Title:
Utility hook
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A utility hook is adapted to removably fit upon a standard overhead garage door track so as to not interfere with the garage door operation and may be used to suspend bulky items from the garage door track. The utility hook's lower portion is configured to hold an item below the hook. The utility hook's upper portion is a vertical segment continuous from the lower portion and bent at the top to approximately a right angle with an inward turned lip on the end, fitting over and engaging the upper flange of the track when the utility hook is set in place. The hook may be moved along the track by first rotating the utility hook outward away from the track and then sliding the utility hook along the track.



Inventors:
Webb, Martin D. (McKinney, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/359281
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
02/21/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/118
International Classes:
A47F7/00; B62H3/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Diaz and Associates (McKinney, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for storing an object in an elevated position from a standard overhead garage door track comprising: an installed standard overhead garage door track; a utility hook having an upper portion wherein the upper portion engages and attaches to the standard overhead garage door track so as not to interfere with the garage door operation; and a utility hook having a lower portion with an end, continuous from the upper portion, with a shape that is configured to support an object, the utility hook supporting the object directly underneath the track.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the end is closed-ended.

3. The system of claim 2 wherein the end is an eye-hook.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the end is opened-ended.

5. The system of claim 4 wherein the lower portion includes a horizontal aligned open end.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein: the utility hook has a lower portion extending downward and orientated in the same plane as the upper portion, the lower portion having a first bend segment orientated away from the lip of the upper portion; the lower portion's first bend segment extending downward to a second bend segment orientated back toward the lip of the upper portion; and the lower portion's second bend segment horizontally extending under the upper portion with the lower portion's second horizontal segment orientated approximately parallel to and under the upper portion's right angle extension to provide a flat supporting surface.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the end of the lower portion's segment has an upturned tip.

8. A system for storing an object in an elevated position from a standard overhead garage door track comprising: a utility hook having an upper portion vertically continuous from the lower portion, wherein the upper portion is formed with approximately a right angle bend that is configured to extend over the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track, such that the upper portion of the utility hook fits against the outer vertical surface and outer horizontal upper flange of the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track; the right angle extension having a lip formed with an approximately 180 degree bend towards the lower portion of the garage door utility hook to nonpermanently engage and hold the garage door utility hook onto the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track and as not to interfere with the garage door operation; and the utility hook having a lower portion for use in engaging and supporting the object, the hook supporting the object directly underneath the track.

9. The system of claim 8 wherein the end is closed-ended.

10. The system of claim 9 wherein the end is an eye-hook.

11. The system of claim 8 wherein the end is opened-ended.

12. The system of claim 11 wherein the lower portion includes a horizontal aligned open end.

13. A system for storing an object in an elevated position from a standard overhead garage door track comprising: an installed standard overhead garage door track; an object to be stored from the garage door track; a utility hook having an upper portion formed with approximately a right angle bend that may extend over the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track, such that the upper portion of the utility hook fits against the outer vertical surface and outer horizontal upper flange of the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track; the right angle horizontal extension having a lip formed with an approximately 180 degree bend towards the lower portion of the garage door utility hook such that the lip may tightly encompass the horizontal upper flange's edge as to nonpermanently engage and hold the garage door utility hook onto the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track and as not to interfere with the garage door operation; and the utility hook having a lower portion extending downward and orientated in the same plane as the upper portion, the lower portion having a first bend segment orientated away from the lip of the upper portion; the lower portion's first bend segment extending downward to a second bend segment orientated back toward the lip of the upper portion; and the lower portion's second bend segment horizontally extending under the upper portion with the lower portion's second horizontal segment orientated approximately parallel to and under the upper portion's right angle extension to provide a flat supporting surface.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of a co-pending U.S. patent application (Ser. No. 10/704,230) entitled “UTILITY HOOK FOR ATTACHMENT TO AN OVERHEAD GARAGE DOOR TRACK,” filed Nov. 7, 2003 in the name of Martin D. Webb and is hereby incorporated in its entirety by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to utility hooks, and more particularly, to a removable storage hook adapted to fit securely to an overhead garage door track so as to not interfere with the garage door operation.

2. Description of Related Art

Conventional storage fixtures and particularly garage storage devices have long been used to store items on the walls or ceiling of a garage. The storage space is often at a premium. Many garages have been equipped with extensive shelving to store items off the garage floor, but large bulky items have presented additional problems. Storing a bicycle or ladder on a wall often covers a large percentage of the available wall area. Large items, such as bicycles and ladders, have often been left on the garage floor. Additionally, specialized fixtures are used to hold the bulky items on the garage ceiling or wall. Installation of the specialized devices has required some skill and are most often attached inconveniently or in a complex manner to the ceiling or wall by nails, bolts, or screws. Consequently, many storage devices have been developed to more effectively and efficiently use available storage space. Oftentimes, these devices position bulky items in hard to reach places, making it awkward to position or remove the stored items on the storage devices.

Accordingly, it has been found that a need exists for a simple, cost effective, and efficient way of storing large or bulky items in a garage. A device is needed to store items such as ladders, bicycles, and fishing poles off the garage floor and yet preserves wall space for the storage of other items. A device is needed that requires minimal skills for installation and is easily adjustable. It is an object of the present invention to provide such an apparatus.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention is a garage storage system that uses a removable garage door utility hook adapted to attach to a standard overhead garage door track and support an object in an elevated position from the garage door track. The garage door utility hook includes a lower object supporting portion and an upper garage door track attaching portion. The upper portion, which is continuous from the lower portion, is formed to engage over and attach to a standard overhead garage door track so as not to interfere with the garage door operation. The lower portion is configured to support an object directly underneath the track. A system for storing an object in an elevated position from a standard overhead garage door track comprising:

In second aspect, the present invention is a garage storage system that uses a removable garage door utility hook adapted to attach to a standard overhead garage door track and support an object in an elevated position, such as stored bicycles or stored elongated items like pipes and fishing poles, from the garage door track. The garage door utility hook includes a lower object supporting portion and an upper garage door track attaching portion. The lower portion is configured to support an object directly underneath the track. The upper portion continues vertically from the lower portion. The upper portion is formed with approximately a right angle bend that may extend over the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track, such that the upper portion of the utility hook may fit tightly against the outer vertical surface and outer horizontal upper flange of the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track. The right angle extension further comprises a lip formed in such a manner as to nonpermanently engage and hold the garage door utility hook onto the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track as not to interfere with the garage door operation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood and its numerous objects and advantages will become more apparent to those skilled in the art by reference to the following drawings, in conjunction with the accompanying specification, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a garage door utility hook mounted on a standard overhead garage door track in the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is side view of the preferred embodiment of the garage door utility hook of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a first alternative embodiment of the garage door utility hook;

FIG. 4 is a front view of the garage door utility hook of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a side view the garage door utility hook in a second alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a front view the garage door utility hook of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a side view of a hook 220 in a third alternate embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of a hook 320 in a fourth alternate embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

A moveable garage door utility hook for supporting an object in an elevated position from a standard overhead garage door track is disclosed. FIG. 1 is a front view of the preferred embodiment of the garage door utility hook 20 mounted on a standard overhead garage door track 24 (shown in phantom) intended to store bulky items, such as a bicycle 22 (shown in phantom), under and parallel to the garage door track. The garage door track is mounted via standard bracing 26 (shown in phantom) to the garage ceiling 28.

FIG. 2 is side view of the preferred embodiment of the garage door utility hook 20. The utility hook is shown installed on a standard overhead garage door track 24 (shown in phantom cross section). A standard garage door roller wheel 30 (shown in phantom) is shown within the garage door track. The utility hook has a lower portion 34 that is hook-shaped to engage and may singularly or plurally support the bulky item. The utility hook also has an upper portion 32 vertically continuous from the lower portion, wherein the upper portion is formed with approximately a right angle bend 36 that may extend over the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track. The upper portion of the utility hook may fit tightly against the outer vertical surface 38 (shown in phantom) and outer horizontal upper flange 40 (shown in phantom) of the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track 24 (shown in phantom). The right angle horizontal extension 36 of the utility hook further comprises a lip 42 formed in such a manner as to nonpermanently engage and hold the garage door utility hook onto the ceiling mounted section of the garage door track as not to interfere with the garage door operation. Optionally, the garage door utility hook may be permanently mounted to the garage door track by using a metal screw or bolts through the utility hook into the vertical side of the garage door track.

The garage door utility hook 20 may be rigidly constructed of a metallic material, plastic or a composite material. Preferably, the utility hook is constructed of flat heavy gauge steel bar, such as 11 gauge by 0.500 inches in width. The overall height of the utility hook from the top of the upper portion 32 to the bottom of the lower portion 34 may be constructed for the actual garage site, i.e., a taller than average garage door may require a correspondingly longer utility hook for accessability. Height adjustment problems may also be addressed by using an extendable lower portion that slides downward on an opposing track from the upper section. Such hook height adjustments are well known in the art. A preferred height is approximately 7.00 inches. The dimensions of the hook-shaped lower portion may be varied, but a hook bend of approximately 140 degrees with a 0.75 inch radius orientated under the upper section is preferred to help maintain a center of gravity below the upper portion. The dimensions of the upper section should be closely matched to the shape of the garage door track. Preferably, the right angle extension 36 has an overall length of approximately 1.36 inches. Preferably the lip 42 dimensions are an overall height of approximately 0.34 inches with a 180 degree inward bend and a lip length of approximately 0.35 inches. The surface of the utility hook may be finished in numerous ways, such as unfinished, galvanized, spray painted, powder coated, or the hook-shape may be covered with a protective soft casing.

In the preferred manner of using this invention (reference FIGS. 1 and 2), a user places the utility hook 20 over a standard garage door track 24 (shown in phantom) by tipping the utility hook's lip 42 downward and over the garage door track's upper flange 40 (shown in phantom). The utility hook is next pulled downward to place the upper portion of the utility hook in close proximity to the garage door track. The user may then store selected items on the utility hook on its lower portion, which includes a curved, opened end. The objects supported by the utility hook are supported by the hook directly below the garage door track. The utility hook may be removed or slid along the garage door track by reversing the fore-mentioned process. The hook may be used singularly or in combination to store selected items. FIG. 1 shows the use of two utility hooks to store a single bicycle. However, the same bicycle may be store from a single utility hook. The ability to slide the hook along the garage door track allows the user to optimize the storage placement, i.e., heavy items closer to bracing supports 26 or bicycles stored away from an area where a vehicle's door may be opened.

FIG. 3 is a partial side view of a first alternative embodiment of the garage door utility hook 20, intended to store bulky items perpendicular to the garage door track 24 (reference FIG. 1). The alternative embodiment has an upper portion 32 continuous from a lower portion 44. The upper portion is of dimensions, construction, and function similar to the preferred embodiment. The lower portion may be constructed in a hook-shaped end similar to the preferred embodiment, but the lower portion's juncture to the upper portion has approximately a ninety degree twist 46. The twist may be in a clockwise or a counter clockwise direction.

FIG. 4 is a front view of a first alternative embodiment of the garage door utility hook 20 shown mounted on opposing garage door tracks 24 (shown in phantom) storing an elongated bulky item, i.e., a pipe 48 (shown in phantom), perpendicular to the garage door tracks. Other elongated items, such as a fishing pole may similarly be stored. The manner of using the first alternative embodiment is as disclosed above.

FIG. 5 is a side view of second alternative embodiment of the garage door utility hook 20 intended to engage and store an elongated flat item under and parallel to the garage door track 24 (shown in phantom). The second alternative embodiment has an upper portion 32 continuous from a lower portion 50. The upper portion is of dimensions, construction, and function similar to the preferred embodiment. The lower portion, extending downward from and orientated in the same plane as the upper portion, has a first bend 56 orientated away from the lip of the upper portion. The lower portion then extends downward to a second bend 58 orientated back toward the lip of the upper portion. The lower portion then has an extension 60 under the upper portion. Preferably, the first bend is approximately 45 degrees and the second bend is approximately 135 degrees. The combination of the lower portion's bends result in a flat horizontal extension that is approximately parallel to and under the upper portion's right angle extension 36. The flat horizontal extension of the lower portion should be under the upper portion to locate the center of gravity of the stored items under the upper portion. Optionally, the flat horizontal extension of the lower portion may have a catch or slight upturn at the end to prevent a stored item from sliding off the utility hook. Additionally, the lower portion's bends may be in a reverse orientation, provided the stored item's center of gravity remains under the upper portion.

FIG. 6 is a front view of a second alternative embodiment of two garage door utility hooks 20 storing a ladder 52 (shown in phantom) under and parallel to the garage door track 24 (shown in phantom). A standard panel garage door 54 (shown in phantom) is shown in the raised position for reference. The door is mounted within the garage door track by the door roller wheels 30. The manner of using the second alternative embodiment is as disclosed above.

The hook may include any configuration on the lower portion to allow attachment or hanging of items upon the hook. For example, in FIG. 7 is a side view of a hook 220 in a third alternate embodiment of the present invention. The hook 220 may include a lower portion 230 having a eye hook 232. In another example, FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of a hook 320 in a fourth alternate embodiment of the present invention. The hook 320 may include a lower portion 330 having a flat horizontal section 322, a vertical extension 324 and a lower horizontal section 326. It should be understood that any lower portion allowing the attachment of items to the lower portion may be utilized. The lower portion may be opened or closed ended.

It is thus believed that the operation and construction of the present invention will be apparent from the foregoing description. While the apparatus shown and described has been characterized as being preferred, it will be readily apparent that various changes and modifications could be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.