US 3550285 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
9' 1970 w. A. OMOHUNDRO 3,550,285
HAIR DRYER APPARATUS Filed Oct. 3, 1968 2 Shoets-Sheet l Inventor-f Hlam A- Omohundro Attorney Dec. 29, 1970 w, OMOHUNDRO 3,550,285
HAIR DRYER APPARATUS 2 Sheets-Sheet 8 Inventor" Wnham A. Omohundv'o Attorney Filed Oct. 5, 1968' United States Patent 3,550,285 HAIR DRYER APPARATUS William A. Omohundro, Westport, Conn., assignor to General Electric Company, a corporation of New York Filed Oct. 3, 1968, Ser. No. 764,747 Int. Cl. A45d 20/00 U.S. C]. 3497 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The disclosure herein concerns hair treating apparatus including a hair dryer and a detachable self-contained steam generator for applying water vapor to the hair, both of which may be used separately or in combination with one another.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to hair treating apparatus and in particular to household hair dryers.
There are generally two types of hair dryers-namely, those of the professional type which usually are in the nature of apparatus installed in beauty parlors, and those of the household type which usually are small portable appliances. The professional type is massive, costly, and operated by a beauty parlor attendant that makes all of the necessary adjustments to the apparatus and controls the treatment during its operation. The household hair dryer, on the other hand, is almost always operated by the user and she makes any necessary adjustment to give herself the desired hair treatment. For this reason, it is particularly desirable to have household hair treating apparatus that can be operated easily, efficiently, and, if possible, perform several different hair treating operations.
By subjecting a persons hair to water vapor, the cortex or hard outside layer of the hair is softened, and, if allowed to dry in a curled condition, the hair will be set or curled. Apparatus usually used to apply water vapor or steam to the hair is a steam generator, and it is either hand-held as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,832,360 and 1,907,871 or incorporated into a hair treating apparatus as a permanent structural element as disclosed in U.S. Pat. 3,004,540. The latter type of apparatus uses the hood of the dryer as a means for distributing the steam to the users hair.
Prior hair treating apparatus used to apply steam to the hair have several drawbacks in that they are difficult to use and they lack versatility. For instance, in the handheld type steam generator, only relatively small areas of the users hair can be done at a time. When all or nearly all of a persons hair is to be set, considerable time and constant manipulation of the steam generator is required. This, coupled with the fact that hand-held steam generators are hot and difficult to hold results in a very tiring hair treating operation.
The prior hair treating apparatus that incorporate the steam generator as a permanent structural element lack versatility in that all of the users hair must be subjected to the steam since the hood is used to distribute the steam. This is not always desirable as many times only certain curls or areas of the users hair needs to be treated. Moreover, such permanently incorporated steam generators obstruct and interfere with the air flow during the normal hair drying operation, thereby cutting down on the efiiciency of the hair dryer. If, on the other hand, the steam generator is located some distance away from the hood to prevent interference of the air flow a portion of the steam will condense and the temperature of the steam will drop before it reaches the users hair making the steam-applying operation much less effective.
3,550,285 Patented Dec. 29, 1970 By my invention, a versatile hair treating apparatus is provided which comprises a hair dryer and a steam generator. The steam generator can be used alone in a handheld manner and is easily manipulated to apply steam to selected curls or areas of the users hair or it may also be used in combination with the hair dryer to apply steam to all of the users hair. My hair treating apparatus is particularly adapted for household use in that it is easy and convenient to use by a woman treating her own hair.
SUMMARY THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention, there is provided a hair dryer with a means for producing a heated air flow, a hood for distributing the heated air to the hair to be dried and an air duct for directing air to the hood. There is also provided a self-contained steam generator having a steam exit spout extending outwardly from a boiler housed within the body of the generator. The configuration of the spout of the steam generator is such that when the spout is inserted into an orifice in the air duct of the hair dryer it interlockingly engages the wall of the air duct and is supported on the air duct without the need of any additional securing means. When the steam generator is secured to the air duct, it expels from the boiler through the spout to the air duct and into the hood which in turn distributes the steam around the users head and applies it to the hair. Preferably the orifice in the air duct is located near the junction of the duct and hood to minimize condensation and loss of temperature of the steam prior to its being applied to the users hair. If the user desires to apply steam to only a selected portion of the hair, the steam generator may be removed from its position on the air duct and used in a hand-held fashion and manipulated to accomplish the desired treatment. If it is desired to only dry the hair, the steam generator does not need to be removed from its position on the air duct, however, it may be removed thereby eliminating any air flow obstruction caused by the spout projecting into the air duct. A cover member for the air duct orifice is normally employed to cover the air duct orifice when the steam generator spout is removed to prevent the heated air from escaping through it rather than flowing into the hood.
It is an object of this invention to provide hair treating apparatus that comprises a hair dryer and a steam generator for applying steam to a users hair, both of which may be used separately or in combination with each other.
It is another object of this invention to provide hair treating apparatus that comprises a hair dryer and a steam generator for applying steam to the users hair, both of which may be used separately either detached from each other or not, or used in combination to provide a means of distributing the water vapor to essentially all of the users hair through the dryer hood.
It is another object of this invention to provide hair treating apparatus that comprises a hair dryer and a steam generator which may be efficiently and easily used separately or in combination with each other and, when used in combination, they can be easily and effectively secured one to the other.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of my hair treating apparatus showing the steam generator secured to the hair dryer.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view showing the steam generator detached from the air duct portion of the hair dryer. The air duct portion being shown in sectional view.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view showing the steam generator secured in position on the air duct portion of the hair dryer.
3 DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 illustrates my hair treating apparatus in condition for use, such as in the home, and it generally includes a hair dryer having a base assembly 10, a rigid hood assembly 11 to be placed on the head of a user, and interconnecting heated air duct means 12 which may be selectively adjustable as by telescoping to be able to position the hood comfortably on the users head. The hair dryer may be the type shown in FIG. 1 where it is contemplated to be used by placing the entire hair dryer on a table or similar appropriate counter top support and then the user sits on a chair and positions her head within the rigid hood assembly 11. It is to be understood that other types of hair dryers or hair dryers having different structural configurations may also be employed in my invention and that the hair dryer shown in the drawings is merely illustrative of one embodiment of my invention.
In the type of hair dryer illustrated, the base assembly includes a housing which houses the usual means for producing a flow of heated air which is directed up through the duct means 12 and into the hood assembly 11. The internal heated air flow producing mechanism forms no specific part of my invention and, therefore, will not be described in detail. However, as those skilled in the art know, it usually includes an electrical heating means for heating air, electrically operated impeller means for causing the heated air to flow, suitable control means for the heating and impeller means including a manually operated selector switch accessible from the exterior of the base and an over-heat protector switch disposed within the base and suitable air passages formed in the housing including an ambient air inlet and an internal heated air outlet which communicates with the air duct means.
The base assembly 10 includes a base member 13 and a cover 14 therefor which are secured to each other in any convenient manner to form the housing within which the aforementioned heated air flow producing means is disposed. The base member and cover may be made of a rigid plastic material of any suitable known type. The top of the cover 14 forms a deck 15. Centrally on the upper side of the deck is formed an air inlet grille 16. A suitable dryer and steam generator control switch operating knob 17 is mounted on the deck and is accessible to the user for manually controlling both the drying and steam applying operations.
'The air duct means 12 comprises a plurality of rigid air duct members which connect the base and hood assemblies and perform the dual functions of conveying the heated air produced by the heated air producing means in the base assembly to the hood assembly, and permitting ready selective adjustment of the position of the hood assembly.
The air duct means 12 comprises a lower duct 18 and an upper duct 19. The ducts may be made of the same rigid plastic material as that from which the base housing is made. The ducts are generally tubular members that are rectangular in cross section. The lower duct 18 communicates with the heated air outlet of the heated air flow producing means in the base housing and the upper duct 19 communicates with the hood assembly 11 and is telescopically slidably disposed in the upper end of the lower duct 18.
The hood assembly 11 comprises a rigid hood formed of the same material as the base housing and air ducts, and includes an air duct coupling member 20 (FIGS. 2 and 3) for attachment to upper duct 19. The hood comprises a pair of spaced done-like walls. The inner wall has a plurality of perforations 31 to permit heated air which has entered the hood to be distributed about the users head and applied to the hair. The path of the flowing heated air is shown by the arrows in FIG. 2. Ex-
cept for the heated air inlet coupling member 20, the outer wall is imperforate. The lower edge of the outer wall has a flange 34 and the inner wall 30 has a flange 32, which flanges are secured to each other to space the inner and outer walls from each other thereby permitting air passage between the walls. The joined flanges are covered by a trim ring 35. Recessed in the top of the outer wall 33 in a handle 36 for carrying the hair dryer.
With reference particularly to FIGS. 1 and 3, the steam generator 37 is shown secured in position on the upper air duct 19 ready for use in combination with the hair dryer. The steam generator comprises an insulated body 38 made from the same rigid plastic as that from which the housing is made. The body 38 houses a boiler for holding a quantity of water and an electric heater. The steam generator is self-contained in that the boiler and the heater necessary to convert the water in the boiler to steam are in the same unit and there is no need to employ an outside heat source. A cord set 39 leading to the electric heater in the base 40 of the steam generator is removably attached thereto by a plug connection and the other end of the cord set is connected to an electrical power source through the hair dryer base assembly 10. When the steam generator is not in use, it may be conveniently stored by placing the base 40 in a cavity provided in the deck 15 of the base assembly for storage purposes. The steam generator cord set 39 may, if desired, be retractably stored within the base assembly 10 by providing a hole in the deck 15, such as at the bottom of the storage cavity 50, through which the cord set may be passed.
FIGS. 2 and 3 show in detail the structural configuration of the steam generator and hair dryer duct 19 that cooperate with each other to secure the steam generator in position on the hair dryer. The outer end of the spout 51 carries a boss 52 on the upper wall thereof and the lower wall of the spout carries a step-like projection 53 spaced in close proximity to the junction between the spout and the body of the steam generator. The longitudinal axis of the steam exit spout 51 forms an angle of from 25 to 45 degrees with respect to the longitudinal axis of the insulated body 38 of the steam generator. The air duct 19 of the hair dryer has an orifice 54 through which the end of the spout is placed for operation of the steam generator in conjunction with the hair dryer. The orifice is slightly larger but of the same general shape as the end of the steam generator spout 51 taken in cross section on a plane normal to the longitudinal axis of the spout. The orifice 54 is desirably maintained closed during the hair drying operation when the steam generator is not secured to the air duct to prevent the escape of heated air through the orifice. This may be accomplished in any convenient manner, however, I have found that a cover member that is spring biased to remain closed works quite well. FIG. 2 shows such a cover member in its normally closed position mocnted on the inside of the air duct 19 by a rivet 56. FIG. 3 shows a portion of the cover physically displaced from its normally closed position by the spout 51. FIG. 2 illustrates the steam generator in hand-held position as it would be used for applying steam to a selected portion of the users hair rather than the entire head. The steam generator is also shown in position for inserting the exit spout 51 into the air duct orifice 54 for use of the steam generator in conjunction with the hair dryer. The arrows indicate the path of the heated air flowing through the air duct and out the inner wall perforations 31 of the hood.
To secure the steam generator to the hair dryer, the exit spout 51 is pushed through the orifice 54 and against the cover member 55 with sufficient force to overcome its biased closed condition and the spout inserted into the air duct 19 far enough so that the boss 52 is inside the duct. The steam generator is then rotated downwardly until the forward edge 57 of the step-like projection 53 contacts and rests against the rearward exterior surface of the air duct 19 and the boss 52 contacts the rearward interior surface of the air duct. The boss 52 on the interior of the air duct and the step-like projection 53 on the exterior of the air duct interlockingly engage the air duct to secure the steam generator to the air duct as shown in FIG. 3. By having the orifice 54 close to the hood assembly 11 and the steam exit spout on an angle of from 25 to 45 degrees with respect to the body of the steam generator, as described previously the body 38 will be parallel to the air duct 19 and the spout will be directed upwardly toward the hood coupling member 20 through which the steam passes into the hood assembly. With the exit spout 51 retained in the position described, the steam 57 is expelled from the steam generator directly into the hood for eflicient distribution of the steam to the users hair and with a minimum amount of condensation and loss of temperature. In this manner, a maximum amount of water vapor is delivered to the hair of the user.
The foregoing is a description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and variations may be made to the structure of the device Without departing from the spirit of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.
1. Hair treating apparatus comprising: a hair dryer including means for producing a flow of heated air, a hood adapted to be positioned about the head of the user and having means for distributing air to the head, an air duct for directing air to said hood; and a detachable self-contained steam generator adapted to be alternatively used separately in hand-held manner or in conjunction with said hair dryer, said steam generator having a steam exit spout removably interlocked with said air duct to support said steam generator and communieating with said air duct to supply steam to the users head when used in conjunction with said hair dryer.
2. The hair treating apparatus of claim 1 wherein the body of said detachable self-contained steam generator is insulated so that the user may manipulate it in handheld manner.
3. Hair treating apparatus comprising: a hair dryer including means for producing a flow of heated air, a hood adapted to be positioned about the head of the user and having means for distributing air to the head, an air duct communicating with said hood and having therein an orifice; and a self-contained detachable steam generator with a steam exit spout adapted for insertion into said air duct orifice to removably interlock said spout with said air duct to support said steam generator on the air duct in an operative position while supplying steam to the users head.
4. The hair treating apparatus of claim 3 wherein the air duct orifice is relatively close to the junction of the air duct and hood thereby permitting steam to be expelled from the steam generator directly into the hood.
5. The hair treating apparatus of claim 3 wherein the steam exit spout has a boss on the upper wall thereof and a step-like projection on the lower wall thereof in close proximity to the junction of the spout and the body of the steam generator, which boss and step-like projection interlockingly engage the air duct wall to secure the steam generator to the air duct when the spout is inserted into the air duct orifice.
6. The hair treating apparatus of claim 3 wherein the hood of the hair dryer is the rigid type having an outer wall and an inner wall attached to each other in spaced relationship, said inner wall having perforations through which air may pass.
'7. The hair treating apparatus of claim 3 wherein the air duct orifice is maintained in a normally closed condition when the steam generator is not inserted therein by means of a biased cover member.
8. The hair treating apparatus of claim 3 wherein the longitudinal axis of the spout of the steam generator forms an angle of from 25 to degrees with respect to the longitudinal axis of the body of the steam generator.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,362,086 1/1968 McLean 34-99 3,086,534 4/1963 GOrter et al. 34--99X 3,004,540 10/1961 Ronzi 34--99X Re. 19,724 10/1935 Martin 34l00X KENNETH W. SPRAGUE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.