Title:
Split support mattress configuration with hidden divider
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A split support mattress configuration with hidden divider is disclosed. The mattress has an accessible interior cavity that utilizes a divider to separate the interior cavity into lateral halves. Each of the lateral halves is operable to receive interchangeable auxiliary support members to provide a desired level of comfort for a user of each of the two halves of the mattress. The divider is coupled to the top portion of the mattress in a manner that provides for the exterior surface of the top portion to be free of visual indications of the coupling of the divider to the top portion.



Inventors:
England, Rodney (New Tazewell, TN, US)
Application Number:
10/465523
Publication Date:
12/23/2004
Filing Date:
06/19/2003
Assignee:
ENGLAND RODNEY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/727
International Classes:
A47C17/00; A47C27/00; A47C27/04; (IPC1-7): A47C17/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSZ, ALEXANDER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness Dickey (Troy) (BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A mattress comprising: an upper portion having an exterior surface; a lower portion; an interior cavity between said upper and lower portions; a divider separating said interior cavity into at least two sections, said divider being coupled to said upper portion; at least one support element removable disposed within said interior cavity; wherein said exterior surface of said upper portion is free of visual indications of the coupling of said divider to said upper portion.

2. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said divider is coupled to said lower portion.

3. The mattress of claim 2, wherein said divider is sewn to said lower portion.

4. The mattress of claim 3, wherein said divider is fused to said upper portion.

5. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said divider comprises: a first member that is substantially horizontally oriented, said first member being coupled to said upper portion; and a second member that is substantially vertically oriented, said second member being coupled to said first member and being coupled to said lower portion.

6. The mattress of claim 5, wherein said first member is fused to said upper portion, said second member is sewn to said first member and said second member is sewn to said lower portion.

7. The mattress of claim 1, further comprising a core support member disposed in said lower portion.

8. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said divider is fused to said upper portion.

9. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said divider is sewn to said upper portion.

10. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said interior cavity has a longitudinal length and a lateral width, and said divider extends longitudinally in said cavity.

11. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said divider comprises a plurality of discontinuous segments that separate said interior cavity into said at least two sections.

12. The mattress of claim 1, wherein said upper portion comprises a plurality of layers of padding.

13. The mattress of claim 1, further comprising a closure mechanism operable to selectively provide access to said interior cavity to allow removal of said at least one support element.

14. A split support configuration mattress comprising: a body having a top portion with an exterior surface; a core support member disposed in said body; an interior volume within said body between said core support and said top portion of said body; a divider separating said interior volume into a first lateral half and a second later half, said divider being coupled to said top portion; at least one auxiliary support member removably disposed in each of said first and second lateral halves of said interior volume; a closure mechanism coupled to said body adjacent said interior volume, said closure mechanism selectively providing access to said interior volume to allow removal of said auxiliary support elements; wherein said exterior surface of said top portion is free of visual indications of the coupling of said divider to said top portion.

15. The split support configuration mattress of claim 14, wherein said divider is comprised of a plurality of discontinuous segments.

16. The split support configuration mattress of claim 14, wherein said divider is fused to said top portion.

17. The split support configuration mattress of claim 14, further comprising an inner liner substantially defining a bottom of said interior cavity and wherein said divider is sewn to said inner liner.

18. The split support configuration mattress of claim 14, wherein said divider comprises: a first member that is substantially horizontally oriented and fused to said top portion; and a second member that is substantially vertically oriented and sewn to said first member.

19. A mattress comprising: an upper portion having an exterior surface; a lower portion; a core support member disposed in said lower portion; an intermediate portion disposed between said upper and lower portions; a divider separating said intermediate portion into at least two sections, said divider being coupled to said upper portion; at least one removable auxiliary support member disposed in each of said sections of said intermediate portion; a closure mechanism adjacent said intermediate portion and operable to selectively allow access to said intermediate portion; wherein said exterior surface of said upper portion is free of visual indications of the coupling of said divider to said upper portion.

20. The mattress of claim 19, further comprising an inner liner that substantially defines a bottom of said interior cavity and wherein said divider is coupled to said inner liner.

21. The mattress of claim 20, wherein said divider is fused to said upper portion and said divider is sewn to said bottom liner.

22. The mattress of claim 20, wherein said divider includes a substantially horizontal component that is coupled to said upper portion and a substantially vertical component that is coupled to said horizontal component.

23. The mattress of claim 19, wherein said divider is fused to said upper portion.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to a split support mattress configuration and, more particularly, to a split support mattress configuration with a hidden divider.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] To provide a customized level of comfort for a mattress, some mattresses are provided with removable and/or interchangeable auxiliary support members in addition to the core support member. That is, in addition to an inner spring coil unit (core support member) auxiliary support members are also provided that can be selected to provide a customized level of comfort for the mattress. These auxiliary support members are positioned in an interior cavity of the mattress that is accessible by a consumer. The consumer can select the specific auxiliary support members that provide the desired level of comfort and place those auxiliary support members in the interior cavity. As the comfort level preferences of the user changes and/or components of the mattress wear, the consumer can replace, add or remove the auxiliary support members. In a mattress designed for more than one person, (e.g., double, queen, king size mattresses) the interior cavity is divided into two lateral halves that can each be individually customized to provide a desired level of comfort for a user of that side of the mattress. An example of such a mattress configuration is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,101,653 entitled “Split Support Configuration Mattress” and assigned to the assignee of the present invention, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein.

[0003] The mattresses with an interior cavity that is divided into lateral halves utilize a divider to separate the interior cavity into the two sections. The divider is sewn to the top portion of the mattress and a resultant visible seam extends longitudinally about the length of the mattress above the location of the divider. This longitudinal seam in the top of the mattress may not provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Accordingly, it is advantageous to provide a divider that separates the interior cavity into two lateral halves without providing visual indications of the divider on the exterior of the cover. That is, it is advantageous for the cover to be free of visual indications of the attachment of the divider to the top portion of the mattress to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Therefore, it is desirable to provide a mattress system having an internally accessible portion wherein interchangeable auxiliary support members may be inserted by the user without having a seam along the top cover that is indicative of the coupling of the divider to the top portion of the mattress.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention provides a divider for a split support mattress configuration that does not have visual indications of the attachment of the divider on the exterior of the mattress. The present invention utilizes such a divider to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance for the split support mattress.

[0005] A mattress according to the principles of the present invention includes an upper portion having an exterior surface. There is a lower portion and an interior cavity between the upper and lower portions. A divider separates the interior cavity into at least two sections. The divider is coupled to the upper portion. At least one support element is removeably disposed within the interior cavity. The divider is coupled to the upper portion in a manner that provides for the exterior surface of the upper portion to be free of visual indications of the coupling of the divider to the upper portion.

[0006] Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mattress system having a split support mattress configuration with a hidden divider according to the principles of the present invention;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the mattress system of FIG. 1 in an interchange mode;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the split support mattress configuration with hidden divider of FIG. 1 along line 3-3;

[0011] FIGS. 4A-B are cross-sectional views of the split support mattress configuration with hidden divider of FIG. 1 along line 4-4 showing a continuous divider and a discontinuous divider respectively;

[0012] FIG. 5A is a fragmentary enlarged view of a portion of the split support mattress configuration with hidden zipper of FIG. 3 within area 5 showing the preferred embodiment of the divider; and

[0013] FIGS. 5B-C are a fragmentary enlarged views of a portion of the split support mattress configuration with hidden zipper of FIG. 3 within area 5 showing alternate embodiments for the divider.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0014] The following description of the preferred embodiment is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses.

[0015] A mattress system 20 according to the principles of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. System 20 includes a split support mattress 22 configured with a hidden divider according to the principles of the present invention positioned on top of a box spring 24. Box spring 24 includes a fabric cover 26 enclosing a conventional internal box spring structure (not illustrated). Mattress 22 has a longitudinal length L (FIG. 3) and a lateral width W (FIGS. 4A and 4B). Since the present invention is primarily directed toward a mattress having two discrete degrees of firmness on either side, mattress 22 is preferably a “double” size mattress or larger design to support two occupants.

[0016] Referring now to FIG. 3, mattress 22 has a top or upper portion 30, a bottom or lower portion 32 and an intermediate portion 34 between top and bottom portions 30 and 32. Mattress 22 also includes a fabric cover 36 enclosing top, intermediate and bottom portions 30, 32 and 34. The top portion 30 includes multiple layers of quilted foam 38. The uppermost quilted foam layer 40 has an exterior top surface 41 that forms a portion of cover 36. The lowermost quilted foam layer 42 has a non-woven backing or lower surface 44 which faces intermediate portion 34.

[0017] Bottom portion 32 includes a quilted foam layer 46 with a non-woven backing or exterior surface 48. Exterior surface 48 forms a portion of cover 36. On top of quilted foam layer 46 are two layers of topper foam 50. On top of topper foam layers 50 is a resin pad 52. On top of resin pad 52 is a core support member 54 in the form of an inner spring coil unit that contains a plurality of coil springs and provides the main support for a user of mattress 22. There is another resin pad 56 disposed on top of core support member 54. Above resin pad 56 are multiple topper foam layers 58. An inner non-woven liner 60 extends along topper foam layers 58 and is attached to side portions 62 of cover 36.

