Title:
Interconnecting container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pair of interconnecting bottles is presented which are adapted to be free standing separately or when interconnected. The bottles are connectable at the base.



Inventors:
Harrington IV, Harry C. (Belton, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/329455
Publication Date:
07/13/2006
Filing Date:
01/10/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/503
International Classes:
B65D21/00; B65D85/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Erickson Kernell IP, LLC (8900 State Line Road Suite 500, Leawood, KS, 66206, US)
Claims:
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

1. A container for holding and dispensing a flowable material, said container comprising: a generally flat top having an opening for dispensing the flowable material, a base having a support portion and a tab portion extending from said base opposite said support portion, said support portion having a socket adapted to receive a tab portion of another container, and a side wall interconnecting said top and said base and presenting a chamber for the flowable material, wherein said container is free standing when placed on its top or when placed on its base.

2. The container for holding and dispensing a flowable material as set forth in claim 1 and a second container as set forth in claim 1 wherein said bases of said containers may be releasably joined together to present an interlocked pair of containers, and wherein said interlocked pair of containers is free standing when placed on the top of the container or the second container.

3. The container for holding and dispensing a flowable material as set forth in claim 2 wherein said bases are snapped together.

4. The container for holding and dispensing a flowable material as set forth in claim 2 wherein said bases are twisted together.

5. A pair of interconnecting bottles for holding and dispensing a flowable material, each of said bottles comprising: a generally flat top having an opening for dispensing the flowable material, a base having a support portion and a male interconnecting portion opposite said support portion, said support portion having a female interconnecting portion, and a side wall extending between said top and said base and presenting a chamber for the flowable material, wherein each of said bottles is free standing when placed on its top or when placed on its base, and wherein the bases of said pair of bottles may be releasably interconnected together.

6. The pair of interconnecting bottles as set forth in claim 5 wherein said bases are snapped together.

7. The pair of interconnecting bottles as set forth in claim 5 wherein said bases are twisted together.

8. The pair of interconnecting bottles as set forth in claim 5 wherein said bases are pressed together.

9. The pair of interconnecting bottles as set forth in claim 5 wherein said bases are slid together.

10. A bottle for holding and dispensing a flowable material, said bottle comprising: a top having an opening for dispensing the flowable material, a base having curved surface beginning at a first side, curving upwardly to a second side, said base having a connector extending from said curved surface proximal said second side, and a socket extending into said curved surface proximal said first side, and a side wall extending between said top and said base and presenting a chamber for the flowable material, wherein said bottle is adapted to be free standing on its top or base, and wherein said connector and socket are spaced apart and aligned to interconnect with the base of another of said bottles.

11. The bottle as set forth in claim 10 wherein the bases of two of said bottles may be snapped together.

12. The bottle as set forth in claim 10 wherein the bases of two of said bottles may be twisted together.

13. The bottle as set forth in claim 10 wherein the bases of two of said bottles may be pressed together.

14. The bottle as set forth in claim 10 wherein said connector includes a rounded head, a reduced neck and a shoulder connected to said curved surface of said base, and wherein said socket is adapted to receive a connector of another bottle and releasably secure the connector in place.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of a prior filed, co-pending application Ser. No. 60/642,924, filed Jan. 11, 2005, entitled INTERCONNECTING CONTAINER.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to bottles and containers and, more particularly, to interconnecting containers for dispensing liquid products that may be separately free standing or may be releasably interconnected.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Plastic containers and bottles are widely used throughout the world for packaging products. Some products are best marketed and sold together, such as ketchup and mustard, shampoo and conditioner, laundry detergent and softener, to name a few. Some containers include two separate chambers to contain the different products or come in separate containers that may be joined together.

One problem with bottles that have two separate chambers is the buyer may not have a choice as to the brand or type of product sold together. Also, if one product is used up before the other product, then the excess space taken up by the empty chamber is wasted.

A problem with containers that may be joined together is often neither container nor only one of the containers may stand alone without the support of the other. Additionally, the desired combination of products may not be readily available in these types of containers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides interconnecting containers for which may be interconnected to conveniently present and store complementary products and which may be free standing to allow the consumer to mix and match the products and to replace only the product that is consumed. The interconnecting containers include a chamber for storing a product, a cap for dispensing the product, and a bottom. The bottom is shaped to allow the container to set upright and rest on the bottom. The bottoms of two containers may be joined or locked together to form an interconnected container for two products. When joined together, the interconnected containers rest on the top of one of the containers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of the interconnecting containers of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the interconnecting containers of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the interconnecting containers of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of one container of the present invention shown upright resting on its bottom.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one container of the present invention shown upside down resting on its top.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the interlock.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIGS. 1-5, an interlocking container of the present invention is generally indicated by reference numeral 10. Interconnecting container 10 includes relatively rigid walls made of any suitable plastic material that may be injection molded, blow-molded or extrusion blown, for example. A variety of different materials may be used in the construction of the container 10 depending on the intended end use and characteristics of the product held by the container 10.

Container 10 includes a top 12, a body 14, and a bottom 16. Top 12 may be removable or may include a flip-up top 18 for dispensing the contents of the container 10 through a conventional aperture (not shown). The body 14 of container 10 is a conventional hollow bottle for holding a liquid product.

Bottom 16 includes a tab or ball 20 and socket 22. The bottom surface 24 is shaped so that the container 10 may be free standing when two containers are not interlocked.

To connect two containers 10, one of the containers 10 is inverted and the bottoms of the two containers are matched together with the ball 20 of one bottom 16 opposite the socket 22 of the other bottom 16. By applying a sufficient force to the two bottles, they may be snapped together. In the interconnected configuration, the pair of bottles may stand on the top surface of either bottle.

Referring to FIG. 6, a ball 20 and a socket 22 are shown in a sectional view. Ball 20 includes a head 26, a reduced neck portion 28, and shoulder 30. The neck 28 has a smaller diameter than the head 26 or shoulder 30. The socket 22 is designed to receive the ball 20 and releasably hold the ball 20 in place.

The socket 22 includes a dome 32, a locking ridge 34 and a sleeve 36. When the ball 20 is pushed into the socket 22, the head 26 separates the locking ridge 34 slightly to allow passage of the head 26 into the dome 32. Once the widest dimension of the head 26 passes the locking ridge 34, the socket 22 pulls the ball 20 into the dome 32 and the locking ridge 34 seats in the heck of the ball 20. The shoulder 30 of the ball 20 is received in the sleeve 36 of the socket 22. In this position, the bottles 10 are securely locked together. To unlock the bottles 10, the bottles may be pulled apart.

In this manner, a consumer may purchase a bottle of one brand or type of shampoo and a different brand or style of conditioner that may then be joined together and take up less space in the shower. The user may dispense the product from the upside down bottle first since the product will be in the top dispenser portion of the bottle, then invert the interconnected bottles to allow the product in the other bottle to settle to the top for dispensing.

As another example, ketchup and mustard may be purchased separately and then the bottles snapped together for storage in the refrigerator. If the ketchup is used up first, a new ketchup bottle can be purchased and interconnected with the partially used mustard bottle.

It should be understood by one skilled in the art that other configurations of the interlocking surfaces and shapes of bottles may be used and are within the scope of this invention. The particular shape shown is for illustrative purposes only.