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Title:
Slide sheet for converting a staircase into a ramp
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A slide converts a staircase into a ramp for conveying furniture, appliances, cartons and the like from one elevation to another. A narrow, elongated, rectangular, thin, flat, substantially rigid sheet is long enough to span the apices of the steps of the staircase. An upper corner tether maintains the downwardly extending sheet in a spanning relationship across the apices of the steps. The underside of the sheet is pressed downwardly by the weight of the sheet against the apices of the steps. A lower corner tether may be used to maintain the long edge of the sheet proximate the side of the staircase. For longer staircases, multiple slides are used with narrow edges serially overlapped so as to form a continuous slide spanning the steps. The direction of overlap corresponds to the desired direction of movement of articles on the slide.


Inventors:
Burgess, Sean M. (Tulsa, OK, US)
Application Number:
10/437682
Publication Date:
11/18/2004
Filing Date:
05/14/2003
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61G3/06; B65G11/02; E04F11/00; (IPC1-7): E01D1/00; E01D1/00
View Patent Images:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Frank, Catalano Frank Catalano J. P. C. J. (Suite 405, Tulsa, OK, 74119, US)
Claims:
1. A slide for converting a staircase into a ramp for conveying objects from one elevation to another comprising a narrow, elongated, rectangular, thin, flat, substantially rigid sheet of length sufficient to span apices of a plurality of steps of the staircase and a first tether, said first tether being adapted for connection between a first corner of said sheet defined by a first narrow and a first long edge of said sheet and the staircase so as to maintain said sheet in a spanning relationship across the apices of the plurality of steps with the plurality of steps below said first corner, with an underside of said sheet disposed across a width of said sheet against the apices of the plurality of steps and with said first long edge of said sheet extending proximate one side of the staircase.

2. A slide according to claim 1, said first corner of said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said first tether being looped through said aperture and being adapted for tying around a component of the staircase.

3. A slide according to claim 1, said first corner of said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said first tether being looped through said aperture and being adapted for girting a component of the staircase, said first tether having mating segments of hook and loop material fixed thereto for closing said loop.

4. A slide according to claim 1 further comprising a second tether adapted for connection between a second corner of said sheet defined by a second narrow and said first long edge of said sheet and the staircase so as to maintain said first long edge of said sheet proximate the one side of the staircase

5. A slide according to claim 4, said second corner of said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said second tether being looped through said aperture and being adapted for tying around a component of the staircase.

6. A slide according to claim 4, said second corner of said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said second tether being looped through said aperture and being adapted for girting a component of the staircase, said second tether having mating segments of hook and loop material fixed thereto for closing said loop.

7. A slide for converting a staircase into a ramp for conveying objects from one elevation to another comprising a plurality of narrow, elongated, rectangular, thin, flat, substantially rigid sheets, each sheet being of length sufficient to span apices of a plurality of steps of the staircase, and a first plurality of tethers, one tether for each said sheet, each said tether being adapted for connection between a first corner of said sheet defined by a first narrow and a first long edge of said sheet and the staircase so as to maintain said sheet in a spanning relationship across the apices of a plurality of steps with the plurality of steps below said first corner, with an underside of said sheet disposed across a width of said sheet against the apices of the plurality of steps and with said first long edge of said sheet extending proximate one side of the staircase, said plurality of sheets having narrow edges thereof serially overlapped so as to form a continuous slide spanning a plurality of the pluralities of steps.

8. A slide according to claim 7, said first corner of each said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said first tether being looped through said aperture and being adapted for tying around a component of the staircase.

9. A slide according to claim 7, said first corner of said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said first tether being looped through said aperture and being adapted for girting a component of the staircase, said first tether having mating segments of hook and loop material fixed thereto for closing said loop.

10. A slide according to claim 7, said second narrow edges of said sheets overlapping said first narrow edges of their respective serially lower said sheets so as to facilitate sliding the objects in a downward direction on the ramp.

11. A slide according to claim 7 further comprising a second plurality of tethers, one for each said sheet, each said second tether being adapted for connection between a second corner of said sheet defined by a second narrow and said first long edge of said sheet and the staircase so as to maintain said first long edge of each said sheet proximate the one side of the staircase

12. A slide according to claim 11, said second corner of each said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said second tether being looped through its respective said aperture and being adapted for tying around a component of the staircase.

13. A slide according to claim 11, said second corner of each said sheet having an aperture therethrough and said second tether being looped through its respective said aperture and being adapted for girting a component of the staircase, each said second tether having mating segments of hook and loop material fixed thereto for closing said loop.

14. A slide according to claim 11, said first narrow edges of said sheets overlapping said second narrow edges of their respective serially higher said sheets so as to facilitate sliding of the objects in an upward direction on the ramp.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to conveyors for moving furniture, appliances, cartons and other household or office equipment up and down staircases and more particularly concerns use of one or more slide sheets to convert a staircase into a ramp for conveying such articles and objects.

[0002] Known stair ramps are designed as load bearing structures. Consequently, they are assembled from some combination of braces, connecting rods, telescoping rails, hinged end plates, latches and/or anchors to achieve the strength, length and width necessary to support the articles being conveyed for the length of the staircase. They are structurally complicated, require assembly and disassembly before and after use and are bulky, heavy and inconvenient to store, transport, install and remove. Many of these ramps have support structures which are wider than the width of the ramp, thus unnecessarily obstructing or severely limiting stairway access along the side of the ramp. Some require modification or adaptation of the staircase in order to properly position and secure the ramp in relation to the staircase. Some, especially those using telescoping rails or treads, cannot be used bi-directionally, because the telescoping or other components interfere with sliding motion in one direction or the other. And some require bracing structure which extends above the level of the slide surface, restricting the width of articles that can be conveyed to the unobstructed width of the slide.

[0003] It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide a slide sheet for converting a staircase into a ramp. Another object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of any load bearing structure extrinsic to the staircase. A further object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of braces. Yet another object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of connecting rods. It is also an object of this invention to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of telescoping rails. Still another object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of hinged end plates. An additional object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of latches. Another object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without use of anchors. A further object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without modification or adaptation of the staircase. Yet another object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which requires no assembly or disassembly before or after use in converting a staircase into a ramp. It is also an object of this invention to provide a lightweight slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp. Still another object of this invention is to provide an easily stored, transported, installed and removed slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp. Another object of this invention is to provide a bi-directionally usable slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp. A further object of this invention is to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp without obstructing or severely limiting stairway access along the side of the ramp. And it is an object of this invention to provide a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp which will accommodate articles which are wider than the ramp.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] In accordance with the invention, a slide is provided which converts a staircase into a ramp for conveying furniture, appliances, cartons and the like from one elevation to another. A narrow, elongated, rectangular, thin, flat, substantially rigid sheet is long enough to span the apices of the steps of the staircase. A tether is adapted for connection between one corner of the sheet and the staircase. The tether, which is at the high end of the sheet, maintains the downwardly extending sheet in a spanning relationship across the apices of the steps, which are below the tethered corner. The underside of the sheet is pressed downwardly by the weight of the sheet against the apices of the steps. The long edge of the sheet which forms the tethered corner extends proximate one side of the staircase. In one embodiment, the tethered corner of the sheet has an aperture therethrough and the tether, which is looped through the aperture, is long enough to permit tying of the tether around a post, baluster or the like associated with the staircase. In another embodiment the tether, which is looped through the aperture, is long enough to girt the post, baluster or the like. The tether has mating segments of hook and loop material fixed thereto for closing the loop of the tether.

[0005] A second tether may also be adapted for connection between a second corner of the sheet and the staircase. The second corner is defined by the lower narrow edge and the same long edge as the first corner. The second tether maintains the long edge of the sheet proximate the one side of the staircase. In the one embodiment, the second tethered corner of the sheet also has an aperture therethrough and the second tether, which is looped through the aperture, is long enough to permit tying of the tether around the post, baluster or the like. In the other embodiment, the second tether is looped through the aperture and is long enough to girt the post, baluster or the like associated with the staircase. The second tether has mating segments of hook and loop material fixed thereto for closing the loop of the second tether.

[0006] For staircases which are longer than the slide, multiple slides are used to extend the full length of the staircase. In such an application, the sheets will have their narrow edges serially overlapped so as to form a continuous slide spanning the steps. The lower narrow edges of the sheets will overlap the upper narrow edges of their respective serially lower sheets so as to facilitate sliding of furniture, appliances, cartons and the like in a downward direction on the ramp. The upper narrow edges of the sheets will overlap the lower narrow edges of their respective serially higher sheets so as to facilitate sliding of the articles in an upward direction on the ramp.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a slide sheet in accordance with the invention;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 4 is a partial top plan view of the slide sheet of FIG. 1 tied to a baluster with a single tie cord tether;

[0012] FIG. 5 is a partial top plan view of the slide sheet of FIG. 1 tied to a baluster with and a double tie cord tether;

[0013] FIG. 6 is a partial top plan view of the slide sheet of FIG. 1 strapped to a baluster with a single hook-and-loop tether;

[0014] FIG. 7 is a partial top plan view of the slide sheet of FIG. 1 strapped to a baluster with a double hook-and-loop tether;

[0015] FIG. 8 is a partial top plan view of the slide sheet of FIG. 1 fixed to a baluster with a cord tether permanently fixed to the slide sheet;

[0016] FIG. 9 is a partial top plan view of the slide sheet of FIG. 1 strapped to a baluster with a hook-and-loop tether permanently fixed to the slide sheet;

[0017] FIG. 10 is a top plan view illustrating use of two slide sheets of FIG. 1 disposed on a staircase for downward sliding of objects;

[0018] FIG. 11 is a side elevation view illustrating use of two slide sheets of FIG. 1 disposed on a staircase for downward sliding of objects;

[0019] FIG. 12 is a top plan view illustrating use of two slide sheets of FIG. 1 disposed on a staircase for upward sliding of objects; and

[0020] FIG. 13 is a side elevation view illustrating use of two slide sheets of FIG. 1 disposed on a staircase for upward sliding of objects.

[0021] While the invention will be described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] Turning first to FIGS. 1-3, a stair ramp is formed from a thin sheet 11 having an aperture 13, 15, 17 or 19 through one or more of its corners 23, 25, 27 or 29, respectively. As seen in FIGS. 4-9, one or more tethers 31, 33, 35, 37, 39 or 41 of various types are usable with the apertures 13, 15, 17 or 19 to tie or strap the sheets to a component of a staircase, such as a baluster 43. Looking at FIGS. 10-13, the sheet 11 is laid on the staircase 45 and the tether 31 secured to a railing, post, baluster 43 or the like to hold the sheet 11 in place. The stairs 45 are the load bearing structure for the slide sheet 11 which, therefore, can be very lightweight. If, as shown, the staircase 45 is longer than a single slide sheet 11 then multiple slide sheets 11 are used and extend over each other, the direction of overlap depending on the direction in which articles are to slide on the sheets 11. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the slide sheets 11 are overlapped for downward motion. As shown in FIGS. 12 and 13, the slide sheets 11 are overlapped for upward motion. The width 47 of the slide sheet 11 is such that people can walk on the staircase 45 alongside of the slide sheet 11 for purposes of ingress and egress or to manipulate articles on the slide sheet 11.

[0023] A typical sheet 11 will be ⅛″ to ¼″ thick and 2′ to 3′ wide by 4′ to 8′ long. The slide sheet 11 may be made of wood or plastic or other suitable material. The choice of materials is a compromise of the decreased coefficient of friction of the slide sheet 4, the desired weight of the slide sheet 11 and the desired strength of the slide sheet 11. Depending upon the material chosen it may also be desirable to grommet the apertures 18, 15, 17 and 19 to prevent disintegration. In a satisfactory prototype, the slide sheets 11 were made of tile board and were 96″ long by 24″ wide by ¼″ thick.

[0024] Looking again at FIGS. 4-9, some of the tether options are illustrated in greater detail. In FIG. 4, a single tie 51 is used to secure a cord 31 through the aperture 13 and around the baluster 43. In FIG. 5, a first tie 53 secures the cord 33 through the aperture 13 and a second tie 55 secures the cord 33 around the baluster. In FIG. 6, a single strap 35 is secured through the aperture 13 and around the baluster 43 by mating segments of hook and material 57 on the ends of the strap 35. In FIG. 7, a single strap 37 is secured through the aperture 13 by first mating segments of hook and loop material 59 and secured around the baluster 43 by second mating segments of hook and loop material 61 on the ends of the strap 37. Alternatively, the mating segments could join the ends of the strap 37 to a mid portion of the strap 37, similar to the arrangement shown in FIG. 5 for the cord 33. In FIG. 8, a cord 39 is permanently fixed at one end to the sheet 11 by a rivet 63 through the aperture 13. In FIG. 9, a strap 41 is permanently fixed at one end to the sheet 11 by a rivet 65 through the aperture 13. A single tie 67 in the cord 39 or mating segments of hook and loop material 69 on the strap 41 can be used to secure the cord 39 or strap 41 around the baluster 43.

[0025] Returning to FIGS. 10-13, the apertures 13, 15, 17 and 19 in the corners 23, 25, 27 and 29 of the sheet 11 afford maximum utility to the ramp. Assuming that one side of the sheet 11 is smoother than the other, the sheet 11 can be secured with its smooth side up for maximum sliding performance on one side of the staircase 45 using apertures 13 and/or 15 or on the other side of the staircase 45 using apertures 17 and/or 19 without regard to which end of the sheet 11 is on the upside of the staircase 45. Similarly, if it is desired to reduce the sliding performance on the ramp, the rougher side of the sheet 11 can be placed on the staircase 45 face up.

[0026] Looking at FIGS. 10 and 11, if articles are to slide down the ramp, the lower end of the upper sheet 11 overlaps the upper end of the lower sheet 11. The upper corners 23 of each sheet 11 are tethered to the balusters or other staircase components. The weight of the sheets 11 maintains the sheets along the right side of the staircase 45. The lower corners 25 may also have tethers 21 to assure the steady positioning of the sheets 11. As seen in FIGS. 12 and 13, if articles are to slide up the ramp, the upper end of the lower sheet 11 overlaps the lower end of the upper sheet 11. The upper corners 23 have tethers and the lower corners 25 may also be tethers as in the case of the down ramp.

[0027] Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, a slide sheet which converts a staircase into a ramp that fully satisfies the objects, aims and advantages set forth above. While the invention has been described in conjunction with a specific embodiment thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art and in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the spirit of the appended claims.