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Publication numberUS20020100781 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/773,989
Publication dateAug 1, 2002
Filing dateFeb 1, 2001
Priority dateFeb 1, 2001
Publication number09773989, 773989, US 2002/0100781 A1, US 2002/100781 A1, US 20020100781 A1, US 20020100781A1, US 2002100781 A1, US 2002100781A1, US-A1-20020100781, US-A1-2002100781, US2002/0100781A1, US2002/100781A1, US20020100781 A1, US20020100781A1, US2002100781 A1, US2002100781A1
InventorsDavid Finkelstein
Original AssigneeDavid Finkelstein
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Shoulder pad
US 20020100781 A1
Abstract
A relatively rigid body member is combined with a relatively soft pad member to form a shoulder pad. The pad member is mounted on a curved lower surface of the body member. The upper surface of the body member includes a slot which accepts a luggage strap and which is angled forwardly toward the lower surface. The curved lower surface accommodates the curvature of the user's shoulder while the pad member conforms to the individual user's shoulder anatomy. The upper and lower surfaces of the body member are formed in an angular relationship so that during use, the slot is always directed toward the user's shoulder so that the load exerted by the shoulder strap keeps the shoulder pad in place on the user's shoulder.
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Claims(14)
What is claimed is:
1. A shoulder pad comprising:
a body member having an upper surface and a lower surface with said lower surface angularly disposed relative to said upper surface, with said lower surface further defining a curved surface, and
attachment means for attachment of said shoulder pad to a shoulder strap.
2. The shoulder pad of claim 1 in which said attachment means for attachment of said shoulder pad to a shoulder strap comprises a slot portion formed in said upper surface.
3. The shoulder strap of claim 2 in which said slot portion further comprises a strap portion disposed removably covering said slot portion.
4. The shoulder strap of claim 3 in which said strap portion comprises hook and loop fastener means.
5. The shoulder pad of claim 2 in which said slot portion is disposed in an angular relationship with respect to said lower surface.
6. The shoulder pad of claim 1 in which said body member comprises a relatively thicker portion, and a relatively thinner portion.
7. The shoulder pad of claim 1 further comprising a pad member with said pad member attached to said lower surface.
8. The shoulder pad of claim 7 in which said pad member is made of a relatively compliant material.
9. The shoulder pad of claim 8 in which said pad member is made of a gel material.
10. The shoulder pad of claim 1 in which said body member is a relatively stiff member.
11. The shoulder pad of claim 1 in which said body member comprises a hollow plastic member.
12. The shoulder pad of claim 1 in which said slot portion formed in said upper surface comprises an upper portion integrally formed in said body member with said upper portion partially overlying said upper surface of said body member.
13. The shoulder pad of claim 1 in which said body member comprises:
a first longitudinal edge;
a second longitudinal edge with said second longitudinal edge spaced away from said first longitudinal edge;
a first transverse edge; and
a second transverse edge with said first longitudinal edge defining said relatively thicker portion and with said second longitudinal edge defining a relatively thinner portion.
14. The shoulder pad of claim 14 in which curved surface of said curved surface is defined by curve starting at said first transverse edge and extending to said second transverse edge.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the Invention

[0001] The present invention relates generally to the field of luggage and equipment for carrying luggage and more particularly, to an improved shoulder pad.

[0002] The prior art related to luggage and hand-carried equipment which includes various types of shoulder straps and shoulder pads which attempt to decrease the discomfort associated with carrying luggage or equipment by using a shoulder pad to distribute the load exerted by the weight of the equipment. Typically, conventional shoulder pads consist of a generally flat rectangular pad which is made of various types of rubber and a means for attaching the pad to a shoulder strap.

[0003] Conventional shoulder pads typically do not accomplish the goals of reducing the discomfort which results from the use of a shoulder strap. Conventional shoulder pads flex easily and do not adequately spread the load exerted on the shoulder of a user by the shoulder strap and thus do not adequately reduce the load per unit of area of contact between the shoulder pad and the user's shoulder. As a result, the conventional shoulder pad digs into the user's shoulder and severely limits both the load which can be carried and the length of time that the load can be carried before the degree of user discomfort becomes unacceptable.

[0004] In addition, a shoulder strap, when used with a conventional shoulder pad, tends to slide off the shoulder of a user. As a result, a user is forced to interrupt walking or other activity and continually readjust the position of the shoulder strap. This need for continuing periodic adjustment creates a degree of discomfort which further limits the utility of conventional shoulder pads.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is an object of the present invention to provide a shoulder pad which effectively prevents the shoulder strap from digging into the shoulder of a user.

[0006] Another object of the present invention is to provide a shoulder pad which can be used with relatively heavy loads for projected periods of time.

[0007] Another object of the present invention is to provide a shoulder pad which prevents the shoulder strap from slipping off the shoulder of a user.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is to provide a high degree of comfort during use.

[0009] Another object of the present invention is to provide a shoulder pad which can be quickly and easily installed on a shoulder strap.

[0010] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a shoulder pad which comprises a relatively small number of component parts which can be manufactured economically in volume resulting in a relatively low unit cost.

[0011] The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will appear more clearly hereinafter.

[0012] In accordance with the present invention, a shoulder pad includes a relatively rigid body member and a relatively soft pad member. The pad member is mounted on a curved lower surface of the body member. The upper surface of the body member includes a slot which accepts a luggage strap and which is angled forwardly toward the lower surface. The curved lower surface accommodates the curvature of the user's shoulder while the pad member conforms to the individual user's shoulder anatomy. The upper and lower surfaces of the body member are formed in an angular relationship so that during use, the slot is always directed toward the user's shoulder so that the load exerted by the shoulder strap keeps the shoulder pad in place on the user's shoulder.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] Other important objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, taken in connection with an accompanying drawing in which:

[0014]FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a shoulder pad made in accordance with the present invention;

[0015]FIG. 2 is a front side elevation view of the shoulder pad of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

[0016]FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1 drawn to an enlarged scale;

[0017]FIG. 4 is a rear elevation view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3 with a luggage strap shown in broken lines; and

[0018]FIG. 5 is an end side elevation view taken along the line 5-5 of FIG. 1 with a luggage strap and the shoulder of a user shown in broken lines.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0019] With reference to the drawings, wherein like reference numbers designate like or corresponding parts throughout, there is shown in FIG. 1 a pad 10 for use with a shoulder strap 80 in carrying various types of luggage or other materials. The shoulder pad 10 includes a body member 12 and a pad member 14.

[0020] When viewed from the top as shown in FIG. 1, the shoulder pad 10 appears as a generally rectangular member with rounded corners 16, 18, 20, 22. The shoulder pad 10 is defined in part by a first longitudinal surface 24 (which is also defined as the inner surface), second longitudinal surface 26 (which is also defined as the outer surface), a first transverse surface 28 and a second transverse surface 30.

[0021] The body member 12 is further defined by an upper surface 32 and a lower surface 34. When viewed from the front, as is best shown in FIG. 2, the upper surface 32 and the lower surface 34 are each curved. The upper surface 32 includes a curved portion 36 which extends from the top portion 38 of the first traverse surface 28 to the top portion 40 of the second transverse surface 30. The lower surface 34 includes a curved portion 42 which extends from the bottom portion 44 of the first transverse surface 28 to the bottom portion 46 of the second transverse surface 30.

[0022] The body member 12 includes an integrally formed upper portion 48 which partially overlies the curved portion 36 as is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The upper portion 48 is spaced away from the curved portion 36 and, as a result, defines a slot 50 therebetween as is best shown in FIG. 3.

[0023] A key feature of the present invention will now be described with reference to FIG. 3. As is best known in FIG. 3, the height of the first longitudinal surface 24 is relatively large compared to the height of the second longitudinal surface 26. The shoulder pad 10 is thus relatively thicker at the outer surface 24 and relatively thinner at the inner surface 26. When the shoulder pad 10 is positioned as shown in FIG. 3, the slot 50 slopes downward and toward the left while the lower surface 34 slopes downward and toward the right. The advantages of the above construction as related to the operation of the present invention will be described presently.

[0024] As is shown in FIG. 3, the body member 12 is integrally formed into a hollow molded plastic member with a relatively thin continuous wall 52. The thin plastic wall combined with the various spacings and curvatures which have been described above results in a unit which is both light in weight and which is extremely stiff structurally.

[0025] A short flexible strap 54 has a first end 56 attached to a portion 58 of the upper portion 48 via an adhesive layer 60 and a second end which is removably attached to the body member 12 via a hook and loop fastener 64.

[0026] A relatively soft flexible pad member 14 is attached to the lower surface 34 of the body member 12 as is shown in FIGS. 2-5 via an adhesive layer 68. The edges 70, 72, 74, 76 of the pad member 66 are tapered such that the portion 78 of the pad member 66 closest to the lower surface 34 is relatively thin. This configuration facilitates the formation of a strongly bonded joint between the pad member 14 and the body member 12. The tapered edges 70, 72, 74, 76 prevent snagging or tearing of the pad member 66 during use. The pad is preferably constructed of a gel layer which combines the ability to conform to the surface of the body member 12 and to conform to the shoulder of a user.

[0027] As is best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 during use, a shoulder strap 80 of an item to be carried is slipped into the slot 50 and the end of the flexible strap 54 is attached to the body member 12. The shoulder pad 10 is placed on the user's shoulder 82 with the second longitudinal surface 26 of the shoulder pad positioned closest to the user's neck 84. The difference in height between first longitudinal surface 24 and the second longitudinal surface 26 compensates for the normal downward slope of the user's shoulder 82 as shown by the broken line 86 in Fig. S. The slot 50 thus is maintained in a configuration wherein it slopes downward and toward the left. As a result of the weight of the luggage or other material being carried, shoulder strap 80 is forced under the influence of gravity to always slide downwardly and inwardly relative to the slot 50. The direction of the force exerted by the shoulder strap 80 is shown by the arrow 84 and the direction of the component of the force exerted by the shoulder strap 80 along the slot 50 is shown by the arrow 88. This force 88 is then directed inwardly relative to the user's body which urges the shoulder pad 10 to remain in place on the user's shoulder 82 and not slide off as in a conventional shoulder pad.

[0028] The rigid construction of the body member 12 enables the body member 12 to effectively spread the load of the shoulder strap 80. This reduces the load per unit area and enables the user to carry significant loads over long distances without discomfort.

[0029] The pad member 14 conforms to the user's body and accommodates the structure of the user's shoulder and promotes the comfort of the user.

[0030] The present invention thus provides a unique shoulder pad as a result of the combination of a relatively stiff and rigid specially-shaped body member 12 with a relatively soft and compliant pad member 14 and the formation of a slot for receiving a luggage strap. The angular relationship between the slot and the lower surface of the body member 12 ensures that the shoulder pad will not slide off the shoulder of a user.

[0031] The foregoing specific embodiments of the present invention as set forth in the specification herein are for illustrative purposes only. Various deviations and modifications may be made within the spirit and scope of the invention, without departing from a main theme therefor.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7780049 *Dec 31, 2008Aug 24, 2010James BaranoskiBody support for a portable computer
US20120273534 *Apr 5, 2012Nov 1, 2012Butler David OUnitary shoulder pad
Classifications
U.S. Classification224/264, 224/643
International ClassificationA45F3/12
Cooperative ClassificationA45F3/12
European ClassificationA45F3/12