Title:
CONVERTIBLE AND REVERSIBLE SEAT STRUCTURE
United States Patent 3856347


Abstract:
A convertible and reversible seat structure such as the type used in recreational vehicles comprising a load supporting base with two pivotally attached frame members which may be alternated between a vertical position and a horizontal position such that the direction of seating is reversed and means to adjust the frame members relative to one another to vary their relative inclination.



Inventors:
Bell, Richard A. (Andrew, IN)
Wallace, Earl C. (Andrew, IN)
Winters, Ted W. (Andrew, IN)
Application Number:
05/288741
Publication Date:
12/24/1974
Filing Date:
09/13/1972
Assignee:
GENERAL ENG MFG CORP,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/47, 297/371
International Classes:
A47C17/16; B60N2/20; (IPC1-7): B60N1/02
Field of Search:
297/92,94,103,93,379,369,370,371 5
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3751740REVERSIBLE RECLINER1973-08-14Belk
3529863MULTI-POSITION VEHICLE SEAT1970-09-22Belfry
3313570Latch for back of walk-over seat1967-04-11McVeigh
3012817Reversible chair for vehicles1961-12-12Hendrickson
2952490Automobile front seat back lock1960-09-13Pfaff
2858880Reversible seat for railway cars1958-11-04Fox
2828806Latchable tilting seat back1958-04-01Saffer
2429260Sofa bed hinge1947-10-21Coopersmith
2294475Convertible sofa bed1942-09-01McAllister
2291677Furniture1942-08-04Bank
1044280N/A1912-11-12Sontheimer
0889351N/A1908-06-02
0480743N/A1892-08-16



Primary Examiner:
Zugel, Francis K.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Fraser, Donald R.
Claims:
What we claim is

1. A convertible and reversible seat structure comprising:

2. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said rod attached to said connecting arms is in a neutral position when said frames are maintained in a seating position.

3. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said latching means for positively and selectively engaging one of said frames with said base includes a striker member attached to each of said frames having a contoured engaging section.

4. The invention defined in claim 3 wherein said latching means for positively and selectively engaging one of said frames with said base includes a spring biased latch member disposed on at least two opposing sides of said base.

5. The invention defined in claim 3 wherein said latching means for positively and selectively engaging one of said frames with said base includes a spring biased latch member disposed on one side of said base, a latch member disposed on the side of said base opposite said spring biased latch member and a rod attached to said latch members to maintain the relative angular position of said latch members to each other.

6. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said means for selectively maintaining one of said frames in a position relative to the other of said frames includes slotted arm means pivotally connected to opposite sides of one of said frames and spring means normally biasing said arm means to a latching position.

7. The invention defined in claim 6 wherein said means for selectively maintaining one of said frames in a position relative to the other of said frames includes a rod attached to said arm means to maintain the relative angular position of said arm means to each other.

8. The invention defined in claim 7 wherein said means for selectively maintaining one of said frames in a position relative to the other of said frames includes a handle affixed to at least one of said slotted arm means.

9. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said means preventing said frames from moving beyond a predetermined position includes stop members attached to said bracket means and alternately engaging each of said connecting arms as each of said frames is latched to said base.

10. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said means preventing said frames from moving beyond a predetermined position includes stop members attached to said base and alternately engaging each of said connecting arms as each of said frames is latched to said base.

Description:
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

An increased interest in travel has, in recent years, created a demand for small vans and buses which include facilities for sleeping and eating. In general, this demand has required the installation of seats which by law are required to meet certain safety specifications. Therefore, once these seats are installed, the direction of seating can easily be changed, if for example, after facing a table for a meal, the travelers desire to face in the opposite direction for a view out a window upon resuming their trip.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Safety standards for vehicles require that the seats exhibit a certain strength, that the seat backs are securely fastened in place and that the seat base is securely fastened to the floor of the vehicle. The present invention provides a seat structure which fulfills the above-mentioned requirements and may be easily reversed to change the direction of seating. This is accomplished by pivotally connecting the seat frames and the seat base with a pair of connecting arms. These arms are then interconnected by a torque rod which maintains the relative angular position of the arms to each other as the seat frames are reversed. The arms and interconnecting rod form a reversing mechanism which is much more simple and easier to operate than the known reversing mechanisms.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a seat structure for a vehicle which can, with facility, be reversed in its seating direction.

A further object of the invention is to provide a reversible seat which may be selectively adjusted from a vertical to various positions toward the horizontal.

