Title:
CONFETTI
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Pieces of confetti that have the ability to spiral or autorotate downward in a novel and pleasing fashion when falling are described. The downward spiral or autorotation of an individual piece of falling confetti of certain desirable embodiments can be described as being similar to the downward fall of a maple seed or the decent of an autorotating helicopter making an emergency, unpowered decent.



Inventors:
Dial, Linda (Atlanta, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/743906
Publication Date:
11/06/2008
Filing Date:
05/03/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63H27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMITH TEMPEL BLAHA LLC (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A plurality of pieces of confetti comprising at least two pieces of confetti, wherein each of the at least two pieces of confetti each comprise a. a head portion that has a head portion area wherein the head portion area has a head portion area density and b. a tail portion that has a tail portion area and the tail portion area has a tail portion area density wherein the head portion area density is greater than the tail portion area density.

2. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein the head portion area density is at least about 5 percent greater than the tail portion area density.

3. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein the head portion area density is at least about 10 percent greater than the tail portion area density.

4. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein the head portion area density is at least about 20 percent greater than the tail portion area density.

5. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein the head portion area density is at least about 50 percent greater than the tail portion area density.

6. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein the head portion area density is at least about twice the tail portion area density.

7. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein each of the at least two pieces of confetti has a length and a width and the length is at least about two times the width.

8. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 1 wherein each of the at least two pieces of confetti has a length and a width and the length is at least about three times the width.

9. A plurality of elongated pieces of confetti comprising at least two pieces of confetti wherein each of the two elongated pieces of confetti has a first end head portion and a second end tail portion and wherein the weight per unit area of the first end head portion is greater than the weight per unit area of the second end tail portion.

10. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein the first end head portion comprises a weight.

11. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein the first end head portion comprises a weight selected from the group consisting of a seed, a drop of plastic, a drop of metal, a coating, and a ball bearing.

12. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein each of the at least two the pieces of elongated confetti have a height H and a tail end portion width WT wherein WT is not greater than one half of the height H.

13. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein each of the at least two pieces of confetti have a height H, the first end head portion has a width WH that is not greater than one half of L and the second end tail portion has a width WT that is greater than second end tail portion width WH.

14. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein the first end head portion has a width WH and the second end tail portion has a width WT that is greater than first end head portion width WH.

15. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein the pieces of confetti comprise two sheets of material.

16. The plurality of elongated pieces of confetti of claim 9 wherein the pieces of confetti comprise two sheets of material adhered around a weight that is located proximate the first end head portion

17. A plurality of pieces of confetti comprising at least two pieces of confetti, where each of the at least two pieces of confetti each comprise a. an area and a center of area and b. a mass and a center of mass wherein the center of mass and the center of area are not at the same point on each of the at least two pieces of confetti.

18. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 17 wherein the at least two pieces of confetti each comprise a first end head portion and the center of mass of each of the at least two pieces of confetti is closer to first end head portion of the piece of confetti than the center of area is to the first end head portion of the confetti.

19. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 17 wherein the at least two pieces of confetti each comprise a first end head portion and the center of mass of the piece of confetti is closer to first end head portion of the piece of confetti than the center of mass is to the center of the area of the piece of confetti.

20. The plurality of pieces of confetti of claim 17 wherein the at least two pieces of confetti each comprise a first end head portion and second end tail portion and the center of mass is closer to first end head portion of the piece of confetti than the second end tail portion of the piece of confetti.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to confetti, to pieces of confetti, a collection of pieces of confetti and to an individual piece of confetti.

2. Description of the Related Art

Conventional pieces of confetti are pieces of paper that can be thrown in the air at special events, for example weddings and other celebrations. When thrown into the air, conventional pieces of confetti fall to the ground in a tumbling motion and in a generally straight path. Such tumbling action is well known and does not provide a very dramatic or unusual display. Attempts to design confetti with novel shapes and confetti that provide more pleasing visual effects have been described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,352,148, 5,419,731, 5,507,680, 5,643,042, and 6,027,773 and U.S. Patent Application Publication no. 2003/0143915. Generally, the pieces of confetti described in the above-listed publications have uniform area densities, are symmetrical about at least one axis and, more particularly, are symmetrical about two or more axes. The confetti described and illustrated in these publications do not provide irregular and/or unusual flight patterns. Thus, there is a need for confetti that provides a novel and improved display. One object of the present invention to provide confetti that falls in a pattern similar to the fall of a maple seed. Another object of the present invention is to provide confetti that spins, whirls, twirls or otherwise rotates toward the ground as opposed to tumbling toward the ground.

