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Publication numberUS3692035 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 19, 1972
Filing dateJan 27, 1971
Priority dateJan 27, 1971
Publication numberUS 3692035 A, US 3692035A, US-A-3692035, US3692035 A, US3692035A
InventorsJack W Houston
Original AssigneeJack W Houston
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Foldable umbrella
US 3692035 A
Abstract
A foldable umbrella comprising a plurality of substantially rigid umbrella sections, each of which is tapered inwardly toward the center of the umbrella and is positioned with respect to the other sections to collectively define the umbrella. A plurality of flexible elongated strips are connected to the side edge portions of the umbrella sections and extend throughout substantially the entire length thereof. Preferably, the strips are slidably connected to the umbrella sections so as to be removable and replaceable. Each of the strips serves as a hinge for adjacent umbrella sections so that they are foldable with respect to each other when the umbrella is closed.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 3,692,035 Houston 1 Sept. 19, 1972 [s41 FOLDABLE UMBRELLA FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 2] Inventor: J W. ou to 2 Mal e Lane. 1,127,107 8/1956 France ..160/231 Stoney Brook, NY. 11790 [22] Filed: Jan. 27, 1971 [2]] Appl. No.: 110,088

[52] US. Cl. ..135/25 [51] Int. Cl. ..Ab 19/00 [58] Field of Search ..135/2, 16,20, 19,5, 25, 26, /33, 34; 52/583; 160/231; 16/150, DIG. 13

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,397,399 8/1968 Carman et a1 ..135/25 R 2,967,379 l/1961 Small ..135/25 R 1,215,223 2/1917 Vanderpoel ..160/231 2,829,081 4/1958 Sweem ..160/231 X 2,959,221 1 H1960 Clapsaddle 160/201 2,795,272 6/1957 McBerty ..160/231 X 3,388,611 6/1968 Clary et a1. ..16/X

Primary Examiner-J. Karl Bell Atromey--Burton T. Tilling, James E. Siegel, Henry A. Marzullo, Jr. and Frank P. Presta 5 7] ABSTRACT A foldable umbrella comprising a. plurality of substantially rigid umbrella sections, each of which is tapered inwardly toward the center of the umbrella and is positioned with respect to the other sections to collectively define the umbrella. A plurality of flexible elongated strips are connected to the side edge portions of the umbrella sections and extend throughout substantially the entire length thereof. Preferably, the strips are slidably connected to the umbrella sections so as to be removable and replaceable. Each of the strips serves as a hinge for adjacent umbrella sections so that they are foldable with respect to each other when the umbrella is closed.

10 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEDSEP 1 9 m2 3. 692.035

sum 1 OF 2 INVENTOR JACK w. HOUSTON 6271141 BY 7% a ATTOR EYS PATENTEUSEP 19 1972 SHEET 2 BF 2 INVENTOR JACK w. HOUSTON 5%) M flak a a ATTORNEYS FOLDABLE UMBRELLA BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a foldable umbrella and, more particularly, to a foldable lawn-type umbrella having a plurality of substantially rigid umbrella sectionsthat are hingedly connected by flexible strips such that the umbrella sections can be folded with respect to each other to enable the umbrella to be closed.

Heretofore, two types of lawn umbrellas have been primarily utilized. The first type is a foldable umbrella utilizing a canvas or vinyl-type fabric for the umbrella. While this type of umbrella has generally satisfactorily served its purpose, it has been subject to numerous disadvantages. The fabric of such umbrellas is subject to damage or deterioration by exposure to the elements, and thus has only a limited life of approximately. a few years. When the fabric is damaged or becomesdeteri orated, it cannot be replaced, with the result that all of the other components of the umbrella assembly are rendered useless and a new umbrella must be purchased. Also, such fabric-type lawn umbrellas have been subject to fading after a short period of exposure to the elements and, thus tend to lose their attractive appearance after a short period of use.

The second type of lawn umbrella that has been utilized is one that is formed with arigid cover made out of a material such as aluminum, fiberglass or the like. While this type of lawn umbrella is durable, it cannot be folded and is thus subject to the disadvantages of being extremely difficult to handle and to store in view of its weight and bulk. Also, it is subject to being severely damaged if it is exposed to winds of high velocity during a storm or the like, since it cannot be folded.

A common disadvantage of both of the above types of lawn umbrellas is that they must be manufactured at the factory and, thus shipped in finally assembled form, with the resultant disadvantage that a large amount of shipping space is occupied by these umbrellas, particularly the type having the rigid cover that cannot be folded. I I

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, a need has arisen for a lawn-type umbrella having all the advantages of the previously utilized foldable and rigid umbrellas, and which is not subject to any of the disadvantages of the previously used umbrellas. The foldable umbrella of the present invention clearly fulfills this need.

The foldable umbrella of the present invention comprises a plurality of substantially rigid umbrella sections which may be formed of any suitable material, such as aluminum, fiberglass or the like. Each of the sections are tapered inwardly toward the center of the umbrella and are so positioned with respect to the other sections to collectively define the umbrella. Adjacent umbrella sections are hingedly connected by elongated flexible strips that are preferably formed of a plastic material and extend throughout substantially the entire length of the sections. Preferably, the flexible strips are slidably connected to the adjacent umbrella sections so as to be easily removed therefrom and replaced. An opening and closing assembly is connected to the umbrella sections such that when the umbrella is closed, the sections will fold with respect to each other about the flexible hinge strips.

Since the umbrella of the present invention is formed of sections of aluminum, fiberglass or the like, it is far more durable than the previously used canvas type foldable umbrellas. Should the flexible hinge strips become damaged or faded, or should it be desired to change the color of the strips, they may be easily removed from the adjacent umbrella sections and replaced by new strips of the same or different color. Further, the construction of the foldable lawn umbrella of the'present invention is such that it may be shipped in unassembled form and easily assembled by the retailer or purchaser, thereby reducing substantially the shipping costs required for the previously used lawn umbrellas.

It will be readily seen, therefore, that the lawn-type umbrella of the present invention can be easily shipped and stored, is relatively lightweight, is very durable, and can be easily repaired if the flexible hinge strips are damaged or become discolored.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 7 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a foldable umbrella constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention, the umbrella being shown in an open position and supported by a lawn table;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the-umbrella shown in FIG. 1, showing the umbrella in a closed or folded condition;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view, with parts broken away, of a part of the upper portion of the umbrella of this invention;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view, with parts broken away and parts shown in section of a part of the upper portion of the umbrella of this invention;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken substantially along line 5-5 in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional view taken substantially along line 606 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged plan view of the side edge portion of an umbrella section; and

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the side edge portion of an umbrella section.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As shown in FIG. 1, the foldable umbrella 10 of the present invention generally comprises a plurality of substantially rigid umbrella sections 12, each of which is tapered inwardly toward the center of the umbrella and is positioned with respect to the other sections to collectively define the cover for the umbrella. The adjacent side edge portions of each of the umbrella sections 12 are hingedly connected in a manner to be described hereinafter, so that the sections 12 can fold with respect to each other when the umbrella is closed, as shown in FIG. 2.

Each of the umbrella sections ll2 preferably is substantially V-shaped in transverse cross section and comprises a pair of upwardly and inwardly inclined portions 14 that intersect substantially at the center portion of the section. This construction of the umbrella sections 12 provides a pleasing carrousel effect when the umbrella is opened, facilitates the opening and closing of the umbrella, and facilitates the connection of the actuating mechanism to the umbrella sections, in a manner to be described hereinafter. It is noted, however, that the umbrellas sections could be formed of flat panels disposed in a single plane, or could be of any other suitable cross sectional shape or construction within the scope of this invention.

The umbrella sections 12 preferably are formed of a lightweight, substantially rigid material, such as aluminum or fiberglass. They could be formed of any other suitable material within the scope of this invention. The sections 12 are hingedly connected at their adjacent side edge portions by a plurality of flexible elongated hinge strips 16, each of which is connected to the side edge portions of adjacent umbrella sections 12 and extends throughout substantially the entire length thereof.

As shown in FIG. 6, each of the hinge strips is formed of a suitable flexible material, preferably a plastic material such as polyethylene or polyproplyene, and is provided with a narrow longitudinally extending center hinge portion 18 about which the side portions 20 of the strip are adapted to pivot. Each side strip portion 20 has a longitudinally extending internal opening 22 and a narrow longitudinal slot 24 extending from the opening 22 to the outer end of the side portion 20. Each opening 22 and corresponding slot 24 is adapted to slidably receive therein the side edge portion of an umbrella section 12.

As an illustrative example, the side edge portion of each of the umbrella sections 12 may be provided with a plurality of longitudinally spaced tabs 26 extending in alternating fashion from opposite surfaces thereof, in the manner shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. The tabs 26 preferably have a shape that is complementary with that of the inner surface of the longitudinal openings 22 in the hinge strips 16 so as to be easily slidably received therein, as shown in FIG. 6. The ends of the tabs 26 serve to engage the adjacent inner surface of the strip 16 defining the respective opening 22, thereby preventing the umbrella sections 12 from being laterally removed from the hinge strips 16.

From the foregoing description, it will be readily seen that the hinge strips 16 are slidably connected to the adjacent umbrella sections 12, and thus can be easily removed therefrom and replaced when damaged, by merely sliding the strips longitudinally outwardly in a radial direction from the umbrella sections, and replacing one or more of them with a new strip. The strips can also be readily removed and replaced if it is desired to change their color or design, thereby enhancing the aesthetic effects that may be created by the umbrella.

Within the scope of the present invention, the flexible hinge strips 16 may be of any suitable construction, other than that shown in the drawing, the only requirement being that they must be sufficiently flexible to allow the umbrella sections to fold with respect to each other in the manner shown in FIG. 2. Also, the hinge strips 16 may be connected to the side edge portions of the umbrella sections 12 in any suitable manner other than that shown in the drawings. For example, the hinge strips 16 could be slidably connected to the umbrella sections in many other ways, or could be fixedly connected to the umbrellas sections in any suitable manner, such as by a suitable adhesive or by crimping, extruding or the like. The hinge strips could also be formed of a suitable flexible metal and spot-welded or otherwise connected to the umbrella sections.

The umbrella cover, defined by the umbrella sections 12 and hinge strips 16, can be supported in any suitable or conventional manner on a center support post 30, which in turn, may be supported by an umbrellas table 32 and anchored by a suitable base 34, of the types shown in FIG. 1. As an illustrative example, each of the umbrella sections 12 may be supported by a radially extending rib 36 disposed beneath the center portion of the umbrella section, and secured to the umbrella section in any suitable manner. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, each of the ribs 36 may be connected to its respective umbrella section 12 by one or more retainer members 38 that surround the rib and are adapted to be lockingly engaged with a bracket 40 that is secured, by riveting, welding or the like, to the adjacent portions of the umbrella section on each side of the center portion thereof. Any other suitable means could be used for securing the supporting ribs 36 to the umbrella sections 12.

Each of the supporting ribs 36 is pivotally connected at its inner end to a collar 42 secured to the center post 30, in the manner shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Within the scope of this invention, the ribs 36 may be pivotally connected to the support post 30 in any other suitable manner.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a plurality of actuating rods 44 are pivotally connected at their inner ends to a sleeve member 46 slidably mounted on the support post 30, and are pivotally connected at their outer ends to the rods 36. The ribs 36, rods 46 and collar 44 serve to support the umbrella sections 12 in their open and closed positions, and may be connected to any suitable type of actuating mechanism for effecting opening for closing movement of the umbrella sections and connected hinge strips 16. For example, a hand crank 50 may be rotatably supported on the center post 30 for the purpose of enabling the actuating mechanism to be manually operated for the opening and closing of the umbrella. It is to be understood, however, that any suitable or conventional umbrella supporting and actuating mechanism, other than that disclosed herein, may be utilized within the scope of the present invention.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the inner ends of the umbrella sections 12 terminate at a short distance from the center post 30 for the purpose of facilitating the opening and closing movement of the umbrellas sections. In order to cover the space between the umbrella sections 12 and the center post 30, a cap member 52 may be secured to the upper end of the support post 30 to cover the space between the inner end portions of the umbrella sections 12 and the post.

In view of the simple construction of the umbrella of the present invention, it is capable of being shipped in unassembled form and easily assembled by a retailer or purchaser, thereby substantially reducing the costs of shipping the umbrella. Also, since the umbrella is formed of substantially rigid sections of durable material, such as aluminum or fiberglass, it will withstand substantially greater wear than other types of foldable lawn umbrellas having flexible material covers. Also, as hereinbefore mentioned, should the flexible hinge strips connecting the umbrella sections become damaged or faded, or should it be desired to change the color of the strips, they may be easily slidably removed from the umbrella sections and replaced by new strips of the same or different color.

