Title:
HAIR IRON
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hair iron having an array of substantially parallel heating prongs, wherein the distance between at least two of the prongs can be decreased while maintaining the prongs in a position substantially parallel to one another. An insulating guard surrounds the perimeter of each heating prong. The hair iron may further comprise two non-heating end units on either side of and substantially parallel to the heating prongs. The distance between the heating prongs can be decreased by actuating a drive mechanism. The insulating guards protect a user from high temperatures of the heating prongs. Further claimed is a method of styling hair using a heating device having substantially parallel heating prongs and manipulating the device to reduce the distance between at least two prongs while maintain the prongs in a position substantially parallel to one another.



Inventors:
Blyden, Jason (Greenacres, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/013259
Publication Date:
07/31/2008
Filing Date:
01/11/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
132/118, 132/143, 219/222
International Classes:
A45D7/02; A45D1/04; A45D24/08; A45D24/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050166938Device for treating keratin fibersAugust, 2005Hoepfl et al.
20040168703Floss-pickSeptember, 2004Cho
20080115304Detangling hairbrushMay, 2008Phipps
20100095976ADJUSTABLE-LENGTH COMFORT HEADBANDApril, 2010Recchion et al.
20020124862Non-slip barrette stripSeptember, 2002Porter et al.
20060048790Dental hygiene applianceMarch, 2006Petner
20060254609Interdental brushesNovember, 2006Kuo
20090188514Method of hair extensionJuly, 2009Hsu
20030037797Cosmetic padFebruary, 2003Fang
20090032044HAIR BOW SYSTEMFebruary, 2009Grimm
20080127991Pin brooch hair decorationJune, 2008Moreland



Primary Examiner:
PELHAM, JOSEPH MOORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOVELY STRANDS LLC (WEST PALM BEACH, FL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A hair iron comprising: (i) a plurality of substantially parallel heating prongs wherein a portion of each prong is at least partially surrounded by an insulating guard, and (ii) a drive mechanism, said drive mechanism in a first mode of operation moving at least one of said heating prongs so as to reduce the distance between at least two of said heating prongs, and in a second mode of operation moving at least one of said heating prongs so as to increase the distance between said at least two heating prongs, and wherein during said first and second modes of operation all of the heating prongs of said plurality remain substantially parallel.

2. The hair iron of claim 1, wherein at least one prong comprises a heating plate, wherein said heating plate is connected to a heating element.

3. The hair iron of claim 1, further comprising a non-heating end unit.

4. The hair iron of claim 1, wherein during said first mode of operation said drive mechanism moves at least two prongs toward one another.

5. The hair iron of claim 1, wherein during said first mode of operation all prongs moved by said drive mechanism are moved in substantially a single first direction.

6. The invention of claim 1, wherein said guards are fabricated from phenolic plastic.

7. The hair iron of claim 1, wherein said prongs comprise a generally elliptical cross-sectional area and further comprise rounded tips.

8. The hair iron of claim 1, wherein said drive mechanism further comprises a bias to increase the distance between prongs and a trigger operable against the bias when manipulated by a user to move at least one of said heating prongs so as to reduce the distance between at least two of said heating prongs.

9. The hair iron of claim 1, wherein each prong comprises a support that is connected to a handle of the hair iron.

10. The hair iron of claim 9, wherein at least one support further comprises at least one guide hole, through which a guide passes, wherein said guide is connected to a body of said handle and wherein said at least one support is thereby slideably mounted within said body of the handle.

11. The hair iron of claim 9, further comprising a boot, wherein the bases pass through the boot into a body of the handle, and wherein the boot substantially seals the body of the handle from the exterior.

12. The hair iron of claim 2, wherein said at least one prong further comprises an air space between said heating plate and said guard.

13. The hair iron of claim 12, wherein the air space between the heating plate and the guard measures less than 5 mm.

14. The hair iron of claim 12, wherein the air space between the heating plate and the guard ranges from approximately 1 mm to approximately 2 mm.

15. The invention of claim 2, wherein said heating plate is metallic or ceramic.

16. The hair iron of claim 2, wherein the heating plate is surfaced with a non-stick coating.

17. The hair iron of claim 2, comprising a system of electrical wiring and circuitry that can provide an energy source to the heating element.

18. The hair iron of claim 17, further comprises a temperature dial that can be utilized to vary the intensity of heating.

19. The hair iron of claim 17, further comprising a battery source.

20. A method of styling hair comprising: (i) placing hair in a device comprising (a) a plurality of substantially parallel heating prongs wherein a portion of each prong is surrounded by an insulating guard, and (ii) manipulating the device to move at least one of said prongs so as to reduce the distance between at least two of said heating prongs while all of the heating prongs of said plurality remain substantially parallel while applying heat and pressure to the hair.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is in the field of hair grooming accessories. Hair grooming accessories are often used to straighten and style hair, however such activities can become overwhelming when the stylist is presented with curly or bristly hair. The effects of compression and heat application to straighten this type of hair are well-known in the art and have been incorporated in a variety of prior grooming accessories.

Examples of earlier electrically heated combs are disclosed in the U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,760,821 and 4,702,265 issued to W. T. Weddington, U.S. Pat. No. 1,034,859 issued to G. Anderson, U.S. Pat. No. 1,536,669 issued to C. Grant, U.S. Pat. No. 2,590,447 issued to S. R. Nord, Jr., et al. Other types of heated combs and pressing devices are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 1,523,461 issued to J. Swan; U.S. Pat. No. 1,861,040 issued to J. E. B. Williams; U.S. Pat. No. 2,406,490 issued to D. A. Day; U.S. Pat. No. 2,545,885 issued to H. F. Jackson; U.S. Pat. No. 2,598,330 issued to E. Wilson; and U.S. Pat. No. 3,065,759 issued to F. Lewis. The apparatus taught by the aforementioned patents fall within the chief categories of hinged opposing-tong “flatiron” design, or alternatively, the pick-like “pressing comb” design. Each category presents several disadvantages.

For instance, the amount of hair captured by flatirons widely varies, and a user of such a device is likely to capture large-volume hair locks that absorb heat and pressure unevenly. When large locks of hair are captured by flatirons, the outer strands receive more heat and pressure than the inner strands. Distribution of heat and pressure is distributed more evenly when smaller locks of hair are captured, but capturing smaller locks of hair with a flatiron increases the overall time and effort required to style the entirety of a person's hair.

Pressing combs, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,742,964 to Newbern and U.S. Pat. No. 4,126,143 to Schroeder, include a score of fixed teeth that capture a multitude of small-volume hair locks. However, it is difficult, if not impossible, for a user of a pressing comb to exert pressure and heat evenly over the captured hair. The heat and compression is exerted onto the locks of hair by skillfully and carefully maneuvering and manipulating the comb. There are a limited number of stroke types the comb's user may employ, such as drawing hair sideways through the comb, and also twisting the hair, similarly to twirling spaghetti onto fork tines.

Both categories of combs necessarily incur repetitive strokes that typically repeat treatment on previously-treated strands. Additionally, neither category offers a stylist the ability to straighten strands of hair strands close to their roots.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention heats hair with consistent pressure in a time-efficient manner. The hair iron of the present invention includes a plurality of substantially parallel heating prongs wherein an outer portion of each prong includes a thermally insulating guard. The hair iron of the present invention further includes a drive mechanism utilized during a first and second mode of operation of the hair iron. During the first mode of operation, the drive mechanism moves at least one prong so as to reduce the distance between at least two of the prongs, so as to apply heat and pressure to hair positioned between the prongs. During the second mode of operation, the drive mechanism moves at least one prong so as to increase the distance between at least two of the prongs and release the hair. During both the first and second modes of operation, all prongs remain substantially parallel.

The prongs may comprise heating plates or other suitable structures for applying heat and pressure to hair. Each heating plate may include a heating element. The hair iron may further comprise a system of electrical wiring and circuitry that provides an energy source to the heating elements. In certain embodiments, the heating prongs may further include an air space between each heating plate and thermally insulating guard. Non-heating end units on either side of the heating prongs may further protect a user from the high temperatures of the heating prongs.

The present invention further includes a method of styling hair using a device having substantially parallel heating prongs where an outer portion of each prong comprises a guard. The user would place hair in the hair iron device and manipulate the hair iron to reduce the distance between heating prongs, thereby applying both pressure and heat to the hair. The user could further manipulate the device to increase the distance between prongs to release the hair from the hair iron.

The present features of the hair iron and its various embodiments enable a user to straighten hair close to the hair roots. The various embodiments of the invention additionally convey an unprecedented high degree of maneuverability, which allows a user to execute a greater number of styling strokes and thereby achieve a greater variety of hairstyles. Related objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front plan view of one embodiment of the invention, partly broken away to expose the interior of the handle.

FIGS. 2(a)-(d) are side elevation views of the prongs and end units of one embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 3(a)-(d) are side elevation views of the components of a heating prong of one embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 4(a)-(b) are elevation views of the components of an end unit of one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of a mechanism for reducing the distance between the heating prongs of the hair iron.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is an elevation view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a rear plan view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, partly broken away to illustrate interior features.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 11 is a front elevation view of one embodiment depicted in the closed, engaged mode of operation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For the purpose of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated device, and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

FIG. 1 illustrates the preferred embodiment of the hair iron 1 in the overall shape of a hair pick, having a plurality of substantially parallel teeth 29. A tooth may be a non-heating end unit 3 or a heating prong 2. Heating prongs 2 can be provided between a pair of non-heating end units 3. However, any number of heating prongs more than two may be utilized by the current invention. End units 3, if present, may or may not be substantially parallel to the heating prongs 2.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, the teeth 29 are mounted within the body 31 of a handle 16 of the heating iron 1 and extend from the handle 16 in a manner substantially parallel to one another. The hair iron 1 further comprises a trigger 19 which when actuated or depressed by a user activates a drive mechanism 32 that reduces the distance between at least two prongs 2 while maintaining the prongs 2 in a position substantially parallel to one another. The hair iron is thereby moved into an engaged, closed arrangement. In the disengaged open arrangement, the invention possesses the overall general shape of a pressing comb. The heating prongs 2 can maintain a position substantially parallel to a longitudinal or latitudinal midline of the handle. In one embodiment, depressing the trigger 19 reduces the distance between the heating prongs 2 while maintaining the heating prongs 2 in an orientation substantially parallel to one another. In a further embodiment, depressing the trigger may manipulate the end units 3 in a manner similarly to the prongs 2. The trigger 19 may be fashioned in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The hair iron 1 can further comprise a switch button 4 that can be actuated by a user to initiate an electric current through circuitry of the hair iron. The hair iron when actuated converts the electric current into thermal energy. The hair iron may further comprise a temperature dial 5 that can be turned, shifted or otherwise manipulated to vary the intensity of heating. The dial may offer a user the ability to select any heating intensity within a continuous range of temperatures, or the dial may delimit a specific number of discrete heating levels. In the scenario of a discrete number of heating levels, a user may for example, select high, medium, or low heat. Or, the user may select a heating level ranging from, for example, 1 to 25. The dial may be circular or any manner of switch that can vary the temperature of the hair iron. The dial may vary the temperature of the hair iron by, for example, controlling the current, or by any other means of controlling the degree of heating known in the art. A user would operate the hair iron while gripping the handle 16.

FIGS. 2(a)-(d) provide an elevation view of the heating prongs 2 and end units 3 of one embodiment of the invention. Each heating prong 2, as illustrated in FIGS. 2(b)-(c) may further comprise a heating plate 7 that transfers thermal energy through its face 11 to hair. Each prong 2 may further comprise a thermally insulating guard 6. The thermally insulating guard 6 may at least partially surround an outer portion of each prong 2 that would otherwise be likely to come into contact with a user's scalp. For instance, the edge 30 of each heating plate 7 may be partially surrounded by the thermally insulating guard 6. Acting as a barrier, the thermally insulating guard 6 acts to reduce the incidence of accidentally touching and thereby burning one's scalp with a heating plate 7 of the heating prong 2.

The guard 6 may be attached to the heating plate 7 by any suitable means, for example, by screws or other methods of connection, placed through an outer attachment point 10 to an inner attachment member 9. Alternatively, each guard 6 may be welded or otherwise directly connected to a heating plate 7. Any number of attachment points may be utilized. Preferably, the attachment points are located in areas that during use do not come into close contact with the scalp.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2(b)-(c) the thermally insulating guards 6 may be separated from the heating plates 7 at a distance created by an air space 8. The air space 8 is thermally insulating and allows the guard to remain cool while the heating plates 7 reach temperatures that can exceed 400° Fahrenheit. The width of the air space 8 between the guard and the heating plate is preferably about 1 mm to about 2 mm, but may range from 0 mm to approximately 5 mm. Air space 8 may be maintained, for example, by the inner attachment member 9 protruding from the guard 6 to prevent the plate 7 from contacting the guard 6. The attachment member 9 may connect the guard 6 to the plate 7 and can be substantially non-thermally conducting. Additionally, air space 8 between the guard 6 and the heating plate 7 may be maintained through various other methods such as completely separating the guard 6 from the heating plate 7. The attachment member 9 may be connected to either the guard 6, the heating plate 7, both the guard 6 and the heating plate 7, or may be an integral part of either the guard 6 or the heating plate 7.

When the heating prongs 2 such as those depicted in FIGS. 2(b)-2(c) are mounted within a hair iron such as depicted in FIG. 10, the faces 11 of the heating plates 7 stand opposite one another so that locks of hair gathered between the heating prongs 3 may be heated. Also when mounted within a hair iron such as depicted in FIG. 9, the guards 6 may surround an outer edge 30 of the plates 7 that would otherwise be exposed to the outside of the hair iron.

FIGS. 3(a)-3(d) depict a plan view of possible components of a heating prong. An insulating guard 6 is illustrated in FIG. 3(a), and a heating plate 7 is depicted in FIG. 3(b). Each heating prong may also comprise a support 13 as illustrated in FIG. 3(c) and a heating element 12 as depicted in FIG. 3(d).

As discussed in relation to FIGS. 2(b)-(c), the thermally insulating guard depicted in FIG. 3(a) may surround a portion of the heating plate 7, which is separately depicted in FIG. 3(b). The thermally insulating guard 6 may be made from heat resistant materials or materials possessing sufficiently light mass and low rates of thermal absorption sufficient such as phenolic plastic. The guard may be present in various shapes, including wedge-shapes. The insulating guard 6 may be made of multiple pieces joined together as illustrated in FIG. 3(a) or may be made from one piece as illustrated in FIGS. 2(b)-(c).

A heating plate 7, such as the plate depicted in FIG. 3(b), may transfer thermal energy from the hair iron to a lock of hair. The heating plates 7 are preferably made out of ceramic, but the plates may be fabricated of any metallic, ceramic or stone material possessing a high rate of thermal conduction and a high retentive thermal mass sufficient to efficiently withstand and deliver heat and pressure to locks of hair compressed between the heating plates. Alternative embodiments include plates 7 made from jade, sapphire, etc. For example, a heating plate 7 may be made from a metal, such as aluminum, surrounded by a ceramic coating. The heating plates 7 may further be surfaced with non-stick coatings to reduce the likelihood that hair will stick to the heating plates.

Each heating plate 7 may partially envelop a combination including a support 13, as depicted in FIG. 3(c), and a heating element 12 as depicted in FIG. 3(d). The support serves to provide a surface to bear the weight of and brace the other components of the tooth 29, and further serves to connect those components to the handle 16. The heating element 12 may be connected to the support 13 by, for example, brackets or other means known in the art mounting the heating element to the support 13. Alternatively, the heating element 12 may be welded, glued, or otherwise secured to the support 13. As illustrated in FIGS. 2(a)-(d), both the end units 3 and prongs 2 may comprise a support 13. The support 13 may be made from several different types of materials ranging from plastics to metals. The support 13 may comprise guide holes 14 for mounting the support 13 within the handle 16, as depicted in FIG. 1. The guide holes 14 optimally are spaced in a manner that allows the heating prongs 2 and optionally the end units 3 to remain substantially parallel when the hair iron 1 is engaged. The guide holes may be placed in several different locations to allow for maximum efficiency.

As depicted in FIG. 3(d), the heating element 12 may be a rope heater. Alternatively, the heating element may be any electrical resistant heater, a PTFC heater or a ceramic heater. Or, the heating element may be another type of heater known in the art. End portions 34 of the heating element 12 can connect to electrical wiring and circuitry within the handle 16 that provides an energy source to the heating elements 12. The heating element 12 can transmit thermal energy to, for example, the heating plate 7.

In one embodiment not illustrated, the end units 3 may be heatable. If heatable, the end units may comprise heating plates 7. The heating plates 7 of the end units 3, may at least partially envelop a heating element 12 and support 13.

