Title:
Tubular holder and bracket device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A height-adjustable tubular holder for an elongated rod, such as an umbrella or fishing rod, and a bracket dimensioned for attachment to preexisting bolts, such as on a boat seat, wherein the bracket supports the tubular holder in such a manner as to facilitate angular adjustment of the supported rod, and wherein the holder can be rotated out of position during periods of non-use.



Inventors:
Mcinville, Randy Walter (Hartsville, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/888008
Publication Date:
02/07/2008
Filing Date:
07/31/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/200, 248/539
International Classes:
A45B3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAN, KO HUNG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A tubular rod holder and bracket device, comprising: a tubular holder for receiving an elongated rod, and an L-shaped bracket, wherein said tubular holder is secured to and pivotally adjustable relative to said L-shaped bracket, and wherein said L-shaped bracket is secured to a support structure.

2. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 1, wherein the support structure is a hinged boat seat, and wherein said L-shaped bracket is secured to the seat by one or more hinge bolts passing through said L-shaped bracket.

3. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 1, wherein said L-shaped bracket further comprises two generally flat panels, wherein an arcuate channel is defined through said first generally flat panel, and wherein a slotted channel is defined through said second generally flat panel.

4. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 1, wherein said tubular holder further comprises a first internal tube and a second external tube, wherein the position of said first internal tube is selectively adjustable relative to said second external tube.

5. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 1, wherein the support structure is a boat seat and wherein said bracket is secured via boat seat hinge bolts.

6. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 3, wherein one or more fasteners extend through said slotted channel of said bracket to securely fasten said bracket to the support structure, wherein one or more fasteners extend through said first generally flat panel of said bracket to pivotally secure said tubular holder to said bracket, and wherein one or more adjustable fasteners extend through said arcuate channel of said bracket to selectively permit movement of said tubular holder along a path defined by said arcuate channel and to selectively prevent movement of said tubular holder along said path defined by said arcuate channel.

7. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 6, wherein said one or more adjustable fasteners that extend through said arcuate channel is a thumb screw.

8. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 4, wherein said first internal tube and said second external tube further comprise a plurality of apertures and an adjustable fastener, wherein said adjustable fastener extends through one said aperture selected from said plurality of apertures to secure the position of said first internal tube relative to said second external tube.

9. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 8, wherein said adjustable fastener is a thumb screw.

10. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 1, wherein said rod is selected from a group comprising an umbrella and a fishing rod.

11. The tubular rod holder and bracket device of claim 1, wherein the support structure is a tractor seat and wherein said bracket is secured via self-threading screws.

12. A bracket with range of motion support, comprising: a first flat panel; a second flat panel, wherein said first flat panel and said second flat panel are integrally formed and positioned in such a manner as to define an L-shaped profile; one or more attachment ports defined through said first flat panel for securely attaching said bracket to a support surface; an attachment member secured through said second flat panel, wherein pivotal movement about said attachment member is enabled; and a C-shaped channel defined through said second flat panel, and generally surrounding said attachment member, wherein said C-shaped channel functionally limits available range of motion for an object connected to said attachment member.

13. The bracket of claim 12, wherein said first and second flat panels are generally rectangular-shaped, wherein said second flat panel has a width greater than said first flat panel, and wherein an outer edge of said second bracket panel is convex.

14. A method for installation and adjustment of an umbrella relative to a hinged boat seat, comprising the steps of: a) obtaining an L-shaped bracket with a first elongate aperture defined through one face, a second arcuate aperture defined through a second face, and a fastener extending through said second face, centrally proximate said second arcuate aperture; b) obtaining a tubular member; c) pivotally securing said tubular member to said bracket via said fastener extending through said second face; d) attaching an adjustable fastener from said tubular member through said second arcuate aperture of said second face; e) removing hinge bolts from a boat seat hinge; f) attaching said L-shaped bracket to the boat seat by extending the hinge bolts through said first elongate aperture in said first face of said bracket and refastening the hinge bolts to the boat seat; g) placing an umbrella pole into said tubular member; h) inserting a thumb screw through said tubular member to secure said umbrella pole; i) adjusting an angle of said umbrella pole via movement of said tubular member within said second arcuate aperture of said bracket; and j) securing said adjustable fastener between said tubular member and said second arcuate aperture of said bracket to prevent relative movement thereof.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein said tubular member further comprises a first tubular member and a second tubular member, wherein said first tubular member is slidably related to said second tubular member, and further comprising the steps of: k) slidably adjusting the position of said first tubular member relative to the position of said second tubular member; and l) inserting a thumb screw through said tubular members to secure said relative positioning.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

