Title:
JEWELRY/PARTS BOX WITH REMOVABLE CONTAINERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A jewelry box including a drawer and a plurality of removable containers. The drawer includes an horizontal support in which is formed a plurality of openings. The sizes of the openings are configured to correspond to the sizes and shapes of the removable containers so that when a removable container engages a corresponding opening, the removable container is supported by the horizontal support of the drawer. In at least one embodiment, each removable container includes a peripheral flange that is larger than the corresponding opening, to engage the horizontal support of the drawer. In one embodiment, each removable container is tapered between its smaller base and a larger upper extent of the removable container. Optionally, the removable container can be flared at its opening and can include a flange configured to be grasped by a user.



Inventors:
Saddler, Heidi (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/625971
Publication Date:
07/26/2007
Filing Date:
01/23/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/126
International Classes:
A45C11/04; A47F3/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF RONALD M ANDERSON (600 108TH AVE, NE SUITE 507, BELLEVUE, WA, 98004, US)
Claims:
The invention in which an exclusive right is claimed is defined by the following:

1. A jewelry box comprising: (a) a drawer including an interior surface in which are formed a plurality of openings, the interior surface extending generally horizontally; and (b) a plurality of removable containers, each removable container being configured to engage an opening in the interior surface of the drawer, such that when a removable container engages the opening, a first portion of the removable container passes through the opening, and a second portion of the removable container is at least partially supported by the interior surface of the drawer in which the opening is formed.

2. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein the second portion of each removable container is larger than an opening in the interior surface of the drawer with which the removable container is configured to engage.

3. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein the second portion of each removable container comprises a peripheral flange.

4. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein the peripheral flange is disposed in a central portion of the removable container, between a bottom of the removable container and an upper opening defining a top of the removable container.

5. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein the interior surface of the drawer engages an outwardly facing side of the drawer proximate a mid-portion of an inner interior surface of the outwardly facing side of the drawer.

6. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein each removable container has a flared opening for insertion of an object.

7. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein each removable container has a flange around its top that is configured to be grasped by a user.

8. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein the plurality of openings in the interior surface of the drawer are arranged in a sequential pattern according to a varying size of the plurality of openings.

9. The jewelry box of claim 1, wherein at least one removable container has a lining disposed within it and configured to cushion an object inserted into the removable container.

10. A jewelry box comprising: (a) a plurality of drawers, each drawer including a horizontal support in which are formed a plurality of openings; and (b) a plurality of removable containers, each removable container being configured to engage an opening in the horizontal support of at least one of the plurality of drawers, such that when the removable container engages said opening, the removable container is supported by the horizontal support of the drawer in which the opening is formed.

11. The jewelry box of claim 10, wherein each removable container comprises a peripheral flange that is larger than an opening in the horizontal support of the specific one of the plurality of drawers in which the removable container is intended to be inserted, such that when the removable container is inserted into said opening, the peripheral flange engages the horizontal support of the drawer in which said opening is formed, thereby preventing the removable container from passing completely through the opening.

12. The jewelry box of claim 10, wherein each removable container comprises a base that is smaller than an upper extent of the removable container, such that the removable container is tapered between the base and the upper extent of the removable container, to facilitate insertion of the removable container into an opening in the horizontal support of a specific one of the plurality of drawers in which the removable container is intended to be inserted.

13. The jewelry box of claim 10, wherein in at least one of the plurality of drawers, the plurality of openings in the horizontal support of the drawer are arranged in a sequential pattern according to a varying size of the plurality of openings.

14. A box for storing jewelry or small objects, comprising: (a) a drawer that has a horizontal support in which is formed a plurality of openings; and (b) a plurality of removable containers, each removable container being configured to engage an opening in said drawer, such that when the removable container engages the opening, a first portion of the removable container passes through the opening.

15. The box of claim 14, wherein the plurality of openings in the horizontal support of the drawer are arranged in a sequential pattern according to a varying size of the plurality of openings.

16. The box of claim 14, wherein each removable container comprises a base that is smaller than an upper extent of the removable container, such that the removable container is tapered between the base and the upper extent of the removable container, to facilitate insertion of the removable container into an opening in the horizontal support of the drawer in which the removable container is intended to be inserted.

17. The box of claim 14, wherein each removable container comprises a peripheral flange that is larger than an opening in the horizontal support of the drawer in which the removable container is intended to be inserted, such that when the removable container is inserted into said opening, the peripheral flange engages the horizontal support of the drawer in which said opening is formed, thereby preventing the removable container from passing completely through the opening.

18. The box of claim 14, wherein each removable container has a flange around its top that is configured to be grasped by a user.

19. The box of claim 14, wherein the horizontal support of the drawer is coupled to and supported by a mid-portion of a side of the drawer.

20. The box of claim 14, wherein at least one removable container comprises a lining configured to cushion an object inserted into the removable container.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is based on a prior copending provisional application, Ser. No. 60/761,828, filed on Jan. 25, 2006, the benefit of the filing date of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. §119(e).

BACKGROUND

Many types of jewelry boxes have been developed and are known in the art. For example, jewelry boxes with fixed-in-place separate inner compartments for different types of jewelry are available, as are jewelry boxes with fixed-in-place specialized inserts configured to engage earrings, and fixed-in-place specialized inserts configured to engage rings are known. However, properly positioning an item of jewelry to engage such fixed-in-place specialized inserts is not always easily accomplished. It would therefore be desirable to provide alternative jewelry box designs, adapted to be more readily used by the consumer.

SUMMARY

Disclosed herein is a jewelry box including a plurality of drawers, each drawer including a plurality of removable containers, each removable container configured to accommodate one or more items of jewelry. A plurality of different size removable containers can be incorporated in the jewelry box. Alternatively, jewelry boxes including only identically-sized removable containers can also be implemented, in accord with the concepts disclosed herein. Furthermore, it should be recognized that these concepts encompass a jewelry box that includes only a single drawer configured to accommodate a plurality of removable containers.

The size of a removable container can be chosen to accommodate a particular type of jewelry. For example, removable containers used to store earrings or rings will likely be smaller than removable containers used to store bracelets or watches. Some (or all) of the removable containers in such a jewelry box can be lined with a soft or cushioning material, selected and configured to protect an item of jewelry. Examples of acceptable materials of this type include velvet, satin, and other types of soft material—in almost any desired color and selected because it is suitable not only to protect an item of jewelry, but also, to provide an aesthetic backdrop for the jewelry as well.

The drawers in such a jewelry box differ from most conventional drawers. A conventional drawer is generally configured as an open top box, i.e., four sides and solid bottom. Drawers for use in the jewelry boxes disclosed herein utilize a “horizontal support” including a plurality of openings, each opening being configured to engage a removable container of a specific size. Each removable container is tapered, such that a base of the removable container has a smaller “footprint” than an upper portion of the removable container. An opening in the horizontal support of the drawer is configured to receive a specific removable container, such that the opening is larger in size than a base of the specific removable container, yet smaller in size than an upper portion of the specific removable container. Thus, the base of the specific removable container will easily pass through the opening, but the upper portion of that specific removable container will not pass through the opening. This sizing and shape relationship makes it easier for a user to place a removable container into an appropriately sized opening, because the base (which is smaller than the opening) will not have to be perfectly aligned with the opening. Even if the opening and the base of the removable container are slightly misaligned when the removable container is being inserted into the opening, the tapered sides of the removable container will facilitate proper alignment of the removable container with the opening, as the removable container is lowered into the opening.

Preferably, each removable container will include a peripheral flange in an upper portion of the removable container, the peripheral flange being configured to engage the horizontal support portion of the drawer at the periphery surrounding the appropriately sized opening. In one exemplary embodiment, each removable container includes a flared upper opening incorporating an upper flange or raised lip, the upper flange/raised lip being configured to enable a user to more readily grasp the removable container to insert or withdraw it relative to the opening.

As noted above, conventional drawers are configured with four sides and a bottom. One side serves as an outer face of the drawer. Handles, knobs, or other such structures are included on the outer face of the drawer, to enable a user to open the drawer. In the exemplary jewelry boxes disclosed herein, the drawers also each have one side that serves as an outer face of the drawer. Additional sides can be included (e.g., the additional three sides required to achieve an open top box configuration); however, the additional sides are not required. Thus, in some embodiments of jewelry boxes in accord with the concepts disclosed herein, the drawers will include only a horizontal support incorporating the plurality of openings configured to receive the removable containers, and one side serving as an outer face of the drawer. The side serving as the outer face of the drawer will typically include hardware (such as one or more handles, knobs, or other such structures) to enable a user to open and close the drawer. In such a configuration, the interior portion of the jewelry box can include a sliding mechanism (such as opposed rails) configured to engage the horizontal support or sides of each drawer, to slidingly support the drawer.

In a conventional drawer, the bottom of the drawer is usually aligned proximate to the lower edges of the sides of the drawer (at times offset a small amount to enable a dado-type joint to be employed). In the exemplary jewelry boxes disclosed herein, the horizontal support of the drawer (i.e., the portion of the drawer including the plurality of openings configured to engage the removable containers) need not be aligned with a lower edge of the side forming the outer face of the drawer. In one exemplary embodiment, the horizontal support of the drawer is aligned proximate a mid portion of the side of the drawer forming the outer face of the drawer. The offset between the horizontal support of the drawer and the lower edge of the drawer's side (or sides) can be made slightly greater than a distance between the base and the peripheral flange of a removable container to be used in that drawer, to provide clearance for suspending the removable containers.

While in some embodiments, each drawer includes the outer face and the horizontal support (in which the openings for suspending the removable containers are formed), but no solid bottom panel underneath the horizontal support, if desired, a conventional solid bottom panel can be added underneath the horizontal support, preferably such that the spacing between the horizontal support and solid bottom panel is sufficient to enable the removable containers to be primarily supported by the horizontal support.

This Summary has been provided to introduce a few concepts in a simplified form that are further described in detail below in the Description. However, this Summary is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

DRAWINGS

Various aspects and attendant advantages of one or more exemplary embodiments and modifications thereto will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side cross-sectional view of an exemplary jewelry box including a plurality of removable containers in accord with the concepts disclosed herein;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of an exemplary drawer for the jewelry box of FIG. 1, illustrating how the drawer includes a horizontal support having a plurality of openings configured to engage a plurality of removable containers;

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the different-size removable containers used in the jewelry box of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4A is a side view of an exemplary removable container, illustrating a base that is smaller than an upper portion of the removable container, an optional protective lining, tapered sides, and a peripheral flange in the upper portion of the removable container, the peripheral flange being configured to engage the horizontal support of the drawer surrounding an appropriately sized opening such as those shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4B is a side view of an alternative exemplary removable container having a different form factor than the exemplary removable container of FIG. 4A, but still exhibiting the smaller base, optional protective lining, tapered sides, and peripheral flange of the exemplary removable container of FIG. 4A;

FIG. 4C schematically illustrates a generally square cross-sectional shape that can be used as an alternative form factor for a removable container for use in jewelry boxes in accord with the concepts disclosed herein;

FIG. 4D schematically illustrates a generally rectangular cross-sectional shape that can be used as an alternative form factor for a removable container for use in jewelry boxes in accord with the concepts disclosed herein;

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of an exemplary jewelry box in accord with the concepts disclosed herein;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are images of a prototype jewelry box in accord with the concepts disclosed herein; and

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of an exemplary drawer that includes a horizontal support portion defining openings for removable container that are arranged in a sequential pattern, according to size.

DESCRIPTION

Figures and Disclosed Embodiments Are Not Limiting

Exemplary embodiments are illustrated in referenced Figures of the drawings. It is intended that the embodiments and Figures disclosed herein are to be considered illustrative rather than restrictive.

FIG. 1 is a side cross-sectional view of an exemplary jewelry box 10 including a plurality of removable containers, in accord with the concepts disclosed herein. Jewelry box 10 includes a plurality of drawers, each drawer including an outwardly facing side 14 and a horizontal support 16. While not specifically shown, it should be recognized that side 14 will typically include hardware (such as a knob, a handle, a raised portion, etc.) configured to facilitate user manipulation of the drawer. A slide mechanism (preferably implemented by opposed rails 18) slidingly supports each drawer by engaging each horizontal support 16. Other types of slides can be used that support the drawer by its sides.

Each drawer is configured to accommodate a plurality of removable containers. As noted above, some embodiments of jewelry boxes in accord with the concepts disclosed herein can be configured to accommodate a plurality of identically-sized removable containers. Jewelry box 10 has been specifically configured to accommodate a plurality of removable containers of varying sizes, including removable containers 20a, 20b, 20c, and 20d. It should be recognized that the specific sizes of the removable containers, their shape, and the number of different sizes of removable containers employed in jewelry box 10, are intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting. Many combinations and permutations of removable container sizes (and shapes) are clearly possible.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of an exemplary drawer for jewelry box 10 of FIG. 1, illustrating how a horizontal support 16a of the exemplary drawer includes a plurality of openings 22a and 22b, each configured to engage a specific size removable container. For example, openings 22a are configured to accommodate removable containers 20a, whereas openings 22b are configured to accommodate removable containers 20b. It should be recognized that the specific pattern of openings shown in FIG. 2 is intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting. Drawers having other patterns of openings can be beneficially employed in jewelry boxes in accord with the concepts disclosed. One beneficial aspect of the pattern of openings employed in horizontal support 16a of FIG. 2 is that the relatively smaller size openings 22a are located closer to outwardly facing side 14 than are the relatively larger size openings 22b. Thus, a user might access removable containers accommodated in openings 22a more readily than removable containers accommodated in openings 22b. It should be noted that in the claims that follow, the portion of the drawer in which the openings for suspending the removable containers are formed is referred to either as a horizontal support or an interior surface.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of removable containers 20a-20d, illustrating the relative sizes of each type of removable container. It should be recognized however, that such relative sizes are simply intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting. Materials suitable for implementing such containers include plastics, metals, wood, and ceramic, with plastics representing a particularly desirable material, due to the relatively low cost and low weight of such material. The containers can be formed out of a solid material, or a mesh material, as suggested by FIG. 3.

Referring now to FIG. 4A, details of an exemplary container 20e are illustrated. It should be recognized that exemplary container 20e can be used to implement any one of removable containers 20a-20d and is separately shown only to enable common and preferred characteristics shared between removable containers 20a-20d to be better understood. Exemplary container 20e includes a base 32 that is smaller in cross-section than a flared opening 26 of the removable container. A peripheral flange 28 is configured to engage the horizontal support of a drawer surrounding an appropriately sized opening, such that when the removable container is being supported by the horizontal support of the drawer, base 32 will pass through the appropriate sized opening in the horizontal support of the drawer, and peripheral flange 28 (which is larger in size than the appropriate sized opening) will engage the horizontal support of the drawer, thereby supporting the removable container within the opening. It should be recognized that if the cross-sectional shape of the removable container is circular, the peripheral flange can be considered to be an annular flange.

As discussed in greater detail below, it should be understood that removable containers having different cross-sectional shapes can be used in the jewelry boxes disclosed herein, and that the circular cross-sectional shape illustrated in FIG. 3 is intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting (thus, the more general term “peripheral flange” has been used in place of the term “annular flange”). Exemplary container 20e includes tapered sides 24 extending between base 32 and peripheral flange 28. Flared opening 26 terminates in a raised lip 30 (or upper flange) configured to be readily grasped by a user. Optionally, an interior of exemplary container 20e can be fully or partially lined with a soft material 36. As indicated in FIG. 4A, the horizontal support of exemplary container 20e is padded with such a material. For example, a soft pad, a satin cushion, or a velvet lining can be employed for soft material 36. Preferably, the soft material will exhibit both aesthetic qualities and a cushioning characteristic that protects jewelry and other components inserted into the container from possible scratching or other damage, e.g., due to impact with the container.

As noted above, while exemplary removable containers 20a-20d exhibit a generally circular cross-sectional shape, it should be recognized that such a cross-sectional shape is not intended to be limiting. FIG. 4B is a side view of an exemplary container 20f having a generally elongate (i.e., elliptical or oval) cross-sectional shape. Exemplary container 20f shares in common with exemplary container 20e, a relatively smaller base, tapered sides, a peripheral flange, a flared opening, and an upper flange. Exemplary container 20f includes a soft lining 36a that covers substantially an entire inner portion of the container, to provide cushioning and to aesthetically improve the backdrop for the jewelry stored therein.

FIG. 4C schematically illustrates a plan view of a generally square alternative opening for removable containers, and FIG. 4D schematically illustrates a plan view of yet another alternative generally rectangular opening for removable containers. Such plan view shapes represent alternative form factors that can be used to implement removable containers that are square or rectangular, for use in jewelry boxes, in accord with the concepts disclosed herein. It is likely that such removable containers will share the relatively smaller base, the tapered sides, the peripheral flange, the flared opening, and the upper flange described above. It should be recognized that these additional form factors may enable a larger percentage of the horizontal support of each drawer to be filled with openings, to enable each drawer to accommodate a larger number of removable containers than would be possible using removable containers having a generally circular cross-section. It should be recognized that other form factors or a mixture of various form factors can be implemented, including, but not limited to, squares and rectangles having rounded corners, triangles, trapezoids, polygons, and stars.

FIG. 5 is an isometric phantom view of an exemplary jewelry box 10a in accord with the concepts disclosed herein. Jewelry box 10a includes a different arrangement of removable containers than is illustrated for the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. FIGS. 6A and 6B are images of an exemplary prototype jewelry box constructed in accord with the concepts disclosed herein. The prototype is made of a clear plastic material to enable the arrangement of removable containers to be readily visible within the drawers provided therein.

While the concepts disclosed herein have been described in the context of jewelry boxes, it should be recognized that such boxes (i.e., boxes including drawers having horizontal supports defining a plurality of openings configured to receive removable containers) may find use for storing small parts for hobbyists or fishermen, as well as for other purposes. Thus, it should be recognized that the concepts disclosed herein can be expanded to encompass boxes used for storing items other than jewelry.

For storing items other than jewelry, it is often beneficial to enable items to be organized according to their size and to accommodate items of different sizes. FIG. 7 is a top plan view of an exemplary drawer (including a horizontal support 16b) that facilitates the organization of objects based on size, by providing a plurality of openings 22c arranged in a sequential pattern based on an increasing size of the openings. Note that an arrow 38 indicates a direction of progressively increasing sizes. Generally as described above, these progressively larger openings will accommodate progressively larger removable containers. This configuration can facilitate the organization of objects by size. For example, the relatively smallest opening accommodates the relatively smallest removable container, which can be used to store correspondingly small objects such as screws. Screws in the next available size can be stored in the next larger sized removable container (accommodated in the next larger size opening, as indicated by arrow 38).

As noted above, storage boxes encompassed within the concepts disclosed herein include boxes having drawers including a conventional solid bottom panel and a horizontal support. Where the drawers include a conventional bottom panel as well as the horizontal support including openings for the removable containers, the spacing between the horizontal support and bottom panel can be manipulated to achieve three different configurations. In a first configuration, the spacing is sufficiently large so that the removable containers are entirely supported by the horizontal support (i.e., the bottom surfaces of the removable containers do not touch the bottom panel, and the removable containers are supported by peripheral flanges or sidewalls engaging the horizontal support). In a second configuration, the spacing is such that the removable containers are supported both by the horizontal support and the bottom panel (i.e., the bottom surfaces of the removable containers touch the bottom panel, and peripheral flanges or sides of the removable containers engage the horizontal support). In a third configuration, the spacing is such that the removable containers are supported entirely by the bottom panel, and the openings in the horizontal support function to position (rather than to suspendingly support) the removable containers within the drawer (i.e., the bottom surfaces of the removable containers touch the bottom panel, and peripheral flanges/sidewalls on the removable containers do not supportingly engage the horizontal support). Where removable containers of different sizes are inserted into openings in the horizontal support of a particular drawer that also includes a solid bottom panel, the form factor of the individual container will determine whether that container is entirely supported by the horizontal support, entirely supported by the solid bottom panel, or supported by both the horizontal support and the solid bottom panel. Thus, each of the three configurations noted above could be achieved in a single drawer where a plurality of different sized removable containers are employed. The detailed description above focuses on embodiments that do not include such a conventional solid bottom panel, because less material is required to fabricate a drawer without such a conventional solid bottom panel, making such embodiments particularly preferred. It should be recognized however, that embodiments including such a conventional solid bottom panel are encompassed within the concepts disclosed herein.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with the preferred form of practicing it and modifications thereto, those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that many other modifications can be made to the present invention within the scope of the claims that follow. Accordingly, it is not intended that the scope of the invention in any way be limited by the above description, but instead be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.