Title:
Method and apparatus for the modular display of soap and soap products
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A vertical soap article display rack is attached to the front of grocery shelves. The display includes one to six modules, where each module is constructed of a substantially open frame such as wire. The module includes a bottom support with a front retaining lip; and a circumferential frame, such as a stiff wire to contain a stack of soap articles, and a removal slot between the frame and the bottom support. A soap article may be placed in a stack within the frame and removed by a customer through the removal slot. A portion of the front may be open.



Inventors:
Hagen, Marty Van Der (Liberty Hill, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/682170
Publication Date:
04/14/2005
Filing Date:
10/09/2003
Assignee:
HAGEN MARTY VAN DER
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/106
International Classes:
A47F1/08; (IPC1-7): A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICK B. YEAGER, ATTORNEY (AUSTIN, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A display system for soap articles, the system comprising a first display shelf, a second display shelf, such that the second display shelf is lower than the first display shelf; a plurality of individual soap containers, such that each container holds a packaged soap article; and a display rack comprising a vertical support element affixed to the front of the first display shelf and to the front of the second display shelf, a plurality of display modules, such that each module is supported by the vertical support, and such that a stack of soap containers may be placed in each module, each module comprising a bottom support element which supports the stack of soap containers within the module, a frame extending substantially around the module, such that the frame confines the stack of soap containers within the module, and a slot between the frame and the bottom support element, the slot having a height greater than the height of a soap container, such that the lowermost container within the stack of containers may be removed through the slot.

2. The display system of claim 1 wherein the bottom support element further comprises a lip, such that the lip is positioned in the lower portion of the slot and engages a portion of the lowest soap container in the module in order to retain the container within the module, such that the container must be raised over the lip in order to remove the container through the slot.

3. The display system of claim 1 wherein the vertical support element is a pair of wires; and the module frame is comprised of wire.

4. The display system of claim 3 wherein the module frame further comprises a first substantially vertical rear wire segment; a second substantially vertical rear wire segment; a first side vertical wire segment; a second side vertical wire segment; a first front vertical wire segment; a second front vertical wire segment; a substantially horizontal wire segment attached to the first front vertical wire segment, the first side vertical wire segment, the first vertical rear wire segment, the second vertical rear wire segment, the second side vertical wire segment, and the second front vertical wire segment; and a substantially horizontal bottom wire segment attached to the first front vertical wire segment, the first side vertical wire segment, the first vertical rear wire segment, the second vertical rear wire segment, the second side vertical wire segment, and the second front vertical wire segment.

5. The display system of claim 4 wherein there is a gap in the top wire segment between the first front vertical wire segment and the second front vertical wire segment; and there is a gap in the bottom wire segment between the first front vertical wire segment and the second front vertical wire segment, such that a portion of the front of the module frame is open.

6. The display system of claim 4 wherein a first wire is bent into a general L-shape such that the first wire provides the first vertical rear wire segment, the second vertical rear wire segment, a portion of the bottom support, and a lip extending above the bottom support; a second wire provides the first side vertical wire segment; a third wire provides the second side vertical wire segment; and a fourth wire provides the top wire segment, the first front vertical wire segment, the second front vertical wire segment, and the lower wire segment.

7. The display system of claim 6 further comprising a fifth bent wire providing a portion of the bottom support.

8. The display system of claim 1 wherein there in there are four modules and each module contains a different soap article.

9. The display system of claim 1 wherein the rack is mounted to the first display shelf with a clamp mechanism.

10. A display rack for soap articles, the rack comprising a support element, such that the support element may be affixed to a support structure; a plurality of display modules aligned vertically on the support element such that each module comprises a bottom support element, such that the bottom support element will support a stack of the soap articles, a frame, such that the frame will contain the stack of soap articles, and a removal slot between the bottom support element and the frame, such that a single soap article may be removed from the stack through the slot.

11. The display rack of claim 10 wherein the bottom support element further comprises a lip, such that the lip is positioned in the lower portion of the removal slot and engages a portion of the lowest soap article in the display module in order to retain the soap article within the display module, such that the soap article must be raised over the lip in order to remove the soap article through the removal slot.

12. The display rack of claim 10 wherein the vertical support element is at least one wire; and the module frame is comprised of wire.

13. The display rack of claim 10 wherein the module frame further comprises a first substantially vertical rear wire segment; a second substantially vertical rear wire segment; a first side vertical wire segment; a second side vertical wire segment; a first front vertical wire segment; a second front vertical wire segment; a substantially horizontal top wire segment attached to the first front vertical wire segment, the first side vertical wire segment, the first vertical rear wire segment, the second vertical rear wire segment, the second side vertical wire segment, and the second front vertical wire segment; and a substantially horizontal bottom wire segment attached to the first front vertical wire segment, the first side vertical wire segment, the first vertical rear wire segment, the second vertical rear wire segment, the second side vertical wire segment, and the second front vertical wire segment.

