The present invention relates to appliance holders, and particularly to a toothbrush holder for holding a plurality of toothbrushes and a tube of toothpaste.
As a matter of convenience, toothbrushes are usually stored near the user's bathroom sink or kitchen sink, typically in a receptacle on the countertop or in a toothbrush holder nearby. Since bathrooms and kitchens harbor a wide variety of bacteria and other harmful microbial life, it is necessary to separate the user's toothbrush from any surface in the bathroom, such as the countertop or a wall, in order to minimize the risk of infection from germs or fungus developing in the bristles of the toothbrush.
Typical toothbrush holders include either a horizontal rail having openings formed therethrough for vertically receiving toothbrushes, or include a rack, allowing the toothbrushes to extend in a horizontal direction and be stacked vertically. These toothbrush holders, however, must be mounted on a support surface, such as a wall or medicine cabinet, thus positioning the toothbrushes next to potential sources of infection.
Further, such toothbrush holders, being adapted for receiving a plurality of toothbrushes, either position the toothbrushes next to one another, thus potentially causing • cross-contamination from one user's toothbrush to another's, or from positioning one toothbrush directly above another, thus allowing fluids to drip from one toothbrush onto another. These conventional toothbrush holders prevent contact of the toothbrushes with the countertop, but do not prevent the risk of infection caused by the germs of one user spreading to the toothbrush of another user. In addition, such toothbrush holders often utilize hooks or arcuately-shaped support members for holding and supporting the toothbrushes. These supports are not contoured to securely receive a conventional toothbrush with a substantially rectangular cross-sectional contour.
Further, typical toothbrush holders do not also hold toothpaste. For the convenience of the user, it would be desirable to combine a toothbrush holder with a toothpaste tube holder. In addition, holders for dental articles typically do not prevent the unwanted dripping of fluids from the freshly used toothbrushes onto the countertop, which can create further
unsanitary conditions in the users' bathroom. Thus, a toothbrush holder solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
The disclosure is directed to a tooth brush holder. The toothbrush holder has an upper support portion with a front channel is positioned adjacent to the front surface of the tooth brush holder and that extends in a longitudinal direction substantially parallel the front and rear surfaces of the toothbrush holder. The front channel has a substantially arcuate cross- sectional contour and is adapted to receive a tube of toothpaste. The upper surface of the toothbrush holder has a plurality of rear channels formed therein. Each of the rear channels is adapted for receiving a toothbrush and extends in a longitudinal direction. The toothbrush holder also includes a tray with an upper tray surface that is adapted for the releasable mounting of said upper support portion thereon, said lower tray surface being adapted for mounting on a support surface.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Fig. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a toothbrush holder according to the present invention.
Fig. 2 is a side view of the toothbrush holder according to the present invention, showing the upper support portion exploded from the tray. Fig. 3 is a bottom view of the tray of the toothbrush holder according to the present invention.
Fig. 4 is a top view of the tray of the toothbrush holder according to the present invention.
Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
The toothbrush holder includes an upper support portion having a pair of opposed sidewalls defining a plurality of tiered forks, the forks in the opposing sidewalls being in registry. The upper support portion further includes opposed front and rear walls, and a lower wall. A frontrnost fork of each sidewall has a substantially arcuate cross-sectional
contour for releasably receiving a tube of toothpaste. The frontmost fork is positioned adjacent the front wall.
The remaining forks each have a substantially rectangular contour for releasably receiving a toothbrush. The forks are aligned so that a toothbrush or tube of toothpaste supported by both sidewalls will extend laterally from one sidewall to the opposite sidewall substantially parallel to the front and rear surfaces.
The upper support portion is releasably mounted on a tray, which is adapted for mounting on a support surface, such as a bathroom countertop or to a wall. A plurality of frictional elements may be secured to a lower surface of the tray, and the upper surface of the tray may include at least one recess for collecting water droplets, which may drip from the toothbrushes.
Referring to Fig. 1, there is shown a toothbrush holder 10. The holder 10 provides a sanitary holder and storage system for a tube of toothpaste 12 and at least one toothbrush 14. The holder 10 is formed from plastic, stainless steel, treated wood or any other suitable waterproof and cleanable material. Although shown in Fig. 1 as being mounted on a conventional bathroom countertop 17, the holder 10 may be used in combination with any suitable support surface, or in any suitable environment. As will be described in further detail with regard to Fig. 2, in particular, the toothbrush holder 10 may further be mounted to a wall or other vertical support surface. As best shown in Fig. 2t the holder 10 includes an upper portion 16, which is removably mounted on a tray 18. The upper portion 16 includes a pair of opposed sidewalls 25, a lower wall 26, and opposed front and rear walls 21, 19, respectively. In the preferred embodiment, the pair of sidewalls 25 are positioned parallel to one another, and the front surface 21 is parallel with the rear surface 19, thus forming a rectangular cross-sectional contourxwhen viewed from above or below. In the preferred embodiment, the rectangular cross-sectional contour has a width of approximately 3 1A inches and a length of approximately 5 Vi inches. However, it should be understood that the upper portion 16 may have any desired size and shape.
Each sidewall 25 forms a plurality of tiered forks 22 and 24, with the posterior wall of each fork 22, 24 being taller than the anterior wall, the posterior wall of each fork 22, 24 forming the anterior wall of the next higher fork 22, except for the posterior wall 27 of the highest fork 22. The front forks 24 are positioned adjacent front wall 21. In the preferred embodiment, the front wall has a height of approximately 12/16 of an inch. The front forks 24 have a substantially semicircular contour, as shown, for releasably receiving toothpaste
tube 12. It should be understood that front forks 24, however, may have any suitable cross- sectional contour adapted for receiving a tube of toothpaste 12. In the preferred embodiment, each front fork -24 is approximately 14/16 of an inch wide, and spaced from the front wall 21 by approximately 5/16 of an inch. As shown, each fork 22 increases in height, in the lateral direction, from the front wall
21 to the rear wall 19 in staircase fashion. In the preferred embodiment, rear wall 19 is approximately 2 1A inches in height. Preferably, each fork 22 behind front fork 24 has a substantially rectangular cross-sectional contour to removably receive one end of a conventional toothbrush 14. Each fork 22, in the preferred embodiment, is approximately 9/16 of an inch in width, although it should be understood that each fork 22 may have any desired dimensions or contouring adapted for receiving a toothbrush. The rearmost fork 22 is preferably spaced apart from rear wall 19 by approximately 5/16 of an inch.
As illustrated in Fig. 2, a vertical mounting support 32 may be provided for securing the toothbrush holder 10 to a wall or other vertical surface. The vertical mounting support 32 has an upper wall 33, which extends in a substantially vertical direction, and a lower wall 35, which extends in a substantially horizontal direction. The upper surface of lower wall 35 is adapted for supporting tray 18 and body 16 when upper wall 33 is mounted to a vertical surface, such as a wall, for example. A plurality of openings are formed through upper wall 33 for receiving screws or any other suitable fasteners 34 therethrough for releasably securing vertical mounting support 32 to the wall or other surface. Further, frictional elements or feet 20 (to be described in greater detail below, with particular regard to Fig. 3) may be mounted to the lower surface of lower wall 35, allowing the support 32 to be alternatively mounted on a horizontal support surface, such as countertop 17, when not mounted to the wall, Further, the upper surface of lower wall 35 may have a recess formed therein for securely and releasably receiving the lower surface of tray 18.
As best shown in Figs. 3 and 4, tray 18 preferably has a square cross-sectional contour, although it should be understood that tray 18 may have any suitable size or shape adapted to receive lower wall 26. In the preferred embodiment, tray 18 has a length and width of approximately 5 3A inches, and a thickness of approximately 3/16 of an inch. When lower wall 26 of upper support portion 16 rests on the upper surface of tray 18, tray 18 extends beyond the lower surface 26, preferably in both the lateral and longitudinal directions, providing cover and protection for surface 17 from drips and spills caused by placement of toothbrushes 14 and tube 12 in the upper portion 16.
As shown in Fig. 1, the handle portions of toothbrushes 14 are preferably supported within forks 22, and the bristle portions of toothbrushes 14 preferably are positioned external to upper portion 16, adjacent one of sidewalls 25. The bristles are positioned over the extending portion of tray 18, allowing tray 18 to collect any water droplets which may fall from the bristles of the toothbrushes 14 within one of the recesses 28 (to be described in further detail below, with particular respect to Fig. 4). Further, the dispensing end of tube 12 is also positioned above tray 18, allowing tray 18 to collect stray toothpaste drippings from tube 12.
As shown in Fig. 4, the upper surface of tray 18 may include shallow recesses (i.e. . fluid-retaining reservoirs) 28, 30, for collecting water and toothpaste drippings therein. The user may then separate upper portion 16 from tray 18 and remove the water and toothpaste therefrom. Although shown as having a central rectangular recess 30 and two outer rectangular recesses 28, it should be understood that this is for exemplary purposes only, and tray 18 may include any desired number of recesses having any desired contouring. In the preferred embodiment, each of outer rectangular recesses 28 is spaced from the edge of tray
18, in both the lateral and longitudinal directions, by approximately 2/16 of an inch. The central rectangular recess 30 is preferably spaced from each of the outer rectangular recesses 28 by approximately 2/16 of an inch. The raised edges, defining recesses 28, 30 and recess 30 in particular, further provide for the stable positioning of upper portion 16 on tray 18; i.e., lower wall 26 may be adapted to be received within recess 30, with the raised edges preventing horizontal movement of upper portion 16 with respect to tray 18 when upper' portion 16 is mounted thereon.
As shown in Figs. 2 and 3, a plurality of frictional elements or feet 20 may be secured to the lower surface of tray 18, for making frictional contact with support surface 17. Feet 20 may beVubber pads or the like. Although shown as being in the form of four rectangular rubber pads, each pad being secured adjacent one of the corners of the lower surface of tray 18, it should be understood that feet 20 may have any desired shape or size, may include any desired number, and may be positioned in any suitable location on the lower surface of tray 18. In the preferred embodiment, each pad 20 has a substantially rectangular contour with a width of approximately 4/16 of an. inch, and a length of approximately 8/16 of an inch. Each pad 20 is preferably spaced from the adjacent edges of the tray by a distance of approximately XA of an inch.
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.