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Publication numberUS1964818 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 3, 1934
Filing dateMar 25, 1933
Priority dateMar 25, 1933
Publication numberUS 1964818 A, US 1964818A, US-A-1964818, US1964818 A, US1964818A
InventorsHood Robert A
Original AssigneeHood Robert A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Air-inflated collapsible structure
US 1964818 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 3, 1934 R. A. HOOD AIR INFLATED COLLAPSIBLE STRUCTURE I Filed March 25, 1933 4 She ets-Sheet 1 July 3 1934. R. A. HOOD AIR INFLATED COLLAPSIBLE STRUCTURE 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 25, 1933 July 3, 1934. R. A. HOOD AIR INFLATED COLLAPSIBLE STRUCTURE 7 Filed Mmn 25, 1955 44$heets-8heei. 3

July 3, 1934. RDA. HOOD 3,964,818

AIR INFLATED COLLAPSIBLE STRUCTURE Filed March 25, 1935 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Patented July 3, 1934 PATENT OFFICE AIR-INFLATi J-D COLLAPSIBLE STRUCTURE Robert A. Bond, Buffalo, N. Y. 1 Application March 25, 1933, Serial No. 662,742

9 Claims. (01. 135-1) My invention relates to air-inflated collapsible structures.

While this invention is capable of being embodied in various structures, it is particularly 5 applicable to a collapsible tent constructed so that the usual rigid frame members and poles are entirely dispensed with, and when so used can be conveniently transported from points distant to camping grounds or bathing beaches where it may be set up for sleeping or for dress ing purposes. 1

One of the objects of my invention is the provision of an inflatable frame comprising hollow distensible elements capable of supporting or having applied thereto, adjustably or permanent ly, canvas or other covering material in a manner to prevent undue distention of said hollow distensible elements.

Another object of my invention is the provision of an inflatable frame which, when collapsed, 7 can be folded in any desired manner, or rolled up into compact form, and by application of air thereinto may be expanded into a frame structure having distensible supporting legs, studs or posts, and spreading members, all filled with air on. or pressure so as to provide the desired design or outline for the frame, and the necessary stability due to the employment of restraining means whereby undue distention of the various frame members is prevented.

A. further object of my invention is the provision of a tent in which the various sills, posts,

headers and. rafters are air-inflated and distensible to render them capable of supporting weight, and when air-inflated will stretch canvas or other covering or enclosing material taut from post to post, from sills to headers, and from headers to peak; also from rafters to rafters, and which may also embody an air-inflated support capable of supporting a wall of the tent in canopy fashion, said-support being separately ,collapsible or separately inflatable, and when collapsed or deflated will permit the canopy to serve as a closure for the entrance to the tent. A still further object of my invention is the provision of a collapsible structure in which the frame members are and to which canvas or other material may be applied to serve as supporting; or enclosing or restraining means, such material being either sewed to or laced onto the frame members; or such material may be fastened to'the frame membefs by'means of grommets and turnbuckles or any other means may be enfployed fordetachably air-inflated and distensible,

fastening the canvas or other material to the frame members; it being understood that lacing the material to the frame members also serves as a detachable means for fastening the material to the frame members.

In some instances it may be found of advan- 6 tage to fold or roll the canvas or other supporting or covering materialseparatelyfrom the deflated-frame structure, while in other instances, I especially where the canvas or other supporting or covering material is sewed to theframe structure, both will be folded together.

The invention consists in a structure having an inflatable frame which, when inflated, will provide the required distensible legs or support, the necessary distensible tie members, and in some '30 instances distensible supporting members, and brace members, all of which are surrounded with distention-restraining members all depending on the particular structure into which the invention is to be embodied.

The invention further consists in a frame having hollow elastic rubber or other inflatable members connected together in desired form and capable of being inflated so as to provide a frame for any desired article, similar to the common wood or iron frames commonly employed for such articles, or at least serving the purpose of such common frame; and wherein a covering or enclosure is provided which is attached to the frame to restrain the distention of the elastic members and which, when attached to the frame when deflated, will be drawn taut by the air under pressure within the frame, serving to render the members of the frame comparatively rigid.

The invention further consists in providing a frame for a tent in which the supporting uprights are connected together by horizontal members, and the roof framing formed by rafters or hip members connected to the uprights; said uprights, horizontal members and rafters or hip members being hollow, collapsible and inflatable, and having connection one with the other so thatrup'on introducing .air at any point thereof, all of said elements will .be stiffened under air we pressure and properly inflated; canvas beingtapplied to said elements, either permanently or detachably, as may be desired, and being stretched upon inflation of said frame elements; the canvas preferably encircling or enclosing said elements so as to prevent undue inflation and to render the structure more rigid. I

The invention further consists in the novel features of constructionand-in the arrangement and combination of parts to'be hereinafter den through frame for a tent and the canopy support projecting forwardly therefrom, the enclosing material of the tent being removed from the frame.

Fig. 5 is a view of the frame collapsed and folded, showing approximately the manner in which the frame can be transported due to its occupying comparatively little space.

Fig. 6 is an enlarged broken horizontal section taken on line 66, Fig. 1.

Fig. 7 is an enlarged vertical section. taken on line 7.'7, Fig. 1.

Fig. 8 is a vertical section through the peak of the air-inflated frame and through upper portions of opposite rafters or hip members.

Fig. 9 is a vertical section through a portion of one of the corner uprights of the tent and the adjacent connected portion-of one 'of the brace members of the canopy support.

Fig. 10 is a perspective view of a table constructed in accordance with this invention. v Fig. 11 is a perspective view of the air-inflated frame of the table shown in Fig. 10, with the canvas cover removed therefrom.

Fig. 12 is an enlarged section taken on line 12-12, Fig. 10.

' The reference numeral 15 designates the frame of a. tent, and 16 the canvas enclosure.

Although I have shown in the drawings an upwardly-tapering rectangular tent with a hip roof, it is to be understood that this invention can be as easily embodied in a round tent, or any other form of tent.

The frame of thetent comprises tubular members similar to-inner casings of automobiles, but preferably having their walls of heavier material so that. when inflated to a certain degree they retain the desired form without resorting to tube enclosing means; However, I so attach the canvas 16, or other enclosing material employed, to said tubular members, that portions of such material serve as casings for the tubular mem- \bers and, beingrelatively non-stretchable, limit the degree of inflation or distention of the tubular members but do not restrict the pressure of the airunder which said members are inflated; it being understood that the greater the air pressure the more rigid the frame portion of ,the structure.

The tent shown comprises tubular uprights or corner members 17 connected at their lower ends by tubular horizontal or sill members 18,

which when inflated or distended become straight-lined and serve as connectors for the uprights, which also assume straight-line form when inflated or distended. The upperends of the uprights 17 are connected by tubular hori zontalor header members 19, and converging upwardly toward the vertical axis of the frame are hollow rafter or hip members 20, an enlargement or air chamber 21 serving as a means of convergence'or common connection for said raftersof hip members, all'being inflatable or distensible.

A valve-controlled air-inlet tube 22 similar if) the air-inlet tubepf an automobile tire casing is applied to the enlargement or air chamber 21. All of these tubular or hollow elements are in communication with each other, and when they are deflated may be folded in approximately the form shown in Fig. 5, or otherwise. Any means for supplying air to these inflatable or distensible tubular members may be connected to the air inlet tube 22, and as the air enters these tubes they are gradually air filled and distended and separated one from another to assume angular relations, while each retains conduit connection with all of the others. When well inflated they assume the positions shown in Fig. 4.

In Fig. 1 I have shown the canvas or other material serving as the enclosure, sewed to these tubular members, as at 23, except at the bottom ing fastened by tying the same around one of,

the front uprights 17, as indicated at 25, or in any other approved manner.

As clearly shown in Fig. 6, the enclosing or covering material 16 serves to form the walls of the tent, and when the frame is properly inflated these walls are drawn taut, both horizontally and vertically. Said walls extend from tubular member to tubular member substantially in line with the axes thereof, so-that the material forming these walls may be curved around such tubular members and. be retained thereon by tie or retainer strips 26 which, in connection with the curved portions of the canvas walls form relatively non-stretchable tubular portions wholly confining the inflatable or distensible tubular members of the frame. In said figure, opposite marginal portions of the tie or retainer strips 26 are sewed to the canvas walls, and when so applied the tent is folded as an entirety upon deflating the tubular members of the frame. This method of forming the tubular canvas retainer members is employed at all angles of the tent where the canvas is continued in two different directions from such angle. The lower marginal portion of the canvas is, however, curved around the lower horizontal or sill members 18,

as shown in Fig. '7, and sewed as described. This wall of the tent is used as a closure, and. when desired, as a canopy. The canvas may, however, be retained in tubular form by lacing a cord back and forth through the canvas, as previously described, so as to enable the canvas to be removed from the inflatable frame. While in Figs. 1 and 7 this lacing is shown at only one of the sill members, it is understood that this arrangement of securing the canvas to the frame can be substituted at all places where sewing of the canvas is shown or, if desired, grommets and turnbuckles may be employed, or any other means for fastening the canvas around the tubular members of the frame so as to enable the canvas to be applied to the frame when inflatedor removed from the frame before deflating the same. Under such conditions, both the canvas or members of the frame may be folded separately in any desired 4 compact form.

In connection with the tent frame I have embers 28 and the interior of the said uprights or corner members being separated by a wall 30 so that the canopy support can be separately in-' flated or deflated. To admit of this it is also provided with a valve-controlled air inlet tube 31 whichimay have any suitable source of compressed air connected thereto.

It mayhere be stated that an ordinary hand operated pump, such as employed in introducing air into automobile tires, may be employed for the purpose of inflating the tent frame and the canopy support, and under the arrangement described, the front wall 32, servingas an entrance closure when lowered,- is connected to the front header member 19, but is otherwise loose so that it may be draped over the canopy support and hang from the transverse connector 'member 29 thereof, said front wall under such conditions serving as the canopy for the tent and providing side entrances to the tent. I have shown this front wall with parallel edges, but this wall may be flared downwardly from the top if desired, to conform to the entrance opening, and in most instances would be so arranged.

, The tent may be closed by deflating the canopy support 27, whereupon such support will hang downwardly from the side of the front uprights or corner members 17 of the tent. This would be found undesirable, and consequently I prefer to draw the same upwardly by means of a cord and tie the same in an-elevated position. The canopy support, when deflated, will not interfere with admission to the tent. At such times the 'front wall or canopy of the tent will hang loosely from the header to which it is attached, and when flared to conform to the downwardly-flaring remaining walls, would completely enclose the tent so that security from the elements of the weather would be assured.

To guard against windstorms striking the tank and lifting or upsetting the same or moving the same from the position selected for it, I sew or otherwise apply canvas or other tabs 33 to the lower horizontal member or sill enclosures of the tent, these tabs having openings therein through which suitable spikes 34, or other fastening means. are passed and driven into the ground. The use of these tabs will not be re-" quired in temporary positions, nor in fair weath er, although they are preferably used when overnight camping is planned, or may be quicklyplaced into use when a breeze arises.

If desired, the canopy support may be dispensed with and the front wall made in two sections to be folded back laterally, as is common in tents of the type shown.

While I have illustrated a rectangular tent in which a square formation is given the four sill members employed and the four headers, these could be of circular formation, or given any other formation desired. It is apparent also that the For instance, when a picnic is planned and a rectangular formation, but which may be otherwise constructed if desired. At the angles of these upper members, hollow distensible legs 36 are connected thereto, and these legs are connected together between their ends by hollow" longitudinal distensible connector members 37 and hollow distensible transverse or end connector members 38. The upper horizontal members may also be connected together by a hollow distensible longitudinal connector member 39 and hollow distensible transverse connector members 4}) which are also connected to the longitudinal connector member 39. The horizontal connector members 3'7 connecting the legs together be-,

tween their ends are connected together by a hollow distensible transverse connector member 41 enlarged at one end to form an air chamber 42 in which a valve-controlled-inlet tube 43 is secured. Like the membersof the tent frame, all of these members are tubular members formed of rubber or rubber composition, and are therefore inflatable or distensible, and when filled with air, under the proper pressure, they assume the positions shown in Fig. 11 and form a substantial ing 44 may be placed, which is sewed thereto, as indicated in Figs. 10 and 12, or otherwise fastenedso that the cover has portions enclosing the hollow inflatable or distensible members to which it is fastened. The various hollow inflatable or distensible members of the frame not having the cover fastened thereto may be enclosed within relatively non-stretchable canvas or other table of this kind will therefore support considerable weight. Chairs may be similarly constructed, and many other articles of furniture, or other commodities.

In the figures ofithe drawings showing my iiivention embodied in a tent, the relatively non-- stretchable enclosing tubes forming part of the,

canvas or other enclosure or covering material are distinctly outlined exteriorly, but this is solely due to the fact that the tie members or retainer strips 26 employed at these regions are comparatively narrow so as to draw the canvas por-- tions stretched between the members inwardly in line with the longitudinal axes of said members. In Fig. 12 I have shown the time member or retainer strip 26 comparatively wide, so that. the canvas forming the 'covering material is. curved around approximately only a quarter of the inflated tubular members of the frame, thus only rounded exterior surfaces are the canvas. It is apparent that rangement of the canvas'can be as readily applied to the tentstructure, and may be found of advantage, due to the'fact that less strain will be applied to the stitching, lacing, or other such quarter-rounded are fastening employed for securing the canvas to the frame. In either case relatively non-stretchable enclosure tubes are provided for the rubber 105 frame-work onto which a canvas or other coveri-iti provided for v or otherinflatable or distensible members of the of the structure may disclose advisable.

frame, and these may enclose certain or all of said members, as may be desired, or as the nature In any event, when such enclosure tubes, or restraining enclosures as they may be termed, are employed. a limit of expansion of the inflatable or distensible tubes is assured, without in any manner restricting the pressure of the air forced into said' ried when transporting the parts from place to place.

Although I have referred to air-inflated tubular elements, it is to be understood that any gas or other substance serving the purpose of air may be employed.

The uprights of the tent structure and the legs of the table structure may be broadly termed inflatable supporting elements, while the sill members, header members, and hip or rafter members of the tent, and the various horizontally-disposed connector members of the table structure, may be broadly termed inflatable stay elements, these terms being employed in certain of the appended claims.

It may also be stated that all of the inflatable members or elements, by reason of their tubular formation and physical connection one to another, are in conduit connection, forming a continuous air passage or chamber within the structure; but where the structure comprises numerous members or elements it may be of advantage to provide means for introducing air under pressure at more than a single point of the structure.

Having thus described my invention, what I claim is:

1. A collapsible frame for structures, comprising .air-inflated tubular extensible elements disposed at an angle, one to another, and capable of being collapsed under escape of air therefrom, and flexible sheet material extending over at least the area between certain of said tubular elements and having portions thereof surrounding said elements to form retainer sleeves for said tubular elements to limit the expansive action of said elements.

2. A collapsible structure, comprising a frame formed of connected distensible tubes, and flexible sheet material spanning spaces between said tubes and being sewed to said tubes, to surround the same and prevent undue distention of the tubes.

3. A collapsible structure, comprising a frame formed of connected distensible tubes, and relaing" outwardly and downwardly and receiving pressure and spaced apart, said tube trending in a plurality of different directions to form the desired outline, and relatively non-stretchable flexible sheet material applied to said frame serving as enclosure walls and having marginal portions of the same enclosing certain of said distensible tubes, the edges of said marginal portions being secured to said sheet material to form retainer tubes confining said distensible tubes and restricting the distensive qualities thereof under air pressure.

' 5. A tent formed of a collapsible air-inflated frame, comprising tubular distensible sill members and tubular distensible uprights in conduit connection with said sill members, and sheet material secured to said tubular members and uprights so as to completely enclose the same and serve asthe covering for said tent and as a means to prevent undue distention of said tubular members and uprights.

6. A tent formed of a collapsible air-inflated frame, comprising a distensible tubular sill structure and distensible tubular uprights in conduit connection with said sill structure, and flexible sheet material having enclosing tubes applied to and surrounding said uprights and serving as an enclosure for the tent and as distention-restrainers for said uprights.

7. A tent formed of a collapsible air-inflated frame, comprising a rectangular sill structure formed of tubular members, tubular uprights at the corners of said sill structure in conduit connection therewith, a super-structure formed of tubular members and carried by said tubular uprights, the tubular members of said super-structure being in conduit connection with said tubular uprights, means for introducing air to said tubular members and uprights, flexible sheet material secured to said sill members, uprights, and the tubular members of said super-structure to enclose said frame at three sides and the top, a canopy support at the open side comprising tubular members extending outwardly from the adjacent tubular uprights and a tubular connector member connecting said last-mentioned tubular members and in conduit connection therewith, means for separately introducing air into said canopy support, and flexible sheet material suspended from said superstructure and extend- 25 support from said canopy support, said suspended flexible sheet material being adapted. to close the open side of said tent upon collapsing of said canopy support.

8. A collapsible frame for structures, comprising hollow supporting elements, distensible under air pressure, stay elements distensible under air pressure in conduit connection with said supporting elements, and a flexible medium having portions thereof, formed into retainer tubes encircling said distensible elements to prevent undue distention of the latter.

9. A collapsible frame for structures, comprising tubular elements, distensible under air pressure and relatively non-stretchable flexible sheet material extending from element to element to cover the areas between the same and'havlng tubular portions encasing said elements to prevent undue distention of said elements.


Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2531678 *Feb 19, 1948Nov 28, 1950Edward C GledhillPortable compartment and collapsible frame for same
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U.S. Classification52/2.21, 135/156
International ClassificationE04H15/20
Cooperative ClassificationE04H2015/201, E04H15/20
European ClassificationE04H15/20