US 3492039 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
CULINARY DEVICE Filed Jan. 26, 1968 INVENTOR. FIG 7 JOHN E CHMELA I F165 BY ATTYS.
United States Patent f 3,492,039 CULINARY DEVICE John F. Chmela, 7256 Davis St., Morton Grove, Ill. Filed Jan. 26, 1968, Ser. No. 700,847 Int. Cl. A473 43/28 US. Cl. 294-7 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An improved spatula which is molded preferably of plastic, nylon or other material having similar characteristics, having a clamping arm which is integrally afiixed to it and normally is recessed into the scoop portion thereof so as to provide a flat surface. The clamp arm also is molded in a fashion such that it has a natural resiliency which tends to maintain it in this latter position, and which tends to return it to this latter position when operated and released.
This invention relates, in general, to an improved culinary device and, in particular, to an improved spatula. More particularly still, it relates to an improved spatula having a clamping arm for releasably clamping an article so that the latter can be more easily handled or turned over.
US. Patent 2,357,764 discloses still another spatula which also has the objectionable features set forth above.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved culinary device.
More particularly, it is an object to provide an improved spatula.
Another object is to provide an improved spatula having a clamp arm for releasably clamping an article so that the latter can be more easily handled or turned over.
Still another object is to provide an improved spatula of the above type which is constructed in a fashion such that it can be used as an ordinary spatula without a clamping arm, without the necessity of manipulating the clamping arm out of the way.
A still further object is to provide an improved spatula having a clamping arm which is molded as an integral unit.
Other objects of the invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereinafter.
The above objectives are accomplished with a spatula which is molded preferably of plastic, nylon or other material having similar characteristics, and in a fashion such that its clamping arm is integrally aflixed to it and normally is recessed into the scoop portion thereof so as to provide a flat surface. The clamp arm also is molded in a fashion such that it has a natural resiliency which tends to maintain it in this latter position, and which tends to return it to this latter position when operated and released.
The invention accordingly comprises an article of manufacture possessing the features, properties, and the relation of elements which will be exemplified in the article hereinafter described, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the following 3,492,039 Patented Jan. 27, 1970 detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a spatula exemplary of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side plan view illustrating the clamping arm in a raised position, for clamping an article;
FIG. 3 is a side plan view of the spatula generally illustrating the position of the clamp arm during molding, so as to provide the clamp arm with a resilient clamping action;
FIG. 4 is a partial view, generally illustrating the construction of the integrally formed hinge;
FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view, generally illustrating the manner in which the tip or front edge of the clamp arm is formed;
FIG. 6 is a partial bottom plan view, illustrating an alternative construction of the spatula, the same being provided with a helper finger; and
FIG. 7 is a sectional view, taken along lines 77 of FIG. 6.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawing.
Referring now to the drawing, in FIG. 1 there is illustrated a spatula 10 having a clamp arm 12 which is integrally hinged to it, by means of a pair of hinges 14 and 16. The spatula 10 and the clamp arm 12 are molded as an integral unit, preferably of a plastic, such as nylon or other similar material having sufiicient rigidity so that the spatula can be used in the well-known manner without undue flexing or bending. The material also should have sufficient resiliency and strength so that the hinges 14 and 16 will not easily break and will have a natural tendency to return the clamp arm 12 to its seating position, as explained more fully below. The clamp arm 12 is defined by a slot 18 formed in the scoop portion 22 and the handle portion 28 of the spatula 10, so that the clamp arm 12 also actually is or forms a part of the fiat scoop portion 22 and the handle portion 28 of the spatula 10. The slot 18 actually is a cavity formed in the spatula during the molding thereof, and it generally outlines the clamp arm 12 except for the two discontinuous areas which define the hinges 14 and 16 and the area at the leading edge of the clamp arm, as explained more fully below. The clamp arm 12 also has an upstanding button 24 integrally formed with it, which button is engaged by and pressed with a finger or thumb to pivotally raise the clamp arm, as illustrated in FIG. 2. It can therefore be seen that the spatula 10 can be used as an ordinary spatula, or it can be used to clampingly engage an article, by pressing the button 24 with a finger or thumb to cause the clamp arm to pivot at the hinges 14 and 16 to raise its opposite end so that an article such as the sausage link 25, illustrated in phantom in FIG. 2, can be clamped between the clamp arm 12 and the scoop portion 22 of the spatula. The resiliency of the hinges 14 and 16 functions both to forcibly urge the clamp arm 12 to return to its normal seated position and to clamp most articles so that they can be retained clamped therein while handling them. The article is released simply by depressing the button 24. The spatula and the clamp arm are easily molded as an integral unit, so that no additional fastening means or springs are required. Accordingly, the spatula 10 can be easily and inexpensively fabricated.
More specifically, the flat scoop portion 22 of the spatula 10, at its rear, is angularly bent upwardly so as to provide a wall 26 against which articles can abut. The side edges of the wall 26 taper inwardly and merge, along with the top edge thereof, with the handle portion 28 which can be substantially narrower in width than the scoop portion, so that the spatula can be easily held and used. The fiat scoop portion 22 and the handle portion 28 can have decoratively-shaped apertures 30 formed in them so as to provide a more attractive appearance, if desired. These apertures also reduce the amount of material required to mold the spatula, however, there should not be so many of them or the size thereof should not be so large as to unduly weaken the spatula The clamp arm 12 of the spatula actually is or forms a part of the flat scoop portion 22 and the handle portion 28 so that normally the profile of the spatula is the same and is not changed by the addition thereof. The clamp arm 12 is generally defined by the slot 18 which, as indicated above, actually is a cavity formed in the spatula during the molding thereof. The clamp arm 12 preferably is molded in a plane which is angularly offset from the plane of the remainder of the spatula, with its forward end angularly disposed below the scoop portion 22 thereof, as illustrated in FIG. 3. The only points of connection between the spatula 10 and the clamp arm 12 are the hinges 14 and 16, and these hinges preferably extend in the same plane as the clamp arm 12 so that they also are angularly disposed with respect to the remainder of the spatula, as can be best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4. A cavity which generally corresponds to the outline of the clamp arm 12 is formed in the spatula 10 during the molding thereof and, upon being removed from the mold, the clamp arm 12 is forcibly urged or pivoted to position it within this cavity. The slot 18 results about the clamp arm 12, once the latter is positioned within the cavity.
When the clamp arm 12 is positioned in the above-described manner, the hinges 14 and 16 are twisted and, being molded of a resilient material such as plastic or nylon, they have a natural tendency to un-twist, to return to their normal or molded configuration. This action forcibly urges the clamp arm 12 to return to its normal or molded configuration so that a spring action is provided.
The clamp arm 12 is prevented from returning to the position in which it was molded, by extending its length so that it is slightly longer than the cavity 18 (slot 18) in which it is seated. Its leading or forward edge 32 is beveled, as can be best seen in FIG. 5, and seats on a complementary-shaped bevel 34- formed on the edge of the cavity. In this fashion, the clamp arm 12 is prevented from passing through the cavity and, furthermore, is permitted to seat flush therein.
The hinges 14 and 16 are merely small, generally rectangular-shaped webs of material extending between the handle portion 28 of the spatula and the clamp arm 12. Since the spatula is molded of a resilient material, these hinges function both as hinges for affixing the clamp arm 12 to the spatula 10 and as springs for forcibly urging tlhse clamp arm 12 to its seated position within the cavity The portion of the clamp arm 12 to the rear of the hinges 14 and 16 forms a lever arm 36 for pivotally raising its forward end, so that an article can be clamped between it and the scoop portion 22 of the spatula, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The lever arm 36 preferably has the upstanding button 24 formed on it so that a greater mechanical advantage is provided to pivotally raise the forward portion of the clamp arm 12 and so that the clamp arm can be more easily raised. Alternatively, an aperture of sufiicient size to permit a finger or thumb to extend partially through the handle 28 could be provided so that the forward end can be raised to a sufiicient height, however, the use of the button 24 is preferred. Still another alternative is to form the portion of the clamp arm 12 which is disposed within the handle portion so that it projects angularly upwardly from the handle portion and provides a lever arm which can be depressed to pivotally raise the opposite end of the clamp arm.
If desired, support flanges 39 can be integrally molded with the spatula to provide additional support and greater rigidity.
In FIGS. 6 and 7, there is illustrated a spatula 40 which is identical to the spatula 10, except that the spatula 40 is provided with a helper finger 42. This helper finger 42 is resilient and is disposed to extend beneath the lever arm 36 of the spatula. Accordingly, when the clamp arm 12 is pivotally operated to clamp an object, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the lever arm 36 thereof engages and flexes the helper finger 42 so that the latter forcibly urges the lever arm 36 and hence the whole clamp arm 12 to return to its initial inoperative position. The helper finger 42 therefore functions to complement and assist the resiliency of the hinges 14 and 16 to return the clamp arm 12 to its resting position.
The helper finger 42 can be molded as an integral part of the spatula 40, if desired. This can be relatively easily accomplished, since as indicated above, the spatula is preferably molded with the clamp arm 12 disposed in an offset position, as illustrated in FIG. 3. As can be best seen in FIG. 7, one end of the helper finger 42 extends beneath the cavity 18 and its opposite end flows into and merges with the handle 28 so that an attractive appearance is retained. Alternatively, the helper finger 42 can be in the form of a separate element which is affixed to the spatula by fastener means (not shown) such as a self-tapping screw or rivet.
It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and, since certain changes may be made in the above article without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Now that the invention has been described, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
1. A spatula molded of a generally resilient material and having a scoop portion, a handle afiixed to said scoop portion and a clamp arm, a cavity within said scoop portion and said handle portion within which said clamp arm normally is disposed, said clamp arm being integrally affixed to said spatula by a pair of webs which function as hinge means for permitting said clamp arm to be pivotally operated.
2. The spatula of claim 1 further including a helper finger which is resilient and which is disposed to extend beneath said cavity within said handle portion so as to be engaged by said clamp arm when the latter is operated and to return said clamp arm to its normally disposed position when it is released.
3. The spatula of claim 1, wherein said web hinge means are angularly disposed and are twisted when said clamp-arm is seated within said cavity so that the resiliency thereof forcibly pivotally urges said clamp arm in and to return to its seated position within said cavity upon being pivotally displaced therefrom.
4. The spatula of claim 3, wherein the length of said clamp arm is greater than the length of said cavity to prevent said clamp arm from passing through it, and wherein the forward edge of said clamp arm and said cavity are beveled in a complimentary fashion so as to permit said clamp arm to seat flush within said cavity.
5. The spatula of claim 4, wherein said clamp arm has an upstanding finger button means on one end thereof,
for providing a mechanical advantage to pivotally raise its opposite end.
6. The spatula of claim 1, wherein said clamp arm is molded in an angularly disposed position with respect to said spatula and is forcibly pivotally urged into a seated position within said cavity, said web hinge means being twisted as said clamp arm is forcibly urged into seated position and the resiliency thereof causing said web hinge means to urge said clamp arm to the position in which it was molded, whereby said web hinge means function both as hinges for integrally afiixing said clamp arm to said spatula and as spring means for providing a clamping action to said clamp arm.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS EVON C. BLUNK, Primary Examiner 0 ROGER S. GAITHER, Assistant Examiner