Patent application title: HANDHELD REELING DEVICE HANDLE
Jonathan David Nellis (Davis, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65H7540FI
Class name: With particular frame or frame carrier hand carried with distinct handle
Publication date: 2016-05-26
Patent application number: 20160145070
An improved handle for handheld reeling devices that utilizes an open
hand instead of a closed grip, to hold the reeling device. A resilient
flexible water resistant strap securely attached to reeling device frame,
creates a self-supporting open loop through which the operator inserts a
hand with greater ease while also being deflectable against the reeling
device frame for compactness during storage. The use of an open hand for
hold the reeling device frame provides better control over the reeling
device from the forces generated by the motion of the winding-hand.
1. An improved handle for handheld reeling devices comprising: a) a
handle strap constructed from a resilient flexible material; b) said
handheld reeling devices, comprising a non-rotatable reeling device frame
of sufficient size to contact the palmar surface of the hand in proximity
to the heel and the palmar surface of one or more fingers at the
intermediate and/or distal phalanges of the same hand simultaneously; c)
the handle strap securely fastened to the non-rotatable reeling device
frame in an orientation that creates a self-supporting loop with
sufficient annular clearance to freely insert the operators hand; and d)
the handle strap being positioned on the non-rotatable reeling device
frame such that the dorsal surface of the hand at the metacarpals or
proximal phalanges, in proximity to the metacarpophalangeal joints or at
the metacarpophalangeal joints themselves, contacts the interior surface
of the loop created by the handle strap, while the palmar surface of the
same hand in proximity to the heel and the palmar surface of one or more
fingers at the intermediate and/or distal phalanges of the same hand,
contact the surfaces of the non-rotatable reeling device frame.
2. The improved handle of claim 1 wherein said handle strap is adjustable for hand size.
3. The improved handle of claim 1 wherein said handle strap is sufficiently flexible, so as to allow the handle strap to be deflected against the non-rotatable reeling device frame when the operator's hand is not inserted in the loop.
4. The improved handle of claim 1 wherein said handle strap is resistant to water.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/123,789 filed Nov. 26, 2015.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Technical Field
 This invention relates generally to handheld reeling devices for elongated flexible elements, and more particularly to the handle by which the reeling device is held.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 These handheld reeling devices are commonly used for SCUBA diving, long tape measures in excess of 40 feet and other application where an elongated flexible element, such as string, line, wire or fabric tape is pulled out for use and then retracted for storage. An example of their use would be during diving inside an underwater cave, one end of a line is attached to the entrance of a cave, and the diver unwinds line off of a reel as they enter, so that they can find their way out if they lose visibility, due to complete darkness or extreme turbidity of the water. As the diver exits the cave, the line is reeled back in, so that nothing is left in the cave.
 Current reeling devices similar to U.S. Pat. No. 5,173,067 to Biba and U.S. Pat. No. 5,238,201 to Jonushaitis position the handle radially from the rotating spool's axis of rotation and other reeling devices, such as U.S. Pat. No. 3,962,9695 by Falcon, have the handle placed laterally from the spool plane of rotation, with a rigid handle. These handle designs rely on a grip type handle, about which the operator wraps their fingers and/or thumb, forming a closed hand, resembling a fist, to react the cranking motion. Unfortunately, the rotational cranking forces of the winding-hand on the reeling device can cause the handle attached to the reeling device frame, to rotate around its axis, inside the closed hand, when the force moments generated by cranking the spool are not perpendicular to the handle axis and the hand's grip is not strong enough to prevent rotation on the handle's axis. This results in hand fatigue to the operator and difficulty when winding, due to the excessive movement of the reeling device around the handle axis in the holding-hand.
 U.S. Pat. No. 2,923,490 by Smith utilizes an adjustable bail handle placed longitudinally away from a brake disc connected to a rotating spool, to apply pressure to the brake disc and assist in holding the reeling device. The handle is fixed at one end and removable at the other, to adjust the bail for the appropriate length, so the user's hand can operate the brake, but does not provide a means for preventing the adjustable end of the bail handle from coming off the hook when tension is not maintained on the handle. The bail handle being removable on one end is a liability in situations when the user may not have a free hand available to re-hook the strap, should it come off when not in use, such as when the reel is stored in a pocket. When SCUBA diving, manual dexterity can be hampered by thick gloves and the ability to re-hook a removable strap end, would be hampered by this. Similarly, not having two hands available to install the bail onto the hook or not being able to see the bail and hook, from to a complete loss of visibility due to darkness or severely turbid water, would also hamper use of the reeling device. The Smith reeling device also does not provide a provision for maintaining an open loop, through which to insert the hand, which is necessary for the expeditious insertion of the hand, under challenging operating conditions and when time is a factor.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates generally to handheld reeling devices used to wind and unwind elongated flexible elements.
 It relates more particularly to an improved handle which is used to hold a non-rotatable reeling device frame with a holding-hand, while the operator performs the winding, by means of a crank or knob, connected to a spool, rotating around an axle that is connected to the reeling device frame, using their winding-hand.
 This invention is an improved handle that holds the reeling device with an open hand, instead of a closed hand. The invention relies on the operator's holding-hand making at least two areas of contact with the reeling device frame, the first being the palmar area of the hand in proximity to the heel and the second area being palmar surfaces of one or more fingers in proximity to the intermediate and/or distal phalanges of the same hand, and a third area of contact against a handle strap that crosses the dorsal surface of the same hand at the metacarpals or proximal phalanges, in proximity to the metacarpophalangeal joints, or at the metacarpophalangeal joints themselves, and is securely fastened to the reeling device frame on both ends.
 The handle strap is made from a material which is a resilient flexible polymer or other similar material of sufficient stiffness to cause the handle strap to form an open loop that is self-supporting, when attached to the reeling device frame in an appropriate orientation, with sufficient annular clearance for easy insertion of the hand. The strap material is flexible enough to able to deflect the self-supporting loop against the reeling device frame for compactness during storage, when the operator's hand is not present in the loop.
 Pressure exerted by the heel area of the hand and fingers onto the reeling device frame, is reacted by the handle strap crossing over the dorsal surface of the hand, and the resultant opposing forces, along with the friction between the contact areas of the hand and reeling device, hold the reeling device in place on the hand.
 One particularly advantageous application of the invention is that reel operator can more easily insert their hand into the loop, which is automatically sprung open by the resilient flexible properties of the handle strap material, while the handle loop can also be collapsed down for more compact storage, when the operator's hand is not present.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the invention, showing a handle strap mounting configuration.
 FIG. 2 shows the section cut line of an embodiment for the view in FIG. 3
 FIG. 3 is a sectioned side view of an embodiment of the invention, with a hand for reference, showing an example of the contact areas between the hand and reeling device frame and handle strap.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a handheld reeling device, with a handle strap 6 which is securely fastened to a reeling device frame 5 with fastening hardware 7. The handle strap 6 is made from a resilient flexible material, such as a polymer or similar type material or composite of two or more materials that create a resilient flexible handle strap 6. The handle strap material is relatively flat when not stressed, but when it is bent to install on the reeling device frame 5, the stress of bending, creates an open loop that is self-supporting. The ends of the handle strap 6 are securely fastened to the reeling device frame 5 in such a way that it bends the handle strap 6, so that it results in an open loop large enough to allow the hand, held flat with the fingers extended and touching laterally, to enter.
 It is understood that a pre-formed handle strap made of resilient flexible material that does not need to be bent could also be used instead of a material the is relatively flat in its relaxed state.
 When the hand is not inserted in the loop created by the handle strap and reeling device frame, the handle strap material is flexible enough to allow the self-supporting loop to be deflected closer to the reeling device frame 5 with pressure on the outer face of the handle strap 6, to make the overall reeling device more compact for storage. When the pressure is removed, the handle strap 6 will spring back to an open position due to the resilient flexible properties of the material.
 FIG. 3 shows a cross section of the same embodiment with a holding-hand drawn for reference. The invention relies on the operator's open hand making a minimum of three areas of contact with the reeling device, labeled A, B and C. Two contact areas being on the reeling device frame 5, the first area labeled "A", being the palmar area of the hand in proximity to the heel and a second area, labeled "B", being the palmar surfaces of one or more fingers in proximity to the intermediate and/or distal phalanges of the same hand, and a third area of contact, labeled "C", against the inside of the handle strap 6 that crosses the dorsal surface of the same hand at the metacarpals or proximal phalanges, in proximity to the metacarpophalangeal joints, or at the metacarpophalangeal joints themselves, which is securely fastened to the reeling device frame 5 on both end with fastening hardware 7.
 A hand that is held flat, with fingers together laterally, is inserted into the self-supporting loop created by the handle strap 6 and the reeling device frame 5 and the hand flexing its fingers towards the reeling device frame 5, exerts forces onto to the frame at the palm/heel of the hand at contact area "A" and fingers at contact area "B", which are then reacted by the handle strap 6 crossing over the dorsal surface of the hand, which transmits an equal and opposite force to the reeling device frame 5 through the fastening hardware 7, to hold the reel on the hand.
 The operator performs the winding, by means of a knob 1, connected to a spool, comprised of a rotating core 2 with attached spool flanges 3, rotating around an axle 4 that is connected to the reeling device frame 5, using their winding-hand.
 The contact areas "A" and "B" in FIG. 3 are not exclusive to each part of the operator's hand, as the reeling device frame may be reversible on the hand.
 The handle strap 6 that crosses over the dorsal surface of the hand may be adjustable for different hand sizes, or fixed, with no adjustment for hand size.
 Should the holding-hand be wearing a glove or mitten, the outer surfaces of the glove or mitten in contact with contact areas A, B and C previously mentioned, is also implied.
 It should be appreciated that merely a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described above. However, modifications and variations to the preferred embodiment will be apparent to those skilled in the art, which will be within the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, the invention should not be limited to the described embodiment. To ascertain the full scope of the invention, the following claims should be referenced.