US20070290531A1 - Table and bench system - Google Patents

Table and bench system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20070290531A1
US20070290531A1 US11762612 US76261207A US2007290531A1 US 20070290531 A1 US20070290531 A1 US 20070290531A1 US 11762612 US11762612 US 11762612 US 76261207 A US76261207 A US 76261207A US 2007290531 A1 US2007290531 A1 US 2007290531A1
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Prior art keywords
table
plurality
support
supports
elongated supports
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Abandoned
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US11762612
Inventor
Jered Larsen
S. Nye
L. Strong
Robert Astle
Edward VanNimwegen
Donald Waite
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Lifetime Products Inc
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Lifetime Products Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B3/00Folding or stowable tables
    • A47B3/14Foldable table and seat units
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B37/00Tables adapted for other particular purposes
    • A47B37/04Tables specially adapted for use in the garden or otherwise in the open air, e.g. with means for holding umbrellas or umbrella-like sunshades

Abstract

A picnic table may include a table and one or more seat members disposed about the table. One end of each seat member is preferably pivotally attached to the table by a support structure so that the seat member may pivot or rotate between various positions relative to the table top. One or more feet may be connected to the support structures and the feet may be sized and configured to facilitate movement of the seat members relative to the table top. The picnic table may also include a frame and the frame may include a plurality of elongated support members with a first end and a second end. The elongated support members may be interconnected to form a generally polygon-shaped structure and an end of each support member may extend beyond the perimeter of the generally polygon-shaped structure.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/813,830, which was filed Jun. 14, 2006 and entitled PICNIC TABLE.
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. design patent application Ser. No. 29/260,642, which was filed May 30, 2006 and entitled PICNIC TABLE.
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/409,301, filed Apr. 21, 2006 and entitled TABLE AND BENCH SYSTEM; which claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/674,158, filed Apr. 21, 2005 and entitled TABLE AND BENCH SYSTEM.
  • These applications are incorporated by reference in their entireties.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention generally relates to furniture and, in particular, to tables and benches.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • Picnic tables have been used for many years and conventional picnic tables typically include a center table with benches disposed on both sides of the table. Conventional picnic tables often have a center table with a rectangular configuration and many picnic tables are sized and configured to allow four, six or eight persons to sit at one time. Picnic tables are usually located outdoors and are often used as part of a social gathering that includes food and drinks.
  • It is known to use various types of wood to construct picnic tables. For example, the table top, bench tops and support legs may be constructed from wood. Wooden picnic tables, however, often quickly deteriorate because picnic tables are frequently exposed to the elements such as sun and rain. Accordingly, wooden picnic tables must be frequently painted or stained in order to protect the wood from damage. It is also known to use metal legs to support picnic tables with wooden table and bench tops. Because wooden table and bench tops are relatively heavy, the metal legs must be rather large and strong to support the table and bench tops.
  • Disadvantageously, conventional picnic tables constructed from wood are very heavy and often require a bulky, heavy-duty frame to support the table and bench tops. In addition, these heavy, wooden picnic tables may be very difficult to transport and move. Additionally, many known picnic tables require a large and complex frame to support the table top and bench tops. For example, known picnic tables with metal legs may require the legs to be constructed from large diameter tubing and/or large wall thickness tubing to provide the necessary strength and support. Legs constructed from large diameter tubing and/or large wall thickness tubing, however, often undesirably increases the weight and cost of the picnic table. The metal legs also often require one or more brackets and/or support struts to support the table top and bench tops. These brackets and/or support struts are often placed underneath the table top, which may undesirably decrease the amount of space and legroom under the table top. The brackets and/or struts may also undesirably increase the weight of the picnic table. The brackets and/or support struts may further undesirably increase the cost of the picnic table and the time required to manufacture and assembly the picnic table.
  • Known picnic tables may also include a number of supports and/or braces to securely connect the frame to the table and bench tops. These supports and/or braces, however, may decrease the legroom under the table and make the picnic table more difficult to use. For example, because the supports and/or braces may contact an individual's knees or legs, that may decrease the comfort and usefulness of the picnic table. The supports and/or braces may also limit the number of people that can sit at the picnic table. In particular, because the supports and/or braces may be positioned at various angles relative to the table top and benches, the legroom under the table top may be decreased and it may increase the risk that a person will strike their knees on the supports or braces.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
  • A need therefore exists for a table and bench system that eliminates or reduces the above-described disadvantages and problems.
  • One aspect is table and bench system that may be configured as a picnic table. The picnic table may include a table and one or more seats or seating members. The seats may include one or more benches, chairs or the like. The seats may also include a backrest, armrests and the like, if desired.
  • Another aspect is a picnic table that may include a frame that supports the table and seats. The frame may includes one or more table legs or supports that support the table top, and one or more seat legs or supports that support the seats. The table supports may be integrally formed with or otherwise connected to the seat supports, which may help create a stable frame.
  • Still another aspect is a picnic table that may include one or more support structures that may be sized and configured to support the table top and/or seats. For example, the support structures may include a table support and a seat support. The support structures may be pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the table top and/or seats. Advantageously, this may allow the seats to pivot, rotate or otherwise move relative to the table top. If the support structures are pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached both to the table top and the seats, then the seats may be capable of being moved among a number of different positions.
  • Because the seats and table top may be pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably connected, the seats may be convenient to use regardless of a person's age, size or physical dexterity. In addition, this may allow the seats to face in various desired directions. This may also allow the seats to be sized and configured to move between extended or use positions and retracted or storage positions, which may allow the picnic table to be stored and/or shipped in a more compact configuration. For example, in the storage position, all or at least a portion of the seats may be disposed underneath the table top.
  • A further aspect is a picnic table that may include a frame and the frame may include a plurality of table supports. The table supports are preferably interconnected by a reinforcing assembly. If desired, the reinforcing assembly and/or table top may include one or more apertures, which may be sized and configured to receive at least a portion of an umbrella, an awning or the like.
  • A still further aspect is a picnic table that may include a table top, a frame and a foot. The foot may include a receiving portion that is sized and configured to receive a portion of the frame. The foot may also include a drain that allows liquid to exit the foot. In addition, the foot may include a cradle that is sized and configured to contact, abut and/or engage the frame.
  • Another aspect is a picnic table that may include a table top and a frame. The frame is preferably sized and configured to support the table top above a support surface and the frame is preferably directly connected to the table top. The frame may include a plurality of elongated supports and the support may form at least part of a polygon-shaped structure. The polygon-shaped structure may have a generally regular configuration in which each side of the polygon has generally the same length, but the structure could have any suitable size, shape, configuration and arrangement. The support structure preferably allows the edges of the table top to be securely supported. If desired, a portion of the elongated supports may extend beyond the perimeter of the polygon-shaped structure, which may also allow the edges of the table top to be securely supported.
  • These and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments and appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The appended drawings contain figures of preferred embodiments to further illustrate and clarify the above and other aspects, advantages and features of the present invention. It will be appreciated that these drawings depict only preferred embodiments of the invention and are not intended to limit its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary table and bench system, illustrating the table and bench system configured as a picnic table;
  • FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a top view of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1, illustrating an exemplary position of the seat members;
  • FIG. 5 is a top view of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1, illustrating another exemplary position of the seat members;
  • FIG. 6 is a top view of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1, illustrating yet another exemplary position of the seat members;
  • FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the exemplary position of the seat members shown in FIG. 6;
  • FIG. 8 is an exploded view of an exemplary support structure that may be used in connection with a picnic table;
  • FIG. 9 is a side view of the support structure shown in FIG. 8;
  • FIG. 10 is an exploded view of another exemplary support structure that may be used in connection with a picnic table;
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of the support structure shown in FIG. 10;
  • FIG. 12 is an exploded view of a portion of an exemplary frame that may be used in connection with a picnic table;
  • FIG. 13 is an exploded view of another portion of an exemplary frame that may be used in connection with a picnic table;
  • FIG. 14 is a top view of a portion of the picnic table shown in FIG. 1, illustrating a portion of the reinforcement assembly;
  • FIG. 15 is side view of a portion of the reinforcement assembly shown in FIG. 14;
  • FIG. 16 is a perspective view of an exemplary foot that may be used in connection with a picnic table;
  • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of another exemplary foot that may be used in connection with a picnic table;
  • FIG. 18 is a top view of the foot shown in FIG. 17;
  • FIG. 19 is a bottom view of the foot shown in FIG. 17;
  • FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an exemplary arrangement for disposing various components of a picnic table within a container;
  • FIG. 21 is another perspective view of an exemplary arrangement for disposing various components of a picnic table within a container;
  • FIG. 22 is still another perspective view of an exemplary arrangement for disposing various components of a picnic table within a container;
  • FIG. 23 is yet another perspective view of an exemplary arrangement for disposing various components of a picnic table within a container;
  • FIG. 24 is a further perspective view of an exemplary arrangement for disposing various components of a picnic table within a container;
  • FIG. 25 is a perspective view of another exemplary table and bench system, illustrating the table and bench system configured as a picnic table;
  • FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a portion of the picnic table shown in FIG. 25; and
  • FIG. 27 is a bottom view of a portion of the picnic table shown in FIG. 25.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention is generally directed towards a table and bench system. The principles of the present invention, however, are not limited to a table and bench system. It will be understood that, in light of the present disclosure, the table and bench system disclosed herein can have a variety of different shapes, sizes, arrangements and configurations, and the various features and aspects disclosed herein be successfully used in connection with other types of tables, benches, furniture and other suitable structures.
  • Additionally, to assist in the description of the table and bench system, words such as top, bottom, front, rear, right and left may be used to describe the accompanying figures, which are not necessarily drawn to scale. It will be appreciated, however, that the table and bench system can be located in a variety of desired positions.
  • As shown in the accompanying figures and discussed in more detail below, an exemplary embodiment of the table and bench system is a picnic table. The table and bench system, however, could have a variety of other appropriate designs, forms, compositions and the like. In addition, the table and bench system may include other appropriate features, components and the like. Thus, while the table and bench system is illustrated and discussed in connection with exemplary picnic tables, it will be understood that the table and bench system is not limited to picnic tables. A detailed description of the table and bench system now follows.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1-7, a exemplary picnic table 10 may include a table top 12 and one or more seats or seat members 14, 16, 18. The seats 14, 16, 18 may consist of benches, chairs or other suitable structures. The seats 14, 16, 18 may also include backrests, armrests and the like, if desired.
  • The seats 14, 16, 18 preferably have an elongated configuration, such as a bench. The seats 20 are also preferably curved with an inner radius of curvature and an outer radius of curvature, which may be the same or different. In addition, the seats 20 may have a radius of curvature and the table top 12 may have a radius of curvature. The radius of curvature of the seats 20 may be the same or different as the radius of the table top 12. If the radius of curvature of the seats 20 and the table top 12 are different or not concentric, then that may help provide additional stability to the picnic table 10. It will be appreciated that the seats 20 and/or table top 12 may have other suitable configurations and arrangements depending, for example, upon the intended use of the picnic table 10.
  • The picnic table 10 may include a frame 22 that supports the table top 12 and the seats 14, 16, 18. The frame 22 preferably includes table legs or supports 24, 26, 28 that are sized and configured to support the table top 12; and seat legs or supports 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 that are sized and configured to support the seats 14, 16, 18, respectively. It will be appreciated that the frame 22 could have other suitable shapes, sizes, configurations and arrangements depending, for example, if table top 12 is round, oval, hexagonal, octagonal, polygonal, irregular, etc.; the number of the seats 14, 16, 18; the size and shape of the seats; and the like.
  • The table supports 24, 26, 28 preferably are integrally formed with or otherwise connected to the seat supports 30, 32, 34, respectively, which may help create a stable frame 12. Advantageously, with the table supports 24, 26, 28 connected to the seat supports 30, 32, 34, the seats 14, 16, 18 may be connected to the rest of the picnic table 12, which may help in positioning the seats, preventing theft or inadvertent loss of the seats, and locating the seats in the desired positions. The table supports 24, 26, 28 and seat supports 30, 32, 34, however, do not have to be connected. In addition, the table supports 24, 26, 28 and/or the seat supports 30, 32, 34 could be connected to other suitable portions of the picnic table 10.
  • In greater detail, the frame 22 may include support structures 42, 44, 46, which may connect or include the table supports 24, 26, 28 and seat supports 30, 32, 34, respectively. In particular, as shown in FIG. 3, the support structures 42, 44, 46 may include intermediate supports 48, 50, 52 that connect the table supports 24, 26, 28 and the seat supports 30, 32, 34.
  • The support structures 42, 44, 46 are preferably pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the seats 14, 16, 18 to allow the seats to pivot, rotate or otherwise move between a variety of positions. In particular, the seat supports 30, 32, 34 are preferably pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the seats 14, 16, 18. If desired, the support structures 42, 44, 46 may also be pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the table top 12. If the support structures 42, 44, 46 are movably attached both to the table top 12 and to the seat members 14, 16, 18, then the seat members may be capable of being moved among a variety of different positions relative to the table top, providing numerous seating arrangements.
  • Because the seats 14, 16, 18 may pivot, rotate or otherwise move between a variety of positions, the picnic table 10 may be convenient and easy to use. For example, persons may more comfortably and conveniently use the seats regardless of age, size, or physical dexterity. Additionally, the seats 14, 16, 18 may allow the users to face substantially the same direction, for example, as shown in FIG. 5. Also, the seats 14, 16, 18 may be sized and configured to move between an extended or use position (as shown, for example, in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4) and a retracted or storage position (as shown, for example, in FIGS. 6 and 7). Advantageously, this may allow the picnic table 12 to be stored and/or shipped in a more compact configuration. Desirably, all or at least a portion of the seats 14, 16, 18 are positioned underneath the table top 12 in the retracted or storage position. In addition, one or more of the seats 14, 16, 18 may be positioned generally underneath the table top in the storage position, while the other seats may be positioned in the extended or use position. It will be appreciated that the seats 14, 16, 18 may be positioned in a variety of suitable positions, whether in fixed or movable locations.
  • If desired, when the seats 14, 16, 18 are in the storage position, such as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the seats may contact the table supports 24, 26, 28, which may allow the picnic table 10 to be disposed in a relatively compact configuration. In addition, the seats 14, 16, 18 may engage or be connected to the table supports 24, 26, 28 using, for example, a snap, friction or interference fit to help retain the seats in the storage position. For instance, as the seats 14, 16, 18 are moved into the storage position, the table supports 24, 26, 28 and/or the seats 20 may deform or deflect to allow the table supports and the seats to engage each other with a snap, friction or interference fit. As the seat members 14, 16, 18 are moved from the storage position to an extended position, the table supports 24, 26, 28 and/or the seats 20 may deform or deflect to allow the table supports and the seats to disengage from the snap, friction or interference fit. It will be appreciated that the seats 14, 16, 18 could also be secured in the storage position using other suitable structures and devices, if desired.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1-7, the frame 22 preferably includes support structures 54, 56, 58, which may include the seat supports 36, 38, 40, respectively. The support structures 54, 56, 58 may also include lower supports 60, 62, 64 that are connected to the seat supports 36, 38, 40. These lower supports 60, 62, 64 may form a foot and may help prevent the seats 14, 16, 18 from undesirably moving. The support structures 54, 56, 58 are preferably connected to the seats 14, 16, 18 in a fixed position, but the support structures may also be pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the seats, if desired. If the support structures 54, 56, 58 and/or lower supports 60, 62, 64 are movably attached, then that may facilitate storing, shipping and packaging of the picnic table 10.
  • The support structures 42, 44, 46, 54, 56, 58 may include an end that is sized and configured to be attached to another structure. For example, the ends of the support structures 42, 44, 46, 54, 56 and/or 58 may include a receiving portion that is sized and configured to receive a portion of another support. The receiving portions may have edges that are generally complementary to an outer surface of the other support, which may allow the supports to be snugly connected.
  • In further detail, as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, the intermediate support 48 of the support structure 42 may include a first coped end 66 that may be connected to the seat support 30 and a second coped end 68 that may be connected to the table support 24. As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the seat support 36 of the support structure 54 may include a coped end 70 that may be connected to the lower support 60. It will be appreciated, however, that the support structures 42, 44, 46, 54, 56, 58 do not require coped ends and the support structures could be connected using other suitable configurations and arrangements. Further, these components may be unitary, one-piece structures and these structures may be connected at any desired angles depending, for example, upon the intended use of the picnic table.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, the frame 22 may also include seat frames 72, 74, 76. The seat frames 72, 74, 76 preferably include an inner rail 78, 80, 82; an outer rail 84, 86, 88; a first bracket 90, 92, 94; and a second bracket 96, 98, 100. The first and second brackets 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100 are preferably connected to the inner and outer rails 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82 of the seat frame. It will be appreciated that the seat frames 72, 74, 76 may have other suitable shapes, sizes, configurations and arrangements depending, for example, upon the size and shape of the seats 14, 16, 18.
  • As mentioned above, the support structures 42, 44, 46 preferably are pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the seat members 14, 16, 18. In further detail, as shown in FIG. 12, a support 102 may be connected to a plate 104 and the plate 104 may be connected to a portion of the seat frame 72, such as the bracket 90. The support 102 may be sized and configured to be inserted into the seat support 30 of the support structure 42 to pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably couple the supports 30, 102.
  • To help prevent the separation of the support 30 and the support 102, the support 30 may include an opening 106 that is sized and configured to receive a fastener such as a bolt or a screw. The fastener is preferably positioned to allow the support 102 to rotate relative to the support 30. In addition, the fastener is preferably positioned such that an end of the fastener may contact a portion of the support 102 (such as a tapered portion 108) when the separation of the support 30 and the support 102 is attempted.
  • If desired, multiple supports 102 and plates 104 may be used to pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attach the support structures 42, 44, 46 to the seats 14, 16, 18 and/or the table top 12. It will be appreciated, however, that the support structures 42, 44, 46 and other portions of the picnic table 10 may be connected using other suitable structures. It will also be appreciated that the support structures 42, 44, 46 may have other suitable shapes, sizes, arrangements and configurations depending, for example, upon the shape, size and/or intended use of the picnic table 10.
  • As mentioned above, the seat frames 72, 74, 76 may include brackets 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100. The brackets may be connected to other portions of the frame 22. For example, a support of the frame 22 may be connected to a plate and the plate may be connected to a bracket of a seat frame. The plate and the bracket may include one or more positioning members that are sized and configured to position the brackets and the plate in a desired position, which may facilitate faster and/or more accurate assembly. In greater detail, as shown in FIG. 13, the seat support 36 may be connected to a plate 110 and the plate may be connected to the bracket 96. The bracket 96 and the plate 110 may each include one or more positioning members, such as a tab 112 and an opening 114 that is sized and configured to receive at least a portion of the tab 112. The tab 112 and the opening 114 are preferably sized and configured to contact, abut and/or engage each other to help guide and align the bracket 96 and the plate 110 in the desired position. This may help the bracket 96 and the plate 110 be quickly and easily positioned in the desired locations, which may facilitate faster assembly of the picnic table 10. If desired, the bracket 96 may include one or more tabs corresponding to one or more openings of the plate 110, and the plate may include one or more tabs corresponding to one or more openings of the bracket.
  • As shown in FIG. 3, the frame 22 may also include a table frame 116 and the table frame may include supports 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128. The table frame supports 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128 preferably have an elongated shape with a first end and a second end. The table frame supports 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128 are preferably interconnected and also connected to the support structures 42, 44, 46. For example, the first end of the support 118 is preferably connected to the support 120 and the second end of the support 118 preferably extends beyond an intermediate portion of the support 118 to which the support 128 and the support structure 42 may be connected. The table frame supports 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128 may form a generally regular polygon-shaped structure and the ends of the supports may extend beyond the perimeter of the polygon-shaped structure. This arrangement may help diffuse forces and/or weight applied to the table frame 116. This arrangement may also help support the perimeter of the table top 12. It will be appreciated that the table frame supports 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 128 may have a variety of suitable shapes, sizes, arrangements and configurations depending, for example, upon the size and shape of the table top 12 and/or the intended us of the picnic table 10.
  • The frame 22 may also include a reinforcement assembly 130 that is sized and configured to help strengthen and reinforce the frame. For example, as shown in FIG. 14, the reinforcement assembly 130 may be connected to the supports 24, 26, 28 and the reinforcement assembly may include a plurality of interconnected supports 132. The supports 132 are preferably connected to a generally central portion of the supports 24, 26, 28, but the supports 132 may be connected to other suitable portions of the supports or frame 22. The supports 132 and/or the table top 12 may include one or more apertures that are sized and configured to receive at least a portion of an umbrella, an awning or the like to help secure the umbrella or awning in a desired position. The umbrella or awning may then provide shade, cover or other protection from the weather. The umbrella, awning or apertures, however, are not required.
  • In greater detail, as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, each of the supports 132 preferably includes a bracket 134 that is sized and configured to be connected to one of the table supports 24, 26, 28; a first portion 136 that is sized and configured to be connected to another support 132; and a second portion 138 that is sized and configured to be connected to yet another support 132. This arrangement may advantageously help reinforce and/or strengthen the frame 22. It will be appreciated, however, that the reinforcement assembly 130 may have other suitable components, arrangements and the like depending, for example, upon the shape, size, configuration and arrangement of the frame 22 and/or the intended use of the picnic table 10.
  • As shown in the accompanying figures, the picnic table 10 may include feet 140, 142 that are sized and configured to contact and/or engage a support surface. The feet 140, 142 may elevate the frame 22 of the picnic table 10 above a support surface, such as the ground, and the feet may facilitate movement of the seats 14, 16, 18. In greater detail, as shown in FIG. 16, the feet 140 may include a body 144 that is sized and configured to receive a portion of the lower support 60, 62, 64. The feet 140 may also include an extension 146 that is sized and configured to contact and/or engage the support surface. The extension 146 may include a beveled lower surface, which may make it easier to move the seat members 14, 16, 18. It will be appreciated, however, that the extension 146 does not require any beveled surfaces and the feet could have other suitable shapes and sizes depending, for example, upon the intended use of the picnic table 10.
  • As shown in FIGS. 17-19, the feet 142 may include a receiving portion 148 that is sized and configured to receive a portion of the support structures 42, 44, 46. The surface of the receiving portion 148 is preferably generally complementary to the outer surface of the table or seat support. The feet 142 may also include a reinforcing member 150 that may help reinforce a portion of the table or seat support. In particular, the table or seat support may have a generally tubular configuration and the reinforcing member 150 may be sized and configured to be inserted into an end of the tubular support. The reinforcing member 150 may help reinforce the end of the tubular support, which may help prevent the end of the support from being permanently misshaped or otherwise damaged when, for example, weight is placed upon the table and/or a seat. To help reinforce the tubular support, the projection 150 preferably includes an outer surface that is generally complementary to the inner surface of the tubular support. The reinforcing member 150 may also include one or more ribs, which may help strengthen the projection and may help aid in manufacturing the feet 142. It will be appreciated that the projection 150, the tubular support, and the inner surface of the tubular support may have other suitable shapes, configurations and the like. If desired, other types of reinforcing members or structures (such as a metal washer) may be connected to a portion of the feet 142 (such as the projection 150), and these other types of reinforcing members may be sized and configured to be inserted into the tubular support and may include an outer surface that is generally complementary to the inner surface of the tubular support.
  • The feet 142 may further include a cradle 152 that is sized and configured contact, abut and/or engage an intermediate support 48, 50, 52 of the support structures 42, 44, 46, respectively. The surface of the cradle 152 is preferably generally complementary to the outer surface of the intermediate support. The cradle 152 may help facilitate attachment of the feet 142 to the support structure. It will be appreciated that the cradle 152 may have other suitable shapes, sizes, configurations and arrangements depending, for example, upon the size and shape of the feet 142.
  • Additionally, the feet 142 may include openings 154 that are sized and configured to receive fasteners, which may be used to connect the feet to the intermediate supports. As shown in FIG. 19, the openings may be spaced apart from the support surface, which may allow fasteners to be disposed within a hollow portion of the feet 142. This may help protect the fasteners and may provide a more appealing visual appearance. In addition, this may help prevent the fasteners from contacting and damaging a support surface.
  • As shown in FIGS. 18 and 19, the feet 142 may include drains 156 that are sized and configured to allow liquid, such as water, to exit the feet. For example, as discussed above, the table or seat support may have a tubular configuration and the projection 150 may be inserted into a hollow portion of the support. The drains 156 may be sized and configured to allow water to exit the receiving portion 148. The drains 156 may be especially advantageous when, for example, the picnic table 10 is used outside where the picnic table could be subjected to rain, water from sprinkling systems and the like.
  • As best seen in FIGS. 2, 3 and 11, the support structures 54, 56, 58 may include a seat support and a lower support connected to the seat support. In addition, the seat support is preferably connected to the lower support in a generally offset configuration. For example, the lower support 60 is preferably offset in a direction generally away from the table top 12 when the seat 14 is generally aligned with the outer perimeter of the table top, which may increase the stability of the seat. The lower support 60 and/or the foot 140 may extend beyond the outer perimeter of the seat, which may also increase the stability of the seat. Advantageously, the frame 22 and its various components, such as the support structures 54, 56, 58, may have a variety of suitable shapes, sizes, configurations and arrangements depending, for example, upon the size, shape and/or intended use of the picnic table 10.
  • As shown in FIGS. 20-24, the picnic table 10 may be efficiently packaged. In particular, the components of the picnic table 10 may be positioned in various suitable arrangements to minimize the size of the packaging, which may help reduce shipping and storage costs. For example, the table top 12 may include a recessed portion in which at least a portion one or more components of the picnic table 10 may be disposed for shipping or storage. In greater detail, the support structures 42, 44, 46, the support structures 54, 56, 58, and/or the supports 102 may be at least partially disposed within the recessed portion of the table top 12, as shown in FIGS. 20-22. In addition, the seats 14, 16, 18 may include a recessed portion in which at least a portion one or more components of the picnic table 10 may be disposed for shipping or storage. For example, the seat frames 72, 74, 76 may be at least partially disposed with the recessed portions of the seat members 14, 16, 18, as shown in FIGS. 23-24.
  • In greater detail, an exemplary packaging arrangement may include the table top 12; at least one of the support structures 42, 44, 46, 54, 56, 58 positioned against or proximate the table top; and one or more of the seats 14, 16, 18 positioned against or proximate the support structure. This exemplary packaging arrangement is preferably relatively compact. For example, the thickness of this arrangement may be generally equal to or less than twice the thickness of one of the support structures 42, 44, 46, 54, 56, 58. In addition, the thickness of this arrangement may be generally equal to or less than about 75% of the sum of the individual thicknesses of the table top, the support structure and the seat. It will be appreciated, however, that various components of the picnic table 10, including the table top 12, the support structures 42, 44, 46, 54, 56, 58, and the seats 14, 16, 18 may have other suitable arrangements, thicknesses and the like.
  • As shown in FIG. 1, the picnic table 10 may include three seats 14, 16, 18. As discussed above, the picnic table 10 may include more or fewer seats, if desired. For example, as shown in FIG. 25, another exemplary picnic table 158 may include a table top 160 and four seats 162, 164, 166, 168. As discussed above, the seats 162, 164, 166, 168 may be benches that are sized and configured to allow two or more people to sit on a given bench. The seats 162, 164, 166, 168 may also be chairs or other suitable types of structures and may include backrest, armrest and the like.
  • As discussed in more detail below, the picnic table 158 may include some features, aspects and components that are similar to the picnic table 10 discussed above. The picnic table 158, however, may also include other features, aspects and components. For example, as shown in FIG. 26, the picnic table 158 may include a frame 172 that supports the table top 160 and the seats 162, 164, 166, 168. The frame 172 preferably includes table legs or supports 174, 176, 178, 180 that are sized and configured to support the table top 12; and seat legs or supports 182, 184, 186, 188, 190, 192, 194, 196 that are sized and configured to support the seats 162, 164, 166, 168.
  • In greater detail, the frame 172 may include support structures 198, 200, 202, 204, which may connect or include the table supports 174, 176, 178, 180 and seat supports 182, 184, 186, 188, respectively. In particular, the support structures 198, 200, 202, 204 may include intermediate supports 206, 208, 210, 212 that connect the table supports 174, 176, 178, 180 and the seat supports 182, 184, 186, 188. The support structures 198, 200, 202, 204 are preferably pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the seat members 162, 164, 166, 168 and/or the table top 160 to allow the seat members to pivot, rotate or otherwise move between a variety of positions.
  • The frame 172 preferably also includes support structures 214, 216, 218, 220, which may include seat supports 190, 192, 194, 196, respectively. The support structures 214, 216, 218, 220 may also include lower supports 222, 224, 226, 228 that are connected to the seat supports 190, 192, 194, 196. The support structures 214, 216, 218, 220 are preferably connected to the seats 162, 164, 166, 168 in a fixed position, but the support structures may also be pivotally, rotatably or otherwise movably attached to the seats, if desired. In addition, the frame 172 may include seat frames 230, 232, 234, 236 with an inner rail 238, 240, 242, 244; an outer rail 246, 248, 250, 252; a first bracket 254, 256, 258, 260; and a second bracket 262, 264, 266, 268.
  • As shown in FIG. 26, the frame 172 may also include a table frame 270 with supports 272, 274, 276, 278. The table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278 preferably have an elongated shape with a first end and a second end. The table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278 are preferably interconnected and also connected to the support structures 198, 200, 202, 204. For example, the first end of the support 272 is preferably connected to the support 274 and the second end of the support 272 preferably extends beyond a portion of the support 272 to which the support 278 may be connected and beyond a portion of the support 272 to which the support structure 198 may be connected. The table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278 may form a generally regular polygon-shaped structure and the ends of the supports may extend beyond the perimeter of the polygon-shaped structure. This arrangement may help diffuse forces and/or weight applied to the table frame 270. This arrangement may also help support the perimeter of the table top 160. The portions of the supports that extend beyond the perimeter of the polygon-shaped structure may be less than, equal to and/or greater than about the length of the sides of the polygon-shaped structure, if desired.
  • The table frame 270 may also include supports 280, 282, 284, 286, which may be connected to the table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278 and/or the support structures 198, 200, 202, 204. For example, the support structures 198, 200, 202, 204 may include plates 288, 290, 292, 294 that may be connected to the table supports 174, 176, 178, 180, and the table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278, 280, 282, 284, 286 may be connected to the plates. The plates 288, 290, 292, 294 may advantageously help form triangular-shaped connections with the table frame supports to help reinforce and/or strengthen the table frame 270. For instance, the plate 288 and the table frame support 272 may include a first set of openings aligned to receive a first fastener, the plate 288 and the table frame support 280 may include a second set of openings aligned to receive a second fastener, and the plate 288 and the table frame supports 272, 280 may include a third set of openings aligned to receive a third fastener. If desired, the table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278 may be sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable, and the table frame supports 280, 282, 284, 286 may be sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable. This may advantageously increase the efficiency of the manufacture of the table frame 270. It will be appreciated that the table frame 172 and the table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278, 280, 282, 284, 286 may have a variety of suitable shapes, sizes, arrangements and configurations depending, for example, upon the intended us of the picnic table 158.
  • As shown in FIG. 27, the table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278, 280, 282, 284, 286 may include a first end connected to a table frame support and a second end disposed at least proximate an outer edge or perimeter of the table top 160. The table top 160 may include a generally downwardly extending lip 295 and the second end of the table frame supports may contact, abut, engage and/or be disposed at least proximate to the generally downwardly extending lip. This may desirably provide additional support for the table top 160. If desired, the polygon-shaped structure formed by the table frame supports 272, 274, 276, 278 may be spaced at least a substantial distance from the outer edge or perimeter of the table top 160 and/or the lip 295.
  • The frame 172 may also include a reinforcement assembly 296 that is connected to the table supports 174, 176, 178, 180 which may be sized and configured to help strengthen and reinforce the frame. For example, the reinforcement assembly 296 may include a plurality of interconnected supports 298. The supports 298 are preferably connected to a generally central portion of the table supports 174, 176, 178, 180, but the supports 298 may be connected to other suitable portions of the table supports.
  • Although the picnic table 158 and accompanying structure, such as the table top 160, seats 162, 164, 166, 168 and frame 172, have been described and illustrated in detail, it will be appreciated that the picnic table and accompanying structure may have other suitable shapes, sizes, configurations and arrangements depending, for example, upon the intended use of the picnic table. Thus, while these exemplary embodiments of the picnic tables 10, 158 have been described and shown in detail, the picnic tables may have other appropriate shapes, sizes, configurations and arrangements. In addition, the picnic tables 10, 158 may include other suitable aspects, features, components and the like.
  • As shown in the accompanying figures, the picnic tables 10, 158 may include a table top and one or more seats. The table tops and seats are preferably constructed from a lightweight material such as plastic. In particular, these and other components may be constructed from high density polyethylene and these components are desirably formed by a blow-molding process. The blow-molding process may allow strong, lightweight, rigid and sturdy components to be quickly and easily manufactured. In particular, the blow-molded components may include a hollow interior portion that is formed during the blow-molding process, which may allow a lightweight component to be manufactured. Advantageously, this may allow the picnic tables 10, 158 to have significantly lighter weight than conventional furniture constructed from wood or metal. In addition, constructing the table tops and the seats from blow-molded plastic may allow the table top and the seats to be constructed from less plastic, which may save manufacturing costs and reduce consumer costs. The blow-molded plastic may also include ultraviolet (UV) inhibitors that help prevent the plastic from deteriorating when exposed to sunlight. It will be appreciated that other suitable plastic, materials and/or processes may also be used to construct these and other components depending, for example, upon the particular design and use of the table tops and the seats.
  • The table tops and the seats may also be constructed from blow-molded plastic because this may allow the table top and seats to be economically manufactured. In addition, the blow-molded plastic may allow the table tops and the seats to be readily produced because, among other reasons, their components may be quickly manufactured and the blow-molded plastic components may be created with a variety of suitable shapes, sizes, designs and/or colors depending, for example, upon the intended use of the tables and the seat members. Also, the blow-molded process may allow the some or all of the components of the table tops and the seats to be integrally formed as part of a unitary, one-piece structure, which may advantageously reduce manufacturing time and costs. Further, the blow-molded plastic components may be durable, weather resistant, generally temperature insensitive, corrosion resistant, rust resistant and generally do not deteriorate over time. Thus, the blow-molded plastic may allow long-lasting and durable table tops and seats to be constructed.
  • The blow-molded plastic table tops and the seats may also include one or more depressions, indentations or the like, and these depressions may be sized and configured to increase the strength and/or rigidity of the component. These depressions, which may also be known as “tack-offs,” preferably cover at least a substantial portion of the components and the depressions may be arranged into a predetermined pattern. The depressions, for example, may be formed in one surface and extend towards an opposing surface. The ends of the depressions may contact or engage the opposing surface and/or the ends of the depressions may be spaced apart from the opposing surface. Advantageously, the depressions may help support the opposing surface and/or increase the structural integrity of the component. In addition, the depressions may be closely spaced in order to increase the strength and/or structural integrity of the component. Further, the depressions may be spaced or positioned into a generally regular or constant pattern so that the component has generally consistent properties. It will be appreciated that the depressions may have a variety of suitable configurations and arrangements. For instance, additional information regarding suitable configurations and arrangements of the depressions is disclosed in Assignee's U.S. Pat. No. 7,069,865, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • The depressions may also be positioned on opposing surfaces of the table tops and the seats, if desired. For example, one or more depressions may be formed on a first surface and these depressions may extend towards and/or contact the second, opposing surface. In addition, one or more depressions may be formed on the second surface and these depressions may extend towards and/or contact the first surface. These depressions on the first and second surfaces may be generally aligned and the ends of the opposing depressions may touch or engage. Significantly, this may create depressions that may contact and support the opposing surface, but the depressions have a smaller size and/or height than conventional depressions because the depressions do not span the entire distance between the opposing surfaces. In contrast, the depressions on the opposing surfaces only span a portion of the distance separating the opposing surfaces.
  • One skilled in the art, however, will appreciate that the table top and the seats do not have to be constructed from blow-molded plastic and other suitable materials and/or processes can be used to construct these and other various components of the picnic table depending, for example, upon the intended use of the picnic table. Thus, some or all of the components could also be constructed from other materials with suitable characteristics, such as wood, metal and other types of plastic. Additionally, all the components do not have to be constructed from blow-molded plastic and some or all of the components could be constructed from injection molded plastic, extrusion molded plastic, and the like.
  • Various portions of the picnic tables 10, 158, such as the frames 22, 172 and the reinforcement assemblies 130, 296, are preferably constructed from a strong and high-strength material such as metal and, in particular, steel. Advantageously, these metal components may be relatively durable and strong. Desirably, these metal components are constructed from thin-walled metal tubing, which may allow strong and lightweight picnic tables 10, 158 to be constructed. The thin-walled metal tubing may have a small diameter and the tubing may be sized and configured to maximize the legroom for a user. It will be appreciated that the metal tubing may have a generally circular, oval, square, rectangular or other suitable shape, and these and other components may be constructed from other materials with suitable characteristics.
  • Other portions of the picnic tables 10, 158, such as the feet 140, 142, may be constructed from injection molded plastic. This may allow strong and resilient feet 140, 142 to be constructed. It will be appreciated, however, that the feet 140, 142 and other portions of the picnic tables 10, 158 may be constructed using other materials and/or processes.
  • Although this invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by the claims which follow.

Claims (18)

  1. 1. A table comprising:
    a table top including a generally downwardly extending lip;
    a table frame connected to the table top, the table frame including a first plurality of elongated supports, each of the first plurality of elongated supports including a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to at least one of the first plurality of elongated supports to form a generally polygon-shaped structure, the generally polygon-shaped structure being spaced at least a substantial distance apart from the generally downwardly extending lip of the table top, a portion of each of the first plurality of elongated supports extending beyond the perimeter of the generally polygon-shaped structure and being disposed at least proximate the generally downwardly extending lip of the table top; and
    a support structure connected to the table frame, the support structure being sized and configured to support the table top above a surface.
  2. 2. The table as in claim 1, wherein the table frame further includes a second plurality of elongated supports, each of the second plurality of elongated supports including a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to at least one of the first plurality of elongated supports, the second end being disposed at least proximate the generally downwardly extending lip of the table top.
  3. 3. The table as in claim 2, wherein the second plurality of elongated supports are sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable.
  4. 4. The table as in claim 1, wherein the table frame further includes a second plurality of elongated supports, each of the second plurality of elongated supports being connected to at least one portion of at least one of the first plurality of elongated supports that extends beyond the perimeter of the generally polygon-shaped structure.
  5. 5. The table as in claim 4, wherein the second plurality of elongated supports are sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable.
  6. 6. The table as in claim 1, wherein the generally polygon-shaped structure is a generally squared-shaped structure.
  7. 7. The table as in claim 1, wherein the generally polygon-shaped structure has at least five sides and each of the sides has approximately the same length.
  8. 8. The table as in claim 1, wherein the first plurality of elongated supports are sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable.
  9. 9. The table as in claim 1, wherein the table top has a generally circular shape and the generally downwardly extending lip is aligned with an outer edge of the table top.
  10. 10. The table as in claim 1, wherein the table top has a generally square shape and the generally downwardly extending lip is aligned with an outer edge of the table top.
  11. 11. A table comprising:
    a table top including an outer edge;
    a table frame connected to the table top, the table frame including a first plurality of elongated supports, each of the first plurality of elongated supports including a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to at least one of the first plurality of elongated supports to form a generally polygon-shaped structure, the generally polygon-shaped structure being spaced at least a substantial distance apart from the outer edge of the table top, a portion of each of the first plurality of elongated supports extending beyond the perimeter of the generally polygon-shaped structure and being disposed at least proximate the outer edge of the table top; and
    a support structure connected to the table frame, the support structure being sized and configured to support the table top above a surface.
  12. 12. The table as in claim 11, wherein the table frame further includes a second plurality of elongated supports, each of the second plurality of elongated supports including a first end and a second end, the first end being connected to at least one of the first plurality of elongated supports, the second end being disposed at least proximate the outer edge of the table top.
  13. 13. The table as in claim 12, wherein the second plurality of elongated supports are sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable.
  14. 14. The table as in claim 11, wherein the table frame further includes a second plurality of elongated supports, each of the second plurality of elongated supports being connected to at least one portion of at least one of the first plurality of elongated supports that extends beyond the perimeter of the generally polygon-shaped structure.
  15. 15. The table as in claim 14, wherein the second plurality of elongated supports are sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable.
  16. 16. The table as in claim 11, wherein the generally polygon-shaped structure is a generally squared-shaped structure.
  17. 17. The table as in claim 11, wherein the generally polygon-shaped structure has at least five sides and each of the sides has approximately the same length.
  18. 18. The table as in claim 11, wherein the first plurality of elongated supports are sized and configured to be at least substantially interchangeable.
US11762612 2005-04-21 2007-06-13 Table and bench system Abandoned US20070290531A1 (en)

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US67415805 true 2005-04-21 2005-04-21
US11409301 US7971930B2 (en) 2005-04-21 2006-04-21 Table and bench system
US29260642 2006-05-30
US81383006 true 2006-06-14 2006-06-14
US11762612 US20070290531A1 (en) 2005-04-21 2007-06-13 Table and bench system

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US29260642 Continuation-In-Part 2006-05-30

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US20110001339A1 (en) * 2009-07-06 2011-01-06 Bob Barker Company, Inc. Furniture Piece with a Support Member and Recessed Fastener
US8007040B2 (en) * 2009-07-06 2011-08-30 Bob Barker Company, Inc. Furniture piece with a support member and recessed fastener

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Owner name: LIFETIME PRODUCTS, INC., UTAH

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LARSEN, JERED, MR.;NYE, S. CURTIS, MR.;STRONG, L. CURTIS, MR.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019762/0831;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070809 TO 20070824