Patent application title: RELEASABLE BALLOON CLIP
Robert Denyse, Jr. (Buford, GA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63H2710FI
24 20 R
Class name: Buckles, buttons, clasps, etc. bale and package ties, hose clamps metal bands
Publication date: 2014-11-20
Patent application number: 20140338155
At least one pair of opposed, congruent, transversely curved,
longitudinally consistent, surfaces each presented by one of two portions
hinged together at one end intended to traverse the stem of a balloon are
brought into a close spaced apart parallel disposition tensioned between
a pinion on one end and catch on the other. The spacing compresses the
two walls of the stem of a conventional balloon together providing a
tight seal that can be released manually for reuse if desired. An oval
perimeter to at least one of the two portions, with the pinion and catch
defining the longitudinal axis, is suggested including a band defining an
aperture for securing a tether is suggested. Use of two adjacent pairs of
opposed, congruent, transversely curved, longitudinally consistent,
surfaces is also suggested to yield a rounded shape to avoid potential
skin abrasion in manipulation or in being hit by a water filled balloon.
1. A releasable balloon clip comprising: two portions, connected by a
hinge wherein each opposing portion comprises a releasable catch, a
pinion, and at least one pair of opposed congruent longitudinally
2. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 further having a band defining an aperture facilitating the fastening of a tether thereto.
3. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 having a generally ovoid shape.
4. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 having a substantially oval perimeter.
5. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 having a pair of opposed congruent longitudinally consistent surfaces comprising a convex longitudinal surface and a concave longitudinal surface.
6. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 having a plurality of pairs of opposed congruent longitudinally consistent surfaces.
7. The releasable balloon clip of claim 6 wherein said pairs of opposed congruent longitudinally consistent surfaces are comprised of a convex longitudinal surface and a concave longitudinal surface.
8. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 having a substantially flat face on the back of said right and left hand portions opposed to each other when said right and left hand portions are biased into a closed position engaging said pinion and said catch.
9. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 wherein said pinion is comprised of a gathering post and a gathering post socket.
10. The releasable balloon clip of claim 9 wherein said gathering post and gathering post socket possess a substantially rectangular shape aligned transversely, perpendicular to said longitudinal axis.
11. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 possessing a guide tab extending longitudinally outward from said portion possessing said rib.
12. The releasable balloon clip of claim 11 wherein said guide tab is positioned below said longitudinal axis.
13. The releasable balloon clip of claim 1 wherein said catch is comprised of a rib extending from the end of one said portion opposite said hinge and a post with an elevated terminal lip on the end of the other said portion opposite said hinge.
14. The releasable balloon clip of claim 13 possessing a relief below said lip.
15. The releasable balloon clip of claim 14 wherein said relief below said lip extends through the portion on which said post is located.
17. The releasable balloon clip of claim 13 further possessing an alignment post.
18. The releasable balloon clip of claim 13 further having a band defining an aperture facilitating the fastening of a tether thereto.
19. The releasable balloon clip of claim 13 having a pair of opposed congruent longitudinally consistent surfaces comprising a convex longitudinal surface and a concave longitudinal surface.
20. The releasable balloon clip of claim 13 having a plurality of pairs of opposed congruent longitudinally consistent surfaces.
FIELD OF INVENTION
 The present invention relates to devices intended to close inflated, or liquid distended, conventional, elastomeric walled, toy balloons.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
 Conventional toy balloons are considered to be well known and characterized by construction in thin wall elastomeric material with a slightly thicker wall neck or stem having a rolled annular termination about the orifice. Filling the balloon with pressurized gas, typically air or helium, or a fluid, typically water, distends the thin balloon wall opposite the orifice with closure commonly effected with manual tying of the stem in an simple overhand knot or with a length of string in a square knot that is generally considered, for all practical intents and purposes, irreversible. Conventional toy balloons are hence generally considered to be disposable, even if the size is enormous and the retail cost considerable.
 The disposable aspect of conventional, elastomeric walled, toy balloons is considered to be exhibited by a variety of characteristics dependent upon the specific use. The delight of a child presented with a moderately large buoyant helium filled balloon tethered by a length of string is often matched by the wonder of its ascent out of sight upon accidental, if only momentary, release of the string, if not wails and tears attendant the loss. Only the disenchantment attendant the gradual escape of the helium, typically observed the next morning by a child who has secured the wonder to their bed or another piece of furniture in their room the night before, is a reliable alternative. Filling smaller, more common, conventional, elastomeric walled, toy balloons with water for the purpose of soaking an opponent in a game relies in its delight upon its fragile nature.
 It is also noted, in further regard to the ephemeral nature of conventional, elastomeric walled, toy balloons, that metallic thin wall novelty balloons, often printed with graphics and characters expressing congratulations on the completion of another year in someone's life, i.e. `HAPPY BIRTHDAY`, have been developed in relatively recent years that withstand deflation, and hence loss of buoyancy if filled with helium, significantly longer than conventional elastomeric walled toy balloons. It is commented that these metallic novelty balloons are considerably more expensive than conventional elastomeric walled toy balloons and the development of the same is considered another indication of the assumption that conventional elastomeric walled toy balloons are essentially ephemeral and disposable.
 The only balloon clip known to the present applicant is described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,380,103. "It has two arms with coacting locking means comprising C-shaped flanges which retain and seal an object within an interior clamping area." (quoted from U.S. Pat. No. 4,648,178). It is further noted that the `interior clamping area` lies between two substantially flat opposed surfaces each presented by one of the `two arms`, that the `C-shaped flanges` engage concentrically with the interior termination enclosed within the exterior without means of disengagement, that the structure is comprised of a uniform width of a substantially uniform thickness including the C-shaped hinge opposed to the two `C-shaped flanges` when closed intended to facilitate locking of a number of clips upon a number of balloons quickly and easily with use of a device intended for this purpose, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,648,178: `Balloon Clip Stapler Device`; U.S. Pat. No. 4,694,554 `Method of Clamping Off A Tubular Member Such As The Neck Of A Balloon`; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,666,709 `Balloon Clip Fastening Device`.
 It is first noted that the balloon clip disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,380,103 is designed to lock irreversibly and is consequently unsuited to repeated use. It secondly noted that this balloon clip is manufactured from an extrusion sheared to length and consequently possesses sharp edges unsuited to manual manipulation or use with water filled balloons thrown by children against others in what is considered to be a primary use today for conventional elastomeric walled toy balloons.
 It is also noted that the balloon clip disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,380,103 relies upon two substantially flat opposed surfaces disposed adjacent to each other by locking one curled edge within the other with both surfaces necessarily, by result of extrusion, being transversely straight and hence inherently permissive of fluid leakage through the transverse stem. The sharp edges resulting from shearing, moreover, invites puncture of a highly inflated or water filled conventional elastomeric walled toy balloon.
 It is further noted with regard to the balloon clip disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,380,103 that an open bend opposite the interlocking transverse involutions or curls is in communication with the space between the opposed clamping surfaces and that if the stem of the balloon extends into this open bend the balloon is not sealed. This is considered to be necessarily consequent to the very simple structure involved. The open bend is opposed to the locking involute terminations and the clamping surfaces pressed against each other by a positive closure at only one end; leaving the other end susceptible to leakage.
 It is thus considered that a need exists for a balloon clip that is suited to repeated use, has smooth edges, does not permit leakage of fluid, and is wholly reliable in use with positive closure effected at both ends of the clamping areas involved.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the disclosed innovation. This summary is not an extensive overview, and it is not intended to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope thereof. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.
 The primary object of the present invention is to provide a balloon clip that does not permit leakage through the stem of an inflated or water filled conventional elastomeric walled toy balloon.
 An auxiliary object of the present invention is to provide a balloon clip that is releasable in sealing the stem of an inflated or water filled conventional elastomeric walled toy balloon thereby permitting repeated use of the clip and, if desired, the balloon.
 An ancillary object of the present invention is the provision of a balloon clip that does not present any sharp edges capable of puncturing the inflated or water filled conventional elastomeric walled toy balloon sealed thereby or the skin of anyone manipulating the clip or hit by the same sealing a water filled balloon.
 In achievement of the primary object stated above it is suggested that two opposed congruent surfaces each curved transversely be utilized to trap the stem of a conventional elastomeric walled toy balloon and that the spacing between said surfaces be calibrated to compress said elastomeric walls thereby ensuring a tight seal of the stem prohibiting leakage there through.
 In achievement of the ancillary objects stated above it is suggested that all of the edges be rounded. In achievement of the auxiliary objects stated above it is suggested that the closure be releasable and the area for transverse disposition of the stem of the balloon be longitudinally conformed between a catch at one end and a pinion interior to a reduced thickness hinge joining two substantially rigid portions. Appropriate dimensioning of the pinion and catch in an injection molding enable the precise spacing between the two opposed congruent transversely curved surfaces desired for compression while the male pinion member provides a physical limit for the stem confining the same within the desired clamping area. The hinge is thereby freed from any structural requirement other than maintaining the two main body parts in physical connection with each other and in appropriate, longitudinally aligned, position for closure when open.
 Still other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following description wherein there is shown and described the embodiments of this invention, simply by way of illustration of the best modes suited to carry out the invention. As it will be realized, the invention is capable of other different embodiments and its several details are capable of modifications in various obvious aspects all without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the drawing and descriptions will be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Various exemplary embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, wherein like reference numerals refer to identical or similar components, with reference to the following figures, wherein:
 FIG. 1 is a plain elevational view taken from the front of a releasable balloon clip in accordance with the principles relating to the present invention in a fully open position.
 FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view taken through the longitudinal plane normal to the page of the releasable balloon clip depicted in FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is a plain elevational view taken from the front of the releasable balloon clip depicted in FIG. 1 in the closed position.
 FIG. 4 is a plain elevational view taken from the bottom of the closed releasable balloon clip depicted in FIG. 3.
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the balloon clip including an alignment post.
 FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the balloon clip with the alignment post in the closed position.
 10 releasable balloon clip
 11 left hand portion
 12 right hand portion
 13 hinge
 15 band
 16 catch
 17 pinion
 19 perimeter
 20 aperture
 21 convex longitudinal surface
 22 concave longitudinal surface
 23 rib
 25 post
 26 lip
 27 gathering post
 29 gathering post socket
 30 gap
 31 guide tab
 32 relief
 33 substantially flat face
 34 alignment post
 The claimed subject matter is now described with reference to the drawings. In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the claimed subject matter. It may be evident, however, that the claimed subject matter may be practiced with or without any combination of these specific details, without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention and the claims.
 The releasable balloon clip 10 depicted in FIGS. 1-5 is first noted to have two basic dispositions: open and closed. Although there are infinite degrees of open that could be argued and certainly the definition of fully open is a matter of function, for the purpose of this application, open describes a position sufficiently open to place the stem of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon transversely, from top to bottom, or bottom to top, as seen in the application's figures. The state constituting closed is definitive as illustrated in FIGS. 3 & 4, and defined in detail further below.
 One embodiment of the releasable balloon clip relating to the present invention is injection molded with a two part mold resulting in the configuration, depicted in FIGS. 1 & 2. In this fully open position, the left hand portion 11 and the right hand portion 12 are aligned and the hinge 13 connecting the two is depicted with an apex, or nadir with regard to mold cavity depth, below the two. Once a releasable balloon clip 10 of this specific structure is released from the mold and cooled the hinge 13 will curl slightly and a shallow angle obtained between the left and right hand portions 11, 12.
