US 3243828 A
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'r. B. M CAR TY CERVICAL PILLOW April 5, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 28. 1963 INVENT THAD B. Mc
ATTORNEY April 5, 1966 T. B. M cARTY ,2
CERVICAL PILLOW Filed Oct. 28, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR. THAD B. Mc CARTY N 41 ATTORNEY United States Patent 33 23328 CERVHCAL PILLUW Thad B. McCarty, Piedmont, Calif. (3329 Piedmont Ave, Oakland 11, Calif.) Filed Oct. 28, 1963, Ser. No. 319,119 7 Claims. (Cl. -338) This invention relates generally to device for supporting a persons head and neck while he is disposed in a generally horizontal sleeping position, and more particularly to a pillow that can be individually tailored to accommodate any given persons orthopedic cervical support requirements.
The angular disposition of a persons head and neck relative to his upper torso can be very critical to full relaxation and relief from tension while in a sleeping position. When lying in a supine position, the spacing between the back of a persons head and the mattress supporting surface controls the general attitude of the head and neck, with there usually being one optimum spacing for each individual to assure maximum comfort and relief of neck strain. Likewise, when lying on ones side there is another optimum spacing between the side of a persons head and the mattress. The optimum head to mattress spacing may even vary for an individual from one side to the other, if the person has a normal slight lateral inclination of the head and neck. Further refinements in achieving maximum cervical comfort relate to the angular relation between head and neck, in addition to the basic spacing measurement which controls the angular relation of the neck to the upper torso.
By providing a pillow capable of supporting a persons head and neck in a manner to achieve the above described optimum cervical dispositions, it is possible to achieve various desirable orthopedic effects. In particular, correct cervical disposition can reduce neck tension in such a manner as to aid healing and/ or reduce pain in cases of broken necks or whiplash injuries, arthiritis, shoulder bursitis, upper back pains, arm pains, headaches from neck tension, and injuries to the general upper torso region afiected by cervical disposition. The present invention provides a cervical pillow capable of achieving proper support for the head and neck while a person sleeps either on his back or side, and because of its beneficial effects, the instant pillow is often prescribed by orthopedic specialists for use in cases of the above described cervical conditions.
While heretofore various pillows and devices have been used to achieve some of the optimum cervical support conditions described above, it invariably has been necessary to construct each device on an individual basis for the specific needs of the intended user. Because of the large amount of hand labor required to custom build such prior devices, they generally have involved high costs, and have been incapable of economic mass construction. The present invention overcomes this problem by providing a cervical pillow that can be readily constructed to conform to the individual requirements and measurements of any individual, yet which can be made quickly and inexpensively. To accomplish this result, the present invention provides a single body member for use in most all pillows, but with the body member being adapted in a novel manner so as to enable it to be modified readily to achieve any individual set of measurements.
Accordingly, an important object of the present invention is to provide a cervical pillow for supporting a persons head while sleeping to provide substantially optimum head to mattress spacing and head to neck angular relation, for both back and side sleeping positions, and which can be readily and inexpensively constructed to conform to the exacting measurements required for any individual person.
3,243,828 Patented Apr. 5, 1966 ice Another object is to provide a pillow of the type described that is capable of being readily modified in size and shape to provide any given set of measurements, and which notwithstanding such modifications provides the same comfort and support that heretofore has been achieved only with wholly individually constructed custom built devices.
The invention possesses other objects and features of advantage, some of which of the foregoing will be set forth in the following description of the preferred form of the invention which is illustrated in the drawingsaccompanying and forming part of this specification. It is to be understood however, that variations in the showing made by the said drawings and description 'may be adapted within the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.
Referring to said drawings (two sheets):
FIGURE 1 is a front elevation view of the basic body member forming a part of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the structure shown in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is an exploded perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention depicting the manner of its construction, and including the body mem ber shown in FIGURES 1 and 2.
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary front elevation view of a completed form of a preferred embodiment of the invention.
FIGURE 5 is a cross sectional side elevation view of the instant pillow, shown in conjunction with a person in a supine position having his head supported on the pillow.
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of the instant pillow, depicting its use by a person lying in either a supine or side position.
FIGURE 7 is a cross-sectional side view of the pillow shown in conjunction with a person lyingon his side.
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary perspective view of the instant pillow constructed to control the angular relation between the users head and neck while lying on one side.
FIGURE 9 is a side elevation cross-sectional view of the pillow shown in FIGURE 8, depicting its use by a person lying on his side.
Describing now in broad terms a preferred embodiment of the invention, there is shown a pillow 1'1 comprising a body member 12 formed of soft, compressible, flexible, resilient material such as latex foam rubber or equivalent foam plastic materials having similar characteristics. The body member 12 includes a central layer 13, a pair of lower end layers 14 and 16 extending respectively from each end 17 of the central layer 13, and a pair of upper end layers 18 and 19 extending respectively from each end 17 of the central layer 13 adjacent the juncture thereof with the lower end layers 14 and 16 and disposed in generally overlying relation with each corresponding lower layer 14 and 16. The
upper layers 18 and 19 respectively provide top surfaces 21 and 22 spaced above the upper central surface 23 of the central layer 13, and a pair of inclined surfaces 24 and 26 respectively interconnect the elevated side surfaces 21 and 22 with the central surface 23.
Referring now in particular to FIGURES 3 and 4, at least one end insert layer 27 of flexible resilient material can be disposed intermediate one of the upper layers 18 and 19 and the corresponding lower layer Hand 16, this serving to increase the total spacing between the upper end surfaces 21 and 22 with the bottom surface 28 of the pillow. Likewise, at least one central insert layer 29 can be positioned on top of the central layer 13 thus increase the total thickness of the pill-ows central portion.
Considering the construction of the pillow 11- in greater detail, the body member 12 can be molded in substantially integral form to achieve the general shape depicted in FIGURES 1 and 2. The end portions of the body can then be cut to provide the previously described upper and lower end layers. Preferably, the body member is formed with the ends 30 and 31 of the upper layers extending beyond the respective ends 32 and 33 of the lower layers in overhanging relationship therewith, as best seen in FIGURE 1. Then, as end insert layers 27 are positioned intermediate the upper and lower layers, the end 30 or 31 of the upper layer is correspondingly moved inwardly to account for the increased spacing between upper and lower layers. When the proper number of end insert layers 27 have beeh selected to provide the desired thickness, they can be bonded in position as best shown in FIGURE 4, as for example by layers of suitable cement interposed between the contacting surfaces. It is noted that the inner ends 34 of end insert layers are inclined to conform to the inclination of the lower surface 35 of the upper layer, whereby the end insert layers 27 fit snugly between the upper and lower layers. The outer ends 36 of the end insert layers 27 and the ends 30 and 31 of each upper layer can then be trimmed flush with the ends 32 and 33 of the lower layer, as best seen in FIGURE 4.
An important feature to note regarding the use of the end insert layers 27 is that the provision of these layers in no way affects the comfort or resiliency of the upper supporting surfaces 21, 22 or the inclined surfaces 24, 26. Even though the upper layers are stressed somewhat as they are bent upwardly and then horizontally around the inserts 27, it has been found that the re sultant effect provided by the instant pillow cannot be distinguished by the user from a pillow of the same configuration but individually molded or otherwise constructed in the manner of prior custom built devices. The presence of the insert layers 27 simply is not perceivable at the upper pillow surface, and regardless of the number of inserts 27 used, there always is provided a smooth continuous upper surface overlying a resilient body portion having no uncomfortable discontinuities. In fact, it has been discovered that the insert layers 27 need not even be made of the same material as the body 12. In particular, latex foam rubber preferably is used for the body 12 because of its highly desirable characteristics of resiliency and flexibility, but the layers 27 can be made of less expensive polyurethane foam without any preceptible difference to the user.
Regarding the central insert layers 29, it is noted that their ends 37 are cut at an angle conforming to the respective inclined surfaces 24 and 26 of the body member, so that the central layers can fit snugly into the recess defined by the upper central surface 23 and the inclined surfaces 24 and 26.
Referring now to FIGURES 3, 7 and 8, it will be appreciated that one or more of the central insert layers 29 can be made of lesser transverse dimension than the central layer 13 of the body member. Consequently, the rearward or forward portion of the pillows central region can be built up selectively to provide front to rear slope as may be required. Similarly, as depicted in FIGURES 7 and 8, a plurality of narrower inserts 27a can be disposed in stepped relation as shown so as to provide a transverse inclination to the upper end surface 21. Similar provsion can, of course, be made for the other end surface 22. The insert layers may be readily cut to size desired with shears and, preferably, edge bevelled as seen in FIGURES 7 and 8 so as to provide a smooth continuous face to face contact of the several layers of foam material without the introduction of uneven ridges or the like.
A person using the pillow 11 places the back of his head over the central layer 13 when laying in a supine position, as depicted generally in FIGURES and 6. When the person rolls over to one side or the other, he places the side of his head on either of the upper end surfaces 21 or 22, as depicted in FIGURE 6.
By selecting the proper number and thickness of central insert layers 29, the central region of the pillow can be built up to the proper thickness to support the back of the users head at the optimum spacing from the mattress while he lies in a supine position. Similarly, the number of insert layers 27 determine the optimum spacing for laying on ones side. One method of making the necessary measurements for a given individual is to have the person stand up in a normal relaxed position adjacent a vertical wall or similar surface. By placing the persons back against the wall, assuring that the head is held normal and relaxed, the space between the back of the head and the wall can be easily and quickly measured. By supporting the head the same distance from the mattress when laying in a supine position, the head is thus held in its normal most relaxed position. It, of course, will be ap preciated that the measurement of head to wall spacing must be considered in conjunction with a factor of compressibility of the pillow material to arrive at the proper thickness. Experience has shown that 65% of the aforementioned measurements may be used to provide accurate head positioning.
By standing the person with his side adjacent the wall, the distance from the side of the head to the wall can be made in order to establish the thickness required of the layers 27. As previously noted, some persons may stand with a slight lateral inclination of the head and neck, in which case the thickness of the layers 27 will differ from one side of the pillow to the other.
The foregoing measurements are made in accord with the view that the most comfortable disposition of the head for sleeping is the same as that while the head is held in a normal relaxed position while the person is standing. An alternative method for determining the head to mattress spacing may be used in some cases, and involves making the measurements while the person is actually laying down on a mattress. This procedure involves stacking books or similar articles on the mattress and having the person lay his head on the stack. The size of the stack can then be varied until the most comfortable and relaxing position is established. While making the foregoing measurements it is desirable that a piece of soft material be placed on top of the stack in order to avoid discomfort from the hard surface of the books.
In those instances where comfort or orthopedic considerations require that the head be positioned at an angle relative to the neck, transevrse inclinations can be provided in the upper end surfaces 21, 22 and/or in the upper surface 23 overlying the central layer 13. Thus, when lying in a supine position, as shown in FIGURE 8, the head can be tilted relative to the neck, as required.
It will be appreciated from the foregoing that the present invention provides a pillow that is readily constructed to conform to the individual measurement requirements of any user. The basic body member 12 is used in constructing all pillows, with the central and end insert layers being secured to the body member, as described, to provide in a simple and inexpensive manner the exact measurements required. There is no need with the present invention to mold or fabricate special members for each individual set of measurements, but rather the number and mm of insert members used in conjunction with the basic body member provide all the dimensional variations that may be necessary. The insert members are preferably furnished in diiierent thicknesses, as depicted in FIGURE 3, graduated, for example, one-quarter inch, one-half inch and three-quarter inch so that any desired height can be built up to a tolerance of not to exceed one-quarter inch which has been found satisfactory for present purposes. Once the requisite insert layers have been positioned and bonded to the body member, a conventional style pillow case can be used to enclose the pillow to ready it for use. i
1. A cervical pillow comprising, a body formed of flexible resilient material, said body including a central layer, a pair of lower end layers extending respectively from each end of said central layer, and a pair of upper end layers extending respectively from each end of said central layer adjacent the juncture thereof with said lower end layers and respectively disposed in generally overlying relation with each corresponding lower layer, said upper layers defining upper end surfaces spaced above the upper central surface of said central layer and a pair of generally inclined surfaces respectively interconnecting said central and end surfaces.
2. A pillow as described in claim 1 further defined by at least one end insert layer of flexible resilient material disposed intermediate each said upper end layer and its corresponding lower end layer, and at least one central insert layer disposed in overlying relation to said central layer.
3. A cervical pillow comprising a body formed of flexible resilient material, said body including a central layer of predetermined thickness and having an upper and lower surface, a pair of lower end layers extending respectively from each end of said central layer and each having a lower surface substantially co-planar with said lower surface of said central section, and a pair of upper end layers extending respectively from each end of said central layer adjacent the juncture thereof with said lower end layers and respectively disposed above the upper surface of each lower end layer, said corresponding upper and lower layers having a combined predetermined thickness greater than said thickness of said central layer with said upper layers defining upper end surfaces spaced above said upper surface of said central layer, said body defining a pair of generally inclined surfaces respectively interconnecting said upper central and upper end surfaces, said corresponding upper and lower end layers being separable from each other with the lower surface of each upper layer and said upper surface of each lower layer being disposed in angularly intersecting planes adjacent the juncture of corresponding upper and lower layers.
4. A pillow as characterized in claim 3 and including at least one insert layer of flexible resilient material and of predetermined thickness disposed intermediate and secured to said upper and lower surfaces of at least one pair of said lower and upper layers, said insert layer having its inner end bevelled at an angle to the lower surface of said insert layer so that said latter lower surface and said end surface conform snugly to said angularly intersecting surfaces of said upper and lower layers.
5. A pillow as described in claim 3 further defined by at least one end insert layer of flexible resilient material and of predetermined thickness disposed intermediate each said upper end layer and its corresponding lower end layer, each said end insert layer having its inner end surface inclined at an angle to the lower surface of said insert layer so that said latter lower surface and said end surface conform snugly to said angularly intersecting surfaces of said upper and lower layers, suitable means for bonding the upper and lower surfaces of each said insert layer to the adjacent surfaces of corresponding upper and lower layers, a central insert layer disposed in overlying relation to said central layer and having inclined end surfaces respectively conforming snugly to said inclined interconnecting surfaces, and suitable means for bonding said central insert layer to said central layer.
6. A pillow as described in claim 3 wherein said upper layers each include distal end portions extending beyond the corresponding ends of each lower layer in overhanging relation thereto.
7. A pillow as described in claim 4 wherein at least one of said insert layers has a transverse dimension of lesser extent than the adjacent portion of said body member whereupon the corresponding upper surface of said pillow is inclined in a transverse direction.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 247,892 10/1881 Doremus S34l 1,385,355 7/1921 Banks 5-338 2,940,087 6/1960 Kiefer 5-338 FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner. A. M. CALVERT, Assistant Examiner.