Patent application title: STORAGE CHEST
Freda Ruderham (St. Peter, GB)
IPC8 Class: AA41H3100FI
Class name: Apparel apparatus spool and implement holders work boxes and baskets
Publication date: 2013-02-14
Patent application number: 20130037584
A storage chest for sewing materials comprises a plurality of tiers (2,
4, 6, 8) at least one of which can retain a number of individual
materials in fixed positions. Cotton reels are preferably retained on
dowels the height of which relative to the tier spacing allows reels to
be removed. Tiers (4, 6, 8) may be supported on a central pillar
supported on the base tier (2). The pillar comprises pillar sections (26,
FIG. 4) having a base portion (28) with an internal thread corresponding
to a threaded cylindrical portion (32) such that two sections (26) can be
screwed together sandwiching between them a support plate (48, FIG. 7)
and tier (4, 6). Knobs (36, 38, FIGS. 5 & 6) may secure the pillar and
top and bottom tiers together. Parts of two part cover (52, 54, FIG. 8)
may be slid over the tiers when located on the pillar. Upper part (52) of
the cover may include accessory box (60). The lower cover part rests on
the bottom tier (2) and the upper cover part rests on the lower one via a
tongue and groove interconnection. The tiers and pillar may be
disassembled and reassembled in a different order and the spacing between
tiers may vary.
1. A chest for storing sewing materials, the chest comprising a plurality
of tiers supported above one another on support means, wherein at least
one tier comprises a plurality of retaining means for retaining a number
of individual materials in fixed positions.
2. A chest according to claim 1, wherein the retaining means comprise lengths of dowel mounted to the tier for mounting reels of thread.
3. A chest according to claim 1, wherein each tier comprises a plurality of retaining means.
4. A chest according to claim 2, wherein each tier comprises a plurality of retaining means.
5. A chest according to claim 1, wherein the support means supports each tier individually.
6. A chest according to claim 1, wherein the support means comprises a central pillar.
7. A chest according to claim 1, wherein the support means is provided in sections.
8. A chest according to claim 7, wherein each section is provided with male and female connector portions at opposite ends to allow assembly and disassembly of the support means.
9. A chest according to claim 8, wherein the connector portions are provided as screw threads.
10. A chest according to claim 7, wherein the sections differ in height.
11. A chest according to claim 1, wherein the support means comprises a load bearing support plate for each tier.
12. A chest according to claim 1, wherein four tiers are provided.
13. A chest according to any of the preceding claims claim 1, further comprising a cover having upper and lower parts with a central join therebetween.
14. A chest according to claim 13, further comprising an accessory box fixed to the upper part of the cover.
15. A chest according of the preceding claims to claim 1, wherein each tier can be removed individually.
16. A freestanding chest according to any of the preceding claims claim 1.
 The present invention relates to a means of storage, and
particularly, but not exclusively, to a tiered storage chest for storing
sewing materials including, but not limited to, threads.
 Sewing is a popular pass-time for many people. Although some will choose to keep their sewing tools and materials in a household cupboard or draw, many find it beneficial to have some means for storing these items together while also keeping them separate from other household items. Some people simply use a container such as a cutlery box, but this has various drawbacks. One significant drawback is that thread stored in such a way has tendency to become tangled, especially when, as is commonly the case, different threads are repeatedly removed from and returned to the container during a sewing project. The more different reels of thread that are required, the more problematic this becomes.
 Commercially available sewing boxes and chests are available with specifically designed storage for threads, other materials and tools. These help in organising the various items, but still have their own drawbacks. In many cases, the commercially available devices resemble a chest of drawers, each drawer being configured to receive a particular item, for example reels of thread. Materials which are located in the backs of these drawers, in particular in the corners, can be difficult to see and to access while sewing. Where threads cannot be easily seen, there is the added problem of ensuring that supplies are maintained at a suitable level so that a particular thread does not run out in the middle of a project.
 Also, the user has to choose between either having a drawer hanging out of the chest during the entire project, or suffering the inconvenience of having to open a drawer, retrieve a thread, and then re-close the drawer every time a change of thread is required. This is appropriately a two-handed operation, and there will be instances when a user will not have both hands free. These problems cause delays when working on a project, which can lead to frustration during what many find to be a relaxing and therapeutic exercise.
 Other known storage devices have storage channels or grooves for holding reels of thread lying down, but these can be limited in their ability to accommodate different sized and/or shaped reels.
 Removing the reels from the grooves can also be problematic. The present invention provides a means of storage which overcomes some or all of the abovementioned problems.
 According to the present invention there is provided a storage chest as defined in the appended claim 1. Further advantageous features of the invention are recited in the appended dependent claims.
 The chest of the present invention provides an elegant solution to the problem of storing and organising materials, in particular reels of thread. The use of a plurality of tiers on a preferably central support allows ready access to sewing materials when required. A number of further advantages will also be provided, as outlined below.
 The retaining means may be provided on one, several or all of the tiers, and preferably comprise lengths of dowel mounted to the tier for mounting reels of thread. The use of dowels or similar protrusions is a simple and economical way of retaining reels and cones of thread of various different shapes and sizes. The size and spacing of the dowels may also be altered as required for the size of reels and cones to he held, and the spacing between adjacent tiers is preferably sufficient to allow a reel or cone of thread to pass between the tops of a set of dowels and the bottom of a tier above.
 The support means preferably supports each tier individually, for example via a load bearing support plate for each tier, and may comprise a central pillar. This minimises the obstruction to a user when trying to access all parts of a tier. If the support means is provided in sections, variation of the spacing between adjacent tiers is easily accomplished. For this reason, the different sections may differ in height.
 Each section of the support may be provided with male and female connector portions at opposite ends, for example complimentary screw threads, to allow assembly and disassembly of the support means. This simplifies assembly, dismantling and re-configuring of the chest to meet a user's specific requirements. The tiers may each screw directly onto the support means or simply fit over the connection portions and be held in place by being sandwiched between two sections of the support means and/or load bearing plates.
 The chest may comprise any number of tiers depending on the user's requirement, but typically three or four tiers will be provided.
 The chest of the present invention preferably further comprises a cover having upper and lower parts with a central join therebetween. Locating features, such as a tongue and groove, may be provided between the cover parts. An accessory box may also be fixed to the upper part of the cover. The incorporation of two cover parts allows the top part of the cover to be used as a conveniently high table for use while sewing. Where an accessory box is provided, this is also positioned at a convenient height by the top cover part.
 The support means preferably allows each tier can be removed individually. This allows a user to remove one tier if unrestricted access to a lower tier is required. It also allow for the re-ordering of tiers and the addition or subtraction of tiers from the chest. Further cover portions may also be provided to accommodate the addition of extra tiers to the chest.
 The chest may be freestanding thereby serving as a standalone piece of furniture, and may preferably be provided with castors to allow it to be easily moved into position when used.
 A preferred embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the appended drawings, in which:
 FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of four tiers from the chest;
 FIG. 2 is a plan view of an example of a tier of the chest;
 FIG. 3 is a plan view of a further example of a tier of the chest;
 FIG. 4 is a front view of a section of the supporting pillar of the chest;
 FIG. 5 is a front view of an upper knob of the supporting pillar of the chest;
 FIG. 6 is a front view of a lower knob of the supporting pillar of the chest;
 FIG. 7 is a plan view of a supporting plate for supporting a tier of the chest; and
 FIG. 8 is a front view of the cover of the chest.
 The illustrated embodiment shows a sewing chest manufactured from wood and is intended as a stand-alone item of furniture with its own aesthetic appeal.
 In the following described embodiment, the chest has four tiers, each of which is supported on a sectional central pillar. The four tiers are shown schematically in FIG. 1. The spacing between the various tiers varies determined by the height of the corresponding section of the central pillar. In the following description, the lowermost tier, which also forms the base of the finished chest, is designated tier four and the uppermost tier is designated tier one.
