Title:
Ergonomic utility hand mitt with pointed closed end
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand mitt includes first and second side members presenting soft, non-abrasive surfaces. A hand-receiving recess is defined between the side members and an open mouth provides access to the recess. The recess defines an innermost region opposite the mouth that converges to a point moving in a direction away from the mouth. The innermost region is adapted for receipt of a middle finger of a user's hand inserted into the recess. The mitt defines a sharply pointed distal end that overlies the converging innermost region of the recess. The pointed distal end is defined by two peripheral edges that converge at an angle of not more than about 135°. An outer face of the mitt is optionally impregnated with wax or a cleaning compound. The mitt can be manufactured as a one-piece construction. A polishing/cleaning device includes two mitts interconnected by a flexible strip.



Inventors:
Sandusky, James S. (Parma, OH, US)
Application Number:
09/858781
Publication Date:
12/06/2001
Filing Date:
05/16/2001
Assignee:
SANDUSKY JAMES S.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D19/01; A47L13/18; A47L13/19; (IPC1-7): A41D1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James W. McKee, Esq. (Cleveland, OH, US)
Claims:

Having thus described the preferred embodiments, what is claimed is:



1. A hand mitt comprising: first and second side members having first and second peripheries, first and second inner faces and first and second outer faces, respectively, wherein a portion of said first periphery is interconnected with a corresponding portion of said second periphery with said first and second inner faces arranged in opposed facing relation and said first and second outer faces exposed and presenting soft, non-abrasive surfaces; a hand-receiving recess defined between said respective inner faces and an open mouth providing access to said hand-receiving recess defined between a portion of said first periphery that is unconnected to a portion of said second periphery, said recess defined to include an innermost region located opposite said mouth that converges to a point moving in a direction away from said mouth, said innermost region adapted for receipt of a middle finger of a user's hand inserted into said recess through said mouth; a sharply pointed distal end defined by said first and second outer faces, said sharply pointed distal end overlying the converging innermost region of said recess.

2. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first and second peripheries of said first and second side members define a pentagonal shape and are arranged relative to each other so that said hand mitt, itself, defines an overall pentagonal shape, wherein said sharply pointed distal end of said mitt is defined by a convergence of two linear peripheral edges of said overall pentagonal shape.

3. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 2, wherein said two linear peripheral edges converge at an angle of not more than 135°.

4. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 3, wherein said two linear peripheral edges converge at an angle of not more than 110°.

5. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 3, wherein said recess is sized to accommodate a user's entire hand.

6. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 3, wherein said recess is sized to accommodate only four fingers of a user's hand.

7. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 5, further comprising: an elastic cuff adjacent and surrounding the mouth of the recess for closely encircling a users wrist when the users hand is placed in the recess.

8. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 1, wherein at least one of said first and second outer faces is impregnated with one of a wax and a cleaning compound.

9. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first and second side members are defined as a one-piece construction that is folded upon itself.

10. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 1, wherein said first and second side members are each defined from a laminate comprising a first layer of soft absorbent material and a second layer comprising one of foam and a rubberized material, wherein said outer face of each of said first and second side members is defined by said first layer of said laminate and said inner face of each of said first and second side members is defined by said second layer of said laminate.

11. The hand mitt as set forth in claim 10, wherein said laminate comprises a barrier layer between said first and second layers.

12. A device for cleaning or polishing comprising: a first hand mitt comprising a first exposed surface; a second hand mitt comprising a second exposed surface; a flexible strip extending between and interconnecting said first and second hand mitts, said flexible strip defining a third exposed surface.

13. The device as set forth in claim 12, wherein said first, second and third exposed surfaces are defined by a single one-piece member.

14. The device as set forth in claim 12, wherein at least one of said first and second exposed surfaces is impregnated with one of a wax and a polishing compound.

15. The device as set forth in claim 12, wherein each of said first and second mitts defines a pointed distal tip.

16. The device as set forth in claim 15, wherein said pointed distal tip of each of said first and second mitts is defined by linear edges that converge at an angle of not more than 135°.

17. The device as set forth in claim 16 wherein each of said first and second mitts is pentagonal in shape and defines a hand-receiving recess having an innermost region adapted for receipt of a user's middle finger that underlies said pointed distal tip.

18. A method a manufacturing a mitt comprising: forming a one-piece blank defining first and second pentagonally shaped portions separated by a common edge region; folding said one-piece blank upon itself at said common edge region so that said first and second pentagonally shaped portions are aligned with each other and together define a mitt having first, second, third, fourth and fifth peripheral edges, wherein said first peripheral edge is defined by said common edge region where said blank is folded; and, joining said first and second pentagonally shaped portions along said second, third and fourth peripheral edges so that a recess is defined between said first and second pentagonally shaped portions and so that said fifth peripheral edge defines a mouth to said recess, said recess adapted for receipt of at least a portion of a user's hand.

19. The method as set forth in claim 18, further comprising: impregnating an exposed outer face of said mitt with one of a wax and a polishing compound.

20. The method as set forth in claim 18, wherein said step of joining said first and second pentagonally shaped portions along said second, third and fourth peripheral edges comprises one of glueing, sewing and welding.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims priority from and hereby expressly incorporates by reference U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/207,871 filed May 30, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to the cleaning and polishing arts and, more particularly, to a specially conformed mitt that is specifically adapted for polishing and cleaning hard-to-reach areas and areas where precise contact with the surface being cleaned/polished is required.

[0003] Cleaning and polishing hand mitts are generally well known and in wide use. Hand mitts offer numerous advantages over simple use of a towel rag, sponge, or the like, not the least of which is the ease with which a mitt is maneuvered due to its conformance with the user's hand. Heretofore, however, mitts have been conformed with a flat, gently rounded, or blunt closed or distal ends that are not conducive for cleaning/polishing hard-to-reach areas, and that are not suitable for cleaning/polishing areas where precise control of the mitt is required. For example, prior mitts for wax application/removal have not been well suited for application to a narrow strip of the surface being treated or adjacent a window, trim assembly, or the like. Oftentimes, the closed, distal end of conventional mitts are large and bulbous and cannot be inserted into restricted areas such as where two surfaces intersect at a small angle, e.g., where a windshield meets a dashboard assembly, or into grooves defined between adjacent body panels or the like.

[0004] Another deficiency associated with conventional cleaning/polishing mitts is that they are not well suited for use in pairs. Conventional mitts are provided separately and may be used respectively on a user's two hands. However, such an approach does not provide any great synergistic advantage to the user, i.e., the cleaning/polishing effect is simply the combined effect of two mitts.

[0005] Prior mitts have been formed with a separate thumb-receiving area or in a thumbless configuration, i.e., with a single cavity that receives a user's entire hand. While these two types of mitts have enjoyed widespread commercial success, deficiencies with each have been identified. Mitts with a separate thumb-receiving cavity do not present a smooth and uninterrupted cleaning/polishing surface. The space between the thumb-receiving region and the finger-receiving region can result in uneven cleaning/polishing. Furthermore, these mitts are more complicated and costly to manufacture. Thumbless mitts, on the other hand, have generally been deemed to be superior for cleaning/polishing activities, but some users object to placement of their entire hand inside of the mitt. For example, when a user's entire hand is placed inside of a mitt, the user has no free thumb or fingers for activities that cannot be performed with the mitt in place, e.g., itching his/her body, adjusting eye glasses, etc.

[0006] In light of the foregoing, it has been deemed desirable to develop a new and improved ergonomic utility hand mitt with a pointed closed or distal end. Furthermore, it has been deemed desirable to develop such a mitt in a thumbless as well as a four-finger conformation. A need has also been identified for a pair of such cleaning/polishing mitts interconnected by a cleaning/polishing cloth that, itself, provides further cleaning/polishing action on a surface being cleaned/polished in addition to the action of the pair of mitts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] In accordance with the present invention, a cleaning and/or polishing hand mitt is provided. The mitt includes first and second side members arranged with their respective inner faces in opposed facing relation and interconnected along a substantial portion their respective peripheries so that a hand-receiving recess is defined therebetween. A mouth to the hand-receiving recess is defined between the first and second side members where they are not interconnected. The exposed, outer faces of the first and second members preferably comprise a soft, non-abrasive, and absorbent material adapted for cleaning/polishing operations. The innermost end of the hand-receiving recess, preferably directly opposite the mouth, defines a region that converges to a point in a direction moving away from the mouth and that is specifically adapted for closely receiving the user's third or middle finger. Correspondingly, the exposed, outer faces of the side members are conformed to define a sharply pointed distal end to the mitt that overlies the converging finger-receiving region in the mitt recess. Thus, in operation, a user's middle finger is received into the converging finger-receiving portion of the recess, and the user is then able to use his/her middle finger to manipulate the sharply pointed exterior distal end of the mitt as required for cleaning/polishing restricted areas and areas where precise control of the mitt is required.

[0008] Preferably, the first and second side members define the distal end of the mitt to have a generally triangular conformation, the tip of which forms the pointed exterior distal end of the mitt and the corresponding pointed finger-receiving region in the recess. Preferably, the exposed tip of the triangular conformation defines an interior angle of not more than about 135°, and most preferably of not more than 110°. The triangular conformation is also preferred in that it presents first and second linear edges that converge to define the exposed tip and that are well-suited for application of wax or the like adjacent trim, glass, or other surfaces that are not intended to be contacted with the wax or other substance being applied with the mitt.

[0009] Preferably, the mitt has an overall pentagonal shape, and the hand-receiving recess can be sized to accommodate either a user's entire hand (i.e., a thumbless mitt) or merely four fingers of the user's hand, with the thumb of the hand and the palm remaining outside of the mitt. In the former case, the mitt optionally comprises an elastic cuff adjacent the mouth of the recess for closely encircling a users wrist and/or arm when the users hand is placed in the mitt recess. In either case, one or both exposed exterior faces of the mitt can be impregnated with wax, a cleaning compound, or other substance to be applied to a surface. This, then, eliminates the expense, inconvenience, and storage associated with use of a separate container of the impregnated substance.

[0010] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a pair of mitts is provided and these are interconnected by a central cleaning/polishing cloth that preferably comprises a soft, absorbent material on at least one face. The central cloth is long enough so that a user can place one of his/her hands in each mitt and use the mitts independently. The central cloth provides additional cleaning/polishing action as it contacts the object surface. Most preferably, at least one side member defining each mitt and the central cloth section are defined as a one-piece construction.

[0011] In accordance with still another feature of the present invention, a method a manufacturing a mitt with a pointed closed end is provided. The method includes forming a single blank of material so that it defines first and second identical adjacent side members. The blank is then folded upon itself and all but one section of the mating peripheral portions of the blanks are sewn or otherwise fixedly secured together. The mating peripheral portions not affixed to each other define a mouth to a hand/finger-receiving recess located between the overlapping side members.

[0012] One advantage of the present invention resides in the provision of a cleaning/polishing mitt with a pointed closed end that facilitates cleaning/polishing hard-to-reach areas not accessible with a conventional mitt.

[0013] Another advantage of the present invention is found in the provision of a pair of cleaning/polishing mitts, each with a pointed closed end, wherein the pair are interconnected.

[0014] A further advantage of the present invention is the provision of a four-finger mitt having a pointed closed end that facilitates cleaning and/or polishing hard-to-reach areas.

[0015] Still another advantage of the present invention resides in the provision of a cleaning/polishing mitt with a pointed closed end that facilitates cleaning/polishing hard-to-reach areas not accessible with a conventional mitt, wherein at least one exposed outer face of the mitt is impregnated with wax or another substance to be applied to a surface being cleaned and/or polished.

[0016] Yet another advantage is found in the provision of an improved method for manufacturing a mitt with a pointed closed end.

[0017] Still other benefits and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art to which the invention pertains upon reading and understanding the following specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The invention may take form in certain components and structures and in certain steps and procedures, preferred embodiments of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof and wherein:

[0019] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a mitt formed in accordance with the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a plan view of a mitt formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3;

[0023] FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic illustration of the mitt of FIG. 1 and placement of a user's hand therein for cleaning/polishing operations;

[0024] FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic illustration of the mitt of FIG. 3 and placement of four fingers of a user's hand therein for cleaning/polishing operations;

[0025] FIG. 7 is a simplified plan view of the mitt of FIG. 1 showing preferred dimensions therefor and illustrating an optional cuff in accordance with the present invention;

[0026] FIG. 8 is a simplified plan view of the mitt of FIG. 3 and showing preferred dimensions therefor in accordance with the present invention;

[0027] FIG. 9 is a plan view of a material blank adapted for being formed into a mitt in accordance with a method of the present invention;

[0028] FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken along lines 10-10 of FIG. 9; and,

[0029] FIG. 11 illustrates a dual-mitt cleaning/polishing apparatus formed in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are only for the purpose of illustrating preferred embodiments and not for the purpose of limiting the invention, FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a cleaning/polishing hand mitt 20 formed in accordance with the present invention. The subject mitt comprises first and second coextensive side members 22,24 fixedly secured to each other by sewing or the like along peripheral regions thereof so that a peripheral seam 28 is defined along with a hand-receiving recess 30 between the members 22,24. The first and second side members are not fixedly secured together along at least a portion of their respective peripheries so that a mouth 32 to the recess is also defined.

[0031] The first and second side members 22,24 comprise a flexible sheet material of at least a soft, absorbent outer layer 22a,24a, respectively. This outer layer comprises natural or synthetic fabrics, yarns, foams, or the like including cotton, wool, microfibers, terry cloth, pile, and other suitable absorbent, soft materials. Preferably, each side member also comprises an optional inner layer or lining 22b,24b comprising foam, rubber, or a other material that has a high coefficient of friction relative to its respective adjacent outer layer 22a,24a so as to limit sliding relative to a user's hand inserted into the recess 30. As is readily apparent in FIG. 2, the inner layers 22b,24b are arranged in opposed facing relation, and the outer layers 22a,24a face outwardly and are exposed exteriorly of the mitt.

[0032] The subject mitt 20 is preferably thumbless and conformed with an overall pentagonal shape, including a triangular distal portion 40, opposite the mouth 32, that converges to a pointed tip 50 located at or immediately adjacent the longitudinal centerline L of the mitt. The details of the tip 50 and preferred overall dimensions of the mitt 20 are discussed below in relation to FIGS. 7 and 8. The shape of the recess 30 conforms with the shape of the mitt overall and, thus, also comprises a pointed region 34 that is specifically adapted for closely receiving a user's middle or third finger when the user's hand is inserted into the recess. The pointed tip 50 can be somewhat rounded at its outermost end as illustrated in FIG. 1, preferably no more so than the tip of an average human middle finger.

[0033] The overall pentagonal shape of the mitt and recess is preferred in that it conforms generally to the shape of a human hand. Referring briefly to FIG. 5, it can be seen that when a user's hand H is placed in the recess 30, the middle or third finger F3 of the user's hand is closely received in the distal pointed region 34 of the recess adjacent the exterior pointed region 50 of the mitt. Thus, the user can use his/her middle finger F3 to manipulate precisely the pointed tip 50 of the mitt as required, e.g., for cleaning polishing hard-to-reach areas only slightly larger than the user's middle finger. The seam 28 in the pointed region 34 of the recess defines a pointed, hardened zone relative to the first and second side members 22,24 that facilitates cleaning/polishing in areas that can only be accessed with the pointed region 50 of the mitt. It is also apparent in FIG. 5 that the recess 30 is minimally large enough to accommodate the user's entire hand, with the user's wrist W located adjacent the mouth 32. It is most preferred that the recess 30 be no larger than necessary to accommodate an average human hand with minimal excess space to minimize movement of the user's hand in the recess.

[0034] FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate an alternative mitt 120 formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention. Except as shown and described, the mitt 120 is identical to the mitt 20 and, thus, like reference numbers and letters are used to identify like components, with the numbers being 100 greater than those used in relation to the mitt 20. The mitt 120 is a four-finger mitt that defines a recess 130 adapted for receipt of four fingers of a user's hand as illustrated in FIG. 6. Here, again, the mitt defines an overall pentagonal shape with a triangular distal region 140 that terminates in a pointed tip 150. Like the recess 30 of the mitt 20, the recess 130 includes a pointed region 134 that closely receives a user's middle finger F3 when the user's four fingers are inserted therein. When the mitt 120 is fully seated on a user's hand, the mouth 132 lies adjacent the juncture of the user's fingers and palm, with the user's thumb located exterior of the mitt. In this manner, the user's thumb is free for use without interference from or removal of the mitt.

[0035] With reference now to FIG. 7, the mitt 20 is described in further detail. FIG. 7 shows only the first side member 22 of the mitt, but those of ordinary skill in the art will certainly recognize from the foregoing discussion that the second side member 24 is identically shaped, although it may be defined from a different material. The mitt is generally pentagonal in overall shape, and includes the noted triangular distal region 40. The triangular region is preferably defined by at least substantially linear edges 44a,44b that converge at an angle a of not more than about 135° and most preferably not more than 110° to define the pointed tip 50. Optionally, the mitt 20 comprises an elastic cuff member 46 adjacent the mouth 32 and adapted to tightly encircle a user's wrist when the user's hand is inserted into the mitt. By way of example only, the mitt 20 can be defined with an overall length (from mouth 32 to tip 50) of about ten inches, with the triangular portion 40 providing about thirty to forty percent of this length, and an overall width of about six inches.

[0036] Details of the four-finger mitt 120 are disclosed in FIG. 8 wherein the first side member 122 of the mitt is illustrated. Again, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the second side member 124 is identically shaped. The mitt 120 is generally pentagonal in overall shape, and includes a triangular distal region 140. The triangular region is preferably defined by at least substantially linear edges 144a,144b that converge at an angle b of not more than about 135° and most preferably not more than 110° to define the pointed tip 150. By way of example only, the mitt 20 can be defined with an overall length (from mouth 132 to tip 150) of about five inches, with the triangular portion 40 providing about thirty to forty percent of this length, and an overall width of about four to five inches.

[0037] With reference now to FIGS. 9 and 10, a preferred method of fabricating the mitt 20,120 is described. If desired, the mitt 20,120 can be fabricated from a single blank of material. For ease of understanding the invention, FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate a blank 200 suitable for forming the four-finger mitt 120, but the thumbless mitt 20 can be fabricated in the same manner using a blank of different dimensions. The blank 200 is defined to comprise only the first and second side members 122,124 interconnected along a common edge 202. The blank 200 is defined from any suitable material such as the laminate illustrated in FIG. 10. The laminate comprises a first layer 210 including a soft, absorbent material such as wool, cotton, foam, microfiber, or the like, and will ultimately serve as the outer layer 122a,124a of the first and second mitt side members 122,124. A second layer 220 of the laminate is defined from foam, a rubberized coating, or other suitable mitt lining material, and will ultimately serve as the inner layer 122b,124b of the first and second mitt side members 122,124. The first and second laminate layers are interconnected by an intermediate layer 215 comprising a laminating adhesive such as a double-faced tape including a plastic substrate with rubber and/or acrylic adhesives applied to its opposite faces. Such a tape provides a protective barrier that inhibits or entirely prevents the passage of polishing wax and/or cleaning/polishing solutions from the first layer 210 to the second layer 220. Optionally, a portion of the first layer 210 of the blank corresponding to the first and/or second side members 122,124 is impregnated with a wax or a cleaning substance 230.

[0038] To form the mitt 120, the blank 200 is folded at the common edge 202 so that the first layer 210 of the laminate is exposed and so that the second layer 220 of the laminate is folded upon itself. The portions of the blank defining the first and second side members 122,124 of the mitt 120 are arranged in registry and sewn, glued, welded, or otherwise fixedly secured to each other along first, second, and third seams S1,S2,S3 (FIG. 3) and left separate from each other along at least one edge so that the mouth 132 is defined.

[0039] FIG. 11 illustrates a cleaning/polishing mitt device comprising first and second mitts 320a,320b both formed in accordance with the present invention and interconnected by a central cleaning/polishing cloth 370 that preferably comprises a soft, absorbent material such as cotton, wool, microfiber, foam, or the like on at least one face. The first and second mitts 320a,320b are preferably thumbless mitts formed identically to the mitt to the mitt 20. Accordingly, like components relative to the mitt 20 are identified with like reference numbers that are 300 greater than those used in FIGS. 1 and 2. The central connecting cloth 370 is long enough so that a user can place one of his/her hands in each mitt 320a,320b and use the mitts independently. The central cloth 370 provides additional cleaning/polishing action as it contacts the object surface. Most preferably, at least one side member 322,324 defining each mitt and the central cloth section are defined as a one-piece construction.

[0040] The invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments. Modifications and alterations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding the preceding specification. It is intended that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they are encompassed by the appended claims as construed literally and/or according to the doctrine of equivalents.