Title:
Clothing Belt Connector and Clothing Belt Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothing belt assembly includes a first belt band segment, a second belt band segment, and a clothing belt connector. The clothing belt connector connects the first and second belt band segments together. The clothing belt connector has one or more connector plate(s).



Inventors:
Bonk, Jon Craig (Bloomfield Hills, MI, US)
Application Number:
14/459402
Publication Date:
02/19/2015
Filing Date:
08/14/2014
Assignee:
SOLUTIONS DEFINED LLC
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/579.09
International Classes:
A41F9/02; A44B99/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
REISING ETHINGTON P.C. (TROY, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A clothing belt assembly, comprising: a first belt band segment with a first end; a second belt band segment with a second end; and a clothing belt connector connecting said first and second belt band segments together, said clothing belt connector having at least one connector plate attached to said first end of said first belt band segment and attached to said second end of said second belt band segment.

2. The clothing belt assembly of claim 1, wherein said at least one connector plate is attached to said first and second ends via a fastener, adhesive, or a combination thereof.

3. The clothing belt assembly of claim 1, wherein said clothing belt connector has a first socket that receives said first end of said first belt band segment and has a second socket that receives said second end of said second belt band segment.

4. The clothing belt assembly of claim 1, wherein said at least one connector plate includes at least one side wall that is located adjacent a first side edge of said first belt band segment, adjacent a second side edge of said second belt band segment, or adjacent both side edges.

5. The clothing belt assembly of claim 4, wherein said at least one connector plate includes a first connector plate situated on an outside surface of said first belt band segment, on an outside surface of said second belt band segment, or on outside surfaces of both segments, and includes a second connector plate situated on an inside surface of said first belt band segment, on an inside surface of said second belt band segment, or on inside surfaces of both segments, said at least one side wall extending between said first and second connector plates.

6. The clothing belt assembly of claim 5, wherein said first connector plate, said second connector plate, and said at least one side wall at least partly define a socket that receives both of said first and second ends of said first and second belt band segments.

7. The clothing belt assembly of claim 1, wherein said at least one connector plate includes a first connector plate situated on an outside surface of both of said first belt band segment and said second belt band segment, and includes a second connector plate situated on an inside surface of both of said first belt band segment and said second belt band segment.

8. The clothing belt assembly of claim 7, wherein said clothing belt connector includes an extension wall extending between said first and second connector plates, said extension wall lacking a joint that would allow movement between said first and second connector plates.

9. The clothing belt assembly of claim 8, wherein said first connector plate, said second connector plate, and said extension wall at least partly define a first socket that receives said first end of said first belt band segment and at least partly define a second socket that receives said second end of said second belt band segment.

10. The clothing belt assembly of claim 9, wherein both of said first and second connector plates are attached to both of said first and second ends of said first and second belt band segments, and said extension wall is free of an attachment to said first and second ends.

11. The clothing belt assembly of claim 1, wherein said at least one connector plate includes a first connector plate and a second connector plate, said first connector plate includes a first connector plate part situated on an outside surface of said first belt band segment and includes a second connector plate part situated on an outside surface of said second belt band segment, and said second connector plate includes a third connector plate part situated on an inside surface of said first belt band segment and includes a fourth connector plate part situated on an inside surface of said second belt band segment.

12. The clothing belt assembly of claim 11, wherein said clothing belt connector includes a first extension wall extending between said first and third connector plate parts, and includes a second extension wall extending between said second and fourth connector plate parts.

13. The clothing belt assembly of claim 12, wherein said first connector plate part, said third connector plate part, and said first extension wall at least partly define a first socket that receives said first end of said first belt band segment, and said second connector plate part, said fourth connector plate part, and said second extension wall at least partly define a second socket that receives said second end of said second belt band segment.

14. The clothing belt assembly of claim 12, wherein said first and second extension walls are attached together via a joint that allows movement between said first and second extension walls.

15. The clothing belt assembly of claim 14, wherein said joint is a swivel joint that allows swivel movement between said first and second extension walls.

16. The clothing belt assembly of claim 1, further comprising a third belt band segment with a third end, and comprising a second clothing belt connector connecting said second and third band segments together, said second clothing belt connector having at least one connector plate attached to said second end of said second belt band segment and attached to said third end of said third belt band segment.

17. A clothing belt connector apparatus, comprising: at least one connector plate attachable to an end of a clothing belt band segment; a wall extending from said at least one connector plate and being situatable adjacent the end of the clothing belt band segment; and a socket defined at least in part by said at least one connector plate and said wall, the end of the clothing belt band segment being receivable in said socket.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 61/866,621 filed Aug. 16, 2013, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates generally to clothing belts worn around a person's waist over trousers or over other articles of clothing.

BACKGROUND

Clothing belts are a common clothing item worn around a person's waist for supporting trousers, and are worn with other articles of clothing for other reasons. Clothing belts are also used as a utility item by police officers, repair personnel, and others. Whatever their purpose, clothing belts are often made of leather or heavy cloth or fabric materials. Sometimes, a person may lose or gain weight and their waist may shrink or grow in size as a result. A clothing belt once worn by that person might no longer fit them, and they therefore may be required to purchase new clothing belts of different lengths and sometimes at great expense. Furthermore, irrespective of weight loss or gain, a person may want to retrofit a clothing belt with a fashion accessory or may want to turn the clothing belt itself into a fashion accessory.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, a clothing belt assembly includes a first belt band segment, a second belt band segment, and a clothing belt connector. The first belt band segment has a first end, and the second belt band segment has a second end. The clothing belt connector connects the first and second belt band segments together. The clothing belt connector has one or more connector plate(s) that are attached to the first end of the first belt band segment and attached to the second end of the second belt band segment.

In one embodiment, a clothing belt connector apparatus includes one or more connector plate(s), a wall, and a socket. The connector plate(s) can be attached to an end of a clothing belt band segment. The wall extends from the connector plate(s) and can be situated near the end of the clothing belt band segment. The socket is defined in part or more by the connector plate(s) and the wall, and can receive the end of the clothing belt band segment therein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following detailed description is presented with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of an embodiment of a clothing belt assembly with a clothing belt segmented and with a pair of clothing belt connectors;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a clothing belt connector;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the clothing belt connector of FIG. 2, the clothing belt connector shown connected to belt band segments;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a clothing belt connector;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the clothing belt connector of FIG. 4, the clothing belt connector shown connected to belt band segments;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a clothing belt connector; and

FIG. 7 is a side view of the clothing belt connector of FIG. 6, the clothing belt connector shown connected to belt band segments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the figures, one or more clothing belt connectors 10 can be retrofitted to a clothing belt 12 in order to shorten or lengthen the extent of the clothing belt, if desired, as the owner's waist shrinks or grows in size. The owner may therefore avoid purchasing new clothing belts of different lengths, and instead can adjust the length of their existing and already-owned clothing belts via the clothing belt connector 10. And depending on the design of the clothing belt connector 10, it could serve as a fashion accessory for the clothing belt 12.

The clothing belt 12 can be made of leather, heavy cloth or fabric, or another material, and can be worn by men and women for supporting trousers or with other articles of clothing for other reasons. Still further, the clothing belt 12 could be a utility belt worn by police officers, repair personnel, and others. Before connection with the clothing belt connector 10, the clothing belt 12 is severed into individual clothing belt band segments—in the example of FIG. 1, the clothing belt is divided into a first belt band segment 14, a second belt band segment 16, and a third belt band segment 18. A first and second clothing belt connector 10 are provided between the distinct belt band segments. The belt band segments can have different lengths with respect to each other, and there can be any number of them including two, four, or five. The first belt band segment 14 has a single severed end 20, the second belt band segment 16 has first and second severed ends 22 and 24, and the third belt band segment 18 has a single severed end 26. Additionally, and in some cases for the purpose of fashion, the different belt band segments need not necessarily be severed and need not necessarily come from the same clothing belt; instead, one belt band segment can be taken from one clothing belt of one material, and another belt band segment can be taken from another clothing belt of another material.

When reducing the length and extent of the clothing belt 12, a length greater than that of the clothing belt connector 10 can be taken out of the clothing belt. For example, a six-inch end-to-end length can be cut from the original total length of the clothing belt, and replaced by the clothing belt connector which may only have a length of two inches or a length otherwise less than six inches. And when increasing the length and extent of the clothing belt 12, the clothing belt can simply be cut in two belt band segments without removing any length from the clothing belt, and the clothing belt connector 10 can be connected to both ends of the belt band segments, thereby lengthening the clothing belt by a partial length of the clothing belt connector. Whether reducing or increasing, the clothing belt connector 10 can be inserted anywhere along the length of the clothing belt 12.

Once severed, the clothing belt connector 10 spans the break otherwise created in the clothing belt 12 and connects to ends of separate belt band segments. The clothing belt connector 10 can have different designs, constructions, and components depending upon—among other possible considerations—the type of clothing belt and the material of the clothing belt. In general, the clothing belt connector 10 can include parts made out of a metal material such as brass, stainless steel, silver, gold, or another metal or even non-metal material; moreover, parts of the clothing belt connector could be decorated with items like jewels or insignia for a more fashionable look and in some cases desirable appeal. Three embodiments of the clothing belt connector are detailed in this description. Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, a first embodiment of the clothing belt connector 10 includes a first connector plate 28, a second connector plate 30, a first extension wall 32, a second extension wall 34, and a joint 36.

Taking the example of FIG. 1, the first connector plate 28 is attached to the ends 20, 22 of the first and second belt band segments 14, 16, and is situated on outside surfaces 38, 40 of the first and second belt band segments. In this embodiment, the first connector plate 28 includes a first connector plate part 42 and a separate and distinct second connector plate part 44. The first and second connector plate parts 42, 44 have a generally rectangular shape and are generally planar; in other embodiments the connector plate parts could have other shapes such as ovals, and could be curved to match the profile of a person's rounded waistline. For fit with the clothing belt 12, the connector plate parts 42, 44 can have widths and thicknesses that complement those of the clothing belt; for instance, the connector plate parts can have width and thickness values that are approximately equal to width and thickness values of the clothing belt, or that are a bit less than or greater than the values of the clothing belt. Each of the first and second connector plate parts 42, 44 has an outer surface 46 and an inner surface 48 directly confronting and abutting the outside surfaces 38, 40 of the first and second belt band segments 14, 16. Furthermore, the first and second connector plate parts 42, 44 can have fastener holes 50 (shown in phantom in FIG. 3) for accommodating fasteners 52, if fasteners are used for attachment in the particular embodiment. The fasteners 52 could be rivets, bolts, staples, tacks, or other fastening members, or, alternatively or additionally, the attachment could be made via adhesive, sewing, or another technique; in some of these attachment techniques, a fastener hole may not be needed.

The second connector plate 30 is designed and constructed similarly to the first connector plate 28, hence the second connector plate is described more briefly here. The second connector plate 30 is attached to the ends 20, 22 and is situated on inside surfaces 54, 56 of the belt band segments 14, 16. The second connector plate 30 includes a first connector plate part 58 located on the inside surface 54 and a second connector plate part 60 located on the inside surface 56. Each of the first and second connector plate parts 58, 60 has an outer surface 62 and an inner surface 64 directly confronting and abutting the inside surfaces 54, 56 of the belt band segments 14, 16. Furthermore, the first and second connector plate parts 58, 60 can have fastener holes 66 for accommodating the fasteners 52, if the fasteners are used for attachment in the particular embodiment and if the fastener holes are needed.

Still referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the first extension wall 32 spans and extends between the first connector plate parts 42, 58 at terminal ends of the parts. The first extension wall 32 can be unitary and single-piece with the first connector plate parts 42, 58, and can be arranged orthogonally relative to the first connector plate parts or could be arranged in a different way. On its faces, the first extension wall 32 has an outer surface 68 and an inner surface 70. Similarly, the second extension wall 34 spans and extends between the second connector plate parts 44, 60 at terminal ends of the parts. The second extension wall 34 can be unitary and single-piece with the second connector plate parts 44, 60, and can also be arranged orthogonally or in a different way. And on its faces, the second extension wall 34 has an outer surface 72 and an inner surface 74.

Together, the first connector plate parts 42, 58 and first extension wall 32 define in part or more a first socket 76 that, in assembly, receives the end 20 of the first belt band segment 14. Upon reception, the end 20 is then sandwiched between and overlapped by the first connector plate parts 42, 58. The first socket 76 can have two open ends 78, 80 and an open end 82. And likewise, the second connector plate parts 44, 60 and second extension wall 34 define in part or more a second socket 84 that, in assembly, receives the first end 22 of the second belt band segment 16. Upon reception, the first end 22 is then sandwiched between and overlapped by the second connector plate parts 44, 60. Like the first socket 76, the second socket 84 can have two open ends 86 (only one of the ends shown in FIGS. 2 and 3) and an open end 88.

The joint 36 attaches the first and second extension walls 32, 34 together and allows movement between the extension walls. In different embodiments, the joint 36 can be a swivel joint that allows swivel movement about the joint, can allow pivotal movement about the joint, side-to-side bending, turning, rotation and twisting, or other movement. Depending upon the type of movement allowed, the joint 36 can help accommodate a person's rounded waistline and can permit one belt band segment to be flipped over one-hundred-and-eighty degrees relative to another belt band segment, for example. In the case of flipping one-hundred-and-eighty degrees, different sides of different belt band segments can be mixed and matched as desired by the wearer.

Referring particularly to FIG. 3 now, in order to connect the clothing belt connector 10 to the segmented clothing belt 12, the end 20 of the first belt band segment 14 is inserted into the first socket 76. The end 20 is thereby sandwiched between the first connector plate parts 42, 58. A terminal end of the end 20 can be inserted all the way into abutment with the first extension wall 32, or instead can be spaced a distance away from the first extension wall but still confronted at its outside and inside surfaces 38, 54 by the first connector plate parts 42, 58. Once inserted into the first socket 76 to a desired depth, the end 20 can be attached between the first connector plate parts 42, 58 via fasteners 52, another technique, or a combination of techniques. Likewise, the first end 22 of the second belt band segment 16 is inserted into the second socket 84 to a desired depth where the first end is sandwiched between the second connector plate parts 44, 60. The first end 22 can then be attached via fasteners 52, another technique, or a combination of techniques.

Additionally, modifications of the first embodiment of the clothing belt connector 10 include one in which the first connector plate parts 42, 58 and the second connector plate parts 44, 60 have different designs and constructions so that the clothing belt connector has a different design and construction on each side of the joint 36. For example, the first connector plate parts 42, 58 could be oval and slightly curved, while the second connector plate parts 44, 60 could be rectangular and planar. Other modifications to the first embodiment are possible.

Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 5, a second embodiment of a clothing belt connector 110 is similar in some ways to the first embodiment of the clothing belt connector 10, and some of the similarities may not be described here for the second embodiment but are nonetheless applicable. The clothing belt connector 110 includes a first connector plate 128, a second connector plate 130, and an extension wall 133. As before, the first connector plate 128 is attached to the ends 20, 22 of the first and second belt band segments 14, 16, and is situated on the outside surfaces 38, 40 of the first and second belt band segments. The first connector plate 128 includes a first connector plate part 142 and includes a second connector plate part 144 that unitarily extends from the first connector plate part. And the first and second connector plate parts 142, 144 can have fastener holes 150 for accommodating fasteners 152, if fasteners are used for attachment or the holes are needed in the particular embodiment. The fasteners 152 can be rivets, bolts, staples, tacks, or other fastening members, or, alternatively or additionally, the attachment could be made via adhesive, sewing, or another technique.

Similarly, the second connector plate 130 is attached to the ends 20, 22 and is situated on inside surfaces 54, 56 of the belt band segments 14, 16. The second connector plate 130 includes a first connector plate part 158 and includes a second connector plate part 160 that unitarily extends from the first connector plate part. Furthermore, and as before, the first and second connector plate parts 158, 160 can have fastener holes 166 for accommodating the fasteners 152, if the fasteners are used for attachment or the holes are needed in the particular embodiment.

The extension wall 133 spans and extends between the first and second connector plates 128, 130 approximately midway in the plates. The extension wall 133 can be unitary and single-piece with the first and second connector plates 128, 130, and can be arranged orthogonally relative to the plates or could be arranged in a different way.

Together, the first connector plate parts 142, 158 and extension wall 133 define in part or more a first socket 176 that, in assembly, receives the end 20 of the first belt segment 14. And the second connector plate parts 144, 160 and extension wall 133 define in part or more a second socket 184 that, in assembly, receives the first end 22 of the second belt band segment 16.

Unlike the first embodiment, the second embodiment does not have a joint that allows movement between different sections of the clothing belt connector 110, and instead the clothing belt connector 110 can be a one-piece stationary structure with portions immovable relative to each other.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, a third embodiment of a clothing belt connector 210 is similar in some ways to the first embodiment of the clothing belt connector 10, and some of the similarities may not be described here for the third embodiment but are nonetheless applicable. The clothing belt connector 210 includes a first connector plate 228, a second connector plate 230, a first side wall 235, and a second side wall 237. The first connector plate 228 is attached to the ends 20, 22 of the first and second belt band segments 14, 16, and is situated on the outside surfaces 38, 40 of the first and second belt band segments. In this third embodiment, it is the surface of the first connector plate 228 that can be exposed and visible when the clothing belt connector 210 is in use. The first connector plate 228 can have fastener holes 250 for accommodating fasteners 252, if fasteners are used for attachment or the holes are needed in the particular embodiment. The fasteners 252 could be rivets, belts, staples, tacks, or other fastening members, or alternatively or additionally, the attachment could be made via adhesive, sewing, or another technique.

Similarly, the second connector plate 230 is attached to the ends 20, 22 and is situated on inside surfaces 54, 56 of the belt band segments 14, 16. The second connector plate 230 includes a first connector plate part 258 and a separate and distinct second connector plate part 260. The first connector plate part 258 can unitarily extend from the first side wall 235, and the second connector plate part 260 can unitarily extend from the second side wall 237. The first and second connector plate parts 258, 260 confront each other at respective side edges across a slot 239 that is defined longitudinally between open ends 281, 283. The slot 239 spans completely across the longitudinal extent of the clothing belt connector 210. The slot 239 is defined laterally at a confrontation between terminal ends of the first connector plate part 258 and the second connector plate part 260. Furthermore, the first and second connector plate parts 258, 260 can have fastener holes 266 for accommodating the fasteners 252, if the fasteners 252 are used for attachment or the holes are needed in the particular embodiment.

Unlike the first and second embodiments, the third embodiment does not have an extension wall like extension walls 32, 34, 133. The first and second side walls 235, 237 span and extend between the first and second connector plates 228, 230. The first and second side walls 235, 237 can be unitary and single-piece with the first and second connector plates 228, 230, and can be arranged orthogonally relative to the plates or could be arranged in a different way. In use, the first and second side walls 235, 237 extend around side edges of the first and second belt band segments 14, 16.

Together, the first and second connector plates 228, 230 and first and second side walls 235, 237 define in part or more a first socket 276 that, in assembly, receives the end 20 of the first belt band segment 14, and define in part or more a second socket 284 that, in assembly, receives the first end 22 of the second belt band segment 16. The first and second sockets 276, 284 can merely be defined by separate sections of a larger socket that is defined longitudinally between open ends 281, 283.

While the forms of the disclosure constitute presently preferred embodiments, many others are possible. It is not intended herein to mention all the possible equivalent forms or ramifications of the disclosure. It is understood that the terms used herein are merely descriptive, rather than limiting, and that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosure.





 
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