US 20040007549 A1
A wire basket useful in an over-the-door storage rack or a wall mounted application has wire front and side panels and criss-crossing wires forming a bottom. The wires in the front and side panels lie in vertical planes but are inclined from vertical within those planes to enable the baskets to nest for compact packaging. A short back panel occupies a vertical plane and is formed by inclined wires to accommodate nesting. The basket can be used with like baskets hung on frames mounted on a door to readily store thin, flat articles due to the vertical wall panels.
1. A storage basket comprising:
an upper rim;
a pair of opposite side panels each including a plurality of spaced apart side wires extending from said rim with the side wires on said opposite side panels contained in substantially parallel planes, each of said side wires having a slanted orientation offset from vertical;
a front panel extending between said side panels and including a plurality of spaced apart front wires extending from said rim and contained in a plane substantially perpendicular to said planes of the side panels, each of said front wires having a slanted orientation offset from vertical; and
a bottom connected with said side panels and said front panel.
2. A storage basket as set forth in
3. A storage basket as set forth in
said front panel presents a pair of opposite side portions; and
said front wires in one of said side portions are slanted oppositely to said front wires in the other of said side portions.
4. A storage basket as set forth in
said rim has an inside surface and an outside surface; and
each of said side wires and front wires is connected with said inside surface of said rim.
5. A storage basket as set forth in
6. A storage basket as set forth in
7. A storage basket as set forth in
8. A storage basket as set forth in
9. A storage basket as set forth in
a pair of free ends on said top wire; and
a pair of in-turned ends on said rim spaced above and substantially parallel to said free ends, said free ends and in-turned ends being adapted for hanging the basket on a support.
10. A basket adapted to nest within a like basket, comprising:
an upper rim having a pair of opposite side rim portions and a front rim portion;
a pair of opposite side panels extending downwardly from said side rim portions in substantially parallel planes, each side panel including a plurality of spaced apart side wires extending in one of said planes at a slanted orientation offset from vertical;
a front panel extending downwardly from said front rim portion in a front plane substantially perpendicular to said planes of the side panels, said front panel including a plurality of spaced-apart front wires extending in said front plane at a slanted orientation offset from vertical; and
a bottom extending between said side panels.
11. A basket as set forth in
12. A basket as set forth in
each side rim portion has an inside surface and an outside surface, said side wires being connected to said inside surface of each side rim portion; and
said front rim portion has an inside surface and an outside surface, said front wires being connected to said inside surface of said front rim portion.
13. A basket as set forth in
14. A basket as set forth in
15. A storage rack for hanging on a door, comprising:
a pair of spaced apart side frames adapted to be hung on a door; and
a plurality of baskets connected to extend between said side frames at vertically spaced positions, each basket including:
(a) a pair of opposite side panels each including a plurality of spaced apart side wires contained in a substantially vertical plane, each side wire having a slanted attitude offset from vertical;
(b) a front panel extending between said side panels and including a plurality of spaced apart front wires contained in a plane substantially perpendicular to the planes of said side panels, each front wire having a slanted attitude offset from vertical;
(c) a bottom connected with said side and front panels; and
(d) a back end portion of each side panel having a detachable connection to one of said side frames.
16. A storage rack as set forth in
17. A storage rack as set forth in
a rim extending along upper ends of said side panels and said front panel; and
a substantially horizontal top wire on said back panel extending on an upper end thereof at a location below the level of said rim.
18. A storage rack as set forth in
a pair of free ends on said top wire; and
a pair of in-turned ends on said rim spaced above and substantially parallel to said free ends, said free ends and in-turned ends being applicable to said side frames to releaseably secure each basket to said side frames.
19. A storage rack as set forth in
20. A storage rack as set forth in
 This invention relates generally to the storage of various types of articles and deals more particularly with a wire basket that is particularly useful in an over-door storage rack.
 Over-door racks of various types have been proposed in order to store clothing, shoes and other items, normally on a closet door. Spice racks and the like are often hung on pantry doors or kitchen cabinet doors to hold foods and other objects used in the kitchen. Racks of various types have used wire trays or baskets to hold a variety of different types of articles. Although an over-door rack having baskets allows clothes and other items to be stored on a closet door that otherwise is not normally used for storage, the racks that have been proposed in the past have not been satisfactory in many respects.
 In order to provide for convenient and compact packaging, it is desirable for the baskets to nest inside of one another. However, past efforts at constructing baskets that nest have relied on tapering the basket walls from top to bottom so that the baskets are able to fit inside each other. While tapered walls are acceptable in some applications, they reduce the storage space that is available inside the basket in comparison to a straight-wall configuration.
 Perhaps more importantly, some items do not fit well in a basket having tapered walls and can fall out of the basket, especially when subjected to the force of a swinging door. For example, computer disks, video disks, compact audio disks, video cassettes, audio cassettes, books and other articles that are thin and flat are not stable when placed against a sloping surface such as a tapered basket wall. These types of items are better stored side by side on edge in an upright position against a vertical wall. Consequently, tapered baskets are not well suited for media articles of this type, whether on an over-door rack or otherwise. Because these types of items are at an angle when stored against a sloped wall, they are prone to falling out of the basket when the door is swung open or closed.
 The present invention is directed to a wire basket that is constructed with straight walls, while at the same time having the ability to nest compactly inside of a like basket. As a result, the benefits of nesting baskets are obtained without the drawbacks of tapered basket walls. While the basket of this invention is well suited for use as part of an over-door storage rack for holding media articles, it is useful in other applications that involve the storage of a wide variety of articles and can be used in configurations mounted to walls or other surfaces.
 In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, a wire basket has parallel side panels that are vertical, a vertical front panel, and a bottom formed by criss-crossing wires. The side and front panels lie in vertical planes and have individual wires in these planes that are slanted or inclined. The wires attach at their upper ends with the inside surface of a wire rim. Due to the slanted orientations of the wires, the basket can nest inside of another basket without the interference that would occur with vertical wires. Therefore, the baskets can nest inside one another in a compact configuration for packaging while still having vertical sides and a vertical front panel to maximize the storage space and provide vertical surfaces for accommodating thin, flat objects such as disks, cassettes and books.
 This construction lends itself well to an over-door rack having elongated frame sides that hang from the top of a door. The back of the basket can be provided with a configuration that includes in-turned top ends and a short back panel having free wire ends spaced below the in-turned ends. The in-turned ends can be fitted in slots in the frames and hooked behind lips, and the free ends of the back wire can be received in notches in the frames to provide a stable connection of each wire basket on the rack structure.
 In the accompanying drawings which form a part of the specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an over-door storage rack equipped with wire baskets constructed in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the detail identified by numeral 2 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary front elevational view of the basket and adjacent frame portions shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the basket shown in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing two nested baskets constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.
 Referring now to the drawings in more detail and initially to FIG. 1 in particular, numeral 10 generally designates an over-door storage rack that may be used to hold and store a variety of articles. The rack 10 may be hung on the upper edge of a hinged door which is shown only fragmentarily in FIG. 1 and identified by numeral 12.
 The rack 10 has a supporting frame that includes a pair of identical frame sides, 14, each of which may include a plurality of separate pieces connected end to end. Short top pieces 16 of the frame sides 14 have hooks 18 on their upper ends. Hanger brackets 20 may be secured to the hooks 18 and fitted over the upper edge of the door 12 in order to mount the frame sides 14 on the door.
 Each frame side 14 has a plurality of identical legs 22. Each leg 22 has on its upper end a C-shaped socket 24 and on its lower end a complementally shaped foot 26. Each foot 26 may be received in the sockets 24 of an immediately underlying leg 22 in order to connect the legs end to end. The top pieces 16 have feet 26 on their lower ends to fit in the sockets 24 of the upper legs 22 on the frame sides 14, thereby connecting the legs 22 with the top pieces 16. Each frame side 14 has on its lower end a special bottom piece 28 that is provided with a socket 24 on its top end in order to receive the foot 26 of the lowermost of the legs 22 on each side frame 14.
 Each of the legs 22 has near its center a C-shaped slot or groove 30 formed in one edge. Each of the grooves 30 has a bottom lip 32, as particularly shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. Spaced below each of the grooves 30 is a notch 34 which is formed in the same edge of the leg 22. Each of the legs 22 has an identical notch 34 formed near its upper end and spaced below a C-shaped groove 30 which is formed in each of the top pieces 16 near its lower end. Near its lower end, each leg 22 is provided with one of the C-shaped grooves 30 which, when the legs are connected, is spaced above an underlying notch 34 in the leg 22 which is adjacently below. Each of the bottom pieces 28 is provided with a notch 34 spaced below the bottom groove 30 in the lowermost leg 22 on each side.
 The rack 10 is provided with a plurality of specially constructed wire baskets, each generally identified by numeral 36 and shown in detail in FIGS. 2-5. Each of the baskets 36 has a generally rectangular shape and includes an upper rim 38 constructed of a relatively-large diameter wire. The rim 38 includes a straight horizontal front portion 38 a and parallel opposite side portions 38 b which are bent at right angles from the opposite ends of the front portion 38 a. At the back ends of the side portions 38 b in-turned end portions 38 c are bent at a right angle to portions 38 b and terminate in free ends.
 Each basket 36 has a substantially rectangular front panel 39 that is formed by a plurality of front wires 40 that may have a smaller diameter than the wire used to construct the rim 38. The wires 40 are contained in a common vertical plane that is occupied by the front panel 39 which terminates at its upper end at the rim 38. The upper end of each wire 40 is welded or otherwise suitably secured to an inside surface 42 of the front portion 38 a of rim 38.
 As best shown in FIG. 3, each of the front wires 40 is slanted or inclined from vertical from top to bottom. The wires 40 on the left half of the front panel (as viewed in FIG. 3) incline to the right from top to bottom. Conversely, the wires 40 on the right half of the front panel 39 incline from right to left as they extend downwardly. Although the incline of the wires 40 can vary, their angle of inclination from vertical is preferably between 25 and 45 degrees and is most preferably about 35 degrees. While the drawings depict an embodiment of the basket which includes four of the front wires 40 on each half of the front panel, different numbers of wires can be used.
 Each basket 36 also has a pair of rectangular side panels 43 which occupy vertical planes parallel to one another and perpendicular to the vertical plane of the front panel 39. Each side panel 43 is formed by a plurality of side wires 44 which are parallel to one another and located in a common vertical plane. The side panels terminate at their top ends at the side rim portions 38 b. The top end of each of the side wires 44 is connected by welding or in another suitable manner with the inside surface 46 of the corresponding side rim portion 38 b.
 As best shown in FIG. 4, each of the side wires 44 is slanted or inclined from vertical. Preferably, the wires 44 on the opposite side panels are inclined in the same direction which, as shown in FIG. 4, is from right to left as the wires extend downwardly from the side rim portion 38 b. The wires 44 may have a wide variety of inclination angles but are preferably between about 25 and 45 degrees from vertical and more preferably about 35 degrees from vertical. There may be virtually any number of the wires 44 in each side panel, and the wires may be spaced apart as desired.
 Each basket 36 has a flat, horizontal bottom panel 47 formed by a plurality of criss-crossing wires 48 and 50. The wires 48 are turned rearwardly from the lower ends of the front wires 40 and extend front to back along the depth of the bottom panel 47 of the basket. The other wires 50 in the bottom panel are turned inwardly from the lower ends of the side wires 44 and extend laterally between the side wires on the opposite sides of the basket. The wires 48 are parallel to one another and are horizontal. The other wires 50 are parallel to one another and horizontal and are preferably perpendicular to the wires 48. The wires 48 and 50 may be welded or otherwise suitably connected with one another at the locations where they criss-cross one another.
 Each basket 36 is provided with a short back panel which is located in a vertical plane and formed by a plurality of relatively-short back wires 52. The back wires 52 are bent from the back ends of the bottom wires 48 and are contained in a common vertical plane that is parallel to the plane of the front panel 39 and perpendicular to the planes of the side panels 43. Each of the back wires 52 is slanted at an incline angle from vertical. Preferably, the angle of inclination of each of the back wires 52 is the same as the front wire 40 associated with the same bottom wire 48.
 The back panel includes a relatively large diameter top wire 54 which extends horizontally. The top ends of the back wires 52 are connected to an inside surface 55 of the wire 54. Wire 54 is spaced well below the level of the rim 38 such that the back portion of each basket 36 above the top wire 54 is open. The top wire 54 on the back of each basket has free opposite end portions 56 which are spaced directly below and parallel to-the in-turned ends 38 c of the rim.
 The rack 10 is assembled by assembling the frame sides 14 and connecting the baskets 36 such that they extend between the frame sides. The frame sides are assembled by assembling the legs 22 together with the top piece 16 and the bottom piece 28. The hanger brackets 52 may be hooked on the hooks 18 of the top pieces 16 and hung on the top edge of the door 12 to mount the rack 10 on the door.
 The baskets 36 are applied to the frame sides 14 by initially fitting the in-turned rim ends 38 c into the grooves 30 and slipping the ends 38 c downwardly until they are behind the lips 32 as best shown in FIG. 2. The basket can then be swung downwardly such that the free ends 56 of the top wire 54 are received closely in the notches 34. The wire ends 56 may fit closely behind beads 58 (see FIG. 4), formed at the upper end portion of each notch 34. The fit of the in-turned ends 38 c behind the lips 32 and the free ends 56 behind the beads 58 secures the basket 36 in extension between the side frames 14 in a stable and secure position.
 The baskets are spaced apart vertically on the frame 10 and provide for the storage of various types of articles. As shown particularly in FIGS. 3 and 4, the front panels 39 formed by the wires 40 and side panels 43 formed by the wires 44 are oriented vertically rather than being tapered. This provides maximum volume within each basket for the storage of articles. Perhaps even more importantly, it provides for vertical surfaces on the front and sides of the baskets against which relatively thin flat objects can be readily stored, including books, computer disks, audio compact disks, digital video disks, video tape cassettes and audio cassettes, among other items.
 It is a particular feature of the invention that the construction of the baskets 36 allows them to be nested inside of one another in a compact configuration, as shown in FIG. 5. Even though the front and side panels of each basket occupy vertical planes, the wires 40 and 44 in the front and side panels are angled so that they are able to lie side by side with one another when the baskets are nested together. The inclination of the wires is important because when the top basket is initially inserted inside of the lower basket, the bottom end of each side and front wire in the top basket is offset from and preferably about half way between the upper ends of the wires on the sides and ends of the lower basket. The side and front wires on the upper basket are able to clear the rim 38 of the lower basket because the wires are connected with inside surfaces of the rim. As the upper basket is progressively lowered into the lower basket, the incline of the front and side wires results in the lower end of each wire moving closer to a corresponding wire of the lower basket. When the baskets are fully nested in the configuration shown in FIG. 5, the rim 38 of the upper basket is located a short distance directly above the rim of the lower basket, and the front and side wires 40 and 44 of the two baskets are located closely beside one another. The top wires 54 on the back panel of each basket are located one above the other similarly to the front portions 38 a of the rims. Likewise, the back wires 52 of the two baskets are located side by side when the two baskets are fully nested. Any number of the baskets can be nested in this fashion to provide compact packaging.
 It is important to understand that if the wires of the baskets were oriented vertically or close to vertically, they would contact one another and interfere with nesting of the baskets before the baskets could be fully nested. Consequently, nesting in a compact configuration is made possible due to the inclined orientations of the side and front wires (and the back wires during the final part of the nesting). As a result of the basket construction of the present invention, plural baskets can be nested compactly inside one another for convenient and compact packaging, as well as compact storage when the baskets are not being used.
 While the baskets 36 are particularly well suited for use in an over-door storage rack, they are equally useful in other applications, particularly applications in which nesting capability is desirable and/or there is a need to store flat, thin objects on edge.
 From the foregoing it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all ends and objects hereinabove set forth together with the other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the structure.
 It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.
 Since many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative, and not in a limiting sense.