Title:
Ventilated head covering
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a ventilated head covering having a band adapted to encircle a wearer's head; a plurality of longitudinal supports extending away from the band in a direction substantially perpendicular to the band, each support having a proximal end affixed to the band and a distal end a distance away from the band; a sun shield support affixed to the distal ends of two or more longitudinal supports and substantially perpendicular thereto; a substantially planar sun shield disposed across the sun shield support; wherein the distance between the distal end of the longitudinal support and the band is sufficient to hold the sun shield away from a wearer's head, and wherein the longitudinal supports are space apart sufficiently to allow substantially unrestricted air flow between them and across the head of a wearer.



Inventors:
Broome, Carroll (Alpharetta, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/369172
Publication Date:
08/26/2004
Filing Date:
02/18/2003
Assignee:
BROOME CARROLL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/10
International Classes:
A42C5/04; (IPC1-7): A42C5/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MORAN, KATHERINE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KILPATRICK TOWNSEND & STOCKTON LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A head covering comprising: a band adapted to encircle a wearer's head; a plurality of longitudinal supports extending away from the band in a direction substantially perpendicular to the band, each support having a proximal end affixed to the band and a distal end a distance away from the band; a sun shield support affixed to the distal ends of two or more longitudinal supports and substantially perpendicular thereto; a substantially planar sun shield disposed across the sun shield support; wherein the distance between the distal end of the longitudinal support and the band is sufficient to hold the sun shield away from a wearer's head, and wherein the longitudinal supports are space apart sufficiently to allow substantially unrestricted air flow between them and across the head of a wearer.

2. The head covering of claim 1, wherein the distance between distal and proximal end of the longitudinal support is adjustable.

3. The head covering of claim 1, wherein the band comprises a flexible core surrounded by a fabric.

4. The head covering of claim 1, wherein the band and one or more longitudinal supports are integral.

5. The head covering of claim 1, wherein the sun shield support and one or more longitudinal supports are integral.

6. The head covering of claim 1, wherein the band, the sun shield support, and one or more longitudinal supports are integral.

7. The head covering of claim 1, wherein the sun shield comprises a fabric or film capable of reflecting at least a portion of light incident upon it.

8. The head covering of claim 1, wherein each pair of longitudinal supports has an opening between them, which is wider than the width of each support.

9. The head covering of claim 1, further comprising a bill or brim extending substantially laterally from the band away from the head of the wearer.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] The invention relates to a head covering that protects the head from the sun and rain, while maximizing the flow of air circulating over the wearer's head. As a result, the wearer feels quite cool, both because the head is shaded from the sun, and because perspiration is rapidly evaporated by the flow of air across the head and scalp, cooling the wearer.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] Overall body temperature and whether an individual feels hot or cold is heavily influenced by heat transfer from the head. The head is an important site for transfer of heat from the body to cool it, as well as for conservation of heat to keep the body warm. For example, hospitals often place a hat on an infant because keeping the head warm is an important factor in maintaining the child's body temperature.

[0005] Similarly, in tropical or temperate climates, head coverings are often used to shade the head from direct sun, thus keeping down the temperature of the air in the vicinity of the head, allowing heat to escape therefrom. However, such head coverings also tend to restrict the flow of air across the head, particularly the scalp. This restriction on air flow can allow heat generated by the head to accumulate in the air under the head covering, in effect insulating the head. In addition, restricted air flow decreases the rate at which perspiration evaporates. Since the evaporation of perspiration is an effective cooling mechanism in the body temperature regulation schemes of many mammals, including humans, decreasing evaporation will inhibit the body's ability to cool itself.

[0006] As a result, there remains a need in the art for a head covering that will cool the wearer in two ways. First, the head covering should shield the head from direct exposure to the sun's rays, thereby keeping heat from being transferred to the head, and providing a cooler, shaded area around the head. Second, the head covering should permit maximum evaporation of perspiration and removal of heated air from the vicinity of the head.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] In one embodiment, the invention relates to a head covering having:

[0008] a band adapted to encircle a wearer's head;

[0009] a plurality of longitudinal supports extending away from the band in a direction substantially perpendicular to the band, each support having a proximal end affixed to the band and a distal end a distance away from the band;

[0010] a sun shield support affixed to the distal ends of two or more longitudinal supports and substantially perpendicular thereto;

[0011] a substantially planar sun shield disposed across the sun shield support; wherein the distance between the distal end of the longitudinal support and the band is sufficient to hold the sun shield away from a wearer's head, and wherein the longitudinal supports are spaced apart sufficiently to allow substantially unrestricted air flow between them and across the head of a wearer.

[0012] One of the benefits of this head covering as compared to other head coverings is that It allows a substantially unrestricted air flow across the head, and in particular across the top of the head or scalp. Several features of the head covering facilitate this substantially unrestricted flow.

[0013] First, the distance between the band and the sun shield is sufficient to allow substantially free flow of air between the top of the head and the sun shield. In addition, the longitudinal supports that separate the sun shield from the band are relatively few in number and relatively small in width; in effect, the width of the gaps between the supports is considerably larger than the width of the supports themselves. Again, this open space allows maximum air flow across the top of head to maximize cooling of the head, both through removal of warm air, and/or increased evaporation (resulting from bringing drier air into the vicinity of the top of the head, so that the difference in humidity provides a driving force that causes more perspiration to evaporate).

[0014] Second, the sun shield is substantially planar, so that there is no curved “crown” area, as there is in other head coverings. This limits the ability of the sun shield to form a trap for trap heat. The construction of the head covering makes it more breathable, therefore allows for better cooling, than other head coverings, and gives the wearer the benefit of reducing the possibility of a stroke from excess heat.

[0015] In addition, in certain embodiments, the head covering of the invention can be made of flexible material, can be made adjustable, can have replaceable sun shields (which can be made of different types of fabrics and/or solid materials); all of the aforementioned allow for individual requirements of preferences by the wearer. Other head coverings, such as those currently available in the marketplace, do not provide all of the above mentioned benefits.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of one embodiment of the head covering of the invention, as worn.

[0017] FIG. 2 is an exploded view showing the various components of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1.

[0018] FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

[0019] FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of the an embodiment of the invention with a full brim.

[0020] FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of the invention.

[0021] FIG. 6 shows various embodiments of sun shields for use in the head covering of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0022] The head covering of the invention is constructed of a band adapted to wrap around the head, and having a plurality, typically 3, 4, or 5 longitudinal supports attached thereto. In a particular embodiment, the band and/or the supports are of a minimal width, so that they provide structural support for the sun shield and sun shield support, but also provide substantial open area for air to pass into and through the head covering and over the head. The longitudinal supports hold the sun shield support (and the sun shield, which is substantially flat) a sufficient distance above the top of a wearers head, that the sun shield does not come into contact with the head, and that air can freely flow beneath the sun shield and across the head. This arrangement makes the head covering very breathable, and allows the maximum flow of air across the head, without trapping any air, as can occur with a curved, crown-type head covering. As a result, the head is both shaded and cooled by removal of heated air from the vicinity of the skin surface. The influx of fresh air also aids in evaporative cooling of the head by helping perspiration to evaporate. As the head is kept cool, the wearer's entire body is and feels cooler, because the head becomes a more efficient radiator of body heat.

[0023] The substantially flat sun shield tends-to-keep the air flowing across the head without lifting the hat off the head, because the flat surface does not act as an airfoil. This prevents the formation of lift, which might tend to cause the head covering to blow off in a stiff breeze.

[0024] The invention can be more clearly understood by reference to the drawing figures, described in detail below.

[0025] FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of one embodiment of the head covering of the invention on a wearer. The bill 100 extends forward, across approximately the width of the head, to shade some or all of the face from the sun or the elements. The band 102 (which can be made of leather or cloth, depending on the amount of moisture absorbency desired) is attached to the bill and provides a base for the longitudinal supports 104, while also securing the head covering to the head. The band width is variable, and may be wider at the front 102B than in other areas. The diameter of the band can be adjusted by the manufacturer or wearer to allow for proper fitting. The band serves the functions of securing the head covering to the wearer's head, supporting the longitudinal and sun shield supports, and absorbing perspiration from the wearer's brow.

[0026] To facilitate the adjustability of the band and its ability to secure the head covering to the wearer's head, it can be separated in the rear 102A, and supplied with features to make it adjustable, such as one or more holes on one end of the separated band, and one or more cooperating studs or hooks on the other end of the separated band, that will fit into the hole(s) and allow the diameter of the band to be adjusted. The ends of the separated band could also be supplied with a hook-and-loop closure (e.g., VELCRO) or other comparable mechanism.

[0027] The longitudinal supports 104, that are attached to the band and that support the sun shield support, are generally present in numbers of between two and ten supports. In general, the number of longitudinal supports is limited to that necessary to adequately hold the sun shield support and sun shield away from the top of the wearer's head. Limiting the number of supports in this way tends to maximize the volume of air that can flow freely over the head, thereby tending to produce the maximum cooling effect for the wearer, with the minimum number of posts that provide firm support. These longitudinal supports 104 can be made of acrylic or other plastic, or other comparable material.

[0028] In addition, in one, these vertical supports 104A are adjustable, so that they can be raised when it is very sunny, to provide the maximum air flow across the head, and if it starts to rain, they can be lowered to keep more rain off the head. Because of the adjustable factor of these vertical supports, the top covering can additionally be angled in any direction.

[0029] The sun shield support 106 is attached to the vertical supports 104, and can be made of plastic, acrylic or a comparable material that provides sufficient rigidity to support the sun shield and hold it away from the wearer's head. The sun shield support 106 is a frame over which the sun shield 108 is disposed, typically by stretching until the sun shield is relatively taut. The sun shield support 106 can be made adjustable to accommodate different area sun shields, thereby allowing for a different areas of and around the head to be shielded from the sun by the head covering.

[0030] The sun shields 108 are desirably made of a flexible fabric, but may also be made of a solid material. In addition to deflecting the sun from the wearer's head, another of the many uses of the solid material sun shield 108A would be to keep the rain off the head, whereas the fabric sun shield 108 would be more breathable. Composite sun shields, made of fabric and porous films, such as porous PTFE (e.g., GORE-TEX®) can advantageously be used. The sun shields 108 and 108A can be made in many different colors and/or textures, and may bear symbols, logos, or the like. As illustrated, the sun shield is approximately the same diameter as the sun shield support, and can be made of an elastic fabric, such as an elastic nylon like SPANDEX, or may be a nonelastic fabric, having a band of elastic material attached to it. In another embodiment, the sun shield can extend beyond the sun shield support, e.g., providing a flap of material that extends radially over the head, providing additional protection against the sun and the elements.

[0031] In another embodiment, the head covering can have a full brim 110 going completely around the band 102, rather than a bill 100 at the front of the band, and which shades primarily the face. The brim 110 can vary in width from less than about two inches to ten (10) or more inches. A complete brim can provide protection for the ears, neck and shoulders, shading them from the sun and the elements. The brim can be longer in the back than in the front, in order to shade the neck and provide protection from the sun's rays.