US 3903944 A
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United States Patent Montgomery et a1.
[ FABRIC UTILITY BAG  Inventors: Joseph Montgomery, Stamford;
John Wistrand, New Canaan, both of Conn.
 Assignee: Cannondale Corporation, Stamford,
 Filed: July 18, 1973  Appl. No.: 380,458
 US. Cl ISO/2.7; 190/53 C; 150/1; ISO/2.1; ISO/2.6; 150/28  Int. Cl. B65D 57/00  Field of Search 150/1, 2.6, 27, 21, 28 R; 224/43; 190/53 C  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,437,057 3/1948 Waters 150/1 2,880.775 4/1959 Beattie 150/1 3,422,867 l/l969 Yuhuan Wu 150/1 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,464,099 11/1965 France 11 lSO/l Primary Examiner--William 1. Price Assistant ExaminerR. E. Hart Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Brumbaugh, Graves, Donohue & Raymond  ABSTRACT The durability, utility and attractiveness of various types of fabric utility bags are enhanced by providing as a protective and shape-giving liner a strip of semifiexible, resilient compressible material within the bag, the shape-giving liner being substantially coextensive with and in engagement with at least three adjacent walls of the bag. Opposite edges of the liner are received and held in pockets, the distance between the bottoms of the pockets measured along the walls of the bag engaged by the liner being substantially equal to the dimension of the liner between the ends received in the pockets.
7 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures FABRIC UTILITY BAG BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Fabric utility bags of a wide variety of types are used for a multitude of purposes. For example, various types of back-packs are used by campers and hikers. Duffel bags in a wide range of sizes are available for such purposes as carrying athletic equipment, short duration travel and, in the case of larger duffel bags, for extended travel, particularly recreational travel. The military has long used duffel bags as the principal piece of luggage for military personnel. Bicycle and motorcycle enthusiasts have long used seat bags, handle bar bags and saddlebags. Mothers of infant children are well acquainted with various types of diaper bags, and many women carry an often incredible variety of objects in handbags and shoulder bags. Students use utility bags to carry books and other materials to and from school.
Most utility bags of the types exemplified by those referred to above are made of fabric, canvas being perhaps the most widely used type of fabric. Most fabrics are reasonably light in weight, strong and durable. The flexibility of most fabrics permits the utility bags to be conveniently stored when not in use and facilitates handling them when in use. On the other hand, fabric provides a minimum of protection for objects being carried. Relatively lightweight bags of nylon fabric, for example, are susceptible of being easily torn or pierced by sharp edged or pointed objects carried in the bag and by impact against pointed or sharp edged objects. For this reason, relatively heavy canvas is probably the best material used heretofore in utility bags. More recently, laminates of fabrics and plastics or plastic coated fabrics have come into use because of enhanced durability, but canvas and plastic laminated or coated fabrics are generally heavy and often undesirably stiff or rigid.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an improvement in the construction of fabric utility bags and involves, more particularly, the provision of a protective and shape-giving liner in the form of a strip of semiflexible, resilient, compressible material that is received within the bag to be substantially coextensive with and in engagement with at least three adjacent walls of the bag. The protective and shape-giving liner may be used in almost any type of utility bag.
More particularly, a utility bag, in accordance with the invention, comprises an outer enclosure of a flexible material, which may be of any conventional fabric. As used herein, the term fabric is intended broadly to include any flexible sheet material, including plastic films as well as conventional woven or knitted fabrics, and also as including woven or knitted fabrics coated or laminated to plastic, rubber or other flexible materials. The outer enclosure includes walls that define an enclosed volume; ordinarily the utility bag will have top, bottom, front and back and two end walls. Further, in accordance with the invention, the utility bag comprises a protective and shape-giving liner in the form of a strip of semi-flexible, resilient and compressible polymeric foam material, the strip extending continuously and being substantially coextensive with and in engagement with at least three adjacent walls of the outer enclosure of the bag. For example, the adjacent walls may be the top, bottom and back walls, the top, bottom and front walls, the two end walls and either the top or the bottom wall or the two end walls and either the front or back wall. In addition, the strip may be coextensive with four adjacent walls of the bag, thereby enclosing the entire volume of the bag within the liner on four sides, thereby leaving only two sides that are not protected and shaped by the liner.
The liner is preferably a flat strip of the polymeric foam material of uniform thickness and of appropriate shape to match the walls of the bag and is merely inserted into the bag but is not permanently built in or secured to it. On the other hand, the liner is preferably retained in place, such as by pockets that receive opposite ends and, sometimes, by straps. Pockets spaced apart a distance measured along the walls with which the liner is coextensive equal to the dimension of the liner between the ends that are received in the pockets constitute the preferred manner of retention of the liner within the bag. With the use of pockets so located, the strip is constrained under pressure in engagement with the walls of the outer enclosure with which it is coextensive, thereby holding the walls outwardly to shape the bag in the desired manner.
As a further feature of the invention, additional rigidity can be imparted to a utility bag by installing one or more battens in pockets within or outside the fabric enclosure, the battens being of a relatively stiff material and extending in a direction along the bag in which it is desired to impart stiffness. The battens, in addition to further enhancing the shape-giving characteristics of the polymeric foam liner, can be used to support straps, hooks or other elements which enable the bag to be attached to an object. For example, in an exemplary embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing, a saddlebag useful not only as a general carrier bag but as a bag that can be mounted on a bracket on a bicycle or motorcycle comprises a pair of vertically spaced-apart battens received in pockets that extend generally parallel to each other along the back wall of the bag. Generally C-shaped hooks are inserted through small openings at the top of the batten pocket, the lower part of the C-hook being hooked under the batten and the upper part of the C-hook being hooked over the bicycle or motorcycle carrier. A tension strap is inserted through a slot in the lower edge of the lower batten pocket, the batten running through a closed loop at the top of the tension strap and thereby capturing and retaining the upper end of the tension strap attached to the bag. Thus the battens not only impart shape and stiffness to the bag in the longitudinal direction but have the additional purpose of retaining mounting elements in the form of hooks and straps that enable the bag to be attached to the bicycle or motorcycle carrier. Similar dual purposes may be served by battens located in various parts of other types of utility bags, the saddle bags illustrated in the accompanying drawings being merely illustrative of the principle.
The protective and shape-giving liner and, when employed, the battens, provide important advantages. Among them are the improvement in the appearance of the bag, in that the liner holds the shape of the bag and keeps the fabric or other outer enclosure smooth and of the dimensions and shape designed into it. The liner distributes the load within the bag, since it has sufficient inherent strength and stiffness to spread a load over a substantially greater area of the fabric than does the fabric itself. The polymeric foam material of the liner provides considerable protection not only for the objects within the bag from impacts outside the bag but for protection of the outer enclosure of the bag from damage by the objects within it and for protection of objects which may be impacted by the bag; in other words, the polymeric foam material cushions impacts between objects within the bag and objects outside the bag. In the preferred form in which the liner is removable, it is easy to keep the bag clean, since the liner can be removed for washing it and the bag separately. The polymeric material of the liner may be highly resistant to not only water but solvents, thereby protecting the outer enclosure of the bag from possible spillage of some liquid within the bag. Similarly, the liner protects objects from within the bag from being wet or damaged by water or liquids outside the bag. The foregoing and other advantages are attained with a minimum increase in the weight of the bag. Indeed, a bag, in accordance with the present invention, has much greater durability at substantially lower weight than a conventional canvas bag. Because of the protective and shape-giving liner, a very lightweight bag of great strength and durability is provided by a lightweight nylon fabric outer enclosure and the protective and shape-giving liner.
For a better understanding of the invention, reference may be made to the following description of an exemplary embodiment, taken in conjunction with the figures of the accompanying drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a bicycle or motorcycle saddlebag, the bag being illustrated in position on a bicycle carrier and portions of some of the components of the bag being broken away for clearer illustration; and
FIG. 2 is an end view in cross-section of the bag of FIG. 1, the center portions of the front, back and end walls of the bag being broken out to permit the figure to be on a larger scale than FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT The exemplary embodiment illustrated in the drawings is a bag that is useful not only as a general carrying bag but as a saddlebag or pack appropriate for attaching to a carrier on a bicycle or motorcycle. As shown in FIG. 1, the pack is mounted on a rack of a conventional well-known type that is attached over the back wheel of a bicycle. Only a portion of the rack 10 is illustrated in the drawings, namely a peripheral frame element 12, the front end of which is secured to the bicycle frame behind and below the seat and the rear end of which is supported by rods (not shown) that extend down from near the back of the frame 12 for attachment to the bicycle frame near the rear axle. The carrier 10 is shown in FIG. 1 merely to show one use of the bag illustrated in the drawing but forms no part of the present invention and need not be further described.
The bag, which is designated generally by the reference numeral 14 in the drawing, comprises an outer enclosure 16 made of a suitable fabric; for example, the enclosure 16 may be made ofa lightweight nylon fabric coated with polyethylene to render it waterproof. The enclosure includes a rear wall 18, a top wall 20, a bottom wall 22, a front wall 24 and end walls 26 and 28. It will be evident to those skilled in the art that the construction of the outer enclosure 14 may take various specific forms. For example, the bag may be composed of a single panel of fabric that forms the front, top, bottom and back walls and separate end panels, the respective end panels being stitched around their perimeters to the ends of the main panel of the bag. The opening for the bag 14 extends longitudinally along the front panel 24 at a location near the top of the bag and is provided with a zipper 30. The, respective sides of the zipper 30 are joined by stitching 32 and 34 to the ends of the main panel at the opening of the bag. Pockets constituted by strips 36 and 38 of fabric extending longitudinally along the front wall above and below the opening are stitched on the interior of the outer enclosure by, for example, the stitching 32 and 34 by which the zipper is fastened at the opening of the enclosure and by the stitching 48 by which the end panels are joined to the main panel of the bag. The upper pocket 42 constituted by the strip 40 opens upwardly toward the top of the bag and the bottom pocket 44 constituted by the strip 38 opens toward the bottom of the bag, each pocket opening continuously along the length of the bag.
A protective and shape-giving liner 46 is removably received within the bag, the liner 46 being coextensive with the front, top, back and bottom walls of the outer enclosure. The liner is a continuous strip of semiflexible, resilient, compressible polymeric foam material, a preferred material being a closed cell flexible polyethylene foam of approximately /8 inch in thickness. Foam exhibiting excellent properties for the liner is a freon blown acrylic-modified closed cell polyethylene foam manufactured by a division of American Can Co. The foam is very light in weight, preferably has a moderate degree of flexibility and yet is resistant to bending and crushing, has a good shape memory and is moderately soft and compressible; it has a moderate stiffness appropriate to its shape-giving function while being reasonably susceptible to resilient deformation. It is highly resistant to most solvents, and the fact that it is a closed cell foam means that it is non-absorbent and waterproof. A preferred foam has the following mechanical properties:
Density 5.6 lb/Cu. ft.
Tensile Strength (rupture) (ASTM Dl564) psi Resilience (ASTM D1056) 3571 Tear Strength (ASTM D624, die C) 37.7 lb/in. K Factor (ASTM C518) 0.33 Elongation at Rupture (ASTM D1564) I257z Water Absorption Compression Deflection Compression Set 22 hours, 0.05%
(ASTM D2842) (ASTM Dl056) 2571 at 9.9 psi After 24 hours at room temperature:
at 5071 compression, recovers to 207: of compression amount; at 259% compression. recovers to S9? of compression amount; at 10% compression. recovers fully.
pockets. Accordingly, the liner is constrained under pressure outwardly against the front, top, bottom and back walls of the outer enclosure and is thus confined against any substantial movement relative to the outer enclosure in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal. The other dimension (the longitudinal) of the liner is substantially equal to the length of the bag measured between the end walls such that the ends of the liner abut the end walls of the bag. Because of the dimensional relationships between the liner and the'outer enclosure, as above described, the liner imparts to the bag a size and shape corresponding to the dimensions and geometry of the outer enclosure. Although not in cluded in the embodiment shown in the drawing, it is within the scope of the invention to provide additional retention elements, such as strips of fabric or other material, forming loops that are received on the inside of the liner further to hold the liner in position within the outer enclosure. Such strips are desirable in bags of relatively large size but are generally unnecessary in relatively smaller size bags.
It should be evident that the liner 46 maybe easily and quickly removed from the bag by withdrawing one edge from one of the pockets and then slipping it out through the opening. Similarly, the liner-can be replaced in the bag by inserting one end in one of the pockets, pushing the rest of the liner into the bag, such as by first rolling it and then inserting it in the bag and releasing it, and inserting the other edge in the other pocket. The removability of the liner facilitates cleaning it. Moreover, should a liner become damaged, it can readily be removed and replaced by a new one.
The utility bag illustrated in the drawing further includes a pair of longitudinally extending, vertically spaced apart battens 48 and 50 received in respective pockets 52 and 54. Each pocket is formed by a strip of fabric, such as a nylon webbing, stitched along its longitudinal edges and one end to the back wall 18 of the outer enclosure. Each batten pocket is open at one end to allow the batten to be slided into and removed from the respective pocket. The battens are made of a relatively stiff, lightweight material, such as wood or plastic. The battens 48 not only contribute to the shape retention characteristic of the bag by augmenting the shape-giving property of the liner but also are useful in attaching straps, hooks or other elements to the bag to make it suitable for not only a carrying bag but other purposes as well.
In the illustrated embodiment, the upper batten receives and holds generally C-shaped hooks 56. As shown in the broken-away portion to the right of the bag in FIG. 1, the back of the hook is received behind the batten and the lower part of the hook embraces the lower edge of the batten. The upper part of the hook extends out through the top of the batten pocket and can be hooked over a bar, such as the peripheral frame 12 of a bicycle carrier (FIG. 1 The stitching along the upper edge of the upper batten pocket 52 is interrupted for short distances to allow the upper ends of the hooks to extend out of the pocket. The hooks 56 are installed by first removing the batten 58, then in serting the bottom of the hook into the batten pocket and next replacing the batten by sliding it endwise while holding the hook in the properly extended posi-' tion. The batten should slide into the cavity in the lower part of the C. It is advantageous to leave two sets of equally spaced-apart openings in the stitching at the top of the top pocket to allow the hooks to be inserted in two different, equally spaced locations, thereby permitting the bag to be used conveniently on either the right or the left side of a bicycle carrier. The hooks are readily removed from the pocket by simply removing "the batten, pulling out the hooks and then replacing the as a means of attachment. More particularly, the retainer strap 58 includes a closed loop 60 that is pushed up through an opening in the stitching along the bottom edge of the lower batten pocket 54 while the batten 50 is removed from the pocket. The lower batten is then slided back into the batten pocket and through the loop (see FIG. 1), thereby capturing the strap around the batten. Part or all of the strap 58 is elastic, and the lower end of the strap is provided with a hook 62, for example, a hook identical to the two hooks 56 by which the bag is supported from the carrier frame. The distance from the hook 62 tothe bottom of the bag with the strap in relaxed condition should be less than the distance between the bottom of the bag and the point of attachment of the hook to the bicycle frame so that the strap is under tension when in place. Accordingly, some movement of the bag is allowed, but the bag is resiliently held in position. The elasticity of the strap also permits the bag to be used on bicycles and motorcycles of various sizes without having to provide a different strap or use an adjustable strap.
As a general purpose carrier and also to facilitate handling the bag when it is not in place on a bicycle, the bag is provided with a carrier strap 64 and a handle 65 attached to the top of the bag. The strap 64 may be a strip of webbing (e.g., nylon) of sufficient length to be used as a shoulder strap when not in use, it can be folded and retained in folded condition by snapfastened loops 66 and 68. The handle is a short strip of webbing stitched flat on the top of the bag and lies under the shoulder strap.
The above-described embodiment of the invention is intended to be merely exemplary, and numerous variations and modifications of it will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. All such variations and modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A utility bag comprising an outer enclosure of flexible, light-weight material having a top, a bottom, left and right sides and front and back walls defining an enclosed volume;
a continuous strip of initially substantially flat semiflexible, substantially resilient and compressible polymeric foam material received within the outer enclosure and substantially coextensive with and in engagement with at least three adjacent ones of said walls, the foam material having a resiliency measured in accordance with ASTM D1056 of about 35 percent and a compression set measured in accordance with ASTM D1056 as follows: after 24 hours at room temperature,
at 50 percent compression, recovery to about 20 percent of compression amount at 25 percent compression, recovery to about 8 percent of compression amount at 10 percent compression, substantially full recovcry; and
means associated with the outer enclosure for retaining respective opposite ends of the strip at predetermined positions in the outer enclosure, the distance measured along the outer enclosure between said positions in the outer enclosure being substantially equal to the dimension of the strip between said opposite ends thereof and the retaining means constraining the strip under pressure outwardly against said adjacent ones of said walls to hold them extended and shaped.
2. A utility bag according to claim 1 wherein the retaining means includes two pockets within the outer enclosure, each pocket receiving one of said opposite ends of the strip, each pocket being generally rectangular and being closed along one longer edge and both shorter edges, the closed longer edge being at said position of the edge of the strip.
3. A utility bag according to claim 1 wherein the outer enclosure has an elongated opening along one wall for access to the interior and wherein the pockets receiving the liner are on the interior of said one wall, one pocket being on each part of said wall on either side of the opening and being open in a direction away from the opening.
4. A utility bag according to claim 1 and further comprising an elongated pocket on the outside of a wall of LII the outer enclosure and a batten received in the pocket and enhancing the stiffness of the bag.
5. A utility bag according to claim 1, the bag being particularly adapted for mounting on a carrier of a bicycle, motorcycle or similar conveyance, and further comprising a pair of spaced-apart hooks on the bag near the top of the back wall for attachment to the carrier on the conveyance and at least one resiliently extensible element on the bag near the bottom of the back wall and having a hook thereon for attachment under tension to a part of the conveyance remote from the carrier.
6. A utility bag according to claim 5, wherein said pair of hooks are removably secured to the bag by a batten removably received in an elongated pocket, each hook having a slotted portion received in the batten pocket through an opening therein.
7. A utility bag according to claim 6, wherein there are two pairs of openings in the batten pocket for reception of the hooks, said openings being positioned for selection of a left-mounted or right-mounted position on the conveyance.
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