Title:
Shelf with concealment means
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shelf having a stacking member fixedly attached to a mounting member, where the stacking member is substantially perpendicular to the mounting member and the stacking member has an upper surface and a lower surface. At least one ledge extends outwardly from the mounting member, essentially parallel to and beneath the lower surface of the stacking member, such that an article may be held in place securely between the ledge and the lower surface of the stacking member. The shelf is structured in such a way such that when books, towels, and the like are held and displayed on the shelf, the articles being held substantially conceal the shelf itself, hiding it from view.



Inventors:
Lior, Miron (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/647037
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
12/28/2006
Assignee:
Umbra LLC (Buffalo, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B65/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIMPSON & SIMPSON, PLLC (BUFFALO, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shelf, comprising: a mounting member operatively arranged to be fixedly secured to a vertical surface; a stacking member fixedly attached to said mounting member, wherein said stacking member is substantially perpendicular to said mounting member, and wherein said stacking member has an upper surface and a lower surface; and, at least one ledge extending outwardly from said mounting member and beneath said stacking member, wherein said at least one ledge is operatively arranged to hold an article between said at least one ledge and said stacking member.

2. The shelf of claim 1, wherein said at least one ledge is disposed proximate a joint formed at an intersection of said mounting member and said stacking member.

3. The shelf of claim 2, wherein said joint is reinforced.

4. The shelf of claim 1, further comprising at least one mounting hole disposed within said mounting member.

5. The shelf of claim 1, wherein said at least one ledge is L-shaped.

6. The shelf of claim 1, wherein said at least one ledge extends below said lower surface.

7. The shelf of claim 1, wherein said stacking member is trapezoidal in shape.

8. The shelf of claim 1, wherein said stacking member is rectangular in shape.

9. A shelf, comprising: a stacking member fixedly attached to a mounting member, wherein said stacking member is substantially perpendicular to said mounting member, said stacking member has an upper surface and a lower surface; and a continuous ledge disposed along a perimeter edge of said lower surface, wherein said ledge is operatively arranged to hold an article.

10. The shelf of claim 9, wherein said continuous ledge is disposed along a perimeter edge of said lower surface proximate a joint formed at an intersection of said mounting member and said stacking member.

11. The shelf of claim 10, wherein said joint is reinforced.

12. The shelf of claim 10, further comprising at least one mounting hole disposed within said mounting member.

13. The shelf of claim 10, wherein said ledge is L-shaped.

14. The shelf of claim 10, wherein said ledge extends below said lower surface.

15. The shelf of claim 10, wherein said stacking member is trapezoidal in shape.

16. The shelf of claim 10, wherein said stacking member is rectangular in shape.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/517,055, filed Sep. 7, 2006, which application is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to a shelf, more specifically to a bookshelf or towel shelf, and, more particularly, to a bookshelf or towel shelf that is mountable on vertical surfaces and, when loaded with books, towels or the like, conceals the support and mounting structure of the shelf.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Mountable shelves are known in the art. Traditionally, wall mounted shelves use an integral tab that is secured to a wall with screws or a similar attachment means. Shelves, such as bookshelves, have elements that are engineered to meet certain requirements. For instance, standard sized books have a cover that requires a horizontal shelf surface with a width sufficient to accommodate the cover. Although the horizontal shelf surface can take the form of various shapes, such as, circular, triangular, rectangular or an asymmetrical shape, bookshelves traditionally have a flat surface that is close to the width of the book that is to be held.

Bookshelves or cases that are traditional cabinet-like designs are not as appropriate as wall-mounted shelving systems in situations where floor space is limited. Another factor that has motivates the installation of wall-mounted bookshelf units is a desire for more modern furnishings. One problem with many current wall mounted bookshelves is that they protrude from the wall and fail to hide unattractive mounting structures and brackets. Efforts have been made to design wall mounted bookshelves that conceal the mounting structures, but with little success. Those shelving units that have tried to conceal mounting structures, have done so by creating thick shelving surfaces that do not appeal to many consumers.

Thus, there is a need for a shelf capable of holding books, towels, or similar articles in a manner that conceals the shelf and the mounting structure of the shelf.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention broadly comprises a shelf having a stacking surface fixedly attached to a mounting surface, where the stacking surface is substantially perpendicular to the mounting surface and the stacking surface has an upper surface and a lower surface. At least one ledge is disposed on the lower surface of the mounting surface and the ledge is operatively arranged to hold a book cover. The ledge can be disposed proximate a joint formed at the intersection of the mounting surface and the stacking surface. In some embodiments, at least one ledge is disposed on the lower surface disposed proximate a joint formed at the intersection of the mounting surface and the stacking surface on a first side of the stacking member, and at least one ledge is disposed on the lower surface disposed proximate the intersection on a second side of the stacking member. In some aspects, the joint is reinforced. A mounting hole or a mounting structure can be disposed on the mounting surface to provide a mounting element with which to hang the shelf.

In some aspects the ledge is L-shaped and extends below the lower surface. The mounting surface can be trapezoidal, rectangular or similarly shaped.

The invention further broadly comprises a shelf with a stacking surface fixedly attached to a mounting surface, where the stacking surface is roughly perpendicular to the mounting surface and the stacking surface has an upper surface and a lower surface. A continuous ledge is disposed along a perimeter edge of the lower surface and the ledge is operatively arranged to hold a book cover, or part of a towel. In some aspects, the continuous ledge is disposed along a perimeter edge of the lower surface proximate a joint formed at the intersection of the mounting surface and the stacking surface and the joint is reinforced. The ledge can be L-shaped and extend below the lower surface. In some embodiments, at least one mounting hole or a mounting structure is disposed on the mounting surface and the mounting surface is trapezoidal, rectangular, similarly shaped.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a shelf that can hold and display books, towel and other articles on a wall in a manner that conceals the shelf when books are stacked on the shelf.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a shelf that has a cover holding ledge that can hold the cover of book in a manner that conceals the shelf.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciable from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention and from the accompanying drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature and mode of operation of the present invention will now be more fully described in the following detailed description of the invention taken with the accompanying drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bookshelf of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a right side elevation view of the bookshelf shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a left side view of the bookshelf shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the bookshelf in FIG. 1 with books stacked upon the shelf;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the bookshelf shown in FIG. 4, taken generally at line 5-5 in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the bookshelf shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of a ledge of the bookshelf shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the bookshelf shown in FIGS. 1-7, illustrating a book being placed into engagement on the shelf;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the shelf shown in FIG. 8, except showing a number of books being placed on the shelf, illustrating how the shelf itself is being concealed by the books;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 9, except showing how the shelf is completely concealed by a number of books loaded on the shelf;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the shelf of the invention, this shelf especially designed and appropriate for holding and displaying articles such as towels;

FIG. 12 is a front elevation view of the shelf shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a right side view of the shelf shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the shelf shown in FIG. 11, illustrating how a towel would be placed into the shelf;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 14, showing a first towel placed on the shelf, partially concealing the shelf itself; and,

FIG. 16 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 15, except showing two towels placed on the shelf, which towels would completely conceal the shelf itself when viewed from the front.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiments, it is understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. In the description below, the terms “top”, “bottom”, “upper”, “lower”, “front”, “back”, “rear”, “left”, “right”, and their derivatives, should be interpreted from the perspective of one viewing the invention shown in FIG. 1.

Furthermore, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the particular methodology, materials and modifications described and as such may, of course, vary. It is also understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods, devices or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described. It should also be appreciated that the present invention comprises a shelf, specially designed such that its structure allows the holding and display of articles, such as books, towels and the like, while concealing the shelf itself. Two different embodiments of the invention are illustrated, described and claimed. The first embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 1-10, is ideal for holding and displaying books, while the second embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 11-16, is ideal for holding and displaying towels. Although these respective embodiments are sometimes described as a bookshelf, towel shelf, or shelf, respectively, it should be appreciated that these terms are used interchangeably, and are not intended to limit the scope of the claims, and that the two disclosed embodiments are obviously suitable for holding and displaying a variety of articles.

In accordance with the present invention, FIG. 1 is a perspective view of bookshelf 10 of the present invention, which is comprised of mounting member 12, which is typically vertically arranged, integral to stacking member 14, which is typically horizontally arranged in a cantilevered orientation. Bookshelf 10 can be formed from a single piece of sheet steel, or similar material that is pressed into a mounting member 12 and stacking member 14, arranged at substantially a 90° angle to one another. Reinforcement members 18 strengthen the joint between mounting member 12 and stacking member 14. Alternatively, holder 10 and its various parts can be formed from separate pieces. The members can be made of metal, plastic, wood, or other materials. In a preferred embodiment, especially useful for holding books, stacking member 14 is trapezoidal in shape, and the height B of mounting member 12 is approximately the same as the length A of stacking member 14, as shown in FIG. 3. Although the invention as claimed is not intended to be limited to any particular dimensions, in a preferred embodiment especially designed to hold books, A=132.8 mm; B=133.5 mm; and C≈3 mm, as shown in FIG. 3.

Alternatively, mounting member 12 can be fixedly attached to stacking member 14 using a weld or an equivalent attachment means known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Intersection 16, which is the region where mounting member 12 and stacking member 14 meet, can be strengthened by reinforcement member 18 that can be crimped into mounting member 12 and stacking member 14, or attached as a strengthening structure or strengthening weld.

Mounting member 12 has at least one aperture 26 that can be used as an attachment location. Additional apertures 26 can be disposed on mounting member 12 at various locations. Apertures 26 can be round as depicted or numerous other shapes, which includes, but is not limited to a keyhole shape. One possible alternative is to align multiple apertures 26 in vertical or horizontal alignment to ensure that shelf 10 will be attached securely. In some aspects, mounting member 12 has a mounting structure, which can include, but is not limited to a hanging apparatus, clip, hook, or similar apparatus to aid in hanging bookshelf 10 on a vertical surface.

Mounting member 12, as shown, is generally rectangular shaped, but it should be appreciated that other alternative shapes could also be used. Similarly, stacking member 14, as shown, is generally trapezoidal in shape, but it should be appreciated that other alternative shapes could also be used.

Extending below intersection 16 on mounting member 12 is ledge 20. Ledge 20 is shown attached proximate the rear perimeter of stacking member 12, proximate intersection 16, but ledge 20, or any variation of the ledge, can be attached at any other perimeter edge of stacking member 14, i.e., the side or front perimeter edges. Ledge 20 has vertical section 22 and a horizontal lip 24. In a preferred embodiment, lip 24 has a length C which is approximately 1/35 the length of A. Lip 24 doesn't have to be very long when the shelf is used as a bookshelf—merely long enough to secure a book cover. A shorter length for the lip is preferred for aesthetic reasons, but not required for functionality. In some aspects, ledge 20 is formed from mounting member 12 by pressing vertical section 22 and horizontal lip 24 into a portion of mounting member 12 proximate intersection 16. In such aspects, vertical section 22 is on the same plane as mounting member 12 and is defined by a point beginning proximate intersection 16 and extends beyond intersection 16 to horizontal lip 24. The length of vertical section 22 is determined by the thickness of a typical book cover. However, given that book covers are not universal, e.g., soft cover and hard cover book covers are of different thicknesses, the length of vertical section 22 can be various lengths depending on the book cover that it is intended to hold.

Ledge 20 may be integral with mounting member 12, or it may be a separate piece attached to mounting member 12 proximate intersection 16. Vertical section 22 and horizontal lip 24, individual components of ledge 20, can also be attached as separate components to mounting member 12 using any attachment means known in the art.

FIG. 2 is a left side elevation view of bookshelf 10 of the present invention. The extension of ledge 20 below stacking member 14 is more apparent. Also demonstrated in this view is the positioning and approximate length of vertical section 22 in relation to intersection 16, but it should be appreciated that ledge 20 can be of various sizes and shapes. Intersection 16 designates the upper reaches of vertical section 22, while horizontal lip 24 designates the lower reaches of vertical section 22. Horizontal lip 24 can be of various lengths to accomplish the task of holding book covers. Horizontal lips 24 with shorter lengths and thinner widths tend to better hide any evidence of bookshelf 10. Long and wide horizontal lips 24 tend to have more surface area showing, which can better secure a book cover. Ledge 20 and vertical section 22 and horizontal lip 24 can be constructed of pressed steel or a similar material. However, if a substance that is translucent, such as, but not limited to acrylic or another clear plastic, is used to construct ledge 20, it should be understood that longer and wider vertical section 22 and horizontal lip 24 can be used without detracting from the objectives of shelf 10.

FIG. 3 is a right side elevation view of bookshelf 10, illustrating ledge 20, vertical section 22 and horizontal lip 24.

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of bookshelf 10 with books 30 stacked upon the shelf. Stacking member 14 and ledge 20 are shown in phantom view to illustrate the ability of ledge 20 to hold book cover 32 between the lower surface of stacking member 14 and the upper surface of horizontal lip 24. The first book 30 to be stacked upon shelf 10 has cover 32 inserted into ledge 20 in such a manner that cover 32 abuts, or comes close to abutting, vertical section 22, and outside surface 34 of cover 32 rests upon horizontal lip 24. In this manner, cover 32 conceals stacking member 14 and a portion of mounting surface 12. Each successive book that is stacked upon the first book will also conceal a portion of mounting surface 12 until a sufficient number of books have been stack to conceal mounting surface 12 and bookshelf 10 entirely.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of bookshelf 10 shown in FIG. 4, taken generally at line 5-5 in FIG. 4. Cover 32 of book 30 is illustrated below stacking member 14, and lodged within ledge 20, which is positioned on the right side of shelf 10. Generally, two ledges 20 are positioned on each side of shelf 10 to ensure that book covers are held stably. In some aspects, ledge 20 can use one ledge centrally located or multiple ledges 20 can be placed at strategic locations. In some aspects, a continuous ledge 20 or ridge can be position at roughly the same location as the position of attachment for ledge 20, i.e., proximate intersection 16. The continuous ledge or ridge can be utilized and placed on shelf 10 similar to the way the ledges 20 have been characterized and described. Ledge 20 retains the end of cover 32. More particularly, outer surface 34 of cover 32 is trapped against horizontal lip 24. Leafing stacking member 14 between pages 36 and cover 32 of the first book placed upon shelf 10 enables stacking member 14 to support multiple books 30 in such a manner that stacking member 14 is completely concealed. Placing multiple books on shelf 10, which cumulatively reach a height greater than the height of mounting member 12, will also conceal mounting member 12. Although the illustrations show shelf 10 with only two books 30 on shelf 10, it should be understood that many more books can be held on shelf 10, and that it is preferable to place multiple books on shelf 10 to fully conceal the shelf. If a first book 30 has cover 32 placed within at least one ledge 20, wherein cover 32 is placed on the bottom side of stacking member 14 and pages 36 are placed on the top side of stacking member 14, with a sufficient number of books stacked upon this first book, generally entire shelf 10 will be concealed to give the appearance that the shelved books are floating unaided.

Shelf 10 can be attached to any vertical surface using an appropriate attachment means such as a screw, nail, or analogous fastening means. As shown, multiple screws 28 have been inserted through apertures 26 in mounting member 12 to secure shelf 10 to wall 38. In some aspects, shelf 10 can omit apertures 26 and implement an epoxy attachment means, or implement another alternative attachment means, which can include, but is not limited to hooks, wire, clips and notches. Attachment to a vertical surface such as a wall is the intended application, but shelf 10 can also be adapted for attachment to other surfaces as well.

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of bookshelf 10 shown in FIG. 4 with stacking member 14 and pages 36 drawn in phantom to demonstrate the spatial arrangement of the components of book 30 relative to shelf 10 components. Cover 32 extends to the inside surface of ledge 20, with only a small portion of outside surface 34 of cover 32 held within ledge 20, specifically horizontal lip 24 of ledge 20.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged view of a ledge of bookshelf 10 shown in FIG. 4. This enlarged view captures the relationship of book cover 32 with ledge 20. Insertion of cover 32 so that the outside surface 34 contacts the upper surface of horizontal lip 24 enables ledge 20 to hold cover 32.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the bookshelf shown in FIGS. 1-7, illustrating a book being placed into engagement on the shelf.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the shelf shown in FIG. 8, except showing a number of books being placed on the shelf, illustrating how the shelf itself is being concealed by the books.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 9, except showing how the shelf is completely concealed by a number of books loaded on the shelf.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of shelf 10 of the present invention, comprising mounting member 12, which is typically vertically arranged, integral to stacking member 14, which is typically horizontally arranged in a cantilevered orientation. Shelf 10 can be formed from a single piece of sheet steel, or similar material that is pressed into a mounting member 12 and stacking member 14, arranged at substantially a 90° angle to one another. Reinforcement members 18 strengthen the joint between mounting member 12 and stacking member 14. Alternatively, holder 10 and its various parts can be formed from separate pieces. The members can be made of metal, plastic, wood, or other materials. In a preferred embodiment, especially useful for holding towels, stacking member 14 is rectangular in shape, and the height B of mounting member 12 is approximately ⅓ the length A of stacking member 14, as shown in FIG. 13. Also, in a preferred embodiment especially useful for holding towels, lip 24 has a length C which is about 40% of the length A. This longer length of lip 24 functions to better hold an end of a towel, as shown in FIG. 14. Although the invention as claimed is not intended to be limited by dimensions, in a preferred second embodiment: A=203 mm; B=60 mm; and C=85 mm. Also, since towels are generally of a lower density than books, the height B of mounting member 12 is lower in the second embodiment than in the first embodiment.

FIG. 12 is a front elevation view of the shelf shown in FIG. 11; and FIG. 13 is a right side view of the shelf shown in FIG. 11. Structural elements of the invention shown in these views are identical, except for dimensions, to identically referenced elements illustrated in the first embodiment.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the shelf shown in FIG. 11, illustrating how a towel 52 would be placed into the shelf, with section 54 of the towel being held between ledge 24 and stacking member 14.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 14, showing a first towel 52 placed on the shelf, partially concealing the shelf itself.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view similar to that of FIG. 15, except showing two towels 52 placed on the shelf, which towels would completely conceal the shelf itself when viewed from the front.

Thus, it is seen that the objects of the invention are efficiently obtained, although changes and modifications to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as claimed. Although the invention is described by reference to a specific preferred embodiment, it is clear that variations can be made without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention as claimed.