Title:
Portable hair care tool caddy
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hair care tool caddy supports at least a hair dryer, a flat iron and multiple curling irons. A base supports a plurality of receptacles and each receptacle is dimensioned to receive one of the hair care tools. The base and receptacles are formed of wire-frame having more open than closed surface area. At least one pair of electrical cord storage hooks is associated with each receptacle for holding the electrical cord of each of the respective hair care tools.



Inventors:
Cossey, Dale A. (Independence, OR, US)
Application Number:
11/158605
Publication Date:
12/28/2006
Filing Date:
06/22/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/181.1
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AYRES, TIMOTHY MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Buchalter, a professional Corp. (PORTLAND, OR, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A hair care tool caddy comprising: a base for stabilizing the caddy on a generally horizontal surface, and plural receptacles dimensioned to receive at least partway therein plural hair care tools, at least one of the receptacles being configured as a wire-frame that is defined by more open than closed surface area, at least one of said wire-frame receptacles including on a side thereof one or more hooks configured to wrap an electrical cord of a hair care tool receivable therein.

2. The caddy of claim 1, wherein said base includes dual spaced-apart support members having bottom edges and top edges, the top edges being hinged together near an apex of said caddy, said support members being configured for variable spacing therebetween by relative hinge-pivotal movement of said bottom edges of said support members.

3. The caddy of claim 1, wherein each of said plural receptacles is configured as a wire-frame that is defined by more open than closed surface area.

4. The caddy of claim 1, wherein some of said plural receptacles are of a different size relative to other said receptacles.

5. The caddy of claim 1, wherein at least one of said plural receptacles is generally oval in cross section and wherein at least one other of said plural receptacles is generally circular in cross section.

6. The caddy of claim 1, wherein said base and each of said plural receptacles is configured as a wire-frame that is defined by more open than closed surface area, and wherein said wire-frame is substantially covered by a shock-absorbing outer jacket.

7. The caddy of claim 1, wherein said plural receptacles number at least three.

8. The caddy of claim 7, wherein said plural receptacles number four or more and wherein at least one of said plural receptacles is generally oval in cross section and wherein at least another of said plural receptacles is generally circular in cross section.

9. The caddy of claim 8, wherein said base and each of said plural receptacles is configured as a wire-frame that is defined by more open than closed surface area, and wherein said wire-frame is substantially covered by a shock-absorbing outer jacket.

10. The caddy of claim 9, wherein said base includes dual spaced-apart wire-frame support members having bottom edges and top edges, the top edges being hinged together near an apex of said caddy, said support members being configured for variable spacing therebetween by relative hinge-pivotal movement of said bottom edges of said wire-frame support members.

11. The caddy of claim 10 which further comprises: one or more wall-mount tabs affixed to the base near the top edges of a front one of the dual spaced-apart wire-frame support members.

12. The caddy of claim 11, wherein said plural wire-frame receptacles each include plural spaced-apart horizontally oriented vertically aligned wire loop members joined to one another by one or more vertically oriented wire support members.

13. The caddy of claim 12, wherein said wire loop members and said vertically oriented wire support members are generally circular in cross section and are solid.

14. The caddy of claim 12, wherein a ratio between the open surface area to the closed surface area of said wire-frame base and said plural wire-frame receptacles is greater than approximately 90 percent.

15. A hair care tool caddy comprising: a base having a face frame with vertically aligned plural spaced-apart horizontally elongate parallel members and a frame stand for providing rearward support to the face frame pivotally attached to the face frame at an apex; plural receptacles circumferentially and vertically defined by plural wire loop members connected to the face frame; plural stanchions connected to said plural receptacles at substantially diametrically opposed positions on the plural wire loop members relative to the face frame, wherein each said stanchion is associated with a respective one of said plural receptacles; plural electrical cord storage hooks attached to said stanchions, wherein at least a pair of said electrical cord storage hooks is associated with a respective one of said plural stanchions such that each pair is oppositely positioned along the vertical axis of each respective one of said plural stanchions; a means for pivoting the frame stand away from the face frame of said base for stabilizing the caddy on a generally horizontal surface; at least a pair of oppositely positioned wall-mount tabs affixed to said base along the horizontal axis of the most upper positioned horizontally elongate parallel member; and, wherein each of said plural receptacles is dimensioned to receive a hair care tool at least partway therein such that the heated barrel end of the hair care tool is prevented from passing completely through each of said plural receptacles and such that the electrical cord of each of the hair care tools is wrapped about said respective pairs of said plural electrical cord storage hooks.

