Title:
Contoured grill brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a grill brush for cleaning cooking grates of different types of cooking equipment, such as gas or charcoal-operated grillers and smokers. The grill brush includes a series of contoured metal bristles that easily contact top and side surfaces of the grill cooking grate to promote cleaning. The grill brush optionally includes a detachable cleaning section. Cleaning sections may be interchanged with different handles, and may optionally include other grilling tools or cleaners in a kit.



Inventors:
Geller, Marc (Manasquan, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/042129
Publication Date:
07/28/2005
Filing Date:
01/24/2005
Assignee:
GELLER MARC
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/DIG.5
International Classes:
A46B9/00; A46B9/02; (IPC1-7): A46B9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060225235Tooth cleaning apparatusOctober, 2006Mortimer
20050177964Disposable swabAugust, 2005Cisneros
20060150365Head for a suction cleanerJuly, 2006Ivarsson et al.
20090151111WINDSHIELD WIPER STEEL BAR STRUCTUREJune, 2009Chang
20060179593Interdental brush and method of producing the sameAugust, 2006Okamura
20080005862DUSTER FOR VEHICLEJanuary, 2008Lee
20100005618DUST TRAYJanuary, 2010Minemura et al.
20080263803751 Mud toolOctober, 2008Dillow
20060260085Windscreen wiper device, in particular for a motor vehicleNovember, 2006Kraus et al.
20040161988Disfigure-resistant plastic-string matAugust, 2004Yaw
20080022481LEAF REMOVAL SYSTEMJanuary, 2008Reeves



Primary Examiner:
SPISICH, MARK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG, (CRANFORD, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A grill brush for cleaning a cooking grate, comprising: a handle; and a cleaning section having a head connected to the handle and a brush attached to a first face of the head, the brush having a plurality of bristles for contacting grate members on the cooking grate, the plurality of bristles being contoured so that a first portion of the bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of the grate members and a second portion of the bristles is operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members.

2. The grill brush of claim 1, wherein the bristles comprise brass bristles having rounded protrusions that are so dimensioned as to be insertable through spaces between adjacent grate members.

3. The grill brush of claim 1, wherein the bristles comprise metal bristles.

4. The grill brush of claim 1, wherein the first portion of the bristles is of a first length and the second portion of the bristles is of a second length longer than the first portion.

5. The grill brush of claim 4, wherein the second portion comprises a plurality of rounded protrusions.

6. The grill brush of claim 1, wherein the first and second portions are formed of alternating bunches of the bristles.

7. The grill brush of claim 1, wherein the head of the cleaning section is curved.

8. The grill brush of claim 7, wherein the first face of the head is convexly curved.

9. The grill brush of claim 8, wherein a second face of the head remote from the first face is concavely curved.

10. The grill brush of claim 1, wherein the cleaning section is removably connected to the handle.

11. A method of fabricating a grill brush, comprising: fabricating a handle; forming a cleaning section having a head disposed thereon; attaching a plurality of bristles to a first face of the head; and shaping the bristles to provide a contoured cleaning surface in which a first portion of the bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of grate members on a cooking grate and a second portion of the bristles are operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members, wherein the first portion of the bristles is of a first length and the second portion of the bristles is of a second length longer than the first portion.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein shaping the bristles includes laser cutting the second portion of the bristles.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein shaping the bristles includes forming a plurality of rounded protrusions on the second portion.

14. The method of claim 11, further comprising removably attaching the cleaning section to the handle.

15. A kit of grill cleaning components comprising: at least one handle; and at least one cleaning section adapted to removably attach to the at least one handle, the at least one cleaning section having a head connected to the handle and a brush attached to a first face of the head, the brush having a plurality of metal bristles for contacting grate members on a cooking grate, the plurality of metal bristles being contoured so that a first portion of the metal bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of the grate members and a second portion of the metal bristles is operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members; wherein the first portion of the metal bristles is of a first length and the second portion of the metal bristles is of a second length longer than the first portion.

16. The kit of claim 15, further including at least one supplemental grilling component selected from the group consisting of a basting brush, an elongated fork, a spatula, a knife, corn cob holders, tongs, a thermometer, and skewers.

17. The kit of claim 16, further including a non-stick cooking spray.

18. The kit of claim 15, further including a chemical cleaner.

19. The kit of claim 18, wherein the chemical cleaner comprises one or both of a degreaser or a metal polisher.

20. The kit of claim 18, further comprising a polishing cloth.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/539,124 entitled “Contoured Grill Brush,” filed Jan. 26, 2004, the entire disclosure of which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to cleaning utensils and, more particularly, to cleaning brushes for grills and grated cookware.

Outdoor cooking is a favorite way of preparing meals. Family and friends often gather together for a backyard cookout, and may grill, smoke or barbeque the food. These grilling techniques are used with a variety of cooking equipment, and may be used indoors as well.

In the past, charcoal grills were often used, as they are portable and inexpensive. More recently, many consumers have turned to gas or propane grills, which are reliable, easy to operate, and easier to clean than charcoal grills because there is no charcoal residue to dispose of. For both types of grills, food may be placed directly on the grill grate (or cooking grate). A result of the cooking process, no matter how skilled the chef, is that portions of the food, barbeque sauce or seasoning may stick or adhere to the grate.

FIGS. 1A-B illustrate a cooking grate 2 used with conventional grills. Individual grate members 4 are mounted to rails 6. The grate members 4 are parallel to one another and are spaced apart. The size, shape, material, spacing etc. of the grate members 4 may vary depending upon the grill manufacturer and/or model of the grill. As seen in FIG. 1B, the grate members 4 may be rounded. In a different configuration shown in FIG. 1C, the grate members 4 may instead be rectangular, having a flat top surface and sidewalls that are parallel to each other. Alternatively, the grate members 4 may have other shapes, including the addition of lower surfaces adjacent to the sidewalls. Furthermore, the cooking grate 2 may be circular instead of rectangular.

The conventional method of cleaning the cooking grate 2 is to scrape it clean with a grill brush. Known grill brushes typically have straight metal bristles bound to a long handle. However, as avid grillers are well aware, such grill brushes do not adequately clean the grill grate members 4 because the bristles are all substantially the same length and they cannot get into the recesses of the cooking grate 2. In order to adequately clean the cooking grate, the user must apply a substantial amount of force to press the metal bristles into hard to reach areas. This can damage or deform the bristles, and can detract from the overall grilling experience. While deformed bristles may allow the griller to access some hard to reach areas, the deformed bristles often cause the grill brush to wear out quickly. Replacing the entire grill brush very often can become costly. Therefore, there is a need for an enhanced grill brush capable of adequately cleaning cooking grates. There is also a need for a grill brush that resists bristle deformation. Furthermore, there is also a need for a grill brush in which parts can be selectively replaced.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a grill brush is provided. The grill brush comprises a handle and a cleaning section. The cleaning section has a head connected to the handle and a brush attached to a first face of the head. The brush includes a plurality of bristles for contacting grate members on a cooking grate. The bristles are contoured so that a first portion of the bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of the grate members and a second portion of the bristles have rounded protrusions that are operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members. Preferably, the bristles are comprised of brass, and have rounded protrusions dimensioned so as to be insertable through spaces between adjacent grate members.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a grill brush for cleaning a cooking grate is provided. The grill brush comprises a handle and a cleaning section. The cleaning section has a head connected to the handle and a brush attached to a first face of the head. The brush has a plurality of bristles for contacting grate members on the cooking grate. The plurality of bristles is contoured so that a first portion of the bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of the grate members and a second portion of the bristles is operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members.

In an alternative, the bristles comprise brass bristles having rounded protrusions that are so dimensioned as to be insertable through spaces between adjacent grate members. In another alternative, the bristles comprise metal bristles. In yet another alternative, the first portion of the bristles is of a first length and the second portion of the bristles is of a second length longer than the first portion. In this case, the second portion preferably comprises a plurality of rounded protrusions.

In another alternative, the first and second portions are preferably formed of alternating bunches of the bristles. In a further alternative, the head of the cleaning section is curved. In this case, the first face of the head is preferably convexly curved. Here, a second face of the head remote from the first face preferably concavely curved. In another alternative the cleaning section is removably connected to the handle.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a method of fabricating a grill brush is provided. The method comprises fabricating a handle; forming a cleaning section having a head disposed thereon; attaching a plurality of bristles to a first face of the head; and shaping the bristles to provide a contoured cleaning surface in which a first portion of the bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of grate members on a cooking grate and a second portion of the bristles are operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members, wherein the first portion of the bristles is of a first length and the second portion of the bristles is of a second length longer than the first portion.

In an alternative, shaping the bristles includes laser cutting the second portion of the bristles. In another alternative, shaping the bristles includes forming a plurality of rounded protrusions on the second portion. In a further alternative, the method further comprises removably attaching the cleaning section to the handle.

In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, a kit of grill cleaning components is provided. The kit comprises at least one handle and at least one cleaning section adapted to removably attach to the at least one handle. The cleaning section has a head connected to the handle and a brush attached to a first face of the head. The brush has a plurality of metal bristles for contacting grate members on a cooking grate. The plurality of metal bristles is contoured so that a first portion of the metal bristles is operable to contact top surfaces of the grate members and a second portion of the metal bristles is operable to contact side surfaces of the grate members. The first portion of the metal bristles is of a first length and the second portion of the metal bristles is of a second length longer than the first portion.

In one alternative, the kit further includes at least one supplemental grilling component, which is selected from the group consisting of a basting brush, an elongated fork, a spatula, a knife, corn cob holders, tongs, a thermometer, and skewers. In this case, the kit may further include a non-stick cooking spray.

In another alternative, the kit further includes a chemical cleaner. In this case, the chemical cleaner preferably comprises one or both of a degreaser or a metal polisher. The kit may optionally include a polishing cloth.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-C illustrate a conventional cooking grate.

FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of a contoured grill brush in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of a contoured grill brush in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a front view of a contoured grill brush in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a bottom view of a contoured grill brush in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a bottom view of another contoured grill brush in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side view of a contoured grill brush of FIG. 6.

FIGS. 8(a)-(b) illustrate front views of contoured grill brushes in accordance with aspects of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates grilling tools for use with aspects of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be appreciated when considered with reference to the following description of preferred embodiments and accompanying figures. In describing the preferred embodiments of the invention illustrated in the figures, specific terminology will be used for the sake of clarity. However, the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific terms so selected, and it is to be understood that each term selected includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.

FIGS. 2-5 illustrate a preferred embodiment of a contoured grill brush 10 in accordance with aspects of the present invention. As seen in FIG. 2, the grill brush 10 includes a handle 12 and a cleaning section 14. The handle 12 is preferably wood, although other suitable materials include metal, plastic, or any combinations thereof. The handle 12 is desirably on the order of 13 inches long, although the length may vary depending on the type of grill and the size of the user. Thus, for most situations, the handle 12 preferably ranges between 8 and 20 inches long, although in some specialized configurations the handle 12 may be less than 8 inches or longer than 20 inches.

As can be seen from FIG. 2, the handle 12 preferably has a width WP at a proximal end 15 adjacent to the cleaning portion 14. The width WP is preferably substantially the same width as that of the cleaning portion 14. The handle 12 desirably narrows to width WC of about 1 inch at a central location 16 before widening slightly to a width WD Of about 1.375 inches at a distal end 18 remote from the cleaning portion 14. Alternatively, widths WC and WD are each less than about 4 inches. More preferably, the widths WC and WD may be substantially the same, for example 2 inches or less.

As seen in the side view of FIG. 3, the handle 12 may have a thickness TP at the proximal end 15 and a thickness TD at the distal end 18. The thickness TP and the thickness TD are each preferably less than 2 inches. More preferably, the handle 12 has a substantially constant thickness along its length from the proximal end 15 to the distal end 18. Desirably, wooden and/or plastic handles are between about 0.5 inches to 1.5 inches thick along the length thereof. Metal handles are desirably between about 0.1 and 0.5 inches thick along the length thereof.

The handle 12 may be straight, although it preferably includes a bend, curve, or angle at a point 26 near the central location 16. The bend, curve or angle can provide additional leverage for the user as he or she cleans the grill. Furthermore, the bend, curve or angle helps to keep the griller's hands away from the heat of the grill. As with the handle length, the width and the thickness of the handle 12 may vary depending upon the user's needs, the materials used, etc. The handle 12 preferably includes a hole, protrusion or other structure 20 at or near the distal end 18 to allow the user to hang up or mount the grill brush 10 to the grill, etc. The distal end 18 may include a rounded, angled, tapered, or curved edge 22. Sidewalls 24 may be flat, curved, or contoured.

The cleaning section 14 is best illustrated in FIGS. 3-5. As seen in FIG. 3, the cleaning section 14 desirably includes a head 28 connected to the handle 12 and a brush section 30 attached to the head 28. The cleaning section 14 may also include a scraper 34 of, e.g., metal. The cleaning section 14 has a width 36 and a length 38, as seen in FIG. 2. The width 36 and the length 38 are both preferably on the order of four inches. Alternatively, the width 36 and/or the length 38 may vary, for instance, between 1 to 8 inches. Like the handle 12, the cleaning section 14 may be formed of wood, metal, plastic or other materials. Preferably, the cleaning section 14 and the handle 12 comprise a one-piece unitary construction made from wood. Alternatively, the cleaning section 14 may be detachable from the handle 12, as will be explained below.

The brush section 30 is desirably composed of bristles 32. The bristles 32 may be metal wire, preferably a metal alloy such as brass. Other materials may be used depending upon the needs of the user, the durability of the brush section 30, and other factors. For example, if the cooking grate 2 is ceramic or ceramic coated, a material that is less abrasive than a metal wire may be used in order to avoid damaging the grate 2, such as a rigid thermoplastic having a high melting temperature that exceeds the maximum cooking temperature of the grill. The rigid thermoplastic may be extruded or otherwise formed into the bristles 32. Alternatively, other bristle configurations may be employed. For example, twisted-in wire or other brush-like fibers can be used. Additionally, substantially rigid and/or substantially non-deformable materials could also be employed in a non-bristle configuration, e.g., a rigid mesh, so long as the contoured brush shapes described in this disclosure are obtained.

As seen in FIG. 4, the bristles 32 are preferably of varying lengths in order to provide an enhanced contact area and more effective cleaning when used with grill grates. Short bristles 40 are designed to contact the grill grate cooking surface. One or more groups of the short bristles 40 preferably have a group width 42, which is desirably at least as wide as the grill grating top surfaces. In a preferred example, the group width 42 of the short bristles 40 is approximately 0.25 inches wide. By way of example only, two or more adjacent groups of short bristles 40 may collectively have the group width of 0.25 inches. Individual short bristles 40 have a height 62 relative to the surface of the head 28. The height 62 is preferably on the order of between 0.25 and 0.75 inches. Alternatively, the height 62 may be between 0.1 and 1.5 inches. Preferably the short bristles 40 are substantially the same height.

Groups of longer bristles 44 are provided to preferably extend past the top surfaces of the grill grating and reach down to clean the sidewalls and/or lower surfaces of the individual grate members 4. The longer bristles 44 are preferably grouped and shaped to form rounded protrusions 46 having a height 48 (relative to the short bristles 40) and a width 50. The rounded protrusions 46 are dimensioned so as to fit in between the grill grating top surfaces. In a preferred example, the width 50 of the protrusions 46 is on the order of 1 inch, and the height 48 is preferably on the order of 0.625 inches. In an alternative, the width 50 is at least about 0.25 inches and the height 48 is at least about 0.25 inches. In a further alternative, the width 50 is between about 0.1 and 0.5 inches and the height 48 is higher than the height 62 of the short bristles 40. Each of the protrusions 46 is desirably substantially the same height. The spacing 52 between the peaks of the rounded protrusions 46 may be approximately the same as the width 50. Alternatively, the spacing 52 is between 0.5 and 1.5 inches. As seen from the side view of FIG. 3, the longest bristles in the rounded protrusions 46 have an overall height 60. Preferably, the overall height 60 is on the order of 1.375 inches, assuming the short bristles 40 have a height of 0.75 inches and the height 48 of the protrusions 46 is 0.625 inches. Alternatively, the overall height 60 may be at least 0.25 inches. Rows 54, 56 of bristles 32 are shown by dashed lines in FIG. 5. The rows 54 identify the short bristles 40, and the rows 56 identify the longer bristles 44. It should be understood that the rows 54, 56 may be composed of tens to hundreds of individual bristles 32, which may include single-strand bristles, twisted-in wire, and/or other brush-like fibers. Multiple bristles 32 may be placed in groups within each row 54 or 56.

It should be understood that the dimensions of the brush section 30, including the shape of the bristles 32, may be varied depending upon the type of grill grate. The protrusions 46 need not be rounded. For example, the protrusions 46 may be rectangular to fit grill grates of the type seen in FIG. 1C. Alternatively, other shapes and configurations may be employed. By way of example only, different sets of bristles may be made of different metals or of different materials. For instance, the short bristles 40 can be of one material and the protrusions 46 can be of another material. The materials may be selected based upon, e.g., the composition of the grill grate, the durability of the materials or the projected price point for the grill brush.

FIGS. 6-7 illustrate an alternative embodiment of a contoured grill brush 110 in accordance with aspects of the present invention. The contoured grill brush 110 is similar to the grill brush 10, and includes a handle 112 and a cleaning section 114. The dimensions and materials described above with regard to the contoured grill brush 10 also apply to the contoured grill brush 110.

The handle 112 is preferably substantially straight, although it may be slightly curved along its length and/or include a bend or angle beginning at a point 126 near central location 116. The bend or angle can provide additional leverage for the user as he or she cleans the grill. Furthermore, the bend, curve or angle helps to keep the griller's hands away from the heat of the grill. The handle 112 preferably includes a hole 120, protrusion or other structure at or near distal end 118 to allow the user to hang up the grill brush 110. The distal end 118 may include a rounded, angled, tapered, or curved edge 122. Sidewalls 124 may be flat, curved, or contoured.

As seen in FIGS. 6-7, the cleaning section 114 desirably includes a head 128 connected to the handle 112 and a brush section 130 attached to the head 128. The cleaning section 114 may also include a scraper 134 of, e.g., metal or plastic. The width and the length of the cleaning section 114 are both preferably the same size, for example on the order of 4 inches, such as between 3.5 and 4.5 inches. Alternatively, the width and/or the length of the cleaning section 114 may vary, for instance, between 1 to 8 inches. The cleaning section 114 may be formed of wood, metal, plastic, etc. The head 128 of the cleaning section 114 and the handle 112 preferably comprise a one-piece unitary construction made from wood.

Alternatively, the cleaning section 114 may be detachable from the handle 112. In this case, the cleaning section 114 may be connected to the handle 112 by means of one or more fastening devices 170. The fastening device(s) 170 may include a first portion that is part of the handle 112 and a second portion that is part of the cleaning section 114. By way of example only, the cleaning section 114 may connect to the handle 112 via a threaded fastener, wherein one of the cleaning section 114 or the handle 112 includes a threaded bolt, and the other one of the cleaning section 114 or the handle 112 includes a receptacle adapted to threadedly receive the bolt. Alternatively, the cleaning section 114 may be connected to the handle 114 by screws, clasps, hasps or other fasteners.

If the cleaning section 114 is detachable from the handle 112, it becomes easy to replace the cleaning section 114 in the unlikely event that the bristles 132 become overly worn. The fastening device 170 makes it possible to have multiple cleaning sections 114 that can be used with the same handle. In this case, different cleaning sections 114 can be selected based upon the type of grill grate to be cleaned. It is also possible to have one or more different cleaning sections 114 that are interoperable with different handles 112. In this case, handles of different lengths, widths, thickness, and/or materials may be chosen depending upon the configuration of the grill. For example, a barbeque restaurant may have a very large grill grate such as on the order of 4 feet by 4 feet or more. In this case, the griller could select a handle 112 that is at least 3 feet long in order to reach all areas of the grill grate.

As with the brush section 30 of the grill brush 10, the brush section 130 of the grill brush 110 desirably includes bristles 132. The bristles 132 may be metal wire, preferably a metal alloy such as brass. Other materials may be used depending upon the needs of the user, the durability of the brush section 130, etc. For example, if the cooking grate is ceramic or ceramic coated, a material that is less abrasive than a metal wire may be used in order to avoid damaging the grate, such as a rigid thermoplastic having a high melting temperature that exceeds the maximum temperature of the grill. The rigid thermoplastic may be extruded or otherwise formed into the bristles 132. Alternatively, other bristle configurations may be employed. For example, twisted-in wire or other brush-like fibers can be used. Additionally, substantially rigid and/or substantially non-deformable materials could also be employed in a non-bristle configuration, e.g., a rigid mesh, so long as the contoured brush shapes described in this disclosure are obtained.

As seen in FIG. 7, the bristles 132 are preferably of varying lengths in order to provide a contoured contact area and more effective cleaning when used on grill grates. Short bristles 140 are designed to contact the grill grate cooking surface. One or more groups or bunches 141 of the short bristles 140 preferably have a group width 151, which is desirably as wide as the grill grating top surfaces. In a preferred example, the group width 151 of the short bristles 140 is approximately 0.25 inches wide. By way of example only, two bunches 141 may collectively have the group width 151 of 0.25 inches. As seen in FIG. 8(a), individual short bristles 140 in one of the bunches 141 may each have a height 162 relative to the surface of the head 128. The height 162 is preferably on the order of between 0.25 and 0.75 inches. Alternatively, the height 162 may be between 0.1 and 1.5 inches.

Longer bristles 144 are provided to preferably extend past the top surfaces of the grill grating and reach down to clean the sidewalls and/or lower surfaces of the individual grate members. The longer bristles 144 are preferably grouped in bunches 145 having a height 148 relative to the short bristles 140 and an overall height 160 relative to the surface of the head 128. See FIG. 8(a). The longer bristles 144 in a single bunch 145 are preferably substantially the same height. As seen in FIG. 7, the bunches 141 and 145 are relatively compact at the base where they are connected to the head 128. The tops of the bunches 141 and 145 remote from the head 128 may spread out more than near the base. By way of example only, the bunches 141 and/or the bunches 145 may have a thickness of between about 0.025 and 0.1 inches at the base, and may have a thickness of between about 0.0725 and 0.25 inches at the tops. Of course, it should be understood that tops of the bunches 141 and/or the tops of the bunches 145 may become spread out during use. However, as the contoured construction of the brush section 130 requires substantially less force to clean a grill grate than in a conventional design, the bristles 140 and 144 will not deform as readily as conventional bristle designs, and, hence, the grill brush 110 will be capable of use for an extended period of time.

FIG. 8(a) illustrates a front view of the brush section 130. Spreading of the bristles in the bunches 141 and 145 is omitted for the sake of clarity. Preferably, the longer bristles 144 are dimensioned so as to fit in between the grill grating top surfaces. In an example, width 150 of one or more bunches 145 is preferably on the order of 1 inch, and the height 148 is preferably on the order of 0.625 inches. In an alternative, the width 150 is at least about 0.025 inches and the height 148 is at least about 0.25 inches. In a further alternative, the width 150 is between about 0.1 and 0.5 inches and the height 148 is higher than the height 162 of the short bristles 140.

The shorter bristles 140 are preferably dimensioned so as to contact the grill grating top surfaces. In an example, width 151 of one or more bunches 141 is preferably on the order of 1 inch, and the height 162 is preferably on the order of 0.25 inches. In an alternative, the width 151 is at least about 0.25 inches and the height 162 is at least about 0.125 inches. In a further alternative, the width 151 is between about 0.1 and 0.5 inches and the height 162 is at least 0.2 inches. The spacing between adjacent pairs of bunches 141, between adjacent pairs of bunches 145, or between adjacent bunches 141 and 145 is preferably on the order of 0.125 inches or less. More preferably, the spacing between adjacent bunches is between 0.1 and 0.25 inches. Alternatively, the spacing between the bunches 141 and the bunches 145 may be greater that the spacing between adjacent pairs of bunches 141 or adjacent pairs of bunches 145.

The bunches 141 of the short bristles 140 and the bunches 145 of the long bristles 144 are preferably formed in rows 154 and 156, respectively. See FIG. 6. It should be understood that within each of the rows 154, 156 there may be tens to hundreds of individual bristles 132, which may include single-strand bristles, twisted-in wire, and/or other brush-like fibers. Alternatively, the bunches 141 and/or the bunches 145 may be staggered or otherwise dispersed along the surface of the head 128. Preferably, each of the bunches 141 or 145 comprises at least one bristle 132. More preferably, each bunch 141 or 145 comprises between 10 to 50 bristles 132. Of course, it should be understood that the exact number of bristles 132 within a given bunch 141 or 145 will depend upon the material and thickness of each individual bristle 132, and upon the dimensions of the grill grate to be cleaned.

FIG. 8(b) illustrates a front view of an alternative brush section 130′. As in FIG. 8(a), spreading of the bristles is omitted for the sake of clarity. Here, bunches 145′ of longer bristles 144′ are preferably shaped to form rounded protrusions 146. The rounded protrusions 146 are preferably formed as follows. The longer bristles 144′ may initially be of the same size, as in the embodiment in FIG. 8(a), and may be placed in bunches 145′ into the head 128 of the cleaning section 114. The bunches 145′ may be formed before or after bunches 141′ of short bristles 140′ are formed, or all of the bunches 141′ and 145′ may be formed at the same time. Then the bunches 145′ may be laser cut or otherwise trimmed to achieve the shape of the rounded protrusions 146. Alternatively, the bunches 141′ may also be laser cut/trimmed, and may optionally have a rounded shape. The bunches 141′ may be cut or trimmed at the same time as the bunches 145′. In another alternative, the bunches 145′ may be formed of individual bristles 144′ of varying height that are grouped together into the bunches 145′. However, in order to achieve mass production, laser cutting is preferred.

Preferably, the longer bristles 144′ are dimensioned so as to fit in between the grill grating top surfaces. In an example, width 150′ of one or more bunches 145′ is preferably on the order of 1 inch, and the height 148′ is preferably on the order of 0.625 inches. In an alternative, the width 150′ is at least about 0.25 inches and height 148′ is at least about 0.25 inches. In a further alternative, the width 150′ is between about 0.1 and 0.5 inches and the height 148′ is higher than height 162′ of the short bristles 140′.

Spacing 152 between peaks of the rounded protrusions 146 may be approximately the same as the width 150′. Alternatively, the spacing 152 is preferably between 0.5 and 1.5 inches. As shown in FIG. 8(b), there may be adjacent pairs of rounded protrusions 146. As illustrated in the figure, in this case the spacing 152 may be determined between the approximate midpoints of two sets of non-adjacent protrusions. The longest bristles in the rounded protrusions 146 have an overall height 160′. Preferably, the overall height 160′ is on the order of 1.375 inches, assuming the short bristles 140′ have a height of 0.75 inches and the height 148′ of the protrusions 146 is 0.625 inches. Alternatively, the overall height 160′ may be at least 0.25 inches.

Returning to FIG. 7, the head 128 may have a curve 172. The head 128 is preferably curved on both the face where the bristles 132 are mounted, as well as the face remote from the bristles, where scraper 134 is mounted. The bristle face of the head 128 is preferably convex and the other face opposite the bristle face, which may include the scraper 134, is preferably concave. The curvature of the head 128 may follow the curvature, if any, of the handle 112. The curve 128 enables the user to easily scrape the grill grate with minimal force.

Any contoured grill brushes in accordance with aspects of the present invention may be combined in kits or packages along with other grilling tools. FIG. 9 illustrates several supplemental tools that may be combined with a contoured grill brush to provide a grill toolkit set. By way of example only, such tools may include a basting brush 200, a multi-pronged fork 202, a spatula 204, a knife 206, corn cob holders 208, skewers 210, tongs 212 and/or a thermometer 214. The contoured grill brushes in accordance with aspects of the present invention may also be packed in kits along with cleaners, preferably chemical cleaners. Chemical cleaners may include degreasers and/or polishers. The polishers may be in liquid or paste form, and are preferably polishers for stainless steel or other metals. A polishing cloth may be included along with the polisher and/or degreaser. Kits may also include non-stick cooking sprays, such as PAM® brand no-stick cooking spay.

The contoured grill brush configurations described above allows the various brush sections to clean the top surface, sidewalls and lower surfaces of the grill gratings at the same time. Unlike previous grill brush designs, the contoured grill brushes of the present invention allow the user to apply an easy back and forth motion in order to clean the grate members. The user does not have to apply extra force in order to make the bristles extend down into the spaces between the grate members. This prevents or otherwise minimizes deformation and/or other damage to the bristles which, in turn, extends the useful life of the grill brush. Even in the unlikely event that the bristles become excessively deformed, a removable cleaning section permits the user to easily replace the existing cleaning section with a new cleaning section. Thus, it can be seen that contoured configuration provides a substantial advantage over previous grill brush designs.

Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims. A feature described in one embodiment may be used with other features described in other embodiments.





 
Previous Patent: Cleaning wipe with active graphic

Next Patent: Tooth brush