US 3900989 A
A device for sealing an inflated balloon or the like includes a substantially U-shaped member having first and second legs and a connecting portion. The connecting portion functions as a hinge for the two legs. The other or free ends of the legs are adapted to be compressingly closed together. When a balloon neck is inserted between the legs and the legs are thereafter closed together sealing of the balloon is effected. The device further includes a string holder formed on one of the legs, in a first embodiment of the invention.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 Weisenthal 1 1 BALLOON CLAMP Marvin L. Weisenthal, 2169 Eastman, West Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 48033  Filed: Nov. 29, 1973  Appl. No.: 420,264
 US. Cl 46/88; 46/90 [5 l Int. Cl A63h 3/06  Field of Search 46/87, 90, 88; 128/325,
128/346; 24/30.5 R, 248 SL, 248 HC, 248 PC, 248 HE, 255 SL; 132/48 R; 251/10  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,498,372 2/1950 Kortluckc, Jr. ct a1 128/346 2,818,871 l/l958 Bcaudry 24/255 SL 3,094,807 6/1963 Dorman 46/90 3,106,919 10/1963 Churchvillc 128/346 3,171,184 3/1965 Posse 128/346 X 3,204,636 9/1965 Karihcr ct a1... 128/346 3,247,852 4/1966 Schneider 128/346 [451 Aug. 26, 1975 3,461,876 8/1969 Miller, Jr. 128/346 3,633,592 1/1972 Buglio... 132/48 R 3,713,622 1/1973 Dinger... 24/255 SL 3,744,104 7/1973 Ford 24/248 SL 3,755,859 9/1973 So1ari.... 24/255 SL 3,822,052 7/1974 Langc 24/255 SL Primary Examiner-Louis G. Mancene Assistant Examiner 1. Q. Lever Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Basile and Weintraub 5 7 ABSTRACT A device for sealing an inflated balloon or the like includes a substantially U-shaped member having first and second legs and a connecting portion. The connecting portion functions as a hinge for the two legs. The other or free ends of the legs are adapted to be compressingly closed together. When a balloon neck is inserted between the legs and the legs are thereafter closed together sealing of the balloon is effected. The device further includes a string holder formed on one of the legs, in a first embodiment of the invention.
9 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PATENTEB AUG 2 6 i975 m F 6 2? y a 5 BALLOON CLAMP BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention pertains to closure members or devices. More particularly the present invention pertains to closure devices for inflatable objects. Even more particularly the present invention relates to a closure device for a balloon which is deployed exteriorly of the balloon.
2. Prior Art One of the more frustrating problems encountered with inflating balloons is the sealing thereof after the balloon is inflated. Generally, most users attempt to knot the neck in a manner well known. Yet, knotting is inefficient since the inflating fluid readily escapes past the knot. Moreover, it is difficult to form the knot if the balloon is inflated to its maximum fluid capacity.
To alleviate this problem there has been developed a one-way valve system for inflating and sealing a balloon. The valve system is disposed interiorly of the balloon in the neck portion thereof. Because the valve system must be disposed within the interior of the balloon, it is generally provided at the point of manufacture, thus, making the balloon expensive. Moreover, the valve system is expensive because of the necessity of close tolerances between the engaging parts thereof.
It is apparent that it would be much more efficacious to provide a sealing device which could be employed exteriorly of the balloon and after it is inflated. Applicant is, however, unaware of any such device.
Clamps for sealing tubes, clasping lingerie, for use in surgery and the like are known. See, inter alia, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,204,636; 3,461,876; 1,599,157; 3,509,882; 3,612,475 and French Pat. No. 1,145,909. However, such prior art devices are not directed to the problems with which the present invention is concerned, and, therefore, does not provide solutions therefor.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention there is provided a closure device for a balloon which includes overlying first and second legs. Hinge means intercom nect each of the legs at one end thereof.
Clamping means are also included for urging of the legs into abutting relationship while exerting sufficient compression to prevent or retard the flow of fluid past the legs when in clamped relation.
The neck of the balloon is inserted, after inflation, between the legs and prior to the clamping of the legs to sealingly close off the neck of the balloon.
The present invention further contemplates that the interior opposed surfaces of the legs be provided with a sealing material, such as a non-resilient material. The provision of the material ensures the closing off of the entire periphery of the neck.
Further, the present invention contemplates a string holder being formed on one of the legs on the outer surface thereof, in an embodiment thereof.
For a more complete discussion of the present invention reference is made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawing. In the drawing like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views in which:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 depicts a balloon sealed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the first embodiment of the device of the present invention in an unclamped position;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of another embodi ment of the present invention in an unclamped or open position;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a third embodiment of the present invention shown in an open position;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the present invention shown in an open position;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of the present invention shown in an open position;
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 7 shown in operative clamped position;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment of the present invention in clamped position;
FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line l0-10 of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a top plan view of the clamp of FIG. 9 in an open position; and
FIG. 12 is a side elevational view of the clamp of FIG. 9 in an open position.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Now with reference to the drawings and, in particular, FIGS. 13 there is depicted therein an inflated balloon system comprising an inflated balloon 10 having its neck 12 sealingly closed with a closure member of the present invention, generally indicated at 14.
The closure device 14 generally includes first and second legs 16 and 18, respectively. A connecting or hinge means, such as a wall 20 unites the legs 16, 18, to thereby define a substantially U-shaped member 22. The hinge means 20 permits restricted rotation move ment of the legs 16, 18 with respect to each other.
The free ends of the legs 16, 18 are provided with clamping means 24 for compressibly clamping the legs together.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the clamping means 24 includes a loop 26 attached to the leg 16. The loop 26 generally comprises any resilient material which will effect a biasing towards the leg 16.
A lip 28 is provided at the free end of the leg 18. The loop 26 and leg 28 cooperate to define the clamping means 24. The lip 28 generally comprises an upwardly directed projection which may be integrally formed with or otherwise attached to the free end of the leg 18.
In order to ensure complete sealing of the balloon 10, the device hereof may, also, be provided with sealing means 30. The sealing means 30 generally comprises a strip of nonresilient material 32 provided on the interior opposed surfaces of each of the legs 16, 18. The sealing means 30 enshrouds the periphery of the neck 12 thereby avoiding any discontinuities in surface contact between the closure member 14 and the balloon neck 12.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the member 14 also includes a string holder 34. The string holder 34 is attached to the exterior surface of either of the legs 16 or 18, and is shown as attached to the leg 16. The string holder is used to attach a string 36 (FIG. 1) for holding the balloon after inflation. The holder 34 may be grooved or otherwise configured to securedly retain the string 36 thereon.
The member 14 may be integrally formed as a unitary member such as by molding or the like, or otherwise assembled.
To employ the member 14, the balloon is initially inflated with any suitable fluid, such as, air, helium, and the like. The neck of the balloon is then inserted transversely between the two legs. The legs are then pressed together and the loop is slipped over the lip. The biasing action of the loop retains the compression against the neck while the sealing means ensures complete sealing of the neck 12. In closed position the member 14 is configured as shown in the dotted lines in FIG. 3.
Referring now to FIG. 4 there is depicted therein an alternate embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment the elements and operation are substantially similar to the first embodiment except with regard to the hinge means which will now be described. The leg 1 18 has one end 120 thereof provided with a down wardly extending flange 122 which terminates in a substantially flat portion 124. The portion 124 has an aperture 126 extending therethrough.
The leg 116 has an extending flat portion 128 provided with an aperture 130. The flat portions 124 and 128 are adapted to be in abutting relationship with their respective apertures 128, 130 in registry. A hinge pin 132 is insertable through the apertures and is securedly retained in position by any suitable means. It is thus seen that in this embodiment, the legs 216, 218 are united by a connecting wall 220 which functions as hinge means for the legs. The leg 218 is provided with an aperture 222 therethrough proximate the terminus of its free end, as shown. The leg 216 has an upstanding projection 224 attached thereto on its interior surface. The projection 224 includes a bulbous-type head 226 mounted on a neck 228. The height of the neck 228 is substantially equal to the height of the leg 218.
The opposed interior surfaces of the legs 216 and 218 are provided with serrations or teeth 230 and 232, respectively. The serrations meshingly engage when the legs are compressed together.
To effect clamping of a balloon neck, the neck thereof is positioned transversely between the legs 216 and 218. The legs are then pressed together whereupon the projection head 226 snappingly passes through the aperture 222. Because the heas 226 is slightly greater in diameter than the aperture 222 it cannot reversingly pass therethrough without external assistance. Moreover, because the height of the neck 224 is substantially equal to that of the leg 218, the compressive action on the legs is retained and maintained. The serrations 230, 232 act on the neck of the balloon to effect the sealing thereof.
Referring now to FIG. 6 there is disclosed therein still another embodiment of the instant invention. In this embodiment the clamping means 310 comprises a projection 312 and aperture 314 combination substantially similar to that set forth above, with regard to FIG. 5. The hinge means 316 comprises an interconnecting wall 318 which unites the legs 320 and 322. This embodiment also includes sealing means 324 for enshrouding the neck of the balloon, similarly to that described above.
Clamping of the neck of the balloon is effectuated by pressing the legs together to forcingly pass the projection head 326 through the aperture 314. Because the projection 312 is dimensioned as described above, the legs 320, 322 are maintained in abutting, compressive relationship.
Referring now to FIGS. 7 and 8, there is shown therein still another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the closure member 410 includes a first and second legs 412 and 414, respectively. Hinge means 416, such as a wall 418, interconnects and unites the legs to form a substantially U- shaped unitary member 420.
Sealing means 422 comprising a strip 424 of substantially non-resilient material is provided on each of the opposed interior surfaces of the legs 412 and 414, as shown.
The member 410 also includes, as with all embodiments, a string holder 426.
The clamping means, generally indicated at 428, includes a slot 430 formed along the longitudinal length of the leg 414 proximate the free end 432 thereof.
A locking member 434 is formed at the edge of the free end 436 of leg 412. The locking member 434 is adapted to be frictionally slidingly inserted into the slot 430. The locking member 434 includes a longitudinally extending strip 438 and arms 440 formed integrally and perpendicularly thereto.
The locking member 434 is formed from any suitable resilient material which exerts sufficient biasing forces towards its attached leg to cause the legs to be retained in compressive abutting relationship.
In this embodiment closure of the neck 442 of a balloon is achieved by inserting the neck 442 transversely between the legs 412 and 414. The legs are then pressed together and the locking member 434 is inserted into the slot 430 such that the arms 440 seat on the outer surface of the leg 414 substantially as shown in FIG. 8.
With reference now to FIGS. 912, there is depicted a further embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment there is provided a clamp, generally indicated at 510, comprising first and second legs, 512, 514, respectively. A hinge 516 interconnects the legs 512, 514, as shown.
The hinge 516 is configured to permit rotation between the legs so that the legs can sealingly engage each other in a manner hereinafter described.
The leg 512 includes a main body portion 518 having an elongated projection 520 integrally formed therewith on a first side thereof. The projection 520 extends along the longitudinal axis of the leg 520.
The leg 512 further includes a depending channel forming means 522, two such means being shown herein. The channel forming means 522 includes a pair of parallel spaced apart legs 524, 526, one being provided on one side of the leg 512 and the other on the other side of the leg 512. The space 428 between the legs 524, 526 defines the channel.
The functioning of the channel forming means is facilitated by the formation of an arcuate recess 530 formed in the main body 518 of the leg 512, as shown.
The channel formed hereby is used to snugly retain therewithin a balloon stick 532 or other similar inflated object carrying member. In deploying the stick 532 it is empressed into the channel and retained therewithin by the action of the legs 424, 526.
As shown in FIGS. ll and 12, the free end 534 of the leg 512 has a locking projection 536 formed therewithin the locking projection cooperates with means provided on the leg 514 to securely lock the two legs 512, 514 together.
The leg 514, as shown in FIGS. 9-12, includes a main body portion 538 dimensioned in height, width and length substantially equal to the main portion 518 of leg 512. An elongated recess 540 is formed in the main body portion 538 on the surface 542 thereof coincident the surface of the leg 512 carrying projection 520. The recess 540 extends substantially along the longitudinal axis of the leg 514. The recess 540 is complementarily configured to the projection 520. Further, the recess 540 is dimensioned such that the projection 520 can be sealingly press fit thereinto.
The free end 544 of the leg 514 has a locking tab 546 formed thereon. The tab 546 has a central aperture 548 formed therethrough which is complementarily configured to the configuration of the locking projection 536. The tab is sufficiently resilient such that it can be rotated and fitted over and onto the locking projection as shown in FIG. 9.
In deploying this embodiment, a balloon is inflated and the neck thereof is placed between the projection and recess formed in the legs 512, 514. The projection is then press fitted into the recess to sealingly close off the neck of the balloon. The locking tab is then rotated approximately 90 and engages the projection by inserting the projection through the central aperture of the tab. If desired a balloon stick can be employed in the channel forming means associated with the leg 512. Alternatively a string can be contemporaneously placed between the projection and recess when the balloon neck is placed therebetween.
It is to be further noted that in this embodiment the entire clamp can be integrally formed from any suitable material, such as, plastics and the like, and preferably from polyethyline, under conventional condition.
It is apparent from the preceding that a simple and efficient means for sealingly closing an inflated balloon has been described herein. The device hereof can be depolyed with any type of balloon, including weather balloons and the like.
Having thus described my invention what is claimed 1. In a closure member for sealingly closing an inflated balloon about the neck thereof, the improvement comprising:
a freely rotatable first leg;
a freely rotatable second leg adapted to be disposed in overlying relationship over the first leg when in closed relationship;
the legs being adapted to receive the neck of the object balloon transversely therebetween;
flexible hinge means interconnecting the first and second legs,
means for clamping the first and second legs together, the means for clamping exerting sufiicient compression on the two legs to prevent the passage of fluid therepast, and
sealing means provided on the interior surfaces of the legs and which enshrouds the neck of the balloon, the sealing means comprising an elongated channel formed in one of the legs and extending substantially along the length thereof and a projection formed on the other of the legs and extending substantially along the length thereof, the projection being sealingly press fittable into the channel to thereby sealingly close the neck of the inflated balloon.
2. The closure member of claim 1 which further comprises a string holder attached to one of the legs.
3. The closure member of claim 1 wherein the means for clamping comprises a loop formed on one of the legs and a lip formed on the other leg, the loop being adapted to engage the lip to maintain the legs in clamped relation.
4. The closure member of claim 1 wherein the means for clamping comprises a projection provided on one of the legs, the other leg having an aperture provided therethrough, the projection being adapted to forcingly pass through the aperture to maintain the legs in clamped relation.
5. The closure member of claim 1 wherein the means for clamping comprises a locking arm provided on one of the legs, the other of the legs having a slot formed thereon, the slot being adapted to frictionally slidingly retain the locking arm to maintain the legs in clamped relation.
6. The closure member of claim 1 wherein the hinge means comprises a flexible wall interconnecting the first and second legs, the closure member comprising a unitary member.
7. The closure member of claim 1 wherein the hinge means comprises a hinge pin extending through registering apertures provided on the first and second legs.
8. A balloon system comprising:
an inflated balloon having a neck, and
a closure member transversing the neck of the balloon, the closure member comprising:
a freely rotatable first leg;
a freely rotatable second leg adapted to be in overlying relationship over the first leg when in closed relationship;
flexible hinge means interconnecting the first and second legs;
means for clamping the first and second legs together, the means for clamping exerting sufficient compression on the two legs to prevent the passage of fluid therepast,
sealing means provided on the interior surfaces of the legs and which enshrouds the neck of the balloon, the sealing means comprising an elongated channel formed on one of the legs, and a projection formed on the other of the legs, the projection being press fittable into the channel to thereby sealingly close the neck of the inflated balloon, and
channel forming means disposed on one of the legs for receiving a carrying member for the inflated balloon.
9. The closure member of claim 1 wherein the clamping means comprises a locking projection formed on one of the legs, a locking tab having a central aperture formed on the other leg, the locking tab being rotatable over the locking projection and the locking projection being insertable through the aperture.