|Publication number||USRE36335 E|
|Application number||US 08/786,994|
|Publication date||Oct 12, 1999|
|Filing date||Jan 23, 1997|
|Priority date||Apr 25, 1988|
|Also published as||CA2080248A1, CA2080248C, DE69129628D1, DE69129628T2, EP0539377A1, EP0539377A4, EP0539377B1, WO1991015139A1|
|Publication number||08786994, 786994, US RE36335 E, US RE36335E, US-E-RE36335, USRE36335 E, USRE36335E|
|Inventors||Charles O. Perry|
|Original Assignee||Perry; Charles O.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (76), Referenced by (28), Classifications (22), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of my prior application Ser. No. 793,357, filed Jan. 9, 1992, now abandoned which was a continuation-in-part of my prior application Ser. No. 757,734 filed Sep. 11, 1991, now abandoned which was in turn a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 506,716 filed Apr. 10, 1990, now abandoned, which was in turn a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 381,151 filed May 2, 1989, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,466 dated Apr. 23, 1991 which was in turn a continuation-in-part application Ser. No. 185,707 filed Apr. 25, 1988, now abandoned.
This Invention relates to high density stacking chairs of the type used by hotels for meeting room chairs. Typically, a dolly is provided which holds a stack of chairs which are stacked as densely as possible.
The use of low-cost, stacking chairs is well-known in the art. However, such chairs are designed not with comfort or ergonomics in mind, but rather to provide a large quantity of temporary seats for occasional use which can ordinarily be stored and take up minimal storage space. Such chairs may have some limited flexibility in the seat back portion, but provide no ergonomic benefits.
Considerable attention has been focused in recent years on better ergonomic designs, resulting in home and office chairs which demonstrate a wide variety of designs which include the ability to recline and provide lumbar support. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,732,424. Such ergonomic designs do not, however, provide low cost seating. Thus, it would be desirable to combine the benefits of ergonomic design into a low cost, stackable chair.
I have disclosed a new design for high density stacking chairs which provides exceptional comfort with exceptional stacking density by using a flexible frame which flexes to permit partial reclining of the chair back. At the same time, the partial reclining of the chair back applies pressure to the user's low back. This high density stacking flex-chair is available on the market as the Perry Chair manufactured by the Krueger International Company of Green Bay, Wis.
In one embodiment of the invention, a single continuous frame has a seat and a pivoting back attached thereto. Ergometric adjustment of the chair is accomplished by tilting of the back and flexure of the frame. Flexure of the frame urges the back into a normal upright position for stacking and uniform appearance. The back is curved and hollow, and engages the frame at upper and lower curved sections of the frame, which sections have radii of curvatures less than that of the back and which sections are positioned at a downward angle such that the effective horizontal radii of the sections in the upright position is shorter than the actual radii, causing the back to rest against the curved sections and limit forward tilting of the back. When the back is tilted, the radial movement disengages the back from the curved sections due to the difference in radii, until the angle of tilt is such that the effective radii are again equal and the back again rests against the curved sections of the frame and limits tilting backward.
In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the high density flex chair is an armchair. I have accomplished this result simply by changing the shape of the rear legs so that the chair not only has the advantage of being an armchair but also has the advantage that it can be manufactured to some extent with tooling common to the manufacturing tooling of the armless chair.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a chair built according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a variation of a chair built according to the present invention.
FIGS. 3-5 are side plan views showing how the chair back flexes through its range of backward tilt.
FIG. 6 is a view taken across section 6--6 of FIG. 4 (seat back omitted) and represents a plan view of the chair according to the present invention in a partially tilted position.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a chair built according to the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a top plan view (seat back omitted) of a chair built according to the present invention in the normal rest position.
FIG. 9 is a side plan view of a stack of two chairs according to the present invention.
FIG. 10 is a rear plan view of the stack of FIG. 9.
FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the chair of this invention illustrating in phantom a second chair stacked on top of the first chair;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 11 showing the manner in which the chair of FIG. 11 reclines;
FIG. 13 is a side elevational view of the chair and phantom chair of FIG. 11;
FIGS. 14 and 15 are top and front elevational views of the chair of FIG. 11, respectively;
FIG. 16 is in exploded view of the frame of the chair of FIG. 11, and
FIG. 17 is a detailed view of a part of FIG. 6.
Referring now to FIG. 1, a first embodiment of a chair according to the present invention is shown. There are three major portions of the chair: a frame 10, a seat 20, and a back 30. The back 30 is curved to adapt to a user's back and is composed of a front section 32 and a rear section 34, each of which has a lip 33, 35 or other spacer which creates a hollow interior space between sections when they are attached.
The frame 10 is ideally a continuous structure, constructed of solid rod or tubular steel or the like. Alternatively, it may consist of welded or otherwise connected sections. The frame 10 has an upper curved section 12 which is enclosed within the back 30 with cylindrical bearing sections 12a at either end and which extends through the middle of the back and is angled downward. The frame 10 then extends from each end of the upper curved section 12 outward from the hollow interior, the back 30 being pivotally attached thereto at the cylindrical sections 12a. This pivotal attachment can be accomplished by bearings attached to the front section 32, but is preferably accomplished by providing bearing surfaces 12b formed on plastic molded front and back sections 32 and 34.
The frame 10 has a pair of rear support legs 16 which extend downward and rearward to a floor surface. Bottom legs 17 extend forwardly along the floor. A pair of front support legs 18 then extend upward and rearward to the front of the seat 20. The seat supporting portion 15 extends rearward supporting the seat 20, then slightly inward, then upward into the back 30, then inward, where the back is again pivotally attached at pivot connections 14a. The frame 10 continues to a lower curved section 14 which is enclosed within the back and which extends through the back at a downward angle. The distance d1 between the opposing legs of the frame 10 as it sits on the floor is less than the width d2 of the seat 20, so as to facilitate stacking a plurality of such chairs.
In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the seat supporting portion 15 of the frame 10 is positioned inwardly from the edges of the seat 20 and connected by welded struts 22, 23 to improve the support of the seat and lateral stability of the frame. In FIG. 7, such lateral stability can be provided by a pair of stabilizers 50, 52. Additionally, clips 24 are attached to the bottom surface of the seat 20 in order to easily attach/detach the seat to frame 10.
The back 30 is a one-piece molded unit, having openings or clips 40 which are adapted to pivotally engage the rear support legs 16 at cylindrical sections 12a. Openings or clips 42 are likewise adapted to pivotally engage the front support legs 18 at cylindrical sections 14a. In this way, the back 30 may be easily and securely fitted to frame 10. The curved sections 12 and 14 remain in a fixed position relative to frame 10 to provide pivotal limits, as will be next described.
Referring now to FIGS. 3-5, the tilting action of the back 30 is illustrated. When the chair is in its upright position, as in FIG. 3, the rear support legs 16 of the frame 10 are inclined at a forward angle so as to provide a natural spring-type action which holds the back 30 forward.
The curved sections 12 and 14 of frame 10 are parallel, each extending outward and downward from the back of the front section 32 at a twenty-two and one-half degree angle. The radii of curvature for both curved sections 12 and 14 are less than that of the back portion. But, the radius of curvature of section 12 projected at a plane inclined to the plane of section 12 by an angle of 22.5 degrees equals the radius of curvature of the back 30, such that the inside of the front section 32 is in contact with the curved sections 12 and 14 at points 36 and 37 as a result of the effective radius of the curved sections 12 and 14 being equal to the radius of the back 30.
As a user leans back on the chair, the front section 32 pivots about point 50 on the upper curved section, causing the upper half of the front section to rotate backwards, and the lower half to rotate forward about point 50. Note also that the seat 20 will be lifted by the forward rotation of the lower curved section 14. Since the back 30 has a greater radius of curvature than both curved sections, the back lifts away from the curved sections as it is tilted, reengaging the curved sections at points 38 and 39, located further down the back, where the effective radius of the back portion is again equal to the radii of the curved sections after the back has tilted 45 degrees.
A clearer view of the relationship of the curved sections 12 and 14 to the overall frame structure 10 is illustrated in FIG. 6 where the cylindrical sections of the frame 12a, 14a are providing straight bearing areas.
Stacking of the chair of the present invention is illustrated with reference to FIGS. 8-10. As can be seen in FIGS. 8 and 9, the seat supporting portions 15 of frame 10 are positioned inwardly but substantially parallel of the floor engaging or bottom portions 17 of frame 10. The rear portions of seat supporting portions 15 are angled further inward in conformance with the shape of the seat 20, and then rise upward forming lower curved section 14. The front portions of seat supporting portions 15 turn downward near the front of the seat 20 forming front support legs 18. The front support legs 18 are substantially vertical, thus remaining inward of the bottom legs 17. However, near the floor each front support leg 18 is bent outwardly at a slight angle to form into the bottom legs 17. A stacking tab 19 is welded on the outside near the bend of each front support leg 18 to provide for indexed stacking of chairs.
In FIGS. 9 and 10, chair B is stacked on top of chair A. It can be seen that the front corner of the bottom legs 17B rest on spacing tabs 19A. Further, rear stabilizer 50B, which has a radius of curvature similar to the seat 20, rests in the opening between the seat 20 and back 30. It will be noted that the upper chair B is offset forwardly from the lower chair A so that the seats of a stack of chairs will occupy a volume which extends upwardly and forwardly, and the bottom legs 17 lay outside the volume. Thus, the bottom legs 17B are wider at the front end thereof than the front legs 18A and are wider at the rear end thereof than the volume occupied by the stack of chairs, such that chair A and chair B stack tightly and neatly.
Referring now to FIG. 11, the chair illustrated therein comprises a seat 110 and a back 112 which has an upper region 114 and a lower region 116. The chair has a metal frame which is preferably made of 7/16 inch 1008 steel rod and 5/8 inch steel tube with a 3/32 inch wall thickness. The rod portion of the frame is generally the same as the frame of the armless chair with the back and bottom leg portions replaced by the tube. The frame is pivotally connected to the upper region of the back at 118 with a pivotal connection 120 between the seat 110 and the lower region 116 of the back 112.
The frame has a pair of legs each having a back leg portion 122, a bottom leg portion 124 and a front leg portion 126 which are labeled with the letters "R" and "L" for the right and left legs with the top of the front legs 126 supporting the seat 110. The pivotal connections 118 and 120 between the fame and the back 112 are preferably provided by the pivot limiting structure of the chair which is generally shown in FIGS. 3-5 and the connection between the frame and the seat 110 is preferably provided in the same manner as the connections in the commercial armless chair so that the two chairs can be made with similar manufacturing tooling.
The chair of this embodiment differs from the chair shown in FIG. 7 in that the back leg portions 122 extend from the pivot connection 118 forwardly generally outside the bottom leg portion 174 for a sufficient distance to form an arm rest 128 and then downwardly and rearwardly to the bottom leg portion 124, and the back leg portions, arms and bottom leg portions are made of tubing which slips over the rod portion of the frame and is welded to the rod at welds 121 and 125. Note that there is a slight horizontal bend in the arm 128, best seen in FIGS. 14 and 16 which position the forward part of the arm outside the bottom leg portions.
Stops are provided on the chair frame for stabilizing the chair in a stack. These stops comprise a pair of tabs 130 on the front legs 126 which support the bottom leg portions of an upper chair in the stack and a cross strut 132 (see particularly FIG. 13) which engages the top of the seat of a lower chair in the stack. Preferably the frame also has a metal tab 134 on each chair arm to which a padded armrest may be attached. As illustrated in FIG. 17, a slot 136 is provided in the tube to permit the tube to drain where the frame may be plated after welding.
While several embodiments of the chair of this invention has been described in the drawings, it will be apparent that certain modifications may be made thereof within the spirit of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||297/448.2, 297/295, 297/354.11, 297/320, 297/239, 297/447.1, 297/342|
|International Classification||A47C7/44, A47C1/032, A47C3/023, A47C3/04, A47C3/021, A47C1/02, A47C3/02|
|Cooperative Classification||A47C3/023, A47C7/44, A47C3/04, A47C1/032|
|European Classification||A47C1/032, A47C3/04, A47C3/023, A47C7/44|
|Jun 27, 2002||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jun 30, 2006||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|Jan 13, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DEPERRY, SHEILA H., CONNECTICUT
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PERRY, CHARLES O.;REEL/FRAME:027529/0279
Effective date: 20111227