Easy To Use Patents Search & Patent Lawyer Directory

At Patents you can conduct a Patent Search, File a Patent Application, find a Patent Attorney, or search available technology through our Patent Exchange. Patents are available using simple keyword or date criteria. If you are looking to hire a patent attorney, you've come to the right place. Protect your idea and hire a patent lawyer.


Search All Patents:



  This Patent May Be For Sale or Lease. Contact Us

  Is This Your Patent? Claim This Patent Now.



Register or Login To Download This Patent As A PDF




United States Patent Application 20180132619
Kind Code A1
Lovley, II; Jack B. May 17, 2018

FOLDABLE CHAIR

Abstract

According to some embodiments, a folding chair comprises a first frame element, a second frame element, wherein the first frame element moves from a first position remote from the second frame element to a second position toward, adjacent to or against the second frame element, and a cradle comprising a guide member that guides the first frame element into the cradle.


Inventors: Lovley, II; Jack B.; (Lake Forest, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

ShelterLogic Corp.

Watertown

CT

US
Family ID: 1000003112998
Appl. No.: 15/869212
Filed: January 12, 2018


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14969417Dec 15, 20159867466
15869212
62107134Jan 23, 2015
62092178Dec 15, 2014

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47C 4/48 20130101; A47C 4/34 20130101; A47C 4/38 20130101; A47C 4/283 20130101; A47C 4/286 20130101; A47C 4/28 20130101; A47C 4/20 20130101
International Class: A47C 4/28 20060101 A47C004/28

Claims



1. A folding chair, comprising: a first frame element; a second frame element, wherein the first frame element moves from a first position remote from the second frame element to a second position toward, adjacent to or against the second frame element; and a cradle comprising a guide member that guides the first frame element into the cradle.

2-8. (canceled)

9. A folding chair, comprising: a first frame element; a second frame element, wherein the first frame element is configured to move from a first position when the folding chair is not extended and a second position when the folding chair is extended and configured to receive an occupant; wherein, in the second position, the first frame element is adjacent to or against the second frame element; and a guide member that guides the first frame element into a recess adjacent the guide member, wherein the recess is configured to receive at least a portion of the first frame element.

10-14. (canceled)

15. A folding chair, comprising: a first frame element; a second frame element, wherein the first frame element moves from a first position remote from the second frame element to a second position toward, adjacent to or against the second frame element; and at least one guide element that guides the first frame element toward the second frame element, wherein the at least one guide element comprises at least one curved or rounded end portion that spaces a body of the guide element away from the first frame element when the first frame element is in the second position.

16-20. (canceled)
Description



RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/092,178, filed Dec. 15, 2014, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/107,134, filed Jan. 23, 2015, the entire contents of both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.

FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates to foldable chairs and, in particular, to foldable chairs having improved frames and related frame components.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

[0003] Chairs with collapsible or folding frames are commonly used to provide portable seating for outdoor activities such as camping, picnicking, parties, weddings, and more. Such collapsible or folding frames typically comprise a collapsible or folding frame and a cover that is supported by the frame and defines one or more of a seat bottom, backrest or armrests of the chair. The chair is often configured to stand alone when in an expanded or deployed state and to collapse or fold into a collapsed or folded state for storage and transport. However, although collapsible or folding chairs exist, there remains a need for improved chair designs that address issues of prior designs or at least provide the consumer with a useful choice.

SUMMARY

[0004] The systems, methods and devices described herein have innovative aspects, no single one of which is indispensable or solely responsible for their desirable attributes. Without limiting the scope of the claims, some of the advantageous features will now be summarized.

[0005] According to some embodiments, a folding chair comprises a first frame element, a second frame element, wherein the first frame element moves from a first position remote from the second frame element to a second position toward, adjacent to or against the second frame element, and a cradle comprising a guide member that guides the first frame element into the cradle.

[0006] According to some embodiments, the cradle comprises a recess that is configured to receive at least a portion of the first frame element. In some embodiments, the recess is shaped and sized to receive a corresponding surface of the first frame element. In some embodiments, the recess comprises a circular or rounded shape. In some arrangements, the first frame element is configured to be positioned within the recess when the folding chair is open and adapted to receive an occupant.

[0007] According to some embodiments, the guide member comprises a guide surface that extends laterally along at least one side of the cradle so at to guide the first frame element within a recess of the cradle. In one embodiment, the guide surface is sloped relative to the direction in which the first frame element is configured to approach the cradle.

[0008] According to some embodiments, the chair further includes at least one guide element that guides the first frame element toward the second frame element. In some embodiments, the at least one guide element comprises at least one curved or rounded end portion that spaces a body of the guide element away from the first frame element when the first frame element is in the second position.

[0009] According to some embodiments, a folding chair comprises a first frame element, a second frame element, wherein the first frame element is configured to move from a first position when the folding chair is not extended and a second position when the folding chair is extended and configured to receive an occupant, wherein, in the second position, the first frame element is adjacent to or against the second frame element, and a guide member that guides the first frame element into a recess adjacent the guide member, wherein the recess is configured to receive at least a portion of the first frame element.

[0010] According to some embodiments, the recess is shaped and sized to receive a corresponding portion of the first frame element that is configured to be positioned within the recess. In some embodiments, the recess comprises at least a partially rounded or curved surface. In some arrangements, the guide member comprises a guide surface that extends laterally along at least one side of the cradle so at to guide the first frame element within the recess. In one embodiment, the guide surface is sloped (e.g., at an angle) relative to the direction in which the first frame element is configured to approach the guide member. In some embodiments, the slope angle is between 30 and 60 degrees (e.g., 30-35, 35-40, 40-45, 45-50, 50-55, 55-60 degrees, angles between the foregoing ranges, etc.), less than 30 degrees, greater than 60 degrees, as desired or required.

[0011] According to some embodiments, the guide member is located on or part of a cradle or similar feature or component that is secured to the chair. In some embodiments, the chair further includes at least one guide element that guides the first frame element toward the second frame element, wherein the at least one guide element comprises at least one curved or rounded end portion that spaces a body of the guide element away from the first frame element when the first frame element is in the second position.

[0012] According to some embodiments, a folding chair comprises a first frame element, a second frame element, wherein the first frame element moves from a first position remote from the second frame element to a second position toward, adjacent to or against the second frame element, and at least one guide element that guides the first frame element toward the second frame element, wherein the at least one guide element comprises at least one curved or rounded end portion that spaces a body of the guide element away from the first frame element when the first frame element is in the second position.

[0013] According to some embodiments, the at least one guide element comprises two curved end portions. In one embodiment, the at least one guide element is pivotally connected to both the first frame element and the second frame element. In some embodiments, the at least one guide element comprises a first guide element and a second guide element. In some arrangements, the first and second guide elements are positioned on opposite sides of the first frame element.

[0014] According to some embodiments, the folding chair further comprises a cradle comprising a guide member that guides the first frame element into the cradle, wherein the at least one guide element comprises at least one curved or rounded end portion that spaces a body of the guide element away from the first frame element when the first frame element is in the second position.

[0015] An aspect of the present application involves the realization that it can be desirable to guide portions of the frame toward other portions of the frame in moving between a folded and an unfolded orientation, but that some guide designs can present a pinching hazard. Accordingly, in some configurations, a folding chair has a first frame element that moves from a first position remote from a second frame element to a second position toward, adjacent or against the second frame element and includes at least one guide element that guides the first frame element toward the second frame element. The at least one guide element can have at least one curved end portion that spaces a body of the guide element away from the first frame element when the first frame element is in the second position.

[0016] In some configurations, the at least one guide element has two curved end portions.

[0017] In some configurations, the at least one guide element is pivotally connected to both the first frame element and the second frame element. In some configurations, the at least one guide element comprises a first guide element and a second guide element. In some configurations, the first and second guide elements are positioned on opposite sides of the first frame element.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] Throughout the drawings, reference numbers can be reused to indicate general correspondence between reference elements. The drawings are provided to illustrate example embodiments described herein and are not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure.

[0019] FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of one type of foldable chair having a frame and a cover according to one embodiment;

[0020] FIG. 2 illustrates a different perspective view of the foldable chair of FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 3 illustrates an enlarged perspective view of a portion of the foldable chair of FIG. 1;

[0022] FIG. 4 illustrates another perspective view of the portion of the foldable chair of FIG. 1;

[0023] FIG. 5 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of a guide arrangement having first and second guide members with a user's hand positioned between the guide members and a frame element generally in the middle of the guide members to illustrate a clearance space;

[0024] FIG. 6 illustrates a side view similar to the one in FIG. 5 with the user's hand positioned toward one side (e.g., a left side) of the guide members;

[0025] FIG. 7 illustrates a side view similar to the one in FIG. 5 with the user's hand positioned toward an opposite side (e.g., a right side) of the guide members;

[0026] FIG. 8 illustrates a rear view of a chair having guide members for guiding a first portion of the chair frame into proper position relative to a second portion of the chair frame according to one embodiment;

[0027] FIG. 9 illustrates a front view of the chair of FIG. 8;

[0028] FIG. 10 provides another front view of the chair of FIG. 8 illustrating the different width positions of the front and rear legs caused by the different rates of opening of the front and rear legs according to one embodiment;

[0029] FIGS. 11A to 11D illustrate several views of a cradle comprising a guide member according to one embodiment; and

[0030] FIGS. 12A to 12C illustrate different view of a cradle comprising a guide member according to another embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0031] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a collapsible or foldable chair 50. As shown, the chair 50 generally comprises a frame 52 and a cover 54. The cover 54 can be a single or multiple portions or components that define one or more of a seat bottom, seat back or arm rests, among other possible portions of the chair 50 (e.g., canopy or shade). The cover 54 can comprise a fabric material, any other flexible, rigid and/or semi-rigid material and/or the like, as required or desired.

[0032] With continued reference to FIG. 1, the frame 52 can comprise multiple frame elements, such as a seat bottom element 56 and a seat base element 58. The seat bottom element 56 can form, at least partially, the seat bottom of the chair 50, and the seat base element 58 can form, at least partially, a base of the chair that supports the seat bottom at a desired location, which is typically spaced above a surface upon which the chair 50 rests. In the illustrated arrangement, the seat bottom element 56 is generally horizontal and the seat base element 58 is generally vertical when the chair 50 is deployed for use. However, in other frame configurations, these elements 56, 58 could have other orientations. For example, depending on whether the chair 50 is intended to be reclined, these elements could include a non-horizontal and/or non-vertical (e.g., a diagonal, other, etc.) orientation.

[0033] In some embodiments, the chair frame 52 is selectively movable between a collapsed or folded position and a deployed position. The chair 50 is useful as a seating device in the deployed position. The seat bottom element 56 can be configured to move toward the seat base element 58 when the chair frame 52 is moved between the folded position and the deployed position. In some arrangements, the seat bottom element 56 is positioned in any desired relationship with the seat base element 58 when the chair 50 is in the deployed position. For example, the seat bottom element 56 can abut or contact the seat base element 58 directly or indirectly (such as by way of the illustrated U-shaped rest or receptacle) when the chair 50 is in the deployed position.

[0034] In some configurations, the chair 50 comprises a guide arrangement comprising at least one guide element 60 along each side that guides the seat bottom element 56 toward an appropriate position relative to the seat base element 58 when the chair 50 moves from the folded position to the deployed position. The guide element(s) 60 can guide the frame elements throughout a portion or an entirety of the movement between the folded position and the deployed position. As used herein, the term "guide" is used in accordance with its ordinary meaning and can include arrangements that may influence, restrain, restrict or limit movement of one element relative to another element. In the illustrated arrangement, the guide arrangement includes a pair of guide elements, which can be of the same or substantially the same construction. Alternatively, the guide elements may differ from one another.

