Patent application title: Water Retaining Case for Umbrella
Michael Sean Carson (Houston, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AA45B2524FI
Class name: Tent, canopy, umbrella, or cane umbrella having storing case
Publication date: 2008-10-02
Patent application number: 20080236641
The present invention is an apparatus for transporting a wet umbrella that
limits the movement of water collected from an umbrella. A case is
provided that contains an outer shell to form a barrier to water
migration. Disposed within the shell is an absorbent material to control
or limit migration of water from the surface of the canopy.
1. An umbrella case comprising,an outer shelland at least one absorbent
materialWhereby said at least one absorbent material is disposed relative
to said shell to prevent liquid from escaping the shell.
2. The case of claim 1 wherein the at least one absorbent material is attached to the one or more side walls of the shell.
3. The case of claim 1 wherein the shaft of an umbrella is affixed to the shell
4. The case of claim 1 wherein the at least one absorbent material is designed to be removed and reinstalled.
5. The case of claim 1 wherein the at least one absorbent material comprises a dehydrate material.
6. The case of claim 1 further comprising an end cap wherein removal of said end cap facilitates replacement or maintenance of said at least one absorbent material.
7. An umbrella case comprising,a lower section and an upper sectionA first absorbent materialWhereby said at least one absorbent material is disposed relative to said case to prevent liquid from escaping when the case is closed.
8. The case of claim 7 wherein the at least one absorbent material is attached to the one or more side walls of the lower section.
9. The case of claim 7 wherein the at least one absorbent material is attached to the one or more side walls of said upper section.
10. The case of claim 7 wherein the shaft of an umbrella is affixed to the lower section.
11. The case of claim 7 wherein the at least one absorbent material is designed to be removed and reinstalled.
12. The case of claim 7 further comprising and end cap wherein removal of said end cap facilitates maintenance or removal of said at least one absorbent material.
13. The case of claim 7 wherein the dehydrate material is disposed against the top plate of the upper section.
14. An umbrella assembly comprising,A shaft, further comprising a top end and a bottom endA plurality of ribs radiating from said shaftA canopy attached to the top of said shaft and to said ribs whereby extension of the ribs away from said shaft unfolds the canopyA case comprising a shell, andAt least one absorbent materialWhereby the ribs and canopy may be contracted around the stem and said ribs, canopy, and stem contained inside the case and said at least one absorbent material is disposed relative to said canopy and said case to prevent liquid from escaping the case.
The present invention relates to the storage and transportation of umbrellas after use. One object of the present the invention relates to an umbrella case that can carry a wet umbrella within a book bag or backpack with substantially reduced risk of transferring water to other items in the bag or pack. Another object of the present invention relates to transport of wet umbrellas while preventing water from dripping onto the floor.
Umbrellas are a commonly available consumer item. Generally speaking, an umbrella contains a shaft, a canopy, and ribs supporting the canopy. Collapsible umbrellas also contain a hub surrounding the shaft. Splines connect the hub to the ribs. Moving the hub towards the top of the shaft extends the splines and ribs causing the canopy to open. The top end of the umbrella shaft is the shaft end projected against or through the canopy. The umbrella may also contain a support mechanism at the bottom of the shaft to hold the umbrella in a desired position. For hand held umbrellas, the support mechanism is typically a handle.
The most common use of hand held umbrellas is to protect the user from rain. The canopy creates a barrier to prevent falling water from reaching the users head, torso and, to a lesser extent, legs. The wider the canopy, the more protection afforded to the user. Once the user reaches a location protected from falling rain, she must decide what to do with the wet umbrella. One option is to leave the umbrella "open" in a sheltered location. However, if such location experiences high traffic, the umbrella may be damaged or taken. When the user chooses to carry the umbrella, she risks getting her clothes, papers, or other items wet. In addition, the umbrella may drip on the floor, creating a slip and fall hazard. Thus, it is desirable to have a means for transporting a wet umbrella that reduces or eliminates the risk that water from the umbrella will spread to adjacent items.
Prior art solutions include placing the umbrella in a disposable plastic bag. The bag catches water as it drips from the canopy and the water pools in the bottom of the bag. Such a system may be seen in grocery stores and other public locations to reduce the slip and fall hazard arising from wet floors. However, such a solution is not feasible in all circumstances. For example, if the plastic bag and umbrella cannot be held upright, the collected water may exit from the bag's opening. Also, water may leak if the bag has a tear or puncture.
In some situations, it is desirable to store the umbrella in an enclosed pack or briefcase. Such situations include students attending classes, salesman making customer calls, or professionals needing to maintain a crisp, neat appearance. In such situations, placing the wet umbrella in a briefcase or pack may lead to damage of papers, books or other items. Such packs or cases are routinely shifted, swung, shaken or otherwise agitated. Even if water is pooled within a plastic bag, such agitation will cause the water to leak if the bag contains an opening or tear. In fact, such agitation may create the hole, facilitating such a leak.
The present invention is an apparatus for transporting a wet umbrella that limits the movement of water collected from an umbrella. A case is provided that contains an outer shell to form a barrier to water migration. Disposed within the shell is an absorbent material to control migration of water from the surface of the canopy.
It is anticipated that certain embodiments of the invention will be placed into backpacks along with books, notebooks and folders. With such use, the umbrella and case will likely rest on one end for an extended period of time, causing water to pool in the downward end. Therefore, the apparatus may also contain a mechanism to manage pooling of water within the shell. For example, a wicking material through which water travels easily may be included to spread water more evenly throughout the absorbent material. Also, one or both ends of the shell may contain additional absorbent material to manage the greater water load.
In some embodiments of the invention, the outer shell will be a hard rigid material such as polycarbonate or aluminum. In other embodiments, the outer shell may be a flexible plastic such as polyethylene. The only requirement for the outer shell is that it forms an effective barrier to prevent movement of water to the outside of the umbrella case.
Similarly, the present invention encompasses embodiments that are both for indefinite use and disposable. For example, one embodiment comprises a polycarbonate outer shell lined with synthetic sponge. Another embodiment comprises a polyethylene outer shell and lined with water absorbent polymer crystals as the absorbent material. The polymer crystals may require a support matrix to facilitate lining of the polyethylene outer shell. Such a configuration is commonly observed with disposable baby diapers.
Those of skill in the art will appreciate that the embodiments described herein are illustrative and that additional embodiments not described lie within the scope of the invention.
SUMMARY OF FIGURES
FIG. 1 is a side view of an umbrella case of the present invention
FIG. 2a is an end view of the upper section of the umbrella case of the present invention
FIG. 2b is an isometric view of the lower section of an umbrella case of the present invention
FIG. 3 is an umbrella case of the present invention in which the umbrella case forms the handle for an attached umbrella
FIG. 4 is side view of an umbrella case of the present invention with an umbrella disposed in the lower section and the upper section poised to cover the remainder of the umbrella.
FIG. 1 shows a side view of one embodiment of the invention. In the embodiment shown, umbrella case 10 is divided into an upper section 22 and a lower section 24. In the embodiment shown, a rigid material forms upper section shell 13 and lower section shell 12. While it is anticipated that upper section shell 13 and lower section shell 12 will be made of the same material, embodiments using different materials for the upper and lower section shells are envisioned. Either or both of upper section 22 and lower section 24 may contain one or more absorbent materials defining an upper section cavity 26 and lower section cavity 28.
In the embodiments described herein, the upper section cavity 26 and lower section cavity 28 are defined by the upper section absorbent 14 material and lower section absorbent 15 material, respectively, it is within the scope of the present invention that the upper section cavity 26 may be defined in part by upper section shell 13 and for part of the lower section cavity 28 to be defined in part by lower section shell 12. In addition, either of upper section shell 12 or lower section shell 13 may have no absorbent material and the respective cavity is formed entirely by the shell.
FIG. 2a shows and end view of upper section 22. Upper absorbent material 14 lines the inside of upper section shell 13. Upper section cavity 26 is defined by upper section absorbent material 14. FIG. 2b shows an isometric view of lower section 24. Similar to upper section 22, lower section 24 has a lower section shell 12 surrounding a lower section absorbent material 15. Lower section cavity 28 is defined by lower section absorbent material 15.
As will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, upper section 22 and lower section 24 may be identical or may be widely different. Some embodiments may have only one section with a lid, drawstring, flap or other device to close an open end. It is within the scope of the invention that the open end is not closed if the design adequately prevents fluid flow without such closure--i.e. sufficient absorbent material is within the shell to hold all water from the umbrella.
FIGS. 3 and 4 show one embodiment of the present invention in which the umbrella case 10 also functions as a handle for the umbrella 40. Umbrella shaft 42 is connected to lower section 24 at the bottom end 44 umbrella shaft 42. Umbrella shaft 42 may be a telescoping shaft as is well known in the art. Lower section absorbent material 15 is disposed on the inner wall of lower section 24. After use, the canopy 46 is folded around the umbrella shaft 42 as those skilled in the art will appreciate. The shaft 42 may be designed to telescope out when the canopy opens and down for storage. Folding of the canopy 46 around the shaft 42 brings the outer circumference of the canopy adjacent to the lower section 24. The folded canopy can then moved into the lower section cavity 28, as shown in FIG. 4, by contracting the telescoping shaft or other means. This brings the outer rim of canopy 46 into proximity of or contact with lower section absorbent material 15.
In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, upper section 22 and lower section 24 combine to form a handle 48 for umbrella 40. Umbrella shaft 42 is directly attached to lower section 24 and upper section 22 is attached to lower section 24 by placing upper section cavity 26 over lower section end cap 32. Upper section 22 and lower section 24 may have a snap or other connecting means to stabilize the connection between upper section 22 and lower section 24. It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that upper section cavity 26 will be larger than the outer circumference of lower section end cap 32.
Upper section 22 contains absorbent material defining an upper section cavity 26. The top end 43 of the umbrella shaft 42 is moved into the upper section cavity 26 first and upper section 22 moved over the umbrella until the upper section 22 connects with lower section 24 as desired. Connecting devices such as tabs, snaps, latches or the like may be used to hold upper section 22 in proper contact with lower section 24. To facilitate a water tight connection, O-rings or other sealing means may be used. In addition, a portion of the lower section shell 12 may separate upper section shell 13 of upper section 22 from the absorbent material of upper section 22. Such arrangement will prevent alignment of seams in the absorbent material 14 and the outer shell 12 and further reduce the likelihood of leaks.
Upper section 22 also contains an end cap 30. In some embodiments, end cap 30 may be removable to facilitate replacement or maintenance of a section of additional absorbent material. As mentioned above, the top or bottom of the umbrella case may experience greater water loads than other areas. In such circumstances, it may be desirable to dry the area of absorbent material subject to the increase load. In certain embodiments, removal of end cap 30 facilitates removal of a section of absorbent material. Once removed, the absorbent material can be dried, replaced in the upper section and end cap 30 replaced. If a disposable material such as absorbent polymer crystals are used, the crystals or packet containing the crystals can be replaced and the end cap 30 re-attached to the upper shell 22.
While the embodiments described herein are illustrative of the instant invention, those of skill in the art will appreciate that additional embodiments are envisioned and fall within the scope of the claims.