US 20030188388 A1
An inflatable support system having an upper chamber attached to a lower chamber and in fluid communication therewith which may be inflated with a single pump and deflated with a first valve, the upper chamber having a pillow top appearance when inflated.
1. An inflatable support system having an upper chamber attached to a lower chamber and in fluid communication therewith which may be inflated with a single pump and deflated with a first valve, the upper chamber having a pillow top appearance when inflated.
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19. An inflatable support system comprising:
a flocked upper chamber which has a pillow top appearance when inflated;
a lower chamber attached to and in fluid communication with the upper chamber, the lower chamber having a coil construction;
a single pump for inflating the support system which is operably coupled to the support system and which receives power from a household electrical socket;
at least one first valve for rapidly deflating the support system; and,
at least one second valve for gradually deflating the support system.
 This application claims priority to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/918,561 entitled “Increased Height Inflatable Support System” filed Aug. 1, 2001, the teachings of which are herein incorporated by reference. This application is related to design application entitled “Pillow Top Inflatable Mattress” filed on even date herein, the teachings of which are incorporated herein by reference.
 The present invention relates to the field of inflatable support systems, and more particularly to mattresses giving the appearance of having a top layer wherein the outer seams or edges are preferably mated together at a location other than the extreme mattress edge.
 It is very desirable in a conventional mattress to have the appearance of a pillow top which features a quilted or padded layer of support on top of a conventional mattress but integrated within the mattress. The appearance is very pleasing and leads oneself to think of luxurious sleeping comfort. There is a need in the art for an inflatable mattress to provide such an appearance as well as comfort and support.
 U.S. Pat. No. 6,076,214, to Klimenko discloses an inflatable mattress including an upper, quilted component, a lower mattress component, and an inflatable frame surrounding each, arranged such that the components give the illusion of a two-piece construction, with the quilted component lying atop the mattress section. The Klimenko patent specifically teaches that the upper and lower components do not permit air or similar fluid communication between them. The lower component is comprised of two sections, a central section and a frame. The frame is attached to and surrounds some or all of the central section. In addition, the two sections are not in fluid communication with each other, nor is the central section of the lower component in fluid communication with either of the segments of the upper component. The upper component includes a frame which can be sealed to the frame of the lower component, integrating the two components into a single mattress assembly.
 While Klimenko does provide a pillow top appearance there still remains a need for a simple design of an inflatable mattress having such appearance.
 The present invention presents the appearance of a conventional pillow top mattress within an inflatable air mattress wherein the upper quilted component is attached to a lower component mating inset from the extreme edge. The integrated system has fluid communication between the upper component and the lower component to provide the appearance of a pillow top bed and the comfort and support similar to a conventional pillow top bed. The inflatable system has a polyvinyl chloride inflatable bladder supported in a preferred embodiment by a coil construction supporting the lower chamber which is in fluid communication with an upper chamber which is welded to the lower chamber inset from the outer edge to form the pillow top appearance. The top surface of the upper chamber can be textured to provide the look and feel of a conventional pillow top bed. One pump acting through one valve is used to inflate or deflate the bed in a one-touch design.
 Generally, the invention pertains to an inflatable support system having an upper chamber attached to a lower chamber and in fluid communication therewith which may be inflated with a single pump and deflated with a first valve, the upper chamber having a pillow top appearance when inflated. The pillow top appearance is typically achieved by attaching a lower surface of the upper chamber to an upper surface of the lower chamber inset from the outer edges thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the upper chamber is flocked or laminated with a fabric, and is welded to produce a textured appearance. Such welding may be made with dies of various shapes, including dies which are substantially sinusoidal in design. Where sinusoidal or other “wave” or “peak and trough” dies are used, a preferred die pattern is formed by alternating the peaks and troughs of the die (i.e. creating a pattern in which each wave is substantially out of phase with the next).
 The inflatable support system can be inflated by a battery operated or electric pump, the operation of which can be controlled by a user. In a preferred embodiment, the pump may be removed from the inflatable support system without causing the inflatable support system to deflate. A second valve may also be provided which gradually deflates the inflatable support system, thereby allowing a user to adjust the pressure within the inflatable support system to a desired level.
 The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.
 In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary mattress assembly of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the exemplary mattress assembly.
FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the mattress assembly.
FIG. 4 is a head end view of the mattress of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is the foot end view showing the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a side view of the mattress assembly.
FIG. 7 is a top view of the mattress assembly.
 Shown in FIG. 1 is an example of an inflatable pillow top mattress assembly 10 of the present invention. Assembly 10 contains an upper component 12 and a lower component 14 which in most embodiments are scaled to form an integrated device. As illustrated in FIG. 1, upper component 12 does not necessarily appear to be sealed to lower component 14, but rather could under casual observation seem to be merely resting atop lower component 14.
 In assembly 10 of FIG. 1, upper component 12 is principally of a quilted construction like the cover of a mattress which may be conventionally filled with down. Lower component 14 by contrast is a box like construction much like a conventional mattress. Motorized pump 16 is essentially an electric motor that has a one-touch control 18 for inflating and deflating the mattress with air or fluid.
FIG. 2 is a cut away showing the internal assembly of the present invention. Upper component 12 has a quilted central section formed by welding or stamping a polyvinyl chloride material. Internal to lower unit 14 are coils 22 which may be of a conventional coil design. In an alternative embodiment, alternative coil structures, such as Quadra Coils (trademark of Aero Products, Inc.), described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 29/154,102, may be employed. In another embodiment, a channel construction can be employed along the length of lower component 14 to provide support. In still another alternative embodiment a construction without coils or channels can be used to provide support within lower component 14.
 Top layer 26 forms the top of lower component 14, while layer 28 forms the bottom of upper component 12. As shown in FIG. 2, inflation of the pillow top component is made through air channels 24 placed around the circumference of lower component 14 and upper component 12. Air channels 24 allow the periphery of upper component 12 to fill with air which propagates throughout center region 20 to inflate upper component 12, giving assembly 10 the appearance of a pillow top mattress.
 Air channels 24 are openings in the top layer of the lower component and bottom layer of top component 14, which are joined together by radio frequency welding, chemical bonding, or other such process. The air channels are approximately ¾ inch in diameter, substantially centered in the periphery of upper chamber 12, and include reinforced PVC to enhance their durability. In the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, four air channels 24 are used, and they are located substantially between the second and third row of coils. It should be appreciated by one skilled in the art that additional air channels may be used, and that alternative air channel placements may be employed to provide fluid communication between the upper and lower components without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.
 Shown in FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the pillow top inflatable mattress illustrating a preferred coil design 22. Also illustrated in FIG. 3 is pumping motor 16, which is attached to lower component 14.
 Shown in FIG. 4 is the top end, or “head,” of assembly 10. Although FIG. 4 illustrates the preferred location of pumping motor 16, it should be appreciated by one skilled in the art that pumping motor 16 could be moved to alternate locations without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention, including using motors which are not directly attached to assembly 10, or which are removably attached thereto. As can be seen in detail in FIG. 4, upper layer 26 of lower component 14 is welded to layer 28, which forms the bottom of upper component 12. Alternatively, layers 26 and 28 may be a single layer and function to form both the top and bottom of the lower and upper components respectively. Lower component 14 may be formed of bottom layer 30, to which side gusset 32 is welded, with upper layer 26 welded at the opposite end of gusset 32. Alternatively, layer 30 can be continuous with side gusset 32. The pillow top feature is formed by the upper component 12 having a seal to the upper layer of lower unit 14 recessed from the outer edge at layer 26, giving rise to a conventional pillow top appearance.
 Motorized pump 16 has a one-touch control 34 which allows a user to control the pressure within assembly 10. Motorized pump 16 is shown attached to chamber 14, but in the alternative could be attached to upper component 12 because both chambers are in fluid communication. Pump 16 should be powerful enough to fill the entire support system with a gas or fluid, such that the lower chamber 14 in combination with upper chamber 12 and provide comfortable support to a user. A user can inflate assembly 10 by pressing a button on or near pump 16 as illustrated by button 34 in FIG. 4. Pump 16 may automatically stop inflating the support system when the pressure within the support system reaches a limit selectable by a user. In addition, should a user desire to gradually decrease the pressure within the support system, a user simply activates a pushbutton valve illustrated as valve 34 in FIG. 4. Pump 16 may also monitor support system air pressure and automatically add additional air if the pressure falls below a level selected by a user.
 Shown in FIG. 5 is a valve 40 which is used to deflate the unit in a rapid manner. Similar to FIG. 4, the pillow top upper chamber 12 and lower chamber 14 are shown.
 A side view of the present invention is shown in FIG. 6. The pillow top effect achieved by placing upper chamber 12 on lower chamber 14 is clearly discernable. In addition, the preferred relationship of pump 16 and valve outlet for deflation 40 is clearly illustrated in FIG. 6.
FIG. 7 illustrates a top view of the present invention. Upper chamber 12 and motor 16 are easily distinguished in the illustration.
 What has been shown is a pillow top inflatable mattress which operates as one valve and one pump. Fluid communication between the pillow top chamber and a lower chamber is established. It should be apparent to those skilled in the art of the various changes and modifications can be made therein without departure from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover the modifications and variations of this inventions that come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.