US 3799073 A
A foldable table includes a pair of pivotally interconnected table top sections and legs having castor wheels. The hinged center portion of the table is folded upwardly from the extended position so that the legs and other support structure is positioned between the table top sections when the table is in the folded condition. The foldable table, which is easily folded and unfolded, is always supported by the legs throughout the folding and unfolding movement, and is folded into a very compact structure which facilates storage. Adjustable stop bolts are provided which engage stop engaging pins connected to the inner ends of the table sections and this arrangement permits ready leveling of the table top in the event that the table top is not in a completely horizontal position in the unfolded condition.
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United States Patent [191 Nielsen Mar. 26, 1974 FOLDABLE TABLE  Filed: June 19, 1972  Appl. No.: 264,165
 US. Cl. 108/113, 16/34  Int. Cl A47b 39/06  Field of Search 108/113, 112, 99, 100;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,511,532 5/1970 Tringali 108/113 X 3,097,748 7/1963 Drabert.... 108/112 2,596,250 5/1952 Klingler... 108/113 X 2,512,473 6/1950 Alch 297/159 2,126,811 8/1938 Rambo 16/34 2,764,460 9/1956 Nelson l 108/113 2,747,958 5/1956 Wilson 108/113 2,991,139 7/1961 Fihe 108/113 Primary Examiner-Francis K. Zugel Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Williamson, Bains & Moore 5 7] ABSTRACT A foldable table includes a pair of pivotally interconnected table. top sections and legs having castor wheelsf The hinged center portion of the table is folded upwardly from the extended position so that the legs and other support structure is positioned between the table top sections when the table is in the folded condition. The foldable table, which is easily folded and unfolded, is always supported by the legs throughout the folding and unfolding movement, and is folded into a very compact structure which facilates storage. Adjustable stop bolts are provided which engage stop engaging pins connected to the inner ends of the table sections and this arrangement permits ready leveling of the table top in the event that the table top is not in a completely horizontal position in the unfolded condition.
8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PAlENlfnmzs 1914 3799.073
sum 1 o: 2
FOLDABLE TABLE BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Although there are many types of foldable tables, the larger folding tables, such as ping-pong tables, usually include a pair of hinged top sections which collapse downwardly when the table is folded. These downwardly collapsing tables are difficult to fold because the tables are not supported by legs throughout the folding movement and there is a tendency of the heavy foldable table sections to collapse quickly by action of gravity if the sections are not supported during the folding movement. Many of these prior art tables include table top sections which are hingedly connected together by a conventional hinge and pintle arrangement to permit pivoting of the sections about a single axis. This type of hinge is difficult to install accurately during assembly of the table and often becomes damaged. These prior art foldable tables usually do not make provision for leveling the interconnected top sections when the table top is in the extended position and experience indicates that the top sections are often disposed out of coplanar level condition either through damage or through faulty construction.
It is therefore a general object of this invention to provide a foldable table, including hingedly connected top sections, which fold upwardly from an extended position to a folded compact position. The table is provided with legs having castors which support the table not only in folded and extended positions but also support the table throughout the folding movement. The present table is also provided with novel leveling means which are easily manupulable to level the table top sections. These and other objects etc.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the novel table in the extended unfolded condition.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the table in a partly folded or collapsed condition.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the table in the completely folded condition.
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view taken approximately along line 4-4 of FIG. 1 and looking in the direction of the arrows, and
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view illustrating the details of construction of a lower portion of one of the leg members.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the pool table in an extended folded condition and illustrating a modified form of the castor support means.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary side elevational view illustrating the modified form of the castor support means.
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view taken approximately on line 8-8 of FIG. 7 and looking in the direction of the arrows, and
FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the pool table in a partially folded condition and illustrating the manner in which the castor support means operates during folding operation.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings and more specifically to FIG. 1, it will be seen that one embodiment of the novel foldable table, designated generally by the reference numeral 10 is thereshown. The table 10 includes an elongate rectangular top 11 comprised of a pair of substantially identical symmetrical, preferably rectangular, top sections 12. Each top section 12 has a substantially flat planar upper surface 13, sides 14, an outer end 15 and an inner end 16.
