FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to table coverings. More particularly, the present invention relates tablecloths which are semi-custom to secure to a variety of different sized tables.
It is well known to use table coverings to provide an attractive cover for a table and also protect the surface from spills and dirt. However, table coverings for both indoor and outdoor use have problems associated with them that are well known. Some problems are associated with external causes such as wind or placement of items on the table which displaces or shifts the tablecloth from the table. As a result, often multiple people are needed to remove the items on the table and readjust the tablecloth before placing the items back on the table. Others may choose to adjust or pull the tablecloth without removing the items for the table which compromises the integrity of the tablecloth and often causes a rip in the material.
Other problems are associated with the flexibility of the tablecloth. For example, tables come in different widths, lengths, thicknesses and type of material used (wood, plastic, concrete, etc.) which makes it difficult to develop a solution that accommodates a variety of tables. Tablecloths are available in standard sizes with no adjustability to slightly larger or smaller tables. In particular, snack tables are smaller then the average table and one is forced to retrofit a tablecloth to accommodate the smaller sized table. Retrofitting a tablecloth causes hazardous tripping conditions due to the amount of excess material.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, there is a need for a device for securing a tablecloth to a table, such as a snack table, that is adjustable to accommodate a variety of different sized snack tables and can be used with a variety to table construction materials. Additionally, there is a need for a table covering that secures to a variety of tables to prevent shifting from external influences.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is directed to a table cover which includes a table top covering portion and a cinching mechanism. The table top covering portion is a planar unitary body having a perimeter thereabout. The cinching mechanism is attached to the perimeter of the table top covering portion in an expanded state.
FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the table cover according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the table cover according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the table covering according to the present invention.
Turning to FIG. 1, the table cover 100 of the present invention is desirably of unitary construction including a table top covering 102 portion and a cinching mechanism 104. The table top covering portion has a unitary body 108 and a perimeter 110 thereabout. The unitary body spans the surface of a table top and at least a portion of the sides of the table. The cinching mechanism 104 is attached to the perimeter of the table top covering portion. The cinching mechanism controls the effective peripheral dimension of the covering portion.
The table cover 100 may be a variety of sizes and shapes to accommodate an array of table tops such as oval, round, octagon, square, rectangular and the like. Preferably, the table cover is made to fit snack tables which are approximately 16 in. by 20 in. The table cover is preferably a unitary material but it may include a combination of various materials which are attached together by stitching, adhesive or other forms of attachment. The table cover can be made from any of a variety of materials or fabrics, such as natural or synthetic material, textiles, thermoplastics, vinyl materials, sun fade resistant materials, non slip materials and combinations thereof.
Turning to FIG. 2, the cinching element 104 is in the form of an elastic material which is secured to the periphery of the table top covering portion while the elastic material is in an extended or stretched condition. In this way, when the elastic material is allowed to relax and return to a retracted state, it cinches the periphery of the table top covering portion in a similar manner. Thus, the table top covering portion has an expanse of material with a retracted peripheral dimension, thereby molding around the table top surface and sides. While the preferred cinching mechanism is an elastic material, it is contemplated that other similar types of cinching mechanisms may be used such as drawstrings or the like to reduce the effective periphery of the table cover, in order to secure it around a table. A drawstring will typically be tied under the table once it has been drawn tight. The cinching mechanism secures the table covering around a table to prevent the table cover from shifting.
As shown in FIG. 3, to provide a more finished look to the table cover, a skirt 300 can be added to a lower portion of the cover. The skirt is preferably provided as a long rectangular piece of material or fabric which is secured about one of its longitudinal edges 302 to the table top covering portion. The skirt may be a removable piece which is of similar or distinctly different material then the table top covering portion. The skirt can be secured to the table top covering portion by a mechanical members such as Velcro, eye and hooks, snaps, buttons, etc. The skirt is preferably attached to the table top covering such that the skirt hangs from the sides of the table and perpendicular to the top of the table. The skirt also preferably covers the cinching mechanism thereunder.
Turning again to FIG. 1, the table cover may include various pockets 112 formed therein or removably attached thereto. A pocket 112 provides a place to hold a variety of items, such as utensils, napkins, snacks, etc. . . . The pockets 112 may be attached to or formed in the table top covering portion. The pocket 112 can be attached using mechanical mechanisms such as buttons, snaps, stitches, adhesives, Velcro, and the like. Additionally, the table cover may include various materials permanently or removably attached thereto for decorative purposes or for functional purposes. For example, a raised lip 304 may be incorporated around the perimeter of the top table portion to prevent spills on the table top covering portion continuing onto the floor. Raised rims 306 may be formed into various shapes to provide a support structure for a bowl, vase, glass, etc. to be placed therein. Piping may be incorporated in a portion of the table cover to provide an elevated section in the table top covering portion to place hot items thereon and protect the table surface thereunder. Metallic strips 308 may be attached to the underside of the perimeter of the table top covering portion to allow for magnetic attachment of various items such as a skirt, pockets, decorative items, and the like.
Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 4 the table cover may include multiple layers 400, 402 and 404 of materials. The various layers may include for example a thermal backing, under padding or various coating, such as waterproofing, to protect the table from heat, dents and/or spills. While the embodiment depicted shows two underlayment layers, 400, 402 and 404, the actual invention is not so limited and may include more or fewer layers. Additionally, it should be pointed out that any particular layer, need not cover the entirety of the table covering portion 102, but may be applied to only a specific region of the table cover, as depicted by layer 404. For example, the multiple layers may be attached to the entire table top covering portion or a part thereof. For example, under padding may be incorporated only on a section of the table cover which comes in contact with the comers or the side perimeter of the table to protect from injury or denting of the table. This padding may be removable for adjustment of the padding depending of the size and dimensions of the table.
The table cover may be a uniform color or include a variety of designs and colors to suit particular events or occasions. The table cover is preferably machine washable for easy of cleaning.
The table cover is placed on the table by stretching the table top covering portion around one end or a perimeter of the table. The cinching mechanism stretches and extends around the side of the table or under the top of the table. The remaining table top covering portion is pulled around the ends or perimeter of the table until the entire table is covered. The cinching mechanism will stretch as the table top covering portion is placed about the table top. Once the table cover is in place, the cinching mechanism retracts to draw in the excess material from the table top covering portion. The table cover will mold around the table. At this time the skirt, pockets or additionally items may be attached or placed thereon.
Having described the preferred embodiments herein, it should now be appreciated that variations may be made thereto without departing from the contemplated scope of the invention. Accordingly, the preferred embodiments described herein are deemed illustrative rather than limiting, the true scope of the invention being set forth in the claims appended hereto.