US 3681798 A
A spring interior has a main face, or an extension of a main face, which is non-planar and has varying contours determined at least in part by at least one stiff yet resilient former of wire, rod, strip or the like secured to the main face. Preferred formers have parallel limbs joined by an integral, transverse base. The limbs may be inserted into parallel helical wires of the spring interior if such are provided. The former may be bent before or after being secured to the spring interior. The spring interior may be heat-treated to relieve stresses after it is in its final shape.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  3,681,798 Docker 51 Aug. 8,1972
 SPRING INTERIORS AND ARTICLES 1,179,062 4/1961 Adler ..5/267 X COMBINING SPRING INTERIORS 2,656,880 10/1953 Graupnen. ..5/360 X 3,085,260 4/1963 Caldemeyer eta1.......5/360 X  z 'f gsflz ggf a 3,454,054 7/1969 Docker ..140/10 x  Assignee Slumberland Group Limited, Bir- Przmary Exammer-Casmtr A. Nunberg mmgham England Attorney-Scrivener, Parker, Scrivener & Clarke  Filed: June 30, 1970 ] Appl. No.: 51,311 57 ABSTRACT A spring interior has a main face, or an extension of a  Fomgn Apphcatlon Pnomy Data main face, which is non-planar and has varying con- July 3, 1969 Great Britain ..33,519/69 tours determined at least in p y at least one stiff yet resilient former of wire, rod, strip or the like  U.S.Cl. ..5/351,5/256,5/261, secured to the in e- Pref rred formers have 267/107 parallel limbs joined by an integral, transverse base.  Int. Cl. ..A47c 23/04, A47c 25/00 limbs may in erted into parallel helical wires of 53 Field ofSearch...267/l07; 297/284; 5/236, 237, spring lmener If such are pr9v1ded- The former 5/264, 246, 260-267, 351 may be bent before or after being secured to the spring interior. The spring interior may be heat- 5 References i d treated to relieve stresses after it is in its final shape.
UNITED STATES PATENTS 3 Claims 13 Drawing Figures 999,678 8/1911 Schultz et a1. ..5/267 This invention relates to spring interiors and articles containing spring interiors. Such articles include mattresses, divans (i.e. supports for mattresses), seats, seat cushions, squabs, back-rests and the like. The spring interiors used in such articles usually have two main faces which are flat and parallel with each other when the spring interior is not stressed, and which are of generally square or rectangular shape. Spring interiors of that kind will hereinafter be referred to as regular spring interiors.
It is sometimes desirable to make articles which contain spring interiors, with main faces which are contoured, that is which are not flat. For example the upper main surface of a seat cushion in a motor vehicle is often provided with a raised portion adjacentto the front edge for supporting the thighs immediately above the knees. Hitherto it has been the general practice to provide such articles with regular spring interiors and to provide superficial padding to shape the surfaces of the articles, or alternatively to provide such articles with irregular spring interiors which have been specially constructed by assembling together individual pre-forrned springs of different sizes. Neither of these solutions is particularly satisfactory. The addition of superficial padding reduces the effective resilience of the spring interior, while the use of individual springs of different sizes is relatively expensive.
The present invention aims to overcome or at least to reduce these disadvantages.
From one aspect the present invention consists in a method of shaping a spring interior in which method as least one stiff yet resilient former of wire, rod, strip or the like elongate material is secured to a main face of the spring interior and is bent so as to determine at least in part varying contours of said main face of the spring interior or of an extension of said main face.
From another aspect the present invention consists in a spring interior shaped by the method outlined in the last preceding paragraph.
From yet another aspect the present invention consists in a spring interior in which at least one of the main faces, or an extension thereof, is non-planar and has varying contours determined at least in part by at least one stiff yet resilient former of wire, rod, strip or the like elongate material secured to the main face.
Throughout this specification reference is frequently made to the main faces of spring interiors and they are described as being planar or contoured. Reference is also made to extensions of the main faces, and again these are described as being planar or contoured. It will be appreciated that these terms are used herein not in a strictly geometrical sense, in that spring interiors by their very nature are of open-work construction and have component wires which may bend or overlap so that they do not lie truly in a common plane. Nevertheless spring interiors are such that their component parts do quite closely define notional or imaginary faces which can be distinguished readily and without significant ambiguity as to their positions and shapes. It must be understood therefore that when reference has been made to a face which is contoured this is a reference to a notional or imaginary surface which deviates from the planar to an extent considerably greater than the minor irregularities or ambiguities resulting from such factors as the thicknesses of the component wires, the clips or knots which may be used to connect them together, or even the helix diameters of the helical wires which may be present. Thus it is contemplated that there will be changes in height in a contoured face or extension of at least 1 inch in extent within a distance of 6 inches and may be considerably more.
The invention is particularly applicable to regular spring interiors, but is also applicable to irregular ones.v
Where a spring interior is regular a former secured to one of its main faces may serve to alter the shape of that main face so that it is no longer flat but is of varying contours, or it may project beyond that main face, leaving the face flat, and define an extension.
The same former may, of course, perform both functions at once so that both the main face and its extension are contoured. Similarly where a spring interior is irregular a former secured to one of its main faces may alter the shape of that main face so that its contours are changed and are partially or almost wholly determined by the shape of the former, or the former may project beyond that main face, leavingits contours unaltered, and define an extension of varying contours. Here again thesarne former may perform both functions at once.
The spring interior with the former may be subjected to heat-treatment which at least partially relaxes the stresses induced during manufacture. As a result it may happen that the contoured shape of one of the main faces of the springinterior is no longer maintained by the shape of the former against the resistance of the component springs. This, however, does not alter the fact that during an earlier stage of manufacture, before the heat treatment, the contoured shape was determined at least in part by the former, and that had the former not been secured to the spring interior the final shape of the main face would have been different. Heat treatment to effect stress-relief is often necessary when the spring interior is to be incorporated in an article which is to be sat on or lain on in use; stress relief is .usually less necessary when the article is only going to be leant against in use.
As indicated above the invention may be used with spring interiors of various kinds. The spring interiors may for example be of the kind comprising a plurality of individual coil springs with their axes parallel and their end coils defining the main surfaces of the spring interior. The end coils may be interconnected by straight wire linkages, or by clips, or by helical wires, each of these interconnectors being in the main planes of the spring interior. Alternatively the spring interiors may be of the kind comprising bands of coil springs disposed side-by-side and interconnected by helical wires in the planes of the main faces of the spring interior and transverse to the bands, each band being constituted by a single length of wire: bent so as to form a row of coil springs, and each spring extending between the main faces and each being joined to the next by an integral connector. Spring interiors of the latter kind lend themselves to mechanised production and therefore they are generally regular.
Where helical wires are incorporated in the main faces of the spring interiors the formers, or parts of 7 them, are preferably embraced by the helical wires and are partially or wholly secured in place by being so embraced. Where there are no helical wires the formers are preferably clipped in place, as for example to the straight wire linkages'where such are provided.
It is to be understood that although reference has been made above to the addition of a single former to a spring interior, a plurality of formers may well be used. Similarly a former or formers may be secured to one of the main faces of a spring interior, or formers may be secured to both of the main faces thereof.
Where a plurality of formers are secured to a main face they are preferably contoured alike and disposed adjacent to one another in a regular manner so that the face or its extension is similarly contoured over a relatively extensive area. Alteratively successive formers may be of gradually differing shapes so that the contours of the main face to which they are secured, or the contours of the extension thereof, vary gradually over a relatively extensive area.
Each former preferably comprises two spaced parallel or substantially parallel limbs interconnected by a base integral with the limbs and at one end thereof, the whole preferably being formed from a single length of wire. The limbs of the former are preferably equal in length. The former may be planar initially and its limbs may be bent to provide the required contours after it has been secured to a spring interior. Alternatively the former may be bent first and secured to the spring interior subsequently. Yet again the former may be partially bent before being secured in place and additionally bent after being secured in place. The spacing between the limbs is preferably equal to, or an integral multiple of, the spacing between adjacent rows of springs in the spring interior.
Where helical wires are incorporated in the main faces of the spring interior the limbs of the former are preferably inserted into parallel helical wires. The limbs may be crimped or corrugated to give them additional stiffness.
The bases of the formers are usually straight and at right angles to the adjacent parts of the limbs, but if desired they may be somewhat curved.
When the former has been secured to the spring interior its base may be in an intermediate part of the main face of the spring interior, but preferably the arrangement is such that the base extends along one edge of the face or is beyond one edge and defines or assist in defining an edge of an extension to that face.
The invention will now .be more particularly described with reference to the accompanying, in which:
FIG. 1 is a somewhat diagrammatic plan view of a regular spring interior before formers characteristic of the invention have been secured to it;
FIG. 2 is an end view of the spring interior shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the spring interior shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a former of a kind which can be secured to a spring interior of the kind shown in FIGS. 1 to 3;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative kind of former;
FIG. 6 1s a side view of a spring interior, similar to FIG. 3, but after formers of the kind shown in FIG. 4 have been secured to it;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another kind of fonner which can be secured to a spring interior of the kind shown in FIGS. 1 to 3;
FIG. 8 is a side view of a spring interior, similar to FIG. 3, but after formers of the kind shown in FIG. 7 have been secured to it;
FIG. 9 is a perspective of a seat incorporating the spring interior shown in FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of yet another kind of former which can be secured to a spring interior of the kind shown in FIGS. 1 to 3;
FIG. 11 is a side view of a spring interior, similar to FIG. 3, but after formers of the kind shown in FIG. 10 have been secured to it;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a seat incorporating the spring interior shown in FIG. 11; and
FIG. 13 is a section through a divan incorporating a spring interior embodying the invention.
The regular spring interior shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 is of a known kind and comprises a plurality of bands 1 of coil springs 2 disposed side-by-side. Each band 1 is constituted by a single length of wire bent so as to form coil springs 2, alternate springs being of one hand and the springs between them being of the other hand. The axes of the springs are approximately parallel to one another. Each spring 2 is joined to the next by an integral connector 3 which lies in one of the main faces of the spring interior and extends lengthwise of the band. The coil springs 2 extend between the main faces 4 and 5 of the spring interior, and each spring 2 is linked to its neighbors by having intermediate coils thereof passed around adjacent coils of the neighboring springs. There is a gap between each band 1 of springs and the next, and the bands are interconnected by helical wires 6 at right angles to the bands 1 and in the planes of the main faces 4 and 5 of the spring interior. Each helical wire 6 is linked to each band 1 in such a manner as to embrace the end parts of two neighboring springs 2 immediately adjacent to the connectors 3 which stem from the ends of the springs.
In the arrangement illustrated there are five bands 1 of springs, each containing 14 springs 2, and 13 helical wires 6, six on one main face 4 and seven on the other main face 5.
Formers of different kinds can be inserted into the helical wires 6 at one or both main faces. Various kinds of formers are illustrated in FIGS. 4, 5, 7 and 10. Each former comprises a length of stiff yet resilient wire bent so as to provide a straight base 7, equal in length to the spacing between adjacent helical wires 6 on each of the main faces 4 and 5 of the spring interior, and a pair of parallel or substantially parallel limbs 8 of equal length, the limbs being crimped or corrugated as shown. One limb 8 enters each helical wire 6 on one of the main faces 4 and 5 except where there are an odd number of helical wires, in which case the end helical wire does not contain a limb of a former. Thus three formers can be secured to each of the faces 4 and 5.
In the arrangement shown in FIGS. 4 and 6 each limb 8 of each former is bent so that the part of the limb nearest the base 7 is arcuate as indicated at 9 and lies in a plane normal to the base 7, while the remainder of the limb is straight and is aligned with the adjacent end of the base. The length of each limb 8 is equal to the length of each helical wire 6, and when the forms are fully inserted into the helical wires from one end thereof the spring interior is distorted as shown in FIG. 6 so that the main face containing these helical wires has a raised portion of arcuate cross-section near one edge, while the remainder is flat. There are five bands 1 and the raised portion extends across two of them.
The wire from which the formers are made is sufficiently stiff to preclude any significant alterations in the shapes of the formers as they are inserted into the helical wires. It is found that the other main face 11 of the spring interior is scarcely distorted at all. If desired, however, the main face 11 may be stiffened by means of planar formers of the kind shown in FIG. 5.
The shaped interior may be used in a motor vehicle seat, the shaped spring interior being covered with a layer of padding of substantially unifonn thickness, and the whole being contained in a cover of appropriate shape.
In another arrangement each former is modified as 1 shown in FIG. 7 in that the part of each limb 8 nearest the base 7 is bent into a 90 arc l2 and lies in a plane normal to the base, while the remainder of the limb is straight and is tangential to that part of the arc 12 from which it stems. As shown in FIG. 8 the straight parts of the limbs 8 are inserted into the helical wires 6 of one main face, leaving the arcuate parts 12 to define a curved extension which terminates in the plane of the other main face, the edge of the extension in said plane being defined by the spaced, aligned bases 7 of the formers. FIG. 9 shown a seat incorporating the spring interior shown in FIG. 8.
In yet another arrangement, illustrated in FIG. 10, the formers are again modified in that each limb 8 is bent, to an angle of about 25 or 30, at a point spaced from the base 7 by a distance equal to about a quarter or a fifth of the overall length of the limb. As before, the two limbs 8 of each former lie in parallel planes normal to the base 7. The limbs 8 of the formers are fully inserted into the helical wires so that a shallow depression is formed in the main face of the spring interior near one edge thereof, as illustrated in FIG. 11. Alternatively it would be possible for the limbs 8 of the formers to be inserted into the helical wires 6 up to the points at which they are bent, so that the projecting parts of the formers define a planar extension to the spring interior, terminating in an edge defined by the spaced, aligned bases 7 of the formers. The extension projects away from the other main face rather than towards it. Either of these shaped spring interiors may be used in the seat cushions or squabs of motor-vehicle seats.
FIG. 12 shows a seat incorporating the spring interior shown in FIG. 11. Where the shape spring interiors are to be used as seat cushions they may be stress-relieved by being heated in a suitable oven to between 500 F and 550 F.
It is to be understood that, if desired, planar formers like that shown in FIG. 5 can be inserted into the helical wires and subsequently deformed so that they assume shapes such as those illustrated in FIGS. 4, 7 and The invention is also applicable to divans, that is to supports for mattresses. In particular a divan may comprise a spring interior provided with formers with outer end parts which project from each of the two longer side ed es of the r main urface f the i eri r, th projecti ng parts ii iii; curve upwards to diine m ex tension along each side edge with an upwardly concave face. When the spring interior is incorporated in a divan the cover presents a concave upper surface in i which a mattress can be located. A divan of this kind is illustrated in FIG. 13. The divan comprises a spring interior 13 secured to a wooden base 14 with legs 15. The spring interior 13 comprises a plurality of bands of springs 16 similar to the bands I, joined by helical wires 17 similar to the helical wires 6. Formers 18, each somewhat similar to that shown in FIG. 10, are secured to the side edges of the upper face of the spring interior 13, their limbs entering the helical wires 17. The pro- 20 jecting end parts of the formers 18 are curved upwards,
and the bases at the outer ends of the formers define the edges of the extensions to the upper face and are preferably connected to a peripheral strip-metal frame member. A thin layer of padding 19 covers the spring interior l3 and its extensions, and the whole is enclosed within a fabric cover 20.
The present invention is related to that which is the subject of our US. Pat. No. 1,1 13,772 and articles may embody both the present invention and the invention which is the subject of that patent.
What is claimed is:
1. A spring interior comprising a plurality of compression-spring elements disposed in an array, the ends of the spring elements defining at least part of first and second main faces, a plurality of helical wires disposed in said main faces of the spring interior, the helical wires linking adjacent compression-spring elements, at least the first main face being non-planar and having varying contours, and at least one stiff yet resilient former of elongate but non-rectilinear shape, at least a part of which extends lengthwise of one of said helical wires in said first main face and determining at least to some extent the varying contours of that face.
2. A spring interior according to claim 1 in which there are a plurality of substantially parallel helical wires disposed in said first main face of the spring interior, and there are a plurality of formers each comprising two spaced substantially parallel limbs of nonrectilinear shape and a base integral with the limbs at one end of each former, the two substantially parallel limbs of each former being inserted into two of said substantially parallel helical wires disposed in said first main face.
3. A spring interior according to claim 2 in which parts of the limbs project from the helical wires to define an extension portion of said first main face, and the bases of the formers are mutually aligned to define the outer edge of said extension portion.