Title:
Toothbrush holder & housing
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A toothbrush holder which is capable of storing a plurality of toothbrushes in an upright and exposed position, so that water will quickly evaporate from the toothbrushes after use, and will not support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold. The toothbrush holder has a conical foundation having a post extending therefrom. The apex of the post has four stems extending perpendicularly therefrom, each of which terminates in an adjustable clip that selectively secures a toothbrush in place. A housing having a series of holes and a knob covers the holder.



Inventors:
Monroig, Sara (Tampa, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/478159
Publication Date:
11/02/2006
Filing Date:
06/29/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B81/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GOLDSTEIN LAW OFFICES, P.C. (Red Bank, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A toothbrush holder, for use in conjunction with at least one toothbrush having a handle and having a bristle end having a plurality of bristles, and in conjunction with an existing support surface, said toothbrush holder for storing at least one toothbrush in an upright and exposed position and for minimizing growth of bacteria, mildew, and mold upon the toothbrush, said toothbrush holder comprising: a foundation having a base that is selectively supported upon the support surface, wherein the foundation is conical, having an apex; a post extending vertically upward from the apex of the foundation, said post having an apex having at least one slot; at least one stem, having a first end which is selectively extended into one of said at least one slots while the toothbrush holder is being deployed, and having a second end that terminates in an adjustable clip for selectively securing the toothbrush in an upright position, wherein each of the stems extends substantially perpendicularly from the post and wherein the clips are spring-loaded; a housing having a series of holes and a knob; and wherein the toothbrush holder positions the bristle end of each of the at least one toothbrush away from the existing support surface, and maintains said bristle end in an exposed orientation, thereby allowing any water which remains within the bristles to readily evaporate therefrom, so that bacteria, mildew, and mold will not readily grow thereupon.

2. The toothbrush holder as recited in claim 1, wherein the toothbrush holder has four stems.

3. A method, for use in conjunction with at least one existing toothbrush having a handle and having a bristle end having a plurality of bristles, and in conjunction with an existing support surface, said method for positioning the bristle end of said at least one toothbrush in an exposed orientation so as to allow any water remaining within the bristles after brushing with the toothbrush to readily evaporate therefrom, so as not to support the growth of bacteria, mildew, and mold, said method using a toothbrush holder having a foundation having a base, and a post extending upward from the foundation, said post having an apex having at least one slot, said toothbrush holder further having at least one stem having a first end which is selectively extendable into one of said at least one slots and having a second end that terminates in an adjustable clip, and having a housing containing a series of holes and a knob, said method comprising the steps of: supporting the base of the foundation upon the support surface; extending the first end of each of the at least one stem into one of the at least one slots at the apex of the post; storing at least one toothbrush upon the toothbrush holder in an upright and exposed position by extending the handle of the toothbrush into one of the adjustable clips, thereby preventing the bristle end of the toothbrush from contacting the support surface, thereby allowing any water remaining within the bristles to readily evaporate therefrom, so as not to support the growth of bacteria, mildew, and mold; covering the holder with the housing so as to prevent germs and dust from landing on the bristles; and removing the housing from covering the holder and the first end of each of the at least one stem from its slot prior to transporting the toothbrush holder between locations, so that the toothbrush holder occupies a minimal storage volume.

Description:

CONTINUATION-IN-PART-APPLICATION

Cross-Reference to Related Applications

This application is a continuation-in-part of patent application Ser. No. 10/972,242 filed on Oct. 22, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention generally relates to a toothbrush holder, and in particular relates to a toothbrush holder & housing which is capable of storing a plurality of toothbrushes in an upright and exposed position, so that water will quickly evaporate from the toothbrushes after use, and will not support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold.

2. Description of the Related Art

A vast preponderance of individuals brush their teeth several times a day with a toothbrush. After a person finishes using a toothbrush, the wet toothbrush is stored in a variety of places, such as in a bathroom cabinet or within an existing toothbrush holder. Although extremely useful for storing a toothbrush, most existing toothbrush holders have a notable disadvantage. In particular, most toothbrush holders either have an existing reservoir or have recessed areas, both of which tend to collect water that drips from the wet toothbrush. This water supports the growth of mildew, bacteria, and mold, both within the toothbrush holder and upon the toothbrush itself. Subsequent use of the toothbrush will lead to an unsanitary transfer of said organisms to the mouth of the person using the toothbrush. Accordingly, there is a need for a toothbrush holder that is capable of storing a plurality of toothbrushes in an upright and exposed orientation, so that water will quickly evaporate from the toothbrushes after use, and will not support the growth of bacteria, mildew, and mold.

A variety of toothbrush holders have been devised. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,297,677 to Burian appears to show a toothbrush holder that is assembled from a single piece of material which positions the bristle end of a toothbrush away from any support surfaces. Additionally, U.S. Pat. No. 4,325,485 to Pina appears to show a wall mounted rack for suspending a series of toothbrushes. Moreover, U.S. Pat. No. 4,234,087 to Pandak appears to show a combination carrier and holder for a toothbrush. What's more, U.S. Pat. No. D413,747 to Devens appears to show an ornamental design for a toothbrush holder. While these devices may be suitable for the particular purpose employed, or for general use, they would not be as suitable for the purposes of the present invention as disclosed hereafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide a toothbrush holder which allows water to quickly evaporate from a toothbrush which is being stored thereupon, so that bacteria, mildew, and mold will not grow upon the wet toothbrush. Accordingly, the toothbrush holder is capable of storing a toothbrush in an upright orientation, thereby allowing water to quickly evaporate from the toothbrush, so that bacteria, mildew, and mold will not grow upon the wet toothbrush.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide a toothbrush holder that allows a user to simultaneously store a number of toothbrushes thereupon. Accordingly, the toothbrush holder has four stems, each of which terminates in an adjustable clip which is capable of selectively securing an existing toothbrush in a vertically upright position, thereby enabling the user to simultaneously store up to four toothbrushes thereupon.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide a plastic housing that protects the toothbrushes from bacteria and other airborne agents while allowing proper ventilation.

Further objects of the invention will become apparent in the detailed description of the invention that follows.

The invention is a toothbrush holder which is capable of storing a plurality of toothbrushes in an upright and exposed position, so that water will quickly evaporate from the toothbrushes after use, and will not support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold. The toothbrush holder has a conical foundation having a post extending therefrom. The apex of the post has four stems extending perpendicularly therefrom, each of which terminates in an adjustable clip that selectively secures a toothbrush in place. A housing having a series of holes and a knob that covers the holder.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects the invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Attention is called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only. Variations are contemplated as being part of the invention, limited only by the scope of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, like elements are depicted by like reference numerals. The drawings are briefly described as follows.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a toothbrush holder, having four stems extending perpendicularly therefrom, each of which terminates in an adjustable clip, wherein two of the clips are being used for selectively supporting an existing toothbrush.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the toothbrush holder, including a plastic housing that encompasses the entire device displayed in FIG. 1. This plastic housing is fitted with a knob for gripping and removing the plastic housing, and a series of holes for ventilation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 illustrates a toothbrush holder 10 which is capable of storing a plurality of existing toothbrushes in an upright and exposed position, so that water will quickly evaporate from the toothbrushes after use, and will not support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold. The toothbrush holder 10 has a conical foundation 12 having a base 12B that is selectively supported upon an existing support surface such as a bathroom counter, and having an apex 12A having a cylindrical post 14 extending therefrom. The cylindrical post 14 has a second end 14B that extends from the foundation 12, and has an apex 14A having four slots 15. The toothbrush holder 10 has four stems 16, each having a first end 16A which is selectively extended into one of the slots 15 while the toothbrush holder 10 is being deployed. The stems 16 each extend substantially perpendicularly from the cylindrical post 14. Each of the stems 16 has a second end 16B that terminates in an adjustable clip 18. Two of the clips 18 are being used to selectively secure an existing toothbrush 20 in a vertically upright position. It is contemplated that the clips 18 may be spring-loaded. Each toothbrush 20 has a handle 20A and a bristle end 20B having a plurality of bristles 20C. The toothbrush holder 10 positions the bristle ends 20B of the toothbrushes 20 away from an existing support surface, and maintains said bristle ends 20B in an exposed orientation, thereby allowing any water which remains within the bristles 20C at the bristle end 20B after brushing with the toothbrush 20 to readily evaporate therefrom, so as not to support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold.

Although, as described, the toothbrush holder 10 has a conical foundation 12 having an apex 12A, it is contemplated that the foundation 12 may be alternately shaped. For example, the foundation 12 may be rectangularly shaped, having a base that is selectively supported upon an existing support surface, and having an upper surface from which a cylindrical post 14 extends.

The toothbrush holder 10 is preferably constructed from a durable lightweight plastic material, and measures approximately four inches in width at the foundation 12 and six inches in height. The toothbrush holder 10 may alternately be constructed from wood, ceramic, or stainless steel. It is contemplated that the toothbrush holder 10 may be provided with a pouch or a carrying case, for ease of transport by a user.

In use, the user supports the base 12B of the foundation 12 upon an existing support surface such as a bathroom counter, and extends the first end of each of the stems 16 into a different slot 15 at the apex 14A of the post 14. After finishing brushing the teeth of the user with a toothbrush 20, the user extends the handle 20A of the toothbrush 20 into one of the adjustable clips 18 at the second end 16B of one of the stems 16, and thereby selectively secures the toothbrush 20 in a vertically upright and exposed position wherein the bristle end 20B of the toothbrush does not contact the support surface, thereby allowing any water which remains within the bristles 20C to readily evaporate therefrom, so as not to support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold. Up to four users can use the toothbrush holder 10 in a manner identical to that just described. If the toothbrush holder 10 is to be transported between locations by the user, the user may remove the first end 16A of each of the stems 16 from their respective slots 15 so that the toothbrush holder 10 occupies a minimal storage volume. FIG. 2 illustrates the toothbrush holder 10, having a housing 30 for preventing germs and dust from settling on bristles while still allowing air to circulate and dry bristles. Preferably, the housing 30 is plastic and includes a series of holes 32 bordering the housing 30 that allows air to flow in and out providing ventilation for the toothbrushes 20. Atop the plastic housing 30 is a knob 34. The knob 34 is designed for gripping the housing 30, allowing for ease of use in removal of said housing 30.

In conclusion, herein is presented a toothbrush holder which is capable of storing a plurality of toothbrushes in an upright and exposed position, so that water will quickly evaporate from the bristles of the toothbrushes after use, and will not support the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold. The invention is illustrated by example in the drawing figures, and throughout the written description. It should be understood that numerous variations are possible, while adhering to the inventive concept. Such variations are contemplated as being a part of the present invention.