Title:
TABLE PROTECTOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The table protector device has a support member (11) with a plurality of openings (14a, 14b, 14c, 14d) defined therein. The support member has an undersurface (18) that has a plurality of holes (20a, 20b, 20c, 20d) defined therein. The holes receive ball-holder units (24a, 24b, 24c, 24d) therein. The ball-holder units hold balls (32a, 32b, 32c, 32d) therein. The balls extend beyond the undersurface so that a gap (34) is formed between the undersurface and a table surface (13) when the support member rests on the table surface (13). The balls are rollable in any direction.



Inventors:
Vonck, Marijke (820 64 Norrbo, SE)
Application Number:
11/161485
Publication Date:
02/16/2006
Filing Date:
08/05/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B11/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030029984Adjustable pallet wrapFebruary, 2003Giampavolo
20060124036Ergodynamic desktopJune, 2006Xu et al.
20100024691COMPUTER WORK STATION WITH MOVEABLE MONITOR SUPPORTFebruary, 2010Weber
20080000398Food Table CoverJanuary, 2008Barkley
20030230221Dresser bumperDecember, 2003Savoy
20090145338Portable rapid work stationJune, 2009Panosian et al.
20090151607Hospital bedside table coverJune, 2009Mclemore
20090038515PORTABLE SHELF FOR AUTOMOBILESFebruary, 2009Robinson
20050183637Odor-adsorbing tray for under refrigerator shelvesAugust, 2005Reeser
20080000395Milling machine tableJanuary, 2008Radermacher
20090057191Stackable and collapsible pallet containerMarch, 2009Temple Jr. et al.



Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FASTH LAW OFFICES (ROLF FASTH) (Raleigh, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A table protector device, comprising: a support member having a plurality of openings defined therein, the support member having an undersurface; the undersurface having a plurality of holes defined therein; and the holes receiving ball-holder units therein, ball-holder units holding balls therein, the balls being rollable in any direction and extending beyond the undersurface so that a gap is formed between the undersurface and a table surface when the support member rests on the table surface.

2. The device according to claim 1 wherein the ball-holder units have holders filled with ball bearing units.

3. The device according to claim 1 wherein the openings and the holes are aligned along an inner peripheral line.

4. The device according to claim 1 wherein the undersurface has cavities defined therein.

5. The device according to claim 1 wherein the cavities are disposed between the openings and an outer edge of the support member.

6. The device according to claim 1 wherein the balls are made of a semi-soft material.

Description:

PRIOR APPLICATION

This application is a U.S. utility patent application claiming priority from U.S. provisional patent application 60/601,037, filed 12 Aug. 2004.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a table protector that is movable on balls.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When hot food is prepared in, for example, a hot pot, the food must either be transferred to another pot or the hot pot is put directly on the table before the hot food can be served. To protect the table from the heat of the hot pot, a table protector is put underneath the hot pot. One problem with using hot pots is that they are heavy to lift and awkward to move on the table. Also, since the hot pots are hot the user may easily get burned from the hot pots. To move the hot pot from one place to another, the user must first lift the hot pot and then transfer the table protector to the new place on the table. This is particularly difficult to do for small children and adults with a physical handicap or weak strength. If the user tries to slide both the hot pot and the table protector on the table, the hot pot may fall off the table protector since the table protector is difficult to slide. Also, the table protector may cause scratches on the table surface, particularly if the hot pot is heavy so there is increased friction between the table protector and the table surface.

There is a need for an effective table protector that is movable on a table surface without requiring lifting and causing scratching.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The table protector of the present invention provides a solution to the above-outlined problems. More particularly, the table protector device of the present invention has a support member with a plurality of openings defined therein. The support member has an undersurface that has a plurality of holes defined therein. The holes receive ball-holder units therein. The ball-holder units hold balls therein. The balls extend beyond the undersurface so that a gap is formed between the undersurface and a table surface when the support member rests on the table surface. The balls are rollable in any direction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a top view of the table protector of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the table protector of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the table protector of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional detailed side view of a ball element of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a ball element that is withdrawn from a hole in the table protector.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIGS. 1-5, the table protector 10 of the present invention has a support member 111 with a round flat upper surface 12. The protector 10 is preferably made of wood, plastic or any other material that provides good heat insulation so that the heat from hot pots are not transferred to a table surface 13 of a table 15. It is also possible to use a material with relatively high conductivity as long as the balls are made of a high insulation material, as described in detail below. It is to be understood that the table protector may have any suitable shape such as rectangular, square, oval or any other shape. The surface 12 has elongate openings 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d defined therein adjacent to a round peripheral outer edge 16. The openings 14 may be large enough to receive a fingertip.

FIG. 2 shows an undersurface 18 of the table protector 10 that is opposite the upper surface 12. The undersurface 18 has a plurality of round holes 20a, 20b, 20c and 20d defined therein between the openings 14 so that the holes 20 and the openings 14 are aligned along an inner peripheral line 22. It is also possible to make the table protector 10 without the openings 14. Between the openings 14 and the outer edge 16 are cavities 26a, 26b, 26c and 26d defined on the undersurface 18 so that a fingertip may be inserted between the table protector 10 and the table surface to grip one of the openings 14 from under the table protector 10. This is particularly important if the hot pot is about the same size as the table protector 10 so there is no room to insert the fingertip from above the openings 14. Preferably, the holes 20 do not penetrate through the table protector 10. The holes 20a, 20b, 20c and 20d receive ball-holder units 24a, 24b, 24c and 24d, respectively.

All the holder units 24 are identical and FIG. 4 shows a detail view of the holder unit 24b. The holder unit 24b has a holder 28b filled with small spherical ball bearing units 30b and a spherical ball 32b that has a diameter that is substantially greater than a diameter of the small spherical units. Preferably, the ball 32b is made of a semi-soft material that rolls easily without sliding table surfaces. Because the ball 32b is spherical and it rests on the ball bearing units 30b, it may roll in any direction without much friction. The ball 32b is held to the holder 28b by snapping the ball into the holder 28b so that the ball is held in place by the ball bearing units. Of course, any suitable fastening method of the ball 32 may be used. Another advantage is that the balls lift the under surface 18 from the table surface so there is an air gap 34 therebetween since the balls extend beyond the undersurface 18 of the support member 11.

While the present invention has been described in accordance with preferred compositions and embodiments, it is to be understood that certain substitutions and alterations may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the following claims.