Title:
Device and method for manipulating decorations at elevated locations
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A Y-shaped device for manipulating decorations at elevated locations comprises a proximal end, and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled. To install a decoration at an elevated location using the Y-shaped device, a user would dispose of the device on a distal end of a pole, dispose of a portion of the decoration between the arms of the Y-shaped device, lift the pole at a proximal end thereof such that the Y-shaped device approaches the elevated location, install the decoration at the elevated location, and repeat the above steps for a plurality of additional portions of the decoration until the entire decoration has been installed at the elevated location. To remove a decoration from an elevated location using the Y-shaped device, a user would dispose of the device on a distal end of a pole, lift the pole at a proximal end thereof such that the Y-shaped device approaches the elevated location, wedge at least one of the arms between a portion of the decoration and an object at the elevated location, dispose of the portion of the decoration between the arms of the Y-shaped device, lift the pole such that the portion of the decoration is no longer installed at the elevated location, and repeat the above steps for a plurality of additional portions of the decoration until the entire decoration has been removed from the elevated location.



Inventors:
Deslaurier, Sharon Barbara (Ottawa, CA)
Application Number:
11/148273
Publication Date:
12/29/2005
Filing Date:
06/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F13/06; B25B9/00; B25B33/00; B25G1/00; B25J1/00; E04G3/00; (IPC1-7): E04G3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRAMER, DEAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP (Ottawa, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. A Y-shaped device for manipulating decorations at elevated locations comprising a proximal end, and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled.

2. The Y-shaped device of claim 1, wherein the proximal end comprises a bore adapted to receive a pole.

3. The Y-shaped device of claim 2, wherein the bore and the pole threadably engage.

4. The Y-shaped device of claim 2, wherein the pole is a broom handle.

5. The Y-shaped device of claim 2, wherein the pole is a painting pole.

6. The Y-shaped device of claim 2, wherein the pole is a telescoping pole.

7. The Y-shaped device of claim 1, comprising a pivoting mechanism between the proximal and distal ends.

8. The Y-shaped device of claim 7, wherein the pivoting mechanism comprises a locking mechanism.

9. The Y-shaped device of claim 7, wherein the proximal end comprises a bore adapted to receive a pole.

10. The Y-shaped device of claim 9, wherein the bore and pole threadably engage.

11. The Y-shaped device of claim 9, wherein the pole is a broom handle.

12. The Y-shaped device of claim 9, wherein the pole is a painting pole.

13. The Y-shaped device of claim 9, wherein the pole is a telescoping pole.

14. A method for installing a decoration at an elevated location comprising: (a) disposing a Y-shaped device on a distal end of a pole, wherein the Y-shaped device comprises a proximal end for engaging the pole and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled; (b) disposing a portion of the decoration between the arms of the Y-shaped device; (c) lifting the pole at a proximal end thereof such that the Y-shaped device approaches the elevated location; (d) installing the decoration at the elevated location; and, (e) repeating steps (b) through (d) for a plurality of additional portions of the decoration until the entire decoration has been installed at the elevated location.

15. A method for removing a decoration from an elevated location comprising: (a) disposing a Y-shaped device on a distal end of a pole, wherein the Y-shaped device comprises a proximal end for engaging the pole and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled; (b) lifting the pole at a proximal end thereof such that the Y-shaped device approaches the elevated location; (c) wedging at least one of the arms between a portion of the decoration and an object at the elevated location; (d) disposing the portion of the decoration between the arms of the Y-shaped device; (e) lifting the pole such that the portion of the decoration is no longer installed at the elevated location; and, (f) repeating steps (b) through (e) for a plurality of additional portions of the decoration until the entire decoration has been removed from the elevated location.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a device and method for the improved manipulating of decorations at elevated locations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The traditional method of hanging lighting strands and decorations at elevated locations involves the use of a stepladder. This approach is clearly not optimal since there is an inherent danger associated with the use of a stepladder. This is especially true in the winter months, when most decorating occurs. There is an increased danger that the ladder may be placed onto an icy patch and may slide when climbing is attempted.

Also, due to their size and weight, stepladders can damage landscaping. They are difficult to carry, and their weight makes use difficult for weaker persons.

A stepladder is also tedious to use since the user must perform multiple repetitions of a cycle—climbing up the ladder, hanging lighting strands, climbing down the ladder, moving the ladder, and climbing up again.

In some instances, people have been known to climb onto the roofs of their homes in order to install or remove decorations. Due to the awkward nature of walking on a roof and the fact that many roofs are slippery during the winter months, falls from roofs have resulted in serious injuries, and in some cases, death.