16. The caddy of claim 15, wherein said base, said plural receptacles, said plural stanchions, and said plural electrical cord storage hooks are configured as a skeletal wire-frame that is defined by more open than closed surface area.

17. The caddy of claim 16, wherein some of said plural receptacles are of a different size relative to other said receptacles.

18. The caddy of claim 16, wherein said means for pivoting is at least a pair of hinges oppositely positioned along the horizontal axis of said apex.

19. The caddy of claim 15, wherein at least one of said plural receptacles is generally oval in cross section and wherein at least one other of said plural receptacles is generally circular in cross section.

20. The caddy of claim 15, wherein said base and each of the wire loop members of each of said plural receptacles is substantially covered by a shock-absorbing outer jacket.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to the field of apparatus for hair care tools and caddies for organizing the same. More particularly, it concerns caddies that can accommodate plural hair care tools some of which have electrical power cords and some of which heat up when employed in hair care.

Hair dryers, curling irons, and flat irons can be found in most household bathrooms, as well as nearly every commercial hair salon and beauty parlor where a woman's hair is styled. Requiring heat during use, these appliances and hair care tools typically generate high levels of heat. As a result, these hair care tools cannot be placed just anywhere while in use and immediately after use.

The problem of where to place such hair care tools while they are in use is a major concern for salon stylists. By their very design, these tools, having a handle attached to a heated barrel end can become safety hazards. For instance, passers-by may inadvertently come in contact with these tools, especially if the barrel end is left hanging off the side of a counter or shelf. The use of electricity in proximity to water is always a concern, as well.

Additionally, after-use storage of these hair care tools is a problem. The hair care tools when placed on a countertop or in a drawer take up valuable space and the tools' electrical cords can tangle and become entangled with other electrical cords.

In a salon where each stylist typically has his or her own work-station as well as his or her own hair care tools and appliances, storage of these tools during use and after use becomes even more important.

A number of products have been developed in an attempt to hold, support, and organize variably dimensioned and sized hair care tools and appliances. One known product is The Holder™. This product includes variable-diameter, short, solid-side-walled, open-ended cylinders for holding styling tools such as hair dryers and curling irons. Each cylinder is manufactured for a wall-mount configuration. The barrel ends of a hair dryer or curling iron are partially supported or circumferentially trapped in the open-ended cylinders. By holding the different hair care tools in a vertical orientation, this product is designed for holding hot hair care tools during use, as well as for providing after-use storage.

Other known products for holding hot hair dryers and curling irons include horizontally disposed shelves containing apertures, slots and cylinders for trapping or partially containing the barrel ends of the hair care tools in a vertical orientation.

Known caddies having a vertically oriented surface and known pegboards disclose wall mounted bases having myriad hooks and loop fastening means to secure hair care tools thereto.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,601,813 issued to Kager, et al., on Aug. 5, 2003, discloses a hair styling accessory holder. The holder includes a clamp, coupling arm, and receptacle for holding a hair dryer. The receptacle is an open-ended, solid-side-walled cylinder with the bottom end of the cylinder having a detachable cap with a central screen or mesh for ventilation as the hair dryer is in use or cooling down.

A housing for organizing hair care tools is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,917,694 issued to Denny on Jun. 29, 1999. The housing contains receptacles for receiving hair dryers, curling irons, and other hair care appliances. The front face of the housing contains a number of electrical outlets and a main power switch. One of the receptacles is specifically designed to hold a curling iron. This receptacle is insulated to minimize the effects of convection and conduction. In contrast, the receptacle specifically designed to hold a hair dryer includes an additional opening to aid in cooling the hair dryer through the effects of convection and conduction. The housing can be placed on a horizontal surface or attached to a wall. The cylindrical receptacles of Denny also feature solid side-walls.

Reference can also be made to U.S. Pat. No. 5,485,931 issued to Barr, Jr. on Jan. 23, 1996 for a hair drying and shaping implements holder. Barr, Jr.'s caddy includes a plurality of “holes” (openings) having open top and bottom ends and a slot-like side opening. Bores are included in the back portion of the holder for receiving the electrical cords of the different hair care tools. Again, the side-walls of the holes are solid.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,964,708 issued on Jun. 22, 1976 to Reeves discloses a hair dryer cradle. The cradle includes solid side-walls and solid end-walled, cylindrical chamber which receives the nozzle of the hair dryer and a concave cavity for surrounding a part of the motor housing of the hair dryer. The cradle is configured for both horizontal and vertical stationing.

Accordingly, there exists a need in the art for an apparatus that will accommodate efficient holding and storage of multiple hair care tools. Such an apparatus must be of relatively simple and straightforward design and construction to maximize portability, and employ both free-standing and wall-mount configurations. The tools contained therein must be positioned for ease of visibility, convenient access and arrangement. The apparatus must minimize the potential for causing bums by stationing the hair care tools handle end out and the heated barrel end partially contained. The apparatus must support an assortment of hair care appliances in a manner that allows each appliance to cool down while protecting hairstylists and others, e.g. household members, from accidentally touching the heated barrel ends. The apparatus must avoid the potential for the appliances' electrical cords entangling with one another and with other items stored in the apparatus. Inasmuch as the art is relatively crowded with respect to these various types of hair care tool organizers, holders, and caddies, it can be appreciated that there is a continuing need for and interest in improvements to such apparatuses, and in this respect, the present invention addresses the need and interest. None of the known disclosures are believed to detract from the described and claimed embodiments of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the principles of the present invention, a hair care tool caddy is provided. The caddy includes a base and plural receptacles dimensioned to receive at least partway therein plural hair care tools with each plural receptacle configured as a wire-frame having more open than closed surface area. The base includes dual spaced-apart members hinged together near an apex for providing a free-standing configuration on a generally horizontal surface. Each receptacle is associated with at least a pair of electrical cord storage hooks adapted to wrap the electrical cords of the hair care tools received therein. The caddy further includes a pair of wall-mount tabs positioned on the apex for providing an alternative wall-mount configuration.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the invented hair care tool caddy in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the invented hair care tool caddy corresponding to FIG. 1.

FIG. 3. is a left side, elevation view of the invented hair care tool caddy corresponding to FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the invented hair care tool caddy corresponding to FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, left side, elevation view of a hinge of the invented hair care tool caddy in a free-standing configuration for use on a horizontally planar surface.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary, left side, elevation view of a hinge of the invented hair care tool caddy in a wall-mount configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the various drawing figures, reference numeral 10 is directed to a hair care tool caddy. The hair care tool caddy 10 has a base 20 with a rearward support member 30 and a front support member 40 that are hinged together at apex 50, plural variably dimensioned receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90, plural stanchions 100, plural electrical cord storage hooks 110, and a pair of wall-mount tabs 120.

In essence and with particular reference to FIGS. 1-3, the hair care tool caddy 10 is a 6×10½ inch skeletal wire-frame having a more open than closed surface area. The caddy 10 includes receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90 that are dimensioned to receive at least partway therein the heated barrel ends of a hair dryer, a flat iron, and at least one curling iron. The caddy 10 in accordance with a preferred embodiment is formed from a relatively rigid wire-frame or wire-rod stock, e.g. of spot-welded steel, titanium, aluminum or other suitably formed material. The caddy 10 can be formed from solid wire-frame and is typically coated with a shock-absorbing, fire-proof material or other known heat resistant jacketing materials appropriate for storing articles and appliances that may cause touch burns.

More specifically, and with particular reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, details of the base 20 of the caddy 10 are described. The base 20 is a two-piece wire-frame having as one piece a rearward support member 30 hinged to the other piece, a front support member 40. Rearward support member 30 is a U-shaped frame stand for providing support to the face frame or front support member 40. The two members 30, 40 are spaced apart via a hinge-pivotal movement for stationing the caddy 10 on a horizontally disposed surface in a free-standing configuration, as shown in FIG. 3. The rearward support member 30 has dual vertically disposed left and right members 32L and 34R. Support members 32L and 34R depend upwardly from a bottom horizontal rearward elongate support member 36B. The front support member 40 is a rectangular-shaped face frame, further defined by vertically disposed members 42L and 43R, horizontal elongate support members 44T and 48B, as well as intermediate elongate members 45, 46, and 47. The horizontally disposed elongate members 44T, 45, 46, 47, 48B are vertically spaced-apart and run parallel to one another.

