Title:
RETRACTABLE BATHTUB TRAY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One embodiment of this invention is directed towards a retractable tray that attaches to a bathtub or the like. While in a deployed, horizontal position, the bathtub tray allows a rigid support for objects over the water of the bath. While in a retracted position, the tray allows the bathtub to be used with a minimum of intrusion into the bathtub or adjacent space.



Inventors:
Blom, Dan (Paramount, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/751553
Publication Date:
11/27/2008
Filing Date:
05/21/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/184, 4/605
International Classes:
A47K3/00; A47F5/00; A47K3/28
View Patent Images:
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20060101576Faucet quick install nutMay, 2006Rhodes
20090320203CONTROL MODULE FOR MULTI-NOZZLE SHOWERDecember, 2009Chen
20070256222Weighted, plastic lift arm for enhanced-function flush handlesNovember, 2007Olshausen
20060042003Basin assemblyMarch, 2006Ouyoung
20080257774Towel CakeOctober, 2008Hsu
20070256232Multi-layered disposable shower curtainNovember, 2007Erickson
20060036198Foot spaFebruary, 2006Cafaro et al.



Primary Examiner:
DEERY, ERIN LEAH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hankin Patent Law, APC (12400 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 1265, Los Angeles, CA, 90025, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bathtub tray, comprising: a frame, said frame being generally U-shaped and configured to attach said bathtub tray to the wall of a bathtub, said frame further comprising two vertical sections: a proximal vertical section and a distal vertical section, a slot, said slot being configured to extend between said proximal vertical section and said distal vertical section such that said tray is slidably attached to said slot and moveable from said proximal vertical section to said distal vertical section, said tray being generally configured to support objects when located at the proximal vertical section of the frame and generally configured to lay vertically while at said distal vertical section, and a diagonal brace, said diagonal brace being rotatably attached at one end to said frame and removably attached at its other end to said tray, said diagonal brace further being located on the same side of the frame as the proximal vertical section such that said diagonal brace may be used to support said tray in a generally horizontal position when said tray is located at said proximal section.

2. A bathtub tray, comprising: a frame, said frame being generally configured to attach said bathtub tray to a bathtub, said frame further featuring a proximal end, which lies within a bathtub, and a distal end, which lies outside of a bathtub, a tray, said tray being slidably attached to said frame such that said tray may be positioned on said proximal end of said frame or on said distal end of said frame, said tray being further configured such that, when positioned at said proximal end, said tray lies horizontally, and when positioned at said distal end, said tray lies vertically, and a brace, said brace being attached to said frame and said brace being configured such that, when said tray lies at said proximal end, said brace serves to support said tray in a generally horizontal position.

3. A bathtub tray according to claim 1, wherein said frame further features telescoping sections such that the depth of said frame is adjustable.

4. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said frame further features telescoping sections such that the depth of said frame is adjustable.

5. A bathtub tray according to claim 1, wherein said frame further features one or more screw clamps such that said frame may be tightened onto a wall of said bathtub.

6. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said frame further features one or more screw clamps such that said frame may be tightened onto a wall of said bathtub.

7. A bathtub tray according to claim 1, wherein said frame further features a slip resistant material.

8. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said frame further features a slip resistant material.

9. A bathtub tray according to claim 1, wherein said tray further features a drip edge.

10. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said tray further features a drip edge.

11. A bathtub tray according to claim 1, where said bathtub tray further features a second diagonal brace, said second diagonal brace being located at the distal vertical section of said frame rotatably attached at one end to said frame and removably attached at its other end to said tray, said second diagonal brace further being located such that said second diagonal brace may be used to support said tray in a generally horizontal position when said tray is located at said distal section.

12. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said bathtub tray further features a second brace, said brace being configured such that, when said tray lies at said distal end, said brace serves to support said tray in a generally horizontal position.

13. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said brace is a diagonal brace, said diagonal brace being rotatably attached at one end to said frame and removably attached at its other end to said tray, said diagonal brace further being located on the same side of the frame as the proximal end such that said diagonal brace may be used to support said tray in a generally horizontal position when said tray is located at said proximal end.

14. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said brace is a strap, said strap being fixedly connected to said frame and attachable to said tray.

15. A bathtub tray according to claim 2, wherein said brace is a horizontal support, said horizontal support being configured to support said tray when said tray is located at the proximal end of said frame.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates, generally, to racks for supporting objects; more particularly, to retractable trays for supporting objects, which attach to bathtubs and the like.

BACKGROUND

Recognizing the common desire to take objects into bathtubs such as soap, shampoo, shaving kits, books, newspapers, bath lotions, bath salts, and other such items, several trays and racks have been developed for use in or adjacent to bathtubs. U.S. Pat. No. 2,659,491 to Williams, for example, discloses a simple rack attachment for bathtubs, which operates by attaching to the walls of the bathtub and extending laterally into the bath such that the rack may support objects over the bathtub water. Williams' device attaches to the walls of the bathtub by featuring a U-shaped section that straddles the walls of the bathtub. While disclosing a simple and generally successful means of supporting objects in a bathtub, Williams device consumes a great deal of space and may not be collapsed or retracted if the user no longer needs to use the rack.

Another such device is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 604,803 to Strauss, which discloses a bathtub tray attachment that attaches to the bathtub by means of one or more spring-clamps that attach to the bathtub walls. While disclosing a means of supporting articles, Strauss fails to disclose a means for retracting the tray, when not in use.

Another such device is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 2,181,543 to Bentz, which discloses a combination floor and towel rack that, like Williams' device, may be attached to the walls of a bathtub. Bentz's patent discloses several accessories that may be attached to the bathtub, such as mirrors, trays, towel racks, and further such accessories. Also, Bentz discloses an adjustable system for attaching the rack to the bathtub. Thus, while Bentz's device also straddles bathtub walls, the adjustable attachment mechanism allows for a more secure connection to a variety of sizes of bathtub walls. However, like Williams' device, Bentz fails to disclose a means for collapsing or otherwise stowing the rack away when not in use.

Another such device is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 2,465,050 to Zawadzki, which discloses a buoyant tray for holding soap or the like in a bathtub. While this device discloses a novel means for supporting objects, such as soap, without the use of the bathtub walls, it fails to disclose a tray with enough surface area to support objects such as books or newspapers.

Two other devices, disclosed by U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,302,806 and 3,444,564 to Senter and Lavaccia, respectively, disclose tray accessory for bathtubs, which attach to the bathtub by a plurality of suction cups. Senter and Lavaccia's patents disclose a means for attaching a bathtub tray to a variety of types of bathtubs and in a number of varying configurations. However, the patents fail to disclose a means for retracting or otherwise stowing the bathtub tray when not in use.

Another such device is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,823,366 to Bellamy, which discloses a bathtub caddy, for supporting items such as a cup, soap, towels, and magazines along the edge of a bathtub. Bellamy's device is configured to accommodate a variety of bathtubs by featuring a telescoping U-shaped section that may be widened or thinned, depending on the thickness of the bathtub walls.

One shortcoming of the above devices is that, if the user does not wish to use the tray, the user must remove the entire device from the bathtub. That is, the above patents fail to disclose a device that is retractable or collapsible, such that it may be stowed when not in use and consume a minimum of space.

One bathtub tray, which features a retractable mechanism, is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 3,834,782 to Pampinella. Pampinella's device allows a mirror and tray to be suspended from a wall and over a bathtub. The device is retracted by means of a hinge mechanism that attaches the cantilevered portion of the tray to the wall bracket. Pampinella's retractable means, however, is not adaptable for use with general bathtubs because it requires the presence of a wall in close proximity to the bathtub in order to operate.

Another such mechanism for retracting a bathtub tray is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,621,927 to Reiss et al. The Reiss patent discloses numerous means for attaching a book-holder to a bathtub. The Reiss device, meanwhile, features a vertical bar on which the cantilevered book rack is allowed to swivel three-hundred and sixty degrees. In this manner, the book-holder can be retracted from the bathtub when needed. Similarly, the bathtub book holding device, disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 5,707,036 to Dunbar, also may be retracted by moving the swivel to a position away from the bathtub. These devices, however, fail to disclose a retractable tray for bathtubs that may, in one position, securely and horizontally support objects and, in a second position, be vertically stowed to occupy a minimum of space.

Thus, there remains a long felt need in the art for a bathtub tray that may be folded out to provide a secure, horizontal support surface, and retracted to a vertical position, where it occupies a minimum of space in or around the bathtub.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the invention is directed towards overcoming the above shortcomings by disclosing a bathtub tray, which features two positions: in a first position, the bathtub tray extends horizontally into the area of the bathtub in order to provide a flat support surface for the user. In a second position, the tray is flipped out of the bathtub and rests vertically against the bathtub wall, in order to occupy a minimum of space. In this manner, the invention improves upon the above prior art devices by disclosing a bathtub tray that is highly usable, and yet can be easily stowed away.

In another embodiment of the invention, the bathtub tray features a third position, where the bathtub is in a horizontal position, but on the outside of the bathtub.

In one embodiment of the invention, the bathtub tray attaches to the bathtub through a U-shaped section of the tray that startles the edge of one of the bathtub walls. In order to secure the tray to the bathtub, the tray may additionally feature screw clamps, suction cups, telescoping sections, adhesive materials, mechanical fasteners, or other attachment means known within the art.

In one embodiment of the invention, while in a horizontal position, the tray portion of the device is supported by a diagonal brace that pivots diagonally outwards from the lower portion of the bathtub tray. The tray portion, further, is supported and hingedly attached to the U-shaped at its inner side, such that it may swivel when not supported by the diagonal brace.

The tray portion of the bathtub tray, meanwhile, is allowed to swivel outside of the bathtub in order to enter into a vertical stowed position. The upper portion of the U-shaped section of the bathtub tray features a slot, along which the tray is allowed to be displaced over the bathtub wall and to a vertical stowage position. The ends of the slot serve as stopping points for the tray and provide support to the tray when in a horizontal or vertical position.

In one embodiment of the invention, the bathtub tray, further, features a third position, wherein the tray portion is supported horizontally on the outside of the bathtub. This position is achieved by including a second diagonal brace on the outside of the tray, which may be extended to prop and support the tray in its third position.

It remains within the contemplation of the invention for the invention to be manufactured of plastic, rubber, natural materials, metallic materials, or other such materials, known in the art. If further remains within the contemplation of the invention for the invention to include additional accessories, such as mirrors, tray dividers, boxes, drawers, and other such accessories. Other such variations on the basic principles of the invention are known within the art and remain within the contemplation of the invention.

In summary, the invention discloses a bathtub tray that is configured to include a horizontal position, for secure support of articles over the bathtub, and a vertical, stowed position, for occupying a minimum of space, when not in use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while attached to a bathtub and having its tray deployed in the horizontal position.

FIG. 1B is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while attached to a bathtub and having its tray retracted to its vertical position.

FIG. 1C is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while attached to a bathtub and showing the bathtub tray's range of motion.

FIG. 2A is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position.

FIG. 2B is an illustration from a top view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position.

FIG. 3A is an illustration from a side view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position.

FIG. 3B is an illustration from a front view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various aspects of one or more embodiments of the invention. However, one or more embodiments of the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, and/ or components have not been described in detail so as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of embodiments of the invention.

While multiple embodiments are disclosed, still other embodiments of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which shows and describes illustrative embodiments of the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modifications in various obvious aspects, all without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive. Also, the reference or non-reference to a particular embodiment of the invention shall not be interpreted to limit the scope the invention.

In the following description, certain terminology is used to describe certain features of one or more embodiments of the invention. For instance, “bathtub” refers to any hot tub, steam bath, plunge bath, sauna, sauna bath, whirlpool, whirlpool bath, or other such tub; and “tray” refers to any flat surface, platter, or rack used to support objects in the art.

FIG. 1A is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while attached to a bathtub and having its tray deployed in the horizontal position. A bathtub 100 is shown with a retractable bathtub tray 105 attached to one of the walls of the bathtub 100. The tray portion of the bathtub tray 105 is in a horizontal position, such that it may be used to support objects.

FIG. 1B is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while attached to a bathtub and having its tray retracted to its vertical position. A bathtub 100 is shown with a retractable bathtub tray 105 attached to one of the walls of the bathtub 100. The tray portion of the bathtub tray 105 is in a retracted vertical position, such that it occupies a minimum of space.

FIG. 1C is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while attached to a bathtub and showing the bathtub tray's range of motion. A bathtub 100 is shown with a retractable bathtub tray 105 attached to one of the walls of the bathtub 100. The range of motion of the tray portion of the bathtub tray is shown, as it is moved from the retracted, vertical position to the deployed horizontal position.

FIG. 2A is an illustration from a perspective view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position. A retractable bathtub tray 200 is shown along with its constituent parts, including: the U-shaped frame 205, the slot 210, the tray hinge 215, the end stop 220, the tray 225, the handle 230, the drip edge 235, and the rubber grips 240.

FIG. 2B is an illustration from a top view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position. A retractable bathtub tray 200 is shown along with its constituent parts, including: the U-shaped frame 205, the tray hinge 215, the end stop 220, the tray 225, the handle 230, the drip edge 235, and the rubber grips 240.

FIG. 3A is an illustration from a side view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position. A retractable bathtub tray 300 is shown along with its constituent parts, including: the tray 305, the tray hinge 310, the U-shaped frame 315, the diagonal brace 320, and the rubber grips 330.

FIG. 3B is an illustration from a front view of a bathtub tray while the tray is in a horizontal position. A retractable bathtub tray 300 is shown along with its constituent parts, including: the tray 305, the U-shaped frame 315, the diagonal brace 320, and the rubber grips 330.





 
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