US 3613948 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Leonard Atlee Wills P. 0. Box 7354 Benjamin Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20004  Appl. No. 867,734  Filed Oct. 20, 1969  Patented Oct. 19, 1971  SANITARY SIPPING-STRAW DISPENSER 4 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 221/250, 221/254  Int. Cl ..B65g 59/00, B65h 3/00  Field of Search 221/247, 250, 254, 267; 206/635; 222/544; 220/24 R; 229/7 S  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,050,178 1/1913 Smith 206/635 1,211,139 1/1917 Grieletal. 221/250 1,588,386 6/1926 Young 221/250 2,212,268 8/1940 lvanofi' 221/250 X 2,251,489 8/1941 Koziel 221/250 X 3,095,118 6/1963 Wills 221/250 X Primary ExaminerM. Henson Wood, Jrv Assistant ExaminerEdwin D. Grant ABSTRACT: A sanitary straw dispenser, of the type having vertically reciprocable straw-dispensing means and wherein straws are supported standing on end within a receptacle, is provided with a combination straw retention and straw discharge opening closure member. The straw retention closure member rests on the receptacle at the straw discharge opening and is adapted to provide a cover for the opening, and has a stem portion extending downwardly through the discharge opening into the interior of the receptacle with a widened portion at its end which serves to prevent detachment of the member from the receptacle top wall and adds weight at this location for proper operation. The member is adapted so that a straw being elevated into the discharge opening by the straw-dispensing means, displaces the member from its cover position sufficiently to permit passage of the straw; but at the same time the member is pressing the straw against the edge of the discharge opening (gravitationally resisting displacement), so that after the ejector is lowered, the straw is retained at its elevated position by friction for withdrawal by a user. Upon withdrawal of the straw, the member returns to its closed position over the opening by operation of gravity.
SANITARY SIPPING-SIRAW DISPENSER This invention relates to straw dispensers, and more particularly to straw dispensers of the type having vertically reciprocable straw-dispensing means, and wherein straws are supported standing on end within a receptacle.
The novel features of this invention are combined with the novel features of issued U.S. patents in order to show a dispenser embodiment that is complete with all parts necessary for proper dispenser operation.
A main object of this invention is to provide an improved sanitary straw dispenser having a novel straw retention and discharge opening closure adapted for use with a straw receptacle wherein straws are supported on end, while providing an element that is inexpensive to fabricate, operates smoothly and effectively, effectively protects against the entrance of contaminants, and protects against the closure becoming contaminated by the user.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved sanitary straw dispenser having a novel slideway for mounting a reciprocable straw ejector, to provide a mounting element that is relatively inexpensive to fabricate, durable, and sturdy in construction. This novel feature is particularly adaptable for use with the novel straw receptacle of U.S. Pat. No. 3,272,386.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following descriptions and claims and from the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 represents a vertical central cross-sectional view of the improved sanitary sipping-straw dispenser constructed in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 2 represents a horizontal cross-sectional view of the improved dispenser, said view taken substantially on the line A--A of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 represents a perspective view of the novel straw retention and discharge opening closure and a vertical cross-sectional view of the receptacle cover lid with a straw being retained in the discharge opening.
FIG. 4 represents a perspective view of the novel slideway for mounting the reciprocable straw ejector.
FIG. 5 represents a perspective view of the reciprocable straw ejector.
FIG. 6 represents a perspective view of an ejector impact absorber spring.
A detailed description is given so that the construction, operation, and features of the invention may be clearly understood:
Referring to the drawing, and more particularly to FIG. 1, a sipping-straw dispenser is designated of the type where straws are supported on end in a straw receptacle, a vertically reciprocating straw-dispensing mechanism is employed to engage and dispense straws into a straw-discharge opening in the receptacle cover lid, a straw retention and discharge opening closure is employed, the straw ejector member of the strawdispensing mechanism being slidably mounted by slideway means contained largely within a slender vertical cavity formed in a thickened vertical sidewall portion of the straw receptacle. The features and structure of the slender vertical cavity and vertical slots formed in the thickened receptacle sidewall portion are essentially as shown by U.S. Pat. No. 3,272,386, Sept. 13, 1966. Straw-positioning cup means and straw agitation means are employed. The features and structure of the straw-agitating means and the features of other elements associated therewith, are the same as shown by U.S. Pat. No. 3,203,600, Aug. 31, 1965.
Designated at 14 is the novel straw retention and discharge opening closure. Closure 14 can be made of plastic or any other suitable material. It has an upper portion 15 which provides a cover for the straw-discharge opening 3. A disk-shaped bottom portion 16 of closure 14 provides sufficient weight to insure the closure will operate by gravity to cover the discharge opening 3 after a straw is withdrawn from the opening, and will retain a straw elevated into opening 3. Portion 16 is great enough in diameter to insure it cannot be lifted through opening 3, and is shaped such that a straw will readily slide off of it if contacted, and is made thin to minimize interference with straws. The closure shank portion 17 is made relatively small in diameter so it will occupy relatively little space when elevated into opening 3. The bottom side of closure upper portion 15 is shaped so that the upper end of a straw pushing against same will readily slide upwardly thereon. FIG. 3 shows the position of closure 14 after a straw has been elevated into the discharge opening 3 and is being retained by closure 14. A shroud .19 is formed on cover lid 2 to help guard against closure 14 becoming contaminated by users fingers.
A special configured, essentially cylindrical, receptacle 1, of plastic, or such suitable material, and of proper siz nd shape is employed for containing the straws. The receptade l is provided with a cover lid 2 which is upwardly funnel shaped. A straw-discharge opening 3 is formed in cover lid 2 and is provided with a straw retention and discharge opening closure 14 freely supported on cover lid 2.
Designated at 4 is a thickened vertical sidewallportion of the receptacle 1 which is formed and adapted to house and slidably support a vertically reciprocating straw ejector member 5 therein (individual view of the ejector member 5 is shown in FIG. 5) and a slot closure bar 10 preferably of nylon material or such. A slender vertical cavity 6 is formed in wall portion 4. The novel slideway member 22 (individual view is shown in FIG. 4) is partially imbedded in the receptacle sidewall material, and rails 23 and 24 of slideway 22 project into the cavity 6. The slideway 22 could be attached to the receptacle by other means, but imbedment is shown as the preferred means. A cross-sectional view of the slideway member 22 partially imbedded in the receptacle sidewall and projecting into cavity 6 is shown in FIG. 2. The bar portion 32 (preferably of nylon material or such) of straw ejector member 5 is slidably mounted on slideway 22. Grooves 25 and 26 of bar 32 slide on rails 23 and 24 respectively of slideway 22. Slideway 22 is made of sufficiently durable material.
A vertical slot 21 is formed in wall portion 4 and extends laterally from cavity 6 to the interior surface of the receptacle 1. Slot 21 is adapted to receive the flange portion 33 of ejector member 5 and permits vertical reciprocable movement of said flange portion therein. A vertical slot 30 is formed in the wall portion 4 and extends laterally from cavity 6 to the exterior surface of wall portion 4 of receptacle 1. The slot 30 is adapted to receive the lift arm portion 28 of ejector member 5 and permits vertical reciprocable movement of said lift arm therein. A slender vertical cavity 13 is formed in wall portion 4 and is located such that the lower portion of cavity 13 extends into the slot area 30, the width of cavity 13 being slightly greater than the width of slot opening 30. Slot closure bar 10 is contained and slidably mounted within cavity 13. Bar 10 is permitted to have vertical movement within cavity 13 as ejector member 5 moves upwardly and downwardly. Ejector impact-absorber spring 8 (individual view is shown in FIG. 6) is located partially within cavity 6 and is supported by the foot portion 27 of slideway 22.
A straw-supporting cup 31 is integrally formed within receptacle 1 and has a narrow vertical slot 18 formed therein which is in a straight line with slot 21 of wall portion 4 (slot 18 essentially being an extension of slot 21). The slot 18 extends vertically from the top surface of cup 31 into cavity 34 formed in the lower portion of receptacle 1. The slot 18 underlies the bottom ends of several inclined straws 20 disposed on cup 31 as shown.
A straw agitator member 7 preferably of nylon material or such is located and pivotally mounted within receptacle cavity 34 at pivot joint 11 and is biased in a counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 1 by agitator torsion spring 9. This member is the same as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,203,600, Aug. 31, 1965. Plate 12 is used to close cavity 34 and support ejector impact spring 8. Receptacle support 35 adds weight for receptacle stability.
