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1. (WO2007000183) RAZOR HANDLE PROVIDED WITH AN IMPROVED GRIP
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RAZOR HANDLE PROVIDED WITH AN IMPROVED GRIP

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a wet or safety razor. The invention particularly relates to an ergonomic handle provided with an improved grip structure for a wet or safety razor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many types of wet or safety razors (referred hereinafter as safety razors) are known in the art. Razors usually comprise a handle portion, at the front end of which a razor blade unit comprising one or more blades is disposed.
The structure of the handle portion is important for an optimal position of the grip, providing an optimal shaving angle to one or more blades with respect to the surface of skin. Gripping pads or ribs have been provided on the surface of the handles.
However, many known types of handles are limited in their gripping properties when the handle is used in a soapy and watery environment. Thus, although the gripping pads or ribs are made from an elastomeric compressible material, their shape and/or size do not facilitate shaving, particularly precision shaving, more particularly when the index finger of the user guides the razor blade unit. It has been noted by the applicants that when the user holds the handle according to the so-called "flute" or "spoon" or "shovel" or "feather" or "pen" grip, only a few surfaces of the handle are in contact with the hand and are essential for a safe grip, including the top of the rear part of the handle.
Although some known types of handles make it possible to obtain a good gripping, research is still going on into handles with even better qualities, particularly as regards precision shaving particularly when the user holds the handle in accordance with the so-called "flute" or "spoon" or "shovel" or "feather" or "pen" grip.

WO 2004/018163 discloses a shaver handle comprising an elongated rigid inner core extending along a longitudinal axis; and an elongated, compressible outer layer formed around the inner rigid core, the compressible outer layer being provided with a series of axially spaced fins having a substantially uniform aspect ratio D:T, wherein D is a depth of each individual fin viewed in a direction transverse to the longitudinal axis and T is a thickness of the individual fin viewed in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis, the aspect ratio being greater than the depth D of the individual fin. The top of the compressible outer layer formed around the inner rigid core can have various small numerous projections.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Now the applicant has designed a new type of handles which are provided with rubber bumps provided on the upper side of the handle in the rear part of the handle.
It has been noted in a surprising and unexpected fashion that the use of the new type of handles of the invention allows the razor blade unit to be precisely guided with the result that a very good shaving is obtained on difficult surfaces of the skin such as under the nose or close to the ears.
I

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS '

A subject of the present application is therefore a handle provided with an improved grip structure for a wet or safety razor, comprising a rigid plastic part and a compressible part wherein said handle comprises rubber bumps provided on the upper side of the handle in the rear part of the handle and wherein said rubber bumps protrude above a rigid plastic surface of the handle.
In the system of the present invention, the term "rubber" indicates preferably an elastomeric plastic material, more preferably a mouldable elastomeric material, allowing for ample compression by the user while not requiring an excessive force. Examples of such materials are for example any elastomeric composition known in the art and of any elastomeric hardness range, especially those suitable for making a grip portion, and those that are in the Shore A hardness range. This includes elastomers and thermoplastic elastomers, as well as blends thereof. Suitable elastomers include nitrile rubbers (NBR), styrene butadiene rubbers (SDR), ethylene-propylene terpolymers (EPDM), and (compatible) mixtures thereof. Examples of suitable thermoplastic elastomers include styrene block copolymers, e.g. styrene- butylene block copolymers (SBS), styrene-ethylene-butylene block copolymers (SEBS), thermoplastic polyurethanes, polyether block amides, copolyesters, thermoplastic polyolefins (EPDM/PP, NBR/PP...), and (compatible) blends thereof. Moreover, said elastomeric material may contain one or more additives. Examples of additives include chemicals commonly classed as antioxidants, UV-stabilisers, adhesion modifiers, smell reducers and other such materials that are known to those skilled in the art. Additives improve the processing of said material, enhance its shelf-life and service durability, improve the adhesion to substrate "polymeric supports" that are not inherently inter-compatible and delay inherent sensory defects, such as the inherent typical smell of elastomers and elastomeric compounds.
By "in the rear part of the handle ", is meant that the rubber bumps are provided less than 6.5 cm from the rear of the handle, preferably between 6 cm and 1 cm, more preferably between 4.5 cm and 1.2 cm, particularly between 2.7 cm and 1.3 cm. The distances here above are calculated from the centre of the bumps.
In other preferential conditions, the transversal cross section of the handle of the handle is generally V shaped for more than 30 % of the length of the handle, preferably more than 50 %, more preferably more than 70 %, even more preferably about the entire length of the handle.
The number of rubber bumps is for example from 4 to 35, preferably 6 to 20, more preferably 8 to 16, even more preferably 9 to 11.
Though the rubber bumps, may have any suitable shape, cubic or frustoconical for example, in other preferential conditions, the rubber bumps are hemispheric. The above designs are suitable particularly in view of the demoulding of the handle, if prepared my moulding operations. Additionally a substantially hemispheric shape of the bumps provides the best gripping effect.

The height of the rubber bumps may also be constant. However, the height of the rubber bumps may progressively increases from a smaller height backwards of the handle, to a greater height towards the blades, or conversely.
The height of the rubber bumps may be for example from 0.2 to 2 mm, preferably 0.4 to 1.5 mm more preferably 0.6 to 0.8 mm above the rigid plastic surface.
The spacing between two adjacent rubber bumps may be for example from 10 to 2 preferably 7 to 2.5 more preferably 5 to 3 mm.
The width (or diameter for hemispheric or like bumps) of a rubber bump may be for example from 0.5 to 4 mm, preferably 0.7 to 3 mm more preferably 1 to 2 mm.
The slipping prevention effect provided by the above rubber bumps is enhanced by the contrast between the rigid plastic material, for example polypropylene, or ABS resin, on which the bumps are provided and the rubber or elastomeric material of the bumps Polypropylene such as ADSTIFF® 840 or 648 grades available commercially from BASEL'S can be particularly cited.
The handle of the invention has a composite structure comprising a substantially rigid backbone of an injected moulded thermoplastic, non elastomeric material and a flexible part made of an injected moulded elastomeric material. Some places of the surface of the handle are constituted by the non elastomeric material and the others by the elastomeric material. As regards the rear half part of the top of the handle, preferably more than 50 %, more preferably more than 60 %, even more preferably more than 70 % of the surface is made of rigid plastic material
Still as regards the rear half part of the top of the handle, preferably from 2 % to 30 %, preferably from 5 % to 30 %, more preferably from 5 % to 20 % of the surface is made of elastomeric material.
Under preferred conditions for implementing the invention, the present handle is obtained in a two step process.
A subject of the present invention is also a method for making a razor handle as disclosed above comprising moulding a backbone portion of a rigid plastic material, and moulding an elastomeric grip portion on said backbone portion, wherein rubber bumps are provided on the upper side of the rear part of the handle.
Under other preferred conditions for implementing the invention, channels are provided in the backbone portion of the handle in the rear part of the handle such that the desired rubber bumps may be created by feeding the elastomeric material from below the plastic rigid surface , through the channel holes opened on the upper surface of the handle. Rubber bumps provided on a rigid plastic top surface of the rear part of the handle are thus obtained.
The handles according to the invention have advantageous properties because of the rubber bumps thus provided on the rear upper side of the handle.
Six major gripping positions have been identified. The "pen" position wherein the handle is grasped like a pen while the top of the rear part of the handle rests on the palm of the user, the "pincer" position wherein the front part of the handle is gripped between the thumb and the index finger, while the top of the rear part of the handle rests on the palm of the user, the "feather" position wherein the front part of the handle is surrounded by four fingers while the top of the rear part of the handle rests on the palm of the user, the "flute" position wherein the handle is grasped like a pan-pipe, the "spoon" position wherein the handle is grasped like a spoon, the "shovel" position wherein the handle is grasped between the thumb resting under the handle and the four other fingers resting along the top of the handle.
For all the gripping positions the bumps of the invention prevent the palm or fingers hand from slipping, particularly during precision shaving depending to the razor handle orientation. The present bumps rest on the palm of the user for the first three gripping positions, rest on the distal phalanx of the ring and little finger for the "flute" position, on the proximal phalanx of the index finger for the "spoon" position, on the distal phalanx of the index finger for the " shovel " position.
Also, a handle provided with such an arrangement of rubber bumps shaped and dimensioned as described above provide the user with an improved tactile feel as well.
A safety razor having a handle, which is shaped as described above, ensures an optimal ergonomic grip by the user during precision shaving.

Preferred conditions for implementing the rubber bumps described above also apply to the other subjects of the invention envisaged above, particularly to the method for making a razor handle as disclosed above.
The scope of the invention can be understood better by referring to the description given below, the aim of which is to explain the advantages of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the back half part of a safety razor in accordance with one embodiment of a handle of the invention
FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the rear half part of a handle of a safety razor in accordance with one embodiment of a handle of the invention

Referring to figure 1 , a safety razor includes a gently curved handle 1.
The handle 1 has an elongated body portion for hand grasping by the user the back part of which is represented on figure 1. The whole handle 1 has a length of about 12 cm as measured along its body between the front end (not represented) and the back end 2.The handle comprises a backbone 3 made of a mouldable rigid plastic material, and a partial layer ofl mouldable elastomeric material allowing for compression by the user while not requiring an excessive force. The cross-hatched surfaces show the pieces made of mouldable elastomeric material.
Ten rubber bumps 5,6 are provided towards the rear of the handle on the top surface thereof. Four bumps 6 are aligned according to a symmetry longitudinal axis of the handle and six further bumps 5 are provided according to a curve on each side of the alignment of the central bumps.
The rubber bumps 5,6 are made from the above mouldable elastomeric material.
As seen on figure 2, the general shape of the bumps 5,6 is hemispheric. The top surface of the handle is gently curved.
The razor is optimally guided by the palm of the user during shaving.