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United States Patent Application 20170203196
Kind Code A1
Altet; Rene July 20, 2017

FOLDING BILLIARD TABLE

Abstract

The invention relates to a device for a folding billiard table, for pocket billiards or for carom billiards, allowing the storage thereof in a reduced space. The innovative invention relates to a device for unfolding and folding the two table halves of the playing surface, hinged to the portable structure , with no risk of injury. The cloth, which is attached to a modular tension system during the movements, loosens upon folding and becomes taut again upon unfolding. The mobile structure follows the movements of the table halves and is hinged to either side of a mechanism that ensures symmetry. The legs are provided with casters that allow the billiard table to be moved, as well as height-adjustable locking skids for levelling the playing table. The device according to the invention is perfectly suitable for use in multi-purpose rooms and, according to the choice of the material of the table halves, can be intended for the general public or professionals.


Inventors: Altet; Rene; (Lanester, FR)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Altet; Rene

Lanester

FR
Family ID: 1000002567988
Appl. No.: 15/326644
Filed: July 15, 2015
PCT Filed: July 15, 2015
PCT NO: PCT/FR2015/000147
371 Date: January 16, 2017


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63F 2007/3655 20130101; A63D 15/00 20130101
International Class: A63D 15/00 20060101 A63D015/00

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Jul 16, 2014FR1401653

Claims



1. A folding billiard table comprising two movable table top halves, one cloth, one folding joint connecting the table tops and a tower of rails, the cloth loosening upon folding the table top halves, the cloth tightening upon unfolding the table top halves, the table further comprising a support for each of the table top halves that is movable with respect to a folding axis between a horizontal position and a vertical position of the table top halves, each of the table top halves forming with the support a configuration structure that is flexible in reversible symmetry between a taut cloth folded up state corresponding to the vertical position of the table top halves and a loosened cloth unfolded state corresponding to the horizontal position of the table top halves, the flexible configuration structure including a lock and a stop that together block the table top halves in at least one of the states coming into engagement when the flexible configuration structure is close to a locked state and resisting reversibility of the engagement, the closed tower of rails being disposed within the table top halves when the table top halves are in a horizontal position, and extending outwards from the table top halves by two movable elements on each edge at the folding joint between the table top halves when the table top halves move from the horizontal position to a vertical position when folding up.

2. The folding billiard table according to claim 1, wherein the table top halves symmetrically tilt towards one another along a folding axis of the table top halves each table top half resting at its equilibrium point in parallel with the folding joint on its support at a constant height regardless of the operation of the table top halves at the support by catches automatically engaging while folding up and manually controlled for unlocking.

3. The folding billiard table according to claim 1, wherein: each support is fixed to one of the table top halves and forms a floor stand in constant verticality whatever its displacement in translation, each floor stand is connected to a lever arm which follows in parallel movements of a corresponding one of the table top halves during unfolding and folding up maneuvers, the lever arm is connected to a symmetrical distribution mechanism placed in a vertical axis integrated in a casing, the distribution mechanism controlling movements in automatic symmetry, each leg is equipped with a castor a foot brake and a height adjusting screw.

4. The folding billiard table according to claim 1 for which each table top half is recessed with respect to each of its lateral edges, has a beveled edge and a male hinge fixed thereunder with a projecting hinge pin portion of the male hinge projecting outwardly to a half thickness of the corresponding table top half, at a position set off from the folding axis, the hinge pin becoming joined during unfolding and folding up maneuvers in a grooved housing of at least one female hinge, and moving away from the folding joint when the corresponding table top half is horizontal which makes the cloth taut, and moving closer to the folding joint when the corresponding table top half is vertical which loosens the cloth lengthwise.

5. The folding billiard table according to claim 4, wherein: the female hinge always remains horizontal irrespective of any movement of a corresponding one of the table top halves is positioned at an end of the folding joint at the folding axis the corresponding one of the table top halves comprises two offset and symmetrical grooved recesses of the folding joint each housing a slight tilting towards the folding joint and a spring for pressing the hinge pin of the male hinge, the hinge possessing a flexibility perpendicular to the folding joint to bend when it is pulled widthwise by the loosening of the cloth and the beveled edge is no longer in contact with the trapezoidal portion of the hinge, the cloth adjusts to the unfolding of the table tops when the beveled edge resumes contact with the trapezoidal portion and when the table top halves are horizontal the hinge is pushed vertically.

6. The folding billiard table according to claim 5, wherein the cover plate is fixed to both of the table top halves and is free of movement on the folding joint, and joins for the unfolding and folding maneuvers while following in its deformation the displacement of the hinges of the male hinges on the female hinge, and is joined for the unfolding and folding up maneuvers while following in its distortion the displacement of the hinge pins of the male hinges on the female hinge, magnetic plate which adheres to both of the table top halves in a horizontal position in the depression of the table top halves.

7. The folding billiard table according to claim 3 wherein the distribution mechanism fixed in the casing which follows the vertical movement of the female hinge, distributes the symmetry of the folding and unfolding maneuvers and comprises on the folding axis a serrated rod which moves in height opposite to the displacement of the female hinges, the rod being driven by serrated wheels positioned symmetrically, and operated by the lever arms in the unfolding and folding up maneuvers, the rod comprising a spring fixed onto the head of the serrated rod, that is free to move in order to brake an excessive speed in the unfolding and folding up maneuvers of the table top halves, all of the movable parts of the distribution mechanism being held together by flanges fixed on the casing by removable plates.

8. The folding billiard table according to claim 3, further comprising movable reinforcements fastened to the table top halves and sliding on racks fastened to the floor stands of the supports, the reinforcements assuring the locking of each table top half to a corresponding floor stand by a ratchet stop and spring functioning automatically for the corresponding one of the table top halves, and functioning manually for the other one of the table top halves, by unlocking by manual action for folding and locking automatically again if a cord is released, the cord also unlocking at the same time each stop of a corresponding one of the table top halves.

9. The folding billiard table according to claim 1, further comprising a lever which locks the support to a corresponding one of the table top halves when the corresponding one of the table top halves is in a vertical position, engages a stop and an anti-return safety system placed on a joint of the lever, and unlocks the anti-return safety device manually, a spring then tilting the support, a tab automatically engaging on the support when the corresponding one of the table top halves is locked vertically in a transport portions, and the anti-return safety device unlocking as soon as the support moves away from its transport position.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a Submission Under 35 U.S.C. .sctn.371 for U.S. National Stage Patent Application of International Application Number PCT/FR2015/000147 filed Jul. 15, 2015, and entitled FOLDING BILLIARD TABLE which is related to and claims priority to French Patent Application Serial Number 1401653 filed Jul. 16, 2014, the entirety of both are incorporated herein by reference.

[0002] The present invention relates to a folding billiard table with a tower of rails and a cloth stretched in a horizontal position, the two table top halves of which are symmetrical, fold up back in the axis of the table to the vertical position, which causes in the folding a loosening of the cloth and vice versa during unfolding.

[0003] Folding billiard tables with one-piece table covered with a taut cloth are known in the prior art, the table is connected in a hinged fashion to a support, of a sort that can assume two positions, namely a vertical position, in particular for storage, and a horizontal position for playing.

[0004] Folding tables in two parts are also known in the prior art. Some are used as multipurpose tables folding for storage, another model like the ping-pong table has an independent asymmetric folding for each table.

[0005] The state of the art of the application can be illustrated by patent applications in different countries: [0006] Germany: 2990 1458 [0007] United States: 6321 664 [0008] France: 2729 302 [0009] United States: 5020 799A

[0010] In order to reduce the bulkiness of a billiard table in its state of storage, that is to say in the folded state, mechanisms have been sought which make it possible to achieve a reduced vertical position of the folded table (two half panels) in which they are face-to-face, or in any case as close as possible, and in which they are as low as possible so that the center of gravity of the assembly is at its lowest, to achieve maximum stability of the folded up table.

