Title:
APPLICATOR FOR DISTRIBUTING A SUBSTANCE ONTO A TARGET SURFACE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mitt applicator, such as a mitt, for distributing a substance onto a target surface in the preferred form of a mitt. The mitt is composed of two panels, each panel consisting of at least one layer. The mitt's panels are in face-to-face contact with each other. At least one panel is configured to form an external pocket to be used as a product-dispensing reservoir. The inner layer of each panel can form the inside layer of the mitt and can be impervious to liquid or gel substances in order to protect the user's hand. The outer layer of the two panels can be made from materials with different properties. Also included, is a method for construction and method for using the above applicator. Additionally, a mitt with an optional reservoir is disclosed with a radial end shape and an elongated body to protect the user against substances applied to said mitt.



Inventors:
Reed, Debra (Chehalis, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/696692
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
04/04/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/16
International Classes:
A47K7/03; A41D13/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SCRUGGS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Merchant & Gould PC (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A mitt applicator for distributing a substance onto a target surface, said applicator comprising: a. a substantially planar applicator body having two panels of material, each composed of at least one layer of material, in which the panels are disposed in a generally opposing manner about a central plane and are joined as to define a single cavity between the panels of sufficient shape and size to accommodate either a right human hand or left human hand or two human hands simultaneously; and b. a reservoir formed in at least one of the panels to receive substances to be distributed.

2. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said panels each have one or more layers and at least one layer of both panels is comprised of a substantially impervious material to protect said human hand against substances applied to said mitt.

3. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said body extends at least past the midpoint of a user's forearm, a. whereby the body aids in securing the applicator to the user and protecting the user.

4. The applicator of claim 1, wherein the end distal of the body further comprises a radial shape to accommodate the shape of the user's hand when the user's fingers are spaced fully apart.

5. The applicator of claim 1, wherein the outer most layer of one of the panels is comprised of a different material than the outer most layer of material of the other panel.

6. The applicator of claim 1, wherein the mitt uses a method of labeling such as color coding to determine what substances the mitt is designed for or has been in contact with.

7. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said layer of material can be comprised of different pieces of material.

8. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said cavity is open for insertion of said human hand and has a means to aid in retention of the said applicator.

9. The applicator of claim 8, wherein the means of retention is an elastic cuff.

10. The applicator of claim 1, wherein a mitt liner is configured to fit into the cavity of the mitt said mitt liner having a substantially planar body having two liner panels of material, each composed of at least one layer of material, in which the liner panels are disposed in a generally opposing manner about a central plane and are joined as to define a single liner cavity between the panels of sufficient shape and size to accommodate either a right or left human hand or two human hands simultaneously.

11. The applicator of claim 10, wherein the mitt liner is made from vinyl.

12. The applicator of claim 10, wherein the mitt liner has an elastic cuff to aid in retention of the applicator.

13. A mitt applicator for distributing a substance onto a target surface, said applicator comprising: a. a substantially planar applicator body having two panels of material, each composed of at least one layer of material, in which the panels are disposed in a generally opposing manner about a central plane and are joined as to define a single cavity between the panels of sufficient shape and size to accommodate either a right or left human hand or two human hands simultaneously; b. said body extending at least past the midpoint of a user's forearm, i. whereby the body aids in securing the applicator to the user and protecting the user; and c. the distal end of said body having a radial shape to accommodate the shape of the user's hand when the user's fingers are spaced fully apart.

14. The applicator of claim 13, wherein said cavity is open for insertion of said human hand and has a means to aid in retention of the said applicator.

15. The applicator of claim 14, wherein the means of retention is at least one elastic cuff.

16. The applicator of claim 13, wherein the mitt has a plurality of elastic cuffs configured to aid in retention to the user.

17. The applicator of claim 13, wherein the said panels have at least one layer comprised of a substantially impervious material to protect said human hand against substances applied to said mitt.

18. The applicator of claim 13, wherein a reservoir is formed in at least one of the panels to receive substances to be distributed.

19. The applicator of claim 13, wherein the outer most layer of one of the panels is comprised of a different of material than the outer most layer of material of the other panel.

20. The applicator of claim 13, wherein the mitt uses a method of labeling such as color coding to determine what substances the mitt is designed for or has been in contact with.

21. The applicator of claim 13, wherein said layer is comprised of different pieces of material whereby the material form a single layer.

22. The applicator of claim 13, wherein a mitt liner can be inserted, said mitt liner configured to fit into the cavity of the mitt said mitt liner having a substantially planar body having two liner panels of material, each composed of at least one layer of material, in which the liner panels are disposed in a generally opposing manner about a central plane and are joined as to define a single liner cavity between the panels of sufficient shape and size to accommodate either a right or left human hand or two human hands simultaneously.

23. The applicator of claim 22, wherein the mitt liner is made from vinyl.

24. The applicator of claim 22, wherein the mitt liner has at least one elastic cuff to aid in retention of the applicator.

25. A method of making an applicator mitt comprising the steps of: a. providing a front panel and a back panel, each composed of at least one layer generally opposed about a central plane; b. providing a pocket from one or both of the said front panel or said back panel to form a reservoir; c. cutting said front panel and said back panel into a desired shape to define said applicator; and d. joining said front panel and said back panel near their periphery so as to define said single cavity there between of sufficient shape and size to accommodate a right human hand or left human hand or two human hands simultaneously.

26. The method of claim 25, wherein a method of retention is attached at the opening of said cavity to aid in retention of the said applicator.

27. The method of claim 25, wherein a labeling system such as color coding to determine what substances the mitt is designed for or has been in contact with is indicated on said mitt.

28. The applicator of claim 25, wherein said layer of material can be comprised of different pieces of material.

29. A method of applying a liquid or gel to a surface using a mitt applicator comprising the steps of: a. inserting at least one human hand in a mitt applicator such as a mitt; b. dipping said applicator in a liquid or gel or using a similar delivery method which fills a reservoir on the mitt; c. rubbing the coated surfaces of said applicator to the target surface; d. using uncoated surfaces of said applicator to apply another liquid or gel or to polish or dry the target surface; and e. turning the mitt inside out for disposal.

30. The method of claim 29, wherein said dipping comprises filling a pocket on said applicator with said liquid or gel using said palm of a human hand.

31. A method of providing treatment to a patient and disposing of the mitt, by a caregiver using a mitt applicator comprising the steps of: a. inserting at least one human hand into the mitt applicator such as a mitt; b. dipping said applicator in a liquid or gel which fills a reservoir on the mitt; c. filling a pocket on said applicator with said liquid or gel using said palm of a human hand; d. rubbing said mitt on the patient's wound, thereby treating the patient; e. using uncoated surfaces of said applicator to apply another liquid or gel or to dry the patient; f. removing the one hand of the caregiver while the mitt maintains contact with the patient's wound; and g. turning the mitt inside out for disposal.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/827,844, entitled “APPLICATOR FOR DISTRIBUTING A SUBSTANCE ONTO A TARGET SURFACE,” filed Oct. 2, 2006.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates generally to liquid or gel application equipment. More specifically, it relates to implements for applying a liquid or gel to a target surface.

BACKGROUND ART

In the art of distributing substances to target surfaces, hand held articles have been developed that apply substances such as paint directly to a target surface. These include articles such as brushes and rollers. These common approaches involve dispensing the substance from a bucket or other vessel onto the target surface, then utilizing a rag, sponge, towel, brush, or other implement to distribute the product on a target surface.

However, the use of such articles to manually apply a substance to a surface of an object frequently results in exposure of the users hands to potentially harmful, toxic, or otherwise undesirable substances.

These common approaches are also not ideally suited for applying substances to curved or discontinuous surfaces requiring protection of the user's hand. In addition, the prior devices are inadequate to cover difficult to reach areas. Moreover, these common approaches frequently require multiple devices to perform complementary tasks such as cleaning, polishing, drying, coloring, and/or buffing surfaces. Such a combination of benefits is lacking in present day application systems.

Various attempts have been made to create an applicator for applying a substance to a target surface. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 3,883,897, issued to Lefkowitz, discloses a glove to apply substances. However, use of this device does not provide multiple surfaces to dry or polish the surface after application of the substance. Specifically, the user would need a separate device to dry or polish the surface after the substance has been applied. Moreover, the relatively complex tube distribution system would male this device relatively expensive to produce. This device also does not seem to protect a user's forearm and does not have an optimal shape for applying substances to a target surface.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,145,155, issued to James, discloses a mitt with pads to absorb substances. However, the amount of substance this device can apply is limited to the absorption qualities of the pads. This would be limiting when using substances such as very thick paint that is not easily absorbed. This device also does not seem to protect a user's forearm and does not have an optimal shape for applying substances to a target surface.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,588,961, issued to Lafosse-Marin, discloses a mitt with a reservoir to dispense substances. However, the reservoir is limited to the substance contained in the “sealed, fully-enclosed reservoir” that ruptures upon application and the absorption qualities of the material used to construct the device. This device also does not seem to protect a user's forearm and does not have an optimal shape for applying substances to a target surface.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,008,969, issued to Jarrett discloses a multi-layered cloth mitten for wiping surfaces. However, the amount of substance this device can apply to a target surface is limited to the absorption qualities of the material used. This device also does not seem to protect a user's forearm and does not have an optimal shape for applying substances to a target surface.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,192,543 B1, issued to Lee discloses a mitt with a mild cleaning surface and a more abrasive cleaning surface. However, the amount of substance this device can apply to a target surface is limited to the absorption qualities of the material used. This device also does not seem to protect a user's forearm and does not have an optimal shape for applying substances to a target surface.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,732,716 issued to Utecht discloses a personal protection apparatus that is used for placing over the hands of the user to provide medical treatment while protecting the user from infectious disease, bacteria, microorganisms, viruses, spores and other hazardous contaminants. However, the amount of substance this device can apply to a target surface is limited to the absorption qualities of the material used. This device also does not seem to protect a user's forearm and does not have an optimal shape for applying substances to a target surface.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an applicator for applying variable amounts of substance to an irregularly shaped target surface. It would also be desirable to provide such an applicator that permits the user to apply a substance to a target surface, and also to dry or polish the surface with the same applicator. Additionally, it would be desirable to provide such an applicator that has a cost low enough that it would be disposable to enable easy clean up. Finally, it would be desirable to have an applicator in a shape that promotes the efficient use of a user's hand to apply substances to a target surface. Moreover, it would be desirable to have an applicator that provides protection to more body parts than the user's hand.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A mitt applicator is provided for the distribution of a substance onto a target surface. The applicator comprises a substantially planar applicator body having a front panel and back panel joined near their periphery as to define a cavity for either a right or left human hand. Each panel can be composed of multiple layers. A reservoir for variable amounts of substances is formed by a pocket formed by at least one of the panels.

The outer most layer of the mitt is composed of the outer most layer of both the front panel and back panel. Each panel of this outer layer can be composed of different materials, which would give added functionality to the mitt. If desired, the mitt can have a single layer or multiple layers. The inner most layer of the mitt is composed of the inner most layer of both the front panel and back panel. These inner panels can be composed of the same material. This inner layer of the mitt forms the inside of the mitt. The inner layer can be impervious to liquid or gel substances in order to protect the user's hand.

A method for making the above applicator is provided by first, creating the front and back panels. In the preferred embodiment, each panel is created by layering at least two sheets of the desired material together. In other embodiments, a single sheet or multiple sheets can be used to create each panel. Second, a dimple can be formed from the outer layer, which serves as a reservoir. Alternatively the reservoir can be enhanced by adding a piece of semi-rigid plastic or other similar material to form a pocket. Moreover, multiple layers can have dimples to form a reservoir. Third, the front and back panels are disposed in a generally opposing manner and the panels are cut into the desired shape. Finally, the front and back panels are joined near their periphery so as to define a single cavity there between of sufficient shape and size to accommodate either a right or left human hand. The resulting mitt is then turned inside out and in order to hide the seam and the mitt is then ready for use.

A method for applying a liquid or gel to a target surface using the above applicator is provided. Specifically, the user's palm scoops the liquid or gel using the applicator's reservoir. The user then directly applies the liquid or gel onto the target surface. The user may also use uncoated surfaces of the mitt to clean, polish or dry the target surface before or after the liquid or gel is applied.

Another disclosure is a method for applying a liquid or gel to a patient by a caregiver using the above applicator. The applicator would be dipped in a liquid or gel and then rub the patient with the mitt. The caregiver would be able to remove her hand from the mitt while keeping pressure on the patient. This would be accomplished by inserting her other hand into the mitt or another caregiver would be able to insert her hand into the mitt.