14. The system of claim 13 wherein there is a gap in the top wire segment between the first front vertical wire segment and the second front vertical wire segment; and there is a gap in the bottom wire segment between the first front vertical wire segment and the second front vertical wire segment, such that a portion of the front of the module frame is open.

15. The display rack of claim 10 wherein the module frame further comprises a first wire bent into a general L-shaped bracket, the first wire comprising a first vertical rear wire segment, a second vertical rear wire segment, a first bottom support segment, a second bottom support segment, and an upturned lip connecting the first bottom support segment to the second bottom support segment; and a second wire bent into a containment frame, the second wire comprising a substantially circumferential top section, a substantially circumferential lower section, a first front vertical support extending between the top section and the lower section, and a second front vertical support extending between the top section and the lower section, such that the lower section is supported above the first bottom support segment at a height greater than the height of a soap article, thereby creating a removal slot so that a soap article may be removed from a stack of soap articles placed in the containment frame.

16. The display rack of claim 15 wherein the module frame further comprises a bottom support element attached to the first bottom support segment and attached to the second bottom support segment; a first side wire extending from the top section to the bottom support element; and a second side wire extending from the top section to the bottom support element.

17. A method of displaying soap articles, the method comprising mounting a display rack to grocery display shelves, the rack comprising a support means, a plurality of vertically arranged display modules attached to the support means, each module comprising a bottom support means, a side containment means, and a removal slot between the bottom support means and the side containment means; placing a first group of soap articles in a first display module; and placing a second group of soap articles in a second display module.

18. The method of claim 17 further comprising packaging the first group of soap articles in a substantially transparent clamshell plastic case; and packaging the second group of soap articles in a substantially transparent clamshell plastic case.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is related to a method and system for displaying soap articles.

2. Background

There is a need for a method and system for soap displaying products where a variety of relatively small articles may be displayed in a pleasant and efficient manner. This need is particularly present for applications such as grocery stores, or drug stores where shelf space may be limited, or where the display and display maintenance of relatively small items is cumbersome or difficult.

In grocery applications, relatively small articles such as packaged soap articles may be assigned narrow shelf space, where it may be difficult for a consumer to locate a desired item. The items are typically stacked several articles high in a display row, so that it is difficult to keep the row neatly arranged.

The prior art includes wire baskets, wire display racks such as shown in online catalogs for Alpha Store Fixtures at http://www.storefixtures2000.com, and clip strips such as shown in http://www.avdm.com/Fixtures-Hardware.html.

There is a need for an attractive display system and method for a soap product that may be provided in a variety of colors or formulations, so that a customer can easily choose a desired soap article.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment of the current invention, a wire rack with multiple display modules is provided. Each display module typically can store and display a plurality of prepackaged soap articles.

In one embodiment, each display module is about 9 to 12 inches tall holds six to eight packages of soap. There may be from one to six modules in a stack or column which is typically affixed to a display shelf, wall, or other support surface. Each module has a containment frame for containing any articles stacked above the first article and has a lip which restricts the removal of the bottom article from the display module. The lip requires the customer to slightly tilt a desired package in order to remove it from the module. The customer grasps the bottom package in the stack of packages in the module, lifts slightly upward to remove the bottom article, and then the other articles will fall down into place in a stack in the module. The multiple modules provide variations of the products such as different colors or formulations of the product to be displayed in a like manner. The display is simply affixed to a shelf in one embodiment with a pair of clamp mechanisms, so that the display may be easily relocated.

The cross sectional shape of the modules, and the height of the modules can be selected based on the dimensions of a desired soap article. In one embodiment, a generally octagonal shape of a wire frame is used where the front facet of the octagon is open. This embodiment provides an attractive display, and permits the customer to see the front of the soap article.

In other embodiments, the module may be constructed from a closed wire frame. Other cross sectional shapes, including oval, circular, rectangular, and polygonal may be used. Other materials of construction may be used including metal, plastics, wood, or combinations of materials.

In one embodiment, a single module is provided. In other embodiments, two to six modules are provided in a vertically-arranged display.

Variations and equivalent arrangements of the invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art and are to be considered to be within the scope and spirit of the invention as set forth in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a four module rack embodiment.

FIG. 2. is a side perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a module of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT

Four Module Wire Rack Vertical Display

In this embodiment a wire rack forms a vertical display with multiple display modules. In this case four modules are provided, and each module is designed to contain six to eight packaged soap articles such that the bottom article maybe removed from a stack of articles in a module. The wire may be painted or coated, such as with a decorative color.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 to 4, the display rack 10 includes a rear support member 15, which supports display modules 100, 200, 300, and 400. Each module includes a plurality of vertical supports shown here as 34, 32, 56, 58, 22, and 23, and a plurality of radial supports shown here as 52 and 54 such that the vertical supports are supported by the radial supports in a spaced apart manner. In this embodiment, the general cross-sectional shape of the rack housing is octagonal and the front 40 has an opening 42 rather than being closed. The opening 42 is smaller than the width soap article so that the soap article will be contained within the housing. The opening is generally the shape and position of the front facet of an octagonal cross section module.

Each module includes a slot at the bottom of the module. The slots include a slot opening 45 and a lip 46. The slot opening is sized so that a soap article may be tilted slightly so that the leading bottom edge of the container is raised over the lip. The article may then be removed from the slot while the other containers in the module remain confined within the wire frame of the module.

In this example, each module is approximately 9.6 inches high, 4.25 inches wide, and 4.25 inches deep. Soap is contained in plastic clam shell containers 200. In one embodiment, each clam shell container is approximately 1ΒΌ inch tall.

Referring now to FIG. 4, which is an exploded perspective view of one example of construction of a module, the elements may be seen. In this embodiment a stiff wire construction is used for the modules and the supports. The modules 100, 200, 300 and 400 are supported from a pair of stiff vertical wire supports 12 and 14 which run the length of the device. In this example the vertical wire supports are spaced about 1.00 inches apart. Each module includes a L-shaped bracket 21 which provides two rear elements 22 and 23, portion of a bottom element 24, and a lip 46. Each module includes a substantially circumferential frame 50, which is a bent wire that includes a top portion 52, a bottom portion 54 and provides two front portions 56 and 58. Additionally, in this embodiment, there is a first side element 32 and a second side element 34 that extend from the top of the frame to the bottom of the frame to the bottom support element. This embodiment further comprises a bottom frame 48. It is not necessary for the circumferential frame to completely enclose the front. In this embodiment, an attractive front opening is provided so that the front of the soap articles may be visible without obstruction. In this example, the lip has a height of about 0.63 inches so that there is a gap of about 1.69 inches between the top of the lip and the bottom of the module frame. The lip preferably protrudes about 0.25 inches beyond the frame.

The device is preferably attached to the store display shelf with a bracket 60 and c-clamp mechanism 70 with a screw 71 and a nut 72. The bracket 60 is preferably attached to the support wires 12 and 14. In this embodiment, each bracket is also attached to the module rear wires 22 and 23. A c-clamp 70 is bolted to the bracket such that the c-clamp may be tightened underneath a shelf in order to hold the device in place relative to the shelf. Preferably there are at least two of these brackets, one being located near the top of the device and the other being located near the bottom of the device to stabilize the device relative to the shelves.

The shape of the modules is not limited to the general octagonal shape as described above. The shape may be generally circular, rectangular, or other polygonal shapes as appropriate for the containers to be displayed.

In this embodiment, the side elements 32 and 34 are bent upward in a general J shape in order to minimize the possibility of injury from scraping a hand as soap articles are placed in a module below the element.

A first set of soap articles is placed in the lowermost fourth module 400, one article at a time, by placing a package 401 in the opening 420 between the fourth module 400 and the third module 300 and gently lowering the package into place to that it will rest on the bottom surface 448 of the fourth module. This process may be continued until the fourth module is substantially full. The process is repeated for the same soap article or for a different soap article for the third module 300, then repeated for the second module 200, and repeated for the top module 100. In practice, the soap article is removed by tilting the front edge of the soap article over the lip and then pulling the tilted article from the stack. The soap articles that are stacked above the desired article are retained within the module by the circumferential frame. Now the lower lip restricts the soap article from being inadvertently moved or dislodged from the module so that the deliberate tilting and removal action is required.

Five Module Wire Rack Vertical Display

In this embodiment, five modules are arranged in a vertical display. The modules and support may be made from wire, wood, plastic, or a combination of materials. The crosss sectional shape may be circular, oval, rectangular, or polygonal. The front of each module may be enclosed by the module frame or partially open.

Six Module Wire Rack Vertical Display

In this embodiment, six modules are arranged in a vertical display. The modules and support may be made from wire, wood, plastic, or a combination of materials. The crosss sectional shape may be circular, oval, rectangular, or polygonal. The front of each module may be enclosed by the module frame or partially open.

Similar embodiments may include one to three modules in a vertical display where the total display height may be in the range of 12 to 60 inches.

Combinations of Modules

In this embodiment, the modules of different heights or shapes may be used. For instance, in a three module embodiment, the top module may be taller that the lower modules.

In other embodiments, a first display module has a different size or shape from a second display module.