US 3864768 A
A waterbed, or more properly, a water mattress, conventionally employs a water inflated, bag-like membrane enclosure which is confined about its rectangular perimeter with a rigid frame supporting its vertical surfaces and whose bag-like enclosure includes a top panel spaced above a bottom panel with their respective peripheral edges interconnected with side and end panels respectively to form the water-tight enclosure, can be improved by utilizing an internal pneumatic float tube or tubes which are operable to float along the side and end panels to provide a buoyant edge support around the periphery of the top panel when the enclosure has been filled with water, thereby improving the comfort and convenience of the water mattress.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Fraige et al.
[451 Feb. 11, 1975 1 WATER MATTRESS WITH INTERNAL FLOAT TUBE Calif.
 Assignee: Said Fraige by said Read  Filed: July 13, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 379,067
 U.S. Cl. 5/348 WB  Int. Cl. A47c 27/08  Field of Search 5/348 R, 349, 350, 348 WB; 219/217  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,943,888 l/1934 Ewald 5/348 WB 3,766,579 10/1973 Shields 5/348 WB 3,778,852 12/1973 Penn et a1 5/348 WB Primary Examiner-Paul R. Gilliam Assistant E.raminerAndrew M. Calvert Attorney, Agent. or Firm-Phillips, Moore, Weissenberger, Lempio & Strabala  ABSTRACT A waterbed, or more properly, a water mattress. conventionally employs a water inflated. bag-like membrane enclosure which is confined about its rectangular perimeter with a rigid frame supporting its vertical surfaces and whose bag-like enclosure includes a top panel spaced above a bottom panel with their respective peripheral edges interconnected with side and end panels respectively to form the water-tight enclosure, can be improved by utilizing an internal pneumatic float tube or tubes which are operable to float along the side and end panels to provide a buoyant edge support around the periphery of the top panel when the enclosure has been filled with water, thereby improving the comfort and convenience of the water mattress.
10 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Waterbeds conventionally employing a frame and a water mattress continue to gain public acceptance as restful sleeping structures. Usually, they include a membrane fashioned to form a rectangular bag-like enclosure which is inflated with water. The membrane is usually a plastic or rubber sheet-like material and can be generally described as a structure having spacedapart, horizontal top and bottom panels having their respective peripheral edges sealingly connected by vertical side and end panels. A rectangular frame having sufficient structural rigidity is employed to confine the side and end panels of the mattress when it is water inflated to prevent the hydrostatic pressures within the mattress from bulging outward to a semi-circular configuration. This would normally occur because the membrane forming the bag-like enclosure lacks structural integrity to hold the mattress in a box-like configuration without vertical supports for the end and side panels, as well as the bottom panel, on which the weight of the water is actually supported.
A water mattress, as described above, will comfortably support a person lying prone thereon due to the relatively large surface area over which the persons weight is distributed, however, if the persons weight is concentrated or localized on small areas of the mattress, it will tend to displace the water immediately therebeneath, resulting in a major depression in the top surface of the mattress. This can occur if a person stands or kneels or otherwise positions his body on the mattress to localize his weight on a relatively small surface area thereof. Often, such a condition occurs as a person is getting onto or off of the top surface of a water mattress, and it is in these situations that major depressions adjacent to the contiguous rigid frame are troublesome and often result in uncomfortable contact with the vertical support boards of the frame.
Also, some discomfort with water mattresses is experienced when the sleeper rolls too close to the edge or frame area, which again, often results in a major depression in the area immediately adjacent to the frame and often tends to wedge the person against the frame in an uncomfortable manner.
In addition, due to the lack of structural integrity in the membrane from which the mattress is constructed, its vertical side and end panels tend to make rather iarge radii curved corners at their intersections with the top panels rather than the more conventional square corners of a foam or spring mattress.
Therefore, it is an object of the current invention to provide a low-cost water mattress which overcomes the above problems, thereby increasing its comfort and enhancing its utility as well as its aesthetic appearance.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A waterbed or water mattress accomplishing the above objects as well as providing other advantages includes a water-inflatable rectangular enclosure formed of a membrane having a rectangular top surface panel spaced above a parallel bottom rectangular surface panel with its peripheral panel edges connected with side and end panels to form a water-tight box-like enclosure, a water inflation and closure aperture, a pneumatic float tube attached internally within the box-like enclosure along and adjacent to at least one side panel thereof and an air inflation tube communicating with said pneumatic float tube so that the float tube will effect a buoyant edge support along the at least one side panel thereof.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The instant invention will be better understood by referring to the attached drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective of the improved water mattress along with a supporting frame having parts broken away to show the internal detail of the mattress; and
FIG. 2 is a cross section of the improved mattress and supporting frame structure shown in FIG. I, better illustrating the internal pneumatic float tube.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In reference to the perspective shown in FIG. 1, a waterbed is illustrated having a frame 11 that supports a water-inflated mattress 12. The frame includes a floor 13 supported on a base 14 that has vertical side boards 15 and end boards connected at their ends to form an open box rlike structure above the floor. Usually, the frame is constructed of wood, as illustrated in the drawings, with the side and end boards bolted or screwed to the floor 13, and their corners joined to enhance the integrity of the frame structure.
Within this box-lik'e frame structure, now referred to as frame 11, the water mattress 12 is contained. Basically, it is formed with a rubber or plastic membrane from which the bag-like water enclosure is fashioned. For the purposes of description, this bag-like enclosure can be considered as having a horizontal rectangular top panel 20 with a spaced-apart rectangular bottom panel arranged in parallel relationship on the floor 13 of the frame 11, with side panels 22 and end panels 23 connecting the peripheral edges of the top and bottom panels to form the water-tight bag-like enclosure.
In actual practice, the side and end panels, 22 and 23, respectively, are usually formed by extending portions or flaps ofthe top and bottom panels,'20 and 21 respectively, that are connected by welding or glueing the ends of these extending portions in the central area of the side and end panels, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, to effect a continuous seam 25 about the peripheral vertical sides and ends of the bag-like enclosure. This is actually a preferred arrangement, as it eliminates numerous other seams that otherwise might be necessary, and makes the mattress less susceptible to leakages in the seam area. Further, this single seam construction is particularly appropriate for practicing the instant invention, as will be described subsequently. Located in the top panel is a water filler plug enclosure 24 through which the mattress is water-inflated. Such a filler plug enclosure is conventional to most water mattresses.
Within the bag-like rectangular water enclosure described above, are one or more air or pneumatic float tubes 30, as can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2. In the embodiment illustrated, a single rectangular float tube rings the inner periphery of the bag-like enclosure and forms a secondary chamber therein having a separate air-inflation valve 31, so it can be inflated independently with air before the water mattress or enclosure is completely inflated with water. In an alternate structure, four separate float tubes 30 could be utilized, each having their own separate air inflation valve 31.
If this alternate structure is employed, the individual float tube should extend substantially the full length of the adjacent side panel 22 or end panel 23 along which it is disposed.
In both embodiments, and as a matter of necessity in the alternate embodiment, the float tube or tubes 30 are attached parallel and closely adjacent to a side panel 22 or an end panel 23, as shown in the drawings. By effecting such an attachment, which is accomplished in the continuous seam 25 of the embodiment illustrated in the drawings, the float tube or tubes are secured contiguous or adjacent to an end or side panel, as the case may be, so they can function properly.
Basically, the function of the float tube or tubes 30 is to provide a buoyant edge support around the periphery of the top panel of the enclosure without substantial modification of mattress softness and comfort. This is accomplished by internal buoyant tubes which are free to move vertically within the water-filled baglike enclosure in response to highly localized loading along the edges of the top panel 20. It can be appreciated that the float tube or tubes actually are air chambers which are buoyant in the surrounding water and also have a length at least substantially equivalent to the adjacent side or end panel. As a result, highly localized loading will, to some extent, be transmitted axially along the tube, thereby increasing the weight distribution that is localized in any point thereof. Since the buoyancy factor is appreciable, a firm gentle support is provided by the float tube or tubes. In addition, the buoyancy of the float tube or tubes tends to square the top edges of the bag-like enclosure by providing a lift at point A, which makes the current water mattress more appealing aesthetically when compared to a more conventional foam or spring mattress.
In practice, these water mattresses have a thickness of T, which varys from 6 to 12 inches. Therefore, the float tube or tubes 30 should be designed to have an inflated diameter D approximating one-half to two-thirds the thickness T of the water mattress.
