Title:
Frame of self-opening umbrella having reduced space after closing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A frame of self-opening umbrella is provided wherein both ribs and spreader are formed of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) tubes. Also there is no provision of pin and legs on pivotal member between each of link formed of stainless steel and each spreader. Each link has an upper hook end coupled to the pivotal member of the spreader. Accordingly, the folded self-opening umbrella has a reduced space. Such umbrella further has simple components and aesthetic appearance.



Inventors:
You, Ching-chuan (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
10/212730
Publication Date:
02/13/2003
Filing Date:
08/07/2002
Assignee:
YOU CHING-CHUAN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45B25/02; A45B25/16; (IPC1-7): A45B19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ching-Chuan You (Taipei, TW)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A self-opening umbrella having a frame supported by a center post, the frame comprising: a lower ring slidably mounted on a lower portion of the post; an upper ring slidably mounted on an upper portion of the post; a hub disposed on a top of the post; a spring mounted on the post and biased between the lower ring and the upper ring;a plurality of ribs, each being formed of fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) material, and having an inner end thereof pivotally extended from the hub and a first connecting member sleeved thereon; a plurality of spreaders, each being formed of FRP tube and including an outer connecting element mounted at an outer end thereof pivotably coupled to the first connecting member of the rib and an inner connecting element mounted at an inner end thereof pivotably coupled to the upper ring, and a first half oval recess on an outer end thereof; a plurality of second pivotal member, each including, a first bore therein, and a second half oval recess at an inner end thereof; and a plurality of links formed of stainless steel, each including a lower hook end coupled to the lower ring and an upper hook end coupled to the second pivotal member; wherein a first pivotal hole is provided on each of the spreader, the half oval recess on the inner end of the second pivotal member and the half oval recess on outer end of the inner connecting element are combined together to form a second pivotal hole, when each of the spreader is passed through the second pivotal member and inserted into the inner connecting element, each of the second pivotal member and each of the inner connecting element are fitted and sleeved on each of the spreader, whereby the second pivotal hole of the second pivotal member is aligned with the first pivotal hole of the spreader when each of the spreader, the second pivotal member, and the inner connecting element are assembled together to thereby enable the upper hook end of each link to be pivotally coupled to the first and second pivotal holes.

2. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein each of the inner connecting element comprises a first bore provided therein and a second bore extended from an inner side of the first bore to an outside end thereof having an inner diameter larger than that of the first bore, and a steel tube like connection member is further mounted within the second bore of each of the inner connecting element.

3. The umbrella of claim 2, wherein each of the second pivotal member comprises a first bore provided therein, a second bore, extended from the inner side of the first bore, having an inner diameter larger than that of the first bore, and a second half oval recess provided at an inner end thereof; each of the inner connecting element further comprises a cylindrical joint on outer end thereof having a smaller outer diameter than that of the element; wherein the cylindrical joint of the inner connecting element is inserted into the second pivotal member when the inner connecting element and the second pivotal member are fitted together.

4. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein each inner connecting element comprises a first bore provided therein and a second bore, extended from an outer side end of the first bore to an outer side end of the connecting element, having a diameter larger than that of the first bore of the connecting element, a first half oval recess at an outer end thereof, and a first cylindrical joint at the outer end thereof, a steel sleeve fitted within the second bore of the inner connecting element; and each second pivotal member comprises a first bore provided therein and a second bore extended from an inner side end of the first bore to an inner side end thereof and having a diameter larger than that of the first bore of the second pivotal member, a second half oval recess at an inner end of the second pivotal member; wherein each spreader has a first pivotal hole on a surface, an outer surface of the sleeve contacts a bottom of the first recess, the first cylindrical joint is fitted within the second bore of the second pivotal member for coupling the inner connecting element and the second pivotal member together, whereby the first and the second recesses are combined to form a second pivotal hole which is aligned with the first pivotal hole of each spreader when the spreader, the second pivotal member, and the inner connecting element of the spreader are assembled together.

5. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the inner connecting element is separately formed from the pivotal connection member.

6. The umbrella of claim 5, wherein an outer end of the inner connecting element contacts an inner end of the pivotal connection member.

7. The umbrella of claim 4, wherein the sleeve in the second bore of the inner connecting element comprises a third half oval recess on an outer end thereof.

8. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein each inner connecting element comprises a first bore provided therein and a second bore, extended from an outer side end of the first bore to an outer side end of the connecting element, having a diameter larger than that of the first bore of the connecting element, and a third bore further formed and extended from an outer side end of the second bore to an outer side end of the connecting element, having a diameter larger than that of the second bore of the connecting element and a first half oval recess at an outer end thereof, a steel sleeve fitted within the second bore of the inner connecting element; and each second pivotal member comprises a bore through therein and a second cylindrical joint provided at an outer surface of the inner side end thereof and having an outer diameter smaller than that of the second pivotal member, a second half oval recess at an inner end of the second pivotal member; wherein each spreader has a first pivotal hole on a surface, an outer surface of the sleeve contacts a bottom of the first recess, the second cylindrical joint is fitted within the third bore of the inner connecting element for coupling the inner connecting element and the second pivotal member together, whereby the first and the second recesses are combined to form a second pivotal hole which is aligned with the first pivotal hole of each spreader when the spreader, the second pivotal member, and the inner connecting element of the spreader are assembled together.

9. The umbrella of claim 8, wherein the sleeve in the second bore of the inner connecting element comprises a third half oval recess on an outer end thereof.

10. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein each of the inner connecting element and the pivotal member are formed by plastic injection molding.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention generally relates to self-opening umbrellas and more particularly to an improved frame of self-opening umbrella having reduced space after closing.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] For obtaining the features of being compact and lightweight, a conventional stick umbrella comprises a plurality of ribs formed of metal, each having a first pivot joint, a ring slidable on center post having a plurality of second pivot joints, and a plurality of U-shaped spreaders (formed by punching a thin metal material) each coupled between first and second pivot joints. However, for a self-opening umbrella having such configuration the strength thereof is not sufficient. In detail, the opening of self-opening umbrella is effected by suddenly expanding a spring secured onto ring. Also, such small pivot joints and spreaders are the main elements for buffering the elastic force of spring. However, pivot joints and spreaders tend to rust after long time of contacting rain. As a result, pivot joints and spreaders may detach from umbrella or deform, thereby shortening a useful life of the self-opening umbrella.

[0005] An improvement of above self-opening umbrella is effected by providing a frame of self-opening umbrella formed of fiber re-enforced plastic (FRP) due to its sufficient strength and lightweight features. As shown in FIG. 7, each of ribs R1 and spreaders R2 has a cross-section of circle. However, FRP based frame is disadvantageous for higher manufacturing cost and larger occupied space. As shown, second pivot joint P coupling spreader R2 and link B has two lugs P1 and a pin P3 pivotably coupled between lugs P1. Each of a plurality of links B is coupled between pin P3 and lower ring T1. With this configuration, the strong expanding force of spring S may be buffered in opening umbrella. In closing umbrella, lower ends of ribs R1, spreaders R2, second pivot joints P, and links B are folded toward one another in which links B are oblique and contact surface of upper ring T2. As a result, spreaders R2 slant outward and ribs R1 slant inward. This has the disadvantage of incapable of reducing space of umbrella to a minimum after closing. This in turn may cause inconvenience in storage and/or increase cost of transporting. While sizes of center post M and pivot joints P may be reduced in the FRP based umbrella the reduction effect is still limited. This is because the size of umbrella is predetermined. Also, the windproof factor of umbrella has to be considered. Thus, it is desirable to provide an improved frame of self-opening umbrella having reduced space after closing in order to overcome the above drawbacks of prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to provide a frame of self-opening umbrella wherein there is no provision of pivotal pin and legs for a pivotal member between each of link and each spreader, and each link has an upper hook end coupled to the pivotal member of the spreader. Accordingly, the folded umbrella has a reduced space.

[0007] It is another object of the present invention to provide a frame of self-opening umbrella wherein both ribs and spreader are formed of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) tube for reducing weight.

[0008] It is still another object of the present invention to provide a self-opening umbrella having simple components and aesthetic appearance.

