CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)
- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/380,281, filed on Apr. 26, 2006 which is a continuation of U.S. patent Ser. No. 11/046,366, filed on Jan. 28, 2005, now abandoned, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/846,136, filed on May 14, 2004, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,926,360 which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/348,785, filed on Jan. 22, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,739,667, the contents of which are incorporated in their entirety by reference herein.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to chairs. More specifically, the present invention relates to chairs and frames for chairs that are attachable to or useable with stadium seating, such as bleachers.
Bleacher-type seating is often provided for spectator events such as sporting events, concerts, and the like. Such seating may be provided in a permanent setting, such as a stadium, a semi-permanent setting, such as retractable bleachers in a gymnasium, or on a temporary basis for specific events. Bleachers provide simple, efficient and convenient seating for a large number of spectators; however, bleachers do not necessarily provide the most comfortable seating nor do they typically identify an individual seating location.
To improve the comfort of such seating, patrons sometimes bring their own seats or cushions. While an improvement in comfort, such a solution requires the patron to remember to bring their own device, which is often an afterthought and/or a very easily overlooked consideration when attending an otherwise exciting event. In addition, having spectators hauling their own chairs or cushion into a stadium seating arrangement can be inconvenient and possibly even dangerous to other spectators. That is, walkways are narrow and space is extremely limited so carrying extra items (especially if large, bulky or cumbersome) presents a challenge.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, there exists a need to balance the conveniences and mass seating offered through stadium or bleacher seating with a degree of personal comfort.
- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Accordingly, a stadium chair and frame for a stadium chair are provided. The frame of the stadium chair comprise a first support member for positioning on a bleacher, the first support member having a first bracket for engaging a front face of the bleacher; a second support member for positioning on the bleacher, the second support member having a second bracket for engaging a front face of the bleacher; a first upright member having a first end joined to the first support member and a hook-type structure positioned at a second end; a second upright member having a first end joined to the second support member and a hook-type structure positioned at a second end; and a horizontally configured structure attached to at least one member, and configured for attachment to the bleacher, the structure positioned at an angle from the first and second support members.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a stadium chair frame in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a isometric view of a stadium chair with the frame of FIG. 1 attached to a bleacher in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of a stadium chair frame according to one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of a stadium chair frame according to FIGS. 1-3.
FIG. 5 is a rear elevational view of the stadium chair frame of FIGS. 1-4.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a stadium chair frame according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a rear elevational view of the stadium chair of FIG. 2.
FIG. 8 is a partial rear elevational view of an alternate embodiment of the stadium chair of FIG. 2.
FIG. 9 is a partial isometric view of a horizontal attachment member for securing the stadium seat to the bleacher in one embodiment.
FIG. 10 is a side planar view illustrating a portion of the stadium chair frame and attachment to a bleacher with an attachment clamp.
FIG. 11 is a side planar view of the attachment clamp of FIG. 10.
FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of an attachment clamp according to one embodiment of the present invention having an aperture for receipt of an attachment device.
FIG. 13 is a front elevational view of the attachment clamp according to FIG. 12.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION
FIG. 14 is an isometric view of an exemplary attachment device used for attachment of the clamp to the frame of the stadium chair.
Stadium chairs used in association with the present invention are disclosed in detail U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,739,667, 6,926,360, 7,104,605 and published United States patent applications, Publication Nos. US2006/0022499, US2006/0250004 and US2006/0250010, the applications, patents and contents thereof are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.
The stadium chair 10 of the present embodiment comprises an improvement to the stadium chair for attachment to a bleacher 12. The bleacher 12 may be an elongate plank-like member having an upper seating surface 14, a lower surface 16, a front face 18 and a rear face 20. The bleacher 12 may be made from various materials, including wood or aluminum. As illustrated in phantom (FIG. 2), the bleacher 12 may also include a recess 22 having one or more lips and one or more ribs (not shown) to provide additional structural support.
The stadium chair 10 rests on the upper seating surface 14 and is secured to the front face 18 of the bleacher 12. The stadium chair 10 may also be secured to the rear face 20 of the bleacher 12. The particular configuration of the bleacher 12 may affect which securement members should be used.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, the stadium chair 10 includes a frame 24. The frame 24 is formed from one or more tubular or cylindrical members 26, 28 appropriately bent at predetermined angles in one or more locations to form the frame structure 24. In one preferred embodiment, a plurality of tubular or cylindrical members 26, 28 may be used to form the frame structure 24. The frame 24 may be formed of any suitable material, such as metal (e.g., aluminum, steel wire, steel tubing or steel rod), plastic or the like. The choice of materials may determine whether the frame 24 is formed via bending, or via welding, or is a pre-shaped component (such as molded cast, injection molded). Assembly of one or more components using fasteners, such as bolt or screw is also contemplated. The frame may further be coated with a protective layer, such as a vinyl coating, paint, powder, or other suitable covering.
The frame 24, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, is formed from a first generally U-shaped bracket 30 having a first face engaging member 32 and a first lower surface engaging member 34. The frame 24 may also include a second generally U-shaped bracket 36 having a second face engaging member 38 and a second lower surface engaging member 40 which are spaced from the first bracket 30 and corresponding members 32, 34. The frame 24 includes a first horizontal member 42 and a second horizontal member 44 which rest atop the upper seating surface 14 when the stadium chair 10 is positioned as illustrated in FIG. 2. In a preferred embodiment, the horizontal frame member has a length suitable for support of the chair on top of the bleacher or at least partially supported by the bleacher. The horizontal members 42, 44 define a seat portion 46 of the frame 24. The horizontal members 42, 44, may be optionally interconnected by a cross-member 45. (See FIGS. 4 and 6.)
Depending from the horizontal members 42, 44 and extending upwards, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-5, is a back portion 48 of the frame 24 that is defined by a first upright member 50 and a second upright member 52. The first and second upright members 50, 52 may be optionally interconnected by an upright cross-member (not shown). The upper section 54 of the back portion 48 may be angled backwards or away from the bleacher 12, which may provide a more comfortable seat back for patrons by preventing the upper ends or portions from engaging the back of the patron. In one embodiment, the back portion may extend at a right angle to the seat portion. The first and second upright members 50, 52 have a first end 60, 62 and a second end 64, 66. The first ends 60, 62 of the first and second upright members 50, 52 are respectively positioned at and/or connected to the first and second horizontal members 42, 44. The first and second upright members 50, 52 carry inwardly turned portions 68, 70 along a portion thereof. Preferably, these inwardly turned portions 68, 70 are positioned at the second ends 64, 66 of the first and second upright members 50, 52. As illustrated most clearly in FIGS. 1 and 3, the first inwardly turned end 64 and the second inwardly turned end 66, or portions, face each other so as to be mirror images. Each inwardly turned end 68, 70 has a generally hook-shaped structure including a first longitudinal segment 72 connection to an end of a curved segment 74, and a second longitudinal segment 76 connected to an opposing end of the curved segment 74. While “curved” and “hook-shape” ends are specifically disclosed, other geometric configuration would be acceptable for the purposes provided, including but not limited to, an angled segment (acute, right, obtuse) connecting the first and second longitudinal segments. The inwardly turned ends 68, 70 are preferably angled away from the front or forward portion of the frame. In the preferred embodiment the inwardly turned ends are angled to be offset at an angle x greater than ninety (90) degrees from the position of the horizontal members 68, 70 (see FIG. 6), or more preferably ¼ inch from a ninety (90) degree angle, although alternative angles would not depart from the scope of the present invention. This angle of the inwardly turned end assists in retaining the backrest taught on the frame and provides greater comfort to the user. The inwardly turned ends may further include a smoothed or rounded top surface 69 to prevent damage to fabrics positioned thereon. In a preferred embodiment, the inwardly turned end 68 or 70 extends inwardly approximately 1 to 2 inches, and more preferably 1½ inches, and extends a height of approximately 1 to 2 inches and is more preferably 1¾ inches.
The inwardly turned ends 68, 70 of the first and second upright members 50, 52, in one embodiment, aid in securing a backrest 78 to the frame 24 (see FIGS. 7-8). Specifically, the backrest 78 may comprise a flexible member 80 having one or more interior cavities or sleeves 82, 84, allowing the backrest 78 to be slipped over the back portion 48 of the frame 24. Specifically, the backrest 78 includes a sleeve or plurality of sleeves 82, 84 having an opening 86, 88 at a first end for receipt of the inwardly turned ends or portions 68, 70 within the sleeve 82, 84. Clips (not shown) or other attachment members may be used to temporarily or permanently secure the backrest to the frame 24. The backrest 78 is made of a material suitable for outdoor use and provides a degree of flexibility, including but not limited to plastic, nylon, vinyl and other fabrics. In the preferred embodiment the backrest 78 may preferably include a cushion or foam along a portion thereof, inserted into the backrest material, or attached to a surface thereof. In one preferred embodiment, the backrest 78 includes a one (1) inch foam insert within the backrest material.
The frame 24 further comprises a horizontally configured member 90 for securing the stadium chair 10 to the bleacher 12. The horizontally configured member 90 may be positioned along a portion of the frame 24. In a preferred embodiment, the horizontally positioned member 90 is positioned so as to contact the first upright member 50 and/or the second upright member 52. Alternatively, the horizontally configured member may be connected to or in contact with one or both horizontal members 42, 44 of the seat portion 46 of the frame 24. The horizontally configured member 90 in one preferred embodiment is an attachment bracket having one or more openings 92 (see FIG. 9). The openings 92 may be threaded throughbores or unthreaded throughbores for receiving a clamp 94 as seen in FIGS. 10-14, or otherwise capable of receipt of an attachment device 94. The horizontally configured structure 90 may be made of the same material as the frame 24 or an alternative material. The horizontally configured member 90 is preferably a rigid member made of a suitably strong material, such as metal. For example, this member 90 may be stamped, cast, bent or otherwise fabricated from steel, aluminum or the like. Preferably, the member 90 is a channeled member having some degree of depth or thickness, although other shapes and/or dimensions would not depart from the overall scope of the preferred embodiment. The member 90, in at least one embodiment may be integrally formed with the frame 24. Alternatively, at opposing ends of the horizontally configured structure 90, a first tab 96 and a second tab 98 may be provided. The tabs 96, 98 may be bent around the upright member 50, 52 respectively to secure the horizontal member 90 to the frame 24 at any location on the frame 24, or may be otherwise secured in any manner to the frame based upon manufacturer or user preferences. As indicated, in one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the horizontally configured member 90 is connected to the upright members 50, 52 of the frame 24. Other locations of attachment, including but not limited to, the horizontal members 42, 44 or inwardly curved members 68, 70 would not depart from the purposes provided. Other means of attachment, such as bolting, crimping, clamping, welding, integral molding or the like may be used to secure the horizontal member 90 to the components or members of the frame 24.
