US 3354893 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 28, 1967 E. F. SCHMERL WALKER Filed Oct. 12, 1966 INVENTOR. EGON F RITZ SCHMERL AT TORNEYS United States Patent O 3,354,893 WALKER Egon Fritz Schmerl, 333 Scenic Ave., Piedmont, Calif. 94611 Filed Oct. 12, 1966, Ser. No. 586,178 2 Claims. (Cl. 13545) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A mobile walker including a rearwardly opening frame having a pair of front legs and a pair of rear legs, in which the rear legs have ground engaging wheel means thereon.
In rehabilitating individuals with weakened, stiffened or shortened muscles, such as may be caused by paralysis or injury, the limbs must be exercised and retained. In many cases, individuals must again be taught to walk, and frequently employ aids for a considerable period of time when relearning to walk. Of the many different types of aids used, the mobile walker is a most important mechanical aid in assisting such individuals. The conventional simple walker heretofore available, generally comprises a frame adapted to be grasped by the user, with a plurality of legs supporting the frame. Forward movement is usually accomplished in two phases. In the first phase, the user, while holding on to and being supported by the then stationary walker, moves forwardly. Then, in the second phase, the user must stand still, lift the walker, and move the walker forwardly, while foregoing and interrupting the support that the walker supplies during the first phase when it is stationary on the ground. In other words, when such walkers are in use, they neither supply a continuous support not do they permit relatively continuous locomotion.
' Considerable advantage is therefore to be gained by the provision of a mobile walker for aiding individuals in walking whichprovides a different and improved concept or approach to walker walking, characterized in that a continuity of support as well as of locomotion is possible, with less required physical effort.
Summary of the invention considering'now the mobile walker of the present invention, 'a first and second pair of depending legs are mounted in spaced apart relation, with the legs of the first pair fixed closer together than those of the second pair. Hand gripping means are secured to connect the legs of the first pair with those of the second pair. To facilitate moving the walker, oneof the pairs of depending legs are provided with suitable wheels while the other pair of legs are. provided with non-skidtype' of tips. By constructing the walker to have the legs of one pair closer together than those of the other, the hand gripping means extending therebetween are compelled to diverge from one another. This divergence allows the user to grasp the grip means while holding his hands in an anatomically and physiologically normal manner of grasping an object with both hands, thereby rendering it easier to manipulate the walker. This is in contrast to the crossbar or parallel bar type of gripping means mounted in front of the user as found on most walkers. Also, by disposing the grip means more closely overlying the tips rather than the wheels, added stability and ease of movement of the walker is provided. In addition, the larger space between the legs of one set as compared to that between the other permits nesting or stacking of many walkers together in a relatively small space.
It is accordingly an object of the present invention to provide a mobile walker which is extremely stable, thereby giving the user the necessary security, while at the 3,354,893 Patented Nov. 28,
same time may be advanced by means of a slight tilting action rather than a lifting action, thereby minimizing the required effort to advance the walker, and merely requiring a minimum pushing force to create the tilt and permit the walker to be rolled along the ground surface.
Another object of the invention is to provide a walker as above described which permits the user to walk as naturally as possible with uninterrupted locomotion and selectively vary the amount of support he may require.
An additional object of this invention is to provide a mobile walker of the type described which may be arranged in nested or stacked orderly groups in a compact space.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a mobile walker which can be engaged by the hands of the user in a conventional grasping manner.
The invention possesses other objects and features of advantage, some of which, with the foregoing, will be set forth in the following description of the preferred form of the invention which is illustrated in the drawing accompanying and forming part of the specification. It is to be understood, however, that variations in the showing made by the said drawing and description may be adopted within the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.
Brief description of the drawing FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the mobile walker of the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation view of the walker illustrated in FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a top plan view of the walker but showing the seating platform in its lowered operative position.
Description 0] the preferred embodiment Considering I the mobile walker embodiment of the present invention as depicted in FIGURES l3, four depending legs 11, 12, 13 and 14 are mounted spaced apart with legs 11 and 12 defining a first pair and legs 13 and 14 defining a second pair. The legs of the second pair are fixed further apart than those of the first pair by, for example, a U-shaped brace member including a web section 16 and extending arms 17 and 18. In order that the walker may be stacked with others for storage when not in use, the web section 16 is mounted between the closer spaced legs 11 and 12 with arm 17 secured between legs 11 and 13 and arm 18 secured between legs 12 and 14. As is particularly exemplified in FIGURE 3, with such a construction a plurality of walkers may be nested very olosetogether with the legs 11 and 12 of one walker inserted between the legs 13 and 14 of another walker. It has been-found that up to six or seven walkers constructed in accordance with the present invention can be stored in a space that the absence of the nesting feature would take only one or two walkers of similar size.
To render the walker mobile and to carry out the above mentioned feature of the invention, wheels 19, for example, casters, are mounted on the lower ends of one of the pairs of legs. For reasons to be later explained in greater detail, the casters 19 are mounted on legs 13 and 14 of the second or rear pair.
To enable the user of the mobile walker to manipulate the walker, a hand gripping means 21 is mounted between each leg of the first pair and a leg of the second pair, i.e., one between legs 11 and 13, and one between 12 and 14. Because the second pair of legs 13 and 14 is mounted spaced further apart than the first pair of legs 11 and 12, the two hand grips 21 will lie along respective lines which diverge rearwardly from one another and as best shown in FIGURE 2 of the drawing likewise slope upwardly and rearwardly. Hence, a user standing between the hand grips 21 facing forwardly towards legs '11 and 12, will be able to 3 grasp the hand grips 21 in anatomical position of handsi.e., the normal position of hands and the same manner one would normally grip an object at his side. This is a very important factor when the mobile walker of the present invention is being employed to retrain an individual to walk. In such circumstances, it is particularly advantageous to employ aids which do not compel the user to assume unusualpostures or positions which may be tiring.
An additional advantage derived from the unique relative spacing of the first and second pairs of legs and the positioning of the hand grips 21 is the ease with which the mobile walker may be advanced. by the user. To setthe walker in motion, the user need only position himself between the hand grips 21 facing forwardly towards the closed end of the walker and grasp the hand grips 21 while moving forward. In the particular'embodiment illustrated, the user need not lift the rear legs 13 and 14 to advance the walker. The legs 11 and 12 will be lifted 01f the ground by the user simultaneously bringing his weight to bear on the legs 13 and 14. This is accomplished by mounting the hand grips 21 to lie in a vertical plane which is much closer to the vertical plane defined by the rubber tipped ends 22 of legs 11 and 12 than that defined by casters 19. By the user bringing his weight to bear on the legs -13 and 14, the walker is caused to roll up on the casters 19 with only a slight angular inclination of rubber ends 22 of legs 11 and 12. To protect against the possibility of the walker tipping over about its casters 19 as the user sets the walker in motion, a segment. 23 of the leg 13 and segment 24 of leg 14 to which casters 19 are mounted are bent to extend away from the first pair of legs. With legs 13 and 14 constructed in this manner, the walker must be tipped through a large angle before it could possibly tip over about casters 19. It is significant to note that the user may use a continuous walking gait by only applying a slight continuous pressure on the hand grips to raise the rubber tips 22, so that the walker rolls along on the casters 19. However, when the user decides to stop or rest, release of such pressure permits the tips 22 to engage the ground and restrain further movement of the walker.
In one prefer-red construction of the walker of the present invention which facilitates its assembly, the legs 13 and 14 are of unitary generally U-shaped construction having an upper horizontally extending U-joint including web 26 and arms 27 and 28. From each arm 27 and 28 are secured vertically depending middle segments 29 and 31 which respectively terminate in segments 23 and 24. The hand grips 21 are mounted to the arms 27 and 28 of the horizontally extending U-joint. Legs 11 and 12 are secured to the U-joint at the junctions of arm 27 and web 26, and arm 28 and web 26 respectively. The entire walker would be constructed from aluminum tubing.
As an individual progresses in a rehabilitation program, he may find on occasion that he may be taking relatively long walks alone. It is not uncommon for such individuals to grow tired on such occasions. In anticipation of such circumstances arising, a seating platform 32 is pivotally mounted to arms 17 and 1'8of the brace member and held normally in vertical position by spring member 33 mounted between leg 11 and platform 32. At the outer edge of platform 32 is fastened a restbar 34 including extending recessed tabs 36 and 37. The. length of rest bar 34 is adjusted so that the tabs engage arms 17 and 18 when platform 32 is lowered to the seating position (see FIG- URE 3).
It should further be noted that the construction of the present invention is characterized by a safety feature. With the walker of the present invention, one enters the walker in the direction towards the rubber tipped legs. Hence, as one takes hold of the walker, the rubber tipped ends 22 of legs 11 and 12 tend to prevent the walker from advancing until the user deliberately tilts such legs upwardly. On the other hand, as one enters a walker equipped with wheels mounted on all the legs, the walker tends to move, possibly resulting in injuring the user.
What is claimed is:
1. A mobile walker comprising a pair of laterally spaced and generally vertically disposed front legs having fixed ground engaging bottom end portions, a pair of laterally spaced rear legs, ground engaging wheel means. mounted on the bottom end portions of said rear legs, a brace member extending transversely of and connecting said front legs and extending between and connecting one leg of each pair to the respective leg of the other pair and defining a generally U-shapedrearwardly opening frame, said rear legs merging into an upper forwardly extending U-joint, said U-joint diverging rearwardly and inclined downwardly from front to rear, hand gripping means disposed along each side of said U-joint adjacent the forward portion thereof, and said gripping means being spaced horizontally rearwardly relative to said ground engaging portions of said front legs a distance substantially less than the relative horizontal distance between said gripping means and said wheel means.
2. A walker as set forth in claim 1 in which said wheel means have a greater lateral spacing than the lateral spacing of said ground engaging portions of said front legs.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 181,957 1/1958 Callahan 297-5 X 1,307,058 6/1919 McGrath 297-5 1,448,783 3. 1923 Blewitt et al. 2 97-.6 2,224,246 12/1940 Ames 297-6 2,792,874 5/1957 Sundberg 297-5 X 2,798,533 7/1957 Frank 297.--6 3,256,035 6/1966 Garringer 2976 FOREIGN PATENTS 454,018 4/1913 France.
FRANCIS K. ZUGEL, Primary Examiner.