US 20050167438 A1
A configuration for a training cup suitable for young children that prevents spilling from the drinking spout by means of a securely connected spill-proof attachment to the lid assembly of the cup. The method of the secure connection of the spill-proof attachment prevents it from coming loose under all conditions that are suitable for the utilization of the cup by a child.
1. A secure spill-proof configuration for child training cup comprising:
a cup lid with a rigidly attached drinking spout assembly,
a pressure valve attachment,
where the frictionally connecting surfaces of the drinking spout assembly and the pressure valve attachment comprise surface threading.
2. Frictionally connecting surfaces as stated in
3. Surface threading as stated in
4. Surface threading as stated in
5. A pressure valve attachment as stated in
6. A pressure valve attachment as stated in
7. A handling grip as stated in
8. A handling grip as stated in
U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,857—Leak resistant and squeeze resistant liquid box container
U.S. Pat. No. 5,938,053—Child's bottle and food container
U.S. Pat. No. 6,568,557—Spill proof training cup
The present invention is in the field of child feeding devices. Its specific intention is to provide a secure spill-proof configuration for a child's training cup.
There have been numerous attempts to create a spill-proof training cup. Fusco's “Spill proof training cup” (U.S. Pat. No. 6,568,557), Verbovszky's “Child's bottle and food container” (U.S. Pat. No. 5,938,053), and Rosen's “Leak resistant and squeeze resistant liquid box container” (U.S. Pat. No. 5,950,857) are just a few examples of such attempts. While the technological principles of these devices are sound, their complexity has prevented mass implementation of their functions.
A new design was recently developed by the Gerber Products Company. The patent for this product is pending, so a direct reference cannot be made. This method involves a lid where the drinking spout assembly is compressible (the compression is normally achieved by the child's lip movement during drinking) and an attachment, which houses a pressure valve and is inserted directly into the drinking spout assembly. The construction of the pressure valve requires that it be made from a bendable and springy elastic material and have a cross-shaped cut. The valve is opened when the air is sucked out of the drinking spout by the child's mouth movement, thereby allowing the liquid in the cup to flow to the drinking spout. The valve remains closed otherwise.
While the simplicity of this approach makes the Gerber product very attractive, it possesses a fundamental flaw. It relies on the smooth surface friction between the drinking spout assembly and the pressure valve attachment to remain connected. In practice, this does not work for two reasons: one—the liquid flowing through the pressure valve attachment and the drinking spout assembly lubricates all surfaces, thereby lowering any existing friction; two—the child can shake the cup during or in between utilizations, thereby loosening the connection between the pressure valve attachment and the drinking spout assembly.
The present invention provides a solution for a secure connection between the pressure valve attachment and the drinking spout assembly. The connection surfaces of the pressure valve attachment and the drinking spout assembly are made non-smooth with threading, thereby increasing the level of friction between them. Furthermore, the connection surfaces comprise angular threading which provides a secure “bolt and nut” type connection. The connection is implemented by inserting the pressure valve attachment into the drinking spout assembly and rotating the pressure valve attachment, thereby continuing the insertion process along the threads until the circumferential stopper on the pressure valve attachment prevents further insertion. The handling grip is provided on the non-inserted portion of the pressure valve attachment and comprises a non-smooth surface consisting of a plurality of external vertical facets or external vertical threading or both.
Various other features and characteristics of the present invention will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art after a reading of the following specification.
While the present invention has been described with respect to a particular embodiment, modifications and variations may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of this invention. For example, the insertion receptacle tube of the drinking spout assembly could comprise external surface threading while the pressure valve attachment would comprise internal surface threading. The diameter of the insertion tube of the pressure valve attachment will be increased to accommodate the connection to the receptacle tube of the drinking spout assembly. The receptacle tube of the drinking spout assembly could then be inserted into the pressure valve attachment.