Public Patent

FLOWER SHAPED MEMO HOLDER

Abstract

The present invention broadly comprises a flower shaped holder having a hub and a plurality of overlapping fingers extending radially outwardly from the hub. The invention holds objects such as photographs, notes, and business cards. The hub comprises top and bottom disks that are secured to one another. The fingers are consequently secured to the hub. A magnet and mounting slot are positioned on the bottom disk.

Claims

1. A holder, comprising: a hub; and, a plurality of overlapping fingers extending outwardly from said hub.

2. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein said hub comprises a top disk and a bottom disk secured to one another.

3. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein said overlapping fingers are secured to said hub and extend radially outwardly therefrom.

4. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein each of said fingers comprises a wire.

5. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein each of said fingers comprises spring-like material.

6. The holder recited in claim 4 wherein each said wire is formed into a loop.

7. The holder recited in claim 6 wherein said hub in combination with said fingers extending radially outwardly from said hub resembles a flower.

8. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein each of said fingers comprises an open loop.

9. The holder recited in claim 8 wherein said overlapping fingers are arranged adjacent one another and each of said fingers is in contact with each adjacent finger.

10. The holder recited in claim 9 wherein said fingers are arranged to hold objects at points of contact.

11. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein said hub comprises mounting means.

12. The holder recited in claim 11 wherein said mounting means comprises a magnet mounted within said hub.

13. The holder recited in claim 12 wherein said magnet is anchored in said bottom disk of said hub.

14. The holder recited in claim 11 wherein said mounting means comprises a slot in said bottom disk of said hub arranged to engage a hook.

15. The holder recited in claim 2 wherein said top and bottom disks are secured to one another with screws.

16. The holder recited in claim 2 wherein said top disk comprises an integral annular ring and a plurality of radially disposed stepped shoulders; said stepped shoulders extending radially outwardly from said annular ring and terminating proximate the circumference of said top disk.

17. The holder recited in claim 16 wherein said stepped shoulders comprise an upper surface and a lower surface.

18. The holder recited in claim 17 wherein channels are formed between each adjacent stepped shoulder.

19. The holder recited in claim 18 wherein said plurality of radially disposed stepped shoulders and said channels cooperatively form a notched annular recessed flange on said top disk lower surface.

20. The holder recited in claim 19 wherein said channels comprise terminal recesses, where said recesses are deeper than said channels.

21. The holder recited in claim 15 wherein said top disk comprises protruding threaded apertures for receiving said screws.

22. The holder recited in claim 2 wherein said bottom disk comprises an outer wall and a plurality of radially inwardly extending fins about the circumference of said bottom disk.

23. The holder recited in claim 22 wherein said notched annular recessed flange on said top disk matingly engages said outer wall and said plurality of fins on said bottom disk.

24. The holder recited in claim 22 wherein said bottom disk includes through-bores for receiving said screws.

25. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein said overlapping fingers are discrete.

26. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein each of said fingers further comprise a first end and a second end; each of said first end and second end is arranged to matingly engage said channels and said terminal recesses.

27. The holder recited in claim 26 wherein said terminal recesses narrow, acting to guide said first end and second end of each of said fingers into position.

28. The holder recited in claim 1 wherein said overlapping fingers consistently overlap in a repeating arrangement.

29. The holder recited in claim 28 wherein each of said first ends and each of said second ends are received by a first and fourth channel with a terminal recess respectively.

30. A holder comprising a plurality of overlapping fingers extending radially outwardly from said hub.

Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to devices for holding photographs, notes, business cards, objects, and the like, and more particularly, to a holder comprising a hub and a plurality of overlapping fingers extending radially outwardly therefrom.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] A number of holding devices for articles and related inventions are known in the art. Some of the known holders are configured to merely hold garments such as skirts and trousers; others are designed to hold other types of articles such as whips, belts, and handkerchiefs. Examples of various types of holders disclosed in United States Patents are as follows:

[0003] U.S. Pat. No. 6,389,744 (Pugh) discloses a support for holding articles such as cut flowers, plant stems, and writing implements. The support comprises a single wire having an elongated shaft and a head bent in a cycloid fashion forming a plurality of closed loops about a central opening. However, the closed loops merely surround the central opening, and do not extend radially outwardly from a hub. Also, the support is designed for holding articles with an elongated portion, and does not hold objects, such as photographs and the like, at points of contact of overlapping fingers.

[0004] U.S. Pat. No. 5,649,634 (Irizarry) discloses a holder for thin planar objects such as guitar picks. The holder includes an elongated coil that forms a plurality of slots for the insertion and retrieval of objects. A suction cup base allows the holder to be attached to a flat surface.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 2,138,914 (Frey) discloses a rack for neckties, belts, and other similar articles. The patented rack includes a single bent wire forming coplanar loops that expand and contract longitudinally upon the insertion of an article. This invention does not disclose overlapping fingers extending radially outwardly from a hub.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 1,429,846 (Coutts) discloses a holder for bolts of cloth. The invention includes resilient racks that protrude through elongated openings and rest into slots in the sidewalls of a support. None of the resilient racks overlap or extend radially outwardly from a hub.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 1,050,671 (Lesem) discloses a display rack for light articles such as lace and neckties enclosed in a transparent case to protect the articles from dust. This invention does not disclose overlapping fingers protruding outwardly from a hub.

[0008] U.S. Pat. No. 1,026,241 (Buckingham) discloses a display rack for skirts and like articles of clothing. The rack comprises a hub with adjacent (non-overlapping) fingers that hold articles of clothing therebetween. This invention does not disclose a holder with fingers that hold objects at points of contact. Further, the holder does not resemble a flower.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 951,628 (Buckingham) discloses a garment holder. This patented device includes a support, and outer and inner spring fingers adjacently positioned. However, the fingers extend outwardly from support plates, not a hub. Further, none of the fingers in this patented invention are overlapping.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 915,737 (Buckingham) discloses a holder for skirts, trousers, and the like having inner and outer spring fingers adjacent to each other. The device is designed to rotate about a fixed column. This invention does not disclose the use of overlapping fingers for holding articles.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 847,644 (Buckingham) discloses a garment holder with a series of successively shorter spring fingers held together between an upper and lower disk. However, the spring fingers are not overlapping.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 629,660 (Churchill) is an 1899 patent that describes a holder for handkerchiefs and other light articles. The holder comprises an upright post, and adjacent (non-overlapping) spring loops attached to a hub.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 107,175 (Hanchett) discloses a holder with a wire bent to form loops secured to flanges on two disks that form a hub. The loop openings hold whips and other like objects when inserted therethrough. The device does not include overlapping fingers and does not disclose a holder for photographs, notes, and the like.

[0014] What is needed, then, is an article of manufacture having a plurality of overlapping fingers extending radially outwardly from a hub for holding photographs, notes, business cards, objects and the like.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present invention broadly comprises a holder having a plurality of overlapping fingers extending radially outwardly from a hub. In one embodiment, the hub is magnetic.

[0016] A general object of the invention is to provide a holder for objects such as photographs, notes, business cards, and the like, which holder includes a plurality of overlapping fingers arranged to hold objects at points of contact of the overlapping fingers.

[0017] Another object of the invention is to provide an aesthetically pleasing article of manufacture for holding items.

[0018] These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art upon reading the following detailed description of the invention in view of the several drawings of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] 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:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention as viewed from the front;

[0021] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the holder shown in FIG. 1, except viewed from the back;

[0022] FIG. 3a is a back view of the top disk of the hub of the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 3b is a front view of the bottom disk of the hub of the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the present invention as shown in FIG. 1;

[0025] FIG. 5 is a rear view of the present invention as shown in FIG. 1, except with the bottom disk removed to illustrate the fingers positioned in the top disk and extending radially outwardly therefrom; and,

[0026] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the bottom disk taken generally along line 6-6 in FIG. 2, illustrating the magnet housing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0027] 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 embodiment, it is understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment.

[0028] 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, which is limited only by the appended claims.

[0029] 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.

[0030] Averting now to the Figures, FIG. 1 is a perspective view of holder 10 as viewed from the front. Holder 10 broadly comprises a plurality of overlapping fingers 11 secured to hub 12 and extending radially outwardly therefrom. By "overlapping" it is meant that at least one section of one finger overlaps at least one section of another finger. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, each finger is shown to overlap two adjacent fingers. In a preferred embodiment, hub 12 comprises top disk 13 and bottom disk 14 secured to one another, described in more detail infra. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, fingers 11 comprise flexible wire wherein each wire is formed into a loop. Although in the embodiment shown fingers 11 are made of wire, it should be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that other materials may be used, including but not limited to wood, metal or plastic. The fingers are preferably spring-like, but need not be. In a preferred embodiment, the fingers are symmetrical and are equal in length. However, it should be apparent that it is possible to have asymmetrical fingers and/or fingers of various lengths and shapes. In one embodiment, fingers 11 extend radially outwardly from hub 12 and are elliptically shaped. Hub 12 in combination with fingers 11 extending radially outwardly from hub 12 resemble a flower shape. Although the holder depicted in FIG. 1 generally resembles a circular, flower shape, it should be readily apparent that other shapes of the holder are possible, such as an oval flower shape, a butterfly shape, etc.

[0031] In a preferred embodiment, each of the overlapping fingers 11 form an open loop 15. By "open" it is meant that fingers 11 have an inner area 15 having no material therebetween. However, the fingers could be solid and not open as well. Overlapping fingers 11 are arranged adjacent one another wherein each of the fingers is in contact with each adjacent finger. In the embodiment shown, each finger has only one contact point with each adjacent finger. However, it should be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that each finger may have more than one contact point with each adjacent finger.

[0032] Fingers 11 are arranged to hold objects 8 and 9 at points of contact wherein an object may be inserted therebetween. Objects 8 and 9 may also be inserted through open loops 15 of fingers 11 and held therebetween. In the preferred embodiment, fingers 11 may hold objects 8 and 9 through any combination of inserting objects 8 and 9 between points of contact and inserting objects 8 and 9 between open loops 15. FIG. 1 illustrates two different ways in which objects such as photographs and memos may be held by the holder of the invention.

[0033] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of holder 10 as shown in FIG. 1, except viewed from the back. Bottom disk 14 includes means 18 and 19 for mounting holder 10. Mounting means 18 is a magnet anchored within bottom disk 14, and, mounting slot 19 in the bottom disk is arranged to engage a hook, stud, or like object. Top disk 13 (shown in FIG. 1) and bottom disk 14 are secured with two screws 20a and 20b to form hub 12, as described in more detail infra. In the preferred embodiment, slot 19 comprises a circular section and a slot section, and the slot section is arranged co-linearly with the center-point of the magnet. The slot section is arranged off-center with respect to the hub. This is an important design feature, as it causes the center of gravity of the holder when unloaded (i.e., when not holding objects to display) to be located below the slot, causing the holder to align itself on a wall. It should be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that other means, such as glue, rivets, etc. may be used to secure top and bottom disks to one another. It should also be readily apparent that other means for mounting the holder to a surface are possible.

[0034] FIG. 3a is a back view of top disk 13 of hub 12 of the present invention (this view shows the face of the top disk which is not normally visible when the hub is assembled). Top disk 13 comprises an integral annular ring 21, and, a plurality of radially disposed stepped shoulders 22 wherein each shoulder comprises an upper surface 23 and lower surface 24. Stepped shoulders 22 extend radially outwardly from annular ring 21 and terminate along the circumference of top disk 13. Channels 25 are formed between each adjacent stepped shoulder 22 and have terminal recesses 27 wherein each recess 27 is deeper than channel 25. Further, each terminal recess 27 narrows, having an opening that is larger than the recess bottom. Radially disposed step shoulders 22 cooperatively form notched annular recessed flange 28 on lower surface 24. Flange 28 also comprises indicator notch 37 (shown in FIG. 4) as described in more detail infra. At least one protruding threaded aperture 29 receives at least one screw to secure top disk 13 to bottom disk 14 to one another unless other means are used. In a preferred embodiment, two protruding threaded apertures 29 receive two screws 20a and 20b (shown in FIG. 4).

[0035] FIG. 3b is a front view of bottom disk 14 of the hub 12 of the present invention. Front of bottom disk 14 comprises an outer wall 30, a plurality of radially inwardly extending fins 31 circumferentially about bottom disk 14, mounting slot 19, magnet housing 32, and, at least one through-bore 33. The two fins positioned by mounting slot 19 are shorter to allow a hook, stud, or like object to fully engage mounting slot 19. When indicator notch 37 on top disk 13 is aligned between two shorter fins on bottom disk 14, the notched annular recessed flange 28 of top disk 13 (shown in FIG. 3a) matingly engages outer wall 30. Further, the plurality of fins 31 on bottom disk 14 matingly engages channels 25 on top disk 13. Through-bores 33 permit the passage of two screws 20a and 20b therethrough.

[0036] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of holder 10 as shown in FIG. 1. Each finger 11 comprises a first end 34 and a second end 35 both having a straight segment and a bent segment. Each bent segment of first end 34 and second end 35 matingly engages narrowing terminal recess 27 of top disk 13, which narrowing acts to guide into position bent segments of first end 34 and second end 35. Each straight segment of first end 34 and second end 35 rests in channels 25 in top disk 13. It should be appreciated that FIG. 4 depicts fingers comprising discrete loops. However, it should be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that continuous loops are possible. Moreover, it should be readily apparent that multiple layers of fingers of any shape or size are possible, and these modifications are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed. This view also shows screws 20a and 20b passing through through-bores 33 of bottom disk 14 and being received by protruding threaded apertures 29 of top disk 13. However, it should be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that other means of securing fingers to inside of hub are possible.

[0037] FIG. 5 also illustrates the overlapping fingers 11 secured into channels 25 and terminal recesses 27. Fingers 11 are arranged to form an overlapping, repeated arrangement wherein a first end 34 and a second end 35 of each finger 11 is received by a first and a fourth channel 25 with a terminal recess 27, respectively. Further, fingers 11 are arranged wherein a first adjacent finger is in contact atop a second adjacent finger, a second adjacent finger is in contact atop a third adjacent finger, etc. It should be readily apparent to one skilled in the art that other arrangements are possible, including but not limited to having every finger received by a first and third or a first and fifth channel and terminal recess, or by having each finger rest below an adjacent finger.

[0038] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the bottom disk 14, illustrating magnet 18 mounted within magnet housing 32 of bottom disk 14. It should be appreciated that FIG. 6 depicts magnet 18 mounted within magnet housing 32 with glue 36. However, it should be apparent that other means of anchoring magnet into magnet housing are possible.

[0039] Thus, it is seen that the objects of the invention are efficiently obtained, although, modifications and changes to the invention may be readily imagined by those having ordinary skill in the art, and these changes and modifications are intended to be within the scope of the claims.

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