Title:
Pouch for extinguishing, storing and disposing cigarette butts
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pouch for extinguishing, storing and disposing cigarette butts comprising a receptacle having a front panel, a back panel and opposing side panels forming one or more interior compartments. A two-ply material used for the pouch has a metallic or otherwise non-combustible side facing into the interior compartments and a paper outside. The top section of the receptacle has a mechanism for sealably closing the interior compartments comprising a pair of top flaps with adhesive bands thereon. The outside of the back panel has one or more pieces of sandpaper or like material thereon to allow the smoker to extinguish the cigarette butt and to provide some rigidity to the pouch. A non-combustible sheet can be disposed between the receptacle and sandpaper to protect the receptacle. A mechanism for opening the interior compartments, such as perforations, allows the contents therein to be disposed without having to be handled.



Inventors:
Singh, Jaswir (Fresno, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/315495
Publication Date:
06/10/2004
Filing Date:
12/10/2002
Assignee:
SINGH JASWIR
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/105, 206/246
International Classes:
A24F19/00; A24F19/14; (IPC1-7): B65D33/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHARD A. RYAN (ATTORNEY AT LAW 401 W. FALLBROOK AVENUE SUITE 101, FRESNO, CA, 93711, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A pouch for extinguishing, storing and disposing a plurality of cigarette butts, comprising: a receptacle forming at least one interior compartment, said receptacle having a front panel, a spaced apart back panel and at least one side panel, said receptacle having at least an interior side in said interior compartment formed from a generally heat resistant, non-combustible material, said receptacle having an open top section opening into said interior compartment and a sealed bottom; means at said top section for sealably closing said top section of said receptacle; and means on said receptacle for extinguishing the cigarette butts when the cigarette butts are rubbed or crushed against said extinguishing means, said extinguishing means providing rigid support for said pouch and configured to prevent damage to said receptacle when extinguishing the cigarette butts.

2. The pouch according to claim 1, wherein said receptacle comprises opposing side panels.

3. The pouch according to claim 1 further comprising means for partitioning said interior compartment to form at least a first interior compartment and a second interior compartment.

4. The pouch according to claim 3, wherein said partitioning means is a partitioning wall disposed between and interconnecting said front panel and said back panel.

5. The pouch according to claim 1, wherein said closing means comprises at least one top flap and an adhesive band on said top flap.

6. The pouch according to claim 5 further comprising a removable protective strip on said adhesive band.

7. The pouch according to claim 1, wherein said extinguishing means comprises one or more pieces of sandpaper affixed to said receptacle.

8. The pouch according to claim 1, wherein said extinguishing means is located on said back panel of said receptacle.

9. The pouch according to claim 8, wherein said receptacle has at least two extinguishing means and said receptacle is configured to fold such that said extinguishing means generally abut each other.

10. The pouch according to claim 1 further comprising a non-combustible sheet disposed between said receptacle and said extinguishing means.

11. The pouch according to claim 1 further comprising means for opening said receptacle near said top section of said receptacle to empty the contents from said interior compartment.

12. The pouch according to claim 11, wherein said opening means comprises a plurality of perforations across said receptacle at said top section.

13. A pouch for extinguishing, storing and disposing a plurality of cigarette butts, comprising: a receptacle forming at least a first interior compartment and a second interior compartment, said receptacle having a front panel, a spaced apart back panel and opposing side panels, said receptacle having at least an interior side in said first and second interior compartments formed from a generally heat resistant, non-combustible material, said receptacle having an open top section opening into said first and second interior compartments and a sealed bottom; means at said top section for sealably closing said top section of said receptacle, said closing means comprising at least one top flap and an adhesive band on said top flap; means on said receptacle for extinguishing the cigarette butts when the cigarette butts are rubbed or crushed against said extinguishing means, said extinguishing means providing rigid support for said pouch and configured to prevent damage to said receptacle when extinguishing the cigarette butts; and means for opening said receptacle near said top section of said receptacle to empty the contents from said first and second interior compartments.

14. The pouch according to claim 13, wherein said extinguishing means comprises one or more pieces of sandpaper affixed to said receptacle.

15. The pouch according to claim 13, wherein said extinguishing means is located on said back panel of said receptacle.

16. The pouch according to claim 15, wherein said receptacle has at least two extinguishing means and said receptacle is configured to fold such that said extinguishing means generally abut each other.

17. The pouch according to claim 13 further comprising a non-combustible sheet disposed between said receptacle and said extinguishing means.

18. The pouch according to claim 13, wherein said opening means comprises a plurality of perforations across said receptacle at said top section.

19. A pouch for extinguishing, storing and disposing a plurality of cigarette butts, comprising: a receptacle forming at least one interior compartment, said receptacle having a front panel, a spaced apart back panel and at least one side panel, said receptacle having at least an interior side in said interior compartment formed from a generally heat resistant, non-combustible material, said receptacle having an open top section opening into said interior compartment and a sealed bottom; means at said top section for sealably closing said top section of said receptacle; at least one piece of sandpaper on said back panel of said receptacle, said at least one piece of sandpaper providing rigid support for said pouch and configured to prevent damage to said receptacle when extinguishing the cigarette butts; and means for opening said receptacle near said top section of said receptacle to empty the contents from said first and second interior compartments.

20. The pouch according to claim 19 further comprising a non-combustible sheet disposed between said receptacle and said extinguishing means.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] A. Field of the Invention

[0002] The field of the present invention relates generally to containers and similar devices used for extinguishing lighted smoking materials, such as cigarettes or cigarette butts, and storing such materials in the container until ready for disposal. More particularly, the present invention relates to such containers which are low cost, collapsible and suitable for distribution with standard cigarette packages so as to provide a readily accessible means of safely and responsibly disposing of cigarette butts and related materials.

[0003] B. Background

[0004] It is well known that many people smoke cigarettes and similarly configured smoking articles. It is also well known that, with regard to the vast majority of these smoking materials, the smoker does not consume the entire article during the process of smoking it. With regard to cigarettes in particular, the smoker lights and then smokes the consumable tobacco portion of the cigarette by inhaling the lit tobacco through the non-consumable filter portion of the cigarette. When the smoker is finished smoking the cigarette, which may be before the consumable portion is entirely consumed, he or she must extinguish the cigarette. The non-consumed portion of the cigarette is commonly referred to as the cigarette butt. Because the butt portion of the cigarette is not consumed during the smoking process, the user must dispose of the butt.

[0005] When the smoker extinguishes the cigarette, he or she must take care to ensure that the cigarette butt is properly extinguished. The failure to completely extinguish a cigarette butt is known to have resulted in numerous fires, particularly when the butt is improperly disposed in outdoor or other locations. For instance, forest fires, house fires and trash fires are known to have been started by the disposal of a cigarette butt that was not completely extinguished. In addition to fires, the continued burning and smoke generation of a non-extinguished cigarette butt is generally considered unsightly by most people, unhealthy to people who do not smoke and somewhat annoying to others. Despite these known problems, some smokers still do not completely extinguish their cigarette butts.

[0006] The typical mechanism for extinguishing cigarette butts is to push or rub the lit end of the cigarette butt against an object so as to extinguish it. Often, the problem with incomplete extinguishment of a cigarette butt results from the difficulty in finding a suitable surface to rub the lit butt against so as to completely extinguish it. Due to the lit nature of the butt, it cannot be extinguished against combustible materials or surfaces which could be harmed by the lit butt (i.e., skin). In addition, the nature of burning materials is that they typically leave charcoal-like dark marks on the surface that is used to extinguish the lit butt. As a result, absent an ashtray or like object, the smoker is forced to improvise by finding a non-flammable, dark and otherwise suitable surface upon which he or she may extinguish the butt.

