US 20040256278 A1
The beverage cooler includes a vessel for a coolant such as ice water or a conventional refrigerant such as glycol or Freon. A coil is mounted in the interior of the vessel and has an inlet through which a beverage from an external source, separate and apart from the cooler enters the coil. A drain located above the coil carries off excess coolant. A tap at the outlet of the coil controls the flow of the beverage from the coil.
1. A beverage cooler comprising: a vessel for a coolant; a cooling tube disposed within said vessel and through which a beverage to be cooled is adapted to flow, a drain for carrying off excess coolant above said cooling tube; and a tap in liquid-flow communication with said tube from which beverage discharges from said cooler.
2. A beverage cooler comprising: a vessel for a coolant; a cooling tube disposed entirely within said vessel and through which a beverage to be cooled is adapted to flow, said cooling tube having an outlet and an inlet through which the beverage flows; a drain disposed at a point at which a substantial portion of beverage within said cooling tube is below said drain for carrying off excess coolant from said vessel; and a tap in liquid-flow communication with said outlet from which beverage discharges.
3. The beverage cooler of
4. The beverage cooler of
5. The beverage cooler as claimed in
6. The beverage cooler as claimed in
7. The beverage cooler of
8. The beverage cooler of
9. The beverage cooler of
10. The beverage cooler of
11. The beverage cooler of
12. The beverage cooler of
13. The beverage cooler of
14. The beverage cooler of
15. A beverage cooler of
 This invention relates to coolers for beverages and more particularly to a cooler which requires no external source of power to operate, is portable and is relatively simple of construction. The cooler is particularly suitable for refrigerating beer but is also useful for refrigerating other carbonated beverages such as ginger ale, cola and the like.
 Beverage coolers are widely used in such places as bars, restaurants and offices. Such coolers commonly consist of a receptacle for a beverage and refrigerating means which is operated by electricity or natural gas. The coolers are generally quite heavy because of the weight of the refrigerating means and the beverage receptacle and for that reason are not portable. They are also, of course, not suitable for use where there is not a source of power such as on a patio, beside a swimming pool or in the out-of-doors.
 We have invented a cooler which is self-sufficient so that it can be used where there is no source of power. The cooler is portable because it is compact and is relatively light of weight. Lightness is achieved by the elimination of the conventional refrigerating machinery and by the elimination of a receptacle for a beverage.
 According to one embodiment of the invention cooling is carried out by ice which is added as needed but is removed when the cooler is being transported. The beverage which the cooler refrigerates remains in its original container and is only within the cooler when it is actually being refrigerated. Only a relatively small quantity of beverage is refrigerated at a time and such quantity adds relatively little to the overall weight of the cooler If, for example, the beverage is beer, the beer remains in its keg until it is ready for consumption. At that time, the keg is connected to the cooler and the beer flows through the cooler to a tap. As the beer flows through the cooler it is refrigerated but should the flow be interrupted, relatively little beer remains in the cooler and such beer adds relatively little to the overall weight of the cooler.
 Briefly the beverage cooler of our invention comprises: a vessel for a coolant; a cooling tube disposed within the vessel and through which a beverage to be cooled is adapted to flow, a drain for carrying off excess coolant above the cooling tube; and a tap in liquid-flow communication with the tube from which beverage discharges from the cooler.
 The beverage cooler of our invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an elevation of the cooler, partly cut away to show the interior of the various components;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a second embodiment of the cooler;
FIG. 3 is an elevation of the second embodiment, illustrated schematically; and
FIGS. 4 and 5 are elevations of third and fourth embodiments, respectively, of the cooler illustrated schematically.
 Like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the description of the drawings.
 With reference to FIG. 1, the beverage cooler of the invention, generally 10, includes a vessel 12 and a hose 14. The hose extends vertically upwardly from the vessel and terminates at a tap 16. Handle 17 opens and closes the tap in the usual manner.
 The vessel has a cylindrical inner wall 18 disposed about a vertical longitudinal axis 20-20. The vessel contains a coolant or refrigerant which preferably is ice cubes floating in water.
 A cooling tube 32 wound into a coil is mounted within the vessel. The coil is disposed concentrically about axis 20-20. A beverage to be cooled by the ice flows through an inlet (not illustrated) at the lower end 34 of the coil, through the coil where it is cooled primarily by the ice-cooled water and exits from an outlet 36 at the upper end of the coil. The outlet is connected to the lower end of hose 14 while the upper end of the hose is connected to tap 16.
 Beverage which discharges from the tap flows downward into a tumbler or other receptacle (not illustrated) on a drip tray 40. The drip tray is seated on top of the vessel and is, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, removable so that fresh ice and water can be added to the vessel from the top.
 Overflow from the beer glass or other receptacle flows onto the drip tray and from there flows into a discharge conduit 42 disposed centrally of the tray. The conduit extends into a drain 44 which is disposed concentrically about axis 20-20. The drain extends downwardly through the vessel and through an opening 46 in the bottom wall 48 of the vessel where the overflow is disposed of.
 In operation, the drip tray is removed to gain access to the interior of the vessel. Ice cubes are then added until their level reaches line 50. Water is then added to raise the level of ice to line 54. Excess water flows into aperture 52 in drain 44 should the vessel be over-filled.
 A beverage, under pressure, is then introduced into the inlet of the coil. Since the vessel is substantially full of ice, cooling of the beverage will begin as soon as it enters the coil at the bottom of the vessel. The coil is composed of conducting material such as stainless steel, copper or a heat-conducting polymer and the wall of the vessel is insulated to minimize the inward transfer of heat from outside the vessel. The cooled beverage then flows upwardly through hose 14 and discharges from the tap when it is opened by handle 17. The beverage flows into a tumbler or other like receptacle container which is seated on the drip tray.
 Should the tumbler be overfilled, the excess beverage will spill onto the drip tray and exit downwardly through discharge conduit 42 and into drain 44 where it exits from the vessel.
 With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, cooler, generally 60, is mounted on a keg 62 of beer. When handle 63 is opened, beer flows through the tube to coil 66 where it is cooled by ice in the interior of the vessel. The coils are spaced concentrically inward of the interior wall 70 of the vessel so that the coils are surrounded by the coolant. A drain 72 serves to remove excess water from the vessel.
 Beer flows from the coil to a tap 74 which is at the side of the vessel. In the embodiment illustrated, there is no drip tray. Excess beer from the tap discharges outside the cooler; there is no provision for directing it to a drain within the cooler.
 With reference to FIG. 4, cooling of the refrigerant occurs outside the vessel. The coolant can be a conventional coolant such as glycol, Freon or even water and can be gaseous or liquid depending on its temperature of condensation. The refrigerant is cooled by conventional means which is not part of this invention. The refrigerant is introduced under pressure through a nozzle 80 at the bottom wall of vessel 82.
 The contents of the vessel of FIG. 4 are sealed from the atmosphere. The refrigerant fills the space within the vessel and a conduit 84 is provided for draining off excess refrigerant. Since the conduit carries only refrigerant, the excess can be recycled to the apparatus for further cooling of the refrigerant.
 The top of drip tray 86 is sealed so that no refrigerant can escape from the top of the vessel. A coil 88 is provided for the beverage. The beverage flows from the coil to a tap (not illustrated). Excess beverage on the drip tray flows to a drain 92 at the side of the tray.
 The cooler of FIG. 5 is the same as that illustrated in FIG. 4 except that the contents of the vessel are not sealed from the atmosphere. Drip tray 88 can be removed to gain access to the contents of the vessel and the drip tray can be provided with a discharge conduit at its side such as at 92 to remove excess beverage on the drip tray.
 It will be understood of course that modifications can be made in the beverage cooler described and illustrated herein without departing from the scope and purview of the invention as defined in the appended claims.