Sunday, September 03, 2006

A crash in the kitchen...

There I was, sitting in my study, working hard at figuring out something I could write about on my blog as I attempt to take on the great Paul Madsen in a race for readership (and he's got quite the lead on me) and out of nowhere I hear a big crash coming from the kitchen.

When I investigate the problem, I find my wife standing in front of the silverware drawer looking below where about half of the contents of the draw have fallen down into the cabinet below when the silverware tray broke and spilled its contents.

Thinking I could just order a new one, I take out the tray and start looking around for some identifying label here or there, but can find nothing other than a reference to a patent. Aha! Perhaps I can look up the patent and find out the company it is assigned to. A quick search at the US Patent Office lead me to patent #4,993,786 which has and inventor (John De Giulio), but no assignee. A search for De Guilio shows several kitchen design firms, but no obvious component manufacturer.

So, I'm off to plan B -- trying to repair the thing. The problem is that the tray is made of plastic and has 2 screws holding it in the drawer while the upper level rolls back/forth (when it is rolled all the way back, it does present a non-trivial amount of torque on the screws). The plastic around the two screws has broken and the tray is no longer held in the draw (which allowed it to flip up when my wife rolled the top back to get to the lower level).

To the rescue comes a metal 18 inch ruler I had lying about. Trimmed an inch or so off the ruler, drilled a couple of holes in it to fit where the screws were in the plastic and screwed it on top of the plastic so the tray was held by the metal across the entire back (see pic below). Worked like a charm.

Now I have to go find a new ruler

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Alex Popowycz said...

Ah, but are you violating the kitchen drawer patent in using the ruler, or conversely would you consider filing your own patent for the use of the 18 inch metal ruler?

Conor P. Cahill said...

Well, I assume that the original manufacturer had a patent on the basic model (hence their reference to the patent itself), but it is possible that someone else had/has a patent on improving the original patent by the addition of a "shortented" 18 inch metal ruler (since I didn't use a complete 18 inch ruler).

I guess I have to live on with the heavy burden of worrying about a potential infringement lawsuit.

It will be hard, but I think I can make it through :-).