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Publication numberUS3188986 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 15, 1965
Filing dateApr 9, 1962
Priority dateApr 9, 1962
Publication numberUS 3188986 A, US 3188986A, US-A-3188986, US3188986 A, US3188986A
InventorsVigne Eugene E La
Original AssigneeBrunswick Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Bedside table
US 3188986 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 15, 1965 E. E. LA VIGNE 3,188,986

BEDSIDE TABLE Filed April 9, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. EUGENE E. LA VIGNE Y M. fm/r, @afm E. E. LA VIGNE 3,188,986

BEDSIDE TABLE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 June l5, i965 Filed Apil 9, 1962 y top connected between the top and the -b-ase.

United States Patent O 3,188,986 BEDSIDE TABLE Eugene E. La Vigne, Creve Coeur, Mo., assigner to Brunswick Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 9, 1962, Ser. No. 185,923 4 Claims. (Cl. 10S-136) The present invention relates to bedside tables and more particularly to a bedside table which may be raised and lowered wherein the raising and lowering of the table is aided by a spring means connected between the table top and a base of the table.

Bedside tables which may be raised and lowered have been utilized in hospitals and similar situations in which it is desirable to have a table which may be utilized by a person in bed. Such bedside tables have been conventionally constructed of a base having an upright structure at one end, a table top with a supporting structure at one end thereof which co-operates with the upright portion of the base to support the table top, and a spring means which aids or accomplishes the raising of thtlabl o the upright structure of the conventional bedside table is usually at one end for the purpose of allowing the table to be placed .across a portion of a bed such as a conventional hospital bed. While the conventional hospital bedside tables presently in use are useful hospital equipment, they have two undesirable features which sometimes create problems in their use. First, the spring means used in conventional bedside tables supplies a varying force to balance the weight of the table top as it extends and contracts with the raising and lowering of the table top. Secondly, when a conventional bedside table is used with an electrically powered hospital bed, the bed is often raised while the bedside table is still placed across it and the bed runs into the table, thereby upsetting it, or squeezes a patient in the bed between the bed and the bottom of the table as the bed rises. The present invention overcomes the iirst of these prior disadvantages by having a constant force tending to lift and thereby offset the force of gravity on the table throughout its range of vertical positions. The present invention also overcomes the problem of raising a hospital bed toward the underside of a hospital bedside table by having the table rise whenever a small force is applied to its underside.

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a new yand improved bedside table.

Another object of the pres-ent invention is to provide a bedside table whe-rein the table top experiences a constant torce opposing the force of gravity upon it throughout its vertical positioning range.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a bedside table wherein the table top experiences a constant upward force supplied by la constant force spring connected between the top and the base of the table.

An additional object is to provide a bedside table having a constant force spring means opposing the force of ygravity upon its movable top and a frictional force brake means slightly exceeding the resultant force of the spring and gravity forces.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved locking means for locking the ltable top throughout a range of vertical positions to the table base.

It is the principal object of the present invention to provide a 4bedside table having spring means opposing .the force of gravity upon its top, a locking means to lock its top position relative to its base, and a handle protruding from the underside of the table top to release the locking means and thereby allow the table top to rise ice whenever .a small force is applied to the bottom of the table top.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a bedside table having a spring means tending to raise the table top relative to its base and a locking means for holding the table at any vertical position relative to the table base wherein the spring means and the locking means are completely encased within a supporting portion of the table top.

Further objects and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed `description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. l is ya perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of a portion of the embodiment shown `in FIG. l taken along the line 2 2;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. l with the table top including an encasing cover portion thereof removed;

FIG. 4 is -a perspective View of another portion of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. l with the table top removed and the encasing cover and box beams broken away; and

FIG. 5 is a sectional elevational view of a portion of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1 taken Ialong the line 5 5.

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail an embodiment of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exempliiication of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment illustrated. The scope of the invention will be pointed out in the appended claims.

As will presently be described in greater detail, the present yinvention provides for the upward forcing of a top of a bedside table by a constant force regardless of the vertical relationship between the table top andv its base. Thus, the possibility of having objects knocked ott a table top or thrown in the face of a patient or operator is greatly reduced because the table operator will experience a constant force as he moves the table up or down. Although ,in the past methods have been devised to reduce the eiTect of spring rate or a change of force with position, these l'attempts have never produced a bedside table wherein a force tending to force the table top upward was constant regardless of position.

The present invention provides an additional advancement in the art in that the use of a constant force spring in such a bedside table makes it possible to adjust the value of the constant spring force to a value that equals the force of gravity on only the table top or on the table top plus a normal load. In the past, it has not been possible to have a hospital table top remain stationary without providing a locking mechanism. The present invention utilizes the balancing of the force of gravity on the table rtop or, if preferred, on the table top and a normal load to provide a resulting force upon the table top which is small and easily overcome by a small frictional force. This small frictional force acts to overcome the resultant force of the spring and gravity forces regardless of which force exceeds the other. In this manner, the present invention makes it possible for a table top to move either upward or downward by a light pressure from either a child or a weak adult patient.

In the past, many bedside tables have had unlatching handles for the locking means utilized therewith which would be convenient to both a patient in bed or an operator standing beside the table and bed, but these handles were not effective when a hospital bed was inadvertently raised until the bed or the patient engaged the bottom side of the table as the bed moved upwardly. 'Y Aswillr also` presently be described in greater detail, .the presentuin-Vv y vention so places the operating handle that it is notkonly convenient to a patient orV operator, but it Vwill automati cally be operated to unlock Vthe locking device and allow v the Vtable'to be-raiscd under a small upward force When'- everthe. operator or patient Vforgets andV the bedV or patienttis driven `upward toward theunderside of YtheVV table top. y

anda vertical guide portion which, fas Will presently be Y' described, is enclosed by an enclosurel 16 which acts as a'supporting portion of the tabletop 11. Besides the supporting-portion 16,;the table-top 11 is composed of a Y horizontal platform 17 rigidly securedto the top of the support portion 16.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 through Y5 and particularly to FIG. 2, a box-shaped member 2t) is secured to the beam 12 of the base 10 by a set of bolts and nuts 21. A pair of upright box lbeams 22 andV 23 are welded to the box shaped member 2t) and serve asfguides for the tabletop as it is varied in vertical height. These box beams 22 and 23-have their top ends positioned Yrelative to each other by a cross beam 24 rigidly secured to them as shown in FIG. 3. The supporting portionlo ofthe table top 11 comprises a rectangular box'structure which completely envelopes the box beams 22l and 23 when the tableftopl 11 is in jits `lowest yposition as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4. The support portion .loof thetable top'is spaced fromu the vbox beams 22 and 23'by rollers V2S through 28 and a set of nylon spacers 29. The lower rollers 25 and 26 are secured toa rectangular "member Ymetal* ribbons 40l and 41 '4 are wound onfthe drums 42 and 43, respectively, which are rotatably mounted on the cross member 24 by shafts 44 and 45, respectively. The Vinternal vends, of the metalY ribbons 40 andw 41 may be secured to the respectivedrums 42and 43 or merely free- 'ly woundpthereon and the external ends of the lribbons are Asecured to therectangular member 30 Vby a bolt and nut 46. As Athe external ends ofthe coils ofl resilient metal areV drawn away from the.' respective drums, the ribbons Vare, straightened out as shownin FIGS. 3 and 4 with a portionbetween the,s-traightenedparttof each rib- Ybon'and its partremainingwound Von thefdr'um which curves awayrfrom'the drum asindicated at 47 and 48 in .,FIG. 3Q Infthese. portions. of the metal;ribbons, the

rstraightening action is occurring andfproducing the spring force which tends tofpull thefexternal end of the spring back into.A the coil.v Regardless of Vthe Ylength of the straight portions vof the ribbons .40 and'41, the curved portions 47 and 4 8 remain substantially the same length. Thus, the spring force acting to..pul1-.the rectangular memberk-Swupward toward theV cross bar24 remains the same regardless `of the distance of the rectangular member 30 from the drums 42 andr43..l Since the two flexible l metal ribbons V40 and 41 are placed back-to-back, their respective positions aid in keeping the portions of the ribbons curving away from the vdrums equal at-all times. The coils of 'resilient metal ribbons 4t) and 41 and their drums42 and'43 constitute a constant force spring which applies a. constantforce tending -topull ther rectangular member 30 and, therefore, the-entire tabletop 11 upward. No matter where'thej platformpis, -in relationship to the base, the force tending tofo'rceit upwardV is constant and anloperator or patientneed not fear that the force on the platforrn17 of the table will change from one elevational Vposition'to another. In addition, when the spring force kand y gravity are; closely balanced'and a small frictional forceis usedA to overcome the resultant forceof the spring tion 16'and supports the rollers 25 Yand )26 for Vrolling f' engagement against a track portion 33 and a track portion Y 34 of the boxbeams 22 and 23, respectively, as' illustratedr and gravityA forces, the operator'or patient is assuredk that v the resultant force will not vary with the elevation of the table ltop and, thereforefwill not exceed the frictional i force at any point throughout its'range; 1 Although two in FIGS. 2,l 4`and'5.V Therolle'rs 27 land 28 Vare' rotation- 'Y f allysecured to they top of the Vbox beams 22 andV 23 as illustrated' in FIGS. -3 and 5 tofrollagainst the inner wall of the support portion 1'6.' TheA rollers aref preferably of the nylon covered 'steel' ball bearing type although they may be of'any type well-knownv in the art. The nylon spacers 29 prevent anymetal-to-metal contact between the box beams 22 and 23 and the support portion 16 of the table top. 11.l Since the'weight ofthe table top 11 and objects placed thereonwill tend to bendY the tabletop clockwise as viewed in FIGJl, pressurepwill' be VappliedV to maintain the'respective' rollers against both the flanges V33 and 34`and against'the interior wall of ther'support, porfy tion 16. Although the 'friction encountered ingthese bearings is normally considered'quite small, sufficient friction for retarding the rolling Vofthe rollers isfcreatedV -soV that it is Vnot overcome bythe resultant forceof the` spring and gravity forces acting Von the table to'p-Y Thus, the table top will'not move up or down runtil Vat least a small additional force is applied. The Vfrictional force is usually.l less than ten pounds, but isl suficient to overcome the rdifference between the spring and'grayity forces acting on they table' since-their resultant forcev is( usually` ofthe order of less than a Vfew pounds. Therefore,even

springsfhaving separate drums are shown" in the figures,

-it Willbe easily-'understoodV by those skilled in the art .that a singlespring anddrum could b e utilized or mul- .tiplespn'ngs could bev substituted or even a multiplicity of lsprings'fcould be :placed alongside each other and .wound-around a single drum. vThus,lthe constant force spring means includes 'either thel usage'of' single or multipley springs in combination withrsingle or multiple drums. f Havingnow ,described the ,constant force spring means which tends to force the platform 17 upwardly at all times,

the Vmeans forlocking the platform at a'nyrpredetermined elevation Within tfu's range will now befdescribed. A `shaft 50 has its lower end pivotally mounted in an aperture 51 of the box beam 23 and the Vbox shaped member 20.1 -A pair of'cotter pins 52 and 53 position 'the end ,of the shaft 50 in the aperturefSl Vas shown in FIG. 2.

The shaft50 is guided as the 'table top 11 is raised and if thereY were no latching mechanism providedfthe table, the table would remain'stationary or' could bev moved upward orfdownward withVV only a lightfljressure from a child or a weakadult patient. 7

for applying force to lift the "platformfl' and tolock loweredfin apertures 54' and 55 of brackets 56 and 57` respectively, which are'securedto the support portion 16 'ofthe table top 11 by a rivet 58. The guide bracket 5t is welded to the Sguide bracket'57;' A oating wedge plate tliisipositioned'between'a pair of abutments 59 anc Gland hasl an aperture'Zwhich surroundsthe shaft 5t so that `the wedgeplate :..Wil1 lock thershaft 50 to the support `section 16 when f the wedgeplate is pivoter clockwise on 61f-out ofV a horizontal position until i' tightly locks the' Vshaft 50. The'abutment 59prevent:

the floatingwedgeY plate 60 `from being pivoted counter 57o Thus far, the means for maintainingth'e table top clockwiseout of the horizontal position. Ifwthis counter clockwise'rotation Ywere -not prevented, rotation of z oating wedge plate infeither direction would result i1 4 locking ,the wedge plate tltofthe shaft 50.3 The abut vthe`platform17 at anydesired elevatipnwill now bede;

scribed inv detail. Two coilV springs` of Vflexibler'esilient ments 59 and `tlare rigidly "secured to guide bracket 57 Jl`h'e force 'for' creating the pivotal motion which lock the portion 16 to the shaft 50 is supplied by a tension spring 63 which has one end connected to the guide bracket 57 and the other end connected to an end of a shaft 67 which passes through an aperture 64 in the wedge plate '63. If the weight of the table top and its load should ever greatly exceed the spring force, abutment 59 will engage plate 60 to prevent any appreciable downward movement of the table top. A control linkage for operating the wedge plate 6@ consists of a rotatable shaft 65, an arm 66 rigidly axed thereto, and the shaft 67 which is pivotally connected through the aperture 68 in one end of the arm 66 and at its other end to the wedge plate 60 through the aperture 64. A pair of locking handles '69 and 70 are rigidly secured to the shaft 65 by being constructed as extensions thereof. The upward movement of either handle 69 or 70 wiil rotate the wedge plate about its pivot on `61 against the force of the tension spring 63 to unlock the support portion 16 from the shaft Si). Then the table can be easily raised or lowered since the weight of the table and a normal load of objects placed thereon are balanced by the constant force springs. Thus, it may be seen that anything approaching from below the table will iirst strike either handle 69 or the handle 70, forcing -it upward since these handles project below the bottom of the platform 17 of the table top 11. The upward movement of either handle rotates the shaft 65 and the arm 68 to raise the shaft 67 and thereby pivot the wedge plate toward a horizontal position, unlocking it from the shaft 50. The table top 11 is then free to rise under the influence of any small upward force. With the spring force approximately balancing the force of gravity upon the table top and an expected load and a small frictional force applied to overcome 4the resultant force even though a few pounds may be added and removed from the table top from time to time, the means for locking the platform would not ordinarily be required. However, this means for locking the platform does act as a safety mechanism in case a severe force should be applied to the top of the table.

In certain specialized applications, it might be desirable to have the ability of the table to remain stationary, dependent upon the locking mechanism being in an engaged position. For such applications, the spring force should be made sufficiently larger or smaller than the force of gravity so that the resultant force will at all times exceed any frictional forces produced between the table top and the base.

As shown in FIG. 1, the handles are conveniently placed to be operated either by a patient in bed or by an operator standing beside the bed. Further, these handles are so placed that the person operating them to move the table can place his hand around the edge of the platform 17 and release the handle simultaneously, making it possible to raise and lower the table, using only one hand. For convenience, a drawer 71 is provided in the platform 17 of the table top 11.

I claim:

n 1. A bedside table comprising: a base having a vertical guide portion; a table top having a support portion adapted to cooperate with said vertical guide portion -of the base to maintain the top horizontal as its vertical position is varied over a range; a constant Iforce spring `connected between said base and said table top to -apply a constant yforce tending to raise said table top over said range; and locking means adapted to operate between said base and said table top to lock said table top at 'any vertical position within said range and including a vertical shaft secured to said base, a floating wedge plate piv-otally mounted between two abutments secured to said support portion of the top, said floating wedge plate having an aperture therein to suround said shaft and to lock said support portion to said shaft by a wedging action when said plate is pivoted from a horizontal position, a spring connected 'to said wedge plate and to said support portion to force said wedge plate to pivot away from. a horizontal position into a wedging lock position with said shaft, and linkage connected to -said wedge plate to unlock said wedge plate from said shaft, said linkage including an operating handle rotationally secured to said table top for upward unlocking movement and protruding below the underside of said table t-op.

2. A bedside table comprising: a base having a vertical gulde portion; a table top having a support portion with the top extending laterally from said support por tion whereby the top may overlie a bed, said support portion being mounted on said guide portion to maintain the top 4horizontal as its vertical position is varied over a range; a constant force coil spring connected between said base and the table top, said constant force spring having a plurality of convolutions in overlapping engagement and a straight length extending from the coil with the spring providing substantially the same balancing force in all positions of said table top due to the force being created by the resilience of that portion of the spring which ycurves away from the coil and extends to said straight portion with said curved portion being substantially uniform in all positions of the table top; locking means for locking said -table top to said lbase in any position of vertical adjustment; and means for releasing said locking means to unlock said top 4from said base including an operating handle movably mounted on said top and having a length extending beneath and lengthwise of said top.

3. A bedside table as specified in claim 2 including frictional force brake means operating between said base and table top and comprising a set of rollers.

4. A bedside table as speciied in claim 2 including lfrictional force brake means operating between the base and table top and exerting a frictional force of less than lten pounds upon said table top.

References Cited bythe Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner. GEORGE L. BREHM, Examiner.

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U.S. Classification108/136, 108/146, 108/44
International ClassificationA47B23/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47B23/046
European ClassificationA47B23/04E