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Publication numberUS20060016772 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/223,734
Publication dateJan 26, 2006
Filing dateSep 9, 2005
Priority dateJul 22, 2004
Also published asUS20070170130
Publication number11223734, 223734, US 2006/0016772 A1, US 2006/016772 A1, US 20060016772 A1, US 20060016772A1, US 2006016772 A1, US 2006016772A1, US-A1-20060016772, US-A1-2006016772, US2006/0016772A1, US2006/016772A1, US20060016772 A1, US20060016772A1, US2006016772 A1, US2006016772A1
InventorsStephen Plzak
Original AssigneeDesign Research & Development Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tool and gear organizer system with secure hanging method
US 20060016772 A1
Abstract
Provided is a system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising: a mountable base adapted to be secured to a wall or ceiling comprising one or more first coupling devices/acceptors; and one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a second coupling device/acceptor adapted to engage a said first coupling device/acceptor, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements.
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Claims(22)
1. A system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising one or more of:
System A:
a mountable base for securing to a wall or ceiling comprising one or more first coupling devices/acceptors; and
one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a second coupling device/acceptor for engaging a said first coupling device/acceptor, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements; or
System B:
a mountable base for securing to a wall or ceiling comprising one or more hook acceptors; and
one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a snap hook, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the snap hook to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements; or
System C:
one or more reversibly closable tethers comprising first coupling devices/acceptors secured to the closable tethers; and
one or more tether devices, the tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a second coupling device/acceptor for securing to the first coupling device/acceptor; or
System D:
one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a first coupling device/acceptor for engaging a second coupling device/acceptor that may be fixed to wall or ceiling, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements; and
packaging or promotional material for the mountable base and looped tether devices that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the second coupling device/acceptor and looped tether devices are to be used to secure implements.
2. The System A of claim 1, further comprising:
packaging or promotional material for the mountable base and looped tether device(s) that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the mountable base and looped tether devices are to be used to secure implements.
3. The System A of claim 1, wherein the mountable base comprises two or more coupling devices/acceptors and the system comprises two or more looped tether devices.
4. The System A of claim 3, wherein two or more of the looped tether devices have different sizes.
5. The System A of claim 3, further comprising:
packaging or promotional material for the mountable base and looped tether devices that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the mountable base and looped tether devices are to be used to secure implements.
6. The System A of claim 5, wherein the packaging or promotional material instructs on securing skis or snowboards.
7. A method of selling the System A for securing implements of claim 1 comprising:
instructing by store display, instructional video or otherwise how to use the mountable base and looped tether devices to secure implements; and
relating, in the instructing, directions to a channel of commerce in which the mountable base and looped tether device(s) may be obtained.
8. A system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising System B of claim 1.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the snap hook structure isolates an opening portion of the snap hook from its connection to the tether, such that in ordinary use the tether does not release from such opening portion.
10. The system of claim 8, wherein one or more of the looped tether devices comprises along substantially all of its length two courses of material.
11. A system for securing implements, comprising System C of claim 1.
12. A system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising System D of claim 1.
13. An apparatus for securing implements comprising:
a looped tether device, the looped tether device comprising a loop of tether fixed to a first coupling device/acceptor for engaging a second coupling device/acceptor, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements or mountable bases;
and wherein
the second coupling device/acceptor is incorporated into a reversibly closable tether that can be secured to an implement, and/or
the appliance further comprises packaging or promotional material that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the looped tether device is to be used to secure implements.
14. A method of reversibly securing an implement with the apparatus of claim 13 comprising:
threading the first coupling device/acceptor through the loop and enclosing and engaging an implement in a resulting lasso; and
engaging the first coupling device/acceptor with the second coupling device/acceptor.
15. A method of reversibly securing an implement with the apparatus of claim 13 comprising:
threading the first coupling device/acceptor through the loop and enclosing and engaging a mountable base in a resulting lasso;
closing the reversibly closable tether about the implement; and
engaging the first and second coupling device/acceptors.
16. A method of securing an implement with the system of claim 1 comprising:
threading the second coupling device/acceptor of a first looped tether device through the loop and enclosing and engaging an implement in a resulting lasso; and
engaging the second coupling device/acceptor with a first coupling device of a first mountable base.
17. The method of securing an implement of claim 16, wherein a ski or snowboard is secured.
18. A method of securing an implement of claim 16, further comprising:
threading the second coupling device/acceptor of a second looped tether device through the loop and enclosing and engaging the implement in a resulting lasso at a point separate from that engaged by the first looped tether device; and
engaging the second coupling device/acceptor with either (i) another first coupling device of the first mountable base or (ii) a third coupling device of a second mountable base.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein the points engaged by the lassos are (i) spaced apart points along a ladder, or (ii) spaced apart points on a bicycle or motorcycle, or (iii) points on separate legs of a wheelbarrow.
20. A method of reversibly securing an implement with the system of claim 8 comprising:
closing the reversibly closable tether about the implement;
providing an mountable base that has been engaged by a lasso formed by threading the second coupling device/acceptor through the loop; and
engaging the first and second coupling device/acceptors.
21. A snap hook comprising:
a metallic single wire serially comprising a hinge connection, one to two substantially 90° turns, a straight segment for engaging a sleeve formed in a ribbon tether, one to two substantially 90° turns, and a hook segment;
a latch connected to the hinge connection; and
means for a load-bearing reversible connection between the latch and the hook segment.
22. The snap hook of claim 21, wherein the means for reversible connection comprises a locking tooth and locking tooth acceptor.
Description

This application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/923,951, filed Aug. 23, 2004, which in turn claims the priority of Provisional Application 60/590,273, filed Jul. 22, 2004; This application further claims the priority of U.S. Provisional Application 60/610,314, filed Sep. 16, 2004, and U.S. Provisional Application 60/645,472, filed Jan. 20, 2005

Provided is a secure system for the hanging of various implements, tools, other gear, and the like for storage. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method of hanging objects during storage in a secure manner that is simple to use. This device may be used for storing a wide range gear of all sizes and shapes ranging from, but not limited to, hand and power garden tools, ladders, power tools, hand tools, bicycles, canoes, kayaks, hoses, cords, or keys. The present invention may be used in most locations where equipment is preferably secured during storage including, basements, garages, closets, trucks, boats, RVs, and airplanes.

Commonly found storage and organizational systems for the home, marine, transport, industrial settings and the like typically include a base structure consisting of a threaded or wall mounted plate from which extends an open support hook or a plurality of support members for resting gear upon during storage. Such devices lack a means for positively securing the gear and, allowing releases of the gear can cause injury and/or damage to nearby objects and persons. Such releases are easily and often caused by the contact from adjacently stored objects, children, pets, or the opening or closing of doors. In addition to these potential hazards, many common storage hooks are vulnerable, with overloading or repeated use, to twisting or bending of their support members or base structure. Furthermore, these devices are typically constructed of inexpensive grades of metal that is subject to the deterioration and weakening caused by rust, corrosion, and the flexing caused by repeated normal use. Also such designs typically cannot be used to store multiple items in a space efficient manner.

Also, commonly found storage and organizational systems often do not sufficiently secure items to prevent releases due to ground motion. Accordingly, new designs are particularly useful in earthquake prone zones and near blast zones such as quarries. Similarly, release due to motion is a problem on ships, boats, trucks, rail cars and the like, creating further areas where secure, convenient storage tools are particularly useful.

In cases where multiple items are stored on a lengthy support member, it is sometimes necessary to remove a number of interfering stored items to access a desired item. In existing systems where stored items are not stacked on top of each other in the direction away from the wall using a single support member, an excessive and undesirable amount of lateral space is required. Both the stacked and non-stacked variations of such designs are often incapable of accepting items with larger heads, such as snow shovels and wide wire rakes because the support hooks frequently lack either sufficient space between the support members, or sufficient space above the mounting location of the support hooks.

