US 20080006639 A1
A cooler for storing cans, beverages and the like is divided into a plurality of compartments. Each compartment has a spring-loaded platform therein which biases containers in the compartment upwardly for easy access via the top of the cooler. The cooler can include a translucent wall so the contents of the cooler can be viewed without opening the cooler.
1. A cooler comprising:
A) a housing having
(1) a first end that is a top end when the cooler is in use,
(2) a second end which is a bottom end when the cooler is in use,
(3) a height dimension which extends between the first end and the second end,
(4) a first side wall,
(5) a second side wall,
(6) a width dimension that extends between the first and second side walls, and
(7) a front wall which extends between the first end the second end and between the first and second side walls, the front wall being translucent;
B) a plurality of divider walls mounted in the housing to extend from the bottom end toward the top end, each divider wall having
(1) a first end which is unitary with the bottom end of the housing,
(2) a second end which is spaced apart from the bottom end of the housing and from the top end of the housing,
(3) each divider wall having a height dimension that extends between the first end of the divider wall and the second end of the divider wall, the height dimension of each divider wall being less than the height dimension of the housing, and
(4) the divider walls being spaced apart from each other in the direction of the width dimension of the housing to divide the housing into a plurality of compartments;
C) a platform movably mounted in each compartment, each platform being movable in the direction of the height dimension of the housing; and
D) a spring interposed between each platform and the bottom end of the housing and biasing the platform associated therewith away from the bottom end of the housing towards the top end of the housing.
2. A cooler comprising:
A) a housing;
B) a plurality of compartments in the housing;
C) a spring-loaded platform in each compartment; and
D) a translucent wall on the housing.
The present invention relates to the general art of containers, and to the particular field of coolers.
Insulated coolers for transporting canned drinks and food are a fixture of American culture and are practically required equipment for picnics, sporting events and other outdoor activities. Insulated coolers are also utilized in industrial applications. For example, coolers are used to transport medical supplies and samples for scientific analysis, such as soil samples for environmental testing.
The myriad of potential uses for coolers fueled an almost endless variation in their design. Coolers act as armrests in vehicles. Coolers are designed to wrap around the torso like a hiker's “fanny pack”. There are very large coolers and very small coolers. The majority of these coolers, however, all share one thing in common: they have an insulated body presenting an open interior space in which ice and one or more articles to be cooled are stored. They also contain a cavity, usually rectangular, that holds both the material to be cooled (i.e., can drinks) and the refrigerant (i.e., ice or a frozen insert). These coolers also share the common design feature of some type of hinged cover, also formed of insulative material, which is provided on the cooler for closing the interior space in order to maintain the temperature of the articles in the cooler. The lid is intended to extend to life of the refrigerant by reducing heat transfer between the ambient temperature and the refrigerant. Handles are usually secured to or formed in the cooler for facilitating transportation thereof, and a drain may be fitted in the body for draining water and other liquids from the cooler without opening the cover.
Unfortunately, the lid, along with the body of the cooler, hides the contents of the cooler. This limitation of known coolers is often bothersome when coolers are used at sporting events or other areas with entrance restrictions. For example, many sporting events will allow spectators to carry coolers with soft drinks but not alcoholic beverages. Enclosed coolers are therefore often the subject of a time consuming search by security personnel.
Additionally, the ice that is usually the refrigerant of choice for most coolers eventually melts resulting in cold wet hands or wet food. If frozen inserts are used instead of ice, care must be taken to ensure that the contents of the cooler remain in contact with the inserts otherwise insufficient cooling will take place. Furthermore, such inserts often take up a great deal of space thereby limiting the amount of space available for food. Still further, if the contents of the cooler are not readily visible, a person will be forced to fish about with his or her hand in the cold and wet environment of the cooler to try to find the beverage of choice. This may result in allowing heat to enter the cooler thereby further melting the cooling media and may result in frustration if the beverage cannot be located.
Accordingly, a need exists for a cooler that does not possess the limitations stated above. In particular, a need exists for a cooler that allows its contents to be visible at all times, if desired. Additionally, this cooler should provide ready access to the beverages or food items stored in the cooler.
The above-discussed disadvantages of the prior art are overcome by a cooler for storing cans, beverages and the like which is divided into a plurality of compartments. Each compartment has a spring-loaded platform therein which biases containers in the compartment upwardly for easy access via the top of the cooler. The cooler can include a translucent wall so the contents of the cooler can be viewed without opening the cooler.
Using the cooler embodying the present invention will permit a user to remove a beverage container from the cooler without having to place his or her hand into the ice contained in the cooler and fish around in the ice to find a beverage. The user can also easily view the selection of beverages so the guess work is removed from selecting a beverage. The translucent wall of the cooler also allows a user to view the contents of the cooler without opening the cooler. This not only further relieves the guesswork associated with selecting a drink from a cooler, it allows the cooler to remain closed longer as a user will know if the cooler still contains the beverage he or she is seeking without opening the cooler. Opening a cooler allows heat to flow into the cooler from the environment thereby melting ice or other such substances contained in the cooler. Therefore, if a user knows that the beverage he or she is seeking is not contained in the cooler, he or she will not open the cooler and keep the cooler open for a long period of time while they look for a beverage that may not even be in the cooler.
Other systems, methods, features, and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one with skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features, and advantages be included within this description, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.
The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.
Referring to the figures, it can be understood that the present invention is embodied in a cooler 10 which comprises a housing 12 that is formed of the materials usually associated with coolers. Housing 12 has a first end 14 that is a top end when the cooler is in use, and which has the usual hinged top or the like. The hinged top is of the type usually associated with coolers and thus will not be further discussed. However, those skilled in the art will understand that the top is opened and closed to gain access to housing 12. Suitable locks and handles can also be included on housing 12.
Housing 12 further includes a second end 16 which is a bottom end when the cooler is in use. Again, suitable wheels or supports can be included on the bottom end. Housing 12 has a height dimension 18 which extends between first end 14 and second end 16. Housing 12 also has a first side wall 20, a second side wall 22 and a width dimension 24 that extends between first side wall 20 and second side wall 22.
A front wall 26 extends between first end 14, second end 16 and between the first and second side walls. Front wall 26 is translucent as indicated in
Each divider wall has a height dimension 44 that extends between first end 40 of the divider wall and second end 42 of the divider wall. Height dimension 44 of each divider wall is less than height dimension 18 of the housing. The divider walls are spaced apart from each other in the direction of the width dimension of the housing to divide the housing into a plurality of compartments 50-56. A platform, such as platform 60 in compartment 50, is movably mounted in each compartment. As indicated by double-headed arrow 62, each platform is movable in the direction of the height dimension of the housing.
A spring, such as spring 70 in compartment 54, is interposed between the platform in the associated compartment and the bottom end of the housing. Each spring biases the platform associated therewith away from the bottom end of the housing towards the top end of the housing.
Use of the cooler can be understood from the teaching of the foregoing. A plurality of containers, such as beverage containers B1, B2 and B3, are loaded into the compartments of the housing. As can be understood from
While various embodiments of the invention have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents.