Title:
Card storage and indexing apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A universal card file storage and indexing system for cards such as business cards separated by dividers stored in an open topped container with obtuse angled ends for leaning support to provide angled separation for viewing a desired card or divider, which may be adapted to a number of different indexing categories to suit the preference of users.



Inventors:
Watkins, Tim B. (Logan, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/803086
Publication Date:
11/22/2007
Filing Date:
05/11/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARCUS G THEODORE, PC (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A card file storage and indexing system comprising: a. an open topped box container with a bottom and obtuse angled ends to provide end support for a plurality of file or business cards and dividers placed on edge there between, b. a plurality of cards placed on edge within the container, which form various piles of cards when separated by flipping at a given card so the piles lean against either angled end or a stack of cards leaning against either angled end leaving a V-shaped viewing space between the piles to enable a viewer to read a desired card exposed by the separated piles, C. a plurality of dividers placed on edge between the cards to similarly be exposed by flipping with front and back having text writing field spaces laid out so that they may be filled in on both the front and the back of the dividers or rotated to index the cards contained there between from one system if read by from one direction, or by the same or another system if read from the reverse direction.

2. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 1, wherein the box container is sized to contain the desired number of cards to fill the box container, which can subsequently be filled out or removed when new cards are added so that the cards may be flipped without interference for review by a user.

3. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 1, wherein one or both of the angled ends is movable and includes locking means to removably secure the movable angled end within the box container at different positions so that different numbers of cards and dividers may be held on edge within the container and still flip against the angled ends or a stack of cards leaning against the angled ends.

4. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 1, including a cover to prevent dust and debris from damaging the cards and dividers stored therein.

5. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 1, wherein the box container, index cards, and dividers vary in size and quantity to match the needs of a user and accommodate a variety of different card sizes and types.

6. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 1, wherein the dividers and cards have writing fields, which provide margin space for finger holding while writing in the text fields, and are designed to be rotated for left or right hand use.

7. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 1, wherein the dividers and cards have spaces on the front and back that may be filled out and read from either on the front or the back.

8. A card file storage and indexing system according to claim 7, wherein the dividers and cards have universal text fields, which may be filled out to be indexed under a variety of different systems.

9. A card file storage and indexing method comprising: a. providing an open topped container with obtuse angled ends structured to provide leaning support for a plurality of cards and dividers placed on edge there between, b. placing a plurality of cards one edge to fill the container with sufficient stored cards to provide angled pile separation for viewing a desired card and maintain card flipping action, c. separating the stored cards with dividers having indexing fields, d. periodically interchanging the stored cards with new cards, e. filling out the dividers in accordance with the user's indexing preferences.

10. A card file indexing method according to claim 9, wherein the dividers are indexed to be reviewed from either the front or the back of the container, or have differing indexes if viewed from different ends of the container.

11. A card file storage and indexing method comprising: a. providing an open topped container with a fixed obtuse angled end and a movable obtuse angled end to provide leaning support for a plurality of stored cards and dividers placed there between on edge to provide angled pile separation for viewing a desired card or divider, b. placing a plurality of stored cards on edge to fill a segment of the container, c. moving the movable obtuse angled end proximate the edge of the plurality of stored cards to maintain angled pile separation and card flipping action, d. separating the stored cards with dividers having indexing text fields, e. periodically interchanging or adding cards of similar size to the plurality of stored cards and adjusting the movable obtuse angled end to maintain card flipping action, and f. filling out the dividers in accordance with a user's indexing preferences.

12. A card file storage and indexing method according to claim 1, wherein the cards and dividers have writing fields, which provide margin space for finger holding while writing in the text fields, and are designed to be rotated for left or right hand use.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of the provisional patent application filed May 22, 2006, Ser. No. 60/802,234 entitled “Card Indexing Apparatus and Method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field

This invention pertains to card files and indexing systems. In particular it pertains to an improved universal card file storage and indexing system.

2. State of the Art

A number of card files and indexing systems are known, such as Henig, U.S. Pat. No. 3,754,646 dated Aug. 28, 1973, which is a receptacle for sorting and handling flat articles such letters, and includes a conveyer for advancing the articles placed therein. L. C. Walker U.S. Pat. No. 2,258,666 dated Oct. 14, 1941 is a card file with an insert having angled ends for displaying flat cards or objects by flipping them against one or the other of the angled ends. Lambert et al, U.S. Pat. No. 3,908,821 dated Sep. 30, 1975 is a record keeping tray and assembly designed with a number of indexed dividers for filling with flat objects such as canceled checks. Martin, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,922 dated Oct. 13, 1998 is a support system for files including opposing racks on its sides with corresponding fingers to hold vertically flat files placed on a corrugated bottom.

D. F. Carver, U.S. Pat. No. 1,053,009 dated Feb. 11, 1913 discloses another card file index system with disparting or spacing means at the bottom of the cards so that they are easier to flip and separate. F. L. Wassel, U.S. Pat. No. 2,687,732 dated Aug. 31, 1954, discloses a card storage system with angled bottom inserts for holding the old style input punch cards for early computers.

Gorman, U.S. Pat. No. 201,004 dated Mar. 5, 1878 discloses a bill file with corrugations in the bottom and top into which a follower separator is placed to act as a movable divider to aid in storage of flat items placed therein.

Cited for general interest is Roccaforte, U.S. Pat. No. 4,300,683 dated Nov. 17, 1981 is a product display packaging card having angled ends with slots into which are placed products for storage and display.

These file and storage containers have various advantages and disadvantages. The present invention is designed to provide a universal card file storage system employing reversible and rotatable index cards, which may be filled out in accordance with a user's indexing requirements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises an open topped box container with a base and angled ends to provide support for a plurality of cards, such as file cards, business cards, recipe cards, and other types of cards and other storable flat stackable products such as computer disks and CDs, hereinafter referred to as cards, and dividers placed there between. The angled ends form obtuse angles with the base of the container. The box is structured so that the cards are placed on edge such that they may oppositely lean against either angled end, providing a V-shaped angled space separation between leaning stacks of cards so that each card can be viewed one at a time by flipping a card to lean against those cards leaning against one end or the other. After viewing, the card is then released to stack against the angled end or a pile of cards to expose the next card. In one embodiment, the angled ends are fixed and the number of cards similarly fixed to completely the fill the container with cards. New cards are then added and corresponding file cards removed to prevent overfilling of the container to interfere with the user's ability to flip the cards for viewing.

Universal dividers are included to group and index the cards by categories. The dividers are symmetrically laid out so that they may be filled in on both the front and the back of the dividers or rotated to aid in revised indexing. Consequently, the container may be used to index the cards contained therein from one system if read from the front of the container, or by another system if read from the reverse.

This open topped box container with fixed ends is sold with a fixed number of cards or dividers (usually around 350 to 400 cards—or any desired quantity) to fill the bottom of the container such that there are an excess number of blank cards, which can subsequently be filled out or removed when new cards, such as business cards, are added. Removal is necessary in this embodiment so that the cards may be flipped without interference for review by a user. This avoids having to include filler pieces to maintain the flipping action when only filled out cards are included initially.

In another embodiment, one of the obtuse angled ends of the box is a movable angled end piece with locking means to removably secure it to the sides of the container at different points along the container for use to hold varying numbers of cards placed on edge for flipping and viewing. This movable angled end piece allows the number of cards to be expanded or thinned as required, while still maintaining the card flipping action.

Preferred locking means for the movable angled end piece are retractable pins extending from opposite side edges of the movable angled end piece. The pins are adapted to fit within a corresponding series of holes along both sides of the container when extended. They are then slideably retracted from the holes to move the angled end piece. In another embodiment, the edges of the angled end piece are resilient and contain fixed pins, which fit within the container holes, when the edges are expanded, and removed when the ends of the angled piece are squeezed. Another preferred locking means are compression springs with pig tail ends, which expand for locking by inserting the pig ends within the series of holes. To move the angled end piece, the spring is compressed to release of the pig tail ends from the holes. After repositioning, the spring compression is released so the pig tail ends are placed in the holes to secure the angled end piece. However, any movable locking means may be employed to position the movable angled end piece in the desired position within the box container.

The open topped box container generally is sold with a cover or lid to prevent dust and debris from damaging the cards stored therein.

To use the filled box of the present invention with fixed angled ends, the container is opened and business cards are placed therein after removing one or two corresponding blank cards to maintain the same flipping action. Periodically, the dividers are filled out in accordance with the user's indexing preferences. These may be indexed consistently, if viewed from either the front or the back of the container, or may have differing indexes if viewed from different ends of the container.

To use the box container with a movable angled end piece, the box container is opened and the angled end piece secured in a position next to the business cards placed on edge therein to maintain the cards flipping action as described above. Dividers are then added within the card filled section as needed to meet the indexing needs of a user.

The box container, index cards, and dividers may vary in size to match the needs of a user and accommodate a variety of different card sizes and types. The dividers may be rotated for left handed or right handed use. They may also be filled out on the front and back. However, the dividers are universal so they can be indexed under a variety of different organizing systems. This eliminates the needs for wholesalers or retailers to stock different card indexing systems for each different application.

The box container may be constructed as a single piece with angled ends and container holes, or may be made of several pieces where the box interior contains separate angled end pieces, and a separate tray with container holes. The materials selected for the container are dependent on the requirements of a user. If one piece water resistant construction is required, injection molding materials may be employed. For more decorative box containers, woods, rigid paper box with printed box wraps, or patterned cardboard with various coverings may be employed. The lid may be opaque or transparent and structured to form an air or water tight seal with the container, when covered.

The card index system is primarily used for card storage and collection, but may be used for other purposes.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment with angled insert ends.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4a is an exploded view of the angled divider with spring and pigtail ends extended.

FIG. 4b is an exploded view of angled divider with spring and pigtail ends retracted.

FIG. 4c is an unfolded view of a preferred embodiment of the adjustable divider of FIG. 4.

FIG. 5a is a front view of a preferred file card.

FIG. 5b is a rotated front view or back view of the preferred file card shown in FIG. 5a.

FIG. 6a is a front view of a preferred divider card

FIG. 6b is a rotated front view or back view of the preferred divider card shown in FIG. 6a.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

The box container invention 10 as shown in FIG. 1 comprises a transparent or opaque lid 1, covering an open topped box container 2 made of two parts—a base 2a with sides 2b, and a box tray interior 2c with a series of opposed interior holes 3 fitting within the base 2a. The sides 2b of the base 2a preferably cover the series of interior holes 3. Positioned within the box container 2 is a fixed angled end support 4 at one end, and a movable angled end divider 5 opposing the fixed angled end support 4 such that their angled faces 6, 7 shown in FIG. 2 form opposing obtuse angles with the base 2a to provide angled end support for the base edges of a plurality of file cards 8 and dividers 9 shown in FIGS. 4a, 4b, 5a and 5b stored on edge there between. The optimal number of cards 8 and dividers 9 stored on edge occurs when the movable angled end divider 5 is at the opposite end of the container 2. In this position, the stored cards 8 and dividers 9 completely fill the bottom of the box container 2 so they may lean against either of the angled faces 6, 7 forming a V shaped space to sequentially expose each card for viewing as they are flipped and piled against one another or either end support 4, or angled end divider 5 as shown in FIG. 2. However, the movable angled end 5 is repositioned, as necessary, to allow lesser numbers of cards 8 and dividers 9 to be stored between the angled faces 6, 7 and still maintain the card flipping action.

For embodiments with fixed angled ends and fixed numbers of cards, as new cards 6 are added, corresponding cards 8 are removed to prevent overfilling of the container to interfere with the user's ability to flip the cards 8 for viewing.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 with a fixed angled end support 4 and two different movable angled end dividers 5 and 5a FIG. 2 shows how the faces 6, 7 of the end support 4 and movable angled divider 5 form obtuse angles with the base 2a so that each card 8 stored on edge can be viewed by flipping the pile to form an angled opening; thereby avoiding the need for removal of the card 8 for viewing. The angled end support 4 and angled divider 5 thus form slanted obtuse angled ends of the container 2 so that the cards 8 placed on edge can oppositely lean against either the angled end support 4 or movable angled end divider 5. This structure forms a V shaped separating space between different card piles leaning against either face 6, 7 so that each card can be viewed one at a time by flipping a card to lean against other cards 8 leaning against one end or the other. After viewing, the card 8 is then released to stack against the angled faces 6, 7 or a pile of cards leaning against them.

The movable angled end divider 5, or an alternative fixed piece construction divider 5a, are shown in FIG. 3, which is an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, showing how either can be employed. Both dividers 5, 5a have angled faces 6. Each is structured to slideably move along the base 2a Alternative divider 5a has retractable pins 11 associated with its respective sides 12, which are inserted in the holes 3 of the tray interior 2c to secure the alternative dividers 5a in the desired position. The alternative divider 5a is made of single piece construction. It is made of resilient molded plastic with squeezable ends 12, which are movable toward the middle of divider 5a by fingers pressure pulling in against finger holds 13. As the finger holds 13 are activated, the sides 12 are pulled toward the interior to remove pins 11 from the holes 3 to reposition alternative divider 5a. When the desired position is located, the finger holds 13 are released so the resilient ends 12 spring back and reinsert the pins 11 into the desired holes 3.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are exploded views of the movable angled end divider 5 with a compression spring 15 having pigtail ends 16, which fits within a tube (or sleeve) 15a of a length, which allows its ends 18 to compress towards its center when the spring 15 is compressed. The movable angled end divider 5 is made of folded cardboard or chip board forming an angled face 6 with interior finger slides 14, which are operably associated with an interior compression spring 15 with pig tail ends 16, which fit within holes 17 in the ends 18 of the angled divider 5. As the finger slides 14 are squeezed together, the spring 15 is compressed as shown in FIG. 4b so its pig tail ends 16 are removed from the holes 3 for repositioning the movable angled end divider 5. When the desired position is located, the finger slides 14 are released as shown in FIG. 4a, thereby releasing the spring pig tail ends 16 for insertion into the desired holes 3.

FIG. 4c is an unfolded view of the movable adjustable divider 5 of FIGS. 4a and 4b.

FIG. 5a is a front view of a preferred file card 8. It has text writing field areas 8a, 8b, which are symmetrical so that the cards 8 may be rotated and/or reversed to display their content to be read from a variety of directions. For example, one indexing system may be filled in on the front of the card 8 field 8a, and used when viewing the box container 2 from one direction. Another indexing system may be used on the back of the card 8 field 8b when viewing the box container 2 from the opposite direction. The text writing field areas 8a, 8b are thus filled out by a user in accordance with the user's preferred indexing system, such as alphabetical, by topic, subject, etc. The use of cards 8 and dividers 9 with reverse sides is optional—particularly for divider 9. Also, cards 5b and dividers 6b could be rotated for front views or back views.

FIG. 5b is a rotated front view or back view of the preferred file card 8 shown in FIG. 6a showing text writing field areas 8b.

The margins 8c of the file cards 8 are asymmetric allowing larger margins on either the left or right hand side for gripping by either the right or left hand fingers without obscuring text placed in the writing field areas 8a, 8b.

FIG. 6a is a front view or back view of a preferred divider card 9. The divider cards 9 are taller than the cards 8 to reveal a title writing field area 9a which extends above the separated file cards 8. A user then fills in title writing field area 9a with the desired indexing notation for separation display. Again, the margins 9b of the divider cards 9 are asymmetric allowing larger margins on either the left or right hand side for gripping by either the right or left hand fingers without obscuring the text placed in the writing field areas 9c.

FIG. 6b is a rotated front view or back view of the preferred divider card shown in FIG. 6a with text writing field areas 9d and similar placement margins 9b as the front view.

The box container 2, file cards 8, and divider cards 9 may vary in size to match the needs of a user and accommodate a variety of different card sizes and types.

The materials selected for the box container 2 are dependent on the requirements of a user. If one piece water resistant construction is required, injection molding materials may be employed. For more decorative box containers, woods, rigid paper box with printed box wraps, or patterned cardboard with decorative coverings may be employed. The lid 1 may be opaque or transparent.

The invention 10 thus provides a universal card file and indexing system, which may be adapted to a number of different indexing categories to suit the preference of different users.

Although this specification has referred to the illustrated embodiments, it is not intended to restrict the scope of the claims. The claims themselves recite those features deemed essential to the invention.