Title:
Folding canopy chair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A folding chair includes a canopy which is stabilized in a front to back longitudinal direction using stiff segments which can be folded laterally, and a canopy supported from a pivoting back support with a bracket support which is preferably a multi-detent bracket support which can angularly adjust, upon manual movement by the user to react to changing light conditions. The user can pull the canopy to angle down to block light and wind, or the user can push the canopy to angle up to form a more open appearance while still receiving some benefits from the canopy.



Inventors:
Sykes, Brian (Lake Forest, CA, US)
Wong, Kevin (Haicang, CN)
Application Number:
12/072973
Publication Date:
09/03/2009
Filing Date:
02/29/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/66
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090066135Inclination Adjusting Device for Chair SeatMarch, 2009SU
20060261650Child vehicle safety seatNovember, 2006Billman et al.
20100052391Fold Flat Seat Assembly with Rearward Folding MotionMarch, 2010Hurst III et al.
20070273181ADAPTATION TO AN ASSISTIVE DEVICENovember, 2007Wechter
20060103178Collapsible rocker chairMay, 2006Wun
20090243364ADJUSTABLE HEAD RESTRAINT SYSTEM FOR AN AUTOMOTIVE VEHICLE SEATOctober, 2009Brunner et al.
20040195869Picnic table with benchesOctober, 2004Zhurong et al.
20030011229Wheelchair having a height adjustable seatJanuary, 2003Bell



Primary Examiner:
DUNN, DAVID R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harrington & Harrington (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A portable folding chair comprising: a folding chair member having a first and a second rear vertical support and a plurality of center pivoting support members supported by pivot feet; a first end pivoting vertical supports each having a first end pivotally connected to the first rear vertical support and a second end; a second end pivoting vertical supports each having a first end pivotally connected to the second rear vertical support and a second end; a first laterally displaceable canopy strut having a first end pivotally connected to the second end of the first pivoting vertical support; a second laterally displaceable canopy strut having a first end pivotally connected to the second end of the second pivoting vertical support; a first angular fixation fitting having a first end connected to the first pivoting vertical support and a second end connected to the first laterally displaceable canopy strut, to set the angular displacement between the first pivoting vertical support and the first laterally displaceable canopy strut; a second angular fixation fitting having a first end connected to the second pivoting vertical support and a second end connected to the second laterally displaceable canopy strut, to set the angular displacement between the second pivoting vertical support and second laterally displaceable canopy strut a canopy member engaged by the first and second laterally displaceable canopy struts.

2. The portable folding chair as recited in claim 1 and wherein the canopy member includes at least a first laterally extending strap for engaging at least one of the first and second laterally displaceable canopy struts.

3. The portable folding chair as recited in claim 1 and wherein the first and second angular fixation fittings are detent fittings.

4. The portable folding chair as recited in claim 1 and wherein the first and second angular fixation fittings are friction fittings.

5. The portable folding chair as recited in claim 1 and further comprising a first pivoting strut having a first end pivotally connected to the first laterally displaceable canopy strut and a second end, and a second pivoting strut having a first end pivotally connected to the second laterally displaceable canopy strut and a second end, the second ends of the first and second pivoting struts being connected by a central pivot connection, the combination of the first and second pivoting struts and central pivot connection to reinforce and fix a lateral position of the first pivoting strut with respect to the second pivoting struts to further stabilize the canopy member.

6. The portable folding chair as recited in claim 1 and wherein the canopy portion includes a sunroof opening for admitting light.

7. The portable folding chair as recited in claim 1 and wherein the canopy portion includes a plurality of reinforcing members 121 enveloped by a finished material to control the axis of folding and the direction in which stability is established.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a number of advantageous structures and devices which may be employed in a folding chair to enable foldable stowability in conjunction with other structural advantages and more particularly to a stowable canopy which has rigidity in one direction and which acts to provide stability in the stowed and deployed positions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Several known folding chairs have been in commercial use and which enable compact stowage while providing a wide and deep comfortable chair upon deployment. Some chairs use an independent cover for carriage, while others have canopies which assist in forming a stable stowed carriage device. Where the cover is attempted to be used for the carrying of the stowed chair, it can take on a shape which is incompatible with the stowably folded chair. The canopy cover lacks stability typically because it has to be flexible enough to operate with structures which deploy the canopy. In most cases the canopy cover simply does not fit well with the chair and significant force bears against the canopy cover when the chair is in the stowed position.

Another problem is with the canopy stability when the chair is in a deployed configuration. The provision of supports which adequately enable the canopy to both be stable and fully deployed is difficult and can result in poor support while serving the ability of the chair to be deployed and stowed. Most deployable chairs must expand and contract laterally and lengthwise, fore and aft. Providing adequate support while retaining the ability to deploy and stow is a continuing problem.

What is needed is a folding chair which provides a canopy which is reinforced in such a way that sturdiness is not compromised by the ability to foldably stow and re-deploy. Further, what is also needed is an ability for forming a carryable stowage cover which will be stable and which can stabilize the stowably folded chair in a stable manner.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A folding chair includes a canopy which is stabilized in a front to back longitudinal direction using stiff segments which can be folded laterally. Reinforcing members are typically surrounded by finished layers on either broad side which envelope the reinforcing members and help define the extent of folding that segments of the canopy can undergo, either during deployment of the folding chair 121 or during stowed, folded carriage. This design provides a front to back folded segments which are rigidly reinforced so that no folding can occur front to back. Lateral folding can occur along defined folding boundaries of the segments. This rigidity in one direction allows for a stronger canopy while allowing the collapsible support to concentrate on lateral stowage-ability variation.

The canopy is supported from a pivoting back support with a bracket support which is preferably an angular fixation fitting and which may be either a multi-detent bracket support or a friction fitting. A center-front locking brace can be optionally activated to fully laterally deploy the canopy. The combination of the canopy support and center-front locking brace, along with the front to back stiffened panels provides a well supported canopy. Further, the multi-detent bracket support enables the canopy to angularly adjust, upon manual movement by the user to react to changing light conditions. The user can pull the canopy to angle down to block light and wind, or the user can push the canopy to angle up to form a more open appearance while still receiving some benefits from the canopy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention, its configuration, construction, and operation will be best further described in the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the chair of the invention seen in foldably stowed position;

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the chair member shown in deployed position and illustrating a frontal stable cross fitting and illustrating the canopy in a vertical position and behind the chair's back;

FIG. 3 is a view looking into the canopy of the chair of FIGS. 1 & 2, with the main chair eliminated from view to be able to view the canopy more clearly during pre deployment and prior to an optional locking of the mid-frontal cross brace;

FIG. 4 is a view looking into the canopy of the chair of FIGS. 1-3 and from the same perspective as seen in FIG. 3, but illustrating the canopy more clearly during full deployment and illustrating the optional locking of the mid-frontal cross brace;

FIG. 5 illustrates a multi-detent support brace with cover removed and shown in a variety of positions;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the left side of the chair back opposing the underside of the canopy and with the multi-detent support brace in an almost nearly collapsed position;

FIG. 7 is a side view illustrating the vertical support having been brought parallel and generally even with the back support and engaging a pressure clamp to hold it in a stable vertical position, with the canopy being shown as generally horizontal and supported by the multi-detent support brace in a horizontal position;

FIG. 8 illustrates the multi-detent support brace adjusted to a position enabling the canopy to angle upward with respect to the vertical support; and

FIG. 9 illustrates the multi-detent support brace adjusted to a position enabling the canopy to angle downward with respect to the vertical support;

FIG. 10 is a view looking into line 10-10 of FIG. 3, and illustrates reinforcement members which enable front to back rigidity and stiffness of the canopy member whether deployed as a sun canopy or whether used for stowed carriage as was seen in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of the folding chair deployed with its canopy deployed and illustrating the overall shape and support of the top canopy and folds which occur along lengthwise lines, as well as the carrying strap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The description, construction and operation of the sealing system of the invention will be best illustrated by beginning with reference to FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a folding chair 21 shown in stowed and carrying position. A covering canopy includes side flaps 23 and 25 with a closure structure 27 shown in phantom since it sits at the interface between the side flaps 23 and 25. The closure structure 27 can be snaps, buttons, slide locks, zipper, magnetic or hook and loop connectors. The folding chair 21 preferably has a carrying handle or strap on the side of the stowed portable folding chair 21 seen in FIG. 1. The preferred structures for carriage would either be a strap on the side of the folding chair 21 opposite that seen in FIG. 1, or by a pair of handles which meet at the overlap of side flaps 23 and 25 to further reinforce the closure of side flaps 23 and 25.

