Title:
Folding chair with footrest
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foldable chair having a footrest body that may be supported as a footrest or as a table. The footrest body is supported by two beams that are rotatably mounted to a main body of the chair. One or more supports connect between the main body of the chair and the footrest body to support the footrest body at a first position, in which the footrest body acts as a footrest, and a second position, in which the footrest body acts as a table, for example for a notebook computer.



Inventors:
Tsumura, Kosuke (Matsubara Setagaya-ku, JP)
Application Number:
11/384687
Publication Date:
09/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/20/2006
Assignee:
The Coleman Company, Inc. (Wichita, KS, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47D1/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LYNCH, PATRICK D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD. ((SEATTLE OFFICE) TWO PRUDENTIAL PLAZA SUITE 4900, CHICAGO, IL, 60601-6731, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A foldable chair, comprising: a main body; a footrest body rotatably attached to the main body; one or more supports connected between the main body of the chair and the footrest body to support the footrest body at a first position in which the footrest body acts as a footrest, and a second position in which the footrest body acts as a table.

2. The foldable chair of claim 1, wherein the footrest body is connected to the main body by one or more beams that are rotatably mounted to the chair main body.

3. The foldable chair of claim 2, wherein the footrest body is mounted between distal ends of said one or more beams.

4. The foldable chair of claim 3, wherein the footrest body comprises fabric stretched between the distal ends of at least two of said one or more beams.

5. The foldable chair of claim 4, wherein said one or more beams are rotatably mounted to one or more front legs of the chair main body.

6. The foldable chair of claim 5, wherein two of said one or more beams are connected in a scissor fashion.

7. The foldable chair of claim 3, wherein two of said one or more beams are connected in a scissor fashion.

8. The foldable chair of claim 3, wherein distal ends of said one or more beams are bent to accommodate the leg angles of a user when the footrest body is in the first position.

9. The foldable chair of claim 1, wherein said one or more supports comprises a tension member connected to the footrest body and attachable to a first location on the main body of the chair when the footrest body is in the first position, and to a second location on the main body of the chair when the footrest body is in the second position.

10. The foldable chair of claim 9, wherein the first location is below a seat of the folding chair.

11. The foldable chair of claim 10, wherein the first location is adjacent an armrest for the folding chair.

12. The foldable chair of claim 9, wherein the footrest body is connected to the main body by two beams that are rotatably mounted to the chair main body, and wherein the tension member is connected to one of the beams.

13. The foldable chair of claim 12, further comprising a second tension member connected to the other of said beams and attachable to a first location on the main body of the chair when the footrest body is in the first position, and to a second location on the main body of the chair when the footrest body is in the second position.

14. The foldable chair of claim 13, wherein the tension member and the second tension member are adjustable in length.

15. The foldable chair of claim 9, wherein the tension member is adjustable in length.

16. The foldable chair of claim 1, wherein said one or more supports comprises a tension member connected to the footrest body and attachable to the main body of the chair and reconfigurable to permit the footrest body to be supported by the tension member in the first and second positions.

17. The foldable chair of claim 1, further comprising means to prevent the sliding off of an object carried on the upper surface of said footrest body when the footrest body is in the second position.

18. The foldable chair of claim 1, further comprising a flap for retaining a notebook computer on the footrest body when the footrest body is in the second position.

19. The foldable chair of claim 18, wherein the flap lays flat against the top of the footrest body when no object is placed in the footrest body.

20. A footrest body configured for use as described in claim 1.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Japanese Application Number 2005-091669, filed Mar. 28, 2005, and incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to chairs, and more particularly to a type of foldable chair equipped with a footrest.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Recently, with diversification in lifestyle, more opportunities have become available for outdoor camping or other outdoor activities. Many items have been developed to increase comfort during such activities. As an example, Japanese Kokai Patent Application No. Hei 10[1998] 262772 discloses a type of foldable reclining chair that can be used outdoors, is lightweight, and can be stored compactly.

Although such foldable chairs work well for their intended purpose, they often are not as comfortable as seating arrangements that are available for indoor use. For example, when seating indoors, the following scheme may be adopted so that the user can sit comfortably on a chair: a footstool, ottoman, or other footrest may be set directly in front of a sofa or a reclining chair, so that the user may put his feet on the footrest to stretch his legs with his knees slightly bent, the user's feet being raised while he sits.

Also, in the new information age, there are additional needs while seated, especially if a user wishes to use a computer. Conventional portable, foldable chairs are not designed for seating while using notebook computers, portable players, or other devices.

A notebook computer must be operated with both hands while viewing images displayed on its screen. It is very difficult to operate such a computer while the computer is positioned on a user's lap. For this reason, if a user desires to use a computer when in a foldable chair, it is best to set a table near the foldable chair. However, if the table is set on either the left side or right side of the user, the user must operate the keyboard, which is designed to be manipulated by both hands, with a single hand, so the posture is awkward. Also, in order to view the image displayed on the screen, the user must turn his or her head, and an unreasonable force is applied to the upper portion of the body. As a result, the user soon feels fatigued, and muscle aches or the like may occur.

Convenient work tables are provided in medical environments. For such a table, a patient lying on a bed props up the upper half of his body on the bed, and uses the table for meals or to operate a notebook computer. The table is supported by beams extending from a frame of the bed. The tabletop and a stationary, indoor chair may be similarly integrated, for example as a school desk. However, a structure with an integrated table has not been adopted for a foldable chair.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of some embodiments of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some embodiments of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

In an embodiment, a foldable chair is provided footrest body that may be supported as a footrest or as a table. The footrest body is supported by one or more beams that are rotatably mounted to a main body of the chair. One or more supports connect between the main body of the chair and the footrest body to support the footrest body at a first position, in which the footrest body acts as a footrest, and a second position, in which the footrest body acts as a table, for example for a notebook computer.

In accordance with an embodiment, a foldable chair is provided having a chair main body, beams, each with one end connected to the chair main body, a footrest body attached to the distal end of the beams, and one or more tension members that support the footrest body and the beams on the chair main body at a desired height or heights.

In an embodiment, the tension member may be connected at two different positions on the chair main body. When the tension member is connected at the first position, the footrest body becomes the footrest and, when the tension member is connected at the second position, the footrest body becomes a table.

In accordance with an embodiment, a foldable chair is provided having a chair main body. The folding chair includes two beams, connected in a scissors manner and the ends of which support a footrest body. The footrest body is, for example, a fabric stretched between the ends of the two beams. The ends of the two beams may be bent to provide comfort for a user. The foldable chair includes two flexible tension members, each having one end attached to the beams, respectively, and having the other end attached to the chair main body. One or both of the connections may be removably connectable. For example, the end that connects to the chair main body may be equipped with a first connector. The first connectors are arranged and configured to attach or connect to two first couplings equipped on the chair main body such that when the first connectors are connected to the first couplings, the tension members support the footrest body and beams at a first height. Second couplings are provided that connect to the connectors and support the footrest body at a second height.

In an embodiment, when the footrest body is at the second height, there is a means to prevent the sliding off of an object carried on the upper surface of said footrest body.

In an embodiment, the various structural elements have appropriate sizes so that the feet of the user are supported by the footrest body at the first height, and the various structural elements have appropriate sizes so that said footrest body can be used as a tabletop at the second height.

In an embodiment, a footrest for a foldable chair is provided having two beams which can be quick connected to or disconnected from at least two foot portions equipped on the foldable chair. The beams may have a universal joint attached near one end, and may rotate with respect to each other in a scissors fashion. A footrest body is provided that is attached to the other ends of the beams. Two flexible tension members are included, each having one end attached to one end of a respective beam and the other end equipped with a connector. The connectors may be quick-connected to or disconnected from the foldable chair and may be coupled to different connectors to support the footrest body at a first height and a second height.

The tension members may be length adjustable to adjust the footrest body at desired heights.

Other features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating a foldable chair in accordance with an embodiment, with a footrest body arranged as a footrest;

FIG. 2 is a side view illustrating the foldable chair shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view illustrating the foldable chair of FIG. 1, with a footrest body arranged as a table; and

FIG. 4 is a side view illustrating the foldable chair shown in FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, various embodiments of the present invention will be described. For purposes of explanation, specific configurations and details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. Furthermore, well-known features may be omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the embodiment being described.

Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals represent like elements throughout the several views, FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating a foldable chair in accordance with an embodiment. The foldable chair includes a chair main body 1 having, for example, four legs, a seating surface, and a back. The chair main body 1 is not shown in the drawings. However, the chair main body 1 may have any structure that is foldable and that allows attachment of a footrest such as is described herein. As an example, the chair main body 1 may be configured like the foldable chair disclosed in Japanese Kokai Patent Application No. Hei 10[1998] 262772 or the four step chair (product of Coleman Japan Co., Ltd., model No. 170 5602). The Coleman Japan Co. foldable chair includes rotatable legs and a cloth supporting the thigh portion as well as the back portion. In accordance with an embodiment, the folding chair is foldable to a lounge position.

In the embodiment shown in the drawing, one end of a first beam 31 is attached to a front-right leg 11a of the chair main body 1 by means of universal joint (21). Similarly, by means of universal joint (22), one end of second beam (32) is attached to front-left leg (12a). The first beam (31) and the second beam (32) are connected in a scissor-like manner, enabling rotation of one relative to the other about the two beam's centers. As a means for enabling said rotation, a rotating pin (41) is set through the two beams 31 and 32. The rotating pin has head portions on both ends to lock the two beams together.

The beams (31), (32) may be made, for example, of pipes composed of a light alloy provided with a rust-proof treatment or another suitable material. The universal joints (21), (22) may be a conventional jointing means, such as commercially available products made of synthetic resin balls supported by synthetic resin structural bodies.

A flexible footrest body (40) spans from near the distal end of the first beam (31) to near the distal end of the second beam (32). The footrest body (40) may be made, for example, of a durable cloth or fabric that has pockets at the two ends allowing insertion of the distal ends of the beams (31), (32). In addition, the portions of the beams (31), (32) inserted in footrest body (40) may be bent slightly downward relative to the rest of the beams, as can be seen in FIG. 2. The angle of the bend in the beams 31, 32 is selected appropriately so that an unreasonable force is not applied to the knees of a person sitting on the folding chair, and the knees can be slightly bent while the legs are stretched.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, a flexible tension member 51 having connector (51b) is attached at a fixing end (51a) to the first beam (31), adjacent to the footrest body 40. An opposite end of the tension member 51 includes a connector (51b). Similarly, on beam (32), a flexible tension member 52 having a connector (52b) is attached at a fixing end (52a). For the two length-adjustable tension members 51, 52, for example, the same cloth or synthetic leather used for the footrest body (40) may be used. In order to improve the durability, one or both may laminate plural layers of sheets for these parts.

If desired, for the flexible tension members 51, 52, a length-adjusting mechanism may be included to vary the length of the tension members 51, 52. In this manner, the tension members 51, 52 may be adjusted to fit a particular user. The length-adjusting mechanism may be made, for example, of a synthetic resin similar to that used in a length-adjusting drawstring lock.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, a first set of couplers or connectors (11b), (12b) and second set of couplers or connectors (11c), (12c) are attached to the chair main body (1). The couplers 11b, 12b and the couplers 11c, 12c are configured and arranged to detachably connect to the connectors 51b, 52b of the tension members 51, 52. The first couplers (11b), (12b) are positioned such that, when the connectors 51b, 52b are connected to the first couplers 11b, 12b, the footrest body (40) is supported at a first height (H1). The second couplers (11c), (12c) are positioned such that, when the connectors 51b, 52b are connected to the second couplers 11c, 12c, the footrest body (40) is supported at a second height (H2).

The first height (H1) is the height obtained by selecting appropriate sizes for the various structural elements such that the feet of the user are supported by footrest body (40). The second height (H2) is the height obtained by selecting appropriate sizes for the various structural elements such that the footrest body (40) can be used as a table.

The positions of attachment of the couplers 11a, 12a, 11b, 12b may be freely selected. The first couplers (11b), (12b) may, for example, be sewn onto the lower surface of the front of the seat surface, and the second couplers (11c), (12c) may be sewn onto the lower surface of the armrest, so that said first height (H1) and second height (H2) may be attained.

As an example, the connectors (51b), (52b), first couplers (11b), (12b) and second couplers (11c), (12c) may be made of synthetic resin. As other examples, the combination of the connectors and the couplers may include hook and loop fasteners, loop and toggle fasteners, hooks, clips, clasps, clamps, ties, or any other structure that permits releasable connection between the connectors and the couplers.

As an alternative to the embodiment shown in the drawings, the tension members 51, 52 may be releasably connected to the footrest bodies and/or the beams 31, 32, or may be releasably connected at both ends. In addition, if desired, only one tension member 51 or 52, or more than two tension members, may be used. As another alternative, a tension member may be attached at the same position to the chair main body 1 when the footrest body 40 is in the two positions. In this embodiment, the tension member or members may have their length adjusted, or may be attached at a different location on the tension member, for example by having two connectors such as the connectors 51b, 52b, on each tension member.

In an embodiment, the footrest body (40) may have a sliding-off prevention means (40a) that may prevent the sliding off of notebook computer (60) or other object carried at the second height (H2). Said sliding-off prevention means (40a) may be made of a wide ribbon-shaped cloth, with its two sides and the front side of the central portion sewn on the end portions of footrest body (40). Consequently, when said footrest body (40) is used as a footrest, said sliding-off prevention means (40a) lays flat and does not interfere with feet set on the footrest. On the other hand, when the footrest body (40) is used as a table (FIG. 3), the cloth acts as a partial sleeve into which a front edge of the notebook computer fits. The sleeve is higher at the sides and lower in the middle, so even if the thickness of notebook computer (60) varies, notebook computer (60) can be supported by wrapping its front, and more specifically its front corners, so that interference with the keyboard of notebook computer (60) does not occur.

When the foldable chair of the present invention is not in use, the two beams 31, 32 are rotated around the rotating shaft or pin 41 so that the parts are aligned as a single bundle while the two foot portions of the beams with the footrest attached to them are set near each other by folding, so that the entirety including the footrest is collapsed into a single bundle. The folding structure of the chair main body 1 may be the same as that of foldable chairs in the prior art.

In addition, although not shown in the figures, a footrest with the same structure may be attachable to an existing foldable chair. Also, if desired, the footrest body 40 may be supported by a single beam, for example along one side. Also, more than two beams may be used for support.

Other variations are within the spirit of the present invention. Thus, while the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, a certain illustrated embodiment thereof is shown in the drawings and has been described above in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form or forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. The term “connected” is to be construed as partly or wholly contained within, attached to, or joined together, even if there is something intervening. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate embodiments of the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.