[0007] Once the cigarette butt is extinguished, the smoker is still faced with the dilemma of where to safely and properly dispose of the butt. The proliferation of cigarette butts being disposed in improper places is well known, indicating the severity of the problem of being able to find a proper disposal location. Although most smokers will dispose of a cigarette butt in an ashtray or like device if it is readily available, such as an automobile ashtray, the problem of disposal arises when such devices are not readily available. Because the butt was lit and is subject to breaking apart and spreading ash and cigarette “charcoal,” smokers tend to not want to place the butt in a pocket of their pants, shirt, jacket or other clothing. Likewise, many smokers are concerned with throwing a cigarette butt, even if believed to be properly extinguished, in a combustible trash container or a trash container having other combustible materials therein. As such, many smokers may consider it to be safer and more convenient to simply drop or throw the cigarette butt on the ground, particularly if it is a hard surface such as asphalt or concrete. In fact, dropping the butt on the ground and then grinding it with one's shoe or boot appears to be a common way of collectively extinguishing and disposing of the butt. While it is effective, from certain viewpoints, it is unsightly and contributes to pollution and overall environmental degradation.

[0008] Over the years, a number of devices have been developed to receive and store cigarette butts. One such device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 1,297,831 to Gilbert, which discloses a combination cigarette and match box package that has a space below the match box portion for receiving cigarette butts. Another such device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,880,775 to Beattie, which discloses a tobacco pouch having a removable liner for holding tobacco that is configured to be secured to the pouch. U.S. Pat. No. 3,090,482 to Sandacz discloses a cigarette package that has an ash receptacle on its front wall which folds outward to receive cigarette ashes. The ash receptacle is lined with metal foil and is configured to close by attaching to or being secured by the top of the cigarette package. Another device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,561,670 to Segal, which discloses a disposable receptacle for cigarette butts in the form of a collapsible pouch that includes an adhesive band for attaching the pouch to a support surface during use. When the receptacle is full, it is rolled or folded up and discarded with the cigarette butts inside. The receptacle is made from a two ply material having a metal foil, heat resistant inner ply and a paper outer ply. U.S. Pat. No. 5,370,138 to Mou discloses a disposable paper ashtray that has a wax coated bottom with wetted paper for extinguishing cigarette butts. U.S. Pat. No. 5,464,093 to Hogan discloses a cigarette package having an interior partitioned compartment comprising a pouch for receiving cigarette butts and other articles therein for storage and disposal. Another device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,522,406 to Yang, which discloses an ash tray having a disposable ash pocket with an extinguishing mechanism in the form of an inverted cone attached to the inside of the ash pocket. Yet another device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,992,621 to Grant, which discloses a conventional paperboard carton having two aluminum foil inner assemblies or inserts forming cylindrical tubes suitably sized for extinguishing and storing cigarette butts.

[0009] Although the prior art discloses containers for receiving and storing cigarette butts and disposable ash tray devices, none of the presently known containers and devices are low cost pouches that can be easily distributed with cigarette packages and which have a stiff extinguishing mechanism to allow the smoker to rub or crush his or her cigarette butt out prior to storing in the pouch. The devices which utilize modified cigarette packages require the manufacturer to change its package making and packaging processes, which is believed to be somewhat costly. Therefore, what is needed is an improved pouch for receiving, storing and disposing of cigarette butts. The preferred pouch should be collapsible for distribution with cigarette packages, lined with metal foil, sealable and comprise a stiff extinguishing mechanism for rubbing cigarettes out against and to provide structural integrity for the pouch.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The pouch for receiving, storing and disposing cigarette butts of the present invention solves the problems identified above. That is to say, the present invention discloses a collapsible pouch that can be distributed with standard cigarette packages for effectively and safely storing cigarette butts. The smoker can use the pouch of the present invention to completely extinguish his or her cigarette butt and store the butts therein for proper disposal. When full, the pouch can be sealed shut and disposed of or, alternatively, the edge of the pouch can be torn open to permit the smoker to empty the contents of the pouch into a recycling bin or other container that is designated to receive cigarette butts and like articles.

[0011] In the preferred embodiment, the cigarette butt pouch of the present invention is comprised principally of a receptacle having a front panel, a spaced apart back panel and at least one side panel to form at least one interior compartment for receiving and storing cigarette butts. In the preferred embodiment, the receptacle is formed into at least two interior compartments by a partitioning wall or like separating device and the receptacle has opposing side panels that form a generally rectangular pouch. At least the interior side of the receptacle, facing in the interior compartment(s), is formed from a generally heat resistant, non-combustible material, such as metal or various composites. The receptacle has an open top section that opens into the interior compartment(s) and a sealed bottom to prevent cigarette butts from falling out of the receptacle. The top section has a mechanism for sealably closing the receptacle, such as a pair of top flaps with an adhesive band thereon. A protective strip can cover the adhesive band until it is desired to sealably close the pouch. The pouch also includes a mechanism to allow the smoker to extinguish the cigarette butts against the receptacle by rubbing or crushing action. In the preferred embodiment, the extinguishing mechanism provides rigid support for the pouch and is configured to prevent damage to the receptacle when extinguishing the cigarette butts. A non-combustible sheet can be placed between the receptacle and the extinguishing mechanism to protect the receptacle from the heat and/or rubbing or crushing action that results from extinguishing the cigarette butt. In the preferred embodiment, the extinguishing mechanism is one or more sheets of sandpaper or sand board material placed on the back panel of the receptacle. The pouch can be configured such that when it is folded the sheets of sandpaper or sand board will abut each other on the inside of the folded pouch so as to minimize the likelihood of getting cigarette ash or “charcoal” on the smoker's clothing. The pouch can also include a mechanism near the top section for opening the receptacle so the contents can be poured out into a recycling container. The opening mechanism can be a plurality of perforations placed across the top section of the receptacle.

[0012] In use, the smoker will pull the pouch out of the cigarette pack or carton with which it is included. When the smoker smokes the cigarette down to the butt or the smoker is otherwise finished with the cigarette, he or she will unfold the pouch and rub or crush the cigarette butt against the extinguisher to completely extinguish the cigarette. When the cigarette butt is extinguished, the smoker places the cigarette butt inside the compartment formed by the receptacle for storage. The flaps are folded across the open top of the compartment to temporarily close the cigarette butts inside. When the interior compartment is full, the smoker peels the protective sheet off the pouch to expose the adhesive and then folds the flaps so as to seal the cigarette butts inside the pouch. When the cigarette butts are to be disposed in a recycling container, the top section is torn off at the perforations so as to open the pouch. By holding the pouch by its bottom or sides, the contents of the pouch can be are easily and hygienically disposed into the recycling container, thereby avoiding the need to physically handle the cigarette butts inside of the pouch.

[0013] Accordingly, the primary objective of the present invention is to provide a pouch for extinguishing, storing and disposing cigarette butts and like articles that overcomes the disadvantages associated with presently available containers and methods of extinguishing, storing and disposing of such articles.

[0014] It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a cigarette butt pouch that is relatively inexpensive to make and collapsible so that it may be included with standard cigarette packages.

[0015] It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a cigarette butt pouch that includes a relatively stiff extinguishing mechanism to provide a surface for the smoker to rub or crush out his or her cigarette and to provide structural integrity for the pouch.

[0016] It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a cigarette butt pouch that is lined with metal foil or like material for containing any heat in the pouch and which includes a mechanism for sealably closing the pouch so that the pouch and its contents may be disposed.

[0017] It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a cigarette butt pouch that has a mechanism for opening the pouch to allow the contents stored therein to be suitably disposed of without the need for handling such contents.

[0018] The above and other objectives of the present invention will be explained in greater detail by reference to the attached figures and the description of the preferred embodiment which follows. As set forth herein, the present invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, mode of operation and combination of processes presently described and understood by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] In the drawings which illustrate the best modes presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a front side view of the cigarette butt pouch of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 2 is a side view of the embodiment of the cigarette butt pouch of the present invention shown in FIG. 1 with the protective strip removed; and

