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Title:
COLLAPSIBLE HOLIDAY DECORATION WITH INTERNAL STORAGE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/200253
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A decorative assembly suggestive of a holiday tree includes a hollow base, a collapsible pole extending upwards from the base and attached thereto via a mounting post, and a collapsible decorative body is connected to and surrounding the pole. The pole and decorative body can be collapsed and stored within or on top of the base. The interior of the base can also be used to store decoration, e.g., in drawers formed in the base.

Inventors:
MEGER, Izhak (142 Vaccaro Drive, Cresskill, New Jersey, 07626, US)
Application Number:
US2019/027215
Publication Date:
October 17, 2019
Filing Date:
April 12, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
REAL CONCEPTS LLC (142 Vaccaro Drive, Cresskill, New Jersey, 07626, US)
International Classes:
A47G33/06; A41G1/00; A47G33/08; F21S4/00; F21S6/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FELLER, Mitchell S. (Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman P.C.,270 Madison Avenue, 8th Floo, New York New York, 10016, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A decorative assembly comprising:

a hollow base having an interior, a top and a bottom;

a mounting post attached to one of the top and the bottom of the base;

a collapsible pole attached to the mounting post;

a collapsible decorative body connected to the pole; and

wherein the interior of the base is accessible through at least one opening and can be used for storage.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the decorative body comprises a strip of bendable material arranged in a spiral around the pole, the strip having a first end connected to a top of the pole, the spiral having a diameter that increases along the pole from the top portion of the pole towards the base.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the decorative body is a spiral cut disk having a diameter in a collapsed state that is less than a diameter of the top of the base.

4. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the top of the base is recessed by a recess distance, the decorative body when in a collapsed state extending up from the top of the base no more than the recess distance.

5. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the collapsible pole is a telescoping pole and when the collapsible pole is in a fully collapsed state substantially all of the pole Is within the interior of the base.

6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein the collapsible pole when removed from the mounting post and in fully collapsed state has a length less than a width of the top surface of the base.

7. The assembly of claim 6, further comprising at least one mechanism for attaching the pole in a fully collapsed state across the top of the base.

8. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the mounting post is connected to the bottom of the base and extends upwards therefrom.

9. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the mounting post is hollow and Is connected to the top of the base and extends downwards therefrom.

10. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the collapsible pole is removably mounted to the mounting post.

11. The assembly of claim 1, the base further comprising at least one drawer therein and extendable sideways from the base.

12. The assembly of claim 1, the interior of the base being accessible for storage by moving at least portion of the bottom surface of the base.

13. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the decorative body comprises at least one disc having a hole with the pole passing therethrough and a plurality of guide lines connecting the disk to the pole.

14. A decorative assembly comprising:

a generally cylindrical hollow base having an interior, a top and a bottom;

a hollow mounting post attached to the bottom of the base and extending upwards therefrom;

a collapsible pole removably attachable to the mounting post and, when so attached extending upwards from the base; a decorative body comprising a strip of bendable material having a length substantially greater than a width and arranged in a spiral around the pole, the strip having a first end removably connectable to a top of the pole and a second end connected to the top of the base, the decorative body being collapsible onto the top of the base;

the base having at least one drawer formed therein and extendable sideways from the base to provide access to the interior of the base.

15. The assembly of claim 14, the decorative body comprising a spiral cut disk having a diameter that is less than a diameter of the base.

16. The assembly of claim 14, wherein the mounting post is removably attached to the bottom of the base.

17. The assembly of ctaim 14, further comprising retaining straps configured to secure the collapsible pole in fully collapsed state to the top of the base.

18. The assembly of claim 14, the decorative body comprising a plurality of holes formed along therein to receive one of decorations and lights.

19. The assembly of claim 14, further comprising ferromagnetic coupling regions in a plurality of locations along the length of the body, wherein the coupling regions are suitable as attachment points for ornaments having magnetic mounting magnets formed therein.

