US20030066551A1 - Slidable door and sidewall associated with tents, awnings, and other collapsible protective enclosures - Google Patents

Slidable door and sidewall associated with tents, awnings, and other collapsible protective enclosures Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030066551A1
US20030066551A1 US10233295 US23329502A US2003066551A1 US 20030066551 A1 US20030066551 A1 US 20030066551A1 US 10233295 US10233295 US 10233295 US 23329502 A US23329502 A US 23329502A US 2003066551 A1 US2003066551 A1 US 2003066551A1
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Prior art keywords
slidable
sheet
slide
door
sidewall
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US10233295
Inventor
Michael Sofie
John Barrett
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B E Holdings LLC
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B E Holdings LLC
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60JWINDOWS, WINDSCREENS, NON-FIXED ROOFS, DOORS, OR SIMILAR DEVICES FOR VEHICLES; REMOVABLE EXTERNAL PROTECTIVE COVERINGS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES
    • B60J7/00Non-fixed roofs; Roofs with movable panels, e.g. rotary sunroofs
    • B60J7/08Non-fixed roofs; Roofs with movable panels, e.g. rotary sunroofs of non-sliding type, i.e. movable or removable roofs or panels, e.g. let-down tops or roofs capable of being easily detached or of assuming a collapsed or inoperative position
    • B60J7/10Non-fixed roofs; Roofs with movable panels, e.g. rotary sunroofs of non-sliding type, i.e. movable or removable roofs or panels, e.g. let-down tops or roofs capable of being easily detached or of assuming a collapsed or inoperative position readily detachable, e.g. tarpaulins with frames, or fastenings for tarpaulins
    • B60J7/102Readily detachable tarpaulins, e.g. for utility vehicles; Frames therefor
    • B60J7/104Fastening means for tarpaulins
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H15/00Tents or canopies, in general
    • E04H15/02Tents combined or specially associated with other devices
    • E04H15/10Heating, lighting or ventilating
    • E04H15/14Ventilating
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H15/00Tents or canopies, in general
    • E04H15/32Parts, components, construction details, accessories, interior equipment, specially adapted for tents, e.g. guy-line equipment, skirts, thresholds
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63BSHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; EQUIPMENT FOR SHIPPING
    • B63B17/00Vessels parts, details, or accessories, not otherwise provided for
    • B63B17/02Awnings, including rigid weather protection structures, e.g. sunroofs; Tarpaulins; Accessories for awnings or tarpaulins

Abstract

Novel slidable doors and sidewalls are adapted for use with collapsible protective enclosures (e.g., frame structure associated with a collapsible tent) such as tents, awnings, and restaurant patio shielding. The slidable doors and sidewalls, in addition to being flexible, may also be foldable, and, generally, slidably engage a slide track incorporated in such an enclosure. Further, the slidable doors and sidewalls generally comprise a flexible sheet that, in some embodiments, may also define openings therethrough and further comprise windows provided by semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheets. The present invention is also directed to collapsible protective enclosures comprising the above slidable doors and sidewalls, and to methods for retrofitting such enclosures with the above slidable doors and sidewalls, and to kits for accomplishing the same.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/387,308, filed Aug. 31, 1999, now pending, which application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention is generally directed to a slidable door and sidewall, and more particularly, to a slidable door and sidewall suitable for use with tents, awnings, restaurant patio shielding and other protective enclosures, as well as methods related thereto.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0005]
    There are numerous types of protective enclosures available for protecting an interior space from the elements. For example, tents, awnings, canopies, and other protective structures are readily available from a number of different manufacturers for those interested in shielding an interior space from one or more natural elements such as sun, wind, rain and snow. Such protective enclosures are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are made from both natural and synthetic materials, including blends thereof.
  • [0006]
    Historically, canvas and other natural fabrics have been used in the manufacture of protective enclosures. Tents and awnings, for example, have historically been made from canvas because canvas provides for a high-level of protection from the elements, and because canvas is generally readily foldable into a more compact structure, which is highly desirable for purposes of storage and transport. More recently, however, protective enclosures have also been made from a variety of synthetic fabrics which are also readily foldable, such as those made with polyamide (e.g., nylon), polyester, polytetrafluoroethylene (e.g., GORE-TEX), and polyvinylchloride, as well as various blends thereof. In either case, the natural and synthetic fabrics used in the manufacture of protective enclosures are generally considered to be either fibrous, like canvas, or non-fibrous (i.e., nonwoven), like many synthetic fabrics such as vinyl sheets.
  • [0007]
    A significant improvement associated with protective enclosures, made from either a natural and/or synthetic fabric, has been the development of transparent windows and doors. More specifically, protective enclosures for boats and automobiles have been developed that include one or more transparent windows that allow for unobstructed viewing for the occupant(s) within the interior space associated therewith. For example, transparent windows have been incorporated into automobile convertible tops (e.g., rear windows), as well as boat enclosures (e.g., sailboat storm dodger). These windows have traditionally been made from either glass or clear vinyl. Similarly, transparent windows have been incorporated into doorways and sidewalls of tents and awnings; however, these windows have usually been made from only clear vinyl, and not glass, for obvious safety reasons.
  • [0008]
    There are, however, several drawbacks associated with protective enclosures having glass and clear vinyl windows. For example, because glass is generally inflexible and a relatively poor shock absorber, it may readily break. Thus, it has only limited utility in an otherwise flexible and foldable protective enclosure. As a substitute for glass, clear vinyl sheets have been utilized for windows; however, such clear vinyl has a tendency to form wrinkles and creases with use, it scratches relatively easily, and it may lose its transparency (e.g., yellow) over time. Furthermore, clear vinyl is somewhat susceptible to changes in size and shape as a result of temperature fluctuations.
  • [0009]
    An alternative to both glass and clear vinyl windows has been the use of semi-rigid clear plastic materials, such as polycarbonate and acrylic-based thermoplastic sheets. These materials are characterized by high transparency, ease of cleaning, and high shock resistance. Moreover, these materials are generally not susceptible to changes in size and shape as a result of temperature fluctuations. As such, the use of semi-rigid clear plastic materials as windows in protective enclosures has been seen as a significant improvement over glass and clear vinyl, especially in the context of high-end boat enclosures and party/exhibition tents. Exemplary in this regard is U.S. Pat. No. 5,121,703 to Smith and U.S. Pat. No. 5,472,771 to Sofie et al.
  • [0010]
    Although protective enclosures having semi-rigid clear plastic windows are now available, there are still several shortcomings associated with existing protective enclosures that need to be overcome. For example, and in the context of high-end boat enclosures and party/exhibition tents, existing protective enclosures generally include one or more doors, several sidewalls, as well as a plurality of windows. The doors and windows are typically opened and closed by means of a zipper; however, other means such as snaps, buttons, tie-downs, and VELCRO are also known. Similarly, the sidewalls of such protective enclosures are typically attached to one another (as well as to (1) flexible ropes and/or awning cords generally associated with the underlying rigid/flexible framing structure of pole tents, and (2) rigid cross-members generally associated with the underlying rigid framing structure of span tents) by means of a zipper, snaps, buttons, tie-downs or VELCRO. The use of such attachment means poses several disadvantages.
  • [0011]
    For example, zippers, snaps, buttons, tie-downs and VELCRO are all somewhat cumbersome to use in the sense that they require a relatively high level of physical and cognitive effort to successfully operate. As such, zippers, snaps, buttons, tie-downs, VELCRO, and the like may pose a significant safety concern in an emergency situation. Indeed, large party/exhibition tents are generally occupied with their doors open, or at least unsecured, to facilitate evacuation in the event of a fire or other emergency. In addition, the assembly and disassembly of protective enclosures such as party/exhibition tents (and storage of the same) is often an arduous task because of the multiple and non-modular components involved.
  • [0012]
    Accordingly, while significant advances have been made in the field of protective enclosures, there remains a need in the art for improved protective enclosures and methods related thereto. In particular, there is a need for slidable doors and sidewalls associated with such protective enclosures that can be readily opened and closed. There is also a need for windows associated with such doors and sidewalls, as well as protective enclosures, that remain transparent after prolonged use and repeated cleaning, and that can be readily placed and maintained in fully open, partially open, and closed positions, and that, when in the fully open and partially open positions, can also provide a screened opening allowing the passage of air, but not, for example, insects. The present invention fulfills these needs, and provides for further related advantages.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0013]
    In brief, the present invention is generally directed to a slidable door and sidewall, and more particularly, to a slidable door and sidewall suitable for use with tents, awnings, restaurant patio shielding, and other protective enclosures, as well as to such protective enclosures that include such a slidable door and sidewall. The present invention is also directed to methods for retrofitting a protective enclosure (e.g., a frame structure associated with a collapsible tent) with a slidable door or sidewall, as well as to kits for accomplishing the same.
  • [0014]
    In one embodiment, the present invention is directed to a slidable door or sidewall adapted for detachable attachment with a protective enclosure, wherein the slidable door or sidewall comprises a flexible sheet having a continuous outer perimeter that defines a plurality of discrete outer edges, wherein at least one of the outer edges is adapted to slidably engage a slide track. The flexible sheet may either be a fibrous material, a non-fibrous material, or a blend thereof. In a more particular embodiment, the slidable door or sidewall further comprises at least one magnet integrally associated with at least one of the outer edges of the flexible sheet, wherein the at least one outer edge having the at least one magnet integrally associated therewith is not the same as the at least one outer edge adapted to slidably engage the slide track.
  • [0015]
    The foldable door or sidewall may further comprise a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet in a fixedly, detachably or hingedly attached and generally coplanar relationship with the flexible sheet, wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet defines a window. The semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet may be transparent, and may have a decorative decal or strip affixed thereto so as to alter its transparency. In a related embodiment, the window comprises a mesh material that provides a screened opening allowing the passage of air, but not, for example, insects, when the window is fully or partially open.
  • [0016]
    In another embodiment, the present invention is directed to a collapsible protective enclosure comprising the inventive slidable door or sidewall. The inventive protective enclosure, which is suitable for protecting an interior space from one or more natural elements, includes a frame structure that defines the interior space, the latter being further defined by a floor, a plurality of walls, and a roof. The roof and plurality of walls intersect at a plurality of edges. The frame structure includes a cross-member spanning across at least one of the walls and adjacent to at least one of the plurality of edges. In certain particular embodiments, the cross-member itself also provides a slide track. In other particular embodiments, the protective enclosure includes a slide track that is detachably attached to the cross-member.
  • [0017]
    In any case, the slide track has one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall. The other of the welt and the groove is provided along at least one of the discrete outer edges of the continuous outer perimeter of the flexible sheet of the slidable door or sidewall. When slidably engaged in the slide track, the slidable door or sidewall is in a coplanar relationship with at least one of the walls of the protective enclosure. In more specific related embodiments, another of the plurality of door or sidewall outer edges has at least one magnet integrally associated therewith, and the slidable door or sidewall further comprises a window provided by a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet, where, in certain embodiments, the window is fixedly attached and, thereby permanently closed, and, in other certain embodiments, is capable of being in a fully open, partially open, or closed position.
  • [0018]
    In yet another embodiment, the present invention is directed to an architectural window adapted for fixed, detachable, or hinged attachment to a wall, or a slidable door or sidewall, of a collapsible protective enclosure. The architectural window comprises a border sheet having outer and inner continuous perimeters that define a plurality of discrete outer and inner edges and a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet in a fixed and coplanar relationship with the border sheet. In specific related embodiments, the architectural window further includes, respectively, at least one magnet, at least one securing strap, or a combination thereof, for maintaining the window in a open or closed position; at least one retaining strap for maintaining the window in a partially open position; and a means for providing a screened opening that allows the passage of air, but not, for example, insects, when the window is in the fully or partially open position.
  • [0019]
    The present invention is also directed to a method for retrofitting a protective enclosure with a slidable door or sidewall. In all cases, the method entails carrying out the first step of providing a protective enclosure and a cross-member, where the cross-member spans across a portion of the protective enclosure. In one related embodiment, where the cross-member itself provides a slide track having one of a welt and a groove, the method entails carrying out only the additional steps of providing a slidable door or sidewall having the other of a welt and a groove; and engaging the other of a welt and a groove with the one of a welt and a groove such that the slidable door or sidewall is in slidable engagement with the slide track.
  • [0020]
    In another related embodiment, where the cross-member is capable of slidable engagement with a slide track, the method entails carrying out the additional steps of providing a separate slide track; slidably engaging the slide track with the cross-member; providing a slidable door or sidewall capable of slidable engagement with the slide track; and slidably engaging the door or sidewall and slide track as in the above-described method.
  • [0021]
    In yet another embodiment, where a conventional cross-member is provided, the method entails the additional steps of providing a slide track and one or more slide track supporting devices; attaching the one or more slide track supporting devices to the cross-member; attaching the slide track to the one or more slide track supporting devices; providing a slidable door or sidewall capable of slidable engagement with the slide track; and slidably engaging the door or sidewall with the slide track, as in the above-described methods
  • [0022]
    In yet another embodiment, the present invention is directed to a kit adapted to retrofit a protective enclosure with a foldable door or sidewall. For all embodiments thereof, the kit includes at least the following components: a slide track having one of a welt and groove for slidable engagement with a slidable door or sidewall, and a slidable door or sidewall that includes a flexible sheet, the flexible sheet having a continuous outer perimeter that defines a plurality of discrete outer edges, wherein at least one of the outer edges has the other of a welt and a groove. In a more specific related embodiment, the slide track is configured to replace a cross-member associated with the protective enclosure being retrofitted.
  • [0023]
    In other specific related embodiments, the kit includes a grooved rod or a rod and one or more hooks having adjustable straps. Further, the slide track has one of a second welt and a second groove for slidable engagement with the grooved rod or rod, and each of the one or more hooks has a hooked end adapted to detachably attach to a cross-member associated with the protective enclosure and a flat end having at least two slits adapted to adjustably engage a strap, and wherein each of the one or more straps is connected to the grooved rod or rod.
  • [0024]
    In yet another specific related embodiment, the kit includes one or more hooks and a slide track configured so as to allow one end of each hook to be directly and detachably attached thereto, the other end of each hook adapted to detachably attach to a cross-member.
  • [0025]
    These and other aspects of the present invention will be evident upon reference to the following detailed description and related Figures.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0026]
    [0026]FIG. 1A is an exploded top isometric view of a slidable door or sidewall comprising a welt, and a partial isometric view of a slide track comprising a groove, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0027]
    [0027]FIG. 1B is an exploded top isometric view of a slidable door or sidewall comprising a groove, and a partial isometric view of a slide track comprising a welt, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0028]
    [0028]FIG. 2A is a top isometric view of a slidable sidewall according to an embodiment of the present invention comprising two welt segments and shown in the fully extended position.
  • [0029]
    [0029]FIG. 2B is an exploded top isometric view of the slidable sidewall of FIG. 2A, shown in an open, non-extended position with folds, and a partial isometric view of a slide track comprising two grooves, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of a slidable and foldable sidewall according an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 4 is a top isometric view of a slidable sidewall comprising a detachably attached window according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 5 is a top isometric view of a slidable sidewall comprising a hingedly attached window according to an embodiment of the present invention where the window is shown in the partially open position with a screen installed.
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 6A is a top isometric view of a representative prior art frame structure associated with a span tent.
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 6B is a top isometric view of a representative prior art span tent.
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 7A is a top isometric view of a representative prior art frame structure associated with a pole tent.
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 7B is a top isometric view of a representative prior art pole tent.
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 8A is a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the slide track has two opposing grooves each of which is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical welt, such as a fabric encased rod.
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 8B is a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the slide track has three grooves in a triangular relationship with one another, each of which is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical welt, such as a fabric encased rod.
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 9A is a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the slide track has a groove and a welt in an opposing relationship with one another, and wherein the groove is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical welt and the welt is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical groove.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 9B is a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the slide track has two welts in an opposing relationship with one another, and wherein each welt is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical groove.
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 9C is a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track according to an embodiment of the present invention, wherein the slide track has a groove and two welts in a triangular relationship with one another, and wherein the groove is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical welt and each of the welts is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical groove.
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 10 is an exploded partial isometric view of a slide track supporting device, a slide track and a cross-member, according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0043]
    [0043]FIG. 11 is an exploded partial isometric view of a slide track supporting device, a slide track, a cross-member and a slidable door or sidewall according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0044]
    [0044]FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of a slidable and foldable door that is hanging from a cross-member associated with a protective enclosure via a plurality of slide track supporting devices, wherein the slidable and foldable door is in slidable engagement with the slide track according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0045]
    [0045]FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a folded door or sidewall, a corresponding bag, a storage container having a mounted slide track (having a plurality of grooves adapted to slidably engage a welt) in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0046]
    As noted above, the present invention is generally directed to a slidable door and sidewall, and more particularly, to a slidable door and sidewall suitable for use with tents, awnings, restaurant patio shielding, and other collapsible protective enclosures. The present invention is also directed to a collapsible protective enclosure (e.g., frame structure associated with a collapsible tent) comprising a slidable door or sidewall; to an architectural window adapted for fixed, detachable, or hinged attachment to a wall or a slidable door or sidewall of a collapsible protective enclosure; to methods for retrofitting a collapsible protective enclosure with a slidable door or sidewall; and to kits for accomplishing the same. Although many specific details of certain embodiments of the present invention are set forth in the following detailed description and accompanying figures, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention may have additional embodiments, or that the invention may be practiced without several of the details disclosed herein.
  • [0047]
    In one embodiment, the present invention is directed to a slidable door or sidewall that is adapted for detachable attachment and slidable engagement with a slide track coupled to a collapsible protective enclosure along the top of an opening therethrough. The slide track has one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the slidable door or sidewall.
  • [0048]
    In its simplest form, the slidable door or sidewall comprises a flexible sheet that has a continuous outer perimeter, wherein the continuous outer perimeter defines a plurality of discrete outer edges. At least one of the outer edges of the flexible sheet comprises the other of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the one of a welt and a groove of the slide track. Thus, at least one of the outer edges of the flexible sheet of the slidable door or sidewall may comprise a welt for slidable engagement with a groove comprised in the slide track, or at least one of the outer edges of the flexible sheet may comprise a groove for slidable engagement with a welt comprised in the slide track.
  • [0049]
    In a particular embodiment, the flexible sheet is in the form of a rectangular sheet of fabric that comprises a welt provided by a rod that is attached along one of the outer edges of the flexible sheet, the material thereof being sewn so as to encase the rod therein. In this manner, the outer edge of the flexible sheet having the attached rod is adapted to slidably engage a groove comprised in a slide track. Typically, the slide track is incorporated into a collapsible protective enclosure so as to be in an elevated relationship with the ground so that the slidable door or sidewall may hang from the slide track while being slidably engaged therewith. The expression “slidably engaged,” as used herein, means that the slidable door and sidewall may be moved along the slide track in any number of positions by virtue of having a welt associated with its top outer edge, where the welt is engaged with a groove of the slide track, or by virtue of having a groove associated with its top outer edge, where the groove is engaged with a welt of the slide track.
  • [0050]
    In another particular related embodiment, the slidable door or sidewall further comprises at least one magnet integrally associated with at least one of the plurality of discrete outer edges of the flexible sheet, other than the at least one discrete outer edge that comprises the other of a welt and a groove. Such integral association of the at least one magnet with an outer edge of the flexible sheet may be accomplished by sewing the material adjacent to the outer edge so as to encase the magnet therein. In one related, specific embodiment, the magnet is a magnetic strip. Suitable magnetic strips are available from a number of suppliers such as Tricomp, Inc., Pompton Plains, N.J.
  • [0051]
    Two exemplary slidable doors of the present invention are shown as slidable doors 100 and 120 in FIGS. 1A and 1B, respectively, as adapted for slidable engagement with slide tracks 140 and 160, respectively. As shown in FIG. 1A, the slidable door 100 includes a rectangular flexible sheet 101 having a continuous outer perimeter that defines four discrete outer edges 102, 104, 106 and 108. The flexible sheet 101 may be made from a fibrous material such as, for example, a canvas made with naturally occurring fibers like cotton, linen, hemp, jute, and ramie. Alternatively, the flexible sheet 401 may be made from a synthetic material such as, for example, a vinyl (e.g., DURA-PRO available from Duracote Corporation, Ravenna, Ohio) or other suitable plastic.
  • [0052]
    Also, as shown in FIG. 1A, the flexible sheet 101 has three magnetic strips 110, 112, and 114 sewn directly along outer edge 108. The magnetic strips 110, 112 and 114 are adapted to magnetically couple to corresponding magnets associated with a second slidable door (not shown) or collapsible protective enclosure (not shown). In addition, the flexible sheet 101 has a welt provided by a cylindrical rod 116 (shown in hidden lines) encased in a pocket of the material of the flexible sheet 101, adjacent to the outer edge 102 and sewn so as to form the pocket. Also as shown, the welt provided by the encased rod 116 may slidably engage a groove 141 of the slide track 140 (shown in part). When the slide track 140 is attached to an elevated cross-member coupled to a collapsible protective enclosure, the slidable door or sidewall slidably hangs from the slide track 140.
  • [0053]
    The cylindrical rod 116, shown in FIG. 1A, has a round cross-section. However, in other related embodiments, welts may be provided by rods having differently shaped cross-sections such as, for example, triangular, rectangular and oval cross-sections. Also, a welt may be provided by two or more rods, aligned in a pocket, with relatively short gaps therebetween. The gaps allow the slidable door or sidewall to also be foldable about a number of axes perpindicular to the welt, the number being equal to the number of such gaps.
  • [0054]
    As shown in FIG. 1B, slidable door 120 is the same as slidable door 100, except that, instead of having a welt, it has a groove provided by a hollow tube 122 attached to flexible sheet 101 along outer edge 102 by means of fasteners 124. The hollow tube 122 has a round cross section. However, hollow tubes having differently shaped cross-sections (e.g., triangular, rectangular, oval, etc.) may be used. The hollow tube 122 comprises longitudinal edges 126 defining an opening 128 therebetween that extends along the top the hollow tube 122 and along its entire length. As shown, the groove provided by the hollow tube 122 is adapted to slidably engage a welt 161 of the slide track 160 (shown in part). The welt 161 extends from the body 162 of the slide track by way of arm 164. The space between the edges 126 defining the opening 128 is such that the arm 164 can slide therebetween when the slidable door 120 is slidably engaged with the slide track 160.
  • [0055]
    The present invention, in another related embodiment, is directed to a slidable door or sidewall adapted for detachable attachment and slidable engagement with a slide track coupled to a collapsible protective enclosure along the top of an opening therethrough, where the slide track has one of a purality of welts and a plurality of grooves for slidable engagement with the slidable door or sidewall, and the slidable door or sidewall has the other of a segmented welt and a segmented groove. The slidable door or sidewall comprises a flexible sheet that has a continuous outer perimeter defining discrete outer edges, at least one of which comprises the other of a segmented welt and a segmented groove. In general, the other of a segmented welt and a segmented groove comprises n segments of substantially equal length where n is greater than or equal to 2. The segments are of substantially the same length and spaced apart along the at least one outer edge such that the distance between any two consecutive segments, as measured along the at least one outer edge is substantially equal to the length of a segment.
  • [0056]
    The inventive slidable door or sidewall having the other of a segmented welt and a segmented groove, where the number of segments is n, is adapted for slidable engagement with one of n welts and n grooves of a slide track where any two consecutive segments slidably engage one of two adjacent welts and two adjacent grooves in the slide track. As the slidable door or sidewall is opened, the flexible sheet folds upon itself, and when the slidable door or sidewall is fully open, the flexible sheet comprises 2+2(n−2) folds. In a more specific embodiment, the above slidable door or sidewall further comprises at least one magnet integrally associated with the flexible sheet in a manner similar to the slidable door 100 or 120.
  • [0057]
    An exemplary slidable sidewall 200 having two welt segments is shown, fully extended, in FIG. 2A. As shown, the slidable sidewall 200 includes a flexible sheet 201 having a continuous outer perimeter that defines four discrete outer edges 202, 204, 206 and 208. The flexible sheet may be made from the materials discussed above in connection with the slidable door 100. Also, as shown in FIG. 2A, the flexible sheet 201 has three magnetic strips 210, 212 and 214 sewn directly along outer edge 208. In addition, the flexible sheet 201 has a first welt provided by a first cylindrical rod 216 and a second welt provided by a second cylindrical rod 218, where both rods are encased in a pocket of the material of the flexible sheet 201, adjacent to the outer edge 202 and sewn so as to form the pocket.
  • [0058]
    The slidable sidewall 200 is shown in an opened, non-extended position in FIG. 2B, where the flexible sheet 201 has a first fold 220 and a second fold 222. Also shown is a slide track (shown in part) 240 comprising a first groove 242 adapted for slidable engagement with the first welt provided by the first encased rod 216, and a second groove 244 adapted for slidable engagement with the second welt provided by the second encased rod 218. In use, the first and second welts are slidably engaged with the first and second grooves, 242 and 244, respectively.
  • [0059]
    The present invention, in another embodiment, is directed to slidable doors and sidewalls, such as those described above, but further comprising an opening therethrough. The opening, in specific embodiments is an open window, passageway or door, respectively. Where, for example, the opening is an open window, the latter is bounded by an inner perimeter of the flexible sheet, the inner perimeter having associated therewith an inner perimeter region, as well as a plurality of discrete inner edges having edge regions associated therewith, the latter, when combined, being equivalent to the perimeter region. The term “region,” as used in this context, is defined herein as that portion of the flexible sheet adjacent to the inner perimeter or discrete inner edges. In a more specific embodiment, the plurality of discrete inner edges comprise two substantially vertical side inner edges and two substantially horizontal inner edges—one an upper inner edge, and the other a lower inner edge.
  • [0060]
    In another embodiment, the slidable door or sidewall having a fexible sheet that comprises an inner perimeter defining a window therethrough, further comprises a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet (hereinafter, “resinous sheet”). The resinous sheet has a continuous perimeter and associated perimeter region, the term “region” being defined as above for the slidable door or sidewall, but, here, in the context of an outer perimeter. When the resinous sheet is in a coplanar relationship with the flexible sheet, its perimeter region is coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet. In related embodiments, the resinous sheet may be coplanar with and fixedly attached to the flexible sheet; or coplanar with (when attached) and detachably attached to the flexible sheet so as to provide a removable window; or hingedly attached to the flexible sheet so as to provide a window capable of being in a fully open, partially open, or closed position, the resinous sheet being coplanar with the flexible sheet when the window so provided is in the closed position.
  • [0061]
    The resinous sheet may be made from a thermoplastic resin such as, for example, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, or vinyl resin. All of these thermoplastics are available in sheet form from a number of different suppliers (e.g., Sheffield Plastics, Reading, Pa.). In addition, the resinous sheet may be transparent or it may be opaque. In alternative embodiments, the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is mirrored or is adapted to change its opacity with changes in surrounding light intensity (i.e., the sheet may darken in sunlight). Furthermore, the resinous sheet may include one or more decorative strips or decals. For example, the resinous sheet may include on its surface a decorative strip that alters its transparency. Thus, in a further embodiment, the resinous sheet includes a strip of beveled tape that has the appearance of beveled glass (e.g., ACCENTRIM tape made by 3M Industrial Tape and Specialties Division, St. Paul, Minn.), which strip causes the window to have the appearance of beveled glass.
  • [0062]
    In related embodiments, the slidable door or sidewall comprises a plurality of resinous sheets and is foldable, respectively. Shown in FIG. 3, is an exemplary slidable sidewall 300 that comprises six closed windows provided by six resinous sheets 320, 322, 324, 326, 328 and 330 that are coplanar with, and fixedly attached to, a flexible sheet 301. In this illustrated embodiment, the flexible sheet 301 has six inner perimeters, corresponding to the six windows, and a continuous outer perimeter that defines four discrete outer edges 302, 304, 306 and 308. Also, as shown, the flexible sheet 301 has three magnetic strips 310, 312 and 314 sewn directly along outer edge 308. In addition, the slidable sidewall 300 has a welt provided by two rods 316 and 318 encased in pockets of the material of the flexible sheet 301 that is adjacent to the outer edge 302 and sewn so as to form the pockets. Moreover, because the two rods 316 and 318 have a gap therebetween, as shown, and because the slidable and foldable door 300 has a bisecting first crease 332 and two perpindicular trisecting creases 334 and 336, the slidable and foldable door 300 may be readily folded into a smaller rectangular shape for purposes of storage and transportation.
  • [0063]
    For certain embodiments, such as slidable sidewall 300, where the resinous sheet is fixedly attached to the flexible sheet of the slidable door or sidewall, the fixed attachment is accomplished by means of an adhesive bond between the perimeter region of the resinous sheet and inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet or border sheet. Exemplary methods for adhesively bonding such resinous sheets to such flexible sheets are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,472,771, 5,660,916 and 5,851,637, which are all to Sofie et al., and are all incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. In short, these patents disclose methods for adhesively bonding a flexible fibrous sheet to a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet by (1) contacting an edge surface of the flexible fibrous sheet with a thermosetting resin, (2) allowing the resin to cure to yield a unified surface, (3) applying an adhesive along an edge surface of the semi-rigid sheet to yield an adhesive surface, and (4) contacting the unified surface of the flexible fibrous sheet with the adhesive surface of the semi-rigid sheet so that they adhere together.
  • [0064]
    When the resinous sheet is fixedly or detachably attached to the flexible sheet, in one embodiment of the present invention, the resinous sheet is coplanar with, and fixedly attached to a border sheet. The latter may be made from the same or a different material than the flexible sheet and may be substantially rigid or flexible. Also, the fixed attachment of the resinous sheet to the border sheet may be accomplished as described above for the fixed attachment of the resinous sheet to the flexible sheet. The border sheet has outer and inner perimeters with outer and inner perimeter regions associated therewith. Also, the outer and inner perimeters of the border sheet define a plurality of discrete outer and inner edges and edge regions, respectively. The term “region,” as used herein, is generally defined as above, only here in the context of an inner perimeter, as well as an outer perimeter. When the resinous sheet is fixedly attached to the border sheet, the perimeter region of the resinous sheet is coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the border sheet.
  • [0065]
    In one related embodiment of a slidable door or sidewall of the present invention that comprises a resinous sheet, detachably attached to the flexible sheet of the door or sidewall, the resinous sheet is fixedly attached to a border sheet, as described above, and, further, the outer perimeter region of the border sheet comprises at least one first magnet, and the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet comprises at least one second magnet. The at least one first magnet and the at least one second magnet are adapted to couple so as to allow the resinous sheet to detachably attach to the flexible sheet.
  • [0066]
    Shown in FIG. 4 is an exemplary slidable sidewall 400 that comprises a detachably attached window provided by a resinous sheet 444 fixedly attached to a border sheet 418. The slidable sidewall 400 includes a flexible sheet 401 having a continuous outer perimeter that defines four discrete outer edges 402, 404, 406, 408. As shown, twelve magnetic strips 420, 422, 424, 426, 428, 430, 432, 434, 436, 438, 440, 442, are sewn directly along the outer edges 446, 448, 450 and 452 of the border sheet 418. The magnetic strips are adapted to magnetically couple to corresponding magnetic strips (not shown) sewn directly into the inner perimeter region (directly behind the border sheet 418) of the flexible sheet 401. The border sheet 418 also comprises a continuous inner perimeter that defines four discrete inner edges 454, 456, 458, 460. Also shown in FIG. 4 is a welt provided by cylindrical rod 416, and three magnetic strips 410, 412, 414, adapted to magnetically couple with corresponding magnets (not shown) associated with a second slidable sidewall (not shown) or collapsible protective enclosure (not shown).
  • [0067]
    In related embodiments, other means for detachably attaching the resinous sheet to the slidable door or sidewall of the present invention may be used as would be well appreciated by those skilled in the art. For example, securing straps can be sewn to the border sheet and engaged with hooks, clasps, or other securing straps attached to the flexible sheet.
  • [0068]
    The present invention, in another embodiment, is directed to a slidable door or sidewall that comprises a resinous sheet, hingedly attached, by means of a hinge, to the flexible sheet of the door or sidewall, the resinous sheet being fixedly attached to a border sheet, as described above. In a particular related embodiment, the border sheet is hingedly attached, along one of its discrete outer edges, to the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith, and, when the resinous sheet is in the closed position, at least one of the discrete outer edge regions of the border sheet, not hingedly attached to the flexible sheet, is detachably attached to the at least one inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet that is coextensive therewith. Similarly, the hingedly attached resinous sheet can be maintained in a fully open position by adapting at least one of the discrete outer edge regions of the border sheet, not hingedly attached to the flexible sheet, to detachably attach to a region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith when the resinous sheet is in the fully open position.
  • [0069]
    In a yet more particular related embodiment, the border sheet has four discrete outer edges, defined by its outer perimeter, that include two substantially vertical side outer edges and substantially horizontal upper and lower outer edges. The lower edge region of the border sheet is hingedly connected to the lower edge region of the flexible sheet, coextensive therewith. Also, at least one of the side and upper outer edge regions of the border sheet is adapted to be detachably attached to the at least one of the side and upper inner edge regions of the flexible sheet, coextensive therewith, for maintaining the resinous sheet in a closed position. In specific embodiments, the detachable attachment is provided by securing means that comprise at least one pair of coupling magnets, or at least one securing strap, along with a hook or clasp for engaging the same, or a combination of the above. Similar securing means can be used to maintain the resinous sheet in the fully open position by detachably attaching at least one of the side and upper outer edge regions of the border sheet to the to a region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith when the resinous sheet is in the fully open position.
  • [0070]
    Another embodiment of the present invention that is directed to a slidable door or sidewall comprising a hingedly attached window, as described above, further comprises at least one retaining strap adapted to maintain the window in a partially open position. Related embodiments further comprise a sheet of mesh material, adapted to provide a screen, allowing the passage of air, but not small objects such as insects, through the opening of the flexible sheet when the window is in the partially open and fully open position, respectively.
  • [0071]
    A specific embodiment of the present invention, directed to a slidable sidewall that comprises a hingedly attached window having at least one retaining strap adapted to maintain the window in a partially open position and a sheet of mesh material adapted to provide a screen when the window is partially open and to collapse and fold when the window is closed so as not to obstruct the view through the window, is shown in FIG. 5. As shown, the slidable sidewall 500 includes a welt provided by cylindrical rod 516 and a flexible sheet 501 having an outer perimeter defining discrete outer edges 502, 504, 506, 508. Three magnetic strips 510, 512, 514 are shown attached along outer edge 508. A window is provided by resinous sheet 536, fixedly attached to border sheet 518. The border sheet 518 is hingedly attached to flexible sheet 501 by means of hinge 538. The window is shown in a partially open position, and held in place by retaining straps 540. Also, shown is a single sheet of mesh material 542, the entire perimeter of which is attached along outer edges 544, 548, 550 of the border sheet 518, as well as along the inner edge regions of the flexible sheet, coextensive therewith. The sheet of mesh material may be either fixedly or detachably attached as described.
  • [0072]
    As shown, the sheet of mesh material 542 provides a screen, allowing the passage of air, but not of small objects such as insects. In addition, the sheet of mesh material 542 and the retaining straps 540 are adapted to collapse and fold when the window is closed so as not to obstruct the view through the resinous sheet 536. Also as shown, eight magnetic strips 520, 522, 524, 526, 528, 530, 532, 534 are sewn directly along the outer edges 544, 548, 550 of the border sheet 518. The magnetic strips are adapted to magnetically couple to corresponding magnetic strips (not shown) sewn directly into the inner perimeter region (directly behind the border sheet 518) of the flexible sheet 501.
  • [0073]
    The present invention, in another embodiment, is directed to a collapsible protective enclosure (hereinafter, “enclosure”) comprising a slidable door or sidewall of the present invention and a slide track for slidable engagement therewith. As used herein, the expression “collapsible protective enclosure” or “enclosure” refers to an enclosure suitable for protecting an interior space from one or more natural elements such as sun, wind, rain and snow, and is to be construed to encompass all types of tents, awnings, cabanas, canopies, gazebos, sunshades/wind blocks (for use with, for example, restaurant patios), tops/shielding (suitable for use with, for example, boats/motor vehicles), as well as like protective systems. In this context, and for purposes of illustrating the present invention, the underlying frame structure and protective covering associated with two exemplary prior art collapsible protective enclosures, namely, a span tent and a pole tent, are shown in FIGS. 6A-B and FIGS. 7A-B, respectively.
  • [0074]
    More specifically, and as shown in FIG. 6A, a frame structure 600 of an exemplary prior art span tent (covering not shown) consists of four legs 602, 604, 606 and 608, four cross-members 610, 612, 614 and 616, and a roof support structure 618 that, in combination, defines an interior space 620. The interior space 620, defined by frame structure 600, further defines a floor, four walls, and a roof (none shown), wherein the four walls and roof intersect at four corresponding edges, which edges 622, 624, 626 and 628 are shown in corresponding FIG. 6B. Thus, the four edges associated with the intersection of the roof and four walls are adjacent and parallel to respective cross-members 610, 612, 614 and 616. FIG. 6B shows the exemplary span tent 601 having a protective covering 630 draped over and fastened to the frame structure 600 of FIG. 6A.
  • [0075]
    Similarly, and as shown in FIG. 7A, a frame structure 700 of an exemplary prior art pole tent (covering not shown) consists of six exterior legs 702, 704, 706, 708, 710 and 712 and two interior poles 714 and 716. The frame structure 700 also consists of a securing rope network 718, that, in turn, consists of two cross-members 720, 722. In addition, the frame structure 700 also defines an interior space 724 bounded by a defined floor, six walls and a roof (none shown). FIG. 7B shows the exemplary pole tent 701 having a protective covering 725 partially draped over and fastened to the frame structure 700 of FIG. 7A, thereby defining six edges (of which only three edges 724, 726, 728 are shown). Thus, six edges are defined by the intersection of the roof and six walls, wherein two of the edges are adjacent and parallel to the two cross-members 720, 722 (i.e., edge 728 of FIG. 7B is adjacent and parallel to cross-member 220 of FIG. 2B).
  • [0076]
    As noted, the enclosures of the present invention further comprise a slidable door or sidewall and a slide track, the slide track having one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall. Thus, the slide track, which is attached to the frame structure of the enclosure, is used to slidably hang the slidable door or sidewall from the frame structure. The slidable door or sidewall comprises a flexible sheet, as described above for certain embodiments of the present invention directed to slidable doors and sidewalls, and in specific related embodiments, may further comprise one or more magnets integrally associated with an outer edge of the flexible sheet, as described above, as well as inner perimeters defining doors, passageways, and windows therethrough, as well as fixedly attached, detachably attached and hingedly attached windows, as described above.
  • [0077]
    In related embodiments, the enclosures of the present invention include a plurality of slidable doors, a plurality of slidable sidewalls, and a combination thereof, respectively. The enclosures may also include a plurality of slide tracks. The one of a welt and a groove of the slide rack for slidable engagement with a slidable door or sidewall may be one of a plurality of welts and a plurality of grooves, for example, one of two welts and two grooves for slidable engagement with two slidable doors. In particular embodiments, respectively, the slide track may be detachably attached to a cross-member so as to suspended therefrom, or may be slidably engaged with the cross-member, or the cross-member and the slide track may be one and the same. For example, a specific embodiment is directed to an enclosure that includes a cross-member comprising one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of a slide track. Or, in another embodiment, the cross-member includes one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with a slidable door or sidewall, in which case, the cross-member itself provides the slide track.
  • [0078]
    [0078]FIGS. 8A and 8B illustrate two exemplary slide tracks of the present invention. More specifically, FIG. 8A illustrates a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track 800 in accordance with the present invention, wherein the slide track has two opposing grooves 802, 804, both of which are adapted to slidably engage a cylindrically-shaped welt or an “awning cord.” For example, groove 804 is adapted to slidably engage a welt of a slidable door or sidewall provided by a fabric encased rod, and groove 802 is adapted to slidably engage a welt attached to, or provided by, a cross-member, or an “awning cord.”
  • [0079]
    Similarly, FIG. 8B illustrates a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track 850 in accordance with the present invention, wherein the slide track has three grooves 852, 854, 856 in a triangular relationship with one another, and which are all adapted to slidably engage a cylindrically-shaped welt or an “awning cord.” For example, grooves 854, 856 are each adapted to slidably engage a welt of a slidable door or sidewall provided by a fabric encased rod, and groove 852 is adapted to slidably engage a welt attached to, or provided by, a cross-member, or an “awning cord.” Although FIGS. 8A and 8B depict grooves adapted to slidably engage welts provided by fabric encased “cylindrical” rods or awning cords (e.g., each groove runs along entire length of slide track), the present invention is not so limited. In particular, the grooves of the slide tracks may be adapted to slidably engage welts having other than round cross-sections, for example, welts having oval, triangular, square, rectangular and pentagonal cross-sections.
  • [0080]
    [0080]FIGS. 9A, 9B and 9C illustrate three additional exemplary slide tracks of the present invention. More specifically, FIG. 9A illustrates a partial top isometric view of a representative slide track 900 in accordance with the present invention, wherein the slide track has a welt 902 and a groove 904 in an opposing relationship. For example, the groove 904 is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical welt of a slidable door or sidewall provided by a fabric encased rod, and the welt 904 is adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical groove attached to, or provided by, a cross-member. In contrast, the slide track 920 of FIG. 9B has a welt 922 and a groove 924. The slide track of FIG. 9C has a groove 942 and two welts 944, 946 in a triangular relationship with one another, where, for example, welts 944, 946 are each adapted to slidably engage a cylindrical groove of a slidable door or sidewall, and groove 942 is adapted to slidably engage a welt attached to, or provided by, a cross-member, or an “awning cord.”
  • [0081]
    Further, the slide tracks of the present invention may be of any length. In certain embodiments of the enclosure of the present invention, the slide track comprised therein is substantially the same length as the cross-member which it is removably attached to, and slidably engaged with, respectively. In addition, the groove or welt of the slide track adapted for slidable attachment to a cross-member, and the other of the welt and the groove for slidable engagement with a slidable door or sidewall, generally run along the slide track's entire length. Furthermore, the slide tracks of the present invention may be made from any number of solid materials such as, for example, plastic, metal, or even wood.
  • [0082]
    In one embodiment, the slide track is made from a plastic material such as, for example, a high or low density polyethylene (i.e., HDPE and LDPE), wherein the plastic material is appropriately shaped by employing a conventional extrusion technique. In one such extrusion process, a viscous melt of a thermoplastic material is forced under pressure through a shaping die in a continuous stream, wherein the die has a shape nearly identical to that of the cross-section (e.g., front face of exemplary slide tracks depicted in FIGS. 8A-B and 9A-C) of the slide track. The manufacturing of suitable slide tracks in accordance with the present invention is well within the skill of one having ordinary skill in the art. Suitable slide tracks are also readily available from specialty architectural product suppliers (e.g., John Boyle and Company, Inc., Statesville, N.C. and Taco West, Inc., Kent, Wash.).
  • [0083]
    In further specific embodiments directed to enclosures of the present invention, the latter comprise a slide track that is detachably attached to a cross-member so as to be suspended therefrom by means of, for example, a plurality of hooks. In one particular embodiment, each of the plurality of hooks includes a first end for detachable engagement with the cross-member and a second end for direct, detachable engagement with the slide track. For example, the first end may be hooked so as to hang from a cylindrical cross-member, and the second end may be configured so as to engage a slot passing laterally through the slide track.
  • [0084]
    [0084]FIG. 10 shows a partial isometric view of an exemplary slide track 1000 configured for such detachable attachment to a cross-member 1002, as well as one of a plurality of an exemplary hook 1004 used for such detachable attachment. The slide track 1000 includes a plurality of slots 1006 along its length, two of which are shown (in both solid and hidden lines). Each slot 1006 passes through the slide track 1000 from side to side, as shown, and has a hook detachably associated therewith. The hook 1004 has a first end 1008 that is rounded and, thus, adapted to be hooked onto the cylindrical cross-member 1002, and a flat end 1010 adapted to insert into any of the slots 1006 such that the lip 1012 can retain the flat end 1010 in the slot 1006. The height of the slot 1006 is slightly greater than the height of the lip 1012. As shown in FIG. 10, the slide track 1000 has a groove 1014 that runs along substantially the entire length of the slide track, for slidable engagement with a welt of a slidable door or sidewall. A related embodiment comprises a slide track having a welt that runs substantially along its entire length for slidable engagement with a groove of a slidable door or sidewall.
  • [0085]
    One skilled in the art may readily appreciate that the hooked end of the hook for engaging the cross-member may have a different shape, as dictated by the shape of the cross-section of the cross-member. For example, the hooked end may be rectangular, rather than rounded, where the cross-member has a rectangular, rather than round, cross-section. One skilled in the art may also readily appreciate that the hooks may be detachably attached to the slide track by other means, for example, by means of fasteners such as screws, bolts with nuts, or pins with holes or grooves for engaging retaining clips.
  • [0086]
    In another embodiment, an enclosure of the present invention comprises a slide track that is detachably attached to a cross-member so as to be suspended therefrom in such a way that the level of the slide track is adjustable relative to the cross-member. This may be useful, for example, where the enclosure is situated on ground that is not level. In a related, specific embodiment, the enclosure comprises a plurality of hooks where each hook is adapted to adjustably engage an adjusting strap that, in turn, is connected to the fabric of a welt provided by a fabric encased rod, or to a groove, the welt or groove being adapted for slidabe engagement with a groove or welt, respectively, provided in a slide track. For a particular related embodiment, FIG. 11 illustrates a partial view of a slidable door or sidewall 1100 adapted for detachable and slidable engagement with an enclosure (not shown). Also shown is a partial view of a slide track 1102, one of a plurality of hooks 1104, one of a plurality of adjusting straps 1106, and, connected thereto, a welt provided by a fabric encased rod 1108 (shown in hidden lines). A partial view of a cylindrical cross-member 1110 is also shown.
  • [0087]
    As shown, the hook 1104 has a first end 1112 that is rounded and, thus, adapted to be hooked onto the cross-member 1110, and a second end 1114 adapted for adjustable connection with the adjusting strap 1106. The latter allows for uniform adjustment and positioning of the slidable door or sidewall 1100 in relation to the cross-member 1110 from which it hangs. The welt provided by the fabric encased rod 1108 slidably engages a first groove 1116 in the slide track 1102 such that the slide track 1102 hangs from the cross-member 1110 of the enclosure. The slidable door or sidewall 1100 includes a welt provided by a second fabric encased rod 1118 for slidable engagement with a second groove 1120 in the slide track 1102. Thus, the slidable door or sidewall 1100 hangs from the slide track 1102 and is slidable therein in that it may be moved along the slide track 1102 in any number of positions.
  • [0088]
    In a related embodiment, the adjusting straps are connected to a groove for slidable engagement with a first welt of a slide track, where the slide track also has one of a second welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of a slidable door or sidewall.
  • [0089]
    One specific embodiment of the inventive enclosure of the present invention is illustrated by FIG. 12. As shown, the enclosure comprises a slidable and foldable door 1200 of the present invention that is moved along a slide track 1202 by means of a door handle 1203 in either of two directions, as indicated. To prevent disengagement, the slide track 1202 may have two end caps 1204, 1206 attached at both of its ends. The slidable and foldable door includes a welt along its top outer edge provided by two fabric encased rods 1208, 1209 (shown in hidden liens). The welt is slidably engaged to the slide track 1202. The latter adjustably hangs from a cross-member 1210 (associated with a frame structure of the enclosure, that is not shown) by means of a plurality of adjustable slide track supporting devices 1212. In addition, the slidable and foldable door 1200 has three magnetic strips 1214, 1216, 1218 attached to a side outer edge and adapted to magnetically couple to one or more magnetic strips associated with a second slidable door or sidewall 1222. The slidable and foldable door 1200 has other features that are essentially the same as those described for the slidable and foldable door shown in FIG. 3.
  • [0090]
    In yet another specific embodiment of the enclosure of the present invention, the slide track, comprised therein, is directly attached to an elevated edge of the protective covering sheet of the enclosure, where the elevated edge runs along the top of an opening therethrough and extends beyond the same in at least one direction. In related embodiments, respectively, the slide track is provided by one of a welt and groove adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove of a slidable door or sidewall. The slide track may be fixedly attached to the elevated edge by means well known to those skilled in the art, for example, by means of stitches, adhesive, or a combination thereof.
  • [0091]
    The present invention, in another embodiment, is directed to an architectural window adapted for attachment to a slidable door or sidewall of an enclosure. The architectural window comprises a border sheet and a resinous sheet in a fixed and coplanar relationship therewith, as previously described for the windows attached to the slidable doors and sidewalls of the present invention. In related, more specific embodiments, respectively, the architectural window of the present invention may further comprise at least one securing strap, at least one magnet, and a combination thereof, for maintaining the window in a fully closed or fully open position. In another, more specific embodiment, the architectural window further comprises a hinge in an attached relationship with the border sheet for hinged attachment to the slidable door or sidewall, as previously described, and at least one retaining strap for maintaining the window in a partially open position. The at least one magnet, at least one securing strap, and at least one retaining strap are as described previously.
  • [0092]
    The present invention is further directed to kit adapted to retrofit an enclosure, such as one described herein, with a slidable door or sidewall in accordance with the present invention. More specifically, in one embodiment, the kit of the present invention includes a slidable door or sidewall of the present invention, a slide track comprising one of a first welt and a first groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall, and means for attaching the slide track to a cross-member spanning and adjacent to the top of an opening in the enclosure to be covered by the slidable door or sidewall. The kit may include a plurality of slidable doors and sidewalls for slidable engagement with one or more slide tracks, and may include a plurality of slide tracks for attachment to a corresponding number of cross-members. Also, the kit may include a slide track or plurality of slide tracks where one or more slide tracks have one of a plurality of welts and a plurality of grooves for slidable engagement with a corresponding number of slidable doors or sidewalls.
  • [0093]
    In one particular embodiment of the retrofit kit of the present invention, the means for attaching the one or more slide tracks to the one or more cross-members is a plurality of hooks, each of the plurality of hooks comprising a first end adapted to detachably attach to any one of the cross-members, and a second end adapted to detachably attach to any one of the slide tracks, wherein each of the slide tracks further comprises a plurality of slots spaced along its length, each slot passing laterally therethrough and adapted to detachably engage the second end of any one of the hooks. Exemplary hooks and slide tracks for this embodiment include those shown in FIG. 10 and otherwise described previously in the present application.
  • [0094]
    In another particular embodiment of the retrofit kit of the present invention, the means for attaching the one or more slide tracks to the one or more cross-members is a plurality of hooks having adjustable straps, each of the plurality of hooks having a first end adapted to detachably attach to any one of the cross-members, and a second end adapted to adjustably engage a strap, wherein each of the adjustable straps is connected to one of a welt and a groove adapted to slidably engage the other of a second welt and a second groove provided in any one of the slide tracks for such slidable engagement. Any one of the slide tracks further comprises one of a first wet and a first groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall. Exemplary hooks, straps, slide tracks, and welts and grooves attached to the straps, for this embodiment, include those shown in FIG. 11 and otherwise described previously in the present application.
  • [0095]
    In yet other particular embodiments, respectively, the retrofit kit of the present invention includes a slide track adapted to replace the cross-member of the enclosure, and includes a replacement cross-member that comprises one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slide track, also included in the kit.
  • [0096]
    As noted above, the retrofit kits of the present invention include slidable doors and sidewall in accordance with the present invention. Thus, the slidable doors and sidewalls may also include openings and windows, as described for those embodiments of the present invention directed to slidable doors and sidewalls.
  • [0097]
    The present invention is also directed to a method for retrofitting an enclosure with a slidable door or sidewall of the present invention. More specifically, the method for retrofitting an enclosure with a slidable door or sidewall, in one embodiment, comprises the steps of: providing an enclosure having a frame structure that includes a cross-member, the cross-member spanning across the top of an opening in the enclosure to be covered by the slidable door or sidewall; providing a slide track having one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with a slidable door or sidewall and attaching the slide track to the frame structure such that the slide track spans the top of the opening; providing a slidable door or sidewall of the present invention having the other of a welt and a groove, the slidable door or sidewall being sized to completely cover the opening when in the closed position; and engaging the one of a first welt and a first groove of the slide track with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall such that the slidable door or sidewall is in slidable engagement with the slide track.
  • [0098]
    In a particular related embodiment, the slide track is attached to the frame structure by attaching one or more slide track supporting devices to the cross-member, then attaching the slide track to the one or more slide track supporting devices. Examples of this aspect of the embodiment include those described previously and shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. In another particular related embodiment, the slide track is attached to the frame structure by replacing the cross-member with a replacement cross-member having, integrally associated therewith, means for attachment to the slide track provided, the latter having, also integrally associated therewith, corresponding means for attachment to the replacement cross-member. For example, the replacement cross-member may comprise one of a welt and a groove, integrally associated therewith, for slidable engagement with the other of a second welt and a second groove of the slide track, where the slide track also comprises one of a first welt and a first groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall. In yet another particular related embodiment, the slide track is attached to the frame structure by replacing the cross-member with the slide track, the latter adapted to attach to the frame structure so to function as a cross-member while also comprising one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of a slidable door or sidewall.
  • [0099]
    Finally, the present invention is still further directed to a system for conveniently storing and transporting the slidable and foldable doors and sidewalls of the present invention. In this embodiment, and as shown in FIG. 13, a slidable and foldable door or sidewall of the present invention may be folded along its respective crease lines into a smaller configuration. For example, a rectangular slidable and foldable door or sidewall may be folded into a smaller rectangle having a surface area roughly one sixth of that of the unfolded slidable and foldable door or sidewall. In this configuration, the folded door or sidewall 1300 may then be inserted into a corresponding storage bag 1302, wherein the storage bag 1302 has, for example, a welt 1304 across an edge (i.e., a fabric encased rod 1306 shown in hidden lines). The storage bag may have carrying straps 1308, 1310, and may have a fabric reinforced bottom portion 1312 for added protection against dragging.
  • [0100]
    Because the storage bag 1302 has a welt 1304 across an edge, it is capable of slidable engagement with a mounted slide track 1314. As shown, the slide track 1314 is mounted onto the ceiling of a storage container 1316, wherein the slide track 1314 has a plurality of grooves 1318 that are all adapted to slidably engage the welt 1304 of the storage bag 1302. The storage container 1316 may be the back end of a truck, or it may be a crate. In either case, the storage container 1316 is generally adapted to receive a plurality of storage bags, and it may even store unfolded doors and/or sidewalls which may be important when, for example, these components need drying.
  • [0101]
    Although not shown, the storage bags are generally color coded so as to facilitate tracking, set-up, and disassembly of the various components that comprise a protective enclosure. For example, a yellow color coded bag may be designated to store six paneled sidewalls (the six letters of “y-e-l-l-o-w” corresponds with six panels), a blue color coded bag may be designated to store four paneled sidewalls (the four letters of “b-l-u-e” corresponds with four panels), and a red color coded bag may be designated to three paneled doors (the three letters of “r-e-d” corresponds with three panels). In this fashion, the tracking, setup, and disassembly of an enclosure of the present invention may be greatly facilitated, especially in the context of large party/exhibition tents that have multiple sidewalls and doors of varying size.
  • [0102]
    While the products and methods of the present invention have been described in the context of the embodiments illustrated and described herein, the invention may be embodied in other specific ways or in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. Therefore, the described embodiments are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.
  • [0103]
    All of the above U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety.

Claims (75)

  1. 1. A slidable door or sidewall adapted for detachable attachment to a protective enclosure, the protective enclosure having coupled thereto, along the top of an opening, a slide track having one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the slidable door or sidewall, and the slidable door or sidewall comprising:
    a flexible sheet having a continuous outer perimeter that has an outer perimeter region associated therewith and that defines a plurality of discrete outer edges, wherein at least one of the outer edges comprises the other of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the one of a welt and a groove of the slide track.
  2. 2. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 1, further comprising at least one magnet integrally associated with at least one of the plurality of outer edges, other than the at least one outer edge comprising the other of a welt and a groove.
  3. 3. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 1 wherein the other of a welt and a groove is segmented so as to comprise n segments of substantially equal length, where n is equal to or greater than 2; and wherein the length of the distance between any two consecutive segments, as measured along the at least one outer edge comprising the other of a welt and a groove, is substantially equal to the length of one segment; and wherein the one of a welt and a groove of the slide track is one of n parallel welts and n parallel grooves; and wherein any two consecutive segments are adapted to slidably engage one of two adjacent welts and two adjacent grooves of the slide track; and wherein, when the slidable door or sidewall is opened, the flexible sheet folds upon itself so as to comprise 2+2(n−2) folds when the slidable door or sidewall is fully open.
  4. 4. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 3, further comprising at least one magnet integrally associated with at least one of the plurality of outer edges, other than the at least one outer edge comprising the other of a welt and a groove.
  5. 5. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 1 wherein the flexible sheet is a fibrous material.
  6. 6. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 5 wherein the fibrous material is non-synthetic.
  7. 7. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 6 wherein the non-synthetic fibrous material is a canvas.
  8. 8. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 1 wherein the flexible sheet is a synthetic material.
  9. 9. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 8 wherein the synthetic material is vinyl.
  10. 10. The slidable door or sidewall of claims 1 or 3 wherein the flexible sheet further comprises an inner perimeter bounding an opening therethrough, and wherein the inner perimeter has an inner perimeter region associated therewith and defines a plurality of discrete inner edges and associated edge regions.
  11. 11. The slidable sidewall of claim 10 wherein the opening defines a passageway or a door.
  12. 12. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 10 wherein the opening defines an open window.
  13. 13. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 12 wherein the discrete inner edges comprise two substantially vertical side inner edges and substantially horizontal upper and lower inner edges.
  14. 14. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 13 further comprising a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet having a continuous perimeter and associated perimeter region, wherein the perimeter region of the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet, and wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is: 1) in a coplanar and fixedly attached relationship with the flexible sheet so as to provide a closed window; or 2) in a coplanar and detachably attached relationship with the flexible sheet so as to provide a removable window; or 3) in a coplanar and hingedly attached relationship with the flexible sheet so as to provide a window capable of being in a fully open, partially open, or closed position.
  15. 15. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14 wherein, when the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in a coplanar and fixedly attached relationship with the flexible sheet, the resinous and flexible sheets are attached by means of an adhesive bond between the perimeter region of the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet and inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet.
  16. 16. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14, further comprising, when the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in a coplanar and fixedly attached or detachably attached relationship with the flexible sheet, a border sheet having outer and inner perimeters with outer and inner perimeter regions associated therewith, respectively, and defining a plurality of discrete outer and inner edges and edge regions, respectively, wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in a coplanar and fixedly attached relationship with the border sheet such that the perimeter region of the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is permanently coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the border sheet; and wherein, when the semi-rigid resinous sheet is detachably attached to the flexible sheet, the outer perimeter region of the border sheet is coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet, with at least one of outer edge regions of the border sheet being adapted for detachable attachment to the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith.
  17. 17. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 16 wherein the outer perimeter region of the border sheet comprises at least one first magnet, and the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet comprises at least one second magnet, such that the at least one first and second magnets are adapted to couple so as to detachably attach the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet to the flexible sheet.
  18. 18. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 16 further comprising a plurality of securing straps connected to one or both of the flexible sheet and the border sheet for detachably attaching the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet to the flexible sheet.
  19. 19. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14, further comprising, when the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in a coplanar and hingedly attached relationship with the flexible sheet, a hinge and a border sheet having outer and inner perimeters with outer and inner perimeter regions associated therewith, respectively, and defining a plurality of discrete outer and inner edges and edge regions, respectively; wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in a coplanar and fixedly attached relationship with the border sheet such that the perimeter region of the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is permanently coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the border sheet; and wherein, when the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in the closed position, the outer perimeter region of the border sheet is coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet; and wherein at least one of the outer edge regions of the border sheet is, by means of the hinge, hingedly attached to the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith, and at least one of the outer edge regions of the border sheet not hingedly attached, is adapted for detachable attachment to the at least one inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith.
  20. 20. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 19 wherein the plurality of discrete outer edges of the border sheet and the plurality of discrete inner edges of the flexible sheet comprise two substantially vertical side outer edges and two substantially vertical side inner edges, respectively, and substantially horizontal upper and lower outer edges and substantially horizontal upper and lower inner edges, respectively, with edge regions associated therewith; and wherein the lower outer edge region of the border sheet is hingedly connected, by means of the hinge, to the lower inner edge region of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith; and further comprising means for detachably attaching at least one of the side and upper outer edge regions of the border sheet with at least one of the side and upper inner edge regions of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith.
  21. 21. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 20 wherein the means for detachably attaching at least one of the side and upper edge regions of the border sheet with at least one of the side and upper edge regions of the flexible sheet comprises at least one magnet, at least one securing strap, or a combination thereof.
  22. 22. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 21 further comprising at least one retaining strap adapted to connect at least one of the side and upper edge regions of the border sheet to the flexible sheet so as to allow the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet to be maintained in a partially open position.
  23. 23. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 22 further comprising a sheet of mesh material having a perimeter that defines a plurality of edges having edge regions associated therewith, wherein the edge regions of the sheet of mesh material are fixedly or detachably connected to the side and upper edge regions of the border sheet and to the side and upper edge regions of the flexible sheet coextensive therewith, so as to continuously bridge the gap formed between the border sheet and flexible sheet when the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is in the partially open position, thereby providing a screen allowing the passage of air, but not insects, through the gap.
  24. 24. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 19 further comprising a means for securing the window, provided by the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet and border sheet, in the fully open position.
  25. 25. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 19 further comprising a sheet of mesh material.
  26. 26. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is transparent.
  27. 27. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet further comprises a strip affixed to a planar surface thereof, the strip altering the transparency of the otherwise transparent thermoplastic resinous sheet.
  28. 28. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is derived from an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, or a vinyl resin.
  29. 29. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 14 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is mirrored.
  30. 30. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 12 further comprising a sheet that includes a mesh material so as to provide a screen allowing the passage of air and light, but not insects, the screen having a continuous perimeter that has a perimeter region associated therewith, and the screen being 1) in a coplanar and fixedly attached relationship with the flexible sheet, the perimeter region of the screen being coextensive with the inner perimeter region of the flexible sheet, so as to provide a closed window screen; 2) in a coplanar and detachably attached relationship with the flexible sheet so as to provide a removable window screen; or 3) in a coplanar and hingedly attached relationship with the flexible sheet so as to provide a window screen capable of being in an open or closed position.
  31. 31. The slidable door or sidewall of claim 1 wherein the slidable door or sidewall is flexible.
  32. 32. The slidable door or sidewall of claims 31 wherein the slidable door or sidewall is foldable.
  33. 33. A collapsible protective enclosure for protecting an interior space from one or more natural elements, wherein the collapsible protective enclosure comprises a frame structure and a protective covering sheet draped over and fastened to at least a portion of the frame structure, the frame structure and protective covering sheet defining the interior space, the interior space further defining a floor, a plurality of walls, and a roof, the roof and plurality of walls intersecting at a plurality of edges, and the frame structure comprising at least one cross-member, spanning at least one of the walls and adjacent to at least one of the plurality of edges, and wherein the collapsible protective enclosure further comprises:
    a slide track; and
    a slidable door or sidewall,
    wherein the slide track comprises one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the slidable door or sidewall, and wherein the slidable door or sidewall comprises a flexible sheet having a continuous outer perimeter that defines a plurality of outer edges, at least one of the outer edges having the other of a welt and a groove provided for slidable engagement with the one of a welt and a groove of the slide track.
  34. 34. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slidable door or sidewall further comprises at least one magnet integrally associated with at least one of the plurality of outer edges thereof, other than the at least one edge having the other of a welt and a groove.
  35. 35. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slide track is one of a plurality of slide tracks, wherein the cross-member is one of a plurality of cross-members, wherein the slidable door or sidewall is one of a plurality of slidable doors or sidewalls, or combination thereof, and wherein the one of a welt and a groove of the slide track for slidable engagement with the slidable door or sidewall is one of a plurality of welts and a plurality of grooves.
  36. 36. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the one of a welt and a groove of the slide track is one of two welts and two grooves.
  37. 37. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slide track is integrally associated with the cross-member.
  38. 38. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 37 wherein the cross-member integrally comprises one of a welt and a groove adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall.
  39. 39. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slide track is detachably attached to the cross-member
  40. 40. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 39 wherein the cross-member integrally comprises one of a welt and a groove, adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove provided in the slide track for such slidable engagement.
  41. 41. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 39 further comprising a plurality of hooks, each of the plurality of hooks comprising a first end adapted to detachably attach to the cross-member, and a second end adapted to detachably attach to the slide track.
  42. 42. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 41 wherein the slide track further comprises a plurality of slots spaced along the length of the slide track, each slot passing laterally therethrough and adapted to detachably engage the second end of one of the plurality of hooks.
  43. 43. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 39 further comprising a plurality of hooks and a plurality of adjusting straps, wherein each of the plurality of hooks has a first end adapted to detachably attach to the cross-member, and a second end adapted to adjustably engage an adjusting strap, and wherein each of the adjusting straps is connected to one of a welt and a groove, adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove provided in the slide track for such slidable engagement.
  44. 44. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slide track is provided by one of a welt and a groove fixedly or detachably attached to an elevated edge of the protective covering sheet, wherein the elevated edge runs along the top of an opening therethrough and extends beyond the same in at least one direction, and wherein the one of a welt and a groove is adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall.
  45. 45. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 44 wherein the fixed attachment is provided by stitches, an adhesive bond, or a combination thereof.
  46. 46. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slidable door or sidewall comprises a window.
  47. 47. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 46 wherein the window is provided by a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet in a coplanar and attached relationship with the flexible sheet.
  48. 48. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 47 wherein the resinous sheet is derived from an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, or a vinyl resin.
  49. 49. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slidable sidewall comprises a passageway or a door.
  50. 50. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the protective enclosure is a span tent or a pole tent.
  51. 51. The collapsible protective enclosure of claim 33 wherein the slidable door or sidewall is foldable.
  52. 52. An architectural window adapted to be in a coplanar and fixedly attached relationship, or in a coplanar and detachably attached relationship, or in a coplanar or non-coplanar and hingedly attached relationship with a slidable door or sidewall of a collapsible protective enclosure, the architectural window comprising:
    a border sheet having outer and inner perimeters defining a plurality of outer and inner edges, respectively; and
    a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet in a fixed and coplanar relationship with the border sheet.
  53. 53. The architectural window of claim 52, further comprising at least one magnet associated with the border sheet or semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet, wherein the magnet is adapted to detachably maintain the architectural window in a closed position.
  54. 54. The architectural window of claim 52, further comprising a hinge associated with the border sheet for hingedly attaching the window to the slidable door or sidewall.
  55. 55. The architectural window of claim 54 further comprising at least one magnet, at least one securing strap, or a combination thereof, adapted to maintain the window in the fully open or fully closed position.
  56. 56. The architectural window of claim 55 further comprising at least one retaining strap adapted to maintain the window in a partially open position.
  57. 57. The architectural window of claim 52 wherein the flexible sheet comprises a fibrous material.
  58. 58. The architectural window of claim 52 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is derived from an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, or a vinyl resin.
  59. 59. The architectural window of claim 52 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet is transparent.
  60. 60. The architectural window of claim 52 wherein the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet further comprises a strip affixed to a planar surface of the semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet, wherein the strip alters the transparency of the otherwise transparent semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet.
  61. 61. A kit adapted to retrofit a collapsible protective enclosure with a slidable door or sidewall, the kit comprising:
    a slidable door or sidewall comprising a flexible sheet, the flexible sheet having a continuous perimeter that defines a plurality of discrete outer edges;
    a slide track comprising one of a first welt and a first groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall;
    and means for attaching the slide track to a cross-member of the collapsible protective enclosure,
    wherein the collapsible protective enclosure comprises a roof and a plurality of walls, the roof and the plurality of walls intersecting at a plurality of edges, and the cross-member, the latter being adjacent to one of the plurality of edges and spanning the top of an opening to be covered by the slidable door or sidewall.
  62. 62. The kit of claim 61 wherein the slide track is one of a plurality of slide tracks, wherein the cross-member is one of a plurality of cross-members, wherein the slidable door or sidewall is one of a plurality of slidable door or sidewalls, and wherein the one of a first welt and a first groove of the slide track is one of a plurality of first welts and a plurality of first grooves.
  63. 63. The kit of claim 61 wherein the means for detachably attaching the slide track to the cross-member comprises a plurality of hooks, each of the plurality of hooks comprising a first end adapted to detachably attach to the cross-member, and a second end adapted to detachably attach to the slide track, wherein the slide track further comprises a plurality of slots spaced along the length of the slide track, each slot passing laterally therethrough and adapted to detachably engage the second end of one of the plurality of hooks.
  64. 64. The kit of claim 61 wherein the means for detachably attaching the slide track to the cross-member comprises a plurality of hooks having adjustable straps, each of the plurality of hooks having a first end adapted to detachably attach to the cross-member, and a second end adapted to adjustably engage a strap, and wherein each of the adjustable straps is connected to the one of a welt and a groove, adapted to slidably engage the other of a second welt and a second groove provided in the slide track for such slidable engagement.
  65. 65. The kit of claim 61 wherein the slide track is adapted to replace the cross-member.
  66. 66. The kit of claim 61 further comprising a replacement cross-member comprising one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a second welt and a second groove provided in the slide track for such slidable engagement.
  67. 67. The kit of claim 61 wherein the slidable door or sidewall comprises a window.
  68. 68. The kit of claim 67 wherein the window is provided by a semi-rigid thermoplastic resinous sheet in a coplanar and attached relationship with the flexible sheet.
  69. 69. The kit of claim 68 wherein the resinous sheet is derived from an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, or a vinyl resin.
  70. 70. The kit of claim 61 wherein the slidable sidewall comprises a passageway or a door.
  71. 71. A method for retrofitting a collapsible protective enclosure with a slidable door or sidewall, comprising the steps of:
    providing a collapsible protective enclosure having a frame structure that comprises a cross-member, the cross-member spanning the top of an opening in the collapsible protective enclosure to be covered by the slidable door or sidewall;
    providing a slide track having one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with a slidable door or sidewall and attaching the slide track to the frame structure such that the slide track spans the top of the opening;
    providing a slidable door or sidewall having the other of a welt and a groove, the slidable door or sidewall being sized to completely cover the opening when in the closed position; and
    engaging the one of a first welt and a first groove of the slide track with the other of a welt and a groove of the slidable door or sidewall such that the slidable door or sidewall is in slidable engagement with the slide track,
    wherein the slide track is attached to the frame structure by 1) attaching one or more slide track supporting devices to the cross-member, then attaching the slide track to the one or more slide track supporting devices, or 2) replacing the cross-member with a replacement cross-member having, integrally associated therewith, means for attachment to the slide track provided, the latter having, also integrally associated therewith, corresponding means for attachment to the replacement cross-member, or 3) replacing the cross-member with a slide track that is adapted to provide a cross-member and that comprises one of a welt and a groove for slidable engagement with the other of a welt and a groove of a slidable door or sidewall.
  72. 72. The method of claim 71 wherein the replacement cross-member comprises one of a welt and a groove adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove provided in the slide track for such slidable engagement.
  73. 73. The method of claim 71 wherein the one or more slide track supporting devices is a plurality of hooks, each of the plurality of hooks having an adjustable strap associated therewith, wherein each of the plurality of hooks has a hooked end adapted to detachably engage the cross-member so as to hang therefrom, and a flat end adapted to adjustably engage one of the adjustable straps, and wherein the adjustable straps are connected to one of a welt and a groove adapted to slidably engage the other of a welt and a groove provided in the slide track for such slidable engagement.
  74. 74. The method of claim 71 wherein the one or more slide track supporting devices is a plurality of hooks, each of which comprises a first end adapted to detachably engage the cross-member so as to hang therefrom, and a second end adapted to detachably engage the slide track.
  75. 75. The method of claim 74 wherein the slide track further comprises a plurality of slots spaced along the length of the slide track, each slot passing laterally therethrough and adapted to detachably engage the second end of one of the plurality of hooks.
US10233295 1999-08-31 2002-08-28 Slidable door and sidewall associated with tents, awnings, and other collapsible protective enclosures Abandoned US20030066551A1 (en)

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US09387308 US6484739B1 (en) 1999-08-31 1999-08-31 Slidable door and sidewall associated with tents, awnings, and other protective enclosures
US10233295 US20030066551A1 (en) 1999-08-31 2002-08-28 Slidable door and sidewall associated with tents, awnings, and other collapsible protective enclosures

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US10233295 US20030066551A1 (en) 1999-08-31 2002-08-28 Slidable door and sidewall associated with tents, awnings, and other collapsible protective enclosures

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Cited By (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6827391B1 (en) * 2003-10-31 2004-12-07 Bestop, Inc. Sport utility soft top with removable panels
US20040250846A1 (en) * 2001-02-28 2004-12-16 Cantwell Robert R. Tent with extendable windows
US20070151589A1 (en) * 2004-03-05 2007-07-05 The Coleman Company, Inc. Tent with window having an internal shelf
US20090236054A1 (en) * 2008-03-18 2009-09-24 Hardison Iii Carl David Windows for a rollup door
US20110155198A1 (en) * 2009-12-31 2011-06-30 Northpole Limited Tent
US20110203629A1 (en) * 2009-08-21 2011-08-25 Smith Works, Inc. Hunting blind and frame system

Cited By (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20040250846A1 (en) * 2001-02-28 2004-12-16 Cantwell Robert R. Tent with extendable windows
US7261116B2 (en) * 2001-02-28 2007-08-28 North Pole Limited Tent with extendable windows
US6827391B1 (en) * 2003-10-31 2004-12-07 Bestop, Inc. Sport utility soft top with removable panels
US20070151589A1 (en) * 2004-03-05 2007-07-05 The Coleman Company, Inc. Tent with window having an internal shelf
US20090236054A1 (en) * 2008-03-18 2009-09-24 Hardison Iii Carl David Windows for a rollup door
US20110203629A1 (en) * 2009-08-21 2011-08-25 Smith Works, Inc. Hunting blind and frame system
US20110155198A1 (en) * 2009-12-31 2011-06-30 Northpole Limited Tent
US8899252B2 (en) * 2009-12-31 2014-12-02 Seina International Llc Tent

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Owner name: B. E. HOLDINGS, LLC, WASHINGTON

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SOFIE, MICHAEL P.;BARRETT, JOHN A.;REEL/FRAME:013545/0507

Effective date: 20021120