Adjustable disposable cap

Apparel – Head coverings – Of particular – peculiar material

Reexamination Certificate

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Reexamination Certificate

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06460194

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to disposable caps having an adjustable headband and an accordion folded crown. More particularly, the present invention relates to improvements in the structure of such caps making them more comfortable to wear; making the caps so they do not pop open at the crown; reducing their thickness for less costly packaging; making it easier to control the materials from which the caps are made during the manufacturing process; making facing, opposed crown panels less prone to being inadvertently joined during manufacture due to adhesive leaking through the crown material; and requiring less material to manufacture while retaining an appearance similar to that of caps that use more material for their manufacture.
Disposable paper caps are widely used for a number of purposes where it is necessary to prevent hair and other particles shed by food handlers from getting into work product, i.e. where it is necessary to maintain sanitary conditions such as during the preparation of food. Disposable caps suitable for this purpose typically include an adjustable headband and an accordion folded crown adhesively attached to the headband. Despite being in long and widespread use such caps still suffer from certain defects. One such defect is caps made with narrow multiple accordion pleats where the accordion fold is placed midway to high on the headband side panel. See for example U.S. Pat. No. 4,651,352 where the accordion folded crown 18 is positioned relatively high on the headband 20. This type of manufacture has a tendency to allow the free end of the crown paper material to pop open when the cap is pulled downward on the head especially when the cap is worn backwards. This exposes the wearer's head thus in part defeating the purpose of the cap.
Another issue is the thickness of the cap due to the use of eight or more overlying accordion folded panels in the crown. It therefore is desirable to reduce the number of accordion panels used to make the crown. For example, reducing the number of panels from eight to six or four makes the folded crown paper approximately 25% to 50% thinner in its folded condition. This means the cap itself is thinner in its folded condition. A cap having reduced thickness occupies less volume when packaged and is therefore less costly to ship. However, the overall dimensions and therefore the area of the crown must not be reduced as it must remain sufficiently expandable to cover a wearer's head.
Still another problem is the rising cost of paper which is the most common material used for the manufacture of disposable caps. It therefore is desirable to reduce the amount of paper used to manufacture the headband. This may be accomplished by reducing the width of the upper and lower inner panels of the headband. However, such reduction in width leaves a substantial gap between the free marginal edges of the upper and lower inner panels. This gap is perceptible when the cap is on the wearer's head and is considered to be a commercial defect. The problem of the perceptible gap between the inner panels is eliminated if the crown is attached to the lower inner panel of the headband. By this construction the crown obscures the gap.
Yet another problem is that during manufacture the glue used to adhesively attach the crown to the headband may leak through pin holes in the crown paper material. The leaking glue can cause unwanted attachment of opposed panels of the crown. It therefore is desirable to provide a cap structure that keeps the panels spaced apart until the glue or other adhesive dries.
During manufacture it can be difficult to control the tissue used to make the crown especially as it is folded into an accordion configuration. Control problems increase in proportion to the number of folds in the crown. It therefore follows that an accordion pleated crown with less panels and therefore less folds is easier to control.
These problems are resolved by the disposable cap construction described herein.
Paper caps having an adjustable headband and a tissue paper accordion pleated crown are known. See for example U.S. Pat. No. 4,651,352 issued to the present inventor and assigned to Keystone Adjustable Cap Co. The accordion pleated crown has eight panels and is adhesively attached to the upper panel 22. Keystone Adjustable Cap Co. has for a number of years manufactured and sold a paper cap corresponding to the cap shown in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of U.S. Pat. No. 4,651,352. The free marginal edges of the upper and lower inner panels of the headband for this cap are spaced about one-quarter inch apart.
Cellucap/Melco of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has for many years made and sold a disposable paper cap having an adjustable headband and an accordion folded tissue paper pleated crown. The crown has eight panels with the outer most lateral panels being adhesively joined to the lower inner panel of the headband. The free edges of the upper and lower inner headband panels are spaced about seven-eighths inch apart.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,055,857 describes a disposable cap having an adjustable headband and an accordion folded crown. The upper and lower inner panels of the headband overlap to form a tubular headband structure. The crown has four panels formed into a “M” cross section configuration. The two lateral panels are adhesively attached to the upper inner panel of the headband.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,383,709 describes a cap with an adjustable headband and a pleated accordion crown. In one embodiment described in the patent the crown has only one fold to form two panels (FIGS. 3, 4, and 5). In another embodiment the crown has six panels (FIGS. 9 and 11). In both embodiments the crown is adhesively attached to the lower inner panel of the headband. The adjustable headband is either tubular or the free edges of the upper and lower inner panels are spaced apart. The crown is partly adhesively adhered to the upper inner panel of the headband, to the lower inner panel and to the outer panel at the space between the free ends of the upper and lower inner panels.
It therefore is an object of the present invention to provide a disposable adjustable cap having an adjustable headband and accordion folded crown. The cap has reduced thickness in its folded condition. The amount of paper or other material used to make the headband is reduced by reducing the width of the upper and lower inner panels of the headband leaving a substantial gap between the panels. The thickness of the crown is reduced by using a folded accordion crown having only four panels, or six in one embodiment. The lateral panels of the crown are adhesively joined to the lower inner panel of the headband. Accordingly, the crown generally covers the gap between the free edges of the upper and lower inner panels. This structure uses the same amount of material for the crown while providing a cap that is at least as comfortable as the prior art caps described above and at the same time eliminating the problem of exposure of the head when the cap is worn backwards.
The cross sectional structure of the crown reduces if not eliminates the problem of crown panels being adhesively joined due to leaking adhesive by positioning the apex of the two central panels above or below the location of the adhesive thus using the two central panels to space apart the opposed lateral panels.
By this construction the crown paper front side is held securely and glued on both sides making it impossible for the crown to pop up or outward from the headband.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An adjustable disposable cap in accordance with the present invention includes an adjustable headband and an accordion folded crown. The headband is folded to form an outer panel and upper and lower longitudinally extending inner panels. The headband is further folded to form a central section and two end sections with the first of said end sections of said headband being slideably insertable into the other section of said headband so that the first end is moveable with respect to the other end. An

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