This invention concerns a method of manufacturing and distributing a garment—in particular, a garment that commemorates a tangible object that has served as an instrument in the performance of a spectator event. One example would be a race car that has been declared the winner of an officially sanctioned automobile race.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Tangible objects that have served as instruments in the performance of spectator events sometimes become so popular among fans of the object or the person using it that the fans desire to possess, if not the object itself, some portion of it. Thus, for example, fans of stock car racing might wish to have some portion of the winning car of a major race as a souvenir or memento of the car, the driver, or the race. Upholstery or trim from the car can be removed, divided into pieces, and distributed to fans for that purpose. Also, the tires that the car rode on in winning the race can be cut into pieces and those pieces distributed to eager fans. Years ago, when the famed Orient Express train was discontinued, objects from the dining cars, such as table lamps, were distributed to fans and former passengers on the train. Such mementoes serve to entertain, perhaps decorate homes, and generally enrich, in a light-hearted way, the lives of the fans who possess them. There are, however, a relatively limited number of such relics that can be obtained from any such object.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a method of manufacturing and distributing a garment that truly commemorates such an object, but does it in such a way that the object involved (the race car, the famous rail car) generates more mementoes than is possible by dividing up the object and distributing its pieces. The manufacturing and distributing process of the present invention comprises the following steps:
a) converting at least a portion of the object to a particulate form,
b) mixing said particulate matter with a dye composition to form a dye mixture,
c) obtaining a quantity of dyeable garments,
d) dyeing at least a portion of each of said garments, using said dye mixture, and
e) distributing said dyed garments to members of the public, accompanied by a visually readable imprint that informs the reader that the garment has been colored with a formulation that contained at least a portion of said object and that identifies the nature of the portion that was used.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Any object that has served as an instrument in the performance of a spectator event can be used. As suitable spectator events might be mentioned, for example, sporting events, music concerts, speeches, conventions, contests of all types, and feats of derring-do. Instruments used in such events might include, for example, in addition to race cars, motorcycles, boats, bats, racquets, hockey sticks and pucks, running shoes, athletic headgear, guitars, pianos, costumes, and stage props.
The entire object, or any removed portion thereof, may be used in the present process. What is most important is that the object or removed portion be authentic and be capable of being converted into particulate form. Thus, for example, if the object is painted, some or all of the paint can be scraped off. Alternatively, whole pieces of the object can be removed, or, of course, the entire object can be used.
The removed portion of the object (or the entire object, if that is what is being used) can be converted to a particulate form using equipment and methods well known in the art of comminuting materials. Grinders, pug mills, shredders and the like can be used, depending on the nature of the particular material involved. If immersion dyeing is used (which will be discussed later herein) the material preferably is converted into small enough particles that, when agitated with the garments in the dye solution, they will not tear or visibly abrade the garments. This is particularly preferred in the case where the removed material is wood, metal, ceramic, or a heavy, rigid plastic.
If the dye composition is to be used to make an imprint on the garment by screen printing (also to be discussed hereinafter), preferably the particle size will be small enough that at least some of the souvenir material can pass through the openings in the screen, carried by the textile ink.
Where the removed portion is cured paint, if it is separated from the object by scraping, then that one act of scraping (with collection of the paint particles) can possibly serve to both remove and convert the material to particulate form.
By “dye composition” is here meant any dye or ink composition that can be used to either color an entire garment or print a design on it. By “color” I mean to include black and white, as well as the hues that ordinarily are considered “colors.”
If the entire garment is to be colored, the choice of dye composition to use is made based upon the nature of the fiber content of the garment, as is well known in the art. Thus, for example, cotton can be dyed with direct, developed, sulfur, napthol, and vat dyes; wool can be dyed with acid, basic, chrome and direct dyes; and many synthetic fibers can be dyed with napthol, azoic, and acid dyes.
If the dye composition is to be used to make an imprint on the garment, e.g., by stencil printing, it will preferably be a textile ink. Textile inks contain pigment, solvent, and a binder (sometimes called “varnish”). Usually the binder is a heat-setting one that will cure at some temperature in the range of about 275 to 375° F.
Preferably, the color of dye composition chosen will be at least approximately the same as that of the portion of the object that is used—e.g., within about five or ten shades from the original on the Pantone color chart.
Aqueous dyeing solutions are preferably used for all-over dyeing, e.g., a solution of either a reactive dye or a pigment dye. The dye can be added to the water either before or after the particulate matter from the object. Preferably enough of the particulate material is used that all of the garments will be impregnated by it to some extent when they are colored by immersion dyeing. This requires that at least a fraction of the particulate material be small enough in size that the particles can become lodged in the fibers of the fabric.
As indicated above, the dye mixture that contains the souvenir particulate material can be used either to color the entire fabric or to color just a portion of the fabric. For example, the dye mixture can be an ink composition that is used to imprint an image on the garment, for example by screen printing.
For all-over dyeing, the dye mixture will be a slurry of the particulate material in a dye solution, and it preferably will be used to dye a quantity of the garments all at once. Thus, for example, a quantity of undyed, dyeable garments are immersed in the dye slurry, the garments are then agitated so as to color them, then they are removed from the dye slurry and rinsed with water, following which they are dried.
When formulating the dye slurry, preferably about 1 to 4 pounds of the particulate matter for each 240 gallons of the dye solution is used. Expressed otherwise, preferably at least about 0.05 percent, e.g., about 0.05 to 0.2 percent, of the particulate material is used, based on the weight of the dye solution.
When using an ink-type dye composition to screen print a design on the garments, it, too, will preferably contain at least about 0.05 percent of the souvenir particulate matter, e.g., in the range of about 0.05 to 10 percent, based on the weight of the textile ink.
When immersion dyeing is employed, conventional piece dyeing equipment can be used, e.g., using a kettle dyeing process or a vat dyeing process.
As for the nature of the garments, they can be anything that can be fabricated out of dyeable fabric, e.g., t-shirts, sports jerseys or pants, jeans, jackets, hats, socks, ties, or pajamas. By “dyeable” is here meant capable of accepting a permanent color, either by dyeing or by stencil printing. Shirts and pants are preferred, especially t-shirts, baseball-style shirts, and football-style jerseys.
As regards the fiber content, it can be any dyeable textile fiber. Such fibers include natural materials like cotton, wool, and silk, as well as synthetic materials like polyester, rayon, and nylon.
The garments are preferably made at least in part of cotton, e.g., either 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester fibers.
The fabric of which the garments is made may be knitted or woven.
When immersion dyeing is used, the rinsing and drying of the dyed garments can be performed using equipment and methods that are well known in the art. When screen printing with a textile ink containing the souvenir particulate matter, heat conveyors, e.g., of the type conventionally used in t-shirt screen printing operations can be used.
After dyeing, the garments are ready for distribution to members of the public, accompanied by the visually readable imprint that (a) informs a reader that the garment has been colored with a formulation that contained at least a portion of the object and (b) identifies the nature of the portion that was used.
Preferably, there is placed on the exterior of the garment a visible representation of the object from whence came the particulate matter used in the dye slurry. This can be in words or a picture, or both. Preferably, the representation will be in the form of an imprint or embroidery. Methods of imprinting and embroidering garments that are well known in the art can be used to place such a representation on the garment. Thus, for example, screen printing or machine embroidering can be used. If the garment is only to be partially dyed with the memento-containing mixture, this step of placing on it a visible representation of the object involved can also serve as the dyeing step. Thus, for example, a quantity of white t-shirts can each be screen printed with a picture of the object, using a dye mixture formulated with, for example, paint that has been scraped off the surface of the object.
The visible representation of the object can be located any place on the exterior of the garment. If it is a shirt, it might be located on the back or front, e.g., at the left breast location or just below the neck band on the back. If the shirt has sleeves, the visible representation might be located on one or both of the sleeves, e.g., on the outer surface of the sleeve, near the top of the arm hole.
Also, it may be desirable to imprint or embroider on the garment certain event information, e.g., an identification of an event in which the object has been used. Thus, for example, if the garment commemorates a stock car or driver that has won a particular race, text identifying that race might be imprinted or embroidered on the garment. Similarly, if the car was driven by someone who was declared the driver of the year by a race sanctioning body, text so indicating might be imprinted or embroidered on the garment.
Also, there may be imprinted or embroidered on the garment the name of an entity that is sponsoring the commemoration effort.
Also, there may be imprinted or embroidered on the garment the name of a charitable organization that will benefit financially from sales of the garment.
As mentioned, a visually readable imprint that informs the reader that the garment has been colored in a formulation containing at least a portion of the object involved is to accompany the garment when it is distributed to a member of the public, e.g., sold to a fan. Also, the imprint should identify the nature of the portion that was used, e.g., whether it was paint from the race car, leather from the football, wood from the baseball bat, or whatever. For instance, the imprint can read: “Dyed with paint from Reggie Price's Ford Taurus, winner of the 1999 Springfield 500.” The imprint can be attached to the garment, e.g., as a hang tag, or it can be enclosed with the garment, inside a container, e.g., a mailing carton or envelope, or a plastic bag.
The imprint can itself contain all of the information about the material that has been used to color the garment, as well as the object from whence it came, or the imprint can refer the reader to a representation on the garment itself for some of that information, e.g., the specific identity of the object from whence the material came. Thus, for example, the imprint might read, “The dye used to color this shirt contains paint taken from the legendary car this shirt memorializes,” and there can be printed or embroidered on the shirt itself a representation of that car, e.g., the words “Reggie Price's Ford Taurus, No. 18,” alone or together with an image of the car.