Title:
Combined window covering and wall-mounted decorative item
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A window covering is disclosed with improved light and thermal blocking abilities. The window covering may include a panel that is mountable over a window using magnetic coupling. In particular, the panel may include at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material, such that the panel is secured in place over the window by a magnetic force. When not in use over the window, the panel may be secured to a wall as a display piece using magnetic coupling.



Inventors:
Simpson, Jeffery T. (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/801182
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47H15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CARDENAS-GARCIA, JAIME F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Clayton Howarth P.C. (SANDY, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for covering a window, said device comprising: a panel, the panel comprising at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material; and wherein the panel is secured in place over the window via a magnetic force.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the panel comprises a first surface and a second surface, wherein an insulating material is disposed between the first surface and the second surface of the panel.

3. The device of claim 1, further comprising a flexible material, wherein the flexible material is mountable along a perimeter of the window such that the panel, when mounted over the window, engages the flexible material.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the flexible material is weatherstripping.

5. The device of claim 3, wherein the flexible material comprises at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material.

6. The device of claim 1, further comprising a window screen, the window screen comprising at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material, wherein the window screen is mountable over the window via a magnetic force.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein the window screen is mountable to the panel via a magnetic force.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the panel comprises a decorative frame.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein the panel comprises a handle.

10. A device for covering a window, said device comprising: at least one panel; a hanging device, said hanging device adapted and configured to be mounted to a wall; and wherein said at least one panel is selectively mountable over the window or to the wall using the hanging device.

11. The device of claim 10, wherein the at least one panel comprises at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material such that the at least one panel is secured over the window via a magnetic force.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein the at least one panel comprises at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material such that the at least one panel is secured to the hanging device via a magnetic force.

13. The device of claim 11, wherein the at least one panel comprises a first surface and a second surface, and wherein an insulating material is disposed between the first surface and the second surface of the at least one panel

14. The device of claim 10, wherein the at least one panel comprises a picture.

15. The device of claim 14, wherein the at least one panel comprises a picture frame.

16. The device of claim 10, further comprising a flexible material, wherein the flexible material is mountable along a perimeter of the window such that the at least one panel, when mounted over the window, engages the flexible material.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein the flexible material comprises at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material.

18. The device of claim 10, wherein the hanging device is mountable inside of the wall.

19. The device of claim 10, wherein the at least one panel comprises a first panel and a second panel, wherein the first panel and the second panel have a first configuration and a second configuration with respect to each other, the first and second panels being coupled together in the first configuration and the first and second panels being separate in the second configuration.

20. The device of claim 19, wherein the first panel and the second panel are coupled together via a magnetic force.

21. A device for covering a window, said device comprising: a panel, the panel comprising at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material, the panel having a first surface and a second surface; a picture or other decorative design disposed on the first surface of the panel; an insulating material disposed between the first surface and the second surface of the panel; a flexible material, wherein the flexible material is mountable along a perimeter of the window such that the panel, when mounted over the window, engages the flexible material to thereby create a seal; the flexible material comprising at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material; a hanging device, said hanging device adapted and configured to be mounted to a wall, the hanging device comprising at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material; and wherein the panel is selectively mountable over the window or to the wall via a magnetic force.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/798,767, filed May 9, 2006 which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety, this incorporation by reference being made with the following exception: In the event that any portion of the above-referenced provisional application is inconsistent with this application, this application supercedes said above-referenced provisional application.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND

1. The Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to window coverings.

2. Description of Related Background

Window coverings include structures such as blinds, shades, drapery, curtains, shutters, and valences. Window coverings are typically installed using a wide variety of hardware. The hardware may include brackets, rods, and fasteners. One disadvantage to presently available window coverings, is their inherent inability to completely block outside light and cold air. Even when closed, most window coverings leave gaps along the sides thereof that allow the passage of light and cold air. Further, window coverings such as slated blinds, leave gaps between the slats that allow the passage of light and cold air. Another disadvantage to the use of presently available window coverings is that, even when open, the window coverings impede the passage of light into the room and block the view to the outside. Likewise, some of the previously available window coverings do not provide adequate insulation. Another disadvantage to some of the previously available window coverings is that the hardware used to mount the window coverings is unsightly.

The previously available window coverings are thus characterized by several disadvantages that are addressed by the present invention. The present invention minimizes, and in some aspects eliminates, the above-mentioned failures, and other problems, by utilizing the methods and structural features described herein.

The features and advantages of the disclosure will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the disclosure without undue experimentation. The features and advantages of the disclosure may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The features and advantages of the disclosure will become apparent from a consideration of the subsequent detailed description presented in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a room of a structure having a window and a panel mounted on a wall of the structure;

FIG. 2 is the room of a structure depicted in FIG. 1 where the panel as been removed to cover the window;

FIG. 3 is a front and perspective view of the panel;

FIG. 4 is a rear and perspective view of the panel;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view along the plane A-A in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view along the plane B-B in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles in accordance with the disclosure, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the disclosure is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and any additional applications of the principles of the disclosure as illustrated herein, which would normally occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the disclosure claimed. Further, as used herein, the terms “comprising,” “including,” “containing,” “characterized by,” and grammatical equivalents thereof are inclusive or open-ended terms that do not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is depicted a perspective view of a room 10 having a wall 12. A glass window 16 is disposed in the wall 12. The window 16 may be mounted in a boxed-shaped frame 18 to the wall 12 as is known to one having ordinary skill in the art. The frame 18 may be formed from wood, metal, plastic or any other suitable material. The frame 18 may comprise an inner surface 20. Located on the inner surface 20 of the frame 18 may be a flexible material 22. The flexible material 22 may extend completely around the frame 18 of the window 16. The flexible material 22 may comprise at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material incorporated into the flexible material 22 as will be described in detail hereinafter.

The flexible material 22 may be integrated into the frame 18 of the window 16 or the flexible material 22 by be attached to the frame 18 of the window 16 after the frame 18 is installed into the wall 12. In one embodiment, the flexible material 22 may comprise a magnetic weatherstripping that is installed after the window 16 and frame 18 have been installed into the wall 12. The flexible material 22 may be installed with an adhesive to the inner surface 20 of the frame 18. In other embodiments, the flexible material 22 may be installed with fasteners.

Disposed on the wall 12 next to the window 16 is a panel 14. The panel 14 comprises a decorative image 24 and a frame 26. The frame 26 may be a picture frame. The length and width of the panel 14 is approximately the same length and height of the space defined by the inner surface 20 of the frame 18 of the window 16. The panel 14 is hung or otherwise attached to the wall 12 in a manner that will be explained hereinafter. To a casual observer, the panel 14 resembles a “normal” picture or other decorative item hanging on the wall 12. The aesthetically pleasing nature of the panel 14 allows the panel 14 to be stored in plain sight and near the window 16.

Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown the same room 10 as in FIG. 1, except that the panel 14 has been removed from its location on the wall 12 and placed over the window 16. In particular, the panel 14 has been installed inside of the box-shaped frame 18 of the window 16. The frame 26 of the panel 14 and the inner surface 20 of the frame 18 of the window 16 abut nearly against each other for a semi-tight fit.

With the panel 14 removed from its position on the wall 12, a hanging device 28 is observable in FIG. 2 at the same location where the panel 14 was mounted to the wall 12 as shown in FIG. 1. The purpose of the hanging device 28 is to facilitate the mounting and removal of the panel 14 to the wall 12. For reasons that will become more evident hereinafter, the hanging device 28 may comprise at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material. The hanging device 28 may be attached to an outer surface of the wall 12 with fasteners 30. As used herein, the term “fastener” is used generally to cover a wide variety of mechanical coupling devices, such as screws, nails, bolts, and the like. The hanging device 28 may comprises a substantially rectangular shape. For example, the hanging device 28 may be formed from strips of least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material. The strips are mounted such that they match and can mate with the panel 14. Bores in the hanging device 28 may be utilized to receive the fasteners 30 to thereby facilitate the mounting of the hanging device 28 to the wall 12.

In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the hanging device 28 may be attached to the wall 12 utilizing an adhesive material. In other embodiments of the present invention, the panel 14 may be attached to the wall 12 using hardware typically used to hang an item to a wall, including hooks, hangers, sawtooth hangers, railing, wire, cleats, nails, and the like. In still another embodiment of the present invention, the hanging device 28 is located internally in the wall 12, either in the outer surface of the wall, e.g. sheet rock, or in the interior of the wall, such that the hanging device 28 is not visible to an observer when the panel 14 is not in place. This may require pre-mounting the hanging device 28 during construction of the wall 12 or modifying the wall 12 to incorporate the hanging device 28 such that it is not visible. The hanging device 28 may be formed from a single material or in individual parts.

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is depicted a front perspective view of the panel 14. The panel 14 comprises a frame 26 enclosing an image 24. The image 24 may comprise a painting, photograph, or any other decorative design. The panel 14 may have a thickness. It will be appreciated that the panel 14 may comprise a wide range of materials, and no specific type of material is required by the present invention.

For example, in another embodiment of the present invention, the panel 14 may comprise a window screen instead of the image 24, in the event that the window 16 is capable of being opened. The screen may be placed over the window when it is opened and secured in place using magnetic coupling. When the window is closed, the screen may be removed to thereby improve visibility out of the window. In still another embodiment of the present invention, the panel 14 may comprise a light diffusing material, a semi-transparent material, a tinted material, or even a netting. The panel 14 may comprise a handle to facilitate removing the panel 14, especially in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.

It should be noted that two panels may be utilized together. For example, one of the panels may comprise a window screen and the other a solid and insulating material. The two panels may be selectively mounted over a window as needed. Further, the two panels may be coupled together via a magnetic force such that the two panels may be mounted together over the window or to a wall. In this example, the screen panel can be hidden behind the solid panel when mounted to a wall.

Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown a rear perspective view of the panel 14. The panel 14 includes a back surface 32. Disposed adjacent an edge 25 of the back surface 32 is a mounting material 34 comprising least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material. The mounting material 34 may be secured to the panel 14 with fasteners or adhesives. In an alternative embodiment, the mounting material 34 may be integrally incorporated into the panel 14 such that it is invisible to the casual observer. The mounting material 34 may be utilized to mount and secure the panel 14 over the window 16 and to the hanging device 28 using a magnetic force as will be explained below.

The manner in which the panel 14 is mounted and secured to the hanging device 28 will now be explained. In FIG. 5, there is depicted a cross-sectional view of the panel 14 mounted to the hanging device 28 along the plane A-A shown in FIG. 1. The panel 14 is attached to the wall 12 by a magnetic coupling between the hanging device 28 and the mounting material 34. For this reason, at least one of the hanging device 28 and the mounting material 34 should incorporate some form of a magnetic material.

In one embodiment, both the hanging device 28 and the mounting material 34 incorporate a magnetic material, such that they are mutually attracted to each other. In another embodiment, one of the hanging device 28 and the mounting material 34 incorporates a magnetic material while the other incorporates a ferromagnetic material. In this manner, the hanging device 28 and the mounting material 34 may also be coupled via a magnetic force.

FIG. 5 also illustrates that the panel 14 comprises the back surface 32 and a front surface 38. Interposed between the back surface 32 and the front surface 38 is an insulating material 40. The insulating material 40 may prohibit, impede or resist the passage of thermal energy between the front surface 38 and the back surface 32. It should be noted that the thickness of the insulating material 40 may be varied to obtain a desired R-value for the panel 14. In one embodiment, the insulating material 40 is selected from the group comprising wood, foam, and fiberglass. Foam, however, may be preferable due to its light weight.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the manner in which the panel 14 is mounted and secured over the window 16 will now be explained. In FIG. 6, there is depicted a cross-sectional view of the panel 14 mounted over the window 16 along the plane B-B shown in FIG. 2. The flexible material 22 extends outwardly from the inner surface 20 of the window frame 18. As mentioned previously, the flexible material 22 should be disposed entirely around the perimeter of the window 16.

The flexible material 22 may comprise a core 36. The core 36 may comprise at least one of a magnetic material and a ferromagnetic material. The mounting material 34 on the back surface 32 of the panel 14 magnetically couples with the core 36 to thereby secure the panel 14 in place over the window 16. As before, at least one of the core 36 and the mounting material 34 should comprise a magnetic material. In one embodiment, both the core 36 and the mounting material 34 are formed from a magnetic material. In another embodiment, one of the mounting material 34 and the core 36 is a magnetic material while the other is a ferromagnetic material. As shown in FIG. 6, the flexible material 22 may completely surround the core 36.

The flexible material 22 may engage the mounting material 34 to thereby form a substantially airtight and light tight seal around the window 16. However, it will be appreciated that the seal formed between the mounting material 34 and the flexible material 22 need not be 100% efficient to fall within the scope of the present invention. Indeed, it is unnecessary for the seal between the flexible material 22 and the mounting material 34 to be completely airtight or light tight to accomplish the objectives of the present invention.

The frame 26 of the panel 14 may be even with a surface 42 of the wall 12 and the frame 18. As mentioned, the insulating material 40 disposed between the front surface 38 and the back surface 32 of the panel 14 is operable to impede the passage of thermal energy between the interior of the room 10 and the outside air.

Further, it will be appreciated that in another embodiment of the present invention, the panel 14 may be separated into two or more individual panels. These two or more individual panels may be individually attached to the wall 12 at different locations. These two or more individual panels may be magnetically coupled together along common edges, to thereby form a combined panel for placement over the window 16.

It should be noted that the term “magnetic material” and “ferromagnetic material” as used herein, are intended to have their broadest meaning as understood by one having ordinary skill in the art. Thus, as used herein, the term “magnetic material” may mean any material having the properties of a magnet, e.g., a material that is able to exert an attractive or repulsive magnetic force on other materials, such as ferromagnetic materials. As used herein, the term “ferromagnetic material” may mean any material that has a large positive magnetic susceptibility, that is, a material which is attracted to a magnet.

It will be further noted that the teachings of the present disclosure may be used to provide a covering for a window, regardless of where the window is located. For example, the present disclosure may be utilized with windows located in any structure, including walls and doors.

Those having ordinary skill in the relevant art will appreciate the advantages provide by the features of the present invention. For example, it is a feature of the present invention to provide a window covering that is extremely effective at blocking light and thermal energy when compared to the previously available window coverings. A window covering pursuant to the present invention may take the form of a light weight panel which may be easily stored when not in use as a decorative piece mounted on a wall. Another beneficial feature of the present invention is to provide such a window covering with an insulting core.

It is another feature of the present invention to utilize magnetic forces to secure a window covering over the window and to a wall. In this manner, unsightly hardware is not required. Further, when not in use, the window covering of the present invention does not impede incoming light or the view out of the window.

In the foregoing Detailed Description, various features of the present invention are grouped together in a single embodiment for the purpose of streamlining the disclosure. This method of disclosure is not to be interpreted as reflecting an intention that the claimed disclosure requires more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather, as the following claims reflect, inventive aspects lie in less than all features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment. Thus, the following claims are hereby incorporated into this Detailed Description by this reference, with each claim standing on its own as a separate embodiment of the present invention.

It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and the appended claims are intended to cover such modifications and arrangements. Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and described above with particularity and detail, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein.