Title:
Catch-free automatic closing umbrella as effected by lotus-shape top ribs
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A catch-free umbrella includes: a central shaft, a rib assembly pivotally secured to the shaft and an umbrella cloth secured on the rib assembly; with the rib assembly having a plurality of top ribs pivotally secured between an upper notch formed on the shaft and a plurality of stretcher ribs pivotally inclinedly secured to a runner slidably held on the shaft; and the top ribs radially arcuately bent to form a lotus-shape arrangement when opening the umbrella to form an upward force fraction acting on the runner for lifting the runner and the rib assembly without gravitational descending; whereby upon closing of the umbrella by initially lowering the runner, the top ribs of lotus-shape arrangement will serve as closing springs for closing the umbrella automatically.



Inventors:
Lin, Chung-kuang (Taipei Hsien, TW)
Chang, Jung-jen (Taipei Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
09/945742
Publication Date:
03/06/2003
Filing Date:
09/05/2001
Assignee:
Fu Tai Umbrella Works, Ltd.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/29, 135/31, 135/32, 135/33.5
International Classes:
A45B25/16; A45B25/02; A45B25/08; A45B25/00; A45B25/12; (IPC1-7): A45B3/00; A45B5/00; A45B25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
A, PHI DIEU TRAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ONE SKYLINE PLACE,Dougherty & Troxell (SUITE 1404, FALLS CHURCH, VA, 22041-3401, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An automatic closing umbrella comprising: a central shaft having a grip formed on a lower portion of said shaft; a rib assembly including a plurality of top ribs pivotally secured to an upper notch formed on said shaft by a plurality of inner adapters, a plurality of outer ribs connected to said top ribs by a plurality of joint members, and a plurality of stretcher ribs each pivotally connected between each said joint member and a runner slidably held on said shaft, with each said stretcher rib forming an acute angle between said stretcher rib and said shaft below said runner when opening the umbrella; an umbrella cloth secured on said rib assembly; each said inner adapter pivotally connected to said upper notch on said shaft, having a pair of said top ribs inwardly connected to each said inner adapter, with said pair of top ribs bifurcated divergently from each said inner adapter to be outwardly connected with two joint members neighboring each other, and correspondingly each said joint member having its inner portion connected with two said top ribs as directed from two said inner adapters neighboring each other, whereby upon opening of the umbrella by lifting said runner and extending said rib assembly, said top ribs will be radially arcuately bent to form a lotus-shape arrangement of said top ribs to produce tension force and store spring energy on said top ribs to act upon said stretcher ribs and said runner to produce an upward force fraction on said runner to prevent from a gravitational descending of the runner and the rib assembly for stably opening the umbrella; and upon an initiative lowering of said runner to overcome and release the force fraction, the top ribs will restore to retract the rib assembly to close the umbrella automatically.

2. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 1, wherein each said top rib has a cross section selected from the shapes of plate shape, semi-circular shape and rod shape, two outer end portions of two said top ribs fastened by a fastening ring adjacent to said joint member.

3. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 1, wherein each said inner adapter is integrally formed with said two top ribs.

4. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 1 further comprises an umbrella-closing trigger means formed on said grip and said shaft operatively initiatively lowering said runner to overcome and release the upward force fraction on said runner to allow said top ribs to restore and close the umbrella automatically.

5. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 4, wherein said umbrella-closing trigger means includes: a control button resiliently formed on a grip at a lower portion of the central shaft, a tension spring normally tensioning the control button upwardly to be ready for downward depression on the button when closing the umbrella; a link having a lower link end secured to the control button and an upper link end formed as a hook portion to be normally engaged with a top portion of the runner when opening the umbrella, with the upper link end upwardly limited by a stopper pin fixed on an upper portion of the shaft.

6. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 5, wherein said control button is formed with a hopper diverging upwardly from the control button for receiving a plurality of ball tips formed on a plurality of outer ribs.

7. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 4, wherein said umbrella-closing trigger means includes: a control button slidably held in the grip, a lower latch resiliently secured in a lower sliding sleeve slidably held in an interior in a lower portion of the shaft to be engaged with a latch hole formed in a lower portion of the shaft to be contacted with the control button when opening the umbrella, a link having a lower end secured with the lower sliding sleeve and having an upper end of the link secured with an upper sliding block slidably held in an upper portion of the shaft with an actuating pin transversely formed in the upper sliding block and protruding outwardly through the shaft to be slidably held in a pin slot cut in the shaft and to be upwardly limited by an upper end wall of the slot when the actuating pin is upwardly moved by the runner when opening the umbrella, and a closing initiating spring which is a restoring spring resiliently retained between the upper sliding block and an upper notch on the shaft to normally urge the upper sliding block and the link downwardly when closing the umbrella.

8. An automatic closing umbrella comprising: a central shaft having a grip formed on a lower portion of said shaft; a rib assembly including a plurality of top ribs pivotally secured to an upper notch formed on said shaft, a plurality of outer ribs connected to said top ribs, and a plurality of stretcher ribs each pivotally connected between a runner slidably held on said shaft and a joint portion formed between each said outer rib and two said top ribs, with each said stretcher rib forming an acute angle between said stretcher rib and said shaft below said runner when opening the umbrella; an umbrella cloth secured on said rib assembly; said plurality of top ribs operatively arcuately bent for forming a lotus-shape arrangement when opening the umbrella, having every two said top ribs inwardly pivotally connected to said upper notch, and every two said top ribs diverging from said upper notch to be outwardly connected with one said outer rib.

9. An automatic closing umbrella according to claim 8, wherein every two said top ribs and one said outer rib are integrally formed as a Y shape rib structure.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention is an improvement of the inventor's earlier granted U.S. Pat. No. 6,216,712 entitled “Catch-free Safety Umbrella” (hereinafter called the “prior art”).

[0002] The prior art disclosed an umbrella having the top ribs (21) pulled and bent by a plurality of pulling ropes (24) towards the upper portion of the shaft by a tension force to lift the runner and the umbrella ribs without gravitational descending, thereby eliminating a spring catch for locking the runner when opening the umbrella. However, the installation of the plurality of pulling ropes 24 will increase the production cost of the umbrella. Meanwhile, there is lacking of automatic closing mechanism provided for automatically closing the umbrella. The umbrella should be manually closed from its opening state, causing inconvenience for the umbrella user.

[0003] The present inventor has found the drawbacks of the conventional catch-free umbrella, and invented the present catch-free umbrella which can be automatically closed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The object of the present invention is to provide a catch-free umbrella including: a central shaft, a rib assembly pivotally secured to the shaft and an umbrella cloth secured on the rib assembly; with the rib assembly having a plurality of top ribs pivotally secured between an upper notch formed on the shaft and a plurality of stretcher ribs pivotally inclinedly secured to a runner slidably held on the shaft; and the top ribs radially arcuately bent to form a lotus-shape arrangement when opening the umbrella to form an upward force fraction acting on the runner for lifting the runner and the rib assembly without gravitational descending; whereby upon closing of the umbrella by initially lowering the runner, the top ribs of lotus-shape arrangement will serve as closing springs for closing the umbrella automatically.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is an illustration of the present invention when opened.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the present invention when opened.

[0007] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of partial rib assembly of the present invention as viewed from a lower right direction.

[0008] FIG. 4 is an illustration of the partial rib assembly as viewed from an upper left direction.

[0009] FIG. 5 shows another preferred rib assembly of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 6 shows still preferred rib assembly of the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 7 shows an open umbrella provided with an umbrella-closing trigger means in accordance with the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 8 shows a folding umbrella as closed from FIG. 7.

[0013] FIG. 9 shows a folded umbrella following FIG. 8.

[0014] FIG. 10 shows another preferred umbrella-closing trigger means provided on the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 11 is a partial sectional drawing as enlarged from FIG. 10.

[0016] FIG. 12 shows a folded umbrella of the present invention from FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] As shown in FIGS. 1˜4, the automatic closing umbrella of the present invention comprises: a central shaft 1, a rib assembly 2, an umbrella cloth 3 secured on the rib assembly 2, and an umbrella-closing trigger means 4.

[0018] The rib assembly 2 includes: a plurality of top ribs 21 pivotally secured to an upper notch 20 formed on a top portion of the shaft 1, a plurality of outer ribs 23 respectively secured to the top ribs 21 by a plurality of joint members 22, and a plurality of stretcher ribs 24 each pivotally secured between each said joint member 22 and a runner or lower runner 25 slidably held on the shaft 1.

[0019] The embodiment as shown in the drawing figures is a single-fold umbrella. However, the present invention may also be used for multiple-fold umbrella. The top ribs 21 may be made from elastic plastic material, reinforced plastic (e.g., FRP), metals, composites and other suitable materials having proper elasticity. The shapes and materials of the top rib 21 are not limited in the present invention.

[0020] The top ribs 21 are radially arcuately bent or developed as a lotus-shape arrangement as shown in FIG. 2 when opening the umbrella to store their resilience, from the straight or straight-like top ribs when folded by closing the umbrella, to thereby serve as “restoring springs” or “closing springs” of an automatic umbrella in order for automatically closing the umbrella. Each top rib 21 may be formed with a leaf spring or a resilient spring rod or plate in this invention.

[0021] As shown in FIGS. 2˜4, the lotus-shape arrangement of the rib assembly of the present invention when opened includes: a plurality of inner adapters 21a each pivotally secured to the upper notch 20 on the shaft 1, each inner adapter 21a radially divergently connected with a pair of top ribs 21 which are outwardly bifurcated to be respectively connected with two joint members 22 neighboring each other, whereby upon opening of the umbrella, the top ribs 21 will be radially arcuately bent or extended to form a lotus-shape configuration about the central shaft 1 especially from a top (or bottom) view of the umbrella (FIG. 2) to store the resilience of the top ribs 21 at opening state of the umbrella.

[0022] In other words, each joint member 22 has its inner end portion 221 connected with a pair of top ribs 21 which are bifurcated inwardly to be respectively connected with two neighboring inner adapters 21a pivotally secured to the upper notch 20 on the shaft 1.

[0023] Each inner adapter 21a includes a pair of rib holes (or connection portions) 211a for respectively inserting therein or connecting therewith a pair of inner end portions 211 of the two top ribs 21. Each joint member 22 has its inner end portion (or two rib holes) 221 respectively inserted therein or connected with two outer end portions 212 of the two top ribs 21.

[0024] Each joint member 22 has its outer end portion 222 connected with an inner end portion 231 of each outer rib 23, and a ball tip 232 formed on an outermost end of each outer rib 23. The outer rib 23 has a cross section of circular shape having a recess recessed therein as shown in FIGS. 3, 4.

[0025] Each stretcher rib 24 has its outer end portion 242 pivotally connected with a middle lug 223 of the joint member 22, and an inner end portion 241 of the stretcher rib 24 pivotally secured to the runner 25.

[0026] Each stretcher rib 24 forms an acute angle A between the stretcher rib 24 and the central shaft 1 from the runner 25 towards the grip 12 when opening the umbrella. The runner 25 will be limited by a stopper pin 11 fixed on an upper portion of the shaft 1 when the runner is upwardly moved.

[0027] When opening the umbrella of the present invention, the runner 25 is raised to extend the stretcher ribs 24 to arcuately bend the top ribs 21 to form a lotus-shape arrangement and a tension force F is formed by the top ribs 21, the outer ribs 23 and the umbrella cloth 3 to act upon the stretcher ribs 24 to produce a force fraction Fr on the runner 25 due to the acute angle A defined between each stretcher rib 24 and the shaft 1 below the runner 25, thereby preventing a gravitational descending of the runner 25 and the rib assembly 2 and thereby enhancing a stable opening of the umbrella (FIGS. 1, 2) without requiring a spring catch for locking a runner at its opening state as found in a conventional umbrella.

[0028] The lotus-shape top ribs 21 also provide resilience when opened to store the resilience to serve as “closing springs” of an automatic umbrella, whereby upon a slight lowering (or “triggering”) of the runner 25 (such a triggering operation will be explained hereinafter with reference to FIGS. 7˜12) to overcome (or release) the upward force fraction Fr, the top ribs 21 will restore to retract the rib assembly 2 to close the umbrella automatically.

[0029] The present invention is superior to the prior art by eliminating the pulling ropes 24 of the prior art. The top ribs 21 of the present invention when opened, will play double duties, including: providing resilience for producing the force fraction Fr to lift the runner 25 and the rib assembly 2 to prevent from being gravitationally descended to eliminate the conventional spring catch; and serving as “closing springs” for quickly automatically closing the umbrella when the umbrella is closed.

[0030] The top ribs 21 of the present invention, when arcuately bent to form the lotus-shape arrangement when opening the umbrella, are backwardly (or upwardly) limited and slidably guided under the umbrella cloth 3, thereby resulting in a stable opening or closing operation of the umbrella for preventing from twisting or deformation of the top ribs 21.

[0031] As shown in FIG. 5, each top rib 21 may be formed as a plate or leaf shape having the outer end portions 212 of the two top ribs 21 (derived from two neighboring inner adapters 21a) first fastened by a fastening ring 22a which may be a square or circular ring (not limited) and then firmly connected to an inner end portion 221 of the joint member 22 by crimping, cladding, pressing or other mechanical joining methods. The inner end portion 211 of each top rib 21 may also be firmly connected with the connection portion 211a of each inner adapter 21a by crimping, cladding, pressing or other mechanical joining methods.

[0032] As shown in FIG. 6, each top rib 21 may be formed to have a cross section of semi-circular shape so that the outer end portions 212 of the two top ribs 21 (derived from two neighboring inner adapters 21a) may be first fastened to be a circular “rod” by a fastening ring 22a, and then firmly connected with the joint member 22. The outer rib 23 may also be formed by combining two semi-circular rods 23h or by combining two plate members (not shown) to be connected to the joint member 22.

[0033] The fastening ring 22a as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 may also be eliminated so that the outer end portions of the two top ribs 21 may be directly convergently connected to the joint member 22. The inner adapter 21a and the inner end portions 211 of the two top ribs 21 may be integrally formed to be a Y shape rib structure. The outer end portions 212 of the plural top ribs 21 are then connected to the joint members 22 and the outer ribs 23 to form a lotus-shape configuration when opening the umbrella.

[0034] The umbrella-closing trigger means 4 as shown in FIGS. 7˜9 includes: a control button 41 resiliently formed on the grip 12 at a lower portion of the central shaft 1, a tension spring 42 normally tensioning the control button 41 upwardly to be ready for downward depression on the button 41 when closing the umbrella; a link 43 having a lower link end 431 secured to the control button 41 and an upper link end formed as an extension or annular extension or a hook portion 432 to be normally engaged with a top portion of the runner 25 when opening the umbrella, with the upper link end 432 upwardly limited by a stopper pin 11 fixed on an upper portion of the shaft 1; whereby upon closing of the umbrella by depressing the button 41 downwardly to pull the link 43 and the runner 25 downwardly (with the hook portion 432 downwardly pulling the runner 25) to overcome the upward force fraction Fr, like triggering a gun, the spring force of the lotus-shape top ribs 21 will act as “closing springs” to retract the rib assembly 2 to close the umbrella from FIG. 7 through FIG. 8 to FIG. 9 for quickly closing the umbrella.

[0035] As shown in FIG. 9, the ball tips 232 formed on the tips of the outer ribs 23 will be collected and received in a hopper 411 diverging upwardly from the control button 41, thereby forming a compact folded umbrella.

[0036] Another preferred embodiment of the umbrella-closing trigger means 4 is shown in FIGS. 10˜12, including: a control button 41a slidably held in the grip 12, a lower latch 42a resiliently secured in a lower sliding sleeve 42b slidably held in an interior 10 in a lower portion of the central shaft 1 to be engaged with a latch hole 13 formed in a lower portion of the shaft 1 to be contacted with the control button 41a when opening the umbrella, a link 43a having a lower end secured with the lower sliding sleeve 42b and having an upper end of the link 43a secured with an upper sliding block 44b slidably held in an upper portion of the shaft 1 with an actuating pin 44a transversely formed in the upper sliding block 44b and protruding outwardly through the shaft 1 to be slidably held in a pin slot 11a cut in the shaft 1 and to be upwardly limited by an upper end wall 11b of the slot 11a when the actuating pin 44a is upwardly moved by the runner 25 when opening the umbrella (FIGS. 10, 11), and a closing initiating spring 45a which is a restoring spring resiliently retained between the upper sliding block 44b and the upper notch 20 on the shaft 1 to normally urge the upper sliding block 44b and the link 43a downwardly when closing the umbrella.

[0037] When opening the umbrella, the force fraction Fr by the tension force F effected by the rib assembly 2 and the umbrella cloth 3 will lift the runner 25 and maintain the umbrella at its opening state. When closing the umbrella, the control button 41a is depressed to disengage the latch 42a from the latch hole 13 and the closing initiating spring 45a (a restoring spring) will restore to act the upper sliding block 44b, the pin 44a, the link 43a and the lower sliding sleeve 42b downwardly to allow the actuating pin 44a to force the runner 25 downwardly to overcome the force fraction Fr to “initiate” the lowering of the runner 25 and the rib assembly 2 pivotally connected to the runner 25. Once the runner 25 is initiated and lowered to “break” (release) the force fraction Fr, the spring force of the lotus-shape top ribs 21 will act as “closing springs” to quickly retract the rib assembly for closing the umbrella automatically (FIG. 12).

[0038] When re-opening the umbrella, the runner 25 is lifted to extend the rib assembly 2 to allow the runner 25 to push the pin 44a upwardly to simultaneously pull the upper block 44b, the link 43a and the lower sleeve 42b upwardly until the latch 42a re-engaged with the latch hole 13 as shown in FIG. 11 and the spring 45a is compressed to store its spring energy for next initiation for closing the umbrella.

[0039] The umbrella-closing trigger means 4 of the present invention plays a “trigger” or “initiation” role when closing the umbrella from its opening state to slightly lower the runner 25 to help the restoring effect of the lotus-shape top ribs 21 for quickly automatically closing the umbrella in accordance with the present invention.

[0040] The present invention may be modified without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0041] For instance, the lotus-shape top ribs 21 of the present invention may also be modified by integrally forming a Y-shape top rib structure consisting of two top ribs 21 and an outer rib 23 having a joint portion 22 integrally formed between the two top ribs 21 and the outer rib 23, with the inner end portions 211 of the two top ribs 21 directly pivotally secured to the upper notch 20, whereby upon opening of the umbrella, the top ribs 21 will be arcuately bent and extended to form a lotus-shape configuration.