Title:
Hanging foldable apparatus for scarves, ties, bandannas and the like, belts, leg coverings, suspenders, and other types of articles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hanging, foldable apparatus particularly suited to hold a variety of garments such as scarves, ties, bandannas and like items, belts, leg coverings, suspenders, and other types of articles. This apparatus includes pieces of cloth facings 10 and 11 which form the body, a plurality of covered elasticized rings 13 which allow for various items to be drawn therethrough, and recloseable fastening products 12 which allow the apparatus to be secured to, and removed from, a conventional hanger or other hanger device.



Inventors:
Rogers, Laurie Heather (Spokane, WA, US)
Rogers, Heather Renee (Spokane, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/454696
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
06/16/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, LANNA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Laurie H. Rogers (Spokane, WA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An apparatus for holding various types of garments or articles and comprising: a) a plurality of pieces of flexible material, b) means for attaching said pieces of flexible material to each other in such a manner as to form a body of material of a predetermined size that is sufficient to accommodate the hanging thereon of a plurality of garments or articles, c) fastener means for securing said flexible material to a separate surface, d) a plurality of rings of predetermined size, e) wherein each ring forms an opening which is suited to receive a garment or article therethrough, and f) means for attaching said rings to said flexible material at predetermined intervals and in such a manner so that said rings allow for room for various types of garments or articles to be drawn through and to hang from said rings, whereby a human can easily, safely and efficiently store garments and articles without risk of soiling or damage to such items.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said pieces of flexible material are pieces of cloth or fleece.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said fastener means are hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said fastener means are ties made from a flexible material.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said rings are covered and elasticized.

6. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said rings are covered and elasticized.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, further including weighting devices that are sandwiched between said pieces of flexible material.

8. The apparatus of claim 6 further including weighting devices that are sandwiched between said pieces of flexible material.

9. An apparatus for holding various types of garments or articles and comprising: a) a single piece of flexible material of a predetermined size that is sufficient to accommodate the hanging thereon of a plurality of garments or articles, b) fastener means for securing said flexible material to a separate surface, c) a plurality of rings of predetermined size, d) wherein each ring forms an opening which is suited to receive a garment or article therethrough, and e) means for attaching said rings to said flexible material at predetermined intervals and in such a manner so that said rings allow for room for various types of garments or articles to be drawn through and to hang from said rings, whereby a human can easily, safely and efficiently store garments and articles without risk of soiling or damage to such items.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said piece of flexible material is a piece of cloth or fleece.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said fastener means are hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said fastener means are ties made from a flexible material.

13. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein said rings are covered and elasticized.

14. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein said rings are covered and elasticized.

15. The apparatus of claim 9, further including weighting devices that are secured to said piece of flexible material.

16. The apparatus of claim 14 further including weighting devices that are secured to said piece of flexible material.

17. A method of storing certain types of garments or articles, comprising: a) providing an apparatus of the type comprising flexible material, means for forming said flexible material in such a manner as to form a body of material of a predetermined size that is sufficient to accommodate the hanging thereon of a plurality of garments or articles, fastener means for securing said flexible material to a hanger device, a plurality of rings of predetermined size wherein each ring forms an opening which is suited to receive a garment or article therethrough, and means for attaching said rings to said flexible material at predetermined intervals and in such a manner so that said rings allow for room for various types of garments or articles to be drawn through and to hang from said rings, b) providing certain types of garments or articles, c) inserting said garments or articles through said rings and pulling so that said garments or articles slide through said rings until said garments or articles rest on said rings with a portion of their length on either side of said rings, whereby said apparatus can be used to easily, safely, and efficiently hang a plurality of garments or articles in a closet or cupboard.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said fastener means are recloseable fasteners.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein said rings are elasticized and covered.

20. The method of claim 17 wherein said flexible material is cloth or fleece.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

I. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to garment hangers, and more particularly, to a new, versatile apparatus that holds a variety of scarves, ties, bandannas, and other articles in an organized, accessible manner, and which is foldable, simple to hang, and easily adapted for travel.

II. Description of the Prior Art

Common items in many households include a variety of garments and articles such as scarves, ties, bandannas and the like, belts, leg coverings, suspenders, and other types of articles such as hand towels, napkins, handkerchiefs, cleaning cloths, chains, or leather items. Such items are often stored by draping them over dowels, loops, hooks, or conventional hangers; piling them into drawers; wedging them tightly into slots; or leaving them in a heap in a basket or on shelf. To find a particular item, a person must search through the pile, causing other items to become untidy, disheveled, soiled or wrinkled. Several types of devices have been proposed to deal with this issue. While these devices fulfill their respective, particular objectives and requirements, the need remains for a new device that is constructed so that a variety and plurality of items can be securely stored there, so that a particular item can be quickly and easily identified and selected, so that remaining items stay tidy and in place, and so that stored items are free from undue risk of soiling or damage from the device itself, or from being next to the device.

