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Publication numberUS3148390 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 15, 1964
Filing dateDec 18, 1963
Priority dateDec 18, 1963
Publication numberUS 3148390 A, US 3148390A, US-A-3148390, US3148390 A, US3148390A
InventorsWalter J Vakousky
Original AssigneeGoodrich Co B F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cushion
US 3148390 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

p 15, 1954 w. J. VAKOUSKY 3,148,390

CUSHION Filed Dec. 18, 1963 /3 r12 22 r 1 .1 ll k 22/ k x All) L 22 P 2 /3 2O INVENTOR.

MLTER J. WKOUSKY United States Patent 3,1483% QUSHEGN Walter J. Valrouslry, Seymour, assiguor to The B. F. Goodrich Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Dec. 18, 1%3, Ser. No. 331,621

' 4 Claims. (2. 53 %5) This invention relates to cushioning and pertains more particularly to a buoyant cushion that is especially suitable for use on boats since it not only can be used for sitting upon but also, because of its buoyancy, serves as flotation equipment for supporting someone in the water.

With boating becoming increasingly popular as a means for relaxation, accidental drownings have become noticeably more prevalent. Because of this increase in drownings, boat manufacturers have endeavored to include more rescue equipment in their boats in an efiort to provide as much safety for the boat occupants as possible and thereby reduce the number of drowning deaths resulting from boating. One form of rescue equipment which customarily is included .today in boats are cushions which serve a dual purpose, namely, (1) for sitting upon and (2) for rescue purposes, the cushions being manufactured to possess sufiicient buoyancy to support a person in the water until assistance arrives. Various cushion construe tions have been proposed which have the necessary buoyancy to serve the dual purpose desired. One proposed cushion construction merely consists of an inflatable envelope which when inflated assumes the desired cushion contour. The inflated cushion, however, is subject to the disadvantage of being susceptible to puncture which would render the envelope useless either as a cushion or as flotation equipment. Another cushion construction which has been suggested is a cushion comprised of cork filler encased in a fabric or plastic envelope. Such cork filled cushions are not entirely satisfactory because they are not comfortable to sit upon and because the cork may become waterlogged and lose its buoyancy after being exposed periodically to water over a prolonged period of time unless the cushion covering is watertight. Recently, the use of flexible resilient closed-cell cellular materials, such as closed-cell vinyl chloride polymer foam, as boat cushioning has found enthusiastic acceptance. Flexible resilient closed-cell cellular cushioning materials are composed of a myriad of minute gas filled cells, each of which may be likened to a small inflated balloon, that render the material inherently buoyant. Since each closed cell is independent of the other closed cells in such materials, the rupture by puncturing or otherwise of a few of the thousands of closed cells in a cushion made of the closed-cell cellular material does not notitceably reduce the degree of buoyancy of the cushion. This property of the closed-cell cellular cushioning materials makes the use of such materials particularly suitable for boat cushioning intended to serve also as flotation equipment.

Heretofore, cushions made of the closed-cell cellular materials merely have been solid shapes approximately one to five inches in height and having a planar shape conforming to the planar shape of the cushion desired. Because such closed-cell cellular materials do not absorb water, it is not necessary to encase such cushions in a watertight covering for protection. Also, the cushion need not be covered for decorative purposes since the cushion either can be formed of an acceptably colored closed-cell material or can be coated with a thin skin coat of an appropriately colored flexible material to impart a desired coloring thereto. While cushions so made have proven to function quite satisfactorily as rescue equipment, such cushioning having sustained a person 3,148,390 Patented Sept. 15, 1964 afloat for many hours until help arrived, such cushions do not provide the degree of comfort desired, the cushioning being rather firm and unyielding when sat upon. The discomfort experienced when sitting upon slab cushioning of closed-cell cellular material results because of the unicellular structure of the gas filled cells of the cushioning material which cells collapse only a very limited degree when the cushion is sat upon before the pressure of the gas within the cells equals the force tending to collapse the cells a condition which prevents the further collapse of the cells. The same firmness is not experienced in cushioning formed of an open-cell cellular material such as open-cell latex foam rubber because when the cushioning is sat upon the air filling the cells of the interconnecting cell structure can escape through the interconnecting channels of the cell structure allowing the cushioning to compress to a much greater degree and thereby conveying a much pleasanter sensation of com fort to the person sitting on the cushion than experienced when sitting on cushioning fabricated of a closed-cell cellular material. However, open-cell cellular structures are non-buoyant and, therefore, are unsuitable for cushioning that must serve also as rescue equipment. Consequently, cushions formed of flexible closed-cell cellular materials have been used despite their firmness.

The present invention overcomes the unpleasant firmness heretofore experienced when sitting upon cushions made of flexible resilient closed-cell cellular materials by providing a cushion formed of such cellular material but contoured so as to convey a sensation of softness to the person sitting on the cushion. In accordance with this invention, the bottom face of the cushion is recessed to form a hollow cavity which is divided by one or more depending concentric ribs of less depth than the height of the cavity. This construction allows the cushion when sat upon to collapse to a greater degree over the hollowed area and even to varying degrees over different areas of the hollowed portion of the cushion than the solid closedcell cushions heretofore employed.

The invention will be more fully understood by reference to the following description of one embodiment of this invention and to the drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a bottom plan view of a cushion incorporating the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is a section on the line 2-2 of FIG. 1.

With reference to the specific embodiment of the invention shown in the drawing, the cushion It is provided with the customary continuous uninterrupted top broadside face 11, which may be somewhat convex in contour to produce a slight crown to the cushion, and with continuous generally fiat side faces 12, 12. The bottom face 13 of the cushion 10, however, is recessed to form a hollow generally cylindrical-shaped space or cavity 14 located beneath that area of the cushion 10 upon which a person normally would sit, which cavity 14 extends inwardly into the cushion 10 but terminates short of the top face of the cushion 10 a distance sufiicient to provide an adequate thickness of material (usually at least one inch or more) over the hollowed area of the cushion to support a person sitting on the cushion. The cavity 14 is divided by concentric annular ribs 15 and 16 depending into the cavity 14 from the roof 17 of the cavity 14 and centered around the center of cavity 14 and terminating short of the bottom face 13 of the cushion 10 so that when the cushion 10 is not being sat upon the depending ribs 15 and 16 do not contact the generally fiat supporting surface upon which the cushion rests. The distance that the respective depending ribs 15 and 16 extend into the cavity 14 desirably varies so that the depth of the ribs (the depth of a rib being the distance that the rib extends into the cavity) progressively increases from rib to rib as the respective concentric ribs increase in circumference and approach the sides of the cushion 19. In accordance therewith and as clearly illustrated in FIG. 2, the depth of rib 16 is less than the depth of rib 15. It will become apparent that as the cushion is sat upon the portion of the cushion 10 over the cavity 14 will depress a substantial amount without any significant compression of the cellular material from which the cushion is made and without great resistance until the bottom edge 18 of rib 15 contacts the supporting surface upon which the cushion rests. Thereafter, the rib 15 will function as a supporting column to restrain the portion of the cushion 10 between the rib 15 and the sidewalls of the cushion bounding cavity 14 from depressing further except as a result of compression of the cellular material from which the cushion is made and/or as a result of the buckling of rib 15. However, the portion of the cushion 16 disposed over that part of the cavity 14 confined Within rib 15 continues to be depressed without any significant compression of the cellular material from which the cushion is made and without great resistance until the bottom edge 19 of rib 16 contacts the supporting surface upon which the cushion rests whereupon rib 16 then commences to function as a supporting column restraining the further depression of that part of the cushion 10 overlying the zone. defined between ribs 15 and 16 unless resulting from the compression of the cellular material from which the cushion is made and/or the buckling of rib 16. The portion of the cushion 10 overlying that part of the cavity bounded by rib 16 will be free to depress even further without significant compression of the cellular material from which the cushion 10 is made until the forces resisting further stretching of the cellular material set up within this part of the cushion equal the forces tending to stretch the material. Thereafter, further depression of the cushion 10 resulting from being sat upon results from the compression of the cellular material from which the cushion is made and/ or from the buckling of the ribs 15 and 16. It now will be understood that these different zones of resistance to depression of the cushion compensate greatly for the rather poor compression characteristics of closedcell cellular cushioning materials as versus open-cell cellular cushioning materials, and how the construction just described when sat upon creates a vastly improved sensation of softness and comfort as compared to the sensation experienced when sitting upon a solid cushion made of the same closed-cell material.

As indicated above, additional depression of the satupon portion of the cushion 10 can result from the buckling of the ribs 15 and 16 which will occur when the weight of the person sitting upon the cushion is sufficient. In order that the additional depression realized from the buckling of the ribs 15 and 16 will be greatest in the central area of the portion of the cushion to he sat upon and become less towards the sides of the cushion, the ribs 15 and 16 preferably progressively increase in thickness as they extend further from the central area of the portion of the cushion to he sat upon and approach the sides of the cushion. This feature is illustrated clearly in the drawing which shows rib 15 which is further removed from the central area of the portion of the cushion to he sat upon than rib 16 to be thicker than rib 16. Rib 16 being of lesser thickness than rib 15 will have less load bearing capacity and will commence to buckle under a lesser load and will buckle to a greater extent than rib 15 thereby allowing for greater depression in the central area of the portion of the cushion intended to be sat upon than in the area adjacent thereto and supported by rib 15. Similarly, the thickness of rib 15 is less than the thickness at the sides of the cushion allowing a greater degree of depression in the area of the cushion supported by rib 15 than is experienced at the edges of the cushion.

For similar reasons, the spacing between adjacent ribs and between the most external of the concentric ribs and the sides of the cushion preferably decreases as the spacings approach the sides of the cushion. In the embodiment shown in the drawing, accordingly, the spacing 20 between ribs 15 and 16 is greater than the spacing 21 between rib 15 and the sides of the cushion 10. It will be understood that because the spacing 20 between ribs 15 and 16 is greater than the spacing 21 between rib 15 and the sides of the cushion 10, the rib 16 when functioning as a column will have a greater area and therefore a greater weight load to support than rib 15. As a result, all other factors being considered to be equal, rib 16 will buckle more readily than rib 15 thereby imparting a sensation of greater softness in the central portion of the cushion 10 than is experienced in the areas further removed from the center.

To provide means which allow for the escape of air from within the cavity 14 to the outside when the cushion 10 is sat upon and depressed and which allow for the entrance of air into the cavity 14 when the person who has been sitting upon the cushion 10 rises, the ribs 15 and 16 and the side walls of the cushion 10 are provided with openings 22, 22. While in the embodiment shown in the drawing the openings 22, 22 are positioned at the bottom edges of ribs 15 and 16 and the side Walls of the cushion 10, it will be apparent that the openings 22, 22 can be positioned just efiectively elsewhere in these components of the cushion 10.

The cushion can be molded from any of the closedcell cellular materials customarily used for cushioning including flexible resilient closed-cell expanded rubber, closed-cell vinyl chloride polymer foam and closed-cell polyurethane foam. These materials and the processes used for molding products thereof are well known to the cushioning industry.

While a cushion with a single place for sitting has been shown and described it will be understood that an elongated cushion with places for seating two or more persons can be fabricated for use on bench-type furniture. When a cushion for seating two or more persons at a time is formed, a separate cavity with depending ribs extending thereinto such as that hereinabove described is provided beneath each seating position.

Since the cushion It? is formed of a material which has a closed-cell cellular structure, it is not necessary to cover the cushion 10 with upholstery. However, if for decorative purposes a covering is desired, the cushion may be enclosed in a cushion cover. The cover, if it is not fabricated of a material which allows substantially free passage of air therethrough, should be provided with air vents to permit air to be expelled from within the cover when the cushion is sat upon and to permit air to be drawn back into the cover when a person discontinues sitting on the cushion.

I claim:

1. A cushion fabricated from flexible resilient closedcell cellular cushioning material which comprises a top broadside face, side faces and a bottom face, said bottom face of said cushion being recessed to provide a cavity beneath the portion of the cushion which is sat upon which cavity extends inwardly into the cushion but terminates short of the top broadside face of the cushion a distance sufiicient to provide a thickness of cushioning material over said cavity sufficient to support a person sitting on the cushion, and a plurality of concentric generally annular ribs depending from the roof of said cavity but terminating short of the bottom face of the cushion and centered around the center of said cavity, the spacing between adjacent depending ribs and be-- tween the outermost rib and the sides of the cushion decreasing in magnitude as the successive spacings progress from the central portion of the cavity toward the sides of the cushion.

2. A cushion fabricated from flexible resilient closedcell cellular cushioning material which comprises a top' broadside face, side faces and a bottom face, said bottom face of said cushion being recessed to provide a cavity beneath the portion of the cushion which is sat upon which cavity extends inwardly into the cushion but terminates short of the top broadside face of the cushion a distance suficient to provide a thickness of cushioning material over said cavity suflicient to support a person sitting on the cushion, and a plurality of concentric genrally annular ribs depending from the roof of said cavity but terminating short of the bottom face of the cushion and centered around the center of said cavity, the depth of said depending ribs being progressively greater with each successive annular rib as the ribs extend outwardly toward the sides of the cushion, each said depending rib having an opening therein to permit the passage of air therethrough, said cushion having an opening through a side Wall thereof to permit air to pass from outside of the cushion into the said cavity when a person who has been sitting upon the cushion rises off of the cushion.

3. A cushion fabricated from flexible resilient closedcell cellular cushioning material which comprises a top broadside face, side faces and a bottom face, said bottom face of said cushion being recessed to provide a cavity beneath the portion of the cushion which is sat upon which cavity extends inwardly into the cushion but terminates short of the top broadside face of the cushion a distance sufiicient to provide a thickness of cushioning material over said cavity suflicient to support a person sitting on the cushion, and a plurality of concentric generally annular ribs depending from the roof of said cavity but terminating short of the bottom face of the cushion and centered around the center of said cavity, the depth of said depending ribs being progressively greater with each successive annular rib as the ribs extend outwardly toward the sides of the cushion, the thickness of said depending ribs being progressively greater with each successive annular rib as the ribs extend outwardly toward the sides of the cushion, each said depending rib having an opening therein to permit the passage of air therethrough, said cushion having an opening through a side wall thereof to permit air to pass from outside of the cushion into the said cavity when a person who has been sitting upon the cushion rises off of the cushion.

4. A cushion fabricated from flexible resilient closedcell cellular cushioning material which comprises a top broadside face, side faces and a bottom face, said bottom face of said cushion being recessed to provide a cavity beneath the portion of the cushion which is sat upon which cavity extends inwardly into the cushion but terminates short of the top broadside face of the cushion a distance sufficient to provide a thickness of cushioning material over said cavity sufiicient to support a person sitting on the cushion, and a plurality of concentric generally annular ribs depending from the roof of said cavity but terminating short of the bottom face of the cushion and centered around the center of said cavity, the depth of said depending ribs being progressively greater with each successive annular rib as the ribs extend outwardly toward the sides of the cushion, the thickness of said depending ribs being progressively greater with each successive annular rib as the ribs extend outwardly toward the sides of the cushion, the spacing between adjacent depending ribs and between the outermost concentric rib and the sides of the cushion decreasing in magnitude as the successive spacings progress from the central portion of the caivty toward the sides of the cushion, each said depending rib having an opening therein to permit the passage of air therethrough, said cushion having an opening through a side wall thereof to permit air to pass from outside of the cushion into the said cavity when a person who has been sitting upon the cushion rises off of the cushion.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 452,234 Perry May 12, 1891 2,546,394 Harmon Mar. 27, 1951 3,040,899 Kron June 26, 1962

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US452234 *Jan 21, 1891May 12, 1891 Self-inflating mat or cushion for sliding-poles
US2546394 *Aug 20, 1947Mar 27, 1951Waterloo Foundry CompanyFootrest
US3040899 *Sep 13, 1957Jun 26, 1962Mexy EtsCentrifuge
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3436042 *Mar 27, 1967Apr 1, 1969Imexin Sa NvVibration dampening pads
US9125493 *Jan 31, 2013Sep 8, 2015Backjoy Orthotics, LlcSeat cushion with flexible contouring
US20130193738 *Jan 31, 2013Aug 1, 2013Seettek, LLCSeat cushion with flexible contouring
EP0823567A1 *Aug 8, 1996Feb 11, 1998INTEC AACHEN INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIEN FÜR DIE BAUSANIERUNG, Dr. Honsinger & Dr. BreitbachPrefabricated elastic bearing for static and dynamic support of construction parts, machines or equipment
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/127, 5/655.9, 5/653
International ClassificationF16F1/44, A47C27/14
Cooperative ClassificationF16F2236/04, F16F1/44, A47C27/146
European ClassificationA47C27/14C4, F16F1/44