US 20050115977 A1
A beverage container has a thermally insulated base defining a reservoir and a cover assembly removably mountable on the base for closing the reservoir. The cover assembly includes a cap defining a recess open to ambient and defines a baffled passage between the recess and the reservoir closeable by a valve assembly including a toggle mechanism actuatable by a push button disposed centrally of the cap and spaced from the recess, for alternately latching the valve in closed and open conditions relative to the passage. The valve assembly includes a gasketed movable valve member engageable with a rigid sharp edge on a valve seat in the closed condition so that the gasket yieldably deforms around the sharp edge to provide a fluid-tight seal.
11. A beverage container comprising:
a base defining a beverage-containing reservoir,
a cover assembly removably mountable on the base for closing the reservoir,
the cover assembly defining a passage for providing communication between the reservoir and ambient, and
a valve assembly carried by the cover assembly and having a valve seat and a valve member movable between a closed condition closing the passage and an open condition opening the passage,
one of the valve seat and the valve member including a relatively soft flexible and resilient gasket,
another of the valve seat and the valve member including a rigid sharp edge which engages the gasket in the closed condition of the valve member so that the gasket yieldably deforms around the sharp edge for providing a fluid-tight seal.
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This application relates to insulated containers provided with removable covers and, more specifically, to such containers for containing beverages.
In recent years, lidded beverage containers, commonly referred to as “travel cups” or “travel mugs”, have become quite popular for use in vehicles or in other applications where the user is in motion. These containers are typically thermally insulated to maintain the temperature of hot or cold beverages, and may be provided with removable covers or lids, which are designed to permit drinking from the vessel while, at the same time, inhibiting accidental spillage of the type which might result from the sloshing of the contents, as during motion of an automotive vehicle or the like.
A number of these travel containers are provided with some type of valve mechanism which can be closed to prevent removal of contents through the lid. Some of these containers have automatic valve mechanisms designed to actuate, such as when the container is tipped over or inverted, to prevent the accidental flow of contents therefrom. Others have manually-operated valve mechanisms which may be opened to permit the user to drink beverage from the container and may be closed when not in use. One such latter device has a cover assembly with a large bowl-shaped recess at the upper end, provided at the center thereof with a large opening which receives a push button for actuation of a valve. The valve is of the toggle type, so that alternate pushes of the push button respectively latch the valve in open and closed conditions. A disadvantage of this arrangement is that, when the valve is open, beverage flows over the push button so that the user must operate a wet push button to close the valve.
A difficulty with many valved cover assemblies is leakage when the valve is in the closed condition. Another difficulty with many of these prior travel containers is that contents can flow very rapidly from a discharge opening when in use, which may cause accidental spillage, particularly when the user is drinking from the vessel in a moving vehicle subject to unexpected jarring and bouncing. This could be dangerous, particularly if the beverage is very hot.
There is disclosed in this application a travel container for beverages which avoids the disadvantages of prior containers, while affording additional structural and operating advantages.
An aspect of the disclosed container is that it provides a manually-actuated valve assembly arranged so that, in use, the manual actuation device does not come in contact with dispensed beverage.
Another aspect is the provision of a valved container which provides an effective fluid-tight seal in the closed condition.
A still further aspect is the provision of a container which provides a baffled discharge passage to inhibit rapid flow of beverage therethrough.
In particular, there is disclosed a beverage container comprising: a base defining a beverage-containing reservoir, and a cover assembly removably mountable on the base for closing the reservoir, the cover assembly including a cap defining a recess open to ambient, the cap having an aperture therethrough spaced from the recess, the cover assembly defining a drain/drink passage communicating with the recess, the cover assembly including a valve assembly movable between an open condition providing communication between the reservoir and the passage and a closed condition sealing the passage from the reservoir, the valve assembly including a manually operated actuator mechanism accessible through the aperture.
There is also disclosed a beverage container comprising: a base defining a beverage-containing reservoir, a cover assembly removably mountable on the base for closing the reservoir, the cover assembly defining a passage for providing communication between the reservoir and ambient, and a valve assembly carried by the cover assembly and having a valve seat and a valve member movable between a closed condition closing the passage and an open condition opening the passage, one of the valve seat and the valve member including a relatively soft flexible and resilient gasket, another of the valve seat and the valve member including a rigid sharp edge which engages the gasket in the closed condition of the valve member so that the gasket yieldably deforms around the sharp edge for providing a fluid-tight seal.
There is also disclosed a beverage container comprising: a base defining a beverage-containing reservoir, and a cover assembly removably mountable on the base for closing the reservoir, the cover assembly defining a passage therethrough for providing communication between the reservoir and ambient, the cover assembly including baffle structure disposed in the passage for inhibiting rapid flow of beverage from the reservoir through the passage.
For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the subject matter sought to be protected, there is illustrated in the accompanying drawings an embodiment thereof, from an inspection of which, when considered in connection with the following description, the subject matter sought to be protected, its construction and operation, and many of its advantages should be readily understood and appreciated.
The base 21 is provided at its upper end with a neck portion 30 including a generally cylindrical wall 31, which may be formed of a suitable plastic material and is provided along its inner surface with a circumferential groove 32 (
The beverage container 20 also includes a removable cover assembly 40 made up of a bottom 41, a top 60, a valve assembly 75, an actuator assembly 90 and a cap 110. Referring to
Referring in particular to
In assembly, after the bottom 41 and the top 60 have been assembled together, the post 86 of the valve member 80 is fitted upwardly through the central aperture 50 in the bottom 41 and the central opening 63 of the top 60, with the cylindrical wall 85 being received in the annular chamber 53, as can best be seen in
The valve member 80 is disposed for operation by an actuator assembly 90, which includes a gasket 91 seated in the annular recess 51 of the bottom 41 for fluid-tight sealing engagement with the outer surface of the valve member post 86. An annular plastic seat 92 is disposed on the gasket 91 for seating the lower end of a helical compression spring 93, which encircles the post 86. Engaged with the upper end of the spring 93 is a spinner 94, which may be of one-piece, molded plastic construction. The spinner 94 has four equiangularly spaced-apart, laterally outwardly projecting arms 95, respectively disposable in the grooves 65 of the top 60, each arm 95 being provided at its upper end with an angled cam follower surface 96. The actuator assembly 90 also includes a pusher 100, which may be of molded, one-piece plastic construction, and includes a generally cylindrical hub 101 provided with a plurality of equiangularly spaced-apart, and longitudinally extending external ribs 102, which are respectively disposable in the grooves 65 of the top 60. The hub 101 is provided at its lower end with eight circumferentially spaced, inclined cam surfaces 103, alternate ones of which are disposed for camming engagement with the cam following surfaces 96 of the spinner 94. The hub 101 is integral at its upper with a laterally outwardly projecting oval flange 104 having a central aperture 105 formed therein. The hub 101 is hollow and fits down over the upper end of the valve member post 86, being secured thereto by a screw 106 which extends through the aperture 105 and threadedly engages in the opening 87 of the post 86. An oval button 107 overlies the flange 104 and has stakes 108 which may be pressed fitted in openings in the flange 104 for securing the button 107 in place, the flange 104 being shaped and dimensioned to be matably received in the oval turret 66 of the top 60. The button 107 may be provided with an elastomeric overmold 109.
The actuator assembly 90 is a known type of toggle mechanism which latches the valve member 80 alternately in open and closed conditions with alternate depressions of the pusher 100. Referring to
Referring also to
In assembly, the base inner wall 22 and outer wall 25 are welded together at the flange 27 and a vacuum is pulled from the space therebetween at the bottom and closed off with the base pedestal 29. The plastic, internally threaded neck portion 30 with the gasket 35 is then snapped over the circumferential rib 24 of the base 21, after being overmolded with the sheath 39 to provide a good grip.
In assembling the cover assembly 40, the top 60 is fitted over the bottom 41, with the discharge opening 70 substantially aligned with the discharge opening 55, and with the vent opening 67 aligned with the vent hole 54, and with the wall structures 62 respectively received in adjacent ones of the cavities formed between adjacent radial webs 46. As can best be seen in
Next, the valve member 80, with its gasket 84, is inserted into the bottom 41 from the bottom thereof, as was explained above, with the post 86 extending up through the aligned openings 50 and 63 of the bottom and top, respectively. The wiper gasket 91, spring seat 92, spring 93, spinner 94 and pusher 100 are then inserted into the top oval turret 66 through the cap aperture 115 in the order mentioned, with the spinner arms 95 and the pusher ribs 102 respectively disposed in the grooves 65 of the top cylindrical hub 64. The pusher 100 is then screwed to the valve member post 86 using the screw 106, as explained above. The button 107 with its overmold 109 is then press fitted onto the oval flange 104 of the pusher 100, as explained above, to complete the assembly.
In operation, after filling the reservoir 39 a with beverage, the cover assembly 40 is mounted on the base 21, the bottom 41 of the cover assembly 40 being threadedly engaged with the lip 36 of the base 21 until the gasket 124 sealingly engages the upper end of the lip 36, the gasket 124 yieldably deforming over the upper end of the lip 36 to provide a good fluid-tight seal. Then, the valve assembly 75 can be toggled between open and closed conditions utilizing the actuator assembly 90, in the manner described above. When the valve member 80 is in its closed condition, illustrated in
When the valve assembly 75 is open, beverage in the reservoir 39 a may flow into the annular chamber 53 in the bottom 41 between the valve member 80 and the valve seat 52 when the beverage container 20 is tilted, in a known manner. In this regard, it will be appreciated that the annular chamber 53, which forms a generally horizontally disposed chamber, cooperates with the discharge openings 55 and 70 and the skirt wall 118 and the drain/drink opening 117 to form a drain/drink or discharge passage through the cover assembly 40 from the reservoir 39 a to the drain/drink opening 117. The aligned discharge openings 55 and 70, the depending skirt wall 118 of the cap 110 and the drain/drink opening 117 cooperate to form an upright chamber of the discharge passage with inlet (opening 70) and outlet (opening 117) laterally offset from each other and separated by the baffle wall 71. It will also be appreciated that the aligned vent hole 54 and vent openings 67 and 119 provide communication between the reservoir 39 a and ambient when the valve assembly 75 is open, to facilitate discharge of beverage through the discharge passage. Because of the convoluted discharge passage going from generally horizontal to upright chambers, the latter having laterally offset inlet and outlet and being provided with a baffle wall 71, the rapid discharge of beverage is inhibited so as to minimize the chance of spillage in use. The sloping upper edge 112 of the cap 110 cooperates with the deep recess 114 to form a raised lip 125 (see
From the foregoing, it can be seen that there has been provided an improved travel beverage container which includes an effective fluid-tight valve assembly which is push button-actuated, wherein the actuator mechanism is isolated from contact with discharged beverage, and providing a discharge passage which inhibits unduly rapid discharge of beverage in use.
The matter set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings is offered by way of illustration only and not as a limitation. While particular embodiments have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the broader aspects of applicants' contribution. The actual scope of the protection sought is intended to be defined in the following claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the prior art.