US 3461890 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 19, 1969 5.4. aooomcu 3,461
FLBXIB LY SUPPORTED ENCLOSURE FOR OUTDOOR AREA Filed Nov. 24, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. BURTON J. GOODRICH ATTORNEY g 9 a. J. GOODRICH 3,461,890
FIJEXIBLIY SUPPORTED ENCLOSURE FOR OUTDOOR ARER- I Filed Nov. 24. 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 5
BURTON J. GOODRICH ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,461,890 FLEXIBLY SUPPORTED ENCLOSURE FOR OUTDOOR AREA Burton J. Goodrich, 9535 SW. Lancaster Road, Portland, Oreg. 97219 Filed Nov. 24, 1967, Ser. No. 685,507 Int. Cl. E04b 1/347; A45f 1/16; E04h 3/16 US. Cl. 1351 2 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A tent-like structure for enclosing swimming pools and other outdoor areas, consisting of flexible expansive supports, restrained and contained by a pliant sheet covering material, especially constructed and arranged.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The device of the present invention has been developed primarily' as a housing or enclosure for outdoor swimming pools and in this connection is similar, in some respects, to the swimming pool enclosures described in United States Letters Patent No. 3,143,122, dated Aug. 4, 1964, entitled Flexibly Supported Enclosure for Outdoor Swimming Poo and in United States Letters Patent No. 2,964,759, dated Dec. 20, 1960, entitled Frame for Swimming Pool Cover, to which prior patents reference is to be made.
While the present invention is not to be understood as limited in use to outdoor swimming pools, since the invention can be satisfactorily employed similarly in providing enclosures for other outdoor areas, including areas of larger size, nevertheless, since probably the greatest utility of this invention is as a housing or enclosure for swimming pools, it will be illustrated and described as so employed.
The purpose of such an enclosure for outdoor swimming pools is primarily to enable the swimming pool to be used when the outside weather is too cold or too unpleasant to enable practical and comfortable use of the pool to be made when the pool is exposed entirely to the open air. An outside enclosure of the type with which this invention is concerned, namely an enclosure in which a pliant sheet material provides the top and side walls of the housing or enclosure, must provide support means for the pliant sheet which can absorb or cushion strains or loads imposed on the covering by winds and storms and even heavy snows. It is also important that the pliant sheet be supported in such manner that rain and melting snow will drain oif rapidly, that the pliant sheet will be held reasonably taut during various stresses and strains and changes in temperature to which the structure may be subjected, and that the support means be not only flexible but also sutficiently resilient so as to return to normal position when relieved of exceptional strains and loads which may temporarily cause the support means to be thrust out of normal shape or position.
In the swimming pool enclosure described in the above mentioned US. Patent No. 3,143,122 the covering for the enclosure is held up by two rows of posts located respectively near opposite sides of the enclosure. One row of posts is much shorter than the other in order to provide a necessary slope for the roof portion of the enclosure. Consequently this enclosure has the less desirable feature of being much higher along one side than along the other, and furthermore it is more difficult to keep the pliant sheet covering in the roof portion of this enclosure from sagging considerably in the comparatively long span between the two rows of poles at opposite sides.
In the swimming pool enclosure described in the above 3,461,890 Patented Aug. 19., 1969 "ice mentioned US. Patent No. 2,694,759 the covering for the enclosure is supported on a series of metal arched members which are held at their bottom ends. These members are not spring-mounted or even resilient in themselves. If they were to be bent downwardly in the center, for example by the weight of snow piling up on the top of the enclosure, they would not subsequently spring back to normal position. Furthermore, these members do not expand longitudinally at the same rate and under the same conditions as would govern the'stretching of the plastic sheet material serving as the covering for the enclosure, and consequently would not act to retain the covering sheet properly taut at all times. The enclosure described in this patent is more of the nature of a rigid frame structure supporting a covering sheet and therefore static, heavier, subject to permanent deformation, and also more diflicult to dismantle and store away.
.SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION To overcome these objections the present invention provides improved means for supporting the covering sheet for the enclosure, such improved support means consisting either entirely or in part of resilient arches, each of which is formed from a plastic tube, preferably of from 1 /2 to 3 inches outside diameter, which is bowed into arcuate shape so as to form an arch of the desired size, and which is maintained in such shape by holding means engaging the two bottom ends of the arch. It has been found that when an arch, of sufiicient length, for example, to span an ordinary swimming pool, is formed of such a plastic tube, secured at its two bottom ends and held in a substantially vertical plane, as in this case, for example, by the plastic covering sheet of the enclosure, the resulting arch member will have such resilience that, when subjected to a downward pressure in the top portion sufiicient to deform the arch downwardly temporarily, it will immediately spring back to its proper arcuate shape as soon as the deforming pressure is removed. Also, such a tubular plastic arch, held in compression by springs, will automatically expand and contract in the longitudinal direction while holding the covering material taut (in tension) as it changes its size, under temperature changes as Well as from outside forces such as wind, rain and snow. Furthermore, the covering sheet itself serves as the tensioning element for the composite structure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a swimming pool enclosure in which the plastic sheet covering is shown supported entirely by a plurality of resilient arches, each formed from plastic tubing, a portion of the covering sheet being shown broken away for clarity;
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevation of the enclosure of FIG. 1 taken on line 22 of FIG. 1, but drawn to a larger scale, the full lines indicating the normal position of a supporting bowed resilient tubular arch member and the broken lines indicating temporarily changed positions which the arch member and adjacent portion of the sheet covering might be caused to assume under some excessive external weight or pressure;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary elevation corresponding in part to FIG. 2 but drawn to a still larger scale, showing the mounting for one end of each arch member, with a portion of such mounting shown broken away for clary;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary section on line 44 of FIG. 2 drawn to a larger scale;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a swimming pool enclosure in which the plastic sheet covering is supported in part by the resilient tubular plastic arches and in part by flexibly and resiliently mounted posts;
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring first to FIGS. 1 to 4 inclusive, the outdoor enclosure of these figuresconstitutes a tent-like structure surrounding and extending entirely over a rectangular swimming pool 10, the tent-like structure comprising a pliant covering sheet 11 stretched over a plurality of resilient arch members 12. The covering sheet 11 is held down firmly on all four sides of the enclosure by suitable means, for example by 2 x 4 inch wooden strips 13 which are clamped down by bolts 14 anchored in the pavement 15 around the swimming pool. It is highly desirable that the covering sheet be maintained in substantially taut condition at all times. The pliant material forming the covering sheet 11 for the enclosure preferably is made of a series of strong vinyl plastic sheets secured together.
Each of the arch members 12 consists of a length of plastic pipe or tubing, for example, tubing of polyvinyl chloride, having an outside diameter of preferably from 1 /2 to 3 inches. As previously mentioned, it has been found that such plastic tubing can be bent to a limited extent into curved or arcuate shape without breaking and without losing its strength or resiliency. The two ends of the plastic pipe from which each arch member is composed are held in place respectively by a pair of identical mounting assemblies 16 secured at opposite sides respectively in the enclosure. One of these mounting assemblies is shown in detail in FIG. 3. Each mounting assembly includes a tube 17 of metal or plastic, having an outside diameter slightly less than the inside diameter of the arch member and arranged to be slid into the end of the arch member. The bottom end of the mounting tube 17 in turn is held in place by being set over a bolt 19 firmly mounted in the pavement 15. A bolt 20 is extended transversely through the end portion of the arch member in the relative location shown in FIG. 3, and a coil spring 22 is placed in the end portion of the arch member so that the top of the coil spring will engage the bolt 20 and the bottom end of the spring will be engaged by the top end of the tube 17.
In forming and mounting each arch member 12 a piece of the plastic tubing of the proper length to form an arch of the desired size is used and, after being passed through a positioning loop 23 (FIG. 4) attached to the inside face of the plastic covering sheet 11 at the proper location for the top of the arch with respect to the covering sheet, and, with a bolt 20 extending through each end portionof the arch member 12, the member 12 is bowed into arcuate or arch form and the spring 22 and mounting tube 17 are inserted in each of the arch member, whereupon the bottom ends of the mounting tubes are set in place over their respective bolts 19. The tendency of the plastic tube to return to a straight line position causes the ends of the arch member and their respective mounting tubes 17 to be held firmly engaged by the bolts 19. secured in the pavement at opposite sides of the enclosure. When all the arch members for the enclosure have been mounted in place the bottom edges of the covering sheet 11 are pulled down sufficiently to stretch the sheet covering taut and also to cause the springs 22 in the mounting assemblies to he placed under compression. The bottom edges of the covering sheet are fastened down ,firmly by suitable fastening means, such, for example, as the wooden holding strips 13, and the enclosure will then be in the position indicated in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The taut sheet covering thus cooperates with the springs 22 and resilient arch members in maintaining the entire structure under tension.
Should the set-up enclosure, with each of the supporting arch members positioned as shown in full lines in FIG.. 2, then be subjected to an external force or pressure sufliciently severe to cause any-of the arch members to be temporarily deformed, the resiliency of the arch members will enable them momentarily to accommodate themselves to such situation. For example, such excessive force could cause an arch member to be temporarily deformed into one of the two positions indicated by the broken lines in FIG. 2. However, such deformation will not result in a damaging or weakening of the arch member, and as soon as the excessive external pressure is discontinued the arch member will immediatelyresume the normal arcuate or arch shape into which it was originally forced by its engagement with the pair of holding mounting assemblies. This, together with the fact that the covering for the enclosure exerts a tensioning hold on the resilient arch members, are novel and outstanding features of the invention.
As previously mentioned, the pliant covering 11 for the enclosure preferably consists of vinyl plastic sheet material since such plastic sheeting has proved much more desirable for such use than cotton canvas or other fabric material. Although plastic sheeting of this type expands or contracts with decrease or increase in temperature, the spring-loaded plastic arch members will also expand or contract longitudinally to offset the differential and maintain a balance of forces within the structure as a whole. Consequently the use of tubular plastic arch members for supporting the plastic sheet covering for the enclosure makes it possible for the sheet covering to remain taut at all times. This is another advantageous feature of the invention. As is well known, any looseness of the covering sheet in such an enclosure, allowing flapping of the sheet with the wind, is highly undesirable.
In the modified construction shown in FIGS. 5 to 8 the resilient arch members 12' for the plastic sheet covering 11' are spaced somewhat further apart and a pair of flexibly mounted posts 24 are spaced between each pair of arch members and located in opposite sides of the enclosure respectively to combine with the arch members in resiliently supporting the sheet covering. Thus the posts 24 are arranged in a pair of rows in opposite sides of the enclosure and slope upwardly and outwardly, the two rows sloping outwardly in opposite directions. Each post 24 carries a sleeve cap 25 adjustably held in place in the top of the post by a set screw, which cap supports the covering sheet 11' at the post, the covering sheet being provided with a hole for each post end and these holes preferably being reinforced by suitable metal eyelets to prevent any tearing of the covering sheet at these post holes. The posts 24 preferably are made of lightweight metal, such as aluminum, and are of smaller diameter than the arch members 12' in this modified construction.
Each post 24 is provided at the bottom end with a flexible resilient mounting support comprising a sleeve 26 (FIG. 7) into which the post is inserted. The sleeve 26 is pivotally supported on the cross pin 27 which in turn is supported on an eye bolt 28 secured in the pavement 15, the eye bolt 28 and cross pin 27 being so arranged as to allow the sleeve 26, and therewith the post 24, considerable pivotal movement. A coil spring 29 in the sleeve 26 rests on the cross pin 27, its upper end being engaged by the bottom of the post 24, and normally is held under compression by the downward pressure imposed on and by' the post.
- Thus in this modified construction the posts 24 combine with the arch members 12 in providing resilient and flexible support means for the plastic sheet covering 11',
enabling the plastic sheet covering, when properly secured at its bottom edges, to be kept taut at all times and making it possible for the struuture to endure temporary deforming external pressures and then to return to normal shape as soon as such pressures subside, substantially the same as previously described with reference to the structure represented in FIGS. 1 to 4 inclusive. Each of the arch members 12' in this modified construction passes through a loop 23', similar to the positioning loop 23 shown in FIG. 4, attached to the inside face of the plastic covering sheet 11', which loop similarly holds the arch member 12' in a substantially vertical plane.
1. A tent-like enclosure structure for an outdoor area including a pliant covering sheet of plastic material, a plurality of flexible resilient supporting arches for said covering sheet, each of said arches consisting of a single tube of plastic material having an inner and an outer cylindrical surface and capable of bending into bowed shape under end compression, pairs of mounting assemblies on opposite sides of said enclosure for holding the respective ends of said arches and normally maintaining them in bowed shape, said arches, when held by said mounting assemblies, not only providing the structure with resilient resistance to outside pressure but also being capable of being temporarily deformed by sufficiently severe outside pressure on the structure and then immediately returning to normal position upon abatement of such outside pressure, a ground member in each assembly, means for holding the bottom end of said ground member in place on the ground surfacing, said member having telescoping engagement with the corresponding end portion of the arch, spring means in said mounting assembly for exerting a longitudinal resilient thrust against said end portion of the arch, means for maintaining said arches in' 'substantially vertical planes, and means for securing the bottom edges of said covering sheet firmly to the ground surfacing with said covering sheet in taut and tensioning condition, whereby said covering sheet will remain in taut position on said arches and said arches Will be held under compression under various conditions of service, and said arches and said covering sheet will provide the structure with flexible and resilient resistance to external pressure.
2. The enclosure structure as described in claim 1 with the addition of a plurality of flexibly mounted resilient post assemblies cooperating with said arches in supporting said covering sheet and positioned intermediate said arches.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,928,403 3/ 1960 Hoskins 3 3,052,249 9/1962 Seam-an et a1 13515 XR 3,143,122 8/1964 Goodrich 135-45 XR 3,165,110 1/1965 Brooks 1353 XR KENNETH DOWNEY, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 4-l72