US 3810482 A
This invention relates to a collapsible tent structure in which both sidewalls, the rear wall and top are supported by nearly identical subframe assemblies, each of which has a length of stretchable cord fastening the ends of its jointed diagonally extending struts together. The struts of each subframe assembly are pivotally attached at their adjacent ends to a stop-forming connector at the intersection of the diagonals for foldable movement in one direction into side-by-side relation with one another while such connector limits their unfolded position to one in which they bear an angular relation of over 180 DEG and less than approximately 220 DEG to one another which position is maintained by the tension in the stretchable cord interconnecting the remote ends thereof. The cord preferably is reeved through marginal hems bordering the frame-supported walls thus defining a unitary foldable tent assembly. The frame itself comprises the four more or less identically constructed subframe assemblies pivotally interconnected to one another at their common corners together with the connectors for accomplishing the latter.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
llnited States Beavers atent 1 COLLAPSIBLE TENT AND FRAME  Assignee: T. A.. Pelsue Company, Englewood,
 Filed: Nov. 14, 1972 2 1 App]. No.: 306,403
 11.8. CI 135/4 R Primary Examiner-Jordan Franklin Assistant Examiner-Conrad L. Berman Attorney, Agent,
or FirmEdwards, Spangler, Wymore & Klaas May 14, 1974  ABSTRACT This invention relates to a collapsible tent structure in which both sidewalls, the rear wall and top are supported by nearly identical subframe assemblies, each of which has a length of stretchable cord fastening the ends of its jointed diagonally extending struts together. The struts of each subframe assembly are pivotally at tached at their adjacent ends to a stop-forming connector at the intersection of the diagonals for foldable movement in one direction into side-by-side relation with one another while such connector limits their unfolded position to one in which they bear an angular relation of over 180 and less than approximately 220 to one another which position is maintained by the tension in the stretchable cord interconnecting the remote ends thereof. The cord preferably is reeved through marginal hems bordering the frame-supported walls thus defining a unitary foldable tent assembly. The frame itself comprises the four more or less identically constructed subframe assemblies pivotally interconnected to one another at their common corners together with the connectors for accomplishing the latter.
12 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PMEWEMY M W SHEET 2 OF 2 Fig- 6 COLLAPSIBLE TENT AND FRANE THEREFOR Tents of one kind or another are almost as old as recorded history and many are still in use today. The size, style and construction vary widely depending upon the use to be made of the structure, how it is to be transported from place to place, the type of climatic conditions it must withstand and, of course, whether human beings are to live in it or whether it is merely a temporary shelter. It is the latter type of tent to which the instant invention relates, namely, one thatprovides temporary shelter from the elements while carrying out certain tasks under its protection. More specifically, the tent forming the subject matter hereof is designed especially to answer the needs of public utilities service personnel when working at ground level or in underground installations' where the entrance thereto through a manhole must be sheltered. Obviously, as the description proceeds it will become apparent that the utility of the tent is, by no means, restricted to this application; however, it was with these particular needs in mind that it was designed.
A tent of this type neednt be particularly lightweight as long as a man can lift it easily enough to stow it away by himself in the vehicle that i's used to take both him and the tent from place to place. On the other hand, bulk is a significant factor and a properly-designed unit should stow'eas'ily in one of the compartments of a utility truck provided for such equipment, many of which tend to take the form'of large or deep pigeonholes. The weather conditions it must withstand are also much less severe than those a mountain tent, for example, must be able to take and no provision need be made for fastening it down except under extreme circumstances where a few heavy objects placed along its skirt will usually suffice.
There are, however, quite a number of other design criteria that must be met if the tent is to fulfill its in tended function. Among these are an unobstructed working area of sufficient size to accommodate at least two workmen and, perhaps, an occasional third one. No tent with a floor in it or even one with a centerpole can, of course, be used for this purpose.
Ruggedness is also of prime importance as these tents are used over and over again under adverse conditions such that the usual camping tent would quickly fail. All sorts of tools including such things as hot blow torches will frequently come into contact with its skin and it must be capable of withstanding all but the grossest abuse.
Of all these, perhaps the most important is the requirement that the tent be very easy and fast to both set up and take down. Highly skilled and equally highly paid service personnel must not have to waste their valuable time in erecting or dismantling a complicated temporary shelter which, at most, will stay up for a few hours. Along this same line, no special training or experience must be required to operate a properly designed ground tent of this type and, preferably, the
manner in which it is put up and .taken down should be obvious to one of ordinary skill just from looking at it..
with an inventory of parts to be sure they have everything. If the frame stays a unitary assembly at all times and the skin remains attached to the frame, such a requirement will be amply met.
