Title:
Horizontally oriented clothesline
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothesline comprises first and second spaced-apart end pulleys mounted to respective brackets for rotation about a substantially vertical axis. An endless cord stretched out and trained on the first and second pulleys forms side by side first and second runs. The brackets provide enough clearance about the pulleys for allowing clothes hanging from the endless cord to pass from one side of the pulleys to the other side thereof, thereby allowing to use the first and second runs for hanging some pieces of garment and, thus, double the overall hanging capacity of the clothesline.



Inventors:
Farley, Nicolas (St. Lambert, CA)
Application Number:
10/636527
Publication Date:
05/13/2004
Filing Date:
08/08/2003
Assignee:
FARLEY NICOLAS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
D06F53/00; (IPC1-7): D06F53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT CANADA LLP (MONTREAL, QC, CA)
Claims:
1. An outdoor clothesline comprising a pair of generally horizontally oriented pulleys, an endless cord extending about said pulleys so as to provide a pair of laterally spaced-apart cord segments on which clothes can be hung, and a pair of brackets attachable to available support structures for supporting said pulleys while defining a clearance about each said pulleys to permit the passage of suspended clothes from one side of the pulleys to the other side thereof, thereby allowing to simultaneously use the laterally spaced-apart cord segments for hanging clothes.

2. A clothesline as defined in claim 1, wherein said pulleys are freely mounted for lateral and downward pivotal movements in response to deflections induced in said cord.

3. A clothesline as defined in claim 2, wherein each of said brackets includes an axle portion to which a corresponding one of said pulleys is mounted, and a hook engaging portion extending in a plane perpendicular to said axle portion.

4. A clothesline as defined in claim 3, wherein said hook engaging portion is spaced from said axle portion by an intermediate portion extending in a plane of said hook engaging portion above said pulleys.

5. A clothesline as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said bracket is provided in the form of a rod having a first end bent in a loop adapted to be fitted on a hook, the rod having a second end bent at right angles from a plane of said loop to form an axle for the pulleys.

6. A clothespin in combination with a clothesline as defined in claim 1, said clothespin comprising first and second gripping fingers normally biased towards one another to a closed position for holding a piece of garment onto the cord, one of said fingers having a curved outer surface adapted to slide along a corresponding arc of circle defined at a rim of said pulleys in order to maintain the cord in a generally central position on the pulleys.

7. A clothespin as defined in claim 6, wherein said first and second gripping fingers converge to an open end, and wherein a handle portion extends laterally outwardly from a first one of said gripping fingers at said open end.

8. A clothespin as defined in claim 7, wherein said handle cooperate with said first one of said gripping fingers to define a hook for suspending various articles from the cord.

9. A clothesline system comprising first and second spaced-apart end pulleys mounted to respective brackets for rotation about an upstanding axis, an endless cord stretched out and trained on said first and second pulleys to form side by side left and right runs, wherein said brackets define a clearance about said pulleys for allowing clothes hanging from the endless cord to pass from one side of the pulleys to the other side thereof, whereby said left and right runs can be simultaneously used for hanging some pieces of garment.

10. A clothesline system as defined in claim 9, further comprising a plurality of clothespins releasably attachable to said endless cord, each of said clothespins having a pulley engaging surface having a profile which is complementary to a rim surface of the pulleys.

11. A clothesline system as defined in claim 10, wherein said pulley engaging surface is curved for allowing said clothespins to pivot on said rim surface as said clothespins travel thereon about said pulleys, thereby automatically changing the angular orientation of the clothespins in order to maintain said cord substantially at a central portion of said rim surface.

12. A clothesline system as defined in claim 10, wherein each of said clothespins comprises first and second gripping fingers normally biased towards one another to a gripping position, one of said fingers having a curved outer surface adapted to slide along a corresponding arc of circle defined at a rim of said pulleys.

13. A clothesline system as defined in claim 12, wherein said first and second gripping fingers converge to an open end, and wherein a handle portion extends laterally outwardly from a first one of said gripping fingers at said open end.

14. A clothesline system as defined in claim 13, wherein said handle cooperate with said first one of said gripping fingers to define a hook for suspending various articles from the cord.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to outdoor clothes-drying and, more particularly, to a new clothesline system offering added clothes hanging capacities.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Clotheslines for outdoor clothes-drying are well known. Conventional clotheslines typically comprise a single cord forming a closed loop and extending over a pair of vertically oriented end pulleys mounted for rotation about a horizontal axis.

[0005] One drawback of these prior art clotheslines is that the clothes can only be hung from the lower half of the cord. It would be highly desirable to have a new clothesline system in which clothes could be hung on each half of the cord, thereby exploiting the full hanging potential of the cord.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is therefore an aim of the present invention to provide an outdoor clothesline having increased clothes hanging capacities.

[0007] It is also an aim of the present invention to provide such an outdoor clothesline which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

[0008] It is a further aim of the present invention to provide such a clothesline that can be readily retrofitted to existing clothesline support structures.

[0009] Therefore, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided an outdoor clothesline comprising a pair of generally horizontally oriented pulleys, an endless cord extending about said pulleys so as to provide a pair of laterally spaced-apart cord segments on which clothes can be hung, and a pair of brackets attachable to available support structures for supporting said pulleys while defining a clearance to permit the passage of the suspended clothes from one side of the pulleys to the other side thereof, thereby allowing to simultaneously use the laterally spaced-apart cord segments for hanging clothes.

[0010] In accordance with a further general aspect of the present invention, there is provided a clothesline system comprising first and second spaced-apart end pulleys mounted to respective brackets for rotation about an upstanding axis, an endless cord stretched out and trained on said first and second pulleys to form side by side left and right runs, wherein said brackets provide enough clearance about said pulleys for allowing clothes hanging from the endless cord to pass from one side of the pulleys to the other side thereof, whereby said left and right runs can be simultaneously used to hang some pieces of garment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Having thus generally described the nature of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, showing by way of illustration a preferred embodiment thereof, and in which:

[0012] FIG. 1a is a schematic perspective view of an outdoor clothesline comprising a single endless cord extending over a pair of horizontally oriented end pulleys;

[0013] FIG. 1b is an enlarged schematic view of the outdoor clothesline shown in FIG. 1a;

[0014] FIG. 2 is a schematic side view of the clothesline shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the movement of the end pulleys under the weight of the clothes hanging from the cord;

[0015] FIG. 3 is a schematic end view of the clothesline shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the movement of the end pulleys in response to lateral loads resulting from uneven loading of the laterally spaced-apart segments of the cord;

[0016] FIG. 4 is perspective view of a hook member used to mount the clothesline end pulleys to the existing clothesline support structure;

[0017] FIG. 5a is a cross-sectional view of one of the end pulleys of the clothesline shown in FIG. 1;

[0018] FIG. 5b is cross-sectional view of a portion of one of the pulleys showing the pivotal movement of a clothespin on the central radius of pulley in order to align the cord towards the center of the pulley;

[0019] FIG. 6 is a side view of a clothespin for use with the clothesline shown in FIGS. 1 to 5; and

[0020] FIG. 7 is a side view of the clothespin shown in FIG. 6 hanging freely from the cord of the clothesline to suspend an article to be dried.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0021] Referring to the drawings, FIGS. 1a and 1b illustrate an outdoor clothesline 10 comprising a single endless cord 12 stretched out and trained on identical axially spaced-apart end pulleys 14 and 16. As opposed to conventional clotheslines wherein the pulleys are vertically oriented to rotate about a horizontal axis, the pulleys 14 and 16 are horizontally oriented and mounted on respective brackets 18 and 20 for rotation about a substantially vertical axis. In this way, the endless cord 12 forms first and second laterally spaced-apart runs 22 and 24 instead of the conventional top and bottom runs. This advantageously allows hanging clothes on both halves of the cord, thereby doubling the clothes hanging capacity of the clothesline 10.

[0022] In order not to interfere with the passage of the clothes from one side of the pulleys 14 and 16 to the other side thereof, the brackets 18 and 20 have been specifically designed to provide the required clearance to the passage of the suspended clothes around the pulleys 14 and 16. As shown in FIGS. 1a, 1b and 4, each of the brackets 18 and 20 is preferably provided in the form of a metal rod 26 having a first end portion bent in a loop 28 adapted to be fitted on a hook 30 of the type normally used to mount the conventional vertically oriented pulleys to a clothesline supporting structure 32. This thus allows the clothesline 10 to be retrofitted to existing clothesline supporting structures. The opposed end portion of the rod 26 is bent at right angles from the plane of the loop 28 to form an axle 34 for the pulleys 14 and 16. The free end of the axle 34 is threaded for receiving a pair of nuts 36 in order to axially retain one of the pulleys 14 and 16 in place on the axle 34. The loop and the axle portions 28 and 34 of the rod 26 are spaced by an elongated intermediate rod portion 38 extending in the plane of the loop 24. The length of the intermediate portion 38 is selected to provide the required clearance for the passage of the suspended clothes between the pulleys 14 and 16 and the associated supporting structures.

[0023] As shown in FIG. 2, because of the loose engagement of the brackets 18 and 20 with the hooks 30, the pulleys 14 and 16 are allowed to pivot downwardly about their respective points of connection with the hooks 30 to an inclined position under the weight of the clothes hanging from the cord 12, thereby preventing the cord 12 from moving out of engagement from the pulleys 14 and 16. The downward pivotal movement of the pulleys 14 and 16 compensate for the deflection induced in the cord 12 by the garments hung on thereon. This flexibility at the points of connection of the pulleys 14 and 16 to their supporting structures ensures that the pulleys 14 and 16 will move with the cord 12 and, thus, guarantee the integrity of the engagement of the cord 12 with the pulleys 14 and 16.

[0024] As shown in FIG. 3, the free engagement of the loops 28 on the hooks 30 also allows the pulleys 14 and 16 to tilt sideways, for instance, when there is an uneven distribution of the loads on the first and second runs 22 and 24 of the cord 12. In the event that all the pieces of garment to be dried are hung on the first run 22 of the cord 12, the pulleys 14 and 16 will pivot laterally on the side of the first run 22 to compensate for the deflection induced therein.

[0025] FIG. 5a shows a preferred embodiment of the pulleys 14 and 16. The illustrated pulley comprises a central cylindrical hub 42 adapted to receive a pair of bearings (not shown) at opposed ends thereof. The bearings and more particularly the bottom one must be able to sustain lateral loads and axial moments. The hub 42 defines a cylindrical passage 44 for receiving the axle 34. A disc 46 extends outwardly from the cylindrical hub 42 and merges into top and bottom annular diverging peripheral lips 48 and 50. The lips 48 and 50 have a generally V-shaped configuration with a central smooth web portion 40 extending along an arc of circle having a center C. The bottom lip 50 has a free terminal end portion 52 which curves downwardly to cooperate with the central arcuate web portion 40 to act as a guide or gliding surface for the clothespins holding the clothes on the cord 12.

[0026] FIG. 6 shows a clothespin 54 which has been specifically designed to be used in combination with the clothesline 10. The clothespin 54 is preferably molded from a single piece of plastic material and comprises a pair of gripping fingers 56 and 58 extending from a bow portion 59. The fingers 56 and 58 once spread-apart tend to return to a closed gripping position due to the inherent springiness thereof. The resiliency of the fingers 56 and 58 allows holding the articles to be dried firmly to the cord 12. The gripping fingers 56 and 58 are displaceable between open and closed positions for respectively receiving and gripping articles to be dried to the cord 12. The articles are placed on the cord and the clothespins 54 are thereafter clamped thereon to secure the articles to the cord 12.

[0027] The free end of finger 56 is formed into a handle portion 60 by which the user may hold the clothespin 54 to push it over the cord 12 with the finger 58 located within the loop formed by the cord 12. As shown in FIG. Sb and FIG. 6, the finger 58 has a curved outer face 62 which is complementary to the outer face 64 of the annular bottom lip 50 to facilitate the passage of the clothespins on opposed diametrical sides of the pulleys 14 and 16. As shown in FIG. 5b, the curved surface 62 of the clothespin 54 is adapted to slide along the arc of circle 40 in order to ensure that the cord 12 remain generally aligned with the center of the pulleys 14 and 16 (i.e. in the plane of the disc 46) irrespective of the thickness of the piece of clothing held by the clothespins on the cord 12. If there was no such relative pivotal movement between the clothespin 54 and the pulleys 14 and 16, the line of the travel of the cord 12 on the pulleys 14 and 16 would change according to the thickness of the piece of clothing held on the cord 12 by the clothespins 54, since the position of the clothespins 54 relative to the cord 12 is function of the thickness of the piece of clothing to be held. Indeed, depending on the thickness of the wet article to be gripped by the clothespin, the cord 12 will extend more or less into the loop defined by the fingers 56 and 58 and the bow potion 59 of the clothespin 54.

[0028] As shown in FIG. 6, three pairs of rounded ribs 66, 68 and 70 extend laterally inwardly from the inner face 72 of the fingers 56 and 58. Each pair of ribs defines a restricted passage. The pairs of ribs 66, 68 and 70 are spaced longitudinally of the fingers 56 and 58 and are, thus, located at different levels of convergence. This results in the restricted passages becoming narrower from the first pair 66 to the third pair 70. The ribs 66, 68 and 70 allow the clothespin 54 to be installed in different positions on the cord 12, for instance between the third and second pairs and between the second pair and the first pair.

[0029] As shown in FIG. 7, the clothespins 54 can be left on the cord 12 after the clothes have been removed therefrom. In this case, the clothespins 54 will hang freely from the cord 12 with the undersurface of the web portion 59 resting on the cord 12. The handle 60 and the gripping fingers 56 cooperate to define a hook 72 to which various articles A, such as wet sport shoes, can be hung.

[0030] As discussed hereinabove, the present invention advantageously allows to use both runs of the clothesline for simultaneously hanging pieces of garment, thereby doubling the hanging capacity of the clothesline.