Title:
Folding furniture and methods of assembling the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A chair includes a pair of rear side frame members, a pair of forward side frame members, a pair of adjustment members, and a seat. The pair of rear side frame members are coupled together in a mirrored relationship. The pair of forward side frame members are coupled together in a mirrored relationship. Each of the adjustment members includes an elongate slot defined therein. Each of the forward side frame members is slidably coupled to each of the adjustment member slots. Each of the rear side frame members is pivotally coupled to an opposite end of the pair of adjustment members. The seat is suspended from the pair of rear side frame members and the pair of forward side frame members. The chair is foldable from an in-use position to a generally flat storage position.



Inventors:
Lewis, Mark A. (Sikeston, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/805713
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C3/00; A47C4/28
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050194827Vehicle seating with privacy dividerSeptember, 2005Dowty et al.
20030205919Motorcycle saddle assemblyNovember, 2003Hanagan
20070035169Portable back support for a car seat or other seatFebruary, 2007Sawyer
20080191528Connector for stretch straps of a chairAugust, 2008Hsiao
20090015045HAPTIC SEATING SYSTEMJanuary, 2009Nathan et al.
20090108657Adjustable Hinge Mountings for a Motor Vehicle SeatApril, 2009Becker et al.
20080185897Ready to assemble sofa and method for packaging sameAugust, 2008Griggs
20100052376Variable Motion Infant Seat Utilizing Constant Motor SpeedMarch, 2010Hopke et al.
20100007122AUTOMOTIVE SEAT FOAM PAD ASSEMBLYJanuary, 2010Clauser et al.
20070246976Device for removably fitting to prams carrycot seats and carrycots being provided with an articulated handleOctober, 2007Jane Santamaria
20020171284Seatbelt shoulder padNovember, 2002Telekesi et al.



Primary Examiner:
ALEX, JAMES S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark A. Lewis (Sikeston, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A chair comprising: a pair of rear side frame members coupled together in a mirrored relationship; a pair of forward side frame members coupled together in a mirrored relationship; a pair of adjustment members, each of said adjustment members comprises an elongate slot defined therein, each of said forward side frame members is slidably coupled to each of said adjustment member slots, each of said rear side frame members is pivotally coupled to an opposite end of said pair of adjustment members; and a seat suspended from said pair of rear side frame members and said pair of forward side frame members, said chair is foldable from an in-use position to a generally flat storage position, each of said rear side frame members comprises a member having a length that extends from a top of said chair to the terrain upon which said chair is supported when said chair is in the in-use position.

2. A chair in accordance with claim 1 wherein said pair of forward side frame members are each substantially parallel to each of said pair of rear side frame members.

3. A chair in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of said forward side frame members are each coupled a distance from each of said rear side frame members by each of said pair of adjustment members, such that said forward side frame members can not touch said rear side frame members.

4. A chair in accordance with claim 1 wherein said pair of adjustment members facilitates leveling said chair with respect to the terrain beneath said chair.

5. A chair in accordance with claim 1 wherein said pair of adjustment members facilitate enabling said chair to be folded such that each of said pair of rear side frame members are positioned radially inward from each of said pair of forward side frame members.

6. A chair in accordance with claim 1 further comprising a pair of arm-rest assemblies each pivotally coupled between one of said forward side frame members and one of said rear side frame members, each of said pair of arm-rest assemblies facilitates maintaining said forward side frame members a distance from said rear side frame members such that said forward side frame members can not touch said rear side frame members when said chair is folded.

7. A chair in accordance with claim 6 wherein each of said arm-rest assemblies comprises an arm rest coupled to a support member.

8. A chair in accordance with claim 1 further comprising a plurality of structural support members coupled between said pair of forward side frame members, said plurality of structural support members facilitate maintaining said pair of forward side frame members in a spaced-apart relationship where said pair of forward side frame members are substantially parallel.

9. A chair in accordance with claim 1 further comprising a plurality of structural support members coupled between said pair of rear side frame members, said plurality of structural support members facilitate maintaining said pair of rear side frame members in a spaced-apart relationship where said pair of rear side frame members are substantially parallel.

10. A chair in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of said elongate slots is substantially centered within each of said pair of adjustment members and extends substantially linearly from a first end to a second of each of said slots, each of said elongate slots has a length that is less than half a length of each of said pair of adjustment members.

