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Publication numberUS3079197 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 26, 1963
Filing dateMar 31, 1958
Priority dateMar 31, 1958
Publication numberUS 3079197 A, US 3079197A, US-A-3079197, US3079197 A, US3079197A
InventorsCharles M Mugler
Original AssigneeCharles M Mugler
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Folding table and bench combination
US 3079197 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 26, 1963 c. M. MUGLER FOLDING TABLE AND BENCH COMBINATION 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 31, 1958 om ofl v ww 9v, R x g Q R Q w: on @Q h, A w @9 m 3 Sq m Xv NM mw 3v sm 3 k )5 wQ m w n 09 vm om x 3 em v& Q

INVENTOR.

CHHRLLS M. Mums/e BY HIS GTTORNEYS- HARRIS, KIECH, FOSTER 8; HARP/5 Feb. 26, 1963 c. M. MUGLER 3,079,197

FOLDING TABLE AND BENCH COMBINATION I Filed March 51, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 llvvs/vroe.

CHARLES M. MUGLEI? BY HIS HTTI7kNEY8. HARE/s, K1504 P0575 3 8: HARRIS {will 3,tl7,f.97 FGLL-H lG Ti 4 LE AND EENtIl-l CQMBENATXUN C' aries ll-l. Mugler, 11741 fitsego, North Hollywood, Quilt.

1 Clair (Ql. 297-159) The present invention relates in general to a folding table and bench combination and, more particularly, to a combination of this nature comprisirn a plurality of sections capable of accommodating a large number of children, or adults, when extended, and capable of being folded into a compact structure for storage, movement from one location to another, and the like.

In some respects, the folding table and bench combination of the present invention is similar to that of my Patent No. 2,708,961, granted May 24, 1955, but embodies four sections, instead of two, to accommodate a larger number of people, and embodies various improvements thereon.

General obiects of the invention reside in the provision of a folding table and bench combination which includes: a central support or chassis, preferably provided with casters for mobility; two inner table tops respectively disposed on opposite sides of the chassis and pivotally connected adjacent inner ends thereof to the chassis so that the chassis serves as a central leg unit supporting the inner ends of the inner table tops, these inner table tops being pivotable upwardly relative to the chassis from coplanar, horizontal, extended positions into vertical, folded or retracted positions; two intermediate leg units respectively pivo-tally connected to the inner table tops adjacent the outer ends thereof; two outer table tops having inner and outer ends and pivotally connected adjacent their inner ends to the intermediate leg units, respectively, the outer table tops being pivotable downwardly relative to the respective inner table tops from coplanar, horizontal, exteneed positions into vertical, folded or retracted positions; outer leg units respectively pivotally connected to the outer table tops adjacent the outer ends thereof; two inner benches respectively disposed on opposite sides of and below and spaced laterally from each inner table top in parallel relation thereto, the inner benches being pivotally connected to the chassis adjacent their inner ends and being pivotally connected to the respective intermediate leg units adjacent their outer ends, and the inner benches being pivotable upwardly relative to the chassis into folded positions concurrently with upward pivoting of the inner table tops relative to the chassis into their folded positions; and two outer benches respectively disposed on opposite sides of and below and spaced laterally rom each of the outer table tops in parallel relation thereto, the uter benches being pivotally connected to the respective intermediate leg units adjacent their inner ends and being pivotally connected to the respective outer leg units adjacent their outer ends, the outer benches eing pivotaole downwardly relative to the inner benches into folded positions concurrently with downward pivotof the outer table tops relative to the inner table tops into their folded positions.

An important object of the invention is to provide, in a folding tab-cl and bench combination of the foregoing nature, upwardly facing seat means on the chassis engageable by means on the outer leg units when the inner and outer table tops and benches are in their folded positions. With this construction, the inner ends of the inner table tops and benches and the outer ends of the outer table tops and benches are supported diii dlddtl? Patented Feb. 25, 1%53 the outer leg units. Directly supporting all of the table tops and benches on the chassis in this manner when the table tops and benches are in their folded positions results in a stable folded structure which may readily be moved from one location to another on the casters on the chassis without any danger of accidentally unfolding the structure, which is an important feature.

Another important object of the invention is to provide spring means interconnecting the inner table tops and the chassis and interconnecting the inner and outer table tops, for biasing the inner table tops and benches upwardly toward their folded positions and the outer table tops and benches downwardly toward their folded positions. The spring means mentioned thus serve to counterbalance, at least partially, the weight of the table tops and benches so that they may be moved between their folded and extended positions readily, which is an important feature.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a folding table and bench combination of the foregoing character including inner link means parallel to each inner table top and the corresponding inner benches and located at a level below the corresponding inner benches and pivotally connected to the chassis and the corresponding intermediate leg unit, each inner link means cooperating with the corresponding inner table top, the corresponding inner benches, the corresponding intermediate leg unit and the chassis to form an inner parallelogram linkage which maintains the corresponding intermediate leg unit vertical at all times as the structure is being folded and unfolded.

A related object is to provide an outer link means parellel to each outer table to nd the corresponding outer benches and located at a level below the corresponding outer benches and pivotally connected to the corresponding intermediate leg unit and to the corresponding outer leg unit, each outer link means cooperating with the corresponding outer table top, the corresponding outer benches, the corresponding intermediate leg unit and the corresponding outer leg unit to form an outer parallelogram linkage which maintains the corresponding outer leg unit parallel to the corresponding intermediate leg unit, and thus perpendicular, during folding and unfolding.

A further object of importance is to provide each outer leg unit with upright columns and transverse frame members and to provide the outer benches with depending flanges which extend longitudinally thereof, the columns of the outer leg untis being disposed between the depending fianges of the outer benches when the outer table tops and the outer benches are in their folded positions so as to achieve compactness. A related object is to provide the depending flanges on the outer benches with notches therein which receive the transverse frame members of the outer leg units when the upright columns thereof are inserted between the depending flanges of the outer benches.

Yet another object is to provide a leg unit which includes a transverse frame member, a pair of bench columns connected to and extending upwardly from such transverse frame member at each end thereof, two table columns extending upwardly from such transverse frame member intermediate the pairs of bench columns, a second transverse frame member interconnecting the bench columns of each pair and located above the first transverse frame member mentioned and below the upper ends of the bench columns, a third transverse frame member interconnecting the two table columns and located above the first-mentioned transverse frame member and the second transverse frame members and below the upper ends of the table columns, means at the upper ends of the bench columns of each pair. for 'pivotally connecting a bench thereto, and means at the upper ends of the table columns for pivotally connecting a table top thereto.

A further object is to provide a chassis which includes two outer frames and two inner frames extending above the two outer frames, a bench being disposed between and pivotally connected to each outer frame and the adjacent inner frame and a table top being disposed between and pivotally connected to the two inner frames.

The foregoing Objects, advantages, features and results of the present invention, together with various other objects, advantages, features and results thereof which will be apparent to those skilled in this art in the light of the disclosure which follows, may be attained with the exemplary embodiment of the invention described in detail hereinafter and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a folding table and bench combination of the invention in extended position;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the combination in extended position;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side elevation of the combination in partly folded condition;

FIGS. 4, and 6 are enlarged, fragmentary sectional views respectively taken along the arrowed line 44 of FIG. 1, the arrowed line 5-5 of FIG. 2 and the arrowed line 66 of FIG. 1;

FIG. '7 is a sectional view taken along the arrowed line 77 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view taken along the arrowed line 8-8 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional 'view'taken along the arrowed line 9--9 of FIG. 5;

FIGS. 10 and 11 are fragmentary sectional views respectively taken along the arrowed line ltl10 and 11-11 of FIG. 4;

FIGS. '12 and 13 are enlarged, fragmentary sectional views respectively taken along the arrowed lines 12-12 and 1313 of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 14 is a perspective view illustrating the under sides of inner and outer benches of the combination.

The folding table and bench combination of the invention is designated generally by the numeral 24 and includes a central support or chassis 22, inner table tops '24 having inner and outer ends and pivotally connected adjacent their inner ends to the chassis 22, intermediate leg units 26 pivotally connected to the inner table tops '24 adjacent their outer ends, outer table tops 28 having inner and outer ends and pivotally connected adjacent their inner ends to the intermediate leg units 26, outer leg units 3% pivotally connected to the outer table tops 28 adjacent the outer ends thereof, inner benches 32 on opposite sides of and below and spaced laterally from the inner table tops 24 in parallel relation thereto, and outer benches 34 respectively disposed on opposite sides of and belowand spaced laterally from the outer table tops 28 in parallel relation thereto, the inner benches being pivotally connected adjacent their inner ends to the chassis 22 and adjacent their outer ends to the respective intermediate leg units 26, and the outer benches 34 being pivotally connected adjacent their inner ends to the respective intermediate leg units 26 and adjacent their outer ends to the respective outer leg units 39. In use, the inner and outer table tops 26 and 28 are disposed in coplanar, horizontal, extcnded positions in end-to-end relation, the inner and outer benches 32 and 34 on each side of the table tops also being disposed in coplanar, horizontal, extended positions in end-to-end relation. As shown in FIG. 3, the inner table tops 24 and the inner benches 32 are pivotable upwardly into vertical, folded or retracted positions, and the outer table tops 28 and the outer benches 34 are pivotable downwardly relative to the inner table tops and the inner benches into vertical, folded or retracted positions.

Considering the chassis 22, it includes two'transversely spaced rails 36 interconnected by transverse frame members 38. One of the rails 36 carries nonswivelling casters 4%, FIG. 3, and the other carries sw-ivelling casters .2, FIGS. 4 and 5. This arrangement of swivelling and nonswivelling casters provides adequate maneuverability when the folding table and bench combination 20 is being moved from one location to another in folded condition, but provides adequate stability when the combination is in use in its unfolded condition.

The chassis 22 includes rectangular outer frames 44 on opposite sides thereof and includes rectangular inner frames 46 between the outer frames. The inner frames are spaced apart transversely of the combination 20 and are spaced transversely of the combination 20- from the outer frames 44, and the inner frames extend to a higher level than the outer frames.

The inner table tops 24 are disposed between and pivotally connected to the inner frames 46 and each inner bench 32 is disposed between and pivotally connected to the adjacent outer frame 44 and the adjacent inner frame 46. Referring to .FIG. 4 of the drawings, each inner bench 32 is shown as including three downwardly facing, longitudinal channels '48 which may have a bench top 50 secured thereto, although such bench top is not necessary. Secured to the channels 48 adjacent the inner end of each inner bench 32 is a tube 52 which is aligned with two axially spaced tubes 54 respectively carried by the corresponding outer and inner frames 44 and 46. Within the tubes 54 and projecting into the tube 52 are tubular stub shafts 56 suitably keyed to the tubes '54. For example, the shafts 56 may be keyed to the tubes 54 by semicircular pins 58, one of which is shown in detail in FIG. 10. However, other keying means may be used. This structure provides a simple and reliable pivotal connection between each inner bench 32 and the corresponding outer and inner frames 44 and 46. The other inner benches 32 all being pivotally connected to the chassis 22 in the same way.

The inner table tops 24 have connected to the under sides thereof downwardly facing longitudinal channels 60, only one of which is visible in FIG. 4. Connected to the channels 60 adjacent the inner end of each inner table top 24 is a tube 62 disposed between and axially aligned with tubes 64 on the inner frames 46, the tubes 64 having therein tubular stub shafts 66 which project into the tube 62 and which are connected to the tubes 64 by pins 68 identical to the pins 58, or otherwise. Thus, it will be apparent that the inner table tops 24 are pivotally connected to the chassis 22 in the same manner as the inner benches 32.

As shown generally in FIG. 3,. and as best shown in FIGS. 4 and 12, the ends of the tubes 62 forming portions of the pivots for the inner table tops 24 are encircled by torsion springs 70 each having an arm 72 hearing against the corresponding inner frame 46 and an arm 74 hearing against the corresponding inner table top 24. These springs bias the inner table tops upwardly toward their folded positions and cooperate with other springs to be described hereinafter to exert a sufiicient biasing force to counterbalance most of the weight of the inner and outer table tops 24 and 28, the outer benches 32 and 34, and the intermediate and outer leg units 26 and 30. The counterbalancing effect provided by the springs 70, and the other springs to be described, thus greatly facilitates folding of the table and bench combination 20, which is an important feature of the invention.

Each intermediate leg unit 26 includes, as best shown in FIG. 4 of the drawings, a lower transverse frame member 76 having at each end thereof two upright bench columns 78, only the bench columns at one end of the frame member 76 being shown in FIG. 4. Each pair of bench columns 73 is interconnected by a transverse frame member 80 located above the frame member 76, but below the upper ends of the bench columns. The bench columns 78 are provided at their upper ends with brackets 82 which fit into two of the channels 48 forming the corresponding inner bench 32, as shownin FIG. 14, and which are pivotally connected thereto by pins 84. The corresponding outer bench 34 includes similar downwardly facing, longi tudinal channels 86 into which the brackets 82 extend and to which they are pivotally connected by pins 88, FIG. 14.

Continuing to consider the intermediate leg units 26, each also includes two table columns 9i one of which is shown in FIG. 4 of the drawings, extending upwardly from the transverse frame member 76 and disposed between the two pairs of bench columns 78. The table columns 90 are interconnected by a transverse frame member $2 located above the transverse frame member '76 and above the level of the transverse frame members 89, but below the upper ends of the table columns 96.. Each table column 9t is provided at its upper end with a bracket 94 which fits into one of the channels 60 of the corresponding inner table top 24 and which, as best shown in FIG. 6, fits into a corresponding downwardly facing, longitudinal channel 96 secured to the underside of the corresponding outer table top 28. Each bracket 94 is pivotally connected to the corresponding channels 69 and 96 by pins 98 and 1013, respectively, as best shown in FIG. 6.

The bench and table columns 78 and '90 are provided below the transverse frame member 76 with glides 102, FIG. 4, which engage the floor, or other surface on which the casters 4t) and 42 rest, when the table and bench combination is in its unfolded condition.

The construction of the outer leg units 30 is virtually identical to that of the intermediate leg units 26, each outer leg unit having a lower transverse frame member corresponding to the member 76, two pairs of bench columns corresponding to the columns 78, two transverse frame members between the bench columns of the respective pairs corresponding to the members 8%, two table columns corresponding to the columns 9%) and a transverse frame member between the table columns corresponding to the member 92. Consequently, a detailed description is not necessary.

The upper ends of the table columns of the outer leg units 30 extend into the channels 96 of the outer table tops 23 and are pivotally connected thereto by pins 104, FIG. 2. Similarly, the upper ends of the bench columns of the outer leg units 30 extend upwardly into certain of the channels 86 of the outer benches 34 and are pivotally connected thereto by pins 7%, FIG. 2.

As best shown in FIGS. 3 and 13 of the drawings, each outer leg unit 30 is provided at its lower end with two transversely spaced rollers 103 which engage or seat on the upper surfaces of the rails 36 of the chassis 22 when the table and bench combination 2% is in its folded condition. Consequently, the chassis 22 directly supports 9 the entire weight of the inner and outer table tops 24 and 28, the inner and outer benches 32 and 34 and the intermediate and outer leg units 26 and 30 when the combination 2% is in its folded condition. Thus, in a sense, the folded table tops, benches and leg units are latched to the chassis 22, the result being a very stable folded structure which may be rolled from one location to another readily without any danger of unfolding, which is an important feature of the invention.

In order to maintain the intermediate and outer leg units 26 and 30 perpendicular at all times, inner parallelogram linkages interconnect the chassis 22 and the intermediate leg units and outer parallelogram linkages in tel-connect the intermediate leg units 26 and the outer leg units 30. More specifically, an inner link means comprising two inner links 110 is provided, each inner link 119 being disposed below the corresponding inner bench 32 and being pivotally connected to a bracket 112 on a transverse frame member 114 of the chassis 22 and to a bracket 116 on the transverse frame member 80 between the corresponding bench columns 78. Thus, the inner links 11% cooperate with the chassis 22, the intermediate leg units 26, the inner table tops 24 and the inner benches 32 to provide the aforementioned inner d parallelogram linkages, which maintain the intermediate leg units 26 vertical at all times.

Similarly, extending between the intermediate leg units 26 and the outer leg units 30 are outer link means each including two outer links 118 respectively disposed below the corresponding outer benches 34 and each pivotally connected at one end to the bracket lie on the corresponding transverse frame member 3% and to a bracket 129v on a matching transverse outer frame member of the corresponding outer leg unit 3d. The outer links 113 cooperate with the intermediate leg units 26, the outer leg units 30, and outer table tops 28 and the outer benches 34 to provide the outer parallelogram linkages mentioned, which maintain the outer leg units 3th vertical at all times.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 6 of the drawings, the bracket 94 at the upper end of each table column 98* of each intermediate leg unit 26 is connected by tension springs i2 6 and 128 to the corresponding inner and outer table tops 24 and 28, respectively, the tension springs 12% and 128 being connected to the channels and 96, respectively. Since the intermediate leg units 26 are always maintained vertical by the parallelogram linkages mentioned, the tension springs 12d tend to bias the inner table tops 24 and the inner benches 32 upwardly into their folded positions, thus assisting the spring 7% described previously. The outer tension springs T123 always bias the outer table tops downwardly toward the intermediate leg units 26 and hold them against such leg units when the table and bench combination 26* is in its folded condition. This is important since it means that the outer table tops 28 and the outer benches 34 tend to remain vertical, particularly as the structure is unfolded, it being necessary to apply sufficient force to overcome the action of the springs 7128 before the outer table tops 28 and the outer benches 34 can be pivoted away from the intermediate leg units 26. This is a safety feature tending to prevent injury to children, or other persons, located along side the folded structure.

Considering the operation of the invention, it will be assumed that the folding table and bench combination 2% is in its unfolded condition, wherein the inner and outer table tops 24 and 28 and the inner and outer benches 3; and 34 are all horizontal. in order to move one-half of the combination it) into its folded position, it is merely necessary to lift upwardly on the corresponding inner table top 24 and/ or the corresponding outer table top 23 adjacent the corresponding intermediate leg unit 26, this action being assisted by the corresponding counterbalancing springs '74} and 12d. Thereafter, it is merely necessary to push the corresponding outer table top 28 inwardly toward the chassis 22, assisted by the corresponding springs 12d, until the inner table top 2d, the outer table top 28, the inner benches 32 and the outer benches 34 of the half being folded are all vertical, the parallelogram linkages mentioned maintaining the corresponding intermediate eg unit 26 and the corresponding outer leg unit 3% vertical at all times as this is done. As the half being folded reaches its folded condition, the rollers N98 on the corresponding outer leg unit 3t are automatically lifted onto the seats provided therefor by the rails 36 of the chassis 22, thereby providing a stable folded structure. The other half of the combination 2% is folded in the same way.

The columns of each outer leg unit are inserted between the flanges of the channels 96 and $6 of the corresponding outer table top 23 and the corresponding outer benches 34 as each half of the combination 2t} is folded. By considering FIG. 14 of the drawings, it will be clear how the columns of the outer leg unit 3t} shown may be inserted into the channels aiti of the outer bench 34- shown. Certain of the flanges of the channels 86 of the benches 34 are provided with notches 12-2 which receive transverse frame members connecting the bench columns of the outer leg unit 3%, as will be clear from FIG. 14. Certain of the flanges of the channels 96 of the outer table tops 28 are provided with similar notches, not shown, to receive transverseframe members connecting the table columns of theouterleg-units 39. T he channels 48 of the inner benches 32 are provided with notches 124, FIGS. 3

and 14, to receive the transverse frame members 114 of the chassis 22 when the combination 20 is folded.

.In unfolding each half of the combination 20, it is merely necessary to pull outwardly thereon to disengage the rollers 16% on the corresponding outer leg unit 30 from the rails 36 of the chassis 22, the corresponding outand outer benches '34 are swung into horizontal positions in response to continued outward movement of the corresponding outer leg unit 30 away from the chassis 22.

Although an exemplary embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed herein for purposesof illus tration, it will be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions may be incorporated in such embodiment without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined by the claim which follows.

I claim:

A folding table and bench combination, including: a chassis; an inner table top having inner and outer ends and pivotally connected to said chasis adjacent its inner end, said inner table top being pivotable upwardly relative to said chassis into a folded position; an intermediate leg unit pivotally connected to said inner table top adjacent its outer end; an outer table top having inner and outer ends and pivotally connected to said intermediate leg unit adjacent its inner end, said outer table top being pivotab-le downwardly relative to said inner table top into a folded position; an outer leg unit pivotally connected to said outer table top adjacent its outer end, said outer leg unit including upright columns and transverse frame members interconnecting said columns; two inner benches disposed on opposite sides of and below and spaced laterally from said inner table top in parallel relation thereto, said inner benches having inner and outer ends and being pivotally connected to said chassis adjacent their inner ends and being pivotally connected to said intermediate leg unit adjacent their outer ends, said inner benches being pivotable upwardly relative to said chassis into folded positions concurrently with upward pivoting of said inner table top relative to said chassis into its folded position;

and two outer benches disposed on opposite sides of and below and spaced laterally from said outer table top in parallel relation thereto, said outer benches having inner 'and outer ends and being pivotally connected to said intermediate leg unit adjacent their inner ends and being pivotally connected to said outer leg unit adjacent their outer ends, said outer benches being pivotable downwardly relative to said inner benches into folded positions concurrently with downward pivoting of said outer table top relative to said inner table top into'its folded position,

each of said outer benches including at least two laterally spaced channels which extend longitudinally thereof and which face downwardly whensaid benches are in generally horizontal positions, said columns of said outer leg 1 unit respectively being disposed :in said channels of said outer benches when said outer table top and said outer benches are in their folded positions, said channels of said outer benches being provided with transverse notches therein which receive said transverse frame members of .saidouter .leg'unit-when said columns of said outer leg unit are disposed in saidchannels :of said outer benches.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 949,374 ,Karpen ,Feb. 15, 1910 979,227 'Tinkharn Dec.20', 1910 1,693,992 Peterson Dec. 4, 1928 1,890,129 Ross Dec. 6, 1932 2,204,107 Swett June 11, 1940 2,211,381 Neunherz Aug. 13, 1940 2,462,685 Sproll Feb. 22, 1949 2,514,319 Erickson July 4, 1950 2,542,744 Willens et al. Feb. 20, 1951 2,699,978 Mugler Jan. 18, 1955 2,708,961 Mugler May 24, 1955 2,723,890 Erickson Nov. 15, 1955 2,788,059 Mackintosh Apr; 9, 1957 2,807,512 Blink Sept. 24, '1957 FOREIGN PATENTS 472,494 Canada Mar. 27, 1951

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US6347831Oct 18, 1999Feb 19, 2002Lifetime Products, Inc.Foldable picnic table with telescoping pedestals and bench supports
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US8375871Oct 4, 2010Feb 19, 2013Lifetime Products, Inc.Table top with a plurality of closely spaced depressions
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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/158.4, 108/99
International ClassificationA47B3/14
Cooperative ClassificationA47B3/14, A47B2003/145
European ClassificationA47B3/14