Title:
POSTER CLASP
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A poster clasp for suspending a poster therefrom, includes a clasp assembly being formed integrally, unitarily, the clasp assembly having a support member and a hinged gripping member, the support member having a cam point formed integral with a backplate, and the hinged gripping member being rotatable between an open disposition and a closed disposition, the hinged gripping member being formed integral with a hinge, the hinge being formed of a relatively flexible material wherein the hinge and the cam point are each formed of a material having a durometer number, the durometer number of the hinge and of the cam point being substantially the same, said durometer being less than a durometer number of the backplate; and the hinged gripping member having a first leg, the first leg presenting a rounded knuckle proximate a distal end of the hinged gripping member.



Inventors:
Wear, Stuart C. W. (Minnetonka, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/492850
Publication Date:
01/07/2010
Filing Date:
06/26/2009
Assignee:
POPCO, INC. (Minnetonka, MN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G1/21
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MILLNER, MONICA E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATTERSON THUENTE PEDERSEN, P.A. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A poster clasp for suspending a poster therefrom, comprising: a clasp assembly being formed integrally, unitarily, the clasp assembly having a support member and a hinged gripping member, the support member having a cam point formed integral with a backplate, and the hinged gripping member being rotatable between an open disposition and a closed disposition, the hinged gripping member being formed integral with a hinge, the hinge being formed of a relatively flexible material wherein the hinge and the cam point are each formed of a material having a durometer number, the durometer number of the hinge and of the cam point being substantially the same, said durometer being less than a durometer number of the backplate; and the hinged gripping member having a first leg, the first leg presenting a rounded knuckle proximate a distal end of the hinged gripping member.

2. The poster clasp of claim 1, the rounded knuckle for being engaged by a user in effecting shifting the clasp assembly from the open disposition to the closed disposition.

3. The poster clasp of claim 2, the rounded knuckle supporting the distal end of the hinged gripping member, the distal end being a foot having an arch and a rounded toe.

4. The poster clasp of claim 1, including a suspension assembly, the suspension assembly having an eyelet receiver, the eyelet receiver having a rail, the rail being defined in part by two opposed rail walls, each of the respective rail walls having a thinning groove defined therein.

5. The poster clasp of claim 4, the thinning groove acting to introduce an area of flexure in the respective rail wall.

6. The poster clasp of claim 5, the respective rail walls being readily outwardly spreadable for readily accommodating disposing an eyelet assembly in the rail.

7. The poster clasp of claim 1, further comprising a strengthening arch disposed on a side of the back plate opposing hinged gripping member, the strengthening arch defining an interior void.

8. The poster clasp of claim 7, further comprising a splint, the splint for releasably coupling a pair of abutted clasp assemblies.

9. The poster clasp of claim 8, the splint being disposable in the interior void defined by the strengthening arch.

10. The poster clasp of claim 9, the splint being disposed in the interior void with a first side margin residing in an interior corner formed at the juncture of the back plate and a rail base and a second side margin residing in a crook defined in the interior of the strengthening arch.

11. The poster clasp of claim 10, the crook being defined opposing a rounded knuckle.

12. A poster clasp for suspending a poster therefrom, comprising: clasp assembly means for selectively, compressively engaging the poster, the clasp assembly means being formed integrally, unitarily, the clasp assembly means having support member means and hinged gripping member means, the support member means for having a cam point formed integral with a backplate, and the hinged gripping member meand for being rotatable between an open disposition and a closed disposition, the hinged gripping member means being formed integral with hinge means, the hinge means for being formed of a relatively flexible material wherein the hinge means and the cam point are each formed of a material having a durometer number, the durometer number of the hinge means and of the cam point being substantially the same, said durometer being less than a durometer number of the backplate; and the hinged gripping member means having a first leg, the first leg presenting a rounded knuckle means proximate a distal end of the hinged gripping member, the rounded knuckle means for being engaged by a user in exerting a force on the hinged gripping means.

13. The poster clasp of claim 12, the rounded knuckle means for being engaged by a user in effecting shifting the clasp assembly means from the open disposition to the closed disposition.

14. The poster clasp of claim 13, the rounded knuckle means for supporting the distal end of the hinged gripping member means, the distal end being a foot having an arch and a rounded toe.

15. The poster clasp of claim 12, including suspension assembly means, the suspension assembly means having eyelet receiver means for slidably receiving an eyelet assembly, the eyelet receiver means having a rail, the rail being defined in part by two opposed rail walls, each of the respective rail walls having a thinning groove defined therein.

16. The poster clasp of claim 15, the thinning groove acting to introduce an area of flexure in the respective rail wall.

17. The poster clasp of claim 16, the respective rail walls being readily outwardly spreadable for readily accommodating disposing the eyelet assembly in the rail.

18. The poster clasp of claim 12, further comprising strengthening arch means disposed on a side of the back plate opposing the hinged gripping member means, the strengthening arch means defining an interior void.

19. The poster clasp of claim 18, further comprising splint means, the splint means for releasably coupling a pair of abutted clasp assembly means.

20. The poster clasp of claim 19, the splint means being disposable in the interior void defined by the strengthening arch means.

21. The poster clasp of claim 20, the splint means being disposed in the interior void with a first side margin residing in an interior corner formed at the juncture of the back plate and a rail base and a second side margin residing in a crook defined in the interior of the strengthening arch means.

22. The poster clasp of claim 10, the crook being defined opposing a rounded knuckle.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/077,695, filed Jul. 2, 2008, and incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to devices for suspending material such as posters, signage, and the like. More particularly, the present invention relates to releasable clasps for grasping and suspending such material.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There is a need in the industry for devices that are capable of releasably grasping posters and signage for suspension thereof. There are a number of clasps in use for the aforementioned purposes. Among such clasps are those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,899,974, 6,450,471, and 6,637,716, owned by the owner of the present application. The device of the present application comprises improvements to the device as disclosed in the above noted patents.

There is a need to provide a poster clasp for which it is as comfortable as possible for the operator to shift the poster clasp from the open disposition to the closed disposition in which a poster is compressively engaged with the poster clasp. Referring to the patents above, a person wishing to close the poster clasp had to press on the toe portion of the foot 64 in order to affect closure of the poster clasp. It has been found that exerting such pressure on the toe portion was uncomfortable for the person closing the poster clasp.

A further issue with the prior art poster clasps has been resistance of the clip receiver to passage of the clip therethrough. Such resistance, or as is primarily affected by the walls of the clip receiver frictionally bearing on the outer margins of the T-portion of the clip.

A further need is the ability to readily join two clip assembly sections together to form an extended clip assembly. Clip assemblies of this type may be required to hold posters that are as much eight feet wide. Shipping of a clip assembly or any other device in eight foot lengths greatly increases shipping costs. It would be much preferable to have two clip assemblies of four foot lengths that are readily joined together to form a clip assembly of eight foot lengths. A pair of four foot clip assemblies may be shipped at substantially reduced costs as compared to an eight foot clip assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention substantially meets the aforementioned needs of the industry. The toe of the foot has affectively been reversed in direction, thereby presenting a rounded knuckle to the user when the poster clasp is in the open disposition. Exerting thumb pressure on the rounded knuckle has proved to be substantially more comfortable to the user than the prior art configuration.

A thinning groove has been defined in each of the rail walls of the rail of the poster clasp. Such thinning groove effectively reduces the thickness of the rail wall adjacent to the thinning groove. In this manner, there is notable flexibility of the respective rail wall at the thinned portion adjacent to the thinning groove allowing the rail to be spread outwardly. Such spreading provides for free passage of the eyelet assembly through the rail.

In the strengthened embodiment of the poster clasp of the present invention, a splint may be included. The splint may be passed into the interior void defined by the strengthening arch of each of two poster clasps that are abutted end-to-end. In such disposition, the splint couples the respective poster clasps with sufficient strength to adequately support the depending poster.

