CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The present application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/532,383, filed Dec. 26, 2003 (Dec. 26, 2003).
- REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX
- TECHNICAL FIELD
- BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART
The present invention relates generally to accessories for painting, and more particularly to a magnetic paint brush holder.
Painting is a time-consuming and almost universally messy task. It is also one that involves work on ladders or other elevated surfaces, and it is most commonly done while standing. Accordingly, while paint is generally sold in one gallon buckets in most retail stores, and in five gallon buckets when sold wholesale or to professional painters, when hand painting on the job, painters rarely hold paint containers having a capacity of more than a few quarts. And when painting in confined spaces, such as corners, ceiling/wall junctions, or close to trim (“cutting in” as it is known in the trade), painters frequently employ a tapered and angled trim brush suited for immersion in small containers, rather than large buckets. It can be readily appreciated that a small paint container is easy to manipulate, does not fatigue the painter too quickly, and reduces the risk in handling a heavy load of paint when atop a ladder or scaffolding.
Painting takes time, and even the discrete elements of a painting task are rarely competed without interruption: painters take breaks or attend to other work matters, and these interruptions do not necessarily coincide with the moment a paint holder becomes empty. Thus, there is always the question of what to do with the paint in the container and the paint remaining in the bristles of the brush; that is, what is the best way to briefly store a paint laden brush? The less experienced painter often makes the mistake of placing the brush atop the rim of the paint container, perhaps after unloading the bristles as much as possible. Not only does this result in paint drips on the outside of the container, the floor, and any other surface the painter is careless enough to place the brush over, but because the brush is left in the open air, it tends to dry out and become unworkable without a thorough cleaning. When taking a break from painting, experienced painters, including professionals, generally ensure that a small volume of paint remains in the bottom of the paint container, and they then leave the tips of the brush bristles immersed in the paint during the respite. The bristles therefore do not dry out and the brush stays workable. However, this is an imperfect solution, as it necessitates adjusting the volume of paint to ensure neither too much paint is loaded in the bristles, nor too little paint such that the bristles dry out. Additionally, the handle of the brush may be leaned against the interior side of the paint container, possibly causing a small amount of paint to get on the handle, and later on the painter's hand.
Several devices have been proposed as solutions to the foregoing problems. Exemplary devices disclosed and taught in United States patents include:
U.S. Pat. No. 5,033,704, to Kerr, which shows a paint brush holding device that is inserted into the cap locking groove on a paint can and which supports a paint brush over the open mouth of such paint can. The accessory includes a base which is easily snapped into and out of engagement with the paint can top locking groove and a top shelf which extends out over the open mouth of the paint can when the base is engaged with the locking groove. A magnet is located on the top shelf and magnetically attracts the metal ring on the brush handle so as to position the bristles over the open mouth when the brush metal ring is magnetically mounted to the top shelf by the magnet. The top shelf is either parallel to the plane of the container open mouth, or it is slightly tilted towards the open mouth so that gravity assists the paint in dripping off of the bristles and into the container. The accessory is also curved on a curvature which matches the curvature of the cylindrical paint container. The device does not facilitate placement of the bristle tips in a container having a low volume of paint. In fact, it does not facilitate placement of the bristles in paint at all.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,044,388 to Matkovic, teaches a hook secured to the handle of a paint brush proximate the body portion of the brush and immediately above the metal ferrule. The hook can be positioned to straddle the upper rim of a paint can, thereby enabling the brush to be disposed vertically within the open space of the container. The device does not provide for adjustment of the extent to which the brush is immersed in paint; it is directed only to means to prevent dripping outside the can.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,101,046, to Puntillo, discloses a paint brush holder with a base having a lip complementary to the chime of a paint can. The holder includes a cradle having a flat edge at its juncture at the base and standing off at an acute angle with respect to the base, a magnetic brush holder on the upper extremity of the cradle which support a paint brush by the metal band on the body of the brush. The holder is disposed above the can when used and angles the bristle tips downwardly to direct drips into the can. The holder does not provide means to immerse the bristle tips in a volume of paint contained within the paint can.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,729,158, to Nagy, teaches a paint brush holder which elevates and holders a paint brush over an open paint can. Like Puntillo, it does not permit immersion of the brush within the paint contained in the can. The brush holder is retained on the rim of a paint can by an L-shaped clamp.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,536,285, Vaughn, teaches a paint brush holder having a clamp which fits over the rim of a paint container and includes a magnet to retain a paint brush against the magnet when the brush is not in use. The apparatus is made of substantially rigid material and includes a single permanent magnet.
U.S. Pat. No. Des. 358,691, shows a paint brush holder having a clamp as in Vaughn, wherein the retention means is not a permanent magnet, but a clip.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The foregoing patents reflect the current state of the art of which the present inventor is aware. Reference to, and discussion of, these patents is intended to aid in discharging Applicant's acknowledged duty of candor in disclosing information that may be relevant to the examination of claims to the present invention. However, it is respectfully submitted that none of the above-indicated patents disclose, teach, suggest, show, or otherwise render obvious, either singly or when considered in combination, the invention described and claimed herein.
The present invention is a paint brush holder for holding a paint brush within the interior of a paint container and above the surface of a volume of liquid paint in the paint container. By employing the inventive apparatus, the user can temporarily store a paint brush in the paint container by wetting only the tips of the bristles. The paint brush holder of the present invention includes a strap of flexible material with at least one magnet disposed at one of the ends of the strap. Preferably two magnets are employed, one each disposed at an end of the strap. However, in an alternative embodiment, a single magnet can be used, and the strap can be fashioned from generally rigid material to include an arcuate portion and two arms to grasp the upper rim and sides of a paint container in the manner of a clip. When the paint brush holder of the present invention is installed on a paint container, a paint brush can be captured and retained by one of the magnets at the metallic ferrule of the brush.
The novel features characteristic of the invention, as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. The various features of novelty that characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this disclosure. The invention does not reside in any one of these features taken alone, but rather in the particular combination of all of its structures for the functions specified.
There has thus been broadly outlined the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form additional subject matter of the claims appended hereto. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based readily may be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
Further, the purpose of the Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. The Abstract is neither intended to define the invention of this application, which is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
Certain terminology and derivations thereof may be used in the following description for convenience in reference only, and will not be limiting. For example, words such as “upward,” “downward,” “left,” and “right” would refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made unless otherwise stated. Similarly, words such as “inward” and “outward” would refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of a device or area and designated parts thereof. References in the singular tense include the plural, and vice versa, unless otherwise noted.
The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1A is a perspective view showing the inventive paint brush holder installed on a conventional paint can and holding a paint brush;
FIG. 1B is a perspective view showing the inventive apparatus of FIG. 1A installed on a paint can, but without a paint brush attached;
FIG. 2A is a perspective view showing a first preferred embodiment of the inventive paint brush holder;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a second preferred embodiment of the inventive paint brush holder;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation showing the first preferred embodiment installed on a paint can and holding a paint brush;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation showing the second preferred embodiment installed on a paint can and holding a paint brush;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation showing an alternative clip style of the second preferred embodiment and alternative means of employing the apparatus for holding a paint brush;
DRAWING REFERENCE NUMERALS, FIGS. 1-7
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation showing how the first preferred embodiment of the inventive apparatus may be adjusted to control the depth in a paint can at which a paint brush is held and suspended above the paint volume.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
- 100 inventive apparatus generally
- 110 strap
- 120 first end (of strap)
- 130 second end (of strap)
- 140 first permanent magnet
- 150 second permanent magnet
- 160 medial portion of strap
- 170 foldable middle of medial portion of strap
- 200 paint container
- 210 upper rim (of the paint container)
- 220 interior side of the paint container
- 230 exterior side of the paint container
- 240 paint brush
- 250 ferrule
- 260 brush bristles
- 270 paint
- 300 second preferred embodiment of the inventive apparatus
- 310 first arm
- 320 second arm
- 330 arcuate middle portion
- 340 permanent magnet
- 350 end of second arm
- 360 short first arm
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 7, wherein like reference numerals refer to like components in the various views, there is illustrated therein a new and improved paint brush holder for capturing and holding a paint brush within the interior of a paint can, above the liquid paint in the paint can, in order to keep the brush bristles wet while simultaneously preventing excessive paint build up in the bristles. The inventive apparatus is generally denominated 100 in the various views, and among the various views like reference numerals refer to like components.
FIGS. 1A and 1B illustrate the generally intended use of a preferred embodiment of the brush holder. FIGS. 2 and 3 show the first two preferred embodiments.
In a first preferred embodiment, FIGS. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, and 4, the paint brush holder comprises a strap of flexible material 110, preferably molded plastic, having a first end 120 and a second end 130, and at the respective ends are affixed or encased first and second permanent magnets, 140 and 150, respectively. The strap may have a tapered medial or waist portion 160, though a tapered configuration is not essential to the basic function of the device. In the first preferred embodiment, it is preferable, however, that it be generally flexible along the length of the medial portion, and at least about a foldable middle 170 of the medial portion. When fabricated of either flexible or generally rigid material, the medial portion need have only a foldable middle 170 so that the ends of the strap can be approximated at the magnets. However, if the entire medial portion is flexible, the user has greater control over the installation of the apparatus on a paint container and therefore of the height at which a brush is held within the paint container.
Preferably the magnets are encased in a housing, wherein the encasement constitutes an integral expansion of the strap material at the ends of, and extending, the medial portion. Moreover, the encasement can take any of a number of suitable shapes, though a simple square block or thin cylindrical shape may be preferable for simplicity in manufacture. However, it will be appreciated that encasement of the magnets is not essential to the function of the inventive apparatus, and retention of the magnets may be accomplished in a number of well known ways.
