Title:
Magnetically enhanced hair clip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a hair clip. In one embodiment, the hair clip includes a first clip arm and a second clip arm. A magnet is coupled to the first clip arm, and the second clip arm includes a magnetically conductive material. The magnet causes the second clip arm to be pulled towards said first clip arm—enhancing the ability of the hair clip to secure hair. In one implementation, the clip arms are also drawn together by force from a mechanical biasing mechanism, such as a spring. In further embodiments, the surface of each clip arm includes a cover material that impedes hair slipping—further enhancing the ability of the hair clip to secure hair.



Inventors:
Twomey, Cindy L. (Pleasanton, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/253410
Publication Date:
03/25/2004
Filing Date:
09/24/2002
Assignee:
TWOMEY CINDY L.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D8/20; (IPC1-7): A45D8/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DOAN, ROBYN KIEU
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HEIMLICH LAW (SAN JOSE, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A hair clip comprising: a first clip arm; a second clip arm; and a magnet coupled to said first clip arm, wherein said magnet causes said second clip arm to be pulled towards said first clip arm.

2. The hair clip of claim 1, wherein said second clip arm includes a magnetically conductive material.

3. The hair clip of claim 2, wherein said second clip arm is made of a magnetically conductive material.

4. The hair clip of claim 1, further including: a cover material on at least one of said first clip arm and said second clip arm.

5. The hair clip of claim 4, wherein said cover material includes fabric.

6. The hair clip of claim 5, wherein said fabric is velvet.

7. The hair clip of claim 6, wherein said velvet is nylon.

8. The hair clip of claim 4, wherein said cover material is on said first clip arm and said second clip arm.

9. The hair clip of claim 8, wherein said magnet is between said cover material on said first clip arm and said first clip arm for at least a portion of said first clip arm.

10. The hair clip of claim 8, wherein said cover material on said first clip arm is between said magnet and said first clip arm for at least a portion of said first clip arm.

11. The hair clip of claim 8, wherein said cover material on said first clip arm and said cover material on said second clip arm are part of a single piece of material.

12. The hair clip of claim 8, wherein said cover material on said first clip arm and said cover material on said second clip arm are not part of a single piece of material.

13. The hair clip of claim 1, further including: a second magnet coupled to said second clip arm.

14. The hair clip of claim 1, wherein said first clip arm and said second clip arm receive a non-magnetic biasing force directing said first clip arm and said second clip arm together.

15. The hair clip of claim 1, further including: a non-magnetic biasing mechanism in communication with said first clip arm and said second clip arm.

16. The hair clip of claim 1, further including: an axel in communication with said first clip arm and said second clip arm; and a bias spring coiled around said axel, said bias spring having a first end in communication with said first clip arm and a second end in communication with said second clip arm.

17. The hair clip of claim 16, wherein said biasing spring applies a biasing force to said first clip arm and said second clip arm, wherein said biasing force directs said first clip arm and said second clip arm toward each other toward a closed position.

18. The hair clip of claim 17, wherein a magnetic force associated with said magnet enhances said biasing force.

19. The hair clip of claim 1, wherein a surface of said second clip arm includes a material that impedes hair slipping.

20. The hair clip of claim 19, wherein said surface of said second clip arm is rubber.

21. The hair clip of claim 1, further including an ornament.

22. A hair clip comprising: a spring biased clip having a first clip arm and a second clip arm; and a magnet coupled to said first clip arm, wherein a force associated with said magnet enhances a spring biasing force associated with said spring biased clip.

23. The hair clip of claim 22, wherein said second clip arm includes a magnetically conductive material.

24. The hair clip of claim 22, further including: a cover material on at least one of said first clip arm and said second clip arm.

25. The hair clip of claim 24, wherein said cover material includes fabric.

26. The hair clip of claim 25, wherein said fabric is velvet.

27. The hair clip of claim 26, wherein said velvet is nylon.

28. The hair clip of claim 24, wherein said cover material is on said first clip arm and said second clip arm.

29. The hair clip of claim 28, wherein said magnet is between said cover material on said first clip arm and said first clip arm for at least a portion of said first clip arm.

30. The hair clip of claim 28, wherein said cover material on said first clip arm is between said magnet and said first clip arm for at least a portion of said first clip arm.

31. The hair clip of claim 28, wherein said cover material on said first clip arm and said cover material on said second clip arm are part of a single piece of material.

32. The hair clip of claim 29, wherein said cover material on said first clip arm and said cover material on said second clip arm are not part of a single piece of material.

33. The hair clip of claim 22, further including: a second magnet coupled to said second clip arm.

34. A hair clip comprising: a spring biased clip having a first clip arm and a second clip arm; a magnet coupled to said first clip arm; and a cover material on said first clip arm and said second clip arm, wherein a force associated with said magnet enhances a biasing force associated with said spring biased clip.

35. A hair clip comprising: a first clip arm including a magnetic material; and a second clip arm, wherein a force associated with said magnetic material causes said second clip arm and said first clip arm to be pulled together.

36. The hair clip of claim 35, wherein said second clip includes a magnetically conductive material.

37. The hair clip of claim 35, further including: a cover material on at least one of said first clip arm and said second clip arm.

38. The hair clip of claim 35, further including: an axel in communication with said first clip arm and said second clip arm; and a bias spring coiled around said axel, said bias spring having a first end in communication with said first clip arm and a second end in communication with said second clip arm, wherein said biasing spring applies a biasing force to said first clip arm and said second clip arm, wherein said biasing force directs said first clip arm and said second clip arm toward each other and said force associated with said magnetic material enhances said biasing force.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention is directed to a hair clip.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Many people employ hair clips to achieve desired hair styles or simply keep hair out of their eyes. In some instances, a person's hair may be too fine to support the use of a traditional hair clip. Small children, such as infants and toddlers, often have hair that is too fine for the use of traditional hair clips.

[0005] A traditional hair clip may consist of two prongs that are drawn together by a mechanical biasing mechanism. Ideally, the mechanical biasing force results in hair being secured between the prongs. In the case of fine hair, such as infant or toddler hair, the mechanical biasing force is insufficient to secure the hair—allowing the hair to slide out from between the clip's prongs. Traditional clip prongs also tend to have smooth surfaces that fail to inhibit the clip from sliding along the hair.

[0006] When a hair clip falls out, the person wearing the clip may not immediately realize the clip is missing—resulting in the clip being lost. In the case of a small child, a clip falling out of her hair can present a chocking hazard. The child may be attracted to the fallen clip and place the clip in her mouth.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention, roughly described, pertains to a hair clip that employs a magnetic force to draw clip arms together for securing hair.

[0008] In one embodiment, the hair clip includes two clip arms with at least one of the clip arms having a magnetically conductive material. A magnet is coupled to at least one of the clip arms to create a magnetic force that attracts the clip arms towards each other. This magnetic force enhances the ability of the hair clip to secure fine hair. In one implementation, the clip arms are also drawn together by a force from a non-magnetic mechanical biasing mechanism, such as a spring.

[0009] In further implementations, a cover material is included on each clip arm that comes into contact with a user's hair. The cover material provides an increased level of friction that impedes hair from slipping between the clip arms. One example of such material is nylon velvet. The use of the cover material in combination with the magnetic force on the clip arms gives the hair clip a greater ability to secure fine hair.

[0010] These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will appear more clearly from the following description in which the preferred embodiment of the invention has been set forth in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a side view of a hair clip in one embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a view of a non-magnetic mechanical biasing mechanism in the hair clip shown in FIG. 1 in one embodiment of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 3 is a bottom view of a top clip arm for the hair clip shown in FIG. 1 in one embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 4 is a top view of a bottom clip arm for the hair clip shown in FIG. 1 in one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0015] FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of hair clip 100 in one embodiment of the present invention. Hair clip 100 includes spring biased clip 104 having clip arm 110 and clip arm 112. Clip arm 110 and clip arm 112 are coupled together by axle 108, so as to rotate about axle 108. Biasing spring 122 (See FIG. 4, not shown in FIG. 1) applies a biasing force that directs clip arms 110 and 112 to move towards one another into a closed position, as shown in FIG. 1.

[0016] FIG. 2 shows one embodiment of biasing spring 122 in clip 104—looking into the left end of clip 104 as shown in FIG. 1. Biasing spring 122 is coiled around axle 108. One end of spring 122 is coupled to clip arm 110, and another end of biasing spring 122 is coupled to clip arm 112. In operation, biasing spring 122 exerts forces on clip arm 110 and clip arm 112 to push the left ends of clip arms 110 and 112 away from each other, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. This results in clip 104 moving to the closed position shown in FIG. 1.

[0017] A user opens clip 104 by applying pressure to the ends of clip arms 110 and 112 in opposition to the force from biasing spring 122. In one example, a user pinches the ends of clip arms 110 and 112 that are in contact with biasing spring 122. This causes clip arms 110 and 112 to rotate towards each other about axel 108 and compress spring 122. Spring biased clip 104 is commonly referred to as a pinch clip.

[0018] In one embodiment, spring biased clip 104 is a dual pronged clip, having dual prongs on clip arms 110 and 112. FIG. 3 shows a bottom view of clip arm 110 in one such embodiment. Clip arm 110 includes prong 120 and prong 18 being separated by a space. FIG. 4 shows a top view of clip arm 112 having prong 116 and 114 separated by a space. In further embodiments, clip arms 110 and 112 can have different configurations, such as being single prong clip arms.

[0019] In one embodiment of the present invention, hair clip 100 includes magnet 106 coupled to clip arm 112, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4. In one implementation, clip 104 is made of a magnetically conductive material, such as nickel plated steel. Magnet 106 creates a magnetic field that attracts clip arm 110 towards clip arm 112 to create a greater closing force in clip 104. The magnetic field stemming from magnet 106 enhances the clip closing bias force from biasing spring 122.

[0020] The combined clip closing force from the bias force of spring 122 and the magnetic field from magnet 106 makes the gripping ability of hair clip 100 greater in the closed position. The increased griping power of hair clip 100 gives clip 100 the ability to work well with fine hair, such hair found in infants and toddlers. The increased force bringing clip arms 110 and 112 together to the closed position makes it harder for hair to slide out from between the grip of clip arms 110 and 112. In one embodiment, magnet 106 is a flexible strip of magnetic material. In one such embodiment, magnet 106 has a width of 0.25 inches and a thickness of 0.06 inches. In alternate embodiments, magnet 106 may have varying dimensions and levels of flexibility. In some instances, magnet 106 may not be flexible.

[0021] Magnet 106 is coupled to clip arm 112 using an adhesive, such as glue. The adhesive couples magnet 106 to prongs 116 and 114 of clip arm 112. In one embodiment, a rubber-based craft adhesive is employed. In one such embodiment, magnet 106 can be obtained with the adhesive already applied thereon, with a peel-off liner covering the adhesive until magnet 106 is coupled to clip 104. In alternate embodiments, the following types of adhesives may be employed: rubber-based high tack adhesive, rubber-based foam adhesive, acrylic-based adhesive, and acrylic-based foam adhesive.

[0022] Hair clip 100 also includes cover material 102. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, cover material 102 is a single continuous piece of material. Cover material 102 extends over the top of magnet 106, the top and bottom of clip arm 112, and the top and bottom of clip arm 110. In one embodiment, cover material 102 is secured to magnet 106 and clip arms 110 and 112 using an adhesive, such as glue. In one implementation, the adhesive is a thick designer tacky glue. In one instance, the adhesive is in the form of a liner. In alternate embodiments, different adhesives may be employed, such as any type of glue for connecting fabric to metal. In one example, glue from a hot glue gun is employed.

[0023] Cover material 102 is selected so that additional friction is applied to hair secured by clip 100 in the closed position. This additional friction is greater than the friction that would normally occur between the hair and metallic prongs of a pinch clip. In one embodiment, cover material 102 is nylon velvet. In an alternate embodiment, cover material 102 is polyester velvet. In further embodiments, different cover materials can be employed to achieve the same increased friction on hair secured by hair clip 100. Cover material 102 can also be made of multiple types of material. In one example, cover material 102 includes one material for interfacing with the hair secured in clip 100 and another material for being secured to the surfaces of clip arms 110 and 112 and magnet 106. In further implementations, cover material 102 is selected so that it provides increased friction, but does not result in uncomfortable pulling of hair when hair clip 100 is opened.

[0024] Although FIG. 1 shows cover material 102 extending along the surfaces of magnet 106 and clip 104, cover material 102 is still considered to be “on” clip arm 112. This would still be the case if cover material 112 did not extend along the bottom of clip arm 112 or only resided on the surface of magnet 106. In further embodiments, cover material 102 may not be secured to the outer surface of magnet 106.

[0025] The use of cover material 102 further enhances the ability of hair clip 100 to secure fine hair when used in combination with the forces from magnet 106 and biasing spring 122, as described above. Forces from gravity and head movement tend to cause fine hair to slide out from between the clip arms of a traditional pinch clip. Clip 100 overcomes this deficiency by supplying additional forces that oppose the forces attempting to separate clip 100 and a user's hair. The force from the magnetic field emanating from magnet 106 and bias force from spring 122 work against the forces attempting to remove hair from clip 100. The friction from cover material 102 further impedes the ability of hair to slide from between the grasp of clip arms 110 and 112.

[0026] The enhanced hair gripping force of clip 100 allows clip 100 to carry greater weight than a traditional pinch clip in some implementations of the present invention. For example, in one implementation, hair clip 100 may include fairly large ornaments that provide decorative effect. Ceramic animal figures or holiday symbols, such as Christmas trees, are examples of the types of ornaments that can be supported by clip 100. The ability to use large decorations makes clip 100 more desirable. The aesthetic effect of hair clip 100 can be more easily appreciated than if only a small ornament or no decorative ornament is employed on clip 100.

[0027] In further embodiments, many different configurations and implementations of hair clip 100 are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, clips other than spring biased pinch clip 104 can be employed. In one such embodiment, a clip may be formed from a single piece of metal that is formed so that clip arms 112 and 110 are mechanically biased to be drawn towards each other when the clip is closed.

[0028] In further implementations, clip 104 is not made entirely from a magnetically conductive material, such as metal. In one such embodiment, only clip arm 110 includes a magnetically conductive material that interacts with magnet 106—creating enhanced closing force between clip arms 110 and 112. In one version of clip 104, clip arm 110 only includes a limited segment that is magnetically conductive. The rest of clip arm 110 is made from a non-magnetically conductive material like plastic.

[0029] In still a further embodiment, clip arms 110 and 112 may not be non-magnetically biased to come together. The magnetic attraction of clip arm 110 to magnet 106 may constitute the entire force pulling clip arms 110 and 112 together.

[0030] In some versions of hair clip 100, magnets are coupled to both clip arms 110 and 112. Alternatively, magnet 106 is coupled to clip arm 110 and not clip arm 112. As shown in FIG. 1, magnet 106, or any other magnet employed on clip arms 110 and 112, may reside under cover material 102. In another embodiment, magnet(s) on the clip arm(s) are exposed to a user's hair. The surfaces of such magnets may provide greater friction on a user's hair than the friction between the hair and the clip arms of a traditional metallic pinch clip. In alternate embodiments, no greater friction is derived from the magnet surfaces, but enhanced hair gripping power is facilitated by the magnetic field between the magnets.

[0031] Embodiments of the present invention may also be achieved by integrating magnetic materials into clip arm 110, clip arm 112, or both clip arms 110 and 112. In such embodiments, a portion of clip arm 110 or clip arm 112 may include a magnetic material, while the remaining portion of the clip arm is made of a non-magnetic material. In still a further embodiment, magnet 106 may be coupled to the bottom side of clip arm 112, so as to not reside between clip arms 110 and 112. In such an embodiment, a magnetic field extends from magnet 106 through clip arm 112 and 110 to pull clip arm 110 towards clip arm 112.

[0032] Alternate embodiments of clip arm 100 may also have different cover material configurations. Cover material 102 may not extend as a continuous piece of material. Separate pieces of cover material may be placed along the interior surfaces of clip arms 110 and 112, including an upper surface of magnet 106. Although cover material 102 is described above as a nylon material, many other types of material are possible, including non-cloth materials. For example, cover material 102 may have a rubberized surface that contacts the user's hair and provides friction to enhance the hair holding capability of clip 100.

[0033] In still another implementation, clip arms 110 and 112 may be wholly or partially formed from a material that has greater friction than a purely metallic pinch clip, such as rubber. In such an embodiment, segments of either clip arm 110 or 112 will include a segment made from a non-rubber material that is magnetically conductive. Magnet 106 is then coupled on an opposite clip arm so as to create a magnetic field with the magnetically conductive material—drawing clip arms 110 and 112 together.

[0034] The foregoing detailed description of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. The described embodiments were chosen in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application to thereby enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims appended hereto.