The invention relates to display apparatus. In
particular, display apparatus comprising an illuminated
base unit onto which items to be displayed may be placed.
There are in use, a number of different means for
displaying objects in shop windows for shop displays etc.
As always, the object of such apparatus is to stimulate
interest in the particular objects being retailed by
displaying them in an attractive or eye catching manner.
According to a first aspect of the invention, there is
provided display apparatus comprising a base unit onto
which an object to be displayed may be placed, a light
source associated with the base unit and arranged to
illuminate the object, a supply of power for powering the
light source and means for conveying power to a further
The supply of power may comprise an electrical
connection for conveying electrical power into the base
The electrical connection may comprise a "power-in"
The power-in connection may provide an electrical link
to a preceding base unit or to an external power supply.
The supply of power may comprise a battery, a
stabilised or un-stabilised voltage supply or a connection
to a mains power source.
The means for conveying electrical power to a further
base unit, preferably comprises an electrical link such as
a "power-out" connection.
Link means may be provided for linking a first base
unit to a second base unit and conveying power from the
"power-out" connection of the first base unit to the
"power -in" connection of the second base unit. Said link
means may comprise an electrical connector. The
electrical connector preferably is flexible so as to allow
independent orientation of the individual base units.
The link means may comprise a double-ended connector,
with a first end for co-operating with a "power-out"
connection of a first base unit, and a second end for co-operating
with a "power-in" connection of a second base
Each base unit is preferably provide with identical
"power-in" and "power-out" connections with the "power-out"
connection being able to be used as the "power-in"
connection and vice versa.
The link means may comprise a trailing lead for co-operating
with a male "power-out" connection of a first
base unit to link with a corresponding female "power-in"
terminal or vice versa.
The link means may be formed by providing a first base
unit with either an integral male or female electrical
connector and a second base unit with either an integral
female or male electrical connector respectively and
directly connecting the first base unit to the second base
The light source may be provided inside the base
unit. The base unit preferably includes a window through
which light from the light source housed within the base
unit is transmissible.
The window may comprise an aperture formed in the base
unit. The window may comprise a piece of light
transmissive material which closes said aperture.
The window may be provided in a position on which the
object is to be placed.
Alternatively, the window may be placed at a position
which is exposed when the object is present.
Reflecting means may be provided for reflecting light
transmitted by the exposed window onto the object. The
reflecting means may comprise a mirror or prism.
The light source may, alternatively, be provided on
top of the base unit. In this case, the light source may
be provided in a small sub-housing which may form an
integral extension of the base unit or which may be in a
separate housing unit closely associated with the top
surface of the base unit.
The display apparatus may comprise a base unit, with
at least one light source and a plurality of windows
through which light from the one or more light sources is
transmitted, the base unit may be arranged to support a
plurality of objects which are to be illuminated by light
transmitted through the windows. The base unit may
accommodate a plurality of light sources.
Preferably, the or each window is arranged to receive
the or each object upon it so as to illuminate the object
Preferably, the or each object comprises a bottle.
As an alternative to the or each object being
illuminated from directly underneath by placing it on a
window, the or each object may be illuminated from a side
position. Such side illumination may be from direct light
given by the light source being provided on the top of the
base unit - for instance as described in relation to the
sub-housing mentioned earlier - or may be by reflected
light. Such reflected light may be directed toward the or
each object by allowing light to be transmitted from the
light source located inside the base unit to a reflecting
means, from which it is then directed towards the or each
An array of display apparatus may be provided, with
each apparatus within the array directly abutting its
neighbour(s) in the array.
The power-in connection may be of complimentary
formation to the power-out connection and the relative
positions of the connections with respect to the base unit
are preferably arranged so that the display apparatus can
be arranged to closely abut with a neighbouring display
apparatus such that the plurality of so configured display
apparatus' may be neatly aligned with one another. By
"neatly aligned", it may be meant that the plurality of
display apparatus appears to form a neat shape such as a
substantially continuous straight or curved line or form
a neat geometrical pattern
The base unit may be quadrilateral or may be of any
other preferred shape.
The base unit may be equipped with more than one
power-in connection and more than one power-out connection
so as to facilitate different groupings of display
apparatus and enable the formation of different
The display apparatus may comprise a plurality of
positions on which objects to be displayed may be placed,
with light for illuminating at least some of those
objects, being transmitted through individual windows
formed in the base unit. The base unit may include a
plurality of light sources housed within it.
A plurality of such display apparatus may be provided
with interconnection between base units being made in
daisy chain fashion by trailing wires.
For a better understanding of the invention, and to
show how embodiments of the same may be carried into
effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to
the accompanying diagrammatic drawings, in which:
- Figure 1 shows a first embodiment of display
- Figure 2 shows a second embodiment of display
- Figure 3 shows a connection member;
- Figures 4A and 4B are schematic representations of the
interior of a display apparatus according to Figure 1 and
- Figure 5 shows a possible arrangement of a plurality
of display apparatus according to embodiments of the
- Figures 6A to 6D show further possible display
- Figure 7 shows a stand on which individual base units
may be arranged; and
- Figure 8 shows an alternative base unit arrangement
with a sub-housing for providing rear lighting to an
object to be displayed.
Referring now to the Figures in more detail, preferred
embodiments of the present invention will now be
Referring initially to Figures 1, 3 and 4A a first
embodiment of display apparatus is described.
The display apparatus comprises a base unit 10 having
a top surface 12 on which an object to be displayed may be
placed, a light source 14 arranged within the base unit
and power-in 16 and power-out 18 connections. The power-in
connection 16 is arranged to supply power to the light
source 14 and the power-out connection 18 is arranged to
convey power to a further base unit. The base unit 10 is
shown as having the power-in connection 16 arranged as a
socket on a side or rear wall 20 of the base unit 10, with
a power-out socket 18 being arranged in the same wall.
Alternatively, the power-in power-out connections may be
provided on opposed side walls.
The top surface 12 of the base unit 10 has an aperture
formed therein and light transmissive material 26 is
placed over said aperture so as to allow light from the
light source 14 to be transmitted from the base unit 10
out through the window formed by the material 26.
Considering now Figure 3, there is a shown a possible
connector for interconnecting the base unit of one display
apparatus to the base unit of another display apparatus.
The connector, shown generally as reference numeral 30
comprises a double-ended connector having first male
projection 32 and a second male projection 34 protruding
from a flexible section 36. It will be appreciated that,
in most instances, the connector 30 provides both positive
and negative connections, with the positive connection
being shielded by the negative connection. In otherwords,
the projection 32 may be a hollow cylinder type connection
with the outer surrounding surface 38 forming the supply
return, and a connection 40 inside the cylinder being the
positive connection. Referring back to Figure 1, it can
be seen that the power-in connection again has effectively
two electrical connection points with a recessed post 16A
shaped to be received by the interior connection 40 and to
make electrical connection with it, and an outer
surrounding wall 16B forming the connection for positive
supply voltage by receiving the outer surrounding wall 38.
It will be appreciated of course that the projection
34 has the same features as the projection 32, with
positive and negative terminals being provided by inner
and outer surfaces of the hollow cylindrical electrical
Referring now to Figures 2 and 4B in particular, there
is shown a second embodiment of display apparatus. This
embodiment is very similar to the first embodiment except
that on the upper surface 12, there is provided light
reflecting means 42 which is arranged to receive light
through a window portion 44 from a light source 14 inside
the base unit and reflect the light of the light source 14
It will equally be understood that embodiments which
may be visually similar to the Figure 2 embodiment and
which have the light source mounted on top of the base
link 10 are within the scope of the invention. In such
cases, a small bulb or light source may be provided within
a sub-housing provided on the upper surface 12 for
transmitting light directly, or through a window, onto an
object placed on the surface 12.
Examples of the use of display apparatuses according
to the Figure 1 and 2 embodiments, will now be described.
With the first type of embodiment shown in Figures 1
and 4A, the light transmitted material 26 placed over the
window in upper surface 12 of the base unit 10 is arranged
to have an object placed upon it, such as a bottle. When
power is transmitted to the light source 14, that light
shines through the light transmissive portion 26 and
through the glass of the bottle so as to illuminate the
interior of the bottle and show off the bottle on the
display apparatus to good effect.
With embodiments of the type shown in Figures 2 and
4B, objects to be displayed are placed directly on the top
surface 12 of the base unit 10 and light is shined onto
the object via window 44 and reflecting means 42 so as to
light up, for instance, a front face of the object stood
on the top surface 12. This type of display may be more
suitable for bottles of darkened glass which, otherwise,
might not be properly illuminated by means of base units
having the formation shown in Figure 1.
It will be appreciated that other embodiments apart
from the ones shown in Figures 1 and 2 may be envisaged.
For instance, embodiments having both the direct lighting
means from underneath and the reflecting means for
projecting the light onto an object to be displayed may be
It will also be appreciated that various different
types of connector and means of connection between base
units may be provided. For instance, the power-in
connections of one base unit may be arranged to be of
complementary shape to the power-out connections so that
connectors of the type shown in Figure 3 may be
By effectively having power transferred through the
base units, it will be appreciated that the invention
provides a very flexible type of display apparatus.
Exemplary configurations of the display apparatus are
shown in Figure 5 and Figure 6A to 6D.
Considering firstly Figure 5, there are shown 3 rows
50, 52 and 54 of display apparatus. The end display
apparatus 501 of the first row 50 is arranged so as to
have its power-in connection provided by a trailing wire
55. The power-out connection of display apparatus 501
however is connected to the power-in connection of
neighbouring display apparatus 502 by means of a flexible
connector of the type shown in Figure 3. The flexible
section allowing neighbouring display apparatuses to have
their base units slightly fanned out with respect to one
another so that simple curves may be achieved.
It will be appreciated that each of the display
apparatus 502 to 509 receive power from the power-out
connection of their neighbouring base unit on one side,
and transmit power to their neighbour on the other side.
Display apparatus 5010 has its power out connection
joined, by trailing cable 56 to the first display
apparatus 521 of the second row 52. The display
apparatuses 521 to 529, interconnect with one another in
the same manner as was described in relation to the
display apparatuses of the first row 50 and then power is
conveyed from the end display apparatus 529 of the second
row 52 up to display apparatuses of a third row 54 by
trailing lead 57.
It will be appreciated that by having the power-in and
power-out connections effectively wired straight through
on one another as shown in the schematic representations
of Figure 4A and Figure 4B, the terms power-in and power-out
are actually interchangeable with one another, so that
power can be fed left to right through a row of display
apparatuses or, right to left, without any difficulties.
From Figure 5, it will be appreciated that the end
display apparatus 546 need not have its power-out
connection connected to any other unit, but could, if
required, act as a power point for driving any
supplementary display apparatus, such as a display
carousel or an illuminated stand 58.
Figures 6A to 6D show arrangements by which individual
display apparatus may be placed on different levels and
interconnected by trailing wires so as to have a double
podium effect as shown in Figure 6A, an alternating effect
as shown in Figure 6B, a pyramid type effect as shown in
Figure 6C or a multilevel sophisticated effect as shown in
Figure 6D. Although trailing wires are shown between
individual display apparatuses in Figure 6A to 6D, it will
of course be appreciated that such trailing wire may be
fed in a discrete manner and concealed if required.
Alternatively, they could be made a feature of the
apparatus so that the overall display has an appearance
resembling interlinked Christmas tree type lights.
Figure 7 shows a display stand 70 upon which
individual base units may be arranged to sit. The display
stand 70 includes a top base unit receiving area 71. The
receiving area 71 is arranged to be of sufficient
dimensions to fit a base unit snugly into. The stand has
front support legs 72, 73 which have cut away portions
72A, 73A. These cut away portions 72A, 73A are arranged
to cooperate with upper front legs, 74, 75 of another
stand 70 identical to the first stand 70, so as to allow
convenient and secure stacking of stands one upon another.
Also, to facilitate this, a lower rear wall 76 has a cut
away portion 76A for cooperating with an upper wall
portion 77. It will be appreciated that stands 70 of the
type shown in Figure 7 may be arranged so as to provide
the different height and display configurations shown in
Figures 6A to 6D.
Figures 6A to 6D show bottles being displayed but, of
course, other objects can just as well be displayed on the
display apparatus. Also, different types of display
apparatus may be intermingled within a particular chain
and of course size and configuration of the tiles may be
varied according to application. For instance, although
basic square tile type display apparatus is shown,
triangular formations or other geometric shapes may be
used incorporating the same principles.
Figure 8 shows a base unit 10' upon which there is
mounted a sub-housing 80. The sub-housing 80 includes a
light source 81 which can be arranged to illuminate the
rear of an object based upon the base unit 10'. The sub-housing
80 includes electrical connections within it,
which can cooperate with electrical connections from the
base unit 10' to allow power to be fed to the light source
81. Also, the base unit 10' may provided with appropriate
mechanical mounting means for securely mounting the sub-housing
80 upon it.
A person skilled in the art will recognise from
Figures 4A and 4B, that effectively parallel type
electrical connections are shown for interlinking
different display apparatuses. This is probably the most
flexible configuration as the voltage supplied to each
display apparatus with a parallel connection is maintained
at a same given level. If devices were provided with
serial connections instead, then the voltage drops across
each light source would reduce the incoming voltage for
the neighbouring display apparatus. Also, with a serial
type connection, if one light source were to become
defective and go open circuit then the whole chain of
interlinked display apparatuses would turn off, whereas
with the parallel connection, if one light source fails,
then the illumination of that device alone ceases to
function and replacement is made easier.
It will be appreciated though that in certain display
environments, a serial connection is perfectly acceptable
and may, indeed, be preferable. For instance, where the
voltage rating of each light bulb is to be 4 volts RMS,
then 60 such units could be arranged serially connected to
a main supply of 240 volts RMS.
The reader's attention is directed to all papers and
documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to
this specification in connection with this application and
which are open to public inspection with this
specification, and the contents of all such papers and
documents are incorporated herein by reference.
All of the features disclosed in this specification
(including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings),
and/or all of the steps of any method or process so
disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except
combinations where at least some of such features and/or
steps are mutually exclusive.
Each feature disclosed in this specification (including
any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), may be
replaced by alternative features serving the same,
equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated
otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each
feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series
of equivalent or similar features.
The invention is not restricted to the details of the
foregoing embodiment(s). The invention extends to any
novel one, or any novel combination, of the features
disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying
claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any
novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so