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Publication numberUS3639001 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 1, 1972
Filing dateOct 9, 1969
Priority dateOct 9, 1969
Publication numberUS 3639001 A, US 3639001A, US-A-3639001, US3639001 A, US3639001A
InventorsVictor F Anderson
Original AssigneeShell Oil Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Metal core plastic chair
US 3639001 A
Abstract
A composite furniture structure having an inner relatively rigid load-supporting core frame at least partially covered by outer decorative facing means, which are preferably molded from plastic. The invention permits low-cost mass production of furniture of various types and styles from the relatively simple modern styles to highly ornate provincial styles.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

nited States Patent Anderson 51 Feb.l,l972

[54] METAL CORE PLASTIC CHAIR [21] Appl. No.: 865,043

52/727,52/731 H 1511 1111. c1. ..A47c 4/02, A47c 7/00, A47c7/20,

- .B44f9/02,E04 c 2/20 [58] FieldofSearch .;.297/445,4 52-459,

[56] References Cited 1 UNlTED STATES PATENTS 3,170,201 2/1965 Nofziger .....52 7 31" 3,240,460 3/1966 Petersen ....248/188.8 3,282,007 11/1966 Campbell et al ..52/73l 3,414,912 12/1966 Dusey, Sr. et a1. 297/445 X 3,431,021 3/1967 Parker 297/445 I 3,511,00 5/1970 Medow ..52/731 3,131,792 5/1964: 1 Gromman et al.... ..52/38 7 Primary Exa 'rni 1ei- CasmirA; Nunberg i Attorney-Beehler &'Arant i 157] T 7 ABSTRACT 1 A composite furniture structure having an inner relatively rigidloagl-supporting' core frame at least partially covered by outer decorative facing means, which are preferably molded from plastic. The invention'perrnits low-cost mass production 7 of furniture of var ous typesand styles from the relatively sim- -ple modern styles to'highly ornate provincial styles.

16 Claims, 23 Drawing Figures 'slsssLoo mm mm SHEET 1 OF 4 WCTO/P FAA/QAWJOA/ INVENTOR.

BY Md W PATENTEU FEB 1 1972 SHEET 3 or 4 INVENTOR.

BY M W 4770AM/5V6 REFERENCE TO COPENDING APPLICATIONS Reference is made herein to applicant's copending application, Ser. No. 797,616, filed Feb. 7, 1969, and entitled BIPARTITE TUBULAR MOLDED PLASTIC FURNITURE PART WITH INTERNAL REINFORCEMENT, now abandoned BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to furniture and more particularly to a composite furniture structure whose load-supporting capability is furnished by a relatively rigid inner reinforcing core frame and whose surface styling features are furnished by external facing means secured to, and at least partially covering, the reinforcing core frame.

2. Prior Art At the present time, most articles of furniture, such as chairs, tables, and the like, are fabricated from metal or wood and are composed of a number of separate pieces which are individually shaped by machine and then joined to one another with the aid of glue, screws, welds, or the like, while the pieces are held in assembled relation with jigs or clamps. This method of fabrication is quite laborious and lends itself to only limited mass production techniques As a consequence, furniture produced by the existing fabrication methods, particularly furniture provided with relatively ornate surface features, tends to be quite costly.

Recent developments in plastic materials and plastic molding techniques have made possible the mass production of plastic furniture which is practical, aesthetically pleasing, and increasing in popularity and demand. A primary advantage of plastic furniture over conventional wooden furniture resides in the fact that virtually any design feature, from the very simple to the very ornate, may be economically mass produced by plastic forming techniques. Moreover, the surface coloring and texture of plastic furniture may be readily varied to simulate virtually any furniture wood and surface finish.

While plastics may be economically molded or otherwise formed to provide ornamental surface features for furniture, their material cost is relatively high as compared to the presently used wood and metallic furniture materials. As a consequence, the production of plastic furniture presents the problem of minimizing the quantity of plastic used while providing the furniture with sufficient load-supporting strength for its intended use. One solution to this problem is disclosed in the earlier mentioned, copending application, Ser. No. 797,616. According to the invention disclosed in that application, load-supporting furniture members, such as legs, are provided with a hollow cross section and with internal, reinforcing formations which are molded integrally with the members. The present invention provides an alternative solution to i the problem.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention, the above-stated problem of minimizing the plastic content of plastic furniture while providing adequate structural strength is resolved by providing the load-carrying furniture parts with a composite construction, including a relatively rigid, inner reinforcing core frame of wood or metal and an outer decorative facing means of plastic or other readily formable material. The inner core frame provides the primary load-supporting member, and the outer decorative facing means provides the surface styling features. These features may be formed in the facing means by molding or other suitable forming techniques. In the disclosed embodiment of the invention, the facing means comprise relatively thin-walled, shell-like molded plastic parts or sections which fit about and are secured to the inner load-supporting core frame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view ofa chair embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a modified chair configuration according to the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a further modified chair configuration according to the invention;

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the chair in FIG. I;

FIG. 4a is an enlarged section taken on line 4a-4a in FIG.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical section through the chair seat in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of a modified load-supporting base for the chair seat;

FIG. 7 is a section taken on line 7-7 in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a further modified load-supporting base for the chair seat;

FIG. 9 is a section taken on line 9-9 in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a rear view of the chair in FIG. 1 with a rear decorative facing section of the chair omitted for the sake of clarity;

FIG. 11 illustrates one method of attaching the decorative facing means and core frame of the chair;

FIG. 12 is a side view of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a section taken on line 1313 in FIG. 11;

FIG. 14 is an alternative method of attaching the decorative facing means and core frame;

FIG. 15 is a side view of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a section taken on line 16-16 in FIG. I4;

FIG. 17 illustrates still another method of attaching the decorative facing means and core frame;

FIG. 18 is a section taken on line 18-48 in FIG. 17;

FIG. 19 is an enlarged axial section through the lower end of one of the chair legs;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a high chair embodying the invention;

FIG. 21 is an exploded perspective view of the high chair; and

FIGS. 22 and 23 illustrate the manner in which the high 'chair may be collapsed when not in use.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1, 4 and 5 illustrate a chair I0 embodying the invention. The chair has composite back frame and front frame structures 12 and 14, and a seat 16 secured to these frame structures. The back frame structure 12' includes an inner, relatively rigid, load-supporting core frame 18, an outer decorative facing means 20 enclosing the frame. Frame 18 has a pair of spaced, and generally parallel, stiles 22 rigidly joined by a cross brace 24. In this instance, the frame I8 is constructed of metal tubes which are welded to one another. However, it is considered to be within the scope of the invention to construct the frame of other suitable material, such as wood. The upper ends 22A of the frame stiles 22 above the cross brace 24 form part of a backrest. The lower ends 228 of the stiles below the cross brace 24 form rear legs.

Decorative facing means 20 is composed of two generally complementaryfacing sections 20A, 20B. These facing sections are secured face to face to opposite sides of the frame 18. The front facing section 20A has a pair of spaced and generally parallel stiles 28 and an intervening panel section 32. The facing stiles 28 extend along the front sides of the frame stiles 22. The panel section 32 extends between the upper ends of the facing stiles above the seat 16. Formed in the rear sides of the facing stiles 28 are rearwardly opening channels 34 for receiving the frame stiles 22. Accordingly, when the front facing section 20A is applied to the core frame 18, the facing section surrounds and covers the front sides of the frame stiles.

The rear facing section 20B is similar to the front facing section 20A and includes stiles 36 and an intervening panel section 38 extending between the upper ends of the stiles. The front sides of the facing stiles 36 have open channels 42 for receiving the frame stiles 22. The depth of these channels is such that when the front and rear facing sections 20A, 20B are applied to the core frame 18, the confronting front and rear edges of the facing sections abut one another. The facing stiles 28, 36 then completely surround or encase the frame stiles 22. The facing sections are preferably injection molded from plastic and are secured to the frame 18 by fastening means to be described presently.

The front frame part 14 of the chair 10 has a core frame 48 of generally inverted U-shape This frame, like the rear core frame 18, may be constructed of any suitable material, but is preferably fashioned from metal tubing. The front core frame includes a pair of stiles 50 rigidlyjoined at their upper ends by a crossmember 52. Stiles 50 provide the front chair legs. Covering the stiles are decorative facing means or sleeves 54 which are split longitudinally into separate front and rear facing sections 54A, 548. According to the preferred practice of the invention, these facing sections, like the facing sections of the rear frame part 12, are injection molded from plastic. The facing sections 54A, 54B are secured to the front frame stiles St) in the manner to be explained presently.

The chair seat 16 has a relatively rigid load-supporting base 56 which may be constructed of various materials, but, again, is preferably injection molded from plastic. This base is firmly attached to the crossmembers 24, 52 of the rear and front core frames 18, 48. In the particular embodiment shown, these crossmembers have a generally V-shape and project from their respective core frames across the under side of the seat base 56 in a common, generally horizontal plane. The base is firmly attached to the crossmembers by screws 58 or any other convenient manner. Secured to the upper side of the base is a seat cushion 60. Fixed to the upper side of the base 56 is an upholstered seat cushion 59.

The seat base 56 in FIG. 5 is a simple flat plate, which may be wood. FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate a modified seat base 56A which may be formed from sheet metal. FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate a molded plastic seat base.

FIG. 1 illustrates the completed chair 10. It should be understood, of course, that the styling of the chair is purely illustrative and may be varied by changing the shape of the various chair parts and/or by changing the surface contours and surface features of the core frame facing means. FIGS. 2 and 3, for example, illustrate alternative chair configurations according to the invention.

In FIG. 2 the front facing section 20A is applied to the rear core frame 18 to form a backrest for the chair. The stiles 28 of the facing section 20A terminate approximately at seat level. The chair configuration of FIG. 3 is similar to that of FIG. 2 except that the stiles of the front facing section are extended downwardly to the lower ends of the rear frame stiles 22. In other words, the chair of FIG. 2 uses only the front facing section 20A of the chair 10 shown in FIG. 1. In each of the chairs of FIGS. 2 and 3, the rear frame stiles are partially exposed and thus must be appropriately finished. In the chair of FIG. I, the rear facing section B is applied to the rear side of the rear core frame 18 so that this frame is totally encased by the front and rear facing sections. There is thus no need to finish the frame. Only the front facing section 54A, or both the front and rear facing sections 54A, 548, may be applied to the front core frame stiles 50, or these facing sections may be omitted as in FIGS. 2 and 3, depending upon whether the frame stiles are to be totally exposed or partially or totally encased in the same manner as the rear core frame stiles. Glides 61 (FIG. 19) may be attached to the lower ends of the core frame stiles to prevent the lower ends of these stiles from marring the floor.

As noted earlier, the facing sections 20A, 20B and 54A, 54B of the frame parts l2, 14 may be secured in various ways to their respective core frames 18, 48.

FIGS. 11-18 illustrate certain preferred methods of accomplishing this attachment. FIGS. 1l-l6 illustrate attachments which may be used when only the front facing sections are applied to the core frames. In FIGS. 1l-l3, the front facing section (20A) is secured to the core frame (18) by screws. In FIGS. 14-16, the front facing section is formed with integral molded lugs 62 which project through aligned holes 64 in the core frame and have their protruding ends upset by the application of heat and pressure to permanently secure the facing section to the frame. When both the front and rear facing sections are applied to the core frames, the lugs 62 on the front facing sections are longitudinally dimensioned to project through aligned holes in both the frame and rear facing section, as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18. Other possible methods of attachment are press fit pins in the facing sections and solvent or ultrasonic welding of the abutting surfaces of the facing sections.

FIGS. 20-23 illustrate a high chair embodying the features of the invention. This high chair has front and rear frame parts 102, 104joined by a seat 106. The frame parts 102, 104 are basically similar in construction to those of the earlier described chair, and thus need not be explained in detail. Suffice it to say, that the rear frame part 102 has a tubular core frame covered by front and rear molded plastic facing sections 112A, 1128. Similarly, the front frame part 104 has a tubular core frame 114 covered by front and rear facing sections 116A, 1168. According to the preferred practice of the invention, the seat 106 is pivotally attached by pins 122 to the stiles of the rear and front core frames 110, 112 to permit folding of the chair, in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 22, 23, for convenience of storage when not in use.

The high chair also includes a tray 124 having sidearms 126. The rear ends of these arms are pivotally attached to the rear core frame stiles to permit the tray to be raised and lowered, as shown. When in its lower position of use, the tray rests on the upper ends of the front core frame stiles.

It will be observed that in each illustrated chair, the central panel section or sections of the rear frame facing means (i.e., items 32, 38 in FIG. 4) form a backrest. This backrest may be molded integrally with the rear facing stiles or separately and then secured to the stiles.

As clearly illustrated in the various figures of the drawings, the facing sections of the illustrated furniture have a ribbed hollow core construction and a generally uniform wall thickness throughout. This construction is desirable for the reason that it reduces the plastic content and hence cost of the facing sections and yet provides the sections with more than ample structural strength to support the loads they encounter in use. This load-supporting strength is particularly important to the plastic backrest panel and top rail which extend between the rear facing stiles. Particular attention is directed to the ribbed hollow core construction of the facing sections or sleeves which cover the stiles of the front and rear core frames. These facing sections or sleeves will be seen to have gussetlike reinforcing ribs disposed in planes normal to the longitudinal axes of and spaced generally uniformly along the sections. The exposed edges of these ribs or gussets have generally semicircular recesses which together constitute the core frame stile receiving channels (i.e., channels 34, 42 in FIGS. 1,4, 5) of the facing sections.

What is claimed as new in support of Letters Patent is:

l. A composite furniture part comprising:

a relatively rigid core frame member;

decorative facing means, said facing means comprising an exterior shell and a plurality of spaced interior ribs integral with the interior of said shell, different wall portions of said shell being in different planes whereby said shell has a hollow cross section at least partially surrounding said relatively rigid core frame member, said interior ribs being integral with and extending between the said different wall portions of said shell, a portion of said shell being open to expose a plurality of said interior ribs, said exposed interior ribs having recessed edges adjacent the open portion of said exterior shell, said recessed edges being seated against said relatively rigid core frame member whereby said interior ribs extend between said relatively rigid core frame member and the said different wall portions of said shell to support said wall portions; and

fastening means joining said relatively rigid core frame member and facing means.

2. A composite furniture structure comprising:

a relatively rigid core frame including a pair of spaced and generally parallel stiles and a crossmember extending between and rigidly joined to said stiles;

decorative facing means comprising an exterior shell and a plurality of spaced interior ribs integral with the interior of said shell, said shell having different wall portions positioned in different planes whereby said shell has a hollow cross section, said interior ribs being integral with and extending between the said different wall portions of said shell, 2. portion of said shell being open to expose a plurality of said interior ribs, said exposed interior ribs having recessed edges adjacent the open portion of said exterior shell, said recessed edges being aligned with one another to define a channel receiving said frame stiles in a manner such that said facing means at least partially covers said relatively rigid core frame whereby said interior ribs extend between said relatively rigid core frame member and the said different wall portions of said shell to support said wall portions; and

fastening means joining said facing means and relatively rigid core frame.

3. A decorative facing member for a composite furniture construction comprising:

an exterior shell having a plurality of spaced interior ribs integral with the interior of said shell, said shell having dif ferent wall portions positioned in different planes whereby said shell has a hollow cross section, said interior ribs being integral with and extending between the said different wall portions of said shell, a portion of said shell being open to expose a plurality of said interior ribs, said exposed interior ribs having recessed edges adjacent the open portion of said exterior shell, said recessed edges being aligned with one another to define a channel, said channel being adapted to receive a relatively rigid frame member whereby said interior ribs are adapted to extend between said relatively rigid frame member and the said different wall portions of said shell to support said wall portions.

4. A composite furniture part according to claim 1 wherein:

said facing means comprises a pair of complementary facing sections applied to opposite sides of said relatively rigid core frame member in a manner such that the exterior shells of said facing sections completely surround said relatively rigid core frame member, and each of said facing sections being joined to said relatively rigid core frame member by a fastening means.

5. A composite furniture part according to claim 1 wherein:

said facing means comprises an elongated molded plastic sleeve section having said interior ribs in planes normal to and spaced along the longitudinal axis of said sleeve section, and the recessed edges of said interior ribs being aligned lengthwise of the section to define a channel receiving said relatively rigid core frame member, said relatively rigid core frame member being tubular.

6. A composite furniture part according to claim 2 wherein:

said facing means comprises a pair of facing sections disposed with their open portions in confronting face-toface relation at opposite sides of said relatively rigid core frame so as to completely encase said core frame.

7. A composite furniture part according to claim 2 wherein:

said relatively rigid core frame comprises a back frame part for a chair; and

said facing means comprises a molded plastic facing section having facing stiles extending along the stilesof said relatively rigid core frame and a panel extendmg between said facing stiles to form a backrest.

8. A composite furniture part according to claim 2 wherein:

said facing means comprises a pair of molded plastic facing sections disposed with their open portions in confronting face-to-face relation at opposite sides of said relatively rigid core frame in a manner such that the exterior shells of said facing sections completely encase said relatively rigid core frame; and

said fastening means comprise fastening elements secured to said facing sections and projecting through aligned holes in said relatively rigid core frame and the other facing section.

9. A composite furniture part according to claim 5 wherein:

said fastening means comprises a fastening element proj ecting from the wall of said channel through a hole in said relatively rigid core frame member.

10. A composite furniture part according to claim 3 wherein:

said facing sections comprise molded plastic facing sections;

and

said fastening means comprises a fastening element secured to one of said facing sections and projecting through aligned holes in said relatively rigid core frame member and the other facing section.

11. A composite furniture part according to claim 6 wherein:

said facing sections comprise molded plastic facing sections. 12. A composite furniture part according to claim 2 wherein:

said facing means comprises a molded plastic facing section applied to one side of said relatively rigid core frame; and

said fastening means comprise fastening elements secured to said facing section and projecting through holes in said relatively rigid core frame.

13. A chair comprising:

a back frame part including a relatively rigid rear core frame having a pair of spaced and generally parallel stiles and a crossmember extending between and rigidly joined to said stiles, the lower ends of said stiles forming rear legs;

a front frame part including a relatively rigid front core frame having a pair of spaced and generally parallel stiles forming front legs and a crossmember extending between and rigidly joining the upper ends of said front legs;

a seat joined to said core frames at the upper ends of said legs;

rear decorative facing means secured to said rear core frame so as to cover at least the front side of said rear frame above seat level; and

front decorative facing means secured to said front chair legs so as to cover at least the front sides of said front legs,

14. A chair according to claim 13 wherein:

said rear facing means comprises stiles extending downwardly along and covering the front sides of said rear chair legs.

15. A chair according to claim 13 wherein:

said rear facing means comprises front and rear molded plastic facing sections secured in confronting face-to-face relation to the front and rear sides of said rear core frame; and

said front facing means comprise front and rear molded plastic facing sections secured in confronting face-to-face relation to the front and rear sides of said front chair legs,

16. A chair according to claim 15 wherein:

said rear facing sections comprise stiles extending downwardly to the lower ends of said rear chair legs at the front and rear sides of the latter legs.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3970401 *May 28, 1974Jul 20, 1976Donald LubeckTubular structures
US4002369 *Mar 17, 1972Jan 11, 1977Royal Seating CorporationChair and method of making same
US4685645 *Apr 4, 1985Aug 11, 1987Camar S.P.A.Table leg with sheating
US4762368 *Mar 17, 1987Aug 9, 1988Omni Products International, Inc.Lawn furniture and method of making same
US4966414 *Aug 8, 1989Oct 30, 1990Omni Products International, Inc.Lawn furniture and method of making same
US4966415 *Aug 8, 1988Oct 30, 1990Omni Products International, Inc.Structural member and lawn furniture constructed therefrom
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US6234571Oct 22, 1999May 22, 2001Mity-Lite, Inc.Indexing seat for folding chair
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US6345863Oct 22, 1999Feb 12, 2002Miny-Lite, Inc.Folding chair with lumbar support and flexible back support
US6422645Oct 22, 1999Jul 23, 2002Mity-Lite, Inc.Storable folding chair
US7510244 *Dec 1, 2005Mar 31, 2009Shin Justin HEvent chair construction
US7654617Jun 6, 2008Feb 2, 2010Mity-Lite, Inc.Flexible chair seat
US8070897 *Apr 9, 2007Dec 6, 2011Ligmatech Automationssysteme GmbhCase clamp
US8096620 *Apr 28, 2009Jan 17, 2012International Truck Intellectual Property Company, LlcInjection mold seat riser for modular school bus seats
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/451.1, 248/188.8
International ClassificationA47C4/02, A47D1/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47C4/028, A47D1/02, A47C7/405, A47C4/02
European ClassificationA47C7/40C, A47C4/02U, A47C4/02, A47D1/02