Title:
Modular folding screen
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A folding screen includes top and bottom folders, and a plurality of upright posts. Each folder includes a plurality of links which are interconnected in an end-to-end manner and which are foldable one over the other, at least one hinge unit interconnecting two adjacent ends of two adjacent ones of the links, and two endmost connectors connected respectively to two outermost ends of the links. The two adjacent ends of the two adjacent ones of the links are connected pivotally to each other. One upright post has top and bottom ends connected respectively to the hinge units of the top and bottom folders. Top ends of two other upright posts are connected respectively to the endmost connectors of the top folder. Bottom ends of the two other upright posts are connected respectively to the endmost connectors of the bottom folder.



Inventors:
Hsieh, Duan-cheng (Taipei City, TW)
Application Number:
11/281021
Publication Date:
05/17/2007
Filing Date:
11/17/2005
Assignee:
HABITEX CORPORATION
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADFORD, CANDACE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FROMMER LAWRENCE & HAUG (745 FIFTH AVENUE- 10TH FL., NEW YORK, NY, 10151, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A folding screen comprising: a folder including a plurality of links which are interconnected in an end-to-end manner, two adjacent ones of said links having two adjacent ends that are connected pivotally to each other, said links being foldable one over the other; at least one hinge unit interconnecting said two adjacent ends of said two adjacent ones of said links; two endmost connectors connected respectively to two outermost ends of said links; and a plurality of upright posts, one of said upright posts being connected to said hinge unit, another two of said upright posts being connected respectively to said endmost connectors.

2. The folding screen as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a plurality of screen members each disposed between two adjacent ones of said upright posts.

3. The folding screen as claimed in claim 1, wherein said hinge unit includes a pair of spaced-apart first hinge rings connected to one of said two adjacent ends of said links, and a pair of spaced-apart second hinge rings connected to the other one of said two adjacent ends of said links, said first and second hinge rings being intermeshed and placed on top of said one of said upright posts, said hinge unit further including a hinge fastener extending through said first and second hinge rings and fixed to said one of said upright posts.

4. The folding screen as claimed in claim 3, wherein said hinge fastener has a head, and a stem extending through said first and second hinge rings, said stem having a screw thread to engage threadedly said one of said upright posts.

5. The folding screen as claimed in claim 4, wherein said hinge unit further includes a tubular member inserted into said first and second hinge rings around said stem.

6. The folding screen as claimed in claim 1, wherein each of said endmost connectors has a connector body disposed on a corresponding one of said another two of said upright posts, and a retainer extending through said connector body and engaging threadedly said corresponding one of said another two of said upright posts.

7. The folding screen as claimed in claim 6, wherein said retainer has a head, and a stem extending through said connector body to engage threadedly said corresponding one of said another two of said upright posts.

8. A folding screen comprising: top and bottom folders, each of said top and bottom folders including a plurality of links which are interconnected in an end-to-end manner, two adjacent ones of said links having two adjacent ends that are connected pivotally to each other, at least one hinge unit interconnecting said two adjacent ends of said two adjacent ones of said links, and two endmost connectors connected respectively to two outermost ends of said links, said links being foldable one over the other; and a plurality of upright posts each having top and bottom ends, said top end of one of said upright posts being connected to said hinge unit of said top folder, said bottom end of said one of said upright posts being connected to said hinge unit of said bottom folder, said top ends of another two of said upright posts being connected respectively to said endmost connectors of said top folder, said bottom ends of said another two of said upright posts being connected respectively to said endmost connectors of said bottom folder.

9. The folding screen as claimed in claim 8, further comprising a plurality of screen members each disposed between two adjacent ones of said upright posts.

10. The folding screen as claimed in claim 9, wherein each of said screen members is made of a fabric material, and has a top end formed with a top sleeve for receiving a corresponding one of said links of said top folder, and a bottom end formed with a bottom sleeve for receiving a corresponding one of said links of said bottom folder.

11. The folding screen as claimed in claim 9, wherein each of said screen members is made of a fabric material, and has a top end provided with a top fastening unit to be fastened to a corresponding one of said links of said top folder, and a bottom end provided with a bottom fastening unit to be fastened to a corresponding one of said links of said bottom folder.

12. The folding screen as claimed in claim 9, wherein each of said screen members is a plate having top and bottom ends connected respectively to said top and bottom folders.

13. The folding screen as claimed in claim 8, further comprising an intermediate folder that is similar in construction to said top and bottom folders, each of said upright posts having upper and lower sections which are connected to said intermediate folder.

14. The folding screen as claimed in claim 8, wherein each of said upright posts has upper and lower sections, said upper and lower sections being interconnected detachably.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a folding screen, more particularly to a modular folding screen.

2. Description of the Related Art

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a conventional folding screen 1 includes four panels 12, and four wooden frames 11 enclosing respectively the panels 12. Lateral edges of two adjacent ones of the wooden frames 11 are connected pivotally to each other by hinges 13 so that the wooden frames 11 can pivot relative to each other from an unfolded state shown in FIG. 1 to a folded state shown in FIG. 2.

Although the conventional folding screen 1 can be folded to facilitate storage and transport, the volume of the conventional folding screen 1 when folded is still large, so that it does not only occupy a relatively large space, but is also inconvenient to transport.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a modular folding screen that can be easily assembled and disassembled by the user so as to reduce the volume of the folding screen, thereby facilitating its storage and transport.

According to one aspect of this invention, a folding screen comprises a folder, at least one hinge unit, two endmost connectors, and a plurality of upright posts. The folder includes a plurality of links which are interconnected in an end-to-end manner. Two adjacent ones of the links have two adjacent ends that are connected pivotally to each other. The links are foldable one over the other. The hinge unit interconnects the two adjacent ends of the two adjacent ones of the links. The endmost connectors are connected respectively to two outermost ends of the links. One of the upright posts is connected to the hinge unit. Another two of the upright posts are connected respectively to the endmost connectors.

According to another aspect of this invention, a folding screen comprises top and bottom folders, and a plurality of upright posts. Each of the top and bottom folders includes a plurality of links which are interconnected in an end-to-end manner, at least one hinge unit, and two endmost connectors. Two adjacent ones of the links have two adjacent ends that are connected pivotally to each other. The hinge unit interconnects the two adjacent ends of the two adjacent ones of the links. The endmost connectors are connected respectively to two outermost ends of the links. The links are foldable one over the other. Each of the upright posts has top and bottom ends. The top end of one of the upright posts is connected to the hinge unit of the top folder, whereas the bottom end of said one of the upright posts is connected to the hinge unit of the bottom folder. The top ends of another two of the upright posts are connected respectively to the endmost connectors of the top folder, whereas the bottom ends of said another two of the upright posts are connected respectively to the endmost connectors of the bottom folder.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional folding screen in an unfolded state;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the conventional folding screen in a folded state;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the first preferred embodiment of a modular folding screen according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged perspective view of a hinge unit of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view of the first preferred embodiment in an assembled state, but without screen members;

FIG. 6 is an assembled fragmentary schematic view of the first preferred embodiment, illustrating how a screen member is mounted on links of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6, but illustrating an alternative method of mounting the screen member on the corresponding links;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary enlarged perspective view of an alternative form of the hinge unit of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 9 is an assembled fragmentary sectional view of the first preferred embodiment incorporating the hinge unit of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the second preferred embodiment of a modular folding screen according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary sectional view of the second preferred embodiment in an assembled state;

FIG. 12 is an exploded perspective view of the third preferred embodiment of a modular folding screen according to the present invention; and

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary schematic view of the third preferred embodiment in an assembled state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that like elements are denoted by the same reference numerals throughout the disclosure.

Referring to FIGS. 3 to 6, the first preferred embodiment of a modular folding screen 2 according to the present invention is shown to comprise top and bottom folders 3, four upright posts 4, and three screen members 6 (only one is shown in FIG. 6).

Since the top and bottom folders 3 are similar in construction, only the construction of the top folder 3 is described hereinafter for the sake of simplicity. The top folder 3 includes a plurality of first and second links or rods 31, 32, which are interconnected end to end and alternately, two hinge units 33, and two endmost connectors 312. While two first links 31 and one second link 32 are used in this embodiment, if a longer folding screen 2 is desired, the second link 32 may be increased in number.

The two first links 31 have respective outermost ends 311′, and the second link 32 is disposed between the first links 31. Two ends 321 of the second link 32 are connected respectively to adjacent ends 311 of the two first links 31 and to two of the upright posts 4 by means of the two hinge units 33. Since the two hinge units 33 have the same construction, only one of the hinge units 33 is described hereinafter with reference to FIG. 4.

As shown in FIG. 4, each hinge unit 33 includes a pair of spaced-apart first hinge rings 323 connected to the end 321 of the second link 32, a pair of spaced-apart second hinge rings 315 connected to the end 311 of each first link 31, a tubular member 331, and a hinge fastener 5 (see FIG. 3). Each tubular member 331 is inserted into the first and second hinge rings 323, 315 after the first and second hinge rings 323, 315 are intermeshed. Two packing members 82 are disposed respectively above and below the first and second hinge rings 323, 315 so as to couple pivotally the second link 32 to the corresponding first link 31, so that the first and second links 31, 32 are foldable relative to each other. The hinge fastener 5 has a head 51, and a stem 52 having a screw thread. The stem 52 of the hinge fastener 5 extends through one of the packing members 82, the tubular member 331, and the other packing member 82, and engages threadedly a screw hole 411 in a top end 41 of the corresponding upright post 4 (see FIG. 5) so that the hinge unit 33 is secured on top of the corresponding upright post 4.

The endmost connectors 312 are connected respectively to the outermost ends 311′ of the first links 31, and are disposed respectively on top ends of two outer ones of the upright posts 4. Each endmost connector 312 has a connector body 3121 formed with a through hole 314, and a retainer 5′. The retainer 5′ is similar to each hinge fastener 5 in construction, and has a head 51′, and a stem 52′ that has a screw thread and that extends through the through hole 314 in the connector body 3121 so as to engage threadedly a screw hole 411 in the top end of the corresponding upright post 4 so that each endmost connector 312 is secured on top of the corresponding upright post 4. A packing member 82 is disposed between each connector body 3121 and the head 51′ of the corresponding retainer 5′, and another packing member 82 is disposed between each connector body 3121 and the top end of the corresponding upright post 4.

Each of the screen members 6 is disposed between two adjacent ones of the upright posts 4, 4′. In this embodiment, each screen member 6 is made of a fabric material, but may also be made of any soft material that is non-transparent or that has different patterns formed thereon. Each screen member 6 has a top end provided with a top fastening unit 81 fastened to a corresponding one of the first and second links 31, 32 of the top folder 3, and a bottom end provided with a bottom fastening unit (not shown) fastened to a corresponding one of the first and second links 31, 32 of the bottom folder 3. The top and bottom fastening units 81 are Velcro (RTM) fasteners having a plurality of hooks and loops. Alternatively, the fastening units 81 may be male and female snap fasteners, or other suitable fasteners.

During assembly, after the hinge units 33 and the endmost connectors 312 of the top and bottom folders 3 are fixed to the top and bottom ends of the corresponding upright posts 4, the top and bottom ends of two of the screen members 6 are fastened to the first links 31 of the top and bottom folders 3, and the top and bottom ends of the remaining one of the screen members 6 are fastened to the second links 32 of the top and bottom folders 3. To perform disassembly, the hinge units 33 and the endmost connectors 312 of the top and bottom folders 3 are separated from the top and bottom ends of the corresponding upright posts 4 by simply loosening and removing the hinge fasteners 5 and the retainers 5′ from the screw holes 411, 421 in the top and bottom ends of the corresponding upright posts 4. Hence, assembly and disassembly of the folding screen 2 of the present invention are simple and easy. Further, since the top and bottom folders 3 are foldable, storage and transport of the folding screen 2 are convenient. Moreover, by varying the patterns on the screen members 6, the appearance of the folding screen 2 can be enhanced.

To use the folding screen 2 of the present invention, the folding screen 2 is first supported on the ground through the hinge fasteners 5 and the retainers 5′ of the bottom folder 3, after which the user pulls outwardly the two outer ones of the upright posts 4 so as to pivot the first and second links 31, 32 of the top and bottom folders 3. The folding screen 2 can be totally unfolded to form a straight line, or partially unfolded, as shown in FIG. 3.

It should be noted that the packing members 82 provided in association with the endmost connectors 312 and the hinge units 33 serve to prevent direct contact between the endmost connectors 312 and the corresponding upright posts 4 and between the hinge units 33 and the corresponding upright posts 4. The heads 51′, 51 of the retainers 5′ and the hinge fasteners 5 of the bottom folder 3 serve to support the upright posts 4 on the ground.

Referring to FIG. 7, the top end of each screen member 6 may be initially folded and sewn to form a top sleeve 61 for receiving the corresponding first link 31 or the second link 32 of the top folder 3, and the bottom end of each screen member 6 maybe initially folded and sewn to form a bottom sleeve 61 for receiving the corresponding first link 31 or the second link 32 of the bottom folder 3. Thus, during assembly, the first links 31 or the second links 32 of the top and bottom folders 3 are first inserted into the top and bottom sleeves 61 of the corresponding screen member 6 prior to fastening of the hinge units 33 and the endmost connectors 312 by the hinge fasteners 5 and the retainers 5′ to the corresponding upright posts 4.

Referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, to reduce the number of components and to minimize the cost of the folding screen 2, the tubular members 331 may be dispensed with, and the stem 52 of each hinge fastener 5 may be partially threaded. Hence, when the first and second rings 323, 315 of each hinge unit 33 of the top and bottom folders 3 are intermeshed and are placed on the top or bottom end of the corresponding upright post 4, the stem 52 of each hinge fastener 5 is inserted through the corresponding packing member 82, the first and second rings 323, 315, another corresponding packing member 82, and engages threadedly the screw hole 411, 421 in the top or bottom end of the corresponding upright post 4, thereby securing each hinge unit 33 on the top or bottom end of the corresponding upright post 4.

Referring to FIGS. 10 and 11, the second preferred embodiment of the modular folding screen 2 according to the present invention is shown to be similar to the first preferred embodiment. However, in this embodiment, the folding screen 2 further comprises four coupling units 7 each having a flange portion 71, and two threaded shanks 72 extending outwardly and respectively from two opposite sides of the flange portion 71. These coupling units 7 can permit the user to increase the height of the folding screen 2 as desired/required. Each of the upright posts 4 has upper and lower sections 401, 402. Each coupling unit 7 interconnects detachably the upper and lower sections 401, 402 of the corresponding upright post 4 through engagement of the threaded shanks 72 of the coupling unit 7 with the screw holes 421, 411 in the upper and lower sections 401, 402 of the corresponding upright post 4. Thus, the folding screen 2 in this embodiment has a height higher than that in the first preferred embodiment.

An alternative method for increasing the height of the folding screen 2 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 12. The folding screen 2 is provided with an intermediate folder 3′ that is similar in construction to the top and bottom folders 3 of the first preferred embodiment and that interconnects detachably the upper and lower sections 401, 402 of the upright posts 4. Since the connection of the intermediate folder 3′ is similar to that of either the top or bottom folder 3 of the first preferred embodiment, a detailed description of the same is dispensed herewith for the sake of brevity. In this case, as shown in FIG. 13, each screen member 6′ may be in the form of a plate, each of the first and second links 31, 32 of each of the top and bottom folders 3 may be provided with an elongate groove 317, and each of the first and second links 31′, 32′ of the intermediate folder 3′, may be provided with upper and lower elongate grooves 317′. Each screen member 6′ is inserted into the corresponding grooves 317, 317′ in the first links 31, 31′ or the second links 32, 32′ of the top, bottom, and intermediate folders 3, 3′.

From the aforementioned descriptions, it is apparent that due to the configuration of the folding screen 2 of the present invention, assembly and disassembly of the folding screen 2 is quick and easy. Furthermore, through variations that can be made on the connections of the screen members 6, 6′ with the top, bottom, and intermediate folders 3, 3′, and on the connections of the coupling units 7 with the upper and lower sections 401, 402 of the upright posts 4, the folding screen 2 of the present invention can be assembled to form various structures.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.