Title:
Canopy for covering a table top
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The canopy has a generally dome-shaped cover which, in use opens downwardly. The canopy is used in conjunction with a clamp for attaching the canopy to a table such that access to any objects on the table top cannot be gained without detaching the canopy from the table top. The canopy prevents unwanted handling of dishes and cutlery during pre-meal set up as well as unwanted handling of food and any other items on the table before a meal is ready to be served.



Inventors:
Gillespie, Patrick (Courtice, CA)
Application Number:
12/073665
Publication Date:
09/11/2008
Filing Date:
03/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, PLLC (P.O. BOX 1364, FAIRFAX, VA, 22038-1364, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. In combination, a canopy for a table provided with a table top having oppositely facing upper and lower surfaces between which a side wall extends, said canopy comprising: a generally dome-shaped cover which, in use opens downwardly; and securing means for removably attaching said canopy to said table such that access to any objects on said upper surface over which said cover lies cannot be gained without detaching said canopy from said table top.

2. The combination of claim 1 further including a frame adapted to be seated on said upper surface, said cover being attached to said frame and extending upwardly therefrom.

3. The combination of claim 2 wherein said securing means, when functioning to attached said canopy to said table, is arranged and constructed to prevent said frame from being pivoted upward about said securing means to gain access to said objects.

4. The combination of claim 2 wherein said securing means includes a pair of parallel spaced apart jaws which function to clamp said frame and said table top together with resulting attachment of said canopy and said table, one of said jaws, when so functioning, contacting an area of said frame of sufficient size as to prevent said canopy from being pivoted upward about said securing means.

5. The combination of claim 1 wherein said securing means includes: a pair of parallel spaced apart jaws; resilient means for urging said jaws together; and a handle for applying a force manually to at least one of said jaws, opposed to the bias of the said resilient means, in order to separate said jaws such that said canopy can be removed from said table top.

6. The combination of claim 2 wherein said securing means includes: a pair of parallel spaced apart jaws; resilient means for urging said jaws together; and a handle for applying a force manually to at least one of said jaws, opposed to the bias of the said resilient means, in order to separate said jaws, said frame and said table top being clamped together between said jaws.

7. The combination of claim 5 further including sealing means disposed on each said jaw for sealingly engaging said canopy and said table top.

8. The canopy of claim 1 wherein said canopy is composed of washable plastic.

9. In combination, a canopy for a table provided with a table top having oppositely facing upper and lower surfaces between which a side wall extends, said canopy comprising: a generally dome-shaped cover which, in use, opens downwardly, and a frame adapted to be seated on said upper surface, said cover being attached to said frame and extending upwardly therefrom; and securing means for removably attaching said canopy to said table, said securing means having a pair of parallel spaced apart jaws which function to clamp said frame and said table top together with resulting attachment of said canopy to said table, one of said jaws, when so functioning, contacting an area of said frame of sufficient size as to prevent said canopy from being pivoted upward about said securing means such that access to any objects on said upper surface over which said cover lies is prevented without detaching said canopy from said table top.

10. The combination of claim 9 wherein said securing means includes resilient means for urging said jaws together; and a handle for applying a force manually to at least one of said jaws, opposed to the bias of the said resilient means, in order to separate said jaws such that said canopy can be removed from said table top.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to canopies and more particularly to a canopy for covering a table such as a dining-room table to prevent unwanted handling of dishes and cutlery during pre-meal set up as well as unwanted handling of food and any other items on the table before a meal is ready to be served.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A problem that is often encountered in an institution where meals are served to residents in a common dining room is that the residents interfere with the staff as they are setting the tables. In a nursing home or a boarding school, for example, residents may enter a dining room before a meal is ready to be served and touch the dishes and cutlery and on occasions, help them-selves to any food on the tables.

Such unwanted entry is not only distracting to the staff but may slow down the setting of the tables. The staff may have to spend extra time removing dishes and cutlery that have been touched and removing half-eaten food from the tables and replacing it with untouched food.

I have invented a canopy that can be placed over a table after it is set. The canopy can be easily attached to the table in a way that intruders, particularly residents in a nursing home whose manual dexterity may be impaired, find difficult to detach. More dextrous intruders such as students may be deterred from detaching the canopy by the possibility that they will be spotted by the staff as they are doing so.

While the canopy is attached, dishes, cutlery and food on the table cannot be handled and when a meal is ready to be served, the canopy can be easily removed by the staff.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, the canopy of my invention comprises a generally dome-shaped cover which, in use opens downwardly. The canopy is used in conjunction with a clamp or securing means for removably attaching the canopy to a table such that access to any objects on the table top over which the cover lies cannot be gained without detaching the canopy from the table.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The canopy of the invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the canopy in conjunction with a table;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the canopy composed of two interconnecting segments;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are perspective views of third and fourth embodiments of the canopy;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a clamp for securing the canopy to a table;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the clamp;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the clamp showing a portion of the interior of the clamp; and

FIG. 8 is an elevation of a portion of the canopy, table top and clamp.

Like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the description of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1, the canopy of the invention, generally 10, is shown in conjunction with a conventional table, generally 12. The table has a rectangular table top 14 having oppositely facing upper and lower surfaces 14a,b respectively and four side walls 16. The table is set with plates and condiments.

The canopy has a dome or cover 30, four outer edges 32, a pair of front and back walls 34 and an outer rectangular frame 36. The dimension of the frame correspond with that of the table so that frame contacts the four margins of the table when the canopy is placed on the table. The dome commences at its outer edges 32a,b on opposite sides of the dome, curves upward from the edges and terminates at a central area, generally 40.

Front and back walls 34 are disposed vertically. Their lower edges 34a are straight and are connected to frame 36 while their upper edges 34b follow the curvature of the dome and support the margins of the dome adjacent to its outer edges. The canopy accordingly completely covers the upper surface of the table while the central area of the dome is sufficiently high that it will be above the level of food, glasses, pitchers and utensils normally found on a dining-room table.

With reference to FIG. 2, the canopy is composed of two sections 50a,b each being identical to canopy 10 except that the frames 52a,b are each U-shaped. The two sections can be butted against each other to form one complete canopy. Such a canopy is suitable for covering a table which is longer than it is wide.

With reference to FIG. 3, the canopy is composed of four segments 60a,b,c and d. Each segment commences at an outer edge 62 and slopes upward toward and terminates at a central apex 64. The outer edges of the segments define the margins of the dome and are attached to a rectangular frame (not illustrated) which is similar to frame 36 in FIG. 1.

The segments of the canopy of FIG. 3 are interconnected at their side edges 68. Apex 64 is, like the central area 40 of the previously described dome, sufficiently high that it is above the level of items normally found on a dining-room table.

With reference to FIG. 4, the canopy, generally 70, is illustrated in outline. The canopy is in the shape of a hemisphere having a circular lower edge 71 and a hollow interior 72 for receipt of plates and condiments arranged on a table top 74. The canopy is attached to a frame 76 having a stepped outer edge 78.

With reference to FIG. 5, a clamp or securing means, generally 80, for attaching the canopy described in the previous figures to a table is illustrated. The clamp has a housing 81 having an upper wall 82 which forms an upper jaw of the clamp. A bar 84 forms the lower jaw of the clamp. The bar is parallel to the upper wall and is spaced apart from it by a distance some-what less than the thickness of a table top. The bar is mounted on two vertical tracks 86 and is movable vertically on the tracks. A number of coil springs disposed within shrouds 88 are attached on the lower side of the lower jaw. The springs are also attached to a base 90 of the housing.

The coil springs bias the bar or lower jaw toward the upper jaw. A handle 92 is provided for pulling the lower jaw downward in order to increase the space between the two jaws. Strips 94 of sealing material such as rubber are glued to each jaw to protect the table from scratches when the clamp is attached and removed from the table.

The clamp can be used to attach a side edge of a canopy to a table. To do so, the frame of the canopy is first placed on a table so that one of its edges is adjacent to a side wall of the table. The upper jaw of the clamp is then placed upon the area of the frame adjacent to the side edge. The handle is then pulled downward in order to lower the lower jaw sufficiently to accommodate the frame and the adjacent margin of the table. When the handle is allowed to return to its normal position, the lower jaw will move upward and into contact with the table.

With reference to FIGS. 6 and 7 the clamp is composed of a housing 110 having lower and upper jaws 112, 114, respectively. The lower jaw is fixed while the upper jaw is mounted for vertical movement on a pair of vertical tracks 116 attached to an upright wall 118 of the housing. A roller 120 is eccentrically mounted to the vertical wall. When the roller is rotated, it applies downward pressure on the upper jaw thereby causing it to move downward.

With reference to FIG. 8, the clamp of FIG. 5 is shown in conjunction with the table top 14 and frame 36 of FIG. 1. Upper jaw 82 is contact with the upper wall of the frame while the lower jaw 84 contacts the lower surface 14b of the table top. The jaws thus serve to secure the frame to the table top. The area of contact of the upper jaw with the frame, indicated 83, is sufficiently large that the canopy cannot be pivoted upward in the direction of arrow 100. Thus one clamp is all that is required to protect the items on the table top from unwanted handling. The use of multiple clamps is unnecessary with resultant savings in time spent in attaching and removal of the clamp

It will be understood, of course, that modifications can be made to the structure of the canopy described herein without departing from the scope and purview of the invention as defined in the appended claims.