Title:
Toothbrush protector apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The article holder and protector is an improved, wall-mounted enclosure device for a sanitary brush protector. The device measures four inches long by three and one half inches wide by two inches deep. The improved device includes a housing, which encases a rear housing and is attached to the Velcro and placed securely on the wall. The said improved device has a see-through door that closes to protect the brushes from germs, caused from coughing, sneezing and water splashing. The improved device can be detached for use in travel. The said improved device can be made in different colors to match any bathroom decor.



Inventors:
Brown, Tommy G. (Columbia, SC, US)
Application Number:
09/739992
Publication Date:
09/27/2001
Filing Date:
05/02/2001
Assignee:
BROWN TOMMY G.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/581, 206/372
International Classes:
A47K1/09; (IPC1-7): B65D69/00; B65D71/00; B65D83/10; B65D85/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tommy, Brown G. (881 Janice Drive, Columbia, SC, 29210, US)
Claims:

What I claim to be my invention is:



1. An improved article holder and protector for housing four toothbrushes. The article holder is provided for installation on a vertical support surface, such as a bathroom wall. The article holder and protector include an open housing, a top housing wall and a bottom-housing wall, which has article-reception slot. A hinge is connected to the open housing, a lid is connected to the hinge, and article support is connected to the bottom-housing wall adjacent to the article-reception slot. Portions of the article support extend into regions inside the open housing above the article-reception slot. Portions of the lid can include a lip to inhibit contamination from entering the compartment space between the lid and the housing. A first snap-lock member is connected to the lid and a second snap-lock member is connected to the open housing. Compartment walls extend upward from the article support to the top housing wall. Together, the open housing and the compartment walls define space. A quantity of hook or loop material is connected to a backside of the open housing and a quantity of complimentary hook or loop material is connected to the vertical support service. The hook or loop material connected to the complimentary hook or loop material can be made from well-known Velcroâ„¢ material. The hook or loop material permits the article holder to be easily removed for cleaning. The article supports have article-engaging supports that are spaced apart from one another by an article-holder inter-space. The article supports are made from resilient material. The side walls of the open housing article-support elevator panels and lid can be long enough to permit the entire articles to be retained inside the holder when the lid is closed. The components of the holder can be made from inexpensive and durable metal and plastic material. The holder can also be extended for additional brushes.

Description:

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0001] An article holder and protector apparatus is provided for installation on a vertical support surface, such as a bathroom wall, and includes an open housing which includes a top housing wall and a bottom housing wall which has article-reception slots. A hinge is connected to the open housing. A lid is connected to the hinge, and article supports are connected to the bottom housing wall adjacent to the article-reception slots. Portions of the article supports extend into regions inside the open housing above the article-reception slots. The lid can include a lip.

[0002] A first snap lock member is connected to the lid, and a second snap lock member is connected to the open housing. Compartment walls extend upward from the article supports to the top housing wall. Together, the open housing and the compartment walls define compartment spaces.

[0003] A quantity of hook or loop material is connected to a back side of the open housing, and a quantity of complementary loop or hook material is connected to the vertical support surface. The hook or loop material is connected to the complementary loop or hook material for supporting the open housing on the vertical support surface and for permitting easy removal of the housing from the vertical support surface for cleaning and for reinstallation.

[0004] The article supports have article-engaging pointed regions. Opposite pointed regions of the article supports are spaced apart from one another by an article-holder-interspace. The article supports are made from resilient material.

[0005] With another embodiment of the invention, the article supports are connected to the bottom housing wall by article-support-elevator panels.

[0006] The article holder and protector apparatus of the invention can be used for holding and protecting toothbrushes from contamination due to coughing, sneezing, and splashing water, among other sources of contamination. In addition, the hook or loop material permits the article holder and protector apparatus to be easily removed from the vertical support surface, such as a bathroom wall, for washing and to be reinstalled on the wall easily. The hinge can be connected to the top housing wall.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] The invention will be better understood and the above objects as well as objects other than those set forth above will become more apparent after a study of the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawing wherein:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a preferred embodiment of the article holder and protector apparatus of the invention installed on a wall and holding and protecting a plurality of toothbrushes.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a front view of the top portion of the embodiment of the article holder and protector apparatus shown in FIG. 1 with the protective lid in an open orientation and with one toothbrush present in the apparatus.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the embodiment of the article holder and protector apparatus of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3 thereof, with the toothbrush removed.

[0011] FIG. 4 is a side view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 3 taken along line 4-4 thereof.

[0012] FIG. 5 is a partially exploded perspective view of a second embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0013] With reference to the drawings, a new and improved article holder and protector apparatus embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described.

[0014] Turning to FIGS. 1-4, there is shown a first embodiment of the article holder and protector apparatus of the invention generally designated by reference numeral 10. The article holder and protector apparatus 10 is provided for installation on a vertical support surface 15, such as a bathroom wall, and includes an open housing 12 which includes a top housing wall 14 and a bottom housing wall 16 which has article-reception slots 18. A hinge 20 is connected to the open housing 12. A lid 22 is connected to the hinge 20, and article supports 24 are connected to the bottom housing wall 16 adjacent to the article-reception slots 18. Portions of the article supports 24 extend into regions inside the open housing 12 above the article-reception slots 18. The lid 22 can include a lip 48 to inhibit contamination from entering the compartment spaces 34 between the lid 22 and the housing 12.

