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Publication numberUS3326695 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 20, 1967
Filing dateDec 12, 1963
Priority dateDec 12, 1963
Publication numberUS 3326695 A, US 3326695A, US-A-3326695, US3326695 A, US3326695A
InventorsNeuhauser Roy L
Original AssigneeNeuhauser Roy L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Self-elevating extensible drinking straw
US 3326695 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 20, 1967 R. NEUHAUSER 3,326,695

SELF-ELEVA`TING EXTENSIBLE DRINKING STRAW 2 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Dec. 12, 1963 ai :o

INVENTOR. ROY L. NEUHAUSER AT TORNEY June 20, 1967 R. l.. NEuHAUsr-:R 3,326,695 SELF-ELEVATING EXTENSIBLE DRINKING STRAW Filed Deo. l2, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR ROY L. NEUHAUSER ATTORNEY United States Patent O 3,326,695 SELF-ELEVATING EXTENSIBLE DRINKING STRAW The present invention relates to an improved drinking straw, and more particularly to a self-contained and selfelevating extensible drinking straw for bottles containing carbonated beverages.

An object of the invention is to produce an extensible drinking straw which may be totally contained within a container of carbonated beverage, for example; and when the container is opened, the upper end portion of the straw will rise out of the container into a drinking or sipping position, while the opposite end remains immersed in the beverage and effectively maintains communication with the bottom portion of the container.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention may be defined as a drinking straw for use in an associated container for effervescent beverages which typically comprises an elongate hollow tubular member having a relatively rigid section and an extensible and contractible section, and means attached to the hollow tubular member extending radially outwardly therefrom for capturing a portion of the gases liberated from the beverage to thereby effectively raise one end of the drinking straw out of the associated container; while the other end remains immersed in the beverage adjacent the bottom of the container.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become manifest from reading the following detailed description of the invention considered in the light of the attached drawings in which:

FIGURE l is a sectional View of the invention showing the drinking straw entirely within an associated closed container; l

FIGURE 2 is a sectional view of the invention shown in FIGURE l after the container has been opened and the drinking straw has been caused to be `raised to a drinking position;

FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragmentary partial cut-away illustrating a modified form of the flexible portion of the drinking straw of the invention;

FIGURES 4a and 4b illustrate modified forms of the drinking straw illustrated in FIGURES l and 2;-and

FIGURE 5 is a Isectional view of a device of another form of the invention illustrated in FIGURE 4.

Referring to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIG- URES 1 and 2 a container or bottle 10, typically formed of glass, for containing a carbonated beverage 12 and having a top closure or cap 14. A drinking straw 16, embodying the novel features of the invention, is disposed within the beverage 12.

The drinking st-raw 16 is typically formed of a helcally wrapped paper-like material having a suitable resin or wax coating which is insoluble in the beverage 12. The straw 16 includes an upper section 18 which is relatively rigid and a lower section 20 which is relatively flexible.

The upper section 18of the straw 16 is provided with a radially outwardly extending element 22 which is typically of substantially,bell-shaped cross-sectional configuration. The element 22 may be suitably formed of a material insoluble in the beverage 12, such as for example, acrylic polyester, laminated paper, plastic or aluminum. The constricted end 24 of the element 20 conforms to the shape of the upper section 18 of the straw 16 and has an inside diameter to enable a snug engagement between it and the associated straw 16. It will be clearly appreciated that the desired rm engagement between the element 22 and ICC the upper section 18 of the straw 16 may be readily achieved by the application of a suitable cement which when set is insoluble in the beverage 12; or alternately by maintaining the relative inside dimensions of the constricted end 24 and the outside dimension of the upper section 18 such that a force or press tit may be achieved therebetween.

The lower section 20 of the drinking straw 16 is fabricated in a manner to render the same flexible and capable of being bent without collapsing the internal passageway. The lower flexible section 20 may typically consist of a series of ribs 26 and grooves 28 which may be formed in any of the well known manners at the time of manufacture of the straw or at a subsequent stage. The ribs 26 may have a relatively fiat peripheral surface as illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2, wherein the grooves 28 have a curved cross-sectional configuration. The ribs 26 and grooves 28 which constitute the flexible portion 20 of the straw may satisfactorily be of the general type illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2, or could be formed in a helical manner. In this latter instance, the ribs 26 and grooves 28 would be formed as continuous spaced parallel elements helically formed from one end of the flexible portion to the other. The configuration of the flexible portion 20 of the straw is in effect similar to a bellows and effectively minimizes the tensile strain, as well as the compression strain, necessary to bend or compress the flexible portion 20 without rupturing or collapsing the straw 16.

It has been found advantageous, in certain instances, to provide a rigid tip portion 30 on the lower terminal end of the drinking straw 16. During the use of the drinking straw 16, the free end of the tip portion 30 remains in close contact with the bottom of the container 10 thereby enabling the removal of all of the beverage 12 through the straw 16. The length of the tip portion 30 of the straw is preferably slightly less than the inside diameter of the bottom of the container 10 to thereby prevent the tip portion 30 from being wedged in the container between diametrically opposed wall surfaces thereof and thus restrict or even possibly completely cut off the flow of the beverage through the straw.

In order to render the drinking straw assembly less buoyant and to facilitate the installation thereof in the associated carbonated beverage container 10, the zone defined by the interior surface of the element 22 and the outer surface of the flexible portion 20 is covered and coated by a mate-rial 32 which is soluble in the beverage 12. The soluble material 32 may typically be a sugar or the like and is to be used to more or less lock the fiexible lower portion 20 and the lower tip portion 30 in a folded position as shown in FIGURE l. Typically, the drinking straw assembly in its uncoated form is held in substantially the position shown in FIGURE 1 and immersed in a molten sugar bath and then withdrawn, allowing the substance 32 to harden thereby causing the assembly to retain the position as shown in FIGURE l. This enables the entire assembly to be inserted into the bottle or container 10 through the reduced upper neck portion either before,

during, or after it has been filled with the carbonated beverage 12. The assembly of the straw and the soluble material 32 is of suicient weight to cause the entire assembly to assume a position in contact with the interior bottom wall of the bottle 10. In this position of rest, such as to be completely immersed within the beverage 12 the straw 16 will not interfere with the lling of the bottle 10 with the carbonated beverage 12, or with the application of the top closure or cap 14.

After the top closure or cap 14 is suitably secured to the top of the bottle 10, the soluble material 32 will dissolve and go into the solution of the beverage 12 allowing the llexible portion 20 and the lower tip portion 30 to unbend enabling the tip 30 to swing through an arc so that the open end thereof may make contact with the bottom of the bottle. The unllexing of the flexible portion 20 is accomplished due to the inherent memory of material comprising the straw. Normally, the straw 16 tends to assume a relatively straight configuration when no external forces are applied thereto. However, when it is flexed and then coated with the material 32, the straw 16 will remain in the flexed condition until the external forces are removed by the dissolution of the soluble material 32; whereupon, the flexible portion 20 attempts to straighten and return to its normal flexed condition.

It will be understood that when sugar is employed for the soluble material, the composition of the beverage 12 being inserted into the Ibottle 10 must be deficient in its sugar content equal to the actual amount of sugar cast upon the drinking straw.

An alternate method of causing the straw assembly 16 to assume the bent or flexed condition illustrated in FIG- URE l, the soluble material 32 such as sugar, may be injected into the interior of the straw and then the straw is held in the flexed position until the soluble material is set and then the assembly is inserted into the container in the manner described above.

With reference to FIGURE 2, the drinking straw assembly 16 is shown in its drinking or sipping position after the top closure or cap 14 has been removed from the associated bottle 10. After the cap 14 has been removed, the carbon dioxide content within the beverage 12 tends to go out of solution and escape from the beverage in the form of gas bubbles generally indicated by reference numeral 34. As the effervescence of the beverage 12 continues, certain of the carbon dioxide bubbles are captured within the interior zone of the element 22 which tends to impart additional buoyancy to the drinking straw assembly to cause the same to rise in the bottle to the drinking position as illustrated in FIGURE 2. In addition to the elevating effect of the captured gas, the elevation of the drinking straw 16 in the container 10 is assisted by the forces tending to unllex and cause the ilexible portion 20 to return to its normal unllexed condition. It will be clearly apparent that in this manner the invention provides an inexpensive and eflcient means for providing the customer of the carbonated beverage with a sanitary drinking straw which automatically elevates to a drinking position when the container is opened.

As mentioned above, one of the typical methods for applying the soluble material 32 to the straw 16 is by casting the material upon the outer surface of the lower portion 20. Since most of the carbonated beverages are flavored with natural flavors added from fruits, nuts, roots, herbs and bark and leaves of plants, sugar is a material readily suitable for use with the invention and is readily compatible with carbonated beverages presently known as soda, pop, and soft drinks and includes ginger ale, cola beverages and numerous other types, is easily handled, and may readily be cast onto the exterior surface of the assembly or injected into the hollow interior of the straw 16, as discussed above.

With reference to FIGURE 3, there is shown an alternate configuration for the ridges and grooves explained with reference to FIGURES l and 2. More specifically, the flexible portion 20 of the straw assembly is comprised of a plurality of ridges 26 and associated grooves 28 which in cross-section more clearly are in the form of a conventional bellows-type arrangement.

Now referring to FIGURES 4a and 4b, there is shown another embodiment of the invention wherein identical structural elements of the drinking straw illustrated and described with reference to FIGURES l and 2 are referred to by like reference numerals. In these figures, the drinking straw assembly 16 includes a flexible section 20 fabricated in the same manner as in the foregoing embodiment illustrated in FIGURES l and 2, but at the time of encapsulation in the soluble material, the flexible section 2l) is compressed axially instead of bending or folding and held in the compressed state for a period of time sufficient to allow the soluble material, such as sugar, to solidify and thereby hold the straw assembly in a reduced or decreased overall length condition. The overall length of the drinking straw assembly is then less than the interior dimension between the top and bottom walls of an associated container. The assembly may then be readily inserted in the container in the manner described hereinbefore covering the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 2 Thereafter, the molten matetrial 32 dissolves, allowing the llexible section 20 to return to its original uncompressed length, thus increasing the overall length of the drinking straw 16 and especially the length thereof ibelow the element 22. The straw assembly is then readily elevated after the uncapping of the container 12, and the rigid bottom tip portion 30 will be in effective contact with the bottom of the container 1l) while the upper end of the straw is in a drinking position outside of the top of the container.

Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG- URE 5 wherein the flexible portion 20 of the drinking straw is held in a state of compression by a hollow encapsulating tube or cylinder 40 of a soluble material, such as sugar. The hollow cylinder 40 may be formed by the compression of granules of sugar in a manner similar to the ordinary sugar lump, or it may be cast in a mold from the molten state. The hollow cylinder 40 has on the inner surface thereof a pair of spaced apart annular inwardly extending rib-like projections 42 and 44 which act to retain the opposite end portions of the flexible portion 20 of the drinking straw assembly 16. The annular projections 42 and 44 are so spaced that when the flexible portion 20 of the drinking straw 16 is in its somewhat fully compressed state as shown in FIGURE 5 and inserted within the cylinder 40, that they prevent the flexible portion 20 from returning to its original uncompressed free length. The drinking straw 16, due to its relatively flexible nature, can be inserted with sufiicient mechanically applied force past the projection 42 and into proper inserted position at any time between the time the straw is manufactured and the time that it is to be inserted into an associated container. It will be noted that the free end of the lower rigid tip portion 30 extends below the lower surface of the cylinder 40 so that the tip 30 will not be closed oil by the cylinder 40 after it has been inserted into a container. Such an arrangement allows the beverage within the container to pass upwardly through the drinking straw 16 at the time of its insertion into an associated container to prevent a buoyant action which might be caused by entrapped air and prevent any bobbing up and down of the assembly within the container. Further, the hollow cylinder 40 is provided ywith a well-like portion 46 having an upwardly extending truncated cone 43 coaxially located therein and adapted to militate against an overabundance of air or gas being retained within the interior of the zone defined by the element 22.

It will be understood that the hollow cylinder 40 being formed of a soluble material is dissolved and goes into solution of an associated beverage and allows the flexible portion 20 of the drinking straw 16 to return to its normal elongate compressed condition in the same manner as described in condition with the description of FIG- URES 4a and 4b.

Although the description has thus far referred to the straw as being formed of a paper-like material, it will be readily apparent that other materials such as plastic which have the same or similar memory characteristics may likewise be satisfactorily employed in carrying out the objectives of the invention.

According to the provisions of the patent statutes, l have explained the principle and mode of operation of my invention and have illustrated and described what I now consider to represent its best embodiments. However, I desire to have it understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described.

What I claim is:

1. A drinking straw for use in containers for eiTervescent and carbonated beverages comprising an elongated hollow straw member having a relatively rigid top portion and a bottom portion, said straw member including an eXtensible and compressible portion between said top and bottom portions and close enough to said bottom portion to be immersed within the beverage, a beverage soluble coating material on said extensible and compressible portion maintaining said portion in a compressed condition, and a bell-shaped element attached to said top portion and close enough to said bottom portion to lbe normally immersed within the beverage, said bell-shaped element extending radially outwardly and downwardly from said top portion for capturing a portion of the 6 gases liberated from the beverage to thereby effectively raise said straw member into a drinking position.

2. The invention defined in claim 1 wherein said beverage soluble material is a soluble sugar.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 942,306 7/1909 Clarke ZIO-A1 2,613,988 10/1952 Jarbeau 215--1 3,099,565 7/1963 Neuhauser 99-138 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,022,157 12/1952 France. 1,136,439 12/1956 France.

904,010 8/ 1962 Great Britain.

A. LOUIS MONACELL, Primary Examiner.

RAYMOND N. JONES, Assistant Examiner.

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US2613988 *May 8, 1950Oct 14, 1952Franklin E ShankleBeverage dispensing device
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FR1022157A * Title not available
FR1136439A * Title not available
GB904010A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3409224 *Mar 13, 1967Nov 5, 1968Union Carbide CorpFlexible drinking tube
US3438578 *Jun 1, 1967Apr 15, 1969Union Carbide CorpFlexible drinking tube
US3656654 *Jun 25, 1970Apr 18, 1972Brinkley William JContainer and drinking tube
US4216801 *Apr 20, 1979Aug 12, 1980Flexible Plastic Straw CorporationFlexible tube
US4356927 *Sep 14, 1981Nov 2, 1982Cooper George WPop-up straw for beverage cans
US4461406 *Jun 11, 1982Jul 24, 1984American Home Products CorporationContainer with reciprocable dispensing tube
US4728001 *Mar 9, 1987Mar 1, 1988Serba Henry SBeverage container and packaging method
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U.S. Classification426/85, 239/33, 215/388, 220/706, 229/103.1
International ClassificationB65D77/24, B65D77/28
Cooperative ClassificationB65D77/283
European ClassificationB65D77/28C