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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
HAIR STYLING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/058944
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A hair styling device comprises a hair brush portion and an air mover portion comprising a heating element and a fan. The hair brush portion comprises a hollow brush head. The hollow brush head comprises bristles and apertures to allow air to exit the brush head in the region of the bristles. The brush head comprises at least one baffle arranged within the hollow brush head and extending radially inwardly from an inner wall thereof so as to peel off air from the periphery of the flow through the hollow brush head and direct it through the apertures.

Inventors:
PULFREY SHAUN (GB)
OWENS AUSTIN (GB)
PERRETT DAN (GB)
GIORDANO ELIO (GB)
Application Number:
GB2020/052292
Publication Date:
April 01, 2021
Filing Date:
September 23, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TANGLE TEEZER LTD (GB)
International Classes:
A45D20/50; A46B9/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016001658A12016-01-07
Foreign References:
GB2097669A1982-11-10
EP2823726A12015-01-14
FR2478973A11981-10-02
FR2060448A51971-05-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILSON GUNN (Blackfriars House, Manchester M3 2JA, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A hair brush portion for a hair styling device comprising an air mover portion comprising a heating element and a fan; the hair brush portion comprising a hollow brush head; the hollow brush head comprising bristles and apertures to allow air to exit the brush head in the region of the bristles; the brush head comprising at least one baffle arranged within the hollow brush head and extending radially inwardly from an inner wall thereof so as to peel off air from the periphery of the flow through the hollow brush head and direct it through the apertures.

2. A hair brush portion according to claim 1 wherein the brush head is cylindrical.

3. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the at least one baffle is a frustoconical baffle.

4. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the hollow brush head has a central longitudinal axis extending therethrough and the at least one baffle is disposed outside the central longitudinal axis.

5. A hair brush portion according to claim 2 wherein the at least one baffle is disposed at an acute angle to the central axis.

6. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the baffle is curved.

7. A hair brush portion according to claim 6, when dependent on claim 5, wherein the curvature of the baffle is such that the acute angle of the baffle to the central axis increases outwardly.

8. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the bristles are arranged along the length of the hollow brush head and extend further towards the distal end of the brush head than the apertures.

9. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the brush head has an open proximal end, from which it receives air and a closed distal end; wherein the bristles extend along the length of the brush head between the proximal end and the distal end.

10. A hair brush portion according to claim 9 wherein the at least one baffle is disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the third of the bristles closer to the proximal end.

11. A hair brush portion according to claim 9 or 10 wherein the baffle is arranged such that as it extends inwardly, it extends towards the proximal end of the brush head.

12. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the hollow brush head comprises at least one further baffle.

13. A hair brush portion according to claim 12 wherein the hollow brush head comprises only the at least one baffle and one further baffle.

14. A hair brush portion according to claim 12 or 13 wherein the further baffle is disposed in line with the central longitudinal axis so as to direct air from the centre of the flow towards the inner wall of the brush head and out of the apertures.

15. A hair brush portion according to any of claims 12 to 14 wherein the further baffle is disposed at an acute angle to the central axis.

16. A hair brush portion according to any of claims 12 to 15 wherein the further baffle is curved.

17. A hair brush portion according to claim 16 when dependent on claim 15 wherein the curvature of the further baffle is such that the acute angle of the baffle to the central axis increases outwardly.

18. A hair brush portion according to any of claims 12 to 17 when dependent directly or indirectly on claim 9 wherein the further baffle extends radially inwardly and towards the proximal end of the brush head from the periphery.

19. A hair brush portion according to any of claims 12 to 18 wherein the further baffle extends across the entire inside of the hollow brush head.

20. A hair brush portion according to any of claims 12 to 19 wherein the further baffle is conical.

21. A hair brush portion according to any of claims 12 to 20 wherein the further baffle is disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the half of the bristles closer to the distal end.

22. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the or each baffle is unperforated.

23. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein the apertures are elongate slots and are arranged longitudinally.

24. A hair brush portion according to any preceding claim wherein at least some or all of the bristles comprise a first portion which tapers from the base and a second portion which is narrow relative to the first, relatively wide, portion and extends from the first portion to the free end; the bristles being arranged in two or more spaced apart, offset, rows wherein centre lines of the rows are spaced apart such that at least part of the first portion of bristles in one row extends between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row; and/or, when viewed perpendicular to the rows, the width of the first portion of the bristles in one row is, over part of their length, the same or greater than the space between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row so as to partially occlude the space between bristles in an adjacent row; and the bristles are sized and arranged so that, in use, the second portion serves to penetrate and divide hair between the bristles and the first portion of the bristles enables tension to be applied to the hair when hair flows between the bristles.

25. A hair brush portion according to claim 24 wherein the first and second portions of the bristles are resiliently flexible and the second portion of the bristles is more flexible than the first; wherein each first portion has a non circular transverse cross-section at its base which gradually transitions to a substantially circular cross-section at the point where it meets the second portion, and the second portion has a substantially circular cross-section over all or substantially all of its length.

26. A hair styling device comprising an air mover portion comprising a heating element and a fan and a hair brush portion according to any preceding claim.

27. A hair styling device comprising an air mover portion comprising a heating element and a fan and a hair brush portion; the hair brush portion comprising a hollow handle and a hollow brush head; the hollow brush head comprising bristles and apertures to allow air to exit the brush head in the region of the bristles; the brush head being provided on the hollow handle at a distal end thereof; and the handle having a grip part around which, in use, a user wraps his/her hand; wherein, in use, hot air passing through the handle passes within an inner tube, with an outer tube forming the handle and a gap between the inner and outer tubes; wherein ambient air is provided in the gap between the inner and outer tubes.

28. A hair styling device according to claim 27 wherein at least some or all of the bristles comprise a first portion which tapers from the base and a second portion which is narrow relative to the first, relatively wide, portion and extends from the first portion to the free end; the bristles being arranged in two or more spaced apart, offset, rows wherein centre lines of the rows are spaced apart such that at least part of the first portion of bristles in one row extends between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row; and/or, when viewed perpendicular to the rows, the width of the first portion of the bristles in one row is, over part of their length, the same or greater than the space between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row so as to partially occlude the space between bristles in an adjacent row; and the bristles are sized and arranged so that, in use, the second portion serves to penetrate and divide hair between the bristles and the first portion of the bristles enables tension to be applied to the hair when hair flows between the bristles.

29. A hair styling device according to claim 27 or 28 wherein the ambient air is forced between in the inner and outer tubes.

30. A hair styling device according to any of claims 27 to 29 wherein the inner tube is a nozzle; the nozzle forming part of the air mover portion and through which air passes from an inlet to an outlet.

31. A hair styling device according to claim 30 wherein the nozzle is at least 90% of the length of handle of the hair brush portion.

32. A hair styling device according to either of claims 30 or 31 wherein the air mover portion is configured to divert unheated air between the handle and the nozzle, outside the nozzle, but inside the handle, in the gap therebetween.

33. A hair styling device according to any of claims 30 to 32 wherein the nozzle is provided with heat insulation on its interior.

34. A hair styling device according to any of claims 27 to 33 wherein the handle is provided with heat insulation on its interior.

35. A hair styling device according to claim 33 or 34 wherein the heat insulation comprises a heat insulating tube.

36. A hair styling device according to claim 35 wherein the heat insulating tube is a mica tube.

37. A hair styling device according to any of claims 27 to 36 wherein the hair brush portion is a hair brush portion according to any of claims 1 to 25.

Description:
Hair Styling Device

Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a hair styling device.

Background to the Invention

Various devices are known for styling hair, for example, combs, brushes, hair dryers and straighteners. These can be used in different situations, and sometimes in combination. For example, hair dryers and combs/brushes are frequently used together by professional hair stylists to straighten, curl, or otherwise style hair.

Another device is known as a “hot air styler”, “hot air brush” or “hair dryer brush”. Hot air stylers are effectively hairdryers with various brush-head attachments. Generally, a hot-air styler has an elongate handle of constant diameter, through which cool air is drawn by a fan from one end, a heating element at the opposite end, and a brush head attachment adjacent the heating element. The brush-head being provided with apertures to allow air which has been heated on passing the heating element to exit through the apertures and assist in the styling process.

These hot air stylers suffer many weaknesses which make them unpopular with hair stylists; their lack of popularity with hair stylists has led to a lack of popularity with the purchasing public, who tend to view hot air stylers as a hair styling device of last resort, and a device from (and for) a previous generation.

Some weaknesses of hot air stylers include:

Bulkiness - the provision of a fan, heating element and brush-head in the handle of one device leads to a much bulkier product than a normal hair brush, which makes it more difficult to handle.

Weight distribution - the arrangement of the heating element typically between the handle and the brush head leads to a top-heavy design, again making it more difficult to handle than a normal hair brush.

Imprecision - the provision of detachable heads tends to lead to a lack of rigid connection between the brush head and the handle. Throttling - the provision of the fan and the heater in the handle tends to throttle flow through the device, meaning they cannot make good use of heater power.

These weaknesses make precise hair styling difficult.

Nonetheless, it is considered that a device which includes both a brush head and a hot air supply is desirable.

Summary of the Invention

According to three independent, but related aspects of this invention, there is provided: (a) a hair styling device comprising a hair brush portion and an air mover portion; the hair brush portion comprising a hollow brush head; the hollow brush head comprising bristles (or “teeth”) and apertures to allow air to exit the brush head in the region of the bristles; and the air mover portion comprising a heating element and a fan; (b) a hair brush portion for such a hair styling device; the hair brush portion comprising a hollow brush head; the hollow brush head comprising bristles (or “teeth”) and apertures to allow air to exit the brush head in the region of the bristles; and (c) an air mover portion for such a hair styling device, the air mover portion comprising a heating element and a fan.

The optional features set out below relate to each of the three related aspects as appropriate; i.e. features of a brush head relate both to (a) a hair styling device and (b) a brush head portion, and features of an air mover relate both to (a) a hair styling device and (c) an air mover portion. Of course, (a) a hair styling device may have (and preferably does have) both optional features of (b) a brush head portion as set out below and optional features of (c) an air mover portion as set out below.

The hair brush portion and the air mover portion may be separable. The hair styling device may comprise a plurality of separable hair brush portions and an air mover portion.

The hair brush portion may comprise a hollow handle. The brush head may be provided/formed on the hollow handle. The brush head may be provided/formed at one end of the handle, a distal end. The handle may be integral with the brush head. By a handle which is integral with the brush head, we mean that the handle and brush head are formed as a single component, not readily removeable from one another without damaging the component, not necessarily formed from the same piece of material.

For example, the brush head portion may comprise: a brush handle section comprising the handle and a brush head support; and a bristle sleeve, being a sleeve formed with integral bristles, with the brush head support and the bristle sleeve attached to one another, for example bonded together. The hair brush portion may further comprise an end cap portion bonded to the bristle sleeve and/or the brush head support.

Optionally, though, the handle and brush head may be formed from the same piece of material. Likewise, the brush handle section and the brush head support may be formed of the same piece of material.

Forming the brush head on a handle, ideally integrally with it, provides for much greater control of the brush head, since the connection between the part which the user holds (the handle) and the brush head is not weakened by the detachability of the two parts.

As a further alternative, the brush head could be detachable from the handle of the hair brush portion, for example to aid cleaning thereof.

Thus, in effect, the device is a hair brush, provided with an air-moving portion (comprising the heating element and the fan), rather than a hairdryer provided with a brushing part, which is the nature of the prior art.

The handle may have a grip part around which, in use, a user wraps his/her hand. The grip part should be long enough to be grasped easily by a user with normal sized hands. For example, it may be at least 7cm, at least 10cm or at least 15cm long. Those skilled in the art will have no trouble measuring the length of a grip part from the part of the hair brush portion on which bristles are formed.

The handle may comprise a larger diameter section (having a larger diameter than the grip part), for example a flared section where its diameter increases, at its proximal end (i.e. the free end, at the other end to the brush head), making it more difficult to hold in the large-diameter region. The handle may be at least 7cm, at least 10cm or at least 15cm long from the brush head to the larger diameter (e.g. flared) section. Whilst 7cm should be just about big enough to hold, with most of the hand wrapped around the grip part, 10cm gives room to move the hand back and forth to a degree, to allow different positions to be held for different brushing motion, or according to the user’s choice.

The grip part should ideally have a diameter that can be grasped comfortably by a user with normal sized hands. For example, it may have a maximum diameter of 7cm or 5cm, or 4cm, ideally less than 34mm along a length of at least 7cm, 10cm or 15cm.The handle may be detachable from the air mover portion of the device. By detachable we mean readily detachable, without damaging the rest of the device.

This allows the hair brush part (the handle and brush head) to be used alone without the remainder of the device. This also allows different brush heads to be provided for different functions e.g. to choose between paddle-shaped heads, or heads with radial brushes, or indeed between radial heads of different diameters, or brushes with different bristles.

The hair brush portion and the air mover portion may be connected or connectable so as to allow for relative rotation between the handle of the hair brush portion and the heating element and fan of the air mover portion. The hair brush portion and the air mover portion may be connected or connectable so as to allow at least 360 degrees of rotation in use; more preferably an infinitely rotatable connection in-use.

This allows for the handle, which the user holds, to be manoeuvred with precision, whilst the fan and heating element of the air mover portion effectively form an electrical sub-assembly which can rotate, or stay stationary, relative to the hair brush portion as necessary. The air mover portion may comprise a power cable, which may be fixed to the air mover portion (e.g. irrotatably) so as to rotate in tandem with the fan and the heating element; and the rotation between the handle and the air mover portion may thus avoid tangling of the cable without requiring a slip-ring arrangement to transfer electricity across a rotating connection. The handle may be provided with attachment means for attaching and detaching the handle to the air mover portion. The attachment means may be provided at one end of the handle.

The air mover portion may be provided with attachment means for attaching and detaching the air mover portion to the hair brush portion.

The attachment means may allow for rotation between the hair brush portion and the air mover portion.

The attachment means may comprise a connector provided on the air mover portion. The attachment means may comprise a connector on the hair brush portion. The connector on the air mover portion and the connector on the hair brush portion may each be irrotatable relative to their respective portions, but rotatable relative to one another when connected to one another in use. In particular, the respective connectors may effect a rotation that allows at least 360 degrees of rotation in use; more preferably an infinitely rotatable connection in-use.

As an alternative, the connectors on each portion need not be rotatable relative to each other in use and instead: the hair brush portion may be arranged such that its connector is rotatable relative to the handle of the hair brush portion; or the connector of the air mover portion may be rotatable relative to the fan and the heating element. These approaches would also achieve the effect of allowing relative rotation between, on one hand, the handle and, on the other hand, the fan and heating element (and optionally the cable). These alternatives are less preferred, however, since they are likely to be more complicated, and costly to implement than effecting a rotatable connection between one connector and the other.

The connector on the handle may be at the proximal end thereof.

The connector on one portion, optionally the air mover portion, but alternatively the hair brush portion, may comprise a clip ring. The clip ring may be continuous. The clip ring may comprise a ramped leading face. The clip ring may be provided on an outer surface of the air mover portion.

The connector on the other portion, optionally the hair brush portion but alternatively the air mover portion may comprise one or more clip features. The clip features may be localised. The clip features may be arranged circumferentially to correspond to the clip ring. 2, 3, 4, 5, or more clip features may be provided, which may be evenly spaced. The clip features may be provided on an inner surface of a hollow handle portion of the hair brush portion. The clip features may have a ramped leading face.

Ramped leading faces of the connectors make clipping the parts together easier than unclipping them. The or each trailing face of the or each, or at least one connector may be “un-ramped”, that is to say predominantly un-ramped, i.e. substantially steeper than the inclined faces of the ramped faces, so that disconnection is more difficult and the connection between the portions is solid.

A proximal bearing may be provided between the air mover portion and the hair brush portion in the region of the connectors. The proximal bearing may be a plain bearing provided by annular bearing surfaces on the respective portions. The connector on the handle portion may be located closer to the end of the hair brush portion than the proximal bearing. In this manner, the bearing will ensure a stiff and stable connection, even in the event that the connection by the connectors is not especially tight (which may be necessary in order to ensure that the connection can be easily attached/detached) .

The hair brush portion, optionally the handle thereof, may be provided with a thinner region between the proximal bearing and the connector. This thinner region can allow for deformation of the portion in the region of the clips, so as to effect connection and disconnection, whilst the remainder can be thicker, in order to maintain strength and stiffness.

The device may be provided such that hot air passes through the handle. The handle may be provided between the heating element and the brush head, in particular between the heating element and the fan, and the brush head. This provides a much better weight distribution, allowing more precise brushing.

The air mover portion may comprise an inlet and an outlet and a nozzle, through which air passes from the inlet to the outlet. Air may pass from the inlet, past the fan and the heating element (optionally first past the fan, then past the heating element) then through the nozzle.

The nozzle may be relatively long. The nozzle may be at least 50%, 70%, 80%, 90% of the length of, or substantially as long as, the handle of the hair brush portion, or the grip part thereof.

The handle of the hair brush portion may, when attached to the air mover portion, extend around the outside of the nozzle. In particular, at least 50% of the length of the handle may extend around at least 50% of the length of the nozzle; at least 60% of the length of the handle may extend around at least 60% of the length of the nozzle; at least 70% of the length of the handle may extend around at least 70% of the length of the nozzle; at least 80% of the length of the handle may extend around at least 80% of the length of the nozzle; or at least 90% of the length of the handle may extend around at least 90% of the length of the nozzle.

This ensures that hot air flows through the nozzle to the brush head, not directly inside the interior of the handle, which would require the handle to be highly insulated, to avoid discomfort or even burning of the user’s hand.

One or both of the handle and the nozzle (preferably at least the nozzle) may be provided with heat insulation on its interior. For example, a heat insulating tube, e.g. a tube of mica, may be provided within the nozzle/handle.

The minimum internal diameter of the nozzle may be at least 15mm, preferably at least 19mm. This is sufficient to allow free passage of an adequate amount of air to the hair brush portion.

The attachment means may be provided at the proximal end of the handle.

Hot air passing through the handle may pass within an inner tube, with an outer tube forming the handle. There may be a gap between the inner and outer tubes. The gap may be annular. Ambient (cool) air may be provided in the gap between the inner and outer tubes. Ambient air may be forced through the gap between the inner and outer tubes. Thus the cool air can act as a heat-exchanger, heating up as it moves through the gap and exiting, being replaced by more cool air being forced through. To achieve this, the air mover portion may be configured to divert unheated air between the handle and the nozzle, outside the nozzle, but inside the handle, in the gap therebetween. This can assist in keeping the handle sufficiently cool. In particular, apertures may be formed in the air mover portion, downstream of the inlet, and upstream of the heating element to allow unheated air into the gap between the nozzle and the handle.

One or more bearings, for example plain bearings, may be provided between the handle and the nozzle. In particular, the attachment means and proximal bearing may be provided at the proximal end of the handle and a distal bearing may be provided at the distal end of the handle. This can maintain a stiff/strong, but rotatable, connection between the two portions of the device, in particular between the handle and the nozzle. In particular when there is a substantial overlap between the handle and the nozzle, e.g. at least 5cm. at least 10cm or at least 15cm between the proximal bearing and the distal bearing this can allow the handle to be less stiff than would be necessary in the absence of the nozzle, and vice versa.

The distal bearing may be provided with gaps, to allow air in the gap between the handle and the nozzle to pass the distal bearing. This may be achieved by providing a plain bearing surface on one portion and an intermittent bearing surface on the other portion, e.g. a plain bearing surface on the air mover portion and an intermittent bearing surface (i.e. one with gaps through which air can pass) on the brush head portion. As an alternative, vents could be formed at the distal end in the handle or the nozzle, to allow air flowing through the gap to exit, either to the atmosphere (with vents in the handle), or into the nozzle, to join heated air (with vents in the nozzle).

In a still further alternative, the nozzle could extend into the brush head of the hair brush portion and vents could be provided in the brush head portion, preferably in a region without bristles, to allow cool air to vent in a region away from the bristles, whilst hotter air (from within the nozzle) exits through apertures close to the bristles (i.e. where it is required to dry and style the hair). In such an embodiment, a barrier could be provided extending from the interior of the hollow brush head to the nozzle to stop cool air entering the brush head in the region of the bristles and the corresponding apertures Rather than “pump” air through the gap it could be “sucked” through by entrainment, i.e. one or more openings could be provided between the handle and the nozzle at, or near, the distal end of the handle and one or more openings could be provided from the handle to the surrounding atmosphere at, or near, the proximal end of the handle, so that flow inside the nozzle sucks air from the atmosphere through the openings in the handle and into the nozzle.

The brush head may comprise at least one baffle arranged within the hollow brush head and extending radially inwardly from an inner wall thereof so as to peel off air from the periphery of the flow through the hollow brush head and direct it through the apertures in the brush head.

The hollow brush head may have a central longitudinal axis extending therethrough. The at least one baffle may be disposed outside the central longitudinal axis. This arrangement peels off air from the periphery, but does not impede the main flow of air too much, preserving the flow down the centre of the brush head.

The at least one baffle may be disposed at an acute angle to the central axis. The baffle may be curved. The curvature of the baffle may be such that the acute angle of the baffle to the central axis increases outwardly.

The brush head may be cylindrical and the at least one baffle may be a frustoconical baffle.

The bristles may be arranged along the length of the hollow brush head. The bristles may extend further towards the distal end of the brush head than the apertures. Since air will tend to exit the apertures at an angle, it will flow past bristles even if they are further towards the distal end of the brush head than the apertures.

The brush head may have an open proximal end, from which it receives air and a closed distal end. The bristles may extend along the length of the brush head between the proximal end and the distal end. The at least one baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head towards the proximal end.

The at least one baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the half of the bristles closer to the proximal end. That is to say, the region of the brush head that is provided with bristles can be divided into two halves, one closer to the proximal end and one closer to the distal end, and the at least one baffle may be arranged so that its edge which is adjacent the inner wall is arranged in that half which is closer to the proximal end.

The at least one baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the third of the bristles closer to the proximal end. The at least one baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the quarter, or even the fifth of the bristles closer to the proximal end. The respective third, quarter and fifth may be determined as set out above.

The baffle may be arranged such that as it extends inwardly, it extends towards the proximal end of the brush head. This ensures that the acute angle is arranged in the correct direction, so as to peel off air as required, not to direct air from the periphery towards the central longitudinal axis.

An annular gap may be provided between the nozzle and the end of the baffle (or in the event of a plurality of baffles, the closest baffle to the nozzle), the annular gap having a cross sectional area of at least 80 mm 2 , or at least 100mm 2 , for example 105 mm 2

The hollow brush head may comprise at least one (optionally only one) further baffle. The further baffle may be disposed in line with the central longitudinal axis so as to direct air from the centre of the flow towards the inner wall of the brush head and out of the apertures. The further baffle may (preferably also) be disposed at an acute angle to the central axis. It may (preferably also) be curved. The curvature of the further baffle may (preferably also) be such that the acute angle of the baffle to the central axis increases outwardly. It may (preferably also) extend radially inwardly and towards the proximal end of the brush head from the periphery. The further baffle may extend across the entire inside of the hollow brush head. The further baffle may be conical.

The further baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head towards the distal end.

The further baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the half of the bristles closer to the distal end. That is to say, the region of the brush head that is provided with bristles can be divided into two halves, one closer to the proximal end and one closer to the distal end, and the further baffle may be arranged so that it has an edge adjacent the inner wall which is arranged in that half which is closer to the distal end.

The further baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the third of the bristles closer to the distal end. The further baffle may be disposed adjacent to the inner wall of the brush head in the region of the quarter, or even the fifth of the bristles closer to the distal end. The respective third, quarter and fifth may be determined as set out above.

The hollow brush head may comprise only two baffles. The hollow brush head may comprise only the at least one baffle and the further baffle. Whilst additional baffles could be useful, fewer baffles provide less interference with air flow and make production/assembly easier. Just two baffles as set out have, in tests, provided a very effective way of peeling off peripheral flow to ensure that sufficient air exits the brush head at the proximal end and the distal end (where in the absence of baffles, the majority of air would naturally exit), whilst not disturbing flow too much, and avoiding throttling, which could be introduced by providing an excessive number of baffles or the like within the airflow.

The baffle or each baffle may be unperforated - perforations tend to increase turbulence or disturb flow.

Disturbing the flow is undesirable for two reasons; first, the purpose of the device is to blow air out of the brush head in the region of the bristles to aid styling - any reduction in the amount of blown air is therefore to be avoided, and improving the proportion of blown air that can be directed out of the brush head, allows for a smaller and cheaper fan to be used. Secondly, any disturbance or throttling reducing the flow out of the apertures can cause air to “back-up” in the nozzle of the device requiring the fan to work harder and potentially causing it to bum out, if it is not sufficiently robust, with greater robustness generally corresponding to a greater cost and/or size/weight, which itself is undesirable as it renders the device less manoeuvrable. The apertures may be elongate slots. The slots may be arranged longitudinally, i.e. their length may be along the same axis as the longitudinal axis of the brush head portion.

At least some or all of the bristles may comprise a first portion which tapers from the base and a second portion which is narrow relative to the first, relatively wide, portion and extends from the first portion to the free end; the bristles being arranged in two or more spaced apart, offset, rows wherein centre lines of the rows are spaced apart such that at least part of the first portion of bristles in one row extends between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row; and/or, when viewed perpendicular to the rows, the width of the first portion of the bristles in one row is, over part of their length, the same or greater than the space between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row so as to partially occlude the space between bristles in an adjacent row; and the bristles are sized and arranged so that, in use, the second portion serves to penetrate and divide hair between the bristles and the first portion of the bristles enables tension to be applied to the hair when hair flows between the bristles.

The second portion of the bristles helps to easily divide the hair, as well as helping remove tangles. It is also useful in smoothing the outer layer of back combed hair. By virtue of their greater width, and the arrangement of the bristles, the space between the first portions of the bristles is less than between the second portions. Consequently, as hair flows between the first portions of the bristles there is greater friction between the bristles and hair, enabling tension to be applied to the hair.

The provision of bristles of this type can substantially reduce the amount of air or heat needed and the amount of time taken to style hair.

The first and/or second portion of the bristles may be flexible and may be resiliently flexible. The second portion of the bristles may be more flexible than the first.

The first portion of the bristles may have a larger transverse cross-sectional area then the second portion.

All, or a substantial proportion (such as at least half), of the bristles in the array, or of the hair brush portion, may be provided with first and second portions. All of these, or indeed all or substantially all the bristles in the array, or the hair brush portion, may be of substantially the same shape.

When viewed in the same direction, the width of the widest part of the first portion of the bristles having first and second portions may be at least twice, three or four times the width of any part of the second portion or the second portion at or near to its free end. When viewed in the same direction, the width of the widest part of the first portion of the bristles having first and second portions may be no more than twelve or fifteen times the width of the bristle at any part of the second portion or at or near its free end. The length of the bristles having first and second portions may be no greater than seven, nine or ten times its maximum width. The length of the bristles having first and second portions may be no less than twice their maximum width.

In some preferred embodiments the ratio of width of the base of the bristle to that at or near its tip, or any part of the second portion, varies in the range four to ten, with a ratio of about six being particularly useful. The ratio of overall length to maximum width of the bristles may vary from 2 to 5 with a ratio of about 3 being particularly useful.

The various ranges mentioned above have been found to provide a satisfactory balance between the performance of the first and second portions of the bristles.

The width of the bristles may vary continuously or discontinuously between their base and free ends. Along part of its length, and preferably within the first portion of the bristles, the width of the bristles may taper at an angle greater than the angle of taper of a uniformly tapered bristle having the same length and variation in width. This allows there to be significantly more space between the second portion of the bristles in the array than the first portion, as compared to uniformly tapered bristles. This enables the two portions of the bristles to perform their different functions without being unduly long.

Two opposed edges of the first portion of those bristles comprising first and second portions may taper towards each other with a minimum average angle of at least 10 degrees between the opposed edges over the length of the first portion, and opposite sides of the second portion may taper towards each other with a maximum average angle of 5 degrees between opposed edges over the length of the second portion. Two opposed edges of the first portion may taper towards each other with a minimum average angle of at least 15 or 18 degrees.

The angle between the opposed edges of the first portion may increase from the base of the bristle to the end of the first portion. The opposed edges of the first portion may be curved.

All opposed edges of the first portion may taper towards each other with a minimum average angle of at least 5 degrees between the opposed edges over the length of the first portion.

The degree of taper of the bristles may change abruptly at the interface between the first and second portions of the bristles.

These features provide for a bristle with a wider first portion which tapers relatively abruptly over its length or a small proportion of its length to a second portion which has only a gradual taper.

The first portion may have a non-circular transverse cross-section over at least part or substantially all of its length. The cross-section may be elongate in shape and may be substantially oval. The first portion may have a non-circular cross-section at its base which gradually transitions to a substantially circular cross-section at the point where it meets the second portion. The first portion of those bristles with first and second portions may terminate where the second portion begins. The bristles may consist only of the first and second portions.

Where at least part of the first portion has an oval cross-section, edges of the first portion lying on a long axis of its oval cross-section may approach each other in a curved path over the length of the first portion. Edges of the first portion lying on a short axis of its oval cross section may approach each other in a substantially straight path over the length of the first portion.

The second portion may have a substantially circular cross-section over all or substantially all of its length. All opposed edges of the second portion may taper towards each other with a maximum average angle of 3 degrees between the opposed edges over the length of the second portion.

The length of the second portion may be at least one quarter of, or one half of, the length of the first portion. The length of the second portion may be no greater than the length of, or twice the length of, the first portion.

The bristles may all be spaced apart from one another. This reduces the risk of hair binding to the hair brush portion.

At least some or all of the bristles may have a transverse cross-section with an elongate shape over some or substantially all of their length and arranged in two or more spaced apart, offset, rows wherein centre lines of the rows are spaced apart such that at least part of the first portion of bristles in one row extends between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row; and/or, when viewed perpendicular to the rows, the width of the bristles in one row is, over part of their length, the same or greater than the space between adjacent bristles in an adjacent row so as to partially occlude the space between bristles in an adjacent row.

The elongate shape may be substantially oval. Over all or part of the array the bristles may be of substantially the same shape.

Bases of adjacent bristles in each row may be spaced apart by a distance which is less than half the maximum width of the base of the bristles.

In one embodiment the bristles are spaced apart by a maximum of 2.5mm.

The bases of bristles in one row may be spaced from the base of the nearest bristle in an adjacent row by a distance which is less than the space between adjacent bristles in the row.

In one embodiment the bases of bristles in one row are spaced from the base of the nearest bristle in an adjacent row by a maximum of 2mm.

The width and shape of bristles in one row may be such that it only partially occludes the space between bristles in the adjacent row. Each row of bristles may be substantially straight, or may be curved. The rows may be generally parallel. The bristles in each row, or at least a number of adjacent rows, may all be evenly spaced apart by substantially the same distance.

Adjacent rows may be offset relative to each other so that the centre of each bristle in a row is substantially aligned with the midpoint between bristles in an adjacent row.

The bristles may be tapered, with their cross-section reducing from the base to the free end. With this arrangement the amount of space between bristles reduces towards their base. Therefore, the more hair moves into the bristles the more it is gripped by the bristles, owing to the reduced space and a more complex path between bristles, enabling greater tension to be applied to the hair.

There may be at least three or four rows of bristles.

Bristles with a substantially oval cross-section may form an elongate rectangular array of bristles formed from generally parallel long rows and generally parallel short rows of bristles. In this arrangement a long axis of the oval cross-section of each bristle may be substantially aligned with the direction of the long row of which it forms a part.

The bristles may be moulded (e.g. as part of a bristle sleeve) and may be moulded from a plastics material, particularly a resiliently flexible plastics material, for example a polymer elastomer, such as Hytrel (RTM) available from Du Pont (RTM), e.g. grade 5556 Hytrel (RTM).

The air mover portion may be provided with feet arranged such that when resting on a surface on said feet, the hair brush portion is supported away from the surface. This is especially useful when the bristles are formed of resiliently flexible plastics material, since if the device rests on the bristles, especially when hot, they may be deformed. The feet may be provided (substantially) perpendicular to the longitudinal axis through the brush head, such that when standing on the feet on a horizontal surface, the longitudinal axis through the brush head extends (substantially) vertically, the feet may be provided such that whilst the longitudinal axis through the brush head extends substantially vertically, it is inclined slightly towards the power cord for the sake of stability, e.g. at an angle of say 5-10 degrees. The longitudinal axis of the brush head may be coaxial with the axis of air flow through the inlet and outlet of the air mover portion. Gaps may be provided between the feet to allow flow to the inlet. The gaps may be provided by cut-outs extending longitudinally forward of the rear of the air mover device, as defined by the feet. The cut-outs may be scoops. The total cross section of the scoops perpendicular to the longitudinal axis may be greater than or equal to the minimum lateral cross-sectional area of the air mover portion. In this way, sufficient air can be drawn through the cut outs for a normal flow of air through the device, even when it is stood on the feet. The feet may be provided around the inlet. This avoids the inlet being blocked and can prevent overheating. The feet may be evenly spaced. There may be at least three, or only three, feet. There may alternatively be only two feet, in this case the feet may be long. The feet may be formed from an elastomeric material (this provides additional grip). Alternatively, the feet could be integral with the air mover portion, or could be coated with a high-grip material rather than formed from it.

The fan comprises a motor and an impeller, and the heating element of the air mover portion may be adapted to receive the motor of the fan and/or may be stepped. The heating element may comprise a heater coil and a heater coil support. The heater coil support may be stepped. The heater coil support may have at least two steps in the diameter of its outer surface, decreasing in size from a rear to a front. It may have at least three steps. The biggest step may allow for a cut out diametrically inwards of the outer surface of the step, to receive the motor (i.e. at least part of the motor). The outer surface of one or more of the steps may receive and may be adapted to receive the heating wire of the heater coil. In particular, one or more of the steps may be provided with teeth between which the wire is received.

The biggest step may not receive and may not be adapted to receive the heating wire of a heating coil. The second biggest step may receive and may be adapted to receive the heating wire of a heating coil. The third biggest step may receive and may be adapted to receive the heating wire of a heating coil. The front of the support may not receive and may not be adapted to receive the heating wire of a heating coil. The front of the support may be sloped. The slope of the front of the support may be greater than the slope of the steps. The steps may be substantially un-sloped, being of constant diameter, or of a diameter which changes only very slightly, for example at a total included angle of no more than 15 or no more than 10 degrees. The stepped arrangement allows the width of the device to reduce from the rear to the front, allowing for a thin handle, once the width has reduced. This could be achieved with a conical heater support, but a conical shape is not simple to wind and its diameter quickly diminishes down the length, limiting how far the motor end could project into it. If the heater coil support is stepped, however, it is easier to wind and allows a longer motor, with a longer life, to project into its end. This disposition of the heating wire also puts it more fully into the annulus of the flowing air (produced by the impeller) improving efficacy of heating air and reducing heating of the surrounding body of the air mover portion.

Detailed Description of the Invention In order that the invention may be more clearly understood one or more embodiments thereof will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Figure 1 is a side view of a hair styling device according to the invention; Figure 2 is a perspective view of the hair styling device of figure 1 ; Figure 3 is a lateral cross section through the hair styling device of figure 1; Figure 4 is an enlarged lateral cross-sectional view in the region of the brush head of the device of figure 1 ;

Figure 5 is an enlarged isometric cross-sectional view in the region of the brush head of the device of figure 1 ; Figure 6 is a longitudinal cross section through the device of figure 1 along the line A- A in figure 4;

Figure 7 is a partial cross-sectional perspective view of the device of figure 1 in the region of the connection between the brush head portion and the air mover portion; Figure 8 is a cross-sectional perspective view through the air mover portion of the device of figure 1 ;

Figure 9 is a cross-sectional perspective view of part of the air mover portion of the device, rotated slightly from the view of figure 8; Figure 10 is a lateral cross-sectional view through the rear of the device of figure l;

Figure 11 is a lateral cross-sectional view of components of the air mover portion of the device of figure 1 with the outer housing removed;

Figure 12 is a perspective view of the components of figure 11 ; Figure 13 is a rear perspective view of part of an alternative brush head portion for the device of figure 1 ;

Figure 14 is a front perspective view of part of the alternative brush head portion of figure 13;

Figure 15 is a lateral cross sectional view through the brush head portion of figures 13 and 14;

Figure 16 is the side view of the hair styling device of figure 1 shown in-use; and Figure 17 is a lateral cross sectional view through a further embodiment of a hair styling device, in the region of the brush head.

With reference to the figures, and figures 1-5 and 16 in particular, a hair styling device 1 comprises a radial hair brush portion 2 and an air mover portion 3. In the embodiment, the radial hair brush portion 2 and air mover portion 3 are readily separable, and an alternative paddle hair brush portion 2a is provided, as shown in figures 13-15, which can replace the radial hair brush portion 2 as desired and is described in further detail later. Further alternative hair brush portions may be provided, for example, radial hair brush portions of different diameter.

The radial hair brush portion 2 comprises a tubular brush handle section including a hollow handle 4 with a flared section 6 at the rear and a brush head support section 5 at the front. This brush handle section can be formed as a single body by injection moulding plastic. The brush head support section 5 is generally cylindrical, although the brush handle section up to the flared rear section is, strictly speaking, trilobular in cross section to assist with gripping (and could, of course, have other forms) and generally cylindrical moreover, it is not strictly cylindrical as it has a gentle taper of about 2 degrees total included angle, with increasing diameter from front to rear. The external diameter of the handle (up to the flare) is about 3-3.5cm (varying in line with the taper). The handle 4 has a length of about 10cm between the brush head support section 5 and the flared section 6. This is the grip part which, as shown in figure 16 will be gripped by the user, who holds the grip part in his/her hand, with its longitudinal axis across the palm, and wraps his/her fingers and thumb (generally circumferentially) around the periphery, to use the brush, either alone, as a hair brush, or attached to the air mover portion 3 as a hot air styler. The grip part of the handle 4 in this embodiment is smooth, and is shown in figure 16 with a typical female hand wrapped around it. The average female hand width (corresponding to the width across the palm at the widest point) is understood to be 74mm, and the average male hand width is understood to be 84mm - of course, those with larger hands could still grip the grip part of the handle in the same fashion, wrapping their hand around it, but large handed people’s palms would extend part-way up the flared section 6 of the handle 4. The rear of the radial hair brush portion 2 is open.

Whereas the grip part of the hair brush portion has only a slight taper towards the flared section 6, the flared section 6 itself increases in diameter more steeply, at an angle of about 30 degrees total included angle.

At the front of the brush head support section 5 (the distal end of the radial hair brush portion 2, furthest from the connection to the air mover portion 3), a rebate, or cut-out is provided in the tubular brush handle section. This receives an end-cap 7, which can also be injection moulded from plastic and which provides a closed front/distal end. The end cap 7 can be attached by a resistance/interference fit, glue, plastic welding or other known techniques. The end cap 7, best seen in figure 4 is generally cylindrical, but whereas the externally facing (distal) end is flat (and open in this embodiment), the internal end is conical, extending into the brush head support section 5 from the inner wall of the brush head support section 5 radially inwardly and longitudinally towards the flared section 6 to a tip. The walls of the conical section are curved, so as to provide a curved outer surface which forms a baffle 8 to direct air, (flowing from the air mover portion 3 towards the distal end of the radial hair brush portion) towards the edges.

The tip of the conical baffle 8 is disposed in line with the central longitudinal axis so as to direct air from the centre of the flow towards the inner wall of the brush head support section 5. On account of its conical shape, the conical baffle 8 is disposed at an acute angle to the central axis. The curvature of the baffle is such that the acute angle of the conical baffle 8 to the central longitudinal axis increases radially outwardly.

Approximately half way between its ends, the end cap 7 is provided with a circumferential rib 9, extending radially outwardly. The rib 9 is disposed slightly beyond (e.g. 1-2 mm beyond) the distal end of the tubular brush head support section 5, so as to provide a circumferential gap, or recess.

The brush head support section 5 is thicker than the grip part of the handle 4, and around the outer circumferential surface of the brush head support section 5, a bristle sleeve 10 is provided. The bristle sleeve 10 is another injection moulded plastic component. The plastic of the bristle sleeve 10 is different from the other components (which could for example be formed from PP), and may, for example, be formed of a polyester elastomer, in particular Hytrel (RTM) available from Du Pont (RTM), for example grade 5556 Hytrel (RTM). This is because, whilst the main requirement for the other parts is an attractive appearance and sufficient strength/stiffness, the bristle sleeve 10 comprises an array of bristles 11, whose properties, in particular flexibility, are important to the hair- styling function of the device 1.

The bristle sleeve 10 has a hollow tubular inner surface, and extends over the entire length of the brush head support section 5 and over the rib 9, so as to provide a brush head. It has, at the distal end, a radially inwardly extending circumferential flange 12, which fits into the gap between the distal end of the tubular brush head support section 5 and the rib 9, and may comprise further radially inwardly extending means of attachment, such as a clip or the like at the proximal end, to clip into a corresponding recess in the outer circumferential surface of the brush head support section 5. It may also be adhered or otherwise bonded/fastened to the brush head support section 5. In this embodiment, the array of bristles 11 is provided in six groups, each group being separated from an adjacent group by a series of apertures 13. In this example, each series of apertures 13 is provided as four elongate slots arranged end-to-end longitudinally along the bristle sleeve 10. Each of the slots proximal the grip part of the handle begins at a position closer to the grip than does the first of the bristles 11, on the other hand, at the opposite, distal, end, the last of the four slots terminates at a position closer to the grip than does the last of the bristles 11 (i.e. the slots are proximally offset relative to the groups of bristles 11).

Each bristle 11 in each group of bristles 11 comprises a first portion 14 which tapers from the base and a second portion 15 which is narrow relative to the first, relatively wide, portion 14 and extends from the first portion 14 to the free end. The bristles 11 in each group are arranged in four spaced apart, offset, rows wherein centre lines of the rows are spaced apart such that at least part of the first portion 14 of bristles 11 in one row extends between adjacent bristles 11 in an adjacent row; and, when viewed perpendicular to the rows, the width of the first portion 14 of the bristles 11 in one row is, over part of their length, greater than the space between adjacent bristles 11 in an adjacent row so as to partially occlude the space between bristles 11 in an adjacent row. Thus, the bristles 11 are sized and arranged so that, in use, the second portion 15 serves to penetrate and divide hair between the bristles and the first portion of the bristles 14 enables tension to be applied to the hair when hair flows between the bristles 11.

The second portion 15 of the bristles helps to easily divide the hair, as well as helping remove tangles. By virtue of their greater width, and the arrangement of the bristles 11, the space between the first portions of the bristles 14 is less than between the second portions 15. Consequently, as hair flows between the first portions 14 of the bristles 11 there is greater friction between the bristles 11 and hair, enabling tension to be applied to the hair, improving the styling ability compared to hot air stylers with ordinary bristles.

The bristles 11 are resiliently flexible and the second portion of the bristles 11 is more flexible than the first, which is stiffer on account of having a larger transverse cross-sectional area then the second portion 15. The width of the widest part of the first portion 14 of each bristle 11 is about four times the width of any part of the second portion 15. The length of the bristles 11 is about four times their maximum width.

Two opposed edges of the first portion 14 of each bristle 11 taper towards each other with a minimum average angle of at least 10 degrees between the opposed edges over the length of the first portion 14, and opposite sides of the second portion 15 taper towards each other with a maximum average angle of 5 degrees between opposed edges over the length of the second portion 15.

The angle between the opposed edges of the first portion 14 increases from the base of the bristle to the end of the first portion 14, such that the opposed edges are curved.

The degree of taper of the bristles 11 changes abruptly at the interface between the first portion 14 and second portion 15 of the bristles.

Each first portion 14 has an oval transverse cross-section at its base, which gradually transitions to a substantially circular cross-section at the point where it meets the second portion 15. Each second portion 15 has a substantially circular cross-section over all or substantially all of its length. All opposed edges of each second portion 15 taper towards each other with a maximum average angle of 3 degrees between the opposed edges over the length of the second portion.

The length of the second portion 15 is about one quarter of the length of the first portion 14, and the bases of adjacent bristles in each row are spaced apart by a distance which is a third of the maximum width of the base of the bristles.

Each row of bristles 11 is substantially straight. The rows are generally parallel. The bristles 11 in each row are all evenly spaced apart by substantially the same distance. Adjacent rows are offset relative to each other so that the centre of each bristle 11 in a row is substantially aligned with the midpoint between bristles 11 in an adjacent row. In this embodiment each of the six groups of bristles 11 comprises four long rows of bristles 11, and each row contains either twelve or thirteen bristles 11 (adjacent rows alternating between twelve and thirteen bristles). The long axis of the oval cross-section of each bristle 11 is substantially aligned with the direction of the long row of which it forms a part.

As best seen in figure 4, each of the six series of apertures 13 which separate the six groups of bristles 11 is provided as four elongate slots arranged end-to-end longitudinally along the bristle sleeve 10 and is aligned with a corresponding series of apertures 16 in the brush head support section 5. Each series of apertures 16 is provided as two elongate slots 16a, 16b arranged end-to-end longitudinally along the brush head support section 5. A first of the elongate slots 16a in each series of apertures 16 through the brush head support section 5 corresponds in position to the slot through the bristle sleeve 10 proximal the grip part of the handle 4. The second elongate slot 16b extends from the proximal end of the next slot through the bristle sleeve 10 all the way to the distal end of the last of the four slots at the distal end of the brush head support section 5.

Between the first slots 16a and the second slots 16b, i.e. towards the proximal end of the brush head support section 5, a generally frustoconical baffle 17 is provided within the brush head support section 5, and integrally moulded therewith, (best seen in figures 3-5). The frustoconical baffle 17 extends radially inwardly from the inner cylindrical wall of the brush head support section so as to peel off air from the periphery of the flow through the hollow brush head and direct it through the first elongate slots 16a in the brush head support section and out of the corresponding slots 13 at the proximal end of the bristle sleeve 10.

The frustoconical baffle 17 is disposed outside the central longitudinal axis, so as to only peel off air extending down the longitudinal axis from the periphery, but does not impede the main flow of air too much, preserving the flow down the centre of the brush head towards the conical baffle 8 which is arranged towards the distal end.

The frustoconical baffle 17, whilst generally frustoconical in shape, is, like the conical baffle 8, curved. The curvature is such that the angle of the baffle with respect to the central axis is acute and becomes smaller as the frustoconical baffle 17 extends inwardly. The frustoconical baffle 17 is arranged such that as it extends inwardly, it extends towards the proximal end of the hair brush portion 2. This ensures that the acute angle is arranged in the correct direction, so as to peel off air as required, not to direct air from the periphery towards the central longitudinal axis.

As set out above, the bristles 11 are arranged along the length of the hollow brush head. They extend further down the brush head (towards the distal end) than the apertures 13, and the apertures 13 start closer to the proximal end than the bristles 11. The peeling off of the air, by the curved frustoconical baffle 17 and the curved conical baffle 8 leads to air tending to exit the apertures 13 at an angle, in view of the acute angle of the baffles 8, 17. In consequence, air exiting the apertures 13 flows past bristles 11 even if they are further down the brush head than the apertures 13.

Thus, the arrangement of the baffles 8, 17 with respect to the bristles 11 is such that the frustoconical baffle 17 extends inwardly within the first third of the bristles, closest to the proximal end. In particular, it extends inwardly from a position approximately one sixth of the distance along the bristles 11, from the proximal end.

The conical baffle 8, on the other hand, is arranged such that it extends inwardly from the inner wall of the brush head support section 5 in the region of the final third of the bristles, furthest from the proximal end. In particular, it extends inwardly from a position approximately five sixths of the distance along the bristles 11 from the proximal end, i.e. one sixth of the way from the distal end of the bristles 11.

Like the frustoconical baffle 17, the conical baffle 8, of course is intended to direct air out of the apertures. It is intended to direct all the air that passes through the central aperture in the frustoconical baffle 17 out of the apertures 13, 16b in the brush head in as undisturbed/unthrottled fashion as possible.

Each baffle 8, 17 is unperforated, i.e. solid apart from the single large central aperture defined by the radially inner edges of the frustoconical baffle 17.

Air is supplied to the brush head of the radial hair brush portion 2 from the outlet of a nozzle 18 of the air mover portion 3. The outlet/mouth of the nozzle 18 is disposed in the proximal end of the brush head support section 5, and the nozzle 18 extends from its mouth rearwards, arranged co-axially within the handle 4.

In this particular embodiment, the inner diameter of the mouth is 21mm, the diameter of the radially inside edge of the frustoconical baffle is 11mm. The mouth of the nozzle is axially spaced by 6mm from the frustoconical baffle 17. This leads to an annular gap between the inner diameter of the mouth and the radially inside edge of the frustoconical baffle 17 with a cross sectional area of 105mm 2 .

This gap is important as it is necessary that a sufficient amount of air from the mouth of the nozzle reaches the curved surface of the frustoconical baffle 17 and is peeled off through the first slots 16a, whilst the remainder flows through the aperture defined by the inside edges of the frustoconical baffle and out of the second slots 16b.

The entire hair brush portion 2 is arranged to rotate relative to the entire air mover portion 3. To achieve this, a bearing is provided in the region of the mouth of the nozzle 18 between the nozzle 18 and the brush head support section 5. A similar bearing described further below is provided in the region of the end of the flared section 6 of the radial hair brush portion.

The bearing between the nozzle 18 and the brush head support section 5 is provided by a plurality of intermittent plain bearing members 19, six in total, formed equidistantly around the inside of the proximal end of the brush head support section 5 of the hair brush portion, and arranged to bear on an annular bearing surface 24 on the outer circumferential surface of the nozzle 18. Each plain bearing member is about 3.5mm long (axially), extends (laterally) across approximately 4.4mm of the inner circumference of the hair brush portion, and is separated from each of its neighbours by approximately 9mm, such that the bearing members obstruct less than a third of the circumference of the gap.

With reference to figures 3, 8 and 9 in particular, the nozzle or “nose cone” 18 of the air mover portion 3 is injection moulded from plastic so as to have a tubular section 20 which is arranged coaxially within the grip part of the handle 4 and a conical section 21 at the rear thereof, which is arranged coaxially within the flared section 6 of the radial hair brush portion 5 and increases in diameter rearwards from the tubular section 20. As best seen in figure 9, a heat-reflective insulating tube 22 formed of mica is die-cut, rolled and disposed within the tubular section 20 and a similar heat reflective insulating “cone” 23 of mica is die-cut, rolled and disposed within the conical section 21. These mica inserts reduce the extent to which the nozzle 18 heats up in use. To further reduce the extent to which the grip part of the handle 4 heats up (if at all), an annular air-gap is provided between the outer circumferential surface of the nozzle 18 and the inner circumferential surface of the handle 4, which are separated from each other by an average distance of approximately 1.5mm.

As mentioned above, in addition to the bearing formed in the region of the mouth of the nozzle 18, between the nozzle 18 and the brush head support section 5 of the hair brush portion 2, a second bearing between the air mover portion 3 and the hair brush portion 2 is provided in the region of the end of the flared section 6 of the radial hair brush portion 2. This second, proximal, bearing is a plain bearing, formed by an annular plain bearing surface 25 (best seen in figures 7-9) on the outer circumferential surface of the air mover portion 3 at the rear of the conical section 21 thereof, and an annular plain bearing surface 26 (best seen in figure 7) formed on the inner circumferential surface of the flared section 6. Both of the annular plain bearing surfaces 25, 26 are formed to have a constant diameter along their length (in contrast to the flared or generally conical nature of the components that they are part of).

As best shown in figure 10, to the rear of the annular bearing surfaces 25, 26 of the proximal bearing, a means of attachment/connection is provided which allows for relative rotation between the handle of the radial hair brush portion 2 and the air mover portion 3, and allows for simple detachment/attachment of the radial hair brush portion 2 and the air mover portion 3.

The attachment means comprise a connector formed on the outer surface of air mover portion 3 and a connector formed on the inner surface the hair brush portion 2. The connectors are irrotatable relative to their respective portions, but are infinitely rotatable in use (i.e. the two parts can be spun beyond 360 degrees with respect to one another and theoretically infinitely rotated, with nothing preventing continued rotation).

The connector on the air mover portion 3 is a continuous clip ring 27, i.e. a ring extending radially outwardly and extending around the outer circumferential surface, to which the connector on the radial hair brush portion 2 can clip. The clip ring 27 has a ramped leading face 29, i.e. the face which faces towards the mouth of the nozzle 18 is tapered, so as to form an incline increasing, gradually, in diameter from its front to its rear, so as to form an angle of about 20 degrees to the longitudinal axis. The trailing face, on the other hand is un-ramped, i.e. predominantly un-ramped and instead is close to perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, having an angle of about 60 degrees.

The connector on the hair brush portion 2, on the other hand, comprises a plurality of localised clip features 28 (visible in figure 7, but in view of their localisation, not visible in figures 3 or 10). The clip features 28 are evenly spaced around the inner circumferential surface of the flared part of the hollow handle portion and arranged at its proximal end. The clip features 28 each have a ramped leading face 30, i.e. the face which faces towards the clip ring 27 as they are attached to one another is tapered, so as to form an incline increasing, gradually, in diameter from the front to the rear, so as to form an angle of about 20 degrees to the longitudinal axis. The trailing face, as with the trailing face of the clip ring 27 is un-ramped, i.e. predominantly un- ramped, and instead is close to perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, having an angle of about 60 degrees.

The flared section 6 of the radial hair brush portion 2, has a thinner region (approximately 1mm compared to a typical thickness elsewhere of 2mm) between the clip features 28 and the annular bearing surface 26 of the proximal bearing and the clip features 28. This means that as the ramped leading faces 30 of the clip features 28 are pushed into the ramped leading face 29 of the clip ring 27, (pushing the clip features 28 radially outwardly), the regions between the clip features 28 can deform radially inwardly, to allow the clip features 28 to be pushed over the clip ring 27 so as to effect connection. Similarly, although disconnection is more difficult, because of the steep, un-ramped trailing surfaces, the thinner regions between the clip features 28 provide resilient pliability, which means that the portions can be disconnected by pulling or much better rotating and pulling the hair brush portions. The steep un-ramped face on the rear of the clip features 28, in combination with the degree of overlap and the compliance, means that the brush will not come off in normal use but can be pulled off, particularly in combination with rotation. The provision of the bearing surfaces 25, 26 between the connectors and the handle 4 of the radial hair brush portion 2, means that a stiff and stable connection is provided, (see above).

To the rear of the clip ring 27, at the rear of the nozzle 18 of the air mover portion 3, the moulding which forms the nozzle 18 and the clip ring 27 forms part of a double-walled generally cylindrical housing 31, which extends to the very rear of the air mover device 3. The rear of the air mover device 3 is open, forming an inlet 35 such that air can flow from the rear into the nozzle 18 and out through its mouth. The rear of the cylindrical housing 31 of the air mover portion is specially shaped. It is provided with three elastomeric feet 32, visible in figures 1-3 and 6-10 which are equally spaced around the rear. A first foot 32 is provided adjacent to an injection moulded strain relief boot 33, which surrounds an electrical cable 34, which extends radially adjacent the first foot 32. The other two feet 32 have their midpoints 120 degrees from the midpoint of the first foot (and the midpoint of the strain relief boot 33), each foot extends about around 30 degrees and has a flat base perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the air mover portion 3, such that the air mover portion 3 can stand on a flat horizontal surface resting on the bases of the feet 32, with the nozzle 18 extending vertically and the bristles 11 held away from the surface on which the device is standing.

As mentioned, the rear of the cylindrical housing 31 of the air mover portion 3 is specially shaped - to this end, between neighbouring feet 32, a scoop 36 (best seen in figure 1) is provided, such that, when the air mover portion 3 is resting on the feet 32, a pathway to the inlet 35 is provided via gaps provided by the (three) scoops 36. The combined area of the gaps provided by the scoops when set on a flat surface is approximately equal to the minimum cross section through the air mover 3 (at the mouth of the nozzle 18), so as to allow sufficient air to pass through.

A removable grille (not shown) incorporating a cleanable filter (not shown) is provided axially forward of the scoops 36, extending across the inlet 35, so as to restrict or prevent the ingress of hair etc.

Within the cylindrical housing 31 and the conical section 21 of the nozzle 18 a heating element 37 and a fan 38 are provided. When the fan 38 and heating element 37 are operational, the fan 38 draws air through the inlet 35 to the heating element 37, which heats the air. It then continues to flow, through the tubular section 20 of the nozzle 18 (within the handle 4 of the air brush head portion), out of the outlet of the nozzle 18 to the brush head support section 5 and out of the apertures 13 between the bristles 11 of the brush head portion 2. A switch 39 is provided on the outer circumference of the air mover portion 3, arranged in a bezel 40 which extends through an aperture in the cylindrical housing 31 diametrically opposite to the power cable 34. The switch 39, when operated, directs power from the cable 34 to the fan 38 and heating element 37. Those skilled in the art will readily conceive of suitable switches and circuitry to achieve the desired options for amount of heat (determined by the power to the heating element 37) and speed of airflow (determined by the power to the fan 38), but in this embodiment, the switch 39 is slidably mounted in the bezel. In this embodiment, as best seen in figure 12, the power cable 34 is connected to an in-head PCB 41 with a joining wire 42 effecting connection between the in-head PCB 41 and the wires of the heating element 37 and a motor PCB 43 (best seen in figure 9), with another joining wire 44 connecting the switch 39.

A stator, or fan support 48 forms part of the inner wall of the double-walled housing 31 and an arrangement for supporting the fan 38. In particular, the fan 38 is formed from a motor 46 and an impeller 47, and the fan support 48 comprises a cup arranged to accommodate the motor 46, such that its shaft extends through the base of the cup, along the central longitudinal axis of the air mover portion 3 towards the inlet 35. The impeller 47 is a plastic injection moulded component and is, of course, attached to the shaft of the motor and is provided with blades 49 which are positioned radially outwardly of the cup to direct air past the outer circumference of the cup and the motor 46 held within it. The cup is spaced from the inner wall of the double walled housing 31 by a series of webs 45, which provide minimal obstruction to airflow past the motor 46 and in fact behave as stator blades to redirect the flow to being closer to axial.

As can be seen from figure 12, a series of slits (six in total) are provided equidistantly spaced in the sides of the cup of the fan support - extending towards the base from the opposite, open, end. Each of these slits receives a radially inner rear edge of one of three support plates, which together make up a heater coil support 50, or “frame”. Each support plate is a die cut mica sheet. The radially outer rear edges of each support plate are mounted in a corresponding slit in the inner wall of the double walled housing 31. As may be gleaned from carefully studying the interaction of the three support plates in figures 9 and 11, looking in particular at the central axis, the three support plates are slotted together to form the heater coil support 50.

Each support plate is provided with a cut-out at its rear, the cut-out extending from the central longitudinal axis to a diameter equivalent to the inner diameter of the cup (i.e. the equivalent to the outer diameter of the motor 46). The cut-outs in the support plates define a recess into which the rear of the motor 46 can extend, whereby the heater coil support 50 is supported by the motor 46.

The outer edge of each support plate (and thus the heater coil support 50 as a whole) is stepped. The first, and biggest, step 51 is provided diametrically outwardly of the rear two thirds of the motor (which are accommodated in the cut-out) and diametrically inwardly of the rear of the nozzle 18, in the region of the connector 27 - internally, this part of the air mover is shaped to match the outer diameter of the heater coil support to hold it in place. In this embodiment, the outer diameter of the first step is 49mm.

The second, and second biggest, step 52 is provided forward of the first step 51, it has a very gradually reducing diameter of 42mm at the rear, reducing to 39.5mm at the front, at an angle of about 5 degrees to the longitudinal axis. It has notches formed along its outer diameter (ten in total), to form teeth, between which resistance wire 55 is held. The resistance wire 55, forms the heater coil, and together with the heater coil support 50 makes up the heating element 37. As best seen in figure 12, the resistance wire is wavy, which allows for an increased length, compared to wire extending straight, between neighbouring support plates, and allows the wire to be arranged radially inwardly of the outer diameter of the support plate, further from the nozzle 18, so it is less likely to heat it up, and in line with more of the air that will flow from the impeller, so that the heat will transfer to the air more readily.

It is easier to wind this wavy wire around a step with a constant, or only very slightly reducing diameter, as provided, than it would be to wind the wire 55 round a conical support, with a diameter reducing at the same angle as the conical section 21 of the nozzle 18. Moreover, the stepped arrangement positions the wire 55 (at least towards the rear of the step), further inward than it would be if the outer diameter of the support 50 followed the same conical shape as the conical section of the nozzle 18. Nonetheless, the second step 52 is arranged within the conical section 21 of the nozzle 18, so the inner diameter of the conical section 21 reduces forwardly. In consequence, the second step 52 does not accommodate all of the resistance wire 55. Instead, a third, smaller (third biggest), step 53 is provided. This third step 53 in this embodiment has a diameter of 34.5mm at the rear, reducing to 31mm at the front angled at 5 degrees included angle. It also has notches formed along its outer diameter (seventeen in total), to form teeth, between which resistance wire 55 is held.

In front of the third step 53, the front of the support is sloped at an angle which is slightly greater than that of the insulating cone 23 of mica, such that it can be easily inserted (owing to a smaller diameter at the front, because of the greater angle), but is held in an interference fit against the insulating cone 23, in the region where the diameter of each is substantially the same.

The heating wire 55 is arranged entirely within the conical section 21, around which the flared section 6, rather than the grip part of the handle 4 of constant diameter extends. Accordingly, the grip part of the handle 4 will not be heated up by the heating wire 55, although hot air will flow within the grip part of the handle 4, but separated from the handle 4 by the air gap between it and the tubular section 20 of the air mover 3, by the tubular section 20 itself, and by the insulating tube 22 within.

To further mitigate the possibility of the grip part of the handle 4 heating up excessively or at all, ambient (cool) air is forced through the gap between the nozzle 18 of the air mover portion 3 and the handle 4 of the radial hair brush portion 2, the cool air acting as a heat-exchanger, heating up as it moves through the gap and exits into the hair brush support section 5, through the gaps between the intermittent bearing members 19, being replaced by more cool air being forced through.

To provide this flow of cool air, the air mover portion 3 is provided with “vents” or openings 56 to divert unheated air between the handle 4 and the nozzle 18. The openings 56 are formed downstream of the inlet 35 and the impeller 38, and upstream of the heating element 37 to allow unheated air into the gap between the nozzle 18 and the handle 4. More specifically, as shown in figures 7-9, each opening 56 is located just in front of the bearing surface 25, which itself is in front of the connector 27, so that the connection between the two annular bearing surfaces 25, 26 can be solid. The openings are formed in a tapered region 57 of the air mover, with a greater angle than the remainder of the conical section of the nozzle, approximately 45 degrees in this embodiment. This means that there is a substantial axial cross section to the openings, so air is not required to pass radially outwardly into the gap, but can continue along its axial path, reducing disturbance to the flow. To aid flow further, channels 58 of thinner material are provided in the outer surface of the nozzle 18 of the air mover portion, extending forwards along a significant proportion of the nozzle - all the way along the conical section 21 and around two thirds of the way along the tubular section 20. The dimensions and number of openings 56 are chosen to match the cross section of the gap, to allow sufficient air to flow into the gap through the openings 56 and pass quickly enough therethrough, to provide an adequate cooling ability over a long period of use. In this embodiment there are six vents formed to provide an axial tunnel rather than just an opening.

Whilst the majority of this description relates to the radial brush portion 2, as set out above, an alternative paddle hair brush portion 2a is provided, as shown in figures 13-15, which can replace the radial hair brush portion 2 as desired.

The handle portion 4a of the paddle hair brush portion 2a is identical to that of the radial hair brush portion 2, with the same dimensions, flared section, bearings, connectors and so forth, to allow connection in the same manner and an effective air gap between the handle 4a and the nozzle 18 of the air mover portion. The difference is the shape of the head 59, which is generally rectangular, and the consequential differences to other associated features.

The generally rectangular head 59, is of course hollow, so as to receive air from the air mover portion 3. It is provided with bristles 11 of the same type as the radial hair brush portion 2. In this case, four groups of bristles 11, each group comprising three rows of fourteen or fifteen bristles, with the central row (of fifteen bristles) in each group offset longitudinally relative to the two rows (of fourteen bristles) either side. Each of the four groups of bristles 11 is separated from its neighbouring group (or groups) by a series of two longitudinally extending elongate slots 60 arranged end-to- end and extending from the proximal end of the groups of bristles 11 (closest to the handle 4a) to around two thirds of the length along the groups. There are three series of slots 60, so a total of six slots.

As with the radial hair brush portion 2, and as best seen in figure 15, a pair of baffles 61, 62 are provided in the paddle brush portion 2a. The first baffle 61 extends from a position about 1 third of the distance from the distal end of the bristles 11. The first baffle 61 extends across the entire width of the hollow and curves from the inside of the front wall 63 towards the proximal end of the paddle hair brush portion 2a, with an acute angle to the central longitudinal axis, which reduces away from the front wall 63, and extends all the way to the back wall 64, across the entire depth of the hollow.

The second baffle 62 is disposed across the entire width of the hollow, but not across the entire depth. The second baffle 62 extends from a position on the inside of the front wall 63 about one third of the distance from the proximal end of the groups of bristles 11 and between the two slots 60 in each series of slots 60. However, the second baffle 62 only extends radially inwardly across just over half of the depth of the hollow. It is also set at an angle to the central longitudinal axis and the acute angle reduces (i.e. becomes smaller with respect to the central longitudinal axis) away from the front wall 63. In consequence, the second baffle 62 peels off air from the periphery adjacent the front wall 63 and out of the proximal slots 60, whilst the first baffle 61 directs air which passes the second baffle out of the distal slots 60.

As with the radial brush portion 2, air will continue to flow in an axial direction once it leaves the apertures, so it will reach hair which is being brushed by the bristles 11 that are distal of the distal slots 60.

In use, the hair brush portions 2, 2a may be used alone (unconnected to the air mover portion) to brush hair in the ordinary fashion - that is to say, they may be gripped by the user using the grip part of the handle 4, 4a and moved such that the bristles are drawn through the hair to brush it. If desired, although it is not presently seen as necessary, the air mover portion 3 could be plugged in (via a plug not shown at the end of the cable) powered, switched on, and used as a hair-dryer, to direct warm air to the hair from the mouth of the nozzle 18 whilst brushing the hair with one or other hair brush portion 2, 2a.

However, the more common usage will be with the desired hair brush portion 2, 2a attached to the air mover portion 3. Whichever hair brush portion 2, 2a is used, the approach is the same. To attach the radial hair brush portion 2, a user grips the grip portion of the handle 4 in one hand and holds the cylindrical housing 31 of the air mover portion 3 in the other hand. The nozzle 18 is inserted (mouth first) into the opening at the rear of the radial hair brush portion 2 and guided into it, pushing it towards the brush head support, eventually, as the mouth of the nozzle 18 approaches the first, distal, bearing, the leading faces 29, 30 of the clip ring 27 and the clip features 28 abut each other, and the clip features 28 pass over the clip ring 27. At this point, the predominantly un-ramped rear faces of the connectors abut one another, the plain bearing members 19 of the distal bearing bear on the annular bearing surface 24, and the plain bearing surfaces 25, 26 of the proximal bearing bear on one another, forming a strong, but rotatable connection between the hair brush portion 2 and the air mover portion 3.

The user can then plug in and switch on the air mover portion 3 (using the switch 39), such that the heater element 37 warms up, and the fan 38 draws air through the inlet 35, with some air passing through the openings 56 and through the annular gap between the nozzle 18 and the handle 4, and the rest of the air passing the heater element 37, flowing through the nozzle 18 and into the hair brush head support section 5, where it is directed by the baffles out through the apertures 13 in the region of the bristles 11.

The user can then brush his/her hair with the device, holding the handle 4, on which the brush head is formed, making control easier, whilst the electrical sub- assembly of the air mover portion 3 rotates as necessary to avoid the cable 34 tangling, or interfering with brushing. The nature of the bristles 11 makes hair styling with hot air extremely effective.

In between brushing for example when applying product to the hair, or forming bunches of hair for brushing, the device can be put down on its feet 32, whereupon, the bristles 11 are held away from the surface on which the device is placed and will not be deformed, and air continues to be drawn in through the scoops/cut-outs, avoiding the motor burning out or cutting out, and ensuring a continued flow of ambient air through the gap between the handle 4 and the nozzle 18, keeping the handle sufficiently cool.

To remove the radial hair brush portion 2 and replace it with another hair brush portion, e.g. the paddle brush portion 2a, the rear of the flared section 6 is gripped and pulled whilst ideally rotating the brush portion 2 relative to the air mover portion 3 furthermore it can be twisted and pulled to overcome the engagement between the predominantly un-ramped surfaces of the connectors and simply pulled off. The radial hair brush portion 2 can then be cleaned in a manner that might be unsuitable for an electrical component, or used, as discussed, as a standalone brush. The paddle brush portion 2a, can be put onto the air mover portion 3 in just the same way as discussed in relation to the radial hair brush portion.

Figure 17 shows a further embodiment of the invention, which is like the first embodiment in all material ways and all features that are not described hereafter are identical to the first embodiment. The difference is that it includes vents 100 in the radial hair brush portion 102; that the nozzle 118 of the air mover portion extends further into the radial hair brush portion 102, closer to the frustoconical baffle 117 and, importantly, that an annular barrier 200 extends inwards from the inside edge of the hair brush portion to abut the outer circumferential surface at the end of the nozzle 118. This means that air flowing between the nozzle 118 and the handle 104 does not merge with the air that flows through the nozzle and exit through the apertures 113 in the region of the bristles 111, but rather, the cool/cooling air that has passed between the handle and the nozzle exits separately, so that the air exiting in the region of the bristles remains hotter and can dry hair faster.

The one or more embodiments are described above by way of example only. Many variations are possible without departing from the scope of protection afforded by the appended claims.