US 3868906 A
A caddy for garment hangers which includes a tube, a retainer strip coextensive therewith and latch members which connect the tube and the strip to permit broadwise movement of the strip between an overlying clamping position in which the hooks of the garment hangers are clamped to the tube and a captive retracted position in which the strip is spaced parallel to the tube. The retainer strip is sufficiently weighty so that when the caddy is freely supported in horizontal position, the strip swings down into a pendulous out-of-the-way position clear of the hooks. In a preferred form of latch member the active latch portion is integrally formed by reversely bending the end of the member, with the tip thereof forming a latching surface which engages the wall of the tube but which may be manually released by finger pressure. The invention has method aspects including the steps of supporting the caddy horizontally at a garment unpacking station in the retracted and pendulous state for dispensing of the hangers one by one, transporting the garments and empty caddy to a place of sale, supporting the caddy horizontally at the place of sale with the caddy in the retracted and pendulous state for depositing of hangers thereon one by one as they are removed from sold garments, snapping the filled caddy into locked condition, and then returning the caddy to the place of original support for storage and dispensing of the hangers so that the hangers are at all times either (a) in a garment or (b) organized on a caddy.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Cameron CONTROL AND HANDLING OF GARMENT bets which connect the tube and the strip to permit HANGERS broadwise movement of the strip between an overlying clamping position in which the hooks of the garment  Inventor g gfg g't" 5 hangers are clamped to the tube and a captive relcago tracted position in which the strip is spaced parallel to  Filed: Aug. 24, 1973 the tube. The retainer strip is sufficiently weighty so that when the caddy is freely supported in horizontal  Appl' 39l217 position, the strip swings down into a pendulous outof-the-way position clear of the hooks. 111' a preferred  U.S. Cl. 104/89, 105/148 form of latch member the active latch portion is inte-  Int. Cl B6lb 3/00 grally formed by reversely bending the end of the  Field of Search 104/88, 89, 91, 93, 106, member, with the tip thereof forming a latching sur- 104/110, 112; 105/148, 150, 153, 154 face which engages the wall of the tube but which may be manually released by finger pressure. The invention  References Cited has method aspects including the steps of supporting UNITED STATES PATENTS the caddy horizontally at a garment unpacking station 3 495 720 2/1970 Mann Jr. et al. 104/89 the retracted and pendulous state for dispensing 3:505:961 4/1970 McElroy 104/89 the hangers one by transporting the garments and 3,561,365 2/197l Roomy empty caddy to a place of sale, supporting the caddy 3 572 251 3/1971 J h o horizontally at the place of sale with the caddy in the 3,827,366 8/1974 Pamer 104/89 retracted and pendulous state for depositing of hang- Primary E.\'aminerM. Henson Wood, Jr.
Assistant Examiner-Richard A. Bertsch Attorney, Agent, or FirmWolfe, Hubbard, Leydig, Voit & Osann, Ltd.
 ABSTRACT A caddy for garment hangers which includes a tube, a retainer strip coextensive therewith and latch memers thereon one by one as they are removed from sold garments, snapping the filled caddy into locked condition, and then returning the caddy to the place of original support for storage and dispensing of the hangers so that the hangers are at all times either (a) in a garment or (b) organized on a caddy.
9 Claims, Drawing Figures WCUHING EARMINYS fm e1 suns/mto mm unmcxmr: Niki armor: ZZZ; (GARHINTS Put on man H5]?! 13%" m VISPEN-SED FROM canny 20) CNECKING 72 i 7/ sunau MARK/N6 FILLED (ADDY STATIUN mm: ea 7 COM/[70R TRDLLEY E 64 l l l DISTRIBUTION snnmv FILLED 400 m WT MAL) snrrruw Tmmumzr "1 aunuuov Mum/mat I (W l I t I l a r t h x k: WHORE I IDJIMEZ WXTUREJ 7P STORE 4 El I I:| 5| I i ennncn'r: macro cu e}, SALES m (061 I PM hi I l $2 FILLED CLUTOHER warn/us DEJK- m HANGER REMOVED man cunzur mum: FOR mum. kznavrn HANGER PLACE 0V C4007.
PATENTED 4 I975 sumzo g PATENTED W 41975 INCOMING GARMENTS FIG/0 6! Z suns/m T0 65 HUNG UNPACKING HERE STATION TAKING HANGfR (murmurs PUT on FROM HERE TROLLEY BAR TB usllva HANGERS wspguszo FROM CADDY 20) CHECKING 72 STATION MARKING FILLfD c/woy STATION HUNG ON 7 CONVEYOR TROLLEY BAR j j 64 E l DISTRIBUTION STATION FILLED cAoog TORA (OPTIONAL) j EMPTYCADDY H H H TRANSPORT "1 PLACEO/N [4m HAMTiRS g1 mum? #525 (BAR r E) A i kl Q x T0 sronz I TO 8TORE 2 12) 8701953 70 STORE 4 &'| i 2 $1 1 GARMENTJ PLACED 01v 34L 8 RACKS REMOVED HANGER PL new 01v 0400),
CONTROL AND HANDLING OF GARMENT HANGERS In the sale of clothing it is common practice to place a garment upon a hanger at the time of unpacking, and after checking and marking the hangered garments are placed in a hamper for transport to the selling floor. When the garment is sold, the hanger is removed and the hangers thus collected are returned, in bulk, for reuse at the unpacking station. Handling the hangers in bulk causes them to be tangled together and considerable time is wasted in freeing the hangers from one another for reuse.
Thus it is a primary object of the invention to provide a novel caddy construction and procedure for using the same in which the caddy serves as a dispenser of hangers at the place of use, a collector of hangers after the latter have individually served their purpose at the place of sale, and a secure means for organizing hangers in compact easily handled form for transport and storage, with the caddies being stackable, where desired, one upon another.
It is a more specific object to provide a caddy for garment hangers which includes a tube and an overlying retainer strip which is secured to the tube by latching members at the respective ends, the latching members being so constructed that the retainer strip may be latched with respect to the tube in a snug clamping position and released, with finger pressure, for broadwise movement to a retracted position in which the strip is maintained parallel to the tube, and securely captive, while nevertheless permitting hangers to be assembled upon, or removed from, the tube. In one of the aspects of the invention the retainer strip is sufficiently weighty so that when the caddy is freely supported in horizontal position the retainer strip tends to swing pendulously to an out-of-the-way position, clear of the hooks of the hangers to faciliate loading and unloading.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a caddy which has novel features and advantages when used in conjunction with an endless trolley conveyor loop of the type used for processing of incoming garments prior to the distribution thereof to sales departments.
Finally, it is an object of the present invention to provide a caddy for garment hangers which permits substantial savings to be made in the processing of garments for sale but which is nonetheless convenient to use, highly economical requiring a minimum of storage space, and inherently long-lived.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the attached detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:
FIG. I is an elevational view of a caddy constructed in accordance with the present invention.
- FIG. 2 is an enlarged vertical section looking along the line 22 in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged longitudinal section, taken in a vertical plane, and looking along the line 3--3 of FIG. 2, foreshortened in the longitudinal dimension.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary vertical section, somewhat enlarged, showing a latching member in the latched state.
FIG. 4a is a fragmentary face view of the latch looking along the line 4a-4a in FIG. 4.
FIG. 4b is a fragmentary section taken on line 4b-4b in FIG. 4a.
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 but showing the latch released by finger pressure.
FIG. 6 shows the latching member retracted from clamping position and with the latch serving as a limit stop to maintain the retainer strip captive with its associated tube.
FIG. 7 shows a harness for mounting a caddy in a freely suspended position on a transport bar.
FIGS. 8 and 9 are stop motion views showing the retainer strip in its overlying position and in its pendulous position respectively.
