Title:
Basket and basket-frame construction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The basket of the present invention comprises; a pair of opening-section frame members, bottom-section frame members and handle frame members with each member having two ends and a bent shape; a soft flexible material that is attached to the opening-section frame members and bottom-section frame members and that forms a basket shape when opened; and two common hinges to which both ends of each of the opening-section and bottom-section frame members are respectively attached so that the frame members can rotate, and so that each pair of frame members is arranged so that they are symmetrical with each other; wherein the opening-section frame members and bottom-section frame members are attached to the soft flexible material so that they form the basket shape in the open position, the handle frame members are installed near both ends of the opening-section frame members so that they can rotate, and each of the pairs of frame members is such that the angle between frame members can change as the frame members rotate, and it is possible for all of the frame members to rotate from a state in which the entire basket is folded and each of the frame members are parallel with each other and extend in the same direction from the common hinges to a state in which the frame members and soft flexible material are opened and the basket is self supported, and in this self-supported state, a storage space is formed inside the basket by the soft flexible material.



Inventors:
Izumi, Satoshi (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/546935
Publication Date:
08/02/2007
Filing Date:
10/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
POOS, MADISON LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KATTEN MUCHIN ROSENMAN LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A basket comprising: a plurality of pairs of frame members with each member having two ends and a bent shape; a soft flexible material that is attached to each of the frame members and that forms a basket shape when opened; and two common hinges to which both ends of each of the frame members are respectively attached so that the members can rotate, and so that each pair of frame members is arranged so that they are symmetrical with each other; wherein it is possible for the angle between each of the members of a pair of frame members to change by the rotation of the frame members; and it is possible for all of the frame members to rotate from a state in which the entire basket is folded and each of the frame members are parallel with each other and extend in the same direction from the common hinges to a state in which the frame members are opened and the basket is self supported, and in this self-supported state, a storage space is formed inside the basket by the soft flexible material.

2. The basket of claim 1 wherein the plurality of pairs of frame members are attached to the soft flexible material so that they form the basket shape in the opened position, and when opening the basket, each of the frame members interacts and engages with the soft flexible material.

3. The basket of claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the plurality of pairs of frame members includes at least a pair of opening-section frame members that form an opening section when open, and a pair of bottom-section frame members whose middle sections form two sides in the width direction of the bottom surface when open.

4. A foldable basket that is bag shaped when the rectangular opening section thereof is open, and that has handle construction, comprising: two common hinges that are located in the center of the two opposing sides in the lengthwise direction of the opening section; two opening-section frame members and two bottom-section frame members, each having two arm sections and a connecting section that connects the two arm sections, and with the tip ends of both arm sections being respectively attached to the common hinges so that the members can rotate; two handle frame members, each having two arm sections and a connecting section that connect the two arm sections, and with the tip ends of both arm sections being respectively attached near the tip ends of both arm sections of the opening-section frame members so that they can rotate; and soft flexible material that is attached to the opening-section frame members and the bottom-section frame members, and that forms a basket shape when open.

5. The basket of claim 4 wherein a separate soft flexible material is attached to one of the handle frame members; both arm sections of the handle frame members, both arm sections of the opening-section frame members and both arm sections of the bottom-section frame members are arranged so that they are parallel and face in the same direction from the common hinges in the folded state, and each of the frame members can rotate around the common hinges from the folded state to the open state; and in the open state, the opening-section frame members are constructed so that rotation stops at a position that forms the flat opening section of the bag, the connecting sections of the bottom-section frame members form two opposing sides in the width direction of the bottom section of the opened bag, the handle frame members are constructed so that rotation stops a position in the center where they are adjacent to each other, and by fastening the handle frame members together by the separate soft flexible material, each of the frame members are maintained in the open state, and the opening-section frame members are maintained in a horizontal state and a storage space is formed inside the basket.

6. The basket of claim 5 wherein each of the opening-section frame members and bottom-section frame members are attached to the soft flexible material so that they form the basket shape in the open state, and when opening the basket, the handle frame members, opening-section frame members and bottom-section frame members interact and engage with the soft flexible material.

7. The basket of claim 1 or claim 5 further comprising a cover that is made from an elastic flexible material that is attached beforehand to part of the soft flexible material that forms the basket shape, and during use, by attaching both ends of the cover to the two sides in the width direction of the basket opening section, is capable of preventing stored items from moving or falling, and when the basket is folded, is capable of being stored in a pocket inside the basket.

8. Basket frame construction comprising: two common hinges; two opening-section frame members and two bottom-section frame members, each having two arm sections and a connecting section that connects the two arm sections, with the tip ends of both arm sections thereof being respectively attached to the common hinges so that the members can rotate; and two handle frame members having two arm sections and a connecting section that connects the two arm sections, with the tip arm sections of both arm sections thereof being attached near the tip ends of both arm sections of the opening-section frame members so that the members can rotate; and wherein the basket can be folded by arranging both arm sections of the handle frame members, both arm sections of the opening-section frame sections and both arm sections of the bottom-section frame members so that they are parallel and face in the same direction from the common hinges, and can be opened by rotating each of the frame members around the common hinges from the folded state; and the open state of the basket can be maintained by stopping rotation of the two opening-section frame members at a horizontal position that forms a flat opening section of the basket, extending both arm sections of the bottom-section frame members downward and forming two opposing sides in the width direction of the bottom section of the basket by the connecting sections of the bottom-section frame members, and stopping rotation of the handle frame members at a position so that they are adjacent to each other in the center.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a basket, and more particularly to a foldable basket and construction of the frame thereof.

2. Description of the Related Art

In recent years, from the aspect of protecting the environment, it has become popular in Europe and the USA for consumers to take baskets or cloth bags with them instead of the using the polyethylene bags supplied by markets when daily purchasing fresh food from the market, or when purchasing many products on the weekends in addition to nonperishable goods. For example, when going shopping on the way home from work or before or after taking children to or from school, consumers are using baskets or cloth bags that are placed in their automobiles for carrying purchased items home from the store. Particularly in the case of doing bulk shopping on the weekend, and carrying items in a shopping cart that when placed together with other products in the shopping cart could be crush or damaged the by other items, placing items in a cart from the register, loading the items in the car, or placing the items on the car seat to take them home from the store, it is convenient to use a basket to keep the purchased goods in a good transport condition. Furthermore, from the aspect of transporting and storage, it is especially convenient to use a folding basket.

Since a folding basket is used in this way every day, sufficient structural strength and self-supported construction is desirable so that depending on how purchased items are placed in the basket, the basket does not become deformed, tilt, or tip over; and together with having this kind of strength, it is desirable that the basket be as lightweight as possible.

As an example of a conventional basket, is a basket-shaped bag that comprises a cloth material for the storage area, an opening-section frame for maintaining the opening section of the bag and supporting the bag when storing items, and one or two handle frames that are attached to the opening-section frame. In the case of a basket having this kind of construction, it is not possible for a bag forming a basket shape to be self supported, and therefore it cannot be said to have the structural strength and self-supported construction mentioned above. Also, when stored, it is possible to rotate the handle frame(s) so that it is substantially parallel with the opening-section frame, however, the opening-section frame itself does not have a folding function, and the size of the opening section sets the size of the basket when stored. Therefore, since it is not possible to fold the opening section of the basket so that it is more compact, there is a problem in that the basket may become a nuisance when stored in an automobile.

As an example of a foldable basket that accomplishes the structural strength and self-supported construction described above is the carry bag ‘CARRY BAG EDEN/FLORA’ that is described on the website of the reisenthel company. This basket has plate-receiving sections that extend from the opening section to the bottom surface, and that are located at four locations on the side surfaces of the basket-shaped bag, or in other words, at the center sections in the lengthwise direction, and at the center sections in the width direction, and by inserting reinforcement plates into these plate-receiving sections, the height and strength of the basket are obtained, and by removing the reinforcement plates from these plate-receiving sections, the basket is folded, Therefore, when the reinforcement plates are inserted, it is possible to obtain specified structural strength and self-supported construction, however, there is a problem in that if a reinforcement plate is lost, it is not possible to maintain the optimal shape. Furthermore, when using the basket the reinforcement plates are inserted, and when storing the basket the reinforcement plates are removed and must be stored separately, which is inconvenient. Also, it is not possible to fold the opening-section frame of this basket, so the aforementioned problem that occurs when storing the basket is not solved.

Moreover, it is convenient for this kind of basket to have a cover that covers the opening section of the basket in order to hide purchased products. However, in the case of a prior cover that is attached to the basket so that it is detachable or can be installed or removed, there is a possibility that the cover could be forgotten when using the basket, or just the cover could be lost. Therefore, a cover that is not detached from the folding basket, and that looks good when used, is desired.

Reference: Reisenthel Company Website, Carry bag ‘CARRY BAG EDEN/FLORA’

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to provide a foldable basket that is capable of easily being folded to a compact size, and that does not require any members that could be easily lost.

The basket of the present invention comprises:

    • a plurality of pairs of frame members with each member having two ends and a bent shape;
    • a soft flexible material that is attached to each of the frame members and that forms a basket shape when opened; and

two common hinges to which the two ends of each of the frame members are respectively attached so that the members can rotate, and so that each pair of frame members is arranged so that they are symmetrical with each other; wherein

    • it is possible for the angle between each of the members of a pair of frame members to change by the rotation of the frame members; and
    • it is possible for all of the frame members to rotate from a state in which the entire basket is folded and each of the frame members are parallel with each other and extend in the same direction from the common hinges to a state in which the frame members are opened and the basket is self supported, and in this self-supported state, a storage space is formed inside the basket by the soft flexible material.

It is preferred that the plurality of pairs of frame members be attached to the soft flexible material so that they form the basket shape in the opened position, and that when opening the basket, each of the frame members interact and engage with the soft flexible material.

It is preferred that die plurality of pairs of frame members include at least a pair of opening-section frame members that form an opening section when open, and a pair of bottom-section frame members whose middle sections form two sides in the width direction of the bottom surface when open.

More specifically, the basket of the present invention has a foldable basket construction that is bag shaped when the rectangular opening section thereof is open, and that has handle construction, and comprises;

    • two common hinges that are located in the center of the two opposing sides in the lengthwise direction of the opening section;
    • two opening-section frame members and two bottom-section frame members, each having two arm sections (end sections) and a connecting section (middle section) that connects the two arm sections, and with the tip ends of both arm sections being respectively attached to the common hinges so that the members can rotate;
    • two handle frame members, each having two arm sections and a connecting section that connect the two arm sections, and with the tip ends of both arm sections being respectively attached near the tip ends of both arm sections of the opening-section frame members so that they can rotate; and
    • soft flexible material that is attached to the opening-section frame members and the bottom-section frame members, and that forms a basket shape when open.

It is preferred that:

    • a separate soft flexible material be attached to one of the handle frame members;
    • both arm sections of the handle frame members, both arm sections of the opening-section frame members and both arm sections of the bottom-section frame members be arranged so that they are parallel and face in the same direction from the common hinges in the folded state, and that each of the frame members can rotate around the common hinges from the folded state to the open state; and
    • in the open state, the opening-section frame members be constructed so that rotation stops at a position that forms the flat opening section of the bag, the connecting sections of the bottom-section frame members form two opposing sides in the width direction of the bottom section of the opened bag, the handle frame members be constructed so that rotation stops at a position in the center where they are adjacent to each other, and by fastening the handle frame members together by the separate soft flexible material, each of the frame members be maintained in the open state, and the opening-section frame members be maintained in a horizontal state and a storage space be formed inside the basket.

It is preferred that each of the opening-section frame members and bottom-section frame members be attached to the soft flexible material so that they form the basket shape in the opened position, and when opening the basket, that the handle frame members, opening-section frame members and bottom-section frame members interact and engage with the soft flexible material.

It is preferred that a cover made from an elastic flexible material be attached beforehand to part of the soft flexible material that forms the basket shape, and during use, by attaching both ends of that cover to the two sides in the width direction of the basket opening section, be capable of preventing stored items from moving or falling, and when the basket is folded, be capable of being stored in a pocket inside the basket.

The basket frame construction of the present invention comprises:

    • two common hinges;
    • two opening-section frame members and two bottom-section frame members, each having two arm sections and a connecting section that connects the two arm sections, with the tip ends of both arm sections thereof being respectively attached to the common hinges so that the members can rotate; and
    • two handle frame members having two arm sections and a connecting section that connects the two arm sections, with the tip arm sections of both arm sections thereof being attached near the tip ends of both arm sections of the opening-section frame members so that the members can rotate; and wherein
    • the basket can be folded by arranging both arm sections of the handle frame members, both arm sections of the opening-section frame sections and both arm sections of the bottom-section frame members so that they are parallel and face in the same direction from the common hinges, and can be opened by rotating each of the frame members around the common hinges from the folded state; and
    • the open state of the basket can be maintained by stopping rotation of the two opening-section frame members at a horizontal position that forms the flat opening section of the basket, extending both arm sections of the bottom-section frame members downward and forming two opposing sides in the width direction of the bottom section of the basket by the connecting sections of the bottom frame members, and stopping rotation of the handle frame members at a position so that they are adjacent to each other in the center.

The basket of this invention can be easily folded to a compact size, and there is no need to use members that could be easily lost. Also, the size of the basket when in the folded state is half the size of the opening section, so it does not become a nuisance even when stored inside a compact automobile. Furthermore, the basket can be easily opened from the folded state for storage to the open state for usage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a top view and side view showing a first embodiment of the basket-frame construction of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view showing the folded state of the basket-frame construction shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view and side view of a first embodiment of the basket of this invention.

FIG. 4 is a side view showing the folded state of the basket shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a side view showing the process for opening the basket-frame construction shown in FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The basket of this invention comprises a frame structure and a soft material that is connected to that frame structure and that when opened up forms a basket shape. The frame structure is made from pairs of a plurality of frame members that have a bent shape. Both ends of each of the frame members are respectively attached to a pair of common hinges so that they can rotate, and so that each pair of frame members is symmetrical with each other, and each pair of frame members is such that the relative angle between each other can be changed. All of the frame members can be rotated from a state in which the entire basket is folded and all of the frame members extend in the same direction from the common hinges and are parallel with each other, to a self-supported state in which all of the frame members are opened up. By attaching a soft flexible material to the pairs of frame members, a space for storage is formed inside the basket in the self-supported state. Also, all of the frame members are relatively linked together by way of the soft flexible material so that they form the basket shape in the opened position, and by opening one pair of frame members, the members interact and engage with each other, making it possible to open the other frame members and soft flexible material.

The bent shape of the frame members is typically an open rectangular shape, however, could also be U-shaped. Any arbitrary shape can be used as long as both ends of the members are attached to common hinges, and so that a basket shape can be formed when opened up. More specifically, the frame members have at least two arm sections and connecting sections for connecting both of the arm sections, and the tip ends of both arm sections can be such that they can attach to the common hinges.

Also, the frame can generally be a frame that uses a lightweight and rigid metal material such as a hollow aluminum alloy frame, however, it is also possible to use a plastic or wooden frame. Furthermore, the soft flexible material that is attached to the frame members is typically a textile fabric material, however, a synthetic resin fabric material or reinforced paper fabric could also be used.

The plurality of pairs of frame members comprises at least a pair of opening-section frame members that, when open, establish the opening section of the basket, and a pair of bottom-section frame members such that, when open, the middle sections (connecting sections) thereof establish the two sides in the width direction of the bottom of the basket, However, it is also possible, for example, to further have a pair of bottom-section-reinforcement frame members for reinforcing the bottom of the basket.

In order to maintain the self-supported state, it is necessary to at least keep the pair of opening-section frame members in the open state. In other words, the pair of opening-section frame members and the pair of bottom-section frame members are attached to a soft flexible material, and interact with each other, so by opening the opening-section frame members in the lengthwise direction of the basket, the part of the soft flexible material that is located between the opening-section frame members and the bottom-section frame members follows that opening operation and is opened up in the lengthwise direction from the compressed state, and pulls the bottom-section frame members so that they open up in the lengthwise direction, and in this opened state, the portion of the soft flexible material that is located between the opening-section frame members and the bottom-section frame members is kept in the opened state by the opening-section frame members and the bottom-section frame members, and forms the side surfaces of the basket, as well as keeps the bottom-section frame members in the opened state, and the bottom-section frame members that keep the portion of the soft flexible material that is located between the both middle sections (connecting sections) of the bottom-section frame members in the opened state, further maintains the bottom surface of the basket. Therefore, by keeping at least the opening-section frame members in the opened state, it is possible to maintain the self-supported state of the basket.

Any arbitrary method can be employed as the function for maintaining the self-supported state. For example, both ends of the opening-section frame members are formed with an inverse U shape and they are fitted around and fastened to the common hinge by a pin or the like so that they can rotate, and when opened, the inside downward facing surfaces of the tip ends of the opening-section frame members, which are the bottom surfaces of the U shapes, can come in contact with the top surface of the common hinges and the common hinges stop the opening-section frame members from opening up beyond the horizontal state toward the opposite side from the closed state. It is also possible to use a spring type stopper to prevent the opening-section frame members from rotating in the unopened direction, In this case, by releasing the spring, it is possible to fold the frame members into the stored state.

However, construction that is simple and that maintains the specified amount of structural strength uses a handle frame member. When employing the opening-section frame construction described above, any arbitrary construction can be used for the handle frame member as long as the handle frame member is attached to the common hinges or to the opening-section frame members, and when opened, is capable of supporting the entire basket including the stored items, and when stored, can be rotated so that it is parallel with the other frame members.

In the case of also using the handle frame member as the stopper for the opening-section frame members, a pair of handle frame members is used, and both end sections of each member can be constructed so that they have a U-shaped cross section that can fit around both sides of the opening-section frame members, or can be connected to attachment members having similar construction, so that the handle frame members are parallel with the opening-section frame members when stored, and can rotate around both end sections of the opening-section frame members Therefore, the handle frame members rotate with respect to the opening-section frame members from a parallel state to a vertical state, and, when opened, the tip ends of the handle frame members come in contact with the top surface of the opening-section frame members and are prevented from rotating any further. In this state, by using any arbitrary method to connect the horizontal section (connecting section) in the middle of each of the pair of handle frame members to each other, it is possible for the pair of handle frame members to be kept in the opened state even when a force is applied that pushes the opening-section frame members downward in a direction that would cause the opening-section frame members to rotate.

It is possible to use a well-known means such as a cloth with fasteners or belt to connect the horizontal sections of the handle frame members.

The preferred embodiment of the invention will be explained in detail with reference to the drawings. FIG. 1 is a top view and side view showing a first embodiment of the basket-frame construction of this invention. FIG. 2 is a side view showing the folded state of the basket-frame construction shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is a top view and side view of a first embodiment of the basket of this invention. FIG. 4 is a side view showing the folded state of the basket shown in FIG. 3. FIG. 5 is a side view showing the process for opening the basket-frame construction shown in FIG. 1.

The basket of this invention is a foldable basket that is bag shaped when a rectangular opening section is opened, and comprises handle construction. The basket comprises: two common hinges (1a, 1b) that are located in the center of the length direction of the two opposing sides of the opening section; two opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) and two bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b), both end sections of each are respectively attached to the common hinges (1a, 1b) so that they can rotate, and both end sections of each are bent at right angles in the same direction; two handle frame members (2a, 2b) of which both ends are respectively attached near both ends of the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) so that they can rotate, and both end sections are bent at right angles in the same direction; and a bag (5) that is attached to the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) and bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b).

Furthermore, the basket is foldable by having both ends of the handle frame members (2a, 2b), both ends of the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) and both ends of the bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b) arranged so that they are parallel and face in the same direction from the common hinges (1a, 1b); and in the opened state, the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) are constructed so that they stop rotating at a position that forms a flat opening section for the bag (5), the horizontal sections in the middle of bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b) form two opposing sides in the width direction of the bottom of the opened bag (5), and the handle frame members (2a, 2b) are constructed so that they stop rotating at a position in the center where they are adjacent to each other,

As shown in FIG. 5, with the basket of this invention, by simply holding and rotating the handle frame members (2a, 2b) around the common hinges (1a, 1b), the relative rotation between the handle frame members (2a, 2b) and the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) stops at a position where the handle frame members (2a, 2b) exceed 90 degrees with respect to the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b), and the end sections of the handle frame members (2a, 2b) become structural stoppers. Moreover, as the handle frame members (2a, 2b) are rotated so that the handle frame members (2a, 2b) come close to each other, the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) are lifted up. The opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) are attached to the common hinges (1a, 1b) so that they can rotate, however, the end sections of the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) become structural stoppers that stop the rotation of both of the members at a position on the same horizontal plane. Therefore, by adjusting the structural dimensions of both structural stoppers, and by designing them so that rotation stops at a position where both of the handle frame members (2a, 2b) will come close to each other without hitting each other, it is possible to increase durability and to obtain a stable open state.

Furthermore, one end of a handle band (6) is attached to one of the handle frame members (2a, 2b), and materials that form a surface fastener are located at arbitrary locations on the handle band (6). When in use, the other end of the handle band (6) wraps around the other one of the handle frame members (2a, 2b), and by facing the pair of materials that forms the surface fastener toward each other and fastening them together, it becomes possible to combine and fasten together the handle frame members (2a, 2b).

When opening the basket, an example of using the handle frame members to open the basket was presented, however, besides that, it also is possible to first open the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) and then open the handle frame members (2a, 2b), after which the handle frame members (2a, 2b) can be fastened together by the handle band (6).

The common hinges (1a, 1b) can be made of synthetic resin or plastic that is capable of obtaining the desired strength and durability, The handle frame members (2a, 2b), opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) and bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b) can be made of a lightweight aluminum alloy, for example.

The bag (5) and handle band (6) should be made of a thick material with good durability such as canvas, and the bag (5) is provided with cylindrical shaped channels which are processed by sewing through which the opening-section frame members (3a, 3b) and bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b) can be passed and attached, however, the bottom-section frame members (4a, 4b) do not have to be passed through the channel. Moreover, legs can be attached to the bag (5) so that it is easy to use. When folding the basket, the bag (5) is folded so that it fits in between the structural members.

Furthermore, a stretchable textile sheet shaped member (not shown in the figure) that can cover the opening section is attached to the bag (5), and on the inside of the bag (5), there is a sheet-shaped storage pocket (not shown in the figure). Also, by having an arbitrary number of pockets (not shown in the figure) located at arbitrary locations in the bag (5) so that can be freely opened or closed by zippers or the like, the basket can become even more convenient.

The basket of this invention, constructed as described above, can be easily folded to a compact size, and there is no need to use members that could be easily lost. Also, the size of the basket when in the folded state is half the size of the opening section, so it is possible to obtain the remarkable effect of not becoming a nuisance even when stored inside a compact automobile that may be used when shopping.