Title:
Adjustable arm and armrest assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An assembly for allowing the arms or armrests of a chair to be extended laterally to accommodate a variety of body shapes and types. The adjustable arm and armrest assembly provides additional width between the arms of a chair.



Inventors:
Dykes, Tawana M. (Lynwood, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/429384
Publication Date:
11/23/2006
Filing Date:
05/04/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/54
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BARFIELD, ANTHONY DERRELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TAWANA M. HOOTEN-DYKES (LYNWOOD, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An adjustable arm and armrest assembly comprising: an arm sliding means that is fixedly attachable to an arm/armrest of a chair to allow selective lateral outward and inward movement of the arm relative to said chair; a width adjustment means that enables said arm sliding means to move laterally outward or inward relative to the chair; and a housing means for support and containment of said arm sliding means and said width adjustment means.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said arm sliding means is comprised of one or more extension rods and a plurality of support plates, with said extension rods being generally perpendicular to said support plates.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein said support plates are fixedly attached to the ends of said extension rods, forming an inner and an outer support plate, with said inner support plate being attached to a grooved rack, and said outer support plate being attached to the arm/armrest of the chair.

4. The assembly of claim 1, wherein said width adjustment means is comprised of a means of producing rotational energy, at least one gear, one or more grooved racks, and a plurality of bearings.

5. The assembly of claim 4, wherein said means of producing rotational energy is a crank that is turned by hand to rotate said gear, and the rotation of said gear moves said grooved rack inwardly or outwardly in adjustment of the width of said arm/armrest.

6. The assembly of claim 4, wherein said means of producing rotational energy includes a motor and power gears that produce and transfer the rotational energy to said gear, whereby said width adjustment means will be automated.

7. The assembly of claim 4 wherein said plurality of bearings includes pillow bearings to allow smooth rotation of said crank and said gear when turned.

8. The assembly of claim 4 wherein said plurality of bearings includes linear bearings to allow smooth inward and outward linear movement of said arm sliding means.

9. The assembly of claim 4 wherein said plurality of bearings includes a slider bearing on the undersurface of said rack to allow smooth movement of the rack.

10. The assembly of claim 4 wherein said plurality of bearings include one or more bearings to provide support for and allow smooth rotation of said crank, one or more bearings to provide support for and allow smooth movement of said arm sliding means, and one or more bearings to provide support for and allow smooth movement of said grooved rack.

11. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said housing means includes a cover and a base plate, with said cover having openings on opposite sides for said arm sliding means and in the rear for the width adjustment means.

12. An assembly for adjusting the lateral position of the arms of a chair relative to a seat of said chair, the assembly comprising: a base plate securely attachable to said seat of a chair; arm sliders fixedly attachable to the arms of a chair; an adjustment assembly for lateral adjustment of the arms and armrests of a chair; and a cover which is placed over the adjustment assembly.

13. The assembly of claim 12 wherein the adjustment assembly includes at least two racks which are fixedly attached to the arm sliders.

14. The assembly of claim 12 wherein the adjustment assembly further includes a crank with an attached gear, which when rotated, moves the racks in opposite directions.

15. The assembly of claim 12 wherein the adjustment assembly includes a motor, and gears for controllably coupling rotational energy from said motor to said gears, whereby said adjustment assembly will be self-powered.

16. The assembly of claim 12 wherein the arm slider means is supported by and received through a circular bearing means.

17. An adjustable arm and armrest assembly comprising: a housing that is fixedly attachable to the undersurface of a chair which includes a cover and base plate which are releasably engaged; a width adjustment means wherein said width adjustment means comprises an arm slider, a cranking means, one or more racks, bearings and a gear.

18. The assembly of claim 17 wherein said cranking means is connected to said gear, and the rotation of said gear enables the lateral movement of said rack, which is fixedly attached to said arm slider, which is fixedly attached to the arm and armrest.

19. The assembly of claim 17 wherein the cranking means comprises a motor and power gears, whereby said motor provides rotational energy for said power gears and said gear, which enable lateral movement of said rack, which is fixedly attached to said arm slider, which is fixedly attached to the arm and armrest.

Description:

RELATED TO U.S. APPLICATION DATA

This application is entitled to the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/677,929 filed on May 5, 2005.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to chairs and more specifically, an adjustable arm and armrest assembly for a chair.

2. Discussion of Prior Art

A wide variety of chairs and types of chairs are presently available. From barber chairs and beauty salon styling chairs to wheelchairs and office chairs, the variations seem almost endless. In an attempt to adapt the chair to a particular customer and the task involved, various types of adjustment mechanisms have been provided for some of these types of chairs. For example, in styling chairs, adjustments may be made for seat height, back height, neck support, headrest angle, armrest width and height. Many office chairs also swivel, tilt, and even have adjustable armrests to aid the user in maintaining proper ergonomic alignment while performing their required tasks. On the opposite end of the chair spectrum, however, most wheelchairs offer no such adjustments, although a great need for adjustable arms and armrests does exist. In fact, most chairs, regardless of their type and purpose, have a fixed width between the arms.

Most styling chairs have approximately 21 to 25 inches of width between the armrests. An alarming trend noted in North America is the progressive increase in the number of overweight individuals, which increases the need for oversized or larger chairs. There is also a need for chairs that can be adjusted to accommodate larger customers comfortably and inconspicuously. The most embarrassing situations for both the business and their customers would be situations where the customer attempts to squeeze into a regular chair, and either cannot fit into the chair, or even worse, squeezes into the chair and after being serviced is unable to get out of the chair because their weight has settled beneath the armrests.

Adjustable armrests allow different sized and shaped customers to comfortably support their forearms by adjusting the distance between the armrests according to their own preference. With larger sized and wider shaped customers, however, having adjustable armrests does not necessarily address these customers need for additional width in the chair, since the adjustable armrest is typically connected to an arm that is not adjustable. For larger or wider customers, the fixed width of the spacing between the arms minimizes any advantage gained by an adjustable armrest.

Many prior art chairs have laterally adjustable armrests, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,056,863 to DeKraker et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 5,439,267 to Peterson et al. However, these chairs have not adequately addressed the need for adjustment of the arm and armrest of the chair.

A need exists for an arm and armrest assembly which is adapted for lateral adjustment of the arm and the armrest, which is easily manufactured, which is reliable in operation, and strong enough to support larger and wider users.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, the aforementioned needs are fulfilled. Essentially, an adjustable arm and armrest assembly is provided which provides for the lateral movement of the arm and armrest.

The present invention is directed to an adjustable arm and armrest assembly securable to a chair that can be adjusted to a variety of widths beyond the width of a traditional chair. The lateral adjustment of the arm and armrest allow approximately one to eight additional inches of width between the arms of the chair to allow the chair to accommodate a much wider range of customer sizes and shapes. The chair as shown in FIG. 1 with the arms retracted has the approximate width of a traditional prior art chair. The chair as shown in FIG. 2 with the arms fully extended has approximately 8 inches of additional space between the arms.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

This invention, together with other objects, features, aspects and advantages thereof, will be more closely understood from the following descriptions, considered in conjunction with the claims as appended.

FIG. 1 is a perspective front view of the chair with arms/armrests in their traditional position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective front view of the chair with the arms/armrests extended.

FIG. 3 is a perspective rear view of the chair with the arms/armrests extended.

FIG. 4 is a perspective bottom view of the chair with cover on the adjustment assembly and the arms/armrests retracted.

FIG. 5 is a perspective bottom view of the chair with the cover raised to expose the adjustment assembly.

FIG. 6 is a perspective bottom view of the chair with the uncovered adjustment assembly.

FIG. 7 is a perspective bottom view of the chair with the alternative motor powered adjustment assembly.

FIG. 8 is an exploded bottom view of the parts of the adjustable arm and armrest assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION—PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As required, detailed descriptions of the present invention are disclosed herein, however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for showing one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in all appropriately detailed forms.

Referring to FIG. 5, the adjustable arm and armrest assembly is comprised of a top portion or cover 10, bottom portion or base plate 12, and the adjustment assembly 40. The cover 10 serves as a protection for the moving parts of the adjustment assembly.

Referring to FIG. 6 and FIG. 8, the adjustment assembly 40 is comprised of arm sliders 14, pillow bearings 16, linear bearings 18, racks 20, a gear 22, slider bearing 24 and a crank 26. The adjustment assembly 40 includes the arm slider 14, which is comprised of one or more extension rods 28 perpendicularly attached and supported by an inner support plate 30 at one end, and outer support plate 32 at the opposite end. The inner support plate 30 provides a means of attachment of the arm slider 14 to the rack 20. The outer support plate 32 provides a means of attaching the arm slider 14 to the arm/armrest 34. Lateral width adjustment of the arms/armrests is performed by the adjustment assembly 40. The adjustment assembly 40 provides for width adjustment via the turning of the crank 26 which rotates the gear 22, causing the teeth of the gear 22 to move along the grooves of the rack 20 and the attached arm slider 14 in the appropriate direction.

Referring to FIG. 8, the two arm sliders 14 extend from opposite sides of the cover 10 and serve as the base for the arms and armrest 34 of the chair. The crank 26 provides the required power to rotate the gear 22, which adjusts the width of the arm slider 14. The linear bearings 18 and pillow bearings 20 allow for smooth and reliable movement of the arm sliders 14 and crank 26 respectively, even when the chair and arms are weighted down. The slider bearing 24 greatly reduces friction in the movement of the rack 20 above the base plate 12.

The adjustment assembly 40 as seen in FIG. 6 is contained within the housing, and can be powered by hand with a crank or in an alternative embodiment, can be powered automatically by an optional motor assembly. In the alternative embodiment of FIG. 7 the motor 36 causes the power gears 38 to rotate the gear 22, which causes the racks 20 attached to the arm sliders 14 to move, thereby adjusting the width between the two arm sliders 14.

While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that other variations can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as claimed. For example, the arm and armrest are shown as a singular unit, but could also be separate pieces. Also, various other types of bearings or support mechanisms could be used to replicate the smooth movement of the arm sliders allowed by the linear bearings.

Additionally, a single bearing instead of two could support each arm slider and the crank, especially if the arm sliders were configured to have a single extension rod instead of dual rods attached to the arm support. The adjustable width of the assembly could also be increased beyond eight inches to accommodate even wider persons by increasing the length of the extension rods. The adjustable width of the assembly could also be used accommodate smaller individuals by allowing the widely spaced arm and armrest of an oversized chair to move laterally inward and closer to the individual, relative to the seat of the chair.

To allow separate lateral width adjustment for each arm/armrest of the chair, a separate gear for each rack could be placed along the shaft of the crank. The crank could then selectively engage one or both gears based on the desire of the user.

Although the descriptions above contain much specificity, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.

DRAWINGS—LIST OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 Cover
  • 12 Base Plate
  • 14 Arm Slider
  • 16 Pillow Bearing
  • 18 Linear Bearing
  • 20 Rack
  • 22 Gear
  • 24 Slider Bearing
  • 26 Crank
  • 28 Extension Rods
  • 30 Inner Support Plates
  • 32 Outer Support Plates
  • 34 Arm/Armrest
  • 36 Motor
  • 38 Power Gears
  • 40 Adjustment Assembly





 
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