The present invention is a poster clasp for suspending a poster therefrom, and includes a clasp assembly being formed integrally, unitarily, the clasp assembly having a support member and a hinged gripping member, the support member having a cam point formed integral with a backplate, and the hinged gripping member being rotatable between an open disposition and a closed disposition, the hinged gripping member being formed integral with a hinge, the hinge being formed of a relatively flexible material wherein the hinge and the cam point are each formed of a material having a durometer number, the durometer number of the hinge and of the cam point being substantially the same, said durometer being less than a durometer number of the backplate; and the hinged gripping member having a first leg, the first leg presenting a rounded knuckle proximate a distal end of the hinged gripping member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an end elevational depiction of a poster clasp of the present invention in the open disposition;

FIG. 2 is an end elevational depiction of the poster clasp of FIG. 1 in the closed, grasping disposition;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational depiction of the poster clasp of FIG. 1 with the rounded knuckle presented to the finger of a user;

FIG. 4 is an end elevational view of a poster clasp with an alternative embodiment of the compression foot;

FIG. 5 is an end elevational view of a strengthened poster clasp with a coupling splint in place;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a coupling splint; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the eyelet assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The poster clasp of the present invention is shown generally at 10 in the depictions. Poster clasp 10 has two major subassemblies; the suspension assembly 12 and the clasp assembly 14. It should be noted that the poster clasp 10 is a unitary, integral design preferably formed in a single extruding operation.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the suspension assembly 12 includes a clip receiver 22. The clip receiver 22 includes a rail 32, the rail 32 defining an interior space. A slot 34 extends into the rail 32 and is defined between two opposed flanges 35. The flanges 35 are preferably formed integral with a respective rail wall 36 at a preferred right angle therewith. Each of the respective rail walls 36 is operably coupled to a substantially transverse rail base 37. Each of the respective rail walls 36 includes an interiorally defined thinning groove 38 that is defined approximately midway between the respective flange 35 and the rail base 37. The thinning groove 38 effectively reduces the thickness of the respective rail wall 36 adjacent to the thinning groove 38 to define a point of flexure in the respective rail wall 36.

Referring to FIG. 4, the suspension assembly 12 may include an eyelet assembly 20. The eyelet assembly 20 has an eye 22 defined in a preferably arched upright 24. The arched upright 24 is formed integral with a transversely disposed base 26.

In operation, the eyelet assembly 20 is slid into the rail 32 with the arched upright 24 projecting through the slot 34. The thinning of the respective rail walls 36 effected by the respective thinning grooves 38 permits the respective rail walls 36 to flex at the thinning effected proximate the thinning groove 38 and be rotated outward as indicated by the flex arrows 30. Such rotation provides for readily admitting the base 26 of the eyelet assembly 20 into the confines of the rail 32 and to be readily slid through the rail 32 to a desired disposition for hanging a poster.

Turning to the description of the clasp assembly 14 of the poster clasp 10, the clasp assembly 14 has two subcomponents; support member 40 and hinged gripping member 42. The support member 40 of the clasp assembly 14 includes a back plate 44 that forms a juncture 45 at a proximal end thereof with the rail base 37 and a rail wall 36, the rail base 37 being disposed transverse to the back plate 44. The back plate 44 has an outer margin 44a and an opposed inner margin 44b.

A raised ramp or cam point 48 is formed on the inner margin 44b. The cam point 48 preferably extends the full length dimension of the poster clasp 10 and may have less height and greater width than as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. The cam point 48 is preferably coextruded with the extrusion that forms the poster clasp 10. The material forming the cam point 48 is generally softer and more compressible (has a lesser durometer number) than the material forming the rest of the poster clasp 10, which is preferably substantially rigid.

A generally arcuate hinge support 54 forms a juncture at a proximal end thereof with the rail base 37 and the second of the rail walls 36. The hinge support 54 includes a strengthening rib 56 formed proximate the distal end of the hinge support 54.

A preferably arched hinge 58 is operably coupled to the distal end of the hinge support 54. The hinge 58 is further operably coupled to the hinged gripping member 42 at a knee 59 thereof. In such manner, the hinge 58 shiftably couples the hinged gripping member 42 to the hinge support 54 of the support member 40. Preferably, the hinge 58 is formed of the same material as that of cam point 48 and, like the cam point 48, is coextruded with the rest of the poster clasp 10 and has a durometer number similar to that of the cam point 48, thereby making the hinge 58 relatively flexible.

The hinged gripping member 42 has a first leg 60 extending from the knee 59. The distal end of the first leg 60 includes a rounded knuckle 62 that transitions into a foot 64. The foot 64 has an arch 66 formed therein and terminates with a rounded toe 68.

A second leg 70 of the hinged gripping member 42 is coupled to the first leg 60 at the knee 59 at an interior angle that is less than 180 degrees and greater than 90 degrees. The second leg 70 terminates in an arcuate compression foot 72. The compression foot 72 has an outer poster engaging surface 76. The poster engaging surface 76 is preferably a continuous curved surface extending from the heel 78 of the compression foot 72 to the upturned toe 80 of the compression foot 72. It is the poster engaging surface 76 that first engages a poster that is slid along the inner margin 44b beneath the poster engaging surface 76, as depicted in FIG. 1. As the gripping member 42 is rotated from the open disposition of FIG. 1 to the closed disposition of FIG. 2, the poster engaging surface maintains constant contact with the advancing poster and ultimately holds the poster in compressive engagement between the poster engaging surface 76 that is proximate the toe 80 and the cam point 48.

Referring to FIG. 3, a user seeking to grasp a poster within the poster clasp 10 first exerts pressure on the rounded knuckle 62, thereby causing the gripping member 42 to shift from the disposition of FIG. 1 to the disposition of FIG. 2. The rounded knuckle 62 presents a comfortable surface upon which a user may apply pressure as depicted in FIG. 3. It is understood that the poster is readily removed from the poster clasp 10 by simply reversing the closing action of the gripping member 42, thereby releasing the compressive force that holds the poster in place.

An alternative embodiment of the compression foot 72 is depicted in FIG. 4. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the poster engaging surface 76 is comprised of two generally planar surfaces that are joined at a break 82 to form an included angle that is something that is slightly less than 180 degrees.

As depicted in FIGS. 5 and 6, a strengthened version of the poster clasp 10 is presented. Such a device is used primarily to hang very large posters. In order to effect this, the rail 32 is approximately twice the lateral dimension of the rail 32 discussed above. This is affected by forming an elongated rail base 37 in the manner of a T with a back plate 44. A strengthening arch 86 forms a juncture 88 with the extended rail base 37 and a rail wall 36. The strengthening arch 86 generally has the same shape as the hinge support 54, the hinge 58, and the first leg 60 of the gripping member 42 when the gripping member 42 is in the closed disposition. An interior void 90 is formed between the inner margin of the strengthening arch 86 and the outer margin 44a of the back plate 44.

A splint 96 may be partially inserted into the interior void 90 of a first strengthened poster clasp 10 that is then abutted to a second strengthened poster clasp 10 to effect a union between the first and second poster clasps 10. Preferably, a first side margin 98 of the splint 96 is housed in the angle defined by the interior corner 94 of the rail base 37 and the back plate 44. The second side margin 100 of the splint 96 is captured in the crook 92 formed proximate the distal end of the strengthening arch 86. Preferably, the splint 96 is partially inserted into the interior void 90 of a first poster clasp 10 up to approximately the midpoint 102 and the remaining half of the splint 96 is inserted into the interior void 90 of the second poster clasp 10, the first and second poster clasps 10 then being pushed together into an abutting disposition, capturing half of the splint 96 in the first poster clasp 10 and the second half of the splint 96 in the second poster clasp 10, thereby effecting coupling of the two poster clasps 10.

While the preferred embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated and described herein, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise construction so illustrated and described. Accordingly, it is intended that the scope of the present invention be dictated by the scope of the appended claims and not by the description of the preferred embodiment.