Title:
Adjustable backrest applications
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a unique adjustable backrest. The vertical height of the backrest of the present invention may be adjusted with telescoping vertical supports. The backrest may be coupled to a seat via a unique hinge and mounting hardware. The angle of the backrest relative to the seat may be adjusted with a strap. The backrest may be mounted to various types of seats including bench and bucket seats. The backrest may be used, for example, in a canoe.



Inventors:
Goodman, John Douglas (Minnetonka, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/079597
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
03/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John Douglas Goodman (Minnetonka, MN, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An adjustable backrest for a seat comprising: a backrest frame comprising a first and second vertical member, further comprising a guide attached to the outside surface of each said vertical member; a cross bar member coupled to said first and second vertical member; mounting hardware; and a strap having a first and second end, wherein said first end is adapted to be coupled to one side of said seat, wherein said second end is run through said guides on said backrest and adapted to be coupled to a buckle, and wherein said buckle is coupled to the opposite side of said seat.

2. The backrest of claim 1 wherein said first and second vertical members are telescoping.

3. The vertical members of claim 2 further comprising a wide hollow member and a narrow member, wherein said wide hollow member has at least one hole provided on the body of said wide hollow member; wherein said narrow member is configured to slide within said wide hollow member; and wherein said narrow member comprises a spring loaded button configured to pop into said hole of said wide hollow member.

4. The wide hollow member of claim 3 further comprising at least two holes.

5. The backrest of claim 1 wherein said cross members are curved.

6. The backrest of claim 1 wherein said vertical members are tapered.

7. The mounting hardware of claim 1 further comprising a mounting bar member adapted to have a total length such that said mounting bar member extends from below a first seat member and over the top of a second seat member.

8. The mounting bar member of claim 7 further comprising one selected from the group consisting of a spring clamp, a “J” clamp, a pop rivet, a screw, and a bolt.

9. The mounting bar member of claim 7 wherein said mounting bar member is tapered such that said mounting bar member is thicker near the second seat member.

10. An adjustable backrest for a seat comprising: a backrest frame comprising a first and second vertical member, further comprising a guide attached to the outside surface of each said vertical member; a cross bar member coupled to said first and second vertical member; mounting hardware; a hinge attaching said backrest frame to said mounting hardware and adapted to permit said backrest to rotate 180 degrees, wherein at approximately 90 degrees of rotation said backrest frame is perpendicular to said seat; and a strap having a first and second end, wherein said first end is adapted to be coupled to one side of said seat, wherein said second end is run through said guides on said backrest and adapted to be coupled to a buckle, and wherein said buckle is coupled to the opposite side of said seat.

11. The hinge of claim 10 further comprising a spring.

12. The spring of claim 11 further comprising a torsion spring.

13. The spring of claim 11 wherein a portion of said spring is positioned within said vertical member.

14. The hinge of claim 10 further comprising a pin provided laterally through said vertical member and said mounting hardware.

15. The hinge of claim 14 further comprising a spring, wherein said pin is positioned through the center coil of said spring.

16. The backrest of claim 14 wherein said vertical member fits within a portion of said mounting hardware.

17. The mounting hardware of claim 10 further comprising a mounting bar member adapted to have a total length such that said mounting bar member extend from below a first seat member and over the top of a second seat member.

18. The mounting bar member of claim 17 further comprising one selected from the group consisting of a spring clamp, a “J” clamp, a pop rivet, a screw, and a bolt.

19. The mounting bar member of claim 17 wherein said mounting bar member is tapered such that said mounting bar member is thicker near the second seat member.

20. The backrest of claim 10 wherein said cross members are curved.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is related to and claims, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application filed Mar. 11, 1004 which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The desire for a comfortable backrest for a canoe has existed for years. As such, there are many historical designs but none of which meet the requirements for weight, comfort and versatility. The modern ultra-light composite canoe can weigh as little as 45 lbs. Users buying these canoes are very motivated by reducing total weight. Other backrest designs can weigh more than 3 lbs. per seat, which can make them unacceptable. The new bucket seat designs have created additional design issues because all of the historical backrests were designed for bench seats and they do not work very well if at all on a bucket seat.

Total support and comfort are also critical for users that may spend extended time in a canoe. This is an area where one size does not fit all. Different users prefer a backrest that has different heights and support angles. Most canoers tend to feel that they have the best support with a backrest that comes just below the shoulder blades. If it extends too high on the back it interferes with paddling. If it comes too low on the back it does not give the full support that helps users avoid back fatigue or pain. When the backrest is positioned just under the shoulder blades the width of the backrest needs to be narrow enough to not interfere with the typical paddle stroke.

Different users also prefer a different angle of support for the backrest. This optimal angle can also change depending on other conditions. Someone who is resting or fishing will tend to choose a different support angle than the one that may be best for paddling. Someone that is being very aggressive in paddling may prefer the backrest be positioned way back so it does not interfere with the forward and back upper body motion that is adding to the power of the paddle stroke.

An additional design consideration is providing for the seat backrest to be removed or placed out of the way for the canoe to be flipped upside down for storage or to keep it dry, or when it is placed on the shoulders of someone to portage or other wise transport the canoe.

The basic backrest designs also require multiple ways to temporarily or permanently mount them to the different types of seats in today's canoes. The one application that has proved most difficult for existing canoe backrests is the newer bucket seat designs. This new design has become popular because it has the lightest weight and it tends to keep the user centered in the canoe to maintain stability. Many of the existing backrest designs cannot be applied to this seat. There are some soft or cloth backrest designs that can be used but most users have been dissatisfied with the level of support and comfort. These cloth backrest designs can also be very sweaty to use on hot summer days. Special mounting brackets have been designed to accommodate the bucket seat configuration along with the options for more traditional bench seats. Mounting options are also required for either permanent or temporary applications to address the needs of people that both own or rent canoes.

An additional design consideration is the ease of use. The backrest needs to be designed so that it can be adjusted while a user is in the canoe on the water. The backrest also needs to be designed so that once the seat back has been positioned for use that it will maintain that position while the user gets in or out of the canoe. It is also necessary that the backrest be able to be quickly and easily stored out of the way for a portage. Some current backrests hang down from the seat and either sway during a portage making it more difficult to maintain balance or they can be a hazard when they hang down and block the view of the person carrying the canoe.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is an adjustable backrest for a seat comprising a backrest frame further comprising a first and second vertical member with a guide attached to the outside surface of each vertical member; a cross bar member coupled to the first and second vertical member; mounting hardware; and a strap having a first and second end, wherein the first end is adapted to be coupled to one side of the seat, the second end is run through the guides on the backrest and adapted to be coupled to a buckle, and the buckle is coupled to the opposite side of the seat. The first and second vertical members may be telescoping. The vertical members may also be tapered. The vertical members may further comprise a wide hollow member and a narrow member, wherein the wide hollow member has at least one hole provided on the body of the wide hollow member; the narrow member may be configured to slide within the wide hollow member; and wherein the narrow member may comprise a spring loaded button configured to pop into the hole of the wide hollow member. The wide hollow member may further comprise at least two holes. The cross members may be curved and/or tapered.

The mounting hardware may further comprise a mounting bar member adapted to have a total length such that the mounting bar member extends from below a first seat member and over the top of a second seat member. The mounting bar member may further comprise a spring clamp, a “J” clamp, a pop rivet, a screw, and a bolt. The mounting bar member may also be tapered such that the mounting bar member is thicker near the second seat member.

Another embodiment of the present invention is an adjustable backrest for a seat comprising a backrest frame comprising a first and second vertical member, further comprising a guide attached to the outside surface of each the vertical member; a cross bar member coupled to the first and second vertical member; mounting hardware; a hinge attaching the backrest frame to the mounting hardware and adapted to permit the backrest to rotate 180 degrees, wherein at approximately 90 degrees of rotation the backrest frame is perpendicular to the seat; and a strap having a first and second end, wherein the first end is adapted to be coupled to one side of the seat, wherein the second end is run through the guides on the backrest and adapted to be coupled to a buckle, and wherein the buckle is coupled to the opposite side of the seat. The hinge may further comprise a spring which may be a torsion spring. The spring may be positioned within the vertical member. The hinge may further comprise a pin provided laterally through the vertical member and the mounting hardware. The pin may be positioned through the center coil of the spring. The vertical member may fit within a portion of the mounting hardware.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. Perspective view of Bucket Seat Application.

FIG. 2. Side view of Bucket Seat Mount, Vertical Position.

FIG. 3. Side view of Bucket Seat Mount, Stored Position.

FIG. 4. Detailed view of Bucket Seat Application.

FIG. 5. Perspective view of Bench Seat Application.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PARTICULAR EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary backrest of the present invention applied to a bucket type seat in a canoe. The illustrative seat (1) and the poles (2) are presented for illustrative purposes only. One embodiment of the present invention comprises a backrest frame (3), a spring loaded hinge configuration (4), mounting hardware (5) to attach the backrest to the canoe seat poles, and a flexible retaining strap (6) whose length can be adjusted using a tension buckle (7) to control the angle position of the backrest frame (3). The position of this tension buckle (7) may be on the left or right side of the seat. It may also be fixed in such a way as to have it always just above the edge of the seat. With the tension buckle (7) fixed in this exemplary position, a user may pull on the free end of the strap (8) and shorten the length of the strap (6) and adjust the angle of the backrest frame (3). Pressure on the slide or tension buckle (7) may be used to release the strap and allow the strap to lengthen. The buckle (7) may also need to be in a fixed position just above the seat so the strap length may be adjusted while in the canoe on the water. An additional benefit of the strap coming up both sides of the backrest, the straps may tend to keep the user centered in the canoe. The strap, for example, may also be attached to the front seat pole using a continuous loop of cord that is wrapped around the pole (10). The tension buckle (7) may be attached to the opposite side of the pole with the same type of cord loop. The strap may be held in place on the back of the backrest frame with guides (9) that allow the strap to easily slide through as the length of the strap is changed to control the angle of the backrest. The cross bars of the Backrest frame (11) may be, for example, curved to fit the back and may also have some flexibility for added comfort. The backrest frame (3) may be attached to the mounting bars (5) with a hinge pin (12). This hinge pin (12) may also comprise a torsion spring (13) that provides enough force to hold the backrest up in a vertical position. The backrest may also have the ability to change height as it telescopes on a post (14) that runs inside the sides of the frame. The height may be changed by pushing in a spring-loaded button (15) and sliding the backrest frame (3) up or down until the button locks into a new position.

The hinge design (4) is unique in that it may allow the backrest frame to rotate a full 180 degrees on the mounting bracket. This rotation may provide the ability to adjust the support angle for the backrest. The hinge may also allow the backrest, for example, to be held down flat on the seat for storage without removal from the canoe and to rotate the backrest all the way back down and flat behind the user (FIG. 3). This may be important especially for a user in the front seat of a canoe that wants to be able to turn around in the canoe to get something from behind the seat in the middle of the canoe.

The hinge for the backrest may comprise, for example, a pin (12) that goes laterally through both the bottom of the two posts that support the backrest frame and the sidewalls of the hinge mounting bracket (4). The width of the vertical member may be sized to fit in between the sidewalls of the mounting bracket. In another embodiment, this hinge pin (12) may also capture a torsion spring (13) that is configured to cause the seat back frame to maintain its vertical angle to the mounting bracket (5). This spring may cause, for example, the seat back frame to always maintain pressure on the adjusting strap (6) and maintain any vertical position selected by the user. This feature may be especially valuable to keep the backrest up in position while users get in or out of a canoe. These torsion springs may also provide enough tension on the flexible strap and buckle assembly so that they will not inadvertently slip from a position selected by the user.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the backrest and an exemplary range of angle positions that a user might wish to adjust the backrest to. In this example, position A would be a typical angle to provide back support. In this position, the total length of the strap (6) may be sufficient to allow the backrest frame (3) to recline all the way back to a position B, out of the way of a user that wants to paddle without the backrest effecting their paddle stroke. As the strap is shortened, for example, the strap slides through the mounting guides (9) on the back of the backrest frame (3). The adjusting strap (6) may bear all of the pressure of the user leaning on the backrest frame. The strap may need to be made of a strong material. The mounts for the strap guides (9) may be high enough up on the backrest frame to provide enough mechanical advantage to carry the load. The strap guides (9) may need to be made of a configuration and material that allows the strap (6) to easily move through them as the total length is changed.

In a specific canoe embodiment, one of the challenges of the newer bucket seat models is how to attach a backrest to the seat. Early models of backrests were designed for a flat bench seat that had enough structure in the seat itself that the backrest would be mounted directly to the wood or other material used to make the bench seat. The mounting bar (5) design, of the present invention, solves these problems. In this embodiment, the mounting bar may be attached to the seat poles that the bucket seat is attached to. The design and positioning of the mounting bar may be under the front pole and over the top of the back pole. This exemplary configuration may create an upward angle that brings the mounting bracket and hinge assembly up over the top of the bucket seat. With the hinge positioned above the rim of the bucket seat, the backrests basic function related to its vertical adjustability and 180 degrees rotation may be maintained. In a further embodiment, the bottom of the mounting bar (5) may be tapered to reduce weight and to ensure the mounting bar does not come down below the seat poles where it might interfere with storage under the seat in the canoe.

In a further embodiment, the mounting bar (5) may be attached to the rear pole (2) using a spring-loaded clip (16). This clip just pushes over the rear pole and may provide an easy secure mount to the pole. The front of the mounting bar may attached to the front pole using a “J” clamp (17) that comes over the top of the pole and attaches with a nut and washer. There are some mounting configurations that may use the same spring-loaded clip (16) on the front pole as a replacement for the “J” clamp (17). This mounting configuration may let the user mount the backrest to the poles without using any tools.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary backrest frame (3) pulled all the way down into a storage position flat against the seat. The hinge design may allow, for example, the backrest frame to rotate a full 180 degrees from this illustrated down position to a position that is all the way back. The positioning and function of the hinge assembly (4), the strap (6), and the strap guides (9) may each support the capability of putting the backrest into these positions. The position of rotation where the seat is flat down on top of the seat, for example, may be a very quick way for the backrest frame to be stored out of the way when the canoe is upside down or for portaging without having to remove the backrest from the canoe. Another exemplary use of this capability may be to temporarily store items between the backrest frame and the seat, such as an article of clothing, a life jacket or other item that is put out of the way for portaging.

FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 further illustrate another embodiment of the present invention, the design of the mounting bracket (5) used to attach the backrest frame to the canoe mounting poles (2) of a typical bucket seat (1). This mounting bracket may be, for example, positioned under the front pole and over the top of the back pole. This position may work along with the pressure put on the backrest frame to help with the attachment to the poles. This position may also create an angle that projects the hinge up to a height above the level of the seat. This hinge position may, for example, further add to the overall comfort of the design and may also be needed to be able to pull the backrest frame down into its storage position.

In another specific embodiment of the present invention, the mounting bar (5) may be permanently secured to the seat poles using a variety of devices including, but not limited too, screws, pop rivets, bolts, or other types of clamps. One of the benefits of a permanent mount, for example, may be to lower the total weight than the use of the spring clips and “J” clamps.

FIG. 4 shows in more detail in an exemplary design of the backrest frame, hinge and telescoping configuration. The backrest, in this embodiment, may comprises of two vertical members and two cross members that may provide most of the direct support for the back. The cross members may be, for example, curved (18) to provide a comfortable back support. The cross members may also padded with different materials. The open design may also have, for example, the benefit of good ventilation on very hot days. The vertical members may be wide enough at the base to be able to fit the mounting requirements of all seat configurations. The backrest may be tapered, for example, at the top to prevent any interference with a paddle stroke even when the seat is elevated to just under the shoulder blades. The strap guides (9) may be, for example, located on the back of the vertical members and may further provide a fully enclosed slot that maintains the position of the strap on the backrest frame under all conditions of use while allowing the adjusting strap to freely move through the guides (9) as the length of the strap and angle of the backrest frame is changed. The guides may be configured in a number of other ways that would be known by those skilled in the art.

The vertical height of the seat back frame may be, for example, controlled by having the frame slide down over a guide post (14) that has a spring loaded button that pops through a series of holes in the side of the vertical members (see FIGS. 1, 15). The user may, for example, adjust the vertical height of the seat by pushing in a button on each vertical member and pulling the backrest frame up or down to a different locking position where the button pops through a hole. The bottom view of the backrest assembly also shows the position of the spring clips (16) and the nuts securing the “J” clamps (17).

FIG. 4 is an exemplary embodiment of the backrest mounted on a bench seat (22). This specific embodiment may be used with many different configurations and materials used on typical canoe bench seats. This embodiment includes a small mounting bracket (18). The bracket may provide a slot for the post member of the backrest frame (14) to mount to a hinge pin (12) and a spring (13) that supports the vertical position of the backrest. The mounting bracket (18) may be attached through a single hole (19) to the back of the bench seat. The actual attachment may differ depending on the type of bench seat being used but typically, for example, involve the use of a screw (21) or small bolt and washers. When the bracket is attached to a wooden seat, for example, a curved bushing (20) that fits the shape of the wood may be used. The surface of the bushing (20) may rotate against the mounting surface of the mounting bracket (18) as the seat flexes up and down. A small amount of rotation may be needed between the mounting bracket and the bushing as the seat flexes to prevent, for example, binding of the hinge assembly. In this embodiment, the strap attachment (10) may use a continuous loop of cord wrapped around the front wood section of the seat (10). The basic design features and functionality of the bench seat application are the same as the bucket seat applications described above.

The exemplary mounting configurations described above are designed to work on canoe seats that are either mounted in a fixed position in a canoe or mounted in a way that allows them to slide fore and aft. The sliding canoe seat configurations are typically found in the bow seat of higher performance canoes. The mounting hardware and strap configurations may be attached to these seats so as to not interfere with the seat as a user slides it forward or back in the canoe.

Another embodiment of the present invention is a design for a fully adjustable backrest that can be mounted to either a bench or a bucket seat. This lightweight design may provide maximum flexibility of adjustment to individual users by means of a telescoping mechanism, a narrowed or tapered top, and the use of flexible strap that controls the angle of support. The telescoping capability may be created, for example, by having two posts that slide into the center of hollow side rails of the backrest frame. The total height of the backrest may be controlled with a spring-loaded button mounted inside the hollow post that pop out into several holes that are in the outside walls of the backrest frame. The total height adjustability may be enhanced, for example, by having the top of the frame tapered in allowing the backrest to be adjusted higher for more support without interfering with the paddle stroke of a user. The frame may also be mounted on hinges that allow, for example, for forward and back rotation of the backrest. The angle of support that the backrest maintains may be determined by a flexible strap and tension lock buckle that are, for example, fixed to the front of the canoe seat and run through guides in the back of the backrest. As the length of the strap is shortened or lengthened the angel of support for the backrest is changed.

A further embodiment of the present invention is a unique hinge design with an integral torsion spring. The hinge may comprises, for example, a hinge pin that goes laterally through the sidewalls of the mounting bracket and through a hole in the end of each post that slides up into the sidewall tubes of the backrest frame. The total width of the post may be designed to fit just inside the walls of the mounting bracket. The same basic design of the mounting bracket and hinge/spring configuration may work with both bucket and bench seat applications. The hinge pin may also be used with a torsion spring that is positioned up inside the bottom of the post, where, for example, the pin goes through the center coil of the spring. The torsion spring may be configured with enough force that they will keep the backrest held up in any selected vertical support position.

Another embodiment of the present invention is a mounting bar assembly for bucket seat applications. This bar may be configured to have a total length so that it can extend from below the front seat mounting tube and over the top of the rear mounting tube creating, for example, an upward angle of projection to a position at the rear of the seat. This positioning and the overall dimensions of the bar may provide a mounting position for the mounting bracket and hinge where, for example, the hinge pin is located above the edge and at the rear of the bucket seat. The shape of the bar may be tapered from the back to the front along the bottom. The mounting bar may be attached to the rear seat pole using, for example, a spring clip that firmly clamps onto the rear pole by just pushing the clip and mounting bar over the pole. The front of the mounting bar may be attached to the front seat pole, for example, by any of several means including a spring, a “J” clamp, pop rivets, bolts, or screws.

While the backrest of the present invention has been described in regards to a number of specific embodiments and using the exemplary application of a canoe seat the present invention is not limited to these embodiments or examples. Other embodiments and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and the practice of the invention disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only. Furthermore, one may adapt the present invention to further embodiments without deviating from the scope of the present invention.

Two photos are attached to further illustrate the canoe application.

    • Photo #1-Rear Bucket Seat application
    • Photo #2-Front Bench Seat Application