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Publication numberUS20060169699 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/294,630
Publication dateAug 3, 2006
Filing dateDec 5, 2005
Priority dateDec 3, 2004
Also published asCA2630956A1, EP1827990A2, EP1827990A4, US7243812, US7523840, US7780033, US8272529, US20060021986, US20060169700, US20080029518, US20100051623, US20100294774, WO2006060691A2, WO2006060691A3
Publication number11294630, 294630, US 2006/0169699 A1, US 2006/169699 A1, US 20060169699 A1, US 20060169699A1, US 2006169699 A1, US 2006169699A1, US-A1-20060169699, US-A1-2006169699, US2006/0169699A1, US2006/169699A1, US20060169699 A1, US20060169699A1, US2006169699 A1, US2006169699A1
InventorsBryan Mansfield, Ricky Lambert
Original AssigneeMansfield Bryan D, Lambert Ricky R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Drinking cup
US 20060169699 A1
Abstract
The invention provides a shot glass or similar cup for drinking have an outside wall that tapers downwardly outward. The design allows for nesting of cups and thermal insulation of the fluid containing chamber. For aesthetic purposes, construction is with transparent plastic and an array of rings protruding into the inner chamber enhances the appearance of liquids poured therein.
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Claims(20)
1. A cup for drinking comprising:
a) a chamber having a bottom connected to a chamber side wall extending upwardly from said bottom and terminating in an upper rim that forms the periphery of a generally open top; and
b) a separate supporting side wall extending downwardly from said upper rim having an outward taper and extending at least to the level of said chamber bottom and terminating in a support rim that supports said cup.
2. The cup of claim 1 wherein said support rim is disposed at least about 0.1 in. (2.5 mm) below said chamber bottom.
3. The cup of claim 1 further comprising an array of projections disposed along said chamber wall and projecting into said chamber.
4. The cup of claim 3 wherein said projections have cross sections that are chordal segments of a circle whereby an optical illusion of enlargement is created.
5. The cup of claim 4 wherein said chordal segment segments project into said chamber by an amount in the range of 0.002-0.007 in. (0.05-0.2 mm).
6. The cup of claim 5 wherein said projected amount is about 0.007 in (0.2 mm) whereby the optical illusion is enhanced.
7. The cup of claim 1 wherein said cup has an inner outline and an outer outline and the two outlines geometrically match so that two or more cups can be nested in a stack.
8. The cup of claim 7 further comprising nesting stops disposed between said chamber wall and said supporting wall so that 100% nesting is prevented, but at least 75% is allowed.
9. The cup of claim 1 wherein said support side wall has slope of about 7° so that pouring fluids into said chamber without tipping said cup is facilitated.
10. The cup of claim 1 wherein the liquid volume of said chamber is in the range of about 1 oz. (30 ml) to 1.5 oz. (45 ml).
11. A cup for drinking comprising a chamber having a bottom connected to a chamber side wall extending upwardly from said bottom and terminating in an upper rim that forms the periphery of a generally open top, said side wall having an outer side that extends downwardly with an outward taper, further comprising an array of projections disposed along said chamber wall and projecting into said chamber.
12. The cup of claim 11 wherein said projections have cross sections that are chordal segments of a circle whereby an optical illusion of enlargement is created.
13. The cup of claim 12 wherein said chordal segment segments project into said chamber by an amount in the range of 0.002-0.007 in. (0.05 mm-0.2 mm).
14. The cup of claim 13 wherein said projected amount is about 0.007 in. (0.2 mm) whereby the optical illusion is enhanced.
15. The cup of claim 1 wherein said support side wall has slope of about 7° so that pouring fluids into said chamber without tipping said cup is facilitated.
16. A system for serving drinks comprising:
a tray having a bottom and a top, said top having a plurality of bosses having a lateral outline distributed thereon;
a plurality of cups, each having at least one chamber for holding fluids and a bottom, said bottom having an upwardly extending space sized to match the lateral outline of said bosses.
17. The system of claim 16 wherein said cups comprise:
a) a chamber having a bottom connected to a chamber side wall extending upwardly from said bottom and terminating in an upper rim that forms the periphery of a generally open top; and
b) a separate supporting side wall extending downwardly from said upper rim having an outward taper and extending beyond the level of said chamber bottom and terminating in a support rim that supports said cup.
18. The system of claim 17 wherein said cups further comprise an array of projections disposed along said chamber wall and projecting into said chamber.
19. The system of claim 16 wherein said cups comprise plural chambered drinking cups comprising:
a) an outer chamber having an annular bottom with an outer edge and an inner edge, said outer edge terminating in an upwardly extending outer side wall sloping substantially continuously outwardly, said outer wall terminating in an uppermost outer chamber rim that forms the periphery of an open top;
b) an inner chamber disposed entirely within and substantially concentric with said outer chamber and having a circular bottom with an outer edge terminating in an upwardly extending side wall sloping substantially continuously outwardly, said inner chamber wall terminating in an uppermost inner chamber rim that forms the periphery of an open top; and
c) an outer chamber inner side wall extending upwardly from said outer chamber bottom inner edge sloping substantially continuously inwardly, said inner side wall terminating at said inner chamber rim and defining an inter chamber nesting space between it and said inner chamber wall wherein said inner chamber wall and rim and outer chamber inner side wall of a substantially identical cup can substantially nest within said inter chamber nesting space.
20. The system of claim 19 wherein said inner chamber rim is disposed below said outer chamber rim by at least about 5/16 in. (0.8 cm).
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/633,359, filed on Dec. 3, 2004; U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/634,953, filed on Dec. 10, 2004; U.S. non-provisional application No. 11/255,572, filed on Oct. 21, 2005; and U.S. design application Nos. 29/241,046 and 29/241,047, both filed on Oct. 21, 2005, all of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention relates to drinking vessels.

BACKGROUND

For serving alcoholic beverages, a drinking vessel, commonly know as a shot glass, has been known for some time. These contain a fluid volume that can range from about ⅞ oz. (26 ml) to 1.75 oz (52 ml), with the middle of the range being more common. Typically, these are made of glass of thicknesses ranging from about 1/16 in. (1.5 mm) to as much as ¼ in (6 mm) and the thickness may be variable. The overall height ranges form about 2-3 in. (51-76 mm) with an average diameter ranging from about 1.5-2 in. (38-51 mm). To aid being picked up and held in a hand, the outside walls usually taper upwardly outward. To prevent tipping, some shot glasses are provided with a lower base that is massive compared to the glass and contents. The weight of glass shot glasses ranges from about 2-4 oz. (55-110 g).

SUMMARY

Disclosed, is drinking cup that may be used as an improved shot glass with a chamber having a bottom connected to a chamber side wall extending upwardly from the bottom and terminating in an upper rim that forms the periphery of a generally open top and having a separate supporting side wall extending downwardly from the upper rim with an outward taper and extending at least to the level of the chamber bottom and terminating in a support rim that supports the cup. In a preferred embodiment, the support side wall has slope of about 7 degrees so that pouring fluids into the chamber without tipping the cup is facilitated.

In one embodiment, the support rim is disposed at least about 0.1 in. (2.5 mm) below the chamber bottom so that the chamber is thermally insulated from a table.

In another embodiment, there is an array of projections disposed along the chamber wall and projecting into the chamber. These projections preferably have cross sections that are chordal segments of a circle whereby an optical illusion of enlargement is created. Preferably the chordal segments project into the chamber by an amount in the range of 0.002-0.007 in. (0.05-0.2 mm) and, still more preferably, the projected amount is about 0.007 in (0.2 mm) whereby the optical illusion is enhanced.

In a preferred embodiment, the cup has an inner outline and outer outline matched geometrically match so that two or more cups can be nested in a stack. Preferably, there are nesting stops disposed between the chamber wall and the supporting wall so that 100% nesting is prevented but at least 60% is allowed.

Although not a limitation on the invention, typically, the liquid volume of the chamber is in the range of about 1 oz. (30 ml) to 1.5 oz. (45 ml) for use as a shot glass.

In another preferred embodiment, the chamber has a bottom connected to a chamber side wall extending upwardly from the bottom and terminating in an upper rim that forms the periphery of a generally open top. In this one, there is no separate supporting side wall, but the chamber side wall has an outer side that extends downwardly with an outward taper.

This last embodiment can be produced with all the variations of the separate supporting wall embodiment except for nesting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the invention will become better understood after inspection of the following description, claims, and appended drawings wherein:

FIG. 1A illustrates a top plan view of a reverse taper drinking cup;

FIG. 1B illustrates a cross-section of the cup shown in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1C illustrates a bottom plan view of the cup shown in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1D illustrates a side elevation view of the cup shown in FIG. 1A;

FIG. 1E illustrates an enlarged portion of the cross section shown in FIG. 1B;

FIG. 2A illustrates a cross section of another embodiment of the invention without the space and inter-wall cavity shown in FIG. 1B;

FIG. 2B illustrates a cross section of still another embodiment of the invention without the surface effects shown in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 2C illustrates a cross section of another variation which is the embodiment in FIG. 2B with the addition of a space;

FIG. 3A illustrates a top plan view of a serving tray for one or more of the drinking cups illustrated in FIGS. 1B and 2C; and

FIG. 3B illustrates a cross-section of the serving tray illustrated in FIG. 3A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention will now be described with reference to the drawings. FIG. 1A shows a top plan view of the invented drinking cup having a chamber 12 with a side wall 18 leading to a top rim 22 that connects to wall 24. (Herein, “top” and “bottom” refer to the usual gravity determined orientations that apply when drinking cups are used.)

FIG. 1B shows a cross section of the cup 11 having the chamber 12 with bottom 14 connected to the side wall 18 on which are surface effects 20 (discussed further below) leading up to the top rim 22. This is in turn supported by support wall 24 that terminates in a bottom rim 26. Normally, unless picked up, the cup rests on bottom rim 26. (The dimple 16 in the center of bottom 14 is a typical injection point when injection molding is used to make the part.) Below chamber 12 is an elevation space 28 and to the side is an inter-wall cavity 30.

Preferably, the outline of the outside of the cup 11 substantially matches the outline of the inside of the cup surrounding elevation space 28 and inter-cavity chamber 30. This makes it possible to nest cups and save on storage space. However, if there is an exact match, separating cups can be difficult due to an attraction between cups. The rib 32 extending below rim 22 between walls 18 and 24 in the notch 30 prevents the apex of the rim 22 from being inserted all the way into the notch 30 of another cup. Preferably, there should be at least three ribs equally spaced around the circumference of the notch 32 as illustrated in the bottom view in FIG. 1C.

FIG. 1D shows a side elevation view with the top rim 22 and a bottom rim 26. The knurled band 34 is not essential, but provides a finger gripping surface.

It is well know that, for consumer items, injection molded plastic parts can be made with lesser production costs than many other methods. Typically, a cavity inside a mold having two dies is injected with hot plastic that is allowed to cool and the two dies are pulled apart to let the plastic part fall out. This is not possible for all designs. As is very well known, the dies must define a plane (or planes) through the part that, when viewing the part perpendicularly away from the plane in both directions, no overhanging structure is encountered. The perimeter of such a plane is defined as a parting line. When a cross section of the part is viewed edge-on to the parting line, it forms a single straight line from one extreme edge of the cross-section to the other with no overhangs or undercuts perpendicular to the parting line on either side of it. For any given cross section, CAD/CAM software is available to determine a parting line, if one exists. Thus, a parting line is a geometric construct that limits the design of the part.

Without the surface effects 20, the cup illustrated in FIG. 1B has a parting line that runs across the bottom, tangent to the rim 26. This makes it possible to use injection molded plastic construction.

As is well known by injection molders, to separate the part from the dies, the angle that walls make with respect to the parting line, called draft angles, are preferably at least 0.5°, more preferably 3°. (FIG. 1B illustrates draft angles of about 7°.) At the same time, it is highly desirable that, when the two dies are separated, the part is pulled out of the “A” side of the die with the “B” side of the die and then ejected from the B side. The almost universal solution is to provide a small inconspicuous projection, know as a puller, into the B die that provides a slight undercut of about 0.002-0.003 in. (0.05-0.075 mm). Even with the undercut, a thin walled plastic part will deform enough to be ejected from the B die. For this particular design, for some reason, one ring in the volume 12 was found to be not quite enough. It was estimated that two or three rings would be. However, it was decided that it might look interesting to have a continuous complete array 20 of projections cover the entire inside wall to produce a distinctive washboard appearance.

FIG. 1E is a 10X cross-sectional enlargement of the circled portion of FIG. 1B. On the wall 18, there is an array of projections 21 spaced apart by flat portions of the wall 19. The need to eject the part from the B die places a limit on how far the projections 21 can extend from the flat portion 19. The larger the draft angle or slope of the wall 18, the greater this can be.

A working example was constructed from injection molded polystyrene. This had a liquid volume of about 1.25 oz. (37 ml). The overall diameter across the top rim 22 was about 1.8 in. (46 mm) and across the bottom rim 26 was about 2.2 in. (56 mm). The rim-to-rim height was about 1.75 in. (44 mm). The overall diameter of the inner chamber was about 1.5 in. (38 mm). It should be straightforward to obtain any desired volume by varying the dimensions.

In this example, the projections of array 21 were chordal segments of a circle with base of 1/32 in. (0.8 mm) and a projection into chamber 12 of 0.007 in. (0.2 mm). These were spaced on 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) centers so that flat portions of the wall 19 between projections were also 1/32 in. (0.8 mm). The slope of walls 18 and 24 were both about 7°. This reduced the undercut due to the projections to about 0.002 in. (0.05 mm). Fortunately, even with the large number of undercutting rings, the part could still be ejected from the B die.

In this working example, the thickness of bottom 14 and walls 18 and 24 were all about 0.05 in. (1.3 mm) thickness. The weight of the part was only about 0.7 oz. (20 g).

Informal tests were run by pouring various fluids into the shot glass. In spite of the light weight, it was very stable and did not tip in response to fluid momentum. Also, surprisingly, when filled with fluid, the chamber 12 looked larger than expected. Most likely, this is due to the array 20 having some sort of optical properties.

The invention has various other advantages over what is currently available. An example of a non-obvious one is the following. The air space 28 below the chamber 12 acts as a good thermal insulator against the environment. Combined with the thin walls, the fluid in chamber 12 can be kept at a more constant temperature.

Although the inventors prefer injection molding, consideration should be given to thermoforming as a construction method. It is believed that this would produce a less expensive, but less durable and less attractive cup. When made from injection molded plastic, two materials can be considered. So-called crystal polystyrene is inexpensive and easy to work, but not as durable as polycarbonate. This art is fairly well developed and making the cup should present no difficulty to anyone with ordinary skill in it.

The shot glass could be made from glass, but the thickness of walls 18 and 24 would usually be more than that shown or indicated and the weight of the cup greater. One of the advantages of the invention is that it is stable, in spite of its light weight. The cup could be made from a variety of materials as this is not critical in some applications.

Although not essential, the substantially matching inner and outer outlines mean that cups can be stacked. This reduces storage space requirements. The function of the ribs 36 to space apart nested cups can be provided with protrusions in a variety of places on the cup.

FIG. 2A illustrates a cross section of another embodiment 11A of the invention without the space and inter-wall cavity shown in FIG. 1B. In this case, the base 44 and walls 46 are solid and this design cannot be nested. However, the wall 46 retains the non-traditional downward outward taper of the previous embodiments. Since this design is heavier, it might be advantageous to use the knurled ring 34 that was illustrated in FIG. 1D. One potential problem is that he projections of the array 20 may have to be reduced because the walls are thicker and less flexible.

FIG. 2B illustrates a cross section of still another embodiment 11B of the invention without the array 20 shown in FIG. 2A.

FIG. 2C illustrates a cross section of another variation 11C which is the embodiment in FIG. 2B with the addition of a space 48 in the bottom base 44. The use of this particular space is discussed next.

Another major advantage of some of the embodiments has to do with the difficulty that serving persons have in carrying drinks to patrons in crowded bars. When trays are used, as is often the case, there is always a chance of tipping the serving containers off the tray and losing the drink or worse, drenching a patron. FIGS. 3A & 3B illustrate a solution to this problem that may be unique to this shot cup design. As show in FIG. 3A, a tray 50 is provided that can securely transport one or more cups 11. In the figure, there is one cup in the center and six disposed on a circle 52, but the layout is not critical. FIG. 3B shows a cross-section with bosses 54 and 58 disposed around the base of the tray 50. As can be seen, the bosses are shaped to match the inside space 28 of cup 11 or space 48 of cup 11C. Higher bosses could be used, if necessary.

Having described the best modes of the invention, several variations can be mentioned. First, the slope of the walls need not be 7°. When made with injection molded plastic, draft angles as small as 0.5°, can theoretically be used. However, a small draft angle would produce a more vertical taper that may not be as stable and would reduce the amount that projections could extend form the inside walls. A nested design may be difficult. On the other hand, slopes much larger than 7° could be clumsy to hold in a hand.

Second, the cup need not be circular. For example, ovals or polygons could be used. The walls need not be a single segment, but could be stepped as long as undercuts were not too large for molding. Of course, metals cups made on a lathe would have a different set of constraints.

Third, with respect to nesting, the cups illustrated herein nest up to about 60%, i.e., 40% of a one cup protrudes from the cup below.

Lastly, although the working example only had a fluid volume of 1.25 oz., the same principles could be applied to larger cups of several ounces or more.

Having described various embodiments, those skilled in the art will be able to produce equivalents that are within the scope of this invention which is limited only by the appended claims.

Classifications
U.S. Classification220/506
International ClassificationB65D1/36
Cooperative ClassificationA47G19/2205, A47G23/0208, B65D81/32, A47G2019/122, B65D1/265
European ClassificationB65D1/26B, A47G23/02A, B65D81/32, A47G19/22B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 30, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: HURRICANE SHOOTERS, LLC, FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MANSFIELD, BRYAN D.;LAMBERT, RICKY R.;REEL/FRAME:017692/0612
Effective date: 20060526