Title:
Fluid drinking system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fluid drinking system utilizes a straw member with a central, tubular straw element with a flexible mouthpiece, connected to multiple tubular straw elements which extend and branch out from the central straw element. Upon application of a suction force, i.e. sucking action, to any of the distal open ends of the straw elements, fluid flows through the open passages of the elements which are interconnecting and open to each other. The drinking system also includes a container with partitioned, compartmentalized sections, with each section being configured to hold a different consumable fluid or pureed food. The straw elements of the straw member are inserted into and positioned within different compartments of the container. When so positioned, there may be simultaneous, multi-fluid consumption. When the central straw element of the straw member is inserted into any fluid carrying container, multiple users may drink fluid from the container simultaneously.



Inventors:
Friedman, Mark N. (Mt. Laurel, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/983935
Publication Date:
06/05/2008
Filing Date:
11/13/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/217, 220/555, 220/705
International Classes:
B65D1/04; B65D25/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ricci Tyrrell Johnson & Grey, PLLC (750 Rt. 73S., Suite 202B, Marlton, NJ, 08053, US)
Claims:
1. A fluid drinking system comprising: a straw member comprising a first tubular element with a through passage and opening means through which a suction force passes and a plurality of tubular elements extending from the first tubular element, each of the plurality of tubular elements having a through passage and opening means through which a suction force passes, the passages of the first tubular element opening into the passages of each of the plurality of tubular elements, whereby upon application of a suction force on any of the opening means fluid is drawn through the first tubular member and one or more of the plurality of tubular elements.

2. The fluid drinking system as in claim 1 wherein the plurality of tubular elements branch out from the first tubular element.

3. The fluid drinking system as in claim 1 further comprising container means for the insertion of the straw member, said container means having multiple compartments, one of the plurality of tubular elements being insertable into each compartment.

4. The fluid drinking system as in claim 3 wherein the container means comprises partitions separating the compartments.

5. The fluid drinking system as in claim 1 wherein the plurality of tubular elements comprises two tubular elements.

6. The fluid drinking system as in claim 1 wherein the plurality of tubular elements comprises three tubular elements.

7. A fluid drinking system comprising: a first straw element having a through passage and two open ends; a plurality of second straw elements, each of the plurality having a through passage and two open ends, one end of each of the plurality of second straw elements extending from one of the ends of the first straw element, the through passages of each of the plurality of second straw elements opening into the through passage of the first straw element.

8. The fluid drinking system as in claim 7 wherein the plurality of second straw elements branches out from the first straw element.

9. The fluid drinking system as in claim 7 further comprising container means for the insertion of the plurality of second straw elements, said container means having compartments, one of the plurality of straw elements being insertable into each compartment.

10. The fluid drinking system as in claim 9 wherein the compartment means comprises partitions.

11. The fluid drinking system as in claim 7 wherein the plurality of second straw elements comprises two straw elements.

12. The fluid drinking system as in claim 7 wherein the plurality of straw elements comprises three straw elements.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of provisional application Ser. No. 60/868,524, filed on Dec. 4, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to straws for drinking fluid and, in particular, to a unique drinking system which permits the flow of two fluids from a centralized container or the use of a single straw element by multiple users simultaneously. Previous straw/container systems have included beverage containers with extendable drinking straws and straw accessible compartment containers. However, these are limited in that they do not involve integral multi-straw devices for the consumption of more than one fluid at a time or the ability to permit simultaneous fluid consumption through a straw member by two or more individuals.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a fluid drinking system which is flexible and versatile for a variety of different uses and applications.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a fluid drinking system which employs a unique, simple straw element which allows for the flow of two or more fluids from a centralized container.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a fluid drinking system which provides a unique, single straw element which simultaneously permits multi-fluid consumption.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a fluid drinking system which provides a means for drinking or sampling more than one beverage, pureed food, and/or medication at a time, in any combination of consumption.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a fluid drinking system which provides a unique, single straw element which can be used by more than one individual at the same time, to drink a common fluid in a single container.

These and other objects are accomplished by the present invention, a fluid drinking system which utilizes a straw member with a central, tubular, straw element with a flexible mouthpiece, connected to multiple tubular straw elements which extend and branch out from the central straw element. Upon application of a suction force, i.e. sucking action, to any of the distal open ends of the straw elements, fluid flows through the open passages of the elements which are interconnecting and open to each other. The drinking system also includes a container with partitioned, compartmentalized sections, with each section being configured to hold a different consumable fluid or pureed food. The straw elements of the straw member are inserted into and positioned within different compartments of the container. When so positioned, there may be simultaneous, multi-fluid consumption. When the central straw element of the straw member is inserted into any fluid carrying container, multiple users may drink fluid from the container simultaneously.

The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The invention, itself, however, both as to its design, construction and use, together with additional features and advantages thereof, are best understood upon review of the following detailed description with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the fluid drinking system of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the fluid drinking system of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the fluid drinking system of the present invention in an alternate use mode.

FIG. 4 is an isometric view of a second embodiment of the fluid drinking system of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the second embodiment of the fluid drinking system of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an isometric view of the second embodiment of the fluid drinking system of the present invention in an alternate use mode.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The fluid drinking system 10 of the present invention comprises straw member 12 having central tubular straw element 12a with drinking section 12d having opening 12b and flexible joint 12c. Straw element 12a has open passage 12p therethrough, similar to commonly known straws; however, this passage interconnects with and opens into passages 12g and 12h located within outwardly extending branch tubular straw elements 12e and 12f. Drinking section 12i with opening shown at 12j and flexible joint 12k are located at the end of straw element 12e and drinking section 12m, with opening shown at 12n and flexible joint 12q are located at the end of straw element 12f. Flexible joints 12r and 12s are also located on straw elements 12e and 12f respectively, to provide added flexibility to the system.

As shown in FIG. 1, container 14 is provided as part of fluid drinking system 10. Container 14 is shown as being circular in configuration, but the invention is not to be considered restricted to this shaped container. Any conveniently shaped container, e.g. rectangular, square, oval, or like configuration can be used. Container 14 comprises partition 14a separating the container into fluid tight compartments 14b and 14c. In the FIGS., partition 14a is shown as being transparent.

To consume two fluids at the same time, one type of fluid 16a is poured into compartment 14b and a second fluid 16b is poured into compartment 14c. The fluids can be beverages, soups, pureed foods, elixir medications or the like. Straw member 12 is then inserted into container 14, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, with straw element 12e positioned in compartment 14b and straw element 12f positioned in component 14c. By applying suction force, i.e. sucking, through opening 12b of drinking section 12d, fluid 16a is sucked through opening 12j into passage 12g of straw element 12e and fluid 16b is sucked through opening 12n into passage 12h of straw element 12f. Fluids 16a and 16b mix within passage 12p of straw element 12a, before flowing out of opening 12b where it is consumed.

FIG. 3 shows straw member 12 positioned for simultaneous use by two individuals, with straw element 12a positioned in fluid 17 within container 18. It can be appreciated that upon suction being applied to drinking sections 12i of straw element 12e and 12m of straw element 12f, two drinkers can consume fluid at the same time.

FIGS. 4-6 show a second embodiment of the invention. This embodiment is similar to that which is described above, except straw member 13 has three branched straw elements, 13e, 13f, and 13r. Straw member 13 has central tubular straw element 13a with drinking section 13d having opening 13b and flexible joint 13c. Straw element 13a has an open passage 13p therethrough; however, this passage interconnects with and opens into passages 13g, 13h, and 13s located within outwardly extending branch tubular straw elements 13e, 13f and 13r. Drinking section 13i, with opening shown at 13j and flexible joint 13k are located at the end of straw element 13e, drinking section 13m with opening shown at 13n and flexible joint 13q are located at the end of straw element 13f, and drinking section 13t, with opening shown at 13u and flexible joint 13v are located at the end of straw element 13r. Flexible joint elements 13w, 13x, and 13y are also located on straw elements 13e, 13f, and 13r respectively, to provide added flexibility to this embodiment of the system.

Container 15 is provided as being circular in configuration, but, as with the shape of container 14 in the previous embodiment, other container shapes can be used. Container 15 comprises partition 15a, separating the container into three compartments, 15b, 15c and 15d. Again, partition 15a is shown as being transparent.

Three different fluids 17a, 17b and 17c are poured into compartments 15b, 15c and 15d and these fluids can be consumed by positioning straw member 13 into container 15, as shown in FIG. 4, with straw element 13e placed into compartment 15d, straw element 13f placed into compartment 15b, and straw element 13r placed into compartment 15c, and then applying suction/sucking force through opening 13b of drinking section 13d. Fluid is then drawn through straw member 13 in the same manner as has been described with regard to the system involving straw member 12. Ultimately, fluids 17a, 17b and 17c mix within passage 13p of straw element 13a, before flowing out of opening 13b for consumption.

FIG. 6 shows straw member 13 positioned for simultaneous use by three individuals, with straw element 13a positioned in fluid 17 within container 18. It can be appreciated, as with the previously described embodiment, that upon suction being applied to drinking sections 13i of straw element 13e, 13m of straw element 13f, and 13t of straw element 13r, three drinkers can consume fluid at the same time.

By using their flexible drinking sections, straw members 12 and 13 can easily be shaped to allow their respective straw elements to be readily placed into the compartments of containers 14, 15 and 18, as desired by the user. Drinking comfort and user flexibility is thus successfully accomplished.

While the embodiments of this invention show straw members 12 and 13 with two and three tubular branching straw elements and containers 14 and 15 with two and three components, this invention should not be considered restricted to these configurations. It is contemplated that any convenient number of straw elements used in conjunction with a corresponding number of compartmentalize containers can be used.

It is contemplated that materials for the straw members would consist of plastic (especially polystyrene), similar to the consistency of commonly available straws. Other consistencies of the straw member could include candy or glass. Size variations would range from miniature straw members, which could be used with proportionally small drinking devices (e.g. for children size drinks or to dispense elixir medications with other drinking fluids) to standard and large size straw lengths and widths. The exact size dimensions would vary and be based on the size and design of the drinking container. Shape variations in either the straw member or its straw elements of the double/triple straw member could include “crazy” straws consisting of a number of twists and turns in the top half of the straws, and spoon features consisting of a cut-away shape at any of the straw ends (i.e. to allow the straw member to function as a miniature spoon, e.g. when consuming pureed foods or slush drinks in the drinking device). Various colorants can be added to the plastic to give the straw members aesthetically pleasing appearances. The use of thermoliquid crystal technology, which consists of a special colorant that responds to changes in temperature, may be applied to any of the components of the straw member (e.g. to allow for color changes in the straw member when it comes in contact with a hot or cold liquid).

The containers of the invention are preferably made of plastic (e.g. cups, thermoses), glass, and of multi-layers of papers, polyethylene, and aluminum foil (i.e. similar to juice box devices). Regarding the exterior shape of the containers, as previously discussed, cylindrical, square-shaped, triangular or equivalent shapes could be design possibilities. Types of drinking glasses would include the following: beer mug, brandy snifter, champagne flute, cocktail glass, coffee mug, Collins glass, cordial glass, highball glass, hurricane glass, margarita/coupette glass, mason jar, old-fashioned glass, parfait glass, Pousse cafe glass, punch bowl, red wine glass, sherry glass, shot glass, Whiskey sour glass, and white wine glass.

The internal design of the containers, with regard to the relationship between the longitudinal partitions and the points where both ends of the partitions attach to the internal border of the containers, would vary depending on several factors. For example, designing the shape of the partition may be decided based on an aesthetic choice, and may include a partition which is shaped straight, curved, angulated (e.g. zigzag formation) or with any combination of these shapes. Also, in the process of producing a given container, there is variability as to where the longitudinal partition can be placed. For example, the partition does not have to be placed in the exact center so that there are necessarily two equally divided compartment areas. Rather, the partition can be placed from one end of the container to another so that one or more of the partitioned areas is larger than the other (e.g. ¾ vs. ¼ in the case of the double partitioned container; or ⅔ vs. ⅙+⅙ in the case of a triple partitioned container). The ability to vary the placement of the partition and hence the size of the compartmentalized areas themselves allows for flexibility in choosing (e.g. on the part of the user of the invention) or designing (e.g. on the part of the manufacturer) different amounts of drinkable fluids, as they travel into the straw elements. By doing so, and with variations in the width of the straw elements, the final concentration of the two or more combined drinkable fluids is determined as the fluids reach the central straw elements. The containers may be designed with either an immobile partition (e.g. in the case of glass containers drinking devices) or mobile partition (e.g. in the case of plastic containers).

While the present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these disclosed embodiments. This invention may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided by way of illustration only and so that this disclosure will be thorough, complete and will fully convey the full scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Indeed, many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind of those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains, and which are intended to be and are covered by both this disclosure, the drawings and the claims.