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Title:
REMOVABLE GRIP FOR HANDLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/094820
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A removable grip (1320) for a utensil is disclosed. The removable grip comprises an elongated body having a first end (1350), a second end (1352), first sidewall (1354), a second sidewall (1356), a first channel (1364) and second channel spaced apart from the first channel. The first and second channels (1364) extend from the first end toward the second end. The first channel is defined by a projection (1362) extending from the first sidewall and is configured to engage a first edge (1348) of the handle. The second channel is defined by a projection extending from the second sidewall and is configured to engage a second edge (1349) of the handle.

Inventors:
LEGREVE, Mark, V. (2208 12th Street, Two Rivers, WI, 54241, US)
Application Number:
US2008/051995
Publication Date:
August 07, 2008
Filing Date:
January 25, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
THE VOLLRATH COMPANY, L.L.C. (1236 North 18th Street, P.O. Box 611Sheboygan, WI, 53082, US)
LEGREVE, Mark, V. (2208 12th Street, Two Rivers, WI, 54241, US)
International Classes:
A47J45/08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANDERSON, Scott, D. et al. (777 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI, 53202, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A removable grip for a utensil having a handle having a first edge, a second edge, and a member extending between the first edge and the second edge, the removable grip comprising: an elongated body having a first end, a second end, a first sidewall, a second sidewall, a first channel, and a second channel spaced apart from the first channel, the first and second channels extend from the first end toward the second end; wherein the first channel is defined by a projection extending from the first sidewall and is configured to engage the first edge of the handle; wherein the second channel is defined by a projection extending from the second sidewall and is configured to engage the second edge of the handle.

2. The removable grip of Claim 1 wherein the first channel and the second channel are open at the first end of the body so that the handle can be slid into or out of the body.

3. The removable grip of Claim 1 wherein the body further comprises an intermediate wall extending between the first sidewall and the second sidewall, and a first projection extending from the intermediate wall and into releasable engagement with a first aperture in the member on the handle.

4. The removable grip of Claim 3 wherein the first projection extending from the intermediate wall includes a base portion that releasably engages a surface of the first aperture on the handle and a hook portion that releasably engages a surface of the handle adjacent the first aperture on the handle.

5. The removable grip of Claim 3 wherein the first projection is a continuous member that defines a first aperture on the body that aligns with the first aperture on the handle.

6. The removable grip of Claim 3 wherein intermediate wall further comprises a second projection, wherein the first projection releasably engages a surface of the first aperture and the second projection comprises a base portion that releasably engages a surface of a second aperture and a hook portion that releasably engages a surface of the handle adjacent the second aperture.

7. The removable grip of claim 5 wherein the second projection is a continuous member that defines a second aperture on the body that aligns with the second aperture on the handle.

8. The removable grip of Claim 1 wherein the body is formed as a single unitary body.

9. The removable grip of Claim 1 wherein the body further comprises a pair of spaced apart inner sidewalls that define an underlying cavity along an underside of the body.

10. A utensil comprising: a handle having a first edge, a second edge, and a member extending between the first edge and the second edge; a grip removably coupled to the handle and having a first end, a second end, a first sidewall, a second sidewall, a first channel, and a second channel spaced apart from the first sidewall, the first and second sidewalls extend between the first end and the second end; wherein the first channel is defined by a first projection extending from the first sidewall and is configured to engage the first edge of the handle; wherein the second channel is defined by a second projection extending from the second sidewall and is configured to engage the second edge of the handle.

11. The utensil of Claim 10 wherein the first edge is located on a first girder and the second edge is located on a second girder spaced apart from the first girder.

12. The utensil of Claim 11 wherein the handle further comprises a bridge member extending between the first girder and the second girder.

13. The utensil of Claim 12 wherein the bridge member comprises at least one aperture and the grip comprises an intermediate member extending between the first sidewall and the second sidewall and having a projection configured to releasably engage the at least one aperture.

14. The utensil of Claim 12 wherein the bridge member comprises at least one aperture and the grip comprises an intermediate member extending between the first sidewall and the second sidewall and having a projection with a base portion configured to releasably engage a surface of the aperture and a hook portion configured to releasably engage a surface of the handle.

15. The utensil of Claim 12 wherein the bridge member comprises a first aperture and a second aperture, and the grip comprises an intermediate member extending between the first sidewall and the second sidewall and having a first projection and a second projection, wherein the first projection is configured to releasably engage a surface of the aperture and the second projection configured with a base portion configured to releasably engage a surface of the aperture and a hook portion configured to releasably engage a surface of the handle.

16. The utensil of Claim 12 wherein the first girder, the second girder, and the bridge member are integrally formed with one another as part of a single unitary body.

17. A kitchen utensil comprising: a handle including: a mounting portion coupled to the receptacle; and a grip portion coupled to the mounting portion and including a first member, a second member, and a bridge member extending between the first member and the second member, wherein each of the first member and the second member comprise a vertical dimension greater than its horizontal dimension a grip configured to provide a comfortable, insulated interface to a hand of a user, the grip including: a first end; a second end; a first sidewall extending between the first end and the second end; a second sidewall spaced apart from the first sidewall and extending between the first end and the second end; a first channel extending from the first end toward the second end and defined by a first projection extending from the first sidewall and is; and a second channel spaced apart from the first channel and extending from the first end toward the second end and defined by a second projection extending from the second sidewall; and an intermediate wall coupling the first sidewall and the second sidewall and having a third projection extending between the first sidewall and the second sidewall; wherein the grip is removably coupled to the handle by the first edge of the handle being releasably engaged with the first channel of the grip, the second edge of the handle releasably being engaged with the second channel of the grip, and the third projection being releasably engaged with a first aperture on the bridge member of the handle.

18. The kitchen utensil of Claim 17 wherein the first edge extends at an angle relative to the bridge member of the handle and the second edge extends at an angle relative to the bridge member of the handle.

19. The kitchen utensil of Claim 18 wherein the first edge and the second edge provide spaced apart in-turned members extending toward each other on an underside of the grip portion to provide comfort and stability to a hand of a user.

20. The removable grip of Claim 18 wherein the first projection extending from the intermediate wall includes a base portion that releasably engages a surface of the first aperture and a hook portion that releasably engages a surface of the handle adjacent the first aperture.

21. The removable grip of Claim 20 wherein the first projection is a continuous member that defines a first aperture on the body that aligns with the first aperture on the handle.

22. The removable grip of Claim 17 wherein the intermediate wall of the grip further comprises a second projection, wherein the first projection releasably engages a surface of the first aperture and the second projection comprises a base portion that releasably engages a surface of a second aperture and a hook portion that releasably engages a surface of the handle adjacent the second aperture.

23. The removable grip of Claim 21 wherein the second projection is a continuous member that defines a second aperture on the body that aligns with the second aperture on the handle.

24. The removable grip of Claim 17 wherein the body is formed as a single unitary body and the body further comprises a pair of spaced apart inner sidewalls that define an underlying cavity along a underside of the body.

Description:

REMOVABLE GRIP FOR HANDLE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Serial No. 11/700,978 titled "REMOVABLE GRIP FOR HANDLE" filed on February 1, 2007 (Attorney Docket No. 062103-0690), the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, and which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Patent Application No. 11/389,565 titled "HANDLE" filed on March 24, 2006 (Attorney Docket No. 062103- 0602), the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, which claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/665,183 titled "HANDLE" filed March 25, 2005 (Attorney Docket No. 062103-0541), the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference, and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/758,898 titled "HANDLE" filed January 13, 2006 (Attorney Docket No. 062103-0596), the full disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

[0002] The following U.S. patent applications are cited by reference and hereby incorporated herein by reference: (a) U.S. Patent Application No. 29/254,029 filed on February 16, 2006 and titled "PAN" (Attorney Docket No. 062103-0593); (b) U.S. Patent Application No. 29/254,030 filed on February 16, 2006 and titled "PAN" (Attorney Docket No. 062103-0595); (c) U.S. Patent Application No. 29/254,039 filed on February 16, 2006 and titled "PAN" (Attorney Docket No. 062103-0594); (d) U.S. Patent Application No. 29/254,073 filed on February 16, 2006 and titled "PAN" (Attorney Docket No. 062103- 0597).

BACKGROUND

[0003] The present invention relates to a grip that couples to a handle for a utensil or tool such as a pan. More particularly, the present invention relates to a grip that removably couples to a handle to provide a comfortable and insulated interface to a hand of a user.

[0004] It is generally known to provide a handle for a utensil or tool such as a pan. Such known handles typically include a grip that has been molded to the shaft or be formed as a sleeve that is removably slid onto the handle.

[0005] However, such known grips have several disadvantages. For example, known molded on grips do not allow for removal (e.g., for replacement, repair, cleaning, etc.). Also, such known removable handles typically are not adequately secured to the handle and provide a non-contoured grip configuration, which tend to make such known handles uncomfortable to use (e.g., fatigue and heat felt by the hand of the user) as well as expensive to manufacture (e.g., materials and labor costs).

[0006] Accordingly, it would be advantageous to provide a removable handle for a utensil or tool such as a pan. It would also be advantageous to provide a removable grip that securely couples to a handle of a utensil and yet is easily and quickly removable when desired. It would further be advantageous to provide a contoured and ergonomic handle that is better balanced and more comfortable during use. It would be desirable to provide for a handle having one or more of these or other advantageous features. To provide an inexpensive, reliable, and widely adaptable handle that avoids the above-referenced and other problems would represent a significant advance in the art.

SUMMARY

[0007] The present invention relates to a removable grip for a utensil. The utensil has a handle with a first edge, a second edge, and a member extending between the first edge and the second edge. The removable grip comprises an elongated body having a first end, a second end, a first sidewall, a second sidewall, a first channel, and a second channel. The first channel is spaced apart from the second channel and the first and second channels extend from the first end toward the second end. The first channel is defined by a projection extending from the first sidewall and is configured to engage the first edge of the handle. The second channel is defined by a projection extending from the second sidewall and is configured to engage the second edge of the handle.

[0008] The present invention also relates to a utensil comprising a handle and a removable grip. The handle has a first edge, a second edge, and a member extending between the first edge and the second edge. The grip is removably coupled to the handle and has a first end, a second end, a first sidewall, a second sidewall, a first channel, and a second channel. The first channel is spaced apart from the second channel and the first and second channels extend from the first end toward the second end. The first channel is defined by a first projection extending from the first sidewall and is configured to engage

the first edge of the handle. The second channel is defined by a second projection extending from the second sidewall and is configured to engage the second edge of the handle.

[0009] The present invention further relates to a kitchen utensil comprising a handle and a grip. The handle includes a mounting portion coupled to the receptacle, and a grip portion coupled to the mounting portion. The grip portion includes a first member, a second member, and a bridge member extending between the first member and the second member, wherein each of the first member and the second member comprise a vertical dimension greater than its horizontal dimension. The grip is configured to provide a comfortable, insulated interface to a hand of a user, and includes a first end; a second end; a first sidewall extending between the first end and the second end; a second sidewall spaced apart from the first sidewall and extending between the first end and the second end; a first channel extending from the first end toward the second end and defined by a first projection extending from the first sidewall and is; a second channel spaced apart from the first channel and extending from the first end toward the second end and defined by a second projection extending from the second sidewall; and an intermediate wall coupling the first sidewall and the second sidewall and having a third projection extending between the first sidewall and the second sidewall. The grip is removably coupled to the handle by the first edge of the handle being releasably engaged with the first channel of the grip, the second edge of the handle releasably being engaged with the second channel of the grip, and the third projection being releasably engaged with a first aperture on the bridge member of the handle.

[0010] The present invention further relates to various features and combinations of features shown and described in the disclosed embodiments. Other ways in which the objects and features of the disclosed embodiments are accomplished will be described in the following specification or will become apparent to those skilled in the art after they have read this specification. Such other ways are deemed to fall within the scope of the disclosed embodiments if they fall within the scope of the claims which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIGURE 1 is a top fragmentary perspective view of a pan with a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0012] FIGURE 2 is a bottom perspective view of the pan and handle of FIGURE 1.

