Title:
Collapsible hammock frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible hammock frame having approximately parallel and spaced apart base members and pivotably attached uprights that define head and foot suspension points from which a hammock may be suspended. The uprights and base members fold into a completely collapsible configuration that can be easily carried and transported, and unfolded into a working configuration without the assembly of separate parts.



Inventors:
Vo, Quan Trung (Ho Chi Minh City, VN)
Johnson, Stanley D. (Shizuoka City, JP)
Uehara, Dean M. (Kailua, HI, US)
Hsia, Martin E. (Honolulu, HI, US)
Application Number:
10/473944
Publication Date:
09/09/2004
Filing Date:
10/03/2003
Assignee:
VO QUAN TRUNG
JOHNSON STANLEY D.
UEHARA DEAN M.
HSIA MARTIN E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/128
International Classes:
A45F3/24; (IPC1-7): A45F3/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cades Schutte (Honolulu, HI, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said head portion of said left base to lockably pivot about a left head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; a left foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a left foot upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said foot portion of said left base to lockably pivot about a left foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; wherein said left foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said left head pivot axis; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said head portion of said right base to lockably pivot about a right head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; a right foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a right foot upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said foot portion of said right base to lockably pivot about a right foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; wherein said right foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said right head pivot axis; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and of said right head upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to lockably rotate about at least one head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting against each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said foot ends of said left foot upright and said right foot upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to lockably rotate about at least one foot axis of rotation so said left foot upright and said right foot upright can rotate about said foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said left foot pivot axis and said right foot pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said head axis of rotation; whereby pivoting said uprights about said pivot axes and locking said uprights at said operational angles, and rotating said head uprights and said foot uprights about said head axis of rotation and said foot axis of rotation, respectively, to lock at said operational angular separations maintains said bases spaced apart from each other, whereby said foot ends and said head ends of said uprights define elevated foot and head suspension points, respectively.

2. A device according to claim 1, wherein said uprights selectively lockably pivot about said pivot axes between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said respective bases and locking at a selected one of multiple operational angles with respect to said respective bases; whereby selecting different operational angles of said foot uprights causes said foot ends to be at selected different elevations and whereby selecting different operational angles of said head uprights causes said head ends to be at selected different elevations.

3. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length; a left head selectively angularly lockable joint defining a left head pivot axis attached to said left head upright near said base end and attached to said left base near said head portion, whereby said left head upright can lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base, whereby locking said joint selects said operational angle; a left foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a left foot upright length; a left foot selectively angularly lockable joint to defining a left foot pivot axis attached to said left foot upright near said base end and attached to said left base near said foot portion, whereby said left foot upright can lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base, whereby locking said joint selects said operational angle; wherein said left foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said left head pivot axis; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length; a right head selectively angularly lockable joint defining a right head pivot axis attached to said right head upright near said base end and attached to said right base near said head portion, whereby said right head upright can lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base, whereby locking said joint selects said operational angle; a right foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a right foot upright length; a right foot selectively angularly lockable joint defining a right foot pivot axis attached to said right foot upright near said base end and attached to said right base near said foot portion, whereby said right foot upright can lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base, whereby locking said joint selects said operational angle; wherein said right foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said right head pivot axis; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and of said right head upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to rotate about at least one head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said foot ends of said left foot upright and said right foot upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to rotate about at least one foot axis of rotation so said left foot upright and said right foot upright can rotate about said foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said left foot pivot axis and said right foot pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said head axis of rotation; whereby pivoting said uprights about said selectively angularly lockable joints, and locking said joints maintains said uprights at said operational angles with respect to their corresponding bases and rotating said head uprights and said foot uprights about said head axis of rotation and said foot axis of rotation, respectively, to said operational angular separations maintains said bases spaced apart from each other, whereby said foot ends and said head ends of said uprights define foot and head suspension points, respectively.

4. A device according to claim 3: wherein said head selectively angularly lockable joints and said foot selectively angularly lockable joints are spaced apart by a distance greater than said head upright lengths and said foot upright lengths; whereby said head uprights and said foot uprights can be pivoted to become approximately parallel to and abutting against each other and their corresponding bases.

5. A device according to claim 3, wherein each of said selectively angularly lockable joints comprises a ratchet joint.

6. A device according to any one of claims 3, 4 or 5, wherein said selectively angularly lockable joints can be locked at a selected one of a plurality of positions, whereby locking said joints at selected positions locks said respective uprights at selected operational angles, whereby said selected operational angles correspond to selected elevations of said suspension points defined by said head ends and said foot ends of said uprights.

7. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a left head upright attachment point near said head portion of said left base to pivot about a left head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; a left foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a left foot upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a left foot upright attachment point near said foot portion of said left base to pivot about a left foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; wherein said left foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said left head pivot axis; a left head brace having a pivot portion and an upright portion, said pivot portion and said upright portion defining a left head brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said left base at a left head brace attachment point near said head portion of said left base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said left head upright at a left head brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said left head brace with said left head upright at said left head brace coupling point locks said left head upright at said operational angle; a left foot brace having a pivot portion and an upright portion, said pivot portion and said upright portion defining a left foot brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said left base at a left foot brace attachment point near said foot portion of said left base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said left foot upright at a left foot brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said left foot brace with said left foot upright at said left foot brace coupling point locks said left foot upright at said operational angle; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a right head upright attachment point near said head portion of said right base to pivot about a right head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; a right foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a right foot upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a right foot upright attachment point near said foot portion of said right base to pivot about a right foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; wherein said right foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said right head pivot axis; a right head brace having a pivot portion and an upright portion, said pivot portion and said upright portion defining a right head brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said right base at a right head brace attachment point near said head portion of said right base and said upright portion engageable with said right head upright at a right head brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said right head brace with said right head upright at said right head brace coupling point locks said right head upright at said operational angle; a right foot brace having a pivot portion and an upright portion, said pivot portion and said upright portion defining a right foot brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said right base at a right foot brace attachment point near said foot portion of said right base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said right foot upright at a right foot brace coupling point, whereby engaging said right foot brace with said right foot upright at said right foot brace coupling point locks said right foot upright at said operational angle; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and of said right head upright are rotatably attached to each other for rotation about at least one head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and being at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said foot ends of said left foot upright and of said right foot upright are rotatably attached to each other for rotation about at least one foot axis of rotation so said left foot upright and said right foot upright can rotate about said foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and being at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said left foot pivot axis and said right foot pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said head axis of rotation; whereby pivoting said uprights about said pivot axes to said operational angles, releasably engaging said braces with said corresponding uprights to lock said uprights at said respective operational angles, and rotating said head uprights and said foot uprights about said head axis of rotation and said foot axis of rotation, respectively, to releasably lock said uprights at said respective operational angular separations, maintains said bases spaced apart from each other, whereby said foot ends and said head ends of said uprights define elevated foot and head suspension points, respectively.

8. A device according to claim 7, further comprising: a plurality of left head brace coupling points located near said upright portion of said left head brace; a plurality of left foot brace coupling points located near said upright portion of said left foot brace; a plurality of right head brace coupling points located near said upright portion of said right head brace; and a plurality of right foot brace coupling point located near said upright portion of said right foot brace; wherein said respective upright portions of said braces releasably engage said respective uprights at selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points; whereby releasably engaging said upright portions of said braces with said respective uprights at said selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points locks said uprights at selected operational angles, whereby said selected operational angles correspond to selected elevations of said suspension points defined by said head ends and said foot ends of said uprights.

9. A device according to claim 7, further comprising: a plurality of left head brace coupling points located on said left head upright length; a plurality of left foot brace coupling points located on said left foot upright length; a plurality of right head brace coupling points located on said right head upright length; and a plurality of right foot brace coupling point located on said right foot upright length; wherein said respective upright portions of said braces releasably engage corresponding uprights at selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points; whereby releasably engaging said upright portions of said braces with said respective uprights at said selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points locks said uprights at selected operational angles, whereby said selected operational angles correspond to selected elevations of said suspension points defined by said head ends and said foot ends of said uprights.

10. A device according to claim 7: wherein said head upright attachment points and said foot upright attachment points are spaced apart greater than said head upright lengths and said foot upright lengths; whereby said head uprights and said foot uprights can be pivoted toward each other to become approximately parallel to and abutting against their corresponding bases and each other without said head ends of said head uprights extending beyond said foot portions of said bases, and without said foot ends of said foot uprights extending beyond said head portions of said bases.

11. A device according to claim 7: wherein said head brace attachment points and said foot brace attachment points are spaced apart by a distance greater than said upright brace lengths; whereby said head braces and said foot braces can be pivoted towards each other to become approximately parallel to and abutting against their corresponding bases and against each other without said upright portions of said head braces extending beyond said foot portions of said bases, and without said upright portions of said foot braces extending beyond said head portions of said bases.

12. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion, said head portion and said foot portion defining a left base length; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a left head upright attachment point near said head portion of said left base to pivot about a left head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and being releasably locked at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; a left foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a left foot upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a left foot upright attachment point near said foot portion of said left base to pivot about a left foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and being releasably locked at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; wherein said left foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said left head pivot axis; a left head brace having a pivot portion and a base portion, said pivot portion and said base portion defining a left head brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said left head upright at a left head brace attachment point near said base end of said left head upright and said base portion releasably engageable with said left base at a left head brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said left head brace with said left base at said left head brace coupling point locks said left head upright at said operational angle; a left foot brace having a pivot portion and a base portion, said pivot portion and said base portion defining a left foot brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said left foot upright at a left foot brace attachment point near said base end of said left foot upright and said base portion releasably engageable with said left base at a left foot brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said left foot brace with said left base at said left foot brace coupling point locks said left foot upright at said operational angle; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion, said head portion and said foot portion defining a right base length; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a right head upright attachment point near said head portion of said right base to pivot about a right head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and being releasably locked at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; a right foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a right foot upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a right foot upright attachment point near said foot portion of said right base to pivot about a right foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and being releasably locked at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; wherein said right foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said right head pivot axis; a right head brace having a pivot portion and a base portion, said pivot portion and said base portion defining a right head brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said right head upright at a right head brace attachment point near said base end of said right head upright and said base portion releasably engageable with said right base at a right head brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said right head brace with said right base at said right head brace coupling point locks said right head upright at said operational angle; a right foot brace having a pivot portion and a base portion, said pivot portion and said base portion defining a right foot brace length, pivotably attached near said pivot portion to said right foot upright at a right foot brace attachment point near said base end of said right foot upright and said base portion releasably engageable with said right base at a right foot brace coupling point, whereby releasably engaging said right foot brace with said right base at said right foot brace coupling point locks said right foot upright at said operational angle; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and of said right head upright are rotatably and releasably lockably attached to each other for rotation about at least one head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and being releasably locked at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said foot ends of said left foot upright and said right foot upright are rotatably and releasably lockably attached to each other for rotation about at least one foot axis of rotation so said left foot upright and said right foot upright can rotate about said foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and being releasably locked at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said left foot pivot axis and said right foot pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said head axis of rotation; whereby pivoting said uprights about said pivot axes to said operational angles, releasably engaging said braces with said corresponding uprights to lock said uprights at said respective operational angles, and rotating said head uprights and said foot uprights about said head axis of rotation and said foot axis of rotation, respectively, to releasably lock said uprights at said respective operational angular separations maintains said bases approximately parallel to and spaced apart from each other, whereby said foot ends and said head ends of said uprights define foot and head suspension points, respectively.

13. A device according to claim 12, further comprising: a plurality of left head brace coupling points located near said base portion of said left head brace; a plurality of left foot brace coupling points located near said base portion of said left foot brace; a plurality of right head brace coupling points located near said base portion of said right head brace; and a plurality of right foot brace coupling point located near said base portion of said right foot brace; wherein said respective base portions of said braces releasably engage said respective bases at selected ones of said selected corresponding brace coupling points; whereby releasably engaging said base portions of said braces with said respective bases at said selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points releasably engages said uprights at selected operational angles, whereby said selected operational angles correspond to selected elevations of said suspension points defined by said head ends and said foot ends of said uprights.

14. A device according to claim 12, further comprising: a plurality of left head brace coupling points located near said head portion of said left base; a plurality of left foot brace coupling points located near said foot portion of said left base; a plurality of right head brace coupling points located near said head portion of said right base; and a plurality of right foot brace coupling point located near said foot portion of said right base; wherein said respective base portions of said braces releasably engage corresponding bases at selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points; whereby releasably engaging said base portions of said braces with said respective bases at said selected ones of said corresponding brace coupling points releasably engage said uprights at selected operational angles, whereby said selected operational angles correspond to selected elevations of said suspension points defined by said head ends and said foot ends of said uprights.

15. A device according to claim 12: wherein said head upright attachment points and said foot upright attachment points are separated by a distance that is greater than said head upright lengths and said foot upright lengths; whereby said head uprights and said foot uprights can be pivoted towards each other to become approximately parallel to and abutting against their corresponding bases and each other without said head ends of said head uprights extending beyond said foot portions of said bases and without said foot ends of said foot uprights extending beyond said head portions of said bases.

16. A device according to claim 12: wherein said head brace attachment points are spaced apart from said head ends of said respective uprights by a distance greater than said right brace lengths and said left brace lengths; wherein said foot brace attachment points are spaced apart from said foot ends of said respective uprights by a distance greater than said right brace lengths and said left brace lengths; whereby said head braces can be pivoted towards said head ends of said head uprights to become approximately parallel to and abutting against said head uprights and said foot braces without said base portions of said head braces extending beyond said head ends of said head uprights, and whereby said foot braces can be pivoted towards said foot ends of said foot uprights to become approximately parallel to and abutting against said foot uprights and said head braces without said base portions of said foot braces extending beyond said foot ends of said foot uprights.

17. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion; wherein said foot portions of said left base and said right base are lockably rotatably attached to each other, defining a base vertex, whereby said left base and said right base can rotate about said foot axis of rotation in an approximately horizontal base plane between being approximately parallel to and abutting against each other and locking at a base angular separation, whereby said base angular separation maintains said head portions of said bases spaced apart from each other; a foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said head end defining a foot upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said base vertex to lockably pivot about a foot pivot axis between being approximately coplanar with said horizontal base plane and abutting against said left base and said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said horizontal base plane; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said head portion of said left base to lockably pivot about a left head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length, lockably pivotably attached near said base end to said head portion of said right base to lockably pivot about a right head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and said right head upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to lockably rotate about a head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; whereby pivoting said uprights about said pivot axes and locking said uprights at said operational angles and rotating said head uprights about said head axis of rotation to lock at said operational angular separation causes said bases to rotate about said foot axis of rotation to said base angular separation, whereby said head ends of said bases are maintained spaced apart from each other, and whereby said head ends of said head uprights and said foot end of said foot upright define elevated head and foot suspension points, respectively.

18. A device according to any one of claims 1, 3, 7, or 12, further comprising: a head locking folding brace connected between said left head upright and said right head upright, whereby said head locking folding brace folds to a closed position when said head uprights are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, and said head locking folding brace unfolds to lock at an extended position when said head uprights are rotated about said head axis of rotation to lock said head uprights at said operational angular separation; and a foot locking folding brace connected between said left foot upright and said right foot upright, whereby said foot locking folding brace folds to a closed position when said foot uprights are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, and said foot locking folding brace unfolds to lock at an extended position when said foot uprights are rotated about said foot axis of rotation to lock said foot uprights at said operational angular separation.

19. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length; a left head selectively angularly and releasably lockable ratchet joint defining a left head pivot axis attached to said left head upright near said base end and attached to said left base near said head portion, whereby said left head upright can releasably lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base, whereby releasably locking said joint selects said operational angle; a left foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a left foot upright length; a left foot selectively angularly and releasably lockable ratchet joint defining a left foot pivot axis attached to said left foot upright near said base end and attached to said left base near said foot portion, whereby said left foot upright can releasably lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base, whereby releasably locking said joint selects said operational angle; wherein said left foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said left head pivot axis; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length; a right head selectively angularly and releasably lockable ratchet joint defining a right head pivot axis attached to said right head upright near said base end and attached to said right base near said head portion, whereby said right head upright can releasably lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base, whereby releasably locking said joint selects said operational angle; a right foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a right foot upright length; a right foot selectively angularly and releasably lockable ratchet joint defining a right foot pivot axis attached to said right foot upright near said base end and attached to said right base near said foot portion, whereby said right foot upright can releasably lockably pivot between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base, whereby releasably locking said joint selects said operational angle; wherein said right foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said right head pivot axis; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and of said right head upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to rotate about at least one head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said foot ends of said left foot upright and said right foot upright are lockably rotatably attached to each other to rotate about at least one foot axis of rotation so said left foot upright and said right foot upright can rotate about said foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said left foot pivot axis and said right foot pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said head axis of rotation; a head locking folding brace connected between said left head upright and said right head upright that folds to a closed position when said head uprights are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, and that unfolds and can be locked at an extended position when said head uprights are rotated about said head axis of rotation to said operational angular separation, whereby said head locking folding brace can lock said head uprights and said operational angular separation; a foot locking folding brace connected between said left foot upright and said right foot upright that folds to a closed position when said foot uprights are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, and that unfolds and can be locked at an extended position when said foot uprights are rotated about said foot axis of rotation to said operational angular separation, whereby said foot locking folding brace can lock said foot uprights at said operational angular separation; and whereby pivoting said uprights about said selectively angularly and releasably lockable ratchet joints, and releasably locking said ratchet joints maintains said uprights at said operational angles with respect to their corresponding bases, and rotating said head uprights and said foot uprights about said head axis of rotation and said foot axis of rotation, respectively, to said operational angular separations and extending said folding braces maintains said bases spaced apart from each other, whereby said foot ends and said head ends of said uprights define elevated foot and head suspension points, respectively.

20. A device, comprising: a left base having a head portion and a foot portion; a left head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a left head upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a left head upright attachment point near said head portion of said left base to pivot about a left head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; a left foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a left foot upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a left foot upright attachment point near said foot portion of said left base to pivot about a left foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said left base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said left base; wherein said left foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said left head pivot axis; a left head cable having a base portion and an upright portion, said base portion and said upright portion defining a left head cable length, attached near said base portion to said left base near said head portion of said left base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said left head upright, whereby releasably engaging said left head cable with said left head upright retains said left head upright at said operational angle; a left foot cable having a base portion and an upright portion, said base portion and said upright portion defining a left foot cable length, attached near said base portion to said left base near said foot portion of said left base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said left foot upright, whereby releasably engaging said left foot cable with said left foot upright retains said left foot upright at said operational angle; a right base having a head portion and a foot portion; a right head upright having a base end and a head end, said base end and said head end defining a right head upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a right head upright attachment point near said head portion of said right base to pivot about a right head pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; a right foot upright having a base end and a foot end, said base end and said foot end defining a right foot upright length, pivotably attached near said base end to a right foot upright attachment point near said foot portion of said right base to pivot about a right foot pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against said right base and retained at at least one operational angle with respect to said right base; wherein said right foot pivot axis is approximately parallel to said right head pivot axis; a right head cable having a base portion and an upright portion, said base portion and said upright portion defining a right head cable length, attached near said base portion to said right base near said head portion of said right base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said right head upright, whereby releasably engaging said right head cable with said right head upright locks said right head upright at said operational angle; a right foot cable having a base portion and an upright portion, said base portion and said upright portion defining a right foot cable length, attached near said base portion to said right base near said foot portion of said right base and said upright portion releasably engageable with said right foot upright, whereby engaging said right foot cable with said right foot upright locks said right foot upright at said operational angle; wherein said head ends of said left head upright and of said right head upright are rotatably attached to each other for rotation about at least one head axis of rotation so said left head upright and said right head upright can rotate about said head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and being at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said foot ends of said left foot upright and of said right foot upright are rotatably attached to each other for rotation about at least one foot axis of rotation so said left foot upright and said right foot upright can rotate about said foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting each other and being at an operational angular separation with respect to each other; wherein said left foot pivot axis and said right foot pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said foot axis of rotation; wherein said left head pivot axis and said right head pivot axis are at least partially transverse to said head axis of rotation; whereby pivoting said uprights about said pivot axes to said operational angles, releasably engaging said braces with said corresponding uprights to lock said uprights at said respective operational angles, and rotating said head uprights and said foot uprights about said head axis of rotation and said foot axis of rotation, respectively, to releasably lock said uprights at said respective operational angular separations, maintains said bases spaced apart from each other, whereby said foot ends and said head ends of said uprights define elevated foot and head suspension points, respectively.

21. A device according to any one of claims 1, 3, 7, 12, 17, 19, or 20 further comprising: a head fastener attached to said head suspension point; a foot fastener attached to said foot suspension point; a hammock with a head end and a foot end; wherein said head end of said hammock is fastened to said head fastener and said foot end of said hammock is fastened to said foot fastener.

22. A device according to claim 21, further comprising visual indicia marked on said hammock.

23. A device according to any one of claims 1, 3, 7, 12, 17, 19, or 20 further comprising: a holder attached near said head ends of said left head upright and said right head upright; whereby an umbrella may be inserted in said holder.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to a device that can expand without assembling or connecting separate members or uprights to form a frame that defines two elevated suspension points, from which a hammock may be suspended. The device also collapses into a small convenient package for carrying without requiring the disassembly or detachment of separate members or uprights.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] Hammocks conventionally comprise a sheet of material with two opposing ends suspended between two objects by fastening the ends to those objects. In the past, one would have to find two conveniently spaced trees, posts, or other relatively immovable objects to be able to safely suspend and use a hammock. Fastening means, such as a metal hook or loop, often would have to be secured to the trees or posts. Securing such fastening means almost invariably causes some permanent damage to those objects. Unless the hammock was meant to be permanently affixed, such damage is highly undesirable. This is especially the case where a hammock is used only temporarily, or sporadically, and must be removed after use.

[0003] To overcome the aforementioned disadvantages of conventional hammocks, numerous types of portable hammock frames have been developed. Such frames avoid the need to find two conveniently-spaced objects and to secure fastening means to those objects from which to suspend a hammock. Furthermore, such frames offer an added level of convenience because they can usually be located wherever a user desires to suspend a hammock. However, existing “portable” hammock frames are usually of complex and bulky construction. Although designed to suspend a hammock in the absence of trees, posts or other objects, such “portable” frames require considerable assembly, and tend to be heavy and generally difficult to move once assembled in a particular location.

[0004] Other types of foldable and collapsible hammock frames are available for use, but unfortunately, these foldable and collapsible hammock frames remain awkward to carry, transport and store and often require assembly, connection or attachment of separate members and uprights before the hammock frames can be utilized.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,422 to Bayless describes a collapsible hammock assembly, which requires the use of removable locking pins to secure the assembly in an operative position.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 5,659,907 to Huang discloses a foldable hammock assembly, which features removable base stabilizing members.

[0007] Many hammock frames claiming to be “portable” are actually heavy and bulky, and difficult to transport. Although foldable and collapsible hammock frames exist, all require some assembly before they can be used.

[0008] It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved lightweight, collapsible and fully portable hammock frame that can be folded into a single compact piece that is convenient to transport and store.

[0009] It is another object of this invention to provide such a hammock frame which, when in its fully collapsed configuration, has all members and uprights parallel to and abutting against each other so the frame can be stored in an elongated bag and easily transported by a single person.

[0010] It is still another object of this invention to provide such a hammock frame that is capable of being easily opened for immediate use without requiring assembly or attachment of separate members or uprights.

[0011] It is yet another object of this invention to provide such a hammock frame which, when in its fully opened configuration, provides a stable and securely locked, yet adjustable, structure to support a hammock and user.

[0012] It is yet another object of this invention to provide such a hammock frame that is fabricated from lightweight and commercially available components so that the invention can be inexpensively manufactured and produced.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

[0013] These and other objects are accomplished by a device having a left and right base, each base having a head portion and a foot portion, and a pair of head uprights and a pair of foot uprights, with the head uprights each having a base end and a head end, and the foot uprights each having a base end and a foot end. The head uprights are lockably pivotably attached at their respective base ends to the head portions of the bases. Similarly, the foot uprights are lockably pivotably attached at their respective base ends to the foot portions of the bases. Each upright can lockably pivot about a pivot axis between being approximately parallel to and abutting against its corresponding base, and locking at at least one operational angle with respect to its corresponding base. The pivot axes for the head uprights are approximately parallel to the pivot axes for the foot uprights.

[0014] The head ends of the head uprights are lockably rotatably attached to each other to lockably rotate about a head axis of rotation, which is at least partially transverse to the pivot axes of the head uprights. The head uprights can rotate about the head axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting against each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other. Similarly, the foot ends of the foot uprights are lockably rotatably attached to each other to lockably rotate about a foot axis of rotation, which, in turn, is at least partially transverse to the pivot axes of the foot uprights. The foot uprights can rotate about the foot axis of rotation between being approximately parallel to and abutting against each other and locking at an operational angular separation with respect to each other.

[0015] By pivoting the uprights about the pivot axes and locking the uprights at their operational angles, and rotating the uprights about their axes of rotation to lock at their operational angular separation, the bases are maintained approximately parallel to and spaced apart from each other, whereby the head ends of the head uprights and the foot ends of the foot uprights define two elevated suspension points, from which a hammock may be suspended.

[0016] Alternatively, a single head or foot upright can be provided for a tripod configuration.

[0017] Optionally, a logo, visual indicia, or other display can be imprinted on the fabric of the hammock, or an umbrella or umbrella holder may be provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of this invention showing the hammock frame in an expanded configuration.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of FIG. 1, showing the hammock frame with selectively angularly lockable joints.

[0020] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, showing the hammock frame in a partially folded configuration.

[0021] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, showing the hammock frame in a minimal length configuration.

[0022] FIG. 5 is a side elevational cutaway view of a ratchet joint of an embodiment of the hammock frame of FIG. 2, showing an upright maintained at an operational angle formed by a first stop position of the ratchet joint.

[0023] FIG. 6 is a side elevational cutaway view of the ratchet joint of FIG. 5, showing the upright at a second stop position.

[0024] FIG. 7 is a side elevational cutaway view of the ratchet joint of FIG. 5, showing the upright at a closed position, corresponding to a minimal length configuration.

[0025] FIG. 8 is a perspective cutaway view of the ratchet joint of FIG. 6.

[0026] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention, showing a hammock frame with braces, folding braces and umbrella attachment.

[0027] FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 9, showing the left head and left foot uprights can be placed at different operational angles by selecting different brace coupling points.

[0028] FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 9, showing the left foot brace in a collapsed position and the left head brace releasably engaged to the left head upright.

[0029] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 9, showing the hammock frame in a completely collapsed configuration.

[0030] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a tripod embodiment of the present invention, with a single head or foot upright (collectively referred to herein as a foot upright).

[0031] FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 13, showing the tripod hammock frame in a partially closed configuration.

[0032] FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 13, showing the tripod hammock frame in a completely closed configuration.

[0033] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1, showing a hammock suspended from the hammock frame, with a logo that can be optionally displayed on the fabric of the hammock.

[0034] FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention utilizing cables to maintain the uprights at an operational angle.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT INVENTION

[0035] Referring to FIG. 1, a presently preferred embodiment of a hammock frame 20 in accordance with this invention is shown. As shown in FIG. 1, the hammock frame 20 comprises a left base 22 and a right base 24, and four uprights—a left head upright 34, a left foot upright 36, a right head upright 38 and a right foot upright 40. The left base 22 has a head portion 26 and a foot portion 28, and the right base 24 also has a head portion 30 and a foot portion 32. The left base 22 and right base 24 are approximately parallel to and spaced apart from each other when the hammock frame 20 is expanded, as shown in FIG. 1, and the left base 22 and right base 24 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other when the hammock frame 20 is partially or completely folded, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, respectively. The left head upright 34 has a head end 42 and a base end 44; the right head upright 38 also has a head end 46 and a base end 48; the left foot upright 36 has a foot end 50 and a base end 52; and the right foot upright 40 has a foot end 54 and a base end 56.

[0036] The left head upright 34 is attached at its base end 44 to the head portion 26 of the left base 22, so that it can lockably pivot about a left head pivot axis 58. The right head upright 38 is attached at its base end 48 to the head portion 30 of the right base 24, so that it can lockably pivot about a right head pivot axis 62. The left foot upright 36 is attached at its base end 52 to the foot portion 28 of the left base 22 so that it can lockably pivot about a left foot pivot axis 60. The right foot upright 40 is attached at its base end 56 to the foot portion 32 of the right base 24 so that it can lockably pivot about a right foot pivot axis 64. The uprights 34, 36, 38, 40 can pivot about their respective pivot axes 58, 60, 62, 64 between being approximately parallel to and abutting against their corresponding bases, as shown in FIG. 4, and locking at selected operational angles 66, 68, 70, 72 with respect to their corresponding bases 22, 24, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. Preferably, each operational angle 66, 68, 70, 72 is greater than 90 degrees (i.e., each upright forms an obtuse angle with respect to its corresponding base).

[0037] The head end 42 of the left head upright 34 is lockably rotatably attached to the head end 46 of the right head upright 38 to lockably rotate about preferably a single head axis of rotation 74. Although the head end 42 of the left head upright 34 and the head end 46 of the right head upright 38 may be lockably rotatably attached such that each head upright 34, 38 may rotate about its own axis of rotation (for example, if the head ends 42, 46 were attached using two hinges, such that each head upright 34, 38 rotated independently of the other), the presently preferred embodiment of the hammock frame 20 contemplates a single head axis of rotation 74. The head axis of rotation 74 is preferably at least partially transverse to the head pivot axes 58, 62. The head uprights 34, 38 can rotate about the head axis of rotation 74 between a closed position where the head uprights 34, 38 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, as shown in FIG. 3, and an expanded position where the head uprights 34, 38 lock at an operational angular separation 76 with respect to each other, as shown in FIG. 1. In the presently preferred embodiment of the present invention, the head uprights 34, 38 rotate about a single head axis of rotation. The operational angular separation 76 is preferably less than 90 degrees (i.e., when rotated to an expanded position, the head uprights form an acute angle with respect to each other).

[0038] Similarly, the foot end 50 of the left foot upright 36 is lockably rotatably attached to the foot end 54 of the right foot upright 40 to lockably rotate about preferably a single foot axis of rotation 78. Although the foot end 50 of the left foot upright 36 and the foot end 54 of the right foot upright 40 may be lockably rotatably attached such that each foot upright 36, 40 may rotate about its own axis of rotation (for example, if the foot ends 50, 54 were attached using two hinges, such that each foot upright 36, 40 rotated independently of the other), the presently preferred embodiment of the hammock frame 20 contemplates a single foot axis of rotation 78. The foot axis of rotation 78 is preferably at least partially transverse to the foot pivot axes 60, 64. The foot uprights 38, 68 can rotate about their common foot axis of rotation 84 between a closed position where the foot uprights 36, 40 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, as shown in FIG. 3, and an expanded position, where the foot uprights 36, 40 lock at an operational angular separation 80 with respect to each other, as shown in FIG. 1. In the presently preferred embodiment of the present invention, the foot uprights 36, 40 rotate about a single foot axis of rotation 78. The operational angular separation 80 is preferably less than 90 degrees (i.e., when rotated to an expanded position, the foot uprights form an acute angle with respect to each other).

[0039] Referring to FIG. 1, in the preferred embodiment of the hammock frame 20 of the present invention, the length of the left base 22 is approximately equal to the length of the right base 24, and all uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 are of substantially equal length. Therefore, the right and left sides of the hammock frame 20 are substantially symmetric. The left head pivot axis 58 is substantially colinear with the right head pivot axis 62, such that the left head upright 34 and right head upright 38 pivot as one unit. Thus when the head uprights 34, 38 are pivoted about their respective pivot axes 58, 62, the left head operational angle 66 is approximately equal to the right head operational angle 70. Similarly, the left foot pivot axis 60 is substantially colinear with the right foot pivot axis 64, such that the left foot upright 36 and right foot upright 40 pivot as one unit. Thus when the foot uprights 36, 40 are pivoted about their respective pivot axes 60, 64, the left foot operational angle 68 is approximately equal to the right foot operational angle 72. The head pivot axes 58, 62 are preferably approximately parallel to the foot pivot axes 60, 64.

[0040] Referring again to FIG. 1, in an expanded configuration of the hammock frame 20, the left-right symmetry of the hammock frame 20 causes the head operational angular separation 76 to be approximately equal to the foot operational angular separation 80, which thereby maintains the left base 22 and right base 24 spaced apart from and preferably approximately parallel to each other. That is, when the uprights of the hammock frame 20 are being rotated to an expanded configuration, for example from the configuration shown in FIG. 3 to the configuration shown in FIG. 1, the rotation of the head uprights 34, 38 about the head axis of rotation 74 corresponds to a rotation of the foot uprights 36, 40 about the foot axis of rotation, resulting in approximately equal head and foot operational angular separations 76, 80. The hammock frame 20 may optionally be provided with folding braces 82 connected between the left and right uprights, as shown in FIG. 2 and an alternative embodiment of the hammock frame 20 in FIG. 9. A folding brace 82 is attached to the left head upright 34 and the right head upright 38, and another folding brace 82 is attached to the left foot upright 36 and the right foot upright 40. When the uprights are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, as shown in FIG. 3, the folding braces 82 fold to a closed position by pivoting about a hinge pin 84. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 9, when the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 are rotated about their respective axes of rotation 74, 78 to their respective operational angular separations 76, 80, the folding braces 82 unfold and lock into an extended position by pivoting about the hinge pin 84, thereby maintaining the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 at their respective operational angular separations 76, 80.

[0041] The preferred embodiment of the hammock frame of the present invention 20 can unfolded from a minimal length configuration shown in FIG. 4 to an expanded position shown in FIG. 1, without the assembly, disassembly, attaching, connecting or detaching of any separate members or uprights. Beginning with the hammock frame 20 in the minimal length configuration as shown in FIG. 4, the left base 22 and right base 24 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other. The left head upright 34 and the right head upright 38 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, the left foot upright 36, the right foot upright 40, the left base 22, and the right base 24. Similarly, the left foot upright 36 and the right foot upright 40 are approximately parallel to and abutting each other, the left head upright 34, the right head upright 38, the left base 22, and the right base 24. FIG. 4 represents the minimal length configuration of the preferred embodiment of the hammock frame 20.

[0042] The hammock frame 20 is expanded to an expanded configuration by preferably first pivoting the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 about their respective pivot axes 58, 62 and 60, 64 and locking the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 at their respective operational angles 66, 70 and 68, 72, then rotating the head uprights 34, 38 and foot uprights 36, 40 about their respective axes of rotation 74, 78 to lock at their respective operational angular separations 76, 80. Alternatively, the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 may first be pivoted about their respective pivot axes 58, 62 and 60, 64 to an intermediate angle, the head uprights 34, 38 and foot uprights 36, 40 may then be rotated to lock at their respective operational angular separations 76, 80, then the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 may be further pivoted to lock at their respective operational angles 66, 70 and 68, 72. The following description should not be interpreted to limit the method of folding and unfolding the hammock frame 20 from a minimal length configuration to an expanded configuration and back to a single method. Rather, the following description illustrates the working of each component of the hammock frame 20. Therefore, the hammock frame 20 can be unfolded in a variety of ways, and although for simplicity only one is described in detail below, it is understood that this description is no limitation.

[0043] As shown in FIG. 3, the left head upright 34 and right head upright 38 are preferably pivoted together about their respective pivot axes 58, 62 (omitted for clarity) to lock at their respective operational angles 66, 70 (not shown). As described above, the left head operational angle 66 is approximately equal to the right head operational angle 70. Similarly, the left foot upright 36 and the right foot upright 40 are pivoted about their respective pivot axes 60, 64 (omitted for clarity) to lock at their respective operational angles 68, 72 (not shown). As described above, the left foot operational angle 68 is approximately equal to the right foot operational angle 72.

[0044] Referring again to FIG. 1, the head uprights 34, 38 and foot uprights 36, 40 are preferably next rotated about their respective axes of rotation 74, 78. The left head upright 34 and right head upright 38 are rotated about the head axis of rotation 74 to lock at an operational angular separation 76. Preferably, the operational angular separation 76 between the head uprights 34, 38 is less than 90 degrees (an acute angle). The left foot upright 36 and the right foot upright 40 are rotated about the foot axis of rotation 78 to lock at an operational angular separation 80. Preferably, the operational angular separation between the foot uprights 36, 40 is less than 90 degrees (an acute angle), and preferably approximately equal to the operational angular separation 76 between the head uprights 34, 38. If the operational angular separations 76, 80 are approximately equal to each other, then the left base 22 and right base 24 can be maintained approximately parallel to and preferably spaced apart from each other, as shown in FIG. 1, which represents the hammock frame 20 in an expanded configuration.

[0045] In an expanded configuration, the head ends 42, 46 of the head uprights 34, 38 and the foot ends 50, 54 of the foot uprights 36, 40, define two elevated suspension points—the head suspension point 86 and the foot suspension point 88—to which fastening means can be attached and from which a hammock may be suspended, as shown in FIG. 16. The vertical distance (elevation) between the elevated suspension points 86, 88 and the surface upon which the bases 22, 24 rest can be varied by selecting different operational angles 66, 70, 68, 72. In use, the head suspension point 86 and foot suspension point 88 are preferably at the same elevation, although a user may select different elevations for the head suspension point 86 and the foot suspension point 88, if so desired. In the preferred embodiment of the hammock frame 20 of the present invention, the head uprights 34, 38 and the foot uprights 36, 40, may be pivoted about their respective pivot axes from a minimal length configuration, as shown in FIG. 4, where the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 are approximately parallel to and abutting against their respective bases 22, 24 and each other, to lock at selected ones of multiple operational angles with respect to their respective bases 22, 24. This would allow the head suspension point 86 and foot suspension point 88 to be at selected different elevations.

[0046] Each upright 34, 38 and 36, 40 may be pivotably attached to its corresponding base 22, 24 by a selectively angularly lockable joint 92, as shown in FIG. 2. The selectively angularly lockable joint 92 contemplated by the present invention may be ratchet joints, such as are commonly used in chaise lounges or lawn chairs, or any one of a number of similar or dissimilar equivalent structures that are well within the skill of an ordinary artisan. For example, each upright and its corresponding base may be connected by a universal ball and socket joint assembly with a releasable locking mechanism, such as a frictional tension knob, for maintaining the upright at a selected operational angle.

[0047] As a further example, in an alternative embodiment of the present invention, each upright and its corresponding base may be connected by a rotating connector, each rotating connector being a pair of spaced-apart, substantially semi-circular lobes defining a recess for receiving the respective base ends of the corresponding uprights between the lobes. Each lobe has a number of correspondingly peripheral recesses for receiving a pin located near the respective base ends of the uprights. A longitudinal elongated slot is formed substantially near the respective base ends of the corresponding uprights to receive a bolt substantially centrally affixed transverse to the semi-circular lobes. This slot and bolt assembly allows longitudinal movement of the upright for upward axial retraction of the pin from a peripheral recess and allows pivotal movement of the upright to a desired operational angle defined by the radial position of the selected peripheral recess. Downward axial insertion of the pin into the selected peripheral recess locks the upright at a selected operational angle.

[0048] However, the preferred embodiment of the present invention contemplates the use of a ratchet joint 96 as illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6, 7, and 8. For illustration and simplicity purposes, FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 depict the ratchet joint 96 between the left head upright 34 and left base 22. It is understood that the ratchet joint 96 depicted in FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 or any other selectively angularly lockable joint 92 can be adapted to operate between each or any of the uprights, bases or other members of the present invention.

[0049] FIG. 5 illustrates a cutaway view of the ratchet joint 96, which lockably pivotably connects the base end 44 of the left head upright 34 to the head portion 26 of the left base 22. In FIG. 2, the selectively angularly lockable joint 92 is depicted in a optional housing 94. This housing 94 has been largely omitted from FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8 for clarity and is illustrated only as an outline for reference purposes. The head portion 26 of the left base 22 is preferably rigidly affixed to the housing 94, which houses the ratchet joint 96. The ratchet joint 96 comprises a ratchet 98 rotatably mounted in the housing 94 and rigidly affixed to the base end 44 of the left head upright 34, so that the center of the ratchet defines the left head pivot axis 58; a pawl 100 preferably affixed within the housing 94 on the head end 26 of the left base 22, as shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8; and a retaining arm 102 pivotably mounted within the ratchet 98, as shown in FIG. 8, which pivots about the pivot axis 58. In the presently preferred embodiment of the invention, the pawl 100 preferably comprises a tab biased in an “up” position that can move from the up position, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, to a down position, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8. The pawl 100 is therefore preferably formed from a semi-rigid material that can flex between being in an up position and a down position. Alternatively, the pawl 100 can be formed from a rigid material but bendably affixed to the head end 26 of the left base 22 so that the pawl 100 can bend between being in an up position and a down position.

[0050] Referring to FIG. 8, alternatively, the ratchet 98 preferably comprises two disks 104 with a semi-circular opening 106 defined by the two disks 104 and a first edge 108 and a second edge 110. The ratchet 98 preferably has teeth 112 only on a portion of the circumferences of the disks 114, whereby the pawl 100 can only engage the ratchet 98 at its teeth 112. The ratchet also has a toothless portion of its circumference 116, as shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 7, and 8. The retaining arm 102 pivots within the semi-circular opening 106 between an engaged position as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8, and a released position as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7. As will be further described below, the retaining arm 102 in the engaged position causes the pawl 100 to move to the down position, thereby disengaging the pawl 100 from the ratchet 98, and the retaining arm 102 in the release position allows the pawl 100 to move to the up position, thereby allowing the pawl 100 to engage the teeth 112 of the ratchet 98.

[0051] Referring to FIG. 7, when the hammock frame is in the minimal length configuration and the left head upright 34 is approximately parallel to and abutting against the left base 22, the pawl 100 is disengaged from the ratchet 98, but is in the up position and ready to engage the teeth 112 of the ratchet 98. The pivoting of the left head upright 34 correspondingly rotates the ratchet 98 about the left head pivot axis 58, as shown in FIG. 5, thereby allowing the pawl 100 to engage each tooth 112 of the ratchet 98. As the left head upright 34 is pivoted about its pivot axis 58, the pawl 100 sequentially engages each tooth 112 of the ratchet 98 one by one, defining a series of operational stop positions. In each stop position, the ratchet 98 and pawl 100 prevent counterclockwise pivoting of the left head upright 34. Therefore, each operational stop position defines a selected operational angle 66. So long as the pawl 100 engages the ratchet 98, the left head upright 34 cannot be pivoted in the counterclockwise direction to the collapsed position. As the pawl 100 engages each tooth 112, it is held in position by being wedged into the tooth 112. Although not shown, the left head upright 34 may be prevented from over-pivoting in the clockwise direction by any number of mechanisms. For example, the rotation of the ratchet 98 about the pivot axis 58 may be inhibited by friction such that the left head upright 34 will not rotate clockwise without the application of an external force, even when the left head upright 34 is at an obtuse operational angle, as shown in FIG. 5.

[0052] To disengage the pawl 100 from the ratchet 98, and thereby allow the left head upright 34 to return to its original position approximately parallel to and abutting against the left base 22 (FIG. 6), the left head upright 34 is pivoted to a certain angle past the operational angle to a release angle, as shown in FIG. 6. Referring to FIGS. 6 and 8, pivoting the left head upright 34 to the release angle correspondingly causes the ratchet 98 to rotate clockwise so that the second edge 110 of the ratchet 98 contacts the retaining arm 102 and urges the retaining arm 102 into an engaged position, which causes the pawl 100 to move to the down position, thereby disengaging the pawl 100 from the ratchet 98. The retaining arm 102 is maintained in the engaged position with the pawl 100 by friction. The left head upright 34, can then be pivoted counterclockwise back to being approximately parallel to and abutting against the left base 22, as shown in FIG. 7, because the pawl 100 no longer engages a tooth 112 on the ratchet 98. The retaining arm 102 is not disturbed as the left head upright 34 is pivoted in the counterclockwise direction until the first edge 108 contacts the retaining arm 102. However, the first edge 108 does not contact the retaining arm 102 until the left head upright 34 is already pivoted to a position substantially parallel to and abutting against the left base 22, as shown in FIG. 7. Referring to FIG. 7, pivoting the left head upright 34 to this position correspondingly rotates the ratchet 98 in the counterclockwise direction so that the first edge 108 contacts the retaining arm 102, and moves the retaining arm 102 to a disengaged position, which in turn corresponds to the pawl 100 being allowed to return to the up position, ready to engage the teeth 112 of the ratchet 98.

[0053] To allow the hammock frame 20 to fold into a minimal length configuration, as shown in FIG. 3, the length of the left base 22 is preferably greater than the length of the left head upright 34 and the left foot upright 36. Similarly, the length of the right base 24 is preferably greater than the length of the right head upright 38 and the right foot upright 40. As shown in FIG. 3, because the head pivot axes 58, 62 and foot pivot axes 60, 64 are located at the ends of the left base 22 and right base 24, the distance between the head pivot axes 58, 62 and foot pivot axes 60, 64 is equal to the length of the left base 22 and right base 24. However, because the head pivot axes 58, 62 and the foot pivot axes 60, 64 may not necessarily be located at the ends of the left base 22 and right base 24, the distance between the head pivot axes 58, 62 and the foot pivot axes 60, 64 may better define the lengths of the uprights. For example, the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 may be pivotably attached to their respective bases 22, 24 at an intermediate position along the length of the base, rather than at the ends. In that case, the distance between the head pivot axes 58, 62 and the foot pivot axes 60, 64, not the length of the bases 22, 24, would determine the length of the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 to enable the hammock frame 20 to fully collapse to a minimal length configuration.

[0054] If the distance between the head pivot axes 58, 62 and the foot pivot axes 60, 64 were less than the length of the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40, then the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 would not be able to collapse to a configuration whose length is defined by the length of the bases, as shown in FIG. 4, because the head ends 42, 46 of the head uprights 34, 38 would extend beyond the foot pivot axes 60, 64, and the foot ends 50, 54 of the foot uprights 36, 40 would similarly extend beyond the head pivot axes 58, 62.

[0055] Referring to FIG. 9, instead of selectively angularly lockable joints 92, an alternative embodiment of the present invention may utilize releasably engageable braces 118, 120, 122, 124 that connect each upright 34, 38 and 36, 40 to its respective base 22, 24 and also maintains the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 at their corresponding selected operational angles 66, 70 and 68, 72. Each brace 118, 120, 122, 124 has a pivot portion 126 and an upright portion 128. Each upright portion 128 has a plurality of slots 136 that can engage a pin 130 that defines a brace coupling point. The pivot portion 126 of each brace 118, 120, 122, 124 is pivotably attached to its respective base 22, 24 at corresponding brace attachment points 132 and each upright portion 128 of each brace 118, 120, 122, 124 can engage its respective upright at a brace coupling point 134. As shown in FIG. 9, the pivot portion 126 of the left head brace 118 is pivotably attached to the left base 22 at a brace attachment point 132; the pivot portion 126 of the left foot brace 120 is pivotably attached to the left base 22 at a brace attachment point 132; the pivot portion 126 of the right head brace 122 is pivotably attached to the right base 24 at a brace attachment point 132; and the pivot portion 126 of the right foot brace 124 is pivotably attached to the right base 24 at a right foot brace attachment point 132.

[0056] Referring to FIG. 11, each brace 118, 120 (122 and 124 are omitted for clarity) can pivot from being approximately parallel to and abutting against its corresponding base 22 (24 omitted for clarity) to releasably engaging its respective upright 34, 36 (38 and 40 omitted for clarity) at a, brace coupling point 134 and locking the upright 34, 36 (38 and 40 omitted for clarity) at a selected operational angle. FIG. 11 illustrates the left foot brace 120 in the collapsed position, parallel to and abutting against the left base 22, in comparison to the left head brace 118 in working position, where the upright portion 128 of the left head brace 118 is releasably engaged with the left head upright 34 at a brace coupling point 134, thereby maintaining the left head upright 34 at a selected operational angle 66.

[0057] In an expanded configuration of the hammock frame 20, the uprights 34, 38 and 36, 40 are pivoted to their corresponding selected operational angle 66, 70 and 68, 72, and the head uprights 34, 38 and foot uprights 36, 40 are rotated about their respective head and foot axes of rotation 74, 78, as shown in FIG. 9 and as described above. To maintain each upright 34, 38 and 36, 40 at its corresponding selected operational angle 66, 70 and 68, 72, the upright portion 128 of each brace 118, 120, 122, 124 releasably engages its respective upright 34, 34, 38, 40 at a pin 130 placed at each of brace coupling points 134. As shown in FIG. 9, the upright portion 128 of the left head brace 118 releasably engages the left head upright 34 at a brace coupling point 134 and maintains the left head upright 34 at a selected operational angle 66; the left foot brace 120 releasably engages the left foot upright 36 at a brace coupling point 134 and maintains the left foot upright 36 at a selected operational angle 68; the right head brace 122 releasably engages the right head upright 38 at a brace coupling point 134 and maintains the right head upright 38 at a selected operational angle 70; and the right foot brace 124 releasably engages the right foot upright 40 at a brace coupling point 134 and maintains the right foot upright 40 at a selected operational angle 72.

[0058] Referring to FIG. 10, the selected operational angle of each upright can be varied by varying the slot of the upright portion 128 that engages a pin 130 that defines a brace coupling point 134. In a preferred embodiment of the present hammock frame 20, the pin 130 is located at a selected position on each upright and defines a brace coupling point 134. In FIG. 10, the left head upright 34 and the left head brace 118 and the left foot upright 36 and the left foot brace 120 are used to illustrate the ability to select varying operational angles by engaging the pin 130 with varying slots on the upright portions 128 of the left head brace 118 and the left foot brace 120. Although the right side of the hammock frame 20 is omitted for clarity, it is understood that engaging the pin 130 with varying slots on the upright portions 128 of the left braces 118, 120 applies to all uprights and braces in this embodiment of the hammock frame 20.

[0059] Referring again to FIG. 10, the upright portion 128 of each brace 118, 120 (122 and 124 omitted for clarity) preferably has a plurality of slots 136. Although three slots are shown, this is for illustration purposes only, and there must be at least one slot. Each slot 136 can releasably engage a pin 130 located on the upright 34, 36 (38 and 40 omitted for clarity), whereby each pin 130 defines a brace coupling point 134. By releasably engaging the pin 130 at different slots 136, each brace 118, 120 (122 and 124 omitted for clarity) may be selected to maintain the upright at a selected operational angle 66, 68 (70 and 72 omitted for clarity). For each upright, the selection of varying slots 136 to engage the pin 130 at the brace coupling point corresponds to a selected operational angle. Thus, as shown in FIG. 10, the slot 136 located nearest the distal end of the upright portion 128 of the left head brace 118, has releasably engaged the left head upright 34 at its brace coupling point 134. This selection maximizes the distance between the brace coupling point 134 and the brace attachment point 132. Although not shown, the right head upright 38 and right head brace 122 are in a similar configuration. This selection corresponds to a more obtuse operational angle 66 which in turn corresponds to a head suspension point 86 that is lower in elevation relative to the surface upon which the hammock frame 20 rests. FIG. 10 also shows the slot 136 located nearest the pivot portion 126 of the left foot brace 120 releasably engaged to the left foot upright 36 at its brace coupling point 134. This selection minimizes the distance between the brace coupling point 134 and the brace attachment point 132. Although not shown, the right foot upright 40 and right foot brace 124 are in a similar configuration. This selection corresponds to a less obtuse operational angle 68 for the left foot upright 36, which in turn corresponds to a foot suspension point 88 that is higher in elevation in relation to the surface upon which the hammock frame 20 rests.

[0060] The minimal length configuration for the embodiment of the hammock frame 20 that utilizes braces is almost identical to the minimal length configuration illustrated by FIG. 4. However, due to the addition of the braces 118, 120, 122, 124, in the minimal length configuration, each brace 118, 120, 122, 124 is approximately parallel to and abutting against its respective base 22, 24, as shown in FIG. 12. Furthermore, the left head brace 118 is approximately parallel to and abutting against the left foot brace 120, and the right head brace 122 is approximately parallel to and abutting against the right foot brace 124. In order for the hammock frame 20 with braces to achieve this configuration, the head brace attachment points 132 and the foot brace attachment points 132 are preferably spaced apart greater than the length of the braces 118, 120, 122, 124. This allows the braces 118, 120, 122, 124 to collapse into the minimal length configuration shown in FIG. 12, where the right head and foot braces 122, 124 are approximately parallel to and abutting against the right base 24 and each other, and where the left head and foot braces 118, 120 are approximately parallel to and abutting against the left base 22 and each other. If the head brace attachment points 132 and foot brace attachment points 132 were separated by a distance less than the length of the braces 118, 120, 122, 124, then the braces 118, 120, 122, 124 would not be able to completely collapse into a position approximately parallel to and abutting against their respective bases 22, 24 and each other.

[0061] It is envisioned that the use of a pin and slots to releasably engage the braces and uprights of a hammock frame at a selected one of a plurality of operational angles is only one of any number of alternative equivalent embodiments of the invention. For example, the pin 130 may be located at a selection position on the upright portion 128 of each brace 118, 120, 122, 124, and the slots 136 can be located on each upright 34, 36, 38, 40 at positions intermediate along the length of the upright. In this configuration, the brace coupling points 134 would be defined by the pin 130 located on the brace, which would engage the slots located on the upright.

[0062] In another alternative embodiment, each brace may have a pivot portion 126 and a base portion, wherein each brace 118, 120, 122, 124 is pivotably attached to its corresponding upright 34, 36, 38, 40 instead of its corresponding base 22, 24. Thus, in this alternative embodiment, the pivot portion of each brace is attached to its corresponding upright, and the base portion of each brace can releasably engage its respective base. The brace attachment points 132 are located on the uprights 34, 36, 38, 40. In this embodiment, the pins 130 can either be located on the brace 118, 120, 122, 124, to correspondingly engage a plurality of slots 136 located along the bases 22, 24, or the pins 130 could be located on the bases 22, 24, to correspondingly engage a plurality of slots 136 located along the brace 118, 120, 122, 124.

[0063] Referring to FIG. 17, in another alternative embodiment of the hammock frame 20 of the present invention, instead of releasably engageable braces, the invention may utilize releasably attachable cables 240 that connect each upright to its respective base and also maintain the uprights at their corresponding selected operational angles. Each cable 240 would have a base portion connected to the base, and an upright portion connectable to the pin located on the upright.

[0064] In another alternative embodiment of the hammock frame 20 of the present invention, the hammock frame has a single foot upright 202 in a tripod design 200, as shown in FIGS. 13, 14 and 15. For simplicity, the term “foot upright” shall be deemed to mean and include both “foot upright” and “head upright,” as the single upright may be either a foot upright or a head upright. The left base 22 and right base 24 are lockably rotatably attached at their foot portions 28, 32, respectively, to form a base vertex 204. The left base 22 and right base 24 lockably rotate in an approximately horizontal base plane about a foot axis of rotation 206′. The foot axis of rotation 206 is preferably located at the base vertex 204. The left base 22 and right base 24 rotate from being approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, as shown in FIG. 12, to a base angular separation 208, as shown in FIG. 13. A single foot upright 202 is selectively angularly lockably pivotably attached to the base vertex 204 to selectively angularly lockably pivot about a foot pivot axis 210 from being approximately parallel to and abutting against the left base 22 and right base 24, as shown in FIG. 15, to a selected one of a plurality of operational angular positions 212. At the head end 214, the tripod hammock frame 200 comprises a left head upright 34 and a right head upright 38, similar to the head end of the original hammock frame 20. The foot axis of rotation 206 is at least partially transverse to the head axis of rotation 74.

[0065] Referring to FIG. 15, the tripod hammock frame 200 is shown in a minimal length configuration. The left head upright 34 and right head upright 38 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other, their corresponding bases 22, 24 and the single foot upright 202. The single foot upright 202 is approximately parallel to and abutting against the left head upright 34 and right head upright 38 and the bases 22, 24. The bases 22, 24 are approximately parallel to and abutting against each other and the uprights 34, 38, 202. The tripod hammock frame 200 is moved into a working configuration following a process similar to that described above. However, after the foot upright 202 is pivoted to a selected operational angular position 212 and head uprights 34, 38 are pivoted to a selected operational angle 66, 70, the head uprights 34, 38 are rotated about the head axis of rotation 74 to lock at an operational angular separation 76, whereby the bases 22, 24 are maintained at a base angular separation 208. Preferably, the base angular separation 208 is less than 90 degrees.

[0066] In the minimal length configuration of each embodiment described above, the hammock frame 20 (or tripod design 200) may be easily carried and transported. Opening each hammock frame 20 from a minimal length configuration to an expanded configuration does not require the installation or connection of separate members or uprights. In each of the embodiments described above, instead of ratchet joints, the hammock frame 20 may optionally have folding braces 82 attached to the head uprights and foot uprights, respectively, to maintain the uprights at their respective operational angular separations, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 9. Furthermore, the hammock frame 20 may further have an attachment for an umbrella, as shown in FIG. 9, or a logo or other visual indicia on the hammock, as shown in FIG. 16.

[0067] Referring to FIGS. 17 and 18, the foot ends 50, 54 of the left and right foot uprights 36, 40 are lockably rotatably attached to each other via a hinge joint 220. For clarity purposes, FIGS. 17 and 18 illustrate this hinge joint 220 at the foot uprights 36, 40. However, it is understood that the hinge joint 220 may be adapted to join the head ends of the left and right head uprights 34, 38 as well. Referring to FIG. 17, shown is an exploded perspective view of the hinge joint 220. The hinge joint 220 comprises an internal cylinder 222 affixed to foot end 54 of the right foot upright 40 (the longitudinal axis of the cylinder 222 defines the foot axis of rotation 78), and two annular holders 224 affixed to the foot end 50 of the left foot upright 36. As shown in FIG. 18, the internal cylinder 222 is located within the openings 226 of the annular holders 224 such that the internal cylinder 222 can lockably rotate within the annular holders 224, similar to the mechanism of annular bearings. To accomplish this, diameters of the openings 226 of the annular holders are at least slightly larger that the diameter of the internal cylinder 222. The internal cylinder 222 and annular holders 224 are both preferably made of materials that have low coefficients of friction with respect to each other. As shown in FIGS. 17 and 18, a hook 90 or other fastening means can be affixed to the internal cylinder 222, which defines the foot suspension point 88. Similarly, the hook 90 or other fastening means affixed to the internal cylinder 222 of the hinge joint 220 located between the head uprights 34, 38 defines the head suspension point 86.

[0068] The invention has been disclosed only with respect to the presently preferred embodiments described herein. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that many alterations and modifications in the details of the invention can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, no limitations are to be implied or inferred in the invention, except as specifically and explicitly set forth in the attached claims.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

[0069] This invention can be used whenever it is desired to provide a device that can expand without assembling or connecting separate members or uprights to form a frame that defines two elevated suspension points, from which a hammock may be suspended, and collapse into a small convenient package for carrying without requiring the disassembly or detachment of separate members or uprights.





 
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