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Publication numberUS3259431 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 5, 1966
Filing dateMay 13, 1964
Priority dateMay 13, 1964
Publication numberUS 3259431 A, US 3259431A, US-A-3259431, US3259431 A, US3259431A
InventorsJohn A Gale
Original AssigneeJohn Gale Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Seating device
US 3259431 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 5, 1966 J. A. GALE 3,259,431

SEATING DEVICE Filed May 13, 1964 I N VENTOR.

da /u 4 61415 I BY 5% United States Patent M 3,259,431 SEATING DEVICE John A. Gale, Wayzata, Minu., assignor to John Gale Company, Minneapolis, Minn., a corporation of Minnesota Filed May 13, 1964, Ser. No. 367,089 3 Claims. (Cl. 297-303) This application is also a continuation-in-part application of my co-pending application, Serial No. 268,492, filed March 27, 1963.

This invention relates to seating devices and more particularly to seating devices wherein at least a part thereof is formed through a molding operation, preferably rotational molding, of somewhat yieldable, resilient plastic material.

An object of this invention is to provide a seating device including an integral, hollow, resilient plastic upper chair structure, preferably formed by a rotational molding process, and comprised of an upwardly convex upper panel contoured to define a seat and back rest portion, and a contoured lower panel integrally joined to the upper panel, and a chair base having means thereon for releasably engaging the lower panel of the upper chair structure.

Another object of this invention is the provision of a seating device including a chair base and an upper chair structure, the latter being formed through molding of resilient, yieldable plastic material and including an upper and a lower panel integrally formed along their peripheries but spaced-apart to define a cavity therebetween and being shaped to define a seat portion and a back rest portion, the lower panel having a plurality of recesses therein defining channelshaped ribs thereby imparting strength to the entire upper chair structure, and also facilitating positioning of the legs of the chair base.

A further object of this invention is to provide a seat device of the class described, wherein the upper chair structure has a socket formed in the chair base and is provided with a socket engaging member formed of resilient, compressible material which is insertable into the socket of the upper chair structure and thereafter compressed and expanded for releasably locking the upper chair structure to the chair base.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will more fully appear from the following description made in connection with the accompanying drawing, wherein like character references refer to the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of the seating device;

FIG. 2 is an exploded side perspective view of the seating device;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view on a reduced scale of the upper chair structure;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view on an enlarged scale taken approximately along line 44 of FIG. 3 and looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view on an enlarged scale taken approximately along line 5-5 of FIG. 3 and looking in the direction of the arrows; and

FIG. 6 is a detailed cross sectional view on an enlarged scale illustrating the manner in which the chair base is releasably connected to the upper chair structure.

Referring now to the drawings, it will be seen that one embodiment of my novel seating device, designated gen erally by the reference numeral 10, is there shown. will be seen that the particular embodiment of the seating device 10 illustrated herein comprises a chair which includes an upper chair structure 11 which is detachably mounted on a chair base 12.

It is preferred that the upper chair structure 11 be made through a rotational molding process. In such a rotational 3,259,431 Patented July 5, 1966 molding process, a mold unit will have the plastic material fed thereto and this mold unit is rotated so that the liquid plastic material will flow over the inner surfaces of the mold unit and the chair structure Will be of hollow, integral construction and will have an external configuration corresponding to the inner surface configuration of the mold unit. As in my copending application, the particular plastic material used may be selected from those having the desired physical chemical characteristics but it is preferred that a thermal plastic material such as polyethylene, polyvinyl, plastisol, or polyurethane be used. Of this group of materials, the one most preferred is polyethylene which may be fed into the mold unit, the latter being heated during the molding operation. In some instances, it may be desirable to pre-heat the mold unit, but in any event the mold unit must be cooled before the molded parts are stripped out of the mold. Any of the conventional rotational molding machines or other molding machines may be employed in practicing my invention and these machines in addition to including the mold unit may also include ovens and turntables.

The upper chair structure 11 includes an upper panel or lamina 13 which has an upwardly convex configuration and which is shaped to define a contoured seat portion 14 and a back rest portion 15. This upper panel 13 also includes side portions 16 and this entire upper panel is of continuous imperforate construction.

The upper chair structure 11 also includes a continuous downwardly convexed lower panel or lamina 17 which is comprised of a seat support portion 18, a back rest support portion 19 and side support portions 20, each respectively underlying the seat, back rest and side portions of the upper panel 13. Inasmuch as the upper chair structure 11 is formed through a rotational molding process, the upper panel 13 and lower panel 17 while being spacedapart and defining a cavity therebetween are integrally joined throughout the extent of their respective peripheral edges. It is pointed out that this unitary upper chair structure not only presents a yieldable upper panel but this overall upper chair structure is of sufficient strength to withstand substantial loads without failing.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 6 it will be seen that the seat support portion 18 of the lower panel has a substantially centrally located recess 21 therein which communicates with a centrally located downwardly facing socket 22. It will be noted that the mouth 23 of the socket 22 is of reduced cross sectional size as compared to other cross sectional areas of the socket 22. The seat support portion 18 of the lower panel 17 is also provided with a plurality of transversely extending recesses or slots 24 therein which communicate with the recess 23. It will be seen that these transversely extending recesses 24 define vertically oriented transversely extending channel-shaped ribs 25 which impart substantial strength to the seat portion of the lower panel 17.

The transversely extending recesses 24 also cooperate with the large centrally located recess 21 in the convex seat portion 18 of the lower panel to define a plurality of generally circumferentially arranged downwardly extending V-shaped peripheral ribs 26 which are spaced-apart and separated from the adjacent peripheral ribs 26 by the transverse recesses 24. This particular arrangement very effectively distributes the load transmitted downwardly to the seat support portion of the lower panel 17 so that there is little, if any, chance of the lower panel failing at the points where the greatest load is exerted.

The chair base 12 includes a pair of inverted, generally U-shaped leg members 27, each including a bight or trans verse upper portion 28 and depending leg portions 29. It is preferred that the leg members 27 be formed of metallic material and in the embodiment shown, these leg members are actually formed from tubular metal stock.

3 It will be noted that the leg portions of each of the leg members diverge downwardly and the lower end of each is provided with a suitable cover element which may be formed of a suitable, preferably resilient, slightly yieldable, non-metallic material.

Referring again to FIGS. 2 and 6, it will be seen that the central or median part of each of the transverse portions 28 of the leg members 27 is flattened as at 31. These flattened portions 31 are arranged in abutting complementary or mating relation with respect to each other when the leg members are positioned in angulated relation with respect to each other as best seen in FIG. 2. An elongate threaded member or bolt 32 projects through suitable apertures in these flattened portions 31 of the leg members 27 and these leg members are then clamped together by upper and lower retaining elements or nuts 33 which are positioned above and below the interengaging leg mem bers. A suitable lock washer 34 is interposed between the lowermost retaining element 33 and the lowermost leg member 27. It will be seen that the retaining element 33 actually threadedly engages the elongate threaded member 32 adjacent the lower end thereof and may be adjusted to very securely clamp the leg members 27 together. The upper end portion of the threaded member has a male or socket engaging element 35 positioned thereon, the latter having a central aperture 36 therethrough, through which the threaded member 32 projects. This socket engaging element is formed of a compressible, resilient material such as rubber or the like. It will be noted that the socket engaging element 35 is actually positioned between a pair of washer elements 37, the uppermost of these washer elements being retained in place by the head of the bolt 32. A retaining element or nut 38 engages the lower washer element 37 and may be tightened to compress the socket engaging element between the upper and lower washer elements 37.

In order to attach the chair base 12 to the upper chair structure 11, the chair base will be in the disassembled condition and the socket engaging element 35 will be positioned upon the elongate threaded member 32 between the upper and lower washer elements 37 and will be re tained in position thereon by the retaining element. It is pointed out that the socket engaging element 35 will be in the uncompressed state so that it may be inserted into the socket 22. To this end, it will be noted that the configuration of the socket engaging element corresponds generally to the configuration of the socket 22 and is of somewhat frusto-conical configuration. After the socket engaging element 35 has been inserted into the socket 22, the retaining element 38 is thereafter tightened to compress the socket engaging element 35 between the washer elements 37 and to expand the same into tightly engaging relation with respect to the inner surface of the socket 22. Thereafter the leg members 27 are secured to the threaded member 32 and the chair base will have been attached to the upper chair structure 11. To disassemble the chair device 10, the procedure is followed in reverse order.

During assembly of the chair base and attachment thereof to the upper chair structure, it will be seen that the upper chair structure is preferably inverted so that the seat support portion 18 of the lower panel 17 is presented upwardly. The transverse recesses 24 thus present relatively deep ositioning slots or recesses to facilitate assembly of the leg members 27 and it will be noted that the entire clamping assembly is concealed when the chair device has been assembled. The transverse ribs 25 also constitute a very effective smoothly arcuate bearing surface for engaging the transverse portions 28 of the leg members 27 and cooperate with the circumferentially arranged ribs to very effectively distribute the load transmitted by a person sitting on this chair so that a very strong structure is presented.

The resilient, expandible socket engaging element not only presents a very effective positive means of interconnecting the upper chair structure to the base but also permits ready assembly of the chair device from a disassembled condition. The socket and socket engaging elements, as best seen in FIG. 6, interengage each other in gripping relation throughout a relatively large surface area so that a very positive interlock is produced.

From the foregoing description it will be seen that a highly novel chair device has been provided which includes a unitary upper chair structure formed preferably through a rotational molding operation from a yieldable, resilient plastic material and being shaped to define contoured seat and back rest portions. It will be noted that the integral unitary upper chair structure includes upper and lower panels, the lower panel being provided with molded-in positioning and reinforcing ribs and also having socket means to facilitate connection and support of the upper chair structure upon a chair base so that the load transmitted to the lower panel is very effectively distributed thereby minimizing any chance of failure in those areas subjected to the most stress.

It will also be noted from the preceding paragraphs that the upper chair structure and chair base are interconnected by a socket gripping means wherein the socket engaging element is expanded after insertion into a socket of the upper chair structure thus producing a very positive but releasable connection therebetween.

Thus it will be seen that I have provided a novel seat device which is not only of simple and inexpensive construction, but one having many inherent advantages and qualities not found in any comparable devices.

It will, of course, be understood that various changes may be made in the form, details, arrangement and proportions of the various parts Without departing from the scope of my invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A chair comprising:

(a) a unitary, integral, hollow, rotational-molded, resilient plastic upper chair structure including an integral, generally upwardly concave, continuous upper panel shaped to define a continuous contoured seat portion and back rest portion;

(b) an integral, generally downwardly convex, continuous lower support panel spaced from said upper panel and being integrally formed at its peripheral edges with the peripheral edges of the upper panel;

(0) said lower panel having a recess therein located substantially centrally in that portion thereof that underlies the seat portion of said upper panel and defining a downwardly facing socket;

(d) a plurality of transverse recesses in that portion of said lower panel underlying the seat portion of said upper panel, said transverse recesses communicating with said central recess and extending outwardly therefrom and defining a plurality of channel shaped, generally vertically oriented ribs;

(e) a chair base comprising a plurality of generally in:

verted, U-shaped leg members each including a transverse portion and a pair of depending leg portions;

(f) an upwardly projecting socket engaging element insertable into said socket of said lower panel member which engaging element is formed of compressible resilient material receivable into said socket when in normal uncompressed condition; and

(g) means for connecting selected sections of the transverse portions of said leg members to said socket engaging element which means is provided to rigidly connect said leg members together while maintaining said socket engaging element in uncompressed condition and further having adjustment apparatus thereon for compressing and expanding said element after insertion into said socket to engage the inner surface thereof.

2. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein said transverse recesses of said lower said panel extend radially outward from said central recess and are generally nor-' mal to each other and the selected portions of said leg members include a portion of reduced dimension extending longitudinally along said transverse portions whereby the legs may be joined generally normal to each other to be received into the transverse recesses of the said lower panel.

3. A chair comprising:

(a) a unitary, integral, hollow, rotational-molded, resilient plastic upper chair structure including an integral, generally upwardly concave, continuous upper panel shaped to define a continuous contoured seat portion and back rest portion;

(b) an integral, generally downwardly convex, continuous lower support panel spaced from said upper panel and being integrally formed at its peripheral edges With the peripheral edges of the upper panel;

(c) said lower panel having a recess therein located substantially centrally in that portion thereof that underlies the seat portion of said upper panel and defining a downwardly facing socket;

(d) a plurality of transverse recesses in that portion of said lower panel underlying the seat portion of said upper panel, said transverse recesses communicating with said central recess and extending outwardly therefrom and defining a plurality of channel shaped, generally vertically oriented ribs;

(e) a chair base comprising at least a pair of generally inverted, U-shaped leg members each including a transverse portion and a pair of depending leg portions; and

(f) said socket engaging element being formed of a compressible resilient materially normally insertable into said socket and expandable for expansion after insertion to poistively engage the inner surface of the socket; and, (g) means connecting said socket engaging element to said legs consisting of;

(1) a longitudinally extended connector member, (2) a first pair of retainer elements arranged on said connector, receiving a selected portion of the transverse leg portions therebetween; and, (3) a second pair of retainer elements on said connector spaced from said first pair, receiving said socket engaging element therebetween and shiftable along said connector to vary the spacing therebetween whereby the expansion and compression of said socket engaging element may be controlled.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,540,254 2/1957 Garber 297446 X 3,034,830 5/1962 Avedon 297-445 3,111,344 11/1963 Hoven et al. 297460 X 3,133,765 5/1964 Cramer 297-445 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,161,976 3/1958 France. 1,211,072 10/1959 France.

FRANK B. SHERRY, Primary Examiner.

R. B. FARLEY, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2540254 *Dec 3, 1945Feb 6, 1951Garber WoodwardKnockdown furniture
US3034830 *Mar 20, 1961May 15, 1962Alladin Plastics IncSeating unit
US3111344 *Feb 5, 1962Nov 19, 1963American Seating CoChair
US3133765 *Aug 30, 1962May 19, 1964Ion CorpChair
FR1161976A * Title not available
FR1211072A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3751109 *Sep 20, 1971Aug 7, 1973Al Furniture Ltd DuMethod of making a seat shell
US4871208 *Sep 6, 1988Oct 3, 1989Dewey HodgdonChair tilt control mechanism
US5154474 *Aug 26, 1991Oct 13, 1992Simon DesantaStackable line chair
US5649740 *Nov 27, 1995Jul 22, 1997Hodgdon; DeweyChair tilt control mechanism
US6149240 *Dec 4, 1998Nov 21, 2000Pietrzak; Joseph J.Shroud for the underside of a chair, and a molded seat frame for use therewith
US6270162 *Dec 14, 1999Aug 7, 2001Andy JenyChair having a solid base
US6409267Nov 15, 2000Jun 25, 2002Joseph J. PietrzakShroud for the underside of a chair, and a molded seat frame for use therewith
US6533361Nov 15, 2000Mar 18, 2003Joseph J. PietrzakShroud for the underside of a chair, and a molded seat frame for use therewith
US20120038197 *Aug 15, 2011Feb 16, 2012Shape CorporationLeg support insert for seating apparatus
US20130113253 *Nov 10, 2010May 9, 2013Topstar GmbhTilting Device for a Chair
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/303.1, 248/188, 297/452.65, 297/302.1, 297/440.22, 108/158, 108/154, 297/448.1
International ClassificationA47C3/12, A47C4/02
Cooperative ClassificationA47C3/12, A47C4/02, A47C4/028
European ClassificationA47C4/02U, A47C4/02, A47C3/12