Patent application title: TILT AND SLIDE SPACE SAVINGS CLOTHING STORAGE DEVICE AND SELF-LOCKING CLIP FOR ASYMMETRIC HANGER ACCESSORY
Paul A. Liberti (Naples, FL, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47G2548FI
Class name: Apparel apparatus garment hangers
Publication date: 2012-01-26
Patent application number: 20120018463
A family of space savings storage devices for hanging, storing and
removal of any item that can be hung in a vertical plane from an
appropriate hanger hook is disclosed. The devices consist of a pair of
downwardly diverging legs forming either an inverted V-shaped or U-shaped
receiver. The fixed angle of divergence of the legs ranges from 60 to 120
degrees. In one embodiment that angle can be varied. On the undersides of
the legs are attached sockets from which items can be hung using
appropriate hooks attached to the body of a hanger. The spacing of the
sockets can be equal or variable. Increased spacing on the lower segments
of the legs for the inverted U-shaped receiver, where the legs are nearly
vertical, prevents hung items which are generally bulkier at the top, or
hanger components which also can be bulky from interfering with each
other as the spacing can be adjusted to allow such parts to lay one above
the other. At the top of each device is a slide element which can be
placed over a glide or horizontally disposed support post. By moving the
slide element to either side of the vertical or equilibrium position on
the support post, these devices by simple principles of Physics tilt.
From basic geometrical considerations, items hung on the upwardly tilted
leg horizontally spread apart, while those on the more vertically
oriented leg move together. This allows easy access to items suspended
from sockets on the more horizontal leg. Devices disclosed can be
constructed where the horizontal space requirement in the vertical
position is no more than in the tilted and slide position. Thus loading
or unloading items from these devices can be done in a fixed horizontal
space. The inverted V-shaped or U-shaped also confers excellent visual
inventory of hung items. Also disclosed is a self locking spring clip
that improves the use of Asymmetric Hangers for long or short trousers
and skirts. Asymmetric Hangers with this modification and a modified hook
to fit the hook and socket system employed here lend themselves well to
use with the storage systems disclosed. Other hangers with appropriate
means for attachment to the devices can also be used.
1. A storage device adapted for supporting a plurality of clothing items
which are carried by individual hangers in a vertical plane, said
individual hangers having a supporting hook, said device having slide
element adapted to slidably engage an elongated glide, said slide element
including a pair of downwardly-diverging legs transverse to said vertical
plane and having a series of sockets spaced apart therealong, said
sockets adapted to receive said supporting hooks of said individual
hangers, said slide element operable to pivot on said glide to change the
orientation of said rods between horizontal and upright.
2. A storage device according to claim 1 wherein said rods diverge substantially at a right angle, whereby when one of said legs is upright, the other of said legs is substantially horizontal.
3. A storage device according to claim 1, wherein said legs diverge downwardly at an angle of divergence of between 60 and 120 degrees.
4. A storage device according to claim 2, including means to adjust said angle of divergence.
5. A storage device according to claim 1 for use with individual hangers having hooks with a given cross-sectional configuration, wherein said sockets comprise tubular elements having a bore complementary to said given cross-sectional configuration.
6. A storage device according to claim 1 for use in a clothes closet having a horizontal pole for suspending a plurality of individual hangers, each having a clothes-holding element of a given width suspended from a hook, said downwardly-diverging legs underlying a length of said pole which is greater than said given width of the individual hangers, including pivot means mounting said diverging legs for pivotal movement about a vertical axis to allow orientation of said clothes holding elements between two positions respectively parallel and transverse to said pole.
7. A storage device adapted for supporting a plurality of clothing items which are carried by individual hangers in a vertical plane, said individual hangers having a supporting hook, said device having slide element adapted to slidably engage an elongated glide, said slide element including a pair of downwardly-diverging legs transverse to said vertical plane, said legs having upper segments forming a given angle with each other and terminating in a lower segment normally disposed upright, said segments having a series of sockets spaced apart therealong, said sockets adapted to receive said supporting hooks of said individual hangers, said slide element operable to pivot on said glide to change the orientation of said rods.
8. A storage device according to claim 7, wherein said given angle is greater then 90.degree., and said sockets along said upper segments being spaced apart by a distance less than the spacing of the sockets along said lower segments.
9. A storage device according to claim 7, wherein said slide element comprises the upper portions of said downwardly diverging legs, and a pair of downwardly-diverging arms spaced above said downwardly diverging legs and forming a receiver operable to capture the glide in the spacing between said legs and said arms to enable said slide to be displaced along the glide, and to tilt said device to change the orientation of said lower segments of said downwardly diverging legs from an upright orientation to an orientation transverse to a vertical plane.
10. A storage device according to claim 9, wherein said slide element provides an inverted generally U-shaped receiver having downwardly diverging slots connected at their top by a transverse slot.
11. A clothes hanger comprising: a support rod having an outer surface; at least one spring clip comprising a first clothes clamping member and a second clothes clamping member and a torsion spring having a substantially cylindrical passage, said first clamping member and second clamping member including aligned openings substantially aligned with said passage and supported on said rod with said rod passing through said aligned openings and said passage thereby maintaining the first clamping member and the second clamping member in the closed clamping position due to forces applied by the spring; and a sleeve passing over and contacting the rod on the outer surface and contacting the spring clip at the aligned openings and the passage so as to provide resistance to the movement of the spring clip in a direction parallel to the rod.
12. A clothes hanger with a single spring clip and a fixed finger projecting from said rod so as to permit clothing under tension to be supported between the finger and the spring clamp.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/366,592 filed Jul. 22, 2010, of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/432,997 filed on Jan. 14, 2011 and of Chinese Utility Model Application No. 201120016434.2 filed on Jan. 19, 2011 titled Asymmetric Pants/Skirt Hanger and their Incorporation into Novel Space Savings Clothing Storage Devices.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 Household storage of clothing has become a significant issue in the United States and other developed countries primarily because the costs of garments have dropped so dramatically in the last generation (leading to large inventories by most individuals) and also because developed countries have become even more affluent in that period. Accordingly, efficient design of closets and the use of space therein have become significant areas of commercial interest.
 As most individuals cannot generally afford specially designed highly efficient closets or living quarters with extensive closet space, there has been a need for space saving devices that can function within limited or confined closet space. In that regard a variety of space saving devices have been patented and in the last several years made available to consumers.
 This invention relates a storage device for the simultaneous hanging and storage of several articles of clothing. The family of devices disclosed herein in addition to providing economy and efficient use of space also is constructed such that each article of clothing is readily identified, i.e., providing immediate visual inventory. Hence, in addition to conserving space, these devices save the user considerable time regarding selection and removal of garments.
 To accomplish the above goals this invention incorporates, but is not restricted to, an asymmetric hanger which is disclosed in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/689,538 titled Asymmetric Hanger for Short and Long Trousers where methods and devices for hanging clothing items that contain a waistband are disclosed. The devices consist of a single spring clip that can be moved laterally on one end of a support rod and a fixed vertical finger on the other end. Compared with double clip hangers, well known in the art, these devices makes it possible to achieve closer packing of clothing items in the design of arrays because these single spring clip hangers minimize tangling, thereby facilitating manipulations such as hanging or unhanging.
 The purpose and design of the finger is that for appropriately folded trousers (folded as they would be when offered for sale or for hanging from the waist with a double clasp hanger) the finger can be inserted into the rear fold of trousers engaging the waistband such that by grasping trousers from the waistband near the front and exerting force away from the finger the trousers will hang in their upright position.
 For the aforementioned asymmetric hanger, force away from the finger is maintained with a laterally adjustable (for accommodating clothing items of different sizes) spring clip that clasps the top of the waistband at the front side of trousers (fly side). Applying sufficient force to maintain trousers, or other items with waistbands including skirts, on the hanger can be accomplished by pulling such items away from the finger before applying the spring clip. Accordingly, it is important that the spring clip not move laterally towards the finger after clothing items are placed under tension, otherwise items will not remain on the hanger. Also disclosed herein is a laterally self locking spring clip that is a significant improvement over conventional spring clips known in the art and that is capable of maintaining sufficient tension on clothing items to prevent their slipping off.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 There are known several storage devices which can simultaneously hold several garments for instance trousers. One device which is rather popular consists of several carrying bars running mutually parallel in the same plane with the entire device suspended from a clothes pole. Appropriately folded trousers are laid over an individual bar just as they would be over a normal hanger. This kind of garment hanger has the disadvantage that it is quite difficult to slide individual trousers over the various carrying bars without having them become entangled with pants that are already hanging there. To alleviate that issue pants hangers where the bars are hinged to facilitate hanging and removal have been introduced. Even though such devices require little space, the space one might allot for such a device is such that loading or unloading becomes a major chore. Trousers literally have to be inserted on to their respective bars and due to non slip coatings on the bars that can be an onerous task that requires time.
 Hangers for pants or skirts have been introduced where each hanger has a hook that can go over the clothes pole and a secondary hook, generally off to the side, where a second hanger can be hung. Thus they can form a chain of: hanger onto clothes pole--hanger onto hanger--hanger onto hanger, etc. This is a very space economical means of storing space. However, to retrieve a particular garment, the chain needs to be disassembled. That can be inconvenient.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,308,962 to Fahmi discloses a hanging device that consists of a bar in which there are drilled holes into which hanger hooks of hung garments can be inserted. On either end of the bar are affixed hooks that go over a clothes pole. To use the device, both hooks of the device are placed over the clothes pole and garments on appropriate hangers are hung by placing their hooks through the drilled holes. Once loaded, one of the hooks, permanently affixed to the bar, can be removed from the clothes pole and lowered; leading to a vertical array of hung garments one above the other. U.S. Pat. No. 4,953,717 to Rosch discloses a similar device which overcomes some stated objections to Fahmi. Two other related patents are U.S. Pat. No. 7,134561B2 to Schneider et al and U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,486 Oshugi.
 One of the significant problems with the Fahmi and its improved version by Rosch as well as Schneider et al and Oshugi is that even though space is saved by lowering the `loaded` device, nearly the same space that one starts with in the loading phase is required to remove hung items. Furthermore, when a number of garments are hung on a bar as described they can be significantly heavy. Hence, repositioning the device so that an item can be retrieved can be a difficult task.
 U.S. Pat. No. 6,053,378 to Doyel discloses a space savings device which resembles an inverted triangle (base at top) which has on both legs slots (nine per side) where hanger hooks can be inserted. To load the device, it would seem reasonable to load from the bottom, loading both sides moving upwards. Thus, the last items to be loaded would be hung highest on the triangular device and they would be most displaced from the center of the device. It would appear from the shape of the triangle and the number of slots employed (nine each side) by Doyel that there would be some very significant problems in using the device. First, if one just horizontally places nine garments on hangers one atop another, or even staggers them as the Doyel device does, that would result in a pile of substantial height. Given that there are in effect two such `piles` that Doyel proposes to use on this device seems to create `piles` that might be very difficult to place on the device. It is even more difficult to imagine how items could be easily removed.
 Other hanging devices, not all pertaining to garments, claiming to save space include U.S. Pat. No. 7,404,503 to Cleaver, et al, and U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,966,283; 2,480,327; 2,604,999; 2,699,263; 2,714,965; 3,187,904; 3,456,807 and 3,782,559.
 As regards the optional incorporation of the aforementioned Asymmetric Hanger and a novel self locking spring clip disclosed here that can improve the performance of the former and benefit clothing storage systems disclosed herein, conventional spring clips are well known in the art. Commonly used spring clips have pivot holes on flanges at two opposite sides of two clamping members in which the two clamping members are pivoted to one another by using a pin or support rod which passes through the holes of the flanges of the clamping members. A torsion spring is sleeved around the pin or support rod to urge the clamping members into to the closed or clamping position.
 Clothing hangers having two such spring clips which can be adjusted laterally to accommodate various items of clothing are well known. The resistance to lateral movement of spring clips derives from outward pressures exerted on the clamping members by the torsion spring. Those forces are transmitted via the flanges and cause the pivot holes to be pulled outward thereby exerting a force on the rod passing through them. Such forces result in a frictional drag which resists lateral displacement when a spring clip is pushed in either direction. It is evident that the frictional drag or ability of a spring clip to maintain its lateral position on a rod is largely related to the outward force generated by the torsion spring and the contact surface area of the pivot holes and the supporting rod.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 One objective of this invention is to provide a clothes hanging space saving storage device that in addition to being space economical allows the user to easily view hung items of clothing as well as retrieve and re-hang items readily. The principles disclosed generally apply to the hanging and or storage of a spectrum of items for the home, in commercial applications and in industry.
 The invention disclosed herein uses geometry, some simple principles of physics and very simple operations by the user to achieve an economy of space, a much enhanced visual view of hanging inventory and ready access to hung items as well as replacement thereof that have not been realized heretofore. The family of devices described here as a two legged tilt and slide assemblies has application for hanging all objects in an orderly and easily retrievable manner providing only that such objects can be supported on an appropriate hanger. That would include all articles of clothing and any other article that might be hung for storage, display or even process.
 Unlike other disclosures that typically require extra space for loading or for retrieving items, the two legged tilt and slide devices disclosed herein, can be configured to actually require less horizontal space to load or unload. At worst, they can be configured to require no more space to unload than in their static or equilibrium position.
 Another object of this invention is to provide an improved Asymmetric Hanger that can optionally be used with the family of tilt and slide devices disclosed here. That improvement relates to a simple self locking spring clip that once adjusted holds it position to the extent that clothing items put under tension by Asymmetric Hangers modified for use with these devices, and disclosed in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/689,538 titled Asymmetric Hanger for Short or Long Trousers, will not move laterally, thereby keeping clothing items from falling off their hangers. This is accomplished by constructing a spring clip whose lateral position on a support rod is maintained by frictional drag imparted on the support rod by a sleeve that rides on a support rod, the sleeve being contained within the body of the clip such that it moves with the spring clip. Accordingly, when the spring clip is move in either direction the sleeve moves with it. To accomplish this, the sleeve can be placed on the support rod and within the body of the spring clip. A lateral well defined space along the support rod which will move with the clip is created between flanges on the opposite sides of each clamping member when the flanges of the members are made to overlap for assembly. Conveniently, the sleeve can be placed within the coil of the torsion spring which itself is sleeved around the support rod, or it can be placed adjacent to the coil spring in the case where there is insufficient cylindrical space within the spring coil for the sleeve to fit. Alternatively, the sleeve can be affixed on the outer side or sides to one or both flanges of a clamping member in alignment with the pivot holes allowing a support rod to be inserted through them, thereby coupling the fractional drag of the sleeve to the clip.
 It is evident that the force to laterally move on a support rod a spring clip that incorporates a sleeve as described above depends on the frictional drag the sleeve imparts on the support rod. Clearly the degree of self locking, i.e. the amount of force required to move the spring clip laterally from its position, is related to the contact area of the sleeve with the support rod, the tightness with which the sleeve grasps the support rod and the nature of the surfaces of the support rod and the sleeve. Using these parameters, spring clips that can resist different degrees of lateral movement can be constructed in a consistent manner.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 shows a three quarter view of a rigid two legged tilt and slide hanger storage device.
 FIG. 2 shows a front view of the rigid two legged tilt and slide hanger device of FIG. 1 and a hanger hook compatible with this device. The assembly rests upon a glide or support post at the underside of its apex.
 FIG. 3 shows a front view of a rigid two legged tilt and slide hanger storage device which, relative to FIG. 2, has been repositioned on the support post such that the right leg is approximately horizontal and the left nearly vertical. Also depicted are triangles which mimic the geometry involved in tilting the assembly.
 FIG. 4 shows front views of a variable angle two legged tilt and slide hanger device where the angle between the legs can be made smaller when the device is in the vertical position (upper drawing) and larger when it is tilted such that one leg is horizontal (lower drawing).
 FIG. 5 shows a front view of a rigid two legged tilt and slide hanger device where the placement of sockets for holding individual hangers is substantially increased on the lower nearly vertical segments of the legs in order to accommodate close packing of hung items in those regions.
 FIG. 6 shows a front view of a two legged tilt and slide hanger storage device where the legs have one way flexible joints which allows for greater access to hung items on the nearly horizontal positioned leg when the device is tilted.
 FIG. 7 is a conventional spring clip.
 FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the spring clip with inserted sleeve according to the present invention.
 FIG. 9 is a view of the spring clip with inserted sleeve according to the present invention, as would be seen looking from the open side of the clip formed by the press plates that are sprung apart.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 FIG. 1 shows a three quarter view of a tilt and slide hanger device 1 designed to be space efficient for hanging multiple items of clothing, or any other item that can be hung for storage. The device 1 is intended for hanging from a clothes pole or anywhere else where issues of space economy or of inventory visibility are important. The overall shape of the hanger carrier, also depicted in FIG. 2 as a front view, is similar to a boomerang, except that the legs are of equal length which makes it more similar to `throwing sticks` used by the ancients for hunting.
 With the exception of the sockets 4 in FIGS. 1 and 2 from which hung items are suspended, the carrier can be constructed entirely of steel rod, or similar material. As will be clear from the following disclosure many materials can be used for construction providing the geometrical considerations that are disclosed are respected. For prototypes that were constructed to determine efficiency and usability, steel rod of 5-6 mm O.D. has been found to be satisfactory.
 In FIGS. 1 and 2, items labeled 2 and 2' and 3 and 3' define the under and upper sides of the legs of the carrier, respectively. 5 and 5' are structural supports that maintain the alignment of the upper and lower legs. The undersides 3 and 3' above supports 5, 5' serve as a slide element which can be moved on the horizontal support post (or glide) 7. 6 and 6' are belt hooks placed on the sides of the carrier which are convenient when the carrier is used for hanging trousers. Clearly they can have other uses. Item 8 is the angle formed by the lower legs 2 and 2'.
 As shown here the glide 7 is depicted as a simple horizontal support post upon which the carrier can be placed and easily moved. There are a variety of ways that a post can be constructed so that it can be affixed to a clothes pole for in-closet use of the carrier, or so that it can be affixed to the underside of some support, e.g. a shelf, or cantilevered from a wall. Additionally, the glide can be coated with a material such as Teflon to make sliding over it easier, or it could contain roller bearings such that the slide element could easily be moved for repositioning of the device.
 Also shown in FIG. 2 is a supporting hanger hook 9 (much enlarged to show detail) designed to function with this hanger array in the case where the socket is a simple tube. Supporting hanger hooks can be attached to any hanger design regardless of the latter's use. The hanger hook has a flattened region 10 in order for it to fit into one of the tubular sockets 4 of the carrier. The front end of the hook 11 is also beveled to facilitate insertion. The inside diameter of the tube and outside diameter of the hook need not be a precise fit as friction between the inserted portion of the hook and the inside of tubes has been found to keep them in place. Hooks made from steel rod of 4-5 mm diameter and 2-5 cm length have been found to be compatible with tubes of similar lengths and inside diameters of 1-3 mm greater than the hook rod diameter. The front of the tubes can additionally be flared, or alternatively they can be reamed with an appropriate countersink (not shown), so that hook insertion is even further facilitated.
 The basis for using the flat inserted hook and socket tube arrangement to suspend items from the tilt and slide devices disclosed herein is that tight or precise packing of stored items requires a significant degree of precision, accordingly the hook and tube arrangement has been found to be quite superior for accomplishing that purpose compared with a variety of other means of suspension such as hook on hook, magnetic hooks, hook into slot, etc.
 From the drawings it should be evident when the tilt and slide device is loaded with clothing items and placed on a support post or glide so that the assembly is positioned with vertical symmetry (as in FIG. 2) [hereafter referred to as equilibrium position] that the user has excellent visual inventory of hung items. In contrast to hanging items side to side and at the same level as would be the case on a closet pole, hung items here are displayed in a cascading fashion with the tops of each item clearly visible from the front or from the sides of the carrier. This feature simplifies inventory inspection and selection and saves time for the user compared with sliding and shoving clothing aside to view items as is typically the case with a traditional clothes pole.
 FIG. 3 demonstrates the principle of this hanger array that facilitates hanging and removal of stored items and the space saving aspect of this device. The figure depicts a front view of the tilt and slide hanger carrier which has been tilted (left leg down) and slid to the left (relative to FIG. 2) such that the glide or support post 7 is now positioned at a balance point on the under side of upper leg 3. Also shown in FIG. 3 are vertical lines 12 dropping down from tubes 4. These lines represent planes in which items hung from this device would lie due to gravitational forces. By simple physics repositioning 1 in this way stabilizes the downward forces created by all the hung items which will maintain the device 1 and the hung items 11 in that position. It has been found that by filing a small indent on the underside of the upper leg 3 near the balance point, which only need be approximate for proper functioning of 1, simplifies the tilt and slide operation.
 The first notable point is that compared with items of clothing that would hang from sockets 4 of the two legged tilt and slide hanger assembly of FIG. 1 or 2 in their equilibrium position, it is clear that by simple geometrical considerations the items hung from the right leg of the carrier horizontally spread apart in FIG. 3, while the items hung from the left leg of the carrier move together merely by tilting and sliding (repositioning) the carrier.
 The geometric considerations that give rise to the simultaneous horizontal spreading apart on the horizontal leg and compression of hung items on the nearly vertical leg is quite straight forward. Referring to FIG. 3, triangle 14 represents the spacing arrangement of hung garments in the equilibrium position on the left leg of the assembly (the triangle flips for the right leg). The base of the triangle represents the horizontal spacing between hung items in that position. The hypotenuse is representative of the distance between tubes. For clarity the scale of these triangles is 2:1 relative to the assembly drawing. Triangle 15 depicts how that triangle changes for items hung on the left leg. The base shrinks to nearly zero, while the hypotenuse stays constant. Hence, there is a lateral compression of items on that leg. Triangle 16 shows the geometrical considerations of how items hung on the right or nearly horizontal leg move apart in going from the equilibrium position to the tilt and slide position shown. For items hung on this leg, the tilting in effect causes the base (the distance between the planes of hung items) to approximate the hypotenuse.
