US 3778337 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 11, 1913 EM. MAND my 3,175,331
DECORATIVE WALL CQVERING Filed July 22, 197i //VV6/VT01Q 5- w y 4/. Mama 6490/ 6? fa ofra United States 'PatentOJ I 3,778,337 Patented Dec. 11, 1973 hee- Angeles, Calif.
Filed July 22, 1971, Ser. N0. 165,269 911112 Cl. B325 3/26, 5/18 7 Claims ABSTRACT OF. I )ISCL0SURE A decorative gwall covering including a woven material such as jute having strands therein of different and varyglthicknss'e'sl A fire retardant foam backing is bonded ijto' W0ven' iriate'iial'and penetrates the weave to varying depth,"dep'endinguponthe thickness of the strands at i is ls a it Y BACKGROUNI) on THE INVENTION In the field of decorative wall coverings, many materials are commercially available which can be applied to walls to produce an effect somewhat more pleasing than a blank, painted wall surface. For example, the use of various wall papers, burlap, grass cloth, etc., has been well known for a long time. Burlap and grass cloth, as well as similar materials, are normally used to produce a rather dignified effect such as might be found in an oflice, library, etc. On the other hand, this latter type of wall covering is not extensively used in homes; it has not been used in areas in which colors are desired because the materials are generally of a single, rather monotonous color tone which dignifies a room but does not brighten and enliven it.
Further, wider use of these materials has also been prevented since they are usually manufactured in rolls having widths of approximately three feet. Consequently, when they are applied to wall surfaces, adjoining strips must be butted against one other. Since the color patterns which do occur in the materials are not recurrent and successive, it is impossible to match the adjoining strips in any satisfactory manner. As a result, the butt line between each pair of strips is clearly visible and presents an unattractive appearance.
The materials have been manufactured in three foot widths since their strength is often so low that Wider widths result in tears and breaks. Attempts have been made to coat the materials with strengthening compounds but these tend to harden and crumble. Consequently, it is difiicult to roll, store, or handle rolls of the prior art materials.
As a further disadvantage, these materials are not only not fire resistant, but, in fact, are sufficiently inflammable that they can act as wicking to ignite materials, furniture, etc., with which they are in contact.
In the past, when painting, etc., have been mounted on walls which have been covered with such wall coverings, later removal of the painting and the nail upon which it was hung results in an unsightly hole being left in the wall covering. This can only be hidden by hanging another painting in place thereof, or by replacing an entire strip of covering.
Another reason that such wall coverings have not found extensive use in homes and high traflic areas is the fact that they are easily damaged. For example, if a person should hit such a wall covering with a sharp object or frequently push a chair up against it, wall covering will become worn and/or torn and will become very unsightly.
When burlap, grass cloth, and similar materials are applied to a wall surface, the entire wall and/or material must be coated with adhesive to prevent blistering and/ or sagging in the material later on. Obviously, this requirement results in high labor and material costs and effectively reduces the number of homeowners, etc., who are willing to apply the wall covering themselves.
As will be apparent from the above discussion, it has become highly desirable to produce a decorative wall covering which is inexpensive, interesting and colorful to look at, has no seams, will completely hide any holes formed by nails when the nails are withdrawn, is fire retardant, can withstand rough usage without showing any wear or undesirable appearances and is resilient, tough, and durable so that it can easily be rolled, stored, and used. It is also highly desirable to produce such a decorative wall covering which can quickly and inexpensively be bonded to a wall with a minimum amount of work and materials so that, if desired, the average homeowner can decorate his home with the coverings without incurring installation expenses or undertaking a messy and ditficult job.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention disclosed hereby comprises a decorative wall covering which can be produced in such a form as to accomplish all of the above-described desired features.
In its basic form, the present invention comprises a decorative wall covering manufactured from a material such as closely woven jute; the material is provided with a back-up foam coating which may, if desired, be resilient. The foam may be a vinyl or latex material which is manufactured with an aluminum hydrate therein. An example of such a foam has been disclosed in US. patent application Ser. No. 15,677 filed Mar. 2, 1970, now US. Pat. No. 3,663,345 and assigned to the assignee hereof. The disclosure of that application is hereby incorporated herein insofar as the fire retardant foam compounds are disclosed therein. Although that application is substantially directed, in its disclosure, to a latex foam, the foam used with the wall covering may be, if desired, a vinyl foam, it has been found that, in some instances, a vinyl foam may be more suitable due to its somewhat greater strength and its resistance to decomposure.
In any event, the foam includes a hydrate such as aluminum hydrate, aluminum hydroxide, or hydrated aluminum oxide, all of which decompose at a temperature greater than that at which the foam cures. If flame contacts the decorative wall covering, the heat generated by the flame will cause the hydrate to break down, releasing moisture which will retard and/or prevent further flame propagation.
Although nearly any closely woven material may be used with the invention, jute is preferred since it presents a good appearance, can easily be dyed, and has strands which vary in thickness.
The foam used with the decorative wall covering is provided with a color pigment and (if desired, the material may be dyed any desired color. When applied, the foam is relatively viscous and can pass between the strands of jute. If the strands are of varying thicknesses, the amount of foam which passes through the weave at any given point, as Well as the distance it passes through the weave, will be directly dependent upon the thickness of the strands at that location. In other words, although the covering thickness Will be constant throughout, more foam will appear to pass through the weave at some locations than at others as a result of the variation in strand thickness. The result is a random color pattern occurring in the wall covevring which can be accentuated by differences in the colors of the jute and the backing.
The resiliency of the foam results in a Wall covering which is highly resistant to damage since nearly any contact between objects and the wall covering will be adsorbed by the foam rather than by the jute. Thus, it will be relatively impossible to damage the jute or the wall covering unless it is attacked with a specific intent to do so. Additionally, the resiliency of the foam allows the wall covering to close and completely seal any holes left when nails are withdrawn from the wall coveringfor example, when decorations such as pictures and paintings are removed. As the foam moves into position to close the holes remaining when nails are removed, it will draw the jute with it so that the hole will be completely hidden from view and will even be difficult to relocate, much less be readily apparent to a casual viewer.
The resiliency and pliability of the foam also allows the covering to be handled in wide rolls and to be easily rolled, unrolled, stored, handled, etc., without tearing, deteriorating, etc.
Since jute is a relatively strong material and the foam, when cured, adds to its strength, decorative wall coverings formed in accordance with the present invention may be manufactured in nearly any desired width such as eight or twelve feet. Thus, for example, if it is desired to cover a wall having a height of eight feet and a width of any determined dimension, it would merely be necessary to purchase an eight foot wide roll of wall covering having a length equal to the length of the wall. Thus, the wall can be covered with a single roll and no butt lines or seams will be present in the unsightly manner of the currently available materials.
Application of a roll of decorative wall covering is a relatively simple matter. A bonding or adhesive substance is applied about the periphery of the wall area and/or covering. The covering is then applied along the upper edge of the wall. The sides and lower edge of the covering may then be pressed against the adhesive. If desired, a slight tensile force is applied to the covering, causing the rear surface of the foam to adhere very closely to the surface of the wall between the locations at which the adhesive is applied. In this manner, the wall covering is held tightly against the wall. At the same time, its resistance to damage is increased due to the small amount of adhesive used; any applied force will be dissipated over a wider surface area than would be possible if adhesive were applied throughout the wall surface.
In forming wall coverings in accordance with this invention, the woven jute can be drawn across a smooth table or roller by a moving tenter. Foam is applied to the side of the jute opposite to that in contact with the table by any suitable means such as a nozzle. The amount or thickness of the foam actually applied to the jute is controlled by the positioning of a doctor blade or roller relative to the table. Since the foam is in a substantially liquid state, its viscosity allows it to pass through the jute in varying degrees according to the thickness of the jute strands at various location. However, the thickness of the covering will be constant across its surface due to the relationship of the table and the doctor bar.
The jute and applied foam are then passed through a suitable oven which is maintained at a temperature sufiicient to cure the foam. As the wall covering is removed from the oven, it is delivered to a suitable storage means such as a machine for rolling it and/or severing it at suitable locations to produce rolls of desired lengths.
In this manner, a relatively inexpensive decorative wall covering can be produced having relatively great aesthetic appeal and a high degree of wearability, and possessing fire retardant properties which serve to create a degree of safety not heretofore present in such products.
Further objects, advantages, modes, and embodiments of the invention will now be readily understood by those skilled in the art through reference to the following detailed description and the accompanying drawing which, taken together, illustrate what is presently considered to be a preferred embodiment of the best mode contem- 4 plated for utilizing the novel principles set forth in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a side sectional view showing apparatus which may be used to form decorative wall coverings in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is a greatly magnified cross sectional illustration of such a decorative wall covering.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a platen or table 11 across which a relatively closely woven or knit material 13 such as jute may be drawn at a predetermined speed by any suitable means such as a moving tenter 15. Alternatively, a suitable roller could be substituted for the table 11 and the material 13 could be drawn by the roller.
A dispensing nozzle 17 is situated above the table in such a way as to move back and forth across it and deposit foam 19 on top of the material 13 in front of a doctor blade 21. Again alternatively, a doctor roller could be used in place of the doctor blade 21. Such a roller could be used in cooperation with the roller proposedly substituted in place of table 11 to aid in drawing the material 13 past the position in which the foam 19 is applied.
In the illustrated embodiment, as the material 13 is drawn past the doctor blade 21, the thickness of the foam 19 and the jute is controlled by the location of the doctor blade 21 relative to the table 11.
Referring to FIG. 2, it is seen that the foam 19 will pass through the weave of the jute 13 in an amount which is dependent only upon the viscosity of the foam as it is applied. However, since the thickness of each strand varies from point to point, and thickness also varies from strand to strand, it will appear that the depth of the foam varies from locations to location. For example, at the location of strand 23, it appears that the foam has not penetrated the jute at all due to the strand size and weave closeness at that location. At the location of strand 25, it appears that the foam has penetrated the jute to a depth nearly equal to the thickness of the strand 25 and, at strand 27, it appears that the foam has penetrated the Weave to a depth greater than the thickness of the jute. As is apparent from the showing of FIG. 2, the amount of penetration at any given location is dependent upon the thickness of the strands.
The application of a suitable color pigment to the foam 19 will result in a random color pattern appearing on the exposed face of the jute which will present a very pleasant and colorful elfect to a person viewing the wall covering. Further, if the jute 13 is dyed to some desired shade before the foam is applied, the combination of the jute coloring and the foam coloring can be used to produce a very decorative effect upon a wall.
The doctor blade 21 produces a relatively flat, porous surface on the back of the foam which will allow the wall covering to 'very closely adhere to a wall even though adhesive or other bonding materials are not distributed throughout the area of contact of the wall covering and the surface of the wall.
The foam 19 can be either a latex or a vinyl foam of the type described in the above-referred to application Ser. No. 15,677. It is preferred that the selected foam be highly resilient so that, when a sharp object is passed therethrough and then removed, the hole formed by the sharp object will be substantially closed and will not be visible-even to a person making a careful search of the wall to try to locate it.
Additionally, as disclosed in said patent application, the foam may be provided with a suitable hydrate such as aluminum hydrate, aluminum hydroxide, or hydrated aluminum oxide. When flame contacts foam having such a hydrate filler therein, the hydrate will decompose and release moisture which will retard and/or extinguish the flame. This results in an added degree of safety since it will prevent the jute from either burning or acting as a wick for igniting materials in contact with it at other locations along the wall.
After the material 13 and foam 29 pass from the application table 11, they are directed by the tenter 15 through a suitable oven 35 which is maintained at a predetermined temperature such as 280 F., in order to cure the foam. Curing transforms the foam from a relatively liquid substance to solid matter having the above-described desired qualities. As the foam is drawn out of the oven 35, it may be delivered to suitable storage and/or packaging devices (not shown) for later use.
Thus, the applicants have provided an embodiment of a new and improved concept in the art of decorative wall covering which yields a true advance in that art in view of the increased safety, durability, and beauty of such wall coverings. Many modifications and alterations of this invention within the scope thereof will now become apparent to those skilled in the art, wherefore what is claimed as the invention is:
1. A flexible decorative wall covering comprising a woven material which forms the outer facing and exposed surface of said wall covering,
a resilient foam applied to said woven material and cured thereon, said foam passing through the woven material in varying amounts dependent upon the thickness of the strands of said woven material and visible at various locations on the exposed surface of said wall covering, and
said woven material including a plurality of strands, each of which varies in thickness from location to location along its length and from the thickness of other strands in said plurality.
2. The decorative wall covering of claim 1 in which said woven material is provided with a predetermined color, and
said foam is colored by the addition of suitable color pigments thereto prior to the application of said foam to said woven material.
3. The decorative wall covering of claim 1 in which said resilient foam includes a hydrate having a breakdown temperature greater than the curing temperature of said foam.
4. The decorative wall covering of claim 3 in which said hydrate is selected from the group of aluminum hydrates consisting of aluminum hydroxide and hydrated aluminum oxide.
5. A decorative wall covering comprising a woven material formed from a plurality of strands which are of non-uniform thickness throughout their lengths so that the thickness of said woven material varies across its surface and the spacing between pairs of adjacent strands varies from location to location,
a resilient foam applied to one surface of said woven material in a relatively viscous state so as to pass through said woven material and visible from the other surface of said woven material at various locations thereon as determined by the thickness of the strands of said woven material at each location, spread thereon, and cured to produce said decorative wall covering with a substantially constant thickness throughout its area.
6. The wall covering of claim 5 wherein said woven material is provided with a first color, and
said resilient foam is provided with a second color.
7. The decorative wall covering of claim 5 wherein said resilient foam includes means for releasing moisture upon the application of heat thereto at a temperature greater than the curing temperature of said foam so that said woven material may become semi-saturated and retard flame propagation.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,649,391 8/ 1953 Alderfer 161-94 3,239,474 3/ 1966 Cwik 260-25 AK 3,620,890 11/1971 Kemmler 16189 3,423,263 l/ 1969 Pannone 161-127 3,410,748 11/1968 Blue 16189 GEORGE F. LESMES, Primary Examiner J. J. BELL, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.