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Publication numberUS3896830 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 29, 1975
Filing dateNov 12, 1973
Priority dateAug 4, 1972
Publication numberUS 3896830 A, US 3896830A, US-A-3896830, US3896830 A, US3896830A
InventorsPaul Robert Sharick
Original AssigneePaul Robert Sharick
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tent structure and suspension means
US 3896830 A
Abstract
A tent structure with a support means distributing a tensioning force equally across the width of the sidewall membrane, having a floor in free suspension and top supported at its apex by an upward force with a large vent and skylight occupying the apical portion of a top.
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United States Patent Sharick 1 1 July 29, 1975 1541 TENT STRUCTURE AND SUSPENSION 1,473,845 11/1923 Gardon 135/1 D MEANS 2,188,747 1/1940 Bittick 135/5 B 3,044,476 7/1962 Avery..... 135/1 R [76] In entor: Paul Robert S ric O o 3,498,305 3/1970 11111111 135/1 R 16053, Sacramento, Calif. 95816 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [22] 1973 443.728 3/1936 United Kingdom 135/010. 7 1 AWL 4 28,061 3/1903 United Kingdom 135/14 v Related US. Application Data Primary Examiner-Richard J. Scanlan, Jr. Assistant ExaminerConrad L. Berman Attorney, Agent, or FirmChristie, Parker & Hale [52] US. Cl 135/1 R; 52/63; 135/1 D;

135/15 CF; 135/15 PQ [57] ABSTRACT [51] Int. Cl. A45F 1/18 A tent Structure with a Support means distributing a [58] new of Search 35/1 1 l 4 tensioning force equally across the width of the side- 135/4 14 15 wall membrane, having a floor in free suspension and CF; 52/63 top supported at its apex by an upward force with a large vent and skylight occupying the apical portion of [56] References Cited 3 top UNITED STATES PATENTS 7 10 D 1,428,343 9/1922 Runcie 135/14 v Clams 'awmg F'gures I 1 1 q 11 a2 a PATENTEI] JUL 2 91975 SHEET FIG: 2

a u g SHEET PATENTED JUL 2 9 I975 FlC. 8

1 TENT STRUCTURE AND SUSPENSION MEANS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention is a continuation of my co-pending patent application Serial No. 278,034, filed Aug. 4, 1972, and now abandoned.

A membrane utilizing applied forces causing it to assame a predetermined shape to enclose a three dimensional area forms a tensile structure. A tent when erected is such a tensile structure. Such a structure provides wind, water, heat, cold and insect protection from without, ventilation for cooling. odors and moisture from within and a means for entry of light.

A tensioning force may be applied to such a membrane from within the structure, e.g., via upright rigid poles, from an outside frame to which the membrane is suspended, or from lines attached at multiple points on the surface of the membrane. Such force is countered and balanced by multiple anchoring points at a variable distance from the perimeter of the floor.

Disadvantages of such tensioning means includes: localized points of application of force induces tearing of the fabric, requires reinforcement of the seams and points of attachments of the floor and sidewalls, places the floor membrane on tension causing seam strain and increased friction between the floor and ground caus ing accelerated wear to the stretched membrane.

The apex of the top of such a structure carries the entire loading force required for tensioning. Great strain is thus applied to the seams and membrane of the top necessitating use of heavy materials and reinforcements resulting in disadvantages of heavy weight and costly construction. 7

Other disadvantages are need for a large number of anchoring devices, complicated support construction, erection means limited to a single system requiring special devices and need for multiple panels and their fabrication in construction of'the tent membrane.

To prevent upset or deformation of a light tent structure due to external loading such as wind or snow, firm anchoring to the ground and a rigid membrane under tension are required. Existing tents require up to 27 stakes for an average size structure to insure anchoring. Rigidity is still not provided in most cases due to the many localized points of attachment of the tensioning lines to the tent resulting in great elasticity.

Most existing tent structures are water resistant only. This results from the use of a permeable membrane in the tent to provide ventilation through the pores of the membrane to the exterior. When such a membrane is wetted the pores fill with water and ventilation function is lost. Heavy rain results in leakage to the inside. A waterproof tent uses a nonpermeable membrane resulting in an uncomfortable interior due to retained heat, moisture and odors.