[0035] In the illustrated arrangement, each of the guide elements 60 is positioned on a side of the seat bottom element 56 and/or the seat base element 58. The guide elements 60 can be pivotally attached to at least one and preferably both of the seat bottom element 56 and the seat base element 58. In some embodiments, the body of the guide element 60 extends generally along the seat bottom element 56. Thus, in the straight configuration as illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4, the guide element(s) 60 can possibly pinch a user's hand between the seat bottom element 56 and the guide element(s) 60 if the user were to place his or her hands along the end portion of the seat bottom element 56 when moving the chair 50 toward the deployed position from a position at or towards the folded position, especially if this occurs as the user is sitting onto the chair 50. For clarity, FIGS. 1 to 4 illustrate the seat bottom element 56 slightly above or away from the seat base element 58 for clarity. Although described with respect to the seat bottom element 56 and the seat base element 58 herein, the guide arrangement can be configured to guide movement of any other frame elements, including frame elements of any one or combination of the seat bottom, seat base, seatback, arms, canopy or any struts or other supports associated with any of the foregoing.

[0036] FIGS. 5 to 7 illustrate one embodiment of guide elements 60 that have a first end portion 62 that is pivotally attached to the seat bottom element 56 and a second end portion pivotally attached to the seat base element 58. As shown, at least one of the end portions 62 of the guide element(s) 60 can comprise a curved or rounded end portion that spaces the body or intermediate portion of the guide element 60 away from the seat bottom element 56 (or other frame element closest to the guide element 60).

[0037] According to some configurations, both ends 62 of the guide element(s) 60 define curved or rounded end portions. The curved end portion can initially extend in a generally radial direction from the pivot axis and can then curve to extend in a direction generally tangential to a circle defined about the pivot axis such that the body or an intermediate portion of the guide element(s) 60 extends generally parallel to the seat bottom element 56 at a spaced location therefrom. In some embodiments, the body or intermediate portion of the guide element(s) 60 is advantageously positioned a distance from the seat bottom element sufficient to accommodate a user's fingers or at least a sufficient portion of the user's fingers to avoid a damaging pinch. In other words, some amount of pressure applied by the guide element(s) 60 and the seat bottom element 56 may be acceptable if the pressure is sufficiently low to avoid permanent injury. In some configurations, the body or intermediate portion of the guide element(s) 60 is spaced at least about one-half inch, at least about three-quarters inch, or at least about 1 inch or distances between the foregoing from the seat bottom element 56. In some configurations the spacing can be at least about one and one-half inches. In some configurations, the spacing can be a value or a range of values between any of the aforementioned values or any sub-range within those values.

[0038] FIGS. 8 to 11 illustrate additional views of one embodiment of a chair 50, which can be the same as or similar to the chair 50 depicted in FIGS. 1 to 7. Thus, in some arrangements, the chair 50 can combine features described in connection with FIGS. 1 to 7 and features described in connection with FIGS. 8 to 11.

[0039] With reference to the chair 50 illustrated in FIGS. 8 to 11, the outboard guide elements 60 have been omitted. As shown, the chair 50 can include a single guide element 60 between the seat bottom 56 and the seat base 58 on each side of the chair 50. The guide elements 60 can comprise curved portions to space at least an intermediate portion of the guide elements 60 from the associated portions of the seat bottoms 56, as noted above.

[0040] In some embodiments, the chair frame 52 includes side frame portions 70 that are mirror images of one another and are connected by a center frame portion 72. Each side frame portion 70 can comprise the seat base 58, a first side strut 74 and a second side strut 76. In the illustrated arrangement, a portion of the first side strut 74 defines the seat bottom 56 and another portion of the first side strut 74 defines a rear leg of the chair 50. A portion of the second side strut 76 defines a seat back of the chair 50 and another portion of the second side strut 76 extends from an intersection with the first side strut 74 to a lower end portion of the seat base 58, which defines a front leg of the chair 50. As shown, the first side strut 74 and the second side strut 76 can be pivotally coupled to one another at or near a junction between the seat portion and the seat back of the chair 50. Each side frame portion 70 can further comprise a seat arm 78 having a first end pivotally coupled to an upper end portion of the seat base 58 and a second end pivotally coupled to the seat back portion of the second side strut 76,

[0041] In some arrangements, the center frame portion 72 can comprise at least one foldable cross-strut assembly that connects the side frame portions 70 to one another. The at least one foldable cross-strut assembly can include two strut members pivotally coupled at intermediate locations to be foldable toward a collapsed position and expandable toward an expanded position in which the strut members define an angle therebetween and can be generally in the shape of an X or other crisscross or intersecting shape.

[0042] The illustrated arrangement includes a front cross-strut assembly 80 and a rear cross-strut assembly 82. The front cross-strut assembly 80 connects front end portions of the-seat bottoms 56 and intermediate portions of the seat bases 58. The rear cross-strut assembly 82 connects lower end portions of the first side strut 74 and intermediate portions of the second side struts 76. The front cross-strut assembly 80 and the rear cross-strut assembly 82 are sized differently than one another. That is, the strut members of the cross-struts 80, 82 are different in length between the front cross-strut 80 and the rear cross-strut 82. In the illustrated arrangement, the strut members of the front cross-strut 80 are shorter than the strut members of the rear cross-strut 82. Such an arrangement is preferred so that appropriate support is provided to each of the front and rear portions of the chair 50. As a result of this arrangement, during unfolding or expansion of the chair 50, the front and rear portions of the side frame portions 70 separate from one another at different rates. This can result in complications with the seat bottoms 56 properly engaging the respective seat bases 58 when the chair 50 is unfolded, especially if the unfolding occurs quickly.

[0043] In some configurations, as illustrated in, among other places, FIGS. 4 and 9, the chair 50 includes guide members 90, each of which facilitates proper engagement of the seat bottoms 56 with the respective seat bases 58 when the chair 50 is unfolded to an expanded or unfolded position. The guide members 90 can be configured to contact the respective seat bottoms 56, if necessary, to help guide the seat bottom 56 into proper engagement with the seat base 58. The guide members 90 can be located inboard of the seat bottoms 56 when the seat bottoms 56 are in the proper unfolded position. The guide members 90 can be located above the seat bottoms 56 when the seat bottoms 56 are in the proper unfolded position.

[0044] With reference to FIGS. 11A to 11D, the guide members 90 can be coupled to, integrated with or unitary with a stop, rest, support or cradle 92 that supports the seat bottoms 56 in the unfolded position. In the illustrated arrangement, the guide members 90 are unitary projecting portions of the cradles 92. The cradle 92 can include a body that defines a recess 94 configured to receive the seat bottom 56. As shown, the recess 94 can be generally U-shaped or semi-circular when viewed from the front. In some embodiments, the recess 94 defines a width or diameter that is sufficient for the recess 94 to receive the seat bottom 56. In some embodiments, the recess 94 advantageously receives the seat bottom 56 in a relatively snug or tight manner. In some arrangements, the width or diameter of the recess 94 is similar to or only slightly larger than the width or diameter of the seat bottom 56. In the illustrated arrangement, the width of the recess 94 is about 16.5 mm. However, in other embodiments, depending on the desired or required shape or design, the width of the recess 94 can be less or more than 16.5 mm.

[0045] The guide member 90 can define a guide surface 96 that extends upwardly from one side of the recess 94. The illustrated guide surface 96 is angled relative to the side wall surface of the recess 94. In the illustrated arrangement, the guide surface 96 is linear or flat and is angled at about 45 degrees. The guide surface 96 extends away from the recess a horizontal distance, which can be, for example, about 12 mm. Thus, the horizontal distance can be about three-quarters of the width of the recess. In some embodiments, the horizontal distance is at least about one-half of the width of the recess 94 up to about three-quarters or more of the width of the recess 94. In some arrangements, the horizontal distance of the guide surface 96 is small enough that the guide member 90 does not interfere with other components of the chair 50 during the folding and unfolding process.

[0046] In the illustrated arrangement, the maximum length of the guide surface 96 in the lengthwise direction of the seat bottom 56 is less than a maximum length of the recess 94. Preferably, the guide surface 96 is centered lengthwise relative to the recess 94. As a result, a single design of the cradle 92 can be used on each side of the chair 50 with the guide member 90 being positioned on the inboard side. As noted above, the use of cradles 92 with guide members 90 can ensure that an adjacent frame member of the chair properly secures to the recess 94. This can facilitate the consistent expansion of the chair, can help improve safety (e.g., as improperly expansion of the foldable chair is prevented, as the dangers associated with correcting an improperly expanded foldable chair are avoided, etc.).

[0047] A different embodiment of a cradle 192 comprising a guide member 190 is illustrated in FIGS. 12A to 12C. The cradle 192 can be similar to the one discussed herein with reference to FIGS. 11A to 11D. However, as shown, in some embodiments, the cradle can include a slightly modified shape and design. For example, in the depicted arrangement, outer portions of the rib along the side of the guide member 190 that connects to the frame of a chair have been trimmed or otherwise eliminated. Such a configuration can accommodate for the specific design of the chair frame and can facilitate the opening of the closing of a collapsible or foldable frame, as desired or required. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 11A to 11D, the illustrated embodiment includes a guide member 190 that can facilitate the proper positioning of a frame member within the cradle.

[0048] The systems, apparatuses, devices and/or other articles disclosed herein may be formed through any suitable means. The various methods and techniques described above provide a number of ways to carry out the inventions. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all objectives or advantages described may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment described herein. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the methods may be performed in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other objectives or advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

[0049] Although several embodiments and examples are disclosed herein, the present application extends beyond the specifically disclosed embodiments to other alternative embodiments and/or uses of the inventions and modifications and equivalents thereof. It is also contemplated that various combinations or subcombinations of the specific features and aspects of the embodiments may be made and still fall within the scope of the inventions. Accordingly, it should be understood that various features and aspects of the disclosed embodiments can be combine with or substituted for one another in order to form varying modes of the disclosed inventions. Thus, it is intended that the scope of the present inventions herein disclosed should not be limited by the particular disclosed embodiments described above, but should be determined only by a fair reading of the claims that follow.

[0050] While the embodiments disclosed herein are susceptible to various modifications, and alternative forms, specific examples thereof have been shown in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the inventions are not to be limited to the particular forms or methods disclosed, but, to the contrary, the inventions are to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the various embodiments described and the appended claims. Any methods disclosed herein need not be performed in the order recited. The methods disclosed herein include certain actions taken by a practitioner; however, they can also include any third-party instruction of those actions, either expressly or by implication. For example, actions such as "providing" include "instructing providing." The ranges disclosed herein also encompass any and all overlap, sub-ranges, and combinations thereof. Language such as "up to," "at least," "greater than," "less than," "between," and the like includes the number recited. Numbers preceded by a term such as "about" or "approximately" include the recited numbers. For example, "about 10 mm" includes "10 mm," Terms or phrases preceded by a term such as "substantially" include the recited term or phrase. For example, "substantially parallel" includes "parallel."

* * * * *

File A Patent Application

  • Protect your idea -- Don't let someone else file first. Learn more.

  • 3 Easy Steps -- Complete Form, application Review, and File. See our process.

  • Attorney Review -- Have your application reviewed by a Patent Attorney. See what's included.