Title:
Hanger storage device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A coat hanger storage device allowing hangers to be stored for transport or storage on or off a closet rod. The preferred embodiment includes a plurality of body panels forming an internal cavity in which hangers may be stored, with at least one body panel opening by releasing at least one fastener to allow for removal of one or more hangers. The enclosure is preferably made from a Plexiglas®, plastic or polymeric material. The fastener is preferably magnetic.



Inventors:
Gomez, Ruben (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/224012
Publication Date:
02/26/2004
Filing Date:
08/20/2002
Assignee:
GOMEZ RUBEN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/290, 206/278
International Classes:
A47G25/14; (IPC1-7): B65D85/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STEPHENS III, JOSE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ruben Gomez and Ms. Sally Herrera (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device for storing hangers comprising a hanging portion and a clothes holding portion, the device comprising: a first and a second shoulder portion; and a first and a second side portion; wherein the first shoulder portion is attached to the first side portion at a first interface; wherein the second shoulder portion is attached to the first side portion at a second interface; wherein the second side portion is attached to the first shoulder portion at a third interface; wherein at least one of the second side portion or the second shoulder portion is rotatable around the axis defined by the third interface or the second interface respectively to rotate between an opened and a closed position; wherein an engageable fastener is provided to maintain the at least one rotatable portion in the closed position when engaged; and wherein the side portions and the shoulder portions define a gap for protrusion of the hanging portion of the hanger.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein both the second side portion and the second shoulder portion are rotatable around the axes defined by the third interface and the second interface respectively.

3. The device of claim 1 further comprising a bottom portion attached to the first shoulder portion and the first side portion.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the fastener is chosen from a magnet, a zipper, a hook-and-loop fastener, a button, a snap, or a latch.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein the first and second side portion and the first and second shoulder portion comprise a rigid material.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein the first and second side portion and the first and second shoulder portion comprise a flexible material.

7. A device for storing hangers comprising a hanging portion and a clothes holding portion, the device comprising: a first and a second shoulder portion; a first and a second side portion; and a bottom portion; wherein the first shoulder portion, the second shoulder portion, the first side portion, and the second side portion are attached to the bottom portion at first, second, third, and fourth interfaces respectively; wherein at least one of the second side portion or the second shoulder portion is rotatable around the axis defined by the fourth interface or the second interface respectively to rotate between an open and a closed position; wherein an engageable fastener is provided to maintain the at least one rotatable portion in the closed position when engaged; and wherein the side portions and the shoulder portions define a gap for protrusion of the hanging portion of the hanger.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein the mechanical fastener is chosen from a magnet, a zipper, a hook-and-loop fastener, a button, a snap, or a latch.

9. The device of claim 7 wherein the first and second side portion and the first and second shoulder portion comprise a rigid material.

10. The device of claim 7 wherein the first and second side portion and the first and second shoulder portion comprise a flexible material.

11. The device of claim 7 wherein both the second side portion and the second shoulder portion are rotatable around the axis defined by the fourth interface and the second interface respectively.

12. A device for storing hangers comprising a hanging portion and a clothes holding portion, the device comprising: an enclosure comprising four sides, a bottom, and a gap for protrusion of the hanging portion of the hangers, wherein at least one of the sides is rotatable between an opened and a closed position; wherein an engageable fastener maintains the at least one rotatable side in a closed position when the fastener is engaged; and wherein the opening created when the rotatable side is opened is large enough to allow removal or addition of at least one hanger.

13. The device of claim 12 wherein two sides are rotatable between an opened and a closed position.

14. The device of claim 12 wherein the sides and bottom comprise a rigid material.

15. The device of claim 12 wherein the sides and bottom comprise a flexible material.

16. The device of claim 12 wherein the fastener is a magnet.

17. The device of claim 12 wherein the fastener is a zipper.

18. The device of claim 12 wherein two sides are rotatable between an opened and a closed position, wherein the sides and bottom comprise a rigid material, and wherein the fastener is a magnet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not Applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention relates generally to a device in which coat hangers can be stored. More particularly, the present invention relates to an enclosure in which coat hangers can be concealed and organized.

BACKGROUND

[0004] In a typical clothing closet, unused coat hangers may become entangled, causing annoyance and making it difficult to extract a single hanger when needed. Additionally, unused hangers often create clutter and can be unsightly.

[0005] Several prior art devices exist for storing extra hangers. A common coat hanger storage device consists of a stand with a protrusion over which hangers may be slipped. The device may be either wall-mounted or placed upright on a surface. Wall mounting typically requires fastening the device to the wall with mounting hardware. The device then protrudes from the wall, consuming room space, which can be an inconvenience in a confined space such as a closet or laundry room. Placing the stand on the floor or other surface also consumes valuable closet or room space.

[0006] Further, as the stored hangers are stacked on top of one another over the protrusion, one hanger in particular usually cannot be removed without removing the other hangers on top of it. This may be particularly desired if hangers of different types are stored together. Hangers stored on this device also cannot simultaneously be stored on the closet rod. Additionally, this device does not conceal the unused hangers from view.

[0007] Another common hanger storage device includes a rod member having a plurality of circular openings along its length, through which coat hanger hooks could be passed. The rod member is typically suspended by hooks from each end thereof. When not inserting or removing hangers, the device can be collapsed into a linear hanging position by suspending it from one end hook.

[0008] One disadvantage with this device is that hangers cannot easily be stored off the closet rod while stored on the rod member, as there is no enclosure preventing them from slipping out of the rod. Also, because each hanger is individually inserted into its own opening, removing all the stored hangers from the rod at once becomes time-consuming.

[0009] Further, when it is necessary to transport hangers, such as to a laundromat, the above mentioned devices, when considered alone or in combination, cannot provide a secure means for transporting hangers without the risking inadvertent loss or entanglement of the hangers. A coat hanger storage device is desired which inhibits tangling, affords storage on or off a closet rod, provides a compact and secure means for transporting hangers, and allows either all hangers or one or more particular hangers to be removed at a time.

SUMMARY OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0010] A preferred embodiment of the present invention features an apparatus for storing clothes hangers. The apparatus features a device for storage having at least one side that can be opened for removal or addition of at least one hanger. The device also features an engageable fastener for holding the device closed when the fastener is engaged. The user may disengage the fastener to open the device and add or remove at least one hanger.

[0011] Thus, the present invention comprises a combination of features and advantages which enable it to overcome various problems of prior devices. The various characteristics described above, as well as other features, will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, and by referring to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] For a more detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0013] FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention in a closed configuration;

[0014] FIG. 2 is an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention in a first open configuration; and

[0015] FIG. 3 is an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention in a second open configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0016] FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Several coat hangers 10 are shown encased inside coat hanger storage enclosure 11. When in this closed configuration, hangers 10 may be largely concealed from view, if so desired, depending on the opacity of material used for enclosure 11. In addition, it is preferred that hanger enclosure 11 largely constrains the relative movement of hangers 10, so that hangers 10 do not become entangled or intertwined. Accordingly, enclosure 11 is preferably triangular in shape, conforming largely to the shapes of hangers 10 so as to prevent relative motion, and allowing for their compact and organized storage or transport. It is envisioned that embodiments of the current invention may be of a size suitable for storing hangers for children's clothes or the hangers of clothes of adults or any other desirable size.

[0017] As shown in FIG. 2, hanger enclosure 11 preferably includes a plurality of body panels, including side panels 12, 13; shoulder panels 14, 15; fasteners 16a, 16b; end panels 17, 18; and bottom panel 19. Side panel 13 is preferably attached to bottom panel 19 with hinges (not shown) or other suitable device that allows a swinging or articulate connection between the two panels. Adjacent ends of shoulder panels 14, 15 together with side panels 12, 13 form gap 20, through which upper, hook-like portions 21 of hangers 10 may protrude, so that hangers 10 and hanger enclosure 11 may be hung on a closet rod as a unit. Hangers 10 rest on bottom panel 19 and are enclosed in internal cavity 23 formed by panels 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19.

[0018] Each shoulder panel 14, 15 preferably has at least one first fastener 16a, such as a magnet, designed to adhere to a corresponding second fastener 16b, located on side panels 12, 13. It will be understood that fasteners 16a, 16b are preferably magnetic, but may alternately include a hook-and-loop fastener (e.g., VELCRO), snap, button, zipper, latch, or other suitable fastening devices which would require the application of manual force or manipulation to disengage. Shoulder panel 14 is preferably attached to end panel 17 with hinges (not shown) or other suitable device that allows a swinging or rotating connection between the two panels, while shoulder panel 15 is preferably fixedly attached to side panel 12 and end panel 18.

[0019] In the configuration shown in FIG. 2, hanger enclosure 11 is shown in a first opened configuration, with side panel 13 swung open, forming opening 24 to cavity 23, so that hangers 10 can be removed by sliding laterally. Additionally, multiple hangers 10 can also be removed at once in this manner. When side panel 13 is in a closed position, fasteners 16a and 16b are adjacent one another and engaged, and hangers 10 are enclosed within, with only hook-like portions 21 remaining exposed.

[0020] Referring now to FIG. 3, hanger enclosure 11 is shown in a second opened configuration. In this configuration, side panel 13 is closed, forming lateral support for hangers 10, and shoulder panel 14, attached to end panel 17 with a swinging connection, is shown in an extended, open position, forming opening 25 to cavity 23. In this configuration, all hangers 10 or a particular hanger 10 may be removed at a time by sliding axially along their lengths. Additionally, if the hangers 10 are hanging on a closet rod the hangers 10 may be removed from the storage device 11 without removing the hangers from the closet rod (not shown).

[0021] The hanger enclosure is preferably made of a lightweight, material such as Plexiglas, flexible or rigid plastic or sheet metal, and may be transparent or, alternately, translucent or opaque, if concealment of hangers 10 is desired. It will be understood that a variety of materials could be used to create enclosure 11 (e.g., cloth or fabric) without departing from the spirit of the invention. The hanger enclosure also may be adorned with a decorative material or pattern, if so desired.

[0022] It is preferred that the enclosure includes at least one opening, through which a hanger may be removed, the opening preferably formed by repositioning at least one panel. Connections between panels that are joined, but move relative to one another, may include hinges or joints formed by portions of material and an adhesive. In addition, the hanger enclosure may be manufactured in different widths, to accommodate various quantities of hangers, or in different sizes, to accommodate various sizes of hangers.

[0023] While preferred embodiments of this invention have been shown and described, modifications thereof can be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit or teaching of this invention. The embodiments described herein are exemplary only and are not limiting. Many variations and modifications of the system and apparatus are possible and are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of protection is not limited to the embodiments described herein, but is only limited by the claims that follow, the scope of which shall include all equivalents of the subject matter of the claims.