At the bottom of the folding chair 21 a set of four pivot feet 31 are seen. Each of the pivot feet 31 is set to pivotably support a pair of support members 33. The pivot feet also include utility fittings 35 for interfitting of rear vertical supports 37, one of which is seen in FIG. 1. Even though only two of the pivot feet 31 have the vertical supports 37, it enables the use of four of the same type of pivot feet 31 in the same folding chair 21. At the top of the folding chair 21, a pair of laterally displaceable canopy struts 38 and 39 are seen which may have protective end caps 41. Also seen is a right side chair back upright 43 and a left side chair back upright 45.

Referring to FIG. 2, a perspective view of the folding chair 21 is seen with a chair member 49 shown in front of the canopy member 51, which includes the side flaps 23 and 25 previously seen. Several additional details are seen including a front capture fitting 55 which not only helps guide the support members 33 at the front of the folding chair 21, but helps structurally support the two front support members against weight of a user of the folding chair 21, especially where the user leans forward. Front capture fitting 55 also wraps around and cradles a portion of the pivoting support member 33 adjacent the front capture fitting 55 and lends further support by limiting the pivoting displacement between the pivoting support member 33 to which the capture fitting is attached and the pivoting support member 33 which can pivot into a position supported and cradled by the capture fitting 55. The fitting 55 could be used at any pivot point of any two of the support members 33, but is most preferentially used at the front where the most weight and stress is expected to occur. Other chair features seen include an expanse of back and seat material 57, suspended chair arm material 59, and drink holder 61.

At the rear of the chair member 49, parts of the canopy member 51 can be seen, including closure structure 27 which is seen in FIG. 2 as an area of hook members 65 which are positioned to interfit with an area of felt members 67 seen in dashed line format as being on the other side of side flap 23. A left one of a pair of forward lateral straps 71 and the left one of a pair of rearward lateral straps 73 is seen. In some cases it may be possible to replace the forward lateral straps 71 with one strap 71 extending across the width of the canopy member 51, as well as one rearward lateral strap 73 to replace the pair of rearward lateral straps 73. The canopy strut 39 is seen as having a fitting 75 which engages the forward left lateral strap 71. The use of the fitting 75, and another fitting not seen in FIG. 2, helps to set the forward and rearward extent of movement of the canopy member 51 with regard to the pair of laterally displaceable canopy struts 38 and 39.

A pair of end pivoting vertical supports 77 are seen pivotably connected to a pair of the vertical supports 37, with the end pivoting vertical supports 77 seen in a vertical down position in FIG. 2. The end pivoting vertical supports 77 can be pivoted to a vertical up position where they are captured by “C” shaped pressure clamps 79 which are also supported by the vertical supports 37. The “C” shaped pressure clamps 79 have the open member of the “C” directed rearward and give the canopy member 51 good forward bearing ability.

Also seen is a multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 which has terminal ends connected to the end pivoting vertical supports 77 and to the laterally displaceable canopy strut 39. Another multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 is located at the other side of the folding chair 21. Also seen is a lock fitting 83 attached to canopy strut 39. Also seen is an area of mesh material 85 which connects the chair member 49 and canopy member 51 and can be used for storage when the folding chair 21 is deployed.

Referring to FIG. 3 a view looking into the canopy member 51 of the chair of FIGS. 1 & 2, with the main chair member 49 eliminated from view to be able to view the canopy member 51 more clearly, and shown in a position just before pre deployment and prior to an optional locking of the mid-frontal cross brace which is seen as having a pair of pivoting struts 93 joined at central pivot connection 95.

FIG. 3 is also advantageous in illustrating the operation of the folding chair 21. As the chair member 49 is deployed, the end pivoting vertical supports 77, which are pivotably attached to the upper ends of the rear vertical supports 37, begin to spread apart. This spreading is transmitted through the vertical support 77 canopy strut pivot fittings 99. The canopy strut pivot fittings 99 are connected to the pair of laterally displaceable canopy struts 38 and 39. As the end pivoting vertical supports 77 move apart, the pair of laterally displaceable canopy struts 38 and 39 begin to move apart, but underneath rearward lateral strap 73 at the rear (lower as seen in FIG. 3) canopy member 51, and as constrained by the combination of the fitting 75 and forward lateral strap 71 at the forward (upper as seen in FIG. 3) canopy member 51. The mid-frontal cross brace including pair of pivoting struts 93 joined at central pivot connection 95 move passively to form a shallow angle with respect to each other. The angularity of the mid-frontal cross brace provides additional support to the top of the canopy member even in an angular relationship. Also seen in FIG. 3 is an optional clear sunroof 101 which may have a closable sun-blocking member, and which is used to admit some light into the canopy. The clearness of the sunroof 101 can range from completely clear to shaded and may include ultraviolet blocking or a color filtering/admittance effect.

Referring to FIG. 4, it can be seen that the pair of laterally displaceable canopy struts 38 and 39 have moved to a position of their mutual maximum relative displacement, and that a user had grasped the central pivot connection 95 and moved it rearward (down with respect to FIG. 4) to lock the pair of pivoting struts 93 into a linear relationship and to provide forward separation force for the pair of pivoting struts 93. It is noted that the force of separation would otherwise only be provided through fittings 99. The mid-frontal cross brace including pair of pivoting struts 93 joined at central pivot connection 95 provide additional, user controllable separation stability at the front of the canopy member 51. Also, FIG. 4 omits the optional sunroof 101.

Referring to FIG. 5 a multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 is illustrated in greater detail. The multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 may include detents at only the extreme most angularly expanded position or it may include further detent positions including the extreme most acute angular position and positions in between. Several angles are shown between a canopy brace 103 and a vertical support brace 105. A pivot 107 and a cover 109 is shown. Cover 109 helps isolate the detent mechanism associated with the pivot 107 from contact with the user.

Referring to FIGS. 6-9, a series of side views illustrate the operation of the canopy member 51 with respect to the chair member 49 to illustrate the relative positions and options for deployment of the canopy member 51. Only the rear of the chair member 49 to which the end pivoting vertical supports 77 are attached will be illustrated to focus on the dependence of the canopy member 51 and its pivoting connection to the chair member 49.

Referring to FIG. 6, is a side view of the left side chair back upright 45 and illustrating one of the end pivoting vertical supports 77 pivotally attached to one of the rear vertical supports 37. The multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 and its pair of pivoting struts 93 are seem in an almost parallel and closed position, the canopy strut pivot fitting 99 similarly bringing the laterally displaceable canopy strut 39 closer to the rear vertical supports 37 of the folding chair 21. Note that the pivot point 107 located within the cover 109 opposes and is displaced from the canopy strut pivot fitting 99 when the canopy member 51 is in its “closed” position. Note that the cover 109 enables a greater angle of closure than is seen in FIG. 6. FIG. 6, however, depicts the position that the canopy member 51 might assume behind a fully deployed chair member 49. In this relaxed position, the area of mesh material 85 forms a fold and the area between the expanse of back and seat material 57 and the canopy member 51 can be used to temporarily store the user's belongings.

Also seen in FIG. 6 is that the unfolding or angular displacement of the canopy strut 39 with respect to the vertical support 77 can occur independently of whether the vertical supports 77 is pivoted upward into a position to engage the “C” shaped pressure clamps 79. This also opens the possibility of the folding down of the canopy member 51 and pair of laterally displaceable canopy struts 38 and 39 for a number of purposes, including keeping the canopy member as a storage area, or for stabilizing the folding chair 21 against the wind and the like. This position, where the end pivoting vertical supports 77 are generally vertical while the top of the canopy member 51 is brought to a horizontal position is not shown in FIG. 6 or the subsequent figures.

Referring to FIG. 7, the canopy member 51 is shown in deployed position with respect to the chair member 49. The end pivoting vertical supports 77 have been pivoted to a generally vertical position where they are captured by the “C” shaped pressure clamps 79 to hold the end pivoting vertical supports 77 in place. Simultaneously, the user can begin to angularly open the canopy member 51 with respect to the end pivoting vertical supports 77 by causing the fitting 81 to open. Where the fitting 81 opened sufficiently so that the canopy member 51 achieves a substantially right angled position with respect to end pivoting vertical supports 77, this can be considered a neutral position and is shown in FIG. 7. It is preferable that the fitting 81 have at least one force detent position at a neutral orientation as seen in FIG. 7.

