Title:
Collapsible outdoor table and support
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable collapsible table assembly having a support surface, a centrally located pole coupled to the support surface and a ground support structure coupled to the pole. The ground support structure includes a pair of downwardly facing spear members aligned along the central axis of the pole. The spear members intersect one another generally along the central axis of the pole, and the spear members are substantially perpendicular to one another.



Inventors:
Becker, Scott (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/410391
Publication Date:
10/25/2007
Filing Date:
04/25/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/50.12
International Classes:
A45B3/00; A47B37/00
View Patent Images:
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20080121259Systems And Methods For Assisting A Seated Person To A Standing PositionMay, 2008Weaver
20080190471TENT ELECTRICAL SYSTEMAugust, 2008Tarter et al.
20070044827Moisture diversion system for a collapsible structureMarch, 2007Yul et al.
20070283990CONVERTIBLE WHEELCHAIR AND WALKERDecember, 2007Fernandez et al.
20080210283TENT WITH HINGED DOOR OR WINDOWSeptember, 2008Hinz et al.
20020117196Retractable upright pole for a camping tentAugust, 2002Han



Primary Examiner:
CHEN, JOSE V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RYAN KROMHOLZ & MANION, S.C. (POST OFFICE BOX 26618, MILWAUKEE, WI, 53226, US)
Claims:
I/we claim:

1. A portable, collapsible table assembly comprising: an umbrella; a centrally located pole having a first end and a second end, said first end coupled to said umbrella; a support surface having a bore for receiving said pole; and a ground support structure coupled to said second end of said pole, said ground support structure comprising: at least a pair of downwardly facing spear members, each of said spear members having a central axis, said spear members intersecting one another generally along said central axis, said spear members being substantially perpendicular to one another.

2. The table assembly according to claim 1 wherein said spear members are triangular.

3. The table assembly according to claim 1 wherein said pole further comprises: a top section coupled to said umbrella; a middle section being receivable by said support surface; and a bottom section coupled to said ground support structure.

4. The table assembly according to claim 1 wherein said support structure further comprises a retaining structure located around the perimeter of said support structure.

5. The table assembly according to claim 1 further comprising a storage area for transporting the table assembly in a collapsed arrangement, said storage area integrated to said support surface.

6. A portable collapsible table assembly comprising: a support surface; a centrally located pole having a first end and a second end, said first end coupled to said support surface; and a ground support structure coupled to said second end of said pole, said ground support structure comprising: at least a pair of downwardly facing spear members, each of said spear members having a central axis, said spear members intersecting one another generally along said central axis, said spear members being substantially perpendicular to one another.

7. The table assembly according to claim 6 wherein said spear members are triangular.

8. The table assembly according to claim 6 wherein said support structure further comprises a retaining structure around the perimeter of said support structure.

9. The table assembly according to claim 6 further comprising a storage area for transporting the table assembly in a collapsed arrangement, said storage area integrated to said support surface.

10. The table assembly according to claim 9 wherein said support structure further comprises a handle.

11. The table assembly according to claim 6 further comprising a coupler for coupling said pole to said support surface.

12. The table assembly according to claim 11 wherein said coupler and said table are of unitary construction.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to portable furniture and, specifically, portable tables. Patio and outdoor furniture generally are designed to be left in a designated place for an extended period, such as during a summer season. Usually, these tables are heavy and sturdy so that they withstand being left outdoors without tipping or falling over. However, there are many instances, such as at a public park or other similar area, where it is not possible to leave the table or furniture for an extended period of time.

Likewise, shade structures that are portable for use at the beach or other similar areas are not ideal for use as a table. These structures, if they do include a table-like surface, tend to not be well balanced and can be easily shifted or moved, thereby minimizing the use of the device as a table.

Portable outdoor tables and umbrellas have been contemplated in the prior art. While adequate for simple shade protection, such as at a beach, they have potential drawbacks relating to proper support and balance. Furthermore, these umbrellas and tables may be cumbersome to transport. Some tables use augers as support for the tables. For instance, Williams et al. (U.S. Pat. No. 6,487,977), describes a collapsible table. The table must be screwed into the ground with an auger, which may be difficult in dense ground, especially when it is needed to screw the auger sufficiently into the ground to balance the table. To overcome this shortcoming, Williams utilizes a stabilizing bar to help with the balance of the table. However, the stabilizing bar is arranged to rest on the ground when the auger is completely screwed into the ground, which still can lead to an unbalanced table if the auger is not sufficiently secured downwardly into the ground.

Credle, Sr. (U.S. Pat. No. 5,417,166) shows a portable table. The center pole of the table has a beveled end that is inserted into the ground. While the table also has a handle located in the support section of the assembly to force the pole adequately into the ground, the table still has the same problems with balance as discussed above. The table may still be inserted unevenly into the ground and adjusting the table after being inserted into the table can loosen the area around the support, thereby lessening the balance of the table.

Thus, it would be advantageous to have a portable table that is easily inserted into the ground with the table being sufficiently balanced without the need of extra support structures or devices.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a portable, collapsible table assembly to be supported upon an outdoor location. The assembly has a centrally located pole, a support surface or a table surface that has a bore for receiving the pole, and a ground support structure coupled to the pole, that will be driven into the ground. The ground support structure comprises a pair of downwardly facing spear members, each having a central axis and intersecting one another generally along the central axis. The spears are arranged to provide an easily insertable support structure that will sufficiently balance the table.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a collapsible table assembly in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the table assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a support surface used with the table assembly of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the support surface shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the support surface of FIG. 3 taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the support surface of FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of a ground support structure in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is top plan sectional view of the ground support structure of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a locking member used in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a cross-section view of the locking member of FIG. 9 taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Although the disclosure hereof is detailed and exact to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, the physical embodiments herein disclosed merely exemplify the invention which may be embodied in other specific structures. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a portable table assembly 10 according to the present invention. The table assembly 10 is designed-so that it will sufficiently be supported and balanced upon the ground or a substrate 5. The table assembly 10 is self-supporting and does not need extra ropes, poles, or bars to keep the assembly 10 upright.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the assembly 10 generally comprises an umbrella 12, a pole 14 having a first end 14a connected to the umbrella 12 and a second end 14b, a support surface 16, and a ground support structure 18 (shown in phantom)that is connected to the second end 14b of the pole 14. The pole 14 is preferably centrally located with respect to the umbrella 12, the support surface 16, and the ground support structure 18 to further insure the assembly 10 is evenly balanced.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the assembly 10. The pole 14 is shown as three separate sections, a top section 20, a middle section 22, and a bottom section 24, but the pole 14 may be designed with more or fewer sections, as preferred. The sections are preferably designed so that they will easily mate with one another to insure a tight fit. Additionally, the mating sections may be threaded to further allow the section to be secured to one another. The top section 20 is shown coupled to the umbrella 12, which allows an area or structure to grab the umbrella 12 when assembling or disassembling the table assembly 10. The middle section 22 intersects the support surface 16 at a bore 26, preferably centrally located on the support surface 16. The middle section 22 may be further secured to the bottom section 24 and the support surface 16 by a coupler 28.

FIGS. 3-6 depict the support surface 16. As shown, the support surface 16 has a round or circular shape and generally comprises a table 17, but any shape of the support surface 16 will fall within the scope of the invention. Along the perimeter 30 of the of the support surface 16 is a retaining structure 32, which forms a lip so that objects, such as playing cards, pens, or pencils, will not fall off the table 17 if the table assembly 10 is inadvertently bumped or shifted. FIG. 5 shows a cross-sectional view of the support surfaced 16, which shows the retaining structure 32 at an elevated height compared to the table 17. Also, the bore 26 is shown as passing completely through the support surface 16 and the table 17 to allow the pole 14 to pass through and be coupled to the support surface 16. It is to be understood that if the table assembly 10 was designed without an umbrella, it would be possible that the bore 26 would not necessarily pass completely through the support surface 16 or the table 17. Either arrangement of the bore 26 will fall within the scope of the present invention. The support surface 16 also has a built in handle 34 that allows the assembly 10 to be easily transported.

FIG. 6 shows a bottom view of the support surface 16. The support surface 16 may have a built in storage area 36 or storage areas 36. The storage area 36 allows the umbrella 12, the sections 22, 24 of the pole 14, and other possible parts of the table assembly 10 to be transported easily when the assembly 10 is disassembled. The storage areas 36 may consist of any structures, such as straps, clips, pockets, or other similar devices, that will allow the specific sections of the table assembly 10 to be secured to the support surface 16 for easy transportation. Alternatively, a bag or carrying case may be used to transport the table assembly 10.

FIGS. 7 and 8 provide close-up views of the ground support structure 18. The structure 18 comprises a pair of spear members 38, 40. The spear members 38, 40 intersect each other along an axis A, which is aligned along the pole 14. The spears 38, 40 are arranged perpendicular to one another, and also are preferably symmetrically divided along the axis A. This provides the necessary stability for the assembly 10 to properly stand upright when the ground support structure 18 is inserted in the substrate 5 (see FIG. 1). This is an advantage over prior assemblies by providing a much sturdier support base that does not need extra attachments, cross-bars, or support devices for properly orientating the assembly 10. The spear members 38, 40 also are preferably of the same height, so that it will be easy to determine if support structure is being evenly inserted into the ground or substrate 5.

The ground support structure 18 provides a wide base that is easier to insert into the ground or substrate 5 when compared to prior art devices, without requiring extra elements to balance or support the assembly 10. The spear members 38, 40 may be formed as a unitary device or each of the spear members 38, 40 may be individually manufactured and then fit together by the user. Similarly, the ground support structure 18 may be a separate piece from the pole 14 or designed integrally with the pole. The ground support structure 18 may comprise more spear members if desired, with the extra spear members also intersecting along the central axis A.

Because the spear members 38, 40 are relatively narrow and cover a proportionally large area when compared to prior are support devices, they provide an improved support, yet are easier to insert into the ground. Also, as previously mentioned, the spear members 38, 40 are preferably designed to be of the same length or height. This further insures that the table assembly 10 will be level when inserted into the ground or substrate 5, since it will be easy to determine when both spear members 38, 40 are flush with the ground or substrate 5.

FIG. 9 and 10 provide close-up views of the coupler 28. As previously discussed with respect to FIG. 2, the middle section 22 may be secured to the bottom section 24 and the support surface 16 by the coupler 28. The coupler 28 has a passageway 42 that is sized to allow the middle section 22 and the bottom section 24 to be inserted into the passageway 42. A threaded tensioner 44 intersects the side of the coupler 28 to secure and hold the mated sections 22, 24 of the pole 14 in place. Alternatively, the pole 14 could have a plurality of holes located along the length of the pole 14 that would allow a pin or other device passing through the coupler to retain the support surface 16 to the pole 14. The coupler 28 allows the height of the support surface 16 to be adjusted as desired. The coupler 28 could be designed as a separate piece from the support surface 16 or could be integrally formed with the support surface 16. Provided a coupler allows the pole 14 and the support surface 16 to be secured together, the device will fall within the scope of the present invention.

The table assembly 10 of the present invention provides an outdoor table that is easy to transport and easy to erect. The design of the ground support structure 18 allows a quick and efficient manner for erecting the table assembly 10. While previous table assemblies were cumbersome to erect since they needed to be forcefully screwed into the ground or needed extra elements or devices to be properly inserted into the ground, the present invention can be easily inserted. The design of the support structure 18 is easily passed into the ground, while still providing a large support base for the table assembly 10, which is not present in tales that are screwed into the ground. Not only is the assembly 10 easier to erect than other assemblies, it also is more stable than prior assemblies. Thus, there is less chance that drinks or other items placed upon the support surface 16 will spill or tip over when compared to prior art assemblies.

The foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Furthermore, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. While the preferred embodiment has been described, the details may be changed without departing from the invention, which is defined by the claims.