Patent application title: TELESCOPING ROMAN SHADE OPERATING SYSTEM
Joseph Cannaverde (Stamford, CT, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47H2304FI
Class name: Flexible or portable closure, partition, or panel pleating type with power operating means
Publication date: 2012-05-24
Patent application number: 20120125544
A window shade includes a sheet extending down from a head rail and is
operated by a plurality of cords. Each cord extends from the head rail to
the bottom of the shade. A plurality of tubes also extend from the head
rail to the bottom of the shade and house one of the respective cords.
The tubes are formed of a plurality of nested tube elements
1. A window dressing comprising: a head rail: a sheet having a bottom; a
plurality of cords extending from the head rail to the bottom and
arranged to selectively raise and lower the sheet with respect to said
head rail; and a plurality of hollow tubes arranged vertically between
the head rail and being formed of nested, telescoping tube elements, said
hollow tubes being arranged and constructed to expand and contract
lengthwise along an axial direction as said sheet is lowered and raised,
respectively, said plurality of cords being disposed coaxially in said
2. The window dressing of claim 1 further comprising coupling members coupling said tubes to said sheet.
3. The window dressing of claim 1 further comprising a bottom rail attached to said bottom of said sheet and a bottom end of said cords.
4. The window dressing of claim 3 wherein said tubes include a top element attached to said head rail and a bottom element attached to said bottom rail.
5. A roman window shade comprising: a sheet partitioned into a plurality of panels, each panel extending the width of said window shade; a head rail supporting said sheet; a plurality of cords extending downwardly from said head rail and being constructed and arranged to selectively raise and lower said panels; and a plurality of telescoping tubes arranged vertically around said cords to cover said cords so that said cords are not accessible.
6. The shade of claim 5 wherein said tubes are attached to said head rail.
7. The shade of claim 5 wherein said shade has a length, and said tubes extend along the length of said shade.
8. The shade of claim 5 wherein each tube includes a plurality of tube elements, said elements being arranged and constructed to fit into each other telescopically as said cord is raised.
9. The shade of claim 8 wherein the tube elements are arranged in a sequence with each tube element has an inner diameter larger than the tube element below it to allow said tube element to slide into said upper tube element as the shade is raised by the cord.
10. The shade of claim 8 wherein each tube element corresponds to one of the panels.
 This application claims priority to provisional application Ser. No. 61/347,609 filed on May 24, 2011 and incorporated herein in its entirety.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 a. Field of Invention:
 This invention pertains to a roman shade having telescoping rods enveloping the control cords.
 b. Description of the Prior Art
 The current types of Roman shade operating systems have been the subject of a series of recalls in the recent past as the US government views the lift cords behind the Roman shade fabric as one of the top hidden dangers to small children. Specifically, a lift cord can be formed into a loop by a child pulling on the exposed cord and inserting his or her head through the loop, with the resulting pressure on the neck may lead to injury.
 The current known systems in the market predominantly use lift cords attached to the bottom bar by clips or rings, with the possibility of additional clips or rings on stiffening battens sometimes used above the bottom bar. These lift cords are then attached to various pulling and/or locking mechanisms in or on a head rail. Certain known systems use a narrow flat lift tape or ribbon instead of a cord. In either case, the lift cord or tape is accessible to a person reaching behind the front of the shade. This ability to access the cord or tape allows a loop to be formed and exposes a child to potential choking hazards.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The proposed invention provides a roman shade having a sheed partitioned into a plurality of panels. Two or more cords
 ???????????????inserts a cord inside of a relatively stiff telescoping tube or pipe, which permits the shade to be raised or lowered by use of a pulling mechanism but does not allow a loop to be formed, thereby eliminating or minimizing the risk of strangulation. Successively wider pieces of tube or pipe nest on top of each other to allow retraction and expansion. When the shade is at its most open position (at the top of the window), the tubes or pipes are almost completely nested, with a "stack height" of such tubes being determined by the longest of the tubes. When the pulling or operating mechanism lowers the cord, which is attached to the bottom bar of the shade, the pieces of tube or pipe surrounding the cord successively separate to allow expansion or extension of the tube or pipe along with the lengthening of the cord, without the cord ever being exposed. The outside tube must be fastened to the top of the shade or head rail, as this member must be fixed and relatively immovable for the system to function properly. The tube or pipe surrounding the cord is sufficiently stiff to prevent a loop from forming, although the tube or pipe may be able to flex.
 The invention allows virtually all elements of existing operating systems to remain unchanged, a significant benefit to manufacturers of such shades who have substantial investments in such systems.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of the telescoping Roman shade system according to the present invention, showing the shade in a fully lowered or closed position;
 FIG. 2 is a side view of the shade of FIG. 1;
 FIG. 3 is a view similar to that of FIG. 1, showing the shade in an intermediate position mid-way between its fully lowered or closed position and its fully raised or open position;
 FIG. 4 is a side view of the shade of FIG. 3;
 FIG. 5 is a view similar to that of FIG. 1, showing the shade in a fully raised or open position;
 FIG. 6 is a side view of the shade of FIG. 5; and
 FIGS. 7-9 are views showing additional aspects of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 A roman shade system constructed in accordance with this invention is shown in FIG. 1 and is generally designated 10. The system includes a sheet 12 forming the shade. Sheet 12 is formed with a series of pleated sections or panels, with the number of shade sections depending on the height of the window or other area to be selectively covered and the width of each shade section. For illustrative purposes only, sheet 12 is shown to have eight shade sections, 12a-12h.
 Roman shade system 10 also includes a plurality telescoping tubes or pipes 14, 16 and 18. Two of such telescoping tubes or pipes 14 and 18 are located near the sides of Roman shade 10. Telescoping tube or pipe 16 is located midway of the Roman shade and is generally equidistant from telescoping tubes or pipes 14 and 18. A standard lift cord 17 is threaded in each of the tubes and has a bottom end that is connected to a bottom rail 19.
 The number of telescoping tubes or pipes depends on the number of lift cords 17 which, in turn, depends on the width of the Roman shade and the ability of the lift cords to raise or lower the Roman shade. For example for relatively narrow Roman shades, two lift cords may be sufficient to raise or lower the shade and two sets of telescoping tubes or pipes 14 and 18 are provided. Wider Roman shades may require four lift cords to sufficiently raise or lower the shade and four sets of telescoping tubes or pipes would be used.
 Each telescoping tube or pipe has a plurality of tube or pipe elements. For example and as shown in FIG. 2, telescoping tube or pipe 14 includes tube or pipe elements 14a-14h. The width of each tube or pipe element decreases from top to bottom thus enabling tube or pipe element 14b to fit within tube or pipe element 14a, enabling tube or pipe element 14c to fit within tube or pipe element 14b, etc.
 Preferably, the number of tube or pipe elements corresponds to the number of pleated sections of Roman shade 10. For example in the illustrative embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-6, Roman shade 10 has eight pleated sections, 12a-12h, and likewise telescoping tube or pipe 14 has eight tube or pipe elements, 14a-14h. Moreover, pleated section 12a is connected to tube or pipe element 14a, pleated section 12b is connected to tube or pipe element 14b, etc.
 The topmost tube or pipe element 14a is connected to the top of Roman shade 10 or to a head rail 20.
 FIG. 5 shows Roman shade 10 in its fully raised or most open position at the top of a window (not shown). In this position, telescoping pipe or tube 14, telescoping pipe or tube 16 and telescoping pipe or tube 18 are in their respective completely nested positions. For example as shown in FIG. 6, all of the tube or pipe elements 14b-14h are nested within tube or pipe element 14a.
 As the Roman shade is lowered, for example, by use of a separate pulling or operating mechanism (not shown), the lift cords, which are connected to the bottom rail 19, enter into the tube or pipe elements while the weight of the shade panels and rail cause these elements to successively separate one from the other. For example, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 show Roman shade 10 in a mid-way position, e.g., in a position between the fully raised or open position at the top of a window and a fully lowered or closed position at the bottom of the window. In this mid-way position, tube or pipe elements 14b-14d have telescoped out of tube or pipe element 14a along with the length of the lift cord contained therein. For this purpose, the tube or pipe elements forming the telescoping tubes are loosely coupled to each other so that they slide easily with respect to each other as the shade is raised lowered.
 FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 show Roman shade 10 in its fully lowered or closed position at the bottom of a window. In this position, all of tube or pipe elements 14b-14h have telescoped out of tube or pipe element 14a along with the length of the lift cord contained therein.
 FIGS. 7-9 show additional details of the present invention including how tubes or pipes 14, 16 and 18 are connected to Roman shade 10 and/or to head rail 20.
 More particularly, the outside topmost tube or pipe element 18a is attached to head rail 20 by inserting the tube or pipe element into an aperture 22a of a retainer 22, which then is fastened to the bottom 20a of head rail 20. Retainer 22 may be fastened to head rail 20 in various ways. For example, retainer 22 may be fastened by sliding the retainer into an existing groove in head rail 20. Alternatively, retainer 22 could be riveted or otherwise fastened to the bottom 20a of head rail 20.
 Tube or pipe element 18a may be slightly conical so as to seat within aperture 22a without falling through retainer 22. Tube or pipe element 18a may be formed to have a flange 24 which assists in maintaining the tube or pipe element within retainer 22. Alternatively, tube or pipe element 18a may be generally cylindrical with top flange 24 seating the tube or pipe element within aperture 22. Retainer piece 22 can be made out of any material, including plastic or metal.
 It is desirable that the tube or pipe elements are not connected directly to the sheet 12. Rather and as shown in FIGS. 7-9, small loops or rings 26, formed of plastic or cord or other suitable material, surround tube or pipe elements 14b, 16b and 18b. Each loop or ring is attached to the fabric. For example, loops or rings 26 are tied to U-shaped elements 28 which extend from sheet 10. In one embodiment, a plurality of transversal slats (not shown) separate the sheet into the individual panels 12a-12h. The slats may be made of plastic, metal or other suitable material and are sewn or glued to the sheet. Alternatively, the sheet is made with transversal pockets holding the slats. The U-shaped elements 28 are then attached to the slats.
 In order to facilitate the retraction of the tube or pipe elements as roman shade 10 is raised and to facilitate the extension of the tube or pipe elements as roman shade 10 is lowered, there should be some play between the loops or rings and the tube or pipe elements. For example, there should be some play between loops or rings 26 and the respective tube or pipe elements 14b, 16b and 18b.
 Tube or pipes 14, 16 and 18 may be attached to the bottom rail 19 of roman shade 10 in various ways. For example, the lowermost tube or pipe elements 14h, 16h and 18h could be attached to the bottom rail 19 by a small ring (like a fishing rod), may be sewn to a bottom bar of the roman shade 10.
 It will be appreciated that by locating the lift cords of a roman shade within the telescoping tubes or elements, the danger that a child will be injured by a loop formed in the lift cord is greatly, if not totally, eliminated.
 The invention has applicability to most shade systems or blind systems having lift cords that might "loop" and is not limited to use with a roman shade. Moreover, numerous modifications may be made to the invention without departing from its scope as defined in the appended claims. For example, the telescoping tubes may be fixedly mounted to the bottom rail 19 and arranged so that the innermost tube elements rise slowly out of the remaining elements as the shade is lowered. Moreover, the tubes or pipes can have circular, oval, square, rectangular or other similar cross-section.
Patent applications by Joseph Cannaverde, Stamford, CT US
Patent applications in class With power operating means
Patent applications in all subclasses With power operating means