As shown in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 4, and 7, when installed over the side of a paint container 200, the waist portion strap straddles the upper rim 210 of the container and the two ends of the strap fall along the interior and exterior sides 220, 230, to effectively embrace the container. After such an installation, a paint brush 240 can be captured and retained by the interior magnet 150 at its metallic ferrule 250. In this manner, the brush bristles 260 can be suspended above the liquid paint at an adjustable height so that only the tips of the bristles are wetted. This can be accomplished by means of adjusting the position of the metallic ferrule 250, and also by positioning the magnets at differential heights along the interior and exterior sides of the can. Additionally, the depth at which the strap itself is installed within the paint container may be selectively adjusted so that both magnets are closer or further from the upper rim. In this manner the bristles 260 can be immersed an optimal depth within the paint 270 so that only the tips are wetted, thereby keeping the brush fresh for continued use and preventing the paint from drying in the bristles. This reduces clean up time, provides a simple and convenient solution to maintaining the proper working condition of the brush and paint during breaks, and maintains and lengthens brush life.
FIGS. 3 and 5 illustrate a second preferred embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the apparatus 300 comprises a first arm 310 and a second arm 320 joined at a substantially rigid arcuate middle portion 330 which spaces the arms sufficiently to allow placement over the side of a bucket, but closely enough to snugly clip over the bucket. The first and second arms may be of equal or nearly equal length as measured from the middle portion. The arms and middle portion are preferably molded of plastic material having sufficient resilience to allow gentle spreading of the arms to accommodate a paint can rim and side between them, though the deformation is temporary and the arms are urged toward one another so as to engage and press against the interior and exterior sides 220, 230 of the bucket 200, thereby effectively grasping the bucket. In essence, the arms comprise a rim- and container-engaging clip that secures the brush holder to a paint container and therefore does not depend on any permanent magnets to hold the apparatus in place.
In the second preferred embodiment, a permanent magnet 340 is disposed proximate the end 350 of the second arm so that a paint brush 240 can be firmly retained at its metallic ferrule or band 250. In the second preferred embodiment, the device employs a single magnet, but its size remains quite small and therefore may be manufactured for very little cost and is easily transported or simply placed in a pocket after use.
Referring now to FIG. 6, it will be appreciated that an alternative clip design of the second preferred embodiment having a short first arm 360, shorter, that is, than the second arm, would allow for a functional installation on a paint can in which.
From the foregoing description, it Will be appreciated that the inventive apparatus, distilled to its essence, includes a strap having a first end, a second end, and a medial portion, and at least one permanent magnet disposed at one of the first or second ends. The magnet or magnets may be encased in an expansion integral with the strap or simply affixed to one or both of the ends of the strap. The strap may be entirely flexible or partly flexible, but most importantly includes a fold or arcuate portion that may be draped over the upper rim of a paint container. When two magnets are included, it is preferable that the entire strap portion be flexible, as this provides the greatest flexibility in adjusting the height of the magnets above the surface of the paint volume in the paint container.
It will be further appreciated that the apparatus provides a novel method of holding a paint brush within the interior of a paint container having a volume of paint, the paint container having interior and exterior sides and an upper rim. The inventive method comprises the steps of: (a) providing a paint brush holder adapted for detachable installment on and over the upper rim of a paint container, the paint brush holder including a strap portion with first and second ends and at least one magnet disposed at one of the ends of the strap, the strap portion adapted for draping over the upper rim of the paint container such that one of the ends is disposed at a selected height above a volume of paint in the paint container, and the magnet being adapted for holding the paint brush by any sufficiently metallic element; (b) placing the strap portion of the paint brush holder on and over the upper rim paint of the paint container; (c) adjusting the strap portion so that the permanent magnet is at a height above the surface of the volume of paint such that when the brush is held by the permanent magnet, only a portion of the bristles of the brush are wetted by the paint; and (d) placing a magnetic element of the paint brush, such as the metallic ferrule, proximate the permanent magnet such that the brush is captured and retained at the desired height above the surface of the volume of paint.
The present inventive apparatus and method distinguishes over the prior art and includes several advantages. Most notably the present invention is quite compact. It can be folded and easily carried in a painter's pocket, it can be looped around the handle of a paint brush, or it can be secured on any suitably sized handle, bar, grip, belt loop, or the like. For a painter so inclined, it could double as a money clip or a paper holder.
The above disclosure is sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention, and provides the best mode of practicing the invention presently contemplated by the inventor. While there is provided herein a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of this invention, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction, dimensional relationships, and operation shown and described. Various modifications, alternative constructions, changes and equivalents will readily occur to those skilled in the art and may be employed, as suitable, without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. Such changes might involve alternative materials, components, structural arrangements, sizes, shapes, forms, functions, operational features or the like.
Therefore, the above description and illustrations should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.