Title:
Finger and hand shield for use while cutting hair
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A finger and hand shield for use while cutting hair to protect the middle and index fingers and the upper areas of the user's hand from nicks, cuts or other cutting implement injuries. The invention comprises an upper shield member to protect the upper portion of the user's finger, a lower shield member to protect the lower portion of the user's finger and the upper area of either the back side or the palm side of the user's hand and a flexible interconnecting member to interconnect the upper and lower shield members. Preferably, the shield members are made from a strong, lightweight material, such as plastic, and the flexible interconnecting member is made from a lightweight, stretchy and breathable material, such as elastic mesh fabric. The shield members are in spaced apart relation and attached to the interconnecting member so as to prevent the hair from being caught therein.



Inventors:
Caudillo, Anita J. (Bakersfield, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/126848
Publication Date:
11/16/2006
Filing Date:
05/10/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHARD A. RYAN (Fresno, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A finger and hand shield for use by a user while cutting hair with a cutting implement to protect one or more fingers and an upper area of a hand of said user from nicks, cuts and like injuries, said shield comprising: an upper shield member having a first end and a second end, said first end of said upper shield member generally disposed towards the tip end of a finger of said hand; a lower shield member having a first end and a second end, said second end of said lower shield member generally disposed over said upper area of said hand; and a flexible interconnecting member interconnecting said upper shield member and said lower shield member, said upper shield, said lower shield and said flexible interconnecting member configured to receive said finger of said user.

2. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein said flexible interconnecting member is made from a generally lightweight, stretchy and breathable material.

3. The finger and hand shield according to claim 2, wherein said flexible interconnecting member is made from an elastic mesh material.

4. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein said flexible interconnecting member is generally tubular shaped.

5. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein said second end of said upper shield member is in spaced apart relation with said first end of said lower shield member.

6. The finger and hand shield according to claim 5, wherein a gap is provided between said upper shield member and said lower shield member for positioning of a knuckle of said finger at said gap.

7. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein said upper shield member comprises one or more upper wing members, said one or more upper wing members configured to at least partially enclose said finger.

8. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein said lower shield member comprises one or more lower wing members, said one or more lower wing members configures to at least partially enclose said finger.

9. The finger and hand shield according to claim 8, wherein said upper shield member comprises one or more upper wing members, said one or more upper wing members configured to at least partially enclose said finger.

10. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein each of said upper shield member and said lower shield member are made from a plastic material.

11. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1 further comprising a connecting member connecting a pair said finger and hand shields.

12. The finger and hand shield according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said upper shield member and said lower shield member further comprises one or more sizing segments configured to assist said user in adjusting the length of said upper shield member and/or said lower shield member.

13. A finger and hand shield for use by a user while cutting hair with a cutting implement to protect one or more fingers and an upper area of a hand of said user from nicks, cuts and like injuries, said shield comprising: an upper shield member having a first end and a second end, said first end of said upper shield member generally disposed towards the tip end of a finger of said hand; a lower shield member having a first end and a second end, said first end of said lower shield member in spaced apart relation with said second end of said upper shield member, said second end of said lower shield member generally disposed over said upper area of said hand; and a flexible interconnecting member interconnecting said upper shield member and said lower shield member, said upper shield, said lower shield and said flexible interconnecting member configured to receive said finger of said user.

14. The finger and hand shield according to claim 13, wherein a gap is provided between said upper shield member and said lower shield member for positioning of a knuckle of said finger at said gap.

15. The finger and hand shield according to claim 13, wherein at least one of said upper shield member and said lower shield member comprises one or more wing members, said one or more wing members configured to at least partially enclose said finger.

16. The finger and hand shield according to claim 13, wherein at least one of said upper shield member and said lower shield member further comprises one or more sizing segments configured to assist said user in adjusting the length of said upper shield member and/or said lower shield member.

17. A finger and hand shield for use by a user while cutting hair with a cutting implement to protect two fingers and an upper area of a hand of said user from nicks, cuts and like injuries, said shield comprising: a first shield, said first shield having an upper shield member with a first end and a second end, a lower shield member with a first end and a second end and a flexible interconnecting member interconnecting said upper shield member and said lower shield member, said first end of said upper shield member generally disposed towards the tip end of a finger of said hand, said second end of said lower shield member generally disposed over said upper area of said hand, said upper shield, said lower shield and said flexible interconnecting member configured to receive one of said two fingers of said user; a second shield, said second shield having an upper shield member with a first end and a second end, a lower shield member with a first end and a second end and a flexible interconnecting member interconnecting said upper shield member and said lower shield member, said first end of said upper shield member generally disposed towards the tip end of a finger of said hand, said second end of said lower shield member generally disposed over said upper area of said hand, said upper shield, said lower shield and said flexible interconnecting member configured to receive one of said two fingers of said user; and a flexible connecting member connecting said first shield and said second shield, said flexible connecting member generally disposed between said two fingers.

18. The finger and hand shield according to claim 17, wherein each said second ends of said upper shield members are in spaced apart relation with each of said first ends of said lower shield members.

19. The finger and hand shield according to claim 17, wherein at least one of said upper shield member and said lower shield member comprises one or more wing members, said one or more wing members configured to at least partially enclose said finger.

20. The finger and hand shield according to claim 17, wherein at least one of said upper shield member and said lower shield member further comprises one or more sizing segments configured to assist said user in adjusting the length of said upper shield member and/or said lower shield member.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of the Invention

The field of the present invention relates generally to devices for protecting parts of the human body from cuts and the like. More specifically, the field of the present invention relates generally to such devices that are particularly configured to protect the finger, palm and/or back area of a human hand. Even more specifically, this invention relates to such protectors that are configured for use by barbers, cosmetologists and others who use scissors, shears and other hair cutting implements to protect the finger, palm and back of the hand area from nicks and cuts that can occur while cutting hair.

B. Background

As is well known, the conventional methods of cutting or trimming hair requires barbers, cosmetologists or other hair cutting persons to grasp a portion of the hair between the middle and index finger of the hair cutter's hand. This is done so that the hair cutter can use his or her fingers as a guide when cutting the hair with scissors, shears or other cutting implements. Because hair is so pliant, in order to effectively support the portion of hair being cut, the hair cutter's fingers must be placed relatively close to the point where the hair is cut. Unfortunately, this results in the hair cutter placing his or her fingers in close proximity to the sharp edges of the cutting implement while cutting hair. For smooth, efficient and effective hair cutting, the scissors, shears or other cutting implements are configured to be very sharp so as to easily and cleanly cut the hair. Although most all hair cutting is performed with some amount of deliberate speed, for professional hair cutters the speed at which hair is cut is very important to the profitability of the hair cutter or the organization for which he or she works. As those who work in the hair cutting profession are very aware, the combination of sharp cutting implements, the need to closely grasp the hair between the hair cutter's fingers while cutting and the desire to cut hair at a somewhat enhanced speed frequently results in the hair cutter receiving nicks and cuts on his or her fingers, palm or other portions of the hand used to grasp the hair. Although many of the nicks or cuts tend to be relatively small, they can be quite painful (much like paper cuts and the like). If the nick or cut is deep enough to cause bleeding, this can cause delays in the hair cutting while the hair cutter treats the wound and/or covers it with a bandage or other covering. Because hair is generally considered unhygienic, the contact between an open wound and the hair can cause the wound to become infected, necessitating the hair cutter take appropriate action to avoid infection. Further complicating the hair cutter's issues, open wounds can increase the risk of transferring diseases, including certain blood borne diseases known to be quite harmful or even fatal, to or from the hair cutter and the person having his or her hair cut.

Although it would seem quite beneficial for the hair cutter to have a cover, guard or other shield-like device over the portions of the hand most susceptible to nicks and cuts, such as the middle and index fingers and the upper portion of the palm near those fingers, there are several limitations with the use of such devices. One such limitation is the hair cutter's need to feel the hair between his or her fingers in order to effectively grasp the hair and cut it at the desired location to obtain the hair cutting result desired by the person having his or her hair cut. While a stiff or generally inflexible shield-like device may protect the fingers and hand from nicks and cuts, it would be virtually unworkable from the hair cutter's perspective due to the inability to effectively feel and grasp the hair. Another limitation for such finger/hand protective devices is the fact that most professional hair cutters would need to wear the protective device for long periods of time while at work in order to effectively protect their fingers and hand from nicks and cuts. If the protective device is not properly configured to allow the hand to “breath” some, the user's fingers and hand will tend to sweat under the device and make it very uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. In addition to the above, for professional hair cutters there is the practical effect on the consumer of the hair cutter having a bulky or armor looking device on the hair cutter's hand. Many customers would tend to be somewhat uncomfortable with such devices on the hand of the person cutting their hair.

A number of prior art devices have been provided for those who cut hair to prevent or reduce the likelihood of nicks and cuts on the finger and palm area of the hair cutter's hand. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 6,665,874 to Stolf describes a cut prevention finger guard that is configured with a head and body portion that fits around the user's finger so as to protect the finger from nicks and cuts while the hair cutter user is cutting hair. The finger guard described in Stolf has a pair of wing-like securing devices that are made out of malleable material so as to foldably secure the head and body portion of the device to the finger. U.S. Pat. No. 5,520,626 to Schaeffer describes a combination palm and finger guard which comprises a ring or other finger engaging member and a shield attached to the ring such that it overlays a portion of the user's finger and palm to prevent nicks and cuts while cutting hair. U.S. Pat. No. 5,363,508 to Kim describes a finger and palm guard that comprises a pair of tubular members for the middle and index finger of the hair cutter's hand and a projecting shield member that extends over the palmar fascia area immediately adjacent the user's fingers. The shield is made up of two overlying palm shields that are moveably connected by an engagement mechanism, such as a rivet, that permits the two shields to pivot relative to each other. U.S. Pat. No. 5,048,186 to Lamb, et al. describes a shear guard that is a band of rigid yet formable material that is curled into a generally ring-like configuration which fits over a user's finger. U.S. Pat. No. 4,689,828 to Brewer describes a glove-like finger protector that comprise a pair of tubular finger protectors that are held in place by a wrist band that is made thicker in the areas desired to be protected against nicks and cuts. U.S. Pat. No. 3,928,871 to Wall describes a barber's glove having two finger coverings with confronting faces that are configured with grooves to assist in aligning and straightening the hair being cut.

While the aforementioned devices can reduce the likelihood of receiving nicks or cuts on portions of the hair cutter's fingers and/or palm, they are known to have certain limitations that has substantially limited the wide acceptance of such devices by those in the hair cutting industry. For instance, certain of these devices, such as those described in the Lamb and Stolf patents, primarily only protect the finger portion of the user's hand and do not provide much protection for the palm or back side areas of the hand. While the devices described in the patents to Wall and Brewer may provide a minimum amount of protection for the back of the hand area, they are not configured to protect the palm area and may be considered by many to be too confining to be comfortable to be worn for extended periods of time. The device of Schaeffer provides limited protection for the fingers and, like the patent to Kim, has one or more moveable components and/or connectors which can chafe or otherwise annoy the user and in which the customer's hair can be caught, thereby resulting in discomfort to the person getting their hair cut. In addition, the aforementioned devices are not configured to be comfortably worn for long periods of time, such as the work day, or to allow the user to accomplish other tasks, such as using other implements or collecting money or other items from the customer, without the necessity of removing the device every time such tasks need to be performed.

What is needed, therefore, is an improved finger and hand shield that is configured to protect both the finger and the palm or back of hand areas of the hair cutter's hand. The preferred device will have shield components that extend over the finger and into the upper palm or back of hand areas to protect the fingers and palm/hand areas from nicks and cuts that can arise from contact with scissors, shears or other cutting implements. The preferred device will be adaptable for being worn on the user's hand in a manner that provides protection for either the palm or back of hand sides of the user's hand, depending on the user's hair cuffing preference. The preferred device should be breathable, flexible and suitable for feeling the hair being cut so that the user can wear the device for the entire work day and effectively grasp the hair being cut. The preferred device should also be configured to be sanitizable while remaining on the user's hand. Alternatively, the preferred device can be configured to be disposable to reduce the risk of transmitting germs or other undesirable issues between haircut customers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The finger and hand shield for use while cutting hair of the present invention provides the benefits and solves the problems identified above. That is to say, the present invention discloses a finger and hand shield that is configured to protect the middle and index fingers and palm or back of hand areas of the hair cutter's hand from nicks and cuts that can arise from the use of scissors, shears or other hair cutting implements without the use of components that can catch or pull the customer's hair. The shield components of the finger and hand shield of the present invention extend over the user's middle and index fingers and over the upper areas of either the palm or back of the hand, depending on the user's hair cutting preferences, to effectively deflect the cutting implements and prevent harm to these areas of the user's hand. The finger and hand shield of the present invention is configured to be breathable, flexible and to allow the user to adequately feel the hair being cut so as to effectively grasp the hair and cut it as desired by the hair cutter. The finger and hand shield of the present invention can be left on for extended periods of time, such as the entire work day. The preferred finger and hand shield is configured to be washable while remaining on the user's hand so as to sanitize the device between haircuts. Alternatively, the finger and hand shield of the present invention can be made very inexpensively and, therefore, configured to be disposable.

In one general aspect of the present invention, the finger and hand shield of the present invention includes an upper shield member having a first end and a second end, a lower shield member having a first end and a second end and a flexible interconnecting member interconnecting the upper shield member and the lower shield member. The first end of the upper shield member is generally disposed towards the tip end of a finger of the user's hand and the second end of the lower shield member is generally disposed over the upper area of the back or palm side of the user's hand. The upper shield, the lower shield and the flexible interconnecting member are cooperatively configured to receive the finger of the user and protect the finger and upper area of the hand from nicks and cuts that can arise from using cutting implements to cut hair. In a preferred embodiment the shield members are made from plastic and the flexible interconnecting member is made from a generally lightweight, stretchy and breathable material, such as an elastic mesh material. In one embodiment the flexible interconnecting member is generally tubular shaped and the shield members are fixedly attached thereto. In the preferred embodiment, the second end of the upper shield member is in spaced apart relation with the first end of the lower shield member so as to prevent pinching of the hair therebetween, which can cause the hair to be pulled. Also in a preferred embodiment, the upper shield member and lower shield member each have one or more wing members configured to at least partially enclose the user's finger. Also in the preferred embodiment, the upper and lower shield members each have one or more sizing segments configured to assist the user in adjusting the length of the upper shield member and/or the lower shield member. In another embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention, the shield has a pair of finger shield members, each configured as described above, that are interconnected by a connecting member.

Accordingly, the primary objective of the present invention is to provide a finger and hand shield for use while cutting hair that provides the advantages discussed above and overcomes the disadvantages and limitations associated with presently available devices utilized for protecting the finger and/or hand areas of those who cut hair.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a finger and hand shield that effectively protects the fingers and upper palm or back of hand areas of the hair cutter's hand from nicks and cuts that can otherwise result from use of scissors, shears or other cutting implements.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a finger and hand shield that is configured to selectively protect either the back portion of the fingers and hand or the palm side of the fingers and hand depending on the hair cutter's cutting preference.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a finger and hand shield that protects the hair cutter's finger and hand without the use of connectors or moving parts that are susceptible to catching or pulling on the hair of the customer or other person having their hair cut by the hair cutter wearing the device of the present invention.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a finger and hand shield that is configured to be breathable and flexible so that the user may comfortably wear the finger and hand shield for extended periods of time and accomplish other tasks without the need to remove the finger and hand shield to do so.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a finger and hand shield that is configured to allow the user to sufficiently feel the hair being cut so that he or she may effectively cut the hair as desired.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a finger and hand shield that is washable, preferably while remaining on the user's hand, or disposable so as to reduce the likelihood of transmitting germs or other issues from one haircut customer to another.

The above and other objectives of the present invention will become readily apparent and are explained in greater detail by reference to the attached figures and the description of the preferred embodiment which follows. As set forth herein, the present invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, mode of operation and/or combination of processes presently described and understood by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiments and the best modes presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

FIG. 1 is a top or back of hand view of a preferred embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention shown in use on a hand to protect the back portion of the user's fingers and hand;

FIG. 2 is a bottom or palm view of the embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention shown in FIG. 1 particularly showing the wing members of the upper and lower shield members;

FIG. 3 is a perspective side view of the embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a palm view of a preferred embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention shown in use on a hand to protect the palm portion of the user's fingers and hand;

FIG. 5 is an exploded side view of a preferred embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention showing the principal components thereof;

FIG. 6 is a side view of a preferred embodiment of the finger and hand shield of the present invention showing the flexibility thereof;

FIG. 7 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the wing members used with the upper and lower shield members of the finger and hand shield of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a side view of a second alternative embodiment of the wing members used with the upper and lower shield members of the finger and hand shield of the present invention showing wing members that are configured to fully encircle the finger; and

FIG. 9 is a top or hand view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention showing the a pair of protectors joined by a connecting member into a single device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the figures where like elements have been given like numerical designations to facilitate the reader's understanding of the present invention, and particularly with reference to the embodiments of the finger and hand shield for use while cutting hair of the present invention illustrated in the figures, a preferred embodiment of the present invention is set forth below. The enclosed description and drawings are merely illustrative of one or more preferred embodiments and represent several different ways of configuring the present invention. Although specific components, materials, configurations and uses of the present invention are illustrated and set forth in this disclosure, those skilled in the art will readily understand that a number of variations to the components and to the configuration of those components described herein and in the accompanying figures can be made without changing the scope and function of the invention set forth herein.

A finger and hand shield for use in cutting hair is manufactured out of the components and configured pursuant to the principles of the present invention is shown generally as 10 in the figures. As shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, in one configuration of the present invention the user, which will often be a professional barber, cosmetologist or the like but can be an individual cutting hair for a relative, neighbor or friend, will utilize shield 10 to protect the back side of his or her fingers, such as middle finger 12 and index finger 14, and the upper area 16 of the back side 18 of hand 20. In another configuration, shown in FIG. 4, the user will utilize shield 10 to protect the palm side 22 of fingers 12 and 14 and the upper palm area 24 of hand 20. As recognized by those skilled in the art, hand 20 is the hand used by the hair cutter to handle and control the portion of the hair that is to be cut by scissors, shears or other cutting implements (not shown) being held in and controlled by the hair cutter's other hand (also not shown). In the figures, it is assumed that the hair cutter is right handed, or generally favors his or her right hand, such that the cutting implement is held thereby, and that hand 20 is the hair cutter's left hand. As will be readily understood by those skilled in the art, the finger and hand shield 10 of the present invention can be utilized on either the left or right hand of a person desiring to protect the fingers and hand from nicks and cuts due to unintentional contact with the cutting implements. With the present invention 10 on hand 20, the hair cutter user will generally grasp a portion of the hair to be cut between his or her middle 12 and index 14 fingers to place the hair into position for cuffing and hold it there while it is being cut. As set forth in the objectives above and set forth in more detail below, use of shield 10 will substantially prevent the hair cutter from receiving nicks, cuts or other injuries to the fingers 12 and 14 and the upper area 16 or 24 of the back side 16 or palm side 22 of hand 20.

With reference to FIGS. 1 through 3, the preferred embodiment of the finger and hand shield 10 of the present invention primarily comprises a first or upper shield member 26, a second or lower shield member 28 and a flexible interconnecting member 30 configured interconnect upper 26 and lower 28 shield members around one of middle 12 and index 14 fingers of hand 20. Upper shield member 26 has a first end 32 configured to be generally disposed near the tip of fingers 12 or 14 and a second end 34 that is configured to be generally disposed near the knuckle, shown as 36, between the second and third phalanges (as measured from the tip) of fingers 12 or 14. Lower shield member 28 has a first end 38 configured to be disposed near knuckle 36 and a second end 40 configured to be generally disposed in upper area 16 of the back side 18 of hand 20 (in FIGS. 1-3) or in the upper palm area 24 of palm side 22 of hand 20 (as shown in FIG. 4 and explained in more detail below). As shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, upper 26 and lower 28 shield members are configured to protect the hair cutter's middle finger 12, index finger 14 and upper back area 16 of hand 20 from nicks and cuts from a cutting implement used to cut hair. As such, upper 26 and lower 28 shield members must be made out of materials that are generally suitable for deflecting the cutting implement or otherwise preventing harm to these areas of hand 20. Various materials, including plastic, metal, wood, fiberglass, composite and the like, can be utilized for upper 26 and lower 28 shield members. The preferred material will be a generally lightweight, strong and penetration resistant material such as acrylic that can, as shown in FIG. 3, be adorned with various decorative designs or receive stickers or other materials to allow customization and personalization of finger and hand shield 10 of the present invention. As also known to those skilled in the art, acrylic or other plastic materials are easily molded into the desired shapes for upper 26 and lower 28 shield members and can be provided in a variety of different colors to make shield 10 more fashionable or attractive to the typical user thereof.

Flexible interconnecting member 30 is configured to interconnect upper 26 and lower 28 shield members on middle 12 and index 14 fingers of hand 20. In the preferred embodiment, flexible interconnecting member 20 is a lightweight, stretchy, breathable material that can be comfortably worn by the user for extended periods of time, such as the entire work day, and allow the user to utilize his or her fingers for other, non-hair cutting activities. In addition, it is preferred that this material be of the type that will generally allow the user to feel the hair he or she is cutting so that the hair can be effectively grasped between middle 12 and index 14 fingers. A preferred material is a vented nylon/vinyl elastic mesh fabric that is commonly utilized in ankle, wrist and knee braces, weightlifting gloves, sport clothing and other products due primarily to its lightweight, breathable, elastic and strong properties. If desired, flexible interconnecting member 30 can comprise a lining (not shown) that is made out of a material that wicks sweat away from the user's finger to provide additional comfort for use during the work day. A variety of other materials, including neoprene, Lycra (from Dupont), nylon mesh, vinyl mesh and similar materials can be suitable for flexible interconnecting member 30 of the shield 10 of the present invention. The material chosen for flexible interconnecting member 30 should be suitable for tangle free contact against the hair being cut so as to avoid snagging or otherwise pulling on the hair. Preferably, the material chosen has a generally soft or silky feel to it for the comfort of both the user and the person having his or her hair cut. The material should also allow easy placement of shield 10 on fingers 12 and 14 and removal therefrom. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the material chosen for flexible interconnecting member 30 should be such to allow relatively easy flexing of shield 10 at knuckle 36 when finger 12 or 14 is disposed therein.

In one embodiment, shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, flexible interconnecting member 30 is generally tubular-shaped so that it may go entirely around middle 12 or index 14 fingers. Preferably, the flexible interconnecting member 30 is sized to snugly fit around the typical finger 12 or 14, such that it generally fits like a glove on the hand 20 of the user. In this embodiment both upper 26 and lower 28 shield members are fixedly attached to one side of flexible interconnecting member 30 such that when the user puts his or her middle 12 or index 14 finger inside flexible interconnecting member 30 the upper 26 and lower 28 shield members will be in place to protect against nicks and cuts. In an alterative embodiment, only so much of material for flexible interconnecting member 30 is utilized as necessary to adequately join upper 26 and lower 28 shield members. In either embodiment, it is preferred that no spaces or other gaps are provided between upper shield member 26 and interconnecting member 30 and between lower shield member 28 and interconnecting member 30. Adhesives or other appropriate materials can be utilized to fixedly join upper 26 and lower 28 shield members with interconnecting member 30. In any of the above configurations, it is preferred that the second end 34 of upper shield member 26 is in spaced apart relation to the first end 38 of lower shield member 28 to provide a gap 41 for sufficient flexibility of knuckle 36, positioned at gap 41, and to prevent any hair from being caught between upper 26 and lower 28 shield members, which could result in the hair being pulled by shield 10.

In another embodiment, shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, upper 26 and lower 28 shield members can each further comprise a pair of wing members 42 and 44, respectively, that are configured to partially encircle middle 12 or index 14 fingers and flexible interconnecting member 30 is just sufficient to connect the sides of shield members 26 and 28. Even in this configuration, it may be preferred to use a tubular-shaped flexible interconnecting member 30 so the shield members 26 and 28 do not directly contact the user's finger 12 or 14. If used, upper 42 and lower 44 wing members are preferably configured to be somewhat flexible so that the user can spread them apart as needed to place them over finger 12 or 14 and spread them apart to remove them therefrom. Alternative configurations for upper 26 and lower 28 shield members are shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Both of these configurations a pair of upper wing members 42 and a pair of lower wing members 44 that are configured to reduce the amount of material used for upper 26 and lower 28 shield members, thereby reducing the weight and cost of manufacturing finger and hand shield 10. The wing members 42 and 44 of FIG. 8 are provided in a ring-like configuration to fully encircle fingers 12 and 14. If preferred, the ring-like wing members 42 and 44 of FIG. 9 can be provided with a split therein to allow adjustment for different sized fingers.

To allow for different lengths of fingers 12 and 14 for different users and to be able to provide finger and hand shield 10 of the present invention in a one size fits all configuration, upper 26 and lower 28 shield members are configured to be easily adjustable in length. As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, upper shield member 26 is provided with one or more upper sizing segments 46 at first end 32 thereof and lower shield member 28 is provided with one or more lower sizing segments 48 at second end 40 thereof. Preferably, upper 46 and lower 48 sizing segments are slight cuts or indents into upper 26 and lower 28 shield members, respectively, to allow the user to easily cut upper 26 and lower 28 shield members to the appropriate size for the user. With regard to upper shield member 26, the user will generally not want first end 32 to extend beyond the tip of fingers 12 and 14. With regard to the lower shield member, the user will generally want the second end 40 thereof to extend downward into upper back area 16 and upper palm area 24 a sufficient distance to adequately protect those areas from nicks and cuts, but not so far as to interfere with the normal movement and flexing of hand 20. Although finger and hand shield 10 of the present invention can be provided without upper 46 and lower 48 sizing segments, the use thereof allows the manufacturer to make a one size fits all type of product that the user can customize for his or her hand 20, much the way shoe inserts and other products are provided.

In an alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 9, a pair of finger and hand shields 10, shown as first shield 50 and second shield 52, are connected by a flexible connecting member 54 that bridges the fleshy area between middle finger 12 and index finger 14. In this embodiment, the user jointly utilizes the hand shield 10 by placing first shield 50 over middle finger 12 and second shield 52 over index finger 14. Although this configuration provides certain advantages with regard to a unitary product, it has the disadvantage that the user must fully remove shield 10 in order to switch from primarily protecting the upper back area 16 of hand 20, as shown in FIG. 9, to protecting the upper palm area 24 of hand 20, which is not shown but is similar to FIG. 4 with the addition of connecting member 54. Preferably, connecting member 54 is of the same type of material that is used for interconnecting member 30 for ease of manufacturing and the benefits described above with regard to that component.

In use, the user utilizes the finger and hand shield 10 of the present invention when he or she is going to cut someone's hair by inserting his or her middle finger 12 and index finger 14 inside one of separate shields 10. In one embodiment, presented merely as an exemplary embodiment, upper shield member 26 is approximately two inches long and lower shield member 28 is approximately two and one-half inches long, with approximately one and one-half inches of that being configured to extend into upper back area 16 or upper palm area 24. If the user cuts hair by placing the scissors, shears or other cutting implement against the back side 18 of their hand 20, then shield 10 is placed over fingers 12 and 14 as shown in FIGS. 1 through 3. As he or she cuts hair, by holding a portion of the hair between middle 12 and index 14 fingers, the upper 26 and lower 28 shield members will prevent the cutting implement from contacting and harming fingers 12 and 14 and the upper back side 16 of hand 20. If the user desires to switch to cutting hair with the cutting implement towards the palm side 22 of hand 20, then he or she merely needs to rotate shields 10 on middle finger 12 and on index finger 14 such that the second end 40 of lower shield member 28 is placed over upper palm area 24. In this configuration, the user can easily switch back and forth from protecting the upper back area 16 and upper palm area 24. If the connected embodiment of FIG. 9 is utilized, which provides certain benefits with regard to a unitary product, then the user must remove shield 10 from hand 20 and then replace it thereon in the opposite direction to switch between protecting the upper back area 16 and upper palm area 24.

While there are shown and described herein certain specific alternative forms of the invention, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention is not so limited, but is susceptible to various modifications and rearrangements in design and materials without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In particular, it should be noted that the present invention is subject to modification with regard to the dimensional relationships set forth herein and modifications in assembly, materials, size, shape, and use. For instance, there are numerous components described herein that can be replaced with equivalent functioning components to accomplish the objectives of the present invention.