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Патент USA US3049373

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Aug. 14, 1962
E. o. CLAY
3,049,364
STAIR CLIMBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed April '7, 1961
28
6 Sheets-Sheet 1
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INVENTOR.
EUGENE O. CLAY
ATTORNEY
Aug‘. 14, 1962
E. 0-. CLAY
3,049,364
STAIR CLIMBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed April 7, 1961
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INVEN TOR.
EUGENE O. CLAY
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ATTORNEY
Aug. 14, 1962.
E. o. CLAY
3,049,364
STAIR CLIMBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed April 7, 1961
6 Sheets-Sheet 3
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INVENTOR.
ATTORNEY
Aug. 14, 1962
E. o. CLAY
3,049,364
STAIR CLIMBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed April ‘7, 1961
6 Sheets-Sheet 4
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INVEN TOR.
EUGENE O. CLAY
I5
37
BY
ATTORNEY
Aug. 14, 1962
E. o. CLAY
3,049,364
STAIR CLIMBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed April 7, 1961
6 Sheets-Sheet 5
INVENTOR.
EUGENE O. CLAY
ATTORNEY
Aug. 14, 1962
E. o. CLAY
3,049,364
STAIR CLIMBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed April 7, 1961
6 Sheets-Sheet 6
INVEN TOR.
EUGENE O. CLAY
ATTORNEY
g?llg??éi
Patented Aug. 14, 1962
2
3,049,364
A still further object of this invention is to provide a
stair-climbing wheel chair of simpli?ed construction that
Eugene 0. Clay, 3717 Floresta Way, Los Angeles, Calif.
is safely and easily operated by the occupant of the chair.
An additional object of this invention is to provide a
STAIR CLHVIBING WHEEL CHAIR
Filed Apr. 7, 1961, Ser. No. 101,412
20 €laims. (Cl. 280-211)
wheel chair that negotiates obstructions by forward mo
tion for both ascent and descent.
This invention pertains to a Wheel chair capable of
negotiating stairs or the like when operated solely by the
occupant of the chair.
These and other objects will become apparent from the
following detailed description taken in connection with
the accompanying drawing in which:
There has existed an obvious need to provide a wheel 10
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the wheel chair of
chair having the ability to climb stairs or travel over
this invention operating on ‘a level surface,
other obstructions. A conventional wheel chair cannot
FIG. 2 is ‘an enlarged fragmentary end elevational view,
contend with even a small obstruction in its path, and
taken from the rear, of one side portion of the wheel
must in effect be lifted up the stairs by an attendant.
chair,
Hence, unless there has been provided a ramp or an
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevational view
elevator, it is impossible for a wheel chair operated by
the occupant to negotiate the obstructions commonly
encountered in traveling about. This has meant that for
illustrating the support frame and running gear,
FIG. 4 is ‘an enlarged sectional view taken along line
4—4 of FIG. 3 showing the connection of the intermedi
patients con?ned to a wheel chair, many areas are in
ate trucks to the frame,
accessible due to the impracticality of continual at
tendance of an additional person to lift the chair and
occupant over obstructions.
There have been various proposals in the past to miti
gate the problem, but none of these has actually eliminated
FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional view taken along line
5~——5 of FIG. 3 illustrating the connection of the rear
truck to the support frame, the ‘arrangement of the guide
plate for maintaining the equilibrium of the chair unit,
the di?iculty. Such designs have included pivotal arms
that support the ground-engaging wheels so that when
and the power input to the wheels,
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary plan view taken along line
6-6 of FIG. 3 further illustrating the power input to the
stairs are encountered the arms rather than the wheels
drive train,
may be rotated in enabling the chair to be brought up
FIG. 7 is an enlarged ‘axial sectional view of the auto
matic brake and the connection of the hand wheel to the
the presence of an attendant to move the chair up or 30 main drive socket.
down the steps and has not provided a unit operable
FIG. 8 is a transverse sectional view taken along line
the stairs. In all instances, however, this has necessitated
solely by the occupant. Thus, although the problem has
8——8 of FIG. 7,
been made easier in some respects for the attendant, the
necessity for the services of a second person has not
FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view show
ing the brake in the locked position with the released
been eliminated.
According to the provisions of this invention a wheel
chair is provided that is capable of climbing or descend
ing stairs, curbs or similar obstructions through the
operation of the occupant of the chair. In accomplishing
this, the chair unit is supported on a plurality of trucks, 40
each of which is provided with two wheels, all of the
position indicated in phantom,
wheels being drivingly interconnected. The trucks, in
turn, are pivoted to ‘a movable frame that supports the
‘chair. The connection of the trucks to the frame in
cludes suitable pivotal links that permit the drive train
FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the wheel chair
similar to FIG. 1 but illustrating the unit climbing a stair
way, and
FIG. 11 is a side elevational View similar to FIGS. 1
and 10 but with the wheel chair descending a stairway.
The wheel chair of this invention is symmetrical so that
in most instances only the construction of one side of the
unit is illustrated and described herein. It includes a chair
unit 1, a movable frame support unit 2, and a drive train
3. The chair unit may be conventional to the extent
to be shortened longitudinally as the stairs are being
that it includes a seat 4 and back 5, as well as handles 6
negotiated. The seat for the occupant is rotatable rela
for customary operation by the pushing of an attendant.
A pair of trammels or side members 7, each made up of
two closely spaced parallel plates, is provided for sup
tive to the movable ‘frame so that it remains in an up
right position at all times. In addition, an ‘automatically
engageable brake is included that locks the drive unit
whenever the operating force is released. This brake may
be disengaged to permit conventional operation by push
ing the wheel chair in the usual manner.
Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide a
Wheel chair capable of negotiating stairs or the like.
Another object of this invention is to provide a wheel
porting the chair on the movable frame 2. The chair unit
is pivotally connected to the trammels by the provision of
brackets 8 suitably secured to each arm portion '9‘ of the
frame of the chair unit. A pin 10 pivotally connects
each trammel to the bracket and in turn, therefore, to the
frame of the chair. These pivot pins 10 are located above
the center of gravity of the chair unit when the occupant
12 is seated in the chair along a transverse vertical plane
ventional wheel chair on a flat surface, while being
11 that intersects the center of gravity. Thus, although
operable by the occupant for climbing up or down stairs
the chair assembly 1 is capable of rotating about the trans
60
or other obstructions.
verse aris formed by pivot pins 10, there is no tendency
A further object of this invention is to provide a wheel
for such rotation during normal occupany of the chair
chair movable by the occupant or an attendant as a con
chair capable of negotiating stairs or the like that is pro
vided with an ‘automatic brake engageable whenever the
while the unit is on a level surface as illustrated in FIG. 1.
Each side of the movable support frame 2 is of tubular
driving force is released.
construction including an arcuate upper portion 14-‘, and
6
An additional ‘object of this invention is to provide a
a bifurcated lower section 15. If desired, a web 16 may
stair-climbing wheel chair having an automatic brake,
be included on the lower edge of the upper portion '14
which brake can be disengaged for operation by pushing
to give the unit added rigidity. Preferably, lightening
the chair in the conventional manner.
holes 17 perforate the web to reduce the weight of the
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a
unit.
stair-climbing wheel chair in which the occupants seat re 70 As best seen in FIG. 2 the trammels 7 support the
mains in an upright position at all times.
chair unit on the movable frame 2 through hourglass
3,049,364
4
Except for the front wheel of truck 31, each of the
rollers 18 and 19 located on either side of line 11. Addi
wheels in the drive train is connected to a duality of
tional arcuate rollers 20 and 21 preclude movement verti
sprockets, similar to sprockets 52 and 53 and sprockets 55
cally of the chair unit relative to the support frame.
and 56. The front wheel of the train needs only one such
This means that the bottom portions of the trammels are
movable along the upper portions 14 of the two sides of Cl sprocket, having no wheel ahead of it. Chains 58, 59,
60, 61 and 62 interconnect these sprockets so that a drive
the movable frame assembly along the are of the radius
ing connection is provided for all of the wheels in the
generating this upper portion 14. The trammels 7 act
power train. In this manner a torque applied to the rear
as suspension members in that they provide a suspension
wheel 35a is transmitted throughout the chain drive sys
means to suspend the chair on the frame.
Any tendency for the chair unit 1 to pivot from its up 10 tem to each of the wheels. Therefore, power is supplied
to all of the wheels in the drive train, and all of the
right position is precluded by means of a pair of guide
wheels in either drive train rotate together and at equal
units 23. These guides are in the form of plates that
are secured to the bottom rails 24 of the chair unit, and
include vertical slots 25. These slots slidably receive pins
26 that are carried by the lower bifurcated portion 15
of the movable support frame 2. The slots 25 and pins
26 fall along the vertical line 11 that passes through the
center of gravity of the chair when occupied. Also, the
pins 26 are positioned substantially at the center point
speeds.
The trucks are maintained in a spaced relationship with
each other through the provisions of links 64, 65 and 66
which pivotally engage axles 34 of the trucks. There
fore, although the wheels are all driven equally and Si
multaneously, the chain drive connections and the spac
ing links 64, 65 and 66 permit the trucks to be pivoted
for the radius of curvature of the upper frame portion 14.
The drive train 3 includes on either side of the wheel
chair of this invention four trucks 28, 29, 30 and 31.
relative to each other.
‘In the embodiment illustrated, the wheel chair is man
The rear trucks 28 have ?xed pivotal connections to
Each drive wheel 68 includes at its axis a hub 69 pro
ually operated through a pair of large drive wheels 68,
the rims of which may be grasped by the occupant of
Each truck includes a pair of generally triangular shaped
the wheel chair and rotated to supply the driving force.
parallel side plates 33 which through axles 34 rotatably
connect to wheels 35. Thus, each truck is provided with 25 it is obvious that other types of drive arrangements could
be provided, if so desired, providing rotation through an
two wheels which preferably have rubber tires and are
electric motor, gasoline engine, or any suitable prime
much smaller than the conventional wheels utilized in sup
mover.
porting a wheel chair.
the lower portion 15 of the support frame 2 through pins 30 jecting inwardly toward the chair (see FIG. 7). Each
hub 69 is in the form of a cylindrical tubular element ro
37. These pins extend through both branches of the
tatably carried by the inner race of antifriction bearing
bifurcated portion 15 of the frame and engage the top of
70. The outer race of this hearing is supported in the
the plates 33 of the rear trucks 28.
end wall 71 of a cup-shaped member 72. The latter
Each of the front trucks 31 extends slightly forward of
member is in turn carried by the movable support frame
the support frame 2 to which it is connected by means of
2, connecting at its edges to upper portion 14 of the
a rearwardly inclined link 38. This link is pivotal relative
frame and to the web 16. The web 16 also carries the
both to the front truck and the support frame by reason
outer race of antifriction bearing 74, which is spaced from
of its connection to these elements through transverse
and coaxial with the bearing 70. The inner race of bear~
pins 39 and 40.
Extending from the top of the side plates 33 of the two 40 ing 74 supports a stub shaft 75 which extends also into
the tubular hub 69. Stub shaft 75 is axially slidable rela~
central trucks 29 and 30 are links 41 and 42 which are
tive to both the bearing 74 and the hub 69.
pivotal relative to the trucks through pin connections 43
Integral with the stub shaft 75 is the main drive
and 44. For convenience in manufacture and assembly,
sprocket
76. This sprocket meshes with a roller chain
each of these links may be made from a pair of identical
77 that extends downwardly to engage a smaller sprocket
parallel elements, as seen for the link 42 in FIG. 4. The
78 on the pin 37 for causing rotation of this sprocket, and
opposite ends of the links 41 and 42, by pivot pins 45 and
thus of the sprocket 50 that connects to the drive train.
46, are joined to a longitudinally extending walking beam
An automatic brake is provided in the connection be
47. The latter element at its center is connected by trans
tween the power input wheel 68 and the main drive
verse pivot pin 48 to the lower portion 15 of the support
sprocket 76. To this end, the hub 69 includes a radial
frame 2.
plate 79 to which is ?xed a duality of receptacles 80 and
The motive power for each drive train is introduced
81 which may include short cylindrical sections project
through a chain drive that includes a sprocket 50 carried
ing axially from the radial plate 79. The receptacles 80
by transverse pivot pin 37 of the rear truck 28, as best
and 31 contain balls 82 and 83 which are rotatable rela
seen in FIGS. 2 and 5. The sprocket 50 is rotated by the
tive to the receptacles and project outwardly therefrom.
shaft 37, as will be more clear hereinafter. A roller chain
Opposite the balls 82 and 83, the sprocket 76 is pro
51 engages the sprocket 50 and likewise meshes with a
vided
with circular apertures 84 and 85. These open
sprocket 52 on the axle 34 of the rear wheel 35:: of the
ings are slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of
rear truck 28. The sprocket 52 is rotatably coupled to the
the balls 82 and 83. Nevertheless, the balls may extend
rear wheel 35a and located on one side of the wheel as il
lustrated. Thus when sprocket 50 turns, the chain 51 60 into the openings 84 and 85 su?'iciently to permit the
sprocket 76 to assume the position illustrated in FIG. 9
and sprocket ‘52 cause rotation of the rear wheel 35a
in which the periphery of the sprocket and the chain are
of the rear truck 28.
brought into engagement with annular member 87 extend
A similar sprocket 53 is positioned on the opposite
ing around the interior of the cup'shaped member 72.
side of the rear wheel 350, also being rotatably connected
to this Wheel. A chain 54 meshes with the sprocket 53 65 The sprocket 76 is biased to this position by means of
spring 88 which bears upon the inner race of bearing 74
and also with a sprocket 55 of equal diameter immedi
and the inner portion of the sprocket. The annular
ately forward of it on the axle 34b of the wheel 35b of
member 87 is of a material having a high coefficient of
the rear truck 28. The sprocket 55 is rotatably ?xed with
friction, and may be formed from an element of rubber
respect to wheel 3512 so that rotation of this sprocket
drives the wheel 35b.
70 composition such as an ordinary drive belt. It is apparent,
therefore, that with the sprocket in engagement with the
Also rotatably coupled to the wheel 35b is an additional
annular member 87 as a result of the force of spring 88,
sprocket 56 which meshes with a chain 57 similar to the
the sprocket and main drive chain 77 will be frictionally
chain 54. The chain 57 extends to a sprocket connected
gripped by braking member 87 and precluded from rota
to rear wheel 350 of the truck 29 so that the chain 57
can provide a driving force to the wheel 350.
75 tion. The uneven side surface presented by the drive
3,049,364
chain 77 enables it to dig into member 87 and enhances
the frictional resisting force. The result is a brake that
locks all of the wheels 35 through the chain 77, chain 51
and the chains in the drive train interconnecting the
wheels.
When it is desired to operate the wheel chair, the hand
wheel 69 is rotated by the occupant. As this occurs the
plate 79 is turned relative to sprocket 76 so that balls 82
and 83 tend to climb out of the openings 84 and 85.
Such movement of the balls 82 and 33 can be accom
plished only by axial displacement of the sprocket 76 rel
ative to radial plate 79.
Therefore, as the balls are ro
tated by plate 79, they exert an axial force urging the
sprocket 76 to the left of the position shown in FIG. 9
to assume the position of FIG. 7. This shifts the sprocket
76 axially away from the annular braking member 87 so
that it no longer is locked against movement. Thus, rota
tion of the wheel 68 automatically releases the brake on
of the brake an attendant may push the wheel chair by
the handles 6.
Also however, this design allows the wheel chair to
climb up or down a stairway or other obstruction entirely
through the operation of the occupant of the ‘wheel chair,
as seen in FIGS. 10 and ll. In order to negotiate stairs
or other obstructionss the wheel chair is merely driven
forwardly to bring the front wheels 35 of the front trucks
31 into engagement with the vertical riser 98 of the bot
10 tom step of the stairway. Continued rotation of the hand
wheels 68 will cause these front wheels to climb up the
riser 98 to reach the level of the tread as of the next step.
This occurs because the front wheels 35 are power driven
and will tend to move up the riser due to the friction gen
15 erated between the surface of the wheel and that of the
riser. In addition they are forced to climb due to the
power applied forwardly ‘from the additional wheels sup
porting the weight of the unit on level surfaces. The
movement upwardly of the front wheels 35 is permitted
the running gear. Due to the relatively small penetra
tion of the balls into the openings 84 and 85 when the 20 by the pivotal connection of the front trucks 31 to ‘the
movable support frame through the links 38, as well as
sprocket 76 is in its normal position against the braking
the pivotal connection between trucks 3% and 31 through
element 87, a large mechanical advantage is realized in
spacer links 65.
effecting the brake release.
When the front ‘trucks 31 have reached the level of
As illustrated in FIG. 8, blocks 90 and 91 are located
inrmedately forward ‘of the openings 84 and 85 about a 25 the tread ‘of the ?rst step in a stairway, the second trucks
by {that time will be climbing the riser ‘in a similar man—
circumference that includes the centers of these Openings.
ner. The pivotal connections of the second truck through
These blocks act as stops limiting the amount of move
the links 412 and the walking beams 47 allow these trucks
ment of the radial plate 79 relative to the drive sprocket
to swivel and to negotiate the step.
716. in other words, the hand wheel 68‘ is rotated only
The trucks successively climb up the ?rst step and the
a very slight amount relative to‘ the drive sprocket 76 until
succeeding steps of the stairway and may achieve the
the receptacles 8i} and 81 are brought into contact with
position shown in FIG. 10 where the entire unit is on the
the stops 9% and 91. This results in a driving connection
stairs. in this manner, the wheels on their pivotal trucks
between the hand wheel and the drive sprocket. Con
cause ‘the wheel chair to climb up the stairs regardless
tinued rotation of the hand ‘wheel 68, therefore, rotates
the drive sprocket which in turn drives the chains causing 35 of the number of steps encountered or the steepness of
the stairs. It may be noted that during the negotia
the wheels v35’ to turn in the same direction as the hand
wheel.
Of course in order to allow reverse movement as well
as forward, additional blocks 92 and 93 are provided on
tion of the stairs, there are always some Wheels on the
level surfaces of the treads, while others may be climi -
ing up the vertical risers of the stairs. For example, in
the opposite sides of openings 84 and 85. Hence, rela 40 the position of the wheel chair in FIG. 10, both wheels
of the front trucks 31 are on a level surf-ace, as are both
tive movement between the hand wheel and the drive
wheels of the rear trucks 28, ‘the front wheel of the trucks
sprocket in the opposite direction likewise disengages the
brake and effects a driving connection.
29 and the rear wheel of the trucks 3%}.
The wheels on
the level surfaces provide the unit with the necessary
drive unit of this invention includes a brake that auto 45 stability and support its ‘weight, as well as giving a for
ward driving force to cause the Wheels to work their
matically is applied when the hand wheel 63 is released.
way up the stairs.
This permits the spring 88 to force the drive sprocket into
The connection of the two middle trucks 2.9 and 30' on
engagement with the annular braking element 87, and
either side to the frame through walking beams 47 en
brings the balls 82 and 83 to the innermost position with
in the openings 84 and 85. Nevertheless, upon rotation 50 hances the action of the unit considerably as it negotiates
the stairs. 'It allows a vertical shifting of the pivotal con
of the hand wheel in either direction, the brake is re
nections of these trucks relative to support frame 2-, and
leased and the ‘wheels of the drive train are turned.
permits the wheels of these trucks to maintain contact with
in order ‘that the wheel chair unit of this invention may
the stair steps as the wheel chair advances. In this man
be pushed by hand by an attendant in the conventional
manner, or to all-ow it to coast on a level surface, an ar 55 ner, all of the wheels are used in supporting the weight
It is apparent from the foregoing, therefore, that the
rangement is included to disengage the brake so as to
render it inoperative. This is effected very simply through
of the unit and maintaining its equilibrium. Connection
of the center trucks separately through straight links such
as the links 38 for the front trucks 31 would not give this
result.
gaging a tapped opening through ‘the axis of rthe hand 60
As an essential part of the stair climbing ability of the
wheel 68. When it is desired to release the brake, it is
wheel chair of this invention, the movable support frame 2
release screws 95 each of which includes an enlarged head
as for convenient rotation, and a threaded shank 97 on
necessary only to rotate the screws 95 so as to move them
rotates relative to the trammels 7 from which the seat is
suspended. This permits the seat always to remain in an
inwardly, causing the ends of shanks 97 to contact the
upright position through gravity forces, regardless of the
ends of stub shafts 75. These shafts then are moved
axially in opposition to the opposing force of springs 38, 65 fact that the unit is negotiating an obstruction. Thus
to shift sprockets 76 away from the braking members 87.
when the wheel chair is climbing a stairway, as seen in
Of course reverse movement of the screws 95 again renders
FIG. 10, the trucks push the front portion of the movable
the brake operative.
support frame upwardly so that the support frame pivots
As a result of the above-described arrangement, it is
in a counterclockwise direction. Despite this movement
apparent that ‘the wheel chair of this invention may be 70 of the frame, however, the chair unit remains upright be
operated in the conventional manner on a level surface,
cause of the rotation permitted by the rollers ‘18, ‘19, 20
as indicated generally in FIG. 1. This can be by manipu
and 21 which connect the trammels to the upper portions
lation of hand wheel ‘68 by the occupant of the wheel
chair, or alternatively from the provision of a prime
mover as the source of power.
14 of the movable support frame. Any possible tendency
to tip is precluded by the guide pins 2e in the slots 25
In addition, with release 75 which stabilize the chair from a point below the curved
3,049,364
7
8
tracks 14. Of course, tipping of the chair unit is prevent
ed also by the location of the pivotal connection at pin 10
between the chair assembly and the trammels along the
line 11 that intersects the center of gravity of the unit.
Movement down the stairway is accomplished some
4. A wheel chair comprising a seat unit; a pair of
side members located one on either side of said seat unit,
one end of each of said side members being pivotally con
nected to said seat unit; a support unit, said support unit
what in the same manner as climbing the stairs. Again the
said side members; a drive train, said drive train including
a plurality of longitudinally arranged trucks on either
including a pair of arcuate members slidably engaging
pivotal mounting of the trucks on the movable support
frame permits them to go down the risers of the stairs
side of said seat unit so as to provide a pair of rear trucks
and additional trucks extending forwardly of said rear
and onto the treads of the succeeding steps downward.
As before, regardless of the fact that the wheel chair is 10 trucks, each of said trucks having wheel means, ?xed
pivot means connecting each of said rear trucks to said
entirely located on the stairway, there are always several
support means, ‘and link means connecting each of said
wheels positioned on the horizontal treads of the stairs.
additional trucks to said support unit; and drive means
Thus, the equilibrium is maintained, and there is no
for effecting equal and simultaneous rotation of said wheel
tendency for the wheel chair to run away down the stairs.
means.
Of course, as the unit descends the stairway, the movable
5. A device as recited in claim 4 in which said drive
support frame 2 rotates in a clockwise direction relative
means comprises a plurality of roller chains and a plural
to the trammels 7 and the chair unit 1. The unit will not
ity of sprockets rotatably ?xed to said wheel means where
by said roller chains drivingly interconnect said wheel
tip and the chair and the occupant remain in the upright
position when going down the stairs as well as climbing up.
Naturally in negotiating stairs or other obstructions, the
means.
6. A device as recited in claim 4 in which for said plu
automatically operated brake assures complete safety of
the unit.
rality of longitudinally arranged trucks said drive train
Thus even if the occupant should become fa
tigued or wish to stop the unit for any reason while at a
includes four trucks on either side of said seat unit, each
mid point on the stairway, merely by releasing the hand
wheels 68 the brake automatically is applied and the chair
said link means for the forward one of said trucks on
cannot move.
of said trucks including two longitudinally aligned wheels,
either side including a single link extending upwardly to
The use of a reliable chain drive assures
that the wheels will be locked and the chance of failure is
negligible. Furthermore, by having a brake on either
side of the chair, even in the unlikely event of malfunction
of one portion of the braking system, the other will be
adequate to hold the Wheel chair in position.
Steering of the wheel chair of this invention is similar
to that of any caterpillar type vehicle and is accom
plished very simply by appropriate manipulation of the
hand wheels 68. Rotation of only one of the hand wheels
will cause the unit to pivot around, or it may be turned
efficiently by rotation of one hand wheel 68 forwardly and
said support unit, said link means for the center two of
said trucks including a single link extending upwardly
9
a
from each of said center two of said trucks, and a beam
pivotally connected at its center to said support unit and
pivotally engaging said last mentioned links at its opposite
distal ends.
7. A device as recited in claim 4 in which said drive
means includes a rotatable shaft, a drive sprocket rotat
able with said shaft, sprocket means on said wheel means,
and a chain interconnecting said drive sprocket and said
sprocket means on said wheel means whereby rotation of
said shaft through said chain causes rotation of said
wheel means.
It can be seen, therefore, that through the provision of
8. A device as recited in claim 7 in which said chain
a relatively easily constructed and manufactured unit, a 40
from said drive sprocket rotatably connects to the rear
wheel chair is obtained that is capable of performing en
most of the wheels of said trucks.
tirely unlike one of conventional design. The unit is
9. A device as recited in claim 7 including in addition
versatile in its use and relatively light in weight. The
a brake interposed between said rotatable shaft and said
provision of the drive means and the running gear on
drive sprocket, said brake including means for auto
either side of the chair unit permit the wheel chair to be
matically locking said drive sprocket in the absence of a
folded ?at as with the practice for conventional designs.
driving torque on said rotatable shaft, and automatically
Thus the advantages of ordinary wheel chairs are re
unlocking said drive sprocket when such a driving torque
tained, and the wheel chair unit of this invention is readily
is present.
stored or transported.
10. A device as recited in claim 9 in which said rotat
The foregoing detailed description is to be clearly un
able shaft includes at least one receptacle spaced outward
derstood as given by way of illustration and example
ly from the axis thereof, said brake including a ball in
only, the spirit and scope of this invention being limited
the other in reverse.
solely by the appended claims.
I claim:
1. A wheel chair comprising a seat unit; a support
frame; a suspension means pivotally supporting said seat
unit and engaging said support frame for support thereby,
said support frame being rotatable relative said suspension
means; a drive train supporting said support frame, said
drive train including a plurality of trucks each of which
is pivotally connected to said support frame, each of said
said receptacle and projecting outwardly therefrom, said
drive sprocket being axially movable relative to said
receptacle and including an aperture engaging outer
portions of said ball, ‘an annular friction member arranged
adjacent said drive sprocket, and a spring biasing said
sprocket toward said friction member, whereby upon
exertion of a driving torque on said rotatable shaft said
balls urge said sprocket axially away from said friction
member for thereby releasing said brake and in the ab
sence of said driving torque said spring urges said sprocket
trucks having wheel means; and means for driving said
against said friction member.
wheel means.
11. A wheel chair comprising a seat unit, suspension
2. A wheel chair comprising a seat structure; a sup
port unit, said support unit having an arcuate guide means 65 means for said seat unit, said suspension means pivotally
connecting to said seat unit along a vertical line substan
de?ning a curvilinear path; means pivotally engaging said
tially falling upon the center of gravity of said seat unit
seat structure and further engaging said arcuate guide
when said seat unit is occupied; a support unit, said sup
means of said support unit for movement in said curvi
port
unit including guide means de?ning a curved path
linear path; a running gear, said running gear including a
plurality of trucks, each of said trucks being pivotally 70 convex upwardly and aligned longitudinally of said chair
unit, said suspension means including means engaging
connected to said support unit and including wheel means;
said guide means for support by said support unit and
and means for driving said wheel means.
movement relative thereto along said ?xed path; a plu
3. A device as recited in claim 2 including in addition
rality of truck means, each of said truck means including
brake means for precluding rotation of said wheel means
except by said driving means.
75 wheel means, and means pivotally connecting said truck
3,049,364
10
means to said support unit; and drive means for effecting
nally aligned ground-engaging wheels, the rearmost of
rotation of said wheel means.
said trucks of each train being pivotally connected to the
rearward portion of said support member; a link pivotally
connecting the forward one of said trucks of each train
to said support member at the forward portion of said
support member; a link extending upwardly from each
12. A device as recited in claim 11 in which for each
of said truck means said wheel means includes a duality
of longitudinally aligned wheels rotatably carried thereby,
and said drive means includes means for equally and
simultaneously rotating said Wheels.
of the trucks intermediate said forward and rearward
truck; a longitudinally extending beam for each train
pivotally connected to the adjacent support member
13. A device as recited in claim 11 in which said trucks
means includes on either side of said seat unit a rear truck,
a front truck and a duality of intermediate trucks, said 10 about a transverse axis disposed beneath said curvilinear
means pivotally connecting said trucks to said support
path, said links for said intermediate trucks of each train
unit including a ?xed pivotal connection on said support
being connected to said beam on opposite sides of said
unit for said rear trucks, a link pivotally interconnecting
transverse axis, and power input means connected to the
said front trucks and said support unit, a link one end
wheels of each of said drive trains for providing equal
of which is pivotally connected to one of said intermediate 15 and simultaneous rotation of all the wheels in each drive
trucks, another link one end of which is pivotally con
train.
nected to the other of said trucks, a longitudinally ar
17. A device as recited in claim 16 including an auto
ranged beam pivotally connected to said support unit at
matic brake connected to said wheels, said brake includ
a location intermediate its ends, said links connected to
ing means for locking said wheels against rotation other
said intermediate trucks connecting at their opposite ends 20 than by said power input means.
to said beam at said ends of said beam.
_
18. A device as recited in claim 16 in which said means
14. A wheel chair comprising a seat unit, a duality
for rotating said wheels includes a receptacle member
of suspension members, said suspension members being
rotatable about a circumference around an axis, a ball in
located one on either side of said seat unit and pivotally
said receptacle rotatable relative thereto and projecting
connected to said seat unit at a point above the center 25 therefrom, sprocket means adjacent said receptacle and
of gravity thereof and in substantial vertical alignment
therewith; a duality of support members, ‘said support
having an aperture therein adapted to receive and engage
members being located one on either side of said seat
portions of said ball, said aperture being of smaller di
axially movable relatively thereto, said sprocket means
unit, each of said support members including guide means
ameter than the diameter of said ball, resilient means
de?ning a ?xed arcuate path convex upwardly and ar
30 biasing said sprocket means toward said receptacle, a
ranged longitudinally of said seat unit, each of said
suspension means engaging the adjacent support means
friction member engaged by said sprocket means when
said sprocket means is in said position for precluding ro
tation of said sprocket means, whereby rotation of said
at said guide means thereof for movement along said
path; a duality of sets of trucks, said sets of trucks being
receptacle relative to said sprocket means causes said ball
located one on either side of said seat unit, each of said 35 to exert an axial force on said sprocket means urging said
sets including a plurality of longitudinally aligned wheels,
sprocket means away from said receptacle to a position
each of said trucks being pivotally connected to the ad
remote from said friction member, and an abutment on
jacent one of said support members, the trucks in each
said sprocket means engageable by said receptacle upon
set being pivotally interconnected, each of said trucks
such relative rotation of said receptacle for thereby pro
including wheel means; and drive means for simultane 40 viding a driving connection between said receptacle and
ously and equally rotating all of said wheel means on
said sprocket means.
either side of said chair unit.
19. A device as recited in claim 18 including in addi
15. A device as recited in claim 14 in which said drive
tion manually operable screw thread means engageable
means includes means for selectively applying a torque
with said sprocket means for moving said sprocket means
to said wheel means, and a brake means, said brallc 45 relative to said receptacle to said remote position and
means including means for locking said wheel means
holding the sprocket means in said remote position for
against rotation when no torque is being applied by
thereby precluding said resilient means from biasing said
said torque applying means, and means for unlocking
sprocket means against said friction member.
said wheel means when a torque is applied by said torque
20. A wheel chair comprising a seat unit, support
50 means for said seat unit, said support means including
applying means.
16. A wheel chair comprising a seat unit; a pair of
a ?rst portion pivotally connected to said seat unit, and a
suspension members located one on either side of said
second portion having a guide means de?ning a curvilin
seat unit, said suspension members pivotally connecting
ear path, said ?rst portion engaging said guide means
to said seat unit along a transverse axis substantially ver
and being movable in said curvilinear path, a plurality of
tically aligned with the center of gravity of said seat unit 55 wheel means supporting said second portion, and drive
when said seat unit is occupied; a pair of support mem
means for rotating said wheel means.
bers located one on either side of said seat unit, each
support member including an arcuate track portion de
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
?ning a ?xed curvilinear path convex upwardly and
UNITED STATES PATENTS
longitudinally arranged with respect to said seat unit, each 60
of said suspension members including roller means he
882,248
Haas _______________ __ Mar. 17, 1908
neath said pivotal connection engaging said track for
1,739,260
supporting said suspension members on said track with
freedom for movement along said ?xed curvilinear path;
2,436,619
Swindell ___________ __ Feb. 24, 1948
2,742,973
Johannesen ____________ __ Apr. 24, 1956
a pair of drive trains located one on either side of said 65
2,787,472
Foggiano et al. ________ __ Apr. 2, 1957
1,059,735
France _____________ .. Nov. 10, 1953
seat unit beneath the adjacent support member, each
FOREIGN PATENTS
of said drive trains including four longitudinally aligned
trucks, each of said trucks having a duality of longitudi
Roe _________________ __ Dec. 10, 1929
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