Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.


  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3291501 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 13, 1966
Filing dateSep 11, 1964
Priority dateSep 18, 1963
Publication numberUS 3291501 A, US 3291501A, US-A-3291501, US3291501 A, US3291501A
InventorsDominique Stelniceanu Jacques
Original AssigneeDominique Stelniceanu Jacques
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Folding tea cart
US 3291501 A
Previous page
Next page
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 13, 1966 .1. D. STELNICEANU 3,291,501

FOLDING TEA 'CART Filed Sept. ll, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 3a FIG. I

wig $10 ATTORNEVS Dec- 13, 1966 J. D. STELNICEANU 3,291,501

FOLDING TEA CART Filed Sept. 11, 1964 I 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 //VVEN'TOR \Z 0. Ste/m'ceanu 'YWMWM ATTORNEYS Dec. 13, 1966 J. D, STEL 3,291,501

FOLDING TEA CART Filed Sept. 11, 1964 4 Sheets$heet 3 V; I //VVE/VTOR 7 f JDSte/m'ceanu,


FOLDING TEA CART Filed Sept. 11, 1964 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 //vvE/vToR I J D. Ste/m'ceanu ATTORNEYS United States Patent f FOLDING TEA CART Jacques Dominique Stelniceanu, 6 Rue Beaurepaire, Paris, France Filed Sept. 11, 1964, Ser. No. 395,853 Claims priority, application France, Sept. 18, 1963, 947,914, Patent 1,383,814; Jan. 30, 1964, 962,124 9 Claims. (Cl. 28ll36) Tea carts, which may be quite useful under certain circumstances, have not been as frequently employed as might be, because they are bulky and inconvenient to store when not in use.

Folding tea carts have already been suggested, but have heretofore been too complex in structure and have presented an appearance substantially different from that of conventional tea carts.

The present invention relates to a folding tea cart which is particularly simple in design and may be stored in a minimal space when not in use.

The invention also relates to a folding table having two trays like those of conventional tea carts, but without wheels, this table being especially designed for camp- It is an object of the present invention to provide a new article of manufacture consisting of a folding table, particularly a tea cart, this table being especially characterized by the fact that it comprises two trays connected to each other by two articulate-d frameworks, one of the trays being separable from one of the frameworks at the right of the corresponding pivot point. The table further comprises means for adjusting at least two of the angles of the trapezoid formed by the trays and the frame work when the table is set up, while the trays lie in almost the same plane when the table is folded up.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention the table is kept stable when set up by holding the two angles formed between the frameworks and the lower tray in their widest position by means of a pair of stops.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a new article of manufacture which consists of a folding table comprising two trays, essentially characterized by the fact that it comprises two rigidly framed trays and four vertical uprights, each connected to the two trays by pivotal joints, the pivotal axes of which are perpendicular to a plane of symmetry of the table, preferably to the vertical plane parallel to the longer sides of the trays. These uprights and the sides of the trays form a rectangle, or preferably a trapezoid, substantially parallel to the sides of the table. The lower tray forms the larger base of the trapezoid and the two angles at the end of this base are provided with pivot means limited to a maximum angle of opening by mechanical stops. One end of the shorter of the two parallel sides of the trapezoid is provided with a separable pivotal joint, whereas its other end is mounted to turn through a complete revolution.

This latter table may also have one or more of the following characteristics:

(1) The uprights are pivotally connected to the lower tray by angle members provided with two stops and at least one pivot hole, one of the holes being positioned at a level higher than that of the one at the other end of the same side so as to permit the two uprights to be superposed when in folded position.

(2) The pivotal connections to the upper frame are made through members fixed to this frame which are outwardly spaced from at least one side of the frame so as to permit a handle pivotally connected to the same frame to pass by into a folded up position.

(3) The carrying handle is locked in a perpendicular position with respect to the upper tray when it is being 3,291,501 Patented Dec. 13, 1966 carried by means of a trapezoidal opening in the bottom of this handle which grips a trapezoidal projection on the upper tray.

In order that the invention may be clearly understood, several embodiments thereof will now be described purely by way of example, in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tea cart constituting a first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the tea cart shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 shows the tea cart of FIG. 1 in its folded position;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a third embodiment;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view on a large scale showing the portion VI of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-section on an enlarged scale taken along the line VII in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a partial perspective view on an enlarged scale showing the two pivotal joints on the lower tray;

FIG. 9 shows the table of FIG. 5 folded up; and

FIG. 10 shows on a larger scale, from the outside, the portion X of FIG. 1.

FIG. 1 shows that the upper tray 1 is connected to the lower tray 2 by means of a tubular frame member 3 comprising a handle 3a, and by another frame member 4.

As best seen on FIG. 2, the frame members 3 and 4 are connected to the trays 1 and 2 by pivot means 5, 6, 7 and 8.

In accordance with the invention the pivot means 5, 6 and 7 are not such as to permit the frame members to be separated from the trays.

On the other hand, the pivot means 8 comprises a rod 9 fixed to the frame 3 which seats in two hooks 10 fixed to the bottom of the tray 1.

The frames 3 and 4 are respectively provided with stops 11 and 12, the flanged ends 11a and 12a of which bear on the lower part of the tray 2, when the cart is un folded, so as to limit the width of the angle between the frames 3 and 4 and the tray 2.

The tea cart is set up by forcing the rod 9 into the two hooks 10, where it is held by the resilience of the various elements of the cart, and particularly that of the lower tray 2.

The tea cart also comprises two large wheels 13 mounted on the axle 6 as well as two smaller castor type wheels 14, carried at the lower ends of the arms forming the frame member 3.

When the table is in its unfolded position, as shown on FIGS. 1 and 2, it is folded by pressing the handle 3a in the direction F1 while pulling the upper tray 1 in the direction of the arrow F2.

This overcomes the resilient forces holding the hooks 10 on the rod 9, thus disconnecting the upper tray from the frame member 3.

The upper tray is then swung about the pivotal joint 5, after which the frame 4 is swung about the pivotal joint 6 until the cart is folded into the position shown on FIG. 3.

It will be seen that the tea cart according to the invention may be folded up in a very simple way and that when folded it takes up very little space.

In order to set up the tea cart, when it is to be used, the same procedure is followed, in the opposite direction.

FIGS. 1-3 also show a bottle holding frame 15 pivotally connected at 16 and 17 to the frame member 4.

This bottle holder carries a stop 18 such that it is held by its own weight in the position shown on FIGS. 1 and 2 when the tea cart is set up.

The portion 19 of the bottle holder 15 comes into contact with the upper part of the tray 2 when the frame member 4 is swung down when the tea cart is being folded up, and this swings the bottle holder 15 into the plane of the frame member 4 between the trays 1 and 2 when the latter are brought together in the folded position as shown in FIG. 3.

It will be noted that the inclination of the frame member 4 with respect to the trays has the advantage of permitting the two trays to be superposed when folded almost regardless of any difference between the length and height of the tea cart.

FIGURE 4 shows a second embodiment of the invention, which also comprises an upper tray 1, lower tray 2 and frame members 3 and 4.

This embodiment differs from the first in that the frame member 4, which is also provided at its lower ends with castor wheels, is pivotally connected at 6 to the end of the lower tray 2, while it is connected to the upper tray 1 by a pivotal joint which is nearer the center of that tray.

Moreover, it will be noted that the frame member 3 has near its lower end a portion 30 turned at right angles, the frame member 3 being pivoted at 7 to the left end of the lower tray 2 while brackets 10a fixed to the frame member 3 support the left end of the upper tray 1.

The table shown on FIG. 4 has means like those already described for limiting the angle between the lower tray 2 and the frame members 3 and 4 so that the stability of the table is assured by the fact that the upper tray 1 presses resiliently against the brackets 10a of the frame member 3. The table is folded in the same way as the one previously described.

It will be noted that in this embodiment it is also possible to superpose the upper tray directly upon the lower tray, with the frame member 3 resting on top of the two superposed trays. It follows that the frame member 3 may be narrower than the larger of the two trays.

The table shown on FIGS. 510 comprises an upper tray comprising an upper frame member 21 with a panel 22 inside it. The frame member 21 has two long sides 23 and two short sides 24 made of light angle-irons assembled in the form of a rectangle with mitred and welded corners.

The lower tray is made in the same way from a frame member 25 having a panel 26 inside it. The frame member 25 has two long sides 27 and two short sides 28, also made of light angle irons; but in this case, for the sake of simplicity, the four corner cuts are made at right angles, the horizontal flanges being lapped over each other at the corners and spot welded to each other. The vertical flanges of these angle irons are also spot-welded to angle members 29 and 30 which serve as pivot points and limit stops limiting the angular movement of the vertical members.

The two frame members 21 and 25 are connected by uprights 31 and 32. These uprights are pivoted near their lower ends on the angle members 29 and 30, which are best seen on FIG. 8.

These angle members are formed with two tabs 33 and 34 which serve as stops for the vertical members, and are provided with two holes 35 and 36. The holes 35 receive the pivot pins for the uprights 31 and the holes 36 the pivot pins for the uprights 32.

This makes it possible to use only one type of tab, in right and left-hand versions, while ensuring the proper spacing between the uprights 31 and 32 in the folded position, as shown on FIG. 9, so as to permit the uprights to be positioned one on top of the other. Moreover, the presence of the two stops 33 and 34, between which the uprights 31 and 32 are gripped when at their maximum angular separation, avoids the imposition on the bolts or rivets 37, 38 in the holes 35, 36 of any shearing or flexing stress which would tend to deform them. This arrangement also makes it easy to ensure, when using ordinary methods of manufacture, the necessary precision in the positioning of the uprights, especially within the necessary angular limits, by using a simple welding step to position the angle members 29 and 30 when the framework 25 is being constructed.

The uprights 31 and 32 are also pivotally connected to the upper tray 21, by tabs in the form of brackets 39, 40. Each of the tabs 39 is provided with a hole 41 through which the head 42 of a pivot pin 43 projects. This pin is mounted near the upper end of the upright 31. Each tab 40 is provided with a smaller hole which receives a bolt 44 passing through the upper part of the upright 32.

This table is folded and unfolded in much the same way as those previously described, that is to say, when starting from the folded position shown on FIG. 9, the two uprights are first raised from the lower tray, and the upper tray is then swung about the bolts 44, while widening the angle between each of the uprights 31 and the lower tray. The pins 43 then approach the holes 41 but, as before, it is necessary to force the sides of the quadrilateral formed by the members 31, 27, 32 and 23 apart in order to permit these pins to engage in said holes. However, in the present embodiment the two uprights are snapped in successively, because they are independent of each other. Once this fastening has been completed, the table becomes rigid and will not collapse.

In order to fold up the table the uprights are first unsnapped before folding up the whole table.

In order to reduce the bulk of the table when in its folded position, the upper tray is preferably slightly smaller than the lower tray so that it can be nested within it, when the latter is provided with an upturned peripheral edge.

In order to permit this nesting it is necessary that certain geometric conditions relative to the height and size of the table parts be satisfied, and as a consequence it is usually necessary for the uprights to stand in an inclined position.

The uprights 31 are preferably inclined in opposite directions to maintain the symmetry of the table, to permit the use of identical parts 29 and 30 and improve the stability of the table as a consequence of the opposed forces which result from the oblique position of these uprights.

Moreover the inclination of these uprights is so chosen that the trapezoids thus formed have their longer base at the level of the lower tray so that the feet of the table will span a maximum base on the ground.

This table may, as in the case of the embodiments previously described, be provided with fixed or castor type wheels at the lower ends of the uprights 31 and 32. It may also serve simply as a table or tea tray, for camping, for example, and in that case it may usefully be provided with a folding handle.

This handle, as shown in the drawings, consists of a simple strip of steel wire of large diameter, bent twice, and carrying at its center a sleeve 46 of metal or plastic, to be gripped by the hand. This sleeve 46 may be circular in section and surround the steel wire, but it should preferably be elliptical with its major axis horizontal when in use (as shown in broken lines on FIG. 4), so as to provide greater stability when the table is being carried and pemit the sleeve to be vertically positioned against the frame 21 when in its folded position.

In order that the handle may be completely folded, those of the tabs 39 and 40 toward which the handle folds are spaced by a certain distance from the frame, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, so as to permit the passage of the handle 45. On the other side, this spacing may be duplicated, or avoided by positioning the vertical tabs of the brackets 39 and 40 in alignment withthe vertical flanges of the angle irons 23.

The pivotal connection between the ends of the member 45 forming the handle and the middle portions of the sides 24 of the frames 21 may take the form shown in FIG. 10, in which a member 47 is mounted on one side of the handle, which member may also be of steel wire and welded to the handle. Each of these members 47 defines with the handle 45 an opening 43 having two straight sides positioned at a predetermined angle to each other. The ends of this opening may be of any more or less rounded shape.

A trapezoidal member 49 is fixed to each of the sides 24 of the frame 21 and has a thickness at least equal to the diameter of the wire 45. Each member 47 may be welded directly to the side to which it is attached and is pierced by a hole 50.

The angle between the two sides of the trapezoid which are not parallel to each other is equal to the angle between the two sides of the opening 48 so that when the handle is positioned perpendicularly with respect to the tray 1, and the table is lifted, the member 49 is gripped in the opening as shown in broken lines on FIG. 10, so that any turning of the table about the handle is resisted. On the contrary, when the handle is being folded, it may swing freely into the plane of the frame 21.

To complete the table, a metal washer 51 is mounted on each of the members 49 by means of a rivet passing through the hole 50, this washer having a diameter greater than the maximum diameter of the opening 48, so as to prevent the handle from becoming unhooked.

Finally, the table may be provided with small horizontal stops 52 mounted on opposite sides of the frame 25 (see FIG. 5) so as to hold the uprights 31 in the plane of the lower tray 25, when the table is in its folded position, as shown in FIG. 9.

The table constructed in this manner is very rigid, be cause all pivotal connections are locked, and is very light despite the presence of the frames 21 and 25. These frames make it possible to make the panels themselves of very light material and at the same time are lighter than the pivoting frames used in prior constructions, which are here replaced by simple pairs of parallel and independent tubular uprights.

Finally, it will also be seen that the table, especially in its last embodiment, is of very inexpensive construction, but nevertheless steady and attractive in appearance.

It will of course be appreciated that these embodiments have been described purely by way of example and may be modified as to detail without thereby departing from the basic principles of the invention as defined by the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A folding table comprising upper and lower trays which are horizontal when said table is set up, at least two supporting members connecting said trays to each other, said supporting means being pivotally and independently connected to each tray for swing movement about parallel axes and horizontally spaced apart from each other in a direction perpendicular to said axes when said table is set up, separable connecting means connecting one of said trays to one of said supporting members, said connecting means comprising at least two parts which are separable by movement of one of said parts in a single predetermined direction relative to the other part, means for exerting against said one supporting member a pressure which biasses a part of said separable connecting means in a direction at least 90 degrees away from the direction in which the parts thereof can be separated, said pressure exerting means comprising stop means positioned to engage at least one of said supporting members and the other tray when said table is set up.

2. A folding table as claimed in claim 1 in which one of said supporting members is permanently connected to both trays and is connected to the upper tray at a point spaced from one end of said upper tray by a distance equal to the difference between the length of said upper tray and the length of that portion of said permanently connected supporting member between said trays.

3. A folding table as claimed in claim 1 in which at least one of said supporting members comprises a pair of uprights, said table also comprising a transverse frame member pivotally mounted between said uprights to turn about a horizontal axis, said transverse member being weight biassed to swing in one direction relative to said uprights, and stop means limiting the movement of said transverse frame member in said one direction so as to support it in a horizontal position.

4. A folding table as claimed in claim 1 in which said supporting means comprises four uprights, each independently pivoted to each of said trays.

5. A folding table as claimed in claim 4 in which said uprights extend below the lower tray to serve as feet for the table and those uprights at each end are inclined toward those at the other end so as to define with the trays a trapezoid having the shortest of its two parallel sides uppermost.

6. A folding table as claimed in claim 5 in which each tray comprises a peripheral metal frame and the uprights at one end of said table are pivotally connected to the lower tray at a point higher than the point at which the other uprights are connected to that tray.

7. A folding table as claimed in claim 4 comprising a carrying handle pivotally mounted on the upper tray, and spacers through which the uprights on one side of said table are pivotally connected to said tray, so that said handle may be received between said upper tray and uprights when said handle is folded down.

8. A folding table as claimed in claim 7 in which said carrying handle is provided at each end with a polygonal opening and said upper tray carries polygonal protuberances projecting into said openings, said openings being sufficiently larger than said protuberances to permit said handle to swing about them, when, but only when, the sides of said openings are moved away from those of said protuberances.

9. A table as claimed in claim 4 in which the upper tray is smaller than the lower and in which the length of each of said supporting means between said trays plus the distance between the point at which that supporting means is attached to said upper tray and the end of said upper tray nearest said point is less than the distance between the point at which the same supporting means is attached to the lower tray and the end of the lower tray remote from that point so that said upper tray may nest within said lower tray.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,640,749 6/1953 Shanahan 1081 11 3,099,356 7/1963 Burnett 1081 11 3,182,615 5/1965 Mees 108131 3,215,096 11/1965 Holtz 108-111 MILTON BUCHLER, Primary Examiner.


M. S. SALES, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2640749 *Oct 14, 1949Jun 2, 1953Shanahan Richard JRack attachment for folding tables
US3099356 *Dec 27, 1960Jul 30, 1963Acme Steel CoFolding serving cart
US3182615 *Mar 22, 1963May 11, 1965Mees Kenneth CFoldable furniture unit
US3215096 *Aug 17, 1962Nov 2, 1965Belvedere Space Saving ProductCollapsible serving cart
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3703872 *Feb 26, 1971Nov 28, 1972Barrevecchia Domenick PCollapsible portable utility tray stand
US6328329 *Jun 20, 2000Dec 11, 2001William L. SmithCollapsible shopping cart with removable mesh basket
US7103099Jul 27, 1999Sep 5, 2006Microsoft CorporationSelective compression
US7204509 *Jul 30, 1998Apr 17, 2007Telescope Casual Furniture CompanyBar cart
DE9115313U1 *Dec 10, 1991Mar 5, 1992Knoedler, Wilhelm, 7900 Ulm, DeTitle not available
U.S. Classification280/651, 108/179, 108/177
International ClassificationA47B31/04, A47B31/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B31/04
European ClassificationA47B31/04