US20160244082A1 - Table Cart - Google Patents

Table Cart Download PDF

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Publication number
US20160244082A1
US20160244082A1 US14/991,192 US201614991192A US2016244082A1 US 20160244082 A1 US20160244082 A1 US 20160244082A1 US 201614991192 A US201614991192 A US 201614991192A US 2016244082 A1 US2016244082 A1 US 2016244082A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
lift
support
furniture
furniture article
rail
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Abandoned
Application number
US14/991,192
Inventor
Allan Weiser
Michael David Beltz
Adam Joseph Kessler
Conrad M. Marini
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Knoll Inc
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Dates Weiser Furniture Corp
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201562101322P priority Critical
Priority to US201562159166P priority
Priority to US201562159152P priority
Application filed by Dates Weiser Furniture Corp filed Critical Dates Weiser Furniture Corp
Priority to US14/991,192 priority patent/US20160244082A1/en
Assigned to Dates Weiser Furniture Corporation reassignment Dates Weiser Furniture Corporation ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BELTZ, MICHAEL DAVID, MARINI, CONRAD M., KESSLER, ADAM JOSEPH, WEISER, ALLAN
Publication of US20160244082A1 publication Critical patent/US20160244082A1/en
Assigned to KNOLL, INC. reassignment KNOLL, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: Dates Weiser Furniture Corporation
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62BHAND-PROPELLED VEHICLES, e.g. HAND CARTS OR PERAMBULATORS; SLEDGES
    • B62B3/00Hand carts having more than one axis carrying transport wheels; Steering devices therefor; Equipment therefor
    • B62B3/04Hand carts having more than one axis carrying transport wheels; Steering devices therefor; Equipment therefor involving means for grappling or securing in place objects to be carried; Loading or unloading equipment
    • 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
    • A47B13/00Details of tables or desks
    • A47B13/003Connecting table tops to underframes
    • 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
    • A47B13/00Details of tables or desks
    • A47B13/02Underframes
    • A47B13/021Fastening devices of the feet
    • 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
    • A47B3/08Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe
    • A47B3/0803Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe the legs rotating around a vertical axis
    • 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
    • A47B3/08Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe
    • A47B3/0809Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe with elastic locking means
    • A47B3/0815Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe with elastic locking means the resilient force of the elastic locking means acting in a direction perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the leg
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62BHAND-PROPELLED VEHICLES, e.g. HAND CARTS OR PERAMBULATORS; SLEDGES
    • B62B3/00Hand carts having more than one axis carrying transport wheels; Steering devices therefor; Equipment therefor
    • B62B3/10Hand carts having more than one axis carrying transport wheels; Steering devices therefor; Equipment therefor characterised by supports specially adapted to objects of definite shape
    • B62B3/108Hand carts having more than one axis carrying transport wheels; Steering devices therefor; Equipment therefor characterised by supports specially adapted to objects of definite shape the objects being plates, doors, panels, or the like
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G67/00Loading or unloading vehicles
    • B65G67/02Loading or unloading land vehicles
    • 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
    • A47B3/08Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe
    • A47B3/0803Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe the legs rotating around a vertical axis
    • A47B2003/0806Folding or stowable tables with legs pivoted to top or underframe the legs rotating around a vertical axis and the table top rotating around a horizontal axis

Abstract

Disclosed herein is a furniture moving device having a frame with a lower portion and an upper portion. The upper portion includes a support rail. The frame also includes a lift mechanism connected to one end of the support rail. The lift mechanism is operable to raise a furniture article off the ground such that the furniture article is supported at the height of the support rail. The support rail and the lift mechanism also are sufficiently continuous to allow sliding of the furniture article from one to the other.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of provisional application No. 62/159,166 entitled “Table Cart,” filed on May 8, 2015, and also the application No. 62/101,322 entitled “Collapsible Table”, filed on Jan. 8, 2015, and also the application No. 62/159,152 entitled “Collapsible Table”, filed on May 8, 2015, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entirety. Additionally, this application is co-pending with application Ser. No. ______ entitled “Collapsible Table”, filed Jan. 8, 2016, which is also hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The disclosure provided herein is related to systems and methods for moving furniture and more particularly to furniture moving carts operable to lift, store, and move collapsible furniture.
  • BACKGROUND
  • In the furniture industry, collapsible or non-collapsible furniture is frequently used to set up events like conferences, assemblies, conventions, festivals, weddings, and the like. In setting up these events, large quantities of furniture are moved, stored, and set up. Examples of such furniture include collapsible or non-collapsible chairs and tables. While there are numerous trollies, carts, dollies or the like used in the industry, these devices require the workers to lift the furniture articles on and off of the devices. These devices also have a single movement configuration, meaning the ways the casters move are not adjustable. While the casters may be lockable or unlockable in rotation about their rolling axis, there are generally a static number of casters in use with their directional characteristic not generally being adjustable.
