Title:
Towel with detachable pouch and magnetic attachment means
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A towel system having a removable pouch for containing personal items and means for attaching the towel to a variety of different objects.



Inventors:
Elie, Stephanie (Chino Hills, CA, US)
Brannen, Monica (Rolling Hills, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/098899
Publication Date:
10/06/2005
Filing Date:
04/04/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K10/02; A47L13/10; (IPC1-7): A47L13/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Whit Bivens, Esq. (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A towel system comprising: a towel; a pouch adapted to receive and temporarily contain personal effects; and means for temporarily attaching said pouch to said towel.

2. The towel system according to claim 1 wherein said means for temporarily attaching said pouch comprises a hook and loop fastener system with a hook portion and a loop portion.

3. The towel system according to claim 2 wherein said hook portion of said hook and loop fastener system attached to said pouch and said loop portion of said hook and loop fastener system is attached to said towel.

4. The towel system according to claim 1 wherein said means for temporarily attaching said pouch are selected from the group consisting of a zipper, a hook and loop fastener system or one or more snaps.

5. The towel system according to claim 1 further including a display area on said pouch whereby the surface of said pouch may be adorned with graphics or indicia by any known means.

6. The towel system according to claim 1 further comprising a magnet attached to said towel to allow said towel to be attached to any ferro-magnetic surface.

7. The towel system according to claim 6 further including a pocket to contain said magnet wherein said pocket is permanently secured on three sides to the towel surface leaving a fourth side unsecured allowing said magnet to be removed.

8. The towel system according to claim 7 further including means for temporarily closing said fourth side of said pocket to assist in containing the magnet.

9. The towel system according to claim 8 wherein said pocket is located proximate an edge of said towel and the unsecured side of said pocket is located facing said edge of said towel.

10. The towel system according to claim 6 wherein said magnet is located proximate the location of attachment of said removable pouch whereby the center of gravity of said pouch is adjacent to the attachment point of the towel system.

11. The towel system according to claim 7 wherein said pocket is located proximate the location of attachment of said removable pouch whereby the center of gravity of said pouch is adjacent to the attachment point of the towel system.

12. The towel system according to claim 8 wherein said pocket is located proximate the location of attachment of said removable pouch whereby the center of gravity of said pouch is adjacent to the attachment point of the towel system.

13. The towel system according to claim 9 wherein said pocket is located proximate the location of attachment of said removable pouch whereby the center of gravity of said pouch is adjacent to the attachment point of the towel system.

14. A towel system comprising: a towel; a pouch adapted to receive and temporarily contain personal effects; and at least one U-shaped clip attached to said pouch and adapted to temporarily receive and retain an edge of said towel.

15. The towel system according to claim 14 further comprising a magnet attached to said towel to allow said towel to be attached to any ferro-magnetic surface.

16. The towel system according to claim 15 further including a pocket to contain said magnet wherein said pocket is permanently secured on three sides to the towel surface leaving a fourth side unsecured allowing said magnet to be removed.

17. The towel system according to claim 16 wherein said pocket is located proximate an edge of said towel and the unsecured side of said pocket is located facing said edge of said towel.

18. The towel system according to claim 15 wherein said magnet is located proximate an edge of said towel.

19. The towel system according to claim 16 wherein said pocket is located proximate and edge of said towel.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/559,760 filed Apr. 5, 2004.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

SEQUENTIAL LISTING

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is common practice for users of exercise equipment and patrons of gymnasiums to use a towel for various purposes. Such purposes may include, but are not limited to, wiping perspiration from exercise equipment or a user's person. Such people may also use the towel as a barrier or cushion between a body part of the person, such as the person's head, and the exercise equipment or the exercise floor of a gymnasium. The purpose of the towel as described above requires that the towel be close at hand during exercise, however, it is often difficult to find an appropriate location to place the towel while using exercise equipment. Placing the towel on adjacent exercise equipment may inconvenience other patrons of the gymnasium and may require the owner of the towel to interrupt their exercise routine to move the towel. Placing the towel on the floor is undesirable as the floor may be dirty and the towel may be stepped on by people passing by. Thus, a continuing need exists for a towel that incorporates a feature to conveniently keep the towel close at hand while exercising.

Patrons of gymnasiums also frequently wish to have their personal belongings nearby while exercising. Examples of such personal belongings may include, but are not limited to, wallet, keys, gymnasium membership cards, money, snacks, credit cards, cellular telephones, or other personal items. In addition, much modem exercise equipment automatically adjusts certain attributes of the equipment to the user's preferred settings. For example, modern weight machines might automatically adjust to a user's preferred weight setting or a treadmill might automatically adjust the inclination and speed of the treadmill to a user's preferred settings. The system that facilitates such automatic adjustments typically requires the user of the equipment to carry a media device that stores certain information about the user and/or the user's preferred settings. Upon the user's presentation of the media device to the exercise equipment, the equipment performs the automatic adjustment. The media device of such a system may be embodied in a variety of different articles such as cards with a magnetic strip, key-like devices or other such articles. Accordingly, a user of such modem exercise equipment must carry the media device with them while using such equipment.

Exercise clothing frequently lacks pockets. Thus, a person who wishes to have their personal articles close at hand or who uses the type of automatically adjusting exercise equipment described above frequently is confronted with the problem of having to carry one or more items but having no place to put such items. Placing such items on the exercise equipment itself or on the floor nearby is an unsatisfactory solution as such articles may inconvenience other patrons of the gymnasium or be forgotten, lost, stolen, or stepped on. Thus, there is a continuing need for a convenient method of keeping small personal articles nearby while utilizing exercise equipment. One solution to such need presented by the prior art is to incorporate a pocket into an exercise towel. This solution, however, is not a wholly satisfactory solution. If the owner of the towel wishes to use the towel as a barrier or cushion, for example, while doing sit-ups, stretches, floor exercises, or performing certain yoga positions, the presence of the pouch limits the amount of surface area of the towel which the person may use for such purposes. Furthermore, using the towel for such purposes while the pouch is full presents the risk that the user will inadvertently crush, break or otherwise damage the items contained in the pouch or the user may injure themselves by laying or resting on the pouch. Accordingly, there is a continuing need for an article that overcomes the foregoing problems.

The towel system presented herein provides a convenient solution to the foregoing problems and offers several additional advantages.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

U.S. Pat. No. 4,885,195 discloses an exercise towel with two different types of magnetic anchoring means and a closable pocket permanently attached to the towel.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,724,698 discloses a towel incorporating an internal closable pocket and a strap to fasten the towel to golf or gymnasium equipment.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,108,855 discloses a towel fashioned in one or more ornamental shapes and incorporating a strap to fasten the towel to a variety of different items.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,817,379 discloses a towel incorporating an internal pocket, a permanently-attached external pocket constructed of transparent material for holding membership or business cards, a loop for attaching a hook used to attach the towel to various items, and an internal lining impervious to moisture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The problems noted above, and others, are overcome by the present invention. One embodiment of the invention consists of a towel which incorporates a removable magnet to allow the towel to be attached to any ferro-magnetic surface such as the metallic components of many exercise machines. The magnet may be contained within a pocket on one surface of the towel. The interior of the pocket may be readily accessible to allow the magnet to be removed. Such removal allows the towel to be laundered without the presence of the magnet. Further, if the magnetic properties of the magnet decrease over time, the magnet may be replaced.

One embodiment of the invention may also incorporate a removable pouch for holding personal items such as wallet, keys, gymnasium membership cards, money, snacks, credit cards, cellular telephones, other personal items, or the media devices used with certain modem exercise equipment. The pouch may be closable to securely contain such items. The pouch may be closeable by any known means such as zipper means, hook and loop fastener means such as those marketed under the Velcro® trademark, one or more buttons, or one or more snaps.

The pouch may be removably attached to the towel by a variety of means such as hook and loop fastener means, one or more snaps, or other known means. Alternatively, the pouch may be clipped onto the edge of the towel by inserting the edge of the towel into a U-shaped clip secured to the pouch. The towel and the pouch are held together by the frictional contact of the towel with the interior surfaces of the clip. Securing the pouch to the towel by way of a clip offers the additional advantage that the clip may be clipped on to a variety of other items such as, for example, a belt for convenient carrying of the pouch.

The removability of the pouch is particularly advantageous for at least three reasons. First, if the owner of the towel wishes to use the towel as a barrier or cushion for such activities as sit-ups, stretches, floor exercises, or performing certain yoga positions, removal of the pouch allows the entire surface area of the towel to be used for such a purpose and avoids the possibility of inadvertently crushing, breaking or otherwise damaging the contents of the pouch. Second, if the owner of the towel wishes to visit a place of business before, after or during exercise but does not wish to bring the towel, the owner may simply carry the pouch and its contents into the place of business to have access to the contents such as a wallet or credit card while leaving the towel at a convenient and discrete location such as the owner's car. Finally, removal of the pouch makes laundering of the towel easier and avoids any damage that such laundering may do to the pouch and any contents of the pouch inadvertently left within the pouch.

The interior of the pouch may be divided into one or more compartments specifically designed to hold certain articles such as credit or gymnasium membership cards, cell phones, glasses, or keys. Such internal division of the pouch minimizes the possibility of the contents of the pouch damaging each other. For example, an internal divider may separate a set of keys from a pair of glasses thereby preventing the keys from scratching the glasses. Reinforcing material may be incorporated into the pouch to minimize the chances of the articles within the pouch being crushed, broken or damaged.

The towel and the pouch may be of any size depending on the requirements of the user of the invention. For example, a relatively large towel with a removable pouch may be particularly useful for sunbathing at the beach or in the park. If the user of the towel wishes to purchase a cold drink, for example, the user may take the detachable pouch containing the user's valuable personal items and money to purchase the drink while leaving the towel to indicate to others who may be present that someone is occupying that spot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of the invention showing the invention attached to a piece of exercise equipment;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the invention showing the pouch partially detached from the towel;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view of one embodiment of the invention showing a magnet and one method of incorporating the magnet in the invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing one embodiment of the invention being used as a cushion or barrier during rest or exercise;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary view of one embodiment of the invention showing the spatial relationship between the magnet, the towel and the removable pouch;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 6-6 in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the Figures, a towel 10 is shown having, in the preferred embodiment shown, a generally rectangular shape, however, the towel may be of any shape. Pocket 12 for containing magnet 14 is located on one face of towel 10. As shown in FIG. 3, pocket 12 preferably allows magnet 14 to be removed. This may be accomplished by permanently securing three sides of pocket 12 to the towel surface and leaving a fourth side of pocket 12 unsecured. Preferably means are provided to temporarily close the fourth side of pocket 12 to assist in containing the magnet. Any known closing means such as a hook and loop fastener 16 as shown in FIG. 6, a zipper (not shown), one or more snaps (not shown), or one or more buttons (not shown) may be used to temporarily close pocket 12. Such closing means may be configured in a variety of different ways. For example, rather than the “tab” style hook and loop fastener system 16, a hook and loop fastener means may be incorporated into the internal face of pocket 12 whereby the hook and loop portions span the width of the unsecured side of pocket 12. In such a configuration, the size of pocket 12 should be increased to accommodate both magnet 14 and the internal hook and loop fastener system. Preferably, pocket 12 is located toward the perimeter of towel 10 and the unsecured side of pocket 12 is located facing toward the perimeter of the towel reducing the likelihood that magnet 14 will fall out of pocket 12 in the event that the owner of towel 10 forgets to secure magnet 14 within pocket 12 with closure means 16. One reasonably skilled in the art will appreciate that pocket 12 may be configured in a variety of different shapes, configurations, and orientations without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

During laundering of the towel, magnet 14 may be removed as shown in FIG. 3. Further, if the magnetic properties of magnet 14 decrease over time, magnet 14 may be replaced with a new magnet.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, a removable pouch 18 is attached preferably to the surface of the towel opposite the surface to which pocket 12 is attached. As shown in FIG. 2, the attachment point of pouch 18 preferably is proximate the location of pocket 12 so that when pouch 18 is filled with personal belongings 20 as shown in FIG. 5 and towel 10 is attached to a ferro-magnetic surface 22 by magnet 14 in pocket 12 as shown in FIG. 1, the center of gravity of pouch 18 is adjacent the attachment point of the towel system to surface 22 thus reducing the tendency of the pouch 18 to produce pendulum-like qualities in the towel system and reducing pivoting about the attachment point of the towel system to surface 22.

As shown in FIG. 2, pouch 18 preferably is secured to towel 10 by a hook and loop fastener system made up of a hook portion 24 and a loop portion 26. Preferably, hook portion 24 is located on pouch 18 and loop portion 26 is located on towel 10. Thus, when pouch 18 is removed from towel 10, such as when a user wishes to use towel 10 as a cushion or barrier as shown in FIG. 4, only the soft loop portion 26 is present on the towel, as opposed to the rough hook portion 24. This is desirable to avoid the potential for the rough hook portion 26 to scratch or graze a user of the towel. In addition, it avoids the potential of the hook portion 26 to adhere to other articles of clothing during laundering of the towel. One reasonably skilled in the art will appreciate that a variety of other means may be used to attach pouch 18 to towel 10.

As shown in FIG. 5, pouch 18 preferably is closable to allow a user to securely contain their personal belongings 20. In FIG. 5, the closing mechanism for pouch 18 is shown as a zipper 28, however, any known closing mechanism may be used such as a hook and loop fastener system, one or more snaps, or one or more buttons.

The surface of pouch 18 may be adorned with graphics by any known means such as embroidery, silk screening, heat transfer printing or direct printing. Further, the surface of towel 10 may be similarly adorned with graphics by any known means. Such graphics may be used to enhance the desirability of owning the towel system or may allow the towel system to be used as an advertising and promotional item.

Although the invention has been described and illustrated with reference to certain particular materials, attachment means, closure means, and other specified features, such descriptions and illustrations are not intended to be and should not be taken in a limiting sense. One reasonably skilled in the art will appreciate that a variety of additions, substitutions, omissions, and modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, towel 10 may be of any size and may be intended for any use such as a full sized towel for use at the beach or the park. Further, pouch 18 may be of any size, may be provided with internal dividers to organize and protect a user's personal belongings, and may be provided with reinforcing material to prevent the contents of pouch 18 from being inadvertently crushed, broken or otherwise damaged. Further, alternative means of attaching the towel system to a variety of objects may be provided such as a strap. Further, alternative means of attaching pouch 18 to towel 10 may be provided. All such modifications, additions, omissions and substitutions are considered to be within the scope and spirit of the invention. The scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by the appended claims and their equivalents.