Title:
Collapsible dish and utensil rack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The dish or utensil rack includes a base member and a rack member formed of flexible material. The base member has a first end portion and a second end portion. The rack member has means for holding one or more dishes and/or utensils and first and second ends. Tab ands slot sets are provided for engaging the ends of the rack member and the end portions of the base member. When the members are so engaged, the rack member is retained in a substantially arcuate condition so as to receive dishes and/or utensils. When the members are disassembled, the base member fits into the interior opening in the rack member to form a planar unit for easy storage. A dish mat with a shape similar to that of the rack member can be used with the rack.



Inventors:
Davis, Jill (Durham, NC, US)
Application Number:
12/072151
Publication Date:
09/04/2008
Filing Date:
02/25/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/08
View Patent Images:
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20080251475Toothbrush HolderOctober, 2008Lambert
20080030113Corrugated ShelfFebruary, 2008Vail
20050150789Display and storage deviceJuly, 2005Crane
20040188368Hair arranging device organizerSeptember, 2004Hildreth



Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EPSTEIN DRANGEL LLP (60 EAST 42ND STREET SUITE 2520, NEW YORK, NY, 10165, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A dish or utensil rack comprising a base member and a rack member formed of flexible material, said base member comprises a first end portion and a second end portion, said rack member comprises means for holding one or more dishes and/or utensils and first and second ends, first means for engaging said first end of said rack member and said first end portion of said base member and second means for engaging said second end of said rack and said second end portion of said base member such that said rack member is retained in a substantially arcuate condition.

2. The rack of claim 1 wherein said base member is adapted to rest on a substantially planar surface.

3. The rack of claim 1 wherein said first means comprises a tab and a slot.

4. The rack of claim 3 wherein said second means comprises a tab and a slot.

5. The rack of claim 4 wherein the tab forms part of said first rack member end and said slot is formed in said first end portion of said base member.

6. The rack of claim 5 wherein the tab forms part of said second rack member end and said slot is formed in said second end portion of said base member.

7. The rack of claim 4 wherein said tabs support the rack member when they are received in said slots.

8. The rack of claim 1 wherein said rack member has an opening and wherein said base member is adapted to be received in said rack member opening when said members are disassembled.

9. The rack of claim 7 wherein said members form a substantially planar unit when said base member is received in that rack member opening.

10. The rack of claim 1 wherein said rack member and said base member are formed of the same sheet of material.

11. The rack of claim 1 wherein said holding means comprises a slot.

12. The rack of claim 1 wherein said holding means comprise a set of spaced, oppositely oriented serpentine members defining a slot for holding a dish or a utensil.

13. The rack of claim 12 wherein said base member comprises a set of spaced, oppositely oriented protrusions.

14. The rack of claim 13 wherein said protrusions of said base member are adapted to be received in the slots of said rack member.

15. The rack of claim 1 wherein said base comprises a slot adapted to receive the bottom of a dish or utensil.

16. The rack of claim 1 for use with a drain mat having a peripheral shape substantially equal to the peripheral shape of said rack member.

17. The rack of claim 16 further comprising a peripheral wall having a height substantially equal to the thickness of said rack member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to dish and utensil racks and more particularly to a dish and utensil rack comprising separate parts that when disassembled can form a planar unit for easy storage.

2. Description of Prior Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98

A conventional dish holder or dish rack typically rests on a countertop. In a small kitchen with only a little countertop and cabinet space, there is not a convenient place to store the dish holder when it is not in use. Further, it is not desirable to leave the dish rack permanently on the counter top taking up valuable space that could be used for other purposes. Collapsible dish racks made of wood or wire are known. Typically, these dish racks are costly and time consuming to manufacture, and are bulky even when collapsed.

Therefore, there is a need for a dish and utensil rack that can be easily and conveniently stored when it is not needed, and is inexpensive to manufacture.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present Invention provides a rack for holding dishes and utensils. The dish and utensil rack comprises a flexible rack member and a base member. The rack member includes one or more apertures, slots, etc. to receive dishes and/or utensils and to support the dishes and utensils in an upright position. In use, the rack member engages with the base member. The engagement of the members causes the rack member to bow upwardly into an arcuate configuration allowing dishes and utensils to be inserted into the slots, apertures, etc. in the rack member with the bottom of each item resting in an aligned slot in the base member. When not in use, the rack member can be disengaged from the base member and stored as a unit in a substantially planar condition in a drawer. Further, the rack may be used with a drain mat shaped to receive the unit consisting of the rack member and the base member.

In accordance with the present invention, a dish and utensil rack is provided. The rack includes a base member and a rack member formed of flexible material. The base member has a first end portion and a second end portion. The rack member has means for holding one or more dishes and/or utensils. It also has first and second ends. First means are provided for engaging the first end of the rack member and the first end portion of the base member. Second means are provided for engaging the second end of the rack and the second end portion of the base member. When the members are so engaged, the rack member is retained in a substantially arcuate condition such that it can receive dishes and/or utensils in an upright position.

The base member is adapted to rest on a substantially planar surface.

The first means preferably includes a tab and a slot. The tab forms part of the first rack member end and the slot is formed in the first end portion of said base member.

The second means includes a tab and a slot. The tab forms part of the second rack member end and the slot is formed in the second end portion of the base member.

When the tabs of the rack member are received in the slots of the base member. the tabs support the base member in a position spaced above the surface upon which the rack rests.

The rack member has an interior opening. The base member is adapted to be received in the rack member opening when the members are disassembled. The members form a substantially planar unit to facilitate storage when the base member is received in the rack member opening.

The rack member and the base member are preferably formed of the same sheet of material.

The holding means of the rack member includes a slot. Preferably, the holding means includes a set of spaced, oppositely oriented serpentine members defining a slot for holding a dish or a utensil.

The base member includes a set of spaced, oppositely oriented protrusions. The protrusions of the base member are adapted to be received in the slots of the rack member.

The base also has a slot adapted to receive the bottom of a dish or utensil held by the rack member.

The rack may be used with a drain mat. The drain mat has a peripheral shape substantially equal to the peripheral shape of the rack member. The drain mat also has an upstanding peripheral wall.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF DRAWINGS

To these and to such other objects that may hereinafter appears, the present invention relates to a collapsible dish and utensil rack as described in detail in the following specification and recited in the annexed claims, taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts and in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevation view of the base member of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the rack member of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of the drain mat of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the rack of the present invention showing the base and rack members assembled;

FIG. 5 is an elevation view of the base member received in the rack member opening to form a planar unit and the members placed in a drain mat; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the drain mat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, one exemplary preferred embodiment of the dish and utensil rack of the present invention is illustrated. The illustrated preferred embodiment of the invention is a dish rack primarily designed to support plates and dishes in an upright position. Those skilled In the art will appreciate, however, that the dish rack can be adapted to hold bowls, cups, saucers, drinking glasses, eating utensils, and other similar articles.

The dish rack of the present invention is formed of two primary components: a rack member, generally designated A, and a base member, generally designated B, respectively shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Rack member A and base member B are preferably fabricated from a single sheet of plastic, rubber, or other flexible sheet material. The dish rack of the present invention is simple and inexpensive to manufacture. Both rack member A and base member B can be formed by simply stamping them from a single sheet of flexible material.

In this particular embodiment, rack member A has a closed geometric form with an open interior 10, as shown in FIG. 1. Base member B is cut out from the interior of the rack member A. Thus, base member B fits inside of the interior opening 10 of rack member A and conforms in shape to the contours of opening 10 such that when the members are disassembled, base member B can be received in opening 10 of rack member A so as to form a planar unit for easy storage.

Rack member A includes one or more tabs 12 at opposing ends. In the drawings, three tabs 12 are shown extending from each end of the rack member. Each set of tabs 12 in rack member A are adapted to be received in a different one of slots 14 formed adjacent opposing end portions of the base member B, as illustrated in FIG. 4.

The length of rack member A is greater than the length of base member B. Thus, the insertion of the tabs 12 of rack member A into corresponding slots 14 in base member B causes rack member A to bow upwardly into an arcuate configuration, as shown in FIG. 4, such that dishes and/or utensils can be retained on the rack. In this state, tabs 12 extend below the plane of base member B such that the tabs also serve to support the rack above a horizontal surface upon which the rack rests, to facilitate drainage.

Rack member A is formed of sets of spaced, oppositely oriented serpentine members 16 giving the sides of the rack member a sinuous shape. Each of the members 16 defines a slot with an open end. In this particular embodiment, the open ended slots of members 16 on the opposing sides are aligned. The aligned slots are adapted to receive a plate or the like and to hold it in an upright position for drying.

Further, slots 18 may be formed in the base member B to hold the bottom edge of the plate. The plate is supported in an upright position by placing the plate into the slot defined by two opposing members 16 and inserting the bottom edge of the plate in the corresponding slot 18 in base member B.

Base member B includes sets of spaced, oppositely oriented finger-like protrusions 20. The protrusions 20 of base member B are adapted to be received in the slots of the rack member defined by members 16 when base member B is received in rack member A.

Because rack member A is formed of flexible material, members 16 of the rack member can be bent to accommodate various types and sizes of dishes and other items. This is illustrated in FIG. 4 where member 16′ is shown as bent upwardly.

When the dish rack is not in use, rack member A may be disengaged from base member B. Both base member B and rack member A may be stored in a flattened condition in a drawer. As noted previously, base member B fits inside rack member A, as illustrated in FIG. 5, to form a planar unit. Thus, the rack of the present invention takes up very little space when stored inside a drawer.

A drain mat, generally designated C, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 6, may be used with the dish rack. Drain mat C has an interior 22 that has a shape and size that is substantially the same as the shape and size of rack member A. It also has an upstanding peripheral wall 24 that preferably has a height substantially equal to the thickness of rack member A and base member B. Thus, the unit formed by rack member A and base member B can fit within the wall 24 of dish mat C such that all three members can be stored together. FIG. 5 illustrates what the rack and drain mat look like together.

While only a single preferred embodiment of the present invention has been disclosed for purposes of illustration, it is obvious that many modifications and variations could be made thereto. It is intended to cover all of those modifications and variations which fall within the scope of the present invention, as defined by the following claims.