Title:
Windproof umbrella with integral upper canopy and method of making same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Windproof umbrella and method of making same are disclosed. The method includes providing an integral, polygonal cloth having corners; forming substantially conic members each disposed on a joining end of one corner and another adjacent corner by shaping and stitching; providing a folding radial frame; securing a lower canopy having a central opening onto the frame; and securing the cloth onto the frame to form an upper canopy having sectors in covering relation to the central opening. The conic members are substantially flat in an inoperative state and are expanded to form a substantially conic shape in response to high winds. Each escape path for wind is thus formed between the sector of the upper canopy and an upper edge of the lower canopy. No cutting is involved in the method. Also, no creases and looseness in a central portion of the umbrella are formed.



Inventors:
You, Ching-chuan (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
11/386730
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
03/23/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/33.7
International Classes:
A45B25/20
View Patent Images:
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20100037929PROTECTIVE ELEMENTFebruary, 2010Liu
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ching-chuan You, Rm 532 5Fl No 144 (Ming Chuan E. Rd., Sec. 3, P. O. Box 1-79, Taipei, 105, TW)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A process of manufacturing a windproof umbrella, comprising the steps of: (i) providing an integral piece of polygonal cloth having a plurality of corners; (ii) forming a plurality of substantially conic members each disposed on a joining end of one corner and another adjacent corner by shaping and stitching wherein the conic members are substantially flat in an inoperative state and are expanded to form a substantially conic shape in response to high winds; (iii) providing a folding radial frame including a center post, a plurality of stretchers, and a plurality of ribs; (iv) securing a lower canopy having a central opening onto the frame; and (v) securing the cloth onto the frame to form an upper canopy having a plurality of sectors in covering relation to the central opening.

2. The process of claim 1, wherein the forming of a substantially conic shape in each of the conic members in the step (ii) further forms a plurality of escape paths for wind each between the sector of the upper canopy and an upper edge of the lower canopy.

3. The process of claim 1, further comprising the step of printing one or more patters on the cloth prior to the step (i).

4. The process of claim 1, wherein the cloth has eight corners.

5. The process of claim 1, wherein the cloth has six corners.

6. A windproof umbrella, comprising: a folding radial frame including a center post, a plurality of stretchers, and a plurality of ribs; a lower canopy having a central opening secured onto the frame; and an upper canopy having a plurality of sectors secured onto the frame in covering relation to the central opening; wherein the upper canopy is formed by an integral piece of polygonal cloth having a plurality of corners and a plurality of substantially conic members each formed on a joining end of one corner and another adjacent corner by shaping and stitching; the conic members are substantially flat in an inoperative state and are expanded to form a substantially conic shape in response to high winds; and a plurality of escape paths for wind each between the sector of the upper canopy and an upper edge of the lower canopy are formed in response to the forming of a substantially conic shape in each of the conic members.

7. The umbrella of claim 6, wherein one or more patters are printed on the cloth prior to forming the upper canopy.

8. The umbrella of claim 6, wherein the cloth has eight corners.

9. The umbrella of claim 6, wherein the cloth has six corners.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to windproof umbrellas and more particularly to a windproof umbrella having an integral upper canopy and a method of manufacturing same. 2. Description of Related Art

A conventional windproof umbrella 1 disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,979,534 comprises an upper canopy 12 and a lower canopy 11 both stretched over a folding radial frame 10. A plurality of vent holes are formed on the lower canopy 11 and at least one vent hole is formed on the upper canopy 12. A plurality of escape paths for wind 13 are formed between the upper canopy 12 and the lower canopy 11 when strong wind exerts an upward force from an underside of the umbrella 1 to resiliently slightly pull the upper canopy 12 away from the lower canopy 11 about a top of a center post. However, the upper canopy 12 is not formed integrally. In fact, eight triangular sectors 14 of cloth are stitched together to form an upper canopy 12 in the manufacturing process. This is a time consuming process, resulting in an increase in the manufacturing cost. Moreover, forming aesthetic pattern(s) on the upper canopy 12 is more difficult due to stitching.

Another conventional ventilated umbrella disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,155,278 comprises a first canopy secured on an inner area of a fully expanded surface of a support frame, and a band-shaped second canopy secured on an outer area of the fully expanded surface of support frame and slightly overlapped by the first canopy. A gap between an outer edge of the first canopy and an inner edge of the second canopy is enlarged by stretching each of a plurality of extension strips extending inward from the inner edge of the second canopy, thereby enhancing a ventilating effect. However, the manufacturing process is complicated. Also, the desired ventilating effect is an exaggeration since the gap is small even in its enlarged state during high winds.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,806,546 entitled “A Method of Eliminating Corrugation in Central Umbrella Cover” discloses a method of manufacturing an integral canopy by a single piece of plain weave cloth. The weft has no stretch capability and the warp has a slight stretch capability. The umbrella cover and the main ribs are set at an angle of ten degrees relative to each other. The tail end of the main ribs and the sewing points of the umbrella cloth are not fallen on the parallel line of the warp of weft. Length is different from the sewing points to the central part of the ribs so as to balance tension of different stretch points. Edge of the umbrella cover is cut out and is sewed properly for not generating corrugation. When the umbrella is open, the central part of the umbrella cover does not have corrugation and looseness because the main ribs have a slight curvature and the oblique mesh is able to balance the stretched tension. However, its manufacturing process is very complicated, resulting in an increase in the manufacturing cost. Further, structural strength of the umbrella is adversely affected by the stretch and the cutting. Thus, the need for improvement still exists.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a windproof umbrella having an integral upper canopy and a method of manufacturing same without involving a cutting step. Also, no creases and looseness in a central portion of the umbrella are formed. Further, the manufacturing process is much simplified, resulting in a decrease in the manufacturing cost. Furthermore, the windproof effect is much enhanced.

In an aspect of the present invention there is provided a process of manufacturing a windproof umbrella, comprising providing an integral piece of polygonal cloth having a plurality of corners; forming a plurality of substantially conic members each disposed on a joining end of one corner and another adjacent corner by shaping and stitching wherein the conic members are substantially flat in an inoperative state, and the conic members are expanded to form a substantially conic shape in response to high winds; providing a folding radial frame including a center post, a plurality of stretchers, and a plurality of ribs; securing a lower canopy having a central opening onto the frame; and securing the cloth onto the frame to form an upper canopy having a plurality of sectors in covering relation to the central opening; wherein each of a plurality of escape paths for wind is formed between the sector of the upper canopy and an upper edge of the lower canopy.

In another aspect of the present invention there is provided a windproof umbrella comprising a folding radial frame including a center post, a plurality of stretchers, and a plurality of ribs; a lower canopy having a central opening secured onto the frame; and an upper canopy having a plurality of sectors secured onto the frame in covering relation to the central opening; wherein the upper canopy is formed by an integral piece of polygonal cloth having a plurality of corners and a plurality of substantially conic members each formed on a joining end of one corner and another adjacent corner by shaping and stitching; the conic members are substantially flat in an inoperative state and are expanded to form a substantially conic shape in response to high winds; and a plurality of escape paths for wind each between the sector of the upper canopy and an upper edge of the lower canopy are formed in response to the forming of a substantially conic shape in each of the conic members.

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional windproof umbrella in an open condition;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of windproof umbrella according to the invention, in an open condition;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an integral upper canopy prior to manufacturing;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the upper canopy in FIG. 3 showing one of a plurality of corners thereof being shaped in the manufacturing process;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of the area in circle of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing a stitching step of forming a conic member in the manufacturing process;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing the expanded conic member in response to high winds;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the produced upper canopy of the invention;

FIG. 9 is a sectional view of the conventional windproof umbrella showing the forming of an escape path for wind in response to high winds;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view of the windproof umbrella of the invention showing the forming of escape paths for wind in response to high winds; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic side view of a portion of the windproof umbrella frame of the invention showing the expanding of the conic member and the forming of the air escape route in response to high winds.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 2 to 8 and 11, a windproof umbrella in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention comprises a folding radial frame 2, an upper canopy 4, and a lower canopy 3 having a central opening (not shown). The frame 2 comprises a center post 21, a plurality of stretchers, and a plurality of ribs 22 having one end pivotably connected to a top of the post 21. The upper canopy 4 is secured onto upper portions the ribs 22, has a center secured to the top of the post 21, and is positioned in a partial covering relation to an upper edge of the lower canopy 3 as detailed later.

A manufacturing process of the upper canopy 4 is illustrated below. The upper canopy 4 is formed of an integral piece of polygonal cloth 41 having eight corners 43. Note that the cloth 41 may have six corners or a number of corners other than eight. Next, form a substantially conic member 42 on a joining end of one corner 43 and another adjacent corner 43. The conic member 42 has a tapered closed end toward a center of the cloth 41 and a space open to outer edge of the cloth 41. Further, the space is open to a triangular portion of the cloth 41 proximate the corner 43 prior to being closed by stitching in the final step of the manufacturing process. The formed conic member 42 is substantially flat. A substantially conic shape is formed by the conic member 42 in response to high winds (see FIG. 7). Also, the cloth 41 has a curvature after forming the conic members 42 at the corners 43. Thus, no creases and looseness in a central portion of the umbrella when the formed cloth 41 (i.e., the upper canopy 4) is secured onto the ribs 22 (see FIG. 8). The formed upper canopy 4 is positioned in a partial covering relation to the upper edge of the lower canopy 3, thereby forming eight escape paths for wind 40 between eight sectors of the upper canopy 4 and the upper edge of the lower canopy 3. The escape path for wind 40 has a width defined from one conic member 42 to an. adjacent conic member 42 (see FIG. 2).

Referring to FIG. 9, in the prior art windproof umbrella a plurality of escape paths for wind 13 are formed at an unstitched portion between the upper canopy 12 and the lower canopy 11 when strong wind exerts an upward force from an underside of the umbrella to resiliently slightly pull the upper canopy 12 away from the lower canopy 11 about the top of the post 21. However, in fact, not all escape paths for wind 13 are open (i.e., some escape paths for wind 13 are still closed) during high winds. As a result, the desired wind escaping effect is much compromised. In contrast as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, wind quickly blows into the conic members 42 to fully expand same. At the same time, if wind is sufficiently strong the escape paths for wind 40 are formed and expanded quickly by the high winds from the conic members 42 to provide a sufficient air escape route 44 between the upper canopy 4 and the lower canopy 3 (i.e., a maximum distance therebetween) during high winds so as to prevent inversion of the umbrella constructed in accordance with the invention.

Sizes of the air escape routes 44 and the escape paths for wind 40 are automatically changed in response to the expanding extent of the conic members 42 which is again changed in response to wind strength. That is, the stronger of high winds the larger of the sizes of the air escape routes 44 and the escape paths for wind 40 will be. As a result, the wind escaping effect is very good. Further, no cutting is involved in the manufacturing process of the upper canopy 4. Thus, the manufacturing process is much simple. Furthermore, aesthetic pattern(s) may be printed on the integral cloth 41 prior to the manufacturing process without worrying about being cut undesirably as experienced by the prior art.

While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention set forth in the claims.