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Publication numberUS20090165811 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/333,787
Publication dateJul 2, 2009
Filing dateDec 12, 2008
Priority dateDec 13, 2007
Publication number12333787, 333787, US 2009/0165811 A1, US 2009/165811 A1, US 20090165811 A1, US 20090165811A1, US 2009165811 A1, US 2009165811A1, US-A1-20090165811, US-A1-2009165811, US2009/0165811A1, US2009/165811A1, US20090165811 A1, US20090165811A1, US2009165811 A1, US2009165811A1
InventorsIsrael Harry Zimmerman
Original AssigneeIsrael Harry Zimmerman
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hair curling system
US 20090165811 A1
Abstract
A hair curling system includes a base heating unit, a hair roller, and a hair cover. The base heating unit generates and transports steam (or another medium) to the hair roller for heating and moisturizing the roller. The steam medium carries a separate hair treatment composition for treating the hair. The steam medium and the hair treatment composition are transferred to hair wound on the hair roller and covered by the hair cover. The transfer takes place within a thermally quarantined zone between the hair roller and the hair cover. An optional temperature control system may be provided for independently heating or cooling the hair cover to a temperature that provides a desired temperature gradient between the hair roller and the hair cover. One or more of an optional ionizer, crystal or mineral unit or material may also be provided to further influence the hair treatment.
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Claims(24)
1. A hair curling system, comprising:
a base heating unit;
a hair roller;
a hair cover;
said base heating unit being constructed to generate and transport a steam medium to said hair roller for heating and moisturizing said roller;
said steam medium carrying a separate hair treatment composition for treating hair; and
said hair roller being configured to transfer said steam medium and said hair treatment composition to hair wound on said hair roller and covered by said hair cover, said transfer taking place within a thermally quarantined zone between said hair roller and said hair cover.
2. The hair curling system of claim 1 wherein said hair treatment composition comprises one or more of a vitamin, mineral, nutrient, anti-static composition or setting formula.
3. The hair curling system of claim 1 wherein said base heating unit comprises a water heater unit adapted to generate said steam medium, a steam-dispensing nipple above said water heater unit adapted to detachably receive said hair roller, and a steam flow pathway from said water to said steam-dispensing nipple.
4. The hair curling system of claim 3 further including a hair treatment composition bullet disposed in said steam flow pathway, said hair treatment composition bullet being adapted to dispense said hair treatment composition as a vapor into said steam flow path when heated by said steam medium from said water heater unit.
5. The hair curling system of claim 6 wherein said base heating unit comprises a holder for supporting said hair treatment composition bullet and a piercing member for piercing a top cover of said hair treatment composition bullet to release said vaporized hair treatment composition into said steam flow pathway.
6. The hair curling system of claim 5 wherein said hair roller comprises a central chamber adapted to receive said steam medium and said hair treatment composition from said base heating unit, one or more perforations adapted to vent said steam medium and said hair treatment composition outwardly from said central chamber, and a moisture absorbent member covering said perforations and adapted to receive and temporarily retain said steam medium and said hair treatment composition.
7. The hair curling system of claim 1 wherein said base heating unit further includes a hair cover temperature control system that is adapted to selectively heat or cool said hair cover to a temperature that is above or below ambient temperature to provide a desired transfer of said steam medium and said hair treatment composition from said hair roller to said hair, said transfer being influenced by a temperature gradient between said hair roller and said hair cover that affects the application of said hair treatment composition to said hair.
8. The hair curler system of claim 7 wherein said hair cover temperature control system comprises a hair cover-receiving chimney disposed on said based heating unit and a temperature control element on said chimney adapted to control a surface temperature of said chimney.
9. The hair curler system of claim 8 wherein said hair cover has a density that is selected to influence heating or cooling of said hair cover.
10. The hair curler system of claim 1 wherein said base heating unit further comprises one or more of an ionizer, crystal or mineral unit or material.
11. A method of use for a hair curling system, comprising:
a base heating unit;
a hair roller;
a hair cover;
said base heating unit being constructed to generate and transport a steam medium to said hair roller for heating and moisturizing said roller;
said steam medium carrying a separate hair treatment composition for treating hair; and
said hair roller being configured to transfer said steam medium and said hair treatment composition to hair wound on said hair roller and covered by said hair cover, said transfer taking place within a thermally quarantined zone between said hair roller and said hair cover;
said method of use comprising:
curling a person's hair using a heated roller that has been heated and steamed by said base heating unit and which delivers said steam medium and said hair treatment composition to said hair; and
said hair being treated by said hair treatment composition being deposited on said hair as said steam medium evaporates.
12. The method of claim 11 wherein said hair treatment composition comprises one or more of a vitamin, mineral, nutrient, anti-static composition or setting formula.
13. The method of claim 11 wherein said hair treatment composition is provided by a hair treatment composition bullet disposed in a steam flow pathway in said base heating unit.
14. The method of claim 11 wherein said hair curling system further includes a hair cover temperature control system, and said method further includes selectively heating or cooling said hair cover independently of said hair roller using said hair cover temperature control system, said hair cover being selectively heated or cooled to a desired temperature that is above or below ambient temperature to provide a desired transfer of said steam medium and said hair treatment composition from said hair roller to said hair, said transfer being influenced by a temperature gradient between said hair roller and said hair cover that affects the application of said hair treatment composition to said hair.
15. The method of claim 14 wherein said hair cover is heated to a temperature that is above ambient temperature.
16. The method of claim 14 wherein said hair cover is cooled to a temperature that is below ambient temperature.
17. A hair curler system, comprising:
a base heating unit comprising:
a base;
a main body on said base;
a top body on said main body;
a water tank in said top body;
a water heater unit adapted to heat water in said water tank to generate steam;
a steam nozzle unit on said top body having a steam-dispensing nipple configured to detachably receive a hair curler;
a steam flow pathway configured to deliver said steam generated by said water heater to said steam-dispensing nipple;
a holder for supporting a hair treatment composition bullet in said steam flow pathway to release a vaporized hair treatment composition into said steam flow pathway;
a hair roller configured to attach to said steam-dispensing nipple and receive said steam and said hair treatment composition;
a hair cover;
said hair roller being configured to transfer said steam and said hair treatment composition to hair wound on said hair roller and covered by said hair cover, said transfer taking place within a thermally quarantined zone between said hair roller and said hair cover.
18. The hair curling system of claim 17 wherein there are at least two steam-dispensing nipples on said steam nozzle unit.
19. The hair curling system of claim 17 wherein a bottom side of said steam nozzle unit carries a piercing member for piercing a top cover of said hair treatment composition bullet, and wherein said steam-dispensing nipple is mounted on a top side of said steam nozzle unit.
20. The hair curling system of claim 19 wherein said steam nozzle unit is pivotably mounted to said body for pivoting between and open position and a closed position, and wherein said piercing member pierces said top cover of said hair treatment composition bullet when said steam nozzle unit is pivoted to a closed position.
21. The hair curling system of claim 17 wherein said hair roller comprises a central chamber adapted to receive said steam and said hair treatment composition from said steam-dispensing nipple, one or more perforations adapted to vent said steam and said hair treatment composition outwardly from said central chamber, and a moisture absorbent foam member covering said perforations and adapted to receive said steam and said hair treatment composition.
22. The hair curling system of claim 17 wherein said base heating unit further comprises a hair cover-receiving chimney disposed on said base, said chimney having a temperature control element adapted to control a temperature of said hair cover when mounted on said chimney, said hair cover temperature being controllable independently of a hair roller attached to said steam-dispensing nipple in order to heat or cool said hair cover to a temperature the provides a desired transfer of said steam and said hair treatment composition from said hair roller to said hair, said transfer being influenced by a temperature gradient between said hair roller and said hair cover that affects the application of said hair treatment composition to said hair.
23. A hair curling system, comprising:
a base heating unit;
a hair roller;
a temperature gradient control member configured to mount to said hair roller or to hair wound on said hair roller;
said base heating unit being constructed to generate and transport a heated medium to said hair roller for heating said roller;
said heated medium carrying a separate hair treatment composition for treating hair;
said hair roller being configured to transfer said heated medium and said hair treatment composition to said hair on said hair roller; and
said transfer of said heated medium and said hair treatment composition to said hair being influenced by a temperature gradient maintained between said hair roller and said temperature gradient control member that affects the application of said hair treatment composition to said hair.
24. A hair curling system, comprising:
a base heating unit;
a hair roller;
a hair cover;
a roller heating system in said base heating unit; and
one or more of:
a hair treatment composition delivery system adapted to deliver a hair treatment composition to said hair roller;
a hair cover heating and/or cooling system in said base heating unit that is independent of said roller heating system; and
an ionizer, crystal or mineral unit or material.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    The present application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/013,331 filed on Dec. 13, 2007 and entitled “Hair Curling System.” The entire contents of said Application Ser. No. 61/013,331 are hereby incorporated herein by this reference.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to hair styling apparatus. More particularly, the invention concerns hair curling devices.
  • [0004]
    2. Description of the Prior Art
  • [0005]
    Hair curling products use heat to form curls in the hair. Some units use electric resistant heaters, others use hot steam, some make use of a microwave oven, and still others use ceramic heaters. This includes curling irons having self-contained heat sources as well as curlers that are heated by a separate heat source and then rolled into the hair. Regardless of what form of heat generator is used, most curling devices work under the same premise in that they radiate heat out in a unidirectional vector away from the heating tool (curler) that is ultimately placed in the hair. In particular, a heat source is used to heat the curler, the curler is placed in the hair, and then the curler radiates heat outwardly. The heat is ultimately conducted into the hair, with the objective being the retention of the rounded curler shape remaining with the hair once the curler is removed.
  • [0006]
    A few hair curling products use heated clips in order to provide a heat source on the outside of the hair as well as on the inside. However, the clips are heated by mounting them to the curlers while the curlers are themselves being heated by a heat source. The clips thus receive heat indirectly by heat transfer through the curlers. This may not sufficiently heat the clips, particularly if the user is in a hurry and does not wait for the clips to be heated to the same temperature as the curlers. Still other products may heat the clip without it first being placed over the roller, but the clip still shares the same heating medium as the roller so that the heat being infused into both elements always raises them to the same general temperature.
  • [0007]
    Using hot curlers and putting unusually high temperatures against the hair is notoriously bad organically for the structure of the hair, and almost always causes some type of ancillary damage to the hair. There are numerous products that have been designed specifically to try and counteract these detrimental effects, such as vitamins, enriched therapeutic agents, conditioners and other hair protection compositions. Although the chemistry behind some of these products may be useful, there has always been an issue regarding how to effectively apply the supplemental aids to the hair. If such a composition is put on prior to application of the hair curler, the composition may alter the natural density of the hair and thus have an adverse effect on the effectiveness of the curling process. On the other hand, if the composition is applied after the curlers are put in, one may be presented with a condition where some areas of the hair have been treated with the composition and other areas have not. This is because the portion of the hair that would be exposed and could be affected and reached would be physically limited due to the presence of the curlers. Moreover, the composition would be of limited effectiveness if applied after the application of heat because substantial damage may have already been done when the hair was exposed to the heated environment. In addition, present techniques only allow for general and surface application of hair products, and do not provide an effective means for even distribution or deep penetration throughout the hair or the ability to substantially and consistently apply such products to the hair ends.
  • [0008]
    It is to improvements in the foregoing field that the present invention is directed. In particular, applicant proposes a hair curling system that improves on the manner in which heat and moisture is applied to the hair during the curling process, and which may further optimize the delivery of hair protection and enrichment compositions to areas of the hair that are subject to the curling process.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    A hair curling system includes a base heating unit, a hair roller, and a hair cover. The base heating unit is constructed to generate and transport a steam medium to the hair roller for heating and moisturizing the roller. The steam medium carries a separate hair treatment composition for treating the hair. The hair roller is configured to transfer the steam medium and the hair treatment composition to hair wound on the hair roller and covered by the hair cover. The transfer of the steam medium and the hair treatment composition to the hair takes place within a thermally quarantined zone between the hair roller and the hair cover.
  • [0010]
    According to an alternative implementation, the hair curling system may optionally include a temperature control system for the hair cover. The temperature control system allows the hair cover to be independently heated or cooled to a temperature that provides a desired flow of steam and hair treatment composition from the hair roller to the hair. The application of the steam medium and the hair treatment composition to the hair may thus be influenced by a temperature gradient between the hair roller and the hair cover.
  • [0011]
    According to a further alternative implementation, the hair curling system may optionally include one or more of an ionizer unit or material, a crystal unit or material, or a mineral unit or material for further influencing treatment of the hair.
  • [0012]
    According to a still further alternative implementation, a heating medium other than steam may be used to deliver the hair treatment composition to the hair.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of an example embodiment, as illustrated in the accompanying Drawings, in which:
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an example hair curling system;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a main body of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a base of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a heater housing of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a heating element of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a top body of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a bullet holder of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a steam nozzle unit of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a foil paper puncture mechanism of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the hair curling system of claim 1 taken along line 12-12 in FIG. 1;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of the hair curling system of claim 1 taken along line 13-13 in FIG. 1;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view of the hair curling system of claim 1 taken along line 14-14 in FIG. 1;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an ionizer or crystal or mineral unit or material of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional centerline view of a hair roller of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0030]
    FIG. 17 is an exploded perspective view of a hair roller of FIG. 16;
  • [0031]
    FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional centerline view of the hair roller of FIG. 16 mounted on the steam nozzle unit of FIG. 10;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 19 is an exploded perspective view of a hair cover-receiving chimney of the hair curling system of claim 1;
  • [0033]
    FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional centerline view of the chimney taken along line 20-20 in FIG. 19;
  • [0034]
    FIG. 21 is a bottom view of the chimney of FIG. 19; and
  • [0035]
    FIG. 22 is a perspective view of a hair cover of the hair curling system of claim 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENT A. Introduction
  • [0036]
    The hair curling system disclosed herein provides the ability to introduce a hair treatment composition such as vitamins, nutrients, anti-static compositions, setting formulas and other materials in a vapor state into a quarantined environment so that a user's hair can be simultaneously curled and treated. The hair curler system is designed to insure that the composition does not simply pass through the hair and escape into the ambient air. Instead, the composition evaporates and moves through the hair within a thermally quarantined zone provided by two opposing physical media (a roller and a hair cover) so that it has a chance to implant on the hair fibers, including the hard-to-reach hair fiber ends, and remain on the hair once the excess water or fluid slowly evaporates out.
  • [0037]
    In another aspect, the disclosed hair curling system allows the hair roller and hair cover to have separate and independent inherent temperature characteristics with thermal communication between the two components. Manipulating the temperature of one component will have a direct effect on the other as well as on the thermally quarantined zone therebetween. By employing two independent temperature influencing components with a controllable temperature gradient therebetween, the user can influence the thermally quarantined zone within the boundary of the components. More particularly, the disclosed hair curling system provides the ability to curl a user's hair using a controlled application of heat, or heat and vapor, or heat on the hair roller side of the thermally quarantined zone, and by using heating, cooling or ambient temperature on the hair cover side of the zone. The curling system thus allows a user to influence and control the rate of heat and vapor dissipation and the intensity of directional flow of heat and vapor between the two boundaries of the zone. This affords the user a more precise, predictable hair styling experience that results in a healthier environment for the hair with superior results, and further allows for a tailored environment to match hair thickness and hair composition more precisely.
  • [0038]
    In a further aspect, the disclosed hair curling system includes an ionizer unit or material, or a crystal/mineral unit or material comprising electrically excited piezoelectric or pyroelectric crystals or minerals, or non-electrically excited natural crystals or minerals, that emit ionic or thermal radiation to further condition the hair. The ionizer unit generates negative ions that are carried by the curler heating medium (e.g., heated air, steam and/or vapor) to the hair. The negative ions attach to positively charged hair to lock in moisture, add volume, improve luster, reduce flyaway and frizzy hair, and eliminate smoke or other environmental odor. In particular, the hair composition-enriched vapor becomes charged as a result of the ionic infusion resulting in a Coulombic interatomic bond between the opposite charged ions in the hair and the enriched vapor. The crystal/mineral unit acts as an ionizer by generating negative ions and also emits infrared heat and ions to help heat the rollers.
  • B. Example Embodiment
  • [0039]
    Turning now to the drawing figures, an example embodiment of the disclosed hair curling system is identified by reference number 2 in FIGS. 1 and 2. In the illustrated embodiment, which is shown by way of example only and not by way of limitation, the hair curling system 2 includes a base heating unit 4, a pair of hair treatment bullets 6 (only one is depicted), a pair of steam-dispensing nipples 8, a pair of hair rollers 10, a pair of independent hair cover-receiving chimneys 12, and a pair of hair covers 14 for covering hair that is wound around the hair rollers to create a thermally quarantined curling zone. Except as other indicated below, the various components of the hair curling system 2 can be made from any suitable material, such as rigid plastic or the like.
  • [0040]
    1. Base Heating Unit:
  • [0041]
    The base heating unit 4 provides a heat source for heating (via steam, vapor, air, etc.) the hair rollers 10. The base heating unit 4 is also capable of separately and independently heating (or optionally chilling) the hair covers 14. As shown in FIG. 3, the base heating unit 4 includes a main body 20, a base 22, a water heater housing 24 and a water heater 26 (collectively providing one possible embodiment of a water heater unit 28), a top body 30, a bullet holder 32, a steam nozzle unit 34, and a pair of foil paper puncture mechanisms 36.
  • [0042]
    As can be seen in FIG. 4, the main body 20 includes a water tank 20A having a fill port 20B and a drain port 20C. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the drain port 20C can be plugged with a clear plastic member 38 that allows a user to monitor the water level within the water tank 20A. The main body 20 further includes a pair of chimney chambers 20D for supporting the hair cover-receiving chimneys 12. A front switch panel 20E carries a switching unit 40 for controlling the water heater unit 28 and the chimneys 12. The switching unit 40 may be conventional implemented and will not be described further herein. Cylindrical guide posts 20F (only one is shown) extend from the bottom of the main body 20 to help align and connect it to the base 22. Cylindrical channels 20G (only five are shown) extend from the bottom of the main body 20 to assist in mounting the chimneys 12 (see description of FIGS. 19-21 below). A closed, V-shaped vertical channel 20H may formed at a central location on the water tank 20A to carry electrical connectors. As can be seen in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 13, the channel 20H is closed by a top wall that includes a small electrical connector feed through 20I. As can also be seen in FIG. 13, the interior of the channel 20H is isolated (for safety reasons) from the water holding portion of the water tank 20A. If desired, a lower well 20I may be provided at the bottom of the water tank 20A to increase water carrying capacity. Additional cross-sectional views of the main body are provided in FIGS. 12 and 14.
  • [0043]
    As can be seen in FIG. 5, the base 22 conforms to the shape of the lower periphery of the main body 20, and may be connected thereto in any suitable fashion, such as by gluing, welding or fastening. Cross-sectional views of this connection 20/22 are provided in FIGS. 12-14. The base 22 includes support structure elements 22A for supporting the weight of the water tank 20A, and a power cord aperture 22B. The power cord and its connections to the switching unit 40 of the main body 20 are not shown insofar as these items may be conventionally implemented. The power cord is connectable to an electrical power source, such as a standard 110 volt wall outlet. Post-receiving apertures 22C (only two are shown) are provided on the base 22 to receive the guide posts 20F of the main body 20.
  • [0044]
    As can be seen in FIG. 6, the water heater housing 24 is configured to be received within the water tank 20A of the main body 20. It includes an upper chamber 24A and a lower chamber 24B. As can be seen in the cross-sectional view of FIGS. 12-14, the top periphery of the upper chamber 24A abuts the underside of the top body 30, and may be attached thereto if desired. The lower chamber 24B is provided with spacers 24C (only four are shown) that rest on the bottom of the lower well 20I of the main body's water tank 20A. The spacers may be attached to the bottom of the lower well 20I by any suitable means of attachment, including adhesive bonding, welding, fasteners, etc. The spacers create a small gap between the bottom of the lower chamber 24B and bottom of the lower well 20I. As can be seen in the cross-sectional view of FIGS. 12 and 14, the bottom of the lower chamber 24B is vented by two ports 24D. This allows water to meter into the water heater housing 24 for heating by the water heater 26 due to the lower chamber 24B being submerged in the water held by the water tank 20A.
  • [0045]
    As can be seen in FIG. 7, and as further illustrated in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 12-14, the water heater 26 is configured to be received within the lower chamber 24B of the heater housing 24. The water heater 26 heats the water that meters in from the water tank 20 via the heater housing's vent ports 24D, turning it into steam. The steam rises out of the top of lower chamber 24B and into the top body 30, as described in more detail below. The water heater 26 comprises a body 26A made from aluminum or other suitable heat conducting material. A PTC (positive temperature coefficient) ceramic heating element 26B fits into a central one of three slots 26C extending vertically through the heating element. As can be seen in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 12 and 14, the water can flow into the interior of the two outside slots 26C via the water heater housing's vent ports 24D. The water volume in these slots is small so that the water is rapidly heated and turned to steam. The heating element 26B includes a pair of electrical connectors 26D that are connected to the switching unit 40 on the main body 20 via electrical pathways (not shown) that extend through the top body 30 and the main body 20 to the base 22.
  • [0046]
    As can be seen in FIG. 8, the top body 30 includes an upper frame 30A whose lower peripheral edge mounts to the upper peripheral edge of the main body 20 using a suitable attachment technique, such as adhesive bonding, welding, fasteners, etc. This connection 30/20 can be seen in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 12-14. One side of the upper frame 30A defines a central V-shaped channel 30B that matches the shape of the channel 20I on water tank 20A. The channel 30B carries electrical connectors (not shown) that extend between the electrical connectors 26D of the heating element 26B and the base 22. A cross-sectional view of the channel 30B is shown in FIG. 13.
  • [0047]
    As can be additionally seen in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 12 and 14, the top body 30 further includes a pair of bullet receptacles 30C that descend into the upper chamber 24A of the heater housing 24. The bullet receptacles 30C are formed with openings 30D in the bottom that allow steam generated by the water heater 26 to pass upwardly from the lower chamber 24B of the heater housing 24. As best shown in FIG. 8, the upper portion of the top body 30 includes a flat seat 30E that supports the bullet holder 32. The seat 30E is formed with a pair of apertures 30F. A hinge area 30G is also provided on the top body 30 for pivotally attaching the steam nozzle unit 34. A lock area 30H is provided for locking the steam nozzle unit 34 in a closed position.
  • [0048]
    As can be seen in both FIG. 9, the bullet holder 32 comprises a frame with two openings 32A that align with the bullet receptacles 30C in the top body 30. The openings 32A in the bullet holder 32 are sized to receive and support the bullets 6 that contain a hair treatment composition such as vitamins, nutrients, anti-static compositions (e.g., vinegar-based formulations) setting formulas, etc. When the bullets 6 are seated in the bullet holder 32, the top lip portion of each bullet engages the peripheral edge of a respective bullet holder opening 32A. As can be seen in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 12 and 14, the remainder of each bullet 6 extends into one of the bullet receptacles 30C in the top body 30, but does not touch the bottom or sides of the receptacle. Thus, there is room for the steam generated by the water heater 26 to flow upwardly and around the bullets 6. Four radial slots 32B surround each opening 32A in the bullet holder 32 to allow the steam to escape upwardly into the space above the bullet holder that is closed by the steam nozzle unit 34. This enclosed area allows the vaporized material of the bullets 6 to mix with the steam that flows around the outside of the bullets.
  • [0049]
    As can be seen in FIG. 10, the steam nozzle unit 34 includes a top body cover portion 34A that covers and encloses the space above the bullet holder 32. The cover portion 34A carries the steam-dispensing nipples 8 that were briefly mentioned described above in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2. The steam nozzle unit 34 also includes a hinge 34B and a releasable lock tab 34C that allows the steam nozzle unit to be pivotally mounted to the top body 30 and locked in position to act as a lid. The steam nozzle unit 34 further includes a pair of steam ports 34D that vent steam and vaporized hair treatment composition upwardly from the underside of the cover portion 34A through the steam-dispensing nipples 8 located on the top side of the cover portion. The steam-dispensing nipples 8 are designed to receive the curlers 10 so that they can be steamed and heated for curling hair.
  • [0050]
    As can be seen in FIG. 11, each paper foil piercing mechanism 36 comprises a tubular puncture member 36A that is vented with longitudinal steam escape slots 36B. The steam escape slots 36B allow steam that flows around the sides of the bullets 6 to enter the steam nozzle unit's steam ports 34D and exit through the steam-dispensing nipples 8. The upper end of the tubular puncture member 36A is formed with a flange that mounts to underside of the steam nozzle unit's cover portion 34A. Cross-sectional views of this mounting arrangement are provided in FIGS. 12 and 14. The lower end of the tubular puncture member 36A is pointed in order to puncture the paper foil top of a bullet 6 when the steam nozzle unit 34 is pivoted to its closed position. This puncturing can be seen in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 12. As may be seen in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 12 and 14, a short tubular ring member 34E on the steam nozzle unit 34 surrounds each of the foil puncture mechanisms 36 to help guide the steam delivered from the radial slots 32B of the bullet holder 32 to the steam escape slots 36B of the paper foil piercing mechanism 36. The ring members 34E are slightly larger in diameter than the radial slots 32B in the bullet holder 32 to form a collection chamber for the steam.
  • [0051]
    As previously stated, the steam will also heat the bullets 6, causing the hair treatment composition therein to vaporize and flow upwardly through the steam escape slots 36B. The vaporized hair treatment composition mixes with the steam flowing through the steam ports 34D of the steam nozzle unit 34 to the curlers 10. Thus, in the illustrated embodiment, the hair curling system 2 has water in it that is exposed to the water heater unit 28 (comprising the heater housing 24 and the heater 26), which heats a metered amount of water received from the water tank 20A. This water then turns into steam. Because the steam rises, it naturally moves up through the unit to heat the bullets 6 and eventually mixes with the vaporized bullet contents. The steam also works as a locomotion aid in mixing with the vaporized bullet contents and helps disperse the mixture evenly by impregnating the combined steam and hair treatment composition into the hair rollers 10 through the steam-dispensing nipples 8. The mixture acts as a gentle heating agent for the hair and works in concert with the heated hair roller 10 and the hair cover 14 to help create a curl in the hair while protecting the hair from damage (depending on the bullet composition).
  • [0052]
    It should also be noted that the present disclosure contemplates any source for heating that is capable of quickly bringing water to a boil. Thus, as an alternative to the PTC heating element 26B, other heating elements such as electrodes or any resistive heater may also be used. As a further alternative, a heater placed on the outside of the heater housing 24 could also be used. Or, if desired, the heater housing 24 could be eliminated and the entire water tank 20A could be heated. A heating medium other than steam could also be used, such as a heated gas or non-vaporized liquid.
  • [0053]
    2. Hair Treatment Composition Bullet
  • [0054]
    The disclosed hair curling system 2 provides the ability to evenly disperse vitamins, minerals, nutrients, anti-static compositions (e.g., vinegar-based formulations), setting formulas and other materials into the hair through the use of a vaporized application during the curling process. By way of example, and not by way of limitation, the following hair treatment compositions may be used:
  • [0055]
    B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), beta-keratin, shea butter, thickening agents such as Dow Corning RM2051 and Dow Corning 2502, vinegar anti-static agents, biotin, and hair spray setting formulas.
