|Publication number||US20080283481 A1|
|Application number||US 11/804,474|
|Publication date||Nov 20, 2008|
|Filing date||May 18, 2007|
|Priority date||May 18, 2007|
|Publication number||11804474, 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|
|Inventors||Richard W. Evans, Richard J. Honigman|
|Original Assignee||Evans Richard W, Honigman Richard J|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (1), Classifications (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
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.
The present invention relates generally to storage. More particularly, the invention relates to a modular device for the storage and organization of small containers.
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.
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:
Unless otherwise indicated, illustrations in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale.
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.
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.
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 ¾ inches in diameter, ¾ of an inch deep, and are spaced ¾ of an inch apart. Holes 105 taper to a 1 ¼-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 ¼ 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.
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.
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
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.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US20150136716 *||May 7, 2013||May 21, 2015||Agc Glass Europe||Stand for storing and/or transporting glass panels of large dimensions|