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Publication numberUS20060064926 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/270,943
Publication dateMar 30, 2006
Filing dateNov 9, 2005
Priority dateJul 7, 2004
Also published asUS20110067296
Publication number11270943, 270943, US 2006/0064926 A1, US 2006/064926 A1, US 20060064926 A1, US 20060064926A1, US 2006064926 A1, US 2006064926A1, US-A1-20060064926, US-A1-2006064926, US2006/0064926A1, US2006/064926A1, US20060064926 A1, US20060064926A1, US2006064926 A1, US2006064926A1
InventorsScott Melin, Donald Swatling, Kelly Burke, Bob Miller, Katie Chow, Stevan Curtiss
Original AssigneeScott Melin, Swatling Donald K, Burke Kelly M, Bob Miller, Chow Katie K, Curtiss Stevan R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Charcoal briquet having a grooved surface
US 20060064926 A1
Abstract
A generally pillow-shaped charcoal briquet having a convex upper surface and a convex lower surface, wherein at least one of these surfaces contain an enhanced surface feature comprising one or more grooves. When two or more grooves are located on one or both convex surfaces, the grooves are generally parallel to each other and to two opposing sides of the briquet, and generally perpendicular to two opposing sides of the briquet. The briquets have improved ignition characteristics and enhanced burn phase properties.
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Claims(22)
1. A charcoal briquet comprising:
a convex upper surface;
a convex lower surface; and
a periphery;
wherein the upper surface comprises a plurality of parallel grooves and the lower surface comprises a plurality of parallel grooves.
2. The charcoal briquet of claim 1 wherein the briquet has three grooves in the upper surface and three grooves in the lower surface
3. The charcoal briquet of claim 1 wherein the upper and the lower surfaces have a generally elliptical periphery having a minor axis.
4. The charcoal briquet of claim 1 wherein the briquet has two grooves in the upper surface and two grooves in the lower surface/
5. A charcoal briquet comprising:
a convex upper surface;
a convex lower surface; and
a periphery;
wherein the upper surface comprises a plurality of parallel grooves and the lower surface comprises a plurality of parallel grooves,
wherein the periphery is an ellipse having a major axis and the grooves are parallel to the major axis.
6. The charcoal briquet of claim 5 wherein the briquet has two grooves in the upper surface and two grooves in the lower surface.
7. The charcoal briquet of claim 5 further comprising a generally square-shaped configuration having opposing sides A and C, and B and D,
wherein the plurality of grooves are approximately parallel to opposing sides B and D, and approximately perpendicular to opposing sides A and C.
8. The charcoal briquet of claim 7 wherein the briquet has three grooves on the upper surface and three grooves on the lower surface.
9. A charcoal briquet comprising:
a generally pillow-shaped configuration having opposing sides A and C, and B and D;
an upper surface;
a lower surface;
a periphery; and
a first groove and a second groove on at least one of the upper and the lower surfaces;
wherein the first and second grooves are approximately parallel to opposing sides B and D, and approximately perpendicular to opposing sides A and C.
10. The charcoal briquet of claim 9 wherein the upper and the lower surfaces each have a generally convex shape.
11. The charcoal briquet of claim 9 wherein the first and second grooves are present on both the upper and the lower surfaces.
12. The charcoal briquet of claim 9 having a generally square configuration.
13. The charcoal briquet of claim 9 further comprising a third groove on at least one of the upper and the lower surfaces;
wherein the third groove is approximately parallel to opposing sides B and D, and approximately perpendicular to opposing sides A and C.
14. The charcoal briquet of claim 13 wherein the first, second and third grooves are each present on both the upper and the lower surfaces.
15. The charcoal briquet of claim 9 wherein the upper and the lower surfaces have a generally elliptical periphery.
16. A charcoal briquet comprising:
a generally pillow-shaped configuration having opposing sides A and C, and B and D;
an upper surface;
a lower surface; and
a first groove on at least one of the upper and the lower surfaces;
wherein the first groove is approximately parallel to opposing sides B and D, and approximately perpendicular to opposing sides A and C.
17. The charcoal briquet of claim 16 wherein the upper and the lower surfaces each have a generally convex shape.
18. The charcoal briquet of claim 17 wherein the upper and the lower surfaces have a generally elliptical periphery.
19. The charcoal briquet of claim 16 wherein the first groove is present on both the upper and lower surfaces.
20. The charcoal briquet of claim 19 further comprising a second groove generally parallel to the first groove, wherein the second groove is only present on the lower surface.
21. The charcoal briquet of claim 20 further comprising a third groove generally parallel to the first and second grooves, wherein the third groove is only present on the lower surface.
22. The charcoal briquet of claim 16 having a generally square configuration.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of pending U.S. application Ser. No. 29/208,910 filed Jul. 7, 2004 which is incorporated herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of charcoal briquets and other solid fuel compositions. More particularly, the present invention relates to pillow-shaped charcoal briquets having improved surface features that aid in improved random stacking, lighting and burn phase characteristics.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There is great consumer interest in using charcoal for outdoor cooking in which meals can be prepared and served quickly for individual or large group consumption. Consumers desire cooking and grilling with charcoal briquets that are easily stackable to form the traditional starter pile, easily ignitable, maintain a uniform and efficient combustion that ignites the individual briquets in the starter pile, and have a sufficiently long burn period. Similarly, consumers desire to handle dirty charcoal as little as possible when forming traditional starter piles and the like.