  • [0056]
    As discussed above, the hair treatment composition may be contained in a segregated container such as the bullets 6. This technique is convenient to use and offers better control and more concentrated application then the hair treatment composition was simply dispersed within the water of the tank. Each bullet 6 may be formed as a small plastic container sealed with a foil paper covering to maintain it's stability while being stored, but subject to being ruptured with the foil paper puncture mechanism 36 for ease of use when the bullet contents are needed. A container similar to a single-use plastic coffee creamer is one example of how the bullets could be constructed.
  • [0057]
    However, it should be pointed out that the disclosed hair curler system 6 also contemplates a scenario where a hair treatment composition may be added to the larger water supply within the water tank 20A or the heater housing 24. Alternatively, any required water or liquid may be contained within the bullet 6 itself so that there is no need to add any additional fluid to create the necessary vapor/steam from a secondary source. Still further, a solid wax-based composition could be placed in the bullet receptacles 30C, where it would be melted and vaporized by the steam.
  • [0058]
    In the disclosed embodiment, each bullet 6 has its own bullet receptacle 30C in the base heating unit 4. Each bullet 6 is strategically placed in one of the openings 32A of the bullet holder 32 so that the generated steam will both heat the contents of the bullet to the point of changing it into a vapor and also bypass the bullet via the radial slots 32B and mix with the bullet contents as they merge and pass through the steam-dispensing nipple 8 in the steam nozzle unit 34 and into the roller 10. It should also be noted that while the disclosed embodiment contemplates the underlining steam being used to heat the bullet 6, it would also be possible to provide a dedicated heating unit used solely for heating the bullet or utilizing a shared heating system other than a hot steam system.
  • [0059]
    3. Ionizing Unit/Material Or Crystal/Mineral Unit/Material
  • [0060]
    As can be seen in FIG. 15, the top body 30 of the base heating unit 4 may be formed with an open well 42 for receiving an ionizing, crystal or mineral unit or material, as designated by reference number 44. Although not shown, a corresponding opening may be provided in the bullet holder 32 that sits on the top body 30. Electrical connections (not shown) may be provided in the well 42 to power the item 44. Alternatively, if the item 44 comprises naturally emitting crystals, such a tourmaline crystals, electrical connections are not required and ionic and/or thermal radiation emissions may be generating using physical manipulation, such as by application of heat (e.g., steam heat) or pressure. An ionizer unit or material can be provided by any commercially available hair dryer anion device of suitable size. The ionizer unit or material will generate negative ions that are carried by the curler heating medium (e.g., heated air, steam and/or vapor) to the hair. The negative ions infuse into the hair composition-enriched vapor as well as attach to positively charged hair to lock in moisture or enriched vapor, add volume, improve luster, reduce flyaway and frizzy hair, and eliminate smoke or other environmental odor. A crystal/mineral unit or material may be provided by any commercially available hair-care crystal unit of appropriate size. A tourmaline crystal is an example of a crystal that is both piezoelectric and pyroelectric and may be stimulated electrically or by deformation due to heat or pressure to naturally emit ions or infrared heat radiation. A crystal/mineral unit or material acts as an ionizer by generating negative ions and also emits infrared heat to help heat the rollers. The crystal/mineral unit or material may be constructed as shown in FIG. 15 so as to receive electrical stimulation. It may also be implemented as crystal chips or a crystal powder that is mixed into a matrix made of plastic or other material so that the crystal is part and parcel of the physical medium. The crystal or mineral material may be strategically placed within the base heating unit 4 or in the rollers 10 in such a way that the vaporized steam makes contact with or has influence on the crystal or mineral, which then releases the negative ions and radiated heat into the vapor or hair.
  • [0061]
    4. Hair Rollers
  • [0062]
    Turning now to FIG. 16, the hair rollers 10 represent one of the boundaries defining the thermally quarantined zone that is provided by the disclosed hair curling system 2. If desired, a plurality of rollers 10 of different sizes may be provided. The rollers 10 each include a center roller core 10A comprising a perforated tube 10B having a central cylindrical chamber and a circular flange 10C at each end. A sleeve 10D made of foam or other porous substrate material is mounted on the roller core 10A.
  • [0063]
    Various construction techniques may be used to fabricate the roller core 10A. For example, FIG. 17 illustrates that the roller core 10A may be formed as a two-piece assembly that includes a first core member 10E and a second core member 10F. The first core member 10E comprises the perforated tube 10B and a first one of the circular flanges 10C. The second core member 10F comprises a second one of the circular flanges 10C and a short tubular stub 10G that slides inside the free end of the perforated tube 10B and locks thereto by way of a bayonet-type connection. The perforations of the perforated tube 10B are formed as a perforation pattern that may comprise two linear arrays of small holes disposed 180 degrees apart from each other. Other relief cutouts that provide a release path for the steam and vapor to travel through may also be used.
  • [0064]
    As can be seen in FIG. 18, the roller core 10A is sized to receive and thereby mount to one of the steam-dispensing nipples 8 on the steam nozzle unit 34. Attention is given for optimum heat dissipation, which can be manipulated by, among other things, choice of core material, density of material, specific shapes and angles designed into the core, and the perforation pattern. In the disclosed embodiment where steam is used as the energy/heat generator for the roller, the roller comprises the hollow perforated tube 10B. The perforated tube 10B is made from plastic or other material that is capable of absorbing heat energy from the steam, so that it continues to radiate heat even after it is removed from the base unit.
  • [0065]
    As stated, the hair roller 10 is designed to sit snugly on one of the steam-dispensing nipples 8 so that the hair composition-enriched steam exiting through that nipple will be directed through the hollow central chamber at the core of the roller and out the internal perforations. From there, the enriched steam and vapor will be metered out of the core in controlled fashion by the perforation pattern. The perforation pattern is designed so that some of the heated vapor is temporarily chambered within the roller core 10A so that the core material remains hot. The perforation pattern is further designed so that the heated vapor ultimately exits the roller core 10A to embed into the porous substrate (sleeve) 10D attached to the roller core, which is eventually rolled onto the hair that is being treated and curled. The roller 10 works in a cooperative relationship with the hair cover 14 insofar as they are in thermal communication. It should be noted that although steam is used as an energy source for heating the roller core 10A, alternate methods of heating are contemplated by this disclosure. A design that uses electric heat is one example.
  • [0066]
    Also, although the disclosed hair curling system 2 uses hair composition-enriched vapor delivered to the roller's porous substrate 10D from an internal channel provided within the roller core 10A, it could also be impregnated onto the foam by exterior applications such as an enclosed vapor bath. Regardless of the method of implanting the enriched vapor onto the porous substrate 10D, a heat-radiating core is a desirable component because it defines a directional vector for moving the enriched vapor into the hair.
  • [0067]
    5. Heated Or Chilled Chimneys
  • [0068]
    As can be seen in FIGS. 1-2, the two hair cover-receiving chimneys 12 are disposed on the base heating unit 4, outside of where the water tank 20A is located. The chimneys 12 provide one possible type of hair cover temperature control system designed to either heat or chill the hair covers 14 (or both) independently of the heater unit 28 used to produce the steam that heats the hair rollers 10.
  • [0069]
    As can be seen in FIG. 19, each chimney 12 comprises a generally tubular, dome-topped plastic chimney housing 12A. Heating/cooling elements 12B are disposed on each side of the chimney housing 12A, and are made from a thermally conductive material such as metal (e.g., aluminum). Each heating/cooling element 12B is substantially disposed inside the chimney housing 12A, but includes an outer cover-contacting portion 12C that extends through a corresponding slot 12D in the chimney housing for heating and/or cooling one of the hair covers 14.
  • [0070]
    As can be seen in FIGS. 20 and 21, the heating/cooling elements 12B are in thermal contact with a temperature control unit 12E that is centrally disposed within the chimney housing 12A. The temperature control unit 12E can be implemented using an electrical heating unit (e.g., a PTC heater) and/or a cooling unit (e.g., a Peltier cooling chip). The temperature control unit 12E may thus be used to raise and/or lower the temperature of the heating/cooling elements 12 relative to the ambient environment. As can be seen in FIG. 20, the temperature control unit 12E has electrical connectors 12F that are connected to the switching unit 40 on the main body 20 via electrical connectors (not shown) that extend through the base 22 into the main body 20. As can be seen in each of FIGS. 19-21, cylindrical posts 12G are provided on a flange 12H disposed on the base of the chimney housing 12A. The posts 12G are received in the corresponding cylindrical channels 20G on the main body 20 (see FIG. 4) in order to mount the chimneys 12. Adhesive bonding or welding may be used to secure the chimneys 12 in position.
  • [0071]
    The chimneys 12 are designed and positioned in such a way so as to facilitate ease of movement in placing and removing the hair covers 14 thereon. The chimneys 12 conduct heat or cold into the hair covers 14 independently of the water heater unit 28 used to heat the rollers 10. Moreover, the chimneys 12 may be heated or cooled to any desired temperature, thus allowing the hair covers 14 to be heated or cooled to a temperature that is different from the temperature of the hair rollers 10, and providing a user the liberty of controlling the temperature gradient between hair rollers and the hair covers. This allows the thermally quarantined zone to be manipulated in a manner that produces the optimal flow of heat from the heated hair rollers 10 into the hair disposed between the hair rollers and the hair covers 14, with the latter serving as temperature gradient control members.
  • [0072]
    If desired, a variable temperature control may be provided on the switching unit 40 so that the user can adjust the characteristics of the thermally quarantined zone. The variable temperature control could be used to regulate the heating of the rollers 10. A separate temperature control could be used to regulate the temperature of the heating/cooling elements 12B in the chimneys 12.
  • [0073]
    6. Hair Covers
  • [0074]
    The heated or cooled hair covers 14 represent the outer boundary of the thermally quarantined zone. The hair covers 14 are designed to attach and detach easily from the hair cover-receiving chimneys 12. They can be formed from plastic or other temperature retaining material. As can be seen in FIG. 22, each hair cover 14 can be formed as a clip that includes a pair of curved clip halves 14A that are pivotally mounted at a pivot point 14B in a butterfly configuration. The clip halves 14A form small handles 14C on one side of the pivot point 14B while the remainder of the clip halves are curved to form cover portions 14D that wrap around the hair curlers 10 as well as the chimneys 12. Spring tension may be provided at the pivot point 14B so that the hair covers 14 are adjustable to different sized rollers. Thus, the hair covers 14 will have a snug fit regardless of the thickness or length of hair so that heat can be transferred and communicated to the hair through conductivity. Alternatively, single-element rigid hair covers that do not adjust to the hair could also be used.
  • [0075]
    The hair covers 14 are designed to quickly absorb heat and then retain the heat after they are removed from the heat source, or alternatively, to be receptive to chilling and retaining a cooling effect for a period of time. During use, by having the hair covers 14 in thermal communication with the radiated heat extending out from the heated rollers 10, the user can control (by adjusting the heat gradient between the two) the rate of cooling as well as the direction and movement of the vapor sandwiched between the two boundaries of the thermally quarantined zone. In addition, having a hair cover 14 whose temperature characteristic can be controlled by the user also allows for an increase in the footprint and intensity of heat that is actually affecting the hair, which is a critical component of hair styling. For example, if a user were to wrap their hair around a standard curler, each successive layer of hair would be receiving less and less heat that is radiating from the curler. However, with the multidirectional radiation provided by the disclosed hair curling system 2, the hair on the outside will have a much more direct and intense heat applied resulting in superior control and results. Conversely, for short thin hair, the user may want to cool the hair quicker and move the vapor at a different faster rate than an uninfluenced clip can provide. This could be accomplished by exaggerating the temperature gradient between the two boundaries by lowering the temperature of the clip and increasing the gradient between the two.
  • [0076]
    7. Thermally Quarantined Zone
  • [0077]
    The disclosed hair curling system 2 provides the ability to create a controllable thermally quarantined zone, which is defined by having two physical boundaries, the roller 10 and the hair cover 14, so that there is a predictable and beneficial effect on the hair that is sandwiched in between. The hair composition-enriched vapor composition within the thermally quarantined zone is transferred into the hair when the hair is rolled around an impregnated roller 10. In accordance with the laws of thermodynamics, the thermal boundaries will have an effect on the rate of vapor evaporation, escape and flow. The user can enrich that vapor with the hair treatment composition, have the enriched vapor slowly travel and implant into the hair fiber, and then have pure water or the like slowly and under optimized controlled circumstances evaporate away, leaving the hair treatment composition implanted and dispersed within the hair. In addition to providing control over the thermally quarantined zone, the disclosed hair curling system 2 compensates for different environmental conditions so that results become significantly more consistent and predictable. Thus, the disclosed hair curling system 2 overcomes the fragility of existing apparatus that are expected to operate among an infinite spectrum of hair thicknesses and hair types. Such apparatus operate in environments where the effectiveness of the curling effort is essentially held hostage to the environmental conditions of the moment. Current hair curling devices do not substantially compensate for a high humidity day, or a cold room. Nor are they adjustable to persons with long or thin hair. In effect, all current hair curling devices are designed to operate with results that are a compromise due to the assumption of a statistically average use environment. Such an environment exists more in theory then in practicality. The disclosed hair curling system 2 recognizes these realities and addresses them. Finally, an ionizing mechanism may be provided by incorporating piezoelectric/pyroelectric crystals into the rollers 10 and/or the hair covers 14, allowing for even more control and effectiveness by influencing electromagnetic charges and heat transfer within the thermally quarantined zone so that there is more precise implanting of the vapor and enrichment compounds into the hair fiber.
  • [0078]
    8. Method of Use
  • [0079]
    The disclosed hair curling system 2 may be used to curl the hair according to a novel method wherein (1) water is added to the water tank 20A and the water heater unit 28 is activated to heat the water so as to generate steam, (2) a bullet 6 containing a selected hair treatment composition is optionally placed in one or both of the bullet receptacles 30C, (3) an ionizer, crystal or mineral unit or material 44 is optionally placed in the corresponding open well 42 (or is otherwise incorporated in the base heating unit 4), or one or both of the hair rollers 10 or the hair covers 14, (4) a hair roller 10 is placed on one or both of the steam-dispensing nipples 8 and heated with steam while being infused with the vaporized hair treatment composition provided by the bullet 6, and/or with ions or radiant heat from the ionizer, crystal or mineral unit or material 44. Separately, the hair cover 14 can be placed on one or both of the hair cover-receiving chimneys 12 and independently heated or chilled to achieve a desired temperature differential relative the hair roller 10 on which it is to be mounted. Alternatively, the hair cover 14 can be left at ambient temperature. The heated roller 10 is then removed from one of the steam-dispensing nozzles 8 and rolled into the hair. The heated, chilled or ambient temperature clip 14 is thereafter removed from one of the chimneys 12 and clipped around the outside of the rolled hair to retain it on the hair roller 10. Additional rollers 10 and hair covers 14 may be added to the hair in similar fashion.
  • [0080]
    Accordingly, a hair curling system has been disclosed. While exemplary embodiments have been shown and described, it should be apparent that many variations and alternative embodiments could be implemented in accordance with the teachings herein. It is understood, therefore, that the invention is not to be in any way limited except in accordance with the spirit of the appended claims and their equivalents.
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Referenced by
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US8035061 *Jun 26, 2008Oct 11, 2011Blueceramic Co., Ltd.Hairdressing device
US8136263 *Aug 21, 2008Mar 20, 2012Heidi SchmidHair care appliance and method of using same
US8342189 *Apr 1, 2010Jan 1, 2013Judy GregorekHair roller set
US8522795 *May 4, 2011Sep 3, 2013Elc Management, LlcUniversal docking station compact
US8800163Mar 19, 2012Aug 12, 2014Heidi SchmidHair care appliance and method of using same
US8912467 *Dec 13, 2012Dec 16, 2014Manica Taiwan IncorporatedHair styling heating apparatus
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US20100252062 *Apr 1, 2010Oct 7, 2010Judy GregorekHair roller set
US20140090266 *Oct 2, 2012Apr 3, 2014Oscar Jose RodriguesHair Dryer with control switches underneath handle
US20140166037 *Dec 17, 2013Jun 19, 2014Sarah RenfroHair roller with clamp and clip assembly
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Classifications
U.S. Classification132/203, 132/228, 219/222, 132/220
International ClassificationA45D7/06, A45D2/36, A45D6/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45D2/362, A45D7/06, A45D2001/008, A45D6/00, A45D2200/205, A45D2200/202
European ClassificationA45D6/00, A45D2/36A, A45D7/06