Title:
Multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fireplace grate has a first platform and a second platform. Each of the first and second platforms are formed by a plurality of grate members and a plurality of cross members. The platforms are raised off the ground and connected via side members, being separated by a predetermined distance. The grate members and cross members include a substantially flat first surface to fully support firelogs placed on each either and/or both of the platforms. The fireplace grate segregates logs placed on each platform by prevents direct contact therebetween. Thus, the fireplace grate provides for enhanced safety and efficiency when creating fire with wood logs on the first platform and firelogs on the second platform while at the same time provide a grate for efficiently burning of firelogs only.



Inventors:
Lee, James F. (Bayside, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/383425
Publication Date:
09/09/2004
Filing Date:
03/07/2003
Assignee:
LEE JAMES F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/152B
International Classes:
F24B1/193; (IPC1-7): F24B1/193
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAVINI, STEPHEN MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JAMES LEE (42-06 220TH STREET, BAYSIDE, NY, 11361, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A fireplace grate for holding logs, the fireplace grate comprising: a first tier; and a second tier joined to the first tier, each tier having an upper surface.

2. The fireplace grate of claim 1 further comprising: side members, the first tier fixed a predetermined distance from the second tier via the side members.

3. The fireplace grate of claim 2 wherein the side members form legs that elevate the first tier and the second tier.

4. The fireplace grate of claim 1 wherein the first tier is operative to prevent direct contact between a first log on the first tier and a second log on the second tier.

5. The fireplace grate of claim 1 wherein the first tier comprises: a plurality of grate members; and a plurality of cross members; the grate members and the cross members substantially segregating the upper surface of the first tier from the upper surface of the second tier.

6. The fireplace grate of claim 5 wherein the grate members and the cross members include a substantially flat first surface.

7. The fireplace grate of claim 5 wherein openings formed between the grate members and the cross members are sized to prevent objects larger than a predetermined size from falling through the first tier.

8. The fireplace grate of claim 1, wherein the second tier comprises: a plurality of grate members; and a plurality of cross members, the grate members and the cross members including a substantially flat first surface.

9. The fireplace grate of claim 8 having at least three grate members.

10. The fireplace grate of claim 1 further comprising a first support member connected to and extending up from said bed, wherein said first support member includes a substantially flat first surface.

11. A multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate comprising: a first platform; and a second platform, the second platform connected to the first platform and spaced a predetermined distance from the first platform, each platform having an upper surface for the placement of a log.

12. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 11 further comprising: side members linking the first platform and the second platform, the side members forming legs that elevate the first platform and the second platform.

13. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 11 wherein the second platform is operative to hold a second log, and wherein the first platform is operative to hold a first log and to prevent direct contact between the first log and the second log.

14. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 111 wherein the first platform comprises: a plurality of grate members; and a plurality of cross members; the grate members and the cross members substantially segregating the upper surface of the first platform from the upper surface of the second platform.

15. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 14 wherein said grate members and the cross members include a substantially flat first surface.

16. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 14 wherein said grate members include an portion upturned to form a lip.

17. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 11, wherein the second platform comprises a plurality of grate members; and a plurality of cross members, the grate members and the cross members is adapted to cooperate with and at least partially support a firelog.

18. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 17 wherein said grate members and the cross members include a substantially flat first surface.

19. The multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of claim 1 further including at least a first support member connected to and extending up from the first platform, wherein said first support member includes a substantially flat first surface.

20. A fireplace grate for supporting logs, the fireplace grate comprising: a first platform having a first plurality of grate members; and a first plurality of cross members; a second platform having a second plurality of grate members, and a second plurality of cross members; and side members connecting the first platform and the second platform at a predetermined distance and preventing direct contact between logs placed on each platform.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/______, entitled MULTI-TRAY FIREPLACE TRAY SYSTEM, filed Mar. 7, 2003, by the applicant herein. The related patent application is herein incorporated into this disclosure by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention generally relates to a fireplace grate. More particularly, the invention relates a two-tier fireplace grate designed to safely segregate a firelog, such as a gel log, on a first tier from other logs, such as wood logs or ceramic logs, placed on a second tier.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] In a home fireplace, a combustible material is typically burnt to generate heat and create an aesthetically pleasing environment. In a traditional home fireplace, combustible logs or other solid combustible materials are usually placed on some type of fireplace grate for burning thereon. Ash generated by combustion collects in a fireplace tray positioned below the fireplace grate. The grate is typically manufactured of a material, such as steel or cast iron, suitable to withstand the heat of a fire: The fireplace grate typically comprises a plurality of metal bars joined to form a support surface above the fireplace floor, the support surface supported by legs and used for supporting logs to be burned. The support surface includes a plurality of holes or elongated channels to allow the air to flow therethrough.

[0004] Combustible logs include wood logs, gel logs, and other firelogs. Firelogs are formed of particulate combustible material, such as sawdust or coal particles, that is combined with a binder material, such as paraffin, and formed into a desired shape. Other well known materials may be included in a firelog. For example, firelogs may contain various additives to enhance burning or to produce an attractive colored flame. Firelogs are produced in sizes ranging from small-sized starter firelogs (about 1 lb.) to full-sized firelogs (3½-5 lbs.)

[0005] The fireplace grate raises logs above the floor of the fireplace to enhance airflow around the logs and thus, enhance combustion of the logs. However, care must be taken when building a fire with a conventional fireplace grate using the combinations of a firelog and other combustible logs, such as wood logs. To build such a fire, in one case, the firelog is placed on the floor under the fireplace grate and the wood logs are placed on the support surface. In a second case, the firelog is piled on the support surface with and among the wood logs. Each cases presents practical and safety problems.

[0006] In the first case, the support surface of many conventional fireplace grates is raised above the ground to provide clearance for removing a fireplace tray from under the fireplace grate. The clearance provided is typically large so that the fireplace tray can be angled over any door ledge of a door to the fireplace. Thus, a starter firelog positioned on the floor is too distant from the wood logs such that the wood logs do not ignite or burn well. With the presence of a fireplace tray, the starter firelog would also be positioned upon any accumulated ash in the tray. The accumulated ash may further stifle ignition or smother the firelog. Alternatively, a homeowner may place a full-sized firelog or multiple starter firelogs under the grate, thereby generating a large fire that produces too much heat for the fireplace. An oversized fire can destroy flues and dampers in pre-fabricated fireplaces. The support surface of other conventional fireplace grates is too low to the ground to permit a firelog to properly fit under the grate and set an appropriate distance between the firelog and the wood logs. As a result, a homeowner may not use a firelog or may inappropriately cut the firelog to fit for size and, in the process, damage the firelog causing it to break open and flare-up upon use.

[0007] In the second case, the metal bars forming the support surface of a conventional fireplace grate are typically spaced too far apart to properly support the firelog. During use, the firelog may fall off the support surface onto the floor of the fireplace and thus, lose effectiveness or break and flare-up. When a firelog reaches the end of its burning capacity, it begins to fall apart, which can create a flare-up of the chemicals and materials of which it is composed. If a flare-up occurs, flames can consume the fireplace, potentially causing a blockage of the flue. In that circumstance, smoke is not be able to exit the fireplace via the chimney and thus, flow out the front opening of the fireplace.

[0008] Moreover, the firelog remaining on the support surface with the wood logs during burn, present other problems. This positioning is contrary to the explicit instructions and recommends of many firelog manufacturers that firelogs not be burnt in combination with additional materials due to potential safety hazards. The addition of other material/s can alter the characteristics of the firelog burn. For example, natural firewood has a tendency to pop, creating burst of air as the mositure in the wood is removed during burning. The resultant burst of air can cause the firelog to break apart and flare up. Flare-up can cause flames that consume the fireplace, resulting in blockage of the flue and the smoke condition described above.

[0009] Further, conventional fireplace grates are not designed to support a firelog or protect the firelog from being crushed by other logs. Stacked wood logs fall upon each other as they are consumed. If a wood log falls on a firelog, a flare-up condition may occur. In addition, when wood logs are placed around and on top of a firelog, heat generated by the firelog is trapped and the firelog can be smothered, causing an unsafe condition that could melt the firelog. Home-owners also have a tendency to poke at exposed logs with fireplace tools, which can easily break apart a burning firelog. The larger the size of a firelog being poked, the greater the amount of energy that may be release in a flare-up caused by break up of the firelog. Conventional fireplace grates provide unrestricted access to the support surface and thus do not protect firelogs from damage by fireplace tools. All of these situations can cause a hazardous fire condition within the home.

[0010] Using a conventional fireplace grates to burn a firelog and wood logs in combination gives rise to a multitude of safety hazards for the homeowner. Unfortunately, some homeowners remain unaware of these safety issues or, worse yet, disregard them. Therefore, there is a need for a fireplace grate designed to address safety considerations associated with the use of firelogs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The general nature of the invention may be stated as a fireplace grate having two tiers that are substantially segregated from each other. The fireplace grate has a first platform and a second platform. Each of the first and second platforms are formed by a plurality of grate members and a plurality of cross members. The platforms are raised off the ground and connected via side members, being separated by a predetermined distance. Since the platforms are off the ground, airflow around logs placed on the platforms is increased and combustion enhanced.

