Title:
Apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for the storage of boots, shoes and other objects. The apparatus comprises one or more shelves that are supported by one or more support members, and a storage vessel positioned generally beneath the one or more shelves. The one or more shelves receive one or more boots, shoes or objects and are held by the one or more support members at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from the boots, shoes or objects deposited on the one or more shelves is encouraged, through the operation of gravitational forces, to run or flow off the one or more shelves and to be deposited into the storage vessel.



Inventors:
Graham, Felix (Etobicoke, CA)
Application Number:
11/127576
Publication Date:
11/17/2005
Filing Date:
05/12/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B61/04; A47B87/02; A47F7/08; (IPC1-7): A47F7/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIN, SAMUEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TAROLLI, SUNDHEIM, COVELL & TUMMINO L.L.P.;SUITE 1111 (526 SUPERIOR AVENUE, CLEVELAND, OH, 44114-1400, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for the storage of boots, shoes and other objects, the apparatus comprising: one or more shelves supported by one or more support members; and, a storage vessel positioned generally beneath said one or more shelves, said one or more shelves receiving one or more boots, shoes or objects and held by said one or more support members at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from the boots, shoes or objects deposited on said one or more shelves is encouraged, through the operation of gravitational forces, to run or flow off said one or more shelves and to be deposited into said storage vessel.

2. The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein each of said one or more shelves has a front and a rear edge, said one or more shelves held by said one or more support members such that said one or more shelves are sloped vertically downward toward said rear edge.

3. The device as claimed in claim 2 wherein said one or more shelves includes a pair of opposed side surfaces, said one more support members including first and second side panels, said opposed side surfaces of each of said one or more shelves secured to said first and second side panels such that said shelves are thereby held at said inclined horizontal angle.

4. The device as claimed in claim 3 including a rear panel extending between said first and second side panels.

5. The device as claimed in claim 4 including a top panel extending between said first and second side panels such that said rear panel, said first and second side panels and said top panel together form an enclosure having an open front with said one or more shelves situated therein.

6. The device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said storage vessel comprises a removable tray.

7. The device as claimed in claim 2 including means on said one or more shelves to limit the movement of boots, shoes or objects thereon toward said rear edge.

8. The device as claimed in claim 7 wherein said means on said one or more shelves to limit the movement of boots, shoes or objects thereon comprises a plurality of posts extending upwardly from the upper surface of said shelves.

9. The device as claimed in claim 3 including a plurality of shelves in general vertical alignment with one another and with said storage vessel.

10. The device as claimed in claim 3 wherein said first and second side panels are formed from a plurality of modular sections permitting the height of the apparatus to be altered through the addition or removal of sections of said side panels.

11. The device as claimed in claim 4 wherein said rear panel includes a debris passageway such that water and debris running off the surface of said one or more shelves is directed to said storage vessel by means of said debris passageway.

12. The device as claimed in claim 11 wherein said one or more shelves contain means to direct water and debris deposited onto said shelves to said debris passageway.

13. The device as claimed in claim 12 wherein said means to direct water and debris to said debris passageway comprises one or more upwardly extending ribs upon the upper surface of said shelves.

14. An apparatus for the storage of boots, shoes and other objects, the apparatus comprising: a support frame formed from a pair of opposed side members; one or more shelves positioned between said opposed side members and supported by one or more of said side members; and, a tray receivable between said side members beneath said one or more shelves and in general vertical alignment with said one or more shelves, wherein said one or more shelves are held by one or more of said side members at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from boots, shoes or objects deposited thereon is encouraged to flow, under the force of gravity, off the surface of said one or more shelves and into said tray.

15. The device as claimed in claim 14 wherein said one or more shelves have a front edge and a rear edge and are supported by said one or more side members such that said shelves slope vertically downward toward said rear edges.

16. The device as claimed in claim 15 wherein at least one of said one or more shelves includes means to limit the movement of boots, shoes or objects thereon toward said rear edge of said shelves.

17. The device as claimed in claim 16 wherein said means to limit the movement of boots, shoes, or objects on said shelves comprises a plurality of posts extending upwardly from the upper surface of said shelves.

18. The device as claimed in claim 14 including a rear panel extending between said opposed side members.

19. The device as claimed in claim 18 wherein said rear panel includes a debris passageway.

20. The device as claimed in claim 19 wherein said one or more shelves include means to direct water and debris deposited onto said shelves to said debris passageway.

21. The device as claimed in claim 20 wherein said means to direct water and debris to said debris passageway comprises one or more upwardly extending ribs upon the upper surface of said shelves.

22. An apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes, the apparatus comprising: an enclosure having a pair of opposed sides, an enclosed back, an enclosed top, a generally open front and a generally hollow interior; one or more shelves received within said generally hollow interior and supported by one or more of the sides, rear and top of said enclosure; and, a tray releasably receivable within said enclosure beneath said one or more shelves and in general vertical alignment with said one or more shelves, wherein said shelves are retained within said enclosure at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from boots or shoes deposited thereon is encouraged to flow, under the force of gravity, off the surface of said one or more shelves and into said tray.

23. The device as claimed in claim 22 wherein at least one of said one or more shelves includes a plurality of posts extending upwardly from its upper surface to limit the movement of boots, shoes or objects on said shelf toward said back of said enclosure.

24. The device as claimed in claim 23 wherein said one or more shelves include one or more upwardly extending ribs upon their upper surfaces to direct water and debris deposited on said shelves toward said back of said enclosure.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes that may also be used to store gloves, mittens, hats and other devices or objects which may be wet, frozen or that may otherwise release a fluid or other debris when stored thereon.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes that may also be used to store gloves, mittens, hats and other devices or objects which may be wet, frozen or that may otherwise release a fluid or other debris when stored thereon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When individuals enter a residence or non-commercial building it is common for them to remove their shoes, boots or over shoes and place them on a mat or boot tray. One of the primary functions of the mat or boot tray is to retain dirt, water, snow, ice and other material that may be carried into the building by the individual on their boots or shoes. In geographic regions that experience snow and ice, boot mats and trays are often formed from rubber, plastic or similar material to catch and retains water formed as a result of melting snow and ice present on a pair of boots or shoes. In some cases the boot tray or mat may also include a series of ridges or raised portions on its upper surface to elevate the soles of the boots or shoes from any water that may accumulate within the tray.

While such prior existing mats and trays are relatively effective in providing a device upon which dirty, wet or frozen shoes or boots may be placed and stored, they also suffer from a number of inherent limitations. For example, existing boot trays are severely limited in terms of the number of boots or shoes that they are able to accommodate. Typically, boot trays or mats are able to hold up to two, or in some cases three, pairs of boots or shoes. Manufacturing conventional boot trays with larger dimensions is generally undesirable on account of the significantly increased floor space required for their use. Existing boot trays also are limited with respect to the quantity of water that they are able to hold, and are cumbersome to drain when they become filled or partially filled with water from melting snow or ice. Further, draining existing boot trays requires that all boots or shoes be removed from it, presenting a problem with respect to where to place or store the boots or shoes when the mat is being drained or cleaned. Currently available boot mats and trays also provide little ability for the storage of hats, mitts or gloves that may also be snow and ice covered. Placing hats or mitts upon a boot tray allows for water from melting snow and ice to be collected, but it is generally undesirable since the hats and mitts placed on the tray will tend to become dirty through contact with dirt and debris on the tray.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention therefore provides an apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes that directs water, snow, ice and other debris from the boots or shoes to a centralized vessel where it may accumulate for disposal at a later point in time. The invention also provides for the ability to store and dry many pairs of boots or shoes, or to retain a number of different objects, without increasing the amount of floor space occupied.

Accordingly, in one of its aspects the invention provides an apparatus for the storage of boots, shoes and other objects, the apparatus comprising one or more shelves supported by one or more support members; and, a storage vessel positioned generally beneath said one or more shelves, said one or more shelves receiving one or more boots, shoes or objects and held by said one or more support members at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from the boots, shoes or objects deposited on said one or more shelves is encouraged, through the operation of gravitational forces, to run or flow off said one or more shelves and to be deposited into said storage vessel.

In a further aspect the invention provides an apparatus for the storage of boots, shoes and other objects, the apparatus comprising a support frame formed from a pair of opposed side members; one or more shelves positioned between said opposed side members and supported by one or more of said side members; and, a tray receivable between said side members beneath said one or more shelves and in general vertical alignment with said one or more shelves, wherein said one or more shelves are held by one or more of said side members at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from boots, shoes or objects deposited thereon is encouraged to flow, under the force of gravity, off the surface of said one or more shelves and into said tray.

In another aspect the invention concerns an apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes, the apparatus comprising an enclosure having a pair of opposed sides, an enclosed back, an enclosed top, a generally open front and a generally hollow interior; one or more shelves received within said generally hollow interior and supported by one or more of the sides, rear and top of said enclosure; and, a tray releasably receivable within said enclosure beneath said one or more shelves and in general vertical alignment with said one or more shelves, wherein said shelves are retained within said enclosure at an inclined horizontal angle such that water and debris from boots or shoes deposited thereon is encouraged to flow, under the force of gravity, off the surface of said one or more shelves and into said tray.

Further aspects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description taken together with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the present invention, and to show more clearly how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings which show the preferred embodiments of the present invention in which:

FIG. 1 is an upper front perspective view of an apparatus for the storage of boots and shoes constructed in accordance with one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partial front view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an upper front perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an upper perspective view of a further embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a horizontal sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5; and,

FIG. 7 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention may be embodied in a number of different forms. However, the specification and drawings that follow describe and disclose only some of the specific forms of the invention and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention as defined in the claims that follow herein.

With reference to FIG. 1, there is shown an apparatus 1 that is constructed in accordance with one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention and that may be used for the storage of boots, shoes and other objects 2. In general, the apparatus is comprised of one or more shelves 3 supported by one or more support members 4 in a generally horizontal configuration to permit boots, shoes and other devices or objects to be placed thereon for storage. Positioned generally beneath shelves 3 is a storage vessel 5, that in most instances will take the form of a removable tray. As indicated in the attached Figures, while the shelves are held and supported by support members 4 in a manner that allows them to receive and store shoes, boots or other objects, they are also positioned at an inclined horizontal angle so that water and other debris on their upper surfaces will have a tendency to run or flow off the shelves and drip or drain into tray 5. Through sloping the shelves and maintaining them at an inclined horizontal angle gravitational forces will encourage the flow of water and debris along the surface of the shelves until it flows off a particular edge. In a preferred embodiment of the invention the shelves have front, rear and side surfaces or edges and are held by support members 4 so that they are sloped vertically downward toward their rear edges. In this manner water or other debris upon the upper surface of the shelves will be encouraged to flow towards their rear edges. Of course the shelves could equally be inclined or sloped in a forward or sideways direction, causing water or debris to flow off either the front or side edges of the shelves.

In the embodiment of the invention shown in the attached drawings, support members 4 include first and second side panels 6 and 7, respectively. Shelves 3 are preferably secured to the side panels along their side surfaces, thereby retaining the shelves at an inclined horizontal angle. The attachment of the shelves to the side panels may be through the use of a permanent or semi-permanent fastener (for example, nails, screws, bolts, adhesives, etc) or may be through a releasable attachment means that will permit the apparatus to be disassembled and/or the shelves to be re-positioned if desired. In the particular embodiment shown in the attached drawings apparatus 1 also includes a rear panel 8, that extends between the first and second side panels, and a top panel 9 that extends between both the first and second side panels and the rear panel. In this manner the side panels, the rear panel and the top panel together form an enclosure having an open front with a generally hollow interior where shelves 3 are situated. The apparatus may also include a bottom panel 9, secured to both the side panels and the rear panel, to enhance structural integrity and to provide a base upon which storage vessel or tray 5 may rest.

To broaden the application of apparatus 1, and to enable it to accommodate differing numbers of boots, shoes or objects, the apparatus may be formed from a plurality of modular sections that permit its height to be altered through the addition or removal of individual sections. A number of different mechanical structures may be utilized along points of intersection of adjacent or stacked sections to hold the apparatus together. In FIG. 1 the lower edges of the side panels of each stacking section are fitted with a channel or slot 11 that is receivable over the upper edge 12 of a corresponding stackable section. In a similar fashion, top panel 9 may be secured to one of the stackable sections so that the top panel may be removed from the apparatus to permit the removal or addition of stackable sections, after which the top may be placed back into position. It should also be noted that depending upon the end use of apparatus 1, the length of the device may vary. For example, where the apparatus is to be used primarily in a residential environment, the individual shelves may be designed so as to accommodate one or two pair of boots or shoes placed side-by-side. Alternatively, where the apparatus is intended for application in a commercial environment (for example a school, church, community center, etc.) its length may be considerably greater so that individual shelves are capable of holding many pairs of boots or shoes (see FIG. 4).

In one of the preferred embodiments of the invention, shelves 3 include means to limit the movement of boots, shoes or objects that may be placed thereon towards their rear edges. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, such means may comprise a plurality of posts 13 spaced apart along or near the rear edge of each shelf and extending upwardly from the shelf's upper surface. Provided that they are sufficiently close together, posts 13 will prevent the ends of a pair of shoes or boots from being pushed beyond a pre-determined position on the shelf. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1 through 4, the shelves are dimensioned and situated within apparatus 1 such that their rear edges 14 are offset from rear panel 8, creating a gap or space between the rear edges of the shelves and the interior surface of rear panel 8. Water or debris deposited upon the shelves will thus flow along their upper surfaces toward the back of the apparatus and drip downwardly, through the gap formed by the rear surface of the shelf and the rear panel, and into storage vessel or tray 5 (see FIG. 3). If a pair of boots or shoes were allowed to be pushed too far back into the apparatus, they could extend beyond the position of rear edge 14. In that case water or debris dripping downwardly from a shelf above could fall upon the shoes or boots situated below. The inclusion of posts 13 upon the shelves prevents such a situation from occurring, while still permitting sufficient areas for water and other debris upon the shelf to flow off of its upper surface and be collected within storage vessel 5.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate embodiment of the invention wherein rear panel 8 includes a debris passageway 15. Debris passageway 15 is generally vertical in orientation and provides a defined passageway through which water and debris running off the surface of shelves 3 may be directed to storage vessel or tray 5. Debris passageway 15 may take the form of a variety of different structures. In the embodiment that is shown in FIG. 5 the debris passageway is in the form of an elongate channel recessed into rear panel 8. To help facilitate the directing of water and other debris that may fall downwardly through channel or debris passageway 15, the bottom of the passageway may be fitted with a chute 16, having a lower end 17 received within storage vessel or tray 5.

Where apparatus 1 includes a debris passageway, shelves 3 preferably contain means to help direct water and debris deposited onto them into the debris passageway. In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 5 through 7, such means include a pair of upwardly extending ribs 18 located on the upper surface of the shelves. In this embodiment the shelves are also preferably constructed so that a portion of their rear edges terminate within debris passageway 15. As is shown best in FIG. 6, ribs 18 extend along the surface of the shelves and also terminate at or adjacent to debris passageway 15. In this manner water or other debris that flows along the surface of the shelf toward the back of apparatus 1 will be deflected and channeled by ribs 18 into debris passageway 15 for depositing directly into storage vessel or tray 5. The extension of rear edge 14 into passageway 15 will help to ensure that the water and debris are deposited directly into the passageway.

From a thorough understanding of the present invention it will be appreciated that there is provided an apparatus that includes one or more shelves that are capable of receiving and storing a number of pairs of boots or shoes. Water, snow, ice, dirt and other debris from the boots or shoes that collects on the shelves is permitted to flow off their surfaces in a directed fashion for a collection in a removable storage vessel or tray. The tray may be periodically removed from the apparatus so that its contents can be disposed of and so it can be cleaned. For larger applications the tray may be fitted with a drain connected directly to a household or municipal drain or sewer line. The apparatus may be constructed with or without top and rear panels. In instances where no rear panel is utilized a pair the side panels will effectively form a support frame to retain individual shelves in position. Where a rear panel is incorporated to the unit, the rear most edges of the shelves may be set off from the rear panel, providing an opening for water or debris to drip downwardly into tray 5. Alternately, the rear most edges of the tray may be secured or may abut the rear panel of the apparatus and the individual shelves may be fitted with rearwardly positioned slots or holes to provide a means for water and debris to escape and flow downwardly into the removable tray.

It will be appreciated that the shelves may also be utilized to receive and store hats, mitts, gloves and scarves. Water and melting ice and snow from the hats, mitts gloves and scarves will be directed to the removable tray in the same manner as it is where boots or shoes are placed on the shelves. In addition, manufacturing the apparatus in a modular form presents an individual with the ability to alter the height and the number of shelves to suit particular requirements. It may be also be desirable to incorporate more traditional horizontal shelves (without draining capability) into the unit so that clean and dry objects may be stored separately from wet and dirty boot and shoes. Finally, the apparatus may be manufactured from a wide variety of different materials, including plastic, metal and wood, making it applicable to many different applications in both residential and commercial settings.

It is to be understood that what has been described are the preferred embodiments of the invention and that it may be possible to make variations to these embodiments while staying within the broad scope of the invention. Some of these variations have been discussed while others will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art.





 
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