Title:
APPLIANCE WITH A SUPPORT RACK HAVING A PLURALITY OF SUPPORT ELEMENTS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A support rack for an appliance such as a laundry dryer includes a plurality of support elements that are designed to hold items at least partially above a main support surface of the rack. The support elements may be movably mounted on the rack so that they can be moved between stowed and deployed positions. The ends of the support elements may have configurations that are designed to securely hold items, such as delicate clothing items. Holders on either the rack or the support elements, or on both, could hold the support elements in stowed and deployed positions. In some instances, the support elements may also be removably mounted on holders on the rack.



Inventors:
Stegerwald, Gerhard (New Bern, NC, US)
Wanweerakul, Napat (Trent Woods, NC, US)
Application Number:
13/029232
Publication Date:
08/23/2012
Filing Date:
02/17/2011
Assignee:
BSH HOME APPLIANCES CORPORATION (Huntington Beach, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/86.01
International Classes:
A47B81/00; A47B46/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TEFERA, HIWOT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BSH Home Appliances Corporation (NEW BERN, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A rack for supporting items within an appliance, comprising: a rack that includes a primary support surface and mounting elements configured to mount the rack on an appliance; and at least one support element that is movably mounted on the rack so that the at least one support element can move between a stowed and at least one deployed position, wherein when the at least one support element is located in a deployed position, the at least one support element is configured to support an item at least partially above the primary support surface.

2. The rack of claim 1, wherein the at least one support element is rotationally mounted on the rack such that it can rotate between the stowed position and a deployed position.

3. The rack of claim 1, wherein the at least one support element is slidably mounted on the rack such that it can slide between the stowed position and a deployed position.

4. The rack of claim 1, further comprising at least one detent mechanism, each detent mechanism coupling a support element to the rack and being configured to hold the support element in a deployed position.

5. The rack of claim 4, wherein each detent mechanism is configured to hold a support element in each of a plurality of deployed positions.

6. The rack of claim 4, wherein each detent mechanism is also configured to hold a support element in the stowed position.

7. The rack of claim 1, further comprising at least one holder coupled the rack or a support element, wherein each holder is configured to releasably hold a support element in a deployed position.

8. The rack of claim 1, further comprising at least one holder, each holder being coupled to a support element, and wherein each holder is configured to hold its support element in both a deployed position and the stowed position.

9. The rack of claim 1, further comprising a first holder coupled to a support element and configured to hold the support element in a deployed position, and a second holder coupled to the support element and configured to hold the support element in the stowed position.

10. The rack of claim 1, further comprising a first holder coupled to the rack and configured to hold a support element in a deployed position, and a second holder coupled to the rack and configured to hold a support element in a stowed position.

11. The rack of claim 1, wherein an end of the at least one support element is configured to hold and support a laundry item.

12. The rack of claim 11, wherein an end of the at least one support element comprises a closed loop that includes a movable jaw, and wherein the movable jaw is biased into a closed position at which the jaw closes the loop.

13. The rack of claim 1, wherein the at least one support element comprises a plurality of holding elements configured to hold and support laundry items, and wherein the holding elements are spaced along a length of the at least one support element.

14. The rack of claim 1, wherein the at least one support element is a flexible member that slidably mounted inside a hollow member that forms a portion of the rack, and wherein the flexible member can be slid out of and inserted into the hollow member.

15. A rack for supporting items within an appliance, comprising: a rack that includes a primary support surface and mounting elements configured to mount the rack on an appliance; a plurality of holders that are mounted on the rack; and a plurality of support elements, each support element being configured to support an item at least partially above the primary support surface, wherein each support element is removably mountable in one of the plurality of holders.

16. The rack of claim 15, wherein each holder is configured to hold a plurality of support elements.

17. The rack of claim 15, wherein each holder is configured to hold a plurality of support elements such that the support elements extend in different directions away from the holder.

18. A rack for supporting items within an appliance, comprising: a rack that includes a primary support surface and cross members having ends that extend upward from the primary support surface; a plurality of straight members that can be attached to ends of the cross members in first and second orientations, wherein when a straight member is in the first orientation, the straight member is oriented substantially parallel to the primary support surface, and wherein when a straight member is in the second orientation, the straight member is oriented substantially parallel to an end of a cross member.

19. The rack of claim 18, wherein a clip is formed on at least one end of each straight member, each clip being configured to hold the straight member in either the first or the second orientation.

20. The rack of claim 18, wherein when a straight member is in the second orientation, the straight member can support an item at least partially above the primary support surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many laundry dryers are now equipped with a removable drying rack that can be installed in the interior of the dryer. Although the dryer may include a rotating drum that rotates as the dryer operates, the drying rack is mounted in the interior of the dryer so that it does not rotate with the drum. Instead, the rack remains stationary inside the rotating drum.

The rack is designed to support delicate clothing items that might be damaged if they were allowed to tumble inside the dryer as the dryer operates. Once the laundry items have been placed on the stationary drying rack, the dryer operates normally, with the drum rotating and with a flow of heated dry air circulating through the interior of the dryer. The heated dry air passing over the items on the drying rack dries the items much more rapidly than if the items were simply allowed to air dry.

The rack itself can be made from a wire mesh, or from synthetic materials that have been molded into a lattice or mesh shape. Various mounting elements are used to removably mount the drying rack in the interior of a dryer so that the rack does not move with the rotating drum.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a drying rack 4 that can be mounted inside the rotating drum of a dryer. The drying rack is formed from metal wires. Two main support wires 17 run the length of the rack at opposite sides. One end of each of the main support wires is bent to form a structure that is used to removably mount the rack inside a dryer. The bent sections include a mounting portion 18 that includes a first portion 21 extending forward from the rack, a bent portion 19, and an insertion portion 20 that is configured to be inserted into apertures in the dryer. The bent sections also include a supporting portion 22 that is configured to rest on a surface of the dryer to hold the rack in a cantilevered orientation within the rotating drum of the dryer, and a return portion 23 that extends upward from the supporting portion to the underside of the rack.

As also illustrated in FIG. 1, the drying rack includes a plurality of center support wires 32 that run the length of the rack parallel to the main support wires. A plurality of cross-wires 16 are attached to and extend perpendicular to the center support wires 32 and the main support wires. Ends of the cross-wires 16 are bent upward to form sidewalls of the drying rack. Upper support wires 30 that extend the length of the rack and that run parallel to the main support wires 17 and the center support wires 32 are attached to the ends of the cross-wires 16.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the drying rack 4 can be mounted inside a dryer by inserting the mounting portions 20 of the rack into mounting holes 5 on the front panel of the dryer. The supporting portions 22 of the main support wires rest against a non-moving surface on the interior of the dryer to support the drying rack in a cantilevered fashion inside the rotating drum 3 of the dryer.

When the dryer is operating, the drum 3 will rotate, and a flow of heated dry air will flow out of air holes 8 located on a rear wall 7 of the dryer. The flow of air will pass over any items placed on the drying rack 4 to dry the items. The flow of air will then exit through a duct 10 on the front panel, as illustrated by arrow 9. The flow of air exiting the interior of the drum may pass through a lint filter 11 mounted in the duct 10.

Some laundry items include metal or plastic clasps or hooks that can harm other items when they are all tumbled together in a rotating drum of a dryer. It would be desirable to immobilize such items in the dryer to prevent them from harming other items. However, many such items do not easily remain stationary when placed on a drying rack.

Although a drying rack as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 is helpful in drying larger items, smaller items such as lingerie are in danger of falling through the apertures in the rack. In addition, if the user wishes to dry multiple delicate items at the same time, and all of the multiple items are placed on the rack at the same time, they often end up piled on top of each other, which makes it more difficult for the flow of drying air to effectively dry the items. In addition to those problems, some items, such as shoes, may be difficult to place on the drying rack so that the flow of air passing through the interior of the drum passes through the items to effectively and quickly dry the items.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A first aspect of the invention may be embodied in a rack for supporting items within an appliance that includes a primary support surface and mounting elements configured to mount the rack within an appliance. The rack also includes at least one support element that is movably mounted on the rack so that the at least one support element can move between a stowed and at least one deployed position. When the at least one support element is located in a deployed position, the at least one support element is configured to support an item at least partially above the primary support surface.

A second aspect of the invention may be embodied in a rack for supporting items within an appliance that includes a primary support surface and mounting elements configured to mount the rack within an appliance. The rack also includes a plurality of holders that are mounted on the rack and a plurality of support elements, where each support element is configured to support an item at least partially above the primary support surface. Each support element is removably mountable in one of the plurality of holders.

Racks embodying the invention could be used in a laundry dryer, or a combination washer/dryer. The racks could also be used in other appliances, such as dishwashers.

The invention may also be embodied in laundry machines or dishwashers that incorporate racks as described above.

The support elements may be configured to securely hold items so that the items are supported above the primary support surface of the rack. The support elements can utilize various end configurations to securely hold items while the appliance is operating.

The support elements may be coupled to the rack via detent mechanisms which allow the support elements to be positioned in one or more deployed positions.

Holders that are attached to either the rack or the support elements, or both, can be used to hold the support elements in deployed or stowed positions.

The support elements may be rotationally mounted on the rack so that they can move between a stowed and a deployed position.

The support elements could be slidably mounted on the rack so that they can move between the stowed and deployed positions.

The support elements could also be retractable within a hollow pipe or structural element so that they can be moved between stowed and deployed positions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rack;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a rack mounted in a laundry dryer;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a rack with support elements that are rotationally mounted on the rack, where the support elements are in the stowed position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a rack with support elements that are rotationally mounted on the rack, where the support elements are in a deployed position;

FIGS. 5A-5E illustrate different types of support elements;

FIGS. 6A-C are front, side and top views of a support element with holders;

FIGS. 7A and 7B are front and side views of a support element with holders;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a rack with rotationally mounted support elements that have holders, where the support elements are in a deployed position;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the rack illustrated in FIG. 8 where the support elements are in a stowed position;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a rack with support elements having a single holder that can hold the support elements in either a deployed or stowed position;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a rack with holders mounted on the support wires, where the holders can hold rotationally mounted support elements in either deployed or stowed positions;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a rack with slidably mounted support elements;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a rack with holders that can removably hold a plurality of support elements;

FIG. 14 is a diagram of a typical hook and loop fastening portion of a brassiere;

FIG. 15 is a diagram of a pair of support elements that include hook and loop fasteners which can attach to corresponding hook and loop fasteners of a brassiere;

FIG. 16 is a diagram of a portion of a rack having retractable support elements;

FIGS. 17A and 17B illustrate an embodiment of an end of a retractable support element;

FIG. 18 is a diagram of a portion of a rack having retractable support elements as illustrated in FIGS. 17A and 17B;

FIG. 19 is a perspective diagram of an end clip that can be used to attach a support bar to a rack;

FIG. 20 is a diagram of a support bar having end clips as illustrated in FIG. 19 at each end; and

FIG. 21 is a diagram of a portion of a rack having support bars as illustrated in FIG. 20.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A rack 4 having a plurality of support elements 40 is illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. Each of the support elements 40 is rotationally mounted on the rack by a swivel unit 42. The swivel units 42 allow the support elements 40 to rotate between a stowed position, as illustrated in FIG. 3, and a deployed position, as illustrated in FIG. 4.

The end 44 of each support element 40 opposite the swivel unit 42 is configured to hold and support an item above, or at least partially above, a primary support surface of the rack, which is formed by the main support wires 17, the center support wires 32 and the cross-wires 16. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the ends 44 of the support elements 40 have U-shaped portions that are designed to support laundry items, or possibly straps or loops of laundry items. Alternatively, the U-shaped ends 44 of the support elements 40 could support the fabric of a laundry item.

The U-shaped ends 44 of the support elements could, for example, support the straps of a brassiere or portions of other delicate lingerie. This would hold all or portions of the items off the primary support surface of the rack, to enhance the ability of a flow of air to dry the items. In addition, if such items are securely held by the support elements 40, they are prevented from falling through gaps in the primary support surface. Thus, there is no danger that the items will be tumbled by the rotating drum of the dryer, which could damage delicate items. Moreover, this prevents a metal clasp of such an item from contacting and damaging other items that might also be present in the dryer.

The swivel units 42 that couple the support elements 40 to the rack could be attached to one of the wires that form the rack. If the rack is instead made of a molded synthetic material, such a swivel unit could be attached to the material of the rack via any suitable fastening means, such as screws, pins, rivets, adhesives, clamps, etc.

The swivel units 42 could include friction producing elements that allow the support elements 40 to be rotated into and held at any orientation with respect to the primary support surface of the rack. This would allow a user to position the ends 44 of the support elements at varying heights above the primary support surface. In addition, this would allow a user to vary the spacing between the ends 44 of two of the support elements to accommodate different sized laundry items.

In some embodiments, each swivel unit may also include a detent mechanism which allows the attached support element to be positioned at each of a plurality of predetermined rotational orientations with respect to the primary support surface. Such a detent mechanism could be used in addition to friction producing elements, or in place of friction producing elements.

FIGS. 5A-5E illustrate various different styles of ends 44 of the support elements 40. FIG. 5A illustrates a U-shaped end 44, similar to the ones illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. Portions of a laundry item could be hooked over the U-shaped end 44 to hold the item at least partially above a primary support surface of a rack.

FIG. 5B illustrates a spiral shaped end 44 of a support element 40. A strap of a laundry item could be placed in the center of the spiral to securely hold the item. Even if the item were to move around in response to a flow of drying air, the strap would not likely escape from the center of the spiral. Thus, the spiral shaped end 44 would also serve to securely hold an item above the primary support surface of a rack.

FIG. 5C illustrates a generally Y-shaped end 44, where the ends of the arms of the Y closely approach one another. Here again, a strap of a laundry item could be placed into the center of the end 44, between the arms, to securely hold the item. Even if the item were to move around in response to a flow of drying air, the strap would not likely escape from the center.

FIG. 5D illustrates an end 44 which has a closed loop. The closed loop includes a bent arm 45, and a pivotable jaw 47. The jaw may be biased into the position illustrated in FIG. 5D by a spring or some other type of biasing element. In this instance, a strap or a loop of material of an item could be inserted into the center of the loop by temporarily rotating the jaw 47 inward around a pivot axis 49. The biasing element would then cause the jaw to return to the position illustrated in FIG. 5D, which would trap the strap or loop inside the end 44. To remove the strap or loop, the user would simply depress the jaw to open the end, and then remove the strap.

FIG. 5E illustrates a support element with both a spiral shaped end 44, and a plurality of hooks 43 spaced along a length of the support element. This would allow each support element to support multiple different items. The hooks 43 could extend in multiple different directions away from the shaft of the support element 40.

The support elements illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5E are only some of many different configurations that are possible. Each configuration could have one or multiple different specific uses. And any one support element could include one or multiple different supporting devices. All that is required is that the support element be capable of holding an item at least partially above the primary support surface of the rack.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, each support element 40 may be pivotable between a stowed position and a deployed position. In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the swivel units 42 provided a force which hold the support elements in one or both of the stowed and deployed positions. In alternate embodiments, holders positioned on the rack and/or the support elements themselves could be used to hold the support elements in one or both of the stowed and deployed positions.

FIGS. 6A-6C illustrate a support element 40 with a spiral shaped end 44. Two holders 80 are mounted on the support element 40. As illustrated in FIG. 6C, each holder 80 has a pair of opposed elastically deformable jaws 82 that define a holding aperture 84. The holders are designed to clamp onto and hold a wire of a rack that is oriented approximately parallel to the support element.

To fix the support element at a particular position, the support element is moved adjacent to a wire of the rack so that the wire is inserted between the jaws 82. The jaws deform outward so that the wire can pass between the tips of the jaws 82 and into the holding aperture 84. The jaws then return to their original shape so that the wire is held within the holding aperture between the jaws. This prevents the support element from moving with respect to the wire. To move the support element away from this position, the user would push the support element away from the wire, which will cause the jaws 82 to deform outward again, releasing the wire.

FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate an alternate embodiment of a support element having two holders. In this embodiment, the holders 80 have been rotated approximately 90 degrees around the shaft of the support element 40 so that the jaws 82 of the holders 80 can clamp onto a wire that is oriented approximately perpendicular to the shaft of the support element 40.

FIGS. 8 and 9 show how a support element as illustrated in FIGS. 7A and 7B could be used on a support rack. As illustrated in FIG. 8, a user can position the support elements 40 in a deployed position where the lowermost holders 53 grasp the upper support wires 30 to hold the support elements in the deployed position. When the user wishes to stow the support elements, the user would rotate the support elements 40 around the outside of the rack until the uppermost holders engage the center support wires 32. Although in this embodiment, the holders are oriented so that the support elements rotate around the outside of the rack to move between the stowed and deployed positions, in alternate embodiments, the support elements 40 could rotate in the other direction.

FIG. 10 illustrates another embodiment where a single double-sided holder 58 is mounted on each support element. The single double-sided holder 58 has jaws and holding apertures on opposite sides so that the holder can clamp onto a wire from either side of the support element 40. FIG. 10 shows that the holder 58 on one support element 40 is clamped to the upper support wire to hold that support element in the deployed position. The holder 58 on the other support element 40 is clamped onto one of the center support wires 32 to hold that support element in the stowed position. The rack is designed so that the upper support wire 30 and the center support wire 32 are each approximately the same distance from the main support wire 17. This allows a single double-sided holder to clamp onto either of the wires. Also, depending on how the rack is assembled, the support elements could rotate between the deployed and stowed positions by rotating around the outside of the rack, or by rotating in the other direction.

FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment where individual holders are mounted on the wires of the rack itself. In this embodiment, the jaws of the holders are designed to receive and clamp onto the shaft of the support elements. As illustrated, holders 60 located on the upper support wires would hold the support elements 40 in the deployed position. Holders 62 on the center support wires 32 would hold the support elements in the stowed position. In some embodiments, the support elements might simply be rotated into the stowed position, and gravity alone could hold them in this position. Also, the holders could be configured so that the support elements could rotate around the outside of the rack, or in the other direction.

FIG. 12 illustrates an embodiment where the support elements 40 are slidable between the stowed and deployed positions. Sliding holders 66 are attached to the main support wire 17. The support elements are then slidably held by the sliding holders 66. This would allow a user to slide each support element to a desired height above the primary support surface to accommodate different sized items.

In addition, the support elements could extend at an angle with respect to the primary support surface of the rack so that the higher the ends 44 are positioned above the primary support surface, the further the ends will extends outward toward the sides. This arrangement would also aid the user in adjusting the support elements to accommodate different sized items.

Moreover, the sliding holders 66 may also allow the support elements to rotate. This would also allow a user to customize the configuration of the support elements to accommodate different sized and shaped items.

FIG. 13 illustrates a rack that includes holders 70 that are designed to removably hold the support elements 40. Each holder 70 includes one or more apertures or slots 72 that are configured to receive the end of a support element. The apertures or slots may include a biasing or friction fit element that allows the end of a support element to be securely held. The apertures or slots 72 may also allow a support element to be rotated to a desired orientation, and then held at that orientation.

When the rack is made of wire elements, the holders 70 may be separate devices that are attached to the wires. When the rack is molded from a synthetic material, the apertures or slots 72 may be directed molded into the rack.

When a rack includes apertures or slots designed to receive the ends of support elements, the user may be supplied with multiple different types of support elements. Different support elements could have different lengths and different ends 44 designed to receive and grasp different types of items. Thus, a user could select exactly the type of support elements needed to hold the type of item being supported.

FIG. 14 illustrates mating ends 102/104 of a typical brassiere strap. The mating ends 102/104 are held together by hook elements 110 located on a first end 102 and loop elements 112 located on the second end 104. Some brassieres will include a single row of hook elements 110, and multiple rows of loop elements 112. This allows the row of hook elements 110 to be hooked onto any of the multiple rows of loop elements 112 for an adjustable fit. Some brassieres will also include multiple rows of hook elements 110, as illustrated in FIG. 14.

FIG. 15 illustrates a pair of support elements 40 which can be mounted on a rack using any of the devices and methods described above. One support element 40 includes a row of hook elements 110, and the other support element includes a row of loop elements 112. The hook elements 110 and loop elements 112 are designed to interface with the hook elements 110 and loop elements 112 on a typical brassiere. Thus, a user could hook the hook elements 110 on a first end 102 of a brassiere strap to the loop elements 112 on a first support element 40, and the loop elements 112 on the second end 104 of the brassiere strap to the hook elements 110 on the other of the pair of support element 40. This would provide a relatively secure way to attach a brassiere to a pair of spaced apart support elements on a drying rack.

FIG. 16 illustrates another way of mounting support elements on a drying rack. In this embodiment, the support elements 144 are retractably mounted inside a hollow cross member 116 of a drying rack. When a user wishes to use a support element to hold a laundry item, the support element 144 can be pulled out of the end of the hollow cross member 116, like the support element 144 on the left side in FIG. 16. When the user no longer needs to use the support element 144, it can be pushed down into the interior of the hollow cross member 116, as shown on the right side in FIG. 16.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 16, the support elements 144 include a spiral shaped end. However, the support elements 114 could have any number of different configurations, as described above.

Support elements 144 as illustrated in FIG. 16 could have a semi-rigid structure which allows them to flex and bend as they are pushed down into the hollow cross member 116. However, the semi-rigid nature of the support elements 144 would allow them to remain upright once they are pulled out of the end of the hollow cross member 116 so that they can support laundry items above the rack.

A flexible support element 144 as generally illustrated in FIG. 16 could include a spring-loaded support element that is designed to deploy as the end of the flexible support element 144 is pulled out of the end of the hollow cross member 116. An example of such a spring loaded support element is illustrated in FIGS. 17A and 17B.

FIG. 17A shows the end of a flexible support element 144, which includes an end cap 146. The end cap 146 is designed to come to rest on the end of the hollow cross member 116 when the flexible support member 144 is pushed down into the hollow cross member 116. FIG. 18 shows such a flexible support member 144 fully pushed down into the hollow cross member 116 on the right side.

The end of the flexible support member 144 also includes a spring loaded support element 150. A first end of the spring loaded support element 150 is pivotally mounted inside the flexible support member around a pivot axis 152. A biasing element 154 pushes a second opposite end of the spring loaded support element outward to a deployed position, as illustrated in FIG. 17A. FIG. 18 shows such a flexible support member 144 pulled out of the left side of the hollow cross member 116, such that the spring loaded support element 150 is deployed. A user could then attach a laundry item to the flexible support member 144 via the spring loaded support element 150.

When a user pushes the flexible support member 144 down into the end of the hollow cross member, the wall of the hollow cross member 116 will push the second end of the spring loaded support element inside of the end of the flexible support member 144 against the force of the biasing member 154, to a position as illustrated in FIG. 17B.

FIGS. 19-21 illustrate another embodiment of a drying rack in which certain sections of the rack can be reconfigured by the user. The reconfigurable sections include straight members 202 with clips 200 at each end. The clips, as illustrated in FIG. 19, allow the straight members 202 to be attached to other portions of the drying rack in multiple different orientations.

Each clip 200 includes a first pair of curved surfaces 206 designed to grasp a cylindrical member oriented perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the straight member 202. Each clip also includes a second set of curved surfaces 204 designed to grasp a cylindrical member oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis of the straight member 202. The clips are made of a flexible material that allows the curved surfaces to surround and grasp a cylindrical member.

As illustrated in FIG. 21, a straight member 202 can be attached to ends of two adjacent cross members 16 such that the straight member 202 bridges the ends of the adjacent cross members 16. Alternatively, a clip 200 at one end of a straight member 202 can be attached to an end of a cross member 16 so that the straight member 202 projects upward, parallel to the end of the cross member 16. When in this position, the free end of the straight member 202 can support laundry items above the surface of the rack.

FIGS. 20 and 21 also illustrate that shaped support elements 210 can be located on an end of the clips 200. The shaped support elements 210 would be used to hold laundry items on the end of the straight member 202. The shaped support element 210 could have any of the shapes illustrated above, or other alternate configurations.

As noted above, a rack embodying the invention could be used in a laundry dryer to support items inside a rotating drum of a dryer. However, a rack as disclosed above could also be used in other appliances, such as in a dishwasher.

Although the above embodiments illustrate some of the types of support elements that could be used with a support rack, many other configurations are also possible. Thus, the configurations described above should not be considered in any way limiting.

Likewise, while the embodiments described above included various mechanism that allow a support element to be movable supported on a rack, and to be fixed in predetermined positions on the rack, the disclosed embodiments should not be considered in any way limiting. Many other types of holding and fixation devices could also be used.

While the invention has been described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiments, but on the contrary, is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.





 
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