[0011] To achieve this objective, it is necessary for the edge of each table to be able to change its height, which prevents a fixed connection at the edges of the folding axis with the support at the aforementioned edge. It is also known in the prior art to use means of locking which have among them the function of blocking two of the elements, which constitute the foldable structure (including the support and each of the 1/2 table tops), to make this structure rigid. These means may be numbered and/or distributed in such a way that the rigidification of the structure is achieved when the table is in its playing state or in its storage state.

[0012] For folding tables in two table top halves, it is possible, when maneuvering a table, that the folding up or unfolding movements are not completely achieved, so that the structure may not have reached one or the other of these states in which the rigid locking can become operational. These obstacles to the completion of movements could potentially be ignored by the user, who believes the structure is locked when it is not locked. The table can therefore either unfold spontaneously or, under the effect of a weight in the vicinity of the folding axis, initiate a folding up movement. It is understood that the inadvertent opening of a folding table may injure a user in the vicinity. It will also be understood that if the weight on an open table were to be a child, the child could slide between the two table tops, which would be dragged along by its weight, and then proceed to seriously injure the child by blocking it between the 1/2 table tops.

[0013] There is therefore a need to equip a billiard table with a safety means to prevent such accidents from occurring.

[0014] To this end, the object of the invention is therefore a folding billiard table with a tower of rails comprising a movable support, two 1/2 movable table tops relative to the support between a horizontal position and a vertical position. Each 1/2 table top is connected to the support by a configuration structure, flexible in a reversible manner between an unfolded state corresponding to the horizontal position of the 1/2 table tops, and a folded up state corresponding to the vertical position of the latter. The structure comprises a means of locking for blocking it in at least one of these two states.

[0015] According to one characteristic of the invention, the flexible structure comprises a means of stopping, coming into engagement when the configuration of the flexible structure is close to that corresponding to its locked state, and resisting against the reversibility of this configuration. These means of stopping constitute a safety device which prevents spontaneous folding up or which controls the unfolding.

[0016] The means of stopping are preferably arranged, visible, for coming into engagement when the configuration of the flexible structure is close to each of the two folded up or unfolded states of the structure. According to one embodiment of the invention, each 1/2 table top of the billiard table has, set back from each of its lateral edges beneath the 1/2 table top (1, 2), a male hinge fixed to the protruding hinge pin (15) at mid-thickness of the 1/2 table top which is hinged on an axis offset from the folding axis. The female hinge on the folding axis receives the hinge pins of the male hinges of the two table halves of the same edge, in two symmetrically grooved holes, [the] female hinge (23) which always remains horizontal whatever the movement of the table half (1, 2) positioned at the end of the folding joint (13) in the folding axis (28) (13) and a spring (26) for pressing on the hinge pin of the male hinge, [the] hinge (23) having a flexibility (27) perpendicular to the folding joint (13) for bending, when it is pulled by the widthwise loosening of the cloth, and that the beveled edge (32) is no longer in contact with the trapezoidal portion (31) of the hinge (23), the cloth adjusts to the unfolding of the 1/2 table tops when the beveled edge (32) resumes contact horizontally with the trapezoidal portion (31) and the 1/2 table tops (1, 2) the hinge (23) is pushed vertically. The means of stopping then comprises the hinge pins of the male hinges in the housings of the female hinge, thus they do not resist the pursuit of a movement in the direction of a locking or unlocking state of the table top.

[0017] The safety of the unfolding and folding maneuverings is achieved by several systems which act either on the support in contact with the 1/2 table top, or on the support at the hinge points of the latter. The systems automatically engage upon folding up. For unfolding they are controlled manually, for reinforcement (7) it automatically engages again if it is no longer manually controlled, blocking the 1/2 table tops in the position of the moment.

[0018] In the maneuver of folding, the loosening of the cloth is made possible by the approach of the hinge pins of the male hinges, which slide in the grooved holes of the female hinges and, by the flexibility of the female hinges which, pulled by the cloth, bend as soon as they are no longer in contact with the edges of the two half table tops, which come together and vice versa in the maneuver of unfolding.

[0019] The cover plate (33) [is] secured to the two half table tops (1, 2) and [is] free to move on the folding joint (13). Magnetic plate which adheres to the two half table tops in the horizontal position in the depression of two half table tops.

[0020] The secured mount under the 1/2 table top is connected to a movable support to follow the maneuvers of unfolding and folding up of the 1/2 table tops. The connection between the support and the mount of the 1/2 table top is made in the horizontal position at the equilibrium point of the table top, it remains at the same height in all the maneuvers of the table tops. During the folding maneuver, the floor standings [base] move as close as possible to the transport and storage position. They move away as far as possible in the unfolding maneuver for the playing position. The approaching and moving away of the supports without changing their verticality, are controlled by lever arms placed symmetrically on each side of the axial casing, connected to a mechanism on the folding axis, which mirrors the movements of the 1/2 table tops in symmetry. The female hinges on the lateral edges of the 1/2 table tops, dependent on a casing located under the 1/2 table tops in the folding axis, follow the height of the hinge pins of the male hinges in the folding up and unfolding maneuvers.

[0021] The mechanism for transferring movement in the maneuvers is installed in the axial casing, it adjusts the symmetry of the lever arms, which create the connections between the casing and the feet of the supports, by means of a serrated rod (37) which is displaced in height away from the displacement of the female hinges (23). It is equipped with a spring in the folding axis, which opposes a too sudden movement of unfolding or folding up of the 1/2 table tops. All the parts of the mechanism are retained by flanges (51) fixed to the casing (35) by removable plates (52). The movement of the mechanism follows at the same height that of the ascending or descending female hinges. Each foot of the structure is equipped with a castor with a foot brake to immobilize the assembly in the playing position or in the storage position. Each foot also includes an adjusting screw for possible leveling of the playing table, the control is done by bubble levels encrusted in one large and one small rail.

[0022] The blocking of the support on the table top in the horizontal position is ensured by catches functioning automatically by springs, which are deactivated manually for unfolding of the 1/2 table tops. In the vertical position, a lever with anti-return safety device engages in a stop on the 1/2 table top (1), automatically engaging a safety tab at the foot of the structure, which deactivates as soon as the support moves away from the folding axis (28).

[0023] The reinforcements that connect the structure to the table tops at each end of the billiard are locked 1/2 table tops in the horizontal position, manually for the 1/2 table top (2) and automatically for the 1/2 table top (1), for deactivating them, it is necessary to hold tight a safety cord that reactively releases the lock, regardless of the position of the 1/2 table tops.

[0024] Table in horizontal position in playing position, two movable elements in the middle of the large rails close the tower of rails, fixed by pressure they are removed for the folding maneuver.

[0025] Other features and advantages of the invention will emerge from the following description of some embodiments thereof. Reference will be made to the accompanying drawings, among which:

[0026] FIG. 1 is a simplified representation of a folding billiard table with a tower of rails equipped with the means according to the invention.

[0027] FIG. 2 is a view from the longitudinal side with the table tops horizontally in the locked position.

[0028] FIG. 3 is a view of the end-side with the half table tops horizontally in the locked position.

[0029] FIG. 4 is a representation of the billiard [table], 1/2 table tops closed [in/at] the vertical structure for transport and storage.

[0030] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the position of the 1/2 table tops in the two states, with detailing for each, of the hinge axes, and of the cover plate on the folding axis.

[0031] FIG. 6 is a view of the axial casing, showing the flexibility of the female hinge.

[0032] FIG. 7 is a view of the male and female hinges.

[0033] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view showing the position of the female hinge in the horizontal and vertical 1/2 table top position.

[0034] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the central casing and the mechanism for symmetrically transmitting the movement of the 1/2 table tops.

[0035] FIG. 10 is a longitudinal sectional view of the central casing and the symmetrical transmission mechanism of the movement of the 1/2 table tops.

[0036] FIG. 11 shows detailing of the blocking catch of the structure under the 1/2 table top.

[0037] FIG. 12 shows the detailing of the locking of the foot of the structure.

[0038] FIG. 13 shows the detail of the handling lever.

[0039] FIG. 14 shows the half table tops in three positions.

[0040] In FIG. 1, a folding billiard table with a tower of rails is shown from a top view it comprises two movable table tops (1, 2) in their playing state, with the tower of rails and the movable elements (53) which close the strips in the horizontal position of the 1/2 table tops fixed by ball pressure screws and blocked between the fixed rails. These elements pull away for the folding operation of the 1/2 table tops. The unfolding and folding up of the 1/2 table tops takes place on the folding joint (13). The supports which symmetrically prop up the 1/2 table tops are hinged at (50) on the mounts of the 1/2 table tops, the other indications mention the position of the supports (3) and the joints (15, 38, 41, 17).

[0041] FIG. 2 is a horizontal view of the 1/2 table tops with each support (3) connected to the equilibrium point and tilting point of the 1/2 table tops (50). The joint for unfolding and folding up takes place on the axes (15) which are offset from the folding axis. The joints (38, 41, 17, 17b, 17c) allow the supports to accompany the maneuvers of the 1/2 table tops.

[0042] The casing (35) disconnected from the 1/2 table tops, placed in the folding axis, comprises a mechanism (invisible in the sketch) which controls the perfect symmetry of the maneuvers.

[0043] The locking and unlocking of the 1/2 table tops on the floor standings are carried out by means of reinforcements (7) and ratchet stops, manual for (17c) and automatic for (17b), activated manually by cord (17a) for unlocking. Each support is locked to the 1/2 table top by a pivot stop (4) which activates automatically for locking and manually for unlocking. The movable reinforcements (7) fixed to the 1/2 table tops (1, 2) and sliding on racks fixed to the floor standings of the supports (3), reinforcements (7) ensuring the locking of each table top (17c) for the 1/2 table top (1) and manually (17c) for the 1/2 table top (2), unlocking by manual action for unfolding (17b, 17c) with automatic relocking for (17b) if the cord (17a) is released, this same cord also at the same time unlocks the stops (4) of the 1/2 table top (1)

[0044] FIG. 3 is an end view of the billiard [table,] 1/2 table tops horizontally, stops locked on the support. The female hinges (23) dependent on the axial casing (35) are shown, on which the hinge pins of the male hinges of the 1/2 table tops circle. For bracing the structure between supports (3) a panel (43) is positioned. [Figure] The cord (17a) activates the unlocking of the stops (17b) at the foot of the reinforcements (7). On one of the supports (3) is fixed the lever (8) used to lock or unlock the support in a vertical position. The hole (48) is used in the vertical position of the 1/2 table tops to block the floor standing.

[0045] FIG. 4 shows the 1/2 table tops in a vertical position and supports in the transport and storage position. The symmetry of the supports and 1/2 table tops (1, 2) is perfectly respected (13, 28) and the axial casing (35) is at its lowest height. The locking with anti-return safety device (8) is engaged together with the tab (5) on the structure (16).

[0046] In FIG. 5, two sections are shown, one with the 1/2 table tops (1, 2) in the horizontal position which reveals a position of the hinge pins of the male hinges at the maximum distance (15, 24) and a plating of the cover plate (33) on the folding joint with the taut cloth (11). The other with the 1/2 table tops (1, 2) in the vertical position, which shows a position of the hinge pins of the male hinges at the maximum approach (15, 25) pushed by spring clips (26), causing a folding of the cover plate (33a) and a lengthwise loosening of the cloth (12).

[0047] FIG. 6 shows a partial view of the axial casing (35) with the holding plates (52) of the movement transfer mechanism which acts symmetrically on the arms (10) connected to the supports. The female hinge (23) dependent on the casing at its free base appears at the head of flexibility (27).

[0048] In FIG. 7 is shown the position of the male hinges recessed from a lateral edge of the two half-table tops as well as the assembly with a female hinge.

[0049] FIG. 8 shows the flexibility of a female hinge and its effect on the tension of the cloth in the unfolding-folding up maneuvers. In FIG. 8 (a) the table tops in the horizontal position, the heel (31) in contact with the inclined edge (32) of the 1/2 table tops, the hinge stretches the cloth.

[0050] In FIG. 8 (b) 1/2 table top in the unfolding maneuver, the heel (31) is no longer in contact with the 1/2 table top, the flexible hinge curves, driven by the cloth which loosens.

[0051] In FIG. 9, the cross-section on the casing represents the mechanism for transferring the movement in symmetry. It is powered by the lever arms (10) of the supporting structure in the maneuvers of the 1/2 table tops (1,2), the central serrated rod (37) of the mechanism follows the folding axis (28) it controls the symmetry by acting on the toothed wheels (36, 38) which impart the movement to the lever arm (10). The spring (39) fixed at the head of the rod creates opposition to sudden maneuvers, it is free of flexibility with high rigidity, it is held on two hinged ball joints (40). At the top of the casing are the hinge pins of the male hinges in the position of the 1/2 table tops (1,2), in the vertical position.

[0052] In FIG. 10, the longitudinal section of the casing represents the movement transfer mechanism aligned with the lever arms (10). Also shown is the female hinge (23) which can have a straight shape (carom billiards) or curved (pocket billiards) with positioning axes of the hinge pins of the male hinges.

[0053] FIG. 11 shows an activated locking catch, locking the 1/2 table top on the support in the horizontal position.

[0054] FIG. 12 shows a reinforcement (7) in the locking position (17b, 17c) on the horizontal table tops (1, 2). Also shown on the support (3) is the sliding rack of the ratchet catches (17b, 17c) with automatic blocking of the stops (17b) and release for unlocking by actuating the cord (17a). Also shown is the tab (5) which locks automatically (16) the 1/2 table tops vertically and vice versa.

[0055] FIG. 13 shows the handling lever (8) when the 1/2 table tops (1, 2) are close to the vertical. Action (8b) to block the support on the 1/2 table top (1), at the same time the safety (47) follows the rotation of the maneuver and is blocked when the lever (8) comes into the stop (6). Action (8c) deactivating the safety (47) and pulling on the lever, the stop (6) unlocks and the spring (49) secured to the chassis of the 1/2 table top (1) pushes the structure back to initiate the unfolding.

[0056] FIG. 14 schematically shows the table in three positions. [0057] In the horizontal position "a": feet spread to their maximum, 1/2 table tops in the horizontal position. [0058] In the vertical position "c": feet close to their maximum 1/2 table tops approaching the vertical position.

[0059] In the course of maneuver "b": feet mobile.

[0060] The anti-return safety system placed on the lever (8), unlocking of the anti-return safety device manually, the spring (49) then shifts the support (3) of the table top half (1), the tab (5) unlocks as soon as the support moves away from its transport position (FIG. 4).

[0061] The advantage of the invention lies in the design based on a reduced space requirement, the 1/2 table tops in the storage position and reduced in depth with the compact folded structure and on the systems on the locking and unlocking systems, as well as on the central spring which slows the unfolding and folding maneuvers.

[0062] A new product has thus been achieved with a cloth which loosens in the folding maneuver, avoiding a tension in the storage position and vice versa in the unfolding maneuver.

* * * * *

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