US 3556586 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
173 J. E. BEARDMORE 3,5565
MULTIPURPOSE FURNITURE Filed Feb. 16, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Ilh Us INVENTOR. (JOHN E. BEARD/MORE W71 J. E. BEARDMORE MULTIPURPOSE FURNITURE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Feb. 16, 1968 E N wwmm mm r 5/ 7 a 2 W 2 United States Patent US. Cl. 297-3 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An article of furniture, especially childs furniture, formed as a monolithic hollow Walled molding of rigid plastic material operationally usable as an upright chair, a rocking chair, a desk and a table according to selective positioning of the article.
In brief the present invention comprises a multifunctional article of furniture, especially useful as a therapeutic aid for physically retarded children which comprises a unique combination of surface portions and structural supports, preferably formed as a monolithic or unitary molding in which the structural walls and partitions thereof are hollow and generally of uniform thickness throughout. The exterior surfaces of the walls and partitions cooperate to present the user with an upright chair, having statically stable ground engaging leg portions; a rocking chair having ground engaging rocker portions; a pair of writing desk surfaces and a pair of planar table surfaces interchangably usable as table surfaces or as ground engaging support surfaces. Each of the above enumerated uses is available to the user in accordance with the operational positioning of the article. Handle means are also provided for manually engaging the article, particularly to assist in moving and positioning the same.
An important object of this invention is to provide a new and improved unitary article of furniture having multifunctional uses.
A further object of this invention is to provide an improved multipurpose article of furniture useful as a table, chair and desk.
Still another object of this invention is to provide an article of furniture, particularly useful by physically retarded children as a therapeutic aid to assist muscular development and which is useful as a combination chair, desk and table.
Still an additional object of this invention is to provide a multipurpose article of furniture as aforesaid manufactured as a monolithic hollow walled molding in which walls, partitions and surfaces are combined to provide selective utility thereof as a chair, desk and table.
Having thus described this invention, the above and further objects, features and advantages thereof will readily be recognized by those skilled in the art from the following description of a preferred embodiment thereof, illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an article of furniture according to the present invention;
FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the article illustrated in FIG. 1, showing the same in use as an upright chair;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the article shown in FIG. 1 positioned for use as a writing desk;
FIG. 4 is another perspective view of the article shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the same in use as a rocking chair;
FIG. 5 is still another perspective view of the article illustrated in FIG. 1 showing the same in use as a table;
FIG. 6 is a front elevational view thereof;
FIG. 7 is a full cross-sectional view taken substantially 3,555,536 Patented Jan. 19, 1971 along vantage line 77 of FIG. 6 and looking in the direction of the arrows thereon;
FIG. 8 is another cross-sectional view taken substantially along vantage line 88 of FIG. 7, looking in the direction of the arrows thereon and illustrating a full half section thereof; and
FIG. 9 is an enlarged partial cross-sectional view taken substantially along vantage line 99 of FIG. 7 and looking in the direction of the arrows thereon.
Turning now to the particulars of the preferred embodiment of this invention illustrated in the accompanying drawings, initial reference is made to FIG. 1 wherein the article of furniture, indicated generally at 20 therein, is shown to comprise a pair of parallel spaced left and right side portions 21-21, a seat portion 22, a front apron portion 23 and a back portion 24 extending transversely between the two sides 2121. As previously mentioned, article 20 is preferably constructed as a monolithic molding whereby its above enumerated portions are integrally inter-related; each being formed with a hollow interior to achieve lightness in weight. This feature facilitates easy manipulation and orientation of the article to various operating positions, illustrated best in FIGS. 1 through 5 of the drawings.
While the several operational positions for article 20 are readily discernible from drawings FIGS. l-S, in brief, it will be recognized from FIG. 2 that when article 20 is positioned in a normal upright condition such presents a generally straight back chair to the user. As shown in FIG. 3, a desk is presented by rotating the article forwardly or rearwardly from the position therefore illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings whereby the same rests on the forward or rearward edges of side portions 21-21 thereof. By reversing or turning the article 20 upside down from its FIG. 1 position, the same is converted from a statically stable chair to a rocking chair as shown best in FIG. 4. By rotating the article 90 clockwise or counterclockwise from its FIG. 1 position, so as to rest the same on the outside face or wall of either of its side portions 2121, a planar table is provided as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings. From the foregoing brief description of the multipurpose uses of article 20, it will be readily understood that the same constitutes a very versatile item of furniture which is particularly adapted for use by children and is especially beneficial to children having muscular disorders as a therapeutic aid in strengthening their muscles and limbs.
Before dwelling on the specific structural aspects of the various named portions 21-24 of the illustrated article of furniture, it may be well to consider the preferred method of manufacturing the same, especially inasmuch as a monolithic hollow walled molding of the order illustrated is not readily obtainable by the usual casting methods and processes. In brief, the article of furniture herein of subject, is preferably for-med of rigid plastic such as polyethylene or its equivalent by rotational molding techniques. In a very broad sense rotational molding employs powdered plastic materials which are introduced into a closed mold subject to biaxial rotation. The resinous powders are centrifically thrown against the heated walls of the mold in response to its rotation simultaneously in two planes perpendicular to each other. Whereever the plastic particles contact the heated walls of the mold, the same melt against the inner surfaces of the mold and fuse in layers until all the powder is fused. The wall thickness of the end product is controlled by the amount of powder placed in the mold. Generally speaking wall thicknesses can be controlled with substantially uniform accuracy and inasmuch as the molded end products are produced without external pressure, they are substantially free of stress except for minimal shrinkage forces. Such a rotational molding technique is particularly adapted for wholly enclosed products such as the article of furniture herein disclosed and is therefore preferred for practicing the invention.
Referring now particularly to FIGS. 6 through 9 of the drawings, the specific structural aspects of the various portions 2124 will now be described.
As shown in FIGS. 1, 6 and 8, each side portion 21 comprises an outside partition or wall 31 presenting a planar exterior Surface which is generally rectangular in elevation (see FIG. 1) having the parallel lateral margins thereof merging with transversely related front and rear edges 32 and 33 respectively. The bottom margin of each side 21 is interrupted with a generally trapezoidal shaped opening or vacancy, aligned symmetrically of the longitudinal axis therefore, to define front and back ground engaging leg portions 34 and 35 at its lower corners (see FIG. 1). The upper extreme of each side is formed with an arcuate shaped upper edge 36, which is transverse to the plane of wall 31 thereof and which, in the upside down use position for article 20, illustrated in FIG. 4, of the drawings, constitutes a ground engaging rocker means.
The outside wall 31 of each side portion 21 is paralleled by a correspondingly shaped and registeringly aligned inside wall 37 (see FIGS. 6-8) having a hand recess 38 indented or formed inwardly of the plane of formation for wall 37 adjacent the front upper corner thereof and opening inwardly of the leading or front edge 32 of the side 21. Recess 38 provides a convenient hand grip to the user for engaging the article, as when it is desired to lift or otherwise manipulate the same.
As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 7, the hand grip recess 38 for each side 21 inclines to the horizontal, sloping downwardly from the leading edge 32 thereof. With specific reference to FIG. 9 of the drawings, it will be recognized that each recess 38 is formulated by integrally associated parallel top and bottom wall portions 3939 interjoined by a planar bottom 'wall portion 40 and an end 'wall portion 41 at the rearward or innermost end of the recess. The intersections of the various portions for each recess preferably are radiused or rounded to avoid sharp corners as are all other edges and corners of article 20.
It will be observed from FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 in particular that the parallel spaced sides 2121 are cross connected and supported by the transversely related seat, front and back portions 22-24 all of which have hollow interiors which communicate openly with the hollow interior of each of the sides 2121.
As shown particularly in FIGS. 7 and 8, the seat 22 is formed with an upper partition or wall 50 and a similar lower partition or wall 51, each of which is curvilinear in shape and slopes gently at an incline to the horizontal to provide a seat bottom; the two partitions 50, 51 lying substantially in parallel spaced relation. It will be noted that the leading edge of the upper partition 50, as viewed in FIG. 7, merges into a transversely related forward or leading edge portion 52 defining a front edge for the seat bottom which extends transversely between sides 21 adjacent the front edges 32 thereof. In a :similar fashion, the bottom partition 51 merges into a :secondary seat edge 53 adjacent the rear edge 33 of the sides 21 and extending therebetween.
Wall 50 of seat portion 22 merges at its inner end with a curvilinear corner portion 54, which extends between wall 50 and the front panel 55 of the back 24. In a similar fashion the bottom partition 51 of the seat 22 merges at its inner end with a curvilinear corner portion 56 contiguous to the inside panel 57 of the apron 23.
It will be noted that the panels 55 and 57 of the back and apron, respectively, are parallel and inclined from the vertical slightly to accommodate comfortable engagement by the back of the user in normal seating position.
The front apron 23 in addition to the inside panel 57 comprises a front panel 60 which is convergent with the panel 57 and extends from the seat edge 52 to a lower transverse bottom edge 61, extending between the lower ends of the inner and outer panels 57 and 60 (see FIG. 7 of the drawings). It will be understood that the edge 61 also extends between the opposing front leg portions 3434 of the two sides 21-21.
In a similar fashion the back 24 is formulated of the inner panel 55 and a convergently related planar outer panel 65; the latter of which parallels the front panel 60 of the apron 23. The two panels 55 and 65 of the back 24 are interconnected at their upper ends by a transversely related end or edge wall 66.
As shown in FIG. 7, article 20 is formed symmetrically about a vertical central axis therefor and in transverse cross-section as taken along vantage line 88 of FIG. 7, bears a substantially H shaped configuration in which the interior hollows of the several portions 21-24 thereof intercommunicate.
Having thus described the structural aspects of the improved article 20 accordingto this invention, its operational uses as illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 5 of the drawings will now be particularized.
As illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawings, when the article 20 is positioned in its normal upright condition with the ground engaging leg portions 34, 35 thereof resting on a supporting surface, article 20 constitutes a straight back chair wherein the occupant sits upon the upper surface 50 of the seat portion 22 resting his back against the inside panel 55 of the back portion 24 thereof.
By rotating article 20, forwardly or rearwardly from the position thereof illustrated in FIG. 1, the same may be rested on either the front edges 32-32 of the sides 21 thereof (particularly illustrated in FIG. 3) or on the rear edges 33 thereof. In either instance, the outer panels 60 and/or 65 of the apron and back portion 23 and 24 respectively, provide a planar inclined surface suitable as a desk top, particularly for an individual child as shown in FIG. 3.
By rotating the article 20, or turning the same upside down from its FIG. 1 position, the curvilinear end edges 36-36 of the two sides 21-21 thereof are placed in ground engagement to convert the normally statically stable upright chair to a rocking chair, as shown best in FIG. 4. In this position of operation, the user sits on the under surface or panel 51 of the seat portion 22, resting his back against the inside panel 57 of apron portion 23. The trapezoidal shaped vacancy or opening between the leg portions 34, and 35 in this instance, provided convenient arm rests, with the upstanding legs 35-35 presenting hand grip extensions or protrusions to assist the user in maintaining his position and balance in the rocking chair during operation. This operational condition is best illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings.
By rotating the article 20, 90 clockwise or counterclockwise from its FIG. 1 position, the outside panels of the two sides 21, 21 thereof are placed so that one panel 31 engages the ground or other supporting surface while the corresponding outside panel of the opposite side 21 presents a planar table top surface capable of accommodating one or more users as particularly illustrated in FIG. 5 of the drawings.
From the above, it is believed that those familiar with the art will readily recognize and appreciate the novel advancements and advantageous features of the present invention which mark the same as a departure over the prior art. While the present invention has been herein described in association with the particular preferred embodiment thereof illustrated in the accompanying drawings, it will be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions of equivalents may be made therein without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of this invention.
1. A light weight multipurpose article of furniture comprising a pair of substantially planar parallel spaced and registeringly opposed side portions of like formation, a seat portion, an apron portion and a back portion; all said portions being hollow, integral parts of a monolithic structure having walls of generally uniform thickness; said seat, apron and back portions extending transversely between said side portions and maintaining the latter in parallel spaced relation, and said apron and back portions being of like formation and extending oppositely outward from opposite ends of said seat portion in generally parallel planes, each said side portions comprising parallel spaced walls of generally rectangular configuration interjoined only along their margins and by transversely related edges, the edges along the side margins thereof being parallel, the edge along one end thereof being arcuately curvilinear, and the edge along the other end thereof being formed to provide a pair of spaced ground engaging leg portions at opposite corners of said other end margin thereof; said leg portions serving to maintain said article in a statically stable normal upright condition when the same are engaged with an under supporting surface, and the said curvilinear edge of said side portion defining rocker means for supporting said article in unstable condition for rocking motion when engaged with an under supporting surface, said seat portion being formed with like reversely disposed exterior surfaces which cooperate with contiguous like surfaces of said back and apron portions to present a pair of generally Z shaped occupant supporting seats selective available to the user in accordance with the positioning of the article to engage said leg portions and said rocker means with an under supporting surface, as selected, said apron and back portions lying in planes bordering the margins of the spaced walls and tapered toward the curvilinear and ground engaging leg portions respectively of said side portions, and said seat portion having free edges terminating at the edges of the side walls.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 144,404 4/1946 Marby 2973X D. 147,581 9/1947 Coulter 2973 902,395 10/1908 Haley 2973 2,269,834 -1/1942 Wagner 2972X 2,776,700 1/1957 Potter et a1 2973 3,285,660 11/1966 Beckman et al 297-1 3,111,344 11/1963 Hoven et al. 297--445 JAMES T. MCCALL, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.