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Publication numberUS3242509 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 29, 1966
Filing dateDec 21, 1961
Priority dateDec 21, 1961
Also published asDE1428832A1
Publication numberUS 3242509 A, US 3242509A, US-A-3242509, US3242509 A, US3242509A
InventorsGeorge P Nissen
Original AssigneeNissen Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gymnastic floor covering
US 3242509 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 29, 1966 a NlSSEN 3,242,5(39

GYMNASTI G FLOOR COVERING Filed Dec. 21, 1961 2 SheetsSheet 1 Jag/Q5 rZO Z/ aways: 55c? @MKM March 29, 1966 e. P. NISSEN GYMNASIIG FLOOR COVERING 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 21, 1961 fi w, ii pwlwwaiulkwwwilhlih G\\ United States Patent 3,242,509 GYMNASTIC FLOOR COVERING George P. Nissen, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, assignor to Nissen Corporation, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Filed Dec. 21, 1961, Ser. No. 161,158 2 Claims. (Cl. -344) This invention relates generally to floor coverings and, more particularly, to mats for use in gymnasiums to provide a resilient or shock absorbing working surface for performers such as tumblers and wrestlers and also to cover exposed parts of apparatus so as to protect the performers.

The object of the invention is to provide a novel floor covering of the above character in which the absorptive material is distributed over the entire area, which is of a convenient size and lightweight so as to be easy to transport from place to place, and which may be attached easily and quickly to similar rnats to increase the area of floor covered.

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

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of two connected mats each embodying the novel features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged plan view of one of the mats reversed end for end from its position in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary view similar to FIG. 3 but showing the connection between two adjacent mats;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary enlargement of a part of FIG. 3 showing different relative positions of two adjacent sections of a mat;

FIG. 6 is a reduced perspective view of a mat showing its sections in collapsed and extended positions;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary enlarged sectional view showing a modified side edge construction of a mat; and

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary schematic vertical sectional view of interengaging strips of fastening elements.

While there have been shown in the drawings and will be described herein several embodiments of the present invention, it is to be understood. that the invention is susceptible of various other modifications and alternative constructions. It is to be understood further that there is no intention to limit the invention by the specific disclosures, but that the aim is to cover all modifications and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

In the drawings, the invention is shown for purposes of illustration embodied in mats 10 especially adapted for covering floors or apparatus in gymnasiums and providing a shock absorbing or resilient surface 9 to protect performers or assist them in their performances. Each mat is of rectangular shape and comprises generally a body 11 of suitable yicldable, shock absorbing material enclosed by a covering 12. While various shock absorbing materials may be used, polyethylene foam is preferred but sponge rubber also has been found to be satisfactory. A suitable covering is a canvas or fabric sheet coated with a polyvinyl resin.

The body 11 of shock absorbing material and the covering 12 are constructed to facilitate transportation and storing of the mat 10 while providing a continuous and smooth working surface 9 and insuring that there is shock absorbing material beneath the entire area of such surface. To these ends, the body and covering are divided into a plurality of rectangular sections 13 arranged edgeto-edge in extended positions in a common plane and hinged to each other along adjacent edges on the bottom side of the mat for folding into collapsed transporting 3,2425%9 Patented Mar. 29, 1966 ice and storage positions in which the sections lie back-toback as shown in FIG. 6. Gaps between adjacent sections are avoided and a continuous top performing surface thereby is achieved by making each section at least as wide as, but preferably slightly wider than, the spacing of the adjacent two sections. With this relation, each section is compressed slightly between adjacent sections to insure their contact along the top surface of the mat at the junction of the sections.

Hinging of the adjacent mat sections 13 is achieved by dividing the covering 12 into a top sheet 14 and a bottom sheet 15 with the top sheet extending over the top side and around the end and side edges of each rectangular section of the shock absorbing body 11. Edge portions 14a of the top sheet extend beyond the side and end edges of the rectangular body section and are folded laterally into overlapping relation with the bottom sheet. The overlapping edge portions then are secured to the bottom sheet generally in the plane of the bottom sheet as by sewing in the present instance. Adjacent rectangular sections thus are connected to each other along the bottom side edges of the sections at their junctions to permit them to be folded relative to each other and into and out of the same plane. The top sheet being secured to the bottom sheet closely adjacent the bottom side and end edges of the rectangular body section, this section is held against shifting with respect to the cover. By correlating the locations of the connections between the top and bottom sheets with the width of the rectangular body sections, the spacing of alternate sections with their covers is equal to or slightly less than the width of the intervening section with its cover when the sections are in their extended positions, such relationship insuring that the working surface is continuous.

To provide a substantially uniform thickness of the mat 10 over substantially its entire area, a recess 19 is formed in the underside of each rectangular section of the body 11 along one side edge, and the end portions 14a of the top cover sheets 14 of that section and the adjacent section are folded into overlapping relation in the recess. The top sheet edge portion 14a adjacent the recess thus is folded laterally beneath its corresponding body section and the overlapping edge portion 14a of the adjacent top sheet is folded laterally away from its body section.

Referring to FIG. 5, it will be seen that the outwardly extending top sheet edge portion 14a is sewn to the bottom sheet 1 5 along a line 16 disposed closely adjacent and extending the full length of the rectangular body section covered by the sheet. Along two parallel lines 17 and 18 closely adjacent to that first line of sewing, that edge portion is sewn to both the bottom sheet and the overlapping edge portion 14a of the adjacent top sheet, the center line 17 defining the hinge between the sections. It will be seen that, for each body section, one side edge portion of the top cover sheet is folded into the recess 19 under one side edge of the sheet and the other side edge portion is folded outwardly away from the section.

The present invention contemplates a novel construction of each mat 1t) enabling the mat to be connected to or disconnected from other similar mats to vary the size of the performing surface 9 quickly and easily while avoiding gaps in such surface. This is accomplished by the provision of novel fastening elements 20 and 21 located on corresponding edges of two mats and adapted to interfit with each other to join opposite ends of two mats with their adjacent sections 13 in abutment as shown in FIG. 4. As shown in FIGS. 1 to 4, the fastening elements are of the overlapping gripper type adapted to iuterengage each other and be released in response to pressure and separating forces in a direction generally normal to their plane of overlapping, but also adapted to resist separation in the plane of overlapping. This type of fastener takes advantage of the recess 19 on the outer bottom side edge of the body section 13 at one end of the mat and further advantage of the lateral folding of the end portions 14a of the top cover sheet 14 in opposite directions, one element 20 being located on the underside of the inwardly folded edge portion 14a and within the recess and the other element being on the upper side of the outwardly projecting edge portion 14a at the other end of the met.

In the present instance, the gripping fastening element 2-1 on the outwardly projecting edge portion 14a is a strip of material such as cloth with upwardly projecting barbs or loops. The cooperating element 20 on the underside of the top sheet edge portion 14a within the end recess 19 is a strip of cloth wtih a raised nap similarly having barbs or loops. Fastening material of this type as shown in FIG. 8 is disclosed in US. Patent No. 2,717,437 and is sold under the trade name Velcro by American Velcro Inc, having sales ofiices at 681 Ffth Avenue, New York, New York.

As shown in FIG. 4, the barb or hook strip 21 overlaps the outwardly projecting edge portion 14a and a reversely folded end portion 15a of the bottom sheet 15, the overlapping parts being secured together by sewing. At the recess end of the mat, the nap strip 20 similarly overlaps and is sewn to the inwardly bent top sheet end portion 14a, the bottom sheet 15 and a reversely bent end portion 15a of the bottom sheet within the recess 19, this recess at the end of the mat being larger than the other recesses to accommodate the fastening elements.

To enable the mats to be joined side-'by-side as well as end-to-end, it is preferred to provide cooperating fastening elements 22. and 2 3 along the side edges of each mat the same as at the end edges. This construction is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 from which it will be seen that a flap with the barb strip 2 3 projects from one side of the mat and the nap strip 22 is located in a recess along the bottom of the other side edge similar to the location of the end nap strip 20. The overlapping of the cover sheets and fastening strips and the manner of securing them together along the side edges is the same as at the ends of the mat described above.

If it is desired to connect the mats only in end-to-end relation, the side fastener elements 22 and 23 may be omitted. In this case, both side edges are constructed in the same manner as the nap strip side edge with the nap strip replaced by a double thickness strip 24 of the cover material. "In this construction shown in FIG. 7, the side edges of the strip are folded under the center section to (form the double thickness and the folded strip is sewn in overlapping relation to the bottom sheet 15, a folded back side edge portion b of the sheet, and an outwardly folded edge portion 14b of each top cover sheet 14.

The folding of the edge portions 14a of each top cover sheet v14 in opposite directions facilitates fabrication of each mat as well as providing the projecting end flap of the mat to receive the hook strip 2 1. In such fabrica tion, first the end portions 15a and 14a of the bottom sheet 15 and the top sheet 14 are sewn to the nap strip at the recessed end of the mat. Then, the side edges of the bottom sheet and the end edges of the top sheets are laid over and sewn to the nap strip 22 along the side edge of the mat. Next, the rectangular sections of the body 11 are placed individually between the bottom sheet and the associated top sheets successively and the latter are sewn in succession to the bottom sheet and the adja cent top sheet along the side edge of the section followed by sewing of the top sheet to the bottom sheet and the hook strip 23 at the remaining end edge of the section, that is, along the side edge of the mat. Finally, the hook strip 21 is sewn to the flap at the end of the mat provided by the side edge portion 14a of the end top sheet 4 and the reversely bent end portion 15a of the bottom sheet (FIGS. 3 and 4).

The fabrication of the modified construction of FIG. 7 is similar except that the cover strip 24 is secured to outwardly projecting edge portions 14b and 15b of the top and bottom sheets 14 and 15 along both side edges of the mat.

It will be apparent that the shock absorbing material 11 is located beneath substantially the entire performing area 9 of each mat :10 used alone or connected to other mats along its end or side edges. This is made possible by the novel location of the end fastening elements 20 and 21 and side elements '22 and 23 for abutment of the sections 13 of adjacent mats and by making each section of each mat at least as wide as the spacing of the adjacent sections of that mat. With the novel fastening elements and the connection of adjacent sections 13 along only the bottom side of each mat, a large area of performing surface 9 may be divided into smaller conveniently sized parts for quick and easy transportation or storage.

I claim:

1. A gymnastic floor mat of flat rectangular shape having spaced parallel top and bottom surfaces and first and second edges parallel to each other and normal to third and fourth edges, a supporting strip secured to and extending outwardly from said first edge substantially in the plane of said bottom surface, an elongated flat first strip of fastening material secured to and overlying said supporting strip and extending along the strip and said first edge in a plane parallel to said top surface, said top surface and adjacent portions of said mat being free of strips of fastening material, and an elongated fiat second strip of fastening material secured to and lying against said bottom surface within the periphery of the mat and along said second edge in a plane parallel to said top surface, said fastening strips being of the complementary overlapping gripper type adapted to engage each other to resist separation in the plane of overlapping and to be sepa rated easily by forces in a'direction normal to such plane and each of said fastening strips being adapted for gripping engagement with a complementary fastening strip on a similar mat to connect the mats edge to edge to form a continuous upper mat surface with the cooperating fastening strips concealed on the undersides of the mats and maintained in gripping engagement by the weight of a performer on the mats.

2. The combination of claim -1 in which third and fourth fastening strips similar to said first and second strips extend along and are fastened to said third and (fourth edges of said mat in the same manner as the first and second strips extend along and are fastened to said first and second edges.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 195,850 10/1877 Shepherd 5-345 X 976,352 11/1910 Flintoft 5345 1,393,619 10/1921 Gardner 5345 X 1,624,797 4/ 1927 Morehouse 5-344 1,948,411 2/1934 Asten 24-205.1 2,589,579 3/1952 Slayden 5-357 2,717,437 9/1955 De Mestral 161-65 2,833,001 5/1958 tMontefalco 5345 X 3,014,225 12/1961 Pink 5-352 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,248,662 11/ 1960 France.

FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.

EARL M. BERGERT, Examiner.

R. I. CARLSON, A. M. CALVERT, Assistant Examiners.

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Referenced by
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US3396969 *Jan 25, 1965Aug 13, 1968Premier Athletic Products CorpFootball training dummy
US3467972 *Jul 10, 1967Sep 23, 1969Jose De Aruajo BastosMattresses
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US3990697 *Feb 18, 1975Nov 9, 1976Olympic Spieth Anderson LimitedBalance beam with a resilient coating
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U.S. Classification5/420, 273/DIG.400, 273/DIG.500, 428/12, 482/23, 428/100, 5/922, 446/901
International ClassificationE04F15/22, A63C19/04, A63B6/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63C19/04, Y10S446/901, Y10S273/04, Y10S5/922, Y10S273/05, A63B6/00, E04F15/22
European ClassificationA63C19/04, A63B6/00, E04F15/22