  • SUMMARY
  • In accordance with various embodiments, a furniture movement device may be provided that includes a lift mechanism that is operable to engage a furniture article and lift it from the ground to a support rail of the device. The furniture movement device may have a frame having a lower portion and an upper portion, wherein the upper portion includes a support rail. The furniture movement device may include a lift mechanism connected near one end of the support rail, with the lift mechanism operable to raise the furniture article off the ground such that the furniture article is supported at approximately the same height as the support rail.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the lift mechanism may be movable relative to the support rail. The lift mechanism includes a first portion that is movable from a first lower position to a second higher position, with the first lower position located at a height operable to engage a lifting surface on a furniture article that is not supported by the moving device and the second higher position is approximately the same height as the top of the support rail. The furniture movement device further comprises a handle connected to the lift mechanism and operable to adjust the lift mechanism between the first position and the second position. The handle may be positioned on a side of the furniture moving device opposite the lift mechanism.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the lift mechanism includes a support surface that moves from the first position to the second position enabling the furniture article to slide directly onto the rails. The lift mechanism support surface is substantially parallel to the rail in both the first position and the second position. The lift mechanism support surface can remain horizontal relative to the ground throughout the range of movement from the first position to the second position. The substantially parallel position of the support surface is maintained by a first link and a second link that extends from the platform to the frame with each link having first and second frame pivots, respectively, and first and second platform pivots, respectively. The first link and the second link may be substantially parallel to one another. The handle may be connected to the first link via a handle link that extends from a pivot on the handle to a pivot on the first link located between the frame pivot and the platform pivot on the first link. The support surface can include a sufficiently low-friction material that the furniture article slides along. The lift mechanism support surface may be at approximately the same height as the top of the support rail when the lift mechanism is positioned in the second position such that a furniture article is slid along the lift mechanism support surface and onto the support rail along a generally linear path. The support rail includes first and second rails that are generally parallel to one another with a space between the two sufficient to receive a tabletop there between, while the first and second support rails are operable to support table leg portions. The furniture moving also includes a plurality of wheels attached to a lower portion of the frame operable to allow the device to transport the furniture article. The plurality of wheels are a plurality of casters freely rotatable around a vertical axis such that the device is able to move forward, backward, sideways or a combination of each.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, a method of moving furniture includes providing a cart having a support surface and a lift mechanism operable to engage a furniture article and elevate it to the height of the support surface, wherein the cart has wheels enabling movement of the cart when loaded with furniture articles. The method also includes engaging a furniture article with the lift mechanism at a first height. The method also includes lifting the furniture article with the lift mechanism up to a second height equal to the support surface height. The method also includes sliding the furniture article off of the lift mechanism and onto the support surface. The method also includes lowering the lift mechanism to the first height. The method also includes engaging a second furniture article.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, a furniture moving system includes a furniture article having a support surface and a first and a second lift point positioned outboard of the support surface when the furniture article is in a collapsed configuration but positioned inboard of the support surface when the furniture article is in an extended configuration. The system also includes a moving device having a furniture article lift mechanism operable to engage the first and second lift points and lift the furniture article off the ground via the first and second lift points and also having wheels located at the base of the moving device suitable to move the furniture article from a first location to a second location while the furniture article is supported on the moving device.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the device of the system includes a first support and a second support that are positioned adjacent to the furniture article lift mechanism such that after the furniture article is lifted to the lift mechanism's full height the furniture article is slid off the lift mechanism and onto the first and second support. The first support and the second support are a first rail and a second rail respectively, with the first support rail and the second support rail may be spaced apart a distance greater than a width of the furniture article support surface, allowing the furniture article support surface to fit between the first rail and the second rail without interference between the furniture article support surface and either the first rail or the second rail. The lift mechanism includes a first lift mechanism extending from an end of the first rail and a second lift mechanism extending from an end of the second rail. The furniture article further includes a first and a second retaining element positioned outboard of the first and second lift points respectively such that when the lift mechanism is positioned to lift the furniture article. The first lift mechanism is positioned between the first retaining element and the furniture article support surface. The second lift mechanism is positioned between the second retaining element and the furniture article support surface. The first retaining element and the second retaining element are positioned sufficiently close to the first lift mechanism and the second lift mechanism such that when the furniture article shifts laterally on the lift mechanism, the first retaining element and the second retaining element will contact the first lift mechanism or the second lift mechanism respectively such that the furniture article support surface does not contact the lift mechanism. The furniture article support surface may be a table top. The first retaining element and the second retaining element may be a first table leg and a second table leg. The first lift point and the second lift point may be substantially horizontal members that connect to the first table leg and the second table leg respectively.
  • Additional embodiments and features are set forth in part in the description that follows, and will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the specification or may be learned by the practice of the disclosed subject matter. A further understanding of the nature and advantages of the present disclosure may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification and the drawings, which forms a part of this disclosure. One of skill in the art will understand that each of the various aspects and features of the disclosure may advantageously be used separately in some instances, or in combination with other aspects and features of the disclosure in other instances.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIGS. 1A-B illustrate perspective views of a furniture moving device in a raised position and lowered position respectively in accordance with various embodiments of the furniture moving device;
  • FIGS. 2A-H illustrate various views of a furniture moving device in lowered (FIGS. 2A-D) and raised positions (FIGS. 2E-J) positions in accordance with other embodiments of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 2I illustrates a top detail view of the furniture moving device of FIG. 2H along detail I-I in accordance with other embodiments of the furniture moving device;
  • FIGS. 3A-B illustrate a perspective view of various numbers of collapsible tables being supported on a furniture moving device in accordance with various embodiments of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of a furniture moving device with a lift mechanism positioned in a raised position in accordance with the embodiment of the furniture moving device depicted in FIGS. 2A-I;
  • FIGS. 5A-F illustrate a side view of a furniture moving device with a lift mechanism positioned in various different positions in accordance with another embodiment of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 5G illustrates a side view of a furniture moving device with the lift mechanism in a raised position in accordance with an embodiment of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 5H illustrates a detail view of detail A shown in FIG. 5G of a furniture moving device with the lift mechanism in a raised position in accordance with an embodiment of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 5I illustrates a side view of a furniture moving device with the lift mechanism in a lowered position in accordance with an embodiment of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 5J illustrates a detail view of detail D shown in FIG. 5G of a furniture moving device with the lift mechanism in a lowered position in accordance with an embodiment of the furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 6A illustrates a perspective rear detailed view of a caster adjustment mechanism on a furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 6B illustrates a rear view of a caster adjustment mechanism on a furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 6C illustrates a front view of a caster adjustment mechanism on a furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 6D illustrates a side view of a caster adjustment mechanism on a furniture moving device;
  • FIG. 6E illustrates a detailed view of detail E in FIG. 6C;
  • FIG. 7A-F illustrates a perspective view loading of a pivot style furniture moving device in accordance with one embodiment; and
  • FIG. 8A-F illustrates a side view loading of a pivot style furniture moving device in accordance with one embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The subject matter disclosed herein relates to systems for furniture movement. Particularly, the system includes a cart operable to support, lift, or transport furniture. The cart includes movement elements at the base allowing easy movement of the cart. The cart also includes a support structure operable to suspend furniture off the ground such that the furniture can be relocated with minimal or no contact with the floor. The cart also includes a lifting mechanism to raise the furniture off the floor such that direct lifting of the furniture by the user can be minimized or avoided.
  • In the events industry, it is sometimes necessary to set up large quantities of furniture, for example chairs, tables, stands, cubicles, walls, displays, etc. To set up the furniture, stacks or quantities of collapsed or non-collapsed furniture may be frequently moved around. Some of these pieces of furniture may be collapsed into a folded position while being moved or the pieces of furniture may be in a non-collapsed state or designed to be non-collapsible. In any configuration, the furniture may be moved in large quantities.
  • In accordance with various aspects of the subject matter disclosed herein, a furniture transportation device 100 is utilized to aid in moving one or more furniture articles 200 as illustrated in the various FIGS. 1A-8G. In various embodiments, the furniture transportation device 100 is a dolly, cart, trolley or similar mobile device. The furniture articles 200 include any type of furniture such as tables, chairs, stools, cubical walls, desks, stands, etc. A person of ordinary skill in the art would understand the adaptability of the devices disclosed herein to any type of furniture based upon the disclosure provided herein. However, as an example, a collapsible table 200 is described herein and shown in the figures.
  • Several embodiments of cart 100 are shown in the figures and discussed herein. For example, FIGS. 1A-1B illustrate a first embodiment, FIGS. 2A-21 illustrate a second embodiment, FIGS. 3A-B illustrate a third embodiment, and FIGS. 7A-8G illustrate a fourth embodiment. It should be appreciated that any element of any one of the various embodiments can be interchanged with or applied with any other element of any of the other embodiments whether explicitly described as such or not.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the furniture article 200 has a collapsed configuration (as shown in FIGS. 2A-I, 3A-3B, 5C-D, 7A-E, and 8A-E) and an extended configuration (as shown in FIGS. 7F-G and 8F-G). In the extended configuration, the furniture article 200 is in a state that is usable of its intended furniture-purpose. For example, a chair can be sat on or a table has a top working or support surface that is spread out and sufficiently horizontal for use when configured for its intended furniture-purpose. In the collapsed configuration, the furniture article 200 is configured into a condensed state as compared to its configuration in the extended position. For example, a chair can be folded such that multiple chairs can be stacked together and can occupy a space that is smaller or more compact than a single extended chair.
  • In some embodiments, the furniture-article will decrease in all dimensions compared to in the expanded configuration. In other embodiments, while the furniture-article 200 will become smaller in one or more dimensions, other dimensions thereof may increase compared to in the expanded configuration. For example, the folded chair may be taller but narrower in width than the expanded chair. In another example, a table can be folded such that multiple folded tables can occupy a space that is smaller or more compact than a single extended table. For example, the table top support surface and the table legs may be placed in a closer to parallel configuration and positioned adjacent to one another so that they occupy less space or depth. While the overall space occupied may be less, the space may have different dimensions, e.g. the compact space may be longer or taller but narrower in width. The more parallel configuration may be a configuration in which the table top (i.e. the primary work or support surface) is closer to parallel than in the tables fully expanded configuration or another suitable configuration. This may include small angles between the table top and its legs. Other configurations of the furniture article 200 suitable to configure the furniture article in a more condensed state can also be incorporated.
  • In the collapsed configuration the furniture article may also have dedicated lifting elements that are positioned outside or outboard the perimeter of the furniture's support surface or other main member. As an example, a collapsed table may have lifting elements positioned outside the perimeter of the table top. These same lifting elements can be positioned inside the perimeter of the table top in the collapsed state. Such lifting elements are discussed in more detail below.
  • In one example, the furniture article 200 is a table that can be configured into a collapsed configuration allowing a user to load the table 200 onto movement device 100. When in the collapsed configuration, one or more of the legs 206, 208, 210, 212 may extend beyond one or more edges of the tabletop 202, so as to engage a portion of the movement device 100. The legs 206, 208, 210, 212 can extend over and rest upon at least one support surface 110 of the movement device 100. The support surface 110 can extend between the tabletop 202 and the legs 206, 208, 210, 212 on each side of the tabletop 202. For example, as shown in FIG. 2A, in preferred embodiments, the legs 206, 208, 210, 212 each have a support arm 226, 228, 230, 232 respectively supported each. The support arms 226, 228, 230, 232 can extend substantially horizontally, and the legs 206, 208, 210, 212 can extend substantially vertically. When the table 100 is in the collapsed position, there is a gap G (see FIG. 21) between the tabletop 202 and the legs 206, 208, 210, 212. The portion of the support arms 226, 228, 230, 232 that extend across gap G forms lift points suitable to engage the support surface 110 of the movement device 100. The table 200 can thus be loaded onto movement device 100 so that the support surface 110 contacts the lift points on the support arms. This type of table as the furniture article is only an example of the types of furniture articles that can be used. A more detailed explanation of this table is provided in Co-pending application Ser. No. ______. The particular table is also described in more detail in provisional patent application Nos. 62/101,322 and 62/159,152.
