US 2601189 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 17,/1952 N. B. WALES, JR
AIR COMFORTER BED COVERING 3 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Aug. 22, 1949 .MTI
June 17, 1952 N, B WALES, JR 2,601,189
AIR COMFORTER BED COVERING Filed Aug. 22, 1949 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR June 17, 1952 N. B. WALES, JR
AIR COMFORTER BED COVERING I5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Aug. 22, 1949 @ame/61%?? Patented June 17, 1952 AIR COMFGRTER BED COVERING Nathaniel B. Wales, Jr., New York, N. Y., as-
signor to Theodore Backer, New York, N. Y.
Application August 22, 1949, Serial No. 111,647
This invention relates to a device for delivering fresh or tempered air to the sleeping human body, and to automatic means for providing and regulating such tempered delivery of air.
by means of a program of research in the prior art of air conditioning beds, and of experimentation with such devices, it has been found that the inflatable type of bed covering or air delivery device, which appears in the prior art, suffers from two practical difficulties which have prevented such devices heretofore from being offered on the market. The first of these objectionable features is that in order to maintain distribution channels by inflation, an appreciable air pressure is necessary. This may be provided either by a highly constricted system of delivery apertures, such as that provided by an infrequently perforated infiatable duct using a moderate volume of air delivery, or by a minimized constriction system, such as vthat oiered by 4a highly perforate inflatable sheeting requiring a correspondingly large rate of air Volume delivery, to maintain iniiation pressure. The first case results in the delivery to the body of many high velocity minute jets of air with a consequently unhealthful and uncomfortable localized chilling action, whereas this second case, involving both high pressure and high volume of delivery, necessarily requires an excessive amount of blower power, and in addition introduces difficult noise problems, since this class of device must be virtually noiseless.
The second objectionable characteristic of the inflatable type of covering has been found to be its formation of hot spots where it contacts the body due to its natural tendency to conform to the body. At these areas of contact, circulation of the air is inhibited, and the consequent temperature gradients are uncomfortable.
The present invention obviates these difficulties by its concept of the combination in a bed covering, of a flexible self-sustaining non-inflated duet delivery manifold with a grid of closely spaced support points on its underside to provide homogeneous accessibility to the covered body of 'the delivered air.
Because of the fact that this labyrinth of distribution ducts is self-sustaining, although light and flexible, it requires only a fraction of the air delivery pressure which an inflatable duct would require. This permits the use of a small low powered blower unit to diffuse the tempered air at low pressure uniformly over the body, since the duct structure taught by this invention combines self-sustaining air delivery channels with ilexibility, light weight, and a geometry guaranteeing an absence of air-obscured areas on the sleeper.
It has been found that this self -sustaining flexible distribution labyrinth may be formed by subjecting a thin sponge composition sheet, such as of foam rubber or plastic, to pressure under appropriate temperatures in a roll press or molding die. The desired geometry provides longitudinal self-sustaining air channels with a grid of supporting fingers or bumps directed downward so as 'to prevent any appreciable area of the body on which it may bear, either directly o-r through an intervening sheet, from being made inaccessible of the air delivery tothe covering.
In a preferred form of this flexible air delivery manifold, the formed sponge rubber or plastic covering above described is perforated at intervals along the air delivery channels in such a way as to insure uniform air delivery over the area of the covering, and a thin exible air-impervious sheet is secured to the top of the corrugated sponge composition air channels to comprise self-sustaining air ducts. Thus, in this preferred form of dry air comforter, the upper wall of the ducts is formed by the air impervious sheet, while the lower walls of the ducts are formed by the molded sponge composition under-covering. This composite manifold may be fabricated in such a Way as to be extremely light and flexible.
Evidently, the flexible self-sustaining manifold principle embodying my concept of a grid of sup-- port points may be fabricated in a variety of ways and with Various materials, such as by an extrusion wholly containing the self-supporting air ducts made of a plastic foam. A second alternative execution of this combination may be effected by joining one imperforate sheet at a grid of points with a perforate sheet by means of multiple closely positioned spacers so as to provide the self-sustaining duct feature in combination with multiple under surface support points.
it is further possible for this purpose to secure a plurality of mutually interconnected individual perforated tubular ducts to a flexible laminar backing sheet to achieve the same end of selfsustaining flexible air delivery ducting having a dispersed support geometry.
The air comforter embodied in this invention is intended to provide sleeping comfort all year round. To attain this, it has been recognised that the princi-pal source of discomfort in hot weather is the humidity, rather than the temperature, since an excessive humidity causes the human bodys natural refrigeration mechanism of surface evaporation of its perspiration, to become inoperative due to the opposing vapor pressure of the air. This invention teaches the use of a drying agent, such as silica-gel to partially remove the moisture from the air delivered to this ducted bed covering. Since such drying agents are generally exothermic in action, this invention further discloses a heat interchanging structure which utilizes a portion of the air delivered by the blower to reduce the temperature of the air thus dried and heated to a temperature closer to the ambient room temperature, thereby providing a further natural and healthful source of body refrigeration.
The air delivery unit shown in this invention is provided with air heating means, for winter use, regulated by a novel form of thermostatically responsive control device. In addition, a separable manual control box is disclosed so constructed that after the initial period of personal adjustment has been passed, the control box, together with its registration of personal selection thus established within it, may be disconnected from its cable, and plugged directly into the air delivery unit, thereby obviating further inconvenience due to the presence of this cable.
An object of this invention is to provide a structure of air-distributing bed covering which will not be contingent on air pressure or the sleepers movement or position to insure uniform diffusion of air over the area of the bed.
A second object is to make possible the healthful comfort of a sleeper in hot weather without the use of chilled air.
A third object is to make possible the manufacture of an automatic year round air comforter bed covering at a minimum of cost, and at a mas;- imum of quiet and comfort.
Other objects are implicit in the following specication and claims.
Referring to the drawings:
Figure 1 is a view in elevation of a bed showing the disposition of the air delivery and tempering unit, the separable manual control box,
and a view in section of the preferred form of my self-sustaining air delivery manifold.
Figure 2 is the plan view of Figure 1 showing the bed covering in partial section along the broken line 2 2 of Figure l.
Figure 3 is the section of 3 3 of Figure l. Figure 4 is a section in elevation of the air delivery unit I I of Figure l.
Figure 5 is the plan section 5 5 of Figure (l. Figure 6 is the section 6 6 of Figure 4; and
Figure '7 is a schematic wiring diagram of the control system of a preferred form of my invention.
The bed covering detailed in Figures l, 2 and 3 consists of an upper flexible air-impervious sheet 2 which is secured to the periphery and to the longitudinal lines of contact which it makes with the under flexible corrugated and preformed duet member I. The means of this securanoe may comprise cementing, riveting, sewing, or, in the case of plastic materials, thermal 5:.
bonding. The duct member I may be made of sponge rubber or of plastic foam. It is provided with a system of perforations 3, and is so formed to present a grid of support protuberances 5 en its under side. The longitudinal duct passages are formed in the space between the upper impervious sheet 2 and the longitudinal corrugations formed in member I. It may be seen in Figure 3 that the protuberances 5 depend from the duct passages 4 and that the air f delivery holes 3 are located in the less protuberant lower boundaries of the ducts so as to permit free diffusion of the delivered air over the sleeping body covered by this perforate member I. As essential feature of this construction is its provision of an air delivery manifold which need not be inflated to form its passages. Thus the self-sustaining nature of these passages will not be closed off or strangled by the creasing, folding, and bodily obstructions, such as by the weight of an arm or leg, which is suffered by any ducting system dependent on air pressure inflation.
The longitudinal air delivery ducts 4 are shown in Figures 1 and 2 all to communicate with the common transverse manifold duct 9 at the foot of the bed covering. Distribution duct 9 in turn is connected by the flexible coupling duct 8 through a suitable separable connector. Duct 8 provides the means for delivery of tempered air from the blower unit II to the bed covering, shown resting on the bedding 'I of bed '5. In Figure l the separable manual control box I3 is shown in full line plugged into the blower unit II. 'I'he broken line outline I0 shows this control box in its alternative bedside position when connected to the blower unit through cable I2. As shown at the left at Figure 3 the upper impervious sheet 2 is provided with sufficient excess area beyond its securance to duct member I to form a skirt which hangs over the edge of the bed, or may be tucked in under bedding l, so as to conne the entrance of air underneath the bed covering to the tempered air delivered at low pressure by the blower unit I I.
The blower and tempering unit shown in Figures 4, 5 and 6, comprises a case II sustaining an upper (preferably metal) chassis plate 38 and a lower chassis plate 33. These are spaced apart by and secured to the spiral sheet metal walls 33 and 34 so as to form a main air delivery and drying duct 30, and a heat exchanger duct 3i. A blower rotor Id is positioned at the center of the duct system and is driven by motor I3 secured to upper chassis plate 38. Air enters blower rotor I4 axially through the circular hole in lower chassis plate 39, and is delivered in major part through spiral duct channel 33, thence entering delivery tube 8 for distribution through the bed covering. A smaller portion of the air is passed through duct 3I where it cools the wall 34 thence passing out into the room via the clearance hole in case I I surrounding eXit duct 8. Channel 30 is provided with a chemical drying agent 5S for absorbing moisture from the air passing through this channel. This agent, such as silica-gel, may be of granular form, and is contained between a 1:- olose rneshed screen 35 and the duct wall 34 so as to present a large exposed area to the air passing through duct 30. In addition, due to the spiral geometry, the centrifugal component of the airs motion tends to assure a thorough Contact between the air and drying agent so positioned. As before noted the absorption of moisture is accompanied in most drying agents by an exothermic reaction which would tend to heat the agent 3B and with it the delivered air. However, an appreciable portion of the heat so generated is conducted through the wall 34, which is in intimate thermal contact with the drying agent, and this heat is carried off by the portion of the air blast delivered by the blower through duct 3I. This results in an ultimate net refrigerative effect on the person to whom the air is delivered. An electric air heating element I9 is positioned in duct 30 and is supported on stand olf insulators 3l secured to the lower plate 39. This heater wire I9 is energized periodically in cold weather at a rate and pulse length of which the integrated power dissipation is made to be a function of the rooms ambient temperature as measured by bimetallic thermoresponsive element 29. It is evident that by switch means obvious to the art, heater I9 may be continuously energized for a period during the day so as to regenerate the drying agent by baking out the moisture absorbed during the night. Bimetallic element 29 is mounted on a bracket secured to upper chassis 38, the relay/25 carrying leaf switches 26 and 2 is also mounted on bracket `lll). A push rod 28 so connects the end of bimetallic leaf 29 and the armature of relay 25 that the resiliency of leaf 29 and the force generated by thermal stresses therein causes this leaf to act as the bias spring for the armature of relay 25. This thermally variable mechanical bias on relay 25 is utilized to control the effective dissipation of heater I9 as may be seen with reference to Figure 7. In Figure 7 a master control switch I5, located in the separable box I9, applies the line current from terminals I5 to the blower I3 and to the heater element through normally open relay contacts 2l. In addition, this line voltage is rectified by dry rectifier 29 and applied through limiting resistor 2| to capacitance 22 thereby making 22 a source of direct current. In the energized position of the relay contacts 25, condenser 23 is placed in parallel with condenser 22. Consequently as the potential in condenser 22 rises at a rate iniiuenced by the limiting resistors 2l and the line voltage, the potential rises in parallel condenser 23. Coincidentally the current through the field of relay 25 will also rise in a measure influenced by its own resistance and that of series resistor 24. When the voltage in condenser 23 has risen sufliciently to cause the relay armature to drop in, relay switch 26 will disconnect condenser 23 from its current supply and connect it to the series shorting resistors I8 and I7. Consequently, the length of time necessary for the relay current derivative from condenser 23 to fall to the drop out value will be influenced by the setting of control I1 located in the manual control box.
However, as before outlined, the mechanical bias on the relay 25 is controlled by the ambient temperature of bimetallic strip 29, and, consequently, the period of pulsation of the relay 25 and hence the integrated power output of heater I9 is dependent on the room temperature. Conversely, the pulse length is controllable manually by resistor I7 and so can also modulate the effective wattage of the air heater I9. Due to the appreciably different values of relay current for drop in and drop out for a given mechanical bias it has been found that the system may be easily made to operate over a 20 to 1 range of integrated power dissipation. By proper choice of components and adjustment of resistor 24 the system is caused to deliver no current to the heater I9 above any chosen cross over temperature. Consequently, with dropping temperature, the mechanical bias supplied by strip 29 diminishes until the relay can begin pulsing, thereby delivering increasing power to the heater as the rate of pulsing increases.
What I desire to protect by United States Letters Patent is encompassed in the following claims:
1. In a bed covering, the combination comprising an air-impervious flexible upper cover member, a flexible perforated lower distribution member secured at its periphery to said upper cover member, means for forming a plurality of self-sustaining air distribution ducts between said upper cover member and said lower perforated member, said ducts being in communication with the perforations in said lower member, a source of air pressure, and duct means communicating between said source of air pressure and said self-sustaining ducts whereby to diffuse air downwardly through the perforations in said lower distribution member.
2. In a bed covering, the combination comprising an air-impervious iiexible upper cover member, a flexible lower distribution member secured to said upper cover member, means to space intermittently said upper cover member from said lower distribution member between the points of said securance whereby to form a manifold of Self-sustaining air distribution duets therebetween, said spacing means forming an array of protuberant support areas in said lower distribution member, a plurality of perforations in said lower distribution member communicating with said self-sustaining ducts, a source of air pressure, and flexible duct means communicating between said source of air pressure and said selfsustaining ducts whereby to diffuse air downwardly from said bed covering through said perforations.
3. In a bed covering, the combination comprising an air-impervious flexible upper cover member, a flexible perforated lower distribution member, a plurality of self-sustaining air distribution ducts interposed between said impervious upper member and said perforated lower member and communicating with the perforations in said lower member, a plurality of protuberant support areas formed in said lower member, a source of air pressure, and flexible duct means communicating between said source of air pressure and said self-sustaining distribution ducts whereby to diffuse air downwardly from said bed covering through said perforations.
e. In a bed covering according to claim 9, means for heating the air passing through said exible duct means.
5. In a bed covering according to claim 9, airdrying means for drying the air passing through said flexible duct means.
6, In a device for diffusing air from a bed covering, the combination comprising a flexible self-sustaining air distribution manifold integral with said bed covering, means to diffuse air delivered by said manifold downwardly from said bed covering, an air pump, an exothermic agent for absorbing moisture from said air, heat-exchanger means for lowering the temperature of the air heated by said exothermic agent, a iirst duct means for conveying a portion of the air displaced by said pump first into contact with said exothermic drying agent and then into said distribution manifold for diffusion through the bed covering, and a second duct means for conveying a remaining portion of the air displaced by said pump into contact with said heat-exchanger means.
NATHANIEL B. WALES, JR.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the le of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,777,982 Popp Oct. 7, 1930 2,093,834 Gaugler Sept. 21, 1937 2,110,022 Kliesrath Mar. 1, 1938 2,461,432 Mitchell Feb. 8, 1949