Title:
UMBRELLA FRAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An umbrella frame includes a runner movably sleeved on a central shaft and a rib-and-stretcher assembly coupling the runner with a top end of the central shaft for spreading and collapsing a canopy. A plurality of petal-like members extend radially and axially from each of the top end of the central shaft and the runner, and define a plurality of accommodating slots for pivotally receiving a plurality of modular connector shells. Each of the rib unit and the stretcher unit has a plug-like connecting end configured to be fitted in a socket-like connected end of the corresponding connector shell and detachably fastened by a fastener. The rib-and-stretcher assembly can be conveniently and easily connected to and detached from the central shaft for replacement.



Inventors:
Pineda, Remigio M. (Singapore, SG)
Application Number:
13/009388
Publication Date:
07/19/2012
Filing Date:
01/19/2011
Assignee:
Guangtai Corp. Pte. Ltd. (Singapore, SG)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45B19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JACKSON, DANIELLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FOLEY HOAG, LLP (General) (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An umbrella frame comprising: a central shaft which extends along an axis and which has a top end; a runner which is sleeved on and movable relative to said central shaft between proximate and distal positions relative to said top end; a rib-and-stretcher assembly which has a rib unit and a stretcher unit associated with each other, and which is disposed to couple said runner with said top end of said central shaft to be displaceable between collapsed and spread positions that correspond to the distal and proximate positions, respectively, said rib unit having a plurality of first connecting ends for coupling with said top end, said stretcher unit having a plurality of second connecting ends for coupling with said runner; a plurality of petal-like members which extend radially and axially from one of said top end of said central shaft and said runner, and which are angularly apart from one another about the axis so as to define a plurality of accommodating slots that are alternately disposed with said petal-like members; and a plurality of modular connector shells which are respectively fit in said accommodating slots, and which are pivotally mounted about a pivoting axis that extends to bridge two adjacent ones of said petal-like members, each of said modular connector shells having a connected end which is configured to permit a corresponding one of said first and second connecting ends to be fitted thereto, and which is turnable about the pivoting axis so as to permit displacement of said rib-and-stretcher assembly between the collapsed and spread positions.

2. The umbrella frame according to claim 1, wherein said connected end of each of said modular connector shells is in form of a socket end, and each of said first and second connecting ends is in form of a plug end which is configured to be fitted in said socket end.

3. The umbrella frame according to claim 2, wherein said socket end and said plug end respectively have connected and connecting holes which are registered with each other when said plug end is fitted in said socket end; said umbrella frame further comprising a plurality of fasteners, each including a pin extending through one of said connected and connecting holes to engage the other one of said connected and connecting holes so as to detachably fasten said plug end in said socket end.

4. The umbrella frame according to claim 3, wherein said connecting hole includes a smaller-diameter region and a larger-diameter region extending to terminate at a hole bottom and to define a shoulder therebetween, said pin having an enlarged head which is disposed in said larger-diameter region, and a bolt which extends through said smaller-diameter region to engage said connected hole; each of said fasteners further including a biasing spring disposed between said hole bottom and said enlarged head to bias said pin into said connected hole.

5. The umbrella frame according to claim 3, wherein each of said fasteners further includes an internally threaded portion formed in said connecting hole, and an externally threaded portion formed on said pin and threadedly engaged with said internally threaded portion to detachably fasten said plug end in said socket end.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to an umbrella frame, more particularly to an umbrella frame having a rib-and-stretcher assembly detachably mounted on an upper hub and a runner of a central shaft.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventionally, an umbrella frame includes a central shaft, a hub that is affixed on a top end of the central shaft, and that has a plurality of angularly displaced slots formed around a periphery thereof for receiving a plurality of ribs. A steel hoop is disposed to encircle the hub and to bind the ribs while allowing the ribs to turn relative to the central shaft for spreading and collapsing a canopy of the umbrella. Two ends of the hoop are intertwined to hold tightly the ribs. The intertwined juncture is rigid and pointed and is prone to cause injury to the user and rip to the canopy.

As shown in FIG. 1, an umbrella frame disclosed in Taiwanese Utility Model Publication No. 350242 includes an endless hoop 100 which is disposed to bind ends of a plurality of ribs 200 disposed on a periphery of an upper hub 300 and which is self-entwined at a segment between two adjacent ribs 200 to form an entwined knot 101 for holding tightly the ribs 200. As the entwined knot can be configured to have a rounded end, the problem of causing injury as mentioned above can be desirably avoided. However, when replacing a broken rib 200, it is required to untwist and remove the hoop 100 from the upper hub 300 to permit removal of the broken rib 200, which renders replacement of ribs 200 quite difficult and inconvenient.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide an umbrella frame in which a rib-and-stretcher assembly can be conveniently and easily connected to and detached from a central shaft for replacement.

According to this invention, the umbrella frame includes a central shaft extending along an axis, a runner sleeved on and movable relative to the central shaft, and a rib-and-stretcher assembly including a rib unit which has a plurality of first connecting ends for coupling with a top end of the central shaft, and a stretcher unit which has a plurality of second connecting ends for coupling with the runner. A plurality of petal-like members extend radially and axially from at least one of the top end of the central shaft and the runner, and are angularly apart from one another about the axis so as to define a plurality of accommodating slots that are alternately disposed with the petal-like members. A plurality of modular connector shells are respectively fit in the accommodating slots, and are pivotally mounted about a pivoting axis that extends to bridge two adjacent ones of the petal-like members. Each of the modular connector shells has a connected end configured to permit a corresponding one of the first and second connecting ends to be fitted thereto, and turnable about the pivoting axis so as to permit displacement of the rib-and-stretcher assembly between collapsed and spread positions.

Preferably, the connected end of each of the modular connector shells is in form of a socket end, and each of the first and second connecting ends is in form of a plug end configured to be fitted in the socket end.

Preferably, the socket end and the plug end respectively have connected and connecting holes which are registered with each other when the plug end is fitted in the socket end. The umbrella frame further includes a plurality of fasteners, each including a pin extending through one of the connected and connecting holes to engage the other one of the connected and connecting holes so as to detachably fasten the plug end in the socket end.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional umbrella frame;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of the first preferred embodiment of an umbrella frame according to this invention;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating a modular connector shell and a connecting end of a rib-and-stretcher assembly in a fastened state;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating the modular connector shell and the connecting end in a released state;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating the connecting end is removed from the modular connector shell;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view of the second preferred embodiment of an umbrella frame according to this invention, illustrating a modular connector shell and a connecting end of a rib-and-stretcher assembly in a fastened state;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating the modular connector shell and the connecting end of the second preferred embodiment in a released state; and

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view illustrating the connecting end is removed from the modular connector shell of the second preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that same reference numerals have been used to denote like elements throughout the specification.

Referring to FIG. 2, the first preferred embodiment of an umbrella frame according to the present invention is shown to comprise a central shaft 2, a runner 3, and a rib-and-stretcher assembly 4.

The central shaft 2 extends along an axis and has a top end 21. The runner 3 is sleeved on and is movable relative to the central shaft 2 between proximate and distal positions relative to the top end 21. The rib-and-stretcher assembly 4 has a rib unit 41 and a stretcher unit 43 associated with each other, and is disposed to couple the runner 3 with the top end 21 of the central shaft 2 to be displaceable between collapsed and spread positions that correspond to the distal and proximate positions, respectively. The rib unit 41 has a plurality of first connecting ends 45 for coupling with the top end 21. The stretcher unit 43 has a plurality of second connecting ends 47 for coupling with the runner 3. In this embodiment, each of the first and second connecting ends 45, 47 is in the form of a plug end 45, 47 and has a connecting hole 42, 44.

With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, a plurality of petal-like members 22, 32 are integrally formed on, and extend radially and axially from the each of the top end 21 of the central shaft 2 and the runner 3. The petal-like members 22, 32 are angularly apart from one another about the axis so as to define a plurality of accommodating slots 23, 33 that are alternately disposed with the petal-like members 22, 32.

A plurality of modular connector shells 6, 7 are respectively fit in the accommodating slots 23, 33, and are pivotally mounted about a pivoting axis that extends to bridge two adjacent ones of the petal-like members 22, 32 by a steel ring 9 or the like. In this embodiment, each of the modular connector shells 6, 7 has a connected end 61, 71 which is in the form of a socket end 61, 71 to permit a corresponding one of the plug-like first and second connecting ends 45, 47 to be fitted therein and which is turnable about the pivoting axis so as to permit displacement of the rib-and-stretcher assembly 4 between the collapsed and spread positions. The socket end 61, 71 has a connected hole 62, 72 registered with the connecting hole 42, 44 in the corresponding plug end 45, 47 when the plug end 45, 47 is fitted in the socket end 61, 71.

Referring to FIGS. 4 to 6, in this embodiment, the connecting hole 42, 44 in each plug end 41, 43 includes a smaller-diameter region and a larger-diameter region extending to terminate at a hole bottom and to define a shoulder 46 therebetween. A fastener 5 includes a pin 51 having an enlarged head 511 which is disposed in the larger-diameter region of the connecting hole 42, 44, and a bolt 512 which extends through the smaller-diameter region to engage the corresponding connected hole 62, 72, and a biasing spring 52 disposed between the hole bottom and the enlarged head 511 to bias the pin 51 into the connected hole 62, 72. The shoulder 46 can prevent removal of the pin 51 from the connecting hole 42, 44. As illustrated, when it is desired to detach any one of the plug ends 45, 47 from the corresponding socket end 61, 71, the pin 51 is pressed in the direction as indicated by arrow (I) in FIG. 5 to retract into the connecting hole 42, 44 against the biasing action of the biasing spring 52. Hence, the plug end 45, 47 is permitted to be removed from the socket end 61, 71 in the direction as indicated by arrow (II) in FIG. 6.

Accordingly, by virtue of the fasteners 5, and by the arrangement of the plug and socket ends 45, 47 and 61, 71, the rib-and-stretcher assembly 4 can be easily connected to and detached from the central shaft 2 and the runner 3 without the need for using a tool, thereby rendering the replacement of the rib unit 41 and the stretcher unit 43 convenient. Moreover, the risk of hurting the user can be minimized.

Referring to FIGS. 7 to 9, the second preferred embodiment of the umbrella frame according to this invention is shown to be similar to the previous embodiment. In this embodiment, each of the fasteners 5 includes an internally threaded portion 53 formed in the connecting hole 42, 44, and an externally threaded portion 54 formed on the pin 51 to form as a screw bolt and threadedly engaged with the internally threaded portion 53 to detachably fasten the plug end 45, 47 in the socket end 61, 71.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what are considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.