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Publication numberUS3361470 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 2, 1968
Filing dateJun 13, 1966
Priority dateJun 13, 1966
Publication numberUS 3361470 A, US 3361470A, US-A-3361470, US3361470 A, US3361470A
InventorsJoel E Erickson, George E Gustin
Original AssigneeTerence J Schwab
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Convertible and collapsible table bench
US 3361470 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1963 G. E.GUSTIN ETAL I 3,351,470

CONVERTIBLE AND COLLAPSIBLE TABLE BENCH Filed June 13, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 //VV/V7'0PS 6502 55 iusr/zv Joa E EPIC/(SON Maw/24mm 1968 G. E. GUSTIN ETAL 3,361,470

CONVERTIBLE AND COLLAPSIBLE TABLE BENCH Filed June 13, 1966 v 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 650/255 .5 605/7 Joe-z E FR/CASON $2M ,PM 9% United States Patent Nhnn.

Filed June 13, 1966, Ser. No. 557,065 6 Claims. (Cl. 297124) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Furniture and hardware for furniture constituting, when assembled, a convertible and collapsible table bench con sisting primarily in a pair of similar, widely spaced, substantially rigid end frames connected together by transversely disposed seat and table back slabs, each formed by bending an elongated metal member to comprise a rear, npstanding-table-supporting section, an intermediate, downwardly disposed ground-engaging section, and an upstanding seat-supporting section disposed forwardly and below the table support section, and where all of the recited elements of each frame lie substantially in a common plane and are unmoveable out of said plane, and further characterized by the table-supporting structure of each frame having a slab bar pivoted thereto on an axis normal to the planes of the frames, with means for locking said bars to said rear upstanding sections, both in horizontal table position and also in downwardly swung, nearvertical bench back position.

This invention relates to dual purpose furniture and more particularly to a portable structure having selective utility as a bench-equipped table and as a bench equipped with a comfortable back rest, which in addition is collapsible into compact form.

Furniture of this character is useful in picnic and park areas, school rooms, lunch rooms and auditoriums as well as a piece of yard furniture for home owners interested in picnics, barbecues and seating facilities.

It is an object of our present invention to provide a portable bench and table assembly of sturdy construction which may be readily converted from an outdoor bench and picnic table combination to an outdoor bench having a comfortable back rest, and wherein said structure may be readily collapsed for compact storage or shipment.

Another object is the provision of a convertible table bench structure of the class described which has a minimum number of parts, is inexpensive to manufacture and efficient in operation, and wherein conversion from a table with single bench, to a back rest bench, may be very readily and quickly achieved without use of tools.

A further important object is the construction and provision of hardware and certain component parts for a convertible table-back rest bench wherein the hardware and certain small parts may be sold in the form of a compact kit packaged in a minimum amount of space and through the purchase of which a home owner or other purchaser by purchase of certain specified pieces of lumber, may readily complete, set up and use the device in do-ityourself style.

The simple and efiicient construction of our convertible furniture unit enables the essential components to be constructed of metal and to be compactly packaged, displayed, sold and shipped in shallow boxes or containers of a depth not over 2% inches and wherein the length and width dimensions are approximately 26 x 28 inches. When the kit hardware is purchased, by purchase of a few pieces of standard lumber, the user can set up and assemble the fruniture in full size for use as a bench and table for picnics, schools and the like and varying in lengths as desired (according to lengths of the pieces of lumber) and may readily convert the picnic table structure with bench to a comfortable bench per se with back rest. The device so assembled may be readily collapsed into a shallow, unitary structure adapted for storage in small space and for portability by car or station wagon.

The foregoing and other objects and important advantages of our invention will more fully appear from the following description made in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a rear end perspective view of an embodiment of our invention assembled for bench and table use;

FIG. 2 is a rear end perspective of the same structure converted to a bench having a comfortable, upstanding back rest;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation of our structure set up for table and plain bench use;

FIG. 4 is an end elevation of the same showing in dotted lines the conversion of the furniture structure to a comfortable bench with back rest;

FIG. 5 is a front elevation showing the structure with locking pins removed in partially collapsed position and showing the manner of collapsing; and

FIG. 6 is an exploded detail view on a larger scale showing one of the table support bars and its relationship with the uppermost supporting end of one of the end frames.

Referring now in detail to the embodiment of our invention illustrated, we provide a pair of identical end frames indicated as entireties by the letter F, each having a horizontal, elongated, ground-engaging section 8; an upstanding rear supporting section 9, and a forwardly declined, substantially diagonal table-supporting arm 10. Table-supporting arms 10 are interconnected with the upstanding sections 9 on the two frames by curved, forwardly extending frame portions 10a which constitute the uppermost elements of the frame ends.

Each end frame F, preferably integrally formed of tubular stock, also has an upstanding forward section 11 curved rearwardly at its upper portion and terminating in a horizontal arm 12 positioned at proper height above ground-engaging section 8 for convenience support of seat or bench. The end frames F are preferably constructed of tubular metal such as certain aluminum alloys containing nickel which have resiliency with adequate stability to prevent the elements from being bent out of shape by strains to which they are to be subjected.

A bench slab 13 is an essential component of our structure but may be supplied by the purchaser from stock lumber available at any lumber yard. As shown, the slab comprises one piece of lumber of adequate width to cornfortably seat the users. Slab 13 as shown is reinforced at three areas transversely of its length by lumber strips 14.

A pair of clamps 15 of U-shaped construction having attachment feet 15;: are employed at each end beneath the slab 13, surrounding spaced portions of the support arm 12 to secure the seat between the two arms of the two opposed frames F. The attachment feet have screws or other means (not shown) for securing the same to the appropriate portions of the slab 13. With this connection it will be seen that relative rotative movement between the horizontal supporting arms 12 and the clamps 15 is provided for.

Referring now to our convertible table top and bench back rest, an elongated slab 15 which may be in the form of a standard, wide piece of lumber or two or more pieces placed side-by-side in accordance with the length of slab 13 and that desired for the combination furniture is provided. This slab, in the position shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, constitutes the table top for the furniture and is then held in substantially horizontal position through simple elements now to be described. Slab 16 may be trans 1y connected with the table top through U-shaped clips 19 of the same construction as the clips or clamps used in connection of the bench seat with the supporting arms 12, said clips having attachment feet 19a secured by screws or the like to the underside of the table top, preferably to the appropriate slots 17.

Intermediately in the lengths of the two support bars 18 a transverse aperture 180 is formed for receiving a fixed pivot bolt 20in addition to the hole 180 for receiving the pivot pin each of the support arms 18 is provided With a pair of locking-pin receiving holes 180 and 18b clearly shown in the detail view of FIG. 6.

The uppermost portion 10a of each end frame is provided with a corresponding number of apertures; first a central pivot aperture c through which (and the aperture 8c of the bar) a nutted bolt or other fixed pivot element is adapted to be passed; secondly, an aperture a spaced the same distance from aperture c as between apertures 8a and 180 of the supporting bar; and lastly, an aperture b which is spaced from pivot aperture 0 the same'distance as the space between apertures 18c and 18b of the support bar. When the support bars 18 are pivotally mounted on the end. frames as shown in all of the views of the drawings with the exception of FIG. 6, a removable, elongate, locking pin 21 which is preferably secured at its outer end by a flexible element such as a chain 22 to the intermediate portion of the upstanding element 19a of the frame is employed to selectively lock the table top 16 in two different positions.

When the pin 21 is passed through apertures a and 18a with the support bars then horizontally disposed, the table top is firmlylocked in horizontal position. When the pin is removed and the table top is swung into diagonal position, as shown in FIGS. 2 and (in dotted line) 4, apertures b and 18b become aligned and the pin may then be inserted through the two to lock the bars and the table top into the position shown in FIG. 2. The table top is then properly positioned for a comfortable back rest to the bench.

The last essential component of our novel structure is .a bracing medium for interconnecting the two leg frames to hold and lock the same upright in use. In the illustrated embodiment a simple X-brace X is employed which may be made of two narrow boards or metal strips pivoted centrally together on a common pivot such as a nutted bolt 23 and having connection at their ends with apertured portions near top and bottom of .the elongated rear sections 9 of the two end frames F. Connection is made by bolts 24, as shown, having wing nuts 25 removably and threadedly secured thereto. It will of course be understood that where the hardware only of our inventive structure is sold as a kit, the purchaser will obtain standard wooden strips or the like at a lumber supply center, but the nutted bolts and wing nuts will be furnished as part of the hardware.

From the foregoing, the construction and probably the operation and utility as well as strength of our combination furniture will be apparent.

However, we wish to emphasize the simplicity of construction and the durability and rigidity of the assembled device. x

The bench slab 13 and its simple connection with the rigid horizontal bars 12 of the bench support, through the swingable clamps 15, provides a very rigid interconnection and brace for the forward portions of the frame ends. Likewise, the connection of the combined table and back slab 16 rigidly interconnects the uppermost ends of the upstanding rear legs 9 of the device. Cross or other bracing of the said two rear legs 9 is essential to maintain the ensemble in upstanding position.

