Title:
ADJUSTABLE FURNITURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An item of adjustable furniture having a first support section, a second support section connected rotatably to the first support section by a pair of hinges, and a third support section connected rotatably to the second support section by a pair of hinges. Each hinge includes a pair of discs fastened rotatably to one another by a hinge pin. Each disc includes an array of apertures and a locking mechanism having an aesthetically pleasing J-shaped hook member, a knob fastened to the hook member, and a spring interposed between the knob and the pin. The hook member is removably received within the apertures of the discs when the spring is expanded, thereby locking the hinge. To unlock the hinge and allow for the rotation of the support members for the purpose adjusting the furniture, the knob is depressed to disengage the hook member from the apertures of the discs.



Inventors:
Kipperman, Nathan (Tenafly, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/742298
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
04/30/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
16/239
International Classes:
A47C4/28; A47C7/58
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
O BRIEN, JEFFREY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James J. DeCarlo, Esq. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hinge comprising: a first disc and a second disc oriented rotatably relative to one another, said first disc being attachable at a portion of its periphery to a first support member of an item of adjustable furniture and said second disc being attachable at a portion of its periphery to a second support member of the adjustable furniture; a hook member releasably engageable with said first and second discs and moveable between a locked position, in which said hook member is engaged with said discs and prevents said discs from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said hook member is disengaged from said discs and enables said discs to rotate relative to one another so that the first and second support members of the furniture item can be rotated relative to one another for the purpose of adjusting the shape of the furniture item.

2. The hinge as claimed in claim 1, wherein said first disc comprises a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, and said second disc comprises a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc are juxtaposed with one another.

3. The hinge as claimed in claim 2, wherein said first disc is connected to said second disc by a centrally located pin.

4. The hinge as claimed in claim 3, further comprising a washer positioned around said pin and intermediate said first and second discs to reduce friction between said discs.

5. The hinge as claimed in claim 3, wherein said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc are coated with a friction-reducing material.

6. The hinge as claimed in claim 3, wherein said first disc comprises a plurality of apertures, each of which extends from said first surface of said first disc to said second surface of said first disc, and said second disc comprises a plurality of apertures, each of which extends from said first surface of said second disc to said second surface of said second disc, said hook member, when in its locked position, extends through one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc.

7. The hinge as claimed in claim 6, wherein said plurality of apertures of said first disc are arranged in a circular array and said plurality of apertures of said second disc are arranged in a circular array.

8. The hinge as claimed in claim 7, wherein said plurality of apertures of said first disc are arranged proximate to the periphery of said first disc, and said plurality of apertures of said second disc are arranged proximate to the periphery of said second disc.

9. The hinge as claimed in claim 7, wherein said hook member is J-shaped and comprises a long leg and a short leg, said long leg of said hook member extending through said pin, said short leg of said hook member extending through one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc when said hook member is in its locked position.

10. The hinge as claimed in claim 9, further comprising a knob operable in concert with said hook member for moving said hook member between its locked position to its unlocked position.

11. The hinge as claimed in claim 10, wherein said knob is fastened to said long leg of said hook member.

12. The hinge as claimed in claim 11, further comprising a spring interposed between said knob and said pin, said spring being movable between an expanded position when said hook member is in its locked position, and a contracted position when said hook member is in its unlocked position.

13. The hinge as claimed in claim 12, wherein said short leg of said hook member is completely withdrawn from said one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and said corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc when said spring is in its contracted position.

14. An item of adjustable furniture, comprising: a first support member and a second support member; and a first hinge comprising; a first disc and a second disc oriented rotatably relative to one another about an axis of rotation, said first disc being attached to said first support member and said second disc being attached to said second support member; a lock member having a first portion extending along said axis of rotation and a second portion releasably engageable with said first and second discs and moveable between a locked position, in which said second portion is engaged with both of said discs and prevents said discs from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said second portion is disengaged from said discs and enables said discs to rotate relative to one another so that said first and second support members of said item of furniture can be rotated relative to one another for the purpose of adjusting the shape of said furniture.

15. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 14, wherein said first disc comprises a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, and said second disc comprises a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc are juxtaposed.

16. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 15, wherein said first disc is connected to said second disc by a pin through which said first portion of said lock member extends.

17. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 16, further comprising a washer positioned around said pin and intermediate said first and second discs.

18. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 16, wherein said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc are coated with a friction-reducing material.

19. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 16, wherein said first disc comprises a plurality of apertures, each of which extends from said first surface of said first disc to said second surface of said first disc, and said second disc comprises a plurality of apertures, each of which extends from said first surface of said second disc to said second surface of said second disc, so that when said second portion of said look member is in its locked position, a length of said second portion of said lock member extends through one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc to prevent relative movement therebetween.

20. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 19, wherein said plurality of apertures of said first disc are arranged in a circular array, and said plurality of apertures of said second disc are arranged in a similarly patterned circular array.

21. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 20, wherein said plurality of apertures of said first disc are arranged proximate to the periphery of said first disc, and said plurality of apertures of said second disc are arranged proximate to the periphery of said second disc.

22. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 21, wherein said lock member is J-shaped and comprises a straight long leg and a curved short leg, said first portion of said lock member comprising said long leg of said lock member, at least a part of which extends through said pin, and said second portion of said lock member comprises said short leg of said look member, at least a distal part of which extends through one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc when said second portion of said lock member is in its locked position.

23. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 22, wherein said lock member further comprises a knob.

24. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 23, wherein said knob is fastened to a distal end of said long leg of said lock member.

25. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 24, further comprising a spring interposed between said knob and said pin, said spring being movable between an expanded position when said second portion of said lock member is in its locked position, and a contracted position when said second portion of said lock member is in its unlocked position.

26. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 25, wherein said short leg of said lock member is completely withdrawn from said one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and said corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc when said spring is in its contracted position.

27. The item of furniture item as claimed in claim 14, further comprising a second hinge, said second hinge comprising: a first disc and a second disc oriented rotatably relative to one another about a second axis of rotation, said first disc of said second hinge being attached to said first support member and said second disc of said second hinge being attached to said second support member; a lock member having a first portion extending along said second axis of rotation and a second portion releasably engageable with said first and second discs of said second hinge and moveable between a locked position, in which said second portion of said second hinge is engaged with both of said discs of said second hinge and prevents said discs of said second hinge from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said second portion of said second hinge is disengaged from said discs of said second hinge and enables said discs of said second hinge to rotate relative to one another so that said first and second support members of said item of furniture can be rotated relative to one another for the purpose of adjusting the shape of said furniture.

28. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 27, wherein said first support member comprises a pair of legs and said second support member comprises a pair of legs, said first disc of said first hinge is connected to one of said pair of legs of said first support member, and said second disc of said first hinge is connected to a corresponding one of said pair of legs of said second support member, said first disc of said second hinge is connected to the other of said pair of legs of said first support member, and said second disc of said second hinge is connected to the corresponding other of said pair of legs of said second support member.

29. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 28, wherein each of said pair of legs of said first support member further comprises a generally linear top portion and a generally arcuate bottom portion, and each of said pair of legs of said second support member further comprises a generally linear top portion and a generally arcuate bottom portion.

30. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 29, wherein said first support member further comprises a plurality of crossbars that connect said pair of legs of said first support member to one another, and said second support member further comprises a plurality of crossbars that connect said pair of legs of said second support member to one another.

31. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 30, wherein said plurality of crossbars of said first support member are attached in spaced relation along said generally linear top portions of said pair of legs of said first support member, and said plurality of crossbars of said second support member are attached in spaced relation along said generally linear top portions of said pair of legs of said second support member.

32. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said first and second support members are generally circular in cross section.

33. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said first and second support members are generally rectangular in cross section.

34. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said first and second support members are generally square in cross section.

35. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said first and second support members are generally triangular in cross section.

36. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, further comprising a cushion positioned on and supported by said plurality of crossbars of said first and second support members.

37. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, wherein said first support member is generally rectangular in shape when viewed in plan view, and said second support member is generally rectangular in shape when viewed in plan view.

38. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 31, further comprising a third support member and a third hinge, said third hinge comprising: a first disc and a second disc oriented rotatably relative to one another about a third axis of rotation, said first disc of said third hinge being attached to said third support member and said second disc of said third hinge being attached to said second support member; a lock member having a first portion extending along said third axis of rotation and a second portion releasably engageable with said first and second discs of said third hinge and moveable between a locked position, in which said second portion of said third hinge is engaged with both of said discs of said third hinge and prevents said discs of said third hinge from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said second portion of said third hinge is disengaged from said discs of said third hinge and enables said discs of said third hinge to rotate relative to one another so that said second and third support members of said item of furniture can be rotated relative to one another for the purpose of adjusting the shape of said furniture.

39. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 38, further comprising a fourth hinge, said fourth hinge comprising: a first disc and a second disc oriented rotatably relative to one another about a fourth axis of rotation, said first disc of said fourth hinge being attached to said third support member and said second disc of said fourth hinge being attached to said second support member; a lock member having a first portion extending along said fourth axis of rotation and a second portion releasably engageable with said first and second discs of said fourth hinge and moveable between a locked position, in which said second portion of said fourth hinge is engaged with both of said discs of said fourth hinge and prevents said discs of said fourth hinge from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said second portion of said fourth hinge is disengaged from said discs of said fourth hinge and enables said discs of said fourth hinge to rotate relative to one another so that said second and third support members of said item of furniture can be rotated relative to one another for the purpose of adjusting the shape of said furniture.

40. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 39, wherein said third support member comprises a pair of legs, said first disc of said third hinge is connected to one of said pair of legs of said third support member, and said second disc of said third hinge is connected to a corresponding one of said pair of legs of said second support member, said first disc of said fourth hinge is connected to the other of said pair of legs of said third support member, and said second disc of said fourth hinge is connected to the other of said pair of legs of said second support member.

41. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 40, wherein each of said pair of legs of said third support member further comprises a generally linear top portion and a generally arcuate bottom portion.

42. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 41, wherein said third support member comprises a plurality of crossbars that connect said legs of said third support member to one another.

43. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 42, wherein said plurality of crossbars of said third support member are attached in spaced relation along said generally linear top portions of said pair of legs of said third support member.

44. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 43, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said third support member are generally circular in cross section.

45. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 43, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said third support member are generally rectangular in cross section.

46. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 43, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said third support member are generally square in cross section.

47. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 43, wherein each of said plurality of crossbars of said third support member are generally triangular in cross section.

48. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 43, further comprising a cushion positioned on and supported by said plurality of crossbars of said third support member.

49. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 43, wherein said third support member is generally rectangular in shape when viewed in plan view.

50. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 30, further comprising a generally flat support member supported by said plurality of crossbars of said second support member.

51. A hinge comprising: a first disc and a second disc oriented rotatably relative to one another about an axis of rotation; and a J-shaped lock member having a straight elongated first portion extending along said axis of rotation and a curved second portion releasably engageable with alignable apertures formed in said first and second discs and moveable between a locked position, in which a distal end of said curved second portion is engaged with said apertures of both of said discs and prevents said discs from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said distal end of said curved second portion is disengaged from said discs and enables said discs to rotate relative to one another.

52. The hinge as claimed in claim 51, wherein said first disc comprises a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, and said second disc comprises a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc are juxtaposed with one another.

53. The hinge as claimed in claim 52, wherein said first disc is connected to said second disc by a centrally located pin.

54. The hinge as claimed in claim 53, further comprising a washer positioned around said pin and intermediate said first and second discs to reduce friction between said discs.

55. The hinge as claimed in claim 53, wherein said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc are coated with a friction-reducing material.

56. The hinge as claimed in claim 53, wherein said apertures of said first disc extend from said first surface of said first disc to said second surface of said first disc, and said apertures of said second disc extend from said first surface of said second disc to said second surface of said second disc, said curved portion extends through one of said apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said apertures of said second disc when said curved second portion of said lock member is in its said locked position.

57. The hinge as claimed in claim 53, wherein said apertures of said first disc are arranged in a circular array and said apertures of said second disc are arranged in a circular array.

58. The hinge as claimed in claim 54, wherein said apertures of said first disc are arranged proximate to the periphery of said first disc, and said apertures of said second disc are arranged proximate to the periphery of said second disc.

59. The hinge as claimed in claim 58, further comprising a knob operable in concert with said lock member for moving said curved second portion of said lock member between its locked position to its unlocked position.

60. The hinge as claimed in claim 59, wherein said knob is fastened to said straight elongated first portion of said lock member.

61. The hinge as claimed in claim 60, further comprising a spring interposed between said knob and said pin, said spring being movable between an expanded position when said curved second portion of said lock member is in its locked position, and a contracted position when said curved second portion of said lock member is in its unlocked position.

62. The hinge as claimed in claim 61, wherein said curved second portion of said lock member is completely withdrawn from said one of said apertures of said first disc and said corresponding one of said apertures of said second disc when said spring is in its contracted position.