[0013] FIGURE 3 is a handle coupled to a pan according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0014] FIGURE 3 A is a section view of a handle grip and support structure taken through an aperture in the handle along line 3A-3A in FIGURE 3.

[0015] FIGURES 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D are side, top, and end views of the handle of FIGURE 1.

[0016] FIGURES 4E, 4F, and 4G are side, top, and end views of a core for the handle shown in FIGURES 4A-4D.

[0017] FIGURES 5 A and 5B are top and side views of a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0018] FIGURES 5C, 5D, and 5E are top, side, and end views of a core for the handle shown in FIGURES 5A and 5B.

[0019] FIGURES 5F, 5G, 5H, and 51 are section views of the core of FIGURES 5C and 5D taken along lines 5F-5F, 5G-5G, 5H-5H, and 51-51.

[0020] FIGURES 6A and 6B show a top view and a side view of a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0021] FIGURES 6C, 6D, and 6E are top, side, and end views of a core for the handle of FIGURES 6A and 6B according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0022] FIGURES 6F, 6G, 6H, and 61 are section views of the core of FIGURES 6C and 6D taken along lines 6F-6F, 6G-6G, 6H-6H, and 61-61.

[0023] FIGURES 7A and 7B disclose a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0024] FIGURES 8A and 8B are top and side views of a pan with a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0025] FIGURES 8C, 8D, and 8E are a top perspective view, end view and bottom perspective of the pan of FIGURE 8 A.

[0026] FIGURES 8F, 8G, 8H, and 81 are top, side, bottom, end, perspective views of a core for the handle shown in FIGURE 8C.

[0027] FIGURES 9A and 9B are top and side views of a pan with a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0028] FIGURE 9C is a bottom view of the handle of FIGURE 9 A.

[0029] FIGURES 9D, 9E, 9F, and 9G are top, side, bottom, and end views of a grip of FIGURE 9C.

[0030] FIGURES 1 OA and 1 OB are top and side views of a pan with a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0031] FIGURES 1OC, 10D, 1OE, 1OF, 1OG, 1OH, 101, and 10J are perspective, top, side, and end views of a core for the handle as shown in FIGURE 1OA according to exemplary embodiments.

[0032] FIGURES 1 IA and 1 IB are top and side views of a pan with a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0033] FIGURES 11C, 1 ID, 1 IE, 1 IF, 1 IG, 1 IH, and 1 II are top, end, perspective, side, and bottom views of the pan and handle of FIGURE 1 IA.

[0034] FIGURES 12A and 12B are top and side views of a handle and pan according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0035] FIGURES 12C, 12D, 12E, and 12F are top, side, bottom, and end views of a core for the handle of FIGURE 12 A.

[0036] FIGURES 13A and 13B are top and side views of a pan according to a exemplary embodiment.

[0037] FIGURES 13C and 13D are bottom and top perspective views of the handle of FIGURE 13 A.

[0038] FIGURES 13E and 13F are perspective and bottom views of the grip for the handle shown in FIGURE 13C.

[0039] FIGURES 14A and 14B are top and side views of a pan with a handle according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0040] FIGURES 15A and 15B are top and side views of the pan of FIGURES 14A and 14B coupled to the handle grip according to an alternative embodiment.

[0041] FIGURE 16 is a top perspective view of a pan with a removable grip according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0042] FIGURE 17 is an exploded bottom perspective view of the pan and removable grip of FIGURE 16.

[0043] FIGURE 18 is a section view of the handle and removable grip of FIGURE 14.

[0044] FIGURE 19 is a section view of the handle and removable grip of FIGURE 16 taken along line 19-19.

[0045] FIGURE 20 is a detail section view of FIGURE 18 taken along line 20.

[0046] FIGURE 21 is a section view of a handle and removable grip according to an exemplary embodiment.

[0047] FIGURE 22 is a section view of FIGURE 21 taken along line 22.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND EXEMPLARY

EMBODIMENTS

[0048] Before explaining a number preferred, exemplary, and alternative embodiments of the invention in detail it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments or being practiced or carried out in various ways. It is also to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0049] FIG. 1 is fragmentary perspective view of a utensil or tool (shown as pan 10). Pan 10 generally includes a base or working end (shown as a receptacle 12) and a handle 14. Receptacle 12 generally comprises a structure configured to support or contain fluids, particulates or other materials. In the particular embodiment illustrated, receptacle 12 comprises a basin configured to contain food. In the particular embodiment illustrated, receptacle 12 comprises a basin formed from a material having a high level of thermal conductivity and the ability to withstand high heat such that food or other material contained within receptacle 12 may be heated. In one embodiment, receptacle 12 may be formed from aluminum. In another embodiment, receptacle 12 may be formed from steel or iron. In particular embodiments, receptacle 12 may have an interior surface coated with a low friction material such as polytetraflourethylene or other materials. In other embodiments, receptacle 12 may have other configurations besides a basin. For example, in other embodiments, receptacle 12 may be configured to support food or other material, such as a sheet, which is formed from one or more layers of material having a high level of thermal conductivity and the ability to withstand high temperatures without degradation, such as aluminum or steel.

[0050] Handle 14 comprises a structure configured to facilitate manual lifting and movement of receptacle 12 by a person's hand. Handle 14 generally includes core 16 and grip 20 (e.g., user interface). According to a preferred embodiment, handle 14 uses less metal (e.g., cross-sectional area) in contact with the receptacle 12 and for structural support

of the handle so that less heat is conducted from the receptacle through the handle and to the hand of the user (i.e., the reduced material mass acts as a restrictor to reduce or minimize heat flow). FIG. 2 uses broken lines to illustrate portions of handle 14 as being transparent for purposes of illustration. Core 16 serves as a rigid backbone or structure for handle 14. Core 16 extends within handle 14 and terminates in this exemplary embodiment, at a bifurcated end 22 (e.g., yoke) which is coupled to receptacle 12. Core 16 generally includes a base mounting portion (shown as head portion 24) and a grip mounting portion (shown as insert portion 26). Head portion 24 comprises that portion of core 16 substantially projecting from grip 20 and connected to receptacle 12. Head portion 24 includes a pair of support beams 28 (e.g., members, bars, rod, shaft, cantilever, etc.) and pair of connection flanges 30. Beams 28 generally comprise vertical beams in that beams 28 have an upwardly facing dimension (e.g., thickness, length, width, etc.) which is substantially less than horizontally facing side dimension (e.g., thickness, length, width, etc.) of such beams 24. As a result, beams 28 provide structurally rigidity and strength for supporting vertical loading of receptacle 12 caused by the contents of receptacle 12. Further, the configuration of the beams and flanges are intended to provide a thinner aspect ration to reduce or minimize the heat flow into the handle. Beams 28 further serve to space handle 14 and grip 20 in particular, from receptacle 12. In the particular embodiment shown, beams 28 space handle 14 from receptacle 12 by a distance along the axis of handle 14 of at least one inch. In other embodiments, such spacing may be larger or smaller. Because beams 28 space handle 14 from receptacle 12, less heat is transferred to handle 14. Because beams 28 are spaced from one another and are separated by an opening therebetween, any heat that may be conducting through beams 28 may dissipate prior to reaching handle 14 and grip 20. Moreover, because beams 28 diverge from one another, beams 28 are connected to receptacle 12 at wider spacings, providing greater stability.

[0051] Mounting flanges 30 project from beams 28 and are provided for mounting head portion 24 and handle 14 to receptacle 12. In the particular embodiment shown, mounting flanges 30 are shaped to as closely conform to the exterior surface of receptacle 12 along sidewalls of receptacle 12. Mounting flanges 30 are fastened to receptacle 12. In the particular embodiment illustrated, mounting flanges 30 are fastened to receptacle 12 by four rivets. In other embodiments, mounting flanges 30 may be fastened or secured to receptacle 12 by other fasteners or may be secured to receptacle 12 by welding, bonding and any of a variety of other securement techniques.

[0052] Insert portion 26 of core 16 generally serves as a main skeleton for handle 14, and grip 20 in particular. Insert portion 26 extends from head portion 24 and includes a pair of opposing spaced-apart members (e.g., bars, beams, members, rods, shafts, cantilevers, etc. and will be generally referred to as girders 40). "Beams" and "girders" generally refer to structural members with one lateral dimension larger than the other lateral dimension. The dimensional configuration of the beams and girders are configured to provide increased structural rigidity (e.g., moment of inertia) with the minimal amount of material mass providing the desired structural properties. Girders 40 generally extend along opposite sides of handle 14 within grip 20. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, girders 40 generally comprise vertical beams or generally vertical oriented structures having a generally upwardly facing dimension (e.g., thickness, length, width, etc.) which is substantially less than the sideways or horizontally facing dimension (e.g., thickness, length, width, etc.) of such beams. As a result, girders 40 provide substantial rigidity, stiffness and strength to handle 14 with reduced material use. Because girders 40 use less material, handle 14 is less expensive. Moreover, because girders 40 use less material, less heat from receptacle 12 is transferred (e.g., conducted, radiated, etc.) through girders 40 and through handle 14. In addition, a greater portion of handle 14 may be provided by grip 20 which may be formed of material that may be more easily shaped and configured for ergonomic gripping and that may be formed of a material (e.g., thermoplastic, thermoset, elastomer, etc.) that is less thermally conductive as compared to the rigid material (e.g., metal such as steel, iron, aluminum, etc.) that may be used to form girders 40 of insert portion 26.

[0053] In the particular example shown in FIG. 2, head portion 24 and insert portion 26 are each integrally formed as distinct unitary bodies which are fastened, welded, bonded or otherwise adhered to one another. In the particular example shown, head portion 24 comprises an elongate band of metal having an intermediate neck portion 44 crimped or bent so as to extend parallel to one another, to include diverging portions which form beams 28, and to extend outwardly at its terminal ends to form mounting flanges 30. Insert portion 26 comprises a single continuous elongate band of metallic material that is bent, deformed or cast to extend in a loop so as to form girders 40. Terminal ends 46 of loop 45 are fastened, mounted or otherwise secured to portion 44. In the embodiment shown, ends 46 are fastened (e.g., by rivets, other fasteners, welding, bonding, or other securement techniques) to and through portion 44. Because head portion 24 and insert portion 26 are each integrally formed as single unitary bodies, core 16 of handle 14 is stronger and is less

expensive to fabricate. In other embodiments, head portion 24 and insert portion 26 may be integrally formed as a single unitary body or may be formed from a greater number of individual parts.

[0054] Grip 20 generally comprises a mass of material at least partially surrounding insert portion 26 of core 16. According to one exemplary embodiment, grip 20 is formed from a material having a lower thermal conductivity as compared to material or materials of insert portion 26 and/or head portion 24 and is intended to insulate the hand from heat in the insert portion 26. According to one exemplary embodiment, grip 20 may be formed from a polymeric material that is overmolded about insert portion 26 as well as the junction of insert portion 26 and head portion 24. In other embodiments, grip 20 may be formed from other materials and may be secured about insert portion 26 of core 16 in other fashions. For example, in other embodiments, grip 20 may be comprised of two halves or a clamshell which are wrapped about insert portion 26. In another embodiment, grip 20 may be a unitary or integral, one-piece part that includes a cavity that receives insert portion 26 and is pushed on to insert portion 26.

[0055] As shown in the FIGURES, the grip generally has an elongated body and may include an enlarged (e.g., bulbous, etc.) end or head portion (e.g., to provide a gripping reference point for the user's hand, prevent the hand from slipping towards the receptacle 12, shield the hand from heat radiating from the head portion, the receptacle, or the heat source, etc.). As further shown by FIGS. 1 and 2, grip 20 includes multiple apertures 50 axially spaced along handle 14. Apertures 50 pass through grip 20 and pass through and between girders 40 of insert portion 26. Apertures 50 further facilitate dissipation of heat that may be conducting through girders 40 from receptacle 12. As a result, handle 14 and grip 20 in particular, may be more easily and comfortably grasped while receptacle 12 is being exposed to high temperatures. Referring to FIG. 3 A, the surface of the grip within the apertures (interior) are generally not (and are not intended to be) in contact with the hand of the user. According to an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 3A, the wall thickness of the material between the girders and the surface of the grip within the apertures is less than the wall thickness of the material between the girders and the surface of the grip intended to come in contact with the hand of the user. As such, heat is intended to dissipate through the surface of the grip within the apertures (i.e., where the user's hand will not be in direct contact).

[0056] FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of pan 110, another embodiment of pan 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Pan 110 is similar to pan 10 except that pan 110 includes handle 114 in lieu of handle 14. Handle 114 is similar to handle 14 except that handle 114 includes core 116 in lieu of core 16. Core 116 is itself similar to core 16 except that head portion 24 and insert portion 26 of core 116 are integrally formed as a single unitary or one-piece body. In particular, head portion 24 and insert portion 26 are formed from a single elongate vertical beam 129 which is bent, cast or otherwise formed so as to provide beams 28, mounting flanges 30, neck 44 and girders 40. Like beams 28 and girders 40 of handle 14, beams 28 and girders 40 of handle 114 comprise generally vertical beams having upwardly dimension (e.g., thickness, length, width, etc.) less than the horizontal or sidewards facing dimension (e.g., thickness, length, width, etc.). As a result, beams 28 and girders 40 provide a rigid skeleton or core or handle 114 for supporting loading of receptacle 12 with less material. The less material reduces thermal conduction to handle 114. In addition, the less material enables openings 50 to be formed between girders 40 for enhanced thermal dissipation from handle 114. The strength of beams 28 further enables core 116 to be bifurcated, providing a wider connection base to receptacle 12 for improved stability, separating grip 20 from receptacle 12 and facilitating heat dissipation from beams 28. Because head portion 24 and insert portion 26 are integrally formed as part of a single unitary body from a single member (e.g., beam, strip, plate, sheet, etc.) of a relatively rigid material, such as a metal, manufacturing costs are reduced.

[0057] FIGS. 4A - 4D illustrate handle 214, another embodiment of handle 14. FIGS. 4E - 4G illustrate core 216 of handle 214. Handle 214 is similar to handle 114 (shown in FIG. 3) except that handle 214 includes core 216. Core 216 is similar to core 116 except that core 216 had an insert portion 226 including girders 240 and members (e.g., cross, span, intermediate, etc. and generally shown as bridge portions 242). Girders 240 are similar to girders 40 except that girders 240 do not continuously extend along opposite lateral sides of handle 214. Rather, girders 240 comprise elongate vertical beam segments extending along a longitudinal axis of handle 214 and of core 216. Such girders 240 are interconnected to one another by bridge portions 242. Because girders 240 are broken into distinct segments, bending, deformation or forming of core 216 into complex curves and shapes is facilitated. At the same time, girder 242, like girders 20, comprise generally vertical beams providing handle 214 with enhance rigidity and strength using less material.

[0058] Bridge portions 242 comprise structures bridging (e.g., spanning, extending, connecting, etc.) between opposite girder segments 240. In the particular example shown, bridge portions 242 comprise relatively thin horizontal panels of a rigid material such as metal. In the particular example shown, bridge portions 242 are integrally formed as part of a single unitary or one-piece body with remaining bridge portions 242 and girders 240. In the particular example shown, the entirety of core 216 is integrally formed as part of a single unitary body from metal. In one embodiment, core 216 is formed from a stamped and deformed sheet of metal. As a result, manufacturing costs are lessened.

[0059] As further shown by FIG. 4F, bridge portions 242 include openings 243 that serve to form apertures 50 through handle 214. Such openings 243 facilitate dissipation of heat from bridge portions 242 and from core 216. Such openings 243 further lessen a weight of handle 214.

[0060] FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate handle 314, another embodiment of handle 14 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. FIGS. 5C - 51 illustrate core 316 of handle 314. Handle 314 is similar to handle 214 (shown in FIGS. 4A - 4G) except that handle 314 includes core 316. Core 316 is similar to core 216 except that core 316 includes girders 340 in lieu of girders 240. Girders 340 of insert portion 326 continuously extend along opposite sides of insert portion 326 and along opposite edges of handle 314 on a longitudinal axis of handle 314. As shown by FIGS. 5F - 5H, girder 340 comprise portions that are down turned from bridge portion 242. In addition as shown by FIG. 51, girders 340 extend in an arc along a length of handle 314. This arc further enhances structural rigidity and load bearing capacity of handle 314.

[0061] FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate handle 414, yet another embodiment of handle 14 shown in FIGS 1 and 2. FIGS 6C - 61 illustrate core 416 of handle 414. Handle 414 is similar to handle 314 except that handle 414 includes core 416 in lieu of core 316. Core 416 is itself similar to core 316 except that core 416 has a greater axial length as compared to core 316 and has a longer head portion 424 as compared to handle 316. Head portion 424 additionally includes bridge portion 425. Bridge portion 425 bridges between beams 28 so as to rigidify beams 28 and head portion 424. In the particular embodiment shown, bridge portion 425 comprises a relatively thin expanse, such as a panel, of rigid material such as metal. In the particular embodiment shown, bridge portion 425 is integrally formed as a single unitary body with beams 428. In the exemplary embodiment, bridge portion 425 is further integrally formed as part of a single unitary body with the entirety of core 416. As a

result, core 416 is simpler and less expensive to manufacture. Although not utilizing a large amount of material, bridge portion 425 strengthens core 416 and strengthens handle 414.

[0062] As further shown by FIGS. 6A - 6C, bridge portion 425 additionally includes opening 427. Opening 427 extends through bridge portion 425. Opening 427 facilitates dissipation of heat from beams 428 and bridge portion 425. In addition, opening 427 lessens the weight of handle 414.

[0063] FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate handle 514, another embodiment of handle 14 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Handle 514 is similar to handle 414 except that handle 514 includes core 516 in lieu of core 416. Core 516 is similar to core 416 except that core 516 includes head portion 524 in lieu of head portion 424. Head portion 524 is axially longer than head portion 424 and includes a pair of openings 527, 529 within bridge portion 425. The longer length of head portion 524 spaces grip 20 of handle 514 from receptacle 12 (shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) by a greater distance, spacing a person's hand a further distance from a source of heat heating the contents of receptacle 12. Openings 527 and 529 further enhance dissipation of heat from beams 28 and bridge portion 425 while also reducing the weight of handle 514. Like bridge structure 425 in handle 414, bridge structure 425 and handle 514 further strengthens and rigidifies head portion 524 with little additional material.

[0064] FIGS. 8A-8 J illustrate pan 510, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 510 is similar to pan 10 except that pan 510 includes handle 514 in lieu of handle 14. Handle 514 generally includes core 516 and omits grip 20. As shown by FIGS. 8C-8J, core 516 is similar to core 416 (shown in FIG. 6C) except that core 516 has a head portion 524 which necks down at neck 525 generally between beams 28 and insert portion 526 of core 516. Because neck 525 has a reduced width as compared to portions of beams 28 which converge towards mounting flanges 30 and insert portion 526, less heat is conducted to insert portion 526. This is especially beneficial with regards to pan 510 in which grip 20 is omitted.

[0065] As further shown by FIG. 8E, insert portion 526 of core 516 additionally includes in turned edges 541. In-turned edges 541 comprise the material integrally formed with girders 540 and extending towards one another on an underside of core 516. Edges 541 provide insert portion 526 of core 516 with rounded sides that may be more easily grasped by a person's hand. The in-turned edges are also intended to provide comfort and stability to the hand of the user. As a result, insert portion 526 is more ergonomic when grip 20 is omitted. Although FIGS. 8F-8I illustrate core 516 and provide example dimensions for core 516 (given in inches), in other embodiments, core 516 may have other

dimensions. The surface of the grip on the underside of insert portion are generally not in contact with the hand of the user. As such, heat is intended to dissipate through the surface of the grip within the apertures (i.e., where the user's hand will not be in direct contact). If a grip is being used as shown in FIG 9D, the wall thickness of the material between the girders and the surface of the grip on the underside of the insert portion is less than the wall thickness of the material between the girders and the surface of the grip intended to come in contact with the hand of the user for improved or additional heat dissipation relative to the other portions of the grip.

[0066] FIGS. 9A-9F illustrate pan 610, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 610 is similar to pan 510 (shown in FIGS. 8A-8J), except that pan 610 additionally includes grip 620. FIGS. 9C-9G illustrate grip 620 in more detail. As shown by FIG. 9C, grip 620 extends about insert portion 526 of core 516. Grip 620 provides a person a more comfortable ergonomic structure by which to grasp and manipulate pan 610. In one embodiment, grip 620 is formed from a material having a lower conductivity as compared to the material or materials of insert portion 526. According to one exemplary embodiment, grip 620 may be formed from a polymeric material that is overmolded about insert portion 526. In one embodiment, grip 620 may be formed from silicone. In other embodiments, grip 620 may be formed from any of a variety of other materials and may be secured about insert portion 526 of core 516 in other fashions.

[0067] As further shown by FIGS. 9C-9G, grip 620 includes multiple (e.g., plurality, series, etc.) apertures 660 and an underlying cavity 661. Apertures 660 pass through grip 620 and pass through and between girders 640 (shown and described with respect to FIG. 8E) of insert portion 526. Apertures 660 further facilitate dissipation of heat that may be conducted through girders 540 from receptacle 12 (shown in FIG. 9A). As a result, handle 614 may be more easily grasped while receptacle 12 is being exposed to high temperatures.

[0068] Cavity 661 extends along an underside of handle 614 and provides a void. Cavity 661 generally extends between girder 640 of insert portion 526 (shown in FIG. 8E). As a result, heat within girders 540 is more easily dissipated. In addition, the weight of handle 614 is reduced as well as its cost of manufacture. In other embodiments, apertures 660 and/or cavity 661 may be omitted.

[0069] FIGS. 10A- 10J illustrate pan 710, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 710 is similar to pan 510 except that pan 710 has a handle 714 including core 716 in lieu of core

516. Core 716 is similar to core 516 except that core 716 includes neck 725 which is longer as compared to neck 525 of core 516. The increased length of neck 725 further spaces insert portion 526 of core 716 away from receptacle 12 (shown in FIG. 11). As a result, a user's or person's hand grasping handle 714 is further spaced from a source of heat heating the contents of receptacle 12. The additional length of neck 725 further provides an enlarged surface area by which heat inherently being conducted through neck 725 may dissipate.

[0070] As with the cores of pans 510 and 610, core 716 of pan 710 is also formed from a generally rigid material such as steel, iron or aluminum. In other embodiments, core 716 may be formed from other materials.

[0071] FIGS. 1 IA-I II illustrate pan 810, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 810 is similar to pan 710 except that pan 810 additionally includes grip 620 shown and described above with respect to pan 610.

[0072] FIGS. 12A-12F illustrate pan 910, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 910 generally includes receptacle 12 (described above with respect to pan 10) and handle 914. Handle 914 is similar to handle 514 of pan 510 except that handle 914 is shorter in length. Like handle 514, handle 914 includes a core 916 while omitting a cover layer or layers of one or more materials, such as silicone, about core 916. In the particular example illustrated, core 916 comprises a rigid structure formed from a metal such as aluminum, steel or iron, or mixtures or alloys thereof, which is connected to receptacle 12. Like core 516, core 916 includes inward turned flanges or edges 541 (shown in FIG. 12B) which enhance grasping of core 916 without an overlying cover layer of material. Unlike core 516, core 916 includes two openings or apertures 960 rather than three apertures due to its shorter length. However, in other embodiments, core 916, as well as core 516, may have a greater or fewer number of such apertures.

[0073] FIGS. 13A-13F illustrate pan 1010, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 110 is similar to pan 910 (shown in FIGS. 12A- 12F) except that pan 1010 additionally includes grip 1020. Those remaining elements of pan 1010 which correspond to elements of pan 910 are numbered similarly. Grip 1020 comprises one or more layers of one or more materials extending about core 916. In the particular example illustrated, grip 1020 comprises a layer of material having a lower thermal conductivity as compared to the one or more materials forming core 916. As a result, grip 1020 insulates or slows the conduction of heat from core 916 to a person's hand grasping grip 1020.

[0074] In the particular example illustrated, grip 1020 comprises a layer of silicone overmolded about core 916 while preserving openings 960. In other embodiments, grip 1020 may alternatively comprise a layer of material, such as silicone, overmolded about core 916 so as to fill in openings 960 in the insert portion of core 916. In still other embodiments, grip 1020 may alternatively comprise one or more layers of materials, such as layers of material configured to form a sleeve, slid or otherwise positioned over and about core 916. In particular embodiments, the one or more layers otherwise positioned about core 916 and forming grip 1020 may be secured to core 916 by fasteners, welding, adhesives or other securement methods.

[0075] Like pans 10, 110, 210, 310, 410, 510, 610, 710, 810 and 910, pan 1010 is configured and is dimensioned so as to be lightweight and easily grasped while providing a desirable center of mass that facilitates easy handling and manipulation of pan 1010. Although FIGS. 13A and 13B provides sample dimensions (given in inches) for one example of a pan 1010, in other embodiments, pan 1010 may have other dimensions.

[0076] FIGS. 14A and 14B illustrate pan 110, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 1110 is similar to pan 910 except that pan 1110 has an enlarged receptacle 12 and also has handle 1014 which is enlarged as compared to handle 914. In particular, handle 1014 has a core 1016 which is enlarged as compared to core 916. The remaining structures of pan 1110 are substantially similar to those of pan 910.

[0077] FIGS. 15A and 15B illustrate pan 1210, another embodiment of pan 10. Pan 1210 is similar to pan 1110 except that pan 1210 additionally includes grip 1020 (shown and described with respect to pan 1010).

[0078] Overall, handles 14, 114, 214, 314, 414, 514, 614, 714, 814, 914, 1014, 1114 and 1214 provide strong lightweight and heat resistive handles for pans, trays or other utensils, particularly kitchen and food preparation utensils. As noted above, because beams 28 and girders 40, 240, 340 and 540 have upwardly facing dimensions or thicknesses which are substantially less than the horizontally or sideways facing dimensions (length and width) of such beams (on the order of less than one-half to less than less than one-quarter the height of such beams), such girders are rigid, strong and utilize less material. The less material lightens such handles and lessens the conduction of heat from receptacle 12. Because head portion 424 and head portion 524 are bifurcated, dissipation of heat is further enhanced and a more stable connection to receptacle 12 is provided. Beams 28 further space grip 20 from receptacle 12, allowing the handles to be more easily grasped under high

temperature conditions. Apertures 50 between girders 40, 240, 340 and 540 further enhance dissipation of heat and reduce the weight of such handles. Bridge portions 242 further strengthen insert portion 226 while bridge portions 425 strengthen head portion 424. Openings 427, 527 and 529 enhance head dissipation and reduce weight.

ADDITIONAL EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

[0079] Referring now to FIGURES 16-20, a kitchen utensil (shown as pan 1310) is shown according to another exemplary embodiment. Pan 1310 includes a receptacle 1312, a handle 1314, and a grip 1320. Pan 1310 and handle 1314 are similar to other embodiments, except that grip 1320 is configured to be removed and/or attached by the user (e.g., for cleaning, replacement, adjustment, use of pan without the grip, etc.).

[0080] Handle 1314 comprises a structure configured to facilitate manual lifting and movement of receptacle 1312 by a person's hand. Handle 1314 includes a mounting or head portion 1324 that is coupled to receptacle 1312 and an grip or insert portion 1326. Grip portion 1326 of handle 1314 generally serves as a main skeleton of grip 1320. Grip portion 1326 extends from mounting portion 1324 and includes a pair of opposing spaced- apart edges or members (e.g., bars, beams, members, rods, shafts, cantilevers, etc. and will be generally referred to as girders 1340, 1341). First girder 1340 and second girder 1341 generally extend along opposite sides of handle 1314 within grip 1320.

[0081] Girders 1340 and 1341 are interconnected to one another by a bridge member 1342. Bridge member 1342 comprises a structure bridging (e.g., spanning, extending, connecting, etc.) between opposite girder segments 1340 and 1341. In the particular example shown, bridge portion 1342 comprises relatively thin horizontal panels of a rigid material such as metal. In the particular example shown, bridge portion 1342 is integrally formed as part of a single unitary or one-piece body with girders 1340 and 1341. In the particular example shown, the entirety of core handle 1314 is integrally formed as part of a single unitary body from metal. In one embodiment, handle 1314 is formed from a stamped and deformed sheet of metal. Bridge portion 1342 includes one or more apertures 1343 that serve to form apertures through handle 1314. According to an alternative embodiment, the handle may be manufactured with separate components joined together (e.g., by fastener, welding, adhesive, mechanical interlock, etc.).

[0082] Grip 1320 generally comprises (and provides) a mass of material at least partially surrounding handle 1314. According to one exemplary embodiment, grip 1320 is

formed from a material having a lower thermal conductivity as compared to material or materials of handle 1314 and is intended to insulate the hand from heat in the handle 1314. According to an exemplary embodiment, grip 1320 is molded such that it may be selectively removed from handle 1314 to facilitate the cleaning of food or other matter that may collect between handle 1314 and grip 1320.

[0083] As shown in FIGURES 16-20, grip 1320 generally has an elongated body with a first end 1350 proximate to receptacle 1312 and a second end 1352 opposite of the first end 1350. First end 1350 includes a projection (e.g., enlarged end, bulbous end, head portion, etc.) configured to provide a gripping reference point for the user's hand, prevent the hand from slipping towards the receptacle 1312, and/or shield the hand from heat radiating from the receptacle or the heat source. Grip 1320 has a generally U-shaped cross section that forms a cavity 1360 that is configured to receive handle 1314. Grip 1320 includes a first sidewall 1354 and a second sidewall 1356 that extend from first end 1350 toward second end 1352, and an intermediate wall 1358 (shown as a top wall or member) that connects first sidewall 1354 to second sidewall 1356. As shown best in FIGURE 20, projections 1362 (e.g., retaining members, ribs, flanges, etc.) extend inward from first sidewall 1354 and second sidewall 1356 to form channels 1364. Channels 1364 (e.g., sleeves, slots, cavities, etc.) extend along at least a portion of an interior of sidewalls 1354 and 1356 and are open proximate to first end 1350 so that girders 1340 and 1341 can extend therefrom. Channels 1364 are configured to engage an edge 1348 of first girder 1340 and an edge 1349 of second girder 1341 to at least partially couple grip 1320 to handle 1314 (e.g., with a friction and/or interference fit).

[0084] Intermediate wall 1358 includes one or more projections 1370 extending downward from the bottom surface of intermediate wall 1358. According to an exemplary embodiment, projection 1370 (e.g., retaining members, ribs, flanges, etc.) is a continuous member that defines an apertures 1368 in intermediate wall 1358 that is generally aligned with an aperture 1343 in handle 1314. Referring to FIGURE 19, at least one of projections 1370 includes a hook portion 1374 that extends outward from a base portion 1372. Hook portion 1374 releasably engages a surface of an aperture 1343 in handle 1314 (e.g. the bottom surface of bridge member 1342) while base portion 1372 releasably engages an interior surface of the handle that defines aperture 1343. Hook portion 1374 and base portion 1372 cooperate with channels 1364 to substantially couple grip 1320 to handle 1314 while still allowing grip to be selectively removed. When the handle is removed it may be

cleaned to remove any food particles that may have collected on handle 1314, between handle 1314 and grip 1320, and/or on grip 1320. When grip 1320 is replaced, handle 1314 may be slid into opening in first end 1350. Grip 1320 is formed from a resilient materiel that is configured to flex and deform. When apertures 1343 on handle 1314 are aligned with apertures 1368 on grip 1320, grip my be snapped into place, with projection 1370 engaging aperture 1343 and projections 1362 engaging girders 1340 and 1341 to substantially couple grip 1320 to handle 1314. Grip 1320 may also be wrapped around handle 1314 by first hooking one of protrusions 1362 on one of girders 1340 or 1241 and stretching grip 1320 around handle to engage the opposite girder and aperture 1343. Alternatively, a combination of these techniques may be used.

[0085] While FIGURES 16-20 show a handle with three apertures in the intermediate wall it should be understood that the handle may include more or fewer apertures according to other exemplary embodiments. For instance, the handle may be shorter and only have two apertures. While FIGURES 16-20 show a handle including only one projection with a hook portion, it should be understood that more of the projections extending downward from the intermediate wall may include hook portions and engage more apertures in the handle according to other exemplary embodiments.

[0086] Referring now to FIGURES 21 -22, a kitchen utensil (shown as pan 1410) is shown according to another exemplary embodiment. Pan 1410 includes a receptacle 1412, a handle 1414, and a grip 1420. Pan 1410 and handle 1414 are similar to the embodiment shown in FIGURE 8E, except that grip 1420 is configured to be removed and/or attached by the user (e.g., for cleaning, replacement, adjustment, use of pan without the grip, etc.).

[0087] Handle 1414 comprises a structure configured to facilitate manual lifting and movement of receptacle 1412 by a person's hand. Handle 1414 includes a pair of opposing spaced-apart edges or members (e.g., bars, beams, members, rods, shafts, cantilevers, etc. and will be generally referred to as girders 1440, 1441). First girder 1440 and second girder 1441 generally extend along opposite sides of handle 1414 within grip 1420. As shown best in FIGURE 22, girders 1440 and 1441 include in turned edges 1443. In-turned edges 1443 comprise the material integrally formed with girders 1440 and 1441 and extending towards one another on an underside of handle 1414. Edges 1443 provide handle 1414 with rounded sides that may be more easily grasped by a person's hand. The in-turned edges are also intended to provide comfort and stability to the hand of the user.

As a result, handle 1414 is more ergonomic when grip 1420 is omitted. Grip 1420 is similar to grip 1320 except it is contoured to fit girders 1440 and 1441 with edges 1443.

[0088] Although the proceeding detailed description of the exemplary, preferred, and alternative embodiments have been described with reference to example embodiments, several comments can be made about the general applicability and the scope thereof. First, while the components of the disclosed embodiments will be illustrated as a handle coupled to cookware or a pan, the features of the disclosed embodiments have a much wider applicability. For example, the handle design is adaptable for other utensils or tools, and other home, commercial, office, or industrial products which employ a structure configured to facilitate manual lifting and movement by the user's hand. Further, the size of the various components and the size of the containers can be widely varied.

[0089] Second, the particular materials used to construct the exemplary embodiments are also illustrative. For example, silicone is the preferred material for making the grip, but other materials can be used, including other elastomer, thermoset, or thermoplastic resins such as polysulphone. Also, other molding operations may be used to form these components, such as casting, compression molding, etc. The plastic may be injection molded, compression molded, transfer molded, or the like. Components of the core can also be manufactured from cast, forged, or stamped metal or alloy materials such as steel or aluminum.

[0090] Third, it is important to note that the term "beams," "girders," "bridge", and "grip" are intended to be broad terms and not terms of limitation. These components may be used with any of a variety of products or arrangements and are not intended to be limited to use with cookware applications.

[0091] It is also important to note that the construction and arrangement of the elements of the handle as shown in the preferred and other exemplary embodiments are illustrative only. Although only a few embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited in the claims. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of

the present invention as defined in the appended claims. The order or sequence of any process or method steps may be varied or re-sequenced according to alternative embodiments. In the claims, any means-plus-function clause is intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents but also equivalent structures. Other substitutions, modifications, changes and/or omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions and arrangement of the preferred and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present invention as expressed in the appended claims.