20. The assembly of claim 14, further comprising at least one electrical conductor extending through a length of the body and configured to provide power to electrical devices connected thereto.

21. The assembly of claim 20, the body further comprising a plurality of light emitting elements formed therein and electrically coupled to at least one of the at least one electrical conductor.

22. The assembly of claim 20, further comprising a plurality of contact points along the length of the body, each contact point allowing electrical connection to one of the at least one electrical conductor, wherein the contact points are configured to provide power to ornaments removably connected to the body and having electrical components therein.

23. The assembly of claim 14, further comprising a plurality of ornaments, each ornament comprising a lower portion magnetically coupleable to an upper portion, each ornament being mountable to the body by positioning the top portion on a top surface of the body and the bottom portion on a bottom surface of the body opposed to the top portion.

Description:
FIELD OF THE INVENTION:

The present invention relates to a collapsible holiday decoration, such as one suggestive of a Christmas tree, and which is combined with a base having internal storage.

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/656,655 filed on April 12, 2018, the entire contents of which is expressly incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

Artificial trees are often used for decorations. One popular use is for holiday

decorations, such as in the form of an artificial Christmas tree. Trees of this type are typically conical in shape. Other 'trees' are more stylized and have branch-like or spiral forms that are suggestive of a conical holiday tree. The tree is formed around a central post that fits into a stand, such as one having three or four legs. These stands are not attractive and a tree skirt is typically used to hide them from view.

It is common to decorate artificial trees with lights, ornaments, and other elements. Even if the artificial trees comes with strand lights prewrapped around the branches, additional ornaments are typically added.

One drawback to decorative trees of this type is the need to store the tree at the end of the holiday season. Although some trees can fold or be separated into two or more parts, these parts are often bulky and cumbersome to store. After the holiday, the decorations are removed from the tree and must be stored as well. These decorations are conventionally stored in their own bags and boxes at the end of the holiday season. This can create issues since the multiple storage containers can be separated from the stored tree overtime and it may not always be easy to find them all the following year.

There is a need for an artificial tree that is easy to store and that provides an improved way to store decorations and other paraphernalia associated with the tree. These and other features and advantages of the invention, as welt as structure and operation of various implementations of the invention, are disclosed in detail below with references to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 shows a first embodiment of the decoration;

Fig. 2 shows the first embodiment in a stowed configuration in a version in which the collapsed central pole fits within the base;

Fig. 3 shows the first embodiment in a stowed configuration in a version in which the collapsed central pole fits only partially within the base;

Fig. 4 shows the first embodiment in a stowed position where the base includes a storage area for the decorative body portion;

Fig. 5 shows a second embodiment of the decoration;

Fig.6 shows the second embodiment in a first stowed configuration;

Fig. 7 shows the second embodiment in a second stowed configuration;

Fig. 8 shows a third embodiment of the decoration;

Figs. 9-13 show alternative access configurations for the storage areas in the base;

Figs. 14A-14C show alternative configurations for the decorative body portion; and

Fig. 15 shows a particular configuration of an ornament for use with embodiments of the decoration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Figures lAand IB are illustrations of a collapsible decoration 1 according to a first embodiment. The structure comprises a base 10 with a top surface 11a and a bottom surface lib. A collapsible / extendable decorative 'tree' 12 comprised of an extension pole 14 to which a collapsible decorative body portion 16 is attached to the base 10. The base 10 contains an open interior that can be used for storage of decorations and other accessories and the tree 12 can also be stored in or on the base 10. Various configurations for accessing the storage area are addressed below. The body portion 16 in one embodiment is comprised of spiral narrowing towards its top and made of a flat, relatively stiff yet bendable decorative material, such as plastic. In one configuration, the body portion 16 is a spiral disk and that returns to a substantially disk shape when collapsed. Strings 17 can be threaded through the body portion 16 to provide support for the body portion 16 when extended. Instead of a spiral cut disk, the body 16 could instead be made from a spiraled hollow tube, such as a clear plastic tubing, and that can contain lights or other decorations and/or to which lights and decorations can be attached, e.g., through holes in the tubing. The tubing is preferably preformed so it will naturally rest In a a coiled spiral and can be extended in a manner similar to the spiral disk. Other configurations of decoration 16 can alternatively be used. Examples include, but are not limited, to a series of disks of decreasing diameter, each attached to the pole 14 and optionally to each other, branches connected to the pole 14, or other designs. Some of these variations are illustrated in other figures discussed below.

The central pole 14 is preferably a telescoping pole that extends through an opening in the top 11a of the base 10. The pole 14 has a collapsible portion 22 comprising multiple nestled segments 23A that fit in whole or part into an end portion 24 when the pole is collapsed. Each segment 23A can include a spring loaded locking button 23B or other mechanism to prevent the pole 14 from collapsing accidentally.

The bottom 25 of the end portion 24 of pole 14 Is mounted to bottom 11b of the base 10, such as by means of a mounting plate 26. The end portion 24 and mounting plate 26 can be formed as an integral unit or the two components can be separately connected, such as by screws or other means. Mounting plate 26 can be permanently attached to the base 10 or removably attached, e.g,. by butterfly screws, bolts, toggles, or other connectors that allow a user to detach the mounting plate 26 from the base. The base 10 can be provided with adjustable feet 27, such as screw-in feet, to allow a user to ensure that the base 10 sits flat.

In one configuration, and as shown in Fig. 18, when the collapsible part 22 of pole 14 is collapsed into the end portion 24 of the pole, the top 18 of the pole 14 is generally even with, or even below, the top 11a of the base 10. Alternatively, at least a portion of the collapsible part 22 of the pole 14 can extend above the top 11a of the base 10 as shown in Fig. 3. Turning to Fig.4, the top 11a of the base 10 can be recessed to create an area 28 defined by the base top 11a and sidewall 11c. In one configuration, the top 11a is recessed at least an amount equal to the height of the collapsed body portion 16 so that the area 28 can fully contain the collapsed body portion 16 and provide some protection during storage. A cover 30 can be provided as well to close area 28 and provide further protection. The cover can be a solid part or flexible fabric like material. In one configuration, the cover has a slot leading radially inwards to a central opening to allow the cover to be put in place when the tree is extended. Such a cover would serve to hide the point of connection between the body portion 16 and the base 10 and any other features on the top 11a. This will also allow eliminate a need to separately store the cover when the decoration is deployed.

If the collapsible part 22 of the pole 14 extends above the top 11a, as in Fig. 3, the top 11a of the base 10 can be recessed a sufficient amount so that the entire pole is within the area 28. Alternatively, the top 11a can be recessed a lesser amount sufficient to contain the collapsed body portion 16 while a portion of the pole extends above the upper edge of the sidewalls 11c.

A second embodiment is shown in Fig. 5. This embodiment is similar to the first embodiment. However, instead of having the pole 14 collapse into the end portion 24 and remain in the base, the collapsible portion 22 of the pole 14 is instead removably fitted to a mounting post 32 that is attached to the base 10. The mounting post 32 can be hollow, such as a hollow cylinder, and the pole 14 fitted in it. Alternatively, the mounting post can fit within a hollow bottom of the pole 14. The two components can be configured so that they slip together and are held in place by friction and gravity. A security pin, spring loaded locking button, or other securing means can also be provided to secure the parts in place. In a further alternative, the two parts are threaded and can be connected by screwing them together.

As in the first embodiment, the body portion 16 can be configured to collapse onto the top 11a of the base 10 for storage. The top 11a can also be recessed as discussed above. With reference to Fig. 6, the collapsible portion 22 of the pole can be removed and stored on top of the base 10 and body portion 16. In the configuration shown in Fig.6, the portion 22 of the pole when in its collapsed state is about the same width as the base 10, although it could be longer or shorter. For example, the length of the collapsed pole could be longer than a diameter of the base by no more than 25%, or 20%, or 15%, or 10%, or 5%. The pole can be held in place using removable straps 34 or other means. If the collapsed portion 22 of the pole is shorter than the width of the base, and the top 11a of the base is recessed, the pole may advantageously be stored area 28, with or without a cover 30.

