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Publication numberUS20030007887 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/158,585
Publication dateJan 9, 2003
Filing dateMay 29, 2002
Priority dateJun 7, 2001
Also published asCA2449734A1, EP1404382A1, EP1404382A4, US7132084, US20070031298, WO2002100449A1
Publication number10158585, 158585, US 2003/0007887 A1, US 2003/007887 A1, US 20030007887 A1, US 20030007887A1, US 2003007887 A1, US 2003007887A1, US-A1-20030007887, US-A1-2003007887, US2003/0007887A1, US2003/007887A1, US20030007887 A1, US20030007887A1, US2003007887 A1, US2003007887A1
InventorsDeno Roumpos, George Roumpos, Mark Smith
Original AssigneePende, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Candle wax in container
US 20030007887 A1
Abstract
An aromatic substance heating device including a base, an integral heating element carried by the base, wherein the aromatic substance heating device is configured to receive and non-combustively heat an aromatic substance that is a solid at room temperature and a liquid at an elevated temperature. An aromatic substance container can be included to contain and transfer heat to the aromatic substance. The aromatic substance can include a candle wax.
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Claims(85)
What is claimed is:
1. A device configured for providing a pleasant aroma by heating an aromatic substance made for the purpose of providing an aroma when heated, comprising:
a) a base;
b) a liquid-tight containment carried by the base, configured to receive the aromatic substance; and
c) a heating element carried by the base, configured to heat the aromatic substance to better release an aroma of the aromatic substance.
2. A device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising at least one upwardly extending side wall, carried by the base, and circumscribing the heating element.
3. A device in accordance with claim 2, wherein the upwardly extending side wall is comprised of a thermally conductive material and is configured to extend around at least a portion of the aromatic substance to increase heat transfer to the aromatic substance.
4. A device in accordance with claim 2, wherein the upwardly extending side wall is comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction and is configured to extend around at least a portion of the aromatic substance to decrease heat transfer from the aromatic substance.
5. A device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising an air fan carried by the base, configured to move air past the aromatic substance to better disperse aroma from the aromatic substance into an atmosphere.
6. A device in accordance with claim 1, further comprising a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base.
7. A device in accordance with claim 6, wherein the chimney comprises a translucent material.
8. An aromatic substance heating device comprising:
a) a base;
b) a heating element disposed within the base and being configured to heat an aromatic substance; and
c) a provision for a light source carried by the base, said device configured so the light source can illuminate an area adjacent the aromatic substance.
9. A device in accordance with claim 8, wherein intensity of illumination from the light source varies, so as to emulate an appearance of a burning candle.
10. A device as in claim 8, wherein said provision for the light source is adjacent the heating element.
11. A device in accordance with claim 8, wherein the heating element is disposed in one or more locations around and adjacent said provision for the light source.
12. A device in accordance with claim 8, wherein the heating element is substantially annular and circumscribes said provision for the light source.
13. A device in accordance with claim 8, further comprising at least one upwardly extending side wall carried by the base and circumscribing the heating element.
14. A device in accordance with claim 13, wherein the upwardly extending side wall is comprised of a thermally conductive material and is configured to extend around at least a portion of the aromatic substance to increase heat transfer to the aromatic substance.
15. A device in accordance with claim 13, wherein the upwardly extending side wall is comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction and is configured to extend around at least a portion of the aromatic substance to decrease heat transfer from the aromatic substance.
16. A device in accordance with claim 8, the base including an air fan carried by the base and configured to move air past the aromatic substance to better disperse aroma from the aromatic substance into an atmosphere.
17. A device in accordance with claim 8, further comprising a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base.
18. A device in accordance with claim 17, wherein the chimney comprises a translucent material.
19. An aromatic substance heating device comprising:
a) a base; and
b) an integral heating element carried by the base;
c) the aromatic substance heating device being configured to receive and non-combustively heat an aromatic substance that is a solid at room temperature and a liquid at an elevated temperature.
20. A device in accordance with claim 19, the base further defining a containment portion to receive an aromatic substance.
21. A device in accordance with claim 19, further comprising an aromatic substance container containing an aromatic substance, disposed on a top of the heating element, the aromatic substance container being configured to be heated by the heating element and to conduct heat to the aromatic substance.
22. A device in accordance with claim 19, further comprising a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base.
23. A device in accordance with claim 22 wherein the chimney comprises a translucent material.
24. An aromatic heating device, comprising:
a) a base; and
b) a heating element disposed within the base;
c) the heating device being configured to receive a container containing an aromatic substance in solid form having a first vapor pressure and to non-combustively heat the aromatic substance to an elevated temperature where it liquefies, the liquid having a second, greater vapor pressure.
25. A device in accordance with claim 24, the base further defining a containment portion to receive the aromatic substance.
26. A device in accordance with claim 24, further comprising a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base.
27. A device in accordance with claim 26 wherein the chimney comprises a translucent material.
28. An aromatic substance container, comprising:
a) a bottom surface, configured to be heated by a heat source;
b) at least one side wall, extending upwardly and around the bottom surface, configured to contain, and transfer heat to, an aromatic substance; and
c) a retaining lip extending upwardly and inwardly from the side wall, configured to reduce spillage of the aromatic substance.
29. A container in accordance with claim 28, wherein the bottom surface and side wall are comprised of a thermally conductive material.
30. A container in accordance with claim 28, wherein the retaining lip is comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction.
31. A container in accordance with claim 28, further comprising a cover removably coupled to a top of the retaining lip, the cover being configured to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.
32. A container in accordance with claim 28, wherein the aromatic substance includes a substance that is a solid having a lower vapor pressure at a lower temperature, and that is a liquid having a higher vapor pressure at an elevated temperature.
33. A container in accordance with claim 28, wherein the aromatic substance includes a candle wax.
34. An aromatic substance container, comprising:
a) a bottom surface, configured to be heated by a heat source;
b) i) an outer perimeter comprising an outer side wall, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, and
ii) an inner perimeter comprising an inner side wall, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, the inner perimeter being circumscribed by the outer perimeter and defining an opening in the substance container;
each side wall being configured to contain and transfer heat to an aromatic substance;
c) an outer retaining lip extending upwardly and inwardly from the outer side wall; and
d) an inner retaining lip extending upwardly and outwardly from the inner side wall.
35. A container in accordance with claim 34, wherein:
a) the bottom surface is substantially annular and has a defined center vertical axis;
b) i) the outer side wall circumscribes the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface, and
ii) the inner side wall is located between the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface and the outer side wall,
c) the outer retaining lip extends i) upwardly from the outer side wall and ii) laterally toward the defined center vertical axis of the annular bottom surface; and
d) the inner retaining lip extends i) upwardly from the inner side wall and ii) laterally away from the defined center vertical axis of the annular bottom surface.
36. A container in accordance with claim 34, wherein the bottom surface and outer and inner side walls are comprised of a thermally conductive material.
37. A container in accordance with claim 35, wherein the outer and inner retaining lips are comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction.
38. A container in accordance with claim 35, further comprising a cover removably coupled to a top of each of the inner and outer retaining lips, the cover being configured to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.
39. A container in accordance with claim 34, further comprising a cover removably coupled to a top of each of the outer and inner side walls, the cover being configured to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.
40. A container in accordance with claim 34, wherein the aromatic substance includes a substance that is a solid having a lower vapor pressure at a lower temperature, and that is a liquid having a higher vapor pressure at an elevated temperature.
41. A container in accordance with claim 34, wherein the aromatic substance includes a candle wax.
42. An aromatic substance container, comprising:
a) a bottom surface, configured to be heated by a heat source;
b) i) an outer perimeter comprising an outer side wall coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface; and
ii) an inner perimeter comprising an inner side wall coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, the inner perimeter defining an opening in the substance container being configured to at least partially enclose a light source;
each side wall being configured to transfer heat to an aromatic substance;
43. A device in accordance with claim 42, wherein the bottom surface and outer and inner side walls are comprised of a thermally conductive material.
44. A device in accordance with claim 42, further comprising:
a) an outer retaining lip extending upwardly and inwardly from the outer side wall; and
b) an inner retaining lip extending upwardly and outwardly from the inner side wall.
45. A container in accordance with claim 44, wherein the outer and inner retaining lips are comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction.
46. A container in accordance with claim 44, further comprising a cover removably coupled to a top of each of the inner and outer retaining lips, the cover being configured to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.
47. A container in accordance with claim 42, further comprising a cover removably coupled to a top of each of the outer and inner side walls, the cover being configured to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.
48. A container in accordance with claim 42, wherein the aromatic substance includes a substance that is a solid having a lower vapor pressure at a lower temperature, and that is a liquid having a higher vapor pressure at an elevated temperature.
49. A container in accordance with claim 42, wherein the aromatic substance includes a candle wax.
50. An aromatic substance container, comprising:
a) a bottom surface comprised of a thermally conductive material, having a center and being configured to be heated by a heat source;
b) at least one conductive side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface and circumscribing a vertical axis extending upwardly from the center of the bottom surface;
c) an aromatic substance, contained within a cavity formed by the bottom surface and the conductive side wall; and
d) a retaining lip extending i) upwardly from the conductive side wall and ii) inwardly toward the vertical axis extending vertically upward from the center of the bottom surface, the retaining lip being configured to reduce spillage of the aromatic substance;
e) wherein the aromatic substance container is configured to conduct heat from a heating source to the aromatic substance.
51. An aromatic substance container, comprising:
a) a substantially annular bottom surface comprised of a thermally conductive material, having a defined center vertical axis, and being configured to be heated by a heat source;
b) a conductive outer side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface and circumscribing the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface, and a conductive inner side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, extending upwardly from the bottom surface and located between the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface and the outer side wall;
c) an aromatic substance, contained within a cavity formed by the bottom surface and the conductive outer and inner side walls;
d) an outer retaining lip extending i) upwardly from the conductive outer side wall and ii) laterally toward the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface; and
e) an inner retaining lip extending i) upwardly from the conductive interior side wall and ii) laterally away from the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface.
52. An aromatic substance heating kit configured to simulate a burning candle, comprising:
a) a base, including a substantially annular heating element disposed within the base and having a top surface, the heating element being configured to heat an aromatic substance container; and
a provision for a light source disposed within the base and being configured to receive a light source to provide illumination to an area adjacent the base; and
b) an aromatic substance container comprising;
a bottom surface, configured to be placed proximate the top surface of the heating element and to contain and transfer heat to an aromatic substance; and
at least one side wall, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface and circumscribing a center of the bottom surface, the side wall being configured to contain and transfer heat to the aromatic substance.
53. A candle heating kit, comprising:
a) a base, configured to carry a candle and including a heating element;
b) an aromatic candle, configured to be heated by the heating element to better release an aroma of the aromatic candle.
54. A kit in accordance with claim 53, the base further comprising at least one upwardly extending side wall carried by the base and circumscribing the heating element and at least a portion of the bottom surface of the container.
55. A kit in accordance with claim 53, further comprising an air fan carried by the base, configured to move air past the aromatic candle to better disperse the aroma into an atmosphere.
56. A kit in accordance with claim 53, further including a heating side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, coupled to and extending upwardly from the heating element and circumscribing a center of the heating element, the heating side wall being configured to extend around at least a portion of a bottom of the aromatic candle to increase heat flow through the aromatic candle.
57. A kit in accordance with claim 53, further comprising a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base.
58. A kit in accordance with claim 57, wherein the chimney comprises a translucent material.
59. A kit in accordance with claim 53, wherein the kit is adapted for non-combustively providing a scented candle aroma.
60. An aromatic substance heating kit, comprising:
a) a base, configured to receive an aromatic substance, and including a heating element;
b) an aromatic substance, configured to be heated by the heating element to better release an aroma of the aromatic substance; and
c) a containment portion defined by the base.
61. A kit in accordance with claim 60, further comprising at least one upwardly extending side wall carried by the base and circumscribing the heating element and at least a portion of the bottom surface of the container.
62. A kit in accordance with claim 60, further comprising an air fan disposed within the base and being configured to move air past the aromatic substance to better disperse the aroma into an atmosphere.
63. A kit in accordance with claim 60, wherein the side wall is comprised of a thermally conductive material, configured to extend around at least a portion of a bottom of the aromatic substance container to increase heat flow through the aromatic substance.
64. A kit in accordance with claim 60, further comprising a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base.
65. A kit in accordance with claim 64, wherein the chimney comprises a translucent material.
66. A kit in accordance with claim 60, wherein the containment portion is formed within the base.
67. A kit in accordance with claim 60, where in the containment portion is associated with the aromatic substance to contain the aromatic substance.
68. A kit in accordance with claim 60, wherein the aromatic substance includes a substance that is a solid and has a lesser vapor pressure at a room temperature, and is a liquid and has a greater vapor pressure at an elevated temperature.
69. A kit in accordance with claim 60, wherein the aromatic substance includes candle wax.
70. A method of providing a pleasant aroma to an environment, comprising the steps of:
a) placing an aromatic candle in thermal communication with a heating element; and
b) applying heat to the aromatic candle with the heating element to thereby non-combustively heat the aromatic candle to obtain an aromatic benefit of the aromatic candle without combustion.
71. A method in accordance with claim 70, wherein the step of applying heat to the aromatic candle changes candle wax comprising the aromatic candle from a solid at a room temperature to a liquid at an elevated temperature.
72. A method in accordance with claim 70, further comprising the step of heating the aromatic candle to a temperature range selected from the group consisting of 90° F. - 300° F., 90° F. - 200° F., 90° F. - 150° F., and 90° F. - 125° F.
73. A method in accordance with claim 70, further comprising the step of providing an air fan to blow air past the aromatic candle to better disperse an aroma of the candle.
74. A method in accordance with claim 70, further comprising the step of providing a light source adjacent the aromatic candle to emulate the appearance of a lighted candle.
75. A method of obtaining benefit of an aromatic candle without combustion, comprising the steps of:
a) placing the aromatic candle in thermal communication with a heating element; and
b) applying heat to the aromatic candle with the heating element to thereby non-combustively heat the aromatic candle to obtain an aromatic benefit of the aromatic candle without combustion.
76. A method in accordance with claim 75, wherein the step of applying heat to the aromatic candle changes candle wax comprising the aromatic candle from a solid at a room temperature to a liquid at an elevated temperature.
77. A method in accordance with claim 75, further comprising the step of heating the aromatic candle to a temperature range selected from the group consisting of 90° F.-300° F., 90° F.-200° F., 90° F.-150° F., and 9° F.-125° F.
78. A method in accordance with claim 75, further comprising the step of providing an air fan to blow air past the aromatic candle to better disperse an aroma of the candle.
79. A method in accordance with claim 75, further comprising the step of providing a light source adjacent the aromatic candle to emulate the appearance of a lighted candle.
80. A method of providing a pleasant aroma to an environment, comprising the steps of:
a) providing a heating element; and
b) applying heat from the heating element to candle wax to thereby non-combustively heat the candle wax to obtain an aromatic benefit of the candle wax without combustion.
81. A method in accordance with claim 80, further comprising the step of placing the candle wax in a container disposed upon the heating element.
82. A method in accordance with claim 80, wherein the step of applying heat to the candle wax changes the candle wax from a solid at a room temperature to a liquid at an elevated temperature.
83. A method in accordance with claim 80, further comprising the step of heating the candle wax to a temperature range selected from the group consisting of 90° F.-300° F., 90° F.-200° F, 90° F.-150° F., and 90° F.-125° F.
84. A method in accordance with claim 80, further comprising the step of providing an air fan to blow air past the candle wax to better disperse an aroma of the candle wax.
85. A method in accordance with claim 80, further comprising the step of providing a light source adjacent the candle wax to emulate the appearance of a lighted candle.
Description

[0001] This application claims priority to Provisional U.S. Patent Application filed Apr. 19, 2002, and is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/876,606, filed Jun. 7, 2001, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to a device for dispersing scent throughout an area. More particularly, the present invention relates to a device for heating an aromatic substance to provide the benefits of scented candles without the problems often associated with the use of candles.

[0004] 2. Related Art

[0005] Scented candles have enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. They are available in a variety of pleasing scents and colors. Many people use scented candles to help mask unpleasant odors or to simply provide a pleasant smell to a room. Some believe that particular scents provide some benefits, such as relieving stress, headaches, allergies, etc. Many people also enjoy the visual ambience, mood creation, and decor provided by a burning candle, as attested to by the continued desire for the time-honored candlelit dinner over more recent lighting innovations.

[0006] However, candles require a flame to heat the wax from which the candle is formed. As is known, when the wick of a candle is burned the wax immediately surrounding the wick melts; after which scents contained in the wax pool are released into the atmosphere at an increased rate. However, as a result, conventional candles present a recognized fire danger. Many office buildings, dormitories and even apartment complexes have banned the use of candles due to this recognized fire hazard. Nearly all candle manufacturers advise purchasers to never leave a burning candle unattended.

[0007] Burning scented candles can also disperse combustion by-products into the air, some of which may be toxic, such as carbon monoxide, acetone, benzene, hydrocarbons and other noxious substances. In a closed environment, such as a closed room, these combustion by-products can accumulate to hazardous levels; and, with prolonged use, can lead to health problems. Some wicks used in candles today contain lead and/or other metals which, when the wicks are burned, can increase the undesirable combustion by-products. Moreover, a soot by-product, known as black soot deposition, which accumulates with burning candles over time, is unattractive and increases the need for cleaning of walls, ceilings, etc. Nearly all of these undesirable qualities are ultimately caused by the combustion process by which traditional candles are utilized.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It has been recognized that it would be advantageous to develop a device for dispersing scent throughout a room which does not present the fire and pollutant dangers presented by burning scented candles. It has also been recognized that it would be desirable to develop such a device that simulates the visual ambience created by burning candles.

[0009] The present invention provides such a device and includes a base, a liquid-tight containment carried by the base, configured to receive the aromatic substance, and a heating element carried by the base, configured to heat the aromatic substance to better release an aroma of the aromatic substance.

[0010] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the device can further include at least one upwardly extending side wall, carried by the base, and circumscribing the heating element. The upwardly extending side wall can be comprised of a thermally conductive material to extend around at least a portion of the aromatic substance to increase heat transfer to the aromatic substance. The upwardly extending side wall can also be comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction to extend around at least a portion of the aromatic substance to decrease heat transfer from the aromatic substance.

[0011] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the device can include an air fan carried by the base to move air past the aromatic substance to better disperse aroma from the aromatic substance into an atmosphere.

[0012] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the device can further include a chimney having at least one enclosing side wall and a top opening and a bottom opening, the bottom opening being configured to be placed proximate a top of the base. The chimney can comprise a translucent material.

[0013] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the device includes a base, a heating element disposed within the base to heat an aromatic substance, and a provision for a light source can be carried by the base, said device configured so the light source can illuminate an area adjacent the aromatic substance. The intensity of illumination from the light source can vary, so as to emulate an appearance of a burning candle. The provision for the light source can be adjacent the heating element. The heating element can be disposed in one or more locations around and adjacent the provision for the light source. The heating element can be substantially annular and can circumscribe the provision for the light source.

[0014] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the device includes a base, an integral heating element carried by the base, and device is configured to receive and non-combustively heat an aromatic substance that is a solid at room temperature and a liquid at an elevated temperature. The base can further define a containment portion to receive an aromatic substance. An aromatic substance container can contain an aromatic substance, disposed on a top of the heating element, the aromatic substance container being configured to be heated by the heating element and to conduct heat to the aromatic substance.

[0015] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the device includes a base, and a heating element disposed within the base, the heating device being configured to receive a container containing an aromatic substance in solid form having a first vapor pressure and to non-combustively heat the aromatic substance to an elevated temperature where it liquefies, the liquid having a second, greater vapor pressure.

[0016] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, an aromatic substance container is provided and includes a bottom surface, configured to be heated by a heat source, at least one side wall, extending upwardly and around the bottom surface, configured to contain, and transfer heat to, an aromatic substance, and a retaining lip extending upwardly and inwardly from the side wall, configured to reduce spillage of the aromatic substance. The bottom surface and side wall can be comprised of a thermally conductive material. The retaining lip can be comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction.

[0017] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a cover can be removably coupled to a top of the retaining lip to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.

[0018] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the container includes a bottom surface, configured to be heated by a heat source, an outer perimeter comprising an outer side wall, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, an inner perimeter comprising an inner side wall, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, the inner perimeter being circumscribed by the outer perimeter and defining an opening in the substance container, wherein each side wall is configured to contain and transfer heat to an aromatic substance, an outer retaining lip can extend upwardly and inwardly from the outer side wall, and an inner retaining lip can extend upwardly and outwardly from the inner side wall.

[0019] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the container can include a bottom surface that is substantially annular and has a defined center vertical axis, the outer side wall can circumscribe the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface, and the inner side wall is located between the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface and the outer side wall, the outer retaining lip can extend upwardly from the outer side wall and laterally toward the defined center vertical axis of the annular bottom surface, and the inner retaining lip can extend upwardly from the inner side wall and laterally away from the defined center vertical axis of the annular bottom surface.

[0020] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the bottom surface and outer and inner side walls can be comprised of a thermally conductive material. The outer and inner retaining lips can be comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction. A cover can be removably coupled to a top of each of the inner and outer retaining lips to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container. A cover can be removably coupled to a top of each of the outer and inner side walls to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container.

[0021] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the container can include a bottom surface, configured to be heated by a heat source, an outer perimeter comprising an outer side wall coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, and an inner perimeter comprising an inner side wall coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface, the inner perimeter defining an opening in the substance container being configured to at least partially enclose a light source, and each side wall can be configured to transfer heat to an aromatic substance. An outer retaining lip can extend upwardly and inwardly from the outer side wall and an inner retaining lip can extend upwardly and outwardly from the inner side wall.

[0022] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the container can include a bottom surface comprised of a thermally conductive material, having a center and being configured to be heated by a heat source, at least one conductive side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface and circumscribing a vertical axis extending upwardly from the center of the bottom surface, an aromatic substance, contained within a cavity formed by the bottom surface and the conductive side wall, and a retaining lip extending i) upwardly from the conductive side wall and ii) inwardly toward the vertical axis extending vertically upward from the center of the bottom surface, the retaining lip being configured to reduce spillage of the aromatic substance, wherein the aromatic substance container is configured to conduct heat from a heating source to the aromatic substance.

[0023] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the container can include a substantially annular bottom surface comprised of a thermally conductive material, having a defined center vertical axis, and being configured to be heated by a heat source, a conductive outer side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface and circumscribing the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface, and a conductive inner side wall comprised of a thermally conductive material, extending upwardly from the bottom surface and located between the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface and the outer side wall, an aromatic substance, contained within a cavity formed by the bottom surface and the conductive outer and inner side walls, an outer retaining lip extending upwardly from the conductive outer side wall and laterally toward the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface, and an inner retaining lip extending upwardly from the conductive interior side wall and laterally away from the defined center vertical axis of the bottom surface.

[0024] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, an aromatic substance heating kit is provided and includes a base, including a substantially annular heating element disposed within the base and having a top surface, the heating element being configured to heat an aromatic substance container, and a provision for a light source disposed within the base and being configured to receive a light source to provide illumination to an area adjacent the base, and an aromatic substance container including a bottom surface, configured to be placed proximate the top surface of the heating element and to contain and transfer heat to an aromatic substance and at least one side wall, coupled to and extending upwardly from the bottom surface and circumscribing a center of the bottom surface, the side wall being configured to contain and transfer heat to the aromatic substance.

[0025] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the kit includes a base, configured to carry a candle and including a heating element, and an aromatic candle, configured to be heated by the heating element to better release an aroma of the aromatic candle. The kit can be adapted for non-combustively providing a scented candle aroma.

[0026] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the kit includes a base, configured to receive an aromatic substance, and including a heating element, an aromatic substance, configured to be heated by the heating element to better release an aroma of the aromatic substance, and a containment portion defined by the base. The containment portion can be associated with the aromatic substance to contain the aromatic substance.

[0027] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a method is provided and includes the steps of placing an aromatic candle in thermal communication with a heating element, and applying heat to the aromatic candle with the heating element to thereby non-combustively heat the aromatic candle to obtain an aromatic benefit of the aromatic candle without combustion.

[0028] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the step of applying heat to the aromatic candle can change candle wax comprising the aromatic candle from a solid at a room temperature to a liquid at an elevated temperature. The step of heating the aromatic candle to a temperature range can be selected from the group consisting of 90° F.-300° F., 90° F.-200° F., 90° F.-150° F., and 90° F.-125° F.

[0029] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the method includes the step of providing an air fan to blow air past the aromatic candle to better disperse an aroma of the candle. A light source can be provided adjacent the aromatic candle to emulate the appearance of a lighted candle.

[0030] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the method can include the steps of placing the aromatic candle in thermal communication with a heating element, and applying heat to the aromatic candle with the heating element to thereby non-combustively heat the aromatic candle to obtain an aromatic benefit of the aromatic candle without combustion. The step of applying heat to the aromatic candle can change candle wax comprising the aromatic candle from a solid at a room temperature to a liquid at an elevated temperature.

[0031] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the method can include the steps of providing a heating element, and applying heat from the heating element to candle wax to thereby non-combustively heat the candle wax to obtain an aromatic benefit of the candle wax without combustion. The candle wax can be placed in a container disposed upon the heating element.

[0032] Additional features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the detailed description which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which together illustrate, by way of example, features of the invention

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0033]FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of the present invention, shown in partial cutaway and partial section;

[0034]FIG. 1 a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 1, wherein elements 24 and 18 have been omitted for clarity;

[0035]FIG. 2 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention, shown in partial cutaway and partial section;

[0036]FIG. 2a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 2, wherein elements 24 and 18 have been omitted for clarity;

[0037]FIG. 3 side view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention, shown in partial cutaway and partial section;

[0038]FIG. 3a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 3;

[0039]FIG. 3b is a top view of an alternate embodiment of the heating element illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 3a;

[0040]FIG. 4 is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

[0041]FIG. 4a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 4;

[0042]FIG. 5 is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

[0043]FIG. 5a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 5;

[0044]FIG. 5b is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 5;

[0045]FIG. 5c is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 5;

[0046]FIG. 5d is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 5;

[0047]FIG. 5e is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 5;

[0048]FIG. 6 is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

[0049]FIG. 6a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 6;

[0050]FIG. 6b is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 6;

[0051]FIG. 6c is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 6b;

[0052]FIG. 6d is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 6;

[0053]FIG. 6e is a perspective view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 6;

[0054]FIG. 7 is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention;

[0055]FIG. 7a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 7;

[0056]FIG. 8 is a side sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention; and

[0057]FIG. 8a is a top view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0058] Reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the drawings, and specific language will be used herein to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and additional applications of the principles of the inventions as illustrated herein, which would occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention.

[0059] Illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 1a is an aromatic substance heating device 10. The device generally comprises a heating element 14 carried by and embodied in the base 11. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 1a, the base is configured to include a base housing 12 such that the heating element 14 is disposed within the base housing 12. Another embodiment of the device can be configured such that the heating element is disposed adjacent an upper portion 12 a of the base housing, or rests on an upper surface of a base, rather than lower in the housing as in the illustrated embodiment. In all these embodiments, however, the heating element is configured to heat an aromatic substance. Since the idea is to increase the aroma given off by the aromatic substance by heating it to increase a vapor pressure or otherwise enhance evaporation and other mechanisms of transfer of the aromatic substance to the air, the heating element of the device can be configured in a wide variety of configurations, depending on the aromatic substance(s) to be heated. For example, a popular aromatic substance currently in the marketplace is scented wax, sold as a scented wax candle. Typically, these candles include a glass container, which is filled with the scented wax and include a wick for burning. The present device can be configured in such a way as to receive a scented candle and to heat it without burning the wick. To serve this use, the heating element can comprise a substantially flat upper surface 15 on which the scented candle can be rested.

[0060] The device 10 can be configured such that the heating element 14 is configured to receive a scented liquid. In this embodiment, the heating element itself can be configured in such a way that a bowl-shaped receiving area 17 is formed. An advantage of this embodiment is that it allows the user to use an aromatic substance that is not in a separate container, if desired. For example, if the user preferred scented oil as the favored aromatic substance, the user could simply pour the oil directly into the heating element receiving area. As the oil dissipates into the atmosphere, the user would simply refill the receiving area to replenish the desired aromatic substance. Additionally, in this embodiment, the user can place one or more conventional scented wax candles that are not confined in a container, such as traditional candles made for use with traditional candle holders, within the bowl shaped receiving area to heat them. This will facilitate emitting an aroma such as conventionally obtained with a conventional scented candle while lessening the combustion dangers inherent in burning conventional candles. This embodiment likewise allows the user to place within the bowl shaped receiving area any scented substance that releases fragrance at moderately elevated temperature; such as palletized wax, fragrance gel beads, and other such substances.

[0061] The embodiment of the device 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 1a includes a sidewall 16 that circumscribes the heating element 14 and extends upwardly from the heating element 14. The sidewall 16 can either be comprised of an insulating material or a conductive material depending on the features desired. In another embodiment, the side wall can comprise a barrier to contain the aromatic substance, keep the aromatic substance on/adjacent the heating element; but it is not particularly conductive or insulative. If an insulated side wall is desired, the side wall can be comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction. As discussed more fully below, if a conductive side wall is desired then the side wall can either be comprised of a thermally conductive material or simply be an integrally connected or unitary part of the heating element. It is to be understood that the present device may require a power source and control circuitry, as is known in the art, to power and control the heating element and other features as will be discussed below. For example, the power source can include AC or DC power, such as is found in co This will be conventional and include a temperature sensor and control logic to add or decrease power to the heating element to keep it within a desired range. While all of the variations of the device are not shown in the figures, it will be understood that they are within the scope of the invention when the various ways of implementing the inventive subject matter is known to those skilled in the art.

[0062] The heating element 14 can be of any type known to those skilled in the art that provides for the necessary heat transfer. Additionally, the heating element can be configured in a variety of embodiments. In one embodiment, the heating element has a generally circular shape as shown in FIG. 1. However, the heating element could be configured in a variety of shapes and dimensions depending on the nature of the aromatic substance and any related container. The invention herein contemplates all known heating element configurations even though the primary embodiment shown in the drawings and in the description herein will be to a heating element having a generally circular shape.

[0063] In one embodiment the heating element is a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heating element. As is known in the art, PTC heating elements generally have a unique resistance to temperature which results in the resistance of the PTC decreasing as heat is drawn from the PTC. PTC heating elements generally have an extreme positive temperature coefficient over a very narrow range of temperatures. PTCs can thus be self-regulated at a preset temperature and can vary wattage automatically in order to maintain the preset temperature. The use of a PTC heating element in the present invention provides a heating device that accurately and efficiently controls temperatures and minimizes energy consumption.

[0064] The heating element is similarly not restricted to an electrical heating element. The heating element could, for example, be a solar heating element, or a chemical heating device which produces heat in response to a chemical reaction. The heating element could also be a combustion device, in which a fuel and oxidizer are combusted to produce heat. An example of such a heating element has been developed for portable curling irons. A small supply of propane or butane can be contained within the curling iron and be converted into heat through combustion. More than one heating element can be included in the present invention, and can be located in one or more locations in the base. When a provision for a light source is included (as discussed in further detail below), one or more heating elements can be disposed in one or more locations around and adjacent the provision for a light source.

[0065] As illustrated in FIG. 1 (note that elements 18 and 24 are omitted from FIG. 1a), the device 10 is configured to receive a container 18 upon the heating element 14. When power is applied to the heating element and the temperature of the heating element begins to rise, heat transfer from the heating element to the container warms or heats the aromatic material. As the temperature of the aromatic material begins to rise, aroma is released into the atmosphere at an increased rate. If the upwardly extending side wall 16 is comprised of an insulating material, the insulating side wall 16 will serve to retain heat inside the bottom portion of the container to more efficiently heat the aromatic material in the container 18. Additionally, as discussed above, the side wall 16 can also act as a barrier to restrict lateral movement of the container and thereby reduce spillage of the aromatic material.

[0066] The present invention thus provides an aromatic substance heating device that can be used with a variety of aromatic materials to emit a pleasant aroma. The container 18 can be of any shape or substance that provides the desired heat transfer effects and is compatible with the desired heating element configuration. Also, any type of aromatic substance known in the art, including scented wax, oil, or potpourri may be used with the present invention. As discussed above, the present invention can be used with a conventional scented wax candle (not shown) which can be placed on the heating element 14 and warmed to an elevated temperature. As the candle is heated, the aroma from the wax is released at an increased rate. The present device thereby provides a system for enjoying scented candles without requiring that the candle be lit. Because combustion of candles can lead to undesirable combustion byproducts, the device provides a healthier and cleaner alternative to burning scented candles. It is understood that the device is not limited to use with scented candles, but can be used with alternate aromatic materials, as discussed further below.

[0067] Because of the relative safety of the heating element, the present invention can be operated for many hours without requiring close supervision. The device can be used in areas where open flames are not allowed, such as office buildings, dormitories and apartment complexes. Because the device does not burn the aromatic substance, when used with a conventional candle, it can dramatically extend the life of the candle. It is also believed that, when used with conventional candles, the present invention extracts a higher degree of aroma from the candle, in contrast to the aroma released when burning the candle.

[0068] To further enhance the safety and convenience of the present invention, the device can include a timer (not shown in the FIGs.) that can be operatively coupled to the heating element. In this manner, an operator can pre-set a time for which the device will be operated. Once the pre-set time has elapsed, the timer can initiate a controller by which the heating element would cease operation. This feature can be used to ensure that the device is not left on for extended periods of time. An additional feature that can be included with the present invention is a pressure switch (not shown in the FIGs.) which can be operatively coupled to the heating element. The pressure switch can be configured to automatically initiate the heating element when a container is placed on the heating element. For example, the pressure switch can be configured to initiate the heating device upon sensing a weight of 2 to 3 ounces. In this manner, a conventional aromatic substance container, which can typically weigh more than 4 ounces, can be placed upon the heating element and thereby initiate the heating element.

[0069] In one embodiment of the present invention, the heating device includes an air circulating fan to disperse the aroma released from the aromatic material into the atmosphere. In the embodiment in FIG. 1, the air circulating fan 20 is disposed within the base housing 12 below the heating element to enhance the rate at which the aroma is emitted into the atmosphere. The air circulating fan can be of any type known to those skilled in the art and can be configured to disperse the aroma in any number of paths. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the air circulating fan is disposed below the heating element and is directed in an upward direction toward the container 18. This configuration causes a dispersement of the aroma in an upward direction along a path that is perpendicular to the plane formed by the heating element. However, the air circulation fan can be attached to the base in different locations depending on the desired dispersement. One embodiment of the invention (not shown) includes an air circulating fan that is directed in a sideward direction parallel with the plane formed by the heating element. Alternative embodiments provide for an adjustable air circulating fan, whereby the rate of air circulation can be adjusted to circulate more or less air.

[0070] In one embodiment of the present invention, the device further includes a chimney 24 for channeling the aroma in an upward direction. In FIG. 1 the chimney is comprised of cylinder or side wall with a top 24 b opening and a bottom 24 a opening. In the embodiment in FIG. 1, the bottom opening 24 a of the chimney 24 is placed over the container 18 and heating element 14 and rests on an upper surface 12 a of the base housing 12. While a principal function of the chimney 24 is to direct the aroma in an upwardly direction, it also serves add to certain visual effects that give the device a candle-like or otherwise appealing appearance. In one embodiment of the present invention, the chimney is comprised of a translucent material. When a provision for a light source is included with the device (as discussed in further detail below), the translucent chimney can serve to soften the light emitted by the light source to enhance the visual simulation of a burning candle. If the material is translucent as opposed to transparent, the device may create the impression that the source of the light is a flame when in fact it may be a light bulb. Other features may also be added to the chimney to create other visual effects. Importantly, the chimney also acts as a barrier to protect the aromatic material from any unwanted contact.

[0071] As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 2a (note that elements 18 and 24 are omitted from FIG. 2a), the present invention can also include a heating side wall 26 which can be comprised of a thermally conductive material. In this embodiment, the heating side wall is coupled to and extends upwardly from the heating element 14 and circumscribes the center of the heating element. The heating side wall 26 can extend around at least a portion of a bottom of the aromatic substance container 18 and serves to increase heat flow through side walls of the aromatic substance container. The heating side wall can be coupled to the heating element or can be formed as an integral part of the heating element. FIG. 2 shows the side wall 26 integrally connected as a part of the heating element 14. As discussed above, a configuration of this type creates a bowl-shaped heating element that can directly receive aromatic substances, such as oil and potpourri. The heating side wall can be comprised of any conductive material, such as aluminum or steel, or the same material as the heating element. The heating side wall aids in heating the aromatic substance container by conducting heat through the sides of the container as well as from the bottom. This allows the aromatic substance to be heated much more quickly than with conventional, flat heating elements thereby accelerating the rate at which an aroma is emitted.

[0072] As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 3a (note that elements 24 and 33 are omitted from FIG. 3a), an alternate embodiment of the present invention includes a substantially annular, or ring, shaped heating element 28 disposed within the base housing 12. By forming the heating element in a generally annular configuration, a provision for a light source 30 can be disposed within a center region 29 of the heating element 14. The provision for a light source can be a socket configured to receive a light source 32 to simulate a visual appearance of a burning candle.

[0073] An annular aromatic container 33 having a center region that corresponds to the center region 29 of the heating element can be placed on the annular heating element. Additional description of the annular aromatic container is provided below. In this annular configuration, a light source 32 can be inserted into the socket 30. The light source can be of any type, but in one embodiment is a “flickering” light bulb, which simulates a flame. In this manner, as the heating element 28 heats the aromatic material and releases aroma, thereby simulating the smell of a burning candle, the flickering light simulates the look and ambience of a burning candle. In one embodiment, an intensity of illumination from the light source can vary, so as to emulate an appearance of a burning candle. By utilizing a chimney 24, the simulation is further enhanced. A translucent chimney can enhance the visual simulation by hiding the appearance of the bulb while allowing the light to pass through, which increases the look of a burning candle. The light source may include a variety of styles and types, such as a bulb, a tube, a flex-tube, an LED, a series of LEDs, etc., and may be situated at various locations upon or within the base for any desired optical effect.

[0074] In one embodiment, the socket 30 is disposed in the center region 29 such that the top end of the socket 30 is below the plane formed by the heating element 28. In this embodiment, the device can be used with a light bulb or without depending on the configuration of the aromatic container. If the container is configured in an annular shape, a light source can be inserted in the socket 30 to provide the visual effect of a candle. If the container is not in an annular shape then the light source can be omitted and the container can rest on the annular heating element. Alternatively, the light source 32 can be removed and a container of alternate shape (not shown) can be placed upon and heated by the annular heating element. For example, conventional scented wax candles come in a cylindrically shaped glass container. This type of candle does not have an open center region that would permit use of a light source 32. However, when the light source 32 is removed, a cylindrically shaped container would be able to rest on the annular shaped heating element. Thus, the present invention allows the versatile use of specialized containers and conventional containers, as the situation allows.

[0075] To facilitate heating of an annular container, more than one heating side wall can extend upwardly from the heating element. As illustrated in the embodiment in FIGS. 3 and 3a, an inner heating wall 26 a and an outer heating wall 26 b can be present. In this manner, more heat can be applied to the container to accelerate heating of the container and its contents. As with a single heating side wall, the heating side walls 26 a and 26 b in FIGS. 3 and 3a can be coupled to the heating element or can be formed as an integral part of the heating element. Similarly, the heating side walls can be formed of any heat conductive material, such as aluminum or steel.

[0076] The terms “annular” and “substantially annular” as used herein are meant to describe the geometry of an element of the present invention in which an interior and exterior edge of the element generally correspond with an annular path circumscribing a center of the element. As an example, shown in FIG. 3b is an alternate embodiment 28 a of the heating element 28 illustrated in FIG. 3. The heating element 28 a can be substantially annular in shape. The substantially annular heating element 28 a can posses a depth, not shown, which can extend into or out of the plane illustrated in FIG. 3b. The heating element 28 a includes an outer edge 72, an inner edge 74, and a defined radius 76 which extends radially about a defined center 78. It will be appreciated that, while the inner and outer edges are comprised of a series of straight portions, each of the edges generally corresponds with the circular path of the defined radius 76, which circumscribes the defined center 78.

[0077] Thus, an “annular” element discussed herein is not limited to a geometry which includes an outer and inner edge which are circular. The outer and inner edges can be formed of many facets which can form an organized pattern, as illustrated in FIG. 3b, which can be a hexagonal shape, a square, triangle, etc., each with a corresponding pattern forming a aperture near the center of the element. The many facets can also be randomly oriented with respect to a center of the element but which nonetheless collectively correspond with a path defined by a radius of the element, the radius extending radially from a center of the element.

[0078] An alternate embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 4a. In this embodiment, a shield 34 is provided. The shield can include air flow slots 36 which can enhance the flow and circulation of air through the region 37 contained by the shield 34. In this manner, the air circulation fan 20 can more efficiently circulate and disperse the aroma. In addition to other uses and features similar to that of the chimney described in other embodiments, the shield 34 can serve to protect the air circulation fan from debris and to mask the air circulation fan and any auxiliary components disposed within the base housing.

[0079] One embodiment of the aromatic container is illustrated in FIGS. 5, 5a and 5 b. In this embodiment, a containment area 45 is formed by a bottom surface 36 and a side wall 40 for containing an aromatic substance. In one embodiment, the bottom surface 36 and side wall 40 are comprised of a thermally conductive material to assist the efficiency of the heat transfer. While the container may be formed in any desired shape, the container in this embodiment is generally circular around a center point 38. In this embodiment, the side wall 40 is coupled to and extends upwardly from the bottom surface 36. With a circular container, the side wall 40 circumscribes a vertical axis 38 a extending through the center 38 of the bottom surface. The side wall 40 and bottom surface 36 are configured to contain and transfer heat to an aromatic substance contained within the container. A retaining lip 42 is attached to an upper edge of the side wall and extends inwardly towards the containment area. In the embodiment illustrate in FIG. 5, the retaining lip 42 extends i) upwardly from the conductive side wall and ii) inwardly toward the containment area and the central vertical axis of the container. The retaining lip is configured to reduce spillage of the aromatic substance. The retaining lip is particularly helpful when the aromatic substance is a liquid or is liquefied during use of the device. The choice of material from which the container is made is typically based on a variety of factors including the desired heat conductivity and the desired aromatic substance used with the container. For example, an aromatic substance that is in a liquid or liquefied state during use would require a container comprised of a material and configured in such a way that would prevent leakage of the aromatic material. Under these circumstances, it may be appropriate for the container to be made of a water-proof material such as glass or aluminum and to be formed in the shape of a dish or bowl. Alternatively, if the desired aromatic substance was not a liquid and did not liquefy during use, as in the case of potpourri, it would not be necessary for the container to prevent leakage. As an example, an appropriately configured container for potpourri could have a side wall similar to that of a basket. The present invention is intended to incorporate all configurations of containers known in the art for containing aromatic substances.

[0080] It will be appreciated that the container discussed above can be formed in two pieces as illustrated in FIG. 5c. The first piece 41 can be an upper portion that is comprised of the retaining lip 42. The second piece 43 comprises the remainder of the container including the side wall 40 and bottom surface 36. The container can be placed on or in a heating device to heat the aromatic substance. The aromatic substance container can contain any aromatic substance, but in one embodiment contains candle wax. In the case that the aromatic substance is candle wax, as the candle wax is heated, it liquefies. An advantage of the retaining lip 42 is that it can help prevent liquefied material from spilling from the container in the event that the container is tipped or jostled.

[0081] The retaining lip can be comprised of any material, but in one embodiment is comprised of a material that inhibits thermal conduction. It will be appreciated that a conductive side wall 40 may become hot after being heated by a heating element. By forming the retaining lip of a thermal insulator, it will not become as hot as the conductive side walls and can be more comfortably grasped by an operator.

[0082] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5d, the aromatic substance container 10 e can include a cover 44 which can be removably coupled to a top of the retaining lip 42. The present invention is intended to incorporate all known covers and lids that are known in the art. As can be appreciated, the covers described herein can be used both with the one piece container and the two piece container. These various covers can also be used in connection with the annular shaped container discussed more fully below. The cover 44 is configured to cover and protect contents of the aromatic substance container. The cover 44 can be attached to the retaining lip 42 in any manner known to those skilled in the art. For example, the cover 44 can be attached to the retaining lip 42 with adhesive, in which case the cover can simply be discarded once removed. The cover 44 can also be attached by crimping or scoring methods commonly used to seal covers or tabs on aluminum cans. One embodiment is to have a removable, disposable pull top similar to that used in the food and beverage industry. In this embodiment, once the pull top is removed it cannot be replaced to cover the container. Alternatively, the cover 44 can be attached by means of a frictional or press-fit configuration, in which case the cover can be re-secured to the retaining lip after being removed.

[0083] As illustrated in FIG. 5e, the aromatic substance container can contain an aromatic substance 46 of any type. However, in one embodiment, the aromatic substance is a material which has a lesser odor magnitude when at room temperature and a greater odor magnitude when at an elevated temperature. Thus, the aromatic substance produces some detectable aroma while at room temperature but the detectable aroma released from the substance is greatly increased as the substance is heated.

[0084] In one embodiment, the aromatic substance 46 can be candle wax, as is commonly known to those skilled in the art. Candle waxes are often produced from paraffin, which can be obtained from petroleum byproducts. Beeswax can also be used in candle wax, which is naturally produced by bees. Microcrystallines, which differ from paraffin, can also be used, as can polythylene waxes, all natural wax and soy-based wax. The candle wax can also include scents, colorings or other additives. It is to be understood that the aromatic substance is not limited to candle waxes, and can include scented oils, scented gels, and solids, such as “potpourri” combinations.

[0085] An alternate embodiment of the aromatic cover is illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 6a. In this embodiment, an annular aromatic substance container 10 f is configured in a ring or annular shape having a center region 50 and a central axis 50 a. Similar to the containers described herein, the annular container has an annular bottom surface 48, an outer side wall 52 and an inner side wall 54. The inner and outer side walls 54 and 52, respectively, circumscribe the defined center vertical axis 50 a of the bottom surface. The inner side wall 54 is located between the defined center vertical axis 50 a of the bottom surface and the outer side wall 52. Each of the inner and outer side walls can be comprised of an insulating or conducting material depending on the desired effects.

[0086] In one embodiment, an outer retaining lip 56 extends upwardly from the outer side wall 52 and laterally toward the defined center vertical axis 50 a of the annular bottom surface. An inner retaining lip 58 extends upwardly from the inner side wall 54 and laterally away from the defined center vertical axis 50 of the annular bottom surface.

[0087] The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6 advantageously provides for efficient heat flow from a heating element to an aromatic substance. As shown in the drawings, the container forms what is essentially a “donut” shaped container for aromatic substances. It will be appreciated that heat can flow to the aromatic substance contained in the container from the bottom surface 48, and each of the inner 54 and outer 52 walls. In this manner, once heat is applied to the container, the aromatic substance will reach substantially the same temperature of the heating element in a relatively short period of time, much shorter than with traditional aromatic substance containers. All of the features and advantages of the previous embodiments are also present here. For example, shown at 60 in FIGS. 6b and 6 c, is an aromatic substance contained within the container. The aromatic substance can be any material, as discussed above.

[0088]FIG. 6d illustrates an alternate embodiment of the device shown in FIG. 6. Here, a cover 62 is provided that can be used to cover and protect the contents of the aromatic substance container 10 f. The cover can be attached to each retaining lip 56 or 58 in a variety of ways, as discussed above. In addition, the cover can be attached at 54 to only the outer retaining lip 56 or can be attached at 66 to only the inner retaining lip 58. The cover can comprise a generally circular shape, or can be formed in an annular shape, so as to leave an opening that corresponds to the opening in the annular container. Alternately, in the absence of the inner and outer retaining lips, the cover can be attached directly to the annular container. For instance, the cover can be attached at 64 to the outer side wall 52 and attached at 66 to the inner side wall 54. Of course, the cover can also be attached at only one location, either 64 or 66. FIG. 6e provides a perspective view of the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6.

[0089] An alternate embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 7a. This embodiment of an aromatic substance heating device includes a base 80 and a heating element 82 disposed within the base. This heating device is configured to receive and heat an aromatic substance that is a solid at room temperature and a liquid at an elevated temperature. Although not so limited, one example of such an aromatic substance is candle wax, as discussed in detail above. The base 80 can further define a receiving cavity or containment 84 carried by the base to receive an aromatic substance. In this embodiment, the base 80 essentially defines a bowl-shaped receptacle that can receive an aromatic substance of any type and can be liquid-tight. For instance, solid wax in the form of small balls or pellets can be placed in the receiving cavity and heated by the heating element 82. The receiving cavity 84 can also be used to receive an aromatic substance container (not shown).

[0090]FIGS. 8 and 8a illustrated another embodiment of the device shown in FIG. 7. Here, a pair of heating elements 82 a can be formed as an integral part of the base 80. The heating elements can be oriented in a generally circular formation, as illustrated in FIG. 8a, or could be oriented lengthwise or crosswise with respect to the configuration of the base. Of course, the pair of heating elements 82 a can be replaced with a single heating element or a plurality of heating elements. Once embedded in the base, the heating elements can heat the area adjacent the receiving cavity 84 and thereby liquefy the solid aromatic substance to release aroma from the aromatic substance.

[0091] It is to be understood that the above-referenced arrangements are only illustrative of the application for the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements can be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and fully described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiments(s) of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications can be made without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention as set forth in the following example combinations:

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification422/1, 422/126, 422/5, 422/119, 422/125, 422/305, 422/124, 422/400
International ClassificationA61L9/02, A61L9/03
Cooperative ClassificationA61L9/03, A61L9/02, A61L2209/12
European ClassificationA61L9/02, A61L9/03
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 9, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: PENDE, INC., UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ROUMPOS, DENO N.;ROUMPOS, GEORGE;SMITH, MARK;REEL/FRAME:013276/0135
Effective date: 20020610