 Turning to FIG. 1, the spacing A between tier four 2 and tier three 4 above is 250 mm, the spacing B between tier three 4 and tier two 6 is 180 mm, the spacing C between tier two 6 and tier one 8 is 150 mm and the spacing D between tier one 8 and the lid of the chest (not shown) is 100 mm.
 Each tier 2,4,6,8 is provided with a number of dowels 10,12 on which reels of thread will be stored in use. Each dowel 10,12 is glued into a hole drilled part way into the base of each tier so that each dowel extends vertically upwards from the tier. The uppermost three tiers 4,6,8 have 8 mm gauge dowels 10 provided at 40 mm spacings to accommodate standard sized reels of thread. Each dowel 10 has an overall length of 75 mm, with the lower 15 mm embedded in the holes in the tier base so that the height of each dowel 10 above the tier 4,6,8 is 60 mm.
 An example of the layout of any one of the uppermost three tiers 4,6,8 showing the reels of thread 14 in position on the dowels 10 is provided in FIG. 2. Tier one 8, tier two 6 and tier three 4 each measure 500 mm by 280 mm and are made from wood 20 mm thick to accommodate the 15 mm holes for fixing the dowels 10.
 Tier four 2 is slightly larger, measuring 540 mm by 312 mm, but is again made from 20 mm thick wood. Tier four 2 also uses larger 10 mm gauge dowels 12 provided at 80 mm spacing to receive larger `cones` of thread. The cone is a much larger wind and, accordingly, requires more space for storage. The dowels 12 of tier four 2 are also longer than those of the other tiers 4,6,8 at 105 mm. As before, the lower 15 mm of each dowel 12 is embedded in a hole in the base of tier four 2 with the result that 90 mm is left protruding. A sample arrangement of tier four is shown in FIG. 3, again showing the cones 16 in place on the dowels 12. It should be noted that a few smaller dowels 10 of the type used in the upper tiers 4,6,8 are included in the arrangement to accommodate additional reels 14 and make best use of the available space.
 Tier four 2, which forms the base of the finished chest, also has four legs 18 (see FIG. 1). The legs 18 are provided at the corners of tier four 2, are rounded, and have castors (not shown) so that the finished chest can be moved around with ease. A 15 mm scribe 20 is provided around the perimeter of tier four 2 for reasons which will be explained later.
 All four tiers 2,4,6,8 are provided with an internally threaded through hole 22 at their centre to receive part of a sectional central supporting pillar, as will be described below. The square space 24 shown around each of these holes 22 is provided to accommodate the base of each section of a supporting pillar.
 A section 26 of the supporting pillar is shown in FIG. 4. In the described embodiment, three such sections 26, of varying heights, are provided such that there is a variation in the spacing between tiers 2,4,6 in the finished chest. Each section 26 of the pillar comprises a 70 mm square base portion 28 which is provided with decorative detail 30 in the form of fluting. Above the base portion 28, a generally cylindrical portion 32 is provided which is 30 mm in diameter with an external thread 34. A hole (not shown) is also provided in the base portion 28. The hole is co-axial with the upper cylindrical portion 32 and has an internal thread corresponding to the external thread 34 of the cylindrical portion 32 such that, in use, two sections 26 can be screwed together.
 The height of the square base portion 28 of each pillar section 26 determines the spacing between the tiers 2,4,6 of the finished chest. For the illustrated example, these spacings, and therefore the heights of the base portions 28 of the sections 26, are 250 mm, 180 mm and 150 mm. In each case, the cylindrical threaded portion 32 has a length of 65 mm so the overall lengths of the three pillar sections 26 are 315 mm, 245 mm and 215 mm.
 Two knobs 36,38 are also provided, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The knobs 36,38 are each formed from a single piece of wood, and form the top and bottom of the finished pillar when the chest is fully assembled. The upper knob 36 has a base portion 40 with an internal threaded hole (not shown) to receive the threaded cylindrical portion 32 of one of the pillar sections 26, and above this base portion 40 has a decorative head 42. The lower knob 38 is provided with an externally threaded cylindrical portion 44, similar to that found on the pillar sections 26, and a lower part 46 with a larger cross-section. The threaded portion 44 of the lower knob 38 is 50 mm in length.
 The final components that make up the tiered body of the chest are the support plates 48. An example is shown in FIG. 7. Each support plate 48 is cut from a single piece of wood 15 mm thick, and is cross-shaped as shown. A central threaded hole 22 is provided in each support plate 48 to receive the external thread 34 of one of the pillar sections 26. One support plate 48 is required for each tier 4,6,8 of the chest above base tier four 2, so in the illustrated example three such plates 48 are required.
 The various components of the tiered chest are assembled as follows.
 The lower knob 38 is screwed through the threaded hole 22 in the centre of tier four 2 from underneath so that 30 mm of the threaded portion 44 of the lower knob 38 is exposed above the upper surface of tier four 2. The longest of the three pillar sections 26 is then screwed onto the exposed thread until the base of the square base portion 28 of the pillar section 26 sits snugly against the upper surface of tier four 2. Next, one of the support plates 48 is screwed onto the top of the pillar section 26, followed by tier three 4. The thicknesses of the component parts mean that at this point, 30 mm of thread 34 from the cylindrical portion 32 of the pillar section 26 is again exposed. The process is then repeated for the remaining tiers 6,8, with the pillar sections 26 being added in order of decreasing height. After tier one has been screwed into place, the upper knob 36 is screwed onto the top of the final pillar section 26 thereby covering the previously exposed screw thread 34 and providing a decorative finish to the top of the pillar.
 By using a relatively coarse thread, the number of rotations required to screw the various component parts into place can be minimised. The size of the pillar sections 26 is such that assembly of the tiers 2,4,6,8 by hand should not be problematic. The lower knob 38, due to its smaller size, is provided with an opening (not shown) to receive a screwdriver to ensure that it may be tightened sufficiently. Since the upper knob 36 is largely for decorative purposes, there is not the same need to ensure that it is so tight.
 The chest also has a lid/cover 50 which is formed in two parts 52,54. As shown in FIG. 8, the lower part 54 of the cover 50 is in position with the upper part 52 being lowered into place. A section 26 of the central pillar is visible between the two parts 52,54 of the cover 50. The thickness of wood used is 15 mm. The lower part of the cover 54 is effectively an open sleeve comprising four walls at right angles to each other, and rests on the scribe 20 provided around the perimeter of tier four 2 completely surrounding the smaller tier three 4. The upper part of the cover 52 is similarly formed but is enclosed at a top side. The upper part 52 of the cover 50 rests on top of the lower part 54, on a tongue and groove fitting 56 to maintain a uniform thickness and smooth outer profile, and surrounds and covers tier one 8 and tier two 6. The tongue 56 and groove (not shown) both have a length of around 15 mm, with the tongue 56 provided on the lower part 54 of the cover 50. The join between the two cover parts 52,54 is located at a height between tier two 6 and three 4 of the chest.
 Each part of the cover 50 has a pair of fold down handles 58 so that the cover 50 may be easily lifted off the chest in two parts 52,54. This not only avoids a user having to lift the weight of a single unitary cover, but also allows for the top cover part 52 to be used beside the remainder of the chest as a conveniently sized table on which sewing tools and materials are conveniently placed during a project.
 The top part of the cover 52 further comprises an accessory box 60 for storing scissors and similar tools. The interior of the box 60 (not shown) is provided with leather straps or loops in which scissors can be held, but also provides storage space for a number of other sewing tools and accessories.
 The accessory box 60 measures 490 mm by 280 mm by 80 mm, and is positioned on top of the top part 52 of the cover 50 where it is held in place by screws inserted from below, through the top part 52 of the cover 50 and through the base of the accessory box 60. A catch 62 is provided to keep a hinged lid 64 of the accessory box 60 closed when not in use. Brackets (not shown) hold the lid 62 open when the sewing chest it is being used. The accessory box 60 is made from 15 mm thick wood and contains reinforcing supports formed from 20 mm thick wood. These supports run across the full width of the accessory box 60 at opposite walls and serve several purposes. They provide additional thickness to receive the screws which hold the box in place, give added strength and stability to the box and provide a split level in the interior of the box where they can be used as small shelves for small items such as thimbles. Despite the additional thickness provided by the support pieces, it is still possible for the tips of the fixing screws to protrude into the interior of the accessory box 60. If this is the case, decorative finials (not shown) are provided to cover the sharp ends and prevent injury to a user.
 Both the cover parts 52,54 and the accessory box 60 are assembled using dovetail joints for strength, and decorative coving is provided 62 around the edges of both parts 52,54 of the cover and around the base of the accessory box 60.
 When not in use the chest forms an attractive and unobtrusive piece of furniture. The cover 50 obscures from view the various reels 14 and cones 16 of thread, and sewing accessories are contained within the accessory box. When the chest is to be used it can be easily wheeled into position. The top part 52 of the cover is then removed and placed on the floor. This provides an additional flat surface, and positions the accessory box 60 at a convenient height for a seated user. The uppermost two tiers 6,8 of the chest are now exposed, while the two lower tiers 2,4 remain hidden by the lower part 54 of the cover 50. If access to the lower tiers 2,4 is required, a user need only remove the lower part 54 of the cover 50.
 Once the upper part 52 of the cover 50 is removed, access to the reels 14 held on tier one 8 is unrestricted. The 150 mm spacing C between tiers one 8 and two 6 also means that reels 14, which are typically no more than 70 mm in height, can be removed from the 60 mm tall dowels 10 of tier two 6 as needed without the need to remove tier one 8. Once the lower part 54 of the cover 50 is also removed, the same is true for tier three 4, and for tier four 2, where the greater height of the 90 mm dowels 12 and of the cones 16 (which can be up to 100 mm tall) is compensated for by the larger 250 mm spacing A.
 In the event that a particular project requires mainly reels 14 from, for example, tier two 6; there is also the option of removing tier one 6 altogether, by a reverse sequence of actions described earlier for the assembly of the chest, so that the threads of tier two 6 are more readily accessible. Tier one 8 may be placed flat on a nearby table top so as to remain accessible.
 Furthermore, the standardisation of the connections within the chest allows for the uppermost three tiers 4,6,8 of the chest to be re-ordered so that, for example, tier two 4 becomes the uppermost tier. This is advantageous, particularly when a long project is being undertaken which requires several sessions to complete, but uses only a relatively small number of different threads. Rather than having to re-arrange individual reels 14 to position the required threads at the uppermost level of the chest, an entire tier can be re-positioned to place all of the required threads in their most accessible positions. By arranging the threads appropriately within tiers 4,6,8, a user is able to largely avoid having to move individual threads around to keep them accessible. The large storage capacity of the chest also allows for duplicates of the most commonly used threads to be provided on each tier 4,6,8 so as to always be on the uppermost tier.
 Since the cover 50 rests only on tier four 2, it can be placed back on the chest regardless of the order of the remaining tiers 4,6,8.
 The design of the chest also allows for customisation. Further tiers may be added to the chest if required, or tiers may be removed. It is envisaged that tiers and various sizes of pillar sections could therefore be available individually to allow for this customisation. Different sized cover parts could also be provided, and further intermediate cover parts could be included between the upper and lower parts described above to cover a chest with a greater number of tiers.
 The forgoing detailed description is included so that the invention may be fully understood, and is not intended to limit the protection sought. In particular, the invention is not considered to be limited to the configurations and materials described. The configuration of the structure as well as the dimensions and, to a certain extent, the material of the component parts would be dependent on a specific application. For example, more or fewer than four tiers could be provided, and the size and shape of the pillar sections used may also be varied as required. Making all or a majority of the component parts from a suitable plastics material would also be an option, or the supporting plates and screw fittings could be formed from metal for greater strength.