Title:
Wall storage system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wall storage system is provided that is surprisingly versatile, durable, simple, and low cost. It includes perforated panels and rails, and multiple accessories, many of which can be used on standard peg board. Various perforated rail configurations are shown, including a preferred C-shaped rail with flat front and perpendicular top and bottom flanges. The versatility of the rail allows it to be wall-hung horizontally or vertically, or to be used in a floor-supported free-standing unit. Numerous accessories, many being one-piece formed wire, are configured to stably engage the rail and panel apertures, including an outwardly extending peg with swaged or notched end, and a second bent wire handle holder that rotatably engages the rail. A variety of bracket, shelving, and basket accessories can also be attached to the present rail and panel system, many being mountable without additional components. Anchoring and stabilizing clips are provided for heavy-duty brackets.



Inventors:
Heneveld Sr., William R. (Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/088485
Publication Date:
10/13/2005
Filing Date:
03/24/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F5/08; A47F7/00; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RODDEN, JOSHUA E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICE HENEVELD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A storage system comprising: a rail having a flat front wall, and top and bottom flanges extending rearwardly from the front wall, at least the front wall having a plurality of apertures therein; a plurality of spacers configured to stably engage a rear surface of the rail and adapted to space the rail forwardly from a wall structure; the spacers having a length longer than a depth dimension of the top and bottom flanges; and accessories each with at least one leg for stably engaging at least one of the apertures.

2. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein the rail includes a down flange extending from a rear edge of the top flange.

3. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein the top flange includes several of the plurality of apertures.

4. The storage system defined in claim 3, wherein the bottom flange includes several of the plurality of apertures.

5. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein the plurality of spacers include a particularly shaped spacer that is shaped and adapted to fit through at least one of the apertures.

6. The storage system defined in claim 5, wherein the shaped spacer includes a body defining a screw-receiving hole and further includes a protrusion offset from the screw-receiving hole and configured to abut marginal material on the rail forming a selected one of the apertures to stop rotation of the shaped spacer when the body of the spacer is offset from the selected one aperture.

7. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein at least some of the spacers include at least a first hole for receiving a first screw for attaching the spacer to a wall structure, and further include a second hole for receiving a second screw to attach the rail to the spacers.

8. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein the accessories include a peg with an attachment end formed to wedgingly engage a selected one of the apertures.

9. The storage system defined in claim 8, wherein the attachment end includes a swaged section.

10. The storage system defined in claim 9, wherein the attachment end comprises a bent wire section, and the swaged section is formed at a free end of the bent wire section.

11. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein at least one of the accessories is heavy-duty and adapted to support a product of significant weight, and including an anchor for engaging the rail to assist the one accessory in transferring stress and loads from the one accessory to the rail for supporting the product.

12. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein the plurality of apertures of the rail includes at least one aperture that is non-circular in shape, and wherein one of the accessories includes a configured clip shaped to fit into the non-circular aperture and then rotate to an interlocked non-removable position.

13. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein the accessories includes at least one accessory having an attachment end configured to fit through at least one selected from the plurality of apertures and rotatingly engage the rail, the one accessory further having a product-supporting end that includes material defining front and rear sections spaced from the attachment end, the front and rear arms being positioned to receive a handle of a tool therebetween and adapted to frictionally engage opposing sides of the handle when the attachment end is rotated due to gravity of the handle and tool.

14. The storage system defined in claim 1, wherein one of the accessories includes an attachment end having a wire section, and including a clip with a first end and an attachment section, the first end including opposing sides configured to engage opposing sides of the wire section to stably hold and support the one accessory, and further the attachment section including mating protrusions extending from the opposing sides and that when the opposing sides are positioned together the mating protrusions are adjacent and are configured to fit through one of the apertures in the rail and to frictionally engage marginal material forming the one aperture.

15. A storage system comprising: a first rail having a plurality of apertures therein and configured for attachment vertically and horizontally to a building wall; a second rail configured to matably engage the first rail; a plurality of brackets configured to engage selected apertures to hold items on the rails; the brackets being configured to engage the rails when the rails are positioned vertically and when the rails are positioned horizontally; and legs configured for attachment to the first and second rails to hold the first and second rails in a free-standing upright position on a floor surface; whereby the storage system can be arranged in a horizontal building-attached position, a vertical building-attached position and a vertical free-standing position.

16. A storage system comprising: a rail having front, top, and bottom walls, and having a plurality of apertures therein; a storage device having a useful section configured to hold product when in a use position, and having an attachment section made from a configured rod to hold the useful section in the use position; and a stabilizing structure adapted to engage the rail and the attachment section for securing the storage device stably on the rail, the stabilizing structure being selected from a group consisting of: 1) the configured rod shaped to fit into a selected one of the apertures and including notches in the configured rod that are shaped to engage front and rear surfaces of the rail adjacent the selected one aperture; 2) a swaged portion of the configured rod configured to wedgingly engage a selected one of the apertures; 3) a separate holder having a recess shaped to receive the attachment section and having a tab supported on a living hinge that engages a back surface of the rail when the configured rod is engaged with the separate holder; 4) a clip with a first end shaped to encompass and engage the configured rod and a second end shaped to snap through a selected one of the apertures; and 5) a shaped portion on the configured rod shaped to fit through a selected one of the apertures when in a first orientation but shaped to interlock with the selected aperture when rotated to a vertical second orientation.

17. The storage system defined in claim 16, wherein the stabilizing structure includes the bent rod shaped to fit into a selected one of the apertures and includes the notches in the bent rod that are shaped to engage front and rear surfaces of the rail adjacent the selected one aperture.

