Title:
MANNEQUINS AND ARTICULATING COMPONENTS THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mannequin, particularly a child sized mannequin, that includes articulating joints which permit a considerable range of movement. In accordance with a preferred variant of the present invention, special accommodations are made for wrist joints on a mannequin. The present invention broadly encompasses not only full or partial body mannequins, but any portions thereof that include an articulated connection between one part of the mannequin and another.



Inventors:
Polins, Andrew (Laconia, NH, US)
Budnick, Daniel (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/756597
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/31/2007
Assignee:
The Children's Place Services Company, LLC (Secaucus, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
403/91
International Classes:
A47F8/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060065682Sport apparel marketing apparatusMarch, 2006Keller
20070278260GARMENT ORGANIZERDecember, 2007Criscuolo
20060011673Indicators for wire hook hangersJanuary, 2006Gouldson
20030136805Systems for displaying accessories on a garment hangerJuly, 2003Shwartz et al.
20060278671Two piece design for coordinate loop hangerDecember, 2006Gouldson
20090145936Inflatable body and kit for de-wrinkling garmentsJune, 2009Convents et al.
20060261102Inflating body for pressing a piece of clothingNovember, 2006Damrath et al.
20090188951HAT BRIM PROTECTOR AND SHAPERJuly, 2009Styles et al.
20090277138Clothing Packing ApparatusNovember, 2009Smith et al.
20070246490SHOULDER SUPPORT FOR GARMENT HANGERSOctober, 2007Gouldson
20100032456System for flexible displaying of objectsFebruary, 2010Thor



Primary Examiner:
SUTTON, ANDREW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kane Kessler P.C. (666 Third Avenue, New York, NY, 10017-4041, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A joint structure for attaching and positioning body parts of a mannequin comprising: a first unit for being associated with a first body part; a second unit for being associated with a second body part; said first unit comprising a first disc arrangement; said second unit comprising a second disc arrangement disposed coaxially with respect to said first disc arrangement; said first disc arrangement comprising a frictional engagement medium; said second unit further comprising: at least one element for frictionally engaging with said frictional engagement medium; and an arrangement for biasing said at least one element towards said frictional engagement medium.

2. The joint structure according to claim 1, wherein: said frictional engagement medium comprises a plurality of dimples; and said dimples are distributed substantially over an entire 360 degree arc coaxially with respect to said first disc arrangement.

3. The joint structure according to claim 1, wherein: said first disc arrangement comprises a central disc; said second disc arrangement comprises a pair of discs disposed at opposite faces of said central disc.

4. The joint structure according to claim 1, wherein: said frictional engagement medium comprises a plurality of dimples; and said at least one element comprises a ball member for engaging with said dimples.

5. The joint structure according to claim 4, wherein said biasing arrangement comprises a spring which biases said ball member towards said dimples.

6. The joint structure according to claim 1, wherein: said first unit further comprises an extension which extends radially away from said first disc arrangement; said extension including a grooved element; said grooved element acting to permit rotational movement of said extension and grooved element about a longitudinal axis of said extension, with respect to the first body part; whereby rotational movement of said second body part with respect to said first body part, about the longitudinal axis of said extension, is afforded.

7. The joint structure according to claim 6, wherein said extension is integral with respect to said first disc arrangement.

8. The joint structure according to claim 1, wherein said frictional engagement medium comprises a plurality grooves extending in a radial direction with respect to said first disc arrangement.

9. The joint structure according to claim 8, wherein said at least one element for frictionally engaging with said frictional engagement medium comprises protrusions extending in a radial direction with respect to said second disc arrangement.

10. A mannequin comprising: a first body part; a second body part; and a joint structure interconnecting said first and second body parts, said joint structure comprising: a first unit associated with said first body part; a second unit associated with said second body part; said first unit comprising a first disc arrangement; said second unit comprising a second disc arrangement disposed coaxially with respect to said first disc arrangement; said first disc arrangement comprising a frictional engagement medium; said second unit further comprising: at least one element for frictionally engaging with said frictional engagement medium; and an arrangement for biasing said at least one element towards said frictional engagement medium.

11. The mannequin according to claim 10, wherein: said frictional engagement medium comprises a plurality of dimples; and said dimples are distributed substantially over an entire 360 degree arc coaxially with respect to said first disc arrangement.

12. The mannequin according to claim 10, wherein: said first disc arrangement comprises a central disc; said second disc arrangement comprises a pair of discs disposed at opposite faces of said central disc.

13. The mannequin according to claim 10, wherein: said frictional engagement medium comprises a plurality of dimples; and said at least one element comprises a ball member for engaging with said dimples.

14. The mannequin according to claim 13, wherein said biasing arrangement comprises a spring which biases said ball member towards said dimples.

15. The mannequin according to claim 10, wherein: said first unit further comprises an extension which extends radially away from said first disc arrangement; said extension including a grooved element; said grooved element acting to permit rotational movement of said extension and grooved element about a longitudinal axis of said extension, with respect to the first body part; whereby rotational movement of said second body part with respect to said first body part, about the longitudinal axis of said extension, is afforded.

16. The mannequin according to claim 15, wherein said extension is integral with respect to said first disc arrangement.

17. The mannequin according to claim 15, further comprising a second joint structure between a third body part and a fourth body part, said second joint structure comprising: a third unit associated with said third body part; a fourth unit associated with said fourth body part; said third unit comprising a third disc arrangement; said fourth unit comprising a fourth disc arrangement disposed coaxially with respect to said third disc arrangement; said third disc arrangement and said fourth disc arrangement being pivotally displaceable with respect to one another; said third body part and said fourth body part being solely pivotally displaceable with respect to one another in parallel to pivotal displacement of said third disc arrangement and said fourth disc arrangement with respect to one another.

18. The mannequin according to claim 15, wherein said first body part comprises one of: a torso, an upper arm and an upper leg.

19. The mannequin according to claim 15, wherein said second body part comprises one of: an upper arm, a lower arm and a lower leg.

20. The mannequin according to claim 10, wherein said frictional engagement medium comprises grooves extending in a radial direction with respect to said first disc arrangement.

21. The mannequin according to claim 20, wherein said at least one element for frictionally engaging with said frictional engagement medium comprises protrusions extending in a radial direction with respect to said second disc arrangement.

22. The mannequin according to claim 21, wherein said first body part comprises a lower arm and said second body part comprises a hand.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to store mannequins and, more particularly, to articulating components that permit the inclusion of limbs such as arms and legs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Fashion mannequins are widely used in clothing stores and other venues, at the very least for advantageously displaying to potential customers the prospective appearance of one or more clothing items on a human body. While historically most full-size adult mannequins have been more or less stationary, without a capability of moving one part respective to another (e.g., a limb respective to a torso), several have indeed been developed with such movement capabilities. Fusion Specialties, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo. USA, for example, has created many such mannequins. Typically, the joints at various connection points include a clicking feature which facilitate steady positioning, e.g., of a limb with respect to a torso or a wrist with respect to an arm. Generally, a sliding and clicking motion is involved with lateral movement while vertical motion tends to involve solely a sliding movement. However, some restrictions have been noted on the relative freedom of movement with such an arrangement.

At the same time, children's apparel has been a mushrooming endeavor in recent years, and needs are also noted there for workable mannequins. However, no workable effort has hitherto been found in connection with applying the features of an articulating adult mannequin (as described above) to a proportionately sized child mannequin (including the mannequin sizes of “newborn” [3-6 mos.], “toddler” [up to 24 mos.] and “preteen” or “big kid” [6×7]). At best, many stores have resorted to simply providing a bust only, necessitating that any clothing placed on the bust needs to be filled, e.g., with tissue or newspaper in order for limb portions of the clothing to “fill out”.

In view of the foregoing, a compelling need has been recognized in connection with providing a child mannequin that is at least as versatile, mobile and flexible as an articulating adult mannequin.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with at least one presently preferred embodiment of the present invention, there is broadly contemplated herein a mannequin that includes articulating joints which permit a considerable range of movement. In accordance with a preferred variant of the present invention, special accommodations are made for wrist joints on a mannequin. The present invention broadly encompasses not only full or partial body mannequins, but any portions thereof that include an articulated connection between one part of the mannequin and another.

In summary, one aspect of the invention provides a joint structure for attaching and positioning body parts of a mannequin comprising: a first unit for being associated with a first body part; a second unit for being associated with a second body part; the first unit comprising a first disc arrangement; the second unit comprising a second disc arrangement disposed coaxially with respect to the first disc arrangement; the first disc arrangement comprising a frictional engagement medium; the second unit further comprising: at least one element for frictionally engaging with the frictional engagement medium; and an arrangement for biasing the at least one element towards the frictional engagement medium.

Furthermore, an additional aspect of the invention provides a mannequin comprising: a first body part; a second body part; and a joint structure interconnecting the first and second body parts, the joint structure comprising: a first unit associated with the first body part; a second unit associated with the second body part; the first unit comprising a first disc arrangement; the second unit comprising a second disc arrangement disposed coaxially with respect to the first disc arrangement; the first disc arrangement comprising a frictional engagement medium; the second unit further comprising: at least one element for frictionally engaging with the frictional engagement medium; and an arrangement for biasing the at least one element towards the frictional engagement medium.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a frontal view of a child mannequin.

FIG. 2 is a right-side elevational view of the mannequin from FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows an exploded view of components of a first type of joint element.

FIG. 4 shows an assembled cross-sectional view of the components shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 shows a close-up cross-sectional view of a lower leg with a joint such as that shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 6 shows a close-up cross-sectional view of a lower leg connected to an upper leg via a joint such as that shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.

FIG. 7 shows an exploded view of components of a second type of joint element and a hand.

FIG. 8 shows an assembled cross-sectional view of the components shown in FIG. 7, interconnecting a hand and a lower arm.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For a better understanding of the present invention, together with other and further features and advantages thereof, reference is made to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, and the scope of the invention will be pointed out in the appended claims.

It will be readily understood that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the Figures herein, may be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the apparatus, system, and method of the present invention, as represented in FIGS. 1 through 8, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is merely representative of selected embodiments of the invention.

Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” (or the like) means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

The illustrated embodiments of the invention will be best understood by reference to the drawings, wherein like parts are designated by like numerals or other labels throughout. The following description is intended only by way of example, and simply illustrates certain selected embodiments of devices, systems, and processes that are consistent with the invention as claimed herein.

FIG. 1 illustrates a frontal view of a child mannequin C in accordance with a presently preferred embodiment of the present invention. A torso 1, which includes a head, has extending therefrom upper arms 3 and upper legs 10. Each upper arm 3 connects to torso 1 at a shoulder region 2, while connected to a lower part of each upper arm at elbow region 5 is a lower arm 6. At a wrist region 8, a hand/wrist 7 is connected to each lower arm 6. Each upper leg 10 connects to torso 1 at a region 9, while connected to the lower part of each upper leg 10 at region 11 is a lower leg 12 (which may include an ankle and foot as shown).

Indicated at 4, in each of regions 5, 8, 9, 11 and 2 (see FIG. 2) are articulated joints that may preferably be employed to interconnect body portions in each respective region. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the joints 4 may all be configured, and may function, similarly in each of the regions 2, 5, 8, 9, and 11. However, in accordance with a particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention, and in a manner to be more fully appreciated herebelow, a wrist joint in region 8 (indicated at 4w in FIG. 2) may be configured differently and function differently than the joints 4.

FIG. 2 is a right-side view of the mannequin C from FIG. 1. As shown, lower legs 12 (with feet/ankles) can be supported on a flat base 35. A main support 34 can extend upwardly from base 35, and may include a telescoping element 34a that can slidably displace with respect to main support 34. A back support element 34b extending from telescoping element 34a can support the torso 1 at a back portion thereof, while element 34a can be slid up and down as needed to appropriately accommodate different positions of mannequin C. (To this end, a suitable locking element [not shown] may be provided to lock telescoping element 34a with respect to main support 34 once the desired position has been achieved.)

FIG. 3 shows an exploded view of components of a joint element 4 in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. It should be understood that the joint element shown in FIG. 3 can be used in essentially any of the locations indicated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

As shown, several components are coaxial with respect to an “X” axis, and others with respect to a “Y” axis perpendicular there. Along the X axis, a central disc 4a, with central aperture 41, as shown, may include a number of dimples or recesses 42 disposed along an imaginary circle at a constant radius from a center of disc 4a. Such dimples 42 are preferably provided on both flat surfaces of disc 4a. Preferably flanking central disc 4a on either longitudinal side thereof are cooperating discs 13 and 18, respectively. Cooperating discs 13 and 18 are each configured to accommodate a spring and ball combination 14/15 and 17/16, whereby, when cooperating discs 13 and 18 are longitudinally in close proximity to central disc 4a, springs 14/17 will bias balls 15/16, respectively, into one of the dimples 42. Thus, when cooperating discs 13/18 are in relative rotational movement with respect to central disc 4a, a “clicking” action will take place. This will allow for easy positioning of one body part with respect to another, in a manner to be better understood herebelow. Springs 14/17 need not be connected or affixed to balls 15/16, as the biasing force of springs 14/17 will preferably ensure that the balls 15/16 do not “escape” from the assembly.

Each cooperating disc 13/18 may be configured as shown, i.e., as two parallel discs of smaller thickness that are integral with one another (e.g., via a short annular section disposed between the two parallel discs in a manner not shown), or may be configured in essentially any other suitable manner. Disc 13 preferably includes a cylindrical stub 131 with an outer diameter smaller than or equal to the inner diameter of aperture 41 of central disc 4a. Accordingly, cooperating disc 18 may have a central aperture 181 through which a screw 19 can be directed to connected with an internally threaded central hole of stub 131. With stub 131 extending into aperture 41, it will be ensured that cooperating discs 13/18 will be in close proximity to central disc 4a.

With regard to components centered about the Y axis, a bolt 43 preferably extends radially away from central disc 4a. A grooved element 20, to be discussed in more detail herebelow, is preferably disposed about bolt 43 and secured thereto via a nut 24; further, nut 24 preferably “caps” an assembly of a washer 21, spring 22 and washer 23 disposed longitudinally adjacent to grooved element 20, whereby spring 22 acts to bias grooved element 20 against a circumferential edge of disc 4a. A grooved cap 34 is also preferably provided, for purposes to be more fully appreciated herebelow. Grooved cap 34 preferably has internal grooves and protrusions that mesh with grooves and protrusions of grooved element 20 to permit relative rotational movement between the two components. Cap 34 may be fit about grooved element 20 in essentially any suitable manner, e.g., by gluing or snapping together two halves of cap 34 about grooved element 20.

FIG. 4 shows an assembled cross-sectional view of the components shown in FIG. 3. Grooved element 20 is shown as having four circumferential grooves interspersed between five circumferential ridges, and cap 34 has a number of grooves and ridges suitable for closely meshing with this as shown, but it should be understood that essentially any suitable number of grooves and ridges for both components may be included by way of bringing about the functional capability now to be described. Also shown for cap 34 is a an arrangement of two larger diameter discs 34a (with a groove in between) disposed about a lower periphery of cap 34.

FIG. 5 shows a close-up cross-sectional view of a lower leg 12 with the joint 4 from FIGS. 3 and 4; joint 4 is disposed at an upper part of the lower leg 12. On the other hand, FIG. 6 is essentially the same view as FIG. 5 but additionally shows upper leg 10 connected with lower leg 12 via joint 4. Reference will now be made jointly to both figures, as well as FIG. 4. Reference is also generally made herebelow to an “upper limb” and “lower limb” connected at a joint 4; it should be understood that for the purposes of the present discussion the torso 1 can be understood to function as an “upper limb” in the context of the joint 4 in region 2 (FIG. 1), where upper arm 3 would effectively be a “lower limb”.

Preferably, all components centered about the Y axis (here, 20/21/22/23/24/34/43), as well as central disk 4a from which bolt 43 extends, can be referred to as the “Y unit” and preferably are associated with one of the two body parts being connected at a joint 4. Thus, in the case of FIGS. 5 and 6 the Y unit is associated with an upper leg 10. On the other hand, all components other than central disk 4a centered about the X axis (here, 13-19, 131 and 181) can be referred to as the “X unit” and preferably are associated with the other of the two body parts being connected at a joint 4. Thus, in the case of FIGS. 5 and 6 the X unit is associated with a lower leg 12.

During manufacture of the mannequin, the X unit is preferably clamped about the Y unit via tightening screw 19, and this ensemble is then incorporated integrally into a “lower limb” at a joint 4 (such as lower leg 12) while the lower leg mold is still not full solid (i.e., still partly molten or semi-solid during a conventional molding process).

Thence, an “upper limb” at a joint 4 (such as upper leg 10) is preferably molded around cap 34 (which essentially covers all other components of the Y unit), with the result that a shallow recessed cylindrical pocket 20a mates with the double disc arrangement 34a of cap 34. Preferably, the lower limb (such as lower leg 12) will be convexly shaped at an upper portion thereof as shown (preferably semi-spherically at that) and will interface with corresponding concave portions at a lower end of the upper limb (such as upper leg 10).

The result will be a joint connection which permits considerable freedom of movement in a multitude of directions. On the one hand, relative pivoting movement of the lower limb (e.g. 12) with respect to the upper limb (e.g., 10) in parallel to a plane defined by the Y axis and transverse to the X axis will be possible by way of relative rotational movement between central disc 4a and cooperating discs 13/18. It should be understood that cooperating discs 13/18 are essentially embedded into the material of the lower limb (e.g. 12) and thus fixed with respect thereto. Also, the biasing force of springs 14/17 is preferably strong enough to hold the upper and lower limbs (e.g., 10 and 12) in place with respect to one another when a ball 15/16 is biased into a dimple 42. It should also be noted that the springs 14/17 are preferably dimensioned and configured as to “give” sufficiently when relative rotational movement between discs 4a and 13/18 does take place, to permit balls 15/16 to briefly retract from the dimples 42.

On the other hand, rotational movement of the lower limb (e.g. 12) about the upper limb (e.g. 10) about the Y axis is preferably permitted throughout a full 360 degrees. In this case, the grooved element 20 preferably rotates freely with respect to cap 34 while, by virtue of the grooves, longitudinal displacement of the grooved element 20 along the Y axis with respect to cap 34 will not be permitted. It should be appreciated, then, that the number of grooves in grooved element 20 and cap 34 and their dimensions, as well as the dimensions of the double disc arrangement 34a, are preferably selected so as to ensure that a significant tensile force applied to grooved element 20 along the Y axis with respect to cap 34 will not be sufficient to promote the aforementioned longitudinal displacement. At the same time, the materials of cap 34a (e.g., PVC or other polymeric material) and grooved element 20 (e.g., metal) will preferably be chosen to ensure a relative coefficient of friction between the components that is sufficiently low to permit the aforementioned rotational displacement but sufficiently high as to prevent inadvertent slipping of the two limbs (e.g., 10/12) with respect to one another in a rotational direction about the Y axis. Clearly, the joint 4 should preferably be tight enough overall as to be able to adequately hold the weight of the body parts concerned.

In accordance with a particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 (hereinafter referenced jointly), a different type of joint arrangement 4w may interconnect a lower arm 6 and a hand 7. Such a joint 4w may preferably be used in places where there are space limitations, e.g., between a hand and a wrist, or between any body parts in a smaller mannequin where there might be space limitations. As shown particularly in FIG. 7, with various components being coaxial with respect to a “Z axis”, a central disc 33 may preferably be integral with hand 7 (e.g., via an extension that is set into hand 7 during molding). Cylindrical stubs 331/333 preferably extend from either side of disc 33 coaxially with respect to the Z axis, and a number of radial grooves 332 preferably extend away from these stubs 331/333 along each flat face of disc 33. (The grooves 332 in FIG. 7 are visible on one face of disc 33, but it should be understood that a similar arrangement of grooves is also present on the face of disc 33 that is not visible in FIG. 7.) Cooperating discs 29 and 25, for being disposed directly about stubs 331 and 333, respectively, themselves preferably include radial grooves 252 that are configured for engaging and mating with the grooves 332 of central disc 33. (Again, it should be understood that inasmuch as only the grooves 252 of disc 25 are visible in FIG. 7, similar grooves will also preferably be disposed on a face of disc 29 that is not visible in the drawing.)

Discs 29 and 25 respectively include apertures 291 and 251 into which, respectively springs 30 and 26 may extend. Apertures 291/251 are preferably graduated such that springs 30 and 26 will not extend past disks 29 and 25 in a direction towards central disc 33, but instead will bias an annular internal surface of disk 29 or 25, respectively, towards central disc 33. The biasing force of springs 30 and 26, respectively, can preferably be effected by screws 32 and 28, respectively, which thread into stubs 331 and 333, respectively. Preferably, washers 31 and 27 may be interposed between screws 32/28 and springs 30/26, respectively. The biasing force of springs 30/26 is preferably strong enough to hold the hand and lower arm 7/6 in place with respect to one another when the grooves 332/252 are engaged with one another. It should also be noted that the springs 30/26 are preferably dimensioned and configured as to “give” sufficiently when relative rotational movement between discs 33 and 29/25 does take place, to permit grooves 252 to briefly retract from 332.

The result will be a joint connection which permits solely up-and-down movement of hand 7 with respect to lower arm 6, i.e., a pivoting movement of hand 7 with respect to lower arm 6 along a plane perpendicular to the Z axis into and out of the paper with respect to FIG. 8. Because of the biasing provided by springs 30 and 26, cooperating discs 29 and 25 and their grooves 252 will mesh into the grooves 332 of central disc 33. Upon relative rotational movement of central disc 33 with respect to discs 29 and 25, a “clicking” or ratcheting action will be afforded as grooves 252 briefly retract away from grooves 332 (via the “give” of springs 30 and 26) and thence re-engage with grooves 332. In manufacture, all of the components shown in FIG. 7 are preferably assembled as one unit. This unit (i.e., the hand 7 with the joint 4w extending therefrom) will then preferably be incorporated into lower arm 6 as it is being molded (i.e., when the material of lower arm 6 is still semisolid or molten). As shown in FIG. 8, spherical surfaces 6a is preferably provided on lower arm 6 (convex) and hand 7 (concave) to permit a considerable range of movement of the two body parts with respect to one another.

Torso 1, as shown and described herein, preferably includes a head, while lower legs 12, as shown and described herein, preferably include ankles and feet. As such, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a head may be immobile with respect to torso 1 and ankles/feet may be immobile with respect to lower legs 12. However, it should be understood that optionally there may be provided articulated joints similar to any of those discussed hereinabove, that would interconnect a head with torso 1 or a foot/ankle portion with a lower leg 12. By the same token, it should also be understood that any the body parts specifically shown and described herein as being movable (i.e., can move with respect to at least one other body part by way of an articulating joint) can of course be immobile or stationary with respect to one or more other body parts as may be desired in accordance with a given practical application.

It should be appreciated that the central discs 4a and 33 discussed hereinabove are capable of undergoing a full 360 degrees of movement relative to the cooperating discs that flank them while undergoing the “clicking” or ratcheting action described in each case.

It should further be appreciated that the arrangements discussed and illustrated herein generally involve the use of joints having a first disc arrangement, associated with a first body part, that is coaxial with respect to a second disc arrangement, associated with a second body part. The second disc arrangement is generally biased into the first disc arrangement. Because the disc arrangements are coaxial, the space needed for the joints is greatly reduced.

While discussion has been made hereinabove of integrally forming one or more joint components with respect to a mannequin body part during a molding process, it should be appreciated that in an alternative embodiment a joint may be retrofitted into an already formed mannequin body part by any of a wide variety of conceivable methods.

Broadly stated, and in brief recapitulation, it will be appreciated that there is broadly contemplated herein, in accordance with at least one presently preferred embodiment of the present invention, a joint structure for attaching and positioning body parts of a mannequin, or a mannequin which includes such a joint structure. The joint structure includes a first unit for a first body part and a second unit for a second body part. The first unit includes a first disc arrangement and the second unit includes a second disc arrangement disposed coaxially with respect to the first disc arrangement. The first disc arrangement comprises a frictional engagement medium while the second unit further comprises: at least one element for frictionally engaging with the frictional engagement medium, and an arrangement for biasing this at least one element towards the frictional engagement medium.

It should be understood, in essence, that a “frictional engagement medium” need not necessarily be restricted to the specific embodiments shown and described herein. For instance, instead of the dimples 42 or grooves 332 discussed hereinabove (with ball and spring arrangements [14/15, 17/16] or grooves [252] engaging with them, respectively), cooperating discs as understood herein could engage frictionally via friction pads or similar media which would provide a high coefficient of friction of rotational movement between the discs as one or more discs is biased against another.

If not otherwise stated herein, it is to be assumed that all patents, patent applications, patent publications and other publications (including web-based publications) mentioned and cited herein are hereby fully incorporated by reference herein as if set forth in their entirety herein.

Although illustrative embodiments of the present invention have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various other changes and modifications may be affected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.