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Publication numberUS2842187 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 8, 1958
Filing dateSep 9, 1954
Priority dateSep 9, 1954
Publication numberUS 2842187 A, US 2842187A, US-A-2842187, US2842187 A, US2842187A
InventorsSeverin B Hendrickson
Original AssigneeHeywood Wakefield Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Theater seat and support combination
US 2842187 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 8, 1958 s. BQHENDRICKSON 2,342,187


ATTORNEYS y 1958 v s. B. HENDRICKSON 2,842,187


SEVERIN B. HENDRICKSON ATTORNEYS THEATER SEAT AND SUPPORT COMBINATION Severin B. Hendrickson, Templeton, Mass., assignor to Heywood-Wakefield Company, Gardner, Mass., a corporation of Massachusetts Application September 9,1954, Serial No.'455,0 11

1 Claim. (Cl. 155-163) This invention relates to reclining chairs, and more particularly to apparatus for supporting rows of reclining chairs arranged side by side as in theaters, auditoriums, and the like.

A number of problems are presented in the construction and design of reclining seats for theaters and certain of these'problems relateto the ease with which the back rest may be reclined by chair occupants of different sizes and weights. Thus if a reclining chair is adapted to bear the weight of a heavy person in proper balance, a lightperson may not even be able to recline the back rest of the chair at all. While if the chair is adapted to balance the weight of a light occupant, the heavy occupant may be extremely uncomfortable because the back rest will then yield readily to a fully reclined position. Other problems in the design of this type of chair relate to the possibility of obstruction between the side elements of the chair and the reclining back rest. For instance, the clothes of the occupant may become caught between the back rest and the side elements as the back rest swings forward from a reclined position to an erect position, and also it is possible that the person seated behind the chair may get .his foot caught between the side elements and back rest of the chair in front of him as the back rest of the chair in front is permitted to move from a fully reclined position forward to an erect position. Also provision must be taken to keep clothes and the like from getting caught in the other moving parts of the reclining mechanism for the back rest. Another problem in this connection relates more specifically to the means for limiting the pivotal motion of the back rest when it reaches the fully reclined position so that, it is brought to a gradual stop without abutment against a hard surface.

Therefore, it is an object of my invention to provide a theater seat construction together with supporting mechanism which, at one and the same time, will be adapted to accommodate occupants of different sizes and weights under substantially the same conditions of ease of recline. Another object of my invention is to provide such a structure wherein the reclining action of the chair will be free from obstruction, and in which thedanger of clothes and the like getting caught between the back rest and supporting elements, or in the internal reclining mechanism, is eliminated. Still another object of my invention is to provide a structure which accomplishes the foregoing objects and which also is adapted to reach a limiting position of recline without coming up against a hard stop.

In the accomplishment of these and other objects of my invention in a preferred embodiment thereof, I employ a chair having a seat and a'back rest. The seat and back rest are supported by means of upright standards, serving either as aisle supports for the side of one chair, or as supports between two adjacent chairs. The back rest is pivotally connected to the standard at a relatively low point both on'the standard and the back rest, and

2,842,187 7 Patented July 8, 1 958 is adapted to move from an erect position roughly adjacent to the rear edge of the standard to a reclined position substantially to the rear and separated from the standard. In order to control the reclining position of the back rest, I pivotally connect thereto a link arm which extends forward from the back rest into an enclosed chamber located in the upper part of the upright standard. Internally of this chamber the link-arm is connected to a compression spring which tends to urge the link forward and carry the back rest of the chair forward into the erect position.

The link arm is connected to the back rest in an elevated position well above the pivot axis of the back rest and in the area of the back rest corresponding sub stantially to the small of the back of the occupant, and the spring'which acts on the link arm is selected to provide a spring force which will substantially counter balance the weight of an average occupant. The force of the spring increases as the back rest is reclined, but since the weight of the occupant is more effective as the back rest reclines, the result is to maintain a substantially constant relationship between reclining and restoring'forces acting on the back rest.

In order to avoid any obstruction to the reclining action of the back rest, I provide a guard plate laterally of the back rest extending forward alongside and parallel to the standard. This obviates any gap opening up between theback rest and standard when the back rest is in the fullyreclined position.

. It is 'a feature of myinvention that the low pivotpoint for the back rest, the relatively high pivot point for the link arm, together with the specially selected spring,' provide a variable spring and leverage system for use by chair'occupants of different sizes and weights. For instance, a large and heavy occupant of the chair need only lower his position in the chair a relatively shortdistance' in orderto reach a convenient balancing position between his weight and the forces tending to restore the back rest to an erect position, and when this positionis attained the back rest may be reclined to any angle between its limits. of recline and remain there under conditions of equilibrium. When the heavy occupant lowers his position, he automatically shortens the lever arm against which his weight works in relation to the built-in lever arm between the pivot axis of the back rest and the pivot point of the link arm. A light occupan can achieve the same results by sitting up to a limiting action because of the non-uniformity with which: the coiled elements of the compression spring abut each other.

Still another feature of my invention relates to the inter-relationship between the supporting standards, the back rest and the guard plate connected to the back rest and lying adjacent to the standard. The guard plate serves the dual function of providing a pivotal support for the backrest,-as well as closing up a gap which may exist between the supporting standard and the back rest.

Further objects and features of my invention will best be understood and appreciated from a detailed description of a preferred embodiment thereof, selected for purposes of illustration, and shown in the accompanying 3. of the seat and back rest of my invention adjacent to the supporting standard, showing also portions of the support standard cut away to expose the internal elements thereof;

Fig. 2 is a view in side elevation of. the upright supporting standard with one side cover plate removed to expose its internal construction and also showing a back rest and seat, together with various positions thereof in dotted lines;

Fig. 3 is a view in cross section along the lines 33 of Fig. 2; and

Fig. 4 is a cross sectional view in front elevation along the lines 4-4 of Fig. 2.

The preferred embodiment of my invention herein shown comprises an upholstered seat and back rest 12 supported along one side thereof by an upright standard indicated generally in Fig. 1 at 14. It will be understood that the upright standard 14 may be positioned between two chairs in a row of chairs, or else it may be employed as an end supporting standard along the aisle of a theater, auditorium or the like.

The upright supporting standard 14 is fabricated from structural steel elements including legs 16 joined centrally by a web 18, and being provided with a top brace 20 at the top. An arm rest 22 may be mounted on the top brace 20 at the top of the standard 14. In the upper portion of the standard 14, I provide a shallow longitudinally extending chamber indicated at 24 which is flanked on either side by cover plates 26. The chamber 24 houses the elements which control the position of the back rest, as will be more fully described presently.

The seat 10 may be afiixed to the standard 14 or else may be pivotally mounted, but since this phase of the construction of the seat forms no part of the present invention, it will not be further described in detail herein.

The back rest 12 is provided with a forwardly extending guard plate 28 along the side thereof, and extending parallel to the standard 14 closely adjacent to the cover plate 26 of the chamber 24. The back rest 12 is pivotally connected at 30 to one of the legs 16 of the standard 14 along the rear portion thereof in the area of the web 18 with the guard plate 28 serving both as a guard plate and as a stiifening member for supporting the back rest on the pivot 30. It will be understood that the back rest 12 is mounted to pivot from an erect position, shown in solid lines in Fig. 2, with the back rest adjacent to the rear edge of the standard 14 to a reclined position, shown in phantom lines in Fig. 2, with the back rest substantially separated from and to the rear of the standard 14. In the reclined position the guard plate 28 still remains adjacent to the rearmost edge of the standard 14 thereby obviating a gap opening up between the back rest 12 and the standard 14.

In order to control the position of recline of the back rest 12, I employ a link arm 32 pivotally connected to the guard plate 28 at 34 and extending forward therefrom into the chamber 24. It will benoted that the pivot point 34 of the link arm 32 on the guard plate 28 is substantially separated from the pivot point 30 of the back rest 12, thereby establishing a substantial lever arm employed in the control of the position of the back rest. It will also be seen that the pivot point 34 is located with relation to the back rest substantially in the area of the small of the back of the chair occupant. link 32 extends forwardly into the chamber 24 and is provided with a cylindrical rod extension36 which passes through a spring supporting plate 38, which is connected to the standard 14. Forward from the spring supporting plate 38, I mount a helical compression spring 40 on the rod 36 and retain the same thereon by means of a bolt 42 threaded to the forward end of the rod 36. A lock nut 44 is employed 'to hold the bolt 42 in position of adjustment. Thus it will be seen that the compression spring 40 seats against the support plate 38 at its rearmost end and urges the link arm 32 forward by pressing forwardly against the rearmost surface of the nut 42. In order to limit the forward travel of the link arm 32, I provide a stop lug 46 on the link arm 32 to the rear of the support plate 38. Thus when the back rest 12 is in the erect position, the stop lugs 46 come up against the rearmost surface of the support plate 38. When the back rest 12 is in the fully reclined position, the link arms 32 draw the rods 36 to the rear and the nut 42 completely compresses the spring such that the various coils of the said spring 40 abut one another in firm contact. Since there is a great multiplicity of these coils, however, it will be understood that they abut one another in an irregular sequence so that the back rest does not come up against any firm stopping element. Instead of a sharp or abrupt stop at the fully reclined position, this arrangement brings about what may be described as a gradual limiting action.

The spring 40 is selected with regard to its strength to counterbalance the weight of an average occupant seated in the chair, and while the force of the spring 40 increases gradually as the back rest 12 is reclined, it will be seen that the vertical component of the weight of the occupant of the chair likewise increases as the chair reclines. This arrangement brings about a substantial offset of the increase of the force of the spring 40 and thus a condition of substantial equilibrium is attained regardless of the position of recline of the back rest. In other words, the occupant can recline the back rest fully or partially as he desires and the back rest will remain substantially in the position desired. With this arrangement, a heavy occupant need only lower his position slightly on the back rest 12 shifting somewhat further forward on the seat 10, and the-same conditions of equilibrium of balance will be attained. The effect of such a shift in position is to change the load lever arm established by the gravitation forces of the occupant against the back rest 12, and by shortening the lever arm for a heavy person, it will be seen that the same conditions of equilibrium may be obtained as for a light person employing a longer lever arm.

Since certain minor variations of this preferred embodiment of my invention will now be apparent to those skilled in the art, it is not my intention to confine the invention to the precise form herein shown, but rather to limit it in terms of the appended claim.

Having thus described and disclosed a preferred embodiment of my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is:

A chair comprising, a seat, a back rest, means supporting said seat and back rest including an upright standard adjacent to one side of said seat and back rest, walls in said standard forming a longitudinally extending chamber, means pivotally connecting said back rest to said standard to pivot said back rest relative thereto from an erect position adjacent to the rearmost extremity of said chamber to a reclined position substantially separated from and to the rear of said chamber, a link pivotally connected to said back rest at a point substantially above the pivotal connection between said back rest and said standard, said link extending forward from said back rest :into said chamber, a compression spring in said chamber connected .to said link and urging the same forward whereby said back rest is resiliently urged forward to the said erect position, said spring having a multiplicity of coiled elements therein which abut one another when said spring is in a fully compressed state, and said link carrying said spring to the said fully compressed state when said back rest is reclined fully to the rear to the said reclined position,whereby said spring acts through said link both resiliently to resist reclining of said back rest and to limit said reclining by virtue of the abutment of the multiplicity of said coiled elements of said spring, the pivot for said back rest being located in a vertical plane separated from and to the front of said back rest, a separate pivot for said seat located in a vertical plane to the rear of the center of gravity of said seat and substantially separated from and to the front of the plane of said back rest pivot, whereby an occupant of said chair may bring his weight more fully against said back rest independently of support from said seat by shifting his position on said seat, and said spring having a compression force equal to the force required evenly to counterbalance the weight of an average occupant in the various positions of recline of said back rest.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Davis et a1. Oct. 29, 1901 Landau May 29, 1906 Pakorny Feb. 18, 1908 Hallowell May 30, 1933 Wood Oct. 29, 1935 Hard July 22, 1941 Hoven May 6, 1952 FOREIGN PATENTS Australia May 1, 1928 Germany Nov. 12, 1951

Patent Citations
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US685371 *Apr 4, 1901Oct 29, 1901Joseph J SchlickReclining-chair.
US822059 *Sep 20, 1905May 29, 1906Ferdinand FraasReclining-chair.
US879489 *Jul 12, 1906Feb 18, 1908John J PokornyReclining-chair.
US1912274 *Jan 15, 1930May 30, 1933Standard Pressed Steel CoStool
US2018825 *Dec 14, 1934Oct 29, 1935Posture Res CorpChair
US2250223 *Dec 8, 1938Jul 22, 1941Hard Merrill WTheater chair
US2595582 *Dec 27, 1948May 6, 1952American Seating CoChair having spring supported pivoted seat and back rest
AU1306828A * Title not available
DE820473C *Jul 29, 1950Nov 12, 1951Tan Sad Chair Co 1931 LtdLehnstuhl mit schwenkbarer Rueckenlehne
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3037812 *Jul 30, 1958Jun 5, 1962Monroe Benjamin FAircraft seat structure
US6612652 *Aug 28, 2000Sep 2, 2003Greystone International, Inc.Theater seat assembly
US9113715Mar 11, 2013Aug 25, 2015Series International, LlcAnchoring system for seat back
US20030102703 *Jan 13, 2003Jun 5, 2003Alex TenenboymTheater seat assembly
US20030154660 *Oct 21, 2002Aug 21, 2003Michael BerkowiczConnector for arranging modular seats in a non-linear array
WO2007093658A1 *Feb 16, 2007Aug 23, 2007Figueras Int Seating SaChair
U.S. Classification297/335, 297/DIG.100, 297/354.1
International ClassificationA47C7/56
Cooperative ClassificationY10S297/01, A47C7/566
European ClassificationA47C7/56D