 The second point to note is that tilt and slide carrier can be tilted and repositioned on the support post and in doing that less horizontal space is required then when it is in the vertical or symmetric position. [In FIGS. 2 and 3 the same scale is used.] Hence, an assembly can be created whereby items can be stored is a compressed arrangement, but by a simple manipulation hanging of or access to items can be facilitated by making the spacing between them greater. Thus enhanced access to any selected hung item can readily be created in this simple fashion.
 There are two key considerations regarding the space savings for the designs of the tilt and slide devices thus far disclosed. They are the angle 8 between the lower legs of the devices and the spacing of sockets 4. Considering first spacing, that issue will depend on the items hung--the bulkier the item the greater the spacing required. For trousers spacing of 2.5 to 4.0 cm has been adequate, golf shirts require 2.0 to 2.5 cm and dress shirts 3.0 to 3.5 cm. When such items are hung on a clothes pole with a traditional hanger at spacing similar to the aforementioned, items need to be pushed apart to clearly be identified. On the other hand, items so hung on these tilt and slide devices are immediately identifiable because of the cascading nature of their display.
 Regarding the angle between the lower legs, clearly the more acute the angle the less lateral space required. However, referring to FIG. 3, it is evident that if the angle slowly closed while keeping the right leg approximately horizontal, items hung from the left leg will begin to interfere with items hanging from the horizontal arm. In fact, with the exception of very thin items, if the angle 8 between the lower legs is less than 90 degrees, those items hung on the down leg will push into the center and interfere with removal of those items on the horizontal leg. Accordingly, angles of 90 to 120 degrees have been employed.
 Since the goal is to save lateral space with these devices, one way to achieve greater savings is to decrease the angle between the lower legs of the tilt and slide assembly. Thus, for example, if the angle is 60 degrees when the assembly is hung with vertical symmetry, considerable lateral space would be saved, but it would be difficult if not impossible to find a slide and tilt position that gives ready access to all hung items. On the other hand, by making a device with an angle 8 that can increase in the slide and tilt mode of the device, that problem would be solved. FIG. 4 shows such a device.
 FIG. 4 shows a tilt and slide assembly where the angle 8 between the under sides of legs 2, 2' can be varied. Item 17 is a simple pivot point of which there are innumerable examples in the art. Item 18 is a circular tube that can accept item 19, a circular rod. Thus by opening or closing angle 8, circular rod 19 slides into or out of circular tube 18 thereby maintaining the planarity of the device. The structure formed by 18 and 19 also serves as the slide element or mounting for the device on glide or support post 7. It would be a simple matter to construct a device as depicted in FIG. 4 where the angle between the legs 8 can be made to travel between two selected angles, e.g. 60 and 120 degrees. The legs could easily be spring loaded such that in the equilibrium position the weight of hung items would pull the legs downward to a limit of 60 degrees. On the other hand, when the device is tilted and slid with the support post 7 positioned as in the lower drawing, the gravitational forces would allow the legs to be `sprung` apart. There are many examples of devices that open and close differently depending on how gravitational forces act upon the component parts are well known in the art. Clearly there are a variety of ways to accomplish this task.
 FIG. 5 depicts a tilt and slide device that can accommodate 10 hung items and that is significantly different than those previously disclosed herein. Note that this is a two legged assembly; however, the legs 20 and 20' are no longer straight but instead curve gently down to nearly vertical segments, giving the device a generally inverted U-shaped configuration. 21 is a structural support (or structural arms) attached to legs 20, 20' that has two functions. It provides structural support to the device, and the underside of 21 functions as a slide element for the device. The slot 21' formed by the arms of 21 and upper segments of legs 20, 20' provides a space for placing the device on the glide or support post 7. Thus the device can be slid on 7 and be moved left or right and tilted appropriately in order to increase the horizontal spacing of items hung on the lower nearly vertical segments of legs 20 or 20'.
 Clearly the more vertical stored items are arranged such as on the lower segments of legs 20, 20'; the more economical such a device would be regarding lateral space requirements. However, in constructing prototypes and as noted in the review of prior art, it soon became apparent that items hung essentially vertical tend to bulge away from the vertical--making it nearly impossible to retrieve hung items regardless of the tilt angle. FIG. 5 depicts a solution to that problem, viz., unequal spacing of sockets or hanger tubes as shown. In the Fig, it is clear that the spacing between tube numbers 1 and 2 (counting from the bottom of both legs 20 and 20' of the assembly) and 2 and 3 are significantly greater than the spacing between 3 and 4 and 4 and 5 (the latter tubes being positioned on the straight sections of the legs). This increased spacing of sockets 4 for the items hung on the nearly vertical portion of legs 20 and 20' allows the planes in which near neighbor items lie in to be significantly closer for several advantageous reasons. They include: (1) components of hangers such as clasps or other grabbing devices will not interfere with each other, i.e. increased spacing allows clasps to lie one above the other rather than the side of one clasp interfering or pressing against some part of a second clasp (2) many hung garments are bulkier near their tops, for example, the waistband region of trousers (when hung from the waistband), collars on shirts and (3) any hung non clothing item which exhibits a region of greater thickness at the top of the hung item than at regions below that.
 A potentially negative consequence of increasing socket spacing near the ends of legs 20, 20' as depicted in FIG. 5 is that the legs must be made longer than with the closer spacing in order to accommodate that. Clearly, the longer legs are made the greater the `turning radiuses` for the device when slid and tilted in either direction. This could cause the tilted assembly to require more lateral space in the tilt orientation. There is, however, a compensating factor. Recalling the discussion of the geometrical considerations of the `tilting` concept herein disclosed, increasing the spacing between tubes is in effect the equivalent of increasing the hypotenuse of the triangle that will be tilted. Consequently, because of the increased `hypotenuse` a smaller tilt angle is required to achieve an acceptable separation of items hung. Thus by appropriate choice of dimensions devices like that depicted in FIG. 5 can be constructed that can be slide and tilted and effectively require no more lateral space than in the equilibrium position.
 This notion was verified by constructing prototypes using variable socket spacing. For hanger tubes numbered 1-2 and 2-3 (numbers as described above) a spacing of 6.5 cm was used. For hanger tubes numbers 3-4 and 4-5, the spacing was 4.0 cm. This spacing allowed items hung (trousers hung from their waistbands, collared shirts) from the tubes numbered 1, 2 and 3 to be neatly hung in planes separated by no than 2 cm. With this close a spacing the interference of one hung item with its neighbors is minimal, even though items actually touch each other. This is because the wide parts of the hung items (for example, hanger hardware, collars, and waistbands), at the top of the items, basically lie one above the other.
 Moreover, as discussed from a geometrical aspect, above, a tilt angle that places either leg about 45 degrees below horizontal is all that is required to achieve adequate spacing for removal or hanging of items stored on the lower portions of the legs (positions 1, 2 and 3). This lessened tilt angle has another benefit which is that items hung from the leg tilted downwards even though they push into the center of the assembly do not interfere with hung items on the upward tilted leg because the `tilt` angle is relatively small.
 FIG. 6 depicts a modification of the hanger assembly disclosed in FIG. 5. In the drawing which shows the assembly in its slide and tilt position there is incorporated two `one way` joints or hinges 22 and 22'. By gravitational forces, the lower joint 22 is opened downward 45 degrees from its straight configuration, thus allowing segment 23 to fall away from the center of the assembly. To fabricate this prototype standard plastic universal joints (part number A 5M B-D308) were purchased from Stock Drive Products, a subsidiary of Designatronics, Inc. After appropriate modification, the universal joints were press fitted onto 0.25'' steel rod from which these devices were constructed. The universal joints 22 and 22' were modified such that they could only move in one plane, i.e., functioning more like a hinge than a universal joint. Additionally rather than movement in that plane of 45 degrees to either side of vertical, i.e. 90 degrees total, they were also modified to move from one of the 45 degree positions to the vertical plus an additional 5-10 degrees. In constructing the assembly, the joints were oriented so that they could only move in the plane of the assembly. Further, the orientation and modification only allowed them to move outward 45 degrees and inward about 8 degrees. Thus the joint 22' on the upper leg keeps the segment 23' in the plane of the assembly and restricts the opening of 22' in the downward direction from its straight position to about 8 degrees downward. Hence, because of the location of the hinges (basically on the curve of the legs) segment 23' does not substantially change its orientation when tilted upwards compared to when it is at the equilibrium position.
