Title:
Mailable photo holder and card
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A photo album and card allows the mailing of more than one photo with writing surfaces for greetings that can be displayed if desired. The album includes one or more pages that can hold photos and provide a surface for writing notes. A mailer is provided that can be used to secure the album in a self-mailing configuration.



Inventors:
Stewart, Frances T. (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/027790
Publication Date:
09/08/2005
Filing Date:
12/31/2004
Assignee:
STEWART FRANCES T.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/71
International Classes:
B42D15/08; B42F5/04; B65D27/08; B65D65/00; (IPC1-7): B65D65/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASCUA, JES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Andrew J. Cornelius (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A mailable photo holder comprising: at least two pockets for holding a photo, each said pocket defining a viewing window that allows the photo held by the pocket to be viewed; and a mailer that can wrapped around the photo pockets and secured by a fastener to protect the photos during mailing.

2. The holder recited by claim 1 wherein at least one said pocket is defined by a page bound to the holder.

3. The holder recited by claim 2 wherein said holder includes a mailer, and said page is bound to said mailer.

4. The holder recited by claim 3 wherein said page is temporarily bound to said mailer.

5. The holder recited by claim 4 wherein said page is permanently bound to said mailer

6. The holder recited by claim 1 wherein each said pocket includes a spacer to facilitate insertion of a photo into said pocket.

7. A mailable photo holder comprising: a mailer having at least one photo pocket for holding a photo, said pocket defining a viewing window that allows the photo held by said pocket to be viewed; a photo page for holding a photo, said page defining a window that allows the photo held by said page to be viewed; said mailer including a mailing section that can be wrapped around the photos held by said holder and secured to protect the photos during mailing.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of copending U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/534,009, filed Jan. 2, 2004, by the same inventor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to greeting cards, photo albums, picture frames and other types of devices and articles for holding one or more pictures, and, more particularly, to a photo album or picture holder that is particularly adapted to be mailed.

People generally like to share special memories and stories about events such as the birth of a baby or pictures of children, a religious ceremony, a graduation, a birthday, an anniversary, a travel experience, a holiday celebration, a new pet or gift, or thoughts of a friend with loved ones or friends who are far away. Typically, they will send writings and photos or photo greeting cards to in an attempt to convey the story. In the case of photo greeting cards, the recipient often likes to display the card for others to see. A letter with accompanying loose photos is not always effective in readily and clearly conveying information about specific subjects in the photo and, in any event, they cannot be displayed effectively for others to see. Though photo greeting cards are easier to display for others, they are not suited for conveying a story since they can accommodate only a single photograph and, if a writing surface is provided, it is not positioned across from the pictured subject in a way that notes can be taken and associated with specific parts of the photo. A photo album with plastic pages has the advantage of being useful to display a number of photos. However, the album is suitable only for collecting and storing photos, and not for conveying the story associated with the photos because the album provides no surface for recording notes and thoughts in a way that the notes can be readily associated with a particular photo. The album is not intended, and is not suited, to function as a greeting card. Further, the material from which the plastic pages are made is not suitable for displaying the photo when the album is standing upright due to the flexibility of the pages. Therefore, unless the album is lying on a flat surface, it is not suitable for displaying the photos for others to see.

Therefore, there is a need for a photo holder that can be used to present a picture story using more than one photo and that has a surface on which notes about a special event can be written to convey the story associated with the photos. There is also a need for such a holder that is easy to mail and that can be displayed by the recipient if it is desired to convey the story to others.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a photo holder that encourages the giving of photos along with the sharing of memories in written form. The invention offers in a mailable holder and card format ample room for more than one picture and room to tell a story with pictures and writings about a special event. The invention can optionally frame the photos with a decorative sturdy border such that the product can be displayed as a framed work of art. The invention differs from other products in that the invention provides a photo holder that is designed to hold more than one picture and to provide space to write about the photo or experience in an easy to mail format.

Thus, the present invention provides a mailable photo holder, or album, and card that allows the mailing of more than one photo and provides writing surfaces for greetings that can be displayed if desired. Thus, the present invention provides the ability to tell a story associated with the photos stored and displayed in the invention in a form that is conveniently mailable and adapted to be displayed by the recipient.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following detailed description of the preferred embodiment may be understood better if reference is made to the appended drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a photo album and card provided by the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the album and card shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the album and card shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a view showing the main frame of the album and card shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of an alternate photo album and card provided by the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the album and card shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the photo album and card shown in FIG. 1, with the photo page turned to show the back of the page;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the album shown in FIG. 1 in its mailing configuration; and

FIG. 9 is a section view of the holder shown in FIG. 8 taken along the line 9-9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1 through 6, 8 and 9 show a mailable photo holder and card 10 that is provided by the present invention. The mailable photo holder, or album, and card 10 allows the mailing of more than one photo and provides writing surfaces for greetings that can be displayed if desired. Thus, holder 10 provides the ability to tell a story associated with the photos stored and displayed in holder 10 in a form that is conveniently mailable and adapted to be displayed by the recipient. FIG. 8 shows holder 10 in its mailing configuration, ready to be addressed and mailed just as it is shown in FIG. 8, without an envelope. Holder 10 is preferably constructed of paper material, though plastic may be used to protect the photos, and includes a number of photo pages 14 (only one shown) that defines a photo pocket. Holder 10 can, therefore, hold more than one photo and corresponding writing surfaces for notes. Although only one photo page 14 is shown, any desired number of photo pages 14 may be provided to allow holder 10 to hold a desired number of photos, and the photo pages 14 can be configured to hold the photos in any variety of positions as long as a surface is provided to write notes and comments adjacent each photo.

Holder 10 includes an elongated mailer or back page 12 that can be made of paper, plastic or a combination of the two. Mailer 12 functions as a wrap around mailer that covers and protects the contents of holder 10 during shipment of holder 10, and, when mailer 12 is wrapped around the contents of holder 10 and secured in its mailing configuration, provides a compact package that is easy to transport. Mailer 12 defines one or more (only one shown) inside photo page 12 with a pair of photo pockets 16 that offer additional places for a photo or photos and note writing. The photo pages 14 of holder 10 can be bound to mailer 12 permanently like a book or temporarily with a pair of removable ties 20 that are tied together through holes 22 defined by photo pages 14 and holes 24 defined by mailer 12, or with another suitable fastener. Photo pages 14 can be made of paper, plastic or a combination of the two. Photo pocket 16 provides a holder for a photo and space for notes. Sections 26 and 28 wrap around the contents of holder 10 when the holder 10 is to be mailed, Closure tab 30 is inserted into a die cut slot 32 formed in one of the photo pockets 16.

Photo page 14 provides a pocket for a photo and space for taking notes. Side 33 of photo page 14 defines an opening 34 through which the photo held by page 14 can be viewed. Sides 34 and 36 of page 14 define a pocket for holding a photo. Surface 42 of side 36 provides space for taking notes associated with the photo held in a confronting pocket adjacent to it, and surface 44 of side 33 provides limited space for taking notes associated with the photo held by page 14. Sides 34 and 36 are sealed together by any suitable means around their edges, with the exception of a portion of their edges 38 and 40, respectively. The unsealed edges 38 and 40 form an entry through which a photo can be inserted and held between sides 34 and 36. The unsealed edges 38 and 40 need not extend across the full height of page 14, but only to the extent needed to admit a photo between sides 34 and 36. The size of the pocket formed by page 14 is fixed by the size of the edges of sides 34 and 36 that are sealed together. The size of the pocket should be large enough to allow for easy insertion of the photo, yet small enough to stabilize the position of the photo in the pocket.

Similarly, each photo pocket 16 provides a pocket for a photo and space for taking notes. Side 46 of pocket 16 defines an opening 48 through which the photo held by pocket 16 can be viewed. Sides 46 and 50 of pocket 16 define a pocket for holding a photo. Surface 52 of side 50 provides space for taking notes associated with the photo in the pocket adjacent to it, and surface 54 of side 46 provides limited space for taking notes associated with the photo held by pocket 16. Sides 46 and 50 are sealed together by any suitable means around their edges, with the exception of a portion of their edges 56 and 58, respectively. The unsealed edges 56 and 58 form an entry through which a photo can be inserted and held between sides 46 and 50. The unsealed edges 56 and 58 need not extend across the full height of pocket 16, but only to the extent needed to admit a photo between sides 46 and 50. The size of the pocket formed by pocket 16 is fixed by the size of the edges of sides 46 and 50 that are sealed together. The size of the pocket should be large enough to allow for easy insertion of the photo, yet small enough to stabilize the position of the photo in the pocket.

Mailer 12 can define a perforated edge 80 so that the panels 26 and 28 (which do not include photos or notes) and tab 30, which are exposed during mailing, can be discarded if unsightly.

The size of holder 10 is determined by the size of the photos to be stored in holder 10. Holder 10 is designed to store 4″×6″ photos. The measurements can change for different sized pictures.

Holder 10 may be folded up around joints 60, 62, 64, and 66, and fastened in the mailing configuration shown in FIG. 8 by inserting tab 30 into slot 32, and then mailed as it is, without an envelope. The address of the recipient is entered on surface 72 of holder 10. Altenately, holder 10 may be mailed more conventionally in an envelope.

Each photo pocket in holder 10 functions as a frame for the picture held by the pocket, and is made with at least two pieces of sturdy materials attached together whereby the picture can slide between the two attached materials to be housed in the pocket. The material may be paper or plastic or a combination of the two. The material should be sturdy enough to hold the picture in a stable fashion within holder 10 so that holder 10 can stand upright for display if desired, as shown in FIG. 1. The frame offers stability to the pocket and aesthetically sets off the picture. The frame also allows the picture to appear matted allowing it to be used within a three-dimensional frame if desired. The openings of the pockets have a die cut shape on the edge of the pocket for easier insertion and removal of the pictures.

A pair of spacers 70 may be provided between the sides of each page 14 and pocket 16 to space the sides apart and facilitate the insertion of a photo therebetween.

Any of the surfaces may be used for pre-printed artwork, but sufficient space should remain for notes.

Pages 14 can be permanently bound by stapling, gluing or sewing, or made to be removable. If removable, holes 22 and 24 will be punched in the various components along a common edge of holder 10 through which a removable tie can be attached such as a piece of fabric, metal, or plastic closure. If the holder 10 is bound by a removable fastener, this allows for additional pages 14 to be added or removed. Removable pages 14 can be used as matted photos to be later inserted in a three-dimensional frames if desired.

When holder 10 is used in its self mailer configuration, wrap around panels 26 and 28 protect the pictures when mailed and surface 72 of panel 26 provides a space for writing the address and stamps. Inserting tab 30 into slot 32 when holder 10 is in the self mailing configuration assures safe mailing of the holder 10 such that the photos will not fall out. The device can close via a paper or plastic tab 30 slipping into a die cut slot 32.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show an alternate mailer 112 for holder 10. Mailer 112 is identical to mailer 12, with the exception that mailer 112 uses hook and loop (Velcro) fasteners 114 and 116 to seal holder 10 in its self mailing configuration instead of a tab 30 and a slot 32. Holder 10 can also use a mailer that closes with ribbons, and elastic or buttons or any other suitable fastener.