Title:
Hair care basin head support apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus for supporting a person's head above a sink or basin for the purpose of facilitating hair care operations. The apparatus comprises oppositely disposed mounting members so that a mesh band may be suspended between two retaining shafts across the width of a sink or basin used for hair care operations.



Inventors:
Barrett, Virginia (Clearwater, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/588443
Publication Date:
05/01/2008
Filing Date:
10/26/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D44/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles E. Lykes, Jr., Esq., (Clearwater, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus useful in supporting a person's head above a basin or sink to facilitate hair care operations, the apparatus comprising: mounting apparatus, said mounting apparatus further comprising two clamping members, said clamping members being oppositely disposed across a sink or a basin and being further adapted to fit snugly upon the rim of said sink or basin at opposite sides, each said clamping member being further adapted with means to receive and support a shaft member and being further adapted to securely maintain its position and communication with said rim of said sink under the weight of a person's head as may be further burdened by the need to perform hair care operations and to contain hair care chemicals; mesh band positioning apparatus, said mesh band positioning apparatus further comprising a means of connection between each said shaft member at opposite ends of said mesh band and each said clamping member in order to maintain the position of each said shaft member generally parallel to said sink or basin rim and to permit said shaft member to receive a sleeve or channel at each end of said mesh band; and a mesh band, said mesh band further comprising a generally elongated and rectangular swath of a substantially waterproof mesh material, said mesh band further being of adequate length to be suspended across said sink or basin, said mesh band being further of adequate width to comfortably and reliably support a person's head, said mesh band being further of adequate strength to securely and reliably support a person's head, and said mesh band being further made or protected with a material which will not absorb or suffer degradation when exposed to a variety of hair care fluids and chemicals; and said mesh band being further adapted with and securely fastened to a shaft receiving channel at each end of said mesh band, each said shaft receiving channel being adapted to receive one of said shaft members and each said shaft receiving channel being further adapted to position such shaft member to be generally perpendicular with the length of said mesh band and parallel with the width of said mesh band.

2. The invention described in claim one in which each said shaft receiving means comprises an array of two or more hook members protruding from each said clamping member on the interior side of said sink or basin and position relative to each other so that each said shaft member will rest within and be supported by the array of hook members and the position so as to support and maintain each end of said mesh band to be suspended across said sink or basin.

3. The invention described in claim one in which each said shaft receiving channel comprises a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

4. The invention described in claim one in which each said shaft receiving channel is formed by folding over an end of said mesh band and securing said mesh band end upon the width of said mesh band so as to form a channel of adequate dimension to receive a said shaft member.

5. The invention described in claim one in which each end of said mesh band is adapted with two or more shaft receiving channels, each said shaft receiving channel further comprising a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

6. The invention described in claim one in which each end of said mesh band further comprises two or more shaft receiving channels, said shaft receiving channels being further formed by folding over a substantial and of said mesh band so and as to permit the folded over end of said mesh band to be divided into and fastened back upon said mesh band so as to form two or more parallel shaft receiving channels at the end and add desired distances from one or both bands of said mesh band.

7. The invention described in claim one in which each end of said shaft member is further adapted with means of connection with a line, said line being further adapted to be secured to two or more places near opposite end of each said shaft member and to further be secured upon one or more receiving members of each said clamping member so as to hold said shaft members in a position which is generally parallel with the top of said sink or basin rim and the width of said mesh band and generally perpendicular with the length of said mesh band.

8. The invention described in claim two in which each said shaft receiving channel comprises a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

9. The invention described in claim two in which each said shaft receiving channel is formed by folding over an end of said mesh band and securing said mesh band end upon the width of said mesh band so as to form a channel of adequate dimension to receive a said shaft member.

10. The invention described in claim two in which each end of said mesh band is adapted with two or more shaft receiving channels, each said shaft receiving channel further comprising a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

11. The invention described in claim two in which each end of said mesh band further comprises two or more shaft receiving channels, said shaft receiving channels being further formed by folding over a substantial and of said mesh band so and as to permit the folded over end of said mesh band to be divided into and fastened back upon said mesh band so as to form two or more parallel shaft receiving channels at the end and add desired distances from one or both bands of said mesh band.

12. The invention described in claim seven in which each said shaft receiving channel comprises a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

13. The invention described in claim seven in which each said shaft receiving channel is formed by folding over an end of said mesh band and securing said mesh band end upon the width of said mesh band so as to form a channel of adequate dimension to receive a said shaft member.

14. The invention described in claim seven in which each end of said mesh band is adapted with two or more shaft receiving channels, each said shaft receiving channel further comprising a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

15. The invention described in claim seven in which each end of said mesh band further comprises two or more shaft receiving channels, said shaft receiving channels being further formed by folding over a substantial and of said mesh band so and as to permit the folded over end of said mesh band to be divided into and fastened back upon said mesh band so as to form two or more parallel shaft receiving channels at the end and add desired distances from one or both bands of said mesh band.

16. Apparatus useful in supporting a person's head above a basin or sink to facilitate hair care operations, the apparatus comprising: mounting apparatus, said mounting apparatus further comprising two clamping members, said clamping members being oppositely disposed across a sink or a basin and being further adapted to fit snugly upon the rim of said sink or basin at opposite sides, each said clamping member being further adapted with means to receive and support a shaft member and being further adapted to securely maintain its position and communication with said rim of said sink under the weight of a person's head as may be further burdened by the need to perform hair care operations and to contain hair care chemicals, said clamping members further being adapted to be moved and positioned as desired along the sink or basin rim and then to be snugly fit upon said sink or basin rim as desired to achieve an appropriate distance and generally perpendicularly from an open area in one portion of said sink for basin adapted to permit the passage of a person's head or neck; mesh band positioning apparatus, said mesh band positioning apparatus further comprising a means of connection between each said shaft member at opposite ends of said mesh band and each said clamping member in order to maintain the position of each said shaft member generally parallel to said sink or basin rim and to permit said shaft member to receive a sleeve or channel at each end of said mesh band; and a mesh band, said mesh band further comprising a generally elongated and rectangular swath of a substantially waterproof mesh material, said mesh band further being of adequate length to be suspended across said sink or basin, said mesh band being further of adequate width to comfortably and reliably support a person's head, said mesh band being further of adequate strength to securely and reliably support a person's head, and said mesh band being further made or protected with a material which will not absorb or suffer degradation when exposed to a variety of hair care fluids and chemicals; and said mesh band being further adapted with and securely fastened to a shaft receiving channel at each end of said mesh band, each said shaft receiving channel being adapted to receive one of said shaft members and each said shaft receiving channel being further adapted to position such shaft member to be generally perpendicular with the length of said mesh band and parallel with the width of said mesh band.

17. The invention described in claim sixteen in which each said shaft receiving means comprises an array of two or more hook members protruding from each said clamping member on the interior side of said sink or basin and position relative to each other so that each said shaft member will rest within and be supported by the array of hook members and the position so as to support and maintain each end of said mesh band to be suspended across said sink or basin.

18. The invention described in claim sixteen in which each said shaft receiving channel comprises a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

19. The invention described in claim sixteen in which each said shaft receiving channel is formed by folding over an end of said mesh band and securing said mesh band end upon the width of said mesh band so as to form a channel of adequate dimension to receive a said shaft member.

20. The invention described in claim sixteen in which each end of said mesh band is adapted with two or more shaft receiving channels, each said shaft receiving channel further comprising a pliable sleeve member which may be adapted with means of connection with each end of said mesh band.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to hygienic apparatus, particularly those useful in the cleaning and grooming of hair.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The grooming and cleaning of a person's hair is an important function for a number of reasons. The art of this practice has developed into a major industry as a variety of chemicals and procedures to accomplish the cleaning, coloring, shaping, and styling of hair are now a worldwide business. In particular, there are numerous hair salons available throughout the world and many persons undertake their own hairstyling procedures.

It is usually the case, particularly with longer women's hair, that chemicals which may be very effective in coloring, cleaning, and strengthening hair may be dangerous or unpleasant if they came into contact with a person's skin or clothing. It is also true that individuals who attend a salon or who seek the assistance of others to perform these hair functions are desirous of isolating the operations on their hair from any other part of their body.

Unfortunately, such hair operations almost always required that the hair remains thoroughly wet and moist for a substantial period of time. Also, it is important for the hair stylist to handle the hair for a substantial period of time in order to accomplish thorough cleaning, coloring, or styling.

This presents somewhat of a problem. It is uncomfortable for an individual to maintain his or her head in a position to allow such a long hair operations without experiencing some measure of discomfort. It is also somewhat difficult for a person to support his or her head in such a position, particularly over an opening such as a sink or basin, without also interfering with the ability to work with the hair.

Several patents have provided means of coping with this problem. U.S. Pat. No. 4,754,503 issued to Martin on Jul. 5, 1988, teaches a tub assembly with a reclining added member with a mesh fabric top which is meant for supporting babies in a bathtub. The apparatus somewhat resembles a chaise lounge and includes various kinds of pads for the body and legs and the mashed top allows cleaning and working with a baby's hair.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,956,881 issued to Lindley on Sep. 18, 1990 teaches a head support apparatus which is suspended from well above a sink or a basin. It requires some form of support for framework to be either installed or previously existing in order to support one or more lines which, in turn, support a mesh band which will hold a head in place. This patent effectively does the job of supporting a head but does require what would appear to be a permanent installation of some kind.

Another device which is primarily useful for babies is U.S. Pat. No. 5,406,655 issue to sample in on Apr. 18, 1995. It uses a mesh fabric design suspended between two rigid members, at least one of which may be adjusted in height, to support a baby within a bathtub and allow bathing without submersion of the baby into the water. It is a complete apparatus and fits within a bathtub and does not fix itself upon the bathtub. When completed it looks like a self-supporting hammock. The entire baby is supported by mesh fabric allowing rinsing and cleaning over the entire body.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,112,343, issue to Dixon on Sep. 5, 2000, teaches another assembly for supporting a baby within a job. A unique feature of Dixon is that it incorporates means of hanging and suspending the apparatus for complete drying, thereby improving hygiene. It is another device which supports an entire baby and not just the head.

Relevant to the principal issue of hair care alone is U.S. Pat. No. 5,239,711, issue two Who were on Aug. 31, 1993. This apparatus includes a pair of opposite mounting clips which used a jay hook assembly to tightly suspend a band of mesh fabric across a basin. The apparatus achieves the ability to support a head using a mesh fabric in which the mashed openings are 1/16 of an inch. This width was selected in order to allow a free flow of fluid but also minimize splashing.

It would, then, be advantageous to be by his and apparatus which would stably and reliably support a person's head in the proper position over a sink or a basin without resulting in discomfort to the patron undergoing such hair operations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The inventor has overcome the problems inherent in the prior art by having developed a slaying or hammock type device which may be simply installed over a variety of basins such as those found in hair salons and will provide stability and comfort to the patron while, at the same time, allowing full access to the hair by the hair caring individual.

The apparatus generally comprises a support member which is a net suspended across opposite sides of a basin or sink. The net will be made of a material which is resistant to hair care chemicals, comparable for resting a head, and strong enough to stably and reliably support a head throughout hair care operations.

The net may be suspended from two dowels each of which are, in turn, reliably fixed to a clamping or other support apparatus which is adapted to maintain stable contact and mounting communication with the lip, edge, or side of a basin or sink. In this way the head is comfortably supported above the sink or the basin while, at the same time, the hair care provider can freely apply water, chemicals, or use hair care implements to work on the hair without disturbing any other parts of the hair care patron's body or clothing. The net will allow reasonable manipulation and movement of the head so that such functions can be easily performed.

It is, then, an object of the present invention to provide means and apparatus for performing hair care operations on a hair care patron while allowing the hair care patron to maintain full clothing and remained comfortable.

It is, then, a further object of the present invention to provide such means and apparatus which may be easily adjusted to fit a variety of circumstances.

It is, then, a further object of the present invention to provide such means and apparatus which will permit prolonged hair care operations without causing substantial discomfort or danger to a hair care patron.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be revealed in the detailed description and claims which follow.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description in which the preferred embodiments have been set forth in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In describing the preferred embodiments of the invention reference will be made to the series of figures and drawings briefly described below.

FIG. 1 depicts a top view the over all apparatus which may be installed on a basin which is typically found in commercial hair salons.

FIG. 2 depicts a cross-section of the basin with mounting clamps upon each opposite side of the basin.

FIG. 3 depicts a cross-section of a dowel which is used to support one end of the supporting net.

FIGS. 4A and 4B depict the basin mounting clamp viewed from the outside portion and inside portion, respectively.

FIG. 5 depicts the apparatus with an individual's head resting within the suspended net.

FIG. 6 depicts the apparatus with a separate dowel channel rather than one integral with the mesh band.

FIG. 76 depicts a cross-section of one end of a head support net according to the present invention which has been further adapted with a series of channels to permit appropriate spacing of the supporting dowels.

FIG. 8 depicts an alternate clamping apparatus which is adapted with a screw device which may be used to tighten the clamping apparatus upon the basin ledge.

While certain drawings have been provided in order to teach the principles and operation of the present invention, it should be understood that, in the detailed description which follows, reference may be made to components or apparatus which are not included in the drawings. Such components and apparatus should be considered as part of the description, even if not included in such a drawing. Likewise, the drawings may include an element, structure, or mechanism which is not described in the textual description of the invention which follows. The invention and description should also be understood to include such a mechanism, component, or element which is depicted in the drawing but not specifically described.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiment of the invention, an example of which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings. While the invention will be described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention defined in the appended claims.

While the following description will seek to improve understanding of the invention by describing the various components and elements, it should be considered that certain apparatus may be sufficiently and adequately explained by the accompanying drawings, which are fully incorporated herein, and not require further description. All such apparatus should be considered as part of the specification of the invention for all purposes.

Making reference first to FIG. 1 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention it can be seen that the apparatus generally comprises three functional elements. First is a mounting apparatus (10) for maintaining mounting contact and communication with the rim (70) of a typical hair salon basin (80). There will typically be two such mounting apparatus members (10) oppositely disposed. Next is net supporting apparatus (30) which is used to support a head support net (50). It can be seen that there will also be to oppositely disposed such net supporting apparatus (30). Finally, a head support net (50) is suspended between each oppositely disposed net supporting apparatus (30) which is mounted from the basin rim (70) by means of the opposite lee disposed of mounting apparatus (10).

A basin or sink used for hair care operations will typically have one side which is adapted with an open area to facilitate the passage of a person's neck so that the person's head may be rested at a level no higher than (and usually a little below) the upper level of the sink or basin. Accordingly, the net or band used to support a person's head will be suspended across the sink or basin sides which are adjacent to this open area and proximate to the open area in consideration with the typical or customary length of a person's neck and head. It can be seen that it can be useful to have some degree of latitude in where the apparatus may be placed. The present invention will be seen to facilitate this task.

Making reference now to FIG. 2, it can be seen that the typical such rim (70) will be adapted with a lip (71) which surrounds the basin rim (70). This common design feature offers the opportunity to provide a mounting apparatus (11) designed for simple installation and removal upon such a basin. Such a mounting apparatus (11) could be adapted with a shape which includes a generally U-shaped member (12) which further includes an inwardly protruding edge (13) on the outermost side (14) which would take advantage of the basin rim lip (71) so as to provide a means of holding the mounting apparatus (10) to the rim (70) without an additional structural member. In FIG. 2 a dowel (50) rests in 2 receiving protrusions (110, 111) on the interior clamp apparatus (11). It will later be described how the dowel (50) supports the mesh net (60).

As will be seen later, there may be other ways to facilitate holding the mounting apparatus (10) to the basin rim (70) which are in keeping with the spirit and scope of the present invention. All such means and apparatus are meant to be included within the scope and spirit of the claims set forth herein. FIG. 8 depicts a screw tightened clamp adapted to fit upon a basin rim (90) with no lip. In this case a screw member (91) can be turned through a channel (93) in the outside portion (94) of a clamp member (95) to make contact with the exterior portion of the basin (96) and secure the apparatus in place.

FIG. 3 is a depiction of how a net (60) could be supported by the mounting apparatus (10). It can be seen, from this cross-sectional view, that a dowel (50) can be fit within the length of a channel (61) running across the width of the mesh net (60) at or near one end of the mesh net (60). Then the dowel (50) could be secured to the mounting apparatus (10) by means of a line (51) which is tied or otherwise fastened to one end (52) of the dowel (50), then runs through a loop (12) or other fixture on the mounting apparatus (10) and then is tied or otherwise fastened to the other end (53) of the dowel (50).

FIGS. 4A and 4B depict the clamping members (12) in isolation and from both sides with the features more clearly depicted. FIG. 5 depicts a person's head (130) resting upon the mesh band (60) net with the major features of the clamping (10) and mounting (30) apparatus more clearly shown.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention teaches the use of channel which is integral with and a part of the net (60). However, such channel could be a separate element which is fastened to the net (60) across its width. There are alternative means of achieving the provision of a dowel and a channel to the net which are all in keeping with the spirit and scope of the present invention and the claims following and set forth herein. Moreover, there are alternative means of fasting a net to such mounting apparatus which do not include the use of a dowel and channel. Such will be mentioned later in this disclosure.

It can now be seen that the mounting apparatus (10) and dowel apparatus (50) support the suspension of a net (60) across the open side of a sink or basin. The net (60) is manufactured of a material which will, as configured, a pliable so as to gently fit about a person's head (101) as set forth in FIG. 5 but will not be elastic to a sufficient extent to allow a person's head (101) to sink down into the basin or sink. The net material should also be one which will not substantially absorbed the chemicals which are used in cleaning, coloring, and conditioning hair and the openings in the net should be sufficiently large to permit such fluids and chemicals to flow freely into the sink or basin.

FIG. 6 depicts a mesh net (60) which is adapted with channel members (120, 121) which are separate from the mesh net (60) and are fastened along seams (122, 123)) to the ends (124, 125) of the mesh net (60). Just as with integral channels (as will be described later), several separate channels (not depicted here) could be used or either or both of the end channels (120, 121) could be moved along the mesh net (60) to achieve proper spacing.

Making reference now to FIG. 7 it can also be seen that such a mesh net (60) could be adapted with several channels (68, 69, 70) for receiving a dowel on one or both ends of the net. This would permit a proper length of net to be selected to fit a variety of basins or sinks.

As it was previously referenced, several alternatives to features of the invention were mentioned and are worth further development at this point. For instance, as depicted in FIG. 8, the mounting apparatus may also be adapted to fit basin ledge is other than those with a rim or basin ledges which are of a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. One such configuration which would fit virtually any sink or basin rim configuration. Such would be adapting the U-shaped mounting member with an outer side which further comprised and interior gripping surface which is in communication with a threaded screw and turning handle so that the turning handle can be used to tighten the gripping surface down upon the outer surface of the basin or sink. In this manner, no matter how the lip or rim of the sink or basin may be shaped or no matter what material is made of sufficient mounting strength can be achieved mechanically by turning the gripping surface screw so as to maintain the basin rim firmly within. There may be numerous means and apparatus for attaching and securing such a mounting device upon the rim of a sink or basin. Each of these means are apparatus would be well known to those who work in this or related arts. Accordingly, no claim is made for protecting any such clamping means are apparatus, apart from the combination of elements of the present invention as claimed and described herein. However, each such alternative should be considered as keeping within the spirit and scope of the invention and claims taught herein.

It can now be seen that the use of various clamping devices may offer an advantage with respect to moving or adjusting the location of the clamps along the sides of the sink or basin as was earlier mentioned. This may be desirable to permit adjustment of the location of the mesh band in order to accommodate persons with different sizes of heads and necks.

Additionally, there are a variety of means of securing each of the net holding shafts to the mounting clamp. In the preferred embodiment it is shown that the shaft may be made to fit into two or more resting hooks or loops adapted in the interior of the clamping apparatus. But just as easily each shaft member could be adapted with means of receiving a line which could be run through the shaft to secure the shaft and then make connection with a loop or a hook on the clamping apparatus. However, each such alternative should be considered as keeping within the spirit and scope of the invention and claims taught herein.

It was further mentioned that the channel need not be integral with the net. Making reference to FIG. 6 it can be seen that a separate channel could be made of some other material and fastened to and across the width of a net at either end. In this way, just as one or more channels which could be made integral with the net, such a separate channel could be moved along the length of the net or more than one such channel could be fastened to the net at one or both ends in order to achieve the same ability to select the appropriate length of suspension of net over the basin or sink as required.

Moreover, such a net could be supported without a channel at all. Instead of using a channel 1 or more lines could be threaded through and across the width of the net so as to make communication with the mounting loop and support each end of a desired net. It should be noted that the ways of securing the mesh band to the basin mounting structure are numerous and varied and will comprise simple mechanical structures well known. Accordingly, no claim is made of such variable means of mounting apart from their use in the invention herein.

It has further been described in the prior art in this area that there are certain dimensions for mesh openings which are more effective than others in the task of both facilitating the flow of hair care chemicals and fluids and also avoiding the broadcast of such hair care chemicals and fluids by splashing or spilling. The present invention is meant to incorporate any such knowledge or technology into the design of either a mesh band which is acceptable for all such fluids and chemicals or, perhaps, a mesh band which may be tailored with respect to match opening dimensions to work most effectively with any given hair care chemical or fluid.

Similarly, just as certain dimensions for mesh band openings may be more or less suitable for given applications, it may also be that certain materials used to either manufacture or coat the mesh band may be more or less suitable for use with certain fluids or chemicals. This may be either because certain chemicals or fluids used for hair care may provide different hazards or it may be because of the properties of said chemicals are the mesh band material. No particular material or coating is claimed herein apart from its use in the present invention. It is, however, clear that materials and coatings which are resistant to fluids used in the hair care industry and which would not absorb or be degraded by such fluids would be the most useful. Even if other such materials are coatings were used the invention could still function although it may be necessary to periodically change the mesh band as the use of nonconforming materials would likely result in degradation of the mesh band to the point where it would no longer safely and reliably function.

The only real requirement with respect to the selection of materials for the mesh band or its coating would be that such materials would have to be of adequate strength to, when positioned and suspended between the opposite sides of a sink or basin rim, support the weight of a human head reliably enough to conduct hair care operations and that they would not interfere with or damage human skin or hair in the presence of hair care fluids and chemicals.

Further modification and variation can be made to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the subject and spirit of the invention as defined in the following claims. Such modifications and variations, as included within the scope of these claims, are meant to be considered part of the invention as described.





 
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