Title:
Scent-Suppressing Fiber, and Articles Incorporating Same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Scent-suppressing fiber to be woven into articles of clothing or other equipment formed of fabric to inhibit or eliminate the emission of scents when the wearer is in the vicinity of wildlife. The fiber is a conventional thread coated with carbon. A fabric sheet is formed completely of woven carbon scent-suppressing fibers, or alternatively may be formed of carbon scent-suppressing fibers interwoven with conventional fibers. The resulting fabric sheet is formed into articles of clothing to suppress scent emission that highly sensitive wild creatures can detect. Because the fiber is structurally a part of the clothing article, its cost is less than if the scent-suppressing fiber were applied superficially, as in a sandwich type layering system. Also, because the fiber is continuously present in the material, the scent-suppressing capability covers the entire garment and is not limited only to large surface areas.



Inventors:
Eastman II, Robert (Flint, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/569543
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/23/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
57/210
International Classes:
D02G3/00; A41D13/00; A41D31/00; D02G3/36; D02G3/44
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAY, JILL M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The Weintraub Group, P.L.C. (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
Having, thus, described the invention, what is claimed is:

1. A filament suitable for use in forming a cloth fabric, said filament comprising a scent-suppressing material.

2. The filament of claim 1 wherein the filament comprises a core portion and a coating which is operatively attached to the core portion, and wherein the coating comprises the scent-suppressing material.

3. The filament of claim 1, wherein the scent-suppressing material comprises a material selected from the group consisting of silver nitrate, carbon, and mixtures thereof.

4. The filament of claim 1, wherein the scent-suppressing material comprises carbon.

5. A scent-suppressing thread, comprising the filament of claim 3 combined with at least one other filament.

6. A scent-suppressing fabric, comprising a plurality of the threads of claim 5.

7. A scent-suppressing fabric article comprising the fabric of claim 6.

8. A scent-suppressing fabric, comprising the filament of claim 4, wherein the filament is combined with other similar filaments to form the fabric.

9. An article of clothing comprising the fabric of claim 6, wherein the clothing article is formed as a single-layered garment.

10. An outdoor enclosure comprising the fabric of claim 6.

11. A deodorant thread, the thread comprising an elongate flexible core filament and a scent-suppressing coating operatively attached to the core filament, wherein the scent-suppressing coating comprises a material selected from the group consisting of silver nitrate, carbon, and mixtures thereof.

12. The deodorant thread of claim 11, wherein the scent-suppressing coating comprises carbon.

13. A scent-suppressing fabric, comprising a plurality of the threads of claim 11.

14. A scent-suppressing fabric article comprising the fabric of claim 13.

15. A scent-suppressing fabric, comprising the deodorant thread of claim 11, wherein the thread is combined with other similar threads to form the fabric.

16. An article of clothing comprising the fabric of claim 13.

17. A scent-suppressing fabric, comprising the deodorant thread of claim 11 combined with non-deodorant threads.

18. An article of clothing comprising the fabric of claim 17.

19. A fabric bag comprising the scent-suppressing fabric of claim 17.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to scent-suppressing fibers, and to fabrics and fabric articles made using the fibers. More particularly, the present invention relates to a fiber or thread having a scent-suppressing material associated therewith, and to fabrics and fabric articles containing such fibers. Fabric woven from the scent-suppressing fiber is itself scent-suppressing, and can be formed into scent-suppressing garments and equipment.

2. Background Art

The acuity of animals' sense of smell is well known, particularly to hunters, bird watchers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Wildlife has an instinctive reaction to human scent that has developed and has been honed over thousands of years. As a result of this sensory ability, wildlife has an advantage in detecting a human presence, often before humans have the ability to detect wildlife.

In order to overcome this sensory advantage and give an advantage to humans who are attempting to approach wildlife, many solutions have been offered. One partial solution is visual camouflage. This ancient solution attempts to confuse wildlife by using clothing or natural items, such as leaves, to break up the silhouette of a human. Visual camouflage can be successful in concealing a human's presence to wildlife, as long as the wearer is conscientious about the wind direction when approaching wildlife, and remains downwind from the animal. This situation could complicate matters and at its best, is a compromise.

Another solution is to mask human scent with another scent, or olfactory camouflage. Olfactory camouflage provides a scent that wildlife would either be attracted to or at least indifferent to. This solution could be described as an offensive scent/scent strategy, since the user would be actively emitting a scent to engage the wildlife, and therefore betray the presence of something emitting a scent. A preferred strategy would be to remove any indication of the presence of the human by suppressing any emanation of scent from the human.

Suppression of human scent can be achieved by wearing scent-suppressing clothing. Some layered clothing of this type is known and is commercially available, such as the clothing sold by A.L.S. Enterprises, Inc. of Muskegon, Mich. under the trademark SCENT-LOK. Ideally, this clothing would be of a style and type that is comfortable and easy to wear. Because of the nature of the use of the clothing in an outdoor, hostile environment, the clothing should be durable and resistant to tearing and puncturing. Finally, the clothing would be able to be washed and re-worn multiple times without losing its scent-suppressing capabilities, unlike some prior art clothing which cannot be washed even once, or other scent-dampening clothing that gradually loses its effectiveness after frequent washings or exposure to soaking in water, a condition that can be expected while spending a great deal of time outdoors, often in remote locations.

Examples of published patents relating to known scent-suppressing clothing include U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,678,247; 5,383,236; 6,134,718; 5,539,930; and 6,000,057. The prior art includes articles of clothing consisting of various coatings of scent absorbing materials, via silk screening or spray coating or using a layered effect, usually sandwiching the active layer between two or more inactive layers.

Although multilayered and coated scent-suppressing fabrics have been shown to have some efficacy, they are expensive to manufacture, as well as cumbersome, hot and somewhat uncomfortable when used to form garments. Additionally, coated fabrics are susceptible to losing scent-suppressing abilities due to surface wear or puncture, or as a result of cleaning.

A need exists for a scent-suppressing fabric which is capable of being made in a single layer, to reduce manufacturing cost and increase comfort in the end product. A need also exists for a scent-suppressing fabric which does not include a separate coating layer on one side of the fabric, so that the scent suppression capability is maintained even after wear and surface damage associated with the rigors of outdoors activities or due to normal cleaning. A need exists for a cost effective scent-suppressing fiber and fabric made with the fiber that can be used to provide improved scent-suppressing garments, equipment and the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a scent-suppressing fiber that is capable of being woven into a single-layered fabric that has scent-suppressing properties. The fabric can be formed into articles of clothing to be worn in order to suppress or prevent the wearer's bodily scent or scents from emanating from the wearer to the environment. The fabric can also be formed into equipment and accessories which are scent-suppressing to suppress or prevent scent from emanating from these items.

In a first embodiment of the invention, the fiber is a composite material including a conventional thread core, coated with a scent-suppressing material, such as carbon, a carbon-containing compound, or silver nitrate.

In a second embodiment of the invention, the fiber is a composite thread formed from a plurality of filaments, where some of the filaments include a scent-suppressing material.

In a third embodiment of the invention, the fiber comprises a filamentous thread formed from a polymeric material in which carbon or another scent-suppressing material is trapped in interstices within, or otherwise incorporated into the polymer.

These scent-suppressing fibers may be woven to form a fabric sheet that is formed completely of woven carbon scent-suppressing fibers, or alternatively may be formed of carbon scent-suppressing fibers interwoven with conventional fibers.

The resulting scent-suppressing fabric sheet is capable of being formed into articles of clothing or other equipment that suppresses scent emission detectable by wildlife. Because the scent-suppressing fiber is structurally a part of the article, its durability is much higher than if the scent-suppressing fiber were applied superficially, as in a sandwich-type layering system or applied as a fabric coating. Also, because the scent-suppressing fiber may be continuously present within and throughout the material, the scent-suppressing capability covers the entire garment and is not limited to only large surface areas.

The invention will allow the user to reduce or eliminate the ability of wildlife to detect the user's presence. Interweaving scent-suppressing materials in the structure of the fabric itself provides articles of clothing and other equipment formed of the scent-suppressing fabric.

Examples of some articles of clothing which may be fabricated from the scent-suppressing fabric can include whole body suits, upper and lower body coverings, foul-weather gear, foot wear, and head and hand coverings. The garments incorporating the scent-suppressing fiber will have a cumulative effect; therefore, the higher the percentage of the user's body that is covered a fabric article according to the invention, the greater the user's scent will the suppressed from entering the environment and betraying the user's location to wildlife. Other articles that could contain items emitting human scent may be formed from the scent-suppressing fabric, such as containers and storage vessels. Additionally, the present invention can be incorporated into camping gear, such as tents, portable blinds, sleeping bags, tarpaulins, hammocks and chairs.

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, the reader is referred to the following detailed description section, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Throughout the following detailed description and in the drawings, like numbers refer to like parts.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of a scent-suppressing fiber illustrating the carbon coating on a non-carbon filamentous core.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of two carbon-scent-suppressing fibers twisted to form a scent-suppressing thread.

FIG. 3 is a detail perspective view of fabric woven of non-scent-suppressing fibers interwoven with carbon scent-suppressing fibers illustrating a scent-suppressing fiber to non-scent-suppressing fiber ratio of 1 to 1.

FIG. 4 is a detail perspective view of fabric woven with only carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of a portable fabric hunting blind manufactured using fabric woven of carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of a person wearing clothing articles, including a hooded jacket, face scarf, gloves and trousers, formed using fabric woven of carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a soft carrying bag formed of fabric woven of carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of a shoe insert formed of fabric woven of carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of a boot covered in fabric woven of carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a sock formed of fabric incorporating carbon scent-suppressing fibers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 illustrates a fiber 10 having scent-suppressing properties according to a first embodiment of the present invention. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the fiber 10 has a filamentous central core 14 that is encapsulated in, or coated with an element, mixture or compound 12 which is scent absorbing or scent-suppressing.

The scent-suppressing coating 12 is formed from a material which may include carbon, silver nitrate, or a mixture of these materials, or may be formed of a mixture or compound which includes carbon. However, it is well within the scope of this invention to substitute other effective scent absorbing or suppressing elements or compounds for carbon and/or silver nitrate.

The filamentous core 14 may be any conventional natural or man-made fiber, including, but not limited to, cotton thread, wool thread, nylon strand, acrylic strand, and polyester strand or a mixture of these. The elongate, continuous filamentous core 14 is preferably flexible and provides a resilient, strong, tough base or structure that supports the scent-suppressing coating, so that when the fiber is woven into fabric, the fabricated end-product is pliable, tough, and durable as well as scent-suppressing.

The coating 12 may be applied to the filamentous core 14 using conventional methods, which may include, but are not limited to spraying, dipping or extrusion. The filamentous core 14 is completely surrounded by coating 12 such that the entire external surface of fiber 10 comprises coating 12, and such that coating 12 is generally evenly distributed about filamentous core 14. The coating may include a binder and an elasticizer, in addition to the scent-suppressing agent.

A single fiber 10 may be used as a single-strand thread 16, or alternately, may be twisted with other fibers 10 (FIG. 2) to form a multi-strand thread 18.

FIG. 5 shows an alternative thread 32 that can be used in place of the fiber 10 in the practice of the present invention. In the thread 32 shown in FIG. 5, a plurality of microfibers 34 made of polyester or other polymeric thread mixture may be used in a grouping with the addition of additional scent-dampening microfibers 36 with scent-suppressing material incorporated therein, such that the scent-dampening microfibers 36 become an integral part of the thread. Active carbon, silver nitrate, mixtures of active carbon with silver nitrate, or other scent dampening materials may be used.

In yet another alternative, instead of being made in discrete layers with the scent-dampening material limited to the outer layer as shown in FIG. 1, instead, the entire thread may be made of a substantially homogeneous material which includes a scent-suppressing material as part of a polymer making up the thread.

In an alternative embodiment, individual threads 16 or 18 are interwoven, by conventional methods, with conventional threads to form a scent-suppressing or deodorant fabric sheet 20 (FIG. 3) in which scent-suppressing fibers provide some portion of the threads in the fabric. In one application of this type of fabric, scent-suppressing fibers may be included with a ratio of scent-suppressing fiber to conventional fiber in a range of about 5-1 to about 1-10. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, scent-suppressing fibers may be included with conventional fibers in a ratio of about 1 to 1. Inclusion of scent-suppressing fibers in both the weft and warp, only the warp, or in only the weft of the fabric sheet 20 are acceptable variations within the scope of the invention, as long as the effectiveness of the scent suppression of fabric 20 is maintained. By interweaving coated and non-coated threads, the cost of the fabric 20 is reduced, and aesthetic qualities, such as color and texture, can be modified to suit the specific application.

In another embodiment of the invention, individual threads 16 or 18 are woven by conventional methods to form a scent-suppressing or deodorant fabric sheet 30 (FIG. 4) in which scent-suppressing fibers form all the threads in both the weft and warp. By forming fabric 30 using all scent-suppressing threads 16, 18, the effectiveness of scent suppression of the fabric is maximized.

Scent-suppressing fiber threads 16 or 18 may be woven together to form a scent-suppressing or deodorant fabric sheet 20, 30, which in turn are fabricated into articles of clothing or other equipment formed of fabric 20, 20 to inhibit or eliminate the emission of scents when the wearer is in the vicinity of wildlife. The articles of clothing (FIGS. 6, 8-10) fabricated from the inventive fabric can include, but are not limited to,

whole body suits 50 as shown in FIG. 7,

upper body coverings 53 such as shirts, undershirts, coats, jackets, or vests,

lower 55 body coverings such as shorts, trousers, waders, overalls, and long and short undergarments,

foul-weather gear such as ponchos, jackets, and coats,

foot wear including socks 58, shoes and boots 56 or components thereof, including shoe or boot liners and footwear inserts 70,

head and face coverings such as hats, scarves 52, masks, and hoods 51, and

hand coverings such as mittens, gloves 54, and muffs.

The equipment formed of scent-suppressing fabric 20, 30 may be wholly or substantially formed of the fabric. Examples of equipment which may be wholly or substantially formed of scent-suppressing fabric include, but are not limited to, camping gear, such as tents, portable blinds 40 (FIG. 5), sleeping bags, tarpaulins, hammocks and chairs, and baggage 60 (FIG. 7), including gym bags, duffel bags and backpacks.

Scent-suppressing fabric may be used as a deodorant covering for items which are wholly or substantially non-fabric items that could also contain items emitting human scent such as containers and storage vessels, including, but not limited to, coolers, beverage containers, canteens, or gun cases. Deodorant coverings can also be used with shoes or boots, or included in camouflage accessories for guns, bows, or other hunting equipment. Such coverings may be integrally formed on the equipment item during manufacture, or may be provided as a separate accessory which is selectively added or removed from the item as needed.

Although the present invention has been described herein with respect to specific illustrative embodiments thereof, the foregoing description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. Those skilled in the art will realize that many modifications of the preferred embodiments could be made which would be operable. All such modifications, which are within the scope of the claims, are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention.