Title:
Pivotable storage receptacle for kitchen utensils
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage receptacle for kitchen utensils is provided. The storage receptacle comprises a base and a receiving portion for receiving at least a portion of at least one kitchen utensil. The receiving portion is pivotally attached to the base and is moveable between a first position and a second position through an intermediate position, the receiving portion forms an acute angle with the base when the receiving portion is in the second position. The receptacle further includes a locking mechanism provided to fix the receiving portion in the second position.



Inventors:
Linzing, Daniel M. (Chicago, IL, US)
Kerulis, Patrick M. (West Chicago, IL, US)
Doppelt, Loren E. (Palatine, IL, US)
Yin, Lau Hing (Yuen Long, HK)
Millard, Kimberly A. (Algonquin, IL, US)
Kolosvary, Christopher E. (Algonquin, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/315636
Publication Date:
06/28/2007
Filing Date:
12/22/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRYCINSKI, STANTON L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCDERMOTT, WILL & EMERY LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A storage receptacle for kitchen utensils comprising: a base; a receiving portion for receiving at least a portion of at least one kitchen utensil, the receiving portion being pivotally attached to the base and being moveable between a first position and a second position through an intermediate position, the receiving portion forming an acute angle with the base when the receiving portion is in the second position; and, a locking mechanism provided to fix the receiving portion in the second position.

2. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a locking member disposed on one of either the base and the receiving portion, the locking member being provided for pivotally fixing the receiving portion in the second position.

3. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a detent for fixing the receiving portion in the second position.

4. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the receiving portion further comprises a slot for securably engaging a portion of the locking mechanism so that the receiving portion is pivotally fixed in the second position.

5. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein when the receiving portion is in the first position, the receiving portion rests on the base forming a cavity therebetween.

6. The storage receptacle of claim 5, wherein the locking mechanism is pivotable between a locked position and a collapsed position, wherein when the locking mechanism is in the collapsed position the locking mechanism is substantially encased within the cavity formed by the base and receiving portion.

7. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the receiving portion is adapted to receive a plurality of kitchen utensils.

8. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism is adapted to pivotally fix the receiving portion in one of a plurality of positions, each position defining a different angle between the receiving portion and the base.

9. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein when the receiving portion is in the first position a utensil received therein is held in a substantially upright position and when the receiving portion is in the second position a utensil received therein is held in an angled position relative to the base.

10. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the receiving portion includes a plurality of apertures, each of the apertures being spaced a predetermined distance one from the other.

11. The storage receptacle of claim 1, wherein the locking mechanism comprises first and second parallel members each having proximate and distal ends, and a transverse member extending between the proximate ends of the first and second parallel members, the distal ends of each of the first and second parallel members being pivotally coupled to one of either the base and the receiving portion.

12. A storage receptacle for kitchen utensils comprising: a base; a plurality of receiving portions, each receiving portion being able to hold at least one kitchen utensil and each receiving portion being pivotally attached to the base, and each receiving portion being moveable between a first position and a second position through an intermediate position wherein each receiving portion forms an acute angle with the base when the receiving portion is in the second position; and a plurality of locking mechanisms corresponding to each of the receiving portions, the locking mechanisms being provided to pivotally fix a corresponding one of the plurality of receiving portions in the second position.

13. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of locking mechanisms comprises a locking member disposed on one of either the base and the receiving portion, the locking member being provided for pivotally fixing the receiving portion in the second position.

14. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of locking mechanisms comprises a detent for fixing the receiving portion in the second position.

15. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of receiving portions further comprises a slot for securably engaging a portion of the locking mechanism so that the receiving portion is pivotally fixed in the second position.

16. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein when each of the plurality of receiving portion is in the first position, the receiving portions rest on the base forming a cavity therebetween.

17. The storage receptacle of claim 16, wherein at least one of the plurality of locking mechanisms is pivotable between a locked position and a collapsed position, wherein when the locking mechanisms are in the collapsed position the locking mechanisms are substantially encased within the cavity formed by the base and receiving portions.

18. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of locking mechanisms is adapted to pivotally fix a corresponding one of the receiving portions in one of a plurality of positions, each position defining a different angle between the receiving portions and the base.

19. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of receiving portions includes a plurality of apertures, each of the apertures being spaced a predetermined distance one from the other.

20. The storage receptacle of claim 12, wherein at least one of the plurality of locking mechanisms comprises first and second parallel members each having proximate and distal ends, and a transverse member extending between the proximate ends of the first and second parallel members, the distal ends of each of the first and second parallel members being pivotally coupled to one of either the base and one of the plurality of receiving portion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to a storage receptacle for kitchen utensils, and more particularly to a storage receptacle which includes a receiving portion which is pivotally fixed with respect to its base so that the receiving portion is enabled to be pivoted between at least two positions so that the kitchen utensils may be stored at a substantially upright position and one or more angled positions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Storage receptacles for kitchen utensils, that is knives, kitchen tools and gadgets, are well known in the art. Many of the prior art storage receptacles are constructed so that they may store a number of different types of kitchen utensils and provide many different arrangements of storing kitchen utensils. There are also prior art storage receptacles that provide many different ways that a user can access the stored kitchen utensils. Two examples of prior art storage receptacles for kitchen utensils are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,361,915 and 5,775,518. The devices described in both of those two patents utilize rotating carousels to store and provide easy access to the kitchen utensils.

As the number of kitchen utensils have grown in recent years, there is an increasing need to provide efficient storage of those utensils. Moreover, as the technology has advanced in kitchen appliances and gadgets, and the number of kitchen designs has grown, there is a need to make more efficient use of the countertop space that is available in kitchens. Generally, prior art storage receptacles store kitchen utensils in a single fixed position, that is kitchen utensils are either stored at a substantially upright position or at an angled position. None of the prior art devices offer a user the choice of storing kitchen utensils either in the upright position or at an angled position. Because the prior art storage receptacles can only store kitchen utensils at one fixed position, many of the prior art receptacles cannot be placed in certain locations around the kitchen.

For example, a storage receptacle that can only store kitchen utensils in an upright position will not be able to be placed on a kitchen countertop that is directly under low cabinets. Similarly, a storage receptacle which only stores kitchen utensils in an angled position will not be able to be placed on a narrow kitchen countertop as the kitchen utensils will extend beyond the countertop. Thus, it would be desirable to have a receptacle for storing kitchen utensils which can be placed in a variety of different areas in a kitchen.

In addition, certain prior art storage receptacles for kitchen utensils do not provide any means for keeping the kitchen utensils spaced apart when they are stored, but rather the prior art storage receptacles store a plurality of kitchen utensils by bunching them together in a loose and unorganized manner. These types of prior art storage receptacles present organizational problems. Because the stored utensils are bunched together, a user may not be able to immediately locate a desired kitchen utensil. Time is then wasted sorting though the various stored kitchen utensils to look for the specific utensil.

The present invention is provided to solve the problems discussed above and other problems, and to provide advantages and aspects not provided by prior storage receptacles for kitchen utensils. A full discussion of the features and advantages of the present invention is deferred to the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a storage receptacle for kitchen utensils. The storage receptacle is comprised of a base, a receiving portion and a locking mechanism. The receiving portion is provided for receiving at least a portion of at least one kitchen utensil and is pivotally attached to the base. The receiving portion is moveable between a first position and a second position through an intermediate position. In the second position, the receiving portion forms an acute angle with the base. The locking mechanism is provided to fix the receiving portion in the second position.

It will be appreciated that according to several aspects of the present invention, a number of embodiments of the storage receptacle may be provided in which different locking mechanisms are employed. According to one aspect of the present invention, the locking mechanism comprises a detent for fixing the receiving portion in the second position. According to another aspect of the present invention, the receiving portion further comprises a slot for securably engaging a portion of the locking mechanism so that the receiving portion is pivotally fixed in the second position.

According to still another aspect of the present invention, the receiving portion rests on the base forming a cavity therebetween when the receiving portion is in the first position.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, the locking mechanism is pivotable between a locked position and a collapsed position. When the locking mechanism is in the collapsed position, the locking mechanism is substantially encased within the cavity formed by the base and receiving portion.

It should also be appreciated that the receiving portion of the present invention is not limited to being locked in a second position. The present invention also includes embodiments in which the receiving portion can be fixed in a plurality of different angled positions.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the receiving portion includes a plurality of receiving apertures for storing a number of kitchen utensils. The number of apertures can vary depending on the type of kitchen utensils for which the storage receptacle will be used. Each aperture is spaced apart and each aperture can store one or more utensils depending on the type of utensil. The spaced-apart apertures enable the stored utensils to be stored in an organized manner and a user can easily access the stored utensils.

According to still another aspect of the present invention, a storage receptacle is provided. The storage receptacle comprises a base, a plurality of receiving portions and a plurality of locking mechanisms corresponding to each of the receiving portions. Each receiving portion is able to hold at least one kitchen utensil and each is pivotally attached to the base. Each receiving portion is moveable between a first position and a second position through an intermediate position wherein each receiving portion forms an acute angle with the base when the receiving portion is in the second position. The locking mechanisms are provided to pivotally fix a corresponding one of the plurality of receiving portions in the second position.

It will also be appreciated that one object of the present invention is to provide a relatively simple compact storage unit for storing kitchen utensils in a convenient, readily accessible housing. A further object of the present invention is to provide a storage unit in which a plurality of kitchen utensils can be organized. Another object of the present invention is to provide a storage receptacle, which includes a receiving portion that is pivotally attached to a base so that kitchen utensils can be stored in an upright position or in one or more angled positions. Because the present invention provides the choice of either storing kitchen utensils at an upright position or at an angled position, it provides advantages over prior art storage receptacles.

Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following specification taken in conjunction with the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

To understand the present invention, it will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, wherein the receiving portion is in the first position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, wherein the receiving portion is in the second position;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, wherein kitchen utensils are being held in an upright position by the storage receptacle;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, wherein kitchen utensils are being held at an acute angle relative to the base of the storage receptacle;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, wherein the storage receptacle includes a plurality of receiving portions in the first position;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, wherein the storage receptacle includes a plurality of receiving portions of which one receiving portion is shown in the first position and another receiving portion is shown in the second position;

FIG. 7 is a partially cut away side view of one embodiment of the present invention which utilizes detents to pivotally fix the receiving portion in a second position; and,

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

The present invention is directed to a storage receptacle 10 which is used to store kitchen utensils. One embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. The storage receptacle includes a base 12 and a receiving portion 14 with the receiving portion 14 being pivotally attached to the base 12. In the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 1, the receiving portion 14 is pivotally attached to the base 12 by means of a hinge 16. However, it will be understood that the receiving portion 14 can be attached to the base 12 by any mechanism suitable to provide a pivotable connection therebetween.

The receiving portion 14 includes one or more apertures 18 for receiving kitchen utensils. While FIG. 1 shows the apertures 18 being oval, the apertures 18 can be any shape that corresponds to the shape of a kitchen utensil, and more particularly a utensil handle.

As shown in FIG. 2, the receiving portion 14 can be pivoted from a first position into a second angled position in which the receiving portion 14 forms an acute angle with respect to the base 12. The storage receptacle 10 further includes a locking mechanism to maintain the receiving portion 14 in the second position. Although it is contemplated that numerous locking mechanisms can be used to lock the receiving portion 14 into the second position, one embodiment of the present invention employs a lock and slot configuration for its locking mechanism as shown in FIG. 2. According to such an embodiment, a locking member 20 is pivotally attached to the base 12 of the storage receptacle. At least a portion of the locking member 20 is securably received into a groove or slot 22 disposed on the receiving portion 14 so that the receiving portion 14 is fixed in the second position. It should be appreciated that in other embodiments of the present invention, the lock and slot configuration can be reversed so that the slot 22 is disposed on the base 12 and the locking member 20 is pivotally attached to the receiving portion 14.

Other embodiments of the present invention include locking mechanisms so that the receiving portion 14 of the storage receptacle 10 can be fixed in a plurality of positions other than then the first position and that the present invention is not limited to second position in the above-described embodiment.

In the present invention, kitchen utensils 24 are stored in the storage receptacle 10 by placing the utensils 24 through the apertures 18 in the receiving portion 14 as illustrated in FIG. 3. The base 12 can also include apertures 26 and each of those apertures 26 is associated with a corresponding aperture 18 of the receiving portion 14. The number of apertures 18, 26 can vary depending on user preference or the type of kitchen utensils 24 that will be stored in the storage receptacle 10. The stored kitchen utensils 24 extend through the apertures 18 of the receiving portion 14 and additionally extend into the corresponding apertures 26 of the base 12 as illustrated in FIG. 4. When the receiving portion 14 is in the first position as shown in FIG. 3, the kitchen utensils 24 are stored in an upright position. When the receiving portion 14 is in the second position, the kitchen utensils 24 are stored in an angled position. FIG. 4 also shows the kitchen utensils 24 being stored in an angled position.

In another embodiment of the present invention (not shown), the base 12 of the storage receptacle 10 does not include apertures. In that embodiment, the kitchen utensils 24 extend through the apertures 18 in the receiving portion 14 and rest on the top surface 44 of the base 12 of the storage receptacle 10.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, the storage receptacle 10 includes a plurality of receiving portions 28, 30. One such embodiment is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6. FIG. 5 illustrates the storage receptacle 10 having two receiving portions 28, 30, and both receiving portions 28, 30 are shown in a collapsed position. FIG. 6 illustrates one of the receiving portions 28 being pivotally fixed at an angled position. Any number of receiving portions 14, 28, 30 can be used in the present invention, and the number of receiving portions 14, 28, 30 is only limited by the size of the storage receptacle 10 and the types of kitchen utensils that are to be stored in a particular storage receptacle 10.

As described above, there are numerous ways in which a locking mechanism can be provided to pivotally fix the receiving portion 14 in an angled position. FIGS. 2 and 4 illustrate one embodiment of the present invention where a locking member 20 is provided for pivotally fixing the receiving portion 14 in an angled position. Another example of a locking mechanism 32 is illustrated in FIG. 7, that locking mechanism 32 includes the use of detents 34, 36 which can be used to pivotally fix the receiving portion 14 in an angled position.

Although each of the storage receptacles 10 shown in the Figures are oval in shape, it should be appreciated that the shape of the storage receptacle 10 can be an infinite variety of shapes and are all considered to be included in the present invention.

The receiving portion or portions 14 of the storage receptacle 10 in the preferred embodiment includes a cavity that is formed by the top surface 40 and sidewall 42 of the receiving portion so that when the receiving portion 14 is in the first closed position the cavity is fully enclosed by the top surface 44 of the base 12 and the top surface 40 and sidewall 42 of the receiving portion 14.

While the specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications come to mind without significantly departing from the spirit of the invention, and the scope of protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying Claims.