Title:
Glide Device and Article of Furniture Incorporating the Same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A glide device for use with various types os structures, which are supported above a support surface by a plurality of legs including a housing, a unitary body, and a resilient member positioned between the housing and the unitary body. The glide device adjustable to a variety of support surfaces to stabilize the furniture thereon



Inventors:
Beshore, Burrus D. (Sedalia, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/883030
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
03/01/2005
Assignee:
Max-Tech Products, Inc. (Englewood, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/217.1, 108/50.11
International Classes:
A47B91/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KING, ANITA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & HART, LLP (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A glide device adapted for use with a foot portion of a legged article of furniture to stabilize the article of furniture on a support surface, comprising: a. a housing mountable to said foot portion; b. a unitary body configured to be at least partially received within said housing; and c. a resilient member for interfacing said unitary body to said housing to define an assembled state, said resilient member formed of a pure polymer, closed-cell rubber material.

2. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said rubber material has a maximum compression set recovery measurement of 35% when subjected to a compression set test conducted in accordance with ASTM D 1056-00.

3. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said rubber material is classified as an ASTM D 1056 2A1 material.

4. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said rubber material is classified as an ASTM D 1056 2A2 material.

5. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said rubber material conforms to one of a B2 and a B3 ASTM D 1056 suffix requirement.

6. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said rubber material is ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM).

7. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said unitary body is constructed of a non-abrasive body material.

8. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said body material is an acetyl resin.

9. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said unitary body has an upper surface area in facing relationship to an interior wall of said housing when in the assembled state, and an opposed lower surface area for contacting the support surface, and wherein said unitary body has a plurality of cavities formed therein, with adjacent ones of said cavities being separated by at least one web element.

10. A glide device according to claim 9 wherein said cavities are spaced equiangularly around a central axis which extends between said upper and lower surface areas.

11. A glide device according to claim 9 wherein each of said cavities has a cavity cross-sectional geometry selected from a group consisting of pie-shaped, rectangular and arcuate.

12. A glide device according to claim 9 wherein said unitary body has a continuous, uninterrupted surrounding sidewall, each of said cavities extending from a respective cavity opening at the upper surface area axially toward the lower surface area.

13. A glide device according to claim 12 wherein said lower surface area is formed as a continuous, uninterrupted surface.

14. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said resilient member is toroidal in shape and has an associated upper surface for engaging said housing and an associated lower surface for engaging said unitary body.

15. A glide device according to claim 14 wherein each of said upper surface and lower surface of said resilient member includes a layer of adhesive for respectively interfacing said resilient member between said housing and said unitary body.

16. A glide device according to claim 1 wherein said housing is formed as an inverted cup which conceals said resilient member and at least some of said unitary body when said glide device is in the assembled state.

17. A glide device adapted for use with a foot portion of a legged article of furniture to stabilize said foot portion on a support surface, wherein said foot portion includes an inverted cup having a sidewall which surrounds a cup interior, said glide assembly comprising: a. a unitary body configured to be received at least partially within said cup interior; and b. a resilient member for interfacing said unitary body to said inverted cup, said resilient member comprising a pure polymer, closed-cell rubber material.

18. A glide device according to claim 17 wherein said rubber material has a maximum compression set recovery measurement of 35% when subjected to a compression set test conducted in accordance with ASTM D 1056-00.

19. A glide device according to claim 17 wherein said rubber material is classified as one of an ASTM D 1056 2A1 and 2A2 material and conforms to one of a B2 and a B3 suffix requirement.

20. A glide device according to claim 17 wherein said rubber material is ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM).

21. A glide device according to claim 17 wherein said unitary body is constructed of a non-abrasive body material having an upper surface area for facing an interior wall of said inverted cup when in a mounted state, and an opposed lower surface area for contacting the support surface, said lower surface being continuous and uninterrupted.

22. A glide device according to claim 21 wherein said unitary body has a plurality of cavities formed therein, with adjacent ones of said cavities being separated by at least one web element, each cavity extending from a respective cavity opening at the upper surface area axially toward the lower surface area.

23. A glide device according to claim 17 wherein said resilient member has an associated upper surface including an upper layer of pressure-sensitive adhesive for engaging said housing, and an associated lower surface including a lower layer of pressure-sensitive adhesive for engaging said unitary body.

24. An article of furniture, comprising: a. a working surface; b. a plurality of support legs each extending downwardly from said working surface to terminate in a respective foot portion; and c. a glide device associated with each said foot portion, said glide device including: (i) a housing mounted to said foot portion; (ii) a unitary body at least partially received within said housing; and (iii) a resilient member interfaced between said unitary body and said housing to define an assembled state, said resilient member formed of a pure polymer, closed-cell rubber material.

25. An article of furniture according to 24, wherein said article of furniture has a configuration selected from a group consisting of a table, a chair, and a bar stool.

26. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said rubber material has a maximum compression set recovery measurement of 35% when subjected to a compression set test conducted in accordance with ASTM D 1056-00.

27. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said rubber material is classified as an ASTM D 1052 2A1 material.

28. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said rubber material is classified as an ASTM D 1056 2A2 material.

29. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said rubber material conforms to one of a B2 and a B3 ASTM D 1056 suffix requirement.

30. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said rubber material is ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM).

31. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said unitary body is constructed of a non-abrasive body material.

32. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said unitary body has an upper surface area facing an interior wall of said housing, and an opposed lower surface area for contacting the support surface, and wherein said unitary body has a plurality of cavities formed therein, with adjacent ones of said cavities being separated by at least one web element.

33. An article of furniture according to claim 32 wherein said unitary body is cylindrically shaped, and wherein said cavities are spaced equiangularly around a central axis which extends between said upper and lower surface areas.

34. An article of furniture according to claim 32 wherein each of said cavities has a cavity cross-sectional geometry selected from a group consisting of pie-shaped, rectangular and arcuate.

35. An article of furniture according to claim 32 wherein said unitary body has a continuous, uninterrupted surrounding sidewall and a continuous and uninterrupted lower surface, and wherein each of said cavities extends from a respective cavity opening at the upper surface area axially toward said lower surface.

36. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said resilient member has an associated upper surface including an upper layer of pressure-sensitive adhesive for engaging said housing, and an associated lower surface including a lower layer of pressure-sensitive adhesive for engaging said unitary body.

37. An article of furniture according to claim 24 wherein said housing is formed as an inverted cup which conceals said resilient member and at least some of said unitary body.

38. An article of furniture according to claim 37 wherein said housing has an aperture formed therethrough, and including a fastening element extending through said aperture to secure said housing to said foot portion.

39. An article of furniture, comprising: a. a working surface; b. a plurality of support legs each extending downwardly from said working surface to terminate in a respective foot portion; and c. a glide device associated with each said foot portion, said glide device including: (i) a housing mounted to said foot portion; (ii) a unitary body at least partially received within said housing; and (iii) a resilient member interfaced between said unitary body and said housing to define an assembled state, said resilient member formed of non-hardening viscous material.

40. An article of furniture according to claim 39 wherein said non-hardening viscous material is butyl rubber.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a glide device for use with various types of structures which are supported above a support surface by a plurality of legs. More particularly, the present invention relates a glide device, or article of furniture incorporating one or more such glide devices, which can adjust to a variety of support surfaces to stabilize the furniture thereon.

Furniture is manufactured in a variety of different styles and configurations—many of which are functional, but others of which are simply decorative. Certain types of furniture such as chairs, tables, desks, bar stools and the like, include a plurality of legs which normally engage a surface in order to support the furniture thereon. Legged articles of furniture such as these are very prevalent and manufactures attract consumers by constructing them in a variety of appealing designs and configurations.

Furniture is generally designed to be a durable commodity so that its owner may enjoy a significant lifetime of use from it. However, it is often the case—whether due to manufacturing defects, climactic changes, wear and tear or otherwise—that legged articles of furniture in particular can become improperly balanced on their support surfaces. The unfortunate result can be inadvertent damage to either the objects placed on the furniture or the furniture itself. For seated furniture items, inadequate leveling can also result in discomfort or even injury to a user. Of equal concern is the need to avoid damage or abrasion to the support surfaces on which legged structures are placed. For furniture used indoors this support surface is typically either carpeting, wooden floors or tiled floors. For outdoor items such as patio furniture the support surface may be concrete, brick, tile, decking and the like. Regardless of the support surface encountered, one runs the risk that manufacturing imperfections may scratch, tear or otherwise damage the surface. Similar damage may occur when the furniture shifts or slides across the support surface.

In an effort to alleviate these problems, several types of protective devices have been developed. For furniture which is not ordinarily moved, it is common to place a shim(s) or its equivalent under its base (e.g., under one or more of the support legs) in order to balance the furniture on the support surface. For legged items, glide devices have also been used as a means for stabilizing furniture. For example, iron patio furniture is often equipped at the factory with a glide housing in the form of an inverted metal cup which is welded to the distal end of each support leg. The glides themselves are affixed by radial compression and friction to the interior walls of the inverted metal cups. However, as a result of manufacturing defects in the furniture or uneven support surfaces, these glides are not always effective at adequately addressing the aforementioned concerns.

One particular glide device which has been widely used is a cup-like structure formed of a plastic material having an open mouth region received in the confines of the inverted metal cup. The base end of the glide device rests on the support surface when in the mounted state. With this type of construction the glide device tends to assume the orientation of the inverted metal housing. Another problem with this type of glide is the tendency of its sidewalls to fatigue over time. Eventually, the sidewalls become unable to withstand continued compressive loads and crack, perhaps causing further damage. Also, when used on an uneven flooring, plastic cup glide can become distorted and grind into and scratch the support surface. Thus, even though the glide may be temporarily protecting the furniture, it is not protecting its environment.

My U.S. Pat. No. 5,680,673 issued Oct. 28, 1997 addresses such problems by providing an improved glide device for stabilizing legged articles of furniture, while avoiding unnecessary damage to either the support surface or the furniture. To this end, the protective glide device is situated between the support surface and a foot portion of a legged object. The device incorporates a non-abrasive unitary body which is of sufficient thickness to withstand compressive forces of the legged object against the surface, thereby resisting collapse. The unitary body is mountable to the foot portion and has a lower area operative to contact the support surface and an upper area opposite the lower area which is in facing relationship to the foot portion when mounted. Preferably, a resilient member is interposed between the foot portion and the unitary body and operates to conform to contours on a contact surface of the foot portion to stabilize the support leg. Currently available glide devices which are manufactured in accordance with the teachings of my earlier patent use a blended form of ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM) as the resilient member. This is a high-density, blended polymer which can be obtained in bulk from a variety of sources, including from Monarch Rubber Co. of Baltimore, Md., as Part No. F-05012.

Glide devices utilizing the blended polymer EPDM as the resilient member have enjoyed much success in the marketplace and have proven to be quite effective at protecting furniture legs and support surfaces. In particular these devices offer stabilization and “self-leveling” characteristics, while additionally providing suitable water resistance. However, despite the numerous advantages afforded by my existing glide device constructions a potential drawback with them is that, after prolonged periods of use under compressive loading, the resilient member has a tendency to remain in its compressed state once the load is removed. In this sense, the resilient member can be considered to exhibit a “memory”. That is, while the furniture might assume a level orientation in one setting, it is unable to subsequently do so in another setting.

While this memory characteristic is of little consequence for stationary items of furniture, it can become an undesirable aspect for furniture which is moved and used on varying support surface contours. The problem is particularly prevalent for furniture which, by design, is intended to support relative heavy loads and be moved with some regularity, e.g., stools, chairs and the like. Such furniture items are particularly susceptible when used in public settings, including bars or restaurants, where they are moved repeatedly. Moreover, it is not uncommon in certain environments for the flooring to have uneven and varying support contours. This is often encountered in older building constructions where the flooring is made from wooden boards, tiles, cobblestone, etc. Not only does the furniture become uncomfortable to the patron in such situations, but there is an inherent risk of injury if it is not properly stabilized. Accordingly, a need remains to improve upon my existing glide device constructions so that they become more adaptable for use with the variety of support surfaces which might be encountered.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with these objectives the present invention, in one sense, relates to a glide device for use with a foot portion of a legged article of furniture to stabilize the furniture on a support surface. One exemplary embodiment of the glide device is adapted for use with a foot portion which incorporates an inverted cup, such as that commonly found on iron patio furniture. The glide device comprises a unitary body configured to be received at least partially within an interior of the inverted cup, and a resilient member for interfacing the unitary body to the inverted cup. The resilient member preferably comprises a pure polymer, closed-cell rubber material. The resilient member could also be a non-hardening, viscous material, such as butyl rubber. Another exemplary embodiment of the glide device incorporates its own housing which is mountable to the foot portion. This embodiment, for example can be used with other types of legged articles of furniture, e.g., tables, chairs, bar stools and the like, the legs of which are not pre-formed to include an inverted cup. When mounted to the foot portion in an assembled state, the inverted cup (or housing) conceals the resilient member and at least some of the unitary body.

