Title:
Hammock support frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible hammock support is disclosed which comprises a pair of generally parallel horizontal support members, each having connected thereto at each end thereof a pair of upright support members. Each upright support member is connected to one of the horizontal support member by pivoting support member connecting means. The upright support members are each connected to one other upright support member at their upper ends by a pivoting upright support connecting means. Each pivoting upright support connecting means further includes a swiveling hook. In use, the hammock support is removed from a nylon carrying bag in its collapsed position, and the horizontal support members are laid onto a flat surface. Then the upright support members are pivoted up and away from the horizontal support members, and the horizontal support members are pulled away from each other, putting the hammock support is a fully extended position. Each end of a hammock is engaged with one of the hooks so that the hammock is suspended between the hooks over the hammock support. The hammock may now be used. The reverse process is followed when the user desires to collapse the hammock support after use.



Inventors:
Lam, Adam (Rancho Dominguez, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/185379
Publication Date:
01/25/2007
Filing Date:
07/20/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F3/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEWHOPE LAW, PC (Los Alamitos, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A hammock support frame comprising: a. a pair of generally horizontal support members, having a pair of first ends and a pair of second ends, whereby according to user position, a user's head points toward pair of first ends and feet point toward the pair of second ends; b. a first and second pair of upright support members, the first pair of upright support members pivotally attached at a predetermined distance away from the first ends of the generally horizontal support members, the second pair of upright support members pivotally attached at a predetermined distance away from the second ends of the generally horizontal support members, wherein the first pair of upright support members are pivotally connected to each other at a first upper apex, wherein the second pair of upright support members are pivotally connected to each other at a second upper apex; c. at least one support brace having a notch hook, the support brace pivotally connected to one of the upright support members and; d. a support pin mounted to a generally horizontal support member, positioned at the end of the generally horizontal support member so that the notch hook can fixed engage the support pin when a user deploys the device, wherein when the support brace is engaged with the support pin on the generally horizontal support member, the upright support member is locked in position relative to the horizontal support member; wherein a user unhooks the support brace and folds the device so that the generally horizontal support members are generally parallel to the upright support members for transportation.

2. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: a cross brace mounted between upright support members to the upright support members, to limit the angle formed between the upright support members.

3. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: a nylon travel bag for carrying the hammock support frame.

4. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: a hammock attached to the first and second apex and hanging between the first and second apex.

5. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein each upright support member is connected to one of the generally horizontal support members by a bracket.

6. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein two support braces are installed, one on each upright support member.

7. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein the upright support members each form roughly a 120-degree angle with respect to the generally horizontal support members.

8. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: pliable foot pads wrapped around various points of the generally horizontal support members.

9. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein, the upright support members each form roughly a 120-degree angle with respect to the generally horizontal support members.

10. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising a hook mounted at each apex so that a hammock can be is suspended between the hooks over the hammock support.

11. A hammock support frame comprising: a. two horizontal support members each having two ends; b. four upright support members, each one attached a predetermined distance away from each end of its respective horizontal support member, the upright support members pivotally attached to the generally horizontal support members, and pivotally connected to each other at an upper apex; c. four support braces each having a notch hook, each of the support braces pivotally connected to one of the upright support members and; d. a support pin mounted on the end of a generally horizontal support member, positioned so that the notch hook can fixed engage the support pin when a user deploys the device, and disengage when a user unhooks the support brace and folds the device so that the horizontal support members are generally parallel to the upright support members for transportation.

12. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: a cross brace mounted between upright support members to the upright support members, to limit the angle formed between the upright support members.

13. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: a nylon travel bag for carrying the hammock support frame.

14. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: a hammock attached to the first and second apex and hanging between the first and second apex.

15. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein each upright support member is connected to one of the horizontal support members by a bracket.

16. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein two support braces are installed, one on each upright support member.

17. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein the upright support members each form roughly a 120-degree angle with respect to the horizontal support members.

18. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising: pliable foot pads wrapped around various points of the horizontal support members.

19. The hammock support frame of claim 1 wherein, the upright support members each form roughly a 120-degree angle with respect to the horizontal support members.

20. The hammock support frame of claim 1 further comprising a hook mounted at each apex so that a hammock can be is suspended between the hooks over the hammock support.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to hammocks and, more particularly, to a novel collapsible and portable hammock support.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Hammocks are considered by many to provide more comfort than a traditional couch, chair, futon, or other type of lounger. Hammocks typically have a supporting frame that rests on the ground and supports at two ends a woven fabric hammock in a stable manner such that swinging of the hammock does not cause the support to tip. Such hammocks and their supporting frames often are bulkier and larger than many such prior art loungers, and as such tend to be more difficult to transport.

Several attempts have been made in the prior art to provide for portable and collapsible hammocks and hammock support frames. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,276,008 to Chen on Aug. 21, 2001; U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,422 to Bayless on Nov. 16, 1999; U.S. Pat. No. 5,740,570 to Hsieh on Apr. 21, 1998; U.S. Pat. No. 5,392,476 to Williams on Feb. 28, 1995; U.S. Pat. No. 5,046,203 to de Cuadros on Sep. 10, 1991; U.S. Pat. No. 5,003,652 to Bayless on Apr. 2, 1991; U.S. Pat. No. 4,925,138 to Rawlins on May 15, 1990; U.S. Pat. No. 4,797,961 to Pasquariello on Jan. 17, 1989; U.S. Pat. No. 4,691,394 to Woo on Sep. 8, 1987; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,229,845 to de Cuadros on Oct. 28, 1980 are all examples of prior art devices featuring portable or collapsible hammocks.

There are degrees of portability, and the aforementioned prior art devices all disclose portable or collapsible hammocks that are relatively more portable than the traditional hammock and hammock stand that is designed for permanent or non-portable placement. However, all of the prior art devices are only slightly more portable and easily transported than the traditional hammock. Many of the prior art devices still weigh a considerable amount and would be difficult to carry, for example, over the sand at a beach or through the woods to the edge of a lake. None of these prior art devices are so portable that they may be carried by the average person easily for even a distance of 500 yards or more. Many of these prior art devices are designed, in fact, to only be carried from a user's garage to their backyard, making them perhaps more storable but certainly not extremely portable.

Therefore, there is a need for an inexpensive hammock and hammock support that is easily transported over a fairly long distance, such as from a user's car to the shore of a body of water some distance away. Such a needed device would be relatively light and compact when in a collapsed position, yet would provide sufficient strength and support for the hammock when in its unfolded, expanded position. The present invention accomplishes these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a collapsible hammock support, well-suited for carrying when in a collapsed configuration and stored in a nylon or other suitable travel bag. The hammock support comprises a pair of generally parallel horizontal support members, each having connected thereto at each end thereof a pair of upright support members. Each upright support member is connected to one of the horizontal support member by support member connecting means, such as a simple bracket pivotally attached with a support pin to the upright support member. A support brace is further included with each support member connecting means, the support brace pivotally connected at one end thereof with a support pin to the lower end of the upright support. The other end of the support brace has a notch formed therein to engage a notch pin protruding laterally at the end of the horizontal support member. As such, when the support brace is engaged with the notch pin of the horizontal support member, the upright support member is locked in position with respect to the horizontal support member.

The upright support members are each connected to one other upright support member at their upper ends by a pivoting upright support connecting means. Each pivoting upright support connecting means further includes a hook. A hook is attached to the bearing and is formed to hold one end of the hammock. To further limit the angle between the upright support members, a cross brace may be included between the upright support connecting means and the support member connecting means.

In use, the hammock support is removed from its nylon bag and the horizontal support members are laid onto a flat surface. Then the upright support members are pivoted up and away from the horizontal support members until the notch on the support brace of each upright support member may be engaged with the notch pin at each end of each horizontal support member. In this manner the upright support members each form roughly a 120-degree angle with respect to the horizontal support members. Then the horizontal support members are pulled away from each other until the pivoting cross braces are fully extended. At this point the hammock support is in its fully extended position. Each end of the hammock is engaged with one of the hooks so that the hammock is suspended between the hooks over the hammock support. The hammock may now be used. The reverse process is followed when the user desires to collapse the hammock support after use.

The present invention provides a strong and rugged yet light-weight collapsible hammock support that may be readily collapsed and carried some distance relatively easily. The components of the present invention are relatively simple to manufacture and assemble, providing a hammock support that is aesthetically pleasing, strong, light-weight, yet inexpensive. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is perspective illustration of a hammock support of the present invention, illustrating collapsible horizontal and upright support members in an expanded configuration;

FIG. 1B is a perspective illustration of the hammock support, illustrating collapsible horizontal and upright support members in a collapsed configuration;

FIG. 2 is front elevational view of a cross brace of the present invention, illustrating the front and back of the cross brace in an expanded position;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the invention, taken generally along lines 3-3 of FIG. 1, illustrating a support member connecting means of the present invention in an expanded position;

FIG. 4 is a partial top perspective view of the invention, taken generally along lines 5-5 of FIG. 1, illustrating a pivoting upright support connecting means; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective illustration of the hammock support of the present invention, shown supporting a person in a hammock.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is a collapsible hammock support 10, illustrated in FIG. 1 as in an expanded configuration. The hammock support 10 comprises a pair of horizontal support members 20, each having connected thereto at each end thereof a pair of upright support members 30. Each upright support member 30 is connected to one of the horizontal support member 10 by support member connecting means 60 (FIG. 3).

The horizontal and upright support members 20,30 are comprised of tubular steel or aluminum, preferably powder coated to ensure durability when exposed to outside elements. In one embodiment of the invention, however, such horizontal and upright support members 20,30 are comprised of tubular or cylindrical fiberglass or other relatively strong plastic resin material. As the support members 20,30 together comprise most of the weight of the present invention, preference is given to lighter materials as long as they are strong enough to withstand the strong bending forces generated with each support member 20,30 when supporting a plurality of people in a hammock 15 (FIG. 5).

Each support member connecting means 60 (FIG. 3) preferably comprises a pair of obtuse triangle-shaped plates 61 fixed to one end of one of the horizontal support members 20 with a pair of support pins 65. The horizontal support member 20 in this way is fixed proximate to and parallel to one of the shorter sides of each of the triangular plates 61, the support pins 65 being proximate to corners thereof and traveling through the plates 61 and the support member 20 and tightened to hold the plates 61 firmly to the support member 20. Further, each triangular plate 61 is pivotally attached with one of the support pins 65 near its most acute corner, opposite the side fixed to the horizontal support member 20, to a lower end 32 of one of the upright supports 30. As such, the upright support 30 may pivot with respect to the horizontal support member 30 to take an expanded position, as shown in FIG. 1, where the upright support 30 forms an angle with the horizontal support of roughly 120 degrees. In a collapsed position, shown in FIG. 1B, the upright support 30 lies generally parallel to and proximate to the horizontal support member 20.

A support brace 68 is further included in each support member connecting means 60, the support brace 68 pivotally connected at one end thereof with a support pin 65 to the one end 32 of the upright support 30. The other end of the support brace 68 has a notch 67 formed therein to engage a notch pin 66 protruding laterally at the end of the horizontal support member 30. As such, when the support brace 68 is engaged with the notch pin 66 of the horizontal support member 30, the upright support member 30 is locked in position with respect to the horizontal support member 30.

Alternatively, the orientation of the support brace can be reversed. The best mode is the reversed configuration where the notch support pin is in lower position and the support brace pivots around an upper position. The notch pin can be above in the upper position and the support brace pivots around the lower position. Unfortunately, the interface between the notch and pin would be closer to the user that is not preferable because it is potentially more dangerous. Because this configuration is not preferable, it is not shown in the drawings.

The support brace 68 is preferably a generally flat metal bracket, made of pressed steel, aluminum, or other strong material. The notch 67 is preferably either T-shaped or L-shaped, but does not traverse through the support brace 68 enough to overly weaken the support brace 68.

The upright support members 30 are each connected to one other upright support member 30 at their upper ends 34 (FIG. 1) by a pivoting upright support connecting means 50. As such, the horizontal support members 20 are fixed in generally parallel alignment with each other at all times, their distance from each other being determined by the angle formed between each pair of connected upright support members 30. Each upright support connecting means 50 comprises a pair of circular plates 57 tangentially fixed to one of the upright support members 30, and fixed to each other by a pivot pin 53 traversing through the centers of each circular plate 57 (FIG. 4).

A pliable bumper 52, made with a rubber or other elastomeric compound, is fixed to the upper ends 34 of each of the upright support members 30 such that when the lower ends 32 of the upright support members 30 are pulled away from each other, the pliable bumpers 52 at the upper ends 34 of the upright support members 30 contact each other and prevent further pivoting. Preferably the maximum angle formed between the upright support members 30 is between 20 and 40 degrees.

Each pivoting upright support connecting means 50 further includes a hook bearing 56 fixed concentrically to one of the pivot plates 57 with the pivot pin 53. A hook 55 is attached to the bearing 56 such that the hook 55 may pivot around the pivot pin 53. The hook 56 is formed to hold one end of the hammock 15, and is formed from a strong metal rod, preferably steel rod, bent into a hook shape and fixed to the bearing 56 through welding or the like.

To further limit the angle between the upright support members 30, a cross brace 40 may be included between the upright support connecting means 50 and the support member connecting means 60 (FIG. 2). The cross brace 40 comprises two cross brace members 42 pivotally connected at one end to each other, and fixed with one of the support pins 65 or equivalent at each of their other ends to the upright support member 30. As such, when the upright support members 30 are pulled away from each other, the cross brace 40 opens and, when fully open, prevents further movement of the upright support members 30 away from each other. When the upright support members 30 are pushed towards each other, the cross brace members 42 pivot with respect to each other until they are generally parallel and next to each other, signifying the closed position of the cross brace 40.

The coplanar stamped cross brace left and right support members are pivotally connected to each other and pivotally connected to the vertical upright support members 30. The left and right support members have edges 221, 231 that meet. Right edge 221 meets left edge 231 to close and provide support limiting further angle change. The edges 221, 231 have flat surfaces according to a thickness of the generally planar cross brace 40. The gap blocker 210 prevents fingers from being pinched between the left 231 and right edge 221. The coplanar gap blocker 210 protrudes from one member and also aligns the coplanar left member 230 and coplanar right member 220. The gap blocker 210 prevents fingers from being pinched between the left and right edge.

A nylon bag (not shown) or other suitable containing means may be included to hold the hammock support 10 when in its collapsed configuration. Such a bag may include storage means for the hammock 15, such as a zippered compartment. In use, the hammock support 10 is removed from its containing means and the horizontal support members 20 are laid onto a flat surface. Then the upright support members 30 are pivoted away from the horizontal support members 20 until the notch 66 on the support brace 68 of each upright support member 30 may be engaged with the notch pin 66 at each end of each horizontal support member 20. In this manner the upright support members each form roughly a 120-degree angle with respect to the horizontal support members 20.

Then the horizontal support members 20 are pulled away from each other until the pivoting cross braces are fully extended. At this point the hammock support 10 is in its fully extended position. Each end of the hammock 15 is engaged with one of the hooks 55 so that the hammock 15 is suspended between the hooks 55 over the hammock support 10. The hammock 15 may now be used. The reverse process is followed when the user desires to collapse the hammock support 10 after use.

Various hammocks 15 of the prior art may be used with the hammock support 10 of the present invention, providing the distance between the ends of the hammock 15 are consistent with the distance between the hooks 55 of the present hammock support 10 when in its fully extended position.

Rubber or other suitable material may be used for pliable foot pads 70 (FIG. 1), which may take the form of either annulus rings wrapped around various points of the horizontal support members 20, or may be incorporated into the support member connecting means 60 in such a way as to prevent sharp edges of the triangular plates 61 or the like from contacting the ground or flat surface upon which the hammock support 10 rests. Pliable foot pads can be wrapped around the horizontal support and held by the pins that hold the triangular plates 61. As such, the present invention is safe for use inside tents while camping, or on other sensitive and potentially damaged surfaces.

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the pivot pins 65 may take any of several forms of attachment means known to those skilled in the art. The pivot pins 65 may, for example, be simple bolts and nuts, or bolts with cotter pins or wing-nuts. The bearing 56 may be similar to those bearings found on roller skates, or may be simply a circular plate with a hole in the center. A ball-bearing type bearing is preferred for bearing 56 since it will minimize squeaking while a person swings in the hammock 15; however, any type of suitable bearing may be used. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.





 
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