US 3192541 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 6, 1935v B. s. MOORE 3,192,541
CONTOURABLE PNEUMATIC CUSHIQNS Filed March 19, 1962 2 Sheets- Sheet 1 INVENTOR BOYD S. MOORE y 6, 1965 B. s. MOORE 3,192,541
CONTOURABLE PNEUMATIC GUSHIONS Filed March 19, 1962 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 I9 INVENTOR BOYD S.MO0RE United States Patent 3,192,541 CQNTGURA'BLE FNEUFMTIC CUIIIGNS Boyd S. Moore, St. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada (230 Gverdale St, Winnipeg 12, Manitoba, Canada) Filed Mar. 19, 1962, Ser. No. 18 19552 4 Claims. (Cl. 5-349) This invention relates to new and useful improvements in cushions, more particularly to pneumatic cushions, and the principal object of the invention is to provide a pneumatic cushion which is capable of contouring or adjusting itself to properly support and comfortably fit the anatomy of its user.
The term cushion as used herein is employed broadly to designate a cushion-like entity on which a user may sit, lie, rest against, or otherwise utilize for purposes of comfortable support. As such, the cushion may assume the form of the seat and/or the back of a chair, or the mattress of a bed, or it may be a portable cushion, capable of use wherever and however desired.
The aforementioned self-contouring or self-adjusting feature of the cushion is attained by providing the same with a plurality of juxtaposed, individual air cells, together with means for communicating such air cells with one another in a hermetically sealed system so that air pressure in all the cells may be equalized when external force is applied to any one of them. In addition, means are provided for selectively blocking the communication between the cells, so that they may be hermetically isolated from each other. Thus, when the communicating means are open, and the anatomy of a user comes in contact with the cushion so as to exert an external force on certain of the air cells thereof, some of the air in those cells will pass through the communicating means into other cells which are not as much or not at all affected by external forces and the air pressure in all the cells will be equalized, with the result that the cushion as a whole will automatically contour itself to comfortably fit and properly support the particular anatomy of the user. With the user still engaging the cushion, the communicating means between the air cells may then be blocked and the resultant hermetic isolation of the air cells will retain the cushion in a condition of properly contoured fit even if the user should leave the cushion and return thereto on a subsequent occasion. In the event that the same user wishes to occupy the cushion in a different anatomical position, or if the same cushion is to be employed by another user, the cushion may be recontoured simply by again opening the cell communicating means.
Other advantages of the invention reside in its simplicity of construction, efficient and dependable operation, and in its adaptability to convenient and economical manufacture.
With the foregoing more important objects and features in view and such other objects and features as may become apparent as this specification proceeds, the invention will be understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like characters of reference are used to designate like parts, and wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a chair embodying the cushion of the invention as the back rest;
FIGURE 2 is a front elevational view of the cushion per se, with the covering thereof removed;
FIGURE 3 is a transverse sectional view, taken substantially in the plane of the line 33 in FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a sectional view, similar to that shown in FIGURE 3 but illustrating a modified arrangement of the ice cushion used in a chair of a different type than shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional detail taken substantially in the plane of the line 55 in FIGURE 2 and also showing the cushion covering;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional detail taken substantially in the plane of the line 6-6 in FIG- URE 2;
FIGURE 7 is a fragmentary sectional view, taken substantially in the plane of the line 7-7 in FIGURE 6;
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional detail taken substantially in the plane of the line 8-8 in FIGURE 6;
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary sectional detail, taken substantially in the plane of the line 9--9 in FIGURE 7;
FIGURE 10 is an enlarged, fragmentary view, partly in elevation and partly in section, showing the remote control in the arm rest of the chair of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 11 is a fragmentary view, similar to that shown in FIGURE 6 and illustrating, partly in section and partly in elevation, an alternate mounting position of the valve used in the invention.
As already noted in the preamble of this specification, the term cushion is used broadly herein and therefore, its use is by no means limited to the particular environment of a chair back rest in which it is shown merely for illustrative purposes in the accompanying drawings. With this understanding, detailed reference may now be drawn to FIGURE 1 which shows the cushion of the invention, designated generally by the reference numeral 15, as constituting the back rest of an upholstered chair 16 which also includes a seat 17 and the usual arm rests 18.
The cushion 15 embodies in its construction a rigid supporting plate 19 carrying a plurality of juxtaposed, individual air cells 2% These air cells, as is best shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, are transversely elongated with rounded or tapered ends, and are substantially oval in cross-section, as shown in FIGURE 5. The cells are preferably formed from resiliently flexible material such as rubber and have their base edges vulcanized or otherwise bonded as at 21 to a base sheet 22 of the same material. The base sheet 22, in turn, is bonded or otherwise secured to the supporting plate 19. The several cells 26 may be molded together and bonded to the base sheet 22 as a unit, or they may be formed and bonded separately, as preferred.
The interior of each individual air cell communicates with an individual air duct or conduit 23 through the medium of a nipple 24 with which each conduit is provided. The several conduits 23 are disposed in parallel relation and sandwiched between the base sheet 22 and the supporting plate 19 as is best shown in FIGURES 6 and 8. The nipples 24 of the several conduits are bonded to and project through the base sheet 22 into communication with the respective cells 29, as illustrated.
The several conduits 23 project outwardly from under the air cells 255 and are connected to the body 25 of a valve 26 which is suitably mounted on an extension 19 of the plate 19 on the same side of the plate as the cells. The valve body is preferably formed from rubber-like material and is provided with a chamber, which may be referred to as a plenum chamber 27, having a movable or collapsible wall 28. The several conduits 23 are in communication with individual valve ports 29 which open into the chamber 27 as shown in FIGURE 6, whereby the several air cells 20 are in communication with one another through the conduits 23 and the plenum chamber 27 in a hermetically sealed system. Thus, if external force is applied to any one or more of the cells 20, the air pres- 3 sure in all the cells will automatically become equalized, as will be readily apparent.
However, means are provided for moving or collapsing the wall 23 of the plenum chamber 27 so that it comes in contact with the valve body and closes or blocks oil the valve ports 29, thus hermetically isolating the individual air cells 20 from each other. These means comprise a pressure bar or strap 30 which is superposed on the chamber wall 28 and is pivotally mounted on a pin 31 journalled in a pair of trunnions 32. A coil spring 33, also mounted on the pin 31, has one end thereof anchored to the bar 30 and its other end to one of the trunnions 32 in such a manner that the spring normally urges the pressure bar 30 against the collapsible wall 28 of the plenum chamber 27 and causes the wall28 to close off the conduit ports 29, thus maintaining the individual air cells 20 in hermetic isolation.
The pressure bar 30 is provided with an extension arm 34 which has suitably connected thereto one end of an actuating rod 35 and the latter extends through one of the chair arm rests 18 for operative connection to a remote control lever 36. This lever is pivotally mounted in the arm rest as at 37 and has an outwardly projecting push button 38, the arrangement being such that when the button 38 is pushed inwardly as shown at 39 in FIGURE 10, the lever 36 will pull'the rod 35 in the direction of the arrow 40 and the rod 35 will move the pressure bar 30 away from the valve body 25, thus permitting the collapsible wall 28 to resiliently resume its uncollapsed condition and thereby uncover the valve ports 29. In this connection it may be noted that the return of the wall 23 to its uncollapsed condition will be assisted by pressure of air in the cells 20 and conduits 23. The valve will remain in its open position as long as the button 38 is depressed and upon releasing of the button the spring 33 will automatically close the valve.
The hermetically sealed system of the cushion may be charged with air through a suitable hose or conduit 41 which is connected to the valve body 25 and communicates with the chamber 27 through a port 42. This port, incidentally, is closed oil by the collapsible wall 28, like the conduit ports 29, when the wall 28 is collapsed, although this is of minor importance inasmuch as the charging conduit 41 is normally closed by a clamp 43 on the plate. extension 19 and is opened only on such occasions that charging of the system with air is necessary.
The air cells 20 of the cushion are shown as being covered with flexible covering including a layer of foam rubber, or the like, 44 and a layer of upholstery fabric 45, as will be readily understood.
When the invention is placed in use, a person seats himself or herself in the chair 16 and rests his or her back against the cushion 15. This constrains the pneumatic cells 20 against the rigid back plate 19. The button 38 of the remote control is then depressed so as to cause opening of the valve 26 and establish communication between the several air cells 20 so that the cushion automatically adjusts or conforms itself to the anatomy of the user while air pressure in the several cells becomes equalized. The button 38 is then released and the adjusted cushion will conformably fit and properly support the anatomy of the user, even if the user should leave the chair and return thereto on a subsequent occasion. If the user wishes to assume a different position in the chair, or if the chair is to be utilized by a different user, the cushion may again be conformably adjusted by simple actuation of the button 38 while the users back is pressed against the cushion.
FIGURE 11 illustrates a slightly modified embodiment of the invention wherein the valve 26 is located on the opposite side of the support plate 19 with respect to the air cells 20, in which event the plate is provided with passage means 46 through which the conduits 23a may ex tend as shown. This arrangement is particularly useful when the invention is embodied in a chair without upholstery, for example, in the chair 16a shown in FIGURE 4 wherein the seat is indicated at 17a and the rigid supporting plate 19a of the pneumatic cushion constitutes the back of the chair itself. By positioning the valve 26 on the rear side of the plate 19a, the valve is readily accessible and may be conveniently actuated by finger pressure against the pressure bar arm 34, so that use of the remote control means 35, 36, 38 is not necessary.
The modified arrangement of FIGURE 4 also illustrates the plate 19a as being convexly curved rather than fiat as is the plate 19, with the air cells Zita being shaped to fit the plate as shown.
It may be noted that while this specification and accompanying claims refer to air cells in the sense that the hermetically sealed system of the invention is preferably charged with air, obviously, any other suitable gas may be utilized.
The cushion covering 44, 45 may be secured in place in any suitable manner, including bonding thereof to the air cells. If the cushion is of a portable variety, the support plate 19 may or may not be employed. If not, the air cells 29 with their base sheet 22 may be placed on any suitable supporting surface, such as the floor or a hard seat, for example. Without the plate 19, the air cells may be deflated through the hose 41 and the cushion may then be rolled up into a compact form for convenience in carrying. Also, the base sheet 22 may be provided with recesses or sockets to receive removable stiffening rods (not shown) for supporting the cushion when the plate 19 is omitted.
The elongated air cells may extend transversely as shown, or longitudinally, and if desired, the air cells may be provided with partitions to separate the same into individual compartments, each equipped with a separate conduit 23. Such compartments, arranged longitudinally of the cells, would afford the cushion with even greater facilities for automatic and effective contouring to the anatomy of the user.
While in the foregoing there have been shown and described the preferred embodiments of the invention, various modifications may become apparent to those skilled in the art to which the invention relates. Accordingly, it is not desired to limit the invention to this disclosure, and various modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed.
What is claimed as new is:
1. A self-contained, hermetically sealed, contourable pneumatic cushion, comprising in combination, a rigid back plate, a plurality of individual air cells mounted in juxtaposed relation on said back plate, said plate providing a rigid backing for said air cells whereby the cells may be constrained against the back plate by pressure of a users body applied to the cells, a single manual control valve having a plenum chamber, a plurality of air conduits connecting the respective air cells to said plenum chamber of said valve in a hermetically closed cycle, said valve having an open position wherein under body pressure applied to the cells air may flow from any of the cells into others tluough said plenum chamber and conduits, said valve also having a closed position wherein said conduits and the associated air cells are hermetically isolated from each other at the plenum chamber whereby to prevent transfer of air between the cells, and means for opening and closing said valve.
2. The device as defined in claim 1 wherein said control valve comprises a valve body formed with a plurality of valve ports communicating with the respective air conduits, and a resiliently flexible wall coacting with said body to define said plenum chamber, said wall being spaced from and uncovering said ports when the valve is open, but being collapsible to cover and seal the ports when the valve is closed.
3. The device as defined in claim 2 wherein said means for opening and closing said valve include a pressure plate superposed on said resiliently flexible Wall, resilient means biasing said pressure plate and said wall toward the collapsed position of the wall, and manually operable means for moving said pressure plate against the bias of said resilient means to the open valve position.
4. The device as defined in claim 1 together with means for admitting an initial charge of air under pressure into said plenum chamber of said valve.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,136,510 11/38 Jenson 137-223 2,245,969 6/41 Enfiajian 5-348 FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.