Title:
Full and Partial Oven Rack Assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An oven rack assembly (100′) is utilized within an oven (128′) having a pair of ladder frames (1221) mounted to the sides of the oven interior surfaces (124′). The oven rack assembly (100′) includes a pair of support stampings (112′) coupled to an oven rack (102′) so that the support stampings (112′) will move in unison with the rack (102′). The oven rack assembly (100′) also includes a slide (114′) comprising an outer bracket (144′) and an inner, slidable bracket (148′). The inner bracket (1481) is secured to the support stamping (112′). A connection stamping (116′) includes a pair of catches (118′, 120′) and is secured to the outer bracket (144′) of the slide (114′). The oven rack (102′) is extendable between retracted and extended positions.



Inventors:
Ambrose, Jeffrey A. (Evansville, IN, US)
Stewart, Brian J. (Vincennes, IN, US)
Application Number:
12/085856
Publication Date:
04/16/2009
Filing Date:
11/30/2006
Assignee:
SSW HOLDING COMPANY INC. (FORT SMITH, AR, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/337A
International Classes:
F24C15/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HAMILTON, FRANCES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VARNUM, RIDDERING, SCHMIDT & HOWLETT LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An oven rack assembly for use in an oven cavity, said oven cavity having means for supporting said oven rack assembly within said oven cavity, said oven rack assembly comprising: an oven rack comprising means for supporting items to be cooked or otherwise heated within said oven cavity, said oven rack being manually extendable between a retracted position and an extended position; a pair of support stampings, each stamping being fixedly secured to one of opposing sides of said oven rack; a pair of slides, each of said slides comprising an outer bracket and an inner, slidable bracket, said inner slidable bracket being fixedly secured to said support stamping; a pair of connection stampings, each of said connection stampings being positioned outwardly from a corresponding one of said slides, and fixedly secured to said outer bracket of said slide; and each of said connection stampings comprising catch means for capturing said means for supporting said oven rack assembly within said oven cavity.

2. An oven rack assembly in accordance with claim 1, characterized in that said catch means associated with a corresponding one of said connection stampings comprises a rear tab catch having a rearwardly extending finger, and a front tab catch positioned forwardly of said rear tab catch.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This International Application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/741,028 filed Nov. 30, 2005.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFISHE APPENDIX

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to oven-related products and, more particularly, oven rack assemblies that can be fully or partially extended.

2. Background Art

Various types of oven racks are well known in the industry. For example, steel wire oven racks are often manufactured from a steel rod which is drawn, so as to form steel wire. These oven racks formed of steel wire products can be coated with various types of materials. Also, oven racks and other oven-related articles can be manufactured from products other than steel. Of course, any type of oven rack or similar product which is positioned within an oven cavity during use must be capable of withstanding normal cooking temperatures which substantially exceed normal cooking temperatures. In addition, for ovens which employ self-cleaning cycles, the oven racks and other oven-related articles located within the oven itself must be capable of being subjected to and withstanding temperatures which substantially exceed normal cooking temperatures. For example, steel wire oven racks may be subjected to temperatures above 900° F. associated with self cleaning cycles, common in today's kitchen ovens.

One difficulty which has existed for a number of years in the industry relates to manipulation of oven racks. in many conventional ovens, the oven racks can be positioned at various vertically disposed positions, and be adjustable among the same. With the oven racks positioned as desired at various vertically adjusted locations, the oven racks often “slide” on ribs or roller bearing mechanism positioned on the lateral sides of the oven cavity. These ribs, roller bearings or “ledges” may be separately manufactured and assembled components from the surfaces of the oven cavity and oven racks or, alternatively, may be integrated into the lateral surfaces of the oven cavity.

With respect to oven rack assemblies which can be extended, such rack assemblies traditionally fall within one of two types of applications. One particularly application comprises an oven rack assembly which interacts directly with ribbed liners on the sidewalls of an oven interior. In a second application, the oven rack assembly interacts with a ladder frame connected to the sidewalls of an oven interior.

As an example, Barnes, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,148,813 issued Nov. 21, 2000, discloses a telescoping oven rack assembly for an oven cavity. The assembly includes a rack extendable upon a primary rack frame. In turn, the rack frame is mounted for sliding movement relative to the oven cavity. With this configuration, multiple extensions for the rack are available. The rack is supported upon guides carried by the rack frame, along with multiple sets of rollers. A secondary rack frame can be used to slidably support the primary rack frame, so that a further extension can be made.

Le, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,617 issued Sep. 6, 2005, discloses an oven rack assembly having full extension slides. The slides are mounted to an oven rack, and oven rack frames or wire racks provided full extension from an oven enclosure. The rack frame is mounted to oven walls or the slides are coupled to wire racks along the oven side walls. This patent discloses the concept of the user of ladder frames.

In accordance with the foregoing, it is known for the prior art to utilize items such as a subframe and/or attachable brackets for the slidable oven rack assembly. In these prior art configurations, the subframe may support the weight of items placed on the oven rack, and keep the assembly in place, relative to the ladder tracks or the ribbed liner. In prior art systems employing attachable brackets, the brackets provide a fixed connection between the oven rack and the ladder racks. One disadvantage of the prior art is that the use of the subframe and/or attachable brackets increases the number of components required for the oven rack assembly. Also, such use takes up increased room within the oven interior, thereby reducing the amount of usable space.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the prior art oven rack having a handle;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the oven rack and handle of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the second embodiment of a prior art oven rack and handle;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the second embodiment of the oven rack and handle illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a plan view of the third embodiment of a prior art oven rack and handle;

FIG. 6 is a partial side elevational view of the oven rack and handle illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a partial plan view of the fourth embodiment of a prior art oven rack and handle;

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the oven rack and handle illustrated in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 illustrates a plan view of a fifth embodiment of a prior art oven rack with a handle;

FIG. 10 is a side view of the oven rack illustrated in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a still further embodiment of a prior art handle rack, comprising an oven rack and a handle;

FIG. 12 is a side view of the oven rack illustrated in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an oven rack assembly in accordance with the invention, showing an oven interior with ladder frames;

FIG. 14 is an exploded view of the oven rack assembly illustrated in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the oven rack assembly illustrated in FIG. 14, showing the oven rack assembly in an assembled state;

FIG. 16 is a side view of the oven rack assembly in accordance with the invention, showing the oven rack in an extended state;

FIG. 17 is a side view of the oven rack assembly shown in FIG. 15, but showing the rack assembly in an unextended or retracted state; and

FIG. 18 is a cross section of the oven rack assembly shown in FIG. 13, in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The principles of the invention are disclosed, by way of example, in an oven rack assembly 100′ as described herein and illustrated in FIGS. 13-18. In accordance with the invention, the oven rack assembly may be used with ribbed liners, or otherwise used with ladder frame applications. In the particular embodiment described herein, the oven rack assembly 100′ is shown only with the ladder frame application. In accordance with certain aspects of the invention illustrated by the oven rack assembly 100′, the invention eliminates the need for a subframe or attachable brackets, thereby reducing the number of components required for the assembly. Further, oven rack assemblies in accordance with the invention may take up less room in the oven interior, thereby allowing more usable space. Still further, oven rack assemblies in accordance with the invention may provide more efficient manufacturability. The invention employs two different designs metal stampings, which provide support and act as a connection means between the oven rack and the ladder tracks. One stamping provides support through its weldments to the oven rack, while the other stamping provides a connection means through the use of stamped tab catches between the oven rack and the ladder tracks. Full extension or partial extension slides can be attached between the two stampings, so as to complete the oven rack assembly. Still further, the invention may employ oven racks having a porcelain coating, which allow the oven rack assemblies to be left in the oven during self-clean cycles. Also, without departing from the principal concepts of the invention, alternate coatings may also be utilized, such as nickel or chrome plating.

For purposes of describing additional background regarding oven rack assemblies, prior art embodiments of certain types of oven racks are illustrated in FIGS. 1-12, and described in subsequent paragraphs herein. These oven rack embodiments are disclosed in a commonly assigned United States patent application entitled “Handle Rack” and filed Aug. 20, 2004. Following the description of the prior art oven racks as illustrated in FIGS. 1-12, the principles of the current invention will be described with respect to FIGS. 13-18.

More specifically, and first primarily with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2, a handle rack 100 is illustrated. The handle rack 100 includes an oven rack 102. The oven rack 102 is in part a substantially conventional oven rack, with the exception of the handle 116 as described in subsequent paragraphs herein. The oven rack 102 includes an elongated rear brace 104 which is positioned adjacent the rear of the oven cavity when the oven rack 102 is in its retracted and normal position within the oven cavity (not shown). The rear brace 104 and other components of the oven rack 102 can be manufactured in a conventional manner of steel wire products or the like. Alternatively, other types of materials and structures may be utilized for the rear brace and other components of the oven rack.

Interconnected or otherwise integral with the rear brace 104 is a right brace 106 which extends perpendicular to the rear brace 104. The right brace 106 extends between the forward and the rear sections of the oven rack 102, and essentially acts as a support brace for other elements of the oven rack 102. Also, when the oven rack 102 is placed within the oven cavity, the right brace 106 will typically rest or otherwise be releasably secured on a rib or other conventional element of the oven cavity. Corresponding to the right brace 106, the oven rack 102 also includes a left brace 108. The left brace 108 is parallel to the right brace 106 and is interconnected to or otherwise integral with the rear brace 104. As with the right brace 106, the left brace 108 extends between the rear and front portions of the oven rack 102. As with the right brace 106, the left brace 108 rests upon or is otherwise releasably secured to a rib or similar component of the oven cavity (not shown).

Positioned intermediate the right brace 106 and the left brace 108 are a series of parallel and longitudinally extending elongated support members 110. The support members 110 act as the principal support members of the oven rack 102 for supporting items to be heated and cooked within the oven cavity. The rear ends of the support members 110 are connected to the rear brace 104 by suitable means, such as welding or the like. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the right brace 106, left brace 108 and the support members 110 include a series of intermediate forms 113 located near the rear portions of the braces 106, 108 and support members 110. The intermediate forms 113 are connected to or are otherwise integral with angled forms 111 also shown in FIG. 2. The angled configuration of the forms 111 assist in preventing items placed on the support members 110 from falling off of the oven rack 102 over the rear brace 104.

The oven rack 102 also includes a central brace 112, extending perpendicular to the right brace 106 and the left brace 108. The central brace 112 is also positioned substantially intermediate from the rear brace 104 and the front brace 114. The central brace 112 provides for additional support for items placed on the oven rack 102 for purposes of heating or cooking. The central brace 112 may be connected to the support members 110, right brace 106 and left brace 108 in any conventional manner. For example, welding may be utilized.

In addition to the foregoing, the oven rack 102 also includes a front brace 114. The front brace 114, with reference to the illustration in FIG. 1, includes a left portion 124 and a right portion 126. The front brace 114, comprising left and right portions 124, 126, respectively, provides a forward bracing means for the oven rack 102. As illustrated in FIG. 1, three of the support members 110 are interconnected to the left portion 124 of the front brace 114, while three of the support members 110 are also interconnected to the right portion 126 of the front brace 114.

The handle rack 100 comprises not only the oven rack 102, but also the handle 116. The handle 116 is primarily illustrated in FIG. 1. More specifically, the handle 116 includes a rear handle brace 118 having an elongated configuration as shown in FIG. 1. The rear handle brace 118 extends parallel to the rear brace 104 and the central brace 112. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the intermediate seven support members 110 have one end of each of the same interconnected to the rear handle brace 118. Interconnected to or otherwise integral with the rear handle brace 118 are a pair of handle sides 122. The handle sides 122 extend substantially parallel to the support members 110, right brace 106 and left brace 108. Correspondingly, the handle 116 also includes a front handle brace 120. The front handle brace 120, as illustrated in FIG. 1, is elongated and is positioned substantially parallel to the rear handle brace 118. The handle sides 122 are integral with or otherwise appropriately interconnected to the front handle brace 120. Also, if desired the front handle brace 120 can actually be a brace which is integral with the front brace 114 comprising the left portion 124 and the right portion 126.

With the configuration of the handle rack 100′ comprising the oven rack 102 and the handle 116 as described in the foregoing paragraphs, a handle is provided for purposes of manual manipulation in extending and retracting the oven rack 102 from an oven cavity (not shown). More specifically, with the oven rack 102 in a normal position within an oven cavity, the user may open an oven door (not shown). The handle 116 will be adjacent the oven door. For purposes of extending the oven rack 102 out of the oven cavity, the user may manually grip the front handle brace 120, and exert forces in a direction corresponding to the perpendicular direction from the rear brace 104 to the front handle brace 120. These forces will cause the oven rack 102 to be extended outwardly from the oven cavity.

As primarily illustrated in FIG. 2, the oven rack 102 also includes a pair of bosses 115 which are located within the right brace 106 and the left brace 108. The bosses 115 are conventional in many oven racks, and comprise a means for providing some securing forces when the oven rack is in its conventional position within the oven cavity. That is, the bosses 115 will typically “mate” with corresponding indents located in ribs or ledges on each side surface of the oven cavity. With this type of mating relationship, the user may need to exert partially upwardly directed forces so as to lift the bosses 115 out of the indents when extending the oven rack 102 out of the oven cavity.

In accordance with the foregoing, the handle rack 100 provides not only the oven rack 102, but also provides a handle 116 for facilitating manual movement of the oven rack 102 between extended and retracted positions relative to the oven cavity (not shown). As earlier mentioned, the handle 116 can be utilized to extend the oven rack 102 out of the oven cavity. Correspondingly, a user may manually grip the front handle brace 120 and exert forces rearwardly against the oven rack 102 for purposes of retracting the oven rack 102 in to the oven cavity.

The handle rack 100 also includes means for supporting the handle rack within the oven cavity. Means are also provided for supporting items to be cooked or otherwise heated within the oven cavity, and the handle is secured to the oven rack at a front portion of the rack, positioned adjacent the oven door. Also in accordance with the foregoing, the handle is sized and configured so that an opening is formed between a front portion of the handle, and a front portion of the oven rack. In accordance with the foregoing, the opening is a side sufficient so that a user can readily grip the front portion of the handle, so that the oven rack can be extended from or retracted into the oven cavity. For this purpose, the opening formed between the front handle brace 120 and the rear handle brace 118 should be sufficient so that a user is capable of gripping the front handle brace 120 in a convenient manner, for purposes of extending or retracting the oven rack 102. That is, the opening between the front and rear braces 120, 118 should permit a user's hand to fit therethrough, so as to conveniently grip the brace 120.

A second embodiment of a handle rack is illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 as handle rack 200. The handle rack 200 includes an oven rack 202. The oven rack 202 is in part a substantially conventional oven rack, with the exception of the handle 216 as described in sub sequent paragraphs herein. as with the oven rack 102, the oven rack 202 includes an elongated rear brace 204 positioned adjacent the rear of the oven cavity when the oven rack 202 is in its retracted and normal position within the oven cavity (not shown).

Interconnected or otherwise integral with the rear brace 204 is a right brace 206 which extends perpendicular to the rear brace 204. The right brace 206 extends between the forward and rear sections of the oven rack 202, and essentially acts as a support brace for other elements of the oven rack 202. Also, when the oven rack 202 is placed within the oven cavity, the right brace 206 will typically rest or otherwise be releasably secured on a rib or other conventional element of the oven cavity. Corresponding to the right brace 206, the oven rack 202 also includes a left brace 208. The left brace 208 is parallel to the right brace 206 and is interconnected or otherwise integral with the rear brace 204. As with the right brace 206, the left brace 208 extends between the rear and front portions of the oven rack 202. As with the right brace 206, the left brace 208 rests upon nor is otherwise releasably secured to a rib or similar component of the oven cavity (not shown).

Positioned intermediate the right brace 206 and the left brace 208 are a series of parallel and longitudinally extending elongated support members 210. The support members 210 act as the principal support members of the oven rack 202 for supporting items to be heated and cooked within the oven cavity. The rear ends of the support members 210 are connected to the rear brace 204 by suitable means, such as welding or the like. as illustrated in FIG. 4, the right brace 206, left brace 208 and the support members 210 include a series of intermediate forms 213 located near the rear portions of the braces 206, 208 and support members 210. The intermediate forms 213 are connected to or are otherwise integral with angled forms 211 also shown in FIG. 4. The angled configuration of the forms 211 assist in preventing items placed on the support members 210 from falling off of the oven rack 202 over the rear brace 204. The oven rack 202 also includes a central brace 212, extending perpendicular to the right brace 206 and the left brace 208. The central brace 212 is also positioned substantially intermediate from the rear brace 204 and the front brace 214. The central brace 212 provides for additional support for items place don the oven rack 202 for purposes of heating or cooking. The central brace 212 may be connected to the support members 210, right brace 206 and left brace 208 in any conventional manner. For example, welding may be utilized.

In addition to the foregoing, the oven rack 202 also includes a front brace 214. The front brace 214 provides a forward bracing means for the oven rack 202. As illustrated in FIG. 3, each of the support members 210 is interconnected at the ends thereof to the front brace 214.

The handle rack 200 not only comprises the oven rack 202, but also the handle 216. The handle 216 includes a curved front section 230 as primarily shown in FIG. 3. The front section 230 extends across the entirety of the front portion of the oven rack 202. The front section 230 includes a single element having a rounded and elongated configuration, and provides a means for a user to manually grip a portion of the handle rack 200, for purposes of extending and retracting the oven rack 202. Integral with or otherwise connected to the front section 230 are a pair of opposing side portions 232. As illustrated in FIG. 3, and if desired, the side portions 232 can be made integral with the right brace 106 and the left brace 108, as well as the front section 230.

As with the handle rack 100, manual forces may be exerted on the oven rack 202 through the handle 216 for purposes of extending and retracting the oven rack 202 from an oven cavity. Also, as with the oven rack 102 previously described herein and having a pair of bosses 115, the oven rack 202 can also have a pair of bosses 215 having the same functions as the bosses 115.

A third embodiment of a handle rack is illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 as handle rack 300. For purposes of brevity, elements of handle rack 300 which correspond to elements of handle rack 100 are shown by numerical references which correspond to identically structured and identically functional elements numerically referenced in FIGS. 1 and 2. However, in accordance with the third embodiment of the invention, the handle rack 300 comprises not only the oven rack 102 but also the handle 316. More specifically, the handle 316 includes a rear handle brace 318 having an elongated configuration as illustrated in FIG. 5. The rear handle brace 318 extends parallel to the rear brace 104 and the central brace 112. As illustrated in FIG. 5, the intermediate seven support members 110 have one end of each of the same interconnected to the rear handle brace 318. Also, each opposing end of the rear handle brace 318 is preferably interconnected to one of the support members 110, again as illustrated in FIG. 5.

In addition to the foregoing, the oven rack 102 illustrated inn FIG. 5 also includes a front brace 314. The front brace 314, with reference to the illustration in FIG. 5, includes a left portion 324 and a right portion 326. The front brace 314, comprising left and right portions 324, 326, respectively, provides a forward bracing means for the oven rack 102. As illustrated in FIG. 5, three of the support members 110 are interconnected to the left portion 324 of the front handle brace 314, while three of the support members 110 are also interconnected to the right portion 326 of the front handle brace 314. The handle rack 300 comprises not only the oven rack 102, but also the handle 316. The handle 316 is primarily illustrated in FIG. 5. More specifically, the handle 316 includes the rear handle brace 318 previously described herein. Also, the handle 316 includes a front handle brace 320. The front handle brace 320, as illustrated in FIG. 5, is elongated and is positioned in a manner so as to have a curved configuration. In addition, as illustrated primarily in FIG. 6, the front handle brace 320 may be angled downwardly. If desired, the front handle brace 320 can actually be a brace which is integral with the front brace 314 comprising the left portion 324 and the right portion 326.

With the configuration of the handle rack 300 comprising the oven rack 102 and the handle 316 as described in the foregoing paragraphs, a handle is provided for purposes of manual manipulation and extending and retracting the oven rack 102 from an oven cavity (not shown). More specifically, with the oven rack 102 in a normal position within an oven cavity, the user may open an oven door (not shown). The handle 316 will be adjacent the oven door. For purposes of extending the oven rack 102 out of the oven cavity, the user may manually grip the front handle brace 320, and exert forces in a direction corresponding to the perpendicular direction from rear brace 104 to front handle brace 320. These forces will cause the oven rack 102 to be extended outwardly from the oven cavity. Correspondingly, a user may manually grip the front handle brace 320 and exert forces rearwardly against the oven rack 102 for purposes of retracting the oven rack 102 into the oven cavity.

A fourth embodiment of a handle is illustrated as handle 400 in FIGS. 7 and 8. In this configuration, the handle 400 includes a curved front handle brace 402 having side portions 404, 406. The front handle brace 402 has a curved configuration that extends across the entirety of the width of an interconnected oven rack (not shown). The side portions 404, 406 may be interconnected to or otherwise integral with the front handle brace 402 and/or left and right side braces of the interconnected oven rack. Also, the side portions 404, 406 and the front handle brace 402 may be angled downwardly as illustrated in FIG. 8. Still further, the handle 400 may include a front brace 408 positioned rearwardly of the front handle brace 402. The front brace 408 may provide a bracing and supporting means for interconnected support members of the oven rack (not shown).

A fifth embodiment of a handle rack is illustrated as handle rack 500 in FIGS. 9 and 10. The handle rack 500 has a configuration which is similar to the handle rack 100 illustrated and described herein with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. More specifically, the handle rack 500 includes an oven rack 502 with a handle 516. The oven rack 502 includes an elongated rear brace 504, positioned adjacent the rear of the oven cavity when the oven rack 502 is in its retracted and normal position. Interconnected to or otherwise integral with the rear brace 504 is a right brace 506 extending perpendicular to the rear brace 504. The right brace 506 extends between the forward and rear sections of the oven rack 502, and essentially acts as a support brace for other elements of the oven rack 502. Also, when the oven rack 502 is placed within the oven cavity, the right brace 506 will typically rest or otherwise be releasably secured on a rib or other conventional element of the oven cavity. The oven rack 502 also includes a left brace 508, parallel to the right brace 506 and interconnected to or otherwise integral with the rear brace 504. As with the right brace 506, the left brace 508 extends between the rear and front portions of the oven rack 502. The left brace 508 rests upon or is otherwise releasably secured to a rib or similar component of the oven cavity.

