CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
- STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a fire resistant mattress for beds, futons and the like, and more particularly to a fire resistant mattress having a fastener such as a slide fastener or a hook and pile fastener.
2. Prior Art
Mattress fires are a recognized problem. Most mattresses until recently were made of fabrics and foams that were highly combustible. Even now, combustible foams are used in mattresses to provide the desired comfort at a reasonable price. Typically, these foams are surrounded by a fire resistant cover if it is desired to make the mattress as a whole fire resistant.
Numerous fire resistant mattresses for beds, futons and the like are available. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,823,548 discloses a fire barrier for mattresses and mattress foundations which includes both a fire barrier and a thermally insulating fabric. U.S. Pat. No. 6,718,583 to Diaz describes a fire retardant mattress with outer layers that char or melt while protecting inner highly flammable materials such as foam used to form the mattress core. U.S. Pat. No. 6,609,261 discloses a fire retardant mattress with a burst-resistant seam. The seam includes a thermoplastic tape that melts when exposed to flame and covers the thread used to close the seam. Various fabrics and fibers are also known for such purposes. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,841,243 discloses a fluoropolymer fiber useful for mattress covering. U.S. Pat. No. 6,606,846 is directed to a fire resistant corespun yarn and fabric that is usable in mattresses. U.S. Pat. No. 4,996,099 discloses a fire resistant fabric which, when exposed to flame forms a char that prevents flame or hot gases from penetrating the fabric. The disclosures of all these patents is incorporated herein by reference.
These prior art solutions could be improved. For example, most of the prior art fire resistant mattresses involve encasing the foam core in a fire resistant cover permanently, and great care is taken to ensure that the cover lacks any openings for flame to pass through. On the other hand, it is often desirable to remove such a cover to clean it or to replace the foam core of the mattress. Conventionally, a slide fastener (zipper) or a hook and pile fastener (such as the fastener sold under the trade designation Velcro) is mounted in the cover so that it can be easily removed. But slide fasteners and hook and pile fasteners are very poor at keeping flame away from the combustible mattress core. Plastic slide fasteners and hook and pile fasteners quickly melt, exposing the mattress core to direct flame. Metal slide fasteners do not quickly melt, but they are a very ineffective barrier against flame.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Recently, the state of California has barred the sale of mattresses and box springs that do not meet an open flame test set forth in Technical Bulletin 603 issued by California's Department of Consumer Affairs. Currently available mattresses having slide fasteners or hook and pile fasteners in the cover are uniformly unable to meet these standards.
Briefly, in a first embodiment, a fire resistant mattress of the present invention includes a mattress core having at least one flammable component, a removable flame resistant cover surrounding the core, the cover having a top surface, a bottom surface, and a side surface extending between the top and bottom surfaces, a fastener extending along at least a portion of the side surface or the top surface so that opening the fastener provides access to the mattress core, and a flap of flame resistant material extending downwardly from the top surface along the side surface a distance sufficient to cover the fastener, said flap being manually movable upwardly to expose the fastener.
In a second embodiment of the present invention, a fire resistant mattress includes a mattress core having at least one flammable component, a removable flame resistant cover surrounding the core, the cover having a top surface, a bottom surface, and a side surface extending between the top and bottom surfaces, a fastener extending along at least a portion of the side surface or the top surface so that opening the fastener provides access to the mattress core, and a flap of flame resistant material extending downwardly from the top surface along the side surface a distance sufficient to cover the fastener, the flap giving the mattress an appearance of a pillow-top mattress.
Among the various objects and features of the present invention are the provision of:
A fire resistant mattress having a removable cover.
A fire resistant mattress having a fastener in its cover.
A fire resistant mattress that is relatively inexpensive.
A fire resistant mattress that meets the open flame test of said Technical Bulletin 603.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Other objects and features will become apparent from consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fire resistant mattress of the present invention, having the appearance of a pillow-top mattress.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged elevation of a side portion of the mattress of FIG. 1, with a protective flap moved to its upper position and with a fastener exposed to view.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1, showing the top of the mattress cover folded back to reveal the combustible mattress core.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross-sectional view illustrating protection of the fastener from an open flame by the flap.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Similar reference characters indicate similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Turning to the drawings, a fire resistant mattress 11 of the present invention includes a top surface 13, a bottom surface 15 (FIG. 2), and a flap 17. Top surface 13 and bottom surface 15 are connected together by a side surface 19 which forms the various sides of the mattress. The mattress as shown has four sides 19 a-19 d, although mattresses of different shapes could have more or fewer sides. Together the top, bottom and side surfaces, along with flap 17, form a cover for the mattress which encloses a mattress core 21 (FIG. 3) having at least one combustible (flammable) component. Core 21 is shown in FIG. 3 as a solid foam core, but the present invention is not limited to such cores.
The top, bottom and side surfaces, as well as the flap, are composed of fire resistant material, which may be any of such materials known in the art. It is preferred that the cover made up of such surfaces may be removable so as to expose the core for cleaning, replacement, etc. To facilitate removal, mattress 11 includes a fastener 25 that extends longitudinally along at least a portion of the side surface or the top surface. In FIG. 3, the fastener extends along three sides 19 a, 19 b, 19 c of the side surface 19 near or at the top of the side surface. Alternatively, it can extend along the edge of the top surface. In any event, the fastener should be positioned at a location in either the top surface or the side surface where it conveniently permits opening of the mattress cover to allow access to the core. Fastener 25 may be any conventional metal or plastic slide fastener, or any conventional hook and pile fastener, that is otherwise suitable for connecting the top surface 13 to the side surface 19.
In the preferred embodiment, flap 17 of flame resistant material extends downwardly from top surface 13 along the side surface a distance sufficient to cover the fastener. The flap extends around at least three sides of the mattress shown in the figures. If the fastener is present on all four sides, the flap extends to the fourth side as well. It is important that the flap cover all portions of the fastener when the flap is in its normal, downward position.
As indicated in FIG. 2, the flap is manually movable upwardly to expose the fastener. Although the construction of the flap is not critical, it can include a taped rib 27 at the top where it connects with the top surface, and a taped rib 29 at the bottom where it abuts side surface 19. If desired, rib 29 may include elastic material to provide a tighter fit between flap 17 and side surface 19. In any event any tape and thread used in mattress 11 should be fire resistant. In choosing the materials making up flap 17, both melting and charring-type materials may be used, so long as they provide the required fire resistance set forth below.
As can be seen in FIG. 1, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention flap 17 extends downwardly from top surface 13 a relatively short distance. This gives mattress 11 the appearance of a pillow-top mattress.
It has been discovered that the structure described above provides excellent fire resistance. Prior to this invention, mattresses with slide fasteners or hook and pile fasteners routinely failed direct flame fire resistance tests. With the present invention, however, mattress 11 can pass extremely strict open flame tests such as those set out in Technical Bulletin 603 of the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs (the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference). The material of the flap when it melts or chars under an open flame prevents the flame from penetrating the cover to reach the combustible core during such testing.
It should be appreciated that mattress 11 achieves the various objects of the present invention in an unexpected, economical manner. It has the further advantage of providing the desirable appearance of a pillow-top mattress when implemented as shown in the present drawings. The description and drawings herein are intended to be illustrative only and not limiting. The present invention is defined not by this description, but rather by the following claims.