Title:
CLOTHING RECEPTACLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothing receptacle is provided which includes an interactive feature calculated to generate an interest among children inducing them to place their dirty clothing into a bag. The bag may be closed after it is filled with dirty clothes and transported to the laundry room where it may be placed into both the washer and dryer while the clothes remain in its interior throughout the laundering process.



Inventors:
Guzman, Rudy (Coral Springs, FL, US)
Kasper, Pamela (Delray Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/554665
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
10/31/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/457, 383/22, 383/97, 383/117
International Classes:
A63H3/28; B65D30/04; B65D33/00; B65D33/14; B65D73/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRAY ROBINSON, P.A. (FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, US)
Claims:
1. A clothing receptacle, comprising: a bag having a hollow interior and being formed with an open end; at least a portion of a toy character including a head with a mouth movable between a closed position and an open position, said toy character being releasably mounted to said bag at said open end thereof in position to permit access to said hollow interior of said bag through said mouth of said head when in said open position; an electrical circuit mounted to said toy character, said electrical circuit including a controller coupled to a loudspeaker and to a switch, said switch being operated in response to movement of said mouth to said open position thereby causing said controller to operate said loudspeaker which sounds a message, said hollow interior of said bag receiving clothing when said mouth is in said open position.

2. The clothing receptacle of claim 1 in which said bag includes a closure device located at said open end to permit opening and closing of said bag.

3. The clothing receptacle of claim 2 in which said closure device is a zipper.

4. The clothing receptacle of claim 1 further including mounting structure for releasably mounting said toy character to said bag.

5. The clothing receptacle of claim 4 in which said mounting structure is a number of snaps connected between said toy character and said bag.

6. The clothing receptacle of claim 4 in which said mounting structure permits detachment of said bag from said toy character, said bag having items of clothing in said hollow interior being adapted to be placed in a clothes washer and dryer for laundering of the clothing items therein.

7. The clothing receptacle of claim 1 further including a strap connected to one of said bag and said toy character to permit hanging of said bag and said toy character on a doorknob.

8. The clothing receptacle of claim 1 in which said bag is formed of a fabric material having a plurality of holes.

9. The clothing receptacle of claim 8 in which said bag is formed of nylon mesh material.

10. A clothing receptacle, comprising: a bag having a hollow interior and being formed with an open end, said bag including a closure device for opening and closing said open end thereof; at least a portion of a toy character including a head having a mouth movable between a closed position and an open position; mounting structure for securing said toy character to said open end of said bag so that said toy character may be detached from said bag, said head of said toy character being positioned relative to said open end of said bag to permit access to said hollow interior thereof through said mouth of said head; an electrical circuit mounted to said toy character, said electrical circuit including a controller coupled to a loudspeaker and to a switch, said switch being operated in response to movement of said mouth to said open position thereby causing said controller to operate said loudspeaker which sounds a message, said hollow interior of said bag receiving clothing when said mouth is in said open position; said bag being detached by operation of said mounting structure from said toy character after having received clothing within its interior, said closure device being operated to close said open end of said bag, said bag being insertable into a clothes washer and dryer while maintaining the clothing within said hollow interior thereof throughout the laundering process.

11. The clothing receptacle of claim 10 further including a strap connected to one of said bag and said toy character to permit hanging of said bag and said toy character on a doorknob.

12. The clothing receptacle of claim 10 in which said bag is formed of nylon mesh material.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to receptacles for clothing, and, more particularly, to the combination of a mesh bag and the torso of a toy character releasably attached to the bag having a head carrying a loudspeaker which sounds a message when the mouth of the head is opened to allow insertion of items of clothing into the bag.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is a challenge for parents of younger children to teach them to pick up after themselves. If good habits are not established early on, by the time the child reaches his or her teenage years it may be too late. Placement of dirty clothing in a laundry basket or other receptacle, instead of on the floor or somewhere else, is an important part of keeping a child's room in some semblance of order and in ensuring that the clothes are freshly laundered.

Like many other aspects of teaching children, it is helpful to add an element of fun to gain their attention and participation. A number of laundry bags have been developed which are formed in the shape of a toy character to entice children to place their dirty clothes in the bag. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. D202,381; D183,211; D179,866; D152,173 and D99,499. In some cases, a strap is attached to the bag so that it can be hung on a doorknob or the like where it is in full view of the child whenever he or she goes into their bedroom or bathroom. Although decorative, laundry bags of this type do not fit in with the interactive, visual and audio experience children get from the toys that they play with, the television shows that they watch and many other aspects of their everyday world. As a result, they are of little value in helping children learn to take care of their dirty clothes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed to a clothing receptacle which includes an interactive feature calculated to generate an interest among children inducing them to place their dirty clothing into a bag. The bag may be closed after it is filled with dirty clothes and transported to the laundry room where it may be placed into both the washer and dryer, while the clothes remain in its interior for laundering.

In the presently preferred embodiment, the clothing receptacle comprises a bag formed with apertures, such as a nylon mesh bag, having an open end which mounts to the torso of a toy character. The toy character has a head with a mouth movable between and open and closed position, and an electrical circuit including a loudspeaker. In response to opening of the mouth, the loudspeaker sounds a message encouraging the child to place clothing into the mouth, which, in turn, leads into the interior or the bag. When the bag is filled, it may be detached from the torso, closed and then taken into the laundry room. The bag is placed in the clothes washer, with the clothes remaining in its interior, and then into the dryer.

The clothing receptacle of this invention adds an element of fun and interaction for the child encouraging him or her to place clothes into the bag. The toy character “speaks” to the child when its mouth is opened, and a number of different messages may be provided to enhance the child's fun. In addition to the entertainment provided the child, the person doing the laundry can keep all of the child's clothes together in the bag throughout the laundering process so that they are not lost or intermixed with other clothing. This is especially helpful with socks which seem to routinely disappear during laundering.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The structure, operation and advantages of the presently preferred embodiment of this invention will become further apparent upon consideration of the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of the clothing receptacle of this invention with the mouth of the toy character in the closed position;

FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1 except with the mouth open;

FIG. 3 is a view of the bag of the clothing receptacle detached from the toy character; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic view of one version of an electrical circuit which may be used in the subject invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the Figs., the clothing receptacle 10 of this invention includes a bag 11 and the torso of a toy character 12 having a pair of arms 14 and 16, and a head 18 with a mouth 20. The toy character 12 is depicted as a “monster,” but it should be understood that virtually any type of character could be employed and is considered within the scope of this invention. Additionally, only a portion of the torso of the toy character 12 and not the remainder of the body is depicted in the illustrated embodiment but it is contemplated that more or less of the body of such character 12 could be used so long as a path is provided through which clothing may be delivered into the bag 11, as described below.

The toy character 12 is preferably formed of a fabric material filled with stuffing, a “soft-sculpture” construction having foam material covered with a layer of fabric or other suitable construction. The mouth 20 is movable between a closed position shown in FIG. 1 and the open position depicted in FIG. 2. A strap 22 is preferable affixed to the back of the toy character 12 so that the receptacle 10 may be mounted to a doorknob 24 or the like as shown in phantom in FIGS. 1 and 2.

The bag 11 is formed of a durable, light-weight, washable and dryable material with a number of apertures 25, such as nylon mesh or the like. As best seen in FIG. 3, the bag 11 has a closed interior 26 except for the top 28 which may be opened and closed by a zipper 30 or other fastening device. The toy character 12 may be affixed and detached from the bag 11 by snaps 32, buttons, hook and loop fastening elements or any other suitable means of attachment which permits the toy character 12 and bag 11 to detach from one another. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the toy character 10 is mounted to the bag 11 so that the head 18 extends about the open top 28 of the bag 11 and the mouth 20, when opened, communicates with its interior 26.

As schematically shown in FIG. 4, the toy character 10 mounts an electrical circuit 34 including a battery 36, a switch 38, an integrated circuit 40 and a loudspeaker 42. The integrated circuit 40, or, alternatively any other suitable controller, is operative to sound the loudspeaker 42 and may be programmed with a number of messages, as noted below.

The clothing receptacle 10 operates as follows. The toy character 12 is initially attached to the bag 1 by the snaps 32 with the top 28 of the bag 11 in the open position and the mouth 20 of the character closed. In response to movement of the mouth 20 to the open position, the switch 38 is closed causing the integrated circuit 40 to sound the loudspeaker 42. A message is produced, such as “I want socks” or “Feed me socks,” to encourage the child to place his or her clothing into the mouth 20 of the toy character 12. The clothing, depicted as sock(s) 44 in FIGS. 2 and 3, passes through the mouth 20 and open top 28 of the bag 11 into its interior 26. The mouth 20 is then closed. Every time the mouth 20 is opened a message is sounded by the loudspeaker 42, and as noted above, the messages may vary from one time to another.

When the bag 11 is filled with clothing, or it is otherwise time to do laundry, the toy character 12 is detached from the bag 11. The zipper 30 is operated to close the bag 11 and it may then be transported to the laundry room. The bag 11, with the socks 44 and/or other clothes remaining in its interior 26, may be placed in the washer and then into the dryer. In this manner, the clothes are kept together throughout the laundering process and can be returned to the child's room without losing them or mixing them with other clothes. After the clean clothes are put away, the bag 11 is opened and re-attached to the toy character 12 in preparation for use.

While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims. What is claimed is: