Sign up
Title:
Water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system is provided which comprises an enclosed structure having an upper shelf and a lower shelf having opposing inclines. The structure may also have access doors positioned to allow storage and retrieval of the full and empty water bottles. Bottles filled with water may be loaded onto the bottom shelf. The shelf is inclined so the bottles can roll along the plastic ribs of the bottles guided by rails which are attached to the upper surface of the bottom shelf. The rails are attached to the shelf so that they are positioned between the ribs of the bottles. The empty bottles may also be stored in the dispenser on the upper shelf. The upper shelf may be inclined in a direction opposite to the incline of the lower shelf. The upper shelf may also have rails to guide the empty bottles as they roll along the shelf. Other embodiments of the invention may be freestanding systems with or without enclosures.


Inventors:
Goldin, Martin C. (Gulfport, MS, US)
Application Number:
10/316750
Publication Date:
06/17/2004
Filing Date:
12/11/2002
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/74, 312/245
International Classes:
A47B47/00; A47B81/00; A47F1/04; A47F7/00; B65G1/08; B65G; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060082263Mobile data centerApril, 2006Rimler et al.
20080042529DISPLAY CASE AND RELATED METHODSFebruary, 2008Siemon
20080238277Steel cabinet and lockerOctober, 2008Geng
20060043846Display case for beverage containersMarch, 2006Kamp et al.
20090045707Display system with adjustable product holder trackFebruary, 2009Gerstner et al.
20090091220SAFETY CABINET WITH SPILL-SLOPED SHELFApril, 2009Eyer et al.
20040207302Combinative drawerOctober, 2004Kao
20080277407Dispenser of Consumable Products Such as DrinksNovember, 2008Leonetti
20090251037Flush-mounted guiding arrangement for furniture components, in particular drawers in the body of furniture piecesOctober, 2009Berger
20080100187Adjustable-Height BaseMay, 2008Tomasello et al.
20100039004FLEXIBLE GLOVE HOLDER USED IN THE OPENING OF A GLOVE BOXFebruary, 2010Hebuterne et al.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard J. Gurak,Welsh & Katz, Ltd. (22nd Floor, Chicago, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system comprising: an enclosure having a plurality of doors; and an upper shelf and a lower shelf for receiving water bottles, the upper shelf and lower shelf each located adjacent at least one of the doors and positioned on an angle within the enclosure so that the water bottles roll toward at least one door when placed on each shelf.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one shelf has one or more rails positioned along a portion of the length of the shelf to provide for the one or more rails to guide the water bottles as they roll along the shelf.

3. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one shelf has one or more slides positioned along the width of one or more ends of the shelf to provide for the water bottles to be easily moved onto or off of the shelf.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one of the doors has a means for securing the door.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the enclosure has a top, a bottom, a rear wall, two sides and an open front portion.

6. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one door is located proximate the lowest portion of the lower shelf.

7. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one door is located proximate the lowest portion of the upper shelf.

8. The system of claim 1 further comprising a means for maintaining the temperature inside the enclosure.

9. The system of claim 1 further comprising a means for insulating the enclosure.

10. The system of claim 1 wherein at least one shelf has a bottle stopping means located at the end of at least one shelf.

11. A water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system comprising: one or more shelves for receiving water bottles, at least one shelf having a lip disposed on at least one edge of the shelf to prevent the water bottles from rolling off the shelf, and a plurality of supports to maintain the one or more shelves in a fixed position to accept and hold water bottles.

12. The system of claim 11 wherein at least one shelf has one or more rails positioned along a portion of the length of the shelf to provide for the one or more rails to guide the water bottles as they roll along the shelf.

13. The system of claim 11 wherein at least one shelf has one or more slides positioned along the width of one or more ends of the shelf to provide for the water bottles to be easily moved onto or off of the shelf.

14. The system of claim 11 wherein one or more shelves are wide enough to accept a water bottle that is placed on the shelf so that the bottle longitudinal axis is parallel to the shelf longitudinal axis.

15. The system of claim 14 wherein the shelves are shaped to conform the curvature of the water bottles when the bottles are placed on the shelf.

16. A water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system comprising: an upper shelf and a lower shelf for receiving water bottles, the upper shelf and the lower shelf each positioned on an angle so that the water bottles roll toward one end of the shelf when placed on the shelf; and at least one of the shelves having a lip disposed on at least one edge of the shelf to prevent the water bottles from rolling off of the shelf.

17. The system of claim 16 wherein at least one shelf has one or more rails positioned along a portion of the length of the shelf to provide for the one or more rails to, guide the water bottles as they roll along the shelf.

18. The system of claim 16 wherein at least one shelf has one or more slides positioned along the width of one or more ends of the shelf to provide for the water bottles to be easily moved onto or off of the shelf.

19. The system of claim 16 wherein at least one shelf has a bottle stopping means located at the end of at least one shelf.

20. A water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system comprising: an enclosure having one or more openings; one or more shelves positioned within the enclosure and located adjacent at least one opening; and a means for guiding water bottles attached to at least one shelf and that enables bottles to freely move along the length of the shelf.

21. A water bottle delivery storage and retrieval system for installation in an enclosure having one or more openings comprising: one or more shelves positioned within the enclosure and located adjacent at least one opening; and a means for guiding water bottles attached to at least one shelf and that enables bottles to freely move along the length of the shelf.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval systems, and more particularly to water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval systems that provide for convenient full and empty water bottle delivery and storage and provide for ease of bottle changing at a water dispenser.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in bottled water consumption. Bottled water is typically delivered to homes and businesses in multi-gallon containers that are large, heavy and cumbersome. Empty and full containers are usually stored in a variety of different places such as closets, offices, hallways, under desks or in any space that might accommodate the water bottle container. Often, water bottle storage is an afterthought that occurs out of necessity.

[0003] Water bottles are used in conjunction with water dispensers which provide for individuals to obtain a select amount of water from the bottle. Such dispensers may be located in homes, businesses or elsewhere. The dispensers are typically 2.5 to 4 feet in height and require that the water bottle be lifted into position and placed on the dispenser. Considering the size and weight of a full water bottle this experience can be uncomfortable and even dangerous for the individual responsible for changing the water bottle when it is empty. Injuries can and do occur when the heavy bottle is picked up by a person and rotated so that the bottle's neck is in proper position to be placed onto the water dispenser. Further, empty and full water bottles that are just randomly stored in a residence or a business tend to be unsightly and sometimes act as trip hazards. As such, there exists a growing need for a convenient and safe water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system.

[0004] Delivery, storage and retrieval systems of various types are known in the art. Such devices are commonly used in the paper industry for paper rolls or other industries for tubular shaped goods or storage containers. However, existing delivery, storage and retrieval systems have some inherent disadvantages. One of the disadvantages with existing systems is that they do not accommodate water bottles. Another disadvantage is that they are not adaptable for both commercial and residential settings. Prior art attempts to improve water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval systems that can be used in both a commercial and residential setting have failed to provide a system that is secure, easy to use and adaptable for a variety of different water bottle configurations and storage volume requirements. The present invention overcomes these deficiencies in the prior art.

[0005] The principal object of the present invention is to provide an improved water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system in which a delivery person can easily and rapidly position water bottles.

[0006] Another object of the present invention is to provide an improved water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system in which a delivery person can load or retrieve water bottles from the exterior of a building.

[0007] Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system that can securely and compactly store a plurality of full and empty water bottles.

[0008] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system that allows a person to access full water bottles and easily replace empty water bottles at a water dispenser.

[0009] A further object of the present invention is to provide a water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system that incorporates a convenient empty water bottle storage area.

[0010] A further object of the present invention is to provide a novel water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system that has adjustable components to accommodate a variety of different water bottle designs.

[0011] A further object of the present invention is to provide a novel water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system which is simple in design and inexpensive to construct, and is durable and rugged in structure.

[0012] Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings of the invention.

[0013] These and other objects are achieved by a water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] In one form of the invention, a water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system is provided which comprises an enclosed structure having an upper shelf and a lower shelf having opposing inclines. The structure may also have access doors positioned to allow storage and retrieval of the full and empty water bottles. Bottles filled with water may be loaded onto the bottom shelf. The shelf is inclined so the bottles can roll along the plastic ribs of the bottles guided by rails which are attached to the upper surface of the bottom shelf. The rails are attached to the shelf so that they are positioned between the ribs of the bottles. The empty bottles may also be stored in the dispenser on the upper shelf. The upper shelf may be inclined in a direction opposite to the incline of the lower shelf. The upper shelf may also have rails to guide the empty bottles as they roll along the shelf.

[0015] To change bottles at the water dispenser, the structure door is opened at the water dispenser location. The empty bottle is lifted out from the dispenser and placed horizontally through the door onto the top shelf. The empty bottle then rolls down the incline, away from the door opening and down the shelf toward the bottle delivery door. The full bottle that is already in place on the bottom shelf is pulled out toward the top of the dispenser along slides attached to the bottom shelf and then easily tipped into the proper location onto the water dispenser. The full bottle is installed and the structure door is closed. The water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system may be provided for installation during new construction, major renovations or upgrades to an existing home or building. Further, the system may be installed on a building's internal or external wall. Also, the system may be located outside or inside of a building. Other embodiments may include a built in power supply or electrical outlet.

[0016] Other embodiments of the invention may be freestanding systems with or without enclosures. The freestanding units may be provided for existing rooms in a house, garage, office or commercial space. The units may have any number of shelves and multiple shelf designs and configurations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is an exterior rear perspective view of one embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a partial rear perspective view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 1 with an exterior door open to show the cabinet interior and shown without a cabinet front wall;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a partial front view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 1 with the interior door open to show the cabinet interior;

[0020] FIG. 4 is a partial front view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 1 with the interior retrieval door open and an individual loading a full water bottle onto a water dispenser;

[0021] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 1 shown with a cabinet front wall;

[0022] FIG. 6 is a front view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 1 shown with the front side removed;

[0023] FIG. 7 is a top view of an alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system;

[0024] FIG. 8 is a front view of the alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 7;

[0025] FIG. 9 is a right side view of the alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 7;

[0026] FIG. 10 is a front view of another alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system;

[0027] FIG. 11 is a right side view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 10;

[0028] FIG. 12 is a front view of yet another alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system;

[0029] FIG. 13 is a right side view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 12;

[0030] FIG. 14 is a top view of another alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system; and

[0031] FIG. 15 is a front view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system of FIG. 14.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0032] FIG. 1 is an exterior rear perspective view of one embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system 10 constructed in accordance with the present invention. In FIG. 1, the water bottle delivery storage and retrieval system 10 comprises an exterior rear wall 14, exterior sidewalls 16 and 17, and an exterior top wall 18 which form cabinet or enclosure 21. Enclosure 21 may also comprise, as best shown in FIG. 5, exterior front wall 20. Enclosure 21 may also have exterior bottom wall 23. As shown in FIG. 1, enclosure 21 further comprises one or more exterior access doors 22, 28 having hinges 24, and locks 26. As best shown in FIG. 3, enclosure 21 may also have an interior retrieval door 42 located on the front side portion of enclosure 21. Further, enclosure 21 may comprise an extension 25. The exterior walls 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, exterior access doors 22, 28, interior retrieval door 42 and extension 25 may be comprised of a variety of different materials such as, for example, wood, wood composites, press board, steel, aluminum, stainless steel, plastic or any combination thereof.

[0033] FIG. 2 is a partial rear perspective view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system 10 with an exterior door 22 open to show the interior of enclosure 21. FIG. 3 is a partial front view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system 10 with the interior door 42 open to show the interior of enclosure 21. In other embodiments, there may be two or more doors 42 positioned side-by-side. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, exterior access door 22 may be opened to provide access to the interior of enclosure 21. Door 28 may also be opened to provide access to the interior of enclosure 21. FIG. 2 shows enclosure 21 without a front wall 20. In alternate embodiments of system 10, enclosure 21 may have a front wall 20 (For example as shown in FIG. 5).

[0034] The interior of enclosure 21 has an upper shelf 30 and a lower shelf 34. As shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 6, upper shelf 30 and lower shelf 34 have one or more rails 36 that extend along a portion of the length of each shelf 30, 34. As best seen in FIG. 3, one or more slides 38 are positioned on lower shelf 34 adjacent to interior retrieval door 42. As seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, empty water bottles 12 are stored on upper shelf 30 and full or partially full water bottles 13 are stored on lower shelf 34. FIG. 4 is a front view of the water bottle, delivery, storage, and retrieval system 10 shown installed and in use. The interior retrieval door 42 is open and an individual is loading a full water bottle 13 onto a water dispenser 46.

[0035] FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system 10 shown with interior retrieval door 42 open. FIG. 5 shows enclosure 21 having a front wall 20. FIG. 6 is a front view of the water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system 10 shown with exterior front wall 20 removed for clarity. As seen in FIG. 6, empty water bottles 12 are stored on upper shelf 30 and full or partially full water bottles 13 are stored on lower shelf 34.

[0036] In one embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 5 and 6, there are two rails 36 located on upper shelf 30. Rails 36 are positioned on upper shelf 30 to provide for empty water bottles 12 to be guided by rails 36 as water bottles 12 roll along inclined shelf 30. The rails 36 are positioned a set distance apart in a substantially parallel orientation to each other whereby the rails 36 interact with the ribs 13A and grooves 13B in water bottles 12. Rails 36 may be permanently fixed or movably fixed to shelf 30. In one embodiment, the rails 36 are fastened to shelf 30 by nails, screws, staples, adhesives or any other type of fasteners that will securely fix rails 36 to shelf 30. In another embodiment, rails 36 may be movably attached to shelf 30. For example, rails 36 may be adjusted by loosening the fastening device, for example, a screw, bolt, wing nut, or other device and sliding rail 36 to the position necessary to engage a particular design water bottle. The fastening device may then be tightened to securely hold rail 36 in its new position.

[0037] One or more slides 38 may be placed along shelf 34 as shown in FIG. 3. Slides 38 are positioned adjacent rails 36 at the location on shelf 34 where bottles 13 will be either placed on shelf 34 (at door 22), or removed from shelf 34 (at door 42). Slides 38 may be comprised of a single piece of material or of multiple pieces of material placed side-by-side (as shown in FIG. 3) or spaced apart as slides 64 are shown in FIG. 7. Slides 38 may be constructed of any type of material that allows for ease of moving a full water bottle 13 across a slide 38. For example, a material with a low coefficient of friction is desirable. Material selection may include steel or coated steel, aluminum or coated aluminum, any material with Teflon® coating, plastics, synthetics, or other materials with a low coefficient of friction, etc.

[0038] As best seen in FIG. 6, upper shelf 30 and lower shelf 34 are positioned with respect to enclosure 21 so that shelves 30, 34 are fixed at an angle with respect to bottom wall 23. Upper shelf 30, as viewed in FIG. 6 from the front side of enclosure 21, is angled so that the portion of shelf 30 nearest interior retrieval door 42 adjacent wall 16 is at its highest point within the enclosure. Traveling along shelf 30 toward exterior access door 22 at wall 17, shelf 30 declines and is positioned at its lowest point in enclosure 21 at access door 22. Lower shelf 34, as viewed in FIG. 6 from the front side of enclosure 21, is angled so that the portion of shelf 34 nearest the interior retrieval door 42 is at its lowest point within the enclosure. Traveling along shelf 34 toward exterior access door 22, shelf 34 inclines and is positioned at its highest point in enclosure 21 at access door 22. Shelves 30 and 34 may also have bottle stops 31 positioned at the lowest end of each shelf 30, 34. As shown in FIG. 6, one stop 31 is located at the end of shelf 34 and maintains the water bottles 13 a set distance from enclosure side wall 16.

[0039] Other embodiments, may include additional shelves 30, 34 or the length of shelves 30, 34 may vary depending upon the particular application and requirements of system 10. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 6, shelf 30 and 34 may be long enough to accept seven or eight standard size water bottles along the length of each shelf 30, 34. However, perhaps due to space limitations, system 10 may require that more or fewer water bottles be stored along shelves 30 and 34. The system 10 design is easily adaptable to accommodate a variety of different shelf 30, 34 lengths. Further, system 10 application requirements may require additional shelves 30, 34. For example, there may be two shelves 34 and two shelves 30 provided for a specific application. The angles of shelves 30, 34 may also be adjusted to accommodate specific requirements.

[0040] Other embodiments of system 10 and/or alternate embodiments may include a drain or drip tray in the event that a water bottle leaks while it is horizontally stored. Further, alternate embodiments may include adjustable shelf 30, 34 heights to accommodate potential variations in height of water dispensers 46. In particular applications, ventilations slots or holes may be provided on interior retrieval door 42 and/or a small electrical fan may be provided for air circulation inside of enclosure 21 to prevent bottles 13 from freezing. A latch, lock, chain, security cable, electronic lock, or other device may also be provided on doors 22, 28 or 42 to secure the contents of the enclosure and prevent access to the interior of the building. A weather or insulation seal may be provided on interior access door 42 to prevent energy loss. Also, enclosure 21 may be insulated and/or equipped with weather seals to maintain a desired temperature within enclosure 21. Further enhancements may be made to improve exterior security and prevent individuals from tampering with the water bottles stored inside of enclosure 21. For example, a locking device may be installed on exterior doors 22 and 28. Additionally, specific materials selected for enclosure 21 may provide additional security benefits. In yet other embodiments a chute may be attached to enclosure 21 at extension 25 of the retrieval access area. In certain applications, for example, if the chute was attached at the bottom of extension 25 a water bottle would more easily slide into dispenser 46. In certain applications, the chute may provide for improved full water bottle retrieval and ease of tipping the water bottle and guiding the water bottle onto water dispenser 46.

[0041] Another embodiment of a water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system is shown in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9. FIG. 8 shows a front view of an alternate embodiment of a water bottle delivery storage and retrieval system 58. FIGS. 7 and 9 show a top view and a right side view of an alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system 58 respectively. The water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system 58 comprises one or more shelves 66, 68 and supports 70. As best seen in FIG. 7, rails 60 are disposed on shelf 66 adjacent to slides 64. A lip or edge 62 is positioned around three sides of shelf 66 substantially as shown in FIG. 7. Turning to FIGS. 8 and 9, one or more shelves 68 may be positioned between supports 70 and beneath shelf 66. In alternate embodiments, shelf 68 may have a lip or edge 62 on one or more sides of shelf 68. One or more supports 70 may contain holes 72, as shown in FIG. 9, for securely fixing system 58 to a wall or other vertical surface. System 58 may also be secured to the floor. Full water bottles 13 may be stored on shelf 66 and empty water bottles 12 may be stored on shelves 68.

[0042] In one embodiment, rails 60 may be provided along shelf 66. In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 7, there are two rails 60 located on upper shelf 66. Rails 60 are positioned on shelf 66 to provide for full water bottles 13 to be guided by rails 60 as water bottles 13 roll along shelf 66. Rails 60 are positioned a set distance apart in a substantially parallel orientation to each other whereby rails 60 interact with the grooves in water bottles 13. Rails 60 may be permanently fixed or movably fixed to shelf 66. In one embodiment rails 60 are fastened to shelf 66 whereby rails 60 are fastened to shelf 66 by nails, screws, bolts, staples, adhesives or any other type of fasteners that will securely fix rails 60 to shelf 66. In another embodiment, the rails 60 may be movably attached to shelf 66. For example, rails 60 may be adjusted by loosening the fastening device, for example, a screw, bolt, wing nut, and then sliding each rail 60 to the position necessary to engage a particular design water bottle. The fastening device then may be tightened to securely hold each rail 60 in its new position.

[0043] Other embodiments, may include additional shelves 66 and 68. The length of shelves 66, 68 may vary depending upon the particular application and requirements of the system 58. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 8, shelf 66 may be long enough to accept 3 standard size water bottles 13 along the length of shelf 66. Each shelf 68 may store one empty bottle 12. However, perhaps due to space limitations, system 58 may require that more or fewer water bottles be stored along shelves 66 and 68. The system 58 design is easily adaptable to accommodate a variety of different shelves 66, 68 lengths. Further, system 58 application requirements may require additional shelves 66, 68. For example, there may be two shelves 66 and four shelves 68 provided for a specific application. One or more slides 64 may be placed along shelf 66 as shown in FIG. 7, slides 64 are positioned adjacent rails 60 and proximate the location on shelf 66 where the bottle 13 will be either placed on shelf 66 or removed from shelf 66. Slides 64 may be comprised of a single piece of material or of multiple pieces of material placed side-by-side. Slides 64 may be constructed of any type of material that allows for ease of sliding a full water bottle 13 across slide 64. For example, a material with a low coefficient of friction is desirable. Material selection may include steel or coated steel, aluminum or coated aluminum, any material with Teflon® coating, plastics, synthetics, or other materials with a low coefficient of friction, etc.

[0044] Another alternate embodiment of the water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system is shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. System 73 comprises a shelf 78 attached to supports 76 substantially as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. Disposed on one or more sides of shelf 78 are one or more lips or edges 74. Supports 76 may contain holes 80 for fastening system 73 to a vertical wall or other surface. System 73 may also be mounted to the floor. Full water bottles 13 and empty water bottles 12 may be stored on shelf 78 substantially as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11.

[0045] In one embodiment of the system 73, rails 75 may be provided along shelf 78. There may be two rails 75 located on shelf 78 to provide for full and empty water bottles 13, 12 to be guided by rails 75 as water bottles 13 and 12 roll along shelf 78. Rails 75 are positioned a set distance apart in a substantially parallel orientation to each other whereby the rails 75 interact with the grooves in water bottles 13 and 12. Rails 75 may be permanently fixed or movably fixed to shelf 78. In one embodiment rails 75 are fastened to shelf 78 by nails, screws, staples, adhesives or any other type of fasteners that will securely fix rails 75 to shelf 78. In another embodiment, rails 75 may be movably attached to shelf 78. For example, rails 75 may be adjusted by loosening the fastening device, for example, a screw, bolt, wing nut, and sliding rails 75 to the position necessary to engage a particular water bottle design. The fastening device may then be tightened to securely hold rail 75 in its new position.

[0046] Other embodiments, may include additional or different sized shelves 78. The length of shelf 78 may vary depending upon the particular application and requirements of system 73. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 10, shelf 78 may be long enough to accept five standard size water bottles 12 and 13 along the length of each shelf 78. However, perhaps due to space limitations, system 73 may require that more or fewer water bottles 12 and 13 be stored along shelf 78. System 73 design is easily adaptable to accommodate a variety of different shelf 78 lengths. Further, system 73 application requirements may require additional shelves 78. For example, there may be two shelves 78 provided for a specific application.

[0047] One or more slides 77 may be placed along shelf 78. Slides 77 may be positioned adjacent rails 75 and proximate the location on shelf 78 where bottle 13 will be either placed on shelf 78 or removed from shelf 78. Slides 77 may be comprised of a single piece of material or of multiple pieces of material placed side-by-side. Slides 77 may be constructed on any type of material that allows for ease of sliding a full water bottle 13 across slide 77. For example, a material with a low coefficient of friction is desirable. Material selection may include steel or coated steel, aluminum or coated aluminum, any material with Teflon® coating, plastics, synthetics, or other materials with a low coefficient of friction, etc.

[0048] Turning now to FIGS. 12 and 13 another alternate embodiment is shown as system 81. Water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system 81 comprises an upper shelf 82 and a lower shelf 84 each positioned at opposite angles with respect to each other substantially as shown in FIG. 12. Vertical supports 86 are provided to support shelves 82 and 84 at a location convenient for a specific application. Full water bottles 13 may be stored on lower shelf 84 and empty water bottles 12 may be stored on upper shelf 82. Supports 86 may have holes 88 for fastening system 81 to a vertical wall or other surface. System 81 may also be mounted to the floor.

[0049] In another embodiment, shelves 82 and 84 may have rails 89 that extend along shelves 82, 84. In one embodiment, there are two rails 89 located on lower shelf 84. Rails 89 are positioned on lower shelf 84 to provide for full water bottles 13 to be guided by rails 89 as water bottles 13 roll along inclined shelf 84. Rails are positioned a set distance apart in a substantially parallel orientation to each other whereby rails 89 interact with the grooves in water bottles 13. Rails 89 may be permanently fixed or movably fixed to shelf 84. In one embodiment, rails 89 are fastened to shelf 84 by nails, screws, staples, bolts, adhesives or any other type of fasteners that will securely fix rails 89 to shelf 84. In another embodiment, rails 89 may be movably attached to shelf 84. For example, rails 89 may be adjusted by loosening the fastening device, for example, a screw, bolt, wing nut, and sliding rail 89 to the position necessary to engage a particular design water bottle. The fastening device then may be tightened to securely hold rail 89 in its new position.

[0050] One or more slides 90 may be placed along shelf 84 as shown in FIG. 12. Slides 90 are positioned adjacent rails 89 and at the location on shelf 84 where the bottle 13 will be either placed on shelf 84 or removed from shelf 84. Slides 90 may be comprised of a single piece of material or of multiple pieces of material placed side-by-side or spaced apart (as shown in FIG. 12). Slides 90 may be constructed of any type of material that allows for ease of sliding a full water bottle 13 across slide 90. For example, a material with a low coefficient of friction is desirable. Material selection may include steel or coated steel, aluminum or coated aluminum, any material with Teflon coating, plastics, synthetics, or other materials with a low coefficient of friction, etc.

[0051] Lower shelf 84, as viewed in FIG. 12, is angled so that the portion of shelf 84 nearest the water dispenser 46 is at its lowest point. Traveling along shelf 84 away from dispenser 46, shelf 84 inclines upward and is positioned at its highest at the end of the shelf 84 farthest from dispenser 46. Upper shelf 82, as viewed in FIG. 12, is angled so that the portion of shelf 82 nearest the dispenser 46 is at its highest point. Traveling along shelf 82, away from dispenser 46, shelf 82 is positioned at its lowest point at the end of the shelf which is furthest from dispenser 46. Shelves 82 and 84 may also have bottle stops 31 positioned at the lowest end of each shelf 82, 84. As shown in FIG. 12, one stop 31 is located at the end of shelf 84.

[0052] Other embodiments, may include additional shelves 82, 84. The length of shelves 82, 84 may vary depending upon the particular application and requirements of system 81. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 12, shelves 82 and 84 may be long enough to accept five standard size water bottles along the length of each shelf 82, 84. However, perhaps due to space availability, system 81 may require that more or fewer water bottles be stored along shelves 82 and 84. The system 81 design is easily adaptable to accommodate a variety of different shelf 82, 84 lengths. Further, system 81 application requirements may require additional shelves 82, 84. For example, there may be two shelves 84 and two shelves 82 provided for a specific application.

[0053] In an alternate embodiment as illustrated in FIG. 14 and FIG. 15, water bottle delivery, storage and retrieval system 91 comprises upper shelves 94 and lower shelves 96 substantially as shown in FIG. 14 and FIG. 15. Supports 98 are provided and maintain shelves 94 and 96 in a fixed position with respect to each other. Lips or edges 92 may be disposed on one or more sides of shelves 94, 96. In other embodiments, slides 100 may extend across substantially the entire length of shelves 94 and 96. System 91 may be affixed to a vertical wall or other surface or may be mounted to the floor.

[0054] One or more slides 100 may be placed along shelves 94 and 96. Slides 100 may be comprised of a single piece of material or of multiple pieces of material placed side-by-side (as shown in FIG. 14). Slides 100 may be constructed of any type of material that allows for ease of sliding a full water bottle 13 across slide 100. For example, a material with a low coefficient of friction is desirable. Material selection may include steel or coated steel, aluminum or coated aluminum, any material with Teflon® coating, plastics, synthetics, or other materials with a low coefficient of friction, etc.

[0055] Other embodiments of system 91, may include additional shelves 94, 96. And, the length of shelves 94, 96 may vary depending upon the particular application and requirements of the system 91. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 15, shelves 94 and 96 may be long enough to accept four or five standard size water bottles along the length of each shelf 94, 96. However, perhaps due to space availability, system 91 may require that more or fewer water bottles be stored along shelves 94, 96. The system 91 design is easily adaptable to accommodate a variety of different shelf 94, 96 lengths. Further, system 91 application requirements may require additional shelves 94, 96. For example, there may be two shelves 94 and three shelves 96 provided for a specific application.

[0056] In yet other embodiments, upper shelf 94 may be lined with low friction material. Lips or edges 92 located on shelf 94 and positioned on each side of bottles 13 may be lined with a low friction material and positioned close enough together so that edges 92 glide bottles 13 as bottles 13 are moved along shelf 94 may be formed so that it loosely conforms to the curvature of bottles 13. Further, the entire shelf 94 or just the portion of shelf 94 that comes into contact with bottles 13 may be lined with a low friction material. This embodiment would assist in self-aligning the bottles 13 and keep the bottles in alignment with the dispenser. Also, rails may be positioned on shelf 94 to further assist with maintaining the alignment of bottles 13 on shelf 94.

[0057] In use, for one embodiment of the water bottle dispenser, storage and retrieval system, a delivery person can easily and rapidly deliver and position the full water bottles on the shelf/shelves intended to receive full water bottles. Then, the delivery person can remove the empty water bottles from the other shelf/shelves. To change bottles at the water dispenser the structure door is opened at the water dispenser location. The empty bottle is lifted out from the dispenser and placed through the door onto an upper shelf. The empty bottle then rolls down the incline, away from the door opening and down the shelf. The full bottle that is already in position on a lower shelf is easily pulled out toward the top of the dispenser along slides attached to the lower shelf and then tipped into the proper location on the water dispenser. If other full bottles are in place on the shelf, the next bottle rolls into position to occupy the space of the removed water bottle. The full bottle is installed and the structure door is closed.

[0058] Other embodiments of the invention may or may not include an enclosure. For embodiments that do not have an enclosure, the delivery person would place full water bottles on the designed shelf/shelves and remove the empty water bottles. The user would, as with other embodiments, replace an empty water bottle with a full water bottle by simply tipping the full water bottle onto the water dispenser.

[0059] Specific embodiments of novel methods and apparatus for construction of novel water bottle delivery, storage, and retrieval system according to the present invention have been described for the purpose of illustrating the manner in which the invention is made and used. It should be understood that the implementation of other variations and modifications of the invention and its various aspects will be apparent to one skilled in the art, and that the invention is not limited by the specific embodiments described. Therefore, it is contemplated to cover the present invention any and all modifications, variations, or equivalents that fall within the true spirit and scope of the basic underlying principles disclosed and claimed herein.