Title:
Ornament Holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A support is disclosed for suspending an item, such as a Christmas tree ornament suspended from a supporting hook, on and outwardly away from a vertical post, such as a Christmas tree trunk. An elongated generally rigid rod includes a distal end with a U-shaped bend therein from which the item is suspended. A proximal end of the rod includes a vertical post attachment means fixed at one end thereof near the proximal end of the rod. The other end of the pliable member wraps around the vertical post to secure the support to the post. The orthogonal brace portion is preferably an L-shaped bend in the proximal end of the rod or a downwardly-angled leg fixed to the proximal end of the rod. In either case, a spike may be included for at least partial insertion into the vertical post for further fixing the support to the post to prevent the support from rotating along its axis. The support may be camouflaged to resemble a Christmas tree branch, or the like.



Inventors:
Trowbridge, Thomston (Concord, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/466898
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/24/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BALDWIN, GORDON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUICKPATENTS (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A support for suspending an item on and outwardly away from a vertical post, the support comprising: an elongated generally rigid rod having a distal end and a proximal end, the distal end including a support means for supporting the suspended item, the proximal end including a vertical post attachment means, the attachment means including at least one substantially orthogonal brace portion for maintaining the rod generally horizontally, whereby with the support attached to the vertical post via the attachment means, the item may be suspended from the support means.

2. The support of claim 1 wherein the support means of the rigid rod is a U-shape bend in the rigid rod.

3. The support of claim 1 wherein the support means of the rigid rod is a series of substantially horizontal apertures through which the item may be suspended.

4. The support of claim 1 wherein the substantially orthogonal brace portion is an L-shaped bend in the proximal end of the rod, the proximal end of the rod being bent downwardly to form the L-shaped bend.

5. The support of claim 1 wherein the substantially orthogonal brace portion is a downwardly-angled leg fixed to the proximal end of the rod.

6. The support of claim 1 wherein the attachment means is at least one pliable member fixed at one end thereof near the proximal end of the rod, the other end of the pliable member for wrapping around the vertical post to secure the support to the post.

7. The support of claim 1 wherein the proximal end of the rigid rod includes a spike for at least partial insertion into the vertical post for further fixing the support to the post.

8. The support of claim 1 wherein the rigid rod further includes a camouflaged wrap for camouflaging the support with respect to the vertical post.

9. The support of claim 1 wherein the vertical post is a Christmas tree trunk and the item is a Christmas ornament, the ornament including a supporting hook for engaging the supporting means of the rod.

10. The support of claim 6 wherein the at least one pliable member is exactly two pliable members adapted for selective mutual engagement around the vertical post.

11. The support of claim 8 wherein the camouflaged wrap takes the form of a tree branch.

12. The support of claim 1 wherein the support is formed to simulate a tree branch.

13. The support of claim 1 wherein the supporting means includes a Christmas tree light supporting means.

14. The support of claim 13 wherein the Christmas tree light support means is a resilient C-shaped clip for attaching to the Christmas tree light.

15. The support of claim 5 wherein the angled leg terminates in a forked distal end for fixing and stabilizing the rod on the post.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to supports, and more particularly to a support for Christmas tree ornaments, or the like.

DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART

Christmas tree ornaments that are relatively heavy have caused problems due to their tendency to bend Christmas tree branches downward with their weight. The resulting look is unappealing, particularly on higher branches that are weaker. Ironically, the heavier ornaments, some of which have batteries and other electronic components, are the ornaments that users typically wish to prominently display towards the top of the tree.

Artificial Christmas trees, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,639,196 to Hermanson on Feb. 1, 1972, and such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,683,210 to Baenziger on Jul. 6, 1954, can be designed with strong, reinforced artificial branches, thereby avoiding the difficulties presented by relatively heavy ornaments or other heavy decorative objects. However, not everyone wishes to use an artificial Christmas tree.

One way to get around the drawback of weak tree branches is to reinforce such branches. U.S. Pat. No. 2,802,095 to Denning et al. discloses such a device, which is directed at providing support for Christmas tree lights and reinforcing existing tree branches. Such a device, however, is not well hidden from view when in use, particularly towards the top of the tree where the branches tend to be thinner and weaker, and where there is little trunk left from which to reinforce the lower branches. Further, such a device does not provide for supporting an ornament in an area of the tree that may be thinner, that is, where no natural branches may exist.

Another prior art device, disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,211,366 to Cummings, teaches a four-rod system for supporting a circular toy train track above the floor of the tree, among the branches thereof. While such a device does allow the track to be supported in an area of the tree that is devoid of natural branches, again, this type of device is highly visible when in use and is not suitable for supporting ornaments thereby. Since this device is a four-rod device, each rod being connected to another, there is no need to include rod anti-rotation means since each rod helps support the others in an upright orientation. However, a single such rod would have no such support, and could be subject to failure if the lower brace of such a rod were to slip off of the tree trunk. Further, such a device is necessarily complicated and difficult to set-up, since all rods must be accurately positioned with respect to the others and a tie wrap that wraps each rod to the tree trunk must be threaded through each rod. For supporting ornaments instead of a toy train track, such a device is unnecessarily complex and expensive.

A Christmas tree ornament shelf assembly is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,071,098 to Aldridge on Dec. 10, 1991. Such a device includes arms mounted to a tree trunk that end in a shelf for resting an ornamental object thereon. The angle of each arm may be adjusted, and each shelf may be adjusted to a horizontal orientation thereafter. Such a device is not well-suited for displaying suspended ornaments, however, as there is no provision for holding such suspended ornaments from the end of the arms. Further, such a device is unnecessarily complex for the display of suspended ornaments, and such a device is not easily concealed when in use, as each arm and shelf assembly is relatively large and visually apparent when in use. Still further, the adjustment means on such a device may become loosened over time, resulting in sagging of the arms and possible collapse thereof, particularly if jostled.

Therefore, there is a need for an inexpensive ornament support that can be fixed to a tree trunk relatively easily and that can be positioned wherever desired on the tree. Such a device would blend-in with the appearance of the tree and would appear a natural part thereof. Such a device would maintain a horizontal orientation with respect to the vertical tree trunk, even if jostled, and would be capable of supporting relatively heavy ornaments or other decorative objects. The present invention accomplishes these objectives.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present device is a support for suspending an item, such as a Christmas tree ornament suspended from a supporting hook, on and outwardly away from a vertical post, such as a Christmas tree trunk. An elongated generally rigid rod has a distal end and a proximal end. The distal end includes a support means, such as a U-shaped bend, from which the item is suspended. The proximal end of the rod includes a vertical post attachment means, such as at least one pliable member, fixed at one end thereof near the proximal end of the rod. The other end of the pliable member wraps around the vertical post to secure the support to the post. Each pliable member is preferably a solid wire embedded in a flexible plastic or rubber material, although other suitable pliable attachment means known in the art may be readily adapted for use with the present invention. For example, a rigid spring-biased clamp (not shown) may be used.

The orthogonal brace portion is preferably an L-shaped bend in the proximal end of the rod, wherein the proximal end of the rod is bent downwardly to form the L-shaped bend. Alternately, the brace portion is a downwardly-angled leg fixed to the proximal end of the rod. In either embodiment of the brace portion, a spike may be included for at least partial insertion into the vertical post for further fixing the support to the post. Such a spike, working in cooperation with the attachment means, prevents the support from rotating along its axis, which is undesirable as such rotation may cause the support means to fail.

The present invention is an inexpensive ornament support that can be fixed to a tree trunk relatively easily and that can be positioned wherever desired on the tree. Such a device blends-in with the appearance of the tree and appears to be a natural part thereof, and can be made with relatively thin metal rod stock so as to be unobtrusive. Such a device maintains a horizontal orientation with respect to the vertical tree trunk, and is capable of supporting relatively heavy ornaments and other decorative objects. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention, illustrating a rigid rod with a camouflaged wrap simulating a Christmas tree branch;

FIG. 2A is a partial perspective view of a proximal end of the rigid rod and a vertical post attachment means thereof;

FIG. 2B is a partial perspective view of the proximal end of the rigid rod and an alternate vertical post attachment means thereof;

FIG. 2C is a partial perspective view of a distal end of the rigid rod and two alternate support means thereof;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the proximal end of the rigid rod, taken generally along lines 3-3 of FIG. 5, and illustrated as attached to a vertical post;

FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view of the invention, illustrating one embodiment of the vertical post attachment means as attached to the vertical post;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the invention as used on a Christmas tree and supporting Christmas ornaments; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the invention, illustrating an embodiment wherein the rigid rod is not camouflaged.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 1 and 5 illustrate a support 10 for suspending an item 20, such as a Christmas tree ornament 120 suspended from a supporting hook 125, on and outwardly away from a vertical post 30, such as a Christmas tree trunk 110. An elongated generally rigid rod 40 has a distal end 44 and a proximal end 46. The rod 40 is preferably made from a rigid metal or plastic material that will not flex noticeably when suspending the weighted item 20 from the distal end 44 thereof. The rod 40 may be made from a relatively thin rigid metal stock that is unobtrusive and difficult to see when positioned on the Christmas tree trunk 110, for example. The rod 40 may further include a camouflaged wrap 100 for camouflaging the support 10 with respect to the vertical post 30. In the preferred embodiment, the camouflaged wrap 100 resembles a branch 130 of the Christmas tree.

In an alternate embodiment of the invention (not shown), the rod 40 may be irregularly shaped so as to resemble the natural Christmas tree branch 130. In such an embodiment, the rod 40 is non-linear, but the distal end 44 and the proximal end 46 are generally coaxial and, when supported from the vertical post 30, are generally horizontally oriented.

The distal end 44 includes a support means 50, such as a U-shaped bend 52 or horizontal apertures 54 therethrough (FIG. 2C). The item 20 is suspended from the support means 50 as illustrated in FIG. 5. A supporting means 150 for a Christmas tree light 140 (FIG. 2C) may be further included at the distal end 44, the supporting means 150 preferably being a resilient C-shaped clip for attachment to the light 140. Such a clip 150 may be fastened to the rod 40 by adhesive, formed integrally therewith, or be otherwise attached to the rod 40 as is known in the art.

The proximal end 46 of the rod 40 includes a vertical post attachment means 60, such as at least one pliable member 80, and preferably exactly two pliable members 80, fixed at one end 84 thereof near the proximal end 46 of the rod 40. The other end 86 of the pliable member 80 wraps around the vertical post 30 to secure the support 10 to the post 30 (FIGS. 3 and 4). Each pliable member 80 is preferably a solid wire embedded in a flexible plastic or rubber material, although other suitable pliable attachment means 60 known in the art may be readily adapted for use with the present invention. For example, a rigid spring-biased clamp (not shown) may be used.

The orthogonal brace portion 70 is preferably an L-shaped bend 72 in the proximal end 46 of the rod 40, wherein the proximal end 46 of the rod 40 is bent downwardly to form the L-shaped bend 72 (FIG. 2B). Alternately, the brace portion 70 is a downwardly-angled leg 74 fixed to the proximal end 46 of the rod 40 (FIGS. 1, 2A, 4, and 5). In either embodiment of the brace portion 70, a spike 90 may be included for at least partial insertion into the vertical post 90 for further fixing the support 10 to the post 30 (FIGS. 2A and 4). Such a spike 90, working in cooperation with the attachment means 60, prevents the support 10 from rotating along its axis, which is undesirable as such rotation may cause the support means 50 to fail. Further, each angled leg 74 may terminate in a forked distal end 76 to further fix and stabilize the rod 40 on the post 30 (FIGS. 1 and 4).

While a particular form of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the exact type of camouflage wrap 100 may be altered based on use of the support 10 with a particular type of tree. Further, the length of the rigid rod 40 may be altered as necessary based on where the support 10 is to be used height-wise on the vertical post 30. Indeed, the rigid rod 40 may be telescoping so that the length thereof is adjustable. Further, such a support 10 can be used in other applications, such as hanging flags or signs from street light poles, or the like (not shown). Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.