 As already noted the angle that segment 23 assumes due to gravity has changed by 45 degrees from when the assembly is in its equilibrium position. Thus the inclusion of these hinges in this assembly allows the lower segments 23 or 23' to move in either tilt and slide position (left or right) to a more `out of the way` position. Consequently, items hung from the center of the assembly are not interfered with, thereby increasing ready access to more hung items. By comparing prototype devices with and without hinges, it is clear that in the tilt position devices without the one way hinge, items hung from positions 1, 2 or 3 are easily accessed, whereas with the hinge additional items hung from positions 4 and 5 on the upward tilted leg, even in the tilted position, can be more readily accessed. This hinged leg segment concept thus affords the user some greater flexibility in operation.
 From the concepts just introduced pertaining to non linear legs and variable hanger tube spacing, it would be evident that an assembly could be constructed with a hinge at the apex of such legs similar to the concept introduced in FIG. 4. Such an arrangement would increase accessibility of hung items via another pathway, be compact in its horizontal space requirements and require no more space in the tilted position than in its equilibrium position.
 FIG. 7 shows a spring clip that is well known in the prior art, in which two clamping members are pivoted to one another by using a pin which passes through the holes of flanges of the clamping members. A torsion spring is sleeved around the pin. In the case of spring clips used for hanging clothing, the pin is generally replaced with a support rod along which the clip can be moved laterally. Clothing hangers having two such clips which can be adjusted laterally to accommodate various items of clothing are well known.
 FIG. 8 shows an exploded view of a self locking spring clamp as disclosed here which facilitates the hanging of short or long trousers and skirts on asymmetric hangers (co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/689,538 titled Asymmetric Hanger for Short and Long Trousers (where methods and devices for hanging clothing items that contain a waistband are disclosed) when such hangers are used in conjunction with the various space saver or clothing storage arrays disclosed here. In FIG. 8 is shown a spring clip having a first clamping member 24 with a first clamping portion 24a and a first press portion 24b, and a second clamping member 25 with a second clamping portion 25a and a second press plate 25b. The first and second press plates 24b and 25b are connected pivotally to one another to turn about an axis so as to cause the first and second clamping portions 24a and 25a to move towards or away from one another. Both clamping members are provided on each side with flanges 26 and pivot holes 27.
 A torsion spring 28 is further mounted on the clamping members 24 and 25 so as to urge the clamping members 24 and 25 to a clamping position. The torsion spring includes a coiled portion 29 which creates a cylindrical space into which a sleeve 30 is inserted. The sleeve within the body of the spring coil is shown in brackets as a second stage exploded view in FIG. 8. A support rod 31, which also allows the two clamping members to pivot to one another, passes through the holes in the flanges on the same side of the clamping members, thence through the sleeve 30 which is in the cylindrical space of the spring coil 29 and finally through the holds in the flanges on the opposite sides of the clamping members. FIG. 9 is a view of the assembled self locking spring clip, looking from the open side of the clip formed by the press plates that are sprung apart.
 It will be clear from FIGS. 8 and 9, that the sleeve is forced to move in concert with the spring clip when the latter is moved in either direction. As already noted the nature of the surface of the sleeve material, length of the sleeve and tightness on the support rod affect the frictional drag the self locking spring clip of this invention will exert on the support rod. Thus this disclosure affords the ability to create spring clips that will require significantly different force to move them laterally. This creates the potential for a wide array of applications where different locking forces are required.
 For the sleeve material various plastics, rubber and composite materials can be used. Vinyl tubing having inside diameters slightly smaller than support rods has been found to be quite acceptable. Thicker wall tubing of the same I.D. has been found to create more frictional drag and is more durable.
 The role of torsion springs in applying lateral frictional drag for these clips can, except for very strong springs, be made insignificant. In cases where the coil of a torsion spring does not provide sufficient cylindrical space for the insertion of a sleeve, a sleeve placed adjacent to the torsion spring and within the body of the clip is adequate to create the desired locking affect. As already noted sleeves can be affixed to the outsides of the flanges, such that they move with the spring clip, to provide the fractional drag to create a self locking spring clip. It is noted that the self locking spring clip disclosed here has application to a variety of uses, and that one or more self locking clips can be placed on a support rod depending on the nature of the application.
 While there have been shown and described, and pointed out, fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to preferred embodiments herein, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the disclosed invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the claims appended hereto. It is to be understood that the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale, but that they are merely conceptual in nature.
Patent applications by Paul A. Liberti, Naples, FL US
Patent applications in class GARMENT HANGERS
Patent applications in all subclasses GARMENT HANGERS