Also disclosed is a mitt that has a radial shape on the mitt's distal end to accommodate the user's hand. This radial shape at the distal end is designed to fit the shape of a user's hand when the user spreads her fingers apart to the maximum extent. This provides a mitt that is efficient in applying or wiping substances on a target surface. Yet another disclosure is a mitt that has an elongated body that extends at least to the midpoint of a user's forearm. This elongated body provides protection for more than just the user's hand and wrist.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the top of a preferred embodiment, in the form of a mitt.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the bottom of a preferred embodiment, in the form of a mitt.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment, which is a view of FIG. 2 about the line a-a. Line b-b illustrates the front panel 48 and back panel 44 about that line.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment, in the form of a mitt.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment, in the form of a mitt rubbing against a surface.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the preferred embodiment, which is a view of FIG. 2 about line a-a.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The industrial applicability of this patent may be to paint fences.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

As used herein, the term “mitt” refers to a covering for the user's hand and arm up to at least the midpoint of the user's forearm. As used herein, the term “absorb” refers to the penetration of one substance into the mass of another. ASTM standard test method D2654-89a “Standard Test Methods for Moisture in Textiles,” should be used to determine the percentage of a liquid, such as water, absorbed and retained. An absorbent material for the purposes of the present invention has a moisture regain according to the ASTM standard test method D2654-89a of greater than about 5% (e.g., a cellulose acetate fiber having a moisture regain of about 6.5%). A non-absorbent fiber for the purposes of the present invention, however, has a moisture regain of less than about 5% (e.g., a polyester fiber having a moisture regain of about 4%). As used herein the term “substantially non-absorbent” is defined as a material composed of a majority of non-absorbent fibers or webs. As used herein the term “substantially absorbent” is defined as a material composed of a majority of absorbent fibers or webs.

Referring now to the drawings, the invention will be described in a preferred embodiment by reference to the numbers of the drawing figures wherein like numbers indicate like parts.

Applicator Construction and Operation

A representative embodiment of a mitt applicator of the present invention in the form of a hand article is the disposable mitt 20 shown in FIG. 1. FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the mitt in its flat-out state illustrating the cuff 24.

FIG. 2 is a bottom plan view of the mitt in its flat-out state. FIG. 2 illustrates the seam 32, the reservoir 28 and the cuff 24. Mitt 20 has an internal cavity for the user that is accessible through an opening in the cuff portion and that extends inwardly toward the end of mitt 20 that is sealed.

FIG. 3 shows the construction details of an embodiment of mitt 20, more specifically via a view taken along line a-a. FIG. 3 shows mitt 20 with the front and back panels already connected. The front panel 48 and back panel 44 are connected about line b-b which is seam 32. FIG. 3. also shows that front panel 48 and back panel 44 are connected together to define a cavity into which a hand may be inserted through an opening in cuff 24. These panels consist of at least one layer of material, but in this embodiment, there are two layers of material that compose each panel. When the panels are joined on seam 32, reference to the outer layer of the mitt will be outer layer 40. Outer layer 40 will refer to the outer layer on both front panel 48 and back panel 44. Also, when the panels are joined on seam 32, reference to the inner layer of the mitt will be inner layer 36. Inner layer 36 will likewise refer to the inner layers of both the front panel 48 and the back panel 44.

Outer most panel 37 will refer to the outer most layer of front panel 48 and outer most panel 38 will refer to the outer most layer of the back panel 44. These two panels can be made of different material to suite the nature of the desired use.

Each layer can also be made from different pieces of fabric joined together to form a panel. For instance, outer most panel 37 would be formed from one piece of material that is smooth and another that is rough. These materials would be joined and would form a single panel so that the surface of front panel 48 has both a smooth and rough surface.

FIG. 3 also illustrates Reservoir 28, which is also illustrated in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4 and FIG. 6. Reservoir 28 is formed by creating a pocket with extra material from at least one of the panels so the user can scoop variable amounts of liquids or gels with her palm. This pocket can be formed by leaving excess material in the desired position of the dimple before the sheets are cut. Specifically, in this embodiment, outer layer 36 and inner layer 40 or whatever number of layers is decided to be appropriate, can be pinched in the desired position of the reservoir, thus an excess amount of material would be available to form a pocket once the layers are cut and joined. Besides pinching the material, this pocket may be formed in any other way known to those skilled in the art. Additionally, the reservoir's shape can be enhanced by insertion of a rigid or semi-rigid piece of material such as a plastic cup shaped to conform to the user's palm. Once the dimple is formed, the layers are then cut into the desired shape. Back panel 44 and front panel 48 are then connected along their periphery on seam 32. This connection can be done by stitching or other bonding methods. Back panel 44 is created in a similar manner and can also include a reservoir.

An alternate method of forming the reservoir may be to use materials that may be molded or otherwise changes shape when heat is applied to them. Specifically, the layer may be made of a heat moldable material and cut and bonded together. Then heat may be applied to the area the reservoir is desired in and then shaped appropriately.

An elastic cuff 24 may be attached to the mitt to help increase retention to the user's hand. In addition, other adhesives or other mechanical fastener tapes, such as a hook and loop system can be used to secure the mitt 20 to the user's hand. Also, elastic or fasteners can be attached to different points of the mitt to aid in retention about a wearer's hand and/or wrist and/or forearm. For instance a mitt that extends to the midpoint of a user's forearm and has an elastic cuff at the wrist and at the midpoint of the user's forearm. Once the retention mechanism is attached, the mitt is turned inside out in order to hide the seam and the mitt is ready for use.

In use, a user of the mitt 20 inserts a hand into the hollow interior through the provided opening at cuff 24 wherein back panel 44 covers the back of the user's hand and front panel 48 covers the user's palm. As the construction of the mitt 20 is more generic than a glove with defined anatomically conforming geometry, the mitt may be used with either hand. The mitt may even be constructed so that two hands may be inserted in order for the user to apply additional pressure to the target surface. Additionally, an added benefit from this generic design is that the user can reverse the mitt without taking the mitt off of her hand. Specifically, back panel 44 would now cover the user's palm while front panel 48 would cover the back of the user's hand. This would be advantageous when the front and back panels are made from different materials which would enable the mitt to accomplish different tasks while remaining on user's predominate hand.

The mitt can have a radial shape at the distal end. This radial shape provides a shape to accommodate the user's hand when the user's fingers are spread apart. This provides a large surface area for applying substances to the target surface. However, any shape can be used that is known to those skilled in the art.

