Title:
Method and Device to Reduce and Eliminate Wrinkles in Clothing in a Suitcase, and to Change in Suitcase Structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a device and method to allow a user to minimize wrinkles in the transportation of garments. In a main embodiment, the invention consists of folding folds with a hanging means with two holding bars (or “arms”), one over the connecting area between the top fold and middle fold, and one over the connecting area between the middle fold and the bottom fold, with a top and bottom edge where clothes are attached to said device through the use of flexible clips with a tension means. Alternative embodiments, and suitcase structure change, are described to decrease wrinkling, and increase available volume within suitcases. The device is designed to be folded and contained with a standard suitcase, or is built in as part of a suitcase.



Inventors:
Rabinoff, Michael D. (San Jose, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/682254
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
03/05/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WEAVER, SUE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Furr, Law Firm (2622 DEBOLT ROAD, UTICA, OH, 43080, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for containing a plurality of clothes in a reduced wrinkle condition comprising: a). a top fold attached to a bottom fold so that said top fold and said bottom fold can fold in on each other where said cloths are attached to the fold with an attachment means where said attachment means applies tension to said clothes; or b), a top fold attached to a middle fold attached to a bottom fold so that said top fold and said bottom fold can fold over a middle fold where said cloths are attached to the fold with an attachment means where said attachment means applies tension to said clothes; or c), there can be 4 (or other number of) folds, with a larger first fold, a smaller second fold, a third fold of approximate same size as first fold, and a fourth fold of approximate same size as second fold, so that when the bottom edge of fold 4 is brought back to touch top of fold 1, it forms and rectangle or parallelogram. The folds could be rigid, semi-rigid, or semi-soft but keeping their form (e.g. for example, made from processes such as ABS molding or Polypro, or connected by zipper, but not limited to those methods). In one embodiment, folds 1 and 4 can be attached, and an equivalent folds 2 and 3 can be attached. The top of the a hanger can be attached to the top of fold 1, bottom of fold 4, or stick out of enclosure at an opening in the edge of connection of folds 1 and folds 4, or attach to other aspects of the device. A user could lay the clothes from the right lower corner on the hanger attached at the edge of folds 1 and 4, or from a hanger that goes through an opening in the edge of 1 and 4, and have the clothes wrap back when the clothes reaches the lower end of fold 1, to the upper end of fold one, and if the clothes are long enough to wrap back above that last layer toward what will be the upper left corner. Then the half of rectangle/parallelogram of connected folds “2 and 3” can be placed over the clothes to form the rectangle/parallelogram, then slide a bar through area of clothing where the clothing moves from going down the first fold up to back up above fold one, slide the second bar through where the clothes then loops back down fold one but above the other levels of clothing. Then two elastic straps 50 can be attached to the 2 ends of bar 1, and two elastic straps can be attached to the 2 ends of bar 2 to hold them, with 1 strap connected to folds 1/4, and the other strap connected to folds 2/3, so as to firmly bring the 2 halves of the rectangle/parallelogram together. Also, the lower end of the clothing can be attached to the edge between folds 2 and 3 by elastic straps. The rectangle/parallelogram might be more of an upright rectangle if there was a lot of clothes in between, but more of a flatter parallelogram if there were few clothing in between. Elastic straps can be placed from edges of the device to attach to the end of the clothes to apply traction.

2. A device according to claim 1 further comprising having said top fold having a top edge and said bottom fold having a bottom edge.

3. A device according to claim 1 further comprising having a hanging means attached to said top fold.

4. A device according to claim 1 further comprising having a plurality of bars attached to said folds.

5. A device according to claim 4 further comprising having said bars fitting tightly to said folds.

6. A device according to claim 4 where said bars are covered in a covering material.

7. A device according to claim 6 where said material can be made of various types of clothe or plastic or other materials.

8. A device according to claim 4 where said cloths are placed between said bars and said folds.

9. A device according to claim 1 where said tension means are elastic bars or other elastic straps, or other clothe or materials.

10. A device according to claim 1 where said tension means are clasps.

11. A device according to claim 1 where said tension means are clasps that are attached to elastic bands or bars.

12. A device according to claim 1 where said tension means are elastic bands with clasps on one end and hooks on the other end.

13. A device according to claim 1 where said tension means consists of a plurality of clasps and elastic bands that attach to the edges and to said bars.

14. A device according to claim 1 where clips, snaps or other methods of attachment are used in place of clasps, and other tension producing elements are used in place of elastic bands.

15. A device according to claim 1 where said top fold has shoulder pad contours.

16. A device according to claim 1 where said hanging means can be rotated to fit flat against said top fold.

17. A device according to claim 16 further comprising a flap attached to said top fold covering the hanging means.

18. A device according to claim 1 which folds to fit into a suitcase.

19. A device for containing a plurality of clothes in a reduced wrinkle condition comprising: a plurality of folds attached to each other linearly with said folds folding in on each other where said cloths are attached to said folds with an attachment means where said attachment means applies tension to said clothes and having a plurality of bars attached to said folds.

20. A device according to claim 19 which folds to fit into a suitcase.

21. A device according to claim 19 where said tension means consists of a plurality of clasps and elastic bans that attach to the edges and to said bars.

22. A device according to claim 1 where said connects to a piece of luggage through an attachment means.

23. A device according to claim 1 where said attachment means is a hook and latch method.

24. A device according to claim 1 wherein there are pouches attached to hold items.

25. A device according to claim 1 wherein said folds are detachable and re-attachable to each other through an attaching means.

26. A device for containing a plurality of clothes in a reduced wrinkle condition, or increase interior volume by eliminating space taken up by tubes within the body of suitcase, or reduce breakage of flat or other objects within the body of the suitcase comprising: a suitcase with an extending handle attached to a plurality of bars where said bars slide out of tubes at a set of corners, or within the interior of the set of corners of said suitcase.

27. A device according to claim 1 wherein there is employed spring action and/or air (or other means) expandable and/or retractable shoulder pads. One embodiment can work by when a user puts a sport coat over the hanger, then presses a button on or near the hanger, and the padding gently expands by an expanding means such as air, or by the padding having padded plastic or metal inside that gently springs open.

28. A device according to claim 1 wherein the entire folding device is closable, where air can be pumped in to provide a more wrinkle free environment, or where a spring action device could be used to maintain a firm shape of the device so that clothing within is less wrinkled

29. A device according to claim 1, which could provide another means of protection against wrinkles, in which there could be 2 sheets of folds 1, 2 and 3 (or other number of folds), on either side of a main sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 (or other number of folds) over which the clothing has been hung over the hanger and where the clothes thus goes on both sides of the main sheet of folds. If there are 2 sheets of folds 1, 2 and 3, or 3 sheets, then the 2nd or, 2nd and 3rd sheets, might also clip/attach to the hanger from the first sheet in some manner, that allows separation for the clothing in between, but attaches the 2nd, or 2nd and 3rd sheets at the top (i.e., only the first sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 might have a hanger at it's top; or alternatively, the other sheet(s) could have its(their) own hanger(s)). The other sheet(s) of folds could also be attached at the bottom and/or the sides. (In further description of the 2 layer of folds design, there is a sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3. Connecting on the right or left edge by clothe, padded edge, or adjustable connecting edge, is another equivalent sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3. The clothes are laid over the first sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 as in figure one. The clothes may have tension applied as with the elastic straps. Then the other sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 is brought over the clothing over the first sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3. The clothes are in between the 2 sheets of folds. Finally, the unconnected edge could be tied together, zipped closed, or otherwise connected, to form a closed clothing container that can be put in the suitcase, or is part of the suitcase. In addition, the elastic straps could alternatively come from the edges of the second sheet of folds. As different embodiments, the sides between the 2 sheets of folds could be padded edges, or could be fixed or adjustable sides so that the clothes have some space to rest between the 2 sheets of folds. The three levels of folds of the 2 sheets of folds can be attached. That is the edge of the 2 sheets' 1,1 folds can be attached to the 2 sheets' 2,2 folds, and 2,2, to 3,3, or 1,1 to 3,3.).

30. A device according to claim 1, whereby the folding device could be placed free-floating within a suitcase. Alternatively, it could be attached to an edge or inner (or outer) side of the suitcase.

31. A device according to claim 1, whereby the connecting areas between folds may be made of various materials, and also which may have methods for separation and attachment of the folds, such as through use of Velcro or zippers or snaps or clasps or ties, but not be limited to those methods.

32. A device according to claim 1, whereby some clothes may hang down, or be attached, in front of, or over, the folds, but other clothing may be connected or otherwise attached to the folds in different orientations, such as, but not limited to, wrapping around one or more folds.

33. A device according to claim 26, whereby the folding wrinkle reduction device can be placed at the “bottom” of the interior of the suitcase (i.e near the back wall of the suitcase). This could be within the main interior body of the suitcase, or in a separate compartment at the “back” or “bottom” of the suitcase interior with it's own zipper around the suitcase for that compartment.

34. A device according to claim 31, whereby a clothes hanger could attach to an inside bottom border of the suitcase, or be “free-floating”, with clothes on the hanger running along the inside of the back wall of suitcase and then folding back over top padded edge of a first fold of 2 fold device and running in opposite direction over that first fold, and then under a bar at the connecting area between the first and second fold, and running back under the second fold in the opposite direction. (That is, the back of the suitcase could serve as the first fold of a “3 fold device”, with the 2 fold device serving as the “second and third folds”).

35. A device according to claim 1, whereby an additional embodiment would have the hanger from the sheet of folds attach to a connecting bar built within an enclosing garment bag, or otherwise connect to the top inside of the garment bag, such as with clasps, snaps, straps, ties, or other methods, thus having the clothes hang within the garment bag.

36. A device according to claim 29, whereby whether the 2nd, or 2nd and 3rd, sheet(s) attach to the hanger of the 1st sheet, or have their own hanger(s), where an additional embodiment would have the hanger(s) attach to 1). a connecting apparatus attached to edge or side of suitcase; or 2). a connecting bar built within an enclosing garment bag, or otherwise connect to the top inside of the garment bag, such as with clasps, snaps, straps, ties, or other methods, thus having the clothes hang within the garment bag.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to the fields of garments, suitcases, and more particularly to an apparatus and method for minimizing wrinkles in the transportation of garments, and to suitcase structure.

1. Background

To the dismay of travelers, clothes that are placed in luggage or similar devices can become wrinkled over a period of time. This can present problems for a business traveler as the clothes can look like they were “slept in.”

Many approaches have been used, such as the use of cardboard partitions or wrapping clothing in various types of plastic or the use of stiff plastic. None of these have completely solved the problem.

What is needed is a lightweight, inexpensive, convenient, and versatile method and apparatus to minimize or reduce wrinkles in clothes. There is still room for improvement in the art.

2. Prior Art

U.S. Pat. No. 6,591,950 by Scicluna and issued on Jul. 15, 2003, is for a multiple expansion luggage item. It discloses an item of expandable luggage that includes a multiple expansion capability, including an expandable main compartment and an expandable external pocket. The luggage item also includes a pair of internal tie-down panels for better holding of clothes within the item and for providing additional storage pockets. A low-profile clothes hanger bracket is provided which is useful with either wire or wooden clothes hangers.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,505,736 by Donovan and issued on Jan. 14, 2003, is for a garment storage apparatus and system. It discloses a garment storage apparatus that includes a housing having a first portion, a second portion, and a central portion. The first portion and the second portion are dimensioned to fold about the central portion and fasten together to form an interior compartment of the apparatus. The combination of a clamp plate, a clamping means, a central rod assembly and a second rod assembly holds a garment in tension when the first portion of the housing and the second portion of the housing are folded about the central portion of the housing.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,499,574 by Anthony and issued on Dec. 31, 2002, is for a vacuum-packed luggage and method of manufacture. It discloses a vacuum-packed suitcase with specially arranged sealable compartments for vacuum sealing of articles of travel such as clothing and makeup accessories, the suitcase including a top cover and a more rigidly constructed bottom receptacle, the bottom receptacle having one or more separate article compartments separated by vertical or horizontal walls for organizing the articles of travel, the top cover and bottom receptacle being airtight when sealed over each other so that after packing the articles of travel the air in the compartments can be removed separately or collectively by means of a vacuum pump, thereby reducing the volume of the articles of travel to a minimum and thus increasing storage efficiency.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,984,063 by Wallace III, et al. and issued on Nov. 16, 1999, is for a method and apparatus of minimizing wrinkles during the transportation and storage of garments. It discloses a garment separator having a generally rectangularly shaped section of taffeta, the taffeta having an upper strip of nylon tape and a lower strip of nylon tape, and the upper strip of nylon tape fitted to mate with a nylon tape affixed to a receptor zone of a garment carrier. A method of reducing wrinkling of garments in a garment carrying device including the steps of adapting the garment carrying device with a nylon tape in a receptor zone, placing a first garment in the garment carrying device, placing a generally rectangularly shaped taffeta section over the first garment, the taffeta section having a strip of nylon tape, attaching the taffeta section to the receptor zone by engaging the nylon tape of the receptor zone with the nylon tape of the taffeta section, placing a second garment over the taffeta section, and closing the garment carrying device.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,593,038 by Lyon and issued on Jan. 14, 1997, is for a wrinkle-preventing method of packing garments for transportation or storage. It discloses a method of packing garments for transportation or storage in which each garment is enclosed unfolded inside its own garment cover, the garment cover commensurate in size with the garment and the garment cover formed from a low-friction fabric material. The garment covers are packed adjacent to one another in luggage, thereby reducing friction between the garments so that fewer wrinkles in the garments occur when they are transported or stored.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,505,297 by Myers and issued on Apr. 9, 1996, is for a garment bag construction to minimize wrinkling. It discloses a garment bag of the type having an elongated body substantially formed of flexible fabric or sheet material, and defining a cavity with a hanger support at the top for receiving hanging clothes on hangers. The bag folds double on itself for transport, and includes a pair of rigid wall portions which when the bag is folded double on itself are urged forcefully together. These rigid wall portions substantially immobilize the clothing items there between to greatly reduce creasing and wrinkling of the clothing items which would otherwise result from their shifting about in transit. The garment bag also includes features preserving the efforts of careful packing during folding and unfolding of the bag to further reduce clothes wrinkling.

United States Patent Application 20040173427 by Chemoff and published on Sep. 9, 2004, is for a wheeled suitcase with detachable garment holder. It discloses an apparatus for transporting clothing comprising a wheeled rolling suitcase and a detachable garment holder where the garment holder wraps around the outside of the suitcase and is held against the suitcase by attachment means. By wrapping the garment holder around the perimeter of the suitcase it does not require folding. The result is that clothes in the garment holder do not crease or wrinkle as they do in conventional luggage.

United States Patent Application 20020084199 by Donovan and published on Jul. 4, 2002, is for a garment storage apparatus and system. It discloses a garment storage apparatus that includes a housing having a first portion made up of a first end and a first pair of sides, a second portion made up of a second end and a second pair of sides, and a central portion. Each of the first portion, the second portion and the central portion have an interior surface and an exterior surface, with the first portion and the second portion being dimensioned to fold about the central portion and fasten together to form an interior compartment of the apparatus. A clamp plate is rotatably attached to the first end of the interior surface of the first portion of the housing and clamping means are provided for releasably engaging the clamp plate with the interior surface of the first portion of the housing. A central rod assembly is attached to the interior surface of the central portion of the housing and includes a central rod that is disposed in substantially parallel relation with the ends of the housing. A second rod assembly is attached to the interior surface of the second portion and includes a second rod disposed in substantially parallel relation with the second end of the second portion of the housing. The central and second rods are manufactured of a material that allows the rods to hold a garment in tension when the first portion and the second portion are folded about the central portion.

There is still room for improvement in the art.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The invention is a device and method to allow a user to minimize wrinkles in the transportation of garments. In a main embodiment, the invention consists of folding folds with a hanging means with two holding bars (or “arms”), one over the connecting area between the top fold and middle fold, and one over the connecting area between the middle fold and the bottom fold, with a top and bottom edge where clothes are attached to said device through the use of flexible clips with a tension means. Alternative embodiments, and suitcase structure change, are described to decrease wrinkling, and increase available volume within suitcases. The device is designed to be folded and contained with a standard suitcase, or is built in as part of a suitcase.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Without restricting the full scope of this invention, the preferred form of this invention is illustrated in the following drawings:

FIG. 1A displays the wrinkle reduction device (with 3 folds);

FIG. 1B displays the hanger attached to the top of the wrinkle reduction device;

FIG. 1B(a) displays a close view of the hanger attached to the top of the wrinkle reduction device;

FIG. 1B(b) displays a perspective view of the hanger attached to the top of the wrinkle reduction device;

FIG. 1C displays the wrinkle reduction device (with 3 folds), with sports coat hanging down in front of first 2 folds, and pants wrapped around width of third fold;

FIG. 1D displays the wrinkle reduction device with an extended hanger;

FIG. 1E (a) displays the wrinkle reduction device (with 4 folds, with folds 1 and 4 attached as one unit, and folds 2 and 3 attached as 1 unit), and how the units become attached together with clothing in between by means of bars and clasps and elastic straps;

FIG. 1E (b) displays the wrinkle reduction device folded containing a pair of pants;

FIG. 1E (c) displays the wrinkle reduction device being folded with a pair of pants;

FIG. 2 displays the wrinkle reduction device, in a 2 fold embodiment, being used with a pair of pants;

FIG. 3A displays the wrinkle reduction device being used with a shirt;

FIG. 3B displays the wrinkle reduction device being used with a shirt in an alternate configuration, with the shirt hanging down over the sheet of folds;

FIG. 3C(a) displays a less preferred embodiment of the wrinkle reduction device being used with a shirt;

FIG. 3C(b) displays a less preferred embodiment of the wrinkle reduction device being used with a shirt with the arms crossed;

FIG. 4A is a close up view of a clasp of said device;

FIG. 4B is a close up view of a double clasp of said device;

FIG. 4C is a close up view of an attached clasp of said device;

FIG. 5A shows said device folded;

FIG. 5B shows said device folded with a pivotal hanger;

FIG. 5C shows said device folded with a folding hanger;

FIG. 5D shows said device folded with a pivotal hanger positioned inside the fold;

FIG. 6 displays shoulder pads for a better fit;

FIG. 7 displays an alternative device;

FIG. 8 display how a flap works;

FIG. 9A displays handle bars to a suitcase built in the corner edges of the suitcase;

FIG. 9A(a) displays handle bars extending out of the suitcase;

FIG. 9A(b) displays an embedded handle bars;

FIG. 9B displays a side view with handle bars on a suitcase;

FIG. 9B(a) displays a side view with an embedded handle bars on a suitcase;

FIG. 9B(b) displays a side view with an embedded handle bars on a suitcase with the bar at the front of the suitcase;

FIG. 9B(c) displays a side view with an embedded handle bars on a suitcase with the bar at the side of the suitcase;

FIG. 10A displays the device being attached to the side wall of a suitcase;

FIG. 10B displays another method of having the device being attached to the side wall of a suitcase;

FIG. 11 displays the device acting as a divider to a suitcase;

FIG. 12 displays the folds with the zippered pockets.

FIG. 13 displays the device with 2 layers of three folds;

FIG. 14 displays the device with 3 layers of three folds;

FIG. 14(a) displays the device with 3 layers of three folds with cloths;

FIG. 14(b) displays the device with 3 layers of three folds with cloths on a single hanging device;

FIG. 14(c) displays the device with 3 layers of folds being grouped together with a single hanger;

FIG. 14(d) displays the device with 3 layers of folds being grouped together with three hangers;

FIG. 14(e) displays the device with 3 layers of folds being bound;

FIG. 15 displays the shoulder area of the device with spring action and/or air (or other means) expandable and/or retractable shoulder pads;

FIG. 16A displays the device as an enclosable form with the air to be pumped in by various means, to prevent wrinkling of clothing;

FIG. 16B displays another embodiment of the device as an enclosable form with the air being pumped in by various means, to prevent wrinkling of clothing;

FIG. 16C displays the device as an enclosable form with the air to be pumped in by an electronic pump;

FIG. 16D displays another embodiment of the device as an enclosable form with the air being by an electronic pump;

FIG. 17A displays a pair of folds being hung;

FIG. 17B displays a pair of folds being contained in the device;

FIG. 17C displays a pair of folds being hung holding a pair of pants;

FIG. 18 displays 2 folds that fold flat together;

FIG. 19 displays flexible bars that can be attached;

FIG. 20 shows the pockets on the sides and front of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 20A shows the pockets on the sides and front with the straps extended;

FIG. 20B shows a side view of the pockets on the sides and front with the straps extended;

FIG. 21 displays a hooking method;

FIG. 22 displays a clasp; and

FIG. 23 shows the strips and clasps going into the pockets on the side.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description is demonstrative in nature and is not intended to limit the scope of the invention or its application of uses.

There are a number of significant design features and improvements incorporated within the invention.

The invention is a device and method to allow a user to minimize wrinkles in the transportation of garments. In a main embodiment, the invention consists of folding folds with a hanging means with two holding bars (or “arms”) 10, one over the connecting area between the top fold and middle fold, and one over the connecting area between the middle fold and the bottom fold, with a top and bottom edge where clothes are attached to said device through the use of flexible clips with a tension means. In an alternative embodiment, the invention consists of folding folds with a hanging means with two holding bars 10, one on the top fold and one on the bottom fold with a top and bottom edge where clothes are attached to said device through the use of flexible clips with a tension means. The device is designed to be folded and contained with a standard suitcase.

FIG. 1a displays the main embodiment of the current invention; it is made of a top fold 25, and a middle fold 26, and a bottom fold 27 and a top edge 15 at the top of the top fold 25 and a bottom edge 15 at the bottom of the bottom edge. The edges 15 are used to secure the clothing to the device. There are two bars 10. These bars 10 are used by the device to secure the clothing to the device. In the preferred embodiment, the device will have a hanging means 20 which is used to hang and secure the device to a clothing rack. FIG. 1B displays the hanging means 20 attached to the top of the wrinkle reduction device.

FIG. 1B(a) displays a close view of the hanging means 20 attached to the top of the wrinkle reduction device 1. FIG. 1B(b) displays a perspective view.

As one embodiment (FIG. 1c), the top of fold 25 can be the bottom part of the hanger, and pants can fold over it, onto both sides of the sheet of folds. As another embodiment, a suit could be positioned to hang down from the top of fold 1, whether in front of the first fold on a hanger, or over the first fold, and the pants could instead wrap around the width of a fold (with padded edges on the side of the fold to protect the clothes from wrinkling, and with elastic straps to hold the pants in place and apply tension to reduce wrinkling). As shown in FIG. 1C, particular embodiment of this embodiment might have the suit or sports coat in front of or over the first and second folds, and pants wrapping around the width of the third fold.

In a preferred embodiment, the bars 10 will be covered in a cloth material. The cloth covering will extend beyond the said bars 10 and be sewn into said connecting area between folds such that the bars 10 fit tightly against the surface of said folds to hold down clothing 40 that are placed between said bars 10 and the surface of the folds. The bars 10 will also be rigid enough to hold clasp 60 and elastic bands 50.

As alternative embodiments, such as for use with smaller clothing, the connecting area between folds could have zippers, so that the folds could be separated, so if people needed just 1 fold, they could use that to have clothes on 1 side of 1 fold, or wrap clothes over both sides of the 1 fold, or use the 1st and 2nd folds, but not the 3rd fold, or use the second and third folds, but not the first fold if a hanger is attached top the first fold, etc. In addition, there could be covered foam or other soft material where the edges and connecting areas are for clothes wrapping over those areas.

Furthermore, the bars 10 may be attachable to the main folds by releasable clamps or Velcro, or other means of attachment. In addition, the bars 10, could be clothe, or other material, covered soft foam at the junction of the folds, or at the connecting area between fold. At the top would be an attaching hanger 305 that attaches to the top edge of the top fold, and that may run in front of the folds. The clothes would be hung over the hanger, run down in front of the folds, and may be held to the folds by flaps, such as is shown for going across the first fold, but there could be flaps going across all 3 folds. The clothes could just be running over the soft foam at the fold junctions, or there could be bars holding the clothes down at the junctions, Elastic straps 50 from the bottom of the 3rd fold, or the junction of the 2nd and 3rd folds could attach to the ends of various size clothing to provide tension. Finally another embodiment would be for the bars to be over the 2nd and 3rd junction between the folds, and the third fold could wrap within, between the first and second folds, or back over the second or first fold.

The folds 25 and 26 and 27 are made of a thin rigid (or semi-rigid or semi-soft) material such as a hard plastic, wood or cardboard which can be covered by a covering material like cloth or plastic. They can be of any height and width. In one embodiment, they would be of a width of 35 inches and a height of 23 inches so that they would fit in a standard size suitcase 407. In another preferred embodiment, the width and height of the folds are such that when 25 is folded over 26 and 27 is folded over 25 or under 26 the device fits within standard measurement suitcases designed for aircraft carry-on. In one embodiment of the device 1, a single covering material will cover the folds.

The device can have plastic pouches 39 along the side edges and at edge between the folds or at the bottom or top, with elastic straps 50 inside, that when the pouches are unzipped, or otherwise opened, can be used to apply tension. These straps can be attached at specific locations along the edges, or could be free straps, that attach to clothing and to anywhere along the edges as needed. The arms of clothing can cross to the opposite side to be attached on the opposite side (i.e L->R or R->L), so that there is better tension (or attach on the same side (i.e. L->L or R->R)). The straps and clasps can also be separate from the device. The straps 50 can be attached to the top edge 15 and the bottom edge 15.

FIG. 1d display an alternate embodiment. There are 4 folds: larger upper 25, 2nd smaller fold 26, 3rd fold of same size as upper fold 27, and a 4th fold 28 same size as 2nd fold, so that when bottom edge of fold 4 is brought back to touch top of fold 1, it forms and rectangle or parallelogram. The folds could be rigid, semi-rigid, or semi-soft but keeping their form (e.g. for example, made from processes such as ABS molding or Polypro). The top of the hanger 20 is attached to the top of fold 1, bottom of fold 4, or stick out of enclosure at an opening in the edge of connection of folds 1 and folds 4. The clothes that hang from the hanger 20 lie flat against fold 1. There might be different ways to loop the clothes around the bars. For instance, one embodiment might be to have bars at the lower left corner (connecting area of first and second folds), and the upper left corner (connecting area of second and third folds) and at the upper right corner (connecting area of third and fourth folds), and to have the clothes run under the bars from lower left to upper left to upper right, and maybe be fastened for tension at the upper right corner, or at the bottom edge of fourth fold, with elastic straps.

In one embodiment, FIG. 1E(a), folds 1 and 4 are attached, and an equivalent folds 2 and 3 are attached (such as by being made together by ABS molding or Polypro process, or connected by zipper, but not limited to those methods). A user would lay the clothes from the right lower corner on the hanger 20 attached at the edge of folds 1 and 4 in the old terms, or from a hanger 20 that goes through an opening in the edge of 1 and 4, and have the clothes wrap back when the clothes reaches the lower end of fold 1, to the upper end of fold one, and if the clothes are long enough to wrap back above that last layer toward what will be the upper left corner. Then the person places the half of rectangle/parallelogram of connected folds “2 and 3” over the clothes to form the rectangle/parallelgram, slides a bar 10 through area of clothe where the clothing moves from going down the first fold up to back up above fold one, slide the second bar 10 through where the clothes then loops back down fold one but above the other levels of clothing. Then the person attaches two elastic straps 50 to the 2 ends of bar 1 and bar 2 to hold them, with 1 strap connected to folds 1/4, and the other strap connected to folds 2/3, so as to firmly bring the 2 halves of the rectangle/parallelogram together. Lastly, the person can attach the lower end of the clothing to the edge between folds 2 and 3 by elastic straps. The rectangle/parallelogram might be more of an upright rectangle if there was a lot of clothes in between, but more of a flatter parallelogram if there were few clothing in between.

To describe this embodiment somewhat differently to clarify the embodiment, an individual after hanging the clothes on the hanger, would have the hanger attach to the folds, in front of the folds, and would have the clothes run down along the first fold (25), go under the bar (10), fold the clothes running in front of the second fold (26) back to above the hanger area, and then fold the clothes running in front of the third fold (27) back in the other direction above the second layer of clothes. Then the person would form the rectangle/parallelogram, and take the bar 10 at the upper right, and gently insert it between the clothes where it folds from going to the upper right and toward the upper left. Then elastic straps 51 are placed from the upper left edge to attach to the end of the clothes to apply traction.

