Title:
Picture Frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A picture frame includes a base, a frame surrounding the base, a plurality of stands that are provided on the base and a plurality of panels that fit on the stands. The panels are provided in more than one dimensions that fit different number of stands. Various combinations including square(s), horizontal or vertical rectangle(s) are possible. The panel has a flat panel plate and a panel side wall that extends from the panel plate. The stand has a rectangular stand side wall that extends from the base, and an opening that is surrounded by the stand side wall. The panel and the stand are rectangular. The panel side wall includes a panel groove, and the stand side wall includes a stand projection that elastically engages with the panel groove so that the panels are assembled with the stands.



Inventors:
Hayashi, Akira (Nagano-City, JP)
Application Number:
11/780650
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/20/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G1/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JUNGE, KRISTINA N S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John K. Park (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A picture frame comprising: a) a base; b) a frame surrounding the base; c) a plurality of stands that are provided on the base; and d) a plurality of panels that fit on the stands; wherein the panels are provided in more than one dimensions that fit different number of stands.

2. The picture frame of claim 1, wherein the panel comprises a flat panel plate and a panel side wall that extends from the panel plate, wherein the stand comprises a stand side wall that extends from the base.

3. The picture frame of claim 2, wherein the stand comprises an opening that is surrounded by the stand side wall.

4. The picture frame of claim 3, wherein the panel and the stand are rectangular.

5. The picture frame of claim 2, wherein the panel side wall comprises a panel groove, wherein the stand side wall comprises a stand projection that engages with the panel groove whereby the panels are assembled with the stands.

6. The picture frame of claim 2, wherein the stand projection comprises a retractable element.

7. The picture frame of claim 6, wherein the retractable element comprises a ball, and the ball is supported by a compression spring.

8. The picture frame of claim 6, wherein the rectractable element comprises a coil spring that is attached to the stand side wall.

9. The picture frame of claim 6, wherein the rectractable element comprises a flexible tube that is received in a recess provided in the stand side wall.

10. The picture frame of claim 6, wherein the rectractable element comprises a flexible cylindrical rod that comprises a recess and a hollow portion, wherein the cylindrical rod is received in a hole provided in the stand side wall.

11. The picture frame of claim 5, wherein the stand projection comprises a round portion that engages with the panel groove and two flat and bent leg portions that are fixed to the stand side wall.

12. The picture frame of claim 1, wherein the panel comprises a flat panel plate and a panel side wall that extends from the panel plate, wherein the panel side wall comprises a panel groove, wherein the stand comprises a plurality of brackets that are fixed to the base and engage with the panel groove.

13. The picture frame of claim 12, wherein the bracket comprises a bracket strip that is fixed to the base and a bracket projection that is provided on one end of the strip, wherein the bracket projection of the stand engages with the panel groove of the panel, wherein the bracket is elastic.

14. The picture frame of claim 1, wherein the frame has a slanted shape, wherein the thickness of the frame increases toward the base.

15. The picture frame of claim 1, further comprising a transparent cover that covers the panels, and a fastener that fixes the cover to the base.

16. The picture frame of claim 15, wherein the fastener comprises a plurality of spacers that keep the cover from the base by a predetermined distance, and screws that engage with the spacers

17. The picture frame of claim 16, wherein the base comprises a plurality of screw holes, wherein each of the holes does not penetrate through the base, whereby the screw holes are not seen when the cover is not assembled.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a picture frame. More particularly, the present invention relates to a picture frame that provides various combinations of panels that hold pictures, and is easy to assemble and disassemble.

A picture frame is used to contain a picture to protect it and to enhance the appearance of the picture. A picture frame includes a base on which a picture is placed, a frame that surrounds the edges of the picture. A picture frame may also include a transparent cover that covers the picture and one or more stands for containing one or more pictures in the picture frame.

Picture frames by prior art use nails or other conventional fasteners for assembly and fixing of pictures. Also, they are suited for single size or single set of picture arrangement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention contrives to solve the disadvantages of the prior art.

An objective of the invention is to provide a picture frame that can accommodate various combinations of picture arrangements.

Another objective of the invention is to provide a picture frame that is easy to assemble and disassemble.

In order to achieve the above objectives, the present invention provides a picture frame comprising a base, a frame surrounding the base, a plurality of stands that are provided on the base and a plurality of panels that fit on the stands. The panels are provided in more than one dimensions that fit different number of stands.

The panel comprises a flat panel plate and a panel side wall that extends from the panel plate. The stand comprises a rectangular stand side wall that extends from the base, and an opening that is surrounded by the stand side wall.

Preferably, the panel and the stand are rectangular.

The panel side wall comprises a panel groove, and the stand side wall comprises a stand projection that engages with the panel groove whereby the panels are assembled with the stands.

The stand projection comprises a retractable element.

The retractable element comprises a ball, which is supported by a compression spring, a coil spring that is attached to the stand side wall, a flexible tube that is received in a recess provided in the stand side wall, or a flexible cylindrical rod that comprises a recess and a hollow portion. The cylindrical rod is received in a hole provided in the stand side wall.

The stand projection may comprise a round portion that engages with the panel groove and two flat and bent leg portions that are fixed to the stand side wall.

In another embodiment, the stand comprises a plurality of brackets that are fixed to the base and engage with the panel groove. The bracket comprises a bracket strip that is fixed to the base and a bracket projection that is provided on one end of the strip. The bracket projection of the stand engages with the panel groove of the panel, and the bracket is elastic.

The frame has a slanted shape, and the thickness of the frame increases toward the base.

The picture frame further comprises a transparent cover that covers the panels, and a fastener that fixes the cover to the base.

The fastener comprises a plurality of spacers that keep the cover from the base by a predetermined distance, and screws that engage with the spacers

The base comprises a plurality of screw holes. Each of the holes does not penetrate through the base, whereby the screw holes are not seen when the cover is not assembled.

The advantages of the present invention are: (1) the picture frame provides many combinations of panels that are differ in size and arrangement; (2) the panels are easy to attach to and detach from the base of the picture frame; (3) the picture frame provides various decorative effects with blank base and panels; and (4) the picture frame has a good aesthetic appearance.

Although the present invention is briefly summarized, the fuller understanding of the invention can be obtained by the following drawings, detailed description and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a picture frame according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a panel viewed from the bottom side and partially cut away;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view showing how the panel is attached to a stand;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a base;

FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 are perspective views showing different combinations of panels for a base having 4 stands;

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view showing how a cover, the frame, the panels and the base are assembled;

FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view of the picture frame;

FIG. 10 is a partial cross-sectional view of the base showing a screw hole;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the frame and base without stands;

FIG. 12 is a plan view showing various combinations of the panels and frames;

FIG. 13 is a plan view showing different combinations of panels for a base having 6 stands; and

FIGS. 13a˜13f are perspective and cross-sectional views showing different mechanisms for attaching the panel to the stand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1, 4 and 8 show a picture frame 12 according to the present invention. The picture frame 12 includes a base 3, a frame 4 surrounding the base 3, a plurality of stands 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d that are provided on the base 3 and a plurality of panels 1 that fit on the stands. The panels 1 are provided in more than one dimensions that fit different number of stands 3a 3d. FIGS. 5, 6, 7, 12 and 13 show various combinations of panels 1, 6, 7 for a given frame that has predetermined number of stands. The combinations include small and large squares, small and large rectangles, horizontal and vertical rectangles.

FIG. 2 shows that the panel 1 comprises a flat panel plate 14 and a panel side wall 16 that extends from the panel plate 14. The stand 3a˜3d comprises a stand side wall 18 that extends from the base 3, and an opening 20 that is surrounded by the stand side wall 18 (refer to FIG. 4). The panel plate 14 may be made of canvas, cloth, paper or wood. A painting may be directly drawn upon the panel plate 14.

Preferably, the panel 1 and the stand 3a˜3d are rectangular.

FIG. 3 shows that the panel side wall 16 comprises a panel groove 1-a, and the stand side wall 18 comprises a stand projection 2 that engages with the panel groove 1-a whereby the panels 1 are assembled with the stands 3a˜3d.

FIGS. 13-a˜13-f show various examples of the stand projection 2. The stand projection may include a retractable element. The retractable element comprises a ball 22, which is supported by a compression spring 24 (refer to FIG. 13-a), a coil spring 26 that is attached to the stand side wall 18 (refer to FIG. 13-c), a flexible tube 28 that is received in a recess 30 provided in the stand side wall 18 (refer to FIG. 13-e), or a flexible cylindrical rod 32 that comprises a recess and a hollow portion. The cylindrical rod is received in a hole 34 provided in the stand side wall 18. The elastically supported retractable elements facilitate easy assembly and disassembly of the panels 1 with the stands 3a˜3d.

FIG. 13-b shows that the stand projection 2 includes a round portion 36 that engages with the panel groove 1-a and two flat and bent leg portions 38 that are fixed to the stand side wall 18.

In another embodiment shown in FIG. 13-f, a stand 40 comprises a plurality of brackets 42 that are fixed to the base 3 and engage with the panel groove 1-a. The bracket 42 comprises a bracket strip 44 that is fixed to the base 3 and a bracket projection 46 that is provided on one end of the bracket strip 44. The bracket projection 46 of the stand 40 engages with the panel groove 1-a of the panel 1, and the bracket 42 is elastic.

In this way the panel is assembled with the stand with elastic deformation of the panel side wall 16 or the stand projection 2. The panel 1 may be easily disassembled from the stand 3a˜3d by pushing the panel through the opening 20 of the stand.

FIG. 4 shows that the frame 4 has a slanted shape, and the thickness of the frame 4 increases toward the base 3. This provides better aesthetic appearance.

The panel 1, the base 3 and the cover 5 may be used as blank surface for any kind of decoration. The base 3 may be colored or covered with pattern paper. Hooks for displaying jewelry, etc may be fixed to the base or panel. The surface of the panel plate 14 may be used for many processes including oil painting, stencil, transfer, marking and pasting. A music box or clock mechanism may be received in the opening 20 of the stand. A sticker or other transparent or translucent film may be attached on the cover 5. Sand blast or laser surface treatment may be used for the cover 5.

FIGS. 8 and 9 show that the picture frame further comprises a transparent cover 5 that covers the panels 1, and a fastener that fixes the cover 5 to the base 3.

The fastener comprises a plurality of spacers 48 that keep the cover 5 from the base 3 by a predetermined distance, and screws 10 that engage with the spacers 48.

The base 3 comprises a plurality of screw holes 50. FIG. 10 shows that the screw hole 50 does not penetrate through the base 3, whereby the screw holes 50 are not seen when the cover 5 is not assembled.

While the invention has been shown and described with reference to different embodiments thereof, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that variations in form, detail, compositions and operation may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the accompanying claims.