Also, the mitt can also have an elongated body. In one embodiment, the body extends to at least the midpoint of the user's elbow. This would protect a large part of the user's forearm from substances and not just her hand and wrist. In one embodiment, elastic cuffs are be provided at different areas of the body to secure the mitt to the user's hand, wrist and forearm. For instance, one cuff may be placed at the opening of the cavity which would contact the user's forearm, and another may be placed at the user's wrist to enhance the mitt's retention to the user.

One use for the mitt is painting an irregular surface like a chain link fence or a fence composed of round fence posts with checkered surfaces. Once the user puts the mitt on by inserting one or both of her hands in the mitt, the user would insert the mitt in a bucket of paint. As the user pulls her hand out of the paint, she uses her palm to form a scoop. This scoop shape of the user's hand would conform to the reservoir 28 and would allow a relatively large amount of paint to be held by the mitt. Alternately, instead of a bucket, a squirt bottle or other delivery system can be used to deliver the paint to the reservoir. Once the reservoir has the desired amount of paint, the user would then rub it directly to the target surface. The mitt's flexible construction and relatively large amount of paint that could be carried by the reservoir would enable the user to paint irregularly shaped surfaces efficiently as illustrated in FIG. 5. Once the mitt has touched the target surface, the user then uses her hand to rub the paint in the desired manner. This method of application has several advantages over traditional application methods such as a brush. For instance, since the mitt is made from flexible materials, the user's hand can apply pressure so the mitt conforms to the irregularly shaped target surface. In turn, the irregularly shaped target surface is then coated in the desired manner with the paint. This method of application can also deliver more paint to a target surface then traditional methods via use of the reservoir. Moreover, the application method is intuitive as the user uses her hands to apply the paint instead of a traditional roller or brush. This would make application of paint to an irregularly shaped surface more efficient for a novice user. Additionally, the mitt provides protection to at least the user's hand and forearm from the potentially harmful paint that is being applied. Additionally, in another embodiment, the distal end of the mitt has a radial shape which maximizes the surface area a user can apply the paint to. For instance, the radial shape accommodates a user's hand when the user spreads her fingers out to the maximum extent. This maximizes the surface area that the user would be able to apply pressure to and create a more efficient surface in which the user can apply paint.

The mitt also facilitates clean and easy disposal of itself. Specifically, at the end of its use, the mitt can be inverted by making a fist with the mitt-hand, pulling the mitt over the fist from the cuff 24 of the mitt 20. Thus the layers are transposed, and the inner surface of the front panel 48 and the inner surface of the back panel 44 become the outer surfaces of the now waste article. More simply stated, the mitt is turned inside out after its use and then thrown away. That is, the wearer makes a fist, and with his or her other hand, grasps a point on the cuff region and carefully pulls the fisted hand toward the open mouth of the mitt, until the entire end of the mitt is pulled through the cuff. Unlike traditional paint application methods in which the applicator requires cleaning, the mitt in this embodiment is can be used once, and then disposed of in a clean and fast method.

A mitt applicator of the present invention may be constructed for many different uses. One such use is to apply gels or liquids to irregularly shaped surfaces where conventional applicators like rollers are ineffective. As an added result of the present invention, the applicator provides convenience not only because it may coat multiple irregularly shaped surfaces with liquids or gels, but it can also perform complementary tasks such as cleaning, polishing, drying, coloring, and/or buffing surfaces. These additional functions are accomplished by using uncoated surfaces of the mitt such as the side opposite the reservoir. This functionality is enabled by the mitt's ability to be worn by the user's predominant hand with either the front panel or back panel being exposed to the target surface. Specifically, the mitt is constructed so that unlike a glove, which requires the user to wear it on either a left or right hand, the mitt has no limitations on which hand it can be worn on. Moreover, once one side of the mitt is soiled, the mitt can be flipped over without removing one's hand from the mitt so that the opposite can be used for another task. Being able to flip the mitt over in this manner enhances the cleanliness of use and reduces the number of implements needed for a particular task. Another advantage of being able to flip the mitt over, is that the front and back panels could be made from different material. For instance, the outer most panel 37 could be made from material specially adapted to spread the liquid or gel and the outer most panel 38 would be made from material specially adapted to absorb excess liquid or gel.

Another advantage of the present invention is that it can be stored individually, or placed and stacked in containers, folded or unfolded. As such, they occupy little space and can be stored in small areas, which improves convenience for the users. Such a combination of benefits is lacking in present day application systems. The combination of easy storage and ability to apply liquids and gels on irregular shaped surfaces such as chain linked fences makes this invention ideal for use where conventional applicators are ineffective, inconvenient and relatively expensive.

Reservoir

In one embodiment, reservoir 28 is composed from outer layer 36 and also inner layer 40 but in another embodiment, reservoir 28 is composed from only the outer layer 36. Reservoir 28 forms a pocket by adding extra cloth to form a dimple during the manufacturing process before outer layer 36 and inner layer 40 are cut and bonded at scam 32. Additionally, a rigid or semi-rigid piece of material can be added to enhance the reservoir's shape. Reservoir 28 is intended to be in a position on mitt 20, which allows a user's palm to conform to the reservoir 28. Reservoir 28 allows a user's palm to scoop liquids or gels in variable amounts before application to the target surface Reservoir 28 may be of any suitable size, configuration, and composition for the intended liquid or gel to applied to the target surface. The substance that could be applied by reservoir 28 is not limited to just liquids or gels, but lotions, creams, medications, powders or even solids. For instance, a solid substance such as a wax, for example may be heated to provide a flowable product that may be dispensed by reservoir 28. Moreover, in a medical context, the reservoir may be used to hold large amounts of gauze or other medical object to treat wounds.

In one embodiment, reservoir 28 can improve the overall functionality of mitt 20 through the increased amount of product that can be applied by using the reservoir. For example, the user would insert her hand into mitt 20 and scoop the desired amount of product by placing the palm of her hand so that it conforms to the inside of the dimple that forms reservoir 28. Reservoir 28 thus allows mitt 20 to apply more liquid or gel to the target surface than a mitt without a reservoir.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, reservoir 28 is positioned in a central position of mitt 20. This central location of reservoir 28 allows for an omnidirectional dispensing or application of the liquid or gel. In this location, the product scooped in reservoir 28 by the user's hand can be forcibly applied by pressing the palm of her hand against the target surface and then rubbing to coat the target surface in the desired manner. This location of reservoir 28 is convenient for applications where it is desired for the product to be dispensed in large qualities because the central location of the reservoir permits a large volume of liquid or gel to be held by the mitt. It may also be desired to have the reservoir located in a portion of the applicator that is spaced or remote from a location where forces are applied during cleaning or rubbing. This may be the case for tasks that require intense rubbing and less liquid or gel needs to be applied. For example, an alternative embodiment of mitt 20 wherein the reservoir 28 can be positioned closer to cuff 24. In this location, the reservoir 28 is not located in a region of the mitt that would typically encounter forces in use. A liquid or gel would be introduced into the reservoir by squirt bottle or similar delivery system. The liquid or gel would then be dispensed from reservoir 28 by the user moving her hand within the mitt to specifically applying force to the cuff region. Such an embodiment may be particularly advantageous where progressive dispensing of discrete quantities of the product is desired rather than an “all at once” dispensing upon application of an initial force.

The Outer Layer

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, outer layer 36 forms the outermost layer of the mitt. In this embodiment, the outer layer is composed of the outermost layers of front panel 48, and back panel 44. The outermost layer of the front panel 48 will be called outer most panel 37 and the outer most layer of the back panel will be called outer most panel 38. Here, the panels may be made from different materials. This would allow multiple uses of mitt 20. For instance, use of a relatively non-absorbent material on outer most panel 37 to contain a liquid or gel allows the applicator's reservoir to efficiently spread liquid or gel and not retain an excess quality, while the material on outer most panel 38 would remain available to dry, polish or buff or do any other task that would be used by a person skilled in the art to the surface because it is composed of a relatively absorbent material. In addition to drying, the outermost surface of the opposite side of the mitt can remain unsoiled and be used to for many purposes such as cleaning the target surface before or after product is applied by outer most panel 37. Thus, a single device can be used for multiple uses known to those skilled in the art.

For example, outer most panel 37 should be made from material that is preferably comprised of a material that is substantially non absorbent of the liquid or gel, on which the product is placed in reservoir 28 and then dispensed. After the product has been dispensed and dispersed onto the target surface, for example, it is sometimes desirable to absorb and remove excess product, contaminates and/or particles from the target surface while minimizing filming, streaking and/or residuals. Accordingly, outer most panel 38 can be made from a material that is different than outer most panel 37. Specifically, it may be desired that outer most panel 38 be made from material that is substantially absorbent for the product of interest. For example, outer most panel 38 may be constructed of absorbent fibers that swell when exposed to the liquid or gel. Examples of absorbent fibers include man-made fibers derived from cellulose (e.g., rayon, cellulose acetate, cellulose triacetate) and natural cellulose fibers (e.g., from trees). Other examples of absorbent materials include particles and fibers made from super-absorbent polymers (e.g., cross-linked copolymers of acrylic acid) that can be incorporated into the outer most panel 38. Additionally, or in the alternative, outer most panel 38 may be constructed of non-woven, apertured films, absorbent or fibrous absorbent materials, super absorbent polymer fibers or powders, laminates, a selectively apertured composite material and/or combinations thereof. Absorbent non-wovens may be made by methods such as spunlace, spunbound, meltblown, carded, air-laid, and hydroentangled.

As described above, one side of the applicator may be designed with a majority of non-absorbent fibers (termed “substantially non-absorbent”) and the other side may be designed with a majority of absorbent fibers (termed “substantially absorbent”), or a film. In the context of the invention, these terms are relative to one another. Depending upon the specific application, the product to be spread, the environmental conditions, and the benefits sought, the amount of product that the substantially absorbent side absorbs and the amount of product the substantially non-absorbent side absorbs will not be constant. Rather, the substantially absorbent side will have a relatively higher absorbent capacity than the substantially non-absorbent side for the particular product. The ratio of the absorbent capacity of the substantially absorbent side to the absorbent capacity of the substantially non-absorbent side is greater than one, preferably greater than two, and more preferably greater than four.

In some embodiments, the mitt 20 can have multiple layers on the front panel 48 and the back panel 44 to provide additional application and/or polishing surfaces. Preferably, additional layers can be heat sealed only to the perimeter and sealed in such a way that the layer is peelable. However, layers may be attached and removed by other methods such as perforations, peelable adhesives, and the like. The additional layers are intended to be removed without tearing of the applicator. The layers can be slightly offset at the cuff region 24, or additional material such as tabs may protrude from the layer, making it easier for the user to remove one layer at a time. Peelable heat seals may be accomplished by heat sealing the individual layers at a lower temperature or with less seal time such that a peelable seal occurs. An example of how peelable layers can be used, is when a user applies shoe polish. During application of the polish, front panel 48 can become soiled to an undesirable level after the polish is applied. To overcome this, an extra layer(s) of a non-woven material, could be used under the front panel 48 allowing the user to peel off the soiled layer, delivering a new, clean polishing layer allowing the user to continue polishing to the desired sheen. Similarly, the absorbent back panel 44 could have multiple layers of an absorbent paper towel such as Bounty® Towel made by The Procter & Gamble Company. When this outer layer becomes unusable, the outer layer also could be peeled away, exposing a new clean layer to buff the shoe.

In another embodiment, the outer layer may be the only layer. For example a mitt is be formed that was created from a single layer of material. Alternately, in another embodiment, a single layer of material could be initially formed into a mitt. Then the inside or outside of the mitt would be sprayed with different substances such as a plastic to give the mitt different properties. Thus, this mitt would be created from a single piece of fabric but would have different layers of materials on that initial single layer of fabric. This technique could also be applied to multiple layers of material.

Between the First and Inner Layers

The outer surface of the inner layer 50 (FIG. 3) and the inner surface of the outer layer 51 may be optionally provided with friction-enhancing elements or coatings to prevent slippage between the outer layer 36 and inner layer 40 when the user applies pressure to the target surface. The friction-enhancing elements or coatings on the outer surface of the inner layer 50, for example, may reduce the likelihood of the mitt rolling or rotating of the mitt upon the hand when the frictional forces between outer layer 36 and the increasingly dry target surface escalate. The coating can also be applied in a foamed state such as by the addition of physical blowing agents such as nitrogen and/or carbon dioxide. In addition to slot coating, suitable materials can be applied (foamed or unfoamed) in one or more of an array of lines, spirals, spots and/or any other patterned network, by spraying, printing, or by adhesively or otherwise securing separate preformed elements. In addition, tape or mechanical fasteners may also be used to prevent unwanted slippage. This technique could also be applied in a similar manner to mitt created from more than two layers of material.

Between the User's Hand and the Inner Layer

In one embodiment, an inner surface, such as the inner surface of inner layer 40, may have a friction-enhancing element that has a higher coefficient of friction between its surface and the wearer's hand than the coefficient of friction between the outer surface of the outer layer 36 and the target surface. A friction-enhancing element in this embodiment would preferably be a coating that delivers a high coefficient of friction between a wearer's hand and the inner surface of inner layer 40 of the mitt 20 such that the mitt 20 does not slip or rotate on the hand when contacting the target surface.

The Inner Layer

In order to protect the hand of the user from contact with the liquid or gel during the dispensing and/or dispersing operation, the mitts of the present invention can include an inner layer 40 to server as a barrier layer, the interior of which defines the surface that faces the user's hand during use. Inner layer 40 is preferably impervious to the product contained in reservoir 28. Suitable barrier materials include polymer films, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, EVA, and polymer blends or co-extrusions. Materials that are embossed, whether or not extensible, provide improved tactile properties and greater control over the applicator in terms of contact and coefficient of friction with the hand. Preferably, the material and the surface are made such that the coefficient of friction between the inner surface of inner layer 40 and a user's hand is greater than the coefficient of friction between the outer surface of outer layer 36 and the target surface. This reduces the likelihood that the mitt 20 may slip or rotate inadvertently in use. Inner layer 40 can also be combined with a “softness enhancing” material that provides additional comfort, softness and tactile feel to the user's hand. Such materials can include, but are not limited to, fibrous (natural, synthetic or combinations thereof) and/or foamed materials.

EXAMPLE 1

A painting mitt used to paint a chain link fence or a fence made of round posts with checkered surfaces may be made in accordance with the present invention. The painting mitt can consist of a multiple layer mitt. The inner layer, which is composed of inner layer 40 is the only layer in contact with a user's hand or fingers during use and in this embodiment is impermeable to the substance being applied. An outer layer 36 is also provided in this embodiment.

Outer most panel 37 is provided as a non-woven embossed substrate with specific properties for enhanced use as the external layer of the delivery system. Properties of the non-woven substrate for the delivery system side could be a) hydrophobic, b) or sufficient strength for durability during scrubbing c) sufficient space within the embossed pattern to allow proper substance delivery onto the surface. The reservoir 28 on the surface of outer most panel 37, would be used by the user's palm to scoop the appropriate amount of paint.

Having the panels made of different material would provide different material qualities for the appropriate task. For instance, outer most panel 37 is composed of material that is non-absorbent to the paint. This would allow a relatively large amount of paint to be scooped and applied with a minimal amount wasted in excess paint being absorbed by the surfaces exposed to the paint. Outer most panel 38 is then composed of material that is absorbent to paint. This would allow a user to use that portion of the mitt for a task other than apply paint such as absorbing excess paint off the target surface.

Additionally, the inner surface of outer layer 51 and outer surface of inner layer 50 could be coated with a surface to increase friction between the two surfaces. This would help the mitt 20 in retaining its integrity during paint application or pain drying. Also, the inner surface of inner layer 40 could be coated with a softness enhancing material to enhance comfort.

The use of the mitt to paint the chain link fence or rounded post fence with checked surfaces would be as follows. First, the user would put her hand in the glove and cup the reservoir side with her hand. Second, the user would either dip her hand in paint and scoop the paint out using the reservoir, or use another delivery system such as a squirt bottle to load the reservoir with paint. At this stage, the user's hand is protected from the potentially harmful paint by inner layer 40 while the material composing the reservoir contains the paint without absorbing an excess amount of paint to prevent waste. Third, the user would then use the mitt to contact the target surface. Fourth, the user would then rub to coat the target surface in the desired manner. Rubbing the irregularly shaped surface with the mitt has several advantages over traditional applicators. First, the method is intuitive even to the novice user as all the user must do is rub the surface wearing the mitt on her hand as if she were rubbing the surface with her had alone. The flexible nature of the mitt allows the paint-coated mitt to conform to the irregularly shaped surface, which ensures coating on all surfaces. Moreover, the reservoir allows the user to apply large amounts of paint very efficiently and quickly.

Fifth, the user may flip over to use the side of the mitt that has not been exposed to the paint in order to accomplish another task. Such a task may be to absorb excess paint from the target surface. Other tasks may be to spread the paint with the clean surface of the side opposite the reservoir or other tasks known to those skilled in the art. Finally, in order to dispose of the mitt, the user does not have to clean the mitt. The user simply has to make a fist while grasping inner layer 40 and pull the cuff off her hand. This turns the mitt inside out without the user having to make contact with a soiled surface of the mitt. The mitt can now be handled with the user's bare hands and disposed of without contact to the potentially harmful paint.

EXAMPLE 2

Another example of an applicator made in accordance with the present invention is a mitt provided for cleaning, and shining liquids or gels onto a target surface such as applying polish and buffing a leather shoe. The application of liquids or gels for these purposes would be enhanced by reservoir 28 to enable the user's palm to scoop and apply variable amounts of gels or liquids. Outer most panel 37 may be comprised of a synthetic woven, synthetic knit, non-woven, apertured film, macroscopically expanded three-dimensional formed film, absorbent or fibrous absorbent material, foam, or laminates and/or combinations thereof. The non-wovens may be made by, but not limited to, one of the following methods: spunlace, spunbound, meltblown, carded, air-laid, and hydroentangled. One such material sufficient in durability and strength to provide a cleaning surface is a spunbound polypropylene non-woven such as from BBA Non-woven of Simpsonville, S.C. Other structures such as hydroentangled materials comprising cellulose, rayon and polyester may also be used. One such set of materials are made by Dexter Corporation of Windsor Locks, Conn. and sold under the trade name Hydraspun® One skilled in the art will understand that a wide range of materials can be used as long as the material of interest provides the required durability to complete the cleaning task.

Once, the user has put the mitt on by inserting her hand with the reservoir cupped in her palm, the user will scoop the desired amount of liquid or gel into the reservoir or use an alternate delivery method. The user should then directly apply the liquid or gel to the target surface. Once the liquid or gel is applied, the user can then rub the product in the desired fashion to ensure even coating. An advantage of this embodiment is that the mitt's flexible structure coupled with the user's hand can conform to coat irregularly shaped surfaces quickly and efficiently. Moreover, the direct pressure of the hand on the mitt applied to the target surface ensures that the user can apply variable amounts of pressure to coat hard to reach surfaces as desired. Moreover, the use of the mitt is more intuitive than traditional application devices since the method of application is similar to rubbing the target surface with one's hand.

The barrier layer composed of inner layer 40 can be textured by any means known in the art, including but not limited to, embossing, ring-rolling, and incremental staining, and may also be rendered extensible. The barrier layer can be combined with another “softness enhancing” material that provides additional comfort, softness and tactile feel to the user's hand on the inner surface of the mitt. Such materials can include, but are not limited to, fibrous (natural, synthetic, or combination thereof) or foamed materials.

Outer most panel 38, could be composed of a substantially absorbent material. Outer most panel 38 might be utilized to provide a distinct surface for removing and absorbing residual product and dirt left on the plastic, vinyl, or rubber after cleaning with outer most panel 37. As described above for the barrier layer, this material can also be textured by any method known in the art and/or rendered extensible. For instance, once the user has applied the liquid or gel using outer most panel 37, the user may wish to buff or polish the target surface. This can be accomplished without taking the user's hand out of the mitt by simply flipping mitt 20 over and buffing or polishing the target surface with outer most panel 38 which is unsoiled. Outer most panel 38 could be made of a material particularly designed for buffing or polishing instead of a material designed for efficient application of liquids or gels.

Like in Example 1, when the user is finished with the mitt, disposal is clean and easy. First, the user grasps the inner layer of the mitt by making a fist and then pulls cuff 24 away from her. This turns the mitt inside out and the mitt is now ready for disposal. At this stage, the potentially harmful substances applied are safely separated by inner layer 40 and the mitt is ready to be disposed of.

The mitt can be used for polishing or cleaning surfaces including but not limited to, vinyl and other plastic car interior surfaces (i.e. dashboards, door panels, trim, consoles, plastic seats, etc.), and vinyl and other plastic car exterior surfaces (i.e. bumpers, trim, vinyl tops, moldings, etc.), rubber automobile tires, as well as, other vinyl and plastic surfaces such as indoor and outdoor furniture, luggage, and the like. The mitts are ideally suited for cleaning curved or other surfaces with jagged edges or tough to reach areas and can be stored individually, or placed and stacked in containers, folded or unfolded. The combination of easy storage and ability to polish tough to reach areas such as car dashboards, consoles, and trim, makes them ideal for use.

EXAMPLE 3

Yet another example of an applicator made in accordance with the present invention is a mitt provided for a caregiver to provide medical care to a patient while being protected from potentially harmful substances like the patient's blood. The method may include the steps of; 1) the caregiver inserting one or both hands in the mitt; 2) applying a medication and/or gauze to the mitt using the reservoir; 3) placing the mitt on the patient; 4) the caregiver removing one hand while maintaining the mitt's contact with the patient with her other hand in the mitt; and 5) turning the mitt inside out to enclose the surface of the mitt that was in contact with the patient for safe disposal. A step that might also be included are inserting a second caregiver's hand or even the patient's hand into the mitt which releases the first caregiver to do other tasks while keeping the mitt in contact with the patient. Another step that may also be included is the first caregiver reinserting her hand into the mitt after completing the other tasks.

In this particular embodiment, the mitt's inner layer 40 is constructed from a thin film of microporous material that prohibits the passage of contaminants including blood-born pathogens, micro-organisms, bacteria, viruses, spores and other hazardous contaminants. This protects the caregiver from these potentially harmful substances. The film may be devoid of pores. The film may be of any suitable polymer that will provide the necessary barrier. The thermoplastic rubber medical polymers marketed by Shell Chemical Company under the name KRATON THERMOPLASTIC RUBBER thermoplastic rubber medical polymer are suitable. These may include unsaturated mid block styrene-butadiene-styrene copolymers as well as styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene copolymers. The polymers identified as KRATON G polymer are preferred. If a seam is present the seam should be of a similar barrier nature. In the medical context, the entirely of the mitt should be sterile.

Outer layer 36, of the mitt, should have appropriate properties to apply the desired liquid, gel, medication or other desired substance using the reservoir. The mitt could comprise a plurality of discrete layers of material superimposed over one another. The individual layers may exhibit various special characteristics depending upon the use that is to be made of the mitt. For example, some layers may comprise an absorbent material that may be a gel, a hydrogel, a hydrophobic web or a natural or synthetic fibrous material. For instance, in addition to a first layer which provides appropriate properties to apply the desired liquid or gel, there may be a second layer to contact the patient composed of may be a puncture-resistant, protective padding material, such as an elastomer, which is adapted to protect the user's hands from puncture by sharp articles such as bits of glass and the like. Moreover, under that layer, there may be a third layer which would be composed of the thin film of microporous material that prohibits the passage of contaminants including blood-born pathogens, micro-organisms, bacteria, viruses, spores and other hazardous contaminants. This last layer would be inner layer 40.

In this particular embodiment, the outer layer 36 may be made of a wide variety of different types of material so that the mitt may be used to serve as an applicator of topical medications, to clean up numerous types of contaminated materials and to retrieve and safely dispose of various kinds of contaminated articles. Moreover, outer layer 36 may be constructed and arranged to safely deal with a number of different types of contaminants in differing media, including liquids, solids, semi-solids, pastes, micro-organisms, bacteria, viruses, tissue samples and the like.

Like outer layer 36, inner layer 40 may also be constructed in a number of different ways using a number of different types of materials. For example, inner layer 40 may comprise a single layer of film or a combination of one or more layers of film individually layered or bonded together by heat, adhesive, chemical reaction, or numerous other attachment methods.

The film of inner layer 40 itself may be of various thickness and may be of metallic origin, polymeric origin, or it may be nylon, latex, rubber, polyethylene, urethane, natural or synthetic composites or any combination of these materials including materials such as Shell Oil's Kraton and any grades and derivatives thereof. This may include blends and may be of one or more layers. In summary, the materials used to construct the inner layer 40 may be any material or combination of materials that has the property to substantially limit permeability of liquids, viruses, spores, bacteria, or micro-organisms, so long as it is acceptable for human use and preferably is lint-free and flexible under extreme temperature variations.

An example of one type of film material suitable for use in constructing inner layer 40, is a material made by E. I. duPont de Nemours and Company, and sold under the name and style HYTREL polymer. Another suitable material is a material manufactured and sold by Exxon under the name and style of TPE polymer. Other basic materials acceptable for use in construction of inner layer 40 for certain applications include neoprene, polyethylene, polystyrenes, polysophones, polyisopene, polyvinyl, polyamide and numerous polymers including biodegradable polymers such as MYLAR polymer, latex, nylon, butyl, silicone and acetate. Materials of the character identified should preferably be of a character to provide resistance to penetration and tearing, flexibility in extreme temperature regimes, and, as previously discussed, be micro-organism impermeable. The material should malleable and stretch at cold temperatures. The mitt could be constructed of multiple layers of material instead of a single layer. Two or more layers or materials could be combined to produce different features. The layers can be sealed by electronic stitching mechanism without pinholes. The seal should be able withstand an extreme temperature range without pinholes. Additionally, for certain applications, it is preferable that the material be transparent or translucent and be substantially resistant to ultraviolet radiation.

It is also understood that the films used to construct inner layer 40 or outer layer 36 may be films or components that are coated, or impregnated with one or more chemical or pharmaceutical agents or substances capable of neutralizing or adjusting the acid or pH levels, disinfecting, deodorizing and delivering a pharmaceutical agent to the patient.

A unique feature of the device of this embodiment is the fact that the interior chamber of the device is sufficiently large to accommodate a second hand, whether it be the second hand of the caregiver, the hand of the patient, or the hand of a third party bystander. When necessary, the caregiver may later reinsert his hand into the device and the patient or third party bystander may remove his or her hand therefrom. This highly important aspect of the invention permits the device to always remain with the patient rather than with the caregiver, thereby effectively preventing spread of contamination.

Using the device in the right hand, the care giver may provide treatment to the patient, perform clean up of a contaminated surface, or retrieve a contaminated article using the reservoir as either a scoop or a grasping surface. Like in Examples 1 and 2, the reservoir can be filled with the desired substance such as a medication and applied efficiently and quickly to a patient. The reservoir can be filled by the user conforming her palm to the reservoir and scooping the desired substance or an alternate delivery method such as a squirt bottle can be used. Additionally, the reservoir may be an appropriate place to mix medications to be applied. Specifically, one medication can be added to the reservoir and other medications can be included and mixed as desired and then applied to the patient. This provides a convenient place to mix the medications for immediate patient use. The substances can then be applied by rubbing the mitt with the target surface in the desired fashion. Since the mitt conforms to the user's hands, the mitt can quickly and efficiently coat the patent with the substances in hard to reach places.

Disposal of the mitt can be done like in Examples 1 and 2. Specifically, when the user is finished with the mitt, disposal is clean and easy. First, the user grasps the inner layer of the mitt by making a fist and then pulls cuff 24 away from her. This turns the mitt inside out and the mitt is now ready for disposal. At this stage, the potentially harmful substances applied are safely separated by inner layer 40 and the mitt is ready to be disposed of. This last feature is of particular importance in the medical context as to provide protection for the caregiver from potentially harmful bodily fluids and the like as the substances are not encapsulated with the mitt.

It is to be appreciated that at no time during the process described has the hands of the caregiver come in contact with the contaminates carried by the mitt.

The mitt may have a laminate construction made up of a layer of sponge, a layer of gauze and a layer of absorbent material. Each side of the mitt may have different properties to suit the desired tasks. For instance, one side of outer layer 36 may be composed of material that is highly absorbent to enable it to readily absorb liquids and semi-solids. Specifically, the side may be constructed of an absorbent material such as a sponge or foam. The opposite side may be composed of the same or different material, depending on the desired use.

In practice, the device may be provided with a wide variety of identification indicia such as color coding, bar coding and like coding to identify the intended uses of the particular device and to designate the types of medicaments and pharmaceuticals contained within the engaging mechanism. Other medical coding of the devices may be accomplished through the use of various schemes well known in the art such as striping and other marking indicia which are preferably correctable with use instructions and content labels provided on packaging containers used to package the device of the invention.

EXAMPLE 4

Another example of the applicator made in accordance with the present invention is a mitt with an elongated body and a radially shaped application surface. The elongated body is formed by using longer panels of material to form the mitt. In this embodiment, the elongated body provides protection for the user's arm up to at least the midpoint of the user's forearm. This will provide enhanced protection to the user, as it is likely that the substances being applied will drip or otherwise come in contact with the user's forearm. In addition the longer body helps the user in retaining the mitt. In other embodiments, the length of the panels can be varied to cover different portions of the user's hand, wrist, forearm or even upper arm.

Also included is a radially shaped application surface. This surface is roughly at the center of the reservoir. It is a circular surface which accommodates the user's hand when the user's fingers are spread out. This maximizes the amount of useable surface area when the user has the mitt on.

Yet another disclosure is a mitt without a reservoir, but with the elongated body and the radial application surface. This provides a mitt that has a smoother surface which will both be ergonomic in that it accommodates the user's hand when her fingers are spread apart and will protect more than the user's hand and wrist from harmful substances.

EXAMPLE 5

Another example of the applicator made in accordance with the present invention is a mitt with removable liners. The liners are made to line the inside of the mitt to protect the user's hands. Preferably, the liners are made from a substance which protects the user's hands from a harmful substances such as vinyl, plastic or other similar materials. The liners would be in the same general shape as the mitt and share the same construction. This would permit a user to simply slip a liner into a mitt before use. In one embodiment, the mitt liner can have a reservoir which conforms to the outer layer's reservoir.

After use, the mitt would be washed and used again. The liner could then be washed or disposed of after a single use. In one embodiment, a hook-and-loop fastener could be attached to both the inside of the mitt and the liner. When the liner is inserted into the mitt, the fastener on the mitt and the fastener on the liner would engage. This would help prevent the liner from slipping within the mitt, which would help the user in the retention of the mitt.

The foregoing examples and descriptions of the preferred embodiments of the invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and description only. They are not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed, and modifications and variations are possible and contemplated in light of the above teachings. While a number of preferred and alternate embodiments, systems, configurations, methods, and potential applications have been described, it should be understood that many variations and alternatives could be utilized without departing from the scope of the invention.

Thus, it should be understood that the embodiments and examples have been chosen and described in order to best illustrate the principles of the invention and its practical applications to thereby enable one of ordinary skill in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited for particular uses contemplated. Accordingly, it is intended that such modifications fall within the scope of the invention as defined by the claims appended hereto.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The disclosure herein has applicability to the field of mitts for applying substances to target surfaces.

In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific as to structural features. It is to be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the specific features shown or described, since the means and construction shown or described comprise preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the legitimate and valid scope of the appended claims, appropriately interpreted in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents.





 
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