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Publication numberUS20030209552 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/188,309
Publication dateNov 13, 2003
Filing dateJul 1, 2002
Priority dateMar 6, 2000
Publication number10188309, 188309, US 2003/0209552 A1, US 2003/209552 A1, US 20030209552 A1, US 20030209552A1, US 2003209552 A1, US 2003209552A1, US-A1-20030209552, US-A1-2003209552, US2003/0209552A1, US2003/209552A1, US20030209552 A1, US20030209552A1, US2003209552 A1, US2003209552A1
InventorsDavid Leibner, James Brown
Original AssigneeDavid Leibner, Brown James Eric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container for receiving and holding tips
US 20030209552 A1
Abstract
A collection container for collecting and holding moneys, in particular tips, includes an upper portion, a lower portion, and a base. The upper and lower portions may be secured to each other to provide a carafe-shaped container. The lower portion of the container includes an “unstable” shape which prevents the container from standing upright. The base includes a recess which is sized and shaped to receive the lower portion of the collection container and thereby provides the necessarily support to maintain the collection container in a vertical and useful orientation. The collection container may either snap-fit into the recess of the base using a channel and a mating flange or, according to a preferred embodiment, may include a flange that slides along channels formed within the base and eventually lock into place. In this latter embodiment, the locking mechanism must be released before the collection container can be removed from the base.
Images(11)
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Claims(1)
What is claimed is:
1 A collection system for receiving and holding money in the form of bills and/or coins, said collection system comprising
a container having a receiving cavity and an upper opening, said upper opening being sized and shaped to accommodate passage of said money to said cavity;
an immovable base including a recess which is sized and shaped to selectively receive and hold a portion of said container; and
a locking mechanism which selectively locks said container to said base.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    a. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    This invention generally relates to containers, and more particularly to containers of the type typically found in bars and restaurants used to receive and hold cash (e.g., tips).
  • [0003]
    b. Description of the Prior Art
  • [0004]
    In such environments as restaurants and bars, it is common to use a simple glass jar or an empty wine carafe to collect money (loose change and bills), as a tip for good service, for example, or perhaps as payment for “point of purchase” items such as candy and gum. The jar or carafe container is typically emptied at closing time of the store, bar or restaurant and its collected moneys divided among the appropriate employees. Unfortunately, since this simple money collection container is merely placed unsecured on a counter or bar-top, the container may easily be stolen or accidentally knocked off the counter or bar-top and broken.
  • [0005]
    It is an object of the present invention to provide a simple easy to use money collection container for use in stores, restaurants, and bars which overcomes the deficiencies of the prior art.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    A collection container for collecting and holding moneys, in particular tips, includes an upper portion, a lower portion, and a base. The upper and lower portions may be secured to each other to provide a carafe-shaped container. The lower portion of the container includes an “unstable” shape which prevents the container from standing upright The base includes a recess which is sized and shaped to receive the lower portion of the collection container and thereby provides the necessarily support to maintain the collection container in a vertical and useful orientation. The collection container may either snap-fit into the recess of the base using a channel and a mating flange or, according to a preferred embodiment, may include a flange that slides along channels formed within the base and eventually lock into place. In this latter embodiment, the locking mechanism must be released before the collection container can be removed from the base.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0007]
    [0007]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a collection container shaped like a wine carafe and including an upper portion, a conical lower portion, and a base, according to a first embodiment of the invention;
  • [0008]
    [0008]FIG. 2 is a side assembly view of the parts of the collection container, according to the first embodiment of the invention;
  • [0009]
    [0009]FIG. 3 is a side view illustration of two representative collection containers, a first one shown mounted within in a base and secured in a useable vertical position, and a second one shown falling from an unstable vertical position without a base to a stable horizontal position, according to the invention;
  • [0010]
    [0010]FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view of the base secured to a support structure, according to the invention;
  • [0011]
    [0011]FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of a base including an integral ashtray, according to another embodiment of the invention;
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 6 is a top view of the base/ashtray shown in FIG. 5, according to the invention;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 7 is a side view of a collection container mounted within a base, according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 8 is a sectional side view of the collection container mounted within a base of FIG. 7, showing a locking mechanism, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention:
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 9 is a sectional side view of the base portion, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention, showing the locking mechanism and guide channels;
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 10 is a rear view of the base portion, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention, showing an open back;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 11 is a top view of the base portion, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 12 is a sectional side view of the base portion receiving a collection container, according to the invention;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 13 is a sectional side view of the base portion shown receiving a collection container, wherein the collection container is engaged with, but not locked into the base, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 14 is a sectional side view of the base portion shown receiving a collection container, wherein the collection container is engaged with and locked into the base, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention; and
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 15 is a sectional side view of the base portion holding a collection container (in a locked position) including arrows indicating the direction of force required for releasing the locking mechanism and removing the collection container from the base, according to the preferred embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION
  • [0022]
    Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a collection container 10 according to a first embodiment of the present invention is shown including an upper container portion 12, a conical lower container portion 14, having an antapex 15 (lowest point), and a base 16. Upper container portion 12 is preferably carafe shaped, but may be any appropriate shape which is esthetically pleasing and functional, as described below. A conventional, somewhat hourglass carafe shape is a preferred shape for the upper container portion 12 because it is an attractive familiar shape and also provides a wide mouth 18 for easily accepting coins and bills, and further provides a relatively narrow neck 20 and a relatively large “belly” portion 22. The wide mouth 18 allows coins and bills to be easily inserted into collection container 10. The narrow neck 20 of the carafe-shaped upper container portion 12 is beneficial because it helps prevent premature or unexpected removal of any of the coins or bills located within the belly portion 22, perhaps from the fingers of unscrupulous patrons and or workers. The belly portion 22 is relatively large and accommodates a great number of coins and bills.
  • [0023]
    Conical lower portion 14 includes a threaded portion 24, as shown in FIG. 2 which generally opposes the antapex 15. Similarly, the upper portion 12 includes a threaded portion 26 located along a lower edge 28. The two threaded portions (24, 26) are adapted to selectively engage with each other and thereby secure the conical lower portion 14 to the upper portion 12, as shown in FIG. 3. Once lower portion 14 is secured to upper portion 12, the collection container 10 is sealed, apart from the opening 18. Conical lower portion 14 may be quickly and easily removed from upper portion 12 by rotating one portion with respect to the other portion. This action effectively unscrews conical lower portion 14 from upper portion 12 and provides immediate and easy access to the belly portion 22 of collection container 10, such as during emptying of the container, as described below.
  • [0024]
    An important aspect of the present invention is that the conical lower portion 14 includes an “unstable” shape which will prevent collection container 10 from standing upright on its own. This is illustrated in FIG. 3 whereby a collection container 10 is shown falling from an upright position A, in the direction of arrow 30, to the fallen position B. This unstable feature makes the collection container 10 essentially useless as a collection container without the support of base 16, as described below. By providing a collection container having an unstable bottom discourages theft (or casual borrowing of the container) and ensures that the collection container 10 will remain within its base, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3
  • [0025]
    Upper portion 12 further includes a circumferential flange 32 which is preferably generally parallel and generally adjacent to lower edge 28, as shown in FIG. 2 Flange 32 is used to secure upper portion 12 (and thereby also attached lower portion 14) to base 16, as described below.
  • [0026]
    Referring to FIG. 4, base 16 may be any of a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the shape and size of the upper portion 12 and lower portion 14 and any secondary function the base will serve, as described below. According to this embodiment, base 16 includes a generally conical cavity 34 which is sized and shaped to receive conical lower portion 14, and further includes an opening 36 and a circumferential channel 38. Channel 38 is sized and shaped to snugly receive flange 32, so that when collection container 10 is mounted within base 16, as shown in FIG. 1, the engagement of flange 32 within channel 38 will discourage unintentional removal of the collection container 10 from the base 16.
  • [0027]
    Base 16 is preferably mounted to a secured structure 40, such as a counter-top in a diner (next to the cash register, for example), a bar-top in a bar, or a table-top. The base 16 is preferably mounted to the secured structure 40 using at least one screw 42 (or bolt), wherein the head 44 of at least one screw 42 is only accessible from inside the conical cavity 34. The purpose of the base 16 is to support the container 10 in an upright and useable position, as shown in FIG. 1, and also to mount the collection container 10 to a secure structure 40. With this arrangement, the collection container 10 may not be easily removed from the secured structure 40 so that the present collection container 10 will be less likely to accidentally fall of the secure structure 40 and less likely to be stolen (or “borrowed”). Also, as discussed above, since the conical lower portion 14 is an “unstable” shape, i.e., a shape which will not support the collection container 10 in an upright orientation without assistance from the base 16, it is also unlikely that the present collection container 10 will be “borrowed” by workers for use at home. The collection container 10 is useless as a collection container without base 16 and the base 16 is fixed to the secured structure 40 and is thereby effectively immobile (i.e., not easily removed). Base 16 is preferably attached to support structure 40 using a metal fastener (screw, bolt, etc.), however, other securing means may be used including, for example, an adhesive, strong VelcroŽ, or double-sided sticky tape) Also, Applicant contemplates forming base 16 integrally within a counter-top. Furthermore, although it is preferred that base 16 be affixed to a rigid structure 40, it is not necessary. Base 16 may, for example, be merely placed on a counter for the purpose of supporting the collection container 10 in an upright and useful position. If base 16 is not affixed to a support structure 40, it may include an internal weight to help maintain its own stability.
  • [0028]
    The conical lower portion 14 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 is one of many possible shapes suitable for the lower portion 14. Any shape may be used, however, it is preferred that the shape be an “unstable” one, as described above, unable to support collection container 10 in an upright orientation without a base 16. Instead of being cone shaped, as shown in the figures, lower portion 14 may be rounded, for example.
  • [0029]
    Base 16 may include advertisement, logos, designs, patterns, or any textual information on any of its viewable surfaces. Base 16 is preferably made from a strong, lightweight plastic, such as PVC or polypropylene. Upper portion 12 and lower portion 14 are preferably made from polypropylene or any suitable plastic. Any and all parts of the invention may be any color or may be clear. Applicant further contemplates introducing illumination without base 16 including a lighting circuit (not shown), which may be readily implemented by one of ordinary skill in the art. The lighting circuit includes a light bulb or one or more LEDs, a power supply (preferably batteries located within the base 16), and an appropriate switch (not shown). The lighting circuit may further include a timing circuit to introduce interesting lighting effects, as desired. Similarly, an electronic sound generator (not shown) may be introduced into the base 16 (or within the upper or lower portion) for selectively producing sound effects, perhaps to encourage or entice customers to donate or insert coins or bills into the collection container 10. The lights and/or the sounds may initiate or change in response to a customer or person approaching the collection container 10 and/or inserting moneys into the collection container 10.
  • [0030]
    Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, a base 48 according to a second embodiment of the invention includes an integral tray 50 which may be used to hold candies, toothpicks, gum, or be used as an ashtray. Base 16 may be formed integrally with tray 50, or may be made separately and attached to tray 50. Tray 50 may be made from a suitable plastic depending on the particular application, or metal, as desired.
  • [0031]
    Referring to FIGS. 7-15, a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown including a collection container 60 having a circumferential flange 62 located at a lower end, and an antapex 63, and a base 64 which is designed to receive and lock the container 60. Base includes an angled front face 66 (which is suitable for advertisement), two side faces 68, a top face 70, and an open back 72.
  • [0032]
    Base 64 includes a recess 74 which is generally U-shaped (as viewed from above) with the curved portion 75 of the U being positioned forwardly, adjacent to the front face 66, as shown in FIG. 11. Recess 74 defines a recess side wall 76 and a flat floor 78 (as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11). Recess side wall 76 includes a channel 80 which is preferably positioned adjacent and parallel to the top face 70, as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. Channel 80 extends the entire length of the recess side wall 76, from open back 72 and along the curved portion 75 of the U-shaped recess. Channel 80 is sized to slidably receive circumferential flange 62 of collection container 60, as described below.