Numerous devices have been proposed as an alternative to the above approaches. One category of devices involves the use of individual hooks and a pole, such as that proposed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,560,975. Such devices consist of a set of hooks that are attached to a strand of lighting wire and a device to position the hook on an object such as a tree branch. These devices are limited, however, to affixing to objects such as tree branches in cases where the objects are thin enough to allow the hook to interconnect. On thick tree branches, the hook may be too small to fit. Also, using hooks adds additional cost to the device and complexity in the decorating process.

Other hanging instruments, which are typically designed for mounting onto a pole or other lengthy object, generally have a trough of some type upon which a light strand or ornament rests during manipulation. (See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,905, U.S. Pat. No. 6,425,614, U.S. Pat. No. 6,467,823, U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,291 and U.S. Patent Application No. 2001/0025393.) Thick arms of a trough make it difficult to remove lights that are in close proximity to another object, such as an eaves trough.

A device has been proposed that makes use of an alligator style clamping mechanism (see U.S. Pat. No. 6,227,584). In this regard, a mechanism is used to open the alligator clamp and a light strand is placed inside. Although this approach may work for light strands where there is limited interference from surrounding objects, the alligator clamp may be too large and cumbersome to work with light strands that are located in close proximity to other objects. Another drawback of this approach is that there must be a trigger to release the clamping mechanism. This added hardware could increase the cost and difficulty of use, as well as the potential for mechanical failures, too. Lastly, there is a danger that the teeth of the alligator clamp may pierce the wire of a lighting strand. This may cause an electrical safety hazard, thus damaging the lights and preventing them from operating correctly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide an improved device and method for manipulating decorations at elevated locations.

According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a Y-shaped device for manipulating decorations at elevated locations comprising a proximal end, and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for installing a decoration at an elevated location comprising: disposing a Y-shaped device on a distal end of a pole, wherein the Y-shaped device comprises a proximal end for engaging the pole and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled; disposing a portion of the decoration between the arms of the Y-shaped device; lifting the pole at a proximal end thereof such that the Y-shaped device approaches the elevated location; installing the decoration at the elevated location; and, repeating the above steps for a plurality of additional portions of the decoration until the entire decoration has been installed at the elevated location.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for removing a decoration from an elevated location comprising: disposing a Y-shaped device on a distal end of a pole, wherein the Y-shaped device comprises a proximal end for engaging the pole and a U-shaped distal end having two spaced-apart arms that each have ends, wherein at least one of the ends of the two arms is bevelled; lifting the pole at a proximal end thereof such that the Y-shaped device approaches the elevated location; wedging at least one of the arms between a portion of the decoration and an object at the elevated location; disposing the portion of the decoration between the arms of the Y-shaped device; lifting the pole such that the portion of the decoration is no longer installed at the elevated location; and, repeating the above steps for a plurality of additional portions of the decoration until the entire decoration has been removed from the elevated location.

The advantages of the present invention are numerous. First, bevelled ends on the arms of the device permit its arms to be wedged between a decoration and some other object such as an eaves trough, which is particularly useful in situations where the decoration and the other object are in close proximity. Second, use of the present invention avoids the inherent dangers associated with using a stepladder or climbing onto a roof when one is trying to manipulate decorations by hand. Lastly, the present invention allows for a speedier installation and removal process for decorations at an elevated location.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 a front view of a device according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 a rear view of a device according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 a side view of a device according to the present invention, wherein the device is in an upright position.

FIG. 4 a side view of a device according to the present invention, wherein the device is in a pivoted position.

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional front view of a device according to the present invention wherein the internal structure of the pivoting mechanism is not shown.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an eaves trough on a house having a decoration affixed thereto, wherein the device of the present invention has been wedged between the decoration and the eaves trough by a user of the device.

FIG. 7 is a close-up view of an eaves trough on a house having a decoration affixed thereto, wherein the device of the present invention has been wedged between the decoration and the eaves trough by a user of the device.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a tree having a decoration affixed thereto, wherein a user of the device of the present invention is manipulating the decoration.

FIG. 9 is a close-up view of the device of the present invention and the decoration of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the device 10 is Y-shaped, and includes a proximal end 12 and a distal end 14. The proximal end 12 is preferably cylindrical. The distal end 14 is U-shaped and has two spaced apart arms 16, 18 that each have ends 20, 22, respectively. The two arms 16, 18 are spaced apart of such a distance that the device 10 is capable of receiving in the U-shaped area 19 a decoration 49 such as lighting wire or strand 50. The distance is not too large so that manipulation of the decoration 49 is ineffective or awkward. In this regard, a distance of approximately 2 inches would be preferable. Similarly, a preferable length for each of the arms 16, 18 would also be 2 inches.

Under a preferred embodiment, the ends 20, 22 of the arms 16, 18 are bevelled. The bevelling of the ends 20, 22 of the arms 16, 18 allows the device 10 to be wedged between a decoration 49 such as a lighting wire or strand 50 that is in close proximity to another object 52 such as an eaves trough 53 (see FIGS. 6 and 7). Though not shown, bevelling may also be arranged in different ways than that shown in the Figures. For example, one of the arms 16, 18 may have a bevelled surface facing frontward, while the other one of the arms 16, 18 may have a bevelled surface facing inward. Or, bevelling may be arranged on both the front and rear of one or both of the arms 16, 18. Or, bevelling may be arranged on only one of the arms 16, 18.

Referring to FIG. 5, the proximal end 12 preferably has a bore 24 adapted to receive a pole 26 (pole 26 not shown in FIG. 5). The bore 24, which is centred upon the axis of the cylindrical proximal end 12, preferably has a threaded surface 28 to engage the distal end 56 of the pole 26. The pole 26 can be of any of a number of types of poles, including broom handles, painting poles and telescoping poles (none specifically shown).

Referring to FIGS. 2 through 4, the device 10 preferably includes a pivoting mechanism 32. This pivoting mechanism 32 allows for the pivoting of the distal end 14 to various angles. FIG. 3 shows the distal end 14 when it has not been pivoted. FIG. 4 shows the distal end 14 when it has been pivoted by approximately 90 degrees. The pivoting of the distal end 14 allows for use of the device 10 in situations where the manipulating of a decoration 49 would otherwise be difficult due to an awkward location or position of the decoration 49 (not shown).

A locking mechanism 34 is shown in FIG. 1. The locking mechanism 34, when in the “locked” position 36, prevents the distal end 14 from pivoting. Sliding of the locking mechanism 34 downward puts it into the “unlocked” position (not shown). When the locking mechanism 34 is in the unlocked position, then the distal end 14 may pivot freely. Pivoting of the distal end 14 occurs about an axis 40. The particular mechanics and structure of the pivoting mechanism 34, which includes structure for locking the device 10 from pivoting, are well known by those skilled in the art.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 8, the device 10 is preferably used with a pole 26 for installing and removing a decoration 49, such as a length of wire 50, at an elevated location 54. The pole 26 has a distal end 56 that engages the device 10, and a proximal end 58 that is held by a user 60. To install a decoration 49 such as a length of wire 50 at an elevated location 54, a user 60 would first dispose a portion of the wire 50 between the arms 16, 18 of the distal end 14. Next, the pole 26, which is engaging the device 10, is lifted, thus bringing the portion of wire 50 up to a desired elevated location 54. Lastly, the user installs the wire 50 at the elevated location 54 by placing the wire 50 in a desired position. With reference to FIG. 7, if one is installing a decoration 49, which comprises a wire 50 that is mated with a hook 62, on an object 52 such as an eaves trough 53, then the hook 62 may simply be “hooked” to the object 52 by the appropriate manipulation of the device 10 by a user 60. With reference to FIG. 9, if one is installing a decoration 49 such as a wire 50 on a tree 64, then the wire 50 may simply be laid on top of a branch 66. To install the entire wire 50, a user 60 is required to repeat the above steps until all portions of the wire 50 are installed at the elevated location 54.

With reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, in order to remove a decoration 49, such as length of wire 50 that is mated with a hook 62, from an elevated location 54 wherein the decoration 49 is in close proximity to another object 52 such as an eaves trough 53, a user 60 would first lift the pole 26, which is engaging the device 10, up to the elevated location 54. Next, at least one of the arms 16, 18 would be wedged between the decoration 49 and the other object 52. Lastly, a portion of the decoration 49 is disposed between the arms 16, 18 of the device 10, which is followed by a further lifting of the pole 26 for removal of the decoration 49 from the elevated location 54. To remove the entire decoration 49 (i.e., the full length of wire 50), a user 60 is required to repeat the above steps until all portions of the wire 50 are removed (i.e., “unhooked”) from the elevated location 54. With reference to FIG. 9, if one is removing a wire 50 from a tree 64, then the wire 50 should be disposed between the arms 16, 18 of the device 10 and the pole 26 should be lifted so as to permit the removal of the wire 50 from the branch 66.

Numerous modifications, variations and adaptations may be made to the particular embodiments of the invention described above without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the claims.