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This invention relates to a disposable gaiter guard which is made of thin plastic and comes packaged in a box similar to plastic trash bags. The guard is for use when operating flexible or rigid weed trimming equipment. The guard is made out of single layer plastic film which has portions extending therefrom to act as ankle and knee ties to secure the guard to the lower leg of a user. As the guard becomes coated with grass stains and other vegetable matter it is simply disposed of after use and the next time a user of the equipment initiates a weed trimming operation, he or she just pulls one from the carton and ties it to the leg.
With the advent of weed wackers or trimmers in the 1970s people began to notice that their bare legs or trousers were often times coated with vegetable, plant, dirt and other sort of matter resulting from operating either a rigid blade weed trimmer or a flexible line trimmer. Various attempts were made to remedy this situation which resulted in several protective devices.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,199,217 is one such device. It shows a protective leg sock which has an upper cuff 60 around the top thereof and into which an elastic cord is adapted to pass allowing a user to tie the sock up below the knee. The sock is vented by grommets 90 and have a lower elastic ring 30 which keeps the lower portion of the sock tight around the ankle portion of a user. Bias tape 50 is sewn around the bottom of the sock and the sock is constructed of four mil diamond embossed plastic film which keeps the grass from sticking. This is important as the sock is designed to be repeatedly worn by a user and not discarded after every use. A spring based barrel closure acts to keep the cord tight around the upper leg.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,525 shows a leg guard which is designed to prevent mechanically propelled objects from impacting on a persons lower leg and/or being deposited in their footwear. It consists of protective material such as foam rubber, heavy canvas or rubber having a series of straps with Velcro thereon designed to secure the guard to the front and sides of a wearer's leg.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,940,881 shows apparatus for protecting the limbs of a wearer. The apparatus consists of two or more anthropometrically shaped panels which are formed from sheets that are both flexible and able to maintain their shape. This is a form of “body armor” and is designed primarily to protect the wearer from injury, not from flying plant matter. The panels have an outer layer of canvas of between 10 and 24 ounces weight and the inner panel is formed of “duck” material. The apparatus, as it is called, is a permanent item designed to be worn repeatedly.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,143,762; 5,375,262; 6,210,352 and 6,272,688 show various forms of limb protectors but are not close in form, function or design to the instant invention.
The present invention is designed with several ideas in mind. The First is simplicity, which is afforded by a one-piece design having tie portions as part of the overall plastic body of the device. These ties simple allow the user to tie it on.
The second idea in mind was to have something that could be inexpensively produced so that it could be affordable to all users of weed trimming equipment. Commercial users of the equipment cannot afford to clean costly leg protectors each and every day and the employees thereof cannot afford to wash their work clothes every day. Weed and grass and general plant matter both sticks and stains, rendering clothes unusable after a few smattering work outs with a weed eater. Thus, the present invention is designed to be produced like trash bags on an assembly of cutting plastic film and packaged in a box similar to trash bags or tissues where on merely pulls the next one out and disposes of it after use. As the guards are attached to one another as a result of the manufacturing process, one simply pulls one out and the force of the pull rips the one being pulled from the next one in the box.
The third idea in mind was to have something disposable as one does not want to spend time cleaning permanent type guards or socks after each use. After many uses such guards and socks would become worthless as the build up would accumulate too much without intensive cleaning after each use.
The present invention uses the same film plastic as used in plastic trash bags and i it can vary somewhat in thickness depending on whether a commercial user is going to wear it all day or the use is just a homeowner going out for his weekly battle with the weeds. The device can be tied above or below the knee depending on personal preferences and can be made in several sizes if desired. Basically there would be a small and large size which tends to fit the men and women users.
As an alternative to just tying the ties they can be slotted which allows for the slots to interact to protect a simple hooking function in securing the tie ends together. Another alternative is to have an “eye” or slit formed in one of the tie pairs thus allowing one tie end to be passed through the “eye” or slit to secure the ties. Alternatively, a “zip strip” securement could be used to secure the tie ends.
To keep the flap portion of the device atop the users foot or shoe, glue or spot glue can be provided on the flap so as to insure coverage of the shoe and to keep plant matter from being deposited thereon. To strengthen the flap portion ribs can be provided in the portion to keep the flap in place over the shoe.
The material of the device can be low density polyethylene, high density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene Terephthalate, as well as other plastics. The thickness of the device can be from 1 mil to 100 mil but is most preferably in the 0.85 to 5 mil range. The material can be provided with small holes or perforations to allow allow release of moisture from the user's leg. The holes can be any shape. The plastic of the device can be clear, colored or printed in a pattern. Any color can be used. As the guard must fit a variety of leg sizes, it can be made in many sizes. It could be “one size fits all” or be in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. The extensions used to tie the device to the user's shoe or ankle and leg can vary in length depending on the elasticity of the material chosen. The extensions or ties should be long enough for the user to tie them in front of their leg and/or ontop of their shoe. This allows the user to see the knots they are tying.
The guards can be packaged in many ways which is incident to their method of production. The guards can be manufactured like trash or grocery bags and remain connected at various points.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a disposable leg guard for use in wearing when operating weed trimming equipment and other mechanical equipment which results in plant matter being thrown through the air, and
It is another object of this invention to provide an inexpensive leg guard for use in operating a weed trimmer, and
It is still another object of this invention to provide a guard device which limits The amount of debris which impacts a person's leg when using a rotary trimmer to cut weeds or grass, and
A further object of this invention is to provide a leg guard which is formed of one piece of plastic film, and
A still further object of this invention is to provide a leg guard made of plastic film from 2 to 5 mil thick which is disposable and can be packaged still attached to one another in a disposable box.
These and other objects of the invention will become apparent when reference is had to the accompany drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is partial view of a leg of a wearer showing the guard in place.
FIG. 2 shows the guard of this invention in plan view with the four ties extending therefrom.
FIG. 3 shows diagrammatic view of the guard ties being secured above and below the knee and ankle.
FIG. 4 is a view of the guard in plan view with zip strip securement.
FIG. 5 is shows the show portion of the guard with alternate applications of glue or sticky sealing.
FIG. 6 shows the guard in plan view with an eye and thread connection tie pair.
FIG. 7 shows guard ties with match slots.
FIG. 8 shows the foot portion of the guard with ribs.
FIG. 9 shows shows a side view of a display pack with tabs for dispensing the guards.
FIG. 10 shows the box pack of FIG. 9 with the pull tab and the tissue box like closure.
FIG. 11 shows various configurations of the means to dispense the guard.
FIG. 12 shows the foot portion or thigh portion of the guard as being able to be torn off when not desired.
Referring now to FIG. 1 there is shown the guard 10 secured onto a users leg. The main portion of the guard 11 covers the calve area and the ties, such as at 12 and 13, secure the guard to the leg below the knee and above the ankle. A foot portion 14 extends over the front of the wearer's shoe or foot,
FIG. 2 shows the guard 10 with ties 12 and 13 and some general overall dimensions. As can be seen, the guard tapers down from the knee area to the ankle area so as to more fully conform to the leg of the user. The dimensions shown are general in nature and show the relationship of the ties to the main body 11 of the guard 10 and it is understood that these dimensions can be altered.
FIG. 3 shows the users leg with the guard 10 tied above the knee and around the ankle and below the knee and across the instep of the user's foot.
FIG. 4 shows the guard 10 with zip strip fasteners 14, 15 on ties 12 and 13. Another way of securing the ties would be to use the eye 16 and thread 17 arrangement of FIG. 6 or the matching slots 18, 19 of FIG. 7. Such slots merely interlock with one another to secure the ties.
In FIG. 5 there is shown the section 14 with glue spot applications thereon so that the portion can adhere to the top of the shoe of the wearer to keep it from blowing up. In this vein, flap 14 can have ribs as shown in FIG. 8 which keep the portion 14 stiff and atop the shoe or foot. If the portion 14 is not desired, the device can have perforations such as 20 in FIG. 12 to allow the user to rip it off and discard it. When this is done an additional tie strip 21 is employed as shown to secure the end of the device to the shoe of the wearer. In FIG. 12, the upper portion 22 of the device is adapted to secure the device to the thigh of the user. This configuration can also have the thigh portion ripped off by tearing the lower portion along perforations 23.
FIG. 15 shows the side view of a display pack 100 that allows the user to pull it out on tab 101 which pulls up the next guard for use in a fashion similar to that used in grocery stores. The guards are attached in the same manner as grocery bags and rip off when tab 101 is engaged. Alternatively, the guards can be packaged in a tissue like box 103, as shown in FIG. 10, which allows the guards to be packaged 8 to 10 to a box. There is a tab 104 to allow the user to start pulling the guards from the box and a slot 105 which allows egress from the box. FIG. 11 shows various configurations of how the guards could be packaged in a box B. They can be in roll form as shown as 110 and removed one at a time from the box, or folded as at 111 and torn at a perforation as they are removed or, they can be in one large roll as at 1 12 and torn off at the perforation.
FIG. 9A shows a box 120, much like a tissue box, although larger, which can have a slot like 121 and through which one pulls guards such as 122 out. The guards 122 are stacked in the box like tissues. Alternately, the box may have a tight aperture 123 through which one pulls guards such as 124 out the end of the boy like some wipe boxes.
Having described various embodiments of the invention it will be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art that many changes and modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the appended claims.