FIG. 2 best illustrates a practical application of the float tube 30, where a girl is shown perched on a top edge of the improved water mattress. It can be seen that the girls weight is localized over the float tube 30 and the outermost edge of the mattress is being supported at a height approximately equal to the height of the side board 15, making it easier for her to leave the surface of the mattress. Normally, the float tube will not bottom out against the bottom panel 21 due to its length and buoyancy. In fact, a person can adjust the edge support to suit his whims by merely adjusting the degree of inflation (below its maximum inflation diameter) to achieve the best personal compromise between softness and edge support. Also, it can be appreciated that a vertical air chamber extending between the top and bottom would not be equivalent to the float tube, as it cannot function in the manner described above, as the float tube moves independently of the adjacent or contiguous elastomer membrane surfaces of the side and/or top panels.
The float tube or tubes 30 can be constructed of the same flexible elastomer membrane from which the panels of the bag-like enclosure are formed. In particular, 7
sheets of polyvinyl chloride are especially suitable for forming both the bag-like enclosure and float tube or tubes 30. In fact, when constructed in accordance with the structure shown in the drawings, the float tube or tubes and enclosure can all be formed with a single common seam, facilitating the economic manufacture of the improved water mattress.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved water mattress with edge support which is adapted to be confined in a rigid box-like waterbed frame comprising:
a water inflatable bag-like enclosure having a top panel. a parallel, spaced-apart bottom panel and edge panels sealingly interconnecting said top and bottom panels to form a water-tight enclosure;
a water filling and valve means in one of said panels having fluid communication with the interior of said bag-like enclosure;
at least one float tube means hingedly connected at one edge internally within said enclosure adjacent to and along one edge panel thereof in a manner allowing it to move between said top and bottom panels independently of said one edge panel, said float tube means forming an internal, fluid-tight chamber within said bag-like enclosure; and
an air filling and valve means located in one of said panels and having fluid communication with said fluid-tight internal chamber whereby said float tube means can be pneumatically inflated to provide edge support for said top panel along the top of said one edge panel through its buoyancy in relation to the fluid filling said bag-like enclosure.
2. The improved water mattress defined in claim 1 wherein said float tube means is mounted in a manner which allows it to move vertically within the bag-like enclosure when the latter is filled with water.
3. The improved water mattress defined in claim 2 wherein the float tube means is centrally connected on the one edge panel to allow movement thereof between the top and bottom panels.
4. The improved water mattress defined in claim 2 wherein the top and bottom panels are rectangular and the edge panels are composed of two side panels and two end panels.
5. The improved water mattress defined in claim 4 where a float tube means is connected adjacent to and along each side panel thereof and each float tube means extends substantially the full length of its associated side panel.
6. The improved water mattress defined in claim 4 wherein the float tube means rings the inner periphery of the bag-like enclosure so a portion thereof is adjacent and parallel to each of the side and end panels thereof.
7. The improved water mattress defined in claim 1 wherein the panels of the bag-like enclosure are formed from an elastomer membrane.
8. The improved water mattress defined in claim 1 wherein the diameter of the float tube means is less than two thirds the height of its adjacent edge panel.
9. The improved water mattress defined in claim 3 wherein said float tube means is hingedly connected centrally on the one edge panel to allow movement thereof between the top and bottom panels.
10. A waterbed frame having vertical side and end boards and joined to form a rigid box-like frame in combination with a water mattress, said water mattress comprising:
a rectangular water inflatable bag-like enclosure sized to fit within the rigid box-like frame and having a top panel, a spaced-apart bottom panel and chamber within said bag-like enclosure and mounted to enable it to move vertically within said enclosure; and
an air filling and valve means located in one of said panels and having fluid communication with said fluid-tight internal chamber whereby said float tube means can be pneumatically inflated to provide edge support along the top of said one side panel through its buoyancy when said bag-like enclosure is filled with water.
i III UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent 5,66 af7o8 Dated February '11, 1 75 Inventor(s) hichar'd F'raige It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
On the title page, after the abstract, "'10 Claims" should read 11 Claims Signed and Scaled this First Day Of November I977 [SEAL] Attest:
RUTH C. MASON LUTRELLE F. PARKER Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks H050 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION PatentNo. 3.86MJ68 Dated February 11. 1975 lnventofls) Richard Fraiglge et al It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that saigl Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Inventor'tieeignation should read as follows:-
- Inventors: Richard Fraige, 1823 Alameda Avenue,
Alameda, Calif. Jerry Read, 38 Washburn Street, San-Francisco, Calif.-
. Claim 1, line 15, after "independently" i'nsert of a lower portion-.
Signed and sealed this' 6th day bf May 1975.
C. MARSHALL DANN RUTH C. MASON Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer and Trademarks