Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUSRE38897 E1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/608,490
Publication dateNov 29, 2005
Filing dateJun 30, 2000
Priority dateJun 23, 1992
Publication number09608490, 608490, US RE38897 E1, US RE38897E1, US-E1-RE38897, USRE38897 E1, USRE38897E1
InventorsRonald L. Krenzel
Original AssigneeElward-Louis Joint Venture
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wrappable flashlight
US RE38897 E1
Abstract
This invention provides an elongated flexible member that is capable of being formed into a plurality of differing shapes so that it can be supported at a variety of locations and has retaining means for retaining it in a desired shape so that a holder connected to one end thereof can hold a flashlight at any desired position relative thereto.
Images(3)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(34)
1. A device for holding a flashlight at a desired location comprising:
an elongated flexible member capable of being moved into a plurality of differing shapes;
retaining means for retaining said elongated flexible member in a desired shape;
holding means connected to an end portion of said elongated flexible member for holding a flashlight at a desired location;
attachment means comprising a portion of said elongated flexible member itself for attaching said elongated flexible member on a fixed object; and wherein said attachment means comprise:
a central body section, a male end section, an externally threaded end section and a longitudinal axis; and
said male end section having an outer surface having a configuration similar to that of said male end portion of said segment.
2. A device as in claim 1 and further comprising:
connecting means for connecting said holding means to said end portion of said elongated flexible member to permit relative angular and rotational movement between said holding means and the remaining portion of said elongated flexible member.
3. A device as in claim 1 wherein said holding means comprises:
a member having a generally arcuate cross-sectional configuration and a longitudinal axis; and
said member having an arcuate extent greater than 180 degrees and having spaced apart terminal end portions.
4. A device as in claim 3 wherein:
said member being formed from a resilient material so that said terminal end portions may be spread apart as said flashlight is inserted therein and function to resile back and exert a resilient force on said flashlight to hold it at a desired location.
5. A device as in claim 4 wherein:
said elongated flexible member comprises a plurality of interconnected segments.
6. A device as in claim 5 wherein each of said segments comprises:
a central body portion, a male end portion, a female end portion and a longitudinal axis.
7. A device as in claim 6 wherein:
said male end portion having an outer surface comprising a frustum of a sphere; and
said female end portion having an inner surface comprising a frustum of a sphere and dimensioned to receive said male end portion to permit relative movement between interconnected segments so that their longitudinal axes are either in or out of alignment and permits unrestricted rotational movement therebetween.
8. A device as in claim 7 wherein said retaining means comprise:
frictional forces between said outer and inner surfaces when said male end portion is within said female end portion to retain interconnected segments in the shape to which they have been moved.
9. A device as in claim 8 wherein: each of said segments is formed from a plastic material.
10. A device as in claim 1 wherein:
said central body section having an outer surface configuration for receiving a tool for rotating said attachment means.
11. A method for positioning a light beam, comprising:
(a) providing an elongated flexible member, that includes a plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments, engaging a portable electric light, the light being electrically connected to a portable power source; and
(b) wrapping at least a portion of the elongated flexible member around an object to position the light.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the elongated flexible member is positioned between the light and the power source.
13. The method of claim 11, wherein the light is located at an end of the elongated flexible member.
14. The method of claim 11, wherein the power source is connected to an end of the elongated flexible member.
15. The method of claim 11, wherein the light and power source are removably connected to said elongated flexible member.
16. The method of claim 11, wherein said wrapping step comprises:
forming said at least a portion of said elongated flexible member into a loop around said object.
17. The method of claim 11, wherein after said wrapping step said elongated flexible member is in a desired shape and further comprising:
maintaining said elongated flexible member in said desired shape.
18. The method of claim 11, wherein each of the plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments includes a passage extending therethrough and a male end and a female end.
19. A method for positioning a light beam in a desired orientation, comprising:
(a) providing (i) a portable electric light electrically connected to a portable power source with (ii) an elongated flexible member, the elongated flexible member including a plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments; and
(b) wrapping at least a portion of the elongated flexible member around an object to position the light in a desired orientation.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the elongated flexible member is positioned between the light and the power source.
21. The method of claim 19, wherein the light is located at an end of the elongated flexible member.
22. The method of claim 19, wherein the power source is located at an end of the elongated flexible member.
23. The method of claim 19, wherein each of said plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments include a male end and a female end and the light and power source are removably connected to said elongated flexible manner.
24. The method of claim 19, wherein said wrapping step comprises:
forming said at least a portion of said elongated flexible member into a loop around said object.
25. The method of claim 19, wherein after said wrapping step said elongated flexible member is in a desired shape and further comprising:
maintaining said elongated flexible member in said desired shape.
26. The method of claim 19, wherein each of the plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments comprises a passage extending therethrough.
27. A method for providing hands-free lighting to a desired area, comprising:
(a) wrapping an elongated flexible manner around an object, wherein the elongated flexible member includes a plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments;
(b) positioning a portable electric light and portable power source for the light, both of which are attached to the elongated flexible member, in a desired orientation.
28. The method of claim 27, wherein the elongated flexible member is positioned between the light and the power source.
29. The method of claim 27, wherein the light is located at an end of the elongated flexible member.
30. The method of claim 27, wherein the power source is connected to an end of the elongated flexible manner.
31. The method of claim 27, wherein the light power source are removably connected to said elongated flexible member.
32. The method of claim 27, wherein said wrapping step comprises:
forming said at least a portion of said elongated flexible member into a loop around said object.
33. The method of claim 27, wherein after said wrapping step and elongated flexible member is in a desired shape and further comprising:
maintaining said elongated flexible member in said desired shape.
34. The method of claim 27, wherein each of the plurality of discrete, rotatably interconnected segments comprises a passage extending therethrough and a male end and a female end.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 08/582,272, filed Jan. 3, 1996 and is a reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 5,276,596 filed Jun. 23, 1992, and issued Jan. 4, 1994.

Notice: More than one reissue application has been filed for the reissue of U.S. Pat. No. 5,276,596. The reissue applications are the present application, U.S. Ser. No. 09/608,490, and U.S. Ser. No. 08/582,272, now U.S. Pat. No. Re. 36,883.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to apparatus for use in providing light where necessary and more particularly, to a portable device for holding a flashlight at any desired location.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are many times when a person, who is alone and doing some kind of work, needs a third hand. This is particularly true when a flashlight has to be used so that such a person can see what is being worked on. Flashlights have been laid on any available objects in an effort to provide light at a desired location, but often without good results. Small flashlights have even been held in the mouth of the worker. Thus, there exists a need for a readily portable device that can be used anywhere to hold a flashlight at a desired location to provide needed light.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a device that is readily portable and can be used substantially anywhere to hold a flashlight to provide needed light at a desired location.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the device comprises an elongated flexible member that is capable of being moved into a plurality of differing shapes. Retaining means are provided for retaining the elongated flexible member in a desired shape. Holding means are provided on one end portion of the elongated flexible member for holding a flashlight. Generally, the desired shape has a base portion which is adapted to be placed on a fixed surface. A generally vertically extending portion projects upwardly from the base portion. The holding means are connected to an end portion of the elongated flexible member by suitable connecting means, such as a rivet. The holding means comprise a member having a generally arcuate cross-sectional configuration having an arcuate extent greater than 180 degrees and a longitudinal axis. The member is formed from a resilient material, such as a plastic material, and has spaced apart terminal end portions which may be spread apart so that a flashlight can be inserted into the member and so that the terminal end portions will resile back to exert frictional forces on the flashlight to restrain relative movement between the member and the flashlight. The flashlight also has a longitudinal axis so that when the flashlight is inserted into the member, the longitudinal axes of the member and the flashlight are in a parallel relationship.

The elongated flexible member comprises a plurality of interconnected segments each of which has a central body portion, a male end portion, a female end portion and a longitudinal axis. The male end portion has an outer surface having the configuration of a frustum of a sphere and the female end portion has an inner surface having the configuration of a frustum of a sphere and is dimensioned to receive the male end portion. The outer and inner surfaces are dimensioned so that there is frictional contact therebetween when a male end portion is inserted into a female end portion. This permits one segment to be moved relative to another segment so that their longitudinal axes are either in or out of alignment and permits unrestricted rotational movement between interconnected segments. Therefore, since the holding means is connected to the end segment, it permits the same type of movement of the flashlight. Also, the frictional forces retain the two segments at whatever relative position they have been moved to. Preferably, each segment is made from a plastic material.

In another preferred embodiment of the invention, attachment means are provided for attaching one end of the elongated flexible member to a fixed support such as an internally threaded socket mounted at a fixed location. The attachment means comprise an adapter having a central body section, an externally threaded end section, a male end section and a longitudinal axis. The male end section has alT outer surface having a configuration similar to the outer surface of the male end portion so that it can be inserted into a female end portion and function as described above relative to interconnected segments. The central body section has an outer configuration adapted to be received in a tool so that the adapter can be rotated to secure the externally threaded end section into the internally threaded socket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

Illustrative and presently preferred embodiments of the invention are shown in the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a device for holding a flashlight of this invention;

FIG. 2 is an end eIevational view of the holding means;

FIG. 3 is a view in cross-section of one of the segments; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of this invention.; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In FIG. 1, there is disclosed a readily portable device 2 for holding a flashlight 4 having a longitudinal axis. The device 2 comprises an elongated flexible member 6 which is capable of being moved into a plurality of differing shapes. The shape illustrated in FIG. 1 comprises a base portion 8 adapted to be placed in contact with a support surface 10 and a generally vertically extending portion 12. Holding means 14 (FIG. 2) are provided for holding the flashlight 4 and comprise an open-ended arcuately-shaped member 16 having an arcuate extent greater than 180 degrees and having a longitudinal axis. The member 1 is preferably formed from a resilient material such as polyethylene, such as that marketed under the trade designation “DELRIN”, so that the end portions 18 and 20 may be moved apart as the flashlight 4 is inserted therethrough and then spring back to retain the flashlight 4 therein. Reinforcing means 22 are preferably integrally molded with the member 16. As illustrated in FIG. 1, when the flashlight 4 has been inserted into the member 16, the longitudinal axes thereof are in a parallel relationship.

TheAs shown in FIG. 5, the elongated flexible member 6 may be formed into a variety of shapes other than that illustrated in FIG. 1. Such shapes include wrapping a portion of it around a pipe or rod for working under a sink, wrapping a portion around any convenient part when working on an engine and in fact, can be used anywhere.

The elongated flexible member 6 is of the type marketed by Lockwood Products, Inc. under the trade designation LOC-LINE (R). This product is used as a modular hose system for providing high volume fluids for cooling tools, such as in cutting operations. The elongated flexible member 6 comprises a plurality of interconnected segments 30. As illustrated in FIG. 3, each segment 30 comprises a central body portion 32, a male end portion 34 and a female end portion 36. The male end portion 34 has an outer surface 38 comprising a frustum of a sphere and the female end portion 36 has a mating inner surface 40 comprising a frustum of a sphere which is dimensioned so that, when the male end portion 34 is inserted into the female end portion 36, there is frictional contact between the mating outer and inner surfaces 38 and 40. These frictional forces function as retaining means to hold one segment 30 at any desired location relative to an interconnected segment 30. However, these frictional forces can be overcome which permits interconnected segments 30 to be moved relative to each other so that their longitudinal axes are either in or out of alignment and permits unrestricted relative rotational movement therebetween. The member 16 is preferably provided with a female end portion 36 having an inner surface 40 so that it can be connected to the male end portion 34 of the end segment 30 or it can be connected to an end segment 30 by any suitable means, such as a rivet. This connection permits the flashlight 4 to have the same relative movements as the interconnected segments, as described above. The length of the elongated flexible member 16 can be changed by adding or removing segments 30.

Another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIG. 4. An adapter 50 has a male end portion 34 that is dimensioned to fit into a female end portion 36 and has an externally threaded end portion 52. An internally threaded socket 54 is secured to a ledge 56 by clamping means 58. The adapter 50 has a central body section 60 having an outer surface configuration so that a tool can be applied thereto and rotated to attach the adapter 50 and therefore, the elongated flexible member 6, to the socket 54.

It is contemplated that the inventive concepts herein described may be variously otherwise embodied and it is intended that the appended claims be construed to include alternative embodiments of the invention except insofar as limited by the prior art.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US599543Jun 19, 1897Feb 22, 1898 Support for incandescent electric lights
US1566502 *Apr 11, 1924Dec 22, 1925 Natural-shell febftjme lamp
US2467954Feb 23, 1946Apr 19, 1949Rodger F BeckerFlashlight
US2706610 *Jan 26, 1953Apr 19, 1955Edwin F Roberts SrFlashlight holder
US3161392Apr 10, 1963Dec 15, 1964Monsher BenNursing bottle holder
US3180600Feb 5, 1962Apr 27, 1965Mel KopecNursing bottle holder
US3307026 *Mar 3, 1964Feb 28, 1967Kramer RubinArtificial illuminating device
US3418461 *Oct 10, 1966Dec 24, 1968Stephen P. SedlockFlashlight with supporting clamp
US3584822 *Feb 6, 1969Jun 15, 1971John A OramFlexible columns
US4114847Apr 13, 1977Sep 19, 1978Joseph BogensbergerFeeding bottle holder
US4117535Jun 18, 1976Sep 26, 1978John Ruy HoltLight fittings
US4305560Aug 31, 1979Dec 15, 1981Shigeru BanAdjustable light support
US4907137 *May 25, 1988Mar 6, 1990Rolf WinterApparatus for supporting a lamp on a low-voltage rail
US5103384 *Oct 16, 1990Apr 7, 1992Drohan William MFlashlight holder
US5154483Aug 9, 1991Oct 13, 1992Zeller Noel EFlashlight with flexible extension
US5385500May 14, 1993Jan 31, 1995Schmidt; Caitlyn R.Flashlight toy
US5449206Jan 4, 1994Sep 12, 1995Lockwood Products, Inc.Ball and socket joint with internal stop
US5517392Aug 5, 1994May 14, 1996Black & Decker Inc.Sleeve retention for flexible core of a flashlight
USD321062Apr 7, 1989Oct 22, 1991 Flexible holder with magnetic base and clamp for a small flashlight and the like
USRE36883 *Jan 3, 1996Sep 26, 2000Krenzel; Ronald L.Holder for a flashlight
CH361338A Title not available
DK82657A Title not available
Non-Patent Citations
Reference
1"The SeaBlaze Lighting System"; Skin Diver; various issues; 7 pages.
2"Unveiling the Solution to your High Performance U/W Lighting Needs"; 1 page advertisement.
3Light and Motions "Infinity Strobe Arm: Gives you the Freedom to Shoot"; 3 page advertisement.
4Loc-Line The Original Modular Hose System brochure, May, 1991.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8197149Apr 27, 2007Jun 12, 2012Tocad America, Inc.Apparatuses and systems for supporting and positioning cameras and other equipment
US8198579Oct 30, 2006Jun 12, 2012Varian Medical Systems, Inc.Systems and methods for calibrating alignment devices
US20120037778 *Apr 21, 2010Feb 16, 2012Aspect Magnet Technologies Ltd.Flexible segmented support structure
US20120091307 *Feb 14, 2011Apr 19, 2012Debra HaynesStand and method for hands free reading and viewing
WO2008063368A2 *Oct 30, 2007May 29, 2008Varian Med Sys Tech IncSystems and methods for calibrating alignment devices
Classifications
U.S. Classification362/191, 362/396, 362/419
International ClassificationF16M11/40
Cooperative ClassificationF16M11/40
European ClassificationF16M11/40