Title:
Hidden buckle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fastening system, of the type having a female piece provided with a housing and an opening for the housing, and a male piece capable of being received within the female piece, both pieces being provided with complementary latching mechanisms with a device to control the opening of the fastening system. The fastening system includes a flexible sheath capable of housing the fastening system, and the control device can be actuated from the outside through the flexible sheath. The invention encompasses various articles which incorporate the fastening system, such as garments, including trousers, jackets, coats, shoes, as well as bags, including backpacks, for example.



Inventors:
Collier, John Joseph (Annecy Le Vieux, FR)
Application Number:
10/778115
Publication Date:
01/27/2005
Filing Date:
02/17/2004
Assignee:
SALOMON S.A. (Metz-Tessy, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41F9/02; A44B11/26; A45C13/10; A45F3/04; (IPC1-7): A41D1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBLUM & BERNSTEIN, P.L.C. (RESTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A fastening system comprising: a female piece provided with a housing, the housing having an exterior opening; a male piece having a size and shape for being received within the female piece; said female and male pieces being provided with complementary latching mechanisms and a device to control opening of the fastening system; a flexible sheath comprising a textile material, said sheath capable of housing the fastening system, the control device being actuatable from outside through the flexible sheath.

2. A fastening system according to claim 1, wherein: the female piece is housed within the flexible sheath; the flexible sheath is provided with an opening on a side of the opening of the female piece.

3. A fastening system according to claim 1, wherein: the female piece is attached inside the flexible sheath.

4. A fastening system according to claim 1, wherein: the flexible sheath is made of an elastic material.

5. A fastening system according to claim 1, wherein: the complementary latching mechanisms of the male and female pieces are snap mechanisms.

6. A fastening system according to claim 1, wherein: the device to control the opening is a lever fastener or a snap fastener, said lever or snap fastener being elastically biased in a fastening position.

7. A fastening system according to claim 1, wherein: each male piece and female piece is attached to one end of a strap made of an inextensible material.

8. A fastening system according to claim 7, wherein: at least one male piece and female piece is adjustably attached in position on the strap.

9. A fastening system according to claim 8, wherein: the male piece is adjustably attached in position on the strap.

10. A fastening system according to claim 1, in combination with a garment, said garment including a fastening/tightening strap, said fastening/tightening strap being provided with the fastening system.

11. A fastening system according to claim 1, in combination with a bag, said bag including a fastening/tightening strap, said fastening/tightening strap being provided with the fastening system.

12. A garment comprising: at least one garment portion for covering a body part; a fastening/tightening strap provided with a fastening system for fastening and tightening the garment portion relative to the body part; said fastening system comprising: a female piece provided with a housing, the housing having an exterior opening; a male piece having a size and shape for being received within the female piece; said female and male pieces being provided with complementary latching mechanisms and a device to control opening of the fastening system; a flexible sheath comprising a textile material, said sheath capable of housing the fastening system, the control device being actuatable from outside through the flexible sheath.

13. A garment according to claim 12, wherein: said garment portion comprises a pair of shorts; said fastening/tightening strap is a belt adapted to extend around a wearer's waist.

14. A bag comprising: a fastening/tightening strap provided with a fastening system for fastening and tightening the strap; said fastening system comprising: a female piece provided with a housing, the housing having an exterior opening; a male piece having a size and shape for being received within the female piece; said female and male pieces being provided with complementary latching mechanisms and a device to control opening of the fastening system; a flexible sheath comprising a textile material, said sheath capable of housing the fastening system, the control device being actuatable from outside through the flexible sheath.

15. A bag according to claim 14, wherein: the bag is a backpack and said strap is affixed to the backpack and adapted to extend around a wearer's waist.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon French Patent Application No. 03.09104, filed Jul. 25, 2003 the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference thereto in its entirety and the priority of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. §119.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a fastening system, in particular a fastening system of the so-called buckle type, adapted to ensure the fastening and, optionally, the tightening of an article such as a garment, a bag, a backpack carrying system, etc., by means of an element such as a tightening strap, a belt, etc.

2. Description of Background and Relevant Information

It is currently known to use buckle-type fastening systems associated with tightening straps for the elements (shoulder straps, belts) for carrying a backpack, with compression straps for backpacks, travel bags, with belts for garments such as trousers, etc.

In these known examples, the so-called buckle fastening systems are generally constituted of a female piece provided with a housing and with an inlet opening for such housing, as well as a male piece capable of being received within the housing of the female piece, these male/female pieces being provided with complementary latching mechanisms and with a device for controlling the opening of the fastening system.

The latching mechanisms are generally of the snap type, and the devices for controlling the opening are either a lever, a snap fastener, or a portion, accessible from the outside, of the latching mechanisms.

The male and female piece assemblies of a buckle fastening system are known to be made of various materials.

