Title:
Mattress and sheet attachment assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mattress assembly for use on a bed, including a mattress at least partially coverable by one or more sheets, and at least one sheet-attachment assembly associated with the mattress and configured to releasably attach the one or more sheets to the mattress. Each sheet-attachment assembly includes a clamping apparatus adjustable by a user between a first configuration and a second configuration, and an anchor member adapted to engage the one or more sheets. The clamping apparatus is adapted to receive at least a portion of the anchor member and the one or more sheets when in the first configuration, and to clamp the one or more sheets to the anchor member when in the second configuration.



Inventors:
Vogland, James H. (St. Helens, OR, US)
Parker, Geoffrey A. (St. Helens, OR, US)
Application Number:
09/727292
Publication Date:
05/30/2002
Filing Date:
11/29/2000
Assignee:
VOGLAND JAMES H.
PARKER GEOFFREY A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C21/02; (IPC1-7): A47C21/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080109958Bedstead assembly with a foldable support frameMay, 2008Wang et al.
20040200003Gelatinous cushion having economic structureOctober, 2004Kuo
20090064418Distributed Pressure Control for Support SurfacesMarch, 2009Genaro et al.
20080060134Head snugglerMarch, 2008Virga
20020029424Reinforcement straps for bed assembly with encased coilsMarch, 2002Balsavich
20090188045Under-thigh supportJuly, 2009Anikin
20040019967Assistance apparatus for assisting a person into and out of bedFebruary, 2004Gant
20030226204Transportable baby crib with leg bumpersDecember, 2003Dodge
20090113631Bed Mountable Storage DeviceMay, 2009Palmer
20060236453Equipment for moving patient without changing patient's poseOctober, 2006Jao
20080066234"Hug me" pillowMarch, 2008Lee



Primary Examiner:
GROSZ, ALEXANDER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David S. D'Ascenzo (Portland, OR, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A mattress assembly for use on a bed, comprising: a mattress having an upper surface, a lower surface spaced-apart from the upper surface, and an edge region extending between the upper and lower surfaces, where the mattress is at least partially coverable by one or more sheets; and at least one sheet-attachment assembly associated with the mattress, and configured to releasably attach the one or more sheets to the mattress, where the at least one sheet-attachment assembly includes a clamping apparatus adjustable by a user between a first configuration and a second configuration, and an anchor member adapted to engage the one or more sheets, where the clamping apparatus is adapted to receive at least a portion of the anchor member and the one or more sheets when in the first configuration, and to clamp the one or more sheets to the anchor member when in the second configuration.

2. The mattress assembly of claim 1, where the anchor member is attached to the mattress.

3. The mattress assembly of claim 2, where the mattress includes a handle, and the anchor member is attached to the mattress at the handle.

4. The mattress assembly of claim 2, where the edge region of the mattress defines at least one side corner of the mattress, and where the anchor member is attached to the mattress proximate the side corner.

5. The mattress assembly of claim 2, where the clamping apparatus is not attached to the mattress.

6. The mattress assembly of claim 1, where the clamping apparatus defines an aperture adapted to receive the anchor member and the one or more sheets, and where the aperture is contractible to clamp the one or more sheets to the anchor member by adjusting the clamping apparatus from the first configuration to the second configuration.

7. The mattress assembly of claim 6, where the aperture is expandable to release the one or more sheets by adjusting the clamping apparatus from the second configuration to the first configuration.

8. The mattress assembly of claim 7, where the clamping apparatus includes a housing adapted to define a first portion of the aperture, and an actuator coupled to the housing to define a second portion of the aperture, and where the actuator is selectively movable relative to the housing between a first position in which the clamping apparatus is in the first configuration and the aperture is expanded, and a second position in which the clamping apparatus is in the second configuration and the aperture is contracted.

9. The mattress assembly of claim 8, where the actuator includes one or more locking elements adapted to engage the housing and releasably retain the actuator in the second position.

