US 3488684 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 5, 1970 J, c. WRIGHTSON FLOOR COVERING Filed April 17, 1968 l N VENTOR.
JOHN C. WRIQHTSON BY 571e, #fit United States Patent 3,488,684 FLOOR COVERING John C. Wrightsou, Chattanooga, Tenn., assignor to Heritage Quilts, Inc., a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 17, 1968, Ser. No. 722,050 Int. Cl. B32b 7/08 US. Cl. 112-420 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A three-layer floor covering is constructed with a top layer of water-absorbent textile material, a lightweight middle layer of non-woven, non-water-absorbent fibrous material and a bottom layer of non-skid, friction material, the layers being secured together in a puffed pattern. Such a fioor covering absorbs large quantities of water or other liquids without allowing the liquid to seep through the backing or remain trapped in the middle layer. Specifically, the middle layer will not absorb liquid but will transfer it to a top layer portion which is dry, thereby spreading the liquid over a large surface area from which rapid evaporation will take place.
This invention relates to a puffed floor covering having three different layers, the top layer being an absorbent textile material, the middle layer being a non-woven fibrous material preferably having the quality of being non-absorbent and the bottom layer being a backing material or laminate having the qualities of non-absorbency and skid resistance.
The word puffed as used herein means that the top layer of the covering is secured to the middle and bottom layers so as to compress the middle layer along certain preselected lines while allowing the uncompressed portions of the middle layer to push upwardly against the top layer, thereby creating an undulating cross-section in the floor covering.
While the invention may be practiced in various specific modes, by far the best results are achieved with a floor covering in which the top layer is made of 100% terry cloth, the middle layer of polyester fibers sprayed with an adhesive binder and then heat cured in order to give the fibers a bond strength similar to felt, and a bottom layer of a non-woven polyester coated with latex rubber.
It has been found that a floor covering manufactured in a puffed pattern utilizing the particular materials of the specific embodiment just described achieves unexpected technical advantages of a unique and important nature. More specifically, with this specific form of the floor covering, water or other liquid applied to the top layer will be absorbed by the terry cloth. But, if the amount of water is greater than thatlvwhich saturates the terry cloth in the area to which it has been applied directly, then the excess water will seepthrough to the middle layer and the middle layer of polyester fibers unexpectedly transfers the excess water over a much larger area of the terry cloth than that which was wetted directly. In order to take advantage of this surprising effeet, the floor covering is provided with the puffed construction previously defined hereinabove, so that the water seeping into the middle layer will be transferred to the top layer along the preselected lines of the compressed cross-section. As the liquid is transferred to the top layer along the preselected lines, the top layer will become rapidly wetted, whereupon the transferred liquid will be evaporated from the surface of the terry cloth into the atmosphere. The capability of the middle layer to spread water or liquid over large areas of the top layer, resulting in rapid evaporation from the top layer surface and drying of the entire floor covering constitutes an important and unexpected advantage, particularly when the floor covering is used in bathrooms and like areas where it will be exposed to water or other liquids.
The bottom layer of the specific embodiment described hereinabove is a non-woven polyester fiber having a latex rubber coating thereon. This construction yields a bottom layer which is impervious to liquid and is skid resistant since the latex rubber coating has a high coefiicient of friction with respect to the floor.
Many other and important advantages are achieved with a floor covering constructed in accordance with the specific embodiment described hereinabove. More specifically, when water seeps through the top layer to the middle layer, the water resistant backing prevents any seepage through the backing to the floor, thereby leaving the floor on which the covering stands substantially dry. This feature eliminates a serious objection to most prior art floor covering, wherein a large amount of water will see completely through the covering to wet the floor. This generally makes it necessary to remove a wet prior art floor covering to a place such as a bathtub in order to allow it to relieve itself of excess water. Additionally, this invention alleviates the necessity of mopping up wet floors, since the floor covering of the invention can remain on the floor to dry itself by rapid surface evaporation.
Another advantage to the above specific construction is that the terry cloth top layer gives a very soft feel under foot. This is particularly enhanced by the puffed construction of the floor covering in which the uncompressed portions yield resiliently under pressure to further give a cushioning effect under foot.
Another advantage to the above-described embodiment is that the polyester fibers used for the middle layer are also an insulating material. In this instance, a barefoot user will have his body heat insulated from the cold floor by the polyester middle layer. The user will remain quite comfortable since he will not experience any substantial temperature change while he remains on the floor covering.
As mentioned hereinabove, the middle layer of the embodiment of the floor covering described above is made of polyester fibers which are sprayed with an adhesive binder and then heat cured. The heat curing process does not effect the lightness and resiliency of the polyester fibers which are are much lighter than cotton, nor does it detract from any of the properties of the floor covering as set forth above. When the polyester fibers are sprayed with adhesive binder and then cured, the fibers become bonded together with a felt-like integrity so that the middle layer will not shift in use as it might if the fibers were not bonded together. Bonding the middle layer fibers together also enhances the washability of the floor covering because, as mentioned above, the middle layer will not shift under vigorous agitation applied to the floor covering during machine washing.
A floor covering, when made according to the specific embodiment described above, will have the qualities of being fully machine washable and vacuumable since water does not in any way effect the floor covering nor does suction applied by a vacuum cleaner affect the covering as the middle layer has a felt-like consistency and will not shift within the covering and alter its shape under vacuum conditions. This is an important advantage to housewives as it renders the floor covering easy to clean and service.
As noted above, the best results are achieved with use of a top layer of a highly absorbent textile material such as terry cloth, which can absorb large amounts of water or liquid. However, depending on the use to which the floor covering is to be put, such as in a living room, it is also possible to use other materials, such as velveteens, velours, plushes and in general woven, knitted or tufted textiles. Such other materials do not have the absorptive capacity of terry cloth and therefore do not provide the maximum advantages that are attainable by use of the specific construction previously described. However, for less demanding applications, such other materials may be found adequate.
The middle layer can be of synthetic or natural textile fibers such as polyester or cotton. As previously noted, for the best results, the middle layer must be insulative and capable of spreading the liquid over a top layer area larger than that within which liquid is directly applied. The spreading is accomplished through a capillary or wicking action whereby liquids seeping through the upper layer travel upon the surfaces of the fibers of the middle layer to spread out to those portions of the top layer to which liquid has not been directly applied. This quality allows the applied liquid to spread to cover a larger surface area of the top layer to allow for very quick drying of the floor covering by evaporation over a greater top layer surface area as set forth above. Accordingly, non-water-absorbent and insulative fibers such as polyester or other synthetic resins will give the best results. However, other materials such as cotton, acetate, rayon and latex or polyurethane foams can be used for the middle layer in less demanding applications wherein the best results attainable with the invention are not considered necessary.
The bottom layer can be made of any material having the property of being impervious to water or other liquids that will be encountered in use of the floor covering. The bottom layer must also be skid resistant for purposes of safety, particularly in bathrooms. In general, the bottom layer can be a latex, vinyl, or elastomeric non-skid friction material coated or laminated to a textile fabric. The best results are achieved with a latex rubber coating applied to a non-woven thin batt of polyester fibers.
Further details of the invention will be readily understood by reference to the accompanying drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts and of which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a form of fioor covering which provides the maximum benefits of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view of the three-layer construction of the embodiment of FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a floor covering formed in a puffed pattern by stitching along line 11 so as to connect the top layer 13 to the bottom layer along the stitched paths. The stitched paths 11 can be formed in any pattern and need not be formed in the pattern as shown. Border piece 12 is wrapped around edges of the top, middle and bottom layers and stitched together to form a finished border or edge around the entire periphery of the covering 10.
FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional View illustrating the three-layer feature of the invention wherein 13 is the top layer which is made of a water absorbent textile such as terry cloth. The top layer is over a non-water-absorbent non-woven middle layer 14, of bonded polyester fibers, which is in turn over a bottom layer 15 of a non-absorbent skid resistant material, comprising a non-woven thin batt of polyester fibers coated with a latex rubber to yield the desired characteristics of not allowing spilled liquids to seep through the bottom layer while concurrently providing skid resistance. The three-layer covering is given a puffed construction preferably by sewing the top to the bottom layer by thread 16 in order to compress the middle layer along lines 11 to provide points at which liquids transferred from one portion of the covering to another can be absorbed by the top layer to allow for rapid evaporation of the liquid.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, assume a liquid has been applied directly to the surface 17 and that some of the liquid has seeped through to the middle layer 14. The liquid that has seeped through to the middle layer will be transferred by the middle layer to the stitch lines 11 surounding the area to which the liquid has been applied.
- Along the lines 11, the stitching 16 has compressed the middle layer and brought the top layer 13 close to the bottom layer 15. Liquid will transfer from the middle layer to the top layer along lines 11, thereby saturating the top layer adjacent the lines 11 surrounding the area 17. Any additional liquid left within the middle layer after saturation of the top layer surrounding the area 17 will be transferred by the middle layer to any one of the areas surrounding area 17 and to the stitch lines 11 surrounding the other areas. This will occur until substantially all the liquid has been transferred from the middle layer to the top layer, thereby aiding the rapid removal of liquid from the covering by surface evaporation over a larger surface area than would otherwise be available with a construction other than that of the present invention.
It will be understood that it is intended to cover all changes and modifications of the preferred embodiments of the invention, herein chosen for the purpose of illustration, which do not constitute departures from the spirit and scope of the invention.
1. A three layer floor covering complrising highly absorbent top layer of woven, knitted, or tufted textile material, a non-absorbent middle layer of non-woven fibrous material and a bottom layer of non-skid friction material substantially impervious to liquids, said middle layer being compressed along lines to form a puffed construction and stitching means securing said three layers together along said lines of compression.
2. A floor covering as in claim 1 wherein said top layer is terry cloth.
3. A floor covering as in claim 1 wherein said middle layer is made of polyester fibers.
4. A fioor covering as in claim 3 wherein said polyester fibers are bonded to form a batting of felt-like integrity to prevent shifting of the middle layer within the floor covering.
5'. A floor covering as in claim 1 wherein said bottom layer is made of a thin batt of non-woven polyester fibers coated with latex rubber.
6. A floor covering as in claim 1 wherein said top layer is terry cloth, said middle layer is a batt of non-woven, bonded polyester fibers and said bottom layer is a thin batt of polyester fibers coated with latex rubber, said layers being stitched together along preselected lines to form said puffed construction.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,234,827 7/1917 Tourangeau 112-420 X 3,405,674 lO/l'968 Coates et al. ll2--420 ALFRED R. GUEST, Primary Examiner