Each top section 12 is mounted on a metallic frame 17 includes a pair of substantially parallel longitudinal frame members 18 of angle construction including a horizontal flange 19 secured to the lower surface of the associated top section 12 by suitable screws or the like and a vertical flange 20. Transverse frame members 21, of angle construction, extend between and are connected to the longitudinal members 18.
The top sections 12 are interconnected together for vertical swinging movement about horizontal axis between an open extended position, as shown in FIG. 1, and a closed collapsed position, as shown in FIG. 3. To this end, the table is provided with a pair of elongate, substantially flat, vertically oriented coupling members 22 which are also formed of a suitable metallic material, such as aluminum or the like, and each being pivotally connected to the respective top sections by pivots 23. It will be noted that the pivotal axis between one top section 12 and the coupling members 22 is spaced from the pivotal axis of the other top section 12.
A pair of legs structures 24 is provided, each leg structure including a pair of elongate substantially straight table leg members 25. The upper end of each leg member 25 is pivotally connected by a pivot 26 to the vertical flange 20 of one of the longitudinal frame members 18. The leg members 25 of each leg structure are rigidly interconnected together by a pair of generally U-shaped braces 27, the ends of which are rigidly secured to the associated pair of leg members by suitable bolts or the like. These U-shaped braces 27 are also flatened intermediate their ends and are secured together by bolt and nut assemblies 28.
Each leg member 25 which is preferably formed of tubular aluminum stock has an elongate castor support member 29 shiftably mounted on its lower end. Each caster support member 29 which is of generally right angular construction includes an angular portion 30 which telescopically projects into the lower end of the associated leg member 25 and is revolable therein through an arch of approximately degrees. In this respect, the angular portion 30 of each castor support member 29 has a pin 31 affixed thereto and projecting outwardly therefrom, and this pin projects through an elongate slot 32 in the associated leg member. The slot includes upwardly and vertically extending end portions 33 in which the pin 31 is seated when the castor support member is one of two adjusted positions.
Each castor support member has a conventional castor wheel 34 pivotally connected thereto by a suitable pivot bolt 34 which permits the castor wheel standard to rotate about a vertical axis in a well known manner.
Referring now to FIG. 1, it will be noted that the eastor wheel support members 29 are all releasably locked in their first position when the table is in an unfolded extended position. When in this first position, each castor wheel support projects longitudinally of the table but the castor wheel support members may each be shifted to the second position when the table has been completely folded as illustrated in FIG. 3. When in the second position, the castor wheel support members are moved through an arch of approximately 90 degrees so that each castor wheel projects laterally of the table and is disposed within the general vertical plane of the folded table when in this second position. The castor wheels are swung to the second position primarily for packaging since this arrangement permits a very compact package to be obtained.
A plurality of elongate connected links 35 are provided each having one end thereof pivotally connected by a pivot 36 to one of the coupling members 22 adjacent the lower end thereof and each having the other end thereof pivotally connected by a pivot 37 to one of the tubular leg members 25 intermediate the ends thereof. It will be noted that when the table is folded, the leg members 25 are maintained in their vertical position throughout the folding movement.
Means are provided for leveling the table top when it is in an extended horizontal unfolded position and to this end, it will be noted that each coupling member 22 has an elongate vertically oriented slot 38 therein. An elongate stabilizer or sway bar .39 has one end thereof pivotally connected by a pivot 30 to the vertical flange 20 of each longitudinal frame member 18 adjacent the inner end thereof. These each top section 12 has a pair of these stabilizer bars pivotally connected thereto and each link has its other end pivotally connected to a stop engaging bolt 41 which projects through the slot 38 in one of the coupling members 22.
Referring now to FIG. 4, it will noted that the bolt 41 projects through an opening in one of the links 39 and also projects through a smaller opening in the other of the stabilizer bars 39. Thus the bolt 41 has a reduced end to define a shoulder 42 which bears against the stabilizer bar 39 having the smaller opening therein. A nut 43 is secured to the reduced threaded end of the bolt 41 and an annular spacer 44 is interposed between the coupling member 22 and the adjacent stabilizer bar 39. It will therefore be seen that during folding movement of the table, the bolt 42 is moved vertically in the slot 38.
