Title:
Chair and work surface system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible table and connected chair system is disclosed. The table has opposite portions including support legs to which first and second chairs are connected. The chairs each share a common leg with the table and each chair rotates independently about the respective common legs between positions where the chairs may face in the same direction and where the chairs may face each other.



Inventors:
Cronk, Jeffrey P. (Tulsa, OK, US)
Keitel, Joseph D. (Muscatine, IA, US)
Groulx, James M. (Muscatine, IA, US)
Randall Sr., Green E. (Muscatine, IA, US)
Application Number:
10/160686
Publication Date:
12/04/2003
Filing Date:
05/31/2002
Assignee:
CRONK JEFFREY P.
KEITEL JOSEPH D.
GROULX JAMES M.
GREEN RANDALL E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B83/02; A47C3/00; A47C7/00; (IPC1-7): A47B83/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WHITE, RODNEY BARNETT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ronald A. Sandler (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A chair and work surface system comprising: a work surface; a first chair pivotally connected to a first portion of said work surface; and a second chair pivotally connected to a second portion of said work surface.

2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein: said first and said second chairs pivot through an arc of about 90 degrees.

3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including: first and second supports connected to said work surface; and wherein said work surface and said first chair share said first support; and said work surface and said second chair share said second support.

4. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 including: four supports connected to said first chair; four supports connected to said second chair; a first group of three casters connected to said first chair and a second group of three casters connected to said second chair.

5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 including: said three casters of said first group are connected to three of said four supports connected to said first chair; and said three casters of said second group are connected to three of said four supports of said second chair.

6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein: said first and second chairs move between an alignment where said first and second chairs face in the same direction and an alignment where said first and second chairs are positioned to face each other.

7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein: said first and second chairs move between an alignment where said first and second chairs face in the same direction through an arc of 90 degrees where said chairs may be aligned to face each other.

8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 7 including: first and second supports connected to said work surface, and wherein the work surface and said first chair share said first support; and said work surface and said second chair share said second support.

9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 including: four supports connected to said first chair; four supports connected to said second chair; and a first group of three casters connected to said first chair and a second group of three casters connected to said second chair.

10. An apparatus as claimed in claim 9 including: said three casters of said first group connected to three of said four supports connected to said first chair; and said three casters of said second group are connected to three of said four supports of said second chair.

11. A flexible seating system comprising: a table having at least first, second and third supports; a first chair having four supports where one of said four supports of said first chair is common with said first support of said table; and a second chair having four supports where one of said four supports of said second chair is common with said second support of said table.

12. An apparatus as claimed in claim 11 wherein: said first and said second chairs pivot through an arc of about 90 degrees.

13. An apparatus as claimed in claim 12 including: casters on the three supports of each chair which are not in common with the table supports.

14. An apparatus as claimed in claim 13 wherein: said first and second chairs move between an alignment where said first and second chairs face in the same direction and an alignment where said first and second chairs are positioned to face each other.

15. An apparatus as claimed in claim 11 including: a metal frame for each chair, said frame having a first member between a first rear support and a first front support, a second member extending between first and second front supports, and a third member parallel to said first member and extending between a second rear support and said second first support.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a chair and work surface system and more particularly to a combination table and two chairs, each chair being connected to the table, but also being independently movable relative to the table.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Typically, conferences are held around large conference tables with independently movable chairs spaced around the periphery of the tables. More recently conference furniture has taken a more informal approach in which the large conference table has been disposed of and replaced by individual chairs and small tables spaced about a conference space.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] What is described here is a chair and work surface system comprising a work surface, a first chair pivotally connected to a first portion of the work surface and a second chair pivotally connected to a second portion of the work surface.

[0006] There are a number of advantages, features and objects achieved with the present invention which are believed not to be available in earlier related devices. For example, several advantages are that the present invention provides a conference arrangement that is convenient, adjustable and comfortable.

[0007] A more complete understanding of the present invention and other objects, advantages and features thereof will be gained from a consideration of the following description of a preferred embodiment read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures provided herein. The preferred embodiment represents an example of the invention which is described here in compliance with Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (first paragraph), but the invention itself is defined by the attached claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0008] FIG. 1 is rear isometric view of a two chair and work surface system.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a front isometric view of the two chair and work surface system shown in FIG. 1 illustrating each chair in two positions.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a front isometric view illustrating a frame and support for each of the chairs and for the work surface of the system shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0011] FIG. 4 is an enlarged downward looking isometric view taken within curve 4-4 of FIG. 3.

[0012] FIG. 4a is an upward looking isometric view of a variation of a leg.

[0013] FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic plan view of the work surface and frame illustrating the movement capability of the chairs.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

[0014] While the present invention is open to various modifications and alternative constructions, the preferred embodiment shown in the various figures of the drawing will be described herein in detail. It is understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the particular embodiment, form or example disclosed. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalent structures and methods, and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims, pursuant to Title 35 U.S.C. section 112 (second paragraph).

[0015] Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, there is illustrated a chair and work surface system 10 including a work surface in the form of a low level table 11, a first chair 12 connected to a first portion 13 of the table and a second chair 14 connected to a second portion 15 of the table. Each chair includes a back portion 16, 17 and a seat portion 18, 19. The table is supported by two front supports, at the first and second portions thereof, in the form of two front legs 20, 22 and a rear column 24 which may house communication cables and electrical wiring brought up through the floor 26. Instead of the column, the table may also be designed to have one or more additional legs at the rear, if desired.

[0016] Each chair includes a metal frame or base 30, 32 including a horizontally disposed front frame member 34, 36 and two side frame members 40, 42, 44, 46. Each chair also includes support legs including a left rear leg 50, 52, a right rear leg 54, 56, a left front leg 58, 60 and a right front leg 62, 64.

[0017] It is apparent that the right front leg 62 of the left chair 12 and the left front leg 60 of the right chair 14 are connected to the left front leg 20 and right front leg 22, respectively, of the table 11 to form common supports or legs for both the respective chair and the table. Three casters are connected to the non-common legs of the chairs such as left rear casters 70, 72, right rear casters 74, 76. and left front caster 80 and right front caster 82 of the chairs 12 and 14, respectively.

[0018] Each of the chair frames also includes two pairs of upright frame members 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100, 102, 104, FIG. 3 connected to each of the side frame members 40, 42, 44, 46, respectively. Also connected to each pair of upright frame members is a bracket 110, 112, 114, 116, respectively, upon which the seat-back combination of each chair is attached.

[0019] Referring now to FIG. 4, there is illustrated in more detail the first portion or corner 13 of the table 11 and the common table leg 20 and the chair leg 62. This common leg includes a bottom portion 122 connected to a middle portion 124 and a top portion 126. The bottom and middle portions are fixed to the front frame member 34 and is part of the chair 12. A peripheral edge 130 is formed at the top of the middle portion 124. The top portion 126 also includes a peripheral edge 132. Projecting downwardly from the top portion 126 is a pin 134 which in turn is received by an opening 136 in the middle portion 124. A longitudinal axis 140 of the pin coincides with a longitudinal axis of the common leg and forms a line about which the chair 12 pivots or rotates relative to the table 11. Rotational bearing surfaces are the peripheral edges 130, 132 of the middle leg portion and the top leg portion respectively. It is understood that the table remains stationary while the chairs rotate. Of course, the entire apparatus may be easily moved if desired by simply separating the table from the chairs.

[0020] A variation of the common leg is to have a pin 134a, FIG. 4a, extend upwardly from the middle portion 124a and an opening 136a in the top portion 126a receives the pin.

[0021] As shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 5, the chairs may rotate or pivot through 90 degrees between a position where the chairs are aligned to face in the same direction (and shown in solid line) and a position where the chairs generally face each other (and shown in broken line). This may be best understood by noticing the changes of location of the casters between positions drawn in solid line and broken line and designated with a number and then the same number followed by a prime.

[0022] It is to be understood that the chairs pivot independently of one another and each may take any position relative to the table and to the other chair within their own 90 degree arc of rotation.

[0023] The flexible seating system described may be used to heighten the level of informality of a meeting and increase the comfort of meeting attendees especially if the attendees spend long periods in a seated position. To help with comfort, the chairs may have arms, be reclining and have cup holders and writing pads (not shown). It is further understood that the system described here may be used with other similarly designed systems or with individual chairs for a larger meeting. Or the system may be used alone in a reception area or as part of an individual's office.

[0024] The above specification describes in detail a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Other examples, embodiments, modifications and variations will, under both the literal claim language and the doctrine of equivalents, come within the scope of the invention defined by the appended claims. For example, a different style of chair, frame or supports are considered equivalent structures and will also come within the literal language of the claims. The same is true for a different design for the table and its legs. Still other alternatives will also be equivalent as will many new technologies. There is no desire or intention here to limit in any way the application of the doctrine of equivalents nor to limit or restrict the scope of the invention.