Patent application title: COORDINATED AND REPLACEABLE CUFF LINKS
Brian Edward Johnson (Albany, NY, US)
IPC8 Class: AA44B502FI
Class name: Buckles, buttons, clasps, etc. button with fastener link
Publication date: 2014-03-27
Patent application number: 20140082890
A design for cuff links permits interchangeable and replaceable
ornamental faces of a cuff link to be worn against the inside and against
the outside buttonholes of a shirt cuff.
1. A cuff link, comprising: a cylindrical linking rod sized to be
inserted through opposed button holes in a cuff having a smooth central
portion and two threaded ends; and two cuff ornament parts each having a
threaded recess receiving respective threaded ends of the linking rod;
each threaded recess having an edge meeting the smooth central portion of
the linking rod.
2. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the cuff ornament parts has a flat back face and the threaded recess is recessed in the center of the flat back face.
3. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the cuff ornament parts has an internally threaded annular portion extending from a back face of said at least one ornament part, said internally threaded annular portion having a smooth outer surface meeting the smooth central portion of the linking rod.
4. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein the two cuff ornament parts each have a three dimensional design, which together forming a three dimensional motif.
5. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein the two cuff ornament parts have flat front faces.
6. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein the smooth central portion has a diameter larger than a diameter of the threaded ends.
7. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein the linking rod is one piece.
8. The cuff link according to claim 1, wherein the linking rod is one piece and the diameter of the smooth central portion of the linking rod is substantially the same as the diameter of the threaded ends.
9. A cuff link kit, comprising at least two cuff links according to claim 1, and further comprising additional pairs of interchangeable ornament parts.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The invention is in the field of jewelry and is directed in particular to a design for cuff links that permits interchangeable and replaceable ornamental faces of a cuff link to be worn against both the inside and outside buttonholes of a shirt cuff.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 The typical cuff link in the United States comprises an ornamental face worn against the outside buttonhole of a shirt cuff. Extending from the rear of the ornamental face is a linking post. The most common design of a linking post comprises a pair of legs with a pivoting pin attached at the end. In a first position, the pivoting pin is aligned between the legs of the linking post so that the cuff link can pass through a buttonhole. Once the linking post is passed through the inner and outer buttonholes, the pivoting pin is turned to a second position perpendicular to the linking post, holding the shirt cuff closed. Examples of this type of design are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,813,732; 2,597,887; and 2,859,501.
 A drawback of the prior art design is that only one side of the shirt cuff is ornamented, the second side being reserved for the pivoting pin mechanism. Thus, it is desired to have a cuff link design which permits both sides of the shirt cuff to be ornamented.
 Some cuff links in the prior art permit a cuff link wearer to change the ornamental outside part of the cuff link. Examples are disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2011/0277213 and in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,588,067 and 6,363,584. However, these designs are generally mechanically complicated and sometimes require an attachment member to penetrate entirely through the ornamental face in order to attach to the supporting pin. These designs all fail to provide for three-dimensional design elements being provided on the inside and outside buttonhole. Thus, it is desired to have a cuff link adapted so that different three-dimensional designs on the inside and outside of a shirt cuff together form a three-dimensional motif.
 These and other objects of the invention are achieved according to the invention as follows.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 A cuff link according to the invention comprises a cylindrical linking rod sized to be inserted through opposed button holes in a cuff, having a smooth central portion and two threaded ends. Two cuff ornament parts are each provided with a threaded recess receiving respective threaded ends of the linking rod. Each threaded recess has an edge meeting the smooth central portion of the linking rod.
 Using the cylindrical linking rod, two cuff ornament parts may each have a three dimensional design which together form a three-dimensional motif. The motif may be selected according to the personal preference of customers, such as, without limitation, a fighter plane nose and tail, or a flower bloom and petals.
 The threaded attachment of the ornament parts permits easy replacement and interchangeability. Thus, the invention may be embodied as a kit or system characterized by having a plurality of pairs of ornament parts associated with a single linking rod.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 FIG. 1 depicts a linking rod having threaded ends according to an embodiment of the invention.
 FIG. 2 is an exploded view of a cuff link assembly according to an embodiment of the invention.
 FIG. 3 is an exploded view of inside and outside ornament parts of a cufflink according to the invention, together forming a common design motif.
 FIG. 4 depicts an ornament part according to another embodiment of the invention.
 FIG. 5 illustrates the cuff link of FIG. 3 in the button hole of a shirt cuff.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
 In FIG. 1, a linking rod 10 comprises a smooth central portion 12 and two threaded ends 14. "Smooth" in this context merely indicates that the central portion is not threaded. Thus, the smooth central portion may be engraved, for example, and still be considered "smooth." Preferably, the smooth central portion is polished stainless steel, silver, gold, bronze or other jewelry metal.
 According to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, smooth central portion 12 has a larger diameter than the threaded ends. The additional diameter of smooth central portion 12 may accommodate a threaded recess of the ornament part, such as the internally threaded annular recess 26 shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively, the smooth portion 12 may have substantially the same diameter as the threaded ends, and the threaded end 14 of the linking rod 10 may be threaded into a recess on the back face of the ornament part, such as the recess 42 of the ornament part 40 shown in FIG. 4. It is generally desired for aesthetic reasons that the meeting of the ornamental part with the linking rod be kept as seamless as possible. Thus, in this context, "substantially the same diameter" allows for the fact that threaded portion 14 has a varied diameter across its length. A diameter of a threaded portion is substantially the same diameter as the smooth portion if the back face of an ornament part such as in FIG. 4 meets the linking rod about as seamlessly as possible when the ornament part is threaded on.
 The linking rod is preferably, but not necessarily, formed of a single piece of metal. In some instances, it may be desirable to form the linking rod from a threaded rod with an internally threaded sleeve threaded onto the threaded rod, such that the ends of the threaded rod extend from the ends of the sleeve. This embodiment may provide a simple way to adjust the length of the smooth central portion of a single linking rod to accommodate a plurality of different ornament parts having different recess depth.
 FIG. 2 depicts the attachment of the cuff ornament parts to the threaded ends of the linking rod according to an embodiment of the invention. In FIG. 2, a first cuff ornament part 22 is received on the threaded linking rod. A second cuff ornament part has an internally threaded recess 26 extending from a back surface 28 of the second cuff ornament face in a state before it is threaded on. In this context, the "back" of an ornament part is the side facing the shirt cuff and the front is the opposite, ornamental side. The "inside" of an assembled cuff link is the side facing the body of the wearer and the "outside" is the opposite side.
 The cuff link 30 in FIG. 3 depicts an embodiment wherein the ornament parts incorporate different three-dimensional designs which together form a three-dimensional motif. In FIG. 3, first ornament part 34 is in the shape of an aircraft nose and the second ornament part 32 is in the shape of an aircraft tail. The cuff link wearer would thread either the first or second ornament part onto the linking rod 10, slide the rod through the buttonholes of a cuff, and thread the other ornament part onto the linking rod to complete the motif.
 FIG. 4 shows an instance where the ornament part embodies a simple cube design having a threaded recess formed in the back face thereof. In the preferred embodiments, as shown in FIG. 4, the recess does not penetrate through to the front face, so that the ornamental faces appear smooth. Depending on the particular design, using a threaded recess in the back face of the ornamental part may be preferable to using an internally threaded projection, as shown in FIG. 3.
 FIG. 5 shows the first ornament part 34 of FIG. 3 seated in the button hole 52 of a shirt sleeve 50. Of course, the design motif is not limited to an airplane nose and tail, and could as easily be a pair of dice; a rose and petals connected by the "stem" of the linking rod; or other design motif, best left to the ingenuity and creativity of the jeweler.
 As will be readily apparent, an important aspect of the invention resides in the interchangeable and replaceable character of the ornament parts. Thus, the invention may be embodied as a kit, including a pair of cuff links as described above, and further comprising additional pairs of ornament parts, with the additional pairs being sold separately or as part of the kit. The interchanging and replacing of ornament parts thus becomes part of the experience of wearing the jewelry.
 The above description of the preferred embodiments is not to be deemed limiting of the invention, which is defined by the following claims.
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