Title:
Lace and method of forming knots
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lace is provided for lacing various objects such as footwear, clothing, bags, etc. The lace comprises an elastic cord having end segments for tying a knot and a stabilizing member on one of the end segments. The stabilizing member is different from the bits of the lace adjacent thereto in the shape and/or material thereof and arranged so that it appears held in place in the knot when the knot is finished. Also provided is a method of forming a knot out of the lace. The method comprises forming a desired knot until the knot is ready to be firmly tied and then pulling the end segments of the elastic cord until the stabilizing members appear held in place in the knot, which is thus finished.



Inventors:
Gnatenko, Vatalii I. (Kyiv, UA)
Application Number:
11/517528
Publication Date:
12/27/2007
Filing Date:
09/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A43C1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RODRIGUEZ, RUTH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ABELMAN, FRAYNE & SCHWAB (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A lace comprising an elastic cord having end segments for tying a knot and at least one stabilizing member on at least one of the end segments having bits thereof adjacent to the stabilizing member, wherein the stabilizing member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in the shape and/or material thereof and arranged so that it appears held in place in the knot when the knot is finished.

2. A lace as in claim 1, wherein the stabilizing member has a smaller cross-sectional area than that of the elastic cord.

3. A lace as in claim 1, wherein the stabilizing member is a portion of the elastic cord, made from a material that is more capable of taking hold of the surface of the rest of the elastic cord than the rest of the elastic cord taking hold of itself.

4. A lace as in claim 3, wherein the stabilizing member is made from a material that is more capable of undergoing deformation caused by lateral compression than that of the rest of the elastic cord.

5. A lace as in claim 1, wherein the stabilizing member forms part of an even number of stabilizing members and the stabilizing members are arranged in pairs on both ends of the elastic cord.

6. A lace as in claim 5, wherein the stabilizing members in each pair are equidistant from the ends of the elastic cord.

7. A lace as in claim 1, further comprising at least one positioning member disposed on the elastic cord having bits thereof adjacent to the positioning member, wherein the positioning member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

8. A lace as in claim 2, further comprising at least one positioning member disposed on the elastic cord having bits thereof adjacent to the positioning member, wherein the positioning member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

9. A lace as in claim 3, further comprising at least one positioning member disposed on the elastic cord having bits thereof adjacent to the positioning member, wherein the positioning member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

10. A lace as in claim 4, further comprising at least one positioning member disposed on the elastic cord having bits thereof adjacent to the positioning member, wherein the positioning member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

11. A lace as in claim 5, further comprising at least one positioning member disposed on the elastic cord having bits thereof adjacent to the positioning member, wherein the positioning member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

12. A lace as in claim 6, further comprising at least one positioning member disposed on the elastic cord having bits thereof adjacent to the positioning member, wherein the positioning member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

13. A method of forming a knot out of a lace comprising an elastic cord having end segments for tying a knot and at least one stabilizing member on at least one of the end segments having bits thereof adjacent to the stabilizing member, wherein the stabilizing member is different from the cord bits adjacent thereto in the shape and/or material thereof, the method comprising the steps of: tying the end segments of the elastic cord in a starting knot, then forming a desired knot until the knot is ready to be firmly tied, and pulling the end segments of the elastic cord until the stabilizing members appear held in place in the knot, whereby the knot is finished.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to laces for lacing various objects with at least one lace by passing the lace through eyelets provided in the objects or their parts as well as to the method of forming a knot out of free ends of such a lace and is useful in lacing shoes, clothes, bags and other similar objects.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Well known in the art is a lace shown in FIG. 1A. The lace comprises an elastic cord 1 with tips at its extremities, which tips are passed through both first, or bottom, eyelets provided in the objects or their parts and then the lace is positioned so that upon its tightening the free ends of the lace are of approximately equal length, then the lace is passed through the openings or eyelets in the object of lacing and further pulled as desired, and finally the free ends of the elastic cord are tied in a knot by any conventional method.

FIG. 1 (B through F) illustrates the steps of tying free ends of an elastic cord into a so called Standard Knot (to make things clear, one of the ends of the elastic cord 1 is crosshatched). While forming a knot, users usually try to get a bow as symmetrical as possible. It matters from the point of view of both aesthetics and convenience in using the object of lacing (e.g., a carelessly tied shoelace, or loose ends or loops that are too long are likely to cause the knot undone). Also, users tend to tie the knot as firmly as possible to prevent the knot from coming undone later. Known in the art are a number of attempts to tackle the problem of tying laces.

Various approaches were made to protect laces from coming undone by the use of specially constructed devices, such as a storage compartment incorporated in the footwear, wherein the knot is to be concealed, for example, the storage compartment disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,895,696. However, such compartments are not applicable to the kind of footwear such as formal dress shoes or stylish shoes, or the footwear should be of a new design to incorporate such protective shoelace storage compartment, which is not always possible.

Also known in the art is a shoelace retention device for securing a tied knot, which retention device is adapted to be secured on the lace in the course of lacing the shoelace as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,924,177. The prior art retention device is intended to secure the loops and tails of a bow tie knot so as to prevent the knot from spontaneously coming undone. The patent teaches installation of the shoelace retention device while the shoe is being laced, which requires some additional effort and is not always convenient. Also, the prior-art shoelace retention device is not applicable to every type of shoes, for example, formal dress shoes or stylish shoes, for aesthetic reasons.

Some other devices for securing laces are also known in the art, such as the one disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,979,028 and constructed as a plate having slots and holes through which the lace is threaded before tying. The knot is then tied and the free ends of the lace are secured in the slots in the plate. Such devices provide for securing the free ends of the elastic cord and ensure against knots spontaneously coming undone. However, the use of the plate in securing knots is open to the objection that with some types of footwear such plates may adversely affect the appearance of those types of footwear and the suitability for its intended use. Further, if the knot comes undone the plate can slide off the free ends of the elastic cord and be lost.

Furthermore, one of the known ways of securing tied laces against coming loose or untied is coating them to increase friction. This method is open to the objection that not all users do like the touch of such laces or perceive them as pleasing, and more, the coated elastic lace usually becomes less so. Also, coated laces do not resolve the problem of the tied laces spontaneously coming undone, they merely somewhat minimize the chances that the lace will come undone.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has for its object the provision of a lace and a method of forming a knot out of such lace, wherein the above discussed difficulties could be eliminated with the resulting symmetrical and secure knot with tails of equal lengths and tied in a simple manner without conscious reasoning and wherein there is no need for any additional attachments and preparatory steps, and, simultaneously with the above statement, universal use of such lace on any object of lacing can be ensured.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a lace comprising an elastic cord having end segments for tying a knot and at least one stabilizing member on at least one of the end segments having bits thereof adjacent to the stabilizing member, wherein the stabilizing member is different from the bits adjacent thereto in the shape and/or material thereof so that it appears held in place in the knot when the knot is finished.

The difference in the shape of the stabilizing member in various preferred embodiments of the invention is attained by shaping the stabilizing member so that it has a smaller cross-sectional area than that of the elastic cord, while the difference in material by making a portion of the elastic cord from a material that is more capable of taking hold of the surface of the rest of the elastic cord than the rest of the elastic cord taking hold of itself. It makes sense to make the stabilizing member from a material that is more capable of undergoing deformation caused by lateral compression than that of the rest of the elastic cord.

In consideration of various applications, the number of the stabilizing members may be varied from one through four and more.

Where the stabilizing member forms part of an even number of stabilizing members, it is good practice to arrange the stabilizing members in pairs on and equidistantly from the ends of the elastic cord.

In another preferred embodiment of the invention, with the aim of facilitating the forming of a bow knot with not only the tails of equal lengths, but the loops as well, the elastic cord is provided with at least one positioning member, which is different from the bits adjacent thereto in appearance and/or in the sense of touch, and/or in material.

In yet according to another embodiment of the invention, a method of forming a knot out of a lace constructed according to the invention is provided. The method comprises tying the end segments of the elastic cord in a starting knot, then forming a desired knot until the knot is ready to be firmly tied, and pulling the end segments of the elastic cord until the stabilizing members appear held in place in the knot when the knot is finished.

The stabilizing members, when held in place in the knot, prevent the knot from spontaneously coming undone.

The invention will be further explained in greater detail in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 A-F is a depiction of a conventional lace and the steps of tying the same in a standard knot;

FIG. 2 is an embodiment of the invention in a lace with two stabilizing members;

FIG. 3 A-B is a depiction on a somewhat enlarged scale of various shapes of the stabilizing members according to some embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a representation on a somewhat enlarged scale of a stabilizing member made from a material that is more capable of taking hold of the surface of the rest of the elastic cord than the rest of the elastic cord taking hold of itself;

FIG. 5 is an embodiment of the invention in a lace with four stabilizing members;

FIG. 6 is an embodiment of the invention in a lace with a positioning member;

FIG. 7 A-B is a depiction of finishing steps of the method of tying knots according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Now referring to FIG. 2, a lace is shown to comprise an elastic cord 1 and two stabilizing members 2 preferably arranged equidistantly from the free ends of the elastic cord 1. Each stabilizing member 2 is seen on each of the end segments of the elastic cord 1, i.e., closer to the extremities of the elastic cord and farther from its mid-portion. Such an arrangement reflects the central idea of the invention because the end segments are generally tied in a knot. The stabilizing member 2 can be represented as a minor contraction of the elastic cord 1 as shown in FIG. 3 A. It is preferred that the stabilizing member's extension along the elastic cord 1 exceed the maximum width of a flat lace or the maximum dimension across the cross-section of a round lace or an oval lace. The contraction may be produced, e.g., during braiding (resulting in a tighter weave of the part meant to serve as a stabilizing member) or by reducing the cord cross section with embedding the cord in a polymeric material, or by wrapping a thread or yarn around the cord, or by any other method known to those of ordinary skill in the art. The stabilizing member so produced must preferably be elastic to make the lacing and tying of the cord easy and, at the same time, be more capable of taking hold of the surface of the rest of the elastic cord 1 than the rest of the elastic cord 1 taking hold of itself. The latter property is available by a proper selection of materials for the stabilizing member 2 and/or by creating a rough texture of the stabilizing member 2 as exemplified in FIG. 3 B.

The stabilizing member 2 according to a preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 4 has a cross section substantially equal to that of the elastic cord 1 and its surface is more capable of taking hold of the surface of the rest of the elastic cord 1 than the rest of the elastic cord 1 taking hold of itself. The length of the elastic cord 1 serving as the stabilizing member 2 can be given this quality either by impregnating it with a suitable compound or by applying a coat of a suitable compound to it, or by subjecting it to chemical or physical treatment such as forming minor projections on the surface of the stabilizing member 2. It is appropriate in this context to make the stabilizing member 2 from a material that is more capable of undergoing deformation caused by lateral compression than that of the rest of the elastic cord 1. For example, the upper layer of the stabilizing member 2 may be made from a suitable polymeric material or the stabilizing member as such may be braided so that the tightness of the weave progressively increases from the surface to the core of the braid. As mentioned above, the stabilizing members 2 can be provided on the elastic cord in various numbers as may be required by the objects of lacing, but an even number is preferable when the lace of the invention is intended for use with footwear, for example, two or four stabilizing members arranged in pairs on the ends of the elastic cord 1 as can be seen in FIG. 5. It is also appropriate to arrange the stabilizing members 2 equidistantly from the ends of the elastic cord 1. The stabilizing members 2 of the lace according to the invention can be identical or different to suit aesthetical and functional requirements.

It is to be understood that with consideration for various service conditions and objects of lacing, the lace of the invention can comprise an elastic cord with variously shaped cross-sections, including round, oval, flat, etc., and can be made of cotton, synthetic fibers, silk or other materials.

The method aspect of the present invention is concerned with the forming of a knot out of the lace constructed according to the invention, wherein the finishing steps of tying, e.g., the standard knot shown in FIG. 1 B-F, comprise pulling the lower parts of the loops 3 in the direction of the arrows, which can be seen in FIG. 7 A, until the stabilizing members 2 appear in the knot being formed (FIG. 7 B). Users can determine whether the stabilizing members 2 have been set in place either visually or by touch. Thereafter the knot is firmly tied by pulling on the upper parts of the loops 3 in the direction of the arrows to thereby finish the knot. Where the lace having the stabilizing member 2 shaped as in FIG. 3 A, B, has been tied in a knot, the passage of the cord bits adjacent to the stabilizing members 2 through loops 4 (FIG. 7 B) is restrained since the cross-sectional area of the elastic cord 1 is greater than that of the stabilizing member 2 and the inside passage area formed by the loops 4, the elastic cord 1 and the stabilizing members 2 set in place in the knot is too small as compared with the cross-sectional area of the elastic cord 1 to let the elastic cord slide over itself and hence to let the knot spontaneously come undone. The stabilizing member 2, being more capable of taking hold of the surface of the rest of the elastic cord 1 than the rest of the elastic cord 1 taking hold of itself, further restrains the elastic cord 1 from sliding within the knot and hence the knot from coming undone. Where the lace has the stabilizing member 2 shown in FIG. 4, an enhanced capability of the stabilizing member to take hold of the surface of the elastic cord 1 provides by itself for restraining the elastic cord 1 from sliding within the knot and hence the knot from coming undone. Also, the stabilizing member 2 further restrains the knot from coming undone by the feature of being more capable of undergoing deformation caused by lateral compression than the bits of the elastic cord 1 adjacent to the stabilizing member 2, e.g. when tightened by the loop 4.

Where the lace has four stabilizing members (FIG. 5), it is tied in the same way as described above, though the user is to make a choice here which stabilizing members should be used to match his or her aesthetic or functional preferences. The stabilizing members 2 that are more distant from the ends of the lace may appear on the lace lengths that are involved in the lacing of an object and can be readily used to determine symmetry of lacing as well as to stabilize the lacing due to greater capability of the stabilizing members to take hold of the lace surface or by placing the stabilizing members in the eyelets of an object of lacing where they are curved round the edge of the eyelets. It is to be understood that the stabilizing members are flexible in this case.

In an embodiment of the invention where the lace is provided with a positioning member 5 (FIG. 6), a lacing stage must precede the tying of the lace according to the invention.

At the beginning of a lacing procedure, the positioning member 5 is placed between the bottom or first eyelets with a proper use of the external features of the positioning member. Then follow the steps of positioning the lace and lacing the object of lacing and finally the method of forming a knot is performed in the same way as described above. It is to be understood that the positioning member makes it much easier to have the end segments of the lace of equal lengths both at the beginning and at the end of lacing, and therefore it is possible to tie a knot as nearly symmetrical as possible and having loops 4 (FIG. 7B) and tails of practically equal dimensions, the latter quality being due to the arrangement of the stabilizing members 2 equidistantly from the ends of the elastic cord 1. Where the lace of the invention is provided with a positioning member 5 (FIG. 6), equal lengths of the free ends of the lace are maintained not only at the time of any initial use of the lace but in all subsequent lacing procedures as well.

Thus the present invention as embodied in the lace and the method of forming a knot out of such lace and as described above enables the user to tie a symmetrical and secure knot quickly in a simple manner without conscious reasoning in all uses and such that its spontaneous coming undone is unlikely. Also, the lace according to the invention is unique in that it can be put to limitless uses on any type of footwear, clothing, bags, etc. Moreover, the stabilizing members are further capable of being used as decorations.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, various modifications thereof will be apparent and the departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention as defined in the claims.