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1. Field of the Invention:
The present invention generally relates to a receptacle assembly and to a method for receiving an article and more particularly to an assembly which may be selectively utilized within a selectively movable assembly and which may securely and efficiently allow various diverse type of articles or items to be fixed within a certain position and to a new and novel method which utilizes such an assembly.
2. Background of the Invention
Many diverse types of articles or items are often carried and utilized by individuals. As used in this description, the term “article” or “item” are meant to refer to any tangible item which is carried or utilized by an individual and hence these items may be interchangeably used and refer very broadly to any sort of tangible item.
Often, due to the amount and type of these items, it is very difficult to efficiently organize them, especially within the confines of a selectively movable assembly, such as but not limited to a vehicle. In this description, the term “vehicle” is generally meant to refer to any selectively movable assembly and should be very broadly construed.
By way of example and without limitation, a user of a vehicle typically begins travel with a certain amount and type of items which are placed within the vehicle and during the trip or the travel these items are utilized. However, other items, such as food (e.g., french fries) are often acquired and often consumed within the vehicle. Thus, the needs for efficiently and operatively and securely storing items within a vehicle is dynamic and subject to constant change.
On approach to meet these needs has been manifested in the creation of a vehicle cup holder and the use of a “glove compartment” or other types of storage space or storage assemblies within a vehicle. While these manifestations are somewhat effective at providing storage, they are very often cumbersome to use since they are often remote from the driver and many occupants of the vehicle and provide fixed and “unchanging” functionality (e.g. a cup holder cannot hold french fries in an acceptable manner).
There exists a need for a new and improved receptacle assembly and a new and improved method for holding articles and items which meet the foregoing needs and the present inventions provide this needed functionality.
It is a first non-limiting object of the present invention to provide an article receptacle which overcomes some or all of the previously delineated drawbacks of prior article receptacles.
It is a second non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a new and improved article reception methodology which overcomes some or all of the drawbacks of prior article reception methodologies.
It is a third non-limiting object of the present invention to provide a new and improved article reception strategy and methodology to allow articles to be efficiently stored and utilized within a vehicle.
According to a first non-limiting aspect of the present invention, a receptacle assembly is provided and includes a first portion having an elongated body which includes a tubular reception cavity which is adapted to frictionally fit within an automobile cup holder and wherein the body further includes an end portion which orthogonally terminates into the body and which includes a first generally flat surface which faces the tubular reception portion and a second opposed and generally flat surface which is remote from the tubular reception portion and wherein the first surface includes a reception groove having a certain shape; and wherein the receptacle assembly includes a second portion which is adapted to be selectively and removably secured within the groove.
According to a second non-limiting aspect of the present invention, a receptacle assembly is provided and includes a generally hollow tubular reception portion which forms an internal cavity and which has a first open end which allows communication to occur within the formed internal cavity and a second and opposed closed end having a plurality of substantially identical reception slots and wherein the generally hollow reception portion further includes a portion which orthogonally terminates upon the generally hollow tubular reception portion and above the formed internal cavity and which includes a first surface which faces the formed internal cavity and which includes a formed groove of a certain shape and a second and opposed face which faces away from the formed internal cavity; and wherein the receptacle assembly further includes a portion which includes a member which has a shape which is complementary to said shape of the groove and which is adapted to be selectively and removably secured within the groove.
According to a third non-limiting aspect of the present invention, a method for receiving an article is provided and includes the steps of creating a generally hollow tubular reception portion having an internal cavity having a certain axis of symmetry and wherein the generally hollow tubular reception portion includes a flared end portion which has a groove which has an axis of symmetry which is parallel to the certain axis of symmetry and wherein the groove faces and is in a communication relationship with internal cavity and has a certain shape; forming an article reception member having an engagement member which includes a shape which is complementary to the shape of said groove; placing said engagement member within the groove, thereby attaching said article reception member to the generally hollow tubular portion; placing the article within the positioned article reception portion; and placing the tubular reception portion within an automobile cup holder.
These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a reading of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and by reference to the following drawings.
FIG. 1 is an unassembled view of a receptacle assembly which is made in accordance with the teachings of a non-limiting preferred embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a front view of the article reception portion of the assembly which is shown in FIG. 1 according to a first non-limiting embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a front view of the article reception portion of the assembly which is shown in FIG. 1 according to a second non-limiting embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 4 is a front view of the article reception portion of the assembly which is shown in FIG. 1 according to a third non-limiting embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 5 is a front view of the article reception portion of the assembly which is shown in FIG. 1 according to a fourth non-limiting embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 6 is a bottom unassembled view of the holder portion of the assembly which is shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 7 is a bottom assembled view of the combination of the holder portion and the retainer member which are shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 8 is a front view of the article reception portion assembly which is shown FIG. 1 and which is selectively deployed within one non-limiting example of a selectively moveable assembly.
FIG. 9 is a side view of a portion of the receptacle assembly shown in FIG. 1.
Referring now to FIGS. 1, 6, 8 and 9, there is shown an article receptacle assembly 10 which is made in accordance with the teachings of the preferred embodiment of the invention.
