US 3582028 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1,528,883 3/1925 Lindquist  Inventor JohnG.Purdy FOREIGN PATENTS 6/ 191 1 708 Mary St., Dowagiac, Mich. 49047 753,141
13,265 Great Britain............,... 618,971 3/1961 Italy 104,763 6/1942 Sweden Primary Examiner-Marion Parsons, J r.
[21 Appl. No.  Filed Aug. 16, 1968  Patented June 1, 197] 1 TREE HOLDER Attorney-Woodhams, Blanchard and Flynn 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
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the container. The legs are connected to the container near y manually adjustable means for  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS the lower ends thereof b changing the locations of t he lower ends of said legs relative to e container. Four resiliently flexible e inner side of said container for enthe lengthwise extent of th elements are secured to th gaging the butt of a tree extending into the container and for resisting lateral movement of the butt with respect to the contamer.
IIIIZ/ TREE HOLDER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to a Christmas tree holder and, more particularly, to a type thereof having resilient means capable of adapting itself automatically to engage and properly hold tree butts of various sizes and shapes and having means for adjusting relatively the positions of supporting legs in a vertical direction.
It is common knowledge that the butt on a Christmas tree is often crooked or irregular in cross-sectional shape. Moreover, Christmas tree holders or standards are usually carried over from year to year for repeated use and it is at least rare that the butt of'the Christmas tree used during any given year is of precisely the same size and shape as the butt of a Christmas tree used during the preceding or next year. Numerous attempts have been made over a long period of time to provide a Christmas tree holder which would automatically adapt itself to irregularities in the size and shape of the butt of the Christmas tree while still holding the Christmas tree firmly in an upright condition-Numerous attempts have also been made to provide a satisfactory Christmas tree holder having a container for holding a liquid into which the butt of the tree is received.
In addition to the foregoing, it has been recognized that Christmas tree standards are usually provided with three legs in order to have a tripod effect and thereby eliminate the problem of irregularities in the supporting surface. However, it is known that Christmas trees supported by standards having three legs often tip over because three legs do not provide sufficient stability unless the legs are made so long as to be unsightly or obstructive to walking near the tree. Furthermore, it a conventional container is mounted on legs and the tree butt is crooked, it is often necessary to tilt the holder at an unsafe angle to locate the main part of the tree in an upright position.
Accordingly, a primary object of this invention has been the provision of a container-type Christmas tree holder having uniformly disposed legs and automatically adjustable means for engaging the butt of a Christmas tree, even though said butt may be irregular in shape or crooked, and holding the tree in an upright position.
A further object of this invention has been the provision ofa tree holder, as aforesaid, having means for adjusting the positions of the surface-engaging ends of the legs in a vertical direction hence, lengthwise of the container.
Other objects and purposes of this invention will become apparent to persons familiar with this type of equipment upon reading the following specification and examining the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tree holder embodying the invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view takenvalong the line ll-Il in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a fragment of FIG. 2 and showing the butt of a tree in its held position.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the linelV-IV in FIG. 3.
For convenience in description, the terms upper," lower and words of similar import will have reference to the tree holder embodying the invention as appearing in FIG. 1. The terms inner, outer and derivatives thereof will have reference to the geometric center of said tree holder and parts thereof.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The objects and purposes of the invention, including those set forth above, have been met by providing an upwardly opening an vertically elongated container having four or more legs secured to the external wall of the container and extending both downwardly and outwardly from said wall. A plurality of uniformly spaced, resiliently flexible elements are secured within said container for engaging the butt of a tree disposed within said container which is adapted to hold a liquid. Adjustment means is connected between the lower end of the container and adjacent portions of the legs for changing the positions therebetween whereby the locations of the lower ends of said legs can be adjusted in a direction lengthwise of the container.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawings, numeral 10 designates the tree holder of the present invention which is primarily intended to support a Christmas tree 11 in an upright position while maintaining the butt 13 thereof moist. The tree holder 10 consists of an upwardly opening elongated container 12 which is preferably cylindrical and which is supported on a surface by thefourlegs14, 15,16 and 17.
The elongated cylindrical container 12 has a sidewall 18 which is preferably about twice as large in diameter as the average tree which the tree holder 10 is to support. The elongated cylindrical container 12 also includes a bottom wall 19 which is secured within the container 12 and spaced upwardly from the lower edge of sidewall 18, thereby providing in effect a downwardly extending skirt 21 for purposes hereinafter described. The container 12 may be constructed of light gauge metal and the bottom 19 may be secured in place by welding, thereby providing a watertight, upwardly opening container which may be filled with water.
The legs 14, 15, 16 and 17 may be substantially identical and therefore leg 14, only, will be described in detail herein.
Leg 14 (.FIG. 2) may be formed from a piece of angle stock which is V-shaped in cross section and includes a pair of flanges 22 and 23. The leg 14 has a straight upper portion 24, the upper end of which is secured to the sidewall 18 by bolt 26, with the apex of the V-shape pointing away from sidewall 18. The leg 14 has a lower portion 27 which is curved outwardly and downwardly from the sidewall 18 at a point 30 thereon spaced upwardly from the bottom wall 19.
An adjustment bolt 28 extends through an opening 31 in portion 27 of leg 14 near the skirt 2] and through an opening 36 through the skirt 21. Thus, the adjustment bolt 28 is spaced downwardly from point 30 on sidewall 18. The nut 29 on bolt 28 can be engaged from beneath the wall 19 of the tree holder 10. When the adjustment bolt 28 is tightened, thereby drawing the curved portion 27 of leg 14 closer to the sidewall 18, the lower end 37 is moved downwardly and inwardly relative to the container 12, thereby increasing the effective vertical length ofleg 14.
The tree holder 10 has a plurality, here four, of gripping elements 32, 33, 34 and 35 disposed within the container 12 for holding the butt 13 of the tree 11 in a selected position within the container 12. The gripping elements 32, 33, 34 and 35 are substantially identical and therefore gripping element 32, only, will be described herein. The gripping element 32 is preferably constructed of a resilient and flexible material, such as spring steel, and is formed from an elongated, flat strip of such material into a curved shape. Gripping element 32 may be held at its upper end to sidewall 18 of container 12 by the bolt 26, which also secures the upper end of the leg 14. The gripping element 32 has a substantially U-shaped central portion 38 which opens toward the sidewall 18, and extends in its unstressed condition of FIG. 2 substantially to the central axis of the container 12. The gripping element 32 has an inwardly curved, lower portion 39 which facilitates easy upward and downward movement of said lower portion of the gripping element 32 along the wall 18 when a tree butt is being inserted into or removed from the tree holder 10. The gripping element 32 preferably extends substantially the full length of the cylindrical container 12. However, it is preferably of such length that it does not contact the bottom wall 19 at any time.
The tree 11 has lower branches 42 which are engageable with the upper edge 43 of the sidewall 18 for maintaining the lower end of the butt I3 spaced upwardly from the bottom wall 19 of the container.
OPERATION Although the operation of the structure embodying the invention will be apparent from the foregoing description, a summary thereof will now be set forth.
The tree holder is first placed in the desired location where it is to support a Christmas tree 11. Since the tree holder 10 has four legs it will provide greater stability while in use than will a tree holder which has only three legs. However, if the surface on which the tree holder is to be supported is not level, or if the legs are not perfectly aligned, the four legs may not all contact the supporting surface at one time. lf such is the case, the tree holder 10 will have a tendency to rock. in order to eliminate this, the effective length of one or more of the legs can be increased until all four are in equal engagement with the supporting surface. To do so the nut 29 of the adjustment bolt 28 on the short leg, such as 14, is tightened until leg 14 has the appropriate length. Alternatively, one or more of the longer legs may be shortened by loosening their adjustment bolt.
Once the legs are appropriately adjusted, the butt 13 oftree 11 is inserted into the elongated cylindrical container 12 and as said butt 13 moves downwardly, it engages and spreads the gripping elements 3235 and passes therebetween. Since the gripping elements are independent of each other, the tree holder is capable of holding trees of various sizes and shapes. Since the gripping elements 32-35 are of a resiliently flexible material, such as spring steel, they will resist outward movement by the butt 13 and thus tightly grip the butt 13 thereby securely holding the tree 11 in place. The tree 11 is removed from the tree holder 10 by pulling it upwardly away from the holder 10 so that the butt 13 of tree 11 slides out of the cylindrical container 12.
if the tree holder 10 is thereafter used in a different location where the supporting surface differs, the shorter leg may again be adjusted by bolt 28 until the legs 14, 15, 16 and 17 are in equal engagement with such supporting surface.
The lower end of the butt 13 is preferably cut off, if necessary, so that the upper edge 43 of the wall 18 is engaged by the lower branch or branches of the tree before the butt 13 can engage the bottom wall 19 of the container. This arrangement prevents rocking of the tree with respect to the container 12 around a horizontal axis. Further, since the lower end of the butt 13 cannot engage the bottom wall 19 of the container, the weight of the tree is primarily borne on the upper edge 43 of the wall 18 due to its engagement with the lower branch or branches of the tree. This support arrangement is desirable since, as is well known, the butt ofa tree is generally crooked, which crookedness is accommodated and compensated for in the tree holder of the present invention by means of the flexible gripping elements 32-35. Since the cross section of the container 12 is, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, substantially greater than the cross section of the butt 13, one or more of the flexible gripping elements 32-35 will resiliently deflect by a greater or lesser amount so as to accommodate for the crookedness of the butt, thereby enabling the tree to be maintained in the holder in a straight and upright position while at the same time the gripping elements 32-35 permit a secure gripping of the crooked butt of the tree to prevent same from rocking.
Although a particular preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed above for illustrative purposes, it will be understood that variations or modifications thereof which lie within the scope of the appended claims are fully contemplated.
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege I claim are defined as follows:
1. A tree holder for engaging the butt of a tree to hold said tree in an upright position, comprising:
an upwardly opening and elongated container means having sidewall means and a bottom wall, said bottom wall being spaced upwardly from the lower edge of said sidewall means to form a downwardl projecting skirt means;
gripping means for engaging t e butt of a tree and for maintaining the butt spaced from and out of contact with the sidewall means of said container means, said gripping means including a plurality of elongated and resiliently flexible gripping elements disposed within and extending lengthwise of said container means, one end of each gripping element being secured to said sidewall means and the central portion of each gripping element being normally bowed inwardly from said sidewall means toward the central lengthwise axis of the container means for engaging the butt of a tree;
four leg means secured to said container means and extending lengthwise along the outer surface of said sidewall means and substantially uniformly spaced therearound, each leg means having a substantially straight portion secured to said container means and extending downwardly along said container means to a point spaced upwardly from the lower edge of said sidewall means and a curved portion curving outwardly from said point and extending downwardly below said sidewall means; and adjustable fastening means further securing at least one of said leg means to said sidewall means for permitting adjustment in the location of the extended end ofthe curved portion of said leg means both lengthwise of and laterally of said container means, said fastening means including bolt means extending through said skirt means and through said curved portion of said leg means downwardly from said point for permitting the curved portion to be deflected relative to said container means.
2. A tree holder according to claim 1, wherein there are four substantially U-shaped gripping elements disposed uniformly around said container wall means and the upper ends of said gripping elements are firmly secured to said container means, and the lower ends of said gripping elements are slideably engageable with and movable along the inner surface of said container means.
3. A tree holder according to claim 1, wherein said container means is substantially cylindrical and said bottom wall is substantially flat, and said sidewall means has a diameter adjacent said bottom wall substantially greater than the diameter of the butt of the tree adapted to be disposed within the container means.
4. A tree holder according to claim 1, wherein said container means includes annular surface means provided adjacent the upper end thereof for engaging the lower branch of a tree for holding the tree in an upright position, said surface means defining the uppermost point of said tree holder.