Title:
Cookware handle holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A holder or handgrip for elongated metal cookware handles that become hot during stove top or oven use is provided. The inventive cookware handle holder is easily slipped over and removed from cookware handles, is suitable for use with a wide range of handle shapes and sizes, offers heat and flame resistance, as well as, improved compressibility and, in a preferred embodiment, further offers an improved gripping surface and improved slip and skid resistance.



Inventors:
Zanner, Kurt H. (Northampton, MA, US)
Benson, Kenneth R. (Southbury, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/113783
Publication Date:
10/26/2006
Filing Date:
04/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & BONZAGNI, P.C. (LONGMEADOW, MA, US)
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:

1. A cookware handle holder that fits over metal cookware handles and that comprises: an elongated hollow tubular structure having an open end and an opposing closed end, a substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape, and indented side wall portions.

2. The cookware handle holder of claim 1, which is prepared using a curable silicone composition that, upon cure, demonstrates heat and flame resistance.

3. A cookware handle holder that fits over metal cookware handles and that comprises: an elongated hollow tubular structure having an open end and an opposing closed end, a substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape, an upper wall portion having outer and inner surfaces, a lower wall portion having outer and inner surfaces, and indented side wall portions.

4. The cookware handle holder of claim 3, which further comprises a plurality of axial ridges or ribs provided on the inner surfaces of the upper and lower wall portions of the elongated hollow tubular structure.

5. The cookware handle holder of claim 3, which further comprises a plurality of raised areas provided on the outer surfaces of the upper and lower wall portions of the elongated hollow tubular structure.

6. The cookware handle holder of claim 5, wherein the raised areas are in the form of raised dots.

7. The cookware handle holder of claim 3, wherein the open and closed ends of the elongated hollow tubular structure are angled acutely relative to a vertical plane.

8. The cookware handle holder of claim 3, which is prepared using a curable silicone composition that, upon cure, demonstrates heat and flame resistance.

9. A cookware handle holder that fits over metal cookware handles and that comprises: an elongated hollow tubular structure having an open end and an opposing closed end, a substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape, an upper wall portion having outer and inner surfaces, a lower wall portion having outer and inner surfaces, indented side wall portions, a plurality of axial ridges or ribs provided on the inner surfaces of the upper and lower wall portions, and a plurality of raised areas provided on the outer surfaces of the upper and lower wall portions.

10. The cookware handle holder of claim 9, wherein the raised areas provided on the outer surfaces of the upper and lower wall portions of the elongated hollow tubular structure are in the form of raised dots.

11. The cookware handle holder of claim 9, wherein the open and closed ends of the elongated hollow tubular structure are angled acutely relative to a vertical plane.

12. The cookware handle holder of claim 9, which is prepared using a curable silicone composition that, upon cure, demonstrates heat and flame resistance.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a holder or handgrip for elongated metal cookware handles that become hot during stove top or oven use. The inventive cookware handle holder is easily slipped over and removed from cookware handles, is suitable for use with a wide range of handle shapes and sizes, offers heat and flame resistance, as well as, improved compressibility and, in a preferred embodiment, further offers an improved gripping surface and improved slip and skid resistance.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Cookware used in restaurants and food service establishments invariably include metal handles, where phenolic handles simply do not stand up to the rough usage in a commercial kitchen environment. Over the course of the last several years, consumers have been demanding, and cookware manufacturers have been providing, such commercial or gourmet style cookware for the home kitchen. In view of the handling difficulties presented by metal handles, there is a need for an insulated handle holder or handgrip that enables these cookware handles to be safely handled by human hands during the cooking process.

The above-referenced need has been partially addressed by the hand grip disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,197,611 to Bell et al. The hand grip disclosed in this reference is made of a silicone rubber material and is adapted to be placed over the metal handles of commercial grade cooking utensils such as pots and fry pans. The hand grip has a generally rectangular opening 20 and reportedly conforms to the shape of substantially flat or wide V-shaped handles (see col. 1, lines 60 to 63, of U.S. Pat. No. 4,197,611 to Bell et al.). A series of successive grooves 38 are formed in the inner wall surfaces of the hand grip for reducing thermal conduction, and a plurality of external ribs 16 extend axially along the outer surface of the hand grip to provide a better gripping surface for the user.

In practice, the hand grip disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,197,611 to Bell et al. is very difficult to remove from a cookware handle. This is due in part to the generally rectangular cross-sectional shape of the hand grip, which closely approximates the shape of the substantially flat or wide V-shaped handles of select commercial grade cooking utensils. In addition, this hand grip is unsuitable for use with cookware handles having, for example, round or oval cross-sectional shapes.

A need therefore continues to exist for an easily removable cookware handle holder or handgrip that is suitable for use with a wide range of handle shapes and sizes.

The present invention addresses this need by providing an easily installed and removed (and thus easily transferable) cookware handle holder or handgrip that fits over a wide range of long metal (e.g., iron, cast-iron, stainless steel, aluminum) handles of cooking pans such as saucepans and frying pans, which comprises an elongated hollow tubular structure having an open end and an opposing closed end, a substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape, and indented side wall portions.

In a preferred embodiment, a plurality of raised areas are provided on opposing outer surfaces of the inventive cookware handle holder or handgrip for improved gripability, while a plurality of ridges or ribs are provided on opposing inner surfaces of the inventive holder or handgrip for improved slip and skid resistance.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to one of ordinary skill from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. All publications, patent applications, patents and other references mentioned herein are incorporated by reference in their entirety. In case of conflict, the present specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Particular features of the disclosed invention are illustrated by reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a more preferred embodiment of the cookware handle holder of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the inventive cookware handle holder shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a closed end of the inventive cookware handle holder shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 4 is a plan view of an opposing and open end of the inventive cookware handle holder shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The cookware handle holder of the present invention, which offers heat and flame resistance and improved compressibility, is designed to accommodate a wide range of handle shapes and sizes, and offers the further advantage of being easily installed on and removed from cookware handles and thus easily transferred from one cooking vessel to another. Moreover, the inventive cookware handle holder is prepared from a material that conforms to all applicable Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements.

As noted above, the inventive cookware handle holder comprises an elongated hollow tubular structure having an open end and an opposing closed end, a substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape, and indented side wall portions. The substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape allows the inventive holder to accommodate a wide range of handle shapes and sizes (e.g., round, oval, flat, V-shaped cookware handles), while the indented side wall portions allow for the holder to be easily compressed (and thus easily held in place on the cookware handle) by the user.

In practice, the inventive holder may be left on a cookware handle as the cookware is heated on an open burner or on a shelf in an oven, or may be used only when it is necessary to move the cookware. Compressive force exerted by the user when moving the cookware holds the inventive holder security in place. Once the compressive force is released, the inventive holder may be easily removed from the cookware handle and slid onto the handle of another piece of cookware. The subject invention may therefore be safely and effectively used with numerous pieces of cookware during each cooking session.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, a more preferred embodiment of the cookware handle holder of the present invention is shown generally at 10, and basically comprises: an elongated hollow tubular structure 12 having an open end 14 and a closed end 16, an upper wall portion 18 having outer and inner surfaces 20, 22, a lower wall portion 24 having outer and inner surfaces 26, 28, and indented side wall portions 30, 32.

As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the inventive cookware handle holder 10 has a substantially oval or elliptical cross-sectional shape, which allows it to accommodate a wide range of handle shapes and sizes including round, oval, flat, and V-shaped cookware handles. The indented side wall portions 30, 32 allow a user to more easily compress holder 10 around a metal cookware handle.

In the more preferred embodiment shown in the drawings, a plurality of axial ridges or ribs 34 are provided on the inner surfaces 22, 28 of the upper and lower wall portions 18, 24 of holder 10. These ridges or ribs 34, which extend from the open end 14 to the closed end 16 of holder 10, provide improved slip and skid resistance, thereby reducing risk of injury to the user.

A plurality of raised areas are formed on the outer surfaces 20, 26 of the upper and lower wall portions 18, 24 of this more preferred embodiment of holder 10. The size, shape and spacing of these raised areas, which allow for better gripping ability on the part of the user, are not limited. In the more preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 to 4, the raised areas are in the form of raised dots 36, which mirror the surface appearance of Applicant's related products, which constitutes Applicant's protectable trade dress.

The open end 14 of inventive holder 10 may be acutely angled relative to a vertical plane. For cookware having angled side walls, open end 14 may therefore be closely abutted to the angled side walls, thereby preventing the hand of the user from accidentally contacting the metal handle.

In the more preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, both ends 14, 16 of holder 10 are acutely angled relative to a vertical plane, providing holder 10 with an aesthetically pleasing appearance, with the angled open end 14 being provided with an opening 38 for hanging the holder 10 when not in use.

The length of the more preferred embodiment of the inventive cookware handle holder shown in the drawings preferably ranges from about 15.0 to about 15.5 centimeters (cm) (more preferably, from about 15.2 to about 15.4 cm). The width of holder 10 preferably ranges from about 44 to about 47 millimeters (mm) (more preferably, from about 45 to about 46 mm), while the height of holder 10 preferably ranges from about 32.5 to about 37 mm (more preferably, from about 32.5 to about 36.5 mm). The thickness of the walls forming holder 10 preferably ranges from about 3.5 to about 7.5 mm (more preferably, from about 3.6 to about 7.0 mm).

As alluded to above, the cookware handle holder or handgrip of the present invention is prepared from a heat and flame resistant material. Suitable heat and flame resistant materials include, but are not limited to, curable silicone compositions that, upon cure, demonstrate heat and flame resistance.

Examples of curable silicone compositions include, but are not limited to, hydrosilylation-curable silicone compositions, peroxide curable silicone compositions, condensation-curable silicone compositions, epoxy-curable silicone compositions, ultraviolet radiation-curable silicone compositions, and high-energy radiation-curable silicone compositions.

The term “heat resistance”, as used herein, is intended to mean that holder 10 will remain flexible, resilient and pliable for applications with continuous use temperatures not exceeding 357° C. (675° F.), while the term “flame resistance”, as used herein, is intended to mean that flaming combustion is slowed, terminated, or prevented by holder 10 for applications with continuous use temperatures not exceeding 357° C.

Inventive cookware handle or handgrip 10 can be prepared by converting the above-referenced curable silicone composition into the desired shape by conventional methods, such as compression molding, injection molding, extrusion, and calendaring; and then curing the composition. As used herein, the term “curing” means the conversion of a liquid or semisolid composition to a cross-linked product. In a preferred embodiment, the inventive handle or handgrip 10 is prepared by compression molding.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not limitation. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention should not be limited by any of the exemplary embodiments.