Patent application title: Cord Management System for Appliances
Marigale A. Prokop (White Bear Lake, MN, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D8500FI
Class name: For a tool (e.g., knife, shaver) plural diverse
Publication date: 2011-03-17
Patent application number: 20110062039
A caddy that holds styling appliances in an attractive, organized, and
ready-to-use mode for daily grooming, thereby eliminating clutter. The
caddy can include a hinged front access panel forming a door that
includes an opening for a hair dryer and its associated electrical cord.
The door provides access to the interior of the housing to allow routing
of the various electrical cords through an opening in the rear of the
housing, as well as to allow quick stowage of the electrical cords when
grooming has been completed. The caddy can also include a pair of
openings disposed on the top panel that provide a holder and cord storage
port for a curling or flat hair dressing iron.
1. A styling accessory organizer comprising:a top surface including
structure defining a first appliance opening sized to receive a first
styling accessory, and a first cord-opening sized to receive an
electrical cord of the first styling accessory;a front face including
structure defining a second appliance opening sized to receive a second
styling accessory, and a second cord-opening sized to receive an
electrical cord of the second styling accessory;a rear face including
structure defining an opening sized to allow passage of an electrical
plug;a bottom face coupled to the rear face; anda first side face and a
second side face, oppositely disposed and mounted on and perpendicular to
the bottom face and the rear face, wherein the first side face and the
second side face couple the top surface to the rear face, thereby
defining an inner storage compartment sized to receive and retain at
least a portion of the electrical cords of the first and second styling
accessories,wherein the front face is coupled to one of the oppositely
disposed side faces with a hinge mechanism such that the front face can
be selectively shifted between an open position in which the inner
storage compartment is accessible, and a closed position in which the
inner storage compartment is generally enclosed.
2. The organizer of claim 1, wherein the rear face structure defines an opening sized to allow passage of an electrical plug comprising a circuit breaker.
3. The organizer of claim 1, further comprising a tube coupled to the top surface structure defining the first appliance opening such that a length of the tube extends into the interior storage compartment.
4. The organizer of claim 3, wherein the tube is metallic.
5. The organizer of claim 1, wherein the first styling accessory is a flat iron, a curling iron, a crimping iron, or a hair dryer.
6. The organizer of claim 1 wherein the second styling accessory is a flat iron, a curling iron, a crimping iron, or a hair dryer.
7. The organizer of claim 3, wherein a base is coupled to an open end of the tube thereby forming a cup.
8. The organizer of claim 7, wherein the base of the cup comprises the structure defining the first cord-opening.
The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/243,058, filed Sep. 16, 2009, the contents of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to the storage and management of small appliances, more particularly to the storage, organization, and power-cord management of various hair styling appliances.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Clutter that can be caused by cords from various small electrical appliances, such as, for example, grooming and styling appliances or kitchen appliances is often unsightly, and can lead to a tangled mess when they are left out on bathroom vanity or a counter top. In the case of styling appliance, to eliminate the clutter, a person has to unplug the appliances and put the items away in a vanity drawer or cabinet only to have to take them out again when they are needed for grooming the next day. This can often cause tangling of the cords and/or broken or damaged appliances. Examples of styling appliances include such items as hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons. Typically, individuals often leave these appliances out on a vanity or counter top producing clutter and potentially inconveniencing other family members.
Various attempts have been made to reduce the clutter produced by multiple styling appliances. Examples include U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,446,972, 5,485,931, 5,547,393, 5,917,694, 6,305,388, 6,318,691, 6,703,587 and 6,769,554. However, often times such solutions can include complex moving parts within the storage device, and/or electrical features that can require costly product certifications such as, for example, UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listings. Some of the devices of the prior art, while being adapted to store a power source such as an extension cord or power strip, are not designed to store the electrical cord of the appliance itself, and therefore, do little to reduce or eliminate unsightly clutter from the electrical cords of the appliances, which remain outside of the storage device. Further, some devices of the prior art are intended to be portable, which may result in a lighter, yet less durable construction.
There is therefore a need for a convenient, inexpensive yet durable, attractive, and simple solution to manage the electrical cords of various styling appliances.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Embodiments of the present invention overcome many of the above-described deficiencies. One embodiment of the invention includes a cord management system configured to eliminate or reduce clutter created by electrical cords of small electrical appliances, and in particular styling devices such as hair dryers, curling irons and flat iron.
One embodiment of the invention can be configured to house various styling appliances, including but not limited to a hair dryer, a flat iron, and curling irons, as well as their respective electrical cords. One embodiment includes a container, or caddy, that holds styling appliances in an attractive, organized, and "ready to use" mode for daily grooming on a counter top, such as a bathroom or salon vanity, thereby eliminating or reducing clutter without the need for storing the appliance(s) between uses. The container can include a hinged front access panel that includes an opening for a hair dryer and its associated electrical cord. The hinged front access panel provides access to the interior of the container to allow routing of the various electrical cords through an opening in the rear of the container, as well as to allow quick stowage of the electrical cords when grooming has been completed. The container can also include a pair of openings disposed on the top panel that provide a holder and cord storage port for a curling or flat hair dressing iron.
The above summary of the invention is not intended to describe each illustrated embodiment or every implementation of the present invention. The figures and the detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify these embodiments.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The embodiments of the present invention may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a front-side perspective view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a rear-side perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a front-side perspective view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a first-side view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a second-side view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a front view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a rear view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a top view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 10 is a bottom view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 11 is a front-side perspective view according to an embodiment of the present invention.
While the present invention is amendable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the present invention to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIGS. 1-11 depict exemplary embodiments of the invention that includes a housing 100 of a generally wedge shape having a plurality openings on one or more of the faces or panels that make up the housing. An angled front panel 102 of the housing 100 can form a front door that provides access to the interior of the housing 100. Structure defining a first large opening 104 can be sized to hold a hair dryer nozzle when the hair dryer is not in use. The first large opening 104, also known as a nozzle opening, can include a protective rubber ring 106 that is affixed to the outer circumference of the first large opening 104. In one embodiment the first large opening 104 of the front angled panel 102 is approximately three inches in diameter.
Structure defining a second generally U-shaped smaller opening 108 can be located on the lower portion of the front angled panel 102 to provide a route for the electrical cord of the hair dryer into and out of the housing 100. The second smaller opening 108 can be open at the bottom edge of the front angled panel 102 such that the entire plug or end of the electrical cord need not pass through the second smaller opening 108. The bottom edge of the front angled panel 102 can abut a front face 109 of the housing 100 that provides a completion of the perimeter of the second smaller opening 108. This configuration provides for the minimization of the size of the second smaller opening 108 while still allowing the housing to accommodate hair dryers, or other styling appliances, that include a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), a circuit breaker, or other larger plug, at the end of the appliance's electrical cord. In one embodiment the second smaller opening 108 is approximately one and one-half inches in diameter.
As depicted in FIG. 2, the back face 110 of the housing 100 can include a circular opening 112 to provide an exit for the electrical cords connected to any appliances that are stored in the housing 100. The exit can group the electrical cords together as they are routed to an electrical outlet or receptacle. In one embodiment the exit, circular opening 112, can be approximately three inches in diameter. The exit cord opening can include a protective rubber ring and be sized to accommodate most styling appliances with GFCI or larger circuit breaker plugs.
As depicted in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, the top surface 113 of the housing 100 can include two openings. The generally larger first opening 114 can be sized to hold a styling appliance such as a curling or flat iron. The generally smaller second opening 116 provides an entry point into the housing 100 to accept the electrical cord for the styling appliance. The second opening 116 can include a protective rubber ring 118 affixed to the circumference of the second smaller opening. In one embodiment the larger opening diameter 120 is approximately two inches, and the smaller opening 116 is approximately one inch in diameter. The larger first opening 114 can be equipped with a metal tube 112, such as chrome-plated brass or another appropriate liner, to facilitate the storage of a flat iron or curling iron. The metal tube 112 can also provide a mechanism to separate the potentially hot surface of the irons from the electrical cords stored within the housing 100.
In one embodiment of the invention, the metal tube 112 further comprises a bottom or base (not shown) coupled to an open end of the tube such that metal tube 112 and base form a cup-like structure at least partially extending into an interior 128 of the housing 100.
As shown in FIGS. 1, 4, 7, and 11, the front door of the housing 100 can be mounted to the first side 124 of the housing with one or more hinges 126. The front door of the housing 100 can be held in place with one or more a metal hinge-pins. Hinged front door 100 opens for full range of movement of hair dryer and its associated electrical cord during use. When in the open position the front door of the housing 100 can provide access to the interior 128 of the housing as depicted in FIG. 11.
A plurality of acrylic feet can be included on the bottom surface 130 of the housing to hold the housing up and off of the vanity counter top, and also protect the vanity counter top from being scratched by the housing. In an alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 10, a plurality of rubber feet 129 can be included on the bottom surface 130 of the housing 100 in order to protect vanity surface and to prevent the housing from sliding or inadvertently moving away from its intended location.
In one embodiment the housing is approximately ten inches high, approximately five inches wide, and approximately twelve inches deep. The housing can be constructed from a variety of materials, including but not limited to wood, plastic, metal, polycarbonate, MDS, or other suitable material. The various components of the housing 100 can be assembled with a plurality of fasteners, such as the screws 140 depicted in FIGS. 3 and 5-6. In an alternative embodiment the various components of the housing 100 can be secured together with an adhesive or other appropriate binding material. In another embodiment the bottom surface 130, first side 124, second side 125, back face 110, and front face 109, can be constructed as a single seamless assembly by an appropriate molding process or other fabrication technique known by those skilled in the appropriate art.
To initially configure an example embodiment of the invention, an individual user installs one or more styling appliances in the housing by opening the hinged front door. The user routes the hair dryer's circuit breaker plug through the exit opening in the rear of the housing. The user can also place a curling or flat iron wand into protective metal tube in the larger opening at the top of the housing and then feed the curling or flat iron cord through the smaller cord return opening and then also through exit opening in the rear of the housing. Once the electrical cords for the appliances are in place the cords can be adjusted to fit neatly inside the housing, and the hinged front door can be closed, with hair dryer cord routed through U-shaped cord return at the base of the door. Finally the hair dryer nozzle can be placed in large opening in the front door of the housing. The appliances can optionally be plugged into wall outlet or power strip.
During styling tool usage, the user can remove curling or flat iron and place on vanity, removing as much electrical cord as is necessary to utilize the tool, and then switch curling or flat iron to "on" position to heat the tool. After removing the hair dryer for use the user can open the front door for full range of cord movement during usage.
Storage of styling tools after use is accomplished by switching the appliances to their appropriate "off" position and allowing them to cool before returning to the housing. The electrical cords can be adjusted to fit neatly inside the housing. The front door panel is closed and the hair dryer nozzle can be placed in front door opening.
In an alternative embodiment of the invention not shown, any of the appliance openings equipped with a metal tube having the bottom or base can include structure defining a cord opening in the bottom of the tube that extends at least partly into the interior compartment of the housing. The cord opening positioned in the tube of the appliance opening can be as an alternative to or in addition to a cord opening on the same face as the appliance opening. With this embodiment, one can store the appliance in an upright position, such as, for example, the handle of a curling iron or hair dryer being positioned in the tube such that the electrical cord is completely hidden when the appliance is stored in the appliance opening. Also, with this embodiment, it may not be necessary to allow the appliance to cool before storing as the heated portion of the appliance extends outside of the housing or any face thereof.
The embodiments above are intended to be illustrative and not limiting. Additional embodiments are within the claims. In addition, although aspects of the present invention have been described with reference to particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that changes can be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined by the claims.
Persons of ordinary skill in the relevant arts will recognize that the invention may comprise fewer features than illustrated in any individual embodiment described above. The embodiments described herein are not meant to be an exhaustive presentation of the ways in which the various features of the invention may be combined. Accordingly, the embodiments are not mutually exclusive combinations of features; rather, the invention may comprise a combination of different individual features selected from different individual embodiments, as understood by persons of ordinary skill in the art.
Any incorporation by reference of documents above is limited such that no subject matter is incorporated that is contrary to the explicit disclosure herein. Any incorporation by reference of documents above is further limited such that no claims included in the documents are incorporated by reference herein. Any incorporation by reference of documents above is yet further limited such that any definitions provided in the documents are not incorporated by reference herein unless expressly included herein.
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