18. The storage system defined in claim 16, wherein the stabilizing structure includes the swaged portion of the bent rod configured to wedgingly engage a selected one of the apertures.

19. The storage system defined in claim 16, wherein the stabilizing structure includes the separate holder having the recess to receive the attachment section and having the tab supported on the living hinge that engages the back surface of the rail when the bent rod is engaged with the separate holder.

20. The storage system defined in claim 16, wherein the stabilizing structure includes the clip with the first end shaped to encompass and engage the bent rod and the second end shaped to snap through a selected one of the apertures.

21. The storage system defined in claim 16, wherein at least some of the apertures include an irregular shape, and wherein the stabilizing structure includes the shaped portion on the bent rod shaped to fit through the irregular shape of the selected one of the apertures when in the first orientation but shaped to interlock with the irregular portion when rotated to the vertical second orientation.

22. The storage system defined in claim 16, wherein the top and bottom walls of the rail have a thickness that is less than about ¼ inch thick and that simulates a thickness of a peg board with holes therein.

Description:

This application claims benefit under 35 USC 119(e) of provisional application Ser. No. 60/556,263, filed Mar. 25, 2004, entitled WALL STORAGE SYSTEM, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present application concerns storage rails and perforated panels such as peg boards, and further concerns retainers, brackets, and holders attachable thereto.

There continues to be a need for a simple, low-cost, durable storage system with the ability to accommodate a wide range of items including larger and heavier items that are supported somewhat away from a wall (such as several inches). Further, there is a need for a system that includes various accessory brackets attachable thereto, where the brackets are very easily produced, are low-cost, and the simplest ones are made from a single piece of formed stock. Further, it is desirable that the simpler brackets do not require secondary operations such as welding, riveting, and other forms of attaching multiple pieces together to form the accessory bracket. Also, these brackets preferably should stably engage and lock to the rails and/or perforated panels without the need for separate or complex components.

Accordingly, a rail/perforated panel system solving the above-identified problems and having the aforementioned advantages is desired.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In one aspect of the present invention, a storage system includes a rail having a flat front wall and top and bottom flanges extending rearwardly from the front wall, at least the front wall having a plurality of apertures therein. A plurality of spacers are provided that are configured to stably engage a rear surface of the rail and that are adapted to space the rail forwardly from a wall structure; the spacers having a length longer than a depth dimension of the top and bottom flanges. Accessories are also provided, each with at least one leg for stably engaging at least one of the apertures.

In a narrower form, several of the accessories include a wire section forming an attachment end, with the wire section being swaged to form a tapered formed shape adapted to wedgingly engage one or more of the apertures in the rail.

In another aspect of the present invention, a shaped spacer is provided for attaching a rail or perforated panel to a wall structure at a location spaced from the wall structure, where the rail or perforated panel includes apertures. The spacer includes a body defining a screw-receiving hole and further includes a protrusion offset from the screw-receiving hole and extending from an end thereof. The protrusion is configured to abut marginal material forming the aperture on the rail. By this arrangement, the spacer and screw can be extended through the aperture, and then when the screw is rotated, the protrusion abuts the marginal material to stop rotation of the shaped spacer when the body of the spacer is offset from the selected one aperture.

In another aspect of the present invention, a storage system includes a rail having front, top and bottom walls and having a plurality of apertures therein. The storage system further includes a storage device having a useful section configured to hold product when in a use position, and having an attachment section made from a configured rod and configured to hold the useful section in the use position. Still further, the storage system includes a stabilizing structure adapted to engage the rail and the attachment section for securing the storage device stably on the rail, the stabilizing structure being selected from a group consisting of: 1) the configured rod shaped to fit into a selected one of the apertures and including notches in the configured rod that are shaped to engage front and rear surfaces of the rail adjacent the selected one aperture, 2) a swaged portion of the configured rod configured to wedgingly engage a selected one of the apertures, 3) a separate holder having a recess shaped to receive the attachment section and having a tab supported on a living hinge that engages a back surface of the rail when the configured rod is engaged with the separate holder; 4) a clip with a first end shaped to encompass and engage the configured rod and a second end shaped to snap through a selected one of the apertures; and 5) a shape portion on the configured rod shaped to fit through a selected one of the apertures when in a first orientation but shaped to interlock with the selected aperture when rotated to a second orientation.

In another aspect of the present invention, a storage system includes a first rail having a plurality of apertures therein and configured for attachment vertically and horizontally to a vertical support structure, a second rail configured to matably engage the first rail, and a plurality of brackets configured to engage selected apertures to hold items on the rails. The brackets are configured to engage the rails when the rails are positioned vertically and when the rails are positioned horizontally. The system further includes legs configured for attachment to the first and second rails to hold the first and second rails in a free-standing upright position on a floor surface; whereby the storage system can be arranged in a horizontal support-structure-attached position, a vertical support-structure-attached position and a vertical free-standing position.

In another aspect of the present invention, a storage system includes first and second rails each having a front wall with a plurality of regularly spaced apertures therein, the first and second rails being configured for attachment horizontally to a vertical support structure. The first and second rails each have a first end and a second end, the first end including a first attachment flange deformed from alignment with the front wall and the second end having a second attachment flange. The first attachment flange of the first rail being shaped to overlappingly engage the second attachment flange on the second rail and being configured for secure attachment thereto with the apertures on both the first and second rails lining up to form a continuous and regular pattern across the first and second rails. A plurality of brackets is provided that is configured to engage selected apertures to hold items on the rails.

In another aspect of the present invention, a storage system includes a C-shaped channel with its length defining a horizontal use position, and a peg with at least a partial flat area along its attachment end. The flat area is inserted through at least two apertures of a channel with the flat section becoming wedged in one of the apertures in the channel, thus securing the peg to the channel in a stabilized position.

In another aspect of the present invention, a storage system includes a C-shaped channel including a face wall and top and bottom perpendicular walls, the walls having a plurality of apertures therein. A hook retainer is formed from a single section of wire having a radiused end section configured to engage at least one of the apertures in the face wall and one of the apertures in the top or bottom wall. The radiused engagement section rotatably engages the rail for rotation between a first position for placing a handle within its operative end and a second position where the retainer rotationally moves such that the handle is gripped and retained.

In another aspect of the present invention, a rail storage system includes a plurality of rails, each having a face wall, a top flange, and a rear flange extending perpendicular to the face wall. An attachment tab extends longitudinally from the face wall with the top and bottom walls being cut away adjacent the attachment flange. A plurality of apertures on the face wall includes a repeating pattern of the apertures on the attachment flange, the attachment flange being configured to align with apertures on the face wall so that two of the rails can be attached together longitudinally and/or can be selectively attached in a perpendicular direction with the attachment flange overlapping onto the face flange of the other rail.

In still another aspect of the present invention, a rail storage system includes a rail positionable in vertical or horizontal orientation on a wall-supported surface, and also includes a plurality of accessories including one-piece pegs, brackets for supporting heavy yard tools up to one foot outwardly from the rail, and shelves and other storage components that can be attached to the rail.

In one form, the hook with leg maintains a same orientation at different vertical positions.

In another form, hook retainers can be added to secure a particular hook to the rail in a fixed orientation.

In another form, hooks, pegs and holders can be provided with a rail, where the hooks, pegs and holders fit within a cross section of the rail . . . which is very advantageous for shipping and merchandising.

In another form, a holder and a rail can be configured so that a single holder stably engages a single aperture in the rail, such as by notches on the holder engaging flanges on the rail.

Another application of the present invention includes providing the same apertures and storage components on a perforated panel as were described for a rail, such that the same storage components can be used on the perforated panel.

These and other aspects, objects, and features of the present invention will be understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art upon studying the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1-4 disclose a rail storage system including different brackets selectively attached thereto and showing stored items thereon;

FIGS. 5-9 disclose a C-shaped rail of the present invention;

FIGS. 10-12 disclose a one-piece bent wire holder with swaged, tapered locking end;

FIGS. 12A-12C disclose a second swaged, one-piece bent wire holder;

FIGS. 12D-12G disclose a rail storage system with a modified version of the wire holder with notched areas;

FIGS. 13-15 disclose a second bent wire holder;

FIG. 18 disclose a second bent wire component, and FIG. 18A shows a retaining clip usable therewith, and FIG. 18B shows a similar clip but with its wire-engaging section rotated 90 degrees;

FIGS. 19-22 show a one-piece wire hook configured to rotatably engage the rail;

FIGS. 23-27 disclose a hoop-shaped bent wire holder;

FIGS. 28-30 disclose an alternative rail;

FIGS. 31-33 disclose alternative rails and alternative ways of supporting an end of a bent wire section holder;

FIGS. 34-35 disclose a bent wire holder usable with FIGS. 28-30 and FIGS. 31-32;

FIGS. 36-38 disclose another rail and hexagonally-shaped bent wire member;

FIGS. 39-41 disclose details of a hook retainer clip shown in FIG. 18A;

FIGS. 42-43 disclose an alternative interlocking arrangement on a portion of a fastener section for engaging a particularly-shaped aperture in a rail; and

FIGS. 44 and 45 disclose a chart having on the left-hand side, various wall mounting arrangements and/or rails, and along a top having a variety of different accessories attachable to the various wall mounting options.

FIGS. 46-48 are side, front, and top views of a molded plastic bracket having top and bottom protrusions shaped to fit through apertures;

FIGS. 49-50 are side views of the bracket of FIG. 46 showing attachment to a perforated panel, the FIG. 50 showing deflection and pivoting of the lower protrusion to stably engage a rear surface of the perforated panel when a bent wire hook is positioned in a recess in the bracket;

FIG. 51 shows a bracket similar to FIG. 49 but with an alternative body construction;

FIG. 52 is a front view of the bracket of FIG. 51;

FIGS. 53-54 are top and side views of an alternative bracket having a wire-engaging tubular portion closing with a clam shell motion, and a leg shaped to engage an aperture in a perforated panel;

FIG. 55 is a front view of a bracket engaging a peg board;

FIGS. 56-57 are vertical and horizontal cross sections through the bracket in FIG. 55;

FIGS. 58-59 are rear and side views of a sheet metal stamped anchor bracket;

FIG. 60 is a side view showing use of the anchor bracket of FIG. 58 to support a shelf or laterally extending bracket;

FIG. 61 is a perspective view of a first laterally extending bracket of FIG. 60;

FIG. 62 is a side view of the anchor bracket of FIG. 58 supporting the laterally extending tool-holder bracket of FIG. 61 on a rail, the rail being spaced from a wall-supporting structure, FIG. 62A showing the rail, spacer, and anchor without the tool-holder bracket, and FIG. 62B showing the rail and spacer while also supporting a hook retainer on the rail;

FIG. 63 is an exploded perspective view of a rail with shaped apertures and an accessory with a top pin shaped to slip into an aperture and then rotate into locking engagement, and a second protrusion shaped to snap into a bottom aperture upon the 45 degree rotation;

FIG. 64 is a perspective view of a free-standing arrangement including a post made from a pair of the rails in FIG. 63 secured together and supported by legs, and FIG. 64A is a similar view with the legs exploded away from the post;

FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view taken horizontally through the post of FIG. 64;

FIG. 66 is a view similar to FIG. 65 but using four of the rails;

FIG. 67 is a perspective exploded view of a spacer used on a finished vertical surface to space a perforated panel away from the vertical surface and to facilitate installation of the perforated panel on the surface;

FIG. 68 is a view of the spacer of FIG. 67 used on a stud for mounting the peg board on the stud;

FIG. 69 is a side view illustrating use of the spacer to facilitate installation of the peg board on a wall, the view illustrating pre-attachment of the spacer to the wall prior to mounting the perforated panel (or peg board) to the wall-mounted spacer, and also illustrating a screw extending through the peg board and into a spacer prior to attachment to the wall;

FIG. 70 is a side view showing a spacer used to mount a rail on a wall board or stud surface;

FIGS. 71-72 are top and front views of a rail having a configured end shaped to allow overlap and interconnection of the end of the rail with an identical rail to form a continuous extended arrangement of the pattern of holes in the rail; and

FIGS. 73-74 are side and top views of a unique spacer with an offset screw-receiving hole and an offset upward protrusion, and FIGS. 75-76 are cross sections taken along lines A-A and B-B, respectively, in FIG. 73; and

FIGS. 77-78 are front fragmentary views of a section of a rail or perforated panel, the section showing one round aperture, FIG. 77 showing that the spacer and screw can be extended through the aperture, and FIG. 78 showing that, when the screw is rotated, the spacer rotates until the protrusion abuts marginal material around the aperture to stop rotation, such that the spacer effectively moves to a position where it spaces the perforated panel forward of the wall structure to which it is being attached.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-4 show the extremely broad versatility of the present invention. For example, FIG. 1 shows a storage system 20 including a horizontal rail 21 with a plurality of apertures, various pegs, hooks, retainers, holders, fasteners, and brackets attached thereto for supporting various items, including heavy items such as the three spade shovels, up to 12 inches outward from the rail and for supporting other heavy outdoor yard tools such as the post digger and line trimmer shown. FIG. 2 is similar to FIG. 1 but includes even more items, and further shows the density, customization, and strong support of the present system. For the purpose of this disclosure, the terms pegs, hooks, retainers, and holders are intended to be broadly construed.

FIG. 3 discloses an arrangement for supporting items in a household utility area such as for storing cleaning supplies and ironing supplies in a dense arrangement. The arrangement of FIG. 3 including a shelf 22 as well as a rotating hook 23, a drop hook 24 that is non-rotatable (on a left side) and a higher located hook 25 (supporting the electrical wire for the iron) in a raised position.

FIG. 4 discloses multiple shelves 26, a basket 27, and a ball hoop support 28 attached to the rail 21 in a vertical orientation.

FIGS. 5-9 disclose the present rail, which in one of its simplest forms is illustrated by FIG. 7 as being a “C” shape. The illustrated rail 21 is one-piece and in its strongest form is made from sheet metal.

Preferably the rail 21 is treated for aesthetics to provide an optimal color and corrosion resistance, such as may be provided by a durable finish. The holes 30 are sized, shaped, and configured for optimal supporting of various hooks, retainers, fasteners, and brackets, as discussed hereafter. The illustrated channel has particularly shaped apertures 31, 32 in the top (FIG. 6) and bottom (FIG. 8). In particular, the repeated apertures 31 in the top flange (FIG. 6) include a round center portion configured to receive a wire having a round cross section, and further include right and left extended narrow portions configured to allow a swaged end of a bent wire bracket to pass therethrough. The apertures 32 in the bottom flange have a T-shaped configuration, and are configured to interlockingly non-rotatably engage the swaged end of a bent wire holder to stabilize the bent wire when the wire is supported on the rail 21. (See, for example, FIG. 12.) The front face of the channel (FIG. 7) includes different apertures, some of which are shaped to receive a first diameter-sized wire and others of which are shaped to receive a second diameter-sized wire or retainer. Further, some of the apertures are of particular size so that they can receive a threaded fastener such as a No. 14 sheet metal screw, to screw-attach brackets (for example, see FIG. 1 heavy-duty tool-supporting bracket 29). Also, an end of the rail includes a tab 35 that extends from the front face with the top and rear flanges being cut away so that the rail can be attached in line (see FIG. 5) or perpendicularly (see FIG. 5), such as by running screws through the holes to secure the rails in longitudinal alignment or a perpendicular arrangement. The overlapping end flange can be (but does not need to be) bent offset so that a face of the three rails of FIG. 5 is coplanar. Notably, in FIG. 7, some of the apertures are not circular but instead have a slightly rounded rectangular shape. This permits a fastener having a similar shape to be extended through the “square” aperture and rotated 45° to cause it to be frictionally retained within the aperture. (For example, see FIGS. 42-43, which illustrate a similar concept of a twist-lock arrangement.)

FIGS. 10-12 disclose a first bent wire peg 40 (also called a “holder”). The peg 40 is made from a single piece of wire bent to a particular configuration and is swaged on one end 41. The swaging causes a flat end section that is longitudinally tapered with its root area being slightly larger and its free end being slightly smaller. Thus, when the bent wire is extended through the top and bottom flanges as shown in FIG. 12, the swaged end 41 wedges into position within the aperture 32 in the lower flange. This makes this wire very stable on the rail, which has tremendous advantages. Further, the one-piece wire holder is very low-cost to manufacture and can be quickly and efficiently manufactured. Also, it is contemplated that, by lifting the hook retainer to disengage the flat end section, the hook retainer can be rotated 90° to a storage position flush against the rail where it is positioned out of the way.

FIGS. 12A-12C disclose a variation of the bent wire peg, where the location of a notch 41A (formed by swaging or machining) is positioned to engage bottom flanges of an aperture in a rail (FIGS. 12D-12G) while the “tail” end of the peg 40A engaging a back surface of the rail (FIG. 12A) above the apertures for stability. An advantage of this modified system of FIGS. 12A-12G is that the pegs, hooks, holders and accessories can be stored within the cross section of the rail during shipment (i.e., prior to installation and use). This is considered to be a tremendous advantage in merchandising and shipment. Also, it provides a lower cost due to less material being required and also a stronger upper leg of the rail without the larger apertures.

FIGS. 13-15 show a second bent hook 50. This second bent wire hook 50 has a first end that forms an S-shaped engagement end 51 that engages an aperture in the rail 21 (FIG. 15) and includes a leg 52 that extends downwardly from the engagement end and then outwardly. In a first form, the present arrangement can be left to hang, which permits the lower end of the hook to swing a short amount back and forth in a direction parallel the rail. As shown in FIG. 15A, the engagement end of the wire hook 50 can be further extended at location 52′ such that it engages a back side of the rail 21 when in an intermediate or lower position on the rail (FIG. 15A). This multi-adjustability insures the retainer portion of the wire hook can be adjusted vertically to maintain an adequate storage position in any vertical position. This is of particular benefit in the lowest position where the wire hook, not having the face of the rail to contact, could swing down and back toward the mounting surface, thus lowering the angle of the retainer portion and possibly losing its storage (retention) ability. Also, in the highest position, the upper end extends through an aperture in the top flange and again stabilizes the bent wire hook on a face of the rail. The stabilization can be important for supporting product in a stable manner.

FIG. 18 discloses a retainer clip 60 that can be attached to the hook shown in FIGS. 13-17 to very securely stabilize the wire on a face of the rail. The retainer clip shown in FIG. 18 is also shown in more detail in FIGS. 39-41. The clip 60 includes a body configured to snap around a wire section with a clam shell type motion, and includes legs that extend from each of the opposing halves of the clam shell like body. When the legs are positioned together and extended through an aperture in a rail (or perforated panel), they frictionally engage the marginal material around the aperture, which holds them together around the wire and also which holds them to the rail (or perforated panel). A second retainer clip 60′ (FIG. 18B) is similar to retainer clip 60 in that it includes a first end forming a pocket for receiving a section of a round wire, and a second end configured to frictionally fit through and engage marginal material forming an apertures in a rail or perforated panel.

FIGS. 19-22 disclose the hanger 23 (also called a “rotation hook” or “handle-holder”) and which as illustrated includes a vinyl sleeve 65 such as for stably engaging the handle of a broom, mop, rake, shovel, hammer, trowel, or other tools with handles. (See FIG. 1.) The bent wire handle holder 23 (FIG. 21) includes a top end 66 bent to a radius so that it is adapted to rotatably engage a lowermost hole on a face of the rail 21 and simultaneously rotatably engages and extends through an aperture in the lower flange of the rail 21. This allows the handle holder 23 to rotate as shown by the arrows (FIG. 21). Thus, the lower end of the holder which has back and forth sections can be rotated to an outward position, a handle position therein, and when released, the handle holder rotates on its upper end such that the middle and lower transverse sections of wire pinch and engage the handle of a tool. The vinyl sleeve helps frictional engagement to retain the handle. For example, see the broom retained in a handle as shown in FIG. 3 in a middle of the drawing. It should be noted that the same principle would work for an upper face hole and upper flange aperture.

FIGS. 23-27 disclose the hoop bracket 28 that can be attached to a rail 21 using a butterfly clip 70 and pair of No. 14 sheet metal screws (FIG. 27). The hoop 28 can also attach to the rail 21 with a bracket having fingers which engage apertures in the rail 21. The illustrated hoop bracket includes an attachment end with vertically-downwardly extending sections of wire that engage a front of the rail 21. The ball-supporting hoop bracket 28 is shown in FIG. 4 (at a top of the photo). It is contemplated that the hoop bracket 28 can be formed to include bent-wire attachment ends configured to fit through apertures in a rail (or perforated panel) and engage the rail (or perforated panel) in a manner similar to the hook shown in FIGS. 15, 15A, and/or 18.

FIGS. 28-30 show an alternative rail 80 with a curvilinear cross-sectional shape similar to an upside down question mark. The rail 80 as shown in FIG. 28 includes a top flange 81 that abuts the wall-supporting surface and further includes an angled wall 82 and rearwardly extending perpendicular lower wall 83 that abuts the wall surface. Advantageously, the rail 80 of FIG. 28 can be attached using screws only along its top flange. Alternatively, a flange can be extended downwardly from the lower wall for attachment to the wall, if needed. However, gravity tends to cause the lower wall to engage the wall-supporting surface as items stored on the rail cause a downward force, such that a lower attachment is most likely not needed. As shown in FIGS. 29 and 30, various holes and apertures can be placed in the angled wall and lower wall of the rail to receive various pegs, hooks, and other components to support storage.

Also, it is contemplated that modifications can be made to the C-shaped rail 21 and brackets therefore (see FIGS. 31-33). For example, FIG. 31 shows that a bent wire holder 81A can include a short curved end 82A that extends through an aperture on the front face of the rail and further can include a swaged end 83A that engages a shaped mating aperture in the top flange to stabilize the hook retainer on the rail 21. Further, FIG. 32 discloses another C-shaped rail 21B with a return flange 85 spaced a short distance below the top flange. The peg 87 includes a swaged end 88 that engages the two parallel top walls of the rail 21B for stable support. FIG. 33 shows another arrangement, and notes that the swaging is located at a bottom of the peg 89. However, it is noted that the swaged end could also be located at a top end of the rail-engaging portion of the peg.

FIGS. 34 and 35 disclose a simplified bent wire peg 90 that can be engaged with any one of the aforementioned rails.

FIGS. 36-38 show that the bent wire peg(s) can, in fact, be made from a hexagonal shape or other non-circular shape. In such event, the bent wire peg 92 does not need to be swaged but instead can engage a matingly shaped hole such as a hexagonal hole in the C-shaped rail 21 (see FIG. 38). It is also contemplated that the pegs can be made of non-metal materials, such as plastic. Hence, the terms “wire” and “wire section” as used herein, are intended to include materials having the slenderness and structure of a metal wire, but that are not necessarily metal.

The hook retainer clip 60 is a molded plastic piece as shown in FIGS. 39-41. FIG. 41 shows the clip engaged with a rail 21 and supporting a bent wire holder 93. However, it is noted that the present arrangement can also be used to engage various holes such as in peg board 94, drywall, or other supporting surface.

FIGS. 42-43 disclose a non-uniformly shaped hole 100 in a component such as a rail 21 or perforated panel. They further show a retainer section 101 having a protrusion with a star-shaped end similar in shape to the hole 100 but supported by a stem 102 of reduced area. The stem 102 includes opposing radiused edges 103 and opposing flat edges 104. When the retainer section is extended into the hole, the stem 101 is oriented as shown in FIG. 42. When the retainer section is rotated 45°, the stem 101 is positioned as shown in FIG. 43. In FIG. 43, the flat edges 104 engage different portions of the hole to restrict the rotation to only 45°. The star-shaped end 105 includes protruding tips 106 forming blind surfaces that are moved under the marginal material 107 forming the hole 100 as the retainer section 101 is rotated 45° from the position shown in FIG. 42 to the position shown in FIG. 43. Thus, in FIG. 43, the blind surfaces interlockingly engage the flange areas on the hole to interlockingly retain the retainer section in place. This not only holds the unit within the hole, but also can provide friction to stabilize the retainer section 101 rotationally. Notably, it is contemplated that the interlocking arrangement (i.e., the 45° rotation) could be incorporated into a screw-receiving plastic anchor placed in a hole in the rail, or other mounting surface. It has also been considered that a similar rotational locking method could be applied to a wire retainer holder or other such component, along with a surface having an appropriate aperture.

FIGS. 44 and 45 are left and right sections of a single chart showing on a left side margin of FIG. 44 various mounting options, including a rail that is positioned horizontally or vertically and attached to a wall or studs. Further, many of the various components related to the present invention can be supported directly on a finished wall, on exposed studs, or on a rail or a perforated panel such as a peg board. Also, various attachment clips can be used (for example, see the lower left-hand corner of FIG. 44). Across the top of FIGS. 44-45 are various attachment accessories. In particular, they disclose a heavy-duty L-shaped peg (see FIGS. 10-12), a shorter heavy-duty peg, a two and four inch hook with locking clip (see FIGS. 13-18, 18A), and a handle holder (see FIGS. 19-22 and FIG. 3). They also show a tool organizer bracket that extends outwardly up to twelve inches from the rail (see FIGS. 1, 2 and 61) and shelves (see FIG. 3), and utility organizer baskets (see FIG. 4). It also shows additional specialized brackets such as for supporting items including a hoop-shaped ball rack (see FIGS. 23-27), and bike and utility supports.

FIGS. 46-48 are side, front, and top views of a molded plastic bracket 110 having top and bottom protrusions 111 and 112 shaped to fit through apertures in a perforated panel (e.g., peg board 94), rail 21, or other perforated surface. The bracket includes a body 113 with a vertical hole 114 and a horizontal outwardly-extending upwardly-open recess 115 that forms a continuous shape adapted to receive an L-shaped end of a bent-wire peg 116 (see FIG. 50). The L-shaped protrusion 111 extends rearwardly and upwardly, and the rearwardly extending tab 112 is attached by a living hinge 117 to the body. Flanges 118 extend from the body (FIG. 49) and form a flat surface for stably engaging a wall board 94. As shown in FIG. 49, the bracket 110 fits against a peg board 94, with the upper protrusion 111 hooked into a top aperture, and the bottom tab 112 also fit into a lower aperture. FIGS. 49-50 are side views of the bracket of FIG. 46 showing attachment to a peg board, the FIG. 50 showing deflection and pivoting of the lower protrusion/tab 112 to stably engage a rear surface of the peg board 94 when a bent wire peg 116 is positioned in a recess in the bracket. Specifically, when the L-shaped end of the bent-wire peg (FIG. 50) is positioned in the vertical hole, the bottom of the L-shaped end abuts the tab 112, bending it to an interlocking position that grips a rear surface of the peg board, securing the plastic bracket and the bent peg to the peg board. This same arrangement can be used on any one of the rails disclosed herein.

