Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
STEAM WAND CLEANING TOOL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/079392
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a tool for cleaning a steam wand, e.g. of an espresso coffee maker. Said tool comprises a sponge longitudinally crossed by a through hole having a substantially circular cross-section. A slit extends longitudinally on the outer surface of the sponge. Said slit penetrates into the sponge until reaching said hole, so that the tool which is the object of the invention can be fitted onto a wand at said hole, through the slit. The sponge is partially covered by a thermally insulating coating structure at which the tool can be grasped by a person. Said coating structure is substantially U-shaped and covers the outer sur-face of the sponge to obstruct neither the through hole nor the slit. Furthermore, the coating structure protrudes beyond the sponge on the side of the slit so that the tool which is the object of the invention can be placed on a flat surface at said structure, without there being any contact between the sponge and the supporting surface.

Inventors:
BREVI FRANCESCO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IT2020/050252
Publication Date:
April 29, 2021
Filing Date:
October 13, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BREMAL S R L (IT)
International Classes:
A47J31/60; A46B9/00; A47L17/00; B08B1/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MOZZANICA, Luca (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:

1. A cleaning tool (1, 15, 20) for a steam wand adapted to be installed in an espresso coffee maker, said tool (1 , 15, 20) comprising:

• a sponge (2) being elastically deformable and including:

- an outer surface (5, 7);

- a through hole (4) extending into said sponge (2), in a longitudinal direc tion, from a first portion (5) of said outer surface (5, 7) to a second portion of said outer surface (5, 7) opposite to said first portion (5), said hole (4) having a first end at said first portion (5) of outer surface (5, 7) and a second end at said second portion of outer surface (5, 7), said hole (4) being suitable for acting as a seat for accommodating at least one segment of a steam wand, said tool (1 , 15, 20) being characterized in that said sponge (2) further compris es:

- a slit (6) extending on said outer surface (5, 7), in said longitudinal direc tion, from said first portion (5) to said second portion, said slit (6) further being deep enough to extend:

> into said first portion (5), up to said first end,

> into said second portion, up to said second end and

> into said sponge (2), from said outer surface (5, 7) up to said hole (4), said hole (4) being accessible, from said outer surface (5, 7), through said slit (6) so that a steam wand can be accommodated, at least partially, in said hole (4) and can be dislodged from the latter (4) through said slit (6), possibly by elastically deforming said sponge (2), said slit (6) being at least partially delimited by two mutually opposite, inner faces (6a, 6b) of said sponge (2), said tool (1 , 15, 20) further comprising:

• a coating structure (3) being elastically deformable and thermally insulating, said coating structure (3) being at least partially concave so as to delimit at least partially a recess, said sponge (2) being at least partially accommodated in said recess, said outer surface (5, 7) being only partially covered by said coating structure

(3), said outer surface (5, 7) not being covered by said coating structure (3) at least at said slit (6) and at said first and second ends of said hole (4).

2. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to claim 1 , characterized in that said coat ing structure (3) comprises a first wall (8) and a second wall (9) opposite to each other so that the tool (1 , 15, 20) can be grasped with one hand by a per son so that the thumb of said hand is at said first wall (8), and at least another finger of said hand is at said second wall (9), said coating structure (3) further comprising a third wall (10) which is at least partially concave and joins the first and second walls (8, 9) to each other, said third wall (10) covering said outer surface (5, 7) at a part of the latter oppo site to said slit (6) with respect to said hole (4) so that said tool (1 , 15, 20) can be grasped with one hand by a person so that said third wall (10) is substantial ly opposite, at least partially, to the palm of said hand, said hole (4) and said slit (6) being at least partially interposed between said first and second walls (8, 9).

3. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to claim 2, characterized in that said first wall (8) protrudes beyond said sponge (2) at a first edge (11) thereof, said second wall (9) also protruding beyond the sponge (2) at a first edge (12) thereof, said first edges (11 , 12) of said first and second walls (8, 9) being opposed, re spectively, said tool (1 , 15, 20) being capable of resting on a flat surface at said first edges (11 , 12) so that said sponge (2) is not in contact with said flat surface.

4. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to claim 3, characterized in that said first wall (8) is connected to said third wall (10) at a second edge thereof opposite to the first edge (11 ) thereof, said second wall (9) also being connected to said third wall (10) at a second edge thereof opposite to the first edge (12) thereof, said first edges (11 , 12) being coplanar and lying on a plane which is not or- thogonal to said longitudinal direction.

5. A tool (15) according to claim 4, characterized in that said first wall (8) comprises a third edge (17) interposed between the first edge (11) and the sec ond edge thereof, said second wall (9) also comprising a third edge interposed between the first edge (12) and the second edge thereof, said third edges (17) of said first and second walls (8, 9) being opposed, re spectively, said sponge (2) protruding beyond said third edges (17) at a portion (16) there of.

6. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to one of the preceding claims, character ized in that said two inner faces (6a, 6b) delimiting said slit (6) have a conver gent development from said outer surface approaching said hole (4) at least at one respective portion of said inner faces (6a, 6b) which originates from said outer surface (5, 7).

7. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to one of the preceding claims, character ized in that said hole (4) has a substantially circular cross-section.

8. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to claim 7, characterized in that the mini mum distance between said inner faces (6a, 6b) delimiting said slit (6) at a re spective edge of said inner faces (6a, 6b) where said slit (6) reaches said hole (4) is less than the diameter of said cross-section of said hole (4).

9. A tool (1 , 15, 20) according to one of the preceding claims, character ized in that said inner faces (6a, 6b) delimiting said slit (6) are in contact with each other at least at a respective edge of said inner faces (6a, 6b) where said slit (6) reaches said hole (4).

10. A tool (20) according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said inner faces (6a, 6b) delimiting said slit (6) are in contact with and match each other at a respective portion thereof, said inner faces (6a, 6b) being at least partially undulated at least at said por tions thereof where said inner faces (6a, 6b) are in contact with and match each other.

Description:
Steam wand cleaning tool

Field of application of the invention

The present invention applies to the field of espresso coffee makers. As known, the latter may be provided with a "steam wand", i.e. a short metal pipe for the emission of steam under pressure. Steam wands are generally used to heat and froth liquids, such as water or milk, e.g. to make tea or a beverage called "cappuccino".

In particular, the present invention relates to an accessory for cleaning a steam wand, e.g. of an espresso coffee maker. Overview of the background art

The steam wands of espresso coffee makers are used by inserting them into a receptacle containing a beverage to be heated and frothed. In order for the steam coming out of the wand to heat the beverage, the end of the wand from which the steam is emitted must be immersed in said beverage. Therefore, to heat and froth a beverage contained in a receptacle, the steam wand must be inserted into said receptacle so that one end segment of the wand is immersed in the beverage. This method of use forces the operator of the coffee maker to clean the outer surface of the steam wand after each use. Regretfully, this cleaning operation is usually performed by cleaning the wand with a traditional cloth or sponge. However, the latter do not always allow the wand to be cleaned optimally. As a result, the steam wands of espresso coffee makers may be in unhygienic conditions. Purposes of the invention

It is the purpose of the present invention to overcome the aforesaid disad vantages by indicating a cleaning tool more suited for cleaning the outer surface of a steam wand, e.g. of an espresso coffee maker, than traditional cleaning tools, such as cloths and sponges.

Summary and advantages of the invention

The object of the present invention is a cleaning tool for a steam wand suited to be installed in an espresso coffee maker, said tool comprising:

• a sponge being elastically deformable and including:

- an outer surface;

- a through hole extending into said sponge, in a longitudinal direction, from a first portion of said outer surface to a second portion of said outer sur face opposite to said first portion, said hole having a first end at said first portion of outer surface and a sec ond end at said second portion of outer surface, said hole being suitable for acting as a seat for accommodating at least one segment of a steam wand (e.g. of an espresso coffee maker), wherein, according to the invention, said sponge further comprises:

- a slit extending on said outer surface, in said longitudinal direction, from said first portion to said second portion, said slit further being deep enough to extend:

> into said first portion, up to said first end,

> into said second portion, up to said second end and

> into said sponge, from said outer surface up to said hole, said hole being accessible, starting from said outer surface, through said slit so that a steam wand, e.g. of an espresso coffee maker, can be ac commodated, at least partially, in said hole and can be dislodged from the latter through said slit, possibly by elastically deforming said sponge, said slit being at least partially delimited by two mutually opposite, inner faces of said sponge, said tool further comprising:

• an elastically deformable, thermally insulating coating structure, said coating structure being at least partially concave so as to delimit at least partially a recess, said sponge being at least partially accommodated in said recess, said outer surface being only partially covered by said coating structure, said outer surface not being covered by said coating structure at least at said slit and at said first and second ends of said hole.

To clean a steam wand using the tool which is the object of the invention, it is necessary to simply grasp the tool from the coating structure and press it against a segment of the wand at the slit. By the effect of said pressure, the sponge and, if necessary, also the coating structure, are elastically deformed so that the wand section penetrates into the sponge until it reaches the through hole. At the end of this operation, the tool which is the object of the invention is "fitted" on the wand. Then, by moving the tool in the direction in which the wand extends (corresponding to the aforesaid longitudinal direction), the sponge cleans the wand optimally and faster than that required by the use of a tradi tional cleaning tool (such as a generic sponge or a generic cloth).

Since both the sponge and the coating structure can be elastically deformed, the tool which is the object of the invention advantageously recovers its original shape after having been compressed, e.g. closing the hand in which it is held into a fist. This makes it easy to clean the tool which is the object of the inven tion after use, e.g. by soaking it in water and wringing it out.

Being the coating structure thermally insulating, a user of the tool which is the object of the invention does not need to wait for a steam wand to cool down be fore cleaning it (since, by grasping the tool at the coating structure, the user does not run any risk of scalding).

Other innovative features of the present invention are illustrated in the descrip tion which follows and mentioned in the dependent claims.

According to an aspect of the invention, said coating structure comprises a first wall and a second wall opposite to each other so that the tool can be grasped with one hand by a person so that the thumb of said hand is at said first wall and at least another finger of said hand is at said second wall, said coating structure further comprising a third wall, which is at least partially concave and joins the first and second walls to each other, said third wall covering said outer surface at a part of the latter opposite to said slit with respect to said hole so that said tool can be grasped with one hand by a person so that said third wall is substantially opposite, at least partially, to the palm of said hand, said hole and said slit being at least partially interposed between said first and second walls.

According to this aspect of the invention, the sponge of the cleaning tool can be grasped by a person with one hand between the aforesaid walls. Advanta geously, being the slit at least partially interposed between the first wall and second wall, while the tool is fitted on a steam wand, the faces that delimit the slit of the sponge are easily pressed against the wand. Therefore, the wand is substantially cleaned even before reaching the through hole.

Similarly, since the through hole is at least partially interposed between the aforesaid first and second walls, after the tool which was the object of the inven tion was fitted on a steam wand, the surface of the sponge that delimits the hole can be advantageously secured against the wand. Therefore, the wand is cleaned even better.

According to another aspect of the invention, said first wall protrudes beyond said sponge at a first edge thereof, said second wall also protruding beyond the sponge at a first edge thereof, said first edges of said first and second walls being respectively opposed, said tool being capable of resting on a flat surface at said first edges so that said sponge is not in contact with said flat surface.

Advantageously, according to this aspect of the invention, the lack of contact between the sponge and a supporting surface when the cleaning tool is used not only prevents the sponge from being "contaminated" by substances which may be present on the supporting surface, but also speeds up the drying of the sponge by making any liquids absorbed by it fall (due to the weight force acting on said liquids). According to another aspect of the invention, said first wall is connected to said third wall at a second edge thereof opposite to the first edge thereof, said second wall also being connected to said third wall at a second edge thereof opposite to the first edge thereof, said first edges being coplanar and lying on a plane which is not orthogonal to said longitudinal direction.

Since the third wall covers the outer surface of the sponge on one side of the latter opposite to the slit with respect to the through hole, and the first and sec ond walls are connected to the third wall at their second edges, the first edges of the first and second walls being opposite to the second edges of the latter, the first edges of the first and second walls protrude beyond the sponge from the side where said slit is present.

Advantageously, according to this aspect of the invention, when the cleaning tool is placed on a flat surface, the sponge dries faster (through the falling of any liquids absorbed thereby) at the through hole.

According to another aspect of the invention, said first edges lie on a plane par allel to said longitudinal direction.

Advantageously, according to this aspect of the invention, when the cleaning tool is placed on a flat surface, the sponge dries even faster (through the falling of any liquids absorbed thereby) at the through hole.

According to another aspect of the invention, said first wall comprises a third edge interposed between the first and second edge thereof, said second wall also comprising a third edge interposed between the first edge and the second edge thereof, said third edges of said first and second walls being opposed, respectively, said sponge protruding beyond said third edges at a portion thereof.

Incidentally, the third edges of the first and second walls are opposed and the sponge it interposed between them.

According to this aspect of the invention, a portion of the sponge of the cleaning tool protrudes beyond the coating structure. Said protruding portion of the sponge can be used by a user of the tool which is the object of the invention like a traditional sponge, e.g. to absorb drops tending to fall from a steam wand. According to another aspect of the invention, said two inner faces delimiting said slit have a convergent development from said outer surface approaching said hole at least at a respective portion of said inner faces which originates from said outer surface (i.e. at least at the outermost portion of each of said in ner faces, i.e. at least at a segment of the slit which can be defined as "initial" starting from the outer surface of the sponge and proceeding, inside it, towards the through hole).

According to this aspect of the invention, the slit is almost flared at its outermost area (with a decreasing width proceeding from the outer surface of the sponge towards the through hole of the sponge). Advantageously, said flare makes it easier for a steam wand to penetrate into the slit when the tool which is the ob ject of the invention is placed on the wand.

According to another aspect of the invention, said hole has a substantially circu lar cross-section.

Advantageously, according to this aspect of the invention, the through hole of the sponge has an optimal shape for cleaning a steam wand, e.g. of an espres so coffee maker.

According to another aspect of the invention, the minimum distance between said inner faces delimiting said slit at a respective edge of said inner faces where said slit reaches said hole is less than the diameter of said cross-section of said hole.

According to this aspect of the invention, while the cleaning tool is placed on a steam wand, the sponge elastically deforms at least at the innermost area of the slit to allow the wand to enter into the through hole. Advantageously, in this manner, the wand is cleaned even before it reaches the through hole, regard less of the fact that the faces that delimit the slit are pressed against the wand by the person holding the cleaning tool (as described with reference to a previ ous aspect of the invention).

According to another aspect of the invention, said inner faces delimiting said slit are in contact with one another at least at a respective edge of said inner faces where said slit reaches said hole.

Also according to this aspect of the invention, as the previous one, while the cleaning tool is fitted on a steam wand, the sponge elastically deforms at least at the innermost area of the slit to allow the wand to enter into the through hole. Advantageously, in this manner, the wand is cleaned before it reaches the through hole, regardless of the fact that the faces delimiting the slit are pressed against the wand by the person holding the cleaning tool (as described with ref erence to a previous aspect of the invention).

According to another aspect of the invention, said inner faces delimiting said slit are in contact with and match each other at a respective portion thereof, said inner faces being at least partially undulated at least at said portions there of where said inner faces are in contact with and match each other.

Also according to this aspect of the invention, as the two previous ones, while the cleaning tool is placed on a steam wand, the sponge elastically deforms to allow the wand to enter into the through hole. Advantageously, in this manner, the wand is cleaned before it reaches the through hole, regardless of the fact that the faces delimiting the slit are pressed against the wand by the person holding the cleaning tool (as described with reference to a previous aspect of the invention).

Advantageously, the undulating development of the two portions of matching inner faces makes the cleaning of the steam wand better while it passes be tween them to fit the tool of the invention on said wand.

According to another aspect of the invention, said coating structure is at least partially made of silicone.

The silicone has a surface roughness that makes the coating structure non- slippery and therefore more firmly graspable by a person. Additionally, silicone is a highly flexible and easily washable material, even in the dishwasher.

Brief description of the figures

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of an example of an embodiment of the same and from the accompanying drawings exclusively provided by way of non limiting example, in which:

- figure 1 shows a diagrammatic perspective view of a cleaning tool according to the present invention; - figure 2 shows a diagrammatic perspective view of a first variant of the tool in figure 1 ;

- figure 3 shows a diagrammatic perspective view of a second variant of the tool in figure 1.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention Hereinafter in the present description, a figure may be illustrated also with ref erence to elements not expressly indicated therein but indicated on other fig ures instead. The scale and proportions of the various illustrated elements do not necessarily correspond to the real values.

Figure 1 shows cleaning tool 1 , which is the object of the invention, adapted to clean the outer surface of a steam wand, e.g. of an espresso coffee maker.

The tool 1 comprises a sponge 2 partially coated, at its outer surface, by a coat ing structure 3. Preferably, the sponge 2 is substantially shaped as a geometric solid consisting of a rectangular parallelepiped matching, at a face thereof, with a right semicylinder (i.e. a body obtained by translating a semicircle along a segment passing through the center of the diameter of the semicircle and or thogonal to the plane on which the semicircle lies) at the rectangular face of the latter. Assuming that the shape of the sponge 2 is the one described above, the direction along which the generators of the semicylinder extend (i.e. the direc tion of the aforesaid segment along which a semicircle is translated) corre sponds to the direction previously qualified as "longitudinal".

The sponge 2 comprises a through hole 4 which extends in the sponge 2 in the longitudinal direction from face 5 of the aforesaid rectangular parallelepiped to the face opposite thereto. Assuming that the shape of the sponge 2 is the one described above, the face 5 of the rectangular parallelepiped was previously identified by the expression “first portion of the outer surface of the sponge 2”, and the face of the rectangular parallelepiped opposite to the face 5 was previ ously identified by the expression “second portion of the outer surface of the sponge 2”. The hole 4, extending in a longitudinal direction, extends in the sponge 2 preferably orthogonally to the face 5 and to the face of the rectangular parallelepiped opposite thereto. The hole 4 has a preferably substantially circu lar cross-section (i.e. orthogonal to the aforesaid longitudinal direction). Extend- ing in the sponge 2 in a longitudinal direction, the hole 4 is thus preferably cylin drical, with a first end at the face 5 and a second end at the face of the rectan gular parallelepiped opposite to the face 5. The hole 4 is adapted to accommo date therein, at least partially, a steam wand, e.g. of an espresso coffee maker. The hole 4 is thus suited to act as a seat for accommodating at least one seg ment of a steam wand.

The sponge 2 is elastically deformable and comprises a slit 6 which extends in a longitudinal direction on the outer surface of the sponge 2 from the face 5 to the face of the rectangular parallelepiped opposite to the face 5. Assuming that the shape of the sponge 2 is the one described above, the slit 6 extends, longi tudinally, preferably on the face 7 of the rectangular parallelepiped opposite to the one where the latter matches with the semicylinder (i.e. on the face of the rectangular parallelepiped placed below in figure 1). The slit 6 is sufficiently deep to extend: on the face 5 up to the aforesaid first end of the hole 4; on the face of the rectangular parallelepiped opposite to the face 5, up to the aforesaid second end of the hole 4; and inside the sponge 2, from the face 7 to the hole 4. Therefore, the hole 4 can be accessed from the face 7 through the slit 6 so that a steam wand can be accommodated, at least partially, in the hole 4 and can be dislodged from it through the slit 6, possibly by elastically deforming the sponge 2 (i.e. by elastically deforming the sponge 2 if the slit 6 is not wide enough to al low the steam wand to pass through without deforming). More precisely, to clean a steam wand using the tool 1 , it is simply necessary to press the latter against a segment of the wand at the slit 6. By the effect of said pressure, the sponge 2 deforms, possibly elastically, so that the wand segment penetrates the sponge 2 until it reaches the hole 4. At the end of this operation, the tool 1 is "fitted" on the wand. By moving the tool 1 in the direction in which the wand ex tends (corresponding to the aforesaid longitudinal direction), the sponge 2 cleans the wand in an optimal way and faster than that required by the use of a traditional cleaning tool (such as a generic sponge or a generic cloth).

The slit 6 is at least partially delimited by two inner and opposite faces 6a and 6b of the sponge 2. As can be seen in figure 1 , the faces 6a and 6b preferably have a convergent development from the face 7 approaching the hole 4 at least at a respective portion of the faces 6a and 6b which originate from the face 7. Therefore, the slit 6 is preferably substantially flared at its outermost area (with a decreasing width proceeding from the face 7 towards the hole 4). More pref erably, the faces 6a and 6b are specular and at a given distance from each oth er at the face 7. Proceeding towards the hole 4, the faces 6a and 6b, preferably, converge to come into contact with each other before reaching the hole 4, and then remain mutually in contact, and even more preferentially, matching, until they reach said hole 4. The mutually in contact and matching portions of faces 6a and 6b are arranged preferably orthogonally to the face 7, more preferably parallel to the faces of the rectangular parallelepiped orthogonal to the faces 5 and 7. Even more preferentially, the mutually in contact and matching portions of the faces 6a and 6b are equidistant from said faces of the rectangular paral lelepiped orthogonal to the faces 5 and 7.

In light of the above, the faces 6a and 6b are preferably in contact with one an other at least at one of their respective edges where the slit 6 reaches the hole 4. More generally, the minimum distance between the faces 6a and 6b at a re spective edge where the slit 6 reaches the hole 4 is less than the diameter of the cross-section of the hole 4. Incidentally, the “minimum distance between faces 6a and 6b at a face edge” means the minimum distance between a point on the face 6a and a point on the face 6b.

According to a variant of the tool 1 , the faces 6a and 6b, although being oppo site to each other, are not in contact with each other. Preferably, according to this variant, the mutual distance between the faces 6a and 6b is not less than 5 mm. More precisely, if the slit 6 is, preferably, substantially flared at its outer most area (with a decreasing width proceeding from the face 7 towards the hole 4), proceeding from the face 7 towards the hole 4, the faces 6a and 6b, prefera bly, converge to reach a mutual distance preferably not less than 5 mm before reaching the hole 4 and then reach hole 4 keeping a distance from each other. The sponge 2 can be either natural or synthetic and is preferably made of an antiseptic and thermally insulating material. The rectangular parallelepiped component preferably has the following dimensions: 3.5 cm x 10 cm x 6 cm. More precisely, it is face 7 to preferably have the dimensions of 3.5 cm x 10 cm. As previously mentioned, the tool 1 further comprises a coating structure 3 which partially covers the outer surface of the sponge 2. The structure 3 is at least partially concave to delimit a recess in which the sponge 2 is at least par tially accommodated. More precisely, the structure 3 is preferably shaped as a rectangular sheet folded on itself, essentially in a "U" shape, about an axis par allel to one of its edges. Therefore, the structure 3 preferably comprises a first wall 8 and a second wall 9 which are substantially rectangular, mutually op posed and parallel to each other (i.e. substantially specular). The structure 3 al so preferably comprises a third concave wall 10 connecting the walls 8 and 9 to each other at the respective edge of the latter. The wall 10 is preferably shaped as the lateral curved surface of a right semicylinder (i.e. as a surface obtained by translating a semicircumference along a segment passing through the center of the diameter of the semicircumference and orthogonal to the plane on which the semicircumference lies). The sponge 2 is preferably covered by wall 10 at the curved face of the aforesaid semicylinder, and is preferably covered by walls 8 and 9 respectively at the faces of the aforesaid rectangular parallelepi ped consecutive to the aforesaid curved face. In light of the above, the outer surface of the sponge 2 is only partially covered by the structure 3. More pre cisely, the face 5 and the face of the rectangular parallelepiped opposite thereto are not covered by the structure 3. Therefore, the slit 6, as well as the first and second end of the hole 4, are not obstructed by the structure 3. Incidentally, as shown in figure 1 , the hole 4 and the slit 6 are preferably interposed between the walls 8 and 9, and, more preferentially, are equidistant from the latter (i.e. equidistant from the faces of the rectangular parallelepiped orthogonal to the faces 5 and 7).

The tool 1 can be grasped by a person at the structure 3. More precisely, the tool 1 can be grasped with one hand so that the thumb of said hand is at the wall 8, at least one other finger of said hand is at the wall 9 and the palm of said hand is at least partially opposed to the wall 10.

The wall 8 preferably protrudes beyond the sponge 2, and more precisely be yond the face 7, at a first edge 11 thereof. Therefore, the latter is at a given dis tance from the face 7. Specularly, the wall 9 preferably protrudes beyond the sponge 2, and more precisely beyond the face 7, at a first edge 12 thereof, op posite to the edge 11. Therefore, the edge 12 is also at a given distance from the face 7. Incidentally, the wall 8 is connected to the wall 10 at its own second edge opposite to the edge 11 , and the wall 9 is connected to the wall 10 at a second edge thereof opposite to the edge 12. The edges 11 and 12 are prefer ably coplanar and more preferably mutually parallel. The plane on which the edges 11 and 12 preferably lie is preferably not orthogonal to the aforesaid mentioned "longitudinal direction", and is more preferably parallel to the latter. Even more preferably, the edges 11 and 12 lie on a plane parallel to the face 7 (and therefore orthogonal to the walls 8 and 9). In light of the above, the tool 1 can rest on a flat surface at the edges 11 and 12 so that the sponge 2 is not in contact with said flat surface.

The structure 1 is preferably made of an elastically deformable and thermally insulating material, such as silicone or a fireproof material, and is preferably 0.5 cm thick. The walls 8 and 9 protrude from the face 7 preferably by at least 3 mm. The minimum distance between the edges 11 and 12 and the face 7 is, that is, not less than 3 mm. Incidentally, “minimum distance between one of the edges 11 and 12 and the face 7” means the minimum distance between a point of said edge and a point of the face 7. Incidentally, although it preferably com prises the walls 8, 9 and 10, the structure 3 can be obtained by plastically bend ing a rectangular sheet of silicone or PVC on itself in a "U" shape, as described above.

Figure 2 shows a tool 15 which differs from the tool 1 in that the sponge 2 pro trudes from the rear (in this figure) from the structure 3. More precisely, distin guishing with reference numeral 17 one of the two edges of the wall 8 arranged orthogonally to the edge 11 , a portion 16 of the sponge 2 protrudes beyond the edge 17 and the edge of wall 9 opposite to it. Incidentally, the edge 17 and the edge of the wall 9 opposite to it are opposed and the sponge 2 is interposed be tween them. The portion 16 is preferably obtained by extending the aforesaid rectangular parallelepiped in a longitudinal direction so that it protrudes beyond the structure 3. The hole 4 and the slit 6 also extend into the portion 16 and the latter is preferably at a given distance from the edges 11 and 12 so that the tool 15 can also be placed on a flat surface at the edges 11 and 12 so that the sponge 2 is not in contact with said flat surface.

The edge 17 was previously identified with the expression "third edge of the first wall" and is interposed between the edge 11 and the aforesaid connecting "second edge" between the wall 8 and the wall 10. Similarly, the edge of the wall 9 beyond which the sponge 2 protrudes was previously identified with the expression "third edge of the second wall" and is interposed between the edge 12 and the aforesaid connecting "second edge" between the wall 9 and the wall 10. As specified above, in the tool 1 , as in the tool 15, the faces 6a and 6b are specular and preferably at a given distance from each other at the face 7. Pro ceeding towards the hole 4, the faces 6a and 6b, preferably, converge to come into contact with each other before reaching the hole 4, and then remain mutu ally in contact, and even more preferentially, matching, until they reach said hole 4. Figure 3 shows a tool 20 which differs from the tool 1 in that the faces

6a and 6b, at the respective portion in which they are mutually in contact and matching, are at least partially undulated.

Based on the provided description of a preferred embodiment, it is apparent that changes may be introduced by a person skilled in the art without because of this departing from the scope of protection of the invention as defined by the fol lowing claims.