Auto-contouring support element
US 3126553 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
R. J. ZASTERA ETAL 3,126,553
AUTOCONTOURING SUPPORT ELEMENT March 31, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed April 29, 1963 March 31,, 1964 msTERA ETAL 3,126,553
AU'IQ-CONTOURING' SUPPORT ELEMENT 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 29, 1.965
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March 1954 R. J. ZASTERA ETAL 3,126,553
AUTO-CONTOURING SUPPORT ELEMENT 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed April 29, 1963 I n l E 7w MIN. Tmw a I 4, my w A 0 2 @W United States Patent Ill.
Filed Apr. 29, 1963, Ser. No. 276,674 6 Claims. (Cl. -233) This invention relates to body supporting bed or couchlike devices, and more particularly to such structures having self-equalizing body conforming upper surfaces for supporting a human body in supine position, having for an object a supporting suuface which is yieldablc to distribute the weight of the supported body over a maximum area order to the unit skin pressure, particularly during excessive vertical accelerations, and includes means for maintaining substantially the same contour in the suporting surface after the body has been removed from the supporting surface.
A further object is the provision of a horizontal deformable supporting surface including resilient means for tensioning the supporting surface toward a flat or horizontal plane but yieldable to provide maximum comfort for a person resting thereon during appreciable vertical accelerations, including locking means for rendering the yieldable tensioning means ineffective to resist further return of the supporting means to the horizontal supporting plane, whereby when the supporting surface has been selectively depressed to conform to the contour of a body supported thereon, the depressed contour thereof will be maintained upon removal of the body from the supporting surfiace.
A further object is the provision of a human body supporting structure having round side rails and a multitude of closely spaced nonstretchable strands extending individually transversely across said side rails with their opposite extremities passing around and under the side rails, each strand having an individual elastic tensioning means connected to each end thereof with the oppmite end of each elastic anchored to the supporting structure below the side rails.
A further object includes releasable clamping means for connecting the opposite extremities of each of the strands together to anchor said opposite ends just mentioned together and to render said elastic tensioning means inoperative to tension said nonstretchable strands across said body supporting structure.
Other objects and advantages of the inveniton will become apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to like parts in the several figures.
FIGURE 1 is a top plan view 'of a body conforming bed or couch-like structure, showing a body reclining thereon in dotted lines, part-s Of the upper surface being broken away to more clearly show a greater portion of the transverse cross-wires or strands and fish-net like structure supported on and connected to the transverse cross-wire strands.
FIGURE 2 is a transverse vertical sectional view taken about on the plane indicated by line -2--2 in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a longitudinal vertical sectional view taken about on line 33 in FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary plan view of a portion of the upper supporting surface adjacent one of the side rails.
FIGURE 5 is a plan view somewhat similar to FIG- URE 4, showing a portion of the supporting surface at the central portion thereof.
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse sectional view showing the strand members depressed and locked in the depressed form contour retaining position.
In the drawings the reference numeral 1 denotes an upper rigid supporting fname generally, having transversely spaced tubular round upper side rail members 2 and 3 connected at their opposite ends by upper and lower spacer end rails 4 and 5, forming the upper or horizontal rigid elongated rectangular frame 1.
Supporting leg members 6 are fixed to each of the four corners of the frame 1 and extend downwardly, being fixed at their lower ends to a bottom rectangular frame comprising lower supporting side rails 7 and transverse spacing rails 8.
Extending longitudinally at a materially spaced distance below the tubular round upper side rail members 2 and 3 are intermediate Hound side rails or bars 2a and 3a, welded or otheiwvise secured to the leg members 6 at 9.
Parallel strands of cross wires, such as music (piano) wire, or of nonstretchalble fibrous or plastic material, indicated at 10, extend in closely spaced parallel relation transversely across the top surface of the frame structure 1 as shown, the strands being closely spaced together, approximately six to twelve strands per inch, along the space between the end frame members 4 and 5.
The end portions of the strands '10 pass over the round upper side rails 2 and 3, and can slide around the round surface of the rails, the strands 10 then extending downwardly, as indicated at 10a, and around the lower round nails 20 and 3a and toward each other, as indicated at 10b.
Located longitudinally in the center of the bed struc ture, materially below the supporting surface comprising the strands 10, is a guide frame or casing 20, supported rigidly at both ends in any suitable manner, such as by brackets 21.
Rotably jounnalled in the casing 20 is a longitudinal cam member 22 having a handle 23 for rotating the cam member 22 from the inoperative position shown in FIGURE 2 to the operative position to dispose the round surface thereof at the top, as seen in full lines in FIG- URE 6 for locking the opposite extremities of the strands 10 together to prevent either fui'ther depression thereof between the side rails 2 and 3, for instance during excessive vertical accelerations, or to maintain the slack and contour in the top surface of the bed like structure when the body or occupant has been removed therefrom.
The casing 20 is provided with a plurality of vertical narrow slots 24 extending through the opposite side walls thereof, one slot in the vertical plane of each of the strand members 10, the bottom edges of the slots 24 extending below the top of the cam member 22 when rotated, as seen in FIGURE 6, to locking position.
Located in superimposed relation in each of the guide slots 24 are a pair of upper and lower locking bars 25 and "26. These bars have complementary inclined locking projections or teeth 25a and 26a which, when the cam member 22 is rotated by the handle 23 to the position shown in FIGURE 6, force the teeth 25a: and 26a into interlocking positions, thus locking the two bars 25 and 26 together.
One extremity 10b of each strand 10 passes around the two side rails 2 and 2a, as shown, and is connected to one end of each of the upper locking bars 25 while the opposite extremity 10b of each of the same strands 10 is connected to the end of the lower locking bar 26' in the same slot 24.
Extending longitudinally between lower rail 2a and the bottom rail 7, below the rail 2a is a tubular anchor rail or member 27 having projections or arms 28, preferably rigidly fixed thereto. An elastic member, indicated at 29 is connected under tension at one end, at 30, to each of the arms 28 with its opposite end connected to the end of each of the lower locking bars 26.
A similar arrangement is provided for each of the upper locking bars 25, a tubular anchor member or bar 32 extending under the upper side rail 3 and above the rail 3a has projecting arms 33 fixed thereto, and elastic members 34, similar to the elastic members 29 are connected, under tension, at one end to each of the arms 33 with their other ends connected at 35 of the upper locking bars 25.
The opposite ends of the tubular anchor bars or rails 27 and 32 are preferably carried .by the leg members 6 at opposite sides of theframe 1. *If desired, the anchor bars 27 and 32 may be journalled in the legs for rotative adjustment of the arms 28 and 33 so that the tension of the elastic members 29. and 34 may be increased or decreased by rotative adjustment of the anchor rail members, means, of course, being provided to retain the anchor rails in their rotative adjustment.
It will be seen from FIGURES 2 and 3 that with the cam member 22 in release position, when the body indicated at 13 is reclining on the top surface, the individual closely spaced strands are depressed between the side rails 2 and 3, causing the superimposed locking bars 25 and 26 to slide relative to each other in the slots 24, the inclined sides of the teeth preventing interengagement at this time, the elastics 29 and 34 yieldingly permitting the strands 10 to conform to the contour of the supported body 13, both laterally and longitudinally of the frame.
Rotating the cam member 22 by the handle 23 to locking position to interlock teeth of all of the locking bars together of course connects the opposite ends of the strands 10 together to prevent the elastic members 29-34 from being operative, and thus the strands 10 will remain in their contour conforming depressed or slack relations.
A pair of braided fabric jackets, indicated at 12, are provided to enclose the elastic members 29 and 34 with the opposite longitudinal edges thereof connected to the arms 28 or 33 and to the ends of the locking bars respectively, to limit excessive elongation of the respective elastic members 29 and 34, thus preventing damage or breakage of the rubber-like elastic members.
In order for the upper supporting surface of the device to conform to the contour of the body being placed on it, indicated at 13, the individual closely spaced parallel transverse strands or wires 10 must be free to move apart or closer together as required, but, in addition, the strands must be prevented from pinching the skin or clothing. In order to accomplish this, a relatively thick foam rubber rectangular sheet or pad 14 is secured to the top supporting surface of the closely spaced parallel strands 10 to hold the pad in position between the side and end frame members 23 and 4, 5, and tends to stabilive the unloaded strands 10 in their parallel relation.
This may be accomplished by bonding the strands .10 to the lower surface of the pad 14 in any suitable manner, thus permitting the individual strands to adjust themselves according to the portions of the load impressed on them between the side frame or rail members 2 and 3, as well as accommodating the slight transverse or separating adjustments between the strands when certain of the strands are depressed to a greater extent than the adjacent strands.
As seen in the drawings, instead of the foam or sponge rubber pad 14 being deposited directly on the top surfaces of the adjustable supporting strands or wires 10 a net structure, indicated (generally) at 15, is interposed between the supporting strands 10 and the foam rubber pad 14. The net utilized is of the fish net type having approximately one-quarter inch square mesh, indicated at a, the net 15 being of sufficient width to accommodate approximately one-half of the circumference of the body 13 to be supported.
The squares 15a of the net 15 are disposed as shown, particularly in FIGURES 1, 4 and 5, at 45 relation to thesupporting strands 10 with the strands passing through or under the opposite corners of squares 15a of the mesh.
In the central longitudinal area of the net 15 somewhat narrower than the supporting frame 1, the parallel strands .10 are woven through (or secured to) the knots 17 of "the net 15 as seen in FIGURE 5 and extend diagonally to the net meshes 15a.
Outwardly from this central area 16 where the strands pass through the knots the parallel strands merely pass under the net as seen in FIGURE 4, however the edges of the net, indicated at 18, are fastened to the strands 10. In this manner the strands or wires 10 are free to slide over the tubular side rails 2 and 3 (and 2a, 3a) without damaging the net. Under load the square meshes 15a of the net 15 are free to warp into diamond shapes, this permitting limited longitudinal relative movements of the parallel strands, thus fulfilling the requirement for adequate contouring of the supported upper surface from .side to side as well as from end to end thereof.
A pad of at least one-half inch soft foam rubber, as previously indicated at 14, is placed over the net 15 and secured, at least at its edges, to the net structure or to the strands, to add to the comfort of the supporting surface.
When a body is placed upon a body supporting device of the type just described, the elastic elements 29 and .3-4 elongate under load, permitting the net elements 15 to sag, thereby developing a desirable wrap-around of the supporting surface around the lower (or under) portion of the body. Each parallel strand 10 sags individually according to the transverse segment of the body that it is supporting.
Any deliberate forced change in the body contour is reproduced by the resilience of the body supporting structure. However, rotating the cam member to the position shown in FIGURE 6 (in full lines) locks the respective supporting strands in their former depressed contour fitting relations so that a person who is reclining on the supporting surface can retain the former respective contour conforming shape in the upper supporting surface. This locking of the ends of the respective strands together by the locking bars 25 and 26 also prevents excessive stretch in the elastic members 29 and 34 during excessive vertical accelerations.
For the purposes of exemplification, a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown and described to the best understanding thereof. However it will be apparent that changes and modifications in the arrangement and construction of the parts thereof may be resorted to without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the accompanying claims.
1. A body contour conforming bed-like structure comprising an elongated rectangular frame, means for supporting said frame horizontally above a supporting surface, said frame comprising horizontally-spaced pairs of vertically-spaced round side rails and connecting end frame members, a plurality of closely uniformly-spaced nonstretchable strands disposed transversely across the top of said frame in parallel relation, extending over the uppermost round side rails of each pair, and downwardly, and around the lowermost side rails of the pairs with the opposite extremities of the strands extending toward each other, a pair of superimposed locking bars for each strand intermediate the extremities of said strands having interlocking edges facing each other in vertically-spaced relation intermediate said pairs of side rails, one of said bars in each pair having one extremity connected to one extremity of each of said strands and the other locking bar of the pair having its opposite extremity connected to the other extremity of the same strand, horizontallyspaced pairs of elastic tensioning members connected to the opposite sides of the frame and extending toward each other below the plane of the upper side rails of the pairs of side rails with their opposite ends connected under tension to the ends of the locking bars opposite from their strand connected ends, for y'ieldably tensioning said strands individually across the top of the frame to form a yieldable body contour conforming supporting surface, and means \for moving said locking bars into interlocking relation to render said elastic tensioning means inoperative to tension said strands.
2. A body contour conforming supporting frame comprising horizontally-spaced pairs of vertically-spaced side rail members, a multitude of closely-spaced parallel strands disposed transversely across the uppermost side rail members of the pairs, having the opposite extremities thereof extending around the side rail members toward each other, a spaced elastic member operatively connected at one end to each of the said opposite extremities of said parallel strands and extending substantially axially therefrom with their opposite ends connected to said frame below one of the upper side rail members, whereby both extremities of each strand are under individual separate tension to yieldab-ly tension both ends of the individual strands between the horizontally spaced pairs of side rail members.
3. In a body contour conforming bed-like structure as defined in claim 2, releasable interlocking means between the opposite extremities of each of said strand members and the elastic members connected thereto for connecting the said extremities together to render the spaced elastic members inoperative to tension the opposite extremities of the strand members toward each other.
4. In a body contour conforming bed-like structure as defined in claim 3, in which said releasable interlocking means for each strand comprises a pair of superimposed locking bars having complementary interengaging projections on the adjacent edges thereof with the strand members connected at their opposite extremities to the opposite ends of the locking bar pairs, and the other opposite ends of the locking bar pairs connected to the ends of said elastic members remote from the side rail members, and a cam member carried by said frame, below all of said superimposed locking bar pairs movable to earn said locking bars into interlocking relation, to render said elastic members inoperative to tension said strands or retain said strand members in their former contour conforming relations.
5. In a body contour conforming bed-like structure comprising an elongated rectangular frame comprising spaced parallel pairs of vertically-spaced round side rail members, and transverse-1y extending end frame members, a multitude of individual closely-spaced parallel supporting strand members extending transversely across the tops of said side frame members with the opposite extremities thereof extending around said pairs of side rail members in parallel relation, inwardly toward each other, a plurality of pairs of superimposed locking bar members connected between said opposite extremities of said strand members, one pair for each strand, said strand members having the opposite extremities thereof connected to the opposite extremities of the pairs of said superimposed locking bar members, locking bar support guide means supported by said frame in spaced relation below the plane of the uppermost of said pairs of said round side rail members having transverse vertical guide slots therethrough, each for receiving one pair of said superimposed locking bar members, cam means movably carried by said locking bar support guide means for camming and looking bar members into interlocking relation with each other to lock the opposite extremities of each of the strand members together, an elastic member connected at one end to each of the remaining extremities of each pair of said locking bar members, said elastic members connected at their opposite ends to the sides of said frame for yieldably tensioning the extremities of the strand members toward each other, a fishnet-type net superimposed on said strand members between said side rails having square mesh with the opposite corners of the mesh lying in the vertical planes of the strands with the strand members passing through the knots in the longitudinal center portion of the supporting contour conforming surface between the side rails, with said strand members passing under said not from said central portion outwardly, said net having its opposite longitudinal edges secured to said strands, and a relatively thick foam rubber pad disposed over said net, between said side rails, connected along its edges to said net and strand members.
6. A body contour conforming bed-like structure substantially as defined in claim 5 including a braided fabric jacket enclosing said elastic members operatively connected along one edge to the sides of the frame and connected at their opposite edge to the ends of the superimposed locking bars to which the elastic members are connected.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,131,147 Mackin Mar. 9, 1915 2,891,603 Lilienfeld June 23, 1959 FOREIGN PATENTS 147,744 Austria Nov. to, 1936