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Publication numberUS2992043 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 11, 1961
Filing dateSep 15, 1958
Priority dateSep 15, 1958
Publication numberUS 2992043 A, US 2992043A, US-A-2992043, US2992043 A, US2992043A
InventorsGlenn L Nelson
Original AssigneeHamilton Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Foldable tables
US 2992043 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 11, 1961 G. L. NELSON 2,992,043

FOLDABLE TABLES Filed Sept. 15, 1958 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 n 2/16 IS a as 4O INVENTOR, GLENN L. NELSON.

ATTORNEY July 11, 1961 G. NELSON 2,992,043

. FOLDABLE TABLES Filed Sept. 15, 1958 s Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR GLENN NELSON.

BY BY G. L. NELSON FOLDABLE TABLES July 11, 1961 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Sept. 15, 1958 FIG. 8.

INVENTOR GLENN L. NELSON.

2 BY gg ds finmy ATTORNEY FIG.

United States Patent Ofiiice Patented July 11, 1961 2,992,043 FOLDABIJE TABLES Glenn L. Nelson, St. Paul, Minn., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Hamilton Manufacturing Company, Two Rivers, Wis., a corporation of Wisconsin Filed Sept. 15, 1958, Ser. No. 761,068 '12 Claims. (Cl. 297-159) This invention relates to an improvement in foldaible tables and deals particularly in a combined table and bench structure which may be folded into a comp-act state when not in use.

Various types of tables have been produced which include benches which are supported on opposite sides of the table, and which are foldable in unison with the table. Due to the fact that the table surface, in unfolded condition, must be substantially above the level of the benches, and are therefore supported on legs or leg units which are considerably higher than the legs or portions of the leg units used to support the benches, the center of the table in folded condition normally extends substantially above the centers of the benches. As a result, when the tables are folded, the tables are too high to pass through many doorways. In other words, when the tables in folded position are rolled from one room to another or rolled into storage closets, the length of the tables is often definitely limited.

An object of the present invention resides in the provision of a table and bench structure in which the central portion of the benches, in folded condition of the unit, may extend to the same height as the center of the table top. As a result, the height of the folded table is substantially reduced, permitting longer tables to pass through doorways of a pre-determined size.

Most foldable tables of the same general class and which are formed in two sections, include a central leg unit and two oppositely disposed leg units which extend transversely of the tables and benches and are pivotally connected both to the benches and to the table top sections. The table top, as well as each bench, is formed in two sections pivotally connected to the central leg unit. As the benches are usually co-extensive with the table top, the portion of the table top which projects beyond the oppositely disposed leg units is limited by the amount the benches can project beyond these outer leg units, so that the center of the table projects substantially above the centers of the benches. In the present construction, the table top sections are slidably connected to the outer leg units as well as pivotally connected thereto, and the portions of the center leg unit which support the benches is extensible in height so that during the folding operation the outer ends of the table top sections may drop downwardly to the same elevation as the outer ends of the bench sections.

A further feature of the present invention resides in the provision of a table of the type described in which the center leg section is connected to the outer leg units by a linkage which is positioned beneath the benches. As a result, the space beneath the table is entirely free of such operating linkage providing more leg room and less interference with persons sitting at the table. Furthermore, the leg units are connected to the under-surface of the table top section at points substantially spaced inwardly from the longitudinal edges of the table top sections, providing more comfort for persons sitting at the table.

A further feature of the present invention resides in the provision of a novel operating linkage located beneath each of the benches. A pair of links are pivotally connected at the outer ends to the outer leg units and are pivotally connected at their inner ends to intermediate portions of a pair of secondary lengths. These secondary lengths are connected at one end to the under-surface of a bench section and connected at the other end to a telescoping portion of the center leg unit. As the table and benches are folded, the center part of the folded benches are moved upwardly by the linkage until they are even in height to the center portion of the table sections.

These and other objects and novel features of the present invention will be more clearly and fully set forth in the following specification and claims.

In the drawings forming a part of the specification:

FIGURE 1 is a top plan view of a combined table and bench structure showing the general arrangement of the arts. p FIGURE 2 is a side elevational view of the construction illustrated in FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 3 is an end elevational view of the table and bench structure.

FIGURE 4 is an elevational view of the table and bench structure in folded position.

FIGURE 5 is an edge view of the table in folded position.

FIGURE 6 is a side elevational view of the table and bench structure in partially folded position.

FIGURE 7 is a sectional view through a portion of the table in folded position, showing the locking device holding the table folded.

FIGURE 8 is a front elevational view of a modified form of construction showing the table attached to the wall for enclosure in a cabinet.

FIGURE 9 is a side elevational view of a portion of the table and bench unit illustrated in FIGURE 8.

FIGURE 10 is a side elevational view of the means employed for attaching the table to the wall or cabinet.

FIGURE 11 is a view similar to FIGURE 10 showing the attaching means in inoperative position.

FIGURE 12 is a bottom plan view of the attaching means shown in FIGURES 10 and 11.

The combined table and bench structure is indicated in general by the letter A. The structure includes a pair of table top sections 10 and .11 which are supported in a manner which will be later described, by a central leg unit 12 and a pair of outer leg units 13 and 1-4. The structure A also includes benches which are disposed on opposite sides of the table. The benches are formed of two sections 15 and .16 which are supported by the central leg unit 12 and the outer leg units 13 and 14 as will later be described in detail.

The outer leg units 13 and 14 are identical in form, one being reversed relative to the other. As indicated in FIGURE 3 of the drawings, each outer leg unit, such as the unit 14, includes a cross brace 17 having outwardly turned extremities 19 and 20. These outturned ends 19 and 20 are secured in parallel contacting relation to similar outturned ends 21 and 22 of L-shaped leg members 23 and 24 which extend vertically from the end of the short outturned portion. A pair of opposed J-shaped frame members 25 and 26 are connected to the upper ends of the leg portions 23 and 24 respectively. The J- shaped member 25 includes a horizontal portion 27 secured near its extremity to the upper end of the leg portion 23, a downwardly and inwardly inclined portion 29, a horizontal portion 30 connected to the lower end of the portion 29, and an upwardly and inwardly inclined table leg portion 31 connected to the horizontal portion 30. The horizontal portion 30 is secured to the cross brace 17 by spacing portions such as 32.

The frame portion 26 is similarly provided with a horizontal portion 33 connected to the upper end of the leg portion 24, a downwardly and inwardly inclined portion 34 extending from the inner endof the portion 33, a horizontal portion 35 connected to the lower end of the portion 34, and an upwardly and inwardly inclined table leg portion 36 attached to the horizontal portion 35. Spacing braces 37 connect the horizontal portion 35 to the cross member 17. A cross brace 39 connects the upwardly and inwardly inclined portions 31 and 36. All of the parts of each outer leg unit, with the exception of the outwardly turned portions 19, 20, 21 and 22, are on a substantially common plane. Casters or rollers 40 are supported to the under-surface of the outturned portion 19, 21 and 20, 22.

A pair of spaced lugs 41 extend upwardly from the frame portion 27 and are pivotally connected to angle brackets 42 of the bench section 16 by a pivot rod 43. A pair of lugs 44 extend upwardly from the frame portion 33 and are pivotally connected to angle brackets 45 on the under-surface of the opposite bench section 16 by a pivot bolt 46. It will be understood that the leg unit 13 is pivotally connected to the bench sections in a similar manner.

The center leg unit 12 is very similar to the leg units which have been described. The center leg unit 12 is shown in FIGURE 4 of the drawings to include a cross member 49 which is attached at opposite ends to a vertical tubular leg 50 and 51. Frame members are provided connecting the benches to the table, one of which includes a horizontal portion 51 connected to the upper end of the tubular leg 50, a downwardly and inwardly inclined portion 52, a horizontal portion 53, and an upwardly and inwardly inclined table leg portion 54. The opposite frame member includes a horizontal portion 55 connected to the upper end of the leg 51, a downwardly and inwardly inclined portion 56, a horizontal portion 57, and an upwardly and inwardly inclined portion 59. The horizontal portion 53 is connected to the cross base 49 by spacing braces 60 and the horizontal portion 57 of the opposite frame member is connected to the cross member 49 by means of spacing braces 61. All of the described parts of the center leg unit 12 are arranged in substantially a common plane.

Leg portions 62 and 63 are telescoped into the legs 50 and 51 and are slidably supported thereby. The leg portions 62 are provided at the upper ends with channel shaped hinge plates 64, 65, having parallel sides 66 and 67 respectively. Hinge brackets 69 and 70 are secured to the under-surface of the bench portions 15 and 16 respectively at the inner end of these sections. Pivots 71 connect the hinge plate 69 and 70 to the hinge plate 64 or 65. The hinge plates 64 and 65 remain at all times in horizontal position due to their integral connection with the leg portions 62 and 63, while the bench sections 15 and 16 may hinge in the manner shown on the drawings from horizontal to vertical position.

A pair of hinged plates 72 and 73 having parallel sides 74 and 75 respectively are supported in a horizontal position at the upper ends of the center leg unit portions 54 and 59 respectively. The hinged plates 72 and 73 are hingedly connected to hinge bracket 76 on the table top section 10 and bracket 77 on the table top section 11. Pivots 79 connect the hinge plates 72 and 73 to the hinge bracket on the table top sections.

The upper ends of the table leg portions 31 and 36 of each of the outer leg units 13 and 14 are flattened as indicated at 80, and these flattened ends 80 pivotally support rollers 81 which are arranged on axes which are aligned and parallel to the surface of the table top sections. These rollers 81 are designed to engage in generally channel shaped tracks secured to extend longitudinally of the table top sections on the under-surface thereof. The tracks on the table top section 10 are indicated by the numeral 82, while the tracks secured to the undersurface of the table top section 11 are designated by the numeral 83.

A mechanism is provided beneath each of the benches including bench sections 15 and 16 for connecting the outer leg units 13 and 14 to the central leg unit 12. As each of these mechanisms is the same as the other, only one such mechanism is shown in detail in FIGURES 2,

5 and 6 of the drawings. Links 84 and 85 are pivotally connected at one end to lugs 86 and 87 respectively on opposite sides of each tubular leg 50. The other ends of these links 84 and 85 are pivotally connected to lugs 89 and 90 on the undersurface of the bench sections 15 and 16 respectively. Operating arms 91 and 92 are pivotally connected to lugs 93 and 94 respectively on the outer leg units 13 and 14, the lugs being positioned as indicated in FIGURE 3 to the cross member 17 of these leg units. The inner ends of the operating arms 91 and 92 are pivotally connected at 95 and 96 to intermediate points on the links 84 and 85 in the manner illustrated in the drawings.

It will be obvious that if the inner ends of the bench sections 15 and 16 were pivoted directly to the upper end of the hollow leg units 50, the table top sections 10 and 11 would combine with the bench sections 15 and 16 to act as a parallelogram and to hold the various leg units in vertical parallel relation. However, the hinge plates 64 connecting the inner ends of the bench sections 15 and 16 are mounted upon the telescoping leg portions 62 of the central leg sections 12. By properly proportioning the operating arms 91 and 92 and the links 84 and 85, and by properly locating the pivot points connecting these elements to the bench sections and leg units, a novel result may be obtained. From an examination of FIGURE 6 of the drawings, it will be noted that as the center portions of the benches are drawn upwardly, the links 84 and 85 pivot about their pivots 86 and 87 connected to the central leg unit and cause the inner ends of the bench units to swing upwardly, withdrawing the telescoping leg portions 62 partially from the tubular legs 50. By proportioning the parts so that the length of the arms 91 and 92 and the portions of the links 84 and 85 between the bench pivots 89 and 9t} and the arm pivots 95 and 96 is of proper length when folded into substantial alignment as in FIGURE 5 of the drawings, the inner ends of the bench units 15 and 16 may be raised to an elevation equal to the elevation of the inner ends of the table sections 10 and 11. The bench sections 15 and 16 combine with the linkage described to hold the various leg units in generally vertical relationship and accordingly the upper ends of the outer leg units 13 and 14 must slide inwardly or upwardly relative to the table top sections 10 and 11, the rollers 81 sliding in the tracks 82 and 83. When the table top sections are in parallel vertical relationship, the bench sections are also in parallel vertical relationship and are on substantially the same planes as the table top sections. Thus, the table is folded into much more compact form than would ordinarily be the case.

In the past, where the table top sections and the bench sections fold generally in the manner of a parallelogram, the center portions of the table top sections extend well above the center portions of the bench sections. The present construction provides for a simultaneous raising of the center portion of the bench sections and lowering of the center portions of the table sections due to the slidable connection between the outer leg units and the table top sections. Thus, a relatively long unit may be folded in two and still be able to pass through doorways of normal height. This is of extreme importance, as the purpose of folding such tables is to permit the tables to be readily stored when not in use and the length of such table units has often been definitely limited to a size which may be moved through doorways of common height.

A locking device is provided for holding the tables in the folded form illustrated in FIGURE 5 of the drawings. As is indicated in FIGURE 1 of the drawings, an elongated operating rod or shaft 97 is pivotally supported to extend longitudinally of the table top section 10 on the undersurface thereof, being supported by a bearing 99 near the inner end of the section 10 and by a bearing 100 near the outer end of the section 10. A locking bracket or keeper 101 is secured to the undersurface of table top section 11. With reference now to FIGURE 7 of the drawings, it will be noted that the operating rod 97 is provided with a latch 102 having a wedge shaped end 103 leading to a notch 104 designed to accommodate an angularly turned flange 105 on the keeper 1. The keeper 101 is provided with a parallel flange 106 secured to the undersurface of the table top section 11. A torsion spring 107 encircles a portion of the operating shaft 97 to urge it into locking position or in a counter clockwise direction as viewed in FIGURE 7. Pivotal movement of the latch 102 in this direction is limited by the engagement of an end 109 of the latch with a portion of the base of the bearing 100.

As the table top sections 10 and 11 swing into parallel relation, the flange 105 of the keeper 101 engages the wedge shaped end 103 of the latch 102, pivoting this latch in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIGURE 7 until the flange 105 engages in the notch 104. The two table top sections are thus effectively locked together. The operating lever 97 is provided with an angularly turned end 110 which is accessible between the table top sections in folded condition thereof. By grasping this end 110, the operating rod 97 and latch 102 mounted thereon may be rotated in a clockwise direction from the position shown in FIGURE 7 to disengage the latch 102 from its keeper and to permit the table to be unfolded.

FIGURES 9 through 12 of the drawings disclose the manner in which the table A may be attached to a wall for enclosure in a wall cabinet or in a separate cabinet mounted against the wall. In view of the fact that the table itself is substantially identical to that previously described, the details of construction of the table A will not be repeated. The cabinet B may be of any suitable type which is of proper dimensions to accommodate the table and bench assembly. In the particular arrangement illustrated, the cabinet B is shown as including a generally rectangular opening 112 in a wall. The table A is normally inserted into the opening 112 having its flat surfaces flush with the wall surface 113, the edges 1-14 and 115 in close proximity with the edges of the opening 112. The arrangement is such that the table A may be attached to the rear wall 116 of the cabinet or may be detached therefrom and rolled to a suitable location for use.

As indicated in the drawings, a pair of channel shaped tracks 117 are supported in vertically extending relation on the rear wall 116 of the cabinet B. The tracks 117 include a connecting flange 119 which extends at right angles to the back wall 116 of the cabinet, a flange 120 which is secured in surface contact with the rear wall 116, and a parallel wall 121 which is spaced forwardly from the rear flange 120. The tracks 117 are preferably arranged with their open sides in opposed relation so that the attaching means used to connect the table to the cabinet will hold the table from lateral movement. As indicated in the drawings, the tracks 117 terminate shortly above the level of the table tops when the table tops '10 and 11 are in horizontal or unfolded position.

With reference to FIGURES 10, 11 and 12, the means employed for attaching the table to the cabinet B is illustrated more in detail and is designated in general by the numeral 122. One of the table top sections such as the section 10 is provided on its undersurface with a mounting bracket including a generally rectangular plate 123 to which is secured a pair of angle brackets 124 and 125. The angle brackets 124 and 125 are provided with mounting flanges 126 and 127 respectively, and vertical flanges 129 and 130 respectively. The flanges 129 and 130 are spaced apart a distance sufficient to accommodate a lever arm 131 therebetween.

In preferred form, the lever arm 131 is in the general form of a bell crank lever although not functioning for the same purpose. The lever arm includes a first portion 132 which is generally horizontal in normal position and an angularly turned end portion 132 which usually extends upwardly beyond the end of the table top :10 when in operable position. A roller 133 is pivotally connected to the arm end 132 by a suitable attaching means .134. The roller 133 is of slightly smaller diameter than the distance between the flanges and 121 of the track 117 so that the rollers of the two brackets attached to the table end may move upwardly and downwardly in the tracks 117.

A pivot pin 135 extends between the flanges 129 and of the mounting bracket and the generally horizontal portion 131 of the lever arm is provided with an elongated slot 136 which accommodates the pivot 135. A spring l137 is interposed between an extension of the pivot and a pin 139 on the lever arm 128. The spring 137 acts to draw the upturned end 132 of the lever arm 128 toward the end of the table top 10.

The table A may be entirely removed from the cabinet B by lifting up the attached end of the table section 10 until the rollers 133 clear the upper end of the tracks 117. When removed from the cabinet, the lever arms may be pivoted into the inoperative position illustrated in FIG- URE 11 of the drawings. This is accomplished by pulling the lever arm 128 outwardly from the table or to the left as viewed in FIGURE 10. When the pivot 1'35 engages the end of the slot 136, the lever arm 128 may be rotated through When thus rotated, the spring 137 will again retract the lever arm 128 between the flanges 129 and 130 to hold the lever arm from accidental rotation. The lever arms 128 may be swung back into the operable position shown in FIGURE 10 by a reversal of the process described.

In accordance with the patent statutes, I have described the principles of construction and operation of my improvement in foldable tables, and while I have endeavored to set forth the best embodiment thereof, I desire to have it understood that changes may be made within the scope of the following claims without departing from the spirit of my invention.

I claim:

1. In a foldable table and bench unit, a table including a pair of table top sections having adjacent pivotally connected ends connected for relative swinging movement from operative aligned generally horizontal positions to inoperative upstanding positions, a pair of bench units on opposite sides of said table each including a pair of bench sections having adjacent ends pivotally connected for swinging movements from operative aligned generally horizontal positions to inoperative upstanding positions, a pair of outer leg structures each having relatively low end portions pivotally connected to a different one of each of said bench sections and a relatively high central portion pivotally and slidably connected to a different one of said table top sections, an intermediate leg structure hingedly connected to the adjacent pivotal ends of said table top sections, said leg structures supporting said table above the level of said bench units in operative position, each bench unit including a pair of links each pivotally connected to an intermediate leg structure and pivotally connected to a different bench section of each bench unit intermediate the ends of said bench sections, each bench unit including a pair of operating arms each pivotally connected to the longitudinal intermediate portion of a different one of said links and to a longitudinally intermediate portion of a diiferent one of said outer leg structures to maintain said outer leg structures substantially vertical at all positions of said bench and table top sections.

2. In a foldable table and bench unit, a table including a pair of table top sections having adjacent pivotally connected ends connected for relative swinging movement from operative aligned generally horizontal positions to inoperative upstanding positions, a pair of bench units on opposite sides of said table each including a pair of bench sections having adjacent ends pivotally connected for swinging movements from operative aligned generally horizontal positions to inoperative upstanding positions, a pair of outer leg structures each pivotally connected to a dilferent one of each of said bench sections and pivotally and slidably connected to a different one of said table top sections, an intermediate leg structure hingedly connected to the adjacent pivotal ends of said table top sections, each bench unit including a pair of links each pivotally connected to said intermediate leg structure and pivotally to a different bench section of each bench unit intermediate the ends of said bench sections, each bench unit including a pair of operating arms each pivotally connected to the longitudinal intermediate portion of a different one of said links and to a longitudinally intermediate portion of a different one of said outer leg structures to maintain said outer leg structures substantially vertical at all positions of said bench and table top sections.

3. The structure of claim 2 and including a leg portion pivotally connected to each bench section adjacent the pivotally connected ends and in telescoping relation with a portion of said intermediate leg structure.

4. The structure of claim 1 and in which said openating arms and links are so proportioned as to elevate the adjacent ends of said bench sections to substantially the elevation of the foldably connected ends of said table top sections in inoperative position.

5. The structure of claim 1 and in which the table top sections and bench sections are substantially equal in length, and in which said operating arms and links are so proportioned as to elevate the foldably connected ends of said bench sections to substantially the elevation of the foldably connected ends of the table top sections in inoperative position, the portions of said table sections projecting outwardly of said slidable and pivotal connection with said outer leg units increasing in length as the sections fold so that the outer ends of the table top sections are at substantially the elevation of the outer ends of the bench sections in inoperative position.

6. The structure of claim 2 including cooperable looking elements on the under surfaces of said table top sections interengaging as said sections reach inoperable position.

7. The structure of claim 6 and including means extending longitudinally of one of said table top sections from one of said cooperable locking elements to a point adjacent the foldably connected end of said one section for disengaging said locking elements.

8. The structure of claim 2 and in which each of said leg structures includes a pair of upright leg portions beneath said benches, a cross-member connecting said leg portions near the lower ends thereof, and a pair of substantially J-shaped opposed members each having an upwardly directed table supporting end, a substantially horizontal intermediate portion secured adjacent to the cross-member, and an upwardly and laterally extending bench supporting portion terminally connected to one of said upright leg portions.

9. A foldable bench combination including a pair of parallel benches each including a pair of bench sections having adjacent pivotally connected ends connected for swinging movement from operative aligned generally horizontal positions to inoperative upstanding positions, a pair of outer leg structures each pivotally connected to a different one of said bench sections of each of said benches, an intermediate leg structure, each bench including a pair of links each pivotally connected to said intermediate leg structure and pivotally connected to a different bench section intermediate the ends thereof, each bench unit including a pair of operating arms pivotally connected to the longitudinal intermediate portion of a ditferent one of said links and to a longitudinally intermediate portion of a different one of said outer leg structure to maintain said outer leg structures substantially vertical at all positions of said bench sections.

10. The structure of claim 9 and in which each bench includes a leg portion'pivotally connected to the adjacent ends of the bench sections and in telescoping relation to a portion of said intermediate leg unit.

11. A foldable table and bench unit including a two section foldable table top and a two section foldable bench, a central leg unit pivotally connected to the inner ends of said table top sections, a bench support hingedly connected to the inner ends of said bench sections and supported by said central leg unit for vertical slidable movement relative thereto, said bench support supporting the inner ends of said bench sections substantially below the level of said table top sections when said bench sections are aligned, outer leg units pivotally connected to said bench sections and pivotally and slidably connected to said table top sections on opposite sides of said central leg unit, said leg units pivotally supporting said table top sections and bench sections for movement between substantially horizontal aligned position to generally parallel substantially vertical position, said outer leg units supporting said bench substantially below the level of said table top sections in horizontal position thereof, and means connecting said outer leg unit to said central leg unit and to said bench sections and operable upon folding of the sections into vertical parallel relation to raise said bench support relative to said central leg unit.

12. The structure of claim 2 and in which the distance between the outer ends of the table top sections and the pivotal connection between the table top sections and the outer leg units increases as said table top sections swing toward inoperative position.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 24,454 Wilson Apr. 8, 1958 1,949,405 Bailey Mar. 6, 1934 2,708,961 Mugler May 24, 1955 2,747,958 Wilson May 29, 1956 2,764,460 Nelson Sept. 25, 1956 2,766,089 Nielson Oct. 9, 1956 2,771,937 Wilson Nov. 27, 1956 2,777,742 Schieber Jan. 15, 1957 2,807,512 Blink Sept. 24, 1957 2,811,400 James Oct. 29, 1957 2,831,741 Wilson Apr. 22, 1958 2,893,474 Bobbish July 7, 1959 2,901,304 Fihe Aug. 25, 1959

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Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification297/158.4, 108/99
International ClassificationA47B3/14
Cooperative ClassificationA47B2003/145, A47B3/14
European ClassificationA47B3/14