Title:
SINKS WITH CONCEALABLE INTERNALS AND SPACES USING THE SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Sinks have a basin and associated lid to open and close the basin based on desired function. The lid is useable as a counter space and concealer for sink internals. The lid can be moved in a variety of ways based on desired function, potentially without need for external attachment, structure, and/or volume for lid function. The lid may be configured to match surrounding surfaces both functionally and aesthetically. Sinks are useable with drains, hinges and other attaching joints, faucets or other water sources, countertops alongside the sink, holes and other drains in lids to permit wetbar and counter usage in a closed position, etc.



Inventors:
Thompson, Clifford R. (Greensboro, NC, US)
Thompson, Clifford E. (Greensboro, NC, US)
Application Number:
13/916349
Publication Date:
12/18/2014
Filing Date:
06/12/2013
Assignee:
THOMPSON CLIFFORD E.
THOMPSON CLIFFORD R.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/650, 4/654
International Classes:
E03C1/186; A47L17/00; A47L19/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050066430Commode safety frameMarch, 2005Bly
20070277301Toilet aquarium assemblyDecember, 2007Quintana
20150135427BASINMay, 2015Casey
20080127404H20 Lift Toilet Seat LifterJune, 2008Kruger et al.
20110047694PLUMBING FIXTUREMarch, 2011Dang
20130139307User Shapeable Toilet Base SpacerJune, 2013Corbin
20020050004Automatic pool cover box lid edge support assemblyMay, 2002Epple
20080072375Bathtub systemMarch, 2008Stewart
20030140412Replaceable shower deviceJuly, 2003Gabriele
20060191067Water conveying and draining deviceAugust, 2006Sadler
20080307571Dispensing Means for a LiquidDecember, 2008Slade et al.



Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ryan Alley IP (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A modular sink comprising: a basin having an open top; and a lid secured to the basin, wherein the lid is configured to move relative to the basin between a closed position and an open position, wherein the lid in the closed position and the basin define a sink space, and wherein the lid in the open position extends down into the basin at least one-third of the depth of the basin.

2. The sink of claim 1, wherein the open top is completely defined by top edges of the basin, wherein the top edges are coplanar, wherein the lid in the closed position is coplanar with the top edges, and wherein the lid in the open position directly contacts a back edge of the top edges.

3. The sink of claim 1, wherein the sink space opens to outside the modular sink in the closed position only through a drain and a seam between a perimeter of the lid and the basin.

4. The sink of claim 1, wherein the lid is moveably connected to the basin such that the lid is substantially coplanar with the open top in the closed position.

5. The sink of claim 1, further comprising: a hinge directly between an interior of the basin and the lid, wherein the hinge permits the moveable connection as a rotation of the lid, and wherein the axis of the rotation is not intersected by the lid.

6. The sink of claim 1, further comprising: a hinge is mounted to a lower surface of the lid, wherein the lower surface defines the sink space in the closed position.

7. The sink of claim 1, wherein the lid includes a hole that is positioned to align with an external faucet and a drain in the basin in the closed position.

8. The sink of claim 1, further comprising: a collapsible drying rack attached to the lid, wherein the rack includes, an upper rack having a plurality of upper tines, and a lower rack having a plurality of lower tines, wherein the upper and the lower tines are offset to fit between each other in a collapsed position and hold articles in a non-collapsed position, and wherein the rack is sized to fit entirely inside the basin when the lid is in the closed position.

9. The sink of claim 8, further comprising: a plurality of stops interior to the basin, wherein the stops are positioned to prevent rotation of the lid in the closed position into the basin; and a hinge directly between an interior of the basin and a bottom exterior surface of the lid, wherein, the hinge permits the moveable connection as a rotation of the lid, the open top of the basin is completely defined by top edges of the basin, the top edges are coplanar, the lid in the open position directly contacts a top edge of the top edges the rack in the non-collapsed position is positioned on the lid in the open position so that the lower rack and lower tines are completely below the open top and above a bottom of the basin, and the rack in the non-collapsed position is positioned on the lid in the open position so that the upper rack and upper tines extend from within the basin below the open top to above the open top when the lid is in the open position.

10. A modular sink comprising: a basin having an open top; and a lid rotatably attached to an interior of the basin between a closed position at the open top and an open position where the lid rests on the basin at the open top, wherein the lid is rotatably attached to the basin at a position that permits the lid to be opened from the closed position to the open position with a human's press to a back of a top of the lid.

11. The sink of claim 10, wherein the lid is rotatable relative to the basin such that the lid extends downward into the basin in an open position, and wherein the lid includes no external handling structure.

12. The sink of claim 10, further comprising: a drying rack attached to an underside of the lid at the back so that the rack rotates further downward into the basin when the lid is moved from the closed to the open position, wherein the lid includes a hole above the drying rack and aligned with a drain in the basin to allow disposal through the sink in the closed position without interfering with the drying rack.

13. The sink of claim 10, further comprising: two hinges on opposite ends of the lid that connect to interior sides of the basin, wherein the hinges are spaced away from the top and a back of the basin at a distance that permits the opening by pressing on the back of the top of the lid.

14. The sink of claim 13, wherein the lid is joined to the two hinges at a bottommost surface of the lid.

15. The sink of claim 13, further comprising: at least one stop attached to an interior of the basin at a position to stop further rotation of the lid beyond the closed position where the lid is substantially coplanar with the open top of the basin, wherein the open top of the basin is configured to stop further rotation of the lid beyond the open position.

16. The sink of claim 15, further comprising: a flange positioned about the open top, wherein the flange is coplanar with the open top and the lid in the closed position, wherein the lid is configured to be further coplanar with countertop surrounding the sink in the closed position, and wherein the lid is fabricated of a material that that is the same as a material of at least one of the flange and surrounding countertop.

17. A multi-purpose space comprising: a counter; and a sink secured adjacent to the counter, wherein the sink includes, a basin completely terminating at a top edge fully in a plane with the counter, and a lid moveably secured to the basin such that the lid is coplanar with the counter in a closed position and extends into the basin below the counter in an open position.

18. The space of claim 17, wherein the lid is fabricated from the same material as the counter and wherein there is substantially no space between the lid and the counter so that the lid and the counter appear continuous.

19. The space of claim 17, wherein the lid is rotatable with respect to the basin and counter, between the closed position and greater than 90-degrees beyond the closed position.

20. The space of claim 17, wherein the sink further includes a collapsible drying rack attached to the lid, wherein the rack fits entirely inside the basin when the lid is in the closed position, and wherein the rack is positioned on the lid so that a lowest point of the rack is above a bottom of the basin in an open position.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Wash basins, sinks, tubs, and other retaining and draining structures are often necessary for human use of any space to provide liquid an refuse disposal as well as allowing for washing or soaking of dishes, hands, laundry, etc. For example, restrooms, kitchens, changing rooms, wetbars, locker rooms, utility rooms, laundromats, plane and train lavatories, etc. all conventionally include sinks with plumbing to supply water and rinse refuse through sinks.

Sinks usually include a large open top and one or more continuous basins housing a drain at a lowest point. Conventionally, a faucet resides outside, typically above, the sink to provide water for washing, rinsing, and/or flushing away refuse. The basin is typically large and deep enough to house dishes, laundry, or other materials to be washed and hold water for washing and/or soaking the same. As such, larger, deeper basins with greater open volume and top area have typically been more desired because they hold more washing materials and/or dispose of more refuse.

SUMMARY

Example embodiments include sinks with a tub and cover that are installable together as a sink unit in an area where a sink is desired. An example embodiment sink may use one or more basins and lids attached thereto, and the lids are moveable to open the basins for access and use or close the same for concealment. The basins and lids can thus be adjusted for a variety of sink- or counter-requiring tasks. Example embodiments can include a variety of different features, such as a drain in basins of the sink for refuse or sewage disposal, hinges and other attachment structures to provide desired movement between lids and basins, a variety of different types and numbers of faucets or other water sources, internal structures such as drying racks, countertops alongside the sink, holes and other drains in lids to permit wetbar and counter usage in a closed position, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS

Example embodiments will become more apparent by describing, in detail, the attached drawings, wherein like elements are represented by like reference numerals, which are given by way of illustration only and thus do not limit the example embodiments herein.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an example embodiment sink with opened lid.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of an example embodiment sink with opened lid.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an example embodiment sink with closed lid.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This is a patent document, and general broad rules of construction should be applied when reading it. Everything described and shown in this document is an example of subject matter falling within the scope of the claims, appended below. Any specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are merely for purposes of describing how to make and use example embodiments. Several different embodiments not specifically disclosed herein may fall within the claim scope; as such, the claims may be embodied in many alternate forms and should not be construed as limited to only example embodiments set forth herein.

It will be understood that, although the terms first, second, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements, these elements should not be limited by these terms. These terms are only used to distinguish one element from another. For example, a first element could be termed a second element, and, similarly, a second element could be termed a first element, without departing from the scope of example embodiments. As used herein, the term “and/or” includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

It will be understood that when element(s) are referred to in relation to one another, such as being “connected,” “coupled,” “mated,” “attached,” or “fixed” to another element(s), the relationship can be direct or with other intervening elements. In contrast, when an element is referred to as being “directly connected” or “directly coupled” to another element, there are no intervening elements present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., “between” versus “directly between,” “adjacent” versus “directly adjacent,” etc.). Similarly, a term such as “connected” for communications purposes includes all variations of information exchange routes between two devices, including intermediary devices, networks, etc., connected wirelessly or not.

As used herein, the singular forms “a”, “an,” and “the” are intended to include both the singular and plural forms, unless the language explicitly indicates otherwise with terms like “only a single element.” It will be further understood that the terms “comprises,” “comprising,” “includes,” and/or “including,” when used herein, specify the presence of stated features, values, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not themselves preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, values, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof.

It should also be noted that the structures and operations discussed below may occur out of the order described and/or noted in the figures. For example, two operations and/or figures shown in succession may in fact be executed concurrently or may be executed in the reverse order, depending upon the functionality/acts involved. Similarly, individual operations within example methods may be executed repetitively, individually or sequentially, so as to provide looping or other series of operations. It should be presumed that any embodiment having features and functionality described below, in any workable combination, falls within the scope of example embodiments.

The inventors have recognized that existing basin and drain structures are difficult to conceal due to a large open top, and existing basin and drain structures are difficult to cover and use as counter space. Particularly in small spaces with limited counter space, and where sink refuse or appearance may be particularly distracting, there is a need to easily and fully reclaim counter space consumed by the basin while aesthetically concealing the sink. Further, the inventors have recognized that placing a board or other flat surface over the sink may be cumbersome and the board itself may consume space that is limited in small areas when not in use, that the covering structure may become lost or may be easily separated from the basin, and/or that the covering structure may protrude above or below, or otherwise not aesthetically or functionally match, counter space adjacent to the sink. On the other hand, the inventors have recognized that using a flexible or fully collapsible surface over the sink may not present a continuous or aesthetically-pleasing match to surrounding counter space, that liquids or refuse may not easily drain into the sink off of such surfaces, and/or a lack of rigidity in the surface may preclude attaching functional pieces to the surface. Example embodiments discussed below enable unique solutions to these issues and other issues newly identified by the inventors.

The present invention is a sink and/or sink installed in a surrounding space with a lid that provides functional and aesthetic closure of the sink and a degree of concealment of the sink interior. The present invention is useable in any area where a conventional sink would otherwise be used, including small areas where space is limited. Example embodiments discussed below illustrate just a couple of the variety of different configurations that can be used in connection with the present invention.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an example embodiment sink 100. As shown in FIG. 1, example embodiment sink includes a basin 110 into which liquids, refuse, or washable items may be placed for washing or disposal. Basin 110 may include a sealable drain (not shown) or other exit connected to a disposal unit or sewage pipe, for example. Example embodiment sink may include a flange 111 to assist in positioning or mounting sink 100. For example, flange 111 may extend about a top 117 that is an open portion of basin 110 and include one or more attachment points to secure sink 100 to surrounding counter or other structure. Flange 111 may include one or more fasteners, mounting holes, etc. to facilitate securing example embodiment sink 100 to any type of housing or structure. Flange 111 may be reduced or altogether removed in some configurations.

Basin 110 and/or flange 111 are liquid impermeable and may be composite or unitary. For example, basin 110 may be formed of a single piece of sculpted, molded, or cast material such as plastic, ceramic, metal, stone, etc. Flange 111 may be similarly formed from the same piece of material as basin 110. Basin 110 and/or flange 111 may be fabricated of a desired size, including depth, based on application. For example, in small spaces with limited counter space, basin 110 may be deeper to accommodate more volume with a small counter profile about top 117, such as somewhat less than a foot long and wide but over a foot deep.

As shown in FIG. 1, example embodiment sink 100 includes a closeable lid 120 moveably joined to basin 110 and/or flange 111. Closeable lid 120 may be joined to basin 110 in a variety of ways. For example a hinge 150 may be mounted directly between basin 110 and an underside of lid 120 to permit rotation of lid 120 between an open and closed position. A second hinge 150 may be opposite the first to support the axis of rotation of lid 120 at both ends. Or, for example, a moveable joint, cantilever, complex lever, and/or track may allow more complex movement of lid 120 between an open and closed position. If closeable lid 120 is joined to basin 110 in a manner internal to basin 110, no external hinge, joint, etc. may consume space outside of example embodiment sink 100. A lack of any external joining mechanism may allow sink 100 to better accommodate small spaces in a seamless, functional, and aesthetic manner.

Closeable lid 120 may further be joined to basin 110 in a manner that permits lid 120 to be easily opened and closed and in a manner that permits lid 120 to consume less external space when opened and avoid contact with any faucet while opening or closing. For example, as shown in FIG. 2, if hinge 150 connects to basin 110 at an internal position within a side 116 of, and away from a top 117 and back 118 of, basin 110, a portion of lid 120 may be rotated down into basin 110 when open. Further, as shown in FIG. 2, lid 120 may be rotatable to a lower angle, permitting lid 120 to “rest” against back 118 of basin 120. Such a configuration may permit lid 120 to be easily rotated and lodged in an open position while consuming less space outside of basin 110. Further, if placed within basin 110, such as hinge 150 is placed, any connection structure between lid 120 and basin 110 may consume little or no external space. While the space-saving and naturally-reclining configuration of FIG. 2 is achieved via hinge 150 spaced from back 118 and top 117, it is understood that other structures, including a moveable joint or joints, an internal track permitting inward-to-basin sliding of opened lid 120, a collapsible structure for lid 120, extension/telescoping arms permitting outward-from-basin movement of lid 120 so as to completely open basin 110, etc. are equally useable in example embodiments to secure an openable and closeable lid to a basin.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of example embodiment sink 100 in a closed position. As shown in FIG. 3, lid 120 may be fully seated to top 117 of basin 110. Lid 120 may be substantially co-planar with flange 111 and/or a surrounding countertop into which sink 100 is installed, so as to provide a continuous counter space for work or placement of objects. Any seam 115 created between a closing of lid 120 and basin 110 and/or flange 111 may be relatively small to preserve continuity. Further, a seal, such as a flexible gasket, felt, adhesive, etc., may be placed in seam 115 to enhance continuity between a closed lid 120 and surrounding structures. Such a seal may be attached to lid 120 and/or basin 110 at appropriate locations to fill seam 115.

Any connecting device, such as hinge 150 (FIGS. 1 and 2), may be internal to basin 110 and closed lid 120 so as to be invisible and/or non-space-consuming when lid 120 is closed, further contributing to continuousness between lid 120 and any surrounding surfaces. The fashion by which lid 120 is joined and moveable with respect to basin 110 may permit easy opening and closing of lid 120. For example, in FIG. 3, a user may simply press on an area of lid 120 behind hinge 150 (FIGS. 1 and 2) to cause lid 120 to rotate down into basin 110 and into the open position. In this example, no additional external latch or other obtrusive opening mechanism may be required, although external handles, latches, self-concealing holes, etc., as well at automated or spring or magnetic opening devices can be used on lid 120 to facilitate opening and closing. Further, in this way, any liquid or refuse on lid 120 may naturally fall into basin 110 for disposal when opening lid 120.

Lid 120 may be fabricated of a material matching basin 110 and/or flange 111 in order to preserve aesthetic and functional continuity when closed. For example, if basin 110 and flange 111 are formed of a continuous hammered copper, lid 120 may similarly be formed of a continuous hammered copper to match, providing rigidity necessary for counter space and surface/material properties throughout sink 100 without any discontinuity or joint. Alternatively, lid 120 may be fabricated of a material and/or include a veneer that matches surrounding counter appearance. Thus, when closed, lid 120 is useable as additional work/functional space alongside any continuous countertop, potentially minimizing any lost counter space or disrupting structures that an open sink in a small area might cause. Additionally, when closed, lid 120 may conceal any refuse or dirty dishware or cutlery being stored in basin 110 of example embodiment sink 100.

Lid 120 may include a hole 121 that passes into basin 110 when lid 120 is closed. Hole 121 may be sealable, such as with a moveable cover matching the remainder of lid 120, or remain open. Hole 121 may be positioned vertically in-line with a faucet and/or drain (not shown) used with example embodiment sink 100. Hole 121 may allow liquid spilled or placed on closed lid 120, or water flowing from a faucet associated with a position of hole 121, for example, to pass into basin 110 even when lid 120 is closed. Hole 121 may further facilitate liquid and refuse flow directly into a drain and potentially into a garbage disposal or sewage line by being positioned over such a drain in basin 110. In this way, a user may still dispose of liquid or other waste material down example embodiment sink 100 even when closed and being used as a surface, such as a surface for serving drinks, for example. Hole 121 may be relatively small, such as a 4-inch diameter or less, while still permitting these functions.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a variety of internal structures are useable in basin 110. For example, a collapsible drying rack 130 may be attached to lid 120 and fit within basin 110 when closed. Drying rack 130 may include several opposing tines or other retaining surfaces for holding a variety of dishes, cookware, and/or utensils to drip/air dry in basin 110. As shown in FIG. 1, lid 120 and drying rack 130 attached thereto may be positioned such that a bottom of drying rack 130 when fully opened is above a bottom of basin 110, allowing any drying materials in rack 130 to avoid a liquid level or any refuse in basin 110. As shown in FIG. 2, drying rack 130 can collapse into a smaller structure that permits closing of lid 120 while fitting drying rack 130 entirely in basin 110 when lid 120 is closed. In this way, collapsible drying rack 130 may provide additional storage and drying space for kitchenware within a small basin 110 while permitting closure of lid 120 and concealment of any contents of basin 110.

Although example embodiment sink 100 is shown with a collapsible drying rack 130 attached to closeable lid 120, it is understood that other internal structures are useable in sink 100, including dividing walls, air freshener strips, lighting that activates only when open, etc. Further, stops or locks may be placed within or attached to basin 110 to stop and/or secure lid 120 in a closed position with a desired degree of continuity with surrounding structures.

Example embodiments thus being described, it will be appreciated by one skilled in the art that example embodiments may be varied through routine experimentation and without further inventive activity. For example, although a single-piece rotating lid is shown in example embodiments, a multi-piece lid with multiple associated hinge points is equally useable in example embodiments. Variations are not to be regarded as departure from the spirit and scope of the exemplary embodiments, and all such modifications as would be obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.