Plastic variations of hook designs typically lack the required strength to adequately support the resulting moment caused by the generally long hook lengths. The support members of such devices extending outwardly from walls at mounted locations are generally insecure, inefficient with space, incapable of storing a wide range of tools in a single mounted location, aesthetically unappealing, and lacking of ideal strength and longevity. Such support members can often create a hazardous projection.

A versatile storage system that provides a simple, secure, and space-efficient alternative is provided by the present invention. Especially when constructed of high-impact plastics and/or rust-inhibited metal components, the system of the present invention is adaptable for a wide range of mounting locations and stored implements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Provided, in one embodiment, is a system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising: a mountable base adapted to be secured to a wall or ceiling comprising one or more first coupling devices/acceptors; and one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a second coupling device/acceptor adapted to engage a said first coupling device/acceptor, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements.

Another embodiment provides system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising: a mountable base adapted to be secured to a wall or ceiling comprising one or more hook acceptors; and one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a snap hook, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the snap hook to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements.

Also provided is a system for securing implements, comprising: one or more reversibly closable tethers (forming implement-mounted bases) comprising first coupling devices/acceptors secured to the closable tethers; and one or more tether devices, the tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a second coupling device/acceptor adapted to secure to the first coupling device/acceptor.

Further provided is a system for securing implements such as tools, gear and the like, comprising: one or more looped tether devices, the looped tether devices comprising a loop of tether fixed to a first coupling device/acceptor adapted to engage a second coupling device/acceptor that may be fixed to wall or ceiling, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements; and packaging or promotional material for the mountable base and looped tether devices that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the mountable base and looped tether devices are to be used to secure implements.

Further provided is an apparatus for securing implements comprising: a looped tether device, the looped tether device comprising a loop of tether fixed to a first coupling device/acceptor adapted to engage a second coupling device/acceptor, wherein the loop of tether is sized to allow the first coupling device/acceptor to be threaded through the loop to enclose and engage one of a range of implements; and wherein (i) the second coupling device/acceptor is incorporated into a reversibly closable tether that can be secured to an implement, and/or (ii) the appliance further comprises packaging or promotional material that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the looped tether device is to be used to secure implements.

Methods of so securing implements are additionally provided. In the embodiment that secures implements to objects, the looped tether device need not incorporate the second coupling. For example, the first coupling can be another loop, and the second coupling can be a fixture on the object appropriate to engage that loop.

Further provided is a snap hook comprising: a metallic single wire serially comprising a hinge connection, one to two substantially 90° turns, a straight segment adapted to engage a sleeve formed in a ribbon tether, one to two substantially 90° turns, and a hook segment; a latch connected to the hinge connection; and means for a load-bearing reversible connection between the latch and the hook segment.

Also provided is a system for securely storing winter gear such as skis, ski poles, ski or snowboard boots, snowboards, snowshoes, and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-D show different aspect of a system for securing implements.

FIGS. 2A, 2B, 2C and 3 show features of looped tether devices that form part of the systems for securing implements.

FIG. 4 shows a ceiling mounted system for securing implements.

FIGS. 5A-C and 7 show specific embodiments of the systems for securing implements.

FIG. 6 shows an embodiment that uses reversibly closable tethers.

FIG. 8 shows an embodiment adapted for use with power cords, hoses, and the like.

FIG. 9 illustrates a system of the invention as applied to store winter sports gear.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a method for positively securing tools and other objects for storage in a space-efficient manner using a combination of hanging support structures consisting primarily of tethers (which in some embodiments can be ropes or cords) with integrated hooking devices (preferably self-closing or latching), and a mountable base adapted for the secure attachment of the hanging support structures. The mountable base can be fixed in a desired wall or ceiling location using any combination of screws, bolts, adhesives, or the like. In one embodiment, the mountable base structure includes at least one closed ring structure that maintains a relatively low profile to the wall. Such a closed ring structure is of such size as to be engaged by a hooking device on one end of a hanging support structure or “looped tether device” comprising a hooking device that is fixably attached to a looped segment of tether material. In this embodiment, the looped tether device may be passed, for example, around the shaft or handle of a secured garden tool under the larger head of the tool, or through a loop structure of secured gear in the case of implements such as hoses, ladders, or cords. The hooked end of the looped tether device is then passed through the looped end and pulled tight. This looping effectively creates a simple and secure hold on most objects for storage. The hooking device of the looped tether device is then attached to one of the closed ring structures on the mountable base structure. The loop found in the looped tether device may be of various sizes to accommodate a wide range of secured items. Varying the size of loops on the hanging support structures also serves to vertically stagger secured objects on a single mountable base structure for maximum space efficiency, accessibility, and storage capabilities, as larger headed items, such as snow shovels, typically extend farther from their shafts than do smaller headed items such as sledge hammers or axes. As indicated further below the hook and closed loop attachment described here is illustrative, as often coupling devices can be used.

In another embodiment, the invention relates to a versatile storage device that instead of using hooks on the looped tether device, uses other coupling devices such as a T-shape design, ball in socket design, or other structure that is adapted for positioning in the mountable base. In such an embodiment, the looped tether device is securable to the mountable base structure by means of a mating receptacle on the mountable base that also includes, for example a slotted channel providing the required clearance for the rotation of the hanging support structure as it is hung on the wall or ceiling.

As illustrated by the above discussion, coupling devices and their paired acceptors come in a wide variety of art-recognized forms. Thus, in some embodiments any of such attachment pairs can be used, with one half of the pair on the mountable base and the other secured to the looped tether device.

In another embodiment, a tether segment is semi-permanently attached (i.e., removable, but not necessarily to be removed) to an implement in a location as to not interfere with the object during normal use. The semi-permanent assembly includes an integrated coupling device/acceptor, such as an attachment loop, preferably a D-Ring or an O-Ring. The coupling device/acceptor is securable by a complementary coupling device/acceptor on one end of a looped tether device. The tether segment may be attached to the secured object by a variety of methods including, hook and loop containment (e.g., Velcro™ stitched into or otherwise secured to a tether), strap or tether fastener assemblies, or by snap button attachments. One useful tether fastener is that described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,295,700. In this embodiment, the tether segment is engaged by a looped tether device that is secured to a wall or ceiling. This embodiment of the present invention is particularly useful for objects such as ladders or other secured gear whose operation would not be adversely affected or otherwise limited by interference from the semi-permanent tether assembly during normal use.

In another embodiment of the present invention, at least one segment of tether or rigid material (preferably hinged) is secured to the mountable base providing a variation of a hanging support structure. This hanging structure can be attached to a secured object by using the loop connection or the semi-permanent attachment methods described above. To allow for the quick release of secured gear, this embodiment also includes a two-piece, detachable fastener in the hanging structure that allows for the separation of secured gear from the mountable base, while still providing a space efficient method for storage. In this embodiment, the detachable fastener can be a side-release fastener (which are well known in the art). Such a fastener allows for length adjustments to the hanging support structure. This embodiment's of particular usefulness in storing lightweight objects, particularly those weighing less than five pounds.

FIG. 1A shows mountable base 10 secured by fastener 19. The mountable base 10 incorporates or secures coupling device/acceptor 11, which in this case is a closed loop. Looped tether devices 30 are exemplified by first looped tether device 30A, second looped tether device 30B, and third looped tether device 30C. The looped tether devices incorporate coupling devices/acceptors 31 (which in this case are snap hooks) attached to tethers 32. Tethers 32 connect to loop segments 33. The operation of loop segment 33A is illustrated in FIG. 2A, which shows coupling device/acceptor 31A looped through loop segment 33A to form lasso 34A which encloses and secures implement 40A (which in this case is a sledge hammer with head 41A and handle 41B. FIG. 1B shows the system in smaller scale. FIG. 1C illustrates the system mounted on a wall. FIG. 1D shows the mountable base in more detail.

FIG. 2A is as described above. FIG. 2B illustrates that loop segment 133 can encompass most of tether 132. If one loops coupling device/acceptor 131 through the loop segment 133 and encloses a relatively narrow object, the result will simply be that a loop segment portion will thread through the loop. FIGS. 2B and 2C illustrate how a label or care tag 138 may be incorporated into the looped tether device. As illustrated more clearly in FIG. 2C, tether 132 (here, for example, a strap) can, for example, be folded over at one end to make a small loop to engage the coupling device/acceptor 131, then the other end folded back to a common segment that can be stitched together, optionally with a label or care tag engaged by the stitching.

FIG. 3 shows a coupling device/acceptor 231 that is a snap hook. Coupling device/acceptor 231 has a hook segment 231-1, which joins to isolating segment 231-2, to isolated straight segment 231-3, to isolating segment 231-4, to hinge 231-5, and to hingably connected latch 231-6. The hinge 231-5 is spring-loaded by implements known in the art. Locking tooth 231-8 and locking tooth acceptor 231-9 provide a mechanical connection such that the hinged side of the snap hook can bear at least a part of a load from tether 232 with support from hook segment 231-1. Other connecting devices can be used so that loads on the hinged side are supported by hook segment 231-1. For example, the locking spring snaps described in the McMaster-Carr catalog (www.mcmaster.com) can be used. These locking spring snaps include those twist lock gates and screw lock gates. It will be recognized that the snap hook segments on which the “male” and “female” connecting devices are placed can typically be reversed.

By sufficiently tightly looping a ribbon-shaped tether segment 232D (to form a sleeve), the tether 232 cannot readily be slid into segments of the snap hook where it can slide out of the snap hook. Other ways to so isolate the tether 232 include forming a loop with a bridge 231-7, indicated in dashed lines. Such an enclosure can be with a pliable insert such as a plastic insert that snaps into place. If such an enclosure is used, than there is less advantage to using isolated segments.

The snap hook of FIG. 3 is advantageously made of a continuous single wire with hinged latch, and forms one enclosure within the single wire and latch. The single wire portion is favorably metallic, contains a straight segment for engaging a ribbon tether, and on each side of the straight segment one or two substantially 90° (or more) turns adapted to limit movement of the engaged ribbon tether away from the straight segment. Such turns turn sharply enough and to a degree close enough (or beyond) 90° to limit movement of the engaged sleeve of the ribbon tether. Such turns are illustrated by turns 231α, 231β, 231γ and 231δ. By a single wire it is meant that such portion of the snap hook has linear continuity, even if some portion changes in thickness or cross-sectional shape. The metal of the snap hook can be any appropriate metal, including an appropriate metal composite or metal alloy.

To the applicant's knowledge, other available snap hooks that have a straight segment for isolating a ribbon tether are formed of multiple pieces that interlock or are welded together. These devices do not provide the strength provided by the current design.

FIG. 4 illustrates that the system can be attached to a ceiling or roofjoist.

FIGS. 5A-C show an embodiment that uses as the coupling devices/acceptors 431 a ball or cylinder adapted to fit, as the matching coupling devices/acceptors 411, a socket. For example, coupling device/acceptor 431B has cylinder 431-1B, arm 431-2B, and loop 431-3B. The tether 432B is attached at the loop 431-3B. Arm 431-2B fits into slot 412B to allow the coupling device/acceptor 431B to fit into paired coupling device/acceptor 411. Any number of clipping devices can provide greater secured connection. Illustrated in FIG. 5B are clips 414A and 414B. Snap lock lip surface 415 holds coupling devices/acceptors 431 in the secured position.