Particularly, the article receptacle assembly 10 includes a first holder portion 12 having a generally elongated body 14 which includes a generally tubular shaped reception cavity 16 which is adapted to selectively and frictionally fit within a vehicle cup holder 250. It should be appreciated that body 14 may be of any desired shape and size and may have any desired geometric orientation/configuration and may, in other non-limiting embodiments, be adapted to fit within other portions of a selectively movable assembly.
The body 14 further includes an end portion 20 having a generally flared shape or, in one alternate embodiment, having the shape of the tail of a whale. Portion 20 may also and alternatively be referred to as a “wing”. It should be understood that the end portion or wing 20 may have substantially any desired shape and that nothing limits the shape to a particular geometric orientation. Further, it should be appreciated that the flared end portion or wing 20 orthogonally terminates into the body 12 (e.g., forms a right angle 21 with respect to the body 12) and that the wing 20 includes a first generally flat surface 30 which faces the tubular reception portion (e.g., communicates with and faces while begin positioned above the internal cavity 16), and a second opposed and generally flat surface 32 which is remote from the tubular reception cavity 16 (e.g., faces away from the cavity 16). As is further shown, the first surface 30 includes a reception groove 50 which may be depressibly formed within the surface 30 or, as shown, may be formed by the use of substantially identical members 52, 53 which are raised from the surface 30. It should be appreciated that, in one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the portion 20 may be integrally formed with the body 12 and that the members 52, 53 may also be integrally formed with the body 12 and, in one non-limiting embodiment, the body 12, members 52, 53 and the wing 20 may be formed from commercially available plastic or some other desired material. Further, in one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, the groove 50 has an axis of symmetry 100 and the body 12 has an axis of symmetry 102 and these axes 100, 102 are substantially parallel to each other or linearly aligned. In one non-limiting invention, the body 12 includes a structural reinforcement or gusset portion 208 having a plurality of spaced apart reinforcement ribs 209, each having a substantially similar cross sectional area. The portion 208 reduces the likelihood of undesired breakage or deformation of the wing portion 20 from the rest of body 12. In one non-limiting embodiment, a grove 50 may be formed/utilized on surface 32.
As is perhaps best shown in FIGS. 1, 6 and 7, the body 12 includes a generally flat end 70 having, in one non-limiting embodiment of the invention, a plurality of substantially identical slots 76, 78, 80, and 82, and the assembly 10 includes a retention end member or a “base member” 110 having substantially identical and outwardly flanges or protuberances 200, 202, 204, and 206 which respectively, selectively, and removably fit within the slots 78, 76, 82, and 80 and selectively and removably secure the body 12 to the member 110. The end or base portion 110 is adapted to fit frictionally within a vehicle cup holder 250 and thereby, when selectively attached to the body 12, to allow the body 12 to be fixed within the vehicle 240 and in close proximity to a steering wheel 242 and to a user or operator of the vehicle. Of course, the body 12 may be selectively and operatively placed anywhere within the vehicle 12 in which a cup holder or similar type of holder is placed.
The formed groove 50 has a certain shape and the assembly 10 includes at least one receptacle portion, such as portion 300, which includes, on the rear surface 301, a tongue member 302 which has, in the most preferred although non-limiting embodiment of the invention, a shape which is complementary to the groove 50 (e.g., complementary to the shape of the groove 50). As used in this description, the term “complementary” means that the member 302 is adapted to be selectively and frictionally and removably placed within the groove 50.
The opposed front surface 303 of the portion 300 may comprise a purse 400, shown best in FIG. 2, a pouch 500, shown best in FIG. 4, an organizer 600 which is shown best in FIG. 5, or a cellular telephone holder 700, shown best in FIG. 2. Importantly, substantially any desired type of organizer or functional providing member may be provided on the substantially flat surface 303 and these functional assemblies, such as pouch 500, may even be integrally formed with the surface 303 in various non-limiting embodiments of the invention. In yet another non-limiting embodiment, shown best in FIG. 7, the front surface 303 is left in an “unattached or flat” state for the purpose of allowing various hooks or clips to be selectively attached thereto. It should be appreciated that pouch 500 may have size and shape which makes it adaptable to hold a cellular phone, french fries, or Palm Pilot® or other type of personal data organizer, compact discs, or any other type of kit or organizer.
It should be apparent that since the groove 50 faces and is in a communicative relationship with the internal cavity 16, the receptacle which is formed with or connected to the surface 303, such as pouch 500, purse 400, and organizer 600 (having several reception compartments 601) is operatively and desirably positioned in “front of” the user of the steering wheel 242 or in front of another user or occupant of the vehicle 240 and that such placement provides for greater stability of the assembly 10 within the cup holder 250. It should be appreciated that the assembly 10 may be used anywhere within the vehicle or within any desired location within a selectively moving assembly. Further, each and every grove 50 may be adapted to hold portions, such as portions 400, 500, 600, and 700 (each grove 50 may receive a unique tongue member 302 which is part of a unique member 300).
It is to be understood that the various inventions are not limited to the exact construction or methodologies which have been described herein, but that various changes and modifications may be made to these inventions without departing from the spirit and the scope of these inventions as delineated, by way of example and without limitation, in the following claims. It should further be appreciated that substantially any desired item or article may be placed within the portions 400, 500, 600, 700 and that these portions or assemblies may all be sold or provided as a kit in the marketplace along with the items which are shown in the various Figures. It should also be appreciated that the flared and portion 20 provides for enhanced stability within the cup holder 250.