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Publication numberUS3653575 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 4, 1972
Filing dateJul 13, 1970
Priority dateJul 13, 1970
Publication numberUS 3653575 A, US 3653575A, US-A-3653575, US3653575 A, US3653575A
InventorsSchrepper Gerald A
Original AssigneeFabri Kal Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Holder and cup
US 3653575 A
Abstract
A nestable, thin wall, integral, thermoplastic insert drinking cup for use with a cup holder. The cup has a side wall with a container zone and a spacing and anchoring zone. The side wall of the container zone diverges upwardly and outwardly from the bottom of the upper section to an upper circumferential margin defining an open upper end. The spacing and anchoring zone has a first wall portion connected to the bottom of the upper section, an inwardly extending flange connected at the bottom of the first wall, a second wall portion connected to the inner edge of the inwardly extending flange and a third wall portion connected at the bottom of the second wall and tapering downwardly therefrom convergingly to a bottom wall joined to the bottom of the third wall. A plurality of circumferentially spaced radial holding protuberances are provided on the second wall with each radial holding protuberance have a first section located immediately adjacent the inwardly extending flange and which extends axially downwardly therefrom generally parallel to the central axis of the cup and a second section connected to the bottom of the first section and extending in an inclined relation terminating intermediate the upper and lower ends of the third wall. The inclined second section defines a location of rigidity in comparison to the relatively flexible characteristic of the first section so that the holding flange on a cup holder will slide over the inclined second section without any material deformation thereof and slide over the first section with a relatively substantial deformation thereof to thereby constitute a "snap-in" fit between the cup and a holding flange on the cup holder.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Schrepper [54] HOLDER AND CUP Gerald A. Schrepper, Kalamazoo, Mich.

[73] Assignee: Fabri-Kal Corporation, Kalamazoo, Mich.

[221 Filed: July 13, 1970 [211 App]. No.: 54,361

[72] Inventor:

Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Artorney-Woodhams, Blanchard and Flynn [451 Apr. 4, 1972 [5 7] ABSTRACT A nestable, thin wall, integral, thermoplastic insert drinking cup for use with a cup holder. The cup has a side wall with a container zone and a spacing and anchoring zone. The side wall of the container zone diverges upwardly and outwardly from the bottom of the upper section to an upper circumferential margin defining an open upper end. The spacing and anchoring zone has a first wall portion connected to the bottom of the upper section, an inwardly extending flange connected at the bottom of the first wall, a second wall portion connected to the inner edge of the inwardly extending flange and a third wall portion connected at the bottom of the second wall and tapering downwardly therefrom convergingly to a bottom wall joined to the bottom of the third wall. A plurality of circumferentially spaced radial holding protuberances are provided on the second wall with each radial holding protuberance have a first section located immediately adjacent the inwardly extending flange and which extends axially downwardly therefrom generally parallel to the central axis of the cup and a second section connected to the bottom of the first section and extending in an inclined relation terminating intermediate the upper and lower ends of the third wall. The inclined second section defines a location of rigidity in comparison to the relatively flexible characteristic of the first section so that the holding flange on a cup holder will slide over the inclined second section without any material deformation thereof and slide over the first section with a relatively substantial deformation thereof to thereby constitute a "snap-in fit between the cup and a holding flange on the cup holder.

10 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures Patented April 4, 1972 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 7 INVENTOR 659410 A. JQQPZPPLE I BY Patented April 4, 1972 3,653,575

2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR 6156410 A. Stf/PLWfB Maw 21% HOLDER AND CUP FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a drinking cup for use with a cup holder and, more particularly, relates to a nestable, thin wall, integral, thermoplastic insert drinking cup having an improved means for providing a connection between a cup and a cup holder.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION As is well known, there are many designs, proposed and in use, for expendible cups made of plastic. Such cups are used on picnics and the like and are widely used in beverage vending machines, such as coffee machines and soft drink machines. However, in spite of widespread and long use, and the many attempts which have been made to improve their design, such cups have continued to have deficiencies which have in many cases tended to limit their use.

In designing means to provide a suitable detachable engagement with the holder, it must be remembered that both the attaching and detaching step must be by an easy and natural motion, that means must be supplied so that the individual cups in a stack will separate easily from each other, and that the engagement means must be sufficiently simple as to be capable of efficient and economic manufacture.

Further, it is well recognized that when hot liquids are placed into a plastic cup, the plastic sometimes tends to shrink and, therefore, plastic cups used for hot drinks such as coffee are often inherently looser in the cup holder after use than when first placed into the holder. Hence the engagement means must have sufficient tolerance or range of effectiveness to accommodate this change without accidentally releasing the cup.

Accordingly, the objects of the invention include:

I. To provide a plastic cup and a cup holder which are both sufficiently simple as to be capable of economic manufacture, in which the cup can be easily attached to and detached from the holder by a simple and natural motion on the part of the user.

2. To provide a plastic cup and a cup holder, as aforesaid, in which the cup will have a snap-in attachment to the cup holder.

3. To provide a plastic cup and a cup holder, as aforesaid, in which the snap relationship between the cup and cup holder will be sufficiently pronounced that a user assembling a cup into a cup holder can readily feel when a firm engagement relationship has taken place.

4. To provide a plastic cup and cup holder, as aforesaid, in which the cup can be detached from the holder by an equally easy snap removal.

5. To provide a plastic cup and cup holder, as aforesaid, in which, when the cup has been snapped into the cup holder, there will be no looseness therebetween and in which the cup holder may be turned upside down without the cup falling therefrom.

6. To provide a plastic cup which will be firmly held within a cup holder even after the cup has been used for a hot drink but still capable of an easy release from the cup holder for purposes of disposing of the cup.

7. To provide a plastic cup which can be stacked in nested or telescoped relation with a plurality of like cups without clinging together by wedging or by air entrapment.

8. To provide a plastic cup wherein a plurality of inverted and nested cups will not suffer any measurable damage, such as by crushing, when a cup holder is pushed onto the upper one of the stacked cups.

Other objects and purposes of this invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art of making disposable cups of this general type upon reading the following specification and inspecting the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a pair of nested disposable cups;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bottom portion of one of the cups;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along the line of Ill-Ill of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line of lV--lV of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged showing of the encircled portion A illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line VIVI of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line VIl-Vll of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a central sectional view of a cup in combination with a cup holder;

FIG. 9 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the cup and holder illustrated in FIG. 8 but prior to a coupling of the cup to the holder as illustrated in FIG. 10; and

FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the cup and holder illustrated in FIG. 8.

Certain terminology will be used in the following descriptive material for convenience in reference only and will not be limiting. The words up and down" will designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words in and out will refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the cup and holder and designated parts thereof. Such terminology will include derivatives and similar import.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The objects and purposes of the invention are met by providing a nestable, thin wall, integral, thermoplastic insert drinking cup for use with a cup holder having a side wall with a container zone and a spacing and anchoring zone The side wall of the container zone diverges generally upwardly and outwardly from the bottom of the upper section to an upper circumferential margin defining an open upper end. The spacing and anchoring zone comprises a first wall portion and connecting means connecting same to the lower end of the upper section and a second wall portion connected at the bottom of the first wall and tapering convergingly downwardly therefrom. A bottom wall is joined to the bottom of the second wall. A plurality of circumferentially spaced radial holding protuberances are provided on the first wall with each of the radial holding protuberances comprising a first section extending axially generally parallel to the central axis of the cup and a second section connected to the bottom of the first section and extending in an inclined relation downwardly from the first section and terminating intermediate the upper and lower ends of the second wall. The inclined second section has a rigid characteristic in comparison to a relatively flexible characteristic of the first section.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION A nestable, thin wall, integral, thermoplastic drinking cup 10 (FIG. 1), embodying the invention, comprises a container zone 11 and a spacing and anchoring zone 12. The side wall 13 of the container zone 11 terminates in a rolled rim 14. The side wall 13 tapers downwardly away from the rolled rim 14 in a converging manner and terminates in an inwardly extending flange 16 (FIGS. 2 and 6). In this particular embodiment, the side wall 13 is arcuate to facilitate the nesting of one cup within the other, and to lend stiffness to the sides thereof.

The spacing and anchoring zone 12 comprises a spacer wall or ring portion 17 which is secured to the inner edge of the inwardly extending flange 16 and tapers downwardly and outwardly therefrom to a second inwardly extending flange 18. In this particular embodiment, however, the inner diameter of the lower portion of the side wall 13 immediately adjacent the upper edge of the inwardly extending flange 16 is larger in diameter than the outer diameter of the inwardly extending flange 18. The inwardly extending flange 18 is generally arcuately shaped (FIG. 5) so that the inner edge thereof extends generally horizontally. A plurality of radial spacing protuberances 21 extend radially outwardly from the ring, spacer, portion 17 and are equally spaced from each other as illustrated in FIG. 4. The maximum diameter of the radial protuberances 21 is generally equal to the diameter of the outer edge of the inwardly extending flange 18. Further, the wall 22 of each of the protuberances 21 is generally arcuate in cross section and parallel to the central axis of the cup 10.

In this particular embodiment, when one cup is nested within the other such as is illustrated in FIGS. 3, 5 and 6, the outer surface of the flange 18 rests upon the inner surface of the inwardly extending flange 16. However, with two nested cups a space 23 (FIG. 5) is provided between the external surface of the flange 18, the internal surface of the flange 16 and the lower edge of the surface 13 immediately adjacent the outer edge of the flange 16. The space 23 is further defined by the upper portion of the wall 22 of each of the radial protuberances 21.

The spacing and anchoring zone 12 further comprises a second ring portion 26 which is connected to the radially inner edge of the inwardly extending flange 18 and extends axially downwardly therefrom generally parallel to the vertical axis of the cup 10. The axial dimension of the second ring portion 26 is less than the axial dimension of the first ring portion 17. A third ring portion 27 is connected to the lower end of the second ring portion 26 and extends downwardly therefrom tapering generally inwardly in converging relation to a generally horizontal bottom wall 28.

In this particular embodiment, a plurality of radial holding protuberances 31 are provided on the ring portions 26 and 27 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. Each of the radial holding protuberances 31 comprise a first section 32 (FIG. 6) which is located immediately adjacent the inwardly extending flange l8 and extends axially downwardly therefrom. The wall of the first section 32 is generally arcuate in cross section and parallel to the vertical axis of the cup 10. In this particular embodiment, the first section 32 extends downwardly below the upper edge of the third ring portion 27 as illustrated in FIG. 6 and terminates in an inwardly extending arcuate portion 33 (FIG. 6) which is connected intermediate the upper and lower ends of the third ring portion 27.

The wall of the first section 32, being generally parallel with the axis of the cup will have little resistance to a radially inwardly directed force bearing thereon and will readily deflect inwardly in response thereto. However, the lower portion 33 of the protuberance 31, comprising a wall which is inclined to the vertical and at least has a radially outwardly arranged component which will be much more resistive to a radially inwardly directed force and will tend to yield less in response thereto. Therefore, to a given inwardly directed force the wall of the first section may be considered as relatively flexible whereas the portion 33 is relatively rigid, even though the thickness of the material from one portion to the other remains the same.

Each of the radial holding protuberances 31 and equally spaced from each other as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 7. In this particular embodiment, each radial holding protuberance 31 is equally spaced from a radial spacing protuberance 21 on the ring portion 17.

Turning now to FIG. 8, a cup holder 36 is designed to hold one of the above-described cups 10 for purposes of insulating the users hands from the cup 10 when the same is filled with a hot liquid, such as coffee. In this particular embodiment, the cup holder 36 comprises a generally cylindrical upright wall 37 wherein the height thereof is preferably less than the height of the cup 10 so that the cup 10 extends above the top of the wall 37 and the lips of the user will not contact the holder 36. The diameter of the opening at the upper end of the cup holder 36 at the height line 52 (FIG. 8) is generally equal to the diameter of the wall 13 of the upper section 11 spaced downwardly from the roller rim 14 a distance generally equal to the difference in height between the cup holder 36 and the cup 10 when the cup 10 is engaged with the cup holder 36 as described in more detail hereinbelow. In this particular embodiment, the outer surface of the upright wall 37 adjacent the upper end is greater in diameter than the lower portion thereof. A shoulder 51 separates the upper portion from the lower portion.

An annular inwardly extending flange 38 extends inwardly from the'upright wall 37 adjacent the lower end thereof. In this particular embodiment, four equally spaced fins 39 (only two of which are illustrated in FIG. 8) are connected to the upper surface of the annular flange 38 and the inner surface of the upright wall 37. The inner edges 41 of the fins 39 taper inwardly from top to bottom, the angle of inclination of the inner edges 41 being generally equal to the inclination of the wall 13 of the cup 10 adjacent the lower end thereof. If

desired, a reinforcing flange 42 may be provided on the under surface of the annular flange 31 adjacent the inner edge thereof. However, it is to be recognized that the reinforcing flange 42 can be eliminated without any detrimental effect on the performance of the cup holder 36.

A holding flange 43 projects inwardly of the inner edge of the-annular flange 38 and the reinforcing flange 42 to define an opening 44 having a diameter which is slightly less than the maximum diameter of the radial holding protuberances 31 provided on the ring portions 26 and 27.

A C-shaped handle 46 is secured to the upright wall 37 of the cup holder 37. In this particular embodiment, the upper surface 47 of the handle 46 is flush with the upper end of the upright wall 37 of the cup holder 36. The handle 46 and the upper portion of the upright wall 37 define an opening 48 having a sufficient diameter to receive at least one finger of the user.

Preferably, the upper ends of the fins 39 will be squared off in a known manner to support the lower end of the next above cup when same are stacked. Preferably, the vertical proportioning of the cup holder likewise in a known manner will be chosen so that the lower surface of the handle 46 and shoulder 51 of the next above cup holder will only slightly clear the upper end of a given cup holder in such stack.

The diameter of the cup 10 at the height line 52 (FIG. 8) is equal to the internal diameter of the upright wall 37 at the upper end thereof. The height line 52 on the cup 10 is spaced upwardly from the midpoint of the first sections 32 on the radial holding protuberances 31 a distance preferably equal to or slightly less than the spacing between the top of the holder 36 and the holding flange 43. The spacing between the height line 52 and the second sections 33 on the radial holding protuberances 31 is slightly greater than the spacing between the height line 52 and the holding flange 43. Thus, when the cup 10 is snapped into the holder 36, the cup at the height line 52 will positively contact the internal surface of the holder to radially restrain the cup. Further, the holding flange will positively engage the cup to axially restrain the cup.

OPERATION Although the operation of the cup and cup holder described above will be understood from the foregoing description by skilled persons, a summary of such description is now given for convenience. I

If a plurality of inverted, nested cups 10 are provided in a stack, an inverted cup holder 36 may be placed, over the upper one.of the inverted cups 10 and moved in telescoping relation thereto until the holding flange 43 engages the inwardly extending portion 33 of each of the radial holding protuberances 31 on the ring portion 27. Since the maximum diameter of the radial holding protuberances 31 is slightly greater than the v diameter of the opening 44, a slight axial pressure must be ap plied by the user to move the cup holder 36 relative to the cup 10. The rigidity of the inwardly extending portions 33 of each of the radial protuberances 31 will resist, but not prevent, the relative axial movement of the cup holder 36. However, since the wall construction of the cup 10 is thin, the inwardly extending portions 33 will yield to the axial movement of the holding flange 43 to permit a movement of the holding flange 43 from the position illustrated in FIG. 9 to the position illustrated in FIG. 10. Since the radial rigidity of the sections 32 of the radial holding protuberances 31 is less than the radial rigidity of the inwardly extending portions 33, the sections 32 will flex inwardly as at 49 (FIG. so that the radially outer edge of the inwardly extending portions 33 of each of the radial holding protuberances 31 will extend radially outwardly beyond the diameter of the opening 44. As a result, the cup 10 will be securely connected to the cup holder 36. Thus, the movement of the cup holder 36 relative to the cup will effect a snap-in type fit within the cup holder 36 and the engagement of the cup 10 with the cup holder 36 is a positive engagement rather than, as previously, a mere friction engagement.

After the cup'holder has become firmly attached to a cup 10, the user may then move the inverted cup holder 36 with an inverted cup attached thereto upwardly away from the stack of inverted cups. Air will be permitted to enter into the space between the bottom walls 38 of a pair of nested cups 10 through the space 23 (FIG. 5) to thereby prevent a pair of cups from clinging together. In other words, the passage of air through the space 23 will prevent a vacuum from forming in between the bottom walls 28 of a pair of nested cups 10 so that the user will not have to forcibly pull a pair of cups l0 apart.

With a cup and cup holder related together as illustrated in FIG. 10, there will be little or no relative play between the cup and cup holder so that 'the user has a feeling of firmness between the cup-holder combination and consequently a feeling of confidence in the use thereof. Further, as the cupholder combination is tilted upwardly in the normal act of drinking therefrom, there will be no tendency for the cup to fall out of the holder, even if same shrinks slightly as a result of the heated liquid therein and therefore no necessity by the user to consciously remember to hold the cup, as by 'use of his thumb, positively within the cup.

However, when the use of the cup is completed same may be removed from the cup holder by an equally easy axial separation therebetween, the cup holder overriding the portion 33 with sufficient resistance that the user can feel its happening butsufficiently easy as to present on inconvenience.

Although a particular preferred embodiment of the invention has been disclosed in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts, lie within the scope of the present invention;

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

I. A nestable, thin wall, integral, thermoplastic insert drinking cup for use with a cup holder, comprising:

a side wall having a container zone and a fastening zone;

the side wall of said container zone tapering generally upwardly and outwardly from the bottom thereof to an upper circumferential margin defining an open upper end;

the side wall of said fastening zone comprising a first wall portion and connecting means connecting same to the lower end of said container zone and a second wall portion connected at the bottom of the first wall and tapering convergingly downwardly therefrom;

a bottom wall joined to the bottom of the second wall; and

a plurality of circumferentially spaced radial holding protu-- berances on said first wall, said radial holding protuberances comprising a first section extending axially generally parallel to the central axis of said cup and a second section connected to the bottom of the first section and extending in an inclined relation terminating intermediate the upper and lower ends of said second wall, said second section defining a location of radial rigidity in comparison to a relatively radial flexible characteristic of said first section.

2. A cup according to claim 1, wherein said connecting means comprises a spacer wall which tapers generally downwardly and outwardly from the bottom of said side wall of said container zone and then turns radially inwardly to provide an inwardly extending flange; and

includes a plurality of circumferentially spaced radial spacing protuberances, each of said spacing protuberances being located immediately adjacent said lower end of said container zone and extending axially downwardly therefrom generally parallel to the central axis of said cup, the outer diameter of said spacing protuberances being approximately equal to the diameter of the outer edge of said inwardly extending flange.

3. A cup according to claim 2, wherein said holding and spacing radial protuberances are equally spaced from each other.

4. A cup according to claim 2, wherein the number of said radial holding protuberances equals the number of said radial spacing protuberances;

wherein said radial holding protuberances are equally spaced from each other;

wherein said radial spacing protuberances are also equally spaced from each other; and

wherein said radial holding protuberances are angularly offset from the location of said radial spacing protuberances.

S. A cup according to claim 2, including a second inwardly extending flange connected at the outer edge to the bottom of said container zone said first wall portion being connected at the upper end to the inner edge of said second inwardly extending flange.

6. A cup according to claim 5, including means defining a space between said second inwardly extending flange and the portion of said radial spacing protuberance immediately adjacent said lower end of said container zone for permitting the passage of air to and from the zone between the bottom walls of a pair of said cups when same are about to be nested one within the other or unnested one from the other.

7. A cup according to claim 5, wherein the radially inner edge of said second inwardly extending flange is less in diameter than the maximum diameter of the first mentioned inwardly extending flange so that when one cup is nested within another of said cups, the first mentioned inwardly extending flange of said one cup will engage the second inwardly extending flange of said other cup.

8. A cup according to claim 2, wherein the axial dimension of the spacer wall is greater than the axial dimension of the first wall portion.

9. A cup according to claim 1, and a cup holder having an upright wall terminating in an open upper end, cup holding means defining an open lower end in said cup holder wherein the diameter of said open lower end is less than the maximum diameter of said radial holding protuberances, said cup holding means, when engaged with a cup, deforming said flexible first section and said rigid section extending radially outwardly to a diameter greater than the opening defined by said cup holding means to define a positive securement of the cup to the cup holder.

10. A cup and cup holder according to claim 9, wherein the vertical location on the side wall of the cup which equals the diameter of the opening at the upper end of the cup holder defines a theoretical height line; and

wherein the spacing between the height line and the second sections of the radial holding protuberances is slightly greater than the spacing between the height line and the cup holding means whereby the cup is radially and axially restrained within the holder.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3232512 *May 8, 1964Feb 1, 1966Illinois Tool WorksStackable insert container with axially spaced engaging surfaces
US3262626 *Sep 25, 1963Jul 26, 1966Sweetheart PlasticsCup
US3401862 *Aug 3, 1966Sep 17, 1968Illinois Tool WorksDisposable container
GB1160536A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3951266 *Jun 21, 1974Apr 20, 1976Solo Cup CompanyThin walled cup
US4548348 *Feb 27, 1984Oct 22, 1985Solo Cup CompanyDisposable cup assembly
US5125512 *Mar 15, 1991Jun 30, 1992Northwestern Bottle Co.Nestable cup with alternative closure structure
US5772069 *Aug 13, 1996Jun 30, 1998Price; Bill M.Cup holder
US6439418Mar 20, 2001Aug 27, 2002Interdesign, Inc.Attaching system for a container and a base
US6880715 *Dec 11, 2000Apr 19, 2005Bourbon CorporationPackaging container
US8336731Nov 5, 2008Dec 25, 2012F'real Foods, LlcMethod and apparatus for rotationally restraining a mixing container
EP2342138A1 *Nov 3, 2009Jul 13, 2011F'real Foods, L.L.C.Method and apparatus for rotationally restraining a mixing container
EP2377766A1 *Dec 9, 2010Oct 19, 2011Optipack GmbHContainer
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/519, D07/624.1, 220/737, 206/520
International ClassificationB65D1/26, B65D1/22, A47G23/02, A47G23/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47G23/0216, B65D1/265
European ClassificationB65D1/26B, A47G23/02A2