Title:
Adjustable fastening device with attachment eyes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible fastening device made of a moldable polymeric material, the device having a fastener clip attached to an elongate strand and a plurality of beads longitudinally spaced along smaller diameter strand sections, each bead being insertable through an aperture in the fastener clip when the strand is looped around a supported object to selectively adjust an area encircled by the fastening device, the fastener clip also having a second, smaller aperture that is releasably engageable with the smaller diameter strand sections between the beads, and a plurality of the beads having an attachment eye, which is an aperture transverse to the strand sections for receiving a nail, screw or other fastener for attachment of the fastening device to a supporting object.



Inventors:
Avinger, Andrew G. (Lubbock, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/108214
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
03/26/2002
Assignee:
AVINGER ANDREW G.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D63/10; B65D63/18; (IPC1-7): B65D63/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JACKSON, ANDRE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Monty L. Ross (Dallas, TX, US)
Claims:
1. An adjustable, molded polymeric fastening device comprising a fastening member attached to an elongate, flexible fastening section, the fastening section further comprising an elongate strand having a diameter and a plurality of beads spaced apart in fixed relation to the strand, each bead having a diameter greater than the strand diameter and a plurality of the beads each having an attachment eye, the fastening member comprising an aperture large enough to receive a beads therethrough and a retainer section adjacent to the aperture, wherein one end of the strand is connected to the fastening member and an opposite free end of the strand and the beads are insertable through the aperture in the fastening member and releasably attachable to the retainer section to form a variable sized loop to releasably confine a supported object inside the loop.

2. The fastening device of claim 1 wherein the attachment eye comprises a transverse aperture through the bead.

3. The fastening device of claim 1 wherein the retainer section is a smaller opening communicating with the aperture, the smaller opening being large enough to receive the strand but not large enough to permit passage of a bead therethrough.

4. The fastening device of claim 3 wherein the smaller opening is more distal than the fastening member aperture to the end of the strand that is connected to the fastening member.

5. A one-piece elongate, flexible fastening device made of a moldable polymeric material, the fastening device being releasably attachable around at least a portion of a supported object and comprising: a first end having a fastener clip connected to a first strand section; a second end having a second strand section insertable through the fastener clip; and a longitudinally extending, flexible fastener section intermediate the first and second strand sections, the flexible fastener section comprising a plurality of longitudinally spaced beads separated by additional strand sections; the beads and strand sections each having a cross-sectional area, with the cross-sectional area of each bead being greater than the cross-sectional area of each strand section; the fastener clip further comprising an aperture defining a first area proximal to the first strand section and a second area communicating with the first area and distal to the first strand section; the first area being slightly greater than the cross-sectional area of each bead to permit the passage of each bead therethrough; the second area being less than the cross-sectional area of each bead but slightly greater than the cross-sectional area of each strand section to prevent the passage of each bead therethrough while permitting lateral insertion of each strand section into the second area; a plurality of beads each having an attachment eye comprising a bead aperture that is transverse to the longitudinally extending fastener section.

6. The fastening device of claim 5 wherein the fastener clip, beads and strand sections are unitarily molded.

7. A flexible fastening device made of a moldable polymeric material, the device having a fastener clip attached to an elongate strand and a plurality of beads longitudinally spaced along smaller diameter strand sections, each bead being insertable through an aperture in the fastener clip when the strand is looped around a supported object to selectively adjust an area encircled by the fastening device, the fastener clip also having a second, smaller aperture that is releasably engageable with the smaller diameter strand sections between the beads, and a plurality of the beads having an attachment eye comprising an aperture transverse to the strand sections.

8. The fastening device of claim 7 wherein the fastener clip, beads and strand sections are unitarily molded.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates to flexible fastening devices that are moldable from a polymeric material and, more particularly, to an adjustable fastening device having a plurality of attachment eyes. One preferred use for the flexible fastening device of the invention is for supporting decorative garlands or light strings in seasonal decorating.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] The use of adjustable fastening devices is well known. Molded flexible cable ties, for example, have enjoyed widespread use in a variety of applications during recent years. Cable ties are elongate, generally flat, flexible polymeric strips that employ transverse ridges along their length. A free end of the tie is inserted through a locking mechanism on the opposite end of the tie and transverse ridges disposed along the length of the tie sequentially engage the locking mechanism as the tie is progressively tightened. A disadvantage of such ties, however, is that they are unidirectional, meaning that they cannot be loosened or released during or following use.

[0005] Another known adjustable polymeric fastening device comprises an elongate polymeric strand having a generally circular cross-section and a series of longitudinally spaced, larger diameter beads. A fastener loop on one end of the elongate strand comprises an aperture through which the free end of the strand can be inserted to encircle the fastened object. The aperture is large enough to accommodate passage of the beads through the loop as the fastening device is tightened, but also comprises a neck or notched portion into which the strand portion is inserted laterally to engage the fastener. Whenever a section of the strand disposed between any two of the longitudinally spaced beads is shifted into the neck or notched section, through which the larger diameter beads cannot pass, the fastening device is releasably engaged. For so long as the fastening device remains under tension, the beads disposed on either side of the fastener loop will prevent the fastening device from either tightening or loosening. If the user again shifts the strand portion over into the larger diameter section of the fastening loop, the fastening device can be tightened, loosened or completely disengaged.

[0006] In seasonal decorating as well as in other applications, however, an elongate fastening device is needed that can be quickly and conveniently looped around or through a garland, light string or other supported object and then releasably attached to a supporting object or surface. The needed device will desirably be flexible, moldable from a polymeric material, adjustable in the sense that it can be easily tightened or loosened around the supporting object, and yet attachable to a planar support surface such as a wall.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, a flexible fastening device is disclosed that is made of a moldable polymeric material, the device having a fastener clip attached to an elongate strand and a plurality of beads longitudinally spaced along smaller diameter strand sections, each bead being insertable through an aperture in the fastener clip when the strand is looped around a supported object to selectively adjust an area encircled by the fastening device, the fastener clip also having a second, smaller aperture that is releasably engageable with the smaller diameter strand sections between the beads, and a plurality of the beads having an attachment eye comprising an aperture transverse to the strand sections for receiving a nail, screw or other fastener for attachment of the fastening device to a supporting object.

[0008] According to a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the fastener clip, beads and strand sections of the subject fastening device are unitarily molded.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The apparatus of the invention is further described and explained in relation to the following figures of the drawings wherein:

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the flexible fastener of the invention in a folded position;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the flexible fastener of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the flexible fastener of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 4 is an enlarged, detail plan view of the fastener loop portion of the flexible fastener of FIG. 4;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5--5 of FIG. 4; and

[0015] FIG. 6 is a simplified perspective view of an adjustable loop formed by inserting the free end of the fastening strand of the subject fastening device around a supported object and then inserting it through the aperture of the fastening member and into releasable engagement with the retainer section adjacent the aperture, and also depicting a nail insertable through an attachment eye of a bead to attach the fastening device to a supporting surface.

[0016] Like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in all figures of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] Referring to FIGS. 1-6, fastening device 10 of the invention preferably comprises a fastener clip 12 and an elongate, flexible polymeric strand 14 comprising a plurality of smaller strand sections 16 including a first strand section 18 attached to fastener clip 12, a strand section 20 having a free end 22, and a plurality of intermediate strand sections 24 separating a plurality of spaced-apart beads 26 disposed in fixed relation to strand 14. Although depicted in FIGS. 1-3 as having a single fold for illustrative purposes, it should be appreciated that flexible polymeric strand 14 can be easily flexed into a circular loop 32 of adjustable diameter, visible in FIG. 6, depending upon the size of the object to be supported.

[0018] Fastener clip 12 of fastening device 10 is preferably connected to end 28 of strand section 18 that is opposite free end 22 of strand 14. Fastener clip 12 preferably comprises aperture 30 having a shape and area large enough to permit passage of beads 26 therethrough. Fastener clip 12 preferably further comprises a retainer member 34 on the side of aperture 30 that is distal to strand section 18 but adjacent to and communicating with aperture 30. Retainer member 34 most preferably comprises a smaller opening 36 and a restriction zone 38 disposed between opening 36 and aperture 30. Restriction zone 38 is preferably just wide enough to permit an intermediate strand section 24 to be inserted laterally between points 40, 42. Most preferably, the distance between points 40, 42 is slightly less than the outside diameter of intermediate strand sections 24 so that perimeter 44 of fastening clip 12 must be flexed outwardly to permit strand section 24 to pass laterally from aperture 30 into smaller opening 36. Smaller opening 36 is preferably of such size and shape that intermediate strand sections 14 can be received into smaller opening 36 without permitting the passage of beads 26 therethrough.

[0019] Referring to FIG. 6, during use of fastening device 10, free end 22 of strand 14 is desirably passed around or through an object 46 to be supported by the device and is then inserted through aperture 30 and is tightened to reduce the size of the loop 32 thereby created. When a loop 32 of desired size has been created, an intermediate strand section 24 is pressured laterally into retainer member 34, which will not permit the passage of beads 26 therethrough, to releasably secure fastening device 10 around supported object 46. It will be appreciated upon reading this disclosure that supported object 46 can be a seasonal decorative item such as garlands, wreaths and light strings, and the like, and can also include many other types of items as well.

[0020] Referring particularly to FIG. 6, a beneficial aspect of fastening device 10 is that a plurality of beads 26, or all of beads 26 if preferred, also comprise attachment eyes 48, each attachment eye having a transverse aperture 50 through which a tack, nail, screw, or other fastener 52 can be inserted to attach fastening device 10 to a supporting member or object 54 such as a wall, beam, or the like. When used in this manner, fastening device 10 can be used, for example, to releasably secure and support an object 56 such as a draped section of garland or a decorative light string adjacent to a wall. With prior art devices such as cable ties or beaded strand fasteners lacking the transverse apertures, one would have to first loop the fastening device around the supported object and then twist the looped fastening device to hang it, for example, over a fastener 52 such as a tack or nail. Because of the twist, the prior art fastening devices are more likely to disengage from fastener 52, particularly when supported object 56 is bumped or pulled downwardly during use.

[0021] Fastening device 10 is preferably injection molded as a unitary article from any suitable polymeric resin. Because strand 14 can be conveniently disengaged from retainer member 34 by moving intermediate strand section 24 laterally into aperture 30 and then withdrawing beads 26 and free end 22 back through aperture 30 of fastening clip 12, fastening devices 10 can be reused, unlike conventional cable ties that must be severed for removal.

[0022] Other alterations and modifications of the invention will likewise become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the present disclosure, and it is intended that the scope of the invention disclosed herein be limited only by the broadest interpretation of the appended claims to which the inventors are legally entitled.