Title:
Beach umbrella base
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A beach umbrella anchoring system including a semi-hemispherical device for maintaining the umbrella in a desired position. The device is made from a rigid resilient material and includes a receptacle for receiving the bottom end of a beach umbrella. After being securely attached to the beach umbrella, the device is buried in loose granular material, such as sand. The shape of the device allows the umbrella to be easily repositioned without the need to unbury and rebury the device.



Inventors:
Bright, Bonnie (Vista, CA, US)
Brennan, Robert (Laguna Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/186615
Publication Date:
01/26/2006
Filing Date:
07/21/2005
Assignee:
Spyglass Marketing Group, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B91/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CHAN, KO HUNG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (ALISO VIEJO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A beach umbrella anchoring system comprising: a semi-hemispherical device made of a rigid, resilient material with a receptacle for receiving a bottom end of a beach umbrella and detachably, but securely, holding said umbrella end, and wherein said semi-hemispherical device while securely attached to said umbrella end is buried in loose granular material to thereby anchor said umbrella.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein said receptacle is positioned at the interior apex of said semi-hemispherical device.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein said receptacle is threaded to thereby receive a threaded end of said umbrella.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein said receptacle is lined with a resilient rubber layer, the interior hole formed by the rubber layer having a diameter smaller than the diameter of said bottom end of the beach umbrella.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein said receptacle has two resilient lever portions, each lever portion having a catch, said catches being positionable within notches formed at the bottom end of an umbrella pole.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein said rigid, resilient material is a polymer, plastic material.

7. The device of claim 1 wherein said rigid, resilient material is selected from a group including polypropylene, polyethylene, fiberglass, composite material, or metal.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein said semi-hemispherical device has a plurality of integrally formed support ribs extending inwardly from the edge of the device toward the receptacle base.

9. An apparatus for anchoring a parasol comprising: a bowl-shaped apparatus with a receptacle for receiving in a secure, but detachable, fashion a bottom end of a parasol, wherein when said apparatus is securely attached to said bottom end of said parasol said apparatus can be buried in a granular material and thereby function as an anchor to hold said parasol in an upright position.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said receptacle is positioned at an interior apex of said apparatus.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the shape of said bowl-shaped apparatus is selected from the group of round, oval, oblong, or elliptical shapes.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the bowl shape of the apparatus allows an umbrella with pole attached to said anchor, when said anchor has been buried in a granular material to support said parasol, to be adjusted in its position without unburying the anchor.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The following patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/591,006 filed on Jul. 26, 2004, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference.

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to devices for securing a covering and more particularly to a device to secure a parasol/umbrella in an upright position.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Beach umbrellas have been in use for over a century. Beach umbrellas or parasols are used at the beach to provide cover from the sun and protection from the wind. Typically, a person goes to the beach to swim, for a picnic, to fly kites or engage in other leisure type activities. Most people go to the beach when it is sunny and warm and typical beach attire consists of a bathing suit or similar garb that leaves a significant amount of skin uncovered. Thus, persons at the beach are subject to sunburn if they remain too long in the direct sunlight. They are also subject to the wind and abrasion by sand kicked up by the wind. Beach umbrellas provide one of the major forms of cover or protection from the sun.

Generally the beach umbrella is opened and the bottom of the pole of the umbrella is inserted into the sand. In some instances a portion of the edge of the cover formed by the open umbrella sits on the sand and provides some support for the umbrella. Sometimes the umbrella is set up freestanding with only the pole portion touching the ground. Setting up the umbrella as freestanding can be difficult or impossible depending on the size and weight of the cover portion of the umbrella or the firmness of the sand into which the pole of the umbrella is inserted.

Beaches are typically windy places with sudden gusts that cannot be anticipated. Given this aspect of the beach, one of the major hazards or problems in using a beach umbrella is securing it against the breezes and gusts of wind that occur at the beach. There have been a number of attempts to solve this problem. Many of these attempted solutions use some sort of anchoring system. A number of different variations attach a flat plate or sheet of various shapes to the bottom of the pole of the umbrella that is buried in the sand. The shape varies from round, to square, to fan-shaped, etc. While these devices provide an anchor secured in the sand, in trying to make adjustments to the position of the umbrella movement of the plate is limited; and in fact, the anchor has to be removed and reburied when a significant readjustment is necessary. Since the sun is constantly changing, this significantly reduces the utility of these systems. Also, one may want to adjust the position of the umbrella for changing wind conditions to block the wind. Other attempts at solving the problem provide chambered cups or other elaborate devices that act as an anchor buried in the sand. However, they all have their own problems in that they are complicated and intricate, and thus limited in their utility and difficult to manufacture. Also, they lack a design that allows the umbrella to be quickly and easily repositioned without the need to remove some or all of the covering of sand or other major effort. They also tend to be too heavy for practical or safe use.

Thus, what is needed is an anchor for a beach umbrella that has a simple design that allows for quick and easy deployment. The design should make it easy to adjust the position of the umbrella without the need to dig out and rebury the anchor. Additionally, it should be a design that can quickly and easily be fabricated in a standard mass manufacturing process with readily available materials that are resilient and can withstand the harsh conditions present at the sea shore.

BRIEF SUMMARY

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a system is provided for anchoring a beach umbrella. The system includes a semi-hemispherical device made of a rigid, resilient material. The semi-hemispherical device has a receptacle for receiving a bottom end of a beach umbrella. The receptacle detachably, but securely, holds the umbrella end. After attaching the umbrella end to the semi-hemispherical device the device is buried in loose granular material, such as sand, to thereby anchor the umbrella.

The semi-hemispherical shape of the device allows the umbrella to be repositioned as needed, either because of a change in location of the sun or shifting wind conditions, without the need to unbury and rebury the device. Due to its unique shape, the device can easily slide through the sand in order to be manually rotated and angled as required. [00101 According to various embodiments, the receptacle may be positioned at the interior apex of the semi-hemispherical device. Also, the receptacle may be threaded to receive a threaded end of the umbrella. In another embodiment, the receptacle may be lined with a resilient rubber layer. The interior hole formed by the rubber layer has a diameter smaller than the diameter of the bottom end of the beach umbrella. The umbrella is held within this receptacle by a frictional force between the rubber layer and the umbrella pole. In a further embodiment, the receptacle may have two resilient lever portions. Each lever portion has a catch that is positionable within a notch formed at the bottom end of an umbrella pole. Engagement of the catches within the notches serves to hold the umbrella to the device.

The rigid, resilient material of the device may be a polymer, plastic material. Further, the rigid, resilient material may be selected from the group including polypropylene, polyethylene, fiberglass, composite material, or metal. In another embodiment, the semi-hemispherical device may have a plurality of integrally formed support ribs. These support ribs extend inwardly from the edge of the device toward the receptacle base.

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, an apparatus is provided for anchoring a parasol. The apparatus is bowl-shaped and has a receptacle for receiving the bottom end of a parasol. The receptacle is capable of receiving the bottom end of the parasol in a secure, but detachable, fashion. The apparatus can be buried in a granular material, such as sand, after being securely attached to the bottom end of the parasol. The apparatus thereby functions as an anchor to hold the parasol in an upright position.

According to various embodiments, the receptacle may be positioned at an interior apex of the apparatus. Also, the shape of the bowl-shaped apparatus may be selected from the group of round, oval, oblong, or elliptical shapes. Further, when the anchor has been buried in a granular material to support the parasol, the bowl shape of the apparatus may allow for the positional adjustment of an umbrella with pole attached to the anchor without unburying the anchor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device of the present invention in use;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the anchor or device of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the anchor of the present invention along line III-III of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3A is the bottom end of an umbrella pole with a thread;

FIG. 3B is a top view of an alternate embodiment of the receptacle of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top view of a preferred embodiment of the anchor of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a top view of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a top view of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a top view of another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the anchor of the present invention attached to the end of the pole of a closed umbrella;

FIG. 9 is a view of the lower end of the anchor-umbrella combination where it is being used as a hoe to dig a hole in the sand; and

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the receptacle of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An example of the present invention in use is presented in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 depicts a beach umbrella 21 with its flexible ribs 23 deployed to extend its fabric cover 25 in a deployed position to provide cover from the sun. The umbrella's pole 27 attaches it to the device 29 of the present invention. The device or anchor 29 is shown buried in the sand.

A side view of a preferred embodiment of the device or anchor 29 of the present invention appears in FIG. 2. Anchor 29 in this embodiment is in the shape of a bowl or hollow hemisphere. A receptacle 31 located at the bottom of the interior of the bowl appears in outline form. Receptacle 31 is designed to receive and securely, but detachably, hold the bottom end 35 of an umbrella pole 27.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view along line III-111 of the anchor 29 in FIG. 2. At the center, bottom, or apex point of the interior of device 29 is receptacle 31. In the embodiment depicted, the interior of receptacle 31 has a spiral thread 32 to receive a complementary spiral thread 33 (FIG. 3A) formed at the bottom 35 of an umbrella pole 27. Thus in one variation of the invention, the umbrella 21 is attached to the anchor 29 by screwing it into the receptacle 31 (FIG. 3) of the anchor 29. In another variation (FIG. 3B), the interior of receptacle 31 can be lined with a resilient rubber layer 36 which securely, but detachably, holds the bottom end 35 of an umbrella pole 27. The bottom end 35 of the umbrella pole 27 would have a diameter larger than the open interior hole 51 in the receptacle 31, but smaller than the interior circumference of the receptacle 31. In yet another variation (FIG. 10), the receptacle 31 features a detent mechanism. The receptacle 31 in this embodiment has two resilient lever portions 37. Each lever portion 37 has a catch 39. The catches 39 are positionable within notches 41 formed at the bottom end 35 of an umbrella pole 27 for securing the umbrella 21 to the anchor 29. The lever portions 37 can be depressed by the user in order to slide the umbrella pole 27 over the receptacle 31. Once the notches 41 are positioned over the catches 39, the resilient lever portions 37 return to their original position thereby securing the umbrella 21 to the anchor 29.

Anchor 29 can be made out of a variety of tough and resilient materials. One such material could be a hard plastic material such as polyethylene or polypropylene. The anchor 29 could also be made out of aluminum or some other similar material. One of the advantages of making the anchor 29 out of a plastic-like material or aluminum is that all of these materials lend themselves to production of the anchor 29 by an injection molding process. Since the anchor 29 is a single unitary object, it readily lends itself to being fabricated with an injection molding process. The anchor 29 may also have a plurality of integrally formed support ribs 43. As can be seen in FIG. 10, said support ribs 43 extend inwardly from the device edge 45 toward the receptacle base 47. These support ribs 43 provide further structural support and rigidity to the anchor 29.

Although the anchor 29 of the present invention in its preferred form is in the shape of a symmetrical bowl or hollow hemisphere as depicted in FIG. 4, as well as FIGS. 2 and 3, it can also be shaped in a variety of other different shapes and not depart from the concepts of the present invention. FIG. 5 provides a top view of an oval shaped anchor 61 with the receptacle 31 located at its bottom center. In another variation, the receptacle 31 could be offset from the center of the bowl as depicted in FIG. 6 for an oval shaped anchor 67 and FIG. 7 for a hollow hemisphere 71 anchor.

As depicted in FIG. 1, the anchor 29 when it is attached to umbrella pole 27 is buried in the sand to a depth that allows the anchor 29 to securely position the umbrella 21. Anchor 29 when so buried, provides a firm anchor that allows the umbrella 21 to be held in place and withstand the windy conditions experienced at the seashore. Another advantage of the anchor 29 of the present invention is that is can be used to make the hole it will be buried in to provide support for the umbrella 21. When the anchor 29 (FIG. 8) is attached to the umbrella 21 and the umbrella 21 is closed, the combination can act as a hoe to dig the hole in the sand into which the anchor 29 can be inserted and buried as depicted in FIGS. 9 and 1. The anchor 29, when it is detached from the umbrella 21, given its bowl shape, could also be used to dig out a hole in the sand.

Another advantage of the anchor 29 of the present invention, which results from its design, is that the position of the umbrella 21 can be easily adjusted with changing positions of the sun and wind conditions. As can be seen in FIG. 1, given the bowl shape of the anchor 29 it allows for easy movement of the umbrella 21 either up or down or to the side without having to dig it up and rebury it in the sand. The bowl shape of the anchor 29 allows it to slide through the sand.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.