Positioned intermediate the right brace 506 and left brace 508 are a series of parallel and longitudinally extending elongated support members 510. The support members 510 act as the principal support members of the oven rack 502 for supporting items to be heated and cooked within the oven cavity. The rear ends of support members 510 are connected to the rear brace 504 by suitable means, such as welding or the like. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the right brace 506, left brace 508 and supported members 510 include a series of intermediate forms 513 located near the rear portions of the braces 506, 508 and support members 510. The intermediate forms 513 are connected to or are otherwise integral with angled forms 511 also shown in FIG. 10. The angled configuration of the forms 511 assists in preventing items placed on the support members 510 from falling off of the oven rack 502 over the rear brace 504.

The oven rack 502 also includes a central brace 512, extending perpendicular to the right brace 506 and left brace 508. The central brace 512 is also positioned intermediate the rear brace 504 and front brace 514. The central brace 512 provides for additional support for items placed on the oven rack 502 for purposes of heating or cooking. The central brace 512 may be connected to the support members 510, right brace 506 and left brace 508 in any conventional manner. For example, welding may be utilized.

The oven rack 502 also includes a front brace 514. The front brace 514, with reference to FIG. 9, includes a left portion 524 and a right portion 526. The front brace 514 provides a forward-bracing means for the oven rack 502. As illustrated in FIG. 9, three of the support members 510 are interconnected to the left portion 524 of the front brace 514, while three others of the support members 510 are interconnected to the right portion 526 of the front brace 514.

The handle rack 500 comprises not only the oven rack 502, but also the handle 516. The handle 516 is primarily illustrated in FIG. 9. More specifically, the handle 516 includes a rear handle brace 518, having an elongated configuration as shown in FIG. 9. The rear handle brace 518 extends parallel to the rear brace 504 and the central brace 512. As illustrated in FIG. 9, seven of the intermediate support members 510 have one end of each of the same interconnected to the rear handle brace 518.

In the handle rack 100 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, as previously described herein, the handle 116 included a pair of handle sides 122 which are integral with a rear handle brace 118. In the particular handle rack 500 illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, although similar to the handle rack 100, the handle rack 500 does not includes any separate elements which could be characterized as “handle sides” separate and apart from the support members 510. Instead, the sides of the opening formed in the handle 516 comprise forward most sections of each of a pair of the supporting elements 510. That is, as specifically shown in FIG. 9, two of the supporting elements 510 extend from the rear brace 504 to the front brace 514, and also form the sides of the opening of the handle 516. In this regard, handle 516 also includes a front handle brace 520. The front handle brace 520, as illustrated in FIG. 9, is elongated and positioned substantially parallel to the rear handle brace 518. If desired, the front handle brace 520 can actually be a brace which is integral with the front brace 114 comprising the left portion 524 and the right portion 526.

The operation of the handle rack 500 substantially corresponds to the operation of the handle rack 100 previously described herein. That is, the user may manually grip the front handle brace 520, and exert forces in a direction corresponding to a perpendicular direction between the rear brace 504 and the front handle brace 520. These forces will cause the oven rack 502 to be extended outwardly or retracted inwardly relative to the oven cavity.

A still further embodiment of a handle rack is illustrated as handle rack 600 in FIGS. 11 and 12. The handle rack 600 has a configuration which is relatively similar to the handle rack 300 previously described herein with respect to FIGS. 5 and 6. More specifically, the handle rack 600 includes an oven rack 602 and a handle 616. The oven rack 602 includes an elongated rear brace 604, right brace 606 and left brace 608. In addition, positioned intermediate the right brace 606 and left brace 608 are parallel support members 610. Intermediate forms 613 are connected to or otherwise integral with angled forms 611. A central brace 612 is also provided, positioned intermediate the rear brace 604 and a front brace 614. The front brace 614 includes a left portion 624 and a right portion 626. The handle 616 includes a rear handle brace 618 extends parallel to the rear brace 604 and the central brace 612. Seven of the intermediate support members 610 have one end of each of the same interconnected to the rear handle brace 618. Also, each opposing end of the rear handle brace 618 is interconnected to one of the support members 610, again as illustrated in FIG. 11.

In addition to the foregoing, the oven rack 602 includes a front brace 614. The front brace 614, with reference to FIG. 11, includes the left portion 624 and right portion 626. The front brace 614 provides a forward bracing means for the oven rack 602. Three of the support members 610 are interconnected to the left portion 624 of the front handle brace 614, while three others of the members 610 are interconnected to the right portion 626 of the front handle brace 614. The handle 616 includes the rear handle brace 618 as previously described herein. Also, the handle 616 includes a front handle brace 620. The front handle brace 620, as illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, is elongated and positioned in a manner so as to have a curved configuration. If desired, the front handle brace 620 can actually be a brace which is integral with the front brace 314 comprising the left portion 624 and the right portion 626.

In contrast to the handle rack 300 illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the front handle brace 320 of the handle rack 300 is angled downwardly. In contrast, with the handle rack 600 in accordance with the invention, the front handle brace 620 of the handle 616 is not angled downwardly, and is essentially on the same horizontal plane as the main body of the oven rack 602.

The extension oven rack assembly 100′ in accordance with the invention, will now be described with respect to FIGS. 13-18. Turning to FIG. 13, the drawing illustrates an oven rack assembly 100′ in accordance with the invention. The oven rack assembly is utilized within an oven 128′, having oven interior surfaces 124′. Mounted in any suitable manner to the sides of the oven interior surfaces 124′ are a pair of ladder frames 122′. As shown in FIG. 13, each of the ladder frames 122′ includes a series of parallel and horizontally positioned rack position tracks 126′. The ladder frames 122′ are conventional in nature, and do not comprise any of the novel concepts of the invention. As illustrated in FIG. 14 in an exploded format, the oven rack assembly 100′ includes an oven rack 102′. The oven rack 102′ includes a formed wire which comprises a continuous outer frame wire 104′ for the oven rack 102′. The outer frame wire 104′ forms the front, sides and rear of the surface area of the oven rack 102′. The oven rack 102′ also includes a series of parallel and spaced apart transverse wires 106′. The surface are of the oven rack 102′ is also formed by a set of parallel and spaced apart cross wires 108′. The cross wires 108′ may be preferably welded to the sides of the outer frame 104′. Correspondingly, the transverse wires 106′ may be welded or otherwise secured to the front and rear portions of the outer frame 104′, and also to intersecting transverse wires 106′. If desired, a handle 110′ can be formed at the front portion of the oven rack 102

With reference primarily to FIGS. 14 and 17, the oven rack assembly 100′ further includes a Z-shaped support stamping 112′. The stamping 112′ includes a horizontally disposed top portion 130′, vertically disposed side portion 132′ and horizontally disposed lower portion 134′. These elements are primarily shown in FIG. 18. As shown in FIG. 14, the support stamping 112′ may also include a front face portion 136. The support stamping 112′, as primarily illustrated in FIG. 18, is preferably welded to the outer frame 104′ of the oven rack 102′. In FIG. 18, the lower portion 134 of the support stamping 112′ is shown as being welded to the frame 104′. In this manner, when the oven rack 102′ is moved between retracted and extended positions, the support stamping 112′ will move in unison with the rack 102′. The support stamping 112′ provides support for the oven rack. In this manner, the support stamping 112′ removes the need for any type of subframe, as required in prior art systems.

Still further, the oven rack assembly 100′ includes a ball bearing slide 114′. The ball bearing slide 114′ is also primarily illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 18. The ball bearing slide 114′, as primarily shown in FIG. 18, includes an upper portion 138, side portion 140 and lower portion 142. This portion of the ball bearing slide 114′, forms a bracket 144 which is secured to an L-shaped connection stamping 116′ described in subsequent paragraphs herein. The connection can be made through screws 146 or similar connection means. Still further, the ball bearing slide 114′, as with conventional slides, includes a n inner, slidable bracket 148. The bracket 148 includes an upper portion 150, side portion 152 and lower portion 154. This inner bracket 148 is secured to the Z-shaped support stamping 112′, through the use of screws 156 or similar connecting means.

Still further, and again primarily with respect to FIGS. 14 and 18, the oven rack assembly 100′ in accordance with the invention includes an L-shaped connection stamping 116′. The L-shaped connection stamping 116′ includes a vertically disposed side section 158′ and an integral, horizontally disposed lower section 160′. The lower section 160′ turns inwardly toward the oven rack 102′, relative to the side section 158′. In accordance with the invention, and as earlier described, the side section 158′ is secured to the outer bracket 144′ of the ball bearing slide 114′. As also earlier described, this connection can be made by the user of screws 146′ or similar connection means.

Further in accordance with the invention, the L-shaped connection stamping 116′ includes a pair of catches 118′, 120′. More specifically, the connection stamping 116′ includes a rear tab catch 118′ which is integral with the side section 158 and depends downwardly there from. As shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, the rear tab catch 118′ includes a rearwardly extending finger 162′. The finger 162′ acts so as to form a slot 164′. As described in subsequent paragraphs herein, the slot 164′ is utilized to capture a rack position track 126′ during use of the oven rack assembly 100′. The catches 118′, 120′ also include a front stamped tab catch 120′. As with the rear stamped tab catch 118′, the front catch 120′ depends downwardly from and is integral with the side section 144′ of the connection stamping 116′. As apparent from the drawings, particularly FIGS. 13, 14 and 15, a support stamping 112′, bearing slide 114′ and connection stamping 116′ are appropriately coupled to each side of the oven rack 102′, and to each side of the oven interior surfaces 124′ through the rack position tracks 126′. It is apparent from the foregoing, that the connection stamping 116′, through the tab catches 118′, 120′, provides a connection means between the oven rack 102′ and the rack position tracks 126′.

In operation, the pair of connection stampings 116′ can be secured to desired rack position tracks 126′ (at a particular desired height) through the use of tabs 118′, 120′. More specifically, the slot 164′ of each of the rear tabs 118′ is utilized to capture opposing rack position tracks 126′. AS shown in both FIGS. 16 and 17, the front tab catch 120′ is positioned relative to the rack position tracks 126′ so as to prevent any forward movement of the connection stamping 116′. It is also apparent that when a user wishes to move the connection stamping 116′ and associated oven rack assembly 100′ to a different set of tracks 126′, the front portion of the connection stamping 116′ can be rotated upwardly, so that the front tab catch 120′ is removed from horizontal alignment with the rack position track 1216′. The rack position track 126′, at its rear portion, can then be removed from capture by the slot 164 of the rear tab catch 118′, thereby removing the connection stamping 116′ from the particularly rack position track 126′.

FIG. 17 illustrates the oven rack assembly 100′ in a retracted or unextended position. When it is desired to extend the oven rack 102′ of the oven rack assembly 100′, the user can exert forwardly directed forces (through the handle 110′) on the oven rack 102′. The ball bearing slide 114′ will then act so as to move forwardly relative to the connection stamping 116′. With the inner bracket 148′ of the ball bearing slide 116′ being coupled to the oven rack 102′, this part of the ball bearing slide 114′ and the oven rack 102′ will move forwardly, in unison, to an extended position. Dependent upon the particular type of ball bearing slide utilized, the oven rack 102′ can be permitted to move to a fully extended position (such as shown in FIG. 16), or can be limited to forward movement only to a partially extended position (not shown).

When it is desired to retract the oven rack 102′, the user can exert rearwardly directed forces on the oven rack 102′, and the oven rack 102′ and inner bracket 144′ of the ball bearing slide 114′ will then move back to retracted position, as illustrated in FIG. 17.

Although the oven rack assembly 100′ is shown in use with a ladder frame application in FIGS. 13-18, it is apparent that an oven rack assembly in accordance with the invention may also be utilized with ribbed liners or the like. As previously described herein, oven rack assemblies in accordance with the invention may eliminate the use of subframes and attachable brackets required for known extension oven rack assemblies, thereby reducing the number of components required for the assembly. Still further, with the elimination of these and other components, oven rack assemblies in accordance with the invention take up relatively less room in the oven interior, thereby allowing more usable space. Still further, more efficient manufacturability is provided by assemblies in accordance with the invention. With the “full frame” design, essentially one wire forms the continuous outer frame 104′ of the oven rack 102′. This facilitates manufacture.

As further apparent from the description of the oven rack assembly 100′ in accordance with the invention, the assembly 100′ utilizes two different metal stampings, which provide support and act as a connection means between the oven rack and the ladder tracks. One stamping, namely the support stamping 112′, may be welded or otherwise secured to the oven rack 102′. The other stamping, namely the connection stamping 116′, provides a connection means (through the use of the tab catches 118′, 120′) between the oven rack 102′ and the ladder tracks 126′. Also, as earlier stated, ball bearing slides 114′ may be utilized, and may be of either a “full extension” or “partial extension” type. The ball bearing slides 114′ are attached between the support stamping 112′ and the connection stamping 116′ to complete the oven rack assembly 100′.

Still further, the oven rack assemblies in accordance with the invention may utilize a porcelain coating, thereby allowing the oven rack assemblies to be left within the oven during self clean cycles. Still further, other types of coatings may also be utilized, such as nickel or chrome plating.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the pertinent arts that other embodiments of oven rack assemblies in accordance with the invention can be designed. That is, the principles of rack assemblies are not limited to the specific embodiments described herein. Accordingly, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications and other variations of the above-described illustrative embodiments of the invention may be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the invention.