Title:
Drapery hardware
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Drapery hardware for mounting a curtain, including a support means and curtain coupling means extending therefrom to be coupled with, alternately, the peaks and troughs of a pleat in the curtain. The invention can be performed by either a single rail, track or pole with a specialised coupler or a dual track system.



Inventors:
Seddon, Ivor Henry (London, GB)
Application Number:
12/287295
Publication Date:
02/12/2009
Filing Date:
10/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
160/330, 160/405
International Classes:
A47H1/04; A47H1/00; A47H7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, BLAIR M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FEIGIN & FRIDMAN, LLC (CLIFTON, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. Drapery hardware for mounting a pleated curtain, including a support means and curtain coupling means extending therefrom adapted to couple to both the peaks and the troughs of pleats in the curtain.

2. The drapery hardware of claim 1, wherein the coupling means couples to the curtain alternately between peaks and troughs.

3. The drapery hardware of claim 1, wherein the support means is a first and second curtain support each adapted to receive the curtain coupling means.

4. The drapery hardware of claim 1, wherein the support means is a rail, track or pole or combination thereof.

5. The drapery hardware of claim 3, wherein the first and second curtain supports are fixed in spaced-apart relation.

6. The drapery hardware of claim 3, wherein the first and second curtain supports are spaced apart by an adjustable means to increase or decrease the gap between them.

7. The drapery hardware of claim 1, wherein the support means is a single rail, track or pole adapted to receive a plurality of curtain coupling means, each extending to couple to the peaks and the troughs of pleats in the curtain.

8. The drapery hardware of claim 1, further comprising a pleat spacing means.

9. The drapery hardware of claim 8, wherein the pleat spacing means is a scissor type structure associated with the coupling means.

10. A drapery hardware according to claim 1, further including a curtain coupled to the coupling means at both peaks and troughs of pleats in the curtain.

11. A curtain coupling means including a coupler to couple with a curtain support and a strut extending outwardly from its hanging axis, with a connector at a distal end of the strut for coupling with a curtain.

12. The curtain coupling means of claim 11, wherein the coupler is a slider or grommet to couple with a rail, track or pole.

13. The curtain coupling means of claim 11, wherein the distal end of the strut has a return or curve back section to enable it to connect with the back of a curtain.

14. A method of installing a curtain, comprising: installing a first curtain support and a second curtain support parallel with the first; and installing a curtain on the supports via coupling means alternately between the first and second supports.

15. A method of installing a curtain according to the method of claim 14, wherein the first curtain support is already in place.

Description:

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF INTERNATIONAL PATENT APPLICATION PCT/GB2007/001310, FILED APR. 5, 2007, WHICH CLAIMS PRIORITY OF UK PATENT APPLICATION NO. 0607213.6 FILED APR. 10, 2006 AND UK PATENT APPLICATION NO. 0615373.8 FILED AUG. 2,2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to drapery hardware, particularly railings upon which curtains or drapes hang.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The two most common types of curtain arrangement over a window in a domestic situation utilise either a rail with a number of sliders each attached to an edge of the curtain or a pole threaded through a series of grommets. Curtains are usually then arranged to have a plurality of pleats when hanging from the rail or pole.

Maintaining consistent pleats when drawing a curtain across the window is sometimes a problem. It is desirable to have an aesthetically pleasing appearance, i.e. a regular spacing of pleats.

Proposed solutions to the problem of irregular pleating include the use of a tape sewn across the back of a curtain in a pleated state, or using plastic tabs to extend from one eyelet to another, providing a spacing/limiting function.

Both of these solutions involve an additional operation to be performed during manufacture of the curtain and are a permanent part of the curtain. Furthermore, these solutions are not particularly suited for use with existing curtains in a home.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first broad aspect of the invention there is provided drapery hardware for mounting a curtain, including a support means and curtain coupling means extending therefrom to be coupled with, alternately, the peaks and troughs of a pleat in the curtain.

