Title:
Cap with conforming ear band
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved self adjusting cap for all weather use is disclosed. The improvement lies in the modified attached ear protecting band. The band has an upper edge attached to the crown and a shorter lower edge generally parallel to the upper edge. The lower edge has a shorter linear length than the upper edge so the band more closely conforms to the head of the wearer. Also, the band conforms to the head of the wearer when folded up into the cap without any bunching of material. Additionally, the two forward edges running from the upper edge to the lower edge have an arcuate shape which allows more of the face of the wearer to be protected without obstructing the peripheral vision of the wearer.



Inventors:
Stone, Steven R. (Morrisvale, WV, US)
Application Number:
11/201471
Publication Date:
02/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/11/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A42B1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUINN, RICHALE LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROBERT R. WATERS, ESQ. (HUNTINGTON, WV, US)
Claims:
1. A cap comprising; a crown portion; and an ear band portion; said crown portion having a lower rim; said ear band portion having a long edge, a short edge opposite said long edge, and two end edges; wherein said ear band portion is tapered from said long edge to said short edge to conform said ear band portion to the back of a wearer's head; and wherein said long edge of said ear band portion is foldably attached to said lower rim of said crown portion and said ear band portion is capable of folding up into said crown portion or depending down from said crown portion.

2. The cap of claim 1 wherein; said short edge of said ear band portion is of a length to approximate a section of the circumference of said crown portion where said short edge contacts said crown portion when said ear band is folded into said crown portion.

3. The cap of claim 1 wherein; said two end edges of said ear band portion curve outward away from the interior area of said ear band portion.

4. The cap of claim 1 further comprising; a bill attached to said lower rim, said bill located opposite said ear band.

5. The cap of claim 1 further comprising; an elastic band attached to said cap inside said lower rim.

6. The cap of claim 1 wherein; said crown is made of elastic material to fit more than one cap size.

7. A cap comprising; a crown portion having a lower rim; and an ear band portion having a long edge, a short edge opposite said long edge, and two end edges; wherein said long edge of said ear band portion is foldably attached to said lower rim, and said ear band portion is capable of folding up into said crown portion or depending down from said crown portion; and an elastic band attached to said cap inside said lower rim.

8. The cap of claim 7 wherein; said short edge of said ear band portion is of a length to approximate a section of the circumference of said crown portion where said short edge contacts said crown portion when said ear band is folded into said crown portion.

9. The cap of claim 7 wherein; said two end edges of said ear band portion curve outward away from the interior area of said ear band portion.

10. The cap of claim 7 wherein; a bill attached to said lower rim, said bill located opposite said ear band.

11. The cap of claim 7 wherein; said crown is made of elastic material to fit more than one cap size.

12. The cap of claim 7 wherein; said ear band portion is tapered from said long edge to said short edge to conform said ear band portion to the back of a wearer's head

13. A cap comprising: an ear band portion having a long edge, a short edge opposite said long edge, and two end edges, wherein said long edge is foldably attached to a lower rim of said cap; said ear band portion is capable of folding up into or depending down from a crown portion of said cap; and an elastic band attached to said lower rim.

14. The cap of claim 13 wherein; said short edge of said ear band portion is of a length to approximate a section of the circumference of said crown portion where said short edge contacts said crown portion when said ear band is folded into said crown portion.

15. The cap of claim 13 wherein; said two end edges of said ear band portion curve outward away from the interior area of said ear band portion.

16. The cap of claim 13 wherein; a bill attached to said lower rim, said bill located opposite said ear band.

17. The cap of claim 13 wherein; said crown is made of elastic material to fit more than one cap size.

18. The cap of claim 13 wherein; said ear band portion is tapered from said long edge to said short edge to conform said ear band portion to the back of a wearer's head.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of The Invention

This invention relates generally to an all-weather cap with ear protection. More specifically, it relates to self sizing cap having a crown constructed from multiple gores and having a bill, an elastic band around its lower rim, and an ear covering flap foldably extending from the opening.

2. Description of The Related Art

In general, caps in the art are constructed from cloth gores which are triangular in shape, having a base and two sides extending from the base to meet at a point. Several gores, usually six, are sewn together along these sides in a closed circle fashion with the points of the gores coming together in the same spot. The result is a dome shape with its opening circumscribed by the base of the triangular gores. A bill is attached to this dome and is usually centered on a seam between two gores with the attached edge of the bill extending slightly past those two gores to contact, and be attached to, a gore on each side. The two gores centered on the bill are usually reinforced and stiffened with an additional material.

These caps can be made to size but are frequently made to fit several different sizes. Some of these multiple size caps are provided with a means for manually adjusting the fit of the cap, such as an adjustable strap spanning an arcuate gap in the rear of the base. The strap may have a buckle, hook and loop tabs, or multiple plastic snaps. Other multiple size caps use elastic placed around the opening of the cap to make the cap self-adjusting. The elastic may circumscribe the opening with a single piece, circumscribe the opening with several elastic pieces sewn together, have inelastic pieces sewn in between elastic pieces, or an elastic piece may be sewn to a section of the opening and gather only the material along that section to effect size change. Other methods and configurations of using elastic are also used. In many caps, the material from which the gores themselves are made may have some degree of elasticity. The elasticity of the material may be unidirectional or bi-directional.

The popularity of this basic type of cap has led to attempts to add to its utility. Some of these attempts are directed toward widening the range of climate in which the cap is suitable for wearing. Some of these caps protect from cold temperatures and some caps provide greater protection from the sun.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,724,675 by Charles A. Lipkin is directed to a cap providing greater protection from the cold. Instead of making the crown section of the cap from several distinct gores, Lipkin '675 makes the crown from two pieces only, a front piece and a rear piece. These pieces are elongated pieces of material with sections cut along one side in the form of what would be the top portions of gores. These sections are sewn together as if they were separate gores and the front and rear pieces are sewn together to form the crown of the cap. While one side of the elongated rear piece is cut to form gores, the opposite side is cut to form a flap that extends below the line of the headband. When the cap is assembled, this flap can be folded down to cover the ears and also more of the back of the head, but to a lesser extent than the ears. When the ear flap is folded up, it is folded inside the cap.

An earlier patent by William S. Lipkin, U.S. Pat. No. 4,608,721, starts with the more traditional separate gore construction. The gores are made of a material having biaxial elasticity. Around the base of the crown constructed from these gores a band of material is disposed for covering the ears and back of the head of the wearer. The band can be folded up inside the crown and is attached to the crown via an intervening hinge element which is itself elastic along its longitudinal direction. Lipkin '721 claims a cap capable of achieving multiple sizes with one construction.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,351,343 by Harbison has two separate triangular shaped ear flaps and a draw cord between the two ear flaps. One side of each of the triangular ear flaps is attached to the base of the cap from near where the bill ends to a location at the rear of the cap. The point of the flap opposite the attached side extends to below and behind the ear of the wearer. A draw string runs inside each flap from the point attached near the bill to the point below and behind the ear where it exits. The draw strings in each flap are joined behind the head by a cinching clasp that allows the draw strings to be used to draw the ear flaps close about the head. The draw strings may be merely ends of a single loop as well. The ear flaps may be folded up away from the ears and along the cap.

Like Harbison, U.S. Pat. No. 4,845,782, by Gregg, provides a draw string within an ear covering portion of the cap. In Gregg, however, the ear covering portion is a continuous band of material which attaches to the crown just behind where a bill attaches, runs around the back of the crown to the other side, and ends at just where the bill attaches on the other side. The band of material extends further from the crown in the areas where the ears are than it does at the back of the cap. The lower edges of the band have an annular space in which a draw chord is placed. The draw chord protrudes from an aperture in the back of the band which gives access for adjusting the fit of the ear covering. The fit of the cap crown itself may be adjusted with straps that are disposed internally within an annular space in the crown at its base. These protrude at the back of the crown as well, but on its inside surface. These straps are secured to each other for adjustment with hook and loop material. Gregg also uses hook and loop material on the outside of the ear protection band and the crown to secure the ear protection band in a retracted position against the crown. A chin strap using hook and loop material is disclosed and claimed as well.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,486,903 by Krystal, discloses ear coverings on a cap with an adjustable band across an opening at its lower back edge. The ear coverings are formed from a single band of flexible material that runs from near the adjustable band on one side, forward and across the front then back along the other side to end near the adjustable band at the back. The band of flexible material is substantially wider along the sides and narrow along the front under the bill. The wider sections along the sides cover the ears. The band of flexible material may be folded up from the ears to alongside the crown of the cap.

