The present invention relates to shower caddies and more specifically to shower caddies having adjustable shelves.
In addition to bar soap or liquid soap and wash cloths customarily used by people in bathroom showers, a variety of other articles related to personal hygiene are frequently used when showering. Such articles include containers of shampoo and hair conditioner, lotions, shavers, shaving cream, combs, brushes, and the like and are suspended from a pipe for a showerhead, a hook, a rail or an edge of the shower enclosure. While some shower enclosures are provided with one or more small shelves or ledges on which such personal hygiene items may be placed, many shower enclosure are devoid of any convenient location of adequate size for storing such items. Moreover, the shelves or ledges provided in typical shower enclosures tend to be relatively small, thereby affording insufficient space for storing articles without the likelihood of the articles being accidentally dislodged and falling to the floor of the shower enclosure.
In recognition of the need for providing primary or additional storage space for articles of personal hygiene used in showers, a wide variety of holders or “shower caddies” for storing such accessory articles have been disclosed and marketed. One type of shower caddy currently available is so constructed as to be readily attached to a showerhead, by hanging the caddy on the water pipe that connects to the showerhead, for example. Another type of shower caddy presently in use is provided with a hook which permits the caddy to be hung on the outer enclosure panel or door of a shower enclosure. However, the present inventor is unaware of any existing shower caddy which may be readily re-configured to enable the caddy to be attached to either a showerhead or an enclosure panel. The unavailability of any existing shower caddy with such a dual attachment capability was a motivating factor for the present invention.
There are a wide variety of structures used to store personal care products, particularly in baths and showers. Many such structures, often referred to as shower caddies, are configured for mounting on a shower pipe in a bathtub or shower stall so that a person taking a shower can grasp the items without having to bend down or otherwise exert him or herself.
A problem with known article support devices lies in the way the shelves are attached to the frame of the shower caddy. Some shelves, for example, are not firmly attached to the frame. In U.S. Pat. No. 4,106,736, a shelf is attached to a standard by means of a bracket which secures the top part of the shelf to the frame. However, the shelf can be detached from the frame by applying a small amount of upward force on the bottom of the frame resulting in the supported items falling to the ground.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,295,471 shows a shelf connected to a frame by having an upper end portion looped around the frame. The bottom portion of the shelf is free to move. Such movement would cause the articles being supported to fall over. See, also, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,680,712 and 2,678,184.
Other shelves are not readily detachable from the frame. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,789,996 shows a shelf fixture for attachment to a showerhead that includes a number of shelves that are welded to the frame. Therefore, the shelves are not detachable and cannot be placed on different locations on the frame. U.S. Pat. No. Des. 315,840 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,295,471 are similarly limited.
U.S. Pat. No. Des. 293,183 shows a shower caddy that has shelves that can be removed from the frame, however the arrangement of the shelves cannot be changed. Therefore, larger items, such as shampoo bottles, placed on the lower shelf will not be able stand upright if the distance between the upper shelf and lower shelf is less than the height of the item.
The shower caddies illustrated in these patents are formed from plastic coated metal wire and from molded plastic. The caddies include an upper, generally inverted U-shaped portion which receives the shower pipe on which the caddy is to be mounted. The U-shaped portion of these caddies defines a relatively reduced throat area that interfaces with the shower pipe. Unfortunately, these portions can lack the structural integrity necessary to resist both longitudinal and rotational movement and the shower caddy can slip from its desired position relative to the wall and/or showerhead. Ideally, such caddies when mounted on shower pipes should be stable and secure in use, are resistant to tipping even if articles are placed off-center in a position that tends to cause the caddies to rotate about the shower pipe. All too often, however, the caddies lack an adequate connecting interface to fix the caddy in position relative to the typically smooth surface of the shower pipe and have shelves that lack walls that can adequately retain the articles.
Other storage caddies may be mounted directly to the wall or other surface of the shower stall or bathroom by use of suitable devices, such as, for example, suction cups, and/or adhesive supports. Yet others may be free-standing.
Such storage caddies may include one or more shelves to provide a support or storage surface for various objects of personal care products, such as, for example, bars of soap, and bottles or tubes of shampoo and similar personal care products. If a shelf is provided for bottles and similar articles, storage caddies may also include a retaining member located above the shelf to help keep such articles in place. Often such shelves define one or more apertures. For example, the shelves in coated wire caddies are usually formed by a plurality of spaced apart wires. Alternatively, shelves may be tilted to facilitate drainage.
Accordingly, there is a need for a shower caddy that has cups or shelves having walls that can be readily removed from a frame and can be securely reattached in substantially any order. In addition, there is a need for a shower caddy that can support both large and small bathing items. It would be desirable, therefore, to incorporate in such storage caddies a capability for easily storing razors, providing conveniently accessing stored razors, and simultaneously reducing the likelihood of the razors being dislodged inadvertently. It would also be desirable to form any such structure in a way to incorporate other capabilities without significantly increasing the costs of such products.
A shower caddy comprises a threaded column that has a first end portion and a second end portion. At least one shelf has threads that interface and connect with the threaded column. Each shelf uses the threaded connection to rotate and adjust the position of the shelf on the column. The shelves have a wall that has an upper edge that define a first aperture and a bottom and/or wall that define at least one second aperture. The shelves are preferably shaped and sized to receive an inverted container that dispenses through the second aperture.
An attachment mechanism is connected to the first portion of the column and is adapted to connect to a shower fixture such as a shower pipe. The attachment mechanism also includes a resilient portion positioned on the inner surface of the hook that provides a biased connection with the shower pipe. The hook also includes an adjustable screw that can be adjusted to connect with the shower pipe.
Preferred embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to the drawings, wherein like numerals are used to refer to the same or similar elements.
FIG. 1 is an front elevational view of a shower caddy constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;
FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of one of the shelves of the shower caddy of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of an adjustable screw and hook of the shower caddy of FIG. 1.
Referring to FIG. 1, a shower caddy 10 in this one preferred embodiment includes a column 20, one or more shelves 30 and an attachment mechanism 50. Shelves 50 can be adjustably positioned along column 20. Shower caddy 10 has a first end portion 12 that includes attachment mechanism 20 and an opposed second end portion 14 that includes the terminal end portion of column 20. First end portion 12, column 20 and second end portion 14 define a central longitudinal axis-X.
Column 20 is an elongate member that has an outer surface having threads 21. Column 20 can have any length and diameter, but preferably has a sufficient length to hang from a shower pipe, fixture or portion of a shower enclosure such that a user in a shower can readily access shelves 30. Column 20 has a first portion 22 that is connected to attachment mechanism 50 and an opposed second end portion 24 that is preferably a free end that is connectable to one of shelves 30.
Continuing with the preferred embodiment in FIG. 1, each shelf 30 includes an extension 32, a sidewall 33 and a bottom 35. Shelves 30 preferably have a cup like shape that can easily receive, retain and provide access to articles that can be used while showering such as soap, razors, brushes, sponges, shower caps and other body care type devices. Extension 32 defines an aperture 34 having a threaded inner surface that interfaces with threads 21 of column 20. Extension 32 is preferably connected to outer portion of sidewall 33, but it is understood that extension 32 could be connected to any portion of shelf 30 such as the bottom 35 or inner portion of sidewall 33.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, in this one preferred embodiment, walls 33 have an inverted truncated conical shape that includes an upper edge or rim that defines a first aperture 34. A second aperture 36 is defined in bottom 35 and/or wall 33 that is smaller than the first aperture 34. Shelves 30 can also be constructed to receive a container 60 that has liquid soap, shampoo or conditioner, for example. Container 60 can be positioned for storage in shelf 30 and/or for dispensing. In one preferred embodiment, container 60 is inverted into shelf 30 for the downward dispensing of the container's contents through aperture 36 and has a cap that is removably replaceable external to shelf 30. Sidewall 33 preferably sustains container 60 at any downwardly sloped angle transverse to the vertical or vertical for downward dispensing. One or more additional apertures 36 in sidewall 33 and/or bottom 35 accommodate the drainage of water from each shelf 30.
Alternatively, shelves 30 can be constructed as a container with a closeable top that can be secured over the upper edge of wall 33 and a closeable aperture 36. Shelf 30 in this configuration has a top or wall 33 that can be moved between an open position for adding contents of the container such as a solid or liquid soap, for example, and a closed position with the top and wall 33 and/or wall 33 secured together to close aperture 34 and form a container. A cap can be provided for aperture 36 that moves between an open position for releasing soap and a closed position for sealing aperture 36. Shelf 30 in this configuration is preferably flexible to assist, as required, the dispensing of the contents and/or contains a mechanism for forcing the contents contained therein through apertures 34 and/or 36 such as a hand pump or a moveable internal wall.
Shelves 30 can also include a base shelf 40 that connects to second end portion 24. Base shelf 40 preferably has an extension 42, sidewall 43 and a bottom 45 for retaining items such as a bar of soap or shaving cream. Extension 42 defines an aperture having an inner surface that defines threads that interface with threaded column 20. The back portion of sidewall 43 preferably has a greater height than a front portion of sidewall 43 for the ease of access of users. Sidewall 43 defines first aperture 44 and bottom 45 and/or sidewall 43 define at least one second aperture 46. Shelves 30 can further include cantilevered extensions or shelf hooks 42 that can support the positioning of washcloths and brushes, for example. Base shelf 40 can have any shape, but in one preferred embodiment has a triangular shaped footprint that can be readily positioned on the corner of the tub at junction of two bathroom or shower walls. Shower caddy 10 can also include multiple base shelves 40 that can be adjustably positioned along the threaded length of column 20.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 3, attachment mechanism 50 includes a hook 52 having an adjustable screw 54. Hook 52 has a terminal end portion 53 and a gripping portion 56 that is positioned on an arcuate inner surface of hook 52 that receives a portion of a shower fixture such as a standard sized water pipe 3 that is connected to a showerhead. Gripping portion 56 is preferably made from a material such as a rubber that can provide a resilient connection to the showerhead water pipe that biases and/or increases the friction of the connection with the shower fixture. Gripping portion 56 advantageously resists the swinging motion of shower caddy 10 about the water pipe when a force generally perpendicular to the pipe contacts shower caddy 10. Hook 52 is preferably flexible such that it can provides a bias to the connection to the shower fixture. Hook 52 is also preferably aligned with axis-X.
Adjustable screw 54 includes a handle 55 and a threaded portion 57 that is received by and can extend through hook 52 transverse to axis-X. Screw 54 can provide an additional mechanical connection between hook 52 and shower pipe 3 by extending through and connecting with terminal end portion 53 to enclose shower pipe 3 or connect directly to shower pipe 3. Handle 55 preferably also includes a second hook 59 that is sized and shaped to engage shower fixtures that are a part of the shower enclosure such as an upper edge of a shower enclosure walls or a handrail, for example.
In one preferred embodiment, shower caddy 10 has a plurality of shelves 30 that are removably positionable with threaded column 20. For example, when base shelf 40 is connected to the second end portion 24, base shelf 40 can be disconnected from column 20 and other shelves 30 can be added or removed and positioned as desired along column 20 and base shelf 40 reconnected. This particular embodiment is especially advantageous because it can accommodate a flexible number of shelves 30 that combine functions for retaining shower related articles such as razors and sponges shelves 30 for receiving container 60 and/or dispensing contents and one or more base type shelves 40.
Shower caddy 10 is preferably constructed of polymer materials, but can also be constructed of or include ceramics, glass, composite materials, cellulose and corrosion resistant metals. Shower caddy 10 is preferably a rigid structure, but can be constructed of flexible materials.
Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, in operation, shower caddy 10 is an assembly having at least one shelf 30 that can be threaded onto threaded column 20 and rotatingly adjusted to a position on column 20 for the convenience of the user. A container 60 can be inverted and positioned in one of the shelves, as desired, for the dispensing of the container's contents. The at least one shelf 30 can also include one or more shelves 40 that can function as a base, as one of a plurality of adjustable shelves and/or a container for dispensing contents.
Shower caddy 10 is connected to and hangs from a shower fixture such as the showerhead pipe 3 by an attachment mechanism 50 that includes hook 52. Hook 52 is preferably flexibly resilient and is expanded for positioning around the shower pipe and then released to provide a biased connection at least partially around the shower pipe. Gripping portion 56 provides an additional resilient interface with shower pipe 3 that assists in retaining shower caddy 10 in a preferred vertically hanging position. Adjustable screw 54 can also be used to further fix the position of shower caddy 10 relative to shower pipe 3.
Shower caddy 10 can alternatively be positioned as a freestanding assembly on a portion of a tub or shower enclosure. In addition, adjustable screw 54 has a handle 56 that includes a hook 59 that can be used to connect shower caddy 10 to the edge of a shower enclosure, towel bar or handle.
In the preceding specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof. It will however, be evident that various modifications, combinations and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims that follow. The specification and drawings are accordingly to be regarded in an illustrative manner rather than a restrictive sense.