Title:
Automatic christmas tree watering stand
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-filling Christmas tree stand includes a supporting base with receptacle for vertically mounting a tree, set screws or other securing means for securing the Christmas tree in a vertical position, and an integral reservoir built into the base for keeping the tree watered. A remote reservoir is provided and this includes a watertight box with cover to allow replenishment with water. A hose is connected between the remote reservoir and the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand to transfer water to the latter. This maintains the reservoir in the base of the tree stand substantially full of water. The remote reservoir is inconspicuous because is adorned to look like a wrapped Christmas present. Moreover, the remote reservoir can be easily detached for convenient filling and cleaning. The assembly may also be provided as a retrofit kit for converting a conventional tree stand into a self-filling tree stand simply by drilling a hole into the integral reservoir in the base of the conventional tree stand for insertion of the second fluid coupling. The assembly can be easily and economically manufactured as a complete assembly or as a retrofit kit for an existing Christmas tree stand.



Inventors:
Tasker, Roy (Baltimore, MD, US)
Application Number:
10/044309
Publication Date:
08/15/2002
Filing Date:
10/26/2001
Assignee:
TASKER ROY
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01G27/00; A47G33/12; (IPC1-7): A47G7/02; A47G33/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LOFDAHL, JORDAN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Royal W. Craig (Baltimore, MD, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A self-filling tree stand, comprising: a tree stand including a supporting base with receptacle for vertically mounting a tree, securing means for securing said tree in a vertical position, and an integral reservoir in said base for watering said tree; a remote reservoir comprising a watertight box with cover to allow replenishment with water; a first fluid coupling to said remote reservoir; a second fluid coupling to the integral reservoir in the base of said tree stand; a hose in fluid communication between the first and second fluid couplings and serving by gravity-induced pressure action to transfer water from said remote reservoir to the integral reservoir in the base of said tree stand to maintain said reservoir in the base of said tree stand substantially full of water.

2. The self-filling tree stand according to claim 1, wherein said remote reservoir is outwardly adorned as a Christmas tree present inclusive of wrapping paper, ribbon and bow design.

3. The self-filling tree stand according to claim 1, wherein both of said first fluid coupling and second fluid coupling comprise panel-mount couplings with pressure-fit stems for connection of said hose there between.

4. The self-filling tree stand according to claim 3, wherein the second fluid coupling is positioned at the bottom of the integral reservoir in the base of said tree stand, and the first fluid coupling is vertically positioned from the bottom of said remote reservoir in accordance with a ratio of the volume of the remote reservoir relative to said tree stand.

5. The self-filling tree stand according to claim 1, wherein said remote reservoir is a watertight box having a watertight hinged cover to allow convenient replenishment with water.

6. A retrofit kit for converting a conventional tree stand into a self-filling tree stand, said conventional tree stand including a supporting base with receptacle for vertically mounting a tree, securing means for securing said tree in a vertical position, and an integral reservoir in said base for watering said tree, the retrofit kit further comprising: a remote reservoir comprising a watertight box with cover to allow replenishment with water; a first fluid coupling in said remote reservoir; a second fluid coupling; and a hose; whereby the conventional tree stand may be drilled for insertion of the second fluid coupling into the integral reservoir in said base, and the hose connected between the first and second fluid couplings to provide a self-filling syphon action for transfering water from said remote reservoir to the integral reservoir in the base of said tree stand to maintain said reservoir in the base of said tree stand substantially fill of water.

7. The retrofit kit for converting a conventional tree stand into a self-filling tree stand according to claim 6, wherein said remote reservoir is outwardly adorned as a Christmas tree present inclusive of wrapping paper, ribbon and bow design.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application derives priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/243,904 for AUTOMATIC CHRISTMAS TREE WATERING STAND”; Filed: Oct. 27, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the invention

[0003] This invention relates generally to Christmas tree stands and, and more specifically, to a self-filling Christmas tree stand with remote reservoir for automatically maintaining a proper water level.

[0004] 2. Description of the Background

[0005] Christmas trees are most often cut and placed in a particular room of a house, many times in a somewhat confined corner. They are mounted in specialized Christmas tree stands that support and provide water after the tree is removed from their natural environment. In many cases a decorative cloth covering is wrapped around the Christmas tree stand, and numerous decoratively wrapped gifts or packages are placed upon the cloth. However, cut Christmas trees require a substantial amount of water to sustain them in a healthy and green-looking condition. Since the water holding capacity of most tree stands are limited, it is necessary to periodically fill the tree stand with water. Generally, this is done on a daily basis, and it inevitably leads to numerous problems. For example, it is necessary to climb under the tree, remove all the gifts and cloth cover, and to brave the pine needles all while blindly filling the Christmas tree stand with water from a watering device. It takes a very short time for this procedure to become a tedious and undesirable task. Moreover, the task results in broken tree branches, ornaments being disturbed, knocked off or broken, pine needles falling and water spilling over onto the floor. Because of these undesirable consequences of watering a Christmas tree, it would be greatly advantageous to avoid this task completely. Simply ignoring it causes the water in the Christmas tree stand to be completely drained, thereby creating a fire hazard from the dry Christmas tree, not to mention a dead looking tree.

