Mintz, Gary (Sepulveda, CA)
Mintz, Stanley S. (San Jose, CA)
Pierce, Robert B. (Palo Alto, CA)
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The field of this invention generally relates to household furniture and more particularly, to a single piece of furniture which can be converted to function as a couch or a pool table.
2. Prior Art
Pool tables which convert into couches have been made for many years, some having been made before the turn of the century. Such convertible units have not enjoyed large popularity, despite the obvious advantages of such an arrangement, for several reasons. One reason is that in order to make a satisfactory pool table, the unit must be quite heavy and massive and many prior art units contained no provision for counterbalancing the table so that the conversion could be easily made. Another reason for unpopularity of prior art units is that the tilting mechanisms were quite unsightly and people were loath to have them in their homes.
An interconvertible pool table and couch which is disclosed by the prior art discloses use of a couch structure having a rear portion which is slidably moveable vertically along a slide block and pivoted into place along the top of the arm rests. An inherent problem in this structure is the requirement that the pool playing surface be lifted upwardly in a sliding motion and then pivoted along one end thereof. In order to provide a pool table of suitable quality, the base of the table must have sufficient mass to provide a stable surface. The structure disclosed by the prior art must be moved upwardly and therefore by necessity cannot utilize the mass which is necessary to provide a good pool playing surface. In addition, the pool table surface must be pivotal at one end and therefore again must be extremely light in weight to permit movement thereof.
Another problem inherent in the structures disclosed by the prior art is the inability to properly level the pool table surface after the table member has been put in place. It is evident that in order to provide a suitable pool playing surface, the surface must be properly level so that a ball will move in a true path when it is struck. The devices disclosed in the prior art provide no accurate means for leveling the table member thereby providing an inferior structure.
The present invention overcomes these difficulties by counterbalancing the table so that while the table is stable in either the pool playing or couch position, very little force is required to convert the structure form from one to the other form. This conversion is accomplished by providing a unique tilting mechanism which is completely hidden within the arm unit. In addition, the present invention structure utilizes leveling elements to accurately establish the horizontal position of the pool table. Once the leveling elements are adjusted to meet the conditions of the floor upon which the present invention structure is mounted, the structure can be converted between the pool table and couch without degrading the true horizontal plane of the pool playing surface.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention comprises a unitary piece of household furniture which can be converted between a couch and a pool table. The pool table surface is pivotally supported on the arms of the couch structure, the pivotal support being hidden within arm covers which conceal all hardware used for the pivotal coupling. A rotatable placement bracket supports the pool playing surface, the bracket being suitably journaled about an appropriate pivot location on the interior arm structure. The terminus of the bracket opposite to that connected to the pool playing surface is resiliently coupled to the frame of the present invention, the resilient force providing a counterbalance to the weight of the pool playing element. The resilient coupling between the bracket and the frame provides a supporting force irrespective of the direction in which the pool playing element is being moved.
In order to properly level the pool playing surface, adjustable supporting elements are mounted upon the undersurface of the present invention structure to insure that a horizontal plane is established when the pool playing element is moved into place. The leveling elements include a rotatable mount block within which is disposed an adjustable leveling pad. When the present invention is to be converted to a pool table, the mounting block is retilted until the leveling pad contacts the floor surface thereby lifting an adjacent caster from the floor.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a unitary piece of furniture which can be interchangeably converted to function as a pool table or a couch.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a convertible pool table which utilizes a counterbalanced pool playing surface.
It is still yet another object of the present invention to provide an improved interconvertible pool table and couch which can accurately position the horizontal plane of the pool playing surface.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an interconvertible pool table and couch which is simple and inexpensive to fabricate.
The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawing in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawing is for the purpose of illustration and description only and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the present invention combination pool table and couch illustrating it converted for use as a couch.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the present invention combination pool table and couch illustrating it converted for use as a pool table.
FIG. 3 is a side elevation partial cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 3--3 of FIG. 1 illustrating the manner in which the pool playing surface is supported on the arm of the couch frame.
FIG. 4 is a side elevation, partial cross-sectional view taken substantially along line 4--4 of FIG. 2 illustrating the manner in which the pool playing surface is coupled to the arm of the couch when in the pool playing position.
FIG. 5 is a side elevation view illustrating a leveling element for the present invention combination pool table and couch illustrating the position for typical use as a couch.
FIG. 6 is a front plan, cross-sectional view of the leveling element of FIG. 5 taken through line 6--6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a side elevation view of a leveling element used with the present invention illustrating it positioned for leveling the pool playing surface .
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
An understanding of the overall structure of the present invention combination pool table and couch can be best gained by reference to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 wherein the couch assembly is generally designated by the reference numeral 10. Couch assembly 10 includes a pair of arm members 11 and 12 that are generally in spaced relationship from each other and separated by the cushion supporting frame 13 and the cushions 14 and 15. As shown in FIG. 1, the reference numerals 14 and 15 generally designate the seat and rear cushions used by the present invention combination pool table and couch. A substantially rectangular table member 16 is in vertical juxtaposition to arm members 11 and 12, table member 16 constituting that portion of the present invention utilized to function as a pool table. Removeable arm rests 17 and 18 are disposed upon arm members 11 and 12 respectively. The exposed surface of table member 16 adjacent rear cushions 15 may be decorated or designed with a wood grain or another ornamental finish. As can be best seen in FIG. 2, preparatory to placing pool table member 16 in the horizontal position, arm rests 17 and 18 are removed to provide suitable room for placement of table member 16 upon arm members 11 and 12.
The coupling intermediate arm members 11 and 12 and pool table member 16 can be best seen by reference to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4. FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 illustrate partial cross-sectional views of the manner in which pool table member 16 is coupled within arm member 11. Although only the coupling intermediate arm member 11 and pool table member 16 is shown, it is clear that the coupling between arm member 12 and pool table member 16 is identical. Arm member 11 is supported upon frame 25 and typically comprises upper horizontal support 26 and vertical support 27. Vertical support 27 has rotatably coupled thereto placement bracket 28. Placement bracket 28 is suitably journaled about pivot 29. As shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, one end of placement bracket 28 is secured to pool table member 16, the opposite end of placement bracket 28 being resiliently coupled to a position along frame 25. Although the scope of the present invention is broad enough to include a broad range of resilient members, a perferred form of the present invention utilizes helical spring 30 coupled intermediate support 31 and placement bracket 28.
Vertical support 27 has cavity 32 disposed therein, cavity 32 being adapted to receive the coupling intermediate helical spring 30 and placement bracket 29 when pool table member 16 is placed in the horizontal position. This can be best seen by reference to FIG. 4. Cavity 32 is necessary since arm members 11 and 12 must be capable of receiving the terminus of placement bracket 28 which is coupled to the helical spring 30. Support 31 and its connection to helical spring 30 are appropriately positioned along frame 25 to insure that a proper counterbalancing force is imposed on the terminus of placement bracket 28 irrespective of whether pool table member 16 is positioned as shown in FIG. 3 or FIG. 4.
When pool table member 16 is placed in the vertical position as shown in FIG. 3, helical spring 30 imposes a downward force on the connected terminus of placement member 28 to facilitate rotation of pool table member 16 about pivot 29 in the clockwise direction indicated. After pool table member 16 is rotated in the clockwise direction into a horizontal plane, placement bracket 28 is substantially vertical with the terminus thereof which is coupled to helical spring 30 being disposed within cavity 32. As shown in FIG. 4, the clockwise rotation of placement bracket 28 will put helical spring 30 into a tensioned condition thereby again creating the counterbalancing force which will be used to initiate counterclockwise rotation of pool table member 16 when the present invention is to be converted for use into a couch. The position of pool table member 16 as shown in FIG. 4 also illustrates the structural necessity of cavity 32 to receive the coupling intermediate placement bracket 28 and helical spring 30.
