US 3831960 A
A rotatable support or platform is provided on which a chair may be placed and used by a semi-invalid or other partially incapacitated person and which may be turned or rotated by such person.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Walton Aug. 27, 1974 PIVOTABLE SUPPORT FOR A CHAIR FOR  References Cited SEMI-lNVALIDS UNITED STATES PATENTS  Inventor: Nelson R. Walton, Tamaqua, Pa. 284,586 9/1883 Adams 280/47.16
96  Assignee: Eugene S. Durigan, Lehighton, Pa. 296L250 W1 0 Beach 280/79 1 X a part Interest Primary ExaminerRobert R. Song  Filed: Nov. 27, 1972 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-A. H. Caser 2 N .1 73 1] Appl o 309, 0  ABSTRACT A rotatable support or platform is provided on which i 'ggfgjg a chair may be placed and used by a semi-invalid or  Field of Search 280/791, 47.16, 47.35, 1 3 2:; gi fig ggg gfig g fgi and may be 5 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures I 3 2a 29 x 3 i si i WM.
PATENTEB M11327 1974 3 ,831 ,9 6 O PIVOTABLE SUPPORT FOR A CHAIR FOR SEMI-INVALIDS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION (l) The field of the invention comprises a device for use by partially incapacitated but still ambulatory persons which aims to make the use of chairs by them less dependent on help from others. (2) So far as is known, the invention is new. Wheel chairs are, of course, known for the purposes contemplated herein, i.e., they enable a user to turn or rotate the chair by himself, as when sitting at a table or desk, but they are costly, involving an outlay of several hundred dollars; and they are bulky to store. By contrast, the device of the invention is inexpensive, costing only a small fraction of the price of a wheel chair, say only one-tenth as much, and it is decidedly less bulky; thus, when not in use, it lends itself to temporary storage by simply leaning it against a wall. The device can be used with a variety of conventional chairs, including lounge chairs, and thus gets away from the fixed and often tiresome seat provided by a wheel chair.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The device of the invention is a rotatable support for a chair comprising a platform having a non-skid upper surface for supporting. the chair and a chair-retaining lip along at least front and back edges thereof which projects above the platform surface. Substantially centrally disposed support means for the platform are present, extending from the platform to the floor, together with means for securing the same to the platform. A plurality of pivotable casters also support the platform, and if said support means were absent, the casters would space the platform a given distance above the floor in a disposition substantially parallel to the floor; the support means, however, are of such height as to space the platform, in said disposition parallel to the floor, a distance above the floor which exceeds said given distance. In use, the device is intended to support a chair with the two front legs of the chair adjacent one edge of the platform, while the two back legs are spaced away from the opposite or back edge of the platform, thereby placing the weight of the chair, and of an occupant thereof, more toward said one or front edge, with the result that the platform is tilted and, with the chair and occupant, is stably supported on three locations comprising said support means and two casters beneath said one or front edge of the platform. The two casters beneath the back edge are lifted out of contact with the floor. By shifting his weight toward the said back edge, and by pushing against a nearby object such as a table or desk, the occupant is able to balance the platform on the support means only and then to turn or rotate it as desired.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawings, which are more or less diagrammatic, and in which FIG. 1 is a top or plan view of the device;
FIG. 2 is a bottom view;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view, somewhat enlarged, along line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a detail of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a partial view of a modification of the platform-support means;
FIG. 6 is a view of FIG. 5 looking along the arrow A; and
FIG. 7 is a partial view of another modification of the platform-support means.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the chair support 10 is shown as having a platform 11 of substantially square outline shape, although any suitable shape is useful, including a rectangular shape with right-angled or rounded corners, a square shape with rounded corners, a circular shape, and the like. A raised lip 12 extends around the periphery of the platform and projects above its surface 11a; it may have a quarter round cross section, as in FIG. 3, or it may simply be a. vertical wall, or it may have any suitable cross section. Preferably the surface 1 la is level. The lip helps prevent a chair from accidentally sliding off the platform. A substantially centrally located, narrow, elongated recess 13 is formed in the platform into which the platform-support means, comprising wheel 14, extends. The: wheel is rotatably mounted on a shaft 15 which extends for a short distance to each side of hub 16, the latter being provided with conventional bearings, not shown. Means on the shaft in the form of bushings I7, 18, which are preferably of rubber, help keep the wheel substantially centered in the recess; means on each side of the wheel, comprising the hangers 19, 20, support the shaft on the platform underside 11b; and means on each side of the wheel, comprising the square nuts 21, 22, prevent rotation of the shaft.
Braking means for the wheel are present, preferably on the platform underside, and comprise a lever 25 having an inner end portion 26 pivotally connected to the platform at 27. The lever is supported by a pair of strips 28, 29, which are fastened to the platform by wood screws. Spring means 30, one end of which engages lever 25 at opening 31 and the other end of which is anchored at pin 32, acts to hold the lever in braking position, i.e., in contact with wheel 14, thereby preventing the wheel from rolling over the floor but not preventing pivoting movement of the platform about the point or area of contact of the wheel with the floor. Lever 25 has an outer end portion 33 which extends a short distance beyond the side 34 of the platform and which serves as a handle to move the lever, against the action of the coil spring, out of braking engagement with the wheel. Thus, when the lever is moved to its broken line position, indicated at 25a, it is no longer in braking engagement and may be held in such position by engaging it with stop means in the form of the pin or lug 35. When it is desired to move the lever into braking position, it is simply moved over the end of lug 35, note FIG. 3, the lever having sufficient spring action to permit the latter movement.
On and off positions for the brake are indicated on the upper side of the platform at 36, 37, note FIG. 1, for the convenience of the platform user.
On the underside of the platform are mounted a plurality of pivotable casters, four in this case, identified as 40, 41, 42, and 43, which support the platform. Considering caster 40, which is provided with permanently lubricated ball bearings, not shown, it is fonned with a metal ball portion 40a having a tire or tread 40b preferably of rubber or plastic. It has a sleeve 400 in which a short shaft 40d is engaged, the sleeve and ball portion being rotatable about the shaft. The latter is shown somewhat extended, for more clarity, although actually it is of shorter length. The shaft is fixed to a plate 40e which is attached to the platform. The other casters are identical to caster 40. Casters of this type are made by Shepherd Casters, Inc. of Benton Harbor, Mich. However, any other suitable caster may be used provided it is pivotable, and this includes wheel and ball type casters; preferably, the type chosen is provided with bearmgs.
As indicated, if the wheel 14 were absent, the casters would support the platform a given distance above the floor in a disposition substantially parallel to the floor. The wheel, however, is of such height and size, and is so supported, as to space the platform, in said disposition parallel to the floor, a distance above the floor which exceeds said given distance by an amount indicated as AB in FIG. 3.
As described, the platform supports a chair, the four legs of which are shown in broken lines at 45, 46, 47, and 48 in FIGS. 1 and 3, with the front legs 45, 46 at the edge 49 of the platform, which may be designated the front edge, while the opposite edge 50 may be designated the back edge. The front legs are positioned immediately adjacent, and preferably in contact with, the lip 12, the purpose being to help retain the chair against possible forward sliding movement, accidental or otherwise. The back legs are spaced some distance away from the back edge 50. This arrangement of the chair places its weight, and that of an occupant, more toward the front edge 49 than the back edge 50, with the result that the platform is tilted toward the floor at its front edge, note FIG. 3; and in this position it is supported on three locations comprising wheel 14 and casters 41 and 42, while the back casters 40 and 43 are lifted out of contact with the floor. The degree of tilt is small, say on the order of 3 or 4, although it may range up to 9 or 10, but preferably is not above 5 or 6. In any event, the tilt is not such as to cause discomfort to the occupant. The occupant's feet may be resting on the front lip 12, or on the floor in front of the device. By shifting his weight toward the back edge and by pushing with his hands against a nearby object, or if he is able to exert some pressure on the floor with his feet, he can balance the device on the center wheel only, after first having applied the brake, and he can then rotate the device using the braked wheel as a pivot. Thus, he can swing himself inwardly toward a table or desk to position himself thereat, or, if already at such position, he can swing himself away in order to leave the table or desk. He can, of course, swing through 360 in either direction if there are no obstructions in his path.
