Title:
Computer secretary
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A computer secretary, including a main body having panels includes a writing bed defining an upper compartment; a drop lid hingedly connected to the writing bed and pivotable about a hinge line between an open, writing position and a closed, storage position generally closing the upper compartment; and, a monitor pocket including an opening defined in the writing bed and including a subfloor defined below the writing bed, and wherein the opening of the monitor pocket is sized and configured to received at least a portion of a video monitor through the opening.



Inventors:
Cribbs, Robert (Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/188510
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
07/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B81/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOODARD, EMHARDT, HENRY, REEVES & WAGNER, LLP (INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A computer secretary, comprising: a main body having panels including a writing bed defining an upper compartment; a drop lid hingedly connected to the writing bed and pivotable about a hinge line between an open, writing position and a closed, storage position generally closing the upper compartment; and, a monitor pocket including an opening defined in the writing bed and including a subfloor defined below the writing bed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to furniture, and more particularly, to a computer secretary desk.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As more and more people join the computer age and add a computer system to their home, there is likewise a growing need for varied, efficient and versatile furniture to hold the computer equipment the user. What is needed is an improved furniture apparatus for holding computer equipment.

SUMMARY

Generally speaking, there is provided a computer secretary having a monitor pocket sized, configured and positioned to receive a flat screen video monitor therein.

A computer secretary, includes a main body having panels including a writing bed defining an upper compartment; a drop lid hingedly connected to the writing bed and pivotable about a hinge line between an open, writing position and a closed, storage position generally closing the upper compartment; and, a monitor pocket including an opening defined in the writing bed and including a subfloor defined below the writing bed, and wherein the opening of the monitor pocket is sized and configured to received at least a portion of a video monitor through the opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a computer secretary and bookcase 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, and shown with the doors open and holding various computer equipment.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the computer secretary and bookcase 10 of FIG. 1, and shown with the doors closed.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the computer secretary 11 of the computer secretary and bookcase 10 of FIG. 1, and shown without the various computer equipment.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of the writing bed 25 of computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3, and shown with the doors closed.

FIG. 6 is a side cross-sectional view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 5, taken along the line 6-6 and viewed in the direction of the arrows.

FIG. 7 is a side cross-sectional view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 5, taken along the line 7-7, viewed in the direction of the arrows, and in accordance with an alternative embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a cubbyhole unit 52 of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a cubbyhole unit 54 of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is top view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 11 is a front, elevational view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 12 is a rear, elevational view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 13 is a bottom view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 14 is a left side, elevational view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 15 is a right side, elevational view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 16 is a side cross-sectional view of the computer secretary 11 of FIG. 7 shown operation of an automatic slider movement mechanism.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SELECTED EMBODIMENT

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated herein and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications in the described processes, systems or devices, and any further applications of the principles of the invention as described herein, are contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a computer secretary and bookcase 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Computer secretary and bookcase 10 generally includes a computer secretary 11 and a bookcase 12 that sits atop computer secretary 11, as shown. Computer secretary and bookcase 10 are contemplated to be provided as either (1) a permanently combined computer secretary 11 and bookcase 12, or (2) a computer secretary 11 with a bookcase 12 that is positioned atop and is releasably connected to the subjacent computer secretary 11. Such connection is made by any appropriate furniture connection hardware (not shown), such hardware being well known in the industry. The upper bookcase 12 may have any desired shape and/or configuration, so long as it can be positioned atop computer secretary 11 in a stable condition. Bookcase 12 has one or more shelves 15 that may be vertically adjustable to accommodate the articles intended to be place into bookcase 12. Bookcase 12 also has doors 16, but may be provided with different doors (not shown) or no doors at all. In the present embodiment, computer secretary and bookcase 10 are separable, and the remaining description will be directed solely to computer secretary 11.

Referring to FIGS. 1-6 and 10-15, computer secretary 11 includes a main body 17 and a base unit 18 connected subjacent thereto. Main body 17 generally includes left and right wall panels 21 and 22, back panel 23, intermediate panel 24, writing bed 25, subfloor 26, cubbyhole units 27 and 28, drop lid assembly 29, a top panel 30, and lower shelving and door elements 31. Main body 17 is primarily constructed with intermediate panel 24 and writing bed 25 extending between wall panels 21 and 22 and with back panel 23 connected to the back edges of wall panels 21 and 22 and of intermediate panel 24 and writing bed 25, as shown. Back panel 23 is contemplated to be easily removable to facilitate wires access. Those elements of computer secretary 11 that are desired to be fixedly connected with one another (such as panels 21, 22 and 24 and writing bed 25) are so connected by any appropriated means, such as and without limitation, glue and/or screws. Main body 17 is also connected to base 18 by such appropriate means, such as and without limitation, glue and/or screws. Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein main body is provided with legs or similar structure on which the main body 17 is supported. Thus, while base unit 18 is described herein as a separate element, a computer secretary 11 with a main body 17 that rests directly on the ground is considered to have a base unit that comprises the ground-engaging portion of the base unit.

Writing bed 25 has an outer shape configured to extend between, contact and be connected to wall panels 21 and 22, and to have a generally straight, outer edge 35, as shown. Drop lid assembly 29 includes a drop lid 36 and opposing sliders 37 and 38. Drop lid 36 is a generally flat panel that is hingedly connected along one edge 39 to the outer edge 35 of writing bed 25 to pivot about a hinge line 41 between an open, writing position 42 (FIG. 3) and a closed, storage position 43 (FIG. 2). The hinged connection between drop lid 36 and writing bed 25 is achieved by any appropriate hinge (not shown), such as and without limitation, a piano hinge. Computer secretary 11 thus has an upper compartment 44 generally defined by the left and right wall panels 21 and 22, back panel 23, writing bed 25 (another panel) and drop lid 36 (in the closed position 43. When drop lid 36 is in the closed position 43 and it is desired to access upper compartment 44, lid 36 is pulled downwardly, rotating at hinge line 41, down to a generally horizontal position where it is supported thereat by sliders 37 and 38. Sliders 37 and 38 are elongate, rectangular cross-sectioned members, supported by appropriate brackets (not shown) that are connected with one or both of writing bed 25 and side walls 21 and 22 to slide between a stowed position and an extended position. In the stowed position (FIG. 2), sliders 37 and 38 are completely underneath writing bed 25 and rearwardly of outer edge 35 of writing bed 25. In the extended position (FIG. 3), sliders 37 and 38 extend partially forward of writing bed 25 to support drop lid 36 in the desired, generally horizontal position. Knobs 47 and 48 at the ends of sliders 37 and 38 enable sliders 37 and 38 to be pulled out from the stowed to the extended position. Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein internal gears and/or or levers (not shown) are connected with sliders 37 and 38 and with drop lid 36 to automatically move sliders 37 and 38 to the extended position at the same time as drop lid 36 is pivoted to the open, writing position 42, and to retract sliders 37 and 37 back to the stowed position when drop lid 36 is pivoted back to the closed, storage position 43. Such automated connection may be preferred by many as simplifying the operation of the drop lid 36, and any of the well known manners of achieving such automatic slider motion as are known in the industry are contemplated for use herewith. For example, as shown in FIG. 16, a pair of linkages (one shown at 46) connects drop lid 36 with the two corresponding sliders (the corresponding one shown at 38) and as drop lid 36 is pivoted from the closed, storage position 43 to the open, writing position 42, the two sliders 37 and 38 are pulled out to their extended position where they support drop lid 36 in the horizontal, writing position 42, as shown.

Cubbyhole units 27 and 28 are self-contained storage units, each having a drawer 50 and one or more shelves 51. Cubblyhole units 27 and 28 are positioned atop writing bed 25, with each unit 27 and 28 abutting one of the corresponding side walls 21 and 22, as shown. Cubbyhole units 27 and 28 are fixedly connected to writing surface 25 by any appropriate means, such as and without limitation, screws and/or glue. Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein cubbyhole units are adjustably connected to writing surface 25 to permit positionment (either forwardly/rearwardly or side-to-side, or both) of one or both cubbyhole units to a more desirable position, or to remove either or both cubbyhole units 27 and 28.

Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein one or more of the cubbyhole units 27 and 28 are provided with more or fewer than one drawer 50 and/or with alternative structure for storage items. For example and without limitation, referring to FIG. 8, there is shown a cubbyhole unit 52 having only one drawer 50 and a plurality of vertical separators 53 for receiving flat documents, such as papers, envelopes, etc. The cubbyhole unit 54 of FIG. 9 shows three drawers and one shelf. Other combinations and shapes for storage therein are contemplated.

Computer secretary 11 defines a monitor pocket 55 that is sized and configured to receive and support a video monitor 56. Pocket 55 is defined by subfloor 26 and by an opening 57 defined at the rear of writing bed 25. Opening 57 is generally rectangular, is centered laterally in writing bed 25 and extends forwardly from the rear edge 58 of writing bed 25 a distance X that is between about four and 12 inches, and preferably about six inches. The width Y of opening 57 is between about eight inches and 24 inches, and preferably about 18 inches. A common flat screen video monitor 56 has a generally rectangular monitor body 62, a stem 63 extending downwardly from the rear thereof, and a base 64 connected at the bottom of the stem. The monitor body 62 of such monitor 56 typically has a thickness of only about two or three inches; the bottom of the base 64 is about one to three inches below the monitor body 62; and, the monitor body 62 measures between about 10 and about 15 inches high by about 13 and about 20 inches wide. Opening 57 is intended to be large enough to enable the base 64 and a portion of the stem 63 to be passed, from above, down through opening 57 and until base 64 rests atop subfloor 26 (as shown in FIG. 7, an alternative embodiment, described below). Opening 57 (dimensions X and Y) is thus sized, as desired, to permit all or at least most monitors 57 to be positioned through opening 57, while at the same time maximizing area (and thus usable space) of writing bed 25. Moreover, in the present embodiment, the height of upper compartment 44 (the vertical distance between writing bed 25 and top panel 30) is about 15 inches and the depth of upper compartment 44 (generally the width of top panel 30) is about 12 inches. The dimensions provided herein for opening 57 and for upper compartment 44 may be further enlarged or reduced to accommodate the ever-changing evolution of monitor sized and type.

Subfloor 26 is a panel supported by a pair of braces (one shown at 68) extending up from intermediate panel 24. At least one of the braces 68 defines a wire clearance notch 67. Subfloor 26 is supported below writing bed 25 between about one and six inches, and preferably about two inches. With monitor 56 sitting on subfloor 26, the majority of the monitor stem 63 and base 64 extend below writing bed 25 and the monitor body 62 is positioned just above writing bed 25 and between writing bed 25 and top panel 30. Moreover, monitor 56, and particularly monitor body 62, are positioned very close to back panel 23 and significantly rearwardly of the forward, outer edge 35 of writing bed 25, thus maximizing the usable surface of writing bed 25, which easily permits use of a keyboard 69 and mouse 72. In addition, monitor 56 is completely contained within upper compartment 44, thus enabling drop lid 36 to be closed with monitor 56 therein. Computer secretary 11 is thus contemplated to receive what are commonly referred as “flat screen” video monitors, with commonly used designations such as a 17 inch flat screen monitor.

Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein subfloor 26 is supported partially or entirely by hangers or braces (not shown) that extend down from writing bed 25. Alternative embodiments are also contemplated wherein the position of subfloor 26 can be adjusted vertically relative to writing bed 25. In one such alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 7, braces (one shown at 70) extend up from intermediate panel 24 and are provided with vertically spaced holes 71, which accept pins to support subfloor 26 at the desired height. This arrangement accounts not only for the variously sized monitors on the market, but also provides the user with a degree of height adjustment for ergonomic viewing comfort.

Writing bed 25 is also provided with cutouts 74 and, if desired, grommets 75, through which can be passed cables extending from monitor 56. Below intermediate panel 24, computer secretary 11 includes a vertical panel 76 that, with side wall 22 and base unit 18, defines a CPU shelf 77 for a CPU 78. Back panel 23 defines a series of ventilation openings 79 at least in alignment with CPU shelf 77, as shown. Between vertical panel 76 and left side wall 21, computer secretary 11 includes at least one vertically adjustable, horizontal shelf 80 and a slide-out shelf 81 for a printer 82. Doors 83 are hingedly connected to side panels 21 and 22 to close off the lower compartment, which is defined by side panels 21 and 22, back panel 23, intermediate panel 24 and base unit 18. Together, vertical panel 76, shelves 80 and 81 and doors 83, and any other shelving items that may be desired to facilitate placement, access and storage of computer hardware, software, and related accessories comprise lower shelving elements 31. Also, between writing bed 25 and intermediate panel 24, computer secretary 11 includes an intermediate drawer 84 that extends to just between sliders 37 and 38. Alternatively, a drawer 84 is contemplated to be split into two side by side drawers, if desired.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiment has been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.