Title:
Dual hook hanger for shower curtain and liner
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hanger for shower curtains is molded unitarily from a resin material. The hanger includes a base configured for support on a shower curtain rod. Inner and outer arms extend from inner and outer ends of the base. A hook is formed on the free end of the inner arm and curves away from the outer arm. A hook is formed on an inner surface of the outer arm and curves towards the inner arm. The outer arm is longer than the inner arm, but the outer hook is at a position on the outer arms substantially opposed to the hook on the inner arm. A decorative shower curtain can be suspended from the outer hook and a shower liner can be suspended from the inner hook.



Inventors:
Schmidt, George (Douglaston, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/436783
Publication Date:
11/23/2006
Filing Date:
05/18/2006
Assignee:
Creative Bath Products, Inc. (Central Islip, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/08; A47K3/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FETSUGA, ROBERT M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CASELLA & HESPOS (274 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY, 10016, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hanger for a decorative shower curtain and a waterproof liner, the hanger being formed unitarily from a resin material and having a curved base, inner and outer arms extending from the base, an inner hook formed on an end of the inner arm remote from the base and curving away from the outer arm, and outer hook extending from a surface of the outer arm opposed to the inner arm and curving towards the inner arm.

2. The hanger of claim 1, wherein the resin material is polycarbonate.

3. The hanger of claim 1, wherein the outer arm is wider than both the outer hook and the inner arm.

4. The hanger of claim 3, wherein the outer arm has free end remote from the base, the outer hook projecting from a location on the outer arm between the base and the free end of the outer arm.

5. The hanger of claim 1, wherein the inner and outer hooks have convexly curved outer surfaces substantially opposed to one another.

6. The hanger of claim 5, wherein the inner and outer hooks are spaced from one another by distances less than an outside diameter of a shower curtain rod.

Description:

This application claims priority on U.S. Provisional Patent Appl. No. 60/682,064, filed May 18, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a hanger for suspending a shower curtain and a liner from a shower curtain rod.

2. Description of the Related Art

Showers and baths typically have a horizontal rod that extends between the vertical walls at the entrance to the shower or bath. A shower curtain then is suspended from the rod to minimize the amount of water that will be sprayed from the shower to surrounding areas of the bathroom. A single waterproof sheet is sufficient to perform the primary function of a shower curtain. However, the single waterproof sheet generally is not very decorative and may not coordinate with the decorative scheme existing elsewhere in the bathroom. Accordingly, most homeowners use a decorative shower curtain and a less decorative waterproof liner. The decorative shower curtain need not be formed from a waterproof material and can be formed from a material that will coordinate with curtains, towels and other accessories in a bathroom. The decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner each are formed with a plurality of spaced apart apertures along their top edge. Shower curtain hangers then are mounted slidably on the shower curtain rod and are connected with the apertures in the decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner.

Shower curtain hangers are available in many different forms. For example, some shower curtain hangers are made from a resilient metal formed to define a releasable clasp that is structurally similar to the clasp of a conventional safety pin. The metal hanger has a circularly generated portion that extends through an arc of more than 180°, but less than 360°. Thus, the arc has two opposed ends. A linear member extends from one end of the arc and a generally J-shape member extends from the other end of the arc. The J-shaped member defines the hook for supporting the decorative shower curtain and the waterproof linear. The J-shape member also has a recess dimensioned and configured for releasably receiving the linear member. Hangers of this type can be mounted over the shower curtain rod. The decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner then are suspended from the hook. The entire hanger then is flexed so that the linear member can be snapped into engagement with the free end of the J-shape hook, in much the same manner that a safety pin is closed.

Waterproof liners often are replaced due to discoloration caused by water stains, soap accumulation or mold. Thus, the hangers must be opened to remove the old waterproof liner and to mount the new waterproof liner. Homeowners also may want to remove the decorative shower curtain periodically for laundering or as part of a redecoration of the bathroom. Removal of the decorative shower curtain also requires all the hangers to be opened and then requires the waterproof liner to be removed to access the decorative shower curtain. The waterproof shower curtain liner must be removed even though it may not require replacement. A homeowner will want to keep a bathroom functional while a decorative shower curtain is removed for laundering. Hence, the homeowner will have to remount waterproof liner for temporary use while the decorative shower curtain is being laundered. The homeowner then will have to remove the waterproof liner again and remount both the decorative shower curtain and the liner after the laundering has been completed. The presence of the decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner complicates the opening and closing of these hangers. Additionally, these various opening and closing steps must be carried out for each hanger while stretching to the elevated height of the shower curtain rod.

Plastic shower curtain hangers often are used in place of the above-described metallic hangers. Plastic shower curtain hangers can be manufactured inexpensively and can be provided in colors that coordinate with the color scheme of a bathroom. Many plastic shower curtain hangers are in the form of a split ring with a curved portion and opposite free ends. One free end includes an opening and the other free end has a projection that can be snap fit releasably into the opening. Hangers of this type have the same problems as the above-described metallic shower curtain hangers. Additionally, it is often difficult to snap these hangers into their closed position and to bias the closed hangers back into the open position.

In view of the above problems, many shower curtain hangers do not need to be opened or closed. For example, many shower curtain hangers are formed into a generally S-shaped or C-shaped to define two curved hooks. One curved hook is used for slidable mounting on the shower curtain rod, while the other curved hook is use to suspend both the decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner. The hook mounted on the shower curtain rod often is not dimensioned and configured for holding the hook on the rod. Thus, the hooks will disengage from the shower curtain rod as the shower curtain is moved before and after showering. Additionally, these S-shaped or C-shaped hangers have the above-described problems of mounting both a decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner on the same hook.

Some shower curtain hangers have been formed with two separate hooks generated in opposite directions and used respectively for mounting the decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner. More particularly, the hook for the waterproof liner will open into the shower while the hook for the decorative shower curtain will open outwardly from the shower. The hooks and the apertures through the decorative shower curtain generally are considered to be unattractive. The above-described two-hook hangers leave the apertures of the decorative shower curtain and the hooks passing therethrough exposed outwardly in the bathroom. Thus, these known shower curtain hangers can detract from the overall aesthetic appearance of the bathroom. Furthermore, some hangers of this type have the potential for accidental disengagement from shower curtain rod.

In view of the above, it is an object of the subject invention to provide a shower curtain hanger that is easily mountable on the shower curtain rod.

It is another object of the subject invention to provide a shower curtain hanger that permits easy mounting and easy removal of the decorative shower curtain and the waterproof liner.

It is a further object of the subject invention to provide a shower curtain hanger that conceals the apertures along the top edge of the decorative shower curtain and the hooks passing there through.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a shower curtain hanger with a generally U-shaped base for slidable mounting on a shower curtain rod. Inner and outer arms extend from the base and have free ends remote from the base. The inner arm includes an inner hook generated in a direction to extend away from the outer arm. The outer arm includes an outer hook that is generated to extend towards the inner arm. Thus, the inner and outer hooks are generated in substantially the same direction. The outer arm may include an aperture cover that extends further from the base than the outer hook. The aperture cover preferably is larger than the outer hook and larger than the aperture in the typical decorative shower curtain. Hence, the cover will aesthetically conceal outer hook. The cover can take any desired aesthetically attractive shape.

The shower curtain hanger preferably is formed unitarily from a resin material, and most preferably from a resin material that exhibits resiliency. For example, a preferred embodiment of the shower curtain hanger is formed unitarily from polycarbonate.

The inner and outer hooks preferably are disposed at approximately equal distances from the base of the shower curtain hanger. Additionally, the inner and outer hooks preferably are formed arcuately and extend through arcs of at least about 180°. As a result, the hooks have convex force generating surfaces that will bias the inner and outer arms away from one another as the shower curtain hanger is being mounted to shower curtain rod. More particularly, the inner and outer hooks of the shower curtain hanger can be urged against the cylindrical shower curtain rod. Pushing forces against these convex arcuate surfaces will cause the inner and outer arms to deflect away from one another as the shower curtain rod is move between the arms. The inner and outer arms will return resiliently towards an undeflected condition when the shower curtain rod passes the outer hook. The outer hook partly closes the opening between the inner and outer arms.

The decorative shower curtain and the waterproof shower curtain liner can be mounted or removed independently. Thus, for example, the decorative shower curtain can be exchanged as part of a seasonal redecoration or can be laundered while keeping the waterproof liner in place. As a result, the shower is maintained in functional condition while the decorative shower curtain is being laundered. Additionally, the location and orientation of the outer hook makes accidental disengagement of the shower curtain hanger from the rod virtually impossible. Nevertheless, an intentional separation of the shower curtain hanger from the rod can be carried out easily in view of the resilient characteristics of the resin material from which the shower curtain hanger is formed. Still further, the extension of the outer arm beyond the outer hook ensures an aesthetically desirable concealment of the aperture in the shower curtain and the engagement of the outer hook with the decorative shower curtain.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shower curtain hanger in accordance with the subject invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the shower curtain hanger.

FIG. 3 is top plan view of the shower curtain hanger.

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the shower curtain hanger from the right side in FIGS. 2 and 3.

FIG. 5 is a rear elevational view thereof.

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view thereof.

FIG. 7 is a side view showing the hanger being mounted on the shower curtain rod.

FIG. 8 is a side view showing the hanger fully mounted on the rod.

FIG. 9 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 4, but showing an alternate shower curtain hanger in accordance with the subject invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A shower curtain hanger in accordance with the subject invention is identified generally by the numeral 10 in FIGS. 1-6. The hanger 10 is formed unitarily from resin, and preferably from polycarbonate. Polycarbonate exhibits sufficient strength and color retention. Additionally, the polycarbonate is resilient and deflectable. Thus, portions of the hanger 10 can be deflected repeatedly and will resilient return substantially to their original position.

The shower curtain hanger 10 includes a generally semi-cylindrically generated base 12 with an inside diameter “d” approximately equal to the outside diameter of the shower curtain rod. The semi-cylindrical base has a width WB sufficient to support the hanger 10 stably on the shower curtain rod. In a typical embodiment, the width WB of the base 12 will be in a range of 0.3-0.8 inch.

Inner and outer arms 14 and 16 extend from substantially diametrically opposite positions on the semi-cylindrically generated base 12 and are aligned approximately parallel to one another. However, as shown in FIG. 4, the outer arm 16 many converge slightly towards the inner arm 14. The inner arm 14 has width WI approximately equal to the width WB of the base 12 as shown most clearly in FIG. 5. Additionally, the inner arm 14 has a thickness TI and a length LI both of which are shown in FIG. 4. The thickness TI and the length LI of the inner arm 14 are selected to make the inner arm 14 easily deflectable away from the outer arm 16.

The outer arm 16 has free end 18 remote from the base 12, an inner surface 20 facing generally towards the inner arm 14 and an outer surface 22 facing away from the inner arm 14. The inner surface 20 is substantially smooth and either planar or slightly concave. The outer surface 22 is smooth, but in the illustrated embodiment defines a more pronounced convex shape than the inner surface 20. With this shape, the outer arm 16 reaches a maximum thickness TO at a location approximately aligned with the free end of the inner arm 14. The outer arm 16 has a generally tear drop shape in front and rear elevational views, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 5. The tear drop shape of the outer arm 16 defines a maximum width WO at locations approximate aligned with the free end of the inner arm 14, as shown most clearly in FIG. 5. In the illustrated embodiment, the maximum width WO of the outer arm 16 is more than three times the width WI of the inner arm 14. The outer arm 16 defines a length LO that exceeds the length LI of the inner arm 14, as shown most clearly in FIG. 4.

An inner hook 24 is formed on the end of the inner arm 14 remote from the base 12. The inner hook 24 curves away from the outer arm 16. As shown in FIG. 5, the inner hook 24 has a width approximately equal to the width WI of the inner arm 14. However, the extreme end of the inner hook 24 is tapered slightly to facilitate insertion of the free end of the inner hook 24 into and through the aperture in a waterproof shower curtain liner. The inner hook 24 includes a generally cylindrically curved convex outer surface 26, as shown in FIG. 4.

An outer hook 28 is formed on the inner surface 20 of the outer arm 16 at a location spaced from the free end 18 of the outer arm 16. The outer hook 28 curves towards the inner arm 14 and is disposed so that the inner and outer hooks 24 and 28 are approximately equally spaced from the base 12. The outer hook 28 includes a convex arcuate outer surface 30 that is substantially opposed to the convex outer surface 26 of the outer hook 24. As shown in FIG. 6, the outer hook 28 has a width approximately equal to or slightly narrower than the width WI of the inner arm 14 and the inner hook 24. As shown in FIG. 4, portions of the inner and outer hooks 24 and 28 near the free ends thereof are substantially parallel to the respective inner and outer arms 14 and 16. Thus, neither the inner hook 24 nor the outer hook 28 has a closed hook shape, and both the inner hook 24 and the outer hook 28 can be mounted easily to the mounting apertures in the decorative shower curtain or a waterproof shower curtain liner.

The hanger 10 is used by urging the convex outer surfaces 26 and 30 of the inner and outer hooks 24 and 28 against the convex outer surface of a shower curtain rod SCR as shown in FIG. 7. Forces generated by these convexly curved surfaces against one another will cause the inner and outer arms 14 and 16 to deflect away from one another, thereby permitting further advancement of the hanger 12 over the shower curtain rod SCR. Sufficient movement in this direction will cause the shower curtain rod SCR to clear the outer hook 28. As a result, the inner and outer arms 14 and 16 will resiliently return towards the unbiased condition shown in FIG. 8 to hold the shower curtain rod between the arms 14 and 16 and between the base 12 and the outer hook 28. The outer hook 28 will substantially prevent an unintended separation of the hanger 10 from the shower curtain rod SCR. However, an intentional separation of the hanger 10 from the shower curtain rod SCR can be achieved very easily merely by manually deflecting the inner arm 14 away from the outer arm 16.

The decorative shower curtain DSC can be mounted easily on the outer hooks 28 merely by passing the free end of the outer hooks 28 through the respective mounting apertures in the decorative shower curtain DSC as shown in FIG. 8. The waterproof liner WPL can be mounted similarly on the inner hooks 24 as shown in FIG. 8. The order of mounting the decorative shower curtain and the shower curtain liner can be varied. Additionally, either the decorative shower curtain or the shower curtain liner can be removed from the hangers 10 independently. As shown most clearly in FIG. 2, the width WO of the outer arm 16 ensures that the mounting aperture in the shower curtain C is concealed from view, thereby adding significantly to the aesthetic attractiveness of the hanger 10.

An alternate shower curtain hanger in accordance with the subject invention is identified generally by the numeral 10A in FIG. 9. The shower curtain hanger 10A has a base 12A and inner and outer arms 14A and 16A. The base 12A of the hanger 10A differs from the base 12 shown in the first embodiment. More particularly, the base 12A of the hanger 10A defines a larger diameter than the base 12 and extends through a larger arc. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-8, the inner leg 14 substantially aligned with the portion of the inner hook 24 closest to the outer leg 26. However, in the embodiment of FIG. 9, the inner leg 14A substantially aligns with the part of the inner hook 24A farthest from the outer leg 16A. This configuration provides a more secure trapping of the shower curtain rod within the hanger 10A. The other functional advantages described above with respect to the first embodiment apply to the embodiment of FIG. 9.

The invention has been described with respect to a preferred embodiment. However, various changes can be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined the appended claims. For example, materials other than polycarbonate can be use for the hanger 10. Additionally, the outer arm 16 can have shapes other than the tear drop shape shown in FIGS. 2 and 5. For example, the outer arm 16 can be molded to resemble a flower, a fish, a star or the like.





 
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