To the full extent permitted by law, the present Non-Provisional Patent Application claims priority to and the benefit of United States Provisional patent application entitled “Boat Seat Umbrella/Rod Holder,” filed on Aug. 1, 2006, having assigned Ser. No. 60/821,055.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to boating accessory devices, and more particularly, to a tubular holder and bracket device, wherein installation is quick and easy, wherein positional parameters such as height and angle of position are easily adjustable during use, and wherein on-board, out-of-the-way storage is provided for periods of nonuse. The present invention is particularly suitable for use as an umbrella or rod holder attached to a boat seat, however, may be utilized in other applications, such as an umbrella holder attached to a lawn tractor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well recognized that long term exposure to sunlight can cause damage the skin, including premature aging. Individuals engaging in outdoor activities, therefore, frequently rely upon a variety of measures and devices for shade. The popularity of temporary canopy structures for use by beachgoers and campers has increased. However, such structures are not readily adaptable for some outdoor uses.

While walking or performing other outdoor activities involving physical movement, individuals sometimes elect to utilize umbrellas. An umbrella can satisfy more than one need during such a use, wherein not only can an umbrella perform as an effective sun shield, but an umbrella can also protect the user from other elements, such as rain. The limitation of an umbrella, however, is that one hand is required in order to hold the umbrella, and over time, not only is the hand prevented from performing any other tasks, the arm can become fatigued.

For activities that require and/or benefit from the use of both hands, sometimes on-board canopies are provided, wherein examples include boat canopies and tractor roof coverings. These features can be prohibitively expensive options, and can also be unsuitable for installation on many models. Further, permanent coverings are not always desirable, wherein sometimes the user would prefer to be directly exposed to the sunlight. Umbrellas can provide optional shade in such environments; however, presently available holders enable only limited positional adjustments, wherein suitable protection from the sun and/or weather elements may not be achieved.

Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a tubular holder and bracket device capable of easy installation in a variety of environments, and wherein an umbrella can be supportively held and positionally adjusted while therewithin, thereby avoiding the above-discussed disadvantages.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such a device by providing a tubular umbrella holder and bracket device, wherein installation is quick and easy, wherein positional parameters such as height and angle of position are easily adjustable during use, and wherein on-board, out-of-the-way storage is provided for periods of nonuse.

According to its major aspects and broadly stated, in its preferred form, the present invention is a height-adjustable tubular holder for an elongated rod, such as an umbrella or fishing rod, and a bracket dimensioned for attachment to preexisting bolts, such as on a boat seat, wherein the bracket supports the tubular holder in such a manner as to facilitate angular adjustment of the supported rod, and wherein the holder can be rotated out of position during periods of non-use.

More specifically, the device of the present invention in its preferred form is a tubular holder and bracket device, wherein the bracket has an L-shaped profile defined by two generally flat panels, an arcuate channel defined in the first bracket panel, and a slotted channel defined in the second bracket panel. The tubular holder has two slidably related members, a first internal tube and a second external tube, wherein the position of the first internal tube and the second external tube relative to one another is adjustable and positionally selectable.

The bracket is secured to a support structure, such as a boat seat, at the slotted channel, and the tubular holder is secured to the bracket via the arcuate channel, wherein the rod of an umbrella and/or fishing rod is secured into the tubular holder via a thumb screw. Height adjustment of an umbrella installed therein is accomplished via sliding of the first internal tube relative to the second internal tube, wherein thumb screws secure the selected height arrangement. Additionally, angular display of the supported umbrella is adjusted via pivotal rotation of the tubular holder within the arcuate channel, again with thumb screw tightening to secure the selected positional arrangement.

Thus, a feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be quickly, easily and securely installed.

Another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to connect to a boat seat, tractor seat, or the like.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be removed and transported for installation in a subsequent location.

Still yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to define a lightweight yet structurally sound, adjustable umbrella and/or rod holder.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a structure that is capable of adjustment without necessitating tools.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide greater than 180 degree angular rotation for maximum protection from the elements, and for selectable out-of-the-way storage.

Still yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to utilize existing boat seat bolts for bracket installation.

Still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to be installed onto the rear of a lawn tractor seat via self-threading screws.

Yet still another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to accommodate rods of a plurality of diameters.

Yet another feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide a bracket for application in essentially environment wherein pivotal adjustment is desirable.

These and other features and advantages of the invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tubular holder and bracket device, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the device installed on a boat seat;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a tubular holder and bracket device;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a bracket, according to the preferred embodiment of the present device;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the bracket of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a side view of a tubular holder, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing the two slidably related tube members separated from one another.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS

In describing the preferred and alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in the figures and/or described herein, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-5, the present invention in the preferred embodiment is tubular holder and bracket device 10, preferably comprising bracket 12 and tubular holder 20. Preferably, bracket 12 has an L-shaped profile, as defined by two generally flat panels 14, 16, wherein arcuate channel 17 is preferably defined in first bracket panel 16 and slotted channel 15 is preferably defined in second bracket panel 14. Tubular holder 20 is preferably comprised of two slidably related members 23, 25, wherein first tubular member 23 has a diameter smaller than second tubular member 25, such that first tubular member 23 is adapted for slidable positioning within second tubular member 25.

Preferably, first bracket panel 14 is generally rectangular-shaped, wherein elongate edge 30 of first bracket panel 14 abuts elongate edge 32 of second bracket panel 16, and wherein first bracket panel 14 and second bracket panel 16 are preferably integrally formed from stainless steel. It should be noted, however, that bracket 12 could be made from a plurality of different types of material, such as, for exemplary purposes only, aluminum, galvanized, stainless, plastic, and/or corrosion resistant material. As with first bracket panel 14, second bracket panel 16 is also generally rectangular-shaped; however, second bracket panel 16 is preferably of greater width than first bracket panel 14 and outer edge 34 of second bracket panel 16 is preferably generally convex. The preferred convex shape of outer edge 34 of second bracket panel 16 facilitates the inclusion of arcuate channel 17 in second bracket panel 16 by accommodating the dimensional requirements thereof.

According to the preferred embodiment, slotted channel 15 is preferably defined along the length of first bracket panel 14, proximate outer edge 36 thereof. Although other positions are possible for slotted channel 15, the preferred position is adapted to facilitate installation of bracket 12 via traditional boat seat hinge bolts, wherein, as generally depicted in FIG. 1, first bracket panel 14 is installed in a generally flush relationship with the bottom of boat seat S, such that second bracket panel 16 extends upwardly relative thereto. Preferably, arcuate channel 17 is defined in second bracket panel 16 as a generally C-shaped channel, wherein the open portion of the C-shape is preferably defined away from outer edge 34 and preferably in an offset or angular relationship relative to elongate edge 32. Although other positions are possible for arcuate channel 17, the preferred position is adapted to facilitate the preferred range of motion for tubular holder 20 relative thereto.

Also preferably, securing nut 38 is preferably provided proximate centrally defined mount aperture 39, preferably and generally centered within the C-shape of arcuate channel 17. Securing nut 38 is utilized to secure tubular holder 20 in a pivotable engagement with bracket 12 via second bracket panel 16. A bolt preferably extends outwardly through second tubular member 25, proximate base end thereof, wherein securing nut 38 engages therewith in a manner that prevents unauthorized disassociation of second tubular member 25 from bracket 12, but in a manner that permits pivoting of second tubular member 25 relative to outer surface 37 of second bracket panel 16 of bracket 12.

As noted, first tubular member 23 is preferably slidably positioned within second tubular member 25, as depicted in FIG. 2, wherein the overall length of tubular holder 20 is preferably adjustable according to the exposed length of first tubular member 23 relative to second tubular member 25. Further, the selected length of tubular holder 20 for a given use is preferably secured following adjustment via first thumb screw 43. Second thumb screw 44 preferably operatively extends to button 45, wherein button 45 extends through arcuate channel 17 of bracket 12, moving therealong, unless second thumb screw 44 is tightened in such manner as to prevent movement of button 45 relative to arcuate channel 17. Thus, in the preferred configuration, second thumb screw 44 facilitates selective angular positioning of tubular holder 20 relative to bracket 12 during use, wherein second thumb screw 44 is preferably a wing nut, and wherein button 45 is preferably a bolt.

Tubular holder 20 also preferably includes third thumb screw 46, wherein a rod R, such as that of umbrella U, shown in FIG. 1, or of a fishing rod, for example, may be securely fastened therewithin. In the event that rod R is of a diameter that is too large to slidably enter first tubular member 23, second tubular member 25 may be utilized without first tubular member 23, wherein second thumb screw 44 would function to retain rod R therewith, and wherein height adjustment would not be supported. Preferably, third and first thumb screws 46 and 43, respectively, are each capable of maintaining a selected tightened position relative to the shaft of the umbrella or fishing rod placed therein, even in gusty winds. In order to facilitate strength of installation, thumb screws 43, 44, and 46 are preferably installed through apertures defined across and through each tubular member 23 and 25, rather than abutting generally thereagainst.

Preferably, tubular holder 20 is formed from PVC pipe. This construction is amenable to salty and/or otherwise potentially harsh and degrading environmental conditions. It should be recognized, however, that any suitable materials could be alternately utilized, such as aluminum, stainless steel, galvanized, plastic, wood, or any other suitably corrosion-resistant material. Also preferably, tubular holder 20 includes plurality of selectable apertures 50, wherein easy and secure adjustment of both the length of tubular holder 20 and the umbrella fastened therein is facilitated.

In the preferred installation on a boat seat S, existing hinge bolts are removed from the seat and bracket 12 is positioned such that first bracket panel 14 abuts the bottom of the seat S. The hinge bolts are then reinstalled, passing through elongate channel 15, thereby securely fastening bracket 12 to the seat S. As noted above, alternately, bracket 12 could be fastened to a seat, such as a lawn tractor seat, or any desirable seat, by drilling of mount holes therein, and by insertion of self-threading screws through elongate channel 15 and into the mount holes for installation.

The base end of an umbrella is preferably installed into tubular holder 20, wherein third thumb screw 46 securely fastens the umbrella rod within tubular holder 20, preventing accidental removal therefrom, such as during a gust of wind. First tubular member 23 is preferably slidably repositioned within second tubular member 25 in order to define the overall length of tubular holder 20, and thus the dimensional space defined below the open umbrella U relative to the seat S. This height adjustment feature allows for a decrease of the dimensional space below the open umbrella U in desirable conditions, such as during a storm, wherein the umbrella U can be lowered in order to better protect the user from driving rain.

It should be noted with particularity that if the base end of the umbrella to be mounted is of a diameter that exceeds the receiving diameter of first tubular member 23, first tubular member 23 may be removed from second tubular member 25, wherein the base end of the umbrella may be installed directly into second tubular member 25, and secured therein with first thumb screw 43. Adjustment of the angle of the umbrella U mounted in the holder relative to the seat S is accomplished via loosening of second thumb screw 44, and slidably moving tubular holder 20 within arcuate channel 17, wherein upon satisfaction of positional arrangement, retightening of second thumb screw 44 securely maintains the selection.

According to an alternate use, bracket 12 can be mounted to a lawn mower or tractor seat, wherein mounting screws can be inserted through elongate channel 15 and fastened into the seat. Further, according to another alternate use, tubular holder 20 can be utilized to hold a fishing rod and/or can be interchangeably utilized to hold either an umbrella or fishing rod or the like. The preferred positional installation for tubular holder and bracket device 10 provides for easy access to a fishing rod held thereby without requiring the user to bend over or otherwise extend in order to remove the rod from the holder.

It should be recognized that although the preferred placement and installation of bracket 12 has been described herein, bracket 12 could be otherwise installed, either on the back or side of a seat, and in a different arrangement relative to the seat than as is described herein. In the preferred installation, however, bracket 12 facilitates a preferred 220-degree rotation. This enlarged rotational path allows for better and more adaptable protection from the sun and rain by rotating forward and backwards as well as “out of the way” storage by folding downward and remaining parallel to the seat. This rotation could be lesser or greater depending on the application.

In an alternate embodiment, other fastening means could be utilized in lieu of, or in addition to thumb screws and wing nuts, such as, for exemplary purposes only, resilient protruding buttons.

In another alternate embodiment, tubular holder 20 could be comprised of more than two tubular members, and/or each tubular member could be longer or shorter than as depicted herein in order to accommodate greater or lesser variations in height adjustment. Moreover, a variety of structures could be utilized in lieu of, or in addition to, the preferred thumb screws in order to facilitate the adjustability and removability of the tubular members relative to one another, such as, for exemplary purposes only, springedly engageable protrusions or locking pins.

It should be recognized that tubular holder 20 could be adapted with any number of apertures defined along the length thereof in order to accommodate greater selectable range of adjustment.

In another alternate embodiment, bracket 12 could be larger or smaller than as depicted in the figures, wherein the dimensional configuration, and even the exterior shape could be altered to accommodate other applications and installations.

In another alternate embodiment, the channels of bracket 12 could be configured for adaptation to installation on a boat seat in a position other than the preferred use of the existing bolt pattern on a hinged boat seat, wherein a series of apertures or other means for receiving attachment devices could be provided.

In another alternate configuration, the preferred wing nut configuration relative to the arcuate channel on bracket 12 could be supplemented and/or replaced with a locking pin configuration, or other suitable means for securing the adjustable positioning thereof.

In still another alternate embodiment, in bracket 12, the dimension from the center of the mount aperture that supports pivotal movement of tubular holder 20 could be changed relative to the arcuate channel, or slotted radius, wherein a larger half-circle could be created. Additionally, the width of each channel could be varied from that as depicted in order to accommodate a variety of bolt or pin sizes, and the channels could be provided with selectable offset regions, wherein movement of a bolt or pin into such a region could provide a limitation of further movement thereof in order to assist in securing the selected position.

While the present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these disclosed embodiments. 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 by way of illustration only and so that this disclosure will be thorough, complete and will fully convey the full scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Indeed, many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind of those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains, and which are intended to be and are covered by both this disclosure, the drawings and the claims. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.





 
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