Title:
Expandable dish rack assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An expandable dish rack assembly includes upstream and downstream racks that are in sliding nesting relationship to one another. The downstream rack has upstream and downstream legs projecting down from the bottom wall of the downstream rack for supporting the downstream rack on a horizontal surface. The downstream legs are shorter than the upstream legs of the downstream rack so that the bottom wall of the upstream rack slopes downwardly from the upstream end to the downstream end. Upstream legs project down from the bottom wall of the upstream rack. Thus, the upstream rack can be supported on the upstream legs thereof and on the bottom wall of the downstream rack.



Inventors:
Schmidt, George (Douglaston, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/543389
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
10/05/2006
Assignee:
Creative Bath Products, Inc. (Central Islip, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HESPOS & PORCO LLP (ESSEX FELLS, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An expandable dish rack assembly comprising: a downstream rack having upstream and downstream ends, a bottom wall extending between the ends of the downstream rack and having opposite top and bottom surfaces, a downstream support on the bottom surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack in proximity to the downstream end thereof, upstream legs extending from the bottom surface of the downstream rack in proximity to the upstream end thereof, sidewalls extending up from opposites of the bottom wall of the downstream rack; and an upstream rack having opposite upstream and downstream ends, a bottom wall formed on the upstream rack and extending between the upstream and downstream ends thereof, the bottom wall of the upstream rack having opposite top and bottom surfaces, upstream legs extending from the bottom surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack in proximity to the upstream end thereof, first and second sidewalls extending up from opposite sides of the bottom wall of the upstream rack, portions of the bottom wall of the upstream rack in proximity to the downstream end thereof being supported in sliding nested relationship with the top surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack and portions of the sidewalls of the upstream rack being in nested sliding relationship with portions of the sidewalls of the downstream rack, whereby the downstream rack can be supported on the upstream legs and downstream support thereof and whereby the upstream rack can be supported by the upstream legs thereof and by the bottom wall of the downstream rack.

2. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the downstream support of the downstream rack are legs that have projecting distances from the bottom wall of the downstream rack, the projecting distance of the downstream legs being less than the projecting distance of the upstream legs of the downstream rack.

3. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 2, wherein the upstream legs of the upstream rack have projecting distances from the bottom surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack, the projecting distances of the legs of the upstream rack exceeding the projecting distances of the upstream legs of the downstream rack, whereby the expandable dish rack assembly can be supported on a substantially horizontal surface with the bottom walls of the upstream and downstream racks being sloped continuously downwardly from the upstream end of the upstream rack to the downstream end of the downstream rack.

4. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the side walls of the downstream rack have outwardly curved top lips with convex upper surfaces, and wherein the sidewalls of the upstream rack have outwardly curved top lips with downwardly facing concave surfaces, the concave surfaces of the lips of the upstream rack being slidably nested over the convex surfaces of the lips on the downstream rack.

5. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the upper surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack is formed with a plurality of dish supports projecting upwardly therefrom, the bottom wall of the downstream rack being substantially free of dish supports for permitting sliding movement of the upstream rack along the bottom wall of the downstream rack.

6. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the bottom wall of the downstream rack has a central channel extending from the upstream end to the downstream end thereof at a position substantially centrally between the sidewalls of the downstream rack, and wherein the bottom wall of the upstream rack has a central channel extending substantially from the upstream end to the downstream end of the upstream rack, the central channel of the upstream rack being nested slidably with the central channel of the downstream rack.

7. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 6, wherein the central channel of the downstream rack terminates at a chute at the downstream end of the downstream rack.

8. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 6, wherein the top surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack includes a plurality of transverse channels extending substantially from the sidewalls of the downstream rack to the central channel in the bottom wall of the downstream rack.

9. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 6, wherein the bottom wall of the downstream rack is sloped downwardly from the sidewalls of the downstream rack to the central channel.

10. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the downstream rack is molded unitarily from a synthetic resin.

11. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the upstream rack further includes an end wall extending up from the bottom wall of the upstream rack and connecting the sidewalls of the upstream rack.

12. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 11, wherein the bottom wall, the sidewalls and the end wall of the upstream rack are molded unitarily with one another.

13. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, further comprising at least one silverware partition extending upwardly from the top surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack and between the sidewalls of the upstream rack at a location closer to the upstream end of the upstream rack then to the downstream end thereof.

14. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the upstream and downstream racks are telescoped relative to one another from a collapsed position to an expanded position, the downstream end of the upstream rack being substantially adjacent the downstream end of the downstream rack when the upstream and downstream racks are in their collapsed condition, the downstream end of the upstream rack being in proximity to the upstream end of the downstream rack when the expandable dish rack assembly is in its expanded condition.

15. The expandable dish rack assembly of claim 1, wherein the bottom walls of the upstream and downstream racks are free of openings therethrough.

Description:

This application claims priority on U.S. Provisional Patent Appl. No. 60/729,961, filed Oct. 25, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The subject invention relates to a dish rack for placement on a countertop so that dishes, glassware and silverware can drain.

2. Description of the Related Art

Dish racks are in employed in many kitchens to permit dishes, glasses and silverware to drain after washing and prior to a more permanent storage. A typical dish rack includes a bottom wall with a top surface, a bottom surface and plurality of openings extending through the bottom wall between the top and bottom surfaces. Legs typically extend down from the bottom surface of the bottom wall so that the dish rack can be supported in spaced relationship to the countertop or a drain board sold with the dish rack. A plurality of supports extend up from the top surface of the bottom wall and are configured to permit dishes, glasses and silverware to be supported in a generally vertical orientation. Thus, water can drain from the dishes, glasses and silverware through the apertures in the bottom wall and onto the countertop or drain board. The typical dish rack also includes an array of side walls that extend up from the bottom wall. The side walls retain the dishes and other items neatly within the dish rack and may be configured to support glasses, cups and the like. The drain board adds to the cost of a dish rack and complicates packaging and shipment prior to sale and further complicates storage between uses. The prior art dish rack can be used without a drain board. However, water then will accumulate directly on the countertop and can damage or discolor the countertop. The countertop must be wiped dry each time the dish rack is used without a drain board.

Some dish racks are formed from wires that are coated with a synthetic resin. Other dish racks are molded from a plastic material. Dish racks are made in many different colors to coordinate with other colors use in the kitchen. However, dish racks are generally unattractive and detract from and otherwise aesthetically appealing kitchen. As a result, many homeowners store dish racks in a cabinet or closet between uses, and considerable space must be allocated in a cabinet or closet near the sink to accommodate the aesthetically unattractive dish rack between uses.

A dish rack must be sufficiently large to accommodate all dishes, glassware, silverware and cooking items that will be used during a meal. However, the number of dishes, glasses, silverware pieces and cooking utensils varies considerably from one meal to another. For example, the number of people who are being served at each meal is not always constant. Additionally, some meals require separate dishes for each of several courses. More particularly, some meals merely require each family member to have a dinner plate. Other meals, however, may require each family member to have dinner plate, a salad plate and a dessert bowl. The dish rack must be sufficiently large to accommodate the maximum number of dishes that are expected to be used, and hence the dish rack will be larger than necessary for many meals. Accordingly, a homeowner often will have an excessively large unsightly dish rack supported in an obtrusive position on a countertop and will require a large amount of storage space in a cabinet or closet to accommodate the excessively larger dish rack between uses.

The subject invention has been developed in view of these problems and inconveniences.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a dish rack assembly that can be expanded or telescoped from a small size to a larger size in accordance with the drainage needs for a particular meal. The dish rack assembly can be collapsed to its smallest size for storage between uses.

The dish rack preferably is formed from an upstream rack and a downstream rack that can be telescoped relative to one another for selectively defining the size of the dish rack assembly. The terms upstream and downstream are used herein to define the direction of flow of water in the preferred embodiment. Thus, the upstream rack is configured to be gravitationally above the downstream rack and the respective racks may be sloped to accommodate the flow of drainage water from the upstream rack to the downstream rack and to the drain board or sink. The upstream and downstream racks preferably are molded from a thermoplastic material. In a preferred embodiment, a least a major portion of each rack is molded unitarily from a thermoplastic material. However, one of the upstream and downstream racks may have a separately formed compartment for storing silverware or the like.

The downstream rack includes a bottom wall with opposite top and bottom surfaces. The bottom wall of the downstream rack includes an upstream end and a downstream end and preferably is free of openings between the ends. Legs projects down from the bottom surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack. The legs at the upstream end of the bottom wall of the downstream rack project further than the legs at the downstream end thereof. As a result, the bottom wall of the downstream rack can be sloped on a horizontal surface so that the downstream end is lower than the upstream end. The top surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack preferably is formed with an array of channels to ensure a gravitational flow of water towards the downstream end of the downstream rack. For example, the top surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack may include a central channel flowing completely from the upstream end to the downstream end of the downstream rack. A plurality of transverse channels may communicate with the central channel.

Opposite side walls extend up from the bottom wall of the downstream rack and a downstream end wall extends from the downstream end of the bottom wall and between the side walls of the downstream rack. The downstream end wall of the downstream rack is configured to accommodate an outflow of drainage water from the channels in the top surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack. Upper ends of the side walls of the downstream rack preferably are curved outwardly. Significantly, there is no upstream end wall opposite to the downstream and wall of the downstream rack in the preferred embodiment.

The upstream rack includes a bottom wall with an upstream end, a downstream end and opposite top and bottom surfaces extending between the ends. Additionally, the bottom wall preferably has no openings formed therethrough. Upstream legs extend down from the bottom surface of the bottom wall near the upstream end of the upstream rack. However, the bottom wall of the upstream rack has no legs near the downstream end thereof in the preferred embodiment. A plurality of dish supports preferably project up from the top surface of the top wall of the upstream rack. The dish supports are configured to support dishes in a generally vertical orientation to accommodate a gravitational flow of water from the dishes and onto the bottom surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack. Opposed side walls project up from opposite sides of the bottom wall and an upstream end wall projects up from the upstream end of the bottom wall of the upstream rack and joins to the side wall of the upstream rack. In the preferred embodiment, the upstream rack has no downstream end wall opposed to the upstream end wall. Upper ends of the side walls of the upstream rack curve outwardly and away from one another. The upstream rack may further include a partition or compartment to define a space for storing silverware and other eating utensils. The partition or compartment may be molded unitarily with the remainder of the upstream rack or may be assembled to the upstream rack. One or more channels may be formed in the top surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack to accommodate a flow of drainage water from the upstream end of the bottom wall towards the downstream end thereof.

The downstream end of the upstream rack is configured to nest with and telescope into the upstream end of the downstream rack. More particularly, the bottom surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack is dimensioned to rest on the top surface of the bottom wall of the downstream rack. Additionally, outer surfaces of the side walls of the upstream rack are dimensioned to slidably engage inner surfaces of the side walls of the downstream rack. The curved upper ends of the side wall of the upstream rack are dimensioned to nest over the curved upper ends of the side walls of the downstream rack. With this construction, the dish rack assembly can be telescoped together so that the downstream end of the upstream rack is near the downstream end wall of the downstream rack. This smaller telescoped configuration is convenient for storage of the dish rack assembly and for drainage of a relatively small number of dishes. Alternatively, the dish rack assembly can be expanded so that the downstream end of the upstream rack is supported near the upstream end of the downstream rack. This expanded orientation of the dish rack assembly is suitable for the drainage of a relatively large number of dishes. In all possible orientations of the dish rack assembly, drainage water will flow in an upstream to downstream direction along the top surface of the bottom wall of the upstream rack. The drainage water then will continue onto the upper surface of the downstream rack and will merge into drainage water that may be accumulated from dishes on the downstream rack. This combined flow of drainage water will continue to the downstream end of the downstream rack and can be deposited into the sink. The absence of openings in the bottom walls can eliminate the need for a separate drain board.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dish rack assembly in accordance with the invention and shows the dish rack assembly in an expanded condition.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the assembly shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a downstream end elevational view of the dish rack assembly shown in FIG. 1

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the dish rack assembly.

FIG. 5 is an upstream end elevational view of the dish rack assembly.

FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the dish rack assembly in the condition shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4.

FIG. 7 is perspective view similar to FIG. 1, but showing the dish rack assembly in the collapse condition.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A dish rack assembly in accordance with the invention is identified generally by the numeral 10 in FIGS. 1-7. The dish rack assembly 10 includes a downstream rack 12 and a upstream rack 14. The downstream rack 12 is molded unitarily from a thermoplastic material and includes an upstream end 16 and a downstream end 18. A bottom wall 20 extends between the upstream and downstream ends 16 and 18 of the downstream rack 12. The bottom wall includes a top surface 22 and an opposite bottom surface 24 and has no openings extending between the top and bottom surfaces 22 and 24. Upstream legs 26 project down from the bottom surface 24 of the bottom wall 20 near the upstream end 16 of the downstream rack 12 and downstream legs 28 project down from the bottom surface 24 of the bottom wall 22 near the downstream end 18 of the downstream rack 12. The upstream legs 26 project a further distance than the downstream legs 28. As a result, the bottom wall of the downstream rack 12 will define a downward slope from the upstream end 16 to the downstream end 18 when the downstream rack 12 is supported on a horizontal surface.

The top surface 22 of the bottom wall 20 is formed with an upwardly concave central channel 30 that extends continuously from the upstream end 16 to the downstream end 18. The downstream end of the central channel 30 defines a chute 32 from which drainage water will flow gravitationally. The top surface 22 of the bottom wall 20 of the downstream rack 12 further includes transverse channels 34 that flow downwardly and into the central channel 32.