Thus, it is known to have two male and female pieces of the buckle that are made of polyamide (PA), which material is relatively flexible and, therefore, not very susceptible to shocks. However, because it is not particularly hard, the latching of the buckle is not always true, or complete. As a result, such buckles can be plagued with ill-timed unfastening, which can present problems, for example, when used with fastening or compression straps for travel bags, buckles of backpacks, belt buckles for sports clothing, which can be subject to more or less substantial shocks during use.

It is also known to have the two male and female pieces of the buckle made of polyoxymethylene or polyacetal resin (POM). Polyoxymethylene has the advantage of being a rigid polymer and therefore of allowing a snap, and therefore a clean and sure closure of the buckle.

However, the sliding of POM on POM is inefficient (squeaks, abrasion), such that a substantial force must be applied to the buckle, particularly for the fastening.

Moreover, polyoxymethylene is a particularly stiff material. The female piece, due to its sheath-like hollow shape, is fragile to transverse forces T and therefore breaks relatively easily, for example when someone steps on it.

Furthermore, because the buckles are exposed, they are also susceptible to dirt, which is particularly true for buckles used on backpacks, which are often placed on the ground or subject to frequent shocks during handling, climbing, etc.

Another drawback is the lack of support for the fastening and tightening systems provided with such buckles in the open position.

Indeed, because each male and female piece is attached to one end of a strap, the ends hang loosely when the buckle is open. Even if keepers are provided in the vicinity of these ends, it is necessary, each time, to join both free ends of the strap in order to be able close and tighten the latter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to overcome the aforementioned drawbacks, and to provide an improved fastening system that is easy to use, and/or less susceptible to shocks and dirt, and/or has an improved aesthetic effect.

This object is achieved in the fastening system according to the invention, which is of the type having a female piece provided with a housing, and a male piece capable of being received within the housing of the female piece, the male and female pieces being provided with complementary latching mechanism and with a mechanism for controlling the opening of the fastening system, in that it has a flexible sheath capable of housing the fastening system, and in that the control means can be actuated from the outside through the flexible sheath.

Thus, the fastening system remains protected from shocks and dirt, while being hidden by the flexible sheath, and thereby being more aesthetic.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood, and other characteristics thereof will become apparent by means of the following description, given with reference to the attached schematic drawings showing, by way of non-limiting examples, several preferred embodiments, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a garment having a fastening system according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged detailed view, partially broken-away, showing the fastening system in an open position;

FIG. 3 is a view, similar to FIG. 2, but showing the fastening system in a closed position;

FIG. 4 is a view, similar to FIG. 1, showing the application of the fastening system according to the invention to a bag.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A garment according to the invention is shown in FIG. 1, which, in the example shown, takes the form of shorts 5 that are equipped at the waist 5a with a belt 4 provided with a fastening and tightening system 3 according to the invention, this fastening and tightening system 3 being housed within a flexible housing or sheath 30 of the shorts 5.

FIG. 2 shows the fastening and tightening system 3 itself in more detail.

The fastening system 3 includes a female piece 10 and a male piece 20. The female piece 10 is attached by a connection zone 11 to a first end 1 of the belt 4, which, in this case, is formed by a strap or the like. The male piece 20 is attached by a connection zone 21 to a second end 2 of the belt or strap 4.

The strap 4 can be made of an inextensible textile material. However, depending on the effects desired, it can be made of a more or less extensible material, or of a non-textile material.

At its end opposite its zone 11 for attachment to the strap 4, the female piece 10 has a housing 12 provided with an exterior opening 12a, with a shape complementary to an associated portion 22 of the male portion, as well as two lateral holes 13 opening out within the housing 12.

The male piece 20 has, opposite its connection zone 21, a zone 22, 23 for cooperating with the female piece, namely, in the present case, two lateral elastic tongues 22 defining a volume complementary to that of the housing 12 of the female piece, each tongue 22 being further provided at its free end with a bulged portion 23, which, in this case, has a domed shape but could have any other shape, for example, the shape of a tooth or of a notch, and whose lateral volume exceeds that of the housing 12 of the female piece.

When it is desired that the buckle be closed, the male piece 20 is inserted into the housing of the female piece, by elastic deformation, due to the bulged portions 23, in the direction of the median axis A of the piece, of the tongues 22. When the bulged portions 23 reach the lateral holes 13 of the female piece, the tongues 22 again spring apart outwardly (see FIG. 3) and the bulged portions penetrate into the holes 13 and produce a snap that guarantees the closure of the system.

The closure is reversible, and it suffices to press laterally (along the arrows B of FIG. 3) on the two bulged portions 23 laterally overlapping the female piece in order again to deform the tongues 22 elastically in the direction of the A axis and to allow the opening of the system.

The bulged portions 23 of the elastic tongues 22 therefore constitute a type of latching levers that are elastically biased in the closure position and which can be actuated through the openings or lateral holes 13 of the female piece 10.

Other latching methods can be provided, and in particular, a latching with a single central tongue that can be actuated by an elastically biased central snap fastener/lever.

The connection zone 11, 21, respectively, of each female 10 and male 20 piece, respectively, can be a single connection lug, not shown in the drawing, allowing the attachment of the piece, for example, by sewing or riveting, to the associated end 1, 2, respectively, of the strap 4.

In this case, the fastening system 3 only allows the fastening of the two ends of the strap 4, and a system for adjusting the length of the strap can be further provided on the latter.

In the example shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the connection zone 11 of the female piece 10 is constituted by a single opening allowing the mere passage of the associated end 1 of the strap 4, this end 1 being folded back and sewn over itself by a stitched seam 14.

In such a construction, the position of the female piece 10 is not adjustable along the strap 4.

Conversely, the connection zone 21 of the male piece includes two openings 21a demarcating two bars 21b, about which the end 2 of the strap passes, top/bottom alternately, thus performing a blockage by friction of the strap and allowing the adjustment of the position of the male piece 20 on the strap 4 and, therefore, the adjustment of the tightening.

In such an embodiment, the position of the male piece 20 on the end 2 of associated straps is adjustable, and it is therefore possible to adjust the tightening force after latching the fastening system 3 by a mere traction on the free end 2 of the strap.

In the present case, the bars of the connection zone 21 therefore also serve as a tightening zone.

Such a connection zone 21 of the male piece is known in itself and can have teeth or any other breaking/gripping surface on one of the bars 21b to improve the blocking effect by friction.

In the example shown, which is the preferred embodiment, the seam 14 makes the assembly of the female piece 10 not only to the associated strap end 1, but also to the garment. The female piece 10 is therefore attached to the garment and maintained in position. As a result, the fastening and tightening operation is simplified, since it suffices to insert the male piece 20 into the female piece and to pull on the free end 2 of the strap until the desired tightening tension is obtained.

As shown in the drawing figures, the sheath 30 has the form of a pocket horizontally arranged on the garment so as to receive the female piece 10, this sheath or pocket 30 being oriented such that its bottom 30a is located on the side of the connection zone 11 of the female piece, and that its opening 30b is located on the side of the opening of the housing 12 of the female piece.

This sheath 30 is preferably closed in the area of its bottom so as to ensure an optimum protection of the fastening system, but it could also be open in this area.

The sheath 30 receives the entire female piece 10, such that when the fastening system is latched, i.e., when the male piece 20 is engaged in the female piece 10, the entire assembly of the latching mechanism is completely hidden. In the case where the male piece 20 also has an arrangement to adjust the length of the strap (bars 21b), this portion can remain outside of the sheath 30, as shown in the drawings, for a greater ease of adjustment.

There results an aesthetic aspect that is particularly desired. Furthermore, the entire fastening system is protected from dirt and major shocks from the outside.

The sheath 30 is made of a relatively flexible textile material, for example, a woven PES (polyester), such that when unlatching is desired, it suffices to actuate the tongues 22 through the material of the strap (see arrows B of FIG. 3).

It is noted that the sheath 30 also protects the portions 23 of the tongues 22 from shocks coming from the outside and therefore prevents risks of ill-timed unlatching of the fastening system.

The sheath 30 could also be made of a more or less elastic material, such as a mixture of PA (polyamide)/LYCRA® or PES (polyester)/LYCRA®.

FIG. 4 shows the application of the present invention to the fastening of the belt 100 of a backpack 105, provided with a tightening strap 104. The similar or identical elements are designated by the same reference numerals increased by 100.

In this case, the fastening and tightening system 103 is capable of being housed within a flexible sheath 130 attached to one of the ends of the belt 100 and of the tightening sheath 104, this flexible sheath 130 being attached at the same time as the female piece 110 of the fastening system to the belt. The male piece 120 is attached non-adjustably lengthwise to the associated end 102 of the tightening strap 104. In this case, the system for tightening the strap includes a buckle 121b distinct from the male piece 120.

The functioning is the same as described previously.

In this case, contrary to what is usually done in backpacks, the fastening system is arranged asymmetrically. It could however be arranged symmetrically if the associated belt were longer. An advantage of this construction, except those that have been described previously, is that the free strap lengths that hang loosely are limited, because only the end 102 of the strap 104 remains free.

Furthermore, the tightening is done after the latching relative to the fixed point constituted by the female piece and is much easier to carry out.

The present invention could be used in other areas of a backpack, for example, in the area of the compression straps, of the straps for tightening the shoulder straps, etc.

Similarly, the invention could be used for the fastening/tightening of travel bags, shoes, garments such as jackets, coats, etc., without leaving the scope of the present invention.