Title:
ELEVATED OBSERVATORY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An elevated hunting blind includes a frame and an observatory supported by the trailer. Rigid travel guides extend upwardly from the frame providing a travel path. A drive system is provided for moving the observatory along the travel path provided by the travel guides to raise the observatory from a transport to an observation position.



Inventors:
Heppner, Alden (Lac La Biche, CA)
Application Number:
12/136734
Publication Date:
12/18/2008
Filing Date:
06/10/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SHABLACK, JOHNNIE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An elevated observatory, comprising: a frame; an observatory supported by the frame; rigid travel guides extending upwardly from the frame and providing a travel path; means for moving the observatory along the travel path provided by the travel guides to raise the observatory from a transport to an observation position.

2. The elevated observatory of claim 1, wherein the frame forms at least part of a skid or a trailer.

3. The elevated observatory of claim 1, wherein the means for moving the observatory is a pivoting linkage consisting of four collapsible observatory supports and means from moving the four collapsible observatory supports from a substantially horizontal travel position to a substantially vertical observatory supporting position.

4. The elevated observatory of claim 3, wherein the four collapsible observatory supports each have a frame portion and an observatory portion, the frame portion having a first end pivotally mounted to the frame and a second end, the observatory portion having a first end pivotally mounted to the observatory and a second end pivotally connected to the second end of the frame portion; a guide rail secured along the length of each observatory portion; two pivoting frames, each of the pivoting frames pivotally connected between the frame portion of two adjacent of the four collapsible observatory supports, each pivoting frame having lifting arms with rail engaging ends, each of the rail engaging ends engaging and travelling along one of the guide rails; a drive system for pivoting and drawing together the two pivoting frames, the pivoting and drawing together of the two pivoting frames causing the frame portion to pivot from a substantially horizontal travel position to a substantially vertical observatory supporting position, the rail engaging ends of the lifting arms travelling along each guide rail to exert a lifting force to lift the observatory portion from a stored positioned substantially parallel to the frame portion to an observatory supporting position coaxial with the frame portion.

5. The elevated observatory of claim 4, wherein the drive system is a winch that draws together each of the pivoting frames.

6. The elevated observatory of claim 4, wherein a locking system is provided to lock the pivotal connection between the second end of the frame portion and the second end of the observatory portion to maintain the frame portion and the observatory portion in a coaxial relationship.

7. The elevated observatory of claim 6, wherein the pivotal connection between the second end of the frame portion and the second end of the observatory portion has an over-center stop position, and a resilient member carried by the observatory portion engages the frame portion to maintain the pivot in the over-center position.

8. An elevated observatory, comprising: a trailer; an observatory supported by the trailer; rigid travel guides extending upwardly from the trailer and providing a travel path; the observatory being along the travel path provided by the travel guides to raise the observatory from a transport to an observation position by a pivoting linkage consisting of: four collapsible observatory supports, the four collapsible observatory supports each having a trailer portion and an observatory portion, the trailer portion having a first end pivotally mounted to the trailer and a second end, the observatory portion having a first end pivotally mounted to the observatory and a second end pivotally connected to the second end of the trailer portion; a guide rail secured along the length of each observatory portion; two pivoting frames, each of the pivoting frames pivotally connected between the trailer portion of two adjacent of the four collapsible observatory supports, each pivoting frame having lifting arms with rail engaging ends, each of the rail engaging ends engaging and travelling along one of the guide rails; at least one winch for applying a pulling force pivot and draw together the two pivoting frames, the pivoting and drawing together of the two pivoting frames causing the trailer portion to pivot from a substantially horizontal travel position to a substantially vertical observatory supporting position, the rail engaging ends of the lifting arms travelling along each guide rail to exert a lifting force to lift the observatory portion from a stored positioned substantially parallel to the trailer portion to an observatory supporting position coaxial with the trailer portion; a locking system to lock the pivotal connection between the second end of the trailer portion and the second end of the observatory portion to maintain the trailer portion and the observatory portion in a coaxial relationship, the pivotal connection between the second end of the trailer portion and the second end of the observatory portion having an over-center stop position, and a resilient member carried by the observatory portion engages the trailer portion to maintain the pivot in the over-center position.

Description:

FIELD

The present invention relates to an observatory from which hunters or nature lovers can safely and comfortably hunt or observe wild game.

BACKGROUND

U.S. Pat. No. 5,371,966 (Hall) entitled “Cylindrical Hunting Blind” discloses a tower that is accessed by a ladder. U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,523 (Howard) entitled “Portable Deer Stand” discloses a trailer mounted stand structure with detachable braces to permit collapse for transport. U.S. Pat. No. 6,460,653 (Hardy et al.) entitled “Combined Trailer and Hunting Stand operable between elevated and collapsed positions discloses a hunting enclosure raised and lowered by a scissor action support structure. U.S. Pat. No. 6,523,641 (Smith) discloses a trailer mounted platform raised and lowered by a hinged telescopic “jack-knife” configuration. U.S. Pat. No. 6,888,429 (McKay) entitled “Portable Wildlife Observation and Hunting Tower” discloses a trailer mounted platform that is convertible between a lowered transport position and a raised observation position, which is accessible in the raised observation position by a ladder. U.S. Pat. No. 7,014,238 (Gonzalez) entitled “Automatically and Reversibly Transformable Trailer-To-Raised Lookout Platform” discloses a trailer mounted platform raised and lowered by telescoping arms. U.S. Pat. No. 7,104,360 (Atkins) entitled “Mobile Elevating Hut” discloses a trailer mounted hut on pivoting support legs, which is raised and lowered by means of a winch.

SUMMARY

There is provided an elevated observatory which includes a frame and an observatory supported by the frame. Rigid travel guides extend upwardly from the frame providing a travel path. A drive system is provided for moving the observatory along the travel path provided by the travel guides to raise the observatory from a transport to an observation position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings, the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended to in any way limit the scope of the invention to the particular embodiment or embodiments shown, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side plan view of an elevated observatory in the transport position.

FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the elevated observatory in an intermediate position.

FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the elevated observatory in the observation position.

FIG. 4 is a detailed side plan view of one side of the pivoting linkage of the elevated observatory.

FIG. 5 is a detailed side plan view of the locking mechanism in the unlocked position.

FIG. 6 is a detailed side plan view of the locking mechanism in the locked position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An elevated observatory generally identified by reference numeral 10, will now be described with reference to FIG. 1 through 6.

Structure and Relationship of Parts:

Referring to FIG. 1, elevated observatory 10 includes a frame that supports an observatory 14. The frame may have different designs, such as part of a trailer, a skid, the bed of a truck, etc. In the description below, the frame is shown as part of a trailer 12. Observatory 14 is shown to be a type of cabin, however, it will be appreciated that it may be a platform, or may take other forms that would be practical for users such as bird watchers and hunters. Rigid travel guides 16 extend upwardly from trailer 12 and provide a travel path for observatory 14. Trailer 12 has outrigger legs 17 that are extended prior to observatory being elevated. Travel guides 16 have braces 15 to provide additional stability. Observatory 14 is designed to move along the travel path provided by travel guides 16 such that observatory 14 is raised by a pivoting linkage, generally indicated by reference numeral 18, from a transport position shown in FIG. 1 to an observation position shown in FIG. 3. A sliding clamp 19 guides observatory 14 along rigid travel guides 16. Rigid travel guides 16 include axial stops 21 toward the bottom of guides 16, such that, in the transport position shown in FIG. 1, observatory 14 is supported by axial stops 21. Observatory 14 may then be held in place against stops 21 using straps or other locking means to help keep observatory 14 stable during transport.

Pivoting linkage 18 has four collapsible observatory supports 20. Referring to FIG. 4, each collapsible observatory support 20 has a trailer portion 22 (or, more generally, a frame portion) and an observatory portion 24. Trailer portion 22 has a first end 26 pivotally mounted to trailer 12 and a second end 28. Observatory portion 24 has a first end 30 pivotally mounted to observatory 14, a second end 32 pivotally connected to second end 28 of trailer portion 22, and a guide rail 34 secured along the length of each observatory portion 24. There is also a pivoting frame 36 provided on each side of observatory 14. Each pivoting frame 36 is pivotally connected between trailer portion 22 of the two adjacent collapsible observatory supports 20. Each pivoting frame 36 has lifting arms 38 with rail engaging ends 40. Each rail engaging end 40 engages and travels along the corresponding guide rail 34. Referring to FIG. 1, a winch 42 is provided to apply a pulling force to pivot and draw together the two pivoting frames 36, such that observatory supports 20 are straightened, which causes observatory 14 to be raised through the intermediate position shown in FIG. 2 to the observation position shown in FIG. 3. Referring to FIG. 3, observatory 14 is accessible in the observation position by a ladder 45. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, ladder 45 folds with pivoting frame 36 to a collapsed state for travel when observatory 14 is in a transport position.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, there is also provided a locking system 44 to lock the pivotal connection 46 between second end 28 of trailer portion 22 and second end 32 of observatory portion 24 to maintain trailer portion 22 and observatory portion 24 in a coaxial relationship. Pivotal connection 46 between second end 28 of trailer portion 22 and second end 32 of observatory portion 24 has an over-center stop position shown in FIG. 6, while a resilient member 48 carried by observatory portion 24 engages trailer portion 22 to maintain the pivot 46 in the over-center position. For additional safety, locking system 44 may be designed such that a release tool 50 is required to release resilient member 48.

Operation:

Referring to FIG. 1, trailer 12 is transported to a desired location with elevated observatory 10 in the transport position. Once properly positioned, outrigger legs 17 are extended to provide additional support to elevated observatory 10 in the observation position shown in FIG. 3, and any straps or other locking means (not shown) used to stabilize elevated observatory 10 are released. Once sufficiently prepared, winch 42 is activated such that a pulling force is applied to winch cables 43, which in turn causes pivoting frames 36 to pivot and be drawn together. It will be understood that other means may also be used to draw pivoting frames 36 together. For example, a separate winch may be used for each cable 43, or winch 42 may be replaced with a motor that turns a screw attached to each pivoting frame (not shown). Further variations will also be apparent to those skilled in the art. As pivoting frames 36 are drawn together, rail engaging ends 40 of lifting arms 38 travel along the corresponding guide rail 34 to exert a lifting force on trailer portion 22. Trailer portion 22 is thus caused to pivot from a substantially horizontal travel position shown in FIG. 1, through the intermediate position shown in FIG. 2 and finally to the substantially vertical observatory supporting position shown in FIG. 3. This in turn lifts observatory portion 24 from a stored positioned shown in FIG. 1, in which it is substantially parallel to trailer portion 22, to an observatory supporting position shown in FIG. 3, in which it is substantially coaxial with trailer portion 22. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, as trailer portion 22 and observatory portion 24 reach the substantially coaxial position, resilient member 48 of locking system 44 locks them in place to help ensure that observatory 14 remains in the observation position.

Once it is desired to return observatory 14 to the transport position, some slack is given to cables 43, and locking systems 44 are then released using release tool 50. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, once each pivotal connection 46 has been taken out of the over-center position, winch 42 is reversed, such that winch cables 43 are played out, which allows pivoting linkage 18 to return to the position shown in FIG. 1.

In this patent document, the word “comprising” is used in its non-limiting sense to mean that items following the word are included, but items not specifically mentioned are not excluded. A reference to an element by the indefinite article “a” does not exclude the possibility that more than one of the element is present, unless the context clearly requires that there be one and only one of the elements.

It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the illustrated embodiments without departing from scope of the Claims.