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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
MOTION FURNITURE CONSTRUCTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1995/009550
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Motion furniture (18) constructed so that the arm or arms (24), backrest (22) and ottoman (26) are first upholstered and then assembled to the reclining mechanism (28) and seat frame (110) of furniture, either by the furniture manufacturer, dealer, or consumer.

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Inventors:
PLUNK, Jeffrey, Layne TIDWELL, Charles, J.
Application Number:
PCT/US1994/011022
Publication Date:
April 13, 1995
Filing Date:
September 29, 1994
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SUPER SAGLESS CORPORATION.
International Classes:
A47C1/035; (IPC1-7): A47C1/035
Foreign References:
US3690723A1972-09-12
US2732889A1956-01-31
US5288126A1994-02-22
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A method of manufacturing upholstered motion furniture comprising the steps of: providing a metal seat frame carried by right hand and lefthand metal reclining mechanisms mounted upon a base, said metal seat frame having at least two cantilevered, spaced apart beams projecting from one side of said frame and extending beyond said mechanism; providing an upholstered armrest having at least two spaced apart beam receiving sleeves; and mounting the upholstered armrest on the metal seat frame by inserting the cantilevered beams into the receiving sleeves.
2. The method of claim 1 and wherein the metal seat frame includes a pair of side rails connected by cross rails and the cantilevered beams are extensions of the cross rails of the metal seat frame.
3. The method of claim 1 and wherein the upholstered armrest includes a frame of at least one horizontal member connecting forward and rearward vertical members and the beam receiving sleeves are mounted on the horizontal frame member.
4. The method of claim 1 and further comprising the step of: locking the beams within the receiving sleeves, subsequent to insertion, to prevent separation of the armrest from the metal seat frame.
5. The method of claim 4 and wherein the locking step includes reversibly fastening the beams within the sleeves.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the motion furniture is a chair and wherein the metal seat frame has at least two cantilevered, spaced apart beams projecting from the opposite side of the frame and extending beyond the opposite side mechanism and further comprising the steps of: providing another upholstered armrest having at least two spaced apart beam receiving sleeves; and mounting the other upholstered armrest on the metal seat frame by inserting the cantilevered beams into the receiving sleeves.
7. The method of claim 6 and further comprising the steps of: providing an upholstered backrest and an upholstered ottoman; attaching the upholstered backrest to the mechanisms; and attaching the upholstered ottoman to the mechanisms.
8. The method of claim 7 and wherein the base includes a rocking mechanism.
9. A method of disassembling of upholstered motion furniture, the furniture including a metal seat frame having a pair of spaced apart cantilevered beams projecting from a side of the metal frame and inserted in beam receiving sleeves of an armrest of the furniture, the method comprising the step of: sliding the armrest away from the furniture to remove the beams from the sleeves.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the beams have been locked within the sleeves, and further comprising the step of: unlocking the beam from the sleeve prior to sliding.
11. A motion furniture chair kit comprising: a metal seat frame carried by righthand and lefthand metal reclining mechanisms mounted upon a base, said metal seat frame having at least two cantilevered, spaced apart beams projecting from righthand and lefthand sides of said frame and extending beyond the mechanism of the side; and righthand and lefthand upholstered armrests, 5 each with an inward directed face and an outward directed face, each armrest having a frame, at least two spaced apart beam receiving sleeves mounted on the frame, an upholstered cover having apertures on its 10 inward directed face aligned with the beam receiving sleeves.
12. The kit of claim 11 and further comprising: an upholstered backrest; and an upholstered ottoman.
Description:
TITLE MOTION FURNITURE CONSTRUCTION RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is a Continuation-In-Part of U.S. Patent Serial No. , filed .

This application is related to applications Serial Nos. 07/694,147 filed May 1, 1991 and 07/745,432 filed August 15, 1991 assigned to the owner of the present application. The disclosures of the earlier applications are incorporated herein by reference.

INTRODUCTION

This invention relates to motion furniture and more particularly relates to ready-to-assemble motion furniture and the method by which the furniture is constructed. Motion furniture as used herein is a generic term for chairs, sofas, and loveseats that include one or more reclining seats. With respect to motion furniture, such as sofas, loveseats, and related multi-occupant seating units, they may be of either modular or sectional construction. The reclining seats of motion furniture may either be incliners (seats utilizing a two-way mechanism that maintains the seat and backrest in fixed angular relationship with respect to one another) or recliners

(seats utilizing a three-way mechanism that enables the backrest to move relative to both the footrest and the seat as the seat moves to the fully reclined position) .

Conventionally in the manufacture of motion furniture, wood frames are prepared for the base, armrests, back and seat. The wood frames are initially connected to the metal reclining mechanisms, and thereafter the upholstery including the padding and the fabric cover are applied to the armrests, seat and backrest. Once assembled, the furniture cannot be disassembled without removing, at least in part, the padding and/or fabric covering. As a result, conventionally made furniture is fully assembled at the factory and shipped in the fully assembled state.

This conventional practice has many disadvantages.

First, a straight line assembly is employed, and therefore limits the manufacturing speed to the slowest operation in the manufacturing process.

Second, the application of the upholstery to the frame is difficult and a number of highly skilled upholsterers are required in order to keep the manufacturing line moving.

Another disadvantage of furniture manufactured in this conventional manner is that repairs frequently require that the furniture be shipped back to the factory because opening, removing, and subsequently replacing a portion of the upholstery involved in the repair requires skills beyond those of many of the mechanics employed by dealers.

Other disadvantages of conventionally manufactured motion furniture relate to freight and packaging. The preassembled furniture does not lend itself to packaging in rectangular cartons. Rather, the cartons are of irregular shape and, therefore, do not stack efficiently and compactly. This in turn frequently results in damaged furniture and/or excessive freight costs.

Yet another disadvantage of the conventionally preassembled furniture is that it is large, heavy and difficult to get through doorways. Many upholstered motion furniture pieces require minimum door opening widths of three feet in order for the furniture to be moved through them.

Recently, certain motion furniture manufacturers have attempted to reduce freight and handling charges and eliminate some of the damage of the packaging of the furniture by including "knocked-down" backs for the reclining seats. In "knocked-down" back construction, the back of the reclining seat is mounted by means of releasable brackets onto the backrest portion of the reclining mechanism. For shipping and handling, the fully upholstered backrest is placed on the seat so that the furniture is more nearly cube-shaped and may therefore be packaged in a rectangular carton. While the "knocked-down"

back construction has resulted in some savings both in handling and shipping, it does not eliminate all the manufacturing disadvantages described above with reference to the conventional fully preassembled motion furniture. One important object of the present invention is to reduce the manufacturing costs of upholstered motion furniture.

Another important object of the present invention is to provide upholstered motion furniture that may be ultimately assembled by the retailer or consumer so as to greatly reduce freight and handling costs by maximizing packaging efficiency with respect to shape and volume.

Yet another important object of the present invention is to provide upholstered motion furniture that allows defective parts to be easily removed and replaced without shipping the entire motion furniture unit back to the manufacturing source disassembly and repair.

Still another important object of the present invention is to provide an improved manufacturing process for upholstered motion furniture that lends itself to further automation, produces better quality furniture at greater speed, and allows product to be manufactured with fewer people.

To accomplish these and other objects, motion furniture is manufactured in accordance with the present invention by separately making the wood bases, upholstered armrests, upholstered seat, upholstered back, upholstered ottoman, and metal reclining chair mechanisms. Thereafter, the separately made upholstered parts may be assembled by the manufacturer, dealer or consumer as the situation dictates. Furniture made in accordance with this invention eliminates the disadvantages of the conventional motion furniture described above. In addition, it allows the manufacturer to inventory a variety of furniture parts so that they may be assembled in different styles and thereby reduce total inventory requirements.

These and other objects and features of the present

invention will be better understood and appreciated from the following detailed description read in connection with the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention in a first embodiment is a method of manufacturing upholstered motion furniture through the use of steps of (1) providing a metal seat frame carried by right-hand and left-hand metal reclining mechanisms mounted upon a base, the metal seat frame having at least two cantilevered, spaced apart beams or tube ends projecting from one side of the frame and extending beyond the mechanism; providing an upholstered armrest having at least two spaced apart beam or tube end receiving sleeves; and mounting the upholstered armrest on the metal seat frame by inserting the cantilevered beams or tube ends into the receiving sleeves. Preferably, in the method of this invention, the metal seat frame includes a pair of side rails connected by cross rails and the cantilevered beams are extensions of the cross rails or tubes of the metal seat frame. Also, in the method of this invention, preferably the upholstered armrest includes a frame of at least one horizontal member connecting forward and rearward vertical members and preferably one or both of the beam receiving sleeves are mounted on the horizontal frame member.

Further, the method of this invention may also include a step of locking the beams within the receiving sleeves, subsequent to insertion, to prevent separation of the armrest from the metal seat frame. Most preferably, the locking step involves a reversible fastening of the beams or tubes in the receivers or sleeves. The method is applicable to furniture have a second arm to be attached to the opposite side of the furniture, in other words, to mount a second armrest. The method may also involve providing other upholstered components and assembling those components to form the furniture. Specificallyenvisioned are backrests and ottomans for motion furniture. The

method is particularly well adapted for rocking motion furniture. In another aspect of the present invention, a method of disassembly is disclosed which is particularly useful for repairing damaged furniture incorporation aspects of the present invention.

The present invention also includes an upholstered motion fur ,iture unit, which may be provided as a kit ready for assembly. In a very basic form, such a kit includes a metal seat frame carried by right-hand,and left-hand metal reclining mechanisms mounted upon a base, the metal seat frame having at least two cantilevered, spaced apart beams or tube ends projecting from right-hand and left-hand sides of the frame and extending beyond the mechanism of the side; and right-hand and left-hand upholstered armrests, each with an inward directed face and an outward directed face, each armrest having a frame, at least two spaced apart beam receiving sleeves mounted on the frame^.an upholstered cover having apertures on its inward directed face aligned with the beam receiving sleeves. The kit may also include an upholstered backrest; and an upholstered ottoman.

BRIEF FIGURE DESCRIPTIONS rl

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a recliner embodying this invention, shown in the upright position; ■- s u FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing the chair in a reclining position;

FIG. 3 is partially exploded perspective view of the chair shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the base of the chair shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an inside elevation view of one side rail of the base with a reclining chair mechanism mounted on the side rail and with the mechanism in a reclining position; FIG. 6 is a plan view of the metal seat frame employed in the chair of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of the metal seat frame of FIG. 6 shown incorporated into the

reclining chair mechanism of FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a bottom perspective view of the ottoman of the chair of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the ottoman of FIG. 8 showing the manner in which it is attached to the mechanism of FIG. 5;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of one arm of the chair of FIG. 1 with part of the upholstery and padding broken away, showing the manner in which the arm is attached to the metal seat frame of FIG. 6;

FIG. 11A is an exploded perspective view of the backrest of the chair of FIG. 1 with part of the upholstery and padding broken away, and showing the mating portion of the mechanism to which it attaches; and FIG. 11B is similar to FIG. 11A but showing the backrest attached to the mechanism; and

FIG. 12 is a block diagram showing the various steps in the manufacture of the different parts of the chair and the steps in which they are assembled. FIG. 13 is a perspective view of another embodiment of this invention, shown in the upright position;

FIG. 14 is another perspective view similar to FIG. 13 showing the chair in a reclining position;

FIG. 15 is partially exploded perspective view of the chair shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the base of the chair shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 17 is an inside elevation view of one side rail of the base with a reclining chair mechanism mounted on the side rail and with the mechanism in a television view position;

FIG. 18 is a plan view of the metal seat frame employed in the chair of FIG. 13;

FIG. 19 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view of a portion of the metal seat frame of FIG. 18 shown connected to a portion of the reclining chair mechanism of FIG. 17;

FIG. 20 is a bottom perspective view of the

ottoman of the chair of FIG. 13;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of the ottoman of FIG. 20 showing the manner in which it is attached to the mechanism of FIG. 17; FIG. 22 is a perspective view of one armrest of the chair of FIG. 13 with part of the upholstery and padding broken away, showing the manner in which the arm is attached to the metal seat frame of FIG. 18;

FIG. 23A is an exploded perspective view of the backrest of the chair of FIG. 13 with part of the upholstery and padding broken away, and showing the mating portion of the mechanism to which it attaches; and

FIG. 23B is similar to FIG. 23A but showing the backrest attached to the mechanism; and FIG. 24 is a block diagram showing the various steps in the manufacture of the different parts of the chair and the steps in which they are assembled.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION In FIG. 1 a reclining chair 18 constructed in accordance with the present invention is shown in the upright position. The chair includes a seat 20, a backrest 22, arms 24 and ottoman 26. The particular chair shown is a three-way recliner, which is determined by the mechanism 28 used to support the seat and backrest in the assembly. However, the invention is not restricted to the construction of three-way recliners, but is equally applicable to the construction of two-way incliners as well and whether they be incorporated into a chair, loveseat, sofa or other types of seating. In FIG. 1, a push-button type control 30 is shown mounted in the right arm of the chair and it is used to unlock the reclining mechanisms 28 so that the position of the chair may be changed from the upright to the partially reclined and fully reclined configurations as shown in FIG. 2. What has been described thus far is conventional motion furniture that has been manufactured widely and sold in great numbers for many years.

In accordance with the present invention, the various components of the chair are supported on a base 40 (see FIG. 4) composed of a pair of wood side rails 42 and 44 and front and rear wood cross rails 46 and 48. The rear cross rail 48 is connected to the rear ends of the side rails 42 and 44 while the front cross rail 46 is connected to the side rails approximately one-quarter of the way back from their front ends. Moreover, in the embodiment shown, the side rails 42 and 44 and the rear rail 48 are oriented vertically while the front cross rail 46 is disposed in the horizontal position. The side rails and cross rails conventionally may be secured together by screws and bolts, brackets and/or braces or any other type of fastener which will provide the strength and rigidity. The base 40 is shown in FIG. 4 to be supported on four feet 50 attached it. In FIG. 4 the front feet 50 are shown connected to the front ends of the side rails 42 and 44 while the rear feet 50 are shown connected to corner braces 52 that join the rear cross rail 48 to the side rails. Reclining chair mechanisms 28 are mounted on the inner surfaces 62 of the side rails 42 and 44 of wood base 40. As indicated, the mechanisms may take a variety of different forms and may provide either two-way or three-way reclining action. The mechanism illustrated is that shown in application Serial No. 07/745432 supra. Separate mechanisms are provided on each side rail and the two are mirror images of one another. That is, they comprise identical parts but the stacking of the various parts of the mechanism is reversed on the left and right sides. One such mechanism is shown in FIG. 5.

Each mechanism 28 includes a mounting plate 64 which is a relatively large steel plate fastened in a face-to- face relationship on the inside 62 of the side rails by bolts that extend through the side rails. The mounting plate 64 carries forwardly and upwardly extending inclined front and rear tracks 66 and 68 that are fixed with respect to the mounting plate and have upper and lower flanges that

retain rollers which move within the tracks. Those rollers 70 and 72 are mounted on the front and rear ends respectively of a roller link 74. Roller link 74, which is the main support for the seat 20 and backrest 22 carries front and rear pivot links 76 and 78 connected by rivets to the roller link, and the upper ends of the front and rear pivot links 76 and 78 are in turn connected to and carry the seat mounting link 80. When the chair 18 moves from the upright to the intermediate or TV position, the seat 20 moves forwardly and slightly downwardly with respect to the base 20 as pivot links 76 and 78 pivot counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 5.

