Title:
Fan Attachment Arrangement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An attachment arrangement for use in connection with an existing ceiling fan having a plurality of rotatable fan blades. The arrangement includes a connecting arrangement for attaching an object to at least a portion of at least one of the fan blades, such that, as the fan blade rotates, the object rotates via the connecting arrangement.



Inventors:
Zacharias, Anne (Wexford, PA, US)
Frazzini, Robert (Wexford, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/098683
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
04/07/2008
Assignee:
WHETSTONE MANAGEMENT LLC (Wexford, PA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
446/397
International Classes:
A63H33/00; A63H5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE WEBB LAW FIRM, P.C. (PITTSBURGH, PA, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A fan attachment arrangement for use in connection with an existing ceiling fan having a plurality of rotatable fan blades, each blade having an edge, an upper surface and a lower surface, the arrangement comprising: an attachable object; and a connecting arrangement configured to attach the attachable object to at least one of the following: the edge of the fan blade, the upper surface of the fan blade, the lower surface of the fan blade or any combination thereof, wherein the attachable object is configured to rotate with a rotating fan blade to which the attachable object is connected via the connecting arrangement.

2. The fan attachment arrangement, wherein the connecting arrangement comprises: an attacher configured for direct or indirect attachment to at least a portion of the fan blade; and a connection line attached between the attacher and the attachable object.

3. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 2, wherein the attacher is removably attachable to the fan blade.

4. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 2, wherein the connection line is at least one of the following: string, cord, monofilament line or any combination thereof.

5. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 2, wherein the attacher is in the form of a spring clip having a plurality of arms, which, when pressed toward each other, open a mouth portion, wherein the mouth portion is sized and shaped so as to be positioned over or around a portion of the fan blade.

6. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 2, wherein the attacher comprises: a hook portion attachable to a portion of the fan blade; and a loop portion removably attachable to the hook portion, wherein the loop portion is connected to the connection line.

7. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 2, wherein the attacher is in the form of a clip configured for frictional engagement with a portion of the fan blade.

8. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 2, wherein the attacher comprises: a clip configured for removable engagement with a portion of the fan blade; and a ball-and-socket arrangement having: a socket attached to the clip or the connection line; and a ball attached to the other of the clip or the connection line, wherein the ball is removably attachable to the socket.

9. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 1, further comprising at least one light element directly or indirectly attached to or associated with the attachable object, the at least one light element configured to act as a light source.

10. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 9, wherein the at least one light element is at least one of the following: a light emitting diode, a blinking light, a colored light or any combination thereof.

11. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 9, further comprising an actuation switch associated with the attachable object and configured to permit a user to switch the at least one light element off and on.

12. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 1, further comprising at least one photoreactive member directly or indirectly attached to or associated with the attachable object, the at least one photoreactive member configured to glow after being subjected to a light source for a period of time.

13. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 1, further comprising at least one sound mechanism directly or indirectly attached to or associated with the attachable object, the at least one sound mechanism configured to drive sound through a speaker directly or indirectly attached to or associated with the attachable object.

14. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 13, wherein the sound mechanism further comprises a recording mechanism configured to permit a user to record sounds onto a recording medium, wherein the recorded sounds are driven by the sound mechanism through the speaker.

15. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 1, wherein the attachable object is at least one of the following: a stuffed toy, a plush toy, a lightweight toy, a stuffed object, a soft object, a decorative object or any combination thereof.

16. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 1, wherein the connecting arrangement is in the form of a strip of material having a first end attachable to a portion of the fan blade and a second end attachable to a portion of the attachable object.

17. The fan attachment arrangement of claim 16, wherein the strip of material is an elongate strip of tape having an adhesive material disposed on at least a portion thereof, the adhesive material configured to attach the strip of tape to at least one of the portion of the fan blade and the attachable object.

18. An attachment arrangement for use in connection with an existing ceiling fan having a plurality of rotatable fan blades, the arrangement comprising a connecting arrangement configured to attach an object to at least a portion of at least one of the fan blades, such that, as the fan blade rotates, the object rotates via the connecting arrangement.

19. The attachment arrangement of claim 18, wherein the connecting arrangement comprises an attacher removably attachable to the portion of the fan blade and a connection line attached between the attacher and the object.

20. A method of connecting an object to an existing ceiling fan having a plurality of rotatable fan blades, comprising: attaching the object to at least a portion of at least one of the rotatable fan blades via a connecting arrangement; and rotating the fan blades, such that the object connected thereto rotates with the fan blade via the rotation imparted to the connecting arrangement.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/921,937, filed Apr. 5, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to household ceiling fans and items attachable to such fans and, in particular, to a fan attachment arrangement that provides an attachable member or object, which provides entertainment and/or obtains the attention of a person, such as an infant or child, that is positioned underneath the fan, or otherwise is a rotatable, decorative member.

2. Description of the Related Art

Many homes and similar buildings have ceiling fans installed throughout the structure in order to aid in air circulation, cooling the room, etc. In order to implement and achieve this result, the fan is turned “on”, and the blades spin around. Accordingly, this rotary movement, which is required to operate the fan, may be translated into additional functionality in connection with this continual, rotational movement.

In the field of care giving, whether to infants, the elderly or other otherwise, it is often difficult to provide soothing words or actions every time they are required. For example, infants often enjoy looking at mobiles and other objects that move in a circular motion. Further, it has been found that infants (and other groups of people) are soothed or otherwise placated by staring at a rotating ceiling fan. Often this circular or rotational movement provides the necessary stimulus to ease the person observing such movement. In addition, the rotating blades of the fan provide circular movement that may be translated into a moving, decorative arrangement for entertainment, presentation, etc.

Presently, there are devices and structures that can be attached to the person's bed or infant's crib, such as electronic mobiles and the like. Similarly, such devices and structures are available for attachment to the wall or ceiling of the room. In order to effectively utilize these devices, an appropriate and sturdy structure must be located, and in many instances, the device must be permanently installed in the room as a fixture. Still further, these prior art devices and structures are often “wind-up” in nature, and will quickly lose their motivating force, or battery-operated, and will require constant battery changing (or may be left on when no one is in the room or using the device). Therefore, there is a need in the art for an improved fan attachment system and arrangement that utilizes the motivational force of the rotating fan to provide additional functions and benefits.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, one object of the present invention to provide a fan attachment arrangement that overcomes the drawbacks and deficiencies of the prior art arrangement and systems. It is another object of the present invention to provide a fan attachment arrangement that provides a soothing effect or entertainment to the observer. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a fan attachment arrangement that, in some embodiments, may be removably attached to a pre-existing ceiling fan, such as the rotatable blades of the fan. It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a fan attachment arrangement that utilizes the rotation of the fan blades of the ceiling fan as a motivational force in providing additional and beneficial functionality.

Accordingly, the present invention is directed to a fan attachment arrangement for use in connection with an existing ceiling fan having multiple rotatable fan blades, where each of the blades includes an edge, an upper surface and a lower surface. The arrangement includes an attachable object and a connecting arrangement for attaching the attachable object to the edge of the fan blade, the upper surface of the fan blade and/or the lower surface of the fan blade. The attachable object thereby rotates as the fan blade to which the attachable object is connected rotates via the connecting arrangement.

In another aspect, the present invention is directed to an attachment arrangement for use in connection with an existing ceiling fan having a plurality of rotatable fan blades. The arrangement includes a connecting arrangement for attaching an object to at least a portion of at least one of the fan blades, such that, as the fan blade rotates, the object rotates via this connecting arrangement.

In a further aspect of the present invention, provided is a method of connecting an object to an existing ceiling fan having a plurality of rotatable fan blades. The method includes: attaching the object to at least a portion of at least one of the rotatable fan blades via a connecting arrangement; and rotating the fan blades, such that the object connected thereto rotates with the fan blade via the rotation imparted to the connecting arrangement.

These and other features and characteristics of the present invention, as well as the methods of operation and functions of the related elements of structures and the combination of parts and economies of manufacture, will become more apparent upon consideration of the following description and the appended claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, all of which form a part of this specification, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding parts in the various figures. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. As used in the specification and the claims, the singular form of “a”, “an”, and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of one embodiment of a fan attachment arrangement according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of further embodiments of a fan attachment arrangement according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view of still further embodiments of a fan attachment arrangement according to the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of another embodiment of a fan attachment arrangement according to the principles of the present invention; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a further embodiment of a fan attachment arrangement according to the principles of the present invention attached to a ceiling fan and in operation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For purposes of the description hereinafter, the terms “upper”, “lower”, “right”, “left”, “vertical”, “horizontal”, “top”, “bottom”, “lateral”, “longitudinal” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as it is oriented in the drawing figures. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative variations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification, are simply exemplary embodiments of the invention. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics related to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting.

The present invention is directed to a fan attachment arrangement 10, as illustrated in various embodiments and in operation in FIGS. 1-5. Specifically, the fan attachment arrangement 10 is configured or adapted for use in connection with an existing or pre-installed ceiling fan F, which typically includes multiple rotatable blades B. Each blade B includes an edge E, an upper surface U and a lower surface L. As is known in the art, when actuated, the ceiling fan F, and particularly the blades B, rotate in order to provide air movement in the room in which it is situated. Further, such ceiling fans F may be found in a variety of homes, houses, structures, buildings and other places where air circulation is desired.

With respect to the present invention, and as illustrated in schematic form in FIG. 1, the fan attachment arrangement 10 includes an attachable object 12. Further, the arrangement 10 includes a connecting arrangement 14, which provides for the attachment of the attachable object 12 to some portion of the blade B of the fan F. In particular, the connecting arrangement 14 allows for the attachment of the attachable object 12 to the edge E of the blade B, the upper surface U of the blade B and/or the lower surface L of the blade B. Since the attachable object 12 is in operational engagement with the blade B of the fan F via the connecting arrangement 14, when the blades B of the fan F are rotated, the attachable object 12 rotates as well. In this manner, the fan attachment arrangement 10 of the present invention uses the rotational movement and motivation of the blades B of the fan F in order to impart the same rotational characteristics upon the attachable object 12.

A variety of connecting arrangements 14 are envisioned. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 1, the connecting arrangement 14 may include an attacher 16 and a connection line 18. In particular, the connection line 18 is attached between the attacher 16 and the attachable object 12, and this “attachment” may be removable, permanent, semi-permanent, etc. In one preferred and non-limiting embodiment, the attacher 16 is removably attachable to the blade B of the fan F. Accordingly, the attachable object 12 (and connection line 18) and at least a portion of the attacher 16 or connecting arrangement 14 is removable from the blade B of the fan F for use in connection with other fans F. A variety of different attachers 16, connection lines 18 and, in general, connecting arrangements 14, can be used to removably attach the attachable object 12 to the blade B of the fan F.

As seen in one of the embodiments of FIG. 2, the attachable object 12 is connected to the edge E of the blade B of the fan F. Specifically, in this embodiment, the connection line 18 is a string, cord, monofilament line, etc., and the attacher 16 is a manipulatable (or actuatable) clip 20. While this clip 20 may take a variety of known structures for removable engagement, in this preferred and non-limiting embodiment, the clip 20 is a spring clip, as is well known in the art. Specifically, the clip 20 includes arms 22 that, when pressed towards each other, open a mouth 24 of the clip 20. After the mouth 24 is opened, it is placed over the edge E of the blade B, and the arms 22 are released to their normal position, which thereby closes the mouth 24 over the edge E and against the upper surface U and lower surface L of the blade B. Accordingly, the attachable object 12 is removably attached to the fan blade B via the connection line 18 and clip 20.

Further, in this embodiment, the connection line 18 is permanently attached between the attachable object 12 and the clip 20. However, as discussed in detail hereinafter, the connection line 18 and/or the attachable object 12 may be removable from the various portions of this arrangement, e.g., the connection line 18, the clip 20, etc. It is desirous that the attacher 16 (and the connecting arrangement 14 in general) is sufficient to keep the attachable object 12 safely connected to the blade B while the blade B is in motion. As discussed, and in operation, when the blade B of the fan F spins around, the attachable object 12 moves outward and spins around together with the blade B, with the connecting arrangement 14 ensuring that the attachable object 12 is not thrown or ejected from the blade B.

In another embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the attacher 16 includes a hook portion 26 and a loop portion 28. In this preferred embodiment, the hook portion 26 is applied to the lower surface L of the blade B, such as by glue, adhesive, tape or some other method of adherence. The connection line 18 is attached or attachable to the loop portion 28, and the connection line 18 is also attached or attachable to the attachable object 12. In operation, the user presses the loop portion 28 against the hook portion 26 attached to, for example, the lower surface L of the blade B, thereby connecting the attachable object 12 to the blade B. If another attachable object 12 is desired, the presently-connected attachable object 12 is removed by detaching the loop portion 28 from the hook portion 26. This allows for a simple and removable attachable object 12, which can be easily changed, thus allowing the user to connect varying attachable objects 12 to the fan F.

Of course, the loop portion 28 may also be attached to the blade B, while the hook portion 26 is attached to the connection line 18. Still further, one of the hook portions 26 or loop portions 28 can be attached to the blade B, while the other of the hook portions 26 or loop portions 28 is directly attached to the attachable object 12. Such an arrangement may be preferable where no connection line 18 is used, or where the attachable object 12, itself, is of a size and shape that is amenable to direct attachment to the fan blade B, for example, an attachable object 12 that is elongated and flexible.

In another embodiment, and as also illustrated in FIG. 2, the attachable object 12 may include a variety of features and functions. In this embodiment, the attachable object 12 includes multiple light elements 30 that glow or otherwise act as a light source, as directly attached, indirectly attached or associated with the attachable object 12, such as arranged on a surface of the attachable object 12. Accordingly, using these light elements 30, additional visual stimuli is provided to the observer, which may enhance the soothing or placating effect of the fan attachment arrangement 10. For example, the light elements 30 may be light emitting diodes, blinking lights, colored lights, etc. Further, an actuation switch 32 may be disposed or positioned on the attachable object 12 in order to turn the light elements 30 “on” or “off”. This would allow the user to only use the light elements 30 when required. In addition, and in order to power the light elements 30, the attachable object 12 may include a battery compartment (not shown) for removing and inserting batteries into the attachable object 12.

In another preferred and non-limiting embodiment, and also as illustrated in FIG. 2, a photoreactive member 34 may be attached to or integrated with a surface of the object 12. For example this photoreactive member 34 may be a “glow-in-the-dark” item that, after having been subjected to a light source, glows for a period of time when the lights are “out”. In this case, the object 12 would not require a battery compartment or other separate power source, which would eventually run out of power. Similarly, the entire surface of the attachable object 12 may be manufactured from a material that is photoreactive or otherwise glows for a period of time when the lights are “out”.

Additional preferred and non-limiting embodiments are illustrated in FIG. 3. In one embodiment, the attacher 16 is a friction clip 36 and includes the above-discussed mouth 24. However, in this arrangement, the friction clip 36 is simply pressed over the edge E of the blade B. In addition, the friction clip 36 is manufactured from a material that is flexible and capable of slightly deforming as the friction clip 36, and in particular the mouth 24 of the friction clip 36, is slid over the edge E of the blade B. Accordingly, the friction clip 36 grips the blade B over the edge E and against the upper surface U and lower surface L of the blade B.

In addition, and in this embodiment, the connecting arrangement 14 also includes a socket 38 attached to the friction clip 36. The connection line 18 is attached to or otherwise engaged with a ball 40. As is known in the art, this provides a ball-and-socket arrangement, where the ball 40 is removably engageable with the socket 38. Accordingly, as discussed above in connection with the hook portion 26 and loop portion 28, the ball 40 and socket 38 allow for the easy removal of the connection line 18 and attachable object 12 and replacement of a different connection line 18 and attachable object 12. Of course, the clip 36 may be attached to or integrated with the ball 40, while the connection line 18 is attached to or otherwise engaged with the socket 38.

As discussed above, the attachable object 12 may include a variety of features and functions that add additional stimuli to the arrangement 10. As seen in FIG. 3, the attachable object 12 includes the above-discussed light elements 30. Further, in this preferred and non-limiting embodiment, a sound mechanism 42 is included for projecting sound through a speaker 44 directly or indirectly attached to or associated with the attachable object 12, e.g., positioned on the surface of the attachable object 12. Further, this sound mechanism 42 may be adapted or configured to produce a variety of sounds, including music, recorded music, soothing sounds, nature sounds, voices, singing, etc. Still further the sound mechanism 42 may be in the form of a separate component that wirelessly communicates with the speaker 44 (or some component used to drive the speaker 44), such that the user may separately choose what sounds emanate through the speaker 44.

