FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to apparatus for manufacturing components of knock-down furniture and to a method for assembling those components.
Permanently connecting the components of furniture and the modules of sectional furniture often results in furniture of such size and weight that it is difficult to handle and expensive to ship.
It is known that knock-down furniture overcomes the problems of size and weight. Knock-down furniture is furniture wherein its components are individually manufactured and, after being manufactured, the individual components are shipped to a desired destination where they are assembled into a piece of furniture.
For example, the components of an upholstered chair are the seat, the back, and the arms. When the chair is made as a piece of knock-down furniture, each component of the chair is completely manufactured as an individual item. The manufactured components are not connected to each other at the time of manufacture. The seat, the back, and the arms of the chair are individually shipped to a desired destination, where the seat, back, and arms are assembled into an upholstered chair, as a piece of knock-down furniture.
Several advantages of knock-down furniture are shown in the prior art.
Healy U.S. Pat. No. 2,732,889 recognizes these advantages: (1) a user is able to replace any component of knock-down furniture without having to replace the entire piece of furniture; (2) individual components of knock-down furniture can be re-upholstered or re-covered at materially less cost than re-upholstering or re-covering an entire piece of furniture; (3) a consumer is able to choose the desired length of a sofa from among a selection of seat and back units of different length. This is also an advantage to the retailer because there is no need to stock a large number of sofas of different lengths.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,658,049 to Adams et al. is for a separable recliner chair assembly which includes an all metal unitized seat spring and frame assembly having insert brackets attached to its side and rear portions. Corresponding slide brackets are attached to the arms and to the rear of the seating product. The insert brackets are inserted into the slide brackets as the arms and back are placed downwardly adjacent the sides and back of the seating product. The structure of Adams et al. has the economic advantage of enabling a dealer or user to change the appearance of the arms or back by making several different styles of those components with different upholstery or padding but all of them with slide brackets positioned to mate with the insert brackets on the frame assembly. Accordingly, the different styles are interchangeable.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,767 to Chang provides upholstered sofa components that can be combined to form different sofa assemblies having varying numbers of seats.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,241,317 B1 to Wu is for a modular chair construction in which the back and arms are mounted removably on the seat so the back and arms can be easily disassembled for transport and for replacement.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,367,880 B1 to Niederman shows a modular upholstered furniture construction that enables consumers to easily replace or recover modules which have become worn, stained or have gone out of style.
These patents teach a number of ways for the components of knock-down furniture to be connected after the components have arrived at their destination, including the use of interlocking brackets.
The use of interlocking brackets in assembling knock-down furniture is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,182,610 issued May 19, 1916 to Wiesman for Furniture Fastening, U.S. Pat. No. 2,793,407 to Johnston, and the aforesaid U.S. Pat. No. 5,658,049 to Adams et al.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The prior art use of interlocking brackets to assemble knock-down furniture has experienced chronic difficulty in adjusting the position of components as needed to align and connect the brackets. The re-positioning of a component when needed to align and connect the two pieces of an interlocking bracket has proven to be so time consuming and uneconomical that the use of interlocking brackets to assemble knock-down furniture has virtually ceased.
Knock-down furniture made and assembled with interlocking brackets in accordance with this invention has all of the advantages known in the prior art. In addition, knock-down furniture made in accordance with this invention avoids the difficulty experienced in the prior art of aligning and connecting interlocking brackets.
This invention uses a novel shelf assembly in a distinctive method of assembling detachable components of knock-down furniture with interlocking brackets without the alignment difficulty experienced in the prior art.
The shelf assembly becomes a component of the knock-down furniture that is assembled according to the invention, and loosely supports the rear of the seat to enable adjustment of the seat as needed to align and connect the two pieces of an interlocking bracket on adjoining components.
A prime object of the invention is to improve the method of assembling components of knock-down furniture with interlocking brackets. The improved method of assembly includes the placement of receiver brackets and slide brackets at specific locations on components during the manufacture of those components for knock-down furniture, and use of the shelf assembly to loosely support the rear of the seat to make the seat easily adjustable when needed for alignment of slide brackets with receiver brackets.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Another object of this invention is to provide a novel connector frame that expands the number of combinations that can be made with the same modules of sectional furniture. The connector frame is used to connect armless components of knock-down furniture. The arms on furniture are the only components that are permanently RAF or LAF (right arm facing or left arm facing). All other components are neither LAF or RAF, so by using connector frames with the components that are neither LAF or RAF those components can be arranged in any desired configuration. This is an advantage to the retailer as it allows him to sell many different configurations from the same inventory of components. It is also an advantage to the user, who can make different configurations of sofas, chairs, loveseats, or sectionals as their changing needs may require. The user also has the advantage of buying only selected components instead of having to buy a complete piece or pieces of furniture.
