Title:
Furniture elevating device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An elevating device for elevating a furniture leg above a floor, resulting in a corresponding elevation of the furniture's seating surface. The device is of a “universal” design capable of being used with various furniture of different designs, e.g. chairs and beds having discrete legs or sled-base legs, of a broad range of sizes. The device includes a base for resting in a stable manner on the floor and a support surface opposite the base defining a longitudinal channel for receiving a furniture leg. The longitudinal channel may include upper and lower channels, to support legs at different heights above the floor, or inwardly sloping sidewalls for wedgedly supporting a furniture leg. Optionally, the device includes a securing member for attaching a securing strap to limit leg movement relative to the device.



Inventors:
Mcfadden, Christopher P. (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/087037
Publication Date:
08/28/2003
Filing Date:
02/28/2002
Assignee:
MCFADDEN CHRISTOPHER P.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B91/12; (IPC1-7): A47C31/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gregory S. Bernabeo, Esq. (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device for elevating at least one furniture leg above a floor, said device comprising: a base for resting in a stable manner on the floor; and a support surface opposite said base for supporting the furniture leg, said support surface comprising opposed sidewalls defining a longitudinal channel.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said device is so dimensioned as to permit said channel to support the furniture leg at a height of at least one inch above the floor when the base is resting on the floor.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein said channel has a length so dimensioned as to support at least one sled-base leg.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein said channel has a length so dimensioned as to support at least two furniture legs.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein at least one end of said channel is open.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the defice defines a transverse cross-section that is substantially uniform along its entire length.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein the device defines a transverse cross-section that is substantially uniform along substantially all of its length.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the device defines a transverse cross-section that is substantially non-uniform along its length, and wherein said channel is defined in at least two discrete zones positioned for receiving at least two furniture legs.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein said channel comprises upper and lower channels, said upper channel being wider than said lower channel, said lower channel being so dimensioned as to support a leg having a width no wider than a first width.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein said sidewalls slope inwardly towards each other for wedgedly supporting the furniture leg.

11. The device of claim 9, wherein said upper channel is so dimensioned as to support a leg having a width no wider than a second width.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein said lower channel is positioned to be at a first height above the floor, and said upper channel is positioned to be at a second height greater than said first height above the floor, when said base is resting on the floor.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein said sidewalls slope inwardly towards each other for wedgedly supporting the furniture leg.

14. The device of claim 1, wherein each of said sidewalls comprises a substantially planar sidewall for wedgedly supporting the furniture leg, said substantially planar sidewalls intersecting to form a dihedral angle.

15. The device of claim 1, wherein said base is wider than a top portion of said device opposite said base.

16. The device of claim 15, further comprising outwardly sloping walls extending from said top portion to said base.

17. The device of claim 1, further comprising a slip-resistant lining disposed on at least a portion of said sidewalls.

18. The device of claim 17, wherein said slip-resistant lining comprises a coating.

19. The device of claim 17, wherein said slip-resistant lining comprises a slip-resistant layer.

20. The device of claim 19, wherein said slip-resistant layer comprises closed cell foam.

21. The device of claim 1, further comprising at least one securing member configured for attaching a securing strap.

22. A device for elevating at least one furniture leg above a floor, said device comprising: an elongated body having a base configured for resting in a stable manner on the floor, said body having a longitudinal channel opposite said base, said channel comprising upper and lower channels, said upper channel being wider than said lower channel.

23. A device for elevating at least one furniture leg above a floor, said device comprising: an elongated body defining a base configured for resting in a stable manner on the floor, said body having a longitudinal channel opposite said base, said channel defining inwardly sloping opposed sidewalls for wedgedly supporting the furniture leg.

24. The device of claim 23, wherein each of said sidewalls is substantially planar and wherein said sidewalls intersect to form a dihedral angle.

25. The device of claim 23, further comprising a slip-resistant lining disposed on at least a portion of said sidewalls.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to legged furniture, such as chairs or beds, and more particularly a device for raising the height of the furniture. The present invention is particularly useful for disabled or weak individuals who cannot easily lower themselves into or raise themselves from furniture having a relatively low seating surface height.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Conventional chairs are found throughout residential settings and commercial settings, including hospitals and nursing homes. Such chairs typically include several legs for supporting a seating surface at a distance of approximately sixteen to eighteen inches above the floor on which the chair rests.

[0003] Conventional chairs are difficult to use for persons whose health is compromised. Similarly, it is often difficult for such health-compromised persons to sit on or stand from a mattress (seating surface) of a conventional bed. Health-compromised persons include those having inadequate leg or hip strength, due to advanced age, illness, disability or obesity, etc. and those recovering from surgery, to the legs, hips or torso, etc. Such persons typically require assistance to lower themselves into or raise themselves from conventional chairs. Some health-compromised persons simply avoid such chairs, by refusing to leave their beds.

[0004] Various mechanized chairs exist for assisting a person to lower or raise oneself while still providing a seating surface at a conventional height. However, such mechanized chairs are typically expensive, heavy, awkward, difficult to move or transport, and/or otherwise undesirable.

[0005] Specialized non-mechanized chairs, sometimes referred to as “hip” chairs, offer an alternative to mechanized chairs. These specialized chairs typically have legs for supporting a seating surface at a height of approximately 24 inches above a floor on which the chair rests. While such chairs may be effective for the purpose of assisting individuals to lower or raise oneself, they offer various disadvantages, including the additional expense of purchasing specialized chairs. In a residential setting, the additional expense is often highly objectionable as the need for the specialized chair may be only temporary, such as while recovering from surgery. Finally, such specialized chairs are often aesthetically undesirable because they fail to match existing room decor. Similar considerations are applicable to beds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention provides a device for elevating a furniture leg above a floor to cause a corresponding elevation of the furniture. The elevating device is of a “universal” design, meaning that it is capable of being used with many different types of legged furniture, including chairs of different designs, such as those having discrete or sled-base legs of a broad range of sizes. The present invention can reduce or eliminate the need for mechanized or specialized chairs or beds and may be sold inexpensively relative to such chairs or beds. Additionally, the elevating device may be used with existing chairs or beds and therefore will not create an unpleasing aesthetic effect.

[0007] The elevating device includes a base for resting on the floor surface in a stable manner, and a support surface opposite the base for supporting a furniture leg. The support surface includes opposed sidewalls that define a channel for receiving a furniture leg. The sidewalls optionally slope inwardly to wedgedly support a furniture leg. The channel may include upper and lower channels configured for supporting legs at different heights above the floor, and/or to support legs of various widths. Optionally, the device is dimensioned for supporting a leg at least one inch or more above the floor. The elevating device supports the legged furniture above the floor and thereby causes a corresponding elevation of the furniture, particularly the furniture's seating surface.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an exemplary elevating device in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

[0009] FIG. 1B is a perspective of an exemplary elevating device in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

[0010] FIG. 1C is a top view of an exemplary elevating device in accordance with a third embodiment to the present invention.

[0011] FIG. 2A is an end view of the exemplary elevating device of FIG. 1A.

[0012] FIG. 2B is an end view of an alternative embodiment of the elevating device of FIG. 2A.

[0013] FIG. 3A is an end view of an exemplary elevating device in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 3B is an end view of an alternative embodiment of the elevating device of FIG. 3A.

[0015] FIG. 4A is an end view of an exemplary elevating device according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 4B is an end view of an alternative embodiment of the elevating device of FIG. 4A.

[0017] FIGS. 5A and 5B are perspective views of exemplary elevating devices according to sixth and seventh embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] The present invention provides a device for elevating at least one furniture leg above a floor. For illustrative purposes, a chair is discussed below. In that context, the present invention provides a device for elevating at least one chair leg above a floor by supporting the chair's legs above the floor. The device may be constructed relatively inexpensively to make the device a feasible economic alternative to mechanized or specialized non-mechanized chairs. The device is preferably of a “universal” design in that it is capable of supporting a variety of existing furniture legs having various configurations and dimensions. In some embodiments, the channel is capable of supporting furniture having either four discrete legs of various sizes, or two sled-base legs of various sizes.

[0019] As shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1A, the device 10 includes a base 20 for resting on a floor (not shown) and a support surface 24 opposite the base 20. The base 20 is configured for resting in a stable manner on a floor, i.e. to rest securely in a manner resisting rocking or tipping. For example, the base 20 may be configured to rest in a stable manner by having an elongated flat bottom surface, see e.g. FIGS. 1A and 2A, or a concave or other bottom surface (not shown) that will rest on a floor to resist rocking or tipping.

[0020] The support surface 24 is configured for supporting a furniture leg. The support surface 24 includes opposed sidewalls 32a, 32b defining a longitudinal channel 30 for receiving a furniture leg (see FIGS. 5A and 5B).

[0021] In some embodiments, the support surface 24 is of a “stepped” design, as shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, and 2B. In a “stepped” design, the sidewalls 32a, 32b include multiple lands for supporting a furniture leg. Preferably, at least a portion of each land is positioned to be substantially parallel to the floor when the base 20 is resting thereon. In this manner, the channel 30 effectively includes upper and lower channels. For example, the device 10 of FIG. 2A includes a first land 34 that cooperates with the sidewalls 32a, 32b to form a lower channel 30a dimensioned for supporting a leg having a width no wider than a first width. In the example of FIG. 2A, the lower channel 30a is capable of supporting a leg having a width (W1) no wider than approximately 2.0 inches.

[0022] Additionally, the sidewalls 32a, 32b include a second land including sublands 36a, 36b for supporting a furniture leg. Preferably, the second land is positioned to be substantially parallel to the floor when the floor is engaged by the base 20. The second land (sublands 36a and 36b) cooperates with the sidewalls 32a, 32b to form an upper channel 30b dimensioned for supporting a leg having a width no wider than a second width. In the example of FIG. 2A, the upper channel 30 is capable of supporting a leg having a width (W2) no wider than approximately 3.0 inches.

[0023] Optionally, the lower channel 30a is at least partially overlapped by the upper channel 30b. In the example if FIGS. 1A-2B, the lower channel 30a is completely overlapped by the upper channel 30b.

[0024] In some embodiments, the lower channel 30a is positioned to be at a first height above the floor when the base 20 is resting on the floor, and the upper channel 30b is positioned to be at a second height above the floor when the base 20 is resting on the floor, the second height being greater than the first height. Such an embodiment is best shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B.

[0025] In alternative embodiments, the support surface 24 is of a “wedge” design, as shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B. In a “wedge” design, the sidewalls 32a, 32b slope inwardly towards each other from a top to a bottom of the device 10, as shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B. In this manner, the sidewalls are capable of wedgedly supporting a furniture leg, as discussed further below with reference to FIG. 3A.

[0026] In a preferred embodiment, the sidewalls 32a, 32b are substantially planar and positioned to intersect to form a dihedral angle, as shown in FIGS. 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B. The inwardly sloping sidewalls 32a, 32b are arranged for wedgedly supporting a leg of various widths, e.g. up to a maximum width WMAX, e.g. approximately 3.0 inches, as shown in FIG. 3A. For example, the channel 30 may be generally chevron-shaped in cross-section, as shown in FIGS. 4A, 4B, 5A and 5B, or a truncated chevron-shape, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B. In the truncated chevron-shape configuration, the device 10 includes a land 38 for supporting a leg having a width no wider than a width of the land (WMIN), e.g. approximately 0.5 to approximately 2 inches.

[0027] The channel 30 is preferably at least one inch in length. In some embodiments, e.g. when it is desired to support chairs having two sled-base legs, the channel 30 has a length dimensioned for supporting at least one of two sled-base legs, e.g. approximately 4 to approximately 30 inches, or any suitable length.

[0028] In some embodiments, as shown in the exemplary device of FIG. 1A, the device 10 defines a transverse cross-section that is substantially uniform along its entire length. This is particularly useful for supporting a chair having sled-base legs, particularly when it is desired to support a sled-base leg falling within a range of lengths since the sled-base leg may be longer or shorter than the device 10 and still be supported satisfactorily by the device 10.

[0029] In some embodiments, e.g. as shown in FIG. 1A, the device 10 defines a transverse cross-section that is substantially uniform along substantially all of its length. For example, the device 10 in FIG. 1C includes end walls 40a, 40b and so the transverse cross-section is substantially uniform along substantially all of the length, but not including end walls 40a, 40b. Alternatively, as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, the device 10 includes an end wall 40a at only one end of the device, and so the transverse is substantially uniform along substantially all of its length, but not the portion of the length including the end wall 40a. It should be noted that two end walls may be incorporated into an embodiment for accommodating a sled-base leg, provided that the length of the support surface 24 and/or channel 30 is sufficient to support/receive a sled-base leg or an embodiment in which the device is intended to support only one of several discrete legs. When the device 10 and/or the channel 30 is short in length relative to a sled-base leg, e.g. a length of approximately 10 inches or less, it is advantageous to use a single end wall and to have a channel that has at least one open end, as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B. In such an embodiment, two of the devices may be used to support a single sled-base leg, if necessary. In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, the single end wall 40a acts as a stop to prevent a leg of the chair and/or other furniture from sliding out of the channel 30. For such purposes, the device may be much shorter in length, e.g. approximately 1 to approximately 4 inches in length. Optionally, it may be desirable for both ends of the channel 30 to be open, as best shown in FIG. 1A.

[0030] Optionally, the device 10 may define a transverse cross-section that is substantially non-uniform along its length. In such an embodiment, the channel 30 may be defined only in discrete zones, e.g. 50a, 50b of FIG. 1B. Such an embodiment is particularly well-suited to supporting a chair having discrete legs, but not as well-suited to supporting a chair having sled-base legs because of the discontinuity of the channel 30, unless each of the discrete zones has a length sufficient for receiving an entire sled-base leg. The discrete zones 50a, 50b are spaced along the length of the device 10 so as to receive at least two legs of the chair, furniture, etc. In other words, the spacing of the zones should correspond generally to the spacing of legs that are intended to be supported by the device. Lengthening each zone allows legs having a greater range of spacings to be received in the discrete zones.

[0031] In the embodiments discussed above, at least a portion of the sidewalls 32a, 32b, and/or any lands, may be provided with a slip-resistant lining to enhance the stability of the chair/elevating device interface. For example, the slip-resistant lining may include a coating (as shown at 44 in FIG. 4A), such as a paint or other coating applied in a liquid form, a slip-resistant layer, such as scoring or ridges (not shown), or an additional layer of a slip-resistant material (as shown at 46a, 46b in FIG. 4B), such as a material deformable under the weight of a chair and/or the combined weight of a person and a chair, such as a closed cell foam, e.g. a layer up to 1.5 inches in thickness. Alternatively, the device itself may be constructed of such a material.

[0032] The device 10 rests in a stable manner on the floor such that it resists longitudinal and lateral tipping of the base 20 and resulting tipping of any furniture supported by the base 20. Lateral tipping may be reduced by providing a device 10 with a relatively low center of gravity. Accordingly, for example, the device 10 may have a base 20 that is wider than a top portion 60 of the device 10 opposite the base 20, as shown in FIGS. 2B, 3B, 4B, 5A and 5B. Optionally, the device 10 may include outwardly sloping walls 55a, 55b extending from the top portion 60 to the base 20, as shown in FIGS. 2B, 3B, 5A and 5B. Alternatively, the walls 55a, 55b may be of a stepped design (as shown in FIG. 4B) or other design (not shown) to enhance the stability of the device. For example, bases having a width of approximately 6 to 12 inches have been found satisfactory for most conventional chairs. Alternative configurations, e.g. holes, variation in materials or density, etc. may be used to lower the center of gravity or to otherwise reduce the possibility of tipping, as will be understood by those skilled in the art. In certain embodiments, e.g. as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, the device 10 includes securing members along walls 55a, 55b. For example, as shown in FIG. 5A, the securing members include one or more holes 57 or cups (not shown). In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5B, the securing member includes at least one ridge 59, and preferably a ridge 59 extending along each side wall 55a, 55b. The securing members serve as fastening points for attaching a securing strap, such as a bungee cord 70 as discussed further below. As used herein, the securing member/securing strap configuration includes any suitable alternative for securing a leg relative to the device, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

[0033] The device 10 is preferably constructed of a material sufficiently rigid to support at least the weight of a chair and a person sitting on the chair. Suitable materials include metal, plastic, wood, and rubber. Furthermore, the device 10 may be formed by machining, extrusion, injection molding, or any other suitable method, various such methods being generally known in the art.

[0034] Optionally, the device 10 is dimensioned for permitting the channel 30 to support a furniture leg at a height of at least 1 inch above a floor when the base 20 is resting on the floor. Preferably, the device 10 is dimensioned for supporting the leg at a height of approximately 1 inch to approximately 10 inches from the floor on which the base rests, or at any suitable height within this range. As shown in FIG. 2A, the exemplary device 10 is dimensioned such that H1 is approximately at least 1 inch. It will be appreciated from the figures, including FIG. 3A, that a device 10 may be dimensioned to support a leg at a range of heights above the floor surface when the floor surface is engaged by the base 20, namely, at a distance between HMIN and HMAX, as discussed further below with reference to FIG. 3A.

[0035] The elevating device of the present invention may be used to elevate a seating surface of a conventional chair to a height from which it is easier to raise and lower oneself, thereby easing the sitting and standing processes for health-compromised persons. Devices according to the present invention may be used to elevate seating surfaces of chairs having discrete legs or sled-base legs, of a range of sizes/dimensions/spacings/configurations, etc.

[0036] In use, two of the devices 10 may be arranged on a floor surface in a spaced relationship suitable for accommodating the legs of furniture, e.g. a chair, with which the devices are intended to be used. Alternatively, four of the exemplary devices 10 of FIG. 1C may be arranged to accommodate four discrete legs of a chair, i.e. so that each leg of the chair rests in a respective channel 30 of a different device 10. Alternatively, two of the exemplary devices 10 of FIG. 1B may be arranged to accommodate four discrete legs of a chair (one leg in each of zones 50a and 50b of two devices 10). Alternatively, two of the exemplary devices 10 of FIG. 1A may be arranged to accommodate either four discrete legs of a chair, or two sled-base legs of a chair, depending upon the type of chair. It should be noted that a single device 10 may be positioned to support either a left or a right side (a side/side arrangement) or a front or a back (a front/back arrangement) of a chair when used with a chair having four discrete legs. When used in a front/back arrangement, the device 10 positioned to support the front legs of the chair may also be used as a step by the person using the chair.

[0037] The chair is then placed atop the devices 10 such that the legs of the chair are supported in the channels 30 by the sidewalls 32a, 32b and/or any lands 34, 36a, 36b, 38 of the devices 10. For example, with respect to a device as shown in FIGS. 1A-2B, a leg of the chair is positioned to stand on the land 34 if the width of the leg so permits, i.e. if the width is less than W1. If the width of the leg is wider, it is positioned to stand on the second land (namely, sublands 36a and 36b), as best shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B. With respect to the device of FIGS. 1A, 2A, and 2B, because the device is of a universal design, it does not matter whether the chair has discrete or sled-base legs, or what are the exact dimensions of the leg (provided the dimensions fall within a range accommodated by the device, namely, a width less than W2).

[0038] With respect to a device 10 as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, a leg of the chair is positioned to stand on land 38 if the width of the leg so permits, i.e. if the width is less than or equal to WMIN. If the leg is wider than WMIN (but less than WMAX), the leg is positioned to wedgedly engage the inwardly sloping sidewalls 32a, 32b, as best shown in FIG. 3A. Similarly, as in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 4A-5B which do not include a land, the leg wedgedly engages the inwardly sloping sidewalls 32a, 32b.

[0039] With respect to the devices 10 of FIGS. 1A, 2A-5B, because the devices 10 are of a universal design, it does not matter whether the chair has discrete or sled-base legs, or what are the exact dimensions of the leg (provided the dimensions fall within a range accommodated by the device, namely, a width less than WMAX or W2). It will be appreciated that legs of a range of widths may be supported, and that a narrower leg simply rides in a lower channel (FIGS. 1A-2B), or lower between the sidewalls 32a, 32b (FIGS. 3A-5B) at a height depending upon the width of the leg and the spaced arrangement of the sidewalls. For example, as shown in FIG. 3A, a leg A having a width less than WMIN stands on land 38 and is supported at a height HMIN above the floor, a wider leg B wedges between the sidewalls 32a, 32b at a greater height H1 above the floor, and an even wider leg C wedges between the sidewalls 32a, 32b at a greater height H2 above the floor. Accordingly, the seating surface (not shown) of the chair (not shown) is elevated a corresponding height above the floor.

[0040] With respect to a device 10 including an end wall 40a as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, it may be desirable to position the leg near or against the end wall 40a to limit sliding movement of the chair leg. Because the device 10 in such an embodiment includes only one end wall 40a, i.e., the channel 30 is open at the other end, it is of a universal design and can accommodate either discrete or sled-base legs, even if the channel's length is shorter than the sled-base leg.

[0041] If securing members 57, 59 are provided, a securing strap 70 such as a bungee cord bearing a hook 71 on at least one end, etc., may be hooked to securing members 57, 59 along at least one side wall 55a, 55b and wrapped around the chair leg as shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B to further limit the possibility of sliding movement of the leg relative to the device 10. In an embodiment in which the securing straps 57, 59 and/or the device 10 is constructed of a relatively elastic material, the securing strap 70 may cause the device 10 to “pinch” and securely hold the legs. It should be noted that various other securing members may be provided, that the securing strap may be fastened to or otherwise joined to the device 10 at one end, etc. as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

[0042] If desired, the chair may be removed from the devices by lifting the chair from the elevating devices, allowing use of the devices with other chairs, e.g. in another room in a residence, etc.

[0043] Having thus described particular embodiments of the invention, various alterations, modifications, and improvements will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Such alterations, modifications and improvements as are made obvious by this disclosure are intended to be part of this description though not expressly stated herein, and are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing description is by way of example only, and not limiting. The invention is limited only as defined in the following claims and equivalents thereto.