Title:
Comb for attaching artificial hair and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved device and method for attaching a segment of artificial hair to a head containing already existing hair to create a more natural looking segment of artificial hair. An interlocking comb is provided which slides into existing hair, folds and snaps into place around the existing hair. The comb has a comb member with teeth, a cover member containing tooth channels, and a hinge member with hinge slots that allow for the connection of multiple interlocking combs. Male connectors are included which insert into corresponding female receptors when the comb is folded. There are interlocking members for attaching one comb into another thereby creating a larger, fuller hairpiece, adding even more stability. The resulting clips increase security while allowing for different hairstyles. The device provides stability to the wearer by permitting the hairpiece to be easily attached in a secure manner and easily detached without damaging the wearer's natural hair.



Inventors:
Padilla, Jimmy S. (Hollywood, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/701755
Publication Date:
05/05/2005
Filing Date:
11/05/2003
Assignee:
PADILLA JIMMY S.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G3/00; A41G5/00; (IPC1-7): A41G3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DOAN, ROBYN KIEU
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gunn, Lee & Cave, P.C. (San Antonio, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair comprising: a comb member having a plurality of teeth; a cover member attached to said comb member by a hinge member; at least one interlocking member extending from said comb and positioned for coupling with at least one interlocking receptacle of a second comb; and at least one interlocking receptacle positioned on said comb for coupling with at least one interlocking member of a third comb.

2. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 1 further comprising: a plurality of channels in said cover member positioned to receive said teeth of said comb member when said cover member is closed over said comb member.

3. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 2 further comprising: a locking member extending between said comb member and said cover member for locking said cover member over said comb member.

4. The comb member for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 3 wherein said locking member is a latch.

5. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 4 further comprising at least one cut in said cover member for receiving said latch.

6. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 5 further comprising: a plurality of raised nodules on each of said teeth; and a plurality of holes positioned on said cover member for attachment of artificial hair.

7. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 6 further comprising: artificial hair attached to said cover member.

8. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 7 wherein said artificial hair is at least one weft.

9. A comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair comprising: a comb member having a plurality of teeth; a cover member attached to said comb member by a hinge member; at least one latch extending from said comb; and at least one cut in said comb positioned to receive said latch when said comb is in a closed position.

10. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 9 wherein said at least one latch extends from at least one edge of said comb member and said cut is positioned in at least edge of said cover member.

11. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 10 further comprising: channels in said cover member positioned to receive said teeth when said cover member is closed over said comb member.

12. The comb for attaching hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 11 further comprising: artificial hair attached to said cover member; and a plurality of holes positioned in said cover member for attachment of said artificial hair.

13. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 12 wherein said artificial hair is at least one weft.

14. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 13 wherein said artificial hair is slideably connected to a line.

15. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 13 further comprising: at least one interlocking member extending from said comb for coupling with at least one interlocking receptacle of a second comb; and at least one interlocking receptacle positioned on said comb for coupling with at least one interlocking member of a third comb.

16. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing hair as recited in claim 15 wherein said interlocking member further comprises: an arm member attached to and extending from said comb member; and a hook member positioned at the distal end of said arm member.

17. The comb for attaching artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 16 wherein said at least one interlocking receptacle is an opening positioned to receive said hook member.

18. A method of using a comb to attach artificial hair to existing natural hair comprising the following steps: attaching artificial hair to said comb; sliding a plurality of teeth of a comb member of said comb into a wearer's natural hair; covering said comb member with a cover member attached to said comb member with a hinge member; locking said cover member to said comb member; trapping said wearer's natural hair between said comb member and said cover member; and blending said artificial hair with said natural hair by brushing or combing said wearer's natural hair over said comb.

19. The method of using a comb to attach artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 18 wherein said artificial hair is a weft.

20. The method of using a comb to attach artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 19 wherein said trapping step further comprises the step of gripping said wearer's natural hair between said teeth and the edges of channels positioned in said cover member.

21. The method of using combs to attach artificial hair to existing natural hair comprising the steps of: attaching a first segment of hair to a first comb and a second segment of hair to a second comb; interlocking said first comb with said second comb by coupling an interlocking member of said second comb with an interlocking receptacle of said first comb; sliding a plurality of teeth of comb members of said first comb and said second comb into a wearer's natural hair; covering said comb members with cover members connected to said comb members by hinge members; locking said cover members to said comb members; trapping said wearer's natural hair between said cover members and said comb members; and blending the artificial hair with said wearer's natural hair by brushing or combing said wearer's natural hair over said first and second combs.

22. The method of using combs to attach artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 21 wherein said artificial hair is a weft.

23. The method of using combs to attach artificial hair to existing natural hair as recited in claim 22 wherein said trapping steps further comprises the step of gripping said wearer's natural hair between said teeth and the edges of channels positioned in said cover members.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an improved device and method for attaching a hairpiece to a head containing already existing hair. The device is an interlocking comb which slides into the already existing hair, folds over and snaps into place around the existing hair. The device also contains connection points for attaching or interlocking one comb into another and thereby creating a larger, fuller hairpiece without losing stability. The present invention relates specifically to an improved device and method for attaching and securing a hairpiece to the wearer's head. It also provides a much more secure and comfortable fit to the hairpiece wearer.

2. Description of the Related Art

Hairpieces are in common use today to supplement natural hair with additional hair. These hairpieces are typically connected to the wearer with an adhesive or some type of clip. When clips are used, they hold the hairpiece in place by attaching to the existing hairs on the head of the user. Various clip structures and methods for using them have been disclosed.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,595,595, issued to Bonat et al on Aug. 10, 1926, discloses a device which includes two metal pieces hinged together along one side. The pieces are designed to fold over one on top of the other, clamping the wearer's existing hair between the two pieces. The hairpiece attached to the device is thus held in place.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,699,978, issued to Holly on Oct. 24, 1972, describes a hairpiece with a clip fastener containing a comb element over which a hinged cover is rotated, fastening to the existing hair of the wearer. The cover is held in place by a spring, which holds the clip fastener in place about the existing hair.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,889,694, issued to Greer on Jun. 17, 1975, discloses yet another clip for a hairpiece. The Greer clip has a long, U-shaped base with a rotating piece which fits inside the “U” of the base, thus holding the wearer's existing hair between the rotating piece and the base. A spring inside the base holds both the rotating piece and the existing hair within the base.

The prior art also discloses various methods for attaching a hairpiece to its wearer. Each method involves using the disclosed hairpiece clip to connect to the wearer's existing hair. An example of this is U.S. Pat. No. 5,154,195, issued to Irisawa on Oct. 13, 1992.

Existing hairpieces, and their associated attachment means, are not without their problems. Many of the existing devices and methods do not provide adequate security for the active lifestyles of modern hairpiece wearers. Activities such as exercising, swimming, and dancing result in some hairpieces moving from their desired location on the wearer's head and even unexpectedly falling out. Another problem with today's hairpieces and attachment methods is the damage to the existing hair which may occur though use of the hairpiece clips. This occurs most often when the clips are metal and grip the existing hair too forcefully, causing it to break or significantly weaken. The present invention; however, overcomes these problems associated with the prior art.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An objective of the present invention is to provide a device and method of attaching a hairpiece which has none of the drawbacks mentioned for the prior art, but which permits the hairpiece to be easily attached in a secure manner and easily detached without damaging the wearer's natural hair.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a device which securely combines additional hair or hairpieces with existing hair.

It is an additional objective of the present invention to provide a device for attaching a hairpiece which is flexible in its style and may be used on many types of wearers, while assuring a comfortable fit.

Yet another objective of the present invention is to provide a device for attaching a hairpiece which is interconnecting and interlocking to allow multiple devices to be used together to cover a larger area with the hairpiece and without losing stability or comfort.

Still another objective of the present invention is to provide an improved method for applying a hairpiece to the wearer's head in a single device.

Another object of the present invention is to provide more natural-looking hairpieces both through blending for people with existing hair and even for people with weakened or fragile hair.

The foregoing and other objectives and advantages are attained by the device and method of the present invention which has practical application in a number of situations. The invention consists of an improved device and means for attaching to a wearer a hairpiece that looks natural, fits comfortably and remains where placed.

The invention includes an interlocking comb used to securely attach hairpiece segments to the wearer's head. The larger the segment to be attached, the more combs that may be provided to attach the desired segment. Each comb consists of three parts: a sliding comb member, a fold-over, snap-locking cover member, and a hinge member. The resulting clip increases security while allowing for many different hairstyles. The hairpiece is quickly and easily attached and removed, yet still provides the additional security needed by today's active hairpiece wearer. The combs may be closed and used as a security for people without existing hair.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a plane view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention shown it its unlocked, open position.

FIG. 1B is a side view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention shown in its unlocked, open position.

FIG. 1C is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention shown in its unlocked, open position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the device shown in FIGS. 1A-1C in a closed position.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view depicting two of the devices as shown in FIGS. 1A-1C interlocking with each other.

FIG. 4 is a plane view of the two devices shown in FIGS. 1A-1C as viewed from the wearer's scalp where the devices are attached to a hair segment and attached to a wearer's hair.

FIG. 5 is a plane view of FIG. 4, from the opposite angle with the wearer's natural hair is pulled over the devices. This figure serves to show the final result once the device has been properly used.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference to FIGS. 1A-1C and FIG. 2 illustrates a preferred embodiment of a first comb 10 for use in conjunction with a hairpiece to add additional hair to the head of a hairpiece wearer. The first comb 10 is shown in FIG. 1A in its fully open, unlocked configuration having comb member 12, a cover member 14, and a hinge member 16. In the preferred embodiment, the first comb 10 is made of plastic material with the comb member 12 and cover member 14 generally having a thickness in a range of approximately {fraction (1/16)} to {fraction (1/8)} inches. The hinge member 16 has a preferred thickness that is less than the thickness of the comb member 12 and cover member 14 and in a range from approximately {fraction (1/18)} to {fraction (1/10)} inches. The cover member 12 and the comb member 14 have equal and opposite interior tapered edges 20a and 20b respectively. The hinge member 16 connects to the comb member 12 and cover member 14 at these tapered edges 20a and 20b. In the preferred embodiment, the comb is made of lightweight, firm but pliable plastic material.

Still referring to FIGS. 1A-1C, the cover member 14 has a generally rectangular shape and is connected along its tapered edge 20a to the hinge member 16. The comb member 12 is also connected along its tapered edge 20b to the hinge member 16. The comb member 12 and cover member 14 are positioned such that when the first comb 10 is folded at the hinge member 16 into its closed position, the cover member 14 closes over the comb member 12. (See FIG. 2).

Still referring to FIGS. 1A-1C and 2, the cover member 14 defines a plurality of aligned tooth channels 32. Each tooth channel 32 is generally trapezoidal shape and the plurality of tooth channels 32 are positioned to receive a plurality corresponding teeth 18 of the comb member 12 when the cover member 14 is closed over the comb member 12, as shown in FIG. 2.

Referring again to FIGS. 1A-1C, the teeth 18 extend perpendicularly from the tapered edge 20a and are equal in length and equally spaced along the tapered edge 20a. Preferably, the teeth 18 are generally rectangular with slightly rounded edges and narrow at the tip. In addition, a plurality of raised nodules 22 are located along the length of the inside face and at the tip of each tooth 18 to aid in gripping the user's hair.

The comb member 12 has two congruent and opposite interlocking members 24a and 24b extending perpendicularly from its tapered edge 20a and generally parallel with the teeth 18. The interlocking members 24a and 24b have interlocking hooks 26a and 26b at their distal end.

As shown in FIGS. 1A-1C and FIG. 2, latches 25a and 25b extend from opposing outer edges 23a and 23b of the interlocking members 24a and 24b in a direction generally perpendicular from the inner faces 21a and 21b of the interlocking members 24a and 24b. The latches 25a and 25b are symmetrical along their length and have outer surfaces 27a and 27b with a generally semi-elliptical cross section and curve first outwardly and then inwardly from the opposing outer edges 23a and 23b and the outer surfaces 27a and 27b terminate at shoulders 28a and 28b which extend inwardly over the interlocking members 24a and 24b gaps 30a and 30b between the each shoulder 28a and 28b and corresponding the inner faces 21a and 21b of the interlocking members 24a and 24b. Each of the latches 25a and 25b are positioned to mate with respective cuts 29a and 29b in the opposing outer edges 31a and 31b of the cover member 14 when the first comb 10 is in its closed position (See FIG. 2). The cuts 29a and 29b have tapered surfaces 33a and 33b which angle from inner edges 34a and 34b on the interior surface 35 of the cover member 14 to the opposing outer edges 31a and 31b of the cover member 14 at its exterior surface 37 (See FIG. 2). The tapered surfaces 33a and 33b are positioned to mate with the outer surfaces 27a and 27b of the latches 25a and 25b adjacent the shoulders 28a and 28b. When the comb first 10 is folded to a closed position, the outer surfaces 27a and 27b of the latches 25a and 25b will push into the cuts 29a and 29b at the inner edges 33a and 33b. As the first comb 10 is folded further to its closed position, the outer surfaces 27a and 27b of the latches 25a and 25b slide along the tapered surfaces 33a and 33b of the cuts 29a and 29b causing the latches 25a and 25b to displace outwardly. The gaps 30a and 30b between the interior faces 21a and 21b of the interlocking members 24a and 24b and the shoulders 28a and 28b are of a sufficient width to allow the shoulders 28a and 29b to clear the opposing outer edges 31a and 31b of the cover member 14 when the comb 10 is fully closed. When the shoulders 28a and 28b clear the opposing outer edges 31a and 31b of the cover member 14, the latches 25a and 25b displace inwardly such that the surfaces (not shown) of the shoulders 28a and 28b engage the exterior surface 37 of the cover member 14 as shown in FIG. 2.

Referring again to FIGS. 1A-1C, the hinge member 16 is an elongated rectangular shaped portion of the first comb 10. Preferably, the length of the elongated sides of the hinge member 16 elongated sides are equal to the length of the tapered edges 20a and 20b. As shown in FIGS. 1B and 1C, the thickness of the hinge member 16 is less than the thickness of the comb member 12 and the cover member 14. The hinge member 16 is sufficiently thin to have the flexibility to fold over along its length such that the cover member 14 can close against the comb member 12, as shown in FIG. 2. While the preferred embodiment discloses a single elongated hinge member 16, those skilled in the art will recognize that any form or number of hinges may be substituted, such as, but not limited to, a dual hinge member.

Referring to, FIGS. 1A-1C, 2 and 3. The hinge member 16 of the comb 10 has two hinge slots 36a and 36b positioned along the length of the hinge member 16. As shown in FIG. 3, the hinge slots 36a and 36b accept the interlocking hooks 40a and 40b a second comb 38 such that the second comb 38 aligns parallel with the first comb 10. The hinge slots 36a and 36b are positioned to cause the outer tips of the interlocking hooks 40a and 40b of the second comb 38 to extend beyond the outer edges of the hinge slots 36a and 36b thereby causing the interlocking hooks 40a and 40b to displace slightly inwardly as they are forced into the hinge slots 36a and 36b. When the outer tips of the interlocking hooks 40a and 40b clear the outer edges of the hinge slots 36a and 36b interlocking hooks 40a and 40b will move back to their original position thereby locking the second comb 38 in place. Two or more combs can be interlocked in this manner.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, when the strands of artificial hair 51 are handtied and sewn to a line, a segment of artificial hair is created which is commonly referred to in the art as a “weft” 50. The artificial hair can be manmade or human hair and preferably the line is thin transparent nylon thread. The cover member 14 serves as the attachment point for the weft 50. In the preferred embodiment, the cover member 14 has multiple holes 44 (See FIG. 1) positioned around its periphery. Alternatively, individual strands of hair (not shown) may be attached directly to the cover member 14. Preferably, the attachment of the weft 50 to the comb 10 is accomplished by sewing it to the holes 44 (See FIG. 1) with thread. However, other means of attachment such as, but not limited to, gluing are acceptable. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, several wefts 50 may be grouped together and attached to one or more combs 10 to form a fuller hair segment. FIG. 4 depicts a view as seen from the wearer's scalp and shows three wefts 50 attached to two combs 10. FIG. 5 depicts the same wefts 50 and comb 10 from the opposite view. As each weft 50 is placed in wearer's hair, existing natural hair 60 is filtered into the wefts 50 of artificial hair 51 to allow for blending of the wearer's hair 60 with the artificial hair 51.

Still referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, in operation, wefts 50 are attached to the outer face of the cover member 14 such that the artificial hair 51 hangs along the length of the comb 10 when it is in its closed position. To attach the wefts 50 of artificial hair 51 to the wearer's head, the comb 10 is held in its open position with the teeth 18 angled upward with the inner surface of the comb 10 next to the wearer's scalp. The teeth 18 are combed into the wearer's natural hair 60 in an upward direction allowing the teeth to grab the wearer's natural hair. The comb 10 is then rotated such that the tips of the teeth 18 rotate towards the wearer's scalp and the teeth 18 are then combed downward through the wearer's natural hair. The cover member 14 is then snapped closed by pressing the comb together and forcing the latches 25a and 25b into the corresponding cuts 29a and 29b. Simultaneously, the teeth 18 fit into corresponding tooth channels 32 in the cover member 14. As the cover member 14 is snapped closed, a portion of wearer's natural hair 60 is gathered and trapped between the comb member 12 and the cover member 14 and between the teeth 18 and the tooth channels 32. The comb 10 is secured to the wearer's hair in this manner. The wearer's remaining natural hair 60 is then brushed over and blended with the artificial hair 51 thereby hiding the comb 10 and the wefts 50 where they attach to the cover member 14.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon the reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.