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Title:
CONTAINER WITH FLEXIBLE HELICAL MEMBER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/035054
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a container particularly for use with a non-linear planar object. The container comprises a helical member for at least partially surrounding the object.

Inventors:
PELLEREAU, Thomas (Meadowbrook, SwarratonAlresford, Hampshire SO24 9TQ, GB)
Application Number:
GB2007/003531
Publication Date:
March 27, 2008
Filing Date:
September 17, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PELLEREAU, Thomas (Meadowbrook, SwarratonAlresford, Hampshire SO24 9TQ, GB)
International Classes:
A45C11/24; A45F5/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999004664A2
Foreign References:
US5634479A
GB464648A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WALLIS, Naomi, Rachel et al. (Withers & Rogers LLP, Goldings House2 Hays Lane, London SE1 2HW, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:

Claims

1. A container for a linear non-planar object, comprising a flexible helical member for partially or substantially surrounding the object, the helical member having at least one connection means at least one of its ends.

2. A container according to claim 1, wherein the helical member is able to flex between a first position and at least one other position, but is biased towards the first position.

3. A container according to claim 1 or 2 in which the flexibility of the helical member varies along its length.

4. A container according to any preceding claim, wherein the turns of the helical members are substantially, circular, oval, square or rectangular in shape.

5. A container according to any preceding claim, wherein the turns of the helical member vary in size along the length of the helical member.

6. A container according to claim 5, wherein the turns of the helical member are smaller at one or both ends of the container to close the end or ends.

7. A container according to any preceding claim, wherein the connection means is a ring or loop.

8. A container according to any of claims 1 to 6, in which the connection means is a sucker.

9. A container according to any preceding claim in which the helical member is textured.

10. A container according to any preceding claim in which the helical member is provided with at least one brush, bristle or fin.

11. A container according to any preceding claim in which the cross section of the helical member is circular, rectangular, oval, cross shaped or heart shaped.

12. A container according to any preceding claim in which the cross section of the helical member is the same shape along the length of the helical member.

13. A container according to any preceding claim in which the helical member is hollow.

14. A container according to claim 1, further comprising an item, contained within the container.

15. A method of containing an item, comprising flexing the helical member according to claim to increase a gap between two adjacent turns of the helical member and placing the item through the gap so that the item is partially or substantially surrounded by the helical member.

Description:

CONTAINER WITH FLEXIBLE HELICAL MEMBER

The invention relates to a container, particularly for a non-planar linear object. The invention is particularly useful for holding and protecting such objects.

According to the invention, there is provided a container, suitable for use with a linear non- planar object, comprising a flexible helical member for partially or substantially surrounding the object, the helical member having at least one connection means at least one of its ends.

The container is particularly suitable for containing non-planar linear objects, because the helical member is able to flex about the object. The helical member may be any helical member, such as a spring, that is able or adapted to be able to contain an object. The helical member is able to flex between a first position and a number of other positions. The helical member is preferably biased towards the first position, that is when flexed away from the first position, the helical member returns to the first position. The helical member is preferably sufficiently stiff or resilient, i.e. it is preferably sufficiently biased towards the first position to allow it to contain and preferably retain the object. It is preferred that in the first position, the helical member is a different shape to the shape of the object, helping the helical member to grip the object, because introduction of the object into the container distorts the shape of the helical member. The helical member may be made of any appropriate material, especially an elastic or smart material that is able and biased to return to its first position. For example, the helical member may be made of a metal or a plastic.

The helical member may be equally flexible along its length, or along the length of the container, or certain areas may be more flexible than other areas. For example, the helical member may be more flexible near to the ends than in the centre. Also, the helical member may vary in flexibility around the turns of the helix, such that there may be areas of varying flexibility within one turn of the helix. The variety in flexibility may occur in one turn only, or in a number of turns, or in all turns.

The helical member is preferably elongate and is made up of a number of helix turns about a central axis. The helical member is preferably straight. The turns of the helical member may be any shape, for example, substantially circular, the helix forming a substantially tubular, conical or frustro-conical shape in the first position. Alternatively, the turns may be any other

shape, such as oval, square, rectangular, or any other shape. The turns may be the same size along the length of the helical member, or the turns may be of different sizes. For example, the turns may be larger in the centre of the helical member and smaller at the ends. In particular, the turns may decrease in size at one or both ends to close the end or ends of the container. When the ends of the container are closed, the interior of the container may be accessed by flexing the helical member so that the space between adjacent turns is increased. The helical member may be stretched or compressed to move the turns apart from each other or move the turns closer together.

The connection means may be any appropriate means to allow the helical member to be connected to another object. For example, the connection means may be a ring or loop, formed from or attached to the helical member. This allows the container to be joined to, for example, a key ring, a necklace or bracelet. Alternatively, the connection may be a sucker or a magnet. There may be a connection means at one or both ends. Where there is a connection means at both ends, the connection means may be the same or different. There may be other connection means elsewhere on the helical member. Alternatively one end of the helical member may be provided with a cap. The cap may be removable to allow beads or loops to be threaded onto the helical member.

The helical member may be coated to provide it with colour or texture. Alternatively, the material itself may be coloured or textured. A texture on the surface of the helical member may help it to grip the object to be contained within it. The helical member may be provided with one or my brushes, bristles or fins. Such brushes, bristles or fins are preferably positioned so that they face the inside of the helical member. This allows the object to be brushed or cleaned as it is placed inside the helical member.

The helical member may be coloured or transparent. Its colour may change, for example with heat or light.

The cross section of the helical member may be any shape, for example it may be circular, rectangular, oval, cross shaped and heart shaped. The cross section may be the same shape along the length of the helical member, or may change.

The helical member may be solid, or may be hollow. When the helical member is hollow, a liquid may be stored inside. When the helical member is hollow, the helical member is preferably provided with a cap to allow the liquid to stored and removed from the helical member.

The helical member may be longer or shorter than the item to be contained. The item may be contained entirely within the member, or may protrude from it. The helical member may be any size and is preferably sized appropriately for the object to be contained therein. The container is preferably between 5cm and 30 cm in length when the helical member is in the first position, more preferably between 5cm and 20 cm. The container is preferably between 5 and 30mm, more preferably between 5 and 20mm in diameter. This preferably refers to the largest diameter of the container. The helical member may contain any number of turns.

The container may be used to contain any item, hi particular, when the turns of the helical member are smaller in size at the ends of the container than in other areas of the container, such that the ends of the container are substantially closed, the container may contain an item of any shape. The container may be shaped to suit the item to be contained. The container is preferably used to contain a non-planar linear object, for example a curved object. Ih particular the container may be used to contain a curved nail file.

The container may be connected to the item to be contained therein.

A number of containers may be connected together, to allow more than one object to be contained.

Also provided is a container according to the invention containing an item. The item is preferably elongate or linear. Further, it is preferably non planer, that is to say it is not flat.

The item is preferably curved in at least one direction, and along at least one axis. In one embodiment the item is S-shaped. Alternatively, the item may be curved such that it has non parallel sides. In a further embodiment, the item has an abrasive surface. It is particularly preferred that the item is a curved nail file, especially an S-shaped nail file.

Also provided is a method of containing an item, comprising flexing the helical member according to the invention to increase a gap between two adjacent turns of the helix and

placing the item through the gap so that the item is partially or substantially surrounded by the helical member.

The invention will now be described in detail by way of example only with reference to the drawings in which:

figure 1 is a side view of a container according to the invention containing an S-shaped nail file; figure 2 is a side view of a different embodiment of a container according to the invention; figure 3 is a side view of an empty container according to the invention and an item to be inserted into the container ; figure 4 is a view of one of the ends of the container according to the invention; figure 5 is a view of one of the ends of a different embodiment of the container; figure 6 is a side view of a container according to the invention, showing how a non-planar linear object may be introduced into the container; figure 7 is a side view of another embodiment of the container according to the invention, showing how a non-planar linear object may be introduced into the container; and figure 8 is a side view of a further embodiment of the container .

The container 5 comprises a helical member 10 having a connection means such as a loop 12 or a sucker 14 on or formed from at least one end to allow the container. The connection means may be formed separately to the helical member and attached to it, or it may be integrally formed or formed from part of the helical member. For example, an end of the helical member could be formed into a loop to allow connections to another article.

The helical member has a number of turns 16 which may be any shape. The turns are substantially circular in the embodiment shown in figure 4 and oval in the embodiment shown in figure 5.

The helical member has a first position, as shown in figure 3, to which it is biased to return. In particular, the first position may be one in which the helical member is substantially straight. On introduction of the object or item 20 to be contained, the helical member may be forced into a second position. It can be seen from figures 1 and 2 that the helical member is curved when the item is introduced, in comparison to the straight helical member seen in

figure 3, prior to introduction of the item. The helical member is sufficiently stiff that in trying to return to the first position, it is able to grip an item placed within it.

As can be seen from figures 6 and 7, the item may be introduced into the container by either placing it into the container via an open end of the container 18 (as shown in figure 7) or by bending the container to increase the distance between two adjacent turns to form an opening through which the item may be placed. This is particularly useful if one or both ends of the container are closed.

The container is usually between 5 and 30cm in length, when the helical member is in the first position. This length is shown by the arrows marked A in figure 3. The container is usually between 5 and 30 mm in diameter (B on figure 4). The container may be shorter than the item it is to contain, as shown in the embodiment in figure 8 or may be a similar length or longer than the item.

In some embodiments, not shown, the helical member is coloured or textured, the helical member itself may be coloured or textured, or a coloured or textured coating may be applied to the helical member. One skilled in the art would know how to do this. A texture on the surface of the helical member may help it to grip the object to be contained within it. In a further embodiment, not shown, the helical member is provided with one or my brushes, bristles or fins, positioned on the inside of helical member, and, hence on the inside of the container. These may be used to clean an object placed in the container.