Patent application title: Insulated Multi Compartment Multi Lid Fluid Storage Device
Linda Byrd (Chireno, TX, US)
James Byrd (Chireno, TX, US)
Miriam Cheever (Nacogdoches, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D8138FI
Class name: Receptacles receptacle having means to facilitate maintaining contents above or below ambient temperature (e.g., compartment for holding a heat exchange medium) thermally insulated receptacle
Publication date: 2009-09-03
Patent application number: 20090218357
An insulated multi compartment multi lid fluid storage device capable of
multiple configurations to provide for different ratios of stored fluids.
The device allows for individual fluids to be stored separately from one
another. In addition, the device has a tapered bottom and is largely
characterized by textured surfaces. More specifically, the contours of
the devices lend themselves to fitting within vehicle cup holders and the
like. Finally, the device is comprised of thermo-insulating material so
that stored fluids can maintain a near constant temperature for
relatively long periods of time.
1. A device for keeping stored fluids separate comprising:a cylindrical
fluid container having an outer wall member, a top member, and a bottom
member, said cylindrical container having an upper portion and a lower
portion wherein said upper portion is centrally aligned and sealingly
connected with said lower portion, said top member having a first top
member segment and a second top member segment, said first and second top
member segments each containing an aperture, said aperture being
configured for fluid egress from said cylindrical fluid container, said
first and second top member segments each having a perimeter edge
sealable against at least a portion of said outer wall member;a dividing
member, said dividing member positioned within said cylindrical fluid
container, said dividing member extending between and being sealingly
attached to said outer wall member and said bottom member, said dividing
member further being integrally formed with each of said first and second
top member segments of said top member; anda hinge means, said hinge
means hingedly and sealingly extending from said first top member segment
and said second top member segment to said dividing member such that each
of said first and second top member segments may be independently raised
to a cylindrical container open position or lowered to a cylindrical
container closed position, said cylindrical container closed position
being configured such that said top member substantially seals said
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said cylindrical container upper portion has a greater diameter that said cylindrical container lower portion.
3. The device of claim 2 further comprising a handle member attached to said outer wall member.
4. The device of claim 3 wherein said outer wall member and said bottom member are substantially comprised of an insulating material.
5. The device of claim 3 wherein said dividing member is substantially comprised of an insulating material.
6. The device of claim 3 wherein said cylindrical container lower portion and said handle member have a surface that is substantially textured.
7. The device of claim 1 wherein said dividing member is configured such that the combination of said dividing member, said outer wall member, said bottom member, and said top member form two compartments of equal volume.
8. The device of claim 1 wherein said first and second top member segments each further comprise an independent hinged aperture lid for alternately covering and uncovering said apertures.
9. The device of claim 1 wherein said hinge means further comprises thin-walled linear segments forming hinge joints between the integrally formed dividing member and the first and second top member segments.
10. The device of claim 9 wherein said hinge means further comprises at least one hinge reinforcement member extending across said thin-walled linear segments.
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. §120 as a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No.: 11/326,113; filed Jan. 4, 2006, which in turn claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No.: 60/647,257; filed Jan. 25, 2005, the full disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to an insulated multi compartment multi lid fluid storage device. More specifically, the present invention relates to an insulated multi compartment fluid storage device wherein a single fluid container, having multiple compartments and multiple lids, keeps fluids contained therein separate from one another and helps maintain fluid temperature. The device may be configured in several ways to produce different compartment arrangements.
2. Description of the Related Art
The use of insulating fluid storage devices is known in the art. More specifically, insulating fluid storage devices heretofore devised and utilized are known to consist basically of familiar, expected and obvious structural configurations, notwithstanding the myriad of designs encompassed by the crowded prior art which have been developed for the fulfillment of different objectives and requirements. While these devices may fulfill their respective, particularly claimed objectives and requirements, the aforementioned devices do not disclose an insulating multi compartment fluid storage device such as Applicant's invention.
People the world over consume mixed drinks or for any number of reasons, desire to travel with more than one beverage at the same time. Sometimes such drinks are a mixture of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, or numerous other combinations of fluids. Sometimes the combination of such fluids may produce an unsavory flavor if they are mixed with one another for an extended period of time. Usually, the flavor of these mixed drinks is optimized by consuming the beverage immediately after mixing its constituents. As a result, the component fluids are typically kept in separate containers until mixing.
For example, when a beverage such as a wine spritzer is mixed, the wine and carbonated beverage are mixed only immediately before consumption. Such is the result as the wine and carbonated beverage have an adverse effect on one another when they are combined for an extended period of time. When prematurely mixed, the wine often acquires a bitter taste, while the carbonated beverage become "flat." The same general effects are observed as an alcoholic beverage such as rum is mixed with cola or fruit juice.
Because of the adverse effects associated with the extended mixing of certain components of common mixed drinks, these components are often stored separately until immediately prior to consumption. In the art, no known device exists that is capable of keeping such constituents in a compact discrete unit wherein the mixed drink components can be effectively mixed immediately upon consumption. The present invention, however, provides such a device. More specifically, the present invention allows mixed drink components to be stored together in compact, discrete unit fashion, while insulating the separate drink components contained therein within separate, individual compartments.
Problems relating to consuming more than one beverage is often exaggerated where the consumer wishes to carry separate beverages during travel. For example, one may wish to bring separate beverages on a trip, or simply to and from work. All too often, one would be forced to bring along a separate container for each individual beverage.
Problems are further met where one or more of the fluids is most desirably consumed at a relatively high or a relatively low temperature. The most obvious circumstances where problems may arise is where a consumer wishes to drink hot chocolate or coffee with particular additives, or some cold beverage with additives. Currently, the consumer is forced to travel with separate containers simply to have available the desired mixture. In view of these problems, a need exists for a device that can keep fluids in proximity with one another, while remaining separate, and where the fluids may be consumed at the same time.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide an insulated multi compartment multi lid fluid storage device which has many of the advantages of such devices known in the art and many novel features that result in a new insulated multi compartment fluid storage device which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the known devices, either alone or in any combination thereof.
In satisfaction of the above, the present invention provides an insulated multi compartment multi lid fluid storage device, which by way of a novel combination of component parts, provides benefits that simply are not possible with known devices. Applicant's invention provides a device that saves time and money, and increases efficiency with respect to raw materials, production costs, and transportation and storage space. After all, use of the present invention alleviates the need to carry separate containers for every individual beverage to be consumed, and the present invention can help avoid the need to reheat or cool the beverages. Instead, one may carry a single container having one or more beverages to be consumed throughout the day.
The present invention is thought to be most beneficial in the context of keeping fluid ingredients separate from one another while being carried in a single container and helping those fluids maintain a near constant temperature. As a result, the attributes of each beverage are preserved for extended periods of time. As mentioned, particular forms are envisioned where the device has a multiple storage compartment configuration. Other forms of Applicant's invention are envisioned of being capable of maintaining particular ratios of its constituent fluid components with respect to one another.
In its most preferred form, the present invention is comprised of a generally cylindrical container, having a generally flat top and bottom. Along its top, the device includes a lid having components fixed about a hinge point about a bisecting line along the lid. This hinge point is defined along the top surface, preferably where an insulated dividing wall, demarcating individual compartments, meets the top surface. The lid components may be actuated between open and closed positions. The lid further contains one or more recesses or apertures to allow one to drink or "sip" from a device compartment. These recesses or apertures may themselves be covered by smaller hinged lid components.
Contained within the form defined by the cylindrical shell and the top and bottom surfaces lies one or more insulated dividers. These dividers extend between the top surface and bottom surface and between the points along the cylindrical shell so as to form a complete seal along their respective edges. The alignment with respect to the lid components is particularly important. That is, in the case where two fluids are separately contained, a divider joins the top surface at the lid hinge point to ensure the individual fluids are kept separate from one another. Likewise, if three or more compartments are formed by configuration of the dividers, the top surface may be configured to have corresponding hinge points so that each beverage may be separately consumed.
Applicant's invention further presents distinct benefits in that it is particularly conducive to being taken along during travel. That is, particularly useful embodiments are envisioned where the device is contoured to conveniently fit within vehicle cup holders and the like. More specifically, the preferred form of the present device has a textured base, tapered so as to fit within the narrow confines of a cup holder. The device also has adjoining handles, also textured, to ensure ease of handling. This, of course, is easily seen to be helpful when one is consuming a beverage while walking, working, or driving.
While the attributes of Applicant's invention may appear to be subtle at first glance, the device truly is novel. For instance, use of Applicant's invention eliminates the need for the transportation of multiple fluid containers simply for the option of carrying those beverages at a single time. In addition, the present invention helps reduce the need to rely on other devices to reheat or cool stored beverages. Finally, unlike any devices known in the art, Applicant's invention allows for singular, discrete storage and transport of fluids that should not be mixed until they are consumed or applied in some other fashion.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Applicant's invention may be further understood from a description of the accompanying drawings, wherein unless otherwise specified, like referenced numerals are intended to depict like components in the various views.
FIG. 1 is an elevational plan view of the preferred embodiment of the insulated fluid storage device of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an elevational profile view of the preferred embodiment of the insulated fluid storage.
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the preferred embodiment of the insulated fluid storage device of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the insulated fluid storage device of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a detailed cross-sectional view of the lid, hinge, and divider components of the preferred embodiment of the insulated fluid storage device of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
With reference first to FIG. 1, an elevational plan view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown, and is generally designated by the reference number 10. The various components of device 10 are largely comprised of some alloy, such as stainless steel, covering an insulating material as known in the art. Also, as will be discussed, portions of the device 10 are covered with some textured surface as known in the art, such as textured rubber.
Device 10 is characterized by outer wall 12. Outer wall 12, in the preferred embodiment, is generally of a cylindrical shape, having a tapered or stair-step bottom with a textured surface as known in the art. This shape is generally preferred as it is thought to reduce the likelihood of device 10 slipping out of one's hand. Also, the tapered or stair-step bottom is thought to be useful in that device 10 can more easily fit within vehicle cup holders and the like. Other useful embodiments are envisioned where outer wall 12 is of another form to accommodate specialized needs of device 10. For example, outer wall 12 may have a flanged lower portion joining an enlarged bottom surface 18 thereby offering device 10 greater stability. One or more handle members 14 extend from outer wall 12. Handle member 14 preferably has a textured surface and is shaped to allow one's hand to easily hold member 14.
The device of the present invention is further characterized by top surface 16 and bottom surface 18, each of which have a shape defined by the perimeter of the shape formed by outer wall 12. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, top surface 16 further contains at least one hinge line 20 and one aperture 22. Hinge line 20 is defined within top surface 16 and is preferably located along the juxtaposition of dividing member 24 (see FIG. 4) and top surface 16.
As such, individual segments of top surface 16, defined by one or more hinge lines 20, may be actuated about a hinge line 20 between an open position and a closed position. In an open position top surface member 16 is in a substantially upright position at some angle from outer wall 12. In the closed position, top surface 16 flatly rests against outer wall 12 to form a substantially sealed form. Hinge reinforcements 21 may be positioned along hinge line 20 to strengthen the integral hinge line through repeated openings and closings.
Aperture 22, contained within top surface 16, is configured to allow fluid to flow from the confines of device 10 so that one may drink or "sip" fluid from device 10 when device 10 is placed at an appropriate angle. The preferred embodiment is depicted as having a single hinge line 20 (thereby defining two top surface 16 segments) and two apertures 22. However, other useful embodiments are envisioned where hinge lines 20 converge at the radial center of top surface 16 and extend radially to outer wall 12. In such embodiments, several top surface 16 segments may be defined where each would actuate about that radial center between an open and closed position. More specifically, segments of top surface 16 would be defined by the edges where a plurality of dividing members 24 (see FIGS. 4 & 5) extend integrally into top surface 16. Finally, in such an embodiment each top surface 16 segment would have a corresponding aperture 22.
FIG. 2 is an elevational profile view of the preferred embodiment of the insulated storage device of the present invention showing the manner in which the top surface 16 segments may be raised on hinge line 20 to open each of the multiple compartments in the device. Likewise in this view, apertures 22 are shown to comprise structures including aperture lids 26 and aperture lid hinges 28. In this view it is apparent how an entire compartment of the device of the present invention may be opened for access (such as to fill the compartment with a liquid) or the sipping aperture may be opened separately to allow the user to sip the liquid from the compartment.
FIG. 3 provides a top plan view of the lid section (top surface 16) of the device of the present invention. In this view, hinge line 20 and hinge reinforcements 21 are shown positioned on a diameter of the lid immediately above a line where dividing wall 24 extends. Also in this view, apertures 22 are shown diametrically opposed on either side of top surface 16, each containing aperture lids 26 with aperture lid hinges 28. On one side of top surface 16 is positioned breathing aperture 30 which is appropriate for a hot liquid, as an example, to permit replacement air flow into the compartment while the user sips the liquid through aperture 22.
Referring now to FIG. 4, dividing wall 24 is shown contained within the shape formed by the combination of outer wall 12, top surface 16, and bottom surface 18. Top surface 16 has been removed in this view for clarity although it is understood that top surface 16 is integrally joined to the top edge of dividing wall 24 as shown in FIG. 5. Dividing wall 24 is configured to extend between top surface 16 (not shown in this view) and bottom surface 18, and between outer wall 12 to demarcate two separate compartments. Although, as mentioned, particular embodiments are envisioned where more than one dividing member 24 extends radially from a central position to form a plurality of compartments within the shape defined by outer wall 12, dividing walls 24, top surface 16, and bottom surface 18.
Reference is finally made to FIG. 5 for a brief description of a cross-sectional detailed structure for hinge line 20 shown generally in an exterior view in the above figures. In FIG. 5 top surface 16 is divided into two hinged segments that are integrally connected to dividing wall 24. Dividing wall 24 is shown to be an insulated wall contained insulating material 32 and wall panels 34. In this manner a hot liquid (for example) may be separated and insulated from a cold liquid in the multi compartment device. Also shown in FIG. 5 is the manner in which top surface 16 segments provide a thin cross-section along hinge line 20 so as to permit the easy movement or pivoting of the lid segments along the hinge line. Also show in FIG. 5 is a typical example of hinge reinforcement 21 that strengthens hinge line 20 in a manner that allows for repetitive opening and closing of the top surface segments.
Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.
Patent applications by James Byrd, Chireno, TX US
Patent applications by Linda Byrd, Chireno, TX US
Patent applications by Miriam Cheever, Nacogdoches, TX US
Patent applications in class Thermally insulated receptacle
Patent applications in all subclasses Thermally insulated receptacle