Title:
Stilt height adjustment apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stilt height adjustment apparatus is provided, wherein the apparatus comprises a spaced pair of substantially vertical supports, and further wherein the vertical supports are configured to removably attach between the top portion and bottom portion of a partitionable stilt having vertical struts. A corresponding method for stilt height adjustment is provided.



Inventors:
Hika, Martin (Middle Grove, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/335361
Publication Date:
07/19/2007
Filing Date:
01/19/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DURCIK, RYAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHMEISER, OLSEN & WATTS (LATHAM, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A stilt height adjustment apparatus for a stilt having a pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure being partitionable into a top portion including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform and a bottom portion including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform, said stilt height adjustment apparatus comprising: a spaced pair of connected substantially vertical supports, said vertical supports configured to removably attach between the top portion and bottom portion of the stilt, wherein the removable attachment of the spaced pair of vertical supports of the stilt height adjustment apparatus increases the height of the stilt by vertically extending the pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure.

2. The stilt height adjustment apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a resilient member, operably connected to the spaced pair of connected substantially vertical supports for cushioning and restricting pivotal motion of the parallelogram frame structure.

3. The stilt height adjustment apparatus of claim 1, wherein a pivotal brace connects the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports.

4. The stilt height adjustment apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the vertical supports includes telescoping members.

5. The stilt height adjustment apparatus of claim 1, wherein the vertical strut members of the stilt include vertically spaced holes, and further wherein each of the vertical supports includes a plurality of vertically spaced holes corresponding to holes on the vertical strut members of the stilt.

6. The stilt height adjustment apparatus of claim 5, wherein further included fastener components interact with the plurality of holes of the vertical support members and the corresponding holes of the vertical struts of the stilt to facilitate telescopically adjustable attachment of the vertical supports of the apparatus to the stilt.

7. The stilt height adjustment apparatus of claim 2, wherein the resilient member is a spring vertically disposed and secured to one of the vertical supports and further operably connected to an actuator arm extending from and rigidly secured to the opposite vertical support.

8. In a stilt apparatus having a resiliently pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure being separable into a top segment including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform and a bottom segment including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform the improvement comprising the provision, intermediate the shoe platform and the floor platform but adjacent to the top spaced apart vertical strut members and bottom spaced apart vertical strut members, of a height adjustment component being formed to detachably couple the top segment into operable position with the bottom segment while maintaining resilient pivotal movement ability of the parallel frame structure and adjustably increase the height of the stilt.

9. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 8, wherein the height adjustment component includes a pair of substantially vertical supports configured to attach to vertical strut members of the top segment and the vertical strut members of the bottom segment.

10. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a spring vertically disposed and secured to one of the vertical supports and further operably connected to an actuator arm extending from and rigidly secured to the opposite vertical support.

11. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 9, further comprising a pivotal plate horizontally coupled to the pair of substantially vertical supports.

12. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 9, wherein each of the vertical supports includes telescoping members.

13. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 8, wherein the vertical strut members of the stilt include vertically spaced holes, and further wherein the height adjustment component includes vertically spaced holes corresponding to holes on the vertical strut members of the stilt.

14. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 13, wherein further included fastener components interact with the vertically spaced holes of the height adjustment component and the corresponding holes of the vertical struts of the stilt to facilitate telescopically adjustable attachment of the height adjustment component to the stilt.

15. The improved stilt apparatus of claim 14, wherein the further included fastener components comprise bolts and wing nuts.

16. A stilt height adjustment method comprising: separating a top portion of a stilt having spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform from a bottom portion of a stilt having spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform; providing a height adjustment apparatus including a spaced pair of substantially vertical supports, said vertical supports configured to removably attach between the top portion and bottom portion of the stilt; and coupling the top portion into operable higher position with the bottom portion by detachably affixing the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports of the height adjustment apparatus to the spaced apart vertical strut members of the top and bottom portions of the stilt.

17. The stilt height adjustment method of claim 16, wherein the vertical strut members of the stilt include vertically spaced holes, and further wherein the height adjustment apparatus includes vertically spaced holes corresponding to holes on the vertical strut members of the stilt.

18. The stilt height adjustment method of claim 17, wherein detachably affixing the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports of the height adjustment apparatus to the spaced apart vertical strut members of the top and bottom portions of the stilt includes inserting bolts through the holes of the vertical supports and corresponding vertical struts and tightening wing nuts onto the bolts to secure the height adjustment apparatus between the top and bottom portions.

19. The stilt height adjustment method of claim 16, wherein the height adjustment apparatus further includes a spring vertically disposed and secured to one of the vertical supports and further operably connected to an actuator arm extending from and rigidly secured to the opposite vertical support.

20. The stilt height adjustment method of claim 19, further including maintaining resilient pivotal movement ability of a parallel frame structure formed by coupling the top portion into higher operable position with the bottom portion by detachably affixing the height adjustment apparatus therebetween.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Technical Field

This invention relates generally to the field stilts. More particularly, this invention provides for an apparatus and method for adjusting the height of stilts.

2. Related Art

Often it is desirable to reach a desired elevated height through the use of stilts. For example construction workers and other skilled craftsman frequently use stilts to attach fasteners, suspend a ceiling, hang drywall sheeting or access suspended ceiling structures and related electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning structures which may be provided therein. Typical stilts are designed to be securely and comfortably attached to the legs/feet of the stilt wearer. Moreover various stilts incorporate component configurations that allow a stilt wearer to maneuver in a manner that incorporates flexure and movement of stilt the elements in order to provide greater stability during use. Known stilts are adjustable and designed to be worn on each leg of a wearer. Often known stilts include a floor platform and a shoe platform which are connected by two parallel spring-loaded pivotally mounted vertical members. Furthermore, hollow tubular leg supports are attached to the vertical members. Straps are provided for attaching stilt leg support elements to a user's leg and for attaching the ankle area and the toe area of the shoe to the shoe platform. Because the vertical members of some common stilts are pivotally attached to the upper shoe platform and the lower floor platform and are spring-loaded, the vertical members are maintained in a substantially parallelogram configuration. This permits stilt users to walk readily on the stilts while maintaining balance.

In addition, known stilts often employ designs which facilitate height adjustment capability since desired reach elevations may vary depending upon the size and stature of the stilt wearer and the height of the objects desired to be reached. Common stilts often include means for extending or compressing stilt height by adjusting the position of vertical stilt members with respect to other stilt components. For example some known stilts include hollow vertical members that slidably receive other components that can be securely positioned at various heights with respect to the vertical members. Common stilts can be adjusted to be taller or shorter by positioning and fastening ordinary height adjustment components accordingly. However, in several instances the height adjustment capability of common stilts falls short of the elevation needed to be reached by a stilt wearer even when the known stilts are extended and adjusted to be as tall as the adjustable components will allow. This renders the stilts ineffective in providing the height advantage desired by the user. Accordingly, the user is required to either reach the desired elevation in a manner other than through the use of stilts such as by utilizing scaffolding, or by obtaining a different set of taller stilts.

Accordingly, there is a need in the field stilts for an improved apparatus and method for a stilt height adjustment apparatus that provides a user with the ability to reach desired elevations without the need to obtain and use separate taller stilts or resort to inconvenient non-stilt elevation remedies.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention provides an apparatus and method for stilt height adjustment that offers improved reliability.

A first general aspect of the invention provides a stilt height adjustment apparatus for a stilt having a pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure being partitionable into a top portion including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform and a bottom portion including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform, said stilt height adjustment apparatus comprising: a spaced pair of connected substantially vertical supports, said vertical supports configured to removably attach between the top portion and bottom portion of the stilt, wherein the removable attachment of the spaced pair of vertical supports of the stilt height adjustment apparatus increases the height of the stilt by vertically extending the pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure.

A second general aspect of the invention provides an improvement in a stilt apparatus having a resiliently pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure being separable into a top segment including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform and a bottom segment including spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform the improvement comprising the provision, intermediate the shoe platform and the floor platform but adjacent to the top spaced apart vertical strut members and bottom spaced apart vertical strut members, of a height adjustment component being formed to detachably couple the top segment into operable position with the bottom segment while maintaining resilient pivotal movement ability of the parallel frame structure and adjustably increase the height of the stilt.

A third general aspect of the invention provides a stilt height adjustment method comprising: separating a top portion of a stilt having spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform from a bottom portion of a stilt having spaced apart vertical strut members extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform; providing a height adjustment apparatus including a spaced pair of substantially vertical supports, said vertical supports configured to removably attach between the top portion and bottom portion of the stilt; and coupling the top portion into operable higher position with the bottom portion by detachably affixing the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports of the height adjustment apparatus to the spaced apart vertical strut members of the top and bottom portions of the stilt.

The foregoing and other features of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of various embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some of the embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein like designations denote like members, wherein:

FIG. 1 depicts a side view of an embodiment of a stilt height adjustment apparatus, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 depicts a front view of the embodiment of a stilt height adjustment apparatus depicted in FIG. 1, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 depicts an exploded view of an embodiment of a spring assembly, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 depicts a side view of an embodiment of an actuator arm assembly, in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 depicts a side view of an embodiment of a stilt having a stilt height adjustment apparatus, in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 6 depicts a rear view of an embodiment a stilt having a stilt height adjustment apparatus, in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Although certain embodiments of the present invention will be shown and described in detail, it should be understood that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the appended claims. The scope of the present invention will in no way be limited to the number of constituting components, the materials thereof, the shapes thereof, the relative arrangement thereof, etc., and are disclosed simply as an example of an embodiment. The features and advantages of the present invention are illustrated in detail in the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout the drawings.

As a preface to the detailed description, it should be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a”, “an” and “the” include plural referents, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

Referring to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 depict a side and front view, respectively, of an embodiment of a stilt height adjustment apparatus 10, in accordance with the present invention. The stilt height adjustment apparatus 10 may include a pair of spaced apart substantially vertical supports 20a and 20b. The vertical supports 20a and 20b may comprise telescoping members wherein each support includes a hollow lower support member 22 which slidably receives an upper support member 24 that may telescopically extend into and out of the hollow lower support member 22. The upper support member 24 may be solid or hollow. Furthermore, the hollow lower support member 22 may include at least one hole 26 extending horizontally through the top portion of the support member 22. Moreover, the upper support member 24 may include a plurality of holes 28 vertically spaced apart in relation to each other, each of the holes 28 extending horizontally through the upper support member 24. A fastener 50 such as a bolt and nut combination may be utilized to secure the upper support member 24 into position with the hollow lower support member 22 by locating the bolt through the hole 26 and one of the holes 28 and then tightening nut of the fastener 50. Those in the art should appreciate that different fasteners such as clamps, brackets, cotter pins, or other comparable fasteners may be utilized to securely connect the upper support member 24 to the hollow lower support member 22. In addition, it should be recognized that the supports 20 need not be comprised of telescopic members. For instance, an upper and a lower member may in some common manner be secured side-by-side with the upper member having a portion extending above the lower member which in turn has a portion extending below the upper member so that the supports 20a-b may operate with a stilt. Also, it should be appreciated that the supports 20a and 20b need not include multiple members. For example the vertical supports 20a and/or 20b may be comprised of a single vertical member. The supports 20a-b may be comprised of metals, woods, plastics, composite materials, or other rigid materials that facilitate safe stilt operation. Nylon caps 60 or inserts 62 may be utilized to provide durability, facilitate proper component alignment and/or facilitate easier movement of various members of the stilt apparatus 10 with respect to each other.

Referring further to FIGS. 1 and 2, the stilt height adjustment apparatus may further comprise a pivotal brace 80, such as a rigid plate or other comparable bracing component, which may connect the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b. The pivotal brace 80 may be horizontally coupled to the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b. The brace 80 may serve to maintain the spacing of the vertical supports 20a-b. Moreover, the brace 80 may be coupled to the vertical supports 20a-b in a manner that permits pivotal movement of the supports 20a-b with respect to the brace 80. For example, brace brackets 90 may be attached to each of the supports 20a-b. The brace brackets 90 may be secured to the supports 20a-b by fasteners, adhesives, welds, or other means which acceptably connect the brackets 90 to the supports 20a-b. Furthermore, the brace brackets 90 may be comprised of any material suitable for securely connecting the brackets 90 to the supports 20a-b. In addition, the brace brackets 90 may include holes 92 through which brace fasteners 94, such as bolts, may be inserted to work with nuts, washers, bushings or other components to securely, yet pivotally, couple the brace plate 80 to the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a and 20b. Multiple braces 80a-b may be utilized to couple the supports 20a-b together. The multiple braces 80a-b may work with multiple brace brackets 90a, 90b, 90c, and 90d (not visible) to couple the supports 20a-b. The brace brackets 90 may also be formed to receive multiple braces 80a-b. Additionally, the orientation of the brace 80 need not be substantially vertical when utilized to couple the supports 20a-b. For example, the brace 80 may be positioned diagonally with respect to the supports 20a and 20b.

With further reference to FIG. 1 and additional reference to FIGS. 3 and 4, the stilt adjustment apparatus may comprise a resilient member 70, such as a spring, that may be operably connected to the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b for cushioning and restricting pivotal motion of the supports 20a-b during stilt operation. The resilient member 70, such as a spring, may operate with a spring assembly 75. Moreover, the resilient member 70, such as a spring, may be vertically disposed and secured to one of the vertical supports 20a and further operably connected to an actuator arm 76 extending from and rigidly secured to the opposite vertical support 20b. Also, the spring adjustment apparatus may include two resilient members 70a and 70b, such as springs, that may work with the spring assembly 75. The spring assembly 75 may include a central stud 71, such as a dowel, tube, rod, pole, bar or other rigid member that may be connectable with spring assembly brackets 72a-b which may be removably, yet securely, attached to the vertical support 20a. Furthermore, the spring assembly 75 may include nuts 73a-d, washers 74a-d, nylon spring bearings, 77a-d, and spring adjuster components 78a-b. The spring assembly 75 may also operate with the actuator arm 76. The actuator arm 76 may comprise a spring spacer arm 40 having holes to accommodate fasteners or other components to connect with the spring assembly 75. In addition, the actuator arm 76 may include a spring set-up holder 44, which may include holes that operate with fasteners 46 such as bolts and nuts to connect to an actuator arm bracket 79. Still further, the spring set-up holder 44 may include a hole that operates with a fastener 48, such as a bolt and nut, to connect with the spring spacer arm 40. The actuator arm bracket 79 may be removably, yet securely, coupled to the vertical support 20b. The connection between the actuator arm 76 and other spring assembly 75 components may permit pivotal movement of the resilient member 70, such as a spring, with respect to the actuator arm 76.

With further reference to the drawings, FIGS. 5 and 6 depict a side view and a rear view, respectively, of an embodiment of a stilt apparatus 200 having a stilt height adjustment apparatus 10 included as a component element of the stilt apparatus 200, in accordance with the present invention. The stilt apparatus 200 may have a resiliently pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure 230 being partitionable into a separate top portion 232 including spaced apart vertical strut members 222a and 222b extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform 204 and a separate bottom portion 234 including spaced apart vertical strut members 224a and 224b extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform 206. The stilt apparatus 200 may be configured to support a user above a base support surface or floor, wherein the floor platform 206 operates upon the base support surface or floor. Moreover, shoe platform 204 may be configured to abuttingly support a shoe or boot worn by a user (not shown). An arcuate heel plate 214 may extend upwardly at the rear of the shoe platform 204 to abuttingly support the heel of the user's shoe or boot. Furthermore, shoe platform 204 may be supported by and above spaced apart substantially vertical struts 222a and 222b. The struts 222a-b may be telescopic in nature to allow a user to selectively adjust via fasteners 250 such as bolts and wing nuts extending through holes in the supports 222a-b, the relative height of the shoe platform 204 above the component height adjustment apparatus 10.

The spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 may be configured to removably attach between the top portion 232 and bottom portion 234 of the stilt apparatus 200, wherein the removable attachment of the spaced pair of vertical supports 20a-b of the component stilt height adjustment apparatus may increases the height of the stilt apparatus 200 by vertically extending the pivotally movable parallelogram frame structure 230. Moreover the component height adjustment apparatus 10 may be provided, intermediate the shoe platform 204 and the floor platform 206 but adjacent to the top spaced apart vertical strut members 222a and 222b and bottom spaced apart vertical strut members 224a and 224b. Furthermore, the component height adjustment apparatus 10 may be formed to detachably or removably couple or attach the top portion 232 or segment of the stilt apparatus 200 into operable position the bottom portion 234 or segment while maintaining resilient pivotal movement ability of the parallel frame structure 230. Further still, the component height adjustment apparatus may adjustably increase the height of the stilt 200.

The vertical strut members 222a-b and/or 224a-b of the stilt 200 may include at least one or a plurality of vertically spaced holes 228. Moreover, each of the vertical supports 20a-b of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 may include at least one or a plurality of vertically spaced holes 28 corresponding to holes 228 on the vertical strut members of the stilt. In addition, further included fastener components 250 may interact with the plurality of holes 28 of the vertical support members 20a-b and the corresponding holes 228 of the vertical struts 222a-b and 224a-b of the stilt apparatus 200 to facilitate telescopically adjustable attachment of the vertical supports 20a-b of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 to the stilt apparatus 200.

Referring further to FIGS. 1-6, the stilt apparatus 200 may include a damping spring assembly 275, which may have upper and lower damping springs 270a and 270b affixed to the rear vertical strut 222b and a rigid actuator arm 276 which extends from the front vertical strut 222a to a medial position between the springs 270a and 270b. The damping spring assembly 275 may nominally bias the stilt device 200 to the parallelogram shape 230. For instance, the damping spring assembly 275 may provide flexibility to a stilt user by permitting limited forward and rearward pivoting of the verticals struts 222a-b and 224a-b with respect to the shoe platform 204 during maneuvering by the user. In addition, the resilient member 70 of the component stilt height adjustment apparatus 10 may be operably connected to the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b for cushioning and restricting pivotal motion of the parallelogram frame structure 230. The resilient member 70 and corresponding spring assembly 75 of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 may work in conjunction with the damping spring assembly 275 to maintain spacing in the parallelogram structure 230 and dampen pivotal movement of the parallelogram structure.

Still further, the stilt apparatus 200 may include a leg attachment assembly 280 having a telescopic support pole 282 (support) which can be adjusted as desired to fit the leg of a user. The support 282 may includes inner and outer sleeves 284 and 286. Moreover, a proximal end of the inner sleeve 284 may be affixed to the rear vertical strut 222b. Furthermore, a distal end of the inner sleeve 284 may be inserted up into the outer sleeve 286. In addition, the leg attachment assembly 280 may further comprise a clam-shell assembly 290 and a support attachment assembly 240. A distal end of the outer sleeve 286 may support the clam-shell assembly 290 to support a user's leg at a position just below the user's knee. The lateral extent and relative angle of the support 282 with respect to the shoe platform 204 may be adjustable using the support attachment assembly 240. It is envisioned that during normal usage a user will typically wear two such stilt devices 200, with one being attached to each leg. The two stilt devices 200 will generally be configured in a mirrored fashion so that the support 282 extends along the outside of each leg. Thus, it will be understood that the stilt device 200 shown in the drawings is a “right-footed” version, and the corresponding “left-footed” version has been omitted for simplicity of discussion.

A stilt height adjustment method is now described with reference to FIGS. 1-6. The method may include separating a top portion 232 of a stilt 200 having spaced apart vertical strut members 222a-b extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal shoe platform 204 from a bottom portion 234 of a stilt 200 having spaced apart vertical strut members 224a-b extending toward a pivotally connected horizontal floor platform 206. For example, a user may unfasten typical fasteners 250, such as bolts and wing nuts, of the stilt 200 to partition the previously assembly top and bottom portions 232, 234. Moreover, the method may comprise providing a component height adjustment apparatus 10 including a spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b, said vertical supports 20a-b configured to removably attach between the top portion 232 and bottom portion 234 of the stilt 200.

Furthermore, the stilt height adjustment method may comprise coupling the top portion 232 into operable higher position with the bottom portion 234 by detachably affixing the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 to the spaced apart vertical strut members 222a-b and 224a-b of the top and bottom portions 232 and 234 of the stilt apparatus 200. The higher position of the top portion 232 is thus obtained by the insertion of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 into the parallelogram frame structure 230 of the reassembled stilt apparatus 200.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1-6, additional depiction of a stilt 200 height adjustment method is further described wherein detachably affixing the spaced pair of substantially vertical supports 20a-b of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 to the spaced apart vertical strut members 222a-b and 224a-b of the top and bottom portions 232 and 234 of the stilt 200 includes inserting fasteners 250, such as bolts, through the holes 28 of the vertical supports 20a-b and corresponding vertical struts 222a-b and 224a-b and tightening wing nuts onto the bolts to secure the component height adjustment apparatus 10 between the top and bottom portions 232, 234.

Further methodology for stilt height adjustment may include, maintaining resilient pivotal movement ability of the parallel frame structure 230 formed by coupling the top portion 232 into higher operable position with the bottom portion 234 by detachably affixing the component height adjustment apparatus 10 therebetween. For example, the spring assembly 75 of the component height adjustment apparatus 10 may act, in conjunction with the damping spring assembly 275 of the stilt 200, to preserve resilient movement and dampen the pivotal action of the parallelogram structure 230. Hence, a use may use the stilt 200 having the component height adjustment apparatus attached and still enjoy the freedom and security of pivoting parallelogram type support.

While this invention has been described in conjunction with the specific embodiments outlined above, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the embodiments of the invention as set forth above are intended to be illustrative, not limiting. Various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.