Title:
U-door folding fireplace screen
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foldable fireplace screen for use with fireplaces and other heating units includes a main screen assembly, a left screen assembly and a right screen assembly, each of which is pivotally attached to the main screen assembly. The main screen assembly includes a U-shaped frame on which is pivotally mounted a screened door. When the screened door is pivoted to an open position on the U-shaped frame, full access is provided to the fireplace or other heating unit in front of which the fireplace screen is situated. The top bridging member or structure found on conventional fireplace screens is eliminated to allow the user full access to the fireplace or heating unit through the opened screened door.



Inventors:
Gardner, Maxwell (Wallingford, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/528911
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
09/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24B1/192
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BASICHAS, ALFRED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gerald T. Bodner, Esq. (Melville, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A foldable protective screen for use with a heating unit, which comprises: a main screen assembly, the main screen assembly having a first lateral side and a second lateral side situated opposite the first lateral side; a first side screen assembly pivotally mounted to the first lateral side of the main screen assembly; and a second side screen assembly pivotally mounted to the second lateral side of the main screen assembly; the main screen assembly including a U-shaped frame having a first vertical leg disposed on the first lateral side of the main screen assembly, a second vertical leg disposed on the second lateral side of the main screen assembly, and a horizontal bottom leg joined to and interconnecting the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg, the U-shaped frame defining an open area between the first and second vertical legs and the horizontal bottom leg and further defining the open area with a top opening situated opposite the horizontal bottom leg; and at least one screened door pivotally joined to at least one of the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg of the U-shaped frame and selectively disposed across the open area defined by the U-shaped frame; wherein the at least one screened door is pivotally moveable on the U-shaped frame between a first position in which the at least one screened door is disposed across the open area defined by the U-shaped frame and at least partially bridges the top opening, and at least a second position in which the at least one screened door is not disposed across the open area so as not to at least partially bridge the top opening, whereby a user may have access to the heating unit through the open area and top opening of the foldable protective screen when the at least one screened door is in the at least second position.

2. A foldable protective screen as defined by claim 1, wherein the first side screen assembly and the second side screen assembly are pivotally attached respectively to the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg of the U-shaped frame; and wherein the fireplace screen further comprises first hinges for pivotally attaching the first and second side screen assemblies respectively to the first and second vertical legs of the U-shaped frame, and at least one second hinge for pivotally attaching the at least one screened door to at least one of the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg of the U-shaped frame, whereby the at least one screened door is hingedly mounted to the U-shaped frame separately from the first and second side screen assemblies.

3. A foldable protective screen as defined by claim 1, wherein the at least one screened door is a single door extending between the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg of the U-shaped member.

4. A foldable protective screen as defined by claim 1, wherein the at least one screen door is defined by a first screen door and a second screen door, the first screen door being pivotally mounted to the first vertical leg of the U-shaped flame, the second screened door being pivotally mounted to the second vertical leg of the U-shaped frame.

5. A foldable protective screen as defined by claim 1, wherein each of the first side screen assembly and the second side screen assembly includes at least one bracket extending laterally therefrom, the bracket being provided for attachment to the heating unit.

6. A foldable protective screen as defined by claim 1, which further comprises: an expandable rod, the expandable rod being operatively joined to the first side screen assembly and the second side screen assembly, the rod being expandable in an axial direction to engage the heating unit and to provide further stability to the foldable protective screen.

7. A foldable fireplace screen for use with fireplaces, stoves, radiators, burners and other sources of heat, the fireplace screen comprising: a main screen assembly, the main screen assembly having a first lateral side and a second lateral side situated opposite the first lateral side; a first side screen assembly pivotally mounted to the first lateral side of the main screen assembly; and a second screen assembly pivotally mounted to the second lateral side of the main screen assembly; the main screen assembly including a U-shaped frame having a first vertical leg disposed on the first lateral side of the main screen assembly, a second vertical leg disposed on the second lateral side of the main screen assembly, each of the first and second vertical legs having a lowermost end, and only one horizontal leg situated at a bottom of the U-shaped frame and joined to and interconnecting the lowermost ends of the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg, the U-shaped frame defining an open area between the first and second vertical legs and the horizontal leg situated at the bottom of the U-shaped frame and further defining the open area with a top opening situated opposite the horizontal leg, the first vertical leg, the second vertical leg and the horizontal leg mutually residing in the same plane; and at least one screened door pivotally joined to at least one of the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg of the U-shaped frame and selectively situated within the open area defined by the U-shaped frame; wherein the at least one screened door is pivotally moveable on the U-shaped frame between a first position in which it at least partially resides in the plane in which the first vertical leg, second vertical leg and horizontal leg of the U-shaped frame resides and within the open area defined by the U-shaped frame and at least partially bridges the top opening, and at least a second position in which the at least one screened door is situated out of the plane in which the first vertical leg, the second vertical leg and the horizontal leg reside so as not to at least partially bridge the top opening, whereby a user may have access to the fireplace, stove, radiator, burner and other source of heat through the open area and the top opening of the foldable fireplace screen when the at least one screened door is in the at least second position

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to fireplace enclosures, and more particularly relates to fireplace screens with outwardly opening access doors.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Fireplace screens have been used extensively throughout the world to prevent hot embers in wood burning fireplaces from being discharged into the premises where the fireplace is located which could cause personal injury, or fire or damage to the premises. Very often, homeowners prefer fireplace screens to glass enclosures, as they prefer to experience the sound, odor and warmth of a wood burning fireplace, which are less evident through a glass fireplace enclosure. Fireplace screens are also used for protection as well as for aesthetic purposes with other sources of heat, such as stoves, radiators, burners and the like, whose surfaces may become dangerously hot.

There are many different types of fireplace screens on the market, some being more decorative than others, and some being purely functional in nature. Many are free-standing, and may be positioned by the homeowner in front of the fireplace or other heating unit, and removable to gain access to the fireplace or when the fireplace is not in use. Some of these freestanding fireplace screens are foldable allowing size adjustment, convenient storage by the homeowner, and to facilitate shipping by the manufacturer.

A typical free-standing, foldable fireplace screen 2 is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings. The fireplace screen 2 includes a front section 4, and two side or wing sections 6, 8 that are pivotally joined to the front section 4. One of the disadvantages with such free-standing fireplace screens is that they prevent access to the fireplace, for cleaning or adding wood, for example. The homeowner must reach over the fireplace screen, or remove the screen entirely, to gain access to the fireplace. Furthermore, many free-standing fireplace screens are rather tippy and unbalanced, relying solely on the angle at which the side or wing sections extend for stability.

The prior art free-standing fireplace screen 2 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 includes a door 10, which allows access to the fireplace therethrough, the door 10 being shown in its open position in FIG. 2. However, there still remain several inherent problems with such a conventional fireplace screen.

First, the door 10 is rather heavy, the fireplace screen frame and door typically being made from wrought iron, with the door extending the full length of the front section 4. When opened, the weight of the door 10 shifts the balance of the fireplace screen 2 from where the screen is being supported by the side or wing sections 6, 8 to outwardly of the front section 4, where there is no support, causing the fireplace screen to tip forward.

Second, in all such free-standing fireplace screens having a door known to the applicants, a top bridging section 12 of the front screen section 4 over the door 10 remains in place and immovable. This top bridging section 12 limits the homeowner's access to the fireplace or other heating unit. The homeowner has to stoop below the stationary bridging section 12 to gain access to the fireplace through the door 10, or not use the door and reach above and around the stationary bridging section, when stoking the fire or adding wood, for example.

Third, the inherent instability of free-standing, foldable fireplace screens, with or without doors, creates a dangerous situation, especially for children, since the freestanding fireplace screens are typically not secured to the fireplace or other heating unit.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a foldable, free-standing fireplace screen for use with any type fireplace, fireplace glass door, stoves, radiators, burners and other sources of heat.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a foldable, free-standing fireplace screen that includes structure for securing the screen to a fireplace, fireplace glass door or the like for child safety and added stability.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a foldable free-standing fireplace screen that provides full frontal access to the fireplace or fireplace glass door in front of which it is positioned by means of a U-frame construction, eliminating the top bar obstruction found on other conventional fire screens.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a foldable free-standing fireplace screen that overcomes the inherent disadvantages of known fireplace screens.

In accordance with one form of the present invention, a foldable protective screen for use with a heating unit, such as a fireplace, stove or the like, includes a main screen assembly, a first side screen assembly and a second side screen assembly. The main screen assembly has a first lateral side and a second lateral side situated opposite the first lateral side. The first side screen assembly is pivotally mounted to the first lateral side, and the second side screen assembly is pivotally mounted to the second lateral side.

