Title:
Charcoal igniter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The charcoal igniter provides for the pre-ignition of charcoal, prior to placement of the charcoal within a barbecue or grill. The charcoal igniter includes a charcoal receptacle having at least one sidewall, a lower wall and an open upper end. The lower wall has an opening formed therethrough and the charcoal receptacle defines a charcoal-receiving chamber therein. A support is mounted on a gas cylinder, adjacent the nozzle thereof. When the charcoal receptacle is mounted on the support, the nozzle projects through the opening formed through the lower wall. Charcoal is then received within the charcoal-receiving chamber and gas flowing through the nozzle may be ignited. Once the charcoal is ignited, the receptacle may be lifted off the support for dispensing of the ignited charcoal into the barbecue of grill.



Inventors:
Maruya, Richard H. (Kaneohe, HI, US)
Application Number:
11/785595
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
04/18/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F23Q13/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PEREIRO, JORGE ANDRES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Nath, Goldberg & Meyer 112 S. West Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A charcoal igniter, comprising: a charcoal receptacle having at least one sidewall, a lower wall and an open upper end, the lower wall having an opening formed therethrough, the receptacle defining a charcoal-receiving chamber; and a support adapted for mounting on a gas cylinder, the support being adapted for mounting over a nozzle of the gas cylinder, the charcoal receptacle being removably and releasably mounted on the support with the nozzle extending through the support and projecting through the opening formed through the lower wall of the charcoal receptacle, so that charcoal received within the charcoal-receiving chamber may be ignited by burning gas supplied by the gas cylinder through the nozzle.

2. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 1, further comprising at least one wall secured at an upper edge thereof to the upper end of said charcoal receptacle, the at least one wall defining the charcoal-receiving chamber.

3. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 2, wherein said at least one wall has a plurality of fluid passages formed therethrough.

4. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 1, wherein said support includes an upper portion and a lower portion, the lower portion having at least one vertical wall, the at least one vertical wall having an opening formed therethrough, the opening being adapted for allowing a user access to a valve controlling the nozzle of the gas cylinder.

5. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 4, wherein the upper portion of said support comprises a base having opposed upper and lower surfaces, the upper surface thereof being adapted for releasably and removably supporting the lower wall of said charcoal receptacle.

6. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 5, further comprising a raised rim formed on a perimeter of the upper surface of the base of the upper portion of said support.

7. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 1, further comprising a handle mounted to the at least one sidewall of said charcoal receptacle.

8. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 2, further comprising: at least one wall secured at an upper edge thereof to the upper end of said charcoal receptacle, the at least one wall defining the charcoal-receiving chamber; and a pipe having an upper end and a lower end, the lower end of the pipe being adapted for connection to the nozzle so that gas flowing through the upper end of the pipe may be ignited to repel insects.

9. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 8, wherein the at least one wall of the charcoal-receiving chamber has a central opening formed therethrough, the pipe projecting through the opening formed through the lower wall thereof and through the central opening of the at least one wall.

10. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 8, wherein the upper end of the pipe is substantially flared.

11. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 10, wherein at least one air passage is formed through the upper end of the pipe.

12. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 1, wherein the charcoal-receiving chamber has a substantially frustoconical shape.

13. The charcoal igniter as recited in claim 1, further comprising at least one wall secured at an upper edge thereof to the upper end of said charcoal receptacle, the at least one wall defining the charcoal-receiving chamber, the at least one wall having a lower surface adapted for positioning above, and spaced apart from, an upper end of the nozzle when the charcoal receptacle is positioned on said support.

14. A charcoal igniter, comprising: a propane gas cylinder having a nozzle; a support having a cylindrical neck mounted about the nozzle and a pan above the neck; and a charcoal receptacle removably placed on the pan above the nozzle, whereby charcoal placed in the receptacle is ignited when the nozzle is lit, the ignited charcoal being transferable to a grill by lifting the receptacle from the pan and pouring the ignited charcoal into the grill.

15. The charcoal igniter according to claim 14, wherein said charcoal receptacle further comprises an insulated handle attached thereto.

16. The charcoal igniter according to claim 14, wherein said pan comprises an upright peripheral rim for retaining said receptacle thereon.

17. The charcoal igniter according to claim 14, further comprising an extension pipe attached to said nozzle, the extension pipe having a flared end extending above said receptacle, the flared end defining a slit, whereby gas escaping the slit is ignitable to repel insects.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to devices for igniting fuel, and particularly to a charcoal igniter for igniting charcoal in a barbecue grill or the like.

2. Description of the Related Art

Charcoal briquettes for use in barbecues, grills and the like are typically inserted directly within the grill, doused with lighter fluid, and ignited. The lighter fluid, however, creates thick smoke, which is dangerous for both the environment and for people and animals surrounding the grill. Further, as lighter fluid is highly flammable, the lighter fluid often burns almost instantly, leaving the charcoal unignited. In addition, the fumes and smoke generated by the lighter fluid may taint the food being cooked in the grill, which not only may alter the taste of the food, but may represent a health hazard to people ingesting the food.

Also, lighter fluid is typically carried in small plastic canisters and administered directly onto the charcoal, often after the charcoal has already been lit. Flame from the charcoal, or an outside spark, could ignite the stream of lighter fluid, causing the canister to explode in the user's hands. It would be desirable to provide a system for igniting charcoal without the need for lighter fluid.

Grills that utilize propane or other flammable gases, rather than charcoal, are commonly used. Although such grills remove the hazards described above with regard to lighter fluid, users are often left desiring the particular taste associated with charcoal grilling. It would be desirable to combine the safety and easy ignition of propane gas with a charcoal-based grill.

None of the above inventions, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus, a charcoal igniter solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The charcoal igniter provides for the pre-ignition of charcoal prior to placement of the charcoal within a barbecue or grill. The charcoal igniter includes a charcoal receptacle having at least one sidewall, a lower wall and an open upper end. The lower wall has an opening formed therethrough and the charcoal receptacle defines a charcoal-receiving chamber therein.

At least one wall is secured at an upper edge thereof to the upper end of the charcoal receptacle, and the at least one wall defines the charcoal-receiving chamber. Preferably, a plurality of fluid passages are formed through the at least one wall.

A support is mounted on a gas cylinder, such as a propane cylinder or the like, with the support having an upper portion and a lower portion. The lower portion is mounted adjacent the nozzle of the gas cylinder and includes at least one vertical wall. Preferably, an opening is formed through the vertical wall, allowing the user access to the valve commonly associated with gas cylinder nozzles.

The upper portion of the support includes a base having opposed upper and lower surfaces, with the lower surface being mounted on the lower portion of the support and the upper surface being adapted for releasably and removably supporting the lower wall of the charcoal receptacle. Preferably, a raised rim is formed on the perimeter of the upper surface for providing stable mounting of the charcoal receptacle thereon.

When the charcoal receptacle is mounted on the support, the nozzle projects through the opening formed through the lower wall thereof. Charcoal is then received within the charcoal-receiving chamber, and gas flowing through the nozzle may be ignited. Ignited gas then flows through the fluid passages of the at least one wall, allowing for ignition of the charcoal.

Preferably, a handle is mounted on the outer surface of the at least one sidewall of the receptacle so that, once the charcoal is ignited, the receptacle may be lifted off the support for dispensing of the ignited charcoal into the barbecue or grill.

In addition, the igniter may be used to repel insects, such as mosquitoes or the like. A pipe, having an upper end and a lower end, may be provided, with the lower end of the pipe fitting over the nozzle of the gas cylinder, and the pipe projecting vertically therefrom. A central opening may be formed through the at least one wall of the charcoal-receiving chamber, so that the charcoal receptacle may be positioned on the support with the pipe projecting through the opening formed through the lower wall thereof, and further through the central opening of the at least one wall. Preferably, the pipe is dimensioned to project slightly above the charcoal receptacle. Gas from the cylinder may then be delivered to the upper end of the pipe and may be ignited to repel insects. The upper end of the pipe may be flared and may have at least one opening formed therethrough for production of a relatively small flame.

These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a charcoal igniter according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the charcoal igniter according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the charcoal igniter according to the present invention configured for repelling mosquitoes.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is directed towards a charcoal igniter 10. Igniter 10 provides for the pre-ignition of charcoal 14 prior to placement of the charcoal 14 within a barbecue or grill 16, as illustrated in FIG. 1. It should be understood that grill 16 of FIG. 1 is shown for exemplary purposes only. The charcoal igniter 10 includes a charcoal receptacle 12 having at least one sidewall 76, a lower wall 78 and an open upper end 80. The lower wall 78 has an opening 38 formed therethrough, and the charcoal receptacle 12 defines a charcoal-receiving chamber 34 therein. It should be understood that charcoal receptacle 12 may have any suitable dimension and configuration, depending upon the size and configuration of gas cylinder 18 (to be described in further detail below). Similarly, charcoal receptacle 12 may be formed from any suitable non-flammable materials. Receptacle 12 is preferably dimensioned for optimal portability.

At least one wall 32 is secured at an upper edge thereof to the upper end 80 of the charcoal receptacle. 12, and the at least one wall 32 defines the charcoal-receiving chamber 34, which may, e.g., be frustoconical in shape. Preferably, a plurality of fluid passages 54 are formed through the at least one wall 32. A lower end of the at least one wall 32 is preferably positioned above, and spaced apart from, the upper end of nozzle 28, to be described in greater detail below.

A support 20 is mounted on a gas cylinder 18, such as a propane cylinder or the like, with the support 20 having an upper portion 26 and a lower portion 22. The lower portion 22 is mounted directly on an upper end of the gas cylinder 18, and may be cylindrical, having a vertical wall that encircles the nozzle 28 of the gas cylinder. Preferably, an opening 50 is formed through the vertical wall or support, allowing the user access to the valve 24 commonly associated with gas cylinder nozzles. It should be understood that lower portion 22 may be secured to gas cylinder 18 in any suitable manner, depending upon the particular configuration of gas cylinder 18. In the drawings, the support 20 and the charcoal receptacle 12 are each shown as being substantially circular in cross section, with the at least one wall 32 having a substantially frustoconical shape. It should be understood, however, that receptacle 12 and support 20 may have any desired shape.

The upper portion 26 of the support 20 includes a base having opposed upper and lower surfaces, with the lower surface being mounted on the lower portion 22 of the support 20, and with the upper surface being adapted for releasably and removably supporting the lower wall 78 of the charcoal receptacle 12 (as shown in FIG. 2). Preferably, a raised rim 52 is formed on the perimeter of the upper surface for providing stable mounting of the charcoal receptacle 12 thereon. It should be understood that the particular support 20 shown in FIGS. 1-3 is provided for exemplary purposes only and may have configuration for supporting charcoal-receiving receptacle 12 on gas cylinder 18.

When the charcoal receptacle 12 is mounted on the support 20, the nozzle 28 extends through support 20 and projects through the opening 38 formed through the lower wall 78 of the receptacle 12. Charcoal 14 is then received within the charcoal-receiving chamber 34, and gas flowing through the nozzle 28 may be ignited. Ignited gas and vapor then flows through the fluid passages 54 of the at least one wall 32, allowing for ignition of the charcoal 14 held therein.

Preferably, a handle 30 is mounted on the outer surface of the at least one sidewall 76 of the receptacle 12 so that, once the charcoal 14 is ignited, the receptacle 12 may be lifted off the support 20 for dispensing of the ignited charcoal 14 into the barbecue or grill 16, as shown in FIG. 1. Handle 30 may be formed from any suitable thermally insulated material.

Also, the igniter 10 may be used to repel insects, such as mosquitoes or the like. As shown in FIG. 3, an extension pipe 36 having an upper end 72 and a lower end 82 may be provided, the pipe 36 being configured so that the lower end 82 fits securely over the nozzle 28 of the gas cylinder 18 and the pipe 36 projects vertically therefrom.

A central opening 70 is preferably formed through the at least one wall 32 of the charcoal-receiving chamber 34, so that the charcoal receptacle 12 may be positioned on the support 20 (preferably upside-down, with the upper end of FIG. 2 now being supported on the support 20), with the pipe 36 projecting through the opening 38 formed through the lower wall 78 thereof, and further through the central opening 70 of the at least one wall 32. Preferably, the pipe 36 is dimensioned to project slightly above the charcoal receptacle 12, as shown in FIG. 3. Gas from the cylinder 18 may then be delivered to the upper end 72 of the pipe 36 and may be ignited to repel insects. The upper end 72 of the pipe 36 may be flared, as shown, and may have at least one opening 74 formed therethrough for production of a relatively small flame, although any suitable nozzle shape may be used.

In the above, the support 20 is mounted directly to the gas cylinder 18. Support 20 may be permanently or releasably mounted to the cylinder 18. Alternatively, support 20 may be located separately from cylinder 18; i.e., a separate base, such as a plurality of legs, for example, may be joined to support 20 to raise support 20 above the ground. A hose or other line would join the nozzle of the cylinder 18 to the support 20, with a separate nozzle being joined to support 20 for igniting the charcoal.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.