The operation of the dispenser is described as follows:
When the lift arm 28 of the straw ejector member- 5 is released by a user and allowed to move to the lowered position, bar 32, mounted on slideway 22 as described above, moves vertically downward in cavity 6. Bar is permitted to move downwardly in cavity 13 until its bottom end contacts the bottom end of cavity 13, thereby closing the portion of slot 30 which lies between the upper end of ejector bar 32 and the top end of slot 30. The ejector member 5 continues downwardly and its bottom end contacts the straw agitator member 7 and causes it to rotate clockwise thereby agitating straws having their bottom ends positioned over slot 18 on cup 31. Downward movement of the ejector member 5 is arrested by spring 8 which absorbs ejector impact shock. As the lift arm 28 of the ejector member 5 is elevated from the lowered position, the straw engagement pin 29 formed on said member 5 (adjacent to flange 33) engages the bottom end of a straw that is positioned over the slot 18 directly above the pin. The engaged straw is elevated by the ejector member 5 to the upper ejector position. The upper portion of the engaged straw exits through the straw-discharge opening 3, causing the closure 14 to move in a manner to permit straw discharge. The closure 14 retains the straw in this position where a portion of said straw is accessible for grasping by the user. The cycle may now be repeated for the delivery of another straw. Of course, the ejector member 5 normally rests at the lowered position.
Advantages of the novel straw retention discharge opening closure:
The closure is very inexpensive to fabricate. It requires no mounting as such but is freely supported on the receptacle cover lid, and fashioned so it will not fall from the discharge opening area of the lid. It is not susceptible to be torn from the cover lid such as a hinged closure would be. its shape and position helps defend itself from contamination. Because of simplicity in operation, it is highly reliable. The opening in the straw receptacle through which straws are discharged must have a cover or closure member to insure that the opening is covered when the dispenser is not being operated in order to provide a sanitary straw dispenser.
Advantages of the novel slideway for mounting the reciprocable straw ejector:
It provides a sturdy, durable, and secure means for mounting a reciprocating part which can receive relatively severe forces from the user and impact shock upon fall by gravity to its lower position. It can be partially embedded in the receptacle sidewall material or be attached thereto, providing a strengthened receptacle at the weakened sidewall area where the vertical slots and/or cavity are located for accommodating the reciprocable ejector.
What is claimed is:
1. A straw dispenser comprising a receptacle having a top, bottom and side walls, the top wall having a straw-discharge opening, said receptacle being adapted to support straws standing on end therein, means for dispensing a straw into the said straw-discharge opening, a discharge opening closure supported on the receptacle at the discharge opening, said discharge opening closure having a first portion adapted to provide a cover for the discharge opening and movable to an open position by a straw being dispensed into the opening, said discharge opening closure having a second portion which extends through the straw discharge opening into the interior of the receptacle and is a shank portion that adds weight and moment for returning the closure to its closed position by operation of gravity upon withdrawal of a straw from the said discharge opening.
2. A straw dispenser as set forth in claim 1 further characterized in that a widened portion of the said discharge opening closure second portion is greater in width than a portion of the closure is on the outside of the discharge opening and will not pass through the discharge opening and another portion of the closure is on the inside of the discharge opening and will not pass through the discharge opening.
3. A straw dispenser as set forth in claim 1 further characterized in that the said dischar e opening closure is not attached to the receptacle other t an that a portion of the closure is on the outside of the discharge opening and will not pass through the discharge opening and another portion of the closure is on the inside of the discharge opening and will not pass through the discharge opening.
4. A straw dispenser comprising a receptacle having a top, bottom and sidewalls, the top wall having a straw discharge opening, said receptacle being adapted to support straws standing on end therein, means for dispensing a straw into the said straw discharge opening, closure means supported on the receptacle at the discharge opening and adapted to provide a cover for the discharge opening and movable to an open position by a straw being dispensed into the discharge opening and returnable to a closed position upon withdrawal of the straw from the discharge opening, and a portion of the said closure means extends downwardly through the discharge opening and is widened below the opening which prevents separation of the closure means from the receptacle top wall.