[0006] There have been efforts at simplifying the filling process. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,073,390 issued to Baudier on Jun. 13, 2000 shows a Christmas tree watering device in which a hanging ornament provides an orifice for adding water. The ornament is connected to the reservoir in the stand by a tube. However, this concept still results in broken tree branches, other ornaments being disturbed, knocked off or broken, pine needles falling and water spilling over onto the floor. It would be much more advantageous to provide for automatic refilling by a remote reservoir.

[0007] There has been one known effort at a remote reservoir. Specifically, U.S. Pat. No. 5,791,082 issued to Finello on Aug. 11, 1998 shows a christmas tree water delivery system which uses a remote reservoir to provide a gravity regulated flow to the reservoir in the tree stand. Water is gravity-fed to the tree stand via a small (¼″ nominal diameter) clear vinyl tube extending from the remote reservoir. The tubing is weighted at the free end and is adapted to be placed in the bottom of any existing tree stand pan. While the concept is valid, the product still leaves room for improvement. Specifically, the tubing must be contorted and bent for insertion of the free end into the bottom of the existing tree stand pan. In addition, given the difficulty in accessing the tree stand pan, the user is never quite certain that the free end of the tubing lies at the bottom of the tree stand pan. These shortcomings introduce uncertainty as to exactly what the water pressure differential is between the remote reservoir and the tree stand. Consequently, the user can never be completely certain as to the level of water in the tree stand pan. Aside from the mechanical shortcomings, the remote reservoir is very unsightly.

[0008] It would be greatly advantageous to provide an automatic watering stand that provides a highly-certain level of water to the Christmas tree from a remote reservoir location, and wherein the remote reservoir is aesthetically pleasing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide an automatic watering stand for a Christmas tree and remote reservoir connected thereto by direct fluid couplings for keeping the tree stand full.

[0010] It is another object to provide an automatic watering stand for a Christmas tree that includes an easily detached reservoir for convenient filling and cleaning.

[0011] It is another object to provide an automatic watering stand for a Christmas tree with a inconspicuous remote reservoir that appears to be a wrapped Christmas present.

[0012] It is still another object to provide a Christmas tree with remote reservoir connected thereto that can be easily and economically manufactured.

[0013] According to the present invention, the above-described and other objects are accomplished by providing a self-filling Christmas tree stand. The tree stand generally includes a supporting base with receptacle for vertically mounting a tree, set screws or other securing means for securing the Christmas tree in a vertical position, and an integral reservoir built into the base for keeping the tree watered. In addition, a remote reservoir is provided and this includes a watertight box with cover to allow replenishment with water. A first fluid coupling penetrates the remote reservoir, and a second fluid coupling penetrates into the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand. A hose is connected in fluid communication between the first and second fluid couplings and serves by gravity-induced pressure action to transfer water from the remote reservoir to the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand. This maintains the reservoir in the base of the tree stand substantially full of water. Preferably, the remote reservoir of the self-filling tree stand described above is outwardly adorned as a Christmas tree present inclusive of wrapping paper, ribbon and bow design. The foregoing may also be provided as a retrofit kit for converting a conventional tree stand into a self-filling tree stand simply by drilling a hole into the integral reservoir in the base of the conventional tree stand for insertion of the second fluid coupling.

[0014] In either embodiment, the automatic watering stand serves its purpose of keeping the tree stand full, and yet it is completely non-intrusive. The remote reservoir is inconspicuous because is adorned to look like a wrapped Christmas present. Moreover, the remote reservoir can be easily detached for convenient filling and cleaning. The device can be easily and economically manufactured as a complete assembly or as a retrofit kit for an existing Christmas tree stand.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] Other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment and certain modifications thereof when taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0016] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a self-filling tree stand 2 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view of the self-filling tree stand 2 of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a self-filling tree stand 2 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] The self-filling Christmas tree stand 2 of the present invention generally includes a conventional Christmas tree stand 20 with supporting base and open receptacle for vertically mounting a tree. A variety of such stands are readily commercially available, and they use hand-turned set screws or other securing means for anchoring the Christmas tree in the receptacle in a vertical position. All such Christmas tree stands include an integral reservoir built into the base for keeping the tree watered. Traditionally, these reservoirs are only fillable from immediately above by pouring water directly into the receptacle. As described above, it was previously necessary to climb under the tree, remove all the gifts and cloth cover, and to brave the pine needles all while blindly filling the Christmas tree stand with water from a watering device. This results in broken tree branches, ornaments being disturbed, knocked off or broken, pine needles falling and water spilling over onto the floor. All of this unpleasantness is avoided by utilizing the remote reservoir 10 which is a watertight container, disguised as a Christmas present, with an integral fluid coupling 44 in fluid communication therewith.

[0020] A second like fluid coupling 42 penetrates into the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20, and a water hose 30 is connected in fluid communication between the first and second fluid couplings 42, 44. When the remote reservoir 10 is filled with water, the device works by gravity-induced pressure action to transfer water from the remote reservoir 10 to the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20. This maintains the reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20 exactly at a predetermined level depending only on the volume of the remote reservoir 10, the vertical elevation of the integral fluid couplings 42, 44, and the volume of the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20. These variables can easily be manipulated to arrive at a specific predetermined level in the base of the tree stand 20. For example, if the volume of the remote reservoir 10 is exactly the same as the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20, then the vertical elevation of the integral fluid couplings 42, 44 may be set at 1″ from the bottom of the reservoirs in the respective base of the tree stand 20 and remote reservoir 10 to maintain exactly the same water level in the base of the tree stand 20. Thus, if the fluid coupling 42 is positioned at the bottom of the integral reservoir in the base of said tree stand 20, then the fluid coupling 44 may be vertically positioned from the bottom of the remote reservoir 10 in accordance with the ratio of the volume of the two reservoirs to ensure an exact water level in the tree stand. This is of utmost convenience to the manufacturer and to all users, and it is an essential advantage for handicapped users who simply cannot gain easy access to the tree stand 20 in order to manipulate hoses and/or to otherwise gauge the water level.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side cross-sectional view of the self-filling tree stand 2 of FIG. 1. Preferably, the remote reservoir 10 is a large capacity (5-10 gallon) watertight box with a watertight hinged cover to allow convenient replenishment with water. The larger capacity avoids the need for 10 constant refilling and also increases the gravity-induced pressure.

[0022] In the preferred embodiment, the remote reservoir 10 is square or rectangularly-shaped and is adorned with a decorative covering and ribbons to look exactly like a Christmas present when sitting adjacent the tree itself amidst the other Christmas presents. This is easily accomplished with a vinyl paper coating patterned as desired, and a segmented ribbon and bow.

[0023] First fluid coupling 44 penetrates the remote reservoir 10, second fluid coupling 42 penetrates the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20, and a flexible hose 30 is connected in fluid communication between the first and second fluid couplings 44, 42. Both fluid couplings 42, 44 may be commercially-available ¼″ plastic panel-mount couplings with pressure-fit stems for connection of hose 30. Both fluid couplings 42, 44 are preferably panel-mount fluid couplings (the coupling including both insert and body halves), and these are readily available from a number of sources including Omega Engineering, Inc.

[0024] Once the hose 30 is connected and the remote reservoir 10 is filled with water, the system serves by gravity-induced pressure action to transfer water from the remote reservoir 10 to the integral reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20. This maintains the reservoir in the base of the tree stand 20 substantially full of water at a pre-determined level as desired.

[0025] The foregoing may also be provided as a retrofit kit for converting a conventional tree stand into a self-filling tree stand simply by drilling a hole into the integral reservoir in the base of the conventional tree stand for retrofit insertion of the second fluid coupling 42.

[0026] In either embodiment, the automatic watering stand 2 serve its purpose well by keeping the level of water in the tree stand at a particular pre-determined level, and yet the system is completely non-intrusive. The remote reservoir 10 is inconspicuous because is adorned to look exactly like a wrapped Christmas present. Moreover, the remote reservoir 10 can be easily detached for convenient filling and cleaning thanks to the pressure-fit stems of both fluid couplings 42, 44 for connection to hose 30. The device can be easily and economically manufactured as a complete assembly or as a retrofit kit for an existing Christmas tree stand.

[0027] Having now fully set forth the preferred embodiments and certain modifications of the concept underlying the present invention, various other embodiments as well as certain variations and modifications of the embodiments herein shown and described will obviously occur to those skilled in the art upon becoming familiar with said underlying concept. It is to be understood, therefore, that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically set forth in the appended claims.