US 2783109 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 26, 1957 E. FREY 2,733,109
LAP TRAY WITH LEG-ENGAGING MEANS Filed Jan. 3, 1955 m-m llllllllrllllln 7 IIIIIIII INVENTOR. Ephmam Frey A TTORNEY 2,783,109 LAP TRAY WITH LEG-ENGAGING MEANS Ephriam Frey, Flint, Mich.
Application January 3, 1955, Serial'No. 479,304
3 Claims. (Cl. 311-25) This invention relates to trays, and more particularly, to a lap tray which can be firmly supported on a horizontal plane by the legs of a user irrespective of slight inclinations of the users legs.
Recently, and especially since television has become so popular, there has been a greater desire to serve food in living rooms where the seating facilities usually are such that a persons lap seldom is level enough to rest the flat bottom of the ordinary serving tray thereon. As a result, a person is usually compelled to assume an uncomfortable position to support the tray level and to use at least one of his hands to hold the tray on his lap, thus making eating very difficult and sometimes rather embarrassing. This situation is generally recognized, and attempts have previously been made to rectify it, but for one reason or another, manufacturers have failed to produce trays that meet with success when placed on the market.
It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a tray with spaced members depending from the underside thereof that straddle the lap of a user and "5 against which outward pressure may be applied by slight spreading of the users legs for firmly supporting .the tray on a plane different from the plane of the lap of the user.
Another object of the invention is to provide, in a device of the character set forth, a novel construction and arrangement of the spaced depending members for obtaining firm engagement with said members upon the exerting of very slight pressures thereagainst.
A further object of the invention is to provide, in a device of the indicated character, a novel lap tray which can also be used as a bed tray, and which can be folded to a compace size for storage.
A further object of the invention is to provide a lap tray in accordance with the preceding objects which is simple and substantial in construction, inexpensive to manufacture, and yet eificient and practical in use.
These, together with various auxiliary features and objects of the invention which will later become apparent as the following description proceeds, are attained by the present invention, a preferred embodiment of which has been illustrated, by way of example only, in the accompanying drawing, wherein:
Figure 1 is a perspective view looking from above and showing the improved lap tray opened and ready for use;
Figure 2 is also a perspective View, but of the underside of the tray and showing the same in folded position;
Figure 3 is a top plan of the tray and showing in dash and dot lines the lap of a person associated therewith; and
Figure 4 is a cross section taken on line 4-4 of Figure 3 and also showing by dash and dot lines one position of a persons lap relative to the tray.
Referring now more specifically to the accompanying drawing wherein like numerals designate similar parts throughout the various views, the numeral 10 indicates nited States Patent 0 Patented Feb. 26, 1957 ice generally a substantially rectangular tray composed of a thin plate of lightweight rigid material 11, which in the present instance is thin plywood, and which has affixed to its marginal edge portions strips that form an upstanding ledge 12 along all sides of the tray. These strips not only prevent articles from sliding off of the fiat top surface of the plate, but also provide stiffening means that add rigidity to the plate.
On the underside of the plate 11 and adjacent each end thereof are secured a pair of hinges 13 that are also secured to the inner sidesand at the upperedge portions of a pair of depending panels 14 for permitting folding of said panels inwardly to positions parallel with and in close proximity to thebottom of the plate, as shown in Figure 2, or to positions extending substantially at right angles to the bottom surface of the plate, as shown in Figure l. The panels 14 extend across opposite end port-ions of the plate 10 at slight angles to one another as more clearly shown in dotted lines in Figure 3, and are of greater lengths than their heights so as to present maximum surface contacts with the outer sides of the legs of a person above whose lap the plate of the tray is supported and with the lower edge portions of said panels short of contact with the seat upon which the person is resting.
Still referring to Figure 3, it will be noted that by having the panels slightly converging as they extend horizontally forward and spacing the same apart slightly inward of the most comfortable positions of an average persons legs when seated, a person, when relaxing, will tend to slightly spread his legs and will thereby apply sufiicient outward pressure against the panels to support the plate. To prevent forcing the panels 14 beyond their normal operative positions, the upper enlarged ends 15 of the stiffening strip 16 that are secured to the outer sides of the panels abut the undersurface of the plate 11, and "thus limit further outward hinged movement of the panels.
To further aid in obtaining firm contact on the inner sides of the depending and forwardly converging panels 14 with the outer sides of the legs of a person above whose lap the plate of the tray is to be supported, diagonally arranged ribs 17 are provided on said inner sides of the panels 14 substantially midway of their heights and extending their full lengths. The ribs 17 are declined as they extend forwardly and are spaced at an acute angle from the flat plate for association with muscular structures of the thigh portions of the legs for firm engagement of the legs with the panels 14 irrespective of the angle of inclination of said thigh portions of the legs.
In view of the foregoing description taken in conjunc tion with the accompanying drawing, it is believed that a clear understanding of the construction, operation, and advantages of the device will be quite apparent. A further detailed description of the operation is accordingly deemed unnecessary.
It is to be understood, however, that even though there is herein shown and described a preferred embodiment of the invention, various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and full intendment of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A lap tray that is supported in a level position by engagement of the legs of a user therewith, said tray comprising an elongated and substantially flat top plate having forward and rearward edge portions extending lengthwise thereof, a pair of end panels extending transversely of and depending at substantially right angles from the underside of said top plate adjacent its ends, said end panels being of greater length than their depths, so as to be positioned outwardly of the legs of a user, and narrow protruding ribs on the inner sides of said end panels and extending transversely of said top plate, so as to be engaged by the sides of the legs of a user for supporting the top plate substantially on a horizontal plane.
2. A lap tray as defined in claim 1, wherein the ribs on the panels are at acute angles to the top Surface of the top plate and diverge from said top plate as they extend forwardly.
3. A lap tray that is supported in a level position by engagement of the legs of a user therewith, said tray comprising an elongated and substantially fiat top plate having forward and rearward edge portions extending lengthwise thereof, a pair of end panels extending transversely of and depending at substantially right angles from the underside of said top plate adjacent its ends, said end panels being of greater length than their depths and being disposed in converging relationship as they extend from the rear edge portion and toward the forward edge portion of said top plate, so as to be positioned outwardly of and substantially parallel with the legs of a user seated in a normal comfortable position, and inwardly directed narrow protrusions on the inner sides of said end panels, so as to be engaged by the sides of the legs of a user for supporting the top plate on substantially a horizontal plane.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 492,316 White Feb. 21, 1893 527,108 Cooper Oct. 9, 1894 1,008,037 Johnson Nov. 7, 1911 1,138,156 Stroud May 4, 1915 2,592,839 Wessig Apr. 15, 1952 2,640,747 Bodenhotr June 2, 1953 2,697,018 Georgides Dec. 14, 1954