Title:
Lighted purse
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lighted purse which has an efficient light source, so as to prolong battery life. In one embodiment the purse includes a rechargeable battery for a purse light, and a recharging device such as a solar panel, so that the battery is recharged during normal use. The light source used is preferably a low temperature light source, such as a high efficiency miniature lamp bulb, or an electroluminescent strip. Also, a low voltage neon tube can also be used. In a preferred embodiment, the purse has an interior strip for distributing light, and at least one battery-powered light source. The interior strip preferably runs along the central interior bottom, sides, and top. For a zipper purse, the interior strip preferably runs along one side of the zipper. The interior strip is preferably attached to the purse interior using any conventional attachment means such as hook-and-loop fastener material.



Inventors:
Branson, Juli R. (Alexandria, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/098609
Publication Date:
10/06/2005
Filing Date:
04/05/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
362/183, 362/154
International Classes:
A45C15/06; (IPC1-7): A45C15/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEE, Y MY QUACH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael J. Foycik, Jr. (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A purse having an illuminatable interior, comprising: a purse body; a power supply; an illumination means disposed within the purse body; and means for selectively actuating the illumination means.

2. A purse according to claim 1, wherein the illumination means comprises a lamp and a light distributing member.

3. A purse according to claim 2, wherein the light distributing member is a translucent light conducting strip which extends around the periphery of the interior of the purse.

4. A purse according to claim 2, wherein the light distributing member is a translucent light conducting strip which extends around along the bottom and side walls of the interior of the purse.

5. A purse according to claim 2, wherein the light distributing member is a translucent light conducting strip which extends along the uppermost interior periphery of the purse.

6. A purse according to claim 2, wherein the light distributing member is an electroluminescent strip which generates light when a voltage is applied thereto.

7. A purse according to claim 2, wherein the power supply is a rechargeable battery.

8. A purse according to claim 7, further comprising a solar power panel for supply energy for recharging the rechargeable battery.

9. A purse according to claim 7, further comprising a solar power panel for supply energy for recharging the rechargeable battery; wherein the solar power panel forms at least a portion of a wall of the purse.

10. A purse having a light source arrangement, comprising: a purse body; a light source arrangement member; and a plurality of individual lamps carried by said light source arrangement member.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a purse having a light, to illuminate the interior of the purse.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is a known problem in the art to provide for illuminating of the interior of purses and handbags. There are many occassions where there is insufficient external lighting to see into the interior of a purse or handbag, such as outdoors at night or inside a movie theater.

A number of patents are directed to the problem of illuminating the interior of purses and handbags. These include U.S. Pat. No. 6,447,142 to Weir; 5,934,790 to Quintana et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,764,132 to Hill; U.S. Pat. No. 5,908,232 to Burns et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,444,605 to Rivera; U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,677 to Willis; U.S. Pat. No. 4,091,443 to Ohrenstein et al.; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,568 to Blue-Ricci.

It is, however, a problem in the art to provide a device for providing sufficiently strong lighting within the interior of the purse or handbag, and distributing that light sufficiently within the purse so as to provide good visibility of the contents of the purse or handbag in a dark area.

It is a further problem in the art to provide a lighted purse which has an efficient light source, so as to prolong battery life.

It is another problem in the art to provide a rechargeable battery for a purse light, and to provide recharging means such as solar panels, so that the battery is recharged during normal use.

It is also a problem in the art to provide an efficient yet practical arrangement of the light source within a lighted purse, having a shape, size, and location to facilitate the use of the light without interfering with normal and usual operation of the purse or handbag.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

From the foregoing, it is seen that it is a problem in the art to provide a device meeting the above requirements. According to the present invention, a device and process are provided which meets the aforementioned requirements and needs in the prior art.

More particularly, the invention relates to a lighted purse which has an efficient light source, so as to prolong battery life. Additionally, the invention relates to a rechargeable battery for a purse light, and a recharging device such as a solar panel, so that the battery is recharged during normal use.

The invention further contemplates use of a low temperature light source, such as a high efficiency miniature lamp bulb, or an electroluminescent strip. Also, a low voltage neon tube can also be used.

In one embodiment, which is preferred, the purse has an interior strip for distributing light, and at least one battery-powered light source. The interior strip preferably runs along the central interior bottom, sides, and top. For a zipper purse, the interior strip preferably runs along one side of the zipper. The interior strip is preferably attached to the purse interior using any conventional attachment means such as hook-and-loop fastener material.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of an interior lighting arrangement for a purse or handbag, with a purse shown in phantom outline, according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of a lighting strip construction for use in the interior lighting arrangement of FIG. 1, according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of a power supply arrangement, having a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of a switching device for selectively actuating the illumination source only when there is insufficient external light.

FIG. 5 is a top elevational view of another kind of light source arrangement, with a purse or handbag shown in phantom outline.

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the light source arrangement of FIG. 5, disposed within a purse or handbag shown in phantom outline.

FIG. 7 is a top elevational view of another embodiment of a light distribution member.

FIG. 8 is a side sectional view of the light distribution member of FIG. 7, taken along line A-A of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a side section view another embodiment of a light distribution member, having an electroluminescent layer.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a purse having a preferred embodiment of a light distribution member shown in phantom outline.

FIG. 11 is side view of the purse of FIG. 10, showing a pair of light distributing members in phantom outline.

FIG. 12 is a side sectional view schematically showing a light distribution strip and hook-and-loop fastener material used to attached the light distribution strip to the interior of a purse or handbag.

FIG. 13 is a top elevational view of a further preferred light source arrangement, with a purse or handbag shown in phantom outline.

FIG. 14 is a top elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the light source arrangement of FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a top elevational view of another alternative embodiment of the light source arrangement of FIG. 13.

FIG. 16 is a view of a still further light source arrangement, showing a schematic perspective view of a purse in phantom outline with a single side annular ring which carries a plurality of lamps therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a front view of an interior lighting arrangement for a purse or handbag, with a purse P shown in phantom outline. The purse P includes a handle portion, which can instead be a strap or other member facilitating handling of the purse P, or the handle portion can be omitted entirely. The purse P is preferably closed at the top by a zipper, and other closure devices can also be used such a clasp or snap fastener, hook-and-loop fastener material, or other closure means.

An illumination strip 10 is shown in FIG. 1, having a U shaped body having a wall 12, and carrying two lamps 14, 16 therein. A power supply 24 energizes the lamp 14 via a wire 20. The power supply is preferably a battery such as a watch battery or a cell phone battery, or a standard type such as AAA or AA sized batteries, for example. The lamp 16 is likewise energized by the power supply 24 via a wire which is not shown for the sake of clarity. A switch 26 is provided for actuation of the lamps 14 and 16. For example, the switch 26 can be a simple spring-actuated member actuated by opening of the purse, or can be a more sophisticated member which senses capacitance, magnetic field, or changes in light level. While two lamps 14 and 16 are shown by way of illustration, it will be understood that a single lamp could instead be used, and that more than two lamps can be used, without departing from the scope of the invention.

The light source, shown as lamps 14 and 16, may instead or in addition, include any one or combination of light emitting means, including but not limited to fluorescent lights, incandescent bulbs, electroluminescent sheets, light emitting diodes, halogen bulbs, and the like.

The light distributing member 10 is preferably a translucent layer which is preferably constructed of a translucent polymeric sheet. The light distributing member 10 can include other layers, including filter material, reflective material on one side to redirect light toward the interior of the purse or handbag, paint, ink, or any other light filtering means that permits selective transmission of one or more desired wavelengths of visible light through the light distributing member 10 in areas where there is no blocking material or reflective layer. Further, the light distributing member 10 can be comprised of a combination of translucent sheets, paint, ink, or any combination thereof, as well as grooves, corrugations, notches, and other light distributing enhancements. It will be understood that the term “translucent layer” herein can refer to a single layer or multiple layers of transparent or colored material, with a single color or a plurality of different colors, as long as light passes through such translucent layer.

FIG. 2 is a side sectional view of a specific type of lighting strip construction for the wall 12 of the light distributing member 10 of FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the wall 12 has a reflective layer or coating 15a on one side, for redirecting light toward the interior of the purse, thereby increasing the available light and minimizing power requirements. An additional layer or coating 15b may optionally be applied on the opposite side of wall 12, for example the coating 15b can be a color filter material forming indicia such as a name or a message, or can be composed of reflective material. The layer or coating 15a can be, for example, an aluminized layer common in mirrors and mirrored surfaces, or reflective aluminum foil, or can simply be a white sheet of material such as paper or cardboard.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of a power supply arrangement 40, having a solar panel 21, a solar power converter 30, and a rechargeable battery 24a. The components of this arrangement can be selected from any well known types. The solar panel 21 can, in this embodiment, be formed as a side wall or top wall of the purse or handbag; if the solar panel 21 is composed of a relatively flexible material, it can form the outermost surface of the purse or handbag, or can be covered by a transparent or translucent outer layer of the purse to protect the solar panel 21 from soiling. The solar panel 21 can thus form either a part of the visible surface area of the purse or handbag, or can even form almost the entire visible surface area of the purse or handbag.

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of an alternative embodiment of a switching device 26 of FIG. 1. In this alternative embodiment, the switching device includes a photoelectric detector in addition to the mechanical switch, which senses light level. If the light level is above a certain predetermined cutoff limit, such as for sensed strong ambient light such as exist in open daylight, the circuit is open so that power is not supplied to the lamps. This is to conserve energy when there is no need for the interior lighting of the purse. Thus, the member 70 is for selectively actuating the illumination source only when there is insufficient external light.

FIG. 5 is a top elevational view of another kind of light source arrangement, with a purse or handbag shown in phantom outline. In this figure, a tube-shaped light source 80 is disposed around the upper interior periphery of the purse P, and is supported by brackets 86. The tube-shaped light source 80 is preferably a high efficiency, lower voltage neon light having terminal ends 83, 84. A neon or flourescent tube power supply 82 is provided to one end of the light source 80.

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the light source arrangement of FIG. 5, disposed within a purse P shown in phantom outline. The supports 86 are shown clearly in profile in phantom view, and the location of the light source 80 along the uppermost portion is also clear from this view.

FIG. 7 is a top elevational view of another embodiment of a light distribution member 120 having a bottom wall 122, sidewalls 121, and a pyramidal light reflection surface 126 for internally reflecting and distributing light in conjunction with a light source and support shown in FIG. 8.

FIG. 8 is a side sectional view of the light distribution member 120 of FIG. 7, taken along line A-A of FIG. 7. In this view, a light source 130 is provided directing illumination toward the pyramidal light reflection surface 126. The light source 130 is supported within a well 134 formed in a translucent cylindrical member 132 which has a lowermost surface mating with the pyramidal light reflection surface 126. The mating surfaces cause light transmission to disperse throughout the interior of the light distribution member 120, and thereby dispersing light throughout the interior of the purse P shown in phantom outline in FIG. 8. A power supply 138 is shown providing energy to the lamp 130 via power cord 131.

FIG. 9 is a side section view another embodiment of a light distribution member, having an electroluminescent layer 140 and a translucent light distribution member 122 having a jagged notch 148 therein for diffusing and dispersing light exiting from the layer 122. A thin layer, film or coating 142 is preferably applied to one side of the layer 140, as a reflective member to redirect light in the direction of the arrows L shown in this figure.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a purse having a preferred embodiment of a light distribution member 150 shown in phantom outline. The light distribution member 150 preferably runs along the bottom and both sidewalls of the purse P, as well as along the underside of the uppermost portion of the purse P. As seen in FIG. 10, the purse P has a closure member Z which is preferably a zipper. The zipper Z runs preferably along the center of the top panel of the purse P.

FIG. 11 is side view of the purse of FIG. 10, showing a pair of light distributing members 150 in phantom outline. Either one of the light distribution members 150 can be omitted, or both can be provided, each such light distribution member 150 running along one side of the zipper Z of the purse P.

FIG. 12 is a side sectional view schematically showing a light distribution strip 150 and a hook-and-loop fastener material 158 used to attached the light distribution strip 150 to the interior of a purse P. The interior of the purse P can be composed of material which is readily engageable with the hook-and-loop fastener material 158, such as an open weave fabric, or it can include attached patches of material engageable with the hook-and-loop fastener material 158.

FIG. 13 is a top elevational view of a further preferred light source arrangement 180, which is similar in function to the light source 80, with a purse or handbag shown in phantom outline. The light source arrangement 180 is a preferred embodiment, and carries a plurality of individual lamps 181. While a specific number and arrangement of such lamps 181 is shown, it will be understood that any number of such lamps 181 can be used, either lesser or greater in number than those shown, within the scope of the present invention. The lamps 181 may be embedded with the light source arrangement 180, in which case the light source arrangement 180 will be composed of transparent or translucent material. Alternatively, the lamps 181 may be disposed or arranged along a surface of the light source arrangement 180, in which case the light source arrangement 180 can be composed of any suitable material including opaque materials. The lamps 181 may be incandescent bulbs, neon bulbs, or LEDs of any color, and can be wired either in series, in parallel, or separately. The wiring is omitted in this figure, but would be well within the ambit of one skilled in the illumination arts.

FIG. 14 is a top elevational view of an alternative embodiment of the light source arrangement of FIG. 13, showing a light source arrangement 180a having a somewhat rounded shape. All other aspects of the light source arrangement 180a are as described hereinabove with regard to FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a top elevational view of another alternative embodiment of the light source arrangement of FIG. 13, showing a light source arrangement 180b having a circular shape. All other aspects of the light source arrangement 180b are as described hereinabove with regard to FIG. 13.

FIG. 16 is a view of a still further light source arrangement, showing a schematic perspective view of a purse P′ in phantom outline having somewhat rounded sides, so that its overall shape is generally cylindrical. A single side annular ring 182 is shown mounted at one end of the purse P′ and which carries a plurality of lamps therein. The annular ring 182 is similar in function and structure to the light source arrangement 180 of FIG. 13, but has an annular shape instead of being flat.

It will be understood that the present invention contemplates use of a plurality of such annular rings 182 either along the sides, top, or bottom of a purse. It will be further understood that the present invention contemplates use of a plurality of light source arrangements 180, 180a, and/or 180b either along the sides, top, or bottom of a purse. All such variations are within the ambit of one having ordinary skill in the lighting arts.

The invention being thus described, it will be evident that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the claims.