Title:
AUTO-COLLAPSIBLE UMBRELLA
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An auto-collapsible umbrella has a control unit installed in a handle, a folding unit provided at a top of an intermediate tube, and an unfolding unit provided beneath a top hub. For opening the umbrella, the intermediate tube and an outer tube are pushed upwards and positioned to compress an ejection spring and a return spring. Thereafter, the control unit is pressed to release the ejection spring between an intermediate hub and a lower hub to unfold ribs of the umbrella. For folding the umbrella, the control unit is pressed further to release the return spring to retract the outer tube, the intermediate hub, the lower hub and the intermediate tube and fold the ribs.



Inventors:
Yang, Chiu-hsiung (Taipei Hsien, TW)
Application Number:
10/434272
Publication Date:
11/11/2004
Filing Date:
05/09/2003
Assignee:
YANG CHIU-HSIUNG
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45B25/06; A45B25/14; A45B9/02; (IPC1-7): A45B25/14; A45B25/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SZUMNY, JONATHON A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VENABLE LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An auto-collapsible umbrella comprising: a handle (1); an inner tube (11) securely installed in the handle (1) and having a channel (110) defined through a periphery of the inner tube (11) inside the handle (1) and a first ball (111) movably mounted adjacent to a top end of the inner tube (11); a control unit (20) having a button (21) operatively mounted in the handle (1), a movable pole (22) received in the inner tube (11) located in the handle (1), a stop sheet (211) formed on the button (21) and transversally extending through the inner tube (11), a first finger (215) formed beneath the stop sheet (211) and transversally extending towards the inner tube (11) and substantially corresponding to the first finger (215), a hole (212) defined through the stop sheet (211) with a diameter slightly larger than an inner diameter of the inner tube (11), a first resilient member (213) provided in the handle (1) and at the side of the stop sheet (211) opposite to the button (21) for pushing the stop sheet (211) to partially locate in the inner tube (11) to block the movable pole (22), a second resilient member (23) attached between a bottom of the movable pole (22) and a bottom end of the inner tube (11), a first cord (24) having a lower end attached to a top of the movable pole (22), and a second finger (222) transversally provided in the movable pole (22) and pushed by a third resilient member (221) to movably locate in the channel (110); an intermediate tube (12) movably provided outside the inner tube (11) and having a first ball hole (121) defined therethrough for receiving the first ball (111) to position the inner tube (11) about the intermediate tube (12) and a recess (122) defined in an upper portion of the intermediate tube (12); an unfolding unit (30) having a sleeve (31) received in the recess (122) and supported by a spring (32) under the sleeve (31), two slots (311, 312) longitudinally defined through a periphery of the sleeve (31), wherein a first pin (33) is radially inserted through the first slot (311) and the intermediate tube (12), and a protrusion (313) is formed at an inner wall around the second slot (312), a head (314) with a chamfer (315) formed at a top of the sleeve (31) and extending out from the intermediate tube (12), an upper end of the first cord (24) extending through the intermediate tube (12) and the sleeve (31) and attached to the head (314), a second ball (316) provided on an inner wall of the intermediate tube (12) by a spring leaf (317), a second pin (319) form on the second ball (316) and extending through the second slot (312), and a tab (318), which can be pushed by the protrusion (313), formed at a distal end of the second pin (319); an outer tube (13) movably provided outside the intermediate tube (12) and having a second ball hole (131) for receiving the second ball (316), and a positioning hole (133) above the second ball hole (131); an upper hub (14) securely mounted at a top end of the outer tube (13); an intermediate hub (15) movably provided outside the outer tube (13) and having a third pin (152), which can extend through the positioning hole (133) of the outer tube (13), provided in the intermediate hub (15) and pushed by a fourth resilient member (151) transversally towards the outer tube (13) a lower hub (16) movably provided outside the outer tube (13) and beneath the intermediate hub (15) and having an ejection spring (17) provided between the lower hub (16) and the intermediate hub (15); and a folding unit (40) provided outside the outer tube (13) and beneath the top hub (14) and having two upper pulleys (41) respectively provided in the upper hub (14) and the outer tube (13), a lower pulley (42) provided in the inner tube (11), a ring (43) movably provided outside the outer tube (13) and above the intermediate hub (15), a return spring (45) provided between the upper hub (14) and the ring (43), and a second cord (46) in turn extending through one upper pulley (41), the lower pulley (42), and the other upper pulley (41) and attached to the ring (43).

2. The collapsible umbrella as claimed in claim 1, wherein the ring (43) has two rollers (44) provided therein, and the second cord (46) has two ends respectively attached to the rollers (44).

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention is related to a collapsible umbrella, and more particularly to an umbrella which can be automatically unfolded and folded.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] A folding umbrella allows a user to fold the umbrella for easy storage or carriage. Conventional folding umbrellas are typically provided with an auto-opening mechanism that allows the umbrella to be opened automatically without manual effort from the user. However, the unfolded umbrellas must be manually closed by the user, which is very inconvenient for the user, especially in a situation where the user is holding shopping, a baby etc. Thus, the user often gets wet while folding the umbrella.

[0005] Therefore, the invention provides an auto-folding/unfolding umbrella to mitigate and/or obviate the aforementioned problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The main objective of the invention is to provide an umbrella which can be automatically folded and unfolded.

[0007] Other objectives, advantages and novel features of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a sectional view of an auto-collapsible umbrella in accordance with the invention in a folded status;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the umbrella in a status of an intermediate tube positioned about an inner tube;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the umbrella in a status of an intermediate hub positioned about an outer tube;

[0011] FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the umbrella in a status of the outer tube positioned about the intermediate tube;

[0012] FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the umbrella being opened when a button is pressed; and

[0013] FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the umbrella being closed when the button is pressed further.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0014] Referring to FIG. 1, an auto-collapsible umbrella in accordance with the invention has a handle (1). An inner tube (11) is securely installed in the handle (1). An intermediate tube (12) is movably provided outside the inner tube (11), and an outer tube (13) is movably provided outside the intermediate tube (12). The outer tube (13) is provided with a top hub (14) at a top end thereof, an intermediate hub (15) at an intermediate portion thereof, and a lower hub (16) beneath the intermediate hub (15), wherein the intermediate hub (15) and the lower hub (16) are movably provided outside the outer tube (13). An ejection spring (17) is provided between the intermediate hub (15) and the lower hub (16). A plurality of ribs (not numbered), which has a structure similar to the conventional umbrella and will not be described in detail, as illustrated by the dashdotted lines in FIGS. 5 and 6, is pivotally installed on the hubs (14, 15, 16). The umbrella further includes a waterproof fabric spread over the ribs, which is not illustrated in these figures because it is similar to that of the conventional umbrella and will be well known by those skilled in the art.

[0015] Referring back to FIG. 1, a control unit (20) is provided in the handle (1), an unfolding unit (30) is provided at a top end of the intermediate tube (15), and a folding unit (40) with a return spring (45) is provided outside the outer tube (13) and beneath the top hub (14). For unfolding the umbrella, a user can first push the lower hub (16) towards the top hub (14) to in turn extend and position the intermediate tube (12) and the outer tube (13), as illustrated in FIGS. 2-4. During this process, the springs (17, 45) in the umbrella are compressed. In a status as illustrated in FIG. 4, the ribs have not unfolded. Thereafter, the user can operate the control unit (20) to release the ejection spring (17), and the intermediate hub (15) is pushed towards the top hub (14) under the force of the ejection spring (17) to unfold the ribs, as shown in FIG. 5. For folding the umbrella, the control unit (20) is further pressed to release the return spring (45), so that the outer tube (13) along with the intermediate hub (15) and the lower hub (16) are moved downwards from the position as illustrated in FIG. 6 to fold the ribs. Therefore, it is very convenient and easy to unfold or fold the umbrella by operating the control unit (20). Although the preparative actions to extend the tubes (11, 12, 13) need use of both hands, the user can conveniently operate in a proper location without being rained upon etc because the ribs are folded.

[0016] The further structure of the umbrella and the process to operate the umbrella are described in detail hereinafter.

[0017] Referring to FIG. 1, the control unit (20) has a button (21) operatively mounted in the handle (1). A movable pole (22) is received in the inner tube (11) located in the handle (1). The button (21) has a stop sheet (211) formed thereon and transversally extending through the inner tube (11), and a first finger (215) formed beneath the stop sheet (211) and transversally extending towards the inner tube (11). A hole (212) is defined through the stop sheet (211) with a diameter slightly larger than an inner diameter of the inner tube (11). A first resilient member (213) is provided in the handle (1) and at the side of the stop sheet (211) opposite to the button (21) for pushing the stop sheet (211) to partially locate in the inner tube (11) to block the movable pole (22). A periphery defining the hole (212) has a slope (not numbered) formed adjacent to the first resilient member (213).

[0018] A second resilient member (23) is attached between a bottom of the movable pole (22) and a bottom of the inner tube (11). A first cord (24) has a lower end attached to a top of the movable pole (22) and an upper end attached to the unfolding unit (30). A second finger (222) is provided in the movable pole (22) and pushed by a third resilient member (221) to movably locate in a channel (110) longitudinally defined through a periphery of the inner tube (11) inside the handle (1). The upper end of the channel (110) is substantially corresponding to the first finger (215). When unfolding the umbrella as shown in FIG. 5, the movable pole (22) is moved upwards, and the second finger (222) is stopped at the upper end of the channel (110) and aligned with the first finger (215).

[0019] The inner tube (11) further has a first ball (111) movably mounted adjacent to a top end of the inner tube (11) by a spring leaf (not numbered). When the intermediate tube (12) extends, the first ball (111) can be located in a first ball hole (121) defined through the intermediate tube (12) to position intermediate tube (12) on the inner tube (11). The intermediate tube (12) has a recess (122) defined in an upper portion thereof to install the unfolding unit (30).

[0020] The unfolding unit (30) has a sleeve (31) received in the recess (122) and supported by a spring (32) under the sleeve (31). Two slots (311, 312) are longitudinally defined through a periphery of the sleeve (31), wherein a first pin (33) is radially inserted through the first slot (311) and the intermediate tube (12), and a protrusion (313) is formed at an inner wall defining the second slot (312). A head (314) with a chamfer (315) is formed at a top of the sleeve (31) and extends out from the intermediate tube (12). The upper end of the first cord (24) is extended through the intermediate tube (12), the sleeve (31) and attached to the head (314). A second ball (316) is provided on an inner wall of the intermediate tube (12) by a spring leaf (317), and a second pin (319) is formed on the second ball (316) and extends through the second slot (312). A tab (318) is formed at a distal end of the second pin (319) and can be pushed by the protrusion (313).

[0021] The outer tube (13) has a second ball hole (131) for receiving the second ball (316), and a positioning hole (133) above the second ball hole (131). A third pin (152) is provided in the intermediate hub (15) and pushed by a fourth resilient member (151) radially towards the outer tube (13). When the third pin (152) is extended in the positioning hole (133), the intermediate hub (15) is positioned on the outer tube (13). In the folded status, the second ball hole (131) is below the second ball (316). In a status preparative to unfold, the outer tube (13) is moved upwards about the intermediate tube (12) until the second ball (316) is received in the second ball hole (131), as shown in FIG. 4.

[0022] Referring back to FIG. 1, the upper hub (14) has two first openings (141) respectively corresponding to two second openings (132) defined through the outer tube (13) for installing the folding unit (40).

[0023] The folding unit (40) has two upper pulleys (41) respectively provided in the first openings (141) and the second openings (132), and a lower pulley (42) provided in the inner tube (11). A ring (43) is movably provided outside the outer tube (13) and above the intermediate hub (15), and provided with two rollers (44) therein. A second cord (46) has a first end attached to one of the rollers (44), and a second end in turn extending through one of the upper pulleys (41) corresponding to this roller (44), the outer tube (13), the sleeve (31), the intermediate tube (12), the lower pulley (42), and the other upper pulley (41) to attach to the other roller (44).

[0024] When opening the umbrella, the user first holds the handle (1) by one hand and pushes the lower hub (16) by the other hand towards the upper hub (14), as shown in FIG. 1. At the beginning, the intermediate tube (12) is extended about the inner tube (11). When the first cord (24) is tightened, the distance between the movable pole (22) and the head (314) cannot be extended. The spring (32), therefore, is compressed by the sleeve (31) when the lower hub (16) is further pushed to extend the intermediate tube (12). When the first ball (111) of the inner tube (11) is received in the first ball hole (121), the intermediate tube (12) is positioned about the inner tube (11), and the spring (32) is retained to be compressed, as shown in FIG. 2.

[0025] When the lower hub (16) is further pushed, the outer tube (13) is extended about the intermediate tube (12). When the outer tube (13) reaches a position as illustrated in FIG. 3, the positioning hole (133) is above the chamfer (315) of the head (314), the third pin (152) is urged by the fourth resilient member (151) to extend through the positioning hole (133) to position the intermediate hub (15) about the outer tube (13). At the same time, the second cord (46) is also tightened.

[0026] Afterwards, the lower hub (16) is further pushed towards the upper hub (14) to extend the outer tube (13) about the intermediate tube (12). Because the second cord (46) is tightened, the ring (43) is pulled by the second cord (46) towards the upper hub (14), and the return spring (45) is compressed.

[0027] At the same time, the ejection spring (17) is also compressed until the second ball (316) is extended through the second ball hole (131) to position the outer tube (13) about the intermediate tube (12), as shown in FIG. 4. In this case, the ribs (not shown in this figure) are slightly unfolded because of the changed distance between the intermediate hub (15) and the lower hub (16).

[0028] Thereafter, referring to FIG. 5, the user can press the button (21) to push the stop sheet (211) to release the movable pole (22). Under the force of the spring (32), the sleeve (31) and the head (314) are moved upwards, and the movable pole (22) is pulled by the first cord (24) to move upwards until the second finger (222) is blocked by the upper end of the channel (110). During the movement of the head (314), the third pin (152) is pushed outwards by the head (314) outwards, and is retracted from the positioning hole (133) under the force of the ejection spring (17). Thus, the intermediate hub (15) is released from the outer tube (13) and pushed upwards under the force of the ejection spring (17) to abut the ring (43) to unfold the ribs. Then, the umbrella is opened.

[0029] For closing the umbrella, the user can further press the button (21) in the status as illustrated in FIG. 5. The second finger (222) is pressed inwards by the first finger (215) abutting the second finger (222) to disengage from the channel (110). Then, as shown in FIG. 6, the sleeve (31) is pushed by the spring (32) to move upwards further and the movable pole (22) is further pulled up by the first cord (24) until the first pin (33) abuts the bottom end of the first slot (311) to block the sleeve (31). During this movement of the sleeve (31), the tab (318) is pushed inwards by the protrusion (313) to disengage the second ball (316) from the second ball hole (131). Therefore, under the force of the return spring (45), the outer tube (13) along with the intermediate hub (15) and the lower hub (16) is moved downwards about the intermediate tube (12) to fold the ribs. When the bottom end of the outer tube (13) touches the first ball (111) protruded from the first ball hole (121), the first ball (111) is pushed inwards to retract in the first ball hole (121) and the intermediate tube (12) can be moved downwards to disengage the first ball (111) from the first ball hole (121). Then, the first cord (24) is loosened, and the movable pole (22) is pulled downwards by the second resilient member (23) to return the original position in the handle (1). When the user releases the button (21), the stop sheet (211) is pushed by the first resilient member (213) to block the movable pole (22) again, as shown in FIG. 1. Therefore, the umbrella can be conveniently folded by using only one hand of the user.

[0030] It is to be understood, however, that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of the invention, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts within the principles of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.