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Publication numberUS20080283481 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/804,474
Publication dateNov 20, 2008
Filing dateMay 18, 2007
Priority dateMay 18, 2007
Publication number11804474, 804474, US 2008/0283481 A1, US 2008/283481 A1, US 20080283481 A1, US 20080283481A1, US 2008283481 A1, US 2008283481A1, US-A1-20080283481, US-A1-2008283481, US2008/0283481A1, US2008/283481A1, US20080283481 A1, US20080283481A1, US2008283481 A1, US2008283481A1
InventorsRichard W. Evans, Richard J. Honigman
Original AssigneeEvans Richard W, Honigman Richard J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular spice rack
US 20080283481 A1
Abstract
A modular container organizer is presented. The organizer includes a rack having a top, bottom, front, back and ends. The top has one or more holes for receiving containers. The holes have a depth suitable for retaining the containers when a lateral force is applied to the containers or the rack. The rack adapted for attachment of the back to a mostly vertically positioned surface and the rack further adapted for assembling a plurality of similar racks in a grouping.
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Claims(15)
1. A modular container organizer comprising:
a rack comprising a top, bottom, front, back and ends, said top comprising one or more holes for receiving containers, said holes having a depth suitable for retaining the containers when a lateral force is applied to the containers or said rack, said rack adapted for attachment of said back to a mostly vertically positioned surface and said rack further adapted for assembling a plurality of similar racks in a grouping.
2. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, further comprising one or more openings on said front associated with each of said one or more holes, said openings extending from said top to said depth and having a width less than said holes such that labels on the containers can be viewed but the containers remain retained in said holes.
3. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, where sides of said holes comprise a taper.
4. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, where one of said ends comprises one or more dimples and the other end comprises one or more nipples for alignment of said rack with said similar racks in said grouping.
5. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, further comprising double-coated urethane foam tape for attaching said back to said surface.
6. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, where said rack is wood.
7. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, where said rack is injection molded thermal plastic.
8. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 1, where said surface is an inside of a cabinet door.
9. A modular container organizer comprising a rack comprising:
means for receiving and retaining containers;
means for attaching to a vertical surface; and
means for assembling in a grouping of similar racks.
10. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 9, further comprising means for viewing labels on said containers.
11. A modular container organizer comprising:
a plurality of racks comprising a top, bottom, front, back and ends;
a plurality of holes in said top for receiving containers, said holes having a depth suitable for retaining the containers from being tipped or falling out of said rack;
means in said front for viewing labels of said containers;
means for attaching said rack to a mostly vertically positioned surface; and
means for connecting said racks to provide groupings.
12. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 11, where sides of said holes comprise a taper.
13. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 11, where said rack is wood.
14. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 11, where said rack is injection molded thermal plastic.
15. The modular container organizer as recited in claim 11, where said surface is an inside of a cabinet door.
Description
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER LISTING APPENDIX

Not applicable.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office, patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to storage. More particularly, the invention relates to a modular device for the storage and organization of small containers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many people have the need or desire to keep their kitchens clean and organized. Organization is particularly important to people with small kitchens. One particular organizational problem for kitchen users is the need to organize the many small containers of spices that accumulate in the kitchen. Many different spice racks, shelves, and holders for spice containers exist; however current storage solutions do not work well in small kitchen spaces, either taking up too much counter space or using drawer or cabinet space inefficiently.

All of the current solutions use some kind of fixed size holder, for example, without limitation, a shelf or shelves, platforms inserted into drawers or cabinets, or carousels with jars. The outstanding problem with all of these solutions is that they are not expandable. The fixed size and shape of these solutions preclude customizing in any meaningful way.

In view of the foregoing, there is a need for a modular holder for small containers that may be attached in a space saving location, for example, without limitation, the inside of a cabinet door.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

The present invention is best illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a plan view and an elevation view of an exemplary five-hole container organizer, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a plan view and an elevation view of an exemplary two-hole container organizer, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a plan view and an elevation view of an exemplary one-hole container organizer, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates an isometric view and a cross-sectional view of an exemplary plastic, one-hole container organizer, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and,

FIG. 5 illustrates exemplary module container organizers mounted to the interior of a kitchen cabinet, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Unless otherwise indicated, illustrations in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To achieve the forgoing and other objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, a modular spice rack is presented.

In one embodiment, a modular container organizer includes a rack having a top, bottom, front, back and ends, the top has one or more holes for receiving containers, the holes having a depth suitable for retaining the containers when a lateral force is applied to the containers or the rack, the rack adapted for attachment of the back to a mostly vertically positioned surface and the rack further adapted for assembling a plurality of similar racks in a grouping. In another embodiment the modular container organizer includes one or more openings on the front associated with each of the one or more holes, the openings extending from the top to the depth and having a width less than the holes such that labels on the containers can be viewed but the containers remain retained in the holes. In further embodiments the sides of the holes have a taper, one of the ends has one or more dimples and the other end has one or more nipples for alignment of the rack with the similar racks in the grouping. In another embodiment, double-coated urethane foam tape for attaching the back to the surface. In other embodiments the rack is wood or injection molded thermal plastic. In another embodiment the surface is an inside of a cabinet door.

In another embodiment a modular container organizer is presented. The organizer includes a rack having means for receiving and retaining containers, means for attaching to a vertical surface, and means for assembling in a grouping of similar racks. A further embodiment includes means for viewing labels on the containers.

In yet another embodiment, a modular container organizer is presented. The organizer includes a plurality of racks comprising a top, bottom, front, back and ends, a plurality of holes in the top for receiving containers, the holes having a depth suitable for retaining the containers from being tipped or falling out of the rack, means in the front for viewing labels of the containers, means for attaching the rack to a mostly vertically positioned surface, and means for connecting the racks to provide groupings. In another embodiment the sides of the holes includes a taper. In other embodiments the rack is wood or injection molded thermal plastic. In another embodiment the surface is an inside of a cabinet door.

Other features, advantages, and object of the present invention will become more apparent and be more readily understood from the following detailed description, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is best understood by reference to the detailed figures and description set forth herein.

Embodiments of the invention are discussed below with reference to the Figures. However, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the detailed description given herein with respect to these figures is for explanatory purposes as the invention extends beyond these limited embodiments. For example, it should be appreciated that those skilled in the art will, in light of the teachings of the present invention, recognize a multiplicity of alternate and suitable approaches, depending upon the needs of the particular application, to implement the functionality of any given detail described herein, beyond the particular implementation choices in the following embodiments described and shown. That is, there are numerous modifications and variations of the invention that are too numerous to be listed but that all fit within the scope of the invention. Also, singular words should be read as plural and vice versa and masculine as feminine and vice versa, where appropriate, and alternative embodiments do not necessarily imply that the two are mutually exclusive.

The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to embodiments thereof as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention is a simple modular holder for small containers. The preferred embodiment may be mounted on any clean smooth surface by using double-coated urethane foam tape, for example, without limitation, tapes made by the 3M Corporation in St. Paul, Minn.

FIG. 1 illustrates a plan view and an elevation view of an exemplary five-hole container organizer 101, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, organizer 101 comprises holes 105 in which small containers such as, but not limited to, spice jars may be placed.

The measurements of the present embodiment are the minimum proportions for holding the containers securely, allowing access to the containers, meaning the containers can be removed easily with two fingers, and enabling the label of the container to be read clearly. The present embodiment also has dimples 110 and nipples 115 that enable the alignment of multiple organizers. In some embodiments, dimples 110 and nipples 115 may be reduced to very small half sphere contacts. Other embodiments may have only one dimple and nipple on each end or more than two dimples and nipples on each end. Yet other embodiments may have various different types of connectors such as, but not limited to, square shaped connectors, clips, sliding connectors, or no connectors. A strip of the adhesive backing can be first installed on to which the modular holder can be assembled.

The inner shape of holes 105 and the outer shape of the containers to be used in organizer 101 should preferably conform to close tolerances that enable a secure hold and easy release. In the present embodiment, this is achieved by the exact size of inner hole 105, the minimum distance between holes 105 for easy removal, and the depth of inner hole 105, all being in proportion to the container to be held. In this specific case, the depth of the holes 105 is such that the containers will not move enough to tip or fall out of organizer 101 even if organizer. 101 is mounted to a kitchen cabinet door and that door is slammed.

The particular containers addressed by the present embodiment are the small and medium sized spice containers manufactured by McCormick & Co under their Schilling brand name. These spices, which are marketed worldwide, are very popular because of the size of the containers. In the present embodiment, holes 105 are 1 inches in diameter, of an inch deep, and are spaced of an inch apart. Holes 105 taper to a 1 -inch diameter to match the shape of the specific spice containers addressed by this embodiment. However, in alternate embodiments various other dimensions and shapes of holes may be suitable depending on the type and size of container that is to be used, including, but not limited to, straight-sided holes and square holes. In the present embodiment, holes 105 are positioned so that the fronts of holes 105 are open. This enables the user to clearly read the entire label of the container in organizer 101. In alternate embodiments the fronts of the holes may be closed for various reasons, for example, without limitation, if the container does not have a label or if the label is placed higher on the container. It should be noted that in the present embodiment, holes 105 taper to 1 inches diameter to match. However, in common commercial applications, the holes do not taper much, if at all.

In the present embodiment, organizer 101 is made of wood. However, those skilled in the art, in light of the present teachings, will recognize that many various materials are suitable for organizer 101, such as, but not limited to, various plastics or metals, glass and bamboo.

FIG. 2 illustrates a plan view and an elevation view of an exemplary two-hole container organizer 201, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 3 illustrates a plan view and an elevation view of an exemplary one-hole container organizer 301, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The embodiments shown by way of example in FIGS. 2 and 3 comprise the same elements as the embodiment shown by way of example in FIG. 1. The only differences in these embodiments are the number of holes for containers. By producing organizers in five-hole, two-hole, and one-hole modules all other numerical combinations can be made. However, organizers may be made with any number of holes.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention is a modular unit. Whatever form it takes, the preferred embodiment comprises multiple units that interlock, making the organizer infinitely expandable and customizable.

FIG. 4 illustrates an isometric view and a cross-sectional view of an exemplary plastic, one-hole container organizer 401, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The present embodiment is constructed of thermal plastic shaped by injection molding. Alternate embodiments may be made of a solid piece of plastic into which holes may be drilled in order to hold containers.

FIG. 5 illustrates exemplary module container organizers 501 mounted to the interior of a kitchen cabinet door 505, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. In the present embodiment, individual organizers 501 of various sizes are mounted onto door 501 using a double-coated urethane foam tape. Organizers 501 may be mounted to any smooth, clean surface using this tape, including, without limitation, other parts of kitchen cabinets, walls, the insides of drawers, etc. Organizers 501 may be used in various different rooms as well. For example, without limitation, in a bathroom to hold toiletries, or near a tool bench to hold items such as, but not limited to, screws, nails, brads, nuts, and bolts. Double-coated urethane foam tapes are well known in the art and are generally able to hold weights that exceed the needs of particular embodiments of the present invention. After removing the backing, the tape is merely pressed in place on the back of organizers 501, and the tape is pressed onto the surface where the organizer is being mounted and allowed to adhere for a few minutes, according to the specifications of the particular tape being used. The tape continues to cure over time to form a permanent bond with any two suitable surfaces. Recent advances have created tapes that can be released and repositioned or replaced, which may also be used in accordance with some embodiments. In alternate embodiments, various other means for mounting may be used; for example, without limitation, the organizers may be screwed or nailed into place.

With a simple level, an organizer 501 can be positioned against a suitable surface, the backing tape can be removed, and the adhesive can be allowed to stick in virtually one easy operation. Once the first organizer is in place, other organizers on the same row can be aligned using the dimple and nipple guides on the ends of each unit. Alternate embodiments may have other types of guides and connectors to align organizers 501 as previously described. Some embodiments may have no guides or connectors. The installation variations are endless. For example, without limitation, a single holder for a frequently used item may be placed in an especially convenient location. Once organizers are in place, containers 510 are placed in organizers 501. As shown by way of example in the figure, organizers 501 can be positioned to accommodate both tall and short containers.

The use of embodiments of the present invention enables users to store more small containers 510 in the same amount of space. Also, if desired, containers 510 can be easily organized alphabetically or otherwise, and being able to read the labels on containers 510 makes it easy to find a particular container no matter how containers 510 are organized. The cabinet shown by way of example in FIG. 5 is designed with recessed shelves to accommodate a traditional spice rack, thus organizers 501 may be placed anywhere on door 505. However, many older cabinets have shelves that come all the way to the doors. In this situation, organizers can be mounted on the door so that the organizers are between the shelves when the door is closed. For example, without limitation, organizers may be placed to just clear the bottom of the cabinet and/or a shelf above the organizers. The only requirement for the placement of multiple rows of organizers is to provide clearance above each container that allows for the removal of the container from the organizer below.

Embodiments of the present invention may be used by spice companies as a free giveaway that would encourage brand loyalty by making their containers fit perfectly into the organizer. Also, a spice company or another type of company using small containers may use an embodiment of the present invention as a way to launch a new line of containers. Stores and manufactures specializing in kitchen gadgetry could easily promote embodiments as organizers and synchronize these embodiments with existing lines of containers. Custom cabinetmakers may also find that embodiments have appeal as a kitchen option, especially in wood.

In an alternate embodiment, an organizer may comprise means for screwing or nailing the organizer to a surface. For example the organizer may have a screw recess directly in the curved center wall of each hole and through to the back, for a recessed screw. Alternate embodiments may have screw holes in various places on the organizer or may include, without limitation, tabs on the sides, top or bottom of the organizer into which screw holes may be placed. This method of attachment may be attractive for applications involving fine woodwork or applications involving heavier containers or heavier items in the containers. This method of attachment can be used as an alternative to the double-coated urethane foam tape described previously or in addition to the tape.

In alternative embodiments the shape of the receptacle holes can be square or oval or rectangular as needed to accommodate any small package of bottle.

Preferred embodiments of the present invention are configured to be modular and suitable for being assembled in larger groupings via internal guides and/or external fasteners. In the kitchen the modular holder is perfectly suited for holding spice jars, small containers, and even small canning jars. In a typical workshop, many uses can be found for a modular holder system for small and medium size containers of nails, screws, nuts etc. In the bath, plastic and glass versions of the holder can easily be made to hold a water glass and other toiletries. A modular system is an ideal system in an office or studio setting that often requires organizing small containers of paint, sprays, and glues in a convenient location relative to the work area. Having fully described at least one embodiment of the present invention, other equivalent or alternative means for implementing a modular container-organizing device according to the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, without limitation, in alternate embodiments the organizers may be mounted using various different means such as, but not limited to, glue or hooks. The invention has been described above by way of illustration, and the specific embodiments disclosed are not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. The invention is thus to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20150136716 *May 7, 2013May 21, 2015Agc Glass EuropeStand for storing and/or transporting glass panels of large dimensions
Classifications
U.S. Classification211/74
International ClassificationA47B73/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47B77/16
European ClassificationA47B77/16