Title:
Fabric for use in a piece of furniture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A piece of furniture with a seating area or recumbent area, includes a body support made of a fabric which is inherently rigid at least in one dimension.



Inventors:
Lessmann, Clarissa Dorette (Aachen, DE)
Application Number:
09/866909
Publication Date:
04/18/2002
Filing Date:
05/29/2001
Assignee:
LESSMANN CLARISSA DORETTE
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/452.64
International Classes:
A47C7/32; A47C23/12; A47C23/30; (IPC1-7): A47C5/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Henry M. Feiereisen (New York, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A piece of furniture with a seating area or recumbent area, comprising a body support made of a fabric which is inherently rigid at least in one dimension.

2. The piece of furniture of claim 1, wherein the fabric has weft members and warp members.

3. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein the weft members are inherently rigid.

4. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein at least one of the weft members and warp members is of single-piece configuration.

5. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein the weft members are monofilaments.

6. The piece of furniture of claim 5, wherein the weft members are made of one of a rod and wire.

7. The piece of furniture of claim 5, wherein the monofilaments have a strength of at least 0.5 mm.

8. The piece of furniture of claim 7, wherein the monofilaments have a strength of at least 1 mm.

9. The piece of furniture of claim 7, wherein the monofilaments have a strength of at least 3 mm.

10. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein the warp members are flexible.

11. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein the warp members include several filaments.

12. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein the warp members are made of a rope.

13. The piece of furniture of claim 2, and further comprising a frame for carrying the body support, wherein the fabric is secured to the frame by warp members.

14. The piece of furniture of claim 2, wherein the warp members and the weft members are inherently rigid.

15. The piece of furniture of claim 14, wherein the warp members and the weft members are monofilaments.

16. The piece of furniture of claim 15, wherein the monofilaments have a strength of greater than 0.5 mm.

17. The piece of furniture of claim 16, wherein the monofilaments have a strength of greater than 1 mm.

18. The piece of furniture of claim 16, wherein the monofilaments have a strength of greater than 3 mm.

19. The piece of furniture of claim 15, wherein the fabric defines a fabric area, wherein the fabric is bent in one dimension perpendicular to the fabric area and connected with itself by inherent tension.

20. The piece of furniture of claim 19, wherein the fabric is interconnected by a process selected from the group consisting of racking and spot-welding.

21. The piece of furniture of claim 1, wherein the fabric includes loops.

22. The piece of furniture of claim 21, wherein the fabric has warp members and weft members in the form of inherently rigid filaments, wherein the loops have a width, wherein a ratio of the width of the loops to a strength of the filaments is greater than 1:1.

23. The piece of furniture of claim 22, wherein the ratio is greater than 1:3.

24. The piece of furniture of claim 22, wherein the ratio is greater than 1:4.

25. The piece of furniture of claim 22, wherein the ratio is defined in warp direction.

26. The piece of furniture of claim 1, and further comprising an edge protection to protect edges of the fabric.

27. The piece of furniture of claim 26, wherein the fabric has weft members in the form of rods or wires, with free ends of the weft members being deburred through a process selected from the group consisting of welding and cutting.

28. The piece of furniture of claim 27, wherein the free ends of the weft members are ground or polished.

29. The piece of furniture of claim 1, wherein the fabric includes metallic components.

30. The piece of furniture of claim 1, wherein the fabric includes warp members having metallic components.

31. The piece of furniture of claim 1, wherein the fabric has components of plastic material.

32. The piece of furniture of claim 1, wherein the fabric includes warp members having components of plastic material.

33. The piece of furniture of claim 31, wherein the components include polyester monofilaments or plastic-wrapped components.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the priorities of German Patent Application Serial No. 100 25 930.8, filed May 26, 2000, and European Patent Application Serial No. 01112159.7, filed May 17, 2001, the subject matter of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates, in general to a piece of furniture with a seating area or recumbent area.

[0003] Pieces of furniture involved here include, for example, classic garden furniture, which typically have a canvas clamped to a complementary frame. German Pat. No. DE 32 10 525 A1 describes a seating piece of furniture having a metallic mat. The use of a metallic mat results in a chair that is non-combustible or hardly combustible while affording a sufficient seating comfort, without need for additional measures, such as upholstery. The frame yields when exposed to stress and the seating area is flexible, so that the frame has a required resilience under load.

[0004] It would be desirable and advantageous to provide an improved piece of furniture with a seating area or recumbent area, obviating prior art shortcomings and configured significantly simpler in structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] According to one aspect of the present invention, a piece of furniture with a seating area or recumbent area, includes a body support made of a fabric which is inherently rigid at least in one dimension.

[0006] The present invention resolves prior art problems by using a fabric that is clamped only at two sides whereas the required stability to ensure a comfortable seating is implemented by the inherent stiffness of the fabric. The entire seating piece of furniture is thus easy to make while yet exhibiting a very long service life because due to the inherent rigidity the edges of the fabric retain their shape, even when during use the piece of furniture is subject to a load or stress in the area of the fabric edges. Such stress can be encountered at the fabric edges in particular when placing object on the fabric, or when a person sits down or gets up.

[0007] In view of the inherently stiff fabric, it is possible to shape the seating surface or recumbent surface in the direction of the inherently stiff dimension, without requiring direct connection to the frame, so that the piece of furniture can be delicately configured with a pleasing look. The seating surface or recumbent surface has a sufficient elasticity, in particular in the direction of the inherently rigid dimension, so that the piece of furniture affords comfortable seating or reclining positions, without a need for additional spring-type measures.

[0008] It is to be understood by persons skilled in the art that the term “fabric” is used here to include any two-dimensional, flat structure. In particular, fabrics are involved here that include weft members and warp members.

[0009] The fabric for the seating surface or recumbent surface may have different inherent stiffness in different dimensions. One option may include a fabric that has lower degree of inherent rigidity in one dimension for attachment to a frame. In this way, the fabric is sufficiently deformable and stabilized by the frame in the dimension of lower degree of inherent rigidity, whereas the required stiffness in the other dimension is realized by the inherent rigidity of the fabric.

[0010] According to another feature of the present invention, the weft members may be configured with inherent rigidity. In this way, the fabric is easier to make as there is no need to draw such a weft member via a shuttle into the fabric structure, but the weft member can enter the fabric structure from one side.

[0011] In the description, the term “inherent rigidity” will denote any member of a fabric having an inherent elasticity. The inherent elasticity should hereby be sufficient so that the fabric, when being clamped on one side, does not bend downwards in the direction of the inherently rigid dimension more than 50% of the length of the fabric between these two sides as a consequence of its own weight. Suitably, the weft members have such an inherent rigidity as to be able to easily enter the respective shed during weaving. Also, it will be appreciated that in the description, the terms “rigid” and “stiff” or “rigidity” or stiffness” are used interchangeably.

[0012] According to another feature of the present invention, the weft members and/or warp members are made of single piece configuration, regardless whether the fabric is made inherently rigid in at least one dimension. In this way, a sufficient inherent rigidity and elasticity can be reliably ensured. Moreover, such a single-piece configuration reduces the risk that individual components become detached form the structure, and may cause, for example, injury or other impairment.

[0013] The weft may be a monofilament so that the inherent rigidity can be adjusted in a desired fashion. Suitably, the weft may be made of a rod or wire and thus can be made in a simple manner.

[0014] Practice has shown that the monofilaments should have a strength of at least 0.5 mm, preferably at least 1 mm or 3 mm, to ensure a sufficient inherent rigidity, in particular when the filament is made from a stainless steel rod or stainless steel wire.

[0015] According to another feature of the present invention, the warp members are flexible and not inherently stiff. In this way, the fabric is pliant in warp direction and can best adapt to the shape of the body under load. The warp members may include several filaments and may be made, for example, in the form of ropes. In particular suitable in this context are ropes of stainless steel (special steel). It is also possible to make the warp members of monofilaments, in particular plastic filaments, such as monofilaments of polyester.

[0016] According to another feature, the fabric may be made with weft members of stainless steel rods or stainless steel wires and with warp members of black polyester monofilaments, resulting in a particularly pleasing piece of furniture. The same is true when making the weft of stainless steel rods or stainless steel wires and the warp of stainless steel ropes. Suitably, the fabric is secured to the frame by flexible or pliant warp members that do not have inherent stiffness. This frame may exhibit a certain inherent elasticity to further enhance the seating or recumbent comfort. Hereby, it is not necessary to clamp the fabric between the frame. Rather, it is sufficient to merely hang the fabric loosely upon the frame because its inherent rigidity provides for a sufficient stability and service life.

[0017] According to another feature of the present invention, the weft members as well as the warp members may be inherently rigid. In this configuration, the fabric can be dimensioned so as to be self-supporting. Thus, appealing pieces of furniture can be made, on the one hand, and the use of a frame may be omitted altogether as a consequence of the self-supporting feature, thereby reducing manufacturing costs. The weft members as well as the warp members may be made of monofilaments having a strength of greater than 0.5 mm, in particular greater than 1 mm or preferably greater than 3 mm. In this way, the inherent rigidity can be made in a fairly simple and reliable manner.

[0018] The elasticity of the seating surface or recumbent surface can be effectively dimensioned in conjunction with the inherent rigidity, when the fabric is bent in one dimension perpendicular to the fabric area and connected with itself by its own tension. In this manner, the seating surface or recumbent surface exhibits a resilience which is derived from the fabric itself and is esthetically pleasing and easy to implement. The fabric can be directly connected with itself, for example, by racking or spot-welding. In this way, the fabric can be connected with itself in an extremely simple manner by its own tension.

[0019] According to another feature of the present invention, the fabric has loops, thereby providing sufficient ventilation to enhance the seating comfort. To increase the inherent rigidity, it is conceivable to connect the weft members and the warp members spotwise at the loops. Such a connection may be advantageous, regardless of the other features of the piece of furniture according to the present invention.

[0020] The look as well as the fabric strength and inherent fabric rigidity may be improved when the ratio of the loop width, in particular in warp direction, to the strength of the inherently rigid filament is greater than 1:1, preferably greater than 1:3 or greater than 1:4.

[0021] According to another feature of the present invention, at least one fabric edge, in particular a free fabric edge, may be provided with an edge protection, thereby preventing a risk of injury or damage of garments or the like. Of course, such an edge protection may certainly be provided, regardless of other features of the present invention, and may be implemented by deburring free ends of the fabric components, such as free rod ends or wire ends, through welding or cutting. In particular, such ends may be ground or polished.

[0022] The desired inherent rigidity and high life expectancy of a piece of furniture according to the present invention, can also be ensured by providing the fabric with metallic components, preferably of stainless steel. Examples include weft members of stainless steel rod or stainless steel wire. Also plastic materials or materials wrapped with plastic are conceivable. On the one hand, these plastic rods can have sufficient inherent rigidity, on the other hand, also flexible plastic threads or plastic filaments may be used for connecting inherently rigid fabric members.

[0023] Configurations with a rod or wire in one direction, and a rope in the other direction, or configurations with a rod in the one direction and flexible monofilaments, such as polyester monofilaments may be used.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0024] Other features and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent upon reading the following description of preferred exemplified embodiments of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawing, in which:

[0025] FIG. 1 is a perspective illustration of a sling chair, embodying the present invention;

[0026] FIG. 2 is a side view of the sling chair of FIG. 1;

[0027] FIG. 3 is a front view of the sling chair of FIG. 1;

[0028] FIG. 4 is a perspective illustration of a first variation of a lounge chair, embodying the present invention;

[0029] FIG. 5 is a side view of the lounge chair of FIG. 4;

[0030] FIG. 6 is a plan view of the lounge chair of FIG. 4;

[0031] FIG. 7 is a schematic cutaway view of the lounge chair of FIG. 4;

[0032] FIG. 8 is a perspective illustration of a second variation of a lounge chair, embodying the present invention;

[0033] FIG. 9 is a frontal view of the lounge chair of FIG. 8; and

[0034] FIG. 10 is a side view of the lounge chair of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0035] Throughout all the Figures, same or corresponding elements are generally indicated by same reference numerals. Turning now to the drawing, and in particular to FIGS. 1 to 3, there are shown a piece of furniture in the form of a sling chair which embodies the present invention. The chair includes as body support a fabric 1 which is fastened to a frame 2 for placement on a suitable ground. Although not shown in the drawing, the frame 2 may include a footrest and, optionally, hinges for adjustability to modify the functionality of the chair. FIGS. 4 to 6 show another type of piece of furniture in the form of a lounge chair having frame 2 for attachment of fabric 1. In both types of chairs, the fabric 1 is of same structure, so that that the following description of the fabric for one chair is equally applicable to the other chair.

[0036] It is to be understood that the term “chair” is used in a generic sense and the principles described in the following description with respect to the chairs, shown here, are equally applicable to other seating or recumbent pieces of furniture regardless of whether it is free-standing or incorporated in a different piece of furniture, such as stools or benches.

[0037] As shown in FIG. 7, the fabric 1 includes metallic rods 3 forming wefts, and ropes 4 forming warps. The ropes 4 may be made of metal, such as stainless steel, or may be made by monofilaments, such as polyester monofilaments. Each warp is formed by a group of three warp members or warp yarns to form the ropes 4 for holding the rods 3, thereby creating loops, which are approximately three-times narrower than the strength of the rods 3. For example, the rods 3 may have a strength of 3 mm so that the loops have a width of 1 mm in warp direction. Of course, other types of weaving may certainly also be applied, without departing from the spirit of the present invention. The grouped warps 4 are formed at their ends to a sling 5 and secured to one another at a connection point 6.

[0038] As can be seen from FIGS. 1 to 7, the fabric 1 is inherently rigid in the direction of the weft 3 while being flexible in direction of the warp 4. As a consequence, the fabric 1 can easily adapt to the shape of a body while yet being sufficiently stable in weft direction so that the edges of the fabric 1 retain their pleasing look over the entire service life of the piece of furniture. As indicated in FIG. 7 by arrows 7 and 8, the fabric 1 is essentially two-dimensional whereby the fabric 1 is configured in the dimension 7, which in this example corresponds to the weft direction, to have a significantly higher degree of inherent rigidity than in the other direction 8. Of course, this configuration of dimensions 7, 8 in perpendicular relationship is shown by way of example only, and other configurations which generally follow the concepts outlined here are considered to be covered by this disclosure.

[0039] Turning now to FIGS. 8 to 10, there are shown another embodiment of a piece of furniture in the form of a lounge chair which embodies the present invention. This chair includes a fabric 9 which is made in both dimensions of the fabric with inherently rigid characteristics. As a consequence, the fabric 9 is self-supporting and has edges which can be connected through racking at connecting areas 10. Instead of racking, spot-welding may also conceivable to establish the connections 10. Of course, the type of joining process should not be limited to the examples involved here, as other joining processes may be used for different types of configurations.

[0040] In view of the inherent rigidity of the fabric 9 and the connections 10, an inherently rigid piece of furniture is realized with a seating surface or recumbent surface which is formed by the upper curves of the fabric loops, as shown in particular in FIGS. 8 and 10. Of course, such curves may be substituted by other self-supporting configurations.

[0041] Should the fabric 9 not have a sufficient degree of inherent rigidity, the warps and wefts may be connected together at the loops to ensure a respective inherent rigidity. This may be implemented through spot-welding or any other type of fastening.

[0042] The fabric 1, 9 may each be provided with an edge protection, not shown, to avoid injury or damage of other objects, such as garments. The edge protection may be realized, for example, by polishing.

[0043] Examples of materials for use in the fabric may include stainless steel because of its longevity and good elastic properties. Other suitable materials include metallic materials coated with plastic. The flexible components of the fabric may be implemented, for example, by ropes, preferably made of stainless steel, or metals coated with plastic. Also conceivable are plastic monofilaments, in particular polyester monofilaments.

[0044] While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in an improved fabric for use in a piece of furniture, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.

[0045] What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims: