Title:
PORTABLE POLE-DANCING ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable free-standing pole assembly having a vertical pole extending from the center of a platform. The platform is formed from a number of interconnected tubular rails that cooperate to provide a stable platform for the vertical pole and its use as a pole dancing implement.



Inventors:
Suida, Jeffrey R. (Westland, MI, US)
Pelto, Patricia L. (Westland, MI, US)
Fairchild, James L. (Westland, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/531628
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
09/13/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/148
International Classes:
A63B9/00; A63B23/00
View Patent Images:
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20050010426Workout processing systemJanuary, 2005Chen et al.



Primary Examiner:
ROLAND, DANIEL F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Vincent Re PLLC (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Claims:
Having described our invention, we claim:

1. A portable platform assembly comprising: a frame including a plurality of removably interconnected tubular bars; an elongated pole that is removably coupled to said frame; and a floor that covers and is removably coupled to an upper surface of said frame; wherein said pole extends through said floor perpendicular to said floor.

2. A portable platform as defined in claim 1 wherein said frame further includes a centrally disposed hub having a vertically oriented pole support post and wherein said pole slidably receives said pole support post.

3. A portable platform as defined in claim 1 wherein said tubular bars have complementarily shaped male and female ends.

4. A portable platform as defined in claim 2 wherein said tubular bars comprise at least two T-shaped bars, wherein each of said T-shaped bars include an elongated first bar and a second bar that extends perpendicular to said first bar and is slidably and removably coupled to said hub.

5. A portable platform as defined in claim 2 wherein said hub includes a plurality of radially extending mounting arms and wherein said plurality of tubular bars are coupled to said mounting arms.

6. A portable platform as defined in claim 5 wherein said plurality of tubular bars cooperate to define a periphery of said floor.

7. A portable platform as defined in claim 6 wherein said periphery is rectangular in shape.

8. A portable platform as defined in claim 6 wherein said periphery is circular in shape.

9. A portable platform as defined in claim 1 wherein said floor is formed from plurality of panels that cooperate to define a flat top surface.

10. A portable platform as defined in claim 9 further comprising hinge means for pivotally coupling said floor panels together such that said floor may be folded.

11. A portable platform assembly comprising: a hub having a base, an elongated vertically oriented cylindrical member and a plurality of extension arms extending from said base, wherein said arms are perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of said cylindrical member; a plurality of tubular support bars that are slidably and removably coupled to said extensions arms; and an elongated tubular pole that slidably receives said cylindrical post to removably couple said pole to said hub.

12. A portable platform assembly as defined in claim 11 further comprising floor means that is supported by and covers said tubular bars and provides a flat surface for a user to stand upon.

13. A portable platform assembly as defined in claim 11 wherein said plurality of extension arms comprises two primary arms that extend from said base in opposite directions, each of said primary arms including a secondary arm that projects perpendicularly from said primary arm in opposite directions.

14. A portable platform assembly as defined in claim 11 wherein said plurality of extension arms project radially from said base.

15. A portable platform assembly as defined in claim 12 wherein said floor means is hinged together such that said floor means is selectively foldable.

16. A portable dance pole assembly comprising: a knockdown frame including a hub section and a plurality of lateral legs that are matingly connected to said hub section by male-female tube ends, said hub section including an elongated post that extends perpendicular to said legs; a planar floor that is disposed atop said frame, wherein said post extends through an aperture formed in said floor; and an elongated dance pole that matingly receives said post.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to platforms and more particularly to portable, knock-down type platforms having a freestanding vertical pole suitable for pole dancing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The activity of pole dancing is a well-known staple of modern day gentleman's or “strip” clubs. In these settings, a dancer performs a dance routine using a vertical pole to twirl, swing, and balance upon. In order to provide a safe dancing environment, these poles are often anchored to a fixed location.

Pole dancing has become a more mainstream activity where individuals are taking advantage of the health benefits of pole dancing as exercise in addition to their prurient interests. In furtherance of its more mainstream appeal, people have begun installing dance poles in their homes for personal use. These dance poles, however, are oftentimes fixed in place similar to the traditional club-based poles.

Dance poles inherently require a minimum of a few feet of clearance around the pole itself to allow the user to properly use the pole. In a conventional setting, such as an individual's home, finding sufficient space to permanently fix a dance pole may be difficult to find.

Further, the increased interest in pole dancing has also created an industry related to the instruction and training in pole dancing. Instructors in this field may be required to take their poles with them to reach a broader audience.

Additionally, and while pole dancing is becoming well known, it still retains a slight stigma due to its strip club origin. Individuals therefore may wish to have the ability to disassemble their dance poles when not in use to allow for a higher degree of discretion and/or to allow the pole to be easily relocated. It is therefore desirable to provide a pole dancing assembly is both portable and easily put-up and taken-down.

It is known in the art to provide portable pole-dancing poles. For example, United States Patent Application Pub. No. 2004/022003 published Nov. 4, 2004 and filed by Randy E. Blacker for REMOVABLE EXERCISE POLE AND METHOD OF USE discloses a ceiling and floor mounted pole dancing exercise pole. With this pole, however, the pole must be anchored at both its top and bottom, thereby limiting its use to rooms having relatively low ceilings. Further, the pole must be tightly wedged between the floor and ceiling to ensure that it held rigidly in place. This wedging creates the possibility of the user damaging the ceiling, floor, and/or the pole.

One known portable pole-dancing platform includes a free-standing dance pole, i.e., the vertical pole is supported only at the pole's bottom end. This platform includes an elevated stage that the pole is coupled to and extends vertically from. This elevated stage, however, increases the likelihood of a user falling from the stage and becoming injured. Further, the size of the elevated stage also undesirably increases the size and weight of the platform and its components. In order to make this stage-type pole assembly portable, the stage must either be broken down into numerous components, thereby increasing the time to assemble the stage, or the stage must be formed from a smaller number of larger and heavier components. The size of these sub-components limits their portability, particularly, if the person transporting the assembly is small in stature.

Therefore, there is a need for a free-standing and portable pole dancing assembly that is lightweight and can be easily assembled and disassembled.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a portable free-standing dance pole assembly having a vertical pole extending from the center of a platform. The assembly is formed from a number of interconnected metal tubes or rails that cooperate to provide a stable platform for the vertical pole and its use as a pole dancing implement.

The assembly is readily assembled and disassembled and is formed from a number of elongated tubular sections that slidably connect together and define the framework of the assembly's floor that is disposed on top of the tube sections. In the one embodiment of the invention, the floor is preferably formed from a plurality of hinged panels that allow the floor to be folded for transport.

It is an advantage of the present invention to provide a knockdown pole dancing frame that has interconnecting male and female tubular ends that allows the frame to be readily assembled and disassembled from a limited number of portable components.

It is another advantage of the present invention to provide a knockdown pole assembly having an elongated support post that resides within the dance pole. This elongated post increases the pole-contacting surface area to distribute the force applied to the assembly during use, thereby reducing the likelihood of the pole bending, breaking, or coming free from the rest of the assembly.

It is still another advantage of the present invention to provide a knockdown frame that provides a flat upper and lower surface that ensures that the floor disposed atop the frame is parallel to the ground.

It is yet another advantage of the present invention to provide a portable dance pole assembly that is both readily assembled and is free-standing (i.e., does not have additional lateral support beyond the support frame beneath the assembly's dance floor.

It is still yet another advantage of the present invention to provide a dance pole assembly that is capable of being carried and assembled by one person.

It is a further advantage of the present invention to provide a portable dance pole assembly that does not require additional weights or ballast to support the lateral loads applied during use and keep the assembly from tipping.

Still further objects and advantages of the invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains upon reference to the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The description refers to the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the knockdown frame assembly;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the knockdown frame assembly;

FIG. 4 is a side section view through line 4-4 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention having a sectional floor;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the sectional floor shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partial exploded view of an alternate knockdown frame assembly;

FIG. 8 is a top view of one embodiment of the alternate knockdown frame assembly illustrated in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a top view of another embodiment of the alternate knockdown frame assembly illustrated in FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a partial side sectional view of an embodiment illustrating a retaining plug that mates the floor to the frame; and

FIG. 11 is section view of interconnected frame sections having a locking pin and top and bottom surface mounted padded strips.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of a portable pole dancing assembly 10. Assembly 10 is a combination of a pole 12 and a platform 14 formed from a frame 16 and a floor 18.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, frame 16 is shown having a center-piece or hub 20 and a number of legs 22, 24, 26 and 28 that are removably coupled to hub 20.

Hub 20 is generally formed as an elongated square tube 30 having a cylindrical post 32 extending perpendicularly from the center of the top face 33 of tube 30 and a pair of connector arms 34 and 36 that extend from opposing side faces of tube 30. The bottom surface of square tube 30 is flat and parallel to top face 33.

In the preferred embodiment, tube 30 is approximately five feet in length and is formed from two inch square metal tubing. Post 32 is approximately three feet in length and has a diameter of approximately 1½ inches. Each arm 34, 36 is formed from the same material as tube 30 and extends perpendicularly from the side faces approximately one foot from the ends 38, 40 of tube 30. Post 32 is preferably permanently fixed to tube 30 (e.g., by welding). In other embodiments, post 32 may be removably coupled to tube 30.

Frame 16 also includes four legs 22-28 that cooperate with hub 20 to form a flat base for floor 18 and a stable support for pole 12. Legs 22 and 24 are identical and are generally T-shaped having an elongated square-tubing body 42 and a small connecting bar 44 that projects from the side of body 42. In the preferred embodiment, body 42 is approximately four feet in length and is formed from the same material as tube 30. Bar 44 extends from the center of the length body 42 and is approximately one foot in length. Bar 44 is sized and shaped complementary to (i.e., to be slidably received within) the square cross-sectional ends 38 and 40. When frame 16 is assembled, ends 38 and 40 of hub 20 abut the side walls of legs 22 and 24.

Support legs 26 and 28 are also formed the same material as hub 20 and legs 22, 24 (i.e., 2 inch square metal tube) and include an elongated body 46 and a perpendicularly disposed connector arm 48 extending from one side of the body. Arm 48 is approximately one foot from one of the ends of body 46, such that when tube 30 and bodies 46 are laid parallel, each arm 48 is collinear with one of the two hub arms 34, 36. In the preferred embodiment, body 46 is approximately five feet long while arm 48 is approximately one foot long. A connecting bar 50 extends from the end of each arm 48. Connecting bar 50 is substantially the same as connecting bar 44 in that it is approximately one foot long and is sized complementary to hub arms 34, 36.

The upper surfaces of legs 28-30 are coplanar with top surface 33 of tube 30 and cooperate to provide a continuous and planar upper and lower surfaces for frame 16. While two-inch square tubing is preferably used for frame 16, it should be appreciated that substantially any cross-sectional shape material could be used for frame 16.

As best shown in FIG. 3, frame 16 is a knock-down assembly that is readily assembled by inserting the four connecting bars 44 and 50 into their respective arms 34, 46 and ends 38, 40. Frame 16 is disassembled for transport by pulling the bars 44, 50 from hub 20. In the preferred embodiment, the four bodies 42 and 46 cooperate to define an outer perimeter that is approximately shaped as a four-foot by five-foot rectangle.

Platform 14 also includes a floor 18 which is a flat generally rectangular sheet of rigid and lightweight material, such as wood or plastic disposed upon frame 16. Floor 18 has a thickness sufficient to support a person's weight, and is sized to sit upon and cover the outer perimeter defined by legs 22-28. A hole 52 is formed through the approximate center of the floor sized to receive pole 12. A grommet or pole base 54 is mounted on the top surface 56 of floor 18 and has a centered aperture 58 that is concentric to hole 52. The diameter of aperture 58 is only slightly larger than the outer diameter of pole 12 thereby creating a slip-fit connection between base 54 and pole 12. In this manner, pole 12 prevents floor 18 from sliding off of the top surface of frame 16. The top surface 56 is preferably covered by a layer of carpeting or padding 60.

As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, pole 12 is a cylindrical tube that projects vertically from floor 18. Pole 12 is preferably formed from metal and is approximately eight feet in length. The outer surface of pole 12 has a smooth finish. The outer diameter of pole 12 is approximately two inches, such that an individual can readily grasp the pole. The inner diameter of pole 12 is only slightly larger than the outer diameter of post 32, leaving pole 12 with an approximate wall thickness of ¼ inch.

When assembly 10 is assembled, the components 20-28 of frame 16 are placed on the ground 62 and are interconnected as described above. Floor 18 is disposed upon the top surface of frame 16 with post 32 passing through hole 52 and aperture 58. Pole 12 is then slid over the top of post 32 and down through aperture 58 and hole 52 where the bottom end of the pole abuts surface 33 of hub 20. In one non-limiting embodiment a bearing assembly may also be included between the pole and frame to allow the pole to rotate relative to the floor and frame.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, an alternate embodiment of the invention is shown where assembly 70 is substantially the same as assembly 10, but the single contiguous sheet forming floor 18 is replaced by three pivotally connected smaller sheets 72, 74 and 76. Together the two outer sheets 74 and 76 and inner sheet 72 are substantially the same size and shape as floor 18, however, sheets 72-76 are connected by hinges 78. Center sheet 72 is approximately twice the size of outer sheets 74 and 76. Hinges 78 allow the two outer sheets 74, 76 to swing downward away from the upper surface having carpeting 60 and base 54. Hinges 78 allow outer sheets 74 and 76 to move from a stowed position where the underside of each outer sheet abuts the underside of center sheet 72 to a deployed position where the sheets are substantially coplanar. Hinges 78 are preferably mounted to the undersides of the sheets to present a flat, obstruction-free top surface 56.

Referring now to FIGS. 7-9 an alternate embodiment of the frame assembly of the present invention. Frame 116 is similar to frame 16 in that it includes a central hub 120 that connects to a plurality of outriding support legs 122.

Hub 120 includes a vertical support post 132 that is identical to post 32. Post 132 is coupled to and is concentric to a cylindrical base 134. Base 134 includes a number of evenly-spaced and radial connecting bars 136. In the preferred embodiment eight connecting bars 136 project from base 134. Base 134, like tube 30, is preferably two inches in height and is approximately six inches in diameter.

Frame 116 also includes a number of radially extending elongated legs 122. These legs, like legs 22-28, are preferably formed from two-inch square tubing. Bars 136 are each sized complementary to the ends of legs 122 to allow each leg to slide over the bar and abut base 134.

As shown in FIG. 8, legs 122 may all be equal in length to form a circular shaped frame perimeter 138, while FIG. 9 shows legs 122 having different lengths such that the outer ends of the legs define a square or rectangular shaped perimeter 139. In these embodiments, the floor is shaped according to the leg configuration 138, 139.

In another alternate embodiment, shown in both FIGS. 8 and 9, the legs of frame 116 include a pair of outer secondary supports 140 that project from the sides of the legs adjacent to the outermost end of the leg to increase the stability of the frame 116 and provide additional support to the floor around the perimeter 138, 139.

In one embodiment of the invention, shown in FIG. 10, the underside of floor 18 may include plugs or dowels 142 that fit within apertures 144 formed in the top surface of the frame 16, 116, such as a leg 22. Plugs 142 are preferably formed from a relatively soft, yet resilient material, such as rubber or plastic and cooperate with pole 12 to hold the floor in position relative to the frame.

FIG. 11 illustrates another embodiment of the invention, where the interconnected sections of the frame 16 or 116, such as connecting bar 44 and end 38, have a retaining pin 146 that is used to lock the legs to the hub. In this embodiment, each hub connecting bar and its complementary leg includes a through hole 148 and 150, respectively, formed through their sidewalls. In this manner, the retaining pin 146, in addition to the complementary shapes of the hub/leg sections provides a positive locking point to prevent the legs from coming free during use.

In another embodiment also illustrated in FIG. 11, the top and bottom surfaces of the legs and hub include a strip of non-skid padding material 152, 154 such as foam rubber. These material strips 152, 154 preferably run the length of the top and bottom surfaces of the frame 16, 116. The strips 152 along the bottom surface present a non-slip surface that meets the ground, while also provide a layer of padding to prevent the assembly from scratching or marring the surface it is place upon. The upper surface strip 154 provides additional resistance to prevent the floor from sliding upon the assembly frame.

The invention has been described in an illustrative manner, and it is to be understood that the terminology, which has been used, is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation. Further, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described.