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Publication numberUS2987735 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 13, 1961
Filing dateJul 26, 1957
Priority dateJul 26, 1957
Publication numberUS 2987735 A, US 2987735A, US-A-2987735, US2987735 A, US2987735A
InventorsWalter P Nail
Original AssigneeWalter P Nail
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Control of inflatable articles
US 2987735 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 13, 1961 w. P. NAIL CONTROL OF INFLATABLE ARTICLES Filed July 26, 1957 R U T N E v N WALTER F. NAIL United States Patent 2,987,735 CONTROL OF INFLATABLE ARTICLES Walter P. Nail, 54 Osler Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada Filed July 26, 1957, Ser. No. 674,480 24 Claims. (Cl. 5-348) This invention relates to a new art in the field of inflatable articles or devices. Heretofore inflatable articles have been essentially uncontrolled as to form or shape and the flexible material, of which such an article must of a necessity be made to provide for inflation and collapse, simply assumes the shape resulting from the uniform internal pressure which acts outwardly on the entire inner surface area. Due to the equal pressure on the entire surface area, the natural configuration assumed by the article tends to be circular or spherical, or at least bulge outwardly in a part spherical surface. Applied pressure to any point on the bulging surface of the inflated articles, of course, results in a distortion of such surface portion corresponding to the shape of the member applying pressure and an additional bulging elsewhere on the surface of the article.

Because of the lack of control, only limited shapes have been possible with inflatable articles. Another basic limitation has been the inherent lack of stability or rigidity of inflatable articles, that is, their lack of resistance to deformation under applied pressure. As a result, there has in the past been only a limited number of applications for such inflatable articles.

It is the object of this invention to achieve substantial rigidity and resistance to deformation under applied pressures in inflatable articles, and thereby extend the application of such articles to entirely new fields never before contemplated. According to the invention, there are afforded inflatable articles which can be transported and stored in a collapsed and folded compact condition, yet which can be quickly inflated when required into substantially rigid sturdy structures, defying deformation under applied pressure. One application of the invention is in the provision of all types of furniture, although, of course, the invention is in no way limited to such application as will hereinafter appear.

The principal feature of the invention resides in forming an inflatable article by shaping two opposing surfaces to have a contour corresponding to the desired article configuration, and connecting such surfaces by a flexible tube to form an air-tight chamber, and applying means to control the opposing surfaces to restrain same against tendency to bulge outwardly on inflation. With this arrangement, the cross-sectional configuration of the airtight chamber can be conformed to correspond to the configuration of the contour of the opposing pair of surfaces.

More particularly according to the present invention, the control of the two opposing surfaces is afforded by attaching thereto or incorporating therein a material or member having a measure of resistance to deformation or bulging on air pressure substantially greater than the material of which the opposing surfaces that make up the air-tight chamber are formed. In general, these opposing surfaces will include material of the type used in the flexible tube, and the material which may be attached to, or incorporated in, these surfaces may, for instance, form a solid sheet or frame. Preferably, such stiffening material is incorporated into the surfaces of the inflatable article as, for instance, being sandwiched between two layers of the flexible material which makes up the opposing surfaces.

Alternatively, of course, the stiffening material or member may be simply secured or laminated to the faces of the opposing surfaces.

2,987,735 Patented June 13, 1961 Also contemplated in the invention is the use of trapped air within the layers of flexible material between which the stiffening or rigid member or material is sandwiched to form a cushion element where the invention is applied to the construction of furniture. Additionally according to this application of the invention there may also be incorporated a cushion material such as sponge rubber between the layers of flexible material to increase the cushioning eflect.

These and other objects and features will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view showing the invention applied to the construction of a hassock;

FIGURE 2 is a mid-vertical sectional view of the hassock of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 shows in a perspective view, partly broken away, a hassock of an alternative construction;

FIGURE 4 is a perspective view, partly broken away, showing the invention applied to the construction of a childs wading pool, inflatable boat or raft, or the like;

FIGURE 5 is a perspective View, partly broken away, showing the invention applied to the arms of a chair;

FIGURE 6 is a perspective view, partly broken away, showing the invention applied to a chair proper;

FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary mid-vertical sectional view of a hassock of slightly modified form from that shown in FIGURES l and 2;

FIGURE 8 is a mid-vertical sectional view through a further modified form of hassock.

Referring first to FIGURES 1 and 2, the hassock illustrated comprises a pair of contoured surfaces comprising a bottom formation 1 and a top formation 2 of circular configuration. The bottom and top are connected together by an annular wall comprised by a flexible tube 3. The tube 3, preferably, comprises a suitable heavy gauge plastic, and both the top and bottom formations are preferably formed of two layers 5 of flexible material which may be the same as the tube 3, the layers defining a pocket therebetween in which is received a stiffening material or element which may comprise a relatively stiff sheet or plate 6. The peripheral edges of the flexible layers 5 of the top and bottom wall formations are sealed together, and are preferably also sealed to the respective abutting edges of the side wall 3, as at 7. For instance, the seal may be effected by a common heat seal to lock the sheets 6 within the top and bottom formations and to complete the top and bottom and annular side wall 3 into an air receiving inflatable chamber 8. Air may be introduced into the chamber through a suitable valve 9.

On inflation, the outward air pressure will act in a manner tending to bulge the annular wall 3 outwardly, as indicated in dotted line, and will also tend to bulge the top and bottom wall formations outwardly so that the hassock has the tendency to assume a spherical or part-spherical shape. By virtue of the sheets or plates 6 within the bottom and top formations, this outward bulging will be precluded and the top and bottom surfaces will be controlled or constrained to follow a substantially flat contour.

In addition, due to the fact that the peripheries of the top and bottom walls move outwardly to the same extent as the central portions of these walls, there will be indirectly a control applied to the annular wall 3 to restrict its outward bulging and to force it to assume a substantially straight wall formation as illustrated in solid line in FIGURE 2. It will be understood, of course, that the outward bulge of the wall 3 will also depend on the thickness or lack of stretchability of the material selected in the form of the wall.

' It is desirable to provide a cushioning layer on top of the stiffening sheet 6, at least in the top formation 2, and preferably, in both the top and bottom formation, since thehassock may be reversible. A simple means of achieving such a cushioning eflect is to allow air to be trapped in thepocket formation formed by the flexible layers 5. Then, as shown in FIGURE 2, on outward pressure of the air within the internal chamber 8, the trapped air between the flexible layers 5 will be forced to the upper side of the sheet 6 to form a cushioning air layer 10.

As shown in FIGURE 7, either in addition to this cushioning air layer or as a substitute therefor, the pocket formed by the flexible layers 5' may also include a layer ,11 of cushioning material such as sponge or foam rubber, or a suitable cotton filling or the like.

FIGURE '8 shows an alternative form of hassock, having a side wall formedby a tube 12 connecting a circular bottom 13 and top 14, the'bottom 13 having a flat stiflening sheet 15 embedded therein while the top 14 has apcon- "caved stiffening sheet 16 contained or embeddedbetween the layers thereof to form the concave contour to the top surface. A layer 17 of suitable cushioning material is placed to overlie the stiffening sheet 15, and air may be trapped between the layers 18 of flexible material which form the top pocket formation receiving the stiifening plate 16 and cushioning material 17.

- With reference to FIGURE 3, a frustro-conical shaped hassock 19 is illustrated, having an annular bottom wall 20, and an annular top wall 23 connected by a tubular 'frustro-conical outer side wall in the form of a tube 22 and an inner tubular wall 27 to define an inflatable chamber. In this embodiment of the invention, the annular top wall 23 is controlled by having laminated thereto an annular stiffening member 24. The control for the bottom wall comprises an outer rigid or relatively rigid ring 25 and an inner rigid or relatively rigid ring'26 embedded therein.

In this case, the inner cylindrical wall 27 and the outer conical wall 22 form tie elements'which restrict the relativeseparation of the bottom and top'of the hassock. The top, of course, is controlled 'by the annular stiffening member 24 so that it is contoured to maintain an out-ofspherical shape,'while the rings 26 define a fixed shape to the outer and inner-boundaries of the bottom, which boundaries are fixed in relation to their relative separation from each other, and from the top of the 'hassock. Thus, a measure of control is afforded to the bottom of the hassock to maintain the bottom and the side walls from a spherical configuration.

With reference to FIGURE 4, the rectangular device generally designated at 28, which may be a Wading pool,

raft or life boat, comprises a bottom formation 29 consisting of a sheet 30 of relatively rigid material secured between layers 31 of "flexible material such as plastic. The top surface 32 of the device comprises a rectangular frame 33 of suitable stiff material embedded between flexible layers 34 and the shaped opposing surfaces constituted by the bottom 29 and top 32 are joined by means of flexible outer and inner walls in the form of tubes 35 and 36, respectively, which are fitted and secured to the perimeters of the opposing surfaces. There is thus defined a rectangular chamber 37 which is adapted to receive air on inflation of the pool.

"Under inflation, air pressure within the chamber37 acts on the rigid top 32 and bottom 29, which are constrained by the stiifening members 33 and 30, to follow a substantially flat contour. The relative separation of these flat surfaces acts to tension the side walls 35 and 36, thus "applying a control thereto to pull same into a substantially flat state against the outward bulging tendencies of the internal air pressure.

" FIGURE -5 is another illustration of the scope of the members 38 as the control in the topand bottomsurfaces of the device which may constitute the arms and back,

article in accordance with the invention.

for instance, of a chair. Again, the stiffening members may be secured between layers 39 of suitable flexible material, and the top and bottom formations 40 and 41 are connected together by suitable side walls constituted by a tube 42, tie ends of which are fitted and secured to the perimeters of the opposing bottom and top surfaces to complete the air-receiving chamber. The side walls constituted by the tube 42, of course, are formed of flexible material, which again may be a suitable plastic which can be conveniently sealed to the top and bottom formations.

FIGURE 6 illustrates the application of the invention to a seat. In this case, the control to the seat portion 43 of the device is achieved by incorporating rigid plate-like members 44 and 45 in the opposed upper and lower seat walls 46 and 47 respectively. Similarly, control is imparted to the back rest of the seat by incorporating platelike members 48 and 49 in the front and rear walls 50 and 51 of the back rest. The wall formations 46. 47, 5t) and 51 comprise a pair of tubes, one inside the other to define pockets to receive the stiffening members, and the ends of these tubes are fitted around and secured to flexible end panels 52 which have a perimeter contour corresponding to the desired seat shape. The tubes comprising the walls 46, 47, 50 and 51 define with the and panels 52 an inflatable chamber.

The several different articles and arrangements shown are intended for illustrative purposes only, as 'it will be understood that an extremely wide range of shapes and contours can be achieved by employing surface control means to control the shape and contour of the'inflatable That is, the outline of the desired article can be achieved by shaping the particular governing wall or surface to outline the article, and the other than spherical contour can be imparted to the article by the employmentof the surface control means.

While for ultimate control the opposing stiffening members have complete rigidity, it will be understood that a lesser measure of control may be achieved by having one of the opposing controlling elements formed simply to offer a greater resistance to deformation than the material of which the inflatable chamber is formed, even though such controlling element is not'perfectly rigid. That is, such control element'need only have a substantially greater rigidity than the material of the chamber even though in itself it may have some measure of flexibility.

non-extensible material, said side wall connecting said bottom and said top to form therewith a collapsible air receiving chamber, at least one of said bottom and top comprising two layers of flexible material having a rigid platelike member therebetween and the other of said bottom and top having shape controlling means applied thereto to restrict bulging under air pressure introduced therein, to impart to said chamber under inflation a substantially stable out of spherical shape, and means for sealing off said chamber against the escape of air to 'maintain the inflated stable out-of-spherical shape of said chamber.

2. An inflatable article of the type described, comprising, a bottom wall portion, atop wall portion, a side wall formation of flexible substantially non-extensible material connecting the peripheries of said bottom and top wall portion to define an inflatable chamber therewith, at least one of said bottom and top wall portions comprising two layers of flexible substantially non-extensible material having a rigid mem-ber .therebetween, said rigid member having a peripheral outline substantially of the order of the peripheries of the layers of material and acting to oppose deformation of said layers under inflation of the article, the other of said bottom and top wall portions having a rigid periphery and generally resistant to deformation throughout its area, whereby a substantially stable out-of-spherical shape is imparted to said article under inflation, and means integral with said article for controlling the inflation of said chamber and maintaining said chamber in its inflated, stable, out-of-spherical shape.

3. An article according to claim 2 wherein said flexible non-extensible material is scalable sheet plastic.

4. An article according to claim 2 wherein said side wall formation comprises material in the form of a tubular length.

5. An article according to claim 2 wherein said bottom wall portion and said top wall portion are arranged in substantially parallel relation with said article fully inflatedo 6. An article according to claim 2 wherein said bottom wall portion and top wall portion are substantially c'o-extensive in area.

7. An article according to claim 2 wherein said top Wall portion is constituted by said superimposed layers with said rigid member therebetween, said layers being sealed together along their peripheries to define an inflatable chamber, with said last-mentioned inflatable chamber being maintained under slight inflation.

8. An article according to claim 7 wherein a cushioning element is disposed between said layers in overlying relation to said rigid member and substantially co-extensive therewith.

9. An article according to claim 2 wherein said top wall portion is constituted by said layers having said rigid member disposed therebetween, said layers enclosing in addition a layer of cushioning material overlying said rigid member and substantially co-extensive therewith.

10. An article according to claim 7 wherein said rigid member is in the form of a rigid plate.

11. An article according to claim 7 wherein said rigid member is in the form of a metal frame.

12. An article according to claim 7 in which said rigid member comprises a ring.

13. An inflatable article of the type described, comprising, a bottom wall portion, a top wall portion, a side wall portion of flexible substantially non-extensible material connecting the peripheries of said bottom and top wall portions to define an inflatable chamber therewith, at least one of said bottom and top wall portions comprising superimposed substantially co-extensive sheets of flexible substantially non-extensible material having a substantially rigid member disposed therebetween, said rigid member having a peripheral outline of the super imposed sheets and acting to oppose deformation of said sheets under inflation of said article, the other of said top and bottom wall portions having shape-controlling means applied thereto to restrict bulging under inflation of said article, whereby a substantially stable out-ofspherical shape is imparted to said article under inflation, and means integral with said article for controlling the inflation of said chamber and maintaining said chamber in its inflated stable out-of-spherical shape.

14. An article according to claim 13 in which said top wall portion is constituted by said superimposed substantially co-extensive sheets with said rigid member disposed therebetween, said sheet peripheries being sealed together to define an inflatable chamber with said lastmentioned chamber being maintained under slight inflation.

15. An article according to claim 14 wherein a cushioning element is disposed between said sheets in overlying relation to said rigid member and substantially co-extensive therewith.

16. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like, comprising two overlying wall portions each having a rigid periphery and each resistant todeformation throughout its area, and a flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible tubular wall formation connecting the peripheries of said overlying wall portions to define an inflatable chamber, characterized in that under inflation the overlying wall portions move to a position of maximum separation with said tubular wall formation stretched therebetween substantially solely in tension, which imparts stability to, and an out-of-spherical shape to, said chamber, and means for maintaining said chamber in its inflated, stable state.

17. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like, comprising two overlying substantially co-extensive sheet-like wall portions, each having a rigid peripheral outline and each resistant to deformation throughout its area, and a flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible wall formation connecting the peripheries of said wall portions in overlying relation to define therewith antinflatable chamber, characterized in that under inflation the overlying wall portions move to a position of maximum separation with said tubular wall formation stretched therebetween substantially solely in tension, which imparts stability to, and an out-of-spherical shape to said chamber, and means for maintaining said chamber in its inflated, stable state.

18. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like, comprising two overlying substantially co-extensive sheet-like wall portions, each having a rigid peripheral outline and each resistant to deformation throughout its area, and a flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible side wall formation connecting the peripheries of said wall portions in overlying spaced-apart substantially parallel relation to define an inflatable chamber therewith, characterized in that under inflation the overlying wall portions move to a position of maximum separation with said side wall formation stretched therebetween substantially solely in tension, which imparts stability and to, and an out-of-spherical shape to said chamber, and means for maintaining said chamber in its inflated, stable state.

19. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like, comprising two overlying substantially rigid planar wall portions and an endless flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible side wall formation connecting the peripheries of said aforementioned wall portions to define an inflatable chamber therewith, characterized in that under inflation the overlying wall portions move to a position of maximum separation with said side wall formation stretched therebetween substantially solely in tension, which imparts stability to, and an out-of-spherical shape to said chamber, and means for maintaining said chamber in its inflated, stable state.

20. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like, comprising two overlying substantially rigid co-extensive planar wall portions and an endless flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible wall formation connecting the peripheries of said aforementioned wall portions in spaced-apart substantially parallel relation to define an inflatable chamber therewith, characterized in that under inflation the overlying wall portions move to a position of maximum separation therebetween, which imparts stability to, and an out-of-spherical shape to said chamber, and means for maintaining said chamber in its inflated, stable state.

21. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like in the form of a casing having at least substantially rigid control means controlling at least two overlying and non-intersecting surfaces of said casing, each control means defining a rigid periphery and restricting its respective surface against deformation under inflation, said control means, under inflation of said casing, being adapted to impart a stable distinctive out-of-spherical shape thereto, and valve means carried by said casing and operable to inflate and maintain same, in its inflated, stable, out-ofspherical shape.

and top wall portionsiarranged in spaced-apart relation, a

flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible sidewall formation connecting the peripheries of said top and'bottom wall portions to form therewith an inflatable lchamber, substantially rigid shape-controlling means applied to at leastone of said bottom and top wall portions, said shape-controlling means presenting a rigid periphery and restrictingthe bulging: of its respective wall portion under applied pressure introduced into said chamber, the other of said bottom and top wall portions having applied thereto. shape-controlling means in the form or a rigid plate- 7 like member, whereby the chamber in its inflated state has imparted thereto a shape in accordance with the perimetraloutline of said shape-controlling means and said rigidplate-like member, and a substantial measure of stability, and means integral with said article controlling the inflation of'said chamber and maintaining said chamber inits inflated stable state.

23'. A load supporting inflatable furniture piece'or the like, comprising two overlying wall portions each having at least a rigid perimetral portion and each being substantially resistant to deformation throughout its area, and

a flexible collapsible, substantially non-extensible side wall formation connecting the perimetral portions of said overlying wall portions to define an inflatable chamber therewith, and further characterized in that under full inflation the overlying wall portions move to a position of maximum separation with said side Wall formation being stretched therebetween substantially solely in tension, the side wall formation assuming a configuration in accordance with the configuration of the rigid perimetral portions between which it is stretched and which side wall formation under the application of pressure externally to' the overlying wall portions resists 'collapse, andmeansfor-maintaining' said chamber-in its inflated stable state. 1.

24. A stable load supporting inflatable furniture piece or the like comprising a tube of flexible collapsible substantially non-extensible material, end wall members being at least in part rigid and substantially resistant to deformation throughout their area for closing said tube ends, saidtube having its ends attached to said end wall members with the perimeters of said tube ends following a perimetral line of attachment fixed by the rigidity of said end walls and corresponding in perimetral configuration to the desired cross section of said furniture piece in a plane perpendicular to the axis of said tube, said tube and end walls defining an air tight inflatable chamher, and valve means for inflating said chamber.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 96,150 Seward Oct. 26, 1,869 540,725 Craig June 11, 1895 587,223 McKelvey July 27, 1897 r 1,680,963 White Aug. 14, 1928 1,965,349 Luttbeg July 3, 1934 2,355,757 Spanel Aug. 15, 1944 2,509,395 Madan a May 30,1950 2,603,120 Rosenbeim July 15, 1952 2,751,953 Grimm June 26,1956 2,838,099 Warner June 10, 1958 FOREIGN PATENTS 10,912 Great Britain June 26, 1891

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3089153 *Jun 1, 1961May 14, 1963Youpa La EtsPneumatic mattress
US3110532 *Oct 26, 1960Nov 12, 1963Walter P NailInflatable articles
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US3265438 *Nov 27, 1964Aug 9, 1966ReganSeat
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Classifications
U.S. Classification428/12, 297/452.41, 441/40, 297/452.13, 297/452.17, 5/655.3, 297/DIG.300
International ClassificationA47C27/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47C4/54, A47C27/088, Y10S297/03
European ClassificationA47C4/54, A47C27/08H