Charcoal briquettes are often configured in a generally pillow-shape. This configuration provides for both reasonable ease of manufacturing by the supplier, and handling by the consumer. Pillow-shaped briquets are typically used for cooking on the grill or the like by using a multiplicity of briquets in a mounded or conical configuration or stack usually by pouring a multiplicity of briquets from a bag onto a grill or the like. then lighter fluid is often added, and followed by igniting the briquets with an ignition source.

An “ignition phase” follows, as burning proceeds from the surface of the briquet, and a gray ash is formed on a significant portion of the briquet until a majority of the exposed surfaces have ignited, and burning has progressed inwardly toward the intended area of the briquets. Thus, completion of the ignition phase of burning is identified by the formation of visible ash on the briquet.

At this point, the briquets are spread out under the grill or the like, and they continue to burn with intense heat suitable for cooking and grilling throughout a “burn phase”. For maximum performance of the briquets, it is desirable that the ignition phase be limited in time so that the briquets may be used for cooking or grilling without undue delay, such that the duration of the burn phase is optimized and extended to provide adequate cooking or grilling time as desired by the consumer intended use.

There has been some previous work in the ornamental and geometrical configuration of charcoal briquets. For example, U.S. Des. 389,453 to Mitchell et al. describes a charcoal briquet having a groove generally in the shape of the letter “K”, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,496,366 to Peters describes charcoal having a briquet, or other geometric configuration, purportedly to achieve desired lighting and burn characteristics. In another example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,074,446 to Fujino describes charcoal having a plurality of air passing portions or grooves in its body purportedly to supply combustion air inside the charcoal body while burning.

However, previously known ornamental and geometrically configured charcoal briquets fail to address enhancing the surface of pillow-shaped briquets to improve the random, non-mating stacking ability properties, as well as to improve ignition and burn phase characteristics. Particularly charcoal briquets used for home grilling and cooking, wherein the consumer desires charcoal briquets that require less handling, and that can be readily ignited to provide maximum heat initially, followed by an improved burn phase.

Previously known charcoal briquets intended for rapid ignition and delivery of intense heat have used combinations of various configurations and compositions. However, very rapid delivery of intense heat does not provide an acceptable combustion response for cooking or grilling purposes. Previous teachings have failed to configure and texture the surface of a pillow-shaped charcoal briquet to improve random stacking ability of the briquet, as well as enhance the ignition and burn phase properties of the briquet as preferred by consumers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, an improved charcoal briquet having a generally pillow-shaped configuration having an upper surface, a lower surface, a periphery, and enhanced surface features preferably comprising one or more grooves, channels, trenches or the like, on one or both surfaces. The improved charcoal briquets of the present invention have improved random stacking ability, and enhanced ignition and burn phase properties, thereby overcoming previously known difficulties.

More specifically, and in accordance with the present invention, an improved pillow-shaped charcoal briquet having a generally convex upper surface, a generally convex lower surface, and a periphery wherein at least one of the upper or lower surfaces has located thereon enhanced surface textured features in the form of at least one groove, channel, trench or the like. When two or more grooves are present on one or both surfaces, the grooves are preferably parallel to each other, parallel to two opposing sides of the briquet, and perpendicular to two other opposing sides of the briquet. The presence of one or more grooves on or both surfaces increases the surface area to volume ratio thereby enabling more of the briquet to be exposed to oxygen.

These and other objects and advantages are achieved by the present invention which comprises a generally pillow-shaped charcoal briquet having an improved surface configuration. Pillow-shaped charcoal briquets having this unique surface configuration have enhanced ignition properties and burn phase characteristics.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, taken together with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, which illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pillow-shaped charcoal briquet embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a right side elevational view of the briquet of FIG. 1, right and left side elevations being the same;

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the briquet of FIG. 1, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the briquet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a charcoal briquet showing a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a right side elevational view of the briquet of FIG. 5, right and left side elevations being the same;

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of the briquet of FIG. 5, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the briquet of FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a charcoal briquet showing a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a right side elevational view of the briquet of FIG. 9, right and left side elevations being the same;

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of the briquet of FIG. 9, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the briquet of FIG. 9;

FIG. 13 is a front elevational view of a charcoal briquet similar to the briquet of FIG. 3, but having one groove on both the upper and lower surfaces, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 14 is a front elevational view of a charcoal briquet similar to the briquet of FIG. 7, but having two grooves on the upper and lower surfaces, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 15 is a front elevational view of a charcoal briquet similar to the briquet of FIG. 11, but having three grooves on the upper and lower surfaces, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 16 is a front elevational view of a charcoal briquet similar to the briquet of FIG. 3, but having one groove on the upper and two grooves on the lower surface, front and back elevations being the same;

FIG. 17 is a front elevational view of a charcoal briquet similar to the briquet of FIG. 3, but having one groove on the upper and three grooves on the lower surface, front and back elevations being the same; and

FIG. 18 is a front elevational view of a charcoal briquet similar to the briquet of FIG. 7, but having two grooves on the upper and three grooves on the lower surface, front and back elevations being the same.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The examples set out herein illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention, in one form, and such examples are not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1-18 depict a grooved pillow-shaped charcoal briquet of the present invention. Previous charcoal briquets used by consumers have typically assumed a generally pillow-shape configuration. However, previous charcoal briquets were not designed as the charcoal briquets provided herein having enhanced grooved surface features that provide consumers with a charcoal briquet having enhanced lighting and burn phase characteristics.

FIGS. 1-4 and 13 depict a grooved pillow-shaped briquet 30 having a generally convex upper surface 38, a generally convex lower surface 36, a generally elliptical periphery 37 when viewed from the side, and a generally rectangular periphery 35 when viewed from above or below. FIG. 3 depicts briquet 30 wherein one of these surfaces, upper surface 38, contains thereon one groove 32. FIG. 13 depicts a front elevational view of briquet 39 wherein both of the upper 38 and lower surfaces 36 each contain thereon one groove 32.

FIG. 1 depicts a top plan view of charcoal briquet 30 having four sides A, B, C and D, connected by four generally rounded corners 34. Groove 32 runs generally parallel to side B (right side) and side D (left side), and generally perpendicular to side A (back) and side C (front). Groove 32 thereby connects front C and back A of briquet 30 via this channel or trench-like surface feature that traverses the upper convex surface 38, and increases the surface area to volume ratio of the briquet enabling more of the briquet to be exposed to oxygen.

FIGS. 5-8 and 14 depict a grooved pillow-shaped briquet 40 having a generally convex upper surface 48, a generally convex lower surface 46, a generally elliptical periphery 47 when viewed from the side, and a generally rectangular periphery 45 when viewed from above or below. FIG. 7 depicts briquet 40 wherein one of these surfaces, upper surface 48, contains thereon two grooves 42. FIG. 14 depicts a front elevational view of briquet 49 wherein both of the upper 48 and lower surfaces 46 each contain thereon two grooves 42.

FIG. 8 depicts a top plan view of charcoal briquet 40 having four sides A, B, C and D, connected by four generally rounded corners 44. Grooves 42 run generally parallel to side B (right side) and side D (left side), and generally perpendicular to side A (back) and side C (front). Grooves 42 thereby connect front C and the back A of briquet 40 via this channel or trench-like surface feature that traverses the upper convex surface 48, and increases the surface area to volume ratio of the briquet enabling more of the briquet to be exposed to oxygen.

FIGS. 9-12 and 15 depict a grooved pillow-shaped briquet 50 having a generally convex upper surface 58, a generally convex lower surface 56, a generally elliptical periphery 57 when viewed from the side, and a generally rectangular periphery 55 when viewed from above or below. FIG. 11 depicts briquet 50 wherein one of these surfaces, upper surface 58, contains thereon three grooves 52. FIG. 15 depicts a front elevational view of briquet 59 wherein both the upper 58 and lower surfaces 56 each contain thereon three grooves 52.

FIG. 12 depicts a top plan view charcoal briquet 50 having four sides A, B, C and D, connected by four generally rounded corners 54. Grooves 52 run generally parallel to side B (right side) and side D (left side), and generally perpendicular to sides A (back) and side C (front). Grooves 52 thereby connect front C and back A of briquet 50 via this channel or trench-like surface feature that traverses the upper convex surface 58, and increases the surface area to volume ratio of the briquet enabling more of the briquet to be exposed to oxygen.

FIG. 16 depicts a front elevational view of a grooved pillow-shaped briquet 60 having a generally convex upper surface 68, a generally convex lower surface 66, and a generally elliptical periphery 67 when viewed from the side. Briquet 60 includes upper surface 68 containing thereon one groove 62, and lower surface 66 containing thereon two grooves 62. Briquet 60, like briquets 30, 40 and 50, has a generally rectangular periphery when viewed from above or below, and four sides connected by four generally rounded corners (not shown). Grooves 62 run generally parallel to the right and left sides of the briquet, and generally perpendicular to the back and front of the briquet (not shown).

FIG. 17 depicts a front elevational view of a grooved pillow-shaped briquet 70 having a generally convex upper surface 78, a generally convex lower surface 76, and a generally elliptical periphery 77 when viewed from the side. Briquet 70 includes upper surface 78 containing thereon one groove 72, and lower surface 76 containing thereon three grooves 72. Briquet 70, like briquets 30, 40 and 50, has a generally rectangular periphery when viewed from above or below, and four sides connected by four generally rounded corners (not shown). Grooves 72 run generally parallel to the right and left sides of the briquet, and generally perpendicular to the back and front of the briquet (not shown).

It should be understood that the present invention as depicted in FIGS. 1-18 preferably describes and discloses pillow-shaped briquets with one, or two or three parallel grooves on one or both opposite convex surfaces of the briquet. It should be understood that the present invention can be considered to relate to briquets having a plurality of grooves on the surface thereof. However, it should be realized that the greater the number of grooves, the shallower the individual groove would become. The depth of the groove is defined by the width-to-depth proportion.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the present invention provides a means of providing charcoal briquets having textured and grooved surface features that result in consumer desired improved random, no-mating stacking ability, and improved ignition and burn phase characteristic for use in grilling, cooking or the like. However, it will be appreciated that the present invention is useful for designing a surface configuration of briquets to achieve the specific qualities and properties as disclosed herein.

This invention has been described herein in considerable detail to provide those skilled in the art with information relevant to apply the novel principles and to construct and use such specialized components as are required. However, it is to be understood that the invention can be carried out by different equipment, materials and devices, and that various modifications, both as to the equipment and operating procedures, can be accomplished without departing from the scope of the invention itself.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7575609Feb 9, 2005Aug 18, 2009Creative Spark, LlcStackable; concex upper surfaces fitting into concave lower surfaces ; grooved surfaces
Classifications
U.S. Classification44/550
International ClassificationC10L5/00
Cooperative ClassificationC10L5/36, C10L11/06, C10L5/361
European ClassificationC10L5/36B, C10L5/36, C10L11/06