Title:
Corner protectors for framed artwork
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A unitary protector for picture frames includes four padded triangular corner pocket sections with an inner soft fabric and a seam facing outwardly. The ends of four elasticized bands are sewn to the outer durable fabric of the four corner sections at approximately midway between the top and bottom of the corner section. The seams and points of attachment of the elastic bands are thus kept away from the delicate surface of the frame. Additionally, the elastic bands are configured to evenly distribute stresses.



Inventors:
Myers, Annette M. (Neptune Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/080963
Publication Date:
07/21/2005
Filing Date:
03/15/2005
Assignee:
MYERS ANNETTE M.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
40/778, 40/787, 206/591
International Classes:
B65D81/05; (IPC1-7): B65D85/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark J. Young (Jacksonville, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A unitary protector device comprising: four, three-dimensional triangular corner sections, each corner section being constructed of an outer durable fabric; a middle polyester fiber batting material; and, an inner soft fabric; said layers being sewn together to create a corner section that has one 90 degree angle and 2 acute angles that opens as a pocket with a top and bottom, said top and bottom being configured to protect opposed sides of a corner of a frame; and a seam facing outwardly, the shape of each of said corner sections being adapted to fit over a corner of an art frame; and four elasticized bands, each elasticized band having two ends, each end being sewn to the outer durable fabric of one of the two acute angles of each of the four corner sections at approximately midway between the top and bottom of the corner section, each elasticized band connecting two corner sections to create one unitary protector device having four corner sections, each corner section being connected to the next by an elasticized band.

2. A unitary protector device according to claim 1, wherein the unitary protector device is configured to remain attached to an art frame having four corners solely by tension from the elasticized bands when the four corner sections are positioned over the corners of the art frame, placing one corner section of the protector device over one art frame corner until each art frame corner is covered with a corner section of the device; and wherein the seam of each corner section is configured so as to not contact the art frame.

3. A unitary protector device according to claim 1, wherein the unitary protector device is configured to remain attached to an art frame having four corners solely by tension from the elasticized bands when the four corner sections are positioned over the corners of the art frame, placing one corner section of the protector device over one art frame corner until each art frame corner is covered with a corner section of the device; and wherein each end of the elasticized bands is sewn to the outer durable fabric and configured so as to not contact the art frame.

4. A unitary protector device according to claim 1, wherein the unitary protector device is configured to remain attached to an art frame having four corners solely by tension from the elasticized bands when the four corner sections are positioned over the corners of the art frame, placing one corner section of the protector device over one art frame corner until each art frame corner is covered with a corner section of the device; and wherein each end of the elasticized bands is positioned to evenly distribute stress between the top and bottom of each corner section.

5. A unitary protector device according to claim 1, wherein the unitary protector device is configured to remain attached to an art frame having four corners solely by tension from the elasticized bands when the four corner sections are positioned over the corners of the art frame, placing one corner section of the protector device over one art frame corner until each art frame corner is covered with a corner section of the device; wherein each end of the elasticized bands is sewn to the outer durable fabric and configured so as to not contact the art frame; wherein the seam of each corner section is configured so as to not contact the art frame; and wherein each end of the elasticized bands is positioned to evenly distribute stress between the top and bottom of each corner section.

6. A unitary protector device according to claim 4, wherein the corners are padded to protect the art frame.

7. A unitary protector device according to claim 5, wherein the elastic bands are adapted to avoid damaging the art frame.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part and claims the benefit of U.S. Non-Provisional application Ser. No. 10/371,250, filed Feb. 20, 2003, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/358,575, filed Feb. 21, 2002, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to frames, and more particularly, to a protective covering for the corners of frames for pictures and other artwork.

BACKGROUND

Picture frames having highly polished and/or finished surface layers, are generally subject to wear as the frame is transported. Typically, the base material, often wood, selected for construction of the frame is carefully chosen for its beauty. The base is further provided with a delicate painted, stained or varnished coating, which may be painstakingly applied in multiple layers to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the end product.

During transportation, such as to art show, it is not uncommon that the corners and other exposed portions of the frame rub against items. The inevitable result of such contact between the frame and other items over time is that the items will scratch, mar, or otherwise impair the finish delicately imparted to the wooden base.

Traditional frame corner protectors are usually single units attached to each corner of the frame, are most often removable objects, and are made of products that can cause wear and tear to frames when they are removed and replaced again and again. These known products are sometimes stapled or nailed to the back of frames to avoid attaching and replacing; but the act of the permanent attachment, in itself, damages the artwork. Additionally, over time, these products will degrade to a point that replacement is required.

Accordingly, a significant need exists in the art in attempting to solve the problem of worn, marred, or scratched finishes of frames (particularly corners) as they are handled and transported over time. The solution must be cost-effective, easy to use and delicate. As elastic and seams have been known to mar delicate finishes, the solution must distance the corners of frames from these potentially marring structures. Additionally, the solution should evenly distribute stresses to minimize stress concentrations and abrasion to delicate surfaces.

The invention is directed towards solving one or more of the problems identified above.

SUMMARY

It is therefore an object of a preferred embodiment of the present invention to provide a protective covering for the corners of frames for pictures and other artwork.

It is therefore another object of a preferred embodiment of the present invention to provide a protective covering for the corners of frames for pictures and other artwork, whereby the protective covering keeps seams and elastic from contacting the corner.

It is therefore yet another object of a preferred embodiment of the present invention to provide a protective covering for the corners of frames for pictures and other artwork, whereby the protective covering evenly distributes stresses at the corners.

To achieve these and other objects, a protective covering configured to be attached to the corners of framed art is provided. The covering offers protection against damage to the frames. The present invention more particularly addresses the issues of damage prevention, convenience of use and durability by providing a unitary structure comprised of a plurality of corner protectors joined by elastic bands. The elastic bands are adapted to evenly distribute stresses at the corners. The bands are attached at the outer surface of each corner to prevent damage to the corner from the elastic attachment point. Additionally, each corner has seams facing outwardly to protect delicate finishes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, where:

FIG. 1 is a front view of an exemplary implementation of a protective cover according to principles of the invention prior to attachment to artwork;

FIG. 2 is a front view of an exemplary implementation of a protective cover according to principles of the invention attached to artwork;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of an exemplary implementation of a protective cover according to principles of the invention illustrating constructed materials of each fabric corner as it sits when attached to the frames;

FIG. 4 is a side view of an exemplary implementation of a protective cover according to principles of the invention attached to a framed object;

FIG. 5 is a front view of a corner of an exemplary implementation of a protective cover according to principles of the invention prior to attachment to artwork, illustrating preferred seam configuration and elastic attachment; and

FIG. 6 is a front view of a corner of an exemplary implementation of a protective cover according to principles of the invention prior to attachment to artwork, illustrating preferred seam configuration and elastic attachment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1, the four triangular corners 12 are padded pockets, which will provide protection to frame corners. The lines 14 between the corners represent adjoining stretchable bands, such as one-quarter inch elastic attached to the tips or ends of each corner.

An exemplary embodiment of the invention includes four separate, padded, fabric, triangular, 2-sided corners 12, with outer seams (as discussed below), connected to each other at the outer sides with one-quarter inch elastic to create a single connected item. The assembled device is applied to cover the corners of rectangular, framed artwork in such a way as to protect the frame corners from becoming damaged. Each fabric corner cups or envelopes each corner of a frame, thereby protecting opposed sides (e.g., the front and back sides) of each corner of the frame. The corner protectors are stabilized by the elastic running along the frame to the next corner. Once attached to all four corners of the frame, the tension from the elastic keeps the invention stationary during transport. No further attachment is required such as stapling or taping.

FIG. 2 conceptually shows an exemplary embodiment of the invention as it appears when attached to a frame 16. Four padded corners 12 releasably attach snuggly to the corners of the frame. The elastic 14 is conceptually represented in a stretched fashion as it stabilizes the padded corners to the frame.

In an exemplary embodiment, each corner is constructed by layering three types of fabric together in a stacking fashion and arranging the seam to face outward, away form the protected frame corner. One layer is a padding, e.g., a 4-ounce polyester fiber-fill batting material 20. A durable material, e.g., a strong canvas type material 22, is laid to provide a strong outer layer. An inner layer is a soft material which will come in contact with the frame corners. Illustratively, a soft fleece 18 is placed face down against the canvas material. The layers are stacked and simultaneously cut into a prescribed triangular shape.

In an exemplary method of assembly, construction entails machine sewing the three triangular layers together on the 90 degree corner side with a seam. The fabric layers of the triangle are then turned inside out so that the right sides of the fabric are turned outward. The triangle is then folded in half with the inside fabric folded together. A seam is sewn along the raw edges of the triangle. The triangle is configured to create an open, three dimensional pocket or cup, which slips over the corner of a frame, with the seam facing outward. Prescribed lengths of elastic are cut and attached to the tips of the triangles so as to attach each protective corner to the next corner until four corners are completed to form one unit.

In an exemplary embodiment, the soft inner layer (e.g., fleece) is the portion of the protector which comes in contact with the frame. Illustratively, fleece such as the type used for constructing nightwear, which is made of a very soft, fluffy pile, may be used. Unlike other materials used in the manufacture of frame protectors, this item does not need to be stapled, or attached in a harsh way, to protect the frame. It is constructed of soft fabric, which absolutely will not mar, rub or damage the frame in any way when it is applied and removed. The ease and gentleness of applying this product is such that the framed artwork can be left in a hanging position on a wall or exhibit booth and the item can be attached and detached effortlessly.

FIG. 3 provides a cross-section of an exemplary corner 12 as it appears on a frame 16. Padded material 20 is provided on both the front and back of the frame thus providing protection on both sides. A delicate liner layer, such as a fleece liner 18 as discussed above, comes in contact with the delicate finish of the frame. An outer layer 22, located on the outside of the corner 12, may be comprised of a more durable fabric to provide durability.

FIG. 4 provides a view from an outer edge of a frame 16. The elastic 14 releasably secures the protective corners covers to the art frame. When in place, the elastic 14 is positioned along the entire outer edge of the frame.

As seen most clearly in FIGS. 5 and 6, a cover according to the principles of the invention comprises elastic banding 14 (or other tensioning means) attached at a central portion of the outer layer 22 to achieve a tensioned form fit of the cover with the corners of the frame to be protected. The elastic banding 14 is attached to the outer side of the corner protector to prevent marring of the delicate frame finish. Additionally, the elastic banding 14 is attached centrally along outer edges of the corners to evenly distribute stress, thereby avoiding stress concentrations which are conducive to abrasion, slippage, marring and premature failure of the corner protectors.

Also as seen most clearly in FIGS. 5 and 6, a cover according to the principles of the invention has seams facing outwardly. The seams 50 and 60, which are formed when stitching the layers of material together to form the corners covers 12, are configured outwardly, away from the delicate finish of the frame. Thus, the invention provides a corner cover having smooth interior compartments for receiving frame corners to be protected. Advantageously, by configuring the seams outwardly and attaching the elastic bands to the outer layer, features that could otherwise cause damage are kept away from the delicate surface of the frame.

The invention is scalable. Protectors according to the present invention may be of various sizes depending upon the dimensions of the frame to which the protector is applied. A protector according to the principles of the invention may be used on a variety of frame sizes. As an example, the smallest size available fits frames 11×14 thru 16×20 (inches).

While the invention has been described in terms of its preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modifications within the spirit and scope of the foregoing detailed description. Such alternative embodiments and implementations are intended to come within the scope of the present invention.