US 3231942 A
Abstract available in
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 1, 1966 M. 05mm 3,231,942
PLAYHOUSE Filed Nov. 17, 1961 F I G. 2
C bar/es M. OBr/en BYWQZQM A T TOENE Y United States Patent 3,231,942 PLAYHOUSE Charles M. OBrien, 22 Rockmont Road, Arlington, Mass. Filed Nov. 17, 1961, Ser. No. 153,085 2 Claims. (CI. 52-70) This invention relates to a foldable childrens playhouse.
The present invention has for a principal object to provide a novel and improved children's playhouse adapted for use either indoors or outdoors which is characterized by structure which enables it to be readily erected or collapsed for use or storage.
A further object of the invention is to provide a childrens playhouse having a minimum of parts, all of which are secured to one another to prevent the loss of parts during use, erection and storage, and to facilitate the erection and folding thereof.
A still further object of the invention is to provide a playhouse structure which is relatively inexpensive, is sturdy and self-supporting and capable of withstanding rough use.
Another object of the invention is to provide a playhouse which when erected is large enough for young children to play inside and which easily folds into a unitary, compact, relatively lightweight unit which may be easily carried.
Another object of the invention is to provide a playhouse which can be shipped to the purchaser in its folded form and yet will require no assembly by the purchaser.
With those general objects in view and such others as may hereinafter appear, the invention comprises the present novel foldable childrens playhouse as hereinafter described and defined in the claims at the end of this specification.
In the drawings illustrating the preferred embodiments of the invention: 6
FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating the present playhouse in a partially erected condition;
FIG. 2isa top view of the playhouse in its completely folded position;
FIGS. 3 and 4 are top views showing steps in the erection of the playhouse;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the erected playhouse; and
FIGS. 6 and Tare detail views of the corner hinges in their folded and unfolded positions, respectively.
In general the present invention contemplates a foldable and portable childrens playhouse which may be easily and rapidly set up and/ or folded into a compact form to provide a playhouse for young children which in its preferred form is large and high enough to enable them to stand and play inside. The invention comprises a structure which may be fabricated from-plywoo'd, pressed board, plastic material, or other suitable material, and includes side and end walls, roof sections and gables hinged together in a novel manner to enablethe integrally hinged sections to be easily unfolded to provide a substantially rectangular house, or folded into a compact unit of relatively small size for transporting and storing the same. One important feature of the invention is that a minimum of elements or structural parts are required in order to maintain the house in its erected position, all of the fastening elements and structural parts being integral. The integral relationship of the parts forming the present playhouse eliminates any possibility of the loss of parts during use and/or storage and, further, greatly facilitates the erection and folding of the playhouse.
Another feature of the present structure is that the exterior and interior surfaces may be decorated in any desired manner. For example, the walls could be painted or otherwise decorated to simulate a log cabin or Cape Patented Feb. 1, 1966 Cod cottage, or in various other ways interesting to young children.
The present invention provides a foldable and portable childrens playhouse which in its folded position provides a compact unit of a size no larger than the dimensions of a side wall thereof and is no thicker than the combined thickness of the parts thereof. Perhaps the most important advantage of the present invention resides in the fact that it may be erected or folded in a matter of minutes and yet when erected is sturdy and able to withstand the rugged treatment to which it will be subjected as children play in it.
Referring now to the drawings, the present structure comprises a pair of side walls 10, 12 and end walls 14, 16. End walls 14, 16 each comprise a pair of identical sections 18, 20, each section having an elongated reinforcing member 22 secured to its outer surface along the upper and lower edges thereof. Each pair of sections is disposed side by side and hinged together by hinges 24 secured to the upper and lower reinforcing members as shown. The hinges 24 are arranged to permit the outer surfaces of reinforcing members 22 to be folded into contact with one another. In order to form a rectangular structure the side walls 10, 12 are connected along their side edges to the marginal side edges of the end wall sections 18, 20 by upper and lower hinges 26, 28 secured to the inner surfaces of the side walls and end wall sections as shown.
As best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, in order to limit the movement of the side wall and end wall sections to relative to each other to form square corners, the corner hinges 26, 28 are substantially U-shaped when folded and consist of an intermediate connection 33 and flat portions 30, 32. The flat sections 30, 32 are secured to the side walls and end wall sections, respectively, the pivotal point of the hinge 34 being offset toward the side walls 10, 12. End wall sections 18, 20 are preferably spaced inwardly of the edges of the side walls 10, 12 a distance approximately equal to the thickness of the reinforcing member 22 so that the ends of the reinforcing members 22 and the intermediate section of the hinge engage the side walls 10, 12 when the house is in its setup condition. The present hinge structure also provides a space between the folded end and side walls sufficient to enable the gable sections to be folded between the side and end walls.
One or more windows 36 or doors 38 may be provided in the side walls and end walls. In the present structure, as shown, windows are provided in the end walls and gables, one half of each window being cut in each section. Roof portions 40, 42 substantially equal in size and shape to that of the side walls 10, 12 are hinged to the upper edges of side walls It), 12 preferably by tough flexible fabric hinges 44. While it is preferred to provide fabric hinges, hinges of other materials may be used. As illustrated, the roof sections are hinged to fold downwardly on the outer surface of the side walls when the house is folded, or upwardly, as shown, when the house is erected. In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, each roof section 40, 42 comprises a relatively wide section 43 and a relatively narrow section 45 also connected together by fabric hinges 46, 48.
Each end wall 14, 16 is provided with a pair of gable portions 50, 52 hingedly secured to the inner surfaces of the upper edges of the end wall sections 18, 20 by spaced hinges 54, 56. As herein illustrated, the hinges are arranged to enable the gables to fold inwardly on the end wall sections when folding the house. However, they may be hinged to fold outwardly on the end walls if desired. The hinges are such as to permit or limit the movement of the gables from their folded position to a position aligned with the plane of the end wall sections.
In the form of the invention herein illustrated, each pair of gables is trapezoidal in shape with its side edges 58, 60 arranged to support the wide roof sections 43 at an angle whereby to provide a pitched roof, and the top edges 62, 64 are arranged to support the narrow sections 45. This roof design provides more head room inside the house than could be obtained with a peaked roof of the same maximum height.
In erecting the present house structure from its folded condition, as indicated in FIG. 2, it is placed in its upright position whereupon the side walls are pulled away from each other and the end walls straightened outwardly from their inwardly folded position and are secured in their straightened position by upper and lower latches 66, 68 disposed on the inner surface of the end wall sections and arranged to bridge the joint between the end wall sections in the area of hinges 24. Thereafter the gables are moved to an upstanding position, as shown, and each roof section is folded upwardly upon the gables. The roof and gables are held in position, preferably by inverted U-shaped channel members 70, 72 secured to the underside of the roof sections adjacent the marginal edges thereof. The edges of the gables are sandwiched between the legs of the members 70, 72 and thus supported in their upright position. The abutting ends of the roof sections are locked together by suitable latch members 74 which not only secure the edges of the roof sections together, but also add substantial rigidity to the house by preventing a shearing motion between the edges.
From the foregoing description it will be apparent that the present invention provides an attractive foldable childrens playhouse which comprises a minimum of parts, all of which are integrally connected to each other and which cooperate in their assembled position to sup port the house in its erected position. It is also apparent that the present playhouse may be rapidly erected or folded into a compact, relatively lightweight unit which may be easily carried and stored. The present structure is particularly adapted to be set up in the cellar, playroom or outside in the yard and provides a rugged playhouse for young children. Because of the novel structure of the present playhouse it may be easily set up during the childrens playtime and folded and stored when playtime is over.
While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been herein illustrated and described, it will be understood that the invention may embodied in other forms within the scope of the following claims.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:
1. A foldable childrens playhouse adapted to be readily assembled and disassembled without the use of tools or separate fastening elements, comprising: a pair of one-piece substantially rectangular side walls; a pair of substantially rectangular end walls, each of said end walls comprising two identical, substantially rectangular half sections hinged together along their vertical abutting edges to be folded inwardly; a hinge means near each corner of each of said side walls for connecting said end walls thereto, each hinge means including: a first fiat section mounted on one of said side and end walls, and including a short connecting section projecting at a right angle from one end thereof; a second flat section mounted on the other of said side and end walls; and means hingedly connecting the outer end of said connecting section to one end of said second flat section, said connecting section engaging the wall on which said second flat section is mounted when said hinge means is opened to degrees whereby to provide a strong hinge joint which cannot be opened beyond said 90 degrees, and providing a space between said end wall and said side wall when said playhouse is in a folded condition; a gable section hinged along its bottom edge to the top edge of each end wall half section and arranged to be folded inwardly, each gable section having a thickness about equal to the length of the hinge connecting sections associated with the end wall section on which said gable section is mounted, whereby when said gable sections and said end wall sections are folded inwardly said gable sections will be receivable in said spaces provided by said connecting sections to thereby provide for folding fiat said side walls, said end walls and said gable sections; a roof section hinged along its bottom edge to the top edge of each side wall and arranged to be folded outwardly to lie flat against its associated side wall and to be folded upwardly to lie over said gable sections, whereby when said gable sections and said end walls are folded inwardly and said roof sections are folded outwardly, said playhouse will form a flat compact structure of a length equal to the length of one of said side walls and of a thickness equal to the combined thicknesses of said side walls, a pair of said end wall half sections and their attached gable sections, and said roof sections; a U-shaped channel member mounted along each side edge of each roof section for receiving the u per edges of said gable sections when said end walls are unfolded and said gable sections are folded upwardly to form a rectangular structure and said roof sections are folded upwardly to lie upon said gable sections; latch means mounted on each pair of said end wall half sections for securing said half sections in an outwardly unfolded position to define a generally planar end wall; and latch means mounted on said roof sections for securing them in their upwardly unfolded positions wherein they are lying on said gable sections.
2. A foldable childrens playhouse as defined in claim 1 wherein each roof section comprises two parts hinged together to form a fiat roof section and a pitched roof section when the playhouse is assembled.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 992,337 5/1911 Butler 46--19 1,180,021 4/1916 Dreyfus 2015 1,517,030 11/1924 Talcott 4621 1,918,375 7/1933 Bowersock et al 4621 2,098,469 11/1937 Smith 202 2,259,783 10/ 1941 Sparling 46l2 X FOREIGN PATENTS 582,294 9/ 1959 Canada.
554,250 6/1943 Great Britain.
588,518 5/1947 Great Britain.
CHARLES E. OCONNELL, Primary Examiner.
WILLIAM I. MUSHAKE, HARRISON R. MOSELEY,