Title:
DOMED SPLATTER SCREEN WITH A FITTED RIM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A domed splatter screen with a fitted rim. The domed splatter screen is placed over a pan used for frying a food item. The splatter screen includes a handle, a body, and a rim. The body is constructed of metal mesh and is dome shaped. The mesh catches and prevents oil droplets from splattering onto the stovetop. The dome shape allows the splatter screen to cover a pan with a food item that extends above the pan wall. The rim encircles the edge of the body and is fitted to securely attach to the pan wall. The handle is attached to the body to enable the splatter to screen to be placed over and removed from the pan.



Inventors:
Krent, Adam (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Seo, Youngjin (Fresh Meadows, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/127920
Publication Date:
12/04/2008
Filing Date:
05/28/2008
Assignee:
Lifetime Brands, Inc. (Garden City, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/752, 220/731
International Classes:
B65D51/16; B65D1/40; B65D25/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cover adapted to securely attach to a cooking implement, the cover comprising, a non-planar portion permeable to water vapor and substantially impermeable to droplets of cooking oil; a perimeter portion adapted to securely engage a side wall of the cooking implement; and a handle for holding and moving the cover.

2. The cover of claim 1, the non-planar portion extending above the perimeter portion when the cover is secured to the side wall of a cooking implement.

3. The cover of claim 1, at least part of the non-planar portion constructed from a mesh material.

4. The cover of claim 1, the entire non-planar portion constructed from a mesh material.

5. The cover of claim 1, the non-planar portion and the perimeter portion constructed from a mesh material.

6. The cover of claim 1, wherein the non-planar portion has a radius of curvature greater than the radius of the side wall of cooking implement.

7. The cover of claim 1, the handle adapted to be at least partially thermally isolated from the perimeter portion.

8. A screen implement for covering an article of cookware, the screen implement comprising: a non-planar mesh surface for containing oil droplets within the cookware; a rim extending around the perimeter of the mesh surface, the rim cooperatively engaging the top of the cookware to secure the screen implement to the cookware and prevent lateral movement of the screen implement relative to the cookware; and a handle for placing the screen implement onto the cookware and removing the screen implement from the cookware.

9. The screen implement of claim 8, the rim comprising a substantially horizontal surface and a substantially vertical surface, the horizontal surface engaging a top of the wall of the cookware and the vertical surface engaging a side of the wall of the cookware.

10. The screen implement of claim 9, wherein the vertical surface is adapted to be disposed outside the perimeter of the wall of the cookware.

11. The screen implement of claim 9, wherein the vertical surface is adapted to be disposed inside the perimeter of the wall of the cookware.

12. The screen implement of claim 8, the mesh surface allowing water vapor to rise from the cookware and preventing an oil droplet from passing from the cook surface of the cookware into the area surrounding the cookware.

13. The screen implement of claim 8, the mesh surface having a plurality of apertures, wherein the average width of the apertures is less than the average effective diameter of oil droplets produced from frying a food item.

14. The screen implement of claim 8, portions of the mesh surface rising above the rim and wall of the cookware when the screen implement is placed atop the cookware to enable frying food items that extend above the wall of the cookware while maintaining the screen implement securely engaged with the cookware.

15. A splatter screen for covering a frying pan, the splatter screen comprising: a non-planar mesh body adapted to enable steam to pass through the splatter screen and prevent droplets of oil formed during cooking from passing through the splatter screen; a rim adapted to engage the side wall of the frying pan and laterally stabilize the splatter screen relative to the frying pan; and a handle for maneuvering the splatter screen.

16. The splatter screen of claim 15, the handle attached to the non-planar mesh body.

17. The splatter screen of claim 15, the handle attached to the rim.

18. The platter screen of claim 15, at least a portion of the non-planar mesh body extending substantially above the height of the side wall of the frying pan when the splatter screen is secured to the frying pan to accommodate a food item having a height greater than the height of the side wall of the frying pan.

19. The splatter screen of claim 15, wherein the non-planar mesh body is arcuate.

20. The splatter screen of claim 15, wherein the non-planar mesh body is dome shaped.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/940,738 filed 30 May 2007, which application is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to splatter screens used to limit liquids from splattering out of a pan or pot during cooking or frying.

2. Description of Related Art

Splatter screens are useful to contain liquids or particulates within a desired functional area. In the food industry, splatter screens are commonly used to prevent oil or fat from splashing outside of a pot or pan during frying or cooking. As illustrated in FIG. 1 a conventional splatter screen 10 is generally a flat, circular metal mesh 12 with a circumferential rim 14 and a handle 16 attached to the rim 14. A conventional splatter screen 10 is balanced atop a pot or pan containing a food item that is usually being fried in oil, simply lying over the top of the pan. As the item cooks, water from the item mixes with the oil and boils. The boiling water violently evaporates, causing the mixture to sizzle and splash. The splatter screen prevents droplets from splashing outside the pan and onto the stove top. Such flying droplets not only cause a mess, but can be painful and even harmful to the skin and eyes of individuals in the vicinity of the pan.

An important feature of the conventional screen is that while the mesh catches oil droplets, steam can rise freely and circulate around the food item. This is important for enhancing the taste and flavor of the item being fried.

Yet, there are several drawbacks to conventional splatter screen designs. First, splatter screens are flat and sit atop the pan wall. Consequently, if the food item extends above the height of the pan wall, it will inhibit the screen from abutting flush atop the pan wall, providing an unbalanced “cover”, and thus presenting a gap between the screen and the pan wall through which oil can splatter. The food item will, in essence, act as a fulcrum point for the screen to balance upon, causing the screen to wobble.

Second, conventional splatter screens are one-size fits all. Thus, circular mesh 12 often lies atop the pan edge, instead of the more robust rim 14 uniformly fitting the pan, which would be beneficial. Consequently, the circular mesh 12 may become burned or charred. The rim of a conventional splatter screen is not designed to fit the pan wall. Consequently, the splatter screen loosely sits atop the pan wall. Any movement of the pan can disturb, misplace, or dislodge the oily screen entirely, greatly encumbering the maneuverability of the pan, and creating the potential for a mess caused by a fallen oil laden screen.

Until now, there has existed a need for a splatter screen designed to securely fit the edge of a pan and accommodate larger food items that extend above the height of the pan wall. The splatter screen of the present invention alleviates these long felt needs.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly described, in preferred form, the present invention is a dome shaped splatter screen with a fitted rim for covering a pan. The splatter screen comprises a body, a rim, and a handle. The body is preferably constructed from a mesh material. The edge of the body is circumferentially enclosed by a rim. The body is dome shaped, extending above the height of the rim, to accommodate oversized food items. The rim securely and cooperatively fits with the pan wall. A handle is provided, allowing the user to place and remove the splatter screen atop the pan.

In an exemplary embodiment, the splatter screen is designed to be placed atop a pan containing a food item being fried or cooked. As the item fries, the mesh body of the splatter screen prevents oil and grease droplets from splashing out of the pan. The mesh structure, however, allows air and steam to freely circulate in and out the pan. The rim of the splatter screen fits over or within the pan wall in a complimentary manner, such that the pan can be easily covered or uncovered, but the screen will not slide off when the pan is handled. The domed shape of the body allows the screen to accommodate large food items such as mounds of fries or a thick steak, while the rim remains in contact with the pan wall.

In an exemplary embodiment, the splatter screen comprises a body for at least partially covering a piece of cookware with cookware walls, the splatter screen being non-planar, meaning at least a portion of the body (not necessarily the entirety of the body) extends above the cookware walls when the splatter screen is covering the piece of cookware. It will be understood by those of skill in the art that the whole body of the splatter screen is “non-planar” if only a portion of it is non-planar. That is to say, by defining the body of the splatter screen as “non-planar” means at least a portion of the body extends above the cookware walls when the splatter screen is covering the piece of cookware. This is distinguishable from the conventional splatter screen, which simply presents a flat, planar screen of mesh across the top of a piece of cookware, such that if a food item or other element were placed in the cookware, but extends beyond the height of the cookware sidewalls, the conventional flat splatter screen would not be capable of securely fitting on the cookware. The present invention incorporates at least a portion of the body that does not lie in a flat plane with perhaps other portions of the body.

It is this non-planar portion of the body that presents an area underneath which, when a food item that extends beyond the height of the sidewalls of a piece cookware is placed in the cookware, it would not contact the splatter screen. The body can be non-planar in the sense of a dome, but it need not be, as only a portion can be, for example, arcuate. The body preferably comprises a metal mesh.

In an exemplary embodiment, the splatter screen comprises a body for covering the top of the cookware, a rim around the perimeter of the body for cooperatively engaging the cookware walls to maintain the splatter screen on the cookware, and a handle, wherein the body is non-planar. The body can have at least one convex portion that extends above the cookware walls when the splatter screen is covering the piece of cookware. Further, the body can dome-shaped, wherein the entirety of the body extends above the cookware walls when the splatter screen is covering the piece of cookware.

In an exemplary embodiment, the present invention is a cover adapted to securely attach to a cooking implement, the cover comprising a non-planar portion permeable to water vapor and substantially impermeable to droplets of cooking oil, a perimeter portion adapted to securely engage a side wall of the cooking implement, and a handle for holding and moving the cover. The non-planar portion can extend above the perimeter portion when the cover is secured to the side wall of a cooking implement. At least part of the non-planar portion can be constructed from a mesh material. The non-planar portion of the present invention can have a radius of curvature greater than the radius of the side wall of cooking implement. The handle can be adapted to be at least partially thermally isolated from the perimeter portion.

In an exemplary embodiment, the present invention is a screen implement for covering an article of cookware, the screen implement comprising a non-planar mesh surface for containing oil droplets within the cookware, a rim extending around the perimeter of the mesh surface, the rim cooperatively engaging the top of the cookware to secure the screen implement to the cookware and prevent lateral movement of the screen implement relative to the cookware, and a handle for placing the screen implement onto the cookware and removing the screen implement from the cookware. The rim can comprise a substantially horizontal surface and a substantially vertical surface, the horizontal surface engaging a top of the wall of the cookware and the vertical surface engaging a side of the wall of the cookware. The vertical surface of the rim can be adapted to be disposed outside the perimeter of the wall of the cookware. Alternatively, the vertical surface of the rim can be adapted to be disposed inside the perimeter of the wall of the cookware. The mesh surface allows water vapor to rise from the cookware and preventing an oil droplet from passing from the cook surface of the cookware into the area surrounding the cookware. The mesh surface can have a plurality of apertures, wherein the average width of the apertures is less than the average effective diameter of oil droplets produced from frying a food item.

A principle object of the present invention is to provide a splatter screen that can be used to cover a pan containing food items that extended above the height of the pan wall.

Another object of the present invention is to provide splatter screen with a rim that fits securely against the pan wall.

These and other features as well as advantages, which characterize various exemplary embodiments of the present invention, will be apparent from a reading of the following detailed description and a review of the associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional splatter screen known in the prior art.

FIG. 2A illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a splatter screen.

FIG. 2B illustrates a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a splatter screen.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of a splatter screen with a rim fitted within the pan wall.

FIG. 4 illustrates a side cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of a splatter screen with a rim fitted outside the pan wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

According to various exemplary embodiments, the present invention is directed to a splatter screen for fittedly covering a cooking implement. The splatter screen comprises a body, a handle, and a rim. The body is at least partially non-planar, preferably convex, extending above the height of the rim. The rim encloses the edge of the body, and is shaped to cooperatively communicate with and fit the perimeter of the cooking implement. The handle is disposed at a point on the body or along the rim for handling the splatter screen.

Referring now in detail to the drawing figures, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of an exemplary embodiment of a splatter screen 100. The splatter screen 100 preferably comprises a body 110, a rim 120, and a handle 130. The body 110 is preferably circular in shape relative to the horizontal plane. The rim 120 is circular as well and circumferentially encloses and communicates with the body 110. The handle 130 may be disposed at many points on the body 110 or along the rim, preferable mounted atop the center of the body 110. In other contemplated embodiments, the body 110 and rim 120 are not circular in the horizontal plane. For example, the shape of the body 110 and rim 120 may match the perimeter or wall of a cooking implement, enabling to rim 120 to cooperate and abut flush with the perimeter or wall.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the splatter screen 100 used to cover a pan 140. The body 110 in the exemplary embodiment is preferably dome shaped. The dome shape enables the body 110 to accommodate large food items that extend above the pan wall 141 without being in contact with the items. Since the food items do not come in contact with the body 110, the rim 120 is able to remain flush against the pan wall 141 along its entire circumference. The dome is illustrated as being circular. In other contemplated embodiments, the body may be partially or fully non-planar. For example, portions of or all of the body 110 be convex or extend above the height of the rim 120. In further contemplated embodiments the non-planar or convex shape of the body 110 may be elliptical, arcuate, angled, cylindrical, constructed from multiple smaller geometric panels, or another suitable shape that allows at least a portion of the body to extend substantially above the height of the rim 120 and pan wall 141.

The body 110 is preferably constructed from a metal mesh. The diameter or width of the apertures in the mesh is preferably smaller than the average diameter of a droplet of oil, fat, grease, or other fluid commonly present during cooking or frying. Such dimensions will enable the mesh to catch droplets and prevent them from splattering onto the stovetop. The mesh will also allow ventilation of steam and air in and out of the pan. Allowing steam and air to circulate freely prevents the buildup of heat and water, which can affect taste and flavor, around the food item being cooked. In other contemplated embodiments, the body may be substantially solid with a regularly recurring pattern of apertures that allow ventilation. In further embodiments, the body may be constructed of glass, plastic, metal, or a combination of one or more other suitable materials.

In FIG. 3, the handle 130 is illustrated as preferably being substantially circular. In other contemplated embodiments, the handle can be elliptical, oval, curved, arcuate, contoured, or substantially straight. Each end of the handle 130 may preferably be attached to the body 110 by rivets 131 and 132. In other contemplated embodiments, the one of more portions of the handle 130 may be attached to one or more points on the body 110 by other fastening implements such as bolts, screws, hooks, pins, glue, epoxy, or welding. It is also contemplated that the handle 130 is integral to the body 110. The connection between the handle 130 and the body 110 is preferably selected to minimize conductivity of heat to prevent burning the user when handled. The handle 130 is preferably metal. The handle 130 is preferable at least partially thermal isolated from the body 110 and the rim 120. In other contemplated embodiments, the handle 130 may be wood, plastic, rubber, or another suitable material or combination of materials. The handle 130 is preferably attached at or near the top of the dome. In other contemplated embodiments, the handle 130 may be attached at a plurality of different locations on the body 110 or along the rim 120. Preferably, one handle 130 is attached to the body. In other contemplated embodiments, a plurality of handles may be employed.

An exemplary embodiment of a rim 120 of a splatter screen 100 is illustrated in FIG. 3. The rim 120 of the exemplary embodiment is fitted in shape and size to cooperate with a pan wall or the edge or wall of another cooking implement. The rim 120 is preferably circular in shape and circumferentially encloses and communicates with the edge of the body 110. The diameter of the rim 120 preferably is such that the rim 120 may communicate with the pan wall 141 of a pan 140 to securely attach the splatter screen 100 atop the pan 140. In an exemplary embodiment, the rim 120 further comprises a lip 121 and a shoulder 122. The lip 121 and shoulder 122 preferably are integral to the rim 120, and span the circumference of the rim 120. The lip 121 preferably defines a vertical wall or edge along the bottom of the rim 120. The lip 121 and shoulder 122 communicate with the pan wall 141. In the illustrated exemplary embodiment, the lip 121 fits within the perimeter defined by the pan wall 141. The lip 121 preferably touches or abuts against the side of the pan wall 141. The shoulder 122 abuts flush against the top of the pan wall 141, allowing the rim 120 to rest atop the pan wall 41 along its circumference. The lip 121 prevents the splatter screen 100 from sliding off the pan during cooking, and provides for a snug fit of screen 100 to pan 140. It is contemplated that a variety of different size splatter screens 100 may be constructed with different radii of the body 110 and rim 120 to fit different standard and nonstandard sized pans and pots.

An alternative exemplary embodiment of the rim 120 of a splatter screen 100 is illustrated in FIG. 4. In the alternative embodiment, the rim 120 comprises a lip 121 and a shoulder 122, where the lip 121 fits along the outside of the perimeter defined by the pan wall 141. The shoulder 122 abuts flush against the top of the pan wall 141, allowing the rim 120 to rest atop the pan wall 141 along its circumference.

In both of the alternative exemplary embodiments of the rim 120, the splatter screen 100 can be easily placed on and removed from the pan, but will not inadvertently slide off the pan 140 during cooking.

In other contemplated embodiments, the splatter screen 100 may be used with a variety of cooking devices such as pots, woks, grills, fryers, skillets, and other cooking implements. The splatter screen 100 may be constructed in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit many various intended cooking implements. For example, the shape of the body and the rim could be square, rectangular, elliptical, or a variety of regular and irregular shapes designed to fit the wall of a cooking implement.

The above exemplary embodiment describe a splatter screen 100 adapted for use in a stovetop environment. In other contemplated embodiments, the splatter screen 100 may be used in a convection or microwave oven environment. For example, the body 110, rim 120, a handle 130 of the splatter screen 100 could be formed from metal and heat resistant resins for use in a convection oven. Further, the body 110, rim 120, a handle 130 of the splatter screen 100 could be formed from thermoset plastic resin for use in a microwave oven.

Numerous characteristics and advantages have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of structure and function. While the invention has been disclosed in several forms, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many modifications, additions, and deletions, especially in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts, can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and its equivalents as set forth in the following claims. Therefore, other modifications or embodiments as may be suggested by the teachings herein are particularly reserved as they fall within the breadth and scope of the claims here appended.





 
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