Title:
SPLIT-TOP, INTEGRAL BED COVERING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A split-top, bed covering for two users comprising a single, integral sheet of textile with a left upper portion with medial wing, a right upper portion with medial wing, and a foot portion is described. All portions, including wings, are formed seamlessly during manufacturing of the textile. The medial wings of upper left and right portions overlap. The textile may be, inter alia, of woven, non-woven, crocheted, knitted, knotted, tufted, or composite construction.



Inventors:
Gentile, Christopher (Lahaina, HI, US)
Application Number:
12/030215
Publication Date:
08/13/2009
Filing Date:
02/13/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GEORGE E. DARBY (MILILANI, HI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A bed covering for more than one user, said bed covering capable of providing different warmth characteristics to such users, wherein said bed covering comprises at least left and right upper portions and a foot portion made from a single, integral sheet of textile, and wherein the upper portions each have inner, medial wings that are free of the foot portion.

2. A bed covering as recited in claim 1, wherein said medial wings are capable of being interchangeably positioned one on top of the other.

3. A bed covering as recited in claim 1, wherein said medial wings have a predetermined width which enables sufficient coverage of each of such users.

4. A bed covering as recited in claim 1 manufactured of non-woven textile.

5. A bed covering as recited in claim 1 manufactured using a method selected from the group consisting of woven, crocheted, knitted, knotted, tufted, and composite construction.

6. A bed covering as recited in claim 1 manufactured using fiber selected from the group consisting of cashmere, chenille, flannel, cotton, silk, fleece, mink, wool, and synthetic.

7. A bed covering as recited in claim 1, wherein the medial wings can be fastened together using fasteners affixed to the medial wings.

8. A bed covering as recited in claim 7, wherein the fasteners are selected from the group consisting of hook and loop, hook and look with displaceable flaps, buttons and corresponding button holes, snaps, knotted rope and loops, and embedded magnetic strips.

9. A bed covering as recited in claim 1, further comprising more than one sheet of textile, wherein each sheet comprises the same number of left and right upper portions and a foot portion made from a single, integral sheet of textile, wherein the upper portions of each sheet have inner, medial wings that are free of the foot portion, and wherein the more than one sheets are bonded together in the foot portion of each sheet.

10. A bed covering as recited in claim 1, wherein the foot portion is a fitted foot.

11. A bed covering for more than one user, said bed covering capable of providing different warmth characteristics to such users, wherein said bed covering comprises at least left and right upper portions and a foot portion made from a single, integral sheet of non-woven textile, and wherein the upper portions each have inner, medial wings that are free of the foot portion.

12. A bed covering as recited in claim 11, wherein said medial wings are capable of being interchangeably positioned one on top of the other.

13. A bed covering as recited in claim 11, wherein said medial wings have a predetermined width which enables sufficient coverage of each of such users.

14. A bed covering as recited in claim 11 manufactured with a mesh backing or core.

15. A bed covering as recited in claim 11 manufactured using a non-woven method selected from the group consisting of carded, spunlaid, and weblaid.

16. A bed covering as recited in claim 11 manufactured using fiber selected from the group consisting of cashmere, chenille, flannel, cotton, silk, fleece, mink, wool, and synthetic.

17. A bed covering as recited in claim 11, wherein the medial wings can be fastened together using fasteners affixed to the medial wings.

18. A bed covering as recited in claim 17, wherein the fasteners are selected from the group consisting of hook and loop, hook and look with displaceable flaps, buttons and corresponding button holes, snaps, knotted rope and loops, and embedded magnetic strips.

19. A bed covering as recited in claim 11, further comprising more than one sheet of textile, wherein each sheet comprises the same number of left and right upper portions and a foot portion made from a single, integral sheet of textile, wherein the upper portions of each sheet have inner, medial wings that are free of the foot portion, and wherein the more than one sheets are bonded together in the foot portion of each sheet.

20. A bed covering as recited in claim 11, wherein the foot portion is a fitted foot.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The invention is in the field of bed covering for two or more users that permits a user to adjust coverage and, if two or more layers are used, thickness of his or her bed covering without discomforting another user of the bed covering.

2. Related Art

When one person sleeping in a bed under common bed covering with a second person rolls away from the second person, the first person often pulls the bed covering off the second person, thereby uncovering and discomforting the second person. When two persons sleep on their sides in a bed under common bed covering, there is often a gap between the persons that allows drafts to enter the space between the persons, thereby discomforting both persons, especially in cold ambient air. Moreover, one person can not partially or completely remove one or more layers of that person's portion of common bed covering without discomforting the second. The general technical problems to be solved are to prevent the pulling off of bed covering in the first case, prevent the entry of drafts in the second case, and to give each person independent control of the coverage and thickness of bed covering in the third case.

The existing art of split-top bed covering involves two or more separate panels attached together to form a whole covering. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 6,311,347, to Limardi, has left and right upper panels of a split bed covering sewn to a foot panel using a transverse seam. The inner longitudinal, or medial, edges of the upper panels overlap each other. The present invention avoid the need for a transverse seam and separate upper left, upper right, and foot panels.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,698,043, to Fabian, has left and right panels of a split bed covering sewn directly to each other at the bottom of the panels to form a short, central, longitudinal seam. The description in Fabian requires the upper end of the longitudinal seam (joined portion) of the panels to be positioned in a bed at the top edge of the foot of the mattress so that a user can completely remove a left or right, first or second, upper panel. Fabian has no “foot panel”, per se. The left and right upper panels of Fabian's invention must be sewn together, and the top covering comprises two sheets in each left and right panel of the bed covering. The present invention avoids the need for a longitudinal seam, separate left and right panels, and two sheets in each left and right panel of the bed covering. Fabian's invention also lacks a means of fastening the left and right panels in the upper portion of the bed covering.

Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 7,200,883 to Haggerty, U.S. Pat. No. 6,862,760 to Bradley, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,643,871 to Robke use multi-panel, sewn, construction, rather than an integral, non-woven textile.

Unlike the bed coverings disclosed in the patents cited above, the instant invention can be manufactured as a single sheet, without any sewn seams, thereby reducing the structural elements that comprise the article of manufacture and greatly reducing the cost of manufacture. Moreover, the instant invention can be manufactured for use by three concurrent users, e.g., parents and a child disposed between them.

Split-top bed covering has not been widely adopted, in part because of the additional cost of production of split-top bed covering compared with traditional, integrally manufactured bed covering makes split-top bed covering significantly more expensive. The general technical problem to be solved is to provide a split-top bed covering that is less expensive to manufacture, specifically one that takes advantage of non-woven textile technology and does not require sewing together of separate, prefabricated panels. The present invention solves both the general and the specific technical problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The split-top, integral bed covering invention comprises left and right upper portions and a foot portion made from a single, integral piece of textile. In embodiments for two users, the left and right upper portions each have inner, medial wings that are free of the foot portion. In normal use, the inner, medial wings of the left and right upper portions overlap each other. The overlap of the medial wings of the left and right upper portions, and freedom of the medial wings from the foot portion, is achieved in the original manufacturing of the textile, as opposed to fastening separate left and right elements to each other or to a foot panel by sewing, bonding, or other fastening means. The edges of the bed covering can be hemmed, or for simplicity, unhemmed. Optional embodiments include a means for reversibly fastening left and right medial wings, which facilitates spreading the bed covering on a bed, hanging the bed covering for air drying, and providing traditional bed covering functionality. Additional elements, such as hems and ornamentation, can be added to the textile. The left, right, and foot portions can optionally have the same or different textural, insulative, ornamental, decorative, or other treatments. Embodiments of the invention can be manufactured with more than two top portions. Multiple layers of the split-top, integral bed covering can optionally be joined at the foot during manufacturing, e.g., by heat bonding. The split-top, integral bed covering can optionally be manufactured in fitted foot versions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a split-top, integral bed covering, with left medial wing open and right medial wing closed.

FIG. 2 shows a plan view of a split-top, integral bed covering, with medial wings open.

FIG. 3 shows a plan view of a split-top, integral bed covering, covering two users, with medial wings closed.

FIG. 4 shows a cross section of FIG. 2 in the area of the medial wings, depicting how the medial wings conform to the users' bodies.

FIG. 5 shows a plan view of a split-top, integral bed covering, with left medial wing open and right medial wing closed, showing with hook and loop fasteners.

FIG. 6 shows a cross section of a split-top, integral bed covering, with medial wings open and with hook and loop fasteners in the area of the medial wings.

FIG. 7 shows a plan view of a split-top, integral bed covering, with left medial wing open and right medial wing closed, showing with hook and loop fasteners with protective flaps.

FIG. 8 shows a cross section of hook and loop fasteners of FIG. 6, with protective flap opened to allow the fasteners to engage, in the area of the medial wings.

FIG. 9 shows a plan view of a three person, split-top, integral bed covering, with medial wings open.

FIG. 10 shows a plan view of a three person, split-top, integral bed covering, with medial wings closed.