Water protection from the ground requires a waterproof membrane as a floor extending up the sides for a variable distance. Existing tents have seams joining the floor with the sidewalls with numerous attachment devices for anchoring. This introduces weak areas which tear under strain and are difficult if not impossible to waterproof. Such a floor is also under tension increasing its friction with the ground and hence its durability. Ventilation and light are also inadequately provided for in existing tent structures. Doors and windows.

used for this purpose are located in the lower portions of the structure leaving a large dead space in the upper part of the tent. Such openings are by necessity closed in inclement weather and not available for ventilation. These factors in turn are aggravated by the small cubic capacity of a tent per occupant increasing the need for a large ventilation factor. In cold or freezing weather water released to the atmosphere of the tent by the bodies of the occupants (up to one quart per day per person) condenses and freezes on the inside of the tent making occupancy unbearable. Adequate ventilation corrects this by passing such moisture continuously to the outside air.

Such ventilation means should be located at the apex of the top. be capable of moving large volumes of air. should vent to all sides of the structure to take advantage of the positive and negative wind pressure effects on opposite sides of the top to encourage the flow of air. Such a ventilator permits use of a waterproof membrane as the top of a tent without the disadvantages of retaining heat, odors and moisture within the structure. Such a vent functions as a large skylight in fair weather by removing its waterproof cover.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention consists ofa novel means of tensioning a membrane at a variable distance from the ground to form an upright wall. Membranes may be attached in free suspension to the lower edge of such a wall to form a floor. Similarly a roof may be attached and held under tension by force applied to the apex of the roof sufficient to support the dead weight of the top. ln addition a vent is incorporated into the uppermost part of the top to provide for ventilation and light. Such means for tensioning a membrane allows great force to be ap plied to the wall without tearing or deformation. This permits heavy external load resistance and the use of a minimum of anchors.

Only a minimal tensioning force is needed to erect the top which permits use of lightweight material, simple seam construction, insertion of a large vent covered with insect proof mesh in the apex and lightweight support devices. Such tensioning force is applied to the apical aspect of the top either by an upright pole from within or by suspension from an overhead anchor. No tensioning force is exerted on the floor membrane which is attached to the lower edge of the tensioned wall membrane in free suspension. Such a floor can be constructed as a basin without attachments or seams at the junction of the floor with its sidewall extension.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an upright substantially rigid support which bears' on a membrane at more than two points at opposite ends of its width. Said support to transfer force from a connecting link under tension and anchored at a distance from the membrane. Said force to produce surface tension in the upright membrane making it substantially rigid.

It is another object to utilize a means to join the upright support and the membrane to permit the tension ing force to be distributed over the breadth of the membrane.

It is another object to join the upright membrane and support in such a way that the membrane may be positioned at a variable distance from the ground.

It is another object of the invention to permit the construction of the sidewall membrane, including all wall structures, from a single and continuous membrane sheet.

It is another object to permit the construction of a floor with sidewalls in free suspension from the upright walls without seams or attachments at the junction of the floor and sidewalls.

It is another object to permit the construction of a top attached to the upright walls and tensioned by a force acting at its apex.

It is another object to construct a waterproof fly for the entire tent containing a vent in its apex opening to all sides.

It is another object of the invention to permit erection of the tent in a variety of ways utilizing simple and inexpensive support devices.

It is another object to use a novel means as the preferred way for forming and joining the connecting link from the anchor to the upright wall support.

It is another object to use a unique and simple means to construct a vent in the apex of the top.

It is a further object to provide a wall membrane support means which may be of variable shape and height and tensioned at a variable angle to the ground.

It is a further object of the invention to be applicable as a module multiples of which may be used for tent construction of various sizes. 1

It is another object that the tent shape may be varied in many ways utilizing this erection means.

It is a further object to use a minimum of anchoring devices.

It is a further object to eliminate any tension from the floor and to limit the tension on the top to that necessary to support the dead weight of the fabric.

It is another object to construct a removably fly to cover the vent in the apex of the top.

It is another object for the vent in the apex to function as a skylight with the fly removed.

It is another object to eliminate any attachment devices to the floor.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tent structure suspended as described in this invention;

FIG. 2 is a horizontal section taken on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1 through a sidewall support unit;

FIG. 3 is a vertical section taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. I through a sidewall support unit;

FIG. 4 is a horizontal section taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 1 through the lower portion of the vent and skylight with the removable waterproof fly in place;

FIG. 5 is a vertical section taken on the line 55 of FIG. I through the entire vent and skylight with the removable waterproof fly in place;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the parts of the tent and detailing the method of inletting the vent panel;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the tensioned and suspended tent structure covered in its entirety by a waterproof fly containing an opening in all sides opposite the vent in the tent top;

FIG. 8 is a horizontal section taken on the line 8--8 of FIG. 7 illustrating the relationship between the fly with its opening and the vent in the apical portion of the top proper;

FIG. 9 is a vertical section taken on the line 9-9 of FIG. 7 illustrating the relationship between the fly with its opening and the vent in the apical portion of the top of the tent proper;

FIG. 10 is a vertical section taken on the line 10-10 of FIG. 7 through the floor and sidewall.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As shown in FIG. 1 the invention consists of a means for tensioning a membrane forming a sidewall 19 for a tent structure.

The tent as illustrated is eight feet square with a pyramidal top 6 supported at the center by a center pole 26. The center pole 26 may be eliminated by suspending the top via a loop 1 from an overhead anchor (not shown) such as a pole, frame, tree or other support. This structure as illustrated can serve as a module, multiples of which can be joined together producing various sizes and shapes. The sidewalls 19 are tensioned with four corner units. as shown in FIG. 3, tied to four anchoring stakes 9. It is apparent that the height of the sidewalls l9 and the length and width of the tent structure can be varied without departing from the principles of the invention. It is to be noted that only four anchors 9 are sufficient for rigid erection of this module in contrast to up to twenty-seven in conventional tent structures.

All tensioned seams 5, 32, 25, etc. are preferably formed as catenary curves to reduce tensioning stresses and reduce the number of tensioned seams required.

The membrane support units as shown in FIG. 3 consist of substantially rigid lightweight tubes 12, such as aluminum pipe, which are passed through membrane folds 11. The tubes preferably are level with the top of the folds 11 and project beyond the bottom of the fold 1 1 by the extent of the height of the sidewalls above the floor 13. This distance will vary, but four to six inches is usually SUffIClCI'lL It is readily apparent that any substantially rigid supports can serve the same function as lightweight tubes 12 by attaching the connecting link 8 to their opposite end portions.

The fold 11 in the sidewall membrane 19 is formed by folding the membrane 19 and stitching it together at the base 25 of the fold. This can be done in with continuous material thereby avoiding cutting and reassembling separate sidewall panels and folds 11. Such continuous construction of the membrane support folds 11 allows the membrane 19 itself to carry the tensioning force without multiple interposed seams that present weak areas and require costly construction. Most of the tensioning force needed for the tent suspension is distributed over the width of the sidewall 19. The floor 13 is free of horizontal tension and the top 6 carries only that needed to support its own weight. Doors 14 and windows 15 are cut from the same membrane to form flaps thereby permitting the entire sidewall 19 to be constructed with the single seam to join the ends of the enclosure. Suitable means such as a zipper, may be used to open and close the edge of the flaps forming the doors and windows. A rope line 8 is passed from above downward through the support tube 12 from a loop 7 formed in its end, out through the bottom of the tube 12, a second loop '7' being formed in continuity with the line 8 about a foot from the pole 12. The line 8 is then passed around an anchor 9, then angularly upward and through the loop 7 in the end of the line 8, down and through the loop 7' in the horizontal limb and back up to an adjustable fastener 10. This forms a truss-like structure which produces a tensioning force by shortening the interconnecting link 33 thereby moving the two sections of the line 8 at either end of the connecting link towards each other and forcing the support pole 12 against the outer wall of the membrane support fold ll producing surface tension in the wall membrane l9.

The support means as shown are vertically placed but it is apparent that said supports 12 may vary in length and shape without departing from the principle of the invention.

The wall membrane 19 so tensioned may be slid up or down the pole support 12 thus varying its distance from the ends of the support poles l2 and from the ground. This allows the poles 12 when projecting above the top edge of the membrane 19 to act as supports for a fly 25 placed over the tent to keep it separated from the tent top 6 and to increase its rigidity. It also allows attachment of a floor 13 in free suspension from the lower edge of the sidewall membrane 19, in the shape of a basin, eliminating the seam between the floor l3 and its sidewall. Said floor 13 is constructed of a membrane of one piece stitched to the lower edge of the wall membrane 19 and allowed to fall in free suspension to the ground. The corners are closed by pleating and folding the floor membrane 13 without cutting and stitching a corner seam. Thus maximum waterproofness, economy and simplicity are obtained.

By virtue of the wall membrane 19 carrying practically all the loading force of the tent, the roof membrane 6 is relieved of heavy strain. This permits use of lighter weight and strength membrane 6 and seam construction and allowing construction of a large vent and skylight 16 in the apex screened with lightweight insect proof mesh. The top 6 is tensioned by an upward force applied to the apex of the top 6 from either within via a pole 26 or without via a loop 1. The top 6 as depicted is pyramidal in shape being most efficient in minimizing area exposed to external loading together with maximum usable interior space and most efficient air circulation. It is apparent however that the shape of the top 6 can be varied to suit the need without departing from the principle of the invention. I

In the preferred embodiment the tent structure is equal sided, each side of similar construction except for placement of door 14 and windows 15 in the locations of choice. The top is constructed of single panels 6 joined at their top edge 21 to vent panels 16 of mesh. The vent panels 16 are formed of two identical portions 34 and 35 of insect proof mesh joined at their medial borders 36 by stitching, the line of closure of the borders 36 being longer by several inches than the vertical height of the finished vent panel 16, resulting in a concave shape to the panel 16. The four top panels 6 are joined together by stitching preferably along a catenary shaped curved edge 5 from the sidewall corners to the apex. The joined panels 16 are stitched together horizontally from the corners for about six inches along the junction 21 of the vent panel 16 and the top 6. The joined panels 16 are stitched together vertically on a curved line 17 from the apex to the inner end of the horizontal closure 18 and the panels 6 on a continuing line 20 downwardly about 10 inches to meet the joined edges 5 of the panel 6 again. This inlets and tapers the vent panels 16 smoothly, placing the tensioning force at the four edges 5, relieving the center of the panel 16 and allowing placement ofa covering fly 2 overhanging the lower edge of the panel 16 so as to permit large volume air flow through the opening 3 while protecting the interior from rain. Similarly by uncovering the vent 16 a large skylight becomes available for use in suitable weather. It is apparent that the mesh may be placed at other locations to screen the vent and that the edges 5 leading from the corners of the tent to the apex of the tent supporting the tensioning force may be constructed of any suitable material able to support such force without departing from the essence of the invention. The top so constructed is then joined to the top edges of the wall membrane 19.

The very peak of the apex is reinforced by stitching in a small disc" of strong material inside and out to which is attached a thin loop of line 1. This provides a reinforced point for the apical tensioning force to act against. r

Because of the large ventilation capacity of the vent 16 the top of the tent and the vent cover 2 may be made of nonpermeable waterproof material for total protection from external moisture. When a waterproof fly 24 and 25 covering the entire tent is used the tent top 6 is made of a permeable membrane without a vent cover 2, which results in lower weight and cost.

The vent cover 2 is made of four panels joined together in the shape of the vent panels 16, their lower edge 37 being curved upward in the center in the shape of a catenary curve and overhanging the lower edge 21 of the vent panel 16 for several inches. The peak of the cover has a small opening, such as an O-grommet, to permit the passage of the loop 1 from the apex of the vent 16. The cover 2 has a fastener at point 28, such as velcro, to attach to a point on the raised edge 5 to hold it in place. A second fastener, such as velcro, is placed at the midpoint of the lower edge 22 to attach to the point 23 on the tent top 6 to provide for closure of the vent opening 3 as needed.

A waterproof fly 24 and 25 covering the entire tent, projecting beyond the walls 19, with a vent 3 near its apex on all sides opening to the vent 16 in the tent top, with the edges of the lower panels 25 curved upward in a catenary curve. The edges can be tensioned by lines 38 connected to anchors 9 at all four corners. The peak is supported by an upward force acting at the apex of the tent top. The cover 24 to the vent opening extending upward to enclose the upper edge of the fly 25 is constructed in an identical way to the cover 2 previously described for the vent 16 except that it is permanently fastened to the corner seams at and below the horizontal lineof closure to the vent opening 3.

