Title:
Reconfigurable Rocking Chair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present disclosure describes a rocking chair reconfigurable between multiple configurations and rocking motions. The chair comprises upper and lower portions, a lockable/releasable swivel assembly that relatively rotates the upper and lower portions between first and second configurations, and multiple lockable/releasable leg end repositioning assemblies that change the chair's leg end positions relative to the chair's runners between first and second configurations. In the first configuration, the chair's back is generally perpendicular to the runners' longitudinal direction, the leg ends are positioned in first positions relative to the runners' end-to-end midpoint, and the rocking motion moves a user forward and backward in a traditional, first rocking motion. In the second configuration, the chair's back is generally parallel to the runners' longitudinal direction, the leg ends are positioned in second positions relative to the runners' end-to-end midpoint, and the rocking motion moves a user side-to-side in a non-traditional, second rocking motion.



Inventors:
Hagan, William R. (Winchester, VA, US)
Deverill, Shane M. (Peachtree City, GA, US)
Application Number:
15/450676
Publication Date:
06/22/2017
Filing Date:
03/06/2017
Assignee:
Hagan William R.
Deverill Shane M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C3/025; A47C3/029; A47C3/18
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080012410BUILT-UP INFLATABLE SOFAJanuary, 2008Chang
20150137574WORK-ASSIST DEVICESMay, 2015Meyer
20110043028SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROTECTING A LEG OF A PASSENGER IN A COMMON CARRIERFebruary, 2011Basile
20020135219Portable hip-abducting seat support and methodSeptember, 2002Rogers
20120098307PORTABLE AMUSEMENT PARK DEVICEApril, 2012Whittington et al.
20120228918Vehicle Seat With Function of Absorbing Volatile SubstancesSeptember, 2012Takahashi et al.
20090045662Head Rest for SeatFebruary, 2009Mcmillen et al.
20080079291FOLDING HIGH CHAIRApril, 2008Cheng
20030057746Stool for a musicianMarch, 2003Laroche
20150321589SEAT DEVICENovember, 2015Takei et al.
20030222494Seat for patrol vehicleDecember, 2003Mallery



Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A reconfigurable rocking chair comprising: an upper portion; a lower portion; a swivel assembly operable to rotate said upper portion relative to said lower portion.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates, generally, to the field of furniture and, more particularly, to the field of rocking chairs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Rocking chairs have been manufactured and used for many years. Traditionally, most rocking chairs have a seat, a back, a pair of arms, legs, and a pair of opposed runners. The legs typically connect between the seat and the runners, with each runner having an arcuate shape extending longitudinally forward and backward in partial contact with a surface on which the runners and rocking chair rest. Such rocking chairs move a user sitting in the rocking chair in a gentle forward and backward rocking motion in response to the user alternately applying and removing a force on the chair's back that causes portions of the chair's runners to successively engage and disengage the surface beneath the runners. The gentle forward and backward rocking motion provides the user with a soothing, relaxing sensation and may cause the user (or, for example, an infant held by the user) to become so relaxed that he/she falls asleep.

For many users, the traditional configuration and gentle forward and backward rocking motion of a conventional rocking chair is satisfactory. However, other users may find the traditional configuration and gentle forward and backward rocking motion to be boring and may desire a rocking chair having a different configuration and/or a different rocking motion. Still other users may find the traditional configuration and gentle forward and backward rocking motion to be satisfactory some times, but may desire a rocking chair with a different configuration and/or a different rocking motion at other times. Therefore, there is a need in the industry for a rocking chair having a different configuration than traditional rocking chairs and that provides a different rocking motion during use, and that solves these and other difficulties, shortcomings, or problems of current technology.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Broadly described, the present invention comprises a reconfigurable rocking chair that has multiple configurations, multiple rocking motions, and that is reconfigurable between multiple configurations and rocking motions in response to user input. In accordance with an example embodiment described herein, the reconfigurable rocking chair comprises an upper portion, a lower portion, and a lockable/releasable swivel assembly mounted between the upper and lower portions such that the rocking chair's upper portion is rotatable relative to the rocking chair's lower portion about a generally vertical axis between a first configuration and a second configuration. In the first configuration, the upper and lower portions are configured relative to one another such that a perpendicular extending from the seat side of the chair's back extends in a direction generally parallel to the longitudinal direction of the chair's runners and the chair's rocking motion moves a user forward and backward in a traditional, first rocking motion. In such first configuration, the rocking chair's leg ends are positioned in first positions relative to the end-to-end midpoint of the chair's runners with the first leg ends farthest from such midpoint and the second leg ends nearest such midpoint, thereby orienting the chair's center of gravity farther away from the midpoint of the chair's runners and nearer the runner's first ends and more easily enabling the rocking chair to move the user forward and backward. In the second configuration, the upper and lower portions are configured such that a perpendicular extending from the seat side of the chair's back extends in a direction generally perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of the chair's runners and the chair's rocking motion moves a user side-to-side in a non-traditional, second rocking motion. In such second configuration, the rocking chair's leg ends are positioned in second positions relative to the end-to-end midpoint of the chair's runners with the first and second leg ends substantially equidistant from such midpoint, thereby orienting the chair's center of gravity in general alignment with the midpoint of the chair's runners and more easily enabling the rocking chair to move the user side-to-side.

As described herein with respect to the example embodiment, the rocking chair's lockable/releasable swivel assembly comprises upper and lower mounting plates defining respective races that receive a plurality of bearings therein, thereby enabling and permitting relative rotation between the upper and lower mounting plates (and, hence, relation rotation between the chair's upper and lower portions) while supporting and transferring loads. The rocking chair's lockable/releasable swivel assembly further comprises a latch subassembly for locking the chair's upper and lower portions relative to one another when in the first or second configurations and for releasing the chair's upper and lower portions from one another so as to permit reconfiguration of the rocking chair (and repositioning of the chair's upper and lower portions relative to one another) between the first and second configurations.

As also described herein with respect to the example embodiment, the rocking chair's lower portion comprises multiple lockable/releasable leg end repositioning assemblies for, respectively, locking the leg ends of each chair leg in first and second positions relative to the runners when the rocking chair is, respectively, in the first and second configurations and for releasing the leg ends to permit repositioning of the leg ends between their first and second positions (and, hence, reconfiguring of the rocking chair between the chair's first and second configurations). The lockable/releasable leg end repositioning assemblies each comprise multiple guides, multiple roller subassemblies, and an actuator mechanism that are operative in response to user input to lock, release and reposition the rocking chair's leg ends relative to the chair's runners.

Advantageously, the reconfigurable rocking chair is operable to move a user in a traditional, forward and backward, first rocking motion or in a non-traditional, side-to-side, second rocking motion. Also advantageously, the rocking chair's lockable/releasable swivel assembly and lockable/releasable leg end repositioning assemblies enable easy and rapid reconfiguration of the rocking chair in response to user input between first and second configurations corresponding, respectively, to such first and second rocking motions, thereby allowing a user to select and change between desired rocking motions.

Other uses, advantages and benefits of the present invention may become apparent upon reading and understanding the present specification when taken in conjunction with the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 displays a perspective view of a reconfigurable rocking chair in a first configuration in accordance with an example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 displays an elevational view of the reconfigurable rocking chair of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 displays an elevational view of the reconfigurable rocking chair in a second configuration in accordance with the example embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 displays a partial, perspective view of an undercarriage of the reconfigurable rocking chair of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 displays a partial, perspective view of the undercarriage of the reconfigurable rocking chair of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 displays a partial, perspective view of a leg end repositioning assembly of the undercarriage of the reconfigurable rocking chair.

FIG. 7 displays an exploded view of an actuator mechanism of the leg end repositioning assembly of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 displays an exploded view of a first roller assembly of the leg end repositioning assembly of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 displays an exploded view of a second roller assembly of the leg end repositioning assembly of FIGS. 4 and 5.

FIG. 10 displays an exploded view of the swivel assembly of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings in which like numerals represent like elements or steps throughout the several views, FIG. 1 displays a perspective view of a reconfigurable rocking chair 100 in a first configuration in accordance with an example embodiment. The reconfigurable rocking chair 100 (also sometimes referred to herein as the “rocking chair 100” or “chair 100”) has an upper portion 102, a lower portion 104, and a lockable/releasable swivel assembly 106 fixedly mounted to and substantially between the upper and lower portions 102, 104 such that the upper and lower portions 102, 104 are rotatable about a generally vertical axis 108 (see FIG. 2) relative to one another. Through such rotation, the rocking chair 100 is reconfigurable in a first configuration (as seen in FIG. 1 and in the elevational view of FIG. 2) and a second configuration (as seen in the elevational view of FIG. 3). In the first configuration, comprising what most persons would consider to be a conventional rocking chair configuration, the upper and lower portions 102, 104 are in a non-rotated relationship such that a user sitting in the rocking chair 100 faces generally in a direction defined by the longitudinal direction (indicated by arrow 110) in which the chair's runners 150 extend and the rocking chair 100 moves the user in a traditional, forward and backward, first rocking motion. In the second configuration, the upper and lower portions 102, 104 are rotated ninety (90) degrees relative to one another about vertical axis 108 in a rotated relationship such that a user sitting in the rocking chair 100 faces generally in a direction substantially perpendicular (indicated by arrow 112) to the longitudinal direction in which the runners 150 extend and the rocking chair 100 moves the user in a non-traditional, side-to-side, second rocking motion.

The chair's upper portion 102 has a seat 114, back 116, arm member 118 and opposed frame members 120. Each frame member 120 defines a generally “L-shape” having a short leg 122 and a long leg 124 extending substantially perpendicular to the short leg 122. The seat 114 is securely mounted atop the short legs 122 of the opposed frame members 120 and has an upper surface 126 that is contoured for a user to sit comfortably thereon. The back 116 extends and is securely connected to and between the long legs 124 of the opposed frame members 120. The back 116 has an upper stretcher 128 and a vertically opposed lower stretcher 130 that each extend between the long legs 124 of the frame members 120. The upper and lower stretchers 128, 130 have a generally arcuate shape when viewed in top plan view so as to comfortably receive a user's back thereagainst during use. A plurality of spindles 132 extend between the upper and lower stretchers 128, 130 to provide support for a user's back.

The arm member 118 comprises a generally “U-shaped” member when viewed in top plan view and has first and second ends 134, 136. The arm member 118 extends behind and adjacent to the lower stretcher 130 and is fixedly secured to the lower stretcher 130 such that a first arm member portion 138 extends proximate a first edge 140 of the rocking chair's seat 114 and a second arm member portion 142 extends proximate a second edge 144 of the rocking chair's seat 114. The first and second arm member portions 138, 142 are vertically elevated relative to the seat 114 such that a user may comfortably rest his/her arms atop and on the first and second arm member portions 138, 142. Grips 146, 148 are secured, respectively, to the first and second arm member portions 138, 142 near the first and second ends 134, 136 of the arm member 118 to provide a user with handholds that may be gripped by the user's hands when entering, exiting or using the rocking chair 100.

The lower portion 104 (also, perhaps, referred to herein as the “undercarriage 104”) of the rocking chair 100 comprises a pair of runners 150A, 150B and a pair of legs 152A, 152B that extend, respectively, between the runners 150A, 150B and the chair's lockable/releasable swivel assembly 106. Each runner 150 has a first end 154 and an opposed second 156 distant from the first end 154, with each runner 150 extending longitudinally between the first and second ends 154, 156 thereof. Each runner 150 also has an upper surface 158 and a lower surface 160 generally opposed to the upper surface 158. The lower surface 160 of each runner 150 substantially defines an arcuate shape between the first and second ends 154, 156 thereof such that a portion of the lower surface 160 of each runner 150 is always in contact with a surface beneath the rocking chair 100 as the rocking chair 100 moves in a rocking motion. Stretchers 162 extend laterally between and are fixedly secured to the runners 150, and maintain the geometrical relationship and orientation of each runner 150 relative to the other runner 150.

Each leg 152 of the rocking chair's lower portion 104 has first and second ends 170, 172 and comprises a first descending segment 174, a second descending segment 176, and an intermediate segment 178 extending between the first and second ends 170, 172. The intermediate segment 178 of each leg 152 extends between and joins the leg's first and second descending segments 174, 176. Each leg 152 is associated and works operatively with a respective runner 150. The first end 170 of each leg 152 is located near the first end 154 of the respective runner 150 with which the leg 152 is operative. The second end 172 of each leg 152 is located near the second end 156 of the respective runner 150 with which the leg 152 is operative.

Additionally, the lower portion 104 of the rocking chair 100 comprises lockable/releasable leg end repositioning assemblies 180 that are operable to move the first and second ends 170, 172 of the legs 152 between first and second positions respectively associated with the rocking chair's first and second configurations. Each lockable/releasable leg end repositioning assembly 180 (also sometimes referred to herein as a “leg end repositioning assembly 180” or “assembly 180”) is uniquely associated and operable with a particular runner 150 and leg 152. Each leg end repositioning assembly 180 includes first and second guides 182, 184 for its associated runner 150. The first guide 182 is fixedly attached to the upper surface 158 of the assembly's associated runner 150 at a location generally near the runner's first end 154.

The first guide 182 is positioned at the same distance from the runner's first end 154 as the first guide 182 associated with the chair's other runner 150 such that the first guides 182 are laterally opposed to one another. The second guide 184 is fixedly attached to the upper surface 158 of the assembly's associated runner 150 at a location generally near the runner's second end 156. The second guide 184 is positioned at the same distance from the runner's second end 156 as the second guide 184 associated with the other runner 150 such that, similar to the first guides 182, the second guides 184 are laterally opposed to one another.

Each first guide 182 comprises an elongate inboard leg 186 and an elongate outboard leg 188 laterally opposed and parallel to the inboard leg 186 (see also, FIG. 4 in which the first and second ends 170, 172 of the legs 152 are positioned in their first position corresponding to the chair's first configuration and FIG. 5 in which the first and second ends 170, 172 of the legs 152 are positioned in their second position corresponding to the chair's second configuration). The inboard and outboard legs 186, 188 protrude in a generally upward direction from a runner's upper surface 158 and are separated laterally by a distance sufficient to snugly receive a first roller assembly 240 (described below) therebetween. The inboard legs 186 are nearest the stretchers 162, while the outboard legs 188 are farthest from the stretchers 162.

Each first guide 182 has a first end 190 located nearest a runner's first end 154 and a second end 192 distant from the first end 190. The inboard legs 186 define first and second holes 194, 196 extending in the lateral direction therethrough, with the first hole 194 being proximate the guide's first end 190 and the second hole 196 being proximate the guide's second end 192. The outboard legs 188 define a slot 198 extending therethrough in the lateral direction and having a first end 200 near the guide's first end 190 and a second end 202 near the guide's second end 192. The locations of the first and second holes 194, 196 are defined to correspond, respectively, with the first and second ends 200, 202 of the guide's slot 198 such that a retractable pin 288 (described below) extending through the first hole 194 also extends through the slot 198 near the slot's first end 200 and a retractable pin 288 (described below) extending through the second hole 196 also extends through the slot 198 near the slot's second end 202.

Similar to each first guide 182, each second guide 184 comprises an elongate inboard leg 210 and an elongate outboard leg 212 laterally opposed and parallel to the inboard leg 210. The inboard and outboard legs 210, 212 protrude in a generally upward direction from a runner's upper surface 158 and are separated laterally by a distance sufficient to snugly receive a second roller assembly 300 therebetween. The inboard legs 210 are nearest the stretchers 162, while the outboard legs 212 are farthest from the stretchers 162. Each second guide 184 has a first end 214 located nearest a runner's first end 154 and a second end 216 distant from the first end 214. The inboard legs 210 define a slot 218 extending laterally therethrough and having a first end 220 near the guide's first end 214 and a second end 222 near the guide's second end 216. Similarly, the outboard legs 212 define a slot 224 extending laterally therethrough and having a first end 226 near the guide's first end 214 and a second end 228 near the guide's second end 216. The slots 218, 224 are configured substantially parallel to one another such that the first end 220 of slot 218 corresponds to the first end 226 of slot 224 and the second end 222 of slot 218 corresponds to the second end 228 of slot 224.

Each leg end repositioning assembly 180 also includes a first roller assembly 240 attached to each first descending segment 174 of each leg 152. As illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, each first roller assembly 240 comprises a foot 242 coupled at the first end 170 of each leg 152 and in which a roller 244 is mounted for rotation about a laterally extending axis through hole 246. The foot 242 and roller 244 are sized so as to fit laterally between the inboard and outboard legs 186, 188 of a first guide 182, thereby enabling rolling of the roller 244 between the inboard and outboard legs 186, 188 atop and relative to the upper surface 158 of a respective runner 150 and enabling translation of the first end 170 of the respective leg 152 relative to the upper surface 158 of the respective runner 150. The foot 242 defines a hole 246 extending laterally through the foot 242 for receiving a retractable pin 288 therein.

Each leg end repositioning assembly 180 additionally includes an actuator mechanism 260 (as seen in FIGS. 1, 4, 5 and 8) operable for locking the assembly's first roller assembly 240 relative to its respective first guide 182 and runner 150 in a first position (see FIGS. 2 and 4) in which the rocking chair 100 is in its first configuration (see FIGS. 1 and 2), for locking the assembly's first roller assembly 240 relative to its respective first guide 182 and runner 150 in a second position (see FIGS. 3 and 5) in which the rocking chair 100 is in its second configuration (see FIG. 3), and for releasing the assembly's first roller assembly 240 for repositioning and reconfiguration of the first roller assembly 240 between its first and second positions (and, hence, reconfiguration of the rocking chair 100 between its first and second configurations). The actuator mechanism 260 is also operable for permitting repositioning and reconfiguration of the assembly's second roller assembly 300 (described below) relative to its second guide 184 between the second roller assembly's first position (see FIGS. 2 and 4) and second position (see FIGS. 3 and 5) which correspond, respectively, to the first roller assembly's first position and second position.

Each actuator mechanism 260 has a mounting bracket 262 attached to and partially about the outboard side of the first descending segment 174 of a respective leg 152 via fasteners 264. The mounting bracket 262 has an outwardly protruding clevis 266, with each clevis prong 268 defining an aperture 270 coaxially-aligned with an opposed aperture 270 of the other clevis prong 268. Each actuator mechanism 260 also has a lever arm 272 pivotally mounted to the mounting bracket 262. The lever arm 272 has a first end 274 and a second end 276 distant from the first end 274, and has a tang 278 protruding intermediate the lever arm's first and second ends 274, 276. The tang 278 defines an aperture 280 extending therethrough which receives a clevis pin 282 to pivotally couple the tang 278 (and, hence, the lever arm 272) to the clevis 266 between the clevis prongs 268. A biasing member 284 is mounted about the clevis pin 282 and between the tang 278 and clevis 266. The biasing member 284 biases the lever arm 272 relative to the mounting bracket 262 such that, when no force is applied to the lever arm 272, the lever arm's first end 274 tends to reside in a position farthest from the outboard side of the first descending segment 174 of a respective leg 152 and the lever arm's second end 276 tends to reside in a position nearest the outboard side of the first descending segment 174 of the respective leg 152. A cap 286 is secured to the lever arm 272 at the lever arm's first end 274 for receiving a user's hand and a force applied to the lever arm 272 by the user's hand.

The lever arm 272 has a laterally-extending, retractable pin 288 secured to the lever arm 272 at the lever arm's second end 276 via a ball and socket coupling 290 formed by a ball 292 of the lever arm 272 and a socket 294 of the retractable pin 288. The ball and socket coupling 290 allows the retractable pin 288 to move relative to the lever arm 272 as needed during reconfiguration of the respective first roller assembly 240. The retractable pin 288 has a shank 296 sized to fit through the slot 198 of a respective first guide's outboard leg 188, through the hole 246 in the assembly's foot 242, and through the first and second holes 194, 196 (albeit not through both the first and second holes 194, 196 at the same time) of the respective first guide's inboard leg 186. When the retractable pin 288 resides within the first hole 194 of the respective first guide's inboard leg 186 (see FIG. 4), the rocking chair 100 is configured in its first configuration (see FIGS. 1, 2 and 4). When the retractable pin 288 resides within the second hole 196 of the respective first guide's inboard leg 186 (see FIG. 5), the rocking chair 100 is configured in its second configuration (see FIGS. 3 and 5). The biasing member 284 exerts a biasing force tending to maintain the retractable pin 288 in its then current position (and, hence, tends to maintain the first roller assembly 240 and rocking chair 100 in their then current configuration), but permits a user to apply a force to the cap 286 and lever arm's first end 274 in a direction generally toward the rocking chair 100 and sufficient to overcome the biasing force in order to retract the retractable pin 288 from the first or second hole 194, 196 of the respective first guide's inboard leg 186 during repositioning of the respective first roller assembly 240 relative to the respective first guide 182 and reconfiguration of the rocking chair 100.

In addition to each leg end repositioning assembly 180 including a first roller assembly 240 attached to each first descending segment 174 of each leg 152 as described above, each leg end repositioning assembly 180 includes a second roller assembly 300 attached to each second descending segment 176 of each leg 152. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, each second roller assembly 300 comprises a foot 302 coupled at the second end 172 of each leg 152 and in which a roller 304 is mounted for rotation about a laterally extending axis passing through hole 303. The foot 302 and roller 304 are sized so as to fit laterally between the inboard and outboard legs 210, 212 of a respective second guide 184, thereby enabling rolling of the roller 304 between the inboard and outboard legs 210, 212 atop and relative to the upper surface 158 of a respective runner 150 and enabling translation of the second end 172 of the respective leg 152 relative to the upper surface 158 of the respective runner 150. The foot 302 defines a hole 306 extending laterally through the foot 302.

As seen in FIG. 9, each second roller assembly 300 also comprises a pin 308 having a head 310 on the pin's outboard side and has a shank 312 that extends through the slots 218, 224 of the respective second guide's inboard and outboard legs 210, 212 and through the foot's hole 306. A nut 314 on the pin's inboard side secures the pin's shank 312 within the slots 218, 224 and hole 306. When the second roller assembly 300 is in a first position nearest the respective second guide's first end 214 (see FIG. 4), the pin 308 resides at the first ends 220, 226 of the slots 218, 224 and the rocking chair 100 is configured in its first configuration (see FIGS. 1 and 2). When the second roller assembly 300 is in a second position nearest the respective second guide's second end 216 (see FIG. 5), the pin 308 resides at the second ends 222, 228 of the slots 218, 224 and the rocking chair 100 is configured in its second configuration (see FIG. 3). During re-positioning and reconfiguration of the second roller assembly 300 relative to the respective second guide 184 between the first and second positions (and, hence, between the first and second configurations of the rocking chair 100), the pin's shank 312 slides within slots 218, 224 and slides along and in contact with the second guide's inboard and outboard legs 210, 212.

As described briefly above, the lockable/releasable swivel assembly 106 is mounted between the chair's upper and lower portions 102, 104 such that the upper portion 102 is rotatable relative to the lower portion 104 about a generally vertical longitudinal axis 108. FIG. 10 displays the swivel assembly 106 and its component parts in more detail. The swivel assembly 106 comprises an upper mounting plate 320 and an opposed lower mounting plate 322 that are rotatable about longitudinal axis 108. The upper and lower mounting plates 320, 322 each define circular races 324, 326 that receive a bearing ring 328 therein to form a sandwich-like structure in which the races 324, 326 oppose one another. The bearing ring 328 comprises a substantially planar annular ring 330 defining a plurality of holes 332 extending therethrough between the ring's upper and lower surfaces. A corresponding plurality of ball bearings 334 are secured within the plurality of holes 332 such that each hole 332 receives a ball bearing 334 that may rotate within and relative to its respective hole 332 and races 324, 326, thereby enabling and permitting relative rotation between the upper and lower mounting plates 320, 322 while supporting and transferring loads (such as, for example and not limitation, the user's weight and the weight of the various components of the chair's upper portion 102) from the upper mounting plate 320 to the lower mounting plate 322.

The upper mounting plate 320 has upper and lower surfaces 336, 338 and has a main body 340 extending between the upper and lower surfaces 336, 338. The main body 340 defines race 324 therein and a bore 344 extending through the main body 340 between the plate's upper and lower surfaces 336, 338 that is centrally-located about longitudinal axis 108. The bore 344 receives a fastener 346 and coupling 348 therein to secure the upper mounting plate 320, bearing ring 328, and lower mounting plate 322 together. The upper mounting plate 320 also has a plurality of lobes 350 that extend outward from the plate's main body 340. The lobes 350 define respective holes 352 extending therethrough between the plate's upper and lower surfaces 336, 338. Each hole 352 is located so as to coaxially align with a similar hole defined in a short leg 122 of frame member 120. Each hole 352 receives a fastener 354 therein which fixedly secures the upper mounting plate 320 (and, hence, the swivel assembly 106) to frame member 120 and beneath the chair's seat 114.

Similar to the upper mounting plate 320, the swivel assembly's lower mounting plate 322 has upper and lower surfaces 360, 362 and has a main body 364 extending between the upper and lower surfaces 360, 362. The main body 364 defines race 326 therein and a bore 368 extending through the main body 364 between the plate's upper and lower surfaces 360, 362 that is centrally-located about longitudinal axis 108 and coaxially aligned with bore 344 of the upper mounting plate 320. Similar to bore 344 of the upper mounting plate 320, the bore 368 receives fastener 346 and coupling 348 therein which secures the upper mounting plate 320, bearing ring 328, and lower mounting plate 322 together. The lower mounting plate 322 also has a plurality of lobes 370 that extend outward from the plate's main body 364. The lobes 370 define respective holes 372 extending therethrough between the plate's upper and lower surfaces 360, 362. Each hole 372 is located so as to coaxially align with a similar hole defined in an intermediate segment 178 of a respective leg 152. Each hole 372 receives a fastener 374 therein which fixedly secures the lower mounting plate 322 (and, hence, the swivel assembly 106) to and generally above chair legs 152.

The swivel assembly 106 further comprises a latch subassembly 380 for locking the rocking chair's upper and lower portions 102, 104 in the chair's first or second configurations and for releasing the upper and lower portions 102, 104 from one another so as to permit reconfiguration of the rocking chair 100 (and repositioning of the upper and lower portions 102, 104 relative to one another) between the first and second configurations. The latch subassembly 380 includes a rotation control ring 382 and a latch pin retaining member 384 that, together, limit relative rotation between the swivel assembly's upper and lower mounting plates 320, 322 about longitudinal axis 108, thereby also limiting relative rotation between the chair's upper and lower portions 102, 104 about longitudinal axis 108. More particularly, the rotation control ring 382 and latch pin retaining member 384 limit such relative rotation to an angle having a measure of approximately ninety degrees (90°) and, therefore, limit relative rotation of chair's upper and lower portions 102, 104 between their orientations in the chair's first and second configurations.

The rotation control ring 382 comprises an arcuately-shaped member 386 that extends in a generally vertical direction and partially around longitudinal axis 108. The arcuately-shaped member 386 has an inboard surface 388 and an opposed outboard surface 390, and has a first end 392 and distant second end 394. The rotation control ring 382 also comprises lobes 396 which extend in a generally perpendicular direction from and relative to the outboard surface 390 of the arcuately-shaped member 386 at locations respectively near the member's first and second ends 392, 394. Each lobe 396 defines a hole 398 extending therethrough and coaxially aligned with a respective hole 372 of a lobe 370 of lower mounting plate 322 and with a respective hole of an intermediate segment 178 of a respective leg 152. The rotation control ring 382 and its lobes 396 are positioned such that fasteners 374 secure the lobes 396 atop and adjacent to respective lobes 370 of the swivel assembly's lower mounting plate 322.

The rotation control ring 382 additionally comprises a pair of stops 400, 402 that protrude from the outboard surface 390 of the arcuately-shaped member 386 at locations respectively near the member's first and second ends 392, 394. The arcuately-shaped member 386 defines a pair of holes 404, 406 corresponding to the pair of stops 400, 402 and extending between the inboard and outboard surfaces 388, 390 thereof. The holes 404, 406 are, more particularly, located at respective angular locations between the stops 400, 402, with hole 404 being located near and associated with stop 400 and hole 406 being located near and associated with stop 402. Also, hole 404 and stop 400 are associated with and correspond to the rocking chair 100 being configured in its first configuration, while hole 406 and stop 402 are associated with and correspond to the rocking chair 100 being configured in its second configuration.

The latch pin retaining member 384 of the latch subassembly 380 comprises a substantially planar portion 410 having an upper surface 412 and an opposed lower surface 414. The substantially planar portion 410 has a pair of lobes 416 extending therefrom that correspond to a pair of respective lobes 350 of the swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320. Each lobe 416 defines a respective hole 418 extending through portion 410 and between the portion's upper and lower surfaces 412, 414. Each hole 418 is coaxially aligned with a corresponding hole 352 of a lobe 350 of upper mounting plate 320 such that a respective fastener 354 extending through a hole 418 also extends through a hole 352 and secures a lobe 416 of portion 410 adjacent to and beneath a corresponding lobe 350 of the swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320. Through such connection, portion 410 of latch pin retaining member 384 (and, hence, latch pin retaining member 384) moves in unison with the swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320 when the swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320 is rotated about longitudinal axis 108.

The latch pin retaining member 384 further comprises a pair of opposed guides 420 that depend from and are substantially perpendicular to the lower surface 414 of portion 410. The guides 420 define respective coaxially aligned bores 422 extending therethrough. The latch subassembly 380 also comprises an elongate latch pin 424 that has a first end 426 and a distant second end 428, and that extends through guide bores 422 such that the latch pin 424 translates within the guide bores 422. The latch pin 424 has a substantially round cross-section, is chamfered at its first end 426, and has a user interface cap 430 secured to its second end 428. The latch pin 424 defines a groove 432 extending thereabout at a location intermediate the pin's first and second ends 426, 428. A biasing member 434 and washer 436 are positioned about the latch pin 424 between guides 420. A retaining clip 438 resides partially within the groove 432 to retain the washer 436 adjacent to the biasing member 434 such that when a user applies a force to user interface cap 430 in a direction away from the arcuately-shaped member 386 of the rotation control ring 382, the latch pin's first end 426 translates in the same direction and the washer 436 exerts a force compressing the biasing member 434 against the outboard guide 420. Upon subsequent removal of the force applied to the user interface cap 430, the biasing member 434 expands and exerts a force on washer 436 and retaining clip 438 causing the latch pin's first end 426 to translate toward the arcuately-shaped member 386 of the rotation control ring 382. According to the example embodiment, the biasing member 434 comprises a compression spring, but other forms of biasing member 434 may be utilized in other example embodiments.

The latch pin 424 and first end 426 thereof are sized to fit into and within holes 404, 406 of the arcuately-shaped member 386. When the latch pin 424 resides within hole 404, the inboard guide 420 of the latch pin retaining member 384 is in contact with stop 400 and the rocking chair 100 is configured in its first configuration. When the latch pin 424 resides within hole 406, the inboard guide 420 of the latch pin retaining member 386 is in contact with stop 402 and the rocking chair 100 is configured in its second configuration. The force exerted by the biasing member 434 (when no overcoming force is applied by a user) tends to maintain the latch pin 424 resident within one of holes 404, 406, as the case may be. When a user applies a sufficient force to user interface cap 430 as described above, the latch pin 424 translates out of a hole 404, 406, thereby permitting the chair's upper portion 102, swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320, and latch pin retaining member 386 to rotate about longitudinal axis 108 between their positions in the chair's first and second configurations. During rotation in either angular direction about longitudinal axis 108, contact and engagement between stops 400, 402 and inboard guide 420 of the latch pin retaining member 386 prevent the chair's upper portion 102, swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320, and latch pin retaining member 386 from rotating more than ninety degrees (90°).

According to the example embodiment, the chair's components are generally manufactured from metallic materials such as, but not limited to, stainless steel or aluminum. However, it should be appreciated and understood that the chair's components may be manufactured from other materials as desired, necessary, or appropriate.

In use, the reconfigurable rocking chair 100 is operable to move a user in a traditional, forward and backward, first rocking motion in the first configuration or in a non-traditional, side-to-side, second rocking motion in the second configuration. When the reconfigurable rocking chair 100 is configured in the first configuration, the rocking chair 100 reconfigures into the second configuration in response to a user initiating repositioning of the chair's legs 152 into their respective second positions relative to the chair's runners 150 and initiating repositioning of the chair's upper portion 102 and seat 114 into a second position relative to the chair's lower portion 104. Repositioning of the chair's legs 152 into their respective second positions is initiated when the caps 286 secured to the lever arms 272 of the actuator mechanisms 260 of the leg end repositioning mechanisms 180 attached to the first descending segments 174 of the legs 152 concurrently receive the exertion of respective forces tending to push the caps 286 away from the chair's seat 114 and overcoming the respective forces applied to the lever arms 272 by the biasing members 284. Upon receiving the application of such forces, the retractable pins 288 retract from holes 194 of guides 182 and allow rolling of the rollers 244, 304 of the roller assemblies 240, 300 atop the upper surfaces 158 of the runners 150 and within guides 182, 184 (and, hence, movement of the chair's legs 152 relative to the runners 150) between their first position in the first configuration and their second position in the second configuration. During rolling, the retractable pins 288 slide with slots 198 of the outboard legs 188 of the first guides 182 from the slots' first ends 200 and second ends 202, and the shanks 312 of pins 308 slide within slots 218, 224 along and in contact with the second guides' inboard and outboard legs 210, 212. Upon removal of the respective forces on the caps 286, the forces exerted by biasing members 284 on the lever arms 270 cause pivoting of the lever arms 270 and retractable pins 288 to become inserted into and present within holes 196 of guides 182, thereby then preventing movement of the chair's legs 152 relative to the runners 150 and securing the chair's legs 152 in their second positions relative to the runners 150. When the chair's legs 152 are in their second positions relative to the runners 150, the chair's center of gravity is located generally midway between the first and second ends 154, 156 of the chair's runners 150, thereby enabling and enhancing rocking in a non-traditional, side-to-side, second rocking motion.

Initiation of the repositioning of the chair's upper portion 102 and seat 114 into a second position relative to the chair's lower portion 104 occurs when a user exerts a force on the user interface cap 430 of the latch pin retaining member 384 of the latch subassembly 380 of swivel assembly 106 causing compression of biasing member 434 and removal of the latch pin 424 from hole 404 of rotation control ring 386. Once latch pin 424 is removed from hole 404, the swivel assembly's upper mounting plate 320 is rotatable about longitudinal axis 108 relative to the lower mounting plate 322 and the chair's upper portion 102 is rotatable relative to the chair's lower portion 104. Upon the subsequent application of an appropriate rotational force by a user, the chair's upper portion 102 rotates relative to the chair's lower portion 104 into the second position of the chair's second configuration. After repositioning into the second position, removal of force from the user interface cap 430 allows biasing member 434 to exert a force on the latch pin 424 causing insertion of the latch pin 424 into hole 406, thereby then preventing rotation of the chair's upper portion 102 relative to the chair's lower portion 104 and securing the chair's upper and lower portions 102, 104 in their second position.

When the reconfigurable rocking chair 100 is configured in the second configuration, the rocking chair 100 reconfigures into the first configuration in response to a user initiating repositioning of the chair's legs 152 into their respective first positions relative to the chair's runners 150 and initiating repositioning of the chair's upper portion 102 and seat 114 into the first position relative to the chair's lower portion 104. Repositioning of the chair's legs 152 and repositioning of the chair's upper portion 102 and seat 114 into their first positions occurs, essentially, when the steps described above for reconfiguring of the chair's legs 152 and upper portion 102 in their first positions are reversed.

Whereas the present invention has been described in detail above with respect to an example embodiment and configurations thereof, it should be appreciated that variations and modifications might be effected within the spirit and scope of the present invention.