As stated previously, one of the problems inherent in the apparatus disclosed by the prior art was the inability to accurately position the pool table surface in a horizontal plane. As can be seen in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, casters 33 are coupled to the bottom surface of frame 25 at the front and rear thereof. When the present invention combination pool table and couch is in a position such as shown in FIG. 3, leveling pad 34 is retracted permitting the structure to be rolling moved along the floor surface on casters 33. When pool table member 16 is put into place as shown in FIG. 4, the surface thereof must be accurately positioned in a horizontal plane. As shown in FIG. 4, leveling pad 34 is dropped into place lifting casters 33 from the floor surface so that the structure cannot roll or otherwise move along the floor surface and thereby degrade performance of the table. As shown in FIG. 4, the present invention can utilize a conventional leveling member 34 which is typically coupled to a threaded bolt which is in turn threaded into a receiving receptacle within frame 25. When the present invention is to function as a pool table, leveling member 34 would have to be lowered to effectively raise an adjacent caster 33 from the floor. It is obvious that the ability to repeatedly level the pool table member 16 by this procedure is at best difficult.
Another form of a leveling pad to be used with the present invention combination pool table and couch can be best seen by reference to FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. Frame 25 supports arm rest 11 of the present invention combination pool table and couch. For the purpose of illustrating the alternative form for a leveling pad, floor surface 40 is deemed to require some form of leveling in order to provide for a uniformly horizontal plane for pool table member 16. Casters 41 are conventionally coupled to the bottom surface of frame 25 in a manner which is amply shown in FIG. 6. In the form of the present invention shown in FIG. 6, frame 25 is a substantially U-shaped member which is disposed in inverted form. It would be obvious to those having skill in the art to use alternative configurations for frame 25. Casters 41 are in contact with the floor 40 while the present invention combination couch and pool table is being used as a couch. This will permit the structure to be moved about the floor in a manner similar to that employed in conventional, nonconvertible couches. The leveling mechanism used in the form shown in FIG. 5 employs a mounting block 42 which is rotatably coupled to a flange of frame 25 by shoulder screw 43. Mounting block 42 pivots about shoulder screw 43, mounting block 18 being in spaced relation from the flange of frame 25 by washer 44. Leveling pad 45 includes a bolt section 46 which is threaded within the threaded receptacle 47. Leveling pad 45 is spaced from the edge of mounting block 42 by lock nut 47. The distance between the bottom surface of leveling pad 45 and mounting block 42 is adjusted to insure that caster 41 is displaced from the floor 40 when leveling pad 45 is put in position as shown in FIG. 7. Arm 48 is in substantially axial alignment with bolt section 46, arm 48 being terminated by handle 49.
When the present invention combination pool table and couch is to be put into the pool table configuration, arm 48 is rotated counterclockwise about shoulder screw 43, mounting block 42 causing leveling pad 45 to rest upon the surface of floor 40 lifting casters 41 from the floor. Stopping member 50 projecting from the flange of frame 25 terminates the rotation of mounting block 42 stabilizing the structure.
As stated hereinabove, the form of the present invention shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 illustrtates the use of a conventional leveling pad 34 which must be unscrewed or otherwise lowered to raise the position of casters 33 and thereby preclude movement of the combination pool table and couch. The form of the leveling assembly shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7 provides for uniform positioning of leveling pad 45 irrespective of the surface conditions of floor 40. Once the leveling pads 45 have been adjusted to compensate for any undulations in the surface of floor 40, the leveling pads 45 and therefore the surface of pool table member 16 can be uniformly positioned. The present invention combination pool table and couch provides a single piece of furniture which can be converted between a pool table and couch without the problems inherent in those devices disclosed in the prior art. Counterbalancing forces permit easy transition between the two modes of operation of the present invention while simultaneously providing for complete masking of the supporting hardware within the arms and other members of the structure. Leveling members permit accurate leveling of the surface of the pool table member which is necessary for proper operation.