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Publication numberUS3838884 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 1, 1974
Filing dateOct 25, 1972
Priority dateFeb 1, 1971
Also published asCA946724A, CA946724A1, CA962937A, CA962937A2, CA988832A, CA988832A2, US3724897
Publication numberUS 3838884 A, US 3838884A, US-A-3838884, US3838884 A, US3838884A
InventorsR Buhk, F Faiks
Original AssigneeSteelcase Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ganging means for chair
US 3838884 A
The specification discloses a chair having a seat, back and wire rod frame. The chair rests on four glides, all of which have fastening intelligence such that the chairs of this invention can be ganged together. The glides on one runner have facing fastening intelligence while those on the other runner have fastening intelligence facing away from one another, such that fore and aft and lateral movement of joined chairs is eliminated.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Faiks et al.

[4 1 Oct. 1, 1974 GANGING MEANS FOR CHAIR [7 51 Inventors: Frederick S. Faiks, Comstock Park; Randall P. Buhk, Wyoming, both of Mich.

[73] Assignee: Steeicase Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

[22] Filed: Oct. 25, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 300,594

Related US. Application Data [62] Division of Ser. No. 111,429, Feb. 1, 1971, Pat. No.

[52] US. Cl. 297/248, 297/239 [51] Int. Cl A47c 3/04, A47c 1/124 [58] Field of Search 297/239, 248, 445; 312/108, 111

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,028,207 4/1962 Darnell 312/111 3,278,227 10/1966 Rowland 297/248 X FQREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 750,742 1/1967 Canada 297/248 Primary ExaminerCasmir A. Nunberg Attorney, Agent, or FirmPrice, Heneveld, l-luizenga & Cooper [5 7] ABSTRACT The specification discloses a chair having a seat, back and wire rod frame. The chair rests on four glides, all of which have fastening intelligence such that the chairs of this invention can be ganged together. The glides on one runner have facing fastening intelligence while those on the other runner have fastening intelligence facing away from one another, such that fore and aft and lateral movement of joined chairs is eliminated.

4 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures PATENTED UB1! 89H Mimi FIG. 3


GANGING MEANS FOR CHAIR CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This is a divisional application of parent application Ser. No. 111,429, filed Feb. I, 1971, and entitled Ganging Means For Chair, now US. Pat. No. 3,724,897.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to chairs, particularly chairs having wire rod frames. In its more'specific aspects, it relates to such chairs which can be ganged together or stacked vertically.

The fastening means provided for ganging prior art wire rod chairs together suffer from numerous drawbacks. For example, the chair disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,278,227 utilizes a fastening member located near the front of a bottom runner and a second fastening member located on the side of the rear leg. If the chair warps slightly with age, considerable pressure is put on each of these two fastening members, and it is very possible for one of them to spring loose. Indeed, it is possible that only one of them may be fastenable after the chair has warped. Furthermore, an independent glide member is required near the rear of the runner on the chair.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The chair of the present invention embraces a number of related concepts which obviate the difficulties and drawbacks set forth above. A pair of wire rods form an integral rear leg and back support assembly. Each of the rods extends generally vertically to form a rear leg, and both of the rods then diverge inwardly from the tops of the rear legs along the rear edge of the seat. These portions meet and then extend vertically upwardly together, rigidly joined, to form an upright portion. The rods then diverge outwardly and upwradly from this upright portion to form a back support having a generally U-shaped configuration. This centrally located upright portion, connecting the chair back to the chair seat, provides for increased flexibility in the back, and accordingly increased comfort.

In another of its aspects, the invention contemplates the use of a wire rod frame having an integral seat support, leg assembly and back support. The seat support comprises a wire rod extending laterally along the rear edge of the seat and forwardly along each side thereof. The leg assembly comprises downwardly depending front and rear legs joined together by a bottom runner, the front legs extending downwardly from the front edge of each forwardly extending portion of the seat support. Theback support comprises a converging portion formed by wire rods converging inwardly from the tops of the rear legs and extending along the rear edge of the seat. These converging rod portions join to form the upright portion and outwardly diverging U-shaped back support referred to above. The converging portions are rigidly joined to the laterally extending portion of the seat support. To enhance the beauty of the chair, this integral frame can be formed out of a single continuous wire rod, or a plurality of rods welded together in endwise abutment to give the appearance of a continuous wire rod.

The chair back contemplated by this invention includes a groove in its bottom edge and extending partially up its side edge. The shape of the back outlined by these grooved edges conforms to that of the generally U-shaped back support referred to above such that the groove embraces the wire rod back support.

The chair set includes a downwardly depending tab at either side thereof which enters into mating engagement with a slot in a. flange which depends inwardly from the forwardly extending side rods of the seat support referred to above. The front of the chair seat comprises a lip which curls downwardly over a front rod which is welded at its ends to the forwardly extending side portions of the seat support. This front lip has a generally V-shaped cross section such that the base of the V" does not actually contact the wire rod unless force is applied to the seat. This results in secure fastening and a slight flexibility for absorbing shocks, such as are frequently applied to chair seats.

In the chair of the present invention, glides are provided which positively prevent fore and aft movement. The chair includes wire rods extending along the floor between the front and rear legs to define chair runners.

Each of the chair runners includes front and rear glides. Those on one runner have facing fastening intelligence, while those on the second runner have fastening intelligence facing away from one another. The glides on the second runner are more closely spaced, such that they can be mated with the glides on the first runner of an adjacent chair to prevent fore and aft movement.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS These and other objects and advantages of this invention will be understood and appreciated by reference to the appended specification and drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the chair back, seat and wire rod frame;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the assembled chair;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the wire rod frame; FIG. 4 is a front view of the wire rod frame; FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of the wire rod frame taken along plane V-V of FIG. 4',

FIG. 6 is a front view of the chair back; FIG. 7 is a side view of the chaiir back, FIG. 8 is a view taken along line VIIIVIII of FIG. FIG. 9 is a plan view of the chair seat; FIG. 10 is a side view of the chair seat; FIG. 11 is a view taken along line XI-XI of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a view taken along line XII-XII of FIG.

FIG. 13 is a view taken along line XIII-XIII of FIG.

FIG. 14 is a broken side view of :a first one of the two runners on the wire rod frame;

FIG. 15 is a broken side view of the second one of the two runners on the wire rod frame; and

FIG. 16 is a broken plan view of adjacent runners on adjacent chairs as they are being moved into mating engagement.

PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In the preferred embodiment, the chair of this invention comprises a frame 10, a chair seat 50, a chair back 60 and four ganging glides 71, 75, 81 and 85 (FIG. 1). Frame has been divided into three sub-assemblies, including a seat support 20, a leg assembly 30, and a back support 40 (FIG. 3).

It has been found that frame 10 can be conveniently constructed of five separate wire rods. However, the beauty of the frame is greatly enhanced by welding three of these rods together in endwise abutment to form, or at least give the appearance of a single contin uous wire rod. Two of these three rods form the right side and left side of the chair respectively. Thus, each rod defines side rod 22 of seat support 20, front leg 31, runner 32, rear leg 33 and half of back support 40. The third rod defines the rear support 21 of seat support 20. One of the remaining two rods, a front seat support rod 23 is hidden from view in the fully assembled chair as can be seen by comparing FIGS. 1 and 2. Seat stretcher 27 is also hidden from view. Thus, the fully assembled chair appears to be constructed of one continuous wire rod and a single brace rod 34 (FIG. 2).

Seat support comprises a rear support rod 21 which extends laterally across the back edge of the seat area (FIG. 5). Side support rods 22 then extend forwardly from the ends of rear rod 21 along the side edges of the seat area. While side support rod 22 is preferably only a portion ofa rod, it is referred to as a rod for purposes of convenience and because it could in fact be a single rod welded to other rods. A front sup port rod 23 is welded at its end edges to side rods 22 and extends laterally across the front of seat 50 to provide support therefor. A flange 24 is rigidly secured, as by welding, to each side rod 22 and extends inwardly therefrom. Each flange 24 includes a pair of slots 25 and holes 26 which facilitate the securance of seat 50 to seat support 20. Preferably, slot 25 is formed at that portion of flange 24 which is narrower such that when flange 24 is welded to side rod 22, a slot remains, defined by side rod 22 on one side and flange 24 on the other. Finally, stretcher 27 extends from one side support 22 to the other, near the front thereof.