As previously recited, to convert the pinic table and bench into a comfortable park bench with back rest, it is only necessary to remove the locking pins 21 of the two frames from the position shown in FIGS. 1 to 4 of the drawings and then swing the table top 16 downwardly on its pivot to the tilted upstanding position shown in FIG. 2 and in dotted lines in FIG. 4, to a point where the apertures c of the frame members are in alignment with the apertures 18b of the supporting bars 8. The pins are then inserted with the parts aligned as described.

To very compactly collapse the combinative structure for transportation or storage, the X-frarne comprising the crossed wooden bars X are detached at their ends by removal of the wing nuts 25 whereupon as illustrated in FIG. 5, the leg structure will be'swung relative to the two sets of securing clamps 15 and 19, swinging taking place on horizontal axes extending transversely of bencch 13 and the table top 16.

FIG. 5 shows the structure partially collapsed but it will be understood and readily apparent that further collapsing brings the table top or rather the transverse slat 17 into contact.

From'the foregoing description it will be seen that we have provided an economical and highly efficient portable bench-equipped table for use also as a bench with back rest, capable of economical manufacture and rigid and sturdy in construction while utilizing a minimum number of parts.

Our dual purpose furniture is particularly well adapted for sale to do-it-yourself trade in compact kit form wherein all metal parts necessary for the completed furniture are supplied.

It will of course be understood that various changes may be made in the form, arrangement of parts and details and the use of equivalencies without departing from the scope of our invention.

The term slab as used in the appended claims signifies broadly any structure which may comprise one piece of heavy sheet material such as lumber or composition as well as a structuremade up of several pieces or strips interconnected to form a generally rectangular slab-like construction.

What is claimed is:

1. A convertible table-bench structure having in combination,

a pair of similar, widely spaced, substantially rigid end frames, each formed by bending elongated metal member to comprise a rear, upstanding table-slab-su porting section,

a lower intermediate ground-engaging section,

and an upstanding seat-supporting section disposed forwardly of and at a lower level than said first section,

all of said recited elements of each of said frames lying substantially in a common plane and substantially unmovable out of said plane,

said upstanding table-slab-supporting section of each frame having a. slab-bar pivoted thereto on an axis substantially normal to the plane of said frame,

an elongated slab secured to and across said bars,

means for locking said bars to said rear, upstanding sections in a horizontal table position and also in a closeto-vertical bench back position,

and a seat secured transversely across the seat-supporting sections of said two frames, the table slab extending downwardly to approximately said seat when said slab bars are locked to said frames in substantially vertical relation.

2. The structure set forth in claim 2 wherein the upper portion of said table-slab-supporting section of each of said end frames includes a substantially horizontal top portion and a depending extremity arm declined somewhat from the vertical,

and wherein its top bars disposed transversely of the table slab are medially pivoted to the uppermost structure of said slab-supporting section on a common axis extending longitudinally of said table slab,

means associated with said last mentioned top bars and the upper portion of its associated frame section for locking said top bars with the table slab hingedly connected thereto in substantially horizontal position,

and means associated with the depending extremities of the upper portions of the associated table supporting section for locking said slab and the bars connected therewith in parallel relation to said depending inclined section extremities whereby in such locked position the top bars and the slab connected therewith will be positioned in the position of a back rest for said seat.

3. The structure set forth in claim 1 further characterized by the pivoted top bars for said slab-supporting sections, each having a horizontal aperture therethrough spaced a predetermined distance from the axis of the pivotal connection and outwardly thereof, and having a second aperture spaced at predetermined distance inwardly of said pivot axis,

and the topmost portion of said associated frame section having an aperture extending outwardly of the axis of said pivot at the same predetermined distance as the distance of the pivot axis of said top bar to said outer aperture and having a second aperture extending through the depending declined extremity of the upper section and at the same predetermined distance from said pivot axis as the second aperture in said top bar whereby swinging of said top bars on said pivot will enable the respective first and second sets of apertures to be aligned,

and a removable locking pin insertable alternately in the said cooperating pairs of apertures in said top bars and said uppermost portions of said slab-supporting sections,

4. Hardware components for use in the construction of a picnic type bench-table convertible to a bench with a back rest, having in combination,

a pair of end frames adapted to be widely spaced and opposed in use constructed of substantially rigid material, and each comprising a lower ground-engaging section; an upstanding elongated rear section for supporting a table slab, and a shorter upstanding forward section for supporting a flat bench-seat,

said end frames each being integrally formed from a bent, elongated metal member and lying substantially in a plane and substantially undeformable from said plane,

the last mentioned sections of said frames having inwardly extending, rigidly connected horizontal top bars,

attachment means for each of said top bars adapted to surround in each instance, a respective top bar to hingedly connect the same with the underside of the flat seat,

said rear upstanding sections of each of said frames each having a substantially horizontal top portion and a rigidly connected, depending arm extending inwardly and downwardly from said top portion,

an independent transversely extending top bar for each of said rear upstanding sections, said top bars being intermediately and pivotally connected with the tops of said rear upstanding sections on a common axis, said axis extending longitudinally of the overall structure when set up and normal to the planes of said frames,

attachment means for hingedly interconnecting said last mentioned independent top bars transversely of a table slab whereby said top bars and slab may be disposed horizontally above the top of said rear upstanding sections or alternatively in a lowered upstanding relation substantially parallel to said depending arm elements,

and means associated with at least one of said tablesupporting sections for locking and retaining said table slab in substantially horizontal position and for alternatively locking and retaining said table slab in upstanding lowered relation as a back rest for said flat seat.

5. The structure set forth in claim 4 wherein said end frames are constructed as by bending from an integral, elongated piece of material having substantial rigidity but some resiliency, particularly in the elongated portions thereof,

said means for alternatively locking and retaining said table slab in substantially horizontal and also upstanding positions constituting a pair of apertured portions in said independent top bar disposed at opposite sides of the pivotal connection of said top bar with the top of the rear upstanding section,

a pair of cooperating apertured portions, one in the top of said rear upstanding section and the other near the lower end of said depending arm, said cooperating pairs of apertured portions being aligned when said top bar is in substantially horizontal position and in its downwardly swung position, parallel with said depending arm,

and a removable locking pin insertable through either set of cooperating apertured portions.

6. The structure set forth in claim 4 further characterized by detachable fastening means for rigidly securing the ends of a cross brace across the rear upstanding tablesupporting sections of said two end frames when the same are spaced apart the desired distance and in erect position to thereby rigidify the entire structure.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,436,862 3/1948 Hiers 248-407 X 2,509,556 5/1950 Zimmerman et al. 297124 2,568,622 9/1951 Hagan 297159 2,897,876 8/1959 Austin 297-124 X 2,922,463 1/ 1960 Johnston 297--124 3,028,197 4/ 1962 Wilson 297124 3,061,369 10/ 1962 Haunost 297-124 3,273,936 9/1966 Deavers 297159 0 3,276,815 10/ 1966 Cardy 297159 JAMES T. MCCALL, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3420571 *Jun 12, 1967Jan 7, 1969Moore James CCollapsible combination chair and table
US4913488 *Jan 18, 1989Apr 3, 1990Nelson A. Taylor Co., Inc.Convertible bench and table top assembly
US5692799 *May 23, 1996Dec 2, 1997Sheets; RaymondConvertible table or bench
US5704683 *Feb 14, 1995Jan 6, 1998Cooper; Robert JamesMulti-purpose convertible furniture
US6189965 *Mar 17, 2000Feb 20, 2001Thomas R. HechtConvertile bench and table assembly
US6231121 *May 8, 2000May 15, 2001Blitz U.S.A., Inc.Combination bench and table
US6883863 *Mar 21, 2001Apr 26, 2005Edward William GinnsChair and table assembly
US7226125 *Apr 13, 2005Jun 5, 2007Biofit Engineered ProductsConvertible bench table with magnetic locks
US7429077 *Jun 19, 2007Sep 30, 2008North Pole LimitedCollapsible furniture piece configurable in a table configuration and a bench configuration
US8720990 *Jun 27, 2011May 13, 2014Lifetime Products, Inc.Combination bench and table
US9185973 *Feb 25, 2013Nov 17, 2015Knoll, Inc.Chair and a method of using the chair
US9247813 *Feb 29, 2012Feb 2, 2016Gusto Products & Services GmbhSeating furniture with integrated table function
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US20050242633 *Apr 13, 2005Nov 3, 2005Frobose James WConvertible bench table with magnetic locks
US20080018142 *Jun 19, 2007Jan 24, 2008Yul Lee PCollapsible furniture piece configurable in a table configuration and a bench configuration
US20100201163 *Aug 12, 2010Peter Lawrence DunkelMultipurpose vehicle furniture system
US20110316312 *Dec 29, 2011Kevin BoydstonCombination bench and table
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US20130221710 *Feb 25, 2013Aug 29, 2013Knoll, Inc.Chair and a Method of Using the Chair
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WO1995021558A1 *Feb 14, 1995Aug 17, 1995Cooper, Robert, JamesMulti-purpose convertible furniture
U.S. Classification297/124, 297/174.00R, 248/407
International ClassificationA47B85/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47B85/04, A47B2220/07
European ClassificationA47B85/04