Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.






Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20040035049
Kind Code A1
McLarty, Sallie February 26, 2004

Flower pot hanger

Abstract

A hanger or stand for flower pots is disclosed. The stand includes a tower having at least one substantially vertical edge. The tower is configured to stand upright on a substantially horizontal surface. At least one support notch is provided in the tower along the substantially vertical edge. The support notch is configured to receive a portion of an upper rim of a flower pot such that the tower grips and supports a flower pot at a single circumferential location along the upper rim of the flower pot. When the rim of the pot is engaged in the support notch, the flower pot is securely supported by the tower in an elevated position. A pot hanger designed to be hung or mounted on a substantially vertical surface is also disclosed.


Inventors: McLarty, Sallie; (Greensboro, NC)
Correspondence Address:
    WOMBLE CARLYLE SANDRIDGE & RICE PLLC
    300 N. GREENE STREET
    SUITE 1900
    GREENSBORO
    NC
    27401
    US
Serial No.: 225666
Series Code: 10
Filed: August 22, 2002

Current U.S. Class: 47/39
Class at Publication: 47/39
International Class: A47G 007/00


Claims



What is claimed is:

1. A flower pot hanger comprising: (a) a tower having at least one substantially vertical edge, the tower being configured to stand upright on a substantially horizontal surface; (b) at least one support notch in the substantially vertical edge of the tower, the support notch being configured to receive a portion of an upper rim of a flower pot such that the tower supports and grips the flower pot at a single circumferential location along the upper rim of the flower pot; whereby the flower pot is securely supported by the tower in an elevated position.

2. A flower pot hanger according to claim 1, wherein the tower comprises a plurality of substantially vertical panels, each vertical panel including at least one substantially vertical edge having at least one support notch therealong.

3. A flower pot hanger according to claim 2, wherein the tower comprises two substantially vertical panels, each vertical panel having first and second opposed substantially vertical edges having at least one support notch therein.

4. A flower pot hanger according to claim 3, wherein each substantially vertical panel includes a longitudinal slot for mating engagement with the other vertical panel to form the tower.

5. A flower pot hanger according to claim 2 wherein at least one of the plurality of substantially vertical panels includes at least one decorative cutout or recess therein.

6. A flower pot hanger according to claim 5 wherein the decorative cutout or recess includes at least one decorative insert therein.

7. A flower pot hanger according to claim 1 wherein tower and the support notch therein is configured to receive and grip a portion of a rim of a round flower pot having a substantially cylindrical upper rim portion and a shell portion having a substantially frusto-conical outer surface.

8. A flower pot hanger according to claim 7, wherein the support notch in the substantially vertical edge is shaped such that it provides an inclined support surface extending at an angle from the substantially vertical edge, a generally horizontal ledge extending inwardly from an upper end of the inclined surface, a generally vertical inner wall, and a downwardly depending finger, wherein the ledge at least partially supports the flower pot beneath a portion of the substantially cylindrical upper rim of the pot, the inclined support surface at least partially supports the flower pot on a portion of the substantially frusto-conical outer surface of the pot, and the downwardly depending finger captures the rim of the pot when the rim of the pot is engaged in the notch, and wherein the weight of the flower pot acts to maintain engagement of the flower pot in the notch.

9. A flower pot hanger according to claim 1, wherein the tower includes a bottom end, a plurality of substantially vertical edges, and at least one support notch along each substantially vertical edge, each support notch being vertically positioned along a substantially vertical edge such that each support notch is positioned at an elevation above the bottom end that is different than another elevation of at least one other support notch.

10. A flower pot hanger according to claim 9, wherein each of the plurality of support notches is vertically positioned at an elevation that is different than elevations of the other support notches.

11. A flower pot hanger according to claim 10, wherein the plurality of support notches are vertically positioned such that they form a substantially helical pattern around the tower.

12. A flower pot hanger according to claim 1 wherein the tower includes a footprint having a largest diameter which is substantially equal to or less than a maximum diameter of the flower pot.

13. A plant hanger for suspending a flower pot, the hanger comprising a one-piece substantially planar pot support member having a substantially vertical edge including at least one support notch therein, wherein the support notch in the substantially vertical edge is shaped such that it provides a substantially horizontal ledge, an inclined substantially planar support surface, and a downwardly depending finger along the substantially vertical edge, wherein a portion of an upper rim of the flower pot can be received and securely supported in the support notch such that the flower pot is securely suspended by the plant hanger at an elevated position.

14. A plant hanger according to claim 13, wherein the substantially vertical edge of the pot support member includes a plurality of vertically spaced support notches therein.

15. A plant hanger according to claim 13 further comprising a substantially flat horizontal base portion, whereby the substantially planar pot support member is stably supported on a floor or table.

16. A plant hanger according to claim 13 wherein the pot support member and the support notch therein are configured to grip a round pot having a substantially cylindrical upper rim and a shell portion having a substantially frusto-conical outer shape.

17. A plant hanger according to claim 16, wherein the support notch in the substantially vertical edge is shaped such that it provides an inclined support surface extending at an angle from the substantially vertical edge, a generally horizontal ledge extending inwardly from an upper end of the inclined surface, a generally vertical inner wall, and a downwardly depending finger, wherein the ledge at least partially supports the flower pot beneath a portion of the substantially cylindrical upper rim of the pot, the inclined substantially planar support surface at least partially supports the flower pot on a portion of the substantially frusto-conical outer surface of the pot, and the downwardly depending finger captures the rim of the pot when the rim of the pot is engaged in the notch, and wherein the weight of the flower pot acts to maintain engagement of the flower pot in the notch.

18. A plant hanger according to claim 13 further comprising a mounting means for mounting the pot support member on a substantially vertical surface.

19. A plant hanger according to claim 18 wherein the mounting means includes at least one bracket connected to the pot support member, the bracket being designed for attachment to the substantially vertical surface with one or more removable fasteners.

20. A plant hanger for suspending one or more round flower pots of the type having a substantially cylindrical upper rim and a shell portion having a frusto-conical outer surface, the plant stand comprising at least one an inclined support surface extending at an angle from the substantially vertical edge, a generally horizontal ledge extending inwardly from an upper end of the inclined surface, a generally vertical inner wall, and a downwardly depending finger, wherein the ledge at least partially supports the flower pot beneath a portion of the substantially cylindrical upper rim of the pot, the inclined substantially planar support surface at least partially supports the flower pot on a portion of the substantially frusto-conical outer surface of the pot, and the downwardly depending finger captures the rim of the pot when the rim of the pot is engaged in the notch, and wherein the support ledge, the inclined support surface, and the finger are in permanent fixed arrangement relative to each other.

21. A plant hanger according to claim 20 wherein the plant hanger is configured to be supported atop a substantially flat horizontal surface.

22. A plant hanger according to claim 20 wherein the plant hanger is configured to be mounted or hung on a substantially vertical surface.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The invention generally relates to support racks and stands for receptacles, and more particularly relates to a flower pot hanger for suspending and displaying one or more flower pots.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Flower pots are used to contain and display flowers both indoors and outdoors. Often, it is desirable to display one or more potted plants on a stand alone or in close arrangement. For this purpose, free-standing plant stands and hangers are known. While some plant stands are designed to support a single potted plant, others include a series of shelves or the like for supporting multiple flower pots thereon. An example of such a stand is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,178,286 to Allison. Such shelves may be arranged in a staggered or tiered fashion such that a plurality of potted flowers or plants can be stored and displayed in an area having limited floor space. Similarly, multiple potted plants can be stored on a conventional shelf such as a bookshelf. One advantage of these types of support arrangements for plants is that they support potted plants from the bottoms of their pots, and do not interfere with the growth of plants from the tops of the pots. Unfortunately, these types of plant stands may provide only precarious support to flower pots because the pots often merely sit atop shelf-like supports. If the stand or the pots thereon are accidentally bumped, the pots can be upset and may fall from the shelf-like supports, thereby damaging the pots and/or the plants therein.

[0005] Other types of plant hangers or stands provide means for hanging flower pots from one or more arms, hooks, or the like. One such stand is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,873,195 to Wortham. Chains, wire or plastic hangers, baskets, or similar means are used to suspend pots from one or more hooks or arms which radially extend from a central pole or rack. Such suspension means necessarily extend above the tops of the hanging pots, and may interfere with the growth or display of many types of plants. Accordingly, such plant holders or stands are best suited for potted plants which grow downwardly such as vines, creepers, or the like. Also, such plant stands or racks are typically relatively wide to provide adequate room for pots to hang freely from their arms or hooks, and often include broad bases to support the central pole or rack in a vertical position. Such hangers or stands are typically constructed of steel or other metals, and are therefore expensive to produce.

[0006] Still other types of stands for flower pots include a series of horizontal hoops or rings sized to hold flower pots about the pots' outer surfaces and under their upper rims. An example of such a stand is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,591,362 to Koch. While such stands are effective to support and display a plurality of pots, such stands also are typically wide and require a broad base for support. Also, such stands are relatively complex in construction, and are relatively expensive to produce.

[0007] Therefore, there is a need for a plant stand which provides more secure support to a flower pot or pots than conventional shelf-like plant stands. Also, there is a need for a plant stand or hanger which is adapted for potted plants which grow either downwardly or upwardly from their pots without substantial interference from the stand. Further, there is a need for a plant stand or rack which requires little room or floor space, and can support and display a plurality of potted plants in a limited area. Also, there is a need for a flower pot hanger or stand for multiple flower pots which is economical to produce.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention meets these needs by providing a flower pot stand or hanger which is configured to support one or more pots in a more simple, but secure manner. The stand of the present invention is also configured to securely suspend a plurality of conventional flower pots in spaced arrangement without chains, wires, or other conventional hanging means which necessarily obstruct regions directly above the suspended pots. In addition, the plant stand or hanger is designed such that it provides means to store and display a plurality of potted plants on a floor or table while taking up only a limited amount of floor or table space.

[0009] In one embodiment the stand includes a free-standing pot support member. The pot support member is configured to suspend at least one pot above a floor by gripping the pot at a single circumferential location along an upper circumferential portion of the pot. This gripping arrangement provides a stable support to the pot, and resists dislodgement of a pot from the hanger if the pot or hanger is accidentally bumped or jarred. Also, by gripping the pot at a single circumferential location along an upper circumferential portion of the pot, the region directly above the pot is substantially clear of obstructions or obstacles which might interfere with a potted plant's growth or display. In one arrangement, the pot support member may be configured to suspend a plurality of pots above a floor by gripping each pot at a single circumferential location along an upper circumferential portion of the pot. The pot support member may suspend each of the pots at a different elevation above the floor. Also, the pot support member may be configured to grip a conventional round flower pot having a substantially cylindrical upper rim portion and a shell portion having a substantially conical outer shape.

[0010] The flower pot hanger may include a tower having at least one substantially vertical edge. The tower is designed to stand upright on a substantially horizontal surface. The substantially vertical edge includes at least one support notch therein. The support notch is configured to receive and grip at least a portion of an upper rim of a flower pot such that the flower pot is securely supported by the tower in an elevated position. In a preferred arrangement, the notch forms a substantially horizontal ledge, an inclined support surface, and a downwardly depending finger along the substantially vertical edge, wherein the ledge at least partially supports the flower pot beneath a portion of an upper rim of the pot, the inclined support surface at least partially supports the flower pot on a portion of an outer surface of the pot, and the downwardly depending finger captures the rim of the pot when the rim of the pot is engaged in the notch. The weight of the flower pot acts to maintain engagement of the flower pot in the notch.

[0011] The tower may be comprised of a plurality of substantially vertical panels including at least one substantially vertical edge having at least one support notch therein. In a preferred arrangement, the tower is formed of two substantially vertical panels, each vertical panel having first and second opposed substantially vertical edges with at least one support notch in each edge. Each substantially vertical panel may include a longitudinal slot for mating engagement with the other vertical panel to form the tower. Each support notch may be configured to receive and grip a portion of a rim of a round flower pot having a substantially cylindrical upper rim portion and a shell portion having a substantially conical outer surface. Further, each support notch may be configured such that the substantially vertical edge includes a substantially horizontal ledge and an inclined support surface, wherein the ledge is configured to support a round flower pot under a portion of its substantially cylindrical rim, and the inclined support surface is configured to support the flower pot on a portion of the substantially conical outer surface of the pot. The flower pot hanger may be constructed of wood or any other suitable material. The substantially vertical panels may be continuous or may include one or more decorative cutouts or recesses therein. One or more decorative inserts may be provided in the cutouts or recesses.

[0012] In a preferred arrangement, the tower includes a bottom end, a plurality of substantially vertical edges, and at least one support notch along each substantially vertical edge. Each support notch may be vertically positioned along a substantially vertical edge such that each notch is at an elevation above the bottom end that is different than another elevation of at least one other support notch. Still further, each of the plurality of support notches may be vertically positioned at an elevation that is different than the elevations of every other support notch. In this way, pots suspended from the tower are displayed in a tiered or staggered arrangement, thereby maximizing the visibility of each suspended pot. Preferably, the tower has a footprint with a largest diameter which is less than or equal to a maximum diameter of any of the suspended pots.

[0013] The invention also includes a method for displaying a plurality of flower plots in a location having a limited floor area. The method includes suspending each pot from a substantially vertical support structure, wherein each pot is suspended from the support structure at a single circumferential location along an upper rim of the pot. Each of the pots may be suspended at an elevation which is different from another elevation of at least one other pot. Still further, each pot may be suspended at an elevation that is different from elevations of every other pot. Preferably, four or more pots are so displayed. Also, the vertical support structure preferably has a footprint with a largest diameter which is less than or equal to a maximum diameter of any of the pots suspended from the support structure. In this way, a large number of potted plants can be stably displayed in vertically spaced arrangement above a very small floor area.

[0014] In another embodiment, the invention includes a flower pot hanger for suspending a flower pot hanger from a substantially flat vertical surface such as a wall. The pot hanger includes a one-piece substantially planar pot support member having a substantially vertical edge including at least one support notch therein. The support notch in the substantially vertical edge is shaped such that it provides a substantially horizontal ledge, an inclined substantially planar support surface, and a downwardly depending finger along the substantially vertical edge. This configuration permits a portion of an upper rim of the flower pot to be received and securely supported in the support notch. The pot support member includes a mounting means for mounting the support member on a substantially vertical wall. The mounting means may include one or more brackets connected to the support member and configured to be attached to the substantially vertical wall by one or more removable fasteners.

[0015] These and other aspects of the invention will be made clear from a reading of the following detailed description together with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a flower pot hanger according to the present invention with a plurality of round flower pots suspended therefrom;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the flower pot hanger shown in FIG. 1;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a detail perspective view of a pot support notch of the flower pot hanger of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0019] FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of one construction for the flower pot hanger of FIG. 1;

[0020] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of a conventional round flower pot engaged in the pot support notch shown in FIG. 3; and

[0021] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention which can be hung on a wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of a flower pot hanger 10 according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 2, the hanger 10 includes a first substantially vertical panel 12 and a second substantially vertical panel 14 connected together in a crossed manner as shown. The first panel 12 includes a first substantially vertical edge 12a and a second substantially vertical edge 12b. Similarly, the second panel 14 includes a first substantially vertical edge 14a and a second substantially vertical edge 14b. The panels 12, 14 combine to form a base 18 which is configured to support the hanger in an upright position on a substantially flat surface such as a floor or patio. Each vertical edge 12a, 12b, 14a, 14b includes one or more support notches 16. The support notches 16 are configured to receive and grip a rim of a flower pot.

[0023] One configuration for the support notches 16 for supporting conventional round flower pots is shown in FIG. 3. Preferably, each notch 16 is formed by an inclined support surface 19 extending at an angle from one of the vertical edges 12a, 12b, 14a, and 14b, a generally horizontal ledge 17 extending inwardly from an upper end of the inclined surface 19, a generally vertical inner wall 15, and a downwardly depending finger 13. The inclined support surface 19, ledge 17, inner wall 15, and finger 13 combine to support the rim of a flower pot. As shown in FIG. 5, a conventional round flower pot 30 includes a substantially cylindrical upper rim portion 32, and a shell portion 40 having a tapered, conical outer shape. When the rim 32 of pot 30 is engaged in the notch 16, a lower edge 34 of the cylindrical rim portion 32 of the pot 30 is vertically supported by the ledge 17 of the panel 12, 14. Also, the conical shell portion 40 of the pot 30 is supported on the inclined support surface 19. The weight "W" of the pot tends to bias the pot in a counterclockwise direction, and the cylindrical rim portion 32 of the pot 30 is captured in the notch 16 by finger 13.

[0024] Once a portion of the upper rim 32 of the pot 30 is engaged in the notch 16 as shown in FIG. 5, the pot 30 can be freed from the notch 16 only by sufficiently rotating the pot 30 in a clockwise manner to separate the edge 34 from the ledge 17, and to separate the conical outer surface 40 from the inclined support surface 19. By capturing one side portion of the upper rim portion 32 of pot 30 in this way, the weight of pot 30 and any soil and plants in the pot (as indicated by arrow"W") acts to seat and maintain the pot 30 in the notch 16 (i.e. weight "W" acts to rotate the pot in a direction opposite from that required to unseat the pot 30 from the notch 16). Accordingly, the pot 30 is securely engaged in the panel 12, 14, such that the pot 30 is difficult to unintentionally dislodge from the notch 16 by accidentally bumping the pot 30 or hanger 10. The heavier the pot 30 and its contents are, the more difficult it is to accidentally dislodge the pot from the hanger 10.

[0025] The pot 30 is suspended in the notch 16 at an elevated position without the use of chains, wire hangers, or the like. Further, the panel 12, 14 does not substantially obstruct the region directly above the pot 30, and therefore does not interfere with the growth or display of a flower or plant in the pot 30. Preferably the hanger 10 is constructed in the form of a tower or vertical stand as shown in FIG. 1. This vertical arrangement permits notches 16 to be positioned at various spaced elevations along the substantially vertical edges 12a, 12b, 14a, 14b. By vertically spacing the notches 16 in this way or in a similar way, a plurality of pots 30 can be supported at various elevations as shown in FIG. 1. This vertically spaced or staggered arrangement makes each pot 30 visible with a minimal amount of obstruction from other pots 30, improves the availability of light to each pot 30, and provides access for a person to water, prune, or otherwise treat the plants in the pots 30. The notches 16 can be positioned along the substantially vertical edges 12a, 12b, 14a, 14b such that pots 30 are arranged in a decorative pattern such as a spiral or the like.

[0026] In a preferred arrangement, each substantially vertical edge 12a, 12b, 14a, 14b is substantially equidistant from a centerline of the hanger 10. Also, each substantially vertical edge 12a, 12b, 14a, 14b preferably includes an equal number of notches 16. This arrangement ensures that the hanger will remain in a stable, upright position when pots are engaged in each of the notches 16. In this way, it is unnecessary for hanger 10 to include a broad base to stand upright in a stable condition. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 1, hanger 10 can have a footprint 40 which has a maximum diameter which is approximately equal to or smaller than a largest diameter of the pots 30. This small footprint 40 enables a large number of pots 30 to be stored and displayed in the hanger 10 while occupying only a minimal amount of floor space, i.e. an area which is substantially equivalent to the area taken up by a single pot 30 when placed on the floor.

[0027] A preferred construction for the hanger 10 is illustrated in FIG. 4. In this arrangement, panel 12 includes a longitudinal slot 20, and panel 14 includes a corresponding longitudinal slot 22. The slots 20, 22 are sized and shaped such that the panels can be assembled together in an overlapped and interlocked arrangement to yield a hanger 10 like that shown in FIG. 2. Because the stand can be used without permanently affixing the interlocked panels 12, 14 together, the assembled panels 12, 14 can later be disassembled for storage or transport. If desired, however, the interlocked panels 12, 14 may be permanently affixed together with adhesives or suitable fasteners (not shown). Preferably, the panels 12, 14 are constructed of wood, but may be constructed of any suitable material such as plastic, metal, wood or paper products, or the like. As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, the panels 12, 14 may be substantially continuous, i.e. without any voids or recesses in their faces other than the support notches 16 and slots 20, 22. Alternatively, the panels 12, 14 may include one or more decorative cutouts or recesses (not shown). Also, when decorative cutouts or recesses are provided, the cutouts or recesses may include one or more decorative inserts therein to further enhance the appearance of the hanger 10 (not shown).

[0028] The invention can also be used to suspend one or more flower pots from a substantially vertical surface such as a wall. As shown in FIG. 6, an embodiment 100 includes a substantially planar support member 112 having a substantially vertical outer edge 112a. One or more support notches 116 are provided in support member 112. The notch or notches 116 are preferably configured like support notches 16 as described above, and are designed to receive, grip, and support a portion of a rim of a flower pot. The support member 112 may be rigidly connected to a bracket or plate 120 for mounting the hanger 100 on a wall 200. One or more removable fasteners 130 may be used to attach the bracket or plate 120 to the wall 200. Alternatively, other types of mounting means, such as one or more conventional L-shaped brackets, or the like, may be used to mount the support member 112 to the wall 200 (not shown).

[0029] The flower pot hanger 10 or 100 described above can be sized and configured to accommodate many types and sizes of flower pots, so long as such pots are strong enough to withstanding the support loads imparted to the pot by the hanger 10 without cracking, yielding, or otherwise damaging the pots. The hanger 10, 100 can be adapted to support conventional round flower pots constructed of terracotta, other ceramic materials, plastic, or the like. Also, the hanger 10, 100 can be adapted to support pots having other shapes where the pots can be gripped and supported in a manner like that described above.

[0030] While this invention has been illustrated and described in accordance with a preferred embodiment, it is recognized that variations and changes may be made therein without departing from the invention as set forth in the claims. Certain modifications and improvements will occur to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the forgoing description. For example, while the illustrated embodiment includes specially-shaped notches cut into edges of vertical panels which receive and grip a portion of a rim of a flower pot, other similar embodiments may also be used. For example, a metal bar may be shaped to engage a portion of an upper rim of a pot in the same way that the illustrated notches support a pot. A plurality of such shaped bars can be mounted to a vertical support structure, and thereby support a plurality of pots in a manner very similar to the illustrated embodiment. It should be understood that all such modifications are not contained herein for the sake of conciseness and readability, but are properly within the scope of the following claims.

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.