US 3353615 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
NOV. 21, E, NEK|MKEN DRIP TRAY AND INDICATOR DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 20, 1965 FIEEv a w Z 2 y NOV. 21, NEKlMKEN DRIP TRAY AND INDICATOR DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Sept. 20, 1965 United States Patent 3,353,615 DRIP TRAY AND INDICATOR DEVICE Elie Nekimken, Wheeling, Ill., assignor to Thomas A. Schlitz Co., inc, a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 20, 1965, Ser. No. 488,607 6 Claims. (Cl. 177-245) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A drip tray for a Tapper keg which is constructed to support the keg in a refrigerator with a part of the tray under the spigot to catch any drip, and in which the keg is supported upon flexible straps one of which has an indicator finger visible from the front of the tray for indicating the approximate remaining contents of the keg based upon total 'weight of the keg and contents.
Background of the invention A relatively recent and popular innovation in the field of distributing and dispensing alcoholic beverages is a device known as a Tapper keg, introduced by Reynolds Aluminum Company. The Tapper contains 2% gallons (288 ounces, equal to 24 twelve ounce cans) of draft beer in a cylindrical lightweight aluminum pressurized keg designed for home use by the customer. The present invention is designed particularly as an accessory for use with such cylindrical beverage containers, but as will be clear from the following disclosure, it is a unique and practical device for use with a variety of liquid dispensing containers.
The new Tapper keg referred to above is normally bought by the consumer at his local retailer and placed in his home refrigerator so that a faucet or spigot, disposed at one end of the keg, is at the front of the refrigerator for easy access by the consumer. The Tapper allows the consumer to dispense a desired quantity of pressurized liquid beverage while maintaining the entire keg and its contents in a refrigerated condition at all times.
The Tapper is an excellent and attractive device but its use presents three problems which are common to all spigotted kegs: (1) the spigot can drip; (2) there is no convenient way to tell how full it is; and (3) it can roll on a shelf and thus place the spigot out of position for use. The device of the present invention eliminates the last two problems and alleviates the ill effects of the first.
This invention holds the keg against rolling and uniquely employs portions of the supporting means itself as a drip tray and as a quantity indicator which can be easily adjusted and observed while the Tapper is on the refrigerator shelf. This invention therefore solves the problems inherent in such liquid beverage dispensers.
Thus a principal object of this invention is to provide a new and improved supporting means for liquid containers such as barrels and the like.
Another object of this invention is to provide a supporting means which functions as a drip tray for such beverage dispensers.
A further object of this invention is to provide a supporting means of the type described which is sufiiciently compact for positioning under a dispensing container disposed between two adjacent shelves in a refrigerator or the like, yet one which prevents lateral displacement or rolling by the dispenser.
Still another object of this invention is to provide such a supporting means which employs portions of the supporting means itself as a quantity indicator for the supported dispenser.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide a simple, compact and inexpensive supporting means for cylindrical beverage dispensers which is formed principally of molded plastic and has a minimum number of parts.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view showing the device of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the supporting means of FIG. 1 with a keg-like beverage dispenser illustrated in broken lines thereon;
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the supporting means and dispenser as in FIG. 2, showing the position of the quantity indicator when the dispenser is empty, with a top portion of the dispenser cut away;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal central sectional view of the device taken generally along the line 44 of FIG. 1, showing the quantity indicator in full lines corresponding to an empty position and in dotted lines corresponding to a full position; and
FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the device taken generally along the line 55 of FIG. 1 and diagrammatically showing the relative empty and full positions of the container and supporting means.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention as disclosed in the drawings, a supporting means generally designated 10 is shown to comprise a shallow tub-like body or drip tray 11 which is preferably molded of a relatively thin plastic material and forms a supporting understructure. The body is provided with front and rear resilient metal supporting straps, 12 and 13 respectively, extending transversely across its upper periphery for supporting a generally cylindrical keg-like beverage dispensing container, generally designated 14. The front supporting strap 12 is provided with a projecting soft metal scale arm 15 that extends toward the front of the drip tray to show the weight of the container and thus acts as a quantity indicator.
Referring to the drawings in greater detail, the body 11 comprises a bottom wall 16, and a continuous peripheral wall, indicated generally at 17, that includes side walls 18a and 18b, rear wall 19 and front wall 20, all of which are integrally molded of a relatively thin plastic material to form a tub-like drip tray. The front, rear and side walls are provided with a continuous outwardly extending horizontal flange 22 about the upper periphery of the drip tray to enhance the rigidity of the molded plastic body and also to provide an anchoring means for the supporting straps 12, 13 as hereinafter described. The upper edge 19a of the rear wall 19 is concavely curved, as best seen in FIGS. 1 and 5, to accommodate a full generally cylindrical beverage container. As seen in FIG. 2, such a curvature is necessary because a particular size beverage container may extend over the rear of the drip tray when supported thereon. The front wall 20 of the drip tray need not be so curved since it is necessary that the front of the beverage container be spaced inwardly from the front wall to provide sutficient space for excess liquid from a spigot 14a to drip into the drip tray. The bottom wall 16 has a downwardly and rearwardly inclined front portion 16a (FIG. 4) to prevent any accumulation of liquid in the drip tray beneath the spigot which drops of liquid might splash over the sides of the tray. The bottom wall 16 of the drip tray is also provided with a plurality of longitudinal stiffening ribs 23 disposed at the junction between the side walls 18 and the bottom wall. A plurality of transverse stiffening ribs 24 extend inwardly away from the longitudinal ribs 23 along the bottom wall 17 toward the center of the drip tray. The provision of these longitudinal and transverse stiffening ribs 23 and 24 respectively is facilitated by transversely curving the bottom wall 16, FIGS. 3 and 5, so that its longitudinal edges are spaced upwardly from the plane formed by the lower periphery of the side walls 18. As seen in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, the longitudinal ribs "23 and the transverse ribs 24 are triangular in cross section for maximum strength, and such ribs cooperate with the continuous flange 22' about the upper periphery of the drip tray to provide a remarkably strong structure in view of the thinness of the supporting walls.
Referring to FIG. 3, the lower apices 23a, 24a of the triangular ribs 23, 24 respectively provide flat shelf engaging surfaces to enable the drip tray to rest stably on any refrigerator shelf which may consist of a plurality of spaced wires in a horizontal plane.
Referring to FIG. 1 and 2, a plurality of generally vertical ribs 2 are molded into each of the side walls 23 to provide rigid stiffening means below each .of the supporting straps 12 and 13. It can be seen in FIG. 1 that two walls 25a and 25b of each rib 25 are triangular in shape to enhance their stiffening and supporting function.
As seen in FIG. 5, the straps 12 and 13 are'retained in position across the body 11 by means of downwardly inclined end flanges 12a, 1311, each of which extends through a slot 27 in flange 22 of the body portion to provide a sliding connection between the supporting straps 12 and 13 and the body 11. When a full beverage dispenser is positioned on the supporting straps 12 and 13, the flanges 12a, 13a slide slightly inwardly within the slots 27 when the straps resiliently deform .under the weight of the container, as diagrammatically shown in FIG. 5. Thus the relatively thin plastic body portion is not appreciably deformed regardless of the contents or quantity of the supported container, and the weight of the container is distributed over the stiffening portions of the supporting body portion as described above.
A plurality of spaced rubber lugs 30 are provided on each of the supporting straps 12, 13 to prevent a cylindrical beverage container from rolling sideways.
As best seen in FIG. 3, the scale arm 15 projects through a slot 20a cut in the upper edge .of the front wall 20 of the drip tray, and scale marks 31 alongside the slot 20a cooperate with the scale arm :15 to indicate the degree of fullness of a container on the straps. The scale arm 15 is of relatively soft metal so that when a full container is on the straps the consumer may bendthe arm so it is in alignment with the -'full" indicator marking on the front of the drip tray. As the contents of the container are removed, the diminishing deflection of front supporting strap ,12 permits the scale arm 15 to move toward the container. Thus, the unit provides a simple and easily set quantity scale which has no complicated parts or delicate components and yet is sufficiently accurate for its intended purpose.
While I have shown and described a certain embodiment of my invention, it is to be understood that it is capable of many modifications. Changes, therefore, in the construction and arrangement may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A combination drip tray, quantity indicator and support for a liquid container that has a spigot and support comprising: a tub-like body having a bottom wall and continuous upstanding peripheral wall means that includes a front wall; a plurality of relatively thin, gen-. erally parallel resilient supporting straps secured to said peripheral wall for supporting a container of liquid above 4 said bottom wall and with the spigot wholly behind the front wall; and a projecting scale arm secured to one of said resilient supporting straps for movement therewith to indicate the quantity of liquid in a container supported on said straps, said scale arm extending through a slot in the perpheral wall of said body, and said peripheral wall being provided with scale markings alongside the slot which cooperate with said scale arm to provide :a quantity indicator for said container support.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein the straps extend transversely of the body, the scale arm is on a strap nearest the front wall of the body, and the slot is in said front wall.
3, A combination drip tray, quantity indicator and support for a liquid container that has a spigot and support comprising: a tub-like body having a bottom wall and continuous upstanding peripheral wall means that includes a front wall, said peripheral wall having a plurality of pairs of opposed slots on. portions that flank said front wall; a plurality of relatively thin, generally parallel resilient supporting straps secured to said peripheral wall for supporting a container of liquid above said bottom wall and with the spigot wholly behind the front wall, each of said supporting straps having downwardly inclined flanges at both ends which extend through a pair of said opposed slots; and a projecting scale arm secured to one of said resilient supporting straps for movement therewith to indicate the quantity of liquid in a container supported on said straps.
4. The combination of claim 3 in which the peripheral wall has a generally horizontal external flange at its upper edge, and the slots are immediately beneath said external flange so that the strap flanges are concealed beneath the external flanges.
5. A combination container support and quantity indicator, comprising: a supporting understructure'having an upright portion provided with scale markings; a plurality of spaced relatively thin resilient supporting straps mounted on said supporting understructure; and a projecting scale arm of relatively thin, soft metal secured to one of said supporting straps alongside said scale markings for movemenswith the strap and cooperating with said markings to indicate the quantity of liquid in a container disposed on-said resilient supporting straps, said scale arm being readily deformable for initial alignment with said scale markings.
6. The combination of claim 5 in which the supporting understructure includes opposed wall means having slots therein, and in which an end of each of the resilient straps extends slida'bly through one of said slots.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 163,360 5/1875 Clark 222-108 2,670,194 2/1954 Hansson 177245 X 2,918,379 12/1959 Lurie 22072 X 2,929,601 3/1960 Anderson 248346 2,930,562 3/1960 King 248-452 3,187,688 6/1965 Kreilick 10855 FOREIGN PATENTS 565,834 4/1958 Belgium.
ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.