63. An item of furniture, comprising: a first support member, a second support member, and a third support member, each of said support members comprising a pair of legs, each of said pair of legs comprising a generally linear top portion and a generally arcuate bottom portion, and a plurality of crossbars attached in spaced relation along said generally linear top portions of said pair of legs; a first hinge and a second hinge, each of which are attached to said first and second support members; and a third hinge and a fourth hinge, each of which are connected to said second and third support members, each of said hinges comprising, a first disc having a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, and a plurality of apertures arranged in a circular array, each of which extends from said first surface of said first disc to said second surface of said first disc; a second disc having a first surface and a second surface opposite thereof, and a plurality of apertures arranged in a circular array, each of which extends from said first surface of said second disc to said second surface of said second disc, said second surface of said first disc and said second surface of said second disc being juxtaposed, said first and second discs being connected to one another by a pin and being oriented rotatably relative to one another about an axis of rotation; a J-shaped lock member having a straight long leg extending along said axis of rotation and a portion of which extending through said pin, and a curved short leg releasably engageable with said first and second discs and moveable between a locked position, in which a distal part of said short leg extends through one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc and prevents said discs from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which said short leg is completely withdrawn from said one of said plurality of apertures of said first disc and a corresponding one of said plurality of apertures of said second disc and enables said discs to rotate relative to one another; a knob fastened to said long leg of said lock member; and a spring interposed between said knob and said pin, said spring being movable between an expanded position when said short leg of said lock member is in its locked position, and a contracted position when said short leg of said lock member is in its unlocked position; said first disc of said first hinge being connected to one of said pair of legs of said first support member, and said second disc of said first hinge being connected to a corresponding one of said pair of legs of said second support member; said first disc of said second hinge being connected to the other of said pair of legs of said first support member, and said second disc of said second hinge being connected to the corresponding other of said pair of legs of said second support member; said first disc of said third hinge being connected to one of said pair of legs of said third support member, and said second disc of said third hinge being connected to a corresponding one of said pair of legs of said second support member; said first disc of said fourth hinge being connected to the other of said pair of legs of said third support member, and said second disc of said fourth hinge being connected to the other of said pair of legs of said second support member, such that said first and second support members of said item of furniture can be rotated relative to one another and said second and third support member of said item of furniture can be rotated relative to one another for the purpose of adjusting the shape of said furniture item.

64. The item of furniture as claimed in claim 63, further comprising a cushion positioned on and supported by said plurality of crossbars of said first, second and third support members.

65. A hinge, comprising: a first disc and a second disc rotatable relative to one another; and a J-shaped hook member moveable between a locked position, in which a portion of said hook member is engaged with said discs and prevents said discs from rotating relative to one another, and an unlocked position, in which a portion of said hook member is disengaged from said discs and enables said discs to rotate relative to one another.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a Section 111(a) application relating to commonly owned, co-pending U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/887,803 entitled “ADJUSTABLE FURNITURE,” filed Feb. 1, 2007, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to adjustable furniture and, more particularly, to furniture that can be adjusted to a variety of positions and configurations via a rotatable hinge that is easy to operate and visually pleasing.

BACKGROUND

Adjustable furniture has existed in the past, such as outdoor patio lounge chairs and beach chairs, as well as indoor or outdoor futons. However, existing items of adjustable furniture have many shortcomings. For instance, they are not versatile in that they can be configured to a limited number of positions. In addition, adjusting such furniture is typically cumbersome to a user. In this regard, the adjustment mechanisms employed by the furniture (e.g., hinges) are difficult to use and are not very reliable. What is needed, therefore, is adjustable furniture that may be configured to a large number of positions, while promoting ease of use through an easy to use and visually pleasing hinge arrangement.

SUMMARY

An item of adjustable furniture includes a first support section, a second support section connected rotatably to the first support section by a pair of hinges, and a third support section connected rotatably to the second support section by a pair of hinges. Each of the hinges includes a pair of discs fastened rotatably to each other by a hinge pin or pintie. Each of the discs includes an array of apertures, which are formed along its periphery, and a locking mechanism, which includes a J-shaped hook member, a knob fastened to a free end of the hook member, and a spring interposed between the knob and the pin. The hook member is sized and shaped so that it is adapted to be removably received within the apertures of the discs when the spring is in its expanded position, thereby locking the hinge. In order to unlock the hinge, and allow for the rotation of the support members, a user pushes the knob to disengage the hook member from the apertures of the discs. The J-shape of the hook member provides a visually appealing look to the hinge.

Specifically, the present disclosure describes an item of furniture for use as indoor or outdoor foldable, adjustable furniture, such as a futon, bed frame, folding table, shelf stand, patio furniture, beach furniture and the like. Further features and advantages of the disclosed structure and apparatus will become apparent on a reading of the detailed description of the exemplary embodiments, which are described below by way of example, and with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference is made to the following detailed description of the exemplary embodiments considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of an item of adjustable furniture constructed in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, with the furniture shown in a first position;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the adjustable furniture illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the adjustable furniture illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the adjustable furniture illustrated in FIG. 1, the rear elevational view being essentially a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 5 is a right side elevational view of the furniture illustrated in FIG. 1, the left side elevational view being essentially a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged view showing, in schematic fashion, detail 6 from FIG. 5;

FIG. 7A is a cross-sectional view, taken along section line 7A-7A and looking in the direction of the arrows, of detail 6 of the adjustable furniture illustrated in FIG. 6, with a hinge employed by the furniture shown in an engaged, i.e., locked, position;

FIG. 7B is a cross-sectional view, taken along section line 7A-7A and looking in the direction of the arrows, of detail 6 of the adjustable furniture illustrated in FIG. 6, with the hinge shown in a disengaged, i.e., unlocked, position;

FIG. 8 is a top perspective view of the hinge illustrated in FIGS. 7A and 7B, with the hinge shown in an engaged positioned;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the hinge illustrated in FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a bottom plan view of the hinge illustrated in FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a right side elevational view of the hinge illustrated in FIG. 8, the left side elevational view being essentially a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view of the hinge illustrated in FIG. 8;

FIG. 13 is a rear elevational view of the hinge illustrated in FIG. 8;

FIG. 14 is a top perspective view of the hinge shown in FIG. 8 in a disengaged position;

FIG. 15 is a right side elevational view of the hinge shown in FIG. 14, the left side elevational view being essentially a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 16 is a top perspective view of the adjustable furniture shown in a second position;

FIG. 17 is a top perspective view of the adjustable furniture shown in FIG. 17, with a cushion utilized in connection with the furniture shown in phantom;

FIG. 18 is a front perspective view of the adjustable furniture shown in a third position;

FIG. 19 is a front perspective view of the adjustable furniture shown in a fourth position; and

FIG. 20 is a front perspective view of the adjustable furniture shown in a fifth position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, an item of adjustable furniture 10 includes a rectangular-shaped first support section 12, a rectangular-shaped second support section 14 connected rotatably to the first support section 12, and a rectangular-shaped third support section 16 connected rotatably to the second support section 14. Each of the sections 12, 14, 16 are depicted as being similar in size and shape, but they can consist of different shapes and sizes to suit the purposes of the varied configurations to be appreciated from the teachings herein. The sections 12, 14, 16 and parts thereof are each manufactured using a solid or hollow metal, such as, by way of non-limiting example, aluminum, with various cross-sectional shapes, such as circles, squares, I-beam and the like (in the depicted examples, the cross-section is generally circular), but they can be made from other types of metals, such as wrought iron, and steel, or other types of materials, such as non-metals or any of a variety of plastics suitable for the shape, strength and weight characteristics contemplated from the teachings herein.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1 through 5, the first support section 12 includes a pair of oblong-shaped legs 18, 20 that are positioned parallel to each other, and a plurality of crossbars 22 that connect the legs 18, 20 to each other. The leg 18 has a pair of looped ends 24, 28 connected by an elongated linear member 28 and an elongated curved member 30. Similarly, the leg 20 has a pair of looped ends 32, 34 connected by an elongated linear member 36 and an elongated curved member 38. Preferably, but not necessarily, the legs 18, 20 are similar in size and shape, but they can consist of different shapes and sizes. Each of the crossbars 22 has a first end 40 connected to the member 28 of the leg 18, and a second end 42 connected to the member 36 of the leg 20. The crossbars 22 are, preferably, positioned transverse (i.e., perpendicular) to the legs 18, 20 and parallel to one another, and are evenly spaced, but the spacing and shape of the crossbars can be varied to suit the purposes of the varied configurations to be appreciated from the teachings herein. The crossbars 22 are connected to the legs 18, 20 by welding or other suitable means known in the art, such as adhesives, screws, bolts, rivets or other fasteners. Alternatively, the crossbars 22 and the legs 18, 20 can be molded as a unitary piece. Also, the crossbars 22 are, preferably, but not necessarily, similar in size and shape, but they can consist of different shapes and sizes.

Still referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, each of the second and third support sections 14, 16 are similar in size and shape to the first support section 12. Accordingly, each and every feature of the second and third support sections 14, 16 will not be specifically described, except when it is necessary.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1 through 5, the first support section 12 is connected rotatably to the second support section 14 by a pair of circular-shaped hinges 44, 46, while the third support section 16 is connected rotatably to the second support section 14 by a pair of circular-shaped hinges 48, 50. More particularly, the hinge 44 rotatably connects the end 26 of the leg 18 of the first support section 12 and a looped end 52 of a leg 54 of the second support section 14. The hinge 46 rotatably connects the end 34 of the leg 20 of the first support section 12 and a looped end 56 of a leg 58 of the second support section 14. Similarly, the hinge 48 rotatably connects a looped end 60 of the leg 54 of the second support section 14 and a looped end 62 of a leg 64 of the third support section 16, while the hinge 50 rotatably connects a looped end 66 of the leg 58 of the second support section 14 and a looped end 68 of a leg 70 of the third support member 16.

FIGS. 6, 7A and 7B illustrate the features of hinge 46 and its structural and functional relationship with the leg 20 of the first support section 12 and the leg 58 of the second support section 14. With particular reference to FIGS. 7A and 7B, the hinge 46 includes a first circular-shaped disc 72 and a second circular shaped disc 74 rotatably joined to the first disc 72 by a hinge pin or pintie 76. The disc 72 includes a first surface 78 and a second surface 80 opposite thereof, and a centrally located circular-shaped aperture 82 that extends from the first surface 78 to the second surface 80, and an array of circular-shaped apertures 84 positioned proximate to the periphery of the disc 72, and each of which extend from the first surface 78 to the second surface 80. Similarly, the disc 74 includes a first surface 86 and a second surface 88 opposite thereof, a centrally located circular-shaped aperture 90 that extends from the first surface 86 to the second surface 88, and an array of circular-shaped apertures 92 positioned proximate to the periphery of the disc 74, and each of which extend from the first surface 86 to the second surface 88. The pin 76 is positioned within the apertures 82, 90 of the discs 72, 74, respectively, such that the second surface 80 of the disc 72 is juxtaposed with the second surface 88 of the disc 74. One end of the pin 76 includes a head 94 and the other end includes external threads 96 that engage threadedly with a locknut 98, which secures the pin 78 to the discs 72, 74. A washer 100 is positioned around the pin 76 and intermediate the discs 72, 74 to reduce friction between them. The washer 100 may be made of metal, Teflon or other material sufficient to reduce or otherwise control friction between the discs 72, 74. Alternatively, the washer 100 need not be included, or the facing surfaces 80, 88 of the discs 72, 74 can be coated with a friction-reducing coating, or a circular bearing or other structure or material may be interposed to reduce or otherwise control friction between the discs 72, 74 (not shown in the Figures).

With continued reference to FIGS. 7A and 7B, the hinge 46 includes a locking mechanism 102 that includes an aesthetically pleasing J-shaped hook member 104 having a short leg 106 and a long leg 108. A circular-shaped knob 110 is fastened to the free end of the long leg 108 by a set screw 112. A spring 114 is interposed between the knob 110 and the head 94 of the pin 76. The spring 114 is movable between an expanded position (see FIG. 7A) and a contracted position (see FIG. 7B). The short leg 106 is sized and shaped so that it is adapted to be removably received within the apertures 82, 90 of the discs 72, 74, respectively, when the spring 114 is in its expanded position (see FIG. 7A).

Still referring to FIGS. 7A and 7B, the looped end 34 of the leg 20 is fastened to an outer edge 116 of the disc 72, while the looped end 56 of the leg 58 is fastened to an outer edge 118 of the disc 74. The leg 20 is fastened to the disc 72 by any conventional mechanisms, such as by welds, soldering, adhesives, or bolts, rivets or the like. Likewise, the leg 58 is fastened to the disc 74 by any similar conventional mechanisms.

FIGS. 8 through 15 illustrate additional views of the hinge 48 in its engaged position (see FIGS. 8 through 13) and its disengaged position (see FIGS. 14 and 15).

It should be understood that each of the hinges 44, 48, 50 are similar to the hinge 46, and that each is connected to its associated support sections 12, 14, 16 in a similar manner. Accordingly, each and every feature of the hinges 44, 48, 50 and their structural relationship with the support sections 12, 14, 16 will not be specifically described, except when it is necessary.

Assuming that the furniture 10 is arranged in the position illustrated in FIG. 1, and a user desires to orient it in another position, such as the position illustrated in FIG. 16, each of the hinges 44, 46, 48, 50 would have to be operated in the following manner. Only the operation of the hinge 46 will be described in specific detail, since each of the hinges 44, 48, 50 operate in a similar fashion.

With particular reference now to FIG. 7A, which shows the hinge 46 in its engaged, i.e., locked, position, the short leg 106 of the hook member 104 extends through one of the apertures 84 of the disc 72 and a corresponding one of the apertures 92 of the disc 74. In this position, the discs 72, 74 are not rotatable relative to one another. In order to allow relative rotation between the discs 72, 74, a user or operator would push the knob 110 toward the discs 72, 74, thereby compressing the spring 114. When the spring 114 reaches its fully contracted position, as shown in FIG. 7B, the short leg 108 of the hook member 104 is completely withdrawn from the aligned apertures in the discs 72, 74, thereby allowing rotational movement of the disc 72 relative to the disc 74. In a similar fashion, an operator will disengage or unlock the hinge 44.

With the hinges 44, 48 unlocked, the user or operator can now move the first support section 12 from the generally supine position illustrated in FIG. 1 to the generally inclined position illustrated in FIG. 16. Once the first support section 12 is in the generally inclined position shown in FIG. 16, the operator would release the knob 110 of the hinge 46, thereby allowing the spring 114 to return to its extended position, as shown in shown in FIG. 7A. The short leg 106 of the hook member 104 is inserted into another aligned pair of the apertures 84, 92. After operating the hinge 44 in a similar fashion, the first support section 12 is releasably locked in the position illustrated in FIG. 16.

In order to move the second and third support members 14, 16 from their respective positions shown in FIG. 1 to their positions shown in FIG. 16, the unlocking and relocking operations described above with regard to the hinges 44, 46 would be performed on the hinges 48, 50. With the furniture 10 configured as shown in FIG. 16, a user can add a cushion 120 as shown in phantom in FIG. 17. The crossbars 22 of the support members 12 and crossbars 122, 124 of the second and third support members 14, 16, respectively, provide support for the cushion 120 and the user. If will also be recognized that more or less than three support members may be utilized.

With reference to FIG. 18, the furniture 10 can be flexibly configured into the shape of beach chair, couch, futon or the like, such that the first support section 12 is in a substantially horizontal position, while the second and third support sections 14, 16 are each elevated in a substantially vertical position. In order to so configure the furniture 10, it should be understood that the four hinges 44, 46, 48, 50 would be operated in a manner similar to that described with reference to FIGS. 1, 7A, 7B and 16. The user may utilize the cushion 120 or other cushions with the furniture 10 in this configuration (not shown in FIG. 18).

With reference to FIG. 19, the furniture 10 can be configured such that the support sections 12, 14, 16 are positioned in the form of triangle. In order to so configure the furniture 10, it should be understood that the four hinges 44, 46, 48, 50 would be operated in a manner similar to that described with reference to FIGS. 1, 7A, 7B and 16. Once again, the user may utilize the cushion 120 or other cushions with the furniture 10 in this configuration (not shown in FIG. 19). In addition, a user may, for example, place shelves between the crossbars 22, 122 of the first and second support members 12, 14, respectively, to store or display external objects, such as plants, picture frames or statues (not shown in the Figures).

With reference to FIG. 20, the furniture 10 is configured into the shape of a table, such that the first and third support sections 12, 16 are in a substantially vertical position, while the second support section 14 is in a substantially horizontal position. In order to so configure the furniture 10, it should be understood that the four hinges 44, 46, 48, 50 would be operated in a manner similar to that described with reference to FIGS. 1, 7A, 78 and 16. A user may, for example, place a flat support member on top of the second support section 14 for supporting external objects (not shown in FIG. 20).

It will be understood that the embodiments of the adjustable furniture described herein are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art may make many variations and modifications without departing from the full spirit and the scope of the embodiments described herein. Accordingly, all such variations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the embodiments described herein as defined in the appended claims.