US 3387808 A
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June 11, 1968 D. N. G. METCALF 3,387,808
COLLAPS IBLE SUPPORT STRUCTURE Filed Nov. 29, 1966 INVENTOR DEREK N-G. METCALF BY 5 J Vmzbw, 29w 6W; 6
A TTORNE rs United States Patent 3,387,808 COLLAPSIBLE SUPPORT STRUCTURE Derek N. G. Metcalf, La Grange Park, l-Ill., assignor to Athena Industries, lino, La Grange, 111., a corporation of Illinois Filed Nov. 29, 1966, Ser. No. 597,726 16 Claims. (Cl. 24846) This invention relates to a collapsible support structure, and more particularly to a standard for supporting display equipment, trees, flags, or other objects in an upright position and which is readily and quickly collapsible to a form in which it occupies only a small amount of space for shipment or for storage when not in use.
Heretofore, many types of supports have been devised which were not collapsible and which, consequently, required large storage space when not in use, as well as voluminous packages for shipment. Some supports, while being collapsible, have required numerous manual steps such as the removal and replacement of fastening devices for effecting disassembly and assembly and even adjustrnents to prepare them for storage or use. Other supports have consisted of members requiring complicated, numerous or expensive manufacturing steps, while still others have required considerable manual effort or dexterity on the part of the user to effect either the setting-up or collapsing of the support.
Therefore, to overcome the foregoing and other difficulties of the prior art, the general object of this invention is to provide a standard which is extendible or collapsible with minimal manual exertion by the user.
One of the objects of this invention is to provide a collapsible standard embodying only a small number of easily manufactured parts of relatively simple construction.
The invention has for another object the provision of a compact device which affords a sturdy support while in use and requires only a relatively small size container for shipment or storage.
As a further object, this invention has within its purview the provision of a collapsible support structure embodying parts which are constructed and arranged to lock in an open position suitable for use as a support, and which may be quickly and easily unlocked by application of nominal manual pressures for collapsing the parts into positions approaching planar relationship.
Other objects and advantages of this invention, and a more complete understanding thereof, will be apparent by a referral to the following description and claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the collapsible standard of the present invention with certain parts thereof spread to a support disposition;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the standard of FIG. 1 with certain parts thereof collapsed to a compact disposition.
For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawing the form which is presently preferred, it being understood, however, that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities there shown.
Referring now to the drawing in detail, wherein like numerals indicate like elements, there is shown in FIG. 1 an illustration of the collapsible standard of the present invention designated generally at 10. As illustrated, the collapsible standard may be opened and extended to the support disposition shown in FIG. 1, or collapsed to the fiat, compact disposition shown in FIG. 2.
An upright tubular holder is provided for the support of a staff, pole, rod, or the like. As shown, the holder 20 is an elongated, hollow cylindrical tube, which has an open end for the reception of objects to be supice ported. The tubular holder 20 may be hollow throughout, allowing the object supported to rest on a surface below the holder, or appropriate stops (not shown) may be provided either on the object or within the holder, as desired. It is understood, of course, thatthe holder 20 need not necessarily be hollow, since the objects to be supported may themselves be hollow to receive the holder 20 for support thereon. Also, the cylindrical configuration is not essential, since any general tubular shape is satisfactory, for example, hexagonal, octangular, etc. Although the holder 20 may be fabricated out of a plastic, cardboard, or even wooden material, a more durable metal would be preferred, such as a lightweight aluminum or steel.
Means on said holder for connection thereto are provided by one or more of the collars 30, 32, which are slidably received thereon, and therefore are movable axially and rotationally with respect thereto. Flat sides 33, 35, 37 and 39 are provided at each of the collars 30, 32, respectively, which resemble and may be provided for by appropriate metal washers.
A plurality of legs 40, 41, in the case of the preferred embodiment four of such legs, extend outwardly from the holder 20, as shown. It is noted that each of the legs 49, 41 is formed out of a single elongated member, which in the illustration is a length of metal rod. Each of the legs 40, 41 has a pair of inner portions 42, 44 spaced apart along the holder 20 in the manner indicated. The inner portions 42, 44 each define a separate length along the respective legs, 40, 41, which is tangent to a point on the holder 20. It is easily visualized, with reference to the drawing, that those lengths extend past the tangent points to terminate therebeyond at butt ends 45, 47. The inner portions 42, 44 of each leg extend outward, and respectively form base continuations 48 and brace continuations 49. The base and brace continuations 48, 49 join, as shown, at an outer end 50 of each leg. Although it is not absolutely essential, it is preferred that the base and brace 48, 49 be relatively straight and be disposed, with respect to each other, to form an acute angle therebetween. In this manner, since the holder member 20 is afiixed across the inner portions 42, 44 of each leg, it is evident that a rigid triangular support is formed by the base and brace continuations 43, 49 and the holder 20.
Two of the legs 40 are a pair having the inner portions 42, 44 affixed on the collars 30, 32 at flat sides 35, 37, respectively, in any suitable manner, for example, by soldaring or welding. The remaining two legs 41, are a pair with their inner portions 42, 44 affixed in a similar manner, directly on the holder 29 at tangent points thereto. In either case, each pair of legs 40, 41 has legs at opposite sides of the holder 20 in a parallel disposition with each leg of the pair extending in an opposite direction, as shown.
The inner portions 42, 44 of each of the legs 41 are at two levels spaced apart along the holder 26. In this manner the legs 41 define an enclosed length of holder 20 therebetween. As shown, the collars 30, 32 are on the holder within the enclosed length portion thereof, between the inner portions 42, 44 of legs 41. Thus, it is apparent that the collars 30-, 32 are contained on the holder 20 thereby. The flat side 35 of collar 30 is common to the inner portions 42 of all the legs 40, 41, that is, it bears against all when spread to the open disposition illustrated in FIG. 1. On the other hand, the collar 32 separates the inner portions 44 of the pairs of legs 40, 41. It is essential that a common side be provided by at least one of the collars, to engage against the inner portions of all legs at a common level. Engagement by common side 35 aligns all the inner portions 42 at the same level. Thus, the butt ends 45 will be aligned to abut against adjoining inner portions 42, one against another, to interlock the legs 40, 41 in the open support disposition as shown in FIG. 1. As illustrated, inner portions 42 form an interlocking square circumferentially around the holder 2%. This provides a solid and reliable support which cannot of its own accord collapse. Collar 32; connects the base continuations 48 of legs 49 on the holder 20 and also provides a separation allowing the legs 49, 4-1 to be turned with respect to each other. However, it is understood, of course, that inner portions 44 could likewise be affixed on collar 32 at a common side, say at 39, to provide a similar interlock thereat.
The elasticity of legs .0 also provides a means to bias to allow a slight tlcxture thereof, as indicated in phantom on FIG. 1. Thus, the collar 30 may be moved axially out of engagement to displace the inner portions 42 thereon, out of the interlocking level. Then it is possible to rotate the legs it 41 together to the collapsed disposition, as shown in FIG. 2.
The elasticity ol legs 40 also provides a means to bias the collars 30, 32 apart and into engagement against inner portions 42, 44 of legs 46'. A rotation 01 legs 40, 41 apart, then disposes them in a spread support position, automatically interlocked by the aforesaid bias. Other arrangements of the legs 48 and collars 3t), 32 are available to provide a similar biasing means. For example, the collars 39, 32 could be located on the holder 29 outside of the inner portions 42, 44 of legs 41. Then the elasticity of legs must be in a direction biasing the collars together. Yet again, the biasing could be provided by gravity instead of the elasticity of legs 40.
It is also possible to provide a suitable stand of the present invention employing less than four legs. Thus it is evident that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or potential attributes thereof, and, accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification as indicating the scope of the invention.
1. A collapsible standard, comprising: a tubular holder; means thereon for connection to said holder, said means being movable axially and rotationally with respect thereto; and a plurality of legs extending outward from said holder, some of said legs having inner portions aflixcd to said means, the remainder of said legs having inner portions afiixed directly to said holder, said means in engagement against said inner portions of all said legs when spread in a support disposition to abut and thereby interlock said inner portions, one against another, yet said means movable axially out of said engagement to unlock r said disposition and thereby enable said standard to be collapsed by rotation together of said legs.
2. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 1, including means to bias said means for connection into said engagement.
3. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 2, wherein said means for connection includes a collar around said holder which is slideable, axially and rotationally with respect thereto, said collar having a flat common sid for affixture of said inner portions of some of said legs, said common side aligning said inner portions of all said legs at a level during said engagement, yet said collar slideable axially from said level out of said engagement.
4. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 3, wherein said inner portions of all said legs define lengths tangent to points on said holder, said lengths extending A: across said points to include buttends therebeyond, said engagement presenting at said level said butt ends against adjoining of said lengths, respectively, to interlock said inner portions together.
5. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 1, wherein said means are separate collars around said holder which are slidable with respect thereto, and said legs each having apair of said inner portions spaced apart along said holder, said inner portions defining lengths tangent to points on said holder, said lengths extending across said points to include butt ends therebeyond, said pair of inner portions of some of said legs being afiixed, each one of said pair thereof, on a respective one of said collars, and at least one of said collars having a flat common side aligning said inner portions of all said legs at a level during said engagement to present said butt ends against adjoining of said lengths, respectively, for an interlocking of said inner portions-together, said one of said collars also movable axially. from said level out of-said engagement.
6. A collapsible standard in accordance with'claim 5, wherein said legs affixed on said collars have elasticity urging said pair of inner portions of each in a direction to bias said fiat common side of said collar into saidengagement.
7. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 5,
wherein said remainder of said legs have said pair of innor portions of each, both portions thereof, atlixed directly on said holder at said tangent points to define an enclosed length of said holder therebetween, said collars being contained on said enclosed length thereby, and said legs afiixed on said collars having elasticity urging said pair of inner portions of each apart to bias said fiat common side of said collar into said engagement against said inner portions atlixed directly on said holder, said elasticity also enabling a fiexure together of said inner portions afiixed on said collars, against said bias, to axially slide said collar out of said engagement.
8. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 7, wherein each of said legs is a single elongated member including outward base and brace continuations from said pair of inner portions, respectively, said base and brace continuations disposed to form an acute angle therebe-,
tween as Well as a rigid triangular support configuration with said holder.
9. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 8, wherein said standard has two collars and four legs, two of said legs being afiixed on said collars at opposite sides of said holder in a parallel disposition with each leg extending in an opposite direction, the remaining two of said legs being aifixed directly on opposite sides of said holder at said tangent points in a parallel disposition with each leg extending in an opposite direction, said inner portions of all said legs interlocking in a square around said holder when in said engagement.
10. A collapsible standard in accordance with claim 9, wherein said collars are flat washers and said legs are elongated rod members.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 781,552 1/1905 Rick 248-46 803,308 10/1905 Rick 248-46 ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner.
F. DOMOTOR, Assistant Examiner.