Several patents have ear coverings which are at least partially elastic. U.S. Pat. No. 4,662,007, by William S. Lipkin, claims a multi-sized cap with an ear covering band that is entirely elastic in at least one direction, that one direction being the bands lengthwise direction. U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,883,669 and 2,885,683 by Rafowitz et al and Sol Lipkin respectively have ear coverings which have only a section of elastic material. Rafowitz has a band which starts near the back of the cap and runs around the front to the other side and to the back of the cap again. At the back, joining each end of the band, is a section of elastic material which gives the whole band some degree of self adjustment. Lipkin '683 has two separate pieces attached near the bill and running toward the back but not joining directly to each other. Instead, an elastic section connects the two, again giving a degree of self adjustment.

Although a variety of prior art caps can be found that feature an ear protection band, they generally also include features that limit or compromise the utility of the band. Most caps with ear protection are designed for extreme weather and feature heavy insulation. This compromises the cap's utility in warmer weather. In many situations, the ambient temperature may be very cool in the morning only to be warmer later in the day. A heavily insulated cap will be uncomfortable at that point. What is needed is a cap that is truly all weather. It should feature an ear warming band that is retractable such that the cap is still comfortable and not bulky for general summer use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an improved multi-sized cap with ear protection. The crown of the cap is constructed from several gores. A bill is centered on the seam of two of the gores and partially overlaps a gore to either side of those two. A single ear protecting band is attached to the interior of the base of the crown. This band starts just to the rear of the bill on one side, wraps around the back, and ends at the same location on the opposite side. The edge of the ear protecting band opposite the one attached to the crown is shorter than the edge attached to the crown. This causes the cap to form to the wearer's head by cupping under the ears and conforming more closely to the ears. Conversely, when the ear protecting band is folded into the crown, it tapers and fits the interior of the crown and avoids bunching. A biaxially elastic band circumscribes the inside of the crown and ear band with the ear band in the down position.

Accordingly, it is a primary objective of this invention to improve the fit of a cap having ear protection. The cap should conform more closely to the wearer's head and have less tendency to easily blow off in the wind.

It is a further objective of this invention to improve the compactness of a cap having ear protection when the ear protecting component is retracted.

It is also an objective of this invention to provide a cap with ear protection that is not apparent or visible when the ear protection is retracted.

It is another objective of this invention to protect forward areas of the wearer's face from the cold without obstructing the wearer's peripheral vision.

It is a further objective of this invention to provide an all weather cap that features an ear warming band which can benefit the wearer in cold temperatures, and yet, upon retraction of the ear warming band, the cap is still lightweight for warm temperature comfort.

As discussed above, the article of the present invention overcomes the disadvantages inherent in prior art caps with ear protecting flaps and their construction. 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 details of construction. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various and diverse ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purposes of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Accordingly, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the concept upon which this invention is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the design of other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Furthermore, the purpose of the foregoing Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially including the practitioners of the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection, the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The Abstract is neither intended to define the invention of the application, nor is it intended to be limiting to the scope of the invention in any respect.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional utility and features of this invention will become more fully apparent to those skilled in the art by reference to the following figures, wherein the modified cap of the present invention is described more fully:

FIG. 1 shows the shaped nature of the ear band on the cap.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a cap having a prior art ear band.

FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the present invention from the rear. The conforming nature of cap and ear band can be seen.

FIG. 4 shows the ear band folded into the crown. The ability of the ear band to lay smoothly in the crown can be seen.

FIG. 5 shows a cap from the prior art. The ear band in this cap bunches when it is folded into the crown.

FIG. 6 shows the ear band, as a dotted line, smoothly folded into the crown of a cap.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following discussion illustrates only some of the possible configurations claimed in this invention and should not be interpreted as limiting the scope of any claims set forth in this utility application. FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a cap 10 of the present invention. The cap 10 has dome shaped crown 12. A bill 14 is attached along the lower rim 18 of the cap. The cap in this embodiment has a fairly typical construction in its crown 12 in that it is comprised of several gores 24. These gores 24 have three sides. Two of the sides of the gores 24 are curved to allow several gores 24 to combine and form the domed crown 12, while the third side is relatively straight and forms a section of the rim 18 of cap 10. The bill 14 attaches to the lower rim 18 and is centered on a seam between two gores 24 of cap 10 and runs the entire width of those two gores 24, partially overlapping a gore 24 on each side. This is a fairly common construction in this field or art. In addition to this basic construction, the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 has an ear band 16 for protecting the ears of the wearer of cap 10. This ear band 16 has a longer edge 18 which attaches to lower rim 18 of the cap and a shorter edge 20 which is free and depends down from rim 18 of cap 10. Ear band 16 also has two ends 22, one of which is shown in FIG. 1. The proportions of a longer edge of the ear band at 18 and the shorter edge of the ear band at 20 means that the shorter edge 20 must draw in and circumscribe a shorter arc when ear band 16 is folded down from cap 10 and thus it conforms more closely to the head of the wearer as may be seen in FIG. 1 as well as in FIG. 3.

FIG. 2 shows a cap of the prior art also having an ear band. It's construction in the crown 32 and bill 34 area is similar to that of the embodiment of this invention. However, a difference can be seen with ear band 36. As shown in FIG. 2, ear band 36 has two long edges of equivalent length at 38 and 40 and an end 42 visible in FIG. 2. The equivalent lengths of edges 38 and 40 of the ear band 36 in FIG. 2 creates a much more boxy shape to cap 30 with the ear band 36 folded down where it would hang somewhat away from a wearer of cap 30.

Looking now at FIG. 3 which shows an embodiment of cap 10 from the rear, it can further be seen how ear band 16 tapers in as it transitions from cap rim 18 and long edge 18 down to free edge 20 of the ear band 16. This again shows the conforming and shaping nature of cap 10 embodiment of this invention.

FIG. 4 shows the preferred embodiment turned up so that the interior of crown 12 is visible. It may be seen in this view that the ear band 16 is folded up into the crown of cap 10. Ear band 16 is attached along its longer edge 18 to the hat rim at 18 and folded into crown 12. Shorter end 20 is of a length that approximates the interior circumference of cap 10 at the distance of the width of ear band 16 and this allows ear band 16 to conform smoothly to the interior of cap 10.

The conforming nature shown in FIG. 4 may be contrasted to the prior art illustrated in FIG. 5. The ear band 36 in FIG. 5 has a construction wherein edge 38 and edge 40 of ear band 36 are of equivalent lengths. Therefore, when ear band 36 is folded up into crown 32 of cap 30, edge 40 bunches up and does not fit smoothly at the circumference where it is placed in cap 30 by the width of ear band 36.

FIG. 6 shows an external view of cap 10 with ear band 16 folded up into crown 12 of cap 10. The dotted lines shows the shorter edge of ear band 16 positioned within cap 10 and smoothly conforming at the circumference at the cap 10 where it is located. The smooth conformance of ear band 16 within crown 12 provides greater comfort and improved appearance over the prior art. When the ear band 16 is folded up into cap 10, the smaller arc of lower edge 20 conforms to the decreased circumference of crown 12 without any bunching of material. This provides better comfort for the wearer at those times when the ear band 16 is folded up into crown 12.

Returning now to FIG. 1, end 22 curves forward from its attached comer at longer edge 18 and cap rim 18 and then curves back to shorter edge 20. This allows end 22 of ear band 16 to cover more of a wearers face without restricting peripheral vision. The curved shape of end 22 may vary considerably and not effect the conforming nature of ear band 16 as long as the ratio between long edge 18 and shorter edge 20 is not mismatched with the thickness of ear band 16, misplacing the position of shorter edge 20 when it is folded up into dome 12 of cap 10.

In addition to the typical construction features discussed previously, there are other common features and variations. The gores 24 forming dome 12 of cap 10 may be made of many different types of materials. The material may stretch uniaxially or biaxially. The material of gores 24 may be mesh or otherwise vary. The rim 18 of cap 10 may have an elastic band to provide a fit over several sizes, or, as well, the rim may employ any of several adjustment devices common to the prior art. Ear band 16 of cap 10 can be adapted to each of these variations by changing its material or particular dimensions and still be covered by the following claims of this application.