Although the collapsible portion 22 is shown in a telescoping configuration, in other embodiments, it can be made of discrete sections that can be fitted together to assemble the pole and taken apart for storage. In one embodiment, shock cord is used to allow the parts to remain connected even when not fitted to each other. When the sections are taken apart, they can be folded in a zig-zag form. The folded pole can be stored on the top. 11a of the base 10 in a manner similar to the telescoping pole.

In a variation of this embodiment, the top 11a of the base 10 is removable. The collapsed pole can be attached to the top 11a of the base, e.g, using straps 34. The entire top 11a can then be flipped over and placed back onto the base 10 with the body portion 16 and pole inside the base 10. A retaining cover 36 may be placed over pole and body portion and connected, e.g., around a periphery, to hold the pole and body portions in place against the top 11a. Retaining cover 36 can be connected to the top 11a along its periphery (in which case separate straps 34 can be omitted if desired). Alternatively, or in addition, the retaining cover 36 can have edge flanges (not shown) that are sandwiched between the top 11a and the top edge of the sidewall 11c to hold it in place.

A third embodiment is shown in Fig. 8. in this embodiment, the pole 14 is attached to the top 11a of the base 10. The top 11a is preferably removable and can serve as a base so that the tree 12 can be displayed on the top 11a and separate from the rest of base 10. The connection between the pole mount 26 to the top 11a can be a removable one, such as via butterfly or other type of screw attachment. In this manner, a user could remove the assembly from the top for storage, e.g., within the container 10. The top 11a can also be configured so It can be turned upside down for storage. Any portions remaining connected to it, such as the mount 26 and/or pole end portion 24, can then extend into the base 10 for storage. As noted, the base 10 in the various embodiment discussed above is hollow can be used for storage. Other than a removable top, other means to provide access to the storage area inside the base can be provided. In one configuration, one or more drawers are fitted into the base. Figure 9 shows the base 10 with the tree assembly 12 omitted for clarity. In this embodiment, the base 10 has one or more wedge shaped storage compartments 38 positioned between the top 11a and bottom lib of the base 10. The compartments 38 can be removable from the base or mounted, such as on a pivoting axis 40. A back wall 39 of the compartment 38 is shaped to provide room for the pole hardware when the compartment is closed. In the illustrated embodiment, back wall 39 has an arc-shaped cross section. A clasp or other locking hardware (not shown) can be provided to keep the compartment 38 from opening accidentally. Fig. 10 shows partial perspective top view of the base 10 with generally rectangular storage compartments 42 that can slide in and out of the sides of the base 10. A back wall 43 can include a recessed portion to allow room for the pole hardware when the compartment is closed.

Figs. 11-13 show yet a further embodiment of the storage access. In these

configurations, which show the base 10 upside down, storage is accessed through the bottom of the base. In Fig. 11, the bottom lib of the base 10 is removable. Various mechanisms can be used to hold the base in place, such as locking tabs, screws, snap-in connectors, etc. in one configuration, the base has a screw 44 that attaches to a hole 46 at the bottom of the pole and mounting assembly. (In this configuration, the pole mount 26 is attached to top 11a of the base 10 and the bottom portion 24 of the pole or mounting post 32 extends down into the base.

This configuration may also be used with other storage access arrangements as discussed above.) In Fig. 12, the bottom 11a is comprised of parts 48a and 48b that are connected by a hinge 50. One or both parts 48a, 48b can be opened to access the internal storage area. In Fig. 13, the bottom 11a is formed with or one or more rotatable portions 52, 54 that can be turned to open and close access to the interior of the base 10.

As will be appreciated, decorations can be attached to and/or embedded in the body portion 16. For example, a series of holes 20 can be formed in the body portion 16 allow decorations to be easily attached. The holes can be sized to allow ornament hooks and other decorations to be passed through to hang things from the tree 14. The holes can also be sized to allow decorative lights to be pushed through and held in place, e.g., through friction or a snap-fit connection, so that a string of lights can be attached. If pushed through from the bottom, the connecting lighting wire can be hidden.

Magnets can be embedded within the body portion 16 so that decorations that have magnetic materials in them can be easily attached and removed. Alternatively, steel or other magnetic material can be embedded within the body portion 16 to allow decorations with magnets in them to be attached. In one configuration, a flat strip of metal, such as spring steel, is formed in a spiral pattern that is embedded along the spiral of the body portion 16. Instead of a continuous strip, magnetic dots can be embedded along the length of the spiral.

in a further configuration, the body 16 is non-magnetic and decorative ornaments are provided that contain one or more strong magnets on their tops. A small metal coupling bar or disk can be placed on the opposite side of the body from a magnet in an ornament. The magnet adheres to the metal through the body portion 16 to allow the ornaments to be attached to the tree. Magnets and coupling bars used in magnetic bar fasteners commonly incorporated into removable name badge holders are suitable for this. Unlike name badge holders, however, where the metal coupling bar is hidden, e.g,. in a pocket or behind a lapel, the backing may be visible. Instead of a plain metal bar, more exciting decorative shapes can be used, such as stars, crosses, snowflakes, bells, angels, leaves, and other designs. These can also be colored on at least one side to provide further decorative features.

In a variation, instead of an exposed metal coupling bar to which a magnet in an ornament can adhere (or vice versa) the entire ornament can be provided in two parts that are held together by pairs of opposing magnets and or opposed magnet / coupling bar pairs. When the two halves are attached they form a complete decoration. With reference to Fig. 15, an ornament 70 can be formed of two halves 72a, 72b that join together to form a decoration. While a spherical decoration is shown, many other shapes can be used as well. One half of the decoration 70, such as the top 72a contains at least one magnet 74, such as a neodymium disk magnet. The other half of decoration has a metallic portion 76 to which the magnet 74 will adhere when the two halves 72a, 72b are put together. Instead of a metallic portion 76, another magnet can be used with an opposite polarity to the corresponding magnet 74 on the other half of the decoration. Multiple magnet/metal or magnet/magnet pairs can be provided.

A set of decorations, such as described herein, configured or intended for attachment to the body portion 16 can be provided as a set and pre-stored within the base 10 and made available to a consumer thereby at the time of purchase.

Instead of a strand of tights that is separately attached to the tree by a user, decorative lighting, such as LEDs or 12V mini-incandescent lights can be integrated into the tree 12 In advance, such as by integrating them within the body portion 16 where they are visible along an exposed surface. (See lights 90 in Fig. 15) Instead of discrete lights, other lighting materials can also be used. For example, rope lights or EL wire can be used and attached, e.g., along a surface or an edge of the body portion 16 (or, as in a further alternative noted above, the body portion 16 can be a spiral formed rope light strand). When electric decorations such as lights are provided, the end of the electrical connection can be at the bottom of the tree 12 by base 10 and/or run through the pole 14 and connected to the body portion 16 at one or both of its ends 16a/16b. The wire supplying electricity from the decorations can be largely hidden from view, and can run within the base and/or through the pole 14, thereby improving the overall aesthetics.

In yet a further configuration, optical fibers can be run through the material of body portion 16 and terminate at various locations along its length and periphery to provide a decorative effect. The light(s) which feed the optical fibers can be hidden in the base 10, within pole 14, or other location. A light pipe could also be used to provide a lighting effect along the tree.

In one particular configuration, the body portion material 16 is comprised of a multilayer sandwich structure with outer top and bottom surfaces that are decorative and a middle portion through which wires, optical fibers, LEDs, and/or other elements can be run. The connecting wires will be hidden by the outer layers. The light emitting portions can be arranged along the periphery of the body portion 16 or at points along its upper and/or lower surface.

With reference to Fig. 15 again, in a further configuration a pair of low voltage power wires 80, 82 are run through the body portion 16. Terminals 84 connected to the wires can be exposed at periodic intervals, such as though an opening 86, and which can be used to provide power to an ornament. The terminal openings 86 may be exposed throughout or may have a removable or foldable cover to hide the opening when an ornament is not attached. With particular reference to the ornaments 70 that are provided in magnetically coupled halves, such ornaments can also be provided with lights or other electrically powered features and configured with contacts 90, such as basic spring contacts, pogo pins, or other suitable connectors known to those of ordinary skill in the art. The two halves 72a, 72b of the ornament 70 can be magnetically coupled around the body portion 16 so that the contacts 90 connect to the terminals 84 in the body 16.

Although separate contacts 90 are shown, the magnets 74 and/or metallic portions 76 may also serve as the magnetic contacts used to draw power from the terminals, if both halves of the ornament require power, body 16 can be configured to provide access to the terminals 84 from the top and bottom of the body 16. In another configuration, the two halves of the ornaments can have an electrical connection between them suitable for transferring power from one part of the ornament to the other. For example the two haves 72a, 72b of the ornament 70 can be connected via a wire that wraps around the side of the body 16 to carry power from one half to the other.

As noted previously, the specific configuration of the body portion 16 can vary. Some variations are shown in Figs. 14a- 14c, in which the base 10 and mounting portions for the pole are omitted for clarity. Fig. 14a shows a decorative portion 16' formed from a coiled wall. This configuration provides more of a vertical visible surface than the configuration of, e.g., Fig. 1. Fig. 14b shows an alternative in which body portion 16" comprised of a series of disks 58 of decreasing diameter and that stack on each other when the pole is collapsed. Each disk can have a central hole 58 that is the diameter of one segment of the collapsible part 22 of the pole and wherein the disk will rest on the top part of a lower segment having a larger diameter, in addition, or alternatively, one or more pins can be placed over and/or under the disk, engaging respective openings in the pole (not shown) to hold the disk vertically in place along the pole. The disks can include holes to allow ornaments, lights, or other decorations to be attached. Support lines 60 can be run through the disks near their outer periphery and connect at one end to the top 18 of the pole and at the other end to the lowest disk or (not shown) the top 11a of the base 10. Alternatively, support lines 62 can be connected from the top of each segment of the pole to the disc mounted on that segment. In a further embodiment, shown in Fig. 14C, a body portion 16'" comprises a single disk 58 positioned at the bottom of the pole and with support lines 64 that extend from the top 18 of the pole to points along the periphery of the disk 58. In the various embodiment, the support lines can be decorative. In one configuration, the support lines include electric lights. The disks as shown are circular. However, they can be other geometric shapes and have, for example, an undulating or saw tooth outer profile.

The configurations and embodiments discussed herein advantageously provide a collapsible holiday tree with internal storage. Preferably, the container 10 is formed of a rigid material, such as molded plastic. The collapsible pole can be plastic or metal. The cover of the tree storage area and accessory storage areas can be rigid or flexible, such as being of plastic, vinyl, or similar materials as may be appropriate to one of skill in the art according to the given design. Preferably, the when closed, the container 10 provides sufficient structural strength to protect its contents and to allow other items to be stacked on the closed container. Decorative ornaments, such as discussed herein, can be provided and pre-stored in the base.

While the decorative 'tree' has been illustrated in the form of a spiral or series of disks and strands, alternatively a series of 'branches' can be formed extending radially from each segment of the central pole and arranged in a staggered manner to provide a more tree-like configuration.

The base and pole are typically circular in cross-section. However, other shapes can be used instead. For example, the cross section of the pole and/or the base can be polygonal.

Various aspects and embodiments of the invention have been disclosed and described herein. Various modifications, additions and alterations may be made to the invention by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.