In one preferred and non-limiting embodiment, and as illustrated in FIG. 3, a recording mechanism 46 allows the user to record sounds onto some media within the attachable object 12. For example, and in the case of an infant, the mother or father may record themselves singing using the recording mechanism 46. Next, the sound mechanism 42 may be activated and this recorded song would be played through the speaker 44, which would provide some indication to the infant that the parent is still present. A variety of sound mechanisms 42 are envisioned. For example, and as illustrated in FIG. 3, a whistle member 48 may be attached to or otherwise integrated with the attachable object 12. As the object 12 spins around with the blade B of the fan F, and as the air travels through the whistle member 48, some sound is projected. In addition, as with the sound mechanism 42, the recording mechanism 46 may be a separate component in wireless communication with the speaker 44 (or some component used to drive the speaker 44).

As seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, and in another preferred and non-limiting embodiment, the attachable object 12 is a lightweight and plush-like item that does not interfere with the operation or balance of the ceiling fan F. In addition, the object is designed in a manner that prevents injury or property damage in the event it becomes dislodged or detached from the ceiling fan F during normal operation. Still further, and in this embodiment, the attachable object 12 is designed and arranged to take advantage of the color sensitivity found in most infants, and includes contrasting colors, arrangements and aerial movements that provide the maximum amount of stimulus and/or soothing effect to the infant. In other embodiments, the attachable object 12 may be a stuffed toy, a plush toy, a lightweight toy, a stuffed object, a soft object, a decorative object, etc.

As also illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the connecting arrangement 14 may be in the form of a length of tape 50 attached between the lower surface L of the blade B and the object 12. In order to attach the object 12 to the blade B, the tape 50 includes an adhesive portion 52. This adhesive portion 52 is simply pressed against the upper surface U or lower surface L of the blade B, thereby connecting the object 12 to the fan F. A variety of adhesive compounds may be used in connection with this adhesive portion 52, including permanent, semi-permanent and removable or releasable adhesives. Additionally, any suitable strip of material may be utilized, where one end is attachable to a portion of the blade B and the other end is attachable or attached to the attachable object 12.

The fan attachment arrangement 10 of the present invention is illustrated in operation in FIG. 5. As seen in this illustrated embodiment, various attachable objects 12 are attached to the lower surface L of the blade B of the fan F using a connecting arrangement 14. In order to allow the objects 12 to swing clear and outward from the edge E of the blade B, the connection line 18 may be of an appropriate length and connected between the blade B and the object 12. When the fan F is turned “on”, the blades B rotate and cause the object 12 to swing outward and rotate along with the blades B. In this manner, the observer (typically an infant or other person lying underneath the fan F) has a clear and unobstructed view to the spinning and rotating objects 12.

It should also be noted that the arrangement 10 of the present invention is not limited to use in connection with infants, the elderly or other persons requiring this soothing or placating effect. Instead, the fan attachment arrangement 10 can be used as a decoration. For example, the attachable object may be a known decoration, e.g., a “birthday” item, a party decoration, a sports team item, a thematic, decorative item, etc. In such an arrangement, the sound mechanism 42 or light elements 30 may include characteristics and features that augment the type of object 12 in use. In one example, the object 12 is a sports team item, and the sound mechanism 42 projects a “fight song” through the speaker 44. In another example, the object 12 is a party decoration, and the sound mechanism 42 projects a song or sounds associated with the event being celebrated. A variety of other applications are envisioned to be within the scope and context of the presently-invented fan attachment arrangement 10.

Accordingly, the arrangement 10 of the present invention provides a soothing effect and/or entertainment to the observer. In addition, in one preferred and non-limiting embodiment, the arrangement 10 is easily and removably installed on a blade B of a pre-existing ceiling fan F. By using the rotation of the blades B of the fan F, the fan attachment arrangement 10 of the present invention does not require a separate and discrete motivational force to rotate the attachable object 12.

Although the invention has been described in detail for the purpose of illustration based on what is currently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that such detail is solely for that purpose and that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover modifications and equivalent arrangements that are within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For example, it is to be understood that the present invention contemplates that, to the extent possible, one or more features of any embodiment can be combined with one or more features of any other embodiment.