US 3759675 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
FIRE-KINDLING DEVICE AND METHOD OF USING SAME Filed Aug. 2, 1971 INVENTORS United States Patent 3,759,675 FIRE-KINDLING DEVICE AND METHOD OF USING SAME Milton Lazarus, 2156 Carlmont Drive, Belmont, Calif.
94002, and Nels B. Larsen, 401 Pine Knoll Drive,
Mannor #3, Walnut Creek, Calif. 94529 Filed Aug. 2, 1971, Ser. No. 168,171 Int. Cl. C101 11/00 U.S. CI. 44-38 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A fire-kindling device comprising an open-top waxed paper container filled with particles of plastic material embedded in a wax binder, with the lip of the container serving as wick means for easy ignition of the wax. A method is also provided in which a fire is kindled by assembling the fuel to be ignited in juxtaposition to a starter composition containing wax and a plastic material such as polymethylmethacrylate, and igniting the wax, whereby the Wax will burn and cause ignition of the plastic material which will burn hotter and ignite the fuel with a minimum of smoke and odor.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a Fire-Kindling Device and Method of Using Same, and more particularly to a fire-kindling device suitable for igniting charcoal or wood fires.
It is well known that charcoal is especially difficult to ignite and many people, who would otherwise enjoy outdoor cooking on a barbecue brazier find the task of fire building sufiiciently disagreeable to discourage the project. Similarly, it is frequently difficult to kindle a nice suitable fire in a fireplace. It is well known that suitable fire-kindling devices are advantageous, and certain devices for kindling fires are well known. For example, the use of built-in gas outlets in fireplaces or electric heaters for charcoal braziers are in use at this time, and where supplies of energy are available for utilizing these methods, they provide excellent results. However, it is frequently desired to build a fire where such facilities are unavailable, and particularly when camping oif in the woods or the like.
At the present time, liquid fire starters are most frequently used for kindling fires under such conditions, but these liquid fire starters have certain disadvantages. First of all, solvent fire starters tend to cause a fire hazard and certain people do not wish to handle such fluids. In addition, liquid fire starters generally leave a residue of solvent odor which detracts from the flavor of the food cooked over a charcoal fire started in that manner. On the other hand, it is necessary to provide considerable heat to properly ignite charcoal, and the solvent materials are generally suitable for that purpose.
Certain solid materials incorporating wax have also been suggested for starting fires, but wax usually does not burn hot enough for satisfactory ignition of charcoal. Mixtures of wax with materials that are suitable to provide the desired heat together with the generally smokeless and odorless conditions desired for charcoal braziers have been heretofore unknown for use in starting fires.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is a primary object of the invention to provide a clean, safe fire-kindling device, which is capable of igniting charcoal or the like in a rapid and reliable manner.
Another object of the invention is to provide a firekindling device that is portableand suitable for Camping, yet capable of lighting a fire without excess smoke or causing an odor that renders the fire inferior for cooking.
3,759,675 Patented Sept. 18, 1973 It has now been found that certain plastics such as polymethylmethacrylate will burn and produce a high temperature suitable for the starting of charcoal, and that the combustion of such acrylic plastics is relatively smokeless. Generally speaking, plastics such as hydrocarbon plastics including rubber and polystyrene (which usually is copolymerized with rubber) cause far too much smoke if ignited, but oxygenated plastics such as the acrylic plastics just mentioned generally produce rather excellent fires. As used herein, the term plastic is used to include any high molecular weight organic material such as natural or synthetic resins, and will generally have a molecular weight of more than 1000.
However, the plastic materials, which burn hot, are usually diflicult to ignite, so it is preferred to use a wax such as that suitable for candles along with the plastic. Is is not known why it happens, but the addition of the paraffin wax to acrylic plastic has the effect of ridding the acrylic plastic of odor that it would otherwise have on burning. Accordingly, the preferred lighter uses a combination of acrylic plastic and parafiin wax.
It is contemplated that other plastics equivalent to acrylic in burning characteristics may be suitable, but the acrylic plastics are preferred because of their excellent suitability. In addition, tremendous quantities of acrylics scrap are available, and the invention provides a method of desposing of this scrap material. Certain other plastics burn Well in combinations with the acrylics, and excellent results are also obtained when the plastic in the device contains a minor proportion of polyolefin such as polyethylene or polypropylene.
As mentioned above, the plastic provides the desired high temperature conditions for igniting charcoal and the like, and it is preferred to utilize particles having a volume in excess of say of an inch cubed or 34 of a cubic inch, and smaller than say about A of an inch cubed or A1 of a cubic inch.
The relative proportions of the wax to the plastic may also vary, with a 5050 mixture being a preferred ratio. However, ratios from about 30 percent to about percent of plastic and from about 10 percent to about 70 percent by weight of wax are within the ambit of the invention. It is also desirable, although not necessary, to utilize various colored particles of acrylic plastic, and such multicolored particles will come naturally from utilizing waste acrylic materials for particle formation.
In addition to the composition of wax having particles of plastic embedded therein, the device of the invention is also preferably provided with a container being formed to provide a wick means. It will be appreciated, however, that the container may be dispensed with since the solid plastic and wax mass are useable without a container provided a suitable means such as wick means is available for easily igniting the wax. In the container form of the invention, it is preferred to utilize a flat open top cuplike waxed paper container which has a large upper lip. With such a structure, the lip of the cup will provide a circular wick surrounding the mass of wax and plastic and providing easy ignition over a large area of the wax. Whatever the shape of the wick means, it should cover a long path of the wax, and preferably cover a linear section of the surface of the device longer than the largest dimension thereof.
In its method form, the invention provides a method of kindling a fire by placing the fuel to be ignited in juxtaposition to the mass of wax carrying embedded acrylic plastic therein. The fuel typically will be wood or charcoal, and the wax mass will be provided with a wick means for igniting the plastic. The fire-building steps further include igniting the wick means, which ignites the wax, which ignites the plastic, and which ignites the wood or charcoal fuel present. In this way, a very clean and simple device may be used for lighting a charcoal brazier or hibachi, or for that matter igniting wood in the fireplace. If desired, more than one fire starter may be used although one starter is satisfactory to ignite a reasonably large charcoal fire in a short time.
Although the invention is primarily useful for kindling fires, it will be appreciated that it is also useful to provide a source of heat for cooking or the like during outdoor camping or under military field conditions. For example, one starting device will burn for about twenty minutes and provide sufficient heat to warm a cup of coffee, heat a can of stew or perform similar tasks without additional fuel. Since the device is clean, solid, and makes minimal smoke, it is safer to use in such situations, and particularly in areas where fire is a serious danger.
Therefore, it is a further object of the invention to provide a fire kindling device suitable for camping or military field use which may be used to provide heat as is when necessary or desirable.
Still another object of the invention is the provision of a device, which can utilize certain waste material and thereby assist in the disposal of same.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent as the specification progresses, and the new and useful feature of the Fire Kindling Device and Method of Using Same will be more fully defined in the claims attached hereto.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING A preferred form of the invention is illustrated in the accompanying drawing forming a part of this specification in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical fire-kindling device constructed according to the invention;
FIG. 2, a cross-sectional view of the fire-kindling device of FIG. 1 as seen substantially in the plane of line 2--2 thereof; and
FIG. 3, a perspective view of the fire-kindling device of FIGS. 1 and 2 as seen in operative position for igniting charcoal.
While only the preferred form of the invention is illustrated in the drawing and the preferred forms illustrated in the examples given below, it should be understood that various changes or modifications may be made within the scope of the claims attached hereto without departing from the spirit of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawing in greater detail, there is shown in FIG. 1 a fire-kindling device 11 comprising a plurality of particles of plastic material 12 embedded in a normally solid organic binder 13, and an open top shallow cup-shaped container 14 holding the binder and plastic particles therein. Cup 14 is also provided with a lip 16 which serves as a wick means and provides ignition to the device near the lip of the cup.
Preferably the container 14 is a paper cup impregnated with wax which may be similar or different than the organic binder 13, which is a solid wax-like material. However, in both cases the wax or wax-like material should have the properties of candle wax, i.e., it should not have an offensive odor or smoke excessively. Preferably, the binder 13 is paraflin wax and the plastic particles 12 are acrylic plastic particles. This combination of ingredients provides a substantially odorless high temperature igniter.
The fire-kindling device 11 is used to start charcoal as illustrated in FIG. 3 by igniting a portion of the lip 16 of container 14 with a match or cigarette lighter or the like, placing the container in a desired position at or near the bottom of the fire area to be built in the brazier or the like, stacking pieces of charcoal 17 around the starter 11 so as to receive heat therefrom and ignite. It will be appreciated that the order of assembly is immaterial, but that the method just described is eminently suitable. In addition, it will be appreciated that other materials such as fireplace logs may be ignited by one or more fire starters in accordance with the usual techniques of increasing fire to the desired point from the starting position. A typical fire starter constructed according to the invention will provide a very hot zone for a period of about 20 minutes and is therefore very effective in starting materials that are diflicult to ignite.
It will also be appreciated that the fire starter of this invention may be used as a heat source for outdoor cooking in such applications as are now used for canned heat or the like, and in the article form of the invention, no specific use restriction is to be implied from the primary utility as a fire starter.
The preferred method of preparing certain starter compositions are given in the examples below:
Example 1 Acrylic plastic is accumulated from scraps left after plastic fabricating or, if desired, may be purchased from plastic suppliers. The acrylic plastic may be any of the commercially available polymethylmethacrylate resins such as Lucite or Plexiglas. The plastic materials are chopped up in a granulator so as to produce particles having dimensions ranging from say about of an inch to about A of an inch, with the particles preferably allowed to form with sharp points and edges for easier ignition. The particles are then mixed with melted wax and in a ratio of about 1 part plastic to about 1 part wax by weight. The mass is then put in a wax paper container such as that described in the drawings and cooled to solidify the wax. A typical wax paper container will be about two inches in diameter and about /2 inch high, and the completed product made in said container will weight approximately 1 ounce.
A device so constructed is used to kindle charcoal in accordance with the procedure described above, and it is found that an excellent charcoal fire is obtained in about 20 minutes time. It has also been found that a device prepared in accordance with this example may be held in a can or the like with screen over it and used to ignite the charcoal placed thereover. Using this technique, it is possible to obtain a good charcoal fire in 5 to 10 minutes times.
Example 2 The procedure of Example 1 is repeated, except that the plastic particles contain about /3 part by weight of acrylic plastic and about /3 part by weight of a granulated polyethylene. When used to start a fire, it is found that the polyethylene burns along with the acrylic plastic so as to provide the desired hot fiame.
It will be appreciated that by utilizing polyethylene in place of some of the acrylic plastics, that the product would be less expensive where ordinary commercial products are used, and in any event more freedom of selection of material is provided.
Example 3 The procedure of Example 2 is repeated, but polypropylene plastic is substituted for the polyethylene plastic utilized therein. Similarly good results are obtained.
From the above examples, it is seen that various polyolefins may be utilized to extend the acrylic plastic and obtain more use of the acrylic plastics, if desired. However, it is still preferred to utilize a major portion of acrylic, i.e. more than 50%, and a minor portion polyolefin (less than 50%) in the plastic mixture.
From the foregoing description, it is seen that we have provided an improved fire kindling device which is clean, safe and absolutely reliable in operation.
We claim: 1. A fire =kindling device comprising a mixture consisting of a plurality of particles of combustible plastic material,
and a normally solid organic binder suitable as a candle wax,
said plastic and said binder being present within the proportions of from about 30% to about 90% plastic and from to about 70% binder by weight based on the mixture, and
said plastic comprising a major portion of polymethylmethacrylate resin.
2. A fire kindling device as defined in claim ll, which also comprises a wick means for facilitating the lighting of the kindling device.
3. A fire kindling device as defined in claim 2, in which the Wick means covers a linear section of the surface of the device longer than the largest dimension thereof.
4. A fire kindling device as defined in claim 1, which also comprises a normally combustible container in the form of a flat paper tub; said tub being impregnated with said solid organic binder, and having an upstanding lip section extending around the upper surface thereof to provide elongated wick means.
5. A fire kindling device comprising a combustible body consisting essentially of from about 10% to about 70% by weight of candle wax and from about 30% to about 90% of a plastic composition capable of burning at higher temperature without smoking, said plastic composition containing a major portion of acrylic plastic and said plastic con1 position being substantially all present in particulate form with the particles having a volume of the order of from about of a cubic inch to about ,4 of a cubic inch, and
an open-top paper container carrying said combustible body therein and having walls thereof extending above the combustible body whereby wick means are provided.
6. A fire kindling device as defined in claim 5, in which the candle wax is parafiin.
7. A fire kindling device as defined in claim 6, in which the paper container is impregnated with wax.
8. A method of kindling a fire comprising the steps of assembling fuel to be ignited in juxtaposition to a starter composition comprising discrete particles of acrylic resin embedded in paraffn, and igniting the paraffin whereby the paraffin will ignite and cause ignition of the acrylic resin and then the fuel.
9. A method of kindling a fire as defined in claim 8, in which the fuel is charcoal.
10. A method of kindling a fire as defined in claim 8, in which the fuel comprises wood suitably cut for a fireplace.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,630,697 12/1971 Dulling 431-488 3,124,432 3/1964 Gentry 4440 2,206,362 7/1940 Mulcey 4440 3,091,952 6/1963 Black 447.5 3,367,758 2/1968 Abbrose et al. 4440 3,560,122 2/1971 Cassar 447.7
CARROLL B. DORITY, JR., Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.