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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CURTAIN PLEAT SEPARATOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/113878
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention include a method and a system for separating curtain pleats in an aesthetically pleasing manner including placing at least one sheath, including one or more spacer units, on a curtain rod between two curtain hangers, where the sheath is slidingly movable along the rod. Multiple sheaths may be used on a rod and snap-fit on to the rod. Placing the sheath(s) on the rod after installation of the curtain is preferred. The sheath(s) may be sized to the desired length. The system includes at least one sheath, including at least one spacer unit, is capable of being sized to length and snap-fit to a curtain rod between two curtain hangers.

Inventors:
MILLER ROGER (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2021/012179
Publication Date:
June 10, 2021
Filing Date:
January 05, 2021
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RM HOLDINGS L L C (US)
International Classes:
A47H13/14; A47H13/00; A47H13/16
Foreign References:
DE202004000198U12004-06-17
US9402494B12016-08-02
US4415093A1983-11-15
JP2004121476A2004-04-22
CN208388380U2019-01-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VOCI, Christopher, J. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS I claim

1. A method of separating curtain pleats, comprising: placing at least one sheath, including one or more spacer units, on a curtain rod between two curtain hangers, wherein the at least one sheath is slidingly movable along the curtain rod.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising placing at least one sheath on a curtain rod between a plurality of sets of two curtain hangers so that at least two sheaths have been placed on the curtain rod.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the placing step comprises snap-fitting the at least one sheath onto the curtain rod.

4. The method of claim 2 wherein the placing step occurs after the curtain hangers are attached to the curtain rod.

5. The method of claim 2 wherein the placing step occurs before the curtain hangers are attached to the curtain rod.

6. The method of claim 2 wherein the at least one sheath is a non-sleeve type sheath.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the at least one sheath has a horseshoe shaped cross section.

8. The method of claim 1 further comprising sizing the at least one sheath to length.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein sizing the at least one sheath to length includes removing one or more spacer units from the at least one sheath or adding one or more spacer units to the at least one sheath.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the sizing step comprises dividing a single sheath into a plurality of sheaths, each having one or more spacer units.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein the sizing step occurs before the placing step.

12. A system for separating pleats of a curtain in an aesthetically pleasing manner, comprising: at least one sheath, including at least one spacer unit, is capable of being sized to length and snap-fit to a curtain rod between two curtain hangers.

13. The system of claim 12 further comprising a plurality of sheaths capable of being snap-fit to a curtain rod between two curtain hangers, wherein each sheath is located between two curtain hangers.

14. The system of claim 13 wherein a single sheath, including a plurality of spacer units, is capable of being divided into a plurality of sheaths, each with one or more spacer units.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein the single sheath is divided into a plurality of sheaths prior to installation on a curtain rod.

16. The system of claim 14 wherein the plurality of spacer units are separable from each other by markings or perforations on the sheath.

17. The system of claim 12 wherein the at least one sheath or at least one space unit has an outer diameter larger than the inner diameter of a curtain hanger that is a grommet.

18. The system of claim 17 wherein the at least one sheath or at least one space unit comprises an end ridge.

19. The system of claim 12 wherein the sheath has a U shaped cross section.

Description:
CURTAIN PLEAT SEPARATOR

CLAIM OF PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims the benefit ofUS non-provisional application 17112112, filed on December 4, 2020, and US provisional application 62943917, filed on December 5, 2019, which are incorporated herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The field of the invention is a device and method for obtaining and maintaining curtains, and curtain pleats in particular, in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Curtains are used to physically and/or visually separate one space from another. Indeed even when pulled aside or otherwise open, curtains provide a visual separation between two spaces. Part of maintaining the aesthetically pleasing separation may be insuring that the curtains maintain a neat and tidy appearance even when pulled aside. When pulled open, curtains tend to bunch and have a rumpled and asymmetrical appearance that detracts from a neat and tidy appearance. Also, curtains are typically hung from rods located above an opening between the two spaces to be separated. Thus, it can be difficult to reach the top of the curtain without a ladder or other assistance in order to adjust the bunched curtain. Adjusting the curtains to maintain the tidy appearance can thus be tedious.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention include a method and a system for separating curtain pleats in an aesthetically pleasing manner including placing at least one sheath, including one or more spacer units, on a curtain rod between two curtain hangers, where the sheath is slidingly movable along the rod. Multiple sheaths may be used on a rod and snap-fit on to the rod. Placing the sheath(s) on the rod after installation of the curtain is preferred. The sheath(s) may be sized to the desired length. The system includes at least one sheath, including at least one spacer unit, is capable of being sized to length and snap-fit to a curtain rod between two curtain hangers.

[0005] The present invention includes a device for creating and maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance of curtains on a rod. The device includes at least one sheath to be placed between hangers on a curtain rod. In preferred embodiment, the curtain hangers are grommets in the curtain through which a curtain rod is threaded. The sheath is attached to a curtain rod and maintains a minimum distance between two curtain hangers (e.g. grommets). The at least one sheath is sufficiently attached to the curtain rod to keep the at least one sheath on the curtain rod, but loose enough to allow the at least one sheath to slide along the curtain rod when the curtains are moved; for example pulling two curtains together to close the set of curtains. When opened, the curtain, because of the separators, form tidy pleats. The at least one sheath may entirely enclose the rod to act as a sleeve; that is, the cross-section is a complete circle. In the alternative, the at least one sheath may enclose less than the entire; that is, the cross-section is less than a complete circle. The at least one sheath may also include an adjustable length option.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0006] Fig. 1 shows a front view of pleated curtains with sheaths installed.

[0007] Fig. 2 shows a top view of sheaths installed on a curtain rod.

[0008] Fig. 3 shows a top view of a sheath including marking or perforations.

[0009] Fig. 4 shows an end view of a sheath installed on a rod where the sheath is less than entire circumference of the rod.

[0010] Fig. 5 shows an oblique view of a sheath installed on a rod where the sheath includes markings or perforations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0011] The at least one sheath of the present invention is suitable for use on any curtain rod where the sheath does not interfere with the open/closing mechanism of the curtain. Preferably, at least one sheath is useful on curtains that incorporate holes through which a rod is threaded. Grommets are often utilized to provide structural stability to such through holes. For convenience, “grommet” is used to refer to either the through hole or the actual grommet supporting the through hole. The at least one sheath may be utilized on any type of curtain with grommets, regardless of the spaces being separated. For example, window curtains that visually separate the interior of a building from the exterior of the building; door curtains that visually or physically separate one room from another; or shower curtains that visually or physically separate a shower or bathtub from the rest of the bathroom.

[0012] Fig. 1 shows a curtain 10 in the open position with a plurality of sheaths, hidden behind the curtain 20 (indicated by arrows), installed on a curtain rod 30 in order to achieve aesthetically pleasing pleats, with at least one sheath placed between two adjacent grommets. Fig. 2 shows a curtain 10 and curtain rod 30 on which sheaths 20 have been installed. The sheaths including markings or perforations 40 to delineate spacer units 50.

The sheaths limit how close the curtain hangers (grommets in this embodiment) can come to each other, thus providing a minimum distance between the hangers. Fig. 3 shows a top view of a sheath 20 with markings or perforations 40 to delineate spacer units 50.

[0013] Sheathes that encompass the entire circumference of the rod are contemplated (so-called sleeve sheaths). Put alternatively, sheaths can have a circular or oval cross-section. Such sleeve sheaths may have uninterrupted material making up their circumference such that they are an unbroken circle or oval. In another embodiment, the sheaths may include an interruption in the material of their circumference such that the break extends along the length of the sheath. In this manner, the sheath can be a sleeve and yet able to be placed (e.g. snap-fit) on the rod after installation of the curtain. Namely, the lengthwise break in the sheath is opened far enough to place the sheath around the rod.

[0014] Non-sleeve sheaths are, however, preferred. That is sheaths that have a break or gap in their circumferential cross-section such as a C-shaped or a U-shaped cross-section, as seen in Figs. 4 and 5. By having an opening in its circumference, the at least one sheath 20 can be installed on the rod 30 after the curtain has been installed. The preferred at least one sheath has a U-shaped cross section, and more preferably a horseshoe shaped cross-section, where a first end and a second end are connected by a body portion, where the first end and the second end are not connected to each other. If the ends contact each other or overlap, then this would be sleeve sheath, as discussed above. At least during installation on the curtain rod, the ends are moved apart from each other (e.g. the distance between them increased). In this manner, the at least one sheath can be placed onto the curtain rod at any point in time or at any location on the curtain rod. Stated alternatively, the preferred at least one sheath snap-fits on to the curtain rod. In a preferred embodiment the at least one sheath is held loosely enough to slide along the curtain rod when the curtain is opened or closed. [0015] While tube-like sheaths are preferred, scaffold sheaths are also contemplated. Tube-like sheaths are those that have a majority of their surface area made up of material, such as a plastic material. Scaffold sheaths would be those that have a minority of their surface area made up of material. The important aspect of the at least one sheath is that it has the structure integrity to maintain the desired minimum distance between the hangers when installed on the curtain rod and the curtain is moved to the open position when pleats are formed.

[0016] In order to improve the ability of the sheath to maintain the minimum distance between hangers, the sheath should interfere with the hanger to prevent the hanger from riding onto or covering even a portion of the sheath. This can be accomplished by having the sheath abut the hanger (this also accomplishes the goal of maintaining the minimum distance between the hangers). For hangers that are grommets, the outer diameter of the at least one sheath is preferably larger than the inner diameter of the grommet. This may be achieved by having the first and/or second end of the at least one sheath be elongated or otherwise be comparatively large in size to increase the total outer diameter of the at least one sheath. In the alternative, the at least one sheath may include an end ridge that runs generally around the circumference of the sheath, for sleeve sheaths, or from the first end to the second end of non-sleeve sheaths. This would effectively increase the outer diameter of the at least one sheath. The end ridge need not be continuous, but rather may cover only one or more portions of the circumference or the distance between the ends. The end ridge may be integral to the at least one sheath such that they are formed as unitary piece at the time of manufacture or the end ridge may be added later, such as during or after installation of the at least one sheath on the rod. As discussed later, because the sheath is comprised of spacer units, the end ridge may be present on every space unit, and typically would be adjacent to the markings or perforations. [0017] The length of the at least one sheath may be temporarily or permanently adjustable or adjusted. In one embodiment, the at least one sheath 20 may include one or more spacer units 50 that are separable from each other. Separation of individual or multiple spacer units allows for the easy customization of the length of the at least one sheath. The at least one sheath may include markings or perforations 40 to delineate between spacer units for easy separation. The perforations in the at least one sheath permit the user to size the at least one sheath to the desired length. Rather than perforations, the markings on the at least one sheath may indicate where the at least one sheath may be cut (such as by a scissors or blade).

[0018] The spacer units may include an end ridge adjacent to the markings or perforations, as discussed above. In addition to providing an increased diameter of the sheath in general, the end ridge on each spacer unit can make it possible for the length of a sheath to be increased by adding spacers units, such that the added spacer units will not ride onto or otherwise cover a portion of the existing sheath and will maintaining the desired overall length of the sheath.

[0019] In another embodiment, the at least one sheath may include two or more portions that combine to have an adjustable length, where the portions may be locked to have a stable length. For example, the portions may be twisted to lock the at least one sheath to a particular length. All snap-fit type of locking mechanisms are contemplated, whether temporary or permanent. In order to achieve consistent lengths across several sheaths, the portions of the sheath may include incremental markings or the like at regular intervals along the length of the one or more portions. The incremental markings or the like are visual or physical indications where the two or more portions of the sheaths may be locked together.

[0020] The invention also includes a method of maintaining aesthetically pleasing pleats on opened curtains. The method includes placing at least one sheath on a curtain rod and between curtain hangers (e.g. grommets) to maintain a minimum distance between the hangers when the curtain is opened. Placing may include slipping the at least one sheath around the curtain rod after one hanger is attached to the curtain rod. The next hanger is then attached to the curtain rod, the placing step is then repeated. For hangers that are grommets, the sheath is placed on the rod and then the rod is threaded through the grommet. This is suitable for both sleeve and non-sleeve type sheaths. For sleeve sheaths, the rod is threaded through the sleeve, while for non-sleeve type sheaths, the rod may be threaded through the sheath or the sheath snap-fit to the rod.

[0021] In an alternative method, the placing step includes securing one or more sheaths to a curtain rod after two or more of the hangers have already been attached to the curtain rod, wherein each of the one or more sheaths are secured to the curtain rod between two hangers. In this embodiment, the sheaths are snap-fit onto the rod.

[0022] The method may further comprise sizing the sheath to the desired length. In one embodiment, the sizing step includes adding or removing spacer units to the sheath, either before it is placed between the curtain hangers or after. Sizing may include cutting, tearing, or the like of the sheath at the markings or perforations. In another embodiment, the sizing step includes adjusting the length of the sheath by moving a first portion of the sheath relative to a second portion of the sheath, and then locking the two portions together to achieve a stable length sheath.

[0023] It will be further appreciated that functions or structures of a plurality of components or steps may be combined into a single component or step, or the functions or structures of one-step or component may be split among plural steps or components. The present invention contemplates all of these combinations. Unless stated otherwise, dimensions and geometries of the various structures depicted herein are not intended to be restrictive of the invention, and other dimensions or geometries are possible. Plural structural components or steps can be provided by a single integrated structure or step. Alternatively, a single integrated structure or step might be divided into separate plural components or steps. In addition, while a feature of the present invention may have been described in the context of only one of the illustrated embodiments, such feature may be combined with one or more other features of other embodiments, for any given application. It will also be appreciated from the above that the fabrication of the unique structures herein and the operation thereof also constitute methods in accordance with the present invention. The present invention also encompasses intermediate and end products resulting from the practice of the methods herein. The use of “comprising” or “including” also contemplates embodiments that “consist essentially of’ or “consist of’ the recited feature.

[0024] The explanations and illustrations presented herein are intended to acquaint others skilled in the art with the invention, its principles, and its practical application. Those skilled in the art may adapt and apply the invention in its numerous forms, as may be best suited to the requirements of a particular use. Accordingly, the specific embodiments of the present invention as set forth are not intended as being exhaustive or limiting of the invention. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined not with reference to the above description, but should instead be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled. The disclosures of all articles and references, including patent applications and publications, are incorporated by reference for all purposes.