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United States Patent Application 20110119802
Kind Code A1
SCHUCK; FREDERICK ALAN May 26, 2011

APRON

Abstract

An apron can include an apron body with an upper portion and a lower portion. The apron has a resilient portion that extends about a central region of the apron, which can be provided at or near the junction between the upper portion and the lower portion. The resilient portion can be moved between a closed portion and at least one open position. The resilient portion can be biased to the closed position. The apron has no straps. The apron can be held in place on a wearer's body solely by engagement between the apron body and the wearer's body, particularly as the resilient portion substantially conformingly engages the wearer's body. The apron can improve the comfort of a wearer because there are no straps to rub against exposed portions of the user's body. Further, the apron can be readily donned and removed without much hassle and time.


Inventors: SCHUCK; FREDERICK ALAN; (PALM HARBOR, FL)
Serial No.: 860850
Series Code: 12
Filed: August 20, 2010

Current U.S. Class: 2/48
Class at Publication: 2/48
International Class: A41D 13/04 20060101 A41D013/04


Claims



1. An apron comprising: an apron body having an upper portion and a lower portion; and a resilient portion extending about a central region of the apron, wherein the resilient portion is movable between a closed position and at least one open position, the resilient portion being biased into the closed position, whereby a person's body can be received in the apron when the resilient portion is in the open position and whereby, when the resilient portion is allowed to move back toward the closed position, the apron is retained on the wearer's body without the use of any straps.

2. The apron of claim 1 wherein the resilient portion is formed by a band operatively associated with the central region of the apron body.

3. The apron of claim 2 wherein the band is made of steel.

4. The apron of claim 2 wherein the band is substantially C-shaped.

5. The apron of claim 2 wherein the band has a first end and a second end, and wherein the first and second ends of the band are configured to minimize sharp points, whereby the possibility of jabbing, poking or scratching are minimized.

6. The apron of claim 5 wherein at least one of the first and second ends of the band is blunted.

7. The apron of claim 5 wherein at least one of the first and second ends of the band is bent back upon itself.

8. The apron of claim 2 the band has a first end and a second end, and wherein the apron is equipped with a first pocket and a second pocket to receive a respective one of the first and second ends of the band.

9. The apron of claim 8 wherein the first pocket is provided substantially proximate to a distal end of the first arm, and wherein the second pocket is provided substantially proximate to a distal end of the second arm.

10. The apron of claim 2 wherein at least a portion of the band is received in a passage formed on the apron.

11. The apron of claim 10 wherein the apron includes an outer surface and an inner surface, and wherein the passage is formed on the inner surface.

12. The apron of claim 2 wherein the apron includes first and second arms, and wherein the band is operatively associated with the first and second arms.

13. The apron of claim 12 wherein the first and second arms are at least partially formed by at least one of the upper portion and the lower portion.

14. The apron of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the apron body is plastic coated.

15. The apron of claim 1 wherein the resilient portion is located substantially at the junction between the upper portion and the lower portion of the apron body.

16. The apron of claim 1 wherein the apron is free of straps.

17. An apron comprising: an apron body having an upper portion and a lower portion; and a resilient portion extending about a central region of the apron, wherein the resilient portion is movable between a closed position and at least one open position, the resilient portion being biased into the closed position, the resilient portion being formed by a band operatively associated with the central region of the apron body, the apron being free of straps, whereby the apron has no straps for tying or placement about any portion of the body of a wearer and whereby the apron can be held in place on a wearer's body solely by engagement between the apron body and the wearer's body including the substantially conformingly engagement between the resilient portion and the wearer's body, whereby a person's body can be received in the apron when the resilient portion is in the open position and whereby, when the resilient portion is allowed to move back toward the closed position, the apron is retained on the wearer's body without the use of any straps.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/235,576, filed on Aug. 20, 2009, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention relates in general to protective garments and, more particularly, to aprons.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] An apron is a protective garment that covers a portion of the front of the body. It can also cover portions of the back and/or sides of the body. Aprons may be worn for hygienic reasons and to protect clothing from wear as well as substances that can stain or ruin the clothing. Aprons are used on a variety of occasions. For instance, homemakers may wear aprons while cooking or cleaning. Additionally, aprons may be part of the uniform for a waitress, maid or domestic worker.

[0004] An apron is typically held in place on a wearer's body by one or more straps. For instance, two straps can be provided in the waist region of the apron. These two straps can be tied together behind the back of the person wearing the apron. Alternatively or in addition, some aprons may have neck or shoulder straps, which may or may not need to be tied.

[0005] An apron with straps has several disadvantages. For instance, the straps can cause discomfort to a wearer as they rub against a portion of the body. Further, the straps can add extra time and effort to the process of donning and removing the apron because the straps must be tied, usually behind the wearer's body. In some instances, the straps may interfere with the wearer's range of movement. In addition, the straps can become untied while performing the task at hand. Thus, there is a need for an apron that can minimize such concerns.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] An apron includes an apron body with an upper portion and a lower portion. The apron further includes a resilient portion that extends about a central region of the apron. The central region can be located between the upper and lower portion. The resilient portion is movable between a closed position and at least one open position. The resilient portion is biased into the closed position. The resilient portion can be formed by a steel band operatively associated with the central region of the apron body. The apron does not include any straps to tie about a wearer or place over a portion of a wearer's body, such as the neck or shoulders. Thus, a person's body can be received in the apron when the resilient portion is moved into an open position. When released, the resilient portion is allowed to move back toward the closed position under its own bias so as to engage about the user's body, such as around the person's waist. Thus, the apron is retained on the wearer's body without the use of any straps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a front view of an apron according to aspects of the invention.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a rear view of an apron according to aspects of the invention.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a top view of an apron according to aspects of the invention, showing a resilient portion of the apron in a closed position.

[0010] FIG. 4 is a top view of an apron according to aspects of the invention, showing a resilient portion of the apron in an open position.

[0011] FIG. 5 is a view of a portion of an apron according to aspects of the invention, showing an end of a steel band that can at least partially form the resilient portion.

[0012] FIG. 6 is an elevation view of a portion of an apron according to aspects of the invention, showing an end of a steel band being received in a pocket.

[0013] FIG. 7 is a front view of a person wearing an apron according to aspects of the invention.

[0014] FIG. 8 is a rear view of a person wearing an apron according to aspects of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0015] Embodiments of the invention are directed to an apron that can improve user comfort and/or minimize the amount of time it takes to put on and/or take off the apron. Aspects of the invention will be explained in connection with various apron configurations, but the detailed description is intended only as exemplary. Embodiments of the invention are shown in FIGS. 1-8, but the present invention is not limited to the illustrated structure or application.

[0016] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, an apron 10 according to aspects of the invention can have an apron body 12. The apron 10 can include an outer surface 11 and an inner surface 13. The apron body 12 can also have an upper portion 14 and a lower portion 16. The upper portion 14 can be sized, shaped and/or configured to cover at least a portion of the front of a wearer's upper body. The upper portion 14 can be sized, shaped and/or configured to substantially conformingly fit to at least a portion of the upper body of a wearer. The upper portion 14 can be sized, shaped and/or configured so that it may begin at or near a wearer's waist and extend generally upwardly therefrom. The upper portion 14 can extend any suitable length. For example, the upper portion 14 can extend to about an upper chest region, a lower chest region, or a collarbone region of a wearer. The upper portion 14 can be made of a single piece of material or a plurality of pieces of material joined together in any suitable manner, including, for example, by stitching, fasteners, adhesives and/or mechanical engagement.

[0017] The lower portion 16 can be sized, shaped and/or configured to extend generally downwardly from a wearer's body. The lower portion 16 can extend any suitable length. For instance, the lower portion 16 can extend to a wearer's thighs, knees, skins or ankles, just to name a few possibilities. The lower portion 16 can be sized, shaped and/or configured to substantially conformingly fit to at least a portion of the lower body of a wearer. The lower portion 16 can be made of a single piece of material or a plurality of pieces of material joined together in any suitable manner, including, for example, by stitching, fasteners, adhesives and/or mechanical engagement.

[0018] It will be appreciated that the apron 10 can have any suitable size. In some instances, the apron 10 may be made in a variety of sizes to accommodate a number of different body sizes, types and/or shapes.

[0019] The apron body 12 can be made of any of a number of materials. For instance, the apron body 12 can be made of plastic, oilcloth, PVC, fabric or other suitable material, or any combination thereof. The apron body 12 can be made of a single layer of material, or it can have multiple layers. At least a portion of the apron body 12, such as the outer surface 11, can be plastic coated so that such surfaces can be easily wiped clean. In one embodiment, the apron body 12 can be made of a waterproof or water resistant material. The apron body 12 may be made of a single material or a plurality of materials.

[0020] The apron body 12 can be made of a plurality of pieces of material that are joined together in any suitable manner, such as by stitching, adhesives, fasteners, and/or mechanical engagement, just to name a few possibilities. For example, the upper portion 14 and the lower portion 16 can be made from separate pieces of material that are subsequently joined together. The upper portion 14 and the lower portion 16 may or may not be made of the same materials. One or more edges portions of the apron body 12 can be reinforced to minimize wear. Such reinforcement can be achieved in any suitable way. For instance, extra material can be provided at the edge portions of the apron body 12. In one embodiment, the apron body 12 can be folded over on itself in one or more edge portions of the apron 10, thereby increasing the thickness of the edge portions.

[0021] The apron 10 can have any number of features to facilitate the task at hand. For instance, the apron 10 can include one or more pockets 18 (FIG. 1) in which one or more items can be held. Such pockets can be formed in any suitable manner. Alternatively, the apron 10 can include loops or straps which can be used to engage one or more items or on which one or more items can be supported or attached. For example, a rag or towel can be held by the strap.

[0022] According to aspects of the invention, the apron 10 does not have any straps to tie about a wearer's body or to be supported on a portion of the user's body. The apron 10 has a resilient portion 20 about a central region 22 of the apron 10. In one embodiment, the resilient portion 20 can be provided at or near the waist of a wearer. The resilient portion 20 can be provided at or near the junction between the upper portion 14 and the lower portion 16 of the apron body 12.

[0023] The resilient portion 20 can include portions of the apron body 12 that extend rearward from the upper portion 14 and/or the lower portion 16. For instance, the resilient portion 20 can be at least partially defined by a first arm 40 and a second arm 42. The first arm 40 and the second arm can be formed as part of the upper portion 14, the lower portion 16 or combinations thereof. The arms 40, 42 can extend to distal ends 40a, 42a (FIG. 3), respectively.

[0024] The resilient portion 20 can be formed in any number of ways. For example, the resilient portion 20 can be formed by a hoop or band 24 operatively associated with the central region 22 of the apron 10, which can include the first and second arms 40, 42. The band 24 can have a first end 26 and a second end 28. The band 24 can extend continuously from at or near the distal end 40a of the first arm 40 to a point that is at or near the distal end 42a of the second arm 42. In one instance, the band 24 may not be continuous. For instance, the band 24 can be made of a plurality of separate segments (not shown).

[0025] The band 24 can be made of any suitable material. The band 24 can be formed by the material of the apron body 12 itself or it can be a separate piece. In one embodiment, the band 24 can be made of steel, such as tempered steel. While embodiments of the invention are described and shown herein as being a steel band 24, it will be understood that embodiments of the invention are not limited to such structure. Indeed, the band 24 can be formed in any suitable manner and using any suitable material. For instance, the band 24 can be made of an elastic material.

[0026] The band 24 can have any suitable shape. Generally the band 24 can be substantially C-shaped. The band 24 can have any suitable cross-sectional shape. For example, the band 24 can have a substantially circular cross-sectional shape.

[0027] The band 24 can be received at least partially in a passage 30 formed on the apron 12. In one embodiment, the passage 30 can be formed on the inner surface 13 of the apron 12.

[0028] The passage 30 can be formed in any suitable manner. For instance, a piece of material can be attached to the inner surface of the apron 12. Alternatively, the upper and lower portions 14, 16 can be configured to cooperatively form the passage 30. The passage 30 can at least partially enclose the band 24 along at least a portion of its length. In some instances, there can be a plurality of passages.

[0029] The apron 10 and/or the ends 26, 28 of the band 24 can be configured to minimize sharp points and the possibility of jabbing, poking or scratching a person. For instance, one or both of the ends 26, 28 of the band 24 can be blunt or can be bent back upon itself, as is shown in FIG. 5 (only one of the ends being shown). Alternatively or in addition, the apron 10 can be equipped with pockets 32 in the central region 22 to receive a respective one of the ends 26, 28 of the band 24, as shown in FIG. 6. The pockets 32 can be provided at or near the distal ends 40a, 42a of the first and second arms 40, 42. The pockets 32 can be formed on the inner surface 13 of the apron 10.

[0030] The resilient portion 20 can be moved between a closed portion (FIG. 3) and at least one open position (FIG. 4). The resilient portion 20 can be biased toward the closed position. The term "resilient" or "resilient portion" means that this portion of the apron 10 can return substantially to an original position, such as the closed position, after a force applied to this portion of the apron is removed. Examples of such forces include stretching, expansion and/or compression. When in the closed position, the first and second ends 26, 28 can pass each other, as is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The resilient portion 20 can be moved to an open position in any suitable manner, such as, for example, by pulling on the ends 26, 28 by hand.

[0031] Having described various aspects of an apron according to aspects of the invention, one manner of using such an apron will now be described. It will be understood that the following description is merely an example and is not intended to be limiting. A person can manipulate the apron so that the resilient portion 20 is in an open position in which the first and second ends 26, 28 are spaced sufficiently apart so that the person's body can be received in the apron, as is shown in FIG. 4. For instance, a person can expand the central region 20 by moving the first and second arms 40, 42 away from each other. Once in a sufficiently open position, the user's body can pass between the arms 40, 42 and into engagement with the apron 10 such that the upper portion 14 of the apron body 12 can engage the person's upper body and the lower portion 16 of the apron body 12 can engage the person's lower body.

[0032] The person can then release the arms 40, 42 such that the resilient region 20 can move toward the closed position under its own bias, as is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. When the apron 10 is being worn, the resilient region 20 may or may not return to the fully closed position, depending on, for example, the size of the wearer's body. The apron 10 can be retained on the person's body by engagement between the resilient portion 20 and the person's body. The resilient portion 20 of the apron 10 can be in substantially conformingly engagement with and about the wearer's body. Significantly, there is no need for the user to tie any straps, as is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.

[0033] With the apron 10 in place, the person can perform whatever task is at hand. When finished, the wearer can remove the apron 10 without much effort. Such removal can be performed in any of a number of ways. For instance, the resilient portion 20 can be moved to an open position, such as by spreading the arms 40, 42 apart, so that the apron 10 can be pulled from the user's body. Alternatively, almost any portion of the apron body 12 can be pulled in a forward, upward and/or downward direction by the wearer until the apron 10 slips off the wearer's body, the resilient portion 20 being expanded by engagement with the user's body. The apron 10 can be easily folded and stored. Alternatively, the apron 10 can engage a suitable holder.

[0034] An apron according to aspects of the invention can provide numerous benefits. For instance, the apron can improve the comfort of a wearer. Indeed, the lack of any straps can avoid the discomfort associated with previous aprons. Further, the apron according to aspects of the invention can be readily donned and removed without much hassle and without much time. In addition, the apron does not limit the mobility of the wearer.

[0035] Thus, it will be understood that the invention is not limited to the specific details described herein, which are given by way of example only, and that various modifications and alterations are possible within the scope of the invention.

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