This broad intention of the invention, to achieve the result of consistent pleats, can be realised in several different ways. The first involves arranging two supports (e.g. rails, tracks, poles or combinations thereof in parallel) with sliding curtain couplers in each, and alternately connecting a curtain to a coupler from each support at the peaks and troughs of a pleat.

In other words, in a second broad aspect of the present invention there is provided drapery hardware consisting of a first and second curtain support (e.g. rail, track or pole) adapted to receive a curtain coupling means such that the curtain is coupled alternately to both the first and second curtain support.

Preferably the first and second curtain supports are fixed together in spaced relation. However, in one form the first and second curtain supports may be spaced apart by an adjustable means to increase or decrease the gap between them.

Preferably the first and second support may be two parallel curtain rails or a curtain rail and a curtain pole.

The second broad aspect also translates to a method of installing a curtain, including:

    • installing a first curtain support and a second curtain support parallel with the first;
    • installing a curtain on the supports via coupling means alternately between the first and second supports.

It will be clear that this method can be modified to retrofit an existing curtain support by incorporating a second support in parallel and then hanging a curtain alternately between both.

A second way of achieving the broad intention of consistent pleats involves providing a single support rail with specialised couplers that extend out in alternate directions to connect to a curtain at peaks and troughs of the pleat.

Accordingly in a third broad aspect of the present invention there is provided drapery hardware consisting of a main support (e.g. rail, track or pole) adapted to receive a plurality of curtain coupling means, wherein a curtain coupling means extends from the support in an alternate direction from an adjacent curtain coupling means.

The main support need only be of a conventional design, however, the curtain coupling means will include an extended strut protruding outwardly from its hanging axis (and, in use, generally perpendicularly from the longitudinal axis of the main support), with a connector means at its distal end for coupling with a curtain.

Accordingly, adjacent curtain coupling means are alternatively arranged to extend in the opposite outward (preferably perpendicular) direction from each other relative to the support.

Preferably each curtain coupling means is slidably mounted on/in the main support. The connector means for attaching to a curtain may be a clip, ringlet or other suitable mechanism.

In one form the curtain coupling means may be linked together by a spacing element. The spacing element may be flexible or rigid.

The resultant curtain appearance according to the invention is a pleated construction that, in plan view, zigzags between the curtain coupling means. The curtain will then have more consistent pleats in the drawn position and be packed more compactly and neatly in the un-drawn position, letting more light into a room.

A curtain installed according to the invention also moves more freely (i.e. is easier to draw) than a conventionally installed curtain of the same weight, because it effectively has twice as many connection points to the curtain support. This extra support corresponds to less force required to move the curtain.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an end elevation view of drapery hardware according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of drawn and un-drawn curtains from FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front and back elevation view respectively according to the first embodiment;

FIGS. 4 to 6 are end elevation views of drapery hardware according to further embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a spacing system for use with the invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the spacing system from FIG. 7 installed in a rail;

FIG. 9 is a general view of an embodiment according to the third aspect of the invention;

FIG. 10 is an exploded view of components of a curtain coupler according to the third aspect;

FIG. 11 is an end elevation view of the coupler from FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a general view of a further embodiment according to the third aspect of the invention;

FIG. 13 is an exploded view of components of a curtain coupler according to the third aspect;

FIG. 14 is an end elevation view of the coupler from FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a general view of a further embodiment according to the third aspect of the invention;

FIG. 16 is an exploded view of components of a curtain coupler according to the third aspect;

FIG. 17 is an end elevation view of the coupler from FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a general view of a further embodiment according to the third aspect of the invention;

FIG. 19 is an exploded view of components of two curtain couplers according to the third aspect;

FIG. 20 is an end elevation view of the couplers from FIG. 19;

FIGS. 21 to 24 illustrate alternative slider designs for use with the invention;

FIG. 25 illustrates alternative back slider designs;

FIG. 26 illustrates a back slider in place similar to FIG. 8;

FIG. 27 illustrates an improved slider design for use in the embodiment of FIGS. 9 to 20;

FIG. 28 illustrates a pleat spacing means for use with the invention; and

FIG. 29 illustrates a rail spacing means for use with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The basic principle of the invention is best shown by FIG. 2. A pair of curtain supports, pole 11 and rail 12, are arranged in parallel against a wall (usually above a window in a building). A curtain 13 is arranged to be coupled alternatively between the pole 11 (via rings 21) and rail 12 (via gliders 15) to provide a zigzag plan view. Coupling to supports 11 and 12 controls both the front and rear side of the pleats in curtain 13.

Throughout the description, the curtain arrangement is described as either a “zigzag” shape or with “peaks and troughs”. These are interchangeable and simply refer to the pleated nature desirable in curtains.

In FIG. 1 the curtain coupler is a slider 15 that includes a choice of holes 15a and 15b for coupling (via a conventional hook element, not shown) to the curtain. These holes correspond to the thickness of pole 11. In a standard 16-19 mm pole the upper hole 15a would be used. In a standard 28 mm pole, the lower hole 15b would be used. These ensure that the curtain pleats are evenly connected at the same height between the first and second supports.

Slider 15 also includes a bead control cord lock 15c at its distal end. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 this receives a bead cord 26 that performs a spacing function for the pleat. Spacing in this way further improves the consistency of pleat desired by the invention.

FIGS. 4 to 6 illustrate alternative embodiments of the double rail system for use in hanging a curtain according to the invention. In FIG. 4 slider 15 includes a clip 15d at its distal end for connection to a curtain. Jutting from a rear side of slider 15 is a cord lock 15c so that, when a bead cord is installed (like FIGS. 2 and 3) it will be neatly hidden from view behind the curtain.

A similar arrangement of slider is seen in FIGS. 5 and 6.

With reference to FIG. 6 in particular, further improvements to this embodiment include mounting it directly to a ceiling (rather than attached by bracket 19 to wall W), and installing a lighting effect.

The slim profile of the embodiment of FIG. 6, when installed with a curtain, makes the curtain appear to be almost “floating” as only the thin edge 1 la is visible from most positions in a room.

FIG. 7 illustrates a “twist & lock” spacing element that can be installed with a rail 12 (FIG. 8) in a sideways (compared to downward of the previous Figures) facing position on a wall. The spacing element 30 can be introduced to a slot 14 in rail 12 and then twisted to prevent it from being withdrawn out of the slot 14.

Bead cord 26 then maintains element 30 at regular spacing as shown in FIG. 8.

FIGS. 9 to 11 illustrate an embodiment of the invention that uses only a single rail, in contrast to the dual parallel rails described hereinbefore.

Rail 31 includes a slot 32 to receive a curtain coupling element 33 in the usual way. The functionality of the invention is found in the coupler element 33 itself. As best shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, coupler 33 is a slider design with a head 34 adapted to engage and be maintained within slot 32, a downwardly extending body 35 and a perpendicularly extending strut 36. At a distal end of strut 36 is a connector means 37, which may be a clip or simply a hole to receive a hook or other curtain connector known in the art.

It will appreciated that strut 36 may not be exactly perpendicular, so long as it generally extends outwardly from the hanging axis.

A bead lock 38 is found at the body end of strut 36 to receive a bead cord 26 thereby performing a spacing function.

When installed for use the peaks P and troughs T of a curtain 13 are alternately connected by a coupler 33 to the rail 31. This maintains curtain 13 in a pleated state with regular height (defined by the length of strut 36) and width (by virtue of bead cord 26).

Rail 31 can be of conventional design or with new features or shapes.

FIGS. 12 to 14 illustrate a similar embodiment of rail/coupler to FIGS. 9 to 11 except that the spacing means is internal to the rail 31 (and hidden out of view).

In this embodiment a rigid spacing element 39 slides within a clip 40 on top of head 34 of coupler 33. A stop 41 at a distal end of element 39 catches on the clip 40 of an adjacent coupler 33 to prevent further movement. In this way, when the curtains are “open” (tightly bunched pleats) the spacing elements 39 are stacked in a staggered manner but expand to a fully extended spacing as illustrated in FIG. 12 when the curtain 13 is drawn closed.

The construction of such a spacer system is well known in the art of vertical blinds. It has the advantage over a bead cord of being hidden within rail 31, although it would also be possible to hide a bead cord arrangement within rail 31 (by mounting a bead lock on head 34) to achieve a similar result.

FIGS. 15 to 17 illustrate an alternative embodiment wherein the rail 31 has a triangular cross section shape. Otherwise the sliding movement of couplers 33 within slot 32 is the same as previously described.

As shown in FIG. 15 a bead cord 26 spans alternate couplers 33 which have a bead lock 38 at a distal end of the strut 36. This ensures the bead cord is kept toward the rear of the curtain only and more hidden from view compared to FIG. 9.

Coupler 33 can be dimensioned to fit within existing rails or modified to operate with poles. For example, head 34 can be replaced by a ring to be threaded onto a curtain pole.

FIGS. 18 to 20 show a further embodiment featuring a triangular rail 31 and sliding spacer elements 39 as in FIG. 12. It otherwise operated in the same way.

FIGS. 21 to 24 show alternative forms of slider 15. Generally each (rear) slider includes a “G-shaped” bead lock 15d that allows a bead cord 26 to be installed from the side, as opposed to threaded through a key hole 15c as illustrated in earlier embodiments (e.g. FIG. 1). This allows for additional versatility in the installation process. Sliders 15 still include a hole 15a for receiving a curtain hook 42.

The various rail types are illustrated in FIGS. 21 to 24, including the “C and J” style side mounted tracks in FIG. 24, which is also detailed in FIG. 26. FIG. 26 is equivalent to FIG. 8 except that it includes a back slider 43 (performing function of spacing element 30 in FIG. 8) with a G-shape bead lock 15d.

Referring to FIG. 25a, slider 43 is arranged to slide freely on track 12 and the slider in FIG. 25b is arranged to clip into the back of the track 12.

FIG. 27 illustrates a slider for use with the “single rail” embodiment shown by FIGS. 9 to 20. It was found that using a single configuration of slider (e.g. as in FIG. 10) was unsatisfactory because the connector means 37 would be visible from the front side of the curtain 13 when installed either side of a pleat. To address this FIG. 27 shows a swan neck glider that extends in a (returning) curve to a position behind the curtain when installed. As such, the connector means 37 and curtain hook (42) are all attached to one side of the curtain only. This attachment side is not visible from within the room where the curtain is installed.

In use, alternate sliders (e.g. as in FIG. 10 and FIG. 27 respectively) cooperate to improve the appearance of the installed curtain.

It may be possible to utilise a conventional slider alternately with a specialised slider (FIG. 10 or 27) of the invention to achieve the pleated effect of the invention. In this way only every second slider extends laterally from the support means (rail 31). However, this arrangement may result in unbalanced stresses on the coupling means.

FIG. 28 illustrates a general view of a pleat spacing mechanism 44. This is a scissor type collapsible structure that controls the curtain pleats to be of identical size as a curtain is drawn. The scissor type mechanism is preferably coupled to a glider 33 which is in turn coupled to the curtain 13.

FIG. 29 shows one example of an arrangement to adjust the spacing between support rails 11, 12. This requires bridging pieces 25 pivoted at each end. Such an arrangement works best when the rails are of the same type (as opposed to a pole and rail as in FIG. 2), but any combination is possible.

All components are made from available materials and processes. Rails and poles are usually of a metal (or for poles—wood) construction. Sliders are injection moulded for economy from plastics.

The present invention provides an elegant solution to the problem of untidy, inconsistent pleats in curtains mounted on rails, tracks, poles or anything similar.

It should be noted that a significant unforeseen advantage of the invention is that curtains draw more easily when they have double the hanging connection points of conventional designs. As such, the disadvantage of heavy fabric curtains (being “heavy” and resistant to being drawn) is mitigated.

A method of installing or retrofitting curtains to achieve the result of the invention will be readily apparent to a skilled man when consulting the foregoing description. Existing curtains may need to be fitted with additional fixing points for a slider (coupler) but otherwise can be retrofitted quite easily.