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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
TABLES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1988/008681
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
It is known to vary the effective area of a table surface. However in many cases, the base of the table is of fixed shape and is therefore inadequate to support the extended table top. Described herein is a table having a top made of a number of hinged sections (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which can be folded out to form a table top, the top being mounted on a base which can be extended to support the table top in its extended position.

Inventors:
Hartwell
Clive
Richard, Hartwell
David
William
Application Number:
PCT/GB1988/000379
Publication Date:
November 17, 1988
Filing Date:
May 13, 1988
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
Hartwell
Clive
Richard, Hartwell
David
William
International Classes:
A47B1/00; A47B3/00; A47B3/083; (IPC1-7): A47B3/00
Foreign References:
DE366112C
FR1028025A
US2654647A
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A table consisting of a top and a base, the top consisting of a number of hinged sections which may be folded between a position in which the sections are coplanar to a position in which the sections are superimposed forming a two or multilayer top, the base being likewise foldable from an extended position in which it supports the unfolded table top to a retracted position in which it supports the folded assembly of superimposed table top sections.
2. A table according to Claim 1, of circular shape and wherein the hinged sections comprise two quadrant sections and four octant sections.
3. 3c A table according to Claim 2, wherein the sections are arranged such that the two quadrant sections are diametrically opposed.
4. A table according to Claim 2 or 3, wherein the hinged sections can be folded to form ridge folds and/or valley fold .
5. A table according to Claim 1, of circular shape and wherein the hinged sections comprise four quadrants.
6. A table according to any one of Claims 1 to 5, wherein the base comprises a number of frame sections hinged together about one or more essentially adjacent vertical axes located essentially under the centre of the unfolded table.
7. A table according to Claim 6, wherein the one or more essentially adjacent vertical axes are located at a corner of the table when it is in its folded position.
8. A table according to Claim 6 or 7, wherein each frame section is hinged for rotation about a substantially vertical axis, the base being foldable from a position in which the frame sections are distributed through substantially 90" about the vertical axis, to a position in which they are equally spaced through 360" about that axis.
9. A table according to Claim 6, 7 or 8, wherein at least two frame sections have set in their upper edges means which can be rotated to run nonradially relative to the central axis, to constitute transverse surface supports for the extended table top.
10. A table according to any one of Claims 1 to 9, wherein the top of each frame section and the underside of the folding table top have cooperating means enabling them to be held together.
11. A table according to Claim 10, wherein the cooperating means includes a fixed quadrant having a sliding track, and a table top section carries means for engaging the track thereby enabling the position of the table top section to be varied relative to parts of the base.
12. A table according to any one of the preceding Claims, wherein the table top sections are retained in an unfolded position by means of a recessed bolt housed in one section and which can be engaged with a recess formed in an adjacent section when the two sections are substantially coplanar.
13. A table according to any one of the preceding Claims, wherein the base is retained in an unfolded position by a locking arm extending between two adjacent frame sections.
Description:
TABLES

This invention relates to tables. Tables in which the effective area of the table surface can be varied are well known. Dining tables have been produced for many years provided with a base and one or more additional leaves which may be put adjacent table top sections to give a bigger table top. When not used, they may be slid under the table top (draw leaf tables) or may be removed altogether for storage separately. An alternative approach is to hinge the table top e.g. into two or three sections, one section being supported by a framework from which a support arm, optionally including a floor engaging leg, may be extended to support the folded up section. Such gate-leg tables are produced in a variety of designs. They possess a major disadvantage that when the section or sections are in their folded down position, they constitute a vertical wall e.g. making it difficult to sit with one's knees under the table if one sits at the folded down side. This is unsatisfactory. Folding hinged table tops are known which consist of two sections hinged together which may either rest one on top of another in turn on top of the base, or where the other one may be hinged about its hinged line with the other piece of the table top to bring them into a common plane, which is then supported by' the same underlying framework. The unfolded table top may be swivelled about

a vertical axis to ensure that both halves are supported on the underlying framework. Because the framework does not change its shape, when the table top is unfolded, support is sometimes inadequate and the table is unstable. According to the present invention there is provided a table consisting of a top and a base, the top consisting of a number of hinged sections which may be folded between a position in which the sections are co-planar to a position in which the sections are superimposed forming a two- or multi-layer top, the base being likewise foldable from an extended position in which it supports the unfolded table top to a retracted position in which it supports the folded assembly of superimposed table top sections. By means of the combination of the change in shape of the support base to match the unfolding and expanding area constituted by the table top, tables may be produced which are stable both in their low surface area folded form and in their high surface area extended form. The shape of the table top when in its most extended flat arrangement may vary. It may be for example square, non square but rectangular, circular or oval. Other shapes may also be used, though they are less usual. A particularly preferred way of dissecting the extended table surface into a plurality of table sections is by two cuts at right angles which intersect at the centre of the extended surface, and a third cut likewise passing through the intersection between the first two, and bisecting the angle between the other two cuts. Such a dissection dissects a circle into two quadrants and four octants. If the lines separating each section from the next are considered as hinge lines, forming the lines between two adjacent octants into ridge folds and the remaining lines into valley folds will start to fold the table top into a folded four layer configuration with the four octants between the two quadrants.

If instead of a quadrant, the same dissection is used with a right angled isosceles triangle, the folded out configuration is a square table. If attached to the hypotenuse of each of the two isosceles right angled triangles having their right angle at the centre of the unfolded table top there is added a rectangle, then the folded out shape is also a rectangle. If instead of an arc of a circle of radius that of the straight side of the quadrant, the quadrant is circumscribed by a curve, for example, circular arc of greater or lesser radius of curvature, petalled shapes may be produced when the table top is unfolded. The centre of the curvature of an arc of greater radius of curvature may lie outside the table itself, so giving re-entrant sides to the table. Table tops of oval shape may likewise be dissected into eight sections. A further alternative dissection within the scope of the invention is to dissect e.g. an elongate rectangular table into three sections by two transverse hinge lines. In a further embodiment of a circular table top, the top is dissected to form four quadrants only. In this embodiment, one quadrant may be fixed to the base and hinged to one of its adjacent quadrants. The other quadrants are then hinged together so that they can be folded to lie one on top of the other over the fixed quadrant.

According to the folding arrangement of each embodiment of the table top, appropriate hinges are used between adjacent sections so that ridge and valley folds as mentioned previously can be achieved.

In all cases in accordance with the invention the table top is supported on a base which is likewise foldable from a relatively closed position in which it supports the folded table top to a relatively open position in which it supports the unfolded table top, in each case substantially over its entire area. Using the

two quadrant/four octant dissection and its variants noted above, a very convenient way of forming the base is to form it as a number of frame sections hinged together about one or more essentially adjacent vertical axes located essentially under the centre of the unfolded table or at an angled, suitably right angled, corner of the table when it is folded up, the frame sections forming an underframe to support the table top.

In a particularly preferred table construction in accordance with the invention, the underframe consists of a plurality of subframes each hinged for rotation about a substantially vertical axis, the assembly being foldable from a position in which they are distributed through a relatively small angular range, e.g. 90" about the vertical axis, to a position in which they are equally spaced through 360" about that axis.

Preferably at least two subframes have set in their upper edge means which can be rotated to run non-radially relative to the central axis, most preferably essentially normal to a radius extending from the central axis. Such members may constitute transverse surface supports substantially improving the overall stability of the unfolded extended table surface.

The underframe and table top may be separable if desired, enabling easy and compact storage of the table when not in use. Indeed, the underframe and top may be wholly separate, the top simply resting on the underframe. However, for stability, the top of the frame and the underside of the folding table top may have cooperating means enabling them to be held together. Such means may include sliding track means enabling the position of one of the table top sections to be varied relative to parts of the underframe. This can avoid problems with overlap when the table and underframe are in their folded positions. Suitable catch mechanisms may be incorporated e.g. magnetic or mechanical catches to hold the table top

and/or underframe in folded or unfolded positions.

One arrangement for retaining the table top sections in an unfolded position is to utilise a recessed bolt housed in one section and which can be engaged with a recess formed in an adjacent section when the two sections are substantially coplanar.

The underframe can be retained in its unfolded position by using a locking arm which extends between two adjacent subframes. This arm may comprise a single rigid piece or may comprise two portions hinged together and to the subframes at each free end. In the latter case, locking means, for example an internally mounted spring loaded block which engages both portions or an external sleeve which covers the hinged joint between the two portions, can be provided.

The tables according to the present invention can be made in a variety of materials using conventional techniques. Thus they may be made of metal, wood or plastics, and different materials may be used for the underframe and for the top. One underframe may have several alternative shape tops for assembly therewith as desired.

The invention is illustrated by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: Figure 1 is a perspective view of a table in accordance with the invention, set in a room corner. Figure 2 is a view of the table of Figure 1 from a different angle. Figure 3 is a perspective view of the table of Figure 1 during its erection from being a quadrant shaped table to being a circular table. Figure 4 is a diagram similar to Figure 3 and showing the table top as unfolding commences. Figure 5 shows the table top in a more unfolded position.

Figure 5a shows an enlarged section through the pivoting

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bar illustrating a nut/bolt arrangement. Figure 6 shows the table top almost in its completely unfolded position, Figure 7 shows the circular table resulting therefrom, Figure 8 shows an alternative quadrant shaped table. Figures 9, 10 and 11 are diagrammatic views showing how the base of the table of Figure 8 is unfolded. Figures 12 an 13 are perspective views of a further embodiment having cantilever arms supporting the table top sections, in folded and partly unfolded positions respectively. Figures 14 and 15 are Figures corresponding to Figures 12 and 13 but of a further alternative embodiment. Figures 16, 17 and 18 are details showing the unfolding of the underframe of the table shown in Figures 12 to 15,

Figures 19 to 21 illustrate a further embodiment of the underframe with means for locking the unfolded underframe, Figure 22 is an enlarged view of the spring loaded locking mechanism circled in Figure 21, Figures 23 and 24 illustrate an arrangement for locking two adjacent octant sections together, Figure 25 is an enlarged detail of the bolt of Figures 23 and 24 , and Figures 26 and 27 illustrate a further arrangement of locking of the underframe in a cruciform embodiment. Referring first to Figures 1 to 3 these show a quadrant shaped corner table consisting of a table top 1

and an underframe consisting of two pairs of plates 10, 11 and 12, 13 supporting it. Between table top section 1 and the underframe (constituted by plates 10, 11, 12, 13) are located other table top sections 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Plates 11 and 12 are rigidly fixed with respect to one another at an angle of 90 * on a central foot 14, with plate 13 being hinged to plate 12 and plate 10 to plate 11, both by means of hinges 20. This enables plates 10 and 13 to be swung away from plates 11 and 12 respectively to form a generally cruciform arrangement shown also in Figures 4 and 5. Set on the upper edges of plates 10 and 13 are swivellable support arms 30 and 31 which can be swung about their centres as indicated by arrows 'X' in Figure 3 so that they lie transversely across the tops of plates 10 and 13. Each plate has a respective foot portion 15, 16, 17, 18 formed at a lower corner away from the central foot 14.

As shown in Figure 5, the ends of bars 30 and 31 may each include a recessed magnet 21 which cooperates with an associated recessed keeper 22 in the respective table top portion. Alternatively, as shown in Figure 5a, the bar 30 may have a transverse hole through which a fixing screw or bolt 23 may be passed, and which engages with a nut 24 retained in the table top portion. Naturally other appropriate means can be utilised so that the ends of the bars 30, 31 cooperate with what becomes the underside of the unfolded table top.

Turning now to consideration of the table top, this is shown in its fully folded position in Figures 1, 2 and 3. Once the plates 10, 11, 12, 13 have been folded out to shape as shown in Figures 3 and 4, lifting quadrant 1 starts to unfold the sections constituting the table top. As quadrant 1 is lifted, it moves as shown in Figure 4 in the direction of arrow 'Y'. Further movement in the direction of arrow 'Y' as shown in Figures 5 and 6 further unfolds the table until it finally comes to rest as shown

in Figure 7. It will be seen that Figure 7 constitutes an erected folding circular table of radius that of the quadrant 1.

The sections constituting the table top are hinged together to allow the folding and unfolding operations to be executed. A piano hinge 25 may conveniently be used between sections such as 5 and 6 as shown in Figures 4 and 5 to form ridge folds, i.e. between sections which are folded to bring their undersides together. Between sections which are folded to bring their uppersides together to form valley folds, a hinge 26 which allows such folding without being present on the uppersides of the sections may be used i.e. between sections 1 and 6 as shown in Figure 4. The sequence of folding the table in the shape shown in Figure 1 is simply the reverse of the unfolding sequence just explained.

Figures 8 to 11 indicate a variant where the assembly of quadrant and octant sections 1 to 6 sit on a quadrant shaped land 40 which extends between the top edges of plates 11 and 12. The underside of quadrant 4 is held captive against quadrant 40 by means of two sliding pins 41, 42. The quadrant 40 has two slots 43, 44 through which the pins 41, 42 extend to engage the underside of the quadrant section 4. The free movement allowed by this connection enables the folded quadrant shaped table top to be pushed firmly in to lie snugly in a corner as shown in Figure 1 (and as shown in diagrammatic top view in Figure 9) but to be moved, when it is desired to move the table top out to be a circular table top, to the position shown diagrammatically in Figure 10. When the table is folded out to circular shape from that position, the table top is supported totally symmetrically by the four plates, as shown in Figure 11, the quadrant and octant divisions being shown by dotted lines. The slots 43, 44 may extend to the arcuate edge of the quadrant and each have a spring

loaded movable catch which engages projections on the underside of quadrant 4.

Figures 12 and 13 show a similar construction save that instead of the plates 10, 11, 12, 13 the underframe consists basically of four "C M shaped members 50, 51, 52, 53 hinged together. For each member 50, 51, 52, 53 the vertical portion 54, 55, 56, 57 of each member forms part of a central support pillar, respective upper horizontal parts 58, 59, 60, 61 a cantilevered support arm for a portion of the table top, and respective lower portions of the "C" 62, 63, 64, 65 a horizontally extending cantilevered foot.

Figures 14 and 15 show a further embodiment of the underframe of the table. As shown the plates 10, 11, 12, 13 are replaced by portal members 70, 71, 72, 73, each of which has a front leg 74, 75, 76, 77, a rear leg 78, 79, 80, 81, and a cross rail 82, 83, 84, 85. As before, the portal members 72, 73 are foldable out, and each carries a bar 30, 31 in their respective cross rails 84, 85 which fold out to support the table top.

Figures 16 to 18 illustrate the unfolding of the underframe of the table shown in Figures 12 to 15. The members 50, 70 and 51, 71 are fixed, to the foot 14 and the other members 52, 72 and 53, 73 are hinged with respect to one of the fixed members. It is to be noted that such an arrangement is not limited to the underframe of Figures 12 to 15, and can be used with other underframes.

Figures 19 to 22 illustrate a further embodiment of the underframe with means for locking the unfolded underframe. In this embodiment, the bars 30, 31 are replaced by a hinged spring loaded locking arm 90 which when folded fits into a recess 91, 92 formed in respective ones of the support members 93, 94 which although shown as being "C" shaped members, may be of any of the other forms described previously.

The locking mechanism as shown in more detail in

Figure 22, comprises a block 95 mounted inside one portion 96 of the arm 90 and which is biased to extend into the other portion 97 of the arm by a spring 98. During movement of the arm 90 to the locked position (Figure 21) the block 95 can be retracted by means of a pin 99, to allow the portions 96, 97 to become axially aligned. Similarly, to unlock the arm 90, the pin 99 can be moved to disengage the block 95 from the position 97.

Figures 23 to 25 show an arrangement for locking two adjacent octant sections together. As the quadrant sections 1 and 4 are supported at their straight sides by the underframe, the pairs of octants section 2, 3 and 5, 6 can be locked together by a movable stud 100 which is retained in a recess formed in each of octants 3 and 6. The stud 100 is then moved to engage a shallower recess 102 in each of octants 2 and 5 to lock these sections together when they are coplanar and when the recesses 101, 102 are coaxial.

Figures 26 and 27 illustrate another embodiment of locking of the underframe. The support members may be of any of the previously described forms but each has a slot 111 to receive ends of a bar 110 which spaces the support members in a cruciform arrangement. When not in use, i.e. when the table is folded, the bars 110 can be stored in recesses 112 formed in the vertical column of the underframe as shown.

As an alternative to the locking arm embodiment of Figures 19 to 22, the block 95 can be replaced by a sleeve on the outside of the portion 96 which is pushed over the joint between portions 96 and 97 to lock the arm 90. If a spring is required, it is then positioned around the portion 96 instead of inside it. However, it should be noted that a spring is not necessary in this alternative as the sleeve can easily be moved from one position to the other by hand.

In a further embodiment (not illustrated) , instead of

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the table top comprising two quadrant and four octant sections, the table top comprises four quadrant sections. In this embodiment, one quadrant is fixed to two of the support members and is only hinged to one of the two adjacent quadrants. For example, if the quadrants are numbered 1 to 4 all the quadrants are hinged together except numbers 1 and 4. However, the hinging may be such that the table top is folded back and forth on itself, i.e. quadrant 1 is folded uppersides together onto quadrant 2, quadrant 3 is folded uppersides together onto quadrant 4, and then quadrant 2 is folded undersides together onto quadrant 3. When unfolded a locking mechanism can be employed to hold quadrants 1 and 4 together.