Title:
Mattress carrying case
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for covering and facilitating the transport of a mattress that is both durable and portable. The device includes a material cover which encloses the mattress, a zipper or other fastening means for closing the cover, a plurality of handles to allow the user to easily lift, orient, and maneuver the mattress, and a plurality of wheels or casters to permit the user to easily move the enclosed mattress.



Inventors:
Kajdas, Barbara K. (Pipe Creek, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/594697
Publication Date:
05/08/2008
Filing Date:
11/08/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/737
International Classes:
A47C31/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20010032357User embracing body and mattress coverOctober, 2001Fuentes et al.
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20050172398Feedback control system to reduce the risk of pressure soresAugust, 2005Smith et al.
20080047777CHEERING STICKFebruary, 2008Chang et al.
20090190859Bag that becomes a sitting matJuly, 2009Simhony et al.
20090222992ADJUSTABLE SEAT CUSHION ASSEMBLYSeptember, 2009Loewenthal et al.
20070199153Inflatable pad assembly with inflatable back padAugust, 2007Wu
20090077742COLLAPSIBLE PLAY YARD AND BASSINET ASSEMBLY COMBINATIONMarch, 2009Burns et al.
20050034236FUTON MATTRESS COVERFebruary, 2005Te Selle
20100024122Fold Down Loft Bed With Modular FurnitureFebruary, 2010Sanders Jr.
20020092098Leg and knee support devices for squatting and kneelingJuly, 2002Michalow



Primary Examiner:
SANTOS, ROBERT G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KAMMER BROWNING PLLC (7700 BROADWAY, SUITE 202, SAN ANTONIO, TX, 78209, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An apparatus for covering and facilitating the transport of a mattress, the apparatus comprising: a case enclosure sized and shaped to generally surround and enclose the mattress, the case enclosure comprising: generally rectangular front and back panels; generally rectangular top and base panels; and two generally rectangular end panels; the panels being connected one to another so as to form the case enclosure; means for opening and closing the case enclosure sufficient to allow insertion of the mattress therein; at least one handle positioned on at least one of the two end panels; and at least one wheel positioned on the base panel; wherein the mattress may be transported across a support surface by orienting the mattress enclosed within the case enclosure onto the base panel whereby the at least one wheel contacts the support surface.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the panels comprising the case enclosure each comprise a flexible sheet-like material.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the flexible sheet-like material is water resistant.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the flexible sheet-like material comprises a fabric material.

5. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the panels are connected one to another by sewing the panels together along a common edge thereof.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for opening and closing the case enclosure comprises a zipper extending at least partially along a line within an area where the front panel and the top panel are connected and further within an area where the front panel and at least one side panel are connected.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for opening and closing the case enclosure comprises a zipper extending at least partially along a line within an area where the front panel and a first of the end panels are connected, further within an area where the front panel and the top panel are connected, and further within an area where the front panel and a second of the end panels are connected.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for opening and closing the case enclosure comprises mating sections of hook and loop material.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for opening and closing the case enclosure comprises a plurality of buttons insertable into aligned button holes formed in the panels.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the at least one handle positioned on at least one of the two end panels comprises four handles, two each positioned on each of the end panels.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the at least one wheel positioned on the base panel comprises four wheels positioned approximately at the corners of the base panel.

12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the at least one wheel positioned on the base panel comprises six wheels, four wheels positioned approximately at the corners of the base panel and two wheels positioned approximately at a mid-point of a long dimension of the base panel.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the at least one wheel on the base panel comprises a caster wheel.

14. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the base panel further comprises at least one semi-rigid plate to which the at least one wheel is attached.

15. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the base panel further comprises at least one rigid plate to which the at least one wheel is attached.

16. The apparatus of claim 15 wherein the at least one rigid plate comprises three generally rectangular rigid plates positioned in association with the base panel, each of the rigid plates providing an attachment point for securing at least one wheel to the base panel, the rigid plates approximately equally spaced along a long dimension of the base panel.

17. An apparatus for covering and facilitating the transport of a mattress, the apparatus comprising: a case enclosure sized and shaped to generally surround and enclose the mattress, the case enclosure comprising: generally rectangular front and back panels; generally rectangular top and base panels; and two generally rectangular end panels; the panels comprising flexible, water resistant, fabric material connected one to another by sewing the panels together along a common edge thereof so as to form the case enclosure; a zipper extending at least partially along a line within an area where the front panel and the top panel are connected and further within an area where the front panel and at least one side panel are connected, the zipper for opening the case enclosure sufficient to allow insertion of the mattress therein; four handles, two each positioned on each of the end panels; and six caster wheels, four caster wheels positioned approximately at the corners of the base panel and two caster wheels positioned approximately at a mid-point of a long dimension of the base panel; wherein the mattress may be transported across a support surface by orienting the mattress enclosed within the case enclosure onto the base panel whereby the six caster wheels contact the support surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to devices for covering and moving furniture. The present invention relates more specifically to a mattress carrying case into which a mattress may be inserted for ease of transport and to enclose the mattress to protect it from soiling.

2. Description of the Related Art

There are various devices in the prior art which are designed for assisting in transporting a mattress and/or for covering a mattress. Most of these designs for transporting are directed to the positioning of handles which are directly connected to the mattress itself. The designs which are intended to cover and protect the mattress from soiling are generally not designed to aid in transporting the mattress and in fact often inhibit easy transport. Little effort has been made in the prior art to provide simultaneous solutions to both the problem of transport and the problem of protection.

Much effort has been directed to flexible mattress covers of various configurations. For example, the related art includes fluid impervious flexible material covers used to conform to the shape of the mattress, enclosing it on all sides and sealed at one or more edges. Other configurations are designed with walls that stretch in order to permit the cover to be used on mattresses of varying sizes. Such covers have apertures of sufficient size to allow insertion and removal of a mattress as well as various types of fasteners for closure of the opening. Representative cover configurations are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,956,782, issued to Morrison on May 18, 1976 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,618,880, issued to Chase on Sep. 16, 2003 (the disclosures of which are each incorporated herein by reference).

The field of art directed to transporting mattresses primarily contains designs for mattress handle construction or handle configurations which are directly attached to the mattress assembly. For example, a handle apparatus may be configured to attach to the frame assembly of the mattress with the handles extending through grommets in the mattress fabric cover to the outside where they may be grasped. Previous efforts also include a mattress lifting structure having edge support springs with a handle structure connected to the springs and extending outside the mattress cover. Also in the field are devices designed to assist with carrying a mattress which include straps or partial perimeter sleeves that secure multiple handle straps to the mattress and which are then used to lift and carry the mattress. Representative mattress handles and carriers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,214,810, issued to Ward on Jun. 1, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,924,150, issued to Workman on Jul. 20, 1999; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,370, issued to Lobascio on Jul. 11, 2000.

The traditional designs identified above are generally intended to provide only one of the functions of transport and protection. The devices do not typically provide a mattress cover that can be used to protect, store, and at the same time, transport the mattress, thus limiting their usefulness.

Transporting a large mattress often requires two individuals due to the cumbersome shape of the article, not to mention the weight. In fact, consumers often resort to a variety of home-made devices for this purpose, such as boards placed across flat dollies with sheets of plastic placed around the mattress for protection. The problems inherent in the use of such makeshift devices include the device being cumbersome, difficult to maneuver, having a tendency to fall apart during use, and leaving the mattress exposed to dirt, grease, and other contaminants. Therefore, it would be advantageous to have a device which could be secured on the mattress to cover and protect the fabric and at the same time provide a means for easily transporting the mattress.

Thus, there is a need for a simple, sturdy device for mattress protection and transport, which could be manufactured inexpensively and marketed in a small package. Especially desirable is a mattress cover that is durable and lightweight that could be securely positioned on the mattress and closed to contaminants. It would be helpful to have handles conveniently positioned for lifting and guiding the mattress during transport. Given the difficulties inherent in moving such an unwieldy item, it would be highly desirable to have wheels attached for balancing and moving the mattress easily. Existing products have been unable to deliver a device which provides all of these benefits.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a device for ease in covering and carrying a mattress which would be most useful for the general public and for individuals in the packing and moving industry. The device includes a durable carrying case made of waterproof or water resistant material with closure fasteners such as a zipper or Velcro®-type strips to seal the mattress inside the case. The device has handles or straps sewn onto one or more sides of the case so that it may be easily carried. One of the long sides of the case retains and positions a number of wheels or casters for ease in rolling the mattress when it is enclosed within the case. The carrying case may be used for storage of the mattress to keep it clean and dry for future use. The case may be designed to accommodate various sizes of mattresses, e.g., twin, full, queen, or king. The material for the case may be transparent, translucent or opaque, plain or decorative, to suit consumer preferences.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the objects and processes of the present invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the transportable mattress case in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a partial cross-sectional detail view of a corner of the mattress case of the present invention with mattress included;

FIG. 3 shows a front elevational view of a first preferred mattress case embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 shows a front elevational view of a second preferred mattress case embodiment of the present invention with a portion of the case cover folded back;

FIG. 5 shows a side elevational view of the mattress case of the present invention;

FIG. 6 shows a perspective interior view of the bottom side of the mattress case of the present invention showing the manner of mounting the wheels/casters; and

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the first preferred mattress case embodiment of the present invention (as shown in FIG. 3) in an open position having a mattress placed therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The description of the present invention will include references to various sides of both a typical mattress and the carrying case. A typical mattress will be referred to as having a top face and a bottom face which correspond to the large flat surfaces of the mattress. The panels that connect these top and bottom faces will generally be referred to as end panels, and side panels, or collectively simply as the sides of the mattress. The carrying case, on the other hand will be described as having a top and a bottom based on the orientation shown in FIG. 1. Therefore, the “top” face of the mattress may be adjacent the “side” panel of the carrying case and so on.

As summarized above, the present invention is directed to a device for simultaneously covering and carrying a mattress. As shown in FIG. 1, the carrying case 10 covers the mattress surface on all six sides of the typically rectangular box-shaped construction of the mattress. The case may be constructed of two large flat panels (20 and 22) to cover the larger top and bottom surfaces of the mattress and one long strip of material which connects the two flat panels to form a large rectangular enclosure. Alternatively, the two large flat panels (20 and 22) may be connected with four separate strips of material which are joined at each corner to form four discrete side panels, two covering the short ends (28 and 30) of the mattress and two covering the long sides (24 and 26) of the mattress. The material for the case 10 is preferably a sturdy waterproof or water resistant fabric, such as rip-stop nylon or parachute cloth alternately, the material may be a heavy plastic polymer sheet that is transparent, translucent, or opaque. The seams of the case 10 are constructed to withstand the shearing forces typically experienced while transporting the mattress. The seams may be stitched or heat-welded together and may be reinforced with an additional strip of material to prevent their being frayed or coming apart in use. The seams may be positioned on the inner or outer aspect of the case. The case 10 includes a plurality of handles or straps 50, a long closure of fasteners or zipper 40, and a plurality of wheels or casters 60.

The handles 50 in the preferred embodiments are positioned on the sides of the case 10 such that one of a pair of handles is approximately two to three feet above the other when the mattress and case are standing upright as shown in FIG. 1. The handles 50 are positioned so that the user may comfortably grasp them when the mattress is flat (as on the bed or floor) for lifting, or when it is in a standing position for rolling. The handles 50 may be constructed of rigid material such as metal or molded plastic. Alternatively, the handles 50 may be made from a flexible material such as soft plastic or fabric strapping. Depending on the type of material used, the handles 50 may be attached to the fabric of the case with grommets, stitching, or heat-welding. If rigid handles are utilized, it is preferable to have the ends of the handle connected by a rigid plate that is attached to the inner aspect of the case in order to prevent tearing the material of the case. For flexible handles, it is preferable to reinforce the area of the case to which the ends of the handle are attached with additional layers of material, adhesive, or stitching.

The handles 50 in the preferred embodiments are positioned on at least two sides of the carrying case, at either of the two short ends (28 and 30) of the case. Alternatively, additional handles may be placed on the long top side of the case 10 which does not have wheels or casters.

FIG. 2 illustrates a corner of the carrying case 10 with the front surface 20 of the carrying case removed to show the detail of the zipper closure 40 and the positioning of a wheel or caster 60 on the bottom side 26 of the case. The zipper closure 40 in this view illustrates the zipper stop, zipper pull, and zipper teeth as is typical in the art. The detail of the wheel or caster 60 shows the base plate 52 that is positioned on the bottom side panel 26 to reinforce the caster attachment to the case 10.

The closure fasteners or zipper 40 in the present invention may extend on two or three sides of the case 10. FIGS. 1 and 4 illustrate the carrying case 10 having a zipper closure 40 on two sides (28 and 24) of the case. FIGS. 3 and 7 illustrate the carrying case 10 having a zipper closure 40 on three sides (24, 28, and 30) of the case. The closure 40 is positioned near the border or edge seam of the case sides such that the handles 50 do not interfere with the operation of the fasteners or zipper 40. The zipper 40 in the preferred embodiments is a heavy-duty type zipper with a reinforced zipper stop and oversized pull for ease of use. Alternatively, if a set of fasteners is used, the fasteners may be Velcro®-type material, fabric straps with buckle snap-lock closures, or any of a number of designs known to those skilled in the art. Again, the fasteners 40 are positioned such that their operation is not hindered by the use of the handles 50. All portions of the case 10 to which fasteners 40 are attached should be reinforced for durability by methods well known in the art.

The wheels or casters 60 are positioned and fixed to the carrying case 10 such that they are on the bottom side 26 of the case when the mattress is in the upright position for transport (as shown in FIG. 1). The wheels or casters 60 may be made from metal or plastic according to methods well known in the art. They are designed to swivel freely to facilitate transfer and positioning of the mattress. The wheels or casters 60 are positioned such that pairs of wheels or casters are located at either end of the bottom side 26 of the case 10 with an additional pair located midway between the other two pairs. Each wheel or caster base is connected to the carrying case with a base plate 52 which is attached to wheels or casters 60 in the manner described in more detail below with respect to FIG. 6. The base plate 52 provides rigidity and stability to the bottom side 26 of the case 10. The areas on the bottom panel 26 of the case 10 through which the base plate 52 is attached to the caster plate 54 may be reinforced with grommets or other reinforcement means known in the art. Alternatively, the base plates 52 for the three pairs of wheels or casters may each be connected to a single longitudinal support (not shown), which extends from one end of the bottom side 26 of the case 10 to the other. Such an embodiment provides additional strength and support for the weight of the mattress or box springs but limits the degree to which the case may be folded into a compact configuration for storage when not in use.

FIG. 3 illustrates the preferred embodiment of the present invention wherein the case 10 has handles 50 on the two shorter sides 28 and 30. The zipper 40 is positioned along two sides (long side 24 and short side 28). As shown in FIG. 3, the zipper may have two separate zipper slides and two pull tabs for ease of use. The plurality of wheels or casters 60 are located on the long bottom side 26 and are attached securely to the mattress case 10 via base plates 52 and caster plates 54 as described below. Optimally, the wheels or casters 60 will be positioned at the middle and either end of the long bottom side 26. Alternatively, the case 10 may be designed with additional wheels or casters 60 as necessary to fully support the weight and size of the mattress or box springs.

FIG. 4 illustrates a front elevational view of a second preferred embodiment of the mattress carrying case 10 in the upright or transport position. The zipper 40 in this embodiment extends along the edge of two of the sides of the case 10. The zipper 40 is shown partially open with the front panel 20 shown folded open to reveal the inside surface 23 of the front panel 20 and an exposed portion of the mattress 12. Also shown in FIG. 4 are two handles 50 which are positioned away from the zipper and in a handy location for ease of grasping and maneuvering. The wheels or casters 60 are pivotably attached to the bottom side 26 of the case 10 so that they may swivel freely for transport of the mattress 12 without undue strain upon the base plates 52, caster plates 54 (see FIG. 6), or the material of the case 10.

FIG. 5 illustrates a side elevational view of the mattress case 10 of the present invention in the upright position ready for transport. The case 10 is zipped and positioned on the wheels or casters 60 for moving. FIG. 5 shows the handles 50 positioned for easily grasping and moving the mattress 12 in the carrying case 10.

FIG. 6 illustrates an inside perspective view of the bottom side 26 of the mattress case 10 of the present invention with the balance of the case removed for clarity. As shown in FIG. 6, the wheels or casters 60 are positioned on the outside of the carrying case bottom panel 26 and are pivotably attached to caster plates 54 located underneath the bottom panel 26. The caster plates 54 are fixedly attached to the base plates 52 located on the inside of the bottom panel 26 of the carrying case 10. Attachment of the caster plates 54 to the base plates 52 may be by rivets, bolts, or other such attachment means known in the art.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the first preferred mattress case 10 of the present invention in the open position ready to receive a mattress 12. In this embodiment, the zipper or other fastener set 40 extends around three sides of the case 10 such that the mattress 12 may easily be inserted into the carrying case. As shown in FIG. 7, the case 10 is fully opened (unzipped or unfastened) and positioned flat upon the floor. The mattress 12 is positioned on top of the inside face of the front panel 20 on the floor. The back panel 22, top panel 24, and two side panels (28 and 30) of the case 10 are brought over the mattress 12 to cover the back and sides of the mattress. The case 10 is then closed via the zipper or fasteners 40. The mattress 12 which is now inside the case 10 is raised into the transport position by use of the handles 50 on the sides and/or top of the carrying case.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 1, the case 10 may be designed with only two panels which open (24 and 28). In this embodiment, the case 10 is unzipped or unfastened and positioned on the floor with the back panel 22 facing down. The mattress 12 is slipped into the opening and into position. Then the zipper 40 is closed and the case containing the mattress is lifted into the upright position for transport.

In general, the present invention provides a simple, sturdy device for mattress protection and transport. It is anticipated that further variations in the structure of the device will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the present disclosure and the attached drawing figures. Such variations, while not explicitly described and defined herein, may be seen to fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.