US 3624788 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 3,151,798 /1964 Meagher 3,107,028 10/1963 DeRobertis Inventors Martin J. McMahon 3,362,590 1/1968 Martin 222/465 6 Rolling Ridge Road, Windham, 19.11. 3,014,621 12/1961 Povitz 229 1.5 H 03087; 3,443,829 5/1969 Lohmeyer 215/100 A Sidney z.sm1ui, 583 Chandler St., 3,401,429 10 1968 Di Nardo.... 215/1005 Worcester, Mass. 0l602 3,458,164 7/1969 Massey 220/85 11 P 31128 FOREIGN PATENTS F'led 1970 1,449,035 7/1966 France 220/94 R Patented Nov. 30, 1971 Primary Examiner-Joseph R. Leclair DISPOSABLE LIQUID SERVING SYSTEM 8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl. 220/94 R, 220/ H, 229/1 .5 H, 294/27 H, 294/32, 215/ References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Assistant Examiner-Stephen Marcus Attorneys- Frank C. Rote, Jr. and Harry F. Pepper, J r,
ABSTRACT: A disposable carafe comprises a container of cellular plastic material, such as expanded polystyrene, in combination with a detachable handle of higher density, easily moldable plastic material. The container is tapered from an open top to a closed bottom such that it will nest with other similarly designed containers for purposes of storing and/or shipping. The handle is a one-piece, injection molded member having a base into which is fitted the bottom of the container. A thin, flexible or bendable hinge section extends from the base to an elongated, stiffened, gripping portion. The end of the gripping portion is adapted to connect with a lug which extends from the container near the top thereof.
PATENTEDNUV 30 |97| SHEET 10F 2 [NV/JV! (IRS MARTIN J. MCMAHON Y SIDNEY 2. SMITH Tia/m l. ATTORNEY DISPOSABLE LIQUID SERVING SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Theinvention relates to liquid decanters or carafes, and particularly to carafes which are disposable.
Much of the equipment now used in hospitals, nursing homesand the like is disposable. The salubrious reasoning behind using such equipment is basically that chancesof crossinfection are minimized when equipment which comes into contact with one individual is destroyed or disposed of before coming into contact with a second individual. Nondisposable equipment can, of course, be thoroughly cleaned during, and sterilized after, each contact with, or use by, a given individual. This requirement obviously-adds to hospital operating expenses and is time consuming. Therefore, disposable-articles are also usually-attractive from the standpoint of cost and convenience.
Bedside articles are good examples of day to day equipment which require the hygienic considerations mentioned. Hospitals, nursing homes and other similar institutions normally provide each patient with a bedside carafe or decanter from which the patient may obtain liquid refreshment when desired. Many different styles of carafes are used for this purpose which are disposable or nondisposable.
In the past, stainless steel carafes were the most widely used and continue to be popular because they are sturdy, easily cleaned and sterilized, and can be made to possess satisfactory insulation properties. These carafes are, however, relatively expensive to manufacture and require the frequent, usually daily cleaning and sterilization mentioned previously.
Lower cost, rigid plastic carafes arebecoming increasingly popular. These plastic carafes are generally blow molded or injection" molded articles and are either thin" gauge'or heavy" gauge depending upon whether they are to be disposable or nondisposable. The thin gauge plastic carafes are usually considered disposable with the intent to avoid the costs and inconvenience of frequent cleaning and sterilization. However, these thin gauge containers are notably poor insulators. While the thicker or heavier gauge plastic containers are generally better insulators, higher manufacturing costsmake single patient use and disposability questionable. In choosing between two nondisposable carafes, one plastic and one stainless steel, hospitals invariably will select the latter.
In addition, both thin and thick rigid plastic carafes of this type graduallydevelop a scum-like layer on the inner surfaces thereof after only a short-period of use. This may be due to the characteristically higher surface area of plastic articles when compared to metallic or glass articles. This scum harbors bacteria and is difficult to remove. Thus, the plastic carafes possibly require more frequent and sometimes more difficult cleaning operations than their'stainless steel counterparts.
The above disadvantages attributable to plastic carafes have been overcome to some degree by recently designed carafes which are composed of expanded polystyrene. A carafe of this type is disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,362,590. These carafes are lightweight, clean, odorless, fungus or scum-free, inexpensive and possess good insulation properties. With these characteristics evident, hospitals and the like are beginning to change to these carafes. Use of expanded polystyrene carafes is generally on a single-patient basis. In other words, a carafe is assigned to a patient upon his arrival at the hospital and upon his leaving, the carafe is destroyed or the patient is free to take it with him.
A disadvantage common to all the aforementioned disposable-type carafes yet to be rectified is their inconvenient and cumbersome designs. All known designs are difficult and expensive to handle from shipping and storage standpoints. For example, the blow-molded plastic carafe mentioned above features a bottom portion which is unusually larger than its open top. A blow molded plastic carafe, therefore, cannot nest in other similar-type structures. This increases shipping bulk, adding additional costs. Also, a quantity of these carafes will present the purchaser with storage problems. While an injection molded, thin gauge plastic carafe can be manufactured with a top tapering toward the bottom, it is normally not nestable because of its integrally connected handle. Similar disadvantages exists with regard to expanded polystyrene carafes. In order that the price remain attractive enough to consider disposability, these carafes are normally made with integral handles which restrict nestability. Because of added costs in shipping and storage, the disposability of such carafes becomes less attractive.
It can be seen that a need exists for a disposable carafe which is inexpensively made, conveniently shipped and stored, remains clean and relatively germ free and keeps contained liquids hot or cold.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide a carafe which is inexpensive to manufacture, convenient to ship and/or store, sanitary, insulated and disposable.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved, disposable carafe particularly'designed to substantially reduce associated shipping costs and storage problems.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved, inexpensive carafe which consists of two conveniently attachable and detachable parts.
The foregoing objects as well as others to become evident in the following description are achieved by a two part carafe comprising a cellular plastic, tapered container member and a higher density, easily moldable plastic handle member. The container member features a short projecting connector lug near the open top thereof into which one end of the handle member is secured. The bottom of the container telescopically registers into an openingin an appropriately designed base portion at the other end of thehandle member. The carafe is thus shipped and stored in an unassembled condition and assembled at the time it is to be used.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention is illustrated in a preferred form in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. I is a sectioned elevation view of a carafe assembly according to the present invention which is assembled and ready for use.
FIG. 2 is a partially sectioned elevation of the container member of the carafe assembly according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a view taken along lines 3-3 in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the handle member of the carafe as sembly.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is an enlarged view taken along lines 6-6 in FIG. 1 with parts omitted and shown in section.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged view taken along lines 7-7 in FIG. 2 with certain parts omitted and others shown in section.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION For a better understanding of the invention and the advantages attendant thereto, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate a presently preferred embodiment.
FIG. 1 shows a carafe or decanter assembled and ready to use. The carafe is a composite article with two basic parts, a vessel or container member 10 and a handle member 20. Each part is plastic, the container 10 preferably of a cellular-type plastic, such as expanded polystyrene. Each of the two parts are formed as illustrated by suitable molding techniques. The container member 10 is basically frustoconical, tapering from an open top portion 12 to a closed bottom 14. The handle member 20 is a one-piece article comprising a gripping portion 22 and a base portion 24 joined by a flexible hinge portion 26.
Further details of container member 10 may be understood by directing attention to FIGS. 2, 3, 6 and 7 along with FIG. 1.
The open top portion 12 is generally defined by a substantially circular edge 13, a portion 15 of which flares to define the upper edge of a spout 30 which controls the egress of liquid from the container 10. The container 10 includes a wall 16 of substantially uniform cross section defined by substantially equally tapered inner and outer surfaces 17 and 18, respectively, extending from the top portion 12 to the bottom portion 14. Adjacent the bottom 14 of the container 10 the cross section of the wall 16 is increased, as shown at 11, caused by a greater taper of inner surface 17. This provides additional foundation strength in the lower portion of the container. The lowermost portion 19 of outer surface 18 is substantially cylindrical, rather than tapered, for reasons to become evident hereinafter. This lower cylindrical portion 19 of surface 18 is provided with a pair of diametrically opposed grooves, one of which is shown in FIG. 2 as 36.
