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Publication numberUS20030111475 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/021,923
Publication dateJun 19, 2003
Filing dateDec 13, 2001
Priority dateDec 13, 2001
Publication number021923, 10021923, US 2003/0111475 A1, US 2003/111475 A1, US 20030111475 A1, US 20030111475A1, US 2003111475 A1, US 2003111475A1, US-A1-20030111475, US-A1-2003111475, US2003/0111475A1, US2003/111475A1, US20030111475 A1, US20030111475A1, US2003111475 A1, US2003111475A1
InventorsPeter Cheng
Original AssigneePeter Cheng
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Beverage container accessories
US 20030111475 A1
Abstract
A holder is mounted on a tapered container having a rim. Radial portions on the holder extend past the rim and serve as fingerholds to support the container, and as a splash guard to resist spillage from the container's contents. A cylindrical skirt on the holder bounds an annular space with the container for increased thermal insulation.
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Claims(18)
I claim:
1. An accessory for a container having an annular side wall and an annular rim projecting outwardly from the side wall, comprising:
a) an annular body portion circumferentially surrounding the side wall about an axis; and
b) an extension portion foldably connected, and movable relative, to the body portion from an unfolded position in which the extension portion extends axially parallel to the axis, to a folded-out position in which the extension portion extends radially of the axis past the rim, the extension portion maintaining itself in the folded-out position and resisting movement back to the unfolded position.
2. The accessory of claim 1, wherein the extension portion includes at least one extension section foldably connected along a curved fold line to the body portion.
3. The accessory of claim 2, wherein the fold line is convexly curved.
4. The accessory of claim 2, wherein the at least one extension section lies in a curved plane in the folded-out position.
5. The accessory of claim 1, wherein the extension portion includes a pair of extension sections equiangularly spaced apart around the axis and foldably connected along respective curved fold lines to the body portion.
6. The accessory of claim 5, wherein the extension portion includes another pair of extension sections equiangularly spaced apart around the axis and foldably connected along respective curved fold lines to the body portion.
7. The accessory of claim 1, wherein the body and extension portions are constituted of a corrugated board having axially-extending corrugations, and wherein the curved fold line extends across the corrugations.
8. The accessory of claim 1, wherein the annular body portion includes a skirt extending axially of the axis away from the extension portion.
9. The accessory of claim 8, wherein the body and extension portions and the skirt are constituted of a liner board and a fluted sheet of a corrugating medium having corrugations.
10. The accessory of claim 1, wherein the annular body portion and the extension portion are integrally formed on an elongated strip having opposite end regions which have interlocking parts to form the body portion and the extension portion into an annular shape.
11. An accessory for a container having an annular side wall which bounds an interior that narrows in cross-section from an open end to a closed end of the container, comprising:
a) a cylindrical body portion circumferentially surrounding the side wall about an axis, and constrictingly engaging the side wall about an annular contact region adjacent the open end of the container; and
b) a skirt circumferentially surrounding, and bounding with, the side wall an annular space that varies in radial cross-section in a direction away from the body portion, the contact region being the only engagement between the accessory and the side wall for constrictingly holding the accessory on the container.
12. The accessory of claim 11, wherein the body portion and the skirt are constituted of a fluted material having corrugations.
13. The accessory of claim 11, wherein the container has an annular rim projecting outwardly from the side wall; and further comprising an extension portion foldably connected, and movable relative, to the body portion from an unfolded position in which the extension portion extends axially parallel to the axis, to a folded-out position in which the extension portion extends radially of the axis past the rim, the extension portion maintaining itself in the folded-out position and resisting movement back to the unfolded position.
14. The accessory of claim 13, wherein the extension portion includes at least one extension section foldably connected along a curved fold line to the body portion.
15. The accessory of claim 11, wherein the skirt is integral with the body portion.
16. The accessory of claim 11, wherein the skirt is cylindrical and extends axially away from the body portion.
17. An accessory for a container having an annular side wall which bounds an interior that narrows in cross-section from an open circular end to a closed circular end, and an annular rim projecting outwardly from the side wall at the open end, the accessory comprising:
an annular member having a circular opening through which the closed end of the container is insertable along an axis until the annular member abuts against the rim, the circular opening having a diameter smaller than a diameter of the open end of the container to enable the annular member to constrictingly engage the side wall and hold itself in abutting engagement with the rim, the annular member extending radially of the axis past the rim.
18. The accessory of claim 17, and a skirt circumferentially surrounding, and bounding with, the side wall an annular space that varies in radial cross-section.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention generally relates to beverage containers for serving hot or cold drinks and, more particularly, to accessories for comfortably holding a container in one's hand without spilling the beverage, without dropping the container, and without the discomfort associated with extreme temperatures and condensation.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    Wax-covered paper and polystyrene have been used in beverage containers for many years by consumers, fast food restaurants and take-out stores. Polystyrene is an excellent thermal insulator, but is not easily recyclable or biodegradable. Paper is more recyclable and biodegradable, but is a poor thermal insulator and, as a result, paper cups filled with a hot beverage, such as coffee, tea or soup, are difficult to handle comfortably. Many a drinker has dropped a paper cup filled with hot coffee, or spilled coffee therefrom, due to the discomfort associated with the elevated temperature of the contents of the paper cup.
  • [0005]
    In an effort to provide adequate insulation for comfortable handling of a paper cup, the art has proposed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,205,473 and No. 5,425,497 to provide an insulating sleeve for holding the cup. Experience has shown, however, that the insulation provided by such sleeves could be improved. Also, since the known sleeves are configured to closely embrace the paper cup, they are not of great assistance in affirmatively preventing a cup from being dropped, or from spilling the contents of the cup.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    One object of this invention is to improve the thermal insulation between a user's hand and a hot liquid contained in a cup held by the user.
  • [0007]
    Another object of this invention is to increase the grippability of a cup.
  • [0008]
    Still another object of this invention is to reduce the likelihood that a beverage cup will be dropped, or its contents spilled.
  • [0009]
    Yet another object of this invention is to enable a user to comfortably hold a beverage cup.
  • FEATURES OF THE INVENTION
  • [0010]
    In keeping with these objects and others which will become apparent hereinafter, one feature of this invention resides, briefly stated, in an accessory for a container, especially a coffee cup, having an annular side wall and an annular rim projecting outwardly from the side wall. The accessory includes an annular body portion circumferentially surrounding the side wall about an axis; and an extension portion foldably connected, and movable relative, to the body portion from an unfolded position in which the extension portion extends axially parallel to the axis, to a folded-out position in which the extension portion extends radially of the axis past the rim. The extension portion maintains itself in the folded-out position and resists movement back to the unfolded position.
  • [0011]
    In the preferred embodiment, the extension portion includes at least one extension section foldably connected along a convexly curved fold line to the body portion. It is advantageous if four extension sections are foldably connected along respective fold lines around the body portion.
  • [0012]
    In accordance with this feature of the invention, each extension portion, which is self-maintained in the folded-out position, performs several functions. First, each extension portion serves as a stop to abut against the rim and position the accessory snugly against the rim. The accessory cannot slide off the container in an upward direction toward and past the rim. Secondly, at least one of the extension portions serves as a fingerhold to abut against a user's finger and resist the container from dropping from the user's hand. The convex curvature of each extension portion engages and conforms to the user's finger and, advantageously, a pair of extension portions on opposite sides of the container engages the forefinger and thumb of the user's hand for a secure grip of the container. Thirdly, each extension portion serves as a splash guard to resist the beverage within the container from spilling out onto the user's fingers and wetting them, or possibly burning them if the container held a hot beverage. Fourthly, by holding the container at the extension portions, the user's fingers are thermally insulated.
  • [0013]
    In accordance with another feature of this invention, rather than using movable extension portions, an annular member or ring can be employed to perform the above-described stop, fingerhold, splash guard and thermal insulation functions, especially in the case where the container is tapered, that is, where the annular side wall bounds an interior that narrows in cross-section from an open circular end to a closed circular end. The ring has a circular opening through which the closed end of the container is insertable along an axis until the ring abuts against the rim. The circular opening has a diameter smaller than a diameter of the open end of the container to enable the ring to constrictingly engage the side wall and hold itself in abutting engagement with the rim. The ring extends radially of the axis past the rim and is preferably flattened and lies in a plane perpendicular to the axis.
  • [0014]
    In accordance with yet another feature of this invention, the body portion is cylindrical and constrictingly engages the side wall of the tapered container about an annular contact region adjacent the open end of the container. A skirt circumferentially surrounds, and bounds with, the side wall an annular space that varies in radial cross-section in a direction away from the body portion. The annular space is filled with air and serves as an insulator to shield a user's fingers from the temperature of the beverage within the container. The skirt is preferably cylindrical and integral with the body portion.
  • [0015]
    Advantageously, the accessory is constituted of a fluted material having corrugations, such as single-face corrugated board. In the prior art, beverage container holders are also made of corrugated board, and air fills the corrugations to serve as a thermal insulator. However, the known air-filled corrugations of the prior art are pressed snugly against the side wall of the tapered container along the entire height of the holder, typically about 66 mm. As a result, the temperature of the container's contents are directly conducted through the holder. By contrast, the skirt of this invention is spaced from the container along the entire height of the skirt. The contact region is the only engagement between the accessory and the side wall of the container. Preferably, the contact region is about 3 mm high. This represents about a 95% reduction of the contact area between the container and the accessory and limits the thermal transfer from the container's contents to the user's fingers.
  • [0016]
    The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of an accessory prior to assembly and mounting on a container;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the FIG. 1 embodiment after assembly;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 3 is an exploded view of another embodiment of an accessory during its mounting on a container;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the FIG. 3 embodiment after being mounted on the container;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 5 is a perspective view of still another embodiment of an accessory during use;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 6 is a top plan view of FIG. 4;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 7 is a top plan view of yet a further embodiment of an accessory; and
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 8 is an elevational view of the FIG. 7 embodiment mounted on a container.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0025]
    Reference numeral 10 in FIG. 1 depicts a first embodiment of an accessory for a beverage container prior to its being formed from a flattened state into an annular shape as depicted in FIG. 2 and thereupon mounted on the container as described below. Accessory 10 is constituted of a paper material, preferably corrugated board or heavy weight paper. Single- or double-face corrugated paper having one or two liners adhered to one or both sides of a fluted sheet may be employed. The liner may be adhered to the fluted sheet by a variety of adhesives, especially a biodegradable glue.
  • [0026]
    Accessory 10 includes a plurality of corrugated body sections 12, 14, 16, 18 arranged in a row. End section 18 has interlocking walls 26, 28 bounding an S-shaped slot 20. Section 12 has an end flap 22 also provided with an S-shaped slot 24 for lockingly receiving the walls 26, 28 as shown in FIG. 2. Crease lines 30, 32, 34, 36 are parallel with one another and with the flutes, all of which extend in a vertical direction. The crease lines assist the accessory to assume the annular shape when the walls 26, 28 are received in the slot 24.
  • [0027]
    Corrugated body sections 12, 14, 16, 18 respectively include extension portions 42, 44, 46, 48 foldably connected to the respective corrugated body sections along convexly curved fold lines 40. Each extension portion is movable relative to its respective body section about the respective fold line, as discussed below.
  • [0028]
    In a second embodiment, rather than mechanically interlocking the end section 18 and the end flap 22, the S-shaped slots 20,24 are eliminated, and the fluted sheet removed from the end flap 22. Thereupon, the end flap, which now consists only of liner paper, is glued onto the end walls 26,28 of the end section, thereby resulting in the annular configuration for the accessory 10 depicted in the lower part of FIG. 3.