FIG. 11 shows a cross section of FIG. 10 in the area of the medial wings, depicting how the medial wings conform to the users' bodies.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

“Longitudinal” means along the head to foot axis with respect to a split-top bed covering as it covers a person lying in a bed. “Mattress” means herein any top substrate provided in a bed and on which a person lies. “Latitudinal” means the axis perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the split-top bed covering. “Left” and “right” are referenced as if the viewer were overhead a split-top bed covering as it covers a bed. The “top edge” of a split-top bed covering is the latitudinal edge of the bed covering placed along the head of the bed on which a split-top bed covering is placed. The “foot edge” of a split-top bed covering is the edge opposite the top edge and is typically tucked under the mattress on which the split-top bed covering is placed. The top edge and the foot edge are typically parallel. “Sheet” means herein any bed-covering textile, e.g., comforter, blanket, duvet, sheet, quilt, etc. “Wing” means herein the medial part of an upper portion of a split-top, integral bed covering is that is free of (i.e., is not attached to and moves independently of) the foot portion. “Transverse line” means herein the latitudinal line formed by the top, medial part of the foot portion of a split-top bed covering, which portion is not integral with a wing or an upper portion, wherein such latitudinal line is extended transversely to the left and right edges of the split-top bed covering. The left edge and the right edge of the split-top bed covering are typically parallel. “Wing hinge” means herein the longitudinal line formed by extending longitudinally, to the top edge of the split-top bed covering, the most medial point at which an upper portion is integral with the foot portion of a split-top bed covering. The transverse line and wing hinge are for descriptive purposes only and are not actually creased or otherwise formed in the split-top bed covering during manufacturing.

The split-top, integral bed covering invention comprises left and right upper portions and a foot portion made from a single, integral sheet of textile. In embodiments for two users, the left and right upper portions each have inner, medial wings that are free of the foot portion. In normal use, the inner, medial wings of the left and right upper portions overlap each other. The overlap of the medial wings of the left and right upper portions, and freedom of the medial wings from the foot portion, is achieved in the original manufacturing of the textile, as opposed to fastening separate left and right elements to each other or to a foot panel by sewing, bonding, or other fastening means.

The invention (1) allows one user to roll in bed without pulling off the bed covering of a second person (the medial wing of the rolling person is pulled along with the rolling motion, but not the medial wing or upper bed covering portion of the second person), (2) prevents entry of drafts between two persons sleeping on their sides (the medial wings contour around the first and second persons, rather than forming a canopy above the mattress like traditional bed covering), and (3) gives each person independent control of the thickness of bedding covering (a first user can remove one or more layers of split-top, integral bed covering without disturbing the layers on a second person in bed).

The split-top, integral bed covering can be produced as a non-woven textile. Non-woven textiles (“non-wovens”) are textiles that are manufactured by putting small fibers together in planar form and then binding the fibers together mechanically (e.g., interlocking the fibers using serrated needles, by hydroentanglement by water jets, etc.), with an adhesive (e.g., latex polymers), or thermally (calendering through heated rollers). A mesh backing or core is normally introduced in the laying of the fiber for bed coverings to produce stronger non-woven textiles. Non-woven textiles used in the invention can be carded, weblaid, or spunlaid. Non-wovens are typically produced from synthetic fibers; spunlaid non-woven manufacturing can combine a stage that produces synthetic fiber with immediate laying of the fiber in planar form, which greatly reduces manufacturing costs.

The fibers used to made the split-top, integral bed covering include cashmere, chenille, flannel, cotton, silk, fleece, mink, wool, and synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers used to make the split-top, integral bed covering include polypropylene and polyesters, particularly polyethylene terephthalate.

The split-top, integral bed covering can also be produced using specially fitted weaving looms and knitting looms, by crocheting, by knotting, tufting, by composite (i.e., more than one textile manufacturing method), and by other known methods of textile production. Most woven textiles are made on looms and consequently are rectilinear when weaving is finished. The split-top, integral bed covering invention, with its “hinged” medial wings, is particularly suited for production as a non-woven textile made of synthetic fiber, since non-woven textiles can be easily laid and finished in odd shapes.

The invention solves the technical problem of reducing the cost of manufacturing split-top bed covering by providing a design that is especially suited to non-woven textile technology, has fewer structural elements, and does not require sewing together of separate, prefabricated panels.

As shown in FIG. 1, the width of overlap (“Wing Width”) of a wing is defined by the distance (11) from a wing hinge (12) to the medial edge (13) of the wing. Normally, the width of a left wing (14) is the same as the width of a right wing (11). The “Overall Length”(15) is the distance from the top edge to foot edge of the bed covering deployed planarly.

As shown in FIG. 2, the length of a foot portion (21) (“Foot Portion Length”) is defined by the distance (22) from the transverse line (23) to the foot edge (24) of a split-top bed covering. The “Overall Width” (25) is the distance from the left edge to right edge of the bed covering deployed planarly.

The split-top, integral bed covering is normally manufactured in an embodiment for two users, and therefore is most commonly made in queen, king, and California king sizes. The Wing Width ranges from 20% to 60% of the Overall Width, more preferably from 25% to 40% of the Overall Width, and most preferably from 30% to 35% of the Overall Width. The Foot Portion Length ranges from 20% to 50% of the Overall Length, more preferably from 20% to 40% of the Overall Length, and most preferably from 25% to 30% of the Overall Length for normal mattresses and from 30% to 35% for pillow-top mattresses.

The transverse line does not need to be precisely positioned during use. If the user wants the foot portion to cover the feet of the user, less of the foot portion is tucked under the mattress so that the transverse line is placed more headward, past the top of the foot of the mattress, e.g., the transverse line may be placed in the area of the user's calves or knees. If the user wants to be able to completely remove the upper portion as a bed covering on his or her portion of the bed, the transverse line is placed no higher than the top of the foot of the mattress. The split-top, integral bed covering can be made in various configurations that have different combinations of Wing Widths, Overall Widths, Overall Lengths, and Foot Portion Lengths to accommodate user preferences and mattress sizes.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the wings conform to the contours of users' bodies.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, alternative embodiments include the hook and loop fasteners (61, 62), or other means, to reversibly fasten the left and right medial wings to each other. As shown in FIG. 6, reversible fasteners (when fastened) improve the ability to position the bed covering on a bed, hang the bed covering for air drying, and provide traditional bed covering functionality. Other fastening means include buttons and corresponding button holes, snaps, knotted rope and loops, and magnetic strips embedded in the medial edges and near the wing hinge.

As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the hook and loop fasteners are covered with displaceable flaps (71, 81). The interior of the flaps has fastening matching the fastener on the wing, e.g., a hook fastener on a wing mates with a loop fastener on the flap. Using flaps prevents unintentional engagement of the fasteners, e.g., while the users are sleeping. If a user wishes to join the wings together, a flap is displaced to expose the relevant fastener, and the exposed fasteners on the wings are mated.

Although FIGS. 5 to 8 show two columns of fasteners on each wing, only one column of fasteners can be used. Using one column does not immobilize the medial edges of both wings, however, and is not preferred.

Additional elements, such as hems and ornamentation, can be added to the split-top, integral bed covering. The left, right, and foot portions can optionally have different textural, insulative, decorative, or other treatments, e.g., sports logos, pictures, “his and her” colors or decoration, etc.

Multiple split-top, integral bed coverings can be used simultaneously, e.g., top sheet, first blanket, and quilt. A user may remove one or more layers of bed covering without disturbing the bed covering of the other user.

The split-top bed covering can be made with a fitted foot portion, i.e., the split-top, integral bed is made with a pocket in the foot portion that accommodates the depth and width of a mattress. In fitted foot portion embodiments, the position of the transverse line is fixed. Not only bedsheets, but blankets, quilts, and other bedcovering can be made in fitted embodiments.

Although the medial wings described above and shown in the Figures have the left medial wing overlapping the right medial wing, the invention can also be constructed with the right medial wing overlapping the left medial wing. This distinction is of importance only when fasteners are incorporated in the design; the manner of overlap determines which medial wing has fasteners on the bottom surface of a given wing, which requires the opposite wing to have fasteners on the top surface of such opposite wing.

The split-top, integral bed covering can be manufactured with more than two upper portions. As shown in FIG. 9, a three person, split-top, integral bed covering, has three upper portions. The upper left portion has a medial wing (91), the upper right portion has a medial wing (92); the wings overlap an upper center portion (93).

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the wings of an embodiment of the invention for three users conform to the bodies of the three users.

Embodiments of the split-top, integral bed covering can be made in which the longitudinal and latitudinal axes are reversed so that the top edge runs along the long side of a mattress (i.e., the head and foot of the bed mattress are rotated 90 degrees). This “landscape” mode (versus “portrait” mode) of use is especially suited for split-top, integral bed coverings with three or more upper portions. The principal use of such embodiments is when more than two children share a large bed. Given the split-top nature of the bed covering, barriers (e.g., tubular pillows) can be placed in the splits to separate the sleeping spaces of the children. The barriers can be integral with the bed-covering, or independent.

The split-top, integral bed covering of the invention enables each of the users to determine his or her comfort level without affecting the other users. For example, each of the users can begin sleeping with their covering moved aside. Then as the night progresses, and more warmth is needed, each user can easily reach down and independently retrieve his or her bed covering. This can be done without disturbing another user in the bed.

Multiple layers of the split-top, integral bed covering can optionally be joined at the foot during manufacturing, e.g., by heat bonding. In a multi-layer embodiment of a fitted foot version, only the bottommost layer needs to have a fitted foot.

Variations, modifications, equivalents and substitutions for components of the specifically described embodiments of the invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.