FIG. 10 is a diagram of the conveyor loop used in the processing of incoming garments for distribution to point of sale.
FIG. 1 1 shows a portion of the conveyor with two roller supported transport bars used in the system of FIG. 10.
FIG. 12 is an elevational view showing a typical bar type hamper for transporting garments, and an empty caddy, to the point of sale.
FIG. 13 shows a simple form of stand for supporting one or more caddies at a sales wrapping desk for collection of hangers thereon.
While the invention has been described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood that I do not intend to be limited to the particular embodiments shown but intend, on the contrary, to cover the various alternative and equivalent constructions included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
Turning to the drawings, there is shown in FIGS. l-3 a caddy 20 for garment hangers, commonly referred to as clothes hangers. The caddy is formed of a hollow tube 21 having a superimposed, generally coextensive, retainer strip 22. Connected to the ends of the retainer strip, and extending at right angles thereto, are latch members 23, 24. The latch members are inserted into registering receiving openings 25, 26 which are provided in pairs, diametrically alined, near the respective ends of the tube. In a practical case the tube may be formed of either metal orplastic, but it is preferably of a relatively stiff and durable plastic such as vinyl of the type conventionally used for water piping and having a radius, at the outer diameter, of approximately one-half inch. The retainer strip 22 is preferably of ridged, arcuate contour as shown in FIG. 2 formed to a radius on the order of 1 inch. The curvatures are preferably such as to span the curvature of the hooks used in conventional garment hangers. A typical garment hanger shown at H has a plastic body 27 suspended by a swivelmounted hook 28 having a loop 29 at its tip.
In accordance with the present invention each of the latch members 23, 24 is formed of a strip having a movable portion presenting a latching surface which engages the wall of the tube to hold the retainer strip in clamping position and which is releasable by finger pressure to permit movement of the strip to a parallel retracted position, with cooperating limit stop surfaces being provided on the latching members and the tube for preventing complete retraction so that the retaining member is held captive at both ends of the tube-in its retracted position.
Thus, referring to FIG. 4, the latching member 23 is welded or otherwise secured, at W, to the end of the retainer strip 22. At its upper end the latching member has a bent-over welding tab 31. The body 32 of the latching member is preferably of metal formed in channel shape having a central channel, or groove, 33 and side flanges, or wings, 34, 35. The lower end of the latching member is preferably reversely bent, as indicated at 36, to form a resilient latch 37 having a tip 38 which serves as the latching surface. The latch 37 is preferably outwardly sprung as indicated in FIG. 4 so that it engages a land surface 39 on the tube. In addition, the tip of the latch has an L-shaped lug, or stop, 40 which prevents excessive outward movement of the latch in response to the springing force and which also serves to bottom in the channel 33 to prevent the latch from being overly stressed in the inward or releasing direction. As noted in FIG. 4a, the latch portion 37 is preferably of lesser width than the body of the latch member to register with the channel and to improve flexibility in response to finger tip pressure.
When the latch members 23, 24 at the respective ends of the tube are in the latched condition shown in FIG. 4, the hooks 28 of a plurality of hangers are held locked and securely captive under the retainer strip. Nor can the hooks be rocked out of position since each is formed with a loop 29 at its tip (see FIG. 2).
For the purpose of releasing the latch, finger tip pressure is applied to the latch 37 as shown in FIG. 5, thereby clearing the land 39, the degree of inward movement being limited by seating of the stop 40 within the channel 33. With the latch depressed, the latch member and retainer strip may be retracted into the position shown in FIG. 6, either by a slight pull on the retainer strip or by pressing upwardly upon the bent end 36 of the latch member. This is done at each end of the device resulting in broadwise movement.
In accordance with one of the features of the invention the latch 37 is so constructed that it swings relatively outwardly (finger pressure having been released) into a blocking position in which the latch surface 38 thereon engages a land 41 on the inner surface of the tube adjacent the opening 26. The latch 37 is so tailored in its length, and the width of the opening 25 is such, that the latch is free to spring outwardly into the position shown in FIG. 6 due to its own inherent resilience and without any obstruction or interference. To insure a free swing, the latch 37 preferably has a length no greater than the tube diameter. The latch surface 38 distributes the blocking force over a relatively large land area 41, and, since the latch 37 provides a stiff obstruction in its longitudinal dimension, the latch member 23, and the retainer strip which is welded to it, are captive for the life of the device. While the latch 37 faces inwardly, in the embodiment shown, and is hence not accessible from the ends of the tube, the latch member can, nevertheless, be removed, if service or replacement should become necessary, by insertion of a narrow prying blade into the opening 25 and alongside the latch, depressing it to the point where the land 41 is cleared. If desired, the latch members may be oppositely faced so that the latches 37 are respectively accessible, for pressing, through the ends of the tube.
While the latching construction has been described in connection with latch member 23, it will be apparent that the same construction is used for latch member 24 which, however, faces in the opposite direction. By'retracting both of the latch members to the condition shown in FIG. 6 the retainer bar is stopped in a position which is parallel to the tube, and spaced from the tube by an amount which is adequate to clear the tips of the hooks on the hangers when the retainer strip is rocked through a half revolution down into the pendulous position illustrated in FIG. 7 as will be described.
While it is one of the features that the same latch performs both the clamping function and the stop function, it is apparent that the invention is not limited to this. Thus, if desired, the clamping function may be performed by the latch 37 and the stop function may be performed by making a suitable enlargement at the end of the latch member, in the region of bend 36, to prevent the member from being totally withdrawn through the opening 25 in the tube.
In accordance with one of the aspects of the invention the caddy is freely mounted in horizontal position and the retainer strip is sufficiently weighty so that, when the strip is retracted to its parallel spaced position, the strip tends to swing downwardly into a pendulous position so that the upper surface of the tube is completely unobstructed for either assembling hangers on the tube or for dispensing them, one by one. Thus, turning to FIGS. 7-9, it is preferred to suspend the caddy horizontally upon a yoke or saddle 50 made up of two vertical hook members which are secured at their mid-portions by a longitudinal member or link. Specifically, the yoke 50 has a first hook member 51 and a second hook member 52 interconnected by a longitudinally extending link 53 at suitable pivot connections 54, 55. The members 51, 52 are, at their lower ends, bent inwardly as indicated at 51a, 52a so that the ends project into the ends of the tube by approximately an inch. This forms a temporary connection with the tube which is loose but nevertheless secure and which permits the tube to freely rock about its axis. Thus when the caddy is supported on the yoke 50 as shown in FIG. 7, but before any hangers are assembled upon it, the caddy tends to topple from the condition shown in FIG. 8 to the pendulous condition shown in FIG. 9 in which the retainer strip is completely out of the way of the hanger hooks. As a result, hangers may be either added or dispensed quickly and conveniently and without exercise of any care or attention on the part of the user. Or the caddy may be manually rotated to its pendulous condition. It is to be especially noted that even when the caddy is in its inverted pendulous condition there is no risk that the longer hooks will slip off of the end since the ends of the latch members at all times extend through and beyond the tube (see FIGS. 7 and 9).
The above discussion has primarily concerned the structural aspects of the caddy, but it is to be noted that the invention is notlimited to the specific structure and resides, in part, in a hanger control system or procedure which utilizes the caddy in such a way that the hanger is always either in a garment or organized on a caddy, avoiding the nuisance of entanglement which has, in the past, been accepted as a necessary evil in the processing of garments for sale. Thus, referring to FIG. 10, there is shown a conveyor system 60 of the type employed in the receiving room, or warehouse, of a department store or clothing establishment. The incoming garments are delivered in packaged form to an unpacking station 61. It is at this point that the garments are unpacked and placed upon individual hangers. From the unpacking station the hangered garments flow to a checking station 62, then to a marking station .63, and finally to a distribution station 64. The garments are supported, in their passage from station to station, on a conveyor 70 having an active portion 71 and a return portion 72, forming a closed loop. While the details of the conveyor do not form a part of the present invention, it will suffice to say that the conveyor 70 is of the rail or trolley type separated into a number of lines at each station and having rollermounted trolley bars, such as indicated at TBl, TB2 in FIG. 11. Such trolley bars may be easily pushed from one of the stations to the next. 7
In carrying out the invention a caddy constructed in accordance with the present invention, and completely loaded with hangers, as indicated at 80 in FIG. 11, horizontally supported upon a yoke 50, is hung upon each of the transport bars as the bars move along the return portion 72 of the conveyor. As a filled caddy is loaded upon a transport bar the latch members at each end of the caddy may be manually released and the caddy may manually be turned through a half revolution so that the retainer strip occupies its free, or pendulous, position. Or, if desired, movement of the retainer strip to its free position may be deferred until the point of use. While there will be numerous trolley bars, one after another, in the conveyor system, attention may be focused upon the trolley bars TBl, TB2 arriving at one of the four illustrated positions in the unpacking station, the bar TBl being clear. Thus as each garment is unpacked a hanger, dispensed from the caddy 80, is slipped into the garment, and the garment is then hung upon the trolley bar TBl. When the trolley bar TB] has been fully loaded with hangered garments, the emptied caddy may simply be hung, for convenience, at one end of the bar as the bar proceeds on its way through the successive stations. Removing the caddy frees the bar TB2 so that it may next be loaded.
In station 62 the garments are checked, in station 63 marking is applied and, finally, in station 64 the garments are distributed from the trolley bars into hampers destined for different stores, or departments, within the system. A typical hamper is illustrated at II. It is, in effect, a movable bin provided with wheels 86 and having an elevated bar 87 upon which the hangered garments (one being indicated at G) are hung. Assuming that the stores of the system have approximately equal volume, garments of a given size, style and color may be equally divided between the four hampers H (FIG. 10). As each hamper leaves for its destination, an empty caddy (see FIG. 12) is placed in the bottom of the hamper.
Continuing the discussion of FIG. 10, when a hamper H, with its empty caddy, reaches the sales floor in store No. 2, the garments are transferred from the hamper to a display rack. The empty caddy is retrieved from the bottom of the hamper and mounted, in horizontal position, upon a suitable stand adjacent or within the customer wrapping desk, which stand may be located either behind, to one side of, or under the wrapping counter; in any event in a position which is convenient for the wrapping clerk. A typical stand for the horizontal mounting of one or more caddies is illustrated in FIG. 13. As here shown, the stand 90, has a pair of uprights 91, 92 which may be of standard structural metal of square tubular configuration and prepunched, or slotted, or universal application. Mounted upon the upright members are pairs of cups or pockets 93 which are spaced to receive the respective ends of the caddy tube. If desired, three pairs of pockets may be provided to accommodate three caddies for separate collection of hangers of different types, normally dress, coat and skirt hangers.
When a caddy tube is mounted in the pockets, it will normally assume the pendulous condition illustrated in FIG. 9, providing an upper surface which is completely unobstructed for accumulation of hangers. As the clerk proceeds to wrap a sold garment and hooked over the caddy in the position illustrated in FIG. 13. When a caddy is completely filled with hangers, the retainer strip is turned up from its pendulous position and then snapped into it clamping position, and the caddy is removed from the stand 90, being deposited in the bottom of an empty hamper which is to be returned to the receiving room at the main store or workroom. When the empty hamper arrives back at the workroom, the filled caddy may go into temporary storage or the filled caddy may be mounted, by yoke 50, upon one of the transport bars in the return path of the conveyor 70. This completes the cycle. It is to be noted that at no time has the hanger had any opportunity to become entangled with other hangers. Each hanger, as it is removed from the garment at the wrapping desk, is immediately organized upon a caddy which is subsequently clamped shut. Once the caddy is closed the hangers are held tightly side by side with no opportunity for them to get into disarray. Indeed, when returning a hamper to the receiving room, a number of loaded caddies may be placed in the same hamper with no risk that they will catch upon, or interfere with, one another.
The length of each caddy, for easy handling, should be on the order of 28 to 32 inches. It is found that a caddy of this size will accommodate the number of hangers used on an empty trolley bar.
The caddies are of inherently economical construction so that an inventory of caddies may be kept on hand in the receiving room or on the sales floor for use during peak periods without requiring any substantial investment. Moreover, use of the caddies does not require any auxiliary equipment except the yokes 50 and suitable supports, or stands, at the individual wrapping desks. Because of the yokes 50 the caddies integrate nicely with the already existing conveyor and set of hampers without requiring any additional investment or the setting up of any complicated handling procedure. An empty caddy takes a free ride" consuming minimal space in the loaded hamper as it is sent from the receiving room to the sales floor, and the same caddy, subsequently filled with hangers, takes a similar free ride back to the receiving room in the empty hamper. The system requires little care of attention on the part of the stock personnel and may be put into effect as an improvement upon, but without any disruption of, existing procedures.
With regard to the materials of construction, it is preferred, as stated, to take the caddy tubes of light but durable plastic and to make the retainer strips of metal longitudinally fluted. While both the tube and retainer strip are thus relatively stiff they are, nevertheless, capable of yielding, where necessary, to accommodate the added thickness of any hanger hooks which may be crossed upon one another. While it would conceivably be possible to have the latch members integral with the retainer strips, it is preferred to weld these parts together so that a relatively springy high-grade metal may be used for the latch members while using a lower grade metal for the strips. It is intended that the term metal as used herein denote not only the preferred construction but that it be given a more general interpretation to include logically substitutable materials.
As described, the latch 37 is preferably integral with the latch member, by reverse bending, to define a rounded end. However, it will be understood that the latch and the body to which it is secured may, if desired, be formed of two different pieces suitably connected together so that the term bent has to do with the overlying position of the latch rather than with the integralness of the parts.
It is one of the features of the construction that the latching is of a positive nature so that once the latch is snapped into place the hangers are positively locked on the caddy until intentionally released. Nevertheless, it is not necessary to use sharp latching in order to practice the invention and the term latching is used in the general sense of retaining or securing; for example, a detent connection may be provided between the latch members and the cooperating tube. Such detent action may, if desired, be obtained using the present structure by angling the surface 38 so that the member 37 is cammed inwardly by the presented edge of the opening 25 as force is applied to the end of the latching member. The term stop means includes any means for preventing the parts from slipping clear of one another; for example, the land surface 41 serves a stop function for the member 37.
It is preferred to employ a tube of circular cross section since light metal and plastic tubing of approximately 1 inch diameter is available on the market at low cost. Nevertheless, it will be understood that the term tube is not necessarily limited to a circular cross section and the cross section may be half-round or other shape without departing from the invention. Indeed, the tube need not be hollow provided that it contains through-openings and assuming that clearance is provided for the movement of the latch.
The latch, as described herein, is stated to be movable. In the preferred embodiment the latch 37, is indeed, movable with respect to the body of the latching member. However, it will be understood that the term movement" has to do primarily with the latching and unlatching movement of the latch with respect to the engaged land surface on the tube. It will be apparent, then, to one skilled in the art that the latch may be fixed with respect to the latch member and that the latch member may, if desired, be bodily swingable to disengage the latching surfaces. Such bodily movement of the latching member may be accommodated by enlarging or offsetting the opening 25 in the tube and by making the latching member of reduced cross section so that it may flex laterally through a short arc relative to the retainerstrip to which it is secured.
While the benefits of the present caddy have been explained in connection with its usage in a department store or other large merchandising establishment, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that caddies of present design are equally useful in smaller stores where a simplified system for handling them may be used but where the problem of control is equally acute. In a smaller store, the trolley system shown in FIG. 10 is not necessary and the garments, upon being unpacked, may be checked marked and hung upon wheeled racks with the hangers being dispensed one by one from a conveniently supported caddy. The loaded rack is then moved to the sales floor where the hangers are removed, upon sale, at a wrapping desk as previously described and collected on a rack which may be of the type shown in FIG. 13. When a caddy'is full, it is clamped up and may be returned to the unpacking station on a returning wheeled rack.
In describing the mode of usage of the present device in connection with FIGS. 10 and 11 reference was made to a trolley bar TB supported on a wheeled trolley of a conveyor system with the understanding that such trolley and trolley bar would normally form a permanent part of the conveyor and not be separated from it. It is the practice in some department stores to make the trolley and its bar removable from the conveyor loop so that a trolley bar, loaded with garments, may be transported directly to the sales floor or branch store. This is accomplished, for example, by providing a straight horizontal length of conveyor rail, in elevated position,-on a truck similar to the hamper truck H shown in FIG. 12, the trolley and its bar being guided from the conveyor loop onto the truck. One difficulty with this procedure has been that the hangered garments tend to become dislodged from the bar during transport, It will be apparent, then, that the present caddy construction, which holds the hangers captive as the caddy is manipulated and transported, is by no means limited to transport and control of empty hangers but is suitable, with only a change in length dimension, for use in the transportation of loaded hangers, that is, hangers with garments assembled thereon. All that is necessary is for the caddy tube to be elongated to the length of a trolley bar and to provide a support on the trolley which will permit the rotation which has already been described in connection with FIGS. 8 and 9. One structure which may be used for the 180 rotation includes pockets 93 as illustrated in FIG. 13 positioned with appropriate spacing on the trolley. In short, the term caddy as used herein is broad enough to include transport of hangers with the hangers being either in the empty condition or in the loaded condition complete with garments.
What I claim is:
1. A caddy for garment hangers comprising, in combination, a stiff tubular member, a relatively stiff retainer strip substantially coextensive with the tube, latching members secured to the ends of the retainer strip, the tube having receiving openings at its respective ends for insertion of the latching members, the latching members being dimensioned to extend through and beyond the tube, the latching members being slideable in the receiving openings for broadwise movement of the retainer strip from a clamping position in which the retainer strip clampingly engages the hooks of a plurality of hangers assembled on the tube and a parallel retracted position in which the retaining strip is spaced free of the hooks, each latch member being formed of a strip having a movable latch portion presenting a latching surface which engages the wall of the tube to hold the retainer strip in clamping position and which is releaseable from the wall of the tube by finger pressure to permit movement of the retainer strip to its parallel retracted position, and stop means on each of the latching members arranged to engage the wall of the tube for preventing complete retraction of the latching members from the tube so that the retaining member is captive at both ends on the tube in its retracted position.
2. The combination as claimed in claim 1 in which the movablelatch portion is in the form of a bent-over integral extension of the latch member.
3. A caddy for garment hangers of the hooked type comprising, in combination, a stiff tube of light construction, a retainer strip overlying the tube and substantially coextensive with it, latch members at the ends of the retainer strip and projecting at right angles therefrom, the tube having receiving openings at its respective ends for registered insertion of the latch members, each of the latch members having latch portions for limiting movement of the retainer strip between a closed clamping position in which the retainer strip snugly overlies the books of the hangers and a retracted position in which the retainer strip is spaced parallel to the tube, the retainer strip being sufficiently weighty so that when the tube is freely supported in horizontal position and when the retainer strip is retracted the latter tends to hang in a pendulous out-of-the-way position so that garment hangers may be hooked over, and removed from, the tube without interference with the retainer strip, the retainer strip being sufficiently spaced from the tube in its parallel retracted position as to clear the hooks on the garment hangers as the strip is swung through half a revolution between its overlying and pendulous positions.
4. A caddy assembly for garment hangers of the hooked type adapted to be suspended on a transport bar comprising, in combination, a stiff tube of light construction, a retainer strip overlying the tube and substantially coextensive with it, latch members at the ends of the retainer strip and projecting at right angles therefrom, the tube having receiving openings at its respective ends for registered insertion of the latch members, each of the latch members having latch portions for limiting movement of the retainer strip between a closed clamping position in which the retainer strip snugly overlies the hooks of the hangers and a retracted position in which the retainer strip is spaced parallel to the tube, a yoke having a pair of spaced vertical hooks intended for hooking upon a transport bar and having a link interconnecting them and means at the lower ends of the hooks for supporting the respective ends of the tube while permitting the latter to freely rotate about its axis, the retainer strip being sufficiently weighty so that when the retainer strip is retracted the latter tends to hang in a pendulous out-of-the-way position with the result that garment hangers may be hooked over, and removed from, the tube without interference with the retainer strip, the retainer strip being sufficiently spaced from the tube in its parallel retracted position as to clear the hooks on the garment hangers as the strip is swung through half a revolution between its overlying and pendulous positions.
5. A caddy for garment hangers comprising, in combination, a stiff tube, a relatively stiff retainer strip substantially coextensive with the tube, latching members secured to the ends of the retainer strip, the tube having registering openings at its respective ends for insertion of the latching members for movement broadwise between a hanger hook-clamping condition and a retracted hook-free condition, the latching members having integral reversely bent end portions which are outwardly sprung from the latching members to provide a latching surface at the tip thereof which is engageable with the lands surrounding the openings in the tube, the reversely bent ends being dimensioned to latchingly en- 'gage the outer wall of the tube when the retainer strip is moved into hook-clamping condition, the reversely bent end portions being sufficiently resilient so that they may be readily unlatched by pressing inwardly to restore the retainer strip to its retracted condition for removal of the hangers, the reversely bent end portions having a length which is on the orderof the diameter of the tube so that when the retainer strip is moved to its retracted position the end portions of the latch members spring outwardly within the tube for engagement with the inner wall of the tube, thereby to insure that the retainer strip is maintained captive with the tube.
6. The combination as claimed in claim 5 in which the tube has a radius on the order of one-half inch and in which the retainer strip is of arcuate cross section having a radius of curvature on the order of 1 inch.
7. The combination as claimed in claim 5 in which each latch member is formed of a metal strip of channel cross section and in which the bent-over end portion is movable between an outwardly sprung position and a releasing position registered in the channel.
8. A caddy for garment hangers having hooks comprising, in combination, a stiff tubular member, a substantially coextensive retainer strip overlying the tube and substantially coextensive with it, latch members at the respective ends of the retainer strip and projecting at right angles therefrom, the tube having receiving openings at its respective ends for registered insertion of the latch members, each of the latch members being in the form of a strip of metal having a reversely bent end portion which is outwardly sprung and which has a latch surface at its tip, the reversely bent end portion being dimensioned to engage the wall of the tube so that when the retainer strip is moved into hookclamping condition the latch snaps into its latching position, the reversely bent end portion being sufficiently resilient so that it may be readily moved into unlatched position by finger pressure to restore the retainer strip to its retracted position for removal of the hangers, and cooperating stop means on the tube and latch members for holding the retainer strip and its latch members captive with the tube.
9. A caddy for garment hangers having hooks comprising, in combination, a stiff tubular member, a relatively stiff retainer strip substantially coextensive with the tube, a pair of latching members interposed between the ends of the retainer strip and the respective ends of the tube and providing individual relative sliding movement permitting broadwise movement of the retainer strip from a latched clamping position in which the retainer strip overlies the hooks of a plurality of hangers assembled on the tube and a retracted position in which the retaining strip is spaced parallel to the tube free of the hooks, the latching members being so constructed as to be resiliently releaseable by finger pressure, and stop means associated with each of the latching members for keeping the retainer strip captive at both ends of the tube and parallel thereto, the caddy having means at its ends enabling free rotational support in horizontal position.