A lug 32 extends from the container 10, integral with outer surface 18. The lug 32 is provided with a rectangular recess 34 on the underside thereof. The lug is located on the upper portion of surface 18 closely adjacent to top edge 13 and is disposed substantially diametrically opposite to spout 30.
The container 10 is made entirely of a cellular plastic, preferably expanded polystyrene. However, other suitable plastics may be used, such as a rigid-type polyurethane foamed plastic. The container member is formed in a suitable mold by known techniques. For example, polystyrene beads may be placed in a mold appropriately conformed to the final shape of container 10 and heated. The beads will fuse to form the article defined by the mold. Expanded polystyrene is preferred because articles formed by such material are inexpensive, clean, sanitary, odorless, resistant to fungus or bacterial growth, lightweight but sturdy, and possess good insulation properties. Therefore, a container such as 10 made of such a material becomes immediately attractive to hospitals, nursing homes or the like, as a disposable item.
The general structural simplicity and convenient shape of container 10 are significant features of the present invention. As seen particularly in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the container 10 is designed to allow nesting in similar containers. That is, a quantity of containers such as 10, may be stacked in a nested fashion, an important convenience from storage and shipping standpoints. The container 10, designed as shown is approximately 70 percent nestable. The only portions of container 10 which might restrict nesting are the spout 30 and lug 32 which are located on the upper portion of the container such that hardly no restriction occurs.
It should be immediately apparent that other equally nestable shapes are possible in addition to the frustoconical design specifically shown. For example, the container 10 can be a tapered, generally polygonal structure within the contemplated scope of the invention.
Of course, the container 10 in an of itself cannot practically function as a carafe or decanter. A wider base would be preferable to assure stability. Also, an effective means for grasping the container would be desirable. These additional details are provided by the one-piece attachable handle member 20.
The handle member 20, as seen in FIGS. 4 and along with FIG. 1, is provided at one end with a circular base portion 24 from which an elongated gripping portion 22 extends. The base 24 is integrally connected to the gripping portion 22 by a thin, flexible hinge 26.
The handle member is a one-piece, molded article of easily moldable plastic of higher density than the material used in making container 10. The specific material is preferably polyethylene or polypropylene. However, other easily moldable plastics having a specific gravity of about one may be used, if desired. The handle member 20 is easily and economically injection molded flat and in one piece as it appears in FIG. 4 and 5.
As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the base portion 24 includes a central opening 23 defined by a vertically extending annular wall 25. The wall 25 is provided with two integral, diametrically opposed, ridges 33 and four symmetrically spaced barb extensions 35. The upper surface or wall of base portion 24 extends angularly outwardly from the central opening to form a wide, annular, support flange 27.
In the embodiment illustrated, the opening 23 is shown substantially circular to conform to the bottom of tapered container 10. It is understood that if the container were not made frustoconical, but rather in an alternative shape, then the opening 23 would obviously be changed to conform to whatever shape was required.
An integral hinge portion 26 extends from a portion of the lower periphery of flange 27 in a direction generally perpendicular to the axis of circular opening 23. The hinge 26 is of a selected cross section so as to be flexible or bendable. As seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, longitudinal ribs 26a vary the cross section of hinge portion 26. This varied cross section effects a good structural compromise between desired strength and bendability.