10. A mattress assembly for use on a bed with one or more sheets, comprising: a mattress having an upper surface, a lower surface spaced-apart from the upper surface, and an edge region extending between the upper and lower surfaces; an anchor member mounted on the mattress and disposed to contact a first side of a sheet covering the mattress; a clamping apparatus configured to engage a second side of the sheet opposite the first side, and to releasably clamp the sheet to the anchor member.

11. The mattress assembly of claim 10, where the clamping apparatus is not mounted on the mattress.

12. The mattress assembly of claim 10, where the anchor member includes a narrowed region and an end region wider than the narrowed region, and where the clamping apparatus is configured to clamp the sheet to the narrowed region when at least a portion of the sheet is positioned to cover the end region.

13. The mattress assembly of claim 12, where the clamping apparatus is configured to substantially enclose the end region and the portion of the sheet.

14. The mattress assembly of claim 10, where the mattress includes a handle, and the anchor member is attached to the mattress at the handle.

15. The mattress assembly of claim 10, where the edge region of the mattress defines at least one side corner of the mattress, and where the anchor member is attached to the mattress proximate the side corner.

16. The mattress assembly of claim 10, where the anchor member is removably mounted on the mattress.

17. The mattress assembly of claim 10, where the clamping apparatus includes a clamping mechanism configured to engage the sheet and clamp it to the anchor member, and a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the clamping mechanism in clamping engagement with the sheet.

18. An assembly for removably attaching one or more sheets to a mattress, comprising: an anchor member mountable on the mattress; a housing adapted to receive at least a portion of the anchor member and at least a portion of the one or more sheets; and an actuator coupled to the housing and selectively movable, relative to the housing, between a first position to allow the anchor member and sheet to be received in the housing, and a second position to clamp the sheet and the anchor member within the housing.

19. The assembly of claim 18, where the actuator includes one or more locking elements adapted to engage the housing and releasably retain the actuator in the second position.

20. The assembly of claim 19, where the housing includes one or more cavities, and where the one or more locking elements are configured to engage the one or more cavities in a snap-fit arrangement to releasably retain the actuator in the second position.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/167,733, filed Nov. 29, 1999 and entitled “Mattress Construction and Linen Attachment Device”.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to mattresses for use on beds, and more particularly to mattress assemblies including devices for attachment of bed linens.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Conventionally, sheets and other bed linens have been held in place on a bed by tucking or folding the sheets under the mattress. However, it has long been recognized that this solution is marginally effective at best. The sheets tend to become dislodged over time, especially if the person(s) using the bed are relatively tall. This problem has become exacerbated recently with the advent of “pillow-top” mattress constructions that result in mattresses that are significantly thicker than standard mattresses. Sheets are easily dislodged when used on these pillow-top mattresses because standard sheets are too small to sufficiently fit around and tuck beneath the mattress. While some efforts have been made to develop other mechanisms for securing sheets to mattresses, none of those efforts have resulted in practical solutions.

SUMMARY

[0004] The present invention provides a mattress assembly for use on a bed. The mattress assembly includes a mattress at least partially coverable by one or more sheets. The mattress assembly also includes at least one sheet-attachment assembly associated with the mattress, and configured to releasably attach the one or more sheets to the mattress. Each sheet-attachment assembly includes a clamping apparatus adjustable by a user between a first configuration and a second configuration, and an anchor member adapted to engage the one or more sheets. The clamping apparatus is adapted to receive at least a portion of the anchor member and the one or more sheets when in the first configuration, and to clamp the one or more sheets to the anchor member when in the second configuration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, isometric view of a mattress assembly having a sheet attachment assembly according to the present invention.

[0006] FIG. 2 is a magnified, exploded isometric of the sheet attachment assembly of FIG. 1.

[0007] FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the sheet attachment assembly of FIG. 1 with the housing shown in cross-section to illustrate the coupling of the actuator to the housing.

[0008] FIG. 4 is a side cross-sectional view of the sheet attachment assembly of FIG. 1 in a first, open or non-clamping configuration.

[0009] FIG. 5 is similar to FIG. 4 but shows the sheet attachment assembly in a second, closed or clamping configuration.

[0010] FIG. 6 is a fragmentary isometric view of a mattress assembly with an exemplary anchor member attached to the mattress handle.

[0011] FIG. 7 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternative exemplary anchor member.

[0012] FIG. 8 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternative exemplary anchor member.

[0013] FIG. 9 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternative exemplary anchor member.

[0014] FIG. 10 is a fragmentary isometric view of a mattress assembly with an exemplary anchor member attached to an alternative type of mattress handle.

[0015] FIG. 11 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternative exemplary anchor member mounted on a grommet attached to the mattress.

[0016] FIG. 12 is a side elevation of an alternative exemplary anchor member adjustably attached to the mattress.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] A mattress assembly according to the present invention is indicated generally at 20 in FIG. 1. Assembly 20 includes a mattress 22 at least partially coverable by one or more bed linens 24. Assembly 20 also includes at least one sheet attachment assembly 26 associated with mattress 22. Sheet attachment assembly 26 is configured to releasably secure the one or more bed linens to the mattress and prevent the bed linens from becoming dislodged inadvertently from the mattress.

[0018] While mattress 22 is shown and described herein as a standard mattress for use on a bed, it will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that mattress 22 may alternatively take any one of a variety of different forms. For example, mattress 22 may be a box spring or similar foundation for a mattress. As another example, mattress 22 may be a futon, a cushion, or any other type of body supporting device typically covered by one or more linens. Therefore, the term mattress shall be used herein to describe any or all of such devices rather than only one particular type of device.

[0019] In the exemplary embodiment, mattress 22 includes a generally planar upper surface 28, and a generally planar lower surface 30 spaced apart from, and generally parallel to, the upper surface. An edge region 32 extends between upper surface 28 and lower surface 30 to form the sides of mattress 22. The upper and lower surface are typically, though not necessarily, generally rectangular in shape. As a result, edge region 32 forms a plurality of side corners 34 adjacent the corner regions of the upper and lower surfaces.

[0020] As is known to those of skill in the art, the materials of construction of mattress 22 may vary. Typically, upper and lower surfaces 28, 30, as well as edge region 32 are constructed of generally flexible, sturdy fabric pieces joined together by sewing. Alternatively, leather, vinyl or other materials may be used. The upper and lower surfaces along with the edge region form the outer surface of the mattress. The interior construction of the mattress, which is enclosed by the outer surface, may include one or more layers of padding and/or one or more springs, etc. It will be appreciated that mattress 22 may have any of a variety of different constructions suitable for a selected application.

[0021] Bed linens 24 may be any one or more of a variety of different types of bed linen such as are known to those of skill in the art. Bed linens 24 may take the form of a multi-layer structure of similar or dissimilar materials attached together in any suitable fashion. Examples of suitable types of bed linen include flat and fitted sheets, blankets, covers, bedspreads, duvets, quilts, comforters, etc., or any combination thereof. For clarity, bed linens 24 shall be referred to hereinafter as sheets 24. However, it will be understood that all types of bed linen are included within such references.

[0022] Typically, one or more sheets 24 are positioned to at least partially cover upper surface 28 and drape down over edge region 32. Optionally, sheets 24 may be wrapped around the lower portion of edge region 32 to lay adjacent outer portions of lower surface 30. Alternatively, sheets 24 may hang freely below edge region 32, or may extend only partially down the edge region. In any event, sheet attachment assembly 26 is operable by a user to releasably attach the sheets to the mattress.

[0023] It will be appreciated that sheet attachment assembly 26 may be configured in a variety of different ways depending on the application. In the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, the sheet attachment assembly includes a clamping apparatus 36 and an anchor member 38. Clamping apparatus 36 is adapted to receive at least a portion of sheets 24 and anchor member 38, and is operable by a user to releasably clamp the sheets to the anchor member. Preferably, the clamping apparatus is configured to securely clamp the sheets to the anchor member without damaging the sheets.

[0024] As will be described below, anchor member 38 may take any of a variety of different sizes, shapes and configurations. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2, the anchor member has an hourglass or spool-shaped configuration with a central region 40 extending between two end regions 42 and 44. Central region 40 as well as end regions 42 and 44 have generally circular cross-sections. The diameter of the central region is generally less than the diameter of either end region 42 or end region 44. The end regions may have similar or different diameters. In any event, central region 40 forms a narrowed neck portion of the anchor member relative to the wider end regions.

[0025] At least a portion of anchor member 38 is adapted to engage sheets 24 such as by direct contact, etc. Preferably, the anchor member is adapted to engage the sheets without tearing, cutting, or otherwise damaging the sheets. In the exemplary embodiment, end region 42 is formed with relatively smooth, rounded edges to prevent damage to the sheets. Alternatively or additionally, end region 42 may be formed of a relatively pliant material to prevent damage to the sheets. Anchor member 38 may be constructed out of any one or more of a variety of different materials including plastic, rubber, metal, etc. Similarly, clamping apparatus 36 may be constructed out of any one or more of a variety of different materials including plastic, rubber, metal, etc.

[0026] In the exemplary embodiment, clamping apparatus 36 defines a clamping aperture 46 adapted to receive sheets 24 and end region 42 of the anchor member. Clamping apparatus 36 is selectively adjustable to contract aperture 46 to clamp sheets 24 to anchor member 38. Thus, to clamp the sheets to the anchor member, a user places aperture 46 over the sheets and end region 42, and then operates the clamping apparatus to contract the aperture. Once the sheets are clamped to the anchor member, clamping apparatus 36 is selectively adjustable to expand aperture 46 and thereby release the sheets and anchor member.

[0027] Clamping apparatus 36 may be configured to contract and expand aperture 46 in a variety of different ways. In the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIGS. 2-5, the clamping apparatus is selectively adjustable by a user between a first configuration and a second configuration. Aperture 46 is expanded to receive the sheets and end region 42 when the clamping apparatus is in the first configuration. The aperture is contracted to clamp the sheets to the anchor member when the clamping apparatus is in the second configuration. Exemplary clamping apparatus 36 includes a housing 48 and an actuator 50. Housing 48 is adapted to define a first portion 52 of aperture 46. Typically, the housing is formed with a generally rounded shape to avoid sharp corners which might snag the sheet or even injure the user. Actuator 50 is coupled to housing 48 to define a second portion 54 of aperture 46. The actuator is selectively movable relative to the housing between a first position, shown in FIG. 4, and a second position, shown in FIG. 5. When actuator 50 is in the first position, aperture 46 is expanded and clamping apparatus 36 is in the first configuration. Conversely, when actuator 50 is in the second position, aperture 46 is contracted and clamping apparatus 36 is in the second configuration.

[0028] In the exemplary embodiment, actuator 50 includes at least one engagement member 56 extending outward from a handle structure 58. Engagement member 56 includes a distal end 60 spaced apart from handle structure 58. Housing 48 defines a generally circular opening 62 adapted to fit around and receive sheets 24 and end region 42. Alternatively, opening 62 may be any desired shape adapted to receive the sheets and anchor member. When actuator 50 is in the first position, distal end 60 of the engagement member is positioned adjacent one side of opening 62 to form second portion 54 of aperture 46. The opposite side of opening 62 forms first portion 52 of the aperture. When actuator 50 is in the second position, distal end 60 of the engagement member is moved toward the opposite side of opening 62. As a result, second portion 54 of the aperture is moved closer to first portion 52, thereby contracting the aperture.

[0029] As can be seen in FIG. 4, sheets 24 and end region 42 of the anchor member may pass through aperture 46 when actuator 50 is in the first position. Housing 48 is sized to receive a sufficient portion of the sheets and anchor member so that end region 42 is substantially enclosed within the housing and central region 40 extends out of aperture 46. However, when actuator 50 is moved to the second position, aperture 46 is contracted so that sheets 24 and end region 42 may not pass out of the aperture.

[0030] When the actuator is in the second position, engagement member 56 is moved toward central region 40 of the anchor member to clamp the sheets to the anchor member. Depending on the thickness of sheets 24 along with the size of central region 40 in relation to the size of aperture 46 when contracted, distal end 60 may press the sheets against central region 40. Additionally, distal end 60 may force the anchor member against the opposite side of opening 62, thereby pressing the sheets between central region 40 and the opening. In such case, sheets 24 are tightly clamped against central region 40 of the anchor member. Alternatively, the contracted size of aperture 46 when the actuator is in the second position may be substantially larger than central region 40 and sheets 24, so that the sheets are loosely clamped to the anchor member. Nevertheless, the sheets are held securely to the anchor member because end region 42 is unable to pass out of the housing, and because the sheets are unable to slide around the anchor member. Although not illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, when outward tension is placed on the sheets, the portion of the sheets held within the housing urges the anchor member toward aperture 46. However, since the aperture is smaller than end region 42, the end region is pulled against the underside of engagement member 56 and opening 62, thereby clamping the sheets between those structures and the anchor member. Therefore, the sheets are securely held in place against the anchor member regardless of whether the sheets are clamped tightly or loosely to the anchor member.

[0031] According to another way of viewing sheet attachment assembly 26, clamping apparatus 36 includes a housing 48 and a latch mechanism 50. The housing 48 defines an opening 62 adapted to receive sheets 24 and end region 42 of the anchor member. The latch mechanism is selectively movable between a first position in which the latch mechanism does not block opening 62, and a second position in which the latch mechanism at least partially blocks the opening. When the latch mechanism is in the second position, end region 42 is prevented from passing through the opening, thereby securing the sheets to the anchor member.

[0032] As described above, actuator 50 is movably coupled to housing 48. In some embodiments, the actuator may be completely removable from the housing. Alternatively, the actuator may be coupled to the housing so as to prevent complete removal of the actuator from the housing. For example, in the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, a portion of the actuator is slidably received in the housing. Distal end 60 of engagement member 56 includes a lip portion 66. When actuator 50 is moved from the second position toward the first position, lip portion 66 functions as a hook to grip the edge of opening 62 and prevent the actuator from sliding completely out of the housing, as shown in FIG. 4. In some embodiments, engagement member 56 may be sufficiently flexible so that the user may selectively deflect lip portion 66 away from the edge of opening 62 and slide the actuator out of the housing. In alternative embodiments, a different mechanism may be used to prevent the actuator from being completely removed from the housing. For example, a screw or pin may pass through housing 48 and into an elongate slot in engagement member 56.

[0033] As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, a user clamps the sheets to the anchor member by positioning the anchor member on one side of the sheets and positioning the clamping apparatus on the opposite side of the sheets so that aperture 46 is aligned with end region 42. If necessary, the user grasps handle structure 58 and moves the actuator to the first position. The user then presses the clamping apparatus toward the anchor member so that end region 42 passes through aperture 46 and is received in the housing. Finally, the user grasps handle structure 58 and moves the actuator to the second position. Engagement member 56 and opening 62 function as a clamping mechanism configured to engage and clamp the sheets to the anchor member.

[0034] In the exemplary embodiment, clamping apparatus 36 also includes a locking mechanism configured to releasably lock the clamping mechanism in clamping engagement with the sheets. Actuator 50 includes one or more locking elements 68 adapted to engage the housing and releasably retain the actuator in the second position. Locking elements 68 extend outward from handle structure 58 adjacent either side of, and substantially parallel to, engagement member 56. Each locking element includes an distal end 70 generally wider than the remainder of the locking element. Housing 48 defines cavities 72 positioned to receive at least a portion of distal ends 70 when the actuator is in the second position, as shown in FIG. 3. Locking elements 68 are adapted to flex inward toward one another from their nominal positions when in the first position, and then flex outward into cavities 72 when in the second position. The relatively stiff flexibility of the locking elements cause distal ends 70 to engage cavities 72 in a snap-fit arrangement so that actuator 50 is locked in the second position. To move the actuator to the first position, a user simultaneously presses inwardly on distal ends 70 and pulls handle structure 58 away from opening 62. In the exemplary embodiment, distal ends 70 are formed with smooth or rounded ends to facilitate movement of the actuator between the first and second positions. While one exemplary mechanism has been described for releasably locking the actuator in the second position, it will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the locking mechanism may alternatively have any one of a variety of suitable configurations.

[0035] As described above, clamping apparatus 36 is operable to clamp one or more sheets to anchor member 38. In the exemplary embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, anchor member 38 is mounted on, or attached to, mattress 22, while clamping apparatus 36 is not attached to the mattress. When the sheets are positioned to cover mattress 22 and anchor member 38, clamping apparatus 36 may be positioned over the anchor member, and operated to clamp the sheets to the anchor member. Since the anchor member is attached to the mattress, the sheets are also secured to the mattress, thereby preventing the sheets from being inadvertently dislodged. It will be appreciated that in alternative embodiments, clamping apparatus 36 may be mounted on the mattress in addition to, or instead of, anchor member 38.

[0036] In the exemplary embodiment, one or more anchor members 38 are attached to edge region 32 of mattress 22 proximate one or more side corners 34. Alternatively or additionally, one or more anchor members 38 may be attached at other locations on the mattress including on upper surface 28 and/or on lower surface 30. While multiple anchor members may be attached to the mattress, it will be understood that the sheets may be secured to the mattress by fastening a clamping apparatus at each anchor member, or at only one or a few anchor members.

[0037] It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that the anchor members may be attached to the mattress by any one or a combination of different methods and mechanisms. While a few examples are described below, it will be understood that all such methods and mechanisms are within the scope of the invention.

[0038] Turning attention to FIG. 6, an exemplary embodiment is shown in which mattress 22 includes one or more handles 74. The handles may be attached to the mattress by any suitable means such as sewing, etc., and may be attached at any desired location on the mattress. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, handle 74 is in the form of a generally flat length of fabric, plastic, or similar material. However, handle 74 may take many other forms as are known to those of skill in the art. In any event, anchor member 38 may be attached to the handle so as to be easily removable, or so as not to be removable without removing the handle from the mattress. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, handle 74 includes an elongate opening or slit 76. The slit is sized to allow end region 42 of the anchor member pass through. However, the diameter of end region 44 is larger than the diameter of end region 42, and therefore does not pass through slit 76. Alternatively, slit 76 may be large enough to pass end region 44, in which case tension on the handle tends to keep slit 76 closed to hold the anchor member within the slit.

[0039] End region 42 extends outward from mattress 22. Thus, when one or more sheets 24 are positioned on the mattress to drape over the anchor member, clamping apparatus 36 may be positioned adjacent the sheets and opposite the anchor member, and then pushed onto the anchor member as shown in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 6, the anchor member may optionally include one or more indicia structure 78 to identify the manufacturer, provide instructions for use, etc. Indicia structure 78 may take any of a variety of forms, such as an insert adapted to fit within a recess in end region 42. Similarly, the clamping apparatus may optionally include one or more indicia structure 78 to identify the manufacturer, provide instructions for use, etc., as shown in FIG. 1. Indicia structure 78 may take any of a variety of forms, such as an insert adapted to fit within a recess in housing 48.

[0040] Turning attention to FIGS. 7-9, other exemplary anchor member configurations are shown for attachment to handle 74. In the embodiment of FIG. 7, anchor member 38 includes a first section 80 attachable to a second section 82. First section 80 includes end region 42 while second section 82 includes end region 44. The first section is attachable to the second section such as by the threaded coupling shown in FIG. 7. Alternatively, other attachment mechanisms may be used such as a snap fit connection, etc. In any event, opening 76 is sized to receive first section 80 and/or second section 82. Thus, the anchor member is mounted on the handle by aligning the first section on the front side of the handle adjacent opening 76, and aligning the second section on the back side of the handle adjacent the opening, and then connecting the first and second sections through the opening. Optionally, handle 74 may include a relatively rigid support member 84 to provide support for the anchor member. Support member 84 may be attached to handle 74 by any suitable method such as sewing, stapling, etc.

[0041] In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 8, end region 44 is configured as a generally rectangular loop adapted to slide over handle 74. Thus, the anchor member of FIG. 8 is mounted on the handle before the handle is sewn to the mattress, and cannot be removed without at least partially removing the handle from the mattress. It should be noted that the anchor member of FIG. 8 remains free to side along the handle, and therefore can be repositioned at any point along the handle as desired.

[0042] The embodiment depicted in FIG. 9 is similar to the embodiment of FIG. 8, except that end region 44 is constructed of a pair of arms 86 nominally arranged to form a rectangular loop. As shown in FIG. 9, arms 86 are sufficiently flexible to open the loop and fit over handle 74. As a result, anchor member 38 may be mounted on, and removed from, the handle after the handle is attached to the mattress.

[0043] FIG. 10 shows another exemplary embodiment in which handle 74 is in the form of a cord or rope attached to grommets 88 mounted on mattress 22. End region 44 is configured to mount on handle 74. The construction of end region 44 may take a variety of forms. For example, end region 44 may consist of a solid piece having a central bore adapted to fit over the handle, or may consist of a pair of generally planar members sandwiched around the handle and attached together. Optionally, the back surface of end region 44 may be slightly curved to conform to side corner 34 of the mattress. End region 44 may be adapted to slide freely along handle 74, or may be rigidly attached to one portion of the handle. It should be noted that end region 44 may optionally be curved in any of the embodiments of anchor member 38 adapted to mount proximate side corner 34.

[0044] A further exemplary embodiment of anchor member 38 is depicted in FIG. 11. As shown, the anchor member is attached directly to grommet 88 rather than to a handle. For example, end region 44 may be sized and shaped to be press-fit through the grommet bore and grip the side wall of the grommet which is disposed inside mattress 22. Alternatively, anchor member 38 may include a screw 90 adapted to engage threads in the grommet bore.

[0045] FIG. 12 shows another exemplary embodiment of anchor member 38. As shown, end region 44 is in the form of a stretchable tail attached to the mattress. Because tail 44 is stretchable, end region 42 can be repositioned against the mattress as desired. In the exemplary embodiment, the tail is constructed as a flexible accordion-shaped member to allow it to be stretched. Alternatively, the tail may be constructed of stretchable material, etc. Tail 44 may be attached to the mattress in any suitable fashion such as sewing, gluing, stapling, etc.

[0046] As described above, sheet attachment assembly 26 provides an effective and reliable mechanism for attaching standard, unmodified sheets and other bed linen to a mattress. It will be appreciated by those of skill in the art that sheet attachment assembly 26 has many advantages over other devices intended for securing sheets to a mattress. For example, devices such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,642,547 to Hutton et al. require the user to wedge the sheets into a narrow channel using a small stud. The stud is held in place by friction between the stud, sheets and channel. Locating the channel beneath the sheets can be difficult since the channel has no outwardly projecting feature. Moreover, if the sheet is pulled in the opposite direction, the stud is likely to slide out of the channel, thereby inadvertently releasing the sheet. In contrast, the sheet attachment assembly of the present invention uses positive clamping action to hold the sheet securely regardless of which direction the sheet may be pulled. Additionally, the present invention is easier to use since the user simply presses the clamping apparatus against the sheet and anchor member, and then squeezes the clamping apparatus to clamp the sheet. The clamping apparatus snap-locks in clamping engagement on the sheet.

[0047] It is believed that the disclosure set forth above encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions has been disclosed in its preferred form, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein. No single feature, function, element or property of the disclosed embodiments is essential to all of the disclosed inventions. Similarly, where the claims recite “a” or “a first” element or the equivalent thereof, such claims should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.

[0048] It is believed that the following claims particularly point out certain combinations and subcombinations that are directed to one of the disclosed inventions and are novel and non-obvious. Inventions embodied in other combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements and/or properties may be claimed through amendment of the present claims or presentation of new claims in this or a related application. Such amended or new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.