ADJUSTABLE ROD ASSEMBLY

An adjustable rod assembly includes first and second rods and first and second support members. Each of the first and second rods has an end portion. Each support member has opposing first and second open ends, a cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, and a sliding assembly with a slider member mounted proximate the first open end. The first end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the first support member and the second end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the second support member. The first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

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Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An embodiment of the present invention relates generally to an adjustable rod, and more particularly, to an adjustable shower curtain rod assembly.

Adjustable rods, of both straight or curved configurations, for use as curtain or shower curtain rods are generally known. Curved shower curtain rods are advantageous in that they provide increased shower/bath space within a shower stall or bathtub enclosure for a user. However, conventional curved shower curtain rods also take up a large amount of space in the primary and remaining area of bathroom, and thus cannot be used in every bathroom.

It is therefore desirable to provide an adjustable rod assembly that can be selectively placed in an expanded position which provides increased spaced within a shower stall or bathtub enclosure, a retracted position which provides increased space within the primary area of a bathroom, or intermediate positions between the expanded and retracted positions.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly stated, one embodiment of the present invention is directed to an adjustable rod assembly comprising a first rod having a first telescoping portion and a first end portion and a second rod having a second telescoping portion and a second end portion, the second telescoping portion being telescopically mounted within the first telescoping portion. The assembly further comprises a first support member and a second support member, each of which is secured to opposing support surfaces and has opposing first and second open ends, a cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, and at least one sliding assembly mounted proximate the first open end. The sliding assembly has at least one slider member. The first end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the first support member and the second end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the second support member. The first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

Another embodiment of the present invention is directed to an adjustable rod assembly comprising a first tubular rod having a first telescoping portion and a first end portion and a second tubular rod having a second telescoping portion and a second end portion, the second telescoping portion being telescopically mounted within the first telescoping portion. The assembly further comprises a first support member and a second support member, each of which is secured to opposing support surfaces and has opposing first and second open ends, a generally cylindrical cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, a first roller assembly mounted proximate the first open end, and a second roller assembly mounted proximate the second open end. Each of the roller assemblies has a plurality of rollers spaced around a periphery of the generally cylindrical cavity. The first end portion is surrounded by the first and second roller assemblies of the first support member and is movably mounted within the generally cylindrical cavity of the first support member. The second end portion is surrounded by the first and second roller assemblies of the second support member and is movably mounted within the generally cylindrical cavity of the second support member. The first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention is directed to an adjustable rod assembly comprising a first rod having a first telescoping portion and a first end portion and a second rod having a second telescoping portion and a second end portion, the second telescoping portion being telescopically mounted within the first telescoping portion. The assembly further comprises a first support member and a second support member, each of which is secured to opposing support surfaces and has opposing first and second open ends, a cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, and at least one sliding assembly integrally formed with an open end of each of the first and second support members. The sliding assembly has at least one slider member. The first end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the first support member and the second end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the second support member. The first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

FIG. 1A is a right perspective view of an adjustable rod assembly in an expanded position in accordance with a first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1B is a right perspective view of the adjustable rod assembly shown in FIG. 1A in a retracted position;

FIG. 2 is a partially exploded right perspective view of the adjustable rod assembly shown in FIGS. 1A-1B;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged side perspective view of a support member of the adjustable rod assembly shown in FIGS. 1A-1B;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged exploded side perspective view of the support member shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a sliding assembly of the support member shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged side perspective view of a support member of an adjustable rod assembly in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of the support member of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. The words “right,” “left,” “top,” “bottom” and “lower” designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words “first,” “second,” “third” and “fourth” designate an order of operations in the drawings to which reference is made, but do not limit these steps to the exact order described. The words “inwardly” and “outwardly” refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the device and designated parts thereof. Unless specifically set forth herein, the terms “a,” “an” and “the” are not limited to one element, but instead should be read as meaning “at least one.” The terminology includes the words noted above, derivatives thereof and words of similar import. It should also be understood that the terms “about,” “approximately,” “generally,” “substantially” and like terms, used herein when referring to a dimension or characteristic of a component of the invention, indicate that the described dimension/characteristic is not a strict boundary or parameter and does not exclude minor variations therefrom that are functionally similar. At a minimum, such references that include a numerical parameter would include variations that, using mathematical and industrial principles accepted in the art (e.g., rounding, measurement or other systematic errors, manufacturing tolerances, etc.), would not vary the least significant digit.

Referring to the drawings in detail, wherein like numerals and characters indicate like elements throughout, there is shown in FIGS. 1A-5 a presently preferred first embodiment of an adjustable rod assembly in accordance with the present invention. With reference initially to FIGS. 1A-1B, the adjustable rod assembly preferably functions as an adjustable curtain rod assembly, generally designated 10.

With particular reference to FIGS. 1A-1B, the adjustable rod assembly 10 can be secured between two opposing support surfaces (not shown), such as bathroom walls. The adjustable rod assembly 10 can be used as a shower curtain rod, or as a standard curtain rod. More particularly, the adjustable rod assembly 10 comprises a generally curved or U-shaped rod 12 that may be positioned and maintained between two opposing support surfaces or walls, such as opposing shower/bath enclosure walls.

Referring to FIGS. 1A-2, the rod 12 comprises a first rod 14 that has a first telescoping portion 14a and a first end portion 14b and a second rod 16 that has a second telescoping portion 16a and a second end portion 16b. The first and second telescoping portions 14a, 16a may be formed separate from and removably or irremovably secured to the first and second end portions 14b, 16b, respectively, by any known means or mechanisms. Alternatively, the first and second telescoping portions 14a, 16a may be formed integrally with the first and second end portions 14b, 16b, respectively.

The first and second telescoping portions 14a, 16a are preferably at least slightly accurate or curved and the first and second end portions 14b, 16b are preferably generally straight. Preferably, the outer diameter of the first rod 14 is at least slightly smaller than the inner diameter of the second rod 16, such that first rod 14 is telescopingly received within the second rod 16 in a reasonably tight fit. More particularly, in an assembled configuration, the first telescoping portion 14a is telescopically mounted within the second telescoping portion 16a. When assembled, the first and second rods 14, 16 form an at least slightly convex center segment and the first and second end portions 14b, 16b extend inwardly toward the direction of convexity (i.e., toward a bathtub or shower stall, which are not shown). Though the second rod 16 preferably receives the first rod 14, it is within the spirit and scope of the present invention that the opposite configuration be used. The telescopic movement of the first rod 14 relative to the second rod 16 permits modification of the overall length of the rod 12 to adapt to different sized bathtubs or shower stalls. One or more fasteners, such as screws, pins, bolts and the like may be used to fixedly secure the first rod 14 to the second rod 16 once the desired length has been achieved.

The first and second rods 14, 16 preferably include first and second telescoping ends 14c, 16c, respectively. The first telescoping end 14c of the first telescoping portion 14a is the end opposite the first end portion 14b of the first rod 14 and the second telescoping end 16c of the second telescoping portion 16a is the end opposite the second end portion 16b of the second rod 16. A sleeve 18 is preferably mounted between the first and second telescoping ends 14c, 16c, and more preferably receives the first telescoping end 14c of the first rod 14 to accommodate the telescopic or sliding movement of the first rod 14 relative to the second rod 16. The sleeve 18 is preferably comprised of a polymeric material but it is within the spirit and scope of the present invention that the sleeve 18 be comprised of any material for assisting in securing the first and second rods 14, 16 to each other. The sleeve 18 may also be formed integrally with one of the first or second rods 14, 16, may be a separate component, or may be omitted entirely.

Distal ends 14d, 16d of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b of the first and second rods 14, 16, respectively, are preferably generally open and hollow, and a plug 20 is preferably received within each distal end 14d, 16d to close the open and hollow ends. The plugs 20 are preferably removably mountable in the open and hollow distal ends 14d, 16d of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b and are preferably comprised of polymeric material. In another embodiment, the plugs 20 may be integrally formed with the open and hollow distal ends 14d, 16d of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b or caps (not shown) may be substituted for the plugs 20.

In one embodiment, the first and second rods 14, 16 are preferably generally hollow and are preferably made from a metal, and more preferably a non-corrosive metal, such as cold-rolled steel, stainless steel, aluminum, chrome or nickel or alloys or combinations thereof. However, it will be understood that the first and second rods 12, 14 may alternatively be constructed using wood, a polymeric material (e.g., plastic), acrylic, or a like strong, lightweight material or a combination of materials. The first and second rods 14, 16 may also be coated with any type of known coating for applying a non-corrosive finish to the rod 12.

In one embodiment, the first and second rods 14, 16 are both preferably generally cylindrical in shape with a circular cross section. More preferably, the first and second rods 14, 16 are both preferably generally tubular and hollow. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that any other suitable cross-sectional shape may be used, including oval, square, rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, and the like.

Referring to FIGS. 1A-2, the adjustable rod assembly 10 further comprises a first support member 22 and a second support member 24. Preferably, the first and second support members 22, 24 are mounted to opposing support surfaces, such as opposing wall surfaces (not shown). The first end and second support members 22, 24 are preferably made from a lightweight, high strength material, such as aluminum or steel, but could be made of other materials, such as a polymeric material, chrome or nickel, or alloys or combinations thereof, but may also be constructed using wood, plastic, acrylic, or a like strong, lightweight material or a combination of materials without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Preferably, first and second support members 22, 24 are made from the same material as the first and second rods 14, 16. One or both of the first and second support members 22, 24 may also optionally be provided with a decorative cover 26.

The first support member 22 is preferably generally identical to and a mirror image of the second support member 24. For convenience in the description and clarity in the drawings, the same reference numerals are used to describe and identify different components of each of the first and second support members 22, 24.

Referring to FIGS. 2-3, each of the first and second support members 22, 24 has a base plate 28 and a cover plate 34. The base plate 28 and the cover plate 34 may be formed separately and removably or irremovably secured together to the form each support member 22, 24. Alternatively, the base plate 28 and the cover plate 34 may be formed integrally to the form each support member 22, 24.

The base plate 28 is generally planar or flat and has a first, rear face 28a configured to contact a support surface and an opposing second, front face 28b. It will be understood that the base plate 28, and more particularly the front face 28b of the base plate 28, may be slightly arcuate as necessary to conform to the shape of the first and second rods 14, 16. The base plate 28 also preferably includes one or more apertures 50 configured to receive a fastener (not shown) to secure the first and second support members 22, 24 to opposing support surfaces. It will be understood that the base plates 28 could be secured to the support surfaces in some other manner, such as by the use of an adhesive or tension.

The cover plate 34 preferably has a shape that conforms to the shape of the first and second rods 14, 16. In one embodiment, the cover plate 34 preferably has a generally curved or arcuate shape to conform with the generally tubular shape of the first and second rods 14, 16. More particularly, the cover plate 34 has a generally arcuate or curved first end 34a and an opposing generally arcuate or curved second end 34b. In one embodiment, the body of the cover plate 34 includes an aperture or opening 36 extending between the opposing arcuate first and second ends 34a, 34b.

Each of the first and second support members 22, 24 has a first generally open end 30 and an opposing second generally open end 32. The first generally open end 30 corresponds to the first arcuate end 34a of the cover plate 34 and the second generally open end 32 corresponds to the second arcuate end 34b of the cover plate 34. Each of the first and second support members 22, 24 further includes a cavity 38 extending between the opposing and generally open first and second ends 30, 32. The shapes and dimensions of the first and second ends 30, 32 and the cavity 38 are generally dictated by the shape and dimensions of the assembled base plate 28 and cover plate 34. Preferably, the cavity 38 of the first and second support members 22, 24 is generally U-shaped or cylindrical. Preferably, at least proximate the first and second ends 30, 32 of the first and second support members 22, 24, the cavity 38 is generally cylindrical in shape. Preferably, the dimensions (e.g., diameter) of the cavity 38 are at least slightly larger than the dimensions (e.g., diameter) of the first and second rods 14, 16, such that the first end portion 14b of the first rod 14 is slidable within the cavity 38 of the first support member 22 and the second end portion 16b of the second rod 16 is slidable within the cavity 38 of the second support member 24.

Referring to FIGS. 3-5, each of the first and second support members 22, 24 also includes at least a first sliding assembly 40 positioned or mounted proximate the first open end 30. More preferably, the first sliding assembly 40 is removably or irremovably inserted or otherwise secured within the interior periphery of the first open end 30. In one embodiment, each of the first and second support members 22, 24 also includes at least a second sliding assembly 42 positioned or mounted proximate the second open end 32. More preferably, the second sliding assembly 42 is removably or irremovably inserted or otherwise secured within the interior periphery of the second open end 32. In one embodiment, the first sliding assembly 40 is preferably mounted within a distal edge 30a of the first open end 30 of the first support member 22 and the second sliding assembly 42 is preferably mounted within a distal edge 32a of the second open end 32 of the second support member 24.

The first sliding assembly 40 is preferably generally identical to and a mirror image of the second sliding assembly 42. For convenience in the description and clarity in the drawings, the same reference numerals are used to describe and identify different components of each of the first and second sliding assemblies 40, 42.

Referring to FIGS. 3-5, each sliding assembly 40, 42 has a body 46. When positioned within the first and second open ends 30, 32, an exterior surface of the body 46 of each sliding assembly 40, 42 is in direct contact with an interior surface of the first and second open ends 30, 32 of the first and second support members 22, 24. An interior surface of the body 46 is preferably defined by a centrally located cavity or opening 48 extending through the body 46. Preferably, the body 46 is of a shape that generally conforms with the shapes of the first and second open ends 30, 32 of the first and second support members 22, 24 and the cavity 48 is of a shape that generally conforms with the shapes of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b of the first and second rods 14, 16. In one embodiment, the body 46 and cavity 48 of each sliding assembly 40, 42 are preferably generally cylindrical in shape and the generally cylindrical cavity 48 has an inner diameter that is at least slightly greater than an outer diameter of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b of the first and second rods 14, 16, respectively.

Each sliding assembly 40, 42 preferably includes at least one slider member 44, and more preferably a plurality of spaced-apart slider members 44, positioned on a periphery of the body 46 surrounding the cavity 48. The slider member 44 may be any element that facilitates movement or sliding of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b of the first and second rods 14, 16 within and through the cavity 48 of the sliding assembly 40, 42. More particularly, in an assembled configuration of the adjustable rod assembly 10, at least a portion of the first end portion 14b of the first rod 14 is received and movably mounted within the cavity 48 of the first support member 22 and at least a portion of the second end portion 16b of the second rod 16 is received and movably mounted within the cavity 48 of the second support member 24.

As such, the first end portion 14b is at least partially surrounded by the first and second sliding assemblies 40, 42 of the first support member 22 and the second end portion 16b is at least partially surrounded by the first and second sliding assemblies 40, 42 of the second support member 24, such that the first end portion 14b is movable (and more preferably slidable) within the cavity 48 of the first support member 22 and the second end portion 16b is movable (and more preferably slidable) within the cavity 48 of the second support member 24. More preferably, the first and second rods 14, 16 are movable relative to the first and second support members 22, 24 in a first direction away from the first and second support members 22, 24 and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction. The first direction is depicted in FIGS. 1A-1B by Arrow A and the second direction is depicted in FIGS. 1A-1B by Arrow B.

Thus, in the assembled configuration shown in FIGS. 1A-1B, each slider member 44 of the first and second sliding assemblies 40, 42 of the first support member 22 contacts (preferably directly) an exterior surface of the first end portion 14b of the first rod 14 to facilitate movement of the first rod 14 into (i.e., toward) and out of (i.e., away from) the first support member 22. Similarly, each slider member 44 of the first and second sliding assemblies 40, 42 of the second support member 24 contacts (preferably directly) an exterior surface of the second end portion 16b of the second rod 16 to facilitate movement of the second rod 16 into (i.e., toward) and out of (i.e., away from) the second support member 24.

In one embodiment, each slider member 44 is a mechanical element that facilitates movement or sliding of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b. For example, the slider member 44 may be a washer (preferably a Teflon® washer), a ball bearing, a wheel, a roller and the like. The plurality of slider members 44 may also be a combination of such elements. It will also be understood that the sliding member 44 of the first and second sliding assemblies 40, 42 need not be a mechanical element, but rather may be a chemical element, such as a non-stick (e.g., Teflon®) coating providing on an interior of the body 46 surrounding the cavity 48.

In one embodiment, each sliding assembly 40, 42 is a roller assembly and each slider member 44 is a roller, ball or ball bearing, as shown in FIGS. 3-5, which moves or rolls along the exterior surfaces of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b to facilitate movement (and more particularly sliding) of the first and second rods 14, 16 into (i.e., toward) and out of (i.e., away from) the first and second support members 22, 24. Each roller 44 is received or inserted within a recess, indentation or cutout 50 formed in the body 46 of each sliding assembly 40, 42, and is freely rotatable with respect to the body 46 of each sliding assembly 40, 42. Each roller 44 may be removably or irremovably secured within a respective recess 50 by any known or conventional means, such as by the use of an adhesive, or may be fit within a respective recess 50 by a snap fit, press fit, interference fit, or the like. Also, a portion of each roller 44 preferably projects at least slightly into the cavity 48.

Preferably, the rollers 44 are circumferentially spaced apart along the periphery of the body 46 surrounding the cavity 48. More preferably, each roller 44 is spaced approximately 45° away from and relative to an adjacent roller 44. When each sliding assembly 40, 42 is inserted within the respective first and second open ends 30, 32 of the first and second support members 22, 24, the spaced-apart rollers 44 are preferably received within corresponding spaced-apart recesses, indentations or cutouts 52 formed in the periphery of each open end 30, 32. Each sliding assembly 40, 42 may be removably or irremovably secured within the respective first and second open ends 30, 32 by any known or conventional means, such as by the use of an adhesive, or may be fit therein by a snap fit, press fit, interference fit, or the like.

Referring to FIGS. 1A-2, in one embodiment, the first rod 14, and more particularly the first end portion 14b, preferably includes a first projection or protrusion 54 which projects radially outwardly from an exterior surface of the first rod 14 and the second rod 16, and more particularly the second end portion 16b, preferably includes a second projection or protrusion 56 which projects radially outwardly from an exterior surface of the second rod 16. Preferably, in the assembled configuration of the adjustable rod assembly 10, the first projection 54 is located on the first end portion 14b between the first support member 22 and the telescoping portion 14a of the first rod 14 and the second projection 56 is located on the second end portion 16b between the second support member 24 and the telescoping portion 16a of the second rod 16.

Preferably, the first rod 14, and more particularly the first end portion 14b, includes a third projection or protrusion 58 which projects radially outwardly from an exterior surface of the first rod 14 and the second rod 16, and more particularly the second end portion 16b, includes a fourth projection or protrusion 60 which projects radially outwardly from an exterior surface of the second rod 16. Preferably, in the assembled configuration of the adjustable rod assembly 10, the third projection 58 is located between the first support member 22 and the distal end 14d of the first end portion 14b of the first rod 14 and the fourth projection 60 is located between the second support member 24 and the distal end 16d of the second end portion 16b of the second rod 16.

As such, the first and second projections 54, 56 limit movement of the first and second rods 14, 16 in the second direction (i.e., toward the first and second end support members 22, 24 and toward the shower stall/bath enclosure which are not shown) and the third and fourth projections 58, 60 limit movement of the first and second rods 14, 16 in the first direction (i.e., away from the first and second support members 22, 24 and away from the shower stall/bath enclosure which are not shown). Specifically, once the first ends 30 of the first and second support members 22, 24, which are stationary and mounted between opposing support surfaces, contact the first and second projections 54, 56, respectively, the first and second rods 14, 16 cannot move any further in the second direction to reduce the overall area encompassed by the rod 12. Similarly, once the second ends 32 of the stationary and mounted first and second support members 22, 24 contact the third and fourth projections 58, 60, respectively, the first rod and second rods 14, 16 cannot move any further in the first direction to increase the overall area encompassed by the rod 12.

Thus, collectively, the projections 54, 56, 58, 60 determine the overall length or distance of travel of the rod 12. Specifically, the allowable length or distance of travel of the rod 12 is dependent upon and pre-determined by the positioning of the first, second, third and fourth projections 54, 56, 58, 60, and more particularly by the distance between the first and third projections 54, 58 and the distance between the second and fourth projections 56, 60. Preferably, the projections 54, 56, 58, 60 are provided at positions, such that the rod 12 can move a distance of approximately 6 inches in either the first or second directions. However, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the projections 54, 56, 58, 60 may be provided at any positions along the length of the first and second rods 14, 16, depending upon the desired overall length/distance of travel of the rod 12.

Also, the rod 12 has a retracted position (as shown in FIG. 1B), which is attained by moving the rod 12, and more particularly the first and second rods 14, 16, in the second direction toward the first and second support members 22, 24 until the first ends 30 of the first and second support members 22, 24 contact the first and second projections 54, 56, respectively. Similarly, the rod 12 has an expanded position (as shown in FIG. 1A), which is attained by moving the rod 12, and more particularly the first and second rods 14, 16, in the first direction away from the first and second support members 22, 24 until the second ends 32 of the first and second support members 22, 24 contact the third and fourth projections 58, 60, respectively.

The projections 54, 56, 58, 60 may be any part of a fastener, a screw, a rivet, a bolt or the like. In one embodiment, the first and second rods 14, 16 are preferably provided with respective apertures (not shown) configured to receive the respective projections 54, 56, 58, 60 therethrough so that the projections 54, 56, 58, 60 may be affixed to the first and second rods 14, 16. In another embodiment, the projections 54, 56, 58, 60 may be integrally formed or welded with the exterior surfaces of the first and second rods 14, 16. In addition, other elements may be used to limit movement of the first and second rods 14, 16 relative to the first and second support members 22, 24.

In an assembled configuration of the adjustable rod assembly 10, the first telescoping end 14a of the first rod 14 is positioned within the second telescoping end 16a of the second rod 16, such that the first and second rods 14, 16 are telescopingly configured; portions of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b are positioned within the respective first and second support members 22, 24; the first support member 22 is positioned between the first and third projections 54, 58; and the second support member 24 is positioned between the second and fourth projections 56, 60 As such, the rod 12 is movable or slidable away from the first and second support members 22, 24 to the expanded or partially expanded positions and toward the first and second support members 22, 24 to the retracted or partially retracted positions.

FIGS. 6-7 show a second embodiment of the adjustable rod assembly 110. The reference numerals of the second embodiment are distinguishable from those of the first embodiment by a factor of one-hundred (100), but otherwise indicate the same elements as indicated in the above-described first embodiment, except as otherwise specified. The adjustable rod assembly 110 of the second embodiment is substantially similar to that of the first embodiment. The description of certain similarities between the embodiments may be omitted herein for the sake of brevity and convenience, and, therefore, is not limiting. The rods 14, 16 of the first embodiment are employed in the second embodiment.

A distinguishing feature of the second embodiment is that the first and second sliding assemblies 140, 142 are integrally formed with each of the first and second support members 122, 124 at their first and second open ends 130, 132, respectively. As the first and second sliding assemblies 140, 142 are generally identical to one another, the same reference numerals are used to describe and identify different components thereof.

Referring to FIGS. 6-7, each sliding assembly 140, 142 generally defines a centrally located cavity or opening 148 extending therethrough having a shape that generally conforms with the shapes of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b of the first and second rods 14, 16. Each sliding assembly 140, 142 includes at least one slider member 144, and more preferably a plurality of angularly spaced-apart slider members 144, integrally formed therewith, and projecting radially inwardly into the cavity 148. Preferably, the slider members 144 are circumferentially spaced apart along the periphery of the sliding assemblies 140, 142 surrounding the cavities 148. In the illustrated embodiment, each slider member 144 is spaced approximately 45° away from and relative to an adjacent slider member 144.

As shown in FIG. 7, each slider member 144 of the first and second sliding assemblies 140, 142 defines a generally arcuate rib 144a projecting radially inwardly into the cavity 148, dimensioned to contact an exterior surface of the first end portion 14b of the first rod 14 and the second end portion 16b of the second rod 16, respectively. The slider members 144 include a chemical element provided on the arcuate ribs 144a thereof, such as, for example, a non-stick, friction-reducing (e.g., Teflon®) coating providing to minimize friction and facilitate movement or sliding of the first and second end portions 14b, 16b of the first and second rods 14, 16 within and through the cavity 148 of the sliding assemblies 140, 142. However, as should be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art, the slider members 144 may alternatively include mechanical elements, integrally formed therewith that facilitate movement or sliding, such as, for example, a washer, a roller, a ball or ball bearing, a wheel, or a combination thereof. In an assembled configuration, the adjustable rod assembly of the second embodiment 110 operates substantially the same as the adjustable rod assembly 10, as described above.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.

Claims

1. An adjustable rod assembly comprising:

a first rod having a first telescoping portion and a first end portion;
a second rod having a second telescoping portion and a second end portion, the second telescoping portion being telescopically mounted within the first telescoping portion;
a first support member and a second support member, each of the first and second support members being secured to opposing support surfaces and having opposing first and second open ends, a cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, and at least one sliding assembly mounted proximate the first open end, the sliding assembly having at least one slider member,
wherein the first end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the first support member and the second end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the second support member, and
wherein the first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

2. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein each slider member of the sliding assembly of the first support member directly contacts an exterior surface of the first end portion to facilitate movement into and out of the first support member and each slider member of the sliding assembly of the second support member directly contacts an exterior surface of the second end portion to facilitate movement into and out of the second support member.

3. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein the sliding assembly of the first and second support members has a body with a cavity extending therethrough, the slider member being positioned on a periphery of the body surrounding the cavity.

4. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein the sliding assembly of the first and second support members is a roller assembly and the at least one slider member is a roller.

5. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 4, wherein the roller assembly of the first and second support members has a plurality of spaced-apart rollers.

6. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 5, wherein the roller assembly of the first and second support members has a body with a cavity extending therethrough, the rollers being spaced-apart along a periphery of the body surrounding the cavity.

7. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 6, wherein the body and cavity of the roller assembly of the first and second support members are generally cylindrical, an inner diameter of each generally cylindrical cavity being at least slightly greater than an outer diameter of the first and second end portions such that the first end portion is slidable within the generally cylindrical cavity of the roller assembly of the first support member and the second end portion is slidable within the cavity of the roller assembly of the second support member.

8. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 6, wherein each roller of the roller assembly of the first and second support members is circumferentially spaced approximately 45° relative to an adjacent roller.

9. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein the sliding assembly is mounted at a distal edge of the first open end of each of the first and second support members.

10. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein a second sliding assembly is mounted proximate the second open end of each of the first and second support members, the second sliding assembly having at least slider member.

11. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 10, wherein the second sliding assembly is a roller assembly having a plurality of spaced-apart rollers, each roller of the second roller assembly of the first support member directly contacting and rolling along an exterior surface of the first end portion and each roller of the second roller assembly of the second support member directly contacting and rolling along an exterior surface of the second end portion.

12. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 11, wherein the second roller assembly of the first and second support members has a body with a cavity extending therethrough, the rollers being spaced-apart along a periphery of the body surrounding the cavity.

13. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 12, wherein the body and cavity of the second roller assembly of the first and second support members are generally cylindrical, an inner diameter of each generally cylindrical cavity being at least slightly greater than an outer diameter of the first and second end portions such that the first end portion is slidable within the generally cylindrical cavity of the second roller assembly of the first support member and the second end portion is slidable within the cavity of the second roller assembly of the second support member.

14. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 12, wherein each roller of the second roller assembly is radially spaced approximately 45° relative to an adjacent roller.

15. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 10, wherein the second roller assembly is mounted at a distal edge of the second open end of each of the first and second support members.

16. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein the first end portion is slidable within the cavity of the first support member and the second end portion is slidable within the cavity of the second support member.

17. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second end portions are generally straight.

18. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second telescoping portions form an at least slightly convex segment and the first and second end portions extend inwardly toward the direction of convexity.

19. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 1, further comprising a first projection extending outwardly from an exterior surface of the first end portion and a second projection extending outwardly from an exterior surface of the second end portion, the first and second projections limiting movement of the first and second rods in the second direction.

20. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 19, further comprising a third projection extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the first end portion at a position spaced apart from the first projection and a fourth projection extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the second end portion at a position spaced apart from the second projection, the third and fourth projections limiting movement of the first and second rods in the first direction.

21. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 20, wherein the first support member is positioned between the first and third projections and the second support member is positioned between the second and fourth projections.

22. An adjustable rod assembly comprising:

a first tubular rod having a first telescoping portion and a first end portion;
a second tubular rod having a second telescoping portion and a second end portion, the second telescoping portion being telescopically mounted within the first telescoping portion;
a first support member and a second support member, each of the first and second support members being secured to opposing support surfaces and having opposing first and second open ends, a generally cylindrical cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, a first roller assembly mounted proximate the first open end, and a second roller assembly mounted proximate the second open end, each of the roller assemblies having a plurality of rollers spaced around a periphery of the generally cylindrical cavity,
wherein the first end portion is surrounded by the first and second roller assemblies of the first support member and is movably mounted within the generally cylindrical cavity of the first support member,
wherein the second end portion is surrounded by the first and second roller assemblies of the second support member and is movably mounted within the generally cylindrical cavity of the second support member, and
wherein the first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

23. An adjustable rod assembly comprising:

a first rod having a first telescoping portion and a first end portion;
a second rod having a second telescoping portion and a second end portion, the second telescoping portion being telescopically mounted within the first telescoping portion;
a first support member and a second support member, each of the first and second support members being secured to opposing support surfaces and having opposing first and second open ends, a cavity extending between the opposing first and second open ends, and at least one sliding assembly integrally formed with an open end of each of the first and second support members, the sliding assembly having at least one slider member,
wherein the first end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the first support member and the second end portion is at least partially surrounded by the sliding assembly and movably mounted in the cavity of the second support member, and
wherein the first and second rods are movable relative to the first and second support members in a first direction away from the first and second support members and a second direction which is opposite to the first direction.

24. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 23, wherein the at least one slider member is integrally formed with the at least one sliding assembly of the first and second support members.

25. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 24, wherein the at least one slider member comprises a generally arcuate rib projecting radially inwardly into the respective cavity, having a friction reducing coating thereon to facilitate movement into and out of the first and second support members.

26. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 24, wherein the at least one sliding assembly of each of the first and second support members comprises a first sliding assembly at the respective first open end and a second sliding assembly at the respective second open end.

27. The adjustable rod assembly of claim 26, wherein each of the first and second sliding assemblies of the first and second support members comprises a plurality of slider members circumferentially spaced approximately 45° apart along a periphery of the respective cavity.

Patent History
Publication number: 20150297038
Type: Application
Filed: Apr 22, 2014
Publication Date: Oct 22, 2015
Applicant: Zenith Products Corporation (New Castle, DE)
Inventor: Joseph VACCARO (West Chester, PA)
Application Number: 14/258,546
Classifications
International Classification: A47K 3/38 (20060101);