United States Patent 3,488,089 1/1970 Brennan 297/154 [72} Inventor Eugene R.McGregor Huntington Beach, Calif. 802,360
555,531 8/1943 Great Britain...... 806,377 12/1958 Great Britain................
Primary Examiner-James T. McCall [21 Appl. No.
 Filed Feb. 26, 1969  Patented June 8, 1971  Assignee Universal Oil Products Company Des Plaines, lll.
Attorneys.lames R. Hoatson, Jr. and Philip T. Liggett R A L U C m E V R 0 F m a m E F L g B .m A w T m E L 3 M s TE SS5 M U ABSTRACT: A table-holding frame means is positioned along 297/155 .side of the vehicle seat to be accommodated and is supported in a manner to be slidably moved fore and aft with respect to the seat; while at least one hinge-connected table member is stowed within the holding frame means and is liftable therefrom in a vertical plane to be subsequently permitted to rotate downwardly through 90from the hinge connection and provide a horizontal table surface in front of the seat occuant.
0 2 7 6 wm C75 an A In u N I E u" T. mm m mm T mm mm E Tm n u N u 1 m W N UH w 7 3,371,956 3/1968 Jordan etal.
PATENTED JUN 8l97l I 3583760 INVENTOR: ugene H. Mcregor A TTOR/VEYS STOWABLE TABLE SYSTEM FOR VEHICULAR SEATS This invention relates to a stowable table system adapted for use with vehicular seats. More particularly, there is provided a table holding arrangement which permits the stowing of one or more table members in a sliding box or frame means which is movably positioned along side of a seat, or between seats, such that after the frame means is pulled forward a hingedly connected table may be lifted therefrom and rotated downwardly to provide a horizontal table surface.
Many types of folding or hinged table systems have been provided, or proposed, for use in passenger vehicles. For example, in connection with most aircraft passenger seats, there is a table provided in the back of the seat back which is directly in front of each passenger. Alternatively, for the front row seats, there are tables adapted to be plugged into the arm rests on the vehicle seats. ln still other designs, there have been table members which are connected to fold-over hinge means, or to support arms which have fold-back designs, such that the table itself may be stowed into a small space. In any event, most of the present forms of hinged and folding tables for passengers have problems as to satisfying proper positioning as well as stowing problems.
Thus, it may be considered a principal object of the present invention to provide a stowing and fore-and-aft positioning arrangement for a hinge-connected table member, so as to give good adjustability for the table and also eliminate connection means to a vehicle seat other than the occupants.
It is another object of the invention to provide a system which permits one or more table members to be lifted vertically out ofa slidely movable box or holding frame such that a quarter circle downward rotation will bring each table member into a horizontal table surface.
In a broad aspect, the present invention provides a stowable table system, particularly adapted for use with vehicular seats, that comprises, a slidable table holding frame means movably held and positioned along side of the vehicle seat to be accommodated and guide means holding said frame means to permit the latter being moved fore and aft with respect to the seat, a liftable table member hingedly connected to and movably held with respect to said frame means such that it may be both vertically lifted from and stowed within the latter, and laterally extending table support means adapted to hold said table member at a desired height, whereby said table member can be lifted entirely out of said frame means and rotated downwardly through a 90 arc transverse to the seat and to provide a resulting horizontal table surface over said support means.
Preferably, the slidable table-holding frame means will be of a narrow boxlike construction or, at least, have a front vertical panel section combined therewith so as to enchance the aesthetic looks of the table storage section. It is also contemplated that the frame means for stowing the table members may be sized to accommodate one or more table members. For example, the table arrangement may be such that a single table member will be stowed within the frame or box means along side of a vehicular seat or, alternatively, there may be at least two table members vertically stowed within the frame means the the latter adapted to slide between a pair of seats. In still more elaborate systems or arrangements, the slidable stowing box or frame means may house more than one table member of the same size, or different sized tables, each of which may be pulled out of the sliding frame to accommodate an adjacent seat.
Generally, a portion of the armrest of the passenger seat may be used as a laterally extending table support member such that after the table member itself is lifted vertically out of the storage section it may be rotated downwardly through an approximate 90 arc to rest over the laterally extending table support means. On the other hand, where it is not convenient to use a portion of an armrest there may be a suitable brace means that can be lifted or moved into a position to extend laterally outwardly from the table-holding frame section, or from a portion of the passenger seat, so as to effect a kneebrace type of support under the table member such that as the latter is rotated to a horizontal position it will be suitably held by the laterally extending brace means.
