TECHNICAL FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
- SUMMARY OF INVENTION
This invention relates generally to zippers, and more specifically to a zipper pull which is readily and conveniently replaced or exchanged. In many cases, if the pull breaks away from the zipper the entire zipper is removed from the article and a new zipper installed. For some, the inconvenience of replacing the zipper outweighs the cost of the article. These articles are often discarded, placed in storage, or given away. Many of these articles are in perfectly good condition with the exception of the inoperable zipper. In other cases, existing zipper pulls are simply too small and difficult to grasp particularly for small children and arthritic elderly persons. The invention is applicable for use on any conventional zipper, such as that commonly used in pants, shorts, jackets, bags, purses, wallets, and suitcases.
Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide a zipper pull which is readily and conveniently replaced or exchanged.
It is another object of the invention to provide a zipper pull which is relatively easily attached to the zipper slide.
It is another object of the invention to provide a zipper pull which can be manufactured in any desired aesthetic shape, size, and/or color.
It is another object of the invention to provide a zipper pull which is especially useful by children and arthritic elderly persons.
These and other objects of the present invention are achieved in the preferred embodiments disclosed below by providing a replaceable zipper pull adapted for attachment to a tang of a zipper slide. The zipper pull includes an elongated tab for being gripped by a user. A resilient attachment member has a proximal end connected to the tab and a free end for being inserted through the tang of the zipper slide. A locking projection is formed with the free end of the attachment member. Upon insertion of the attachment member through the tang, the locking projection is adapted for engaging the tab in a locked condition thereby securing the tab to the zipper slide.
According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the tab defines a first opening through which the attachment member extends and second opening for receiving the locking projection.
According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, an anchor is formed with the proximal end of the attachment member for connecting the attachment member to the tab.
Preferably, the anchor is an enlarged ball located within the first opening of the tab.
Preferably, the attachment member is formed of steel.
Preferably, the attachment member has a gage number between * and * U.S.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In another embodiment, the invention is a zipper including first and second complementary rows of intermeshing teeth. A slide is carried on the first and second rows of teeth. The slide operates when pulled to draw the first and second rows of teeth together, thereby closing the zipper, and to pull the first and second rows of teeth apart, thereby opening the zipper. A tang is formed with the slide. A replaceable pull extends from the tang, and includes an elongated tab for being gripped by a user to move the slide. A resilient attachment member extends from the tab, and is inserted through the tang. A locking projection is formed with a free end of the attachment member. Upon insertion of the attachment member through the tang, the locking projection is adapted for engaging the tab in a locked condition thereby securing the tab to the slide.
Some of the objects of the invention have been set forth above. Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear as the description proceeds when taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a replaceable zipper pull according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention, and showing the pull secured to a conventional zipper slide;
FIG. 2 is an environmental view of the replaceable zipper pull attached to the slide of a zipper;
FIG. 3 is an environmental view of a conventional zipper pull of the prior art;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the prior art zipper pull broken away from the slide;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the present zipper pull before connecting to the slide;
FIG. 6 is an environmental view of the zipper pull with the pull tab in cross-section to show respective ends of the attachment member; and
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS AND BEST MODE
FIGS. 7, 8, and 9 are sequential views demonstrating the locking connection of the attachment member to the pull tab of the zipper pull.
Referring now specifically to the drawings, a replaceable zipper pull according to the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1, and shown generally at reference numeral 10. The zipper pull 10 is attached to the tang 11 of a conventional zipper slide 12. As shown in FIG. 2, the slide 12 is carried on first and second rows of teeth 14 and 15, and operates when pulled to draw the teeth together, thereby closing the zipper 18, and to pull the teeth apart, thereby opening the zipper 18.
FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate a common problem of the prior art. After a period of use, the prior art zipper pull “P” is subject to breaking at its base and disconnecting from the slide “S”. In this case, the entire zipper “Z” is generally inoperable and must be either repaired or replaced. The present invention offers a ready and convenient means for repairing the zipper “Z”, and replacing or exchanging the zipper pull “P”.
Referring to FIG. 5, the zipper pull 10 includes an elongated hollow tab 21 designed to be gripped by a user. The tab 21 may be enlarged to facilitate gripping by small children and arthritic persons, and may be formed in any desired aesthetic shape and/or color. An attachment member 22 extends from the base of the tab 21 and has a resilient locking projection 22A integrally-formed with its free end. The attachment member 22 and projection 22A are preferably formed of stainless flat spring steel. Alternatively, the attachment member 22 and projection 22A may be integrally molded of a plastic material. The projection 22A may comprise any suitable, enlarged locking element located at the free end of the attachment member 22.
As shown in FIGS. 6, 7, 8, and 9, the proximal end of the attachment member 22 resides inside the hollow tab 21, and comprises an integrally-formed enlarged anchor 22B permanently connecting the attachment member 22 to the tab 21. The attachment member 22 extends outwardly through a narrow slot 24 in the tab 21, and is designed to pass through the tang 1 1 of the zipper slide 12. After passing through the tang 11, the locking projection 22A is received in a second narrow slot 25 in the hollow tab 21, as shown in FIG. 7. The resilient locking projection 22A is pinched upon entering the tab 21, and immediately expands back to its normal condition once inside the tab 21, as shown in FIG. 8. FIG. 9 illustrates the zipper pull 10 secured to the slide 12 of the zipper 18 with the locking projection 22A of the attachment member 22 located inside the pull tab 21 in a locked condition.
A replaceable zipper pull is described above. Various details of the invention may be changed without departing from its scope. Furthermore, the foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and best mode for practicing the invention are provided for the purpose of illustration only and not for the purpose of limitation-the invention being defined by the claims.