Title:
Dual purpose rack and divider assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The dual purpose rack and divider assembly of this invention has a base, wings, base slats, and cross slats which can be assemble in either a rack or a divider configuration. A mortise on the base and tenons on the wings and base slats provide an interlocking mechanism that allow transformation from a divider to a rack and to provide stability when in the rack configuration.

The base has parallel mortises in a spaced relationship. The wings has one or more toes or tenons with a taper for insertion into and interlocking in the mortises on the base. The wings can be pivotally attached to the base. The base slats have one or more tenons with a taper for insertion into and interlocking in the mortises in the base. The toes on the base slats straddle the toe(s) of the wings when in the configuration of a rack. The base slats have at least two slots in a parallel spaced relationship with the slots extending half way across the base slats. There are two or more cross slats having at least two slots in a parallel spaced relationship. The cross slats join with the base slats by interlocking the slots on the base slat with the slots on the cross slats to form openings or compartments.




Inventors:
Fischer, Roger D. (Fulton, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/820143
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/18/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B96/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWN, PATRICK D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard Grundstrom (Holts Summit, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A dual purpose rack and divider assembly comprising: a base, generally rectangular in shape having at least two mortises in a spaced parallel relationship, each mortise in the shape of a dovetail cavity crosswise across the width of the base; at least two generally rectangular shaped wings each having a length corresponding to the width of the base, each having a toe projection centered along a lower length edge, the toe projection being a tenon with an angle matched for insertion into the mortises for interlocking the wings onto the base and holding the wings at a fixed angle from the base; two or more rectangular base slats having the same width as the base, each of the base slats having a cutout region corresponding to the width of the tenon on the wings, and having outer tenons or toes with a tapered edge for insertion into and interlocking with the mortices on the base, straddling the toe of the wings, and holding the base slats at a fixed angle from the base and at a right angle or an approximate right angle from the wings, and each of the base slats having two or more slots in a parallel space relationship, each of the slots extending half way across the base slat; two or more rectangular cross slats each having two or more slots in a parallel space relationship, each of the slots extending half way across the cross slat, the cross slats attached to the base slats by interlocking the slots on the base slats with the slots on the cross slats forming openings or compartments; and the base being removable from the base slats, and a bottom surface of the base being butted against the width edges of the interlocked base slat and cross slats with the wings extending outward from the base at a right angle to form a divider assembly for protection and separation of items.

2. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a back plate, the back plate attached to back edges of the cross slats, base slats, wings and the base, the back plate providing stability to the dual purpose rack and divider and closing the back of the compartments formed in the assembly.

3. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 1 in which the wings has outer toes and the base slats having a centered toe for insertion into and interlocking the wings and base slats within the mortices.

4. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 1 in which the wings and base slats each have multiple toes for insertion into and interlocking the wings and base slats within the mortices with the toes straddling one another.

5. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a hinge pivotally attaching the wings to the base.

6. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 1 further comprising advertisement printed, painted, etched, inlayed, and/or adhered to the base, wings, base slats, cross slats, and/or back plate.

7. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 1 in which materials such as cloth, paper, vinyl or any other similar type of materials attached to or adhered to the base and wings functions as a hinge to pivotally attach the wings to the base.

8. A dual purpose rack and divider assembly comprising a base having parallel dovetail mortices; two wings having one or more toes with a taper for insertion into and interlocking the wings in the dovetail on the base; two or more base slats having one or more toes with a taper for insertion into and interlocking the base slats in the dovetail in the base and the toe(s) straddling the toe(s) of the wings, and having at least two slots in a parallel spaced relationship, the slots extending half way across the base slats; and two or more cross slats having at least two slots in a parallel spaced relationship, the slots extending half way across the base slats, the cross slats joined with the base slats by interlocking the slots on the base slat with the slots on the cross slats to form openings or compartments.

9. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 8 in which the assembly is placed on rear edges of the assembly with a bottom surface of the base butted against ends of a base slat and a cross slat with the wings extended outward in parallel with the base slat and cross slat to form a divider with a plurality of openings or compartments for protection and/or separation of items placed in the openings.

10. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 9 in which the assembly is placed in a case for protection and separation of items.

11. A dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 8 in which a bottom surface of the base is placed downward with the wings and base slats attached to the base by interlocking the toes in the dovetail and extending upwards each at a forty five degree angle and at right angles to one another, with the cross slats interlocked with the base slats to form a rack with compartments for displaying items.

12. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly as set forth in claim 8 further comprising the wings being pivotally attached to the base.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a dual purpose rack and divider assembly.

The dual purpose rack and divider assembly of this invention can be used as a separator or divider to protect products such as wine bottles, beer bottles, ornaments, trinkets, or any other type of items that need to be separated from each other for protection during shipping, storage, or for any other reason. Typically, dividers are made of a light weight cardboard. They are used between beer bottle, wine bottles, ornaments and other items to separate the items in cases for shipping and for protection. These are usually just rectangular pieces of cardboard cut to size with a series of interlocking slits cut in a spaced parallel relationship. The pieces are joined using the slits to form openings into which the items can be placed. These are common and are used in all sorts of different industries and applications.

The dual purpose rack and divider assembly can also be used as a rack for displaying or holding various items. It can be used as a wine rack, beer bottle/can rack, or a rack for displaying ornaments or other novelty items. A typical wine rack can be made by using a material strong enough to support the full weight of several wine bottles. It may be made with multiple pieces of rectangular material with interlocking slits cut half way across in a spaced parallel relationship. The slits would naturally be wide enough to allow the pieces to be interlocked with each other.

The dual purpose rack and divider accomplishes both being a rack and a divider in a unique way with several other advantages and objects.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a dual purpose rack and divider assembly that is adapted to be used as a divider for separating items for shipping or storage and being convertible to a rack for displaying items.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved dual purpose rack and divider assembly that is constructed to provide both a divider and a rack depending on how it is configured.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a dual purpose rack and divider assembly that the various components can be piled in a flat package for shipment and assembled as a divider or rack by the user to thereby substantially reduce shipping cost from the manufacturer to the user.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a dual purpose rack and divider assembly that is decorative and/or can be used with advertisement or art work on all or some of the various components of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To accomplish the foregoing and other objects of this invention there is provided a dual purpose rack and divider assembly. The dual purpose rack and divider assembly of this invention has a base, wings, base slats, and cross slats which can be assemble in either a rack configuration or a divider configuration. A mortise on the base and tenons on the base slats provide an interlocking mechanism that allow transformation from a divider to a rack and to provide stability when in the rack configuration.

The base has parallel dovetail mortises in a spaced relationship. Each of the wings has one or more toes or tenons with a taper for insertion into and interlocking in the dovetail mortises on the base. The wings can be pivotally attached to the base. There are two or more base slats having one or more toes or tenons with a taper for insertion into and interlocking in the dovetail mortises in the base. The toes on the base slats straddle the toe(s) of the wings when in the configuration of a rack. The base slats have at least two slots in a parallel spaced relationship with the slots extending half way across the base slats. There are two or more cross slats having at least two slots in a parallel spaced relationship. The slots extending half way across the base slats. The cross slats join with the base slats by interlocking the slots on the base slat with the slots on the cross slats to form openings or compartments.

These and other objects and features of the present invention will be better understood and appreciated from the following detailed description of the main embodiment thereof, selected for purposes of illustration and shown in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 has front, side and edge views of the base.

FIG. 2 has front, side and edge views of one of the wings.

FIG. 3 has front, side and edge views of the other wing.

FIG. 4 has front, side and edge views of one of the base slats.

FIG. 5 has front, side and edge views of the other base slat.

FIG. 6 has front, side and edge views of one of the cross slats.

FIG. 7 has front, side and edge views of the other cross slat.

FIG. 8 is a front view of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly in a configuration of a rack.

FIG. 9 is a three dimensional view of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly in a configuration of a rack.

FIG. 10 is a front view of the back plate.

FIG. 11 shows the back plate on the dual purpose rack and divider assembly.

FIG. 12 is a view of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly in the configuration of a divider within a case.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings in general there is shown the preferred embodiment for the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 of this invention

The preferred embodiment and the best mode contemplated of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 of the present invention are herein described. However, it should be understood that the best mode for carrying out the invention hereinafter described is offered by way of illustration and not by the way of limitation. It is intended that the scope of the invention include all modifications which incorporate its principal design features.

The invention is generally described as a dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10. The primary purpose is to provide a divider within a case for shipping and storing bottles of wine or other items. It is used in its original application as a separator or divider to protect glass bottles like wine bottles, beer bottles, containers of liquid materials, collectable trinkets, or any other type of item(s). The divider can be inserted into a case or carton at the point where the bottles or items are placed into a case or carton to be shipped to a destination such as a wholesaler, or retailer of the product. At this point it is simply a divider for protecting and separating the bottles, cans, or other items.

When the distributor, wholesaler, or customer removes the bottles from the case the divider is also removed. But instead of discarding the divider it is re-used as a rack to hold the product, such as wine bottles. Various components of the divider are re-configured and interlocked as described below to transform the divider into a display rack, such as a wine rack.

The dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 of the preferred embodiment has seven pieces or components. Each of the components are designated herein with a single numerical reference which also corresponds to the figure number showing the component. The components are: a base 1, wing 2, wing 3, base slat 4, base slat 5, cross slat 6 and cross slat 7. Wings 2 and 3 are identical in construction. Base slats 4 and 5 are identical in construction. Cross slats 6 and 7 are identical in construction. The components can be made from wood, plastic, cardboard, foam plastics, PVC, plastic, or any other suitable material, or any combination of materials.

The preferred embodiment as illustrated and described is for a six item display rack and a twelve item divider. As will be understood from the detailed description, additional spaces for additional items can be added by increasing the number of mortises 12 in the base 1, and increasing the number of base slats 4 or 5, and cross slats 6 or 7. Additionally, two or more of the dual purpose rack and divider assemblies 10 can be included in a single case to provide additional display racks.

The base 1 is typically rectangular in shape. The size of the rectangle and the thickness of the base 1 is determined by the type of items on which it is to be used. Generally, the heavier and/or bigger the item the larger and thicker the base 1. The base 1 will have at least two mortises 12. The mortises 12 are preferred to be in a dovetail shape but other interlocking shapes could be used, or perhaps another type of interlocking mechanism could be used. The dovetail is the preferred method because of its simplicity. The mortises 12 or interlocking mechanism are key to the invention. The mortices 12 are in a spaced parallel relationship running crosswise across the width of the base 1. Typically, the depth of the mortices are approximately half way through the thickness of the base, but depending on the thickness and means of interlocking it could be more or less. The distance between the mortices 12 is determined by the distance between the lower edges of the base slats 4 and 5 when they are interlocked with cross slats 6 and 7.

There are two wings 2 and 3 in the preferred embodiment. The wings 2 and 3 function as ends separators 16, FIG. 12, when used as a divider and side supports 18, FIGS. 8 and 9, when used as a rack. Each of the wings 2 and 3 have a length corresponding to the width of the base 1 with a width up to but not wider than the distance between the slots on the base slats 4 and 5 or cross slats 6 and 7.

Each of the wings 2 and 3 have a toe 14 projection centered along a lower length edge. The toe 14 projection is a tenon with an angled edge 20 matched for insertion into the mortises 12 for interlocking the wings 2 and 3 onto the base and holding the wings at a fixed angle from the base. This is part of the key of the invention. The wings 2 and 3 has to interlock with the dovetail or mortices 12 to hold the wings securely in a fixed position and at a preferred angle of forty five degrees outward from the base 1.

The wings 2 and 3 can also be pivotally attached to the base 1 such that the wings can fold flat against a top surface of the base 1 and pivot upwards to form side supports 18 or end dividers 16. The reason for this will be further explained. The wings 2 and 3 can be pivotally attached using hinges or materials such as cloth, vinyl, paper or some other type of material attached to the top surface of base 1 and the corresponding surface on wings 2 and 3. The toe 14 with angled edge 20 would still be used to interlock with mortise 12. This feature is not illustrated but can be easily understood by this description.

In the preferred embodiment there are two base slats 4 and 5. These are rectangular in shape with a width corresponding to the width of base 1. There could be some designs in the edges of the rectangle but overall it will be generally rectangular in shape. The length of the base slats 4 and 5 is determined by the items to be separated and/or displayed.

Each of the base slats 4 and 5 have a cutout region 22 on a lower width edge of the base slats 4 and 5. The width of the cutout region 22 corresponding to the width of the toe(s) 14 or tenon on wings 2 and 3. The cutout region 22 creates outer toes 24 or tenons along the outer portions of the width edge of base slats 4 and 5. The outer toes 24 also has a tapered edge 26 for insertion into and interlocking with the mortices 12 on base 1. The cutout region 22 straddles the toe(s) 14 on wings 2 and 3 with the toes 24 on the base slats 4 and 5 engaging the mortise 12 or dovetail on the base. The interlocking of the base slats 4 and 5 and wings 2 and 3 to the base 1 is key for this invention. The means by the way it interlocks holds the base slats 4 and 5 at a fixed angle, preferably at forty five degrees from the base 1 and at a right angle, or an approximate right angle, from the wings 2 and 3.

The base slats 4 and 5 each have two slots 28, in the preferred embodiment. More slots could be added to increase the overall size of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 to create more openings or compartments for additional items. The slots 28 are in a parallel spaced relationship and extend half way across the base slats 4 and 5 from a length edge. The width of the slots 28 corresponds to the thickness of the cross slats 6 and 7. The distance between the slots 28 is determined by the items to be separated or displayed. The distance will be slightly larger than the widest portion of the item.

In the alternative or another embodiment, the toes 14 on wings 2 and 3, and the corresponding cutout region 22 and toes 24 on base slats 4 and 5 could be switched from one to another. Meaning, the wings 2 and 3 would have a cutout region and outer toes and the base slats 4 and 5 having a centered toe. They would still be inserted into and interlocked within the mortices 12 as described above. This is easily understood and is not illustrated.

Yet another alternative would be multiple toes in which the wings 2 and 3 and base slats 4 and 5 each have multiple toes for insertion into and interlocking the wings 2 and 3 and base slats 4 and 5 within the mortices 12. The toes would be separated and would straddling one another to interlock within the mortice 12. Again this is easily understood and is not illustrated.

In the preferred embodiment, there are two rectangular cross slats 6 and 7. These typically have the same dimensions as the base slats 4 and 5. Each of the cross slats 6 and 7 have two slots 30, in the preferred embodiment as in the base slats 4 and 5. More slots could be added to increase the overall size of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 to create more openings or compartments for additional items. The slots 30 are in a parallel spaced relationship and extend half way across the base slats 4 and 5 from a length edge. The width of the slots 30 corresponds to the thickness of the base slats 4 and 5. The distance between the slots 30 is determined by the items to be separated or displayed. The distance will be slightly larger than the widest portion of the item and exactly the same as on the base slats 4 and 5.

The cross slats 6 and 7 attach to the base slats 4 and 5 by interlocking the slots 28 on the base slats 4 and 5 with the slots 30 on the cross slats 6 and 7. This will create a plurality of generally square openings or compartments for insertion of items.

The dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10, in the configuration of a rack is illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. A bottom surface of the base 1 is placed downward. The toes 14 on wings 2 and 3 are inserted into mortises 12 and interlocked holding the wings 2 and 3 at an outward facing forty five degree angle from base 1. This forms side supports 18. The toes 24 on base slats 4 and 5 are inserted into the mortises 12 and interlocked holding the base slats 4 and 5 at a forty five degree angle from base 1 and at a right angle from wings 2 and 3. The cross slats 6 and 7 are attached and interlocked with the base slats 4 and 5 to form a rack with compartments for displaying items. The interlocking function of the toes 12 on wings 2 and 3 and toes 24 on base slats 4 and 5 with mortises 12 on base 1 ensure a stable structure.

In this configuration the upper portion consisting of the wings 2 and 3, base slats 4 and 5, and cross slats 6 and 7 cannot move forward or rearward and is centered on the base 1. The upper portion cannot move or tilt sideways because the toes 24 of base slats 4 and 5 are fitted into and interlocked with the dovetail mortice 12 on the base 1. Any sideways force or over loading of one side of the rack will not allow the rack to tilt sideways as the base 1 is securely attached to the components that form the upper unit. The base's outer edges absorbs any rotational moment of any sideways tilting. The rack cannot tilt sideways, forward or backward without the base 1 tilting forward or rearward because of the method the upper portion is attached to the base 1 with the interlocking of the angled edges 20 on toes 14 on wings 2 and 3, and angled edges 26 on toes 24 on base slats 4 and 5 with the mortises 12 on base 1. This forms a very secure means of easily assembling the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 in the configuration of a rack.

In the configuration of a divider, FIG. 12, a bottom surface of the base 1 is butted against the width edges of the interlocked base slat 4 and cross slats 6 or base slat 5 and cross slat 7. The wings 2 and 3 would extend outward from the base 1 at a right angle to form end separators 16. The wings 2 and 3 being pivotally attached to the base 1 helps to hold the wings in portion. The “hinge” or other means of pivot attachment prevents the wings 2 and 3 from falling over. The entire dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 could be placed in a case 8 to separate items such as wine bottle, beer cans/bottles, novelty items, or any other sort of item that needs separating for protection, shipping or for any other reason.

A back plate 9 can also be included, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. The back plate 9 is attached to the back edges of the wings 2 and 3, base slats 4 and 5, and/or cross slats 6 and 7 or in any combination. The back plate 9 provides stability to the dual purpose rack and divider assembly and also provides a location for printed mater such as a description of items being displayed or advertisement or art work on any nature. The back plate 9 provides additional rigidity to the base slats 4 and 5 and cross slats 6 and 7, and prevents bowing and/or collapse of the rack under heavy loads.

A back plate 9, in one embodiment is illustrated in FIG. 10. It includes slots 32 for sliding over and engaging base slats 4 and 5 and cross slats 6 and 7. In this embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 11, a portion extends upwards from the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10 to provide an area for printed material, advertisement or art work.

An area of the back plate 9 corresponding to the various openings or compartments could be partially removed or cut out leaving only an end portion of slots 32 to engage the base slats 4 and 5 and cross slats 6 and 7. This is not illustrated because is a simple concept to understand. In this configuration the items being displayed could extend through the cut out area and the back plate 9 could be positioned anyplace between the front edges and back edges. Support would be provided by the ends of base slat 4 and 5 and the ends of cross slats 6 and 7 engaging the slots 32 on the back plate 9.

In another embodiment, not shown, is a back plate 9 simply adhered to the rear edges of the base 1, wings 2 and 3, base slats 4 and 5, and/or cross slats 6 and 7.

Advertisements, printed materials, illustrations, art work or designs or expressions of any kind may be included on all surfaces of the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10. Any such expressions may be printed, sketched, painted, etched, inlayed, and/or adhered to the base 1, wings 2 and 3, base slats 4 and 5, cross slats 6 and 7, and/or back plate 9, or in any combination thereof. It is conceivable that industries, such as wineries or otherwise, may want to personalize the surfaces to promote their location, services, and/or goods.

Advertisement, printed matter, or any other expressions of an idea or item may be included on materials such as cloth, paper, vinyl or any other similar type of materials attached to or adhered to the surfaces on the dual purpose rack and divider assembly 10. The material attached to the base 1 and wings 2 and 3 may also function to pivotally attach the wings 2 and 3 to the base 1. Again this is not illustrated because it is easily understood.

One of the advantages of having the wings 2 and 3 pivotally attached to base 1 is that the wings 2 and 3 can be folded downward toward the center of the base 1 for shipping purposes. Base slats 4 and 5 and cross slates 6 and 7 can be laid flat against the folded wings so the components take up minimal space when shipped from the manufacturer. This is an important concept in that in all likelihood the dual purpose rack and divider will be made in one location and assembled and used as a divider in another location and used as a rack in yet another. Shipping costs would be kept to a minimum if all the components occupy a smaller space.

Having described the invention in detail, those skilled in the art will appreciate that modifications may be made of the invention without departing from the spirit of the inventive concept herein described.

Therefore, it is not intended that the scope of the invention be limited to the specific and preferred embodiments illustrated and described. Rather, it is intended that the scope of the invention be determined by the appended claims and their equivalents.