Patent application title: Flexible material clutch for a decorative piece and method of use thereof
Joseph Rissin (Baldwin, NY, US)
Eli Galecki (Fort Lee, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AA44C700FI
Class name: Buckles, buttons, clasps, etc. pierced earring fastener
Publication date: 2010-07-01
Patent application number: 20100162540
A flexible material type clutch for engagement with a pin-supported
article of jewelry or decorative article, wherein the flexible material
is at least partially enclosed by a metallic frame. A medially disposed
portion of said frame engages a first end of the flexible material, and
includes wings which form opposed handles for gripping the retainer. In
one embodiment, the flexible material is of frustoconical configuration
to provide a camming surface enabling disengagement of the retainer from
the frame for replacement thereof. In another embodiment, retainer is of
cylindrical configuration, and is maintained against relative axial
displacement relative to the frame by inwardly extending tabs on the
wings of the frame. The retainer is replaced by lateral movement as in
the first mentioned embodiment.
1. In a clutch for a decorative piece, including a flexible material
post-engaging retainer, and a metal frame providing a base plate at a
first end of said retainer and handles at a second end of said frame, the
improvement comprising: said retainer having first and second ends; said
frame forming a base plate at a medial portion thereof, and first and
second handles extended axially therefrom, said handles forming openings
therein engaging said retainer to retain said retainer in partially
enclosed condition relative to said frame; said retainer being of
elongated arcuate configuration and having a camming surface serving to
spread said frame during relative movement between said frame and said
retainer, to permit disengagement of said retainer for replacement.
2. The method of using a frictional dutch for a decorative piece having a pin extending therefrom, comprising the steps of:a) providing an elongated retainer of synthetic resinous material selectively engageable with said pin, said retainer having an elongated arcuate side surface;b) providing a frame of metallic material having a base and a pair of wings extending therefrom, having openings selectively engaging said surface of said retainer;c) employing said dutch to a point where said retainer becomes unserviceable;d) replacing said retainer by displacing said retainer relative to said frame, to disengage said retainer by camming action; ande) engaging a replacement retainer with said frame, by relative movement, whereby said frame is resiliently spread by slide action provided by the camming surface of said replacement retainer.
3. The method in accordance with claim 2, in which said retainer is of frustoconical configuration.
4. The method in accordance with claim 2, in which said retainer is of cylindrical configuration.
5. In a clutch for a decorative piece, having a post extending therefrom, said clutch, including a flexible material post-engaging retainer, and a metal frame, providing a base plate at a first end of said retainer and handles at a second end of said frame, said handles forming an opening therein, engaging said retainer, the improvement comprising: said handles of said frame having radially inwardly extending tabs engaging an end of said retainer to maintain said retainer against relative movement in an axial direction.
Reference is made to our co-pending provisional application Ser. No. 1,010,069, filed Jan. 7, 2008 to which a claim of priority is made.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to the field of flexible material clutches for decorative pieces which are mounted upon an elongated post for penetrating the ear lobe of a wearer, or an article of clothing for display. Devices of this general type are well known in the art, and the invention lies in specific constructional details which provide improved manufacture and assembly, as well as improved durability during use.
In our earlier U.S. Pat. No. 7,174,610, granted Feb. 11, 2007, there is disclosed a flexible material dutch of this type in which the flexible material of rubber, polyethylene or similar elastomeric material is in the shape of a rivet or mushroom with an axially disposed bore extending therethrough, selectively engaging and frictionally retaining an elongated post, an opposite end which supports an article of jewelry, or an ornament. A metallic frame includes a medially positioned base having an opening is penetrated by a projecting part of the flexible material. The enlarged portion is maintained in position by engagement of a pair of laterally extending wings having openings terminating in handles which may be manually engaged by the user. The article of jewelry or ornament is supported by an elongated post, a free end of which penetrates the opening of the frame, and a longitudinal bore in the flexible material to be frictionally retained thereby.
While making a substantial improvement in the art, the disclosed construction does not support the handles formed at the free end of the wings against the squeezing pressure applied by a user during installation and removal. The addition of a support between the handles as illustrated in FIG. 7 of this patent, provides a measure of support, but requires additional structure, which is subject to accidental dislodgment with use. Further, it prevents the handles from exerting inwardly directed force upon the flexible material to constrict the passage for the pin, thereby adding to the gripping action of the resilient material.
While this construction is of substantial utility, its value is substantially limited to devices which are made from base metals, rather than relatively precious metals. Thus, when the flexible material has lost its frictional retaining ability, the entire device may be discarded to be replaced by a new similar device with or without the related jewelry piece. In the case of relatively more expensive jewelry which is made from precious metals, rather than formed from plated or coated base materials, the frame will normally be formed from similar precious metal, and cannot be as readily discarded. There thus arises a need for repairing the device by replacing the flexible material part within the precious metal frame, a process which is not readily accomplished using prior art devices, which, once assembled, are not readily capable of disassembly, without destroying their utility. There thus arises a need for providing an improved device and method for using the same which avoids the above-mentioned problem.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Briefly stated, the invention contemplates the provision of an improved construction of the class described in which the above-mentioned problem has been substantially addressed. To this end, the frame may be formed from precious material such as that used in the manufacture of the article of jewelry, and the flexible material, in a first embodiment, is formed in the shape of a truncated cone to form an insert camming surface with the larger end diameter in contact with the base of the frame. The projection extending through an opening in the frame is eliminated, and in place thereof, a tapered recess is provided to assist in guiding the pin on the jewelry article into the bore of the retainer. When the retainer has lost its frictional retaining ability, it is removed from the frame in a lateral or axial direction relative to the frame, to be engaged by the frame for further use using a suitable tool inserted between the base of the frame and the forward end of the retainer. A new retainer is then installed in a lateral direction relative to the frame, to be engaged by frame for further use. This procedure is accomplished without distorting the frame beyond its elastic limit.
In a second embodiment, the frame wings which extend to form finger engaging handles, are provided with inwardly extending tabs which engage an exposed end surface of the retainer to maintain the retainer in fixed engagement with the frame. The retainer is of cylindrical configuration, and is particularly suitable for use where the device is of relatively small overall size. The retainer can also be removed and replaced.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the drawings, to which reference will be made in the specification, similar reference characters have been employed to designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of a first embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a view in perspective showing the insertion of a tool between the frame and the retainer to assist in removal of the retainer prior to replacement thereof.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view of a second embodiment of the invention in assembled condition.
FIG. 4 is a view of a frame forming part of the second embodiment in planar condition.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSED EMBODIMENTS
In accordance with a first embodiment of the invention, the device, generally indicated by reference character 10, comprises broadly: a molded retainer 11, and an enclosing frame 12. (See FIG. 1)
The retainer 11 may be formed of any suitable elastomeric material, such as rubber, polyethylene, silicone, or similar material. It is bounded by a front end surface 20, conical side surface 21, a rear surface 22, an axially aligned bore 31 of a diameter smaller than that of the smallest pin, which may be used.
The enclosing frame 12 is of generally the same form as that disclosed in our above-mentioned patent, and includes a base 30, having a central opening 29, and first and second rearwardly extending wings 32 and 33, which terminate in finger engaging handles 34 and 35. The base includes a centrally positioned opening 29 to accommodate the end of the pin retaining channel 27.
FIG. 2 illustrates the removal of a worn retainer 11, when required. A suitable tool 29, (FIG. 2), or the end of a small knife blade is inserted between the frame 12 and the retainer 11, and is used to move the retainer into a disaligned axial position against the resilient pressure of the wings 32 and 33, following which it is laterally or axially shifted out of engagement with the frame, and discarded. A replacement retainer is then inserted in lateral or axial lateral direction, the conical side surfaces serving to progressively cam the wings 32 and 33 slightly outwardly until fully seated, as shown in FIG. 1.
The reassembled device may then be used in normal manner until the replacement retainer becomes sufficiently worn, to warrant further replacement.
Turning now to the second embodiment of the invention, to avoid needless repetition, certain of the parts corresponding to those of the first embodiment have been designated by similar reference characters with the additional prefix "I".
The second embodiment, (FIGS. 3 and 4), is particularly suited for use where a device of smaller overall size is desirable. The retainer 111 is of generally cylindrical configuration rather than of frustoconical configuration, and is maintained within the frame 112 by the provision of bendable tabs 150 and 151, which engage the rear end thereof.
When replacement of the retainer 111 is necessary, it is accomplished in a similar manner, i.e., with a lateral movement between the frame and the retainer. The wings of the frame require relatively little distortion, and the tabs 150 and 151 do not interfere with lateral movement involved. Accordingly, the second embodiment includes frame wings which include openings 148 and 149, which are formed to include bendable tabs 150 and 151 which engage the free end of the retainer during possible distortion thereof, which would occur during disengaging movement imparted by the user. The tabs 150 and 151 are mutually spaced to permit access to the post retaining channel of the retainer.
It may thus be seen that we have invented novel and highly useful improvements in flexible material clutch devices for decorative pieces, jewelry and the like. The use of the described method permits the manufacture of the frame to be made from precious metals rather than base metals, which frame may be provided with replacement retainers which have become worn, or have become otherwise unusable, so that the frame may be continuously used, if desired, with other articles of jewelry.
We wish it to be understood that we do not consider the invention to be limited to the precise details of structure illustrated and described in the specification, for obvious modifications will occur to those skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains.
Patent applications by Eli Galecki, Fort Lee, NJ US
Patent applications by Joseph Rissin, Baldwin, NY US