[0009] To accomplish the above objects and features, the frame of self-opening umbrella comprises:

[0010] a lower ring slidably mounted on a lower portion of the post;

[0011] an upper ring slidably mounted on an upper portion of the post;

[0012] a hub disposed on a top of the post;

[0013] a spring mounted on the post and biased between the lower ring and the upper ring;

[0014] a plurality of ribs, each being formed of fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) material, and having an inner end thereof pivotally extended from the hub and a first connecting member sleeved thereon;

[0015] a plurality of spreaders, each being formed of FRP tube and including an outer connecting element mounted at an outer end thereof pivotably coupled to the first connecting member of the rib and an inner connecting element mounted at an inner end thereof pivotably coupled to the upper ring, and a first half oval recess on an outer end thereof;

[0016] a plurality of second pivotal member, each including a first bore therein, and a second half oval recess at an inner end thereof; and

[0017] a plurality of links formed of stainless steel, each including a lower hook end coupled to the lower ring and an upper hook end coupled to the second pivotal member;

[0018] wherein a first pivotal hole is provided on each of the spreader, the half oval recess on the inner end of the second pivotal member and the half oval recess on outer end of the inner connecting element are combined together to form a second pivotal hole, when each of the spreader is passed through the second pivotal member and inserted into the inner connecting element, and each of the second pivotal member and each of the inner connecting element are fitted and sleeved on each of the spreader and assembled together, the second pivotal hole is aligned with the first pivotal hole of spreader to thereby enable the upper hook end of each link to be pivotally coupled to the first and second pivotal holes.

[0019] The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of a portion of frame of self-opening umbrella according to the invention;

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side view of the assembled FIG. 1 umbrella, in an open condition;

[0022] FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 2 umbrella;

[0023] FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 3 umbrella in part section;

[0024] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of spreader, second pivotal member, and steel sleeve of FIG. 1;

[0025] FIG. 5A is a view similar to FIG. 5, showing spreader, second pivotal member, and steel sleeve according to a second preferred embodiment of the invention;

[0026] FIG. 5B is a view similar to FIG. 5, showing spreader, second pivotal member, and steel sleeve according to a third preferred embodiment of the invention;

[0027] FIG. 5C is a view similar to FIG. 5, showing spreader, second pivotal member, and steel sleeve according to a fourth preferred embodiment of the invention;

[0028] FIG. 6 is a side view of frame of any of above embodiments in a closed condition; and

[0029] FIG. 7 is a side view of frame of a conventional self-opening, umbrella in a closed condition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] Referring to FIGS. 1 to 5, there is shown a frame of self-opening umbrella constructed in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the invention. Frame of the umbrella is supported by a center post 10 comprising a lower ring 11 mounted on a lower portion of the post 10, an upper ring 13 mounted on an upper portion of the post 10, a hub 14 mounted on a top of the post 10, a spring 12 biased between the lower ring 11 and upper ring 13, a plurality of ribs 15, each having one end extended from the hub 14, a plurality of first pivotal connection members 16 sleeved on ribs 15, a plurality of spreaders 17 each having an inner connecting element 173 pivotally coupled to the upper ring 13 and an outer connecting element 172 pivotally coupled to the first pivotal connection members 16, a plurality of second pivotal members 18 sleeved on spreaders 17, and a plurality of links 19 formed of stainless steel, each having a lower hook end 191 pivotally coupled to the lower ring 11 and an upper hook end 192 pivotally coupled to the second pivotal member 18. The improvements of the invention are ribs 15, spreaders 17, inner connecting elements 173 of spreaders 17, second pivotal members 18, and links 19. For obtaining the benefits of lightweight frame, simple components, and easy assembly, ribs 15 and spreaders 17 are elongate hollow bar formed of FRP tubes and a first pivotal hole 176 provided near the inner portion of each spreaders 17 (see FIGS. 1, 4 and 5). Also, second pivotal members 18, inner connecting elements 173, and outer connecting elements 172 are formed of strong nylon by plastic injection molding.

[0031] In the embodiment, second pivotal members 18 and inner connecting elements 173 are fitted together. As shown in FIG. 5, the inner connecting element 173 comprises a hole 173A at a free end pivotally coupled to the upper ring 13, a first bore 173B within the element, a cylindrical joint 173C on outer end having a smaller outer diameter, a half oval recess 186A on the surface of joint 173C, and a second bore 173E extended from the outer side of the first bore 173B and having an inner diameter larger than that of the first bore 173B. A reinforced steel sleeve 30 is fitted within the second bore 173E and abutted on the shoulder between bore 173B and 173E.

[0032] The second pivotal member 18 comprises a first bore 180 having an inner diameter the same as the inner diameter of inner connecting element 173 (i.e., the inner diameter of the first bore 173B), a second bore 181 extended from the inner side of the first bore 180 and having an inner diameter larger than that of bore 180, and a half oval recess 186B on the surface at inner end corresponding to recess 186A. The inner diameters of inner connecting element 173 and second pivotal member 18 are the same as outer diameter of spreader 17 so that spreader 17 may be passed through second pivotal member 18 and inserted into the inner connecting element 173 for being supported. It is noted that the half oval recess 186B on the inner end of the second pivotal member 18 and the half oval recess 186A on outer end of the inner connecting element 173 are combined together to form a second pivotal hole 186 when the second pivotal member 18 and the inner connecting element 173 are fitted and sleeved on the spreader 17.

[0033] The inner diameter 32 of steel sleeve 30 is the same as inner diameter of inner connecting element 173 (i.e., the diameter of the first bore 173B). The outer end 31 of steel sleeve 30 contacts the bottom of recess 186A. Also, joint 173C is fitted within the second bore 181 of the second pivotal member 18 for coupling inner connecting element 173 and second pivotal member 18 together. It will be appreciated that two half oval recesses 186A and 186B form a second pivotal hole 186 which is aligned with the first pivotal hole 176 of spreader 17 when spreader 17, second pivotal member 18, and inner connecting element 173 are assembled together. Since the structure of second pivotal member 18 is simplified the pin and lugs on the conventional joint of umbrella are eliminated in the invention. In detail, the pivotal hole 176 and the pivotal bore 186 are large enough to allow an upper hook end 192 of link 19 to smoothly insert through for being pivotably secured in the hollow FRP spreader 17. Also, as shown in FIG. 4, loop portion 1920 of upper hook end 192 is permitted to smoothly move a distance defined by the pivotal holes 186 and 176. Moreover, hooked portion 1921 of the upper hook 192 contacts inner wall of the inner bore 170 of spreader 17.

[0034] Due to the above-mentioned improved construction, this invention further has the benefits of easy assembly and aesthetic appearance. Referring to FIG. 6, a closed condition of the invention is shown. Since there is no provision of pivotal pin and legs between link 19 and spreader 17, also the directions of links 19, spreaders 17 and ribs 15 are substantially parallel to that of the center post 10 after folding. Accordingly, the folded self-opening umbrella has the advantages of reduced space, easy storage, and lower transporting cost.

[0035] Note that the coupling of inner connecting element 173 and second pivotal member 18 may be done by adhesive or ultrasonic welding. In the case of coupling by adhesive, adhesive is poured through apertures 174 and 184 to secure inner connecting element 173 to second pivotal member 18 and incorporated with the spreader 17. In another consideration, since second pivotal member 18 is secured in spreader 17 by upper hook end 192 of link 19 such coupling by adhesive may be omitted. In other words, it is optional and totally decided by manufacture.

[0036] Referring to FIG. 5A, there is shown a second embodiment of the invention. The differences between first and second preferred embodiments are that cylindrical joint 173C on one end of the first embodiment is replaced by a third bore 173C′ extended from the outer side of the second bore 173E and second hole 181 extended from the inner side of the first bore 180 of the first embodiment is replaced by a cylindrical joint 181′ respectively. These variations also serve as the same function of the first embodiment and the related descriptions are therefore omitted.

[0037] Referring to FIG. 5B, there is shown a third embodiment of the invention. The difference between first and third preferred embodiments is that inner connecting element 173 of the first embodiment is divided into two parts 173 and 173′ in which the latter is coupled to second pivotal member 18 and steel sleeve 30 as the first embodiment. These variations also serve as the same function of the first embodiment and the related descriptions are therefore omitted.

[0038] Referring to FIG. 5C, there is shown a fourth embodiment of the invention. The differences between first and fourth preferred embodiments are that steel sleeve 30 of the first embodiment is replaced by a longer steel sleeve 30A and a half oval recess 186C is formed on steel sleeve 30A which is aligned with recesses 186A and 186B to form a pivotal hole 186 for permitting upper hook end 192 of link 19 to insert through when the inner connecting element 173 and second pivotal member 18 are coupled together.

[0039] While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments, numerous modifications and variations could be made thereto by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention set forth in the claims.