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Publication numberUS3531158 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 29, 1970
Filing dateMay 20, 1968
Priority dateMay 20, 1968
Publication numberUS 3531158 A, US 3531158A, US-A-3531158, US3531158 A, US3531158A
InventorsAllen Louis Lynn
Original AssigneeAllen Louis Lynn
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Device for the support of seated persons
US 3531158 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

se t."29, 1970 L. L. ALLEN DEVICE FOR THE SUPPORT OF SEATED PERSONS Filed May 20, 1968 INVENTOR. LOUlS LYNN ALLEN AT TORNE YS United States Patent O,

U.S. Cl. 297390 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A device for supporting the upper body of persons who must remain seated for prolonged periods of time. The device includes either one or two support elements, each of which has a base member, a central connecting memher, and a crutch member. The base member is adapted to rest on the seat of a chair while the crutch member is adapted for placement beneath the armpit of a seated person. The connecting member is adjustable in length to permit the use of the same device by persons of different heights. The device may be attached to an automotivetype seat and may include, as an additional element, an automotive safety belt.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field.--This invention relates to body-support structures and provides a device useful for supporting the upper body of a seated person.

State of the art.Individual persons, either because of their occupations or for other reasons, notably because of medical disabilities, remain in a seated position for prolonged periods of time. As a consequence, there is a tendency for the upper body to slump, due to fatigue. After a prolonged period of driving, for example, a truck driver has difiiculty in maintaining his upper body erect, in proper driving position. Persons with certain spinal or muscular weaknesses also have difliculty maintaining their upper bodies erect.

Various body appliances have been suggested to relieve discomfort from injuries and to assist in holding the upper body erect. The appliances described in U.S. Pats. 507,- 172; 796,623; 1,722,205; and 3,029,818 are typical of such appliances. U.S. Pat. 2,973,031 discloses and claims a body appliance specifically intended to relieve fatigue caused by prolonged periods of driving an automobile or truck. Each of the body appliances disclosed by the aforementioned patents is in the nature of a harness or truss which is buckled or clamped around the torso or upper back. Such devices are too cumbersome for casual use, and they are too restrictive of normal body movements to remain comfortable over long periods of use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a device useful for supporting the upper body of a seated person to prevent fatigue, to relieve pain, or to facilitate body movement. Rather than being attached to the person, the device is simply placed on a seat or attached to a chair for use. A person need merely sit down on the seat to position his body properly with respect to the device. Because the device may be so readily emplaced and removed, by merely sitting or standing, it is suitable for casual or intermittent use. Moreover, because the device need not be fastened to the person, it is relatively unrestrictive of movement, lending support when needed without restricting body movement. Accordingly, the device itself causes little if any discomfort, even after prolonged periods of use.

The term seat is used herein and in the claims in a narrow sense to indicate the seat portion of any chair, bench or automotive seat. The term chair is used in a 3,531,158 Patented Sept. 29, 1970 ice broad sense to include both the seat and the back and/ or arms, if any, of all types of chairs, benches and automotive seats.

In general, the device of this invention includes at least one support element for placement in approximately vertical position beside a seated person to support the persons shoulder from under the armpit. One end of the support element is adapted as a base member to bear on the seat, and the other end of the support element is adapted as a crutch member to fit under the armpit. Although a single support element may be employed in certain instances, the device generally includes two support elements arranged for placement on opposite sides of the seated person. It is sometimes desirable to provide connecting means, e.g., a cord, to prevent the base members of the support elements from spreading. The cord may be attached to the support elements at any convenient point along their lengths, preferably near the base members thereof.

In its preferred embodiment, each support element of the device includes a central connecting member, a base member attached to one end of the connecting member, and a crutch member attached to the end of the connecting member opposite the base member. The connecting member preferably includes means for adjusting its length so that a single device may be used by persons of different heights.

A support element is conveniently constructed in two sections, each of which includes a part of the connecting member. For example, the base member of the support element may be attached to a female part of the connecting member while the crutch member of the support element is attached to a male part of the connecting member. The length of the support element is adjusted by inserting the male part the appropriate distance into the female part and fastening the two parts together, e.g., by a thumb screw, hole-and-pin arrangement, or threaded joint.

The support element may be provided with a swivel means, preferably in the connecting member thereof, to permit side-to-side rotation of the crutch member relative to the base member. The inclusion of such swivel means permits greater freedom of movement, which is particularly desirable if the user of the device wishes to reach or look in directions which require him to twist his torso.

The swivel means is conveniently combined with the length-adjusting means hereinbefore described. Thus, for example, the length of the support element may be adjusted by fastening a slip ring at the desired position on the male part of the connecting member, e.g., by means of a thumb screw. The ring should be of suflicient outer diameter to rest on the top of the female part of the connecting member, thereby providing a bearing surface upon which the male part of the connecting member may be rotated with respect to the female part.

In use, a support element is placed on each side of the user, e.g., a person seated in an ofiice chair or on an automotive-type seat. The lengths of the connecting members are adjusted so that the crutch members of the support elements fit snugly beneath the armpits of the user when the base members are placed on the seat.

