US 2757478 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
mg, 7, 11956 A. H. BORLAND PLACE MAT Filed Nov. 2. .1953
United States Patent Oflice PLACE MAT Alexander H. Borland, Glenview, Ill. Application November 2, 1953, Serial No. 389,672 2 Claims. (Cl. 45--68.4)
This invention relates to place mats for use on trays and the like, more particularly to flexible liquid retain ing and absorbing place mats which may be economically manufactured, which are attractive in appearance and which are highly useful.
The invention will be described in connection with place mats for use as a childs spill catcher to minimize, if not eliminate, the usually unpleasant work involved in cleaning up the liquid and semi-liquid foods that are frequently spilled by infants no matter how closely they are supervised. It will be understood, however, that place mats embodying the present invention are capable of various other uses such, for example, as on hospital trays where spillage by invalids and elderly patients often occurs, and in fact place mats embodying the invention may be constructed in such attractive designs and colors as to find usage at regular adult or family dinners, or dinner parties.
It is accordingly a further object of the present invention to provide a flexible liquid imprevious place mat that is capable of retaining and at least partially absorbing liquids that may be accidentally spilled thereon.
Another object of the invention is to provide a place mat of the above indicated character that may be readily washed and cleaned after use.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a place mat of the above character which may be rolled or folded for storage when not in use.
In carrying out the invention in one form a place mat is provided which comprises a thin flexible sheet of liquid impervious material having an upwardly extending dam of liquid absorbing material extending about the periphery thereof.
For a more complete understanding of the invention reference should now be had to the drawings in which:
Fig. l is a perspective view of a place mat embodying the present invention;
Fig. 2 is a fragmentary plan view showing one corner of the place mat of Fig. 1 on a larger scale;
Fig. 3 is a similar fragmentary sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of Fig. 2;
Fig. 4 is a similar view taken along the line 4-4 of Fig. 2, and
Fig. 5 is a view similar to Fig. 4 showing a slightly diflerent embodiment of the invention.
Referring now to the drawing, the invention is shown as embodied in a place mat which comprises a thin sheet 11 of suitable flexible material which may be any of the well known transparent or opaque so-called plastic materials that are readily available on the market and that are impervious to liquids. At its outermost edges the base sheet 11 is provided with an upwardly extending flange 12 which extends entirely about the periphery of the base 11. This flange 12 may be formed by molding it integrally with the base sheet 11, or the base sheet 11 may be made larger than the desired final dimensions and the flange 12 may be formed by folding it upwardly and sealing it along the corners by suitable gluing operations, or by fusing operations if the base sheet 11 is formed of thermoplastic material.
Extending around the periphery of the base 11 within the flange 12 is a liquid absorbing dam 13 which may be formed of any suitable liquid absorbing material such, for example, as sponge rubber. The dam 13 is sealed to the base 11 and to the flange 12 by gluing or other suitable sealing means and it will be understood that the dam 13 may be formed as a unitary rectangular member or may be formed in individual strips extending along the sides and ends of the base 11 and suitably secured together at the corners. Furthermore, if the proper materials are available it may be possible to mold the dam 13 integrally with the base 11 and the flange 12.
As shown in Figs. 3 and 4 the dam 1.3 is preferably tapered so as to provide a substantially triangular crosssection which gives a finished and attractive appearance to place mats embodying the present invention, but it will be understood that this particular shape of the dam 13 is not essential and other configurations may be employed. Furthermore, in order to minimize interference by the dam 13 with the placement on, and removal of articles from the place mat, the front edge 13a as shown in Fig. 1, is provided with a dam of lesser height than the portions of the dam which extend about the remainder of this mat and preferably this dam portion of lower height will be of substantially the same height as the flange 12. Although the flange 12 is in the particular embodiment of the invention shown is illustrated as being of lesser height than the remainder of the dam 13 it will be understood that if desired the flange may extend throughout the full height of the dam across the ends and the back of the place mat and may be either folded over and secured to, or cut off along the lower height portion of the dam which extends across the front of the place mat.
From the foregoing description and illustration it will be understood that any liquid spilled in the place mat, such for example as a glass or cup of milk spilled by an infant will be retained within the confines of the mat and will be wholly or largely absorbed by the spongelike dam portion 13. The place mat after such spillage may be lifted without further spillage of the liquid and may be readily and quickly cleaned, the materials being such that the place mat may be readily washed and dried without damage to the mat.
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in Fig. 5 the flange 12 has been omitted and the dam 13 is secured to and extends around the extreme edge of the base sheet 11. With this modified construction the outer face of dam 13 is preferably provided with a water impervious coating 14 which may consist of a suitable paint or other sealing material.
Although the particular place mat shown in the drawing is illustrated as being rectangular, it will be understood that place mats embodying the invention may be constructed in any desired shape so as to conform to hospital trays, high chair trays or similar surfaces, and other configurations may be employed to provide an attractive appearance and design. It will be further understood that the size and shape of the dam members 13 may be varied as desired so as to insure maximum absorption of liquids spilled in the place mat. In one embodiment of the invention a base sheet 16 inches by 12 inches was provided with dam members of triangular cross-section, the dam members along the ends and the back being approximately one inch high at the outer edge and one inch wide at the bottom and the darn along the front edge being of the same width but only one-half inch high.
While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown, it will be understood, of course, that the Patented Aug. 7, 1956 invention is not limited thereto since many modifications may be made and it is therefore contemplated by the appended claims to cover any such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:
1. A flexible liquid retaining and absorbing place mat comprising a thin flexible sheet of non-elastic liquid irnpervious material, and a liquid absorbent dam of flexible sponge-like material secured to and extending upwardly from said sheet about substantially the entire periphery thereof, the height and Width of said dam being of generally the same order and the length and width of said flexible sheet being of an order many times greater than said first mentioned order, said dam having a substantially triangular cross section tapering inwardly and downwardly relative to said sheet and having a portion adjacent at least one side of said sheet which is of a lesser height than the height of the remainder of dam, thereby to facilitate placing articles on and removing articles from said place mat.
2. The place mat defined by claim 1 in which the flexible sheet includes side wall portions extending upwardly from the periphery of said sheet in engagement with an outer surface of said dam.