Title:
Cover for toiletries
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This cover for toiletries has a main body and a cord holder, such as a button, that is attached to an outer side of the main body. The cord holder has at least two opposed flanges that extend over portions of the outer side of the main body, and a gripping surface between the flanges and the main body. One end of a cord is attached to the main body. The cord has a stretchable section and a special gripping part. The gripping part is spaced at a distance from the attached end of the cord and has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface that holds a half winding of the cord between the opposed flanges and the outer side of the main body of the cover against a half pound of tension in the cord. In some instances, the outer side of the cover is more textured than the inner side. The cord can be relatively long and made of twisted silk or beaded elastic, and have a spring constant of between 1/8 and 1 pounds/inch. A unitary connector can hold both the cord and the cord holder to the main body of the cover.



Inventors:
Christmas, Katharine Raidt (River Forest, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/751290
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/21/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D65/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WEAVER, SUE A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A cover for toiletries that has: a relatively flat main body that has an inner side and an outer side that is more textured than the inner side; a cord holder that is attached to the outer side of the main body of the cover at a cord holder attachment position; at least two opposed flanges on the cord holder that extend over portions of the outer side of the main body; a gripping surface between the flanges and the main body; a relatively long cord that has one end that is attached to the main body near the cord holder; a stretchable section on the cord; and a gripping part on the cord that is spaced at a distance from the attached end of the cord and has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface that holds a half winding of the cord between the opposed flanges and the outer side of the main body of the cover against one-half pound of tension in the cord.

2. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the cover is for a hairbrush and the main body is rectangular in shape and between 8 and 16 inches in length and between 3 and 7 inches in width.

3. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which: the cover is for a curling iron; the main body of the cover is rectangular in shape and 8 and 16 inches in length and between 10 and 16 inches in width; the cord and cord holder are spaced toward one lateral edge of the main body of the cover; and a second cord and cord holder are spaced toward an opposite lateral edge of the main body.

4. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the cord holder is made of felt.

5. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the cord holder is a removable sachet.

6. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the cord holder has a rigid upper portion and a felt liner on the lower side of the flange.

7. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the cord is made of twisted silk.

8. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the cord is made of beaded elastic.

9. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 1, in which the stretchable section on the cord has a spring constant of between ⅛ and 1 pounds per inch.

10. A collection of covers for toiletries that includes two covers as recited in claim 1, the two covers each having different size dimensions.

11. A cover for toiletries that has: a relatively flat main body that has an inner side and an outer side; a cord holder that is attached to the outer side of the main body of the cover at a cord holder attachment position; at least two opposed flanges on the cord holder that extend over portions of the outer side of the main body; a gripping surface between the flanges and the main body; a relatively long cord that has one end that is attached to the main body near the cord holder; a stretchable section on the cord; and a gripping part on the cord that is spaced at a distance from the attached end of the cord and has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface that holds a half winding of the cord between the opposed flanges and the outer side of the main body of the cover against one-half pound of tension in the cord.

12. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 11, in which the inner side of the main body of the cover is decorative and unpocketed.

13. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 11, in which the cord is at least as long as the lateral width of the main body of the cover, the entire length of the cord is stretchable, and the gripping part on the cord extends the entire length of the cord.

14. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 11, in which a unitary connector holds both the attached end of the cord and the cord holder to the main body of the cover.

15. A cover for toiletries that has: a relatively flat main body that has an inner side and an outer side that is more textured than the inner side; a cord holder that is attached to the outer side of the main body of the cover at a cord holder attachment position; at least two opposed flanges on the cord holder that extend over portions of the outer side of the main body; a gripping surface between a lower side of the flanges and the outer side of the main body; a cord that has one end that is attached to the main body; a stretchable section on the cord; and a gripping part on the cord that is spaced at a distance from the attached end of the cord and has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface that holds a half winding of the cord between the opposed flanges and the outer side of the main body of the cover against one-half pound of tension in the cord.

16. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 15, in which: the cover is for a hair drier; the main body of the cover is square in shape and between 12 and 20 inches in length and width; the cord and cord holder are attached at opposite corners of the main body; a triangular pocket on the inner side of the main body is connected to the main body near two sides of the main body that are adjacent to one of the corners where the cord and cord holder are attached; and a secondary connector is connected to the outer side of the main body at a secondary corner that is between the two corners where the cord and cord holder are attached.

17. A cover for toiletries as recited in claim 15, in which the outer side is made of hemp or canvas.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to toiletries such as hairbrushes, curling irons, hair driers, etc., and more particularly to protective covers that can be used for wrapping such products so that they can be better transported in suitcases, travel or gym bags, or even purses, or stored at home or at work.

There are a variety of reasons why it is often desirable to pack toiletries apart from clothing and other items. The bristles on a hairbrush can be damaged if left uncovered and can snag clothing if the two are packed together. Curling irons, hair driers, and similar products can also break and have cords, etc. that make them awkward to pack and have parts that can crease or damage clothing or other personal items. In addition, some people feel that these kinds of items should be separated from other items simply for hygienic reasons.

Sometimes these kinds of toiletries are packed collectively in a separate bag. Other times, however, it may be desirable to pack them separately. Packing these items separately requires separate packages or covers. Some products are sold with individual hard covers, but it would be preferable for the covers to be moldable or soft so they take up less space. It would also be preferably for the covers to be visually coordinating. Hair brushes and other toiletries come in a variety of sizes, and the variety of sizes makes it difficult to manufacture attractive, coordinating covers for multiple products.

Some products are sold with drawstring bags. However, these bags offer minimal protection for the product.

The inventor is not aware of any cover for hairbrushes or similar products that can be adjusted to fit a wide range of differently sized products and can also help to protect the product.

The kinds of covers used on other products other than toiletries have found no significant success in this field. Some covers provide a loose, sloppy fit. Some have cords that need to be tied or wrapped several times around a cord holder. These arrangements are not particularly useful or satisfying for covering toiletries.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The applicant has developed a line of covers for toiletries that can be used for products of different sizes, provides a tighter fit, and can be secured in an easier, more satisfying way.

Like some prior known devices, the new cover has a main body and a cord holder, such as a button, that is attached to an outer side of the main body. The cord holder has at least two opposed flanges that extend over portions of the outer side of the main body, and a gripping surface between the flanges and the main body. Each cover also has a relatively long cord. One end of the cord is attached to the main body.

Unlike previously-known covers, the cord on the new cover has a stretchable section and a special gripping part. The gripping part is spaced at a distance from the attached end of the cord and has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface that holds a half winding of the cord between the opposed flanges and the outer side of the main body of the cover against a half pound of tension in the cord.

In some embodiments, the outer side of the cover may be more textured than the inner side. The cord may be relatively long, and may be attached to the main body near the cord holder.

When one of the new covers is wrapped around a product, the cord holder is left on the outside of the wrapped product. The cord is wrapped around the product, then wrapped under the flanges of the cord holder. The stretchable section on the cord helps to provide tension that keeps the wrapped product neat. The gripping part of the cord has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface that is sufficient to hold a half winding of the cord (a winding that is wrapped 180 degrees around the cord holder) against one half pound of tension in the cord. Consequently, the cord need only be wrapped halfway around the cord holder to provide an effective closure, making the wrapping process simpler and more satisfying.

The general size of the main body can be adjusted for different types of products, enabling a coordinating line of covers to be offered. For hairbrushes, it might be preferred for the main body to be between 8 and 16 inches in length and between 3 and 7 inches in width. For curling irons, it might be preferred for the main body of the cover to be between 8 and 16 inches in length and between 10 and 16 inches in width.

In some cases, such as for larger products, more than one cord and cord holder can be used. For a cover for a product like a curling iron or flat iron, for example, one cord and cord holder can be positioned toward one lateral edge of the main body of the cover, and a second cord and cord holder can be positioned toward an opposite lateral edge of the main body. For a cover for a product like a hair drier, a large square main body (for example, one between 12 and 20 inches in length and width) can be used, with the cord attached at one corner and the cord holder attached at the opposite corner of the main body, and with a secondary cord and a secondary cord holder being connected to the main body at secondary corners between the corners where the cord and cord holder are attached.

Preferably, the inner side of the main body is decorative and smooth. For use with a hair drier, however, a single large pocket can be formed on the inner side of the main body of the cover.

There is significant flexibility in the choice of materials that can be used to make the covers, and different materials can be used for the inner and outer sides of the main body. For example, the inner side can be made of a soft or waterproof material, or even a flame-resistant material, while the outer side is made of hemp or canvas. The cord holder can generally be made of felt, and might also be made of metal or plastic with a rigid upper surface and a textured liner (such as felt) on the lower side of the flange, forming the gripping surface. The cord holder might also take the form of a removable sachet. The cord, which might have a spring constant of between ⅛ and 1 pounds/inch, can sometimes be made of twisted silk or beaded elastic.

A unitary connector can sometimes be used to hold both the attached end of the cord and the cord holder to the main body of the cover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be better understood by referring to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a partially-folded view of one embodiment of a cover for toiletries that utilizes the invention.

FIGS. 2 and 3 are perspective views of the cover of FIG. 1 being wrapped around a hairbrush.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged end view of the cover of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 5 and 6 are enlarged end views of alternative types of covers that can be used with the invention.

FIGS. 7 and 8 are enlarged views of cords that can be used with the invention.

FIGS. 9 and 10 are views of covers for other products that coordinate with the cover of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

One example of a cover for toiletries that utilizes the invention is seen in FIG. 1. Briefly, the illustrated cover 10 has a relatively flat main body 12, a cord holder 14, a cord 16, and a connector 18. Each part will be discussed in more detail below.

The Main Body

The cover 10 that is seen in FIG. 1 is for hairbrushes, and so the illustrated main body 12 is rectangular in shape and measures approximately 5 inches by 12 inches. Uncompressed, the main body of the cover is approximately ¼″ thick, and is thus relatively flat. This thickness of the cover provides a measure of protection for the bristles of the hairbrush. Although the 5×12 inch size accommodates a wide range of hairbrush sizes and configurations, including paddle brushes, round brushes, etc., the main body of the cover could be between 8 and 16 inches in length and between 3 and 7 inches in width and still be useful for many kinds of hairbrushes.

The main body 12 of the cover 10 has an inner side 20 and an outer side 22. In this example, the inner side is decorative and smooth (that is, without pockets), and has a printed pattern. The two sides are sewn together with a line of stitches 26. Here, the outer side is made of a fabric with a textured surface, such as hemp or canvas. Although a material with a relatively textured surface is particularly useful because it can provide the needed gripping surface (discussed in more detail below), other materials can also be used.

To use the illustrated cover 10, a hairbrush 24 can be placed against the inner side 20, and then the length of the cover can be wrapped around the brush, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 3. The cord 16 is then wrapped around the product and secured at the cord holder 14.

The Cord Holder

As seen in FIG. 4, the cord holder 14 is attached to the outer side 22 of the main body 12 of the cover 10 at a cord holder attachment position 40. The cord holder has opposed flange sections that extend over portions of the outer side of the main body. In this example, the cord holder is in the form of a button that has a flange 42 that extends all the way around a central stem 44. This provides opposed flange segments 46, 48 on opposite sides of the stem. One of those flange segments 46 extends from the stem toward one long edge 50 of the main body 12, and the other flange segment 48 extends from the stem toward the opposite long edge 52 of the main body.

The illustrated stem 44 is short, resulting in the flange segments 46, 48 lying directly next to the outer side 22 of the main body 12 of the cover 10. Although other arrangements might also be used, the close proximity of the flange segments to the outer side of the main body of the cover results in the cord 16 being pressed between the flanges and the outer side of the cover when the gripping part of the cord is wrapped around the stem. The resiliency of the gripping part of the cord and/or the gripping surface creates a normal force that helps to develop the friction needed to hold the cord in place.

Although other arrangements are possible, in the illustrated example the cord holder 14 is a felt button that is riveted to the outer side 22 of the cover 10 near one of the short edges of the main body 12. Felt is generally useful for the cord holder because it has both a natural resilience that helps to create normal forces and a relatively high coefficient of friction with respect to common materials that might be used for the cord. Consequently, in some circumstances, the bottom surface of a felt button could itself serve as the required gripping surface.

Other arrangements for the cord holder 14 are possible. For example, instead of a felt button, a rigid button (such as a metal button) might be used, as seen in FIG. 5. If a metal button is used, a felt facing 56 can be added to a lower surface on the rigid upper portion 58 of the button to serve as the gripping surface. In other instances, the gripping surface might be provided on the outer side 22 of the main body 12 of the cover, instead of on the lower side of the cord holder 14. In those instances, the cord holder might need only provide a resilient backing or even simply a rigid backing for the gripping surface. As yet another alternative, the cord holder might take the form of a removable sachet attached by a knot or clip, as seen in FIG. 6.

In the illustrated product, opposed short edges 60 of the main body 12 of the cover 10 (FIG. 1) are separated by a lateral distance that extends though the cord holder attachment position 40. The illustrated button has a decorative shape, and is approximately 2¼ inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick. The approximately ⅛ inch-wide stem 44 is located about ¾ of an inch from one of the short edges of the cover, resulting in parts 62 of the button extending beyond the short edge. While this arrangement might sometimes be preferred, it is not generally required.

The Cord

The illustrated cord 16 is relatively long, approximately as long as the lateral length of the main body 12 of the cover 10. As seen in FIG. 3, the cord has one end 64 that is attached to the main body 12 near the cord holder 14. In this example, the attached end of the cord is sewn between the inner side 20 and the outer side 22 of the main body. The opposite, free end of the cord 66 (FIG. 1) can be knotted or decorated.

When a product is wrapped, tension in the cord 16 helps to keep the package secure. The illustrated cord is approximately 15 inches long and is made of 3/16 inch diameter elastic cord that carries a pattern of closely-spaced 1/16 inch diameter beads 68 that can be seen in FIG. 7. Other alternatives are possible. For example, the cord seen in FIG. 8 is made of a twisted strand of approximately ⅜ inch wide silk 70 with sewn edges 72. In its twisted form, the cord has a diameter of approximately ¼ inch. Both of these cords stretch approximately 2 inches under one-half pound of weight, suggesting a spring constant of approximately ¼ pounds per inch. Although, in these examples, the entire length of the cord is stretchable, alternatives might be provided in which only a portion of the length of the cord is stretchable. In either event, the stretchable section of the cord can provide tension that helps to hold the wrapped product securely. The elasticity of the illustrated cords provides a fair amount of flexibility in the package, while providing a snug fit. Other materials having a spring constant of between ⅛ and 1 pounds per inch might also be used for the stretchable section of the cord and provide good results.

The gripping part of the cord 16 keeps the cord held to the cord holder 14 despite the tension provided by the stretchable section of the cord. The gripping part of the cord has a coefficient of friction with respect to the gripping surface between the flanges 42 of the cord holder 14 and the outer side 22 of the main body 12 of the cover that enables a half winding of the cord to resist one pound of tension in the cord. For example, the beads 68 on the cord seen in FIG. 7 form a gripping part 70 of the cord. As seen in FIG. 3, when the cover 10 is in use the gripping part of the cord is wrapped between the opposed flanges 46, 48 of the cord holder and the outer side of the main body of the cover. It is expected that, under normal circumstances, a user will exert ½ pound to one pound of force when pulling the cord around the cord holder. As suggested above, that force pulls the gripping part of the cord into the gripping surface. Once the cord is pulled into position, the resilience of the illustrated gripping surface provides a responsive normal force on the gripping part of the cord. This normal force, combined with the static coefficient of friction between the two materials, provides friction that can withstand one pound of tension in the part of the cord that is wrapped around the product. Consequently, the invention provides an arrangement in which a half winding of the cord will provide a connection that will withstand one pound of tension in the cord. It is expected that users will commonly wrap the cord a full 360 degrees around the cord holder, providing even more security.

The entire length of the cords seen in FIGS. 7 and 8 can serve as the gripping part of the cord. To achieve the benefits of the invention, however, it is only necessary that the gripping part extend at a distance away from the attached end of the cord.

The Connector

In the product example seen in FIG. 6, the cord 16 and the cord holder 14 are both held in place by a unitary connector 18. This arrangement may facilitate manufacture of the cover 10.

Other Arrangements

Some consumers might be interested in having multiple, coordinating covers for their personal items. The invention can be used to provide a suitable line of covers. The various alternative covers seen in FIGS. 9 and 10 can be made to coordinate with the hairbrush cover seen in FIG. 1 in a number of ways. For example, the same type of material (in the same or in coordinating colors or patterns) can be used for the inner or the outer side of the cover for each product. Alternatively, the same type of trim can be used on each product, or a distinctive style or arrangement of cord or cord holder (such as the distinctive flower-shaped button seen in the figures) can be used on each product.

The cover 10 seen in FIG. 9 is intended for use with a curling iron or flat iron. The main body 12 of this cover is rectangular in shape and measures approximately 14 inches by 13 inches. In this arrangement, two sets of cords and cord holders are used. One cord and cord holder set 82 are spaced toward one lateral edge 84 of the main body, and a second cord and cord holder set 86 are spaced toward an opposite lateral edge 88 of the main body. This arrangement provides more security for a cover of this size than a single cord and cord holder would. Again, other sizes could be used. For example, the main body of the cover might be between 8 and 16 inches in length and between 10 and 16 inches in width and still be useful for wrapping a curling iron. The inner side 20 of the cover could be made of heat-resistant material.

The cover 10 seen in FIG. 10 is intended for use with a hair drier. In this example, the main body 12 of the cover is square in shape and measures approximately 16 inches in length and width. The cord 16 and cord holder 14 are attached at opposite corners of the main body. In this illustration, the cord holder is attached to the top corner and the cord is attached to the bottom corner. These positions could be reversed. A pocket 90 on the inner side of the main body is connected to the main body near two sides 92 of the main body that are opposite the top corner. A secondary connector 94 and a secondary cord 95 are connected at secondary corners 96 between the corners where the cord and cord holder are attached. To use the product, a hair drier can first be placed within the pocket. The two secondary corners of the main body can then be folded over and connected using the secondary connector and secondary cord. Finally, the cover can be wrapped along the remaining length, and secured using the primary cord and cord holder. In this example, the holder might be between 12 and 20 inches in length and width and still be useful for wrapping a hair drier.

This description of various embodiments of the invention has been provided for illustrative purposes. Revisions or modifications may be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the invention. The full scope of the invention is set forth in the following claims.