Title:
Convertible, variable height table with a multi-function top
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A variable height table with a convertible multi-function top is described which provides a table which may be used for dining, gaming or other use. The height of the table may be adjusted to a level above the floor. The variable height table has a base which may include casters or other means for facilitating moving the table on the floor. Alternatively, the base may include more permanent means of fastening it to the floor, such as anchors or hold-downs, used alone or in combination with casters. A pedestal connects the base to the table top. The height adjustment mechanism is contained in the pedestal of the table, and can be locked at the selected height setting. The table top of the table is convertible to allow the table to be used for different functions, such an ordinary table, a card table or a pool table. The table top is convertible to its different functions by removing its cover to expose the pool gaming surface, or by installing the cover to expose either its plain surface or its gaming surface.



Inventors:
Shinn, Patsy F. (San Antonio, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/748899
Publication Date:
06/05/2003
Filing Date:
12/27/2000
Assignee:
SHINN PATSY F.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B9/00; A47B13/08; A47B25/00; A63D15/04; (IPC1-7): A63F9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, DOLORES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHERMAN D PERNIA, ESQ. (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A variable height, convertible table comprising: a base for connecting the table to the floor and having means of facilitating moving the table on a floor and for locking the table in place; a pedestal having at least two sleeves nested in a vertically telescoping arrangement, with the lowest sleeve integrated with the base and the highest sleeve fixed to a table top; a height adjustment mechanism contained within the pedestal with its top end communicating with the table top and its bottom end communicating with the base to adjust the height of the table top from the base; a table top configured as a pool gaming table, such as bumper pool or snooker, and having means for receiving a removable table cover; and a removable table cover having a substantially planar configuration and two surfaces, one surface being plain and useful as an ordinary table top, and the other surface being configured as a card gaming surface and useful for that purpose, and the table cover being receivable by the table top with either surface upward.

2. The table of claim 1, wherein casters are attached to the bottom of the base for facilitating movement of the table.

3. The table of claim 1, wherein wheels are attached to the bottom of the base for facilitating movement of the table.

4. The table of claim 1, wherein the casters have a reversible locking mechanism.

5. The table of claim 1, wherein the wheels have a reversible locking mechanism.

6. The table of claim 1, wherein the base has anchors for mounting the table to a floor.

7. The table of claim 1, wherein the pedestal has at least two telescoping parts, the upper attached to the table top and the lower attached to the base and containing a height adjusting mechanism for vertically adjusting the height of the table top.

8. The table of claim 1, wherein the height adjusting mechanism comprises a pneumatic system for raising and lowering the table top.

9. The table of claim 1, wherein the height adjusting mechanism comprises a rachet and pawl mechanism for raising and lower the table top.

10. The table of claim 1, wherein the height adjusting mechanism comprises a mechanical lift mechanism for raising and lowering the table top.

11. The table of claim 1, wherein the table top is circular, oval, oblong or multisided in configuration.

12. The table of claim 1, wherein the table top comprises a rim and a playing surface, the rim defining the playing surface and for receiving the table cover.

13. The table top of claim 12, wherein the rim receives the table cover with either surface upward.

14. The table top of claim 12, wherein the rim has a means for securing the table cover in place.

15. The table top of claim 12, wherein the playing surface is configured as a pool gaming surface.

16. The table cover of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises a two-sided structure, one side plain for use as a dining or coffee table, the other side marked as a gaming table.

17. The table of claim 1, wherein the height adjustment mechanism further comprises a plurality of height adjustment mechanisms contained within the pedestal in a vertical series, with the top end of the vertical series communicating with the table top and the bottom end of the vertical series communicating with the base.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is in the field of amusement devices. More specifically, it relates to game supporting tables with multi-function tops which are height adjustable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Multi-function tables which allow for dining or other furniture uses and which may be converted into gaming tables are known in the art. Such tables are particularly useful in situations where space may be limited, for example, in a boat, a mobile home or a recreational vehicle (R.V.). A convertible table is a table that is adaptable for different purposes, such as use as a dining table and as a gaming table. A variable height convertible table adapts to these and other different purposes at least in part by being adjustable to different heights appropriate for the purpose. A multi-functional table top is a table that has a surface that is adaptable to the purpose to which the convertible table is to be used, such as a dining surface, as card game surface, a pool game surface or the like.

[0003] The field has long been motivated to provide such tables useful for specific purposes. For example, Bagley, U.S. Pat. No. 3,941,378, describes a convertible table structure for playing bumper pool and for sitting at and dining. The top member, when in place on the table top, provides a dining table surface area or a card gaming table surface, depending on which side of the top member is displayed and, with the top member removed, access to the bumper pool game. However, the Bagley table is not height adjustable. Milu, U.S. Pat. No. 3,711,099, describes another combination flat top and game table assembly which again is not height adjustable. Zimmers et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,871,655 discloses yet another convertible game table having a combination of a pool game table and a reversible flat top which is not height adjustable.

[0004] Haughey, U.S. Pat. No. 3,217,672 discloses a V-shaped table that is adjustable in height. The Haughey table does not have a multi-purpose table top that includes a pool game surface. Steidl, U.S. Pat. No. 1,888,478, describes a height adjustable table that can be converted for different purposes such as a coffee table or a dining table. The Steidl table includes a removable larger second top that can be latched at its bottom surface to the first top. However, the Steidl table does not include a multi-functional table top that is useful as a bumper pool table. McMillin, U.S. Pat. No. 4,768,781, discloses a combination flat top and game table assembly which is height adjustable. The McMillin table is not convertible to other game uses, and does not have a multi-function cover.

[0005] Although each of the above devices may be useful for its intended purpose, it would be beneficial to have a combination convertible table and multi-function table top. It would be further beneficial to have a combination table configured for use in environments where space is limited, and could serve as a platform (e.g., for a mattress in an R.V.) as well as a table, and which is easily movable and anchorable in different locations.

[0006] In view of the above, there is still the need in the field for a combination multi-function and height adjustable table that combines the benefits of multi-use, space saving features plus the ease of adjustment and placement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention is a variable height table with a convertible, multifunction table top. The present table comprises a base, telescoping pedestal housing a height adjusting mechanism, a table top configured as a pool gaming table and a removable table cover. The base is connected to the lower pedestal sleeve while the table top is connected to the upper pedestal sleeve. Operating the height adjusting mechanism provides for adjusting the height of the table. The table cover has two different surfaces, and is receivable by the table top with either surface upward.

[0008] The present table has a variety of uses and is adjustable in height depending upon the use. For example, the present invention can be set up for use as an ordinary dining table with a plain surface, and then the height can be adjusted and the table used as a coffee table. The table top has a reversible cover, with two different sides or surfaces, which allow the table top to be converted from one use to another depending on how the cover is installed on the table top to expose one of the sides of the cover. A table top having a cover with a plain surface on one side and a game board surface on the other side can be converted between the plain surface and the surface having a game board integrated into it by removing and reversing the table cover on the table. Additionally, the top may be removed completely in order to access the pool game surface of the table top. Further, the table may be adjusted in height depending on what the specific use of the table requires, or to accommodate use by small children or access by wheelchairs.

[0009] The base contacts the surface of the floor and supports the other components of the table. Attached to the bottom of the base are casters, wheels or glides to facilitate moving the table over the floor. The casters or wheels are reversibly lockable to help hold the table in place once it has been positioned. The base may also have anchors or hold-downs to provide for further securing the table to the floor. Alternatively, the base may be practiced without casters, wheels or glides.

[0010] The pedestal is attached on top of the base and has at least a lower sleeve and an upper sleeve, the sleeves nested in a vertically telescoping arrangement. The lower sleeve is fixed to the base and the upper sleeve fixed to the table top. The pedestal provides for supporting the table top on the base and houses a height adjusting mechanism. The interior of the pedestal is hollow and contains the height adjusting mechanism.

[0011] A height adjusting mechanism is housed within the pedestal. The top end of the mechanism communicates with the table top, and the bottom end communicates with the base. The height adjusting mechanism is operable to selectably adjust the height of the pedestal, and as a consequence, the height of the table top from the surface of the floor. The height adjusting mechanism itself may comprise any appropriate means known in the art which allows for vertical height adjustment of the table. Preferably, the height adjustment mechanism comprises a pneumatic cylinder, such as is known to and practicable in the present invention by the ordinary skilled artisan. Typically, the height of such mechanisms is adjusted by means of an activation lever which connects to a control valve on the pneumatic cylinder. The valve controls the cylinder to allow the raising or lowering of the cylinder's piston. This allows the table to be raised or lowered to the preferred height depending on its intended use. Alternatively, the height adjusting mechanism may be a rachet and pawl mechanism or a mechanical lift mechanism. All the height adjusting mechanisms are able to reversibly lock the table when the preferred height setting has been reached.

[0012] The table top has a top surface and a bottom surface. The bottom surface is fixed to the upper sleeve of the pedestal and communicates with the top end of the height adjustment mechanism. The top surface of the table is configured as a pool gaming surface. The top table of the present invention is convertible to allow the table to be used for different functions, such as: a dining table, a card table or a pool table. The table top is convertible to its different functions by installing the table cover on the table top with one or the other of its surface sides exposed, or by removing the cover altogether to expose the pool gaming surface of the table top. The pool gaming surface of the table top may be configured as a bumper pool game, a snooker surface, a billiards surface or other rimmed game surface as practicable by one of ordinary skill in the art. The top surface of the table top also has a receptacle means for removably receiving the table cover.

[0013] The table cover has a substantially planar configuration and fits onto the top surface of the table top to allow the table top to be convertible from a pool gaming surface to other uses. The cover is essentially two sided, each side having a different surface. The kinds of surfaces that can be disposed on a side of the table cover include: a plain, flat surface, a flat surface with board game designs (e.g., chess, backgammon, etc.) incorporated on it, a card game or padded surface, a utility surface (e.g., having features for holding drinks) or a combination of these and other kinds of surfaces. Preferably, each side of the table cover has a different surface on it. Preferably, the gaming surface is configured as a card table top, but it can include media for playing other games as well, such as chess, checkers, backgammon, etc. The plain surface may be used as a dining, coffee or other type table. The cover may contain a locking means to keep it in place once in position on the table top.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the variable height table showing the convertible multi-function top with the cover removed

[0015] FIG. 2 is a side view of the base, showing the casters, anchors and the lower sleeve of the pedestal.

[0016] FIG. 3 is a side view of the table showing the telescoping pedestal.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view of the pedestal, showing the height adjusting mechanism.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the table top showing the pool game configuration of the top surface of the table top, and the upper sleeve of the pedestal attached to the lower surface of the table top.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a side view of the table top showing how the removable table cover is received by the table top.

[0020] FIGS. 7A and 7B are perspective views of different sides of the removable table cover showing a plain surface (FIG. 7A) and a combination padded and utility surface (FIG. 7B) on which to play cards.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0021] Referring now to the drawings, the details of preferred embodiments of the present invention are graphically illustrated. Like elements in the drawings will be represented by like numbers, and any similar elements will be represented by like numbers with a different lower case letter suffix. It may be seen that the present invention is a variable height table comprising a base, a telescoping pedestal housing a height adjustment mechanism, and a convertible table top with a removable table cover. The table top and cover combination allow the present invention to be used as a dining surface, a gaming surface, a platform or other similar use.

[0022] FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the variable height table 10. The table 10 has a base 16 for contacting the table 10 with a floor surface 23. A telescoping pedestal 30 having an adjustable height H is attached to the base 16 and supports the table top 48. A height adjustment mechanism (not shown in this figure) is housed within the pedestal and is operable to selectably adjust the height H of the pedestal. The table top 48 is attached to the upper sleeve of the pedestal 30. The top table 48 is configured as a pool gaming surface. A table cover 58 is removably received on the table top 48.

[0023] As shown in FIG. 2, the base 16 contacts the surface of the floor 23 and attaches to the lower sleeve 34 of the pedestal 30. As exemplified in FIG. 2, the base comprises a base plate 18 which has a top 20, a bottom 22 and a perimeter 24. In a preferred embodiment, attached to the bottom 22 of the base plate 18 are means 26 for facilitating moving the table 10 on the floor 23, such as casters, wheels or glides. Preferably, where a movement means 26 is incorporated in the base 16, a releaseable table stop means 27 for releaseably preventing movement of the base on the floor is included. Moving means 26 that are themselves lockable are known in the art, such as casters or wheels having built-in locking mechanisms, and are readily adaptable to the present invention by one of ordinary skill in the art. The table stop 27 is to prevent movement of the table 10 once it is in place. A table stop means 27 can additionally be accomplished by a floor contacting means 27a acting as a releaseable brake. Alternatively, the base 16 may be practiced without casters, wheels or glides.

[0024] In addition to or instead of a stop means 27, the base 16 may have releaseable anchors or hold-downs 28 to provide for further fixing or securing the base 16 of the table 10 to the floor 23. Anchor/hold-downs 28 allow for a more positive securing of the table 10 in position, and are particularly useful to secure the table 10 when used in a vehicle, such as an R.V., or used in a houseboat, or when used as a support platform (e.g., a mattress support). Releaseable hold-downs and floor anchors 28 are known in the art. For example, a releaseable anchor 28 can comprise a latch and catch assembly (not shown), with the latch component mounted on the base 16 and a catch component mounted on the floor 23. The shape and foot print of the base 16 may be of any configuration deemed appropriate by the ordinary skilled artisan, including oval, oblong or multi-sided (e.g., hexagonal or octagonal).

[0025] As shown in FIG. 3, the telescoping pedestal 30 comprises at least a lower sleeve 34 and an upper sleeve 32 vertically nested and slidable one inside the other. If necessary, the pedestal 30 may have more than two sleeves. In the embodiment exemplified in FIG. 3, the lower sleeve 34 is attached to the top 20 of the base 16. The upper sleeve 32 of the pedestal 30 is attached to the bottom surface 50 of the table top 48. The interior of the pedestal 30 is essentially a hollow space 38, and houses the height adjustment mechanism 36 (see FIG. 4). The height adjusting mechanism 36 is disengaged via actuator handle 45, and the pedestal sleeves telescope to allow the raising or lowering the table top 48, either with or against the bias of the pneumatic actuator cylinder 44 of the height adjusting mechanism 36. Releasing the actuator handle 45 causes the mechanism to re-engage. In this manner, the height H of the pedestal 30 (the distance between the table top 48 and the base 16) is adjusted.

[0026] As shown in FIG. 4, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the height adjusting mechanism 36 for raising and lowering the table top 48 is a pneumatic actuator cylinder 44. The pneumatic cylinder 44 is mounted to the interior wall 38 of the lower sleeve 34 by mounting brackets 40. The pneumatic actuator cylinder 44 has a piston rod 46 and a control valve 42. The control valve 42 is in operative communication with an actuator lever 45. In the illustrated embodiment, the control valve 42 and activation lever 45 combination are shown disposed proximate the table top end of the pedestal 30, with the lever 45 under bottom surface 50 of the table top 48, allowing for easy access. However, the pneumatic cylinder 44 could be inverted from that shown, and the actuator lever disposed proximate the base 16, allowing it to serve as a pedal and be activated by stepping on it. The pneumatic cylinder 44 is held in the pedestal 30 within brackets 40. The piston rod 46 extends downwardly from the pneumatic cylinder 44 to a stop 47 attached to the top 20 of the base 16.

[0027] To raise or lower the table top 48, the activation lever 45 is used to operate the control valve 42. When the control valve 42 is operated, the piston 46 is disengaged inside the pneumatic cylinder 44. The piston rod 46 is then slidable in and out of the pneumatic cylinder, either with or against a bias mechanism (not shown) contained inside the cylinder 44. The table top 48 may be raised or lowered by pulling up or pressing down on the table top 48 while the control valve 42 is operated. The pneumatic cylinder 44 contains an internal stop (not shown) which sets the maximum height to which the table top 48 may be raised. The bottom stop 47 sets the lower position to which the table top 48 may be set. Pneumatic activator cylinders for raising and lowering furniture items are known in the art, and are readily adaptable to the present invention by the ordinary skilled artisan. Examples of such pneumatic actuator cylinders include those taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,765,804 (Pneumatic Support Column for a Chair) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,803 (Pneumatic Cylinder of a Pneumatic Lever-Lift Chair, and Its Assembly Process).

[0028] Alternatively, height adjustment of the table 10 may be accomplished by means of a rachet and pawl mechanism or a mechanical lift mechanism (not shown). These mechanisms also are known in the art, and are readily practicable in the present invention by the ordinary skilled artisan. Examples of such mechanical lift mechanisms include those taught in U.S. Pat. No. 3,217,672 (Vertically Adjustable Table) and U.S. Pat. No. 1,888,478 (Combination Table).

[0029] For some applications, the height adjustment mechanism 36 may need to comprise a plurality of height adjustment mechanisms 36 contained within the pedestal 30 in parallel. This may be necessary, for example, when the table top 48 is particularly heavy. Such may be accomplished by having a plurality of pneumatic actuator cylinders 44 ganged together in parallel (not shown) with each cylinder having its upper end communicating with the table top 48 and its lower end communicating with the base 16. In this example, the actuator valves 42 of the ganged pneumatic cylinders 44 are operated simultaneously in unison.

[0030] Still other applications may require a range through which the height H of the pedestal 30 is adjustable that is too large to accomplish with a single pneumatic actuator cylinder 44. In this case, the height adjusting mechanism 36 may comprise a plurality of pneumatic actuator cylinders 44 contained within the pedestal 30 in a vertical series (not shown), with the upper end of the vertical series communicating with the table top 48 and the lower end of the vertical series communicating with the base 16. In this configuration, each cylinder 44 in the vertical series represents a different level in the height H of the pedestal 30. A level in the vertical may be comprised of more than one pneumatic cylinder; a gang of cylinders, as described above, may be used. Also, in this configuration, it is preferred that the cylinder (or ganged cylinders) at each level be operated individually, although it is possible for the ordinary skilled artisan to rig them to operate simultaneously.

[0031] The table top 48 has a top surface 49 and a bottom surface 50. The bottom surface 50 of the table top 48 is fixed to the upper sleeve 32 and communicates with the top end of the height adjustment mechanism 36. As shown in FIG. 5, the top surface 49 of the table top 48 comprises a pool gaming surface 54 surrounded by a rim or rail 52. Although illustrated as having a circular configuration, the table top 48 may be configured in any shape appropriate for the game to be played on it, such as square, oblong, hexagonal or octagonal.

[0032] The pool game surface 54 can be designed to play any of a number of pool games, such as: bumper pool, snooker, pocket pool, billiards or similar games. These and other pool games are known in the art, and their selection and practice in the present invention is readily accomplished by the ordinary skilled artisan. For example, the playing surface 54 may contain apertures or pockets 56 for receiving pool balls during play. These apertures 56 may be connected to a cup, rack or other ball receiving means (not shown) disposed on the bottom surface 50 of the table top 48. The rail or rim 52 defines the area of the playing surface 54.

[0033] As exemplified in the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the rim or rail 52 of the table top 48 has a seat 60 which receives the removable table cover 58. The table cover 58 can be received in the cover seat 60 with either side up. Optionally, a locking means (not shown) may be combined with the cover 58 to releaseably retain it in the cover seat 60 and secure the table cover 58 in place. With the table cover 58 installed in the cover seat 60, the table top 48 is converted to use for other functions.

[0034] As shown in FIGS. 7A and 7B, the table cover 58 of the present invention has a substantially planar configuration defined by two sides 62 &66. It is preferred that the surfaces of the two sides 62 &66 be configured for different uses. The two sides 62 &66 of the table cover 58 can each have a configuration selected from the group consisting of: a plain surface, a game board surface, a padded surface, and a utility surface or a combination thereof. In the embodiment of FIG. 7A, a first side 62 of the table cover 58 has a plain surface, to adapt the table 10 for use as a coffee table or a dining table, depending on the height H the pedestal 30 is adjusted to. As shown in FIG. 7B, the second side 66 of the table cover 58 is configured as a combination card gaming and utility surface. The center area of the second side 66 of the table cover 58 is adapted for playing cards on (e.g., padded or fabric covered), and the perimeter area of the second side 66 is adapted with recesses 68 for holding drink containers. Alternatively, the surface of second side 66 of the table cover 58 may be configured with board game designs, such as chess and checkers, or backgammon and the like.

[0035] While the above description contains many specifics, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as exemplifications of one or another preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variation are possible, which would be obvious to one skilled in the art. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined by the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents, and not just by the embodiments.





 
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