Title:
TABLE ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention comprises a table, comprising: a) a base, the base being suitable for mounting in a vehicle, the base having a collar with one or more base pins along the interior of the collar; b) a pole, the pole being detachably coupled to the base, the pole having with one or more hockey-stick shaped slots at one end corresponding to and capable of receiving the base pins, a first lock/release mechanism for securing the pole to the base, and one or more apertures at an end opposite to the one end; and c) a table top, the table top being detachably coupled to the pillar, the top having a second lock/release mechanism for securing the top to the pillar, the second lock/release mechanism containing one or more elements which engage the one or more apertures on the pole, wherein the base, the pole and the table top combine to form the table.



Inventors:
Frederick, John (Romeo, MI, US)
Meadus, Rob (Windsor, CA)
Michals, Todd (Columbiaville, MI, US)
Lam, Gabriel (Scarborough, CA)
Modick, Tom (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Miller, Don (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Hartman, Joel (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Smith, Dave (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Boyer, Mike (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Swailes, Steve (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Jakubiec, Steve (Auburn Hills, MI, US)
Phillips, Mike (Shelby Township, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/049598
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/17/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, HANH VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lang, Michener (BCE PLACE, P.O. BOX 747, SUITE 2500, 181 BAY STREET, TORONTO, ON, M5J 2T7, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A table, comprising: a) a base, the base being suitable for mounting in a vehicle, the base having a collar with one or more base pins along the interior of the collar; b) a pole, the pole being detachably coupled to the base, the pole having with one or more hockey-stick shaped slots at one end corresponding to and capable of receiving the base pins, a first lock/release mechanism for securing the pole to the base, and one or more apertures at an end opposite to the one end; and c) a table top, the table top being detachably coupled to the pillar, the top having a second lock/release mechanism for securing the top to the pillar, the second lock/release mechanism containing one or more elements which engage the one or more apertures on the pole, wherein the base, the pole and the table top combine to form the table.

2. The table of claim 1, wherein the lock/release mechanism on the table top comprises a handle biased by a spring mechanism, the handle extending from a lower surface of the table top.

3. The table of claim 2, wherein the spring mechanism comprises a spring which is compressed by actuation of the handle to enable the table top to engage and disengage the pole.

4. The table of claim 1, further including one or more straps located underneath the table top, the straps allowing the pole to be secured to the table top when the pole is disengaged from the base and the table top.

5. The table of claim 1, wherein the slots are provided on a sleeve which covers said one end of the pole.

6. A method of assembling a table, comprising: a) securing a pole to a base mounted in a vehicle, via aligning the pole with the base and rotating the pole relative to the base such that hockey-stick shaped slots in the pole engage with base pins in the base; and b) securing a table top to the pole, via actuating a lock/release mechanism on the tabletop, engaging the top with slots in the pole, and de-actuating the lock/release mechanism.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the lock/release mechanism comprises a handle, which is actuated against a spring mechanism, compressing the spring mechanism to enable engagement and disengagement of the top with the pillar, and securing the top to the pillar via the force of the spring mechanism.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the pole includes a lock/release mechanism which is actuated after the rotating step to additionally secure the pole to the base.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of tables. In particular, it relates to a removable table for use in cars, vans and similar vehicles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In many settings, particular for passengers in vehicles, it is desirable to have a table surface available for work, recreation and/or storage. However, given the space limitations found in many vehicles, particularly minivans and passenger vans, it is not particularly desirable for the table to be permanently mounted in the vehicle. As a result, there has been an effort to design a removable table for use in these settings.

One such design is based on U.S. Pat. No. 5,383,644 to Huse for a removable pedestal. This patent discloses a pedestal mounting assembly with a removable post. The post includes a key, which fits into a key slot in the base to allow the post to be attached to the base and rotated into a mated position. Additionally, the mating between the post and the base is be accomplished by a set of oppositely spaced teeth on each. The post is designed to support a removable seat, such as on a boat and, as such, the teeth extend over a substantial portion of the post, and multiple rotations of the post are required to secure it to the base.

Another design is found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,117,784 to Piretti for a disassemblable table. This patent discloses a table which can be readily assembled and disassembled. The table consists of a top, pole and base, with the base consisting of several foot members. The foot members lock to a central hub in the base via a tongue-and-groove mechanism, and the pole and top are secured via a threaded rod. The foot member design of the Piretti table makes it unsuitable for use in a vehicle as the base is insufficiently stable to maintain the top level during motion.

A similar design is found in U.S. Pat. No. 4,178,858 to Ponzellini for a disassemblable table. This patent also discloses a table which can be readily assembled and disassembled. The table consists of a top consisting of several arm members, a pole and a base, with the base consisting of several foot members. The arm and foot members have cylindrical elements that are trapped with the tubular pole and secured by an expandable locking mechanism with the pole. As in Piretti, this design is more suited to use in a conventional table setting and not for use in a vehicle.

Yet another design is found in U.S. Pat. No. 5,560,303 to Severin for a dismantleable standing table. This patent discloses a standing table with a top, a support and a base. The various components are joined together by threaded rings, including a centering ring to align the parts. The threaded rings form part of the individual components, allowing the entire table to be (dis)assembled by hand, without needing tools.

There is a need to provide a removable table assembly which can be installed and removed rapidly, with a minimum amount of user effort. Ideally, the table assembly should not require any tools for installation. The base of the table assembly preferably takes up little vertical space, permitting use of the table assembly where space availability is limited, such as in passenger vehicles like minivans. Finally, the table assembly should be stable enough that the top surface remains level under stress and during motion of the vehicle.

It is an object of this invention to partially or completely fulfill one or more of the above-mentioned needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention comprises a table, comprising: a) a base, the base being suitable for mounting in a vehicle, the base having a collar with one or more base pins along the interior of the collar; b) a pole, the pole being detachably coupled to the base, the pole having with one or more hockey-stick shaped slots at one end corresponding to and capable of receiving the base pins, a first lock/release mechanism for securing the pole to the base, and one or more apertures at an end opposite to the one end; and c) a table top, the table top being detachably coupled to the pillar, the top having a second lock/release mechanism for securing the top to the pillar, the second lock/release mechanism containing one or more elements which engage the one or more apertures on the pole, wherein the base, the pole and the table top combine to form the table.

Preferably, the lock/release mechanism on the table top is a handle biased by a spring mechanism, the handle extending from a lower surface of the table top.

The table can further include one or more straps located underneath the table top, the straps allowing the pole to be secured to the table top when the pole is disengaged from the base and the table top.

The invention further includes a method of assembling the inventive table.

Other and further advantages and features of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described in more detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like numbers refer to like elements, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a table according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the table of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of a table top and support pole according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section along line A-A of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the table top of FIG. 4 with the top removed;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of a pole and base according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a cross-section along line B-B of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a close-up view of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is an alternate cross section along line B-B of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a close-up view of the base of FIG. 6; and

FIG. 11 is a bottom view of the table of FIG. 1 with the pole in a stored position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention presented herein in a preferred embodiment comprises a table 10 as shown in FIG. 1. The table 10 consists of a table top 100 which is detachably coupled to a support pole 200, which is in turn detachably coupled to a base 300. The base 300 is secured, preferably permanently, to a surface, such as the interior of a passenger vehicle, preferably a passenger van or minivan.

The elements comprising table 10 are shown more clearly in the exploded view of FIG. 2. AS best shown in FIG. 3, the top 100 consists of an upper half 110, ideally planar and smooth, and a lower half 120. The two halves 110 and 120 are joined to form the table top 100. Secured inside the halves is a handle 130 that is used to engage and/or disengage the top 100 from the support pole 200. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the handle 130 is snapped in place on the interior of lower half 120 by a tab connector 155 and a spring 140 is used to keep the handle 130 under tension and secure the top 100 to the pole 200. Alternatively, variations on the handle 130, spring 140 and other locking mechanisms can be used to secure the top 100 to the pole 200. A cover 135 is used to protect the handle 130 and spring 140 from damage due to weight resting on the table top 100. Straps 150 are attached to the underside of lower half 120 and are used to secured the support pole 200 to the table top 100 when disassembled, as shown in FIG. 11.

As shown in FIG. 6, the support pole 200 is a hollow, cylindrical tube terminating in a sleeve 210 which enables support pole 200 to be detachably secured to base 300. The interior of pole 200 contains a lock/release mechanism assembly comprises a spring 220 with an activation button 230 and a locking pin 240. Button 230 is used to actuate spring 220 to engage and disengage locking pin 240 from base 300 as shown in cross-section in FIGS. 7 and 8. Preferably, both button 230 and locking pin 240 are surrounded by O-rings 250 to provide a more secure fit. As best shown in FIG. 9, sleeve 210 has one or more hockey-stick shaped slots 260 that are used in cooperation with base pins 330 in base 300 to secure pole 200 to the base 300. Preferably, a shoulder 215 on sleeve engages O-ring 310 to provide a firm seal between pole 200 and base 300. Alternatively, shoulder 215 and slots 260 can be formed as part of the end of pole 200, eliminating the separate sleeve 210.

The pole 200 preferably has an aperture at its top end to allow for passage of the handle 130 from the table top 100. Also, preferably, there is a slot 205 (best seen in FIG. 11) in the top end to ensure that pole 200 can only be inserted the table top 100 in one position, resulting in additional stability for the assembled table 10.

The base 300, as shown in FIG. 10, has a collar 350 for securing the pole 200. The collar 350 contains one or more pins 330 which track the slots 260 in the pole, and a locking pin aperture 360, which receives the locking pin 240 in the pole 200. Preferably, collar 350 include a locking pin mark 370 to indicate the position for insertion of the locking pin 240 into the collar 350, to ensures that the pole 200 has only one position from which it can be inserted into the base 300.

To attach the pole 200 to the base 300, the sleeve 210 is inserted into the collar 350, aligning the pins 330 to the slots 260. After insertion, the pole 200 is rotated along the direction of the slots 260 until the locking pin 240 engages the aperture 360. At this point, preferably the pins 330 have traversed substantially the full length of the slots 260. The “hockey stick” shape of the slots 260 provides an additional frictive element to resist counter-rotation of the pole 200.

The table 10 provides the stability and support traditionally associated with a screw-threaded design, however, the combination of slots 260 and pins 330 produces that result with a minimal amount of rotation required. As shown in the preferred embodiment herein, the maximum rotation required to secure the pole 200 to the base 300 is 120 degrees, as opposed to a screw-thread design, which requires multiple 360-degree rotations.

Additionally, the table 10 requires less of the pole 200 to be secured within the base 300 than known designs. A theoretical screw-threaded pole would require several inches of thread to provide a reasonable amount of stability. The space requirements for such a design would preclude its use in a vehicle such as a minivan. By contrast, the table 10 presented herein requires substantially less space to engage the pole 200 to the base 300 and is well-suited for use in vehicles.

While the above invention has been presented in the context of mounting to passenger vehicles the invention is equally applicable to detachable tables for use in any configuration or situation.

This concludes the description of a presently preferred embodiment of the invention. The foregoing description has been presented for the purpose of illustration and is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. It is intended the scope of the invention be limited not by this description but by the claims that follow.