The main screen assembly of the foldable, protective screen includes a U-shaped frame having a first vertical leg disposed on the first lateral side of the main screen assembly, a second vertical leg disposed on the second lateral side of the main screen assembly, and a horizontal bottom leg joined to and interconnecting the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg. The U-shaped frame defines an open area between the first and second vertical legs and the horizontal bottom leg, and further defines the open area with a top opening situated opposite the horizontal bottom leg, i.e., with no stationary top bridging section found on conventional fireplace screens having access doors.

The foldable protective screen of the present invention further includes at least one screened door pivotally joined to at least one of the first vertical leg and the second vertical leg of the U-shaped frame and selectively situated within the open area defined by the U-shaped frame. The at least one screened door is pivotally moveable on the U-shaped frame between a first position in which the at least one screened door is situated within the open area defined by the U-shaped frame where it at least partially bridges the top opening, and at least a second position in which the at least one screened door is primarily situated outside the open area so as not to at least partially bridge the top opening. When the at least one screen door is in the open position, a user may have access to the fireplace or other heating unit through the open area and top opening of the foldable protective screen without being hindered by a nonmoveable top bridging section found on conventional fireplace screens.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments thereof, which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a conventional foldable fireplace screen with an access door shown in the closed position.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the conventional fireplace screen shown in FIG. 1, with the access door shown in the open position.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of a foldable fireplace screen constructed in accordance with one form of the present invention, illustrating the access door thereof in a closed position.

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIG. 3, illustrating the access door in a partially open position.

FIG. 5 is a partially exploded, perspective view of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, and illustrating the fireplace screen being positioned in front of a fireplace glass enclosure.

FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 7 is a rear view of a U-shaped support frame of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the U-shaped support frame of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a rear view of the front screen assembly of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 10 is a rear view of the left screen assembly of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 11 is a rear view of the right screen assembly of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 12 is a top view of a portion of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, and illustrating a double hinging assembly used to mount one or both of the left and right screen assemblies to the front screen assembly of the fireplace screen of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a presser bar used to secure the fireplace screen of the present invention to a fireplace.

FIG. 14 is a rear perspective view of the presser bar shown in FIG. 13 and a portion of the fireplace screen of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, and illustrating the cooperation between the presser bar and the fireplace screen.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a first attachment piece of the fireplace screen of the present invention used for attaching the fireplace screen to a glass fireplace door.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a second attachment piece of the fireplace screen of the present invention used for attaching the fireplace screen to a masonry fireplace.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a third attachment piece of the fireplace screen of the present invention used for attaching the fireplace screen to a metal fireplace or to a glass fireplace door.

FIG. 18 is a front perspective view of a foldable fireplace screen constructed in accordance with a second form of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now in greater detail to the various figures of the drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts, and referring particularly to FIGS. 3-6 of the drawings, it will be seen that a foldable protective screen 20 for use with a heating unit, such as a fireplace, stove, radiator, burner or other sources of heat, basically includes a main screen assembly 22, a first side screen assembly 24 and a second side screen assembly 26. The main screen assembly 22 includes a first lateral side 28 and a second lateral side 30 situated opposite the first lateral side 28. The first side screen assembly 24 is pivotally mounted to the first lateral side 28 of the main screen assembly 22. Similarly, the second side screen assembly 26 is pivotally mounted to the second lateral side 30 of the main screen assembly 22.

The main screen assembly 22 includes a U-shaped flame 32 having a first vertical leg 34 disposed on the first lateral side 28 of the main screen assembly, a second vertical leg 36 disposed on the second lateral side 30 of the main screen assembly, and a horizontal bottom leg 38 joined to and interconnecting the first vertical leg 34 and the second vertical leg 36. The U-shaped frame 32 defines an open area 40 between the first and second vertical legs 34, 36 and the horizontal bottom leg 38, and further defines the open area 40 with a top opening 42 situated opposite the horizontal bottom leg 38. It is evident from this description and the drawings that there is no top horizontal leg or structure as found in conventional foldable protective screens that would impede a user's access to the heating unit.

The main screen assembly 22 further includes at least one screened door 44 pivotally joined to at least one of the first vertical leg 34 and the second vertical leg 36 of the U-shaped frame 32 and selectively situated within (i.e., across) the open area defined by the U-shaped frame. The at least one screened door 44 is pivotally moveable on the U-shaped frame 32 between a first position in which the at least one screened door is situated across the open area 40 defined by the U-shaped frame and at least partially bridges the top opening 42, and at least a second position in which the at least one screened door is situated outside and not across the open area 40 so as not to at least partially bridge the top opening. This structure allows a user to have access to the heating unit through the open area 40 and top opening 42 of the foldable protective screen 20 when the at least one screened door 44 is in the at least second position.

The invention will now be described in more detail. The U-shaped frame 32 for the foldable protective screen 20, also referred to herein generally as a fireplace screen, is illustrated by FIGS. 7 and 8 of the drawings. It will be seen that the U-shaped frame 32 includes a horizontal bottom leg or base member 38, and left and right vertical support legs or members 34, 36 which are joined to the axial ends of the base member 38 at their lowermost axial ends to define the support frame 32 with its ā€œUā€ shape. No top horizontal member that bridges the uppermost portions of the frame 32 is included. Rather, a top opening 42 situated opposite the horizontal bottom leg or base member 38 is provided to allow full, unimpeded access to the fireplace or heating unit in front of which the fireplace screen 20 is situated. The U-shaped frame 32 defines an open area 40 in which is situated one or more screened doors 44, as mentioned previously. A single door embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 3-6 of the drawings, while a double door embodiment is illustrated by FIG. 18.

In the single door embodiment, the uppermost end of one of the left vertical support member 34 or right vertical support member 36 has mounted thereon a latch plate 46. The latch plate 46 cooperates with a pivotal latch arm 48 that is mounted on the door 44, in the single door embodiment shown in FIGS. 3-6. A screened door supporting lip 50 extends outwardly from the front face of the base member or horizontal bottom leg 38 to provide support for the unattached, free end of the door 44 and to maintain the door in a closed position irrespective of whether the latch arm 48 on the door lockingly engages the latch plate 46 on the U-shaped frame 32. Short width hinge threaded receiving bores 52 are formed on both the left support member 34 and the right support member 36 of the U-shaped frame 32. The short width hinge threaded receiving bores 52 are provided for mounting the left and right side screen assemblies 24, 26 (also generally referred to as the first and second side screen assemblies for either the left or the right assembly) respectively to the left and right vertical support members 34, 36 of the U-shaped frame 32. Long width hinge threaded receiving bores 54 are also formed on either or both of the left and right vertical support members 34, 36. The long width hinge threaded receiving bores 54 are provided for hingedly attaching the screened door 44 to either the left support member 34 or the right support member 36 of the U-shaped frame 32, or in the case of the double door embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 18, the bores 54 are provided on both vertical support members 34, 36.

Referring now to FIG. 11 of the drawings, a preferred form of the right screen assembly 26 will now be described in detail. The right screen assembly 26 includes a pair of horizontal frame members, including an upper horizontal frame member 56 and a lower horizontal frame member 58 situated parallel to and opposite the upper horizontal frame member 56. The right screen assembly 26 also includes a pair of vertical frame members, including an outer vertical frame member 60 and an inner vertical frame member 62 situated parallel to and opposite the outer vertical frame member 60. The outer vertical frame member 60 and the inner vertical frame member 62 connect with the two horizontal frame members 56, 58. Preferably, the horizontal frame members 56, 58 and vertical frame members 60, 62 form an angle of 90 degrees with each other. A decorative or functional handle 64 is attached to the upper horizontal frame member 56. Short width hinges 66 having a first portion 68 and a second portion 70 with a slot 72 formed through the thickness thereof, interconnected by a hinge joint 74, are attached to the inner vertical frame member 62, preferably in three locations, by welding the first portion 68 of each short width hinge to the inner vertical frame member 62. Mounting bolts each consisting of a threaded rod 76 welded to the outer vertical frame member 60 and a threaded nut 78 threaded onto the threaded rod 76 assist, in cooperation with brackets, in securing the fireplace screen 20, when assembled, to the fireplace, fireplace glass door or other heating unit in front of which it is situated. Situated on the rear surface of the frame formed by the upper horizontal frame member 56, lower horizontal frame member 58, outer vertical frame member 60 and inner vertical frame member 62 is a protective covering, preferably a metal mesh screen 80.

The left screen assembly 24 is now described in detail, and reference should be had to FIG. 10 of the drawings in which a preferred form of the left screen assembly is shown. The left screen assembly 24 has the same basic structure as the right screen assembly 26. More specifically, the left screen assembly 24 includes a pair of horizontal frame members, including an upper horizontal frame member 82 and a lower horizontal frame member 84 which is disposed parallel to and situated opposite the upper horizontal frame member 82. The left screen assembly 24 also includes a pair of vertical frame members, including an outer vertical frame member 86 and an inner vertical frame member 88 disposed parallel to and situated opposite the outer vertical frame member 86. The outer vertical frame member 86 and the inner vertical frame member 88 connect with the two horizontal frame members 82, 84. Preferably, the horizontal frame members 82, 84 and the vertical frame members 86, 88 form an angle of 90 degrees with each other. A decorative or functional handle 90 is attached to the upper horizontal frame member 82. Short width hinges 92 consisting of a first portion 94 and a second portion 96 having an elongated slot 98 formed through the thickness thereof, interconnected by a hinge joint 100, are attached to the inner vertical frame member 88, preferably in three locations, by welding or the like. Mounting bolts each consisting of a threaded rod 102 affixed to outer vertical frame member 86 and a threaded nut 104 threaded onto the threaded rod assist, in cooperation with brackets, in securing the assembled fireplace screen 20 to a fireplace, fireplace glass door or other heating unit in front of which it is situated. On the rear surface of the frame defined by the upper horizontal frame member 82, lower horizontal frame member 84, outer vertical frame member 86 and inner vertical frame member 88 is situated a protective covering, preferably a metal mesh screen 106.

The preferred form of the main screen assembly 22, also referred to herein as the front screen assembly, is now described in detail and is illustrated by FIG. 9 of the drawings. The front screen assembly 22 is primarily the screened door 44 of the fireplace screen 20 described previously, and is pivotally mounted to the U-shaped frame 32 shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. More specifically, the front screen assembly 22 includes a pair of vertical frame members, including a left vertical frame member 108 and a right vertical frame member 110. The front screen assembly 22 also includes a lower horizontal frame member 112 and an upper frame member 114 which may be decoratively shaped to include an arcuate portion 116 or other shaped portion. The lower horizontal frame member 112 connects with the lowermost ends of the vertical frame members 108, 110, preferably forming an angle of 90 degrees with the vertical frame members. The upper frame member 114 connects with the uppermost ends of the vertical frame members 108, 110. A long width hinge 118 having a first portion 120 and a second portion 122 having openings 124 formed through the thickness thereof periodically along the longitudinal length thereof, connected by a hinge joint 126, is attached to the left vertical frame member 108 (or the right vertical frame member 110 if the screened door 44 is to open from the left side instead) by the long width hinge first portion 120 affixed thereto by welding or the like. It should be realized that several short width hinges may be used instead of a single long width hinge 118 to pivotally attach the screened door 44 to the U-shaped frame 32. A latch assembly, including a threaded rod 128 welded or otherwise affixed to the right vertical frame member 110 (or the left vertical frame member 108 if the screened door 44 is mounted to open on the left side of the fireplace screen 20), and a latch nut 130 threaded over the rod 128, allows pivotal movement of the latch mechanism, which in one form includes an elongated arm 48 pivotally mounted at one of its opposite axial ends to the threaded rod 128. A stop mount in the form of a pin 132 welded or otherwise affixed to the right vertical frame member 110 (or the left vertical frame member 108, depending on which side the screen door 44 is desired to be mounted) prevents over-rotation of the latch arm 48. The pivotal latch arm 48 of the screened door 44 engages the cooperating latch plate 46 of the U-shaped member 32 to selectively maintain the screened door in a closed position. On the rear surface of the frame defined by the upper frame member 114, the right vertical frame member 110, the lower horizontal frame member 112 and the left vertical frame member 108 is a protective covering, preferably in the form of a metal mesh screen 134.

In assembling the fireplace screen 20 of the present invention, the right screen assembly 26 is secured to the right vertical support member 36 of the U-shaped support frame 32. The slots 72 of the short width hinge second portions 70 are positioned over the short width hinge threaded receiving bores 52 in the right vertical support member 36 of the U-shaped support frame. Bolts 136 are threaded through the slots 72 into the short width hinge threaded receiving bores 52 to hingedly attach the right screen assembly 26 to the U-shaped support frame 32.

Similarly, the left screen assembly 24 is positioned on the left vertical support member 34 of the U-shaped support frame 32. The slots 98 of the short width hinge second portions 96 are aligned with the short width hinge threaded receiving bores 52 in the left vertical support member 34 of the U-shaped frame 32. Again, bolts 136 are threaded through the slots 98 into the short width hinge threaded receiving bores 52 to hingedly attach the left screen assembly 24 to the U-shaped support frame 32. The slots 72, 98 allow the left and right side screen assemblies 24, 26 to be independently adjusted on the U-shaped support frame 32 for proper alignment with the frame.

The front screen assembly 22, which primarily consists of the pivoting screened door 44, is placed over the front face of the U-shaped support frame 32. The lower horizontal frame member 112 of the front screen assembly 22 is aligned with and made parallel to the horizontal base member 38 of the U-shaped frame 32. The openings 124 in the long width hinge second portion 122 are positioned in alignment with the long width hinge threaded receiving bores 54 formed in the left vertical support member 34 (or the right vertical support member 36, depending on which side the door is mounted) of the U-shaped support frame 32. Bolts 136 are passed through the openings 124 and threaded into the long width hinge threaded receiving bores 54 to hingedly attach the front screen assembly 22 to the U-shaped support frame 32.

As can be seen from FIG. 12 of the drawings, a double hinge arrangement is provided in the foldable fireplace screen 20 of the present invention on the vertical member of the U-shaped frame 32 where the screen door 44 is pivotally mounted. In other words, a separate hinge or hinges 118 are provided for pivotally mounting the screened door 44 to the U-shaped member 32 from the hinge or hinges 92, 66 that pivotally attach the left and right side screen assemblies 24, 26 to the U-shaped member. The elongated slot 72, 98 in the side screen assembly mounting hinges 66, 92 provides the necessary adjustment for a proper mating of the side screen assemblies 24, 26 to the U-shaped member 32, and the placement of the hinges 66, 92 allows the side screen assemblies 24, 26 to be folded against or in close proximity to the rear side of the main screen assembly 22 for convenient storage by the homeowner and to facilitate compact packaging and dense palletization during shipment by the manufacturer.

When the screened door 44 is in the closed position, the latch arm 48 is rotated, overlapping the safety latch plate 46 situated on the U-shaped support frame 32, preventing outwardly hinged movement of the screened door. The bottom of the front screen assembly 22 rests on the screened door supporting lip 50. To gain access to the fireplace or other heating unit, the user rotates the latch arm 48 in the opposite direction, disengaging the latch arm from the safety latch plate 46, thus allowing the screened door 44 to be opened with respect to the fireplace screen 20.

Another feature of the present invention is that the fireplace screen 20 may be mounted to the fireplace or other heating unit or to a fireplace glass enclosure, for added safety and security. For this purpose, mounting or attachment brackets 138, 140, 142 may be provided. Such brackets are shown in FIGS. 15-17 of the drawings. Each of the mounting brackets 138-142 basically include a first portion 144 and a second portion 146 situated opposite and connected to the first portion 144. Each of the first and second portions 144, 146 includes an opening 148 formed through the thickness thereof. The openings 148 in the first portions 144 of the mounting brackets are fitted onto the threaded rods 102, 76 on the outer vertical flame members 86, 60 of the left screen assembly 24 and the right screen assembly 26. Threaded nuts 104, 78 are tightened on the rods 102, 76 to affix the first portions 144 of the mounting brackets 138-142 to the left and right screen assemblies 24, 26. The second portions 146 of the mounting brackets 138-142 may be affixed to the fireplace frame and/or fireplace walls, as desired.

FIG. 15 shows a preferred form of a mounting bracket 138 for attaching the fireplace screen 20 of the present invention to the glass door of a fireplace door enclosure. The first and second portions 144, 146 are approximately of equal length and form an obtuse angle of about 135 degrees at their juncture.

A masonry fireplace attachment bracket 140 is illustrated by FIG. 16. The second portion 146 of the bracket is longer than the first portion 144, and is used to attach the fireplace screen 20 directly to the inside masonry wall of the fireplace.

For metal fireplaces and for attachment of the fireplace screen 20 to the outside surface of the glass door of a glass fireplace enclosure, the bracket 142 shown in FIG. 17 is provided. Here, the first portion 144 and second portion 146 of the bracket are interconnected by an intermediary portion 150, and the first portion and second portion define between them an acute angle, preferably about 60 to about 75 degrees.

Alternatively, a presser bar 152, as shown in FIGS. 13 and 14 of the drawings, may be used to secure the foldable fireplace screen 20 of the present invention between the inside walls of a fireplace. The presser bar 152 includes an elongated tubular member 154 having a threaded bore formed axially therein, a threaded rod 156, a first presser tip 158 situated at the one axial end of the tubular member 154 and a second presser tip 160 situated on an opposite axial end of the threaded rod 156. The threaded rod 156 is threadingly received into the threaded bore of the elongated tubular member 154. Thus, the combined axial length of the tubular member 154 and the threaded rod 156 may be adjusted by rotating the threaded rod clockwise or counter-clockwise as desired. One axial end of the elongated tubular member 154 may be threaded to define the first presser tip 158 with a threaded outer surface, and the opposite axial end of the threaded rod 156 may also be threaded to define the second presser tip 160 with a threaded outer surface. Each of the presser tips 158, 160, is preferably conically shaped to define a surface engaging pointed tip 162 that frictionally engages the internal opposite walls of a fireplace in front of which the fireplace screen is mounted. A flange or nut 164 is welded or otherwise affixed to or near the second presser tip 160 of the threaded rod 156.

The axial ends of the presser bar 152, and in particular, the first and second presser tips 158, 160 respectively of the elongated tubular member 154 and the threaded rod 156, may be attached to brackets 166 extending from the left and right side screen assemblies 24, 26, as shown in FIG. 14. The brackets 166 have openings through which the axial ends of the presser bar 152 pass. Nuts (not shown) may be threaded onto the first and second presser tips 158, 160 and secured thereby against the welded flange or nut 164 of the threaded rod 156 and a radially outwardly extending shoulder 168 of the axial end of the tubular member 154 from which the first presser tip 158 extends. Then, the rod 156 may be extended by rotating it with respect to the tubular member 154 such that the first and second presser tips 158, 160 respectively of the tubular member and rod engage the inside wall surfaces of the fireplace and create an interference fit therewith. Alternatively, the presser tips 158, 160 of the elongated tubular member 154 and the threaded rod 156 may engage the brackets 166 extending from the left and right side screen assemblies 24, 26 without the use of nuts, and wedge the brackets 166 against the inside wall surfaces of the fireplace to secure the fireplace screen 20 to the fireplace or other heating unit and to add further stability to the fireplace screen. The presser bar 152 is used as an alternative to bolting the fireplace screen 20 of the present invention to an existing fireplace or heating unit using the brackets 138-142 shown in FIGS. 15-17.

As is mentioned previously and as is evident from the foregoing description, a major advantage of the present invention is that the entire front screen assembly 22, which generally comprises the screened door 44, can open outwardly, allowing full access to the fireplace or heating unit situated behind the fireplace screen 20. The non-movable overhead arch and/or supporting structure 12 found in conventional fireplace screens prevents full access to the fireplace, and this structure has been eliminated in the present design. In the present invention, the upper frame member 114 forms part of the front screen assembly 22 that can outwardly open in its entirety, eliminating the stationary, access-limiting member 12 found in conventional fireplace screen designs.

As is further evident from the present invention, instead of a single opening door 44, multiple doors may be provided, as shown in FIG. 18 of the drawings. A first half door 170 and a second half door 172, for example, would be pivotally mounted to the left vertical support member 34 and the right vertical support member 36, respectively, of the U-shaped frame 32. Since the doors are fully supported by the U-shaped frame 32, no stationary top bridging member is required between the uppermost ends of the left and right vertical members 34, 36 of the U-shaped frame 32, such as would be found in conventional fireplace screens. Thus, the entire front of the fireplace screen 20 will be open when the doors 170, 172 are pivoted to their open position, allowing the homeowner full access to the fireplace or other heating unit in front of which the fireplace screen of the present invention is situated. A latch mechanism, such as described previously, with a moveable latch arm 48 on one door engaging a stationary latch plate 46 on the other door, may be provided to secure the doors 170, 172 in a closed position.

Although illustrative embodiments of the present invention have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various other changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.