It is readily apparent that multiple openings 3 can be placed in each side panel of fly 2 or fly 24 thus increasing air flow and ventilation. Such openings 3 placed transversely can be formed by joining the adjacent sides of the fly 2, 24 by means of detachable fasteners such as velcro to the sides of the underlying vent panels 16 thereby inletting the intervening portions of each side 2. A covering membrane is attached at all corners to the above membrane spanning the inletted portion forming an opening 3 and overhanging the upper edge of the inletted portion of the fly sufficient to prohibit the entry of moisture. Said covering membrane extends to the apex of the tent where a small opening such as 'an O-grommet is placed for passage of loop 2.

What is claimed is:

l. A tent comprising a plurality of sidewalls, a top and bottom joined together in a continuous surface of flexible material, the sidewalls being formed from a continuous closed loop of flexible material, a plurality of rigid members of sufficient length to span the vertical width of the sidewall, securing means attaching the rigid members to the sidewall material at the corners of the tent, the securing means attaching the rigid members to the sidewall material uniformly over the full vertical widt of the material, anchor means positioned outside each corner, and tensioning means linking both ends of each of the rigid members to a corresponding one of the anchor means, the tension means pulling on each of the comers in an outward direction in relation to the center of the tent, the tension means being resisted substantially only by lateral tension in the closed loop of material forming the sidewalls, the later tension being distributed essentially uniformly over the full vertical width of the sidewall material by virtue of the distribution of the attachment of each rigid member to the sidewall material uniformly over the vertical width of the sidewall material.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further including means for supporting the top independently of the anchoring and tensioning means, the top being joined around its periphery to the top edge of the sidewalls, the top hanging freely between the periphery and the supporting means with the tension in the top being small compared to the tension in the tension means.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the top is formed with an apex, said supporting means including a rigid pole extending between the apex and the supporting surface for the tent, the top being of flexible material hanging freely between the apex and the periphery.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the apex of the top is made of open mesh material, and further including a cover secured to the apex of the top and overlapping the mesh material and a small portion of the top below the margin of the mesh material on the outside of the apex to prevent rain from entering while permitting air to move freely through the open mesh, means drawing the top at the lower margin of the mesh into a convoluted shape to provide ventilation space between the top and the overlapping cover, and means for fastening the cover and top together to close off the ventilation space.

5. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the bottom flexible material has an area greater than the area enclosed by the sidewalls, the bottom resting on the supporting surface on which the tent is erected and hanging freely with substantially no horizontal tension in the bottom material from the lower margin of the sidewalls.

6. Apparatus of claim 2 wherein the tension means at each corner of the sidewalls includes a tubular fold extending the full vertical width of the sidewall, the rigid member extending through the tubular fold.

7. An enclosure structure for a tent or the like extending above and anchored to a supporting surface, comprising a band of flexible material formed in a closed loop, a plurality of rigid upright members, means attaching the rigid members to the material uniformly over the full width of the band at spaced points around the loop, the members being longer than the full width of the band and adjustable longitudinally relative to the band, the lower ends of the rigid members resting on but movable across the supporting surface, a plurality of anchor means secured to the supporting surface at spaced points outside the perimeter of the band, adjustable tension means connecting both ends of each of the rigid members to respective ones of the anchor means, the tension means being opposed by horizontal tension in the closed loop band which tension is substantially uniformly distributed over the full width of the band, the band being adjustable vertically relative to the rigid upright members to vary height of the band above the supporting surface, a flexible top member attached at its outer perimeter to the top edge of the band, and means supporting the center of the top member from the supporting surface, with the tension in the top member between the supporting means and the closed loop band being substantially less than the tension in said tension means.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification135/93, 135/120.1, 135/116, 52/DIG.130, 52/63, 135/99
International ClassificationE04H15/56, E04H15/16, E04H15/18, E04H15/32, E04H15/10, E04H15/26
Cooperative ClassificationE04H15/18, E04H15/26, E04H15/10, E04H15/16, E04H15/56, Y10S52/13, E04H2015/328
European ClassificationE04H15/16, E04H15/26, E04H15/10, E04H15/56, E04H15/18