Integrally joined to the hinge portion 26 is an elongated gripping portion 22, which also as seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, extends substantially perpendicular to the axis of the opening 23. The gripping portion 22 is of larger cross section at its edges 21 than in its center 28. These thickened edges 21 prevent any undesirable bending or flexing of gripping portion 22. These variations in cross section in a given portion of an article, as well as from one portion to another, are readily attained in conventional injection-type molds. The specific cross section of the gripping portion shown is not particularly critical, since other equally satisfactory cross-sectional designs will suffice. The gripping portion is usually designed with hand comfort and strength in mind. Thus, several variations are I possible which achieve a good compromise between these desired characteristics.
The gripping portion 22 terminates in a three-pronged connector member 40. Two outer prongs 41 flank a center prong 42. The cross section of these prongs is substantially equal to the cross section of the edges 21 of gripping portion 22.
The prongs 41 are each provided with a barb extension 43. The length of the member 40 is approximately equal to the depth of the recess 34 in lug 32. The width of the extension 40 is slightly larger than the width of recess 40. Here again, the specific design of this connector member.40 is but one of several designs possible. In other words, connector member 40 should be designed principally to effect a satisfactory connection to the upper portion of the container 10.
The carafe assembly as shown in FIG. 1 is easily and quickly assembled and disassembled. To assemble the carafe, the handle member 20 as shown in FIG. 4 may be placed on a flat surface and the bottom portion 14 of container member 10 snapped, or slightly forced into opening 23 whereby the cylin-' drical portion 19 of the container is telescopically engaged by annular surface 25. The ridges 33 on surface 25 cooperate with grooves 36 in cylindrical portion 19 to properly position the container 10 within base 24. The container is then lifted slightly in order that barbs 35 penetrate the cylindrical portion 19 and thereby lock the container relative to base 24. The
gripping portion 22 is then bent upwardly by means of the flexible hinge portion 26 bringing the pronged extension 40 toward the lug 32 of container 10. As stated previously, the overall width of extension 40 is slightly greater than recess 34 in lug 32. However, the two prongs 41 may be squeezed slightly in order that extension 42 can be inserted into recess 34. Once within recess 34, the prongs 41 relax and return to their normal position, causing barbs 42 to penetrate and lock the gripping portion 22 relative to the container.
As a practical matter, beside carafes or decanters used in hospitals and the like usually include a lid or cover. Although no such lid or cover is specifically shown, it is understood that such an article may be used, if desired. A suitable lid for the carafe disclosed could be one made of expanded polystyrene, typically shaped to close the open top portion 12 of the container l0.
It is evident that while several of the dimensional aspects of each part are independent, others are interdependent. In other words, certain portions of a handle member must be particularly designed to cooperate with a specific container member. For example, the size of opening 23 in handle member 20 is dependent upon the size of the cylindrical portion 19 of container member 10. The overall length of handle member 20 depends upon the height of container 10, and more particularly upon the position of lug 32 in relation to that height. The length and width of extension 40 depends upon the length and width of recess 34 in lug 32.
The independent dimensions are of course the relative thicknesses or cross sections of each part. Also, the degree of taper designed into each surface 17 and 18 of container is dependent upon the extent of desired container nestability. Nestability also determines the relative location of lug 32. The minimum and maximum cross sections of both hinge portion 26 and gripping portion 22 are independent parameters selected to assure that the hinge portion will flex while the gripping portion remains substantially stiff.
Following are several of the dimensions found suitable for purposes of a practical embodiment which may be of further significance toward a complete understanding of the invention. It is understood that these dimensions are exemplary only, and in no way limit the scope of the invention.
An expanded polystyrene container member, such as 10, may be molded to an overall height of 7.7 inches. The basic wall thickness, for example, the cross section of wall 16, can be about 0.35 inches. A suitable taper of the inner and outer surfaces (i.e. l7 and 18) is 8 relative to the vertical axis of the container. The inner surface, such as 17, increases to a taper angle of about 21 at the increased cross-sectional portion 11. The maximum inside diameter of the open top portion is approximately 4.3 inches. For suitable nesting, no part of the integral lug extending from surface 18 (i.e. lug 32) should be disposed lower than about 1.75 inches from the top edge of this exemplary container. in other words, about 6 inches of the height of the container is free from encumbrances on the outer surface thereof.
A practical handle member, such as 20, which can be used in conjunction with the container just described, would have an overall length as seen in FIGS. 4 and 5 of approximately l 1 inches. The maximum outside diameter of base member 24 (including support flange 27 is approximately 5 inches with the diameter of opening 23 being 2.875 inches, and the length of the three-pronged extension 40 is approximately 0.375 inches. The minimum thickness of the hinge portion is about 0.06 inches while the cross section of the ribs 26a is about 0.1 inches. The maximum cross section (i.e. edges 21) of gripping portion 22 is 0.375 inches. The center 28 of gripping portion is approximately equal to the minimum thickness of hinge portion 26.
Several other important advantages should be evident from the foregoing. For example, once a container member, such as 10, is disassembled from a handle member 20, the barbs, such as 35 and 42, will tear the container 10 to such an extent that reuse of the container is not possible. This feature would be a built-in safeguard to assure that each container member will be disposed of and not inadvertently reused. Also, the handle member may be made in difi'erent key colors, each representing a particular use, i.e. isolation wards, or nonisolation wards in a hospital. Each handle member 20 can be provided with an identifying labele.g., such as indicated at 50 on base portion 24 in FIG. 4. This will insure against any possible inadvertent mixup as to room or patient assignment.
From the foregoing, it is clear that there are several important advantages accompanying the use of the type of carafe disclosed. These same advantages can be realized with carafes which incorporate modifications from that which is specifically disclosed. Such modifications, however, are considered readily obvious and within the scope of the invention measured by the content of the accompanying claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A disposable, liquid serving assembly comprising in combination, a hollow container member of cellular plastic material and a handle member of higher density plastic material, wherein said container member comprises:
a. an open top portion,
b. a closed bottom portion,
c. a wall portion tapering from said top portion to said bottom portion, and
d. a handle engaging lug portion having a recess therein,
said lug extending from and integral with said wall portion adjacent said top portion, and wherein said handle member comprises a. a base portion having 1. an opening dimensioned to telescopically receive said base portion of said container member.
b. a thin, bendable hinge portion extending from an integral with said base portion,
c. a substantially stiff, elongated, gripping portion extending from and integral with said hinge portion, and
d: a terminal connector portion extending from and integral with said gripping portion, said connector portion 1. adapted to fit within the recess in said handle engaging lug portion of said container member, and
2. having a barb extension for penetrating at least one wall of said recess.
2. The serving assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein said base portion of said handle portion includes a surface symmetrically disposed about the center of said base portion, wherein said surface a. defines said opening in said base portion,
b. substantially conforms to the periphery of said bottom portion of said container member, and
c. includes at least one barb extension to penetrate said periphery of said bottom portion of said container member whereby said container member is secured within said base portion of said handle member.
3. The assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein said container member is frustoconical and said opening in said base portion of said handle member is circular.
4. The assembly as defined in claim 2 wherein said container member is frustoconical and said opening in said base portion of said handle member is circular.
5. The assembly as defined in claim 1 wherein said hollow container member is expanded polystyrene and said handle member is polypropylene.
6. The assembly as defined in claim 2 wherein said hollow container member is expanded polystyrene and said handle member is polypropylene.
7. The assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein said hollow container member is expanded polystyrene and said handle member is polypropylene.
8. The assembly as defined in claim 4 wherein said hollow container member is expanded polystyrene and said handle member is polypropylene.
I! i t t i 22 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3, 2 +,7 Dated November 30 1971 Inventor(s) Martin J. McMahon; Sidney Z Smith It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
In the heading to the printed specification, between line and 9, the following should be inserted  Assignee The General Tire 8c Rubber Company, a corporation of Ohio.
Column 3, line 53, the word an should read and H Column 5 line 63, the word "e .g. should read etc Signed and sealed this 6th day of August 19. 2.
EDWARD M.I*LETCIER,JR. ROBERT GUTTSCHALK A ttesting; Ofii oer Commissioner of Patents