[0022] FIG. 3 is a back side view of the embodiment of the cigarette butt pouch of the present invention shown in FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0023] With reference to the figures where like elements have been given like numerical designations to facilitate the reader's understanding of the present invention, and particularly with reference to the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 3, the preferred embodiments of the present invention are set forth below. The pouch of the present invention, identified generally as 10, comprises a receptacle 11 formed from a front panel 12, a spaced apart back panel 14 and at least one side panel 16. In the preferred embodiment, receptacle 11 has opposing side panels 16 and 18 that form a generally rectangular pouch 10. As known to one skilled in the art, the shape of pouch 10 can be varied (i.e., it can be square, oval, etc.) without departing from the scope of the invention set forth herein. In the preferred embodiment, pouch 10 is made from a lightweight, inexpensive material having at least the interior sides 20 (as shown in FIG. 2) comprised of a generally heat resistant, non-combustible material, such as metal foil or various composites. The outside of pouch 10 can be paper or other desired materials. One material, commonly used for cigarette packages and the like, is a two-ply paper that is laminated or coated with metal foil which is both heat resistant and non-combustible, such as an aluminum foil. Alternatively, a separate thin film of metallic (i.e., aluminum foil) or composite lining can be used to provide a non-combustible interior for pouch 10. Use of a non-combustible interior for pouch 10 will contain the heat from any hot or warm cigarette butts that are placed inside pouch 10 and prevent pouch 10 from catching on fire. In addition to providing temperature and fire protection, interior sides 20, configured as described above, will provide pouch 10 that will resist tearing or otherwise undesirable opening that could result in the contents being spilled.

[0024] In the preferred embodiment, pouch 10 comprises a partitioning wall 22 or other mechanism to divide pouch 10 into two or more separate interior compartments, such as first compartment 24 and second compartment 26, which are shown best in FIG. 2. Alternatively, a bead of glue or other adhesive may be used to create the interior compartments 24 and 26. Partitioning wall 22 or any other mechanism should be configured to allow pouch 10 to be folded along fold line 28 even when pouch 10, or individual compartments 24 or 26, are full of cigarette butts or other materials. Also in the preferred embodiment, sides 16 and 18 comprise at least one side fold line 30 so that compartments 24 and 26 may be collapsed to as minimum profile as possible. Depending on user or manufacturer preferences, pouch 10 can be made with one single compartment or more than the two compartments 24 and 26 shown in the figures. The use of multiple (i.e., at least two) compartments also facilitates collapsing pouch 10 for placement inside standard cigarette packages or cartons.

[0025] The top section 32 of pouch 10 comprises a mechanism for sealably closing interior of pouch 10 so as to close any cigarette butts inside. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, top section 32 comprises a pair of opposing top flaps 34 comprising an adhesive band 36 that is normally (i.e., when not be used to seal pouch 10) covered by a protective strip 38. Protective strip 38 is of the type that peels off of adhesive band 36 to expose the adhesive material, such as tape, glue or other adhesives, underneath so that it may be used to sealably close top flap 34 and seal the cigarette butts and like materials inside pouch 10. Also in the preferred embodiment, bottom 40 of pouch 10 comprises a bottom flap 42 that is turned up onto the front side 12 (as shown in FIG. 1) or the back side 14 (not shown) of pouch 10 and sealed so as to prevent any materials inside compartments 24 and 26 from spilling or leaking out of the bottom 40 of pouch 10.

[0026] In certain geographical areas, recycling efforts specifically aimed at recycling cigarette butts have been developed to reduce the amount of environmental contamination caused by the improper disposal of cigarette butts. It is possible that such recycling efforts would not include pouch 10 of the present invention. Therefore, to facilitate these recycling efforts, top section 32 of pouch 10 of the preferred embodiment comprises a mechanism to facilitate the easy and sanitary emptying of pouch 10 when it is desired to dump the contents into a container for collecting recyclable smoking materials. The preferred mechanism is a plurality of perforations 44 extending from side 16 to side 18 that allow the user of pouch 10 to tear top section 32 off of pouch 10, thereby opening the interior of compartments 24 and 26. Alternatively, pouch 10 can utilize various other mechanisms for opening compartments 24 and 26, such as the zipper lock or engagement types of devices used on plastic sandwich bags. As known to those skilled in the art, perforations 44 or other types of opening mechanisms should be configured such that top section 32 is not too easily torn off, resulting in inadvertent opening of compartments 24 and 26. Likewise, perforations 44 should also be configured to not be too difficult to tear across such that the user will accidently tear pouch 10 in a place other than along perforations 44 when trying to open pouch 10, which would likely result in the contents spilling out of pouch 10. Configured properly, perforations 44 should allow the user to tear off top section 32 and empty the contents from pouch 10 without any undue spillage of the cigarette butts and other materials inside compartments 24 and 26.

[0027] The preferred embodiment of the present invention also includes a mechanism for allowing the user to extinguish the cigarette butts directly on pouch 10. The preferred mechanism is one or more pieces of sandpaper or sandpaper-like material attached to back side 14 of pouch 10. As shown in FIG. 3, back side 14 can have a first extinguisher 46 on the outside of first compartment 24 and a second extinguisher 48 on the outside of second compartment 26. In the preferred embodiment, first 46 and second 48 extinguishers are separate pieces of sandpaper affixed to pouch 10. Alternatively, sand boards, such as Emory® boards, can be used or extinguishers 46 and 48 can be made integral with pouch 10. Preferably, both first 46 and second 48 extinguishers are relatively rigid, as compared to the material for receptacle 11, so as to add stiffness to pouch 10 such that when pouch 10 is folded it can be easily slid into a cigarette packaging without damaging pouch 10. First 46 and second 48 extinguishers should be suitable for permitting a smoker to rub or crush his or her cigarette against them so as to extinguish the cigarette butt to allow the user to safely store the butt inside compartments 24 or 26 and configured to prevent damage to receptacle 11 from the lit cigarette butt and/or the rubbing or crushing action to extinguish the cigarette butt. To help prevent heat damage from rubbing or crushing the cigarette butt out against first 46 or second 48 extinguisher or damage to the back 14 of pouch 10 when a cigarette butt is too aggressively rubbed or crushed, pouch 10 can utilize non-combustible sheet 50, comprising a thin strip of metallic material such as aluminum foil, or a composite material or other similar non-combustible material, disposed between back 14 and first 46 and second 48 extinguishers. Non-combustible sheet 50 can provide further stiffening to pouch 10. Although first 46 and second 48 extinguishers can generally be placed anywhere on pouch 10, either collectively or individually, the preferred embodiment of the present invention utilizes both first 46 and second 48 extinguishers placed on back 14 such that when pouch 10 is folded closed, extinguishers 46 and 48 abut each other. In this manner, cigarette ash and “charcoal” is much less likely to spill from pouch 10 or rub onto the smoker clothes (i.e., when carrying pouch 10 in a pocket).

[0028] In use, a cigarette manufacturer or packager will include at least one pouch 10 in each new pack or carton of cigarettes to encourage its smokers to safely and responsibly extinguish and dispose of cigarette butts. The smoker will pull pouch 10 out of the cigarette pack or carton when he or she is ready to smoke the cigarettes. When the cigarette is smoked down to the butt or the smoker is otherwise finished with the cigarette, he or she will unfold pouch 10 and rub or crush the cigarette butt against first 46 and/or second 48 extinguishers to completely extinguish the cigarette, thereby avoiding the need to rub or crush the cigarette butt against another object or the ground. When the cigarette butt is extinguished, the smoker opens either the first 46 or second 48 compartment and drops the cigarette butt inside. Then the smoker folds flaps 34 across the open top of compartments 46 and 48 to temporarily close the cigarette butts inside. Once the first 46 and second 48 compartments are full, the smoker peels the protective sheet 38 off to expose the adhesive 36. Flaps 34 are then folded over so as to seal the cigarette butts inside pouch 10. When the smoker, or someone on his or her behalf, is ready to dispose the cigarette butts in a recycling or other container, he or she tears top section 32 at perforations 44 so as to open pouch 10. Holding pouch 10 by bottom 40 or sides 12 and 14, the contents of pouch 10 are easily and hygienically disposed into the recycling container. In this manner, there is no need to touch or otherwise physically handle the cigarette butts stored inside of pouch 10.

[0029] While there are shown and described herein certain specific alternative forms of the invention, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention is not so limited, but is susceptible to various modifications and rearrangements in design and materials without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In particular, it should be noted that the present invention is subject to modification with regard to the dimensional relationships set forth herein and modifications in assembly, materials, size, shape and use.