Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 21)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on October 25, 2006

JW Note:  In light of the upcoming Halloween, I considered this an appropriate “TIW?”.  Enjoy!

U.S. Pat. No. 6,725,510:  Inclining coffin.

 coffin 

What is claimed is:

1. A coffin, comprising: a pair of longitudinally extending side walls, each having a top edge and a lower edge, a pair of end walls extending substantially perpendicularly between the side walls, the side walls and end walls together defining an internal volume for containing a deceased person, the side walls divided transversely by a seam to define a first longitudinal portion and a second longitudinal portion, the top edge and lower edge are substantially planar between the first longitudinal portion and second longitudinal portion when the coffin is selectively in a planar position; a pair of inclination hinges, each mounted at the top edge between the first longitudinal portion and a second longitudinal portion, the inclination hinges allow the first longitudinal portion to enter an inclined position wherein the first longitudinal portion is inclined with respect to the second longitudinal portion, creating an angular gap with an origin at the top edge; a bracing assembly for selectively maintaining the first longitudinal portion in the inclined position; and a mechanism for selectively concealing the angular gap.

2. The coffin as recited in claim 1, wherein the mechanism for selectively concealing the angular gap are bellows mounted between the first longitudinal portion and second longitudinal portion at the seam therebetween.

3. The coffin as recited in claim 2, wherein each of the side walls has an inner side wall and an outer side wall, and defines a hollow that is open at the seam; wherein the bracing assembly extends within the hollow and is attached to both the first longitudinal portion and second longitudinal portion; and wherein the bellows extend between the outer side walls adjacent the seam to conceals the hollow and thereby conceal the bracing assembly extending within the hollow and between the first and second longitudinal portions.

4. The coffin as recited in claim 3, further comprising a pair of lower brackets, extending against the lower edge between the first and second longitudinal portions when the coffin is in the planar position, for selectively preventing the first longitudinal portion from inclining during transport of the coffin.

5. The coffin as recited in claim 4, wherein the lower bracket is rigidly attached to one of the first and the second longitudinal portions, and is selectively attachable to the other of the first and second longitudinal portions once the first longitudinal portion has been lowered to the planar position to facilitate safe transport of the coffin.

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