Paper towel construction and dispenser

A single hand paper towel dispenser and towel is disclosed having a plurality of generally flat longitudinally stacked paper towels. The stacked paper towels include a first paper towel, a second paper towel, and a securing element. The first paper towel has a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side. The second paper towel is a completely separate paper towel having a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side. The securing element secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in order to form a bond therebetween. The paper towel dispenser is sized to house the plurality of paper towels. The dispenser includes a slot having a width sized such that a single paper towel may extend therethrough.

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Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of paper towels and dispensers. More specifically, the present invention relates to a unique paper towel construction and a novel dispenser that is easily concealed in a functional location in a work environment, such as a kitchen. In addition, the present invention relates to a single hand paper towel dispenser and a towel that does not require the user to hold the roll with his or her other hand in order accurately tear off a desired number of paper towels.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Paper towels are routinely used in kitchens and other settings where food is served. In almost all settings where food is served, paper towel dispensers of some type are used to dispense paper towels for many reasons such as to clean tables, counter surfaces or kitchen appliances. Papers towels are usually sold in a roll having a width of approximately 11 inches and sheets of approximately 6 to 15 inches in length, connected end-to-end along serrated tear lines. Most disposable paper towels have periodic transverse serrations to facilitate separation of discrete lengths or sheets. The paper towel sheets are wound upon a paper core of approximately an inch in diameter, which results in a towel role having a diameter of about 4 to 5 inches in many instances. In certain other instances, sheets of paper towels may have other lengths and widths.

One example of a previous paper towel dispenser is the use of a simple U-shaped bracket. This bracket is usually designed to be mounted to a wall or beneath a horizontal cabinet Each end of the bracket is designed to hold one end of the paper towel core, or alternatively, a rod can be axially extended through the center of the paper core and mounted at its ends between the U-shaped bracket. At least one disadvantage of the traditional paper towel dispenser including a U-shaped bracket holder is that a person usually needs to use both hands to dispense the paper towels. This disadvantage represents an inconvenience and difficulty for some people, while one hand is holding a container, object of use, or kitchen element. At such moments, the only option is for the person to find a place to set the object down in order to use both hands to free and tear off one or more sheets of the paper towel. If a user attempts to use inertia and jerk a few sheets of paper towel from the roll, the roll often unreels. The user is then left with the task of rewinding unused segments of paper towels. In other instances, if a user attempts to use inertia to tear sheets of paper towel, the entire roll may be pulled off from the holder. The user must then pick up the roll, rewind any useful portion, and reposition the roll on the holder. Another issue is that if the roll of towels is held with one hand and a length of towel ripped off with the other, the sheets of the paper towel may not tear at the serrated edges between the individual sheets. This action leaves uneven or jagged edges, or strips of paper sheets hanging from the roll.

Another disadvantage is that in many modern kitchens, a very clean modern look is desired. It is often preferred that the kitchen not have a cluttered appearance. For example, the placement of the paper towel roll on a counter or mounted beneath a cabinet can create an appearance that detracts from the preferred appearance of the overall kitchen.

Therefore, it is be highly desirable to provide a means for dispensing paper towels that only requires a user to use a single hand to produce a desired number of paper towel sheets. It would also be highly desirable to provide a means by which a plurality of paper towels could be mounted in a generally less noticeable way, so as not to detract from the overall appearance of the kitchen.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a unique paper towel construction and a novel dispenser for use with a single hand that is easily concealed in a functional location in a work environment such a kitchen storage that overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art.

According to a first aspect of the invention, a plurality of stacked paper towels is provided including a first paper towel, a second paper towel and a securing element. The first paper towel has a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side and a second side. The second completely separate paper towel has a first end portion, a second opposing end portion, a first side and a second side. The securing element secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in order to form a bond therebetween.

According to a second aspect of the invention, a single hand paper towel dispenser and towel is disclosed having a plurality of generally flat longitudinally stacked paper towels. The stacked paper towels include a first paper towel, a second paper towel, and a securing element. The first paper towel has a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side and a second side. The second paper towel is a completely separate paper towel having a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side. The securing element secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in order to form a bond therebetween. The paper towel dispenser is sized to house the plurality of paper towels. The dispenser includes a slot having a width sized such that a single paper towel may extend therethrough.

According to a third aspect of the invention, a single hand paper towel dispenser, towel, and cabinet assembly are provided. The assembly includes a plurality of flat stacked paper towels, a dispenser, and cabinet. The plurality of generally flat stacked paper towels includes a first paper towel and a second paper towel. The first paper towel has a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side and a second side. The second paper towel is a completely separate paper towel and has a first end portion, a second opposing end portion, a first side, and a second side. An adhesive securing element secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in order to form a bond therebetween. A towel dispenser is sized to house the paper towels. The dispenser includes a slot having a width sized such that a single paper towel may extend therethrough. The cabinet houses work items, and the towel dispenser is formed integrally therewith.

The present invention, together with attendant objects and advantages, will be best understood with reference to the detailed description below in connection with the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a plurality of paper towels in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a door mounted paper towel dispenser in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a vertical cross-section of an alternate dispenser embodiment shown for use beneath a cabinet;

FIG. 2B is a vertical cross-section of another alternate dispenser embodiment;

FIG. 3 is an illustration of a canister dispenser according to an embodiment of the invention,

FIG. 3A is an illustration of a canister dispenser mounted in a drawer according to an embodiment of the invention, and

FIG. 3B is an illustration of a canister mounted to a door beneath a sink;

FIG. 3C is an illustration of an alternate embodiment of the dispenser for use with a door.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is directed broadly to a unique paper towel construction and a novel dispenser that is easily concealed in a functional location in a work environment such as a kitchen. The present invention provides various advantages over previous structures such as allowing a user to use a single hand to obtain the desired number of paper towel sheets. By allowing a user to use a single hand, his or her other hand may be used to hold another work item such as a kitchen utensil or kitchen plate. In addition, the present invention provides a novel dispenser that can be conveniently hidden from sight in a work environment such as a kitchen while providing paper towels that are readily accessible for use.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a plurality of paper towels 10 constructed in accordance with the present invention. Five paper towels 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 are shown pulled apart to form an accordion shape with a stack of paper towels 22 therebeneath. Each paper towel 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 is a discrete paper towel separate from the remaining towels. The towels include opposing ends 12a, 12b, 14a, 14b, 16a, 16b, 18a, 18b, 20a, 20b. The paper towels 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22 are interconnected to an adjacent paper towel at alternating ends through a securing element. Accordingly, a stack of paper towels 10 is provided that allows one paper towel at a time to be easily removed from the remaining paper towel stack. The stack of paper towels 10 can be formed in a wide variety of sizes and shapes as recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art.

The paper towels 10 may be formed from materials known to those of ordinary skill in the art. For example, in one embodiment of the present invention, a 2-ply paper towel with a heavy weave/texture is used. This heavier duty type material may be made from recycled paper and have a color selected to suit the needs of a particular user. The securing element may include elements such as an adhesive or a crimped edge. The adhesive can include tackified rubber adhesives, such as natural rubber, olefins, silicones, polyisoprene, polybutadiene, polyurethanes, styrene-isoprene-styrene and styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers, and other elastomers. The adhesive can also include tackified or untackified acrylic adhesives such as copolymers of isooctylacrylate and acrylic acid, which can be polymerized by radiation, solution, suspension, or emulsion techniques. The adhesive should have a low debonding force such that each paper towel can be easily removed from the stack.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a dispenser 20 mounted integral with a cabinet assembly 22 according to an embodiment of the invention. The cabinet assembly 22 includes an upper portion 24 and a lower portion 26. The dispenser 20 is located at the bottom of the lower portion 26 of the cabinet assembly 22 above a work surface or counter. The dispenser 20 includes a bottom surface 28 with a opening 29 and a top surface 30 to partially enclose the paper towel stack 10. The bottom surface 28 may be provided with a pivotable corner that opens as illustrated in FIG. 2B in order to provide access to the interior of the dispenser 20. Alternatively, the dispenser may be formed integral with the cabinet assembly 22 with access provided when the door 32 is opened. As shown in the illustration, the dispenser 20 and paper towel stack 10 are substantially hidden from view. A single paper towel 12 extends downward from the dispenser 20 so that it may be easily pulled from the stack with a single hand. It should be recognized that the present invention is useful with a wide variety of cabinet configurations having a range of appearances as recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art.

With reference to FIGS. 2A and 2B, the configurations of two alternate embodiments of the dispenser 40, 60 are illustrated. The dispenser 40 is formed integral with the lower portion 26 of the cabinet assembly 22. The dispenser 40 includes a housing 42 with a door 44. The housing 40 serves to enclose the paper towel stack 10. The door 44 is pivotably connected to the housing 42 with a fastening element (not shown) used to secure the door 44 to the housing 42. The pivotable door 44 provides access to the interior 46 of the housing 42 for replacement of the paper towel stack 10 as necessary. A slot 48 is provided so that an individual paper towel 12 may extend therethrough. The accordion shape of the paper towel stack 10 allows for a single paper towel to be pulled free while bringing an end of the next paper towel into the slot 48 for the next use. With reference to FIG. 2B, an alternate embodiment of the dispenser 60 is illustrated for use beneath an upper cabinet assembly. The dispenser 60 includes a top portion 62 and a bottom portion 64 that are slideably engaged using a conventional fastening element. The bottom portion 64 may alternately include a pivotable bottom surface 66 as shown in FIG. 2A to provide access to the interior to insert additional paper towel stacks 10 as needed. The slot 68 again allows for a single paper towel 12 from the paper towel stack 10 to pass out of the dispenser 60.

A dispenser in the form of an individual canister 70 is shown in the embodiment of FIG. 3. The canister 70 includes a removable sleeve 72 and opening or slot 74 in the optional decorative faceplate 76. The canister 70 may be formed from known materials such as stainless steel. The faceplate 76 may be formed from known materials such as bronze or a soft white matte-finished material. As shown in FIG. 3A, the canister 70 may be connected to a drawer 82. The drawer 82 includes an opening 86 sized to accommodate the slot 74 and the faceplate 76. In this manner, a paper towel may extend outward from the drawer 82. The canister 70 is removable from the drawer 82 so that an additional paper towel stacks 10 may be placed in the canister 70 as needed. As shown in FIG. 3B, essentially the same materials may be mounted to a door 90 beneath a work surface 92 including a sink 94. A bracket 96 is provided to support the canister 70. The door includes an opening 98 sized to accommodate the slot 74 of the faceplate 76. In this manner, a paper towel 12 from the paper towel stack 10 may extend outward from the door 90.

FIG. 3C is an alternate embodiment illustrating the alternate canister 100 mounted to the door 102. This embodiment operates in essentially the same manner as the embodiments of FIGS. 3, 3A & 3B except the canister 100 does not include a decorative faceplate. The bracket 104 supports the canister 100 behind the door 102. The opening in the canister 100 through which the paper towel 12 exits is sized to correspond with the opening 108 in the door 102. The canister 100 can again be easily removed and opened for placement of additional paper towel stacks 10.

The dispensers and canisters of the present invention may also includes a spring-loaded back plate that forces the paper towel stack 10 towards the various openings and slots through which an individual paper towel 12 exits. This back plate allows a user to continually remove a single paper towel one at a time until the entire stack is depleted.

The embodiments described above and shown herein are illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is indicated by the claims rather than by the foregoing description and attached drawings. The invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, the type and size of specific construction of the dispensers and associated cabinets may be designed in alternate styles as recognized by those of ordinary skill in the art. Accordingly, these and any other changes which come within the scope of the claims are intended to be embraced herein.

Claims

1. A plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels comprising:

a) a first paper towel having a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side,
b) a second completely separate paper towel having a first end portion, a second opposing end portion, a first side, and a second side,
c) a securing element that secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in an overlapping manner.

2. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 1 wherein the securing element is a light adhesive.

3. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 2 wherein adhesive comprises a material with a low debonding force.

4. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 2 wherein the first end portion of the first paper towel is secured to the first end portion of the second paper towel.

5. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 2 wherein the first end portion of the first paper towel is secured to the second end portion of the second paper towel.

6. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 2 wherein the first paper towel, the second paper towel and the third paper towel are formed from a 2-ply paper.

7. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 2 wherein the first and second paper towels are formed from a recycled paper.

8. The plurality of longitudinally stacked paper towels of claim 2 further comprising a third paper towel secured to the second paper towel in an accordion shape.

9. A single hand paper towel dispenser and towel comprising:

a) a plurality of generally flat longitudinally stacked paper towels including a first paper towel, a second paper towel, and a securing element, the first paper towel having a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side, the second completely separate paper towel having a first end portion, an opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side, the securing element secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in order to form a bond therebetween,
b) a paper towel dispenser sized to house the plurality of paper towels, the dispenser including a slot having a width sized such that a single paper towel may extend therethrough.

10. The single hand paper towel dispenser and towel of claim 9 wherein the dispenser includes a door to provide access to the interior of the dispenser.

11. The single hand paper towel dispenser and towel of claim 10 wherein the door is pivotably attached to a dispenser housing.

12. The single hand paper towel dispenser and towel of claim 11 wherein the slot is formed in a decorative face plate.

13. The single hand paper towel dispenser and towel of claim 9 wherein the dispenser is mounted vertically.

14. The single hand paper towel dispenser and towel of claim 9 wherein the dispenser is mounted vertically.

15. The single hand paper towel dispenser and towel of claim 9 wherein the dispenser is mounted in a moveable element.

16. A single hand paper towel dispenser, towel, and cabinet assembly comprising:

a) a plurality of generally flat longitudinally stacked paper towels including a first paper towel and a second paper towel, the first paper towel having a first end portion, a opposing second end portion, a first side, and a second side, the second completely separate paper towel having a first end portion, a second opposing end portion, a first side and a second side, an adhesive securing element secures one end of the first paper towel to one end of the second paper towel in order to form a bond therebetween,
b) a towel dispenser sized to house the paper towels, the dispenser including a slot having a width sized such that a single paper towel may extend therethrough; and
c) a cabinet for housing work items, the towel dispenser formed integral with the cabinet.

17. The single hand paper towel dispenser, towel and cabinet assembly of claim 16 wherein the dispenser if formed integral with a base of the cabinet.

18. The single hand paper towel dispenser, towel and cabinet assembly of claim 16 wherein the dispenser is integral with a door of the cabinet.

19. The single hand paper towel dispenser, towel and cabinet assembly of claim 16 wherein the dispenser is formed integral with a drawer of the cabinet.

20. The single hand paper towel dispenser, towel, and cabinet assembly of claim 16 further comprising a compression element located behind the paper towels.

Patent History

Publication number: 20090236952
Type: Application
Filed: Feb 19, 2009
Publication Date: Sep 24, 2009
Inventor: Michael De Giulio (Kenilworth, IL)
Application Number: 12/378,763

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Stacked Or Folded (312/34.4); With Casing Or Support (221/282); With Separate Inlet For Replenishment Or Access (221/281)
International Classification: A47K 10/42 (20060101); A47B 96/00 (20060101);