Title:
Transparent travel hatbox
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A transparent travel hatbox includes a substantially transparent lower portion, a substantially transparent upper portion, and at least one hinge connecting the substantially transparent upper and lower portions. The hatbox also includes a hat restraint for securing a hat within the hatbox. The hatbox also includes a lock for securing the interior of the hatbox. Beneficially, at least one of the substantially transparent upper and lower portions includes an air vent. Also beneficially, the hatbox includes a handle detachably attached to at least one of the substantially transparent upper and lower portions for transporting the hatbox. Also beneficially, the hatbox includes a pouch detachably attached to an interior surface of the hatbox.



Inventors:
Adams, Edna Ruth (Maple Shade, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/342674
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
01/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WEAVER, SUE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VOLENTINE, WHITT & FRANCOS, PLLC (NORTH GARDEN, VA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A hatbox, comprising: a substantially transparent lower portion, the substantially transparent lower portion including, a substantially transparent bottom portion, and a substantially transparent lower side portion connected to the bottom portion; a substantially transparent upper portion including a substantially transparent first flap and a substantially transparent second flap; at least first and second hinges connecting the first and second flaps, respectively, to the substantially transparent lower side portion; a substantially flat lock for securing the substantially transparent first flap to the substantially transparent second flap to thereby securely enclose an interior of the hatbox; a handle detachably attached to at least one of the substantially transparent first and second flaps for transporting the hatbox; a pouch detachably attached to one of the substantially transparent first and second flaps or the substantially transparent lower portion, said pouch being adapted to store a wig therein; and means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox, wherein at least one of the substantially transparent upper and lower portions includes at least one air vent for passing air between the interior space and an exterior of the hatbox.

2. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein the substantially transparent upper and lower portions are clear or transparent tinted.

3. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein when the hatbox is closed it has a shape of a cylinder or a rectangular prism.

4. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein when the hatbox is closed it has a shape of a frustum cone, a frustum pyramid, a triangular prism, a hexagonal prism, and an octagonal prism.

5. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second hinges is integral to the substantially transparent lower side portion and one of the first and second flaps.

6. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein the substantially transparent bottom portion extends approximately 15 inches to 18 inches in at least one direction, and wherein the interior space of the hatbox has a height between a top interior surface of the substantially transparent upper portion and a bottom interior surface of the substantially transparent lower portion of approximately 7 inches to 9 inches.

7. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein the means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox comprises a bar extending across the interior space in one direction.

8. The hatbox of claim 1, wherein the means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox comprises one of: (1) a planar insert having a recess or hole therein adapted to receive a top portion of a hat; (2) a molded insert adapted to fit inside a hat and attached to an interior wall of the hatbox to hold a hat in place; and (3) one or more straps attached to one or more interior walls of the hatbox.

9. A hatbox, comprising: a substantially transparent lower portion, including, a substantially transparent bottom portion, and a substantially transparent lower side portion connected to the substantially transparent bottom portion; a substantially transparent upper portion; at least one hinge connecting the substantially transparent lower portion and the substantially transparent upper portion; a lock for securely enclosing an interior of the hatbox; and a hat restraint for securing a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox.

10. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the substantially transparent upper and lower portions are clear or transparent tinted.

11. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein when the hatbox is closed it has a shape of a cylinder or a rectangular prism.

12. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein when the hatbox is closed it has a shape of a frustum cone, a frustum pyramid, a triangular prism, a hexagonal prism, and an octagonal prism.

13. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the at least one hinge is integral to the substantially transparent upper and lower portions.

14. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the substantially transparent bottom portion extends approximately 15 inches to 18 inches in at least one direction, and wherein the interior space of the hatbox has a height between a top interior surface of the substantially transparent upper portion and a bottom interior surface of the substantially transparent-lower portion of approximately 7 inches to 9 inches.

15. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox comprises a bar extending across the interior space in one direction.

16. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the hat restraint comprises: (1) a planar insert having a recess or hole therein adapted to receive a top portion of a hat; (2) a molded insert adapted to fit inside a hat and attached to an interior wall of the hatbox to hold a hat in place; and (3) one or more straps attached to one or more interior walls of the hatbox.

17. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the lock attaches the substantially transparent lower portion to the substantially transparent upper portion.

18. The hatbox of claim 9, further comprising a pouch detachably attached to an interior surface of the hatbox.

19. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the substantially transparent upper portion comprises one or more flaps.

20. The hatbox of claim 9, wherein the substantially transparent upper portion comprises: a substantially transparent top portion, and a substantially transparent upper side portion connected to the substantially transparent top portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) from U.S. Provisional Patent Application 60/674,051, filed on 22 Apr. 2005 in the name of inventor Ruth Adams, and entitled “Ruth's Transparent Stacking Plastic Travel Hatbox,” the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes as if fully set forth herein.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

1. Field

This invention pertains generally to the field of hatboxes, and in particular is drawn to a transparent hatbox suitable for travel.

2. Description

Hatboxes are well known, and come in a variety of different designs and materials. For example, some inexpensive hatboxes that are used to package a hat for retail sale are manufactured from cardboard. On the other hand, more expensive hatboxes intended for longer term storage of hats may be made of more substantial materials, including leather, cloth, felt, plastic, or combinations of these materials. It is not uncommon for some ladies to have stacks of hatboxes in their closets.

However, such conventional hatboxes have limitations. For one thing, conventional hatboxes are not generally suitable for carrying one or more hats along in travel, particularly air travel. Such conventional hatboxes are flimsy, unwieldy, and not secure. For another thing, such conventional hatboxes make it difficult to easily identify exactly which hat is stored therein.

Of course, other kinds of boxes are also well known. For example, a wide variety of suitcases are suitable for travel. However, the sizes and shapes of these suitcases are not appropriate for storing and transporting a hat, particularly a lady's hat, and they have no way for safely fastening or fixing a hat therein to protect it from damage. So a hat transported in such a suitcase would inevitably be jostled during travel, and perhaps damaged. Moreover, a conventional suitcase is not an appropriate box for storing a lady's hat at home, for example in a closet. In particular, a stackable hatbox is desired. Furthermore, such conventional suitcases make it difficult to easily identify exactly which hat is stored therein.

Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide an improved hatbox. It would also be advantageous to provide a hatbox suitable for travel. It would further be advantageous to provide a hatbox that allows easy inspection of its contents without opening it. Other and further objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.

The present invention comprises a transparent travel hatbox.

In one aspect of the invention, a hatbox comprises a substantially transparent lower portion, a substantially transparent upper portion including a pair of flaps, and at least two hinges connecting the pair of flaps to the substantially transparent lower portion. At least one of the substantially transparent upper and lower portions includes at least one air vent for passing air between an interior space of the hatbox and its exterior. The substantially transparent lower portion includes a substantially transparent bottom portion and a substantially transparent lower side portion connected to the bottom portion. The hatbox also includes a flat lock for securing the substantially transparent first and second flaps to each other to thereby securely enclose the interior of the hatbox. The hatbox further includes a handle detachably attached to at least one of the substantially transparent first and second flaps for transporting the hatbox. The hatbox still further includes a pouch detachably attached to one of the substantially transparent first and second flaps, or to the substantially transparent lower portion. The pouch is adapted to store a wig therein. The hatbox also includes means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox.

The substantially transparent upper and lower portions may be clear or tinted. Beneficially, in a case wherein the transparent upper and lower portions are tinted, the tint is a pastel color.

Beneficially, when the hatbox is closed, it may have the shape of a cylinder, a rectangular prism, a frustum cone, a frustum pyramid, a triangular prism, a hexagonal prism, and an octagonal prism.

At least one of the two hinges is integral to the substantially transparent lower side portion and one of the first and second flap.

Beneficially, the substantially transparent, substantially flat, bottom portion extends approximately 15 inches to 18 inches in at least one direction, and the interior space has a height between a top interior surface of the substantially transparent upper portion and a bottom interior surface of the substantially transparent lower portion of approximately 7 inches to 9 inches.

The substantially transparent upper portion may comprise a substantially transparent, substantially flat, top portion. In one embodiment, the substantially transparent, substantially flat, top portion includes a first flap and a second flap each connected by a hinge to the substantially transparent lower portion. In another embodiment, the substantially transparent upper portion further includes a substantially transparent upper side portion connected to the top portion.

The hinge or hinges may be attached to the substantially transparent upper side portion and the substantially transparent lower side portion. The hinge or hinges may be integral to both the substantially transparent upper side portion and the substantially transparent lower side.

Beneficially, the means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox comprises a bar extending across the interior space in one direction. Alternatively, the means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox can be: (1) a planar insert having a recess or hole therein adapted to receive a top portion of a hat; (2) a molded insert adapted to fit inside a hat and attached to an interior wall of the hatbox to hold a hat in place; and (3) one or more straps attached to one or more interior walls of the hatbox.

In another aspect of the invention, a hatbox comprises a substantially transparent lower portion, a substantially transparent upper portion, at least one hinge connecting the substantially transparent lower portion and the substantially transparent upper portion, a lock for securely enclosing an interior of the hatbox, and a hat restraint for securing a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox.

The substantially transparent lower portion comprises a substantially transparent bottom and a substantially transparent lower side portion.

The substantially transparent upper and lower portions are clear or transparent tinted.

Beneficially, when the hatbox is closed it has a shape of a cylinder, a rectangular prism, a frustum cone, a frustum pyramid, a triangular prism, a hexagonal prism, and an octagonal prism.

Beneficially, at least one hinge is integral to the substantially transparent upper and lower portions.

Beneficially, the substantially transparent bottom portion extends approximately 15 inches to 18 inches in at least one direction, and the interior space of the hatbox has a height between a top interior surface of the substantially transparent upper portion and a bottom interior surface of the substantially transparent lower portion of approximately 7 inches to 9 inches.

Beneficially, the hat restraint comprises a bar extending across the interior space in one direction. Alternatively, the hat restraint can be: (1) a planar insert having a recess or hole therein adapted to receive a top portion of a hat; (2) a molded insert adapted to fit inside a hat and attached to an interior wall of the hatbox to hold a hat in place; and (3) one or more straps attached to one or more interior walls of the hatbox.

In one embodiment, the lock attaches the substantially transparent lower portion to the substantially transparent upper portion.

Beneficially, the hatbox further comprises a pouch detachably attached to an interior surface of the hatbox.

In one embodiment, the substantially transparent upper portion comprises one or more flaps.

In another embodiment, the substantially transparent upper portion comprises: a substantially transparent top portion, and a substantially transparent upper side portion connected to the substantially transparent top portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of a transparent travel hatbox;

FIG. 2 shows a second embodiment of a transparent travel hatbox;

FIG. 3 illustrates various alternative shapes for a transparent travel hatbox;

FIG. 4 illustrates various alternative arrangements for securing a hat within a hatbox.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

For better understanding of the present invention, certain terms used in the description and claims to follow will now be explained.

As used herein, the term “transparent” means passing visible light therethrough. Transparent structures include not only structures that pass the entire spectrum of visible light therethrough (herein referred to as “clear”), but also structures which pass only a portion of the visible spectrum reflect light across one or more colored portion of the visible spectrum (herein referred to as “transparent tinted” or “transparent colored”).

When a structure is referred to as being “substantially transparent,” it means that the structure is sufficiently transparent that one can visibly inspect what is on the other side of the structure. Thus, an otherwise transparent structure may include a relatively small area or areas that are not transparent (e.g., a small label, metal hardware, etc.) and still be considered “substantially transparent.”

FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment 100 of a transparent travel hatbox. Hatbox 100 includes a substantially transparent lower portion 110, a substantially transparent upper portion 120, first and second hinges 130 connecting the substantially transparent lower portion 110 and the substantially transparent upper portion 120, a lock 140, a handle 150 attached to the substantially transparent upper portion 120 for transporting the hatbox 100, a pouch 160 attached to the substantially transparent upper portion 110 for storing a wig therein, and a hat restraint 170 for securing a hat within the hatbox 100.

Beneficially, substantially transparent lower portion 110 includes a substantially transparent, substantially flat, bottom portion 112, and a substantially transparent lower side portion 114 connected to bottom portion 112.

Beneficially, substantially transparent lower portion 110 also includes one or more air vents 116 for passing air between the interior exterior of the hatbox 100.

Substantially transparent upper portion 120 comprises a substantially transparent first flap 122 and a substantially transparent second flap 124 which can be connected by lock 140 to securely close hatbox 100. Beneficially, when secured by lock 140, substantially transparent upper portion 120 has a substantially flat upper (exterior) surface such that several hatboxes 100 may be safely stacked on top of each other.

Substantially transparent lower and upper portions 110, 120 may be clear or transparent tinted. Beneficially, in a case wherein transparent lower and upper portions 110, 120 are tinted, the tint is a pastel color, such as pink, blue, green, or yellow. Also beneficially, substantially transparent lower and upper portions 110, 120 comprises a material such as fiberglass, plexiglass, or a plastic such as amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (PETE), that is lightweight and of sufficient thickness to maintain its structural integrity during travel, particularly air travel. Additionally, the material should provide sufficient strength such that several hatboxes 100 may be safely stacked on top of each other.

Hinges 130 are attached to the substantially transparent lower portion 110 and substantially transparent upper portion 120. As shown in FIG. 1, each hinge 130 connects a corresponding one of the first and second substantially transparent flaps 122, 124 to the substantially transparent lower portion 110. One or more (e.g., two) hinges 130 may be provided for each of the flaps 1q22, 124. Hinges 130 may be conventional hardware hinges, or may be integral to both substantially transparent lower portion 110 and substantially transparent upper portion 120, i.e., made of a thin expanse of the same material as substantially transparent lower and upper portions 110, 120 (unitary construction). In that case, the hinge 130 may extend along an entire edge of the corresponding flap 122, 124.

Lock 140 secures first and second substantially transparent flaps 122, 124 to each other to close the top of hatbox 100 and thereby secure its interior. Beneficially, lock 140 is a substantially flat lock or a recessed lock that does not substantially protrude from a top exterior surface of hatbox 100. In that case, the top exterior surface of hatbox 100 is substantially flat such that a plurality of hatboxes 100 may be stacked upon each other.

Beneficially, handle 150 is detachably attached to substantially transparent upper portion 120, in particular to one or both of first and second substantially transparent flaps 122, 124. Alternatively, handle 150 may be a so-called “drop handle” that retracts into a recess in the substantially transparent upper portion 120 when not in use, such that the top exterior surface of hatbox 100 remains flat and several hatboxes 100 may be safely stacked on top of each other.

Beneficially, pouch 160 is attached to one of the first and second substantially transparent flaps 122, 124 of substantially transparent upper portion 120 via a series of snaps on the side of pouch 160. Pouch 160 is of a size that is designed to store a lady's wig. Unlike the rest of hatbox 100, beneficially pouch 160 should be non-transparent so as to hide its contents from external inspection.

Hat restraint 170 is adapted to restrain a hat and secure the hat's position within the enclosed interior space of hatbox 100. Advantageously, this prevents damage to a hat in hatbox 100 while hatbox 100 is being transported in travel, such as on an airplane. Beneficially, hat restraint 170 is also constructed of a transparent material so as to not impede external inspection of a hat that is placed in hatbox 100. In the hatbox 100 according to the embodiment of FIG. 1, hat restraint 170 comprises a bar extending across the interior space of the hatbox. However, as will be explained in further detail below with respect to FIG. 4, alternative hat restraint embodiments are possible.

Beneficially, hatbox 100 is sized to hold either one or two typical lady's hats without a lot of extra, wasted space. Also beneficially, hatbox 100 is sized such that it can be placed in the carry-on compartment of a typical commercial airplane. Accordingly, beneficially, hatbox 100 has an approximate size of 15-18 inches by 15-18 inches by 7-9 inches. In that case, bottom portion 112 extends approximately 15 inches to 18 inches in at least one direction. Even more beneficially, bottom portion 112 extends approximately 15 inches to 18 inches in two orthogonal directions. Also beneficially, the interior space of hatbox 100 has a height between a top interior surface of substantially transparent upper portion 120 and a bottom interior surface of substantially transparent lower portion 110 of approximately 7 inches to 9 inches.

Although in hatbox 100 substantially transparent upper portion 120 includes first and second substantially transparent flaps 122, 124, in a modified embodiment the substantially transparent upper portion may comprise a single substantially transparent flap connected to the top of substantially transparent lower portion 110 by one or more hinges 130. In that case, the lock 140 may secure the substantially transparent flap to the top of substantially transparent lower portion 110.

FIG. 2 shows a second embodiment 200 of a transparent travel hatbox. Hatbox 200 includes a substantially transparent lower portion 210, a substantially transparent upper portion 220, one or more hinges 230 connecting the substantially transparent lower portion 210 and the substantially transparent upper portion 220, a lock 240, a handle 250 attached to the substantially transparent upper portion 220 for transporting the hatbox 200, a pouch 160 attached to the substantially transparent upper portion 210 for storing a wig therein, and a hat restraint 170 for securing a hat within hatbox 200.

For brevity and to avoid redundancy, only the differences between hatbox 200 and hatbox 100 will now be explained. The principle differences between hatbox 200 and hatbox 100 center around substantially transparent upper portion 220. substantially transparent upper portion 220 includes a substantially transparent, substantially flat, top portion 222, and a substantially transparent upper side portion 224 connected to top portion 222. Accordingly, the one or more hinges 230 are attached to the substantially transparent lower side portion 214 and substantially transparent upper side portion 224.

Also, due to the configuration of substantially transparent upper portion 220, lock 240 secures substantially transparent upper side portion 224 to substantially transparent lower side portion 214 to close hatbox 200 and thereby secure its interior. In that case, lock 240 may not be a flat or recessed lock. Also, beneficially, handle 250 may be relocated to a front surface of hatbox 200, attached to one or both of substantially transparent lower side portion 214 and substantially transparent upper side portion 224. In that case, handle 250 may not be detachable or retractable.

When closed, hatbox 100 and hatbox 200 are both in the shape of a rectangular parallelepiped (rectangular prism). Accordingly, their corresponding bottom portions are rectangular, and the lower side portion has a rectangular cross-section. However a variety of other shapes are possible within the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates some of the alternative shapes for hatbox 100 or hatbox 200. Such shapes include a cylinder 305, a frustum cone 310, a frustum pyramid 315, a triangular prism 320, a hexagonal prism 325, and an octagonal prism 330. The invention should not be considered as being limited to any of the shapes shown in FIG. 3, but rather the shapes shown in FIG. 3 are exemplary of the wide variety of shapes that can be employed in the present invention. Many other variations (e.g., N-agonal prism), are of course possible and intended to be covered by the accompanying claims.

Hatbox 100 and hatbox 200 include hat restraint 170 comprising a bar extending across the interior space of the hatbox as a means for securing a position of a hat within the enclosed interior space of the hatbox. However, other hat restraints are possible.

FIG. 4 illustrates alternative hat restraints that may be employed in a hatbox as disclosed within. Such hat restraints include: a planar insert 410 having a recess or hole 412 therein adapted to receive a top portion of a hat; a hat insert 420 adapted to fit inside a hat and attached to an interior wall of the hatbox to hold a hat in place; and (4) one or more straps 430 attached to one or more interior walls of the hatbox. Beneficially, the planar insert 410, hat insert 420, and straps 430 are made of a substantially transparent material so as to not impede external inspection of a hat that is placed in the hatbox. Where hat insert 420 is employed, beneficially hat insert 420 may be a hat stretcher that provides an additional benefit of assuring that a hat retains its shape when the hat is stored in the hatbox for an extended period of time.

While preferred embodiments are disclosed herein, many variations are possible which remain within the concept and scope of the invention. Such variations would become clear to one of ordinary skill in the art after inspection of the specification, drawings and claims herein. The invention therefore is not to be restricted except within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.