Title:
Multipurpose air ventilating umbrella
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention as disclosed herein provides a ventilating umbrella that protects against sun, and/or rain. In particular, the umbrella contains a trunk, and at least one deployable canopy attached to the trunk. The canopy contains a plurality of leaf compartments made of synthetic leaves; and a plurality of splines, each of the splines having a distal end, a middle end, and a hinged end. The hinged end is attached to the trunk, and the distal end, middle end or both are attached to the leaf compartment.



Inventors:
Houtan, Mina (Egg Harbor Township, NJ, US)
Application Number:
10/636632
Publication Date:
02/10/2005
Filing Date:
08/08/2003
Assignee:
HOUTAN MINA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G1/00; A45B23/00; A45B25/02; (IPC1-7): A45B25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH (ONE LOGAN SQUARE, 18TH AND CHERRY STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PA, 19103-6996, US)
Claims:
1. A multipurpose umbrella comprising: a trunk, wherein the trunk having a proximal portion and a distal portion, wherein the proximal portion and the distal portion define a longitudinal axis; at least one deployable canopy attached to the proximal portion of the trunk and comprising a plurality of leaf compartments; and a plurality of splines, each of the splines having a distal end, a middle end, and a hinged end, wherein the hinged end is attached to the trunk, and the distal end, middle end or both are attached to the leaf compartment; and one or more deployment elements attached to the trunk, the canopy, or both.

2. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the deployment element is capable of adjustably deploying the at least one deployable canopy.

3. The umbrella of claim 2 wherein the deployment element comprises a slideable deployment/retractor collar capable of sliding along the longitudinal axis of the trunk.

4. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the hinged end of the splines is attached to a central hub on the trunk.

5. The umbrella of claim 4, further comprising connector rods linking the slideable deployment/retractor collar to the splines.

6. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the distal ends of the splines move through an angle alpha relative to the longitudinal axis of the trunk.

7. The umbrella of claim 6, wherein the angle alpha is from about 0 degree to about 165 degree relative to the longitudinal axis of the trunk.

8. The umbrella of claim 7, wherein the angle alpha is about 90 degree relative to the longitudinal axis of the trunk.

9. The umbrella of claim 7, wherein the angle alpha is the same or different for each of the deployable canopy.

10. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the leaf compartment comprises synthetic leaves of conifer, fascicle, broadleaves or a combination thereof.

11. The umbrella of claim 10, wherein the broadleaves are compound leaves comprising a palmately compound leaves, pinnately compound leaves, opposite leaves, alternate leaves, whorled leaves, or a combination thereof.

12. The umbrella of claim 11, wherein the broadleaves have a leaf tip, leaf base, and leaf margin.

13. The umbrella of claim 12, wherein the leaf tip is acute, acuminate, bristle-tipped, truncate, obtuse, or a combination thereof.

14. The umbrella of claim 12, wherein the leaf base is cuneate, obtuse, cordate, truncate, oblique, or a combination thereof.

15. The umbrella of claim 12, wherein the leaf margin is entire, undulate, serrate, doubly serrate, crenate, lobed, sinus, or a combination thereof.

16. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the leaf compartment comprises synthetic leaves of a dicotyledon or a monocotyledon plant.

17. The umbrella of claim 16, wherein the plant is a synthetic deciduous, or an evergreen tree.

18. The umbrella of claim 17, wherein the synthetic tree comprises Ailanthus, Alder, Apple, Arborvitae, Ash, Aspen, Baldcypress, Basswood, Beech, Birch, Blackgum, Boxelder, Buckeye, Butternut, Catalpa, Cedar, Cherry, Citrus, Chestnut, Chinese Scholar, Chokecherry, Coffeetree, Kentucky, Corktree, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Cucumbertree, Dogwood, Elm, Fringe Tree, Ginkgo, Goldenrain, Hackberry, Hawthorn, Hemlock, Hickory, Honey Locust, Hophornbeam, Horsechestnut, Juneberry, Larch, Linden, Littleleaf, Locust, Magnolia, Maple, Mountainash, Mulberry, Paper, Oak, Oleaster, Olive, Osage, Pagodatree, Pawpaw, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Pine, Planetree, Plum, Poplar, Redbud, Rowan, Sassafras, Serviceberry, Shadbush, Silverbell, Snowbell, Sourwood, Spruce, Storax, Sumac, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Tamarack, Tree-of-Heaven, Tulip, Tupelo, Walnut, Willow, or Yellowwood, among others.

19. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the leaf compartment further comprises synthetic fruit or flowers.

20. The umbrella of claim 19, wherein the umbrella generates a fragrance compatible with the leaves, fruits, and/or flowers of the leaf compartment.

21. The umbrella of claim 1, further comprising means to generate heat, cold, wind, humidity or a combination thereof.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 based upon U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/403,581, filed Aug. 11, 2002.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to umbrellas for protection against various weather conditions. In particular, the invention relates to multipurpose umbrellas capable of air ventilation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Numerous umbrellas are described in the prior art that purport to protect a user from sun and rain. Generally, these umbrellas include a canopy made from a single layer of thick cloth. The canopy blocks the ventilation between the air above the canopy and the air beneath the canopy. As such, the air ventilation is poor under such umbrellas.

For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20020098050 to Youth describes an umbrella with improved air convection efficiency. The umbrella contains a panel attached to a frame consisting of a plurality of movable ribs pivotally connected to a shaft. The panel covers the fame and shields the sunshine when the umbrella is opened.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,571,814 to You Ching describes an umbrella having an upper canopy, and a lower canopy not equal to upper canopy in size, and a vent hole in the center portion of the lower canopy. Air beneath the lower canopy exits through a gap formed between upper and lower canopies when the umbrella is opened.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,474,352 to Lee describes an umbrella having a primary cover and a secondary cover attached to the primary cover. The secondary cover is capable of detaching from the primary cover to allow the air flow through the gap between the primary cover and the secondary cover.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,502,592 to Chen describes an umbrella having structures for releasing wind. The assembled umbrella includes two layers of cover wherein the upper cover is elastically connected by the supporting rib for a better connection and effect for releasing the heavy wind. The umbrella includes a supporting rib pivotally connected with a main rib of the umbrella. The supporting rib is provided inside with a coil spring and an end ball for connecting with the outer circumscription of the upper umbrella cover while the lower cover being on the main rib from the connecting position of the main rib and a branch rib extending outward.

The prior art umbrellas, however, are not capable of protecting against sun, or rain while still maintaining sufficient air ventilation under the canopy.

The present invention as described herein overcomes problems with the prior art umbrellas by providing a multipurpose umbrella that sufficiently protect the user under severe weather conditions, is easy to use and allows ventilation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention, as disclosed and described herein, provides a multipurpose umbrella comprising: a trunk, wherein the trunk having a proximal portion and a distal portion, wherein the proximal portion and the distal portion define a longitudinal axis; at least one deployable canopy attached to the proximal portion of the trunk and comprising a plurality of leaf compartments; and a plurality of splines, each of the splines having a distal end, a middle end, and a hinged end, wherein the hinged end is attached to the trunk, and the distal end, middle end or both are attached to the leaf compartment; and one or more deployment elements attached to the trunk, the canopy or both.

In one embodiment, the deployment element is capable of adjustably deploying at least one deployable canopy.

In another embodiment, the deployment element comprises a slideable deployment/retractor collar capable of sliding along the longitudinal axis of the trunk.

In yet another embodiment, the umbrella additionally contains a central hub on the trunk that attaches to the hinged end of the splines. The distal ends of the splines move through an angle alpha relative to the longitudinal axis of the trunk. The leaf compartment moves through an angle beta relative to the splines. Angle alpha, angle beta, or both are the same or different in each of the deployable canopies. Angle alpha and beta are in any degrees, for example, about 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 110, 135, 155, 165, 175, or 180 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of the trunk and the splines, respectively. %. It is intended herein that by recitation of such specified angles, the angles recited also include all those specific integer amounts between the recited angles. For example, in the range of about 70 to 80 degrees, it is intended to also encompass 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79 degrees.

In another embodiment, the umbrella additionally contains one or more connector rods linking the slideable deployment/retractor collar to the splines.

The leaf compartment of the invention includes synthetic leaves of, for example, conifer, fascicle, broadleaves or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the broadleaves are compound leaves comprising a palmately compound leaves, pinnately compound leaves, opposite leaves, alternate leaves, whorled leaves, or a combination thereof.

In another embodiment, the leaf compartment further comprises synthetic fruit or flowers.

In yet another embodiment, the umbrella generates a fragrance compatible with the leaves, fruits, and/or flowers of the leaf compartment.

In another embodiment, the umbrella further comprises means to generate heat, cold, wind, humidity or a combination thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 depicts perspective and plan views of one embodiment of the umbrella. FIG. 1A is an elevation of an umbrella according to the invention. FIG. 1B is a top plan view of an umbrella according to the invention. FIG. 1C is an upward perspective view of an umbrella according to the invention.

FIG. 2 depicts perspective views of a trunk and canopy indicating different angles of the deployment of canopy on the trunk. FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a rectangular trunk. FIG. 2B is a perspective view of trunk and a canopy including a spline and a leaf compartment at the distal end of the spline. FIG. 2C is a perspective view of a trunk having three canopies, the first canopy is deployed at an angle of 130 degrees. The second canopy is deployed at an angle of 10 degrees and the third canopy is deployed at an angle of 90 degrees with respect to the trunk.

FIG. 3 is a partial elevation view of the trunk and the splines including the deployment and retraction mechanisms of the umbrella.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a pinnately compound leaf compartment. FIG. 4A depicts a palmately compound leaf compartment. FIG. 4B depicts a pinnately compound leaf compartment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a multipurpose ventilating umbrella. The umbrella of the invention has application in several fields or industries that manufacture, use or sell umbrellas. The industries or fields intended to be benefit from this invention include, by way of example and not limitation, sport (i.e., golf, sailing); entertainment (i.e., outdoor functions), outdoor cooking (i.e., table top or grills), military (i.e., camouflage in the woods, camping in the desert, etc), among others.

Referring to FIG. 1A, an embodiment of an umbrella is shown that includes a trunk 10 and multiple canopy 20 circumferentially arranged around the trunk 10 and having splines 22 and leaf compartments 26. In an umbrella having multiple canopies, each canopy can be individually deployed and retracted or can be deployed and retracted in unison. Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, multiple canopies can provide an increase in the range of diameters achieved through deployment of canopies of different sizes, configurations and angles. In addition, multiple canopies can provide variety of shapes, greater umbrella stability during wind, and greater protection from sun and rain. The trunk 10 includes a proximal portion 16 and a distal portion 12 along a longitudinal axis L of the trunk.

Referring to FIG. 2, an umbrella is shown that includes a trunk 10 and one or more canopies. FIG. 1A depicts the trunk 10 that is generally tubular and can contain a central lumen that can be used for carrying any wires or connectors suitable for operation of the umbrella.

FIG. 2A depicts the infrastructure of a one canopy umbrella having splines 22 that forms an arc at an angle alpha 14 with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10. The angle alpha 14 can range from about 0 degree, in which a spline 22 is retracted and generally aligned with the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10, to about 150 degrees or more, in which a spline 22 is moving upwardly to form into a branch of a natural tree with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10. The hinged end 36 of a spline 22 is configured such that the distal end 38 of a spline 22 can assume a variety of positions along this arc relative to the longitudinal axis L of a trunk 10. The various positions that multiple circumferentially disposed splines 22 can assume during deployment provide a total cone-shaped or frustum-shaped canopy 20 that undergoes an increase in surface area as the canopy is deployed. The mechanism to deploy and retract the canopy 20 will depend on the configuration of the canopy and the trunk 10.

FIG. 2C depicts the infrastructure of an umbrella with three canopies 20A, 20B, and 20C. In the embodiment shown, the splines 22 in each canopy form an arc at a different angle alpha with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2C, the angle alpha is 130 degrees, 110 degrees and 90 degrees in canopies 20A, 20B and 20C, respectively.

Referring to FIG. 3, the canopy 20 is circumferentially arranged about the trunk 10. The canopy 20 includes a plurality of circumferentially disposed radial splines 22 whose free ends can extend outward from the trunk 10. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the splines 22 are generally rod-like structures with a hinged end 36 attached directly to the trunk 10. The distal free end 38 of splines 22 is free to swing through an arc at an angle alpha 14 with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10. The angle alpha 14 can range from about 0 degree, in which splines 22 are retracted and generally aligned with the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10, and about 90 degrees, in which splines 22 are fully deployed and lie in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10. The hinged end 36 of a spline 22 is configured such that the distal end 38 of a spline 22 can assume a variety of positions along this arc relative to the longitudinal axis L of a trunk 10. The various positions that multiple circumferentially disposed splines 22 can assume during deployment provide a total cone-shaped or frustum-shaped canopy 20 that undergoes an increase in surface area as the canopy is deployed.

The trunk 10 and canopy 20 can be made from a variety of natural or synthetic materials having requisite strength and flexibility for multipurpose functioning of the umbrella of the invention.

The movement and position of the splines 22 with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10 can be adjustably controlled by a variety of different means. The number and position of splines 22 as well as the manner in which hinged end 36 of splines is attached to a trunk can vary, and can be dependent at least in part on the mechanism by which the canopy 20 is deployed and retracted. The splines 22 can be attached to the trunk 10 by any number of methods. For example, in addition to the direct attachment mechanism shown in FIG. 1A, the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 demonstrates that the splines 22 can be attached to a central hub 28 that circumscribes the trunk 10.

A slideable deployment/retraction collar 24 that circumscribes the trunk 10 is shown in FIG. 3. In this embodiment, the umbrella contains a slideable collar 24 that circumscribes the splines 22 at their distal ends 38 at a retractable position. During deployment, the collar 24 can be adjustably moved toward the hinged end 36 of the splines 22. Movement of the collar 24 toward the hinged end 36 of the splines 22 causes the distal ends 38 of the splines to move through the arc and form a retracted position (e.g., essentially parallel to the longitudinal axis of L of the trunk 10 or about 0 degree) to any desired angle alpha with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10. The collar 24 then engages the splines 22 during retraction and slides along the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10 toward the distal ends 38 of the splines 22. As in FIG. 1A, the movement and position of the splines 22 with respect to the longitudinal axis L of the trunk 10 can be precisely controlled by the slideable deployment/retraction collar 24.

Splines 22 can be made from a rigid material or a material that allows, for example, a bowed spline as shown in FIG. 1. For example, splines 22 can be constructed using a variety of natural and/or synthetic materials known in the art. The length of splines 22 can vary and will depend on the configuration of the canopy, materials used to make the splines and the mechanism of deployment and retraction.

Referring to FIG. 4, the leaf compartment includes the leaflets 38, and in some embodiments petiole 40 and/or rachis 42. Various forms or shapes of the leaf compartment 26 can be used. Leaf compartments are attached to the splines at any operable position between the distal end 38 and the hinged end 36. For example, leaf compartments on splines can be located at the distal end of the splines 38 as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. A Leaf compartment 26 may be configured in several ways. FIG. 4A depicts a leaf compartment in a shape of a palmately compound leaf. FIG. 4B depicts a leaf compartment in a shape of a pinnately compound leaf.

As used herein, the term “deployment element” refers to the components of a trunk that are necessary for or function in deployment of a canopy. Deployment elements can include any or all of the following: a component of the canopy necessary for deployment of the canopy (e.g., a slideable deployment/retractor collar 24, or connector rods 34); connectors that connect the components of the canopy necessary for deployment of the canopy with a mechanism at the proximal portion of the trunk that is manipulated by a user to affect deployment of the canopy (e.g., wires); and a mechanism at the proximal portion of the trunk that is manipulated by a user to affect deployment of the canopy. Umbrellas can be deployed in a number of fashions, and it is understood that deployment elements are not limited to those shown in the embodiments herein. The deployment elements described above can, but do not necessarily include means for retracting the canopy.

In one aspect, the invention provides for an umbrella including at least one deployable canopy attached to the proximal portion of the trunk. Generally, the trunk has a proximal portion and a distal portion, wherein the proximal and distal portions define a longitudinal axis. The canopy generally includes a plurality of radial splines and at least one leaf compartment attached to each spline. Each of the splines typically has a distal end, middle end, and a hinged end, wherein the hinged end is attached to the trunk. The canopy of the umbrella of the invention is generally in a retracted position when not in use. Deployment of the canopy allows for the leaf compartment to circumferentially engage the splines in a range of angles and diameters.

The trunk of the umbrella of invention may take a variety of shapes, including rectangular, cylindrical, dome, or conical shapes, among others. The length and/or the width of the trunk are adjustable such that a desired configuration is obtained. The length of the trunk is, for example, from about 24 inches to about 100 inches or more depending on the size of the canopy and the intended use of the umbrella. The width of the trunk is, for example, from about 2 inches to about 20 inches or more also depending on the size of the canopy and the intended use of the umbrella.

The leaf compartment of the invention mimics the shape and form of leaves in nature and can be customized according to the intended use and the user's specification. For example, the leaf compartment mimics the leaves of a deciduous, or an evergreen tree, including, by the way of example and not limitation, the following trees: Ailanthus, Alder, Apple, Arborvitae, Ash, Aspen, Baldcypress, Basswood, Beech, Birch, Blackgum, Boxelder, Buckeye, Butternut, Catalpa, Cedar, Cherry, Citrus, Chestnut, Chinese Scholar, Chokecherry, Coffeetree, Kentucky, Corktree, Cottonwood, Crabapple, Cucumbertree, Dogwood, Elm, Fringe Tree, Ginkgo, Goldenrain, Hackberry, Hawthorn, Hemlock, Hickory, Honey Locust, Hophornbeam, Horsechestnut, Juneberry, Larch, Linden, Littleleaf, Locust, Magnolia, Maple, Mountainash, Mulberry, Paper, Oak, Oleaster, Olive, Osage, Pagodatree, Pawpaw, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Pine, Planetree, Plum, Poplar, Redbud, Rowan, Sassafras, Serviceberry, Shadbush, Silverbell, Snowbell, Sourwood, Spruce, Storax, Sumac, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Tamarack, Tree-of-Heaven, Tulip, Tupelo, Walnut, Willow, or Yellowwood, among others.

The form of the leaves may be customized according to the user's instructions. For example, leaves are in the form of conifer (needle or scale-like leaves), fascicle (a dense cluster of leaves or needles), or broadleaf (wide, flat leaves), among others. Broad leaves include, for example, compound leaves (a type of leaf that has three or more leaflets attached to a common stalk), palmately compound leaves (veins or lobes of a leaf radiating from a central point), pinnately compound leaves (arrangement of leaflets attached laterally along the rachis of a compound leaf), opposite leaves (occurring in pairs at the nodes), alternate leaves (arranged singly at intervals along the stems), whorled leaves (occurring three or more at a single node).

The leaf compartment of the invention also includes leaves with different leaf margins. For example, leaf margins of the invention are entire (a leaf margin that is smooth without teeth or lobes), undulate (a leaf margin that is wavy), serrate (a leaf margin that has pointed teeth that are directed upward), doubly serrate (a serrate leaf margin where the primary teeth support another set of teeth), crenate (a leaf margin that has rounded teeth), lobed (a segmented leaf having pointed or rounded extensions separated by sinuses that do not extend more than halfway to the midrib), sinus (a leaf having spaces or indentations between the lobes).

Additionally, the leaf compartment of the invention includes leaves with different leaf tips, including, for example, acute tips (slightly pointed), acuminate tips (sharply pointed bristle-tipped), truncate (squared or abruptly cut off tips), or obtuse (rounded tips), among others.

Also encompassed within the scope of the invention are the leaves with a variety of leaf bases. The leaf bases include, for example, cuneate (wedge-shaped), obtuse (rounded), cordate (heart-shaped), truncate (squared or abruptly cut off), or oblique (asymmetrical, unequally sided), among others.

The umbrella of the invention is made of a variety of natural and/or synthetic materials. Appropriate materials are well known in the art. The trunk and the splines are made of, for example, metals (i.e., alum), plastic, rubber, wood, natural or synthetic fabric, among others. The leaf compartment is preferably made of a water proof, resilient, and opaque material. Translucent and transparent materials may be used so long as they shield and protect from the sun. These materials include, for example, tightly interlaced fibers or filaments, interwoven high density nylon, polyamides such as, for example a woven material available from DuPont under the trade name Dacron, canvas, synthetic or natural fabric, and/or plastic, among others.

Because of the choice of material and the configuration of the leaf compartment, the umbrella user is sufficiently protected from sun, rain or excessive wind; while enjoying sufficient ventilation under the umbrella. Hence the umbrella can be used in a variety of weather conditions, and different geographical areas, such as, for example, areas with excessive rain, wind, sun, or draught.

Also encompassed within the scope of the invention is an umbrella having a canopy or a trunk that generates heat, cold, and/or humidity. The heat, cold, or humidity is generated, for example, via a battery or electrical connections. In one embodiment of the invention, the trunk, is connected to a battery or have an electrical connection that upon use will generate heat, cold, or humidity. The humidity is also achieved through the use of a humidifier attached to the trunk or canopy. In one embodiment, the umbrella of the invention additionally contains a fan that causes a motion in the leaf compartment and thereby generates additional ventilation or breeze under the umbrella. These embodiments are particularly useful in the areas of extreme weather conditions, such as a desert.

In another embodiment of the invention, the leaf compartment of the umbrella additionally contains synthetic fruits or flowers. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the umbrella produces a fragrance when deployed. The fragrance is preferably compatible with the leaves, fruits or flowers of the leaf compartment. For example, for a citrus leaf compartment, a compatible fragrance is a citrus fragrance that is generated under the canopy.

Alternate embodiments of the invention are shown in the following illustrations, which are not to be construed in any way as imposing limitations upon the scope thereof. On the contrary, it is to be clearly understood that resort may be had to various other embodiments, modifications, and equivalents thereof which, after reading the description herein, may suggest themselves to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the present invention and/or the scope of the appended claims.