Seat 50 is molded of any suitable plastic such as polypropylene so as to conform to the shape of the human buttocks. It includes a pair of downwardly depending tabs 51 on either side thereof (FIGS. 9, 10 and 13). Tabs 51 are dimensioned and located such that they fit into mating engagement with slots 25 when seat 50 is placed on seat support 20.

Seat 50 also includes three bosses 52 on either side thereof and between adjacent tabs 51 (FIG. 9). These correspond in position to the holes 26 in flanges 24 such that when seat 50 is in position on seat support 20,

screws can be passed upwardly through holes 26 and into bosses 52 to further facilitate the securance of seat 50 to seat support 20.

Seat 50 also includes a front lip 53 which extends across the front edge thereof (FIG. 9) and which curls down around front support rod 23 in the manner shown in FIG. 12. Lip 53 extends around the front corners to form side lip portions 54 (FIG. 9) which also curl down around front support 'rod 23, but in the manner indicated in FIG. 11. Front lip 53 and side lips 54 not only act to hide front support rod 23 from view, but also cooperate with front support rod 23 to hold seat 50 securely in place.

As can be seen by reference to FIG. 12, front lip 53 has a generally V-shaped cross section such that the base of the V" does not actually abut rod 23. Rather. only the sides of the V" embrace rod 23. However. when force is applied to seat 50, as when a person sits or bounces thereon. lip 53 expands slightly and slides rearwardly on rod 23, the base of the V moving toward abutment with rod 23. Thus, this generally V- shaped cross section for front lip 53 provides seat 50 with a slight shock absorbing resiliency.

Leg assembly 30 includes a pair of front legs 31 which extend downwardly from the front of side rods 22 of seat support 20 (FIG. 3). Runner 32 then extends rearwardly from the bottom of front leg 31 and rear leg 33 extends upwardly from the rear of runner 32. The junction between the base of front leg 31 and the front of runner 32 is made through an outwardly bent portion 35. Bent portion 35 sets runners 32 to the outside of the outer dimensions of seat support 20 and thereby facilitates the stacking of the chairs of this invention. one on top of the other. Leg assembly 30 is completed by a brace rod 34 extending laterally between the front legs 31 in order to give the entire frame 10 additional strength and rigidity.

Back support 40 begins with a converging portion 41 (FIG. 5). The rods which form rear legs 33, as well as the right and left sides of the chair generally, are bent at the top of rear legs 33 so as to converge inwardly along the rear edge of seat 50, closely adjacent to rear seat supporting rod 21 (FIG. 5). The converging portions 4] meet near the rear center of the chair and are bent upwardly in abutting fashion to form an upright portion 42 (FIG. 4). The abutting rods are rigidly secured together as by welding at this point. The converging portions 41 bend outwardly slightly at 41a before actually being joined together to form upright portion 42 (FIGS. 5 and 3). This keeps upright portion 42 from engaging a persons buttocks or lower back. The rod portions 43 then diverge outwardly and upwardly from the top of upright 42 to thereby form a generally U- shaped back frame to which back 60 may be secured.

Outwardly and upwardly diverging rod portions 43 are adapted to receive and secure back 60. Back 60 is molded of a suitable plastic material such as polypropylene. The mold is designed to provide back'60 with a gradually curving contour to support the human back (FIG. 7). Additionally, back 60 includes a groove 61 extending across its bottom edge and up its side edges (FIGS. 6 and 7). Groove 61 terminates at either side edge in a downwardly opening hole 62 (FIGS. 6, 7 and 8). Back 60 is then slipped down onto diverging and upwardly extending rod portions 43 with grooves 61 embracing these rods and with the ends of rods 43 extending upwardly into holes 62. Groove 61 is reinforced by ribs 63, at least some of which have arced bottom edges to receive rods 43. Preferably, a small amount of epoxy or other suitable adhesive is placed in holes 62 prior to assembly such that the ends of rods 43 remain firmly embedded therein. A mechanical fastening would also be acceptable at this point.

The chair is provided with unique fastener glides 71, 75, 81 and 85 which are fastened to runners 32 by means of screws (FIGS. 14, 15 and 16). Glides 71 and 81 have male fastening intelligence and are referred to as front male glide and rear male glide respectively. Glides and 85 have corresponding female fastening intelligence and are referred to as the front female glide and rear female glide respectively. Front male glide 71 and rear male glide 81 are fastened on one of the runners 32 with their fastening intelligence facing each other. Front female glide 75 and rear female glide 85 are fastened on the other runner 32. more closely together than are glides 71 and 81, and with their fastening intelligence facing away from each other. In this manner a pair of female fastener glides 75 and 85 on the rail of one chair fit snuggly to the insides of male glides 71 and 81 on the rail of an adjacent chair to thereby hold both chairs together, and prevent their fore and aft movement with respect to each other. It should be noted that since FIGS. 14 and 15 are both side views, the front of runner 32 in FIG. 14 appears on the right while the front of runner 32 in FIG. 15 appears on the left.

The male fastening intelligence of front male glides 71 comprises a projection 72 of V" shaped cross section and having a tab 73 forming the leading edge thereof (FIG. 14). Projection 72 and tab 73 extend away from runner 32 at an acute angle thereto (FIG. 16). However, the projection 72 and tab 73 eventually reach a turning point and turn sharply away to form a bumper portion 74 which is inclined at an obtuse angle to rod 32. Bumper portion 74 also has a generally V shaped cross section. Rear male glide 81 similarly includes a projection 72 and bumper portion 74 inclined at an acute angle and obtuse angle respectively with respect to runner 32. Because of the similarity in parts, the numbers used for these parts are the same for both front male glide 71 and rear male glide 81. However, rear male glide 81 does not include a projecting tab 73.

Front female fastening glide 75 includes a recess 76 of a generally V-shaped cross section for mating with projection 72-of glide 71 on the runner 32 of an adjacent chair (FIG. 15 Additionally, it includes a slot 77 at the base of recess 76 for receiving tab 73. Recess 76 and slot 77 are disposed an an acute angle to their runner 32 in the same manner as are projection 72 and tab 73 (FIG. 16). Finally, front female glide 75 includes a recessed bumper portion 78 which is inclined at an obtuse angle to runner 32. Rear female glide 85 includes a similar recess 76 and bumper portion 78, but does not include a slot 77.

FIG. 16 shows the adjacent runners 32 ofa pair of adjacent chairs, made in accordance with the preferred embodiment of this invention, being moved toward each other in an abutting manner. The bumper portions 74 and 78 of the adjacent glides are the first portions to abut. These have V-shaped cross sections corresponding to the generally V-shaped cross sections of projections 72 and recesses 76 and thereby act to guide the adjacent fastening glides into proper mating engagement. When engagement is completed, tab 73 of front male glide 71 will reside in slot 77 of front female glide 75. Similarly, projection 72 will reside within recess 76. Engagement of rear male glides 81 and rear female glides 85 is comparable.

Because of the fact that both female fastening glides 75 and 85 have intelligence facing outwardly while both male fastening glides 71 and 81 have intelligence facing inwardly, the adjacent chairs are firmly held together and are prevented from moving fore and aft. Lateral movement is prevented by the fact that the mating portions 72 and 76 of mating glides are inclined at'an acute angle to their respective runners. The tab 73 on front male glide 71 acts to provide added, positive engagement. It should be not-ed that various ones of the glides could be relocated. so long as both of the glides on a given runner 32 either faced away from each other or toward each other.

Thus, in accordance with this invention. a wire rod chair is provided having a number of unique features. including the wire rod frame itself. The beauty of the frame is greatly enhanced by the fact that it appears. when the chair is assembled, that the frame is made of only two continuous wire rods, one being brace rod 34. The chair seat can be readily secured to the frame with the unique seat fastening means. Similarly. the back can readily be fastened to the back support portion of the frame. The back includes a unique groove which not only facilitates this fastening operation, but which also lends a decorative, half-hidden appearance to the wire rod frame. Furthermore, the unique back support construction of the frame gives the back more flexibility than exists in current wire rod chairs in that the back is supported on a central, upwardly extending upright portion about which the back can twist slightly. The chairs can be stacked, since runners 32 are disposed to the outside of the side seat supports 22 due to the bend at the bottom of front legs 33.

Finally, the unique combination fastening and glide means outlined above is yet another significant contribution of this invention. By providing two fasteners on a straight rod portion of the wire rod frame, the continued workability of the fasteners is insured, regardless of whether or not the wire rod frame warps slightly with old age. Warpage will take place mainly at bent portions, not along straight rod portions. Furthermore, positive fastening is provided even though each of the combination glide-fasteners includes fastening intelligence on only one side thereof. Finally, by providing two combination glide-fasteners on each runner, applicant has eliminated the necessity of any additional glides or fasteners.

It will be understood that the above is merely a preferred embodiment of the invention and that many changes and alterations can be made thereof without departing from its spirit and broader aspects.

The embodiment of an invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A chair comprising: a wire rod frame having a pair of runners at the sides thereof from which the front and rear legs of said chair extend upwardly; said runners in cluding front and rear glides thereon, each glide on a first runner having fastening intelligence facing the other glide, and each glide on a second runner having fastening intelligence pointed away from the other glide; said second runner glides being positioned closer to one another than said first runner glides whereby when two chairs are placed in closely adjacent fashion, said fastening intelligence on said first runner glides on one chair cooperate with said fastening intelligence on said second runner glides on the other chair to hold the chairs together and prevent their 'fore-and-aft and lateral movement with respect to each other.

2. The chair of claim 1 in which the front glide on one runner and the rear glide on one runner are male fasteners whose fastening intelligence comprises a projection from one end thereof which is inclined at an acute angle to said runner; said front glide on'the other runner and the rear glide on the other runner comprises a female fastener whose fastening intelligence comprises outwardly from said projection and recess respectively, said bumper portion being inclined at an obtuse angle to said runner; said bumper portions of adjacent male and female glides on adjacently positioned chairs being the first portions of said adjacent glides to abut when said fasteners are forced together. and said abutting bumper portions acting to guide the fasteners into mating engagement at said acute angel portions.

UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Certificate Patent No. 3,838,884 Patented October 1, 1974 Frederick S. Faiks and Randall P. Buhk Application having been made by Frederick S. Faiks and Randall P. Buhk, the inventors named in the patent above identified, and Steelcase Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., the assignee, for the issuance of a certificate under the provisions of Title 35, Section 256, of the United States Code, deleting the name of Randall P. Buhk as a joint inventor, and a showing and proof of facts satisfying the requirements of the said section having been submitted, it is this 28th day of April 1981, certified that the name of the said Randall P. Buhk is hereby deleted from the said patent as a joint inventor with the said Frederick S. Faiks.


Associate Solicitor.

Patent Citations
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CA750742A *Jan 17, 1967David L RowlandCompactly stackable chairs and chair rows
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4548441 *Jan 22, 1982Oct 22, 1985Ogg Richard KStacking chair
US4602817 *May 13, 1983Jul 29, 1986Steelcase Inc.Modular furniture system
US5066065 *Oct 11, 1990Nov 19, 1991Milo BaughmanContainerized retractable/expandable sleeping compartment for vehicles
US6234571 *Oct 22, 1999May 22, 2001Mity-Lite, Inc.Indexing seat for folding chair
US7654617Feb 2, 2010Mity-Lite, Inc.Flexible chair seat
US8029059Oct 4, 2011Mity-Lite, Inc.Folding and stacking mesh chair system
US8033598Oct 11, 2011Mity-Lite, Inc.Mesh folding chair
US8033612Oct 11, 2011Mity-Lite, Inc.Comfortable mesh folding chair
US8038221Apr 13, 2009Oct 18, 2011Mity-Lite, Inc.Folding mesh chair with nesting hoops
US8317269Nov 27, 2012Mity-Lite, Inc.Mesh stacking chair
US8322787Dec 4, 2012Mity-Lite, Inc.Clamping joint for a chair
US8454093Jun 4, 2013Mity-Lite, Inc.Mesh chair with open-end hoop
US8613692 *Mar 5, 2008Dec 24, 2013Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.Exercise chair
US20090227434 *Mar 5, 2008Sep 10, 2009John BaudhuinExercise chair
USD648554Nov 15, 2011Mity-Lite, Inc.Mesh stacking chair
USD660612May 29, 2012Mity-Lite, Inc.Mesh banquet chair
U.S. Classification297/248, 297/239
International ClassificationA47C5/00, A47C1/124, A47C3/00, A47C5/04, A47C1/00, A47C3/04, A47C1/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47C5/04, A47C3/04, A47C1/124
European ClassificationA47C1/124, A47C5/04, A47C3/04