Title:
Method and hardware for hanging articles on walls
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of hanging an article on a wall comprises attaching at least one hanger to an end face of the article, the hanger having a first end adapted to attach to the end face and a second end adapted to contact an inner surface of the wall. The hanger is curved in shape so that a portion of the second end is generally parallel to a plane of the wall after the article is attached to the wall. The second end of the hanger is passed through the wall for a sufficient distance and then the article is rotated so that the second end contacts the inner surface of the wall and the end face of the article rests against an outer surface of the wall. One or more hangers can be combined with the article for hanging purposes.



Inventors:
Barnes, Renny (Fairfax Station, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/382640
Publication Date:
09/24/2009
Filing Date:
03/20/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/134
International Classes:
A47F5/08; A47F5/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MARSH, STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CLARK & BRODY (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A method of hanging an article on a wall comprising: attaching at least one hanger to an end face of the article, the hanger having a first end adapted to attach to the end face and a second end adapted to contact an inner surface of the wall, the hanger curved in shape so that a portion of the second end is generally parallel to a plane of the wall after the article is attached to the wall; passing the second end through the wall for a sufficient distance; rotating the article so that the second end contacts the inner surface of the wall and the end face of the article rests against an outer surface of the wall.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of attaching a brace element along at least a top surface of the article and against the outer surface of the wall to act against upward forces applied to the article.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein one or more hangers are attached to one of a shelf, toilet paper holder, towel rack, and cabinet.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the first end of the hanger is attached to the end face of the article by a threaded connection, and/or the second end is circular, square, or rectangular in cross section.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein the brace element is attached to the shelf using a dovetail connection or dowels.

6. The method of claim 3, wherein the brace element is attached to legs of the towel rack.

7. An article and hanger combination for attaching the article to a wall comprising: an article having one or more end faces; and at least one hanger, the hanger having a first end attached to the end face of the article and a second end adapted to contact an inner surface of the wall, the hanger curved in shape so that second end is generally parallel to a plane of the wall after the article is attached to the wall and at least one end face of the article rests against an outer surface of the wall.

8. The combination of claim 7, wherein the article is one of a shelf, towel rack, toilet paper holder, and cabinet.

9. The combination of claim 7, wherein the first end is threaded for attachment to the end face of the article, and/or the second end is circular, square, or rectangular in cross section.

10. The method of claim 2, wherein one or more hangers are attached to one of a shelf, toilet paper holder, towel rack, and cabinet.

11. The method of claim 2, wherein the first end of the hanger is attached to the end face of the article by a threaded connection, and/or the second end is circular, square, or rectangular in cross section.

Description:

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) based on provisional patent application No. 61/064,710 filed on Mar. 21, 2008.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is relates to a method and associated hardware for hanging articles such as shelves, towel racks, toilet paper holders and the like on walls to give the impression that no visible means of support are provided to accomplish the hanging function.

BACKGROUND ART

There are numerous types of hardware to hang pictures and the like. One type is called a Hercules hook. This hanger is made from a wire, that is designed with one end to penetrate drywall. The other end has a hook configuration, which protrudes from the wall and permits an:item to be hung on the hook. While this hook takes the place of a conventional wire and nail hanging system, it does not easily work for hanging shelves.

Therefore, a need exists for improved hardware to hang shelves and other articles. The present invention provides this need via a method for hanging a shelf or other article without the need for fasteners, braces, and other conventional hanging hardware.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide an improved method of hanging shelves and other articles such as towel racks, toilet paper holders and the like.

Another object of the invention is to provide improved hardware to accomplish the inventive method.

Other objects and advantages will be come apparent as a description of the invention proceeds.

In one mode, the invention entails an improved method of hanging an article, particularly a shelf. The method comprises attaching at least one hanger to an end face of the article, the hanger having a first end adapted to attach to the end face and a second end adapted to contact an inner surface of the wall. The hanger is curved in shape so that a portion of the second end is generally parallel to a plane of the wall after the article is attached to the wall. The second end is passed through the wall for a sufficient distance and the article is rotated so that the second end contacts the inner surface of the wall and the end face of the article rests against an outer surface of the wall.

The method can also entail attaching a brace element along at least a top surface of the article and against the outer surface of the wall to act against upward forces applied to the article. The one or more hangers can be attached to one of a shelf, toilet paper holder, towel rack, and cabinet or other article suited for wall hanging. The attachment of the first end of the hanger to the end face of the article can be accomplished by a threaded connection. The second end can be circular, square, or rectangular in cross section. The brace element can be attached to the shelf using a dovetail connection or dowels. When the article is a towel rack, the brace element can be attached to legs of the towel rack.

The invention also relates to an article and hanger combination for attaching the article to a wall comprising an article having one or more end faces and at least one hanger. The hanger has a first end configured to attach to the end face of the article and a second end adapted to contact an inner surface of the wall. The hanger is curved in shape so that second end is generally parallel to a plane of the wall after the article is attached to the wall. Again, the article can be any one of a shelf, towel rack, toilet paper holder, and cabinet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A shows one embodiment of the hanger of the invention.

FIG. 1B shows the end of a second embodiment of the inventive hanger.

FIG. 1C shows a third embodiment of the inventive hanger.

FIG. 2 shows one embodiment of the inventive shelf.

FIG. 3A shows a first step in installing the shelf of FIG. 2.

FIG. 3B shows a second step in the installation process.

FIG. 3C shows a third installation step.

FIG. 4 shows the shelf in a wall of FIG. 2 in a marking position.

FIG. 5A shows an installed shelf for one wall thickness.

FIG. 5B shows the shelf of FIG. 5A installed on a different thickness wall.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a towel rack embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 shows the towel rack of FIG. 6 as installed.

FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of the towel rack of the invention.

FIG. 9 shows a shelf and brace combination.

FIG. 10A shows another embodiment of the shelf and brace combination.

FIG. 10B shows another variation of the shelf and brace combination.

FIG. 11 shows another particle being held against a wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides a unique way to hang a shelf or other article so as to give the impression that the shelf is floating on the wall. To accomplish this purpose, a pair of hangers 1 is provided, with one shown in FIG. 1A. The hanger has a wall entry end 3 and an article attachment end 5. The wall entry end 3 includes a surface 7 designed to contact an inner surface of the wall intended to receive the article. The article attachment end 5 is configured to attach to the article to be hung. In the embodiment of FIG. 1A, the attachment is in the form of a screw threaded end 9 that is designed to be screwed into the article being hung. Of course, the end 9 could have machine threaded end to mate with a correspondingly sized female threaded opening on the article.

FIGS. 1B and 1C show alternatives for the wall entry end 3. In FIG. 1B, the end 3′ is pointed to facilitate wall entry using hanger itself. In the end view of FIG. 1C, the end 3″, is rectangular in cross section with an enlarged surface 7′ to enhance contact with the inner surface of the wall.

Referring to FIG. 2, a shelf 10 is shown that is to be hung on a wall. To accomplish this, at least two of the hangers 1 are mounted to the shelf with an appropriate spacing therebetween. In this embodiment, the hanger 1 has a screw threaded end 9 for attachment purposes.

FIGS. 3A-3B shows how the shelf 10 is attached to a wall 12. The shelf 10 is then manipulated so that each wall entry end 3 is aligned with an opening 13 in the wall 12 so as to facilitate penetrate of the wall in generally a horizontal manner. The wall entry can be facilitated by first making the openings 13 in the wall corresponding to the spacing of the two hangers. Alternatively, the wall entry ends 3 could be sized such that they can penetrate the wall by just applying a force to the shelf 10 so that the wall entry ends 3 create the opening. The shelf 10 is generally parallel to the wall when the wall entry ends 3 are initially penetrating the wall, see FIG. 3B.

In the FIG. 3A-3C embodiment, the hanger is screw threaded to the shelf. However, the shelf could have a nut mounted therewith and the hanger attachment end 5 could have a machine screw thread for attachment. Alternatively, the attachment end could be glued to the shelf or a combination of gluing and threading or other mechanical type fastening.

Once the wall entry ends 3 has sufficiently penetrated the wall, the shelf is rotated downwardly (arrow A) so that the wall entry ends 3 rotate in the opposite direction (arrow B), see FIG. 3B. The rotation will stop once the surfaces 7 of the wall entry ends 3 contacts the rear surface 14 of the wall 12, see FIG. 3C. The hanger is appropriately curved, e.g., having a radius of curvature of 0.35, although others may be used, such that this contact positions the shelf at a generally 90° angle to the wall 12. The weight of the shelf applies a force against the rear surface 14 of the wall so that the shelf remains stable. The impression given is that the shelf floats on the wall since no visible means of support are seen.

Another advantage to this embodiment is that the little or no hardware is needed and the whole process takes little time. Making the necessary holes in the wall takes no time at all and once the holes are made, the shelf is mounted in seconds.

The hangers themselves facilitate the location of the holes in the wall. Once the hangers are attached to the shelf, the shelf can be laid near the wall in an upright manner, see FIG. 4 and the hanger ends 3 can be used to site the location 16 for making the holes. Thus, no measuring of the spacing of the hangers is needed.

Another advantage is that the degree of attachment of the hanger to the shelf can be adjusted to accommodate different thicknesses of wall. For example, for ¼ inch drywall, the hangers would penetrate the shelf a greater distance. This is illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B. In FIG. 5A, the shelf is attached to a wall having a thickness x such that the attachment end 5 penetrates the shelf a distance W. When attaching the shelf to a thinner wall 12′ of thickness Y, the attachment end 5 penetrates the shelf a distance Z which is greater than W, and basically the difference between X and Y. For a thicker wall thickness, the hanger would not penetrate the shelf as deeply so that the distance of shelf penetration would be less than W.

While a shelf is shown, any article can be supported provided that it is shaped to allow for the rotation described above. For example, a cabinet 60 that would be twelve inches high and twelve inches in depth could be mounted as long as the hangers were attached near the top of the cabinet to allow for the rotation, see FIG. 11.

In most instances, a shelf does not see upward forces so the mounting shown in FIGS. 1-5B does not have to address this situation. However, in other instances, e.g., a towel rack, the cross bar of the towel rack will encounter upward forces as a result of removing a towel draped over the cross bar. FIG. 6 shows another embodiment of the invention to deal with this situation. Here, a towel rack 30 has a cross bar 31 and legs 33. The hanger 1 is attached to each leg 33 and the same mounting procedure as described above for the shelf is performed to mount the legs 33 to a wall 35. The hardware also includes a brace 37, which is designed to brace the towel rack from upward movement. In the FIGS. 7 and 8, the brace 37 is shown as a collar that surrounds the leg 33. The upper portion 39 of the brace resists any upward forces applied to the towel rack so that the towel rack remains in place during towel removal or placement. The collar can be a two piece design, upper portion 39 and lower portion 41, so that it is attached after the legs 33 are secured against the wall. FIG. 8 shows one example wherein the collar is hinged at 43 and has a snap connection at 45 for attachment. Of course, other modes of securing the collar to the leg can be used, fasteners or any other known means to connect the two pieces together.

In an alternative embodiment, braces 37 could be one piece design and mounted on the legs 33 prior to mounting of the towel rack. Here, the braces 37 would have to be mounted on the legs 33 near the cross bar 31 at location 47, see FIG. 6, so that the braces 37 would not interfere in the rotation of the towel rack when mounting it to the wall. In this alternative embodiment, the collars could then be made in one piece design and secured to the legs 33 and against the wall after leg installation using set screws or the like. Another advantage of the collar is that it provides a decorative look to the towel rack, similar to existing towel rack configurations. The collar as a brace member can have virtually any shape to coordinate with the legs 33.

The brace can also be used in combination with the shelf 10 to provide resistance against upward movement of the shelf. In addition, the brace when used with the shelf provides the impression of a sturdier attachment to the wall, although in reality, the brace plays no role in this function. FIG. 9 shows one shelf 10 and brace 49 in combination. The brace 49 would be attached after the shelf is secured to the wall so as not to interfere with the shelf rotation during the attaching step. The brace 49 can be attached in any way, preferably one that is removable so that the shelf can be removed. One example would be dowels 51 linking the brace 49 to the shelf 10, much like the dowels used to fastener various furniture components together. Once the shelf is secured to the wall, dowels are inserted into either the brace holes or the shelf holes. The exposed dowel end is then placed in the remaining openings to secure the brace and shelf together. The dowels and holes should be sized to provide a reasonable tight fit but not so tight that the brace cannot be removed when desired. Alternatively, fasteners 53 could be' employed that would extend through the brace 49′ to the shelf, see FIG. 10A, or a brace 49″ with dovetail extension 55 as shown in FIG. 10B, wherein the dovetail extension 55 would fit in a mating slot in the shelf after the shelf is secured.

The hanger could have various cross sections and the cross sections could vary along the hanger length. Different radii of curvature could be employed as well. As shown in FIG. 1C, a circular cross section could be employed on the end designed to be connected to the article and a rectangular cross section could be used on the wall entry end. Using a rectangular cross section for the wall entry end increases the size of the wall opening but also provides more surface area to contact the inner surface of the wall. Also, the end of the hanger for attachment to the article could have a flat cross shape with holes in it, and fasteners could extend through the holes to link the end of the hanger to the article. In this mode, the flat end would rest against a top or bottom surface of the article for attachment. The stronger the flat section by increasing its width and/or thickness, the more weight it can hold.

While a pair of hangers are shown to hang the shelf or towel rack, an article could be hung with just one hanger.

As such, an invention has been disclosed in terms of preferred embodiments thereof which fulfills each and every one of the objects of the present invention as set forth above and provides a new and improved method and hardware for hanging articles.

Of course, various changes, modifications and alterations from the teachings of the present invention may be contemplated by those skilled in the art without departing from the intended spirit and scope thereof. It is intended that the present invention only be limited by the terms of the appended claims.