The downstream rack 12 further includes first and second opposed side walls 36 and 38 that extend up from the bottom wall 20. The upper end of the first side wall 36 includes an outwardly curved lip 37. Similarly, the upper end of the second side wall 38 includes an outwardly curved lip 39. First and second downstream end walls 40 and 42 project up from the bottom wall 20 and inwardly from the respective first and second side walls 36 and 38 at the downstream end 18 of the downstream rack 12. The downstream end walls 40 and 42 slope downwardly towards the outlet end chute 32 of the central channel 30 to accommodate an outflow of drainage water.

The upstream rack 14 has an upstream end 44 and a downstream end 46. A bottom wall 50 extends from the upstream end 44 to the downstream 46 and has opposite top and bottom surfaces 52 and 54. No openings are formed through the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14. Upstream legs 56 project down from the bottom surface 54 of the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14 near the upstream end 44 of the upstream rack 14. The projecting distance of the upstream legs 56 on the upstream rack 14 exceed the projecting distance of the upstream legs 26 on the downstream rack 12. There are no downstream legs on the upstream rack 14. The upper surface 52 of the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14 is formed with a plurality of dish supports 58. The dish supports 58 are configured to support dishes, bowls or the like in a generally vertical orientation that will permit droplets of water to flow from the dishes and onto the top surface 52 of the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14. An upwardly concave central channel 60 is formed in the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14. The central channel 60 has a convex lower surface that is dimensioned to nest in the channel 30 of the downstream rack 12.

First and second side walls 66 and 68 project up from opposite sides of the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14. An outwardly curved lip 67 is formed along the top edge of the first side wall 66. Similarly, an outwardly curved lip 69 is formed along the top edge of the second side wall 68 of the upstream rack 14.

An upstream end wall projects up from the upstream end 44 of the upstream rack 14 and joints the first and second side walls 66 and 68.

The upstream rack 14 further includes silverware partitions 72 that extend between the first and second side walls 66 and 68 near the upstream end wall 70. The silverware partitions 72 may be molded unitarily with the remainder of the upstream rack 14 or may be mounted to the remainder of the upstream rack 14.

The downstream end 46 of the upstream rack is dimensioned and configured to be supported on the top surface 22 of the bottom wall 20 of the downstream rack 12 as shown in FIGS. 1-6. More particularly, the central channel 60 in the bottom wall 50 of the upstream rack 14 will nest with the central channel 30 in the bottom wall 20 of the downstream rack 12. The side walls 66 and 68 will nest inwardly of the side walls 36 and 38 respectively of the downstream rack 12. In this nested configuration, the outwardly curved lips 67 and 68 on the side walls 66 and 68 of the upstream rack 14 will nest over the outwardly curved lips 37 and 38 respectively of the side walls 36 and 38 of the downstream rack 12. This assembly 10 will be supported by the upstream and downstream legs 26 and 28 of the downstream rack 12 and by the upstream legs 56 of the upstream rack 14. The downstream end 46 of the upstream rack 14 will be supported on the upstream end 16 of the downstream rack 12.

The dish rack assembly 10 can be maintained in an expanded condition as shown most clearly in FIG. 1 to accommodate a relatively large number of dishes, glasses and silverware. In this expanded condition, the dishes, bowls and the like will be supported generally vertically by the supports 58 on the upstream rack 14. Glasses, cups and the like can be supported on the top surface 22 of the bottom wall 20 of the downstream rack 12. Silverware can be supported generally vertically between the partition 72 and the upstream end wall 70.

The dish rack assembly 10 can be collapsed into the FIG. 7 orientation by telescoping the upstream rack 14 further onto the downstream rack 12. In this smaller telescoped condition, the assembly still will be supported by the upstream and downstream legs 26 and 28 of the downstream rack 12 and by the upstream legs 56 of the upstream rack 14. The downstream portions of the upstream rack 14 will continue to be supported by downstream rack 12. In both configurations, water that drains from dishes, glasses and silverware will flow downwardly from the upstream end to the downstream end along the telescoped bottom walls 50 and 20. The water from the upstream rack 14 will flow along the central channel 60, into the central channel 30 of the downstream rack 12 and from the chute 32. The bottom walls 20 and 50 have no openings. Thus, water will not accumulate on the countertop, and a drain board is unnecessary. The collapsed or inwardly telescoped dish rack assembly 10 defines a relatively small space and can be stored conveniently in a closet or cabinet. The absence of a drain board further reduces storage space. The dish rack assembly 10 then can be expanded to appropriate dimensions for use.





 
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