Title:
Container for elongate articles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container for elongate articles, e.g. a pen stand (100, 200), is disclosed as including a base (102, 202), a number of platforms (108, 110, 112, 220, 222, 224) engaged with and movable relative to the base (102, 202), and a number of holders (114, 116, 118, 226, 228, 230) engaged with each of the platforms (108, 110, 112, 220, 222, 224), each for receiving a stationery item (120), in which the holders (114, 116, 118, 226, 228, 230) move relative to the respective platform (108, 110, 112, 220, 222, 224) during movement of the platforms (108, 110, 112, 220, 222, 224) relative to the base (102, 202).



Inventors:
Mak, King Biu (Hong Kong, CN)
Mak, Chung Ming (Hong Kong, CN)
Mak, Ronald Chung Yin (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
11/293740
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
12/01/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00; B43M99/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COTTRELL, HUNTER T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHERNOFF, VILHAUER, MCCLUNG & STENZEL, LLP (Portland, OR, US)
Claims:
1. A container for at least one elongate article, said container including: a base member; at least a first platform member engaged with and movable relative to said base member; and at least one holder engaged with said first platform member and adapted to hold at least part of an elongate article; wherein said holder moves relative to said first platform member during movement of said first platform member relative to said base member.

2. A container according to claim 1 wherein said first platform member is swivellably movable relative to said base member.

3. A container according to claim 1 wherein said first platform member is engaged with a plurality of holders.

4. A container according to claim 1 wherein said holder moves pivotably relative to said first platform member during movement of said first platform member relative to said base member.

5. A container according to claim 4 wherein, during movement of said first platform member relative to said base member, said holder moves pivotably relative to said first platform member between a first position in which a longitudinal axis of said holder is substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of said base member, and a second position in which said longitudinal axis of said holder is inclined relative to said longitudinal axis of said base member.

6. A container according to claim 5 wherein when said holder is in said second position, said holder extends generally away from said longitudinal axis of said base member.

7. A container according to claim 4 wherein said holder includes a bent end part received within a channel of said first platform member.

8. A container according to claim 7 wherein said channel of said first platform member is undulating.

9. A container according to claim 8 wherein said bent end part of said holder moves generally upwardly and downwardly during movement of said first platform member relative to said base member.

10. A container according to claim 1 wherein said first platform member is movable relative to said base member axially.

11. A container according to claim 1 wherein said first platform is movable relative to said base member axially between a lower position in which a longitudinal axis of said holder is substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of said base member, and an upper position in which said longitudinal axis of said holder is inclined relative to said longitudinal axis of said base member.

12. A container according to claim 1 further including at least a second platform member engaged with and movable relative to said base member, to said second platform member at least one holder is engaged.

13. A container according to claim 12 wherein said first platform member and second platform member are engaged for simultaneous movement.

14. A container according to claim 12 wherein the holder engaged with said first platform member is positioned at a position generally higher than the holder engaged with said second platform member.

15. A container according to claim 12 wherein the holder engaged with said first platform member is positioned at a position closer to the longitudinal axis of said base member than the holder engaged with said second platform member.

16. A container according to claim 12 further including at least a third platform member engaged with and movable relative to said base member, to said third platform member at least one holder is engaged.

17. A container according to claim 16 wherein said first, second and third platform members are engaged for simultaneous movement.

18. A container according to claim 16 wherein the holder engaged with said second platform member is positioned at a position generally higher than the holder engaged with said third platform member.

19. A container according to claim 16 wherein the holder engaged with said second platform member is positioned at a position closer to the longitudinal axis of said base member than the holder engaged with said third platform member.

20. A container according to claim 1 wherein when said elongate article is held by said holder, a longitudinal axis of said article is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of said holder.

21. A container according to claim 1 comprising a stand for writing instruments.

22. A container according to claim 1 comprising a stand for hand tools.

Description:

This invention relates to a container for elongate articles, in particular such a container adapted to contain at least one elongate article, and is movable between two different configurations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are in existence various containers for elongate articles, e.g. for containing such stationery items as pens, pencils, crayons, or such hand tools as drill bits, screwdrivers, etc.. However, such containers have over the years only changed in their outward appearance, without any significant improvements to their functions. In particular, no modifications have been made to allow for storage of the articles in a compact manner, while allowing for easy access and selection of the desired articles.

It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a container for at least one elongate article in which the aforesaid shortcomings are mitigated, or at least to provide a useful alternative to the public.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, there is provided a container for at least one elongate article, said container including a base member; at least a first platform member engaged with and movable relative to said base member; and at least one holder engaged with said first platform member and adapted to hold at least part of a an elongate article; wherein said holder moves relative to said first platform member during movement of said first platform member relative to said base member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view of a pen stand, being a container according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the pen stand of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a further side view of the pen stand of FIG. 1 showing insertion of three layers of writing instruments;

FIG. 4A shows a pen holder of an innermost layer of the pen stand of FIG. 1 in an upright position;

FIG. 4B shows a top view of the pen stand of FIG. 1 with the innermost layer in solid line only, and with part of the pen holders removed;

FIG. 5A shows the pen holder of FIG. 4A in an inclined position;

FIG. 5B shows the corresponding top view of the pen stand of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A shows a pen holder of a middle layer of the pen stand of FIG. 1 in an upright position;

FIG. 6B shows the pen holder of FIG. 6A in an inclined position;

FIG. 7A shows a part sectional view of the view of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7B shows a part sectional view of the view of FIG. 6B;

FIG. 8 shows an alternative arrangement for moving the pen holder of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 9A shows a sectional view of a pen holder of an outermost layer of the pen stand of FIG. 1 in an upright position;

FIG. 9B shows the pen holder of FIG. 9A in an inclined position;

FIG. 9C shows the pen holder of FIG. 9A in a further inclined position;

FIG. 10 shows an alternative arrangement for moving the pen holder of FIG. 9A;

FIG. 11A shows a sectional side view of the pen stand of FIG. 1 with the pen holders in an upright position;

FIG. 11B shows a transverse sectional view of the outermost platform of the pen stand of FIG. 11A;

FIG. 11C shows a transverse sectional view of a central core of the pen stand of FIG. 11A;

FIG. 11D shows the pen stand of FIG. 11A with the pen holders in an inclined position;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged partial sectional view of the pen stand shown in FIG. 11A;

FIG. 13 is a top view of a pen stand, being a container according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a side view of the pen stand of FIG. 13; and

FIG. 15 is an enlarged partial sectional view of the pen stand of FIG. 13.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring firstly to FIGS. 1 to 3, a pen stand according to a first preferred embodiment is shown and generally designated as 100. The pen stand 100 is electrically operable and includes a generally cylindrical base 102 and a front extension 104. The front extension 104 is provided with two buttons 106a, 106b for controlling the operation of the pen stand 100.

Positioned on the base 102 are an outermost platform 108, a middle platform 110, and an innermost platform 112. The base 102, and the platforms 108, 110, 112 have a common central longitudinal axis X-X. The platform 108 is provided with a number of pen holders 114 forming an outermost annular layer of pen holders. The platform 110 is provided with a number of pen holders 116 forming a middle annular layer of pen holders. The platform 112 is provided with a number of pen holders 118 forming an innermost layer of pen holders. It can also be seen that the pen holders 114 are at the lowermost level, the pen holders 116 are above the pen holders 114, and the pen holders 118 are at the uppermost level, being above both the pen holders 114 and 116. Each of the pen holders 114, 116, 118 is in the form of a bottom-closed top-open tube into which a pen, pencil or crayon 120 may be inserted. It can also be seen that when the pens, pencils or crayons 120 are held by the holders 114, 116, 118, the respective longitudinal axis of the pens, pencils or crayons 120 generally coincides with and is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the respective holders 114, 116, 118.

In the configuration as shown in FIGS. 1 to 3, the pen holders 114, 116, 118 are positioned such that their respective longitudinal axis is parallel to the central longitudinal axis X-X of the base 102.

FIG. 4A shows the pen holder 118 secured to the uppermost innermost platform 112. The pen holder 118 is provided with an intermediate pivot point 122 which is engaged to the base 102, and a lower toe portion 124 which is confined within a respective pair of guide rails 126a, 126b, such that the pivot point 122 is only pivotable relative to the base 102.

FIG. 4B is a plan view of the platform 112 which only shows the engagement of the toe portions 124 within the respective pair of guide rails 126a, 126b. The toe portion 124 and the pair of guide rails 126a, 126b are sized and configured such that the toe portion 124 cannot be retrieved from between the pair of guide rails 126a, 126b, to thereby engage the pen holder 118 with the platform 112, but the toe portion 124 may swivel within the confines of the pair of guide rails 126a, 126b to allow pivotal movement of the pen holder 118 relative to the platform 112. In the position as shown in FIG. 4A, the longitudinal axis Y-Y of the pen holder 118 is parallel to the central longitudinal axis X-X of the base 102.

When the platform 112 rotates in the direction indicated by the arrow W shown in FIG. 4B to the position shown in FIG. 5B, it can be seen that the toe portion 124 is moved, by virtue of movement of the respective pair of guide rails 126a, 126b, closer to the central longitudinal axis of the platform 112. As shown in FIG. 5A, as the intermediate pivot point 122 is engaged to the base 102, movement of the toe portion 124 inwardly towards the central longitudinal axis of the platform 112 will cause the pen holder 118 to pivot about the pivot point 112 to a position 118′, in which the longitudinal axis (now denoted by Y′-Y′) of the pen holder is inclined relative to the central longitudinal axis of the platform 112.

Rotation of the platform 112 in the direction opposite to the direction indicated by the arrow W will bring the pen holder 118 back to the position shown in FIG. 5A, i.e. a upright position.

FIGS. 6A and 6B show the middle platform 110 as comprising an upper plate 110a and a lower plate 110b. The platform 110 may be integral with the uppermost innermost platform 112. The outer periphery of the upper plate 110a and lower plate 110b are undulating and combine to form an undulating channel within which a toe portion 128 at the end of a bent portion 130 of the pen holder 116 is received for relative movement, so as to pivot the pen holder 116 between the position as shown in FIG. 6A and that shown in FIG. 6B.

As shown in FIGS. 6A and 7A, when the toe portion 128 is below a trough of the upper plate 110a, the longitudinal axis Z-Z of the pen holder 116 is parallel to the central longitudinal axis X-X of the base 102. When the platform 110 rotates until the toe portion 128 is below a crest of the upper plate 110a, as shown in FIGS. 6B and 7B, the pen holder 116 will pivot about a pivot spindle 132 to thereby tilt the pen holder 116 outward in the direction indicated by the arrow P, to the position shown in FIGS. 6B and 7B, in which the longitudinal axis (now denoted as Z′-Z′) of the pen holder 116 is inclined relative to the central longitudinal axis X-X of the base 102.

As an alternative, and as shown in FIG. 8, the pivot spindle 132 needs not be fixed relative to the base 102. In particular, the pivot spindle 132 may, during rotation of the platform 110, travel within a slot 134 fixed relative to the base 102, so that the pen holder 116 may move, both translationally and pivotally relative to the base 102, from the position shown in solid line to the position shown in dotted line in FIG. 8.

Turning now to the lowermost outermost platform 108, and as shown in FIG. 9A, it can be seen that a toe portion 138 of the pen holder 114 is confined within a horizontal channel 140 near a top end of the platform 108. When the platform 108 is moved axially relative to the base 102 upwardly in the direction indicated by the arrow T, it can be seen that the longitudinal axis of the pen holder 114 is thus caused to pivot outwardly to the position shown in FIG. 9B, and subsequently to that shown in FIG. 9C.

As an alternative, and as shown in FIG. 10, the pen holder 114 includes a pivot spindle 142, which needs not be fixed relative to the base 102. The pivot spindle 142 may, during rotation of the platform 108, travel within a slot 144 fixed relative to the base 102, so that the pen holder 114 may move, both translationally and pivotally relative to the base 102, from the position shown in solid line to the position shown in dotted line in FIG. 10.

The pen stand 100 may be moved between the configuration as shown in FIG. 11A and that as shown in FIG. 11D. It can be seen in FIG. 11A that the platforms 110, 112 are fixedly engaged with each other and with a generally cylindrical support core 150. For example, the platforms 110, 112 may be formed integrally with the core 150. The core 150 is received within a central cavity 152 of a circular tube 154 which is fixed engaged with the platform 108. For example, the circular tube 154 may be formed integrally with the platform 108. The circular tube 154 is threadedly engaged with the interior surface of the base 102, such that rotation of the tube 154 relative to the base 102 will also bring about movement of the tube 154 relative to the base 102 in the axial direction, i.e. upwardly or downwardly.

The tube 154 is provided with a pair of diametrically opposed vertically extending ribs 156 which are received within correspondingly sized, positioned and configured recesses 158 on an outer surface of the core 150. By way of such an arrangement, the core 150 and the tube 154 are engaged with each other for simultaneous rotational movement about their common central longitudinal axis, which coincides with the central longitudinal axis X-X, but are movable relative to each other axially.

Thus, when the core 150 is set into rotational movement about the axis X-X, the platforms 110, 112 will be brought into simultaneous and concurrent rotational movement, which will cause the pen holders 116, 118 to move from the position as shown in FIG. 11A in which the longitudinal axes of the pen holders 116, 118 are parallel to the axis X-X, to the position as shown in FIG. 11 D in which the longitudinal axes of the pen holders 116, 118 are inclined relative to the axis X-X.

Rotational movement of the core 150 will also bring about simultaneous and concurrent rotational movement of the tube 154. By reason of the threaded engagement between the tube 154 and the base 102 (either directly or via an intermediate threaded pin), the tube 154 (and thus the platform 108 with which it is fixedly engaged) will rise axially relative to both the base 102 and the core 150, such that the pen holders 114 will also move from the position as shown in FIG. 11A in which the longitudinal axes of the pen holders 114 are parallel to the axis X-X, to the position as shown in FIG. 11D in which the longitudinal axes of the pen holders 114 are inclined relative to the axis X-X.

It is clear that rotation of the core 150 and the tube 154 in the reverse direction will bring the pen holders 114, 116, 118 back to the position as shown in FIG. 11A.

As mentioned above, the pen stand 100 is electrically operable and includes two buttons 106a, 106b for operation. In operation, when the button 106a is pressed, a motor 160 is energized, which will bring about rotational movement of gears 162, 164. The gear 164 is also in mesh, via a threaded pin 166, with the core 152. By way of such an arrangement, activation of the motor 160 will cause the core 152 (and thus the platforms 110, 112) to rotate. As discussed above, rotation of the core 152 will cause the tube 154 to rotate concurrently and simultaneously, and move relative to the base 102 axially.

When the button 106b is pressed, the motor 160 will be activated, but in the opposite direction, to thereby reverse the movement of the various components of the pen stand 100.

A pen stand according to a second preferred embodiment is shown in FIGS. 13 and 14 and generally designated as 200. The structure of the pen stand 200 is similar to the pen stand 100 discussed above, with the main difference being that the pen stand 200 is manually operable. A front extension 204 is provided with a switch 206 for controlling the operation of the pen stand 200.

As shown in FIG. 15, the switch 206 is fixed with a latch 208 which extends into the interior of the pen stand 200. The latch 208 is fixed, via a wheel 210, with a threaded pin 212, which has the same structure and function as the threaded pin 166 discussed above in relation to the pen stand 100. Thus, swivelling of the switch 206 (and thus the latch 208) will cause the pin 212 to swivel, and thus bring about corresponding rotational movement of platforms, 220, 222, 224 relative to a base 202 of the pen stand 200, and also axial movement of the platform 224 relative to the base 202 and the platforms 220, 222, to achieve pivotal movement of pen holders 226, 228, 230 relative to the base 202 and a central longitudinal axis of the pen stand 200.

It can be seen that, by way of the present invention, while the stationery items can in the normal situation be stored compactly in the configuration as shown in FIG. 3, as and when required, the pen stand 100, 200 may be caused to move to the configuration as shown in FIG. 11D, in which the stationery items are spread away from one another, to facilitate access to and selection of the desired stationery item.

Although the invention has thus far been described and illustrated in the context of pen stands (whether manually or electrically operable), it should be understood that the invention may be realized in other kinds of containers for elongate articles, e.g. containers for holding such other items as crayons, rulers, drill bits, screwdrivers, spanners, etc.

It should also be understood that the above only illustrates examples whereby the present invention may be carried out, and that various modifications and/or alterations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit of the invention.





 
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