Most previously made devices are constructed in such a way so that their operation allows items stored on them to bump or rub against other items stored on either side of them in the closet or cupboard. Such is the case with U.S. Pat. No. 4,778,088 to Miller (1988), which discloses a looping construction with additional clips. This type of construction can cause disheveling, soiling or damage to any of the items.

Many previously made devices disclose rigid or semi-rigid materials or attachments, such as clips, hooks, slots, dowels, rods, hangers, or pincers. Many disclose pieces or parts made from metal, plastic or wood. These types of devices can catch on an item's material, damaging it, and they also carry a risk of damage to other delicate items stored in the closet or cupboard. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,974,057 to Smith (2005) discloses a device utilizing clips and hooks for storing belts and ties. The clips are cushioned to protect items hanging from them, however the clips and hooks nevertheless provide a risk of damage to other items stored next to the device.

Several previously made devices disclose forms that are similar in construction to conventional clothes hangers. Such devices would therefore hold a plurality of items, however it would be difficult to select an item from such devices without dislodging or disheveling the remaining items. Such is the case with U.S. Pat. No. 6,006,964 to White (1999), U.S. Pat. No. 5,915,604 to Farrar et al. (1999), U.S. Pat. No. 5,857,597 to Kolton (1999), and U.S. Pat. No. 5,161,720 to Kolton et al. (1992).

Other previously made devices disclose hooking systems that are insufficient for holding a variety of items, or for holding a plurality of items, or for holding several items securely. Such is the case with the constructions disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,105,833 to Najarian (2000), U.S. Pat. No. 5,881,931 to Stanfield (1999), and U.S. Pat. No. 2,582,308 to Berglund (1952).

U.S. Pat. No. 1,851,045 (1932) and U.S. Pat. No. 1,791,027 (1931), both to Holstein, disclose a slotted construction that is insufficient for securely holding a plurality of items. U.S. Pat. No. 5,642,841 to Beaty (1997) and U.S. Pat. No. 5,209,382 to Chang (1993) are dowel systems better suited for belts than for scarves. Other devices, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,334,559 to Armaly (2002), U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,708 to Sacks (1997), U.S. Pat. No. 4,863,043 to Bowen (1989), U.S. Pat. No. 3,945,500 to Meckstroth (1976), or U.S. Pat. No. 3,783,995 to Tobin (1974) would hold belts or ties securely but are not as well suited for holding more delicate items. This is also the case for U.S. Pat. No. 6,749,093 to Harris (2004), which discloses prongs used for storing belts.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,934,524 to Gray (1999) proposes a construction utilizing slots and tie support arms. Its semi-rigid frame, however, along with its adaptations for travel, make it heavier and also more cumbersome to pack. Additionally, its tie support arms are not well suited for storing delicate items.

Any of these situations can create an untidy, disorganized, and unattractive appearance, and can cause needless wear and tear to the items. In addition, many previously made devices or systems of organization are difficult, if not impossible, to operate with one hand, to fold, to wash, to carry, or to pack for easy traveling.

III. Objects and Advantages

Accordingly, several objects and advantages of our present invention are:

a) to provide a versatile apparatus that offers a safe, efficient, and orderly method of storing a variety of garments such as scarves, ties, bandannas and the like, belts, coverings, and suspenders, as well as other types of articles;

b) to provide an apparatus that organizes such garments and articles in such a way so that one or more items can be quickly and easily identified and selected, so that remaining items stay tidy and in place, and so that items are not at undue risk of soiling or damage from being handled;

c) to provide an apparatus whose construction does not require items to be stored on metal, wood, or plastic attachments;

d) to provide an apparatus whose construction offers some physical protection to any stored items hanging from it or next to it;

e) to provide an apparatus that holds an item securely, but not in such a manner as to damage the item;

f) to provide an apparatus that is foldable, washable, easily portable, operable with one hand, and not unattractive to the eye.

Further objects and advantages of our invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and ensuing description.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, an apparatus comprises pieces of cloth or other flexible material, elasticized rings, weighting devices, and fastening products that can attach this apparatus to a conventional hanger or other hanger device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of this apparatus will be had upon reference to the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view illustrating a preferred embodiment of our invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view illustrating a preferred embodiment of our invention.

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view (from above) illustrating a preferred embodiment of our invention, wherein a portion of the front facing is shown.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a preferred embodiment of our invention.

FIG. 5 is a portion of the front elevational view of a preferred embodiment. In this view of the right bottom corner, the front facing is partially peeled back, showing a weighting device sandwiched between the front and rear facings.

FIG. 6A is a portion of the rear elevational view, using 1-piece hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners as recloseable fasteners.

FIG. 6B is a portion of the rear elevational view, using strips of cloth or other flexible material as recloseable fasteners.

FIG. 6C is a portion of the rear elevational view, using buttons and button holes as recloseable fasteners.

FIG. 6D is a portion of the rear elevational view, using snaps, hooks or clips, and their mates, as recloseable fasteners.

FIG. 6E is a portion of the rear elevational view, using loops made from sturdy cloth or other flexible material as recloseable fasteners.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 Front facing of cloth, fleece or other material
  • 11 Rear facing of cloth, fleece or other material
  • 12 Strips of hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners (2-piece format)
  • 12A Strips of hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners (1-piece format)
  • 12B Strips of flexible material
  • 12C Buttons and button holes
  • 12D Snaps, hooks, or clips, and their mates
  • 12E Strips of sturdy material, attached at both ends to form loops
  • 13 Soft, cloth-covered elasticized rings, each sewn on one edge
  • 14 Area reserved for a weighting device that is sandwiched between facings
  • 14A Weighting device
  • 15 Bottom edge of apparatus
  • 16 Top edge of apparatus
  • 17 Small piece of hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners (2-piece format)
  • 18 Side edge of apparatus

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a front elevational view of a preferred embodiment of our invention. Referring to FIG. 1, this apparatus is preferably made from pieces of cloth fleece, or other flexible material of a predetermined size. Our current preference is that 2 pieces of material be used together to form the predetermined size, however a greater or smaller number of pieces of material may be used. Still referring to FIG. 1, the pieces of material are attached at edges 15, 16, and 18, with right sides outward. Our current preference is that the apparatus be of a double thickness, however other thicknesses, including a single thickness, may be used. Additionally, we prefer that front facing 10 is of a solid color, and that rear facing 11 is both colorful and coordinated to the color of front facing 10. However, for either facing, any color combinations may be used.

FIG. 5 shows a view of the front right bottom corner of a preferred embodiment of our invention. Before top edge 16 (FIG. 1) is finished, a small weighting device 14A (referring now to FIG. 5) may be placed in bottom corner 14 or at bottom edge 15, but in any case sandwiched between facings 10 and 11. Another weighting device 14A is placed in the opposite corner 14 (FIG. 1), or along bottom edge 15, so that the apparatus is evenly weighted along bottom edge 15. The preferred weight of each weighting device is 28.35 grams (1 oz.), however other sizes or weights may be used. Presently, sewing weights are our preferred weighting devices, however other similarly weighted materials (such as stones, rocks, or marbles, for example) may be used. After sides 15, 16, and 18 are sewn and finished, each side is preferably (but not necessarily) sewn again along edges 15, 16, and 18, through both thicknesses and on their right sides, in order to prevent edges 15, 16, and 18 from rolling. The preferable approximate finished length and width of the apparatus is 36 cm. ×81 cm. (approximately 14″×32″), although the finished size can be longer, shorter, wider or narrower.

FIG. 2 shows a rear elevational view of a preferred embodiment of our invention. Referring to FIG. 2, portions of hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners 12 (or other type of fastening product) are secured near top edge 16 on rear facing 11. Still referring to FIG. 2, the mating portions of fasteners 12 are sewn farther down from the first portions—also on rear facing 11, and each mating portion directly facing (and off-setting) each first portion, but above where any elasticized rings 13 (see FIG. 1) will be sewn to front facing 10. Again referring to FIG. 2, thus, when first portions of fasteners 12 are secured to their mates, a loop of material is thereby formed along top edge 16, and large enough for the bottom rung of a conventional hanger or other hanger device (not shown) to be drawn through. Presently, our preferred fastening products are 2-piece hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners. However other types of fastening products, some of which do not require a mate, may be used. Thus, in this preferred embodiment, top edge 16 is folded over the bottom rung of a hanger or hanger device (not shown) and secured with fasteners 12 so that the apparatus hangs down evenly from the hanger or hanger device.

Referring again to FIG. 1, an important aspect of the preferred embodiment of our invention is that several elasticized rings 13 (such as those used as hair ponytail holders, for one example) are secured at predetermined spaced intervals over and across front facing 10, but always below where recloseable fasteners 12 (or other fastening products) are secured to rear facing 11. Rings 13 may vary slightly in size or placement, but each is preferably (although not necessarily) elasticized and entirely cloth-covered, with no metal, plastic or other sharp or hard material or decoration that might catch on delicate garments or articles. Other types of rings, however, may be used. Each ring 13 is of a size that will hold a garment or article without unduly squeezing it or causing it to become otherwise damaged. Preferably, rings 13 are spaced in such a manner as to be pleasing to the eye, but in any case so as to allow room for garments or articles to hang therethrough. Our current preference is that rings 13 be varied in color, thereby forming a display that is pleasing to the eye. However, one single color, or any combination of colors, can be used.

FIG. 3 shows a front perspective view (from above) of the invention, while FIG. 4 is a plan view. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, each ring 13 will be sewn on one edge, so that each juts out from front facing 10 and offers space for a garment to be drawn through. Each ring 13 will be sewn on through both thicknesses of material, thus giving added support to the items drawn through, and also helping to prevent the apparatus from losing its shape.

Sill referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, each ring 13 therefore forms an opening that is suited to receive a garment or cloth article therethrough. Thus, with the garment or article (not shown) positioned through ring 13 opening, ring 13 supports the garment or article, and is in turn supported by front facing 10 and back facing 11, which are in turn supported by the conventional hanger or other hanger device (not shown). Preferably 15 to 18 rings 13 will be used, however other numbers of rings 13 may also be used. Slightly different size rings 13 and different placements thereof also can accommodate different sizes and types of garments or articles.

Operation FIGS. 1, 3, 4

The manner of using the preferred embodiment of this invention, as shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, is as described in the paragraph following. The apparatus is secured to a conventional hanger or other hanger device (not shown) by looping top edge 16 of the apparatus over a hanger or hanger device, and attaching each first portion recloseable fastener 12 to its mate. The apparatus is thus supported by the hanger or hanger device and can be hung from a conventional closet bar (not shown) or from some other location. Then, various garments or articles (not shown) are drawn through elasticized rings 13 until each item reaches a point at which it hangs securely from ring 13. Preferably, but not necessarily, each ring 13 should hold not more than one garment or article. The apparatus may be removed from the hanger or hanger device separating each first portion fastener 12 from its mate.

FIGS. 6A-6E Additional Embodiments

Additional embodiments of this Invention are shown in FIGS. 6A-6E, all of which are partial rear elevational views. In each case, the upper portion of rear facing 11 is shown, with a various alternative type of recloseable fastening product being used in place of 2-piece hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners 12. In these additional embodiments, each fastener is attached to edge 16 evenly across the top, and in such a manner so that the apparatus can hang evenly from a hanger or other hanging device.

In FIG. 6A, for example, fastening products 12A are 3 strips of 1-piece hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners, each of which is secured near the top of rear facing 11 with stitching across its middle, leaving its ends loose. In FIG. 6B, fastening products 12B are 3 ties (preferably made of cloth or other flexible material), each of which is secured near the top of rear facing 11 with stitching across its middle, leaving its ends loose.

In FIG. 6C, fastening products 12C are 3 buttons and 3 button holes. In FIG. 6D, fastening products 12D are 3 snaps, clips, or hooks, and their mates.

In FIG. 6E, fastening products 12E are 3 strips of material. One end of each strip 12E is permanently secured to the front of edge 16. To the other end of each strip 12E, one portion of recloseable fastener 17 is attached. In this embodiment, our preferred type of recloseable fastener is the 2-piece style of hook-and-loop recloseable fasteners. However, other types of fastening products, such as clips, buttons, hooks, or snaps, may be used. Each mate of each first portion of fastener 17 is then attached to the back of edge 16, and in such as manner so that each first portion has a mate, and so that when each first portion is attached to its mate, each strip 12E forms a loop large enough to go over a hanger or other hanger device.

Operation FIGS. 6C, 6D

The manner of using this invention, as embodied in FIGS. 6C and 6D, is the same as described for the preferred embodiment, except for the method of securing the apparatus to a hanger device. In FIG. 6C, top edge 16 is looped over a hanger or other hanger device (not shown) and secured by pushing each button 12C into its opposite button hole. The apparatus may be removed from the hanger device by pushing each button 12C back through the hole. In FIG. 6D, top edge 16 is looped over a hanger device and secured by attaching each fastener 12D to its mate. The apparatus may be removed from the hanger device by separating each fastener 12D from its mate.

Operation FIGS. 6A, 6B

The manner of using this invention, as embodied in FIGS. 6A and 6B is the same as that described for the preferred embodiment, except for the method of securing the apparatus to a hanger device (not shown). In FIGS. 6A and 6B, each fastening product 12A or 12B respectively, is looped over a hanger or hanger device (not shown), and secured to or with itself. The apparatus may be removed from the hanger device by undoing each fastener 12A or 12B.

Operation FIG. 6E

The manner of using this invention, as it is embodied in FIG. 6E is the same as that described for the preferred embodiment, except for the method of securing the apparatus to a hanger device (not shown). In FIG. 6E, strips of material 12E are looped over a hanger device (not shown) and then attached to the apparatus at the rear of top edge 16 by securing each fastener 17 to its opposing mate. The apparatus may be removed from the hanger device by separating each fastener 17 from its mate.

Advantages

This invention offers many advantages over previously made devices for holding garments or articles.

a) With this invention, scarves, belts, bandannas, and other types of articles are no longer draped precariously over hangers, dowels, loops or rods, or jumbled in a mess in a drawer, basket, or on a shelf. Instead, each item can hang safely, securely, and out of the way.

b) Garments and articles are no longer at risk of damage from attachments utilizing metal, wood or plastic. Additionally, other items in the closet or cupboard are not at risk of damage from this apparatus.

c) The preferred rings on this apparatus are light and do not pull this apparatus out of shape. The rings securely hold items, and removing one item from one ring does not cause another item stored on the apparatus to become disheveled or to fall to the floor.

d) The long rectangular shape of this apparatus offers protection to delicate garments and articles being stored on or next to this apparatus.

e) This apparatus is can be operated efficiently with one hand. Offset placement of the rings allows for easy perusal of items. Desired items can be quickly located and selected. The covered, elasticized nature of our preferred type of rings makes it easy to add or remove items from this apparatus.

f) This apparatus is versatile and can accommodate many different types of garments and articles, including, but not limited to scarves, bandannas and like items, belts, leg coverings, suspenders, and certain types of ties, along with other types of articles such as hand towels, napkins, handkerchiefs, leather items, chains, and cleaning cloths. Differently sized rings, and various placements of the rings, can accommodate different thicknesses, lengths or types of items.

g) Recloseable fastening products on the rear facing allow this apparatus to be quickly and easily removed from a conventional clothes hanger or other hanger device, rolled up (without necessarily removing or separately packing garments or articles), and placed in a suitcase or other carrying case for traveling. On arrival at the destination, the apparatus can be quickly unrolled and again secured to a hanger.

h) Should this apparatus become soiled, the garments and articles can be easily removed, the apparatus washed, and the items then resituated.

i) In addition to the foregoing, this apparatus has multiple other benefits. It is relatively simple and inexpensive to produce and market. It does not use precious or rare materials. There are no moving parts, so it will not require expensive maintenance, and it is therefore likely to have a long life cycle. Even when filled with garments or articles, this apparatus is still relatively slender and does not take up much space in a closet or cupboard. By itself, this apparatus is relatively light, safe for use by any age, and supremely reliable. Color coordinating the body and rings of this apparatus will make it pleasing to the eye. For all of these reasons, therefore, this apparatus is of great use to the public and is unlikely to become obsolete.

Conclusions, Ramifications and Scope:

From the foregoing description, it can be seen that this invention provides a simple, yet effective means for storing and organizing a variety of garments such as scarves, ties, bandannas and like items, belts, leg coverings, suspenders, and other types of articles. Furthermore, such garments or articles do not become wrinkled or otherwise damaged when stored in this apparatus, even when left in this apparatus for prolonged periods of time.

While we have shown and described many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Many other variations are possible. For example, each of the pieces or strips of material, weighting devices, fastening products, or rings can be smaller or larger than indicated; the apparatus can be made from one piece of material or from multiple pieces; the apparatus can be made with a single thickness of material or with multiple thicknesses; the weighting devices can be eliminated; the pieces of cloth or material that form the body can have other shapes, such as circular, oval, trapezoidal, triangular, etc.; the apparatus can be hung from a door or closet or other surface, rather than from a hanger; the recloseable fastening products can be placed elsewhere on the apparatus or eliminated entirely; other types of fastening devices not mentioned here (such as tacks, nails, etc.) can be used to fasten the apparatus to a surface either temporarily or permanently; fastening products mentioned herein can be secured differently from the manners mentioned herein; additional recloseable fasteners can attach more than one apparatus together in order to form a larger single apparatus; different types of rings can be used, etc.

Therefore, various changes may be made to the form, details, arrangement and proportions of the parts, without departing from the scope of our invention. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.