CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS:
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This patent application is based on a provisional patent application Serial No. 60/190,521 filed on Mar. 20, 2000.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to lotion applicators and, more particularly, to applicators for applying lotion to hard-to-reach areas of a body.
2. Description of Prior Art
Sometimes it is necessary for an individual to apply lotion, or a like product to his or her skin. This may be for medicinal purposes, such as to treat a rash, sunburn, or skin disorder. Generally, lotions can be applied by the individual using his or her hands. Many areas of the body can be reached effectively by using the hands. Often times, however, this can result in a residue on the hands and on objects that are later handled. Additionally, depending upon the character of the lotion applied, the skin on the hands may retain an unpleasant odor or may be discolored. Most importantly, there are several areas of the body that cannot be reached easily using one's own hands. These areas include the back and the lower legs. At times, application of lotion to these hard to reach areas may be almost impossible. Often it is not practicable or desirable to receive assistance in applying lotion to one's back or other hard to reach areas of the body.
There have been other products proposed to address the problems noted above. However, these products involve the use of roll-on applicators and sponge-type applicators attached to a wand or long handle. These devices have not proven satisfactory as the sponge material currently used is not fit for repeated use. Such sponge material, is by nature, difficult to clean completely. Roll-on applicators are unreliable for the task as the flow of the lotion cannot be accurately monitored and often result in a flow of lotion which is in excess or is inadequate for the desired purpose.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Therefore, a lotion applicator that can be used repeatedly to apply lotion to an individual's skin and can easily reach the back and lower legs would be a beneficial addition to the marketplace. The present invention provides a means to enable an individual to apply lotions to hard to reach areas of a person's back and other parts of his or her body. It is believed that the present invention is easy to use and is cost effective to manufacture and therefore readily affordable in the marketplace.
- OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
A device for applying lotion to the skin consisting of a body having a head portion and a handle portion, a handle extension secured to the handle portion of the body, a sponge holder secured to the head portion of the body and a sponge secured to sponge holder.
Accordingly, besides the objects and advantages of the present invention described above, several specific objects and advantages of the present invention include the following:
1. To provide an apparatus to facilitate the application of lotions and like substances to the skin specifically to those places of the body which are difficult for an individual to reach unassisted.
2. To provide an apparatus for applying lotions and like substances to the skin without leaving a residue of lotion or such other substances on the hands of the individual after application.
3. To provide a unit which would be easily adaptable to use of interchangeable heads for application of various types of lotions, medications, exfoliators, ointments and the like.
4. To provide a lotion applicator which is generally inexpensive, easy to use, easy to clean, and can be conveniently stored after each use.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are more readily apparent with reference to the detailed description of the present invention and the accompanying drawings.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an apparatus configured for applying lotion to hard-to-reach areas of a person's body in accordance with features of the present invention;
FIGS. 2A and 2B depict respective top and bottom perspective views of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3A and 3B depict respective top and bottom perspective views of a head portion and a handle portion of the apparatus represented in FIG. 1;
FIGS. 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D depict respective top, side, bottom, and end views of the head portion and handle portion of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 5E, and 5F depict various views of a handle extension of the apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 6A and 6B depict respective top and bottom perspective views of a sponge holder of the apparatus of FIG. 1; and
FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C depict respective top, bottom and side views of a sponge holder of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, the reference numeral 10 generally designates an apparatus embodying features of the present invention for applying lotion to hard-to-reach areas of an individual's body such as the back area.
As shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the apparatus 10 of FIG. 1 comprises a body 8 having a head portion 12 and a handle portion 14 extending outwardly therefrom. The head portion 12 is configured for securing a sponge 16 thereto in a manner described in further detail below. A handle extension 18 slidingly extends from the handle portion 14 and includes a hook portion 20 configured for hanging the apparatus 10 from a shower head in a shower (not shown). The head portion 12, handle portion 14, and handle extension 18 are preferably about 22-24 inches in length and are preferably formed of plastic or acrylic, or alternatively, of a metal, such as stainless steel.
FIGS. 3A and 3B depict respective top and bottom perspective views of the body 8 of the apparatus 10, and FIGURES 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D depict respective top, side, bottom, and end views of the body 8 of the apparatus 10. As shown therein, an end portion 22 of the handle portion 14 is configured to form lock tab 24. The lock tab 24 is configured to engage one of four notched slots 26 defined on the handle extension 18 and as shown most clearly in FIGS. 5. The handle extension 18 is assembled to the handle portion 14 by pressing the lock tab 24 in the direction of the arrow 28 (FIG. 2B) and sliding the extension 18 into the handle portion 14 to the extent desired and is then releasing the lock tab 24 in a slot 26 to lock the handle extension onto the handle portion in the position selected. The head further defines three locking tabs 29.
FIGS. 6A and 6B depict respective top and bottom perspective views of a sponge holder 30, and FIGS. 7A, 7B, and 7C depict respective top, bottom, and side views of the sponge holder 30. The sponge holder 30 defines preferably three locking tabs 32 configured to matingly engage the locking tabs 29 (FIGS. 3B and 4C) of the head 12 to thereby form a rotary bayonet lock connection. More or fewer than three locking tabs 29 and 32 may be utilized as suitable. The sponge 16 is secured, for example, by adhesive, to the interior of the sponge holder 30.
The sponge 16 preferably comprises a PVA synthetic sponge comprising Polyvinyl Alcohol, such as is available from PVA Unlimited, located in Warsaw, Ind. It preferably defines a three dimensional open cell structure similar to that of natural sea sponges. All of the cells are interconnected, and are not independent. Such physical structure permits high filtering efficiency, it permits the sponge to be reused after cleaning, and provides good retention and wicking properties.
The PVA sponge will absorb up to approximately 12 times its dry weight in water. When saturated with water, PVA becomes flexible and soft like natural sea sponge. The wet volume is about 20% greater than the dry volume. PVA exhibits mechanical strength and abrasion resistance equal to or greater than any other synthetic sponge material. Pore size and shape may vary to meet specific applications. When wet, the PVA sponge will preferably withstand temperatures of up to 90° C. without plastic deformation. The PVA is preferably pure white, but may be pigmented in any color to a high degree of color-fastness. The sponge 16 may also be provided with lotion, ointment, and/or medicine.
The handle extension 18 is assembled to the handle portion 14 by pressing the lock tab 24 in the direction of the arrow 28 (FIG. 2B), sliding the extension 18 onto the handle portion 14 to the extent desired, and then releasing the lock tab 24 in a slot 26 to lock the handle extension onto the handle portion in the position selected by the individual.
In operation, after the handle extension 18 is secured to the handle portion 14, as described above, the handle extension may be adjusted by pressing the lock tab 24 in the direction of the arrow 28 (FIG. 2B) and sliding the extension 18 along the handle portion 14 to the extent desired, and is then releasing the lock tab 24 in a slot 26 to lock the handle extension onto the handle portion in the selected position.
The sponge holder 30, including a sponge adhered therein, is positioned and rotated in the head 12 so that the locking tabs 29 and 32 engage to form a rotary bayonet lock connection to thereby secure the sponge holder 30 in the head 12. If needed or desired, the sponge 16 may be provided with lotion, ointment, and/or medicine and kept moist with water. By holding the handle 14 and extension 18, a person may position the sponge 16 on a hard-to-reach portion of their body, such as their back, and apply the lotion, ointment, and/or medicine thereto as the case may be.
It is understood that the present invention can take many forms and embodiments. Accordingly, several variations may be made in the foregoing without departing from the spirit or the scope of of the invention. For example, the sponge holder 30 may be secured to the head 12 by means other than a bayonet lock connection, such as by a hook and loop fabric such as Velcro™ or the like. The sponge 16 may be secured via a hook and loop fabric such as Velcro™, or the like, to the interior of the sponge holder 30, or directly to the head 12, thereby rendering the sponge unnecessary. The handle extension 18 may be fixedly, rather than slidably, mounted onto the handle portion 14, or the handle extension 18 may be formed as an integral portion of the handle portion 14. The handle portion 14 may be formed without the hook portion 20, or the hook portion may be replaced with an aperture formed in the handle portion 14, or with a loop of string, rope, or the like suitably formed for hanging the apparatus 10 from a shower head or other fixture.
Having thus described the present invention by reference to certain of its preferred embodiments, it is noted that the embodiments disclosed are illustrative rather than limiting in nature and that a wide range of variations, modifications, changes, and substitutions are contemplated in the foregoing disclosure and, in some instances, some features of the present invention may be employed without a corresponding use of the other features. Many such variations and modifications may be considered obvious and desirable by those skilled in the art based upon a review of the foregoing description of preferred embodiments. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the appended claims be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with the scope of the present invention.