It has now been found in accordance with the teaching of the instant invention that these and other worthwhile objectives can, in fact, be realized through the use of a simple, yet novel, subframe assembly as the basic building block of the tent frame. ln its extended or open position it provides a sturdy structural support for the skin; yet, one simple hand operation brings about its collapse into a compact folded condition. As few as four and as many as six such subframe assemblies can be pivotally joined together at their corners to define a four-sided structure with a roof over it. The
preferred form of the invention leaves the subframe as- Y semblies out of the bottom and one wall so as to leave an unobstructed entryway and working area. Each subframe assembly collapses inwardly in the same way such that when they are all collapsed and the connectors at the intersection of their jointed diagonal struts are brought together, all the strut sections will be sideby-side with folds of the fabric forming the skin covering same folded therebetween. The'stretchable cords that cooperate with the stop-forming connectors to keep the several subframe assemblies in extended overcenter relation also enable the remote strut ends they interconnect to be brought together without having to disconnect, remove or dismantle any part of the frame. Also, by encasing these cords in hems along the margins of the tent walls, a unitary skin and frame assembly results.
It is, therefore, the principal object of the present invention to provide a novel and improved tent of a type especially well-suited for use as a shelter for public utility service crews and the like.
A second objective of the invention forming the subject matter hereof is to provide a unique collapsible subframe assembly, anywhere from four to sixof. which can be pivotally interconnected at the corners thereof to define a four-sided frame with a roof capable of supporting a skin covering.
Another object of the within-described invention is to produce a one-piece tent in which the frame and skin covering same remain together and intact at all times.
and taken down by one of ordinary skill with little or no experience in less than a minute.
Further objects are to provide a tent-like structure that is easy to use, rugged, trouble-free, compact, versatile, roomy, weatherproof, stable and even somewhat decorative.
Other objects will be in part apparent and in part pointed out specifically hereinafter in connection with the description of the drawings that follows, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view looking down and to the rightupon the frame alone in erected position;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 except to a smaller scale showing the entire'tent with the flaps across the entryway partly open;
FIG. 3 is still another perspective view to approximately the same scale as FIG. 1 showing the tent in folded condition ready to be stowed;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary detail showing the stop-forming connector located in the center of each subframe assembly that is used to join the sections of the diagonal struts together at the point where they intersect one another;
FIG. 5 is a diametrical section taken along line 55 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view to the same scale as FIGS. 4 and 5 showing one of the three-strut corners, the skin having been removed to expose the connector, strut ends, stretchable cords and tunnel-forming hems; and,
FIG. 7 is a side elevation of the corner of FIG. 6, again with some of the fabric removed to expose the interior construction.
Referring next to the drawings for a detailed description of the present invention and, initially, to FIGS. 1 and 2 for this purpose, reference numeral 10 has been chosen to designate the tent in its entirety while numeral 12 denotes its frame and 14 its skin, all in a general way. The frame 12 comprises a minimum of four and up to a maximum of six nearly identically constructed subframe assemblies, all of which have been broadly referred to by reference numeral 16 For purposes of differentiating between these several subframes, all of which can differ in both size and shape, that which defines the support for the right wall as one faces the entryway 18 has been further identified by adding the letter R thereto, thus becoming 16R. Similarly, the left subframe assembly becomes 16L, the back one 168 and the top 16T. In the particular embodiment illustrated herein which is the preferred form of the invention, the subframe assemblies that could be positioned in the area of the entryway 18 as well as in the floor area are both left out. Even so, the arch defined by sidewall subframes 16R and 16L plus 16T connecting same across the top define a rigid selfsupporting structure when the back subframe structure 168 is added thereto. 1
These subframe structures 16 comprise the primary building blocks of the tent frame 12 and each is a completely self-contained assembly despite the fact that they coact with one another to a degree when connected together and they also provide the only means by which the skin 14 is attached to the frame. Now, each of these subframes has a pair of rigid diagonally extending jointed struts 20 that intersect one another at connector 22 to which the sections thereof are pivotally attached for foldable movement from and extended overcenter relation into a side-by-side essentially parallel relation. When the struts are unfolded into their overcenter operative position shown in full lines in FIG. 1, they are releasably held thus extended by a stretchable cord 24 reeved from the remote end of one strut to the next until a closed more or less rectangular or trapezoidal loop 26 is formed therearound.
At this point it would, perhaps, be advisable to take shaped trough 32 adapted to receive the adjacent ends 34 of the strut sections 20 and hold same in position such that the jointed struts defined thereby intersect one another when unfolded as shown. Extending across the mouth of each branch of the X-shaped trough is a pivot pin 36 that hingedly mounts each of the strut sections 20 for movement between a folded and an unfolded position. In the bottom of each aligned branch of the X-shaped trough spaced radially outward from the pins 36 in the mouths thereof are stops 38 that cooperate with said pins to limit the arc through which the adjoining sections of each strut can swing from their folded into their fully unfolded position to slightly over More specifically, as can be seen most clearly in FIG. 5, the two sections 20 that cooperate to make up each of the jointed struts can be unfolded to a point where they pass a straight line relationship and assume what has been denominated herein as an overcenter" position where they bear an angular relationship to somewhere around 200 to 210, the specific angle not being particularly critical so long as it exceeds 180 and is less than a maximum of 220 or so,
The length of each portion of the strut sections 20 that extend inwardly toward the center of the X-shaped trough beyond the pivot pin 36 must, of necessity, be short enough to both clear the adjacent ends of the other strut sections and the bottom of the trough because, otherwise, they could not be folded into side-byside relation with respect to one another. Note also that the preferred form of connector 28 shown in FIGS. 1 and 5 has an integrally formed handle 40 on the face thereof opposite that which contains the X-shaped trough. This handle facilitates collapsing the tent by pulling the struts from their fully unfolded position (full lines in FIG. 1) back overcenter (broken lines in FIG. 1) and all the way to the fully-folded side-by-side relation shown in FIG. 3.
Next, with specific reference to FIGS. 1, 6 and 7, the manner in which each of the subframe assemblies 16 is releasably maintained in its fully unfolded position will be described in detail as well as how the several such subframes are interconnected at the corners thereof. The remote ends 42 of each tubular strut section are flattened as shown at 44 onto one end of a chain link 46 or the like prior to passing a bolt 48 therethrough to clamp the latter in place. The portion of link 46 that projects beyond the flattened strut end 42 defines an eye 50 through which the stretchable cord 24 is reeved before its opposite free ends 51 are tied together or otherwise terminated to define an endless loop that is under constant tension whenever the struts are fully unfolded. Cord 24 neednt be elastic so long as it is capable of stretching the small amount necessary to permit the fully unfolded struts to move into a coplanar relationship to one another as they pass to and fro overcenter. It should be apparent at this point that the tightly stretched cord loop will function to releasably maintain each of the several subframe assemblies in their fully unfolded overcenter position shown in full lines in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5 thus cooperating with the pins 36 and stops 38 to produce a rigid wall supporting structure. Alternatively, when moved back across center toward the folded position, this cord loop goes slack and allows the struts to fold until they assume the side-by-side relationship to one another that has been shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 also reveals thefact that the tent skin 14 is hemmed as indicated at 52 to define tunnels 54 through which the cord 24 is reeved to providethe connection between the skin and frame. These hemmed tunnels 54 border all four of the subframe assemblies, those located at the intersection of two such subframes carry ing one cord from each while the others carry only a single cord as can be seen from a comparison of FIGS. 1 and 2.
Before leaving FIGS. 6 and 7, detailed attention must be given to the corner connectors 56 by which the remote ends 42 of the struts are pivotally interconnected at each corner where two or three subframe assemblies meet. In the particular form shown, connector 56 comprises nothing more than a generally L-shaped bracket 58 welded to the chain link 46 on the remoteend of the roof-forming subframe assembly 16T, a clevis 60 on the downturned leg of said bracket, and a split-loop member 62 secured within the clevis in position to define two eyes '64 on each side thereof capable of being hooked through the eyes 50 on the upper remote ends of the sidewall and back wall struts. The same connector 56 is used regardless of whether two or three struts are to be pivotally interconnected. Connector 56 can,
of course, take other forms than that shown so long as it permits the struts to move from the corner-forming relation into a more or less parallel one. Apart fromthe fact that each of the several subframes can be of a different size and shape or both as will appear presently, it is because the remote ends of the roof-forming struts carry connectors 56 permanently fastened thereto that the subframe assembly l6T is considered to be slightly different from those that connect thereto and define the side and back walls; however, they all work exactly the same way even when of different size and shape.
Finally, with reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the complete tent is shown in fully erect as well as fully folded position. In erect position, the walls and roof backed up by the subframe assemblies are not truly planar, but instead, bulge outward slightly due to the overcenter relation of the struts-As shown, the entryway 18 is covered by openable flaps 66 that define a doorway. These flaps end up on the outside of the folded tent as seen in FIG. 3. A skirt 68 borders the bottom of the tent skin and provides a means for holding it down should the necessity arise.
In the particular form shown, all four walls are trapezoidal while the roof is rectangular thus producing a truncated pyramidal shape; however, the walls can, if desired, be rectangular or even square so that the tent assumes a more nearly cubical shape. In fact, the opposite sidewalls neednt be the same shape nor do they have to be the same shape as the back wall which means, of course, that the shape of the top is, likewise, not limited to a square or a rectangle. About the only essential requirements as to size are that the walls should all be roughly the same height and the linear dimensions between the corners at opposite ends of any two intersecting subframes must be equal to one another.
FIG. 3 illustrates how compact the tent folds when outside thereof. A few seconds spent smoothing out the folds and wrapping the flaps 66 around theoutside of the bundle thus formed completes the job.
What is claimed is:
1. The tent which comprises: at least four collapsible subframe assemblies pivotally interconnected at their common corners to define a roof frame bounded on at least three sides by upstanding wall frames, each of said subframes including a pair of diagonally extending inwardly folding jointed struts arranged in crossed relation,stop formingconnector means-located at the intersection of each strut pair hingedly interconnecting the jointed sections thereof together for limited relative pivotal movement between an inwardly folded one and a fullyunfolded position wherein the sections of each strut bear an angular relationship to one another that exceeds and is less than approximately 220,and means comprising a stretchable cord tensioned between the remote ends of adjacent strut sections in the same subframe, said cord defining a continuous generally rectangular loop therearound adapted to cooperate with the stop forming connector at the intersection thereof to releasably maintain same in fully unfolded position; and, a foldable fabric defining a covering for at least one of the subframes, said covering having the marginal areas thereof provided with loop-forming elements positioned and adapted to receive and retain the lengths of tensioned cord extending between the ends of the subframe strut sections thus producing a unitary assembly with the collapsible frame defined by the sub frames. I
2. The tent as set forth in claim 1 in which: the stop forming connector means comprises a plate with intersecting channels formed in one face thereof, each such channel. having a transversely extending pin in the. mouth thereof adjacent the intersection adapted to pivotally mount the inner end of a strut section and an up standing stop spaced radially outward from said pin, said stop and pin cooperating with one another and the like elements in the channel aligned therewith to maintain the sections of the strut fastened therein in fully extended position.
3. The tent as set forth in claim 1 in which: the front of the tent is left without a subframe; and, in which the covering extends over the top and down all four sides, that portion of the covering on the front being slit to define an entryway.
4. The tent as set forth in claim 1 in which: the stop forming connector means holds the strut sections at an angle of approximately 200 when fully extended.
5. The tent as set forth in claim 1 in which: the loop forming elements in the marginal areas of the covering comprise a double thickness of fabric stitched to define a tunnel-like passage sized to receive the cord.
6. The tent as set forth in claim 1 in which: the remote ends of adjacent strut sections in the roof frame are spaced apart the same distance as the corresponding remote strut section ends of the wall frames with which they pivotally connect at the common corners.
7. The tent as set forth in claim 1 in which: the covering includes skirt forming flaps along the bottom edge thereof adapted to lay out upon the ground and provide means for anchoring the tent down.
8. The subcombination of a collapsible free-standing tent frame for use with a foldable fabric canopy to define a tent which comprises: at least four collapsible subframe assemblies pivotally interconnected at their common corners to define a roof frame bounded on at least three sides by upstanding wall frames, each of said subframes including a pair of diagonally extending inwardly folding jointed struts arranged in crossed relation, stop forming connector means located at the intersection of each strut pair hingedly interconnecting the jointed sections thereof together for limited relative pivotal movement between an inwardly folded one and a fully unfolded position wherein the sections of each strut bear an angular relationship to one another that exceeds 180 and is less than approximately 220, and means comprising a stretchable cord tensioned between the remote ends of adjacent strut sections in the same subframe, said cord defining a continuous generally rectangular loop therearound adapted to cooperate with the stop forming connector at the intersection thereof to releasably maintain same in fully unfolded position.
9. The subcombination as set forth in claim 8 in which: the strut sections are tubular and partially flattened at the remote ends thereof to define an elongate opening; link means are fastened within said elongate openings in a manner to produce an eye on said remote end; and, the cord is reeved through said eyes.
10. The subcombination as set forth in claim 8 in tinuous which: the stop forming connector has a handle on the inside thereof.
11. The subcombination as set forth in claim 9 in which: rings threaded through the eyes of the strut sections at the common corners hingedly interconnect same for foldable movement between an unfolded position and a folded position in side-by-side relation.
12. The subframe for use in combination with three or more similar subframes to define a collapsible free standing tent frame which comprises: a pair of diagonally extending inwardly folding jointed struts arranged in crossed relation, stop forming connector means located at the intersection of each strut pair hingedly interconnecting the jointed sections thereof together for limited relative pivotal movement between an inwardly folded one and a fully unfolded position wherein the sections of each strut bear an angular relationship to one another that exceeds and is less than approximately 220, and means comprising a stretchable cord tensioned between the remote ends of adjacent strut sections in the same subframe, said cord defining a congenerally rectangular loop therearound adapted to cooperate with the stop forming connector at the intersection thereof to releasably maintain same in fully unfolded position.