US 3425626 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 4, 1969 J. F. Dn-:Tz ET AL 3,425,626
DRINKING STRAW Filed Dec. 4, 1967 United States Patent O 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A tube for drinking liquids from a container. The straw has straight end portions which extend from a mid portion of the drinking straw. The mid portion comprises a plurality of tortuous bends, at least the majority of which encompass portions of one of the straight end portions of the straw. The straight end portions of the straw define an angle which is greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees so that either end of the straw may be placed in a container and so that, in either case, the person using the straw may observe the liquid flowing through the tortuous midpoint thereof. The straw is transparent and is constructed from a stily flexible, non-toxic plastic which maintains its non-toxicity even when employed with heated liquids.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Prior art drinking straws have been provided which have convoluted and overlapping portions between the ends of the straw to provide a novelty item which will permit the user to observe liquid flowing through the convoluted portions of the straw. Such drinking straws have not been widely accepted because such straws were fabricated from unsafe materials, such as glass or non- Food and Drug Administration-approved plastics, or because the convolutions were formed in an uninteresting manner.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to this invention, a drinking straw is provided which has a substantially centrally disposed mid portion, wherein a major portion of the length of the straw follows a tortuous path, and wherein the user of such a straw may observe a rapid initial flow of liquid through a straight portion of the straw which is immersed in the liquid and then an unusually long flow of fluid through the tortuous mid portion prior to later flow through a straight drinking portion of the straw. This effect is accomplished by providing a transparent plastic straw having a substantially straight portion, one end of which is to be immersed in the liquid, a mid portion which follows a tortuous path from the other end of the straight portion downwardly in a tortuous pathtoward the glass and then upwardly as a second substantially straight portion to the users mouth. The rst and second straight portions of the straw are substantially coplanar [but are angularly related to define an angle which is between `90 degrees and 180 degrees.
The straw according to this invention is preferably fabricated from a non-toxic Food and Drug Administrationapproved, stily flexible plastic which is non-shatterable.
The first and second straight portions of the straw have substantially the same lengths so that the user may immerse either end in the liquid.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a straw according to this invention, showing one end of the straw immersed in a liquid.
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation of the straw illustrated in FIGURE l but showing the straw viewed from the opposite side.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, a drinking straw 10 is illustrated. The drinking straw 10 includes a substantially straight first portion 11, a substantially straight second portion 12, and a mid portion 13, wherein the straw follows a tortuous path. The substantially straight first portion 11 extends upwardly to a peak 14 and then downwardly and is wrapped a multiplicity of times around the portion 11 so that at least a major portion of the convolutions surround an upper portion of the straight portion 11, and so that at least some of the convolutions surround other convolutions. The straw then forms the substantially straight second portion 12 which is substantially coplanar with the first straight portion 11 and is angularly related thereto at an angle between and 180 degrees, and preferably 45 degrees as shown.
When the straw is placed in a glass 15 and liquid is drawn through the substantially straight first portion 11, the fluid rises rapidly in that portion to the peak 14. This is observed by the user and, since the portions 11 and 12 are substantially coplanar, it appears to the user that liquid ow will then continue through the portion 12. However, the ow continues through the tortuous mid portion 13 and eventually reaches the portion 12. Since the tortuous portion of the straw comprises a majority of the total length of the tubing, but appears to be relatively small when visually compared to the portions 11 and 12, the user has the impression that fluid will reach his mouth well prior to the time that such fluid actually reaches the users mouth. The foregoing effect is enhanced lby the substantially coplanar relationship between the portions 11 and 12, which misleads the user into believing that the portion 12 is in direct communication with the portion 11.
Whenrsuction is released at the end of the portion 12, ilow is reversed and the tortuous path which the fluid follows may again be observed.
Since the portions 11 and 12 are of substantially equal length, the portion 12 may be immersed in fluid and the portion 11 may then become the drinking tube portion.
The straw according to this invention is preferably fabricated from a length of non-toxic, stiflly flexible, transparent plastic which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A suitable plastic for the straw may be a suitably plasticized cellulose acetate. A straw according to this invention has -been fabricated from a threefoot length of such material by immersing the tubing in boiling water until the plastic is heat softened. The tubing was then bent downwardly at a point spaced about six inches from one end and a majority of the length of the tubing (about 26 inches) was bent in a tortuous path so that a majority of the tortuously bent tubing surrounded a portion of the straight six-inch length. The remainder of the tubing provided a straight four-inch mouth portion which was oriented so that it was coplanar with the sixinch portion and defined an angle of 45 degrees with the six-inch portion. The straw was then permitted to harden at room temperature.
The invention is not restricted to the slavish imitation of each and every one of the details set forth above. Obviously, straws may be provided which change, eliminate, or add certain specific details without departing from the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A drinking straw comprising a hollow transparent tube, said straw having first and second substantially straight and substantially coplanar end portions of substantially equal length and a mid portion wherein the tube follows a. tortuous path, at least a major portion of said tortuous path being in surrounding relationship with one of said straight portions.
2. A drinking straw according to claim 1 wherein all portions of said tortuous path are in surrounding relationship with said one of said straight portions.
3. A drinking straw according to claim 1 wherein the length of the material forming said mid portion of the straw is greater than the combined lengths of the rst and second end portions.
4. A drinking straw according to claim 1 wherein said tortuous path includes paths which surround other tortuous paths and which surround said one of said straight portions.
5. A drinking straw according to claim 1 wherein said first and second substantially straight end portions dene an angle of between about 180 and 90 degrees.
6. A drinking straw according to claim 5 wherein said angle is 45 degrees.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,916,646 7/1933 Tycko 239-33 2,063,803 12/1936 Gildersleeve 239-33 2,370,931 3/1945 Bogin et al 239-33 2,557,411 6/1951 Butsch 239-33 2,619,770 12/1952 Dinhofer 239-33 EVERETT W. KIRBY, Primary Examiner.
U.S. Cl. X.R.