US 3792501 A
An air chair consisting of a frame having a seat support over a base chamber and a back support before a rear chamber in communication with the base chamber, with an inflatable cushion on the seat support in air communication with a bellows-shaped air spring in the base chamber through an intermediate tube, and an inflatable back cushion in air communication with a second similar air spring in the base chamber through an intermediate tube. The air springs are tensioned against entry of air from the cushions except under body pressure, the air forced back into the cushions when pressure is lifted. Air lines pump air initially into the cushions through valves. A convertible sofa of three cushions secured together as a unit and three back cushions similarly united, with above described air systems. The sofa back section is selectively rotative with respect to the seat section to lie on the same plane and form a bed, or pivoted to form the back rest of the sofa.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Kery [4 1 Feb. 19, 1974 AIR CHAIRS AND CONVERTIBLE SOFAS Edmund Kery, 908 E. 55th St., Brooklyn, NY. 11234  Filed: June 18, 1973  Appl. No.: 370,919
 US. Cl. 5/348 R, 5/12 R, 5/37 R,
297/355, 297/456 ' Int. Cl A47c 27/08, A47c 17/14  Field of Search 5/D1G. 2, 12, 37 R, 42, 348, '5/349; 297/284, 355, 456, DIG. 3
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,249,266 7/1941 .Bell 5/37 R 2,779,034 1/1957 Arpin 1 5/D1G. 2
Primary Examiner-Casmir A. Nunberg Attorney, Agent, or FirmSydney B. Schlessel, Esq.
57 v 1 ABSTRACT An air chair consisting of a frame having a seat support over a base chamber and a back support before a rear chamber in communication with the base cham her, with an inflatable cushion on the seat support in air communication with a bellows-shaped air spring in the base chamber through an intermediate tube, and
'an inflatable back cushion in air communication with a second similar air spring in the base chamber through an intermediate tube. The air springs are tensioned against entry of air from the cushions except under body pressure, the air forced back into the cushions when pressure is lifted. Air lines pump air initially into the cushions through valves. A convertible sofa of three cushions secured together as a unit and three back cushions similarly united, with above described air systems. The sofa back section is selectively rotative with respect to the seat section to lie on the same plane and form a bed, or pivoted to-form the back rest of the sofa.
10 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEU FEB I 9 I374 SHEET 3 OF 4 PAIENTEDFEB 1 9:974
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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to the field of furniture, and has for its objective the creation of upholstered chairs and convertible sofas where basic support for body weight and pressure lies in the provision of air-filled seats and backrest cushions, with provision made for the temporary displacement of a portion of the air contained in the seat and backrest cushions when weight is applied, such as by a seated body, and for the return of the displaced air into the respective cushions when the weight is removed, thereby returning the chairs and sofas to their normal and original shape and resiliency. The provision for the temporary displacement of a portion of the air contained in the cushions provides for greater ease and comfort to the seated to reclining person than is possible with merely the compression, under pressure, of all of the contained air in the cushions, without temporary escape, in which event an uncomfortable resistance to the body weight may be experienced.