Furthermore, conventional confetti has little mass and is difficult to project into the air using confetti cannons and other devices that can be used for launching confetti. Thus, there is also a need for confetti with greater mass and/or greater density that can be launched farther.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides pieces of confetti that include a head portion that has a head portion area wherein the head portion area has a head portion area density and a tail portion that has a tail portion area and the tail portion area has a tail portion area density, wherein the head portion area density is greater than the tail portion area density. In certain embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 5 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In certain other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 10 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 20 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 50 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In still other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about twice the tail portion area density.

In certain embodiments, pieces of confetti have a length and a width and the length is at least about two times the width. In other embodiments, the pieces of confetti each have a length and a width and the length is at least about three times the width. In still other embodiments, each of the pieces of confetti has a first end head portion and a second end tail portion and wherein the weight per unit area of the first end head portion is greater than the weight per unit area of the second end tail portion. In certain embodiments, the first end head portion comprises a weight. For example, the weight may be a seed, a drop of plastic, a drop of metal, a coating, or a ball bearing.

In certain embodiments, each of the pieces of elongated confetti has a height H and a tail end portion width WT wherein WT is not greater than one half of the height H. In certain other embodiments, the pieces of confetti have a height H, the first end head portion has a width WH that is not greater than one half of L and the second end tail portion has a width WT that is greater than second end tail portion width WH. In still other embodiments, the first end head portion has a width WH and the second end tail portion has a width WT that is greater than first end head portion width WH. In certain embodiments, the pieces of confetti comprise two sheets of material. For example, the pieces of confetti can be formed from two sheets of material adhered around a weight that is included in and located proximate the first end head portion

The present invention also provides a plurality of pieces of confetti where each of the at least two pieces of confetti each comprise an area and a center of area and a mass and a center of mass wherein the center of mass and the center of area are not at the same point on each of the at least two pieces of confetti. In certain embodiments, the pieces of confetti each comprise a first end head portion and the center of mass of a piece of confetti is closer to first end head portion of the piece of confetti than the center of area is to the first end head portion of the confetti. In other embodiments, the pieces of confetti each comprise a first end head portion and the center of mass of the piece of confetti is closer to first end head portion of the piece of confetti than the center of mass is to the center of the area of the piece of confetti. In still other embodiments, the pieces of confetti each comprise a first end head portion and second end tail portion and the center of mass is closer to first end head portion of the piece of confetti than the second end tail portion of the piece of confetti.

In particularly desirable embodiments, pieces of confetti of the present invention spiral, spin, whirl, twirl or otherwise rotate toward the ground downward when released from a height of greater than 12 feet as opposed to tumbling toward the ground like conventional confetti.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof is set forth in the detailed description which makes reference to the appended figures in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a single piece of confetti;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the piece of confetti of FIG. 1 taken through line 2-2;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the piece of confetti of FIG. 1 taken through line 3-3;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of another piece of confetti;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the piece of confetti of FIG. 4 taken through line 5-5;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of yet another piece of confetti;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of still another piece of confetti;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of still another piece of confetti; and

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the piece of confetti of FIG. 8 taken through line 9-9; and

FIG. 10 is a drawing illustrating the flight path of a piece of confetti.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The drawings and detailed description provide a full and detailed written description of the invention, the preferred embodiment, and of the manner and process of making and using it, so as to enable one skilled in the pertinent art to make and use it. The detailed description uses numerical and letter designations to refer to features in the drawings. Like or similar designations in the drawings and description have been used to refer to like or similar parts of the invention. The examples set forth in the drawings and detailed description are provided by way of explanation of the invention and are not meant as limitations of the invention. The present invention thus includes any modifications and variations of the following examples as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

The present invention will now be described with respect to a first exemplary embodiment a piece of confetti 1 that is illustrated in a plan view in FIG. 1 and in cross-sectional views in FIGS. 2 and 3. In this first illustrated embodiment, a piece of confetti 1 is cut, molded or otherwise formed in the shape of a seed, more specifically in the shape of a maple seed. Thus, in certain embodiments, the present invention provides pieces of confetti that are asymmetrical or at least substantially asymmetrical. In certain desirable embodiments, the present invention provides confetti that flies in a manner or pattern similar to the flight of a falling maple seed. A simplified illustration of a flight pattern of a piece of confetti that is shaped like a seed is illustrated in a simplified time elapsed view in FIG. 10. The flight of such a piece of confetti can be described as one end of the piece of confetti, the tail end, rotating around the other end of the piece of confetti, the head end, as the entire piece of confetti falls toward the ground in a manner similar to an autorotating helicopter making an emergency decent or in a manner similar to a falling maple seed or other samara winged seed. The end of a piece of confetti that is closer to the center of mass of the piece of confetti is also referred to hereinafter as the head end or head portion. The tail end of the piece of confetti, the end farther from the center of mass, generally spirals about the front or head end as the piece of confetti falls to the ground. The piece of confetti may fall in a generally downward direction as illustrated, may angle downward or may even corkscrew, spiral, spin, whirl, twirl or otherwise rotate downward in manner similar to the fall of a winged seed such as a maple seed. Desirably, a piece of confetti spins several times about the head or center of mass before the confetti lands on the ground. For example, the tail end of an individual piece of confetti may spin, that is complete a 360 degree revolution, around the head end or leading end of a piece at least 3, 4, or even 5 times per every 10 feet of fall. More desirably, the tail end of an individual piece of confetti spins around the head end of a piece at least 10, at least 15 or even 20 times per every 10 feet of fall. A piece of confetti 1 can be molded from paper, pulp or other fibers into the shape of a maple seed, for example in a method similar to methods used to form egg cartons from paper, pulp and/other natural fibers. Thus in certain embodiments, pieces of confetti are formed from a slurry of cellulose fibers and a small amount, for example less than about 1 weight percent, of one or more strength additive agents. In an exemplary embodiment, a piece of confetti comprises greater than about 90 weight percent of cellulose fibers.

In certain embodiments, a piece of confetti is a single piece of molded paper that has uniform density but that has a weighted first end because the first end is thicker than the other, second end. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the half of the piece of confetti that includes the first end 4 has a greater area density that the other half of the piece of confetti that includes the second end 6. The individual piece of confetti 1 illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 can be described as including a head portion, generally designated 4, and a tail portion, generally designated 6. In this exemplary embodiment, the piece of confetti 1 includes a thickened head 4 and also includes a thickened edge 8 to provide a piece of confetti that is weighted toward one end, the head and toward one side, the leading edge. Thus, even though the material used to form the piece of confetti 1 has substantially uniform density, the overall piece of confetti has an area density that varies and that is concentrated toward one as a result of the extra material in the head portion 4 from the thickened area.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the piece of confetti 1 is weighted toward the head portion 4 so that the head portion 4 has an area density that is greater than the area density of the tail portion 6. Thus, in certain embodiments, the present invention provides pieces of confetti where the center of mass is substantially closer to one end of a piece of confetti than the other end of the piece of confetti. The piece of confetti illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 can also be described as including a head portion 4 connected to a wider tail portion 6 by a convex leading edge 8 on one side and a trailing edge 9 that includes a concave region 3 and a convex region 5.

Alternatively, pieces of confetti 1 can be cut or otherwise formed from one or more sheets of paper or other materials that are available in sheet from, for example sheets of MYLAR and other plastic films. Thus, in certain desirable embodiments a piece of confetti is made from of a synthetic material such a sheet or paper or a sheet of plastic film. It may also be possible to provide a weighted head portion by including one or more extra layers of paper or by folding an extra section of paper in the head portion or even by including paper of a heavier basis weight in the head portion.

In certain embodiments, a piece of confetti has no dimension, for example a length that is greater than 6 inches. In certain embodiments, a piece of confetti has no dimension that is greater than 5 inches. In certain embodiments, a piece of confetti has no dimension that is greater than 4 inches. In certain embodiments, a piece of confetti has no dimension that is greater than 3 inches. And, in certain embodiments a piece of confetti has no dimension that is greater than 2 inches. In certain embodiments, a piece of confetti of the present invention is at least about 1 inch long and in other embodiments a piece of confetti of the present invention is at least about 1 and a half inches long.

Turning now to FIGS. 4 and 5, another embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in plan view in FIG. 4 and in cross section in FIG. 5. FIG. 5 illustrates a front plan view of one side of piece of confetti 10 that is cut in to the shape of a right triangle from a single sheet of paper 14. Piece of confetti 10 includes a head portion, generally designated 18, and a tail portion, generally designated 16. In this exemplary embodiment, the piece of confetti 10 also includes a weight 20, for example a BB, a small ball bearing or a seed, that is glued, adhered or otherwise included in the head portion 18 of a piece of confetti 10 to provide a piece of confetti that is weighted toward one end, the head. Again, it may also be possible to provide a weighted head portion by including an extra layer or paper or by folding an extra section of paper in the head portion or by including paper of a heavier basis weight in the head portion.

In this exemplary embodiment the tail portion 16 is not weighted and has an area density that is less than the area density of the head portion, or the other half of the piece of confetti, to provide a piece of confetti that falls head first and spirals or otherwise rotates downward when released from a height. In certain desirable embodiments, the weighted head portion of a piece of confetti spirals downward with the tail portion spiraling further outward and behind the head portion. For example, in certain desirable embodiments a piece of confetti corkscrews, spirals, spins, whirls, twirls or otherwise rotates downward when released from a height of 12 feet or more as opposed to merely tumbling like conventional confetti. The flight of such an individual piece of confetti can be described as “autorotating” and is similar to the downward fall of a carpel from the flower of a tulip poplar (Liriodendron Tulipfera) tree, a maple seed, or another samara winged seed spiraling to the ground. The fall of an individual piece of confetti of certain embodiments of the present invention may also be described as being similar to the flight path of a helicopter during an unpowered, emergency descent.

Thus, in certain particularly desirable embodiments the weight per unit area or density of one half or one end of a piece of confetti is greater than the weight per unit area of the second half or second end of an individual piece of confetti. Thus, one embodiment of the present invention includes a collection of pieces of confetti that include a first end and a second end wherein the first end has an area density that is greater than the area density of the second end. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the head portion 18 has a head portion area, generally designated AH, and a head portion density that can be calculated by dividing the mass of the area attributed to the head portion 18 by the area attributed head portion AH. The tail portion 16 has a tail portion area, generally designated AT. A tail portion density that can be calculated by dividing the mass of the area attributed to the tail portion 16 by the area attributed tail portion AT. In desirable embodiments, the head portion density of a piece of confetti of the present invention is noticeably greater than the tail portion density of the pieces of confetti. In certain embodiments the head portion density is at least about 5 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In other embodiments, the head portion density at least about 10 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In still other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 20 percent greater than the tail portion area density. In still other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 40 greater than the tail portion area density. In still other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about 50 percent greater than the tail portion area density. And in still other embodiments, the head portion area density is at least about twice, three times or even four times the tail portion area density. In certain embodiments the head portion 18 of a piece of confetti 10 is the portion of a piece of confetti that has a higher density and is the portion that includes the smaller area. The tail portion 16 of piece of confetti is the portion of a piece of confetti that has a lower density and is the portion that includes a larger area. In certain embodiments, the head portion 18 of a piece of confetti 10 has a width (WH) that is less than the width (WT) of the tail portion 16 of the piece of confetti 10.

In certain desirable embodiments, pieces of confetti are provided that asymmetric or are irregularly shaped. One such desirable embodiment is illustrated in a front plan view in FIG. 6. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, piece of confetti 100 is a piece of paper that is cut in the shape of a non-isosceles, non-right triangle having no two sides that are the exact same length. Thus, in certain desirable embodiments a piece of confetti 100 of the present invention may have the shape of non-isosceles triangle. The non-isosceles triangle may be a right triangle having one corner that is about 90 degrees as illustrated in FIG. 4 or may be an oblique, non-isosceles triangle as illustrated in FIG. 6. The piece of confetti 100 illustrated in FIG. 6 also includes a weighted head portion 80 that may be provided by attaching a weight 200 to the head portion 80 and could have a cross-section similar to the cross section illustrated in FIG. 5. Alternatively, a weighted head portion can be provided by including a drop of heavier material such as plastic or wax or by including an additional coating of material such as paint or a heavy coating or ink in the head portion 80.

Turning back to FIG. 6, piece of confetti 100 has a height H, a tail end portion width WT and a head end portion width WH. In certain embodiments, the tail end portion width WT is not greater than one half of the height H. In certain embodiments, the tail end portion width WT is greater than first end head portion width WH. In still other embodiments, the head portion width WH is less than or equal to one half of the length of L and the tail width WT is greater than the head portion width WH.

Yet another exemplary piece of confetti of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 7. The piece of confetti 110 illustrated in FIG. 7 is cut in the shape of a parallelogram and has a seed, for example a corn kernel, 120 adhered near one corner to provide a weighted head portion. The piece of confetti has a height H. The head portion has a head end portion width WH and the non-weighted tail end portion has a tail end portion width WT. The head end portion width of a particular piece of confetti can be determined by measuring the width of the piece through the point of the center of mass CM of the piece of confetti. The piece of confetti can also be described as having a center of area, designated CA, and a center of mass, designated CM, so that the center of area CA and a center of mass CM are not located at the same exact point on the piece of confetti 110. In certain embodiments, the center of mass CM of a piece of confetti is closer to one end of a piece of confetti than to the other end of the piece of confetti. In certain other desirable embodiments, the center of mass CM of a piece of confetti 110 is closer to head or head portion of the piece of confetti than the center of area CA is to the head or head portion of the piece of confetti. In yet other desirable embodiments, the center of mass CM of a piece of confetti is closer to the head or head portion of the piece of confetti than to the tail or tail portion of the piece of confetti.

Pieces of confetti of the present invention may have shapes other than those specifically illustrated in the accompanying figures and may have the shape of any polygon, for example, a triangle, a tetragon, a square, a rectangle, a parallelogram, diamond, a pentagon, a hexagon, a heptagon and so forth. One or more of the corners of the polygon-shaped pieces of confetti can be rounded. For example, the pieces of confetti can have the shape of elongated oval, an ellipse, an ellipsoid or even a comet. Again, the shape of the confetti may be symmetrical or asymmetrical and may be regular or irregular.

Pieces of confetti of the present invention can be cut or stamped from materials other than paper. Specifically, pieces of confetti can be molded, stamped or otherwise cut from sheets of material including, but not limited to, plastic, metal, foil, metallic films MYLAR and other metal coated films. In addition, a piece of confetti of the present invention can be made from one or more sheets of paper or plastic. For example, in another embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9 a pieces of confetti 50 is formed from two similarly shaped sheets of paper 52 and 54 that are adhered or otherwise attached to each other to include a weight 60, such as a seed, a drop of plastic, a coating, a ball bearing or so forth between the two sheets. Either or both of the sheets of material can be paper or plastic or metal foil and may the same color or different colors to provide additional visual affects. In one desirable embodiment, one or more of the pieces of confetti or one or both sides of a piece of confetti or even just a portion or a side of a piece of confetti may include a material that is shiny and/or reflects light, that is luminescent or phosphorescent or that glows in the dark to provide additional visual effects.

It is believed that pieces of confetti of certain preferred embodiments of the present invention will spiral and/or twirl downward in a unique and visually pleasing manner as opposed to tumbling like the confetti described and illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 5,507,760. Additionally, because confetti of the certain desirable embodiments of the present invention have increased mass and even increased density it is believed that such confetti can be thrown, shot, launched or otherwise propelled further by confetti cannons and similar devices for dispersing confetti. Examples of confetti cannons and other confetti dispersing devices are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,015,211, 5,772,491 and 6,641,458.

While the present invention has been described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the subject matter encompassed by way of the present invention is not to be limited to those specific embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended for the subject matter of the invention to include all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as can be included within the spirit and scope of the following claims.





 
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