Still another object of the invention is to produce a convertible and reversible seat structure which can readily be varied only by the actuation of specific mechanisms.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from reading the following detailed description of an embodiment of the invention when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a seat structure embodying the features of the invention with the associated cushions removed to more clearly illustrate the operating mechanism.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the seat structure illustrated in FIG. 1 showing the seating direction reversed from that in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the seat structure of FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view of a spring mechanism for the lever arms associated with the seat structure of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a view in front elevation showing a pair of brackets and a slotted lever arm associated with the seat structure of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the convertible and reversible seat structure in accordance with the invention includes a seat bottom frame, generally indicated by reference numeral 10, and a seat back frame, generally indicated by reference numeral 12. Advantageously, the frames 10 and 12 are typically substantially identical with one another in dimensions and construction, and are preferrably formed from a metal tubing which produces a seating assembly which is strong and rigid and light in weight. In forming the frame 10, a single section of tubing is employed and is suitably bent so that the side portions 14 and 16 extend parallel to each other and are perpendicular to the axis of the main section of the tubing. The terminal ends of the side portions of the bottom frame 10 are connected to opposite ends of a tubular member 18 by any suitable fashion such as welding.

The seat back frame 12 is formed in a manner similar to that explained with respect to seat bottom frame 10 and includes parallel side portions 20 and 22, the terminal ends of which are connected to a tubing member 24 which, in effect, completes the fourth side of the frame.

Each of the frames 10 and 12 has a pair of brackets 26, 28 and 30, 32, respectively. The brackets are attached to the respective frames in the region of the terminal end portions of the sides of the frames. Brackets 26 and 30 are pivotally interconnected by a suitable pivot means 34, while the brackets 28 and 32 are similarly pivotally interconnected by a pivot means 36. Accordingly, the frames 10 and 12 are thereby pivotally interconnected to one another and may pivot relative to one another about the pivot points 34 and 36. Also, pivotally connected to the pivot means 34 and 36 is the upper end of connecting arms 38 and 40, respectively. The opposite ends of the connecting arms 38 and 40 are connected to opposite ends of a torque rod 42 which extends freely through suitable disposed apertures in horizontally disposed members 46 and 48 of a supporting base assembly. A stop member 28' is securely fixed to bracket 28 in a position to contact the upper edge of the connecting arm 40 to ensure the desired stability and prevent the frame 10 from moving beyond a predetermined position.

The supporting base assembly is constructed of a pair of spaced apart parallelly arranged tubing members 50 and 52, the end portions of which are suitably secured by welding to the ends of the members 46 and 48. Attached to and depending from the framework comprised of the members 46, 48, 50, and 52, are leg assemblies 54 and 56. Since the opposite ends of the torque rod 42 are secured to the lower ends of the connecting arms 38 and 40, the arms 38 and 40 will move in unison.

Extending between the main section of the tubing of the seat frame 10 and the tube 18, is a striker member 58 having a centrally contoured latch or detent engaging section. It will be noted in FIG. 1 that the latch engaging section of the striker member 58 is suitably engaged by a manually releasable latch assembly 60. The latch assembly 60 is suitably secured to the tube 50 of the seat base supporting frame. The latch assembly 60 includes a horizontally extending arm 62 which is spring biased to the position illustrated in FIG. 1. The seat back frame 12 is maintained in the position illustrated in FIG. 1 by means of a pair of slotted arms 64 and 66 maintained on respectively opposite sides of the assembly by means of a torque rod 68 which extends internally of the tube 18. The slotted arms 64 and 66 are caused to move in unison by actuation of a manually actuated arm 70 integral with the slotted arm 64. By pushing downwardly on the lever handle 70, the slotted arms 64 and 66 become disengaged from pins of the like, not shown, on the lower portion of the tubular sections 20 and 22.

Thus, it will be appreciated that the striker member 58, the latch assembly 60, and the arm 62 are means for positively and selectively engaging the seat frame 10 into a horizontal position with respect to the supporting base assembly, and the slotted arms 64 and 66 are means for selectively maintaining the seat back frame 12 in a position relative to the seat frame 10 wherein the seat back frame 12 is adjustable to a number of varying positions from a substantially vertical position to a horizontal position determined primarily by the number of slots provided in the slotted arms 64 and 66. It will be appreciated that only a single handle member 70 is illustrated; however, a similar handle structure could be provided and made integral with the slotted arm 66. While not specifically illustrated in the FIGS. 1 and 2, a suitable spring mechanism is advantageously employed to urge the slotted arms 64 and 66 into engaging position. Any of the conventional spring members, such as a spiral spring may be employed to urge the lever arms into an engaging position.

In order to reverse the direction of seating from the position illustrated in FIG. 1 to the position illustrated in FIG. 2, the horizontally extending arm 62 of the latch assembly 60 is moved laterally to disengage the latch 60 from the latch engaging section of the striker member 58. The entire assembly of the framework 10 and the framework 12 are pivoted about the pivot points 34 and 36 on the upper ends of the connecting arms 38 and 40, respectively, and the entire assembly is moved to cause the connecting arms 38 and 40 to assume the position illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein the lower ends of the connecting arms 38 and 40 are pivoted about the torque rod 42. Thereby, the seat frame assembly 10 becomes the seat back portion and the seat back frame 12 becomes the seat bottom. It will be observed that the framework 12 has a striker member 74 having a centrally contoured latch or detent engaging section to engage with the latch assembly 76 secured to the supporting base assembly tube 52. The latch assembly 76 is further provided with a spring-biased arm 78 which functions to maintain the latch assembly 76 in a closed position. It will be observed that the contoured latch or detent engaging section of the striker 74 effectively cams the latch assembly 76 open upon downward movement thereof and then when the framework 12 is in a horizontal position the latch assembly 76 is urged to a closed or locked position. A stop member 32' is securely fixed to bracket 32. It will be noted that in the position of the structure illustrated in FIG. 2 the stop member 32' contacts the upper edge of the connecting arm 40 to ensure the desired stability and prevent the frame 12 from moving beyond a predetermined position.

Another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 3 which includes a seat bottom frame, generally indicated by reference numeral 100, and a seat back frame, generally indicated by reference numeral 102. Advantageously, the frames 100 and 102 are typically substantially identical with one another in dimensions and construction, and are preferrably formed from a metal tubing which produces a seating assembly which is strong and rigid and light in weight. In forming the frame 100, a single section of tubing is employed and is suitably bent so that the side portions 104 and 106 extend parallel to each other and are perpendicular to the axis of the main section of the tubing. The terminal ends of the side portions of the bottom frame 100 are connected to opposite ends of a tubular member 108 by any suitable fashion such as welding.

The seat back frame 102 is formed in a manner similar to that explained with respect to seat bottom frame 100 and includes parallel side portions 110 and 112, the terminal ends of which are connected to a tubing member 114 which, in effect, completes the fourth side of the frame.

Each of the frames 100 and 102 has a pair of brackets 116, 118 and 120, 122, respectively. The brackets are attached to the respective frames in the region of the terminal end portions of the sides of the frames. Brackets 116 and 120 are pivotally interconnected by a suitable pivot means 124, while the brackets 118 and 122 are similarly pivotally interconnected by a pivot means 126. Accordingly, the frames 100 and 102 are thereby pivotally interconnected to one another and may pivot relative to one another about the pivot points 124 and 126. Also, pivotally connected to the pivot means 124 and 126 is the upper end of connecting arms 128 and 130, respectively. The opposite ends of the connecting arms 128 and 130 are connected to opposite ends of a torque rod 132 which extends freely through suitable disposed apertures in horizontally disposed members 134 and 136 of a supporting base assembly. A stop member 138 is securely fixed to member 136 in a position to contact the lower edge of connecting arm 130 to ensure the desired stability and prevent the frame 100 from moving beyond a predetermined position.

The supporting base assembly is constructed of a pair of spaced apart parallelly arranged tubing members 140 and 142, the end portions of which are suitably secured by welding to the ends of the members 134 and 136. Attached to and depending from the framework comprised of the members 134, 136, 140, and 142 are leg assemblies 144 and 146. Since the opposite ends of the torque rod 132 are secured to the lower ends of the connecting arms 128 and 130, the arms 128 and 130 will move in unison.

Extending between the main section of the tubing of the seat frame 100 and the tube 108, is a striker member 148 having a centrally contoured latch or detent engaging section. It will be noted that in FIG. 3 the latch engaging section of the striker member 148 is suitably engaged by a manually releasable latch assembly 150. The latch assembly 150 is suitably secured to the tube 140 of the seat base supporting frame. The latch assembly 150 is interconnected with a similar latch assembly 152 by rod 154. The latch assembly 152 includes a horizontally extending arm 156 which is spring biased to the position illustrated in FIG. 3. The seat back frame 102 is maintained in the position illustrated in FIG. 3 by means of a pair of slotted arms 158 and 160 maintained on respectively opposite sides of the assembly by means of a torque rod 162 which extends internally of the tube 108. The slotted arms 158 and 160 are caused to move in unison by actuation of a manually actuated arm 164 integral with the slotted arm 158. By pushing downwardly on the lever handle 164, the slotted arms 158 and 160 become disengaged from pins of the like, not shown, on the lower portion of the tubular sections 110 and 112.

Thus, it will be appreciated that the striker member 148, the latch assemblies 150 and 152, the rod 154, and the arm 156 are means for positively and selectively engaging the seat frame 100 into a horizontal position with respect to the supporting base assembly and the slotted arms 158 and 160 are means for selectively maintaining the seat back frame 102 in a position relative to the seat frame 100 wherein the seat back frame 102 is adjustable to a number of varying positions from a substantially vertical position to a horizontal position determined primarily by the number of slots provided in the slotted arms 158 and 160. It will be appreciated that only a single handle member 164 is illustrated; however, a similar handle structure could be provided and made integral with the slotted arm 160. As illustrated in FIG. 4, a suitable spring mechanism is advantageously employed to urge the slotted arms 158 and 160 into engaging position. Any of the conventional spring members, such as spiral spring 170 may be employed to urge the lever arms into engaging position. The inner end portion of spiral spring 170 may be attached to torque rod 162 while the outer end portion is attached to side portion 104 of seat bottom frame 100. When handle member 164 is rotated in a counterclockwise direction to disengage slotted arms 158 and 160 (not shown), spiral spring 170 will unwind and then will apply force to rotate slotted arms 158 and 160 into the engaging position when handle member 164 is released.

Referring to the FIG. 5 there is shown a slotted arm 172, similar to the slotted arm 64 of FIG. 1, and brackets 174 and 176 for maintaining a seat back frame in a predetermined position. As was previously stated, a pin can be attached to the lower tubular section of the seat back frame, or a pin 178 can be attached to the bracket 174 which in turn is attached to the seat back frame, not shown. In the position illustrated, a first slot of the slotted arm 172 engages the pin 178 to maintain the brackets with the attached seat frames in a substantially horizontal position. As shown, the bracket 174 can be pivoted at the pivot point 180 relative to the bracket 176 so that the pin 178 moves along the dashed line 182 to be engaged by successive slots of the slotted arm 172. The end 184 of the slotted arm 172 moves along the dashed line 186 to clear the portion 188 of the bracket 174 to which the seat frame is attached as the slotted arm pivots at the pivot point 190. The portion 188 is formed at approximately a right angle to the portion 192 of the bracket 174 and extends beyond the slotted arm 172 so that the slotted arm is positioned between the portion 192 and the seat frame.

In order to reverse the direction of seating from the position illustrated in FIG. 3, the horizontally extending arm 156 of the latch assembly 152 is moved laterally to disengage the latch 150 from the latch engaging section of the striker member 148. The entire assembly of the framework 100 and the framework 102 are pivoted about the pivot points 124 and 126 on the upper ends of the connecting arms 128 and 130, respectively, and the entire assembly is moved to cause the connecting arms 128 and 130 to assume the position wherein the lower ends of the connecting arms 128 and 130 are pivoted about the torque rod 132. Thereby, the seat frame assembly 100 becomes the seat back portion and the seat back frame 102 becomes the seat bottom. It will be observed that the framework 102 has a striker member 166 having a centrally contoured latch or detent engaging section to engage with the latch assembly 152 secured to the supporting base assembly tube 142. It will be observed that the contoured latch or detent engaging section of the striker 166 effectively cams the latch assembly 152 open upon downward movement thereof and then when the framework 102 is in a horizontal position the latch assembly 152 is urged to a closed or locked position. A stop member 168 is securely fixed to member 136. It will be noted that when the position of the structure is reversed from that illustrated in FIG. 3, the stop member 168 contacts the lower edge of the connecting arm 130 to ensure the desired stability and prevent the frame 102 from moving beyond a predetermined position.

In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, I have explained the principle and mode of operation of my invention and have illustrated and described what I now consider to represent its best embodiment. However, it must be understood that within the spirit and the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described.