Title:
TABLECLOTH THAT CONVERTS TO CARRY BAG
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A table cover for a foldable table, such as a camping folding table. The table cover is convertible to a carry bag for the table when the table is folded into a compact, storage configuration. The table cover includes a drawstring or other cinching mechanism for drawing the edges of the table cover around a top surface of the table. A strap is provided for carrying the table when the table is enclosed within the table cover. In an embodiment, the strap secures the table cover in a carry case configuration around the table.



Inventors:
Matheus, Gail R. (Towanda, KS, US)
Swearingen, Lance Van (Wichita, KS, US)
Application Number:
11/782447
Publication Date:
01/31/2008
Filing Date:
07/24/2007
Assignee:
THE COLEMAN COMPANY, INC. (Wichita, KS, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD.;(SEATTLE OFFICE) (TWO PRUDENTIAL PLAZA, SUITE 4900, CHICAGO, IL, 60601-6731, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A table cover that fits onto a top of a table and that is convertible to a carry bag for the table when the table is folded into a compact, storage configuration.

2. A table and table cover combination, comprising: a table defining a top and that is arrangeable between a compact storage configuration defining a storage width and a storage length and an erected configuration defining an erected width and an erected length, at least one of the storage length being shorter than the erected length and the storage width being shorter than the erected width; and a table cover configured to substantially fit over the top of the table when the table is in the erected configuration and to extend around and enclose the table when the table is in the storage configuration.

3. The combination of claim 2, wherein the storage length is shorter than the erected length and the storage width is shorter than the erected width.

4. The combination of claim 2, wherein the table is a folding table.

5. The combination of claim 4, wherein the folding table, in the storage configuration, comprises a tubular configuration.

6. The combination of claim 2, wherein the table cover comprises at least one pouch attached to a side edge of the table cover.

7. The combination of claim 2, wherein at least one side of the table cover includes a game board pattern.

8. The combination of claim 7, wherein opposite sides of the table cover each include a different game board pattern.

9. The combination of claim 2, wherein the table cover comprises a drawstring extending around an outer perimeter of the table cover, the drawstring being cinchable so that corners and side and end edges of the table cover may cinch around the top of the table.

10. The combination of claim 9, further comprising a lock mechanism for holding the drawstring in the cinched position.

11. The combination of claim 2, wherein the table cover comprises a first structure at one end of the table cover, and a second structure at an opposite end of the table cover, the two structures used to hold the table cover to enclose the table when the table is in the storage configuration.

12. The combination of claim 11, wherein the first and second structures each comprise a grommet.

13. The combination of claim 12, wherein the grommets are centered on opposite ends of the table cover.

14. The combination of claim 13, further comprising a strap to connect the two grommets.

15. The combination of claim 2, wherein, to enclose the table, the table cover is folded over the table, with opposite edges overlapping each other to form folded layers, and the two ends of the table cover are then folded over the folded layers of the table cover.

16. The combination of claim 15, further comprising a strap to connect the two ends.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/820,284, filed Jul. 25, 2006, and incorporated herein in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In general, a camping folding table is a lightweight table that can be folded into a compact configuration for storage and transport. Camping folding tables come in a variety of different configuration and sizes, and are convenient for camping and other outdoor activities. The tables may also used in indoor settings and are convenient in that they may be folded and put away after use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of some embodiments of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some embodiments of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description of some embodiments that are presented later.

In accordance with an embodiment, a table cover is provided for a foldable table, such as a camping folding table. The table cover is convertible to a carry bag for the table when the table is folded into a compact, storage configuration.

In an embodiment, the table cover includes a drawstring or other cinching mechanism for drawing the edges of the table cover around a top surface of the table.

In accordance with an embodiment, a strap is provided for carrying the table when the table is enclosed within the table cover. In an embodiment, the strap secures the table cover in a carry case configuration around the table.

Other features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of a table cover in accordance with an embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of a table folded and placed on top of the table cover of FIG. 1, at a beginning stage of enclosing the table in the table cover;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of a further stage of enclosing the table in the table cover, with the table cover folded around the table;

FIG. 4 still a further stage of folding of the table cover, showing a strap bound around the center of the table cover and the table;

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of yet a further stage of enclosing the table and the table cover, with the ends of the table cover secured by a shoulder strap; and

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of the table showing in a folded out position with the table cover positioned on an upper surface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, various embodiments of the present invention will be described. For purposes of explanation, specific configurations and details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. Furthermore, well-known features may be omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the embodiment being described.

Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows a table cover 20 in accordance with an embodiment. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the table cover 20 is shaped in a rectangular form, but may be shaped differently for tables having different shapes.

For the embodiment shown in the drawings, the table cover 20 is configured to fit onto a table 22 (FIG. 6). The table 22 is a folding table, and preferably a camping folding table. In an embodiment, the table 22 folds into a compact configuration, such as in the tubular configuration shown in FIG. 2.

In an embodiment, as further described below, the table defines a width and a length when erected, and in a storage configuration has at least one of the width and the length being shorter than the erected width and length. Multiple different embodiments are possible. Some are shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,283,045, 6,874,427, D456,180, and Japan Publication Numbers JP2004089556, JP2003079434, JP2001017236, and JP2002095530. Such folding tables and their constructions are known, and the table cover 20 is not limited to use with the tables in the cited patents and publications.

The table cover 20 shown in the drawings includes pouches 24, 26 attached to and hanging from opposite side edges of the table cover. The pouches 24, 26 may be configured to receive, for example, cups, cards, or other items that may be used in connection with the table cover 20. Pouches may additionally or alternatively be provided in different areas of the table cloth, such at end edges.

In an embodiment, at least one side of the table cover 20 includes a game board pattern, such as a backgammon board, a chess board, or another game, printed or otherwise shown on the face of the side. Game pieces for such a game board may be stored in one or both of the pouches 24, 26. Separate game boards may be printed on opposite sides of the table cover 20.

The table cover 20 shown in the drawings includes a drawstring 28 extending around an outer perimeter of the table cover. The drawstring 28 is cinchable so that the corners and the side and end edges of the table cover 20 may cinch around the top of the table 22, as is shown in FIG. 6. A lock mechanism may be provided for holding the drawstring 28 in the cinched position. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the drawstring 28 includes two ends that come out of a side grommet 30. A barrel lock 32 is attached to the two ends of the drawstring 28 and may be used to cinch and lock the drawstring 28 into place, thus locking the table cover 20 onto the top of the table 22. Other cinching mechanisms may be used, or a table cover may be attached in other ways over the top of the table 20.

The table cover 20 includes two end grommets 34, 36 that are centered on opposite ends of the table cover. The function of these end grommets 34, 36 is described below.

In accordance with an embodiment, the table cover 20 may be used as a carrying case for the table 20 when the table is folded into a compact storage configuration. To this end, FIGS. 2 to 5 show various stages of enclosing the folded table 22 in the table cover 20. Beginning at FIG. 2, the folded table 22 is placed on the table cover 20. In the embodiment shown, the folded table 22 extends lengthwise on the table cover 20, but different arrangements of the table and table cover may be used depending upon the folding method use for the table cover 20, and configuration of the table cover 20 and the folded, collapsed, table 22.

In general, the table cover 20 and the table 22 are configured such that the table, when folded into a compact arrangement, fits fully within and is captured by the table cover. To this end, when folded, the table 22 is smaller in cross-sectional area so that the table cover 20 may extend around the folded table. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the table cover 20 wraps around the folded table 22 and end flaps of the table cover are folded to fully capture the folded table. In an embodiment, this full encasement of the table is provided by the fact that the length and/or width of the table in the folded configuration are smaller than the length and width of the table in the use configuration. Thus, the table cover 20 is sufficiently large to extend beyond the ends of the folded table, permitting excess material of the table cover to be folded around the folded table. As can be understood, if both the width and length are less when the table 22 is folded into the compact configuration, then the table cover may more easily be arranged to encase the folded table. However, an embodiment of a table cover and table combination do not require this reduction in both length and width.

After the table 22 is positioned on the table cover 20, the pouches 24, 26 are folded inward. The table cover 20 is then folded lengthwise over the table 22, with opposite side edges overlapping each other. The ends of the table cover 20 are then folded over the folded layers of the table cover, such as is shown in FIG. 3. The folded over ends of the table cover 20 define end flaps 40, 42.

If desired, hook and loop fasteners, clasps, clips, ties, clamps, straps, or other closure devices may be used to attach portions of the table cover 20 during the enclosing process of the table 22. For example, if desired, the end flaps 40, 42 may include closure mechanisms, such as hook and loop closures, to act as a safety to prevent the table 22 from sliding out of the enclosed table cover 20. For example, a strap 38 (FIG. 4) may be cinched around the center of the table cover 20 to hold the table 22 in position within the table cover.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, when the table cover 20 is folded as shown in FIG. 3, the end grommets 34, 36 are exposed on the ends of the end flaps 40, 42. To maintain the end flaps 40, 42 in the position shown in FIG. 3, a shoulder strap 50 (FIG. 5) may be attached to the grommets 34, 36. The shoulder strap 50 may include clips 52, 54 for this purpose, although clasps, ties, closures, or other attachment mechanisms may be used.

The table cover 20 provides many advantages in that it serves not only as a cover for the table 22, but also as a storage or carry bag for the table. In an embodiment, the table 20 is fully enclosed by the table cover 22 when the table is in the folded configuration, even though the table cover is only slightly larger than a top of the table when the table is erected.

By serving as a carry bag, a separate storage container is not required for the table cover 20, thus providing convenience in storage and transport. Moreover, a retailer may sell the table 22 while stored in the table cover 20, possibly eliminating the need for packaging materials. The strap 50 may serve as a handle or a shoulder strap to simplify transport.

The table cover 20 may be reversible, and may include different surfaces so that game surfaces or other decorations may be provided on the opposite sides of the table cover, and may be alternatively presented by turning the table cover 20 over. In addition, by decorating opposite surfaces with different decorations, different appearances may be provided in a carry configuration and a cover configuration. This feature permits, for example, advertising information or logo information to be placed on the outside of the table cover 20 when in the storage configuration. In addition, by folding the table cover 20 in a particular manner, such as with the top of the table cover folding inward around the folded table 22, a top surface of the table cover may be kept clean.

Other variations are within the spirit of the present invention. Thus, while the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, a certain illustrated embodiment thereof is shown in the drawings and has been described above in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form or forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. The term “connected” is to be construed as partly or wholly contained within, attached to, or joined together, even if there is something intervening. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate embodiments of the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.