Title:
Portable, flexible cushion for poolside use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible human bathing cushion adapted for use in or near a bathing facility, wherein the cushion is flexible and easily rolled; the cushion not substantially buoyant; and the cushion has a plurality of passages spread across the cushion between an upper and lower planar surface thereof to facilitate placement and removal from a wet surface. The cushion of the present invention is a portable, comfortable cushion that can be easily stowed in a beach bag or suitcase. The cushion is relatively thin, yet thick enough to support a person and provide an adequate barrier between the bathing suit of the person and a potentially rough surface. The cushion is preferably made of a material which has some resilience to water, can dry off quickly, and be very flexible. Though the material may be buoyant, the preferred embodiment of the present invention is not particularly buoyant to facilitate its use under water, i.e., on a submerged seat in a spa, bath tub or hot tub.



Inventors:
Mcguire, Carney J. (Wilton, NY, US)
Johnson, Julie M. (Saratoga Springs, NY, US)
Reynolds, Angela M. (Ballston Spa, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/046051
Publication Date:
08/03/2006
Filing Date:
01/28/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/02
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Primary Examiner:
WATKINS III, WILLIAM P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HESLIN ROTHENBERG FARLEY & MESITI PC (ALBANY, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cushion adapted for use in or near a bathing facility, wherein the cushion is flexible and easily rolled; the cushion not substantially buoyant; and the cushion having a plurality of passages spread across the cushion between an upper and lower planar surface thereof to facilitate placement and removal from a wet surface.

2. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the cushion comprises a logo embedded in the passages or its perimeter shape conveying a message or decorative shape.

3. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the plurality of passages comprises closely spaced passages of a plurality of different sizes.

4. The cushion of claim 3, wherein the plurality of closely spaced passages is spread across substantially the entire cushion, such that 50-75% of the surface area of the upper and lower surface comprise open space.

5. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the plurality of passages is spread across substantially the entire cushion, such that 50-75% of the surface area of the upper and lower surface comprise open space.

6. The cushion of claim 1, in combination with a bag to hold the cushion when the cushion is rolled up.

7. The cushion of claim 1, wherein the cushion is substantially not buoyant.

8. A method for protecting clothing or skin from rough surfaces in or around a bathing facility, the method comprising: using a cushion; wherein the cushion is flexible and easily rolled; the cushion not substantially buoyant; and the cushion having a plurality of passages spread across the cushion between an upper and lower planar surface thereof to facilitate placement and removal from a wet surface.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the cushion comprises a logo embedded in the passages or its perimeter shape conveying a message or decorative shape.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the plurality of passages comprises closely spaced passages of a plurality of different sizes.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the plurality of closely spaced passages is spread across substantially the entire cushion, such that 50-75% of the surface area of the upper and lower surface comprise open space.

12. The method of claim 8, wherein the plurality of passages is spread across substantially the entire cushion, such that 50-75% of the surface area of the upper and lower surface comprise open space.

13. The method of claim 8, further comprising rolling the cushion and placing it in a bag for transport or using the cushion as a pillow.

14. The method of claim 8, wherein the cushion is substantially not buoyant.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates in general to a cushion. More particularly, the present invention relates to a flexible human bathing cushion with certain features to provide comfort and protection at bathing facility locations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bathing suits are expensive and difficult to find. When sitting poolside, especially on concrete, the fabric wears down quickly with runs and pulls. Similarly, sitting in a spa or hot tub can wear down the bathing suit fabric. Sometimes a towel can be used, but the towel itself can become wet and therefore cold and useless for any other purpose; moreover, it is very difficult and self-defeating to use a towel under the water in a spa or hot tub. The skin itself can be affected by these conditions.

What is required, therefore, is a technique, including a device and method, for protecting bathing suits, other apparel, and skin from the adverse effects of rough surfaces in and around swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The shortcomings of the prior art are overcome and additional advantages are provided by the present invention which in one aspect is a cushion adapted for use in or near a bathing facility, wherein the cushion is flexible and easily rolled; the cushion is not substantially buoyant; and the cushion has a plurality of passages spread across the cushion between an upper and lower planar surface thereof to facilitate placement and removal from a wet surface.

The plurality of passages may be a plurality of closely spaced passages of a plurality of different sizes. The plurality of closely spaced passages may be spread across substantially the entire cushion, such that 50-75% of the surface area of the upper and lower surface comprises open space.

The cushion of the present invention is a portable, comfortable cushion that can be easily stowed in a beach bag or suitcase. The cushion is relatively thin, yet thick enough to support a person and provide an adequate barrier between the bathing suit of the person and a potentially rough surface. The cushion is preferably made of a material which has some resilience to water, can dry off quickly, and be very flexible. Though the material may be buoyant, the preferred embodiment of the present invention is not particularly buoyant to facilitate its use under water, i.e., on a submerged seat in a spa, bath tub or hot tub.

The invention also includes certain ornamental designs of a flexible human bathing cushion.

Further additional features and advantages are realized through the device and techniques of the present invention. Other embodiments and aspects of the invention are described in detail herein and are considered a part of the claimed invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention are apparent from the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top, planar view of a cushion in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side, cross-sectional view of the cushion of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the cushion of FIG. 1 in its rolled up form;

FIG. 4 shows the flexible nature of the cushion of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 shows a use of the rolled cushion of FIG. 3 as a head support;

FIG. 6 shows a use of cushions of the present invention at the side of a pool;

FIG. 7 shows the use of the cushion of the present invention on a submerged seat of a bathing facility, e.g., a hot tub;

FIG. 8 shows the cushion of the present invention rolled up and in a dedicated bag for easy transport;

FIGS. 9-14 depict a first, ornamental aspect of the cushion of the present invention;

FIGS. 15-20 depict a second, ornamental aspect of the cushion of the present invention; and

FIGS. 21-26 depict a third, ornamental aspect of the cushion of the present invention.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

As discussed above, the present invention is directed to a cushion for use around a bathing facility. The term “bathing facility” is used broadly herein to connote any body of water which people sit around and/or enter for any purpose, e.g., a swimming pool, beach, hot-tub, bath tub, spa, etc.

FIG. 1 is a top planar view of a first example of the present invention showing a cushion 10 having an exemplary rectangular shape, with exemplary dimensions of 11 inches in width (W) and 17 inches in length (L). As discussed further below, these dimensions are adequate to support an average person when sitting at a bathing facility, but small enough to be easily rolled up and stowed, or rolled up and used as a head support or pillow (see below).

FIG. 2 is a side view of the cushion of FIG. 1, showing an exemplary thickness of about ⅛ inch—enough to provide a barrier between a surface and a person, yet thin enough to facilitate rolling up. This is an exemplary thickness only, and the thickness may vary from 1/16 inch to about 2-3 inches, but not too thick to impede its use or rolling.

One feature of the present invention shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 are the plurality of passages 16 formed from the upper 12 to lower 14 planar surfaces, spread across cushion 10. Circular passages are shown as examples only—the passages could take the form of any geometric shapes, so long as they meet the other requirements herein. These passages provide certain advantages. First, they prevent any significant suction between the lower surface 14 and the surface of the bathing facility on which the cushion is placed. This is especially important when the facility surface is wet—which usually will add to the suction effect on any device having a flat, uniform surface. The passages of the present invention allow large amounts of air through the cushion towards its bottom surface 14, thereby minimizing any suction effects. In one embodiment, the passages of the present invention occupy at least 50-75% of the surface area of the cushion. There still has to be enough solid area to provide seating comfort.

Another important advantage of the passages of the present invention involves the way they decrease resistance to submerging the cushion under water, i.e., towards an underwater bench of a pool or hot tub. (See the discussion regarding FIG. 7 below.) By providing enough passages spread across the surface area of the cushion, its resistance to submerging is much less than if it were solid. The edges of the passages may be beveled to provide additional comfort and smoothness.

In that regard, the cushion of the present invention also has another feature in one exemplary embodiment: the material forming the cushion is not substantially buoyant (e.g., not designed to float), and in another related embodiment the cushion is substantially not buoyant (e.g., designed intentionally to not float—or to sink). This non-buoyancy ensures that the cushion can be easily submerged to underwater seating areas.

FIG. 3 shows the cushion 10 in its rolled form; FIG. 4 shows its flexible nature over a tub; and FIG. 5 shows how the cushion 10 in its rolled form can be used as a head and/or neck support or pillow. To provide this functionality, the cushion of the present invention must be of a flexible, non-rigid material, and of a small enough thickness to facilitate rolling into this type of shape.

FIG. 6 shows the use of cushions 20, 30 and 40 formed in accordance with the present invention, along the side of a pool 42. Here, if the surface is rough (i.e., concrete) the cushion provides a barrier between the surface and the bathing suits and therefore preserves the fabric of the bathing suits.

FIG. 7 shows another, exemplary use of a cushion 50 formed in accordance with the present invention, on an underwater seat in a hot tub 52. If the cushion is formed as discussed above with a plurality of passages and non-buoyant, the cushion can be very easily placed on, and removed from, an underwater seating surface, while providing the barrier function to protect bathing suits on even underwater seats.

FIG. 8 shows the cushion of the present invention rolled and in a bag for easy transport.

The cushion of the present invention may have any perimeter shape—the rectangular shape shown is one example. Also, the pattern of the passages shown may have any distribution—the distribution shown is one example only. The perimeter shape and/or the passage distribution may be formed into patterns themselves—i.e., decorative shapes, or even letters or shapes conveying a message. Moreover, a logo/source designation could be conveyed with the perimeter shape and/or passage pattern.

FIGS. 9-26 also depict, in other aspects of the invention, certain ornamental designs for a flexible human bathing cushion, as shown and described. The broken lines in the figures are for illustrative purposes only and form no part of the claimed invention. The geometric figures spread across the surface are in a generally random pattern, and the exemplary patterns may limit the invention, but may not limit the invention in other embodiments. Nothing herein precludes the combination of features from the three (3) exemplary designs shown.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a flexible human bathing cushion in accordance with a first new design;

FIG. 10 is a top view thereof;

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view thereof, a rear elevational view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 12 is a side elevational view thereof, an opposing side elevational view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 13 is a back view thereof; and

FIG. 14 is a side view of the flexible human bathing cushion in its rolled up form.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a flexible human bathing cushion in accordance with a second new design;

FIG. 16 is a top view thereof;

FIG. 17 is a front elevational view thereof, a rear elevational view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 18 is a side elevational view thereof, an opposing side elevational view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 19 is a back view thereof; and

FIG. 20 is a side view of the flexible human bathing cushion in its rolled up form.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of a flexible human bathing cushion in accordance with a third new design;

FIG. 22 is a top view thereof;

FIG. 23 is a front elevational view thereof, a rear elevational view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 24 is a side elevational view thereof, an opposing side elevational view being a mirror image thereof;

FIG. 25 is a back view thereof; and

FIG. 26 is a side view of the flexible human bathing cushion in its rolled up form.

Although preferred embodiments have been depicted and described in detail herein, it will be apparent to those skilled in the relevant art that various modifications, additions, substitutions and the like can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention and these are therefore considered to be within the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.