Title:
MULTIPURPOSE PORTABLE TABLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multipurpose portable table, and table and chair set. The multipurpose portable table provides storage for folding chairs or the like within its frame and includes foldable side portions. In various embodiments, the table includes a positionable handle and roller legs ends that allow the multipurpose portable table or table and chair set to be easily transported by a single person. The table, and table and chair set may also include a retaining bar that is structured to retain stored chairs or the like in the frame while the multipurpose portable table or table and chair set is being transported. Additionally, in some embodiments, folding chairs of a multipurpose portable table and chair set may include fabric seat and back rest surfaces, and the table top may include a glass surface. As a result, the present invention also provides an aesthetically appealing, comfortable, and cost effective multipurpose table, and table and chair set.



Inventors:
Xiang, Guangqiang (Linhai City, CN)
Application Number:
11/419297
Publication Date:
01/04/2007
Filing Date:
05/19/2006
Assignee:
ZHEJIANG YONGQIANG GROUP CO. LTD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B83/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALEX, JAMES S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALSTON & BIRD LLP (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
That which is claimed:

1. A multipurpose portable table for use with folding chairs and the like, comprising: a table top, said table top comprising: a substantially planar center portion in a generally horizontal orientation having first and second ends, and opposite lateral sides; and at least one substantially planar folding side portion pivotally joined to one of the lateral sides so as to be pivotable between an unfolded position in which said folding side portion is in a generally horizontal orientation substantially aligned with said center portion, and a folded position in which said folding side portion is in a generally vertical position extending substantially perpendicular from the lateral side; and a frame that supports said table top, said frame comprising: a center frame attached to said center portion and having a first pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the first end of said center portion, and a second pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the second end of said center portion; a bottom support in a generally horizontal orientation attached to said first and second pairs of legs and located below said center portion; and at least one folding side frame pivotally joined to said center portion and said bottom support and having at least one supplemental support leg, said folding side frame having a unfolded position in which said supplemental support leg is positioned away from said center frame so as to support said folding side portion in said unfolded position, and a folded position in which said supplemental support leg is adjacent said center frame and said folding side portion assumes said folded position, wherein said center portion, said center frame, and said bottom support define a storage volume which is accessible through one of said pairs of legs and which is suitable for storing folding chairs or the like.

2. The multipurpose portable table of claim 1, further comprising a retaining bar attached between said second pair of legs, said retaining bar being structured to retain folding chairs or the like within said storage volume when said multipurpose portable table is transported using said roller leg ends.

3. The multipurpose portable table of claim 1, further comprising a positionable handle attached between said first pair of legs, said positionable handle structured to aid in transporting said multipurpose portable table using said roller leg ends.

4. The multipurpose portable table of claim 1, said table further comprising a table top surface constructed of a glass material.

5. The multipurpose portable table of claim 1, wherein said second pair of legs has roller leg ends.

6. The multipurpose portable table of claim 1, wherein said at least one folding side portion comprises first and second folding side portions, each folding side portion adjacent one of the lateral sides of said center portion, and wherein said at least one folding side frame comprises first and second folding side frames pivotally joined on opposite sides of said center frame, and wherein said first folding side frame has an unfolded position in which said supplemental support leg of said first folding side frame is positioned away from said center frame so as to support said first folding side portion in said unfolded position, and said second folding side frame has an unfolded position in which said supplemental support leg of said second folding side frame is positioned away from said center frame so as to support said second folding side portion in said unfolded position, and said first and second folding side frames have a folded position in which said supplemental support legs are adjacent said center frame and said folding side portions assume said folded positions.

7. The multipurpose portable table of claim 6, wherein when said first and second folding side portions and said first and second folding side frames are in said unfolded positions, said table top has a generally circular shape.

8. The multipurpose portable table of claim 6, wherein when said first and second folding side portions and said first and second folding side frames are in said unfolded positions, said table top has a generally rectangular shape.

9. A multipurpose portable table and chair set comprising: at least one folding chair having seat and backrest portions attached to a frame, said folding chair having an unfolded position in which the frame supports the seat portion in a generally horizontal orientation and the back rest portion in a vertical or slightly reclined orientation, and a folded position in which the seat portion, the back rest portion, and the frame are overlapping; and a multipurpose portable table comprising: a table top, said table top comprising: a substantially planar center portion in a generally horizontal orientation having first and second ends, and opposite lateral sides; and at least one substantially planar folding side portion pivotally joined to one of the lateral sides so as to be pivotable between an unfolded position in which said folding side portion is in a generally horizontal orientation substantially aligned with said center portion, and a folded position in which said folding side portion is in a generally vertical position extending substantially perpendicular from the lateral side; and a frame that supports said table top, said frame comprising: a center frame attached to said center portion and having a first pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the first end of said center portion, and a second pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the second end of said center portion, said second pair of legs having roller leg ends; a bottom support in a generally horizontal orientation attached to said first and second pairs of legs and located below said center portion; and at least one folding side frame pivotally joined to said center portion and said bottom support and having at least one supplemental support leg, said folding side frame having a unfolded position in which said supplemental support leg is positioned away from said center frame so as to support said folding side portion in said unfolded position, and a folded position in which said supplemental support leg is adjacent said center frame, and said folding side portion assumes said folded position, wherein when said at least one folding chair is in said folded position, said folding chair may be turned on its side and stored within said center frame, supported by said bottom support and underneath said center portion, and wherein when said folding chair is stored within said center frame, and said folding side portion and said folding side frame are in said folded positions, said multipurpose portable table and chair set may be transported using said roller leg ends.

10. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 9, further comprising a chair retaining bar attached between said second pair of legs of said multipurpose portable table, said chair retaining bar being structured to retain said at least one folding chair within said frame of said multipurpose portable table when said multipurpose portable table and chair set is transported using said roller leg ends.

11. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 9, further comprising a positionable handle attached between said first pair of legs of said multipurpose portable table, said positionable handle structured to aid in transporting said multipurpose portable table and chair set using said roller leg ends.

12. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 9, said at least one folding chair further comprising seat and back rest surfaces constructed of a fabric material.

13. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 9, said multipurpose portable table further comprising a table top surface constructed of a glass material.

14. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 10, wherein said at least one folding side portion comprises first and second folding side portions, each folding side portion adjacent one of the lateral sides of said center portion, and wherein said at least one folding side frame comprises first and second folding side frames pivotally joined on opposite sides of said center frame, and wherein said first folding side frame has an unfolded position in which said supplemental support leg of said first folding side frame is positioned away from said center frame so as to support said first folding side portion in said unfolded position, and said second folding side frame has an unfolded position in which said supplemental support leg of said second folding side frame is positioned away from said center frame so as to support said second folding side portion in said unfolded position, and said first and second folding side frames have a folded position in which said supplemental support legs are adjacent said center frame and said folding side portions assume said folded positions.

15. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 9, wherein said multipurpose portable table and chair set includes four folding chairs.

16. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 14, wherein when said first and second folding side portions and said first and second folding side frames are in said unfolded positions, said table top has a generally circular shape.

17. The multipurpose portable table and chair set of claim 14, wherein when said first and second folding side portions and said first and second folding side frames are in their unfolded positions, said table top has a generally rectangular shape.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to furniture in general, and more particularly to multipurpose portable tables, and table and chair sets.

2) Description of Related Art

There are various characteristics that are important in the design and manufacture of an article of furniture. For example, many articles of furniture, aside from purely decorative articles, are designed to bear a certain load, such as the weight of a person sitting in a chair or the weight of items supported by a bookshelf. Other important characteristics include comfort, cost, convenience, and aesthetic appeal. The relative importance of these characteristics is often determined by the ultimate use of the article of furniture. For example, the most important characteristic in the design of an office chair is likely comfort, because an office chair is typically used for many hours a day. On the other hand, the most important characteristic in the design of an occasional table is likely aesthetic appeal.

However, in the design portable furniture, such as folding tables and chairs, where such articles are used not used as often and are stored when not in use, convenience and cost are likely the most important design characteristics. This is not to say that the other characteristics are unimportant. For example, aesthetic appeal and comfort remain relevant design characteristics for portable furniture. However, the designs of many portable tables and table and chair sets appear to focus solely on cost, at the expense of convenience, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. As a result, although inexpensive, once set up, these tables, and table and chair sets are not particularly visually appealing. In fact, many portable tables, and table and chair sets require decorative fabric covers that cover the table tops and the chairs. Additionally, theses table and chair sets are not convenient for a single person to transport and assemble, often requiring a great deal of set up time.

Therefore, there is a need for an improved multipurpose portable table, and table and chair set. The table should be portable, should provide for storage of folding chairs or the like, and should be relatively easy to transport and assemble. Additionally, the table and the table and chair set should be aesthetically appealing, relatively comfortable to use, and cost effective.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention achieves the above objectives and others by providing a multipurpose portable table, and table and chair set. The multipurpose portable table provides for storage of folding chairs or the like within its frame, and, using roller legs ends, may be easily transported by a single person. The multipurpose portable table may be used in a table and chair set that includes at least one folding chair. In some embodiments, the folding chairs may include fabric seat and back rest surfaces, and a table top may include a glass surface. As a result, the present invention also provides an aesthetically appealing, comfortable, and cost effective multipurpose portable table, and table and chair set.

In one particular embodiment, the present invention provides a multipurpose portable table that comprises a table top and a frame that supports the table top. The table top comprises a substantially planar center portion and at least one substantially planar folding side portion. The center portion is in a generally horizontal orientation and has first and second ends, and opposite lateral sides. The at least one folding side portion is pivotally joined to one of the lateral sides so as to be pivotable between an unfolded position in which the folding side portion is in a generally horizontal orientation substantially aligned with the center portion, and a folded position in which the folding side portion is in a generally vertical position extending substantially perpendicular from the lateral side. The frame comprises a center frame, a bottom support, and at least one folding side frame. The center frame is attached to the center portion and has a first pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the first end of the center portion, and a second pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the second end of the center portion. The second pair of legs has roller leg ends. The bottom support is in a generally horizontal orientation and is attached to the first and second pairs of legs and located below the center portion. The at least one folding side frame is pivotally joined to the center portion and the bottom support and has at least one supplemental support leg. The folding side frame has an unfolded position in which the supplemental support leg is positioned away from the center frame so as to support the folding side portion in the unfolded position, and a folded position in which the supplemental support leg is adjacent the center frame and the folding side portion assumes the folded position. The center portion, the center frame, and the bottom support define a storage volume which is accessible through one of the pairs of legs and which is suitable for storing folding chairs or the like.

In another embodiment, the multipurpose portable table further comprises a retaining bar attached between the second pair of legs, wherein the retaining bar is structured to retain a folding chair or the like within the storage volume when the multipurpose portable table is transported using the roller leg ends. Another embodiment further comprises a positionable handle attached between the first pair of legs. The positionable handle is structured to aid in transporting the multipurpose portable table using the roller leg ends. Another embodiment further comprises a table top surface constructed of a glass material. In another embodiment, the at least one folding side portion comprises first and second folding side portions, each folding side portion adjacent one of the lateral sides of the center portion, and wherein the at least one folding side frame comprises first and second folding side frames pivotally joined on opposite sides of the center frame, and wherein the first folding side frame has an unfolded position in which the supplemental support leg of the first folding side frame is positioned away from the center frame so as to support the first folding side portion in the unfolded position, and the second folding side frame has an unfolded position in which the supplemental support leg of the second folding side frame is positioned away from the center frame so as to support the second folding side portion in the unfolded position, and the first and second side frame portions have a folded position in which the supplemental support legs are adjacent the center frame and the folding side portions assume the folded positions. In another embodiment, when the first and second folding side portions are in the unfolded positions, the table top has a generally circular shape. In another embodiment, when the first and second folding side portions are in the unfolded positions, the table top has a generally rectangular shape.

In another particular embodiment, the present invention provides a multipurpose portable table and chair set comprising at least one folding chair and a multipurpose portable table. The at least one folding chair includes seat and backrest portions attached to a frame. The folding chair has an unfolded position in which the frame supports the seat portion in a generally horizontal orientation and the back rest portion in a vertical or slightly reclined orientation, and a folded position in which the seat portion, the back rest portion, and the frame are overlapping. The multipurpose portable table comprises a table top and a frame that supports the table top. The table top comprises a substantially planar center portion and at least one substantially planar folding side portion. The center portion is in a generally horizontal orientation and has first and second ends, and opposite lateral sides. The at least one folding side portion is pivotally joined to one of the laterals sides so as to be pivotable between an unfolded position in which the folding side portion is in a generally horizontal orientation substantially aligned with the center portion, and a folded position in which the folding side portion is in a generally vertical position extending substantially perpendicular from the lateral side. The frame comprises a center frame, a bottom support, and at least one folding side frame. The center frame is attached to the center portion and has a first pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the first end of the center portion, and a second pair of legs extending substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the second end of the center portion. The second pair of legs has roller leg ends. The bottom support is in a generally horizontal orientation and is attached to the first and second pairs of legs and below the center portion. The at least one folding side frame is pivotally joined to the center portion and the bottom support and has at least one supplemental support leg. The folding side frame has an unfolded position in which the supplemental support leg is positioned away from the center frame so as to support the folding side portion in the unfolded position, and a folded position in which the supplemental support leg is adjacent the center frame and the folding side portion assumes the folded position. When the folding chair is in the folded position, the folding chair may be turned on its side and stored within the center frame, supported by the bottom support and underneath the center portion. When the folding chair is stored within the center frame, and the folding side portion and the folding side frame are in the folded positions, the multipurpose portable table and chair set may be transported using the roller leg ends.

In another embodiment, the multipurpose portable table and chair set further comprises a chair retaining bar attached between the second pair of legs, wherein the chair retaining bar is structured to retain the at least one folding chair within the frame of the multipurpose portable table when the multipurpose portable table and chair set is transported using the roller leg ends. Another embodiment further comprises a positionable handle attached between the first pair of legs, the positionable handle structured to aid in transporting the multipurpose portable table and chair set using the roller leg ends. In another embodiment, the at least one folding chair further comprises seat and back rest surfaces constructed of a fabric material. Another embodiment further comprises a table top surface constructed of a glass material. In another embodiment, the at least one folding side portion comprises first and second folding side portions, each folding side portion adjacent one of the lateral sides of the center portion, and wherein the at least one folding side frame comprises first and second folding side frames attached on opposite sides of the center frame, and wherein the first folding side frame has an unfolded position in which the supplemental support leg of the first folding side frame is positioned away from the center frame so as to support the first folding side portion in the unfolded position, and the second folding side frame has an unfolded position in which the supplemental support leg of the second folding side frame is positioned away from the center frame so as to support the second folding side portion in the unfolded position, and the first and second folding side frames have a folded position in which the supplemental support legs are adjacent the center frame and the folding side portions assume the folded position. In another embodiment, the multipurpose portable table and chair set includes four chairs. In another embodiment, when the first and second folding side portions are in the unfolded position, the table top has a generally circular shape. In another embodiment, when the first and second folding side portions are in the unfolded position, the table top has a generally rectangular shape.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

Having thus described the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a multipurpose portable table in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a multipurpose portable table in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a rear view a multipurpose portable table in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a partial cross section view showing a folding side portion and a folding side frame of a multipurpose portable table in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is perspective view of a multipurpose portable table and chair set showing a folding chair in an unfolded position, the multipurpose portable table in an unfolded position, and another folding chair in the folded position being stored within the center frame of the multipurpose portable table in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a partial view of a multipurpose portable table and chair set showing stored chairs and the multipurpose portable table in a storage position in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which some, but not all embodiments of the invention are shown. Indeed, this invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will satisfy applicable legal requirements. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

The present invention relates to a multipurpose portable table and chair set 10, and a multipurpose portable table 12. FIGS. 1-3 show an unfolded multipurpose portable table 12 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. In various embodiments, the multipurpose portable table 12 is configured to be used with at least one folding chair or the like (not shown in these figures, see FIGS. 5 and 6). In the depicted embodiment, the multipurpose portable table 12 is configured to be used with four folding chairs. In various embodiments, the multipurpose portable table 12 has a folded position and an unfolded position. As will be described in more detail below, the folded position allows the multipurpose portable table 12, along with an associated set of folding chairs, to be easily transported and stored in a relatively small area. As shown in the figure, the multipurpose portable table 12 generally includes a table top 14 and a frame 16 that supports the table top 14. In the unfolded position, the table top 14 of the depicted embodiment defines a generally circular shape. However it should be noted that in other embodiments, in the unfolded position, the table top 14 may define any other shape, including, but not limited to rectangular, elliptical, and half-circular shapes.

The table top 14 of the depicted embodiment includes a center portion 18 in a generally horizontal orientation and first and second folding side portions 20, 22, each adjacent the center portion 18. The frame 16 of the depicted embodiment generally includes a center frame 24, a bottom support 26 in a generally horizontal orientation, and first and second folding side frames 28, 30. It should be noted that although the depicted embodiment includes a pair of folding side portions 20, 22 and a pair of folding side frames 28, 30, other embodiments of the present invention may include a single folding side portion and a single folding side frame. In the depicted embodiment, the center portion 18 is substantially planar and includes a first end 32, a second end 34, and opposite lateral sides 36, 38. The first and second folding side portions 20, 22 of the depicted embodiment have a partial circular shape that complements the center portion 18 to create a circular shape when the first and second portions 20, 22 are in their unfolded positions. However, as noted above, in other embodiments the table top 14 may have various other shapes.

In the depicted embodiment, the table top 14 comprises a center portion 18 having a center table top surface 40 constructed of a glass material, and first and second folding side portions 20, 22 having first and second side table top surfaces 42, 44 constructed of a glass material. The table top 14 of the depicted embodiment also includes a center rim 46 that supports the center table top surface 40, and first and second rims 48, 50 that support the first and second folding side table top surfaces 42, 44. Although not visible in FIGS. 1-3 (see FIG. 5) in the depicted embodiment, the folding side portions 20, 22 also include intermediate support bars 52, 54 that extend underneath the side table top surfaces 42, 44 substantially parallel to the lateral sides 36, 38 of the center portion 18, proximate an outer side 56, 58 of the folding side portions 20, 22. The center rim 46 extends around the perimeter of the center table top surface 40 and, in the depicted embodiment, is constructed of a metal material. Likewise, the first and second rims 48, 50 extend around the respective perimeters of the first and second folding side portions 20, 22 and, in the depicted embodiment, are also constructed of a metal material. In various other embodiments, however, the table top surfaces 40, 42, 44 may be constructed of any material or combination of materials known to be used for table top surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, or composite materials. Additionally, in various other embodiments, any or all of the rims 46, 48, 50 need not be included. In the depicted embodiment, however, a glass table top surface and a metal rim add to the aesthetical appeal of the multipurpose portable table 12.

As noted above, the frame 16 of the depicted embodiment includes a center frame 24, a bottom support 26, and first and second folding side frames 28, 30. The center frame 24 is attached to and supports the center portion 18. In the depicted embodiment, the center portion 18 includes a first pair of legs 60 and a second pair of legs 62. The first pair of legs 60 extends substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the first end 32 of the center portion 18. Likewise, the second pair of legs 62 extends substantially perpendicular from and adjacent the second end 34 of the center portion 18. In the depicted embodiment, the legs 60, 62 are elongate tubular members constructed of a metal material. However, in various embodiments, the legs 60, 62 may be constructed of any material and may have any configuration known to be used for table legs. The first pair of legs 60 includes adjustable leg ends 64 that allow for vertical adjustment in order to account for surface level disparities of the surface upon which the table is resting. The second pair of legs includes roller leg ends 66. As will be described in more detail below, the roller legs ends 66 are used to facilitate transporting the multipurpose portable table 12.

The bottom support 26 of the frame 16 is in a generally horizontal orientation and is attached to the first and second pairs of legs 60, 62. In the depicted embodiment, the bottom support 26 is generally planar and includes first and second opposite ends 68, 70, and a pair of opposite lateral sides 72, 74. The bottom support 26 is located below the center portion 18, indicated in the depicted embodiment by a distance D. In various embodiments, the bottom support 26, the center frame 24, and the center portion 18, define a storage volume 75 which is accessible through one of the pairs of legs 60, 62 and which is suitable for storing folding chairs or the like. It should be noted that in various other embodiments, the bottom support 26 may have other configurations that need not be generally planar in order to support folding chairs or the like. In the depicted embodiment, the bottom support 26 comprises a support surface 76 that is constructed of a glass material, and a support rim 78 that is constructed of a metal material. In the depicted embodiment, these materials are used to complement the materials of the table top 14 for aesthetic purposes, however, it should be noted that in various other embodiments any material may be used whether or not complementary of the materials used for the table top 14, and in still other embodiments, the rim 78 need not be included. Such other materials may include, but are not limited to, wood materials, metal materials, plastic materials, or composite materials.

The frame 16 of the depicted embodiment also includes a chair retaining bar 80 and a positionable handle 82, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The chair retaining bar 80 is rigidly attached between the second pair of frame legs 62 and, as will be discussed below, is structured to retain chairs or the like while stored and while the multipurpose portable table 12 is being transported. In the depicted embodiment, the chair retaining bar 80 is a curved tubular member constructed of a metal material, however in other embodiments, the chair retaining bar 80 may have any configuration and may be constructed of any material sufficient to retain the stored chairs. Opposite the chair retaining bar 80 is a positionable handle 82. The positionable handle 82 of the depicted embodiment is attached between the first pair of legs 60, and, as will be discussed below, is structured to be used to facilitate transporting the multipurpose portable table 12. The positionable handle 82 of the depicted embodiment is a tubular element configured into a u-shape and constructed out of a metal material. In the depicted embodiment, the positionable handle 82 rotates within a pair of brackets 83 rigidly attached to the first pair of legs 60. The positionable handle 82 may be moved to at least an upward position, toward the center portion 18, and a downward position, toward the center frame 24. In the upward position, the positionable handle 82 is usable, in conjunction with the roller legs ends 66 of the second pair of legs 62, to transport the multipurpose portable table 12. In the downward position, the positionable handle 82 is configured to help secure stored folding chairs or the like.

As noted above, the multipurpose portable table 12 of the depicted embodiment includes first and second folding side portions 20, 22 and first and second folding side frames 28, 30. The first and second folding side portions 20, 22 each include an inner side 84, 86 and an outer side 56, 58. Each of the inner sides 84, 86 of the folding side portions 20, 22 are adjacent the pair of lateral sides 36, 38 of the center portion 18. FIG. 4 shows a cross section view of the first folding side portion 20 and the first folding side frame 28. In the depicted embodiment, the first and second folding side portions 20, 22 have similar a configuration, likewise, the first and second folding side frames 28, 30 have similar a configuration. Thus, it should be noted that FIG. 4 and the associated description below, are also representative of the second folding side portion 22 and the second folding side frame 30. The first folding side portion 20 is pivotally joined to the center portion 18 with a pair of hinges 88 that connect the inner side 84 of the first folding side portion 20 to the adjacent lateral side 36 of the center portion 18. The hinges 88 allow the first folding side portion 20 to rotate between an unfolded position in which the first folding side portion 20 has a generally horizontal orientation substantially aligned with the center portion 18, and a folded position in which the first folding side portion 20 is in a generally vertical position, substantially parallel with the legs 60, 62.

As also shown in the figure, the first folding side frame 28 includes an elongate pivot bar 90, a pair of extension braces 92, 94, and an elongate supplemental support leg 96 having an adjustable leg end 97. The pivot bar 90 pivots within upper and lower pivot pockets 98, 100, which are attached to the center portion 18 and the bottom support 26, respectively. The upper pivot pocket 98 is approximately centrally located along the lateral side 36 of the center portion 18. Likewise, the lower pivot pocket 100 is approximately centrally located along the corresponding lateral side 72 of the bottom support portion 26, opposite the upper pivot pocket 98. The extension braces 92, 94 extend substantially perpendicular from the pivot bar 90 and are rigidly attached to the supplemental support leg 96 such that they are also substantially perpendicular to the supplemental support leg 96. So configured, when the first folding side frame 28 is in the folded position, the extension braces 92, 94 and the supplemental support leg 96 are positioned adjacent the center frame 24. Specifically, when in the folded position, the extension braces 92, 94 and the supplemental support leg 96 are aligned with each other and adjacent the lateral side 72 of the bottom support 26 and the lateral side 36 of the center portion 18. When in the unfolded position, the supplemental support leg 96 swings away from the center frame 24 so as to support the folding side portion 20 in the unfolded position. A swing stop feature 102 is located on the intermediate support bar 52 of the first folding side portion 20 and is structured such that when the first folding side frame 28 is swung away from the center frame 24, the supplemental support leg 96 stops at a position in which the extension braces 92, 94 and the supplemental support leg 96 are substantially perpendicular to the lateral side 72 of the bottom support 26 and the lateral side 36 of the center portion 18. In the depicted embodiment, the swing stop feature 102 is a curved block that receives a stop end 104 of the supplement support leg 96. So configured, the supplemental support leg 96 may support an area of the folding side portion 28 that is distal from the pairs of frame legs 60, 62.

The multipurpose portable table 12 of the depicted embodiment of the present invention has a fully assembled position and storage position. In the storage position, the folding side portions 20, 22 and the folding side frames 28, 30 are in their folded positions such that the portable table 12 takes up less space. In the fully assembled state, the folding side portions 20, 22 are rotated into their unfolded positions, and the folding side frames 28 are swung out to their unfolded positions such that the supplemental support legs 96, 105 support the folding side portions 20, 22 in the unfolded position. In this manner, when the folding side frame portions 28, 30 are extended to their unfolded positions and the corresponding folding side portions 20, 22 are rotated into their unfolded positions, the multipurpose portable table of the depicted embodiment of the present invention may be used in the nature of a standard table.

As noted above, the multipurpose portable table 12 of the present invention may be used in conjunction with at least one folding chair to create a multipurpose portable table and chair set 10. FIG. 5 shows two folding chairs 106 and a multipurpose portable table 12 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The folding chairs 106 include seat and backrest portions 108, 110 and a frame 111. The seat and back rest portions 108, 110 define seat and back rest surfaces 112, 114, respectively. In the depicted embodiment, the chair frame 111 includes four legs, a pair of front legs 116A and a pair of rear legs 116B. The frame 111 also includes a pair of cross members 118 that extend between the legs of each pair 116A, 116B. The cross members 118 are located proximate a bottom end 120 of the legs, which contacts the surface upon which the chair is resting. In the depicted embodiment, the back rest portion 110 is attached to an opposite end 122 of the front legs 116A of the frame 111. One end 124 of the seat portion 108 is pivotally attached to an intermediate position on the pair of rear legs 116B, and the other end 126 of the seat portion 108 is pivotally attached to an upper end 128 of rear legs 116B. Thus, in the unfolded position, the seat portion 108 is supported by the legs in a generally horizontal orientation and the backrest portion 110 is supported in a vertical or slightly reclined position. In the folded position, the seat portion 108 pivots about the front and rear legs 116A, 116B so that the seat portion 108 rotates toward the back rest portion 110 until the seat portion 108, the back rest portion 110, and the frame 111 are overlapping. Once in the folded position, the folded folding chairs 106 may be stored within the storage volume 75 of the multipurpose portable table 12. As shown in the figure, once folded, a folding chair 106 may be turned on its side and inserted underneath the center portion 18 such that the folding chair 106 is supported by the bottom support 26. As shown in the figure, the chair retaining bar 80 is structured to retain the folding chairs 106 when stored or, as will be discussed below, when transported. The distance D (as shown in FIG. 2) and a chair width W are chosen such that a folding chair 106 may be inserted within the center frame 24 so that the folding chair 106 may be supported on its side. So configured, this allows the center frame 24 to accommodate multiple folding chairs 106 in the folded position, thus maximizing the chair storage space. In the depicted embodiment, the chair frame 111 comprises tubular members constructed of a metal material, and the seat and back rest surfaces 112, 114 are constructed of a fabric material. As a result, the folding chairs 106 of the depicted embodiment provide a relatively lightweight chair with comfortable seating and back rest surfaces. In other embodiments, the folding chairs may be constructed of any materials used to make folding chairs, including but not limited to wood, metal, plastic, or composite materials.

As shown in FIG. 6, after the folding chairs 106 have been stored, the multipurpose portable table 12 may be folded into a storage position, and the table and chair set 10 may be easily transported in accordance with the present invention. Specifically, the folding side frames 28, 30 and the folding side portions 20, 22 may be placed in the folded position, and the folding chairs 106 may be folded, turned on their sides, and inserted into the storage volume 75 so that the entire set 10 takes up less space. Additionally, by using the positionable handle 82 attached to the first pair of table legs 60, a multipurpose portable table and chair set 10 in the storage position may be easily transported by tilting the multipurpose portable table 12 in the direction indicated and moving the multipurpose portable table 12 from one location to another using the roller legs ends 66 of the second pair of legs 62. As noted above, because the chair retaining bar 80 is attached to second pair of legs 62 and opposite the positionable handle 82, the chair retaining bar 80 acts to retain the folding chairs 106 within the frame 16 when the multipurpose portable table 12 is tilted and transported. In the depicted embodiment, if the stored folding chairs 106 slide on the bottom support 26, the chair retaining bar 80 will contact the cross members 118 attached to the chair legs 116, thus retaining the folding chairs 106 within the storage volume 75 of the multipurpose portable table 12. Note that if the stored folding chairs 106 are stored in an opposite orientation, the chair retaining bar 80 will contact the seat backrest portions 110 in order to retain the folding chairs 106 in the storage volume 75.

Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.