When the user sits in an erect posture, the weight of his upper body is supported by the crutch member from the base member immediately beneath his shoulder. The base member is desirably elongate, extending forwardly across the seat from attachment to the connecting member, so that when the user leans forward in his seat, the support elements pivot on the distal, or unattached, ends of the base members. By this means, the crutch members provide adequate, stable support for the upper body even when its center of gravity is moved substantially forward.

The extending length of the base member, i.e., the distance it extends from attachment to the connecting member, should be such as to hold the crutch member snugly under the armpit as the user moves forward and backward in his chair or seat. If the extending length is too long, the crutch member will tend to lift the shoulder of the user as he leans forward. If the extending length is too short, the crutch member will tend to drop away from supporting position as the user leans forward. The extending length of the base member may be adjustable, although, in most instances of use, a fixed length of between about 9 and about 11 inches is satisfactory.

The crutch member of the support element is desirably curved to conform generally to the contour of the armpit. Usually, the crutch member will be padded to cushion it against the armpit of the user.

According to certain specific, although not necessarily preferred, embodiments, the support elements of the device are adapted for fastening to a chair. For example, the support elements may be bolted to the back or arms of an office chair or a wheel chair, or to the back of an automotive-type seat. It is particularly desirable in such embodiments that the connecting members include the swivel means hereinbefore described so that the crutch members will be free to swing from side to side. A safety belt may then be attached to the support elements for fastening around the trunk of a driver or convalescent. The safety belt may be attached at any convenient point of the support elements, but it is normally attached at the distal ends of the crutch members so that it may conveniently be placed around the chest of the user.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the drawing, which represents what is presently contemplated as the best mode of practicing the invention:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the device;

FIG. 2, a perspective view of another form of the device mounted on an automotive-type seat;

FIG. 3, a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 2, with a portion of the seat shown in section and showing details of the mounting means; and

FIG. 4, a top view, with a portion of the seat shown in section, of the mounting means taken along the lines 44 of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS The device illustrated by FIG. 1 consists of two support elements 11 connected by a cord 12. The cord 12 is tied to the support elements 11 through holes 13. Each support element is constructed in two parts; a pipe section 11a and a rod section 11b. The pipe section 11a includes a base member 14 and the female part 15a of a connecting member 15. The rod section 11b includes a crutch member 16 and the male part 1511 of the connecting member 15. As illustrated, the pipe section 11a is bent at approximately a 90 angle so that the base member 14 extends approximately normally from attachment to the connecting member 15. A rubber or plastic end cap 17 is provided over the distal end of the base member 14. This cap 17 protects a seat cushion 1811 (FIG. 2) from wear as the support element 11 is rocked forward and backward in use, thereby pivoting the support element on the distal end of the base member 14. The rod section 11b is also bent so that the crutch member 16 extends approximately normally from the remainder of the rod, i.e., the male part 15b of the connecting member 15. The crutch member 16 is shaped to conform generally to the contour of the armpit. A sponge rubber sleeve 19 is provided around the crutch member to cushion it against the armpit.

The overall length of each support element 11 is adjusted by sliding the rod section 11b the appropriate distance into the pipe section 11a. The rod is entered into the pipe through a ring 20 welded to the top of the pipe section 11a and is held in place by a thumb screw 21 turning 4 through a threaded hole in the ring. If desired, the thumb screw may turn through a hole threaded directly through the pipe wall, and the ring 20 may be dispensed with.

FIGS. 2, 3, and 4 illustrate the device in an embodiment adapted for installation in an automotive vehicle. There is illustrated a refinement of this embodiment, according to Which the device functions as both a support and an automotive safety belt. The structure of the illustrated device is basically similar to that described in connection with FIG. 1, with slight modifications to facilitate freedom of movement, even though the device is installed in a more or less stationary position.

Each support element 11 is fastened against the back cushion 18b of an automotive-type seat 18 by an eyebolt 22 anchored to the structural back panel 23 of the seat, as illustrated in FIG. 3. The eye 24 of the bolt 22 is connected to the threaded shank 25 of the bolt by a pivot coupling 26 to permit side-to-side movement of the eye as a driver leans to one side or the other in the seat. The eye portion of the bolt is desirably elongate, as illustrated in FIG. 4, to allow for the flexing of the back cushion 18b as a driver rests his weight backwardly into the seat cushion. The distance between the projecting end 24a of the eye 24 and the back panel 23 is adjusted by positioning nut 27 and washer 28 on shank 25 as illustrated. This distance is adjusted to hold the support elements tightly against the back cushion 18b when the device is not in use. The shank 25 of the eyebolt 22 is inserted through a hole 29 in the back panel 23 and is securely fastened to the back panel by nut 30 and washer 31. When the support elements 11 are fastened to the seat in this manner, the cord 12 (FIG. 1) is normally dispensed with as unnecessary.

Because the support elements are held to the seat 18 in a fashion which permits relatively little sideways movement, the connecting members 15 are desirably provided with swivel means 32 to permit the crutch members 16 to swing from side to side. In the illustrated instance, the adjusting ring 32 is a separate element and is fastened by thumb screw 33 to the male part 15b of the connecting member in position to adjust the length of the support element 11 as desired. The ring 32 has sufficient thickness to provide a bearing surface 32a between the bottom of the ring and the top of the female part 15a of the connecting member. Entry of the male part 15!; into the female part 15a is thus checked by the adjusting ring, but the male part is left free to rotate with respect to the female part.

A chest type seat belt 34 is connected to the extending ends 16a of the crutch members 16. Thus, in the event of an impact which pitches the driver forwardly into the seat belt, 34, the driver is anchored to the support elements which are in turn anchored to the seat structure.

Although the invention has been described with particu lar reference to certain details of specific embodiments, reference to these details is not intended to limit the scope of the claims. Many modifications which do not depart from the legitimate scope of the invention will be suggested to those skilled in the art by this disclosure.

I claim: 1. A supporting device for the upper body of a person sitting on a seat; comprising a pair of support elements for placement on the seat at opposite sides and under the armpits of said person, each support element including in combination an elongate base member adapted to rest on the seat and to extend from the rear of the seat toward the front thereof, the forward end of the base member being formed as a pivot point;

an upright connecting member rigidly attached at its lower end to the rearward end of the base member and extending upwardly to approximately the armpit level of the seated person when the device is in normal use; and

a cantilevered crutch member attached to the upper end of the connecting member and adapted to fit 5 6 under the armpit of the seated person, said crutch ends of the crutch members, said safety belt being adapted member and said base member extending forwardly to extend around the chest of a person seated between the of the connecting member approximately the same pair of support elements. distance so said pivot points will rest on the seat during use. References Cited 2. A device as described in claim 1, wherein the con- 5 UNITED STATES PATENTS necting members are adjustable in length so that the support elements can be used by persons of different ggs ggi 51 d d I 1 h h 3,063,752 11/1962 Moore 297 411 A devlce as escrl m c elm W p t e p 10 3,103,385 9/1963 Grieco 297 390 X of support elements are connected by connecting means 3,441,329 4/1969 Solomon 312 245 to prevent spreading of the base members thereof.

4. A device as described in claim 1 in combination with CASMIR A. NUNBERG, Primary Examiner an automobile seat.

5. A device as described in claim 1, wherein a safety 15 belt is attached at either end thereof to the extending 297-411, 463

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2667913 *Oct 13, 1951Feb 2, 1954Dustin Ernest GBody support and weight distributor
US2733754 *May 4, 1953Feb 7, 1956 Invalid walker
US3063752 *Jul 5, 1961Nov 13, 1962Redding F MooreBody supporting seat with relaxation means
US3103385 *Feb 15, 1962Sep 10, 1963Angelo M GriecoChildren's seat for use in vehicles
US3441329 *Sep 8, 1967Apr 29, 1969Lincoln Metal Products CorpStand cabinet construction
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3767259 *Oct 7, 1971Oct 23, 1973P BlakeChild{3 s vehicle safety seat assembly
US4177528 *Jan 13, 1976Dec 11, 1979James David RSanitary chairs
US4565409 *Nov 28, 1983Jan 21, 1986Hollonbeck Gary GBody support apparatus
US5111291 *Sep 25, 1991May 5, 1992Commonwealth Edison CompanyAuto freeze frame display for intrusion monitoring system
US6007156 *Sep 18, 1996Dec 28, 1999Chang; Gene HsinVertical rest helping method and apparatus
US6793288 *Nov 8, 2002Sep 21, 2004John RuttyBack support for a seat
US6988772 *Jun 8, 2004Jan 24, 2006John RuttyBack support for a seat
US7044267 *Jun 22, 2004May 16, 2006Sigler Titus SPortable adjustable sleep support device
US7422282Oct 31, 2007Sep 9, 2008Rutty John GBack support for seat
US7469963Oct 31, 2007Dec 30, 2008Rutty John GBack support for seat
US7686393Jul 11, 2008Mar 30, 2010Rutty John GBack support for seat
US7909399Oct 6, 2008Mar 22, 2011Rutty John GBack support for seat
US9480341 *Dec 29, 2014Nov 1, 2016Vincenzo DiPaoloPhysical support device
US20040090098 *Nov 8, 2002May 13, 2004John RuttyBack support for a seat
US20040217634 *Jun 8, 2004Nov 4, 2004John RuttyBack support for a seat
US20040262865 *Jun 22, 2004Dec 30, 2004Sigler Titus S.Portable adjustable sleep support device
US20080129095 *Oct 31, 2007Jun 5, 2008Rutty John GBack support for seat
US20080129096 *Oct 31, 2007Jun 5, 2008Rutty John GBack support for seat
US20080272635 *Jul 11, 2008Nov 6, 2008Rutty John GBack support for seat
US20080303324 *Jul 11, 2008Dec 11, 2008Rutty John GBack support for seat
US20090146475 *Oct 6, 2008Jun 11, 2009Rutty John GBack Support For Seat
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/486, 297/411.1
International ClassificationB60N2/46, A47C7/36
Cooperative ClassificationA47C7/36, B60N2/4673
European ClassificationB60N2/46G, A47C7/36