Title:
Clothes hamper assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothes hamper assembly having a frame and a plurality of bags removably mounted to the frame. Each bag has an open top, and a lid selectively covers and uncovers the open tops of the bags. At least a portion of the lid is constructed of a mesh material and forms a drying surface for small articles of clothing.



Inventors:
Heidel, Lena L. (Dunwoody, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/036551
Publication Date:
07/20/2006
Filing Date:
01/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINSMORE & SHOHL LLP (TROY, MI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A clothes hamper assembly comprising: a frame, a plurality of bags removably mounted to said frame, each bag having an open top, and a lid which selectively covers and uncovers said open tops of said bags.

2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein each bag is made of a flexible material.

3. The invention as defined in claim 2 and comprising a handle secured to the top of each bag, said handles being supported by said frame.

4. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said lid includes a portion constructed of a mesh material.

5. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said lid comprises a pair of spaced apart side supports, at least one rigid cross member extending between and attached to said side supports, and a mesh material disposed between said side supports.

6. The invention as defined in claim 1 and comprising a plurality of wheels mounted to a lower portion of said frame.

7. The invention as defined in claim 1 and comprising a pocket attached to said frame.

8. The invention as defined in claim 1 and comprising a wash bag and a clip, said clip selectively attaching said wash bag to said frame.

9. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said frame comprises a pair of spaced apart and parallel Z-shaped side supports, at least one cross support extending between and attached to said Z-shaped side supports, and wherein said lid is pivotally mounted to said at least one cross support.

10. The invention as defined in claim 9 wherein said Z-shaped side supports are tubular.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

I. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to clothes hamper assemblies.

II. Description of the Prior Art

Clothes hampers have long been used in laundry facilities of the type used in homes. The previously known clothes hampers are relatively rudimentary in construction and generally comprise a basket or a bag having an open top. Dirty clothing is placed within the open top of the clothes hamper and oftentimes a lid is used to close the top of the hamper.

When it is time to wash the articles contained within the clothes hamper, the clothes hamper is simply emptied, the articles separated, and the desired articles to be washed placed within the washing machine.

These previously known clothes hampers, however, all suffer from a number of common disadvantages. One disadvantage of the previously known clothes hampers is that the various different articles of clothing are intermixed with each other. For example, colored articles are intermixed with the white articles and must be separated prior to the wash so that only white articles are placed together within the washing machine and, likewise, only colored articles are placed together within the washing machine.

A still further disadvantage of these previously known clothes hampers is that such clothes hampers typically have a flat bottom which simply rests upon a floor surface. As the volume of clothes accumulates within the clothes hamper, the entire clothes hamper becomes heavy. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to move the clothes hamper to a different location, for example to separate the white clothing articles from the colored clothing articles.

A still further disadvantage of these previously known clothes hampers is that such clothes hampers did not contain any means or mechanism for drying small articles of clothing. Instead, it was necessary to erect separate drying racks within the laundry facility in order to dry such small articles.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention provides a clothes hamper assembly which overcomes all of the above-mentioned disadvantages of the previously known clothes hampers.

In brief, the clothes hamper assembly of the present invention comprises a frame constructed of a rigid material, such as metal tubing. A plurality of bags are removably mounted to the frame so that the bags are positioned side by side to each other and so that each bag has an open top. The provision of multiple laundry bags which are insertable into and removable from the frame enables the articles of clothing to be separated automatically by simply placing the different types of articles in the different laundry bags.

A lid is pivotally mounted to the frame and movable between an open and a closed position. In its open position, the lid provides access to the open tops of the laundry bag to enable articles to be placed into the appropriate laundry bags or, if desired, removed from the appropriate laundry bags. Conversely, in its closed position, the lid overlies and covers the open tops of the laundry bags.

Unlike the lids of the previously known hampers, the lid of the present invention includes at least a portion constructed of a mesh material. This mesh material thus forms a drying surface for small articles of clothing which can be placed on top of the lid. Due to the mesh construction of the lid, the mesh material allows airflow not only over the top of the articles, but also through the mesh and across the bottom of the articles to be dried. This in turn facilitates rapid and even drying of the articles.

A plurality of wheels are also mounted to the bottom of the frame to facilitate moving the entire clothes hamper assembly from one location and to another. Additionally, a clothes laundry bag for washing delicate articles, such as bras and panties, is selectively connected to the frame to facilitate not only separation of those articles prior to washing, but also drying of those articles after washing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

A better understanding of the present invention will be had upon reference to the following detailed description, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view illustrating the preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary partial exploded perspective view illustrating an aspect of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 2, a preferred embodiment of the clothes hamper assembly 10 of the present invention is shown and includes a frame 12 having a pair of spaced-apart and generally parallel Z-shaped side supports 14. A pair of lower cross supports 16 extend between and are secured to the Z-shaped side supports 14. Similarly, a pair of upper cross supports 18 extend between and are secured to the upper end of the Z-shaped side supports 14. The side supports 14 as well as the cross supports 18 and 16 are all constructed of a rigid material, such as metal tubing. Any conventional fastener may also be used to secured the cross supports 16 and 18 to the side supports 14.

At least two and preferably three or more laundry bags 20 are positioned within and supported by the frame 12. Each laundry bag 20 is constructed of a flexible material, such as canvas, and includes an open top 22. In addition, the open tops 22 of the bags 20 are preferably rectangular in shape so that the bags 20, when positioned adjacent each other, extend between the side supports 14.

Any conventional means may be used to removably attach the bags 20 to the frame 12. However, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, a pair of wire hangers 24 are attached to each bag 20 such that one wire hanger 24 is attached along two opposing sides of each bag 20. Consequently, as best shown in FIG. 3, the handles 24 may be used to selectively and individually remove the bags 20 from the frame 12.

Although any conventional means may be used to secure the handles 24 to their respective bag 20, in the preferred embodiment each bag 20 includes a cloth loop 26 at each of its four corners so that two loops 26 along one side of each bag 20 register with each other while, similarly, the other two loops on the opposite side of each bag 20 also register with each other. The handles 24 are then attached to the bag 20 by inserting the hanger ends 28 through the cloth loops 26.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 2 and 3, each handle 28 includes a hook 30 at each end. These hooks 30 are dimensioned so that, with the bag 20 positioned within the frame 12, the hooks 30 of each bag 20 rest upon and are supported by the upper frame cross members 18.

With reference still to FIGS. 2 and 3, a plurality of wheels 32 are secured to the bottom 34 of each Z-shaped side support 14. These wheels 32 enable the entire clothes hamper assembly 10 to be easily moved from one location to another by rolling the hamper assembly 10 on a floor support surface.

In addition, a pocket 36 is preferably mounted to the front of the frame near its bottom. This pocket 36 may be used to store cleaning supplies, soaps and the like.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 2, a lid 40 is pivotally mounted to the frame 14 and movable between a closed position in which the lid 40 overlies and covers the open tops 22 of the bags 20 and an open position, illustrated in FIG. 1. In its open position, the lid 40 enables access to the clothes contained in the bags 20 through their open tops 22.

With reference now particularly to FIG. 2, the lid 40 includes a pair of spaced-apart and generally parallel elongated side supports 42 having a mesh fabric 44 disposed between the side supports 42. The side supports 42 are each slidably positioned within a lid side support frame 46.

A pair of lid cross supports 48 extend between and are secured to both the front and back of the side frames 46. The lid cross supports 48 as well as the lid side frames 46 are each constructed of a rigid material and are dimensioned so that, when the cross supports 48 are secured to the lid side frame members 46 and the lid supports 42 are slidably positioned within their frames 46, the mesh 44 is tautly secured between the lid side frames 46.

In order to pivotally mount the lid 40 between its open and its closed position, each lid side frame 46 includes a U-shaped portion 50 at one end. These U-shaped portions are dimensioned to fit over the rear upper cross support 18 of the frame 12 and thus support the lid 40 to the frame 12.

With reference to FIG. 1, an alternative design for the lid 40′ is shown in which the lid 40′ has a generally rectangular frame 60 with a mesh material 62 extending between and supported by the frame 60. The lid frame 60 is pivotally mounted to the frame 12.

With reference now to FIGS. 1 and 2, a resilient clip 60 is optionally used to removably attach a laundry wash bag 62 to the front upper frame cross support 18. The wash bag 62 is used to wash delicate clothing articles, such as panties, bras and the like.

The hamper assembly of the present invention achieves many advantages over the previously known hamper assemblies. A primary advantage of the present invention is that the mesh portion 44 of the lid 40 may be used as a drying surface for small clothing articles. The mesh material 44 allows airflow not only across the top of the wet or damp article, but also underneath it to facilitate not only even but also rapid drying of the clothing article.

A further advantage of the present invention is that, since two or more laundry bags 20 are supported within the frame 12, different types of clothing articles may be automatically separated from each other by merely placing the different articles in the different laundry bags 20. Furthermore, when it is desired to wash one type of clothing article, the entire bag containing that type of clothing article may be easily and simply removed from the frame 12 by using the handles 24 to remove the individual laundry bag from the frame 12.

A still further advantage of the present invention is that the wheels 32 on the frame facilitate moving the frame from one location to another by simply rolling the entire hamper assembly along a floor surface.

Having described my invention, many modifications thereto will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains without deviation from the spirit of the invention as defined by the scope of the appended claims.





 
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