Patent application title: EASY OPEN PICTURE FRAME
Stephen T. Barrow (St. Louis, MO, US)
MCB CREATIVE PRODUCTS, LLC
IPC8 Class: AA47G106FI
Class name: Card, picture, or sign exhibiting picture frame having magnetic means
Publication date: 2012-08-16
Patent application number: 20120204460
A picture frame for framing a viewable object including frame members
defining an opening for the display of the viewable object, a backing
within the frame and glazing over the opening. One of the frame members
is attached to the backing or to adjacent frame member hinge apparatus.
The hingedly attached frame member is movable about the hinge apparatus
from a closed position to an open position to allow introduction of the
viewable object into the opening. Detent apparatus between the movable
frame member and adjacent frame members hold the frame member in a closed
1. A frame assembly display of a viewable object, comprising: a frame
configured to define an opening for the display of the viewable object; a
backing within the frame and behind the opening; at least one segment of
the frame being hingedly attached to the backing so as to be movable from
a first position where it is in functional and planar alignment with
adjacent frame, to a second position, where it is out of alignment,
thereby opening the frame to allow introduction of the viewable object in
to the opening.
2. The frame assembly of claim 1 further comprising glazing over the opening to cover the viewable object.
3. The frame assembly of claim 1 further comprising detent apparatus to secure the hingedly attached frame member in the first position.
4. The frame assembly of claim 1 further comprising at least one brace on the backside of the frame to secure the hingedly attached frame segment in the first position.
5. The frame assembly of claim 3 wherein the detent apparatus comprises a magnet.
6. The frame assembly of claim 3 wherein the frame comprises elongated members arranged end-to-end to define joined corners.
7. The frame assembly of claim 6 wherein the frame members have a contoured cross-section.
8. A picture frame assembly for display of a viewable object, comprising: frame members arranged into a frame structure, said frame structure defining an opening for the display of the viewable object; at segment of the frame structure being hingedly attached to at least one other segment of the frame structure so as to be movable from a first position where it is in functional and planar alignment with the other frame structure, to a second position, where it is out of alignment, thereby opening the frame structure to allow introduction of the viewable object into the opening.
9. The picture frame assembly of claim 8 further comprising detent apparatus for securing the hingedly attached frame segment in the first position.
10. The picture frame assembly of claim 7 further comprising glazing.
11. The picture frame assembly of claim 8 wherein the detent apparatus comprises magnets.
12. A picture frame assembly for the display of a viewable object, comprising: elongated frame members arranged to define a rectangular opening for the display of the viewable object; glazing over the rectangular opening; a backing within the frame members and behind the opening; at least one hinge apparatus for movably attaching at least one of the frame members to the backing so as to be movable from a first position where it is in functional and planar alignment with an adjacent frame member, to a second position, where it is out of alignment, thereby opening the frame to allow introduction of the viewable object in the opening; and detent apparatus to releasable secure the movable frame member in the first position.
13. The picture frame assembly of claim 12 wherein the detent apparatus comprises at least one magnet.
14. The picture frame assembly of claim 12 wherein the elongated frame members have a contoured cross-section.
15. The picture frame assembly of claim 12 further comprising a viewable object within the frame members and under the glazing.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 61/375,666 filed Aug. 20, 2010, which is incorporated herein by reference.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 Not applicable.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 The invention relates generally to picture frames for securing and displaying viewable objects, such as pictures, and more particularly to a picture frame that can easily be opened to change the picture.
 Frames for displaying viewable objects are well known. Representative examples include various types of picture frames. Generally, a picture frame comprises a frame, usually rectangular in configuration, constructed from elongated frame members, sometimes referred to as a moulding. Moulding can be formed from wood, metal or plastic. The moulding can be ornate or plain. The frame members are connected at the corners to form a desired peripheral configuration, generally rectangular, but also oval, triangular, hexagonal or any desired configuration. In any event, the connection is referred to as the join. If the join is not visible it is referred to as a closed corner frame.
 A frame assembly generally includes mat board on which the picture is mounted. The picture often is embedded in layers of mat board. Glazing or glass is positioned within the frame members in front of the picture with the mat board creating space between the glass and the picture. A backing positioned behind the mat board provides stability and protection for the picture. The backing is held in place by hardware such as staples, nails, tacks or brads embedded in the moulding. The step of securing the backing sometimes requires the use of some sort of tool, such as a stapler or tack hammer.
 Generally, framing a picture requires placing the mat board and picture in the frame facing the glass, installing the backing and then securing the backing in place with hardware. The picture then can be displayed by hanging on the wall or set on an easel. To replace or remove the picture, one must remove the framed picture from its display site, remove or bend the hardware out of the way, remove the backing, extract the picture and mat board, and, if one is replacing the picture, insert a new picture and secure the backing in place.
 It can be tedious and time consuming to replace a framed picture. Hence, the user is discouraged from displaying different works of art or pictures using the same frame on a regular basis. It would be advantageous, therefore, to have a picture frame that allows quick and simple changing of the displayed artwork or picture without the use of tools.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 A picture frame for framing a viewable object comprising frame members defining an opening for the display of the viewable object, and a backing, with one of the frame members being hingedly attached to the backing or adjacent frame member. The hingedly attached frame member is movable about the hinge from a first position, where it is in functional and planar alignment with the other frame members to close the picture frame, to a second position, where it is out of alignment, thereby opening the frame to allow introduction of the viewable object into the opening. Detents between the movable frame member and adjacent frame members hold the movable frame member in functional and planar alignment with the other frame members. The picture frame also can include glazing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a front plan view of an embodiment of the picture frame of the present invention;
 FIG. 2 is a rear plan view thereof;
 FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view thereof with the frame in an open position;
 FIG. 4 is a top perspective view thereof with a picture positioned to insert into the frame;
 FIG. 5 is a top perspective view thereof with the picture partially inserted into the frame;
 FIG. 6 is a perspective end view thereof with the picture inserted into the frame;
 FIG. 7 is a front perspective view thereof with the picture inserted into the frame and the frame being moved to a closed position;
 FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of a movable frame member; and
 FIG. 9 is an end plan perspective view thereof.
 The following is a detailed description of an embodiment of an easy open picture frame representing the best mode of working the invention presently known by the inventor.
 One embodiment of an easy open picture frame assembly of the present invention is indicated generally by reference number 10 in the drawings. Frame assembly 10 includes a frame 12 comprised of four frame members 14, 16, 18 and 20 arranged in a rectangular configuration. Frame 12 can have any suitable configuration, such as triangular, hexagonal, pentagonal, oval or the like, that functions as will be explained below. The frame members, or moulding, as shown, are generally elongated structures that can be of any length depending upon the overall desired dimensions of the frame. The frame members define a viewing area A that can display a viewable object, referred to generically herein as a picture P, secured in the frame. In the illustrated embodiment frame members 16, 18 and 20 are connected at joins 22 in a conventional manner. Frame assembly 10 also includes a backing 24. The backing can be fashion from any substantially rigid or semi-rigid material such as cardboard, wood, fiberboard, plastic, or the like. The frame assembly may include glazing 25 conventionally secured within the frame members. The glazing is typically glass, but can be a transparent or translucent plastic or other suitable material.
 It will be noted that frame members 14, 16, 18 and 20 in the illustrated embodiment, and as best seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, have an ornate or molded, contoured appearance or cross-section. However, the frame members can be of any configuration or cross section. Moreover, they can be fashioned from any suitable material such as wood, plastic, plaster, metal, ceramic, fiberglass or any other suitable material.
 Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3 it will be noted that frame member 14 is connected to backing 24 by hinge apparatus, as shown, a pair of hinges 26, 28 such that frame member 14 can rotate about hinges 26 and 28 to an open position as seen in FIGS. 3 through 6. Although the illustrated embodiment shows two discrete, flat hinges, any type of hinge apparatus that functions as desired is appropriate, such as a continuous piano hinge, butt hinge, pivot hinge, knuckle hinge, flush hinge, butterfly hinge or a fabric or plastic that functions as a hinge. Further, the hinges do not need to be attached to a backing. One or more hinges can be operably connected between frame member 14 and adjacent frame members 16 and 20, for example. Frame member 14 could be rotatably attached at one end to frame member 16 or 20 at join J by a pivot, such as a ball and socket, or the like.
 As shown in FIG. 7, frame member 14 can rotate about the hinges to a closed position, as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2. As illustrated, when frame member 14 is in a closed position, frame members 14, 16, 18 and 20 are joined and all are positioned within the same plane, and frame 12 is fully functional as a picture frame. However, when frame member 14 is open for removal or introduction of a picture as explained below, frame member 14 is no longer in a planar or functional alignment with the other frame members.
 The movable frame member also can be referred to as a movable segment of a frame, or example, if the frame comprised a substantially integral or one piece oval or round frame with a segment thereof being hingedly attached so as to be moved out of and into alignment with the adjacent frame structure.
 Frame assembly 12, as shown, employs detent apparatus to secure frame member 14 in a closed position. In the illustrated embodiment, the detent comprises magnets 30 and 32. A magnet is recessed into each mitered end of frame member 14, as shown in FIG. 8. There are opposite pole magnets, for example magnets 34 in the mitered ends of frame members 16 and 20 that mate with and attract magnets 30 and 32 in the ends of frame member 14. This pairing of magnets holds frame member 14 snugly against adjacent frame member at the joins when frame member 14 is rotated to a closed position. Instead of the two magnets, the detent apparatus could comprise one magnet and an opposed, nonmagnetic metal to which the magnet will be attracted and adhere.
 Although the illustrated detent is a magnet arrangement, any detent that secures the rotatable or movable frame member in the closed position and allows quick, simple and easy separation for movement to the open position is within the scope of the invention. For example, hook and loop fastener, a dowel or pin and hole arrangement, hooks, keepers, latches or any other detent apparatus or arrangement whether now known or unknown.
 The frame assembly may comprise other detents, such as braces 36 that can be rotatably attached to an adjacent frame member and rotated across join J to hold the movable frame member in alignment and in the closed position.
 Moreover, it will be understood that the frame can be constructed no detent apparatus. For example, the hinges 26, 28 could tight, that is, employ friction that will secure the hingedly attached member in the closed position.
 FIGS. 3 through 7 illustrate frame assembly 10 in use to display a viewable object. As shown in FIG. 3, frame member 14 is pulled to release the detent, in this case, to overcome the attractive force of the magnets and is then rotated around hinges 26 and 28. If there is a picture in the frame, the user can slide it out of the open end of the frame assembly. A replacement picture P is slid into the frame assembly under glazing 25, if there is a glazing, and frame member 14 is rotated back until it is held in place by the detents, e.g. the magnets.
 It will be appreciated that picture P simply represents any viewable object the user wants to display and the use of the frame is not limited to a traditional picture. It can be a painted picture, photograph, certificate, diploma and so forth. The viewable object can be matted or otherwise mounted if desired. Moreover, the size of the frame assembly is incidental. Any useful or desired size is encompassed by the scope of the invention. The frame assembly can be displayed by hanging by appropriate means, or by setting in an easel or the like.
 Also, it will be understood that any configuration of frame 12 is encompassed by the scope of the invention as long as it has a frame member, or segment of a frame, that is hingedly attached to the backing or to the frame to allow introduction and removal of a viewable object.
 One skilled in the art will appreciate that changes and modifications may be made in the frame assembly described herein without departing from the scope of the invention. Therefore, the detailed description and accompanying drawings should be viewed as illustrative and should not be construed in a limiting sense.
Patent applications in class Having magnetic means
Patent applications in all subclasses Having magnetic means