Title:
Air mattress with two means of inflation/deflation and a method of relieving pressure on the primary closure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This is an inflatable cushion or mattress that is both easy to inflate and deflate by means of a large re-sealable opening. This opening is protected from bursting open due to the increased pressure caused, for example, by a large body lying upon the mattress. The means of protection is by pulling the primary closure under the mattress so that the pressure works against the walls of the mattress rather than against the primary closure. The primary closure is held in place under the mattress by a secondary closure made of hook and loop fabric. Furthermore, the cushion or mattress can have its internal air pressure finely adjusted by the use of a standard air valve incorporated into the mattress.



Inventors:
Metcalf, James Ernest (Jenison, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/112596
Publication Date:
10/26/2006
Filing Date:
04/25/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/709
International Classes:
A47C27/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SANTOS, ROBERT G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James, Metcalf E. (9654 48th Avenue, Jenison, MI, 49428, US)
Claims:
I claim as my invention:

1. An air mattress consisting of either a single cell, or such a mattress with an additional cell for a head pillow; which cell(s) are composed in the manner familiar to those having skill in the art of making air mattresses, and which have the flexible upper layer of material connected directly to the flexible lower layer of material, or, alternately, have a flexible panel for a sidewall between the two layers around their entire perimeter; and which cell(s) may be filled with a foam pad or left void for filling exclusively with air.

2. Each cell (main cell or head pillow cell) has a large opening along one side between the upper and lower layers of material that extend like lips and are preferably sealed with either a tongue and groove closure or else with a hook or loop fabric closure integrated into the upper and lower lips so that the two portions of the closure connect together in their normal way; or in the instance where there is a sidewall, the closure is integrated into lips extending from the sidewall and one of the horizontal layers, preferably the lower layer of material. Those persons skilled in the art will appreciate the use of a myriad of other closure elements that include, but are not limited to, generic two part fastening systems, such as linear closure elements, slide fasteners, and the like. Such other closure devices are included in the scope of this invention.

3. The tongue and groove closure, or the hook and loop closure, or other closure device, is integrated into the upper and lower lips close to the main body of the mattress, but not immediately next to it so that the lip and its closure can be folded under the mattress.

4. The upper lip also extends beyond the closure and the bottom lip.

5. To the underside of this upper lip a strip of hook and loop closure is integrated along its entire length beyond the primary closure.

6. The mating piece of hook and loop closure is integrated to the bottom layer of the mattress so that when the upper lip is pulled under the mattress the two pieces mate and hold the lip in place under the mattress so that the primary closure is now under the mattress and internal air pressure against the primary closure is relieved in this way.

7. Further, the cell or cells have a secondary means of inflating and deflating, which is an ordinary flap valve, or an ordinary screw cap type of valve or other simple air valve. This valve is for the addition or removal of slight amounts of air in order to make the mattress just as hard as desired.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to inflatable mattresses, and especially to an improved manner of making them so that they are quickly and easily inflatable and deflatable, while remaining secure against accidental deflation, and having a secondary means to precisely regulate the amount of internal pressure to afford the user the desired amount of pressure for greatest comfort and utility.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Inflatable mattresses are commonly known in the prior art. They consist of well-known and obvious structural configurations, although appearing in a great number of basic shapes and variations of those shapes. Among these are simple air mattresses, which are simply two sheets of fabric sealed at the edges and provided with a valve. Some of these have head pillows as a separate, but permanently connected inflatable component, and some may have sidewalls, and some may have self-inflating foam or other material in the interior. Other variations are also commonly seen on the market.

Meiners (U.S. Pat. No. 5,911,657) has also patented a cushion that is a series of cells in which each is connected to its neighboring cells with a flexible hinge, and each of these cells closes with a tongue and groove closure.

Other known prior art inflatable cushions includes U.S. Pat. Nos. 867,464; 3,017,642; 4,624,877; 5,152,018; 6,397,417; 6,446,289; 6,651,277; 6,253,401.

Other integrated art includes U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,717,437; 3,114,951; 5,664,296.

These devices all fulfill their respective, particular objectives, but do not constitute the invention presented in the claims. They are lacking in being able to be easily inflated and deflated without a pump, or (Meiners) lack a means of relieving pressure on the primary closure, and of making fine adjustments to the pressure. This invention combines a manner for quickly inflating and deflating an air-filled mattress (with or without a foam core) combined with a manner for relieving the closure device from excessive pressure; and also having a secondary means of inflating the mattress for precise adjustment of the internal pressure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides for a way to quickly fill or empty an air mattress without using a pump; to relieve the closure of undue pressure; and to precisely adjust the amount of air in the air mattress.

To attain this, an air mattress is constructed. This may or may not have side walls. It may or may not have a separate, but integrated cell for a pillow. It may or may not be filled with foam or some other material that acts in a similar way. One side of the air mattress (or of each cell in the air mattress in the case of a multi-cell mattress) is not permanently sealed. Rather, it is left open, and the two pieces of material protrude like lips. Integrated into these lips are the respective sides of a tongue and groove closure (or other linear closing device) so that when pressed together they form an air tight seal. Furthermore, one side of a hook and loop closure is integrated into the upper lip and substantially along its entire length beyond the tongue and groove closure so that the sealed lips can be drawn under the mattress and held there by mating the one piece of hook and loop fabric with its mate integrated into the bottom of the mattress. This relieves the pressure on the tongue and groove closure. Lastly, each cell also has integrated into it, away from the tongue and groove closure, a simple air valve so that fine adjustments in pressure can be made in the firmness of the air mattress. The air mattress can be quickly emptied by peeling apart the hook and loop closure, and then peeling open the tongue and groove closure. This obviously saves a great deal of time when packing the mattress away.

It should be clear that this invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. This invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in a variety of ways. It is to be understood that the phrases and terms employed in this application are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting the invention.

Therefore, those who are skilled in the art required for manufacturing this invention will appreciate that the concepts upon which this invention is based may easily be used as the basis for designing similar devices. It is important that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions and results as long as such equivalent constructions and devices fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Furthermore, the purpose of the abstract at the beginning of this application is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in particular, and the public in general, to quickly determine from a quick reading of the abstract the nature and essence of the technical disclosures which follow the abstract. The abstract, of course, is not intended to define the invention, which is defined in the claims. Neither is the abstract intended to limit the scope of the invention in any way.

It is the object of this invention to provide a new, more secure way to quickly inflate and deflate an air mattress. While this invention incorporates many of the advantages of the prior art, it also includes a new way of securing a large opening in an air mattress, and a way of adjusting the air pressure precisely in an air mattress with a large re-sealable opening. It is this combination of ideas that makes this invention novel in a way that is not anticipated or implied by, and certainly not made obvious in, the prior art.

It is another object of this invention to provide a new inflatable air mattress, which can be easily manufactured, and profitably sold at competitive prices today.

It is a further object of this invention to provide a new inflatable air mattress, which is rugged enough for reliable use at home, while camping or as a flotation device for recreational purposes. It may also prove to be suitable for non-recreational uses.

To better understand the invention in two of its possible embodiments, please refer to the drawings and their descriptive comments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood from a visual standpoint from the drawings, and the parts of the drawings are described below.

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of the invention in its incarnation without sidewalls when seen from above, and with the upper lip cut away so that the lower lip can be more clearly seen along with its part of the tongue and groove closure. It is to be understood that the tongue and groove closure is the primary closure illustrated. Other ways of effecting the primary closure are also possible, and are within the scope of this invention, although I have not illustrated them. An example of an alternate primary closure would be a hook and loop closure. The valve is not included in the drawing. It is to be understood that the valve can be placed anywhere on the mattress that is useful for the user and convenient for the manufacturer.

1. The sealed edge of the mattress without sidewalls

2. The top of the mattress, made of flexible material

3. The cut-away of the drawing, with the mattress being completed in fact in the normal way

4. The cut-away of the upper lip for the purpose of the drawing showing the lower lip

5. One of the two parts of a tongue and groove closure, or of any other suitable closure

6. The lower lip, which when mated with the upper lip is pulled under the mattress so as to relieve pressure on the primary closure

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the invention without sidewalls when seen from below and with the lower lip cut away so that the upper lip can be more clearly seen, along with its tongue and groove closure and secondary hook and loop closure. Again, the drawing is not meant to indicate that a tongue and groove closure is the only way to effect a primary air-tight seal. Other means of doing so are also within the scope of this invention.

1. The sealed edge of the mattress without sidewalls

2. The bottom of the mattress, made of flexible material

3. The cut-away of the drawing, with the mattress being completed in fact in the normal way

4. The cut-away of the lower lip for the purpose of the drawing

5. One of the two parts of a tongue and groove closure, or of any other suitable closure

6. The upper lip, which when mated with the lower lip, is pulled under the mattress so as to relieve pressure on the primary closure

7. One portion of the secondary hook and loop closure, affixed to the fabric of the mattress' lip, which will be mated with the other portion (8) on the bottom of the mattress when mattress is in use in order to relieve pressure on the primary closure

8. The other portion of the secondary hook and loop closure, affixed to the fabric of the mattress' bottom, which is mated with the portion on the upper lip (7) when the mattress is in use

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the invention with sidewalls when seen from above, and with the sidewall lip cut away so that the lower lip can be more clearly seen along with its part of the tongue and groove closure. It is to be understood that the tongue and groove closure is the primary closure illustrated.

Other ways of effecting the primary closure are also possible, and are within the scope of this invention, although I have not illustrated them. An example of an alternate primary closure would be a hook and loop closure. The valve is not included in the drawing. It is to be understood that the valve can be placed anywhere on the mattress that is useful for the user and convenient for the manufacturer.

1. The sealed edge of the mattress with sidewalls

2. The top of the mattress, made of flexible material

3. The cut-away of the drawing, with the mattress being completed in fact in the normal way

4. The cut-away of the sidewall lip for the purpose of the drawing showing the lower lip

5. One of the two parts of a tongue and groove closure, or of any other suitable closure

6. The lower lip, which when mated with the sidewall lip is pulled under the mattress so as to relieve pressure on the primary closure

7. The sidewall of the mattress, made of flexible material

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of the invention with sidewalls when seen from below, and with the lower lip cut away so that the sidewall lip can be more clearly seen along with its part of the tongue and groove closure. It is to be understood that the tongue and groove closure is the primary closure illustrated. Other ways of effecting the primary closure are also possible, and are within the scope of this invention, although I have not illustrated them. An example of an alternate primary closure would be a hook and loop closure.

1. The sealed edge of the mattress with sidewalls

2. The bottom of the mattress, made of flexible material

3. The cut-away of the drawing, with the mattress being completed in fact in the normal way

4. The cut-away of the lower lip for the purpose of the drawing showing the sidewall lip

5. One of the two parts of a tongue and groove closure, or of any other suitable closure

6. The sidewall lip, which when mated with the lower lip is pulled under the mattress so as to relieve pressure on the primary closure

7. The sidewall of the mattress, made of flexible material

8. One portion of the secondary hook and loop closure, affixed to the fabric of the mattress' lip, which will be mated with the other portion (9) on the bottom of the mattress when mattress is in use in order to relieve pressure on the primary closure

9. The other portion of the secondary hook and loop closure, affixed to the fabric of the mattress' bottom, which is mated with the portion on the upper lip (8) when the mattress is in use

DESCRIPTION

This invention is an improved way to inflate and deflate an air mattress quickly and easily without the use of pumps. It is the application to an air mattress of a wide, re-sealable closure together with an integrated hook and loop type of closure that is positioned so that the primary closure is relieved of force from the internal air pressure of the mattress. This invention also includes a common air valve, e.g. of the flap valve or the screw top valve variety, for making small adjustments to the pressure in the mattress.

This invention envisions three basic embodiments. One is a single cell air mattress with the top layer of fabric affixed immediately to the bottom layer of fabric at their edges along three sides so that the bonds are impermeable to the passage of air. A second embodiment is similar to the first, only a separate cell for a head pillow is permanently attached to the main cell for the body. The smaller cell is constructed as is the main cell. The third embodiment incorporates side walls between the top and bottom layers to create a thicker mattress when inflated. In this instance, the large opening is between a sidewall and one of the horizontal layers, most sensibly the bottom layer.

The re-sealable closure is best if it is a tongue and groove type of closure, but alternatives are within the scope of this invention. It is incorporated into lips of fabric that extend beyond the opening of the mattress, but are reasonably close to that opening.

The hook and loop fabric is a secondary closure. One piece of the hook and loop fabric is affixed to the longer lip that incorporates one side of the tongue and groove closure and is beyond the tongue and groove closure relative to the cell of the mattress. The other piece of the hook and loop fabric is affixed to the outside of that horizontal piece of fabric of the air mattress that ends in the shorter lip. It is affixed in such a way that the tongue and groove closure, when sealed, can be pulled under the mattress and then held in place by mating the hook and loop fabric pieces so that pressure from the air in the mattress does not immediately push against the tongue and groove closure. It is this feature that distinguishes this invention from Meiners (U.S. Pat. No. 5,911,657).