Title:
BEVERAGE MUGS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mug for foodstuff dunking is described. It is divided into two compartments each of which in use contains liquid beverage, one from which the user will drink, and the other into which a foodstuff can be dipped or dunked. The dividing wall provides a fluid path between the two compartments so that they be filled by simply pouring liquid into one of the two compartments, but the wall substantially separates the contents of the two compartments to prevent contamination of the first by the contents of the second. Typically the volume of the second compartment is less than that of the first. The dividing wall is formed by a plate inserted into the mug which may be secured in place or be slid into grooves in the inner face of the mug. The dividing wall or plate may be curved or otherwise shaped so as to increase the area of at least the upper region of the compartment from which the user will drink. A shelf can be provided within the mug on which a foodstuff can be rested after dunking to allow the liquid to drain from the foodstuff before it is conveyed to the mouth. The shelf may include or comprise an inclined surface down which liquid will drain into the mug and can include a lip or other protrusion at or near its lower end to assist in retaining foodstuff thereon. The shelf may be attached to or formed integrally with the plate. A lid may be provided by which the top of the second compartment can be closed off, to allow the user to lift and tip the mug for drinking without the contents of the second compartment spilling out therefrom. Where the mug includes a handle the division formed by the wall or plate typically extends across the mug in a plane that is generally parallel to the plane containing the handle. The mug further comprises a fill line.



Inventors:
Ross, Craig Drew (Great Yarmouth, GB)
Application Number:
11/671936
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
02/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CRAIG DREW ROSS (19 YARMOUTH WAY, GREAT YARMOUTH, NORFOLK, null, NR30 2SJ, GB)
Claims:
1. A mug that is adapted for foodstuff dunking which includes a dividing wall which divides the mug into two compartments each of which in use contains liquid beverage, a first to contain liquid which will thereafter be drunk by the user, and a second to contain liquid into which a foodstuff can be dipped or dunked, wherein the dividing wall is adapted to provide a fluid path between the two compartments so that in use the two compartments can be filled by simply pouring liquid into one of the two compartments, but thereafter the contents of the second compartment are at least substantially seperated from the contents of the first compartment to reduce the risk of contamination of the contents of the first by the contents of the second.

2. A mug as claimed in claim 1 in which the volume of the second compartment is greater than, or equal to, or less than that of the first.

3. A mug as claimed in claim 2 in which the dividing wall is formed by inserting a plate into the mug which divides the interior thereof into the two compartments.

4. A mug as claimed in claim 3 wherein the plate is located in position by providing grooves in the internal wall of the mug into which opposite edges of the plate can be introduced before the plate is pushed down towards the bottom of the mug.

5. A mug as claimed in claim 4 wherein the plate is adapted to be located in two different positions in the mug, one in which it is spaced from the bottom of the mug to provide the fluid path during filling, and a second lower position in which it engages the bottom of the mug so that liquid is substantially prevented from flowing between the two compartments after the mug has been filled by pushing the plate down into the lower position.

6. A mug as claimed in claim 5 in which a third groove extends across the internal base of the mug and merges at its opposite ends with the two grooves in the wall of the mug, the third the groove serving to receive the lower edge of the plate as the latter is pushed into its lower position in the mug.

7. A mug as claimed in claim 6 in which the plate is a close fit in the grooves so that there is little tendency for liquid to flow around the edges of the plate from one compartment to the other.

8. A mug as claimed in claim 7 in which sealing means is provided between the plate edges and the grooves.

9. A mug as claimed in claim 7 wherein the plate and/or grooves include or are formed from a resiliently deformable material so that a good seal is formed between the plate and the wall and the base of the mug.

10. A mug as claimed in claim 1 wherein a shelf is provided on or in or removably attached to the mug, on which a foodstuff can be rested after dunking to allow liquid to drain from the foodstuff before it is conveyed to the mouth.

11. A mug as claimed in claim 10 in which the shelf is adapted to drain into the said second compartment.

12. A mug that is adapted for foodstuff dunking which includes a dividing wall which divides the mug into two compartments each of which contains liquid beverage in use, a first to contain liquid which will thereafter be drunk by the user, and a second to contain liquid into which a foodstuff can be dipped or dunked, wherein a shelf is provided in, or on, or detachably secured to, the mug, on which in use a foodstuff can be rested after dunking to allow liquid to drain from the foodstuff before it is conveyed to the mouth.

13. A mug as claimed in claim 11 wherein the shelf includes one or more holes through which draining liquid can drain into the mug.

14. A mug as claimed in claim 10 wherein the shelf is shaped to assist the user to rest an item of foodstuff thereon.

15. A mug as claimed in claim 10 wherein the shelf includes one or more ridges or grooves, or one or more of each.

16. A mug as claimed in claim 11 wherein the shelf includes or comprises an inclined surface down which liquid will drain into the mug.

17. A mug as claimed in claim 10 wherein the shelf is formed integrally with the mug, or integrally with the lid, or integrally with the wall or plate which divides the mug.

18. A mug as claimed in claim 10 wherein the shelf is adapted to be fitted to a mug so that when fitted the shelf is positioned on the inside of the mug near to the top but slightly below the rim thereof.

19. A mug as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a lid by which the top of the second compartment can be closed off, to allow the user to lift and tip the mug for drinking without the contents of the second compartment spilling out therefrom.

20. A mug constructed, arranged and adapted to be used as herein described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

DESCRIPTION OF ATTACHED APPENDIX

Not Applicable

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention concerns mugs for drinking beverages and in particular to a mug which is adapted to facilitate the dunking of biscuits and other foodstuffs into the beverage in the mug.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

It is known to dip or dunk a biscuit or doughnut and other foodstuffs into a hot beverage in a mug, such as tea or coffee, while the beverage is cooling down in the mug both before and during the drinking of the beverage. Many foodstuffs (such as biscuits) become too soggy and break off when they become wet by a hot beverage, so that chunks of biscuit can be left in the mug. Many foodstuff items also drip the beverage that they soak up during dunking when they are removed from the mug which can cause a mess.

More especially, even if they do not break off and leave chunks of solid material in the beverage, some popular brands of dunking biscuit can, after being dunked a few times into a mug, affect the taste of the beverage that remains to be drunk from the mug.

Similar problems arise in relation to other foodstuffs such as doughnuts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

To Be Filed At A Later Date.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Definitions

The term foodstuff is intended to mean any item of food which can be dunked and by way of example includes biscuits and doughnuts.

Likewise the term mug is intended to include cup or tumbler or any vessel from which a beverage can be drunk.

OBJECT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a mug which facilitates the dunking of foodstuffs into a beverage contained therein, but which prevents the beverage that will be drunk from becoming contaminated by the foodstuff material or flavouring.

Another object of the invention is to provide a solution to stop or at least reduce the dripping of beverage from a dunked foodstuff, reduce sogginess, and also reduce the likelihood of foodstuffs breaking up following dunking.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

According to the present invention a mug that is adapted for foodstuff dunking includes a dividing wall which divides the mug into two compartments each of which contains beverage in use, a first to contain beverage which will thereafter be drunk by the user, and a second to contain beverage into which a foodstuff can be dipped or dunked, wherein the dividing wall is adapted to provide a fluid path between the two compartments so that in use the two compartments can be filled by simply pouring liquid into one of the two compartments, but thereafter the contents of the second compartment are at least substantially separated from the contents of the first compartment to reduce the risk of contamination of the contents of the first by the contents of the second.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The mug will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a mug 10 with a hinged lid assembly 12 fitted over one half of the open end of the mug with the lid 14 closed over that half of the mug.

The lid assembly has been fitted to the mug for use by a left handed person and could be fitted over the other half for use by a right handed person. The lid 14 is shown lifted in FIG. 2 to reveal a plate 16 which extends below the hinge line 18, (as described later) to divide the interior of the mug into a dunking compartment 20 and drinking compartment 22. The mug includes a handle 24.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the mug of FIG. 1 from above, FIG. 4 is a side view of the handle-containing side of the mug.

The plate 16 is slideably received in grooves 26, 28 on the inside wall of the mug and drop into a third groove 30 in the base of the mug. The grooves are shown in FIG. 5. FIG. 6 shows the plate 16 in position creating two compartments 20,22.

FIGS. 7 and 8 are side views in cross section of the mug showing the plate and lid assembly in position, together with a shelf 32 in the dunking compartment 20.

The plate 16 may be provided with indentations or ridges as shown at 34 in FIG. 9, on one or both faces, to provide a finger grip.

FIGS. 10 and 11 show how the plate 16 can be lowered into the grooves in the mug 10. The grooves 26, 28 30 are shown as hidden detail in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIG. 12, if the mug 10 includes a lip 36 around some or all of its external rim, the lid assembly 12 can be adapted by a complementary lip 38, to be a snapfit to the mug.

FIG. 13 (which is a cross section through the mug) shows how, with the lid 14 closed, liquid in the compartment 22 can be drunk in a conventional way. The closed lid 14 prevents liquid 42 in compartment 20 from escaping and the plate 16 substantially prevents it from migrating into and mixing with the liquid 40 in compartment 22.

FIG. 14 is a similar cross section view of the mug, showing how with the lid opened a biscuit 44 can be dipped (or dunked) into the liquid 42 in 20 and shows how the plate 16 separates the liquid in 20 from that in 22. The liquid level in 20 drops as the biscuit absorbs some of the liquid.

FIG. 15 is a similar cross section of the mug, with the lid closed, in which the liquid level in each of 20 and 22 is the same and shows how the shelf 32 extends over the liquid in 20. Here the shelf is shown with an indentation 46 so as to form a lip 48 against which the lower edge of a biscuit can be lodged.

FIG. 16 is a top view of the mug of FIG. 15 showing how drainage holes such as 50 can be provided in a shelf 52. Here the upper surface of the shelf is formed with two protrusions 54, 56 the former serving the same purpose as the lip 48 of the shelf 32 shown in FIG. 15

FIGS. 17 to 19 are different views of the shelf 52 fitted to a mug as shown in FIG. 16, and FIGS. 20 to 22 are different views of the shelf 32 shown in FIG. 15.

FIG. 23 shows to an enlarged scale, and in cross section, part of the mug of FIG. 15 and shows how liquid draining from the biscuit 44 can build up in the indentation 46 of the shelf 32.

FIG. 24 shows how the shelf 32 can be fitted into a slot 58 formed by a wall 60 spaced from the inside surface of the mug. Although not shown the base of the slot is apertured to allow any liquid which enters the slot to drain back into the mug.

In an alternative arrangement shown in FIG. 25 a shelf 62 can extend orthogonally from the plate 16.

In a further arrangement as shown in FIGS. 26 and 27 a shelf 64 can include a bifurcated vertical support 66 which is adapted to fit over the upper rim of the wall of the mug 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SOME PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Typically the volume of the second compartment is less than that of the first, such as in the ratio of 4:1 although it is to be understood that the invention is not in anyway limited to a volume difference having that ratio.

The dividing wall may be formed by inserting a plate into the mug which divides the interior thereof into the two compartments. The plate may be secured in place.

In another arrangement the wall may be formed integrally with the mug to form the two compartments.

Where the division is formed by locating a plate into the mug, the plate may be located in place by providing grooves on in the internal wall of the mug into which opposite edges of the plate can be introduced before the plate is pushed down towards the bottom of the mug.

By providing two positions for the plate, one spaced from the bottom to provide the fluid path during filling and the other engaging the bottom of the mug, liquid can be prevented substantially from flowing between the two compartments after the mug has been filled by pushing the plate down into the lower position. A third groove may be provided which extends across the internal base of the mug and merges at its opposite ends with the two grooves in the wall of the mug, this third the groove serving to receive the lower edge of the plate as the latter is pushed fully home into the mug.

Where the plate is a close fit in the grooves, there is little tendency for liquid to flow around the edges of the plate from one compartment to the other, but sealing means may be provided, if desired, between the plate edges and the grooves, for when the plate is in its lower position

Alternatively the plate and/or grooves may include or be formed from a resiliently deformable material so that a good seal is formed between the plate and the wall and the base of the mug.

Where the mug is to include grooves it may be formed from china or metal but is more preferably formed from a plastics material.

The dividing wall or plate may be curved or otherwise shaped over part of its length which in use will be near the open upper end of the mug, so as to increase the area of the upper end region of the compartment from which, in use, the user will drink.

Preferably the enlargement is such that as the mug is tipped during drinking, the wall or plate will not prevent the user's nose from entering the upper end of that compartment.

Where the wall is curved or otherwise shaped over part of its upper end for the purpose aforesaid, the remainder of the plate may be generally flat with a shelf or step in the plate between the curved or otherwise shaped upper end and the remainder thereof.

Alternatively the plate may be curved or otherwise shaped over the whole of its length so that the area of the compartment from which the user will drink is substantially the same from the top to the bottom of the mug.

According to another aspect of the present invention a shelf may be provided within a mug on which in use a foodstuff can be rested after dunking to allow the liquid to drain from the foodstuff before it is conveyed to the mouth. The action of draining beverage from the foodstuff will reduce the risk of liquid dripping from it when it is lifted clear of the mug.

The shelf may be fitted to the rim of the mug or may protrude from the upper end of a plate fitted into the mug as aforesaid or the plate may be sufficiently thick at least at its upper end so as to constitute a shelf for resting food thereon.

The shelf may include one or more holes through which beverage draining from foodstuff rested thereon, can in turn drain into the mug.

The shelf may include or comprise an inclined surface down which liquid will drain into the mug.

Typically the shelf is shaped to assist the user to rest a foodstuff item thereon. This may be achieved by incorporating one or more ridges or grooves, or one or more of each, into the shelf, to reduce the risk of the foodstuff slipping off the shelf, especially after the shelf becomes wet.

Where the shelf includes or comprises an inclined surface, the latter may include a lip or other protrusion at or near its lower end to assist in retaining foodstuff thereon.

The shelf may be a separate item which is adapted to be fitted into an upper region of the mug or may be formed integrally with the mug, or integrally with a lid if one is provided for the mug, or integrally with the wall or plate which divides the mug.

Alternatively the shelf may be formed separately and may be adapted to be fitted to the wall or plate.

Where it is a separate item, the shelf may be fitted into position prior to or after the beverage is poured into the mug.

To this end a slot or groove may be formed in the mug or plate, into which the shelf may be slid to retain it in place.

Alternatively the shelf may be a snap fit into, or onto, the mug or onto the wall or plate.

Where the shelf is fitted to or formed integrally with the plate, it is preferably positioned near what will be the upper end of the latter when it is fitted into the mug, so that after the plate is fitted into the mug the shelf will protrude over the interior of the mug.

The shelf may be formed from china, plastics or metal.

Where the shelf is adapted to fit to the rim of a conventional mug or other vessel the shelf is preferably positioned on the inside of the mug near to the top, but preferably slightly below the rim.

The shelf may be fitted to the rim by a clip, which fits over the rim of the mug to hold the shelf in place.

The clip may be formed separately from and be securable to the shelf, or may be formed integrally therewith.

However fitted, the shelf preferably protrudes only partially over the beverage containing dunking compartment.

The shelf can be of any convenient shape, but it should be of a suitable size to enable it to fulfil its function without taking up too much space, thereby to assist the dunking of a foodstuff into beverage in the dunking compartment

In general the less liquid held in a foodstuff (such as a biscuit) the less likely it will be to break up or become soggy. The draining action will reduce the amount of beverage that is held in the foodstuff. This will reduce its sogginess and consequently will also reduce the likelihood of the foodstuff breaking up as it is lifted from the mug.

According to a further aspect of the present invention a lid may be provided for at least the second compartment which in use is moved as by lifting or sliding or hinging relative to the mug, or is completely removable from the mug, to expose at least the second compartment to allow a biscuit to be dipped or dunked into the liquid therein, but thereafter is replaceable so as to close off at least the top of the second compartment to allow the user to lift and tip the mug to facilitate drinking from the first compartment without the contents of the second compartment spilling out therefrom.

The lid may be hingedly joined to the upper edge of the plate.

The lid may sealingly engage the upper edge of the plate and may fit into the upper ends of the grooves in the internal wall of the mug, where such grooves are provided for the plate.

The plate and lid may be formed from a plastics material and in that event the lid and plate may be formed integrally and the one is hinged to the other. When integrally formed from plastics material, a strip hinge may be formed in the material to provide the hinge between the plate and the lid. This may be formed by a linear region of reduced thickness along the line of the junction between the lid and the plate, to form the so-called strip hinge.

Preferably the hinge conveniently extends across the top of the mug in line with the top of the division defining the two compartments.

Preferably the lid is adapted to sealingly engage the rim of the mug when lowered into contact therewith so as to prevent liquid from leaking from the second compartment when the mug is tipped.

Where a shelf is provided it may be joined to the lid.

Where the lid hinges the shelf is preferably positioned so as to protrude generally horizontally therefrom when the lid is hinged upwardly to give access to the dunking compartment.

Where the mug includes a handle, the division, and where provided the hinge line also preferably extends across the mug in a plane that is generally parallel to the plane containing the handle.

Where the mug is circular in cross section (as is usual), the division (and hinge line if a hinged lid is also provided) is parallel to the handle containing plane, the second dunking compartment is smaller in volume than the first compartment, and the mug is to be used by a right handed person, the division (and hinge line if a hinged lid is provided) constitutes a chord of the circular cross section which when viewed from above with the handle pointing east, will lie to the north of the east-west plane containing the handle, so that when lifted and tipped for drinking by a right handed person, the second compartment will be above the first, to allow the rim of the mug to be positioned between the user's lips in the normal manner.

In a similar manner if such a mug is to be used by a left handed person the division (and hinge line if a hinged lid is provided) needs to be positioned on the other side of the handle-containing plane, so that it lies to the south of the east-west handle-containing plane, when the mug is positioned and viewed as aforesaid.

If the two compartments are of equal size then the division (and hinge line if hinged lid is provided) will normally be in line with the handle-containing plane, although this is not essential.

Where a shelf is provided, it may be adapted to be fitted to the handle or may be integrally formed with the handle.

A lid assembly may be provided which is adapted to be snap-fitted to the rim of the mug and to make a sealing fit with the upper edge of the plate when fitted to the mug, and which contains a first opening which registers with that part of the mug interior which lies on one side of the plate, through which beverage can be drunk, and a second opening which registers with that part of the mug interior to be used for dunking, and a slideable or hingeable or removable cover plate for covering the second opening to close the latter when the mug is to be used for drinking but which can be moved to open up the dunking region to allow liquid to be poured in and a foodstuff to be dipped into the liquid when required.

Optionally the lid or lid assembly includes a second removable or hingeable or slideable portion, for covering the first opening.

The lid or lid assembly may be fitted to the mug before or after beverage has been poured into the mug.

According to a still further aspect of the invention, any mug as aforesaid may include a fill line.

Preferably the fill line is positioned on the inside wall of the mug.

The line can extend partially or completely around the interior of the mug.

In use this line will assist a user when pouring liquid into the mug. Thus where a dividing plate is to be fitted subsequently to the mug, the volume that the line symbolises preferably takes into account the volume of liquid that the plate will displace when the plate is inserted, and thereby serves to prevent beverage from overflowing from the mug when this insertion takes place.