FIG. 51 shows a bracket 120 similar to FIG. 49 but with an alternative body construction. The body includes a boss 121 that forms a forwardly/horizontally extending hole for receiving a linear end of a peg 122. The body includes a rib 123 that extends downwardly from the boss. A top hooking-type L-shaped protrusion 125 and a lower fixed leg-like protrusion 124 extend rearwardly from the body for engaging holes in the peg board. It is contemplated that the lower leg can be large enough to frictionally engage the aperture that it fits into. Alternatively, it can be formed slightly upward, so that it deflects upon installation into its hole, thus increasing a frictional retention in the aperture. FIG. 52 is a front view of the bracket of FIG. 51, and shows a shape of the apertured boss and the down rib, and also laterally extending ribs 126 shaped to stably engage the peg board 94.

FIGS. 53-54 are top and side views of an alternative bracket 130 having a wire-engaging tubular portion 131 formed by top and bottom members 132 and 133 that close with a clam shell motion to grip a wire bracket 134, and a leg 135 shaped to engage an aperture 136 (FIG. 55) in a peg board 94. FIG. 55 is a front view of a bracket engaging a peg board, and FIGS. 56-57 are vertical and horizontal cross sections through the bracket in FIG. 55. FIG. 56 shows a section of the wire within the tubular portion of the bracket. It is contemplated that the wire bracket can be substantially any shape as long as it includes a horizontal section extendable through the tubular portion of the bracket. Preferably, the wire bracket is symmetrical for balanced loading on the alternative bracket of FIGS. 53-54, but this is not required per se.

FIGS. 58-59 are rear and side views of an anchor bracket 140. Anchor bracket 140 is preferably stamped from sheet metal for strength and low cost, but it is contemplated that it could be made from other materials. This bracket 140 is used to help support larger brackets adapted to sustain and support large loading, particularly when the brackets extend forwardly such a distance from the rail (or perforated panel or peg board) that additional strong support may be required. The anchor bracket 140 of FIGS. 58-59 includes a body 141 and an L-shaped leg 142 extending from a middle of the bracket rearwardly and then upwardly. As shown in FIG. 60, when installed, a lower portion of the anchor bracket 140 engages a front surface of the perforated panel 94 (or rail 21), but an upper portion of the anchor bracket 140 is spaced slightly from the front surface of the perforated panel 94 (or rail 21). This provides room for a section 143 of a rear section 144 of a sheet metal bracket, such as bracket or shelf 29 shown in FIGS. 60 and 61. The innermost flat attachment flange 143 fits between the upper portion of the anchor bracket 140 and the perforated panel 94 (or rail 21). This also draws the L-shaped leg against a rear side of the peg board, increasing stability of the arrangement on the perforated panel 94 (or rail 21). Sheet metal brackets such as shown in FIG. 61 are known in the art, and are publicly available.

FIG. 62 is a side view of the anchor bracket 140 of FIG. 58 supporting the laterally extending shelf, such as shelf 22 (see FIG. 3) on a rail 21. The rail 21 is attached to a wall using top and bottom screws 150 through spacers 152. When inserted, the L-shaped leg 142 of the anchor bracket 140 contacts the back surface of the rail 21. The spacers 152 can be used to provide clearance between the upper flange of the rail 21 and the wall board 151. After the anchor bracket 140 is in place, the shelf 22 is mounted on the anchor bracket 140 with its back surface against the rail 21. A flexible force-fitting fastener 140′ is then inserted through the lower holes of the shelf 22 and rail 21, securing the shelf 22 on the rail. It should be noted that the anchor bracket 140 can be used with various other storage components, such as bracket 29 shown in FIGS. 1 and 61. It should be further noted that the anchor bracket also works with perforated panels, such as peg board. Notably, by providing spacers 152 at top and bottom locations, a thickness of the rail 21 can be reduced. This allows material savings and also provides space savings when shipping and storing product prior to installation (which can be a very advantageous and desirable feature in competitive retail store environments). It should be noted that the shape of the formed rail reduces the necessary thickness of material, thus further increasing material savings. It is contemplated that a thickness of the rail 21 can in some circumstances be reduced to a thickness equivalent to the thickness of a peg board, such that accessories intended for use on standard peg boards can also be used on the rail 21. (See FIG. 62B, for example.) Where brackets and accessories adapted for higher loads are to be mounted to the rail 21, an anchoring bracket 140 can be used at locations relatively close to the top spacer 152 as shown in FIGS. 62 and 62A.

FIG. 63 is an exploded perspective view of a rail 21 with shaped apertures 160 and an accessory 161 with an attachment flange 162 having a top pin 163 shaped to slip into the aperture 160. The top pin 163 is similar in shape to the star-shaped apertures, and has corners 164 that engage marginal material on the back surface of the face wall of the rail when the accessory is rotated 45° into locking engagement with the top aperture. A second protrusion 165 is provided on the accessory and is shaped to snap into a bottom aperture upon the 45° rotation. Thus, the accessory is self-attaching and self-locking without the need for secondary attachment fasteners and anchors. Nonetheless, such additional fasteners can be used, if desired.

FIG. 64 is a perspective view of a free-standing apparatus including a post 170 made from a pair of the rails 21 in FIG. 63 secured together and supported by legs 171. The legs 171 can be stamped or tubular or otherwise formed. FIG. 65 is a cross-sectional view taken horizontally through the post of FIG. 64, and shows bolts 172 with washers and nuts 173 securing the rails together back to back, with the top and bottom flanges inter-engaging to form a stable box-shaped beam. The leg component 171 can be a stamped sheet metal part having a center section 175 that abuts a rear of the box-shaped rail arrangement, and is held there by the bolts and nuts. The leg portions 176 of the leg component 171 extends forwardly and at an angle a sufficient distance and angle to stably support the post 170 in a free-standing arrangement. It is contemplated that a top of the post 170 could be anchored to a wall structure. For example, a second component identical to leg component 171 could be provided. The second component would be attached so that its legs extend in an opposite (rearward) direction, so that ends of the legs could be attached to a wall structure, with the post 170 being stabilized at a location spaced several inches in front of the wall structure. FIG. 66 is a view similar to FIG. 65, but illustrates a four-rail box-shaped post 180 where two parallel rails 21 are positioned perpendicularly between two additional parallel rails 21, with the arrangement being secured by bolts 172 and nuts 173.

FIG. 67 is a perspective exploded view of a spacer 190 used on a wall board 151 to space a perforated panel or peg board 94 away from the wall board 151 to provide space for the insertion of hooks, adapters, fasteners, and brackets into the peg board. The spacers 190 facilitate mounting of peg board 94 by being able to locate sufficient points of attachment to the wall board 151 without having to do so through the peg board 94 (such as when the peg board 94 is a fairly large sheet). It is also a great advantage to not have to position spacers toward the center of a larger-size peg board during the mounting process, so that an installer does not have to reach around the peg board to a center location on a back of the peg board. The illustrated spacer 190 is a molded plastic part having flat front and rear surfaces and at least one aperture 191 extending through the spacer between the flat front and rear surfaces. The front and rear surfaces are large enough to stably engage the peg board 94 and the wall board 151, thus providing a stable arrangement after assembly. The screw(s) 196 for attaching the peg board 94 to the wall board can be extended through a hole in the peg board 94 and through a single hole in the spacer 190 and into the wall board 151. Alternatively, a first screw can be used to secure the spacer 190 to the wall board 151 or stud 195 (FIG. 68), and a second screw can be used to attach the peg board 94 to the spacer 190, for which there can be a second hole in the spacer (FIG. 69). The first and second screws 196 can be installed in any order, whichever best facilitates installation, as illustrated by FIG. 69. By rotating the spacer 190, the relative location of the alternative holes 191/192 can be varied to facilitate assembly. It is noted that the spacers 190 can also be used to support the peg board 94 on a stud 195 or other wall surface (see FIG. 68) or on a rail 21. The spacers can also be used at top and bottom locations to support a rail (see FIG. 70).

FIGS. 71-72 are top and front views of a rail 200 having a configured end 201 shaped to allow overlap and interconnection of the end of the rail with an identical rail to form a continuous extended arrangement of the pattern of holes in the rail 200. The rail 200 includes top and bottom flanges 202 extending from its front wall 203 similar to the rails shown previously herein. The rails 200 include an end flange 204. The end flange 204 may be offset a distance equal to a thickness of material. Alternatively, the end flange 204 may not need to be offset at all, depending on the thickness of the rail material and the functional requirements of the rail system. The end flange 204 includes a pair of apertures 205 that align with the apertures 205 in the (opposite) end of the rail, so that when two identical rails 200 are aligned longitudinally with the end flange of one rail overlapping on the next rail, the pattern of apertures continue at a regular spacing without interruption. The top and bottom flanges 202 are eliminated at the end flange to prevent interference at the region of overlap. By this arrangement, if fasteners engage the mating holes on the longitudinally aligned rails, then only a couple of holes are “lost” for use by storage brackets. If other apertures are provided for securement of the rails to a wall, then no apertures are lost to the storage brackets.

FIGS. 73-78 illustrate a spacer 210 configured to receive a mounting screw 211 and together fit through an aperture 212 in a rail 21 (or through an aperture in a perforated panel), the spacer 210 being configured to, when the screw is rotated, rotate out of alignment with the aperture 212 to a position where it effectively acts as a spacer to hold the rail 21 (or perforated panel) forward of the wall structure to which the rail 21 (or perforated panel) is being attached. This is particularly advantageous since it allows an installer to attach a spacer at any location along a rail 21 (or perforated panel) with one hand, while holding the rail 21 (or perforated panel) with their other hand. It is also advantageous when installing large perforated panels to make it much easier to secure spacers away from the edges of the panel. The spacer 210 (FIGS. 73-73) includes an elongated cylindrical body 213 defining a long direction and a cross-sectional shape (FIG. 76) that is the same as the hole through which it will be extended. (Notably, the illustrated cross-sectional shape is circular, but it could be any cross-sectional shape desired.) A longitudinally-extending hole 214 is formed in the body 213 at a location offset from a center point 215 of the body 213. (FIG. 74). A protrusion 216 extends from an end of the body 213 at a position offset from the center point 215 and also offset from the hole 214. As shown in FIG. 77, the screw 211 and spacer 210 can be extended through the aperture 212 in the rail 21. As shown in FIG. 78, when the screw 211 is rotated, the spacer 210 rotates until the protrusion 216 engages the marginal material 217 around the aperture 212, at which time the rotation of the spacer 210 is stopped while the screw 211 continues to rotate. By this arrangement, a substantial portion of the body 213 is positioned offset from the aperture 212. As the screw 211 is further rotated threadingly into the wall structure, the body 213 of the spacer 210 eventually is pinched between a rear surface of the rail 21 and the front surface of the wall structure.

The present arrangement can be provided in a variety of kits. In particular, it is believed that the various one-piece hook retainers, handle holders, and ball holders are particularly novel in combination with the present rail in terms of their shape, stable engagement with the rail, mating array of holes and configured apertures on the rail.

It is also believed that the use of the same rail with the ability to be wall hung horizontally and/or vertically and/or assembled in a free-standing floor-supported arrangement is very useful and unique.

It is to be understood that variations and modifications can be made on the aforementioned structure without departing from the concepts of the present invention, and further it is to be understood that such concepts are intended to be covered.