Title:
Beach blanket
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A beach blanket comprising at least one hole for receiving an umbrella so that when the shaft of the umbrella is positioned over the blanket, the canopy of the umbrella provides shade over the blanket. The blanket further includes an upper side, a lower surface and a peripheral edge wherein at least one pocket is affixed to the lower surface of the blanket adjacent to the peripheral edge for receiving ballast material or valuables.



Inventors:
Tanner, Robert (East Hampton, NY, US)
Tanner, Barbara (East Hampton, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/446415
Publication Date:
12/07/2006
Filing Date:
06/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/06
View Patent Images:
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20040172064Treatment table with an aroma dispenserSeptember, 2004Macdonald
20090144901METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSERTING A PILLOW INTO A PILLOWCASEJune, 2009Zorger
20090070941INFLATABLE BED ASSEMBLYMarch, 2009Lau
20100064443STRUCTURE OF AUTOMATIC PRESSURE ADJUSTABLE AIR BEDMarch, 2010Lee
20070199155LIQUID-IMPERMEABLE MATTRESS COVERAugust, 2007Thygsen
20050155151Supporting tube for a magnetic resonance scannerJuly, 2005Eberler et al.
20050246839Bed foundation having a structural foam perimeter utilizing mechanical interlockingNovember, 2005Niswonger



Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A beach blanket comprising an upper side, a lower surface and a peripheral edge, wherein said beach blanket comprises at least one hole extending from the upper side through to the lower surface for selectively receiving the shaft portion of an umbrella, and wherein the lower surface comprises at least one pocket adjacent to the peripheral edge.

2. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the at least one pocket further comprises an opening for selectively receiving ballast materials.

3. The blanket of claim 2, wherein the at least one pocket further comprises closing means for selectively closing the opening.

4. The blanket of claim 3, wherein the closing means comprises one of a hook and loop closure fastener or a zipper.

5. The blanket of claim 2, wherein the at least one pocket further comprises a substantially waterproof lining.

6. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the hole further comprises a sealing means for selectively sealing the hole.

7. The blanket of claim 6, wherein the sealing means comprises one of a hook and loop fastener, snap, tie or a zipper.

8. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the lower surface comprises a tightly woven, water resistant, fade resistant and mildew resistant material.

9. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the blanket comprises a flexible material.

10. The blanket of claim 9, wherein the flexible material comprises a fabric selected from the group consisting of acrylic and polyester.

11. The blanket of claim 1, wherein the blanket is substantially square and wherein the peripheral edge defines four corners and wherein each corner is provided with a pocket affixed to the lower surface.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/686,939 filed Jun. 3, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to improved beach or picnic blankets, towels, mats and similar products that are used at a beach, picnic, pool or outdoors generally with enhanced utility. More specifically, the present invention relates to a new beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets for ballast and/or holding objects and an opening for receiving an umbrella so that the umbrella is positioned to cast shade or otherwise provide shelter over the blanket, towel or mat.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Beach or picnic blankets, towels or mats are a necessary item for outdoor activities for many reasons. For one, such a blanket, towel or mat provides a useful surface for relaxation, sunbathing or picnicking.

However, standard bath towels and blankets are not well suited for use at the beach or other outdoor forums. One of the problems is that when a blanket or towel lies on the sand or ground, the blanket or towel can be blown, kicked or pulled over onto the central portion of the blanket and disarranged. This obviously reduces the size of the blanket and increases the likelihood of sand or dirt landing on the central portion of the blanket or towel. Further, while at a beach, pool or park, there is often no place to store items such as keys, cell phones, wrist watches, cash, suntan lotion or the like. For several reasons, leaving valuable items in plain sight may not be wise. Moreover, such blanket or towels are often used in conjunction with an umbrella and it is often difficult to place the umbrella in such a way as to cast shade or provide shelter on the entire surface area of the blanket or towel.

For these and other reasons, there have been several attempts to provide a beach towel that is optimized for outdoor use.

For example, Rote, U.S. Pat. No. 3,226,737, discloses a Beach and Picnic Blanket made of flexible material with pockets for holding weighted material fixed onto the top side of the blanket at each corner. The pockets of Rote are open towards the center of the blanket and are made to receive weighted material such as sand, dirt, rocks or a weighted bag, and are not sealable.

Roberts, U.S. Pat. No. 4,654,906, discloses a Beach Blanket with Sand Pockets having a rectangular shape and four corners with a right triangular pocket at each corner to receive and temporarily hold a quantity of sand for anchoring the blanket, the pockets being closable to secure the sand therein and open for discharge of the sand. The pockets of Roberts are made either by overlaying an additional layer on top of each corner of the blanket or by securing two blanket layers together such that the overlying corners form pockets. Eberhart, U.S. Pat. No. 5,018,229 discloses a Pocketed Beach Towel that includes pockets at the corners and a weight in a sealed package for each pocket. Each pocket also functions as a hidden receptacle for personal effects and valuables by including a closable opening that simulates a permanent closure. The pockets of Eberhart are fixed to the top of the blanket such that when the pockets are filled with packaged weight, the pockets are clearly visible by bulging outwardly from the surface of the blanket.

Hunt, U.S. Pat. No. 5,072,467 discloses a Beach Towel with Pockets that has envelopes attached thereto so as to create closeable envelopes on the towel and pockets behind the envelope. The envelopes and/or pockets can be used for storing needed items such as sunscreen lotion, clothing items, or entertainment items such as a book or radio. The envelopes and/or pockets can alternatively be used as a receptacle for sand in order to hold down the beach towel and form a pillow. The blanket of Hunt has three closable envelopes with three open-top pockets disposed behind the envelopes, wherein one of the envelopes/pockets is larger and centered on a shorter edge of the towel to serve as a pillow.

Wong, U.S. Pat. No. 5,499,411, discloses a Sand Pocket Beach Blanket for weighted anchoring to a surface. Wong discloses a blanket web positionable upon a beach surface wherein a plurality of anchor assemblies are secured to the blanket web and operate to receive sand to anchor the blanket web relative to the beach surface. The pockets of Wong are created by positioning an exterior pocket to overlap with an interior pocket so as to create an overlapping, bulky closure secured to the bottom surface of the blanket.

Conners, U.S. Pat. No. 6,192,536, discloses a Wind Resistant Beach Towel made of ordinary, machine washable fabric, together with a plurality of pockets, which may be filled with sand or other material to weigh down the towel. The towel may be attached to another wind resistant beach towel to provide for a blanket cover which will not be blown off by wind. In addition, the towel may be attached to another wind resistant beach towel to cover a greater area. The towel of Conners has a sand resistant layer affixed to the bottom of the towel, a plurality of pockets that may comprise two chambers affixed to the top of the towel, including a middle pocket that can be used as a pillow and doubles as a carrying case.

Glenn, U.S. Pat. No. 6,502,257, discloses a Beach Blanket designed for receiving an umbrella so that the umbrella is positioned over the blanket and includes a panel having an upper side, a lower side and a peripheral edge. The panel comprises a flexible material. The panel has at least one opening extending there through for receiving a bottom end of an umbrella shaft. A cover has a first portion and a second portion. The first portion is attached to the panel and extending over the opening. The first portion has a hole extending there through and is generally aligned with the opening in the panel. The second portion is removably positionable in a closed position extending over the hole or an open position. Glenn further discloses loop members attached to the peripheral edges of the blanket for receiving stakes that may be used to hold down the blanket.

While these devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, the need remains for a beach or picnic blanket or towel that will remain in place without the use of hazardous stakes, prevents sand or dirt from getting on the central part of the blanket or towel, can receive an umbrella and optionally, has hidden storage compartments. Accordingly, there exists a need in the art for a blanket or towel with such features that is optimized for use outdoors. The present invention is designed to fulfill these needs and overcome the problems of the prior art.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to beach or picnic blankets, towels or mats and more particularly pertains to a new beach blanket, towel or mat that is securely kept in place when in use so as not to be blown about easily by the wind, wrinkled by accidental kicking or otherwise easily disturbed and that has an opening, preferably in the center of the blanket, towel or mat, for receiving the bottom end of an umbrella.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with at least one opening for receiving the shaft of an umbrella so that an umbrella can be positioned such as to cast shade or otherwise provide shelter over the blanket, towel or mat. Preferably, the opening is sealable to prevent sand, dirt or other elements from coming up through the opening and soiling the surface of the blanket, towel or mat.

It is another object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat that is generally rectangular in shape, but that may also be square, circular or any other useful shape. Preferably, the blanket, towel or mat may be of any size. More preferably, the blanket, towel or mat is of a size large enough to accommodate one person, more preferably two or more persons. Even more preferably, the blanket, towel or mat is oversized. According to a preferred embodiment, the blanket is 108 inches by 72 inches, 82 inches by 60 inches or 70 inches by 40 inches.

It is another object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat that is made of a material that is a washable, durable and flexible material. Preferably, the top side of the blanket, towel or mat is soft and comfortable and the bottom side is resistant and suitable for resting on sand, grass, dirt or other surface. Preferably, the top side of the blanket is printed with an esthetic, color-coordinating pattern. More preferably, a second non-bulky material may be adhered to the bottom side of the blanket, towel or mat so that the bottom side of the blanket, towel or mat is more durable, stain resistant and sheds sand, dirt or grass easily. More preferably, the blanket, towel or mat may be composed of a water resistant or waterproof, mildew resistant, fade resistant and stain resistant material such as appropriately treated cotton or other soft fabric material or of a terry cloth or towel-like fabric, synthetic blend or some other suitable fabric. Even more preferably, the blanket, towel or mat of the present invention is lightweight and remains cool to the touch even when exposed to direct sunlight. According to a preferred embodiment, the fabric of the blanket, towel or mat has a desirable pattern that enhances the esthetics of the blanket, towel or mat.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with at least one pocket proximate to the perimeter of the blanket, towel or mat, wherein the pockets may have a substantially triangular, rectangular, square, circular, or any other suitable shape. Preferably, the blanket, towel or mat has corners and a pocket at each corner.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets that are affixed to the blanket, towel or mat in a durable manner such as by stitching, gluing, heat sealing or other suitable attaching means.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat, with at least one pocket proximate to the perimeter of the blanket, towel or mat, wherein the pockets are large enough, depending on the size of the blanket, towel or mat, to hold enough ballast material to properly weigh down the blanket or hold objects. In a preferred embodiment, the pockets have corners and sides, wherein the sides are at least about eight (8) to twelve (12) inches long and are affixed to the corners of the blanket, towel or mat. Larger pockets also ensure that the pockets can be readily and easily emptied and further, that when filled with ballast material or objects, that the pockets do not bulge and appear visible from the top of the blanket, towel or mat thereby detracting from the esthetics of the blanket or giving away the existence of a hiding place for valuables.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with integral pockets for ballast material and/or holding objects, wherein such pockets may optionally be sealed by any suitable closures, including but not limited to, hook and loop, snap, tie or zipper closures, so that the ballast material or other objects stored therein are not accidentally emptied. Preferably, the blanket, towel or mat may be carried with the objects, especially if valuable, stored in the sealable pockets such as to secure their whereabouts.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets for ballast material wherein the ballast material is preferably found naturally on the beach or outdoors generally, such as sand, dirt or rocks, thus preventing the need to carry any additional weighting objects.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets that are made of or lined with waterproof or water-resistant material to prevent the ballast material such as sand from becoming wet and difficult to empty and to protect personal items such as money or wallets from becoming damaged as well. Preferably, the pockets may be lined with a waterproof layer such as plastic, sailcloth or nylon.

It is yet a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with integral pockets for holding ballast material and/or objects, wherein such pockets are created without losing surface area. According to a preferred embodiment, the pockets are created without adding unnecessary extra bulk to the blanket, towel or mat.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with a plurality of pockets affixed proximate to the perimeter of the blanket, towel or mat for ballast material such that stakes are not necessary for securing the blanket, towel or mat to a surface thereby eliminating the need to carry, install and remove stakes and the hazard created by having stakes protruding from the ground beyond the perimeter of the blanket, towel or mat.

It is yet another object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets such that when the pockets are filled with ballast material such as sand, rocks or dirt, the ballast material does not empty onto the top of the blanket, towel or mat. Preferably, the pockets are fixed to the underside of the blanket, towel or mat and open either towards the center of the blanket, towel or mat or away from the center of the blanket, towel or mat, towards the perimeter thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the pockets open towards the center of the blanket.

It is still a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets affixed to the underside of the blanket, towel or mat such that the pockets are not visible from the top such as not to detract from the esthetics of the blanket, towel or mat. According to a preferred embodiment, the pockets are not visible from the top and may be used as a secure location for holding objects, including valuables, such as wallets, cash, watches, cell phones, keys and the like. According to another preferred embodiment, the blanket may have multiple pockets that individually hold valuables and ballast material.

It is still a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat with pockets on the perimeter of the blanket, towel or mat that are capable of receiving and holding a quantity of sand as ballast material while the blanket, towel or mat is in use but that can be easily emptied before the blanket, towel or mat is stored. Preferably the blanket, towel or mat is rectangular or square, having four triangular corners with a triangular pocket affixed to each corner on the underside of the blanket, towel or mat. More preferably, the pockets are formed by fixing a triangular piece of material to the underside of each corner of the blanket, towel or mat.

It is still a further object of the invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat of a size that can be easily rolled up or folded to fit into a carrying case or tote bag. Preferably, the carrying case has a coordinated design and more preferably, is made of the same material as the blanket, towel or mat.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a beach blanket, towel or mat that may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed. Preferably, the blanket, towel or mat is marketed with a coordinating carrying case or tote.

It is still a further object of the present invention, wherein the blanket, towel or mat with pockets and a center opening for an umbrella may be used as a table cloth for a picnic or patio table wherein ballast material is placed in the pockets to prevent the blanket, towel or mat from blowing away and an umbrella can be inserted into the center opening to accommodate an umbrella that can be positioned to cast shade on the picnic or patio table.

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new beach blanket, towel or mat that has many of the advantages of the beach blankets mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a new beach blanket, towel or mat that is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art beach blankets, either alone or in any combination thereof. In these respects, the beach blanket, towel or mat of the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of allowing a user to keep the present invention securely in place without soiling the surface of the blanket, towel or mat; detracting from the appearance of the blanket, towel or mat; losing surface area; creating any extra bulk; necessitating the need for stakes or special ballast material; and that has an opening for the shaft of an umbrella.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description of the preferred embodiments thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto. The objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and form part of the disclosure.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention, are included in the present invention.

Having briefly described the present invention, the above and further objects, features and advantages thereof will be recognized by those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. These accompanying drawings, which are incorporated and constitute part of the disclosure herein, illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and serve to explain the principles of the invention. A more complete appreciation of the invention and its features will be readily apparent by reference to the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic top view of a beach blanket according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the beach blanket showing the insertion of a beach umbrella in the center slot of the blanket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals indicate like elements, in FIG. 1 there is shown a top view of the beach or picnic blanket 10 or the like which may be of any desired size, and of any desired flexible material, adapted to be spread on and secured to the ground, beach and the like for any desired purpose.

According to preferred embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the beach blanket 10 generally comprises an umbrella 22 including a canopy portion 26 that is attached to a shaft portion 24. The shaft portion 24 has a bottom end with a tapered auger (not shown) for anchoring the umbrella 22 into the sand.

Referring to FIG. 1, the beach blanket 10 comprises a flexible material and generally has an upper side 12, a lower side (not shown) and a peripheral edge 14 with pockets 18 affixed to the lower side. The blanket 10 has at least one opening 16 extending through blanket 10 for receiving the bottom end of the shaft portion 24 of the umbrella 22. The blanket 10 may have a plurality of openings 16, not shown, extending through the blanket 10 so that an umbrella may be appropriately positioned to cast shade on the blanket 10.

According to a preferred embodiment, the blanket 10 may comprise a border affixed to peripheral edge 14. According to a preferred embodiment, the border may comprise a printed design that is sewn onto at least two sides of the blanket 10 along the peripheral edge 14.

The lower side is adapted for resting on a beach whereas the upper side 12 is adapted for supporting a user when the user lies or sits on the upper side 12. The blanket 10 is preferably comprised of an esthetically pleasing printed fabric, preferably a soft fabric such as a water-resistant, stain-resistant cotton blend, terry cloth, acrylic, polyester or other suitable material. On the lower side of the blanket 10, a backing material, such as a nylon web or canvas, may be fixed to the blanket 10 by conventional means that resist separation after multiple washing, such as stitching or gluing. The backing material is resistant and prevents the blanket 10 from being damaged and also prevents adhesion of sand to the blanket 10.

The blanket 10 may be of any desired polygonal or geometric shape, such as square, rectangular, octagonal, or circular for example. According to a preferred embodiment, the blanket 10 is square, rectangular or any other shape that has corners, and a pocket 18 is preferably located at each corner of the blanket 10. Preferably, the blanket 10 can be roughly rectangular or square in shape and may be of several sizes, but preferably oversized.

The opening 16 may be sealed by a cover, such as by an appropriately sized piece of coordinating material, which is removable and positioned over opening 16 so that when no umbrella 22 is used with blanket 10, sand does not come up through opening 16. A fastening means is attached to the cover for selectively fastening the cover over opening 16 when opening 16 is not in use. In the event that there is a plurality of openings 16, a plurality of covers may be employed so that only the opening 16 that is in use is uncovered and open.

During use, opening 16 is uncovered so that the umbrella 22 may be extended through the opening 16 and anchored into a surface such as sand. This allows positioning of the canopy 26 directly over the blanket 10 so that shade can be cast on the blanket 10. The opening 16 is closed by a cover when no umbrella 22 is used so that sand does not move upward through opening 16 and onto the upper surface 12 of the blanket 10.

As shown in FIG. 1, a pocket 18 is attached to the lower side of each corner of the blanket 10 proximate to the peripheral edge 14 of the blanket 10 so that the pockets 18 are not visible from the upper surface 12 of the blanket 10. The pockets 18 may be temporarily filled with ballast material such as sand, rocks or shells, to prevent the corners of the blanket 10 from flipping up and the peripheral edge 14 from ruffling or with objects such as valuables, to hide valuables from view. Because the pockets 18 are not visible from the upper side 12 of the blanket 10, the pockets 18 do not detract from the esthetics of the blanket 10 and provide for a secure location for storage of valuables and the like. A plurality of pocket 18 may be located elsewhere on the lower side of the blanket 10, as desired, within the spirit of the invention.

Each pocket 18 is preferably formed by attaching a single piece of preferably matching fabric of any desired shape, preferably triangular, at each of the four corners of the blanket 10 so that pockets 18 are formed between the two layers at each corner, as shown in FIG. 1. The pockets 18 may be of any size, but are preferably of a size that can accommodate sufficient ballast material to secure the blanket or small items such as keys, wallets, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Preferably, each side of the pockets 18 should be from about eight (8) to twelve (12) inches in length. The pockets should lie flat against the lower side of the blanket 10 when empty and not in use.

The pockets 18 may be lined with a resistant, waterproof or water repellent/resistant material that can be easily cleaned to protect the blanket 10 from piercing in the event rocks are used as the ballast material and/or to prevent the contents of the pockets 18 from getting wet. Further, in the event lotion is stored in the pockets 18, such a lining will prevent the lotion from leaking onto the blanket 10. Preferably, the pockets 18 are lined with tear-resistant material such as denim, canvas or a plastic material or Lycra® and can be made waterproof.

The pockets 18 may be permanently fixed to the lower side of the blanket 10 such as by stitching, gluing, bonding, heat sealing or other suitable means, leaving at least one side open for insertion of ballast material or objects. The opening of the pockets 18 can be on any side of the pocket 18. Uniquely, no sand from the pocket 18 may spill on the blanket 10, regardless of the location of the openings, by virtue of the fact that the pockets 18 are fixed on the lower side of the blanket 10. Each of the pockets 18 may be provided with means for sealing and unsealing the pocket 18 openings, such as with a hook and loop closure such as VELCRO® or with a zipper closure. Each of the re-sealable means is fixed by suitable means to the beach blanket 10 along one side of each pocket 18. Optionally, at least two sides of the pocket 18 may be re-sealable such that the ballast material or the objects may be more easily inserted and removed. Alternatively, the pocket 18 may be completely attached to the towel by releasable fasteners, such as interlocking hook and loop fasteners.

In use, a user would spread the blanket 10 of the present invention out on the beach. The triangular pockets 18 on the lower side of each corner of the blanket 10 would be temporarily filled with a quantity of sand to securely hold the present invention in place. When the blanket is used, valuables may be placed in the pocket 18 beneath the blanket instead for concealing the valuables and, at the same time, weighting the blanket. When not in use, the present invention would fold into a compact unit and be placed in a matching and/or color coordinated carrying case or tote. In the event valuables are placed in the pockets 18, they may remain in the pockets 18 during transportation for security and to prevent loss.

In a preferred embodiment, the entire blanket 10 may be rolled or folded and stored within a carrying case or tote that is constructed of a material identical to the material of the blanket 10. When the blanket is removed from pouch, valuables may be placed within the carrying case or tote.

There is thus provided a pocketed towel which is effectively stabilized against disturbance by the wind or other factors and that has the additional capability of providing a hidden compartment for personal effects and valuables with an opening for receiving an umbrella such that shade can be cast on the blanket, all without the danger of getting excessive sand on the surface of the blanket.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be made to the described embodiments without departing from the true scope and spirit of the subject invention as defined by the appended claims.

From the foregoing it is believed that those skilled in the pertinent art will recognize the meritorious advancement of this invention and will readily understand that while the present invention has been described in association with a preferred embodiment thereof, and other embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings, numerous changes, modifications and substitutions of equivalents may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention which is intended to be unlimited by the foregoing except as may appear in the following appended claims. Therefore, the embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined in the following appended claims.