FIG. 6 shows a system for securing an implement. A reversibly closable tether forming mountable base 610˜ is attached to the implement. As discussed above, the attachment can be by reversible closure using hook and loop containment, strap or tether fastener assemblies, snap buttons, or the like. A coupling device/acceptor 611˜ on the attached mountable base reversibly connects to coupling device/acceptor 631 of a tether device 630. The tether 632˜ of the tether device 630 is shown looped in hook 640˜, though less reversible connections can be used in this embodiment.

FIG. 7 shows a system for securing implements using, as coupling devices/acceptors 711 and coupling devices/acceptors 731, side release fasteners. Mounts 715 and tethers 716 (which can be rope or cord) to secure the coupling devices/acceptors 711A, 711B and 711C to the mounting base 710.

In some embodiments, the systems are sold in packaging that displays instruction by word or illustration on how the rack and tether devices are to be used. In some embodiments, the instructions include exemplification of implements of a size appropriate for use with the tethers devices. In some embodiments, the systems are sold on or in conjunction with a display (including without limitation media containing a video) that includes such instruction. Where instructional videos, graphics, written materials or the like are used in the instructing, the instructions can include directions to a channel of commerce in which the mountable base and looped tether device(s) may be obtained. Where the instructional material is displayed next to the mountable base and looped tether device(s) in a store, such physical relationship can comprise such directions, since consumers will generally know how to draw the correct inference. The instructions can also be relayed by broadcast media, internet ad, internet site, or the like, in which case the instructions shall direct a consumer to a website, phone number, store or other channel of commerce at which the mountable base and looped tether device(s) may be obtained.

The systems can be sold with two, three, four, five or more different size of looped tether devices adapted to facilitate securing implements of different sizes with the implements less awkwardly seating next to each other.

Particularly for use with items with awkward centers of gravity, such as sports rackets or paddles, the looped tether device can include a rubberized surface for increasing its capacity to grasp such items. In practice, since the looped tether device cinches down on the object under the object's own weight, such modification is often not needed for such items with awkward centers of gravity.

The looped tether device can be used, for example, to secure an electrical cord or hose (such as for a pump, compressor or vacuum) to an electrical appliance or tool. For example, it can be used to secure the cord of a vacuum cleaner. In, for example, the case of an upright vacuum cleaner, the coupling device/acceptor can be a small loop adapted to slide onto the handle of the vacuum cleaner (the handle providing the matched coupling device acceptor). Or, the coupling device/acceptor can be any suitable coupling device/acceptor, with the appliance or tool, as needed, modified to include the corresponding coupling device/acceptor. An example is shown in FIG. 8, where looped tether device 830 is used to secure implement 840. The implement is secured in a lasso as above using looped segment 833 (which here is somewhat obscured but operates as above) of tether 832. To create a second loop (which is in effect a third coupling device acceptor), coupling device/acceptor 831 is secured to the tether 832 by another coupling device/acceptor 835 (which in this example is a D-Ring, and in similar examples may be a looped segment of any material). The illustrated device allows the cord or hose (or other implement associated with the appliance or tool) to be hung on a fixture of the appliance or tool or on an object such as a hand rail or handle (such as a rail or handle that does not contain open ends).

Storing winter sports gear has presented a classic dilemma for winter sports enthusiasts. The traditional solution for skis has been the use of pegs placed at an appropriate height and spacing to allow skis to be leaned into place against and/or within the pegs. Generally, nothing secures the skis from falling, for instance if bumped into by dog, child, door or the like. Ski poles are traditionally placed in these storage areas in a more ad-hoc manner. Devices to store snowboards typically must be more custom fitted. As illustrated in FIG. 9, an organizer system 900 of the invention can be adapted to fit winter gear using a minimum of wall space for the mountable base 910. For example, a mountable base 910 with three coupling devices/acceptors 911 can for example be mounted on about 12 inches (30.48 cm) or less, 10 inches (25.4 cm) or less, 9 inches (22.86 cm) or less, or 8 inches (20.32 cm) or less. More generally, a system with N+1 coupling device/acceptors can for example be mounted on about N×6 inches (15.24 cm) or less, N×5 inches (12.7 cm) or less, N×4.5 inches (11.43 cm) or less, or N×4 inches (10.16 cm) or less. The total wall space used in storing skis and snowboards can conveniently be quite small since the hanging system allows the gear to securely hang in an overlapping manner.

As illustrated, ski 940A, snowboard 940B and ski 940C can be securely mounted on a wall (or the like), in a manner that allows facile removal or rehanging. Surprisingly, it has been found that a snowboard can be mounted as illustrated without the snowboard slipping through the lasso formed by the respective loop segment. The cinching action of the lasso, as aided by the weight of the snowboard, is enough to keep the snowboard secure. The “parabolic” shape of modem skis and snowboards, and the offset outward bends of ski tips help further assure a secure engagement. Though not illustrated, one simple way to include ski poles in much the same space as illustrated is to hang the looped tethers of the ski poles over one or more (as convenient) of the tips of the hung skis.

In some embodiments, as illustrated in FIG. 2B, substantially the entire length of tether 132 is made up of at least two courses of tether material that is stitched and looped to form a loop segment 133 of substantial length. As illustrated, for example, substantially all of the length of the illustrative tether 132 is incorporated in a loop segment 133, such that the two halves of the loop provide the two courses of tether material. Such embodiments provide two courses of material on which to distribute the weight of any secured implements. In cases where there is a frictional grasp of the implement, the two courses can provide additional material having a friction-providing contact with a larger surface area of the secured implement. Such looped tether devices 130 can be made with one length of tether material. For example, one end can be folded back on itself to form a small loop that engages the coupling device/acceptor. The other end can be folded back to meet the shorter piece of folded back material (thereby forming a looped segment of tether material), and the three sewn together, for example using a box stitch, sonic weld, bar tack, rivet, or the like. As illustrated, for example, in FIG. 2C, a label can be sewn into the three layers of tether material at stitched segment 136.

When the looped tether devices are used to secure ladders, for example, two points along the ladder may be engaged with lassos, for example at points appropriate to roughly balance the weight of the ladder. Two points of engagement can be used to secure a bicycle, motorcycle or wheelbarrow, again for example at points appropriate to roughly balance the weight of the respective implement. With wheelbarrows, one useful alignment is handles oriented upwards, bucket facing a wall, and the rear junctions between the bottom of the bucket and the rear legs engaged by the lassos.

In certain embodiments, the looped tether devices are sized to engage and secure implements of the type typically stored in garages or other utility rooms in a residence. Accordingly, in some embodiments the lasso circumference (with coupling device/acceptor just looped through enough for use according to the invention) formable with the devices is 68 in. (172.7 cm) or less, 66 in. (167.6 cm) or less, 64 in. (162.6 cm) or less, 62 in. (157.5 cm) or less, 58 in. (147.3 cm) or less, 54 in. (137.2 cm) or less, 50 in. (127 cm) or less, 46 in. (116.8 cm) or less, 42 in. (106.7 cm) or less, 38 in. (96.5 cm) or less, 36 in. (91.4 cm) or less, 34 in. (86.4 cm) or less, 32 in. (81.3 cm) or less, 30 in. (76.2 cm) or less, 28 in. (71.1 cm) or less, 26 in. (66 cm) or less, 24 in. (61 cm) or less, 22 in. (55.9 cm) or less, 20 in. (50.8 cm) or less, 18 in. (45.7 cm) or less, 16 in. (40.6 cm) or less, 14 in. (35.6 cm) or less, or 12 in. (30.5 cm) or less. In some embodiments, the lasso circumference (with coupling device/acceptor just looped through enough for use according to the invention) formable with the devices is 66 in. (167.6 cm) or more, 64 in. (162.6 cm) or more, 62 in. (157.5 cm) or more, 58 in. (147.3 cm) or more, 54 in. (137.2 cm) or more, 50 in. (127 cm) or more, 46 in. (116.8 cm) or more, 42 in. (106.7 cm) or more, 38 in. (96.5 cm) or more, 36 in. (91.4 cm) or more, 34 in. (86.4 cm) or more, 32 in. (81.3 cm) or more, 30 in. (76.2 cm) or more, 28 in. (71.1 cm) or more, 26 in. (66 cm) or more, 24 in. (61 cm) or more, 22 in. (55.9 cm) or more, 20 in. (50.8 cm) or more, 18 in. (45.7 cm) or more, 16 in. (40.6 cm) or more, 14 in. (35.6 cm) or more, or 12 in. (30.5 cm) or more. In some embodiments, the lasso circumference is from one of the boundaries in the second of the preceding two lists to one of the boundaries in the first of the preceding two lists, such as, for example, from 12 in. (30.5 cm) to 16 in. (40.6 cm).

Additional Definitions

The following terms shall have, for the purposes of this application, the respective meanings set forth below.

Ceiling

A “ceiling” is any upper surface suitable to support a mountable base that, with the invention, can support implements of the size range suitable for use with the complementary looped tether devices. Ceilings are typically horizontal, but may be sloped.

Coupling Device/Acceptor

As illustrated in part in the application, but as is further understood by those of skill in the art, any number of devices can be used to couple the looped tether devices to the mountable base. As is understood in the art, theses devices take the form of two reversibly joining elements, one attached to the looped tether device and one attached to the mountable base or other element to be joined. All such devices can be coupling devices/acceptors.

Mountable Base

A “mountable base” is any device that is or can be mounted on or otherwise affixed to or incorporated into a surface or ceiling appropriate for hanging implements and include hardware to which a coupling device/acceptor or lassoed tether may be hung or coupled. Mountable bases include, without limitation eye bolts.

Reversibly Closable Tether

A “reversibly closable tether” is a tether that can closed to form a loop or lasso about a part of an implement and thereafter and reversibly opened. For example, reversible closure can be by lasso or using hook and loop containment, strap or tether fastener assemblies, snap buttons, or the like.

Snap Hook

A “snap hook” is any hook that provides a secure engagement via a spring biased closure mechanism. Snap hooks include plastic or metal clips, carabiners, carbine hooks, and the like.

Tether

A “tether” is any long, flexible material suitable for securing implements in accordance with the above discussion. Tethers can include, for example, straps, ropes, cords, rubbers cords, and the like.

Wall

A “wall” is any side surface suitable to support a mountable base that, with the invention, can support implements of the size range suitable for use with the complementary looped tether devices. A “wall” can be any number of support surfaces, including railings on boats or fences that are suitable for supporting stored implements.

Publications and references, including but not limited to patents and patent applications, cited in this specification are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety in the entire portion cited as if each individual publication or reference were specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference herein as being fully set forth. Any patent application to which this application claims priority is also incorporated by reference herein in the manner described above for publications and references.

While this invention has been described with an emphasis upon preferred embodiments, it will be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art that variations in the preferred devices and methods may be used and that it is intended that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims that follow.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7763824Apr 4, 2006Jul 27, 2010Illinois Tool Works Inc.Cable management system for plasma cutter
US7789249 *Feb 26, 2010Sep 7, 2010Merbeth Laura JAward racks
US8157109 *Dec 12, 2007Apr 17, 2012Deflecto, LLCMountable storage apparatus with retractable linking mechanism and method
US8669462Apr 4, 2011Mar 11, 2014Cogenra Solar, Inc.Concentrating solar energy collector
WO2007123599A1 *Mar 6, 2007Nov 1, 2007Illinois Tool WorksCable management system for plasma cutter
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/70.6, 211/113
International ClassificationA47F7/00
Cooperative ClassificationF16B45/02, B25H3/04, B25H3/006, A47F5/0006
European ClassificationF16B45/02, B25H3/00C, A47F5/00B, B25H3/04