Title:
Simulated shoulders for costuming
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A simulated shoulder is provided for purposes of creating a costume. The shoulder includes a platform having an upper and a lower surface, horizontally disposed support columns defining the periphery of the shoulder platform, and a head supporting structure attached to the upper surface for support of an inflatable bladder. The inflatable bladder is attached to the head supporting structure and simulates a head or supports a costume mask. An elongated support column extends downwardly from the platform. The support column is attached at one end to the platform and spaced apart a sufficient lateral distance so as to accommodate a wearer's head. There is also provided an adjustable flexible strap attached to the support columns to hold the structure to a wearer and for supporting the shoulder platform.



Inventors:
Rogers, Priscilla Emslie (Moraga, CA, US)
Wong, Raymond K. C. (Hong Kong, CN)
Application Number:
09/742747
Publication Date:
06/07/2001
Filing Date:
12/21/2000
Assignee:
The Paper Magic Group, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/206, 2/DIG.3
International Classes:
A41D1/00; (IPC1-7): A42B1/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANTY, BIBHU R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Phili) (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A structure providing simulated shoulders elevated above a wearer's head for support of costumes or the like, comprising a simulated shoulder platform of width and length determined by the width and length required for the shoulder portion of the costume; support columns extending between the shoulder platform and the shoulders of the wearer, each column attached at one end to the shoulder platform, spaced apart at least the largest lateral dimension of a wearer's head; and means attached to the shoulder platform to hold the structure to the wearer's head.

2. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 1, in which the termination of the support columns at the wearer's shoulders are shaped to generally conform to a wearer's shoulders.

3. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 1, in which the structure for holding the structure to the wearer's head includes a head engaging portion extending downward from beneath the simulated shoulders platform for engaging the wearer's head and ties attached to the shoulders structure at positions on each side of the wearer's head above his chin to be secured together under the wearer's chin to hold the structure in place.

4. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 3 in which the ties are attached to the shoulder platform and extend downward sufficiently far to allow connecting them together under the wearer's chin.

5. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 4 in which, the connectors are flexible ties which can be tied beneath the wearer's chin.

6. The simulated shoulder structure of claim 3, in which a head engaging portion to rest against the wearer's head extends from the underside of the simulated shoulder member between the support columns, and the ties extend each side thereof.

7. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 6, in which the ties are attached to the head engaging portion.

8. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 6, in which by varying the length of the head engaging portion and the columns, the shoulders structure may be made to extend varying distances above the wearer's head.

9. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 2, in which at least the support columns are formed of hollow flexible inflatable bladders attached to the shoulder platform at their tops, which columns when inflated provide sufficiently ridged columns for support, with shoulder engaging column bottoms generally conforming to a wearer's shoulders in order to rest on the wearer's shoulders in relative comfort and provide greater shoulder contact for improved support.

10. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 9, in which the simulated shoulder platform is an inflatable bladder member.

11. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 1, in which a post is attached to the simulated shoulders platform on the opposite side from the support columns to provide support for an artificial head, or like attachment.

12. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 11, in which the post is an inflatable bladder member.

13. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 12, in which the post is a self-contained inflatable bladder member separate from that of the shoulder platform so that it can be selectively inflated, or not, as a particular use requires.

14. The simulated shoulders structure of claim 11, in which the post extends upward from the inflatable bladder providing the simulated shoulder platform.

15. The simulated shoulder structure of claim 14, in which the upward extending post to support an artificial head is of inflatable bladder construction.

16. The structure providing simulated shoulders of claim 1, in combination with the costume of flexible fabric covering the shoulders and hanging some distance around the wearer toward the ground, a means included as a part of a fabric garment which allows the wearer to see beyond the costume.

17. The combination of claim 16 in which the means by which the wearer is able to see, is a panel of flexible mesh through which it is difficult to see the wearer within the costume, but which enables the wearer, due to his proximity to the screen, to see through the screen with relatively clear visibility.

18. The costume combination of claim 16, in which a post is attached to the shoulder platform on the opposite side from the support columns to provide support for an artificial head, or like attachment.

19. The costume combination of claim 18, in which a simulated head is mounted on the post attached to the simulated shoulders flat form.

20. The costume combination of claim 19, by which the wearer is able to see, is a panel of flexible mesh through which it is difficult to see the wearer within the costume, but which enables the wearer, due to his proximity to the screen, to see through the screen with relatively clear visibility.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to means of comfortably simulating shoulders above the head of the costume wearer so as to leave the impression of a taller person or creature. In most cases an artificial head will be employed with the shoulders, but in some cases, as in Halloween costumes, the creature simulated may be portrayed as headless.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

[0002] In the past whenever the person taller than the wearer of a costume was portrayed, it was common to use a pole on which to mount the head and mount whatever additional structure was employed to support clothing. The pole itself would be carried by the person wearing the costume and thus occupy at least one of the hands of the wearer. Alternatively, the pole could be strapped to the wearer to free his hands.

[0003] Such devices, while simple and satisfactory in certain situations, are usually awkward to use and may fail to portray the character intended in realistic appearance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention is directed to a simple structure which gives the impression that the costume wearer is taller than he actually is. It is an arrangement which is intended to leave the wearer's hands free and yet provide shoulder-like platform over which a costume can be placed giving the wearer a more realistic appearance of a person or creature with shoulders. This is accomplished by providing a shoulder simulating member of the general size of the desired shoulders, both in width and length. Desired shape can be added to the shoulders as well.

[0005] The shoulder simulating platform is supported from the shoulders of the costume wearer by support columns attached to the shoulder simulating platform, spaced sufficiently far apart to accommodate the wearer's head, and preferably having the shoulder ends of the supports shaped to generally conform to the shape of the shoulders of the wearer. If an artificial head is intended to be employed on the shoulder platform, a column or post from the shoulder upon which post an artificial simulated head and neck structure can be placed to complete the illusion of the taller person.

[0006] Preferably, at least, the support columns supporting the simulated shoulder platform from the shoulders of the wearer are made of inflatable bladder material which allows them to be light weight, collapsible and thus easily portable. The ends of the inflatable bladders may also be shaped to conform to the shoulders of the wearer. It is desirable to have the shoulder simulating platform also made of inflatable bladder material to keep it light.

[0007] In addition to supporting the simulated shoulder platform from the shoulders, it is also partially supported on the top of the wearer's head. A head piece, in the form of a downward extending protrusion from the shoulder platform, allows the shoulder platform to be above the wearer's head and still have added stability of head contact. The head contacting protrusion is preferably made of an inflatable bladder material, preferably the same inflatable bladder as the simulated shoulder platform. All of these bladder structures described above may be connected together by passages so that they effectively constitute one bladder structure inflatable through a single valve. Alternatively, they may be mechanically connected individual pieces, each individually inflated.

[0008] Means to hold the simulated elevated shoulders on the wearer's head can be very simple and include ties for the head contacting portion or to the shoulder simulating portion directly, which may be tied under the chin.

[0009] More specifically, the present invention relates to a structure providing simulated shoulders elevated above the wearer's head for support of costumes or the like. The simulated shoulders provide a platform of the width and length determined by the width and length required for the shoulder portion of the costume. Support columns extend between the simulated shoulders platform and the shoulders of the wearer, spaced apart at least the largest lateral dimension of the wearer's head. Each column is attached to the shoulder simulating platform at one end and at the other end is provided with shoulder conforming terminations which generally conform to each of the wearer's shoulders. Means attached to the simulated shoulders platform is provided to hold the structure to the wearer's head.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of the preferred embodiment of the invention without any support for a simulated head.

[0011] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the structure of FIG. 1.

[0012] FIG. 3 is a front elevational view similar to FIG. 1, but with a head supporting post in place.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a plan view from above of the structure of FIG. 3.

[0014] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4.

[0015] FIG. 6 is front view of a costume employed with the simulated shoulder structure of FIGS. 3-5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0016] Referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, a structure generally designated 10, provides simulated shoulders elevated above a wearer's head for support of costumes, or the like, to make the wearer appear taller than he is. A simulated shoulder platform 12 is of width and length determined by the width and length required for the shoulder portion of the costume, and is intended to support the weight of a robe or dress costume which hangs free from the shoulders. The platform 12 is preferably provided with rounded ends 12a and 12b as seen in FIG. 2. Similar support columns 12a and 12b are connected beneath the platform 12 to support the platform from the shoulders 14 of the wearer as shown in FIG. 1.

[0017] The positioning of the columns 12a and 12b, is such that the spacing between them allows room for the head 16 of the wearer. In this case, the head support 10 is cylindrical, but in other embodiments it could assume any shape not interfering with its support function. A head support protrusion 18 from the bottom of the platform 12 is provided to rest atop the wearer's head 16 and provide added support for the shoulder platform. To help position the wearer's head properly to engage the protrusion 18 an adjustable head band in two pieces 20a and 20b, which may be supported respectively on columns 13a and 13b and held together by suitable means Velcro® tabs 22a on band piece 20a engaging Velcro® strips 22b on band piece 20b allows a selected adjusted position for each wearer's head. Of course, other means of adjustment than Velcro® may be provided.

[0018] A pair of flexible ties 24a and 24b attached to the head supporting protrusion 18 of the platform 12, may be secured together at their free ends by tying them under the wearer's chin as shown in FIG. 1. The ties 24a and 24b, may be alternatively attached to the platform 12 at another place or even to the columns 12a and 12b, well above the wearer's chin.

[0019] It will be observed that the platform 12 and columns 12a and 12b and the head support 18 are not only physically attached to one another to make the unitary structure 10, but are composed in major part of “bladders,” or inflatable parts. The inflatable members, in this embodiment, have their interior inflatable portions connected to one another. The hollow inflatable members may be difficult to make in an unitary structure, and even more difficult to assure adequate air passages from one to another, which is complicated if not made as a single piece. In this particular case, in addition to mechanical attachment of pieces to one another their bladders are interconnected and inflatable by a single valve 28. The valve may be quite simple and conventional, basically a heavier tubular piece through which a user can blow to inflate the whole structure 10. The valve is closed by a tapered molded pin to hold the air within the connected bladders once it has been blown up. Since these spaces are interconnecting so that the whole structure may be blown up through the one valve 28 it is desirable to have the interconnecting passages (not shown) sufficiently large to ease the task of the inflater. As is typically done with bladders a tubular valve body may be molded integrally with the wall through which it passes. The frictionally retained stopper is preferably molded with the tube and attached to the valve body by a strip. Of course, any type of valve construction suitable to the application can be used, including separately molded flanged valves glued or heat sealed to the bladder at the edges of a small hole therethrough provided for the purpose. This type of simple valve allows the user to inflate the simulated shoulders structure so that it is quickly ready for use. When it is to be stored, the structure can be quickly deflated and folded flat for convenient storage.

[0020] Referring now to FIGS. 3-6 and particularly FIGS. 3 and 4, the structure shown is quite similar to that of FIGS. 1 and 2 and is similar in use. FIG. 5 shows in perspective the structure, permitting a better view of shape of various parts. Similar parts performing similar functions are given the same numbers as in FIGS. 1 and 2, but with the addition of primes thereto. A prominent and functionally important additional piece is the head post 30 to which a head may be easily mounted. As with the other pieces, the head post could be made of a solid piece, or even a tubular piece, but the inflatable form allows it to be lighter and still be quite functional for costume purposes. In its simplest form, a neck piece or other portion of the costume head may be sized and designed to slide over and frictionally engage the head post 30 to support the head. More elaborate means of attaching the head either to a post or to the top surface of the shoulders 12, exist and are known in general from the art. However, the inflatable post has an important advantage, particularly when provided as a separate bladder or inflatable chamber, with a separate inflatable compartment accessed by a valve 32. In such an event, the post can be deflated leaving the rest of the structure inflated and the post is essentially out of the way to provide the headless shoulder arrangement of FIGS. 1 and 2. Separate valves 28′ and 34 are shown in columns 13a′ and 13b′, respectively into which is constructed essentially like that of FIGS. 1 and 2. However, the individual bladders of the various structural elements have no connection to one another in the FIGS. 3 and 4 version, in the FIGS. 3 and 4 embodiment even the head contacting protrusion 18′ which is connected to the shoulder simulating member 12 has a separate valve 38. Such construction might serve the additional function of allowing variable inflation of the head piece protrusion to accommodate a different wearer head size. Such an adjustment in the vertical direction is in addition to the adjustment of a head band 20a′ and 20b′ to help hold the structure in proper relationship to the head by contacting the back of the head in a comfortable adjustable position. Instead of using ties in this particular embodiment, there are straps or belts 24a′ and 24b′ and a buckle 26 is attached to the strap 24a′. Alternatively the straps could be provided with a Velcro® connection as well as the bands 20a′ and 20b′ for securing the structure around the chin of the wearer.

[0021] FIG. 6 shows a costume and a head supported on the simulated elevated shoulders. It will be appreciated that with a costume of this sort, the shoulders of the costume can be made to fit the shoulder member 12′ which will tend to help keep the costume in place just as shoulders in a suit or dress keep clothing in the right position on the wearer. However, in this case, the costume 40 covers the wearer's face and probably extends to the ground or close to the ground in a great majority of cases. An artificial head 41 is provided to fit over post 30.

[0022] In the area where the costume covers the wearer's face, some sort of provision allowing the wearer to see through the costume is needed. A simple means of providing vision is to use a panel 42 of cloth or other mesh material sufficiently fine that from a distance one does not see through it, but from the close proximity which the wearer enjoys allows vision through the material. The panel may be sewn to the cloth of the costume or otherwise suitable affixed thereto.

[0023] The invention has been describes in terms of specific embodiments having parts of inflatable form. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that rigid, preferably light weight materials, may be substituted for some or all of the structure. However, not having the pieces inflatable usually constitutes significant disadvantage in terms of added weight and decreasing the possibility of the structure being easily deflated and folded up. Some more rigid materials substituted for some piece might even be more comfortable, depending upon the material used and the weight of that material. Inflatable material, of course, has the advantage of being somewhat yieldable so that it will conform, for example, more closely to the wearer's shoulders. The head piece 18 or 18′ can be used fully inflated or, in this embodiment with its own valve 38 separate from that of the shoulders platform can be partially deflated when the wearer's head is somewhat larger than the contemplated size. Indeed in some cases, the head size, if great enough, might not require the head piece at all and it could not be inflated under those circumstances.

[0024] Many variations on the embodiments shown will occur to those skilled in the art, given known practices with various materials represented. Other materials might be substituted to take advantage of their known properties. Material for the inflatable part commonly might be polyvinalchloride or some variation thereof or many other products including natural or synthetic rubber products. All such modifications within the scope of the claims which would occur in those skilled in the art are intended to be within the scope of the present invention.