Each coupling member 22 has an angled bracket 45 secured thereto adjacent but spaced below the upper end of the coupling member. The horizontal flange of each angle bracket has an opening therethrough and also has a nut 46 welded thereto. A stop bolt 47 threadedly engages the nut 46 and projects downwardly from the angle bracket so that the lower end thereof is disposed in obstructing relation with respect to the head of the stop engaging bolt 41. With this arrangement, when the table is unfolded, the swinging movement of the top sections is limited in an unfolding direction by the engagement of the stop engaging bolt 41 with the stop bolt 47 associated with each coupling member. In the event that the table top, when in the unfolded condition, is not disposed in a substantially true horizontal plane, then the top may be adjusted by adjusting each stop bolt 47 to vertically shift the stop engaging bolt 41 in a vertical direction. This shifting movement of the stop bolt and stop engaging bolt also causes vertical shifting movement of the inner ends of each top section.
In use, the table may be completely assembled at the factory and packaged in this assembled condition. When packaged,'the table will be in the folded condition, as illustrated in FIG. 3 and it will be noted that when in the folded condition, the top sections 12 are supported by the legs and are disposed in vertical parallel relation. It will further be noted that when the table is in the folded condition, leg members 25 will also be -vertically disposed and will project downwardly beyond the outer ends 15 of the table sections to support the table in this folded condition. The castor wheel sup ports will be swung to the second position so that they are disposed between the vertically oriented folded top sections and provide a compact unit for simplified packaging. The frames, leg structures, links and coupling members are all disposed between the folded table top sections so that the table in the folded condition presents a rather compact structure of relatively small compass. In this regard, when a full size table is folded, the width dimension of the folded table is only approximately 5 or 6 inches. Since the frames, leg members, coupling members and links are all disposed between the top sections, the table presents a rather solid structure in the folded condition. Because of the manner in which many prior art tables are folded or disassembled, these prior art tables packaged within cartons that have void spaces therein. When arranged in stacks, these cartons are quite often crusted which results in collapsing of the stack of cartons. With this present arrangement, the solid packaged units may be stacked one upon another since the cartons cannot be crusted and stacks of cartons will not collapse.
When it is desirable to unfold or uncrate the table, the castor wheel supports are first shifted to their first position as the table is rolled out of its carton. The outer ends of the table sections are then swung outwardly and upwardly and as this occurs, the stop engaging pin 41 will be moved vertically upwardly in the slot of its associated coupling member until it engages the associated stop bolt 47. The table will be completely unfolded when in this condition and it will be noted that the leg members 25 support the table throughout the folding and unfolding thereof. It will further be noted that each coupling member 22, each leg member 25, link 35 and top section 12 defines a parallelogram structure not only in the folded and unfolded condition but throughout folding movement thereof. It will therefore be seen that parallelogram construction of the table not only provides a stable structure in the extended unfolded condition but also provides a very stable structure throughout the folding movement. In the event that the table top is not completley level, this may be readily adjusted by vertically adjusting the stop bolt 47. One person may readily fold the table from the extended position to the collapsed position by merely gripping the pair of links 35 or coupling member and urging the same upwardly. As soon as the top sections have passed beyond an over center position, final folding or unfolding may be easily accomplished although in a controlled way. It is also pointed out that it is essential that the pivotal connection between'each leg member 25 and the associated top section be located closer the outer end 15 than the inner end 16. In this respect, it should be noted that the present table has no means for locking the table in an extended condition, therefore the weight distribution must be such that the downward force acting on the inner ends of the table top sections, when the table is in the unfolded horizontal position, is sufficient to prevent upward folding when downward force is applied to the outer ends of the table top sections.
The present table may be constructed in any style and may be of any symmetrical configuration, but it is especially adaptable for use as a ping-pong or table ten- Referring now to FIGS. 6, 7, 8 and 9 it will be seen that a modified form of the caster support means is thereshown. This castor support means also includes an elongate castor support member 29b which is of generally right angular construction and including an upwardly extending annular portion 30b which telescopically' projects into the lower end of the associated leg member 25. Each castor support member 29b is revolvable in its associated leg member through an arc of approximately 90 degrees and each castor support member has a pin 31b affixed thereto and projecting outwardly therefrom. The pin 31b projects through an elongate slot 32b which has upwardly or vertically extending end portions 33b in which the pin 31b is seated when the castor support is in one of the two adjusted positions.
Each castor support member also has a conventional castor wheel 34b pivotally connected thereto by a suitable pivot bolt 340 to permit the castor wheels to pivot about a vertical axis in a well known manner. Each castor support member also has a elongate generally U- shaped foot member 35b pivotally connected therewith for swinging movement relative thereto. In this respect each castor support member has a sleeve 36b fixedly connected to the interior angular portion thereof adjacent the junction with the angular portion b thereof and this sleeve 36b accommodates a pivot 37b which projects through and is connected to the upper ends of the associated foot member b; Each foot member 35b also has its lower end flared and coated with a suitable plastic to form a skid resistant foot element 3812. It will also be noted that each foot member 35b has an actuating element 39b fixedly secured to the upper end thereof and projecting outwardly therefrom. This actuating element facilitates swinging movement of each of the foot members between extended and collapsed positions.
When a pool table 10 is provided with castor wheel support means having foot member 35b, the foot mem bers will be oriented in a generally vertical position as illustrated in FIG. 6 when the table is in the unfolded condition. It will be noted that as best seen in FIG. 7, the foot members project vertically beyond the lower surface of the castor wheels and will form stationary supports for the table which is desirable in many instances. Actually, the foot members are not truly vertically oriented or coaxially disposed with respect to the associated leg member 25 but are canted slightly inwardly from the vertical when in the unfolded condition as best seen in FIG. 6 and 7.
When it is desirable to fold the table 10, each of the foot members will be pivoted outwardly toward the folded condition by the action of the upwardly collapsing table. This is clearly shown in FIG. 9 and the foot members can be pivoted to the fully collapsed position by a user pressing upon the actuating elements 39b. When in the fully collapsed position, each foot member will embrace each castor support member 29b with frictional effect and will remain in this position until forcibly shifted therefrom. This may also be accomplished by pressing upon the foot member by a user to disengage it from its frictional coupled reation with its associated castor support member. The foot members may then be swung to the fully extended position for support of the table by engaging the actuating elements 3% of the foot members.
Each top section is independantly pivotally connected to the coupling members so that it pivotal axis is spaced from the pivotal axis of the other top sections. Thus the problem associated with misaligned hinge elements is obviated with this arrangement. The use of a leveling of adjustment means to accomplish horizontal adjustment is a feature not available in most foldable table structures. This unique horizontal adjustment means is certainly novel in the folding table art.
Finally, the unique manner in which the table may be easily shifted between folded and unfolded positions, permits one person to very easily fold and unfold a table by maintaining control over the folding table sections throughout the folding operation.
Thus it will be seen that I have provided a novel foldable table, which is not only of simple and inexpensive construction, but one which functions in a more effcient manner than any heretofore known comparable folding table.
What is claimed is:
l. A foldable table comprising a pair of substantially symmetrical top sections each having substantially flat upper surface and an inner end, an outer end, and opposed sides,
two pairs of vertically oriented legs each leg of each pair being pivotally connected adjacent its upper end to one of said top sections,
a pair of spaced apart opposed coupling members each being pivotally connected with said top sections adjacent the respective inner ends thereof to thereby permit folding of said table between folded collapsed and unfolded extended positions, each coupling member having an elongate vertically extending slot therein,
a plurality of elongate connecting links each having one end thereon pivotally connected with a coupling member and having the other end thereof pivotally connected to a leg structure,
the upper surface of said top sections being disposed in substantially horizontal co-planar relation when the table is in the unfolded extended position, the inner ends of said top sections being swingable upwardly from horizontal relation into the folded collapsed position wherein said sections are disposed in substantially vertical parallel relation with said legs, links and coupling members being disposed between said sections,
adjustable stop means connected with each of said coupling members, a plurality of elongate stabilizer bars each being pivotally connected adjacent one end thereof to one of said top sections, a pair of stop engaging elements each projecting through the slot in one coupling member and each pivotally connecting the ends of a pair of stabilizer bars together, said stop engaging members being vertically movable in the slots of the coupling members during folding and unfolding of said sections and engaging said step means when the sections are in the unfolded extended horizontal position to limit movement of said sections in an unfolded direction.
2. The foldable table as defined in claim 1 wherein the pivotal connections of one section with said coupling members are spaced from the pivotal connections of the other section with said coupling members.
3. The foldable table as defined in claim 1 wherein each pair of legs are rigidly interconnected together,
wherein each coupling member has a pair of said connecting links pivotally connected thereto, each top section, leg, connecting link and coupling member defining a parallelogram, located at each side of said table.
4. The foldable table as defined in claim 1 wherein said adjustable stop includes a pair of stop elements each being mounted on one of said coupling members and each being vertically shiftable relative to its associated coupling member.
5. The foldable table as defined in claim 1 wherein the legs of each pair are interconnected together intermediate their respective ends, a plurality of angulated castor support members each including a vertically extending portion and a horizontal portion projecting generally at right angular relation with respect thereto, the vertical position of each castor support member being telescopically connected with one of said legs and permitting revolving movement of each castor support about a vertical axis, the horizontal portion of each castor support member having a castor wheel pivotally mounted thereon, cooperating elements on each castor support member and each leg limiting revolving movement of castor support through an arc of approximately 90 between a first position wherein each castor wheel support member extends longitudinally of the table when the latter is in the unfolded extended condition, and a second position wherein said castor wheel supports extend laterally from the table but are positioned between the top sections when thelatter are in the folded collapsed position.
6. A foldable table comprising:
a pair of substantially symmetrical top sections each having a substantially flat upper surface and an inner end, an outer end, and opposed sides,
a plurality of vertically oriented leg members pivotally connected adjacent their upper ends to one of said top sections,
support means pivotally connected to said top sections adjacent the inner ends thereof in such a manner as to permit the folding of said table between an unfolded position wherein said upper surfaces of said top sections are disposed in substantially horizontal, co-planar relation and a folded, collapsed position wherein said top sections are disposed in substantiallyvertical, parallel relation,
an elongate castor support member of generally right angle shape each of said castor support members having an upwardly extending portion rotatably attached to one of said legs and horizontally extending portion projecting generally at a right angle with respect thereto, cooperating elements on each castor support member and each associated leg limiting revolving movement of each castor support member to an arc of approximately between a first position wherein each castor support member extends longitudinally of the table when the latter is in the extended folded position, and a second position wherein each castor support member extends laterally from the table, but are positioned between the top sections when the latter are in the folded collapsed position,
a castor wheel pivotally connected to said horizontal portion of each of said castor support members, an elongated foot member pivotally attached to each of said castor support members for swinging movement with respect thereto about a substantially horizontal axis between an extended, vertically oriented position and a collapsed, generally horizontal position, the length of each of said foot members beyond its point of attachment to one of said castor support members being such that said foot members project vertically downwardly beyond the lower surfaces of said castor wheels, whereby said foot members engage the floor and serve as stationary supports for said table with said castor wheels elevated above floor level when said foot members are swung to said vertically oriented positions.
7. A foldable table as defined in claim 7 wherein each of said foot members is of generally U-shaped cross sectional configuration and embraces said horizontal portion of one of said castor support members when swung to said collapsed position, said foot members being held insaid collapsed position by frictional engagement with said horizontal portions of said castor support members.
8. The foldable table as defined in claim 6 wherein said cooperating elements for limiting revolving movement of each castor support member comprises pin and slot elements, one of said pin and slot elements on each leg and the other of said pin and slot elements on the upwardly extending portion of the associated castor support member.
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