[0015] A first snap lock member 36 is connected to the lid 22, and a second snap lock member 38 is connected to the open housing 12. Compartment walls 32 extend upward from the article supports 24 to the top housing wall 14. Together, the open housing 12 and the compartment walls 32 define compartment spaces 34.

[0016] A quantity of hook or loop material 26 is connected to a back side of the open housing 12, and a quantity of complementary loop or hook material 28 (as shown in FIG. 5) is connected to the vertical support surface 15. The hook or loop material 26 is connected to the complementary loop or hook material 28 for supporting the open housing 12 on the vertical support surface 15. The hook or loop material 26 and the complementary loop or hook material 28 can be made from well know VELCRO(TM) material. Although the quantity of VELCRO(TM) material 26 is shown as a rectangular strip for illustration purposes, it will be appreciated that a larger quantity covering substantially the entire back side of the housing 12 may be used as well.

[0017] The article holder and protector apparatus 10 of the invention can be used for holding and protecting toothbrushes 13 from contamination due to coughing, sneezing, and splashing water, among other sources of contamination. In addition, the hook or loop material permits the article holder and protector apparatus 10 to be easily removed from the vertical support surface 15, such as a bathroom wall, for washing and to be reinstalled on the wall easily. The hinge 20 can be connected to the top housing wall 14.

[0018] The article supports 24 have article-engaging pointed regions 30. Opposite pointed regions 30 of the article supports 24 are spaced apart from one another by an article-holder-interspace 17. A portions of an article retained in the article-holder-interspace 17 is grabbed between opposed pointed regions 30 of the article supports 24 which contact the article. More specifically, as shown in FIG. 2, a neck 42 between a brush head 44 and a handle 46 of a toothbrush 13 is grabbed between pointed regions 30 of opposed article supports 24. The article supports 24 are made from resilient material. Preferably the confronting surfaces of the article supports (i.e. pointed regions 30) are rippled substantially as shown to provide a more positive gripping action on the handle or neck of the toothbrush received therebetween. The resilient material chosen for the article supports (e.g. rubber or plastic polymers) should be soft or flexible enough to allow the neck 42 or handle portion of a toothbrush to easily snap into place, yet be tough or firm enough to securely hold the toothbrush in place.

[0019] Turning to FIGS. 5, a second embodiment of the invention is shown. Reference numerals are shown that correspond to like reference numerals that designate like elements shown in the other figures. In addition, the article supports 24 are connected to the bottom housing wall 16 by article-support-elevator panels 40 received in corresponding slots in the article supports. As a result, the article supports 24 are given enhanced firm support relative to the bottom housing wall 16.

[0020] For either embodiment of the invention, to install the article holder and protector apparatus 10 onto the vertical support surface 15, the complementary loop or hook material 28 is attached to the vertical support surface 15 with an adhesive material. Then, the hook or loop material 26 on the housing 12 is pressed up against the complementary loop or hook material 28 so that a connection is established between the hook or loop material 26 and the complementary loop or hook material 28.

[0021] To place toothbrushes 13 into the article holder and protector apparatus 10, the lid 22 is lifted around the hinge 20, and the necks 42 toothbrushes 13 are slid into the article-reception slots 18 and between opposing pointed regions 30 of the article supports 24 so that the necks 42 of the toothbrushes 13 are located in the article-holder-interspaces 17 between the pointed regions 30. Then, the lid 22 is lowered to protect the necks and the brush heads 44 from contamination. The lid 22 is secured shut by the interengagement of the first snap lock member 36 and the second snap lock members 38.

[0022] The lid 22 and/or the upper edge of the housing 12 can be provided with a thin resilient seal to inhibit contamination from entering the compartment spaces 34 inside the housing 12.

[0023] For the second embodiment of the invention, if desired, the side walls of the open housing 12, the article-support-elevator panels 40, and lid 22 can be long enough to permit the entire articles to be retained inside the article holder and protector apparatus 10 when the lid 22 is closed. With respect to the toothbrushes 13, with such a lengthened embodiment of the invention, the brush heads 44, the necks 42, and the handles 46 of the toothbrushes 13 would be retained inside the article holder and protector apparatus 10 when the lid 22 is closed.

[0024] The components of the article holder and protector apparatus of the invention can be made from inexpensive and durable rubber and/or plastic materials that are dishwasher safe.

[0025] The foregoing detailed description is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art and therefore, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described. For example, although a housing is illustrated for receiving as many as four different toothbrushes, the housing may be sized to receive more or less as desired. Further, although the lid 22 is shown hinged to the top edge of the housing for up and down movement, it will be appreciated that the closure door or lid 22 may be hinged to a side door and opened or closed by movement left or right and vice versa, in which case snap lock members 36 and 38 will be on an appropriate side of the housing 12. Accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents falling within the broad scope of the subject matter described above may be resorted to in carrying out the present invention.