US20080110910A1 - Detachable handle for cooking container - Google Patents

Detachable handle for cooking container Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080110910A1
US20080110910A1 US11/559,596 US55959606A US2008110910A1 US 20080110910 A1 US20080110910 A1 US 20080110910A1 US 55959606 A US55959606 A US 55959606A US 2008110910 A1 US2008110910 A1 US 2008110910A1
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Prior art keywords
handle
cooking container
locking
detachable handle
cooking
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Abandoned
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US11/559,596
Inventor
David R. Kleppin
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Kleppin David R
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Priority to US11/559,596 priority Critical patent/US20080110910A1/en
Publication of US20080110910A1 publication Critical patent/US20080110910A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J45/00Devices for fastening or gripping kitchen utensils or crockery
    • A47J45/06Handles for hollow-ware articles
    • A47J45/07Handles for hollow-ware articles of detachable type
    • A47J45/071Saucepan, frying-pan handles

Abstract

A detachable handle for a cooking container includes a body having an upper contact portion, a lower contact portion, and a locking element. The upper contact portion couples an interior surface or a rim of the cooking container. The lower contact portion couples with an exterior surface of the cooking container. The upper contact portion and lower contact portion cooperate to support the cooking container. The locking element resiliently locks the handle on the cooking container when the upper contact portion and lower contact portion are coupled to the cooking container. The body and the locking element may be formed as a single molded part.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • Embodiments of the invention generally relate to apparatus for cooking. More specifically, embodiments of the invention relate to cooking containers with removable handles.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • Various types of cooking containers are known for heating and preparing food. A typical cooking container includes a round metal pan with sidewalls extending generally upward from the bottom of the pan. An insulated handle is permanently attached to the pan for manipulating the pan during use.
  • Pans with permanent handles require a significant amount of storage room. Although the volume of the handle may not be large, the handle typically extends rigidly for several inches away from the pan. As a result, pans with permanent handles may inefficiently consume space in a cabinet, refrigerator, or storage device.
  • Some existing pans include a handle that can be removed when the pan is not in use. For example, one pan system includes handle with a clamping system that closes on a sidewall of the pan. The handle has a sliding plate that can be moved by a lever into close proximity with a fixed plate on the handle. To attach the handle to the pan, the sliding plate is placed over the interior of a sidewall of the pan. A lever on the handle may be used to draw the sliding plate backward toward the fixed plate until the sidewall of the pan is clamped between the sliding plate and the fixed plate.
  • Many existing cookware systems and detachable handle systems have many parts. For example, the handle for the pan described above may include a main grip portion, a fixed plate, a sliding plate, a lever, as well as other hardware such as screws, rivets, pins, and/or springs. Devices having a relatively large number of separate parts are typically more expensive to produce than devices having fewer separate parts.
  • Many existing removable handles are made of a combination of metal components and polymer components. The metal and polymer components used in such handles are typically relatively rigid. Handles that have rigid structural components may require separate, dedicated components for actuating locking features. For example, some handles may require a coil spring or a leaf spring to move a latching member into and/or out of a latched position on a pan.
  • It would be desirable to have a removable handle for a cooking container that contains a minimal number of separate components. It would further be desirable to have a removable handle with flexible elements for keeping the handle in place on the cooking container.
  • SUMMARY
  • Various embodiments of apparatus for cooking and methods for using such apparatus are described. In an embodiment, a detachable handle for a cooking container includes a body having an upper contact portion, a lower contact portion, and a locking element. The upper contact portion couples an interior surface or a rim of the cooking container. The lower contact portion couples with an exterior surface of the cooking container. The upper contact portion and lower contact portion cooperate to support the cooking container. The locking element resiliently locks the handle on the cooking container when the upper contact portion and lower contact portion are coupled to the cooking container.
  • In some embodiments, the body and the locking element are formed as a single molded part. The body and the locking element may be coupled through a resilient portion in the locking element. In some embodiments, a locking element for a detachable handle is flexible. In one embodiment, a handle is formed of a flexible thermoset polymer.
  • In an embodiment, an upper contact portion and a lower contact portion of a detachable handle are in substantially fixed relationship to one another. The handle may include a locking lever coupled to the body. The locking lever may have a proximal portion and a distal portion. The proximal portion is coupled to the body of the handle. The distal portion engages a portion of a cooking container. In one embodiment, a locking lever includes a ridge that couples with the rim of a cooking container to lock the handle on the cooking container. The locking lever may allow the handle to be released from the cooking container when a predetermined force is applied to the locking lever. In some embodiments, the locking element automatically locks when the handle is installed on the cooking container.
  • In an embodiment, a detachable handle for a cooking container includes a body that couples with and supports the cooking container. A lever arm extends from the body. The lever arm resiliently couples with an exterior portion of the cooking container when the body is coupled to the cooking container. Engagement of the lever arm with the cooking container may inhibit separation of the handle from the cooking container. In one embodiment, the lever arm is integrally formed with the body.
  • In some embodiments, a detachable handle for a cooking container includes a lever arm that is resiliently biased to lock the handle on cooking container when the body is coupled to the cooking container. The lever arm may include a resilient portion. The resilient portion allows the arm to deflect when a force is applied to the lever arm at a location distal to the resilient portion. The lever arm may include a release button. The release button may be operable by a user to disengage the lever arm from the cooking container. In certain embodiments, the lever arm is at least partially within an aperture in the body of a handle.
  • In an embodiment, a cookware system includes two or more cooking containers and at least one detachable handle. The handle couples with at least one of the cooking containers. The handle includes a lever arm. The lever arm resiliently engages a cooking container when the handle is coupled to the cooking container. Engagement of the lever arm with the cooking container inhibits separation of the handle from the cooking container. In some embodiments, the cooking containers are stackable.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art with the benefit of the following detailed description and upon reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is an upper perspective view of a detachable handle for a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 is a lower perspective view of a detachable handle for a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 3 is a top view of a detachable handle for a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of a detachable handle for a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 5 is an end view of a detachable handle for a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 6 is a cross sectional side view of the detachable handle for a cooking container taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 3 according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of detachable handle installed on a cooking container with a locking element in a locked position on a lip of the cooking container.
  • FIG. 8 is a detail view of a locking element in a locked position on a lip of a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of detachable handle installed on a cooking container with a locking element in a released position according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 10 is a detail view of a locking element in a released position according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 11 is a side view of detachable handle coupled to an external flange of a cooking container according to one embodiment.
  • While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments are shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that drawings and detailed descriptions thereto are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed, but on the contrary, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
  • Apparatus for cooking and methods of producing and using such apparatus are described.
  • As used herein, “cooking container” includes any container suitable for cooking, baking, or otherwise preparing food. Examples include pans, pots, plates, skillets, baking sheets, dishes (e.g., glass baking dishes), dutch ovens, and woks. A cooking container may be any of various shapes including round, square, elliptical, oblong, rectangular, or irregular. A cooking container may be deep, shallow, or flat. Sides of a cooking container (in any) may be straight, tapered in, tapered out, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, a cooking container may include a rim or lip. A rim or lip of a cooking container may extend the entire container, or only a portion the container.
  • As used herein, an “arm” includes any element or portion of an element that extends from another element or portion thereof. For example, an arm may be a shaft that extends from the grip portion of a handle. An arm may be curved, straight, or a combination thereof. An arm may be a separate component or an integral portion of a larger component. An arm may have multiple segments or components. In some embodiments, an arm may extend away from the component to which it is attached (e.g., laterally, diagonally). In other embodiments, an arm may extend within a larger component (e.g., within a cavity, aperture, or slot in the larger component).
  • As used herein, “coupled” includes a direct or indirect coupling. As used herein, “connected” or “connection” includes a direct or an indirect connection.
  • As used herein, an element or portion of an element is “flexible” if it is able to bend without breaking under loads encountered or applied during normal use.
  • As used herein, an element is “locked” if a predetermined action or operation is required to release the element from a fixed connection with another element. Examples of actions to unlock a device include pushing a button, rotating a lever, or lifting a handle.
  • FIG. 1 depicts a handle for a cooking container according to one embodiment. Handle 100 may be detachable from cooking container 102. In the embodiment shown, handle 100 includes body 104 and locking arm 106. Body 104 includes grip 108, shank 110, hooks 112, and pads 114. Grip 108 includes hanger hole 118. Body 104 includes aperture 119 between the left and right sides of shank 110.
  • Locking arm 106 includes proximal portion 122, mid portion 124, and distal portion 126. Locking arm 106 is connected to body 104 at proximal portion 122 of locking arm 106. Mid portion 124 and distal portion 126 extend from proximal portion 122 in aperture 119. Slots 128 are defined on either side of locking arm 106 between locking arm 106 and shank 110. Locking arm 106 terminates in a free end at the end of distal portion 126. Release button 120 may be provided on locking arm 106. Distal portion 126 of locking arm 106 may deflect relative to body 104 when a downward force is applied to release button 120. Locking arm 106 may act as a lever.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the underside of handle 100 shown in FIG. 1 according to one embodiment. Body 104 includes upper crossmember 136 and lower crossmember 138. Upper crossmember 136 extends between hooks 112. Lower crossmember 138 extends between pads 114. Handle 100 includes cavity 140 on the underside of handle 100. Cavity 140 may reduce weight and cost of handle 100. Upper crossmember 136 and lower crossmember 138 may stiffen and structurally reinforce body 104. Rib 142 may extend downwardly from locking arm 106. Rib 142 may stiffen and structurally reinforce locking arm 106.
  • FIG. 3 is a top view of a detachable handle according to one embodiment. Locking arm 106 extends from body 104 between slots 128. All or part of locking arm 106 may be made of a material that is somewhat flexible and resilient (e.g., an elastic polymer, or a spring steel). Locking arm 106 may deflect when a force is applied to the locking arm. For example, release button 120 may be depressed with a thumb of a user so as to apply a downward force to locking arm 106. Distal portion 126 of locking arm 106 may move downwardly when release button 120 is pressed. When the force is removed from release button 120, locking arm 106 may spring back to its free (e.g., unloaded) position.
  • The amount of deflection of distal portion 126 of locking arm 106 for a given amount of applied force will depend on the mechanical properties of the material used for the handle (e.g., modulus of elasticity, flexural modulus) and the geometry of the handle and locking arm. As shown in FIG. 3, end holes 150 may be provided at the proximal ends of slots 128. End holes 150 may create a necked down region 152 between the end holes. Necked down region 152 may allow locking arm 106 to deflect a greater amount for a given amount of applied force. In some embodiments, thicknesses of body 104 and/or locking arm 106 may be reduced to lower the cross-sectional area of the locking arm. A lower cross-sectional area may produce more deflection of locking arm 106 for a given amount of applied force. In one embodiment, the thickness of body 104 and/or locking arm 106 are reduced locally (e.g., by a pocket or grooves at or near the junction of body 104 and locking arm 106).
  • FIG. 4 is a side view of a detachable handle according to one embodiment. The upper portion of body 104 includes hook 112 near the distal end of handle 100. The lower portion of body 104 includes pads 114. Locking arm 106 extends to a position between hook 112 and pads 114.
  • FIG. 5 is an end view of a handle according to one embodiment. Lower crossmember 138 has been cutaway for clarity. The front side of handle 100 includes leading faces 151. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, pads 114 are spaced wider than hooks 112. Nevertheless, lower contact elements such as pads 114 may be placed at any suitable position relative to an upper contact element. For example, pads 114 may be placed narrower than hooks 112, or the same width as hooks 112. Although the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 depicts two hooks and two pads, a handle may in other embodiments include only one hook and/or pad, or more than two hooks and/or pads. Similarly, a handle may include more than one locking element (e.g., locking arm 106). A handle may in other embodiments include various other contact elements instead of, or in addition to, the elements shown in FIG. 5. Examples of such elements include bars, rods, beams, posts, plates, pins, and springs. Engaging or contact elements of a handle may be integral with the rest of the handle or separate parts (such as a metal plate or hook fastened to a plastic handle).
  • FIG. 6 is a cross sectional view of a detachable handle according to one embodiment. Distal portion 126 of locking arm 106 includes ridge 154, upper face 156, and lower face 158. Ridge 154 may engage with (e.g., contact) a portion of cooking container 102 during use to inhibit removal of the handle from the cooking container. Rib 142 may stiffen locking arm 106 in distal portion 126 and/or mid portion 124 of locking arm 106.
  • FIGS. 7 and 8 depict a detachable handle installed on a cooking container according to one embodiment. To install handle 100 on cooking container 102, hook 112 may be passed over rim 160 of cooking container 102. The tapered lower face 158 of locking arm 106 may contact a portion of rim 160 of cooking container 102. As installation force is applied to handle 100 against cooking container 102, locking arm 106 may deflect against the spring force in locking arm 106 as lower face 158 slides against rim 160. Ridge 154 may resiliently engage on rim 160. In some embodiment, locking arm 106 snaps into a locked position on rim 160.
  • While ridge 154 is engaged on rim 160, distal portion 126 of locking arm 106 may remain displaced generally downward from relative to when locking arm 106 is in its free condition. Spring force in locking arm 106 may exert a biasing force against rim 160. Rim 160 of cooking container 102 may be trapped between hooks 112, leading faces 151 and distal portion 126 of locking arm 106. Hooks 112 may contact interior surface 170 of cooking container 102. Pads 114 may contact exterior surface 172 of cooking container 102. Hooks 112 and pads 114 may cooperate to support cooking container 102 (e.g., in a horizontal attitude). Handle 100 may be locked with respect to cooking container 102.
  • In certain embodiments, the upper portion of a handle may contact the rim of a cooking container rather than an interior surface. In certain embodiments, the lower portion of the handle may contact the bottom of the cooking container, rather than the sidewall.
  • As handle is advanced onto cooking container 102 during installation of handle 100, handle 100 may automatically lock on cooking container 102 under the resilient force of locking arm 106. A handle that automatically locks onto a container may be simpler to operate than a handle that requires one or more separate actions to lock the handle (e.g. squeezing a trigger, pushing a button).
  • FIGS. 9 and 10 depict a detachable handle with a locking arm in a release position according to one embodiment. To release handle 100 from cooking container 102, the user may apply a downward force to release button 120. Distal portion 126 may deflect downwardly such that ridge 154 disengages from rim 160. With locking arm 106 disengaged from rim 160, handle 100 may be removed from cooking container 102 (e.g., by lifting the handle up and away from the cooking container).
  • In certain embodiments, a handle may be detachable from a cooking container by lifting up on the end of the handle until a locking element disengages from the cooking container. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7-10, if the rear end of handle 102 is lifted upward, ridge 154 may be forced over rim 160 such that ridge 154 disengages from cooking container 102.
  • In some embodiments, a handle may couple with elements or components on the sidewalls a cooking container. Suitable coupling elements include a bar, a loop, a hook, or a flange. Mounting elements for a detachable handle may mount on the exterior of the container, the interior of the container, or both. In some embodiments, a detachable handle may couple with a cooking container through an opening in the cooking container.
  • FIG. 11 depicts a detachable handle attached to a cooking container at an external flange according to one embodiment. Cooking container 200 includes flange 202 on an exterior surface of cooking container 200. Handle 204 may couple with flange 202. Locking arm 106 may resiliently engage flange 202. Locking arm 106 may inhibit removal of handle 204 from cooking container 200 until locking arm 106 is released (e.g., by pressing a release button on handle 204).
  • In certain embodiments, elements of a handle may be coupled to one another by integrally forming the elements as a single piece (e.g., by injection molding). For example, a body of a handle may be integrally formed as a single piece of thermoset plastic material. In other embodiments, elements of a handle are separately produced and then fastened to one another. Suitable fastening approaches may include screws, adhesive, tongue-and-groove joints, or rivets.
  • In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 through 7, locking arm 106 may be rigidly connected to (or integral with) body 104 of handle 100 at proximal portion 122 of locking arm 106. Nevertheless, it should be understood that in other embodiments, an arm or locking element may be movably connected to other part of a handle. For example, a locking element may be coupled to a grip portion of a handle by way of a hinge, a pin, or a spring. In certain embodiments, a locking element may be slidably coupled to another portion of the handle (e.g., with a locking rod sliding within a bore of a handle grip).
  • In some embodiments, all of the portions of an element or member may be produced as a single part. In other embodiments, each portion of an element may be a separately produced part. For example, a contact pad of a handle may be an integral portion of a molded handle or a separate piece such as a plate, bar, or pin.
  • In some embodiments, a detachable handle may be produced as one part. For example, the entire handle shown in FIGS. 1-7, including body 104 and locking arm 106, may be produced as a single, injection-molded part. Suitable materials for a handle may include, steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or a heat resistant polymer. In some embodiments, a handle is made from a flexible thermoset polymer. In one embodiment, a handle is produced by injection molding of a two-stage phenolic. In one embodiment, the two-stage phenolic is PLENCO 06401, made by Plastics Engineering Company.
  • Some or all of a handle may be made of a flexible material. In one embodiment, the material for a handle has a flexural modulus of less than about 20,000 megapascals. In one embodiment, the material for a handle has a flexural modulus of about 14,800 megapascals.
  • Cooking containers may be made of steel, iron, aluminum, glass, ceramic, composite, or other suitable material. In some embodiments, exterior surfaces of a cooking container may be coated or treated, such as with a polymeric coating (e.g., a non-stick polytetrafluoroethylene coating) or anodization. In one embodiment, a cooking container is a cold rolled steel with a Teflon® coating, made by Dupont. In some embodiments, the cooking container may be of a sufficiently low cost that it may be disposable after a limited number of uses. In such a case, the purchase of additional cooking containers without having to purchase a new handle may be possible.
  • In an embodiment, a cookware system includes two or more pans and at least one detachable handle for the pans. In certain embodiments, the pans may include covers. The pans may be stackable and/or nestable when the handles are removed from the pans. Stackable or nestable pans may take up less storage space in a cabinet, refrigerator, or storage container. In one embodiment, a system includes a storage container with an internal volume that is slightly larger than the diameter of a set of pans.
  • Although the embodiments above have been described in considerable detail, numerous variations and modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art once the above disclosure is fully appreciated. It is intended that the following claims be interpreted to embrace all such variations and modifications. It is to be understood that the forms of the invention shown and described herein are to be taken as examples of embodiments. Elements and materials may be substituted for those illustrated and described herein, parts and processes may be reversed or omitted, and certain features of the invention may be utilized independently, all as would be apparent to one skilled in the art after having the benefit of this description of the invention. Changes may be made in the elements described herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described in the following claims.
  • As used herein, the word “may” is used in a permissive sense (i.e., meaning having the potential to), rather than the mandatory sense (i.e., meaning must). Similarly, the words “include”, “including”, and “includes” mean including, but not limited to.

Claims (20)

1. A detachable handle for a cooking container comprising:
a body comprising:
an upper contact portion configured to couple with an interior surface or a rim of the cooking container; and
a lower contact portion configured to couple with an exterior surface of the cooking container, the upper contact portion and lower contact portion being configurable to support the cooking container; and
a locking element coupled with the body, the locking element configured to resiliently lock the handle on the cooking container when the upper contact portion and lower contact portion are coupled to the cooking container.
2. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the locking element is flexible.
3. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein the body and the locking element are formed as a single molded part, wherein the body and the locking element are coupled through a resilient portion in the locking element.
4. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein the upper contact portion and the lower contact portion are in substantially fixed relationship to one another.
5. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the handle is formed of a thermoset polymer.
6. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the locking element is formed of a thermoset polymer having a flexural modulus of less than about 20,000 megapascals.
7. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein the locking element comprises a locking lever coupled to the body.
8. The detachable handle of claim 7, wherein the locking lever comprises a proximal portion and a distal portion, wherein the proximal portion is coupled to the body, wherein the distal portion comprises an engaging portion configured to engage the cooking container.
9. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein the locking element comprises a ridge, wherein the ridge is configured to couple with a rim of the cooking container to lock the handle on the cooking container.
10. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein the locking element comprises a locking lever coupled to the body, wherein the locking lever is configured to allow the handle to be released from the cooking container when a predetermined force is applied to the locking lever.
11. The detachable handle of claim 1, wherein the locking element is configured to automatically lock when the handle is installed on the cooking container.
12. A detachable handle for a cooking container, comprising:
a body configured to couple with and support the cooking container;
an lever arm extending from the body, the lever arm configured to resiliently couple with an exterior portion of the cooking container when the body is coupled to the cooking container.
13. The detachable handle of claim 12, wherein the lever arm is integrally formed with the body.
14. The detachable handle of claim 12, wherein engagement of the lever arm with the cooking container inhibits separation of the handle from the cooking container.
15. The detachable handle of claim 12, wherein the lever arm is resiliently biased to lock the handle on cooking container when the body is coupled to the cooking container.
16. The detachable handle of claim 12, wherein the lever arm comprises a resilient portion, wherein the resilient portion allows the arm to deflect when a force is applied to the lever arm at a location distal to the resilient portion.
17. The detachable handle of claim 12, wherein the lever arm comprises a release button, wherein the release is operable by a user to disengage the lever arm from the cooking container.
18. The detachable handle of claim 12, wherein the body comprises an aperture, wherein at least a portion of the lever arm is in the aperture.
19. A cooking system comprising:
a plurality of cooking containers; and
at least one detachable handle, the at least one detachable handle being configured to couple with one or more of the cooking containers, the at least one detachable handle comprising a lever arm configured to resiliently engage one of the cooking containers when the handle is coupled to the cooking container, wherein engagement of the lever arm with the cooking container inhibits separation of the handle from the cooking container.
20. The cooking system of claim 19, wherein at least two of the plurality of cooking containers are stackable.
US11/559,596 2006-11-14 2006-11-14 Detachable handle for cooking container Abandoned US20080110910A1 (en)

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