Title:
Vehicle mountable support for a grill
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides an apparatus for connecting a grill or other object to the body, of a vehicle and transporting the grill, or other object to a remote location.

Specifically, the present invention provide for an apparatus to support an object on a vehicle hitch. The apparatus is comprised of: an elbow support component; and a transportation bar. The horizontal portion of the elbow support component detachably connects to the vehicle hitch, and the vertical portion of the elbow support component detachably connects to the transportation bar. The transportation bar is comprised of a vertical sleeve for detachably connecting to the elbow support component; a horizontal beam for detachably connecting to the object; and at least one stability wing connecting the sleeve and the beam.

More specifically, it is the stability wings connecting the support beam to the horizontal sleeve that is the object of the invention. By providing this extra support, the transportation bar of the present invention provides for increased stability to the object during transportation.




Inventors:
Mckoski, Andrew (Lawrenceville, GA, US)
Application Number:
10/231103
Publication Date:
03/04/2004
Filing Date:
08/30/2002
Assignee:
MCKOSKI ANDREW
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/41R, 126/25R
International Classes:
A47J37/07; F24C15/30; (IPC1-7): F24B3/00; F24C3/14
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20080110448BURNPOT FOR SOLID PARTICULATE STOVEMay, 2008Gross et al.
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20100095949Pollutant removing device and oblique single air curtain range hood using the deviceApril, 2010Huang
20090102415Suitcase power systemApril, 2009Muchow et al.
20090026279Environmental Control EnclosureJanuary, 2009Dittmer et al.
20060065263Programmable cooking applianceMarch, 2006Barritt
20060027230Oven door of electric ovenFebruary, 2006Jung



Primary Examiner:
COCKS, JOSIAH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles A. Rattner (Stamford, CT, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An apparatus for supporting an object on a vehicle hitch, wherein said apparatus is comprised of: an elbow support component; and a transportation bar; wherein a horizontal portion of the elbow support component detachably connects to the vehicle hitch; wherein a vertical portion of the elbow support component detachably connects to the transportation bar; and wherein the transportation bar is comprised of a vertical sleeve for detachably connecting to the elbow support component; a horizontal beam for detachably connecting to the object; and at least one stability wing connecting the sleeve and the beam.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, where said at least one stability wing is of a triangular shape.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein said at least one stability wing is the shape of a right triangle, and the 90-degree corner of the right triangle-shaped stability wing is positioned where the horizontal beam meets the vertical sleeve.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said at least one stability wing is welded to the horizontal beam and vertical sleeve.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said object is a grill, and said transportation bar connects to the grill through the horizontal beam.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said horizontal beam additionally comprises a plurality of transportation bar end connection pieces, and said transportation bar end pieces connect to the grill body.

7. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said horizontal beam additionally comprises at least one transportation bar tab, and said at least one transportation bar tab connects to the grill body.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said elbow support additionally comprises a triangular support connecting the horizontal portion and the vertical portion of the elbow support.

9. An apparatus for supporting an object during the transportation of the object on the hitch of a vehicle, wherein said apparatus is comprised of: a sleeve portion; a support beam; and at least one stability wing connecting the sleeve portion and the support beam, whereby said object is connected to the support beam.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said at, least one stability wing is a triangular piece that connects to an underside portion of the support beam and an outside portion of the sleeve portion.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein said at least one stability wing is a right-triangle shaped piece.

12. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said object is a grill.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to an apparatus for supporting recreational accessories such as grills and tables, and more particularly, to a novel accessory support system detachably mounted to a trailer hitch of a motor vehicle.

[0002] Portions of the disclosure of this patent document contain material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

[0003] During many outdoor recreational activities, such as picnics, camping or tailgate parties, it is desirable to have a barbeque grill for preparing food. Frequently, there are no cooking facilities available for these occasions and activities, and it is therefore common to transport a conventional or portable stove or grill designed for outdoor cooking to the location of the activity.

[0004] There are certain disadvantages associated with transporting and using outdoor grills. Conventional outdoor grills can be bulky and heavy, and therefore difficult to store and transport. Many portable grills, while lighter in weight and smaller in scale, require support structures, such as grill stands or table bases.

[0005] Portable grill tops that do not require supporting structures have also been developed. They are better suited for storage and transport inside a vehicle due to their small size and reduced storage requirements. However, when removed from the vehicle and positioned for cooking, they must be adequately supported for safe operation. Accordingly, such a portable grill must be placed on the vehicle itself for support, or upon some other convenient support means. Locating such supporting means may be difficult, especially around campsites, sporting events or in other remote surroundings. Additionally, these types of grills can sometimes be overturned by wind unless securely anchored to the ground.

[0006] Many existing grills are too heavy to make them truly portable or convenient. In addition, existing grills require a significant amount of storage space within the vehicle during transport. While smaller portable grills and grill tops require less space in the transporting vehicle, in addition to the problems described above, their smaller size limits the quantities of food that can be cooked on the grill. Any size or type of grill that is used repeatedly becomes dirty with use, and can soil the interior of the transporting vehicle.

[0007] None of these types of grills offer a truly convenient manner of transporting and utilizing the grill without the inconvenience and mess of loading or unloading it from the vehicle.

[0008] Single axle two-wheel trailers that house a grill have also been developed. However, while these devices alleviate some of the problems associated with transporting conventional grills, they require a hitch-bearing vehicle having sufficient power and substantially increase the difficulty of driving and parking the pulling vehicle. In addition, they are quite expensive.

[0009] Therefore, a need exists for an outdoor grill that can be easily attached to and removed from a motor vehicle, while allowing full use of the vehicle's storage space. A need exists for a grill that requires little or no setup, and does not substantially affect handling, turning or parking of the vehicle.

[0010] Grills that attach directly to the hitch of a vehicle have been developed to meet this need. These grills are frequently known as “tailgating grills”. But for a number of reasons, existing-tailgating grills are difficult to use for a number of reasons. In particular, the size of known tailgating grills is usually limited, as the grills can become unstable during transportation due to the manner in which most tailgating grills are attached to the vehicle.

[0011] Accordingly, a need exists for a grill transportation apparatus that can be detachably mounted to any type of vehicle equipped with a trailer hitch or other hitch means; that allows full use of the vehicle's storage space; that provides sufficient support and stability for a grill or other accessory during transportation; and that can be easily converted to a free-standing grill.

[0012] The present invention provides for such a grill support apparatus.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] In view of the foregoing, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a grill support system that is adapted to be detachably mounted to a vehicle.

[0014] It is a further object of the invention to provide an apparatus for connecting a grill or other accessory to the body of a vehicle and transporting the grill or other accessory to a remote location.

[0015] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for supporting an object on a vehicle hitch, wherein said apparatus is comprised of: an elbow support component; and a transportation bar; wherein a horizontal portion of the elbow support component detachably connects to the vehicle hitch; wherein a vertical portion of the elbow support component detachably connects to the transportation bar; and wherein the transportation bar is comprised of a vertical sleeve for detachably connecting to the elbow support component; a horizontal beam for detachably connecting to the object; and at least one stability-wing connecting the sleeve and the beam.

[0016] It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for supporting an object during the transportation of the object on the hitch of a vehicle, wherein said apparatus is comprised of a sleeve portion; a support beam; and at least one stability wing connecting the sleeve portion and the support beam, whereby said object is connected to the support beam.

[0017] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description that follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the system particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention that together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention.

[0019] In the drawings:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a front view of a grill attached to a vehicle using the grill transportation apparatus of the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side view of a grill attached to a vehicle using the grill transportation apparatus of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 3 illustrates the grill transportation apparatus of the present invention used to support a grill in free-standing operation.

[0023] FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the components of a preferred embodiment of the grill transportation apparatus of the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 5 is an angle view of the transportation bar and support elbow components of the inventive grill transportation apparatus.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a side view of the transportation bar and support elbow components of the inventive grill transportation apparatus.

[0026] FIG. 7 is a view of the transportation bar component.

[0027] FIG. 8 is a view of a side arm component.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0028] In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a more thorough description of embodiments of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art, that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well known features have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

[0029] As shown in FIGS. 1 & 2, grilling apparatus 10 is attached to hitch 4 of a vehicle 5 for transportation. As shown, grilling apparatus 10 is preferably comprised of grill 11 and grill transportation apparatus 19. In a preferred embodiment, grilling apparatus 10 may include side trays 12a and 12b, and storage rack 13. Side trays 12a and 12b and storage rack 13 are not required.

[0030] As shown in FIG. 4, grill transportation apparatus 19 is comprised of transportation bar 20 and elbow support 30. When grill transportation apparatus 19 is attached to hitch 4 of vehicle 5, it supports grill 11 above ground level for transport as well as cooking. Alternatively, grill 11 can be detached from the vehicle and supported by foldout legs, whereby the apparatus can be used as a free-standing grill, as shown in FIG. 3.

[0031] In a preferred embodiment, grill 11 is comprised of grill body 14 and side tables 12a and 12b. Side tables 12a and 12b may be connected to grill body 14 by any method known to those skilled in the art. In the embodiment shown, side tables 12a and 12b are connected to grill body 14 by bolts. A more detailed view of a preferred embodiment of a side table is shown in FIG. 8.

[0032] As shown in FIG. 8, side table 12 is preferably comprised of arms 53a, 53b, tabs 51a, 51b and brace 52. Not shown in FIG. 8 are the wooden slats between arms 53a and 53b that form a tabletop, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3. Side arm tabs 51a and 51b are preferably welded onto arms 53a and 53b such that apertures in the tabs match up with predrilled apertures in the side of grill body 14. Bolts may then be used to connect arms 53a and 53b to grill body 14 through side arm tabs 51a and 51b. In an alternative embodiment, arms 53a and 53b may be directly bolted to grill body 14. Brace 52 connects arms 53a and 53b. Brace 52 may be welded to arms 53a and 53b. Other connection means are known to those skilled in the art, and are intended to be within the scope of the present invention. In a preferred embodiment, three apertures 54a, 54b and 54c are drilled in brace 52. More or fewer apertures may be used. The apertures may be equally sized, or may be of varying size.

[0033] As shown in FIG. 4, brace 52a and brace 52b of side tables 12a and 12b respectively, are connected to transportation bar 20 and grill body 14. Preferably, transportation bar 20 has predrilled apertures that match up with apertures 54a, 54b and 54c of braces 52a and 52b. The connection apertures in transportation bar 20 are shown in FIG. 7 as apertures 81, 82 and 83 on each side of the bar, and will be described in more detail. In a preferred embodiment, bolts are threaded through apertures 81, 82, 83 in transportation bar 20 into matching brace apertures 54a, 54b and 54c. In a preferred embodiment, a bolt threaded through transportation bar aperture 81, 82 or 83 and a side arm aperture 54 is also threaded through matching connection apertures 72a or 72b in grill body 14, thereby connecting all three components together.

[0034] In addition to the connection through the apertures 82a and 82b, transportation bar 20 is also preferably connected directly to grill body 14 at an additional central location. A preferred mechanism for connecting transportation bar 20 to grill body 14 is through transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b welded onto transportation bar 20. Transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b are shown in more detail in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. As shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b are connected to transportation bar 20 at an angle, such that when grill body 14 is placed on top of transportation bar 20, transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b are in direct contact with grill body 14. Grill body 14 may then be directly connected to transportation bar 20 through bolts placed through predrilled apertures in grill body 14 that match up with transportation bar tab apertures 26a and 26b, located in transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b respectively.

[0035] As shown in FIG. 4, grill body 14 also has a large aperture 71 centrally located in the bottom of the body that is coupled with the large central aperture 27 in transportation bar 20. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, transportation bar 20 has a large central aperture 27 located on the top, and large central square sleeve 21 extending from the bottom. Preferably, the diameter of large central aperture 26 and the width of the square sleeve 21 should be approximately the same. In addition, the inside perimeter of square sleeve 21 should accommodate elbow support 30. Preferably, elbow support 30 is manufactured from standard steel sheet, and therefore square sleeve 21 and central aperture 27 are sized accordingly.

[0036] In one alternative embodiment, transportation bar 20 is only directly connected to grill body 14 through side arms 12 as described above, and transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b are not used. In another alternative embodiment, transportation bar 20 is only directly connected to grill body 14 through transportation bar tabs 25a and 25b and grill body connection aperture 71. In a preferred embodiment, transportation bar 20 is connected to grill body 14 through both transportation bar tabs and side tables.

[0037] As shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, transportation bar 20 is comprised of sleeve 21, beam 22, stability wings 23a and 23b, transportation bar end connection pieces 24a, 24b, and-transportation bar tabs 25a, 25b. Stability wings 23a and 23b provide extra support to beam 22. It is through these stability wings that the present invention is able to provide extra stability to the grill or other object during transportation. Because the object has strong horizontal support as well as vertical support, it is less likely to wobble to topple over during transportation. Stability wings 23a and 23b are typically of a right-triangle shape, with the 90 degree angle of the triangle placed at the point where the vertical sleeve connects to the horizontal support beam.

[0038] Vertical segment 32 of elbow support 30 connects to transportation bar 20 through sleeve 21. Sleeve 21 is sized and configured to slidably receive the outer portion of vertical segment 32. As shown in FIG. 5, the connection may be secured by fastening a bolt or a threaded pin 41 through apertures 28a and 28b in the wall of sleeve 21 and matching apertures in the outer end portion of vertical segment 32. Alternatively, as shown by FIGS. 6 and 7, two bolts and corresponding apertures may be used. Other connection means are known to those skilled in the art and are intended to come within the scope of the present invention.

[0039] Elbow support 30 enables the grilling apparatus to be detachably secured to a vehicle 5 by means of a receiver hitch 4 or other connection means. The hitch may be any standard type of hitch and is securely attached to vehicle 5 by any means known to those skilled in the art. Other types of hitches and connection devices are known to those skilled in the art, and are intended to come within the scope of the present invention.

[0040] As shown in FIG. 6, elbow support 30 is comprised of a horizontal segment 31 and a vertical segment 32. Horizontal segment 31 is sized and configured to slidably fit into receiver hitch 4. In a preferred embodiment, the inner walls of hitch 4 define a channel of sufficient length to enable the entire apparatus to be securely supported thereby. Detachable connection between segment 31 and hitch 4 may be effected by fastening a bolt or threaded pin through aperture 34 in segment 31 of elbow support 30 and a matching aperture in hitch 4. As will be obvious to one skilled in the art, segment 31 of elbow support 30 may contain more or fewer apertures through which a connection to hitch 60 may be made. In a preferred embodiment, elbow support also comprises triangular support 33. This support provides extra stability to the object being transported during transportation.

[0041] In a preferred embodiment, reinforcing plate 33 is used to reinforce the connection between horizontal segment 31 and vertical segment 32 of elbow support 30.

[0042] As will be obvious to those skilled in the art, the grill transportation apparatus of the present invention can be used to transport other objects. In particular, the transportation bar can be modified o customized to fit any number of objects. For example, the transportation bar could be modified to connect to a table or bar. The transportation bar could be used as an umbrella stand stabilizer It is intended that these modifications and alternative uses of the inventive grill transportation apparatus come within the scope of the present invention.

[0043] The foregoing description has been directed to specific embodiments of this invention. It will be apparent, however, that other variations and modifications may be made to the described embodiments, with the attainment of some or all of their advantages. Therefore, it is the object of the appended claims to cover all such variations and modifications as come within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.