Title:
Dual capacity sink
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A dual capacity sink has two basins divided by a divider which extends to a much lesser height than the peripheral walls of the sink. In one capacity the sink is capable of holding a volume of fluid, such as soap or rinse water, in one or both of the basins up to the top the divider. In this capacity, the basins can be used individually, for example, one to wash and one to rinse. In another capacity the sink is capable of holding a second volume of fluid using the two basins and also the available space in the sink above the divider. In this second capacity the sink effectively becomes a large single basin sink. There is sufficient fluid in the sink above the divider for submerging items that are larger than either of the basins individually. A method of washing items in such a sink is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Babick, Tod (Grand Rapids, MI, US)
Gordon, William F. (Sheboygan Falls, WI, US)
Kuether, Richard J. (Sheboygan, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/351648
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
02/10/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03C1/01; A47K1/12; A47K4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
QUARLES & BRADY LLP (411 E. WISCONSIN AVENUE, SUITE 2040, MILWAUKEE, WI, 53202-4497, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sink comprising a bottom and upright side walls extending up along the periphery of the sink to a rim at a first height from the bottom, the sink also having a first basin and a second basin divided by a divider, the divider extending up to a second height less than the first height, wherein in a first capacity the sink is capable of holding a first volume of fluid in one of the first and second basins at a level no greater than the second height, and in a second capacity the sink is capable of holding a second volume of fluid in the first and second basins combined and also at a level greater than the second height such that there can be a sufficient volume of fluid in the sink between the first and second heights usable for submerging an item in the sink above the divider that is too large to be submerged in either of the first and second basins individually.

2. The sink of claim 1, wherein the second height is between 20 and 70 percent of the first height.

3. The sink of claim 2, wherein the first height is between about 6-9.

4. The sink of claim 1, wherein the distance between the first and second heights is at least 1.5 inches.

5. The sink of claim 1, wherein the first and second basins are substantially equal in volume.

6. The sink of claim 1, wherein the first and second basins are unequal in volume.

7. The sink of claim 1, wherein the bottom of the first basin is essentially at the same height as the bottom of the second basin.

8. The sink of claim 1, wherein the basin includes a drain opening in the bottom of at each of the first and second basins.

9. The sink of claim 1, wherein the sink is cast iron.

10. The sink of claim 1, positioned adjacent a faucet having a spout with an outlet positionable to direct a spray of fluid from the spout into each of the first and second basins.

11. The sink of claim 10, wherein the outlet is disposed at a third height at a distance of at least 6 inches above the second height.

12. The sink of claim 1, wherein each of the first and second basins can contain 1 gallon of fluid.

13. A sink comprising a bottom and upright side walls extending up along the periphery of the sink to a rim at a first height from the bottom, the sink also having a first basin and a second basin divided by a divider, the divider extending to a second height less than the first height, wherein in a first capacity the sink is capable of holding a first volume of fluid in one of the first and second basins at a level no greater than the second height, and in a second capacity the sink is capable of holding a second volume of fluid in the first and second basins combined and also at a level greater than the second height such, wherein the second height is no more than 70 percent of the first height.

14. A method of washing items in a sink having first and second basins separated by a divider, the method comprising: supplying fluid to a first zone of the sink corresponding to said first basin; supplying fluid to a second zone of the sink corresponding to said second basin; supplying fluid to a third zone of the sink corresponding to a volume of the sink vertically above said first and second basins and said divider; and submerging in the fluid the item to be washed where the item is too large to be submerged in either basin such that at least portion of the item is in the third zone.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional application No. 60/652,469, filed on Feb. 11, 2005.

STATEMENT OF FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to wash basins, and in particular to kitchen sinks.

Kitchen sinks are well known. They can be formed of any number of materials, such as ceramics, metal, cast iron, polymers, etc, and have a bottom and upright side walls defining an open volume of space. This volume can be divided into two or more basins by one or more intermediate partitions that extend between the sides walls. Double basin sinks are common in kitchen applications, see e.g. U.S. Pat. Nos. D203,802 and D478,970. The basins can be of equal or different size and configuration, and each basin usually has a stoppable drain at the bottom.

The partition in double basin kitchen sinks is typically referred to as a divider that extends between front and rear side walls to form two basins that are situated side by side. The two basins are commonly used to wash dishes and the like in which one basin holds soapy water and the other holds rinse water (or contains water sprayed from a faucet). To keep the soap water and rinse water from commingling and to maximize the volume of water each basin can hold, the divider typically extends vertically up to or very near the top of the sink, see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. D362,901.

The double basin sink can hold two separate volumes of water. However, this comes at the cost of dividing the overall size of the sink, typically into about two halves. Since the capacity of the sink is made smaller by dividing it into two basins, double basin sinks cannot fully submerge certain large items as well as single basin sinks of equal rim size. Thus, the conventional sinks require a tradeoff between the functionality of double basins and the capacity of a single basin. This long-standing problem has not been adequately addressed by the prior art.

Another problem is that the tall dividers of conventional double basin sinks often acts an obstruction. For example, when filling a pot with water, or when washing dishes, it is common to hold the item under the faucet. Since the space between the divider for faucet is typically small, many taller items must be set down into a basin to be rinsed or filled, which is inconvenient if that basin is being used. Pull out and extra tall faucets have been developed in part to address this problem. The tall dividers of conventional double basin sinks also require the user to lift the item up a significant distance when moving it from one basin to the other, as when moving a pot from the wash basin to the rinse basin.

Thus, an improved sink with increased flexibility and usability is needed to address these concerns.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a sink that can effectively be a large single basin sink and alternatively a double basin sink in which each of the two basins can hold a meaningful volume of water to wash dishes and the like. The dual capacity sink has a very low height divider that divides the sink into two individual basins only at a lower portion of the sink. This allows the sink to be used in one capacity as a double basin sink in which the sink can hold one or more smaller (and separate) volumes of fluid, for example, one basin holding wash water and the other holding rinse water. The sink would be used in this capacity to wash smaller dishes and other items. The sink can also be used in a second capacity as a large single basin sink in which it contains fluid in the basins and above the divider. The sink would be used in this capacity to wash baking sheets, pans and other larger items.

Specifically, in one aspect the sink has a bottom and upright side walls extending along the periphery of the sink to a rim at a first height from the bottom. The sink defines a first basin and a second basin divided by a divider that extends to a second height which is less than the first height. In one capacity the sink is capable of holding a first volume of fluid in one of the basins at a level no greater than the second height, and in a second capacity the sink is capable of holding a second volume of fluid in the basins at a level greater than the second height. A sufficient volume of fluid in the sink above the divider can be used for submerging items in sink that are too large to be submerged in either of the basins individually.

In another aspect the invention provides a dual capacity sink the height of the divider is significantly less than the peripheral side walls of the sink. In one preferred form, the height of the divider is about 20 to 70 percent, an more preferably between 50-60 percent, of the height of the side walls. As one preferred example, the height of the side walls can be about 9 inches and the divider can extend up to a height of about 5 inches. The vertical distance between the top of the divider and the side walls can thus be about 4 inches, with a usable depth of at least about 1½ inches.

The two divided basins can be substantially equal in size and configuration or they can be unequal such that they can hold the same volume or different volumes. As well, the bottom of each divided basis can be at the same height or at different heights so that each different volumes can be achieved with basins made of the same front to back and side to side dimensions.

Irrespective of the size and configuration of the divided basins, each can hold the same or different volumes of fluid. Thus, in its double basin capacity the sink can be used to hold one volume (of water for example) in one basin and a second volume in the other basin, and then be filled to a third volume which exceeds the volumes of each basin individually, and this can be all be achieved consecutively without draining either of the divided basins.

The dual capacity sink can provide three fluid zones, one in each of the basins and a third above the divider and the basin zones. Each zone can thus be used for a different purpose. For example, small items or items that require soaking can be contained in one or both of the basin zones at the bottom of the sink, while other items, such as large pots or baking sheets, could be washed in the zone above the two basins. The cleaning of items in the upper zone would not be inhibited by the items in the basins.

The sink can also include a faucet having a spout with an outlet that can direct a spray of fluid from the spout into each of the divided basins. The low divider provides additional clearance under the faucet such that items in the upper zone can fit under the outlet and sprayed. Preferably, the outlet of the faucet is at a height of about 6-12 inches or more above the top of the divider depending on the size of the faucet.

Another aspect of the dual capacity sink is its use for washing items. The method can include supplying fluid to a first zone of the sink corresponding to the first basin; supplying fluid to a second zone of the sink corresponding to the second basin; supplying fluid to a third zone of the sink corresponding to the volume of the sink vertically above the basins and the divider; and submerging in the fluid an item that is too large to be submerged in either of the basins individually such that a portion of the item is in the third zone above the divider.

Thus, the dual capacity sink of the present invention provides a marked improvement over conventional sinks. Its low height divider allows the sink to effectively be two sinks in one. The sink can be a double basin sink allowing containment of one or more lesser volumes of water for washing (and rinsing) smaller items. And, the sink can be a large, single basin sink for washing large items. In other words, it provides increased capacity for washing large items without losing the functionality of the double basins. The low divider also facilitates transferring items, especially heavy items, between the basins, and provides more clearance, and thus less obstruction, between the sink and faucet.

These and still other advantages of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description and drawings. What follows are preferred embodiments of the present invention. To assess the full scope of the invention the claims should be looked to as the preferred embodiments are not intended as the only embodiments within the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dual capacity sink according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view thereof shown in a double basin capacity in which two basins in the lower part of the sink contain water;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view thereof shown in a single basin capacity in which the sink has a volume of water extending above a divider that divides the basins;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 3 showing an item to be washed in one of the basins as well as faucet for filling each of the basins;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 4 showing how a larger item, such as the baking sheet shown, could be washed in the single basin capacity of the sink;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the dual capacity sink according to the present invention in which the divided basins are of equal size; and

FIGS. 8-11 are views similar to FIGS. 3-6, albeit corresponding to the equal basin version of the sink shown in FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-6 illustrate a first dual capacity sink 10 having unequally sized basins 12 and 14, and FIGS. 7-11 illustrate an alternate sink 10A in which the basins 12A and 14A are the same other than being mirror images. The embodiment shown in FIGS. 7-11 can be readily understood from a description of the FIGS. 1-6 embodiment in that it is generally the same but for the equal sized basins and the addition of a back deck 16, which can be used to mount a faucet 18 (such as shown in FIGS. 5, 6, 10 and 11) which can spray water directly into each of the basins. Given the similarity of the two sinks 10 and 10A, the following description will be directed only to the sink 10 shown in FIGS. 1-6.

The sink 10 can be made of cast iron or other materials, and referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, it has the larger, primary basin 14 and the smaller basin 12. The sink has a bottom 22 and front 24, rear 26, left 28, and right 30 upright side walls with a turned rim 32 extending along the upper periphery of the side walls. The sink 10A includes the back deck 16, such that the rim 32 is wider at the rear side wall 26 than at the others. The bottom of both basins 12 and 14 is at the same height and both each are generally planar with a slight decline toward drain openings 34 and 36 to assist in draining the basins 12 and 14. The drain openings 34 and 36 can be closed using conventional drain stops (not shown), and optionally a disposal unit (not shown) could be attached to either drain, preferably the drain 34 of the smaller basin 12.

The bottom 22 melds into a low height divider 38, which can be in the form of a “saddle” with an inverted U-shape, that runs between the front 24 and rear 26 side walls to define the two basins 12 and 14. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, the top of the divider 38 extends up from the bottom of the basins 12 and 14 to a first height A, which is considerably less than the height B to which the side walls extend.

In one size of the sink 10, the height A is approximately 5 inches and the height B is approximately 9 inches. In that case, there is about 4 inches between of vertical distance in the sink 10 above the divider 38, that is above the basins 12 and 14. Of the 4 inches, at least about 2-3 inches of vertical distance is available to accommodate fluid volume. Common sizes of the sink will typically have a peripheral wall height of between about 6-9 inches and a divider height of between about 2-6 inches. However, the divider height is preferably no greater than about 70% of the sink wall height and no less than about 20%. Using the preferred dimensions given above, the divider 38 extends up only a little more than half, about 56%, of the height of the side walls. As mentioned, however, a divider height in the range of 20-70% the height of the side walls should be suitable. And, the vertical distanced between heights A and B is about 2-4 inches or more, and preferably at least 1½ inches.

The sink 10 can also have an overall rim dimension, for example, 33 inches by 22 inches. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the basin 12 would then have dimensions of about 9 inches by 17, and with a 5 inch divider height, its volumetric zone would be about 765 cubic inches (approximately 3.3 gallons). The basin 14 would be about 19 inches by 17 inches giving it a volumetric zone of about 1,615 cubic inches (approximately 7 gallons). The space above the divider 38 would have dimensions of about 30 inches by 17 inches by 4 inches resulting in a volumetric zone of 2,040 cubic inches (approximately 8.8 gallons). For a 33 inches by 22 inches sink with a height A of 9 inches and a height B of between 1½ and 6½ inches, the volumetric capacities would be in the range of about 230 cubic inches (1 gallon) to 965 cubic inches (4.2 gallons) for basin 12, 485 cubic inches (2.1 gallons) to 2,035 (8.8 gallons) for basin 14, and 3,825 cubic inches (16.5 gallons) to 1,275 cubic inches (5.5 gallons) for the upper zone above the divider. While these values are given by way of example, they are not intended to be limiting. Preferably, however, each zone should be at least about 230 cubic inches (or at least about 1 gallons).

Thus, as can be seen each zone of the sink 10 is of significant volume sufficient for washing items. In the sink 10 shown in the drawings, the large upper zone above the divider 38 provides the largest volume and thus can accommodate larger items.

All of the above dimensions are provided merely by way of example. Of course, the sink could be made to other dimensions so long as each basin 12 and 14 can provide a significant volume of fluid to immerse items therein sufficient to wash the items and so that the sink provides a zone of a significant volume of fluid vertically above the divider 38 that is sufficient to completely immerse some items that are too large to be submerged in one of the basins 12 or 14.

This low divider height also facilitates transfer of items between the basins 12 and 14 as well as greater clearance between the faucet 18, and in particular the outlet 40 thereof, which is at a height C. The height C of the faucet outlet will vary, of course, depending upon the faucet selected. However, in all cases the low height A will be a benefit because the increased clearance will allow taller items to fit between the faucet 18 and the divider 38. Clearance distances in the range of 6-12 inches, preferably about 8 inches, should be expected using the sink 10 of having the preferred dimensions stated above. If such increased clearance is not important to the consumer, the lower divider height could allow the faucet outlet height C to be lower than normal to reduce splashing.

As best shown in shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the sink 10 is dual capacity because the very low height divider 38 divides the sink into two individual basins only at a lower portion of the sink 10. This allows the sink 10 to be used in one capacity as a double basin sink (as in FIG. 3) in which the sink 10 can hold one or more smaller volumes of fluid, such as basin 14 holding soap water and basin 12 holding rinse water, to wash small dishes. The sink 10 can also be used in a second capacity as a large single basin sink (as in FIG. 4) in which it holds a larger volume of fluid, including above the divider, to wash larger items, such as a baking sheet or pizza dish.

The sink 10 can provide three fluid zones, one in each of the basins 12 and 14 and a third vertically above the divider 38 and the basin zones. Each zone can thus be used for a different purpose. For example, small items or items that require soaking can be contained in one or both of the basin zones at the bottom of the sink while other items, such as large pots or baking sheets, could be washed in the zone above the two basins. The cleaning of items in the upper zone would not be inhibited by the items in the basins. Grease and food from items in the basins 12 and 14 would be less likely to come into contact with the items in the upper zone above the divider 38.

The sink 10 can be used to hold one volume of fluid in one basin and a different (or possibly equivalent) volume in the other basin, and then be filled to yet another larger volume, which exceeds the volumes of each basin individually. One or both of the basins 12 and 14 can be supplied with water directly from the faucet 18. Alternatively, one basin could be filled to reach the top of the divider 38 and then excess water would spill over into the other basin. In either case, water would be supplied to the upper zone above the divider 38 by first filling both basins 12 and 14 up to the divider 38.

A user could wash dishes and the like in the sink 10 by supplying fluid to one basin or to both of the basins (or zones) of the sink, either by directly filling each or filling one basin fully to create spill over into the other basin. The appropriately dishes could be washed and rinsed in the sink in its double basin capacity. Once the smaller dishes have been washed, the water could be drained (perhaps only from the wash basin) or if the water was not too dirty or tepid, both basins could be filled up to the top of the divider so that the water level would rise and fill the upper zone of the sink vertically above the basins and the divider. Then, larger items could be washed by placing the item entirely in the upper zone above the divider or in the upper zone and one or more of the basins. In this way, the sink 10 could accommodate items that were larger than a maximum dimension of each of the basins.

It should be appreciated that preferred embodiments of the invention have been described above. However, many modifications and variations to the preferred embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art, which will be within the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, the invention should not be limited to the described embodiments. To ascertain the full scope of the invention, the following claims should be referenced.





 
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