US 3736022 A
In order to overcome the non-breathing properties of a molded seat cushion having a cast skin and to permit a single molded seat cushion member to be capable of taking on various aesthetic appearances as well as to provide functions such as ventilation, heating, cooling and manufacturer or owner identification, the seating area of the cushion is provided with large recessed areas which are adapted to receive insert members. The insert members, which may be formed of porous materials, are fastened to the seat parts in a manner such that they appear to be permanently attached to the seat parts but can be readily replaced when desired.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Radke 1 MOLDED SEAT CUSHION WITH CAST SKIN AND INSERT RECEIVING RECESS  Inventor: Arthur 0. Radke, Milwaukee, Wis.
 Assignee: '01! Products Company, Des Plaines,
22 Filed: July 26,1971 211 AppI.No.: 166,182
297/458-460, DIG. 3; 5/347, 345 R [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,331,089 7/1967 Ornas, Jr. et al. ..247/457 X 3,171,691 3/1965 Buehrig ..5/347 X 3,506,308 4/1970 Fenton ..297/453 4/1971 Lehner .297/453 [451 May 29, 1973 Borton et a1 .297/453 Steer ..297/453 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS  ABSTRACT In order to overcome the non-breathing properties of a molded seat cushion having a cast skin and to permit a single molded seat cushion member to be capable of taking on various aesthetic appearances as well as to provide functions such as ventilation, heating, cooling and manufacturer or owner identification, the seating area of the cushion is provided with large recessed areas which are adapted to receive insert members. The insert members, which may be formed of porous materials, are fastenedto the seat parts in a manner such that they appear to be permanently attached to the seat parts but can be readily replaced when desired.
15 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures Patented May 29, 1973 2 Sheets-Shet 1 Figure l I" 'l I //V V E N TOR Arthur 0. Rad/re A T T OR/VE Y5 Patented May 29, 1973 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure Figure .9
e k 5 MR 0 E r V A T TOR/V5 Y5 MOLDED SEAT CUSHION WITH CAST SKIN AND INSERT RECEIVING RECESS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION For many years, vehicle seats, and particularly individual vehicle seats for trucks and off-the-road vehicles have been made by placing foam or other filler material on a support frame and attaching a cover which has been cut, sewn, and fittedusually by hand. With the advent of techniques for the casting of textured and colored self-skinned cushions and seats it has been possible to reduce the amount of hand labor and material required to make a seat while providing a more rugged product without the inherent weaknesses which seams provide. Even though seats having cast coverings have certain advantages, as noted above, one disadvantage remains, namely, the cost of molds. The mold expense is greatly multiplied when it is necessary to provide a plurality of sets of molds to obtain the large number of shapes and textures desired by different users. The reason for a great variety of designs being required is that a particular vehicle manufacturer would not want the seats in one of his models looking like those in another or like those sold by a competitor. When seats arecovered withcut and sewn covers, a large variety of fabrics and sewing patterns can be used to lend distinctiveness to a seat without substantially increasing the unit cost. This variety is neither practical or economically feasible with molded cushions since it is expensive just to change a color.
Another problem of molded seats with cast covers is that the covers, being made ofplastic, do not breathe and thus the seat is not usually as comfortable as a seat with a porous cover. Although the cast covers are very resistant to weather, are quite durable, and are easily cleaned, their lack of breathability is, to many, a large drawback. One type of construction which provides good ventilation is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,331,089. However, the particular type of construction shown in the patent would be quite expensive since the plastic cover is cut and sewn and the porous cloth portion is also either sewn or bonded to the plastic. U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,220,767 and 3,278,226 illustrate the use of auxiliary cushions which strap onto a seat. However, in neither of these latter patents does abreathable covering cooperate with a self-skinned cushion to provide ventilation. Furthermore, auxiliary cushions do notgive the ap pearance of being an integral part of an upholstered seat and are thus, to many, not as aesthetically pleasing as a cushion that appears to be anintegral unit.
SUMMARY It is an object of this invention to provide a seat cushion which has a cast skinfilled with foam butwherein the appearance of the cushion may easily and economically.
It is another object of this invention to provide a seat cushion which has a cast non-porous skin but which is capable of receiving inserts which may be formed of porous material.
These objects are obtained by the present invention wherein a seat cushion having a cast skin is formed so that a large recess is incorporated into the seating surface. The recess is preferably shallow and has side walls which are generally perpendicular to the surface of the cushion so as to form a nest for snugly capturing an insert member placed therein. The insert member may be be changed quite formed of the same material as the cast skin but in a different color so as to provide contrast, or it may be formed of a porous material which provides a degree of ventilation. The inserts are preferably attached to the cushions by fasteners which are not visible but which may be readily fastened or unfastened. In an embodiment wherein the cushions are molded to include ventilating tubes between the recess area and the rear of the cushion, the fasteners may conveniently pass through said tubes and be anchored behind the cushion.
The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages will be apparent from the following more particular description of a preferred embodiment thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a partially cut away and partially exploded perspective view showing a pair of seat cushions of the present invention and one type of insert member and fastening therefor:
FIG. 2 is a partial side sectional view of the seat back cushion of FIG. 1 in association with a modified form of insert and attachment means with the various parts shown in the positions they assume just prior to the assembly of the insert to the seat;
FIG. 3 is similar to FIG. 2 but shows modified forms of the insert member, fastening means and seat cushion of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is similar to FIG. 2 but shows an additional modification;
FIGS. 5 and 6 are front and side views respectively of the ventilated fastener retainer plate used in the modification shown in FIG. 4.
FIG. 7 shows a slight modification of the FIG. 4 arrangement;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing yet another modification but with the seat cushion and insert members in assembled relationship; and
FIG. 9 is a side sectional view of the cushion and insert members of FIG. 4 in combination with other seat structure which includes ventilating passages and a blower device.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. 1, a seat 10 has a back cushion I2 and a bottom cushion l4 pivotally attached to each other by means of fastener means 18. The cushions 12, 14 are covered with a cast skin 20 which is preferably formed of a tough durable plastic. Molded to the inside of the cast cover 20 is a filler 22 which preferably comprises an expanded foam material such as polyurethane. To
provide rigidity to the seat cushions, a seat pan or frame member 24 may be molded into the foam material 22.For reasons hereinbefore explained, the cushions 12, 14, are formed with recessed areas 28, 28 which are defined by a generally flat recess surface 30 and side walls 32 which are generally perpendicular to the plane of the seating surface. Since the materials which are most desirable for the casting of the skin or cover 20 are usually non-porous and thus offer no opportunity for the seat cushions to breathe, a plurality of tubular openings 34 are preferably provided in the cushions which extend from the surface 30 of the recess area 28 to the rear of the cushion.
Adapted to be mounted in the recess area 28 is an insert member indicated generally at 38 which may include an interior bent wire frame 40 forgiving rigidity to the insert member and for providing a plurality of support locations 40a to which fasteners 50 may be attached for holding the insert 38 to the cushion 12. If it is desirable to provide the occupant of the seat with' some degree of ventilation, the front and back surfaces 42, 44 of the insert 38 may be made of a porous covering material such as cloth. The cover layers 42, 44 may be backed up by fillers such as jute padding which provide some measure of softness to the insert while preventing the support frame 40 from rubbing directly on the cover layers. Recess 28' requires a larger insert than recess 28.
The insert 38 is preferably maintained within the recessed area 28 by fastening means such as springs 50 which may be looped around the frame 40a of the insert 38 at one ofits ends and be retained at its other end by fastening means such as a washer 54 and a pin or clip member 56. Such a fastening means is invisible from the front of the seat cushion and retains the insert 38 against unauthorized removal while permitting the insert to be removed when desired by removing pin 56 or by pulling out on insert 38 sufficiently to enable spring 50 to be disconnected.
FIG. 2 shows an insert member indicated generally at 138 having outer and inner surface coverings 142, 144. The insert 138 is attached to the cushion 112 by means of a plurality of plug-like fastener members 150 which have large flanges 152 which may be bonded or otherwise fastened to the surface 144 so as to be held in alignment with the holes 134 in cushion 112. The pluglike fasteners 150 include friction engaging members such as rings 154 which are adapted to dig into portions of the cover material 120 which extend into the holes 134 so as to provide firm retention of the insert member. The fasteners 150 preferably have a hole 156 extending through them in order to permit air to pass freely between the interior of the insert member 138 and through the ventilating holes 134.
In the modification of the invention shown in FIG. 3, the insert member indicated generally at 238 is attached to the cushion 212 by means of hook and loop fastener members 250, 252 such as those sold under the trademark Velcro". This type of fastening means is particularly convenient when the seat cushion 212 does not include ventilating holes.
FIG. 4 shows a modification of the invention wherein the insert member indicated generally at 338 is fastened to the cushion 312 by a spring-like fastener member 350 which is anchored to the rear of the cushion 312 by a flanged grommet member 354 and a ventilating grid plate 356 (FIGS. and 6) having an anchor or loop portion 358 to which the spring 350 is attached and including a plurality of ventilating holes 360 which permit air to pass through the tubular opening 334. The internal construction of the insert 338 shown in this modification includes a pair of outer surface layers 342 and 344 formed of porous material and a center portion 340 formed of coiled wire. The coiled wire 340 gives a resilient support to the insert 338, permits air circulation therein, and provides convenient connec- '450. The insert 438 may include grommet or eyelet members 446 for properly positioning the buttons 452 and protecting the surfaces 442, 444 from tearing. The insert 438 may be covered with different materials on each side in order to increase its usefulness. For example, one side of the insert could be covered with a po rous material which could be made to face outwardly in the summertime to permit ventilation through the insert interior and the porous covering whereas the opposite side of the insert could be surfaced with a heat reflective material which would provide warmth when facing outwardly in the wintertime by reflecting body heat. Alternatively, one side of the insert could be covered with a material such as terrycloth to provide an absorbent and cool surface for use when the vehicle containing the seat is to be driven to the beach or left in the sun while the opposite side could be covered with a more attractive looking material.
FIG. 9 shows the insert 338 and cushion structure 312 of FIG. 4 in association with a seat back member 360 which includes ventilating channels 365 which interconnect the ventilating holes 334 through a conduit such as a flexible pipe 366 to a blower member 368 which can either blow air into the inserts and against the seat occupant or withdraw it from the insert. Obviously, many other types of heating and cooling means could be connected to the seat and insert to make the seat more comfortable.
I claim as my invention:
1. A ventilated seat construction comprising a molded cushion having a cast skin cover and a molded resilient filler portion, said filler portion being integrally bonded to said cover, said cast cover including at least one recessed portion on its external seating surface, a porous insert member having a cover of a material different from said cast skin cover, said porous insert member being adapted to be engaged by a seat occupant and having external dimensions corresponding to the dimensions of said recessed portion so as to be receivable in said recessed portion and retained thereby against sideways movement, and cooperating fastening means on said molded cushion and on said insert member for maintaining said insert member within said recessed portion.
2. A seat construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said seat cushion includes a plurality of ventilation holes extending through said cushion from said recessed portion.
3. A seat construction in accordance with claim 2 wherein said seat cushion includes a molded in seat pan.
4. A seat construction in accordance with claim I wherein said insert member includes internal stiffening means.
5. A seat construction in accordance with claim 4 wherein said stiffening means comprises a wire frame.
6. A seat construction in accordance with claim 4 wherein said stiffening means comprises a three dimensional substantially hollow filler member formed of wire, said filler member spacing the front and back portions of the insert cover from each other by a distance greater than the thickness of said wire.
7. A seat construction in accordance with claim 2 wherein said fastening means passes through said ventilation holes.
8. A seat construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said fastening means comprises cooperating hook and loop fastener members on said insert and in said recess.
9. A seat construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said insert member is fastened into said recess by upholstery buttons.
10. A seat construction in accordance with claim 1 wherein said recess includes a plurality of holes which are adapted to cooperate with a plurality of plug-like fastener members on said insert member.
11. A seat construction in accordance with claim wherein said plug-like fasteners are hollow and said plurality of holes extend throughout the depth of said cushion for ventilating the interior of said cushion.
12. A seat construction in accordance with claim 2 wherein said ventilation holes in said seat cushion are connected by passageways to an air blower.
13. A seat construction in accordance with claim 2 wherein said fastening means comprises a plurality of spring members extending through at least some of said ventilation holes and anchored relative to the insert member at one end and relative to the cushion member at their other ends.
14. A seat construction in accordance with claim 13 wherein said other ends of said spring members are each anchored relative to said cushion member by a perforated plate of a dimension too large to pass through said ventilating holes, said perforated plate including a retaining portion for engaging said cushion members.
15. A seat construction in accordance with claim 6 wherein said hollow filler member comprises a plurality of resilient coiled spring members.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION PATENT NO. 3,736,022
DATED :MAY 29, 1973 INVENTOR(S) :ARTHUR O. RADKE It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
On page I, INID code , insert Universal before "01'1 Products Company".
Erigncd and Sealed this second Day Of March 1976 [SEAL] A ttes t:
RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN Arresting Officer Commissioner ofPatenls and Trademarks