US 20060186129 A1
A storable, reusable-insulating sleeve for a beverage container that provides insulation to the user from hot or cold beverages. The improved sleeve maintains insulation of hot temperatures approximately five and ten degrees higher for a thirty-minute interval, than, for example, cardboard counterpart sleeves. The improved sleeve comprises an integral storage-securing mechanism for storing the sleeve in a compact form. The compact form can easily fit into a pocket, purse, car glove compartment or desk drawer. The sleeve is made of various fabrics and is therefore reusable. Further, a pocket contained in the sleeve will accommodate a prepaid card or a key, for storage, transport and gift giving.
1. A holder for a beverage container, comprising:
a multi-layer cloth sleeve comprising a first layer, a second layer and a third layer, the layers are substantially a curved u shape comprising a first and second vertical edge and a first and second horizontal edge, the second horizontal edge comprising a length less than the first horizontal edge, the second layer positionally sandwiched between the first and second layers, the sleeve comprising an exterior surface and an interior surface;
a seam connecting the first and second vertical edges of the first, second and third layers; and
a storage-securing mechanism affixed to the exterior surface of the sleeve to restrain the sleeve in a compacted form.
2. The holder of
an integral pocket formed between the second layer and at least one of the first layer and the third layer, the integral pocket comprising an access opening on at least one of the interior surface and the exterior surface of the sleeve for removably receiving an object.
3. The holder of
4. The holder of
5. The holder of
a fastener for securably closing the access opening of the pocket.
6. The holder of
7. The holder of
an integral pocket affixed to the exterior surface of the sleeve, the integral pocket comprising an access opening for removably receiving an object.
8. The holder of
9. The holder of
10. The holder of
11. The holder of
12. The holder of
13. The holder of
14. The holder of
a seam binding material affixed to the first and second horizontal edges of the connected first, second and third layers.
15. The holder of
16. The holder of
17. The holder of
18. The holder of
19. The holder of
20. The holder of
a seam piping material integrated into the seams of the first and second horizontal edges, located between either the first and second layer or the second and third layer.
21. The holder of
22. The holder of
23. The holder of
24. The holder of
25. The holder of
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This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/655,807 filed Feb. 23, 2005, where this provisional application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present disclosure is directed toward devices and systems for insulating beverage cups.
2. Description of the Related Art
The prepared beverage market is a booming phenomenon. Leading the market in the prepared beverages is prepared coffee sales. During the past 14 years the number of coffee shops has grown 7,900 percent in the United States alone, and is a $7.22 billion market. One of the leading coffee providers serves up 30,000,000 beverages weekly. More than half of the United States population purchases specialty coffee products on an occasional basis, with 16 percent purchasing every day. This phenomenon has created a new “coffee-cup-carrying-culture.”
The vast majority of this coffee to go is served in paper cups with a disposable paper sleeve and/or an additional cup for insulation. The disposable paper cups are convenient, but provide inadequate insulation for the beverage within to protect the drinker in the case of a hot beverage. These disposable hot beverage containers have traditionally been constructed of two materials: polystyrene and a wax-coated paper. The wax-coated paper container is the preferred material in part because of the environmental concerns regarding disposal of polystyrene, and in part due to customer preference. Although in widespread use, neither product provides sufficient insulation to keep the container from becoming too hot to hold. The serving temperature of prepared coffee products is typically between 150 and 170 degrees with the average being 160 degrees. These high temperatures have necessitated additional thermal protection while holding the cup.
Several thermal protection solutions have been proposed, each with its own limitations. For example, 1) a variety of disposable paper and Styrofoam sleeves that incorporate an assortment of quilting, corrugating and weaving processes; 2) bulky, cumbersome appliance-type gadgets; 3) insulated thermal carafes or mugs that are reusable but are bulky and not possible to carry in a pocket or wallet, making it a highly impractical option for on-the-go and impromptu usage; and 4) using two cups together (i.e., double cupping), sometimes with an additional paper sleeve.
The disposable paper sleeves that have been used historically are inferior in function (i.e., they fall off, move around on the cup and are uncomfortable to hold) and insufficient in thermal insulating capacity. Users therefore frequently resort to double cupping practices. Double cupping, or double cupping with a disposable sleeve, creates yet more waste. Additionally, while the sleeves may be made of recycled paper, they themselves have to be disposed of. The cups are a significant issue, since more than 113 billion disposable cups end up in land fills in the United States every year and a large portion of those cups are generated from the prepared coffee market.
Another industry that has gained widespread acceptance in the past few years is the prepaid or gift card industry, especially prepaid cards redeemable at prepared coffee retailers. One of the leading prepared coffee retailers has issued 35 million prepaid cards and the total transactions from those cards are nearly $100 million to date. While typically given as gifts, some prepaid cards are intended for the purchaser's own personal use. When purchased, the prepaid card is typically supplied with a paper card envelope, enclosure or greeting card in case the prepaid card will be given as a gift. Upon receipt, the recipient removes the prepaid “gift” card from the envelope, disposes the envelope, and finds a safe place to store the prepaid card between uses. Hopefully, the recipient remembers to take the prepaid card with them on their next trip to the coffee shop. These trips frequently happen during the workday as an impromptu break. It is not uncommon for women who usually carry a purse, to merely grab some cash or a prepaid card and “go for coffee,” leaving their purse behind.
Due to the changing habits of consumers (i.e., impromptu coffee at work, after a workout, at sporting events, while shopping, on the go, etc.) the prepaid card may have been left behind and consequently unavailable when needed. Additionally, when a prepaid card is given as a gift, it is encased in a paper envelope or greeting card that also requires the use of more paper and generates more waste.
In short, the prepared coffee phenomenon has impacted the actual living habits of people on a global scale. For more than half of us, prepared coffee, tea, and other beverages has become an integral part of our day, consumed in a disposable paper cup, double cupped, or placed in a cup with a paper insulating sleeve. Moreover, these prepared beverages are frequently paid for with a prepaid card.
Although reusable accessories are ecologically sound, they must be practical and easy to use—as well as appealing—for them to be adopted by the masses. Clunky, bulky thermal mugs and appliances are impractical and unappealing, and thus will not serve their intended function in practical terms.
The sleeve that beverage drinkers currently use is made of cardboard, is designed for one-time use and is inadequate at insulating the user from the hot or cold of the beverage container. These sleeves are cumbersome (i.e., they fall off, move around the cup and are uncomfortable to hold). Further, for many people the sleeve does an inadequate job of insulating, and they are therefore forced to double cup their beverage. The disposable sleeves' single-use nature creates more waste and utilizes more natural resources—especially when combined with the double-cupping practice.
In one aspect, a storable, reusable sleeve is a more ecological and fashionable alternative to disposable cup sleeves. The sleeve grips the cup more comfortably and effectively, while providing measurably more insulation. The improved insulation allows the beverage to maintain its hot temperature between five and ten degrees higher for a thirty-minute interval than, for example, the cardboard counterparts. An alternative embodiment provides a card pocket, enabling the user to store and carry cards such as a prepaid card, credit card, debit card, and/or identity card conveniently together with the sleeve. This becomes a natural packaging extension for gifts and promotion of prepaid cards.
In another aspect, the storable insulating sleeve has several advantages over the prior approaches. The sleeve provides a more effective insulator for heat or cold. The sleeve comprises an integral storage-securing mechanism for storing the sleeve in a compact form. The compact form can easily fit into a pocket, purse, car glove compartment or desk drawer. The sleeve is reusable; and will accommodate a prepaid card or a key, for storage, transport and/or gift giving.
The sleeve may be made from a variety of fashionable patterns and colors, and may incorporate various styles including fake fur trim, leather, buttons broaches, lace and the like. No other known frusto-conical shaped sleeve performs all of these functions and no other cup sleeve incorporates personalized fashion into the consumer experience. The storable, reusable-insulating sleeve takes the disposable prepared coffee experience to a completely new and unprecedented level. The storable, reusable sleeve may be made of fashionable fabrics and in some cases may be adorned with decorative trim and accessories (e.g., fake fur, leather, buttons, broaches, lace, etc.). The sleeve may include reversible coordinating fabrics.
In a further aspect, the sleeve further comprises a sewn-in elastic loop on the vertical seam. The elastic loop can be used on either side of the sleeve and enables the product to be rolled up, making it more compact for storage between uses. An alternative use for the elastic loop is to attach the sleeve to the consumer, such as a ponytail holder, bracelet or anklet.
The sleeve may also incorporate a pocket made of matching, coordinating, or sheer fabric, designed to hold and store a prepaid card (e.g., coffee gift card), portable device or key. Additionally, the sleeve may also be imprinted with various company, organizational or institution names/logos.
The storable, reusable sleeve's fashion appeal motivates consumers to “want” to use them, and their thermal function serves a consumer's “need”—as do the card pockets and roll-up features. The end result is measurably less paper waste going into the landfills.
In the drawings, identical reference numbers identify similar elements or acts. The sizes and relative positions of elements in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. For example, the shapes of various elements and angles are not drawn to scale, and some of these elements are arbitrarily enlarged and positioned to improve drawing legibility. Further, the particular shapes of the elements as drawn, are not intended to convey any information regarding the actual shape of the particular elements, and have been solely selected for ease of recognition in the drawings.
The present detailed description is directed toward devices and systems for providing a storable, reusable insulating sleeve for a beverage container. In particular, at least some, illustrated embodiments can provide insulation to the user from the heat or cold of the beverage contained in a disposable cup or other container. According to one embodiment, a storable, reusable sleeve is a reusable insulating beverage sleeve for use with a conical shaped disposable cup that does not have handles. Alternative embodiments include a window in the sleeve for accommodating a handle. Various embodiments of a storage-securing mechanism are described in detail herein. Several details of certain embodiments are set forth in the following description and illustrated in
As shown in
In some embodiments, the sleeve 10 can be compactly rolled or folded for storage into a compact configuration (e.g., rolled or folded).
As will be understood by those skilled in the arts, a variety of fasteners may be used to secure the sleeve in a compact configuration, including those described above. Additionally, for ease of illustration, the securing mechanism is positioned at a center seam of the sleeve; those skilled in the arts will understand that the securing mechanism can be effectively positioned at alternative locations on the sleeve. The integral storage-securing mechanism provides the ability to self-compact the sleeve into a compact form for storage in a purse, pocket or other small space.
As illustrated in
Additionally, or alternatively, the window 1825 illustrated in
Additionally, or alternatively, the integrated device 1920 can be designed for the sleeve 1900 or be an existing device that is fastened to the sleeve 1900, such as a watch, the band for which is removed and the watch portion is sewn to the sleeve 1900. One of ordinary skill in the art having reviewed this disclosure will appreciate these and other variations that can be made to the sleeve without deviating from the spirit of this disclosure.
The sleeve 2000 may include an optional securing mechanism 2007, for example, a band 2020, secured toward a first end 2021 of the band 2020, to at least a portion of the upper seam 2030. In other embodiments, the first end 2021 can be secured to any portion of the sleeve 2000. The band 2020 can couple to the surface 2017 of the pocket 2010, by connecting toward a second end 2022 of the band 2020, to a member 2023 on the surface 2017, for example a button, by looping around the member 2023, to secure the item in the pocket or to compact the pocket when not in use. One of ordinary skill in the art can appreciate that the securing mechanism 2007 can comprise any of the securing mechanisms discussed herein, such as, but not limited to, hook and loop fasteners, snap fasteners with inserting and receiving portions, two bands tied together by the user, a band extending about the pocket 2010 and/or the sleeve 2000 and securing to a fastener on an opposing side of the sleeve 2000, or any other securing means operable to secure at least a portion of the pocket 2010 toward an opening therein, to a portion of the sleeve 2000. However, one or more bands may be particularly advantageous since such can be used to secure the sleeve 2000 to the beverage container, as well as retain the sleeve 2000 in a rolled or folded configuration for convenient storage.
The band 2020 can be made from plastics, elastics, fabrics, flexible metallics, silicone, composites, nylon, or any other material operable to add security to the pocket 2010. In embodiments in which the band 2020 is an elastic material, the band 2020 may be sized such that the band 2020 stretches to reach the coupling member 2023 to bias the pocket 2010 toward the sleeve 2000 and better secure the pocket 2010 and/or a content therein.
Additionally, or alternatively, in another embodiment, a sleeve 2100 comprises a pocket 2110 that comprises at least a portion 2111 secured adjacent or proximate at least one seam 2102 of the sleeve 2100. Securing the portion 2111 of the pocket 2110 using the seam 2102 may advantageously eliminate a step in constructing the sleeve 2100 and the pocket 2110, allowing the seam 2102 and portion 2111 to be attached in the same operation (e.g., sewn). This feature can also serve as an aesthetic and/or a fashionable feature.
It is understood that the teachings herein will make apparent additional embodiments or features, and may be practiced without several of the details described in the foregoing and following descriptions and illustrated in the figures. For example, in any of the described embodiments the pocket can be on an inner surface of the sleeve. Additionally, or alternatively, the pocket can be subdivided, for example by an additional seam, into two or more pockets. Additionally, or alternatively, the sleeve may comprise an additional transparent or translucent layer, such as vinyl, operable to receive and display pictures or mementos. Additionally, or alternatively, the sleeve may comprise of less than three layers or more than three layers, depending on the material used and insulation and/or size properties desired. One of ordinary skill in the art having reviewed this disclosure can appreciate these and other modifications that can be made to the insulating sleeve without deviating from the spirit and scope of this disclosure.
According to one exemplary manner of construction, a single sleeve may be constructed using conventional sewing techniques. Two pieces of coordinating fabric are cut into identically shaped curved pieces, along with a single matching piece made of insulating material. The three pieces are separated into two portions: 1) the top and middle insulating layer are put with the interior sides together, forming one portion, and 2) the bottom layer stands alone as the second portion. Pockets may be sewn onto the right sides of each portion, or alternately, pockets may be sewn-in by stitching the layers together in the shape of a pocket, channel, or other receptacle. The top portion, which now consists of the top layer of fabric, the middle insulating layer and a pocket, are now sewn together at the vertical ends to form a cone cylindrical shape. A piece of elastic is sewn into the vertical seam of this piece at this time. The bottom portion is then also sewn together to form an identical cone shape. These two cone shaped pieces are fit together with the insulating layer in the middle and the right sides out. Finally, the unfinished horizontal edges of the cone, consisting of all three layers, are sewn together and bound with coordinating seam binding. The coordinating seam binding may be a coordinating cotton fabric or a trim such as fur, leather, fringe, frayed fabric, boa feathers, and the like.
First Alternative Construction:
The flat pieces may be layered together after the pockets are attached, or sewn-in, with the insulating layer in the middle against the interior sides of each outer layer, and a French seam may be used on the vertical seam which connects the pieces together to form a cone shape. This would then be bound as indicated above.
Second Alternative Construction
The unfinished horizontal edges of the cone, consisting of all three layers, may be sewn together while incorporating a piping or seam-inserted decorative trim.
Pocket Opening at Top Seam—Alternative Constriction
As outlined in “Construction” above, the two portions are each sewn together separately at the vertical ends, right sides together. The elastic is incorporated into the two-layered portion. The two identical shaped cones are then positioned within each other—right sides together. They are straight-stitched together at the top. The seam stops and starts again to allow a 3 inch opening at the midway point of the circle. The bottom horizontal seam is sewn together in one continuous circle. The sleeve is then put right-sides out by feeding it through the 3 inch opening at the top. This would be understood by those skilled in the arts as being similar to pillow construction. The raw edges of fabric at the 3 inch unsewn opening are then folded down and affixed to the body with adhesive or a similar type application. Next, a pocket is created by stitching two vertical parallel seams through all three layers, beginning at the top and going the full length of the sleeve to the bottom. The pocket channel is positioned at the stopping points of the top horizontal seam, to allow an opening for the pocket. Finally, the horizontal edges of the sleeve top and bottom are finished with a top stitch ¼ inch from the outside edge, being mindful not to stitch the card pocket opening closed. Alternately, decorative trim may be applied to the outside horizontal edges.
Non-Reversible Alternative Construction:
A non-reversible version may be made in the same way as the alternative constructions outlined above, except that the curved pieces would be bound while flat and the vertical seam could be surged and sewn-down with a straight stitch rather than employing a French seam.
The storable, reusable sleeve can be made with a variety of insulating materials such as POLAR FLEECE™, TEFLON™-lined polyester batting, THINSULATE™ 150, plain polyester batting, cotton table felt, cotton batting, and the like. As shown in
The elastic loop, which may be sewn into the vertical seam at the seam's mid-point location, enables the sleeve to be rolled and wrapped when not in use. This procedure compacts a standard sized sleeve to a 1.5 inch rolled diameter. When the sleeve is in use, the elastic can be positioned on the inside of the sleeve, keeping the appearance neat and the elastic out of the way. This is accomplished by feeding the elastic loop through a grommeted hole located near the seam or by turning the sleeve inside out so that the elastic loop is hidden inside the sleeve adjacent to the beverage container.
The pocket located on either side of the sleeve enables the user to hold a credit card, money, key, business card or a coffee gift card for storage, transport and gift giving.
The storable, reusable sleeve is a break-through concept for personalizing the prepared coffee experience at the most basic level—just as you personalize the way you dress and look everyday. Not only do the sleeves come in a variety of fashionable patterns and colors, they also come in various styles incorporating fake fur trim, leather, buttons broaches, lace, etc. This is an important and unique development in the way paper cups are used and the way in which we see and treat our coffee experience.
The outer fabric represents current clothing fashion trends and may in the future, utilize custom designed patterns. In alternative embodiments upgraded fabrics such as velvet, silk, wool, brocades, and the like are used, and a variety of trim such as fake fur, leather, buttons, broaches, lace, and the like, is incorporated to make a more dramatic fashion statement.
For marketing and sales appeal, each storable, reusable sleeve design will be given a name and marketed as a personality.
The storable, reusable sleeve can be made with most any fabric, for example, silk fabrics such as brocade, canton crepe, charmeuse, chiffon, china silk, doupioni, faille, georgette, matelasse, noil, organza, peau de sole, pongee, poult de siue, silk shantung, silk broadcloth, silk linen, silk satin, and tussah silk; cotton fabrics such as diaper cloth, dimity, drill, duck, flannel, flannelette, gauze, gingham, lawn, muslin, organdy, outing flannel, oxford, percale, poplin, sailcloth, sateen, seersucker, swiss, terry cloth, pima cotton, polished cotton, velveteen, and whipcord; linen fabrics such as butcher's linen, damask, and venise; wool fabrics such as beaver cloth, botany/merino wool, broadcloth, challis, cheviot, chinchilla cloth, donegal, felt, flannel, gabardine, glen checks, harris tweed, heather mixture, herringbone wool, homespun, hound's-tooth check, jersey, laine, lambsdown, linsey-woolsey, loden fabric, mackinaw fabric, melton, merino wool, oatmeal cloth, panama cloth, petersham, pilot cloth, poodle cloth, rabbit hair, sharkskin, tartan, tweed, and virgin wool; manufactured or man made fabrics such as acetate, acrylic, lastex, nylon, polyester, rayon, and spandex; and natural plant fiber fabrics such as hemp, ramie, and jute.
The sleeve can be reversible or not, and can have trim or not. It may also incorporate a variety of logos or customized names and words. The top and bottom horizontal seams can be bound with any type of binding material (e.g., matching or coordinating fabric, off-the-shelf seam binding, any other type of fabric, leather, ribbon, etc.). The binding may be double or single needle-stitched. Conversely, the top and bottom horizontal seams do not have to be bound. They can be folded over and double or single-needle straight-stitched down, they can be surged, or they can be sewn right sides together and turned back, right sides out—using simple pillow construction. The layers of fabric can be glued (or laminated) together negating the need for top and bottom horizontal seam stitching. The sleeve's vertical ends can be laced together, zipped together, velcroed together, glued together, surged together, straight-stitched together or French-seamed together. Also, a strip of elastic could be sewn between the two vertical edges to form a gusseted elastic seam or the length of layered fabric may be simply tied onto the cup like a ribbon.
The fabrics may be (but are not required to be) stain treated using a variety of product bases, including silicone, Teflon and wax. Insulation can be B400 insulation material or any thermal product such as Thinsulate. The insulation layer acts as an insulation core and maintains the beverage serving temperature approximately +/−10 degrees higher than conventional disposable cardboard sleeves.
In the foregoing description, certain specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments. However, one skilled in the relevant art will recognize that the embodiments may be practiced without one or more of these specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well-known structures associated with sleeve and storage-securing mechanism have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring descriptions of the embodiments.
Unless the context requires otherwise, throughout the specification and claims which follow, the word “comprise” and variations thereof, such as, “comprises” and “comprising” are to be construed in an open, inclusive sense, that is as “including, but not limited to.”
Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Further more, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments.
The headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not interpret the scope or meaning of this disclosure.
The above description of illustrated embodiments, including what is described in the Abstract, is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the embodiments to the precise forms disclosed. Although specific embodiments of and examples are described herein for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of this disclosure, as will be recognized by those skilled in the relevant art. The teachings provided herein can be applied to any beverage container, not necessarily the exemplary disposable paper cup generally described above.
The various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety. Aspects of this disclosure can be modified, if necessary, to employ fasteners, fabrics and concepts of the various patents, applications and publications to provide yet further embodiments.
These and other changes can be made in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit this disclosure to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all storable, insulating sleeves that operate in accordance with the claims. Accordingly, the embodiments are not limited by this disclosure, but instead their scope is to be determined entirely by the following claims and equivalents thereof.