US 2892489 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 30, 1959 R. T. HURLEY FURNITURE AND SEAT CONSTRUCTION Filed Sept. 26, 195'? INVENTOR. H ROY T. HURLEY id M1 r ATTORNEYS United States Patent FURNITURE AND SEAT CONSTRUCTION Roy T. Hurley, Saddle River, N.J., assignor to Curtiss- Wright Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Application September 26, 1957, Serial No. 686,344
Claims. (Cl. 155-178) This invention relates to load-bearing equipment and more particularly to furniture, such as seats, beds and the like, embodying a yieldable, resilient load support.
In recent years, foam rubber, foam plastics and equiva lent materials have been put to use as mattresses and cushions of all types. It has been found that these materials are rendered more suitable for the purpose when sheets or blocks thereof are provided with grooves, recesses or passages of various shapes and sizes to thereby vary and improve the load-bearing characteristics thereof. To so construct cushions in this manner requires relatively complicated molding and cutting equipment, time-consuming and costly manufacturing procedures, and consequent increased costs and relatively slow production. The resulting product also consumes considerable space and much waste is normally encountered in the process of manufacture.
It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a novel structural feature which may be incorporated in a variety of items of furniture and the like, such as chairs for home and oflice use, automobile and aircraft seats, beds, couches and the like.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel seat or similar load-bearing construction which embodies foam plastics or equivalent materials.
Still another object is to provide constructions of the above types wherein the normal load compression characteristics of the foamed material are advantageously varied in a novel manner.
A further object of the invention is to novelly and advantageously combine rigid and resilient load-supporting elements in a manner which obviates the necessity of giving special treatments heretofore given to the resilient elements.
Still another object is to provide a seat or the like which is novelly so constructed that it costs less and requires less space than comparable structures heretofore known.
A still further object is to provide a novelly constructed seat, bench or the like which is more sturdy and lends itself better to etficient high-speed, low-cost production than do present constructions utilized for the same or comparable purposes.
Another object is to provide novel structures of the above type wherein foamed plastic or its equivalent is combined with a rigid support in a novel manner whereby the foamed plastic is caused to perform a new and advantageous function.
The above and further objects and novel features of the present invention will more fully appear from the following detailed description when the same is read in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
In the drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views,
Fig. 1 is a front elevation view, with parts broken free away, illustrating the invention embodied in an automobile or swing seat;
Fig. 2 is an end elevation view of said seat partly in section, the section being taken on line 2--2 of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a detail sectional ivew taken along line 3-3 of Fig. 2 when the seat is not loaded; and,
Fig. 4 is a detail sectional view similar to Fig. 3, but on an enlarged scale, taken when a load is being applied to the seat.
The present invention is primarily adapted for embodi ment in equipment such as beds, chairs, seats and the like upon or in which humans may repose with comfort. In the drawing, one form of the invention is illustrated, by way of example, as embodied in an automobile seat. It will, of course, be understood that there are many other specific uses or applications of the invention.
The novel seat construction illustrated in the drawing comprises only a minimum number of parts. The latter, as well as the combination thereof, are the essence of simplicity and for comparable performance, the same require less space than prior known seats, so that increased headroom and leg room are made available for passengers in automobiles, airplanes and the like. As shown, said seat comprises a rigid one-piece body 10 which comprises a seat portion 11 and a backrest 12. Both the seat portion and backrest are corrugated to provide ribs or ridges 14 which extend from front to back of the seat portion and from top to bottom of the backrest portion. If desired, the ribs 14 in the seat or the backrest or both may extend transversely at right angles to the direction shown or said ribs may extend in both directions in a grid type arrangement. Additionally, said ribs may be continuous, as illustrated, or they may be interrupted in the form of a series or several lines of bumps or peaks in any desired arrangement.
The seat body 10 may be formed of metal, such as light gauge aluminum or. any other rigid material. If weight is a prime factor, the same may, by way of example, be molded out of glass fiber reinforced plastic material. In some installations, a fabricated seat body may be preferable to the one-piece molded or pressed construction, and the supporting ribs or projections may be formed by bars or the like in an open grill arrangement for purposes of. improved ventilation. Supported. directly upon ribs 14 is a layer or pad 15 of plastic foam or its equivalent. Said pad may be initially cast or formed in the desired shape to fit the seat body 10, but the same may also be made as a flat block or sheet and bent to fit the seat contour.
It is characteristic of plastic foam that it gives the feel of hardness when the load thereon is light, such as when the same is first encountered by a person sitting down. Thus, a person in the act of seating himself on a solid block of plastic foam gets the uncomfortable sen sation of first encountering a rather hard, unyielding surface or shell and then as his weight is gradually applied, the sensation of suddenly breaking through. In the novel combination of rigid seat body or support and plastic foam cushion contemplated by the present invention, the load-compression characteristics of the foam material are suitably and desirably altered by the reaction of the cushion and the ribbed support therefor. By reason of the ribs 14 or other projections which support the cushion or pad 15, only those portions of the latter which contact said ribs or projections are put under compression initially when the load is first applied. Accordingly, less force or load is required to initially depress the cushion, thereby giving it a softer feel. As the load increases and the compression within the pad 15 increases and spreads out through a greater volume as the compression propogates from the lines or points of contact with the projecting portions of the rigid seat body, a desirable firmwees,
ness is recognized. At the same time, the portions 16 of the pad .15 between ribs 14 are gradually depressed and placed in tension by the load. The portions 16 when thus loaded, form in effect resilient beams which function in a novel manner as springs that 'coiit'ribute. greatly to the comfort of the seat or bed, particularly in an automobile orrailroad coach or Pullman car bouncing known as Dura Soft? may be used for this purpose. The
outer or upper pad 17 may be protected by a covering 18 of fabric or plastic material- This covering may be secured in position by any known conventional means or the same may be adhered directly to the surface of pad 17 by a conventionaladhesive or heat sealing.
It may be desirable to secure the resilient cushions and rigid seat body to each other at the bend connecting the seat portion and the backrest. One suitable means for this purpose comprises a series of cords 19. each connected at one end to a button 20. and at the other end at the back of the seat body to a spread apart type of fastener 21.
There is thus provided a novel and greatly simplified seat, bed or the like construction whereby a minimum number of simply constructed parts are novelly combined to advantageously correct the load-compression characteristics of foam plastic and similar materials and to make advantageous use of said materials as spring means in a novel manner. The novel conception of the invention is readily adaptable to a large variety of different types of chairs, couches, beds, seats and the like, and makes possible the provision of very light weight yet extremely sturdy structures of this kind.
Although only a limited number of embodiments or modifications of the invention have been illustrated in the drawing and described in the foregoing specification, it is to be expressly understood that the invention is not limited thereto. For example, although plastic foam cushions have been stressed in the foregoing description, it will be possible and perhaps desirable in'som'e cases to substitute other materials, such as foam rubber, for either:
If desired, addior both of the foam pads illustrated. tional layers may be added to the cushion or curved and tapered interplies may be inserted between pads 17 and 15 .to give either or both the seat and .backportionsva more desirable contour than that illustrated. Various other changes, such as in the shaping or spacing of the ribs 14 and in the design and arrangement of parts illustrated may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art.
What is claimed is:
l. Ina product of the class described, a rigid support having a plurality of spaced apart \hshaped rib'meiribersl.
wherein the apices of said rib members are positioned away from said support,,and,a cushion of foamed ,material, such as plastic team, having a substantially plane surface supportedonly by the apices of said rib members.
2. In a seat construction a support comprising a plurality of V-shaped rib members and a rigid support member integral therewith, the apices of all said rib members being'positioned in the same plane, and a cushion of foamed material having a substantially plane surface supported only. by the apices of said rib members.
3. In a seat or the like a rigid support comprising a plurality of apices of V-shaped ribs extending outwardly. from a surface of saidsupport and extending over the entire surface of said support, and a cushion of foamed material having a substantially plane surface supported only by the 'apices of said ribs.
4. In a product of the class described,a cushion of foamed material solely supported by a plurality of apices of V-shaped rib members, a rigid support integral With-- said ribs with the apices of said ribs extending over an entire surface of said support and spaced apart from each" other a sufficient distancewhereby as the load on said cushion is increased, the load support area throughout the entire cushion is increased. 5. In a seat construction, a'rigid body comprising a seat portion and a backrest integral therewith, saidseat portion and back rest formed with inverted V shaped ribs extending fore-and-aft and up-and-down, respectively, and cushion means comprising foamed material, such as plastic foam, resting against the apices of said ribs to yield'ably support an occupant. 1
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS