US 3835508 A
Connecting means for releasably attaching a sheet-like member to a support, and including a thread attached to a sheet-like member so as to have sections thereof exposed on one surface of that member. The thread sections are arranged so as to tangle with or locate within flexible hook-like elements such as those used in the well known "Velcro" fasteners. Cooperative engagement between the "Velcro" hooks and the thread sections is facilitated by having the thread sections extending transversely across a valley formed by a tuck or fold in the sheet-like member, and a tensioning thread is applied to that member to retain the tuck or fold and permit the thread sections to extend relatively loosely across the valley in the sheet-like member.
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United States Patent [1 Bin:
[ Sept. 17, 1974 CONNECTING MEANS  Inventor: Rodney James Bini, Rosanna,
Australia  Filed: Dec. 4, 1972  Appl. No.: 312,105
 Foreign Application Priority Data Primary ExaminerBobby R. Gay
Assistant ExaminerDarrell Marquette Attorney, Agent, or FirmDiller, Brown, Ramik & Wight  ABSTRACT Connecting means for releasably attaching a sheet-like member to a support, and including a thread attached to a sheet-like member so as to have sections thereof exposed on one surface of that member. The thread sections are arranged so as to tangle with or locate within flexible hook-like elements such as those used in the well known Velcro fasteners. Cooperative engagement between the Velcro hooks and the thread sections is facilitated by having the thread sections extending transversely across a valley formed by a tuck or fold in the sheet-like member, and a tensioning thread is applied to that member to retain the tuck or fold and permit the thread sections to extend relatively loosely across the valley in the sheet-like member.
10 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures CONNECTING MEANS This invention relates to means for providing a releasable connection between two members, and is particularly concerned with such means for connecting a flexible sheet member to a support member or structure. By way of example, the invention is suitable for providing the connection between a sheet material headrest or backrest cover and a seat or chair, and it will be convenient to hereinafter describe the invention in relation to that example application.
Sheet material head rest covers find wide use in passenger vehicles such as aircraft, buses and trains, and because of soiling it is desirable to change such covers at frequent intervals. As a result it is necessary to have attachment or connecting means which is convenient to secure and release, but is not susceptible to inadvertent release during normal use of the associated cover. Many different types of connectors have been proposed in the past, and one that has achieved some measure of success employs VELCRO (registered trade mark) patches on both the cover sheet and the seat to which that cover is attachable.
Each of the aforementioned VELCRO patches comprises a sheet material base such as a length of nylon tape, carrying a large number of hook-like elements which project from one surface of the tape. Usually, the hooks are each formed from a thread or loop of nylon or other suitable material, and they are generally arranged in rows. In use, the hooks of one patch inter-mingle and catch with hooks of the other patch to form the releasable connection, and the hooks can be distorted to result in disengagement by pulling one patch outwardly away from the other.
A disadvantage of the VELCRO arrangement is that each patch is relatively expensive and must be secured to its respective member by further attaching means. That is, each patch must be stitched, adhered, or otherwise secured to its respective member, and that attachment must be stronger than the holding power of the connected VELCR patches. In addition, each patch must be accurately positioned on its respective member so that a correct relationship exists between the two members when connected. The result is that the VELCRO arrangement is relatively expensive and there is a very real need for a cheaper acceptable alternative, particularly for disposable seat covers.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a connecting means for releasable attachment of two members, that is inexpensive and has substantial holding power. It is a further object of the invention to provide a seat cover member having novel connecting means provided thereon.
As will be appreciated from the foregoing, connecting means of the kind under consideration are two-part structures. In its basic form, the present invention relates to one part only of such a structure in that the other cooperable part is of a known form. In particular, the novel connector part according to the invention is adapted for cooperation with a VELCRO pad or an equivalent or similar structure formed from a textile or synthetic material, and comprises a thread attached to a sheet-like member and having sections exposed on one surface of that member for cooperative engagement with the hook-like elements of the other connector part.
Considering the invention in relation to seat covers, a great many transport companies and organizations have VELCRO pads on their existing vehicle seats,
and such pads retain their holding power over a considerable period of time. Thus, the expense factor in I VELCRO constructions results mainly from the need to provide a new pad with each cover, and in the case of disposable covers that means a new pad with each cover change. The present invention however, permits the holding power feature of the VELCR fastener to be retained whilst reducing the expense of that part of the connector provided on the disposable cover.
The following description refers in more detail to these essential features and further optional features of the invention. To facilitate an understanding of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings where these features are illustrated in preferred form. It is to be understood however, that the essential and optional features of the invention are not limited to the specific forms of these features as shown in the drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a typical seat headrest cover embodying one form of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of an edge portion of the headrest cover shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line IIIIII of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of portion of a typical VEL- CRO-type pad;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along line VV of FIG. 3 and showing a VELCRO hook engaging the connector thread of the headrest cover;
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing a different embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line VII-VII of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 5 but showing the VELCRO hook cooperating with the embodiment of FIG. 6; and I FIG. 9 shows a variation of the FIG. 6 embodiment.
FIGS. 1 to 3 show connecting means according to the invention applied to a sheet material seat cover, and that connecting means includes at least one thread 2 of a textile or synthetic material looped through (i.e., threaded through) the sheet material 3 so that sections 4 thereof are exposed on a back or under surface 5 of the sheet material, which is the surface arranged to lie adjacent the seat surface to be protected (not shown). FIG. 4 shows portion of a tape 6 or similar backing member having a plurality of rows of hook-like elements 7 projecting upwardly therefrom, and in that respect the figure roughly represents part of a VEL- CRO pad. In practice, the VELCRO" hooks 7 tend to grab or tangle with the exposed thread sections 4 as shown in FIG. 5, and that tendency will generally vary in accordance with the texture of the thread sections.
nection is the disposition of each thread section 4 relative to the surface 5 over which it extends. If the thread 2 is loosely interwoven with the sheet material 3 as Another factor influencing the strength of the coni shown in FIG. 3, each thread section 4 will be adapted to move clear of the under-lying material surface 5, and even a small amount of separation between the thread sections 4 and that surface will improve the ability of the VELCRO hooks 7 to pass around the thread 2 or around fibres of the thread.
In a preferred arrangement as shown in FIGS. 6 to 8, the same effect is achieved by forming a tuck or fold in the sheet material 3 beneath the thread sections 4, and the thread itself may be arranged to retain that tuck or fold in the material. That is, each thread section 4 extends across a valley or space 8 into which VELCRO hooks 7 can project and locate around the thread sections 4 or fibres thereof as shown in FIG. 8.
It will be appreciated that the tuck or fold need not be particularly deep, and its width will depend upon requirements. If desired, a plurality of folds may be formed side by side so as to extend the effective area of the connecting means.
The connecting means thread 2 may be applied to the base sheet material 3 as shown in FIG. 6, or in a stitch pattern such that two laterally spaced lines of stitching 9 are formed with transverse interconnecting sections 11 disposed in substantially zig-zag fashion as shown in FIG. 9. In the FIG. 6 embodiment, the thread 2 is not passed through the sheet material 3, but is secured thereto by two lines of further thread 12 stitched to the sheet material 3. The valley 8 is formed beneath the transverse sections 4 of the thread 2 by a tuck or fold 13 as previously described, and it is further preferred that the thread 2 is formed of a relatively loose or fluffy fibrous material such as rayon. If the thread 2 is applied to a flat surface of the base sheet material 3 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, it is usually under less tension and therefore looser or fluffier than if extended across a tuck or fold as shown in FIG. 6. Nevertheless, it is generally found that the second type of arrangement has the greatest resistance to separation.
The tuck or fold type of arrangement can be further improved by providing two separate sets of stitching across the tuck or fold 13 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. One set, comprising thread 14, is arranged to take the tension resulting from the tendency of the valley 8 to widen or flatten, and the other set, comprising thread 2, is relatively loosely arranged so as to have maximum fluffiness and consequently maximum susceptibility to entangle with the VELCRO hooks 7. The threads 2 and 14 need not be on opposite sides of the sheet material 3 as shown in the drawings, but that arrangement is preferred. Both threads. 2 and 14 can be retained by the holding thread 12, and thread 14 can be arranged in zig-zag fashion, or in any other desired pattern. The threads 2, 12 and 14, can be all applied to the sheet material 3 in a single operation.
It will be appreciated that a great many stitch patterns are available for use with this invention. Generally however, the pattern of thread 2 should be such that a space is defined between adjacent thread sections 4 so as to facilitate insertion of VELCRO hooks 7 therebetween to effect'a relatively high degree of entanglement. In addition, several rows of stitching may be provided, and they can be arranged in side by side relationship, in intersecting relationship or in a combination of those relationships.
When the invention is applied to a headrest cover, an example of which is shown in FIG. 1, the thread 2 is preferably located at or adjacent the edge 15 of the cover sheet 3 that is normally uppermost when in use, and it will generally extend transverse to the up and down axis of the cover as that corresponds to'the normal positioning of VELCRO pads on aircraft and other vehicle seats. The length of the stitching may be determined according to requirements and may extend the full width of the cover sheet 3 (as shown) if desired, but it need not be substantially longer than the VEL- CRO pad to which it is to be attached so that the mounted position of the cover is held within reasonable tolerance. In some cases, the cover may be attached to two or more laterally spaced VELCRO pads in which event the stitching preferably extends the full width of the cover, although separate sections of stitching may be provided for each pad if desired.
The connecting means of the present invention may be also used on a cover having attaching means according to either of Australian patent applications Nos. 31204/71 and P.A. 6855/71, so'that such a cover can be applied to the seats having any one of several different types of cooperable connectors.
It will be appreciated from the foregoing description that the present invention provides a simple yet effective connecting means, and an improved disposable seat cover having such connecting means applied thereto. One particular feature of the invention is that the connecting means is in effect self-attaching to the base sheet material, so that extraneous attaching means such as adhesive is not required and manufacture is simplified.
Finally, it is to be understood that various alterations, modifications and/or additions may be introduced into the constructions and arrangements of parts previously described without departing from the spirit or ambit of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
Having now described my invention, what I claim as new and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. A sheet member having connecting means and a connector comprising a series of flexible hook-like elements projecting from a base surface, said connecting means including a thread attached to said sheet member so that sections thereof are exposed at one surface of said sheet member and are tangled with said hooklike elements releaseably retaining said sheet member in association with said connector, a fold in said sheet member defining a valley, and said thread sections extending transversely across the valley, said hook-like elements passing into said valley during the engagement thereof with said thread sections.
2. A sheet member according to claim 1, wherein a further thread retains sides of said fold against substantial separation, and said thread sections extend relatively loosely across said valley.
3. Connecting means including two separable parts, one said part comprising a thread attached to a sheetlike member so that sections thereof are exposed on one surface of said member, and the other said part comprising a series of flexible hook-like elements projecting from a base member attached to a support, at least some of said hook-like elements locating around at least part of said thread sections releasably attaching 4. Connecting means according to claim 3, wherein a further thread retains sides of said fold against substantial separation, and said thread sections extend relatively loosely across said valley.
5. A sheet member according to claim 1 wherein stitching extending along opposite sides of said valley and substantially parallel thereto fixedly secures each thread section relative to said sheet member.
6. A sheet member according to claim 5 wherein said thread is disposed entirely on one side of said sheet member.
7. A sheet member according to claim 1 wherein said thread is applied as stitching and includes stitch sections extending parallel to said valley on opposite sides thereof between adjacent ones of said thread sections.
8. A sheet member according to claim 7 wherein further stitching extending along opposite sides of said valley and substantially parallel thereto fixedly secures each thread section relative to said sheet member, said further stitching being coordinated with said stitch sections and clamping ends of said stitch sections against said sheet member.
9. A sheet member according to claim 2 wherein stitching extending along opposite sides of said valley and substantially parallel thereto fixedly secures each thread section and said further thread relative to said sheet member.
10. A sheet member according to claim 9. wherein said thread and said further thread are each disposed on only one side of said sheet member, and said thread and said further thread are disposed on opposite sides of said sheet member.
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