back portion 17 may be covered with upholstery 37. A
BONDED CHAIR CONSTRUCTION pair of arms 14 and 15 may also be provided if desired.
t. A ... nc Tuc ... A pedestal 16 is also joined to the undersurface of the
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION chair seat fey means Qf a supporting column 28
The present invention relates to furniture and more 5 As shown in FIG. 2, the structural portion 30 of the
particularly to a method of constructing chairs and chair 10 includes a structural shell 12 having back and
other types of seating and the article formed thereby. seat portions which generally define the shape of the
The so-called shell chair has become a popular item finished chair as being gently curved throughout with
of furniture by virtue of the ease in which materials such upstanding walls 24,25 at each side of the seat and back
as plastics can be utilized in its construction. However, 10 portions which taper at the extreme front and top of the
such articles must of necessity be fabricated of plastics shell.
having certain structural qualities which unfortunately In the preferred embodiment, the shell 12 is fabri
have low esthetic appeal. cated by injection molding of a structural foam plastic
Such plastics are rigid while being lightweight but material. In one actually-constructed version of the the exterior surface is unattractive and thus attempts 15 chair, foamed structural polystyrene having a density have been made to cover or paint the surface to conceal on the order of0.026 pounds per cubic inch and a thickit. The approach of painting has been unsuccessfull ness in the range of 0.3 inch was used for the shell 12. since plastics of this type have varying absorbtion rates The structural qualities of shell 12 are enhanced by giving rise to expensive quality control procedures to also forming during molding a plurality of ribs 18 which insure a uniform product. 20 extend in a longitudinal direction across the back and
One solution to this problem has been the develop- seat portions. A transversely extending rib 26 may also
ment of double shell versions in which a second shell- be provided for added strength at the transition be
shaped member is used to conceal the primary member tween the back and seat portions,
which gives the chair its structural strength. However, Also formed during molding of shell 12 are a plurality
this approach gives rise to additional problems particu- 25 of bosses 20, 21 which permit the attachment of the
larly with regard to providing adequate support for the arms 14, 15, respectively. The bottom portion of shell
second shell as well as closely matching the shape of the 12 also includes a shelf 22 containing a plurality of holes
primary shell. 23 which may be formed either during molding or, after
One prior art approach for fastening the second shell molding, by punching or drilling. The shelf 22 serves to
to the primary shell utilizes clips which support the 30 accommodate the upper portion of the column 28
second shell only at its periphery, the two shells actu- which may comprise a bracket to be joined by appropri
ally being spaced throughout most of their common ate fasteners extending through holes 23 to the seat
surface areas. Thus the second shell fails to add any portion 12 of chair 10.
structural rigidity to the chair structure as a whole. A skin member 11 is fabricated to have a shape and
„„^,„ ' „„TT, „ , . 35 size conforming substantially with the back and seat
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE portions of the fear of the ... ^ u mcluding a
INVENTION corresponding shelf portion 42 having holes 38. How
The present invention overcomes the difficulties en- ever, the outermost edge 27 of skin 11 may be offset to
countered in the prior art by providing a structural shell extend slightly away the edge of the corresponding
of foam plastic which is bonded, either by lamination or 40 outermost edge of the shell 12 when both are placed
during a molding process, to a thermoplastic skin mem- together as may be seen particularly in FIG. 3.
ber so that the shell and skin are in substantially intimate The skin member 11 may be formed of a thermoplas
contact throughout and become a unified article. tic material such as A.B.S., Royalite or equivalent type
The skin member contributes greater impact strength of plastic. In an actually-constructed version of the
and resistance to damage (such as nicks and scratches) 45 chair, the skin 11 was vacuum formed of .080 inch
to the construction compared with prior art methods A.B.S. thermoplastic material,
which is further accentuated by the bonding between A suitable adhesive is applied to the entire rear sur
the shell and skin. Furthermore, the skin may be col- face of shell 12. The skin 11 is then placed against the
ored, textured or surface-finished in an unlimited range rear portions of shell 12 and even pressure is exerted
thereby increasing the esthetic appeal of the chair, an 50 against the external surface of the skin. Once the adhe
important consideration. sive has cured, a composite laminated body 30 com
„„„„ T „^ . prised of shell 12 and skin 11 is formed having high
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Structural strength and surface integrity.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a chair according to It is to be noted that, as shown particularly in FIGS,
the invention; 55 2 and 3, shell 12 and skin 11 are in intimate bonded
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of some of the compo- contact throughout all of the mutually adjacent surfaces
nents which comprise the chair; so that there are no voids or open spaces therebetween.
FIG. 3 is an exploded view, partially in section, taken In this way each component, the shell 12 and the skin
along the plane III—III of FIG. 1; and 11, serves to provide structural strength to the compos
FIG. 4 is a segmentary cross sectional view taken 60 ite body 30..
along the plane IV—IV of FIG. 3. During fabrication of the shell 12, a plurality of
„„m. „ „„„ „^ mm female-threaded metal inserts 39 may be placed in the
DETAILED D^CWFTION OF THE mold The mserts 39 are molded M ^n »the sheU u
at each hole 23 and serve to accept the fasteners for
Referring to FIG. 1, the assembled chair 10 includes 65 joining the top of pedestal column 28 to the chair body
a structural body 30 forming a continuous back and seat 30. In this way metal-to-metal fastening is provided
comprised of a shell member and a skin member as preventing excessive stresses from being applied di
hereinafter described. The chair seat portion 13 and rectly to the plastic material of shell 12.