Patent application title: Secondary Perspiration Absorber for Hat
Benny Asiatico (Parker, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AA42C502FI
Class name: With sweats or other supplementary head engaging member discontinuous contact removable or retractable
Publication date: 2011-03-31
Patent application number: 20110072555
The present invention is directed towards a secondary perspiration
absorber comprising an inner core surrounded by an absorbent layer, which
is surrounded by a porous outer layer. The absorber is designed to be
placed behind the inner lip of a hat in order to absorb perspiration from
the hat wearer an increase the useful life of the hat. It is also
designed to be disposable.
1. A secondary perspiration absorber, comprising:a core made of a first
material;an absorbent layer surrounding said core made of a second
material which is different than said first material; anda porous outer
layer surrounding said absorbent layer made of a third material which is
different from said first material and second material.
2. The absorber of claim 1 wherein said first material comprises a first stiffness and said second material comprises a second stiffness, and wherein said first stiffness is greater than said second stiffness.
3. The absorber of claim 1 wherein said first material comprises a first moisture absorptive capacity and said second material comprises a second moisture absorptive capacity, and wherein said second moisture absorptive capacity is greater than said first moisture absorptive capacity.
4. The absorber of claim 1 further comprising two ends each comprising a first height, and a middle comprising a second height, wherein said second height is greater than said first height.
5. The absorber of claim 1 wherein said core comprises cardboard or paperboard.
6. The absorber of claim 1 additionally comprising a length, a height and a thickness of sufficient dimensions to fit between an inner lip and a crown of a hat.
7. A method for absorbing perspiration in a hat comprising:providing a hat with a crown and an inner lip at a base of the crown;providing a secondary perspiration absorber comprising a core made of a first material, an absorbent layer surrounding said core made of a second material which is different than said first material, and a porous outer layer surrounding said absorbent layer made of a third material which is different from said first material and second material; andplacing said absorber between said inner lip and said crown;
8. The method of claim 7 further comprising replacing said secondary perspiration absorber with another secondary perspiration absorber having the same characteristics as the secondary perspiration absorber of claim 7.
9. The method of claim 7 wherein said first material comprises a first stiffness and said second material comprises a second stiffness, and wherein said first stiffness is greater than said second stiffness.
10. The method of claim 7 wherein said first material comprises a first moisture absorptive capacity and said second material comprises a second moisture absorptive capacity, and wherein said second moisture absorptive capacity is greater than said first moisture absorptive capacity.
11. The method of claim 7 wherein said absorber further comprising two ends each comprising a first height, and a middle comprising a second height, wherein said second height is greater than said first height.
12. The method of claim 7 wherein said core comprises cardboard or paperboard.
13. The method of claim 7 wherein said placing further comprises placing said absorber substantially behind said inner lip.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A hat is a head covering that may be worn for protection against the weather, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. Typically, the structure of a hat will comprise a crown, which covers the top of the head, and a brim or bill, which extends outward from the bottom of the crown.
Most modern hats have a padded band around the inner rim, where the hat actually contacts the head. This band provides comfort for the wearer of the hat. It may also absorb perspiration from the wearer's head if the hat is worn, for example, in hot weather or during athletic activity. The absorbed perspiration can adsorb from the moist padded band up into the drier crown of the cap. Such perspiration can soil and discolor the hat.
Hats soiled by excessive absorbance of perspiration can be washed in a washing machine or by hand. However, over time multiple washings can degrade the quality of the fabric that makes up the hat and make the hat less visually appealing. Also, there are times when the discoloration caused by the perspiration becomes permanent and can never be washed out of the hat.
Most other solutions to this problem involve providing a sweatband that is affixed to the hat between the inner rim and the wearer's head. U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/074,187 is exemplary of this kind of solution. Such solutions suffer from many deficiencies, such as the need for hat wearers to purchase hats sized larger than they would otherwise need in order to accommodate the sweatband, the difficulty of affixing the sweatband to the inner rim of the cap, and the economic impracticability of providing a disposable hat protector arranged this way. A need therefore exists to overcome these and other deficiencies in the prior art to prevent perspiration from damaging or ruining hats.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is thus directed towards a secondary perspiration absorber for a hat which is economical, disposable, and easy to use. The absorber is a thin, flat, sturdy strip of material designed to be placed inside the inner lip of a hat, between the primary padded sweatband incorporated into most caps, and the bottom of the crown. The absorber generally comprises three layers--an inner core material, which is surrounded by and supports an absorbent layer, which itself is surrounded by a porous outer layer. The outer layer allows the perspiration to penetrate through to the absorbent layer and helps evenly distribute the perspiration across the entire length of the absorber. The inner core provides structural support for the absorber during its use and disposal. These and other aspects of the present invention will be apparent from the detailed description below.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
A more complete understanding of the method of the present invention may be had by reference to the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a frontal view of one embodiment of the secondary perspiration absorber of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of one embodiment of the secondary perspiration absorber of the present invention being used in conjunction with a baseball cap;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the secondary perspiration absorber of the present invention in position behind the inner lip of a baseball cap;
Where used in the various figures of the drawing, the same numerals designate the same or similar parts. Furthermore, when the terms "top," "bottom," "first," "second," "upper," "lower," "height," "width," "length," "end," "side," "horizontal," "vertical," and similar terms are used herein, it should be understood that these terms have reference only to the structure shown in the drawing and are utilized only to facilitate describing the invention. All figures are drawn for ease of explanation of the basic teachings of the present invention only.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is directed towards an apparatus for absorbing perspiration in a hat and extending the useful life of the hat. The term hat is defined above, and as used herein is meant include various types of head coverings, including baseball caps, berets, boaters, bowler hats, bucket hats, cowboy hats, fedoras, fez hats, panama hats, top hats, toreros, among many others. In particular, the present invention is designed to work with hats comprising an inner lip or inner band attached to or part of the inside of the crown, at, near or approximately coterminous with the base of the crown. The inner lip extends upwardly into the interior of the crown of the hat.
