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United States Patent Application 20160220005
Kind Code A1
Steele; Melissa August 4, 2016

HAIR DRYER WITH A NOZZLE HAVING A SEPARATE OPERATIONAL AMBIENT AIR CONDUIT

Abstract

A hair dryer having a first and second air flow conduit and wherein the first conduit contains a heating element and the second conduit has means to be isolated from air flow therethrough such that when selected air can flow either only through the conduit having a heating element or through both conduits to either provide heated air only or heated and ambient air together. Further, the second conduit is located and designed so that the ambient air can be directed at the skin of the neck and face of the user to allow hair to be dried, by air coming from the first conduit, while the user remains relatively cooler by enjoying flow of ambient air from the second conduit. The second conduit being selectively opened and closed to flow as desired.


Inventors: Steele; Melissa; (Glen Ellyn, IL)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Steele; Melissa

Glen Ellyn

IL

US
Family ID: 1000001520298
Appl. No.: 14/609668
Filed: January 30, 2015


Current U.S. Class: 34/283 ; 34/98; 392/385
Current CPC Class: A45D 20/12 20130101
International Class: A45D 20/12 20060101 A45D020/12

Claims



1. A hand-held hair dryer comprising: a handle; a fan for pushing air; a nozzle having a main conduit and a second conduit adjacent thereto, the main and second conduits being adjacent to and in air flow communication with the fan, the nozzle having a first end proximal to the handle and a second open end distal thereto; a heating element within the main conduit of the nozzle and in a generally down-wind direction from the fan; wherein when the hair dryer is operated and the heating element is engaged, the main conduit directs heated air out from the distal end of the nozzle in the direction where pointed and the second conduit can direct ambient air out of the nozzle in a flow adjacent thereto such that ambient air is directed at exposed skin while the heated air is directed at the hair.

2. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 1, including a panel to selectively block communication between the fan and the second conduit such that only air traversing the main conduit is allowed out of the nozzle.

3. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 2, wherein the panel slides to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit

4. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 2, wherein the panel pivots to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit.

5. The hand-held dryer of claim 2, wherein the panel can be manipulated to only partially block the second conduit to allow only a desired volume of air through the second conduit.

6. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 1, including means to disengage the heating element such that ambient temperature air is directed through at least the main conduit.

7. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 1 including an airfoil within the nozzle to further direct the flow of air leaving the hair dryer.

8. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 2, wherein the second conduit is located below the main conduit.

9. A hand-held hair dryer comprising: a handle; a fan for pushing air; a nozzle having a main conduit and a second conduit adjacent thereto, the main and second conduits being adjacent to and in air flow communication with the fan, the nozzle having a first end proximal to the handle and a second open end distal thereto, the second conduit being located below the main conduit; a heating element within the main conduit of the nozzle and in a generally down-wind direction from the fan and means to allow the heating element to be temporarily disengaged by action of the user; wherein when the hair dryer is operated the main conduit directs heated air out from the distal end in the direction where pointed and the second conduit can direct ambient air in a flow adjacent thereto such that ambient air can be directed where desired while heated air is directed at the hair.

10. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 9, including a panel to selectively block communication between the fan and the second conduit.

11. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 10, wherein the panel slides to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit

12. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 10, wherein the panel pivots to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit.

13. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 10, wherein the panel can be manipulated to only partially block the second conduit to allow a desired volume of air through the second conduit and thereby adjust the flow of ambient air onto the skin.

14. The hand-held hair dryer of claim 9 including an airfoil to further direct the flow of air leaving the hair dryer.

15. A method of drying and/styling hair including providing a hair dryer having a main conduit, having an air heating element within, and a second conduit, the second conduit being situated below the main conduit and selectively allowing the passage of ambient temperature air therethrough, such that the hair of a person may be dried or styled using heated or ambient temperature air while the skin of the person remains relatively cool due to the flow of ambient air thereon when the hair dryer is engaged and aimed at the hair and skin of a person.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the hair dryer is pointed so that the heated air is aimed at the hair of a person and the second conduit, by operation of the hair dryer, provides cooler air to the neck and face of the person.
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention concerns a hair dryer for drying hair More particularly the present invention concerns a hair dryer with a nozzle having two conduits including an ambient air conduit that allows the user to continuously dry hair with heat while allowing skin to remain cool.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Hand held hair dryers, or blow dryers, are a well know appliance used by millions of persons to quickly dry hair, particularly after bathing and when desiring to style the hair. Through the evolution of the hair dryer various changes have been made to make drying and styling easier, however certain basic elements, among others, are found in the majority of electric hair dryers. For example, most hair dryers have a similar "handgun" shape comprising a handle, having numerous buttons and switches with which to manipulate the heating and blowing features of the dryer and a nozzle having a conduit through which air is directed at the hair In addition, in most modern hair dryers, a fan is found at the rear end of the nozzle portion, typically adjacent the handle, with a heating coil or coils located within the nozzle portion such that air driven through the nozzle towards the user is caused to pass over the heating coil so as to heat the air prior to its application to hair The fan is often a linear fan but can also be configured similarly to an impeller in a pump so as to provide a more laminar flow of air. It has been determined that heated air is most effective in the hair drying process; causing water to rapidly evaporate from the hair and, it is believed, creating hydrogen bonds in the strands of hair to maintain a desired style.

[0003] The current trend in hair drying appliances is to include a cold or cool shot button, which turns off the heater and just blows room temperature air while the button is pressed. In these dryers the reported use for this function is to help to maintain the hairstyle by quickly setting it. The cold air also is believed to reduce frizz and can help to bolster the shine in the hair. Because the button effectively turns off the heating element of hair dryers so equipped, all of the air emerging from such dryers, when the button is depressed, is "cool" or ambient air (rather than "cold" or "chilled" air as the name seems to imply)--which while helping to set the hair style effectively stops the rapid evaporation of water from the hair, slowing down the hair drying process. In addition, the typical cold shot button is akin to a dead man switch, it is only effective while the button is depressed such that the heat returns once the button is released as typically, hair dryers of this type will have devices, such as "high" and "low" switches, that allow the user to raise the temperature, incrementally, of the air emitted from the dryer separately. Because drying hair quickly requires heat, the use of presently configured hair dryers causes discomfort to the user who is subjected to hot air on the skin of the neck and face as collateral damage to the drying process. Typically, the user will depress the cold shot button repeatedly, not to assist in the hair styling process but instead to get temporary relief from hot air on the face and neck. Further, the cold shot button is typically attached to circuitry that provides the cut off of power to the heating coil, such that depressing the button causes fatigue of the heating coil with repeated use thereof. The use, therefore, has a deleterious effect on the hair dryer tending to shorten the life of the device as once the heating coil breaks the useful life of the hair dryer is over.

[0004] In addition, the prior art shows a hair dryer (WO 2012/076885) with a system of allowing ambient air to flow through the nozzle coaxially with heated air, such that ambient air is provided about the entire circumference of the nozzle thereby surrounding the heated air sent therethrough. The ambient air substantially circumscribes the heated air continuously when the ambient air system is used. Such a system has been developed, according to the application publication, to provide a cool shot for hairstyling. It should be understood that the ambient temperature air is directed in the same way as the heated air throughout the use of a device created in accordance with this publication and that there is no way to have heated air in one place without cooler air being sent thereto as well. A device so configured would not appropriately give relief to the user without also having an unwanted effect on the styling process as well.

[0005] It would be desirable, therefore, to have a hair dryer that allowed a user to dry hair using a heat setting that provides all of the benefits of heat-on-hair drying while providing cooler or ambient temperature air directed to only to a specific place during the drying process, without shortening the life of the hair dryer. Further, it would be desirable to have a hair dryer that could continuously dry hair without causing discomfort to the user who can direct cooler air to the skin of the face and neck while maintaining heated air toward the hair and not requiring the user to push the cold shot button.

[0006] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a means for ambient air to be provided by a hair dryer without the need to either change the settings on the dryer or have a special circuit and button to stop turn the heater coil off and on (diminishing its life). It is a further object to make the provision of ambient air directional such that the ambient air could be directed at specific areas and not merely co-axial to the direction of flow of the heated air. These objects would not be defeated by including in such a hair dryer the ability to provide a shot of cool air, as in current hair dryers such a feature is secondary to the features included in the present invention.

[0007] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as the description proceeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In accordance with the present invention, a hand-held hair dryer is provided to allow for drying hair without overheating or burning skin adjacent to the hair. The hair dryer of the present invention includes a handle, a fan for pushing air and a nozzle having a main conduit with a heating element therein and a second conduit adjacent to the main conduit but separated from the heating element. The main and second conduits are adjacent to each other and are in direct air flow communication with the fan, such that fan forced air can travers both conduits of the nozzle, as described below. In addition, the conduits of the nozzle have a first end starting at the hair dryer's handle and a second, distal, end which is open and through which forced air is discharged toward the hair to be dried. It will be understood that the heating element within the main conduit of the nozzle is electrically connected and engageable by action of the user, and is located in a generally down-wind direction of the fan.

[0009] When the hair dryer is operated and the heating element is engaged, the main conduit directs heated air out from the distal end of the nozzle in the direction where pointed and the second conduit can direct ambient air out of the nozzle in a flow adjacent thereto such that cooler, ambient, air is directed at exposed skin while heated air is directed at the hair.

[0010] In a preferred embodiment of the hand-held hair dryer a panel, to selectively block communication between the fan and the second conduit, is included such that when the panel is used to close of the second conduit, only air traversing the main conduit is allowed out of the nozzle. In such an embodiment, the panel slides to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit; the sliding of which can be stopped between the completely open and completely closed positions to selectively provide a desired volume of ambient air. In another embodiment of the device of the present invention, a panel that can pivot within the second conduit, to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit is provided; it will be understood that in addition to completely open and closed, the panel can pivot to an intermediate position to partially block flow through the conduit, allowing only a desired volume of air through the second conduit. In the preferred embodiment the second conduit is below and adjacent to the main conduit when the hair dryer is held in the typical manner of use.

[0011] As will be known by persons having ordinary skill in the art, the hair dryer can including means to disengage the heating element either by switching the heating element to the off position or using a cold shot button, such that when the heat is turned off or the cold shot button is used, ambient temperature air is directed through at least the main conduit and if desired, through both conduits. In any embodiment, the hand-held hair dryer can include an airfoil, or other means to direct the flow of air, within the nozzle to further direct the flow of air as it leaves the hair dryer.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment, the hand-held hair dryer of the present invention will include a handle, a fan for pushing air a nozzle having a main conduit and a second conduit adjacent thereto, the main and second conduits being adjacent to and in air flow communication with the fan, the nozzle having a first end near to the handle and a second open end away from the handle, the second conduit being located below the main conduit. In addition a heating element is included within the main conduit of the nozzle and is generally placed in a down-wind direction from the fan. The hair dryer will include means to allow the heating element to be temporarily disengaged by action of the user--such as with a cold shot button. In this manner, when the hair dryer is operated the main conduit directs heated air out from the end of the nozzle in the direction where the hair dryer is pointed, and the second conduit can direct ambient air in a flow adjacent thereto, at the neck or face of the person whose hair is being dried, such that ambient air can be directed where desired while warmer air is directed at the hair In preferred embodiments, means to further limit the flow of ambient air will be provided. In one such embodiment the dryer will include a pivotally moveable panel to selectively block communication between the fan and the second conduit; in another embodiment, the moveable panel slides to selectively open and close the communication between the fan and the second conduit. In either situation, the panel can be manipulated to only partially block the second conduit to allow only a desired volume of air through the second conduit and thereby adjust the flow of ambient air onto the skin. In a further refinement, the hand-held hair dryer can include an airfoil to further direct the flow of air leaving the hair dryer.

[0013] As a result of the refinements to a hair dryer, a new method of drying and/styling hair is created which includes providing a hair dryer having a main conduit, having an air heating element within, and a second conduit, the second conduit being situated below the main conduit and selectively allowing the passage of ambient temperature air therethrough. The method of using the hair dryer of the present invention provides that the hair of a person may be dried or styled using heated or ambient temperature air while the skin of the person remains relatively cool due to the flow of ambient air thereon. In the method, the hair dryer is pointed so that the heated air is aimed at the hair of a person and the second conduit, by operation of the hair dryer, provides cooler air to the neck and face of the person.

[0014] A more detailed explanation of the invention is provided in the following description and claims and is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a hair dryer made in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 1A is a cut-away perspective view of the nozzle of the hair dryer of FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 2 is an elevational view, partially cut away, of the hair dryer of FIG. 1.

[0018] FIG. 3 is a second elevational view, partially cut away, showing elements of the invention in a second operative position.

[0019] FIG. 4 is another elevational view, partially cut away, of a second embodiment of the hair dryer of FIG. 1.

[0020] FIG. 5 is another elevational view, partially cut away, of the second embodiment of the hairdryer of FIG. 1, showing elements of the invention in a second operative position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT

[0021] While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings a number of presently preferred embodiments that are discussed in greater detail hereafter. It should be understood that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the present invention, and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiments illustrated. It should be further understood that the title of this section of this application ("Detailed Description of the Illustrative Embodiment") relates to a requirement of the United States Patent Office, and should not be found to limit the subject matter disclosed herein.

[0022] Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a hair dryer 10 made in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. It will be seen that hair dryer 10 is comprised of a handle 12 and a nozzle 14 of a type commonly seen in modem hair dryers of this type. The handle 12 is shown having a typical array of buttons 16 used to run the operations of a hair dryer, including an on/off button or switch 18 which can also control fan speed, a cool shoot button 20 and a temperature variation button or switch 22; it will be understood that the placement and positioning of these buttons could be changed, their numbers differ and their function change all without departing from the novel scope of the present invention. In addition, the hair dryer includes within nozzle 14 a first internal conduit 14a and a second conduit 14b and a comprises an opening 15 defining the end of nozzle 14; in a preferred embodiment opening 15 includes a mesh screen 15b, for safety, to prevent any large objects from being forced out of nozzle 14 or placed therein.

[0023] In hair dryers 10 of the type shown, between nozzle 14 and handle 12 there will be placed a fan 24, as seen in FIGS. 2-5, which causes the air to blow through the device and out of opening 15. It will be understood by persons having ordinary skill in the art that various types of fans could be used in a hair dryer without departing from the novel scope of the present invention--while a blower shaped fan 24 is shown here, any type of fan, including linear fans or any device capable of moving air in a manner that will allow hair to dry when used, could be substituted for fan 24 without departing from the novel scope of the present invention.

[0024] In addition to the usual parts of a hair dryer, it will be seen, most particularly in FIGS. 2-5, that nozzle 14 of the present invention, has a bifurcated interior, comprising main conduit 14a and second conduit 14b separated by interior wall 28. Main conduit 14a houses a heating element 30, which provides the heat, needed in hair drying. Persons having ordinary skill in the art will understand that heating element 30 is of a type well known to the art; and that the concomitant circuitry for the heater element and connection to the buttons 16, of any type known to persons having ordinary skill in the art, is included in the hair dryer to provide for heating and fan activity.

[0025] In the present invention, hair dryer 10 further comprises a switch 26 for opening and closing a door 32 separating fan 24 from second conduit 14b. It will be understood when switch 26 is operated an opening between fan 24 and second conduit 14b can be either opened, to allow ambient air to pass therethrough or closed to cause air to flow singularly through conduit 14a. In FIGS. 2 and 3, door 32 is shown to be of a pivoting type, which when switch 26 is pushed from a first position 36 to a second position 38, door 32 is caused to pivot from a closed position to a substantially open position as the action is reversed.

[0026] It will be understood that in the open position, second conduit 14b is caused to be made open to the flow of air from fan 24 such that both conduits of nozzle 14 emit air, including air that has passed over heating coils 30 in main conduit 14a and air that has been sent through second conduit 14b. As configured, warmed air can then be sent in the direction of the hair to be dried or styled and cooler ambient air can be sent to areas of skin where hot air would otherwise cause discomfort. The layer of cooler air created herein provides a cushion against the heated air reaching bare skin.

[0027] When hair dryer 10 is operating and when door 32 is caused to be in the closed position, conduit 14b is closed off from the flow of air and substantially all flow produced by fan 24 of hair dryer 10 is caused to flow over the heating coils 30 and out of nozzle 14 only from main conduit 14a. It will be understood that door 32 can also be opened or closed to an intermediate position to allow ambient air of varying force and quantity to be emitted as desired.

[0028] In a second embodiment of the hair dryer 10 of the present invention, a rack and pinion type device 46 is provided for opening and closing a door 52 separating fan 24 from second conduit 14b. It will be understood when rack and pinion 46 is operated an opening between fan 24 and second conduit 14b can be either opened, to allow ambient air to pass there through or closed to cause air to flow singularly through second conduit 14a. In FIGS. 4 and 5, door 52 can be rolled up to close second conduit 14b when rack and pinion 46 is rolled counter clock-wise and door 52 is caused to roll down from a closed position to a substantially open position as the action is reversed.

[0029] It will be understood, in this embodiment, that in the open position second conduit 14b is caused to be made open to the flow of air from fan 24 such that both conduits of nozzle 14 emit air, including air that has passed over heating coils 30 in main conduit 14a and air that has been sent through second conduit 14b. As configured, warmed air can then be sent in the direction of the hair to be dried or styled and cooler ambient air can be sent to areas of skin where hot air would otherwise cause discomfort. The layer of cooler air created herein provides a cushion against the heated air reaching bare skin.

[0030] When hair dryer 10 is operating and when door 52 is caused to be in the closed position, conduit 14b is closed off from the flow of air and substantially all flow produced by fan 24 of hair dryer 10 is caused to flow over the heating coils 30 and out of nozzle 14 only from main conduit 14a. It will be understood that door 52 can be opened or closed to an intermediate position to allow ambient air of varying force and quantity to be emitted as desired.

[0031] In addition to the manners of opening and closing doors 32 and 52, in FIGS. 2 and 4 respectively, it will be understood that other means of blocking and opening second conduit 14b can be utilized to create a flow of ambient air in the present invention, without departing from the novel scope of the present invention. While manual means of opening and closing doors 32 and 52 have been shown and described, it will be understood that such action can be accomplished with the use of motors and switches, in a manner known to persons having ordinary skill in the art and that such opening and closing can further be done via remote control (for example by a person having hair dried by another) such that the person having hair dried can more readily control the heat being directed to the skin

[0032] Referring now to FIG. 1A, an additional refinement to nozzle 14 is shown, wherein an air foil or a spoiler 60 can be included to more precisely help guide ambient air towards the persons whose hair is being dried. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, air foil 60 is hinged on pin 62 to interior wall 28 of nozzle 14 and connected to a wheel 64, or other turning or pivoting device, which can be manipulated by the user to direct the flow of air. The degree of tilt is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, where it will be understood that air foil 60 could, as desired, be pivoted approximately 90 degrees up and 90 degrees down to direct the flow of air. It will be seen that a tilt of no more than 45 degrees up or down would be most preferable to direct air.

[0033] In the operation of hair dryer 10 the second conduit 14b is unique. The reason for the second conduit is to keep the face, neck and head of the user cool while hair is being blown dry. It has been found that the person whose hair is being dried can become warm and perspire while the hair is being dried. Because the present device has a second conduit through which ambient air can be directed towards the person whose hair is being dried, that person can continue to have hair dried while not having hot air directed directly at the skin. As such, that person will tend to remain cool while the hair is dried, does not perspire as a result, and remains comfortable. In sharp contrast, the use of a cold shot button (provided here and in many prior art hair dryers), while providing a respite from the hot air, can cause the hair drying to stop or slow and can accidently cause an undesirable style change in the subject hair. The user may in fact need to wet the hair and begin again as a result. In addition, the continued turning on and off of the heating element of the device can have deleterious effects on functionality.

[0034] The second conduit of the present invention differs from other such devices, where the ambient air conduit is located coaxially with the hot air conduit, as devices made in accordance with the present invention allow the user to direct the ambient air differently than the heated air to allow hair drying with skin cooling. Dryers that use coaxial hot and cool air cannot direct air of one temperature differently than air of the other temperature. It will be understood that the opening and closing of second conduit 14b is completely compatible with the ordinary use of a cool shot button in the styling of hair; that is the use of the cool or cold shot button does not prohibit the use of the directional conduits of the present invention.

[0035] Although an illustrative embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it is to be understood that various modifications and substitutions may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the novel spirit and scope of the invention.

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