FIGS. 1 and 3 show the apex 50 of the hair care tool caddy 10 in the free-standing configuration for use on a generally horizontally planar surface. Apex 50 is achieved by the formation of a hinge-pivotal movement through hinges 52L and 54R. As elongate member 36B of the frame stand 30 is spaced apart from elongate member 48B of the face frame 40, an apex 50 is formed having elongate member 44T as the vertex. The upwardly disposed ends of dual vertically disposed left and right members 32L and 34R are wound around elongate member 44T of the front support member 40 to form hinges 52L and 54R as a means for pivoting the rearward support member 30 away from the front support member 40. FIGS. 5 and 6 show details of the left hinge 52L. FIG. 5 shows the caddy 10 in a free-standing configuration with member 32L spaced apart from member 42L via hinge 52L. (The terminal end of the helically wound wire rod of hinge 52L extends outwardly to interfere intentionally with member 42L, providing the hinged caddy in its free-standing configuration with a stop beyond which the members 32L and 42L can be pivoted no farther. Thus the ‘A-frame’ configuration is stable. See also FIG. 1.) The wall-mounted configuration feature of the caddy 10 is shown in FIG. 6 with member 32L sandwiched between member 42L and wall W through the hinge-pivotal movement of hinge 52L.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, details of the receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90 are described. Each receptacle 60, 70, 80, 90 is a series of skeletal wire loop members or rings 62-68, 72-78, 82-88, 92-98 that are horizontally oriented across the length of the caddy 10 and vertically aligned from the top of the caddy 10 to the bottom. Each series of wire loop members 62-68, 72-78, 82-88, 92-98 correspond to each receptacle 60, 70, 80, 90 for receiving a variably dimensioned hair care tool therein. The wire loop members 62-68, 72-78, 82-88, 92-98 for forming the receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90 are attached to the front support member 40 at top elongate member 44T and intermediate elongate members 45, 46, and 47. In a preferred embodiment, the caddy includes four receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90. In order from a left to right direction, receptacle 60 is 2¾ inches wide having a substantially circular cross section for preferably receiving a hair dryer, receptacle 70 is 2 inches wide having a substantially circular cross-section for preferably receiving a curling iron, receptacle 80 is 2 inches wide having a substantially circular cross-section for preferably receiving a second curling iron, and receptacle 90 is 2×2½ inches wide having a substantially oval cross-section for preferably receiving a flat iron. Alternatively, the receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90 can be manufactured to be positioned in any suitable order from a left to right direction. It is also conceivable that more or fewer receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90 could be dimensioned to be included in caddy 10. In the preferred embodiment, rings 62-68, 72-78, 82-88, 92-98 are manufactured from the same type of wire-frame or wire-rod stock used to make the base 20.

Hair dryer receptacle 60 is shown in FIGS. 1-4. In a preferred embodiment, a series of four vertically aligned wire loop members or rings 62, 64, 66, 68 form receptacle 60. Each ring 62, 64, 66, 68 achieves vertical alignment by correspondingly connecting to elongate members 44T, 45, 46, and 47. Each wire loop member 62, 64, 66, 68 projects away from the face frame 40. In a vertically oriented axis, the wire loop members 62, 64, 66, 68 circumferentially define receptacle 60 to receive a hair dryer. An obstruction 69 protrudes perpendicular to intermediate elongate member 47 across the diameter of ring 68 as shown in FIG. 4. Obstruction 69 prevents the barrel end of the hair dryer from being received any further within the receptacle 60.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, receptacles 70 and 80 are shown. These two receptacles 70 and 80 are circumferentially defined for holding a curling iron each. Curling iron receptacles 70 and 80 include rings 72, 74, 76, 78 and 82, 84, 86, 88, respectively. The rings 72, 74, 76, 78 and 82, 84, 86, 88 are connected to vertically aligned, corresponding horizontal elongate members 44T, 45, 46, and 47. Each receptacle also has an obstruction 79 and 89 to prevent the barrel end of the curling iron from being received any further within the receptacle.

Flat iron receptacle 90 is defined by four rings 92, 94, 96, 98 in a similar manner as the previous three receptacles 60, 70, and 80. Receptacle 90 has an oval cross-section for receiving the heated element end of a flat iron. Receptacle 90 is formed by oval cross-sectioned wire loop members 92, 94, 96, 98 having a 2 inch ‘diameter’ (depth representing the oval's short axis) protruding away from the face frame 40 and a 2½ ‘diameter’ (width representing the oval's long axis) that runs in a parallel direction with the face frame 40. Obstruction 99 projects away from intermediate elongate member 47 perpendicularly at the smaller of the two diameters defining the oval shape of wire loop member 98.

FIGS. 1-3 show the stanchions 100 generally which incorporate a presently preferred embodiment of this invention. Stanchions 100 are a plurality of elongate vertically oriented support members. The stanchions 100 are skeletal wire-frame vertically disposed members aligned along the longitudinal axes of each the four receptacles 60, 70, 80, 90. Hence, there are four stanchions 102, 104, 106, 108 correspondingly connected to each wire loop member 62-68, 72-78, 82-88, 92-98 at a substantially diametrically opposed position relative to the wire loop members' 62-68, 72-78, 82-88, 92-98 connections to the front support member 40.

Referring to FIGS. 1-4, details of the electrical cord storage hooks 110 generally are described. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each pair of hooks 111-112, 113-114, 115-116, and 117-118 is attached to one of the four stanchions 100. Electrical cord storage hooks 111 and 112 are attached to stanchion 102, hooks 113 and 114 are attached to stanchion 104, hooks 115 and 116 are attached to stanchion 106, and hooks 117 and 118 are attached to stanchion 108. Each pair of hooks 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118 are arranged such that the higher disposed hooks 111, 113, 115, 117 are oriented in opposing fashion with (e.g. they face upwardly away from) the lower hooks 112, 114, 116, 118 (which face downwardly). The hair care tools' electrical cords may be conveniently wrapped around each respective pair of cord storage hooks for storage. The stanchions 100 and electrical cord storage hooks 110 form a mechanism adapted to receive electrical cords of varying length typically used to provide electricity to hair dryers, curling irons, and flat iron or the like. The arrangement of stanchion 100 and electrical cord storage hooks 110 prevents electrical cord tangling and prevents each appliance's electrical cord from entangling with additional appliances and tools stored in the caddy 10.

The present invention conveniently may be arranged to fit the height and reach of the hairstylist or home user by the employment of a wall-mounted configuration. A pair of wall-mount tabs 120, are shown in FIGS. 1-6. FIG. 6, particularly shows the left side of the caddy 10 in a wall-mount configuration using a left wall-mount tab 122L having a mounting hole therein for receiving a nail N to facilitate mounting of the caddy 10 to the wall W. Alternatively, other fasteners other than a nail N may be used to mount the caddy 10.

In brief summary, the caddy 10 provides a free-standing or wall-mounted open-air enclosure or container for plural hair tools of various sizes including those that typically are hot before, during and after their use. Ventilation of, for example, a hot curling iron, is excellent, but without compromising full, fitting and stabilizing support of the iron at its extremity around its circumference along its substantial length. Such versatility is made possible by the use of the unique open-surface-area wire-frame structure that is also extremely durable and lightweight.

It will be understood that the present invention is not limited to the method or detail of construction, fabrication, material, application or use described and illustrated herein. Indeed, any suitable variation of fabrication, use, or application is contemplated as an alternative embodiment, and thus is within the spirit and scope, of the invention.

It is further intended that any other embodiments of the present invention that result from any changes in application or method of use or operation, method of manufacture, shape, size, or material which are not specified within the detailed written description or illustrations contained herein yet are considered apparent or obvious to one skilled in the art are within the scope of the present invention.

Accordingly, while the present invention has been shown and described with reference to the foregoing embodiments of the invented apparatus, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that other changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.





 
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