In the position shown in FIG. 7, the user can simply push the canopy member 51 rearward even without changing the position of the fitting 81 to simply have the canopy member 51 pivot out of its neutral position by having the vertical slots 77 simply slip out of the “C” shaped pressure clamps 79 to allow the canopy member 51 to pivot to a position seen in FIG. 6, but where the canopy member 51 maintains its right angle with respect to the end pivoting vertical supports 77. The user need only reach back and flip the end pivoting vertical supports 77 back to a position to be engaged by the “C” shaped pressure clamps 79 to re-engage the canopy member 51.

Referring to FIG. 8, an illustration of the movement of multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 to a position enabling the canopy member 51 to achieve an upward angle with respect to the end pivoting vertical supports 77 is shown. During this adjustment, the vertical supports are not moved from their “C” shaped pressure clamps 79. The user simply acts to lift the canopy member 51 to an upward position to cause the multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 to readjust to either an upward detent position or to one of a number of upward detent positions.

Referring to FIG. 9, an illustration of the movement of multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 to a position enabling the canopy member 51 to achieve a downward angle with respect to the end pivoting vertical supports 77 is shown. As was the case in FIGS. 7 and 8, the user, without removing the vertical supports from their “C” shaped pressure clamps 79, simply pulls the canopy member 51 downward to cause the multi-detent angular fixation fitting 81 to readjust to either a downward detent position or to one of a number of downward detent positions. The ability to more finely adjust the canopy member 51 enables the user to better control the light and wind while seated in the folding chair 21.

Referring to FIG. 10, a view looking into line 10-10 of FIG. 3, and only through the material of the canopy member 51, is shown. As can be seen, the view is from front to back and illustrates a series of reinforcing members 121 within a finished material exterior 123 which may be sewably attached to either or both itself and the reinforcing members 121. The reinforcing members 121 add longitudinal (front to back) stability to the folding chair 21 during stowable folding or during canopy deployment. Where the optional sunroof 101 is desired, the necessary structure can be achieved by providing an opening on aligned portions of the finished material exterior 123 and substituting a clear, tinted, or UV filtering reinforcing member 121 at the center middle of the canopy member 51.

Referring to FIG. 11, a perspective view of the folding chair 21 deployed with its canopy member 51 deployed and illustrating the overall shape and support of the top canopy and folds which occur along lengthwise lines, as well as a carrying strap 131 on a main extent of the canopy member 51 is seen. The side flaps 23 and 25 are seen generally angled downwardly due to the construction details seen in FIG. 10. The use of longitudinal lengths of reinforcing members 121 whose interruption and securing by the finished material exterior 123 help to control the shape of the canopy member 51. The pair of pivoting struts 93 and central pivot connection 95 only had to control the main lateral extent of the canopy member 51, and thus eliminated is the need to control the canopy member 51 front to back.

As has been shown, the user has the ability to adjust the angle of the canopy member 51 over several different angular positions when the canopy member 51 is engaged. Further, the independent mounting of the canopy member 51 enables the user to easily flip the whole canopy member 51 completely rearward and out of the way. The rearward position can be selected to enable the canopy member 51 to achieve either a horizontal and rearwardly extending position, or a generally vertical position partially enveloping a storage space similar to that seen in FIG. 6.

While the present invention has been described in terms of a folding chair with canopy for providing compact folding and carriage and a front to back reinforced members to give enhanced stability in both the stowably folded carriage position as well as the deployed position where the canopy member and chair member are ready for use, one skilled in the art will realize that the structure and techniques of the present invention can be applied to many structures, including any structure or technique where a sturdy use of materials are to be employed for structural enhancement in both the deployed and stowably carried position.

Although the invention has been derived with reference to particular illustrative embodiments thereof, many changes and modifications of the invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, included within the patent warranted hereon are all such changes and modifications as may reasonably and properly be included within the scope of this contribution to the art.