US 3624732 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
O Umted States Patent 1111 3,624,732
 Inventor Lloyd N. Bowden 2,805,109 9/1957 Kopmar 108/25 204 HeadlngtonCourt, Tlmonlum, Md. 2,765,999 10/1956 Baker 248/246X  AppLNo. 38,925 930,406 8/1909 McDonald 248/ 188.5  Filed May20, 1970 3,167,292 l/1965 Meyerowitz... 248/161 X  Patented Nov. 30,1971 3,245,365 4/1966 Doherty 248/246 X 1,107,075 8/1914 Karges 248/414 X 2,190,222 2/1940 Strasser 108/148 X 1 1 BEACH UMBRELLA TABLE 3,424,111 l/l969 Maslow..... 248/412 whimm s e 1,156,083 10/1915 Karges... 248/414  U.S.Cl 108/50, 3,940 2/ 1966 Tooley 108/25 X 248/414 Primary Examiner-Francis K. Zugel  Ill. Cl "A471! 37/04 Anomey john F c n SL  Field Search 103/50, 152, 151, 149, 148, 106, 144, 22, 20; 248/414,
412, 161,411, 244, 245, 246, 188.5 ABSTRACT: A quick-adjustment, self-protective beach umbrella tray with a central sleeve having special means for 1 Rehnlmcm fitting umbrella shafts, including in various embodiments UNITED STATES PATENTS spring retention with and without cooperative thimble inserts.
2971,656 2/1961 Shofi'ner 10s/27x The labk isvwvided with meswsforreceivins sundry clesandinoneembodimentwithstiffeningribs.
! l I l X L 1 l I I L.... b 1,- J U C 4 2a 30 W Z 22 \Mi M PATENTEDuuv 30 I9" INVENTOR LLOYD N. BOWDEN FIG. 3
ATTORNEY BEACH UMBRELLA TABLE This invention relates generally to tables, and specifically to tables or tray attachments for beach umbrellas.
Such attachments are used to adapt beach umbrellas for supporting objects under shelter.
Among the objects supported are cigarette packages, liquid refreshments in bottles or glasses, sunglasses, purses, and the like. The objects are sheltered by the canopy of the umbrella from sun and sudden showers, and by the tray structure from sand, loss, and from the damage to which delicate or perishable objects would be exposed if left on the sand, or on spread towels.
Ideally a beach umbrella tray or table attachment should be cheap enough for discard after a few uses, but sturdy enough to last several seasons. It should be functionally effective to promote relaxation, not exasperation, in the user. It should grip the umbrella structure without necessity for complex fittings, it should be flexibly adjustable for plural uses, convenient, self-protective, and attractive.
In the past, various tables have been disclosed which answer one or more of these requirements, but in general all have been relatively inconvenient to adjust, inflexible in use, complex, and expensive. As a result, most people have never seen one of these devices in use on the beach, despite the commercial potential inherent in the general concept.
Objects therefore of the present invention are to provide a simple, cheap-to-manufacture, easy-to-use, versatile, attractive durable beach umbrella tray or table which will make available to millions of people a convenience on the beach long needed but never practically realized, and which will be easily disposable when no longer needed. I embody this invention in a rimmed circular tray or table having recesses for objects held and an integral central sleeve for encircling the shaft of a beach umbrella and gripping it tangentially with a spring or springs affixed to the sleeve.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following description, including the drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevation, partially in section, of an embodiment of my invention in use in typical surroundings;
FIG. 2 is a section of a sleeve assembly of an embodiment of my invention gripping an umbrella shaft;
FIG. 3 is a section of a detail in elevation of a bodiment of my invention; and
FIG. 4 is a perspective of a further embodiment of my invention in use.
Now referring in detail to the Figures, FIG. I shows an embodiment I of my table invention in use, supported by a beach umbrella having a shaft S embedded in sand of a beach B. The table consists of a circular or a polygonal flat surface 16 having an upstanding rim 18 around the periphery. A sleeve or hub 20 centrally integral with the table surface receives shaft S of the umbrella. One wall of the sleeve has an opening 22 through it, communicating from the outside of the sleeve through to the bore 34.
A flat strip spring 24 is afiixed to the lower end of the sleeve as by a rivet 26 and passes to the bore of the sleeve through opening 22. In the bore, spring 24 engages shaft S of the umbrella under heavy spring pressure, supporting the table by friction. The upper end 28 of the spring is free, and is recurved to the exterior of the sleeve, where it safely presses against the under surface of the table.
Shaped recesses 30 for liquid containers L are provided at regular intervals about the center of the table, and protruded below the bottom surface of the table as shown. Similar recesses 32 may be provided for tobacco containers T, lotions, and the like.
This structure offers many advantages over the clamps and screws of the prior art. First of all, the table can be made of lighter and cheaper materials than if it were rigidly aflixed to the shaft. If someone attempts to overload it with a heavy object such as a large chest of ice, the table does not bend or break. It simply yields under the load and slides down the shaft, eventually coming to rest on the sand, where it is sup further emported in part by the protrusions 30, so that possibility for damage is minimized.
The spring mechanism is simple and unaffected by sand. since there are no metal-to-metal working parts such as screws and nuts. For this reason, installation of the table on the shaft can be very easy. The table can be laid directly on the sand (with contents in place if desired) and the shaft forced downward through the sleeve.
Height adjustment of the table on the shaft, such as necessary for the convenience of a user who changes from an upright position in a chair C to a reclining position, requiring a low table position as indicated by the phantom outline at a, is very easy. This is merely a matter of sliding the table to the height required. A similar very useful change in height in the other direction can be made quickly and easily also. When the users decide to go into the water or elsewhere, leaving their drinks, cigarettes, sunglasses, lotions, keys, and the like unattended, they can simply slide the table up under the canopy of the umbrella U. Phantom outline b indicates this position. Small children, vandals, dogs, etc. will be less able and less tempted to interfere with the possessions on the table in the extreme upward location and wind and sand are less problem.
Some variation in shaft size among beach umbrellas of different designs is to be expected. For example, friction hinges H are often larger in diameter than the shafts S and S, which are hinged together.
To avoid misfits and jams, I prefer to make the bore 34 of sleeve 20 oversize, and the spring design shown in FIG. I automatically accommodates protrusions such as hinges, and tightens on smaller shafts.
FIG. 2, a section through the top of an opening 222, looking down, shows provision of a second spring 224' at an acute angle about shaft S to spring 224. This three-point contact arrangement assures a reliable support for the table, even with greatly undersize shafts. A further feature of the invention will be seen also in FIG. 2. The springs make tangential contact with the circular section of the shaft and are guided by the edges of openings 222, so that it is impossible for the edges of the springs to dig into the shafts. Thus, when a user wants a cigarette from the opposite side of the table, as in FIG. I. he simply rotates the table to bring the object to him.
FIG. 3 shows an alternative provision for adapting the bore 334 of the sleeve 320 to fit small umbrella shafts. Thimble 336, which is preferably of plastic, shims the table assembly, the bore 338 of the thimble being smaller than that of the sleeve 320 by a predetermined amount.
Several of these thimbles of different sizes can be supplied for each table with little extra cost, if desired. The thimbles are not easily lost, once installed, since the engagement of spring 324 with the sides, top and bottom of slot 340 makes the thimble self-retaining. An enlarged upper rim 342 can be provided to make insertion and removal of the thimble easier, although this is not necessary.
As indicated at joint 360, the table surface 316 may be attached to sleeve 320 by screws 362, if the table surface and sleeve are of different materials, such as plastic and metal, or are otherwise not molded of one piece or joined integrally.
FIG. 4 indicates additional advantages and structural features of my invention. In FIG. 4 umbrella shaft S is inserted at an angle in the sand of beach B, as for shielding against a low sun. Even at this angle the table does not require leveling, since liquid containers, such as L, are firmly held in the inserts 430 provided, and will not slide. Any slight spillage is retained by rim 418.
Rim 418 in conjunction with radial struts 444 also greatly stiffens and strengthens the table. Extreme stiffness of constructions is feasible, even with cheap brittle plastics. since no part of the plastic is required to flex to assure a tight fit on a shaft; spring 424 takes up the slack as previously explained.
Materials suitable for making the table range from polyethylene through more rigid and brittle plastics to thingauge mild steel sheet. A one-piece plastic molding is preferred for the table and sleeve. Since the spring is relatively small, plastic embodiments can be readily incinerated for disposal when desired, leaving almost no residue.
Obviously many modifications and variations of the present 3 invention are possible in light of the above teachings. lt is,
therefore. to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
1. A beach umbrella tray assembly comprising: table means; sleeve means integral with the table means; said sleeve means having a bore for receiving an umbrella shaft and an opening through the wall into the bore; means integral with said assembly for resilient engagement with a said beach umbrella shaft, including a flat spring vertically deployed for tangential engagement of the width thereof with said beach umbrella shaft, one end of said spring being attached to the sleeve, the other end of said spring being free and terminating exterior the sleeve proximate the underside of the table means, and a second said spring similarly disposed in an opening in the sleeve at an acute angle about the axis of the sleeve to the first said opening.
2. A beach umbrella tray assembly comprising: table means; sleeve means integral with the table means; said sleeve means having a bore for receiving an umbrella shaft and an opening through the wall into the bore; means integral with said assembly for resilient engagement with a said beach umbrella shaft including a fiat spring vertically deployed for tangential engagement of the width thereof with said beach umbrella shaft, one end of said spring being attached to the sleeve, the other end of said spring being free and terminating exterior the sleeve proximate the underside of the table means, and thimble means for insertion in the upper end of said sleeve means for thereby reducing the size of the bore in the sleeve means.
3. A beach umbrella tray assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein the thimble means has an opening through the wall thereof receiving said spring therethrough.
4. A beach umbrella tray assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein one end of the thimble means is greater in radial dimension than said bore in the sleeve.