FIGS. 3 and 4 depict exemplary and preferred embodiments of the present invention utilized in conjunction with a baseball cap 20. A baseball cap generally comprises a crown which is approximately the shape of a human head, and a bill protruding from the base of the crown in a direction away from the crown. The baseball cap can be a specific fitted size (not shown), can comprise an elastic band (not shown) at the base of the crown to fit a wider range of head sizes, or it can comprise an adjustable strap allowing for even wider size adjustments.
In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, the baseball cap comprises an inner lip 22 around substantially the entire circumference of the base of the crown. In other embodiments, the lip extends around only a portion of the circumference of the hat crown base. FIG. 3 depicts a portion of the lip 22 partially folded away from the interior of the baseball cap and one embodiment of the secondary perspiration absorber 8 of the present invention in position to be placed behind the lip of the baseball cap. As depicted therein, the secondary absorber 8 is a long, thin, composite strip of materials, which is placed behind the inner lip 22 of the hat. As used herein, the term "behind the inner lip of a hat" or similar terms means between the inner lip 22 and the crown of a hat, at the base of the crown. A secondary absorber fits substantially behind the inner lip of a hat when less than about 25% of the absorber is visible when it is in place behind the inner lip of a hat. FIG. 4 depicts one embodiment of the secondary absorber 8 of the present invention in position substantially behind the inner lip of a baseball cap.
FIG. 1 depicts a preferred embodiment of the secondary absorber 8 of the present invention. It comprises a thin composite strip of material with two ends 6 and a middle 4. In one embodiment, the center 4 of the secondary absorber 8 has the same or different height as the ends 6 of the absorber 8. Advantageously, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention (depicted in FIG. 1), the middle 4 of the secondary absorber 8 comprises a height that is greater than the height of the two ends 6. When this embodiment of the secondary absorber 8 is placed behind the lip 22 of the baseball cap 20 depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4, and directly above the bill of the cap, the larger surface area of the middle of the secondary absorber 8 is directly adjacent to the forehead of the wearer (assuming the baseball cap is worn in the traditional manner with the bill facing forward over the eyes). The larger surface area more efficiently absorbs perspiration occurring at the forehead of the wearer of the cap.
This greater efficiency is desired in the area of the forehead because no hair is typically present in this area to absorb and wick away perspiration. By contrast, at the sides of the head where hair is typically present, the individual hairs can provide more surface area from which sweat can evaporate more quickly. The forehead typically provides only a skin from which evaporation can occur. This perspiration evaporation inefficiency at the forehead of the wearer can be compensated for and overcome by providing a secondary absorber with a larger surface area in the vicinity of the forehead.
FIGS. 3 and 4 depict one embodiment of the secondary absorber of the present invention. Although the length of the embodiment pictured in these figures runs from about one side of the wearer's forehead to the other, the present invention is not limited by maximum length, except to that an absorber with a length longer than the circumference of the inner lip of the hat would not fit, and thus could not perform its intended function. Also, the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4 is slightly visible over the inner lip of the hat. In another embodiment, the absorber would not be visible above the inner lip of the hat. Generally, the dimensions of height, length and thickness for the secondary absorber are chosen such that the absorber fits between an inner lip and a crown of a hat and substantially behind the inner lip of a hat.
Another feature of the secondary absorber of the present invention is its mobility. It is not sewn or otherwise fixed in place on the cap, but instead can be moved to different locations behind the lip of a cap. For example, while the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3 shows the secondary absorber 8 located adjacent to the baseball cap bill, the secondary absorber can also be placed at other locations depending on the desires of the cap wearer. If it is desired to wear the baseball cap "backwards" with the bill extending over the back of the neck of the wearer, then the absorber can be placed inside the lip on the side of the cap opposite the bill. Advantageously, the secondary absorber would still be able to absorb perspiration from the wearer's forehead. Similarly, the hat can be worn "sideways" with the bill extending over the wearer's shoulder, or at any other angle, and the secondary absorber can be adjusted accordingly. Moreover, the hat wearer can interchange the secondary absorber from the front of the cap to the back, and again to the front as, for example, lighting, weather, or other conditions change during the day.
FIG. 2 depicts a cross section of the secondary absorber 8 depicted in FIG. 1 taken at location 2. As shown therein, the construction of the secondary absorber comprises an inner core material 14, surrounded by and supporting an absorbing layer 12, which itself is surrounded by a porous fabric outer layer 10. Each layer is comprised of a different material having different properties.
The inner core material 14 is preferably a relatively stiff material that is capable of absorbing water. In one embodiment, the core material 14 is stiffer than the absorbing material in the absorbing layer 12. Stiffness is generally defined as the degree to which a material is able to resist bending. A material with a higher stiffness resists bending to a greater degree than a material with a relatively lower stiffness.
The core is stiffer than the absorbing material because most materials which absorb water most efficiently contain many voids which, when dry, are able to fill up with and retain water by capillary or other action. The presence of such voids typically means the absorbent material has very little structural stiffness. Because the secondary absorber of the present invention needs to retain a relatively thin, flat shape in order to work properly in conjunction with the inner lip a hat without adversely affecting the inner circumference of the hat, the presence of a stiffer core material helps the secondary absorber perform its absorbing function. The stiffness of the core also helps with the disposability of the secondary absorber of the present invention by improving the ease of handling it when it is saturated with perspiration.
The core can be made of any relatively stiff, absorbent material. Although it need not be as efficient at absorbing water as the absorbent layer, the core material can itself be somewhat absorbent. This property will increase the overall absorptive capacity of the secondary absorber of the present invention. The core material can comprise, for example, cardboard or paperboard. Such a material is able to absorb some moisture while retaining a high degree of its original stiffness. Other relatively stiff, somewhat absorbent materials can be used. Also, the core material, when wet, should not leech out any chemicals which might be irritating to human skin or generally harmful to human health.
The absorbent layer surrounding the core generally comprises any material with voids or spaces which are able to absorb water by capillary or other mass transfer mechanisms when contacted by moisture. The absorbent material can be natural, artificial, fibrous, woven, non-woven, cellulosic, cotton-based, polyester-based, combinations of these, or generally any absorbent material. The absorbent layer may also be comprised of more than one layer of absorbent material (with the understanding that the overall thickness of the secondary absorber must be thin enough to fit comfortably behind the inner lip of a hat), and may comprise more than one different type of absorbent material. In a preferred embodiment, the absorbent layer has a higher absorptive capacity than the core layer, which means the absorbent layer is able to absorb more moisture by weight of the layer than the core layer.
The outer layer of the secondary absorber of the present invention preferably comprises a porous material that allows water to transfer through it and into the absorbent layer. The porous outer layer also provides some structural support for the secondary absorber by holding the absorbent layer against the core layer, thereby maintaining the shape of the secondary absorber. The outer layer should also be soft to the touch to provide comfort to the wearer if the secondary absorber protrudes above the inner lip of the hat and actually contacts the wearer's head. In embodiments designed to fit entirely behind the lip of the hat, the softness of the outer layer can be disregarded and a practitioner of the present invention can focus on the porosity and moisture absorbing properties of the material making up the outer layer. Materials that can be used to make the outer layer can be woven or unwoven, natural or synthetic, and include any porous, flexible cloth, such as cotton or polyester based cloths.
In another aspect of one embodiment of the present invention, the secondary perspiration absorber is symmetric around the axis defining its height. As depicted in FIG. 2, the core is surrounded on both sides by the absorbing layer, which in turn is surrounded on both sides by the outer layer. This axial and functional symmetry gives the secondary absorber of the present invention an advantage over previous attempts in this area. First, the symmetry allows a user of the present invention to place the secondary absorber with either side 16 or side 18 facing forward, and the device will function in exactly the same way. Furthermore, the symmetry allows a user of the present invention to periodically reach behind the lip of the cap and behind the secondary absorber to feel the condition of the absorber on the side facing away from the user's head. Once it is discovered that the side away from the user's head is becoming wet, the user will know immediately that the useful life of the secondary absorber is near the end and it is time to replace the secondary absorber with the new one. If the user were unable to make this check on the back side of the secondary absorber (for example, if one side of the absorber was water resistant), the user would have no way of knowing when to exchange it for a new one, which could either (1) cause the user to prematurely switch the secondary absorber for a new one before the current absorber has been fully utilized, or (2) cause the user to leave the secondary absorber behind the lip beyond the time period for which the secondary absorber is performing its intended function. In sum, the materials and the device are used far more efficiently than those used with prior art devices.
In one embodiment, the secondary absorber is disposable. In this embodiment, the materials chosen to make the absorber are inexpensive materials such as cardboard or paperboard for the core, cotton batting for the absorbent layer, and polyester fabric for the outer layer.