  • [0033]
    According to this preferred embodiment of the invention, base 64 includes a locking mechanism 82, which includes a locking tab 84 and a tab recess 86. Tab recess 86 is formed within the floor 78 preferably generally extending from the open back 72 towards a center point 88 of recess 74, as shown in FIG. 11. Tab recess 86 accommodates locking tab 84 which is preferably formed integrally with the molding of the base 64 (as is understood by those skilled in the art). Locking tab 84 includes an upper surface 90, a ramp portion 92, a rear portion 94, and a front edge 96. Locking tab 84 is generally U-shaped and is formed within tab recess 86, connected to the base 64 only at the rear portion 94. Locking tab 84 is resilient and can pivot or flex downwardly into the tab recess 86, during its operation, as described below.
  • [0034]
    Rear portion 94 of locking tab 84 preferably lies within tab recess 86 below floor 78. Ramp portion 92 of locking tab 84 ramps upwardly from tab recess 86 extending above floor 78 and directed towards front face 66 of base 64 so that when locking tab 84 is at rest, front edge 96 lies above floor 78.
  • [0035]
    In operation, referring to FIGS. 12-14, to attach collection container 60 to base 64, a user aligns and inserts the circumferential flange 62 into the channel 80 from the open back 72 of the base 64. Once the flange 62 is positioned with both side portions of the channel 80, the user simply advances the container 60 towards the front face 66 (as indicated by arrow 67 in FIGS. 12 and 13). As the container 80 slides within the base 64, the antapex 63 or the lowest point of the container will align with and eventually contact the ramp portion 92 of the flexible locking tab 84. Further forward advancement of the container (arrow 67 in FIG. 13) into the base will depress locking tab 84 into tab recess 86 against its upwardly-directed spring bias. When the antapex 63 passes the front edge 96 of the locking tab 84, the locking tab 84 will return to its upward (rest) position so that the front edge 96 will abut against a portion (preferably the antapex 63) of the container 60, and will thereby prevent rearward displacement of the container 60 with respect to the base 64. The circumferential flange 62 snugly positioned within channel 80 will firmly hold container 60 in recess 74 of base 64. The container 60 cannot be removed until locking tab 84 is first manually depressed (using a finger) accessible only from the open back 72.
  • [0036]
    To remove the container 60 from the base 64, the locking tab 84 is depressed within tab recess 86 (in the direction of the arrow 98 shown in FIG. 15) sufficiently to allow the antapex 63 to laterally clear the front edge 96 of the tab. As an operator depresses the locking tab 84 with the finger of one hand, the other hand may be used to slide the container rearwardly (in the direction indicated by arrow 99 in FIG. 15) towards the open back 72. Once the antapex 63 of the container 60 passes over the front edge 96 of the locking tab 84, the locking tab 84 may be released and will no longer prevent rearward movement of container 60. After the circumferential flange 62 leaves the channel 72, the container may be opened and its contents removed, as desired.
  • [0037]
    As in the above-described embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-6, base 64 is secured to a counter, bar or and suitable surface 100 using a screw fastener 102, double-sided tape (not shown), VelcroŽ (not shown), or any appropriate adhesive (also not shown).
Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7321304 *Jun 9, 2005Jan 22, 2008Soffer Allan TSecurity tip jar
US7673416Jul 25, 2008Mar 9, 2010Smith Thomas JPlanting pots and multi-compartment tray having self-orienting configuration
US7673417Jul 25, 2008Mar 9, 2010Smith Thomas JMethod for self-orienting a planting pot on a tray
US7818918Mar 5, 2010Oct 26, 2010Smith Thomas JMethod for self-orienting a planting pot on a tray
US20080276528 *Jul 25, 2008Nov 13, 2008Smith Thomas JPlanting Pots and Multi-Compartment Tray Having Self-Orienting Configuration
US20080276531 *Jul 25, 2008Nov 13, 2008Smith Thomas JPlanting pots and multi-compartment tray having self-orienting configuration
US20090260285 *Apr 18, 2008Oct 22, 2009Smith Thomas JSelf-orientating plant pot and tray system
US20110056131 *Aug 19, 2010Mar 10, 2011Smith Thomas JSelf-orientating plant pot and tray system
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/628
International ClassificationG07D9/00
Cooperative ClassificationG07D9/002
European ClassificationG07D9/00C