Title:
Self-Locking Hook
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-locking hook for supporting a load on a support surface is disclosed. The hook has a relatively rigid C-shaped body which includes a surface defining an opening for accommodating a support component and a connector having a load bearing or attachment point. The surface of the opening includes a first contact area and a second contact area. The load bearing or attachment point is attached to the body relative to the opening such that application of a load at the load bearing point while the first contact area is contacting a component rotates the body about the first contact area until the second contact area abuts the component. This self-locking feature allows the hook to be used effectively on component surfaces which are at almost any angle or slope relative to horizontal.



Inventors:
Naden, Mark (New York, NY, US)
Perry, Marco (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Brunner, Todd Ethan (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Phipps, Troy (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/083386
Publication Date:
07/02/2009
Filing Date:
08/24/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/134
International Classes:
A47G29/087; A47F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Seyfarth Shaw LLP (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A shower assembly for attaching to a shower head pipe, the assembly comprising: a hook comprising: a body comprising a first surface defining a first span of an opening and a second surface defining a second span of the opening opposite the first span; and a connector integral to the body and comprising an attachment point for bearing a hanging load; and a shower unit attached to the attachment point of the hook such that a force created by the weight of the shower unit causes each of the first surface and the second surface to bind against a shower head pipe positioned within the opening.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the shower unit comprises at least one shelf and is removably retained within the connector.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the shower unit comprises a frame connected to the connector.

4. The assembly of claim 3, wherein the frame is permanently attached to the connector.

5. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the first and second surfaces of the opening comprise a C-shaped portion for removably retaining the shower unit.

6. The hook of claim 5, wherein the first surface comprises material having a coefficient of friction, with respect to the material of a shower head pipe, sufficient to resist a force substantially perpendicular to a plane of the opening.

7. The hook of claim 5, wherein the second surface comprises material having a coefficient of friction, with respect to the material of a shower head pipe, sufficient to resist a force substantially perpendicular to a plane of the opening.

8. A self-locking hook for attachment to a support component, the hook comprising: a body defining an opening therein for fitting around a support component, wherein a first surface of the body defining a first span of the opening is directly opposite a second surface of the body defining a second span of the opening; and a connector integral to the body and comprising an attachment point for bearing a hanging load, wherein the connector and the opening are oriented on the body such that application of a force at the attachment point of the connector causes the body to bind a component positioned within the opening between the first surface and the second surface.

9. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein at least a portion of the opening is lined with a resilient material.

10. The self-locking hook of claim 9, wherein the material has a coefficient of friction, with respect to the material of a shower head pipe, sufficient to resist a force substantially perpendicular to a plane of the opening.

11. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein at least a portion of the first surface of the body comprises a resilient material.

12. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein the second surface comprises a resilient material.

13. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein the surface defining the opening is non-planar.

14. The self-locking hook of claim 13, wherein the attachment point, the first surface, and the second surface are non-planar.

15. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein the attachment point is offset from a straight line passing through the first and second surfaces.

16. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein the attachment point of the connector is pivotable to allow the hanging load to create a force parallel to gravity when the hook is engaged with a support component.

17. The self-locking hook of claim 8, wherein the body is C-shaped.

18. The self-locking hook of claim 8, further comprising at least one shelf unit connected to the connector at the attachment point.

19. The self-locking hook of claim 18, wherein the support comprises a C-shaped portion for removably retaining the at least one shelf unit.

20. A self-locking hook comprising: a rigid body having a surface defining an opening for accommodating a support component, the surface comprising a first contact area and a second contact area; and a connector comprising a load bearing point and attached to the body at a position relative to the position of the opening on the body such that application of a load at the load bearing point while the first contact area is contacting a support components rotates the body about the first contact area until the second contact area abuts the component thereby locking the hook to the support component.

21. The hook of claim 20, wherein the first contact area is directly opposite the second contact area.

22. The hook of claim 20, wherein the surface defining the opening is substantially C-shaped.

23. The hook of claim 20, wherein the surface defining the opening comprises material having a coefficient of friction, with respect to the material of a shower head pipe, sufficient to resist a force substantially perpendicular to a plane of the opening.

24. The hook of claim 20, wherein the first contact area comprises material having a coefficient of friction with respect to the material of a shower head pipe sufficient to resist a force substantially perpendicular to a plane of the opening.

25. The hook of claim 20, wherein the second contact area comprises material having a coefficient of friction with respect to the material of a shower head pipe, sufficient to resist a force substantially perpendicular to a plane of the opening.

26. The hook of claim 20, further comprising a component removably attached to the support for applying a load at the load bearing point.

27. The hook of claim 20, wherein the load bearing point of the connector is pivotable to allow the hanging load to create a force parallel to gravity when the hook is engaged with the component.

28. The hook of claim 20, wherein the first and second contact areas are capable of locking about a substantially vertical support component.

29. The hook of claim 20, wherein the first and second contact areas are capable of locking about a support component sloped at an angle within the range of from about 0 to about 90°.

30. The hook of claim 20, wherein the first and second contact areas are capable of locking about a support component sloped at an angle within the range of from about 40 to about 90°.

31. The hook of claim 26, wherein the component is a shower shelf unit.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present device relates to hooks. Particularly, the present device relates to hooks for supporting a hanging load from a horizontal member.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Hooks for supporting a hanging load from a substantially horizontal surface have been known and used for a very long time. The J-hook is a common design, often having an eyelet in one end for securing a line tied to some object to be supported. Unfortunately, the J-hook could be easily unseated from an accidental impact or quick loss of tension. C-shaped and S-shaped hooks provide slightly better security from such detachment, and O-rings, D-rings and carbiners even more protection by surrounding the horizontal surface completely when connected.

However, each of these designs fails to provide two important features needed for supporting certain loads. First, they are ineffective on non-horizontal surfaces. Even the slightest angle can create problems for these connection devices when a load is applied. Typically, the connectors will slide along the surface until they either are physically impeded, reach a level (i.e., horizontal) surface, or reach the lowest point of the surface.

Second, the devices are ineffective at resisting a force having a horizontal component. That is, even when secured to a perfectly horizontal surface, they will slide along that surface if subjected to a horizontal force. Much like the first problem, these devices will continue to traverse the surface unless and until they are physically impeded or the force is sufficiently abated.

The present invention overcomes these and many other disadvantages of previous devices. Disclosed is a self-locking hook which is decorative, yet functional; versatile as a support for any number of commercial, industrial, and household purposes; and is easy and relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

There is disclosed herein an improved hook for suspending a load from a component which avoids the disadvantages of prior devices while affording additional structural and operating advantages.

In a first embodiment the self-locking hook comprises a rigid body having a surface defining an opening for accommodating a support component, the surface comprising a first contact area and a second contact area, and a connector comprising a load bearing point. The load bearing or attachment point is attached to the body relative to the opening such that application of a load at the load bearing point while the first contact area is contacting a support component rotates the body about the first contact area until the second contact area abuts the component.

In a particular embodiment, the hook is provided in a shower assembly for attaching to a shower head pipe. A shower unit, such as for holding soaps, shampoos, and the like, may be attached to the attachment point of the hook such that it causes the body of the hook to bind the shower head pipe between the first surface and the second surface of the body.

These and other aspects of the invention may be understood more readily from the following description and the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected, there are illustrated in the accompanying drawings embodiments thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, the subject matter sought to be protected, its construction and operation, and many of its advantages should be readily understood and appreciated.

FIG. 1 is a cross-section of one embodiment of the hook of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-section of another embodiment of the hook of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of the embodiment of FIG. 1 attached to a horizontal support component;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present hook attached to a shower head pipe;

FIG. 5 is a close-up of a perspective view similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a cross-section of the embodiment of FIG. 1 attached to a shower head pipe;

FIG. 8 is a cross-section of another embodiment of the hook of the present invention secured to a sloped support component; and

FIG. 9 is a cross-section of an embodiment of the hook of the present invention secured to a vertical support component.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail a preferred embodiment of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to embodiments illustrated.

Referring to FIGS. 1-9, there is illustrated embodiments of a self-locking hook, generally designated by the numeral 10. The hook 10 has a body 12 defining an opening 14 therein for fitting around a support component 30. The opening 14 is created by a first surface 16 of the body defining a first span of the opening and a second surface 18 of the body, directly opposite the first surface 16, defining a second span of the opening. A connector 20 is preferably integral to the body 12 and comprises an attachment point 22 for pivotably connecting a hanging load.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the connector 20 is positioned on the body 12 relative to the opening 14 such that application of a force (F) at the attachment point 22 causes the body 12 of hook 10 to bind the component 30 between the first surface 16 and the second surface 18—the hanging load creates a force acting from the attachment point 22 in a direction within the range of from about 0 to about 90 degrees relative to the surface of the component 30, with 90 degrees being perpendicular when the component is horizontal as illustrated in FIGS. 1-3. That is, the force will always be approximately parallel to the force of gravity in order to create the proper locking effect between the first and second surfaces 16, 18 against the support component.

In a preferred embodiments as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, surfaces 16, 18 are rounded and comprised of a material different from that of the body 12. Preferably, the material used on surfaces 16, 18 is both resilient and of a high coefficient of friction with respect to the surface material of the component 30, such as rubber, a polymer, or the like. The greater the slope of the component 30, the greater the preferred coefficient of friction of the material on surfaces 16, 18. Ultimately, the friction between the surfaces 16, 18 against the surface of component 30 must exceed the force of connected or hanging load. The preferred material may cover the entire body surface or any smaller portion thereof, including covering just the contact area of each surface. The high coefficient of friction material provides a better grip of the component surface to prevent slippage as, e.g., the component 30 is not perfectly horizontal (i.e., sloped) or the load is not perpendicular to the surface of the component 30. FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate two examples where the component 30 is not horizontal.

The opening 14 is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 to be defined by a C-shaped inner surface of the body 12. This type of opening 14 allows the hook 10 to be readily attached to and detached from any suitable component, such as a shower head pipe. The surface of the opening 14 should surround the component 30 sufficiently to prevent any accidental detachment if impacted. In certain embodiments (not shown) it may be desirable to provide an opening which is closed—i.e., like an O-ring—or closable—i.e., open with a movable latching mechanism. While the closable design would function much like the C-shaped design, the closed configuration would require slipping the hook over an end of the component for attachment. Those skilled in the art would certainly understand from the foregoing description, and without more, how to sufficiently fashion either type of opening.

Similarly, returning to FIG. 1, the connector 20 has a defined opening which functions as the attachment point 22 for a hanging load. The attachment point 22 is open at one end to allow the load to be readily attached to and detached from the connector 20. However, the attachment point 22 may be closed (see FIGS. 2, 6 and 7) with a permanently affixed frame or the like. The frame 42, as shown in FIGS. 4-6, could allow for the addition of different fixtures, such as, e.g., shelves, hooks, or holders of all kinds.

The greater the amount of weight (i.e., load) affixed to the attachment point 22, the greater the force (F) acting to rotate the hook 10 about the first surface 16 (i.e., torque) until the second surface 18 travels through a small angle until contacting the underside of component 30. By offsetting the attachment point 22 from the contact area of the first surface 16—i.e., placing it off-center—the downward pull of force (F) seeks to center below the point of rotation, thereby forcing the contact area of the second surface 18 into abutting engagement with the component 30. This rotating action binds the component 30 between the first surface 16 and the second surface 18 of the hook 10.

In the embodiments of at least FIGS. 1-3, the opening 14 is defined by a non-planar surface. By skewing or curving the surface slightly in a direction away from the attachment point 22 of the connector 20, the second surface 18 abuts the component 30 after a lesser angle of travel than if the surface were planar. This feature helps create a more effective binding of the component 30.

In a preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 4-7, the hook 10 is used to support a shower unit 40 having a wire frame 42 and at least one shelf 44, preferably two or three shelves, for holding shower accessories such as soap, shampoo, sponge, razor, and the like. The frame 42 may attach directly and permanently or removably to the attachment point 22 of connector 20. The shelves 44 may be movable on and/or detachable from the frame 42. The hook 10 may be attached via opening 14 about the shower head pipe, as shown in FIG. 7. Where the opening is closed as previously discussed, the shower head would require removal in order to slide the hook 10 onto the pipe end and up to the horizontal portion of the pipe.

In use, the weight of the shower unit 40 causes the rotation of the hook 10 about the first surface 16, thereby binding the shower head pipe between the first surface 16 and second surface 18 of the body 12. Any added weight from the storage of previously mentioned shower items on the unit shelves 44 increases the force (F) and tightens the bind on the shower pipe.

Because of its ability to bind to a sloped support component, the disclosed hook 10 may also be used to support flower pots, animal feeders, displays, pictures, signs, equipment, clothing, shelving, other supports, and any number of other items far too numerous to mention in this application for patent. Further, the size of the disclosed hook 10 can be determined by its intended use, including expected maximum load and size of the support component to which it is to be secured.

The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only and not as a limitation. While particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the broader aspects of applicants' contribution. The actual scope of the protection sought is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the prior art.