[0018] Intermediate portion 34 is disposed between top and bottom portions 30 and 32. Intermediate portion 34 has an interior cavity 64 that is defined by inner liner 60, side portions 62 of cover 36 and surface 44 of foam layer 42. Interior cavity 64 is separated into first and second longitudinal halves 66 and 68 by divider 70. Each half 66 and 68 is configured to retain one or more interchangeable auxiliary support members 72.

[0019] A closure mechanism 74 is provided in side portion 62 of cover 36 proximate interior cavity 64. Closure mechanism 74 is provided about the perimeter of intermediate portion 34 for selectively permitting access to interior cavity 64. Preferably, closure mechanism 74 includes two oppositely oriented separate devices 76 and 78 which terminate adjacent divider 70. Although any number of closure mechanisms may be used, such as snaps, buttons, hook-and-loop fasteners and the like, it is presently preferred that the closure mechanism 74 consist of a pair of zippers 76 and 78.

[0020] Referring now to FIG. 2, mattress 22 is illustrated in a second, open, or interchange mode. By opening closure mechanism 74, access to interior cavity 64 of intermediate portion 34 is provided. More particularly, unzipping first zipper 76 allows a first half 80 of top portion 30 to be folded along divider 70 away from core support member 54. Similarly, unzipping second zipper 78 allows a second half 82 of top portion 30 to be folded along divider 70 away from core support member 54. As such, access to auxiliary support members 72 disposed within respective first and second halves 66 and 68 of interior cavity 64 is provided. With access to interior cavity 64 auxiliary support members 72 can be interchanged, added and/or removed by a user of mattress 22 to provide a desired level of comfort for each half of mattress 22. While auxiliary support members 72 are shown as being two support members with one support member in each of halves 66 and 68 of interior cavity 64, it should be appreciated that each half 66 and 68 of interior cavity 64 can receive a plurality of auxiliary support members 72 of varying firmnesses and thicknesses to provide a customized level of comfort for each half of mattress 22 as taught in U.S. Pat. No. 6,101,653 referenced above. Accordingly, it should be appreciated that multiple support members 72 can be positioned in each half 66 and 68 of interior cavity 64 without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.

[0021] As stated above, divider 70 separates interior cavity 64 into first and second lateral halves 66 and 68. To separate interior cavity 64 into first and second halves 66 and 68, divider 70 extends longitudinally through interior cavity 64 at least a portion of the length L of mattress 22. The amount or distance divider 70 extends longitudinally within interior cavity 64 can vary. For example, as shown in FIG. 4A, divider 70 can extend in a continuous fashion substantially the entire longitudinal length L of interior cavity 64. Divider 70 thereby provides a continuous separation of first and second halves 66 and 68. It should be appreciated that divider 70 can extend longitudinally within interior cavity 64 only a portion of the length L of interior cavity 64 and still be within the scope of the invention. Additionally, it should be understood that divider 70 can stop short of the ends of interior cavity 64, such as by 3-6 inches on either end, and still be considered extending substantially the entire longitudinal length L of interior cavity 64. Alternately, as shown in FIG. 4B, divider 70 can be a discontinuous divider 70 that extends longitudinally through interior cavity 64. Specifically, divider 70 can be a plurality of individual or discrete segments that are positioned longitudinally in interior cavity 64 to separate first and second halves 66 and 68. Since auxiliary support members 72 extend longitudinally substantially the entire longitudinal length of interior cavity 64, the use of a divider 70 that is either continuous or discontinuous does not effect the performance of divider 70 in separating interior cavity 64 into first and second lateral halves 66 and 68 and in preventing auxiliary support members 72 from moving between first and second halves 66 and 68. However, it should be appreciated that the use of a plurality of individual or discrete dividers 70 to provide a discontinuous divider may require additional manufacturing steps and/or be more time consuming to manufacture.

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 5A, an enlarged view of divider 70 is shown. Divider 70 includes a first member 88 that is substantially horizontally oriented. First member 88 is coupled to top portion 30, as described below. Divider 70 also includes a second member 90 that is substantially vertically oriented. Second member 90 is coupled to both first member 88 inner liner 60, as described below.

[0023] First member 88 is preferably a woven fusible liner that can be fused to the non-woven backing or surface 44 of foam layer 42, as described below. A variety of materials can be used for first member 88. For example, a high performance cotton fusible, such as fusible liner #2426 available from Fisher Textile of Indian Trail, N.C., can be used for first member 88. Second member 90 is preferably a non-woven manmade cloth that is both compressible and flexible. A variety of materials can be used for second member 90. For example, second member 90 can be made from Versare 2300N available from Hanes Converting of Conover, N.C. It should be appreciated, however, that first and second members 88 and 90 can be made from other materials without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0024] Divider 70 is preferably made by sewing a portion of second member 90 to first member 88 with stitches 92. Specifically, second member 90 is folded in half and either the free ends of second member 90 or the folded portion of second member 90 is then sewn to first member 88 with stitches 92. First member 88 is then coupled to top portion 30. Specifically, first member 88 is fused to the non-woven backing or surface 44 of foam layer 42. The opposite end of second member 90 (either the folded portion or the free ends) are then coupled to bottom portion 32. Specifically, the opposite end of second member 90 is sewn to non-woven inner liner 60 with stitches 94. Divider 70 thus separates interior cavity 64 into first and second halves 66 and 68 without having a seam or any other visual indications of the coupling of divider 70 to top portion 30 visible on exterior top surface 41.

[0025] Alternately, divider 70 can be coupled to top and bottom portions 30 and 32 in other ways while still providing an exterior top surface 41 that is free of any visual indications of the coupling of divider 70 to top portion 30. For example, in the first alternate embodiment, as shown in FIG. 5B, first member 88′ can be sewn to foam layer 42′ and, possibly, to additional foam layers 38 above foam layer 42 but not to the uppermost foam layer 40 with stitches 96. This type of stitching is referred to as blind stitching and does not cause a seam to be created in exterior top surface 41 of cover 36 that indicates the coupling of divider 70′ to top portion 30. Thus, in this first alternate embodiment second member 90′ is first folded in half and one of the edges of second member 90′ is sewn to first member 88′, as described above with reference to the preferred embodiment. First member 88′ is then sewn to foam layer 42 and possibly to additional foam layers 40 so that no visual indication of the coupling of divider 70′ to top portion 30 is present on top surface 41. Then, the opposite end of second member 90′ is sewn to inner liner 60, as described above with reference to the preferred embodiment.

[0026] In a second alternate embodiment, as shown in FIG. 5C, an adhesive 100 is used to couple first member 88″ to foam layer 42. Specifically, second member 90″ is folded in half and one of the end portions of second member 90″ is then sewn to first member 88″, as described above with reference to the preferred embodiment. An adhesive 100 is then applied to surface 44 of foam layer 42 and/or first member 88″ and first member 88″ is positioned on surface 44 of foam layer 42. Adhesive 100 thereby couples first member 88″ to foam layer 42. An opposite end of second layer 90″ can then be sewn to inner liner 60, as described above with reference to the preferred embodiment.

[0027] Thus, first member 88 of divider 70 can be coupled to top portion 30 in a variety of ways. Similarly, it should be appreciated that second member 90 can also be coupled to bottom portion 32 in a variety of ways. For example, second member 90 can be coupled to inner liner 60 by sewing, as shown, by fusing (not shown) when second member 90 and inner liner 60 are made of the appropriate materials, and with an adhesive (not shown) without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. These various techniques of coupling divider 70 to top and bottom portions 30 and 32 provide a cover 36 with an exterior top surface 41 that is free of visual indications of the coupling of divider 70 to top portion 30. This configuration thus provides an aesthetically pleasing appearance for exterior top surface 41 of mattress 22.

[0028] Mattress 22 is illustrated as a pillow-top mattress wherein top and intermediate portions 30 and 34 form a pillow-top structure. It should be appreciated, however, that the present invention is equally applicable to a conventional or non-pillow type mattress. For example, an interior cavity can be provided between the core support member 54 and a fabric cover enclosing the non-pillow type mattress along with an enclosure mechanism to allow one or more auxiliary support members 72 to be positioned on top of core support member 54 below the fabric cover without departing from the scope of the present invention. As such, the above description can be equally applied to a mattress configuration including a conventional quilt-top configuration rather than a pillow-top configuration, as illustrated, so long as sufficient space is provided between the core support member and the fabric cover for accommodating the auxiliary support members described above. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that while divider 70 is shown as being comprised of first and second members 88 and 90, divider 70 can be a single component or element without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In other words, divider 70 can be formed from a single piece of material that has one end coupled to top portion 30 and an opposite end that is coupled to bottom portion 32. Moreover, it should be appreciated that while specific materials of construction have been identified, other materials having similar properties and/or characteristics can be employed without departing from the scope of the present invention.

[0029] The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.