The family spent a few hours setting up our Christmas tree yesterday. It took a lot of time, from sorting out the parts (it’s artificial) to stringing the lights to hanging ornaments. It got me thinking how nice it would be to have a tree that folded up like an upside-down umbrella. I mean, if you’re going for an artificial tree, might as well add convenience, right?
A quick search on The Google tells me some enterprising chap patented just what I was thinking back in 1974. Norbert Thiemann came up with a collapsible Christmas tree and was granted U.S. patent 3846213. I’m not aware of Mr. Thiemann’s invention actually being used anywhere.
More searching shows collapsible Christmas tree designs have earned a lot of patents. U.S. Patent 7267852 by Wanda Rosado and Luis Leon Perez is for a Christmas tree that folds up like an umbrella:
A collapsible artificial Christmas tree that opens and an umbrella has an elongate trunk with a branch hinge connected to a trunk. A tree branch is rotatably connected to a branch hinge. A slide ring is slidably connected to the trunk. A branch lift rod is rotatably connected to the slide ring. The branch lift rod is rotatably connected to the tree branch for moving the tree branch when the slide moves on the trunk.
I’m not sure what “slidably” or “rotatably” mean but they sure sound like good patent words!