Title:
Spring chair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A chair operable to change between an original shape and a plurality of different shapes is disclosed. The chair has a continuous surface, comprising a sheet of metal, which enables the chair to change shape without requiring the use of complex moving elements. The shape change is a reaction to the weight of a person seated in the chair, and creates an asymmetric rocking motion in reaction to shifts in the weight of the person.



Inventors:
Zahner III, William L. (Kansas City, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/354305
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
02/14/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C1/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALEX, JAMES S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hovey Williams LLP (Overland Park, KS, US)
Claims:
1. A chair, comprising: a piece of metal formed into a continuous surface of a desired original shape that flexes to at least one different shape when supporting a person's weight and substantially returns to the original shape when not supporting the person.

2. The chair of claim 1, wherein the continuous surface flexes to many different shapes as the person shifts his or her weight on the chair to provide an asymmetric rocking motion.

3. The chair of claim 2, wherein said rocking motion is fluid.

4. The chair of claim 1, wherein the degree and direction in which the continuous surface flexes are dependent upon the weight or size of the person.

5. The chair of claim 1, wherein said metal is an alloy selected from the group consisting of aluminum, magnesium, silicon and combinations thereof.

6. The chair of claim 1, the continuous surface comprising: an upper seating portion and a lower ground-engaging portion.

7. The chair of claim 6, wherein the upper seating portion shifts in proportion to the lower ground-engaging portion due to the person's weight.

8. The chair of claim 1, wherein the piece of metal is made from a single sheet of metal.

9. A chair, comprising: a single piece of metal formed into a continuous surface of a desired original shape that flexes to at least one different shape when supporting a person and substantially returns to the original shape when not supporting the person, said chair flexing to many different shapes as the person shifts his or her weight on the chair to provide an asymmetric rocking motion.

10. The chair of claim 9, wherein the degree and direction in which the continuous surface flexes are dependent upon the weight or size of the person.

11. The chair of claim 10, wherein said rocking motion is fluid.

12. The chair of claim 9, wherein said metal is an alloy selected from the group consisting of aluminum, magnesium, silicon and combinations thereof.

13. The chair of claim 9, the continuous surface comprising: an upper seating portion and a lower ground-engaging portion.

14. The chair of claim 13, wherein the upper seating portion shifts in proportion to the lower ground-engaging portion due to the person's eight.

15. A chair, comprising: a single piece of metal formed into a continuous surface of a desired original shape that flexes to at least one different shape when supporting a person and substantially returns to the original shape when not supporting the person, said chair flexing to many different shapes as the person shifts his or her weight on the chair to provide an asymmetric rocking motion, wherein said metal is an alloy selected from the group consisting of aluminum, magnesium, silicon and combinations thereof.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. FIELD of the INVENTION

This invention relates to a chair, and more specifically to a chair formed from a single piece of metal or other material that flexes when supporting a person and returns to its original shape when not supporting a person.

2. DESCRIPTION of the RELATED ART

Efforts have been made to make chairs that are more comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and unique. Such chairs have been made from a wide variety of materials, including wood, metal and plastic, thus giving chairs a wide range of styles, comfort and appearance.

Lounge chairs are sometimes provided with mechanisms that permit rocking, sliding or other desired movements. Such lounge chairs often operate with two parallel frames connected therebetween by a seating surface, and require complex parts to rock back and forth. Although these chairs are more comfortable than chairs that do not move, they are complicated and expensive to build. Moreover, lounge chairs have a very limited range of motion dictated by their frames and rocking mechanisms.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves the above-described problems and provides a distinct advance in the art of chairs. More particularly, the invention provides a chair formed from a continuous piece of metal or other material that flexes in a wave-like fashion when supporting a person to provide a unique rocking motion and returns to its original shape when not supporting the person. The chair is preferably formed from a single piece of metal that is shaped by a set of rolls and then connected by its ends to form a closed loop with no frame or internal support mechanism. The metal is preferably an alloy selected from the group consisting of aluminum, magnesium, silicon and combinations thereof.

By constructing the chair in accordance with the present invention, numerous advantages are realized. For example, the continuous piece of metal provides an aesthetically pleasing appearance with a unique rocking motion. The rocking motion has a nearly infinite range of direction and motion that is dependent on the size, weight, and movements of the person sitting on the chair. Each time the seated person moves, the chair reacts by flexing to a new shape. This results in a gentle, fluid rocking motion, similar to if the person were resting on a spring, but without the use of rockers, springs or other devices. The metal alloy used to construct the chair can support the weight of a person and provides the above-described rocking motion without permanent deformation. Specifically, the chair deforms when a person sits in it, but returns to its original shape once the person gets off the chair.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described in detail below with reference to the attached drawing figures, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a chair configured in accordance with various preferred embodiments of the present invention, the chair shown presenting an original shape;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the chair of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the chair of FIGS. 1-2, the chair shown in a different shape because of deformation from a person sitting in the chair;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the chair of FIGS. 1-3 showing a person seated in the chair.

The drawing figures do not limit the present invention to the specific embodiments disclosed and described herein. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following descriptions are of exemplary embodiments only, and are not intended to limit the scope, applicability or configuration of the invention in any way. Rather, the following description provides a convenient illustration for implementing exemplary embodiments of the invention. Various changes to the described embodiments may be made in the function and arrangement of the elements described without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a chair 10 is shown comprising a continuous surface 12 which includes an inner face 30 and an outer face 40. The continuous surface 12 preferably forms a closed loop. The chair may have a length ranging from approximately 48 inches to 132 inches, with a preferred length of approximately 82 inches and a height ranging from approximately 24 inches to 60 inches, with a preferred height of approximately 43 inches. The continuous surface of the chair 10 is preferably contoured similar to a lounge style chair, such that a person can recline in the chair.

The continuous surface 12 can be created using one or more sheets of metal or other material. “Sheet” as defined herein means any piece of metal with a thickness less than its length. Preferably, the continuous surface 12 is created using a single sheet of metal, shaped by a set of rolls and coupling opposing ends, such that the sides of the sheet are alignably connected.

The material utilized to create the chair 10 may be any material which provides the resiliency required of the invention but is preferably composed of an alloy selected from the group consisting of aluminum, magnesium, silicon and combinations thereof. The length of the sheet utilized may range from 106 inches to 308 inches, but is preferably approximately 212 inches. The width of the sheet may range from approximately 2 feet to 6 feet but is preferably approximately 4 feet.

When formed as described above, the chair 10 comprises an upper seating portion 16 and a lower ground-engaging portion 18. The lower ground-engaging portion 18 presents a contour similar to the contour presented by the upper seating portion 16, but may have different lengths and bend angles. The lower ground-engaging portion 18 contacts the ground at at least one point, area or location. In the preferred embodiment the lower ground-engaging portion 18 contacts the ground at two points, a first ground-engaging point 14a and a second ground-engaging point 14b.

The upper seating portion 16 is further comprised of a foot-supporting area 20, a knee-supporting area 22, a hip-supporting area 24 and a head-supporting area 26. The first ground-engaging point 14a is approximately below the foot-supporting area 20. The second ground-engaging point 14b, corresponds to a point on the upper seating portion 16 between the hip-supporting area 24 and the head-supporting area 26. An open space exists between the upper seating portion 16 and the lower ground-engaging portion 18, which is completely devoid of structural supports, such that the lower ground-engaging portion 18 bears the weight of the upper seating portion 16.

The foot-supporting area 20, the knee-supporting area 22, the hip-supporting area 24 and the head-supporting area 26 are each located in bends on the upper seating portion 16 and generally correspond to the area on the chair where the seated persons feet, knees, hips, and head would be located, respectively.

The contour of the upper seating portion 16 beginning approximately in the foot-supporting area 20, rises to a position approximately in the knee-supporting area 22. The contour then declines to the hip-supporting area 24, and then rises to the head-supporting area 26. The lower ground-engaging portion 18 follows the same rising and declining pattern set by the upper seating portion 16, but may have different lengths, arc-lengths and angles. Each bend in the contour is preferably a transition through a smooth, rounded curve. The area of the lower ground-engaging portion 18 and the upper seating portion 16 corresponding to the head 26 preferably bend smoothly into each other, as does the area corresponding to the feet 20.

Referring to FIG. 2, the first ground-engaging point 14a has a first angle C associated with it. The second ground engaging point 14b has a second and third angle A, B associated with it. The first angle C as shown in FIG. 2 is approximately 23 degrees. The second angle A is approximately 50 degrees, and the third angle B is approximately 30 degrees.

A cushion can be attached to the upper seating portion 16 to provide extra comfort. Preferably the cushion is segmented with a plurality of small connected pads, such that the cushion conforms to the surface of the upper seating portion 16 for any shape the chair 10 may take. The cushion may also have a fastening means to attach the cushion to the chair 10. The fastening means may be a strap connected to the pad on the end of the cushion. The strap may be connected to a penultimate pad, such that the pad on the end can be folded over the penultimate pad, thus forming a head rest.

In use, the chair 10 is operable to support a seated person. The upper seating portion 16 acts as the support for the person. The lower ground-engaging portion 18 supports the upper seating portion 16. The chair's 10 shape adjusts when subjected to the person's weight. The chair 10 has an original shape as shown in FIGS. 1-2, when no one is seated thereon. When a person is seated on the chair 10, the chair 10 can change to any of a plurality of different shapes, an exemplar of which is shown in FIGS. 3-4. The chair 10 substantially returns to the original shape of FIGS. 1-2 when the seated person gets off of the chair.

The chair 10 flexes through a virtually infinite number of different shapes when the person seated in the chair 10 shifts his or her weight. This results in a gentle asymmetric rocking motion without the use of complicated rocking and sliding mechanisms. The rocking motion acts to provide extra comfort and a more relaxing experience. The degree and direction in which the chair 10 moves is dependent on the size and shape of the seated person. Because the flexing and rocking motion are dependent on the size and shape of the seated person, each person who sits on the chair is provided a completely unique seating experience.

Referring to FIG. 4, the continuous surface 12 flexes to a different shape when a person is seated on the chair 10. For example, when a person sits on the chair, the angles A′ and C′ shown in FIG. 4 may each initially become smaller than the angles A and C shown in FIG. 2, while the angle B′ shown in FIG. 4 may initially become larger than the angle B shown in FIG. 2. Then one or both of the angles A′ and C′ may change and even briefly become greater than the angles A and C as the chair flexes and moves. Similarly, the angle B′ may change and even briefly become smaller than the angle B as the chair flexes and moves. Due to the novel construction of the chair, the particular movements of the chair are almost never duplicated so that every person obtains a unique seating experience each time they sit on the chair.

Although the invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiment illustrated in the attached drawing figures, it is noted that equivalents may be employed and substitutions made herein without departing from the scope of the invention as recited in the claims. For example, although the chair is preferably configured as a lounge-type chair, it may instead be configured in other shapes and sizes without departing from the scope of the invention.

Having thus described the preferred embodiment of the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent includes the following: