Title:
Paper roll storage device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paper roll storage device includes a columnar container holding rolls of paper stacked such that the axes of the rolls are parallel to each other. The rolls of paper have center axial openings typically formed by a cardboard cylinder at the center used to support the paper. The container is generally rectangular in cross-section. One of the sides of the container has an opening near the top. The opening is large enough for a roll of paper to be inserted or removed from the container. A slot extends from the opening vertically downward along the front of the container. The rolls of paper are positioned and located in the cylinder so that the center axial openings face the slot.



Inventors:
Robinson, Paul B. (Amesbury, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/267445
Publication Date:
05/10/2007
Filing Date:
11/04/2005
Assignee:
Stor-Az, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KUTA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW, LLC (P.O. BOX 380808, CAMBRIDGE, MA, 02238, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A paper roll storage device, comprising: a container having a base, a top, a front, and four sides where the container is shaped and configured to hold a paper roll such that the axis of the paper roll is substantially perpendicular to the front of the container; an opening in a first side of the four sides of the container, the opening positioned close to the top, the opening sized and configured to enable the paper roll to be inserted and removed from the container; and a slot in the first side, the slot extending downward from the opening toward the base, the slot exposing an axial hollow in the paper roll stored in the container, such that the paper roll is removable from the storage device by inserting a finger through the slot and into the axial hollow of the paper roll and lifting the paper roll up and out of the container through the opening.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the container is shaped and configured to hold a plurality of paper rolls in a stack in which the axes of the paper rolls are substantially parallel to each other and perpendicular to the first side of the container.

3. The device of claim 1 further comprising a curved base shaped and configured to hold a paper roll.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein the slot has an end that is arcuate.

5. The device of claim 4 wherein the arcuate slot end has a radius substantially matching a radius of the axial hollow of the paper roll.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein the slot has a first opening edge and a second opening edge and the opening edges are curved.

7. The device of claim 1 wherein an upper portion of each side of the container has a concave curvature around the opening.

8. The device of claim 1 further comprising wall-mounting fixturing located on the back of the container.

9. The device of claim 1 further comprising wall-mounting fixturing on one of the sides of the container.

10. The device of claim 1 further comprising a floor stand to hold the base of the container.

11. The device of claim 10 wherein the floor stand further comprises two parallel ribs mounted in the base.

12. The device of claim 10 wherein the floor stand comprises a plurality of feet.

13. The device of claim 10 wherein the floor stand further comprises: a floor support; and a rigid pole secured at a first end to the floor support, the rigid pole positioned substantially perpendicular to the floor support, the rigid pole secured at a second end to the base of the container.

14. The device of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of apertures in at least one of the sides, front and back of the container.

15. The device of claim 1 wherein at least one of the sides, front, back, top and bottom is made of a stiff mesh material.

16. The device of claim 1 wherein the container is made of a plastic material.

17. The device of claim 1 wherein the container is made of a disposable material.

18. The device of claim 1 wherein the container is made of paper.

19. The device of claim 18 wherein the paper is an air freshening paper.

20. The device of claim 1 having a compartment coupled to the container, the compartment to hold an air freshening substance.

21. The device of claim 1 having a compartment coupled to the container, the compartment to hold moist towelettes.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Rolled paper (e.g. toilet paper and paper towels) is commonly used by people in the home and in other places. Rolled paper availability is typically desirable close to the location of use.

Toilet paper is dispensed, in general, close to the location of use. Toilet paper, however, is often stored some distance away from the dispenser and location of use. For example, toilet paper is commonly stored in cabinets such as cabinets under sinks, storage closets, linen closets, basement storage, etc. Accordingly, when the roll of paper in the dispenser is depleted, a replacement roll may be difficult to retrieve.

A number of conventional storage solutions involve axial stacking of toilet paper over a rod on a stand. Another conventional storage solution involves axial stacking of the toilet paper in a cylindrical container. Additional conventional solutions involve adding storage capabilities to paper dispensers. Each one of these conventional solutions, however, suffers from one or more of the following disadvantages: the paper is not protected inside a container and the paper is difficult to remove from the storage device.

It remains desirable to have a storage paper storage device to hold and protect a number of rolls of paper and from which a roll may be easily removed.

SUMMARY

The problems of conveniently storing paper rolls such as toilet paper are solved by the present invention of a paper roll storage device.

A paper roll storage device includes a columnar container holding rolls of paper stacked such that the axes of the rolls are parallel to each other. The rolls of paper generally have center axial openings typically formed by a cardboard cylinder at the center used to support the paper. The container is generally rectangular in cross-section. One of the sides of the container has an opening near the top. The opening is large enough for a roll of paper to be inserted or removed from the container. A slot extends from the opening vertically downward along the front of the container. The rolls of paper are positioned and located in the cylinder so that the center axial openings face the slot.

Embodiments of the present invention include a container having a base, a top, a front, a back, and two sides. The container is shaped and configured to hold a paper roll such that the axis of the paper roll is substantially perpendicular to the front of the container. The storage device further includes an opening in the front of the container. The opening is positioned close to the top of the container, and the opening is sized and configured to enable the paper roll to be inserted and removed from the container. The storage device also includes a slot extending downward from the opening toward the base of the container. The slot exposes an axial hollow in the paper roll stored in the container such that the paper roll is removable from the storage device by inserting a finger through the slot and into the axial hollow of the paper roll and lifting the paper roll up and out of the container through the opening. This embodiment has the benefit that the paper roll is easily removable from the container with only a single finger.

In an alternative arrangement, the container is shaped and configured to hold a plurality of paper rolls in a stack in which the axes of the paper rolls are substantially parallel to each other and perpendicular to the front of the container. In this way, a plurality of paper rolls are made readily available from the storage container.

In a further alternative arrangement, the container includes a curved base shaped and configured to hold a paper roll. The curved base accommodates the curvature of the paper roll enabling a better fit of a plurality of paper rolls in the storage device.

In a further alternative arrangement, the paper roll storage device includes a slot that has arcuate opening edges, and an arcuate end. The curved edges and end ease the process of extracting a roll of paper from the storage device.

In an alternative embodiment of the storage device, an upper portion of each side of the container has a concave curvature around the opening. This provides an enlarged access to the container enabling a roll of paper to be more easily inserted or extracted from the storage device.

Embodiments of the storage device have a variety of mounting methods. In a first arrangement, wall-mounting fixturing is located on the back of the container. In a second arrangement, wall-mounting fixturing is located on one of the sides of the container. In a third arrangement, the storage device includes a floor stand. In one embodiment of the floor stand, parallel ridges are embedded in the base of the container. In a second embodiment of the floor stand, the storage device is fixed to a rigid rod attached to a base that is configured to rest on a floor. In a first arrangement, the base includes a rigid rod to hold the container. In a second arrangement, the base includes a plurality of feet, e.g. four feet, one at each bottom corner of the container.

In a further alternative embodiment of the invention, the storage device includes a plurality of apertures in at least one of the sides, front and back of the container. In an alternate arrangement, at least one of the sides, front, back, top and bottom is made of a stiff mesh material. Both the plurality of apertures and the mesh material embodiments provide additional ventilation for the storage device by providing for greater air circulation through the container.

Embodiments of the storage device include embodiments made of various materials. Some embodiments of the storage device are made of disposable materials. The storage device may be made of a plastic material, wood, metal, ceramic, glass, paper or a combination of these materials. In one arrangement, the storage device is made of an air freshening paper.

Further alternative embodiments of the invention include at least one additional compartment for holding an air freshening substance or for holding moist towellettes.

The present invention together with the above and other advantages may best be understood from the following detailed description of the embodiments of the invention illustrated in the drawings, wherein:

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view of a paper roll storage device including apertures according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a rear view of a paper roll storage device including wall-mounting fixturing according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 5 is a front view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention wherein the front of the device is made of a mesh material;

FIG. 6 is a three dimensional view of another alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 7 is a three-dimensional view of a still further alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention;

FIG. 8 is a three-dimensional view of the paper roll storage device of FIG. 1 including an alternative floor stand;

FIG. 9 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention wherein the device further includes a compartment for air freshener;

FIG. 10 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention wherein the device further includes a compartment for moist towellettes;

FIG. 11 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device according to principles of invention;

FIG. 12 is a front view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention showing an alterative front opening;

FIG. 13 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention where the container has a removable top;

FIG. 14 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device having an alternative embodiment of a removable top; and

FIG. 15 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention where the container has a front opening and a back opening.

DESCRIPTION

The present invention is directed toward a device to enable storage of rolled papers, such as toilet paper, conveniently. The paper roll storage device includes a columnar container shaped and configured to hold paper rolls such that the axes of the paper rolls are substantially parallel to each other and also substantially perpendicular to the front of the container. The container further includes an opening at the front of the container where the opening is positioned close to the top of the container. The opening is sized and configured to enable a paper roll to be inserted and removed from the container. The container further includes a slot extending downward from the opening toward the base. The slot enables a paper roll to be removed from the storage device by inserting a finger through the slot and into a centered hollow of the paper roll enabling the paper roll to be lifted up and removed from the container through the opening.

FIG. 1 shows a paper roll storage device of the present invention in three-dimensional view. The paper roll storage device 100 includes a container 105. The container 105 includes a bottom 110, a top 115, a front 120, a back 125, a first side 130 and a second side 135. The container 105 is columnar and is also substantially rectangular in cross-section. The container 105 is shaped and configured to hold a plurality of paper rolls 140 such as rolls of toilet paper or in an alternative embodiment, rolls of paper towels. One skilled in the art will understand that other types of rolled paper may be stored in the present inventive device.

The paper rolls 140 are stacked inside the container such that the axes 142 of the paper rolls 140 are substantially parallel to each other and substantially perpendicular to the front 102 of the container 105. Each of the paper rolls 140 has an axial hollow 144 typically formed by a cardboard tube around which the paper is wound.

The front 120 of the container 105 includes an opening 145 close to the top 115 of the container 105. The opening 145 is shaped and configured to allow a paper roll 140 to be inserted or removed from the container 105. The front 120 of the container 105 further includes a slot 150 extending downwardly from the opening 145 toward the base 110. At an open end, the slot 150 has a first arcuate, or curved, edge 155 and a second arcuate edge 160. The bottom 165 of the slot 150 is also arcuate and typically has a radius similar to the radius of the axial hollows 144 of the paper rolls 140. The slot 150 provides access to the axial hollows 144 of the paper rolls 140.

Each of the sides 130, 135 of the container 105 has a top portion 170, 175 having a convex curvature around the opening 145. The base 110 of the container is also curved and configured to hold a paper roll 140 to provide a support for stacking as described above. The base 110 includes a first rib 180 and a substantially parallel second rib 185. The ribs 180, 185 protrude below the below the base 110 to act as a bottom support or a floor stand, or a base, for the container 105. The container 105 may be made of any one of or a combination of materials such as plastic, wood, metal, ceramic, glass or paper. Any material or composite that provides sufficient support to hold the paper rolls in the configurations described herein are considered to be suitable for use in the present invention.

The storage device 100, as mentioned above, holds a plurality of paper rolls 140 inside the container 105 which provides a generally protective covering to the paper rolls 140. The opening 145 and the slot 150 along with the manner of stacking the paper rolls 140 inside the container 105 allows a paper roll 140 to be easily removed from the container 105 when a paper roll 140 is needed. Essentially, a user needs to insert only one finger through the slot 150 and into the axial hollow 144 of the topmost paper roll 140 stored in the container 105. The user then lifts the paper roll 140 up and above the slot 150 and then removes the paper roll 140 from the container 105 through the opening 145.

FIG. 2 is a front view of an alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device of FIG. 1. The front 120 of the container 105 includes a plurality of apertures 200 positioned in flower-like arrangements 205. The apertures 200 function as additional openings into the container 105 to provide ventilation for the paper rolls 140 stored inside (not shown in this view). In other arrangements, the apertures 200 are located on the sides 130, 135 of the container 105 or on the top 115 or bottom 110 of the container 105. In alternative embodiments, the apertures may have different shapes and also different arrangements from those shown in FIG. 2. Those skilled in the art will understand that the present invention is not limited to the aperture shapes, locations and arrangements shown here.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the paper roll storage device 100 of FIG. 1. The back 125 of the container 105 includes wall-mounting fixturing so that the paper roll storage device 100 may be mounted to a support structure such as a wall. In the embodiment shown here, the wall-mounting fixturing includes two slotted openings 250 so that the container may be hung from hooks, or alternatively, screws set into a wall. Other fixturing configurations and other methods of mounting the storage device 100 are possible. The present invention is not limited to the mounting methods described here.

FIG. 4 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of a paper roll storage device 300 according to principles of the invention. The paper roll storage device 300 includes a container 305. The container 305 has a bottom 310, a top 315, a front 320, a back 325 and a first side 330 and a second side 335. The front 320 has an opening 340 near the top 315 of the container 305. A slot 345 extends downwardly from the opening 340 toward the bottom 310 of the container 305. In this embodiment, the bottom 310 and sides 330 and 335 have no apparent curvature. That is, the bottom 310 and sides 330 and 335 are substantially planar. The paper roll storage device 300 of FIG. 4, like the paper roll storage device 100 shown in FIG. 1, enables a user to easily remove rolled paper from the container 305 in the same way as described above with regard to FIG. 1. The illustration is provided to give an understanding that the general principles described above apply to a simpler device.

FIG. 5 is a front view of an alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device 100 shown in FIG. 1. In this embodiment, the front 120 is made of a meshed material 350. The meshed material 350 may be a plastic or a metal or any other material or composite such as plastic-coated fiber that provides a structural mesh to form a portion of the container 105. The bottom 110, the top 115 and the sides 130, 135 may be made of a meshed material 350 in alternative embodiments of the invention. In still further alternative embodiments of the invention, the container 105 may be formed by attaching a meshed material over an internal frame. The meshed material 350 provides some protection paper rolls stored in the container 105 and also provides ventilation to the container 105.

FIG. 6 is a three dimensional view another alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention. The paper roll storage device 400 includes a container 405. The container 405 includes a bottom 410, a top 415, a front 420, a back 425, a first side 430 and a second side 435. The container 405 is columnar and is also substantially rectangular in cross-section. The container 405 is shaped and configured to hold a plurality of stacked paper rolls 140.

The front 420 of the container 405 includes an opening 445 close to the top 415 of the container 405. The opening 445 is shaped and configured to allow a paper roll 140 to be inserted or removed from the container 405. The front 420 of the container 405 further includes a slot 450 extending downwardly from the opening 445 toward the base 410. The slot 450 provides access to the axial hollows 144 of the paper rolls 140.

The first side 430 of the container 405 has a top portion 470 having a convex curvature at the opening 445. The second side 435 is substantially planar. The second side 435 includes wall-mounting fixturing so that the paper roll storage device 400 may be mounted to a support structure such as a wall. In the embodiment shown here, the wall-mounting fixturing includes two slotted openings 475 so that the container 405 may be hung from hooks, or alternatively, screws set into a wall. Other methods of mounting the storage device 400 are possible. The present invention is not limited to the mounting methods described here.

FIG. 7 is a three-dimensional view of a still further alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention. The paper roll storage device 100 includes a container 505. The container 505 is similar to the container 105 described above with regard to FIG. 1. The container 505 in the present embodiment contains a larger plurality of paper rolls 140 than that described above.

FIG. 8 is a three-dimensional view of the paper roll storage device of FIG. 1 including an alternative floor stand. The paper roll storage device 100 includes a container 105 having a floor support 550. A rigid pole 555 is secured at one end to the floor support 550 and at the other end to the base 110 of the container 105. The floor support 550 and rigid pole 555 hold the paper roll storage device 100 at a convenient height from the floor to enable convenient removal of the paper rolls 140 from the container 105.

FIG. 9 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention wherein the device further includes a compartment for air freshener. The paper roll storage device 100 includes a container 105 as described above with regard to FIG. 1. The paper roll storage device 100 stores a plurality of paper rolls 140. In addition, the paper roll storage device 100 includes a compartment 600 to hold an air freshening substance. The compartment 600 in this embodiment is attached at the base 110 of the container 105, however, other arrangements are possible within the scope of the invention. In a first arrangement, the compartment 600 is refillable with new air freshening material. In a second arrangement, the paper roll storage device is considered disposable and the entire container 105 is replaced with a new container and new air freshener material. In an alternative embodiment of the invention, there is no air freshener compartment 600. Instead, the container 105 itself is made of an air freshener paper such as the air freshener paper available from EMI Specialty Paper of Redding, Conn. In a further alternative embodiment, the container 105 is made of scented plastic.

FIG. 10 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention wherein the device further includes a compartment for moist towellettes. The paper roll storage device 100 includes a container 105 as described above with regard to FIG. 1. The paper roll storage device 100 stores a plurality of paper rolls 140. In addition, the paper roll storage device 100 includes a compartment 650 to hold moist towellettes. The compartment 650 in this embodiment is attached at the base 110 of the container 105, however, other arrangements are possible within the scope of the invention. In a first arrangement, the compartment 650 is refillable with moist towellettes when the original supply is expended. In a second arrangement, the paper roll storage device 100 is considered disposable and the entire container 105 is replaced with a new container and new supply of fresh towellettes.

FIG. 11 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of the paper roll storage device of the present invention. The paper roll storage device 700 has four sides 702, 704, 706, 708 wherein each side is substantially without curvature. A first side 702 has an opening and a slot similar to those described above in other embodiments. A curved top 710 is attached to the sides 702, 704, 706, 708. This embodiment of the paper roll storage device 700 has a base made of a plurality of feet 712, one at each corner. Only three of the feet are shown in the drawing as the fourth is hidden in this view.

FIG. 12 is a front view of a paper roll storage device showing an alterative front opening. The paper roll storage device 750 has a front side 752 that has an opening 754 through which rolled paper may pass so that rolled paper can be inserted and removed from the storage device 750. A slot 756 extends from the opening 754 where the slot 756 is wide at the interface with the opening 754 and somewhat narrower at the bottom away from the opening 765.

FIG. 13 is a three-dimensional view of an alternative embodiment of a paper roll storage device. The paper roll storage device 800 has four sides 802, 804, 806, 808. A removable top 810 is attachable and detachable from the four sides 802, 804, 806, 808. In a first arrangement, the top 810 is sized and configured to rest on the sides 802, 804, 806, 808. In a second arrangement, the top 810 and sides have attachment fixtures. One skilled in the art will understand that various attachment fixtures are possible.

FIG. 14 is a three-dimensional view of a second alternative embodiment of a paper roll storage device having a removable top. The paper roll storage device 850 is substantially rectangular in horizontal cross-section. Two sides 852, 854 are visible in this view of the device 850. One side 852 includes a slot 856 that extends from a top edge of the side 852 vertically downward ending somewhere before the bottom of the device 850. A removable top 858 is shaped and configure to rest on top of the sides of the device 850. The slot 856 enables a user to lift a roll of paper vertically out of the container.

FIG. 15 is a three-dimensional view of a paper roll storage device according to principles of the invention where the container has a front opening and a back opening. The paper roll storage device 900 includes a container 105. The container 105 includes a bottom 110, a top 115, a front 120, a back 125, a first side 130 and a second side 135. The container 105 is columnar and is also substantially rectangular in cross-section. The container 105 is shaped and configured to hold a plurality of paper rolls (not shown) such as rolls of toilet paper or in an alternative embodiment, rolls of paper towels.

The front 120 of the container 105 includes a first opening 145 close to the top 115 of the container 105. The opening 145 is shaped and configured to allow a paper roll 140 to be inserted or removed from the container 105. The front 120 of the container 105 further includes a slot 150 extending downwardly from the opening 145 toward the base 110. At an open end, the slot 150 has a first arcuate, or curved, edge 155 and a second arcuate edge 160. The bottom 165 of the slot 150 is also arcuate. The slot 150 provides access to the axial hollows 144 of the paper rolls 140. The back 125 of the container 105 includes a second opening 902 and a second slot 904 substantially similar to the opening 145 and slot 150 in the front 120 of the container 105.

Each of the sides 130, 135 of the container 105 has a top portion 170, 175 having a convex curvature around the opening 145. The base 110 of the container is also curved and configured to hold a paper roll 140 to provide a support for stacking.

The storage device 900 is able to hold a plurality of paper rolls inside the container 105 which provides a generally protective covering to the paper rolls 140. The openings 145, 902 and the slots 150, 904 along with the manner of stacking the paper rolls 140 inside the container 105 allows a paper roll to be easily removed from the container 105 when a paper roll 140 is needed. Essentially, a user needs to insert only one finger through either of the slot 150, 904 and into the axial hollow of a topmost paper roll stored in the container 105. The user then lifts the paper roll up and above the slot 150, 904 and then removes the paper roll from the container 105 through one of the openings 145, 902.

As described above, the paper roll storage device of the present invention may be made of a plastic material, wood, metal, paper or a combination of these materials. Some embodiments, for example, those embodiments of the paper roll storage device made of plastic or paper are disposable.

It is to be understood that the above-identified embodiments are simply illustrative of the principles of the invention. Various and other modifications and changes may be made by those skilled in the art which will embody the principles of the invention and fall within the spirit and scope thereof.