Title:
Rocking Chair Mechanism
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rocking chair mechanism (I) comprising a rotating rocker (2), a stationary support (3), a springing means (4), an upper assembly (5), and a lower assembly (6), such that rotating (rocker 2) and springing means (4) are laterally integrated. Rocking chair mechanism (1) is an independent unit that can be manufactured separately then supplied to rocking chair manufacturers for incorporation into rocking chairs such as rocking chair (7). Alternatively, a rocking chair such as rocking chair (7) can be constructed using a laterally integrated rocking chair mechanism within each arm.



Inventors:
Abolkheir, Mohamed (Bristol, GB)
Application Number:
12/864813
Publication Date:
12/09/2010
Filing Date:
12/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GABLER, PHILIP F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Office of Michael D. Eisenberg (Encinitas, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A rocking chair mechanism for incorporation within the arm of a chair, comprising a rotating rocker, and a springing means such that the rotating rocker and the springing means are laterally integrated.

2. A rocking chair, comprising a stationary base and a seat having two arms within each of which there is a rocking chair mechanism that comprises a rotating rocker and a springing means such that the rotating rocker and the springing means are laterally integrated.

3. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which there is also a curved stationary support.

4. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which there is also a curved stationary support.

5. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2 wherein the bottoms of the arms of the rocking chair are at least 15 cm above floor level.

6. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the springing means is extension springing means.

7. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the springing means is extension springing means.

8. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the springing means is compression springing means.

9. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the springing means is compression springing means.

10. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the springing means is a combination of compression springing means and extension springing means.

11. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the springing means is a combination of compression springing means and extension springing means.

12. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the rotating rocker is a fixed wheel.

13. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the rotating rocker is a fixed wheel.

14. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the rotating rocker is a fixed roller.

15. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the rotating rocker is a fixed roller.

16. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 3, in which the rotating rocker is at least one rotatable wheel.

17. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 4, in which the rotating rocker is at least one rotatable wheel.

18. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 3, in which the rotating rocker is at least one rotatable roller.

19. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 4, in which the rotating rocker is at least one rotatable roller.

20. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the rotating rocker is part of a ball bearing.

21. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the rotating rocker is part of a ball bearing.

22. A rocking chair mechanism as claimed in claim 1, in which the rotating rocker is part of a roller bearing.

23. A rocking chair as claimed in claim 2, in which the rotating rocker is part of a roller bearing.

24. 24-29. (canceled)

Description:

The present invention relates to a laterally-slim, arm-incorporated rocking chair mechanism.

Spring-assisted rocking chairs are well-known, in which a seat (that normally consists of a supporting surface on which the sitter sits, a back rest and two arms, collectively referred to as “seat”) having rotating bearers (commonly known as “rockers”) is unstably mounted on a stationary base, using springing means to achieve stability and to sustain the traditional oscillating rocking chair movement, such as the rocking chair illustrated in FIG. 1 and the rocking chair mechanism illustrated in FIG. 2.

In EP 1211967 the rotating rockers are raised a long way from floor level and located within the arms of the chair, which provides a solution for the safety hazard of fingers or toes being pinched by the exposed rotating rocker and stationary base, and also provides the design advantage of being able to design open-base rocking chairs—which have a more modern look—as opposed to boxed or skirted chairs.

However, traditionally the springing means are connected to the side of the rotating rocker, as illustrated in FIG. 2, in which case the cubic space of the rotating rocker is laterally attached to the cubic space of the springing means. Normally, this is not a problem but if the rotating rocker and the springing means are located within the arm of the chair—side by side—the width of each arm would have to be wide enough to incorporate the width of the rotating rocker and the width of the springing means, which adds up to the overall width of the chair. Although the issue of the overall width of the chair can be aesthetically designed around with relative ease, there are other impractical inconveniences, for example the chair taking up more space during transportation than otherwise, which adds to the cost, or the chair being relatively difficult to carry through narrow doorways.

An object of the present invention is to provide a solution as claimed in Claims 1, and 2.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a traditional rocking chair mechanism that consists of a rotating rocker A, a stationary base B and a springing means C.

All subsequent Figures relate to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of one possible way of constructing the invention, illustrating rocking chair mechanism 1 that consists of a rotating rocker 2, a stationary support 3, a springing means 4, an upper assembly 5, and a lower assembly 6. Springing means 4 are illustrated here as two extension springs. To increase the ease of the rocking chair movement, preferably, stationary support 3 is curved.