  • In accordance with the various embodiments provided herein, at least one article of furniture 200 is supported and movable on the furniture transportation device 100. In preferred embodiments, a plurality of furniture articles 200 are movable on each of the furniture transportation devices 100.
  • In accordance with various embodiments and as illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, a furniture moving device 100 includes a structure having a support surface 110. The moving device 100 includes movement elements 106 proximal to the floor sufficient to easily move the device 100 about. The moving device 100 also includes a lift mechanism 150. The lift mechanism 150 is operable to engage a furniture article and elevate it to the height of the support surface. In one example, the entire support surface 110 is adjustable to operate as the lift mechanism 150. In another example, the lift mechanism 150 is located at the end of the support surface 110. The lift mechanism 150 is operable to engage a furniture article 200 at a first height. The lift mechanism 150 is operable to lift the furniture article 200 up to a second height approximately equal to the height of support surface 110. While the lift mechanism 150 and the support surface 110 are at about the same height, the furniture article 200 is easily slid off of the lift mechanism 150 and onto the support surface 110. The lift mechanism 150 is operable to be lowered back to the first height. With the moving device 100 loaded, the supported furniture articles are easily moved around on the cart.
  • As shown in FIGS. 3A-3B, the furniture 200 are loaded onto the furniture transportation device 100. In various embodiments, the furniture legs 206, 208, 210, 212 (shown in FIG. 3A) can extend around or reside outside of at least one support element of the transportation device 100. For example, the support element is rail 110 of the furniture transportation device 100. One or more rails 110 can reside between separate legs such as legs 208 and 212. In various embodiments, the furniture top 202 (e.g. tabletop) resides between separate rails such as rails 109 and 111. Each rail also resides between the furniture top 202 and the furniture legs 206, 208, 210, 212 in such embodiments in which a furniture top 202 can be positioned between the legs as disclosed in application No. 62/101,322. As seen in FIGS. 3B and 3C, multiple pieces of furniture 200 can be loaded onto the furniture transportation device 100 and transported together, see e.g. 200 a, 200 b, 200 c, 200 d, 200 e, and 200 f.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the rails 110 are positioned such that when the furniture 200 is positioned thereon, the furniture 200 is suspended off of the floor. One or more upright members 102 support the rails 110 at the support height. In one embodiment, each of the four corners of the cart includes an upright member 102, which supports the rails 110. The rails and upper portion of the upright member 102 forms an upper portion of the furniture transportation device 100.
  • The one or more upright members 102 extend from a lower portion of the furniture transportation device 100. The lower portion of the furniture transportation device 100 includes one or more lower frame members 103. The lower frame members 103 directly or indirectly connect to or support the rails 110. The lower frame member 103 extends between one or more of the one or more upright members 102. As shown in FIG. 3A-B, the lower frame members 103 connects to and supports the frame rails 110 via the upright members 102. The lower frame members 103 also directly or indirectly connect to movement elements 106.
  • As shown the various figures (e.g. FIGS. 1-3), and in accordance with various embodiments, the movement elements 106 are elements that improve movement of the transportation device 100 or limit movement of the transportation device 100. The movement elements 106 can be devices, such as casters, wheels, gliders, studs, breaks, or the like. In accordance with a preferred embodiment the movement elements include at least two casters located on the lower portion of the transportation device 100. As shown, the movement elements 106 extends below the lower frame 103 and be operable to support the furniture transportation device 100 off the ground. The movement elements 106 allows for easy movement, e.g. rolling, of the furniture transportation device 100, while supporting and transporting heavy loads of furniture 200 on the furniture transportation device 100. In one embodiment, the movement elements 106 are positioned at four corners of the furniture transportation device 100. The movement elements 106 are positioned proximal to the one or more upright members 102. In various embodiments, each of the movement elements 106 includes a vertical axis and have freedom to rotate around the vertical axis (e.g. caster). In some embodiments, the movement elements 106 are fixed so they provide only liner movement (e.g. the elements 106 are wheels). The various movement elements 106 also can be a combination of types of devices (e.g. both castes and wheels).
  • As shown in FIGS. 1-2 and 4-5, the furniture transportation device 100 includes a lift mechanism 150 that is operable to lift an article of furniture 200 off the floor and up to a support rail 110 height such that the furniture transportation device 100 is movable without the article of furniture dragging or otherwise engaging the floor. The lift mechanism 150 is movable between at least a lower position and an upper position. In the lower position, the lift mechanism 150 is positioned such that it can engage an article of furniture 200 that is supported by the floor. The lift mechanism 150 is movable to an upper position such that the lift mechanism 150 lifts the article of furniture 200 from the floor. When lifted, the lift mechanism assumes the support of the article of furniture 200.
  • The lift mechanism 150 may include a support surface 114 and a platform 180. When in the lower position (see e.g. FIG. 5B, 5C, or 5E as an example of a lift in a lower position) the upper surface 114 is positioned to engage the furniture article 200. For example, the support surface 114 contacts a collapsed furniture article 200 via lift points such as portions of the support arms 226, 228, 230, 232. The sidewall 180 may provide structural rigidity or support to the support surface 114 and provide a connection point between the frame of the furniture transportation device 100 and the lift mechanism 150.
  • As indicated above, the lift points are portions of the furniture article that extend outboard of the furniture article support surface 202 when in the folded position, but remain inboard of the perimeter of the support surface 202 when the furniture article 200 is in the extended configuration. As an example, the lift points may be the portions of the support arms 226, 228, 230, 232 that extend across the gap G (see FIG. 2I). The furniture article can also include retaining elements that are positioned outboard of the lift points. The lift mechanism 150 is positionable between one retaining element and the furniture article support surface 202 on one side of the transportation device 100 and the lift mechanism 150 is positionable between another retaining element and the furniture article support surface 202 on the opposite side of the transportation device 100. In this way each retaining element can be positioned sufficiently close to the lift mechanism 150 such that when the furniture article 200 shifts laterally on the lift mechanism 150, one of the retaining elements can contact the lift mechanism 150 before the furniture article support surface 202 does. This relationship can help keep the support surface 202 in good condition. In one example, the retaining element can be one or more of the table legs 206, 208, 210, and 212 of a table as shown in FIG. 2.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2I, the rail 110 includes a width of W. The distance of gap G between the support surface 202 of the furniture article 200 and the retaining element or leg (for example, leg 206 or 208) is greater than W. In this way, the rail 110 will fit within the gap G without interference from the support surface 202 or the retaining element or leg of the furniture article 200.
  • The movement of the lift mechanism 150 may occur by a variety of structural arrangements. For example, lift mechanism 150 is linked (e.g. two-bar linkage, parallel linkage, four-bar linkage, or any combination thereof) to the frame (e.g. any one or more of upright member 102, rail 110, or lower frame 103). Or, the lift mechanism 150 can be pivotally attached to the frame. Or, the lift mechanism 150 is slideably attached to the frame. Or, the lift mechanism 150 is attached to the frame through any combination of these or other mechanisms. The force applied to articulate lift mechanism 150 between the different positions can be provided by any mechanical mechanism, electromechanical mechanism, or the like such as lever arm, screw drive, hydraulic, pneumatic, linear drive, etc. In one example, a user can apply force directly to the lift mechanism (e.g. pivoting or directly lifting the furniture via the lift mechanism). In another example, the user may apply force indirectly to the lift mechanism via a mechanical linkage. The user may actuate the lift mechanism via electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic controls.
  • In accordance with one embodiment, the lift mechanism 150 is pivotably connected to the frame. As indicated above, the frame may include, for example, any one or more of upright member 102, rail 110, or lower frame 103. In one example, a frame mounting face 160 may extend between or from any one or more of upright member 102, rail 110, or lower frame 103, such as between the upright member 102 and the rail 110 as shown in FIG. 5E. The lift plate 180 is pivotably connected to a frame mounting face 160. This connection can be direct or indirect. For example, in an indirect manner, the lift platform 180 is pivotably connected to a frame mounting face 160 via a link arm 170. In another example, in a direct manner, the lift platform 180 may pivot at a single point as shown in FIGS. 7-8.
  • In various embodiments, the rail 110 may include a support surface 112. As indicated above, the lift platform 180 may also include a lift support surface 114. In the upper position, shown for example in FIGS. 5D and 5F, the lift support surface 114 and the rail support surface 112 is generally aligned. This alignment may simplify the transition of furniture from the lift support surface 114 to the rail support 112 for transportation and storage of furniture 200. For example, in the upper position, the furniture article 200 is slid from the lift support surface 114 to the rail support surface 112. This may prepare the lift mechanism 150 to pick up another furniture article 200. In the opposite direction, the furniture transportation device 100 is unloaded by sliding a furniture article 200 from the rail support surface 112 to the lift support surface 114. The lift mechanism 150 may then be lowered from the upper position to the lower position. Once in the lower position, the furniture article 200 is removed from the furniture transportation device 100 and supported by itself. In one example, in the lower position, the lift support surface 114 is positioned approximately parallel to the rail support surface 112 or positioned at an angle thereto.
  • In accordance with various embodiments and illustrated in FIGS. 4-5, the lift mechanism 150 is a parallel bar linkage. There can be several mechanisms that cause the lift support surface 114 to maintain a parallel position with respect to the rail support surface 112. In one example, the lift support surface 114 is maintained in a parallel position with respect to the rail support surface 112 via a parallel linkage mechanism. For example, a first link 170 is pivotally connected to the frame mounting face 160 at a first pivot 172 and to the lift platform 180 at a second pivot 174. A parallel second link 190 may also be pivotally connected to frame mounting face 160 but at a third pivot 192 and to the lift platform 180 at a fourth pivot 194. While the connections are described with respect to mounting faces, it is understood that frame members themselves or any structural element of the lift mechanism may serve as a link mount.
  • The frame mounting face 160 may also function as a structural guide for a parallel bar linkage. While a parallel linkage may maintain a horizontal position of the platform, the linkage may provide little transverse structure with the pivots being in a similar plane. As shown in FIGS. 5E-J, mounting face 160 may operate as an additional support for the linkage. Face 160 may include an arcuate slot 173 that provides clearance for the link 170 and its pivots (e.g. pivot 178).
  • As indicated above, the lift mechanism can be actuated by a variety of mechanisms. In one embodiment, the lift mechanism 150 is connected to a handle 130. For example, a linkage bar 120 may extend from a lever 132 on handle 130 to the lift mechanism 150. In one example, the linkage bar may pivotally connect to a pivot 178 on frame link 170. The pivot 178 is positioned directly between points 172 and 174 or, as shown in FIGS. 5E and 5F, the point 178 is out of alignment with points 172 and 174, forming a triangle between the three pivots 172, 174, and 178. In various embodiments, the link bar 120 is connected to any movable portion of the lift mechanism 150. The link bar 120 may have a pivot on each end. The lift pivot 178 is on the end proximal to the lift mechanism 150. The handle pivot 136 is on the end of the link bar 120 proximal to handle 130.
  • The handle 130 pivots around pivot 134. In one direction, the handle 130 may extend from pivot 134. In another direction, lever 132 may extend from pivot 134. The handle pivot 136 is positioned on the lever 132. The lever 132 is cantilevered off of handle 130. The handle 130 may extend out and away from the furniture transportation device 100. In this way, the handle 130 is accessible to a user of the furniture transportation device 100 such that the user can apply a force on the handle. As the handle rotates around the pivot 134, the lever 136 changes angular position causing handle pivot 136 to move. Movement of handle pivot 136 causes link bar 120 to articulate with the handle pivot 136, which in turn causes lift pivot 178 to articulate. The movement of lift pivot 178 causes angular movement of links 170 and 190 about pivots 172 and 192, respectively. FIG. 5A illustrates an empty lift mechanism 150 in an upper position and FIG. 5B illustrates the empty lift mechanism 150 in a lower position. FIG. 5C illustrates the lift mechanism 150 engaging a table in the lower position and FIG. 5D illustrates the lift mechanism 150 supporting a table in the upper position.
  • FIGS. 5G-J illustrate various views of a furniture moving device 100 with the lift mechanism in a raised and lowered positions in accordance with various embodiments of the furniture moving device 100. Like FIGS. 5E and 5F, FIGS. 5G-J illustrate an embodiment of the lift system with hidden lines.
  • FIGS. 4 and 5 have a number of similarities in their respective embodiments. But a few differences are present as well. For example, FIG. 4 illustrates a backstop pivotally connected to the parallel linkage that makes up the lift mechanism 150 in this embodiment. FIGS. 5A-J on the other hand illustrate a backstop that is integral with one of the linkages that make up the parallel linkage namely link 170. In the embodiment of FIG. 5B the backstop 176 is formed as a protrusion from the link 170. As the link 170 rotates, the backstop 176 is tucked out of the way. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, backstop 210 is pivotally connected to link 170 at pivot 212. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, as the parallel linkage is extended, link 170 rotates down and to the front of the device. This rotation pulls backstop 210 forward allowing it to rotate around pivot 212 as the pivot is lowered due to the rotation of link 170. A side protrusion 211 extending from the backstop 210 contacts link 120 preventing backwards rotation (i.e. clockwise rotation as shown in FIG. 4.) This limitation on backwards rotation limits or prevents the furniture article 200 from sliding beyond the backstop when loading the next furniture article. As the link 170 is rotated rearward, the lift mechanism 150 is elevated. This same motion causes the backstop 210 to rotate rearwardly (i.e. counterclockwise as shown in the FIG. 4) and tuck out of the way (i.e. below the rail). With backstop 210 below the rail, the loaded and elevated furniture article 200 can slide rearwardly along the rail 110.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, the furniture transportation device 100 may include two support rails spaced apart sufficiently to receive a table top there between. Similarly, the rails are spaced to have a chair seat positioned there between or are merely spaced to be positioned between table or chair legs regardless of the top or seat position. The tops of the rails proximate the ends with the lifts 150 are structured without a cross frame. In this way, the side of the furniture transportation device 100 which lifts the furniture article 200 may have a clearance such that the article can be slid not just along the top of the rails but also between the rails 110 without interfering with the furniture transportation device 100 frame.
  • As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the two support rails 109, 111 may have a support surface 112 height that is sufficiently taller than the legs of the furniture article 200. The distance that the lift mechanism travels is equal to or greater than the distance the furniture article 200 is lifted off the floor when supported by the support surface 112. Thus, when lowered to the floor by the lift 150, the furniture article 200 can support itself. But when lifted by the lift 150, the furniture transportation device 100, particularly the rails 110, may support the entire weight or a significant portion of the furniture article 200. In accordance with various embodiments, the support surface height is configured to support a table by its legs or by leg supports. In one example, the support surface height is from 26-48 inches off the ground. In various examples, the support surface height is equal to the height of the legs of a table stored on the transport device 100, plus 1-6 inches, or more preferably 3-4 inches.
  • Along with the two support rails 109 and 111, the furniture transportation device 100 may include two lift mechanisms 150 positioned proximal to each of the support rails 109 and 111. In accordance with one embodiment discussed above, each lift mechanism 150 may have a parallel linkage. Together the systems may form a four-bar linkage connected at the handle 130. The handle 130 may enable actuation of the separate lift mechanisms at the same time.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the support surface 112 and the lift surface 114 may maintain a generally horizontal position. (As discussed above, these surfaces may also remain parallel to one another.) The generally horizontal surfaces may allow for easier insertion through the furniture article 200 by the lifting mechanism 150 and limit the tendency for the furniture article 200 to slide around on either the support surface 112 or the lift surface 114. The support surface 114 may include a lead in 116 operable to ease the transition onto the lift support surface 114 as the surface engages the furniture 200 prior to lifting the furniture 200.
  • The support rails 110 may include two or more portions. For example, the support rails 110 may have a structural portion shown in FIG. 5E as rail 110 and a support surface 112. In other examples the support surface and the support rail is the same structure, with the top of the structural portion operating as the support surface. However, in one embodiment, the support surface 112 is manufactured from a different material than the structural portion 110. In one embodiment, the support surface 112 is made from a material with a lower frictional coefficient than the structural portion 110. For example, the structural portion 110 is made from tube steel, with the support surface made from a low-friction material such as acetal (e.g. Delrin®). However, it should be noted that either element can be made from any of a polymer, elastomer, metal, silicone, wood, or similar industrial material capable of supporting, transporting, and storing furniture articles.
  • The furniture transportation device 100 may also include a plurality of different types of movement elements 106. For example, one type of movement element 106 may allow the furniture transportation device 100 to roll freely in any direction (e.g. a caster). A second type of movement element 106 may allow the furniture transportation device 100 to roll freely in only one direction (e.g. a wheel). Another type of movement element 106 may inhibit movement in all directions compared to a wheel or caster. For example, the movement element 106 could be a stud, slider, brake, or some sort of anchor.
  • In various embodiments, the furniture transportation device 100 may have at least two types of movement elements. For example, one movement element can be vertically adjustable while the other movement element can be vertically fixed. As shown, for example, in FIG. 6A, a first movement element 106 a is first and second vertically-fixed casters attached to the lower portion of the frame. These vertically-fixed casters are operable to support the frame on the ground. A second type of movement element may also be attached to a lower portion of the frame. For example, at least one vertically-adjustable wheel 106 b is attached to the lower portion of the frame. In one example, the vertically-adjustable wheel 106 b is positioned between first and second vertically-fixed casters 106 a.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the vertically-adjustable movement element 106 may have an adjustment mechanism 300. The adjustment mechanism 300 is operable to articulate the movement element 106 between a retracted position and an extended position. For example, the retracted position shown in FIGS. 1A-B and 6A-C may prevent or limit the contact between the movement element 106 b and the ground. In the extended position, the contact between the movement element 106 b and the ground is maximized.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the adjustment mechanism 300 includes a shaft 310 connected to one or more external levers 320. The shaft 310 is rotatably mounted to the lower frame portion of the furniture transportation device 100. The external lever 320 may extend from the shaft 310 such that a moment is applied to the shaft. The shaft is able to rotate in response to the moment. The rotation of the shaft 310 may cause the movement element 106 b to adjust vertically between the first position and the second position.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, the movement element 106 b may engage the shaft 310 at a position that is eccentric with respect to an axis of rotation of the shaft. Thus, in response to the rotation of the shaft the eccentric engagement point moves up or down. The movement element 106 b is pivotably attached to this point. As this point gets rotated downwardly as the shaft rotates, the vertically-adjustable movement element may extend and contact the ground. As this point gets rotated upwardly as the shaft rotates, the vertically-adjustable movement element 106 b may retract away from the ground.
  • In another embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 6E, the eccentric point 320 is the exterior surface of a cam 330. The movement element may not be attached to the eccentric point 320 but instead may act as a cam follower and be in contact with the eccentric point 320. As shown housing 340 may have a surface at point 320 that acts as the follower of cam 330. As the shaft 310 rotates the cam follower is pushed down, thereby extending the movement element 106 b toward the ground. The housing 340 may pivot about pivot 350 as the cam pushes down on the surface. As the shaft rotates in the other direction the cam follower is retracted without the downward force on the cam 330. For example, the movement element is spring-loaded to automatically retract in absence of a force from a cam follower. A spring can be wound about pivot 350 providing a bias. It should be noted that the vertically-adjustable movement element 106 b is adjusted in any manner known in the art including, for example, by being mechanically extended (e.g. sliding, threading, etc.), electromechanically extended (e.g. motor driven, linear actuated, etc.) or by any other method or combination of methods. Lever 360 a is used to actuate the mechanism and cause rotation of shaft 310 and resulting rotation of cam 330. Lever 360 b is used to rotate the shaft 310 in the opposite direction.
  • The adjustment mechanism 300 may include a biasing mechanism operable to bias the caster into either or both the first position or the second position. The biasing mechanism may include a spring, detent, lock, or other methods.
  • In accordance with one embodiment, third and fourth vertically-fixed casters are included. The first, second, third, and fourth vertically-fixed casters are positioned on four corners of the frame. A second vertically-adjustable caster is positioned between the third and fourth vertically-adjustable casters. In one example, the six casters may generally form a rectangle.
  • Examples of these methods are illustrated in FIG. 7A-F and FIG. 8A-F, which illustrate a perspective view and side view respectively of loading of a pivot style furniture moving device in accordance with one embodiment. In the embodiments disclosed in these figures, the lift mechanism is attached to the frame at a single pivot and the handle causes the lift mechanism to swing up and down allowing loading of the articles of furniture thereon. However, other lift mechanisms as described herein can be used as well.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, a method of moving furniture includes providing a furniture moving device as discussed herein. For example, the device is cart having a lift mechanism, a support surface, and movement elements. The lift mechanism is operable to engage a furniture article and elevate it to the height of the support surface. The method may further include engaging a furniture article with the lift mechanism at a first height. The furniture article is lifted up with the lift mechanism to a second height approximately equal to the support surface height. The furniture article is slid off of the lift mechanism and onto the support surface. The lift mechanism is lowered back to the first height. The process may then be repeated by engaging a second furniture article. The supported furniture article may then be moved around on the cart.
  • In accordance with various embodiments, a method of setting up furniture may include providing a furniture moving device loaded with furniture. A first furniture article is slid off of a support surface and onto a lifting mechanism positioned at a first height approximately equal to the support surface. The lift mechanism is lowered to a second height suitable for the furniture article to support itself. The lift mechanism may then be raised back to the support surface at the first height and the process started over again. The methods described herein are shown by way of example with a cart having a single pivot lifting mechanism as illustrated in FIGS. 7A-G and FIGS. 8A-G and discussed in more detail above, but it may be noted that the methods are equally applicable to other types of lifting mechanisms as discussed throughout this application such as the parallel linkage lifting mechanism discussed herein.
  • Having described several embodiments herein, it will be recognized by those skilled in the art that various modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents may be used. The various examples and embodiments may be employed separately or they may be mixed and matched in combination to form any iteration of the alternatives. Additionally, a number of well-known processes and elements have not been described in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the present invention. Accordingly, the above description should not be taken as not limiting the scope of the invention.
  • Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the presently disclosed embodiments teach by way of example and not by limitation. Therefore, the matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings should be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. The following claims are intended to cover all generic and specific features described herein, as well as all statements of the scope of the present method and system, which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall there between.

Claims (26)

What is claimed is:
1. A furniture moving device, comprising:
a frame having a lower portion and an upper portion, wherein the upper portion includes a support rail; and
a lift mechanism connected near one end of the support rail, with the lift mechanism operable to raise a furniture article off the ground such that the furniture article is supported at approximately the same height as the support rail.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the lift mechanism is movable relative to the support rail.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the lift mechanism includes a first portion that is movable from a first lower position to a second higher position, with the first lower position located at a height operable to engage a lifting surface on a furniture article that is not supported by the moving device and the second higher position is approximately the same height as the top of the support rail.
4. The device of claim 3, further comprising a handle connected to the lift mechanism and operable to adjust the lift mechanism between the first position and the second position.
5. The device of claim 4, wherein the handle is positioned on a side of the furniture moving device opposite the lift mechanism.
6. The device of claim 3, wherein the lift mechanism includes a support surface that moves from the first position to the second position enabling the furniture article to slide directly onto the rails.
7. The device of claim 6, wherein the lift mechanism support surface is substantially parallel to the rail in both the first position and the second position.
8. The device of claim 6, wherein the lift mechanism support surface remains horizontal relative to the ground throughout the range of movement from the first position to the second position.
9. The device of claim 7, wherein the substantially parallel position of the support surface is maintained by a first link and a second link that extend from the platform to the frame with each link having first and second frame pivots, respectively, and first and second platform pivots, respectively.
10. The device of claim 9, wherein the first link and the second link are substantially parallel to one another.
11. The device of claim 10, wherein the handle is connected to the first link via a handle link that extends from a pivot on the handle to a pivot on the first link located between the frame pivot and the platform pivot on the first link.
12. The device of claim 6, wherein the support surface comprises a sufficiently low-friction material that the furniture article slides along.
13. The device of claim 7, wherein the lift mechanism support surface is at approximately the same height as the top of the support rail when the lift mechanism is positioned in the second position such that a furniture article is slid along the lift mechanism support surface and onto the support rail along a generally linear path.
14. The device of claim 1, wherein the support rail includes first and second rails that are generally parallel to one another with a space between the two sufficient to receive a tabletop there between, while the first and second support rails are operable to support table leg portions.
15. The device of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of wheels attached to a lower portion of the frame operable to allow the device to transport the furniture article.
16. The device of claim 15, wherein the plurality of wheels are a plurality of casters freely rotatable around a vertical axis such that the device is able to move forward, backward, sideways or a combination of each.
17. A method of moving furniture, comprising:
providing a cart having a support surface and a lift mechanism operable to engage a furniture article and elevate it to the height of the support surface, wherein the cart has wheels enabling movement of the cart when loaded with furniture articles;
engaging a furniture article with the lift mechanism at a first height;
lifting the furniture article with the lift mechanism up to a second height equal to the support surface height;
sliding the furniture article off of the lift mechanism and onto the support surface;
lowering the lift mechanism to the first height; and
engaging a second furniture article.
18. A furniture moving system, comprising:
a furniture article having a support surface and a first and a second lift point positioned outboard of the support surface when the furniture article is in a folded position but positioned inboard of the support surface when the furniture article is expanded into the furniture article's usable position; and
a moving device having a furniture article lift mechanism operable to engage the first and second lift points and lift the furniture article off the ground via the first and second lift points and also having wheels located at the base of the moving device suitable to move the furniture article from a first location to a second location while the furniture article is supported on the moving device.
19. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the moving device includes a first support and a second support that are positioned adjacent to the furniture article lift mechanism such that after the furniture article is lifted to the lift mechanism's full height the furniture article is slid off the lift mechanism and onto the first and second support.
20. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the first support and the second support are a first rail and a second rail respectively, with the first support rail and the second support rail being spaced apart a distance greater than a width of the furniture article support surface, allowing the furniture article support surface to fit between the first rail and the second rail without interference between the furniture article support surface and either the first rail or the second rail.
21. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the lift mechanism includes a first lift mechanism extending from an end of the first rail and a second lift mechanism extending from an end of the second rail.
22. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the furniture article further comprises a first and a second retaining element positioned outboard of the first and second lift points respectively such that when the lift mechanism is positioned to lift the furniture article, the first lift mechanism is positioned between the first retaining element and the furniture article support surface and the second lift mechanism is positioned between the second retaining element and the furniture article support surface.
23. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the first retaining element and the second retaining element are positioned sufficiently close to the first lift mechanism and the second lift mechanism such that when the furniture article shifts laterally on the lift mechanism, the first retaining element and the second retaining element will contact the first lift mechanism or the second lift mechanism respectively such that the furniture article support surface does not contact the lift mechanism.
24. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the furniture article support surface is a table top.
25. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the first retaining element and the second retaining element are a first table leg and a second table leg.
26. The furniture moving system of claim 19, wherein the first lift point and the second lift point are substantially horizontal members that connect to the first table leg and the second table leg respectively.
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US9950728B2 (en) 2018-04-24

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