Title:
CLOTHING HANGER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothing hanger for engaging the waist portion of a t-shirt or other shirt garment and suspending the shirt from a horizontal support in a closet to prevent wrinkling and other distortions in the shape of a shirt that are often caused by conventional hangers. The t-shirt hanger comprises a pair of rigid, horizontal clamp members having a manually actuated tab attached to a top portion of each member, a C-shaped hook attached to the tab of one of the clamp members, and a spring for engaging both clamp members and for providing the force to clamp and support the waist portion of a shirt across the entire width of the clamp members.



Inventors:
Kraus Jr., Thomas E. (Pompano Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/160716
Publication Date:
01/11/2007
Filing Date:
07/06/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D27/22
View Patent Images:
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20090272771COMPACT HANGING CLOTHING ASSEMBLYNovember, 2009Holm et al.
20100051655INSIDE WRAP AROUND GARMENT HANGERMarch, 2010Gouldson
20030019892Apparatus for holding garment hangersJanuary, 2003Giampavolo
20090108035Garment carrier and support deviceApril, 2009Obenauf
20080116234RIBBON CURLING DEVICEMay, 2008Mueller et al.
20040222255Insert reinforced hanging hook on thermoformed productNovember, 2004Neiffer



Primary Examiner:
HURLEY, SHAUN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Malin Haley DiMaggio & Bowen, P.A. (FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clothing hanger for use in a closet to prevent wrinkles and distortion of a t-shirt or other shirt garment, comprising: a garment clamp that includes: a flat, planar horizontal first clamp member having a manually actuated tab located centrally on a top surface of said first clamp member; a flat, planar horizontal second clamp member having a manually actuated tab located centrally on a top surface of said second clamp member; and a spring for pivotally engaging said first clamp member and said second clamp member for supporting a waist portion of a t-shirt entirely across the base of the hanger; and a thin rigid, tubular hook centrally attached to the top of the tab of the second clamp member.

2. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein said second clamp member and said hook comprise a single-piece unit, said hook being attached to and protruding above the manually actuated tab of said second clamp member.

3. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein the hook is sized and shaped to hang on a horizontal support found in closets.

4. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein the hook is preferably C-shaped.

5. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein the manually actuated tabs of said first and said second clamp members are oriented at an angle away from normal so that said tabs can be manually squeezed or pressed together to open and close said garment clamp.

6. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein the first and second clamp members are pivotally connected together and spring-loaded in a closed position so that said clamp members form two flat, elongated surfaces for engaging the waist portion of the t-shirt uniformly to prevent any distortions or wrinkles in the t-shirt.

7. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein the manually actuated tabs of said first and second clamp members are connected to and protrude above the clamp members and can be squeezed together against spring tension to open the clamp members manually for insertion of the shirt.

8. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein the first and second clamp members are sized in length to be approximately the width of a t-shirt garment, although said clamp members may be manufactured in various sizes.

9. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein, in addition to hanging and storing said t-shirt to prevent wrinkles of said t-shirt, said clothing hanger can also be used to hang and store various other types of shirts and clothing garments, including, but not limited to, polo shirts, tank tops, sweaters, and sweatshirts, as well as ladies delicates and short pants.

10. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein said first and second clamp members each include a textured gripping surface or gripping protrusion at the bottom of the rear surface of each clamping member to provide stronger engagement for a suspended shirt with the hanger.

11. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein said first clamp member and said second clamp member each include protrusions or flanges attached to the rear surfaces of the manually actuated tabs, said protrusions or flanges providing a pivot point for allowing said tabs to be squeezed together by a user to open the spring-loaded garment clamp.

12. The clothing hanger of claim 11, wherein each clamp member preferably includes two or more protrusions each of which contains an arcuate recess at one end for receiving the complementary rounded end of opposing protrusions located on the opposing clamp member, thereby providing a more effective pivot point for said clamp members.

13. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein said second clamp member includes a centrally-located small hook for engaging another clothing hanger so as to provide the ability to vertically connect multiple clothing hangers, thereby conserving storage space within the closet.

14. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein said spring comprises: a rigid, folded metal wire having two opposing L-shaped sections connected by a horizontal section of said wire that is also oriented at angle in a horizontal plane, said L-shaped sections of the spring being oriented vertically at an angle away from one another beginning at the point of connection between each L-shaped section of wire and the horizontal section of wire; and wherein the L-shaped sections of said spring terminate in opposing directions.

15. The clothing hanger of claim 14, wherein said L-shaped sections of the spring engage the first and second clamp members of said spring at the point of connection between said clamp members and the respective manually actuated tab of each clamp member.

16. The clothing hanger of claim 15, wherein said manually actuated tabs of the garment clamp can be squeezed or pressed together to force the L-shaped sections of said spring outward, thereby decreasing the tension exerted by the spring on the clamp members to allow said garment clamp to be opened for inserting or removing a shirt from the hanger.

17. The clothing hanger of claim 16, wherein said spring is constructed from a metal or alloy that includes the property of shape memory or retention so that when the manually actuated tabs of said clamp members are released, the spring recoils to regain the original closed configuration of said spring, thereby re-exerting pressure on the clamp members and closing said garment clamp.

18. The clothing hanger of claim 1, wherein said hanger can also be used to hang and support sweaters to prevent wrinkling, such that the first and second clamp members should be sufficiently sturdy and have a sufficient spring tension to hold and suspend a sweater attached along the waist portion of said sweater.

19. A method for suspending a t-shirt or other shirt garment by a waist portion of said shirt to prevent wrinkles and distortion of the shirt, comprising the steps of: holding a waist portion of the shirt, once it has been ironed, against first and second spring-loaded clamp members forming a garment clamp; squeezing one or more manual actuators to open said garment clamp; inserting the waist portion of the shirt between said first and second clamp members of the garment clamp until said waist portion is uniformly and evenly distributed along the garment clamp throughout the entire length of said garment clamp; releasing the manual actuators to allow the garment clamp members to engage the shirt uniformly along its waist portion; and suspending said shirt in a closet by engaging a hook connected to a rear surface of the manual actuator tab on said second clamp member with a horizontal support in said closet.

20. A means for hanging a t-shirt or other shirt garment in a closet to prevent wrinkles and distortion of the shirt, comprising: means for clamping a waist portion of a shirt across approximately the entire width of said waist of said shirt so that said shirt is suspended from said means for clamping, thereby holding the shirt waist in a slightly stretched position to prevent wrinkles and distortions; means for opening and closing said means for clamping the shirt; and means for suspending said means for clamping a shirt from a horizontal support in a closet.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a clothing hanger for suspending a shirt by its waist in a closet to prevent wrinkling and, specifically, to a clothing hanger specifically designed for a t-shirt or other shirt garment that can be used to suspend the shirt in a closet to prevent distortion and wrinkling of the shirt prior to use.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

In recent years, the t-shirt has become a standard staple in the wardrobe of all segments of the population. Typically, the t-shirt is an upper torso garment having short sleeves and an open neck with no collar. T-shirts and various other shirt garments, due to the nature of their design and the materials from which they are constructed, are easily wrinkled and develop distortions in their shape during storage.

One of the problems in storing t-shirts and other shirt garments when not in use in drawers or closets is that the shirts tend to wrinkle if not folded properly or get distorted in shape when hung from conventional hangers. Often the necks of the shirts are stretched while trying to get the hanger inside the t-shirt causing a distortion in the garment. If the shirt is not properly centered on the hanger, this can also result in wrinkles or distortion along the collar line and neck of the shirt. If shirts are folded and stored in drawers, they can develop creases and wrinkles along the fold line and are easily wrinkled in the drawer. U.S. Pat. No. 5,397,037, issued to Ozawa on Mar. 14, 1995, shows a dress hanger that can be collapsed to allow for insertion into the narrow neck portion of a shirt. While this device will certainly alleviate stretching of the neck member, it adds a level of complexity and increased cost just for the manufacture of a single shirt hanger. Furthermore, distortions along the collarbone area of the shirt may still occur if the shirt is not hanging symmetrically. U.S. Pat. No. 6,345,742, issued to Sugita on Feb. 12, 2002, shows a suit hanger that is also suitable for use with a t-shirt or other shirt garment when the hanger is inserted. Again, the level of complexity is high and cost increased for hanging a single shirt garment. Also, the '742 invention could cause distortion along the shoulder blade areas of the shirt if the shirt is not symmetrically disposed on the hanger.

Another approach is to suspend the garment from a plurality of projection or fingers mounted along the bar of the hanger. U.S. Pat. No. 5,967,388, issued to Kolton et al., on Oct. 19, 1999, shows a garment hanger that includes a succession of garment support elements that project downwardly. The drawback of this type of hanger for supporting a shirt is that each of the elements applies pressure points that can cause distortions or wrinkles in the garment while other segments of the garment are not in contact with the support members. The present invention overcomes the common problems, as shown in the prior art, of distortion and wrinkling when storing t-shirts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The applicant's invention is for a clothing hanger for use in a closet to prevent wrinkles and distortion of shirts. The hanger comprises a rigid, horizontal first clamp member, a rigid horizontal second clamp member having an attached C-shaped hook, and a spring for engaging both clamp members and for providing the force to clamp and support the waist portion of a shirt across the entire width of the clamp members. Each clamp member includes a centrally-positioned, manually actuated tab attached to a top portion of said clamp member to be grasped by the fingers or hand of a user to open said clamp members for receiving the shirt to be suspended and stored. The C-shaped hook of the second clamp member is centrally positioned and connected to the top of the manually actuated tab of said second clamp member. The manually actuated tabs of the first and said second clamp members are oriented at an angle away from normal (90°) so that said tabs can be manually squeezed or pressed together to open and close said garment clamp. The clamp members are sized in length to be approximately the width of a t-shirt garment.

