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Publication numberUS20070163568 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/650,831
Publication dateJul 19, 2007
Filing dateJan 8, 2007
Priority dateJul 7, 2004
Also published asCA2573132A1, WO2006014511A1
Publication number11650831, 650831, US 2007/0163568 A1, US 2007/163568 A1, US 20070163568 A1, US 20070163568A1, US 2007163568 A1, US 2007163568A1, US-A1-20070163568, US-A1-2007163568, US2007/0163568A1, US2007/163568A1, US20070163568 A1, US20070163568A1, US2007163568 A1, US2007163568A1
InventorsChristopher Murray, Michael Agronin
Original AssigneeMurray Christopher J, Agronin Michael L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Grill
US 20070163568 A1
Abstract
A grill, such as a gas-fired grill, can employ a light assembly for illuminating a cooking area and/or a fuel gage that can be more readily and accurately read to determine an amount of fuel in a fuel tank. The light assembly includes a light source, which is mounted to an upper one of two discrete lids. The light source can be selectively illuminated via a switch. The switch may be coupled to a handle that is employed to open and close the second lid. The handle can be coupled to a side of the lid so as to position the switch in a location that can be relatively cool. The fuel gage can employ a pivoting platform, the motion of which may be employed to determine an amount of fuel in the fuel tank.
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Claims(3)
1. A gas-fired grill comprising:
a housing;
a fuel gage having a platform, a spring, and an arm member, the platform being pivotally coupled to the housing, the spring biasing the platform in a first rotational direction, the arm member being rotatably coupled to the housing at a pivot point, the arm member rotating about the pivot point in response to rotation of the platform relative to the housing, the arm member including an indicator; and
a fuel tank for holding a combustible fuel, the fuel tank resting on the platform;
wherein the platform rotates relative to the housing in response to consumption of the combustible fuel from the fuel tank.
2. A gas-fired grill comprising:
a housing;
a fuel tank; and
a fuel gage having a platform, a spring, a switch array, a switch actuator and a display, the platform being pivotally coupled to the housing, the fuel tank resting on the platform, the spring biasing the platform in a first rotational direction, the switch array being coupled to one of the housing and the platform and including a plurality of discrete switches that provide corresponding signals to the display, the switch actuator being coupled to the other one of the housing and the platform and being configured to progressively operate the switches of the switch array in response to rotational movement of the platform, the display providing a visual indication of an amount of fuel in the fuel tank.
3. A grill comprising:
a housing defining a first chamber and a second chamber that is disposed above the first chamber;
a first lid that is pivotally coupled to the housing, the first lid being moveable between a first position, which closes the first chamber to inhibit access thereto, and a second position, which at least partially clears the first chamber to permit access thereto;
a second lid that is pivotally coupled to the housing, the second lid being moveable between a first position, which closes the second chamber to inhibit access thereto, and a second position, which at least partially clears the second chamber to permit access thereto, the second lid having a sidewall that is generally transverse to an axis about which the second lid pivots;
a handle assembly coupled to second lid, the handle assembly including a handle, a wire harness, a light source and a switch, the handle being coupled to the sidewall and extending away from the first chamber, the wire harness being adapted to electrically couple the light source to the switch and a source of electrical power, the light source being coupled to a second lid, the switch being configured to selectively couple the light source to the source of electrical power;
wherein light generated by the light source illuminates the first chamber when the first lid is positioned in the open position.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation of International Application PCT/US2005/024036 filed Jul. 7, 2005, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/586,118 entitled “Gas Grill” and filed Jul. 7, 2004.

INTRODUCTION

The present invention generally relates to outdoor cooking equipment and more particularly to a grill such as a gas-fired grill.

Grills, and in particular portable gas-fired grills, have become very popular as outdoor cooking devices. Portable gas grills generally consist of a cooking chamber supported by a support frame that may or may not have wheels. The cooking chamber generally includes gas burners, which are located in the lower portion of the cooking chamber, and a cooking grid that is spaced a distance above the gas burners for supporting the food to be cooked. A source of gaseous fuel, such as a fuel tank containing a liquid fuel (e.g., liquid propane), is coupled to the gas burners via a gas regulator hose assembly.

Several drawbacks have been noted with the known grills. One drawback concerns the amount of light that is available for the grill operator to see the food that is being cooked on the cooking grid. Relatively low-tech approaches for solving this issue include the use of a relatively large glass pane in the front of the lid that can be employed to selectively cover the cooking chamber. This solution, however, relies on ambient light for illumination of the cooking chamber and moreover provides no additional lighting when the lid is placed in an open condition.

Other solutions include the use of a combination light and handle that is coupled to the lid such as the one that is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,132,055, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference as if set forth herein in its entirety. This solution is disadvantageous in that the handle for moving the lid is placed directly over the cooking grid when the lid is open and can therefore become relatively hot to the touch.

Another drawback is related to gas-fired grills having a removable source of gaseous fuel (e.g., a propane tank). It will be appreciated that it is not desirable to run out of fuel when cooking and as such, various types of fuel tank gages have been developed to inform the operator of the grill of the amount of fuel that remains in the fuel tank. As current regulations limit the amount by which the tank may move when mounted to the grill, the known fuel tank gages tend to be hard to read and/or to be positioned in a location where the fuel level indication is not conspicuous.

Accordingly, there remains a need in the art for an improved grill.

SUMMARY

In one form, the present teachings provide a gas-fired grill having a housing, a fuel gage and a fuel tank. The fuel gage has a platform, a spring, and an arm member. The platform is pivotally coupled to the housing. The spring biases the platform in a first rotational direction. The arm member is rotatably coupled to the housing at a pivot point. The arm member rotates about the pivot point in response to rotation of the platform relative to the housing. The arm member includes an indicator. The fuel tank holds a combustible fuel and rests on the platform. The platform rotates relative to the housing in response to consumption of the combustible fuel from the fuel tank.

In another form, the present teachings provide gas-fired grill with a housing, a fuel tank and a fuel gage. The fuel gage has a platform, a spring, a switch array, a switch actuator and a display. The platform is pivotally coupled to the housing. The fuel tank rests on the platform. The spring biases the platform in a first rotational direction. The switch array is coupled to one of the housing and the platform and including a plurality of discrete switches that provide corresponding signals to the display. The switch actuator is coupled to the other one of the housing and the platform and is configured to progressively operate the switches of the switch array in response to rotational movement of the platform. The display provides a visual indication of an amount of fuel in the fuel tank.

In yet another form, the present teachings provide a grill having a housing, a first lid, a second lid and a light assembly. The housing defines a first chamber and a second chamber that is disposed above the first chamber. The first lid is pivotally coupled to the housing and is moveable between a first position, which closes the first chamber to inhibit access thereto, and a second position, which at least partially clears the first chamber to permit access thereto. The second lid is pivotally coupled to the housing and is moveable between a first position, which closes the second chamber to inhibit access thereto, and a second position, which at least partially clears the second chamber to permit access thereto. The second lid has a sidewall that is generally transverse to an axis about which the second lid pivots. The handle assembly is coupled to second lid and includes a handle, a wire harness, a light source and a switch. The handle is coupled to the sidewall and extends away from the first chamber. The wire harness is adapted to electrically couple the light source to the switch and a source of electrical power. The light source is coupled to a second lid. The switch is configured to selectively couple the light source to the source of electrical power. Light generated by the light source illuminates the first chamber when the first lid is positioned in the open position.

Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Additional advantages and features of the present invention will become apparent from the subsequent description and the appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the grill of FIG. 1 illustrating the grate in more detail;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are schematic representations of the temperature indicator that is incorporated into the grate of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a portion of the grill of FIG. 5 illustrating the tank caddy in more detail;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the grill of FIG. 21 illustrating the first and second lids in the closed position;

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of the grill of FIG. 21 illustrating the first and second lids in the open position;

FIG. 24 is an exploded perspective view of a portion of the grill of FIG. 21 illustrating the second lid in more detail;

FIG. 25 is a sectional view of a portion of the second lid taken generally transverse to the axis about which the second lid rotates;

FIG. 26 is a partial exploded perspective view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 27 is a side view of the grill of FIG. 26;

FIG. 28 is a sectional view of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a portion of the grill of FIG. 28;

FIG. 30 is a schematic view of a portion of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 31 is a schematic side view of a portion of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 32 is a schematic side view of a portion of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 33 is a schematic side view of a portion of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention; and

FIG. 34 is a schematic side view of a portion of another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a gas-fired grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 10. The grill 10 may include a base 12 and a lid 14 that may be pivotally coupled to the base 12. The base 12 may include a housing 20, one or more burners 22, a control set 24 and a plurality of grates 26 that are supported by the housing 20 at a location above the burners 22. The control set 24 is coupled to a source of fuel, such as liquefied petroleum or natural gas, and may regulate the delivery of the fuel to the burners 22 in a known manner.

The grates 26, which may be dishwasher safe for ease of cleaning, include a frame member 30 and a handle 32 that may be coupled to the frame member 30 and employed by the user as a means for lifting the grate 26. In the example illustrated, the handle 32 extends into a well 36 that is formed in the housing 20 when the grate 26 is positioned on the base 12. The well 36 may be formed within a cooking area 38 that is defined by the housing 20, burners 22 and frame member 30 or may positioned in a location outside the cooking area 38 as illustrated so that the handles 32 will tend to stay clean.

With brief additional reference to FIGS. 2 through 4, a temperature indicator 40 may be employed in conjunction with the handle 32 to provide the user with a visual indication of the temperature of the handle 32. Such visual indicators are employed in Tefal HotSpot cookware, Omegalabel temperature labels and LCD Temperature strips. In the example provided, the temperature indicator 40 has a ring-shaped first indicator 42, which illuminates when the handle 32 is at a temperature that exceeds a first predetermined temperature, and a circular second indicator 44 that illuminates when the handle 32 is at a temperature that exceeds a second predetermined temperature that is greater than the first predetermined temperature. The first indicator 42 and/or second indicator 44 may further include indicia 46, such as the word “warm” or “hot”, that the user may directly read to determine the relative temperature of the handle 32.

With reference to FIG. 5, the base 12 may include a propane tank caddy 50 to which a propane tank 52 may be removably coupled. The caddy 50 may include a base portion 60, a first handle 62 and a second handle 64. The base portion 50 may include a frame 66 to which the first and second handles 62 and 64 may be coupled, a plurality of wheels 68, which may be coupled to the frame 66 and permit the user to easily maneuver the caddy 50, and a mount 70 that may be coupled to the frame 66 and configured to receive the propane tank 52. The first handle 62 may be configured to permit the user to install the caddy 50 to and remove the caddy 50 from the remainder of the base 12, while the second handle may be employed by a second person, for example, to aid the user in lifting the caddy 50 into a vehicle for transport to a tank filling or exchange station.

The remainder of the base 12 may define an opening into which the caddy 50 may be received. In the example provided, the remainder of the base 12 includes a pair of guide rails onto which the caddy may be slidably received. The guide rails preferably cooperate with the caddy 50 to maintain the wheels 68 in a condition where they are elevated from the ground when the caddy 50 is docked thereto. When the caddy 50 is to be removed, the user may slide the caddy 50 outwardly from the remainder of the base 12 and tip the caddy 50 forwardly to engage the wheels 68 to the ground.

With additional reference to FIG. 6, an integral level sensor 74 may be included with the base 12. In the example provided, the integral level sensor 74 is associated with the caddy 50. More specifically, the integral level sensor 74 includes a pressure sensitive resistor that may be associated with a circuit that may be employed by a user to gauge the amount of fuel in the propane tank 52. The circuit may include a light display, such as an LED light display 80, a power switch 82 and a battery, which may be a conventional alkaline battery. The power switch 82 may be employed to selectively distribute electrical power from the battery to the pressure sensitive resistor and illuminate the light display 80. The resistance of the pressure sensitive resistor is responsive to the weight of the propane tank 52. The LED light display 80 is responsive to the resistance of the pressure sensitive resistor and illuminates in a manner that indicates to the user an amount of fuel that remains in the propane tank 52.

With reference to FIG. 7, the base 12 may include an electronic device 90 that may guide or prompt the user through the cooking process and/or may provide recipe help. In one embodiment, the electronic device 90 is passive and transmits information through a display panel 92 that may include a display 94 and a plurality of buttons 96 that may be employed by the user to input information to the display panel 92, such as a desired mode of operation, a start or stop signal for a timer, and/or the temperature of the grill 10. In another form, the electronic device 90 may be employed to automate the cooking process. In this version, the electronic device 90 may further include one or more electronic temperature sensors and one or more electronically controlled valves that regulate the supply of fuel to the burners 22 (FIG. 1). The electronic device may be employed to automatically perform a high temperature cleaning cycle, provide precise temperature control during cooking or provide a specific cooking program. One example of this latter function may be the grilling of a relatively thick steak where the steak is first cooked over direct heat for a predetermined time and then subjected to indirect heat to cook through to a desired temperature.

In FIG. 8, the grill 10 may include one or more warming cabinets 100 that may be coupled to the base 12 and employed to store food items at a desired temperature. An adjustable aperture, such as a louver 102, may be employed to regulate the amount of heat that is permitted to exit the housing 20 and enter the warming cabinet 100.

In FIG. 9, the warming cabinet or portions thereof may be removable from the base 12 to permit various food items stored in the warming cabinets to be more easily transported. In the example provided, the warming cabinet 100′ is constructed so as to be completely removable from the grill 10, while the warming cabinet 100″ includes a tray 110 that may be removed. Portions of the warming cabinet 100′ and/or 100″ may be configured in a manner that permits them to absorb and release heat. For example the tray 110 or the walls 112 of the warming cabinet 100′ may have a sealed oil-filled construction that permits them to absorb a relatively large amount of heat and release the heat to the food items stored thereon or therein.

In FIG. 10, the base 12 of the grill 10 may include a storage compartment 120 that may be employed to store various items that may be employed for cooking or cleaning. A door 122, which may include a plurality of storage shelves 124, may be employed to close the storage compartment 120. The storage compartment 120 may further include a holder 126 onto which a roll of paper toweling 128 may be received.

In FIG. 11, the lid 14 may include a handle 130 that includes a light 132 that may be employed to illuminate the cooking area 38 when the lid 14 is in a raised position. The light 132 may include a battery, a lamp 134 and a switch 136 that may be manually activated by the user (i.e., toggled on or off) and/or automatically operated when the position of the lid 14 is changed. In this latter mode of operation, the lamp 134 may illuminate when the lid 14 is pivoted out of the closed position and may turn off when the lid is pivoted into the closed position.

In FIG. 12, a sound system 140 may be integrated into the grill 10. The sound system 140 may include a combination receiver/CD player 142 and a pair of side speakers 144. The receiver/CD player 142 may be of a wireless type that transmits signals to one or both of the side speakers 144 without being electrically coupled thereto. Construction in this manner permits the combination receiver/CD player 142 to be removed from the grill 10 and positioned at a location that is relatively more convenient for the users.

In FIG. 13, the base 12 of the grill 10 may include one or more ceramic inserts 150 that are disposed between the burners 22 and the grates 26. The inserts 150 may be received onto a portion of the housing 20 in a manner that is similar to that of the grates 20, or may be disposed in a drawer frame 152 that permits the user to shuttle the inserts out from beneath the grates 26 without having to first remove the grates 26. The inserts 150 act as heat sinks, absorbing heat from the burners 22 and releasing it to the food that is disposed on the grates 26 to thereby provide better temperature distribution over the cooking area 38. Additionally, the inserts 150 form a barrier between the flame that is produced by the burners 22 and the grates 26, thus eliminating flare-ups. Recesses or pockets 156 may be formed into the surface of the inserts 150 to increase their overall surface area and to permit the inserts 150 to store fat, juices and drippings from the food on the grates 26. During normal operation, the temperature of the inserts 150 is such that fat, juices and drippings that fall onto the surface of the inserts 150 is converted into a smoke that imparts a flavor to the food on the grates 26 that is reminiscent of charcoal smoke.

In FIG. 14, the grill 10 may include a pair of wells 160 that are disposed on opposite sides of the base 12. The wells 160 may be configured to removably receive items, such as a container that may be employed to hold water, (e.g., for washing dishes or food items) or ice (e.g., for cold storage of food items or beverages). A lip 162 may be formed about the perimeter of the opening in the well 160 that permits a cover 164 to be fitted to the well 160 to partially or fully close the well 160. The cover 164 may be employed as a cutting board and may be formed of a plastic with an anti-bacterial characteristic, such as Microban. Additionally or alternatively, the well 160 may be formed with a bottom that is open or that may be opened so as to permit a disposable plastic trash bag 166 to be coupled to the grill 10.

In FIG. 15, the grill 10 may include a heating feature 170 that permits heat to be selectively conveyed or radiated to a location that is remote from the cooking area 38 so as to warm the user. In the example provided, heat from the burners 22 is rejected to the interior of the base 12 and thereafter discharged through an adjustable louver 174 toward the feet of the user. An optional fan system 176, which may include a motor powered fan 178 and an air filter 180, may be employed to draw force the relatively warm air in the interior of the base 12 outwardly through the louver 174.

In FIG. 16, the housing 20 and/or grates 26 of the grill 10 may be configured to facilitate the use of outdoor cookware 190 without the need to remove the grates 26. The outdoor cookware 190 may include cookware articles such as a griddle 192, a basket 194 and/or a perforated tray 196 that may be slidably received over and removed from the cooking area 38. To facilitate sliding of the outdoor cookware 190, each article of cookware may be formed with a set of guides 198 that slide on rails 200 that may be formed on the housing 20 or the grates 26. Preferably, the guides 198 are also formed on heat resistant shelves 202 that are located on the opposite sides of the cooking area 38. Construction in this manner permits an article of outdoor cookware 190 to be easily removed from the cooking area 38 without the need for the user to lift the article of outdoor cookware 190. Moreover, the guides 198 and guide rails 200 cooperate to position the article of outdoor cookware 190 with improved stability.

In FIG. 17, the grill 10 is illustrated to include a utensil storage device 210 having a plurality of openings 212 into which various utensils 214 may be removably received. The utensil storage device 210 may include a separate burner or be positioned in relatively close proximity to the burners 22 (FIG. 1) to permit the temperature of the utensils 214 to reach a temperature of at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit to thereby sanitize the utensil. If the utensil storage device 210 includes a separate burner, the dispensing of fuel to the burner is preferably manually initiated (e.g., via a user operated valve) and the burner 22 (FIG. 1) may be employed to initiate combustion of the fuel that is dispensed from the burner of the utensil storage device 210. The dispensing of fuel to the separate burner may be time-controlled (i.e., the valve closes after the elapsing of a predetermined amount of time) to shut off the separate burner. A visual temperature indicator, similar to the temperature indicator 40 of FIG. 2 may be employed to both identify when the temperature of the utensils 214 is hot to the touch and/or when they exceed a predetermined temperature at which certain bacteria are killed.

In FIG. 18, the grill 10 is illustrated to have a singular circular grate 26′ that is driven about a rotational axis by a drive mechanism 250. The drive mechanism 250 may include an output bevel gear that meshingly engages a face gear that is formed on a bottom side of the grill 26′. Alternatively, other means may be employed to drive the grate 26″ about a rotational axis, including one or more powered rollers and/or a sprocket-driven chain. The drive mechanism 250 may include a power switch 252 that permits the user to selectively activate the drive mechanism 250. Configuration of the grill 10 in this manner permits one or more additional burners to be selectively employed to create zones within the cooking area 38 that are relatively hotter than adjacent zones. In this way, food items may be rotated into a zone where they are initially seared and then rotated into a second zone where they may be subjected to indirect heat so that they may cook through.

In FIG. 19 the grill 10 is illustrated to optionally include a plurality of fold-out shelves 270 that may be located on the sides or front of the base 12. The fold-out shelves 270 may be of various sizes and may include one or more legs 272 that may be employed to support the shelf 270 when the shelf 270 is deployed.

In FIG. 20, the grill 10 is illustrated to include a front prep work surface 290 that may employ a removable board member 292 that may be formed of wood or plastic (if a cutting task is to be performed on the board member 292) or may be formed of a high-end material, such as a solid surface material (e.g., Corian), an engineered stone material (e.g., Silestone) or a natural stone material (e.g., granite or marble). To provide maximum functionality and improved appearance, the board member 290 may have a composite construction with one side being formed of a material (e.g., wood or plastic) that is conducive to cutting tasks and an opposite side that is formed of a layer of a high end material, such as granite or an engineered stone.

In FIGS. 21 and 22, a grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 300. The grill 300 can include a base 312, a first lid 314, and a second lid 316. The base 312 can include a housing 320, one or more burners 322, a control set 324, a cooking surface or grid 326 and a warming surface or grid 328. Except as provided herein, the construction and operation of the various elements of the base 312 can be similar to the construction and operation of the corresponding elements of the base 12 (FIG. 1) discussed above.

The housing 320 can support the cooking grid 326 at a first and relatively close distance from the burners 322 and the warming grid 328 at a second relatively farther distance from the burners 322. Accordingly, the housing 320 defines a cooking chamber 330, which is disposed between the cooking grid 326 and the warming grid 328, and a warming chamber 332, which is disposed above the warming grid 328.

The warming grid 328 can be defined by a grate and/or a sheet metal (e.g., steel, aluminum) tray. If a sheet metal tray is employed, the tray may have a solid surface or could have surface with a plurality of holes formed therethrough (e.g., perforated sheet metal or expanded metal). The surface of the sheet metal tray can be coated with an appropriate coating (e.g., rust resistant plating, a non-stick coating) if desired.

The first lid 314 can include a lid member 334, which can be pivotally coupled to the housing 320, and a handle 336 that can be coupled to a side wall 338 of the lid member 334. The lid member 334 is movable between an open position (FIG. 21) and a closed position (FIG. 22). In the open position, the lid member 334 is rotated into the cooking chamber 330 so that the front face of the lid member 334 is located beneath the warming grid 328 and the lower edge of the lid member 334 is located rearwardly of the second lid 316.

With reference to FIGS. 21, and 23 through 25, the second lid 316 can include a lid structure 340, first and second side walls 342 and 344, respectively, a handle assembly 346 and a light assembly 348. The lid structure 340 can include a lid member 350, which can be pivotally coupled to the housing 320 in a conventional manner, and an optional heat resistant glass viewing pane 352 that can be fixedly but removably coupled to the lid member 350 in a conventional manner. The first and second side walls 342 and 344 can be discrete components that can be coupled to the lid member 350, or could be integrally formed with the lid member 350 in an alternative embodiment.

The handle assembly 346 can be coupled to the first side wall 342 and can include a housing 360, a hand grip 362 and a switch 364. The housing 360 can be configured to receive one or more battery cells 366 therein which provide electrical power via the switch 364 to the light assembly 348. The hand grip 362 can be coupled to the housing 360. The switch 364 can be coupled to the housing 360 or to the hand grip 362 and is preferably position so as to be readily accessible but somewhat shrouded so as to resist inadvertent operation of the switch 364. In the example provided, the switch 364 is a push-button type switch with an actuator that is recessed into the end face of the hand grip 362.

The light assembly 348 can include an upper portion 370, a light source 372, a light source holder 374, and a lower portion 376. The upper portion 370 can include a beam-like structural channel that can be mounted to the lid member 350 of the second lid 316. The light source 372 can include one or more lamps and/or LED's 372 a and a wire harness 372 b that electrically connects the lamps and/or LED's 372 a to the switch 364 and the batteries 366. The light source holder 374 can be a beam-like structural channel having a plurality of holes 378 formed therethrough that are sized to receive a corresponding one of the lamps or LED's. As the light source holder 374 is received into the upper portion 370, the light source holder 374 maintains each of the lamps and/or LED's at a desired location. A lower surface 380 of the light source holder 374 can be reflective so as to direct light toward the lower portion 376. The lower portion 376 can include a beam-like structural channel 382 that can be received into the upper portion 370. The beam-like structural channel 382 can define one or more openings 384 that permit light from the light source 372 to exit the light assembly 348. In the example provided, the lower portion 376 also includes a lens 386 that can be formed of a heat-resistant transparent glass. The lens 386 is configured to close the opening 384 while permitting light to escape therethrough.

When operating the grill 300, the first lid 314 may be placed in the open position and the light assembly 348 may be activated (via the switch 364) to cause the light source 372 to output light. As the first lid 314 is retracted rearwardly of the light assembly 348, the light that is produced by the light source 372 projects downwardly onto the cooking grid 326. As the handles 336 and 346 for the first and second lids 314 and 316 are positioned on a side of the housing 320 rather than over the cooking grid 326, it will be appreciated that the handles 336 and 346, as well as the batteries 366 for the light source 372, remain relatively cool.

It will be appreciated that a timer or other control means may be employed in addition with or as an alternative to the switch 364. For example, a timer (not shown) may be employed to limit the amount of time that the light source 372 produces light. Accordingly, a timer could prevent the batteries 366 from being exhausted if the switch 364 is inadvertently activated. As another example, the switch 364 or a second switch (not shown) may be located and configured so as to automatically turn the light source 372 on when the first lid 314 is positioned in the open position. Moreover, another switch (not shown) may be located and configured so as to ensure that the light source 372 is turned off when the second lid 316 is positioned in the open position.

In FIGS. 26 and 27, another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 400. The grill 400 is shown to include a base 412 having a housing 420 and a platform-style fuel gage 422. The fuel gage 422 can include a platform member 424, one or more springs 426, an indicator arm 428 and an optional indicator plate 430. The platform member 424 can be a plate-like structure that can be pivotally coupled to the housing 420 via one or more hinges 432. In the particular example provided, a tank aperture 434 is formed in the platform member 424 and is sized to receive the base 436 of a conventional 20 lb. propane tank 438. While the tank aperture 434 is illustrated to be centrally located on the platform member 424, it will be appreciated that it may in the alternative be positioned relatively closer to the hinges 432.

The springs 426 can be conventional compression springs and can be disposed between the platform member 424 and the housing 420 on a side of the tank aperture 434 opposite the hinges 432. Accordingly, the springs 426 can bias the platform member 424 upwardly about an axis that is defined by the hinges 432.

It will be appreciated that a change in the weight of the fuel tank 438 will cause a corresponding change in the rotational position of the platform member 424 about the axis of the hinges 432. A restraint 440 may be employed to aid in securing the fuel tank 438 to the housing 420. The restraint 440 can include a restraint member 442 that can be formed of a sheet steel. A proximal end of the restraint member 442 can be fixedly but removably coupled to the housing 420 via a thumb screw or other appropriate fastener(s), while a V-shaped distal end 444 of the restraint member 442 can be fitted about the protective collar 446 that is formed on the fuel tank 438. The V-shaped distal end 444 of the restraint member 444 need not physically touch the protective collar 446, but rather can simply limit both vertical and horizontal movement of the fuel tank 438.

The indicator arm 428 can include a pivot member 450, which can be fixedly coupled to the housing 420 on a side opposite the hinges 432, and an arm member 452 that can be pivotally mounted on the pivot member 450. The arm member 452 can have a first portion 454 which can extend from a first side of the pivot member 450 and a second portion 456 that can extend from a second opposite side of the pivot member 450. The first portion 454 can include can be configured to fit over a pin 458 that is coupled to the platform member 424. The first portion 454 can be configured to cooperate with the pin 458 and the pivot member 450 to convert vertically translating motion of the platform member 424 into rotary motion of the arm member 452. The second portion 456 of the arm member 452 can include an indicator portion 460, which is illustrated to be a red painted zone on the distal end of the second portion 456. In the particular example provided, the length of the second portion 456 of the arm member 452 is greater than the length of the first portion 454 so as to have the effect of magnifying the amount by which the platform member 424 translates in response to a change in the weight of the fuel tank 438.

Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that gage indicia (not shown) may be placed on the housing 420 that associates a position of the indicator portion 460 with an amount of fuel in the fuel tank 438. In the particular example provided, however, the indicator plate 430 conceals and covers the indicator arm 428 except for the portion of the indicator portion 460 that is visible through one or more holes 462 that are associated with the gage indicia 464 that is placed on the indicator plate 430.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the indicator arm 428 can be configured so that the indicator portion 460 lies within a first one of the holes 462 when the fuel tank 438 is full and lies within a last one of the holes 462 when the fuel tank 438 is empty. Accordingly, movement of the platform member 424 in response to a change in the weight of the fuel tank 438 will cause the indicator portion 460 to rotate about the pivot member 450 in alignment with a corresponding one or ones of the holes 462.

Since the indicator arm 428 is configured to magnify the movement of the platform member 424 and since the indicator arm 428 can be located on a front side of the grill 400, the amount of fuel in the fuel tank 438 can be easily and accurately determined.

With reference to FIG. 28, another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 500. The grill 500 is generally similar to that of the grill 400 of FIG. 26 except a fuel gage 502 is substituted for the fuel gage 422 (FIG. 26). The fuel gage 502 can include a tank post 504, a tank mount 506, a compression spring 508, a lower stop 510, an upper stop 512, an arm member 514 and a scale 516. The tank post 504 can be a rod having a circular cross section that can be fixedly coupled to the housing 520 of the grill 500.

With brief additional reference to FIG. 29, the tank mount 506 can include a plate member 522 and a guide structure 524 that can be fixedly coupled to the plate member 522. The plate member 522 can include a tank aperture 526 that is configured to receive the base 528 of a fuel tank 530 therein. The guide structure 524 can include a tubular member 532 having an inside diameter that is sized to fit over the tank post 504 so as to be axially slidable thereon. In the particular example provided, the guide structure 524 includes a plurality of bushings 534 that can be made of a suitable material so as to reduce friction between the tank post 504 and the tubular member 532. The bushings 534 may be made of NylonŽ or TeflonŽ, for example. The compression spring 508 is disposed about the tank post 504 between the housing 520 and the plate member 522 and biases the plate member 522 upwardly. The lower stop 510 can be an annular structure that can be coupled to the housing 520 and fitted about the compression spring 508 so as to inhibit downward movement of the tank mount 506 at a predetermined point. Similarly, the upper stop 512 can be coupled to the housing 520 or the tank post 504 and can be configured to inhibit upward movement of the tank mount 506 at a predetermined point. Optionally, the lower stop 510 can include one or more features that can cooperate with the tank mount 506 to resist undesired rotation of the tank mount 506 about the tank post 504. In the example provided, the lower stop 510 includes a groove 540 that is configured to receive a peg 542 that is coupled to the tank mount 506. When the peg 542 is disposed in the groove 540, rotation of the tank mount 506 relative to the lower stop 510 is inhibited. In the example provided, the peg 542 axially disengages the groove 540 when the fuel tank 530 is less than about ⅛ full, there by permitting the tank mount 506 to be rotated about the tank post 504 so that the fuel tank 530 may be more easily removed from the fuel gage 502. The arm member 514 can be coupled to the tank mount 506 for translation therewith. The arm member 514 can include a distal end that can form a pointer 550. The scale 516 can be coupled to the housing 520 proximate the pointer 550 and includes scale indicia 552 that cooperate with the pointer 550 to indicate a level of fuel within the fuel tank 530. Optionally, the tank mount 506 can include a releasable strap 554 that can be employed to secure the fuel tank 530 to the tank mount 506. In the example provided, the strap 554 includes two strap members 556 that can be secured to one another via a conventional strap joining means, such as hook-and-loop fasteners, buckles or clips.

With reference to FIG. 30, yet another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 600. The grill 600 is also generally similar to the grill 400 (FIG. 26) except for that a fuel gage 602 is substituted for the fuel gage 422 (FIG. 26). The fuel gage 602 includes a plate member 604 that is pivotally coupled to the housing 620 of the grill 600 and which is biased upwardly by a compression spring 622. As these elements are generally similar to those of the grill 400 (FIG. 26), they will not be discussed in further detail. Unlike the fuel gage 422 of FIG. 26, the fuel gage 602 includes an electronic display 624. The electronic display 624 can include a switch array 626, a display device 628, a battery 630 and a switch actuator 632. The switch array 626 can include a plurality of switches 634. Each of the switches 634 can have a first contact 636, which can be electrically coupled to the display device 628, and a second contact 638 that can be coupled to an electric ground. The first contact 636 can be configured similar to a leaf-spring and can be biased into electrical connection with the second contact 638. The display device 628 is illustrated to be an array of LED's 640, wherein each LED 640 is electrically coupled to the battery 630 and to the first contact 636. The switch actuator 632 can be a wedge-shaped protrusion that can be formed on or coupled to the plate member 604. When the fuel tank 644 that is mounted on the plate member 604 is full, the top surface 646 of the switch actuator 632 is disposed below the lower surface 648 of the first contact 636 of the switches 634. As such, each of the LED's in the display device 628 will illuminate. As the amount of fuel in the fuel tank 644 decreases, however, the plate member 604 will pivot about the pivot axis 650 so that the top surface 646 of the switch actuator 632 rises. If the amount by which the top surface 646 of the switch actuator 632 rises is sufficient, the switch actuator 632 will lift the first contact 636 from a first one of the switches 634 off of its associated second contact 638, thereby opening the electrical circuit so that an associated LED 640 will not illuminate. It will be appreciated that due to sloped configuration of the top surface 646, the switches 634 will progressively open as the amount of fuel in the fuel tank 644 decreases. It will also be appreciated that a power switch 652 can be optionally employed to limit the amount by which the battery 630 is discharged. In the example provided, the power switch 652 is a normally open momentary switch that is disposed between the battery 630 and the array of LED's. The normally open configuration of the power switch 652 inhibits the passage of electricity therethrough unless the power switch 652 is first actuated. Moreover, as the power switch 652 is a momentary switch, it passes electricity therethrough only when the power switch 652 is activated. Accordingly, the press-to-test configuration can greatly increase battery life. It will also be appreciated that in the alternative, another display type, such as a liquid crystal display (LCD), may be substituted for the display device 628.

With reference to FIG. 31, another grill constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 700. Except as otherwise provided herein, the grill 700 can be generally similar to the grill of FIG. 5. In this regard, the grill 700 can include a caddy 702 to which the fuel tank 704 may be removably coupled. The caddy 702 is generally similar to the caddy 50 described above, and can include a frame 706, a set of legs 708 and a set of wheels 710, and a handle 712. The fuel tank 704 can rest on the frame 706, while the legs 708 and the wheels 710 support the frame 706 relative to the ground. The handle 712 can extend upwardly from the frame 706. Optionally, a strap (not shown) or other device may be employed to secure the fuel tank 704 to the caddy 702. To install the caddy 702 (with fuel tank 704) to the housing 720 of the grill 700, a door 722 on the housing 720 of the grill 700 can be opened to provide access to a tank chamber 724 within the housing 720. The caddy 702 can be tilted about an axis that is defined by the wheels 710 and rolled into the tank chamber 724 to a predetermined point. The predetermined point can be defined by the geometry of the floor 726 of the tank chamber 724. In the particular example provided, the floor 726 includes a V-shaped recess 728 into which the wheels 710 may be set. Once positioned at the predetermined point, the caddy 702 may be rotated about the axis that is defined by the wheels 710 such that the legs 708 rest on a spring 730 that is coupled to the housing 720. The spring 730 is illustrated to be a leaf spring, but it will be appreciated that a compression spring could also be employed. Due to the weight of the fuel in the fuel tank 704, the spring 730 will deflect so that the caddy 702 rotates about the axis that is defined by the wheels 710. It will be appreciated that as fuel is consumed from the tank 704, the spring 730 will urge the caddy 702 to rotate about the axis that is defined by the wheels 710 such that the handle 712 will get progressively closer to the door 722. It will also be appreciated that the spring 730 could alternatively be positioned to contact the handle 712 rather than the legs 708. When the caddy 702 has been positioned in the tank chamber 724, the door 722 may be moved to a closed position, which can not only closes the fuel tank 704 in the tank chamber 722, but can also engage a linkage 740 of a fuel gage 742 to the caddy 702. In the example provided, the linkage 740 contacts the handle 712 and is fixedly coupled to a pointer 744 that extends from a front side of the door 722. A scale 746 with scale indicia (not specifically shown) can be coupled to the door 722 and can cooperate with the pointer 744 to provide an indication of the amount of fuel that resides in the fuel tank 704. The linkage 740 can be biased in a rotational direction toward the caddy 702 via a torsion spring 750. As the linkage 740 is biased into contact with the handle 712 and as the caddy 702 will pivot about the axis that is defined by the wheels 710 as fuel is consumed, the linkage 740 and the pointer 744 will move in response to a change in the amount of fuel in the fuel tank 704. Significantly, the amount by the pointer 744 will move can be greatly magnified based upon the location where the linkage 740 contacts the caddy 702 and the relative lengths of the pointer 744 and the linkage 740. In this regard, the linkage 740 contacts the portion of the handle 712 that is furthest from the axis that is defined by the wheels 710 and since this distance is greater than the distance between the legs 708 and the axis, a relatively large displacement occurs for the consumption of a given amount of fuel. Similarly, the lengths of the pointer 744 and the linkage 740 can be selected so that the movement of the caddy 702 is amplified (or attenuated) in a desired manner.

In FIG. 32, an alternately constructed grill is indicated by reference numeral 700 a. The grill 700 a is generally similar to the grill 700 of FIG. 31, except that the fuel gage 742 a includes a wedge shaped element 760 that is slidably mounted to the door 722 a. The wedge shaped element 760 can be biased vertically downwardly by a spring (not specifically shown) and can include a pointer 744 a that can be visible through the door 722 a. When the door 722 a is positioned in the closed position, contact between the handle 712 and the wedge shaped element 760 will urge the wedge shaped element 760 (and the pointer 744 a) upwardly. As fuel is consumed from the fuel tank 704, the caddy 702 a will pivot about the axis that is defined by the wheels 710 so that the handle 712 rotates forwardly and urges the wedge shaped element 760 further upwardly. It will be appreciated that a scale (not specifically shown) with scale indicia can be incorporated into the door 722 a and that the pointer 744 a can cooperate with the scale to provide an indication of the amount of fuel in the fuel tank 704.

In FIG. 33, another alternately constructed grill is indicated by reference numeral 700 b. The grill 700 b is generally similar to the grill 700 of FIG. 31, except that the fuel gage 742 b is an electronic device that can be constructed in a manner that is similar to the fuel gage 602 of FIG. 30. In the particular example provided, the switch array 626, the display device 628, the battery (not specifically shown) and the switch actuator 632 can be configured as discussed above in conjunction with the grill of FIG. 30, except that the switch array 626 and the switch actuator 632 are located differently. In this regard, the switch actuator 632 can be coupled to the frame 706 of the caddy 702 b, while the switch array 626 can be coupled to the housing 720 b of the grill 700 b at a location that is rotationally in-line with the switch actuator 632. Accordingly, consumption of fuel from the fuel tank 704 will cause the caddy 702 b (and the switch actuator 632) to rotate about the axis that is defined by the wheels 710 and change the state of the switches (not specifically shown) of the switch actuator 626 in response thereto.

In FIG. 34, yet another alternately constructed grill is generally indicated by reference numeral 700 c. In this example, the fuel gage 742 c can include a fluid-filled sight glass 770 that is coupled in fluid connection to a bladder 772. The bladder 772 can be positioned so as to be disposed beneath the caddy 702 c when the caddy 702 c is placed in the tank chamber 724. The weight of the caddy 702 c and fuel tank 704 exert a force on the bladder 772 which drives fluid from the bladder 772 into the sight glass 770. When the fuel tank 704 is relatively full, a relatively large amount of fluid will be forced out of the bladder 772 and into the sight glass 770 so that the level of fluid in the sight glass 770 will be relatively high. Conversely, when the fuel tank 704 is empty, the fluid will have flowed from the sight glass 770 into the bladder 772 so that the level of fluid in the sight glass 770 will be relatively low.

While the invention has been described in the specification and illustrated in the drawings with reference to various embodiments, it will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the claims. Furthermore, the mixing and matching of features, elements and/or functions between various embodiments is expressly contemplated herein so that one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate from this disclosure that features, elements and/or functions of one embodiment may be incorporated into another embodiment as appropriate, unless described otherwise, above. Moreover, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment illustrated by the drawings and described in the specification as the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include any embodiments falling within the foregoing description and the appended claims.

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US7793649 *Dec 10, 2007Sep 14, 2010Wolfedale Engineering LimitedTemperature control apparatus and method for a barbeque grill
US7905225 *Oct 3, 2007Mar 15, 2011Contarino Alfred FCooking grill
US8020546 *Jul 9, 2008Sep 20, 2011Metal Fusion, Inc.Teppanyaki grill
US8347874 *Mar 26, 2007Jan 8, 2013Weber-Stephen Products Co.Grease drip pan and gas tank blocker for a barbecue grill
US8405003 *Nov 19, 2010Mar 26, 2013General Electric CompanyOven having diffuse light pipe assembly
US8490614 *Sep 15, 2008Jul 23, 2013Michael S. GregoryResidential flame broiler
US20070221202 *Mar 26, 2007Sep 27, 2007Bruno Adrian AGrease Drip Pan and Gas Tank Blocker for a Barbecue Grill
US20100154773 *Dec 7, 2005Jun 24, 2010Ju Ho LeeGrill
US20110088682 *Apr 21, 2011Wolfedale Engineering LimitedTemperature control apparatus and method for a barbeque grill
US20120125911 *May 24, 2012Timothy Scott ShafferOven having diffuse light pipe assembly
US20130032131 *Feb 7, 2013Fenix Outdoor ABStorage box
US20140375469 *Jun 19, 2013Dec 25, 2014Shailendra K SumanPropane tank continuous monitoring system
Classifications
U.S. Classification126/50, 126/38, 126/37.00B, 126/39.00R, 126/41.00R, 126/37.00A, 126/37.00R, 126/39.0BA
International ClassificationF24C15/00, F24C3/02, F24C3/00, F24C15/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47J43/18, A47J37/0682, F24C3/14, A47J37/0786, A47J37/0713, A47J2202/00, F24C15/16
European ClassificationF24C15/16, F24C3/14, A47J37/07L, A47J37/07B3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 20, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: BLACK & DECKER INC., DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MURRAY, CHRISTOPHER J.;AGRONIN, MICHAEL L.;REEL/FRAME:019034/0941
Effective date: 20070302