Futon. Wednesday , April 18th , 2018 - 02:09:23 AM
In December 1991 Thomas L. Meade submitted a convertible furniture frame patent (Patent Number 5170519) that did not use arms in its design for assisting conversion of the futon but a hinges and stops arrangement. The seat and back sections incorporated pieces of lumber beneath them to act as supports. There were two of these used on each section that when laid down in a bed position would rest on these supports. The genius in this design was its ability to pivot on a set of nylon wheels located towards the lower back of the seat section supports. All one has to do was tilt the frame back on the wheels which would put the back rest on the floor and pull the seat section up to unlock it and lower it down into a bed position. This design was simple, functional and easy to operate without the need for arms on the ends of the frame to help in the futons conversion.
The first problem with black metal frames is the round metal bars that make up the seat and back sections of these frames. Where as wood futon frames are using flat slats, black metal frames have hollow round bars. Thinner mattresses would slide through the gaps between the round bars. On wood futons this was never a problem. The other issue with the hollow bars is that if enough weight was placed on a spot they would begin to bend. The issue became so bad that a 90 day warranty was put in place by most manufacturers of these frames.
Another early futon design patent was filed in 1985 (Patent Number 4642823) assigned to Robert Fireman's Furniture Gallery, Inc. invented by William B. Wiggins. What was interesting about this early take on futon design was the incorporation of arms on the sides of the futon which allowed the seat and back sections to integrate into the arms and allow for operation without having to rearrange the futon. This early design featured two pivoting swing pieces attached from the back rails into the back section. The seat and back sections were connected together using steel pins. What I found most interesting about this design is that it effectively converted the futon from sofa to bed from the front. Once in the bed position additional legs were extended down for support. Additionally a dowel and rod interlocked with the seat and back section to safely lock the two in a horizontal position. This design would be considered a bi-fold by today's standards which means that 2 sections are used to create the seating and sleeping portions of the frame itself.
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