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Publication numberUS3766579 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 23, 1973
Filing dateJun 21, 1971
Priority dateJun 21, 1971
Publication numberUS 3766579 A, US 3766579A, US-A-3766579, US3766579 A, US3766579A
InventorsE Shields
Original AssigneeE Shields
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Water bed
US 3766579 A
Abstract
A water bed comprised of an air beam structure which acts as the supporting frame work. The air beam incorporates a base sheet arranged to cooperate with the air beam to retain any water which may escape from the water envelope. An air mattress is positioned within the framework of the air beam and is supported by the base sheet which, in turn, supports a water envelope positioned thereupon. The air mattress is selectively inflatable to control the relative softness or hardness of the water bed. Both the air beam structure and the air mattress are inflatable by conventional means such as for example a vacuum cleaner. The amount of water placed within the water envelope is also adjustable within wide limits. The air beam structure, air mattress and water envelope are so constructed as to assume a rectangular shape when filled. The water bed structure is comparable to conventional structures while employing about one-tenth the amount of water employed in conventional structures. A snug fitting foam insulation sheet covers the structure and acts as an insulation layer thereby avoiding the need for a separate heating structure. The apparatus may be placed upon a conventional foundation or may be fitted within a conventional water bed frame, either with or without the air beam.
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United States Patent [1 1 Shields Oct. 23, 1973 v [22] Filed:

[ WATER BED [76] Inventor: Eugene H. Shields, 45 Hartman Dr.,

Hamilton Square, NJ. 08690 June 21, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 155,034

Primary Examiner-James T. McCall Assistant Examiner-Andrew M. Calvert Attorney-Sidney G. Faber et al.

[57] ABSTRACT A water bed comprised of an air beam structure which i acts as the supporting frame work. The air beam incorporates a base sheet arranged to cooperate with the air beam to retain any water which may escape from the water envelope. An air mattress is positioned within the framework of the air beam and is supported by the base sheet which, in turn, supports a water envelope positioned thereupon. The air mattress is selectively inflatable to control the relative softness or hardness of the water bed. Both the air beam structure and the air mattress are inflatable by conventional means such as for example a vacuum cleaner. The amount of water placed within the water envelope is also adjustable within wide limits. The air beam structure, air mattress and water envelope are so constructed as to assume a rectangular shape when filled. The water bed structure is comparable to conventional structures while employing about one-tenth the amount of water employed in conventional structures. A snug fitting foam insulation sheet covers the structure and acts as an insulation layer thereby avoiding the need for a separate heating structure. The apparatus may be placed upon a conventional foundation or may be fitted within a conventional water bed frame, either with or without the air beam.

17 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures WATER BED The present invention relates to water beds and more particularly to a novel water bed structure comprising air inflatablecornppnents which serve as a water bed frame and which serve to significantly reduce the amount of water required. I

BACKGRQUNDOF THE INVENTION Whereas waterbeds have been known for some time to be advantageous for use in treating hospital patients especially forthe purpose of preventing bed sores and treating badly burned bodies, they are now rapidly becoming widely acceptable for use in private homes.

The present day water bed for home use typically is comprised of a rigid frame placed upon thefloor. The interior of theframe is fitted with a heavy gauge plastic sheet into which is placed a water envelope which is titled typically with two to three hundred gallons of water. The heavy gauge plastic sheet serves as a means to hold any water which may accidentally escape from the water envelope. The frames are usually quite large and the water bed, when completely filled, weighs typically greater than 1509 pounds. The beds areunwieldly to ship and assemble and the-large amount of water required necessitates the use of a heating element so as to elevate the temperature of the water to a level which is confortable to the user. Since escaping water may create an electrical hazard and since the beds are quite heavy, these disadvantages tend to deter widespread acceptance in popularity of present day water beds.

BRIEF OF THE INVENTION The present invention is characterized by providing a novel water be'd structure which overcomes the disadvantages of prior art water beds, which is one-tenth the weight of conventional water beds and which may be utilized with conventional foundations to thereby yield a water bed structure may be employed in a wider variety of applications than conventional present day structures.

The water bed of the present invention is comprised of an air-beam structure which utilizes four continuous air sleeves which form a substantially rectangular frame work for the waterbed. A base sheet is heat sealed to the underside of the air sleeves or alternatively forms part of the air sleeves to reduce the amount of plastic employed to formthe water bed. The air beam is filled through a valve provided therefore to form a substan tially rigid and yet resilient framework for supporting the water envelope.

The inflatable air mattress is positioned upon the base sheet and within the air beam structure. A water envelope is positioned upon the air mattress so that when the air mattress is inflated and the water envelope is filled, the top surface of the water envelope is at a height substantially equivalent to the top surface of the air beam structure. I

The relative hardness of the water bed may be adjusted by adjusting the inflation of the air mattress. The air mattress also serves to distribute the weight of the water envelope uniformly over the water bed structure.

A snug fitting foam insulation sheet covers the water bed to provide an insulation layer between the water bed andthe userso as to completely avoid the need for electrical heating means. All the effects and characteristics of conventional water beds, which usually carry four to five times as much water than the water bed of the present invention are exhibited by the water bed of thepresent invention while at the same time eliminating the disadvantages of the great weight and awkwardness in handling, storing and shipping of conventional water beds. The water bed of thepresent invention may also be employed as a mattress .upon a conventional foundation thereby eliminating the need for purchase of a new bed frame which is required for present day water beds. The base sheet which is sealed to the air beam structure forms a water-tight recess which serves to hold and retain any water which may accidentally escape from the water envelope.

It is therefore one object of the present invention to provide a novel water bed structure which retains all of the characteristics of conventional water bed structures while requiring less than one-fourth the amount of water normally employed in conventional water beds.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel water bed structure which utilizes air inflatable members forming a frame for the water bed, and providing a means of support along the edge so the occupant does not roll out and can also sit on the edge of the bed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These as well as other objects of the present invention will become apparent when reading the accompanying description and drawing in which:

FIGS. la, lb and 1c are perspective views of a water bed designed in accordance with the principles of the present invention and showing the water bed in various stages of assembly.

FIG. 2a'is a sectional view of the fully assembled water bed of FIG. 1c looking in the direction of arrows A-A'.

FIG. 2b is a sectional view of FIG. lc looking in the direction of arrows B-B'.

F IGS."2c and 2d show alternative air beam structures.

FIGS. 34 and 3b show portions of the water envelope of the water bed of FIGS. 1a-lc and the manner of forming the comers thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES Referring initially to FIGS. 1a and 2a, the water bed assembly is comprised of an air beam structure 11 which includes a base sheet 12 of substantially rectangular shape. The air beam structure is comprised of four sleeves 11a, 11b, 1 1c and 11d, which sleeves have an annular shaped cross section as can best be seen from the cross-sectional view of sleeves 11a and 11c shown in FIG. 2a. The sleeves Ila- 11d are joined to one another along seams which are diagonally aligned relative to the sides of the air beam structure. The sleeves are formed of a suitable plastic material which may be of a thickness of the order of twenty gauge and the hollow interiors thereof communicate with one another so as to form a continuous rectangular shaped structure.

The air beam is provided with a one-way flap-valve structure 14 of conventional design enabling the air beam to be filled with air by any conventional means such as, for example, the outlet nozzle of a standard vacuum cleaner. Insertion of air under pressure through valve means 14 fills the entire air beam structure with the amount of hardness desired being controlled by the amount of air pressure inserted into the air beam structure. If desired, the air mattress may be filled with a porous material exclusive of or in addition to air'under pressure.

The base sheet 12 is preferably heat-sealed along its edges to the under sides of sleeves Ila-11d so as to form a water-tight recess which may serve as a means of retaining any water which may accidentally leak from the water sleeve (to be more fully described) or which may be spilled during the filling thereof so as to protect the box spring upon which the water bed mattress is supported, as well as protecting the floor or any other surface beneath the water bed mattress such as a rug and so forth. Since all of the members of the structure are plastic, it is quite easy to keep clean. FIGS. 2a shows the location of two of the heat seals 15a and 15b along which the base sheet 12 is secured to sleeves 11a and 110. The base sheet is heat sealed such as, for example, by dielectric welding means, to the remaining sleeves 11b and 11d in a similar fashion.

FIGS. 2b shows another manner in which the base sheet 12 may be joined to the sleeves and form an integral part thereof. The sleeves 11a and 11c are shown as only partially forming the hollow enclosures with base sheet 12 being heat sealed at locations 15a, 15b, 15c and 15d so as to form an integral portion of each of the air beam sleeves as well as serving as the water tight base sheet.

As shown best in FIGS. 1b and 2a, the sleeves Ila-11d and base sheet 12 define a rectangular shaped recess which receives an air mattress 16. The air mattress is comprised of upper and lower plastic sheets 16a and 16b which are heat sealed along their edges to form an air-tight structure. One such seam 17 is shown in FIG. 2a. The air mattress is further provided with a pluraloty of vertically sligned ribs relative to FIG. 2a flat elongated sheets 18 which are heat sealed along their top and bottom edges to top and bottom sheets 16a and 16b, respectively. As shown best in FIG. 1b, the ends of sheets 18 are spaced inwardly from the ends 160 and 16d of the air mattress so as to enable the air inserted through the air mattress valve 19 to be distributed evenly so as to provide uniform pressure and substantially uniform thickness or height throughout the air mattress. The air mattress may be made by eliminating the ribs and sealing the two sheets in the manner shown in FIG. 20, if desired.

As can best be seen in FIG. 2a, the air mattress 16 occupies only a portion of the recess formed within and defined by the air beam structure 11 and base sheet 12. The remaining region of the recess is substantially fully occupied by a water envelope 20 comprised of upper and lower sheets 20a and 20b which are joined to one another preferably by heat sealing operation. However, the top surface of the air beam structure should preferably be somewhat higher than the top surface of the water envelope to prevent the user from accidentally rolling out of the bed. One of the seams 21 formed between the sheets is shown best in FIG. 2a. The water envelope 20 is filled through a valve 21 which may be substantially similar in design to the valves 14 and 19 referred to hereinabove. The water envelope is water tight and is rectangular in shape so as to conform to the rectangular shaped recess formed by the air beam structure. In order to provide a water envelope having a substantially rectangular shape, the corners of the sheets 20a and 20b are each formed in the manner shown best in FIGS. 3a and 3b, only one typical corner is shown, it being understood that the remaining corners are formed in a similar manner. The corner of sheet 20a which may, for example, be the lower lefthand corner, is notched as shown at 20c so as to form two substantially perpendicularly aligned edges 20c and 20f. The lower left-hand corner of sheet 20b is similarly notched as shown at 20d to form a similar pair of perpendicularly aligned edges 20g and 20h. With the corner 20j of the notch 200 being drawn upward, edges 20c and 20f are brought together as shown by arrows 22 and are heat sealed so as to form the seam 23a shown best in FIG. 3b. In a similar fashion, with the corner 20k of notch 20d being drawn downwardly, edges 20g and 20h are drawn toward one another as shown by arrows 24 and are heat sealed so as to form the seam 23b shown best in FIG. 3b. The corners 20j and 20k are shown as being spaced from one another at a distance substantially equal to twice the length of the seams 23a and 23b. The remaining associated edges of the sheets 16a and 16b are brought together in a manner shown best in FIG. 3b at which time they are then heat sealed.

Formation of the four corners of the water envelope in the manner described hereinabove causes the water envelope to assume a substantially rectangular shaped configuration when filled with water. It should also be understood that the corners of the air mattress 16 may preferably be formed in the same manner so as to provide substantially sharp corner portions and an overall rectangular configuration for the air mattress when filled with air.

The air mattress acts to significantly reduce the amount of water required in the water envelipe and further serves as a means for controlling the relative hardness or softness of the water bed by regulating the air pressure within the air mattress.

The air beam structure serves to position and retain the air mattress 16 and water envelope 20 within the recess formed by the air beam structure, as well as providing a soft cushion-like border for the water bed, enabling any one to climb upon the bed or remove themselves from the bed without sustaining any injury or discomfort.

The use of the air beam structure and air mattress significantly reduces the amount of water required for the water bed. For example, conventional water beds usually employ 200-300 gallons of water. A water bed structure of equivalent size and embodying the principles of the present invention requires only 30-40 gallons of water, thereby greatly simplifying the use of the water bed, the filling of the water bed and significantly reducing its weight which can clearly be seen to be of the order of one-fourth the weight of a conventional water bed.

The design of the water bed of the present invention also enables its use as a replacement mattress type structure for conventional beds. Noting FIGS. la-lc and 2a, it can be seen that the water bed structure may be placed upon a conventional box spring 26 thereby completely eliminating the need for a separate bed frame which is required for water beds of conventional design. If desired, however, the water bed structure of the present invention may be placed within a conventional frame which, as shown best in FIG. 2b, may simply be comprised of a wooden or other rigid frame made up of four sides, two of which 27a and 27b, are shown in FIG. 2b. The air beam structure, air mattress and water envelope are then positioned within the 8. The structure of claim 1 wherein said air mattress is comprised of first and second rectangular sheets joined to one another along their associated sides, the corners of said sheets being notched;

the adjacent edges of each of said notches being joined to one another to form square corners which retain their shape when saidenvelope is filled with air.

9. The structure of claim 8 wherein said air mattress is further provided with a pluraloty of narrow elongated plastic sheets arranged in spaced parallel fashion within said first and second plastic sheets;

the opposite edges of said narrow sheets being respectively joined to said first and second rectangular sheets to provide substantially uniform thickness across said air mattress.

10. The structure of claim 9 wherein the ends of said narrow plastic sheets are spaced inwardly from the associated ends of said air mattress to provide uniform air pressure through said air mattress.

11. The structure of claim 4 wherein each of said sleeves is joined to at least two of the remaining along diagonal seams to provide sharply defined corners.

12. The structure of claim 1 wherein the marginal portions of said'base sheet are sealed to said air beam structure.

13. The structure of claim 1 wherein the marginal portions of said base sheet are wrapped around said air beam structure.

14. A water bed structure comprising:

resilient collapsible supporting frame means defining a frame completely enclosing a central region of predetermined shape when filled with air;

a base sheet cooperating with said resilientframe means forming a water-tight recess in said central region;

a resilient pad having a shape generally conforming to the shape of said recess positioned upon said base sheet and partially filling said recess;

a water filled envelope positioned in-said recess and upon said pad whereby the top surface of said water envelope, when filled with water, is preferably slightly below the top surface of said frame means.

15. The structure of claim 14 wherein said frame means is rectangular in shape;

said frame means comprising a plurality of resilient sleeves of annular cross-section each defining one side of said rectangular frame means;

each of said sleeves being joined at each of its ends to the associated ends of at least two of the remaining sleeves;

said sleeves forming a continuous resilient structure for confining and framing said resilient pad and said water envelope and for protecting said water envelope from being damaged upon use as well as providing a resilient border to protect persons using the bed structure from being injured or bruised.

16. The structure of claim 14 wherein said resilient pad and said frame means are integrally joined to one another.

1-7. The structure of claim 14 wherein said base sheet and said frame means are integrally joined to one another.

frame which may rest upon the floor in the same manner as conventional water bed structures.

As shown'best in FIGS. 1c and 2a, the entire structure may be covered with a fitted vinyl foam insulation sheet 27 which is placed upon the water envelipe and air beam structure 11 and has its edges tucked beneath sheet 12 as shown at 28a and 28b in FIG. 2a. The corners of the insulation sheet may be joined along a diagonal seam so as to facilitate the fitted nature of the insulation sheet which serves as a means for insulating the reduced temperature level of the water within the water envelope from the body of the user, thereby eliminating the need for separate heating means normally employed in conventional water bed structures. Also, the significantly reduced amount of water required in the water bed of the present invention acts to enable the water within the water envelope to be elevated to room temperature without separate heating means more rapidly than conventional water beds.

FIGS. 2c and 2d show alternative arrangments for the cover sheet wherein FIG. 2c shows a cover sheet 12' whose marginal edges 12a and 12b are wrapped around the associated sleeves 11a and 110, respectively. The major central portion of the base sheet 12 is provided with sufficient material so as to rest upon the foundation or other supporting surface without pulling the marginal portions 12a and 12b out from beneath the sleeves 11a and 110. It should be obvious that the remaining sides (not shown in FIG. 20) of the base sheet 12 wrap around the remaining sleeves 11b and 11d, shown best in FIGS. la-lc. The corners of the base sheet may be formed so as to have diagonal seams of the type shown in FIG. 3b so as to contour-fit the air beam structure. FIG. 2d shows a somewhat similar arrangement wherein the cover sheet 12' is placed beneath the sleeves 11a and 110 and has its marginal portions 12a" and 12b" wrapped around the air beam sleeves 11a and 110, respectively. In a manner similar to that described hereinabove in connection with FIG. 20, the seams of the type shown in FIG. 3b may be formed so as to form-fit the marginal edges of the cover sheet beneath the respective sleeves of the air beam structure. FIG. 2d shows the alternative air mattress 16 in which the ribs 18 have been omitted and the sheets 16a and 16b are heatsealed to one another so as to form a plurality of substantially cylindrical shaped elongated tubular air-filled portions.

It can therefore be seen from the foregoing description that the present invention provides a novel water bed structure in which all of the desirable characteristics of conventional water beds are retained while at the same time significantly reducing the total amount of water required through the use of an air beam border and an air mattress while at the same time providing independent control of the hardness of the water bed through the use of means other than the water envelope (i.e. the air mattress) and further providing relatively soft cushiony sides to enable one entering upon or leaving the bed to do so without sustaining and discomfort or injury.

Although there has been described a preferred embodiment of this novel invention, many variations and modifications will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. Therefore, this invention is to be limited, not by the specific disclosure herein, but only by the appending claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A water bed structure comprising:

a collapsible air beam means defining a frame completely surrounding an open region of predetermined shape when filled with air;

a base sheet secured to said air beam means and cooperating with said air beam means to form a water-tight recess;

a highly resilient mattress having a shape generally conforming to the shape of said recess positioned upon the base sheet and partially filling said recess;

a water filled envelope positioned in said recess and upon said resilient mattress whereby the top surface of said water envelope is substantially coplanar with the top surface of said air beam means.

2. The structure of claim 1 further comprising a foam insulation sheet covering the top surface of said structure to insulate said water envelope from the user and thereby prevent the user from any discomfort as a result of any temperature difference between the water envelope and the surrounding environment.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said air beam means comprises a plurality of open-ended air-filled sleeves whereby each of said sleeves defines one side of said frame, said sleeves being joined end to end to form a continuous frame.

4. The structure of claim 1 wherein said frame is rectangular in shape;

said air beam means comprising a plurality of hollow open-ended plastic sleeves each defining one side of said rectangular frame;

each sleeve being joined at each of its ends to the associated ends of at least two of the remaining sleeves;

said sleeves forming a continuous hollow structure;

said hollow structure being filled with air at a predetennined pressure.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said air beam means further comprises valve means provided in at least one of said sleeves for filling said air beam means and retaining the air within said sleeves.

6. The structure of claim 1 wherein said frame is rectangular in shape;

said air beam means comprising a plurality of hollow plastic sleeves each defining one side of said rectangular frame;

each of said sleeves being formed of a substantially U-shaped plastic sheet;

each sleeve being joined at each of its ends to the associated ends of at least two of the remaining sleeves;

said base sheet being joined to each of said U-shaped plastic sheets along their longitudinal edges to form a hollow annular shaped sleeve assembly with each of said plastic sheets, whereby said sleeve assemblies cooperate to form a continuous air-filled border filled with air at a predetermined pressure to form a frame capable of retaining said air mattress and said water envelope.

7. The structure of claim 1 wherein said water envelope is comprised of first and second rectangular sheets joined to one another along their associated sides, the comers of said sheets being notched;

the adjacent edges of each of said notches being joined to one another to form square corners which retain their shape when said envelope is filled with water.

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Referenced by
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US3864768 *Jul 13, 1973Feb 11, 1975Said Fraige By Said ReadWater mattress with internal float tube
US3925835 *Jul 1, 1974Dec 16, 1975William PenningtonFrameless safety water bed
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Classifications
U.S. Classification5/681, 5/668
International ClassificationA47C27/08
Cooperative ClassificationA47C27/085, A47C27/081
European ClassificationA47C27/08A, A47C27/08B