Title:
Artificial tree storage system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage system for artificial trees having a central support member and a set of removable limbs having a plurality of branches pivotably mounted and spaced longitudinally on each limb, comprising a plurality of limb-storage members having a first annular support member, a second annular support member and a flexible sleeve having a first end secured to the first annular support member and a second end secured to the second annular support member thus defining an interior volume within the sleeve.



Inventors:
Irizarry-lopez, Maria (Rego Park, NY, US)
Application Number:
09/971477
Publication Date:
04/10/2003
Filing Date:
10/05/2001
Assignee:
IRIZARRY-LOPEZ MARIA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G33/06; (IPC1-7): B65D85/50; B65D85/52
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CISTERNINO & WEINSTEIN, LLP (701 Westchester Ave. Suite 308W, White Plains, NY, 10604, US)
Claims:
1. A storage system for artificial trees having a central support member and a set of removable limbs having a plurality of branches pivotably mounted and spaced longitudinally on each limb, comprising a plurality of limb-storage members having: (a) a first annular support member; (b) a second annular support member; and (c) a flexible sleeve having a first end secured to said first annular support member and a second end secured to said second annular support member defining an interior volume within said sleeve wherein said sleeve is resistant to expansion of said interior volume.

2. A system as recited in claim 1, wherein said flexible member is a mesh.

3. A system as recited in claim 1, wherein said first and second annular support members each having two ends further comprise portions having means for coupling said ends.

4. A system as recited in claim 3 wherein said means comprises Velcro.

5. A system as recited as in claim 1 wherein said flexible member is a fabric.

6. A system as recited in claim 1, wherein said first annular support member has a diameter greater than said second annular support member.

7. A storage device for a removable artificial tree limb having a plurality of branches being mountable on said limb, comprising a flexible sleeve having a first end and a second end defining a longitudinal interior volume for encompassing at least a portion of said limb.

8. A device as recited in claim 7, wherein said flexible sleeve is constructed of a resilient mesh.

9. A device as recited in claim 7, wherein said first and second ends further comprise corresponding fastening portions having means for fastening said portions to each other.

10. A device as recited in claim 9, wherein said means comprises Velcro.

11. A device as recited as in claim 7 wherein said flexible sleeve is a fabric.

12. A device as recited in claim 7, wherein said first and second ends are annular.

13. A system as recited in claim 12, wherein said first end has a diameter greater than the diameter of said second end.

14. A storage system for artificial trees having a central support member and a set of removable limbs having a plurality of branches pivotably mounted and spaced longitudinally on each limb, comprising a plurality of limb-storage members having: (a) a first annular member; (b) a second annular member; and (c) a sleeve having a first end secured to said first annular support member and a second end secured to said second annular support member defining an interior volume extending longitudinally within said sleeve.

15. A system as recited in claim 14, wherein said sleeve is constructed of a flexible material.

16. A system as recited in claim 14, wherein said first and second annular members are constructed of a flexible material.

17. A system as recited in claim 14, wherein said first and second annular members further comprise a means for closing said sleeve.

18. A system as recited in claim 17, wherein said means comprises Velcro on the inner surface of said first and second annular members.

19. A system as recited in claim 14, wherein said first annular member has a diameter greater than said second annular member.

20. A system as recited in claim 14, wherein said limb storage members are of different sizes.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to storage system for artificial trees, and more particularly concerns a storage system for artificial Christmas tree having a plurality of separate branches.

[0002] Artificial Christmas trees are well known. Most artificial Christmas trees comprise a plurality of separate branches, or stems extending outwardly from the branches, which are formed of a plurality of plastic needles held together by twisting a pair of wires about them. In other instances, the branches and/or stems are formed by twisting a pair of wires about an elongated sheet of plastic material having a large multiplicity of transverse slits. In still other artificial Christmas trees, the branches and/or stems are formed by injection molding of plastic.

[0003] Irrespective of the form of branch, the most common form of artificial Christmas tree comprises a wood simulated trunk having a plurality of spaced apart apertures for reception of branches therein, each branch having a plurality of stems, to thereby hold the branches in radially extending relation to the trunk to form the artificial Christmas tree. For purposes of storage, the branches are removable and the stems are collapsible, generally in the same direction, along the longitudinal axis of each respective branch.

[0004] A storage system for the artificial tree is not normally provided for. The consumer is usually required to keep the box that the tree was purchased in for later storage. Usually, the box the tree was purchased in is formed of cardboard and has a tendency to break down over the years or may get wet and fall apart from continuous storage in the basement. Otherwise, consumers have used one or more boxes or bags to store the disassembled branches.

[0005] Problems associated with such storage systems include the excessive amount of time consumed in disassembling the tree, including removal of every branch and placement of the branch within the cardboard box for storage, and in particular, repositioning the stems. The task can be frustrating, tedious and extremely difficult or even impossible for some, such as those that are partially disabled or have arthritic or similar conditions which effect the fine motor skills. Often, the task of properly storing the branches is left incomplete or undone which inevitably results in damage to the tree and also takes away possible storage space for other items.

[0006] Therefore, there is a need for a storage system for artificial trees which, among other things, provides a remedy for the aforementioned problems associated with the prior artificial tree storage systems.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to provide a solution to the problems and inconveniences associated with prior art artificial Christmas tree storage systems. This object and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description.

[0008] The present invention provides a storage system for artificial trees having a central support member and removable limbs, wherein the limbs have a plurality of branches mountable, typically being pivotably mounted and spaced longitudinally, on each limb. The present invention comprises first and second annular support members and a flexible sleeve defining an interior volume for being pulled over a limb.

[0009] Preferably, the sleeve has sufficient resiliency to cause the branches to pivot toward the limb. The annular support members may be fully circular elastic bands or made openable and reclosable via a closure system. The closure system may comprise a coupling means on the inventive device. The annular support members may differ in diameter. The sleeve may be mesh-like or solid and constructed from any material providing flexibility, durability and resiliency, man-made or otherwise, such as Spandex, nylon or other fabric having such qualities, or the like. The sleeves may be a set of various sizes preferably corresponding to the various sizes of the artificial tree limbs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0010] One or more embodiments of the invention and of making and using the invention, as well as the best mode contemplated of carrying out the invention, are described in detail below, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a side view in partial cross section of a first embodiment of the inventive artificial tree limb storage device;

[0012] FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of a second embodiment of the inventive storage device;

[0013] FIG. 3 is a front view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2;

[0014] FIG. 4 is a side view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2 with an artificial tree limb inserted therein; and

[0015] FIG. 5 is a top view of a third embodiment of the inventive storage device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The following more detailed description of the invention is intended to be read in the light of, or in context with, the preceding summary and background descriptions. Unless otherwise apparent, or stated, directional references, such as “up”, “down”, “left”, “right”, “front” and “rear”, are intended to be relative to the orientation of a particular embodiment of the invention as shown in the first numbered view of that embodiment. Also, a given reference numeral indicates the same or a similar structure when it appears in different figures.

[0017] FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of an artificial tree limb storage device 10 according to the present invention. Inventive limb storage device 10 comprises a sleeve portion 12 generally extending along a longitudinal axis 11, a first annular support member 14 and a second annular support member 16 defining a generally cylindrical interior volume 18. An artificial tree limb 20 having a plurality of branches 22, a hook 24 for attaching limb 20 to an artificial tree trunk (not shown) and an axis generally corresponding to axis 11, is shown as being within interior volume 18. Typically, branches 22 are mounted on limb 20 in such a way as to permit branches 22 to be pivoted towards limb 20 in a manner generally corresponding to the direction of arrows 23.

[0018] Storage device 10 is pulled over limb 20, preferably interior volume 18 is of sized to encompass all of artificial tree limb 20 except for hook 24, which may be left extending outwardly from device 10. It is preferable that sleeve 12 is constructed of a stretchable or flexible material having sufficient resiliency directed in a direction transverse to longitudinal axis 11 to cause branches 22 to pivot against limb 20 while pulling device 10 over limb 20. Sleeve 12 may include a decorative pattern or color identifying the location where limb 20 is placed on the artificial tree trunk. Furthermore, inventive device 10 may be sold in a plurality of sizes in accordance with the different sized limbs 20 and branches 22 typically utilized to create a more realistic tree-like appearance.

[0019] FIGS. 2-4, illustrate a second embodiment of the inventive storage device 100. Sleeve 112 is constructed of a mesh-like material having openings 126 therein, such as Spandex, nylon, or the like. Preferably, sleeve 112 is made of a durable and flexible fabric and annular members 114 and 116 are reinforced on outer side 115 and inner side 117 by a trimming 128. Stitches 129 for trimming 128 are illustrated as extending through the interior walls 134 and 136 of annular support members 114 and 116, respectively. First and second annular members 114 and 116 can be made of a material, such as an elastic or stretchable band, and then may be sewn or fastened to sleeve 112 at inner sides 117 by any conventional means. In this embodiment, first and second annular members 114 and 116 may be opened via slits 130, which extend generally longitudinally through a portion of sleeve 112 and across annular support members 114 and 116, to facilitate the insertion of a limb into interior volume 118, among other things. A closure system 132 for securing slits 130 is illustrated as being attached adjacent inner sides 117 and contacting a portion of sleeve 112 and annular members 114 and 116. Closure system 132 may be corresponding Velcro portions, hook and loops, a drawstring or any other conventional means allowing for the opening and closing of slits 130.

[0020] Preferably, one annular support member is of greater diameter than the other, as illustrated in this embodiment by second annular member 116 being of larger diameter than first annular support member 114.

[0021] In using inventive device 110, closure system 132 would be opened thus allowing separating slits 130. Device 110 would be pulled over limb 120 beginning with second annular member 116 having the larger diameter. Once limb 120 is within interior volume 118 of sleeve 112, coupling means 132 would be closed, thus closing slits 130.

[0022] FIG. 5 illustrates a third embodiment of the inventive device 210. In this embodiment, annular support members 214 and 216 have a closure system 232, such as those described above, along at least a portion of the interior walls 234 and 236 of support members 214 and 216. Closure system 232 allow interior walls 234 and 236 to adhere to themselves, thus effectively closing annular support members 214 and 216 along with interior volume 218.

[0023] While some illustrative embodiments of the invention have been described above, it is, of course, understood that various modifications will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Such modifications are within the spirit and scope of the invention, which is limited and defined only by the appended claims.