FIG. 1 is a side view and a front view of a pair of interlocking brackets, showing a slide bracket aligned for connection with a receiver bracket;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the top and one side of a connector frame;
FIG. 3 is a top view of the connector frame shown in FIG. 6;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the connector frame, illustrating its capability of supporting accessories for a piece of knock-down furniture connected to the connector frame;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a knock-down upholstered easy chair after its assembly in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view, with parts broken away, of the chair shown in FIG. 5, showing the apparatus that was used to assemble components of the chair;
FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of an armless reclining chair, with parts broken away, illustrating the apparatus that was used to assemble components of the chair;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the front and sides of a prior art sectional sofa;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a sectional sofa having the same appearance as the prior art sofa in FIG. 8, but made with detachable modules in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the sectional sofa shown in FIG. 9 with a different arrangement of the modules;
FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a sectional sofa with armless chairs that has been assembled with connector frames in accordance with the invention; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 12 is an exploded perspective view of the sectional sofa shown in FIG. 11 prior to its assembly with connector frames.
A pair of interlocking brackets is broadly indicated at 10 in FIG. 1. One of the interlocking brackets is a receiver bracket 11. The receiver bracket 11 is formed with a base 12 that tapers downwardly in FIG. 1, and preferably tapers downwardly in use. Correspondingly tapered flanges 13 and 14 extend inwardly over the base 12 from its narrow end 12A to its wide end 12B and at an acute angle from opposite sides of the base 12. Circular openings 15 extend through the base 12 to receive bolts for fastening the receiver bracket 11 to either an arm of knock-down furniture (FIG. 6), a connector frame (FIG. 7), or a module of sectional furniture (FIG. 9).
- The Connector Frame
The other bracket in the pair of interlocking brackets 10 is a slide bracket 20. The slide bracket 20 is formed with a base 21 that tapers at an angle corresponding to the tapering angle of the base 12 on the receiver bracket. Correspondingly tapered flanges 22 and 23 extend outwardly at an obtuse angle from opposite sides of the base 21. Circular openings 24 extend through the base 21 for the reception of bolts to fasten the slide bracket 20 to the seat and back of a chair (FIG. 6), to the shelf assembly (FIG. 7), and to a module of sectional furniture (FIG. 9).
The connector frame is broadly indicated at 30 in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4. The connector frame 30 comprises a tubular steel front leg 31 and a tubular steel rear leg 32. A lower rectangular bar 33 and an upper rectangular bar 34 extend in vertically spaced parallel relation to each other between the front leg 31 and the rear leg 32. The lower bar 33 is welded, as at 35 and 36, respectively, to the lower portions of the front leg 31 and rear leg 32, and the upper bar 34 is welded as at 37 and 38, respectively, to the upper portions of the front leg 31 and rear leg 32. Circular feet 31A and 32A are welded to the bottoms of the legs 31 and 32. The upper ends of the tubular front and rear legs are open as at 31B and 32B.
A flat flange 32G extends rearwardly from the rear leg 32 in closely spaced relation to the top of the leg, and a flat flange 31C extends forwardly from the front leg 31 between the lower and upper bars 33 and 34. Two receiver brackets 11 are suitably fastened in back-to-back relation to each other, as by bolts, on opposite sides of the rear flange 32G. Two receiver brackets 11 are similarly fastened to the front flange 31C.
The receiver brackets 11 on the connector frame are spaced from each other the same way and the same distance as the receiver brackets 11 are spaced from each other on a chair arm. See the spacing of receiver brackets 11 on the chair arms 53 in FIG. 6 and see the corresponding spacing of receiver brackets 11 on the connector frame 30 in FIG. 7.
A short length of steel tubing 32C, with a closed bottom and an open top 32D, is welded to the front of the rear leg 32 between its open top 32B and the upper bar 34 to receive a shouldered rod 32E (FIG. 4) that may be used to support a furniture accessory, such as a console 39.
- The Shelf Assembly
The open ends 31B and 32B on the front and rear legs 31 and 32 of the connector frame are also intended to receive shouldered rods, indicated at 31F and 32F in FIG. 4. The shouldered rods provide the user with options for installing accessories to be used with furniture assembled with the connector frame. As seen in FIG. 4, the shouldered rods 31F and 32F can support accessories such as a cantilevered table 39A and another desired accessory, such as a lamp, indicated at 39B in FIG. 10.
The shelf assembly 40 comprises a rectangular frame generally indicated at 41 and a pair of support boards 42. The rectangular frame 41 includes a bottom wall serving as a shelf 43, side walls 44, a rear wall 45, a top wall 46, and ledges 47. The rectangular frame 41 is built into the back 51 of an upholstered easy chair 50 (FIG. 6), and is located beneath the back 62 and behind the seat 61 of an upholstered recliner 60 (FIG. 7). The support boards 42 extend rearwardly from the seat 52 of chair 50 (FIG. 6) and rearwardly from the side frames 64 in the recliner 60 (FIG. 7). The support boards 42 are placed loosely on the shelf 43, without attachment, to support the rear of the seat during assembly of the components and continue to rest on the shelf after assembly of the components is completed.
The chair 50 and recliner 60 were made in accordance with this invention, and the exploded views of the chairs in FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate the necessary locations of the receiver brackets 11 and the slide brackets 20 for assembling the chair 50 and recliner 60 according to the invention.
The two slide brackets 20 on the shelf assembly and the two slide brackets 20 on the seat 52 are carefully positioned to register during assembly with receiver brackets 11 that are positioned as shown on the inner surfaces of both arms 53.
As shown in FIG. 6, the shelf assembly 40 is built into the back 51 of the upholstered chair 50, with the cross brace of the back 51 serving as the shelf 43 in the shelf assembly, and the side frames of the back 51 serving as the side walls 44 of the shelf assembly 40.
FIG. 7 shows the shelf assembly 40 with an armless recliner broadly indicated at 60. The recliner comprises a seat 61, a retractable back 62, and a motion assembly 63 supported on side frames 64. Slide brackets 20 on the reclining back 62 connect with receiver brackets 11 extending from the rear of the seat 61. Support boards 42 extend rearwardly from the side frames 64 to rest loosely on the shelf 43 during and after assembly of the recliner 60.
- Method of Assembly
The armless recliner 60 is flanked by connector frames 30. Positioned as shown in FIG. 7, slide brackets 20 on the side walls 44 of the shelf assembly 40 and slide brackets 20 on the side frames 64 will be connected during assembly with the proximal receiver brackets 11 on the rear legs 32 and front legs 31 of the two connector frames 30.
The difficulty of connecting interlocking brackets on adjoining components without “wiggle room” has significantly minimized the use of interlocking brackets on knock-down furniture, as evidenced by the prior art use of other devices to detachably connect components of knock-down furniture.
The difficulty of connecting interlocking brackets on knock-down furniture because of the loss of “wiggle room” is overcome by using the shelf assembly when assembling components of knock-down furniture according to the method of this invention. That method of assembly is explained in the following description of the steps taken to assemble the chair 50.
With the shelf assembly 40 installed in the back 51 of the chair 50 as described and shown in FIG. 6 and the receiver brackets 11 and slide brackets 20 positioned as described and shown in FIG. 6, the method of assembling the chair 50 is as follows:
1. Lay the back 51 on the floor with the shelf assembly 40 facing up;
2. Lay the arms 53 on the floor with the fronts of the arms facing up and with their rear-most receiver brackets 11 near the slide brackets 20 on the shelf assembly;
3. Insert the slide brackets 20 on the shelf assembly into the rear-most receiver brackets 11 on the arms 53;
4. Lay the seat 52 on the floor with its front facing up and with the support boards 42 resting on the upturned edge of the shelf 43;
5. Rotate the loosely assembled back 51 and arms 53 forwardly and position the foremost receiver brackets 11 on the arms 53 near the slide brackets 20 on the upturned seat 52;
6. Adjust the position of the seat as needed to align and install the slide brackets 20 on the seat into the foremost receiver brackets 11 on the arms 53;
7. Rotate the loosely assembled back 51, arms 53 and seat 52 forwardly into sitting position with the support boards 42 on the shelf 43; and then
8. Apply pressure to the seat 52, as by sitting on it, to press the slide brackets 20 on the seat all the way into the foremost receiver brackets 11 on the arms 53, and to press the slide brackets 20 on the shelf assembly 40 all the way into the rearmost receiver brackets 11 on the arms 53.
After completion of Step #8 the interlocking of the brackets is complete and the chair is assembled.
While performing Step #6, the seat 52 of the chair 50 was not connected to anything. The front of the chair was on the floor and the rear of the chair was only loosely supported by the support boards 42 resting on the shelf 43. This freedom of the seat provided the “wiggle room” that made it possible to easily adjust the position of the seat 52 relative to the position of the arms 53 as needed to align and connect the slide brackets on the seat with the foremost receiver brackets on the arms.
Ledges 44 above the bottom wall 43 of the shelf assembly 40 serve to restrict excessive movement of the support boards 42 and seat 52 during use of any “wiggle room” necessary to adjust the seat for alignment and connection of the slide brackets 20 on the seat with the foremost receiver brackets 11 on the arms 53.
- Disassembling the Knock-Down Furniture
The method of assembly is the same for both the chair 50 and the recliner 60, except that assembly of the recliner 60 requires the additional step of connecting the back 62 to the seat 61 with interlocking brackets. Also, the slide brackets 20 on the seat 61 and shelf assembly 40 in the armless recliner 60 will be connected with receiver brackets 11 on connector frames 30 instead of the arms 53.
The knock-down furniture can be taken apart even after the slide_brackets 20 and receiver brackets 11 are fully connected to become interlocking brackets 10. The interlocking brackets can be separated by concussion, as by directing blows with a heavy rubber hammer toward the narrow ends of the brackets.
The assembled chairs 40 and 60 can be taken apart with the following steps:
1. Rotate the chair rearwardly to place the back of the chair and the shelf assembly, on the floor;
2. Using a heavy rubber hammer, direct blows against the bottom of the front part of the seat to remove the slide brackets on the front part of the seat from the foremost receiver brackets on the arms or connector frames; and
- The Sectional Sofa
3. Use the hammer to direct blows against the ends of the shelf assembly to remove the slide brackets on the shelf assembly from the rearmost receiver brackets on the arms or connector frames.
Using the connector frames with sectional sofas greatly enlarges the variety of arrangements that can be made with the same modules.
The sectional sofa broadly indicated at 70 in FIG. 8 and at 70A in FIG. 9 has six modules: (1) an arm 71; (2) a RAF chair 72; (3) an armless chair 73; (4) a comer wedge 74; (5) a LAF sofa 75; and (6) an arm 76.
The modules 71-76 in the prior art sectional sofa 70 of FIG. 8 were joined together with nuts and bolts, permanently bonding together the components of all the modules and permanently bonding together the modules 71-72 and 75-76.
The sectional sofa 70A in FIG. 9 shows the modules 71-76 in the same arrangement as in the prior art sofa 70 in FIG. 8, but the modules 71-76 in the sofa 70A are connected by slide brackets and receiver brackets instead of being permanently joined together with nuts and bolts, as is the prior art sofa 70.
Receiver brackets 11 (not shown) on the connector frame 30 receive slide brackets 20 on the armless chair 73 and on the RAF chair 72 to detachably connect those two modules. The arm 71 is joined with the chair 72 by receiver brackets 11 on the arm 71 and slide brackets 20 on the chair 72, as in the chair 50 in FIG. 6.
Receiver brackets 11 on the comer wedge 74 join with slide brackets (not shown) on the chair 73 and sofa 75 to detachably connect those modules. Slide brackets 20 on the sofa 75 connect it with receiver brackets 11 on the arm 76.
The detachable modules 71-76 in the sofa 70A can remain separate as shown in FIG. 9 or they can be joined together to make the sectional sofa 70 of FIG. 8, or taken apart and rearranged to make the sectional sofa 70B of FIG. 10, or otherwise as desired.
The sectional sofa 70B in FIG. 10 shows a different arrangement of the same modules shown in the sectional sofa 70A in FIG. 9. The rearrangement illustrates an advantage of the invention: the detachable modules can be removed and replaced at any time by simply disconnecting and reconnecting the interlocking brackets.
The components of the modules in sofa 70A were assembled by the method described for assembling the components of the chair 50 (FIG. 6).
FIGS. 11 and 12 show a sectional sofa 80 with recliners 82, 84, and 85 that were built and assembled by the same method described for the chair 60. The three armless recliners 81, 82 and 83 were built and assembled like the chair 50, except with connector frames 30 instead of arms 53.
FIG. 12 shows the sofa 80 with its modules positioned for assembly with the connector frames 30 between them to become the assembled sofa 80 of FIG. 11. The manner of assembling the modules of sofa 80 is the same as described for assembling the components of the recliner of FIG. 7.
The receiver brackets on the connector frames serve the same function as the receiver brackets on the arms of furniture. The size and shape of the connector frames enables them to be placed between armless chairs of any shape in any desired arrangement without the obstruction of an arm.
The chairs 81 and 83 are angled to provide a curved sofa, but they could be straight like the chair 82, or all the chairs could be angled for a semi-circular sofa.
There is thus provided a shelf assembly and a connector frame that serve as the basis for an advantageous method of assembling knock-down furniture with interlocking brackets.
The scope of the invention is defined in the following claims.