Title:
Windproof umbrella
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The windproof umbrella of the present invention comprises a central shaft, telescoping ribs and a canopy, as well as an optional vent cap. The ribs comprise a base and a telescoping portion that result in a frame that is substantially windproof. Compared to the structure of a typical single rib, the telescoping nature of the ribs of the present invention provides a structure that is much stronger than a normal rib. The overall result is a windproof umbrella that is inexpensive to manufacture and easy to operate.



Inventors:
Perry Jr., George (Boston, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/138090
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/27/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/26, 135/33.7
International Classes:
A45B25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAMBERT SHORTELL & CONNAUGHTON (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A windproof umbrella comprising: a central shaft; a plurality of ribs extending from said central shaft; a plurality of rib stays connected to said plurality of ribs; and a canopy connected to said plurality of ribs.

2. The windproof umbrella of claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of ribs further comprise a base rib and a telescoping rib.

3. The windproof umbrella of claim 2, wherein said base rib and said telescoping rib include a telescoping relationship.

4. The windproof umbrella of claim 3, wherein said telescoping relationship further comprises a spring.

5. The windproof umbrella of claim 4, further comprising a plurality of forming ribs, whereby a desired shape is formed in the canopy.

6. The windproof umbrella of claim 5, further comprising an open position and a closed position.

7. The windproof umbrella of claim 6, further comprising a shaft collar, wherein said shaft collar is slidably connected to said central shaft.

8. The windproof umbrella of claim 7, wherein said open position includes a top shaft collar position.

9. The windproof umbrella of claim 8, further comprising a plurality of secondary stays attached to said plurality of ribs.

10. The windproof umbrella of claim 9, wherein said secondary stay is attached to said telescoping rib.

11. A windproof umbrella comprising: a central shaft; a plurality of ribs extending from said central shaft; a plurality of rib stays connected to said plurality of ribs; a canopy connected to said plurality of ribs; and a vent cap located substantially in the center of said canopy.

12. The windproof umbrella of claim 11, wherein each of said plurality of ribs further comprise a base rib and a telescoping rib.

13. The windproof umbrella of claim 12, wherein said base rib and said telescoping rib include a telescoping relationship.

14. The windproof umbrella of claim 13, wherein said telescoping relationship further comprises a spring.

15. The windproof umbrella of claim 14, further comprising a plurality of forming ribs, whereby a desired shape is formed in the canopy.

16. The windproof umbrella of claim 15, wherein said vent cap further comprises attached areas, wherein said attached areas are coextensive with said plurality of ribs.

17. The windproof umbrella of claim 15, wherein said vent cap further comprises a vent base and a vent top, wherein said vent top overhangs said vent base.

18. The windproof umbrella of claim 17, wherein said vent top is slidably related to said central shaft.

19. A windproof umbrella comprising: a central shaft; a plurality of ribs extending from said central shaft; a plurality of rib stays connected to said plurality of ribs, wherein each of said plurality of ribs further comprise a base rib and a telescoping rib, and wherein said base rib and said telescoping rib include a telescoping relationship, and wherein said telescoping relationship further comprises a spring; a canopy connected to said plurality of ribs; and a vent cap located substantially in the center of said canopy.

20. The windproof umbrella of claim 19, wherein said vent cap further comprises a vent base and a vent top, wherein said vent top overhangs said vent base, and, wherein said vent top is slidably related to said central shaft.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of outdoor equipment, and more particularly to a windproof umbrella.

2. Description of Related Art

The need for umbrellas and outdoor protective gear is well known in the art. As a result, prior art solutions have been developed for a wide array of possible problems that can occur during inclement weather situations. Umbrellas are useful for protecting against harsh sunlight, as well as being particularly useful for protection against inclement weather that includes precipitation.

Generally, what is required for protection against the rays of the sun is a canopy that comprises sufficient area to ensure that the user(s) is substantially shaded. Although other locales exist where umbrellas are employed, umbrellas are most often used for their sun protection qualities along the coast, such as at the beach. However, weather at the beach also generally includes winds of great velocity. To prevent the typical beach umbrella from blowing away or inverting, beach umbrellas are often secured via their central shaft. As a result, the canopy portion of the umbrella must withstand the full force of the winds. The unfortunate result is often that the canopy will “blow out,” rendering the umbrella permanently damaged.

The ways that an umbrella protects its user from precipitation is not difficult to achieve, but the winds and gusts that accompany bad weather will easily turn an umbrella canopy inside out. An individual using an umbrella will often wear less protective clothing on their person because of the anticipated protection provided by the umbrella. Unfortunately, if the umbrella is inverted by winds or gusts, the individual becomes completely unprotected from the elements as a result.

A number of prior art solutions have been proposed to combat these problems. Some of the solutions incorporate additional metal stays, and/or venting mechanisms, and are discussed in further detail below.

Lin et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,186,157 discloses a windproof umbrella that attempts to achieve a windproof configuration by means of pulling ropes. When the umbrella is opened, the pulling ropes impart a tension on the outer portion of the umbrella cloth and the main portion of the umbrella support. As such, the strength of the rope is designed to be greater than that of any wind gusts that the user may encounter.

Johnson et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,206,017 discloses an example of an umbrella that includes a reinforced rib structure designed to prevent inversion due to strong winds. The reinforced rib structure is disclosed as including a strut member that is connected to the main post sleeve at one end, and to the rib portion at the other. The strut acts to provide the additional strength necessary to prevent inversion of the umbrella canopy.

Okuda, U.S. Pat. No. 6,202,661 discloses another example of an umbrella structure that has been reinforced to prevent inversion in windy conditions. The structure includes what is termed a tension member that terminates in hook portions. The hook portions are used to attach the outer rib section to the interior section, while the tensioning member itself provides the additional strength necessary to prevent inversion.

Culver, U.S. Pat. No. 6,330,886 discloses a wind resistant umbrella that is preferably utilized in conjunction with a picnic style table. The umbrella avoids inversion due to high winds by allowing for venting prior to inversion. Venting is accomplished by means of the canopy, where the canopy is divided in sections. Each section is only attached to one rib, thereby allowing for venting along the unattached side should the pressure caused by the wind require it.

You, U.S. Pat. No. 6,571,814 discloses another umbrella that utilizes a venting technique to prevent inversion due to high winds. Venting is accomplished by means of a dual canopy system, whereby an upper canopy lays atop a lower canopy and it attached in a manner that allows for ventable regions.

Reese, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0031509 discloses a portable sunshade, which is essentially an umbrella type device. The device includes telescoping rib supports that can be seen in FIG. 10. There are no particular windproofing aspects of this device, other than a weighted support to prevent tipping.

Ko, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0022458 discloses another example of a prior art windproof umbrella device. This device achieves its windproof capability by means of a plurality of two pronged tension members. The tension members are connected to a ring located on the main support of the umbrella, and then branch out to connect to two rib members. The result is that the tension prevents the umbrella from inverting in high wind situations.

One disadvantage of the aforementioned devices is that they are generally too complicated to be manufactured, or operated efficiently or in a cost-effective manner. The user will be faced with a choice between paying a premium for an alleged non-collapsible/wind-proof umbrella, or simply supplementing a normal (non windproof) umbrella with additional personal rain gear.

Therefore, what is required is an umbrella that can be used in both inclement weather and sunny environments.

What is also required is an umbrella that will protect the user from undesired elements, while withstanding any winds and/or gusts that may accompany these weather situations.

It is also required to provide an umbrella that is not overly complicated to manufacture or operate, and is a cost-effective solution to the problem of collapsing umbrellas.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a non-collapsible and/or windproof umbrella that protects the user from the elements, while affording the user protection from the occurrence of high winds and sudden gusts.

What is provided is a non-collapsible and/or windproof umbrella that may include telescoping elements. The telescoping elements provide the additional strength necessary to prevent collapse or inversion due to high winds and gusts. The umbrella may also include a venting portion as an addition, but this feature is merely an add-on, as the improved frame structure is sufficient to provide the windproof qualities necessary to improve over the prior art, and to solve the problems not addressed. However, the combination of both the telescoping elements along with the venting portion provides a novel combination that provides the highest protection against collapse and/or inversion. Additional features and limitations will be apparent from the accompanying detailed description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of the umbrella frame of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the umbrella frame of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a detailed view of a portion of the umbrella frame of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a detailed view of a portion of an alternative embodiment the umbrella frame of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the canopy portion of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the vent cap portion of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the windproof umbrella including the vent cap.

FIG. 8 is a detailed side view of the vent cap displaying the interior side wall of the vent base.

FIG. 9 is a detailed side view of the vent cap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the windproof umbrella 1 of the present invention includes a primary canopy 7, supported by a plurality of ribs 4. The ribs 4 may include a base rib 5, and a telescoping rib 6. The ribs 4 are connected to the central shaft 2 at the base rib 5. The ribs 4 are connected to canopy 7 at forming ribs 8. The forming ribs 8 provided connections, as well as form for the umbrella 1. The umbrella is transformed from a closed position to an open position by raising shaft collar 9, which is slidably connected to central shaft 2. Rib stays 3 assist in the raising of ribs 4 to achieve the open position.

FIG. 2 displays an alternate embodiment of the windproof umbrella 1 of the present invention including a secondary stay 13. Secondary stay 13 is preferably connected to telescoping rib 6 in an alternate embodiment in order to assist in full extension of the ribs 4 to achieve the desired open position.

FIG. 3 illustrates the internal portion of ribs 4 that may include a spring 10. Spring 10 may assist in providing the desired tension to the outer portions of canopy 7, in addition to allowing for the flexibility necessary to switch from a closed to an open position, and vice versa. The term “spring” is used broadly to indicate any material, part, or combination of parts that is capable of providing compression, tension and similar forces. FIG. 4 also illustrates a detailed picture of spring 10 along with the alternate addition of secondary stay 13.

Therefore, it is seen from the views of the present invention that a windproof umbrella 1 is achieved by means of the novel rib assembly disclosed. The typical umbrella generally has its weakest point at an area somewhere near the midpoint of the rib. This weakness has been eradicated by the present invention because the telescoping nature of the rib provides a structure that is much stronger than non-telescoping configurations. The spring portion helps to ensure that the telescoping action takes place, and the tension of the canopy helps to retain the telescoping portion of the rib in place.

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of the canopy 7 that includes a vent cap 14. Vent cap 14 allows for additional stress release by means of venting portions. Vent cap 14 may be secured to ribs 4 along the rib portions, yet are not attached at the section that the runs transversely between ribs 4. Where canopy 7 includes a vented portion at its center, a venting embodiment is added to the telescoping rib embodiment of the present invention. It should be noted that windproof capabilities are achieved by means of the telescoping portions without the addition of the vented portion, but the vented portion allows for another line of protection.

FIG. 6 displays a top view of vent cap 14, and details an alternate embodiment where vent cap 14 comprises a vent base 12 and a vent top 11. FIG. 7 displays this embodiment in a side view of windproof umbrella 1. FIGS. 8 and 9 show side view details of vent cap 14 comprising the alternate embodiment of a vent base 12 and vent top 11. In FIG. 8 it can be seen that vent top 11 preferably hangs over vent base 12, as can be seen by the broken line that indicates the top of vent base 12. The overhang prevents water from entering the underside area of windproof umbrella 1. Both vent base 12 and vent top 11 are preferably connected to central shaft 2. In another embodiment vent top 11 may be slidably connected to the central shaft 2 to allow it to rise in the event of pressure caused by wind or gusts. When vent top 11 is not in a raised position, it should form a substantially water tight seal with the side of vent base 12; this seal may be improved with the use of a rubber gasket or similar material as is known in the art.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications can be substituted therefore without departing from the principles and spirit of the invention.