Title:
Carrying bag for ice skates
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention, a bag for carrying ice skates, is intended to allow the user to contain, protect, and transport ice skates easily, and with a minimum of maintenance to the skates and the bag. It has a bottom made of a soft vinyl grating that allows air and moisture to pass through, reducing the risk of corrosion. The grating is thick enough to protect the skate blades from damage caused by collisions with nearby objects, and is soft enough such that it does not dull the blades itself. The entire skate may be put inside the bag, and other small articles may be set on top of the skates for easy transport and protection. The sides and top of the bag are surrounded by a cloth cover and flap that may be fastened down, securing the skates inside, and protecting them from the elements.



Inventors:
Rudolph, Christopher John (Columbus, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/703844
Publication Date:
08/14/2008
Filing Date:
02/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRANO, ERNESTO ARTURIO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher John Rudolph (Wyoming, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A bag for receiving and transporting an ice skate, said bag comprising: a cloth outer cover having four sides and a flap that covers the top opening; a top opening when the flap is moved aside for receiving the ice skate; an inner portion of vinyl strips welded into a flexible grating, which forms the bottom of the bag; a stiff metal wire frame, where the wire is permanently bent into the shape of an elongated cube, to which said bag and grating are attached by means of plastic wire ties.

2. The wire frame of claim 1 wherein said frame comprises two long sides, and two “U”-shaped short sides, where the bottoms of the “U” are bent at right angles, such that the base of “U”-shape is flat, the short sides comprising the base upon which the bag rests on the ground, the long sides comprising the means for suspending both the grating and the outer cover.

3. The wire frame of claim 2 wherein said frame is made entirely of one continuous length of wire bent into two parallel opposing “U” shapes on the short ends, where the bottom of the “U” forms the base, and the wire at the upper extremities of the “U” is bent toward the opposing parallel “U”-shaped end in order to adjoin the two ends.

4. The grating of claim 1 wherein a rectangular piece of said flexible vinyl grating is attached to said parallel opposing long sides of said wire frame using plastic wire ties and allowed to sag in the middle to nearly the base-level of the frame, such that the lowest portion of the grating is within one inch of a level surface upon with the base of said frame rests.

5. The grating of claim 4 supporting the blade of an ice skate, when the skate is placed inside of said bag.

6. The grating of claim 5 wherein gaps between said vinyl strips allow moisture on the blade of ice skate to drain through onto the surface upon which said bag rests, said gaps comprising over half of the total area of said grating, allowing maximum ambient air circulation within said bag to assist evaporation of said moisture.

7. The grating of claim 6 wherein said vinyl strips are less than one-half of an inch thick, causing a minimum of contact with said skate blade such that the smallest amount of moisture is entrapped in intimate contact with said skate blade.

8. The grating of claim 7 being made of soft polyvinyl chloride, such that the sharpened edges of said ice skate blades are not dented or otherwise made dull by contact with said grating at cold temperatures, which could cause hardening of other plastics and increase the likelihood of dulling said ice skate blade edge.

9. The cloth outer cover of claim 1 being made of a water-resistant cloth of polyester or nylon.

10. The cloth outer cover of claim 9 being attached to the wire frame of claim 3 by means passing a plastic wire tie through a hole in said cloth outer cover, over wire of long side of said wire frame, around lengthwise oriented vinyl strip of said vinyl grating, back under said wire of long side of wire frame, through a second hole in said cloth outer cover one-quarter inch below said hole in cloth outer cover, adjoining to opposite end of said wire tie, and cinched tightly.

11. A plurality of plastic wire tie fastening assemblies of claim 10 along each long side of said wire frame, such that the spacing does not exceed four inches between said plastic wire tie fastening assemblies, and such that the cloth outer cover bears none of the weight of the other portions of the bag or the weight of the contents of the bag.

12. A bag for receiving and transporting an ice skate, identical to that described in claims 1 through 11 is attached to said bag in order to accommodate a second ice skate.

13. The two bags of claim 12 being aligned parallel to each other lengthwise and fastened together by metal rings adjoining the long sides of said wire frames to each other at the corners and passing through holes in said cloth outer cover.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are many types of bag or case for carrying ice skates. The primary purpose of these inventions is to protect the blade edges of the ice skates from becoming dented or corroded. Other qualities that these bags or cases should possess are ease-of-use, durability, and affordability.

The most common source of denting is contact between the blade edges of the two skates. Therefore, separating the skates in storage and handling is paramount. This is accomplished by creating a separate compartment or fastening apparatus for each skate.

The most common sources of corrosion are ice left in contact with the blade after skating, and water condensing on the cold blade after it has been dried. In some of the existing bags or cases, this is dealt with by absorptive materials on or near the blades. In others, it is dealt with by active ventilation provided by a fan assembly.

A practical ice skate bag, for which there is an unfulfilled need, wherein the ice skate bag is capable of carrying and storing ice skates while protecting them from corrosion and denting or dulling, and requiring no difficult procedures for use or maintenance, is not available.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,672,263, issued to Alber, is a skate bag that completely encloses the skates inside. This does not allow enough ambient air to penetrate inside and come into contact with the blades. This has been noted to cause entrapment of moisture in the compartment with the blade. It can actually increase corrosion.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,394,042, issued to Smith, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,427, issued to Bigham show carriers that do not easily contain the skate boot or any other items. This is inconvenient for a skater who wants to transport other items, and it does not easily protect the ice skate boot.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,666,479, issued to Maddeleni is a set of ice skate scabbards that use absorbent materials like cotton to remove moisture from the blades. Use of these requires careful attention, or they are ineffective. This is because they can become saturated and hold moisture in close contact with the ice skate blade, increasing the possibility of corrosion.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,930,915, issued to Dhaemers is a bag that uses a fan to force air into the compartment, thus removing moisture. However, this amount of air is not necessary to effective removal of moisture from the skate blades when passive airflow is all that is needed. Furthermore, this invention is too complicated and cumbersome to be of use in this application.

None of the above prior art devices disclose an ice skate bag capable of carrying and storing ice skates while protecting them from corrosion and denting or dulling, and requiring no difficult procedures for use or maintenance.

In view of the above mentioned problems and limitations associated with conventional ice skate bags and cases, it was recognized by the present inventor that there is an unfulfilled need for an improved ice skate bag that is very effective, simple, easy-to-use, inexpensive, and that overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art devices.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an easy-to-use carrying bag for ice skates that both protects the blades of the of the skates from denting, and allows evaporation of moisture from the blades, reducing the risk of corrosion. It deals with the possibility of denting by securing the skates within separate compartments, so that the skate blades do not touch each other or surrounding objects. It deals with corrosion by allowing moisture on the blades to drain or evaporate through openings in the bottom of the bag. The material on which the skate blade rests is unique in this application. It is a commonly available type of floor matting designed especially for very wet environments. It drains far better than other types of floor matting because of its high ratio of open space to material. It has an even higher ratio of open space to material in intimate contact with a solid object that rests on it. Less than one-half of the supporting area of the matting actually touches the object.

The producer of the matting accomplishes this by laying strips of polyvinyl chloride side-by-side with gaps between them, and laying a second layer of similar strips over them at right angles, then using a plastic welding technique to bond them together. The stress of an object resting on this matting is largely borne by the strips comprising the lower layer, which acts as a set of joists and which never touches the resting object.

The softness of the polyvinyl chloride prevents the matting (in this patent referred to as a “grating”) from dulling the ice skate blades. The soft polyvinyl chloride does not harden in cold weather to the extent that is would noticeably dull blades that are in contact with it when forced downward only by the weight of the skate itself.

The present invention protects not only the skate blade, but the skate boot as well. Additionally there is room to store other items, such as mittens atop the skates without markedly reducing the moisture drainage and evaporation properties of the bag.

The present invention deals with the possibility of corrosion by allowing moisture to drip through the grating, and because the bottom of the ice skate bag is open, ambient air circulation can allow evaporation.

The present invention is superior to the bags that completely enclose and isolate the skates to secure them inside because it allows air into the compartment through the bottom grating, even though the skates are secured inside by the fastened down top cover.

The present invention is superior to bags and cases that use absorbent materials because it requires no attention to removing and drying or replacing such absorbent materials.

The present invention is superior to bags and cases equipped with active ventilation fans because it is less expensive, requires no special care to avoid damage to a complicated mechanism like a fan, and has a life less limited by mechanisms with moving parts, higher replacement and maintenance costs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a view from above a preferred embodiment of a skate bag of the instant invention.

FIG. 2 is a view from above the skate bag with the cloth cover removed, allowing a better view of the grating and wire frame.

FIG. 3 is a crossectional view of the means of attaching the cloth cover, grating, and wire frame.

FIG. 4 is a view of only the stiff wire frames of two skate bags side-by-side, and joined by rings, with a shoulder strap attached.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Looking more particularly to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a preferred embodiment of the ice skate bag. It should be noted here that this particular embodiment is best suited to accommodate a type of ice skate known as a “long-track speed skate”. The general dimensions of a long track speed skate are long from front to back, and low from the bottom edge of the blade to the top of the boot. Other embodiments of the skate bag might accommodate skates that are shorter from front to back, and taller from the blade edge to the top of the boot. However, all of the components of the currently described embodiment would be present in such other embodiments, and would serve the same purposes as described here.

As seen in FIG. 1, the ice skate bag 40, has an outer cloth cover 20, with a flap 23, to fasten down over the top by means of a plurality of hanging cloth strips 24, that end in clasps 25, adjoining to mating clasps 26, mounted on the outer cloth cover 20. The view also shows the grating 10, which supports the ice skate from below. The grating is suspended from the stiff wire frame 8, and is allowed to sag in the middle. There is no material beneath the bottom of the grating, allowing the moisture on the skate to drip through to whatever surface on which the skate bag rests. The grating is fastened to both the stiff wire frame and the outer cloth cover by means of a plurality of plastic wire ties 30, the details of which are shown in FIG. 3.

The stiff wire frame is made of some metal, of a wire gauge that allows it to be bent into shape by tools, but be stiff enough so as not to lose its shape after years of use. The cloth outer cover 20 is fabricated from a material blank that is sewn together. It is made of a water-resistant, fabric like polyester. It need not be water-proof.

As seen in FIG. 2, the grating 10, is suspended from the two parallel long sides 7 and 9, of the stiff wire frame 8, and allowed to sag in the middle, creating a surface on which an ice skate can rest and be secured from side to side. The “U”-shaped short sides of the stiff wire frame are represented by 1, 5, and 6 on one side, and 2, 3, and 4 on the other side.

As seen in FIG. 3, holes in the cloth outer cover 21 and 22, allow a plastic wire tie 30, to pass through the cloth outer cover and around the stiff wire frame long upper length 7 or 9 and around one strip of vinyl of the grating 12 in order to permanently fasten them together. Because of this design, all of the weight of the skates is transferred from the grating 10 to the lengths of wire at 7 and 9, down through the vertical lengths of wire at 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 to the lengths of wire at 1 and 2, which rest on the supporting surface. The cloth outer cover does not support the weight of the skates.

As seen in FIG. 4, metal rings 50 and 51 may be used to join two skate bags together side by side, such that two skates may be carried together. The rings are shown with only the stiff wire frame 8 for the sake of simplicity. A shoulder strap 60 may be attached to the rings. As described before, this design transfers the weight from the grating 10, through the stiff wire frame 8, to the rings 50 and 51, and through the shoulder strap 60 to the carrier's shoulder. No weight from the skates is born by the cloth outer cover. For this reason, the holes 21 and 22 need not be specially reinforced.

The major weaknesses of this bag are related to the surface on which it rests. The surface should be level and solid enough such that the grating is not exposed to dirt when the bag is set on the ground. The dirt could work through the grating to the skate blades and dull them. The bag should not be set on polished furniture or floors for two reasons: the stiff wire frame at 1 and 2 could damage the finish of the furniture, and water dripping from the skates inside of the bag could damage the finish as well.

According to the teachings of the instant invention disclosed herein, the applicant fabricated a working prototype from readily available materials, and has actually reduced the invention to practice with favorable results.

The instant invention provides an added advantage and recognizes a problem and adequately and completely addresses an unfulfilled need, in that the instant invention, in the manner disclosed here, provides a convenient apparatus that allows a user to carry and store ice skates without modification or the limitations of the prior art devices and provides the desired above mentioned advantages and benefits to a user.

A wide variety of further uses and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art. One skilled in the art will realize that the foregoing discussion outlines the more important features of the invention to enable a better understanding of the instant invention and to instill a better appreciation of the inventor's contribution to the art. It must be clear that the disclosed details of construction, descriptions of geometry and illustrations of inventive concepts are only examples of possible manifestations of the invention.

Although the invention has been shown and described with reference to certain preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will probably find alternative embodiments obvious after reading this disclosure. With this in mind, the following claims are intended to define the scope of protection to be afforded to the inventor, and those claims shall include equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.





 
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