Title:
Easy pack track and clip garment bag
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a novel garment bag having a cantilevered support arm under which is an open ended slot that can be placed onto a closet bar to the lateral centerline of the garment bag to contain garments supported on conventional hangers. The hangers can be slid on the closet bar without being removed therefrom into the garment bag adjacent to the cantilevered support arm. Each hanger supporting a garment is also slid over a retaining strap attached to the garment bag so that when packing is complete, the retainer strap can be placed around the hanger hooks and attached through a hook and loop fastener to the garment bag. There is included at least one spine as a part of the garment bag. The spine is comprised of a series of ribs, each rib of which contains tracks and clips. Tracks allow for horizontal movement of the clips along the rib so the clips can be positioned for attachment to lateral edges of garments. This is to minimize wrinkling when the garment bag is closed and moved about in travel.



Inventors:
Cohen, Louis B. (Aventura, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/714685
Publication Date:
05/19/2005
Filing Date:
11/18/2003
Assignee:
COHEN LOUIS B.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/289, 206/287
International Classes:
A45C13/03; B65D85/18; (IPC1-7): B65D85/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert J. Van Der Wall (Coral Gables, FL, US)
Claims:
1. In an improved garment bag having back, front, top, bottom and sides, a handle, and a suspension member to support hooks of clothes hangers near a top of a clothes storage cavity in the garment bag, the improvement comprising: a top plate of garment bag substantially vertically disposed above the clothes storage cavity; a cantilevered support arm formed from an upper portion of the top plate; a substantially horizontal open ended slot in the top plate having a width slightly greater than a diameter of a closet bar and a length beginning at a side of the top plate and extending substantially to a vertical centerline of the garment bag; and a retainer to hold together the clothes hanger hooks at the suspension member.

2. The improved garment bag of claim 1 in which the retainer is a retaining strap that holds the hooks of the clothes hangers together in substantially an identical position as when the clothes hangers are slid on the closet bar into the garment bag in packing it.

3. The improved garment bag of claim 2 in which the retaining strap is fixedly attached at a first end to the top plate and a second end is laid on top of the closet bar over which hooks of clothes hangers are slid when packing the garment bag and then the second end is attached to the first end using a hook and loop fastener.

4. The improved garment bag of claim 1 in which the back of the garment bag is a spine depending downwardly from the top plate and comprised of a series of substantially horizontal ribs having a pivoting connection between the ribs.

5. The improved garment bag of claim 4 which further comprises at least one substantially horizontal track in selected ribs, and at least one clip resiliently biased in a normally closed configuration and slidable in a track.

6. The improved garment bag of claim 5 in which multiple tracks and multiple clips serve to hold clothes supported on clothes hangers laterally stable to minimize wrinkling of clothes when the garment bag is closed, folded and transported.

7. The improved garment bag of claim 6 in which clothes are packed in order of increasing size starting with a smallest item such that each successive garment overlies its predecessor so clips will reach the edges of each garment to hold each laterally stable.

8. The improved garment bag of claim 5 in which clips are comprised of a base that is slidably engaged in a track, a top jaw plate pivotally connected to the base, an upper jaw connected to the upper jaw plate, a lower jaw connected to the base, resilient biasing means to maintain normally closed pressure between the jaws, fabric protecting material on fabric contacting surfaces of the jaws, and which clips are rotatable in a plane parallel to a plane of the rib.

9. The improved garment bag of claim 5 which further comprises at least one additional spine to provide more tracks and clips to accommodate additional clothes inside the garment bag.

10. In an improved garment bag having back, front, top, bottom and sides, a handle, and a suspension member to support hooks of clothes hangers near a top of a clothes storage cavity in the garment bag, the improvement comprising: a spine forming the back of the garment bag and having a plurality of ribs with a pivoting connection between the ribs; at least one substantially horizontal track in selected ribs; and at least one clip resiliently biased in a normally closed configuration and slidable within the track.

11. The improved garment bag of claim 10 in which multiple tracks and multiple clips serve to hold laterally stable to minimize wrinkling of clothes disposed on clothes hangers when the garment bag is closed, folded and transported.

12. The improved garment bag of claim 11 in which clothes are packed in order of increasing size starting with a smallest item such that each successive garment overlies its predecessor so clips will reach the edges of each garment to hold each laterally stable.

13. The improved garment bag of claim 10 in which clips are comprised of a base that is slidably engaged in a track, a top jaw plate pivotally connected to the base, an upper jaw connected to the upper jaw plate, a lower jaw connected to the base, resilient biasing means to maintain normally closed pressure between the jaws, fabric protecting material on fabric contacting surfaces of the jaws, and which clips are rotatable in a plane parallel to a plane of the rib.

14. The improved garment bag of claim 10 which further comprises at least one additional spine to provide more tracks and clips to accommodate additional clothes inside the garment bag.

15. The improved garment bag of claim 10 which further comprises, a top plate of the garment bag substantially vertically disposed above the clothes storage cavity; a cantilevered support arm formed from an upper portion of the top plate; a substantially horizontal open ended slot in the top plate having a width substantially equal to a diameter of a closet bar, and a length beginning at a side of the top plate and extending substantially to a vertical centerline of the garment bag; and a retainer to hold together the clothes hanger hooks at the suspension member.

16. The improved garment bag of claim 15 in which the retainer is a retaining strap that holds the hooks of the clothes hangers together in substantially an identical position as when the clothes hangers are slid on the closet bar into the garment bag in packing it.

17. The improved garment bag of claim 16 in which the retaining strap is fixedly attached at a first end to the top plate and a second end is laid on top of the closet bar over which hooks of clothes hangers are slid when packing the garment bag and then the second end is attached to the first end using a hook and loop fastener.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of travel luggage, and more specifically concerns a garment bag that when hung in a closet on a closet bar in which the clothes to be packed are also hung, the clothes can be slid along the bar without being removed therefrom into their packed position in the garment bag. It also includes a track and clip feature to hold clothing in position within the garment bag to minimize wrinkling when the garment bag is closed, removed from the closet bar and carried by the user.

2. Description of the Prior Art

A common piece of luggage that is used by present day travelers is frequently referred as a garment bag. Garment bags are frequently employed by airline passengers who do not wish to check their luggage, instead preferring to carry their bags on board airplanes. A typical garment bag is sized a little larger than a blazer or sports coat when it is open to be packed and after packing it can be folded in half so as to allow the user to carry the bag at their side, as well as allow the bag to readily fit within the overhead bins in jet airliners.

A typical prior art garment bag is usually packed by opening it up and lying it on a bed so that clothes on hangers can be removed from a closet, laid in the garment bag and the hooks on the hangers placed around a device at the top of the garment bag that substitutes for the bar in the closet from which the clothes were removed. After the clothes are loaded into the garment bag, garment bag is closed, usually with a zippered closure, and frequently then folded in half with the bottom half and top half attached to each other to produce a resulting piece of luggage that can be carried at one's side, as well as fit into the overhead bins in an airplane. There are several consequences that usually result from the foregoing procedure.

First of all it is necessary to remove each garment from the closet, carry it to the garment bag on the bed, lay it flat attaching the hook of the hanger to a device within the garment bag that emulates the closet bar, and smooth the wrinkles from the garment before laying the next garment on top of the first one. The second consequence is that when the garment bag is closed and folded for travel, the clothing in the bag tends to shift because of gravity and movement and tends to wrinkle. Because there is no means in prior art garment bags that effectively prevents this phenomenon, it is normal to expect the clothing placed in such a garment bag to wrinkle to some degree depending upon the length of time the garments are in the garment bag, the amount of room in the garment bag that allows shifting of the garments and the amount of movement to which the garment bag is exposed.

The present invention facilitates packing the garment bag while it remains hanging from a closet bar, and doing so without removing the clothing from the closet bar except for the purpose of selecting the garments to be packed and the order in which they are packed. The present invention also includes a track and clip mechanism which is intended to maintain the positioning of the garments within the bag by positive control without regard to the amount of space left in the garment bag when packing is complete, the folding of the bag, and the movement to which it is subjected after the garment bag is closed and carried on the journey. Thus the present invention addresses two deficiencies of the prior art, the efforts involved in packing to minimize wrinkling of the garments, and the retention of the garments in a positive manner to minimize wrinkling after the garment bag is closed.

A pre-examination search commissioned by the applicant has revealed no reference that shows a means to pack a garment bag that is suspended from a closet bar wherein the garments to be packed can be slid along the same closet bar as the garment bag is suspended from in the closet without removing the garments from the closet bar during the packing process. This has the obvious advantage that the garments when placed in the garment bag remain suspended in a relatively wrinkle free posture while hanging from from the same hanger as they were in the closet before being packed. Examples of the prior art include Riccoboni, U.S. Pat. No. 5,622,255, which provides separate folding hangers that are a part of the invention as illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 6A. The garments must be moved to these folding hangers in the packing process. Other references include Myers, U.S. Pat. No. 5,505,297, which includes a pair of hanger support assemblies 100 as shown in FIG. 3; Plath, U.S. Pat. No. 5,732,817, which teaches ring 32 for holding conventional hangers as best seen in FIG. 4; Sheiman, U.S. Pat. No. 4,782,947, which teaches a track extension 64 for holding garment hangers 92 as seen in FIG. 2, and alternatively, support rails 238 and 240 for supporting conventional hanger hooks 237 as seen in FIG. 8; King, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,738,360, teaching trollies 76 as seen in FIG. 5 supporting hangers 72 as seen FIG. 3; Zezza, U.S. Pat. No. 4,727,987, disclosing coupler 24 to support the hook of hanger 14 as seen in FIG. 1; Ingram, U.S. Pat. No. 5,419,432, teaching a support means in FIG. 3 that is unnamed and unnumbered; Lynn, U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,890, teaching a fixture 70 as seen in FIG. 5; Jackson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,628,398, which teaches an unconventional hanger in FIGS. 4 and 9, and Wasserman, U.S. Pat. No. 4,126,252, which teaches an unconventional frame 10 as seen in FIGS. 1 and 3.

Regarding the track and clip feature of the present invention no reference teaches this being done in a lateral manner with tracks that are horizontal. The invention stabilizes garments laterally and maintain them in a minimal wrinkle mode perpendicular to the force of gravity when the garment bag is hung up. The closest reference is Ingram, U.S. Pat. No. 5,419,432 which teaches a hem clasp mechanism as shown in FIG. 5 which operates in a vertical rather than horizontal orientation and is for a different purpose. It teaches a hem clasp mechanism 80 coupled to separate side leg 46 including 4 vertical parallel ribs 82. The specifics of hand clasp 84 are shown in FIG. 6. This hand clasp mechanism does not and cannot perform the functions of the horizontal track and clip mechanism of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Bearing in mind the foregoing, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide an easy pack track and clip garment bag in which garments on hangers supported by a closet bar can be slid without removal from the closet bar to be packed into a garment bag which is also supported by the same closet bar.

A related principal object of the present invention is to provide a garment bag which can be packed in a vertical hanging configuration with clothing supported on hangers from a closet bar while gravity maintains the garments in a minimum wrinkle mode as each is packed into the garment bag.

An additional object of the invention to facilitate editing of the choices of clothes to be removed if too many are initially elected to be packed, because they are hanging from the closet bar and can be easily removed without disturbing adjoining garments as would be the case if they were lying down in a prior art garment bag packed on a bed.

Another object of the invention is to provide a garment bag that permits packing it without the necessity to lay down garments and smooth out wrinkles in the garment bag.

A further object of the invention is to avoid the necessity to transport garments from a closet to a horizontal garment bag commonly laid in the prior art on the surface of a bed for packing purposes.

An additional object of the invention is to spare the time and reduce the effort to pack a garment bag by allowing the same to be done in a vertical mode hanging in the closet from which the garments to be packed are selected.

A further object of the invention is to provide a horizontally oriented track and clip mechanism within a garment bag to maintain garments with minimum wrinkling in a lateral direction.

Another object of the invention is to provide a garment bag having a series of horizontal tracks in which are disposed a plurality of clips movable in said tracks horizontally to maintain at a multiplicity of positions along the side of each garment sufficient lateral stabilization to minimize wrinkling of the garments.

One more object of the invention is to provide a garment bag with a spine comprised of a series of ribs that have a limited pivoting connection between them that prevents folding the garment bag in a crease that would wrinkle garments packed therein.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon referenced to the following descriptions and the appended drawings.

In accordance with a principal aspect of the invention there is provided an easy pack track and clip garment bag which includes a cantilevered support arm having an opening that can be slid onto a closet bar to the lateral centerline of the garment bag. The invention also includes an external covering supported by cantilevered support arm to contain garments supported on conventional hangers which can be slid on the closet bar without being removed therefrom into the garment bag adjacent to the cantilevered support arm. Each hanger supporting a garment is slid over a retaining strap attached to the garment bag so that when all the garments desired to be packed are in the garment bag, the retainer strap can be pulled tightly around the hanger hooks and attached through the velcro fastener to the garment bag. All of the hanger hooks are raised slightly together to permit removal of the garment bag cantilevered support arm from the closet bar after the garment bag is closed.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention there is included at least one spine as a part of the garment bag. The spine is comprised of a series of ribs, alternate ribs of which contains tracks and clips along the longitudinal centerline of every other rib. Tracks allow for lateral (horizontal) movement of the clips along the ribs. This permits the clips to be positioned for attachment to the lateral edges of garments to maintain their lateral positioning, thereby minimizing wrinkling when the garment bag is closed and moved about in travel. The clips slide within the tracks, can be rotated to accommodate differing shapes of garments, have jaws with internal surfaces that protect garments from damage, and are resiliently biased into a normally closed position that can be opened by thumb pressure on the upper surface.

By selecting garments according to size with the smallest size being first, a plurality of garments can be clipped at their lateral edges using a single spine. The invention further contemplates the use of more than one such spine when needed for the number of garments to be packed. The first spine forms the back of the garment bag, while one or more additional spines, referred to as inset spines, are disposed inside the garment bag when it is closed and folded.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various other features and details of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following discussion taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the easy pack track and clip garment bag in closed position but unfolded showing the cantilevered support arm, carrying handle, and retaining strap.

FIG. 2 shows the interior elements on the back of the garment bag, with the cover removed therefrom. Seen is the spine supported by the cantilevered support arm with attached retaining strap and carrying handle in which every other rib of the spine contains along its longitudinal axis centerline two tracks and two clips.

FIG. 3 shows a side view of the spine folded as it would be when disposed within the garment bag after the same had been folded for transport. See also FIG. 16.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a track and clip.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a track and clip attached to the lateral edge of a garment.

FIG. 6 shows the spine at the back of the inventive garment bag while the garment bag is opened.

FIG. 7 shows application of clips to the lateral edges of the top and bottom of a pair of trousers placed into the open garment bag of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 shows the placement of a suit jacket over the trousers shown on FIG. 7 and the attachment of a plurality of lateral clips to various points on the jacket to maintain its position laterally regardless of the orientation in which the garment bag is carried or removed after it is closed.

FIG. 9 shows the inventive garment bag suspended on a closet bar and illustrates the movement by sliding motion of garments into the garment bag for packing purposes.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged closeup showing the placement of the hangers adjacent to the cantilevered support arm over the retaining strap which is open for that purpose.

FIG. 11 is also an enlarged closeup which shows the retaining strap fastened using its hook and loop fastener to retain the hangers in close proximity to each other and to the cantilevered support arm of the garment bag.

FIG. 12 is a third enlarged close up and is the same as FIG. 11 except that the garment bag is closed and the hangers can be seen only through a hanger aperture.

FIG. 13 shows the garment bag opened and packed, suspended from a closet bar, and with a second spine on the closet bar for lateral retention of additional clothing to be disposed within the garment bag. The second spine is referred to as an inset spine.

FIG. 14 is an elevation view of the back of the garment bag showing the top plate, cantilevered support arm, slot and a multiplicity of ribs depending downwardly from the top plate. It also shows an identification plate fixedly attached within a protective ridge by fasteners.

FIG. 14A is an enlarged inset view showing the identification plate within the protective surrounding ridge and with removable fasteners.

FIG. 15 is side view of an empty closed garment bag showing a second handle on the bottom.

FIG. 16 illustrates the garment bag when it has been folded for transportation in the manner illustrated by FIG. 3 and showing the two handles in proximity to each other.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specifics structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure.

Reference is now made to the drawings, wherein like characteristics and features of the present invention shown in the various figures are designated by the same referenced numerals.

FIG. 1 is a front, top perspective view of the easy pack track and clip garment bag 10 showing front cover 12, side cover 14, top cover 16, hanger aperture 18, retaining strap 20, top handle 22, top plate 24, and cantilevered support arm 26.

FIG. 2 is a front top perspective view of the spine 28 of garment bag 10 with the front, sides, top and bottom covers removed. The spine 28 is comprised of top plate 24 and a plurality of ribs 30 suspended there beneath. The ribs have limited pivoting connection between them to avoid a crease fold in the garment bag to minimize wrinkles that result from a crease. Alternate ribs 30 contain track 32 and clip 34 assemblies in opposed pairs on each end of the relevant ribs 30. FIG. 3 is an end view of the spine 28 showing the geometry of the spine 28 as folded for transportation as a garment bag. See FIG. 16. Individual rib 30 and clips 34 can be seen. So can retaining strap 20 and top handle 22.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective fragmentary view of a portion of a rib 30 in which is disposed track 32 and clip 34. Clip 34 includes a base 36. Base 36 supports a post 38 having a pivot point that interacts with pivoting arm 40. Pivoting arm 40 is, in turn, attached to resiliently biased upper jaw plate 42 with thumb friction surface 44 and upper jaw 46. Base 36 also supports lower jaw 48. Upper jaw 46 and lower jaw 48 are made from fabric sensitive materials to avoid damaging the fabric of garments to be clipped therein. Clip 34 is resiliently biased by conventional means (not shown) in a normally closed position and its opened by pressure applied by a user's thumb on thumb friction surface 44 to open the gap between upper jaw 46 and lower jaw 48.

FIG. 5 shows clip 34 and its features generally, with a garment 50 firmly gripped within clip 34.

FIG. 6 shows the garment bag of FIG. 1 fully opened at hinge 52. The descriptions of relevant parts in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 apply equally to FIG. 6 and need not be repeated at this point.

FIG. 7 is a front elevation view that is partially broken of what is shown in FIG. 6 to which has been added a pair of trousers 52. Trousers are hung on the tube 54 of a conventional wire hanger 56 the hook which 58 is held within close retainer strap 20. It will be seen in FIG. 7 that the side edges of both ends of trouser 52 are laterally stabilized by clips 34 which are positioned in tracks 32 to accommodate the width of the garment.

FIG. 8 shows a jacket 60 which overlays the trousers 52 of FIG. 7. Note that the lateral edges and bottom of jacket 60 laterally restrained four places on each sleeve and two places at the bottom by clip 34. Note that the clips can be rotated to accommodate the shapes of various garments and that there can be multiple clips in a given track to accommodate multiple garments overlying each other.

FIG. 9 is a broken perspective view of the easy pack track and clip garment bag 10 suspended from a closet bar 62 by insertion of closet bar 62 into slot 64 disposed beneath cantilevered support arm 26. FIG. 9 is intended to show how the easy pack feature works, with the garment bag 10 supported on closet bar 62 such that jacket 60 and trousers 52 can be simply slid along closet bar 62 into garment bag 10, each being clipped by the track and clip means as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 before the following garments are placed in the garment bag. As not shown in FIG. 9, it is preferable that smaller garments be placed in the garment bag first so that larger ones can overlie them as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged perspective fragmentary view showing how the easy pack feature partially illustrated in FIG. 9 works with retaining strap 20. The hooks 58 of hangers 56 are placed on the top of the retaining strap 20 as they are disposed within garment bag 10, still being supported on closet bar 62.

Retaining strap 20 preferably includes a magnetic strip sewn into it so that if the closet bar is a ferrous material, the retaining strap will be attracted to it and will lie flat when packing is proceeding.

FIG. 11 shows the closure of retaining strap 20 around all the hooks 58 of hangers 56. When it is desired to remove garment bag 10 from closet bar 62, the packer merely grasps all the hangers 56 and lifts them within the loop or closed retaining strap 20 as at 66 so that top plate 24 and cantilevered support arm 26 can be withdrawn from closet bar 62 through slot 64 without the ends of hooks 58 interfering therewith.

In the closeup of FIG. 12, hangers 56 are visible through hanger aperture 18 in top cover 16. Hanger hooks 58 are shown around closet bar 62 adjacent to slot 64 and within retaining strap 20.

FIG. 13 illustrates that more than one spine may be employed to laterally stabilize more clothes than can be stabilized using a single spine. The first spine 28 constitutes the back of the garment bag. Any additional spines are disposed inside of the garment bag. These additional spines, termed spine insets 68, can be similarly supported on closet bar 62 and slid thereon into garment bag 10. Note, however, that top plate 70 uses a cut back channel element 72 so that it can penetrate hanger aperture 18 when the garment bag is closed.

FIG. 14 is an elevational back view of the garment bag back 28 with a multiplicity of ribs 30 and top plate 24. Also seen in FIG. 14 is a fixedly positioned, but removable, name, address and telephone number identification plate 74 which is preferably permanently embossed.

Inset FIG. 14A shows a closeup of the identification plate 74 surrounding by a protective ridge 76 and which can only be remove using fasteners 78.

FIG. 15 is a side elevation view of the garment bag showing back 28, front 12, side 14, retaining strap 20, top handle 22, and bottom handle 80.

FIG. 16 shows the complete garment bag 10 folded for travel in the manner of FIG. 3 with handles 22 and 80 adjacent each other, sides 14, top plate 24, ribs 30, and the like.

While the invention has been described, disclosed, illustrated and shown in various terms or certain embodiments of modifications which has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention is not intended to be, nor should it be deemed to be, limited thereby and such other modifications or embodiments as may be suggested by the teachings herein are particularly reserved especially as they fall within the breadth and scope of the claims here appended.