Title:
Compact utility medicine cabinet with sanitizing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A medicine cabinet provides a cabinet shell structure with bottom, top, side and rear wall panels forming an open-faced box; a hinged door adapted for closing the cabinet front face. A plurality of drawers engage a vertical hinge pin mounted from the rear wall panel, the drawers rotatable about the hinge pin from closed positions flush with the rear wall panel to open positions extending outwardly from the rear wall panel. A small appliance shelf is fixtured with an AC power socket for small appliances. A sanitization unit provides sanitization of air drawn through the unit.



Inventors:
Bonin, Pete J. (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/943151
Publication Date:
03/06/2003
Filing Date:
08/29/2001
Assignee:
BONIN PETE J.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/87.1, 312/31, 312/321.5
International Classes:
A47B67/02; (IPC1-7): A47B67/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FITZGERALD, JOHN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT LAW & VENTURE GROUP, PLLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A medicine cabinet apparatus comprising: a cabinet shell structure with bottom, top, side and rear wall panels forming an open faced box; a hinged door adapted for moving from a closed position for enclosing the cabinet shell, and an open position for gaining access to an interior thereof; two opposing vertical stacks of drawers engaged with a common vertical hinge pin for horizontal pivotal motion of the drawers between closed positions flush with the hinged door and open positions extending outwardly from the hinged door; at least one power outlet accessible at the rear wall panel; a sanitizing unit providing means for air throughput and for sanitizing said air; and plural shelves mounted within the cabinet shell; a further door shelf extending into adjacency with the rear wall panel when the hinged door is in the closed position; a means for sensing a position of the hinged door and for engaging power to the sanitizing unit in accordance with a position of the hinged door.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the stacks of drawers are mounted on the hinged door.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for sensing a position of the hinged door is a magnetic sensor adapted for controlling power to a power outlet.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to medicine cabinets, and more particularly to a medicine cabinet adapted for storing and providing access to a wide range of articles and equipment and capable of sanitizing personal articles.

[0003] 2. Description of Related Art

[0004] The following art defines the present state of this field: Herrmann, U.S. Pat. No. 1,078,502 describes a device having a central fixed mirror and provided at opposite sides with inwardly extending vertical pockets, horizontal guides arranged at the top and bottom of the pockets, slides mounted in the guides, horizontally swinging arms pivotally connected to the slides and adapted to be carried into and out of the said pockets by the slides, and pivoted mirrors carried by the arms and movable into and out of the said pockets.

[0005] Booth, U.S. Pat. No. 1,088,765 describes a dresser having a centrally arranged mirror, a strip extending transversely of the upper portion of the mirror and beyond the same on each side forming arms, a socket plate secured to the under face of each arm at the end thereof, a socket plate secured to the base of the dresser on each side of the centrally arranged mirror and axially arranged with the first socket plate, a rod swivelly mounted in each two axially arranged socket plates, the upper socket plate with the arm acting to prevent vertical movement of the rod, a pair of sleeves swiveled on the rod, each adjacent each socket plate, a collar integrally fast on the rod to support the upper sleeve, said socket plate having lugs embedding into the arm and the base of the dresser to prevent movement of the socket plates, means for securing the socket plates to the arm and base, and a swinging end mirror having rod connections to said sleeves.

[0006] Conwell, U.S. Pat. No. 2,290,035 describes a door mounting for cabinets adapted to be placed in side by side relation, with the door frames lying in a common plane, and each having a door coextensive with the frame, each door having a slot in one edge at a hinge location, a door hinge comprising a pair of leaf plates of right angular form to provide attaching arms and knuckle arms, said attaching arms being attached directly to the outer face of the door frame and the other arm being secured directly to the inside face of the door, and when the door is closed, said attaching arms lying in co-planar relation, said knuckle arms being in the form of right angular triangles adapted to be disposed in superimposed registering relation when the door is closed and lying in said slot, one of the right angular sides of each triangular pintle arm being connected with its related attaching arm and the other right angular side being disposed outwardly of the side edge of said related attaching arm, and a pintle connecting said knuckle arms and located in the included angel thereof remote from said attaching arms, the axis of the pintle lying substantially in the plane of the outer face of the door, whereby said door when swung through an arc of approximately 180 degrees will clear the swinging edge of the closed door on an adjacent cabinet and flushly overly the same.

[0007] Jones, U.S. Pat. No. 2,489,418 describes a mirror structure having in combination, a cabinet secured to a wall and having vertical sides, a light secured to said wall at each side of said cabinet and spaced a short distance therefrom, a door for said cabinet, hinges at one side of said door spaced vertically at one side of said cabinet on which said door is swingable about a vertical axis in one direction, hinges at the other side of said door, a member mounted on said last mentioned hinges swingable about a vertical axis in the opposite direction and a mirror having an area substantially the same as said door carried on said member said lights and mirror being disposed in substantially the same plane so that said mirror can be swung into position adjacent and in efficient reflecting relation with either light.

[0008] Rooney, U.S. Pat. No. 2,557,037 describes a cabinet of the character described, comprising, a body, a mirrored door, a door-supporting member interposed between the door and the body, said supporting member being in the form of a rigid X-shaped frame, one leg of which is of tubular material, said member being hinged to the back of the door closely adjacent to the forward free edge of said door, the opposite end of said member being hinged to an edge portion of the cabinet body remote from the free edge of the door, said frame extending across the open front of the body, whereby said member can be swung outwardly from the cabinet body on the hinges which secure it thereto, and the door can be swung outwardly from said member to an angular position upon the hinges which secure said member to the door, spring clips in the form of curled-up springs secured on the back of the door in position to engage the legs of the X-shaped member and hold the same flatly but releasably against the back of the door, and flexible wiring extending through the tubular leg of the X-shaped member from the cabinet body to the front of the door.

[0009] Barlow, U.S. Pat. No. 2,763,186 describes a reflecting device comprising, a plurality of mirror surfaced members having top and bottom and opposite side edges, said members being substantially identical in size, upper and lower frames having inner channels into which said top and bottom edges of said mirrored surfaces extend and are gripped.

[0010] York, U.S. Pat. No. 2,783,115 describes a device comprising, in combination with a cabinet having a pair of side elements, an upper panel, a lower panel, hinge means interconnecting one side of said upper panel to one of said side elements, hinge means interconnecting one side of said lower panel with the other of said side elements, a door, and hinge means interconnecting the free ends of said panel with said door, the pivotal connections of the hinge means interconnected by each panel and its associated side element being an alignment with the pivotal connections of the hinge means interconnecting the other of said panels with the door.

[0011] Nairn, U.S. Pat. No. 3,140,134 describes a storage cabinet adapted to be set within a recess in a wall of a building, a first vertical back wall and first top, bottom and side walls secured to and extending forwardly from the respective edges of said first back wall to form a first forwardly-open parallelepipedal receptacle, a first flange integral and coplanar with the forward edges of the top, bottom and side walls of said first receptacle, a second vertical back wall and second top, bottom and side walls secured to and extending forwardly from the respective edges of said second back wall to form a second forwardly-open parallelepipedal receptacle of lesser horizontal dimension than said first receptacle and sized to fit therewithin, a second flange integral with and extending continuously about the forward edges of the top, bottom and side walls of said second receptacle, a first hinge interconnecting two corresponding vertical edges of said flanges to mount said second receptacle for pivoting about a first vertical axis, from a first closed position nested within and closing an concealing said first receptacle, to a second open position exposing said first receptacle, a door sized to cover and conceal both said receptacles, a second hinge interconnecting said door at one side edge thereof with said second flange at the side opposite said first axis, and mounting said door for pivoting about a second vertical axis, from a first position over and concealing both said receptacles, to a second position exposing said second receptacle only, and cooperating locking means carried by the forward portions of said first and second bottom walls, and operable to lock said second receptacle in its said first position nested within said receptacle.

[0012] Mitchell et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,176,942 describes controllably openable and positionally adjustable mirror mounting and concealing means, comprising: a first mounting element provided with first pivotal mounting hinge means and attachment means cooperable for attaching one portion thereof at a selected fixed location with respect to an auxiliary vertical wall member whereby to effectively pivotally connect said first mounting element with respect to said auxiliary vertical supporting wall for relative rotation about a first longitudinal axis parallel to said wall; a second mounting element provided with second pivotal mounting hinge means effective connecting said second mounting element to a portion of said first mounting element for relative rotation around a second longitudinal axis displaced from said first axis of rotation of said first pivotal mounting hinge means; a third mounting element provided with a third pivotal mounting hinge means effectively connecting said third mounting element to said second mounting element for relative rotation around a third longitudinal axis substantially perpendicular to said second axis, said third mounting element being provided with, and mounting, cosmetic mirror means; and concealing cover means mounted for normally concealing and covering relationship in front of said second and third mounting elements, said second and third pivotal mounting hinge means, and said mirror means, and controllably hingedly movable into an open relationship placing said first, second, and third mounting elements and said first, second, and third pivotal mounting hinge means and said mirror means in open relationship relative to each other and relative to said auxiliary vertical supporting wall.

[0013] Roark, U.S. Pat. No. 3,771,854 describes a foldable mirror system employing a unique combination of structural mechanisms for allowing mirrors to be adjusted with respect to each other in a degree of unrestricted movement about vertical axes. The mirrors are maintained in rigid structural relationship with each other while the mechanism is adapted to fold into a compact space behind the mirrors when in the stored position.

[0014] Tantillo, U.S. Pat. No. 3,909,092 describes a means for temporarily hanging a cabinet on a wall surface prior to permanent attachment of said cabinet, which comprises a cabinet having a back or rear wall and a top cover which serves as the top of the cabinet, the back wall having a cutout at the top and a downwardly extending rear flange on the cover which partially extends over the cutout, and a separate bracket with an upstanding portion, which bracket is first secured to the wall so that the upstanding portion is spaced from the wall surface, and when the cabinet is hung on the bracket the rear flange engages the upstanding portion and the bracket occupies the space of the cutout to temporarily support the cabinet prior to permanently securing the cabinet to the wall.

[0015] Aisley, U.S. Pat. No. 4,396,249 describes adjustable side mirrors flanking a central cabinet door mirror that are supported by frames formed as stampings from sheet material so as to permit the side mirrors to be pivotally adjusted from positions in the same plane with the central mirror into both adjacent angular relationships with the central mirror and into remote angular relationships therewith.

[0016] Vann, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,399,008 describes a medicine cabinet for mounting in a wall recess in a wall. A cabinet unit has side, top, and a bottom panels arranged in a box construction for mounting into the wall recess. An open rectangular front frame is an extension of the panels and provides access to a storage space within the cabinet unit. The front frame protrudes outwardly from the wall for presenting a front cabinet face parallel to the wall. The medicine cabinet further includes a door assembly for closing against the front cabinet face and for covering the storage space. The door assembly comprises a swinging doorframe with both a rear surface and a front surface, and a mirrored door with both a rear surface and a front, mirrored surface. The swinging doorframe is a rectangular open box of approximately the same size and shape as the front frame, and is hingably mounted to the front frame by a first hinge at one side of the front frame. The mirrored door fully covers the swinging doorframe, and is hingably mounted to the swinging doorframe by a second hinge. The swinging doorframe includes a first latch for maintaining closure of the swinging doorframe against the front frame, and a second latch for maintaining closure of the mirrored door against the front surface of the swinging doorframe.

[0017] The prior art teaches the use of a variety of medicine cabinets but does not teach a cabinet capable of storing a wide range of personal hygiene related articles and equipment in a compact format. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides further related advantages as described in the following summary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0018] The present invention teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.

[0019] It may be noticed that the typical medicine cabinet contains only flat shelves and that it is poorly equipped for handling and storing the very large number of objects found in a typical toilet or bath facility. Additionally, the common medicine cabinet is not a place where one may place objects to be sanitized or maintained in a sanitary condition. The medicine cabinet of the present invention provides a cabinet shell structure formed as an open-faced box. It provides a hinged door adapted for closing the cabinet front face. A plurality of drawers engage a vertical hinge pin and these drawers rotate about the hinge pin from closed positions flush with the rear wall panel to open positions extending outwardly from the rear wall panel. A small appliance shelf provides AC power and an ultraviolet lamp for sanitizing air movement within the cabinet.

[0020] A primary objective of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method of use of such apparatus that provides advantages not taught by the prior art.

[0021] Another objective is to provide such an invention capable of storing a wide range of objects used in personal hygiene and sanitizing an airflow for assuring a sanitary state for these objects.

[0022] A further objective is to provide such an invention capable of storing items in plural drawers within the cabinet.

[0023] A still further objective is to provide such an invention capable of storing a small appliance with power applied to it through a power outlet within the cabinet.

[0024] A still further objective is to provide such an invention capable of storing items on the back of the cabinet door for ready access.

[0025] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0026] The accompanying drawings illustrate the present invention. In such drawings:

[0027] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention showing an interior detail thereof, and

[0028] FIG. 2 is a further perspective view thereof showing the motion of key components of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0029] The above-described drawing figures illustrate the invention in at least one of its preferred embodiments, which is further defined in detail in the following description.

[0030] A medicine cabinet apparatus includes a cabinet shell structure 10 preferably of metal or plastic with a smooth finish and with bottom 20, top 30, sides 40 and rear 50 wall panels, forming an open faced box. A hinged door 60 is adapted, as is common, for moving from a closed position for enclosing an interior of the cabinet shell 10, as shown in FIG. 1, and an open position shown in FIG. 2, for gaining access to said interior. The door 60 preferably has an exterior mirrored surface 68. On the interior surface 62 of the door 60 are mounted two opposing vertical stacks of drawers 70 engaged with a common vertical hinge pin 80 for horizontal pivotal motion of the draws between closed positions flush with the surface 62 and open positions extending outwardly from the surface 62. The hinge pin 80, as shown, is preferably mounted between panels 85. The drawers 70 provide access to objects that might be stored in such drawers 70. Attention is called to the manner in which the draws are configured, i.e., in two vertical rows and all rotating from the single vertical hinge pin 80. This configuration is considered to be novel, providing full access to all draws with a bare minimum of hardware and installation labor. A utility shelf 90 provides space for small appliances such as the sanitizing unit 120 shown in FIG. 2. The electrical outlet 100 mounted in the rear wall 50 faces into the interior of the shell structure 10 to provide convenient power distribution.

[0031] The sanitizing unit 120 is mounted within the shell structure 10, as shown, and provides an air inlet 122 and an air outlet 124. Air drawn into the sanitizing unit 120 is exposed to ultraviolet lamp 126, for sanitizing the air within the unit 120 and eventually all of the air in within the invention. The ultraviolet lamp 126 is operated on a duty cycle calculated to maintain sanitary conditions within the medicine cabinet. The sanitizing unit 120 provides space 128 and fixtures for placement of items such as toothbrushes and razor blades that are important to maintain in a sanitary condition.

[0032] Shelves 92 mounted within the shell structure 10 and placed in a rearward position within the shell structure 10, as shown in FIG. 2. This accommodates the subcabinet 89 mounted on the door 60.

[0033] The door 60, as shown in FIG. 2 has mounted on the inside surface 62, a door shelf 66 of considerable size and storage capacity. This shelf 66 extends outwardly from the surface 62 by the full depth of the shell structure 10 so that with the door 60 in the closed position, shelf 66 is moved into a position adjacent to rear panel 50. A position sensing means 67′, such as a magnetic sensor is mounted on rear wall 50 and is able to sense when the door 60 is closed when metal plate 67 is brought into near-contact with sensing means 67′. The sensing means 67′ is enabled for controlling AC power to the power outlet where sanitizing unit 120 is engaged for drawing operating current. Therefore, the sanitizing unit 120 is able to be turned on when the door is opened or when it is again closed in order to assure that the air within the shell 10 is maintained in a sanitary condition. The sensing means 67′ may also provide a timer for cycling the sanitizing unit 120 as desired. Sensing means 67′ with power switching and timer function is very well known in the art. The use of a full-depth shelf 66 is not seen in the prior art in medicine cabinets and provides the critical advantage of permitting larger objects to be conveniently accessed when the hinged door 60 is in the open position. A means for storing a tissue box, such as enclosure 130, is mounted within shell 10, as shown in FIG. 2, and is sized for accepting a commercially available tissue box.

[0034] The invention is sized for being mounted between adjacent studs in conventional home or business construction for flush mounting. Alternately, the invention may be wall mounted as is well known.

[0035] While the invention has been described with reference to at least one preferred embodiment, it is to be clearly understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited thereto. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims.