Title:
ROUND TABLE STORAGE RACK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage rack for round tables having foldable legs, that maintains each table in a vertical position, includes a base fabricated from first and second parallel pairs of tubing sections which are welded together to form a rectangular arrangement. The rim of a round table positioned vertically on the base makes contact with both tubing sections of the first pair, which are spaced apart a distance calculated to maintain the lowermost point of the rim above the level of the floor on which the base rests. A horizontally disposed bar having a welded notched plate welded thereto is supported at each end by a vertical support post, which is secured to one of the tubing sections of the second pair. The notched plate has a number of equally-spaced, downward-facing notches, each of which is sized to receive the rim of a single round table.



Inventors:
Hinckley, Randy L. (Provo, UT, US)
Application Number:
12/204795
Publication Date:
03/05/2009
Filing Date:
09/04/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/30
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RODDEN, JOSHUA E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANGUS C. FOX, III (PROVO, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storage rack for multiple tables having round tabletops with rims and foldable legs comprises: a base having a pair of parallel, spaced-apart tubular members which, together, support the rim of each table in two locations of its circumference; a horizontally-disposed indexing bar elevated above the base, said indexing bar having a linear array of generally evenly-spaced, downward-facing notches, each notch having a lateral width sized to accommodate the rim of a single stored table; and a pair of upright members, each of which secures an end of the indexing bar to an end of the base.

2. The storage rack of claim 1, wherein said indexing bar comprises a horizontal tube and an indexing plate, which is welded to the horizontal tube, said indexing plate having spaced-apart downwardly-projecting tabs which form the notches therebetween.

3. The storage rack of claim 1, wherein said tubular members are spaced apart a distance calculated to maintain a lowermost point of the rim above the level of a generally planar floor on which the base rests.

4. The storage rack of claim 1, wherein each notch of the indexing bar is of sufficient depth that a table can be rolled over either of said tubular members and into each notch, without the tabletop rim of that table contacting an upper limit of the notch.

5. The storage rack of claim 1, which further comprises a ramp coupled to at least one of said tubular members, said ramp facilitating the rolling of tables onto the base of the rack.

6. The storage rack of claim 1, wherein spacing between said tubular members and height of said upright members can be fixed at the time of manufacture to accommodate tables having a tabletop of a particular diameters.

7. The storage rack of claim 1, wherein said base, said indexing bar, and at least a portion of each upright member are packaged and shipped to an end user as individual pieces which can be assembled as a complete storage rack when received by an end user.

8. The storage rack of claim 7, wherein each point of connection between the individual pieces includes a stub extension on one piece and a socket, which receives the stub extension, on the other piece.

9. The storage rack of claim 5, wherein said base, said indexing bar, at least a portion of each upright member, and said ramp are packaged and shipped to an end user as individual pieces which can be assembled as a complete storage rack following receipt by the end user.

10. The storage rack of claim 2, wherein said indexing plate is modified such that each notch is considerably wider than a tabletop rim of the tables to be stored, and a block of durable ploymeric plastic material having a low coefficient of friction and low abrasiveness is secured to each downwardly-projecting tab, such that notches on the indexing bar are formed by gaps between adjacent blocks of the polymeric plastic material.

11. The storage rack of claim 10, wherein each block of durable polymeric plastic material is secured to a downwardly-projecting tab with threaded fasteners.

12. The storage rack of claim 10, wherein said durable polymeric plastic material is selected from the group consisting of HDPE, TFE, and nylon.

13. A storage rack for multiple tables having round tabletops with rims and foldable legs comprises: a base having a pair of parallel, spaced-apart tubular members which, together, support the rim of each table in two locations of its circumference; a horizontally-disposed indexing bar elevated above the base, said indexing bar having a linear array of generally evenly-spaced, downward-facing notches, each notch having a lateral width sized to accommodate the rim of a single stored table; a pair of upright members, each of which secures an end of the indexing bar to an end of the base; and a ramp couplable to at least one of said tubular members, said ramp facilitating the rolling of tables onto the base of the rack; wherein said base, said indexing bar, at least a portion of each upright member, and said ramp are packaged and shipped to an end user as individual pieces which can be assembled as a complete storage rack following receipt by the end user.

14. The storage rack of claim 13, wherein said indexing bar comprises a horizontal tube and an indexing plate, which is welded to the horizontal tube, said indexing plate having spaced-apart downwardly-projecting tabs which form the notches therebetween.

15. The storage rack of claim 13, wherein said tubular members are spaced apart a distance calculated to maintain a lowermost point of the rim above the level of a generally planar floor on which the base rests.

16. The storage rack of claim 13, wherein each notch of the indexing bar is of sufficient depth that a table can be rolled over either of said tubular members and into each notch, without the tabletop rim of that table contacting an upper limit of the notch.

17. The storage rack of claim 14, wherein said indexing plate is modified such that each notch is considerably wider than a tabletop rim of the tables to be stored, and a block of durable ploymeric plastic material having a low coefficient of friction and low abrasiveness is secured to each downwardly-projecting tab, such that notches on the indexing bar are formed by gaps between adjacent blocks of the polymeric plastic material.

18. The storage rack of claim 17, wherein each block of durable polymeric plastic material is secured to a downwardly-projecting tab with threaded fasteners.

19. The storage rack of claim 17, wherein said durable polymeric plastic material is selected from the group consisting of HDPE, TFE, and nylon.

20. The storage rack of claim 13, wherein each point of connection between the individual pieces includes a stub extension on one piece and a socket, which receives the stub extension, on the other piece, said individual pieces being securable together with method selected from the group of attachment methods consisting of welding and threaded fasteners.

Description:

PRIORITY DATA

This application has a claim of priority based on the filing of provisional patent application No. 60/969,814 of the same title and by the same inventor on Sep. 4, 2007.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates, generally, to storage racks and, more particularly, to storage racks used to store round, generally laminar items in a vertical orientation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Round tables having foldable legs are commonly used in the hospitality industry primarily for dining functions. Many churches have large inventories of such tables, which are commonly used for social functions and congregational dinners. The most common size of round table is 60 inches in diameter, as it is difficult to reach much beyond the center of such table while standing near the edge.

A variety of wheeled storage carts are available for the storage of round tables having foldable legs. The rim of each of multiple tables rests on two spaced apart supports, which prevent the stored tables from rolling. However, these storage carts all suffer from the disadvantage that they have no indexing capability which maintains each table in an upright position. Thus, if they are not entirely full, the tables will lean and cause the cart and tables to become unbalanced and potentially unstable.

What is needed is a storage rack for round tables having foldable legs that eliminates the design flaw that allows prior art storage racks and storage carts to become unbalanced when no entirely full.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a storage rack for round tables having foldable legs that maintains each table in a vertical position. The storage rack can be designed to store multiple tables of any diameter, including diameters of 42, 48, 54, 60 and 72 inches. The rack includes a base fabricated from first and second parallel pairs of tubing sections which are welded together to form a rectangular arrangement. Although the base may be fabricated from either round or square tubing, the invention is disclosed as an embodiment having a base fabricated from square tubing. When a table is positioned vertically on the base, the rim of the table makes contact with both tubing sections of the first pair, which are spaced apart a distance calculated to maintain the lowermost point of the rim above the level of the floor on which the base rests. A horizontally disposed indexing bar is supported at each end by a vertical support post, which is welded to one of the tubing sections of the second pair. The indexing bar has welded thereto a plate having a number of equally-spaced, downward-facing notches which correspond to the number of tables which can be stored on the rack. Each notch is sized to receive the rim of a single round table. By extending the length of the base and the indexing bar, the rack can be made to accommodate the storage of additional tables. Each notch is of sufficient depth that a table can be rolled over either of the tubing sections of the first pair and into the notch, without the rim contacting the top of the notch. A ramp may be provided which extends the full length either or both of the first pair of tubing sections, and facilitates rolling the table, on its rim, over the associated tubing section.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top/front/left-end isometric view of a storage rack of unitized construction for indexed, vertical storage of round tables having foldable legs;

FIG. 2 is a bottom/front/right-end isometric view of the unitized table storage rack of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a left side elevational view of the unitized table storage rack of FIG. 1, which is loaded with at least one table having folded legs, the table being stored vertically on edge;

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of a unitized table storage rack adapted to store ten round tables with foldable legs in vertical, equally-spaced format;

FIG. 5 is a left side elevational view of a unitized table storage rack, showing the rolling route of entry from the floor, up the ramp, and into the rack, for a single round table with foldable legs;

FIG. 6 is a top/front/left-end isometric view of the unitized table storage rack of FIGS. 1 and 2 loaded with ten round tables having folded legs;

FIG. 7 is a bottom/front/right-end isometric view of the unitized table storage rack of FIGS. 1 and 2 loaded with ten round tables having folded legs;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of a knock-down embodiment of a storage rack for indexed, vertical storage of round tables having foldable legs;

FIG. 9 is a front elevational view of a first embodiment notched plate of the table indexing bar;

FIG. 10 is a front elevational view of a second embodiment notched plate of the table indexing bar;

FIG. 11 is an exploded isometric view of a polymeric plastic indexing block mountable with threaded fasteners to a portion of the second embodiment notched plate; and

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view of the second embodiment notched plate having a plurality of ploymeric plastic indexing blocks secured thereto.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a storage rack for round tables having foldable legs that maintains each table in a vertical position. The round table storage rack will now be described in detail with reference to the attached drawing figures. It should be understood that the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, and that they are intended to be merely representative of the invention.

Referring now to FIG. 1 and 2, a storage rack 100 for indexed, vertical storage of round tables having foldable legs is shown loaded with at least one table 101. The rack 100 has a base 101 fabricated from first and second horizontal parallel, square tubing section pairs 102A/102B and 103A/103B, respectively, which are welded together to form a rectangular arrangement. Although the base 101 may be fabricated from either round or square tubing, the invention is disclosed as an embodiment having a base fabricated from square tubing. A horizontally disposed table indexing bar 104 is supported at each end by a vertical support post 105A and 105B, which are welded directly the tubing sections of second pair 103A and 103B, respectively. The table indexing assembly 104 includes a horizontal tube of square cross section 104A and a notched plate 104B, which is welded to the tube 104A. A ramp 106 facilitates rolling tables up and over tubing section 102B of the first pair. The ramp 106, which can be made of steel plate with a dingle longitudinal bend 107, is secured to tube 102B, preferably either by welding or with counter-sunk screws (not shown). The notched plate 104B has ten equally-spaced notches 108A-108J (108 generally), each of which is shaped to receive the rim of a single table. Each notch 108 is of sufficient depth (or height, depending on one's perspective) that a table rim has adequate clearance to enter the notch 108 as a table rolls over the ramp 106 and tubing section 102B, en route to its storage position.

Referring now to the end, or side, view FIG. 3, a single table 301 is visible in a loaded position on the storage rack 100. When tables 301 are positioned vertically on the base 101, the rim 302 of each table 301 makes contact with both tubing sections 102A and 102B of the first pair, which are spaced apart a distance calculated to maintain the lowermost point of the rim 302 above the level of the floor 303, on which the base 101 rests.

Referring now to FIG. 4, ten tables 301 have been loaded onto the storage rack 100. In this view, the table indexing assembly 104 is readily visible.

Referring now to FIG. 5, this end view shows the importance of providing adequate clearance at the top of each notch 108, which is represented by the dashed straight line 501. Each of the dashed circles 502A-502E represents a position of a table 101 as it is rolled up the ramp 106 and over tubing section 103B. The solid circle 503 represents the position of a table 101 that is seated in the cradle formed by tubing sections 102A and 102B. It will be noted that dashed circle 501A represents the position of a table 301 that is in contact with the floor 303. As a table 301 is rolled up the ramp 106 and over tubing section 102B, its elevation above the floor 303 increases. Then, as the table 301 rolls into the cradle formed by tubing sections 102A and 102B, its elevation above the floor 303 decreases, although not quite to floor level. Thus, adequate clearance at the top of each notch 108 is required to facilitate varying elevation of the table while en route to the stable, stored position on the cradle formed by tubing sections 102A and 102B, which is represented by the solid circle 503.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the table storage rack 100, as seen in FIG. 1, has been loaded with ten tables 301. It will be noted that the storage arrangement is very compact and stable, no matter how many of the ten tables 301 are removed from the rack 100.

Referring now to FIG. 7, the table storage rack 100, as seen in FIG. 2, has been loaded with ten tables 301. The folding leg assemblies 701 of the final table are seen in this view.

Referring now to FIG. 8, a knock-down embodiment 800 of the table storage rack replaces the vertical support posts 105A and 105B of the unitized embodiment 100 of the table storage rack with removable support posts 801A and 801B or 801C and 801D (generally, 801). It will be noted that removable support posts 801A and 801B are longer than removable support posts 801C and 801D. Removable support posts 801A and 801B are sized to accommodate round tables having, for example, a diameter of 60 inches, while removable support posts 801C and 801D are sized to accommodate round tables having a diameter of 48 inches. It should be understood that the spacing between the first tubular member pair 102A/102B may need to be reduced for smaller diameter tables so as to maintain the rim 302 above the level of the floor 303. The removable support posts 801 can be sized to accommodate a complete range of tables having round tops. It will be noted that each of the removable support posts 801 is equipped with stub extensions 802, which protrude from both ends of each removable support post 801. Those stub extension are sized to slide with minimal clearance into either the square tube sockets 803A and 803B, which are welded to the base 804, or the square tube upper support posts 805A and 805B, which also function as receiving sockets, and which are welded to the table indexing assembly 104. The knock-down embodiment 800 facilitates shipping of the storage rack, which can be assembled after receipt by an end user. The individual components can be either welded together or secured together with threaded fasteners, such as self-boring and self-tapping hardened steel screws.

Referring now to FIG. 9, a first embodiment notched plate 104B of the table indexing assembly 104 is fabricated from stamped steel plate. For this particular notched plate 104B, a total of ten, spaced-apart, downwardly-projecting spacer tabs 901A-901J form ten indexing notches 108. The edges around each notch 108 are rounded and smoothed in order to avoid damage to the rims 302 of the stored round tables 301. The notched plate 104B is preferably welded to the horizontal tube 104A.

Referring now to FIG. 10, a second embodiment notched plate 1001 may be substituted for the first embodiment notched plate 104B. It will be noted that each downwardly-projecting mounting tab 1002A-1002J (1002, generally) is considerably narrower than the spacer tabs 901A-901J of the first embodiment notched plate 104B, and that each mounting tab 1002 is provided with a pair of apertures 1003A and 1003B. Each aperture pair 1003A/1003B will be used to secure a block of low-friction polymeric plastic material to each mounting tab 1002A-1002J.

Referring now to FIG. 11, a single block of durable, low-friction, low-abrasive ploymeric plastic material 1101 is shown ready for mounting with threaded fasteners to one of the downwardly-projecting mounting tabs 1002 of the second embodiment notched plate 1001. Although high-density polyethylene (HDPE), tetrafluoroethylene (TFE), and nylon are considered to be the preferred low-friction polymeric plastic materials from which the blocks 1101 are fabricated, other durable materials having similar low-friction and low-abrasive characteristics may substituted therefor. A pair of machine screws 1102A and 1102B will pass through the apertures 1103A and 1103B in the block 1101, through the apertures 1003A and 1003B in the mounting tab 1002, through optional flat washers 1104A and 1104B, and will be secured with a pair of acorn nuts 1105A and 1105B. The acorn nuts 1105A and 1105B are used to protect users against injury from the exposed ends of the screws 1102A and 1102B.

Referring now to FIG. 12, the second embodiment notched plate 1001 having ten polymeric plastic blocks 1101 mounted thereto.

Although only a single embodiment of the new table storage rack has been described herein, it should be obvious to those having ordinary skill in the art that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope and the spirit of the invention as hereinafter claimed.