US 3915296 A
A container having material in solid form into which a liquid is to be added to dissolve the material and produce a liquid preparation such as a beverage. The container has an opening in its bottom which is sealed and the solid material is located in the bottom of the container sealed off to the atmosphere by a member of dissolvable material. A liquid is poured into the open top of the container to dissolve both the member and the material. The top is then covered and the container is inverted. The seal is removed from the opening in the bottom wall and the mixed contents of the container withdrawn through this opening.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Spencer Oct. 28, 1975 [5 1 CONTAINER FOR MIXING LIQUID WITH A 3,157,312 11/1964 Kitterman 222/541 MATERIAL 3,186,850 1/1965 Anthony 3,326,363 6/1967 Bennett et a1. 220/23 1 Inventorl Richard Hugh p 3601 3,655,111 4/1972 Surerus 229 7 R Turtle Creek, Dallas, Tex. 75219 22 Ffl d: Jam 24 1974 Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or FirmDarby & Darby ] Appl. No.: 436,169
 ABSTRACT  Cl 206/217; 220/902; 229/7 R A container having material in solid form into which a  III!- CLZ B65D 81/32 liquid is to be added to dissolve the material and  held of Search 206/219 229/7 duce a liquid preparation such as a beverage. The con- 229/43; 902; tainer has an opening in its bottom which is sealed and 426/86; 222/541 the solid material is located in the bottom of the container sealed off to the atmosphere by a member of  References C'ted dissolvable material. A liquid is poured into the open UNITED STATES PATENTS top of the container to dissolve both the member and 712,095 10 1902 Reed 220/1 E h material. The top is then covered and the con- 1,885,757 11/1932 Orlopp 206/217 tainer is inverted. These-a1 is removed from the open- 2,062,897 12/1936 Michel et a1. 426/86 in the bottom wall and the mixed Contents of the 2,165,860 7/1939 Killmeyer 222/541 container withdrawn through this opening. 2,201,332 5/1940 Bensel 1 229/43 2,967,776 1/1961 Utler 206/5 21 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures 3,100,592 8/1963 Orr 222/541 US. Patent Oct. 28, 1975 Sheet 1 of3 3,915,296
US. Patent Oct. 28 1975 Sheet2 of 3,915,296
US. Patent Oct.28, 1975 Sheet30f3 3,915,296
CONTAINER FOR MIXING LIQUID WITH A 1 MATERIAL This invention relates to containers and more particularly to containers of the type holding material in solid form into which fluid is added to form a liquid preparation. Such containers are useful for making beverages, such as coffee, tea and soup, and also for mixing pharmaceutical products.
Containers of this general type are known in the art in which a material in a solid form to be mixed with a liquid is located'in the bottom of the container and then sealed with a cover. For example, US. Pat. Nos. 3,407,922 to Palmer and 1,709,168 to Eppenson, describe containers in which the cover is of cardboard or paper and it is removed by pulling on a tab which is accessible from the open top of the'container. In the containers of these patents, and other similar prior art, after the cover for the material is removed and the liquid is added, it is usually necessary to stir the contents of the container to dissolve the solid material. The mixed preparation is then extracted through the containers open top. Usually, the open top is of relatively wide diameter making it comparitively easy for the mixed preparation to spill out where the container is used in moving vehicles, such as aircraft, cars, trains and buses. Further, the prior art containers generally have a bottom of smaller diameter than the top. This also makes the container susceptible to tipping over when used in moving vehicles.
The present invention relates to a novel and improved container of the type holding solid material which is to be dissolved upon the addition of a liquid and which does not require the removal of a paper or cardboard type seal to expose the material to be dissolved. Further, an arrangement is provided wherein the mixed contents are taken out of the bottom of the container instead of the top.
In accordance with the invention, the material is located in the bottom portion of the container and held by a member. An opening is formed in the bottom of the container and this opening is closed off by a seal which can be taken off. A lid is also provided and, in use, liquid is poured into the container through its open top which is then sealed by the lid. The liquid in the container dissolves the material and the container is inverted. After the container is inverted, the seal on the bottom wall is removed to expose the opening and the mixed contents are extracted through the opening. The container can now be rested on the lid which can be constructed to provide a firm base. Since the opening at the bottom of the container is preferably made small, the container contents are prevented from spilling out if the container is moved.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a novel container holding material which is to be mixed with a liquid with the contents of the container being extracted through an opening in the bottom of the container after the top has been covered with a lid.
Another object is to provide a container holding material to be mixed with a liquid in which the mixing can take place without the use of a mixing implement.
A further object is to provide a container in which the material to be mixed is held adjacent the container bottom wall by a soluble sealing membrane.
Yet another object is to provide a container having an opening in its bottom wall which is sealed, the container being provided with a lid which permits it to be inverted and the contents extracted through the opening in the bottom wall after the seal has been removed.
A further object is to provide a container which can be rested in an inverted position on its lid and the contents extracted through an opening in the bottom wall.
Other objects andadvantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reference to the following specification and annexed drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an exploded view, in cross-section, of the container and lid according to a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 1A is a view of another type of member for holding the dissolvable material;
FIG. 2 is an elevational view in cross-section showing the lid assembled to the container;
FIG. 3 is an elevational view in cross-section showing the container inverted;
FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the container showing the seal;
FIG. 5 shows the container in drinking position;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view showing a further embodiment of a container according to the invention;
FIG. 7 is an elevational view in cross-section showing the container of FIG. 6 with its lid assembled;
FIG. 8 shows the container of FIG. 6 in the inverted position and the bottom wall seal member removed;
FIG. 9 is a view showing the stacking of several containers; and
FIG. 10 is an elevational view, partly in cross-section showing the container stacked on a serving plate.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 5, the container 10 of the preferred embodiment of the invention is generally barrel-shaped having an upper end 14 which tapers down to a narrow bottom portion terminating in a bottom wall 12. The containers upper end 14 is preferably of greater diameter than the bottom wall 12.
A locking rib 16 is formed around the upper end 14. The locking rib tapers from a minimum to a maximum thickness going toward the bottom of the container. If desired, the bottom wall 17 of locking rib 16 can be undercut to provide a more secure lock for a lid.
A step 18 is formed around the interior of the container wall at a point above bottom wall 12. Step 18 serves two functions. First, it provides a stacking lug, or platform, so that a number of containers 10 can be stacked, or nested, one above the other. The stacking arrangement is conventional. Second, the step 18 provides an area for peripheral sealing of a disc 20. This is described in detail below.
The container 10 can be made of any suitable material, for example, plastic which is either injectionmolded, blow-molded, or therrnoformed. Any conventional type of solid, foamed or cellular plastic material can be used.
An opening 24 is formed in the container bottom wall 12. This can be done during or after the molding of the container. As seen in FIG. 4, the opening 24 is generally oval, or elliptical, in shape and is spaced inwardly from the peripheral edge of the bottom wall. The opening 24 is covered by a seal 26 which can be made of any suitable material, such as, for example paper, metal foil, plastic, etc. The seal 26 is attached to the bottom wall by any suitable adhesive, preferably one which is approved for use with foods. A tab 27 extends from the seal. The tab 27 preferably clears the outer edge of bottom wall 12 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
The material 30 which is to be dissolved is located in the bottom of the container and sealed therein by the disc 20. The dissolvable material 30 can be of any suitable type, for example, instant tea, instant coffee, boullion, soup, sugar, cream, etc., or any combination thereofv Also, pharmaceutical products can be used. The various material can be in their normal forms or they can be micro-encapsulated as is known in the art. The material 30 can be in loose or cake form.
The sealing disc is preferably made of a food material which will dissolve when a liquid is placed in the container. A suitable material is, for example, a starch base material sold under the name EDIFLEX which is manufactured by the American Maize-Products Company, of New York, New York 10017. This material is a soluble, edible and digestible film made from high amylose corn starch. Other suitable materials can be used. This material is shaped, such as by cutting it into a disc, and is sealed to the step 18 by a combination of liquid, pressure and heat. That is, the periphery of the disc, or the step 18, is moistened. The disc is placed on the step and heat and pressure is applied. The peripheral portion of the disc to which the heat is applied fuses to the step 18. This can be done by automatic packaging machinery. As an alternative to the type of sealing discussed above, where the soluble material forming the disc 20 has sufficient strength to give adequate rigidity, the disc can be friction fitted within the container.
A lid 34 for the container is of a complementary shape to the container top 14. The lid has a central bellows portion 35 in its top wall which extends downwardly in a generally concave shape from a peripheral ring 39. A skirt wall 36 extends downwardly from the outer edge of ring 39 and has a reverse bent leg 37 from which extends a locking rim 38. As seen in FIG. 5, the height of the skirt wall 36 is made large enough to accommodate one finger of the holder when the cup is in use. The locking rim 38 terminates in an inwardly extending lip 41. The lid is preferably made of plastic by any suitable process such as molding or thermoformmg.
When the lid 34 is placed over the open top end 14 of the container, the sealing rim 38 snaps over the rib 16 on the container and the lip 41 locks under the rib bottom wall 17 to form a first sealing area on the outside of the container. The sealing rim 38 also has an upper channel member 380 which includes a part of the reverse bent leg 37. As seen in FIG. 2, the upper wall of the channel 38a engages the top edge of the container while the channel side walls engage the inner and outer walls of the container at its top and holds the container material under compression in a pinching manner. When fully fastened to the container, the lid sealing rim 38 conforms to the shape of the container rib 16 and there are no projections extending outwardly from the lid. This forms a fluid tight seal for liquid in the container.
The bottom of the concave bellows 35 terminates below the channel 38a of the lid locking rim 38 so that the bellows bottom would normally extend below the top edge of the container into its interior.
In use, as shown in FIG. 2, the lid bellows 35 expands outwardly to a convex shape when the lid is fastened to the container due to the air captured in the container between the top surface of the liquid and the lower surface of the bellows. In its expanded state the bellows 35 terminates below the ring 39 on the top of the lid so that the inverted container can be rested on the ring 39. The bellows 35 also gives a visible signal that the lid has been properly placed on the container. That is, if the bellows does not change its shape from concave to convex, the user will know that the lid is not fully fastened down.
FIGS. 2, 3 and 5 depict the use of the container. Liquid is poured in through the open top 14 and it dissolves the sealing disc 20 and also infuses with the material 30. The lid 34 is then applied, as shown in FIG. 2, and the bellows changes to a convex shape. The container is now sealed both on the top and bottom. Therefore, mixing of the container contents can take place by shaking the container or, by inverting it one or more times. When it is desired to remove the liquid into which the material 30 is now infused, the container is eather held in the inverted position or set down on the ring 39 of the lid. The user pulls on the tab 27 of the seal 26 to either take it off entirely or to peel it back sufficiently to expose all or a portion of the opening 24. The seal 26 provides a sanitary advantage in that the opening 24 is always covered until the seal is removed.
The user extracts the contents of the container, as shown in FIG. 5, by drinking through the opening 24. The spacing of the opening 24 with respect to the container side wall is made such that the mouth and nose of the user can be accommodated when the container is held in a drinking position.
The contents of the container also can be extracted by a straw. If desired, a part of the seal 26 can be weakened so that a straw can be inserted through it without taking off the entire seal. This further aids in keeping contaminants out of the liquid and, also, retards spilling. As Shown in FIG. 5, the tapered container side wall permits the nose of the user to clear the bottom wall. 0,
When the container is in use and the seal 26 has been peeled off, the container, with the contents therein, can be rested on the rim 39 of the lid to provide a stable surface for the container and its contents. Only the relatively small opening 24 is now present so that even if the container is jostled in a manner such that the liquid will slosh around, it will be very difficult for any of the contents to come out through the opening 24. In addition to its self-mixing feature for the material 30, the mechanical arrangement described above makes the container particularly useful in applications where there is movement, for example, trains, aircraft, cars and buses.
The material 30 can be packed and contained in the same manner as previously described but using a perforated shield, which stays rigidly fixed in place of the soluble disc 20. The shield 20a, as shown in FIG. 1A is of foraminous material and is flat, at least semi-rigid in form. It is made of metal, plastic or woven wire, all with non-toxic properties wherein the holes in the member are of lesser size than the granular or crystaline materials 30 that are restrained by it.
The liquid to be mixed with the dissolvable material 30 passes freely through the perforated disc thereby causing the crystaline or granular dissolvable material to change its substance and flow freely back into the main body of the container. The shield can be pressed flat or otherwise adhered to the container.
The perforations or weave of the shield a are such as to permit the mixed fluid to pass freely through it at a rate greater than the speed of consumption by the drinker.
FIGS. 68 show a further embodiment of the invention. Here, instead of packing the material to be mixed directly in contact with the bottom wall of a container 58, a thimble type device 60 is used. The thimble 60 is made of a non-toxic material acceptable for food use. The thimble has a flanged wall 62 at the bottom of a generally cylindrical wall 64 within which the material is located. The top of the cylinder 64 is sealed off by a disc 66 which can be of the same material as the disc 20 previously described. It is also possible for the entire thimble to be made of the same material. The cylinder 64 extends in through the opening 68 in the container bottom wall 12. The opening 68 conforms to the shape of wall 64. Adhesive is preferably located on the flanged portion of bottom wall 62 to secure the thimble to the bottom wall.
I In the embodiment of FIGS. 6-8 a step, such as 18 of FIG. 1, is not provided on the inner wall of container 58. Stacking of the containers is accomplished merely by nesting the containers one within the other. A bead 59 is formed around the upper end of the containers side wall to hold a lid.
A lid 70 is provided which has a flat top wall 71 from which depends a skirt wall 72. A reverse bent sealing lip 74 terminates the skirt wall. Lip 74 is designed to snap over the sealing bead 59.
The use of the container 58 is depicted in FIGS. 7 and 8. Liquid is poured into the open top of the container dissolving the seal 66 so that the material 30 is mixed with the liquid. A shield of the type 20a discussed previously, also can be used. The lid 70 is fastened over the open top of the container which then can be shaken or inverted several times to completely mix the fluid and the material. After the mixing has taken place, the thimble 60 is pulled out of the opening 68 so that the contents may be extracted therethrough. As before, the top wall 71 of lid 72 provides a stable surface for standing the container while it is inverted.
FIG. 9 shows another form of lid 70a for the container having a depressed center section 71a. The depressed section 71a corresponds to the shape of the bottom of the container so that containers can be stacked one on top of the other. As the angle of the bottom of the container is increassed, that is, the container is made shorter, it will fit further into the lid. The lid is shaped accordingly. This permits more containers to be stacked in a smaller space. The containers can be stacked after filling but before drinking.
The container of FIGS. 6 8 has the same advantages as that of FIGS. l-S. Both containers are relatively strong, are easy to hold due to their shape and provide rapid preparation of any beverage or other preparation using pre-measured quantities of material. Supplements can be added to any of the beverages produced, i.e., additional sugar, cream, etc. The containers are compatible for use with vending machines and reduce the cost of mechanisms for these machines since the beverage materials are already in the container. The containers are advantageously used in applications where there is movement or in other situations such as in hospitals where the relatively small opening at the bottom of the container reduces the possibility of spillage. The opening at the bottom of the container also effectively strains ice'and slush and prevents it from enteringthe mouth where a cold beverage is mixed.
FIG. 10 shows the container of the subject invention used in combination with a serving member, such as a plate or tray, 80, which can be of any size or shape. The serving member 80 is preferably made'of plastic material by any suitable process, for example, molding or thermoforming, and includes a projection 82 of complementary shape to the depression in the lid. The projection 82 is illustratively shown of a shape complementary to the lid depression 71a of the container of FIG. 9. It should be understood, of course, that the projection can be made complementary to the shape oftlie lid of FIGS. 1-4. The projection 82 need not extend all of the way up into the lid depression. Also, it can be segmented or itself have a depressed central portion. After the contents of the container have been mixed, the container is placed on the projection 82 as shown in FIG. 10 and it interlocks with the projection. The serving member 80 can hold any suitable articles such as food. The interlocking of the lid to the projection provides a very high degree of stability to the container since its base is now effectively the entire serving member. The container can be readily removed from and replaced onto the projection on the serving member.
What is claimed is: v 1. In combination a container having a generally circular bottom wall and a side wall tapering upwardly from said bottom wall, the upper edge of said side wall defining a normally open generally circular top for the container and having a larger diameter than the bottom wall, a lid for engaging said side wall and sealing said open top of the container, an opening formed in said bottom wall through which the contents of the inverted container can be extracted, and separate seal means attached to said bottom wall for covering said opening in said bottom wall and removable from said wall to uncover said opening.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said lid has a central bellows portion which is generally concave, the lower end of said concave bellows extending below the upper edge of the container side wall when the lid is sealed to the container to trap air between the interior of the container and the bellows causing the bellows to assume a convex shape.
3. The combination of claim 2 further comprising a locking rib formed on the outer wall of the container upper edge and tapering from a minimum to a maximum thickness from the top edge toward the container bottom wall and terminating on a wall at the lower end of said rib which is generally transverse to said container side wall, and a locking rim formed on the periphery of said lid of a shape complementary to said container locking rib and having an inwardly extending lip which extends under the wall of said locking rib.
4. The combination of claim 3 wherein said locking rim of said lid further comprises a channel having inner and outer walls defining a space therebetween, said inner and outer walls of said channel respectively engaging the inner and outer faces of the upper edge of the container side wall.
5. The combination of claim 1 wherein the opening in the bottom wall is of generally oval shape.
6. The combination of claim 1 where said lid includes means on the top wall thereof to rest the container on a surface in an inverted position.
7. The combination of claim 1 wherein the lid is formed with a depressed central top section adapted to accommodate and hold the bottom of another container for stacking.
8. The combination of claim 1 wherein the lid is formed with a depressed area in its top and further comprising a member separate from said lid and said container and having a projection extending therefrom over which the lid fits.
9. The combination of claim 1 further comprising a foraminous member for holding a quantity of liquid dissolvable material within the container.
10. The combination of claim 9 wherein the openings of the foraminous member are generally smaller than the size of the particles of the dissolvable material.
11. The combination of claim 1 further comprising a quantity of material within said container which is to be dissolved upon the addition of liquid into the container through said open top, and means which are dissolvable by said liquid for sealing the cross-sectional area within which said dissolvable material is located.
12. The combination of claim 11 wherein said sealing means extends across the cross-section of the interior of the container.
13. The combination of claim 12 further comprising a step on the interior of the side wall of the container, the sealing means being sealed to said step.
14. The combination of claim 11 further comprising a housing separate from said container within which the material is located, said housing having an open top and said sealing means sealing said open top, said housing fitting within the opening of the container bottom wall.
15. In combination a container having a bottom wall and a side wall extending upwardly from said bottom wall having an upper edge forming a normally open top for the container through which liquid can be placed into the container, a quantity of a liquid dissolvable material within said container, a lid for covering the open top of the container to permit the material to be dissolved by the liquid and mixed when the container is inverted, an opening formed in the container bottom wall through which the liquid and dissolved material can be extracted, and removable means for sealing said bottom wall opening.
16. The combination of claim 15 further comprising liquid dissolvable means in said container for holding the dissolvable material.
17. The combination of claim 16 wherein said dissolvable means for holding the material covers a complete cross-section of the interior of the container.
18. The combination of claim 17 further comprising a step on the interior of the container side wall, said dissolvable means being sealed to said step.
19. The combination of claim 15 further comprising means on said sealing means for holding said dissolvable material.
20. The combination of claim 19 wherein said means for holding the material comprises a housing which extends through the opening in the bottom wall of the container and can be withdrawing therefrom, said housing having an open top section when within said container, and a dissolvable member sealing said open top section.
21. The combination of claim 20 wherein said housing includes means for sealing the opening in the bottomwall.