The unitary body is preferably constructed of a non-abrasive material. It has an upper surface area in facing relationship to an interior wall of its housing when in the assembled state, and a lower surface area for contacting the support surface. A plurality of cavities are preferably formed in the unitary body, with adjacent ones of the cavities being separated by at least one web element. The unitary body has a continuous, uninterrupted surrounding sidewall, and each of the cavities extends from a respective cavity opening at the upper surface axially toward a continuous, uninterrupted lower surface.

The resilient member has opposed upper and lower surfaces each preferably provided with a layer of adhesive for respectively interfacing the resilient member between its housing and the unitary body. The rubber material from which the resilient member is formed may be ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM). Preferably also, the rubber material has a maximum compression set recovery measurement of 35% when subjected to a compression set test conducted in accordance with ASTM D 1056-00. As such, the resilient member exhibits a capability to deform yet substantially return to its pre-compressed configuration. This allows the legged article of furniture on which the glide devices are used to become stabilized on different support surface contours under differing compressive loads.

The present invention also provides an article of furniture as one of its embodiments. The article of furniture comprises a working surface, a plurality of support legs each extending downwardly from the working surface to terminate in a respective foot portion, and a glide device associated with each foot portion. To this end, the article of furniture may assume a variety of configurations, such as a table, a chair, and a bar stool.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an article of furniture, in the form of a conventional table, incorporating a plurality of glide assemblies according to the present invention;

FIG. 2a is an exploded perspective view showing the foot portion of one of the table's legs and its associated glide assembly;

FIG. 2b is front view in elevation of the glide assembly of FIG. 2a mounted on the foot portion (shown in phantom);

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of an article of furniture, in the form of a conventional chair with wooden legs, incorporating a plurality of glide assemblies such as shown in FIGS. 2a &2b;

FIG. 3b is a perspective view of an article of furniture, in the form of a conventional bar stool with wooden legs, incorporating a plurality of glide assemblies such as shown in FIGS. 2a &2b; FIG. 3c is an exploded perspective view showing a respective one of the glide assemblies of FIG. 3b in use on the foot portion of the bar stool;

FIG. 3d shows the glide assembly mounted on the foot portion to stabilize the leg on a support surface;

FIG. 4 is a side view in elevation, and in cross-section, showing the glide assembly as viewed about line 4 in FIG. 3b;

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of the glide assembly's housing;

FIG. 5b is a top plan view of the glide assembly's housing;

FIG. 6a is a top plan view of the glide assembly's resilient member;

FIG. 6b is a front view in cross-section of the resilient member as viewed about line 6b in FIG. 6a;

FIG. 6c is a perspective view of the glide assembly's resilient member, and showing a layer of removable relief paper disposed on an upper surface thereof;

FIG. 7a is a perspective view of the glide assembly's unitary body;

FIG. 7b is a top plan view of the unitary body;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view showing an alternative construction for a unitary body for use with the glide assembly according to the first exemplary embodiment;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternative construction for a glide assembly, and showing the glide assembly in an assembled state;

FIG. 10 is an exploded front view in elevation of the glide assembly of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11a is a left side view in elevation of the glide assembly shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11b is a front view in cross-section of the glide assembly as viewed about line 11b in FIG. 11a;

FIG. 12a is a perspective view of the housing associated with the glide assembly of FIGS. 9 through 11b;

FIG. 12b is a top plan view of the housing shown in FIG. 12a;

FIG. 13a is a perspective view of the resilient member associated with the glide assembly of FIGS. 9 through 11b, with the relief paper removed;

FIG. 13b is a top plan view of the resilient shown in FIG. 13a;

FIG. 14a is a perspective view of the unitary body associated with the glide assembly of FIGS. 9 through 11b;

FIG. 14b is a top plan view of the unitary body shown in FIG. 14a;

FIG. 15 shows another configuration for an article of furniture, in the form of a conventional patio furniture chair, incorporating a plurality of glide assemblies according to a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 16 is an exploded perspective view showing the foot portion of one of the chair's legs and its associated glide assembly; and

FIG. 17 is a side view in elevation, and in cross-section, of an alternative glide device construction mounted on the foot portion of an iron patio chair.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is directed to a glide device which is adapted to stabilize a legged object on a support surface, while at the same time preventing damage to either the legged object or the support surface upon which it rests. The invention is also directed to an article of furniture which is provided with one or more such glide devices. While the invention is particularly described with reference to certain types of furniture, such as tables, stools and chairs, the artisan should readily appreciate that the glide device of the invention can be used with any suitable article of furniture which could benefit from the advantages described herein, although it is contemplated that these will primarily be legged objects. Advantageously, the construction of the glide device enables articles of furniture incorporating such device(s) to be used on different types of support surfaces with different contours, and under different types of load conditions. Thus, the glide device is more adaptable to different use environments as compared to known glide constructions since it has less tendency to retain its compressed configuration once the compressive load is removed.

With initial reference to FIG. 1, an article of furniture 10 is shown in the configuration of a typical table which rests upon a support surface 12. Table 10 includes a tabletop 14 having a working surface 16 and a plurality of support legs 18(1)-18(4) which are joined to and extend downwardly from tabletop 14 toward support surface 12. Legs 18(1)-18(4), thus, also extend downwardly from the tabletop's working surface 16. A glide device 20(1)-20(4) is respectively associated with each of legs 18(1)-18(4). Each glide device 20(1)-20(4) is adapted to be mounted to a foot portion of its respective leg 18(1)-18(4) so that it is interposed between the foot portion and the support surface 12.

A representative foot portion 15(1) for leg 18(1) is shown in FIGS. 2a and 2b. Foot portion 15(1) has a rectangular lower surface 17(1) to which glide device 20(1) is mounted. Glide device 20(1) includes a housing 30(1) mounted to foot portion 15(1), a resilient member 40(1) and a unitary body 50(1). Housing 30(1) is mounted to foot portion 15(1) via a fastening screw 32(1). Fastening screw 32(1) is representatively illustrated as a machine screw for threadedly engaging a pre-drilled hole 19(1) formed in foot portion 15(1). Resilient member 40(1) is advantageously formed of a pure polymer, closed-cell rubber material and interfaces the unitary body 50(1) to the housing 30(1) to define an assembled state for the glide device 20(1).

As shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b, glide device 20(1) can also be employed with other types of furniture, such as a conventional wooden chair 112 (FIG. 3a) and a conventional wooden bar stool 114 (FIG. 3b). As shown in FIG. 3b, representative bar stool leg 21(1) has a foot portion 23(1) provided with a circular lower surface 25(1). Here, a self tapping screw 33(1) may be used to secure the housing 30(1) to foot portion 23(1). Once assembled and mounted as shown in FIG. 3d, the glide device 20(1) adjusts in response to a compressive load and the characteristics of the support surface. When used in conjunction with other such glide devices on a legged article of furniture, the piece of furniture becomes stabilized on the support surface under compressive loads so that it does not wobble.

Each glide device 20(1)-20(4) is preferably of the same construction. Thus, FIG. 4 shows a glide device, generally 20. The various components for glide device 20 are shown in FIGS. 5a-5b, 6a-6b and 7a-7b. Housing 30 is preferably fabricating as an injection molded piece out of a suitable plastic construction, such as Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS). Housing 30 has a circular cross-section and includes a circular top wall 34 and an annular sidewall 36 which extends therefrom to surround a housing interior 37. A central aperture 38 is formed through top wall 34 to receive fastening element 32 as best shown in FIG. 4.

Resilient member 40 and unitary body 50 are each sized to be at least partially inserted into housing interior 37. To this end, each of these members 40, 50 has a generally disk-like shape of the same outer diameter d1 which is slightly less than the inner diameter d2 of housing 30. When in the assembled state as shown in FIG. 4, it may be seen that resilient member 40 and unitary body 50 are received within housing 37 so that the housing conceals the resilient member 40 and at least some of unitary body 50.

One possible construction for unitary body 50 is shown in FIGS. 5a-5b. Unitary body 50 may also be injection molded to have the generally cylindrical configuration shown. Body 50 is preferably formed from a non-abrasive plastic material such as acetyl resin to avoid unnecessary damage to the support surface during use. Such a material is available under the name Delrin® from E.I. Dupont De Nemours and Co. Body 50 has a continuous, uninterrupted lower surface 52, an upper surface 54, and a continuous, uninterrupted outer surrounding sidewall 56 extending therebetween. Unitary body 50 is centered about an imaginary central axis “A” which passes through a central cavity 58. A plurality of cavities or cells, generally 60, are formed within body 50. Cavities 60 extend axially from upper surface 54 toward, but not through, lower surface 52. Cavities 60 are spaced equiangularly around axis “A” and central cavity 58. Each of cavities 60 has a generally arcuate configuration and are separated from one another by at least one web element 62. The web elements 62 are formed as interior walls of a suitable thickness to provide beam structures against vertical collapse by distributing pressure throughout unitary body 50. Additionally, the arcuate cavities 60 form regions of ingress for resilient member 40 as it responds to these compressive forces. An alternative construction for these cavities is shown in FIG. 8 wherein unitary body 50′ has a honeycombed-like structure including a plurality of generally pie-shaped cavities 60′ equiangularly distributed about its center.

Resilient member 40 is shown in FIGS. 6a-6c, wherein it may be seen that resilient member 40 is in the shape of toroid having an upper surface 42 and a lower surface 44 which are separated from one another by a surrounding sidewall 46 of a selected thickness. Each of upper surface 42 and lower surface 44 includes an associated layer of adhesive, such as adhesive layers 43 and 45 respectively, for securing resilient member 40 between unitary body 50 and the inner surface 35 of the housing's top wall 34.

Each of the adhesive layers 43 and 45 may be protected by relief paper, such as relief paper 47 shown in FIG. 6c, which would be removed prior to use. Each of adhesive layers 43 and 45 is preferably a pressure sensitive adhesive, such as an acrylic/rubber adhesive available as Part No. 5944 from Adchem of Riverhead, N.Y. When the glide device 20 is in the mounted state shown in FIG. 4, upper adhesive layer 43 interfaces resilient member 40 to the interior surface 35 of housing 30 while lower adhesive layer 45 interfaces resilient member 40 to the upper surface 54 of unitary body 50. As with unitary body 50, resilient member 40 has a central cavity 48. Cavity 48 is shown to be slightly larger than cavity 58, but both provide clearance for the head of the fastening element 32 during use.

For illustrative purposes, resilient member is shown in FIG. 4 to be in a compressed state, such as when downwardly directed compressive forces in the direction of arrows F are exerted on the glide device 20. Resilient member 40 is adapted to adjust in response to these forces to stabilize the foot portion to which the glide device 20 is attached, and thus balance the article of furniture as a whole on a support surface. Advantageously also, resilient member 40 is more capable of returning to its uncompressed configuration shown in FIGS. 6a-6c when the compressive forces are removed so that, if the article of furniture is moved to a different type of support surface characterized by different surface contouring, or if different load characteristics are placed on the glide device 20, resilient member 40 is responsive to this changed use environment. As such, the resilient member 40, and thus the glide device itself, does not exhibit the “memory” which can be a drawback of existing devices with similar construction.

To reduce the “memory” effect, resilient member 40 is preferably formed of a pure polymer, closed-cell rubber material such as ethylene propylene diene methylene (EPDM), rather than a blended material. The rubber material has a maximum compression set recovery measurement of 35% (meeting the Suffix B3 requirement) when subjected to a compression set test conducted in accordance with specification D 1056-00 of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This specification covers flexible cellular rubber products known as sponge rubbers and expanded rubbers. It is designed to provide certain physical property parameters and test methods for cellular rubber. The compression set test in particular tests the amount, measured in percentage, by which a standard rubber test piece fails to return to its original thickness after being subjected to a standard compressive load or deflection for a fixed period of time. This test is used to determine the quality of rubber compounds and their applicability to certain types of usage. Thus, if a material has good compression set resistance, it will recover sufficiently when the load is released. From a performance standpoint, it is even more preferred that the rubber material have a maximum compression set recover measurement of 25%, thus meeting the Suffix B2 requirement of ASTM D 1056.

It is also preferred that the rubber material be classified as either an ASTM D 1056 2A1 or 2A2 material. This classification contemplates closed-cell rubber (Type 2) in which specific resistance to the action of petroleum based oils is not required (Class A), and with the material having a compression-deflection range from either 2 to 5 psi (Grade 1) or 5 to 9 psi (Grade 2). There are various types of pure EPDM rubber materials which exhibit one or more of these characteristics, such as part numbers 4235-E, 4114-E and 4115-E available from American National Rubber of Ceredo, W.V.

An alternative construction for a glide device according to the first exemplary embodiment is shown in FIGS. 9, 10, 11a and 11b. In these figures glide device 120 is shown as a generally rectangular construction and also incorporates a housing 130, a resilient member 140 and a unitary body 150. A suitable fastening element 132 may also be provided to secure the glide device 120 to the foot potion of a furniture leg.

Housing 130 is shown in FIGS. 12a and 12b to be a generally rectangular body which is sized and adapted to accommodate resilient member 140 shown in FIGS. 13a and 13b. Because the constructions of housing 130 and resilient member 140 only differ in shape from their counterparts discussed above with reference to glide device 20, they need not be described any further. As for unitary body 150, it has both a different geometry and a different cavity structure from its counterpart 50 discussed above. In FIGS. 14a and 14b, it may be seen that unitary body 150 has a plurality of rectangular cavities 160 which extend partly therethrough from its upper surface 154 towards lower surface 152. Rectangular cavities 160 are symmetrically distributed about an imaginary center line “L” in FIG. 14b. As shown, two medial ones of these cavities intersect the unitary body's central cavity 158, which is sized to accommodate the head of screw 132.

FIGS. 15 and 16 illustrate a glide device according to a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 15 an article of furniture, in this instance an iron patio chair 210, is shown resting on a support surface 212. Chair 210 includes a chair backing 213, a working surface in the form of seat 214 and a plurality of legs 218(1)-(4). An associated glide device 220(1)-(4) is respectively mounted to each leg 218(1)-(4) so that they are interposed between the legs and the support surface 212.

The construction of a representative glide device 220(1) may be appreciated with reference to FIG. 16. Here, the foot portion 215(1) to which the glide device 220(1) is mounted is pre-formed to include an inverted metal cup 230(1) having a mounting surface 235(1). Metal cup 230(1) may be joined to the leg via a weldment 231(1). Thus, inverted cup 230(1) forms the lower foot portion to which the glide device 220(1) is mounted. As such, representative glide device 220(1) in this embodiment only comprises two components, namely the unitary body 250(1) and the resilient member 240(1). Resilient member 240(1) interfaces the unitary body 250(1) to the foot portion formed by inverted metal cup 230(1).

Finally, it is contemplated also that the resilient member could be a non-hardening viscous material, such as butyl rubber, which would be responsive to various types of compressive forces. As shown in FIG. 17, when used with a unitary body such as 150′, such a material 140′ could seep and ingress into the cavities when in the mounted state in response to the differing load conditions.

Accordingly, the present invention has been described with some degree of particularity directed to the exemplary embodiments of the present invention. It should be appreciated, though, that the present invention is defined by the following claims construed in light of the prior art so that modifications or changes may be made to the exemplary embodiments of the present invention without departing from the inventive concepts contained herein.