It will be appreciated that persons who may find the device useful may be incapacitated in various ways. For example, stroke victims may not have adequate use of one or both arms, or of one or both legs. In this connection, consider a person having impaired use of his legs but able to use his arms at least to some extent. He may be able to approach a table on his own, using a walker, but when he goes to sit down, some one must turn the chair to one side to receive him and then turn it back again, after he is seated, to properly position him at table; and this procedure is reversed when the patient leaves the table. But when the chair is first placed on the device of the invention, the patient, after he has been seated in it, is able to turn the chair toward the table by himself, and can turn it away from the table preparatory to leaving it. A person with impaired use of his arms but having adequate leg function can rotate the device by exerting pressure on the floor with his feet or on a nearby object.
The platform, with chair and occupant in position, can also be moved from place to place by an attendant, who simply pushes the back of the chair as if he were pushing a conventional wheel chair. During such use, the occupant merely sits in place, without regard to shifting his weight to any particular side, as the device is stably supported on three locations comprising the center wheel and two casters, and these two casters may be at the front or back edge of the device or at either side.
Returning to FIG. 3, the wheel 14 is shown as having a non-skid floor-engaging surface comprising the rubber tread 52 to provide non-skid pivoting on the floor 53. The hub 54 and disc 55 are of plastic but may be of any other suitable material. A non-skid cover 56, preferably of rubber, is laid over the platform 11.
The manner in which strip 29 is fastened to the platform is illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the latter being an enlarged view of a detail of the former. A wood screw 57 is shown holding the strip in place, while spacer washers 58 allow room for the lever 26. It will be understood that strip 28 is similarly fastened and that pivot 27 is similarly provided with spacer washers.
In FIG. 3, the distance AB is variable, but desirably is so chosen that the amount of tilt is not uncomfortable to the chair occupant and permits the occupied platform to assume a stable position. Numerically, a preferred distance for AB is one-half inch, more or less, but obviously the distance could be seven-sixteenths, or nine-sixteenths, or six-sixteenths, or ten-sixteenths, or five-sixteenths, or elevensixteenths, or twelvesixteenths inch.
Conventional support arms may be present on the platform to allow a user to grip the same for support. They are useful where an armless chair is placed on the platform. Support legs for the arms are indicated at 60, 61, 62, and 63 as optional structure, and the legs may be attached to the platform in a conventional manner.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show the use of a ball 65 as the platform-support means, preferably a ball made of rubber, which may replace the wheel 14. It is supported on an axle 66 to which a yoke 67 is attached and held in place by nuts 68, the yoke being connected to platform 11 by means not shown, and if desired, such connection may or may not be a pivoting one, and if a pivoting connection is desired, one may use a pivot like that at 27 to hold the yoke portion 67a to the platform. At 25 is the brake lever, and to it is connected an L-shaped extension 69 which makes braking engagement with the ball at 70. The brake lever operates in the manner described in connection with FIGS. 2 and 3. Use of a ball like 65 in place of the wheel 14 can eliminate the need for a central recess 13. It may also provide for a somewhat easier pivoting movement as the ball can pivot about its point or area of contact with the floor and/or about the pivotable attachment which holds yoke portion 67a to the platform.
In FIG. 7 the platform-support means comprises a stationary post 72 which extends through a recess 73 in the platform 11. The post has a floor-engaging surface provided by the plate 74, which may be welded to the post and which is covered by a non-skid rubber disc 75. A roller bearing 76 is supported on a shoulder or land 77 on the post, the bearing comprising conventional inner and outer races with the inner race press-fitted to the reduced diameter portion 78 of the post and the outer race being free to rotate. A washer 79 engages the post and rests on top of the bearing. Platform ll rests on the washer and is held between it and another bearing 80 comprising a roller bearing of somewhat smaller size than bearing 76. The inner race of bearing 80 is press-fitted on the upper end portion 78 of the post while the outer race is free to rotate. The post has a threaded free end 81 engaged by nut 82, the latter making contact only with the inner race of the bearing. Thus, platform 11 is free to rotate as it is supported between the rotatable outer races of both bearings. If desired, the upper bearing 80 may be replaced by other means for supporting the platform on its upper surface, such as a bushing or a washer, relatively to which the platform is rotatable.
Preferably the post is disposed at the exact center of the platform, but it can also be off center to a slight extent without affecting the performance of the device. Similarly, the wheel 14 could be off center a bit, but the balance is improved when it is at dead center.
In general, it is possible to use double wheels, i.e., two wheels disposed side by side, in place of the single wheel 14, and thus improve the balance of the device. In FIG. 1, the wheel is shown as parallel to the front edge 49, but it could also be disposed at right angles thereto. Also, although recess 13 permits the wheel to operate therein, it is feasible to employ a smaller wheel and dispose it entirely on the underside of the platform, as in the case of the ball 65 of FIGS. 5 and 6, and thus eliminate the need for a recess. Or if a recess is desired, it can be made narrower than recess 13, and of a generally elliptical shape, so that the same recessed platform could be used with a wheel like 14 or with a post like 72. If also desired, a hand hole may be formed in the platform, say between casters 40 and 41 and parallel to the near side of the platform, to provide a convenient means of lifting the device when not in use. The platform may suitably be made of a strong light weight wood, such as plywood of suitable thickness, or of a light weight metal like aluminum, high aluminum alloys, high magnesium alloys, and the like.
If desired, other objects besides a chair may be supported on the platform and may be transported thereon from place to place by an attendant.
It will be understood that the invention is capable of obvious modifications without departing from its scope.
In the light of the foregoing description, the following is claimed:
1. A rotatable support for a chair for a semi-invalid comprising a level platform having a non-skid upper surface for supporting a chair thereon, said platform having a lip along each side edge which projects above the surface of the platform,
a centrally located, elongated, narrow recess in the platform, a floor-engaging wheel operatively disposed in the recess and rotatably supported therein by a shaft which extends from each side of the hub of said wheel, means on the shaft on each side of the wheel for maintaining the wheel substantially centered in said recess, means on each side of the wheel for supporting the shaft on the underside of the platform, and means for preventing rotation of the shaft,
a lever supported on the underside of the platform having an inner end portion pivotally connected to said platform, spring means for holding the lever in contact with the wheel, thereby braking the wheel against rotation over the floor, said lever having an outer end portion extending a short distance beyond a side edge of the platform and serving as a handle to move the lever against the action of the spring means out of braking engagement with the wheel, and stop means adjacent said handle for holding the lever out of braking engagement,
a pivotable caster mounted on said platform underside adjacent each comer thereof,
said casters, in the absence of the wheel, supporting the platform a given distance above the floor in a disposition parallel to the floor, and said wheel being of such height as to space the platform, in said disposition parallel to the floor, a distance above the floor which exceeds said given distance,
said platform being able to support said chair with the two front legs of the chair positioned immediately adjacent the lip along one edge of the platform and with the two back legs of the chair spaced away from the opposite edge of the platform, thereby placing the weight of the chair, and of an occupant thereof, more toward said one edge than said opposite edge with the result that the platform is tilted and, with the chair and occupant, is supported on three points comprising the wheel and the two casters beneath said one edge of the platform while the two casters beneath said opposite edge are lifted out of contact with the floor,
and the occupant, by shifting his weight toward said back legs and by pushing against a nearby object such as a table, and with said wheel braked, being able to balance said platform on the wheel only and then to rotate the platform away from said table using the wheel as a pivot.
2. A pivotable support for a chair comprising a platform having a non-skid upper surface for supporting a chair thereon and having a lip along at least front and back edges thereof which projects above said surface, said platform extending from end to end and from side to side of said support,
rotatable platform-support means extending from the platform to the floor having a non-skid floorengaging surface, and means for securing said support means to the platform,
a plurality of pivotable casters on said platform for supporting the same, said casters, in the absence of said support means, supporting the platform a given distance above the floor in a disposition substantially parallel to the floor, and said support means being of such height as to space the platform, in said disposition parallel to the floor, a distance above the floor which exceeds said given distance,
said platform being able to support said chair with the two front legs of the chair immediately adjacent the lip along said front edge of the platform, thereby placing the weight of the chair, and of an occupant thereof, more toward said front edge than said back edge with the result that the platform is tilted and, with the chair and occupant, is stably supported at three locations comprising said support means and two casters beneath said front edge of the platform while the casters beneath said back edge are lifted out of contact with the floor,
braking means on the platform engageable with said rotatable platform-support means, thereby enabling the platform, during pivoting, to be substantially prevented from moving relatively to the floor 1 area occupied by said support means,
and said occupant, by shifting his weight toward said back legs of the chair and by pushing against a nearby object such as a table, being able to balance