As indicated, the horizontal member 90 may be provided with one or more openings or apertures 92, throughbores or threaded throughbores. The openings or throughbores 92 may be used, in one embodiment to attach a bleacher attachment device 94. In the illustrated embodiment, one or more clamps 94 may be attached using any combination of left, center, and right openings or throughbores or a single clamp may be used, secured at the central openings or throughbore or to any unobstructed opening throughbore. In other words, the chair 10 may be positioned as desired and one or more openings or throughbores 92 may be used for multiple attachment points of an attachment device 94 to secure and/or attach the chair 10 to the bleacher 12.
As seen in FIGS. 9-14, a connecting device 100 may be passed through the clamp 94 and openings or throughbore 92 to connect the clamp to the horizontal member 90. In one preferred embodiment, a threaded member, such as a bolt 100, may be passed through an upper portion 102 of clamp 94 so as to engage one of the throughbores 92, threaded as illustrated in FIG. 10. Rotating the bolt 100 causes the clamp 94 to abut and engage the horizontal member 90. By tightening the bolt 100, the clamp 94 is secured and the chair 10 is in turn secured to the bleacher 12. A variety of clamps may be used, in at least one embodiment, an L-shaped attachment clamp may be used.
In a preferred embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 2, a seat cushion 104 is placed atop the seat portion of the frame 24. The seat cushion 104 provides a comfortable seating surface for the patron. The cushion 104 and backrest 78 may be made from any appropriate materials such as vinyl, plastic or the like. If exposed to the environment, the material chosen preferably is suitably durable or weather resistant. The cushion 104 and/or the backrest 78 can include a desired amount of padding or cushioning to achieve a desired size, shape and degree of comfort. Likewise, the cushion 104 and/or backrest 78 may be colored and provide a surface for the attachment of images or other logos for various purposes.
In use, the frame 24 is positioned so that the first and second generally U-shaped brackets 30, 36 loop over and/or engage the front face 18 of the bleacher 12 (see FIG. 2). If necessary, a horizontally configured structure 90 may be secured to the frame 24 for securing the chair 10 to the bleacher 12; and/or an attachment clamp 94 may be releasably secured to the horizontal member 24 or the frame 24 and positioned so that a portion 106 thereof is below the bleacher 12, in contact with the lower surface 16 of the bleacher 12. As the attachment clamp 94 is tightened against the horizontal member 90, the attachment clamp frictionally engages the bleacher 12, effectively clamping the stadium chair 10 to the bleacher 12.
In one preferred embodiment, the backrest 78 may be attached to the frame 24 by inserting the first inwardly turned member 68 of the frame 24 into a first sleeve 82 and inserting the second inwardly turned member 70 of the frame 24 into a second sleeve 84 of the backrest 78 (see FIGS. 7-8). This may occur individually or simultaneously and may occur before or after the attachment of the stadium chair 10 to the bleacher 12. The inwardly turned ends 68, 70 of the frame 24 provide a wider surface area for contact of the backrest 78 with the frame 24 so as to provide additional support for the patron and limit damage to the backrest caused by narrow frame 24 members. A seat cushion 104 may also be attached to the frame 24 when applicable.
Although various representative embodiments of this invention have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventive subject matter set forth in the specification and claims. All directional references (e.g., upper, lower, upward, downward, left, right, leftward, rightward, top, bottom, above, below, vertical, horizontal, clockwise, counterclockwise, x-axis, y-axis, and z-axis) are only used for identification purposes to aid the reader's understanding of the embodiments of the present invention, and do not create limitations, particularly as to the position, orientation, or use of the invention unless specifically set forth in the claims. Joinder references (e.g., attached, coupled, connected) are to be construed broadly and may include intermediate members between a connection of elements and relative movement between elements. As such, joinder references do not necessarily infer that two elements are directly connected and in fixed relation to each other.
In some instances, components are described with reference to “ends” having a particular characteristic and/or being connected with another part. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is not limited to components which terminate immediately beyond their points of connection with other parts. Thus, the term “end” should be interpreted broadly, in a manner that includes areas adjacent, rearward, forward of, or otherwise near the terminus of a particular element, link, component, part, member. In methodologies directly or indirectly set forth herein, various steps and operations are described in one possible order of operation, but those skilled in the art will recognize that steps and operations may be rearranged, replaced, or eliminated without necessarily departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only and not limiting. Changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, persons skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.