Futon. Saturday , April 21st , 2018 - 12:04:56 PM
So you've just moved into your new house or apartment and you're looking to fit it out with furniture. However, what do you do if your apartment's too small for a decent sized bed? Bedding can take up a lot of essential space and it can be a really big problem if you're living in a one-room flat. This is where futons will come in really useful.
Having worked in furniture for many years I am always fascinated by the accomplishments of those who create innovation in new furniture products. The category that has most fascinated me over the years is in the way of futon frame designs. Studying early futon frame designs gives us an interesting visualization of how early futons have influenced the modern designs we see today in a category that was relatively unknown until the last decade. Futons as a furniture category have only existed for about the last 25 years. In that time however they have worked their way from being specialty store furniture into mass merchant and big box stores alike who offer varying brands and qualities of these frames. In this article I'll provide you an overview of the early pioneers of the futon industry and their inventions and innovations for various futon designs from the beginning along with references to specific patents that helped move futons forward into being its own home furnishings category.
In 1990 Gary Shaffield & Robert Fireman filed a futon design patent utilizing a tension spring to facilitate movement from position to position. (Patent Number 4996730). This design was very similar in look to the 1985 patent involving Robert Fireman and many of the structural components and aesthetics of these two designs featured in both patents when compared were similar. The design of this frame however focused on the legs built into the seat section that when pulled out would engage and then when the frame was retracted featured a stop that helped prevent the legs from becoming entangled with the base. Incorporated into this design was a tension spring that helped with the operation of the frame. Many early futons would go through refinements in design and function and this is often how improvements in frames would be created and how they found their way into the products we would purchase. It should be noted that in my studies of futon patents many other patents in futon designs are held by Robert Fireman in both tri-fold and bi-fold designs. He is considered one of the early pioneers in futon design throughout the industry.
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