|Publication number||US20050230390 A1|
|Application number||US 10/825,492|
|Publication date||Oct 20, 2005|
|Filing date||Apr 15, 2004|
|Priority date||Apr 15, 2004|
|Also published as||CN1727257A|
|Publication number||10825492, 825492, US 2005/0230390 A1, US 2005/230390 A1, US 20050230390 A1, US 20050230390A1, US 2005230390 A1, US 2005230390A1, US-A1-20050230390, US-A1-2005230390, US2005/0230390A1, US2005/230390A1, US20050230390 A1, US20050230390A1, US2005230390 A1, US2005230390A1|
|Original Assignee||Glenn James L|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (15), Classifications (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
A. Field of the Invention
The invention relates to the field of laundry hampers and household storage bins. More specifically, the invention relates to laundry hampers and storage bins that can be collapsed for convenient storage, shipment and merchandising.
B. Description of Related Art
Laundry hampers and household storage bins are commonly used in the home to collect and store household items and laundry. Such hampers and bins disclosed in the prior art include two basic types: free-standing containers and support frame/bag designs. The free-standing containers typically are rectangular or oval in shape and are made of a hard, non-flexible material, such as plastic or wicker. With their rigid construction, these containers take up the same amount of space whether full or empty of laundry and, because they are not collapsible, they are not easily moved from one place to another. Because, heretofore, rigid wall hampers have not been collapsible, such hampers have been expensive to ship. Because of their bulky size, they required a large volume of merchandising space. Additionally, because of the large volume of merchandising space required, merchandisers were unwilling to keep large quantities of such products on shelves, thereby making sales of such products even more inefficient because items were frequently not available for purchase on shelves.
In response to these portability and merchandising restrictions, attempts at laundry hampers have been made that generally comprise pivoting support structures with fabric bags attached thereto have been used. One example is U.S. Pat. No. 5,667,066 assigned to Seymour Housewares Corporation. However, these types of hampers are flimsy and are generally undesirable to consumers, who still prefer rigid laundry hampers.
Additionally, structures have been employed that utilize panels made from a continuous frame member having a coilable steel wire sewn into a seam of a fabric panel along the periphery thereof. One example of such a structure is U.S. Pat. No. 6,073,643. However, these hampers also suffer from the fact that they are flimsy and light.
Finally, other types of hampers are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,588,620 and 6,637938. However, these types of hampers still utilize flimsy fabric sidewalls to contain the dirty laundry. Therefore, there is a need in the art for a rigid sided laundry hamper that is easily collapsible for transportation and merchandising purposes.
In a first aspect, the present invention comprises a rigid-walled collapsible bin having first, second, third and fourth rigid walls attached to form an open-ended rectangular box. The first and third rigid walls are opposite one another and the second and fourth rigid walls are opposite one another. The open ends define a top end and a bottom end of the box. A flexible material is attached over the bottom end of the open-ended rectangular box. The first and third rigid walls are inwardly bendable generally along a fold line such that, when bent, the second and fourth walls approach one another. A removable stiffness panel has outer dimensions substantially equal to the inner dimensions of the rectangular box when the stiffness panel is placed in a plane parallel to the plane of the bottom end of the rectangular box.
In a second aspect, the present invention comprises a rigid-walled collapsible bin comprising first, second, third and fourth rigid walls attached to form an open-ended rectangular box. The first and third rigid walls are opposite one another and the second and fourth rigid walls are opposite one another. The open ends define a top end and a bottom end of the box. The first and third rigid walls are bendable along a generally vertical fold line such that, when bent, the second and fourth walls approach one another. A flexible material covers the bottom end of the open-ended rectangular box. The material comprises a first and a second closure. The first closure is diagonally situated from a point generally adjacent the fold line of the first wall to a point generally adjacent the attachment of the second wall with the third wall. The second closure is diagonally situated from a point generally adjacent the fold line of the third wall to a point generally adjacent the attachment of the fourth wall with the third wall.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
The wicker weave 24 may be made from either woven wooden strips or woven polymer strips. Handles 30 made from rope are provided on the front sidewall 12 and the rear sidewall 14 by providing holes in the front and rear sidewalls 12, 14 and knotting the rope on either end after it has been fed through the hole. Metal reinforcements 32 may be attached to the front and rear sidewalls 12, 14 about the holes to prevent the sidewalls 12, 14 from tearing. Additionally, a lid 34 with an overlapping attachment portion 36 may optionally be provided on the hamper 10. The lid 34 and overlapping attachment portion 36 are preferably constructed in the same manner as the sidewalls with a fabric layer, a cardboard or polymer sheet for the lid 34 and the overlapping attachment portion 36 and a wicker layer. As above, the lid 34 could employ a single sheet the has been creased or segmented to create the lid 34 and overlapping attachment portion 36 or be made from two cardboard or polymer sheets. The hamper 10, if equipped with a lid, also includes a fastener 38, 38′, such as hook and loop material, to maintain the lid 34 in a closed position. While the above configuration contemplates a lid that is permanently attached to the hamper, the lid could employ a second overlapping attachment portion and be removably attached to the hamper with hook and loop material.
Referring to the bottom perspective view of
Referring to the bottom perspective view of
To return the hamper 100 to the configuration of
While it is described above that the hamper of
The stiffness panel 316 may be removed from the bin 300 in order to collapse the bin 300. As seen in
In view of the above, it will be seen that several advantages of the present invention have been achieved and other advantageous results have been obtained.
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|International Classification||B65D6/12, D06F95/00|