11. A foldable article of furniture, said furniture comprising: a pair of rear side frame members coupled together in a mirrored relationship such that said pair of rear side frame members are substantially parallel; a pair of forward side frame members coupled together in a mirrored relationship such that said pair of forward side frame members are substantially parallel; a pair of adjustment members, each of said adjustment members comprises an elongate slot defined therein, each of said forward side frame members is slidably coupled to each of said adjustment member slots at a first end of each of said pair of adjustment members, such that a radially inner surface of each of said forward side frame members is positioned adjacent a radially outer surface of each of said pair of adjustment members, each of said rear side frame members is pivotally coupled to an opposite second end of said pair of adjustment members, such that a radially outer surface of each of said forward side frame members is positioned adjacent a radially inner surface of each of said pair of adjustment members, each of said elongate slots extends for a length that is shorter than half a length of each of said pair of adjustment members; and a seat suspended from said pair of rear side frame members and said pair of forward side frame members, such that said pair of rear side frame members are each between said seat and each of said pair of forward side frame members.

12. An article of furniture in accordance with claim 11 wherein each of said elongate slots is substantially centered within each an aft end of each of said pair of adjustment members and extends substantially linearly from a first end to a second of each of said slots.

13. An article of furniture in accordance with claim 12 further comprising a first plurality of structural support members coupled substantially perpendicularly between said pair of rear side frame members, said first plurality of structural support members facilitate maintaining said pair of rear side frame members in a spaced-apart relationship such that said pair of rear side frame members are substantially parallel, said seat is suspended from one of said first plurality of structural support members.

14. An article of furniture in accordance with claim 13 further comprising a second plurality of structural support members coupled substantially perpendicularly between said pair of forward side frame members, said second plurality of structural support members facilitate maintaining said pair of forward side frame members in a spaced-apart relationship where said pair of forward side frame members are substantially parallel, said seat is suspended from one of said second plurality of structural support members.

15. An article of furniture in accordance with claim 12 further comprising a pair of arm-rest assemblies pivotally coupled between one of said forward side frame members and one of said rear side frame members, each of said pair of arm-rest assemblies comprises an arm rest coupled to a support member, said support member facilitates maintaining said forward side frame members a distance from said rear side frame members such that said forward side frame members can not touch said rear side frame members when said article of furniture is folded.

16. An article of furniture in accordance with claim 12 wherein said pair of adjustment members facilitates leveling said article of furniture with respect to the terrain beneath said article of furniture.

17. An article of furniture in accordance with claim 12 wherein said pair of said forward side frame members is also pivotally coupled to each of said adjustment member slots.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to articles of furniture, and more particularly, to foldable chairs that are adjustable to accommodate being used on varying terrain.

Spectators at outdoor events, such as sporting events, fireworks displays, and/or beachgoers, often use portable, foldable lawn furniture for seating during their time at such locations. At such locations, seating is commonly placed on grassy areas, beaches, or other terrain that may not be flat. Depending on the terrain of the ground, it may be difficult to set the furniture in a position that provides comfort to the user.

To accommodate uneven or sloped ground, at least some known portable furniture includes an adjustment mechanism that facilitates keeping the seat of the chair roughly parallel relative to the horizontal and to the ground upon which the chair is situated. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,494,333 to Wilson describes a chair which includes three or four adjustable legs. However, the number of adjustment positions is fixed, such that sloped terrain usage may be limited. Other known adjustable chairs include individually adjustable legs that are not adjustable by a seated user. In addition, other known adjustable chairs include adjustment mechanisms that are fairly complicated assemblies that are difficult to use and/or assemble, that are costly, that are positioned such that they limit an amount of folding of the chair for storage, and/or that must be manually readjusted each time the location of the chair is changed. Moreover, depending on the materials used in fabricating the adjustment mechanisms, over time the tolerances between moving components may loosen, thus reducing the effectiveness of such mechanisms.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, a chair is provided. The chair includes a pair of rear side frame members, a pair of forward side frame members, a pair of adjustment members, and a seat. The pair of rear side frame members are coupled together in a mirrored relationship. The pair of forward side frame members are coupled together in a mirrored relationship. Each of the adjustment members includes an elongate slot defined therein. Each of the forward side frame members is slidably coupled to each of the adjustment member slots. Each of the rear side frame members is pivotally coupled to an opposite end of the pair of adjustment members. The seat is suspended from the pair of rear side frame members and the pair of forward side frame members. The chair is foldable from an in-use position to a generally flat storage position.

In another aspect, a foldable article of furniture is provided. The article of furniture includes a pair of rear side frame members, a pair of forward side frame members, a pair of adjustment members, and a seat. The pair of rear side frame members are coupled together in a mirrored relationship such that the pair of rear side frame members are substantially parallel. The pair of forward side frame members are coupled together in a mirrored relationship such that the pair of forward side frame members are substantially parallel. Each of the adjustment members includes an elongate slot defined therein. Each of the forward side frame members is slidably coupled to each of the adjustment member slots at a first end of each of the pair of adjustment members, such that a radially inner surface of each of the forward side frame members is positioned adjacent a radially outer surface of each of the pair of adjustment members. Each of the rear side frame members is pivotally coupled to an opposite second end of the pair of adjustment members, such that a radially outer surface of each of the forward side frame members is positioned adjacent a radially inner surface of each of the pair of adjustment members. The seat is suspended from the pair of rear side frame members and the pair of forward side frame members, such that the pair of rear side frame members are each between the seat and each of the pair of forward side frame members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary foldable chair in an open position.

FIG. 2 is side view of the chair shown in FIG. 1 and in a closed position.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of the chair shown in FIG. 1 and taken along area 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary foldable chair 10 in an open position 12. FIG. 2 is side view of chair 10 in a closed or storage position 14. FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of chair 10. In an alternative embodiment, chair 10 includes a pair of rocker rails. Moreover, as one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, the present invention may be adapted for use with a plurality of different chairs and other furniture without departing from its scope. As such, the present invention is not limited to any particular article of furniture.

As best seen in FIG. 1, chair 10 includes a plurality of jointed members 20 that are pivotally coupled together with respect to each other. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, chair 10 includes a pair of rear side frame members 22 and a pair of forward side frame members 30. In the exemplary embodiment, the rear side frame members 22 are substantially identical, and, as described in more detail below, are oriented in a mirrored relationship with respect to each other. Similarly, in the exemplary embodiment, the forward side frame members 30 are substantially identical, and, as described in more detail below, are oriented in a mirrored relationship with respect to each other.

In the exemplary embodiment, members 22 and members 30 are coupled together by a pair of arm-support members 36 and by a pair of adjustment members 38, as described in more detail below. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, each arm-support frame member 36 is pivotally coupled to each member 30 in proximity to an upper end 40 of each member 30, and to each member 22 in proximity to a mid-point region 42 of each member 22. As used herein, the term “midpoint region 42” refers to an area of each member 22 that is approximately midway between an upper end 46 and a lower end 48 of each member 22.

Members 22 are also coupled together in the exemplary embodiment by a lower structural support member 50 and by an upper structural support member 52. More specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, structural support member 50 is fixedly secured to each member 22 at the lower end 48 of each member 22, and structural support member 52 is coupled to each member 22 at the upper end 46 of each member 22. Members 50 and 52 provide structural support to members 22 and to chair 20. Moreover, because members 50 and 52 each have approximately the same length L1, in the exemplary embodiment, members 50 and 52 facilitate maintaining members 22 in position relative to chair 20. Alternatively, members 50 and 52 may be fabricated with different lengths L1. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, members 22 are coupled to members 50 and 52 at approximately the same relative location with respect to the length L1 of members 50 and 52, such that members 50 and 52 facilitate maintaining members 22 in a spaced-apart mirrored orientation, wherein the members 22 are substantially parallel to each other and are substantially perpendicular to each member 50 and 52.

Similar to members 22, members 30 are coupled together in the exemplary embodiment by a lower structural support member 60 and by an upper structural support member 62. More specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, structural support member 60 is fixedly secured to each member 30 adjacent a lower end 64 of each member 30, and structural support member 62 is coupled to each member 30 adjacent the upper end 40 of each member 30. Members 60 and 62 provide structural support to members 30 and to chair 20. Moreover, because members 60 and 62 each have the same length L2, in the exemplary embodiment, members 60 and 62 facilitate maintaining members 30 in position relative to chair 20. Alternatively, members 60 and 62 may be fabricated with different lengths L2. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, members 30 are each coupled to members 60 and 62 at approximately the same relative location with respect to the length L1 of members 60 and 62, such that members 60 and 62 facilitate maintaining members 30 in a spaced-apart mirrored orientation, wherein the members 30 are substantially parallel to each other and are substantially perpendicular to each member 60 and 62.

In the exemplary embodiment, members 60 and 62 also facilitate maintaining members 30 in proper alignment and orientation with respect to members 22. More specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, members 30 and members 22 are oriented substantially parallel to each other and such that each member 30 is spaced a distance D1 outward from each respective member 22. Distance D1 is measured between an outer surface 70 of each respective member 22 to an inner surface 72 of each respective member 30.

In the exemplary embodiment, because members 22 are coupled a distance D1 from members 30, rear side frame members 22 are not coupled directly to front side frame members 30, but rather members 22 and members 30 are each pivotally coupled to arm-support member 36 and to adjustment members 38, as described in more detail below. As such, members 22 and members 30 may move, relative to each other, without contacting each other. More specifically, each rear side frame member 22 is rotatably coupled to an aft end 80 of each arm-support member 36 at a pivot point 82 and is also rotatably coupled to a forward end 84 of each adjustment member 38 at a pivot point 86. Moreover in the exemplary embodiment, each front side frame member 30 is rotatably coupled to a forward end 90 of each arm-support member 36 at a pivot point 92 and is slidably and rotably coupled at an adjustment coupler point 93, as described in more detail below, located adjacent an aft end 94 of each adjustment member 38.

In the exemplary embodiment, a seat 100 fabricated from a sheet of flexible material, such as a cloth material, is suspended from chair 10. Specifically, an upper end 102 of seat 100 is suspended from upper structural support member 52, and a lower end 104 of seat 100 is suspended from lower structural support member 62. More specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, each seat end 102 and 104 is folded about its respective structural support member 52 and 62, and is then coupled to itself, such as through a sewing process. Alternatively, seat 100 may be coupled to each support member 52 and 62 using any coupling method that enables seat 100 to function as described herein. Moreover, seat 100 may be fabricated from any material that enables chair 10 to function as described herein. In the exemplary embodiment, seat 100 is suspended between a pair of arm rests 110 that are each coupled to a respective arm-support member 36.

As best illustrated in FIG. 3, each front side frame member 30 is slidably and rotably coupled at an adjustment coupler point 93 that is located adjacent to an aft end 94 of each adjustment member 38. More specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, each adjustment member 38 includes a coupling slot 120 formed therein that extends from an outer surface 122 to an inner surface 124 of each member 38. In the exemplary embodiment, each slot 120 is substantially linear and is formed with a substantially constant height h1 that extends along the full length L3 of each slot 120. Slot length L3 is measured in the exemplary embodiment between opposed ends 125 and 127 of slot 120. Moreover, in the exemplary embodiment, each slot 120 is substantially centered within each respective member 38. In an alternative embodiment, slot 120 may have any non-linear shape, such as, but not limited to, a stepped shape, that enables chair 10 to function as described herein. Moreover, in an alternative embodiment, each slot 120 may be defined at any location within each member 38. In another alternative embodiment, a plurality of slots 120 may be defined within each member 38.

In the exemplary embodiment, member 22 is rotatably coupled to each arm-support member 36, at pivot point 82, and to each adjustment member 38, at pivot point 86, with a mechanical faster 130. Moreover in the exemplary embodiment, each front side frame member 30 is coupled to each arm-support member 36, at pivot point 92, and to each adjustment member 38, at adjustment coupler point 93, with mechanical fastener assemblies 130. For example, in the exemplary embodiment, mechanical fastener assemblies 130 include rounded bolt heads 132 and washer/nuts 134. Alternatively, any other suitable fastener mechanism that enables chair 10 to function as described herein may be used.

In particular, as best illustrated in FIG. 3, with respect to adjustment coupler point 93, the bolts 132 are inserted through slots 120 such that the rounded heads 136 of the bolts 132 are adjacent the inner surface 124 of each member 38. Moreover, because each bolt head 136 has a diameter D2 that is larger than slot height h1, bolts 132 are prevented from sliding through slot 120. Bolts 132 are then maintained in slidable contact within slots 120 by nuts 134. Specifically, with respect to coupler point 93, when adjustment member 38 is moved, each bolt 132, when secured within slot 120, is slidable between the opposed ends 125 and 127 of slot 120, and chair members 22 and 30 are rotatably coupled at each pivot point 82, 92, 86, 93, and 94, about each fastener assembly 130.

During use, when a user is seated on chair 10, in a location of substantially even terrain, the bolts 132 within each adjustment slot 120 typically remain generally centered within each slot 120 with respect to the length L3 of slot 120. Moreover, in such a seated orientation, when the user selectively shifts their weight forward and aft, the adjustment slots 120 facilitate imparting a rocking chair motion to chair 10. Alternatively, when a user is using chair 10 on a location of sloped or non-even terrain, slots 120 facilitate “leveling” chair 10. Specifically, slots 120 may enable the lower ends 48 of members 22 to be supported at an terrain elevation that is lower than the elevation of the terrain supporting the lower ends 64 of members 30, or vice-versa, without causing the relative orientation of seat 100 to be significantly altered as compared to when chair 10 is used on substantially level terrain. As a result, the tendency of chair 10 to be inadvertently tipped over by a seated user is facilitated to be reduced in comparison to chairs not including such adjustment members 38.

When chair 10 is folded for storage into folded position 14, slots 120 facilitate enabling members 22 and 30 to be positioned substantially parallel to each other, such that each member 30 is radially inward from each member 22. As such, slots 120 facilitate chair 10 being folded into a substantially “flatter” storage position 14 than is generally possible with other sling style foldable chairs. Moreover, during folding for storage into position 14, structural support member 52 facilitates preventing the over-rotation of member 30 with respect to member 22.

Exemplary embodiments of foldable furniture including adjustment slots are described in detail above. The adjustment slots described herein are not limited for use with the chair described herein, but rather, the adjustment slots can be utilized independently and separately from other chair components described herein. Moreover, the invention is not limited to the embodiments of the chair described above in detail. Rather, the present invention may be used with other variations of foldable furniture within the spirit and scope of the claims.

While the invention has been described in terms of various specific embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the claims.