FIG. 4(a)-(b) illustrate the component part of an end unit. Like the prongs 2, the end units 3 also comprise a support 13. In the end units, the support 13 is secured to a cover 33 by screws, glue, or any other method of connecting two components known in the art. In one embodiment, the cover 33 may partially envelop the support 13. In another embodiment, the support may secure to an outer face of the cover 33. The cover 33 may be made from heat resistant materials or materials possessing sufficiently light mass and low rates of thermal absorption sufficient such as phenolic plastic.

FIG. 5 is a plan partial view of one embodiment of the invention, particularly illustrating the drive mechanism 32 that can reduce the distance between the teeth 29, including both the prongs 2 and end units 3, while the teeth 29 remain substantially parallel to one another. In an alternative embodiment the drive mechanism 32 may only affect the prongs 2. The drive mechanism may be mechanical, electrical, solenoid, hydraulic, pneumatic or any other type of drive mechanism known in the art.

In a first mode of operation, the drive mechanism can move at least one of the teeth 29 so as to reduce the distance between at least two of the teeth to apply heat and pressure to hair between the teeth. The first mode of operation shifts the hair iron from an open, disengaged arrangement, to a closed, engaged arrangement. During a second mode of operation the drive mechanism 32 can move at least one of the teeth 29 so as to increase the distance between at least two of the teeth to release the hair from between the teeth. During both the first and second modes of operation, at least all prongs remain substantially parallel. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, all teeth 29 including all prongs 2 and the end units 3 remain substantially parallel during both the first and second modes of operation.

Alternatively, in the embodiment not illustrated in which the drive mechanism 32 moves the heating prongs 2 but not the end units 3, in a first mode of operation, the drive mechanism can move at least one of the heating prongs 2 so as to reduce the distance between at least two of the prongs to apply heat and pressure to hair between the prongs. During a second mode of operation the drive mechanism 32 can move at least one of the prongs 2 so as to increase the distance between at least two of the prongs to release the hair from between the prongs. During both the first and second modes of operation, all prongs can remain parallel.

The components of one embodiment of the drive mechanism 32 are shown in the exploded view in FIG. 6. The drive mechanism may include a boot that serves to block water and other contaminants from entering the body 31 of the device's handle 16, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The boot can be manufactured from a compressible material such as rubber, so that the boot serves its function of blocking contaminants from entering the body 31 of the device's handle 16 when the collapsible mechanism 32 is actuated in a first or second mode of operation and when the device is in either an open or a closed arrangement. Although other constructions are possible, the drive mechanism 32 may include a boot 15 having slots 28 through which the supports 13 may be inserted. The boot 15 is mounted within the handle 16, as shown in FIG. 1. Each slot 28 in the boot grips a circumference of each support 13. One support 13 of either an end unit 3 or prong 2 passes through each slot 28. The drive mechanism may further comprise a bias to maintain the hair iron in an open, disengaged arrangement. The bias may be created, by for example, a spring 17, although the bias may be created by any other means known in the art.

End units 3 may be absent. In such an embodiment, the outermost pair of teeth is heatable, unlike in the embodiment comprising end units 3. Such an embodiment might include a plurality of substantially parallel heating prongs 2 where an outer portion of each prongs is surrounded by an insulating guard 6 to prevent contact with the skin of a user. The drive mechanism 32 in such an embodiment would operate in a first and second mode as described above. During the first and second modes of operation, all the heating prongs can remain substantially parallel to one another.

In one embodiment depicted by the exploded view of FIG. 6 in conjunction with the plan view of FIG. 1, the supports 13 remain substantially parallel to one another by being gripped by the boot 15 and by being slideably mounted on the guides 27. The guides secure supports 13 within the handle and allow movement of the prongs 2 and optionally the end units 3. The material used for the guides may include plastics or metals. The guides 27 can be positioned through the guide holes 14 of supports 13, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The guides may further be connected to the handle 16, for example by inserting the guides into female protrusions 26 on the handle, as displayed in FIG. 1. Alternatively, the guides may be integral components of the handle 16.

The spring 17 wraps around the guides 27 and between the supports 13. A pusher 18 is positioned against at least one tooth 29, where, as set forth in relation to FIG. 1, a tooth 29 is either a prong 2 or an end unit 3. The tooth 29 most distal to the pusher may be slideably secured on the guides as illustrated or fixedly mounted. The drive mechanism 32 may reduce the distance between teeth by moving teeth in one common direction, for example from right to left, as the drive mechanism 32 illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 would operate. The teeth could also be moved, for example, in the common direction of left to right. In the preferred embodiment, the pusher 18 applies force to the spring 17, which compresses the teeth 29 together from right to left. Hence, first a tooth proximal to the pusher is moved from right to left, then the tooth second-most proximal to the pusher is moved from right to left, until the degree of compression is achieved. The compression is ultimately stopped at least by an obstruction to the leftmost tooth.

Alternatively, the drive mechanism 32 may move the hair iron into a closed, engaged state by moving at least two prongs together by a suitable mechanism in opposing directions, such that the outermost pair of teeth are first compressed toward a center longitudinal line, then the second-most outer pair of teeth are compressed toward the center longitudinal line, until the desired degreed of compression is achieved. If the drive mechanism moves teeth together in opposing directions toward a center longitudinal line, then the teeth may be slidably secured, a center tooth may be fixedly secured, or the teeth may be connected to the drive mechanism by another method known in the art.

FIG. 7 is an exploded plan view of the hair iron 1. The hair iron 1 may further comprise a trigger 19 connected to the pusher 18. For instance, the trigger 19 may be connected to the pusher 18 by a compression spring 20. For instance, the compression spring 20 may be secured to the pusher 18 around its circumference as it passes through an attachment hole in the pusher 18. The spring may be connected to the pusher 18 at the attachment hole by glue, welding, or some other means of attachment known in the art. Alternatively, the spring 20 may be split into two separate pieces, each of which is welded, glued, or otherwise connected to the pusher. In another embodiment, the spring 20 may wrap around the pusher 18.

The hair iron 1 may further comprise a printed circuit board (PCB) 21 that serves to mechanically support and electrically connect electrical components of the hair iron 1. The electrical components may include, for example, the temperature dial 5, which serves to vary the temperature of the hair iron 1. The temperature dial 5 and PCB 21 may further connect to a switch 22 that controls the temperature dial 5. The PCB 21 may further be connected to a second switch 23 is directly connected to the button 4. The hair iron 1 can be turned on so that the heating elements 12 may be heated by pressing, shifting, or manipulating the switch button 4. The hair iron 1 may further comprise an indicator, such as an LED 24, that indicates the operational state of the device.

The heating elements 12 may be electrically heated, and the heating may be regulated by the PCB 21. The heating elements 12 may be connected by a wiring harness, which may be connected to the PCB 21. The heating elements 12 may further be connected to grounding safety circuitry that ultimately exits the handle 16 as an electrical cord 25. The electrical cord may be fitted with a plug that is adapted to mate with standard power supply outlets. The electrical cord 25 may be either permanent or removable, and the hair iron 1 may further include a rechargeable battery. The cord 25 may be for example, a 6-foot long cord having a male pin fitting at the end opposite the plug, such that the male pin can connect with a female receiver on the hair iron. Alternatively to electrically powering the hair iron, thermal energy may be delivered to the heating plates 7 by submersing the prongs 2 in a hot liquid medium, such as hot water or hot oil.

FIG. 8 provides an elevation view of the hair iron 1. The handle 16 possesses sufficient dimensionality and material properties to withstand hand-forced stresses without bending or breaking. The teeth 29 extend in a direction substantially parallel to a longitudinal midline of the handle. Each prong 2 comprises a thermally insulating guard 6 around its outer portion.

FIG. 9 is a rear plan view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, partly broken away to illustrate interior features. The hair iron is illustrated in the open, disengaged mode. To operate the hair iron, a user would press or shift the switch button so that the heating prongs could be heated. The user could also adjust the temperature dial 5 to select a desired degree of heating. Then, a user could collect locks of hair between the teeth 29. By pressing the trigger 19, the user could reduce the distance between the teeth so that heat and pressure would be applied to the locks of hair.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the exterior features of the hair iron. The end units 3 comprise a cover 33 on their exterior. The prongs 2 set between the end units 2. The prongs 2 comprise thermally insulating guards 6 around a portion of their outer perimeter. A user of the hair iron would collect hair between the teeth 29, and heat would be applied to the hair through the faces 11 of the heating plates 7.

FIG. 11 displays an engaged, closed mode of one embodiment of the flat iron in operation. When the switch button 4 is shifted to turn the hair iron on, and when the trigger 19 is engaged, the plurality of “pressing comb” type prongs 3 act together like a multitude of miniature “flat irons” to apply heat and pressure to hair gathered between the teeth 29.

While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiments have been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.