Title:
No-drip umbrella sheath
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for encasing an umbrella to prevent water damage to the surrounding area. The device holds a wet umbrella such that water does not leak out, even when tipped over. In further embodiments of the device, the device can hold an open umbrella for hands-free use.



Inventors:
Wu, Zhi Ming (San Francisco, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/155846
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
06/17/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/915
International Classes:
A45C15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SKURDAL, COREY NELSON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEST & ASSOCIATES, A PC (WALNUT CREEK, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for containing an umbrella, comprising: a substantially cylindrical shell having an inner and outer surface and a proximal and distal end, the shell at said proximal end having a cavity and bending towards the central axis of the cylindrical shell to form an inward lip; an interior concentric member having a distal and proximal end and integrated with or attached to the inner surface of the proximal end of said substantially cylindrical shell, said concentric member tapering slightly towards and then flaring outward at its distal end and forming a water reservoir able to hold water drained from a wet umbrella; a small portal within said cylindrical shell which can receive and secure a closed umbrella to form a seal with said closed umbrella and prevent water leakage; and an end cap removably connected to the distal end of said cylindrical shell.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising a strap connected to the outer surface of said cylindrical shell.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein said substantially cylindrical shell is comprised of separate distal and proximal concentric members, wherein the distal member is of a slightly smaller outer diameter such that it slides within the proximal member to collapse the shell along its longitudinal axis to make the device more compact.

4. The device of claim 3, further comprising a strap connected to the outer surface of said cylindrical shell.

5. The device of claim 1, further comprising an ornamental design on the outer surface of said substantially cylindrical shell.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein said substantially cylindrical shell is constructed of a light weight material selected from the group consisting of plastic, hard rubber, and cardboard.

7. The device of claim 1, further comprising drainage channels located circumferentially around said small portal to permit water drainage into the distal end of the device.

8. The device of claim 1, further comprising a recessed interior region to secure an umbrella tip.

9. The device of claim 1, further comprising water-absorbent material housed in said end cap.

10. The device of claim 1, further comprising backpack straps for wearing on a user's back.

11. The device of claim 1, further comprising means for receiving and securing an open umbrella by securing the umbrella's handle.

12. The device of claim 11, further comprising at least two collapsible legs that can prop the device up as an umbrella stand.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present disclosure is for a device that can hold an umbrella. The device serves to both protect the umbrella from damage as well as hold excess water from a wet umbrella.

2. Background

When rainy weather strikes, umbrellas protect people from getting soaked while venturing outside. When going inside, however, be it into a building or a vehicle, the wet umbrella can be a cumbersome nuisance. A person must find an appropriate place to safely store it where it will not make the surroundings all wet.

Most establishments, such as restaurants or stores, place an umbrella receptacle at the door. Although this provides a convenient place to leave the umbrella while the owner is inside, the owner runs the risk of losing the umbrella. Many umbrellas look alike, so it is not unusual for another person to mistakenly take the wrong umbrella on the way out. Unscrupulous people may invite themselves to “borrow” an umbrella if they are caught without one with the rain. And if the umbrella is distinctive, it may become a target for theft.

Rather than risk losing an umbrella, some people wish to take it along with them. To do this, however, the umbrella must be sheathed to prevent a wet umbrella from spreading water around. One recent solution to this problem, shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,805,144 issued to Usui, et. al., on Oct. 19, 2004, entitled “Protective Cover for Umbrellas and Umbrella with Protective Cover Fixed Hereto,” involves a set of telescoping concentric sections connected to the tip of the umbrella. The user collapses the wet umbrella and then slides the sections over it to encase it. This keeps the umbrella protected and the surrounding area dry.

Although this design is convenient because the sheath is compactly integrated into the umbrella, it presents some drawbacks. First, if the umbrella tips over, the excess water collected in the sheath can spill out. This can create an unsafe puddle of water on the floor or cause damage to surfaces, such as car or furniture upholstery. Further, this design does not include a receptacle to conveniently collect the water that drains off of the umbrella as it stands up. Therefore, excess water either leaks out of the sheath or remains trapped in the sheath, with no convenient way to remove it.

What is needed is a device for sheathing an umbrella that will collect and hold excess rain water, as well as allow for easy drainage and disposal of the water. This would permit people to keep their wet umbrellas with them wherever they go, without worrying about water leakage in the process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view showing an embodiment of the present device.

FIG. 2 depicts a cutaway side view showing the interior of the device.

FIG. 2a depicts a cross-sectional view of FIG. 2, showing an arrangement of drainage channels.

FIG. 3 depicts a cutaway side view showing the interior of the device while the device is in use.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the device.

FIG. 5 is a cutaway side view showing the interior of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 5a is a cutaway side view of the. embodiment shown in FIG. 4 in collapsed configuration.

FIG. 6 depicts another embodiment of the device with two straps in use by a user.

FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of the device, with collapsible legs for use as an umbrella stand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of the instant device. A substantially cylindrical outer shell 100 retains parallel sides at its distal end and angles inward toward the central axis at its proximal end to create a lip 102. The lip 102 is constructed to receive a closed umbrella which would be inserted into the device through an opening 105 in the lip. A removable end cap 104 affixes to the distal end by a friction fit, screw-on, or any other convenient and/or known means. A carrying strap 106 connects to the outer surface of the outer cylindrical shell 100 for convenient carrying of the device by a user. The outer cylindrical shell 100 and removable cap 104 can be made of a rigid or semi-rigid material that holds its shape and is impermeable to water.

FIG. 2 depicts a cutaway side view of this embodiment showing the inner cylindrical member 200, which continues from the lip 102 at the proximal end of the outer cylinder 100. The inner cylindrical member 200 tapers toward and then flares outward at its distal end to form, or is integral with, a water reservoir 202 within the lip 102. Water collected in the cylindrical member 200 can flow into the water reservoir 201 when the device is oriented in a generally horizontal manner (i.e., tipped over).

The opening 105 at the proximate end of the device opens into a cavity 205 that allows a closed umbrella to expand, and narrows into a small portal 206 that squeezes the umbrella to form a water-tight seal with the dry inner side of the umbrella. The small portal 206 can be constructed of, or lined with rubber or similar material to form the water-tight seal.

The removable cap 104 can include a concentric central region 202 to accept an umbrella tip and hold it in place. The cap 104 may also house a piece of absorbent material 204 to collect excess water that drips down into the distal end.

FIG. 2a shows a cross-section of the distal region of the inner cylindrical member 200. A set of optional longitudinal channels 203 can be circumferentially arranged in the wall of the inner cylinder 200. These channels 206 allow water to drain into the distal end of the device.

FIG. 3 shows a cross section of the device in use. A closed umbrella 301 slides into the proximal end of the device through the opening 105 in the lip. The ends of the closed umbrella is allowed to expand in the cavity 205, and the lip 102 at the proximal end of the outer cylindrical shell 100, along with the small portal 206, hold the umbrella securely in the device. The lip 102 and small portal 206 form seal(s) with the dry underside of the wet umbrella 301 a and prevents water from leaking out of the device when the device is tipped over with a wet umbrella inside. While the device is in a substantially upright position, water drains into the distal end of the device through the drainage channels 203. When the device is tipped over, i.e., placed in a generally horizontal manner, water collected in the cylindrical member 200 can flow into the water reservoir 201.

In general, the device can accommodate umbrellas that are shorter than, or substantially the same length as the device, as long as the lip 102 can form a seal with the dry underside of the umbrella used. In embodiments of the device with a concentric central region 202, an umbrella tip 301 b can set into the concentric central region to be held in place. Additionally, when an absorbent material 204 is included within the end cap 104, excess water can be absorbed to assist in preventing spillage. When the absorbent material 204 becomes saturated, the user may remove the end cap 104 to remove excess water from the absorbent material 204 and allow it to dry out.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of another embodiment of the present device in which the outer cylindrical shell is divided into two or more shorter concentric members 400 and 402. In the embodiment shown here, with two such members, the proximal member 400 contains the same lip and inner cylinder configuration as that of the outer cylinder 100 in the previous embodiment. The distal member 402 includes the same removable end cap 104 configuration as that at the distal end of the outer cylinder 100 in the previous embodiment. This distal member 402 has an outer diameter slightly less than that of the proximal member 400 so that the distal member 402 slides into the proximal member to collapse the device into a more compact size.

FIG. 5 depicts a side view the embodiment of FIG. 4 with a cutaway view showing the two concentric members 400 and 402 in a partially collapsed position.

FIG. 6 shows another embodiment of the device with two (2) backpack-style straps 602 as it is in use. In this embodiment, the user wears the device in an upright position on his or her back. For use with umbrellas with straight handles, an umbrella can be inserted handle-first and held securely by the device. This allows the user to open the umbrella for hands-free use while the user sits, stands or walks around.

FIG. 7 shows another embodiment of the device, with collapsible legs 702a, 702b shown extended. With the legs extended, the device can function as an umbrella stand. The umbrella handle is again inserted handle-first, such that the device acts as a free-standing tripod to support the umbrella. The user may then sit under the umbrella for protection from both rain and sun.

The device can be manufactured to numerous price ranges to fit the needs of the consumer. By way of example, it can be manufactured with expensive materials such as a leather cover for the outer shell, and/or being decorated with ornamental designs such as a company's logo. Alternatively, it can be made of cheap materials, such as cardboard, that allows for a single use and can be discarded afterwards.

Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the invention as described and hereinafter claimed is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.