The first and second clamp members are pivotally connected together and spring-loaded in a closed position so that the clamp members form two flat elongated surfaces that engage the base of a shirt uniformly to prevent any distortions or wrinkles in the shirt. The manual actuating tabs of each clamp member protrude above the first and second clamp members, and said manual actuating tabs can be squeezed together against spring tension to open the clamp manually for insertion of the shirt. The C-shaped hook is sized to be hung on a horizontal support found in closets.

To use the invention, a shirt, once it has been ironed, would be grasped by the lower or waist portion and held up against the first and second clamp members extending across the hanger from one end to the other. Said first and second clamp members are then opened and the shirt is inserted along the waist portion until said shirt is uniformly and evenly distributed along the entire length of the clamp members. The activating clamp members are then released allowing the garment clamp arms to engage the shirt uniformly along its waist portion.

An object of this invention is to provide an improved clothing hanger, especially for a t-shirt, to prevent wrinkling or distortion of the shirt garment during storage in a closet.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a clothing hanger that has sufficiently wide garment clamp members to prevent distortion and wrinkles in a shirt garment when said shirt is suspended from the waist portion of said shirt.

Still another object of this invention is to provide an improved clothing hanger for shirts, and especially for t-shirts, to alleviate neck distortion that allows the shirt to be suspended from the waist portion by a wide garment clamp in the storage position.

In accordance with these and other objects which will become apparent hereinafter, the instant invention will now be described with particular reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention that includes a partially shown portion of a t-shirt.

FIG. 2 shows a side elevational view of the present invention including a portion of a t-shirt.

FIG. 3 shows an enlarged side elevational view of the grip protrusions located on the rear surface of each clamp member.

FIG. 4 shows a front elevational view of the present invention

FIG. 5 shows a top view of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a clothing hanger 10 for preventing wrinkles and distortions of a shirt 12, and especially a t-shirt 12, by engaging a waist portion of said shirt, which is not a part of this invention. Although the clothing hanger 10 is particularly useful for storing t-shirts 12 to prevent wrinkles, the hanger 10 may also be used to hang and store various other types of shirts 12 and clothing garments, including, but not limited to, polo shirts, tank tops, sweaters, and sweatshirts, as well as ladies delicates and even short pants.

The clothing hanger 10 comprises a garment clamp 14 and a hook 16 for hanging from a horizontal support inside a closet. The garment clamp 14 is comprised of a first clamp member 18, a second clamp member 20, and a spring 22 for pivotally engaging said first clamp member 18 and said second clamp member 20 to support a waist portion of a shirt 12 entirely across the base of the hanger 10. The flat, planar horizontal first clamp member 18 has a manually actuated tab 18a located centrally on a top surface of said first clamp member 18. Said flat, planar horizontal second clamp member 20 also has a manually actuated tab 20a located centrally on a top surface of the second clamp member 20. The thin rigid, tubular hook 16 is attached in the center of the top of the tab 20a of the second clamp member 20. Said second clamp member 20 and said hook 16 comprise a single-piece unit, said hook 16 being attached to and protruding above the manually actuated tab 20a of said second clamp member 20. The garment clamp 14 and hook 16 are manufactured preferably from plastic. Said hook 16 and said second clamp member 20 preferably form one molded plastic piece. The second clamp member 20 further includes a centrally-located small hook 30 for engaging another clothing hanger 10 so as to provide the ability to vertically connect multiple hangers, thereby conserving storage space within the closet.

The hook 16 of said clothing hanger 10 is sized and shaped to hang on a horizontal support found in closets. Said hook 16 is preferably C-shaped, and is angled so that the hook 16 is coplanar with the manually actuated tab 20a of said second clamp member 20. The first and second clamp members 18 and 20 of said clothing hanger 10 are pivotally connected together and spring-loaded in a closed position so that said clamp members 18, 20 form two flat, elongated surfaces for engaging the waist portion of the shirt 12 uniformly to prevent any distortions or wrinkles in said shirt. The manually actuated tabs 18a and 20a of said first and said second clamp members 18 and 20 are oriented at an angle away from normal (90°) so that said tabs 18a, 20a can be manually squeezed or pressed together to open and close said garment clamp 14. Said manually actuated tabs 18a and 20a of said first and second clamp members 18 and 20 are connected to and protrude above the clamp members 18, 20 and can be squeezed together against spring tension to open the clamp members 18, 20 manually for insertion of the shirt 12. Both the first and second clamp members 18 and 20 are sized in length to be approximately the width of a t-shirt garment 12, although said clamp members 18, 20 may be manufactured in various sizes. Preferably, both the first and second clamp members 18 and 20 are at least 16 inches in length. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, said first and second clamp members 18 and 20 each include a textured gripping surface or gripping protrusion 24 at the bottom of the rear surface of each clamping member 18, 20 to provide stronger engagement for a suspended shirt 12 with the hanger 10.

The spring 22, shown in FIGS. 2, 4, and 5, is a rigid, folded metal wire having two opposing L-shaped sections 22a and 22b oriented at an angle away from one another and connected by a horizontal section 22c of said wire that is also oriented at angle in a horizontal plane. The L-shaped sections 22a, 22b of said spring 22 terminate in opposing directions. Said L-shaped sections 22a, 22b of the spring 22 engage the first and second clamp members 18 and 20 of said spring at the point of connection between said clamp members 18, 20 and the respective manually actuated tab 18a and 20a of each clamp member. By manually pressing or squeezing together said manually actuated tabs 18a and 20a, said L-shaped sections 22a, 22b of said spring 22 are forced outward, thereby decreasing the tension exerted by the spring 22 on the clamp members 18, 20 to permit the garment clamp 14 to be opened for inserting or removing a shirt 12 from the hanger 10. Said spring 22 is constructed from a metal or alloy that includes the property of shape memory or retention. Thus, when the manually actuated tabs 18a, 20a of said clamp members 18, 20 are released, the spring 22 recoils to regain the original closed configuration of said spring 22, thereby re-exerting pressure on the clamp members 18 and 20 and closing said garment clamp 14. Although the L-shaped sections 22a and 22b of the spring 22 are identical in shape, because they differ in position and orientation, FIG. 4 shows L-shaped section 22a engaging the first clamp member 18 and L-shaped section 22b engaging the second clamp member 20.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 5, said first clamp member 18 and said second clamp member 20 each include protrusions or flanges, 26a, 26b, 26c, 27a, 27b, and 27c, attached to the rear surfaces of the manually actuated tabs 18a and 20a, said protrusions or flanges providing a pivot point for allowing said tabs to be squeezed together by a user to open the spring-loaded garment clamp 14. Protrusions 26b and 26c attached to the first clamp member 18 rest upon protrusion 27a, which is attached to the second clamp member 20, thereby aiding the creation of the pivot point for said clamp members 18 and 20. Protrusions 27b and 27c attached to the second clamp member 20 rest upon protrusion 26a, which is attached to the first clamp member 18, thereby completing the pivot point necessary for the clamp members 18 and 20 and the spring 22. Preferably, protrusions 26b, 26c, 27b, and 27c each contain identical arcuate recesses at one end for receiving the complementary rounded end of protrusions 26a and 27a, thereby providing a more effective pivot point for said clamp members 18 and 20.

In addition to hanging t-shirts 12 and other lightweight shirt garments, the clothing hanger 10 can also be used to hang and support sweaters and sweatshirts to prevent wrinkling, and therefore, the first and second clamp members 18 and 20 of said hanger 10 must be sufficiently sturdy and have a sufficient spring tension to hold and suspend a sweater or sweatshirt attached along the waist portion of said garment. Additionally, said clothing hanger 10 may also be used to hang wet clothing while said clothing dries.

In an alternate embodiment, said first clamp member 18 and said second clamp member 20 may each include a centrally-located aperture for receiving the insertion of another t-shirt hanger 10 for providing the ability to vertically connect multiple hangers, thereby conserving storage space within the closet. This aperture (not shown in the drawings) can be used in place of the small hook 30 shown in FIG. 2.

The invention also describes a method for suspending a shirt 12 by a waist portion of said shirt to prevent wrinkles and distortion of the shirt. This method comprises the steps of holding a waist portion of the shirt 12, once it has been ironed, against the first and second spring-loaded clamp members 18 and 20, which form the garment clamp 14. The user must then squeeze the manual actuator tabs 18a, 20a of each clamp member 18, 20 to open said garment clamp 14. The waist portion of the shirt 12 is inserted between said first and second clamp members 18 and 20 of the garment clamp 14 until said waist portion is uniformly and evenly distributed along the garment clamp throughout the entire length of said garment clamp. Finally, the manual actuator tabs 18a, 20a are released to allow the clamp members 18 and 20 to engage the shirt 12 uniformly along its waist portion through the spring tension exerted by the spring 22 on each of the clamp members 18, 20. Said shirt 12 can be suspended in a closet by engaging the hook 16 connected to the manual actuator tab 20a on said second clamp member 20 with a horizontal support in said closet.

The instant invention has been shown and described herein in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment. The applicant recognizes, however, that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art.