 Closing of the releasable balloon clip 10 will exacerbate this curling considerably and a fully open position disposing the left and right hand portions 11, 12 approximately perpendicular to each other is expected if the releasable balloon clip 10 is left in the closed position for a day or more, especially if closed without the stem of a conventional toy balloon clamped thereby. The memory of the plastic, polypropylene, is still sufficient to return an open releasable balloon clip 10, once released, to a fully open position ready for unimpeded use again. The hinge 13 is noted to be of thinner wall thickness and width than either portion 11, 12 and that the former, particularly, provides its relative flexibility in comparison with either the left or right hand portions 11, 12 and the thickness of the hinge 13 is largely determinative of flexibility in inverse relation.
 An arcuate band 15 is clearly seen in FIGS. 1 & 3 providing two functions: an aperture 20 for passage of, and securement to, an end of a tether, considered most useful for helium filled balloons; and a fully rounded, oval perimeter 19. The aperture 20 is clearly an option and the oval perimeter also unnecessary to the essential function of a releasable balloon clip 10 in accordance with the principles relating to the present invention. Both however, are considered desirable because a rounded shape is desired to avoid possible injury including skin puncture or abrasion as result of contact therewith, and a generally oblong shape, provides an efficient use of material in satisfaction of the basic function; clamping the neck of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon to obtain a seal that is substantially insusceptible to leakage.
 In an alternate embodiment the catch 16 of the releasable balloon clip 10 depicted in the figures attached hereto is comprised of two parts each positioned opposite the hinge 13; a rib 23 extending from the right side of the right hand portion 12; and a post 25 extending upward from the left hand side of the left hand portion 11 with a lip 26 at its upward termination extending to the right. Closure of the releasable balloon clip 10 is effected by urging the right and left hand portions 12, 11 together forcing the rib 23 under the lip 26. This is best seen in FIG. 3 while these components are also clearly seen in an open position in FIG. 2. The catch 16 must be opposite the hinge 13 but whether the rib 23, or the post 25 and lip 26, is on the right hand portion 12 or left hand portion 11 is as arbitrary as the designation of right and left hand.
 Similarly, the pinion 17 of the releasable balloon clip 10 depicted in the figures attached hereto is comprised of two parts each disposed on the same end as the hinge 13; a gathering post 27 extending upward from the right end of the left hand portion 11; and a gathering post socket 29 in the left end of the right hand portion 12. The placement of gathering post sockets 27 and 29 on their respective portions 11 and 12 can vary from the aforementioned locations as long as the gathering post sockets 27 and 29 interlock when the releasable balloon clip 10 is in a closed position. The most important aspect to both the mating elements the pinion 17 and the catch 16 is that each are dimensioned to engage in closure; that the distance from the hinge 13 of both constituent elements to these components is the same and that the distance between the pinion 17 and catch 16 components is sufficient to confine the neck of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon.
 It is suggested, however, that the gathering post 27 be on the same portion 11, 12, left or right hand, as the post 25 so that these two elements provide physical barriers limiting the end to end extent of the neck of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon and ensuring that the same is wholly encompassed in closing by at least one pair of opposed convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22. And, as a further assistance to alignment of the right and left hand portions 12, 11 in closure ensuring engagement of the catch 16, a guide tab 31, seen in FIGS. 1 & 3 on the right end of the right hand portion 12, extending to the right and positioned to follow the bottom of the post 25, is provided. It is not important as to whether the guide tab 31, which itself is strictly optional, follows the bottom or top of the post 25, and indeed, the designation of top and bottom is also arbitrary, but since the second set of opposed convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22 is what is considered below the first, central, or axial, set and the top of the same is absent on the right hand portion 12, location of the guide tab 31 to follow the bottom of the post 25 is more convenient.
 Most importantly, the neck of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon is clamped between at least one pair of opposed convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22. The second set is not necessary, although it is recommended, and in this case one convex longitudinal surface 21 is adjacent one concave longitudinal surface 22 on either portion 11, 12. Similarly, if a third set is desired, concavity is alternated with convexity on the same portion 11, 12 while, most importantly, convex longitudinal surfaces 21 are opposed to concave longitudinal surfaces 22 in closure.
 It is further noted that the designation longitudinal is arbitrary and but that this direction is perpendicular to the stem of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon clamped thereby which, for the sake of consistency in terminology, is disposed transversely with respect to the longitudinal aspect of the releasable balloon clip 10; i.e. the orientation given by the alignment of the catch 16, pinion 17, if utilized, and the hinge 13. And it is further considered of importance that the opposed pairs of convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22 each be uniform in the longitudinal direction, vary in elevation in the transverse direction, and this variation in elevation be smooth, so as to avoid puncture of the stem of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon disposed there between. But most importantly the gap 30, seen in FIG. 4, between opposed pairs of convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22 must be substantially uniform in the closed position and, further, of a dimension to effect sealing of the stem of a conventional elastomeric toy balloon clamped there between by a releasable balloon clip 10.
 It is recommended that the gap 30 between opposed convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22 of a releasable balloon clip 10 be of a slightly lesser dimension than the combination of the two opposed elastomeric walls of the stem of a conventional toy balloon. Polypropylene, moreover, is recommended for moderate resilience characteristics obtaining a suitably flexible hinge 13 and comparatively rigid engaging portions 11, 12 necessary to ensure compression of the two walls of the stem of a conventional elastomeric, generally latex, toy balloon.
 It is noted that the releasable balloon clip 10 depicted in FIG. 3 possesses a substantially flat face 33 on the back, or exterior, of both portions 11, 12 while in the open position and that these two substantially flat faces 33 comprise opposite front and back surfaces when the releasable balloon clip 10 is closed. This feature is of significance to facilitate the ease of manufacturing through injection molding. A relief 32, located just to the right of the post 25, which extends through to the left hand portion 11 may also be manufactured by injection molding as an insert may be placed therein to assist in effecting the lip 26 on the end of the post 25. It is similarly noted that the gathering post socket 29, conversely, preferably comprises a blind cavity, as shown in FIGS. 1 & 2, so that the pinion 17 formed by the combination of the two `bottoms out` and provides the rather precise, uniform, spacing of the gap 30 desired for reasons hoped to be clear in the above. Lacking any undercut or overhang, as in the case of the lip 26, a blind cavity for the gathering post socket 29 is easily effected with a two-part mold without use of an insert.
 It is lastly noted, with regard to the gathering post socket 29 and gathering post 27, that although the shape of both are generally rectangular, parallel to the plane of the page in FIGS. 1 & 3, oriented transversely with the longer dimension, perpendicular the opposed convex and concave longitudinal surfaces 21, 22 any shape will suffice as long as the two are congruent and engage in closing.
 In a final embodiment, as referenced in FIG. 5, the right hand portion 12 contains an alignment post to prevent the right hand portion 12 from over extending and breaking while the right hand portion 12 is being compressed against the left hand portion 11. Utilizing the alignment post also allows the user to release the snap release from the lip 26 with minimized strain to the design. Therefore, this embodiment is user-friendly and minimizes wear and tear on the balloon clip 10. FIG. 6, depicts a closed version of FIG. 5.
 What has been described above includes examples of the claimed subject matter. It is, of course, not possible to describe every conceivable combination of components or methodologies for purposes of describing the claimed subject matter, but one of ordinary skill in the art can recognize that many further combinations and permutations of such matter are possible. Accordingly, the claimed subject matter is intended to embrace all such alterations, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Furthermore, to the extent that the term "includes" is used in either the detailed description or the claims, such term is intended to be inclusive in a manner similar to the term "comprising" as "comprising" is interpreted when employed as a transitional word in a claim.
Patent applications in class Metal bands
Patent applications in all subclasses Metal bands