US 3576059 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Attorneys-Robert S. Dunham, P. E. Henninger, Lester W.
Clark, John A. Harvey, Gerald W. Griffin, Thomas F.
Moran, Howard .1. Churchill and Robert Scobey ABSTRACT: A chair or similar article of furniture employing molded shells which mate to complete an integral shell. Two shells are employed: a perimeter shell having an aperture therein and a center shell that mates with the perimeter shell so as to close off the aperture in the perimeter shell. The two shells are advantageously molded first as one piece which is then cut into the two shells. Each shell is separately upholstered with upholstery connections being located along an edge portion of the shell. The two shells are thereafter joined together along the edge portions; upholstery connections along the edge portions are concealed between the joinedtogether portions.
The mating shells may incorporate flanges along the edges thereof which abut in joining the shells together. In such a case, and when one flange presents an outwardly exposed surface, a doubled-over piece of upholstery may be employed to cover the exposed surface. The doubling over of the upholstery conceals the upholstery connections into the exposed surface as well as the fastening elements used to join the two shells together. A free edge of the doubled-over upholstery is then tucked between the abutting flanges to complete the United States Patent  lnventor Maxwell E. Pearson EastGreenville, Pa.  Appl. No. 840,581  Filed June 3,1969
Division of Ser. No. 681,803, Nov. 9, 1967, Pat. No. 3,521,929.  Patented Apr. 27, 1971  Assignee Knoll Associates, Inc.
New York, N.Y.
 METHOD OF FURNITURE CONSTRUCTION 6 Claims, 16 Drawing Figs.  29/91.], 29/91  Int. 868g 7/00  Field of 29/91, 91.1, 91.7; 29/407; 297/452, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459
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' sum 1 OF 5 INVENTOR.
M x A 4 W/ELL [T Pea/Q50 PATENTED APRZY I971 SHEET 2 OF 5 SHEET 3 BF 5 PATENTEU APR27 1971 PATENTED m2? 197i SHEET M F 5 PATENTEB AFR27 I97! SHEET 5 0F 5 METHOD OF FURNITURE CONSTRUCTION CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a division of my copending application Ser. No. 681,803, filed Nov. 9, I967, for FURNITURE CON- STRUCTION, now US. Pat. No. 3,521,929, issued July 28, I970.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to articles of furniture and, in particular, to the making of an upholstered article of furniture.
The present invention is directed particularly to the making of an upholstered article of furniture, such as a chair, in which all of the upholstered connections are concealed. The invention involves the utilization of shells which together form the article of furniture. For example, in the making of a chair, two mating shells are employed, namely, a perimeter shell having an aperture therein and a center shell which closes off the aperture in the completed chair. The perimeter and center shells may be molded separately, or a single integral shell may be molded and then cut or severed into the distinct perimeter and center shells. The molding of a single integral shell which is then cut or severed into the perimeter and center shells is preferred, since only one molding tool is needed in the molding process. The separate shells are then separately upholstered, and upholstery connections are employed along edge portions thereof. In this fashion, when the separately upholstered shells are joined together to complete the article of furniture, the connections along the edges thereof are concealed between the joined edges.
The shells may include flanges along the edges thereof which abut in joining the shells together. One of the flanges will be exteriorly exposed. In such a case, the exposed surface of the flange may be covered by a doubled-over piece of upholstery, the doubling over of which conceals the upholstery connections into the exposed surface as well as the fastening elements used to join the two shells together. The free edge of the upholstery may then be tucked between the flanges to complete the upholstering of the article. By this technique, all upholstery and shell fastening connections may be concealed from view. Typically, upholstery connections on the bottom of a chair, for example, are visible. In the present invention, all connections may be concealed, providing a much better overall appearance for the entire article.
Alternatively, an extrusion may be employed extending between the abutting flanges of the shells and serving as a spacer for the flanges. The extrusion may include a wedgeshaped edge portion which makes contact with both shell flanges for the entire length of the abutting flanged surfaces. The wedge-shaped configuration prevents the extrusion from being pulled out after a tightening of the fastening elements joining the two flanges together. The extrusion includes a flexible portion thereof extending over the exteriorly exposed surface of one of the flanges, so as to cover all fastening elements employed to maintain the two shells together, as well as upholstery connections into the surface. The extrusion may advantageously have an upholstery material adhered thereto so as to render it unnoticeable.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. I is a perspective view of a chair embodying the invention.
FIG. 1A is a bottom view ofa part of the chair of FIG. 1, to an enlarged scale.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an integral chair shell forming a part of the chair ofFIG. I.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of two shells forming the integral shell of FIG. 2.
FIGS. 4 and 5 are sectional views of the chair shell respectively shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, taken respectively along the section lines 4-4 and 5-5 of these FIGS.
FIGS. 6 and 7 are sectional views of the chair shells shown in FIG. 3, with upholstery attached thereto.
FIGS. 8 and 9 are sectional views of the parts of the chair shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, taken respectively along section lines 8-8 and 9-9 of those FIGS. and showing the details of upholstery connections.
FIG. 10 is a sectional view of the completed chair.
FIG. 11 is a sectional view of the chair shown in FIG. 10, taken along the section line 11-11 in FIG. 10.
FIG. 12 is a view, to an enlarged scale, of a connection between abutting shells in the completed chair of FIG. 10.
FIG. 13 is an enlarged view of a part of the completed chair shown in FIG. 11, looking in the direction of the arrows 13-13 in FIG. 11 and showing the details of a further upholstery technique in accordance with the invention.
FIGS. 14 and 15 are sectional views similar to FIG. 12, to an enlarged scale, showing an alternative form of construction employing a vinyl extrusion separating the abutting shells.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. I, an article of furniture, namely, a chair 20, is shown embodying the invention. The chair includes a seat support 22, a back support 24, and arm rests 26a and 26b. The chair is supported by a vertical spindle 28 terminated at its lower end by a base 30. The chair 20 is covered by upholstery 42 and 52.
FIG. 2 illustrates an integral chair shell 34 employed in making the chair of FIG. 1. The chair shell 34 may be made of any suitable material; e.g., the shell may be molded from sisalreinforced plastic. The integral shell 34 includes two distinct parts: a perimeter shell 34a and a center shell 34b (see also FIG. 3). The integral chair shell 34 shown in FIG. 2 may be molded to the shape shown in FIG. 2 and subsequently cut or severed along line 36 to produce the perimeter and center shells 34a and 34b, or the perimeter and center shells may be separately formed. Either technique of producing the distinct shells may be employed, although the technique of forming a single complete shell and then cutting it into two distinct shells is the most advantageous technique from the standpoint of reducing production costs. In particular, when the chair is molded in one piece and then cut apart into two separate shells, only one molding tool is required. Separate molding tools would be needed in the event that the shells were separately molded, thereby increasing the cost of the operation substantially by requiring an additional molding tool.
The perimeter shell 34a includes an inner peripheral edge 340' that defines aperture 35 in the perimeter shell and an outer peripheral edge 34a". The center shell 34b includes an outer peripheral edge 3412'. When the perimeter and center shells are cut from a single shell molded to the shape shown in FIG. 2, the single shell should include a portion 38 thereof (see FIG. 4) that forms an angle with the adjacent parts of the shell. The single shell is then severed by cutting throughout the angled part 38 (cut 36) to produce the two separate shells 34a and 34b shown in FIG. 3. The angled portion of the single shell thus creates flanges 38a and 38b (FIG. 10) along the edges of the respective shells. In particular, the flange 38a is formed along the inner peripheral edge of the perimeter shell 34a, and the flange 38b is formed along the outer peripheral edge of the'center shell 34b. The flanges 38a and 38b abut, as shown in FIG. 11. By providing the angled part 38 in a single shell which is thereafter severed to produce the perimeter and center shells, provision is made so that the perimeter and center shells may thereafter be joined together along the edge flanges 38a and 38b. Without such an angled part of the shell, about which the cut is made, the perimeter and center shells would have no overlapping portions about which they could be rejoined. On the other hand, if separate perimeter and center shells are independently molded, then angled flanges need not be employed, since the parts may be molded to insure that the edge portions thereof overlap to provide for the joining together of the shells to complete the article of furniture.
In any event, the perimeter and center shells are separately upholstered, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Typically, a padding material 40 is positioned over the upper surface of center shell 34!), and an upholstery material 42 (pieces 42a and 42b) covers both the shell 34b and the padding 40. A stiffener element 44 may be employed inside the upholstery 42 in the region in which the back support 24 joins the seat support 22. The stiffening element 44 may be retained in place by a strip of fabric 46 which is stitched to the upholstery piece 42b.
The upholstery 42 may be secured to the center shell 34b along the outer edge portion of flange 38b by staples 48, as shown in FIG. 8. Typically, the edges of the upholstery pieces 42a and 42b overlap along the underside of flange 38b. Staples 48 are driven through the upholstery pieces and into the flange 38b to maintain the upholstery in place.
Similarly, as shown in FIG. 7, the perimeter shell 34a is upholstered by the use of a padding material 50 and an upholstery material 52. The upholstery material 52 may be secured to the shell 34a along the flange 38a by staples 54 shown in FIG. 9. In particular, one edge 52a of the upholstery material may be secured to an upper surface of the flange 380, while another edge 52b may be secured by the staples to an under surface of the flange. Alternatively, either of the upholstery edges 52a and 5212 could pass around the inner edge 34a of the perimeter shell and underlap or overlap the other upholstery edge.
The upholstery for the perimeter shell 34a is typically a machine-sewed fabric envelope which is easily slipped over the shell and padding material 50. The machine-sewing eliminates all handstitching except for a small flap under the front of the seat section 22. In particular, referring to FIGS. 1 and IA, stitching 80 may be employed to create the envelope 52 of upholstery material used to cover the perimeter shell. A small flap 52c of material is left unsewed under the bottom of the chair, which may be stitched by hand as at 80a and 80b to complete the envelope. The ability to provide for machinesewing of almost all of the upholstery material for the perimeter shell 34a permits appreciable savings in labor needed to complete the assembly of the chair.
The separately upholstered perimeter and center shells are joined together as shown in FIGS. and II. Particularly, the flanges 38a and 38b abut with upholstery material therebetween, as shown in the FIGS. The shells may be secured together by any number of connections along the flanges, one of which is shown in FIG. 12. Each connection may employ a screw'60, the head of which is seated against a washer 62 positioned against the flange 38a of the perimeter shell. The screw passes through the flange 38a and through the flange 38b of the center shell, and is secured in place by a threaded fastening element 64 in the flange 38b.
The screws 60 used to join together the perimeter and center shells 34a and 341) may be covered by upholstery material, as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13. A strip of upholstery material 70 may be employed for this purpose, one edge of which is positioned over the screws 60 and held in. place by a cardboard or similar strip 72 of reinforcing material which is held in place by staples 74 that pass through the cardboard strip and upholstery strip 70 into the flange 38a. The upholstery strip 70 is then doubled over to conceal the staples 74 and cardboard strip 72, and free end 70a of the strip may be tucked into the joint between the flanges 38a and 38b, as shown in FIG. 12, to be sandwiched between the fabric pieces 42a and 52a. The tucking of the edge 70a may be completed by use of a screwdriver or any other suitable instrument, and is done after the upholstered perimeter and center shells have been completely fastened together by the screws 60.
FIGS. 14 and show an alternative arrangement for completing the fastening together of the perimeter shell 34a and center shell 34b. Specifically, a vinyl or other flexible extrusion 82 is employed having a wedge-shaped edge portion 820. The extrusion extends about the entire periphery of the shells between the abutting flanges 38a and 38b. The extrusion acts as a spacing element between the flanges; it is employed to fill the space between the flanges produced by the upholstery between the flanges. The wedge-shaped edge 82a prevents the extrusion from being pulled out when screws 60 fastening together the shells are tightened. In this regard, the extrusion 82 includes a series of openings therein, through which the screws 60 pass. The extrusion includes an edge portion 82b which extends over the outer surface of the flange 38a of the perimeter shell 34a. The edge portion 82b thus covers all the screws 60 as well as the upholstery connections into the flange 38a. There is sufficient flexibility in the extrusion edge portion 82b to permit it to be pulled back in order to gain access to the screws 60. Advantageously, an upholstery fabric 84 is glued to the outer surface of the extrusion 82 so as to cover the extrusion. Such an upholstery piece eliminates the need for tacking a strip of upholstery, such as strip 70 in FIG. 12, to the perimeter shell and tucking the loose flap between the flanges of the two shells, as explained above in connection with FIG. 12.
Additionally, FIGS. 14 and 15 show paddings 86 and 88 of foam or other material between the shells and the upholstery material on the outer surfaces of the shells. For example, the foam material 88 is positioned between the upholstery 42b and the center shell 34b. Such foam or padding material provides a soft resilient touch to the outer surface of the chair; in the other FIGS. of the application, the upholstery material is shown directly against the outer surfaces of shells 34a and 34b.
It will be noted that the present invention involves an article of furniture in which connections of upholstery material to the corresponding shells are concealed by locating the connections between abutting edge portions of the shells or by employing a doubled-over strip of upholstery material or an extrusion. A unique shell construction has been provided involving mating perimeter and center shells, wherein the center shell covers an aperture in the perimeter shell.
The invention should not be deemed limited to the specific embodiments shown in the drawings. For example, although an armchair has been shown, the invention is eminently suitable for an armless chair and other items of furniture. Many other changes may be made. Accordingly, the invention should be taken to be defined by the following claims:
l. The method of making an article of furniture formed from an integral shell having the contour of the article of furniture, wherein the improvement comprises severing the integral shell to provide a separate perimeter shell having an aperture therein and a center shell produced by the severing of the integral shell, the center shell matingwith the perimeter shell in the completed article of furniture so as to close off the aperture in the perimeter shell.
2. The method of making an article of furniture as defined in claim I, wherein the perimeter and center shells are separately upholstered, with connections of upholstery toeach shell being located along an edge portion of the shell, and thereafter joining the two shells along the edge portions thereof so as to conceal the upholstery connections between the joined edge portions.
3. The method of making an article of furniture as defined in claim 1, wherein the integral shell is formed with a portion thereof that forms an angle with the adjacent parts of the integral shell, the integral shell being severed in said portion to form the perimeter and center shells.
4. The method of making an article of furniture, comprising forming a perimeter shell having an aperture through the surface thereof, forming a center shell adapted to mate with the perimeter shell so as to close off the aperture through the surface of the perimeter shell, and joining the two shells together to complete the closing of the aperture.
5. The method of making an article of furniture as defined in claim 4, wherein the perimeter and center shells are separately upholstered, with connections of upholstery to each shell being located along an edge portion of the shell, the two shells being joined along the edge portions thereof so as to conceal the upholstery connections between the joined edge portions.
respect to the adjacent portion of the respective shell, the flanges so formed being caused to abut each other in the joining together of the shells.