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Title:
HANGING FRAME ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/165149
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An article for hanging on a support surface includes a substrate that includes a plurality of holes or slits formed therein along each of a top edge and a bottom edge. The article includes a top rail and a bottom rail that each includes a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction. Each rail has a plurality of blind holes formed therein, with each blind hole intersecting the recessed channel. A top edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the top rail and the bottom edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the bottom rail. An elongated hanging element is disposed within the recessed channel between the top edge of the substrate and a top surface of the recessed channel. The article also includes a plurality of fasteners for reception in the plurality of blind holes for securely coupling the substrate.

More Like This:
JPH0717520Portable canvas
Inventors:
SPIRO STEVEN M (US)
HUFFMAN JESSICA (US)
KELLY RYAN (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2022/014273
Publication Date:
August 04, 2022
Filing Date:
January 28, 2022
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TRACER IMAGING LLC (US)
International Classes:
B44D3/18; A47G1/06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ELLIS, Edward J. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A vertical slot hanger assembly comprising: a substrate having a top edge and a bottom edge and a plurality of holes or slits formed therein along each of the top edge and the bottom edge; a top rail and a bottom rail, each of the top rail and the bottom rail including a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction, each rail having a plurality of blind holes formed therein, each blind hole intersecting the recessed channel, wherein the top edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the top rail and the bottom edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the bottom rail; an elongated hanging element that is disposed within the recessed channel between the top edge of the substrate and a top surface of the recessed channel; and a plurality of fasteners for reception in the plurality of blind holes, each fastener passing through one hole or slit of the substrate and being frictionally held and anchored within the respective blind hole, thereby securely coupling the substrate to the top rail and the bottom rail.

2. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 1, wherein the recessed channel formed in the top rail is open at both ends of the top rail and the elongated hanging element exits the open ends of the top rail.

3. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 1, wherein the elongated hanging element comprises one of a cable, string, rope, and wire.

4. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 1, wherein the rail has a square cross- sectional shape.

5. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 1, wherein each blind hole has a countersunk landing formed around the blind hole against which a head of one respective fastener seats.

6. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 5, wherein the blind hole has a first shaft section and a second shaft section that defines a closed end of the blind hole.

7. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 6, wherein the second shaft section has a diameter that is less than a diameter of the first shaft section.

8. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 7, wherein the fastener has a barbed section that seats within the second shaft section to frictionally hold the fastener within the blind hole.

9. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 1, wherein the substrate comprises a canvas material.

10. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 1, wherein there are two holes or slits formed along each of the top edge and the bottom edge.

11. An article for hanging on a support surface, the article comprising: a substrate having a first end and a second end; a pair of rails, each rail including a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction; a pair of splines, each spline including a raised ridge that extends in a longitudinal direction, the raised ridge being configured for insertion into the recessed channel; a first pair of end caps, each end cap of the first pair of end caps having an end walls and side walls that define a hollow interior, wherein each end cap of the first pair of end caps further includes slots that are formed in two of the side walls that are opposite one another; a second pair of end cap, each end cap of the second pair of end caps having an end walls and side walls that define a hollow interior; and an elongated hanging element that has enlarged portions at two opposite ends thereof, the elongated hanging element passing through the slots of the first pair of end caps with the enlarged portions being located external to the first pair of end caps; wherein in an assembled state, one rail and one spline are disposed adjacent one another such that the raised ridge is at least partially inserted into the recessed channel and the substrate is captured within the recessed channel and the first pair of end caps are disposed over opposite ends of the one rail and one spline to join and hold the one rail and one spline against one another with the substrate captured therebetween; wherein in the assembled rate, the other rail and the other spline are disposed adjacent one another such that the raised ridge is at least partially inserted into the recessed channel and the substrate is captured within the recessed channel and the second pair of end caps are disposed over opposite ends of the one rail and one spline to join and hold the one rail and one spline against one another with the substrate captured therebetween. The article of claim 11, wherein the substrate comprises a canvas. The article of claim 12, wherein the canvas has a first end that is captured between the one spline and the one rail and an opposite second end that is captured between the other spline and the other rail. The article of claim 11, wherein the elongated hanging element comprises a string and the enlarged portions comprises knots. The article of claim 11, wherein the pair of splines and the pair of rails are formed of wood and the first and second pairs of end caps are formed of plastic. The article of claim 11, wherein the slots formed in the side walls of each end cap of the first pair of end caps extend to the end wall of the end cap and are open along exposed edges of the side walls. An article for hanging on or being mounted to a support surface, the article comprising: a substrate having a first end and a second end; a first rail including a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction; a first spline including a raised ridge that extends in a longitudinal direction, the raised ridge being configured for at least partial insertion into the recessed channel; and a first pair of end caps, each end cap of the first pair of end caps having an end walls and side walls that define a hollow interior, wherein each end cap of the first pair of end caps further includes slots that are formed in two of the side walls that are opposite one another; wherein in an assembled state, the first rail and the first spline are disposed adjacent one another such that the raised ridge is at least partially inserted into the recessed channel and the substrate is captured between the rail and spline and the first pair of end caps are disposed over opposite ends of the first rail and the first spline to join and hold the first rail and the first spline against one another with the substrate captured therebetween. The article of claim 17, wherein each end cap includes a protrusion that is received and frictionally held within one end of the channel. The article of claim 17, wherein the rail includes rail includes a substrate guide for locating and placing the substrate along the rail.

18 The article of claim 19, wherein the substrate guide comprises a protrusion along an inner surface of the rail with a defined shoulder against which one edge of the substrate is placed. The article of claim 17, wherein the spline includes a recessed portion that receive the protrusion. The article of claim 17, wherein each end cap includes a mounting tab for placement against a support surface. The article of claim 22, wherein the mounting tab extends outwardly from an outer surface of the end wall and includes a hole for receiving a fastener. The article of claim 17, wherein the substrate passes through the slots formed in the first pair of end caps. A vertical slot hanger assembly comprising: a substrate having a top edge and a plurality of holes or slits formed therein along the top edge; a top rail including a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction, the top rail having a plurality of blind holes formed therein, each blind hole intersecting the recessed channel, wherein the top edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the top rail; and a plurality of first fasteners for reception and anchoring in the plurality of blind holes, each fastener passing through one hole or slit of the substrate and being frictionally held and anchored within the respective blind hole, thereby securely coupling the substrate to the top rail. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 25, wherein the substrate has a bottom edge and a plurality of holes or slits formed therein along the bottom edge; and further including: a bottom rail including a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction, the bottom rail having a plurality of blind holes formed therein, each blind hole intersecting the recessed channel, wherein the bottom edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the bottom rail; and

19 a plurality of fasteners passing through one hole or slit of the substrate and being frictionally held and anchored within the respective blind hole, thereby securely coupling the substrate to the bottom rail.

27. The vertical slot hanger assembly of claim 25, further including a flexible elongated hanging element that is disposed within the recessed channel between the top edge of the substrate and a top surface of the recessed channel.

20

Description:
HANGING FRAME ASSEMBLY

Cross Reference to Related Application

The present application claims priority to and the benefit of US patent application serial No. 63/142,723, filed January 28, 2021; US patent application serial No. 63/153,605, filed February 25, 2021; and US patent application serial No. 63/157,284, filed March 5, 2021, each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

Technical Field

The present disclosure is directed to an article for displaying a substrate, such as a canvas, photograph or artwork, and more particularly, relates to a hanging frame assembly (frame) that is configured to capture and hold the substrate and also be hung on or mounted to a support surface, such as a wall. In another aspect, the present disclosure relates to a vertical slot hanger that is configured to capture and hold the substrate and also be hung on a support surface, such as a wall.

Background

For years, the most common way for displaying an object, such as a canvas, on a support surface, such as a wall, is to use a frame that holds the object and is configured to be hung on the wall. There are many different types of frames with the most common ones being those that completely surround the object. For some objects, like tapestries, flags, banners, and scrolls, etc., they can be hung by a top rod that passes through a pocket or closed channel formed at the top of the object to be hung.

There is a desire to provide an alternative way to hang an object that is easier to assembly and also does not require the object, such as a canvas, to have a special construction, such as the top pocket or closed channel mentioned above.

Summary

An article for hanging on a support surface includes a substrate having a first end and a second end. The article includes a pair of rails with each rail including a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction. A pair of splines is provided with each spline including a raised ridge that extends in a longitudinal direction. The raised ridge is configured for insertion into the recessed channel. The article also includes a first pair of end caps. Each end cap of the first pair of end caps having an end walls and side walls that define a hollow interior, wherein each end cap of the first pair of end caps further includes slots that are formed in two of the side walls that are opposite one another. The article includes an elongated hanging element that has enlarged portions at two opposite ends thereof. The elongated hanging element passes through the slots of the first pair of end caps with the enlarged portions being located external to the first pair of end caps. Wherein in an assembled state, one rail and one spline are disposed adjacent one another such that the raised ridge is at least partially inserted into the recessed channel and the substrate is captured within the recessed channel and the first pair of end caps are disposed over opposite ends of the one rail and one spline to join and hold the one rail and one spline against one another with the substrate captured therebetween.

The article includes a second pair of end cap with each end cap of the second pair of end caps having an end walls and side walls that define a hollow interior. Wherein in the assembled rate, the other rail and the other spline are disposed adjacent one another such that the raised ridge is at least partially inserted into the recessed channel and the substrate is captured within the recessed channel and the second pair of end caps are disposed over opposite ends of the one rail and one spline to join and hold the one rail and one spline against one another with the substrate captured therebetween.

In one embodiment of the present disclosure, a vertical slot hanger assembly includes a substrate having a top edge and a bottom edge and a plurality of holes or slits formed therein along each of the top edge and the bottom edge. The assembly further includes a top rail and a bottom rail. Each of the top rail and the bottom rail includes a recessed channel that extends in a longitudinal direction. Each rail has a plurality of blind holes formed therein. Each blind hole intersects the recessed channel. The top edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the top rail and the bottom edge of the substrate is received within the recessed channel of the bottom rail. The system further includes an elongated hanging element that is disposed within the recessed channel between the top edge of the substrate and a top surface of the recessed channel. The system includes a plurality of fasteners for reception in the plurality of blind holes. Each fastener passes through one hole or slit of the substrate and is frictionally held and anchored within the respective blind hole, thereby securely coupling the substrate to the top rail and the bottom rail.

Brief Description of the Drawing Figures

Fig. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a hanging frame assembly according to one embodiment;

Fig. 2 is an end view of a spline and rail according to a different embodiment;

Fig. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a hanging frame assembly according to another embodiment;

Fig. 4 is a side view of an end cap according to another embodiment;

Fig. 5 is a perspective view of the end cap;

Fig. 6 is a vertical slot hanger assembly according to one embodiment;

Fig. 7 is front elevation view thereof without an elongated hanging element;

Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line C-C of Fig. 7;

Fig. 9 is an enlarged detail of a rail and fastener combination;

Fig. 10 is a front elevation view of a substrate template;

Fig. 11 is a front elevation view of the substrate separate from a backing/border element;

Fig. 12 is a cross-sectional perspective view showing use of a fastener for attaching the substrate to the assembly;

Fig. 13 is a side perspective view of the fastener; and

Fig. 14 is a side perspective view of two fasteners coupled to one another.

Detailed Description of Certain Embodiments

In accordance with the present disclosure, as illustrated in Fig. 1, a display system or assembly (kit) is shown and described and is configured to create an article that can be displayed and hung on a support surface, such as a wall.

Substrate 20

The article is configured to display an object that is in in the form of a substrate 20 that is held and displayed within the article. The substrate 20 can take many different forms, such as a piece of a paper stock, a photo, artwork, a canvas, or other artistic expression that is embodied in the substrate 20. In one preferred embodiment, the substrate 20 is in the form of a canvas (rollable piece of canvas).

As described herein, the article provides an easy to use and easy to assemble kit that allows a user to assemble and hold the substrate 20 therein.

In the present disclosure, the article takes the form of a hanging frame assembly (kit or article) 100. Besides the substrate 20 that is to be hung, the hanging frame assembly 100 has the following main parts, namely, a pair of splines 200, a pair of rails 300, a pair of end caps 400 and an elongated hanging element 500, such as a cable, string, yarn, wire, etc. For ease of discussion, the elongated hanging element 500 is described herein as being string 500; however, as mentioned, this element is not limited to only being a string.

Pair of Splines 200

The hanging frame assembly 100 includes the pair of splines 200. Each spline 200 has an elongated body with an inner surface 210 and an opposing outer surface 220. Along the inner surface 210 there is a raised ridge 230. The raised ridge 230 extends longitudinally along the length of the spline 200. In the illustrated embodiment, the ridge 230 extends the entire length of the spline 200; however, in other embodiments, it does not extend the entire length. While the illustrated embodiment depicts a single continuous ridge 230 that runs along the inner surface 210, it will be appreciated that the ridge 230 can segmented and formed of a plurality of spaced ridges that are co-linear (co-axial).

The ridge 230 can have a rounded construction or it can be pointed (e.g., more triangular shape) or it can even have a wave appearance with peaks and valleys.

The ridge 230 is shown as being centrally formed along the inner surface 210 which is the preferred location. However, it is possible to form the ridge 230 at an off-center position.

The spline 200 can thus be considered to be a male component due to the presence of the center ridge 230.

The spline 200 can be formed of any number of different materials, including but not limited to, wood, plastic, metal, etc.

Typically, the two splines 200 have identical constructions (e.g., identical lengths); however, it is possibly for one spline 200 to be longer than the other one as in the case of when the substrate 20 has one end that is wider (longer) than the other end. Pair of Rails 300

The hanging frame assembly 100 includes the pair of rails 300. Each rail 300 has an elongated body with an inner surface 310 and an opposing outer surface 320. Along the inner surface 310 there is a recessed channel (groove) 330. The recessed channel 330 extends longitudinally along the length of the rail 300. In the illustrated embodiment, the channel 330 extends the entire length of the rail 300; however, in other embodiments, it does not extend the entire length. While the illustrated embodiment depicts a single continuous channel 330 that runs along the inner surface 310, it will be appreciated that the channel 330 can segmented and formed of a plurality of spaced channels that are co-linear (co-axial).

The channel 330 is shown as being centrally formed along the inner surface 210 which is the preferred location. However, it is possible to form the channel 330 at an off-center position.

The rail 300 can thus be considered to be a female component due to the presence of the center recessed channel 330.

The ridge 230 and channel 330 are complementary to one another in that the channel 330 is configured to receive the ridge 230 for capturing the substrate 20 therebetween as described herein. As shown in the figures, the ridge 230 is undersized relative to the channel 330 such that it does not and cannot occupy a majority of the channel 330 (See, Fig. 2). The ridge 230 is designed to locally deform the substrate when the spline and rail are combined and the substrate 20 gets pinched at certain surfaces.

The rail 300 can be formed of any number of different materials, including but not limited to, wood, plastic, metal, etc.

Typically, the two rails 300 have identical constructions (e.g., identical lengths); however, it is possibly for one rail 300 to be longer than the other one as in the case of when the substrate 20 has one end that is wider (longer) than the other end.

Pair of End Caps 400

The hanging frame assembly 100 includes the pair of end caps 400.

Each end cap 400 is a hollow end cap that has an end wall 410 and side walls 420. In the illustrated embodiment, the end cap 400 has a square shape and there are four side walls 420 perpendicular to the end wall 410. Two of the side walls 420 that are opposite one another have open slots 430 formed therein. The slots 430 are open along the top edges of the opposing side walls 420. The slots 430 can extend and terminate close to or at the end wall 410 (i.e., at the intersection of side wall and end wall). The slots 430 themselves are formed directly opposite one another.

As described herein, the slots 430 are configured to receive the string 500. The slots 430 also serve an additional function that they allow for passage of the substrate 20 when the spline and rail are assembled. The size of the slots 430 are thus slightly greater than the thickness of the substrate 20. The slots 430 also are sized so that both the substrate 20 and the string or rope 500 can pass.

The shape and size of the end caps 400 are selected so that one complementary mated spline 200/rail 300 is received and captured inside the hollow interior of the end cap 400. In other words, the end cap 430 caps off ends of the assembled spline and rail. The assembled spline/rail can thus be frictionally held within the end caps 400 at their opposing ends.

The end cap 400 can be formed of any number of different materials, including but not limited to, wood, plastic, metal, etc.

As shown in Fig. 5, the hollow interior of the end cap 400 can include a protrusion 450 that protrudes from the end wall 410. This protrusion 450 is positioned and sized and shaped to be received within the channel 330 when the end cap 400 is attached to the combined rail/spline. As shown, the protrusion 450 is formed in an off-centered position along the end wall 410. The protrusion 450 can be held in the end of the channel 330 by a friction fit. The substrate 20 is thus positioned (pinched) between the protrusion 450 and the raised ridge 230.

Elongated hanging element 500

As mentioned herein, the elongated hanging element 500 can be in the form of a string, cable, rope, cord or the like that is used to hang the entire hanging frame assembly 100 including the substrate 20. The two ends of the elongated hanging element 500 includes respective knots 510.

Assembly Process

To assemble the hanging frame assembly 100, the user lays down one of the rails 300 with the inner surface 310 and the channel 330 facing upward. One end (e.g., the top end) of the substrate 20 is then placed on the inner surface 310 with the channel 330 being preferably completely covered by the substrate 20. In other words, one edge of the substrate 20 is disposed over the elevated planar surface that is adjacent the channel 330. This planar surface can include guide markings, such as one or more lines at the ends of the rail 300 to guide the user in the placement of the edge of the substrate 20 so that the substrate 20 is aligned.

The respective spline 200 is placed over the substrate 20 which remains laid over the inner surface 310. The raised ridge 230 is placed over the area of the substrate 20 that is disposed over the channel 330.

Next the end caps 400 are prepared by placing the ends of the string 500 through the slots 430 so that the knots 510 lie external to one side wall 420. Since the slots 430 extend to the end wall 410, the string 500 has the ability to slide and move in the slots 430 and can be pushed to the end wall 410.

The user then applies a force to the combined spline 200 and rail 300 to cause the ridge 230 to enter the channel 330 and since the substrate 20 is disposed between the spline 200 and the rail 300, the substrate 20 is captured. In other words, the substrate 20 pushed into and is captured in the channel 330.

As the user holds the combined spline 200 and rail 300, one end cap 400 is placed over one end of the combined spline 200 and rail 300 with the string 500 remaining in the slots 430. It will be appreciated that the slots 430 are formed such that they align with the substrate 20 (and also align with the interface (gap) formed between the spline 200 and rail 300). The process is then repeated at the other end of the combined spline 200 and rail 300. The knots 510 face downward toward the substrate 20. The string 500 can be pulled outward to eliminate any slack and position the knots 510 against the side walls.

The process is then repeated with the other end of the substrate 20 in that the other end of the substrate 20 is laid over the channel 330 formed in the other rail 300. The user then applies a force to the combined other spline 200 and rail 300 to cause the ridge 230 to enter the channel 330 and since the substrate 20 is disposed between the spline 200 and the rail 300, the substrate 20 is captured. In other words, the substrate 20 pushed into and is captured in the channel 330.

As the user holds the combined other spline 200 and rail 300, the other end cap 400 is placed over the other end of the combined spline 200 and rail 300 with the string 500 remaining in the slots 430. It will be appreciated that the slots 430 are formed such that they align with the substrate 20 (and also align with the interface (gap) formed between the spline 200 and rail 300). The process is then repeated at the other end of the combined spline 200 and rail 300.

It will also be appreciated that the end caps 400 that are used at the bottom do not require or receive the string 500 and therefore they can include no slots 430. In other words, the bottom end caps 400 can be solid without slots 430.

The string 500 can then be hung on a wall or the like by placing the string 500 over a fastener, such as a nail, that is located in the wall.

As shown, the hanging frame assembly 100 can be also thought of as being a snap-to- hanging canvas product that is easily assembled to produce a fresh, clean product.

It will also be appreciated that in one embodiment, the bottom combined spline/rail can be eliminated. In this embodiment, the bottom end of the substrate 20 is left without the spline/rail and end caps and has a “rough” appearance. However, the inclusion of the bottom rail/spline gives the bottom end of the substrate 20 some weight allowing the substrate 20 to hang vertically without rolling up at the bottom.

In addition, the string 500 can also be coupled to the frame using other techniques instead of passages through the slots 430. For example, the end caps can include hooks or other structures to which the string 500 can be attached for hanging the article.

Alternative Rail/Spline Construction

Fig. 2 is an end view of an alternative spline 201 and alternative rail 301. These parts are very similar to the spline 200 and rail 300 and therefore, like elements are numbered alike. For example, the spline 201 includes the raised ridge 230 and the rail 301 includes the channel 330.

At least one of the spline 201 and rail 301 includes a guide or locating feature for positioning the substrate 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the inner surface 310 of the rail 301 includes a protrusion (rib or bump, etc.) 350 that is formed at a location spaced from the channel 330. For example, the protrusion 350 is located at one edge of the rail 301. The protrusion 350 defines a shoulder 351 that acts as the substrate guide or stop to ensure proper justification of the substrate 20. For example, when positioning the substrate 20 over and against the rail 301, the one edge (e.g., top edge) of the substrate 20 is placed against the shoulder 351 before positioning the spline 201 against the rail 301. To accommodate this protrusion 350 (male feature), the spline 201 has a female feature such as a recessed portion (channel or recessed edge, etc.). Alternative End Caps

Figs. 3-5 illustrate an alternative end cap 401. The end cap 401 is similar to end cap 400 and therefore, like elements are numbered alike. The end cap 401 includes a mount feature that allows it to be mounted to the support surface, such as the wall. As best shown in Fig. 4, the mount feature can be in the form of a mounting tab 460 that protrudes outwardly from an outer surface of the end wall 410. The mounting tab 460 has a hole 465 for receiving a fastener, such as a screw, tack or nail for attaching the assembly to the support surface. In this way, both ends of the combined upper spline and rail are attached to the support surface by means of the mounting features of the end caps 401.

Embodiment of Figs. 6-14

In the present disclosure, the article takes the form of a vertical slot hanger assembly 600. Besides the substrate 20 that is to be hung, the vertical slot hanger assembly 600 has the following main parts, namely, a pair of rails 700 and an elongated hanging element 800, such as a cable, string, yam, wire, etc. For ease of discussion, the elongated hanging element 800 is described herein as being string 800; however, as mentioned, this element is not limited to only being a string.

As shown in Fig. 11, the substrate 20 includes a pair of holes or slits 21 formed along at least one edge and preferably, along the top and bottom edges of the substrate 20. The holes 21 can have any number of different shapes, including circular shaped holes. There can be two holes 21 spaced apart and formed along the top edge of the substrate 20 and two holes 21 spaced apart and formed along the bottom edge of the substrate 20.

Substrate Template (Fig. 10)

In one embodiment, the substrate 20 is part of a template that includes release liner 25.

The substrate 20 (e.g., canvas layer) is attached to the release liner 25 via an adhesive layer. All three layers (canvas 20, adhesive, liner 25) are all cut to the same size. The stack is then kiss-cut on a smaller rectangular profile such that the canvas is cut through but the liner remains intact. After the kiss cut process, the assembly is run through a printer so that an image can be printed on the canvas. The image can be printed such that it extends past the border of the kiss-cut. The kiss-cut inner rectangle of canvas is then peeled off of the liner, leaving the adhesive on the liner. This yields a rectangle of canvas with a full-bleed image printed on it that is free of any adhesive. The liner, adhesive, and remaining border of canvas are considered waste materials.

Pair of Rails 700

The vertical slot hanger assembly 100 includes the pair of rails 700. Each rail 700 has an elongated body with an inner surface 710, an opposing outer surface 712, a front surface 714 and a rear surface 716. Along the inner surface 710 there is a recessed channel (groove) 720. The recessed channel 720 extends longitudinally along the length of the rail 700. In the illustrated embodiment, the channel 720 extends the entire length of the rail 720; however, in other embodiments, it does not extend the entire length. While the illustrated embodiment depicts a single continuous channel 720 that runs along the inner surface 710, it will be appreciated that the channel 720 can segmented and formed of a plurality of spaced channels that are co-linear (co-axial).

The channel 720 can be considered to be a vertical slot. In addition, while the front surface 714 and the rear surface 716 are shown as being parallel to one another, they can be oriented in a non-parallel manner.

The channel 720 is shown as being centrally formed along the inner surface 710 which is the preferred location. However, it is possible to form the channel 720 at an off-center position.

The rail 700 can thus be considered to be a female component due to the presence of the center recessed channel 720.

In addition, while the channel 720 is shown as extending along the entire length of the rail 700, it will be appreciated that the rail 700 can have solid ends with the channel 720 formed between these two solid ends. The width of the channel 720 is selected in view of the width of the substrate 20 in that the substrate 20 should be easily inserted into the channel 720 but there is little empty space between the substrate 20 and the front and back faces of the channel 720.

The rail 700 can be formed of any number of different materials, including but not limited to, wood, plastic, metal, etc. Typically, the two rails 700 have identical constructions (e.g., identical lengths); however, it is possibly for one rail 700 to be longer than the other one as in the case of when the substrate 20 has one end that is wider (longer) than the other end.

Each rail 700 has a plurality of holes 750 that are formed in the rail 700 in spaced relationship from one another. As shown in the cross-sectional view of Fig. 4, the hole 750 is not a through hole but instead is a blind hole that has a closed end (a blind hole is one which does not go through the entire workpiece). The hole 750 can be thought of as having multiple different sections in that the hole 750 has a recessed section (counterbore section) 752, a first shaft section 754 and a second shaft section 756 that terminates in the closed end of the hole 750. The recessed section 752 is counter sunk and includes a landing 753 surrounding the hole. The second shaft section 756 has a slightly smaller diameter than the first shaft section 754.

It will be appreciated that, as shown, the holes 750 pass through the channel 720.

Elongated hanging element 800

As mentioned herein, the elongated hanging element 800 can be in the form of a string, cable, rope, cord or the like that is used to hang the entire vertical slot hanger assembly 600 including the substrate 20.

Fasteners 900

The vertical slot hanger assembly 100 also includes a plurality of fasteners 900 for securely attaching the substrate 20 to the respective rails 700. Each fastener 900 is designed to be received within one respective hole 750 for attaching the substrate 20 to the rail 700. The fastener 900 has an elongated shaft 910 with an enlarged head 920 formed at one end thereof. Along the shaft 910 there are plurality of barbs 930 that extend outwardly from the shaft 910. In one embodiment, the fastener 900 can have a construction that is similar to a plastic anchor.

The head 920 is designed to be received within the recessed section 752 and seat against the landing 753 when the fastener 900 is fully seated within the hole 750. The second shaft section 756 is designed so that its diameter is slightly less than the diameter of the barbed section of the fastener 900 and this causes the barbs 930 to snugly fit within the second shaft section 756 of the hole. This snug is the means by which the fastener 900 seats and is held within the hole 750. As mentioned, the fasteners 900 are designed to be received through the holes or slits 21 of the substrate 20 as a way to attach the substrate to the rail 700.

The fastener 900 can be formed of any number of suitable materials, including but not limited to plastic, wood and metal.

Assembly Process

To assemble the vertical slot hanger assembly 600, the user prepares the substrate 20 as described herein. The illustrated substrate 20 has two holes 21 along the top edge and two holes 21 along the bottom edge.

The elongated hanging element 800 is fed through the channel 720 and is placed along the closed end of the channel 720. In other words, the elongated hanging element 800 is disposed in the recessed channel and can be fully contained therein. The elongated hanging element 800 can be a loop with one portion contained in the recessed channel 720 and the other being disposed outside the rail 700. The size of the elongated hanging element 300 (e.g., looped string) is such that it does not prevent or interfere with the reception of the edge of the substrate within the channel.

Next, the top edge of the substrate 20 is fed into the channel 720 that is formed in the rail 700 that will become the top rail. The holes 21 of the substrate 20 are then aligned with the holes 750 formed in the rail 700. In this position, the elongated hanging element 800 is located between the top edge of the substrate 20 and the closed end of the channel 720. To secure and hold the substrate 20 in place within the channel 720, the fasteners 900 are fed into the holes 750 and pass through the holes/slits 21 formed in the substrate 20. The fasteners 900 are pushed into the holes 750 until the barbs 930 enter into the second shaft section 756 and fit snug therein. This snug fit effectively anchors the substrate 20 within the channel 720, thereby attaching the substrate 20 to the top rail 700. The process is repeated for each hole 750 formed in the top rail 700.

To complete the bottom of the assembly, the bottom edge of the substrate 20 is fed into the channel 720 that is formed in the rail 700 that will become the bottom rail. The holes 21 of the substrate 20 are then aligned with the holes 750 formed in the bottom rail 700. To secure and hold the bottom edge of the substrate 20 in place within the channel 720, the fasteners 900 are fed into the holes 750 and pass through the holes/slits 21 formed in and along the bottom edge of the substrate 20. The fasteners 900 are pushed into the holes 750 until the barbs 930 enter into the second shaft section 756 and fit snug therein. This snug fit effectively anchors the substrate 20 within the channel 720, thereby attaching the substrate 20 to the bottom rail 700.

It will also be appreciated that in one embodiment, the bottom rail can be eliminated. In this embodiment, the bottom end of the substrate 20 is left without the rail and has a “rough” appearance. However, the inclusion of the bottom rail gives the bottom end of the substrate 20 some weight allowing the substrate 20 to hang vertically without rolling up at the bottom.

In addition, the string 800 can also be coupled to the frame using other techniques instead of passages through the channel 720. For example, the elongated hanging element (string) 800 can be directly attached to the outer surface 712.

To hang the vertical slot hanger assembly 600 to a support surface, such as a wall, the string 800 is hung on a fastener, such as a nail, screw or picture mounting hardware that is attached to the support surface.

The vertical slot hanger assembly 600 thus provides an easy, fast, and effective manner for hanging the vertical slot hanger assembly to the support structure.

Alternative Embodiment

Figs. 12-14 illustrate another embodiment and more specifically, illustrate the use of different fasteners 950 for attaching the substrate 20 (e.g., canvas) the rail 700. Like elements are numbered alike in the drawings. The rail 700 has the same construction as described above.

The fasteners 950 are similar to fasteners 900 in that each fastener 950 includes an enlarged head 952 and an elongated shaft 954 and each is configured to attach and hold the substrate 20 in place within the rail. Along the shaft 954 there are barbs 960 that protrude outwardly. The two main differences between fastener 950 and fastener 900 lies in the head design and at the design of the distal end opposite the head.

At the distal end of the fastener 950, there is a coupling member 970 at an end of the shaft 954. As described herein, the coupling member 970 is configured to mate with another fastener 950 as a means for removing the other fastener 950 from the assembly. In the illustrated embodiment, the coupling member 970 is in the form of a ball or disk-shaped member (as shown). Immediately above the coupling member 970 is a neck or waist that is connected to the main shaft of the fastener. The neck/waist has a diameter less than the diameter of the coupling member 970.

The head 952 includes a cutout (open space) formed in the head 952, with the cutout has an entrance 958 for receiving the coupling member 970 and a locking portion 956 in which the coupling member 970 can be directed into and captured, thereby coupling the coupling member 970 of one fastener 950 to another fastener 950. The locking portion 956 can be a tapered slot that terminates at an inner end with a spherical shaped opening and the entrance 958 includes a rounded side with an overhang that covers the coupling member 970 and prevents axial disengagement of the coupling member 970 from the head when the coupling member 970 enters the entrance 958. As shown in the figures, the entrance 958 can be in the form of cut-out formed in the side walls of the head 952. The entrance 958 can thus have an arcuate component and extends circumferentially within the head. As shown, the top wall of the head 952 is partially open as well to receive the neck.

To enter the locking portion 956, the coupling member 970 (ball or disk-shaped member) enters the entrance 958 is then moved sideways into the tapered locking portion 956 and is then directed inwardly until the ball or disk-shaped member (coupling members) enters the spherical shaped space. The spherical shape of the space and overhanging wall structure captures the coupling member 970 in the locking portion 956.

The coupling member 970 is moved to the center of the head and then in this locked position (retained position), one fastener 950 is coupled to another fastener 950 that is still attached to the rail 700. To remove the fastener 950 that is attached to the rail 700, the outer fastener 950 that is coupled to the fastener 950 attached to the rail 700 is pulled outwardly, thereby disengagement the barbs from the channel.

The fastener 950 which can be formed of plastic or other material, such as wood or metal.

The fastener 950 serves a dual purpose in that the fasteners 950 hold the substrate 20 in the rail 700 and they are also designed so that one fastener 950 can be used as a tool to remove another fastener 950 as described and illustrated herein. The fasteners 950 also have an additional use now in that they provide open cavities (cutout) to put the heads of nails if the user wanted to hang this on the wall without the string.

The assembly is assembled in the same manner described above in that the fasteners 950 are used to capture the substrate 20 in the rail 700. In other words, the fasteners 950 are fed into the holes 750 and pass through the holes/slits 21 formed in the substrate 20. The fasteners 950 are pushed into the holes 750 until the barbs 960 enter into the second shaft section 756 and fit snug therein. This snug fit effectively anchors the substrate 20 within the channel 720, thereby attaching the substrate 20 to the top rail 700. The process is repeated for each hole 750 formed in the top rail 700.

The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used herein, the singular forms "a", "an" and "the" are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms "comprises" and/or "comprising", when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not precludes the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

Also, the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of "including," "comprising," or "having," "containing," "involving," and variations thereof herein, is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items.

The subject matter described above is provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed as limiting. Various modifications and changes can be made to the subject matter described herein without following the example embodiments and applications illustrated and described, and without departing from the true spirit and scope of the present invention, which is set forth in the following claims.