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Publication numberUS20020109384 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/075,034
Publication dateAug 15, 2002
Filing dateFeb 12, 2002
Priority dateFeb 12, 2001
Also published asCN1375252A, DE10106792A1, EP1230876A1
Publication number075034, 10075034, US 2002/0109384 A1, US 2002/109384 A1, US 20020109384 A1, US 20020109384A1, US 2002109384 A1, US 2002109384A1, US-A1-20020109384, US-A1-2002109384, US2002/0109384A1, US2002/109384A1, US20020109384 A1, US20020109384A1, US2002109384 A1, US2002109384A1
InventorsEckhard Hansen
Original AssigneeEckhard Hansen
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article of furniture for sitting
US 20020109384 A1
Abstract
An article of furniture for sitting has a seat element, a back, a support frame having a support and a mechanical structure for transmitting a movement, which connects the support in a rear seat region with the seat element, at least one spring element displacing the seat element in an abutment or return position, the spring element being formed as a front mounting for the seat element and supported on the support which is stationary, the spring element in addition to known restoring function also determining a guidance of the seat element in its front region.
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Claims(19)
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
1. An article of furniture for sitting, comprising a seat element; a back; a support frame having a support and a mechanical means for transmitting a movement, which connects said support in a rear seat region with said seat element; at least one spring element displacing said seat element in an abutment or return position, said spring element being formed as a front mounting means for said seat element and supported on said support which is stationary, said spring element in addition to known restoring function also determining a guidance of said seat element in its front region.
2. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said mechanical means for transmitting a movement include lever means.
3. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said mechanical means for transmitting a movement include guide means.
4. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element is formed as a leaf spring which is tensioned at one side.
5. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 4, wherein said leaf spring extends in a seat direction.
6. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element has an adjustable spring force.
7. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 3, wherein said spring has a support point, said leaf spring being adjustable by displacing said support point.
8. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 3, wherein said leaf spring has a spring force which is adjustable by changing a distance between individual leaves of said leaf spring.
9. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element is formed as a helical spring.
10. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element is formed as a rubber element.
11. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element is formed as a metal rubber element.
12. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element is formed as a hydraulic cushion.
13. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said spring element is formed as a pneumatic cushion.
14. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1; and further comprising a back support which is connected with said means for transmitting movement, said back being mounted on said back support.
15. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said back is mounted on said seat element; and further comprising a transition region provided between said back and said seat element.
16. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 15, wherein said transition region is springy.
17. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 15, wherein said transition region is elastic.
18. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 15, wherein said back and said seat element together form a seat shell.
19. A sitting article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein said seat element has a rest member and a base plate which are displaceable relative to one another.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to articles of furniture, and in particular to an article of furniture for sitting.

[0002] The German patent document DE 196 07 136 A1 discloses a chair with a so-called synchronizing mechanical system. The synchronizing mechanical system is used for backing in the chair and, in addition to a tilting movement of the back rearwardly, provides the lowering of the seat element in a rear seating region which is close to the back and lifting the seating element in a front seat region which is remove from the back. Therefore the sitting person during backing has the feeling of sliding into the chair and not the filling of sliding from the chair. With a spring element which acts on a suspension arranged in the front seat region on the seat element, the seat element is adjusted in an initial position. Against the force which must hold the seat element in the back in the initial position, the sitting person must apply a force against the back and against the spring element for reaching a back tilting of the chair or a change in angular position of the seat element. A movement of the seat element is possible substantially only by loading or unloading of the back. The front region of the seat element is in a fixed predetermined position when the back is unloaded. The movements of the seat element are provided by levers and/or guides. It is believed to be advisable to further improve the existing chairs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Accordingly, it is an object of present invention to provide an article of furniture for sitting which avoids the disadvantages of the prior art.

[0004] More particularly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an article of furniture for sitting which in addition to the comfort provided by the synchronizing mechanical system provides further comfort properties in the region of the seat element and a simplified construction of the synchronizing mechanical system.

[0005] In keeping with these objects and with others which will become apparent hereinafter, one feature of the present invention resides, briefly stated, in an article of furniture for sitting, comprising a seat element; a back; a support frame having a support and a mechanical means for transmitting a movement, which connects said support in a rear seat region with said seat element; at least one spring element displacing said seat element in an abutment or return position, said spring element being formed as a front mounting means for said seat element and supported on said support which is stationary, said spring element in addition to known restoring function also determining a guidance of said seat element in its front region.

[0006] The article of furniture for sitting in accordance with the present invention has front mounting means for the seat element which is formed as a spring element supported on a stationary support part, wherein the spring element takes over, in addition to the known restoring function, also the guidance of the seat element in its front region. Thereby the components which are required for holding and guiding the spring element as disclosed in the German patent document DE 196 07 136 A1 in the chair with a synchronizing mechanical system are no longer necessary to guide the force of the spring and to control a part of the movement course of the seat element.

[0007] Furthermore such a double function or double functions of the spring increase the comfort or the suitability of the chair for persons with any size and any body weight. This results from the fact that the opening angle between the seat element and the back due to the construction of the inventive spring element is no longer determinable alone by the size of the force against the back and thereby the inclination of the chair. An increase of the opening angle between the seat element and the back which often is desired for heavier persons with a greater body volume can be adjusted now substantially automatically in that the person with a greater body weight and a greater body volume applies a greater force to the spring element and in contrast to the known spring element in the German patent document DE 196 07 136 A1 it has the freedom to deviate in a substantially perpendicular direction. Thereby the seat element is tilted forwardly or sinks in a forward region and obtains independently from the position unloading of the back an increase opening angle between the back and the seat element. In addition to this comfort for the person with a greater body weight and a greater body volume, a further advantage is provided for a person which sits in the front region of the seat element. Such a sitting position is often assumed by persons who operate at a computer. In such a working position it has been found as advantageous when the seat surface is inclined slightly forwardly. This orientation of the seating means is also provided by the additional freedom of the inventive spring element. The person which is loaded in such a seat position of the seat element presses with a small body weight the center of gravity of the body located in this position substantially over the front edge of the seat element the spring element downwardly, so that it adjusts the desired inclination of the seat element forwardly. This position of the seat element facilitates and favors a favorable body hold from the medical point of view, in which the pelvis of the sitting person is tilted forwardly.

[0008] In accordance with another advantageous embodiment of the invention, the spring element is formed as a leaf spring which extends and is bent preferably in a seat direction. A leaf spring, in other words an individual leaf spring or a leaf spring pack satisfies the requirements of the spring element in an ideal fashion, since the bent leaf spring applies passing forces in the both required directions. On the one hand the leaf spring acts upwradly. Thereby the seat element is lifted or held in the front region. On the other hand the leaf spring acts forwardly in seat direction. Thereby the seat element is loaded with a force forwardly and thereby acts for lowering of the rear seat region. Thereby the leaf spring holds the seat element and with it also the back directly or indirectly connected to it, in a front abutment or at a storing position. A backing in the chair leads depending on the shape or bending of the leaf spring, in addition to a sinking of the rear seat region, to a lifting of the front seat region or to a retention of the front seat region at a certain height.

[0009] An adjustability of the spring element allows the maintaining the seat element optimal to the requirements or desires of the sitting person. In particular a small, light person can increase the opening angle between the seat means and the back without tilting back. Simultaneously through the adjustment of the force of the spring element, also the tilting ability or tilting conditions of the chair can be influenced.

[0010] In accordance with another special embodiment of the invention, the spring force of the leaf spring can be varied by displacement of the spring abutment point and/or a change of the distance between the individual spring sheets. These adjustments can be realized by an specially simple and therefore cost-favorable adjusting mechanism.

[0011] Furthermore, it is advantageous when the spring element is formed as helical springs and/or rubber elements, and/or rubber-metallic elements, and/or hydraulic cushions and/or pneumatic cushions, or a combination of these elements. These spring elements provide an adaptation to different requirements and mounting possibilities.

[0012] It is especially advantageous when the invention is utilized in a chair with a back, which is connected through a back support with the means for movement transmission. With this arrangement a chair completely maintain a comfort, which goes beyond the comfort of the chair of the prior art.

[0013] It is further proposed to provide the chair with the inventive comfort function in which the back is directly connected to the seat element. Thereby a mechanically simple and cost-favorable chair is formed with a high comfort. In a transition region from the seat element to the back, of an elastic chair an article of furniture for sitting is formed which despite its simple construction provides the comfort of the above described chairs.

[0014] With the use of a seat element which is composed of a base plate and a support displaceably arranged on it, it is possible to adapt the chair in the sitting region optimally to the required supporting surface for the hip of the person sitting on the chair. Thereby the suitability of the chair for persons of different body sizes and body weights is increased.

[0015] The novel features which are considered as characteristic for the present invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016]FIG. 1 is a side view of office chair in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention in a forward abutment position;

[0017]FIG. 2 is a side view of the office chair shown in FIG. 1 in the rear abutment position;

[0018]FIG. 3 is a plan view of the office chair in accordance with the present invention shown in FIG. 1;

[0019]FIG. 4 is a side view of an office chair in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention in a front abutment position;

[0020]FIG. 5 is a side view of the inventive office chair shown in FIG. 4 in the rear abutment position;

[0021]FIG. 6 is a plan view of the inventive office chair of the embodiment of FIG. 4;

[0022]FIG. 7 is a side view of an office chair in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention, in a front abutment position;

[0023]FIG. 8 is a side view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 7 in the rear abutment position;

[0024]FIG. 9 is a plan view of the inventive office chair shown in FIG. 7;

[0025]FIG. 10 is a side view of an office chair in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention in the front abutment position;

[0026]FIG. 11 is a side view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 10 in the front abutment position;

[0027]FIG. 12 is a plan view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 10;

[0028]FIG. 13 is a side view of an office chair in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention in the front abutment position;

[0029]FIG. 14 is a side view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 18 in the rear abutment position;

[0030]FIG. 15 is a plan view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 13;

[0031]FIG. 16 is a side view of an office chair in accordance with the a sixth embodiment of the present invention in the forward abutment position;

[0032]FIG. 17 is a side view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 13 and the rear abutment position; and

[0033]FIG. 18 is a plan view of the inventive office chair of FIG. 16.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0034]FIG. 1 shows a side view of an article of furniture for sitting 1 which is formed as an office chair 2. The office chair 2 substantially has a rotary frame 3 with rollers 4, which is connected through an axle 5 with a supporting part 6 in a vertically adjustable and rotatable manner. It also has a seat element 7 mounted on the supporting part 6 and a back 9 which is connected with support part 6 through a back support 8.

[0035] The support part 6 is composed of a rigid support 10 which receives the axle 5, means 11 for transmission of a movement which are formed as levers 12, and a front mounting means 14 which is formed as a spring element 15. The seat element 7 is composed of a support member 16 and a base plate 17. The support member 16 is displaceable relative to the base plate 17 in a seat direction A between a first position P and a second position P′, and is arrestable. Due to such a displacement, the supporting surface for the hip of a person who sits on the office chair 2 is individually adujustable.

[0036] Forward flange means 19, 20 are arranged in a front seat region 18 on the seat element 7 or on the base plate 17, and rear flange means 22, 23, are arranged in a rear seat region 21 of the same, as shown in FIG. 3. The first flange means 19, 20 receive each a spring element 15, wherein the spring elements 15 are formed as leaf springs 24, 25. The leaf springs 24, 25 act as springy jibs, so that the seat element 7 is rotatably hinged on their free ends through the front flange means 19, 20.

[0037] In FIG. 1 the office chair 2 is shown in an upright or front abutment position I, which it assumes in a condition in which it is not loaded with a person or in other words it is unloaded. In this front abutment position I the spring element 15 lifts due to a vertically acting force Fz in the arrow direction Z of the seat element 7 at a height H. Furthermore, a horizontal force Fx of the spring element 15 pulls the seat element 7 in arrow direction x to the position I shown in FIG. 1. The spring force acts through the rear flange means 22, 23 also on the lever 12 and the back support 8 which are connected to the support 10 turnably about an axis 26. Through the lever 12 a circular path K is defined, over which an axle 27 connecting the rear flange means 22, 23 with the levers 12 or the back support 8 can move.

[0038] By loading of the office chair 2 with the force Fs by a person sitting on the office chair 2 the seat element 7 turns by the portion of the force Fs acting in the front seating region, substantially against the clockwise direction around the bearing point 27 until the portion of the force Fs is compensated by the force Fz of the spring element 15 acting opposite to it. The portion of the force Fs acting in the rear seat region is taken for the lever 12, the support part 10, the axle 5 and the rotary frame or a pulling force by the spring element 12 acts through the lever 12 which is compensated by this force component Fs. Therefore depending on the acting forces Fs and Fz an inclined position of the seat element 7 results for example in an inclined position 28 identified with a broken line. Thereby an opening angle a enclosed between the back 9 and the seat element 7 is increased to an opening angle α′. A lowering of the seat element 7 can be performed both by a person which has contact of his back against the back of the chair 9, which seats exclusively in the front of the seat region 19. Such a person understandably provides a greater inclined position of the seat surface 7, when it sits exclusively in the front seat region 18, since then van a greater part of the body weight acts on the spring element 15.

[0039]FIG. 2 shows the office chair 2 of FIG. 1 in a rear abutment position 11. The office chair 2 in this position is held by a force. FR originates from the sitting person and acting on the back 9. The force FR is compensated by the force Fx of the spring element 15. Thereby the movement of the back 9 and the seat element 7 is limited by the spring element 15. Substantially the force FR is transmitted through the back support 8 and the seat element 7 as a pulling force with a spring element 15, while the axle 27 assumes the position shown in FIG. 2 by a turning on the circular path K from the position shown in FIG. 1. The force FR activates thereby, via the synchronous mechanical system, or in other words the special connection of the back 9 and the seat element 7, in addition to the turning of the back 9 in a clockwise direction, also a movement of the axle 27 in counterclockwise direction over the circular path K which is originated by a rotation of the seat element in a clockwise direction around the axle 27. Thereby by the synchronous mechanical system a typical sinking of the seat element 7 is produced in the rear seat region 21, and a lifting of the seat element 7 in the front seat region 18.

[0040] These movements produced by the synchronous mechanical system are superposed by a further movement which makes possible the unguided spring element. The further movement results in that the sitting person acts with a force FS on the seat surface 7, with a part of this force applied in the front seat region 18 compensated by the force FZ of the spring element 15. Depending on the magnitudes of the acting forces FZ and Fx , a changeable opening angle which is changed relative to the opening angle a of FIG. 2 is produced. Thereby the opening angle is not determined by the synchronous mechanical system alone, but substantially is a function of the forces FS and Fz.

[0041]FIG. 3 shows a plan view of the office chair 2 of FIG. 1, wherein the illustration of the rotary frame and the rollers is dispensed with, however the other components located under the seat element 7 are shown. In the region of the back 9 this illustration is also simplified. The support 10 is U-shaped and receives the spring element 15 at the free legs 29, 30. The back support 8 is arranged in the rear flange means 22, 23, and the lever 20 is formed as a fork 31.

[0042] FIGS. 4-6 show a second embodiment of the office chair 32. In contrast to the embodiments of FIGS. 1-3, the office chair has means 33 for adjusting the spring force of the spring element 15. As means 33 for adjusting the spring force, a tensioning device 34 is proposed. The tensioning device 34 has a hand wheel 35 which actuates the not shown tensioning screw for changing the distance between individual spring leaves 36 on the spring element 15. A smaller distance between the spring leave 36 provides a greater tensioning force of the spring element 15. Furthermore, the office chair 32 shown in FIGS. 4-6 is also different from the office chair of FIGS. 1-3 in that, for the springing of a seat element 7 only one spring element 15 is utilized. Thereby a particularly narrow construction of the office chair 32 is possible.

[0043] FIGS. 7-9 show a third office chair 37. In contrast to the office chair 32 shown in FIGS. 4-6, a spring element 15 is formed as a rubber element 38 or a rubber metal 39. As a rubber metal, a synthetic plastic element, in particular a rubber element provided between two metal plates is utilized. The spring element 15 has spring properties acting in x and z directions. A springing in a transverse direction y is provided by the mechanical connection of a seat element 7 through a lever 12 to a support 10. When the office chair 37 shown in FIG. 8 is in a rear abutment position II, then the spring element 15 is subjected to a shearing load. Its acts in all positions in which the office chair 37 assumes a position in which a back 9 is inclined relative to the position shown in FIGS. 7.

[0044] FIGS. 10-12 show an office chair 40 in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention which is substantially similar to the third office chair of FIGS. 7-9. In this office chair the spring element 15 is formed as a helical spring 41. As for the operation, here the description of the office chair of FIGS. 7-9 is applicable since the helical spring element 41 is comparable with the rubber element 38 or the rubber metal 39.

[0045] An office chair 42 in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 13-15. In contrast to the office chair shown in FIGS. 1-12, the office chair 42 has a seat shell 43. The seat shell 43 is composed of a back 9 which is connected of one piece with a seat element 7. The seat shell 43 in a transition region 44 is elastic or springy. A partial function of the synchronous mechanical system namely the increase of an opening angle a between the back 9 and the seat 7 is taken in the office chair 42 by the flexible or elastic transition region 44, which activates a back springing of the back 9 in dependence on the force FR acting on it and applied by a person sitting on the office chair 42. Similarly to the office chairs shown in FIGS. 1-12 the force FR , depending on the counter force FX produced by a spring element 15, activates sinking of the seat shell 43 in the rear seat region 21 and lifting the seat shell 43 in a front seat region 18. A weight force FS applied by a sitting person or its portion acting in the front seat region 18 leads to a lowering of the seat element contrary the clockwise direction. In the office chair 42 it provides driving the back when the opening angle a of the seat shell 43 is not increased by an increasing force FR acting on the back 9.

[0046] A sixth office chair 45 is shown in FIGS. 16-18. The office chair 45 has, as the office chair 42 shown in FIGS. 13-15, a seat shell 43 which is composed of a seat element 7 and a back 9 springy connected in a transition region. In contrast to the office chairs shown in FIGS. 1-15, in the office chair 45 the rotatably connected lever which serves as means 11 for transmission of a movement, is replaced by guides 13. The guides 13 are formed as elongated openings 46 provided in beams 47. The beams 47 are fixedly connected with a support 10. Rear flange means 22, 23, which are fixedly connected with the seat shell 43 are supported in a longitudinal openings 46 through a throughgoing axle 27.

[0047] The invention is not limited to the shown and described embodiments. It includes many further modifications of the invention within the range of the protection rendered by the claims. In particular, it is possible to provide the inventive arrangement of a spring element also on furniture articles for sitting which do not have a rotary frame, but instead have standing legs or standing feet and/or are fixedly mounted.

[0048] It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.

[0049] While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in sifting article of furniture, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

[0050] Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7267405 *Jun 20, 2005Sep 11, 2007Yu Yeung TinChair with a synchronous coordinating system for the chair back
US7857390 *Mar 22, 2007Dec 28, 2010Herman Miller, Inc.Piece of furniture
US7992937Sep 17, 2008Aug 9, 2011Herman Miller, Inc.Body support structure
US8025334 *Dec 2, 2010Sep 27, 2011Herman Miller, Inc.Piece of furniture
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/300.1
International ClassificationA47C1/032
Cooperative ClassificationA47C1/03255, A47C1/03277, A47C1/03272
European ClassificationA47C1/032C6, A47C1/032C4, A47C1/032B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 22, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: INTERSTUHL BUEROMOEBEL GMBH & CO. KG, GERMANY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HANSEN, ECKHARD;REEL/FRAME:012793/0731
Effective date: 20020126