Georgia Henderson. Futon. February 20th , 2018.
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 patents and inventions featured in this article are truly just a sampling of the many designs and innovations by various futon inventors who had the vision to create and design furniture in an all new light. The futon industry itself has grown up quite a bit since its humble beginnings in the early 80's and many futons you'll see today are based on these early concepts and designs. I found it fascinating to study the evolution of the futon from a simple tri-fold design into the sofa looking frames of today. The innovations that came from these designs really helped to move forward this line of furniture that we know today. Next time you see a futon frame I hope you'll think about these inventors and the legacy they've left on this furniture category.
Futons are also great editions to a sunroom. They look good in a seating arrangement with a couple of chairs and a coffee table or flanked by end tables. In a sunroom or other room with solid floors, such as tile or hardwood floors, the look of the futon will be softened by the edition of an area rug to cover the sitting area. Read more about how to incorporate futons with high end interior design online or in a home dcor magazine. There is an abundance of selections at most home improvement centers.
A good quality finger jointed cross rail might be just as strong as a solid cross rail in many ways, it still accepts a downward pressure that can force poor quality joints to loosen. Experience shows that a solid continuous hardware cross rail is less likely to break than a segmented one. If the futon you are considering buying has segmented stretcher rails, ask the dealer to explain the history of that manufacturer's products with this system. Ask if a cross rail does fail, what the dealer's policy is about replacement. Although, most dealers generally will not pay for shipping, they should at least offer the replacement part for free with in the span of the warranty.
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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