A lazy tong linkage 90 connected to the front end of the seat mounting link carries an ottoman bracket 92 that in turn supports the ottoman 26. As the details of the mechanism 28 do not form part of the present invention, the ottoman linkage is not described in great detail. Suffice it to say that when the chair is moved from the upright to the reclined position, the lazy tong linkage 90 elevates and raises the ottoman from a position wherein it lies beneath the front edge of the seat as shown in FIG. 1, substantially to the plane of the seat as shown in FIG. 2

The mechanism 28 also includes a rear bracket 94 that is mounted on the rear end 96 of the seat mounting link 80 and is fixed with respect thereto. The rear bracket 94 pivotally supports the backrest mounting link 98 which is secured to it by rivet 100. A back drive crank 102 is also pivoted intermediate its ends to the rear bracket 94. Drive crank 102 in turn is pivotally connected at one end to a short link 104 which in turn is connected to the backrest mounting link 98. The other end of the back drive crank 102 is connected to the rear end of the mounting plate 64 by connector link 106.

When the chair moves from the upright to the TV or intermediate reclined position, that action is achieved by the pivot links 76 and 78 pivoting in a forwardly and downwardly direction on the stationary roller link 74.

During that action, the backrest mounting link 98 remains fixed with respect to the seat mounting link 80. When the chair moves from the intermediate to the fully reclined positions, the rollers 70 and 72 move forwardly and upwardly on the tracks 66 and 68 so as to move the seat mounting Link 80 forwardly and upwardly with respect to the base 40, and are the same time the backrest mounting link 98 pivots rearwardly with respect to the seat mounting link 80 through the action of the connector link 106, back drive crank 102 and the short link 104.

The seat frame 110 shown in FIG. 6 includes a pair of metal side rails 112 connected by front and rear metal cross tubes 114 and 116. As explained below, the seat frame side rails 112 may be one and the same with the seat mounting links 80. The cross tubes have ends 118 and 120, respectively that extend beyond the side rails 112. When the metal seat frame 110 as mounted on or incorporated into the chair mechanisms the ends 118 and 120 extend beyond the side rails 42 and 44 of the base so that the arms 24 may be directly connected to the seat frame and be carried by it. This is described in detail below in connection with the assembly operation of the chair and is shown in part in application Serial No. 07/694,147 supra.

The seat frame also includes sinuous springs 122 that extend front to back between the cross tubes 114 and 116. The springs 122 provide a resilient support for a seat pad and seat cushion as described below.

The upholstered armrests 24 are mirror images of one another and with the exception of the push-button actuator 30 which is provided in the right arm in the chair shown, the construction of the arms correspond with one another, element for element. Therefore, only one arm need be described. The arm 24 shown in FIG. 10 includes a wood frame having front and rear posts 132 and 134 and top and bottom rails 136 and 138 that are joined together to form a generally rectangular frame. One or more intermediate side horizontal rails and vertical posts may be

incorporated into the frame of the arm to increase its stiffness and durability. The box frame of the arm described above may or may not be provided with their plywood or a cardboard-like material on the inner and outer vertical surfaces to support the padding and upholstery fabric 140 applied to the arm.

In accordance with the present invention, brackets 142 are provided on the rear face of the front post 132 and the front face of the rear post 134 of the arm, and the brackets 142 engage the ends 118 and 120 of the cross tubes 114 and 116 of the seat frame 110 so as to mount each arm on the seat frame. The arms may be retained on the tubes by bolts, pins, or other means so as to prevent the arms from being pushed off the cross tubes by outwardly directed forces exerted on the arms such as may be exerted by the occupant of the seat.

The backrest 22 is made as a separate unit from the arms 24 and seat 20 and includes a pair of parallel vertical side rails 150, a top rail 152 and a bottom cross rail 154. Depending on the particular style of chair, the back may include wings that extend outwardly, forwardly and/or rearwardly of the front surface of the cushioned backrest. Supplementary frame members may b * included to build up the backrest to the desired shape. Thereafter, the box frame of the backrest established by the side, top and bottom rails and other members may be provided with thin plywood or cardboard-like panels on the front and back surfaces to support the padding and upholstery fabric 156 that covers, the front, back and sides of the backrest. As shown in FIGS. 11A and 11B, the inner surfaces of the vertical side rails 150 of the backrest carry mounting brackets 158 having slots that receive the backrest mounting links 96 of the mechanism 28. To attach the backrest 22 to the reclining mechanism 28, the brackets 158 on each of the vertical-side rails 150 of the backrest are aligned with the backrest mounting links 98, and the links 98 simply slip into the slots of brackets 158. In this

manner, the backrest is retained in place. Screws or pins may be used if needed to prevent accidental removal of the backrest.

The ottoman 26, as shown in FIGS. 3, 8, and 9 is generally U-shaped, having a main support panel 170 and a pair of returns 172 at each end thereof. When the ottoman is in the retracted position as shown in FIG. 1 the main panel 170 of the ottoman 26 lies in a vertical plane spaced slightly inward with respect to the front edge of the seat 20 and the returns 172 which also lie in vertical planes extend rearwardly from the main panel of the ottoman to the front of the arms 24. The returns 172 of the ottoman serve to enclose and cover a portion of the chair mechanism 28 and particularly the lazy tong linkage 90. The ottoman 26 is fully upholstered on the outer surfaces of the main panel and the returns, so as to provide a fully finished appearance. The ottoman main panel carries screws 174 that are positioned to register with holes 176 in the ottoman mounting brackets 92 of the lazy tong linkages 90 to secure the ottoman to the mechanism.

It should be appreciated that the positions of the ottoman 26 in the extended and retracted positions is a function of the styling of the chair and the reclining mechanism utilized, and the present invention is not limited in any way to a specific style or mechanism. The ottoman, for example, could be exposed beneath the seat in the retracted position and a mid-ottoman could also be mounted on the lazy tong linkages 90. In accordance with the present invention, the several components of the chair, including the base 40, reclining mechanisms 28, arms 24, seat frame 110 and backrest 22, are separately manufactured and are thereafter assembled together after the upholstered pieces are fully upholstered. The assembling of the components can be carried out by the manufacturer, dealer, or consumer. This manufacturing process is suggested in the block diagram of FIG. 12. As is suggested in that

figure, the base 40, reclining mechanism 28, arms 24, backrest 22 and ottoman 26 are all separately preassembled at separate work stations suggested by boxes 180, 182, 184, 186 and 188. Only the stations where the arms 24 and backrest 22 are assembled require the presence of skilled upholsterers. Normally, the reclining mechanisms and metal seat frame are not manufactured by the furniture manufacturer but rather are supplied by outside hardware vendors. The furniture manufacturer, however, mounts the mechanisms on the base as suggested by box 192 and will assemble the seat frame on the mechanism as suggested by box 190. Those steps are carried out at one station. It should be appreciated that the metal seat frame 110 may be made by securing the front and rear cross tubes 114 and 116 to the seat mounting links 80 of the mechanisms. In this fashion, the side rails 112 of the seat frame are formed by the seat mounting links 80, and therefore the angle stock that forms the links 80 and side rails 112 need not be duplicated. At the same station, a seat pad may be placed over the springs 122 as indicated by box 194 particularly if a loose seat cushion is to be used as in the embodiment shown. Therefore, the arms, backrest and ottoman may be attached to the mechanism-seat frame combination as suggested by the box 196. The motion furniture described above has many important advantages. For example, a preassembled portion of the furniture comprising the base 20, mechanism 28, seat frame 110 and ottoman 26 may be shipped to the dealer with the arms 124 and backrest 22 detached to provide a smaller package to reduce stacking volume, shipping costs and damage to the furniture, and to promote ease of handling. Furthermore, the dealer can return a defective part for repair or replacement rather than the whole piece of furniture. As yet another advantage the dealer is able to make certain mechanism repairs faster and easier by removing the arms 24 and/or back 22.

Furniture manufactured in accordance with this

invention significantly automates the furniture manufacturing operation by using fewer people, less space less time with better quality control. In a conventional manufacturing line, there are ten to fourteen people requiring a space of 15' x 60'. Fewer highly skilled upholsterers are used, and the separate work stations for (1) the installation of the hardware (mechanism) to the base and attachment of the metal seat frame, (2) the arm assembly, (3) back assembly and (4) ottoman assembly can be located anywhere in the plant and require minimum floor space Betzer quality control can be achieved at each station, workers can build more pieces and mixed styles. The final assembly can be carried out at the factory or by the dealer or even the consumer. While in the foregoing description the invention is described as it applies to a chair, the invention is not limited to that type of motion furniture alone. Rather, it has application to the manufacture of love seats and sofas as well. Another embodiment as shown in FIG. 13 as reclining rocking chair 220 constructed in accordance with the present invention is shown in the upright position. The chair 220 includes a seat 222, a backrest 224, arms 226 and ottoman 228. The particular chair 220 shown is a three-way recliner rocker, which is determined by the mechanism 230 used to support the seat 222 and backrest 224 in the assembly. However, the invention is not restricted to a construction incorporating a three-way recliner rockers, but is equally applicable to the construction of two-way incliners as well and whether they be incorporated into a chair, loveseat, sofa or other types of seating. In FIG. 13, a lever type control 232 is shown mounted adjacent the right arm 226 of the chair 220 and is used to unlock the reclining mechanisms 230 so that the position of the chair 220 may be changed from the upright to the partially reclined ("television viewing") and fully reclined configurations as shown in FIG. 14. What has been

described thus far is conventional with motion furniture that has been manufactured widely and sold in great numbers for many years.

In accordance with the present invention, the various components of the chair 220 are supported on a base 234 (see FIG. 16) . In this embodiment, the base 234 is a rocker-type base. The base 234 may be metal, wood, composite materials or a wood and metal combination as shown here. The base 234 is preferably formed of a pair of wood side rails 236 and wood cams 238 each having paired front and rear wood cross rails or, in the alternative shown in Figure 16, a sheet of plywood 240 is used to deck the side rails 236 which provides the front and rear cross rails as the front 242 and rear 244 portions of the plywood sheet 240 and also provides a surface for supporting the rockering cams 238. Front and rear upper cross rails 246 and 248 link the two spaced apart cams 238. Moreover, in the embodiment shown, on each side, the side rails 236 (or plywood deck sheet 240) and cams 238 are resiliently held in contact by spring connectors 250. The various rails, cams and plywood sheet of the base 234 may be conventionally secured together by screws and bolts, brackets and/or braces or any other type of fastener which will provide the strength and rigidity. Alternatively, if a metal base is employed, fastening may be by welding, riveting, bolts or other conventional metal fastening means. In the case of either metal or wood or wood and metal combinations or composite bases, protective feet, such as pads 252, may be employed to protect flooring. Reclining chair mechanisms 230 are mounted, as shown in Figure 17, on the outer surf s 254 of the cams 238 of base 234. The mounting means ir. oe by conventional screws or carriage bolts if the base 234 is wood or composite or by welding riveting, or bolts if the base 234 is metal. As indicated, the mechanisms 230 may take a variety of different forms and may provide either two-way or three-way reclining action. The mechanism 230 illustrated is an

improvement to that shown in U.S. Patent 4,519,647, to Rogers which disclosure is incorporated herein by reference. Separate mechanisms 230 are provided in a parallel paired arrangement on each of the two outer surfaces 254 of the cams 238 and the two are substantially mirror images of one another. That is, they comprise identical parts but the stacking of the various parts of the mechanism is reversed on the left and right sides and a lever control 232 may be incorporated into either the mechanism 230 of either side. One such improved mechanism 230 is shown in FIG. 17.

