly 12, a back cover 84 including a facing 86 and a plurality of pages 88. The pages 88 are fastened together at one end and covered by a spine 90, which extends between the display assembly 12 and back cover 84. The display assembly backing 18 and back cover facing 86 are each configured of sufficient width to extend beyond the respective display unit 16 and back cover 84 in order to provide a flyleaf 92 which is folded over and adhered to a first and last album page 88 respectively. The pages 88 may be decorated by imprinting or embossing.

FIG. 1 depicts an album having such a book-type binding, however any of a number of alternate bindings may be employed. Those albums permitting removal and replacement of the pages 88, such as, for example, post, ring and strap-type bindings are particularly preferred. The pages 88 may include pockets for receiving photographs or other memorabilia, or adhesive sheets with plastic cover slips which may be removed by peeling and reattached over an item to be stored. The pages may also be equipped with adhesive corners, for mounting graphic items.

In use, a wide variety of character units 76 are provided to permit selection and assembly of a personalized character string 78 including names, dates, or other numerical identifiers reflecting a pre-selected theme, such as a wedding, baby, school, graduation, vacation, anniversary or type of material to be stored, such as railroad memorabilia. The system 10 may be selected based on the window array 28 and overall theme of decoration. The character string 78 is determined, and corresponding character units 72 and one or more graphic images 80 are selected.

While the prior art custom display systems described above do provide a wide variety of applications and customizability for the end user, these systems still have some limitations as to the type, magnitude and nature of customization that can be accomplished by the end user. For example, the end user cannot alter the color of the front surface 24 of the album cover 16, or the color of any matting layer located between the front and back surfaces 24 and 26 of the album cover 16. Thus the end user is limited to the color combinations and variations provided by the manufacturer of the particular album. Therefore it is desirable to provide a custom display system that allows an end user a wider variety of color combinations than are available in prior art display systems.

Furthermore, although the prior art custom display systems described above do provide a wide variety of applications and customizability for the end user, these systems still have some limitations as to the type of objects that can be displayed. For example, several embodiments of the prior art include storage units that are capable of containing three dimensional items but which do not provide for the display of such three dimensional items. Rather, the display portions of the prior art systems are designed primarily for the display of two dimensional objects, such as pictures or other generally planar graphic items. Recently, it has become very popular to display three dimensional items together with two dimensional items to provide more complex appearances and depth to the displays. Therefore it is desirable to provide a custom display system that allows for the display of three dimensional items as well as two dimensional items.

Prior art methods of displaying three dimensional items include the use of shadow boxes or specially modified/designed picture frames. A shadow box is a shallow, framed, rectangular box usually with a glass front panel that is used for holding and protecting items on display. Generally, the glass portion of the shadow box is mounted toward a front position of the frame by pins or the like, and a backing is retained by a lip or back edge of the frame to provide spacing between the glass and the backing for storing the three dimensional item that is to be displayed. Such is a very labor intensive process. Alternatively, a spacer is sometimes included to provide spacing between the glass and the backing of a frame. The prior art spacers generally are made by cutting narrow individual lengths of plastic (or some other suitable filler material) to surround the perimeter of the display glass while being concealed by a front lip of the frame. Such prior art spacers are glued to the edge of the glass or frame or otherwise attached by an adhesive tape or the like. This cutting of individual spacer pieces and gluing in place is often very difficult as well as time consuming to complete and thus not convenient for mass production. Therefore, it is desirable to provide an easier, less time consuming means of providing space between the glass and the backing of a shadow box or frame that is convenient for mass production of such frames.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A principal object of the instant invention is to provide a customizable display and storage system that allows for customization and variation of features that are not customizable in the display systems of the prior art. Another object of the instant invention is to provide a customizable display and storage system that allows for customization and variation of the color of a mat used in connection with the display.

The objects of the instant invention are accomplished through the use of a display and storage system including a storage assembly and a display assembly. The storage assembly includes an album or scrapbook containing pages for mounting graphic works and other generally planar objects. The display assembly includes a display unit joined at the edges with a backing to form a pocket therebetween. The display unit includes openings for display of character strings and/or graphic images. The backing includes a slot, or opening between the backing and the display unit, providing access to the pocket. In an alternative embodiment the backing may be hinged, taped, or otherwise removeably connected to the display unit to provide access to the pocket. In one alternative embodiment, a single side of the backing may be hinged to the display unit with another side being removably connected using hook and pile to allow access to the pocket.

A customizable insert assembly for insertion into the pocket includes a base sheet having guidelines for mounting images and/or character strings; a clear synthetic resin sheet; and a mat including cut outs aligned with the guidelines of the base sheet. The entire insert assembly is sized to fit snugly within the pocket so that the character strings and/or graphics are aligned for display via the display unit openings without the need for adhesive strips or other fasteners. When assembled, the mat cut outs are aligned with the display unit openings. The mat cut outs are sized slightly smaller than the display unit openings so as to provide a multi-layered frame-like appearance to the display. Character strings displayed by the instant invention may be preprinted or fixed character strings, or they may be customizable character strings as discussed above. In an embodiment of the instant invention a character guide is included on the base sheet.

The mat used in the insert assembly can be selected from a variety of different colors and thicknesses. Furthermore, multiple mats of various colors, thickness, and having varying cut out sizes can be used in combination to provide numerous variations of a layered appearance.

Alternatively, the system may include a container for storing three dimensional items as well as graphic works. In such embodiments, the top and/or sidewall of the container is constructed with a display assembly to include one or more pockets for receiving a base sheet with images and character units. The custom display and storage system may also comprise a kit including a character assortment corresponding to the alphabet and numerals and an album or storage container with a variety of display unit configurations.

Another principal object of the instant invention is to provide a customizable display and storage system that allows for the display of three dimensional items as well as two dimensional items. A further object of the instant invention is to provide a custom display system that allows for the display of three dimensional items as well as two dimensional items that is fast and easy to assemble and which is suitable for mass production.

The objects of the instant invention are accomplished through the use of a display and storage system including a frame, a display glass or panel, a spacer and a backing. The frame is a basic picture frame made of wood, plastic or any other suitable material. The frame includes a front lip extending inwardly towards the center of the frame. The display glass fits into the frame from the back side and is supported by the front lip of the frame. The spacer, having a width that is generally the same width as the front lip of the frame and having an inner circumference that generally matches the outer circumference of the front lip (as the lip protrudes from the frame), fits within the frame from the back side after the display glass. The backing is sized to fit within the frame from the back side as well. The spacer provides spacing between the display glass and the backing. Three dimensional objects can thus be mounted on the backing for display in the frame.

The display glass (or panel) of the instant invention can be real glass, Plexiglas, clear plastic, or any other suitable generally transparent material. The spacer of the preferred embodiment is injection molded as a single piece of plastic that is sized to fit the specific frame for which it is to be used. Injection molding virtually eliminates any wasted materials during manufacturing of the spacer. The single piece spacer allows for easy assembly of the frame, display glass and backing without the need for any adhesives or cutting of pieces, greatly reducing total assembly time, and allowing for mass production of the display units. This allows standard picture frames to be easily converted into shadow boxes.

The spacer of the instant invention is generally out of view from the displayed items because it is located behind the lip of the frame. Nevertheless, the spacer can be manufactured in a variety of colors to match either the backing or the frame itself and to further conceal the spacer. In one embodiment the spacer is manufactured of a clear plastic, which is ideal for light colored wood frames. In another embodiment the spacer can be manufactured in black to match a black backing and so forth.

The foregoing and other objects are intended to be illustrative of the invention and are not meant in a limiting sense. Many possible embodiments of the invention may be made and will be readily evident upon a study of the following specification and accompanying drawings comprising a part thereof. Various features and subcombinations of invention may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. Other objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of this invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the invention, illustrative of the best modes in which the applicant has contemplated applying the principles, are set forth in the following description and are shown in the drawings and are particularly and distinctly pointed out and set forth in the appended claims.

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a prior art custom display and storage album/scrapbook.

FIG. 2 is a rear plan view of the display assembly depicted in FIG. 1, showing insertion of a display sheet through a slot in the backing and into a pocket in the display unit.

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the display sheet depicted in FIG. 2 showing placement of a graphic image and fractional character unit.

FIG. 4 is a front view of a customizable display and storage album/scrapbook of the instant invention.

FIG. 5 is an exploded front perspective view of a customizable insert assembly of the instant invention.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the customizable display system of the instant invention.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of a three dimensional display system of the instant invention.

FIG. 8 is a partial cross sectional view of the display system of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of the display system of FIGS. 7 and 8.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As required, detailed embodiments of the present inventions are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure.

The display and storage system of a preferred embodiment of the instant invention is described, in part, with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 showing the display and storage system of the prior art. The display and storage system 10 includes a display assembly 12 and a storage assembly 14. The display assembly 12 includes a display unit 16 coupled at the edges with a backing 18 to form a pocket 20 therebetween for receiving and holding a customizable insert assembly 122.

The display unit 16 includes a front surface 24 and a back surface 26 and a window array 28, including an image window 30 and a character window 32. The configuration of both display unit and windows 28 may be of any suitable geometric shape, and any number of image and/or character windows 30 and 32 may be provided.

The backing 18 also includes a front surface 36 and a back surface 38. The front surface 36 is coupled with the display unit back surface 26 at the edges to form the pocket 20. The surfaces may be coupled at one or more intermediate locations to form two or more pockets 20.

The backing 18 is equipped with a slot 40 having a pair of generally transverse end cuts 42 and 44, which form a flap 46. FIG. 2 depicts the slot 40 in a generally horizontal orientation. A corresponding slot 40 is provided for access to each pocket 20, and more than one slot 40 may be provided for access to a single pocket 20. Thus, any number of slots may be provided and they may be oriented in any suitable arrangement, such as vertically or diagonally. Additionally the flap may be omitted and a wider opening may be substituted and/or the slot may be an open edge between backing 18 and display unit 16.

The size of the pocket will vary depending upon the size of the insert assembly 122 that is to be placed into the pocket. The insert assembly 122, shown in FIG. 5, is sized to be received and frictionally held in place within the pocket 20 and it includes a base sheet 50; a clear synthetic resin sheet 105; and a mat 115. The entire insert assembly 122 is sized to fit snugly within the pocket so that a character string and/or graphics are aligned for display via display unit openings without the need for adhesive strips or other fasteners.

The base sheet 50 is of thin, planar construction, including front and back surfaces surrounded by a perimeter edge. The base sheet can be identical to the base sheet discussed with respect to the prior art in FIG. 3. In such case the front surface is imprinted with an image locator grid 62 and a character guide grid 64 (see FIG. 3) for creating a custom character string. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, the base sheet 50 includes guidelines 160 and 162 for mounting images and a character string without the use of a guide grid for mounting customized character strings.

The character string guidelines 160 are configured to correspond to the dimensions and locations of the corresponding character window opening 32 to display a character string 178. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, a character string is pre-printed and sized to generally correspond to the character string guidelines 160. The character string 178 is mounted to the base sheet 50 by suitable adhesive mounting means, such as a liquid adhesive composition or double-sided tape strip.

The image locator grid 162 is imprinted in accordance with the dimensions of the corresponding image window and with appropriate standard sizes of photographic prints. In this manner, for example, a 4″×6″ rectangular photographic print may be aligned with a 4″×6″ oval image window 30, without the need for cropping of the print. A graphic image 80, is sized to generally correspond to the image locator grid 162. The image 80 is mounted on the base sheet 50 by suitable adhesive mounting means, such as a liquid adhesive composition or double-sided tape strip.

Mat 115 includes cutouts 128 (individually image cutout 130 and character cutout 132). Image cutout 130 corresponds to image window 30, while character cutout 132 corresponds to character window 32. As is shown in FIG. 4, cutouts 128 (130 and 132) are slightly smaller in dimension than windows 30 and 32 respectively. Such reduction in the cutout sizes is provided to accomplish a desired layered appearance. Mat 115 used in the insert assembly 122 can be selected from a variety of different colors and thicknesses depending upon the desire look. Furthermore, multiple mats of various colors, thickness, and having varying cutout sizes can be used in combination to provide numerous variations of a layered appearance.

Once the image 80 and the character string 178 are mounted to the base sheet 50, the clear synthetic resin sheet 105 is placed on top of base sheet 50 and mat 155 is placed on top of resin sheet 105 to form the completed insert assembly 122. In the preferred embodiment the resin sheet 105 is placed on top of the base sheet 50 to protect image 80 and character string 178 from dirt and damage and to give a more professional appearance. Also, the resin sheet 105 is placed under the mat 115 to provide a more professional appearance. Nevertheless, the exact arrangement of base sheet 50, resin sheet 105 and mat 115 is immaterial to the instant invention. The resin sheet could be in the form of a glazing that is coupled with the display unit back surface 26 as is discussed with respect to the prior art. Furthermore, the image could be attached directly to the back of mat 115, rather than attached to the front of base sheet 50. This may be desirable given that photographs are already glossy, thus not requiring the resin layer.

The individual components of the insert assembly 122, i.e. the base sheet 50, the resin sheet 105, and the mat assembly 115 can be permanently affixed together as a single unit to aid in proper alignment. The components can be connected together by taping, gluing, or by any other means known in the art, connecting the sheets together on one end. This allows the end user to customize the base sheet 50 with a character string and/or images by flipping the resin sheet and the mat away from the base sheet, while also maintaining appropriate alignment of the components of the insert assembly.

FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment of display assembly 12 in which access to the pocket for insertion and removal of insert assembly 122 is accomplished with a hinged connection 170 that connects a single side of display unit 16 to backing 18. Hooks 180 are attached to back surface 26 of display unit 16, and pile 182 are attached to front surface 36 of backing 18. Hooks 180 and pile 182 are positioned to provide a releasable connection between display unit 16 and backing 18, thus forming the pocket when connected. Hinged connection 170 can include a traditional hinge or alternatively, a living hinge which provides a flexible connection between display unit 16 and backing 18 and access to the interior of the pocket.

The instant invention allows for easy customization of a display and storage system such as a scrapbook. Numerous variations of color combinations can be utilized without the need for manufacturing a large number of varying styles. An end user desiring a scrapbook or photo album having a specific color combination merely selects an album of appropriate color and combines it with a mat of the desired color. This is extremely beneficial when a small number of albums, or even a single album, of a particular color combination is desired. The display system can be sold as a kit in which mats of a variety of colors are included with an album. The end user can then merely purchase the kit containing an album of the desired cover color and then select from the various mats the mat having the color desired. In this case only the number of colors of mats limits the number of possible variations of color combinations. For example, if a single kit includes 10 mat colors, than there are ten different color combinations. The manufacturer need only produce a single album with ten mats rather than 10 albums to obtain the same amount of customer selection. Alternatively, the albums and the insert assemblies can be sold individually. The end user would select an album of appropriate color and individually select an insert assembly having a mat of appropriate color.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a wide variety of custom display and storage systems can be devised which are within the scope of the present invention. For example, various numbers and configurations of image and character string windows could be formed in the display unit and could assume other geometric shapes, including polygons, diamonds and circles.

A preferred embodiment of a display and storage system and the instant invention for the display of three dimensional items is described with reference to FIGS. 7-9. Frame 210 includes front lip 212 extending inwardly from front edge 214 of frame 210. Display glass 220 is sized to be inserted within frame 210 from back side 216 and supported by front lip 212. Spacer 230 is then inserted within frame 210 from back side 216. Spacer 230 has a width that is generally the width, W, of front lip 212. Matting 235 is inserted within frame 210 from back side 216. Matting 235 has similar dimensions to display glass 220 such that spacer 230 will provide a gap or spacing between matting 235 and display glass 220 for accomodation of three dimensional items. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7-9, matting 235 includes a cutout for inclusion of a two dimensional image, such as a photograph, mounted behind matting 235. Backing 240 is mounted to back side 216 of frame 210 to maintain display glass 220, spacer 230 and matting 235 within frame 210. Backing 240 includes an access panel held in place by metal tabs and a living hinge, to allow access to and removal of display glass 220, spacer 230 and matting 235 from frame 210. In an alternative embodiment backing 240 will be flush with back edge 216 when the display is fully assembled and is maintained in place by metal tabs (not shown) protruding from frame 210 and which are bent over the back side of backing 240.

Although the depicted embodiment includes matting 235 upon which the displayed three-dimensional items are mounted, it will be appreciated that the displayed items can be mounted directly to backing 240 and matting 235 thus eliminated without departing from the spirit and scope of the instant invention. Furthermore, although the term “matting” is used to reference item 235, it is understood that the term “backing” as used in the appended claims shall generally reference either backing 240 or matting 235 described above. In addition, it will be appreciated that lip 212 shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 may be integral with frame 216 as shown, or alternatively, lip 212 may be any protrusion extending inwardly from frame 216 to hold glass 220 within the frame from front side 214.

In the foregoing description, certain terms have been used for brevity, clearness and understanding; but no unnecessary limitations are to be implied therefrom beyond the requirements of the prior art, because such terms are used for descriptive purposes and are intended to be broadly construed. Moreover, the description and illustration of the inventions is by way of example, and the scope of the inventions is not limited to the exact details shown or described.

Certain changes may be made in embodying the above invention, and in the construction thereof, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not meant in a limiting sense.

Having now described the features, discoveries and principles of the invention, the manner in which the inventive customizable display system is constructed and used, the characteristics of the construction, and advantageous, new and useful results obtained; the new and useful structures, devices, elements, arrangements, parts and combinations, are set forth in the appended claims.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.