Title:
Attachable Expandable Drying Rack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drying rack is generally disclosed herein. The drying rack is for use with a generally fixed surface, such as a wall or a laundry appliance. The drying rack has a first and a second frame member, the second frame member movable with respect to the first frame member. The drying rack also has an expandable assembly connected to and disposed between the first and the second frame members. Further more, the drying rack has an attachment means engaged to the second frame member, wherein the attachment means secures the drying rack to the wall or laundry appliance.



Inventors:
Hernandez, Rolando (Chicago, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/671286
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
02/05/2007
Assignee:
Home Products International, Inc (Chicago, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B43/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NEAL, GERBER, & EISENBERG (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drying rack for use in connection with a generally fixed surface, the drying rack comprising: a first frame member; a second frame member movable with respect to the first frame member; an expandable assembly connected to and disposed between the first and the second frame members; an attachment means engaged to the second frame member, wherein the attachment means secures the drying rack to the generally fixed surface.

2. The drying rack of claim 1, wherein the expandable assembly comprises a first side assembly, a second side assembly and a plurality of cross bars connected to both the first and the second side assemblies, wherein the expandable assembly is at least partially slidably connected to the first and the second frame members.

3. The drying rack of claim 2, wherein the expandable assembly is additionally at least partially pivotally connected to the first and the second frame members.

4. The drying rack of claim 1, wherein the generally flat surface comprises an apparatus.

5. The drying rack of claim 1, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of magnets disposed on the second frame member.

6. The drying rack of claim 1, wherein the attachment means comprises a hook and loop fastener.

7. The drying rack of claim 1, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of snaps.

8. The drying rack of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of castor wheels attached to a first bottom end of the first frame member.

9. A collapsible drying rack comprising: a first frame member; a second frame member; an expandable assembly having a first end, engaged to the first frame member, and a second end, engaged to the second frame member; and a plurality of magnets attached to the first frame member.

10. The collapsible drying rack of claim 9, wherein the assembly is slidably engaged to the first frame member through a first plurality of sliding assemblies disposed on the first frame member.

11. The collapsible drying rack of claim 9, wherein the assembly is slidably engaged to the second frame member through a second plurality of sliding assemblies disposed on the second frame member.

12. The collapsible drying rack of claim 9, wherein the assembly is rotatably engaged to the first and the second frame members.

13. The collapsible drying rack of claim 9, further comprising a means for permitting the expansion and contraction of the collapsible drying rack attached to the second frame member.

14. The collapsible drying rack of claim 13, wherein the means is a plurality of castor wheels attached to a bottom end of the second frame member.

15. A drying rack, comprising; a first frame member, wherein the first frame member comprises an attachment means to attach the drying rack to a substantially fixed surface; a second frame member, wherein the second frame member comprises an expansion means for aiding the expansion and contraction of the drying rack; an expandable apparatus engaged to the first frame member at an expandable apparatus first end, and engaged to the second frame member at an expandable apparatus second end, the expandable apparatus comprising a first side assembly, a second side assembly, and a plurality of cross bars disposed between and engaged to both the first and the second side assemblies.

16. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of magnets.

17. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of snaps.

18. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein the attachment means comprises a hook and loop fastener.

19. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein the attachment means comprises an adhesive.

20. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein the expansion means comprises a plurality of castor wheels.

21. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein each side assembly comprises a series of x-shaped subassemblies.

22. The drying rack of claim 15, wherein the expandable assembly is slidably engaged to the first frame member at the expandable assembly first end.

23. The drying rack of claim 22, wherein the expandable assembly is slidably engaged to the first frame member through a first plurality of sliding assemblies.

24. The drying rack of claim 23, wherein each sliding assembly comprises a housing and a groove formed in the housing.

25. The drying rack of claim 22, wherein the expandable assembly is slidably engaged to the second frame member at the expandable assembly second end.

26. The drying rack of claim 25, wherein the expandable assembly is slidably engaged to the second frame member through a second plurality of sliding assemblies.

27. An attachable drying rack comprising: a first frame member, wherein the first frame member comprises an attachment means to attach the drying rack to a substantially fixed surface; a second frame member, wherein the second frame member is capable of moving away from, or alternatively toward, the first frame member; an expandable apparatus engaged to the first frame member at an expandable apparatus first end, and engaged to the second frame member at an expandable apparatus second end, wherein the expandable apparatus is capable of expanding when the second frame member is moved away from the first frame member, and wherein the expandable apparatus is capable of contracting when the second frame member is moved toward the first frame member.

28. The attachable drying rack of in claim 27, wherein the expandable apparatus comprises a first side assembly, a second side assembly, and a plurality of cross bars disposed between and engaged to both the first and the second side assemblies.

29. The attachable drying rack of claim 28, wherein the first and second side assemblies each comprise a series of x-shaped subassemblies.

30. The attachable drying rack of claim 29, wherein the second frame member comprises an expanding means for permitting the movement toward or away from the first frame member.

31. The attachable drying rack of claim 30, wherein the expanding means comprises a plurality of castor wheels disposed on the second frame member.

32. The attachable drying rack of claim 30, wherein the expanding means comprises a plurality of sliding pads disposed on the second frame member.

33. The attachable drying rack of claim 27, wherein the substantially fixed surface is an apparatus.

34. The attachable drying rack of claim 27, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of magnets.

35. The attachable drying rack of claim 27, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of snaps.

36. The attachable drying rack of claim 27, wherein the attachment means comprises a hook and loop fastener.

37. The attachable drying rack of claim 27, wherein the attachment means comprises an adhesive.

38. The attachable drying rack of claim 27, wherein the attachment means comprises a plurality of screws.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to expandable drying racks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An expandable drying rack is disclosed herein. The details of the invention are set forth below in connection with the detailed description of the embodiments.

A better understanding of the invention will be obtained from the following detailed descriptions and accompanying drawings, which set forth illustrative embodiments that are indicative of the various ways in which the principals of the invention may be employed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the present invention, used in connection with an appliance.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Turning now to the figures, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements, there is illustrated in FIG. 1 a first embodiment of an expandable drying rack 10, which comprises a first frame member 12 and a second frame member 14. First frame member 12 and second frame member 14 are connected by assembly 20. In the depicted embodiment, assembly 20 comprises an expanding grille-type of structure. However, it will be appreciated by those in the art that the scope of the present invention also includes an assembly 20 that comprises any structure that allows first frame member 12 and second frame member 14 to move toward (collapse) and away from (expand) each other, including a telescoping structure, tongue-in-groove structure, a threaded, or screw-type, structure, etc.

As depicted, assembly 20 comprises a pair of side assemblies, 21 and 121, attached by a plurality of cross bars 24. Side assembly 21 is comprised of a series of x-shaped subassemblies 30, 40 and 50, while side assembly 121 is comprised of a series of corresponding x-shaped subassemblies 130, 140 and 150. Because the subassemblies 30, 40 and 50 are identical to subassemblies 130, 140 and 150, only subassemblies 30, 40 and 50 will be described in detail herein. Hence, the description of subassemblies 30, 40 and 50 will apply to subassemblies 130, 140 and 150. It will be appreciated by those in the art that, while the embodiment depicted in FIG. 1 comprises 3 subassemblies, the scope of the present invention includes those embodiments with more, or less, than three subassemblies.

In the depicted embodiment, subassembly 30 is comprised of first member 31 and second member 32. First member 31 has first end 35 and second end 37, while second member 32 has first end 36 and second end 38. As shown, first ends 35 and 36 form subassembly first end 30A, while second ends 37 and 38 form subassembly second end 30B. First member 31 and second member 32 are rotatably joined at pivot point 33, which, in the depicted embodiment, is located at the approximate midpoint of both first member 31 and second member 32. It will be appreciated that the depicted location of pivot point 33 is exemplary and not limiting.

Subassembly 40 is comprised of a structure that is similar to subassembly 30. Subassembly 40 comprises first member 41 and second member 42. First member 41 has first end 45 and second end 47, while second member 42 has first end 46 and second end 48. As shown, first ends 45 and 46 form subassembly first end 40A, while second ends 47 and 48 form subassembly second end 40B. First member 41 and second member 42 are rotatably joined at pivot point 43, which, in the depicted embodiment, is located at the approximate midpoint of both first member 41 and second member 42. It will be appreciated that the depicted location of pivot point 43 is exemplary and not limiting.

Subassembly second end 30B may be pivotally attached to subassembly first end 40A. Specifically, first member 31 of subassembly 30 is pivotably engaged to second member 42 of subassembly 40. Similarly, second member 32 of subassembly 30 is rotatably engaged to first member 41 of subassembly 40. In this manner, rotation of first member 31 and second member 32 about pivot point 33 will cause first member 41 and second member 42 to rotate about pivot point 43.

As seen, the structure of subassembly 50 may be similar to both subassemblies 30 and 40. As depicted, subassembly 50 comprises first member 51 and second member 52. First member 51 has first end 55 and second end 57, while second member 52 has first end 56 and second end 58. As shown, first ends 55 and 56 form subassembly first end 50A, while second ends 57 and 58 form subassembly second end 50B. First member 51 and second member 52 are rotatably joined at pivot point 53, which, in the depicted embodiment, is located at the approximate midpoint of both first member 51 and second member 52. It will be appreciated that the depicted location of pivot point 53 is exemplary and not limiting.

As shown, subassembly second end 40B is pivotably attached to subassembly first end 50A. Specifically, first member 41 of subassembly 40 is pivotably engaged to second member 52 of subassembly 50. Similarly, second member 42 of subassembly 40 is rotatably engaged to first member 51 of subassembly 50. In this manner, rotation of first member 41 and second member 42 about pivot point 43, or the rotation of first member 31 and second member 32 about pivot point 33, will cause first member 51 and second member 52 to rotate about pivot point 53.

In an expanding grille-type structure, the individual sub-assemblies are connected at two connection points, such as the point where first member 31 is connected to second member 42, and the point where second member 32 is connected to first member 41. As is known in the art, in an expanding grille-type structure, such as assembly 20, the distance between these connection points will increase as the structure is collapsed. Conversely, the distance between these connection points will decrease as the structure is expanded. To accommodate this increase and decrease in distances, assembly 20 is slidably engaged to both first frame member 12 and second frame member 14.

Specifically, assembly 20 is attached to frame member 12 through subassembly first end 30A. As depicted, first end 36 of second member 32 is pivotally engaged to frame member 12. First end 136 of second member 132 is also pivotally engaged to frame member 12. First end 35 of first member 31 is slidably engaged to frame member 12 through sliding assembly 60. Likewise, first end 135 of first member 131 is slidably engaged to frame member 12 through sliding assembly 160. Sliding assembly 60 comprises housing 62 attached to frame member 12. Housing member 62 comprises groove 64 (not shown), to which first end 35 is slidably engaged. It will be appreciated by those in the art that there are numerous ways to slidably engage first end 35 with groove 64, all of which are covered by the scope of the present invention. Sliding assembly 60 is identical to sliding assembly 160, and therefore, it will be appreciated by those in the art that the description of sliding assembly 60 will apply to sliding assembly 160. It will also be appreciated by those in the art that the scope of the present invention includes an embodiment in which first ends 35 and 135 are pivotally attached to frame member 12, while first ends 36 and 136 are slidably attached to frame member 12 through sliding assemblies similar to assemblies 60 and 160. The scope of the present invention also includes an embodiment where each of first ends 35, 135, 36 and 136 are slidably attached to frame member 12 through sliding assemblies similar to assemblies 60 and 160.

Assembly 20 is also attached to frame member 14 through subassembly second end 50B. Specifically, second end 57 of first member 51 is pivotally engaged to frame member 14. First end 157 of first member 151 is also pivotally engaged to frame member 14. Second end 58 of second member 52 is slidably engaged to frame member 14 through sliding assembly 80. Likewise, second end 158 of second member 152 is slidably engaged to frame member 14 through sliding assembly 180. Sliding assemblies 80 and 180 may be identical to sliding assembly 60, and need not be described in detail. It will be appreciated by those in the art that the scope of the present invention includes an embodiment in which second ends 58 and 158 are pivotally attached to frame member 14, while second ends 57 and 157 are slidably attached to frame member 14 through sliding assemblies similar to assemblies 80 and 180. The scope of the present invention also includes an embodiment where each of second ends 57, 157, 58 and 158 are slidably attached to frame member 14 through sliding assemblies similar to assemblies 80 and 180.

As seen in FIG. 3, drying rack 10 may be used with fastening surface 200. Fastening surface 200 may be any known appliance, such as a drying machine (as shown), a washing machine, a refrigerator, etc, or it may be any generally flat surface, such as a wall, a door, etc. To aid in the attachment of drying rack 10 to appliance 200, a plurality of attachment structures 90 may be engaged to frame member 14. In the depicted embodiment, attachment means 90 includes magnets, but it will be appreciated by those in the art that attachment means 90 can include any known means to easily attach and remove drying rack 10 from surface 200, such as adhesives, hook and loop fasteners (i.e., VELCRO®), hooks, fasteners, snaps, etc.

To aid in the expansion and contraction of expandable drying rack 10, castor wheels 70 are engaged to frame member 12 at bottom end 13 thereof. Castor wheels, such as castor wheels 70, are well known in the art, and will only be generally described herein. Each castor wheel 70 is capable of rotating 360┬░ in a plane perpendicular to the axis of frame member 12. To keep expandable drying rack 10 from involuntarily contracting, each castor wheel 70 can also be braked through known means. It will be appreciated by those in the art that the description of castor wheels 70 is exemplary, and is by no means meant to be limiting. For example, castor wheels 70 need not be capable of rotating in a plane perpendicular to the axis of frame member 12. Moreover, it will be appreciated that the scope of the present invention is not limited to the use of castor wheels, but includes any means to ease the expansion and contraction of expandable drying rack 10, such as sliders, pads, etc.

While specific embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications and alternatives to those details could be developed in light of the overall teachings of the disclosure. Accordingly, the particular arrangements disclosed are meant to be illustrative only and not limiting as to the scope of the invention which is to be given the full breadth of the appended claims and any equivalent thereof.