Because the basic mechanism has been previously described by Rogers in U.S. 4,519,647 it is only briefly explained by way of review herein. Each mechanism 230 includes a mounting plate 260 which is a relatively large steel plate fastened in a face-to-face relationship on the outside 254 of the cams 238 by bolts that extend through the cams 238 and the mounting plate 260.

Each mechanism 230 also includes a metal side rail 262, preferably having a top plate or flange and a side plate, which is also serves as part of a seat frame as will be explained below. An auxiliary plate 264 is rigidly connected to the side rail 262 and provides a raised pivot point 266 for a back bracket or link 268 and a lower pivot 270 connected to the mounting plate 260 by a single front link 272. At the rear a set of three links, a short link connected to the plate 260, and intermediate link and an upper link are pivotally connected to each other and therein support the rearward portion of the side rail 262 above the plate 260. The auxiliary plate 264 pivotally supports the back bracket 268. The back bracket or link 268 is also pivotally attached to a connector link 280 which is also pivotally attached to a raised arm on the intermediate link of the rear three link support set. The connector link 280 is also separately pivotally connected to a long connector bar 282 leading forward to a lazytong mechanism 284. The lazy tong mechanism 284 is connected at

two pivot points adjacent the front portion of the metal side rail 262. On one side of the chair, the lazy tong mechanism 284 is also under the control of a bell crank system 286 connected to the lever control 232 on one of the two sides of the chair 220.

The mechanism 230 also includes a rocker lock mechanism 290, located at the rear of the mechanism 230 instead of the front as in the Rogers disclosure. The rocker lock mechanism is pivoted from the mounting plate and includes a support wheel 292 .nd a folding link 294 which together stabilize and lock the rocker when the chair 220 is in a reclining mode.

The improvement in this mechanism 230 involves two main differences from the Rogers mechanism. First, the moving parts of the mechanism have been restacked, thereby allowing the mechanism 230 to be narrowed and to eliminate the need for a separate shield between the various components of the mechanism and the adjoining upholstery. The narrowed mechanism also provides more seat space and a wider stance in the chair base 234. Second, common pivots between three bars in the Rogers mechanism have been converted to triple points. This conversion of pivots shared between three bars into triple points redistributes and thereby effectively reduces the stress of the prior art mechanism to provide a more durable and smoother operating mechanism. Further, by employing triple points rather than single pivots, more optimal bar lengths and motion pathways become possible. This allows the mechanism to eliminate the impression of "holes" in the motion between one position and another.

When the chair 220 moves from the upright to the TV or intermediate reclined position, that action is achieved by an occupant operating the handle 232 so as to extend the lazy tong mechanism 284, the lazy tong 284 simultaneously pulls ε long connector bar 282 connected in turn to the short lir c of the rearward three link set. This causes the short link and connected second and third

links to pivot into a free or released relationship but causes only minimal movement at the front between the mounting plate 260 and the side rail 262, at the rear however a significant drop occurs and the lazy tong 284 carrying ottoman 228 is extended, thereby generating a television viewing position. However, movement into the free relationship in the three link set also allows the connector link 280 to the back bracket to move forward and simultaneously slightly raise the seat 222. It will be recognized that an occupant pushing rearward with their back against the back 224 of the chair 220 will shift weight off of the seat 222 and against the back 224. Because of the arrangement of the three link set and the connection to the back 224, the seat 222 therefore tends to lift upwards at the same time the back 224 pivots rearward, thereby allowing a full recline position in the chair 224. An additional mechanism 290, driven by the first of the three links tends to adjust the chair 220 toward a desirable portion of the arc of the rocker and lock the chair 220 in such a relationship with the rocker and floor, thereby preventing the rocker from oscillating when reclined or partially reclined. In summary, the mechanism contains a control, a mounting plate, a metal side rail which also serves as a shield and as part of a seat frame, a single link supporting the front of the side rail and three links, generally end-to-end, supporting the rear of the side rail. Operation of the handle extends the lazytong mechanism, and simultaneously releases the rear three links and locks the rocker mechanism. Another feature of the improved mechanism 230 is that the moving parts of the linkage are now more narrowly stacked than in the Rogers mechanism. This, in turn, allows all the moving parts to be placed under the top flange of the side rail 262 at the top of the mechanism and in turn the flange serves as a shield between the moving parts of the mechanism and the upholstery. Such an arrangement provides several significant advantages.

First, a separate shield is no longer necessary, thereby eliminating the expense associated with a separate shield for each side of the chair. Second, the narrow mechanism of the present invention allows for a broader seat frame and for a broader or wider stance in the frame. This provides a more stable chair and a more comfortable seating unit.

The seat frame 300 shown in FIG. 18 includes a pair of metal side rails 262 connected by the their top plates or flanges to front and rear metal cross tubes 302 and 304. The connection is shown in more detail in Figure 19. As explained herein, the seat frame side rails 262 are be one and the same with the seat mounting links 262. The cross tubes have ends 306 and 308, respectively that extend beyond the side rails 262. When the metal seat frame 300 are mounted on or incorporated into the chair mechanisms 23C the ends 306 and 308 extend beyond the base 234 so that the arms 226 may be directly connected to the seat frame 300 and be carried by it. (In another preferred variation of this embodiment, the cross rails 302 and 304 are identical and the ends 306 and 308 are substantially equally offset toward the fore and aft midpoint of the seat frame 300, yet still extend outward of the side to receive the arms 226.) This is described in detail below in connection with the assembly operation of the chair 220.

The seat frame 300 is sized to receive a coil spring seat which drops in place and is fastenable to the cross tubes 302 and 304.

Alternatively, the seat frame 300 may include sinuous springs extending preferably between the cross tubes 302 and 304, as in the earlier described embodiment. The springs, whether coil or sinuous, provide a resilient support for a seat 222 such as a pad or cushion.

The upholstered armrests 226 are mirror images of one another and with the exception of the lever type control 232 which is provided adjacent the right arm in the chair 220 as shown, the construction of the armrests 226 are

mirror images of one another, element for element. The mechanisms 230 are designed such that the control lever 232 may alternatively be connected to the opposite (left) side mechanism with equal efficiency. Therefore, only one armrest 226 need be described. The armrest 226 shown in FIG. 22 includes a wood frame 320 having front and rear posts 312 and 314 and top and bottom rails 316 and 318 that are joined together to form a generally rectangular frame 310. At least one intermediate side horizontal rails 320 and, optionally, additional vertical posts are also incorporated into the frame 310 of the armrest 226 to increase its stiffness and durability. Alternatively, it is envisioned that the various posts and rails of the frame of the armrest 226 could be formed of plywood, pressboard, or similar wood substitute materials to further reduce the expense associated with the use of wood. The box frame 310 of the armrest described above may or may not be provided with plywood or a cardboard-like material on the inner and outer vertical surfaces to support the padding and upholstery fabric 322 applied to the armrest frame 310. Preferably, the armrest 226 is constructed without the use of hardwood and various posts and rails may be of plywood or composite materials.

In accordance with the present invention, brackets 326 are provided on the lower face of the intermediate side horizontal rail 320, of the armrest 226, and the brackets 326 engage the ends 306 of the cross tube 302 so as to mount each armrest 226 on the seat frame 300. Similarly, brackets 326 may be mounted on intermediate rail 320 or post 314 to receive ends 308. The mounting position of the brackets 326, of course depends upon and is coordinated with the offset of the ends 306 and 308.

In other words, a receiver 326 is present in the arm 226 to accept the protruding ends 306 and 308 of the cross tubes 302 and 304 of the seat frame 300. The armrests 226 may be retained on the tubes 302 and 304 by bolts, pins, or other means so as to prevent the armrests 226 from being pushed

off the cross tubes 302 and 304 by outwardly directed forces exerted on the armrests 226 such as may be exerted by the occupant of the seat 220.

To facilitate assembly, note that the bottom rail 318 of the frame 310 is narrowed in profile to allow an assembler to reach up within the frame 310 when upholstered and insert or thread a screw or other locking device in a transverse aperture 328 of the receiver 326 and a corresponding transverse aperture of the crosstube 302 or 304. Alternatively, assembly can employ a self threading bolt carried upon a ratchet extension.

The backrest 224 is made as a separate unit from the armrests 226 and seat 222 and includes a pair of generally parallel, vertical side rails 340, a top rail 342 and a bottom cross rail 344. Depending on the particular style of chair, the backrest 224 may include wings that extend outwardly, forwardly and/or rearwardly of the front surface of the cushioned backrest 224. Supplementary frame members may be included to build up the backrest 224 to the desired shape. Thereafter, the box frame of the backrest 224 established by the side, top and bottom rails and other members may be optionally provided with thin plywood or cardboard-like panels on the front and back surfaces to support the padding and upholstery fabric 322 that covers, the front, back and sides of the backrest 224. Alternatively, the front of the box frame of the backrest 224 may be decked with webbing to support a cushion or an upholstery covering.

As shown in FIGS. 23A and 23B, the vertical side rails 340 of the backrest 224 carry mounting brackets 346 having slots that receive the backrest mounting links 268 of the mechanisms 230. To attach the backrest 224 to the reclining mechanism 230, the brackets 346 on each of the vertical-side rails 340 of the backrest 224 are aligned with the backrest mounting links 268, and the links 268 simply slip into the slots of brackets 346. In this manner, the backrest 224 is retained in place. Screws or

pins may be used if needed to prevent accidental separation and removal of the backrest 224.

The ottoman 228, as shown in FIGS. 15, 20 and 21 is generally U-shaped, having a main support panel 350 and a pair of returns 352 at each end thereof. When the ottoman 228 is in the retracted position, as shown in FIG. 13, the main panel 350 of the ottoman 228 lies in a vertical plane spaced slightly inward with respect to the front edge of the seat 222 and the returns 3521 which also lie in vertical planes extend rearwardly from the main panel 350 of the ottoman 228 to the front of the armrests 226. The returns 352 of the ottoman 228 serve to enclose and cover a portion of the chair mechanism 230 and particularly the lazy tong linkage 284. The ottoman, 228 is fully upholstered on the outer surfaces of the main panel 350 and the returns 352, so as to provide a fully finished appearance. The ottoman main panel 350 carries screws or bolts 354 that are positioned to register with holes 358 in the ottoman mounting brackets 360 of the lazy tong linkages 284 to secure the ottoman 228 to the mechanisms 230.

It should be appreciated that the positions of the ottoman 228 in the extended and retracted positions is a function of the styling of the chair 220 and the particular reclining mechanism utilized in this aspect of the present invention. Is not limited in any way to a specific style or mechanism. The ottoman 228, for example could be exposed beneath the seat 222 in the retracted position and a mid-ottoman could also be mounted on the lazy tong linkages 284.

In accordance with the present invention, the several components of the chair 220, including the base 234, reclining mechanisms 230, armrests 226, seat frame 300 and backrest 224, are separately manufactured. As part of this manufacturing of each component, the frames to be upholstered are temporarily attached to a "fixture", which serves a surface guide to those individuals responsible for

installation of upholstered surfaces upon the component. A "fixture" for each external "style" is provided as a method of facilitating consistent production of each of the various upholstered components of the furniture. Such an arrangement, provides guidance to the persons performing the upholstery step to a degree that within a "style" of furniture, interchangeable components may be provided. The critical upholstered surfaces are particularly the surfaces which must mate or slide against another upholstered surface. In other words, if the upholstered surface extends too far outward from a frame, it likely will rub too much against adjoining upholstery and cause a premature wear condition upon both upholstered surfaces. Conversely, if the upholstered surface does not extend sufficiently outward from the frame, an unsightly gap will result between the two adjoining upholstered surfaces, reducing the consume appeal of the upholstered motion furniture. Once the pieces to be upholstered are fully upholstered, the complete chair 220 may be assembled together. The assembling of the components can be carried out by the manufacturer, dealer, or consumer. This manufacturing process is suggested in the block diagram of FIG. 24.

As is suggested in FIG. 24, the base 234, reclining mechanisms 320, seat 222, armrests 226, backrest 224 and ottoman 228 are all separately preassembled at separate work stations suggested by boxes 370, 372, 380, 374, 376, and 378 respectively. Only the stations where the armrests 226 and backrest 224 are assembled require the presence of the most highly skilled upholsterers. Normally, the reclining mechanisms 230 and metal seat frame or springs are not manufactured by the furniture manufacturer but rather are supplied by outside hardware vendors. The furniture manufacturer may, however, mount the mechanisms 230 on the base 234 as suggested by box 382 and will assemble the seat frame 300 on the mechanism 230 as suggested by box 384. Those steps are preferably carried out at one station. It should be appreciated that the metal

seat frame 300 is preferably made by securing the front and rear cross tubes 302 and 304 to the seat mounting links or metal side rails 262 of the mechanisms 230. In this fashion, the side rails 262 of the seat frame 300 serve a dual purpose as seat mounting links, and therefore the angle stock that forms the links 262 and side rails 262 need not be duplicated in the final assembly. At the same station, a seat pad 222 may be placed over the springs as indicated by box 386 particularly if a loose seat cushion 222 is to be used, as in the embodiment shown. Alternatively, a drop-in coil seat unit, preferably with a preupholstered upper surface maybe installed. Therefore, the arms, backrest and ottoman may be attached to the mechanism-seat frame combination as suggested by the box 388.

The motion furniture described above has many important advantages. For example, a preassembled portion of the furniture comprising the base 234, mechanisms 230, seat frame 300 and ottoman 228 may be shipped to the dealer with the armrests 226 and backrest 224 detached, to provide a smaller package to reduce stacking volume, shipping costs and damage to the furniture, and to promote ease of handling. Furthermore, the dealer can return a defective part for repair or replacement rather than the whole piece of furniture. As yet another advantage the dealer is able to make certain mechanism repairs faster and easier by removing the armrests 226 and/or backrest 224.

Furniture manufactured in accordance with this invention significantly automates the furniture manufacturing operation by using fewer people, less space less time with better quality control. In a conventional manufacturing line, there are ten to fourteen people requiring a space of 15' x 60'. In contrast, with the present invention, fewer highly skilled upholsterers are used, and the separate work stations for (l) the installation of the hardware (mechanism) to the base and attachment of the metal seat frame, (2) the arm assembly.

(3) back assembly and (4) ottoman assembly can be located anywhere in the plant and require minimum floor space. Better quality control can be achieved at each station, workers can build more pieces and mixed styles. The final assembly can be carried out at the factory or by the dealer or even the consumer.

While in the foregoing description the invention is described as it applies to a chair, the invention is not limited to that type of motion furniture alone. Rather, it has application to the manufacture of love seats and sofas as well. Interior directed metal seat frames (i.e., those which are not adjacent an armrest) must typically have interfering/extending portions of crosstube ends 306 and 308 eliminated. It is also envisioned that a base 234 may provided which can accept a pair of mechanisms 230 and a metal seat frame 300. Such an assembly might be delivered from a hardware vendor to an upholstered furniture manufacturer. The manufacturer might provide upholstered sets of subcomponents, such as armrests, backrests, ottomans, and seat cushions, to be packaged with the hardware vendors base and mechanism assembly and shipped together for remote assembly at a dealer or consumer location. Because numerous modifications may be made of this invention without departing from the spirit thereof, the scope of the invention is not to be limited to the single embodiment illustrated and described. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be determined by appended claims and their equivalents.




 
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