FIG. 4 is a frontal elevation of the same rocking chair mechanism as in FIG. 3. As illustrated, the cubic space of rotating rocker 2 and the cubic space of springing means 4 are laterally integrated, hence considerably reducing the width of the rocking chair mechanism. Although FIG. 4 illustrates a mechanism in which the vertical axis of rotating rocker 2 and the vertical axis of springing means 4 are in one plane, this is not necessary but is only a preferred option as it maximizes lateral integration, and alternatively they can be in two different planes, as long as there is a degree of lateral integration between the cubic space of rotating rocker 2 and the cubic space of springing means 4, as opposed to being side-by-side as illustrated in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the same rocking chair mechanism as in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic perspective of a rocking chair 7, that incorporates two laterally integrated rocking chair mechanisms 1 (one mechanism within each of the two arms) by connecting each upper assembly 5 to seat 7a and connecting each lower assembly 6 to stationary base 7b, so that seat 7a can move (along with upper assembly 5 and rotating rocker 2) in relation to stationary base 7b (and lower assembly 6 and stationary support 3). As illustrated, the chair has an open-base (as opposed to boxed or skirted chairs) and the bottoms of the arms 7c are noticeably above floor level.

FIGS. 7 to 20 are side views of different other ways of constructing the invention.

In FIG. 7 the springing means consist of compression spring 4a and extension spring 4b.

FIG. 8 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 7, except that the axis of each spring is angled to accommodate the direction of movement.

FIG. 9 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 3, except that stationary support 3 is not curved but is a flat surface that is shown here as being sloped downwards (towards the back rest).

FIG. 10 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 3, except that rotating rocker 2 is not curved but is a flat surface.

FIG. 11 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 3, except that the springing means consists of two compression springs 4a.

FIG. 12 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 7, except that compression spring 4a is not connected to upper assembly 5, and therefore only comes into action as a result of the weight of the sitter.

FIG. 13 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanisms in FIGS. 7 and 12, except that springing means 4a is a nest of two springs, the lower of the two of which only comes into action as a result of the weight of the sitter being above a given weight, to be determined by the designer.

FIG. 14 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 3, except that the curve of rotating rocker 2 is roughly a quarter of a circle, whose diameter is relatively small.

FIG. 15 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanisms in FIGS. 3 and 14, except that the curve of rotating rocker 2 is roughly half a circle, whose diameter is relatively small. It should be noted that the active part of the surface of rotating rocker 2 is only roughly a quarter of a circle (more or less the same as in FIG. 14).

FIG. 16 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanisms in FIGS. 3, 14 and 15, except that rotating rocker 2 is shown as a complete circle—which can be a wheel or a roller—whose diameter is relatively small. Two things need to be highlighted here. First, the active part of the surface of rotating rocker 2 is only roughly a quarter of a circle (more or less the same as in FIGS. 14 and 15). Second, the circumference of the wheel or the roller is fixed in relation to its centre and as such the wheel or the roller is not used as a wheel or a roller (whose circumference rotates around its centre) but only as a curved surface. The primary reason for considering the use of a wheel or a roller in such a manner is simply as a convenient way of reducing manufacturing costs by using off-the-shelf mass-produced wheels or rollers instead of manufacturing rotating rocker 2 as a special component.

In FIG. 17 rotating rocker 2 is shown as a circle, which can be a wheel or a roller (similar to FIG. 16), except that here the circumference of the wheel or the roller is free to rotate around its centre, and therefore the wheel or the roller is used as a wheel or a roller that moves on the curved surface of stationary support 3. The illustration also shows wheel/roller bracket 8, compression spring 4a and extension spring 4b.

FIG. 18 is an illustration of a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 17, except that both compression spring 4a and extension spring 4b are fixed in horizontal positions. The illustration also shows block 9a which is connected to upper assembly 5 and block 9b, which is connected to lower assembly 6, both of which blocks provide a firm forward stop when the sitter leans forward to vacate the chair.

In both the mechanisms that are illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 18, the rotation of the seat is achieved by the movement of the wheel or the roller in relation to stationary support 3, which in this case must be curved as illustrated, otherwise the movement of the seat will be linear and therefore make the chair a gliding chair rather than a rocking chair, whose movement is—by definition—rotational. Given that the rotation of the seat in this case is created—solely—by the curve of stationary support 3, it is also possible to have more than one wheel or roller acting—collectively—as rotating rocker 2 and moving in relation to stationary support 3.

In FIG. 19 rotating rocker 2 is the outer circumference of a ball or roller bearing and stationary support 3 is the inner circumference of the same ball or roller bearing. Also illustrated are housing 10 that connects rotating rocker 2 to upper assembly 5, bracket 11 that connects stationary support 3 to lower assembly 6, compression spring 4a and extension spring 4b.

Alternatively, when a ball or a roller bearing is used the designer will have the option of using the inner circumference of the bearing as rotating rocker 2 and consequently connect it to upper assembly 5 and the outer circumference of the bearing as stationary support 3 and consequently connect it to lower assembly 6.

Although it is traditional for the rotating rocker to be curved at both ends—such as rotating rocker A in FIG. 2—this is not actually necessary and may even be perceived as inconvenient by some chair users. The reason is that the rocking chair movement is mainly required when the sitter is sitting back in the seat i.e. the backward and forward rocking chair movement is mainly required—and is enjoyed most—between a point where the sitter is sitting substantially upright or slightly reclined and another point further back. However, when the sitter starts to lean forward to vacate the chair it may be inconvenient for her/him if the rocking chair movement is also accessible.

This is why FIGS. 3, 5 and 7-19 illustrate a mechanism that provides a restricted range for the rocking chair movement and a firm forward stop when the sitter leans forward to vacate the chair. Such a firm forward stop is achieved in one or more way. Having extension springing means in front of the movement means that when the sitter leans forward to vacate the chair the extension springing means will become completely closed and will provide a firm stop. In the cases where there is no extension springing means in front of the movement, straight extensions can be added to rotating rocker 2 and to stationary support 3 so that the straight extensions will provide a firm forward stop, for example as in FIG. 11. Such straight extensions can also be used even if there are extension springing means in front of the movement, for example as in FIGS. 3, 5, 7-10 12-14. In the cases where there is neither extension springing means in front of the movement nor a possibility of adding straight extensions to rotating rocker 2 and to stationary support 3, two blocks can be used to achieve the same effect, for example as illustrated in FIG. 18.

As indicated above, it may be inconvenient for the sitter if the rocking chair movement is accessible when she/he leans forward to vacate the chair. Nevertheless, if the designer has a reason why the rocking chair movement should also be accessible when the sitter is leaning forward, then assemblies 5 and 6 can easily be of such extended length that another set of rotating rocker 2 and stationary support 3 can be located on the other side of springing means 4. Furthermore, there is the option of having rotating rocker 2 manufactured as one component of extended length that has a cut out roughly in the middle for springing means 4 to be located inside, and similarly having stationary support 3 manufactured as one component of extended length that has a cut out roughly in the middle for springing means 4 to be located inside. Such an alternative approach is shown in FIG. 20, which illustrates a mechanism similar to the mechanism in FIG. 3, except that rotating rocker 2 and stationary support 3 are of such extended length that they provide a continuous surface that allows the rocking chair movement when the sitter is leaning forward as well as when sitting substantially upright or reclining. As illustrated, springing means 4 are located inside a cut out in both rotating rocker 2 and stationary support 3.

Rocking chair mechanism 1, which is illustrated in FIGS. 3-5 and 7-20, is an independent unit that can be manufactured separately then supplied to rocking chair manufacturers to be incorporated into their rocking chairs. Alternatively, a laterally integrated rocking chair mechanism can be part of the construction of the rocking chair itself. In either case, stationary support 3, lower assembly 6 and upper assembly 5 are all preferred options, as suitable springing means 4 can be directly attached to both a specially adapted stationary base (such as chair base 7b in FIG. 6) and to a specially adapted seat (such as seat 7a in FIG. 6), with rotating rocker 2 being attached directly to seat 7a so that it can move directly onto stationary base 7b.

FIGS. 3, 5, 7-12 and 14-20 show a pair of springs in each mechanism. Alternatively, it is possible to use one spring of suitable strength or three or more springs of equivalent strength in various alternative vertical and horizontal arrangements. Other types of springing means can be used such as torsion, clock or waive springing means. The rotational movement can be achieved by virtue of a variety of mechanical means, including but not limited to: bearers (such as traditional rocking chair rotating bearers), hinges, pivots, pin-assemblies, bearings (including ball, roller, or air bearings), continuously variable joints and other forms of rotary joints or coupling.