Title:
Folding ottoman
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a foldable ottoman having a sidewall assembly, a bottom panel, and a top lid. The sidewall assembly comprises a number of sidewalls, wherein adjacent sidewalls are interconnected by flexible hinges so as to enable the sidewall assembly to be moved between a collapsed state and a deployed state. In the deployed state, the sidewall assembly forms a geometric shape. The bottom panel is inserted into the deployed sidewall assembly and is removably supported by a plurality of removable support means. The top lid is placed onto the sidewall assembly and is removably supported thereon.



Inventors:
Quicoy, Ryan Hans (Shenzhen City, CN)
Application Number:
11/881644
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
07/27/2007
Assignee:
Foremost Groups, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C4/03
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARFIELD, ANTHONY DERRELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Phili) (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A foldable ottoman comprising: a sidewall assembly having a number of sidewalls and an equal number of hinges hingedly interconnecting adjacent sidewalls, the sidewall assembly having a bottom end and an opposed top end; a plurality of support members protruding inwardly from the sidewall assembly and disposed near the bottom end thereof; a bottom panel removably supported by the support members within the sidewall assembly; and a top lid removably supported by the top end of the sidewall assembly.

2. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein the sidewall assembly forms a generally circular shape and has a large number of sidewalls.

3. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein the sidewall assembly forms a polygonal shape having an even number of sidewalls.

4. The foldable ottoman of claim 3, wherein the sidewall assembly forms a square.

5. The foldable ottoman of claim 3, wherein the sidewall assembly forms a rectangle.

6. The foldable ottoman of claim 3, wherein the sidewall assembly forms a hexagon.

7. The foldable ottoman of claim 3, wherein the sidewall assembly forms an octagon.

8. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein the hinges comprise fabric hinges.

9. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein each support member is a peg protruding inwardly from a sidewall.

10. The foldable ottoman of claim 9, wherein each sidewall includes at least one aperture adapted for removably receiving a peg.

11. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein the lid includes a locator to position the lid on the sidewall assembly.

12. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein the sidewalls, the lid, and the bottom panel in combination form a closed interior space.

13. The foldable ottoman of claim 1, wherein at least one sidewall comprises an opening.

14. A foldable ottoman comprising: a sidewall assembly having four sidewalls and four fabric hinges hingedly interconnecting adjacent sidewalls, the sidewall assembly having a bottom end and an opposed top end; a bottom panel removably supported by a plurality of support members within the sidewall assembly near the bottom end thereof; and a top lid removably supported by the top end of the sidewall assembly, the top lid having a locator to position the lid on the sidewall assembly.

15. The foldable ottoman of claim 14, wherein each support member comprises a ledge formed integrally with a sidewall, the bottom panel resting on the ledge.

16. The foldable ottoman of claim 14, wherein each support member comprises a ledge attached to a sidewall, the bottom panel resting on the ledge.

17. The foldable ottoman of claim 14, wherein each support member comprises a peg protruding inwardly from a sidewall and an aperture in the sidewall adapted to removably receive the peg, the bottom panel resting on the peg.

18. The foldable ottoman of claim 14, wherein each support member comprises an outward protrusion formed on the bottom panel, the outward protrusion engaging a sidewall.

19. A method of assembling a foldable ottoman having a sidewall assembly including a number of sidewalls and an equal number of hinges hingedly interconnecting adjacent sidewalls, a bottom panel, a top lid, and a plurality of support members, the sidewall assembly having an open bottom end and an open top end, comprising: unfolding the sidewall assembly from a collapsed state to form a geometric shape defined by the number of sidewalls; removably installing at least one support member near the bottom end of each sidewall, the support members protruding inwardly from the sidewall assembly; inserting the bottom panel through the open top end of the sidewall assembly to be removably supported by the support members; placing the top lid to be removably supported by the top end of the sidewall assembly.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the hinges comprise fabric hinges.

21. The method of claim 19, wherein each support member is a peg adapted to be removably inserted into a corresponding aperture in a sidewall.

22. The method of claim 19, wherein the top lid has a locator for positioning the lid on the sidewall assembly.

23. The method of claim 19, wherein the number of sidewalls is an even number and the sidewall assembly forms a polygonal shape.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the number of sidewalls is four and the sidewall assembly forms a generally square shape.

25. The method of claim 19, wherein the number of sidewalls is large and the sidewall assembly forms a generally circular shape.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of the filing date of Chinese Patent Application No. 200720119852.8, filed on Apr. 30, 2007.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a foldable piece of furniture, and more particularly to an ottoman or footstool that can be readily disassembled and collapsed.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

A variety of shapes and sizes of furniture, and in particular ottomans, footstools, and the like, have been developed over the years to provide comfort and decoration. Many consumers prefer furniture that is relatively inexpensive, multi-functional, easy to assemble, and easy to store and transport.

For those consumers who cannot afford many pieces of furniture, it is desirable to have furniture which can perform multiple functions. Although the primary function of an ottoman is as a footstool, it is desirable to have an ottoman that can serve additional functions, such as providing storage space.

Consumers expect furniture that is already assembled or can be easily assembled. Once assembled, however, most furniture cannot be easily disassembled. Most furniture is assembled using nails, screws, staples, epoxy, or some other type of relatively permanent fastener or fastening mechanism. This presents a challenge for consumers, especially when the furniture needs to be stored or transported from one location to another.

Shipping and packaging costs can substantially increase the cost of furniture to the consumer. In particular, an assembled piece of furniture typically has a non-solid shape that takes up a large amount of space during shipping and makes it difficult to maximize the space utilized in a truck or transport vehicle. The same physical features of furniture can make it difficult for a consumer to store and transport from location to location, for example when moving residences.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an ottoman wherein the top cover is conveniently removable to access an interior storage space. It is another object of the present invention to provide an ottoman that is easily assembled and disassembled using only basic hand tools. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide an ottoman that can be collapsed into an efficient and small package for transport and storage.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention provides a foldable ottoman having a sidewall assembly, a bottom panel, and a top lid. The sidewall assembly comprises a number of sidewalls and a number of hinges, preferably an equal number, each hinge interconnecting adjacent sidewalls, enabling the sidewall assembly to be moved between a collapsed state and a deployed state. The sidewall assembly has a bottom end and a top end, and a plurality of support members disposed near the bottom end. The bottom panel is preferably removably supported within the sidewall assembly by the support members, and the top lid is preferably removably supported by the top end of the sidewall assembly. The foldable ottoman can have various geometric shapes, including any polygon, such as a square, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, or higher, or can have a large number of sides so as to simulate a circle.

The present invention also provides a method of assembling a foldable ottoman having a sidewall assembly, a bottom panel, a top lid, and plurality of support members. The sidewall assembly has a number of sidewalls interconnected by flexible hinges, and is moved from a collapsed state to a deployed state by pivoting the adjacent sidewalls about the flexible hinges into the desired geometric shape corresponding to the number of sidewalls. The support members are removably installed near a bottom end of the sidewall assembly, the bottom panel is inserted into an interior space within the sidewall assembly to be removably supported by the support members, and the top lid is placed onto a top end of the sidewall assembly to be supported thereon.

Other objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following detailed description, when considered in conjunction with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings briefly described below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention, and together with the general description given above and the detailed description given below, serve to explain features of the invention. However, it should be understood that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown in the drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an ottoman having a generally square shape according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the ottoman of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 3A, 3B are perspective views of a sidewall assembly of the ottoman of FIG. 1 in partially collapsed and fully collapsed positions, respectively.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial sectional view showing a hinged joint of a sidewall assembly of an ottoman according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged partial sectional view showing a lid supported on a sidewall assembly of an ottoman according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial sectional view showing a support member for supporting a bottom panel of an ottoman according to the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an ottoman having a generally rectangular shape according to the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an ottoman having a generally hexagonal shape according to the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an ottoman having a generally octagonal shape according to the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an ottoman having a generally circular shape according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides an article that can be readily assembled for use as a piece of furniture and can readily be disassembled into an easily portable package for transport and storage, such as a generally flat or rolled up configuration. Although particular reference is made herein to an ottoman, the article can function equally as a coffee table, end table, or other similar piece of furniture.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, an ottoman 10 comprises a sidewall assembly 20, a bottom panel 30, and a top lid 40. The sidewall assembly 20 is adapted to be moved from a collapsed state to a deployed state, and comprises a plurality of sidewalls 22. Each sidewall 22 has an inner face 26, an outer face 28, a bottom end 50, and a top end 52. Adjacent sidewalls 22 are hingedly interconnected to each other using hinges 24, a hinge 24 being disposed between each pair of adjacent sidewalls 22. Each hinge 24 preferably has an operating range of at least approximately 90 degrees, and each hinge 24 more preferably has an operating range of at least approximately 180 degrees.

In an example, as depicted in FIG. 3A, a hinge 24a can be adapted to flex between about 0 degrees, to enable a pair of adjacent sidewalls 22 to be oriented such that the two sidewalls 22 are disposed substantially parallel to each other and aligned in the same plane, and about 90 degrees, to enable the pair of adjacent sidewalls 22 to be oriented perpendicularly to each other. Further, a hinge 24b can be adapted to flex between about 180 degrees, to enable a pair of adjacent sidewalls 22 to be oriented such that the sidewalls 22 are disposed substantially parallel with their respective inner faces 26 directly opposite each other, and about 90 degrees, to enable the pair of sidewalls 22 to be oriented perpendicularly to each other. It can be readily seen that in a generally square or rectangular embodiment of the ottoman, as shown in FIGS. 1-3B and 7, the sidewall assembly 22 may include two hinges 24a (adapted to flex between about 0 degrees and about 90 degrees) and two hinges 24b (adapted to flex between about 90 degrees and about 180 degrees). Alternatively, the sidewall assembly 22 may include four hinges 24 each adapted to flex between about 0 degrees and about 180 degrees.

When the ottoman 10 is deployed for use, the side assembly 20 in a first illustrated embodiment is configured into a generally square shape as shown in FIG. 1, wherein each sidewall 22 is disposed generally perpendicularly to two adjacent sidewalls 22 and the hinges 24 are flexed at approximately 90 degrees. As is shown in the exemplary embodiments of FIGS. 7-10, an ottoman can be configured in a multitude of other geometric shapes, including but not limited to a rectangle, a pentagon, a hexagon, an octagon, and a multi-sided structure approximating a circle. When the sidewall assembly 20 is in a collapsed state, as depicted in FIG. 3B, the hinges 24 are alternately flexed to approximately 0 degrees and approximately 180 degrees, such that the inner faces 26 of one pair of sidewalls 22 are disposed directly opposite to the inner faces 26 of another pair of sidewalls 22, and the entire sidewall assembly 20 is essentially flat and has a thickness approximately equal to that of two sidewalls 22. FIG. 3A shows a partially collapsed transition during assembly or disassembly between the deployed and the collapsed states of the sidewall assembly 20.

The hinges 24 can be made from any mechanism capable of providing sufficient flexing such as between 0 degrees and 180 degrees. In an embodiment, the hinges 24 are made from a fabric or web of material fastened to the inner face 26 of each of the adjacent sidewalls 22. A fabric hinge 24 has the advantages of full flexibility over its entire range, light weight, and resistance to fatigue failure over long-term use. In addition, fabric hinges 24 permit a small amount of flex in the overall dimensions of the deployed sidewall assembly 20 so as to permit a snug fit of the bottom panel 30 and top lid 40 when the ottoman 10 is assembled. Nevertheless, other hinges 24 may equivalently be used to join the sidewalls 22 together, including piano hinges and/or other mechanical hinges known in the art.

As depicted, particularly in FIG. 2, the hinges 24 extend along a middle portion of the junction between a pair of adjacent sidewalls 22. In another embodiment, the hinges 24 can extend along the entire length of the junction between a pair of adjacent sidewalls 22. In yet another embodiment, two or more hinges 24 can be used between each pair of adjacent sidewalls 22, each hinge 24 extending along a portion of the junction between a pair of adjacent sidewalls 22. Alternatively, a single fabric web can extend around the entire inner periphery of the sidewall assembly for interconnecting all of the sidewalls.

Each of the sidewalls can be solid, as shown for example in FIGS. 3A-3B and 7-10, or can include an opening of any shape, as shown for example by the opening 54 in FIGS. 1 and 2. When solid sidewalls are employed, the ottoman can be used for hidden storage, the items within remaining readily accessible by merely removing the top lid. When sidewalls having openings are employed, the bottom panel can be a functional shelf for stowing articles reading material, or other items that could be conveniently accessed in locations where the ottoman is used. A combination of sidewalls, including at least one solid sidewall and at least one sidewall having an opening, can be employed in the same ottoman.

The bottom panel 30 preferably has a shape that closely matches the shape of the sidewall assembly 20 when deployed, having a number of edges 36 matching the number of sidewalls 22 in the sidewall assembly 20. In the illustrated embodiment, when the ottoman 10 is deployed for use, the bottom panel 30 is inserted into an interior space 56 within the sidewall assembly 20, with each edge 36 in close proximity to the inner face 26 of a corresponding sidewall 22. As shown in detail in FIG. 6, the bottom panel 30 is supported by a plurality of support members 32. In one embodiment, the support members protrude inwardly from the sidewalls 22 of the sidewall assembly 20. In this embodiment, apertures 34 are disposed in the sidewalls 22 near the bottom ends 50 thereof, the apertures 34 extend at least partially into the inner face 26 of each sidewall 22. The apertures 34 may be blinded in the sidewalls 22, or may extend through the sidewalls 22 to the outer face 28. Each support member 32 is inserted partially into an aperture 34 so that a portion of the support member 32 is snugly supported by the sidewall 22 and a remaining portion of the support member 32 protrudes inwardly from the inner face 26 of the sidewall 22 for supporting the bottom panel 30. Each sidewall 22 preferably has at least one aperture 34 adapted for receiving a support member 32.

In the depicted embodiment, the support members 32 are pegs having a stepped diameter including a narrower portion 36 for inserting into the aperture 34 and a wider portion 38 for protruding inwardly from the inner face 26 of the sidewall 22. It is also contemplated that the apertures 34 can include an internal thread, and the narrower portion 36 of each peg 32 can include a corresponding external thread for securing the peg 32 within the aperture 34. Alternatively, the support members 32 can be other similar mechanical devices known in the art that can be removably secured to protrude from the inside face 26 of the sidewalls 22 by any reversible means known in the art, including but not limited to a compression fit, nails, screws, shelving supports, or hook and loop fasteners. Still further, the support members 32 can be a ledge or flange attached to or formed integrally with the sidewalls 22 and onto which the bottom panel 30 rests. While the illustrated embodiment shows the support members 32 attached to the sidewalls 22, it is also contemplated that the support members 32 could be outward protrusions formed on the bottom panel 30 that engage with recesses or ledges on the inner surfaces 26 of the sidewalls 22.

The top lid 40 can have any shape and preferably includes a downwardly extending locator 44 that closely matches the shape of the sidewall assembly 20 when deployed, the locator 44 having a number of edges 46 matching the number of sidewalls 22 in the sidewall assembly 20. The locator 44 can be a continuous extension formed on the lid 40, such as a downwardly projecting lip, or may be a plurality of flanges extending downwardly from the lid 40 to locate the lid with respect to the sidewall assembly 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the top lid 40 includes a brim 46 extending outwardly from the periphery of the locator 44 to rest on the top ends 52 of the sidewalls 22 when the ottoman 10 is assembled. When the ottoman 10 is deployed for use, the brim 46 of the top lid 40 is supported on the top ends 52 of the sidewalls 22 and the locator 44 is inserted into the sidewall assembly 20, with each edge 46 in close proximity to the inner face 26 of the corresponding sidewall 22, as shown in detail in FIG. 5. As depicted, the shape of the top lid 40 is the same as that of the locator 44 and the deployed sidewall assembly 20, but the brim 46 of the top lid 40 can be of any shape, even a shape that does not correspond to the shape of the deployed sidewall assembly 20. While the illustrated embodiment depicts a locator 44 the conforms to the number of sidewalls 22, it should be readily apparent that the locator 44 can be downwardly projecting pins positioned to center the lid 40 on the sidewall assembly 20. In such a configuration, as little as two pins could be used, positioned near opposite bottom edges of the lid 40. It is also contemplated that the locator 44 may be eliminated and, instead, a second set of support members can extend inwardly from the sidewall assembly 20 near its upper end 52. In this alternate embodiment, the lid 40 would not include a brim 46, but instead would be sized to fit within the sidewall assembly 20 and be supported by the second set of support members.

To deploy the ottoman 10 in the illustrated embodiment, beginning with the component parts in a disassembled state, the following steps are taken. The sidewall assembly 20 is transitioned from its collapsed state, where pairs of sidewalls 22 lie generally flat on one another, to a generally deployed state, where the four sidewalls 22 are disposed at angles of approximately 90 degrees as interconnected by the hinges 24. The sidewall assembly 10 is placed on the floor or on another generally horizontal surface with the bottom ends 50 of the sidewalls 22 oriented downward and the top ends 52 oriented upward. Each sidewall 22 has at least one aperture 34, each aperture 34 adapted for removably receiving a peg 32. The pegs 32 are inserted into the apertures 34, and the bottom panel 30 is inserted into the interior space 56 within the sidewall assembly 20 at the open top end 52 thereof, until the bottom panel 30 is supported by the plurality of pegs 32. The close fit between the edges 36 of the bottom panel 30 and the inner faces 26 of the sidewalls 22 provides stability to the structure and shape of the ottoman 10. Finally, the top lid 40 is positioned on the top end 52 of the sidewall assembly 20 so that the locator 44 sits inside the sidewall assembly 20 surrounded by the inner faces 26 of the sidewalls 22 and the brim 46 rests on the top ends 52 of the sidewalls 22. To return the ottoman 10 to a collapsed state, the preceding steps can simply be done in reverse order.

Although the ottoman 10 described above comprises a sidewall assembly 20 having four sidewalls 22 of approximately equal dimensions, other embodiments of an ottoman are envisioned. As depicted in FIG. 7, an ottoman 110 has a generally rectangular shape and comprises a sidewall assembly 120, a bottom panel (not shown), and a top lid 140. The sidewall assembly 120 has a pair of opposed sidewalls 122 and a pair of opposed sidewalls 123 having a width that is less than the width of the sidewalls 122. Each sidewall 122 is interconnected by a hinge 124 to an adjacent sidewall 123 at either end thereof, and similarly, each sidewall 123 is interconnected by a hinge 123 to an adjacent sidewall 122 at either end thereof. The manner of supporting the bottom panel and the top lid 140 in the ottoman 110 is the same as described above with regard to the ottoman 10.

In general, an ottoman having any number of sides can be made that is readily assembled for use and is readily collapsed into generally flat component parts. As depicted in FIG. 8, an ottoman 210 has a generally hexagonal shape and comprises a generally hexagonal sidewall assembly 220 having six sidewalls 222 interconnected by hinges 224, a bottom panel (not shown), and a top lid 240. As depicted in FIG. 9, an ottoman 310 has a generally octagonal shape and comprises a generally octagonal sidewall assembly 320 having eight sidewalls 322 interconnected by hinges 326, a bottom panel (not shown), and a top lid 340.

In addition, an ottoman having a large number of sides can be made to resemble a circular shape while still being readily assembled and collapsible into easily transportable and stowable component parts. As depicted in FIG. 10, an ottoman 410 has a generally circular shape and comprises a sidewall assembly 420 having a large number of sidewalls 422, a generally circular bottom panel (not shown), and a generally circular top lid 440. The sidewall assembly 420 further comprises a fabric hinge 424 interconnecting each adjacent pair of sidewalls 422. Alternatively, a single fabric web can extend around the entire inner periphery of the sidewall assembly 420 for interconnecting all of the sidewalls 422 into a ring. In a collapsed state, when the top lid 440 and bottom panel have been removed, the sidewall assembly 420 can be folded flat, or can be rolled up due to the flexibility of the hinges 424 interconnecting the sidewalls 422.

Although the depicted embodiments each have all the sidewalls attached with a hinge, it is contemplated that one set of adjacent sidewalls may have a removable attachment, such as hook and loop fasteners. In this embodiment, the sidewalls would be arranged into to desired shape and the final sidewalls interconnected.

While the invention has been disclosed with reference to certain preferred embodiments, numerous modifications, alterations, and changes to the described embodiments are possible without departing from the sphere and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims and equivalents thereof. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the described embodiments, but that it have the full scope defined by the language of the following claims.