It will be readily seen, therefore, that the umbrella of the present invention is relatively lightweight, very durable, can be easily shipped and stored, and can be easily repaired if the flexible hinge strips are damaged or become discolored.

I claim:

1. A foldable umbrella, comprising:

a plurality of substantially rigid umbrella sections, each of said sections being tapered inwardly toward the center of the umbrella and being so positioned with respect to the other sections to collectively define the umbrella,

means for hingedly connecting adjacent umbrella sections, said connecting means comprising a plurality of flexible elongated hinge strips, each slidably connected to the side edge portions of adjacent umbrella sections so as to be removable and replaceable by longitudinal movement thereof relative to said sections, each of said strips extending throughout substantially the entire length of the side edge portions of adjacent umbrella sections,

means to prevent removal of each strip from said sections in a direction substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of said strip, and

means connected to said umbrella sections for opening and closing said umbrella, whereby when said umbrella is closed said sections fold with respect to each other about said flexible strips.

. 2. The umbrella of claim 1 wherein each of said strips is formed of a plastic material and has an elongated .thin hinge portion extending substantially along the center portion thereof.

3. The umbrella of claim 2 wherein said umbrella sections are formed of a lightweight metal.

4. The umbrella of claim 2 wherein each of said strips comprises an internal elongated opening at each side edge portion thereof which is adapted to retainably receive the side edge portion of the adjacent one of said umbrella sections.

5. The umbrella of claim 4 wherein the side edge portion of each of said umbrella sections comprises a tab that is adapted to be received and retained within the internal opening in the adjacent one of said strips.

6. The umbrella of claim 4 wherein the side edge portion of each of said umbrella sections comprises a plurality of tabs extending from opposite thereof, said tabs being adapted to be received and retained within the internal opening in the adjacent one of said strips.

7. The umbrella of claim 1 wherein said opening and closing means comprises an elongated rib connected to each of said umbrella sections and a rod pivotally connected to each of said ribs.

8. The umbrella of claim 7 wherein said umbrella further comprises a center support post, said ribs being pivotally connected at their inner ends to said post, and a sleeve slidably mounted on said post, said rods being pivotally connected at their inner ends to said sleeve.

9. The umbrella of claim 7 wherein each umbrella section comprises a pair of oblique portions which extend upwardly and inwardly and intersect substantially at the center portion of said section, whereby each section is substantially V-shaped in transverse cross sec- I f). The umbrella of claim 9 wherein a bracket is secured to the inner surface of the oblique portions of each section, and clips are adapted to be connected to said brackets, said clips being adapted to receive said ribs and to connect them to said sections.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1215223 *Oct 3, 1914Feb 6, 1917William Hughes VanderpoelAsbestos mat.
US2795272 *May 13, 1955Jun 11, 1957Robert K McbertyFolding door
US2829081 *Aug 2, 1954Apr 1, 1958Sweem Ervin ClydeFoldable draperies and methods of manufacture
US2959221 *Jun 11, 1957Nov 8, 1960Windsor Door Company IncSectional sliding door
US2967379 *Apr 28, 1958Jan 10, 1961Cohen Alfred GFolding multiple rigid section umbrellas
US3388611 *Jan 25, 1966Jun 18, 1968Gen Motors CorpControl linkage
US3397399 *Feb 7, 1966Aug 13, 1968Goodyear Aerospace CorpCollapsible dish reflector
FR1127107A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4280521 *Jun 19, 1979Jul 28, 1981Zeigler Theodore RichardHub assembly for collapsible structures
US5293889 *Jun 19, 1992Mar 15, 1994Hall Terrance ABeach umbrella
US5551465 *Dec 6, 1994Sep 3, 1996Steiner; WalterSunshade
US6113054 *Feb 12, 1999Sep 5, 2000Ma; Oliver Joen-AnUmbrella base having adjustable weights
Classifications
U.S. Classification135/33.2, 160/231.2, 135/16
International ClassificationA45B23/00, A45B25/18
Cooperative ClassificationA45B2023/0012, A45B23/00, A45B25/18, A45B2200/1063
European ClassificationA45B25/18, A45B23/00