The insertion of garment hangers through narrow neck holes is a problem which is relevant in an industrial context, at clothing retail and in the household. Hangers must be repeatedly inserted or removed through the lower ends of garments or a button or two must be opened and closed.
The prior art addressing this issue, documented in about 200 US patents alone, is largely distinguished by technical complexity, often involving the use of cogs, levers, springs and other intricacies, which makes these solutions so unpractical and uneconomical that the problem persists unresolved.
The present proposal, called Plico 2, is in its essence a device made of flat material which folds to form two distinct end positions, one which facilitates the insertion of the hanger through a narrow neck hole and one which is the resting position. Fig. 1 shows how this functions.
Garment hangers made according to this principle could be implemented at the end of the production line to ready garments for shipment; at retail they would simplify procedures when garments with narrow neck holes are sold or returned. T-shirts, turtle-neck tops and polo shirts, when presented on tables and shelves, are unfolded by potential buyers and must be tidied up by shop personnel. This folding garment hanger would be an improvement in both respects. Finally, such hangers would be a welcome aid in household use.
The prototype shown here is made of plastic, but other materials, including that familiar from Tetra Pak® containers, are also possible. Further options include (but are not limited to) sharp folds or curved bending at the flexures, snap-together hinges and plug-in-hole fasteners to secure the resting position. Styling may be varied so far as to even include conventional appearance, as shown in Fig. 2.
The cost of production of such garment hangers would be higher than that of the simplest hangers currently in use, but would be justified by high functionality and enhancement of product value by the esthetic qualities of the hanger.