Title:
Non-thermal spring grip hair brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A non-thermal hairstyling brush for wrapping hair around the brush and holding it in place with a clamp that pivots on the handle. The brush is used for clamping the hair in place on the brush while rotating the brush when drying the hair with a separate hair dryer.



Inventors:
Kim, Kyung E. (Santa Monica, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/336511
Publication Date:
07/26/2007
Filing Date:
01/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D2/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STEITZ, RACHEL RUNNING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A non-thermal hairstyling appliance comprising: a brush having an axis of rotation; a handle affixed to the brush for rotating the brush about its axis of rotation; a clamp disposed above at least a portion of the brush and secured adjacent the brush for pivoting through an angle between an open position spaced from the brush, to provide a gap between an underside of the clamp and the brush, and a closed position generally overlying and in contact with the brush; a push button disposed on a first portion of the handle behind a pivot axis of the clamp, the push button having an exterior pressure surface exposed above the handle, an internal housing portion extending into a recessed area in the handle, and an internal spring-engaging surface located inside the push button housing and facing the recessed area of the handle, and a spring inside the recessed area contacting the internal spring-engaging surface of the push button so the bias of the spring normally holds the clamp in the closed position, the push button adapted to pivot about the pivot axis to move the clamp to its open position under pressure applied to the external pressure surface of the push button, the push button moving downwardly into the recessed area for moving the spring contacting surface against the bias of the spring, the clamp adapted to pivot to its closed position when pressure is released from the external pressure surface, allowing the spring bias applied to the spring-engaging surface to pivot the clamp about the pivot axis.

2. A non-thermal hairstyling device comprising: an elongated handle, a brush affixed to the handle for axial alignment with the handle, a push button projecting from a surface of the handle behind a pivot axis, a hair clamp affixed to the push button and disposed over the brush in front of the pivot axis, the push button projecting into an internal recess in the handle, and a spring within the internal recess biased against an inside portion of the push button for holding the clamp in a closed position adjacent the brush, the clamp pivoting to an open position under pressure applied to the push button against the bias of the spring, the spring bias applying a spring pressure to pivot the clamp about the pivot axis to a closed position when pressure on the push button is released.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 in which the push button encompasses the spring to prevent the spring from being exposed, in both the open and closed positions of the clamp.

4. Apparatus according to claim 2 in which the clamp rotates about a pivot axis contained inside a portion of the handle affixed to the brush.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to hairstyling appliances, and more particularly, to a non-thermal hairstyling brush having a clamp that holds the hair in contact with the brush while the brush is rotated when drying and styling the hair.

BACKGROUND

Hairstyling in the past has been addressed by using a number of different implements such a curling irons, curling devices with clamps, various shapes of combs and brushes, and the like. In order to improve their effectiveness, thermal devices are sometimes used. Curling irons with clamps are an example. Use of non-thermal implements such as specially-shaped or designed combs or brushes may be used with applied heat from a hair dryer, for example. However, the prior art does not provide an effective hairstyling appliance that can be used easily and effectively for styling the hair while applying heat separately such as from a hair dryer.

The present invention provides an ergonomically and functionally effective non-thermal hairstyling device which is useful in styling the hair while using a separate heat applying device such as a hair dryer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, one embodiment of this invention comprises a hairstyling brush having an elongated handle, a brush affixed to a front end of the handle, with bristles extending radially outwardly from the brush, and a push button and spring-actuated clamp carried on the handle next to the brush. The clamp pivots through an angle between an open position for wrapping the hair around the brush, in an angular gap formed between the open clamp and the brush, and a closed position for overlying the brush and holding the hair in place on the brush. The clamp is actuated by a push button carried near a front portion of the handle. The push button is disposed in an internal space within the front position of the handle to contact a spring engaged with an internal portion of the push button. Finger pressure applied to the push button against the bias of the spring opens the clamp. The clamp is released to move under spring pressure to the closed position for holding the hair on the brush while rotating the brush. The user holds the brush in one hand while holding a hair dryer in the other hand, for drying and styling the hair, while the hair is in contact with the brush, held on the brush by the spring pressure of the clamp.

The invention is ergonomically effective in holding the hair in close contact with the brush while the brush is easily and effectively rotated with one hand, without interference, while the other hand is used to hold the hair dryer.

These and other aspects of the invention will be more fully understood by referring to the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded side elevational view showing components of a non-thermal hairstyling device according to principles of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view showing a hair-clamping device in an angled open position.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the clamping device in a closed position.

FIG. 4 is a top elevational view taken of line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4 and showing a configuration of the hair-clamping device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a hairstyling device of this invention includes a cylindrical shaped and perforated tubular shell 10, and a brush 12 which, in assembly, is disposed inside the shell. An inner end cap section 14 is secured to an end of the shell for containing the brush inside the shell. An elongated handle section 16, in assembly, is disposed over the inner end cap 14 for attaching a front portion of the handle to a rear portion of the brush and shell assembly. A hair clamp 18, in assembly, overlies the brush and shell assembly and is pivotally secured to the end cap. A push button assembly 20 is located adjacent to a rear portion of the clamp and, in assembly, a portion of the push button is disposed in a recessed region 22 near the front end portion of the handle.

The tubular shell is preferably made from metal to provide a somewhat rigid cylindrical shape. The shell is perforated with relatively large holes 22 spaced apart circumferentially in rows extending parallel to each other along the length of the shell.

The brush 12 includes an axial rod 24 to which radially extending bristles 26 are secured. The bristles are arranged in groups with each group of bristles extending through a corresponding hole in the shell. The assembled arrangement of the brush and shell is best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 which illustrate how the groups of bristles project radially outwardly through the vent holes in the cylindrical shell. The outer surface of the shell provides a firm base with outer portions of the bristles projecting free for use in styling the hair in the well-known manner.

A front end cap 28 is secured to a front portion of the shell to close off the interior of the shell, as shown best in FIGS. 2 and 3.

The inner end cap section 14 is one embodiment in which the brush is securely held in place and an internal support is provided for a spring that controls rotation of the hair clamp. An alternative embodiment is described below. The illustrated end cap section 14 has a cylindrical cap 30 at its front end which is secured to a rear portion of the shell to close off the interior of the shell in front of the handle 16. The end cap 14 also includes an elongated base 32 in the shape of a post which extends axially away from the brush toward a rear portion of the hairstyling device. In its assembled position, the end cap 30 aligns the base 32 of the end cap on the axis of the brush collinear with the rod 24 in the center of the brush. The end cap 30 has a pair of holes 34 aligned on a lateral axis perpendicular to the principal axis of the brush to provide a seat for one or more pivot pins as described below.

The handle section 16 is preferably made of molded plastic material that includes a cylindrical front end cap 36 that opens toward the brush end of the hairstyling device. The handle section also includes an elongated hand-held section 38 which is formed integrally with the end cap 36 and which extends axially to the rear of the hairstyling device. The end portion of the hand-held section 38 tapers generally narrower toward the end of the hairstyling device away from the recessed region 22. The hand-held section accommodates the full width of the user's hand behind the recessed region 22 and the push button when the hairstyling device is used.

The end cap 36 on the front of the handle section has an inside diameter greater than the inside diameter of the end cap 30 which engages the rear portion of the brush. In assembly, the end cap 36 fits over the end cap 30 in a tight friction lock to rigidly affix the handle section to the rear section of the brush. The front portion of the handle section 16 has a hollow area centered in the end cap 36 for receiving the post 32 of the inside end cap 30 when the handle section 16 is fitted over the inside end cap section 14. This securely fastens the inside end cap section 14 to the inside front portion of the handle section 16.

The recessed region 22 on the front portion of the handle section opens upwardly to form a slotted area that receives the push button assembly 20. The push button assembly 20 includes a shell 40 that forms a lever arm for pivoting the hair clamp 18 about an axis between the brush end of the device and the handle. The push button shell 40 is rigidly affixed to or integrally formed with an end of the hair clamp 18. The hair clamp and the push button shell are preferably made of light weight metal. The push button assembly is adapted to be pushed downwardly into the recessed region 22 so as to raise the clamp to an angular open position shown in FIG. 2. The push button assembly is normally spring-actuated to be maintained in an at-rest or closed position shown in FIG. 3, holding the clamp in the closed position in which the clamp generally overlies the curved outer surface of the brush.

The shell 40 has an ergonomically effective exterior configuration formed by a top surface 42 which is curved concave upwardly to generally match the shape of a user's finger or thumb. A rear portion 44 of the push button surface is angled upwardly away from the brush end of the hairstyling device. This rear portion of the push button surface projects upwardly above the top surface of the handle and provides effective leverage in pushing the push button down into the recess for pivoting the clamp to its open position.

The push button shell 40 also includes a pair of spaced apart and parallel, relatively thin side walls 46 (see FIG. 4) that extend downwardly into the recess. The push button shell is generally rectangular in shape when viewed in the top view of FIG. 4 to closely match the rectangular shape of the slotted recessed opening in which the push button is contained. The end of the shell is closed off so that the interior components inside the push button are not exposed.

The side walls of the shell have downwardly projecting ears 48 near the front lower portion of the shell. Pivot pin holes 50 extend through the ears and are aligned on a lateral pivot axis through the holes 34 in the interior end cap 30. One or more pivot pins (not shown) extend through the ears to pivotally secure the front lower portion of the push button shell to the end cap 30. This allows the push button shell to pivot downwardly on one side of the pivot axis to raise the clamp on the other side of the pivot axis. The pivot pins are contained inside the outer end cap 36 on the handle so that the pivot pins are not exposed to the exterior of the hair brush.

A torsion spring 52 is located in the recessed area below the push button top surface 42. The spring is coiled at its base at 53 as shown in FIG. 1. The spring is contained in a hollow interior region of the shell 40 between the side walls of the shell. The hollow interior area within the shell faces downwardly toward a bearing surface 54 inside the recessed area. The bottom of the torsion spring is seated on the bearing surface. The spring's bearing surface can be a slotted region within the end cap post 32 or other fixed bearing surface for holding the bottom of the spring in a fixed position. The torsion spring also includes a spring arm 56 which projects upwardly from a base of the spring into the hollow inside area within the shell. The top of the spring arm supports a roller 58 which engages a contoured surface 60 in the top inside portion of the push button shell. The contoured surface 60 within the push button shell is curved concave upwardly generally parallel to the curved upper surface of the push button.

When the push button is in its at-rest position, shown in FIG. 3, the roller on the spring lever engages the bearing surface behind a curved bottom of the surface, holding the spring in a flexed position, applying upward spring pressure to the push button. This upward force, which is effective to apply leverage spaced from the pivot axis at the front of the push button, holds the hair clamp 18 under spring pressure against the top surface of the brush. When the push button is pushed downwardly into the recess against the spring pressure, the roller 58 rolls against the contoured bearing surface 60 toward the rear of the push button. This folds the torsion spring to increase the spring tension. This downward angular motion of the push button into the recess 22 also raises the hair clamp 18 into the angular open position shown in FIG. 2.

When the user's pressure applied to the surface 42 of the push button is released, the spring lever arm 56 moves back to its normal position and applies its spring pressure to the bearing surface 60 of the push button. This automatically pivots the push button about its axis of rotation for moving the hair clamp back to the closed position shown in FIG. 3.

The hair clamp 18 is generally rectangularly shaped but curved when viewed on end as in FIG. 5. The clamp has a curved configuration matching the curved shape of the brush cylinder. The clamp also has spaced apart large vent holes 62 generally rectangular in shape and encompassing most of the area within the clamp. This produces a substantial open space through which the bristles 26 can project when the clamp is held in its closed position over the brush, under the bias of the spring on the opposite side of the pivot axis.

In an alternative embodiment, the inner end cap section 14 can be omitted and the front end portion of the handle can provide the support for the end of the brush rod 24 and the bottom of the spring. In this instance, the front section of the handle is molded to form a solid interior portion that extends beneath a rectangular recessed opening in the top portion of the handle. The push button shell extends downwardly into this open recess, facing the spring. The base of the spring is seated on a molded base inside the handle for contact with the underside of the push button shell. The front end portion of the molded handle contains a detent aligned in the center of the handle section for receiving the end of the brush rod to hold the brush in place. The molded handle section includes an end cap similar to end cap 36 that locks onto the end of the shell 10 that forms a portion of the brush. The push button shell pivots internally within the recess by a pair of molded outwardly projecting tabs that fit into corresponding molded detents in adjacent walls of the molded front end section of the handle. The tabs pivot in the detents to rotate about the lateral pivot axis as described previously for the embodiment of FIG. 1.

The hairstyling device is used by initially wrapping the user's hand around the handle and pressing down on the push button upper surface. This raises the clamp to the angular open position shown in FIG. 2. (In the open position the clamp is held at an angle of about 35° to 45° relative to the top surface of the brush.) This allows the user to effectively wrap the hair around the exposed circumference of the brush, after which the pressure of the push button can be released to cause the clamp to rotate back to its closed position holding the hair in contact with the brush. The user is able to rotate the brush about its axis with one hand while holding a hair dryer in the other hand for applying heat to the hair. The large vent holes in the clamp are effective in transmitting heat to and from the hair under the spring-biased clamp.

The user can rotate the hair brush effectively during use. The push button in its released position applies light spring pressure to the clamp, which allows the brush to be rotated while holding the hair securely in contact with the brush. The push button is completely enclosed in its released position so that the hair does not get tangled with any open areas under the push button. The pivot pins and other components of the push button and spring assembly are contained internally within the push button and handle assembly so as to not project from the brush and cause interference with the user's hair. The push button maintains a low profile above the handle, even in its released position, only a short distance from the pivot axis. This reduces any interference that could be caused with the user freely rotating the hair brush during use. In addition, the lack of an open space under the push button prevents the user from placing the hand under the push button as the brush is rotated during use, thereby preventing injury. Also, the large open spaces in the clamp allow heat to flow in freely from a hair dryer, and the bristles on the brush are not restricted by the closed position of the clamp, which allows better styling.