Title:
Wig and bathing cap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved wig provides a wig and bathing cap configuration such that a wearer of the wig can participate in water-related activities. The wig and bathing cap configuration includes an outer layer defining an inner surface and an outer surface, an inner layer defining an inner surface and an outer surface, and the outer surface of the inner layer is bonded to the inner surface of the outer layer. Strands of hair are bonded to the outer surface of the outer layer and the inner surface of the inner layer defines a waterproof face.



Inventors:
Smith, Patricia A. (Windsor, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/634606
Publication Date:
06/12/2008
Filing Date:
12/06/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
132/53, 132/54
International Classes:
A42B1/12; A41G5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STEITZ, RACHEL RUNNING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert L. Rispoli (Bloomfield, CT, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A wig and bathing cap configuration comprising: a) at least one layer defining an inner surface and an outer surface; b) the inner surface defining a waterproof face; and c) strands of hair bonded to the outer surface.

2. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 1 wherein the strands of hair are comprised of synthetic plastic.

3. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 1 wherein the strands of hair are comprised of natural hair.

4. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 1 wherein the inner surface further defines a pliable shape.

5. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 4 wherein the pliable shape sealingly and removeably engages a wearer's head.

6. A wig and bathing cap configuration comprising: a) an outer layer defining an inner surface and an outer surface; b) an inner layer defining an inner surface and an outer surface; c) strands of hair bonded to the outer surface of the outer layer; d) the inner surface of the inner layer defining a waterproof face; b) and wherein the outer surface of the inner layer is bonded to the inner surface of the outer layer.

7. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 6 wherein the strands of hair are comprised of synthetic plastic.

8. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 6 wherein the strands of hair are comprised of natural hair.

9. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 6 wherein the inner surface of the inner layer further defines a pliable shape.

10. The wig and bathing cap configuration of claim 9 wherein the pliable shape sealingly and removeably engages a wearer's head.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to a wig that concurrently serves the wearer of the wig as a bathing cap. The present invention enables persons suffering from loss of hair (known as Alopecia), such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, to participate in water-related activities with significantly reduced social anxiety. More particularly, the invention comprises a removable wig and bathing cap configuration such that the device can be confidently worn by the wearer while engaging in a variety of heretofore unfeasible activities such as recreational bathing and swimming and then easily removed or disengaged when desired.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of wigs is quite common and many varieties are known in the prior art. Primarily cosmetic in nature, the wigs known in the prior art provide alternative hair styles to wearers of such wigs. However, wigs have become increasingly popular for use by people suffering from hair loss due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy. Although some progress has been made with wigs and, in particular, use of wigs by persons afflicted with hair is a device that serves the wearer as a bathing cap and a wig such that the device can be worn while swimming or bathing and also removed when so desired.

There are a number of methods known in the art for the construction of wigs. Typically, a wig comprises a plurality of synthetic fibers or natural hair attached to a foundation. The foundation generally is pliable in order to fit the wearer's scalp. A variety of terms are used in the art to designate the foundation such as the cap, head cap, artificial scalp, or wig base. The synthetic fibers or natural hair may be bonded to the foundation by a number of means known in the art such as use of an adhesive, passing the strands through a series of apertures formed in the foundation and knotting at least one end, or other hand sewn and machine sewn methods.

One of the teachings of a desired foundation, based on the known shortcomings in the prior art, is disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2003/0130861 A1 dated Jul. 17, 2003 by V. Prestia. In the application, Prestia discloses a foundation head band for use under a wig to secure the wig to the user's head and to prevent soiling of the wig. (See Prestia, Paragraphs 0003, 0006-0010). The Prestia head band may accomplish its stated objectives; however, it is not waterproof and teaches away from a tight-fitting waterproof wig foundation. Instead, Prestia teaches that the material used to make the head band should provide flexibility and air flow between the scalp and the wig. Further, Prestia discloses a preferred volumetric air flow rate through the head cover. (See Prestia, Paragraph 0019).

Similar teachings with respect to the use of a thin foundation are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,079 issued to Bate dated Mar. 5, 2002. Bate discloses a wig foundation comprising several portions fabricated from thin non-stretch nylon lace and thin stretch nylon lace depending upon the location of the foundation piece upon the wearer's head. (See Bate, Column 1, lines 39-41). The use of thin materials, according to Bate, provides a secure fit that is light and stretchable. (See Bate, Column 1, lines 52-54). Bate makes no mention of the need for a waterproof foundation. Moreover, the use of a fabric or lace material as taught by Bate teaches away from the use of as waterproof material such as plastic or rubber.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2004/0168696 dated Sep. 2, 2004 by M. J. Cox provides comprehensive descriptions of several common wig construction methods known n the art and such descriptions of this prior art are incorporated herein in their entirety. (See Cox, Paragraphs 0008-0016). Advances have been made in the construction of wig foundations wherein such foundations came to embody configurations that were cooler to wear and helped to dissipate moisture and heat. (See Cox, Paragraph 0015). By ventilating the wig foundation, those practiced in the art provided devices that enhanced the comfort of the wearer and permitted prolonged wearing of the wig.

Cox solves the problems noted in the prior art by disclosing a thin wig foundation with perforations to allow sufficient airflow or breathability to minimize heat and moisture build-up on the wearer's scalp. (See Cox, Paragraph 0017). Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,271,420 issued to Park dated Dec. 21, 1993 discloses a lighter-weight wig with no head cap such that the wig will provide good ventilation between the wig and the wearer's scalp. (See Park, Column 2, lines 14-20). More recently, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2006/0162734 dated Jul. 27, 2006 to Kagami et al. discloses the formation of a gap between the wig and the scalp by defining a great number of silicone protrusions designed to come into contact with the scalp. (See Kagami et al., Paragraph 0019). As with the Prestia application, Cox and Park may accomplish their stated objectives; however, the devices disclosed therein are not waterproof and both teach away from a tight-fitting waterproof wig foundation.

A number of other devices, commonly referred to as hairpieces, are designed for more permanent attachment to the scalp. As further described in Cox, such pieces may be designed to be retained to strands of existing hair on the scalp of the wearer by a plurality of anchoring members. (See Cox, Paragraph 0016). U.S. Pat. No. 6,170,491 to Maekawa dated Jan. 9, 2001 discloses a wig-fitting component that comprises a net-type component and thread-shaped members for inserting and fastening the natural hair of a wig-wearing person. (See Maekawa, Column 2, lines 23-25). A problem associated with such hairpieces is that they are not designed to be removable, nor are they waterproof.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2005/0247324 to Nicot et al. dated Nov. 10, 2005 describes a flexible fabric coated with an adhesive film which comes into contact with the skin of the wearer of the wig thereby securing the wig in place. (See Nicot et al., Paragraph 0032). Some of the problems associated with the use of an adhesive, for those users that do not desire to wear a permanent or semi-permanent hairpiece, are excessive wear on the hair and scalp and diminished effectiveness of the adhesive.

Similar to the use of wigs, the use of pouch-style bathing caps and shower caps is known in the art. U.S. Pat. No. 3,996,621 to Martienssen dated Dec. 14, 1976 discloses a waterproof bathing pouch comprising an elastic band sealingly engaging the skin around the hair-covered area on the head of the user. The hair-confining receptacle, known as the pouch, is made of plastic and is connected to the elastic band thereby providing a waterproof surface. (See Martienssen, Column 1, line 57—Column 2, line 10).

Based on the foregoing, it is an objective of the present invention to provide a wig and bathing cap configuration such that persons suffering from loss of hair may participate in water-related activities with significantly reduced social anxiety.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a wig and bathing cap configuration such that persons desiring to protect their hair may participate in water-related activities with significantly reduced social anxiety.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a wig and bathing cap configuration such that persons desiring to cover their hair may participate in water-related activities and exhibit a more desired fashionable appearance.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a wig and bathing cap configuration that can be easily, efficiently and economically manufactured and distributed employing conventional techniques.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a wig that concurrently serves the wearer of the wig as a bathing cap that can be worn while swimming, bathing, and during other water-related activities. The wig can be removeably secured to the wearer's head as desired. The wig can be worn over a user's head with partial or complete hair loss, or no hair loss at all. The wig can comprise any number of a variety of hair styles and colors. Moreover, the wig can be easily, efficiently and economically manufactured and distributed employing conventional techniques.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a wig is manufactured according to current known methods. A light-weight material such as nylon or a synthetic plastic provides a foundation to which, or through which, synthetic fibers or natural hair is attached. As described above with reference to the prior art, the manufacturing method may comprise the use of an adhesive, passing the strands through a series of apertures formed in the foundation and knotting at least one end, or other hand sewn and machine sewn methods.

The foundation is subsequently bonded to a material suitable for providing a waterproof surface, such as, for example, another synthetic plastic or rubber. This layer, hereinafter referred to as the bathing cap layer, is slightly pliable and is capable of receiving an adhesive and being sealingly bonded to the foundation. The bathing cap layer (the wig ensemble) is pulled over the user's head and forms a tight-fitting seal between the bathing cap layer and the user's scalp.

The aforementioned tight-fitting seal between a wig foundation and a wearer's scalp presented a problem in prior art wigs based upon the wig's intended use. Accordingly, the teachings of the prior art are directed to prolonged use of the wig and the discomfort that would arise from wearing a tight-fitting wig. Consequently, all of this prior art teaches away from the present invention. Such prior art wigs are not suited for wearing the wigs during swimming or other water-related activities and then easily removing such wigs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of the wig and bathing cap configuration according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional view taken along line 2-2 of the wig and bathing cap configuration of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 represents a user wearing a wig and bathing cap configuration 10 according to the present invention. The wig and bathing cap configuration 10 is designed to appear more like natural hair and less like a bathing cap while the user participates in water-related activities. The wig and bathing cap configuration 10 is designed to be pulled over the user's head and form a suitably sealable bond between the wig and bathing cap configuration 10 and the user's scalp. When desired, the user slideably disengages the wig and bathing cap configuration 10 from the scalp.

The embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 2 comprises an outer layer 12 and an inner layer 14. The outer layer 12 serves as the foundation for the strands of hair 16. The inner layer 14 serves as the bathing cap layer described hereinabove. The strands of hair 16 may comprise a plurality of synthetic fibers or natural hair.

Continuing with outer layer 12, such layer defines an outer surface 18 and an inner surface 20. The outer surface 18 is cosmetically appealing and typically covered with a sufficient amount of the strands of hair 16 such that it is not visible. The inner surface 20 provides a surface designed to receive a suitable adhesive such that it may be bonded to inner layer 14.

Inner surface 14 defines an outer surface 22 and an inner surface 24. Inner surface 24 provides a suitably malleable surface such that it may be pulled over the user's head and form a suitably sealable bond between the wig and bathing cap configuration 10 and the user's scalp. The outer surface 22 provides a surface designed to receive a suitable adhesive such that it may be bonded to outer surface 18 of outer layer 12. Any number of adhesives known in the art may be used to bond the outer surface 22 of inner layer 14 and the inner surface 20 of outer layer 12 such that a water proof bond is formed.

Outer layer 12 serves as the foundation for the strands of hair 16. In the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 2, the strands of hair 16 are passed through a series of apertures formed in outer layer 12 and knotted. Alternatively, strands of hair 16 may be joined to outer layer 12 by a number of means known in the art such as use of an adhesive or other hand sewn and machine sewn methods.

While the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to the embodiment of the wig and bathing cap configuration depicted in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, other wig and bathing cap configurations exhibiting the characteristics taught herein are contemplated. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the invention should not be limited to the description of the preferred embodiment described herein.