[0012] The grate members and cross members also include a substantially flat first surface to fully support firelogs placed on either and/or both of the platforms. The flat surface reduces air contacting the firelog surface and prevents burning. This increases efficiency by forcing the firelog to burn from top to bottom, eliminating excess heat from being generated were the bottom of the firelog ignited. The first platform also include a support member having a substantially flat first surface that extends substantially perpendicular from the first platform. This support member starves oxygen from surface of a abutting firelog to prevent burning of the back of a firelog. A firelog placed on the first surface is accordingly forced to burn front to back, thus avoid generation of unnecessary heat in the back of the fireplace providing a more efficient burn.

[0013] The fireplace grate also segregates logs placed on each platform by preventing direct contact therebetween. Further, spacing between and among the grate members and the cross members of the first platform prevents logs placed on the first platform, or predetermined sized portions of logs, from falling and damaging logs placed on the second platform. The spacing also prevents fireplace tools from being used to poke logs on the second platform from above (i.e. through the first platform). Thus, the spacing and the dual platform structure reduces the risk of flare-up associated with damage to a firelog.

[0014] As compared to prior fireplace grates, the fireplace grate according to the invention provides enhanced safety and efficiency when creating fire with wood logs on the first platform and firelogs on the second platform while at the same time provide a grate for economical burning firelogs alone.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] Further aspects of the instant invention will be more readily appreciated upon review of the detailed description of the embodiments included below when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, of which:

[0016] FIG. 1 illustrates a first embodiment of the multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of the invention positioned in a fireplace and loaded with burning logs;

[0017] FIG. 2 is another perspective view of a first embodiment of the fireplace grate loaded with logs;

[0018] FIG. 3 is an additional perspective view of a first embodiment of the fireplace grate;

[0019] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the fireplace grate;

[0020] FIG. 5 is another perspective view of the second embodiment of the fireplace grate;

[0021] FIG. 6 is an additional perspective view of the second embodiment of the fireplace grate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0022] Referring now to FIGS. 1-6, wherein similar components of the invention are numerically referenced in like manner, disclosed are exemplary embodiment of a multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate.

[0023] FIGS. 1-3 illustrate a first embodiment of the multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate of the invention in various states of use. FIG. 1 illustrates the first multi-purpose two-tier fireplace grate embodiment positioned in a fireplace and loaded with burning logs. The fireplace grate 10 has two tiers (alternatively referred to as platforms). On the first tier 12, wood logs 14 are placed. A firelog 16 is placed below the wood logs on the second tier 18. Once the firelog is ignited and begins to burn, flame 20 from the firelog ignites the wood logs until all of the wood logs are engulfed in flame.

[0024] The firelog 16 is formed of particulate combustible material, such as sawdust or coal particles, that is combined with a binder material, such as paraffin, and formed into a desired shape. The artificial firelog may include a wrapper 22 to assist in ignition of the firelog. As the logs are consumed, ash 24 is generated and falls below the fireplace grate 10 onto the floor 26 of the fireplace 28. Other types of combustible logs including gel logs may be placed on the fireplace grate. Various combinations of combustible logs and non-combustible logs, such as ceramic logs, may be placed on either or both platforms of the grate. For instance, ceramic logs could be arranged on the first platform and combustible logs placed on the second platform.

[0025] FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the first embodiment of the fireplace grate. The illustrated grate is loaded with logs that have yet to be ignited. Again, wood logs 14 are placed on the first platform 12 and a firelog 16 is placed on the second platform 18. More particularly the logs are placed on the upper surface 19 of the platforms.

[0026] The first platform is joined to the second platform via side members 30. The side members fix the first platform a predetermined distance 32 from the second platform. The predetermined distance may be selected such that the size of a firelog placed on the second platform is limited. This limitation ensures that a homeowner is not able to place full size firelogs on the second platform in addition to a full complement of other combustible logs on the second platform. Absent this constraint, a homeowner would be able to create a large fire that could overwhelm and consume a pre-fabricated fireplace.

[0027] This embodiment of the fireplace grate also includes additional side members in the form of legs 34. The legs stabilize the fireplace grate on the floor of the fireplace and raise the platforms above the floor. The legs may be joined to the first platform or the second platform at any point provided the stability of the fireplace grate is not sacrificed. The fireplace grate permit logs on both platforms to be positioned above the floor 26 of the fireplace 28. This positioning increases air flow around all logs to be burned, which enhances combustion of all of the logs In alternative embodiments, the legs may extend directly from the side members that link the first and second platforms.

[0028] FIG. 3 provides an additional perspective view of the first embodiment of the fireplace grate wherein the grate has yet to be loaded with logs. The first platform 12 has a plurality of grate members 36 and a plurality of cross members 38. Similarly, the second platform 18 has a plurality of grate members 40 and a plurality of cross members 41. The interconnection of the grate members and the cross members ensures the stability and rigidity of the fireplace grate. Between adjacent grate members and cross members in each platform openings 42 are formed. The openings permit ash generated during combustion to fall from the first platform to the second platform to the floor below the grate.

[0029] At the same, size of the openings prevents direct contact between logs placed on each platform. The first platform isolates the firelog on the second platform from other logs placed on the first platform, preventing the firelog on the second platform from being crushed or smothered by the logs on the first platform. The size of the openings restricts the size of an object that can fall therethrough. For example, the openings can be sized so that conventional fireplace tools will not be able to fit through the opening thereby, preventing the homeowner from poking a firelog on the second platform and causing a firelog to flare-up.

[0030] The front portion of each grate member of the first platform extends outwardly and then upwardly before joining with a first cross member to form a lip 43. This portion of the first platform from falling off the front of the fireplace grate. Grate members and cross members also include a substantially flat surface 44. Combustion is enhanced with increased airflow. The flat surface serves to fully support a portions of the firelog while preventing oxygen from accessing the supported portion of a firelog. As a result, the flat surface forces the firelog to burn from top to bottom despite the fact the firelog is elevated off the ground to increase airflow. The first platform also includes support members 46 connected to and extending up from upper surface 19 of the platform. The support members include a substantially flat first surface 48. For reasons similar to those just stated, the support member prevents combustion of those portions of a firelog that abut the support member. Accordingly, the support member forces a firelog to burn from front to back when placed on the first platform. Thus, the fireplace grate has multiple purposes. It can be used to safely set up a fire using wood logs and firelogs or it may be used to safely set up a fire using only firelogs. Naturally, all elements of the fireplace grate are constructed of a strong durable material that is able to withstand the heat of a fire. For example, the fireplace trays may be made of steel or cast iron, although other materials may be used without departing from the spirit of the invention.

[0031] FIGS. 4-6 are perspective views of a second embodiment of the fireplace grate. When the fireplace grate is used to make a fire using only a firelog 16, the first platform 12 fully supports the under side of the firelog. The support provided by the grate members 36 and cross members 38 of the first platform prevents the firelog, as it burns and reduces in size, from falling through the fireplace grate, breaking and flaring up. At the same time, the support does not interfere with air flow or rising heat from a firelog placed on the second platform 18.

[0032] The flat surfaces 44 of the first and second platform also control the burning of the firelog and force the firelog to burn from the top to bottom instead of on all sides at once. These flat surfaces prevent the firelog wrapper from igniting on the bottom of the fire log. Further, the support members 46 extending from the first surface allows the back side of a firelog to also be placed against a flat surface thereby, preventing ignition of the back side of the wrapper. Control of ignition in this manner makes better use of the fuel in the fire log and producing a more even flame for a longer time then if the fire log was consumed on all sides at once. This increases the burning cycle for the homeowner.

[0033] The dual platform approach of the invention also provides a means for segregating different types of logs. The first platform protects firelogs placed the second platform from the force of a pop caused the release of moisture or sap trapped in natural wood burning on first top platform, indiscriminate use of fireplace tools while tending a wood fire, and the force of woods logs being added to or collapsing within a fire. In addition, the flat surface of the grate members and cross members of the second platform further support underside of the firelog from any downward blast of air from a pop of the natural wood logs. The dual platform embodiment also permits additional firelogs to be added to the second platform with being required to move wood logs on the first platform. This enables the fire the be restarted if required without move hot or burning wood logs. The fireplace grate of the invention permits firelogs to be burned safely in combination with other combustible logs. The design protects a firelog from being crushed by wood while allowing efficient airflow to/from a firelog and other combustible logs and reducing heat build-up around the firelog. The openings 42 in the platforms permit ash to fall through the platform and gather on the floor 26 of the fireplace 28.

[0034] It is the intent of the invention to provide a two-tier fireplace grate that enables fireplace users to easily, efficiently, and safely maintain a fire from a combination of combustible logs. FIGS. 1-6 describe a two-tier fireplace grate that segregates a firelog on a first platform from other combustibles logs on a second platform. Such segregation enhances safety by reducing the likelihood of flare-up of the firelog.

[0035] It should be understood that, for convenience, the above description is representative of embodiments according to the principles of the invention without exhaustively enumerating all possible embodiments. The description and illustration of the invention is by way of example, and the scope of the invention is not limited to the exact details shown or described. Other embodiments may result from combination of alternative embodiments described herein and, as will be appreciated, are within the scope of the following claims. The figures described herein are for illustrative purposes only, it being possible to implement the invention with embodiments that differ considerably in appearance from the ones depicted here, while at the same time falling within the spirit of the invention disclosed.