US 20050139625 A1
A hanger for a garment, including a knitwear garment, has a body portion with a hook member extending upward, and two arms extending outward from the body portion in opposing directions from one another. At least one arm has a substantially contiguous garment supporting surface on an upwardly facing side, the garment supporting surface having a plurality of locking cells along a first lateral edge of the upwardly facing side. The garment hanger may be a molded plastic garment hanger, and may be enhanced by molding a portion of the upwardly facing side from a non-slip material in a co-extrusion process.
1. A hanger for a garment comprising:
a body portion having a hook member extending upward;
two arms extending outward from the body portion in opposing directions from one another;
wherein a first arm has a substantially contiguous garment supporting surface on an upwardly facing side, and further comprising a first plurality of locking cells along a first lateral edge of the upwardly facing side.
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Under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), this application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/519,419, filed 12 Nov. 2003, entitled Knitwear Hanger (attorney Docket P17232), the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes.
1. Field of Invention
The present invention relates to garment hangers, and more particularly, pertains to a molded plastic garment hanger having enhanced garment retention structure along its elongated arms that is particularly useful for supporting and displaying knitwear garments.
2. Description of Related Art
In industry, particularly such as the garment manufacturing industry, plastic garment hangers are widely employed for the purpose of shipping and displaying garments, such hangers frequently being of the inexpensive ship-on type whereby the garment is shipped from the manufacturer or wholesaler to the retailer while suspended from the hanger. Generally, such garment hangers are inexpensive single-piece or unitary molded plastic structures which are adapted to be either discarded at the time of sale, returned to the garment manufacturer or provided to a customer free of charge in conjunction with the purchase of the garment suspended therefrom.
Garment hangers of that type may either be simply constructed as molded plastic structures incorporating a unitary or metal central hook portion adapted to be suspended from a suitable support, such as a garment rack or the like, and with a hanger body portion having arms extending in opposite directions from the base of the hook portion so as to facilitate a garment to be suspended therefrom. When needed for a specific use, the opposite or distal ends of the body portion or arms may be formed with suitable grip slots or clip members to enable the attachment of various kinds of garments thereto, such as underwear, slips, brassieres, multiple garments, and the like.
The prior art includes a number of garment hangers that are molded so as to receive various indicia or logos, which may be representative of the garment manufacturer or designer, or possibly the retail establishment, to provide a form of advertisement and to also identify the origin of the garment being suspended therefrom. An embossed logo may also be imprinted therein so as to provide various color contrasts provided through molded raised or recessed surfaces representative of a logo, advertisement, or the like as mentioned hereinbefore.
The prior art also includes garment hangers for coats, blazers and other heavier garments that are fitted with pads or rubber strips, along the shoulder portion, or non-slip adhesive coatings on the pants bar to help retain the garment on the hanger.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,655,867 to Berkovits discloses a garment hanger having a non-slip strip of resilient material adhesively secured to the shoulder portions of the hanger.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,606,482 to McHugh discloses a rod-type garment hanger having a pre-formed sleeve of non-slip protective material that is slipped over the rod portions of the hanger to assist in retaining garments on the hanger.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,058,241 to Craig discloses a tightly braided cover which is plaited around the periphery of a garment hanger to provide protection for the garment and to prevent garment slippage from the hanger.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,020,705 to Garrison discloses a garment clamping hanger which has garment gripping pads molded of a synthetic rubber which has a high coefficient of friction when firmly pressed against fabric and avoids marking or adhering to the fabric of a garment.
Finally, structure and method of manufacturing coinjected plastic garment hangers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,950 issued to Gouldson, et al., which is hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.
Therefore, the present invention discloses a hanger for a garment comprising a body portion having a hook member extending upward, and two arms extending outward from the body portion in opposing directions from one another. At least one arm has a substantially contiguous garment supporting surface on an upwardly facing side, the garment supporting surface having a plurality of locking cells along a lateral edge of the upwardly facing side. The garment hanger may be a molded plastic garment hanger, and may be enhanced by molding a portion of the upwardly facing side from a non-slip material in a co-extrusion process.
These and other features, aspects and benefits of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art with reference to the following detailed description and accompanying figures, where like reference numerals refer to like features across the several views, and wherein;
Referring now in detail to the drawings, and particularly the hanger construction as shown in
In order to provide reinforcement for the hook portion 12, a suitable gusset or flange 20 may be molded into the hanger proximate the juncture between base of the hook portion 12 and the hanger body 14. This will impart an enhanced degree of strength against bending of the hook portion in the plane of the body 14 under the weight of a supported garment. In the exemplary embodiment of
Either or both of arms 16, 18 of hanger 10 may incorporate a non-slip plastic insert 22, 24. The molded body member has ‘u’-section arms, illustrated in cross-section in
Provided along either or both lateral edges 40, 42, of the upwardly facing surface 30 and adjacent the intersection of the laterally facing surfaces 32, 34, are a plurality of locking cells 36. In the exemplary embodiment, locking cells 36 are in the form of concave recesses. Alternately or additionally, locking cells 36 may be formed as other localized surface discontinuity, including but not limited to recesses or depressions. In conjunction with the generally contiguous garment-supporting surface 38 on an upwardly facing surface 30, locking cells 36 improve the frictional interface between the hanger and the garment to be hung from it without forming sharp localized deformations in the hung garment, which is undesirable.
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In the exemplary embodiment, the non-slip surface extends substantially to the distal end of each arm 16, 18, including around any downward curvature which may be provided at the distal ends. For the sake of illustration, hanger 10 is a molded plastic hanger, and the non-slip plastic inserts 22, 24 are formed in a co-extrusion process. The bond between the insert 22 and the arms 16, 18 may be a mechanical bond, a molded plastic bond, a fused bond or a combination thereof as desired. The factors which determine the type of bond include the chemical compatibility of the plastics involved, the melting and fusing temperatures of the respective plastics involved, the temperatures at which the plastic is injected into the respective mold cavities, the temperature at which the cavity is maintained, and the respective dwell time between the injection of the first plastic, and the removal of the mold insert and the injection of the second plastic.
By adjusting the parameters of the process, one may achieve a mechanical bond, a plastic molded bond, or a wholly fused bond including the surface layers of the plastics being intermixed with each other. In still another embodiment, distortion of the hanger mechanical interlocks as the second hot melt of plastic material flows into the insert produces a bond which is the combination of mechanical interlocking and controlled thermal deformation. This combination form of bonding is particularly advantageous for products, including but not limited to hangers having shoulder inserts, which will be subject to tensile and shear forces as well as compressive forces to ensure superior integrity between the two plastic materials being bonded, particularly in instances with materials having lower levels of chemical synergy.
The plastic materials which can be employed with the molding operation in order to produce the inventive composite molded plastic hanger may include, but are not limited to, plastic materials such as polystyrene, SAN, ABS, PPO, nylon, polypropylene (PP), polyethylene, PET, polycarbonates (PC), acrylics, K resin, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) among others, each being provided with specific coloration in conformance with the specific demands of the customer. When it is desired to mold composite hangers with the non-slip inserts, polypropylene and polyethylene primary materials may be combined with ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), low density polyethylene, or thermoplastic elastomers for the non-slip portion. Alternately, if polystyrene, ABS or SAN primary materials are desired, they may be combined with ethylene vinyl acetate, PVC, thermoplastic elastomers or thermoplastic rubbers. Other materials suitable for the primary body construction such as PVC, PC, PMMA or a mixture of a polystyrene with one of the foregoing primary materials may be used with EVA, PVC, thermoplastic elastomers or thermoplastic rubbers and the non-slip insert material.
In one preferred embodiment, styrene or polypropylene is used as the primary material with a softer material (such as a thermoplastic rubber including, but not limited to, KRATON) used for the insert. In another embodiment a harder material can used as the insert including, but not limited to, polyethylene with a propylene membrane.
More particularly, when a chemical bond is desired, it is preferable to use styrene as the primary material or polypropylene as the primary material with EVA/PP mix as insert material. When a chemical and mechanical bond is desired, it is preferable to use styrene as the primary material with styrene rubber as insert material. When a mechanical bond is desired, it is preferable to use polypropylene main as the primary material with polyethylene as insert material.
In a particularly preferred embodiment of the present invention, a combination of mechanical interlocking and controlled thermal deformation bonds the first and second plastic materials. The mechanical bonding is accomplished by a series of interlocking buttonhole joints. Commercially available equipment with specific adaptations may be used to mold the composite hanger of the present invention.
The primary material contemplated in an exemplary embodiment is a combination of Dow styrene grades 693 and 478. The secondary material is a D grade material available from Shell Oils sold under the trade name of KRATON. The melt temperature of the KRATON is about 600degrees F., plus or minus 50 degrees F.
From the foregoing illustrations it is readily apparent that the present invention includes an extremely simple garment hanger construction, preferably produced in a coinjection mold through a simple two step process which requires a minimum amount of effort and expenditure, while being versatile in its applications due to the specific structural aspects of the members. No costly hand labor would be required to affix non-slip strips to the shoulders of the hangers. All is accomplished in a single molding operation.
Shown and described herein are what are merely exemplary embodiments of the present invention. These descriptions are meant to be illustrative, and not limiting, on the scope of the present invention. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications and changes in form or detail can readily be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. It is therefore intended that the invention not be limited to the exact form and detail herein shown and described nor to anything less than the whole of the invention as defined by the appended claims.