US 3587917 A
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United States Patent S T N m A t 1P S E mi A e T .ms m E N U N 5 m N am .m .m s 0 d a 0 R a P .mm M m HA mm m0 3% r w n e m 1.207 12/1916 Sullivan........................ 221/312 2,729 221/312 528 l/1956 Bennett.........,.
300 10/1959 Engram........................
132 4/1961 Huck........
533 7/1967 Krugger........................
Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves  Appl. No 35,157  Filed May 6, 1970 (45] Patented June 28, 1971 Assistant Examiner-Thomas E. Kocousky Altorney-- Daniel M. Rosen  CUP DISPENSING LIQUID CONTAINER 7 Clalms, 5 Drawing Figs.
ABSTRACT: A liquid container for dispensing cups is provided with a central insertable tube spring loaded for disposing cups upwardly. In an embodiment, protrusions in a swivel top M n WU 6 5 m2 m9 9 m m2 m2 C N U 2 S 1 cap permit one at a time dispensing of cups, and in a further embodiment, protrusions in the insertable tube permit one at a time dispensing.
 FieldofSearch............................................ 221/197, 198,199,96, 307, 312; 220/(1E), 17, 23; 215/6,
CUP DISPENSING LIQUID CONTAINER This invention relates to cup-dispensing mechanisms, and particularly to a liquid container for dispensing cups as well as liquid.
It will be recognized that the need exists for a compact and convenient dispensing unit that can serve as a repository for both liquid and cups to hold the liquid. The arrangement most frequently encountered employs a fillable liquid container with a double set of cups or covers. The inner set serves as a liquid seal, while the outer set provides a liquid-holding function. The difficulty presented by such an arrangement however lies in the awkward shaping of the cup, and the fact that it must be retained for reuse.
The need for a disposable cup dispenser in combination with a liquid dispenser is more desirable. Prior devices attempting to provide this function fall short due to complicated hinge mechanisms, gasketing problems, expense of construction, and the need for providing unusual liquid container structures.
It is important as well from a sanitary point of view that the cups be dispensedin a positive manner, one by one from an inverted position. Prior devices tend to be only cup holders or containers, with the insides exposed to the outer portion of the containers.
The present invention accomplishes the objective of combining the functions of a cup dispenser with a liquid container in a single novel and unique arrangement wherein a cup holder dispenses cups out of the interior of the liquid container in a one by one fashion. Specifically, a liquid container having a liquid outlet and an open threaded neck is provided with a tube insertable into the neck extending into the liquid container. The tube receives a plurality of nestable' cups. The cups are inserted with their outsides extending upward. Means such as a coil spring acting against a pressure plug are provided to exert pressure against the interior of the cups for urging the cups upward, out ofthe neck ofthe container. In a first embodiment, the cap is provided with an inner portion having means such as a protuberance or series of protuberances for engaging the cups to counteract the upward bias exerted by the spring and thereby to hold the cups in the tube. The top of the cap is swivelable to a position allowing the cups to be removed manually, by grasping the extending portion of the uppermost cup and pulling the cup past the protuberances. The next cup is thereafter urged into position against the protuberances by the upward bias of the spring and is ready for use. In a further embodiment, the tube containing the cups is itself provided with protuberances to engage the cup. In this case, the cap may be removed entirely and the cups dispensable out of the neck of the liquid container.
To maintain the liquid seal, the screw cap is designed to engage the threaded neck of the liquid container. The closure of the cap presses down upon the cups and the underlying spring, causing a positive closure seal between the insertable tube and the neck flange ofthe liquid container.
It is thus the object of this invention to provide a unique and novel unitary assemblage for containing liquid and dispensing cups.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a novel and unique liquid container for dispensing cups one at a time in a positive manner from a cup dispenser positioned within a liquid container.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a liquid container cooperating in a novel and unique manner with a cup dispenser for providing a positive seal.
The forgoing objects and brief description as well as other features and advantagesof this invention will become more apparent with reference to the following description and accompanying FIGS., wherein:
FIG. I illustrates a perspective view of the liquid container,
FIG. 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the preferred embodiment taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1,
FIG. 3 shows a detail of the cap as viewed from the interior,
FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the insertable cup container and FIG. 5 shows an alternative embodiment of the invention.
Referring to FIG. I, a perspective view of the liquid container is shown. Basically the container 10 is any convenient form of liquid container constructed in any well-known manner. For example, a simple picnic jug composed of a molded styrofoam can be employed, or a more sophisticated hotcold liquid container can be constructed of sandwiched layer of exterior plastic, intermediate insulation and a glass lining. A liquid outlet 12 permits the egress of liquid from the interior of the container. A carrying mechanism such as a han dle I4 is mounted to the exterior ofthe container. The neck of the container receives a screw-on cap 16. The cap may 'be constructed of a high impact plastic or other suitable material.
As shown in FIG. 2, the container 10 includes a neck portion 18 opening into the container interior and having an upper portion or neck flange 19. The neck portion contains exterior threads 20 cooperating with like gauge threads on the interior of the cap 16. The cap includes an upper portion 22 and a lower portion 24. The cap is shown as a two section piece, however, unitary construction could be employed. The cap is shown in a fully tightened position. The container is shown with segmented walls to indicate that the length thereof may be extended.
The upper cap portion 22 includes a swivel top portion 26 mounted thereto by means of a conventional rivet 28 or like arrangement for permitting rotation of the cap top, as shown in FIG. 3. The inner segment 30 of the cap includes a series of protrusions 32 extending inwardly from the surface 30, best illustrated in FIG. 3. The protrusions are preferably constructed integrally with the cap portion 30. The number of protrusions can vary in accordance with the desired retention strength, however, for general use with conventional paper cups it is noted that three or four, as shown, are adequate and satisfactory.
Referring again to FIG. 2, tube 34 is insertably mounted into the neck 18 of the container and may extend the length of the container or rest somewhat above the container bottom. The tube may be constructed ofany as suitable material such as a polystyrene or the like which is watertight and strong enough to withstand deformation due to exterior liquid pressure or internal spring pressures.
At the bottom of the tube 34 a plug 36 is either formed integrally with the tube bottom or otherwise fixably mounted thereto. A coil spring 38, shown in cross sections and preferably constructed of a suitable springy material, such as steel, is fixably positioned or otherwise mounted about the plug 36 and rises the length of the tube until contacting a pressure plug 40. Cups 42 are mounted in an inverted nested manner on the pressure plug 40. The spring and plug together act to exert upward bias to the cups 42. The upper portion 43 of the tube 34 has an inverted L cross section into which the neck flange 19 abuts. In closure position, as shown, the spring action is such as to force the tube downward and thus form a firm seal between the insertable tube and the neck flange 19.
When the cap 16 is placed upon the neck of the container, and the closure disc 26 is in place over the opening in the cap, the cups are forced down into the tube 34. The length of such cup is such that the protrusions 32 on the cap flange 30 will be above the roll edge 44 of the uppermost cup. To remove a cup, the swivel top 26 is rotatably moved from its closure position to an open position. As a result, the spring will urge the cups up out of the cap portion 22 until the uppermost cup roll edge 44 comes to rest on the protuberances 32. To remove a cup, it is only necessary to grasp the uppermost cup and pull same out of the neck. The cups are assumed sufficiently deformable about the roll edge top portions to permit such movement without damage to the cup.
Once the uppermost cup is removed, spring pressure will cause the next successive cup to move into place against the protuberances.
No liquid escapes since the pressure of the cap flange 30 against the upper portion of the insertably tube 34 causes the areas of engagement between the tube 34 and the interior segments of the liquid container to be firm and tight. No liquid can escape into the upper cap portion since the cap is completely isolated from the liquid in the container due to the cooperative relationship of the tube 34 and flange 19.
In a further embodiment, the protrusions 45 are mounted (FIG. 4) or formed directly upon the upper portion 46 of an otherwise similarly constructed insertable tube 48. Cups 50 are mounted upon a pressure plug 5 2 which in turn is attached to a coil spring 54. In this embodiment it is preferable to insert the cups 50 directly into the tube 48 without forcing the cups over the protrusion. This can be done several ways, including removal of the upper collar 46 from the tube 48, as by a threaded or friction fit connection, or by removal of the bottom 56 which may be attachable by threading or friction fit.
Insertion of the tube 48 into a liquid container 58 is accomplished as shown in FIG. 5, and a closure cap 60 mounted on a threaded neck 62. Cup removal is effected in the same manner as shown in FIG. 2. However, since the cap is no longer operative to retain the cups for dispensing, the cap can be of either the swivel top variety shown in FIG. 2 or a single unit as shown in FIG. 5. In FIG. 5, removal of the cap again permits the cup 50 to rise up until the roll edge 64 of the uppermost cup 50 is in position to contact the protrusion 45. The cup can then be manually grasped and the roll edge thereof pulled over the protrusions. Once clear, the spring pressure urges the next successive cup into position against the protrusions for removal.
Although the invention has disclosed in terms of particular embodiments, it will be understood that other arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art which will be within the scope and spirit of the invention.
1. A cup dispenser comprising a liquid container having a liquid outlet and an open neck, a cup-holding tube insertable into said neck and extending into said liquid container, said cup-holding tube receiving therein a plurality of nestable cups, means supported within said tube for exerting upward bias to said cups, means for engaging said cups and counteracting said upward bias, and a removable cap engageable with said neck and contacting said cups for depressing said cups into said tube when said cap is a closure position.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said means for engaging comprises a plurality of protrusions forming part of said cap and engageable with the roll edge forming a part of each of said cups.
3. The combination of claim 2 wherein said cap in closure position urges said roll edge below said protrusions out of engagement and includes a top portion operable to permit said cups to be upwardly biased until said uppermost cup engages said protrusions.
4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said top portion includes a swiveling member movable about a fixed point from a closed position retaining said cups within said container to an open position allowing removal of said cups from said container.
5. The combination of claim 3 wherein said means supported within said tube for exerting upward bias to said cups includes a coil spring fixably positioned at one end thereof remote from said cups and includes a pressure plug attached to the other end thereof for exerting said pressure against said cups.
6. A liquid-containing cup dispenser comprising a liquid container having a liquid outlet and an open threaded neck, a cup-holding tube insertable into said neck and extending into said liquid container, said cup-holding tube receiving therein a plurality of inverted nestable cups each having a roll edge, spring means supported within said tube for exerting upward bias to said cups, a screw-on cap engageable with said threaded neck for exerting pressure against said cups and urging said cups downward into said tube, and a series of protrusions formed around the interior surface of said cap, said protrusions normally engageable with the roll edge of the uppermost one of said cups, the upper surface of said cap urging the roll edge of said uppermost cup below the level of said protrusions.
7. The combination of claim 6 wherein said liquid container includes a flange surrounding the opening defined by the throat thereof, said tube insertable against and urged toward said flange by pressure exerted in said tube by the upper surface of said cap against said cups to form a positive seal.