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Publication numberUS20010039903 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 08/879,103
Publication dateNov 15, 2001
Filing dateJun 19, 1997
Priority dateJun 19, 1997
Publication number08879103, 879103, US 2001/0039903 A1, US 2001/039903 A1, US 20010039903 A1, US 20010039903A1, US 2001039903 A1, US 2001039903A1, US-A1-20010039903, US-A1-2001039903, US2001/0039903A1, US2001/039903A1, US20010039903 A1, US20010039903A1, US2001039903 A1, US2001039903A1
InventorsKimberly A.. Patterson
Original AssigneeKimberly A.. Patterson
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Car seat travel tray
US 20010039903 A1
Abstract
An apparatus for providing a work surface in an automobile. A first portion including a rigid member is hingedly coupled to a tray portion including a rigid member. Straps or other attachment mechanism is coupled to the first portion to allow the apparatus to be attached to an automobile seat back. The first portion is attached in a position adjacent to the seat back, and the tray portion is rotated downward in an arc to a desired orientation, most commonly substantially parallel to the ground. A retainer retains the tray portion in the desired orientation relative to the seat back.
In one embodiment, a cord and cord-lock are used as the retainer. The cord and cord lock allow adjustment of the orientation of the tray portion through a continuum when the apparatus is installed. This permits the apparatus to accommodate a wide variety of seat backs having broadly varying angles. Pocketing of various types may be disposed in a volume between the first portion and the tray portion.
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Claims(13)
What is claimed is:
1. A portable seat tray comprising:
a first portion;
a tray portion having a hinged coupling to the first portion;
seat attachment straps coupled to the first portion; and
a retainer which adjustably restricts rotation by the tray portion about the hinged coupling such that a desired angle between the first and tray portions is maintained.
2. The portable seat tray of
claim 1
further comprising:
a closure device which when placed in a known orientation holds the first portion and the tray portion in a closed orientation.
3. The portable seat tray of
claim 1
further comprising:
a plurality of pockets coupled to the first portion.
4. The portable seat tray of
claim 1
wherein the tray portion comprises a rigid member enveloped in a flexible material.
5. The portable seat tray of
claim 1
wherein a flexible material forms a hinge between the first portion and the tray portion.
6. The portable seat tray of
claim 1
wherein the strap comprises:
a first strap segment having a first end coupled to the first portion;
a second strap segment having a first end coupled to the first portion;
the first and second strap lengths each having an opposing end, the respective opposing ends having corresponding fastening devices disposed thereon.
7. The portable seat tray of
claim 6
wherein the fastening devices are one of hook and loop material, snaps and buckles.
8. The portable seat tray of
claim 6
wherein a part of the first length and is elastic.
9. The portable seat tray of
claim 1
wherein the attachment strap has a first end and a second end coupled to the first portion and is substantially contiguous therebetween.
10. The portable seat tray of
claim 9
wherein at least a portion of the strap is elastic.
11. A portable seat tray comprising:
a substantially rigid tray portion;
means for detachably coupling the tray portion to a seat back; and
means for retaining the tray portion at a desired angle relative to the seat back.
12. In a motor vehicle, an improvement comprising:
an automobile seat back forming a first angle with a horizontal plane;
a first portion detachably coupled to the seat back;
a tray portion hingedly coupled to the first portion; and
a retainer which prevents rotation about the hinged coupling beyond a desired point.
13. The improvement of
claim 12
wherein the retainer permits continuous adjustment of an angle between the first portion and the tray portion such that a horizontal work surface can be provided independent of the first angle.
Description
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0001] An apparatus for providing a work surface in an automobile is disclosed. A first portion including a rigid member is hingedly coupled to a tray portion including a rigid member. Straps or other attachment mechanism is coupled to the first portion to allow the apparatus to be attached to an automobile seat back. The first portion is attached in a position adjacent to the seat back, and the tray portion is rotated downward in an arc to a desired orientation, most commonly substantially parallel to the ground. A retainer retains the tray portion in the desired orientation relative to the seat back.

[0002] In one embodiment, a cord and cord-lock are used as the retainer. The cord and cord lock allow adjustment of the orientation of the tray portion through a continuum when the apparatus is installed. This permits the apparatus to accommodate a wide variety of seat backs having broadly varying angles. Pocketing of various types may be disposed in a volume between the first portion and the tray portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the seat back tray assembly of the invention being carried in a closed orientation.

[0004]FIG. 2 shows a back perspective view of one embodiment of the invention.

[0005]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an automobile seat back having one embodiment of the invention installed thereon.

[0006]FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the seat back 60 having one embodiment of the invention installed thereon in a closed orientation.

[0007]FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of one embodiment of the invention.

[0008]FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the open tray assembly of one embodiment of the invention.

[0009]FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective views of one embodiment of the invention in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0010]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the seat back tray assembly of the invention being carried in a closed orientation. In the closed orientation, the tray assembly appears similar to a small briefcase. A first portion 1 forms a back surface of the seat back tray assembly. In one embodiment, first portion 1 is made by enveloping a rigid member of, for example, cardboard, sheet metal, wood, fiberglass, or similar material in a flexible material envelope. Cardboard is preferred because it is more easily deformable in an accident that some of the other alternatives, and therefore, less likely to cause serious injury to a passenger using the tray at the time of an accident. In one embodiment, hot pressed art board of 0.060 inches thickness is used. A flexible hinge 2 hingedly couples the first portion 1 to a tray portion 3. Tray portion 3 is of a similar construction to first portion 1. The flexible material envelope may be constructed of cloth, either natural or synthetic, leather, plastic, foil or nearly any other flexible material. In a preferred embodiment, nylon cloth is used to form the envelopes. Finishing tape is sewn through cardboard rigid members around top and both lateral edges of each rigid member, e.g., the three sides not adjacent to the hinge 2. This prevents fraying of the enveloping material and prevent movement of the rigid members relative to the envelope. The hinge 2 permits the tray portions 3 to be rotated through an arc of 180 from nearly parallel to the first portion (e.g., the closed orientation), thereby permitting a wide range of possible tray surface orientations. The first portion 1, the tray portion 3, and an intermediate portion 7 define a volume of the seat back tray assembly. A closure means such as a zipper 5 or hook and loop tab material 13, 14 are used to maintain the tray in a closed orientation when being carried or not in use.

[0011] Handle 15 is coupled to a top intermediate region. In one exemplary embodiment, the handle 15 is made of nylon webbing and coupled to a third rigid member in a flexible material envelope. For example, if the rigid member is cardboard, the handle may be sewn through to both the exterior layer of the envelope and the rigid member. For rigid members of other material alternative attachment means such as staples, rivets, tacks, screws, or other similar devices. In this manner, the load is more evenly distributed, and the handle is less likely to tear off from the rest of the assembly.

[0012] A cord 4 is used to provide maximal adjustment of an angle of a tray surface (not shown) as is described further below. A retainer such as cord-lock 9 is coupled to the cord to insure that a chosen orientation is maintained. Cord-lock 9 can be slid along the cord between a knot or stop at one end, a maximum retention point at the other. At the maximum retention point, the tray is in the closed orientation. Thus, if no zipper 5 or velcro tab assembly 13, 14 were provided to maintain closure, the cord 4 and cord-lock 9 could be used to maintain the tray assembly in a closed orientation. A mesh pocket 30 is shown sewn to the exterior surface of the tray portion 3. The mesh pocket 30 provides a convenient receptacle for the cord 4 and cord-lock 9 when the seat back tray assembly is being carried. It may also be used to store other things.

[0013]FIG. 2 shows a back perspective view of one embodiment of the invention. In this figure, a portion of the material envelope has been cut away to show rigid member 36 and cord 4 inside. First portion 1 has straps 8 coupled thereto. One strap 8 comprises strap segments 28 and 29. Strap segment 28 is a length of loop material, while strap segment 29 is a length of nylon webbing with a segment of hook material 31 coupled thereto. A second strap is composed of two segments each having subsegments. An elastic subsegment 32 is coupled to first portion 1. In turn, a nylon webbing subsegment 33 is coupled thereto. Nylon subsegment 33 has disposed thereon one moiety of hook and loop material for each segment Thus, the segments can be coupled together around a seat by interlocking corresponding hook and loop material portions. Cord 4 is shown engaging rigid member 36 as described more fully below. In an alternate embodiment, the straps are detachably coupled to the first portion using, for example, snaps. This permits the straps 8 to be removed when dangling straps would otherwise be inconvenient.

[0014]FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an automobile seat back having one embodiment of the invention installed thereon. Attachment straps 8 are coupled to the first portion as described in relation to FIG. 2. Numerous embodiments of the straps are possible. In one embodiment, strap 8 has two strap segments 11 and 12 which detachably coupled together at connection point 16. This detachable coupling may be affected by hook and loop material, snaps, buckles, or any other conventional fastening means. In an alternative embodiment, the straps are coupled to first portion 1, and are continuous. In this embodiment, an elastic material should be used for at least a portion of the strap to permit the straps to be stretched over varying seat sizes. In still another embodiment, the combination of these techniques may be used wherein strap segment 11 and 12 comprise an elastic subsegment coupled to, for example, a nylon webbing subsegment with fastening means disposed on an opposing end. In yet another embodiment, strap segment 11 is one moiety of hook or loop material over its entire length, while strap segment 12 may be the other moiety of either hook or loop material or may be, for example, nylon webbing with a segment of the other moiety hook or loop material coupled thereto. As made clear above, in an embodiment having more than a single strap 8, the individual straps may embody different of the features described above. All the foregoing embodiments are within the scope and contemplation of the invention.

[0015]FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the seat back 60 having one embodiment of the invention installed thereon in a closed orientation. As shown in this view, the tray assembly can be left in a closed orientation attached to the seat 60 without significantly limiting backseat passenger space. FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of one embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 5, zipper 5 is being unzipped to open the tray. Loop tab 14 has already been disengaged from hook patch 13. Once zipper 15 has been unzipped around three sides of the assembly, the tray portion 3 can be rotated in an arc around the hinged coupling 2 until cord-lock 9 retains it at a final orientation. In FIG. 5, a portion of the envelope of the tray portion 3 has been cut away to show rigid member 37.

[0016]FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the open tray assembly of one embodiment of the invention. The tray portion 3 is rotated relative to the first portion in an arch about hinge 2 such that the tray portion adopts a known orientation. The tray surface of the tray portion may then be used as, e.g., a writing surface or merely to hold items for later use. The zipper 5 runs just inside lateral edges 18 and top edge 17 of the tray portion 3 and forms a small lip which helps to keep items on the tray surface 10 from rolling or sliding off. The cord 4 slidably engages a pair of holes 6 in tray portion 3. The position of the cord-lock (not shown) on the cord 4 dictates the angle relative to the first portion that the tray will be retained. As discussed above, a wide range of angles can be accommodated. In this connection, it is preferred that cord 4 have low elasticity so that the cord 4 will not stretch when weight is applied to the tray surface 10. Cord that stretches {fraction (1/16)}″ per inch of length has been found to be acceptable.

[0017] In one embodiment, a single length of cord 4 is slidably coupled to the first portion 1. Specifically, a pair of holes are made in the inner surface of the envelope and the rigid member of the first portion 1. A corresponding pair of holes is made completely through the tray portion 3. The cord 4 is threaded through a first hole and out a second hole in the first portion so as to engage rigid member 36 (as shown in FIG. 2). Each end is then threaded through the one corresponding pair of holes in the tray portion. The cord-lock is disposed on the cord and the two end cords can be optionally knotted together to insure the cord-lock remains disposed thereon. The holes are preferably bored near the top of the first portion 1 and tray portion 3, where the top edge 17 is defined to be the edge of the tray portion that rotates the greatest distance when the tray is opened. It is also preferred that each hole be near a lateral edge 18 of the respective portion. In this way, the load is distributed across the rigid member 36 of the first portion, and the structural integrity of the tray assembly is increased. In an alternate embodiment, two lengths of cord are used and merely knotted or otherwise made so as to not pull through the holes in the first portion.

[0018] A plurality of pockets can be provided inside the tray assembly for retaining a wide variety of articles. In the shown embodiment, a cylindrical pocket 20 is provided suitable for holding cylindrical objects such as a beverage can or soft drink glass. The pen pocket 27 and glasses pocket 38 are also provided. Pocket 21 is provided with cover 22 to retain its contents. A fastener such as hook and loop material may be used to retain the cover 22 of pocket 21 in a closed orientation. Similarly, pocket 25 has a cover 26 with fastening members 24 to ensure the contents of pocket 25 remain therein during transport. Any combination of pockets with or without covers is within the scope and contemplation of the invention.

[0019]FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective views of one embodiment of the invention in use. Because different seat backs have different angles relative to the ground and these angles also vary from front to back of a single seat, the ability to adjust the tray angle through a continuum is particularly advantageous. This allows the tray surface to be nearly parallel with the ground regardless of the angle of the seat back. Additionally, the tray angle can be easily adjusted to accommodate reclining or straightening the seat back in accordance with passenger preference. Moreover, if for some reason it becomes desirable to have the tray surface at a tilt relative to the ground, e.g., to simulate a drawing table, one need only slide the retainer along the cord until a desired tilt is achieved. In FIG. 7, the invention is strapped to seat 60 with attachment straps 8 such that the outer surface of first portion 1 is in contact with the back of seat 60. Conversely, in FIG. 8, the exterior surface's first portion 1 is in contact with the front of seat back 60. When installed as shown in FIG. 7, the seat back travel tray provides a desk-like surface usable by a backseat passenger. For example, a child in the backseat may use it to color on or even as, for example, a lunch table on a long trip. When installed as shown in FIG. 8, the assembly provides a good location for storing items a driver wants to have within easy reach.

[0020] In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. Therefore, the scope of the invention should be limited only by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7207469Sep 30, 2003Apr 24, 2007Intec, Inc.Mounting system for audio visual equipment
US7421958 *Jan 24, 2005Sep 9, 2008Tom CiullaApparatus and method for providing a workspace
US20130048587 *May 25, 2012Feb 28, 2013Eric GallupCollapsible utility tray with flexible mounting feature
EP1498306A1 *May 14, 2004Jan 19, 2005Schmidt & Lenhardt oHGPlay table
Classifications
U.S. Classification108/44
International ClassificationB60N3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60N3/004
European ClassificationB60N3/00B3B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 12, 1999ASAssignment
Owner name: OS HOLDING COMPANY, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AUTO-SHADE, L.L.C.;REEL/FRAME:009874/0932
Effective date: 19990218
Dec 21, 1998ASAssignment
Owner name: QUAKER STATE INVESTMENT CORPORATION, DELAWARE
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:QS HOLDING COMPANY;REEL/FRAME:009657/0086
Effective date: 19980821
Dec 18, 1998ASAssignment
Owner name: QS HOLDING COMPANY, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AUTO-SHADE, L.L.C.;REEL/FRAME:009647/0727
Effective date: 19981130
Jun 19, 1997ASAssignment
Owner name: AUTO-SHADE, L.L.C., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PATTERSON, KIMBERLY A.;REEL/FRAME:008614/0818
Effective date: 19970618