US 20040140281 A1
The invention relates to a device for hanging towels. The inventive device comprises a knob (2) and below said knob a spreading element (3) with a smooth surface for spreading the towel placed on the knob (2). Said knob is preferably provided with a non-slip surface facing the towel to be placed thereon or it is configured as a hook or hook-like element. The surfaces of the knob (2) and the spreading element are arranged one on top of the other in a substantially concentrical manner. The hanging device can be provided with a support arm (4) for wall mounting.
1. Holder device for towels and similar, characterized in that the holder device (1) includes a holder head (2) for the towel and a spreader body (3) positioned below it with a smooth surface to spread open the towel placed on it.
2. Holder device as in
3. Holder device as in one of
4. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that, when the holder device is seen from above, the holder head (2) includes a significantly smaller diameter than does the spreader body (3) positioned below it.
5. Holder device as in
6. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that the surfaces of the holder head (2) and spreader body (3) are essentially concentric with each other.
7. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that holder head (2) and spreader body (3) are formed as a hemisphere, whereby the hemisphere includes a slip-proof surface in its polar area that forms the holder head (2), and whereby the remaining surface of the hemisphere is a smooth surface forming the spreader body (3).
8. Holder device as in
9. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that the holder head (2) includes an essentially spherical surface facing upwards, and the spreader body (3) positioned below it is essentially arc-shaped.
10. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that the surfaces of the holder head (2) and of the spreader body (3) are essentially concentric with each other.
11. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that it is connected with a carrier arm (4) that feeds into an attachment plate (5) for securing to a wall, whereby in installed condition the upper edge of the carrier arm is inclined relatively steeply downward from the attachment plate toward the holder device, and that the carrier arm (4) has a smooth surface.
12. Holder device as in
13. Holder device as in one of the previous claims, characterized in that holder head (2) and spreader body (3) are formed as one piece.
14. Holder device as in
 In the illustrations, identical or identically-functioning parts are designated with the same reference number.
 In FIGS. 1 through 3, the holder device 1 consists of a hemispherical shell that includes a slip-proof surface on its polar or upper area that forms a holder head 2, while the remaining area of the full-surfaced spherical shell possesses a smooth surface that serves as a spreader body 3.
 A narrow carrier arm 4 is connected to the spherical shell essentially along a meridian of the spherical shell. Its lower edge lies approximately in the equatorial plane of the spherical shell, the upper edge goes steeply upward, whereby this edge, as shown, may be arc-shaped. The surface of the carrier arm is smooth. The carrier arm ends at an attachment plate 5 by means of which the holder device may be secured to a wall or similar.
 For the holder device shown in FIGS. 4 through 6, two identical parallel carrier arms 4 a and 4 b are used instead of one that are connected with the spherical shell separated by a distance approximately equal to the diameter of the holder head.
 For the holder device shown in FIGS. 7 through 9, the hemispherical shell is provided with cutouts, so that only the functional elements remain, namely the polar area as holder head 2, and the outer, lower edge in the area below the two carrier arms 4 as a spreader body 3. A connecting spar 6 is provided between the holder head 2 and the arc-shaped spreader body 3. The carrier arms 4 in this embodiment example are connected only with the holder head 2. For attachment to a wall, the carrier arms as described in the previous example are connected with an attachment plate 5.
 Although the above has described and illustrated only embodiment examples in which the holder head and spreader body lie approximately on the virtual or actual surface of a hemisphere, other embodiments are possible, of course. Thus, for example, the holder head might be formed as a small ball with slip-proof surface, and the spreader body as an open or closed ring positioned below the holder head and connected with it. The holder head could also be formed as a thickened part of a shaft extending upward from the spreader body. The size of the holder head and spreader body, as well as the separation between them, must be adapted to suit the towel to be hung upon them. Reasonable values are for 1 to 6 centimeters as a diameter of the holder head, for 8 to 20 centimeters as a diameter of the spreader body, and for 8 to 20 centimeters as the separation between holder head and spreader body.
FIG. 10 shows towel holder 1 in which holder head 2, spreader body 3, and carrier arms 4 are formed of one piece, e.g., as an injection-molded part, or of two half-shells connected together. The spreader body has a smooth surface, and is connected in its lower area with both carrier arms 4. It is more or less round or spherical. A hook extends upward from the front side of the spreader body, whereby this hook forms the holder head 2. The side of the hook 2 facing the towel to be hung may in turn include a roughened surface.
 Embodiment examples of the invention are described in detail using illustrations, which show:
 FIGS. 1-3 a lateral view, a frontal view, and an overhead view of a holder device for towels based on the invention in a first embodiment example;
 FIGS. 4-6 similar views of a second embodiment example;
 FIGS. 7-9 similar views of a third embodiment example;
FIG. 10 perspective view of another embodiment example of a towel holder device.
 The invention relates to a device for hanging towels or similar, a so-called towel holder.
 A towel dries best when it is hung straight because the laminar airflow generated by evaporation cooling may flow freely, and fresh air may flow to it unhindered.
 If the towel is hanging on a hook on the wall, the air stream is hindered by the restrictive folds, and by the wall itself on its rear side.
 Wands or arms over which a towel may be laid are also useful. A towel must be hung approximately symmetrically on them so that it does not slide off. This requires several hand actions and a certain degree of attention. This position hinders the fresh air flowing from above, but provides better drying than a hook because there are no folds. Such arms are, however, too long and awkward for larger bath towels.
 A towel holder is known from U.S. Pat. No. 3,973,676 that is formed as a wall-mounted holder including a carrier arm angled slightly upwards, on the end of which a hemispherical holder head of rubber with a large number of spikes is secured so that one is reminded of a “rubber hedgehog.” A disadvantage is that the rubber hedgehog is hard to keep clean because of the deep spaces between the spikes. Additionally, the laterally projecting spikes prevent the towel hung over the rubber hedgehog from achieving the proper position by itself. Finally, the carrier arm may catch the towel so that proper spreading, and therefore proper drying, of the towel is not possible.
 A towel holder per U.S. Pat. No. 5,558,307 includes a hemispherical holder head that is provided with disk-shaped, vertically-oriented ribs. These are to prevent slippage of the towel. Such a holder is slightly easier to clean than is one per the above-mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,973,676; the ribs, however, prevent the towel from achieving the proper position by itself.
 In a towel holder per U.S. Pat. No. 4,377,240, a smooth spherical surface supports the towel by means of its roughened surface. On this surface, the area of the surrounding upper edge prevents towel slippage because the pressure caused by the hanging part of the towel is greatest here. This situation, however, prevents the towel from assuming an evenly exposed position and distribution from the force of gravity when it is hung on the holder.
 It is the goal of the invention to create a towel dryer that dries the towel quickly, and that may be operated using one hand and a low degree of attention.
 This task is solved by the invention by means of the properties of Patent claim 1.
 Accordingly, in addition to a holder head that supports the towel, an additional spreader body is provided with a smooth surface. The holder head preferably includes a slip-proof surface, or is hook-shaped, or includes an arrangement of hooks.
 If a towel is gripped by any point along its edge and is hung over the holder head, it is held in position by the slip-proof surface, whereby the freely-hanging part is draped over the spreader body evenly and spontaneously by its weight. When this is of suitably large dimensions for the towel being hung, a folded pattern arises whose folds are open enough to be exposed to fresh air from both sides.
 The spreader body is preferably positioned approximately concentrically below the holder head, and is approximately round or arched when viewed from above, whereby the arc opens toward the user side. Its surface is smooth and preferably spherically curved. Other shapes are possible, of course, so long as it is ensured that the towel hung on the holder head may drape freely with generous folds from its own weight.
 In order to promote this spontaneous sliding, the surfaces of the spreader body that come in contact with the towel should be curved, preferably spherically curved.
 The sliding is further promoted if the holder head is relatively small with respect to the spreader body, and is positioned clearly higher. This arrangement allows one-hand operation requiring little attention.
 A hook-shaped body or preferably a spherical surface facing upwards toward the towel to be hung may serve as a holder head that is significantly smaller than the spreader body, i.e., the diameter of the outer edge of the spreader body is clearly larger than that of the holder head. The holder head and spreader body, for example, may each be a single-piece fully formed hemisphere that includes a non-slip surface at its pole. The hemisphere may be provided with cutouts etc. so that, for example, only the slip-proof pole area, the lower smooth edge of the hemisphere, if necessary in the form of a continued arc, and a connection area between these two parts remain.
 It is further possible to form the holder head and spreader body as a single piece, e.g., as an injection-molded part or otherwise joined or glued shell-shaped parts.
 The surface of the holder head may be shaped in any manner so that slippage of the towel is prevented. Polymers that offer a high-friction surface are preferred. Such plastics are often used for grips and buttons that are to be slip-proof. The holder head thus needs no, or only an open, surface pattern with low depth. Such a pattern is self-cleaning by means of the movement of the towel.
 The towel holder may be in the form of a freestanding holder, and includes for this purpose a base and a pole connected to it and with the holder head and/or spreading body.
 The towel holder may also be in the form of a wall-mounted holder. In this case, the holder body must be far enough away from the wall so that fresh air may also come into contact with the rear side, i.e., the side facing the wall. So that air flowing from above has free access, the towel may only [slightly touch the wall]. In order to prevent the towel from enclosing a sealed volume with the wall, the carrier arm is preferably inclined upwards and has a smooth surface. The towel then slips down a little and provides an opening upward if one has laid it too far over the holder head.
 This effect is further reinforced if the carrier arm is a double arm. This has two advantages: first, the opening toward the wall is expanded, and second, two arms prevent a towel that is thrown too far over the holder head from overlapping itself on the rear side and enclosing a part of itself, thus hindering ventilation to the rear side.
 Of course, several such holder devices with a carrier arm may be arranged about a central pole at varying heights. Other methods of attachment are also possible.
 The advantages of a holder device based on the invention are particularly:
 1. Rapid and even drying of the entire towel surface
 2. Compact and small space requirement in relation to the drying effect
 3. Operation using only one hand
 4. Requires little attention
 5. Protection for the fabric
 6. Holder head is self-cleaning
 Further properties of the invention may be taken from the dependent claims.