2. Prior art In the present state of the art there are to be found numerous forms of air cushions and mattresses. Some of these structures provide for inflation as a single unit, so that, when pressure is applied to the unit, as by a seated or a reclining body, the contained air merely compresses, and in some instances is forced from the weighted area to an unweighted one, with the greatest compression and cavity beneath the greatest weight, obviously not uniformly, with the result that the air cushion or mattress assumes a grotesque shape and, with the shifting of the weight, becomes wobbly and uncomfortable. In some other known forms the inflatable portion of the cushion or mattress has been subdivided by partitions into pockets, requiring each pocket to be in dividually inflated. Wobble, and shift of compresed air, by changes in weight distribution is thus restricted, but in view of the fact that the air is confined in smaller pockets, the air becomes resistant to compression when weight is applied, since it remains confined in the pockets, limiting resiliency of the cushion or mattress and thereby reducing comfort of the user. In still other forms chairs and recliners have been made solely of a vinyl material, with the entire'structure, including the base, inflatable with air. With the application of body weight such as when a person sits or reclines on the chair-or sofa, there is not only compression of air in the weighted areas but displacement, as well, into other portions, including the base, frequently causing the chair or sofa to topple over or, or, at best, to provide uncomfortable support. In all of these forms, it is to be noted, no provision is made for the temporary displacement of a portion of the contained air into an area not subject to pressure from the applied weight, such as an auxiliary reservoir adapted to accomodate air only under pressure, thereby avoiding the discomfort of overcompression of the air contained in the cushion or sofa, and attendant disadvantages.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The aforementioned disadvantages are overcome by my invention which provides, in one form, for an upholstered chair of which the seat cushion and back rest cushionare formed of inflatable material, overlaid by standard supporting materials, such as foam rubber and upholstery material, with provision below the seat for a chamber containing air springs or bellows, one in air communication with the seat cushion and one with the back rest cushion, and acting as temporary air reservoirs, whereby weight applied, respectively, to the seat or back rest will cause temporary displacement of a portion of the compressed air into the respective air spring, or communicating reservoir, and whereby, with the removal of the weight, the displaced air will be forced back into the respective seat and back rest cushion, to return them to their original shape. In another form my invention comprises a convertible sofa, which is convertible into a bed, of similar construction and function but comprised of two or three seat cushions secured together and a similar number of back rest cushions, similarly secured together, on a frame large enough to support them, with the supports for the seat cushions and the back rest cushions adjustable from a position at an angle to one another to a position of lying on the same plane, so as to provide a bed surface.
It is therefore the principal object of my invention to provide an air chair or convertible sofa wherein the body supporting portions are filled withair, with provision for temporary displacement of portions of the air, underpressure, to communicating air reservoirs, or air springs, to be returned to the body supporting portions upon removal of the pressure.
A second important object of my invention lies in the provision of an air chair or convertible sofa wherein the resiliency or buoyancy of the body supporting portions is adjustable to any degree of firmness or softness, dependent upon the amounts of air introduced.
A third important object of my invention lies in the provision of an air chair or convertible sofa as above described, wherein the shifting of body weight will cause an even distribution of air displacement from the seat or body rest cushion Still another important object of my invention lies in the provision of a convertible sofa as above described, wherein the back rest portion can be lowered to lie level with the seat portion so as to form a bed.
Yet another important object of my invention lies in the provision of an air chair or convertible sofa which is economical to produce and simple to prepare for use.
These and other salient objects, advantages and functional features of my invention, together with the novel features of construction, composition and arrangement of parts, will become more readily apparent from an examination of the following description, taken with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side, cross-sectional view of an air chair made in accordance with my invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken on lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view, taken on lines 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged view, in section, showing construction of one of the air springs or reservoirs disposed below the chair seat and within the chair framework;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of a convertible sofa made according to my invention;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view, taken on lines 6--6 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view, taken on lines 7-7 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged side perspective view of one of the cushions, partly broken away to show inner construction; and
FIG. 9 is a view. similar to FIG. 8 of a modified form of construction.
Similar reference characters designate similar parts throughout the different views.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF FIRST EMBODIMENT Illustrative of the embodiment shown by FIGS. 14, there is shown an air chair 10 comprising a frame 12, preferably of wood, although other suitable materials may serve as well, on which are secured a seat cushion l4 and a back rest cushion 16, both of the cushions 14 and 16 formed of flexible material, such as rubber, vinyl plastic or the like, defining internal chambers adapted to be filled with air, as shown in FIG. 1. The frame 12 is formed with an enclosed base 18 defining a chamber 20, with the roof 22 of the base 18 forming the support for the seat cushion 14 and the enclined back 24 forming, with a rear wall 26 a wedge-shaped chamber 28 connecting with chamber 20, and the back 24 forming the support for the back rest cushion 16. Arm rests 30 are provided for the sides of the frame 12. The top surfaces of seat cushion l4 and back cushion 16 are formed with an integral layer of foam rubber 32, to give body and resiliency to these members and provide a resilient support for the chair occupant, with the seat cushion 14 and back cushion 16, as well as other portions of the chair 10 thereafter covered with upholstery material (not shown), as is well known in the art. The seat support 22 is provided with a central opening 34 in registry with an opening 36 leading into the interior of seat cushion 14, and through the opening 34 there is disposed a flexible plastic tube 38 which is engaged, at its upper end, to the seat cushion opening 36 and at its other end to an air spring or reservoir 40, mounted on a support member 40a and disposed in the base chamber 20, to provide air communication between the interior of the seat cushion 14 and the air spring 40. The air spring 40 is preferably made of plastic material and in the form of a bellows adapted to expand and contract in accordance with air pressure and tension, as will be hereinafter described. Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 4, the air spring 40 is supported in a horizontal position and is reciprocally mounted on a pair of guide rails 42, secured to the front and rear wall of the base 18, by means of a plate 44 secured to the free end of the air spring 40 and which is provided with adjustable lugs 46 through which the respective guide rails 42 pass. A cable 48 is secured to each of the lugs 46 and extends to the rear of base 18, to encicle and ride in a pulley 50 whichis mounted on the rear wall 26 of the base 18, the other end of each cable 48 being attached to a spiral tension spring 52, whose other end is secured to the front wall 54 of the base 18, the spring 52 being'so tensioned as to force the air spring 42 into a contracted state, as shown in FIG. 4, but extensible to permit selective expansion of the air spring 40 when air is forced into it from the seat cushion 14 through communicating tube 38. Air is introduced into, and may be expelled from, the seat cushion 14 through an air line 56 leading into the tube 38 from an air valve 58 disposed in arm rest 30.
Air is similarly introduced into, and may be expelled from, the back cushion 16 by its engagement, through opening 60 in the inclined back 24 of the chair 10, to a plastic tube 62 which, in turn, is secured to an air springor reservoir 64, mounted on a support member 64a and disposed in the chamber 20, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the air spring 64 being of similar construction as the air spring 40, but smaller in diameter since less body pressure is generally applied to the back of the chair than to its seat, and the air spring 64 being similarly mounted and reciprocatively extended and contracted as by guide rods 42 through lugs 40 of end plate 44, with cables 48 attached to lugs 44 and spiral tension springs 52 around pulleys 50. The tube 62 is disposed in chamber 28 which opens into chamber 20. Air is introduced into the back cushion 16 by an air line 66 providing communication between the tube 62 and an air valve 58 seated in arm rest 30.
As shown by FIGS. 8 and 9, the seat cushion 14 and back cushion 16 may either be formed with horizontal stays 68 and vertical stays 70 of flexibility, to provide shaping structure for the seat and back cushions 14 and 16, as shown in FIG. 8, or the interiors may be filled partially with foam rubber or other porous material enabling air to pass freely around and through the material, as seen in FIG. 9.
Referring now to the modified embodiment shown by FIGS. 5-7, there is shown a three-sectional, or threeseater, convertible sofa 72 (a two-section recliner sofa is likewise within the scope of the invention), only a portion deemed sufficient to disclose structure and operation being shown by the figures, the construction and disposition of the seat cushions 14 and back cushions 16, and their respective air springs-40 and 64, as well as the structures for expansion and contraction of the latter being identical with those shown in the first embodiment, except that the seat cushions 14 are secured together as a unit, and the back cushions 16 are likewise secured together as a unit, and tubes 62a, uniting the back cushions 16 with their respective air springs 64, being bellows-shaped, for reasons to be hereinafter disclosed.
The convertible sofa 72 comprises a framework 74 formed of a base or seat section 76 and a back or support section 78, which are pivotally secured together at their abutting edges as by hinges (not shown) secured around a central axle 80, as is well known in the art. The base section 76 is provided with arm rests 82 having semi-circular rear surfaces extending into channels 86 acting as guides and retainers for projections (not shown) extending therethrough from the sides of the back section 78, permitting rotation of the back section 78 from its position as shown by the solid lines of FIG. 5 to the position shown by the broken lines of the FIG. 5, the rear surface 88 of back section 76 being so formed as to have its bottom portions 90 abut against the back of the base section surface 98, to support the back section 76 with its cushionsl6 level with cushions 14, thereby to define a sleeping surface from both cushions 14 and 16. The projections (not shown) extending from the sides of back section 78 terminate in look members 92 adapted to lock within slots 94 in the arm rests 82, when the back section 78 is raised, asshown by the solid lines of FIG. 5, to serve as a sofa instead of a bed. The back section 78 is further provided at each end with a leg 100 pivotally mounted thereon and adapted, when the back section 78 is lowered, to pivot gravitationally to a vertical position to support the back section 78, as shown in FIG. 5.
As is to be noted, plastic tube 62a connecting each back cushion 16 with its respective air spring 64, is be]- lows-shaped, permitting it to flexibly conform to the shape required when the back section 78 is raised and when it is lowered. Air lines 56 connect each of the tubes 38 and 62a to an individual air valve 58, with all six valves mounted in a panel fitted into one of the arm rests 82, and individually designated with respect to the cushion 14 or cushion 16 to which it functions.
OPERATION OF THE INVENTION In the utilization of the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, the cushions l4 and.16 are inflated through their respective air valves 58, either by a manual pump or by an air compressor, to the selected air pressure required to fill the cushions l4 and 16 to a firm buoyancy while retaining their respective air springs 40 and 64 contracted, due to the tension imposed by the springs 52, so that the introduced air remains almost entirely within the cushions 14 and 16. When pressure is applied to these cushions 14 and 16, as by the weight of a seated body, air is forced thereby out of the cushions l4 and 16, in accordance with the amount of pressure applied, forcing a portion of the contained air to escape into the respective air springs 40 and 64, thereby extending them against the tension of the springs 52, and providing a comfortable resiliency to the seat and back cushions l4 and 16. When the weights are removed, as when the seated person arises, the release of the weight permits the springs 52 to force the displaced air from the air springs 40 and 64 back into the respective cushions 14 and 16, thereby restoring them to normal firmness and shape.
The convertible sofa 72 is similarly inflated with air introduced into seat cushions 14 and back cushions 16, for use as a sofa. When it is desired for use as a bed the lock members 92 are released and the back section 78 lowered to the position shown by the broken lines of FIG. 5, with the feet 100 falling into place to support the back section 78.
Itis to be noted that while same has not been described, provision may be made, as by removeable panels, for ready access to the interior chambers 20 and 28 of the air chair l0, and the corresponding chambers in the convertible sofa 72. It is also to be noted that while the seat cushions and back cushions are disposed as units, they are not attached to one another, although securely fixed. They may, however, be removeably secured together as by snaps or zippers, as is well known in the art.
Further modifications are to be considered as within the scope of the invention. For example, the air lines 56 and 66 in both the chair l0 and sofa 72 may be coupled to a single air valve 58, for simultaneous inflation of both the cushions l4 and 16. In the embodiment of FIGS. l-4 the chamber 20 housing the air springs 40 and 64 may be entirely behind the back rest 24. In the embodiment of FIGS. 5-7 the convertible sofa 72 may be constructed as a bed, in that the seat section 76 and back or support section 78 may be constructed as a single, rigid framework forming a flat level surface for the cushions 14 and .16.
As is therefore apparent, from the foregoing, the embodiments shown and described are by way of illustration and not of limitation, and that various changes may be made in the construction, composition and arrangement of parts without limitation upon or departure from the spirit and scope of the invention or sacrificing any of the advantages thereof inherent therein, all of which are claimed.
Having described my invention, I claim:
1. An air chair comprising a frame provided with a seat support, a back support and a chamber disposed below and seat support and extending behind the back support, an aperture in the seat support and an aperture in the back support opening into the chamber, an inflatable cushion disposed on the seat support, an air spring disposed in the chamber, an intermediate tube connecting the air spring and the seat cushion through the'seat aperture to afford air intercommunication thereinbetween, an inflatable cushion disposed on the back support, a second air spring disposed in the chamber, an intermediate tube connecting the second air spring and the back cushion through the back support aperture to afford air intercommunication thereinbetween, and means to selectively inflate the cushions individually, the air springs being bellows-shaped and adapted to be expanded by displacement of air thereinto from their respective cushions under pressure exe'rted on the latter, and to contract to force the displaced air back into the respective cushions on withdrawal of the pressure, the expansion and contraction of the air springs regulated by spring means secured to therespective air springs and adapted to tension them against expansion. g
2. An air chair as described in claim 1, the means to inflate the air cushions comprising an air line connected to each of the intermediate tubes and leading to an air valve disposed on the chair frame.
3. An air chair as described in claim 2, the spring tensioning means for each air spring comprising a pair of coil springs secured in parallel to the chamber wall opposite the air spring-retaining wall, with the free end of each coil spring secured to a cable passed around a pulley disposed on the air spring-retaining wall, the other ends of the cables secured to the sides of the air spring at its free ends, thereby to retain the latter normally in a contracted state and to permit expansion of the latter upon the forcing of air thereinto under pressure exceeding the tension of the coil springs.
4. An air chair as described in claim 3, each of the inflatable cushions formed with flexible stays in the interior thereof to support the cushion walls.
5. An air chair as described in claim 3, the interior of each of the cushions provided with porous material adapted to shape the cushions.
6. A convertible sofa comprising an elongated frame formed of a back section and a seat section, means to selectively pivot the back section from a position angular to the seat section to a position to lie on the same plane therewith, means to lock the back section in each position, a chamber disposed below the seat section, a plurality of inflatable seat cushions disposed on the seat section, an aperture in the seat section below each seat cushion, opening into the chamber, an air spring disposed in the chamber beneath each seat cushion, an intermediate tube connecting each air spring with its corresponding seat cushion through a seat aperture to afford. air intercommunication ther'einbetween, a plurality of inflatable back cushions disposed on the back section, an aperture in the back section behind each back cushion and a corresponding aperture in the rear wall of the chamber, a secondary air spring disposed in the chamber beneath each back cushion, an intermediate tube connecting each secondary air spring with its corresponding back cushion through the apertures provided to afford air intercomrriunication thereinbetween, and means to selectively inflate the cushions, the air springs being bellows-shaped and adapted to expand by displacement of air therein from their respectively engaged cushions under pressure exerted upon the latter, and to contract to force the displaced air back into their respectively engaged cushions on withdrawal of the pressure, the expansion and contraction of air springs being regulated by spring means secured to the respective air springs and adapted to tension them against expansion, the intermediate tubes connecting each secondary air spring with its respective back cushion being bellows-shaped to permit pivotal movement of the back section of the sofa without disengagement.
7. A convertble sofa as described in claim 6, the means to selectively pivot theback section comprising a plurality of hinges secured to the abutting edges of spring tensioning means for each air spring comprising end of each coil spring secured to a cable passed around a pulley disposed on the air spring-retaining wall, the other ends of the cables secured to the sides of the free end of the spring, thereby to retain the latter normally in a state of contraction and adapted to permit expansion of the air springs upon the forcing of air thereinto under pressure exceeding the tension of the coil springs.
10. A convertible sofa as described in claim 6, the means to selectively inflate the seat and back cushions comprising an air line connected to each of the respective intermediate tubes, all of the air lines leading to and coupled to a single air valve mounted in the frame. a: