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Title:
Retaining system for holding fabric items
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A retaining system for holding a towel, washcloth, or other fabric item by draping a weighted and supported retaining system over an inanimate horizontal bar such as a kitchen cabinet, a shower curtain, or a kitchen drawer, so that the towel would not fall to the floor and become dirty. This device can also be used in conjunction with a paperclip as a means for holding recipe cards up to eye level while cooking. The device can also be used in recreational vehicles, while camping, or in cars.


Inventors:
St. Martin, Susan (North Pole, AK, US)
Application Number:
11/797914
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/07/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/45
International Classes:
A47K10/00; A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070108142Merchandise display rackMay, 2007Medcalf et al.
20080302747Lock for shelving assemblyDecember, 2008Nance
20090016879FAN AND FRAME WITH SENSOR-SUPPORTING STRUCTURE THEREOFJanuary, 2009Chen et al.
20050145589Magnetic fast extendable tray for displayingJuly, 2005Chen
20080017599MARTIAL ARTS BELT DISPLAY RACK SERIESJanuary, 2008Springer
20040181963Glove dryerSeptember, 2004Morris
20070256997DISPLAY TRAY WITH MOVABLE DIVIDERSNovember, 2007Collins et al.
20090078660Merchandiser AssemblyMarch, 2009Kin
20030178382Sporting equipment support systemSeptember, 2003Tucker
20050103737High capacity load decorative hanging merchandise display rackMay, 2005Paventi
20090194495Saddle rackAugust, 2009Kellogg et al.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law, Office OF Alicia Porter (P.O. BOX 72425, FAIRBANKS, AK, 99707, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system comprising: At least one support to secure at least one drape-able item; At least one stiffener to stiffen said at least, one support along at least one substantially straight length of at least one drape-able item; At least one passage to pass said at least one drape-able item through said at least one support; and At least one appendage to append said supporting means to a fixed object.

2. The claim of claim 1 wherein said securing means further comprises suspending means for suspending from a fixed object; and balancing means for balancing over the top of said fixed object.

3. The claim of claim 1 further comprising Decorating means for decorating at least one aspect of said supporting means selected from the group consisting of fabric, vinyl, malleable plastic, rubber, hemp; and

4. The claim of claim 1 further comprising Said securing means comprising at least two individual sealed compartments; and Said securing means are filled with an inert substance, selected from the group consisting of dried rice, dried beans, aquarium gravel, gravel, glass chips, rocks, sand, plastic beads, clay soil, metal shavings or wood; and Said securing means are filled in the weight range between about ½ ounce to about 16 ounces per compartment; and Said securing means are differentially weighted so that one compartment is heavier than the other compartment; and

5. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said suspending means is placed between the two securing means compartments, allowing the securing means to drape over an inanimate object; and

6. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said stiffening means and said passing means are located on the same side of the system as the lighter securing means; and

7. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said passing means is located below the securing compartment; and Said stiffening means is located directly below the passing means

8. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said passing means has at least one opening; and Said passing means has a range between about ¼ inch to about 5 inches in width; and Said passing means has a range between about 2 inches to about 18 inches in length; and Said passing means is reinforced by a sealing means so that said passing means is sturdier in construction than other parts of the system; and

9. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said stiffening means comprises at least one dowel; and Said dowel is selected from the group consisting of wood, plastic, metal rod, rubber, rolled fabric or a tightly rolled padded fabric pouch; and

10. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said system has a range of about 3 inches to about 16 inches width and about 4 inches to about 24 inches in length; and Said individual compartments have a range from about ¼ inch to about 10 inches in length; and

11. The claim of claim 1 wherein Said securing means has an internal lining; and

12. The claim of claim 11 wherein Said securing means does not have an internal lining

13. The claim of claim 11 wherein The system where the heavier of the securing means is placed on or about a flat horizontal surface and the second securing means is suspended from the inanimate object

14. The claim of claim 11 wherein said securing means may be selected from the group alternatively comprising a button, snap or zipper

15. The claim of claim 11 wherein A method of using the system to hold cardstock at eye level; and A securing means to attach card stock to the system on the sides of the passing means; and A suspending means to attach the system to the top of an inanimate object by draping the system over the inanimate object: and

16. The claim of claim 11 wherein A draping means to attach the heavier securing means to the top of the inanimate object. Said securing means to attach card stock by securing the card stock to the side of the passing means

17. The claim of claim 16 wherein Said securing means to attach card stock may be selected from the group alternatively comprising a button, snap or zipper.

18. A kit comprising the system, a securing means to attach other items to the system, and a decorating means. The term “about” and “approximately” as used herein may be applied to modify any quantitative representation which could permissibly vary without resulting in a change in the basic function to which it is related. For example, the retaining system as described herein can be suspended not only over a horizontal bar, but can be used as a weighted system by placing the heavier counterweight on a flat surface and allowing the suspending compartment and the other compartments to hang from the side of the flat surface. The present disclosure should not be construed in any limited sense other than that limited by the scope of the claims having regard to the teachings herein and the prior art being apparent with the preferred form of the system disclosed herein and which reveals details of structure of a preferred form necessary for a better understanding of the system and may be subject to change by a skilled person within the scope of the art without departing from the concept thereof. If the claims are not found to be in condition for allowance, the examiner is requested to contact the attorney to schedule an interview before mailing an Office action.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The system was inspired by the repeated event of having kitchen towels repeatedly falling to the ground and becoming dirty. The retaining system was created as a means to keep the towel folded and to prevent it from falling to the ground. The fabric on the retaining system causes fabric against fabric friction which prevents the towel or fabric item from slipping off of the dowel and falling. The retaining means is placed on top of a fixture, such as an oven door handle, a cabinet door, shower curtain rod, car door, porch railing, stair railing, or other horizontal rod or support.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This system relates to the field of holding mechanisms for fabric items such as towels, washcloths or other fabric items which require ventilation and should be placed at a level that is above the ground for cleanliness purposes.

BACKGROUND ART

Previous articles used to hold a towel or fabric item either consist of two arms extending out from a mounted fixture, such as a wall or cabinet, with a mounted rod that attaches the two arms. The towel or fabric item is then placed on top of the rod, and hangs on the mounted rod. There have been several embodiments, such as racks to hang towels, or fixtures that have multiple rods for more than one towel or fabric item to be hung. Another way to hang towels or fabric items is to merely place them on a rod, such as an oven door or a cabinet independently. When towels are placed on an oven door, or a cabinet door, they can slip or fall to the floor, becoming dirty, and unusable in situations such as a kitchen or a bathroom. The system solves the problem of having a portable means to hold a fabric item, and the friction of the fabric on the holding system against the fabric of the towel or item to be held prevents the towel from slipping off the system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A drape-able retaining system comprising several weighted and reinforced fabric compartments used to retain items including, but not limited to a towel, washcloth, or fabric item that can be passed through the system and held in place. The retaining system can be placed on top of a fixture, such as an oven door handle, drawer, back of a chair, a cabinet door, shower curtain rod, car door, porch railing, stair railing, or other horizontal rod or support. The structure of the retaining system prevents the towel or other fabric from slipping off of a surface and falling to the floor and becoming dirty. The system, in conjunction with a holding device such as a paperclip, can also be used to hold items such as recipes or card stock at eye level in working environment.

The retaining system is comprised of multiple separate compartments. The preferred embodiment has five or more separate compartments. One of the compartments contains a stiffening means comprising a support that can be a wooden, plastic, metal, or rolled fabric rod that is sealed into the compartment. The second compartment comprises an opening means to retain the towel or fabric item. The third compartment comprises a weighted compartment. The fourth compartment comprises a fabric compartment to be placed on the top of a horizontal rod or support. The fifth compartment comprises a second weighted compartment that is heavier than the first weighted compartment. The preferred embodiment uses a wooden dowel in the support compartment, and places the support compartment under the compartment with the opening, so that the towel or other fabric item lays on the dowel and the friction of the towel on the fabric covered dowel prevents the towel from slipping off of the retaining system. The weighted compartments prevent the holder from slipping off of a horizontal rod or support.

The fabric compartments are weighted and filled on both sides of the system. In the preferred embodiment, the weighted compartment next to the dowel is lighter than the second weighted compartment. The heavier weighted compartment is then used as a counterweight to offset the weight of the towel that is placed in the opening. The heavily weighted side of the towel holder is placed on the least accessible side: the lightly weighted side of the towel holder with the opening and the supportive dowel to hold the towel or other fabric item is placed on the side where the person wants access to the towel.

The weighted compartments are filled with an inert substance, such as, but not limited to marbles, dried beans, dried rice, aquarium gravel, rocks, sand, plastic beads, clay soil, metal shavings, or wood. The preferred mode is to use aquarium rocks. The weighted compartments should be on the proportions of about ½ ounce to about 16 ounces. The preferred embodiment is about 2 oz of aquarium rock in the lighter compartment and about 3½ oz of aquarium rock in the heavier compartment.

The weighted compartments can be lined with an internal lining, such as an interior plastic compartment or fabric compartment to avoid leaking of the weighted materials, or the compartments can be filled without a liner. The function of the weighted pouches is to ensure that the towel remains in place in and for the friction in the support bar to keep the towel in place. Having the holder created in fabric is a preferred embodiment, because the fabric against fabric friction causes the towel or other fabric item to remain in place. Also, having the holding system made out of fabric allows air circulation so that a fabric item such as a towel that is placed in the holding system has ample ventilation to adequately dry.

When placed on a flat surface, said towel retainer has a range of about 3 inches to about 16 inches width and about 4 inches to about 24 inches in length. The preferred embodiment is approximately 5½ inches in width and approximately 8½ inches in length.

The compartments range from about ½ inch to about 4 inches in length, with a preferred embodiment of approximately 2 inches for the heavier weighted compartment, approximately 2 inches for the suspension compartment that is between the weighted compartments, approximately 2 inches for the lighter weighted compartment, approximately ½ inch for the top of the opening compartment, approximately 1 inch for the opening compartment, approximately ½ inch for the bottom of the opening compartment, and approximately ½ inch for the dowel compartment, which has a reinforcing hem to keep the dowel in place. The reinforcing hem has at least two lines of stitching across it, and the fabric that covers the retaining system is doubled at the bottom of the hem to keep the dowel in place.

The compartments can be covered with a variety of different coverings, selected from the group consisting of fabric, rubber, plastic, vinyl, fabric coated with a polymer or other waterproofing substance, or tarp. The preferred embodiment uses cotton fabric as the material that covers all of the compartments, as the cotton fabric increases the fabric to fabric friction between the towel and the retaining device, which decreases the likelihood of the towel slipping out of the opening of the retaining device. The use of fabric also has a decorative effect: given the sheer immensity of fabric selections that can be found at the average fabric or craft store, the retaining system can be made to complement any household's décor or seasonal décor variation.

The retaining system can be used in multiple ways. There is more than one embodiment of the retaining system other than the preferred embodiment. The preferred embodiment easily retains a dish towel or a washcloth, either folded or bunched into the opening of the retaining system. The retaining system can be enlarged to hold larger items such as a bath towel. The system can be minimized for smaller items, such as finger towels or doll's clothing.

The placement of the stiffening means such as a dowel can be placed below the opening, or it can be inserted along at least one side of the length of the system.

There can be more than one passing means and multiple stiffening means added to the system so that it can hold multiple items. The retaining system can have additional dowels added on both sides under additional openings, and be weighted accordingly so that one side holds two fabric items, and the other side with the heavier counterweights holds a single fabric item. In addition, the system can be used, with the assistance of a fastening mechanism, to hold card stock and positioned so that a person can position the holder on the top of a kitchen cabinet and be eye level with recipes while cooking or instructions when working on a project.

The system can be used by draping the system over a horizontal bar or fixture and having the compartments falling on either side of the bar or fixture. Alternatively, the system can be used by placing the heavier weighted pouch on the top of a flat surface, such as the edge of a table, and allowing the rest of the system to suspend down. The system can also be used by attaching a paper clip or other pin to the side of the opening, so that card stock, such as a recipe can be held by the system, preferably at eye level.

The system can be a means to assist a person who is handicapped or physically disabled to reach an item, as the weight component of the system provides the system with flexibility and convenience to hold a towel or other fabric item in close proximity of the person who needs the item within close range but who might have limited options for otherwise hanging items.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the preferred embodiment of the system and how the system is used. The figure shows a series of fabric compartments that are separated by stitching. Each compartment has a different function.

FIG. 2 delineates where the cross section is.

FIG. 3 shows the cross section of the system and the inner materials in the system.

FIG. 4 shows two alternative uses for the system by suspending the system off a table, and by using the system to hold up card stock.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the system as it is positioned over a drawer. (1) shows the position of the reinforcing hem used to keep the stiffening means in place. (2) shows the area where the stiffening means is placed to prevent a towel from moving. (3) shows the opening area where the towel or other fabric item is placed. (4) shows where the lighter of the two securing means compartments is draped above the opening means. (5) shows the suspending means that ties the two securing means together. The suspending means is placed on top of (7), which can be a drawer, chair back, cabinet, horizontal rod, or other horizontal surface so that the two securing compartments fall on either side of the horizontal support. (6) is shown in dash marks in this figure. It is the second of the two securing means and comprises a weighted compartment that is heavier than (4). (11) demonstrates how the towel is positioned into the holder and remains in place.

FIG. 2 shows the position where the cross section is taken. FIG. 3 is a cross section of the system. The drawing reflects that the system is draped over another object. FIG. 2 is the system where it is fully closed and sealed. FIG. 3 reflects the same configuration of the system, but the cross section reflecting the materials is present. (4) and (6) on FIG. 3 may or may not have an internal lining. Figure (2) may be a dowel made of wood, plastic, metal, or rolled fabric.

FIG. 4 shows an alternate arrangement of the system where the weight of (6) is holding the system in place, and (5) and (6) are draped across a flat surface, such as a large window ledge, as reflected by (10). The weight in (6) is sufficient to act as a counterweight to prevent the system from falling to the ground, and to still hold materials, such as a towel (11 as shown in FIG. 1) or smaller items such as cardstock (8) that is held onto the system with a clip, such as a paperclip or other attaching means (9).

Relevant Prior Art

In conducting a prior art search, the following patents were identified as relevant

U.S. Pat. No. 7,718,815
U.S. Pat. No. 6,562,437
U.S. Pat. No. 6,550,525
U.S. Pat. No. 6,199,821
U.S. Pat. No. 5,931,427
U.S. Pat. No. 5,732,494
U.S. Pat. No. 5,465,458
U.S. Pat. No. 5,447,244
U.S. Pat. No. 5,373,850
U.S. Pat. No. 5,125,614
U.S. Pat. No. 5,092,473
U.S. Pat. No. 4,973,018
U.S. Pat. No. 4,729,482
U.S. Pat. No. 4,712,766
U.S. Pat. No. 4,377,240
U.S. Pat. No. 4,345,345
U.S. Pat. No. 3,973,676
U.S. Pat. No. 1,971,794
U.S. Pat. No. 1,579,135
U.S. Pat. No. 1,062,403

CA2298760M:

Categories and Subcategories Searched for Prior Art

2/279
4/605
4/608
4/628
15/208
16/83
16/216
16/404
24/336

16/Dig.8

16/Dig. 19

16 Dig. 34

16 Dig.40

16 Dig 42

24/297
24/453
24/481−
24/563
150/154
206/525
211/6
211/23
211/16
211/41.5
211/88.04
211/94.03
211/96
211/105.2
211/124
248/1
248/74.2
248/222.52
248/251
248/309.1
248/316.1
248/316.4
248/504
248/682
294/33−
312/3
428/100





 
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