The corner edges in the device in FIG. 1, where the folds connect, should be padded, such as with bars of foam 152 covered with clothe, to prevent wrinkling there, and that should also be at the folds in the other drawings. (For instance in FIG. 1, under the end of the folds where the 2 bars go, there could be a clothe connection between the folds, and padded foam within the connecting area.)

In operation there is an embodiment whereby the clothes that come from the hanger in the lower left corner, goes under the bar 10 at the lower left corner and can attach to elastic straps from the area under the bar, or from the bar, at the upper right corner of the drawing.

Different embodiments can reflect different arrangements for different length clothes: some clothes may only need to fold back once, some 2 times, and really long clothing may need to fold back 3 times.

Another embodiment as shown in FIG. 1E(b), the clothes go from the hanger 20, for example, at the lower right (top of first fold), under the bar at the lower left (at the bottom of the first fold), then go under the bar at the top right, and may connect by elastic straps 50 to the edge between the second and third folds.

In another embodiment the clothes going under the bar at the lower left corner, then under the bar at the upper right corner, then under the bar at the upper left corner, then attaching to elastic straps connecting to the corner between the third and fourth folds.

FIG. 1E(c) displays the device 1 being folded with a pair of pants being held by the hanger 20 and going under the bar 10 to maintain tension to reduce wrinkles.

Another embodiment is to, when hanging shirts or other items with sleeves over the hanger 305, is to place the inner level of clothing's sleeves within the outer level of sleeves as one puts more articles of clothing on the hanger 305. That in effect reduces the wrinkling. Then the left “sleeve” (containing all of the left sleeves), can be held down by tension to an edge between folds, or the right side of the folds, etc. And the right “sleeve” (containing all of the right sleeves) could be attached to an edge between folds, or the left side (alternatively, the L “sleeve” can attach to L side, and R “sleeve” to R side).

In a preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 2, the device is being used to hold a pair of pants 40. The bottom of the pants 40 are being held by the clasps 70 which hold on tightly to the hem of the pants 40 and which are attached to the top edge 15 of the top fold 25. The pants 40 go under both of the bars 10, securing it to the device. The top of the pants 40 is being held by a clasp 60 which is attached to an elastic strip 50 which provides tension to the pants 40 which helps to prevent wrinkles in the pants 40.

FIG. 3A displays an embodiment of the device being used with a shirt where the shirt hangs from the hanger, with the top of the shirt near the top of 1st fold, and shirt body goes down in front of the folds. In this embodiment, the hanger may clip (such as, at the part of the hanger between the “hook part” and the part over which the shirt hangs) to the top of the sheet of folds, in front of the sheet of folds. In different embodiments, the arms of clothing can cross behind the shirt body to the opposite side to be attached on the opposite side (i.e L->R or R->L), so that there is better tension (or attach on the same side (i.e. L->L or R->R)).

Alternatively, the shirt could hang over the folds from the hanger, whose bottom is the edge of the top fold (FIG. 3B). In this configuration, the sleeves could attach to the opposite sides of the fold, or sheet of folds, with the shirt “body” over those connections. (In this embodiment, the shirt would be on the hanger at the top of the device, and hang over the sheet of 3 folds. The top edge being the bottom of the hanger, would be the length of a standard hanger, and the body of the first fold (25) could have that width at the top, and widen quickly to the width of the device, such as that which fits within the width of airline carry-on suitcases.)

FIG. 3C(a) displays an alternative embodiment of the device 1 being used with a shirt. The bottom of the shirt is held by clasp 70 which hold the shirt to the top edge 15 of the top fold 25. The shirt goes under the bar 10. The shirt sleeves are parallel to the device and attached to the sides with the clasp 60 and elastic band 50. The top of the shirt is held and pulled by clasps and elastic bands 50 attached to the lower bar 10.

FIG. 3C(b) displays an other method to hang a shirt. The bottom of the shirt is held by clasp 70 which hold the shirt to the top edge 15 of the top fold 25. The shirt goes under the bar 10. The shirt sleeves are crossed over the shirt and attached to the sides with the clasp 60 and elastic band 50. The top of the shirt is held and pulled by clasps and elastic bands 50 attached to the lower bar 10.

FIG. 4A shows a close up view of the clasp 60 and the elastic band 50. The clasp 60 will be a spring clasp or some other type of clasp to hold the clothes 40. It will be attached to the elastic band 50 through an attaching means. The elastic band 50 can be made out of any sturdy elastic material such as nylon or rubber, or other material that is soft to prevent creases. The clasps 70 and clasps 60 and elastic band 50 would attach to the bars 10, as shown in FIG. 4B, and the edges of the folds through an attaching means such as a flat hook although any standard attaching means will work. Different lengths of elastic bands 50 would be used depending on the item being held. The elastic bands 50 can be adjustable using an adjustable means like a belt or clasp. The clasp 60 and the elastic band 50 can be permanently attached to the edge 15 as shown in FIG. 4C.

The entire folding device or top of hanger can be attached to a suitcase edge, such as a reinforcing edge running along the inside of the suitcase, or the edge of the zipper closing area, to connect it to the body of the suitcase, if that is so desired. Alternatively, the folding unit could attach by means of Velcro connecting to a Velcro strip attached by adhesive, or otherwise, to the inside of the suitcase, or it could built into the structure of the suitcase.

FIG. 5A displays an additional embodiment of the device that can be folded to fit in a suitcase or to be hung up. The hanging means 20 in an embodiment will attach to the bar 10 in the bottom fold 26. This attachment can be done through a ball at the end of the hanging means 20 being placed into a slot in the bar 10 or any other standard type attaching means. The bars 10 and the clasps 70 and clasp 60 with elastic bands 50 will hold tension on the clothes 40 to prevent the formation of wrinkles. FIG. 5B shows the device with a pivotal hook that can attach to the top fold or to the side of the device 1. FIG. 5C shows the device with a folding hook that can fold to the side of the device 1. FIG. 5D shows the device with a pivotal hook that is positioned within the top fold of the device 1.

An alternative embodiment is shown in FIG. 6; in this embodiment the device 1 has shoulder pad contours 80 on the top edge 15. These contours 80 are designed for clothes 40 with shoulder pads (or regular clothes) such as blouses and suit jackets. The contours 80 will prevent the shoulder pads from becoming misshapen or bent. The contours 80 are made of a harder material such as a hard plastic, or semi-firm material, or soft material that won't wrinkle. In an alternative embodiment, the clothes such as a sports coat, is hung over the top fold 25, and 105 (20 in other drawings) is a hanger which can fold down over the folded unit (such as onto the body of fold 27 over fold 25 over fold 26).

An additional embodiment is to have spring action and/or air (or other means) expandable and/or retractable shoulder pads. This works by when a user puts a sport coat over the hanger, then presses a button on or near the hanger, and the padding gently expands by an expanding means such as air, or by the padding having padded plastic or metal inside that gently springs open. That would provide better, smoother rounding of the shoulders of the clothing. Another embodiment would be to have the entire folding device closable, where air could be pumped in to provide a more wrinkle free environment, or where a spring action device could be used to maintain a firm shape of the device so that clothing within is less wrinkled.

FIG. 7 displays a simplified alternative version of the device 201. In this embodiment there are the two folds: left fold 210 and right fold 265 on which the clothes are placed between with the folds closed to secure the clothes between the two folds. The folds are made of semi-rigid material. The folded device can then be placed in a suitcase or carrying case while preventing wrinkles from forming on said cloth. It is a 2 layers of folds design. The clothes may have tension applied as with the elastic straps 50. The unconnected edges of the folds could be tied together, zipped closed, or otherwise connected, to form a closed clothing container that can be put in the suitcase, or is part of the suitcase (this statement can also apply to embodiments with 3 or 4 fold devices).

FIG. 8 displays another alternative embodiment of the main device. The device 301 has a hanging means 305 attached to a bar 310 on which the main folds are attached. The hanging means 305 can be turned so that it is flat with the folds and can be covered with a flap 310 which covers said hanging means 305. The flap 310 attaches to the folds through the use of an attaching means like a hook and latch means 320. This allows for the easy storage of the hanging means 305. In the preferred embodiment there would be a “lip” 306 at that interface between the folds, so that the hanger 305 is held snuggly in place. The lip 306 could be plastic (such as a plastic (or clothe or other material) ring (½ of which is in fold 1, and ½ in fold 4, or similarly folds 1 and 3, or 1 and 2). There could also be a outgoing small ring from the hanger, that fits within the ring, “lip” 306, from the folds, to more securely hold the hanger 305.

FIG. 9A displays an alternative embodiment to reduce wrinkles in clothing packed in suitcases. In prior art, most suitcase handles on rolling suitcases that extend from the body do so from the middle of the suitcase. This requires that there are tubes for the bars of the suitcase handle that run the length of the body of the suitcase in the middle which can adversely have a wrinkling effect on the clothes. The current invention has the bars 405 extending out from tubes 420 in the suitcase handle 410 that are on the corners of the suitcase 407 (FIG. 9A), or which can be within the interior edge of the corners (FIG. 9B), to provide some protection for the handle bars and tubes. This removes the adverse effects (such as wrinkling clothes, breaking flat objects placed against them, and decreasing interior volume of the suitcase that is otherwise usable for carrying items), that the tubes and bars have if they are in the middle of the suitcase 407 body. The handle 410, in the preferred embodiment, will pivot so that it can be pulled, move or turn from lying flat against the suitcase 407 body out to where a user can pull or carry the suitcase 407. Other methods can be used such as have the handle 410 extend from the bars 405 through levels or springs or an extending means. An alternative embodiment is to have the tubes in the front and back side corners, or within those corners, on one side of the suitcase.

FIG. 9B(a) displays an embedded handle which is embedded within the suitcase so that the top of the suitcase is flat. While FIG. 9B(b) displays an embedded handle positioned on the edge of the suitcase. FIG. 9B(c) displays an embedded handle positioned on the edge of the short side of the suitcase. It displays a push button 408 that will trigger the embedded handle which can be spring loaded.

This change to suitcase structure, itself of value as noted above, could also allow for the folding wrinkle reduction device to be placed at the “bottom” of the interior of the suitcase (i.e near the back wall of the suitcase). This could be within the main interior body of the suitcase, or in a separate compartment at the “back” or “bottom” of the suitcase interior with it's own zipper around the suitcase for that compartment. One alternative embodiment would be for the clothes hanger to be attached to an inside bottom border of the suitcase, with clothes running along the inside of the back wall of suitcase and then folding back over top padded edge of a first fold of 2 fold device and running in opposite direction over that first fold, and then under a bar at the connecting area between the first and second fold, and running back under the second fold in the opposite direction. (That is, the back of the suitcase would serve as the first fold of a “3 fold device”, with the 2 fold device serving as the “second and third folds”).

FIG. 10A displays how the device 1 can connect to a luggage or suitcase through an attachment means. In the preferred embodiment the device 1 in its folded form will attach to one of the side walls 190 of a suitcase or luggage container through the use of a plurality of hook and latch connectors 195. FIG. 10B displays another method for attaching the device 1 to a suitcase with connecting means and a flap.

FIG. 11 displays a method of connecting the device 1 to a suitcase or luggage container. The device 1 would connect to a hinging means so that it would swing on said hinging means and serve as a divider for the suitcase or luggage container.

The device 1 in the preferred embodiment will fit within carry-ons of various sizes such as dimensions of 23*12*10 inches, and 22*14*12 inches. All embodiments in this patent can accommodate many types of clothing, including, but not limited to suits, shirts, blouses, skirts, dresses, etc.

In other embodiments, which would provide more protection against wrinkles, there could be 2 sheets of folds 1, 2 and 3, on either side of a main sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 over which the clothing has been hung over the hanger and where the clothes thus goes on both sides of the main sheet of folds. If there are 2 sheets of folds 1, 2 and 3, or 3 sheets, then the 2nd or, 2nd and 3rd sheets, might also clip/attach to the hanger from the first sheet in some manner, that allows separation for the clothing in between, but attaches the 2nd, or 2nd and 3rd sheets at the top (i.e., only the first sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 might have a hanger at it's top). The other sheet(s) of folds could also be attached at the bottom and/or the sides.

In further description of the 2 layer of folds design, there is a sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3. Connecting on the right or left edge by clothe, padded edge, or adjustable connecting edge, is another equivalent sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3. The clothes are laid over the first sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 as in figure one. The clothes may have tension applied as with the elastic straps. Then the other sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3 is brought over the clothing over the first sheet of folds 1, 2 and 3. The clothes are in between the 2 sheets of folds. In various embodiments, the connecting edge between the 2 sheets of 3 folds could be of various materials, such as clothe, a padded edge, or separated by fixed height or adjustable height fixed sides so the clothes have some space to rest between the 2 sheets of folds. Finally, the unconnected edge could be tied together, zipped closed, or otherwise connected, to form a closed clothing container that can be put in the suitcase, or is part of the suitcase. In addition, the elastic straps could alternatively come from the edges of the second sheet of folds.

As different embodiments, the sides between the 2 sheets of folds could be padded edges, or could be fixed or adjustable sides so that the clothes have some space to rest between the 2 sheets of folds. The three levels of folds of the 2 sheets of folds can be attached. That is the edge of the 2 sheets' 1,1 folds can be attached to the 2 sheets' 2,2 folds, and 2,2, to 3,3, or 1,1 to 3,3.

As shown in FIG. 12, the folds of the device 1 with zipper pockets that can be attachable and detachable at bends through an attaching means such as a zipper. This will allow the user the utmost flexibility in using the device 1 to fit their need.

FIG. 13 shows the device 1 with two sets of folds with a pair of pants in-between with each having its own handing means 20. This configuration is should be in a folded and unfolded positions. Each handing means 20 can connect to the same bar or rack.

FIG. 14 and FIG. 14(a) shows the device 1 with three sets of folds with a pair of pants in-between with each having its own handing means 20. This configuration is should be in a folded and unfolded positions. Each handing means 20 can connect to the same bar or rack.

FIG. 14(b) shows the device 1 with three sets of folds with a pair of pants in-between in a folded position. The three folds are connected to a single hanging means 20.

FIG. 14(c) shows the three sets of folds being positioned together. While FIG. 14(d) shows the two other folds hanging means 20 connected to the center fold hanging means 20. FIG. 14(e) displays the two outer folds connected to the middle fold through a connection means such as bounds.

The device 1 can use several different hanging means as shown in FIG. 15, a standard hanger configuration can be used. A standard hanger configuration with a fan out shoulder pad can be used. A spring loader hanger configuration can be used where the hanger has spring that extend out to hang the shirt.

In additional embodiments, there could be pants clips on the hanger 305, or a bar over the bottom bar of the hanger, in which pants go between, or where the pants actually fold around, if all of the clothes reside on 1 side of the sheet of folds. There could also be “firm grip” clothe on the hanger 305 to prevent sliding off of clothing. The hanger part can be shaped like a regular hanger, or a more square edge, more rounded edge, or any other hanger configuration.

As referred to above, the folding device could be placed free-floating within a suitcase. Alternatively, it could be attached to an edge or inner (or outer) side of the suitcase. When in the suitcase a pump 355 can be attached to the outside of the suitcase through to the device 1 and remove air to create a vacuum to reduce wrinkles in the closes. This is shown in FIG. 16A. FIG. 16B shows the device 1 in a perpendicular position with a pump 355 to remove the air. FIG. 16C displays an electronic pump 356 to remove the air from the device 1. FIG. 16D shows the device 1 in a perpendicular position with an electronic pump 356 to remove the air.

FIG. 17A shows to sets of the device 1 hanging side by side on a clothing bar 400.

FIG. 17B displays several devices 1 hanging in a single cover 501 with the hanging means 20 all connecting to a single hanger.

FIG. 17C shows to sets of the device 1 hanging side by side on a clothing bar 400 with a piece of clothing being connected to both devices 1. One shows the clothing going under a bar 10 and being attached to the other device 1 while the other shows the cloth going strait from one device 1 to the other.

FIG. 18 displays 2 sets of folds that fold flat together to hold the clothing, such as a shirt, flat to reduce wrinkles. The folds can have hold pressure points to hold parts of the clothing such as the shirt's sleeves taunt and straight.

The bars 10 of the device 1 can be hinged to swing out so that the clothing can be placed in and then swung closed holding the clothing in place. The hinging means in the preferred embodiment in made out of cloth with the end that swings out being attached to the folds through an attachment means such as a hook and latch means.

The device 1 will have numerous pockets with closing means such as a zipper or buttons. These pockets 225 can be positioned on the edges of each of the folds including between two connected folds. These pockets can hold the bindings 60 and elastic 50. The straps 50 can extend from the pockets 225 as shown in FIGS. 20A and 20B.

The device 1 can have a turn hanging means, as shown in FIG. 21, where the hook pivots on a bar that is attached to the top of the device 1.

A butterfly clasp can be used as the end of the binding method used to bind and hold tension on the clothing. This is shown in FIG. 22. The strips and clasps can go into the pockets on the side as shown in FIG. 23.

Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the point and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein. As an example for illustrative purposes: clips, snaps or other methods of attachment can be used in place of clasps, and other tension producing elements can be used in place of elastic bands.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.