Title:
Hair extension and method of use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hair extension used for extending and filling-out existing hair includes an anchor band of a relatively flexible fabric having a frontal outer surface and a rear inner surface which is pressed against the scalp. The anchor band provides mounting holes for accepting a portion of a person's natural hairs which are threaded through them. A plurality of supplementary hairs which make up the hair extension are permanently engaged with the anchor band and extend away from the frontal outer surface so as to drape downwardly. Clamps are engaged with the portion of the primary hairs which extend from the mounting holes so that these clamps lay adjacent to the frontal outer surface. The clamps are crushed or formed so as to hold the primary hairs for immobilizing the anchor band and holding it in place against the scalp.



Inventors:
Salinas, Hortencia (Orange, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/847703
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
05/17/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G3/00; A41G5/00; (IPC1-7): A41G3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STEITZ, RACHEL RUNNING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Dobrusin Law Firm P.C. (Pontiac, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A hair extension apparatus for attachment to existing primary hairs on a head of hairs so as to extend the apparent length of the primary hairs and to provide added fullness to the primary hairs, the hair extension apparatus comprising: an anchor band of a relatively flexible fabric having a frontal outer surface and a rear inner surface, the anchor band providing a plurality of mounting holes for accepting a portion of the primary hairs extending therethrough from the rear inner surface to the frontal outer surface; a plurality of supplementary hairs permanently engaged with the anchor band, and extending out of, and, away from the frontal outer surface thereof, so as to drape downwardly therefrom; and a plurality of clamps, the clamps each engaged with the portion of the primary hairs extended out of at least two adjacent ones of the mounting holes and adjacent to the frontal outer surface, the clamps closed so as to clamp the primary hairs for immobilizing the anchor band.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the clamps are tubular ferrules.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the through holes are arranged in a linear array across the anchor band.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the through holes are arranged in at least two parallel rows across the anchor band.

5. A method for attaching a hair extension to existing primary hairs on a head of hairs so as to extend the apparent length of the primary hairs and to provide added fullness to the primary hairs, the method comprising the steps of: placing an anchor band of a relatively flexible fabric against a user's scalp; draping supplemental hairs of the hair extension downwardly from the anchor band; feeding a portion of the primary hairs through mounting holes in the anchor band; feeding the portion of the primary hairs extending from at least two adjacent ones of the mounting holes through at least one clamp; and clamping the primary hairs within the clamps.

6. The method of claim 5 further comprising the step of covering the anchor band and at least a portion of the supplemental hairs with a portion of the existing primary hairs.

7. The method of claim 5 further comprising the steps of opening the at least one clamp; moving the anchor band more tightly against the scalp thereby drawing the primary hairs within the at least one clamp outwardly; and clamping the primary hairs again within the at least one clamp.

Description:

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

Applicant(s) hereby incorporate herein by reference, any and all U.S. patents and U.S. patent applications cited or referred to in this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to hair pieces and particularly to a novel hair extension and a method of attachment to naturally growing hair on a users head.

2. Description of Related Art

The following art defines the present state of this field:

Buckwalter, U.S. Pat. No. Des. 376,444 describes a design for a supplemental hairpiece.

Jenkins, U.S. Pat. No. 3,280,826 describes a method of making a hair piece adapted to be secured to the live hair on the head comprising, folding a weft having a base portion and commercial hair secured thereto a predetermined number of times with said folded base portions forming a foundation, providing fastener means having a plurality of apertures therethrough, placing said fastener means against said folded base portions, and securing said adjacent folds of said weft together by passing stitches through the apertures in said fastener means and through the foundation formed by said folded base portion to secure said portions in folded relationship.

Johnson et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,651,820 describes a method for holding a hairpiece firmly in place on a wearer's head by anchoring adjustable brackets to the wear's existing hair. A firm anchor is formed from a bead of melted rubber, which is fused into a thin strip of existing hair, and subsequently hardens therein. An anchor attachment and adjustable male bracket are fastened to the rubber anchor, the male bracket engaging a corresponding female bracket attached to the base of the hair piece to firmly hold the hair piece in place. The effective length of the male bracket may be adjusted to compensate for hair growth over a period of time.

Maassen et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,662,766 describes a hairpiece, which is anchored with the surrounding natural hair. The hairpiece has a plurality of locking devices attached to its base. The locking devices have a first section, which is attached to the hairpiece, and a second section, which is adapted to being lockingly engaged wit the first section. The second section is attached to the natural hair by means, which permits adjustment of the attachment between the natural hair and the second section to compensate for growth of the natural hair.

Nelson, U.S. Pat. No. 4,254,784 describes an improved hair unit assembly and method wherein the user's natural hair is employed to attach the hair unit in place. In practice, one or more elongated, apertured tubes are placed adjacent the user's natural hair, and strands thereof are pulled into the tubes; an elongated, frictional locking member or adhesive is then inserted within each tube to secure the tubes in place. An appropriate hair unit can then be secured to the tubes by any one of a number of techniques. Reinforcing tube segments are also used to interconnect and bridge spaced hair-receiving tube sections to thus rigidify the overall assembly.

Russell, U.S. Pat. No. 4,966,173 describes a hairpiece for covering areas of partial hair loss removal or thinning on a user's head is disclosed. The hairpiece includes a band of resilient material in an arcuate shape, which conforms to the user's head and biases thereagainst, and a foundation member to which hair is attached. When worn, the foundation of hair is positioned over the area of hair loss or removal to conceal the area, and the user's own hair may be combed or styled in a fashion to incorporate the hair of the hairpiece with that of the user to produce a natural look.

Rennex, U.S. Pat. No. 5,313,963 describes hairpieces and in particular to an improved hairpiece base, which renders the hairpiece virtually undetectable to sight and to touch. The invention comprises a mesh and a mesh binder. The mesh affords structural strength in the lateral plane, and it serves as an anchor for artificial hairs. The mesh binder fills the region between the mesh strands, and its thickness is approximately equal to the diameter of the mesh strands. At the perimeter of the base, the mesh binder edge may be tapered in thickness.

Walker, U.S. Pat. No. 5,722,434 describes a hair enhancement system including a female portion having a first flexible fabric strip having a first plurality of female snap fastener halves secured to and evenly spaced a first spacing distance along a first side surface thereof; a male portion having a second flexible fabric strip having a second plurality of male snap fastener halves that are mateably with the female snap fastener halves of the female portion secured to and evenly spaced by the first spacing distance along a second side surface thereof; and a hair enhancement weft including a third plurality of flexible enhancement hair strands secured to and extending from a side edge of one of said female and male portions along the length thereof. The hair enhancement system is utilized by placing a section of hair from the person having the hair enhancements applied between the female or male portions and snapping the female snap fastener strip to the male snap fastener strip in a manner to retain the section of hair from the person therebetween.

Our prior art search with abstracts described above teaches: a method of attaching a hairpiece, a supplemental hair piece, a method and apparatus for attaching a hair unit, a hairpiece for compensation of hair loss, a hairpiece base, a hair enhancement system, a hair piece and method of making and permanently attaching same, and a method of securing a hair piece. However, the prior art fails to teach an anchor band having supplemental hairs fixed thereto and holes arranged to receive the user's hair and clamped by flattening ferrules as a simple attachment which may be reversed for tightening and removal. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides further related advantages as described in the following summary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.

A hair extension used for extending and filling-out existing naturally growing hair includes an anchor band of a relatively flexible fabric having a frontal outer surface and a rear inner surface which is pressed against the scalp. The anchor band provides mounting holes for accepting a portion of a person's natural hairs which are threaded through them. A plurality of supplementary hairs which make up the hair extension are permanently engaged with the anchor band and extend away from the frontal outer surface so as to drape downwardly. Tubular ferrules are engaged with the portion of the primary hairs which extend from the mounting holes and lay adjacent to the frontal outer surface. The ferrules are crushed so as to clamp the primary hairs for immobilizing the anchor band and holding it in place against the scalp.

A primary objective of one embodiment of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method of use of such apparatus that yields advantages not taught by the prior art.

Another objective is to assure that an embodiment of the invention is capable of being quickly fastened in place.

A further objective is to assure that an embodiment of the invention is capable of being quickly retightened against the scalp when necessary.

A further objective is to assure that an embodiment of the invention is capable of being quickly removed when necessary.

A still further objective is to assure that an embodiment of the invention is capable of being made thin enough to be fully covered by natural hair when placed next to the scalp.

Other features and advantages of the embodiments of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of at least one of the possible embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate at least one of the best mode embodiments of the present invention. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of at least one aspect of an embodiment of the invention showing supplementary hairs draped downwardly;

FIG. 2 is a partial cross section of an anchor band thereof showing the placement of the supplementary hairs;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view thereof showing an initial placement of an anchor band of the invention against the scalp of a user;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view thereof showing the drawing of existing hairs through holes in the anchor band;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view thereof showing the placement of ferrules for anchoring the invention; and

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a user wearing the invention with hidden lines showing one possible placement of the anchor band.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The above described drawing figures illustrate the present invention in at least one of its preferred, best mode embodiments, which is further defined in detail in the following description. Those having ordinary skill in the art may be able to make alterations and modifications in the present invention without departing from its spirit and scope. Therefore, it must be understood that the illustrated embodiments have been set forth only for the purposes of example and that they should not be taken as limiting the invention as defined in the following.

In one aspect of a best mode embodiment of the present invention a hair extension apparatus for attachment to existing primary hairs 5 on a head of hairs is described. The term “primary hairs” is used herein to refer to the existing living hairs on the head of hairs and it is noted that these primary hairs continue to grow outwardly from the scalp 7 over time. The present invention apparatus is used to extend the apparent length of, and provide added fullness to, the primary hairs 5. The hair extension apparatus is made up components including an anchor band 10 of a relatively flexible fabric, such as silk, having a rear inner surface 12 and a frontal outer surface 14. The anchor band 10 is placed against the scalp 7 and provides a plurality of mounting holes 16 for accepting a portion of the primary hairs 5 extending from the rear inner surface 12 to the frontal outer surface 14 as shown in FIG. 4. A plurality of supplementary hairs 20 are permanently engaged with the anchor band 10 in a manner well known in the art, i.e., by being pressed through the anchor band 10 and knotted on the rear inner surface 12 as shown in FIG. 2. These supplementary hairs 20, as shown in FIGS. 2-5, extending out of, and, away from the frontal outer surface 14, so as to drape downwardly. The terms “supplementary hairs” or “supplemental hairs” are used herein to refer to hairs, natural or synthetic, that are made a part of the apparatus. These supplemental hairs do not grow outwardly from the anchor band 10 to which they are attached. A layer of lacquer 10′ (FIG. 2) or a similar substance is used to coat the rear inner surface 12 of the anchor band 10 so as to assure that the knots 20′ formed in the supplemental hairs 20 cannot unravel thereby releasing the hairs 20 from the anchor band.

A plurality of clamps such as tubular ferrules 30, are engaged with the portion of the primary hairs 5 which are extended out of the mounting holes 16, and these ferrules 30 are place adjacent to the frontal outer surface 14 of the anchor band, as shown in FIG. 4. The ferrules 30 are then crushed so as to clamp the portion of the primary hairs 5 for immobilizing the anchor band 10 against the scalp. The tubular ferrules 30 receive primary hairs 5 from at least two of the mounting holes 16, and preferably the ferrules 30 receive the primary hairs 5 from only two of adjacent mounting holes 16 as shown in FIG. 5. Preferably, the through holes 16 are arranged in a linear array across the anchor band 10 as shown in FIGS. 3-5 and this linear array preferably comprises two or more parallel rows. It is clear, that the words “tubular ferrules” refer to a best mode embodiment as shown in the figures. However, the means for clamping of the primary hairs may alternately be almost any clamping means for device that is able to be crimped or clamped onto these primary hairs. For instance, such a clamping device may be a simple length of metal that is bent into a V-shape and then closed about the primary hairs 5. Other means for clamping such hairs would be considered obvious to those of skill in the art, and “tubular ferrule” refers therefore, to any such clamping device, tubular or not, which is considered a ferrule or not.

In the present invention, the method of attaching the above described hair extension apparatus to the existing primary hairs 5 includes the step of: placing the anchor band 10 against a user's scalp 7 after the bulk of the primary hairs 5 have been folded up and away from the location of the anchor band 10, and then draping supplemental hairs 20 of the hair extension downwardly from the anchor band 10. The method further includes feeding a portion of the primary hairs 5 through mounting holes 16 in the anchor band 10 and then feeding the portion of the primary hairs 5 extending from at least two of the mounting holes 16 through at least one of the tubular ferrules 30 and clamping the primary hairs 5 within the ferrules 30 by flattening them. It has been found to be highly advantageous to take primary hairs 5 from two adjacent of the mounting holes 16 for clamping. In this manner, it is found to provide tight mounting, easy clamping, strong support of the anchor band without glues or waxes, etc. The method further comprises the step of covering the anchor band 10 and at least a portion of the supplemental hairs 20 with a portion of the existing primary hairs 5 so as to prevent the supplemental hairs 20 from being detected visually as distinct from the primary hairs 5. The method preferably includes receiving the primary hairs 5 through the ferrules 30 each from two adjacent of the mounting holes 16 as shown in FIG. 5.

Because the primary hairs continue to grow outwardly from the scalp 7, the anchor band 10 and its supplemental hairs 20 tend to move downwardly on the scalp 7 over time. Eventually, the anchor band 10 would be visible when it no longer is covered by the primary hairs 20. Thus, the present method includes the steps of opening the ferrules 30 and moving the anchor band 10 more tightly against the scalp 7 thereby drawing the primary hairs 5 within the ferrules 30 outwardly and then clamping the primary hairs 5 within the ferrules 30 once again by re-flattening the ferrules 30. In this manner, the apparatus may be easily tightened in place as necessary to its continued use.

The enablements described in detail above are considered novel over the prior art of record and are considered critical to the operation of at least one aspect of one best mode embodiment of the instant invention and to the achievement of the above described objectives. The words used in this specification to describe the instant embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but to include by special definition in this specification: structure, material or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this specification as including more than one meaning, then its use must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the specification and by the word or words describing the element.

The definitions of the words or elements of the embodiments of the herein described invention and its related embodiments not described are, therefore, defined in this specification to include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structure, material or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. In this sense it is therefore contemplated that an equivalent substitution of two or more elements may be made for any one of the elements in the invention and its various embodiments or that a single element may be substituted for two or more elements in a claim.

Changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalents within the scope of the invention and its various embodiments. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements. The invention and its various embodiments are thus to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted, and also what essentially incorporates the essential idea of the invention.

While the invention has been described with reference to at least one preferred embodiment, it is to be clearly understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited thereto. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that the inventor(s) believe that the claimed subject matter is the invention.