Title:
Partitioned cooler
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A partitioned cooler which is capable of selective and alternative use as a large cooler, a cooler and ice chest combination, a small cooler or a small ice chest. The partitioned cooler includes a top section which is removably mounted on a bottom section. An insert, having an insert wall and an insert bottom, can be removably seated in the top section. When the insert is removed from the top section and the top section is mounted on the bottom section, the partitioned cooler defines the large cooler. When the insert is seated in the top section and the top section is mounted on the bottom section, the partitioned cooler defines the cooler and ice chest combination. When the top section is removed from the bottom section and the insert is seated in the top section, the top section defines the small ice chest, and when the top section is removed from the bottom section, the bottom section defines the small cooler.



Inventors:
Vicknair, Toby J. (Bossier City, LA, US)
Application Number:
09/925359
Publication Date:
02/13/2003
Filing Date:
08/10/2001
Assignee:
VICKNAIR TOBY J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47J47/14; F25D3/08; (IPC1-7): B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MEREK, JOSEPH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John M. Harrison (2139 E. Bert Kouns, Shreveport, LA, 71105, US)
Claims:

Having described my invention with the particularity set forth above, what is claimed is:



1. A partitioned cooler comprising: a bottom section; a top section for removably engaging said bottom section; and an insert for selectively removably seating inside said top section, said insert comprising an insert wall and an insert bottom provided on said insert wall.

2. The partitioned cooler of claim 1 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

3. The partitioned cooler of claim 1 comprising a drain opening provided in said insert for draining liquids from said insert.

4. The partitioned cooler of claim 3 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

5. The partitioned cooler of claim 1 comprising a plurality of brackets provided in said bottom section for supporting said insert in said top section.

6. The partitioned cooler of claim 5 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

7. The partitioned cooler of claim 5 comprising a drain opening provided in said insert for draining liquids from said insert.

8. The partitioned cooler of claim 7 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

9. The partitioned cooler of claim 1 comprising at least two barrel latches provided on said bottom section, at least two latch bands carried by said at least two barrel latches, respectively, and at least two barrel stays provided on said top section for removably engaging said at least two latch bands, respectively, and removably securing said top section on said bottom section.

10. The partitioned cooler of claim 9 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

11. The partitioned cooler of claim 9 comprising a drain opening provided in said insert for draining liquids from said insert.

12. The partitioned cooler of claim 11 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

13. The partitioned cooler of claim 9 comprising a plurality of brackets provided in said bottom section for supporting said insert in said top section.

14. The partitioned cooler of claim 13 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

15. The partitioned cooler of claim 13 comprising a drain opening provided in said insert for draining liquids from said insert.

16. The partitioned cooler of claim 15 comprising a lid for selectively removably engaging said top section and said bottom section, respectively.

17. A partitioned cooler capable of selective use as a large cooler, a small cooler, a small ice chest and a cooler and ice chest combination, said partitioned cooler comprising: a bottom section; a top section for removably engaging said bottom section, an insert for selectively removably seating inside said top section; wherein said partitioned cooler defines said cooler and ice chest combination when said insert is seated inside said top section and said top section removably engages said bottom section; wherein said partitioned cooler defines said large cooler when said insert is removed from said top section and said top section removably engages said bottom section; wherein said bottom section of said partitioned cooler defines said small cooler when said top section disengages said bottom section; and wherein said top section of said partitioned cooler defines said small ice chest when said top section disengages said bottom section and said insert is removably seated inside said top section.

18. The partitioned cooler of claim 17 comprising a drain opening provided in said insert for draining liquids from said insert.

19. The partitioned cooler of claim 17 comprising a plurality of brackets provided in said bottom section for supporting said insert in said top section when said partitioned cooler defines said cooler and ice chest combination.

20. A partitioned cooler capable of selective use as a large cooler, a small cooler, a small ice chest and a cooler and ice chest combination, said partitioned cooler comprising: a bottom section; a top section for removably engaging said bottom section; an insert for selectively removably seating in said top section, said insert comprising an insert wall and an insert bottom provided on said insert wall; at least two barrel latches provided on said top section, at least two latch bands provided on said at least two barrel latches, respectively, and at least two barrel stays provided on said bottom section for removably engaging said at least two latch bands, respectively, and removably securing said top section on said bottom section; wherein said partitioned cooler defines said cooler and ice chest combination when said insert is seated in said top section and said top section removably engages said bottom section; wherein said partitioned cooler defines said large cooler when said insert is removed from said top section and said top section removably engages said bottom section; wherein said bottom section of said partitioned cooler defines said small cooler when said top section disengages said bottom section; and wherein said top section of said partitioned cooler defines said small ice chest when said top section disengages said bottom section and said insert is removably seated in said top section.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to ice chests and coolers and more particularly, to a partitioned cooler which is capable of alternative use as a large cooler, a cooler and ice chest combination, a small cooler or a small ice chest. The partitioned cooler includes a top section removably mounted on a bottom section. An insert, having an insert wall and an insert bottom, can be removably seated in the top section. When the insert is removed from the top section and the top section is mounted on the bottom section, the partitioned cooler defines the large cooler, capable of holding and dispensing water or beverage or holding ice, food and/or drinks. When the insert is seated in the top section and the top section is mounted on the bottom section, the partitioned cooler defines the cooler and ice chest combination, with the top section capable of holding ice, food and/or drinks and the bottom section capable of dispensing water or beverage. When the top section is removed from the bottom section and the insert is seated in the top section, the top section defines the small ice chest, capable of holding ice, food and/or drinks, and when the top section is removed from the bottom section, the bottom section defines the small cooler, capable of holding water or beverage.

[0002] A variety of multi-compartmented containers for keeping ice, food and/or beverages cool are known in the art. U.S. Pat. No. 3,384,259, dated May 21, 1968, to Hoffstadt, describes a “Dual Thermal Carrier” having a lower container, an upper container removably secured to the lower container and a removable gasket interposed between the lower and upper containers. With the upper container removed from the lower container, a cover can be seated in the lower container with the gasket to define a thermos. The upper container has a bottom for containing water or a beverage when attached to or separated from the lower container, as well as a spigot for dispensing the water or beverage therefrom A “Compartmented Ice Chest” is detailed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,395,550, dated Aug. 6, 1968, to Dungan, and includes a container having a divided container interior, one compartment of which is designed to contain ice and the other, a potable liquid The ice is accessed by a id on the container, whereas the potable liquid can be dispensed through a spigot. A “Multiple Vessel Container Unit” is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,078,701, dated Mar. 14, 1978, to Clubb. The Clubb multiple vessel container unit includes one vessel removably mountable and securable on top of another vessel, with the bottom end of the upper vessel and the top end of the lower vessel interconnectable with one another; multiple vessel container assemblies adapted to carry liquids, which vessels optionally may be insulated from one another or to heat exchange with one another; and multiple vessel container assemblies of versatile use and capacity with respect to ice and liquids for drinking purposes, each vessel separately chargeable with and able to dispense either or both of ice and liquids. U.S. Pat. No. 4,577,475, dated Mar. 25, 1986, to Herrera, describes a “Portable Cooler” including a container for ice insulated on the sides with a drain and a base compartment with insulated recesses situated beneath the container. Adapted to fit in the recesses are closable bins for storage and cooling of beverages or items. The bins are separate from the container but not by insulation. U.S. Pat. No. 4,978,023, dated Dec. 18, 1990, to Behlmann, et al., details an “Insulated Modular Cooler” having individually insulated modular cooler compartment units that can be stacked together to make a custom-sized cooler for any occasion The bottom unit has a spigot for dispensing water or beverage from the unit. A “Dual Thermos” is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,086,926, dated Feb. 11, 1992, to Paige, et al., which dual thermos includes longitudinally-aligned and spaced-apart thermos bottles with a supporting storage compartment, bowl and cup. Interchangeable annular threads on the bowl, cup, thermos bottles, storage compartment and intermediate spacer ring allow for a single thermos or dual thermos configuration according to the desires of the user. U.S. Pat. No. 5,329,787, dated Jul. 19, 1994, to Friday, describes a “Combination Food and Beverage Cooler”, characterized by a partitioned container having a top opening. A non-contained beverage can be stored in a beverage compartment in the container, and items such as canned food or canned drinks can be stored in a food compartment. A cooler pack is positioned between the beverage compartment and the food compartment. U.S. Des. No. 365,969, dated Jan. 9, 1996, to Sellman, describes and illustrates another “Partitioned Cooler”.

[0003] An object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler which is capable of selective use as a large cooler, a cooler and ice chest combination, a small cooler or a small ice chest.

[0004] Another object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler which includes a bottom section, a top section removably mounted on the bottom section and an insert removably seated in the top section.

[0005] Still another object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler which can be used as a large cooler capable of holding a relatively large volume of water or beverage or a relatively large volume of ice, food and/or drinks.

[0006] Another object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler which can be used as a cooler and ice chest combination, which ice chest component of the partitioned cooler can hold ice, food and/or drinks and which cooler component of the partitioned cooler can hold water or beverage.

[0007] Yet another object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler which can be used as a small cooler capable of containing water or beverage.

[0008] A still further object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler which can be used as a small ice chest capable of containing ice, food and/or is.

[0009] Still another object of this invention is to provide a partitioned cooler capable of selective use as a large cooler, a cooler and ice chest combination, a small cooler or a small ice chest, which partitioned cooler includes a bottom section, a top section removably mounted on the bottom section and an insert removably seated in the top section, wherein the partitioned cooler defines the large cooler by removal of the insert from the top section and mounting of the top section on the bottom section; wherein the partitioned cooler defines the cooler and ice chest combination by placement of the insert in the top section and mounting of the top section on the bottom section; wherein the bottom section of the partitioned cooler defines the small cooler by removing the top section from the bottom section; and wherein the top section of the partitioned cooler defines the small ice chest by removal of the top section from the bottom section and placement of the insert in the top section.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] These and other objects of the invention are provided in a partitioned cooler which is capable of alternative use as a large cooler, a cooler and ice chest combination, a small cooler or a small ice chest. The partitioned cooler includes a top section removably attached to the bottom section. An insert, having an insert wall and an insert bottom, can be removably seated in the top section. When the insert is removed from the top section and the top section is removably mounted on the bottom section, the partitioned cooler defines the large cooler. When the insert is seated in the top section and the top section is mounted on the bottom section, the partitioned cooler defines the cooler and ice chest combination, with the top section defining the ice chest and the bottom section defining the cooler. When the top section is removed from the bottom section and the insert is seated in the top section, the top section defines the small ice chest, and when the top section is removed from the bottom section, the bottom section defines the small cooler.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The invention will be better understood by reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an illustrative embodiment of the partitioned beverage container of this invention, shown in the cooler and ice chest combination configuration or the large cooler configuration;

[0013] FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view of the partitioned beverage container illustrated in FIG. 1, with the partitioned beverage container shown in the cooler and ice chest combination configuration;

[0014] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the bottom section of the partitioned beverage container, with the top section removed from the bottom section thereof and the bottom section shown in the small cooler configuration; and

[0015] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the top section of the partitioned beverage container, removed from the bottom section thereof and shown in the small ice chest configuration.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0016] Refer initially to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, an illustrative embodiment of the partitioned cooler of this invention is generally illustrated by reference numeral 1. The partitioned cooler 1 includes a generally bucket-shaped bottom section 20, characterized by an insulated bottom section barrel 21 having a bottom section barrel interior 23 and typically fitted with a pair of spaced-apart, exterior bottom barrel handles 22. A generally cylindrical top section 2 of the partitioned cooler 1, characterized by an insulated top section barrel 3 having a top section barrel interior 5 and typically provided with a pair of spaced-apart top barrel handles 4, can be removably secured on the bottom section 20 typically by extending latch bands 24a, provided on each of multiple barrel latches 24 mounted in spaced-apart relationship to each other on the bottom section 20, around respective barrel stays 6, provided on the top section 2, as illustrated in FIG. 1. Both the upper and lower ends of the top section 2 are open and communicate with the top section barrel interior 5. Accordingly, an insert 12, having a generally cylindrical insert wall 13 closed by an insert bottom 16 and defining an insert interior 15, can be removably inserted in the top section 2 and supported on multiple brackets 26, provided in the barrel interior 23 of the bottom section 20. The insert 12 partitions the top section barrel interior 5 from the bottom section barrel interior 23 when the top section 2 is removably mounted on the bottom section 20 in application of the partitioned cooler 1 as hereinafter described. A pair of hand grip openings 14 and a drain opening 17, removably sealed by means of a suitable drain plug (not illustrated), may be provided in the insert wall 13 for purposes hereinafter described. The bottom section 20 may be fitted with a drain spigot 25 for selectively dispensing water or beverage from the bottom section barrel interior 23. A lid 8, which may be insulated and fitted with a lid handle 9, is typically provided with lid threads (not illustrated) in a pressure fit for engaging companion section threads (not illustrated) or in a pressure fit on the top section 2 and the bottom section 20, respectively, and selectively closing the top section barrel interior 5 or the bottom section barrel interior 23, as hereinafter described. Accordingly, the upper rim of both the top section 2 and the bottom section 20 each typically functions as a lid seat 10 for receiving the lid 8.

[0017] Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, in application the partitioned cooler 1 is capable of selective and alternative use as a large cooler, a cooler and ice chest combination, a small cooler or a small ice chest. When the partitioned cooler 1 is assembled to define the cooler and ice chest combination, as illustrated in exploded view in FIG. 2, the bottom section 20 typically functions as a cooler and the top section 2 typically functions as an ice chest. Accordingly, for example, the bottom section barrel interior 23 can initially be filled with water or beverage (not illustrated), and the top section 2 is next mounted on the bottom section 20. This is accomplished by resting the top section 2 on the lid seat 10 of the bottom section 20 and extending the latch bands 24a of the barrel latches 24 on the bottom section 20 around the respective barrel stays 6 on the top section 2. The insert 12 is then seated in the top section barrel interior 5, to provide a supporting bottom to the top section 2. Accordingly, various items such as ice, food and/or bottled or canned drinks (not illustrated) can be placed in the insert interior 15 of the seated insert 12, and maintained at a cool temperature for a prolonged period of time. The lid 8 is typically mounted on the lid seat 10 of the top section 2 to prevent dirt, dust and other contaminants from entering the insert interior 15 and seal the insert interior 15 from ambient temperature. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that ice, food or drinks (not illustrated) contained in the insert interior 15 can be accessed by removing the lid 8 from the top section 2, while selected quantities of the water or beverage can be dispensed from the bottom section barrel interior 23 by manipulation of the drain spigot 25. The cooler and ice chest combination of the partitioned cooler 1 can be carried by grasping the top barrel handles 4 of the top section 2 or the bottom barrel handles 22 of the bottom section 20.

[0018] Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, the partitioned cooler 1 can be assembled to define a large cooler, as desired, by mounting the top section 2 on the bottom section 20 and removing the insert 12 from the top section barrel interior 5. In that case, the combined space provided by the top section barrel interior 5 and the bottom section barrel interior 23 of the partitioned cooler 1 can be used to contain a relatively large volume of water or beverage or a relatively large quantity of ice, food and/or drinks.

[0019] Referring next to FIG. 3 and again to FIG. 2 of the drawings, the partitioned cooler 1 can be assembled to define a small cooler for containing water or beverage, for example, by removing the top section 2 from the bottom section 20 of the partitioned cooler 1 and pouring the water or beverage in the bottom section barrel interior 23. The lid 8 is typically seated on the id seat 10 of the bottom section 20 to seal the water or beverage in the bottom section barrel interior 23 from the ambient temperature and prevent dirt, dust or other contaminants from entering the bottom section barrel interior 23. The small cooler defined by the bottom section 20 can be carried by grasping the bottom barrel handles 22, and the water or beverage can be dispensed from the bottom section barrel interior 23 using the drain spigot 25, as desired.

[0020] Referring next to FIG. 4 and again to FIG. 2 of the drawings, the partitioned cooler 1 can be assembled to define a small ice chest for containing ice, food and/or canned or bottled drinks (not illustrated), for example. Accordingly, the top section 2 is removed from the bottom section 20 of the partitioned cooler 1, and the insert 12 (FIG. 2) is seated in the top section barrel interior 5 to provide a supporting bottom to the top section 2. The ice, food and/or canned or bottled drinks are placed in the insert interior 15 of the insert 12, and the lid 8 is typically threaded or pressure-seated on the lid seat 10. The small ice chest defined by the top section 2 can be carried by grasping the top barrel handles 4. After use of the top section 2 as the small ice chest, the insert 12 can be removed from the top section barrel interior 5 by grasping the hand grip openings 14 provided in the insert wall 13, and the drain opening 17 can be opened by removing the drain plug (not illustrated) to drain melted ice from the insert interior 15 through the drain opening 17.

[0021] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the partitioned cooler 1 of this invention can be constructed using a top section 2 and a bottom section 20 of various sizes and shapes. Furthermore, the top section 2 and the bottom section 20 can be constructed of any suitable insulating material known to those skilled in the art. It is understood that the top section 2 can be removably mounted on the bottom section 20 by means of threading or any other suitable technique known to those skilled in the art, in addition to or other than the barrel latches 24 and respective barrel stays 6 heretofore described.

[0022] While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been described above, it will be recognized and understood that various modifications can be made in the invention and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications which may fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.