  • [0029]
    A container 50 is shown in the upper part of FIG. 3. The container 50 is preferably a cup made of paper, for serving either hot or cold beverages, for example, coffee, tea, soup, soda and the like. Container 50 is conventional and has an annular side wall 52 which bounds an interior that gradually narrows in cross-section from an open, larger circular end 54 to a closed, smaller circular end 56. An annular rim 58 projects outwardly from the side wall 52 at the upper end 54 and is preferably formed by rolling the upper edge of the side wall 52 around itself or a circular bead. The closed end 56 is shown not at the bottom of the container, but raised therefrom. The closed end 56 includes a circular disc having a bent, annular lip 60 around which a lower edge of the side wall 52 is folded and adhered. Other container configurations, other than the tapered, frusto-conical cup shown, are contemplated.
  • [0030]
    The annular accessory 10 is slid onto and past the lower end of the cup 50 in the direction of arrow 38 in FIG. 3 until the diameter or cross-section of the open end of the accessory matches the diameter or cross-section of the tapered side wall 52 of the cup. This may occur anywhere along the height of the cup, but preferably occurs at, or just below, the rim 58 as shown in FIG. 4. The accessory is frictionally held in place by a wedged, interference fit between the accessory and the tapered cup.
  • [0031]
    Either prior to, during, or after the accessory is mounted on the cup, each extension portion is moved from its initial, unfolded position in which the respective extension portion extends axially parallel to an axis of symmetry of the annular accessory, to a folded-out position in which the respective extension portion extends radially of the axis past the rim 58 as shown in FIG. 4. In the initial position, each extension portion is vertical and merges smoothly and continuously with its respective body section. In the folded-out position, each extension portion lies in a convexly curved plane where a central portion of each extension portion is elevated relative to end portions of the respective extension portion.
  • [0032]
    Thus, as shown in FIG. 5, a user's fingers, especially the thumb and the forefinger, hold the container by engaging the raised central portions of a pair of extension portions on opposite sides of the container. The curvature of each extension portion follows the curved fold line 40 and generally conforms to the contour of the user's thumb and forefinger in the held position of the container.
  • [0033]
    As shown in FIG. 6, the preferred embodiment of the accessory 10 includes two opposite pairs of extension portions around the entire periphery of the rim 58. Each extension portion maintains itself in the folded-out position and resists movement back to the initial, unfolded position. This is not only due to the thickness of the material used to fabricate the accessory, but also due to the curvature of each extension position where the end portions of a respective extension portion are moved through a greater distance, and past, the central portion of the respective extension portion. The weight of the contents of the cup are insufficient to move the end portions of the extension portion back past the central portion. Hence, the outwardly flared configuration of all the extension portions are maintained when the container is used to serve a beverage.
  • [0034]
    The outwardly flared extension portions perform various functions. First of all, they abut against the rim to firmly and snugly position the accessory thereagainst and prevent the accessory from being moved past the rim. Secondly, they serve as a fingerhold of complementary contour to a user's fingers to allow the user to obtain a firm grasp. Thirdly, since they extend past the rim, the extension portions serve as splash guards and resist any beverage initially within the container from spilling out over the rim onto the user's fingers. Fourthly, since the user's fingers do not directly engage the container, but instead, engage the accessory, any conduction of heat from the beverage to the user's fingers is minimized because the accessory, and especially the air contained within the flutes of the accessory, act as a thermal insulating barrier.
  • [0035]
    To provide still further thermal insulation, the body sections 12, 14, 16, 18 extend axially for a predetermined distance to form a cylindrical skirt 62 integral with, and extending axially away from, the body sections. As best seen in FIG. 4, the cylindrical skirt 62 surrounds, and bounds with, the side wall 52 an annular space 64. The annular space 64 increases in radial cross-section in a direction away from the extension portions. The annular space 64 is filled with air and serves as a thermal insulator in addition to the insulation provided by the air within the flutes of the accessory.
  • [0036]
    In a modification, the skirt need not be cylindrical, but can, for example, be conical with a taper or angle greater or less than the taper or angle of the side wall 52. The space 64 could even decrease in radial cross-section in the direction away from the extension portions.
  • [0037]
    The skirt need not even be integral with the body sections. Instead, the skirt may be a separate, discrete piece.
  • [0038]
    The additional volume of air within the space 64 also creates a chimney effect as a result of air rising upwardly through the space 64 toward the rim and radially outwardly between the container and the accessory.
  • [0039]
    The body sections, as previously noted, constrictingly engage the side wall 52 about an annular contact region adjacent the open end of the container. This contact region serves as the only area of surface engagement between the accessory and the side wall, thus insuring minimal heat conduction to the user's fingers. As noted above, the approximate 3 mm height for the contact region represents a 95% reduction of the contact area between the container and the accessory.
  • [0040]
    A comparison of FIGS. 4 and 5 reveals that the skirt 62 may have an extended height of about one-half of the height of the container as shown in FIG. 4, or have a reduced height as in FIG. 5. In each case, the skirt is cylindrical, and the container is conical, thereby creating the diverging air space 64. In prior art holders, the accessory has a conical shape which matches that of the container and actually increases heat conduction.
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 7 depicts an annular member or ring 70 having a central opening 72 through which the closed end of the tapered container 50 is axially inserted until the ring makes an interference fit with the annular side wall 52, preferably just underneath the rim 58 against which the ring abuts. The ring 70 is flat and, when mounted against the rim, extends radially past the rim. The ring 70 serves as a stable platform for one's fingers to hold the container, and also serves as a splash guard to protect the user's fingers from spills from the contents of the container. A separate skirt, as described above, could be slid onto the container and mounted thereon below the ring 70.
  • [0042]
    It will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, also may find a useful application in other types of constructions differing from the types described above.
  • [0043]
    While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a beverage container accessory, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modifications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit of the present invention.
  • [0044]
    Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention and, therefore, such adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.
  • [0045]
    What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is set forth in the appended claims.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6986438Sep 12, 2003Jan 17, 2006Bernard LeungInsulating sleeve
US7858015May 28, 2008Dec 28, 2010Edward F. UrquhartBeverage container insulators and methods for making the same
US20050056654 *Sep 12, 2003Mar 17, 2005Bernard LeungInsulating sleeve
US20060000882 *Jul 1, 2004Jan 5, 2006Raymond DarzinskasCup holder
US20060094577 *Nov 2, 2004May 4, 2006Mannlein Dean JBottom sealing assembly for cup forming machine
US20060095151 *Nov 2, 2004May 4, 2006Mannlein Dean JComputer controlled cup forming machine
US20060124719 *Nov 2, 2004Jun 15, 2006Dean Joseph MannleinFolding wing assembly for cup forming machine
US20060219722 *Apr 4, 2005Oct 5, 2006Benak James DDrink container attachment
US20070164041 *Dec 18, 2006Jul 19, 2007Seanet Development, Inc.Beverage container insulators and methods for making the same
US20080041864 *Sep 29, 2006Feb 21, 2008Double Team Inc.Cup holder sleeve
US20080315451 *May 28, 2008Dec 25, 2008Seanet Development, Inc.Beverage container insulators and methods for making the same
US20090114661 *Oct 28, 2008May 7, 2009Jung Min LimHolder
US20100001012 *Jun 6, 2007Jan 7, 2010Charles WilsonContainer Wrap
US20150250339 *May 25, 2014Sep 10, 2015Wei Mon Industry Co., Ltd.Paper container
USD613554Mar 14, 2008Apr 13, 2010Solo Cup Operating CorporationCup
USD624788Nov 30, 2009Oct 5, 2010Solo Cup Operating CorporationCup
USD639606Aug 24, 2010Jun 14, 2011Solo Cup Operating CorporationCup
EP2544953A1 *Mar 10, 2011Jan 16, 2013SEDA S.p.A.Container and method of producing same
WO2007070334A1 *Dec 7, 2006Jun 21, 2007Kimberly Clark CoDrink sleeve
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/739, 229/403
International ClassificationB65D81/38
Cooperative ClassificationB65D81/3876
European ClassificationB65D81/38K