US 2703416 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 8, 1955 OWEN 2,703,416
CELLULAR PNEUMATIC SUPPORT Filed Sept. 10 1951 I8 68 \40 I b 50 INVENTOR.
Harold A. Owen United States Patent CELLULAR PNEUMATIC SUPPORT Harold A. Owen, Dover, Del., assignor to International Latex Corporation, Dover, Del., a corporation of Delaware Application September 10, 1951, Serial No. 245,790
Claims. (Cl. 5-348) My invention relates to a cellular pneumatic support tlliat may be used as a mattress, cushion, life-raft and the l' e.
I have determined that a pneumatic mattress should be sectionalized to provide the greatest degree of flexibility. As an example the various sections or units in the desired sizes or forms may be grouped to fill a specific dimensional requirement.
The multiplicity of units or cells needed for the foregoing arrangement involves the problem of multiple inflation and accordingly the principal object of my invention is to provide a simple method for readily and simultaneously collapsing and inflating any combination of individual pneumatic cells.
Further objects include the provision of means for readily removing and if necessary replacing any single cell or of adding additional cells; to provide a covering for the multiple cells that will facilitate the installation of the individual cells therein; to provide means for locking the individual cells in the desired position; to provide means for readily removing any cell from the covering; to provide a covering that will permit immersion in water. to enable a mattress to be utilized as a life raft, and vice versa; to provide means whereby any individual cell may be removed and closed for separate emergency use; to provide a covering that may be readily sectionalized and pneumatically interconnected; and to provide a mattress having laterally positioned pneumatic barriers to prevent accidental upset of the occupant while asleep.
I accomplish these and other objects and obtain my new results as will be apparent from the device described in the following specification, particularly pointed out in the attached claims and illustrated in the accompanying drawing, in which:
Fig. l is a perspective view of my inflated cellular pneumatic support in position ready for use.
Fig. 2 is a side elevation of the same in deflated condition and in rolled up form.
Fig. 3 is an enlarged transverse sectional view of the support taken in the plane 33 of Fig. 1.
Fig. 4 is a fragmentary enlarged view of one of the sectioned pneumatic interconnecting means positioned between adjacent cells as shown in Fig. 3.
Fig. 5 is a fragmentary enlarged sectioned view of the blow-up tube and cell connection as shown in Fig. 3.
Fig. 6 is a fragmentary elevational plan view of a partition with the interconnecting means shown in section, taken in the plane of 6-6 of Fig. 3.
In Fig. 1 of the drawing, reference numeral 10 designates generally my novel support or mattress when inflated. As shown in Fig. 2, the mattress may be deflated and rolled up to occupy relatively small space enabling the mattress to be carried within a shoulder pack with other necessary equipment, or stored on an aircraft.
The mattress is preferably enlarged adjacent the anterior portion, as at 12 to provide the widest transverse dimension at the shoulders of the reclining occupant, and slightly tapered therefrom towards the head and foot sections 14 and 16 respectively.
As is illustrated in Fig. 3, the mattress 10 comprises a cover 17 divided internally into lateral compartments 18 and intermediate compartments 20 by partitions 22 extending lengthwise of the mattress.
Into these compartments are positioned the pneumatic cells, comprising the lateral cells 24, and the intermediate cells 26, which are connected to each other by the interconnecting means 28 thereby obtaining a single pressure system throughout the cells.
The connections 28 pass through openings 30 in the partitions as shown in Fig. 6 and are positioned towards the posterior portion of the mattress.
The entrance tube 32 for inflating the mattress is likewise positioned posteriorly of the mattress and at one edge thereof where it will not inconvenience the occupant.
The mattress cover 17 is tubular in construction having end closures 34 and 36 respectively, illustrated as of the zipper type. Such construction facilitates the assembly operation of the individual cells, by a simple threading operation through the open-ended compartments. More importantly, a single cell may be easily replaced in the field by the same procedure.
The lateral cells 24 and the compartments 18 therefor are of increased depth with respect to the intermediate compartments and cells to produce lateral ledges or barriers 38 which serve to cradle the occupant and to prevent accidental upset during sleep.
The interconnecting means 28 comprises a rigid tube 40 tapered at the two ends thereof as at 42, and force-fitted into flexible and resilient collar sections 44 projecting inwardly of the cells through openings 46 in the cell walls to which the collar sections are attached at the flange 48. The flexible collars may also be slightly tapered to accommodate the tapered rigid tubes.
In place of the separate interconnecting rigid tubes and the inwardly extending flexible and resilient collar sections secured to the cell walls, the respective positions may be reversed (not shown) to provide separate interconnecting flexible and resilient encircling tubing and outwardly extending inner rigid supporting tubes the latter of which are secured to the cell walls. Such construction however has the disadvantage of requiring the separate resilient tubing to extend between adjacent cell walls thereby necessitating additional space between compartments.
The entrance tube 32 for inflating the cells is shown in detail in Fig. 5. This tube is preferably made of flexible material to permit folding the free end 50 of the tube upon itself to restrict the inner passageway thereby preventing the escape of air therethrough. The fold over tube may be maintained in position by a flexible tape 52 for encircling the tube at the folded-over position having a male and female snap fastener 54 and 56 respectively, separated by a distance suflicient to permit the free end 58 of the tape carrying one of the fastener parts to encircle over the tube 32 and folded over end 50, locking with the complementary fastener to maintain the end of the tube in the closed position.
The entrance tube 32 is provided with a flange 60 extending over the inner surface of the wall 62 of the cell through opening 64 thereby enabling the flange 60 to be suitably secured to the inner wall of the cell and reinforce the junction of the tube and cell wall. The cover 17 is similarly provided with an opening 66 containing a grommet 68 reinforcing the edge of the opening enabling the tube to extend through the grommet.
I have found that an extremely thin wall cell may be used if properly confined within the covering. The tube should be tightly encircled by the grommet, however to confine the thin wall of the cell within the covering, and avoid its pinching with consequent leakage.
The opening 30 in the partition 22 for the interconnecting means 28 is preferably constructed in the manner illustrated in Fig. 6. The original edge 70 of the opening 30 extends to the posterior edge 72 of the partition and a reinforcing tape 74 is folded over to encircle the cut edge 70 of the opening and extends circumferentially about the opening. The two free ends 76 of the tape are secured to each other as by the stitching 78 at the edge 72 of the partition thereby forming a continuous loop through which the rigid tube 40 extends between adjacent cells.
The entrance tubing 32 for blowing up the cells may be positioned on an edge of wall 62 of one of the cells and confined within the closure 36. Such a position of the entrance tubing would necessitate the provision of cellular walls sufiiciently strong to confine the cells within the partitions while the closure 36 is open to enable the cells to be inflated with the posterior ends of the compartments open, as distinguished from the laterally extending entrance tubing through the grommeted wall of the covering as shown in Fig. 5. If the walls are sufficiently thick to withstand pressures of 1 /2 pounds per square inch, the entrance tubing 32 may be stored within the end closure 36. If the walls are extremely thin so that pressures of about A pound per square inch are used, the grommeted opening is preferable.
Dimensionally, the intermediate cells are approximately 4 inches in diameter, the two lateral cells being approximately 6 inches in diameter. Four inner cells plus the two lateral cells when deflated provide a width of mattress of approximately 26 inches. The cells are, approximately 72 inches in length to accommodate the average person although they may be constructed of any size depending on the particular need for which they are designed.
The cells are preferably made of a plasticized copolymer of vinyl chloride, vinyl acetate, having a wall thickness of about .011 inch except at the openings thereof which are reinforced to a thickness of about .018 inch. The cells may be made of sheet material folded over and heat sealed at the edges. Instead of flat sheet stock, the cells may be made of extruded tube material. The vinyl material of the cell walls will permit heat sealing to the flexible collar sections and entrance tubing at their flanges.
The outer covering and partitions are preferably made of nylon fabric to withstand abrasion and to facilitate drying. The partition walls may be made by sewing the longitudinal edges thereof as illustrated in Figs. 2 and 3 by the stitching 80.
In the foregoing I have described a cellular pneumatic support, the cells of which are interconnected to form a single pressure system. The interconnecting means between the cells comprises a plurality of readily detachable sections which will facilitate the building up of the various cells into any desired structure. The readily detachable sections of the interconnecting means also permit individual cells to be removed and replaced. In the event of an emergency, one of the cells may be removed, blown up by means of an extra interconnecting rigid tubing section, and closed with a rubber nipple, not shown, to enable use of the cell as an individual lifesaving unit. A similar nipple should be used to close the exposed interconnecting rigid tubing of the adjacent intermediate cell to permit the structure to continue to act adequately as a floating support. The mattress as disclosed will support more than one average sized individual when floated.
Any suitable type of entrance closure may be provided to enable the cells to be inflated. In place of heat sealing when indicated, the parts may be secured to each other by adhesives. A measure of elasticity is preferred in the thickened portions at the flanges. A strap or other securing means may be used to retain the deflated mattress in rolled up condition.
The further results achieved by my novel structure are the pneumatic side rails making upset less apt by cradling the occupant, the ability to by-pass readily any punctured cell, and a lighter, safer, more comfortable mattress, involving only three different types of readily replaceable cells.
I have thus described my invention, but I desire it understood that it is not confined to the particular forms or uses shown and described, the same being merely illustrative, and that the invention may be carried out in other ways without departing from the spirit of my invention, and, therefore, I claim broadly the right to employ all equivalent instrumentalities coming within the scope of the appended claims, and by means of which, objects of my invention are attained and new results accomplished, as it is obvious that the particular embodiments herein shown and described are only some of the many that can be employed to attain these objects and accomplish these results.
1. A cellular pneumatic support comprising a protective cover equipped with detachable closing means at one end thereof, a plurality of gas-tight cells disposed within said cover and individually removable therefrom, readily disengageable interconnecting means for the passageway of gas from one of said cells to the remainder of said cells so that said cells form a single pressure system, said interconnecting means comprising a plurality of resilient sleeves permanently joined in paired relation to the respective walls of adjacent cells and a plurality of short lengths of rigid tubing individually extending between and into each resilient sleeve of an adjacent pair, and means for injecting gas into said system.
2. A cellular pneumatic support comprising a protective cover equipped with detachable closing means at one end thereof, a plurality of gas-tight cells disposed within said cover and individually removable therefrom, said cells being made of thin thermoplastic sheeting, readily disengageable interconnecting means for the passageway of gas from one of said cells to the remainder of said cells so that said cells form a single pressure system, said interconnecting means comprising a plurality of resilient sleeves having collars made of thermoplastic material fused in paired relation to the respective Walls of adjacent cells and a plurality of short lengths of smooth rigid tubing individually extending between and into each resilient sleeve of an adjacent pair, and means for injecting gas into said system.
3. A cellular pneumatic support comprising a protective cover equipped with detachable closing means at one end thereof, a plurality of gas-tight cells disposed within said cover and individually removable therefrom, readily disengageable interconnecting means for the passageway of gas from one of said cells to the remainder of said cells so that said cells form a single pressure system, said interconnecting means comprising a plurality of resilient sleeves permanently joined in paired relation to the respective walls of adjacent cells and a plurality of short lengths of rigid tubing individually extending between and into each resilient sleeve of an adjacent pair, means for injecting gas into said system, a fabric cover for said cells and fabric partitions in said cover forming compartments for said cells, said partitions extending beyond said interconnecting means and having apertures for said interconnecting means, said apertures being in the shape of triangles with their apices at the ends of said partitions, the edges of said apertures being reinforced with eircumferentially complete tape.
4. In a cellular pneumatic support comprising a plurality of interconnected individual gas-tight cells and means for injecting gas into said cells, the combination thereof with interconnecting means that are readily and simply detached for the removal of a single cell comprising a plurality of sleeves attached to adjacent cells, each sleeve comprising a short length of resilient tubing and a collar integrally joined to said tubing, said collar being permanently secured to the wall of its respective cell with the tubing extending into said cell, and a plurality of short pieces of rigid tubing extending between and into the sleeves attached to adjacent cells.
5. In a cellular pneumatic support comprising a plurality of interconnected individual gas-tight cells and means for injecting gas into said cells, the combination thereof with interconnecting means that are readily and simply detached for the removal of a single cell comprising a plurality of sleeves attached to adjacent cells, each sleeve comprising a short length of resilient tubing and a collar integrally joined to said tubing, said collar being permanently secured to the wall of its respective cell with the tubing extending into said cell, and a plurality of short pieces of rigid tubing extending between and into the sleeves attached to adjacent cells, each of said pieces tapering downwardly from the middle to both ends, whereby gaseous pressure within a cell forces the tapered end of the piece of rigid tubing attached thereto further into the resilient tubing as said pressure increases.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 611,377 Davis Sept. 27, 1898 1,198,687 Williams et al. Sept. 19, 1916 1,456,207 Adamski May 22, 1923 1,569,937 Turner Jan. 19, 1926 1,648,373 Vilas Nov. 8, 1927 1,746,709 Marshall Feb. 11, 1930 2,028,060 Gilbert Jan. 14, 1936 2,549,597 Harris et al Apr. 17, 1951