It is to be noted that it is a particular feature of the present invention to provide adjustability of the table member in a fore-and-aft position with respect to the seat as well as with respect to the passenger which will be occupying the seat. This fore-and-aft positioning will be determined by the degree or extent to which the table-holding frame section or stowing box will be pulled outwardly from its place alongside of the seat. In other words, the further forward the table-holding frame is pulled, then the further forward will the table member be located from the front of the seat occupant. Conversely, by pulling the sliding table-holding frame section for only a short distance outwardly will result in the horizontal table member being close to the passenger in the seat. The sliding arrangement for the stowing frame of the one or more table members is, of course, of advantage in providing for the necessary clearance for a passenger to pass between seats. It is not intended to limit the present invention to any one type of slide arrangement for the table holding means; however, suitable rollers, or low-friction guide means may be placed along side of the seats and below the box or holding frame means such that the latter may be slidably moved fore and aft with respect to the adjacent seat or seats.
Reference to the accompanying drawing and the following description thereof will serve to illustrate one embodiment of the improved stowing table system, as well as point out additional advantageous features in connection therewith.
FIG. 1 of the drawing shows, in an isometric-type view, the arrangement of hinged table members after they have been lifted out of the storage zone within a slidable table-holding frame means.
FIG. 2 shows, in a partial isometric view, the stowed vertical positioning of the table members in the slidable table-holding frame means, as well as the indication that the latter may, in turn, be stowed and housed between adjacent vehicular seats.
FIG. 3 shows, in a partial sectional view, the positioning and holding of the table members within the slidable table-holding frame means, as well as one form of upper stop means and guide means for the inner portion of the frame means.
Referring now particularly to FIG. 1 of the drawing there are adjacent passenger seats indicated as A and B. Between the two seats there is provided an open space permitting the fore-and-aft movement of a slidable table-holding box or frame means 1. This open space is provided by discontinuing the transverse structure, or seat framing, at the seating level X" and transferring it to a lower floor beam level Y, as shown by the broken lines X and Y in the drawing. in accordance with the present invention, the frame means 1 is adapted to provide for the holding of one or more table members, such as 2 and 3, and effect their stowing during such periods as the tables are not required by the seat occupants. However, in FIG. 1, there is shown that each of the table members 2 and 3 have been pulled vertically upwardly from the in terior of the holding frame 1 and table member 2 has further been permitted to rotate downwardly to reach a horizontal position supported across a table support member 45 which, in this instance, is a portion of the armrest between the seats A and B. On the other hand, table member 3 is shown in a substantially vertical position not as yet rotated downwardly to a table position across support member 5 which also comprises part of the forward portion armrest between the seats.
The entire sliding table-holding frame 1 is supported within suitable guide means or on rollers which are not shown but are positioned between the framing of seats A and B whereby the frame may be readily pulled fore and aft between seats A and B. Normally, in the stowed position, the entire frame 1 will have the table members 2 and 3 encased therein within a vertical positioning and will have been pushed backwardly to an aft position flush with the two armrest sections 4 and 5, as well as under an armrest tray or plate section 6 between the seats, in order that no part of the frame will project beyond the front edge of the seats and will insure an aisle clearance. Thus, the
front plate or front panel section 7 of frame section I will be in substantial alignment with the front edges of the seats in the stowed position and, conversely, the frame I will be pulled forward when it is desired to use one or more of the table members 2 or 3, as shown in arrangement of FIG. I.
In one design, as best shown in FIG. 2 of the drawing, the forward armrest portions 4 and 5 on the seats A and B, may be of the nature of sturdy horizontal escutcheon plates or support members that have sufficient width to in turn support the respective tables 2 and 3 when they are in a horizontal position.
In each of the FIGS. I and 2, the table-holding frame I is indicated to be of a narrow boxlike construction in order to totally enclose the stowable table members 2 and 3, except along their top edge portions, whereby they may be pulled vertically out of the frame means after the latter has been pulled forward from the stowed position between the seats. However, as noted hereinbefore, the table-holding frame means 1 may be of a generally open support construction except for a front panel section to provide a decorative aspect. In other words, as the supporting frame is needed only to provide for the stowage of one or more table members and the holding of the latter in a hinged end adjacent the frame means. For example, as shown in FIG. I, there are hinged members 8 indicated at the frame-connecting end of the table member 2 permitting the latter to be rotated from the vertical to the horizontal positioning and vice versa and, at the same time, the hinge means will permit the anchoring of the table member to the slidable holding frame means and preclude its dislodgement from off the top of the table support means 4 by the seat occupant. Various types of hinge means may be provided between the one end of each table member and the slidable holding means and it is not intended to limit the present invention to any one type of hinge or holding system.
In FIG. 3 of the drawing, there is shown a simplified arrangement where table member 2, through hinge connection means 8, is attached to a vertically slidable guide member 9 which in turn is precluded from being lifted out of the top end of the box or holding frame I by virtue of stop means 10 bearing against a fixed stop member II on the sidewall of frame I. When it is desired to effect a stowing of the table 2, the latter is rotated upwardly to a vertical position and then slid downwardly such that holding member 9 will descend within holding frame I to be guided by rails or guide means I2 to reach the lower portion of the entire frame-holding section 1. Also in FIG. 3, it will be noted that table member 3 is shown in a stored position within the frame means I, so that when it is desired to bring such member into a table positioning, it must be lifted vertically upward in accordance with the dashed lines 3 and then hinged downwardly through a 90 arc, in the manner of the position of table member 2 to rest upon the table support member 5.
As set forth hereinbefore, it is not intended to limit the present system to any one design or contour for the table members nor for the slidable holding frame means I, inasmuch as various forms and shapes of framing may well be utilized to store the tables in the vertical position and permit their being slid in a fore-and-aft direction with respect to the seat. For convenience, and as best shown in FIGS. I and 2, suitable handles 13 may be provided on the forward or top ends of each of the tables 2 and 3 in order to effect an easy pulling or lifting of each table from the frame.
Various types of roller means may be provided under and alongside the frame I for effecting its fore-and-aft sliding aspects. FIG. 2 shows bearing plates 15 on each side of frame I to be used for sliding against roller means (not shown) which may be at a midlevel from each side of seat frames A and B. Also, guide roller means may be furnished within the frame I to accommodate the table members and the holding means such as 9 shown in FIG. 3.
As an alternative arrangement with respect to supporting the table members 2 and 3 in a horizontal position, there may be one or more hinged support members, such as I4 extending from the table-holding frame means 1, to use as a means of effecting a diagonal brace underneath the table members when they are in a horizontal position. In other words, the one or more brace means M on each side of the frame I can be rotated upwardly into a knce-brace type of position to connect with the underside of each of the table members 2 and 3 and effect supporting means in lieu of means 4 and 5, or together with the latter. In still other instances, there may be suitable folding brace means extendable laterally and upwardly from the framing or armrest portions of the seats such as A and B to in turn provide the table support mechanism in lieu of the support means 4! and 5 which comprise a part of the armrest means. Still other mechanical equivalents will be obvious to those skilled in the seating arts, or in connection with table support means.
While the present table members 2 and 3 have been indicated to be of one continuous piece or section, there may be sliding-out extension means or hinged and clampable extension means to such table members whereby they are extendable in one or more directions in order to make a still larger table surface; however, generally the table member which is to be stowed within the holding frame I will be sized to minimize the stowage space requirements, but shall provide a minimum working area and, of course, should accommodate food trays for meal service.
I claim as my invention:
1. A stowable table system adapted for use in a vehicular seat, which comprises in combination, a fore-and-aft longitudinally slidable table-holding frame means held and positioned along one side of the vehicle seat to be accommodated, means including guide means holding said frame means to permit movement of the latter fore and aft with respect to the seat, a vertically movable table member hingedly connected to and constructed and arranged to be movably held with respect to said frame means in such manner that it may be both vertically lifted from and stowed within the latter, and laterally extending table support means adapted to hold said table member at a desired height, whereby said frame means may be stowed adjacent said seat when not in use and moved forwardly when in use to thereby permit said table member to be lifted entirely out of said frame means and rotated downwardly through a arc transverse to the seat to provide a resulting horizontal table surface over said support means and the forward portion of said vehicular seat.
2. The stowable table system of claim I further characterized in that said laterally extending table support means comprises a portion of an adjacent armrest of the vehicular seat, with such portion being positioned at a predetermined convenient height whereby to effect the support of the hinged table member at a desired height.
3. The stowable table system of claim I further characterized in that said laterally extending table support means comprises at least one brace member which may be laterally extended from the table-holding frame means whereby there may be a lower supporting brace for the table member when it is rotated into its horizontal position.
4. A stowable table system adapted for use with vehicular seats, which comprises in combination, a slidable table-holding frame means movably held and positioned alongside of the vehicle seat to be accommodated and guide means holding said frame means to permit the latter being moved fore and aft with respect to the seat, a plurality of liftable table members within said slidable table-holding frame means and hingedly connected to and movably held with respect to said frame means to be supported by the latter and to be accommodated in a stowed manner within said frame means such that said table members may be vertically lifted from within the latter, and laterally extending table support means adapted to hold said table member at a desired height, whereby said table member can be lifted entirely out of said frame means and rotated downwardly through a 90 arc transverse to the seat and provide a resulting horizontal table surface over said support means.
means being such as to permit said table members to rotate transversely in opposing directions to provide resulting horizontal table surfaces for each of the adjacent seats, and laterally extending table support means adapted to hold said table member at a desired height, whereby said table member can be lifted entirely out of said frame means and rotated downwardly through a arc transverse to the seat and provide a resulting horizontal table surface over said support means.