Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050284856 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/870,706
Publication dateDec 29, 2005
Filing dateJun 17, 2004
Priority dateJun 17, 2004
Publication number10870706, 870706, US 2005/0284856 A1, US 2005/284856 A1, US 20050284856 A1, US 20050284856A1, US 2005284856 A1, US 2005284856A1, US-A1-20050284856, US-A1-2005284856, US2005/0284856A1, US2005/284856A1, US20050284856 A1, US20050284856A1, US2005284856 A1, US2005284856A1
InventorsMichael Cafaro, Wai Tang
Original AssigneeHelen Of Troy Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Rechargeable hair styling appliances and charging stand
US 20050284856 A1
Abstract
Hair styling appliance systems include cordless appliance handles adapted to receive a rechargeable battery pack. The handles are also adapted to connect to a plurality of different electric styling appliances that may be powered by the rechargeable battery pack. A stand provides storage wells for the handle, battery packs and attachments and further provides charging stations for the battery packs.
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(6)
1. Apparatus for storage and use of hair styling appliances comprising:
a stand comprising a plurality of ports, at least one port of which includes a DC electrode electrically connected to a DC receptacle on the stand;
a handle comprising a substantially hollow tubular opening configured to accept a rechargeable battery pack;
one or more rechargeable battery packs insertable into the handle effective to provide power to an attachment attached to the handle;
a plurality of hair styling attachments interchangeably attachable to the handle; and
a power cord comprising electrical blades for plugging into a wall receptacle, an AC to DC transformer and a DC plug configured to plug into the DC receptacle within the charging stand.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the plurality of hair styling attachments comprise a curling iron attachment, a flat straightener attachment and a brush iron attachment.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, comprising two rechargeable battery packs.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the handle comprises an aperture at one end thereof and the attachments are held in the handle by a twist-n-lock mechanism during use.
5. A cordless power hair styling appliance comprising:
a handle having an upper end configured for attachment to a hair styling attachment and a lower end configured to accept a rechargeable battery pack;
a rechargeable battery pack insertable into the lower end of the handle and configured to snap lock in place in the handle;
a plurality of interchangeable hair styling appliance attachments, each configured to attach to the upper end of the handle by a twist-n-lock mechanism;
wherein the handle further provides an electrical connection from a battery pack inserted in the handle to an attachment attached to the handle.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the plurality of hair styling attachments comprise a curling iron attachment, a flat straightener attachment and a brush iron attachment.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of multiple types of hair styling appliances by an individual user, or by a professional hair stylist can be inconvenient if each appliance has a separate power cord that must be plugged into a receptacle. Cords may become entangled or a limited number of power outlets may prevent the powering of all the appliances simultaneously. To address these problems, cordless appliances have been designed as well as appliance stands in which a plurality of appliances can be powered by a single power cord as in U.S. application Publication 20030222069 or U.S. Pat. No. 5,124,532. These references, however, do not disclose a handle that receives a rechargeable battery pack and on which interchangeable hair styling appliances can be attached.

SUMMARY

Certain preferred embodiments of the present disclosure may be described as hair styling appliance systems that include cordless appliance handles adapted to receive a rechargeable battery pack. The handles are also adapted to connect to a plurality of different electric styling appliances that may be powered by the rechargeable battery pack. Any of a number of styling appliances may be used in the disclosed system, including but not limited to curling irons, brush irons and flat straighteners (also known as flat irons). The present disclosure further includes a stand for conveniently holding the appliances so that they are charged and readily useable. The stand preferably includes a plurality of wells or ports for holding the appliances, including ports that connect a rechargeable battery pack to a power cord when the battery pack is seated in the port. Charging ports may be provided for a battery pack contained in a handle, and for a spare battery pack. Other wells or ports are designed to hold attachments while not in use.

Each attachment is detachably connectable to one end of the handle. In preferred embodiments, each attachment includes a cylindrical projection that extends from the end thereof and is configured to slide into a cylindrical aperture on the end of the handle. Preferably a pair of male electrodes extend from the cylindrical projections on the attachments and a pair of female terminals recessed within the apertures at the ends of the appliance handles. The attachments are preferably secured to the appliance handle by means of a twist-n-lock tab mechanism. The handles are primarily hollow tube-like devices shaped to be comfortably held in the hand of a user, and to accept a cylindrical battery pack that is insertable into the opposite end of the handle from the attachment aperture and provides electrical power to the attachment electrodes.

The system also includes a base stand that serves as a recharging station for the battery packs and further as a stand for the appliance handles, extra attachments and extra battery packs. The system also preferably includes an AC to DC converter that plugs into a standard 120 volt electrical socket and also plugs into a DC receptacle on the stand.

Throughout this disclosure, unless the context dictates otherwise, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising,” is understood to mean “includes, but is not limited to” such that other elements that are not explicitly mentioned may also be included. Further, unless the context dictates otherwise, use of the term “a” may mean a singular object or element, or it may mean a plurality, or one or more of such objects or elements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following drawings form part of the present specification and are included to further demonstrate certain aspects of the present invention. The invention may be better understood by reference to one or more of these drawings in combination with the detailed description of specific embodiments presented herein.

FIG. 1A is a side plan view of a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 1B is a cross-sectional view of a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the bottom of a cylindrical projection on an attachment configured to plug into a handle.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a curling iron attachment and handle.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of a curling iron and handle plugged into a charging station or port in a stand.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a side view of a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a top view of a stand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure provides a convenient system in which several styling appliances may be stored in a stand and can be used interchangeably with a cordless battery pack. An example of a system 10 as disclosed is shown in FIG. 1A. The system shown in FIG. 1A includes a stand 12 that provides ports or wells 60 for the various components of the system. Preferably one port of the stand, referred to as the main port 62 is configured to hold the handle 14 and to provide a DC electrical connection in the bottom of the port for recharging a battery pack held in the handle. In preferred embodiments, the stand includes an indicator light 64 or light emitting diode (LED) that is on when the battery pack connected in the main holder 62 or auxiliary charging holder 66 is charged. In certain embodiments, the LED changes color, from red to green, to depict the charging status. The stand shown in FIG. 1A also provides one or more ports 60 for storage of an attachment(s) that is not in use. In the figure, a curling iron attachment 16 is shown. It is understood that other attachments, including flat straightener attachments or brush iron attachments, for example, may also be used in the disclosed system. The stand may be configured to hold any number of attachments as needed. In certain embodiments the stand has a port 62 for the handle 14, a port 66 for one extra battery pack 68 and one, two, or even three ports 60 for extra attachments. These elements may be seen in FIGS. 5 and 6. The handle shown in FIG. 1A includes an On/Off switch 18 and an indicator LED 20 that is lit when the switch is on. The handle 14 also includes a locking ring 42 that holds the attachments in place in the handle.

In order to operate the system, a battery pack is inserted into the lower end of the handle. As defined herein, the handle has an upper end, configured to receive the attachments and a lower end for insertion of the battery pack. The handle is preferably a substantially hollow tube-like member in which the hollow portion is sized to accommodate a rechargeable battery pack. A handle with a battery pack inserted and placed on the charger is shown in cross-section in FIG. 1B. As seen in cross -section, the body 22 of the battery pack extends into the handle for the majority of its length. The battery pack includes a pin 24 extending from the bottom of the body that is shown inserted into a receptacle 26 on the stand (FIG. 7). When the handle with battery pack is seated on the stand, the battery may be recharged when the receptacle 26 is connected to a power source. At the upper end of the battery pack are two electrodes 28 that contact electrodes in the upper end of the handle when the battery pack is placed in the handle and provide power to the attachments. In preferred embodiments, the lower portion of the battery pack includes opposing flexible members 30 that are biased in an outward direction and that include small outwardly projecting flanges on their uppermost end. When the battery pack is fully inserted into the handle, these flanges snap into recesses 32 in order to lock the battery pack in place. To remove the battery pack, a user simply presses in on the flexible members and pulls the battery pack down and out of the handle. Any means known in the art may be used to correctly rotationally orient the battery pack in the handle. Certain embodiments may include a flattened side on the battery pack that is matched by a flattened side in the interior of the handle, or pin and grooves may be used.

As has been described herein, various styling attachments may be provided that are interchangeably connectable to the upper end of the handle. A curling iron attachment is shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. The curling iron is shown seated in a port provided in the stand for extra attachments. The lower end of each attachment preferably includes a cylindrical projection 34 that fits into an aperture 36 in the upper end of the handle. Two pin electrodes 38 project from the cylindrical body 34 and contact recessed electrical connections in the handle that are electrically connected to the battery pack as described above. The attachments are preferably held in the handle by a twist-n-lock assembly. In this assembly, the cylindrical projection 34 includes small projections or pins 40 on opposing sides at the lower end of the cylinder. FIG. 2 shows the bottom of a cylindrical projection 34. The upper end of the handle includes a lock ring 42 that includes grooves in the interior aperture so that the pins 40 slide in the grooves when the attachment is placed on the handle. As the attachment slides into the aperture at the upper end of the handle, the pins slide through the grooves in the lock ring until they exit the grooves below the lock ring. At that point, the lock ring may be twisted, locking the attachment in place. This locking system also seats the electrodes 38 in the receptacles in the upper end of the handle. A curling iron embodiment in which the curling iron attachment and the battery pack are each inserted in the handle is shown in FIG. 3.

In certain embodiments, the storage ports 60 for extra attachments include grooves configured to accept the pins 40 on the lower ends of the attachments to hold the attachments in place and to prevent rotation while in the stand. Analogously, the storage port for an extra battery pack may be configured in a similar way to the interior of the tubular portion of the handle in order to orient and stabilize an extra battery pack in the stand.

An assembled curling iron embodiment is shown in FIG. 4 in the stand and connectable to an electrical power source. The system preferably includes an electrical cord 52 with a DC power plug 50 that plugs into a receptacle within the stand and is electrically connected to each of the charging receptacles 26. The cord 52 is also connected at its opposite end to a transformer 54 that converts standard AC power to DC. The transformer includes standard male blades 56 for insertion into a wall receptor or other standard AC power source. In preferred embodiments, the single DC plug simultaneously powers the main port and any extra battery pack storage/charging ports so that all the connected battery packs are recharged when seated in the recharging ports. In this way, as a battery pack in use becomes discharged a charged battery pack is ready in the holder to be placed in the handle. Thus, a charged battery pack is always available and a user does not have to wait to recharge a battery pack to keep working.

All of the apparatus and methods disclosed and claimed herein can be made and executed without undue experimentation in light of the present disclosure. While the apparatus and methods have been described in terms of preferred embodiments, it will be apparent to those of skill in the art that variations may be applied to the apparatus and/or methods and in the steps or in the sequence of steps of the methods described herein without departing from the concept, spirit and scope of the invention. All such similar substitutes and modifications apparent to those skilled in the art are deemed to be within the spirit, scope and concept of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7391182Nov 15, 2004Jun 24, 2008Helen Of Troy LimitedAutoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
US7400112Jul 27, 2006Jul 15, 2008Helen Of Troy LimitedAutoilluminating rechargeable lamp system
USRE41628Nov 16, 2006Sep 7, 2010Helen Of Troy LimitedAutoilluminating lamp system
DE102010043457A1 *Nov 5, 2010May 10, 2012BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbHHair care device such as hair straightener, has hair care unit, which has heating device for heating and battery, where charging station is electrically conductively connected with hair-care unit
Classifications
U.S. Classification219/222
International ClassificationA45D1/04
Cooperative ClassificationA45D1/04
European ClassificationA45D1/04
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 6, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: HELEN OF TROY LIMITED, BARBADOS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CAFARO, MICHAEL;TANG, WAI MING;REEL/FRAME:016042/0491;SIGNING DATES FROM 20040712 TO 20041124