Title:
Recreational chair shade system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention comprises a method of attaching a pair of support arms to a chair for the purpose of positioning a towel or canopy. Each support arm provides a hooking means for fitment to common chairs, and a long arcuate towel-supporting member through which one end of a towel is threaded. The device may be readily transported from one place to another, may be easily attached to nearly any type of outdoor chair, is ideally composed of a pair of single pieces of plastic, and may be easily detached and packed away until used again at a later time.



Inventors:
Boyle, Ron (Lincoln, CA, US)
Harris, David (Rio Oso, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/799801
Publication Date:
11/06/2008
Filing Date:
05/02/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C31/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LYNCH, PATRICK D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TEMMERMAN LAW OFFICE (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A method of providing shade to the user of a chair, the method comprising the steps of: a. providing to a user a chair comprising a seat portion and a back; b. hooking a pair of canopy support members to said chair; c. providing a towel comprising a first segment, a second segment, and a third segment; d. placing said first segment on said seat portion to provide a towel seat for said user to sit on; e. placing said second segment against said back to provide a towel back for said user to lean against; and f. attaching said third segment to said canopy support members to provide a canopy for said user to sit under, wherein said third segment is directly above said first segment.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein said attachment step comprises threading.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein each of said canopy support members further comprise at least two hooks.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

7. The method of claim 5 wherein said attachment step comprises threading.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

9. A method of attaching a towel to a chair, the method comprising the steps of: a. hooking a pair of canopy support members to the back of a chair wherein said canopy support members extends above a seat portion of said chair; b. setting a first towel segment on said seat portion of a chair; C. setting a second towel segment against a back portion of a chair; and d. threading a third towel segment through said canopy support members such that said third towel segment is directly above said first towel segment.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

11. The method of claim 9 wherein said attachment step comprises threading.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

13. The method of claim 9 wherein each of said canopy support members further comprises at least two hooks.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein said attachment step comprises threading.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein each of said canopy support members comprises a single piece of plastic.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

none

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to sunshade attachments for chairs.

2. General Background

Over the last several thousand years the chair has moved from an article of state and dignity to one of general use. It is differentiated from the bench or stool, both of which enjoy a longer history, by its presence of a backrest to support a user's back.

The continued integration of the chair into everyday society has been supplemented by an ever-increasing amount of discretionary time spent by society's members. More efficient machinery, robotics, and labor laws have contributed to a reduction in work hours and an increase in free time. To accommodate the emerging leisure market, new leisure activities and leisure devices have developed.

Many of these developments have been related to the chair and chair accessories. Typical chair accessories include the ottoman, chair covers, chair pads, orthopedic backrests, chair mats to ease rolling chairs on carpet, and chair-mounted bags and storage compartments for electronics, such as mobile phones and television remote controls.

The present invention is a chair accessory to provide shade from the sun. The typical use would be one of passive leisure, but one who works sitting in the sun could employ it as well.

Animals and humans alike often desire to avoid the sun, and for many years inventors have found ways to adapt shade devices to chairs. Although the primary goal has been to create a shady area for the person or people sitting in the chair, size, weight, and portability constraints have spurred the development of a number of patented accessories.

One of the earliest such patents is U.S. Pat. No. 73,313, to Estes. This patent, from 1868 discloses a canvas supporting structure that extends upwards and outwards from the seatback sides of a seat or chair. It enables a cross rail to be adjusted at different elevations, and an awning extends across the cross rail. A roller on the side of the chair rolls up the awning, which in turns draws the arms up from a horizontal configuration to a vertical configuration. This device does not allow the user to be covered by the awning yet at the same time lean against and sit on the awning. Additionally, this device is complicated in nature and not easily adaptable to a variety of chairs.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,502,666 (Grady) discloses a soundboard that clamps to the back of a chair. The device, while not a sunscreen, nevertheless discloses an early example of a chair attachment that might provide shade. Like the present invention, the sound board of Grady is capable of being attached or detached from the back of an ordinary chair, then packed away until reattachment at a later time. The soundboard device is very large, and does not provide a towel or canvas that simultaneously shades the user while the user leans against it and sits on it. Additionally, the device employs hooks which extend over the front side of the chair and may become uncomfortable to the occupant of the chair,

U.S. Pat. No. 2,109,881 (Goldberg) describes not a chair per se, but does disclose a pad attached to a canopy for use at the beach. Goldberg discloses stakes that are placed directly in the sand, and an arcuate shaped extension is attached to the stakes, thereby holding a canopy over the user, as well as a back support for the user. The farther the stakes are stuck into the sand, the more inclined the back support becomes. This all-in-one device comprises a mat and a canopy, but the user does not provide them separately. For this reason the device is larger and more complicated than many carefree beachgoers would prefer.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,879,086 (Moceri) discloses a foldable sunshade attachment designed to be mounted to a lawn chair. It connects via a strap-type bracket mount secured to a cross member on the back of a chair, and provides an upright tubular column to which a second tubular column further comprising a shade is attached. This device comprises dozens of components, thereby increasing the complexity, weight, size, and likelihood of failure of the device.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,809,724 (Fuser) also discloses a device that shades a user sitting in a lawn chair. The invention in Fuser is affixed to the chair by a clamping device. It then provides a canopy separate from the chair or the user's towel, should the user decide to sit on one. In the time since Fuser, numerous other patents have issued which include some means of fixing a shading device to a chair. None of these examples provides for the user to thread his or her own towel through a simple device, and then lay on the towel and under the canopy created by the threaded towel.

A structure similar to Fuser is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,000,210 to Worthington. This device includes a crossbar support for additional support, and most importantly, comprises a large flat shading device, thereby adding to the weight and complexity of the shade system.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,096,257 (Clark) discloses a sunshade apparatus for a chair that affixes to the chair's back. This structure provides a support means over which a towel is draped, but does not provide a hooking means for the towel and does not allow the user to simultaneously use his or her towel as a backrest or seat.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,187 (Izzo) discloses a shading device similar to Clark. The features of Izzo not disclosed in the prior art included a spring-loaded adjustable prong that allows an umbrella to be easily positioned in one of many configurations.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,286 (Rusoo) discloses collapsible canopy device that provides a hooking means for the canopy for use in a stadium-seating environment. While this device is simpler than Clark and Izzo, it still does not provide either a means to hook the towel or a means for allowing the towel to be placed under the user.

Although the prior art includes various canopy supports for lawnmowers, chairs, trailers, and beach mats, these all employ now familiar and obvious designs, or were tailored to specific objectives and requirements. Although certain patents such as Goldberg appear to be of similar construction, they in no way could be attached to a chair in a way similar to the claimed method of the present invention. Other patents such as Worthington are simpler in design, yet still do not allow the user to simultaneously sit on his or her towel, lean against the towel, and be shaded by the towel.

It is thereby an objective of the present invention to provide a lightweight, portable shading device for attachment to typical outdoor chairs.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a means that allows the use of a towel for three purposes simultaneously: to sit on the towel, to lean against the towel, and to use the towel as a canopy for providing shade.

It is yet a further objective of the present invention to provide a sunshade device of minimal complexity, preferably a pair of support arms each made from a single piece plastic.

Thus, the present invention provides a method including providing a means for threading a towel through a clip, and then sitting or lying on the towel, and in that respect substantially departs from the designs and concepts of the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a method of attaching a pair of support arms (canopy support members) to a chair for the purpose of positioning a towel or canopy. Each support arm provides a hooking means and a long arcuate towel-supporting member through which one end of the towel is threaded. The device may be readily transported from one place to another, may be easily attached to nearly any type of outdoor chair, and may be easily detached and packed away until used again at a later time.

At least one end of the device is adapted to be removably coupled to a chair via a flexible clamping pair of hooks. A long arcuate portion extends outward from the back of a chair in a direction generally parallel with the seat of the chair and is coupled with a second device on the opposite side of the chair.

In use, a user will thread his or her towel through the long arcuate clip of the device, then place the towel against the back of a chair and on to the seat of a chair. The user then sits on the towel, leans against the towel, and is shaded by the towel. In this way the device and associated method provide a new means for shading an individual.

The above description broadly describes the more important features of applicant's new method. Other features of the present invention will be fully understood from the following detailed description and accompanying figures, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a device of the present invention before use.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a device of the present invention engaged to the back of a chair and threaded with a user's towel.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a lounge chair depicting the device of the present invention engaged to the back of the chair and a towel threaded through the device.

FIG. 4 is an inverted perspective view of a lounge chair depicting the device of the present invention engaged to the back of the chair and a towel threaded through the device.

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of a lounge chair depicting the device of the present invention engaged to the back of the chair and a towel threaded through the device.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a lounge chair depicting the device of the present invention engaged to the back of the chair.

FIG. 7 is an inverted perspective view of a lounge chair depicting the device of the present invention engaged to the back of the chair.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the aforementioned accompanying drawings. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the details disclosed but includes all such variations and modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims.

A chair is an item of furniture used for sitting comprising a seat, legs, and back. For purposes of this patent application, the portion of a chair normally used for sitting will be referred to as the seat, the part of the chair one would normally lean one's back against will be referred to as the back, and armrests may or may not be present on any given chair. A stool is different from a chair in that it does not provide armrests or a backrest. For purposes of this patent application, a chair is not necessarily for a single user. Examples of multi-user chairs include but are not limited to couches, sofas, settees, and benches.

The back of a typical chair extends down and connects to the seat of the chair, although often a gap is left between the center of the back and the seat to provide ventilation for the user. The back may also extend above the height of the head and in some cases over the head.

Relating now to FIG. 1, the canopy support member 10 is preferably molded from a single piece of resilient, durable plastic, more preferably from a single piece of injection molded plastic. Suitable plastics include but are not limited to polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, and nylon. The single piece of plastic is folded upon itself as designated by fold 22 to form an elongated support arm 12 and an elongated clip 13. Fold 22 is approximately 180 degrees enabling clip 13 to trace substantially the same arcuate path as support arm 12, although with a slightly smaller radius. A small space between support arm 12 and clip 13 is sufficient to allow any type of long flat material to slide therebetween.

As shown in FIG. 1, a proximal end 30 and a distal end 22 define the support arm 12. At its proximal end, the support arm 12 terminates in a clamp comprising generally a first hook 32 and a second hook 34. Second hook 34 terminates in a hook knob 36.

In operation, a pair of canopy support members 10 is attached to a chair back 100. FIG. 2 depicts one such canopy support member clamped to a chair back 100. In this Figure, a towel 110 can be seen threaded through the space between support arm 12 and clip 13. To attach the canopy support member, said first hook 32 is hooked around chair crossbar 102. From this position it may freely pivot counterclockwise around the axis defined by chair crossbar 102 as shown in FIG. 2. The canopy support arm may be rotated in a clockwise direction around chair crossbar 102 until said second hook 34 comes into contact with said chair back 100. During normal operation, gravity will be acting on the entire device pulling said device downward and locking said device into place on to said chair back 100.

Continuing the description of the operation of the device, once a canopy support member 10 is locked into place the user of the device then places towel 110 on a chair seat 102 as shown in FIG. 3. Continuing with FIG. 3, the user then places towel 110 against said chair back 100, and finally as shown in FIG. 2, up and through the space between said support arm 12 and said clip 13. FIGS. 3-7 depict a pair of canopy support members attached to a chair back. FIGS. 3-5 depict said pair of canopy support members supporting a towel.

Pressure generated from support arm 12 pressing against said clip knob 14 and clip 13 keeps towel 110 in place as the user then sits on said chair seat 102 and leans against seat back 100. Ideally, a pair of canopy support members 12 is used simultaneously as shown in FIGS. 3-7. For purposes of clarity only, the towel can be said to consist of three segments as shown best in FIG. 3. These segments are defined only for purposes of clarity as first segment 111, second segment 112, and third segment 113. The three segments compose a single towel without defined borders between said segments. The second segment 112 is generally the center area of a towel, and the first segment 111 and third segment 113 are the generally the boarders of the towel farthest from the second segment 112. In operation, the user sits on the first segment 111, leans against the second segment 112, and is shaded by the third segment 113.

The device can attach to any number of chairs including but not limited to armchairs, Windsor chairs, beach chairs, lawn chairs, patio chairs, deckchairs, Adirondack chairs, or any other type of outdoor chair. The portability of the device lends itself to a useful application to the similarly portable folding chair. In this embodiment the device would likely be attached to the folding chair after the folding chair is removed from storage. The device may also be applied to wheelchairs as a means to provide portable shade protection to the wheelchair occupant. The portable nature of the device allows the device and towel to be easily stored with the wheelchair user's other belongings.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the preferred embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration and not of limitation.