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Title:
A COATHANGER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1999/060899
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A coathanger (10) having a hook portion (1) movable between a first position for supporting a garment on lateral portions (2, 3) and a second position arranged between the lateral portions (2, 3). A film hinge (12) allows the hook portion (1) having a first web (13) to fold against a second web (11) provided between the lateral portions (2, 3). The hook portion is retained in the first position for normal use by retaining means comprising a plug (14) engaging a receiving aperture (15). Also disclosed is a method of forming a transportable plurality of coathangers, and a dispenser for coathangers.

Inventors:
Redfearn, Christopher David (Redfearns Wire Products Limited Birds Royd Lane Brighouse West Yorkshire, HD6 1LT, GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB1999/001648
Publication Date:
December 02, 1999
Filing Date:
May 26, 1999
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
REDFEARNS WIRE PRODUCTS LIMITED (Birds Royd Lane Brighouse West Yorkshire HD6 1LT, GB)
Redfearn, Christopher David (Redfearns Wire Products Limited Birds Royd Lane Brighouse West Yorkshire, HD6 1LT, GB)
International Classes:
A47G25/14; A47G25/32; (IPC1-7): A47G25/32; A47G25/14
Foreign References:
US3870206A
DE9409927U1
US3661268A
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robinson, Ian Michael (Appleyard Lees 15 Clare Road Halifax West Yorkshire HX1 2HY, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A coathanger (10) comprising: lateral portions (2,3) for supporting a garment; and a hook portion (1) being movable between a first position for supporting the coathanger in use, and a second position wherein the hook portion lies in an area defined between the lateral portions.
2. A coathanger as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hook portion (1) is pivotably coupled to the lateral portions (2,3).
3. A coathanger as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the hook portion (1) moves about an axis of rotation which lies in a plane containing the lateral portions (2,3).
4. A coathanger as claimed in any of claims 1 to 3, comprising hinge means (12) coupled to the lateral portions (2,3) and to the hook portion (1).
5. A coathanger as claimed in any of claims 1 to 4, comprising retaining means (14) for retaining the hook portion (1) in the first position.
6. A coathanger as claimed in claim 5, wherein the retaining means is arranged to retain the hinge means in a closed position thereby maintaining the hook portion in the first position.
7. A method of forming a transportable plurality of coathangers, each coathanger being a coathanger as claimed in any of claims 1 to 6, the method comprising the steps of: forming a coextensive stack of the plurality of coathangers; and providing means for restraining the coathangers in the stack.
8. A method as claimed in claim 7, wherein the restraining means comprises a film plastics material.
9. A method of forming a transportable package of coathangers, comprising the steps of: forming a plurality of coextensive stacks (100) of coathangers (10), each coathanger (10) being a coathanger as claimed in any of claims 1 to 6; grouping each of the plurality of stacks (100) together on a support substrate; and confining the grouped stacks (100) together to form a transportable package.
10. A dispenser for dispensing a coathanger as claimed in any of claims 1 to 6, comprising means for confining movement in a lateral plane of a coathanger, whilst allowing movement generally perpendicular to the lateral plane.
Description:
A COATHANGER The present invention relates in general to a coathanger.

Typically, a coathanger is formed by bending a length of malleable metal wire to form a shape suitable for receiving a garment such as a coat, a shirt or a blouse, the coathanger having lateral portions imitating the shoulders of the human body, arranged either side of a hook portion for supporting the coathanger from, for example, a rail. The outer extremities of the lateral portions are typically linked by a transverse bar portion, for supporting a garment folded thereover such as a pair of trousers.

More recently, coathangers of a corresponding general arrangement have been manufactured from plastics material, typically by injection moulding.

A problem arises in that the typical coathanger defines a generally triangular area of free space bordered by the lateral portions and the transverse bar. This area of free space represents a significant portion of the packing volume required when transporting a coathanger, which can be inefficient particularly when transporting large numbers of coathangers together. A further problem arises when manufacturing coathangers by injection moulding and similar techniques, in that the desired layout of the coathanger requires a relatively large mould area, involving relatively high manufacturing costs and a relatively low throughput.

An aim of the present invention is to provide a coathanger which is easily transportable and preferably a coathanger which packs together efficiently. It is an aim of at least preferred embodiments of the invention to provide a coathanger which minimises a mould area required for manufacture by injection moulding and similar techniques.

According to the present invention there is provided a coathanger comprising lateral portions for supporting a garment ; and a hook portion being moveable between a first position for supporting the coathanger in use, and a second position wherein the hook portion lies in an area defined between the lateral portions.

Preferably, the hook portion is pivotable with respect to the lateral portions. Further preferably, the hook portion is foldable with respect to the lateral portions, and is ideally hingeably coupled to the lateral portions.

Preferably, a hinge means is provided. Conveniently the hinge means is arranged transversely between the lateral portions. That is, the hinge means is preferably provided across a neck region of the coathanger.

Preferably, the neck region is defined between an upper portion of each of the lateral portions.

Preferably, the hook portion is foldable through an angle of about 180°. Preferably, the hook portion moves about an axis of rotation which lies in a plane containing the lateral portion. Preferably, movement of the hook portions describes an arc in a plane perpendicular to the plane of the lateral portions.

Conveniently, the hinge means comprises a film hinge.

Preferably the coathanger is formed from plastics material by a suitable manufacturing method such as injection moulding.

Preferably, the coathanger is provided with retaining means for retaining the hook portion in the first position.

Preferably, the retaining means comprises a catch for retaining the hinge means in a closed position.

Preferably, the hook portion comprises a first web arranged to lie between the lateral portions, preferably substantially centrally therebetween, and a second web

preferably hingeably coupled to the first web, the second web for supporting or for forming a hook arm suitable for placing over a rail or other support arrangement.

Preferably, the first web and the second web are coupled by the hinge means, conveniently in the form of a film hinge.

The retaining means preferably comprises a first part located on the first web and a second part located on the second web, the first and second parts for engaging and retaining the first web adjacent the second web when the first web and second web are folded together.

The retaining means preferably comprises a plug of the first part and an aperture of the second part or vice versa. Conveniently the plug comprises a deformable lip portion for insertion through the aperture and engagable with an opposing surface of the respective web.

Preferably, the catch means is arranged such that the first and second parts are biased into positive engagement when the hanger is loaded with a garment. Preferably, the catch means is arranged substantially symmetrically about a centre line, and ideally to lie on the centre line, of the hanger.

Preferably, the lateral portions are formed to be substantially symmetrical either side of a centre line, the hinge means being arranged substantially perpendicular to the centre line. Preferably, the hook portion when in the first or second position lies in a plane defined by both the centre line and the axis of rotation.

Preferably, the coathanger comprises a transverse portion arranged between the lateral portions. Preferably, an outer end of each the lateral portion furthest from the hook portion is coupled to the transverse portion.

The transverse portion preferably comprises a transverse bar located between the lateral portions. Preferably, the hook portion is foldable about an axis of rotation arranged substantially parallel to the transverse portion. Preferably, the hook portion when in the second

position lies within a space defined between the lateral portions and the transverse portions. Conveniently, the lateral portions and the transverse portion together define a generally triangular frame. Conveniently, the hook portion is hingeably coupled to the triangular frame, preferably such that in the second position the hook portion lies within a space defined by the triangular frame.

In one embodiment of the coathanger, the film hinge is discontinuous along a fold line. Conveniently, the film hinge is provided with one or more apertures therethrough to form discontinuations on the fold line.

Preferably, the transverse portion comprises at least one bar member. Suitably, two or more bar members may be provided, preferably arranged generally parallel to one another and ideally with a web portion therebetween.

Preferably, a cross corner section is provided between each end of the transverse bar and the lateral portions, the cross corner sections for linking the transverse bar and the lateral portions. Where two parallel bars are provided, the innermost bar is preferably connected via the cross corner section to the lateral portions.

Preferably, the cross corner sections, the transverse bar and the lateral portions together define a hook arrangement suitable for receiving a garment having a loop carrier. In a preferred arrangement, the area defined by the lateral portions, the cross corner sections and the transverse portion is substantially circular, and an entrance gap is defined between the lateral portion and the transverse portion. The cross corner portion is preferably located near to the end of, but inset from the end of, one or both of the lateral portion and the transverse portion.

Preferably, the coathanger comprises free arm portions conveniently arranged to project inwardly within the space defined between the lateral portions. Preferably, the free

arm portions are arranged to lie in parallel spaced apart relation from the lateral portions. In a preferred arrangement, the free arm portions project from the cross corner sections. The free arm portions suitably are arranged to receive a garment having loop carriers, or a garment having strap portions such as a dress or a sleeveless T-shirt.

Preferably, any one or more surfaces defined by portions of the coathanger are provided with an anti slip coating or, preferably, are arranged to inhibit a garment slipping thereover. Conveniently, the anti slip portions are provided on upper surfaces of the lateral portions and the transverse bar.

As mentioned above, a problem arises in the storage and transport of coathangers. Typically, coathangers are loaded into a container such as a cardboard box but then become tangled and difficult to remove. In a commercial environment such as a retail outlet or a dry cleaners, it is desired to remove hangers from the container individually or in small groups quickly and efficiently.

Further, the container must be disposed of or stored once it is emptied. Commonly the container is a cardboard box which should be returned for recycling, which increases transport costs.

An aim of a second aspect of the second invention is to provide a method and apparatus for packaging coathangers which allows easy unpacking in particular by avoiding entanglement, and which minimizes returnable packaging components.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of forming a transportable plurality of coathangers, comprising the steps of: forming a stack of coathangers, and restraining the coathangers in the stack. Also according to the second aspect there is provided a package comprising a plurality of coathangers

arranged to form a stack, and means for restraining the coathangers in the stack.

The stack of coathangers may take any suitable form.

In the preferred embodiment a plurality of coathangers form a co-extensive stack. The coathangers are arranged generally parallel to one another. Many possible configurations can be envisaged, but ideally the coathangers are co-extensive with each coathanger completely overlying the or each adjacent coathanger.

Conveniently the coathangers each have a uniform cross- section, suitably the order of 6mm, around a sufficient portion of the coathanger to enable a parallel stack to be formed. The coathanger described herein is ideally suited for forming a co-extensive stack. Each coathanger suitably comprises a hook portion and lateral portions, and optionally a transverse bar to form a generally triangular frame.

The restraining means may take any suitable form.

Preferably, the restraining means comprises a layer of material wrapped around the exterior of the stack of coathangers. Preferably the material is a film plastics material.

Further, according to another aspect of the invention there is provided a method of forming a transportable plurality of coathangers, comprising the steps of: forming a plurality of co-extensive stacks of coathangers; grouping each of the plurality of stacks together on a support substrate; and confining the grouped stacks together to form a transportable package. Also according to this aspect there is provided a package for transporting coathangers comprising: a plurality of co-extensive stacks of coathangers, the stacks being grouped together; and means for confining the grouped stacks together.

Preferably, each stack is individually restrained prior to the stacks being grouped together. The grouping may take any suitable arrangement, but ideally the stacks are

arranged close adjacent one another. Most preferably the stacks are grouped in an interlocking configuration. Suitably the grouped stacks are wrapped over at least a substantial portion of the exterior surface thereof, sufficient to form a transportable package having reasonable integrity. The grouped stacks are suitably wrapped using a film material, ideally a film plastics material.

Another problem arises in that it is desired to provided a user with ready and convenient access to a plurality of coathangers at the point of use. In a commercial retail environment the presence of a container for coathangers is considered to be unsightly and wasteful of space near to the user. Due to health and safety considerations it is desired to place coathangers at a convenient height and position for the user.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a dispenser for coathangers, comprising means for confining movement in a lateral plane of a coathanger, whilst allowing movement generally perpendicular to the lateral plane.

The preferred dispenser is adapted for use with a coathanger having a generally triangular frame. The dispenser preferably comprises guide means arranged to inhibit movement of the frame laterally in the plane of the frame. The guide means preferably allow movement perpendicular to the plane of the frame. Preferably the guide means contacts each lateral portion of the coathanger and ideally a transverse bar portion. Most preferably the guide means are arranged to contact an exterior facing surface of the frame. Preferably, the guide means comprises at least three and preferably four elongate guide members arranged generally parallel for receiving a plurality of coathangers therebetween. The elongate guide members together define a space suitable for receiving a plurality of coathangers. The coathanger may move in a direction parallel to the guide members, preferably by

sliding along the guide members. Conveniently at least one end of the guide means is left open allowing coathangers to be inserted into and removed from the dispenser.

The dispenser is ideally configured for use with a coathanger as described herein. Further, the dispenser is conveniently arranged to receive a co-extensive stack of coathangers, ideally including a film wrap. The wrap may then be removed, leaving the stack of coathangers conveniently positioned in the dispenser ready to be removed individually as required by the user. The dispenser may be located at a height and position convenient to the user.

For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how embodiments of the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings, in which: Figure 1 is a plan view of a coathanger; Figure 2 is a sectional side view though a hinge and catch arrangement of the coathanger of Figure 1; Figure 3 is a perspective view showing a plurality of coathangers arranged in a stack; Figure 4 is a plan view showing a plurality of stacks of coathangers grouped together in an interlocking and space saving arrangement; and Figure 5 is a perspective view of a dispenser.

Referring to Figure 1, the preferred embodiment of the coathanger 10 comprises a hook portion 1 arranged to lie between two lateral portions 2 and 3. The hook portion 1 is shown in a first position where the coathanger 10 is ready for normal use, and also in a second position represented by dashed lines where the coathanger is easily stored and transported.

The hook portion 1 is hingeably coupled to the lateral portions 2 and 3. Conveniently, the hook portion 1 comprises a first web 11 provided between the lateral portions 2 and 3 in a region generally known as the neck of the coathanger. The first web 11 is attached by means of a film hinge 12 to a second web 13. In the open or unfolded position represented by dashed lines, the first and second webs 11,13 are both visible, whereas in the folded or closed position shown by solid lines, the second web 13 is folded over to lie adjacent the first web 11.

Providing the hinge 12 across the neck of the coathanger between the hook portion 1 and the lateral portions 2 and 3 results in a number of advantages. The coathanger may be manufactured, by a process such as injection moulding, and the tool area required for each hanger is minimised. That is, by manufacturing the coathanger with the hook 1 in the position shown by the dashed line in Figure 1, efficient use is made of the space defined between the lateral portions 2 and 3 which otherwise remains unused. A greater number of coathangers may be moulded simultaneously within a given mould area thereby increasing manufacturing efficiency and throughput.

Further, the volume taken by each coathanger in the unfolded position is much less than in the folded or closed position represented by solid lines. Therefore, ~he packing density of the coathangers may be increased, leading to greater efficiencies in transportation of the coathangers individually and in bulk. The use of the film hinge across the neck of the coathanger allows these advantages to be realised in a manner which is itself simple, efficient and reliable.

Typically, due to qualities of the manufacturing process, the hook portion 1 will reside in the open or unfolded position naturally, at least when the coathanger is first formed. A retaining means is provided for retaining the hook portion in the folded or closed position ready for use. The retaining means may take any suitable

form, and is ideally arranged to retain the second web 13 against the first web 11.

In the preferred embodiment shown in Figure 1, the retaining means comprises a catch 14 arranged to project from the second web 13 for engagement through a corresponding aperture 15 in the first web 11.

The film hinge 12 may be continuous or discontinuous along its length. An aperture (not shown) may be provided in the fold line of the hinge 12 that reduces distortion and reduces the effort required from the user to fold the second web 13 with respect of the first web 11. Reducing the effective width of the film hinge 12 reduces the tendency of the first and second webs 11,13 to spring apart. However, any suitable form of hinge coupling arrangement may be employed.

Further features of the preferred embodiment shown in Figure 1 will now be described in more detail.

The hook portion 1 is provided with a hook arm comprising a web 18 connected to or formed integral with the first web 11, and coupled to a thicker hook rod 17. The hook rod 17 is suitably formed as a substantially circular cross section of about 6mm diameter.

Similarly, the lateral portions 2 and 3 are each formed as substantially circular cross section rods again of about 6mm diameter. Each lateral portion 2,3 is coupled at one end to the first web 11. At this end, each lateral portion 2,3 is provided with a section 21,31 angled with respect to a main body section 22,32. This angled section 21,31 suitably defines a neck area of the coathanger 10 which is arranged to lie adjacent and to support a collar of a garment such as a shirt or blouse. The neck area, comprising the collar support sections 21,31 separated by the first web 11, advantageously aids the coathanger 10 in holding the desired shape of a garment supported thereon.

Each end of each of the lateral portions 2,3 remote from the hook portion 1 is coupled to a transverse bar 4.

In one embodiment (not shown) the lateral portions are formed integral with a single transverse bar. The transverse bar 4 is intended for supporting, for example, a folded pair of trousers. In the preferred embodiment shown in Figure 1, the bar 4 is coupled to the lateral portions 2,3 at or near either end thereof by cross corner portions 51,52. The cross corner portions 51,52 aid the structural strength of the coathanger 10. Further, the cross corner portions 51,52 reduce the effective length of the transverse bar 4 which advantageously improves the beam strength of the bar 4. Further, the cross corner sections 51,52 limit the positioning of a garment placed over the transverse bar 4, thereby keeping the garment located symmetrically about a centre line of the coathanger 10 represented in Figure 1 by dash-dot line CL. The garment is inhibited from movement away from the centre line CL, keeping the load on the coathanger 10 arranged in line with the centre of gravity. The stability of the hanger is therefore improved, and the garment does not tend to slip toward one side of the hanger or the other.

The transverse bar 4 is suitably of relatively robust dimensions such as a substantially circular 6mm cross section. In Figure 1, the transverse bar 4 comprises two parallel bar sections, namely an upper bar 41 and a lower bar 42 joined by a web 43 to provide a linked double bar structure, suitably in the form of an I-bar. This arrangement increases the beam strength of the transverse bar 4, but any suitable transverse bar arrangement may be employed As shown in Figure 1, the upper bar 41 conveniently continues directly to form the cross corner sections 51,52 which in turn are integrally formed with the lateral portions 2,3. The end 23,33 of each lateral portion 2,3 furthest from the hook portion 1 overhangs the cross corner sections 51,52. Also, the lower transverse bar 42 at either end thereof 44,45 overhangs the corresponding cross

corner section 51,52. These overhangs 23,44 and 33,45 conveniently define notches suitable for receiving, for example, loop hanging arrangements of a skirt or other garment. In use, such a loop rests on the overhangs 44,45 of the transverse bar 4. The skirt loops are applied and removed through the narrow gap defined between the ends 44, 45 of the transverse bar 4 and the ends 23,33 of the lateral portions 2,3. In this configuration, the skirt loops are not accidentally removed from the skirt notches.

A clip arm member (not shown) may be provided suitable for retaining a pair of trousers in position folded over the transverse bar 4. The clip arm is suitable biased toward the transverse bar 4 to grip the trousers or other garment. The clip arm may be formed integral with and extending from the transverse bar 4 or one of the lateral portions 2,3, or ideally at a junction between same.

The coathanger 10 may comprise free arm portions 61,62 that extend into the triangular frame defined between the lateral portions 2,3 and the transverse bar 4, and lie in the plane of the triangular frame. The free arm portions may be supported in various arrangements, but as shown in Figure 1 extend from the cross corner portions 51,52 to lie substantially parallel with the lateral portions 2,3.

The free arm portions are suitably arranged to receive a garment such as a sleeveless blouse or T-shirt with the arm holes of the garment being inserted over the free arms 61, 62. Also, the free arm 61,62 may be used to receive straps on a garment such as a dress, and further may be used to receive loops on a garment such as a skirt. In this way, the coathanger 10 may receive several garments simultaneously, with each being easily accessible.

Garment receiving surfaces of the coathanger 10 such as surfaces of the lateral portions 2,3, the transverse bar 4 and the free arms 61,62 are conveniently configured to inhibit the movement of a garment thereover. These anti-slip receiving surfaces are suitably roughened or made

non-uniform using ridges or bumps, such as by appropriately patterning a mould used to manufacture the coathanger.

Referring now to Figure 2, a preferred arrangement of the retaining means will now be described in more detail.

Figure 2 is a cross sectional view of the neck area of the coathanger 10 taken along the centre line of Figure 1.

Figure 2 shows the neck portion 1 in the closed or folded position ready for normal use.

As shown in Figure 2, the second web 13 of the hook portion 1 is coupled via a thin film hinge 12 to the first web 11. In the closed position, the second web 13 lies close adjacent and parallel to the first web 11. By folding the two webs together the thickness of this neck area is effectively doubled. Conveniently each web is of the order of 3mm thick, giving a combined thickness of around 6mm consistent with other parts of the hanger such as the hook rod 17 and the lateral portions 2,3.

Any suitable catch arrangement may be provided for retaining the first and second webs 11,13 in the closed position. In the preferred arrangement shown in Figure 2, an aperture 15 is provided through the first web 11, for receiving a correspondingly positioned hook 14. The hook 14 comprises a retaining portion 14a coupled to the second web 13 by a stem 14b. The hook 14 is reverse angled and the forward face thereof slopes such that the hook 14 is deformed as it passes through the aperture 15. Once through the aperture, the resilient hook 14 springs back such that the hook end 14a may engage positively with a recess lla on the rearward surface of the first web 11.

In the catch arrangement shown in Figure 2, the retaining hook 14 engages positively with the recess lla such that the catch is not readily openable once in the closed or assembled position. In this embodiment, the coathanger 10 may be stored and transported in the space saving unfolded configuration, and then be folded

immediately prior to use in hanging a garment. Once assembled, the coathanger 10 is rigid and robust suitable for supporting a garment.

The catch, shown in Figure 2, is arranged such that engagement is driven positively as the hanger is loaded with a garment. That is, loading a garment such that its weight is taken through lateral portions 2,3 to the first web 11 acts to engage the retaining hook 14a in the recess lla as this weight is transferred to the hook portion 1 through the second web 13.

In other embodiments of the invention (not shown) the catch means is more readily openable such that the user may unfold the hook portion 1, for example to conveniently transport the coathanger 10. A second catch means may be provided to retain the hook portion 1 in the open position shown with dashed lines in Figure 1.

Figure 3 is a perspective view showing a plurality of coathangers 10 arranged in a stack 100. The coathangers each have a uniform thickness over a substantial portion thereof allowing the coathangers to be formed in a level parallel stack. Each coathanger is arranged to completely overlie the next. Engagement means may be provided enabling each coathanger to engage with an adjacent coathanger. For example, engaging dedents may be provided on one surface of the coathanger for engagement with corresponding receiving dedents on the opposing surface of an adjacent coathanger. A self-supporting stack of coathangers may thus be formed. However, in the illustrated embodiment a separate restraining means is provided, in this example being a plastics material film wrapped around the exterior of the stack of coathangers.

Any suitable coathanger may be used, but when using the coathanger as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2 the hook is conveniently positioned within the space defined by the generally triangular frame of the coathanger allowing a smooth continuous exterior profile. Such profile is particular suitable for film wrapping by automated

techniques. Other automated techniques can be employed such as the use of a retaining band or bands around suitable portions of the frames of the coathangers in the stack.

Figure 4 is a plan view showing a plurality of stacks 100 of coathangers grouped together in an interlocking and space saving arrangement. Conveniently such stacks are located on a support substrate such as a pallet. Desirably the grouped stacks are film wrapped onto the pallet over a substantial portion of the exterior surface thereof such that a transportable package is formed. Advantageously, the package does not require any additional supports and in particular the requirement for solid side walls is avoided minimising the cardboard content of the packaging and ideally eliminating cardboard from the packaging altogether. The package enjoys good structural integrity.

Ideally each stack is individually restrained, such as by being wrapped, the relatively immobile stacks are then grouped together in the interlocking formation shown in Figure 4, and the grouped stacks wrapped again to form a cohesive package.

Figure 5 is a perspective view of a dispenser 200. The dispenser comprising guides 201,202 each arranged to receive one elbow of a coathanger having a generally triangular frame. In the example embodiment the dispenser comprises a wire frame structure having elongate guide rods to form the guides 201 and 202 and a support structure presenting the guides at a convenient orientation when the dispenser is located, for example, on a flat surface such as a counter top. In an alternative arrangement (not shown) the dispenser is configured to be mounted on a wall or other vertical surface.

As shown in Figure 5 one end of the guides 201, 202 is closed and conveniently the coathangers rest at this end by gravity. The other end of the guides 201 and 202 is open allowing coathangers to be inserted into and removed from the dispenser.

Advantageously a stack of coathangers can be loaded into the dispenser simultaneously including, if desired, restraining means such as a film wrap. The wrap may then be removed exposing the coathangers for use and removal from the dispense as desired by the user.

A coathanger has been described which improves manufacturing efficiency, in particular by reducing the mould area required to produce the coathanger. The preferred coathanger is ideally manufactured as a single- piece unit and therefore requires no further assembly prior to transportation to the user. Where all parts of the hanger are moulded as a single unit, only one moulding step is required. The preferred one-piece construction means that parts of the hanger cannot become separated or lost.

Also, the coathanger is readily transportable and allows a greater number of coathangers to be transported within a given space, thereby improving packing density and reducing transport costs. Features of the coathanger improve strength and rigidity in use, thereby aiding longevity.

The coathanger described is simple and convenient to use and caters for the hanging needs of a wide variety of garments.

The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents which are filed concurrently with or previous to this specification in connection with this application and which are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference.

All of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mulually exclusive.

Each feature disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

The invention is not restricted to the details of the foregoing embodiment (s). The invention extends to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the features disclosed in this specification (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), or to any novel one, or any novel combination, of the steps of any method or process so disclosed.