Title:
CONTAINER FOR STORING CHEESE AND OTHER TEMPERATURE SENSITIVE FOOD AND ITEMS IN WINE REFRIGERATION UNITS, WINE STORAGE ROOMS AND WINE CELLARS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is a container for storing and serving food, especially practical for cheese, and other items that would benefit from being stored in a temperature and environment similar to those recommended for wine. The invention addresses food storage requirements including moderated refrigeration and enhanced humidity control while addressing odor migration thus maintaining the flavor and other characteristics of cheese and other temperature sensitive items. The invention does so by taking a novel approach in that it repurposes one or more of the wine bottle storage bays found in commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and the bottle bays of wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. By virtue of the container's size and contour the container will fit stably into the bottle bays in the vast majority of commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and in those bottle bays of wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. It will also rest stably on a flat surface such as a table or countertop thus facilitating the filling of the container, access to its contents and its use as a serving vessel.



Inventors:
Bachmann, John Otto (Montclair, NJ, US)
Bachman, Kathryn Junell (Montclair, NJ, US)
Behroozi, Ryan H. (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/116196
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/06/2008
Assignee:
Bending Brook LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John, Otto Bachmann (214 Grove Street, Montclair, NJ, 07042, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A primary container dimensioned to be substantially similar to the body of a wine bottle wherein said primary container can be received inside the bottle bays in a plurality of commercially available wine storage refrigerators or wine storage racks with said primary container having an opening allowing substantially unobstructed access to the storage capacity of said primary container and with said primary container having means, integrated or otherwise, to assure proper axial orientation when removed from said bottle bays and placed on a flat surface.

2. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said primary container has means to assure proper axial orientation when seated in said bottle bays in a plurality of commercially available wine storage refrigerators or wine storage racks.

3. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said means to assure proper axial orientation of said primary container both inside said bottle bays and on said flat surface comprise a secondary container, substantially similar to said primary container wherein said secondary container is attached to said primary container such that said secondary container overlaps into an adjacent bottle bay in a plurality of commercially available wine storage refrigerators or wine storage racks thus assuring proper and stable axial orientation for said primary container and said secondary container as well as providing additional continuous or divisible storage volume augmenting said primary container.

4. The secondary container of claim 3 wherein said secondary container has a bottom that is contoured with a narrowed footing thus reducing its contact area with and its potential interference with the racking arrangements in said adjacent bottle bay wherein making said primary container in combination with said attached secondary container more likely to be seated with proper and stable axial orientation in a larger plurality of commercially available wine storage refrigerators or wine storage racks.

5. The primary container of claim 1 wherein the vertical middle portion of its storage volume is made rectangular at a distance sufficient to ensure clearance from racking arrangements both above and below in a plurality of commercially available wine storage refrigerators or wine storage racks wherein said rectangular storage volume increases the capacity of said primary container and wherein said rectangular storage volume provides additional means to assure proper axial orientation.

6. The primary container and attached secondary container of claim 3 wherein the vertical middle portion of their combined storage volume is made rectangular at a distance sufficient to ensure clearance from racking arrangements both above and below in a plurality of commercially available wine storage refrigerators or wine storage racks wherein said rectangular storage volume increases the capacity of said primary and said attached secondary container.

7. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said means to assure proper axial orientation of said primary container inside said bottle bays is a friction surface on the bottom portion of said primary container contacting the racking arrangement in said bottle bays such that said primary container is inhibited from rotating thus providing stable axial orientation of said primary container and its contents.

8. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said means to assure proper axial orientation of said primary container on said flat surface is one or more attached members dimensioned to make contact with said flat surface wherein said attached member or members do not interfere with the majority of said bottle bays and wherein said member or members are dimensioned to inhibit rolling and provide stable axial orientation on said flat surfaces.

9. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said means to assure proper axial orientation of said primary container on said flat surface is one or more attachable or conformable members dimensioned to make contact with said flat surface wherein said attachable or conformable member or members are dimensioned to inhibit rolling and provide stable axial orientation on said flat surfaces.

10. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said means to assure proper axial orientation of said primary container on said flat surface is a rotational member inset such that it substantially conforms to said contoured bottom of said primary container but provides stability on said flat surface when rotated into its deployed position.

11. The primary container of claim 1 wherein said means to assure proper axial orientation of said primary container on said flat surface is achieved by substantially flattening the bottom of said primary container while maintaining a sufficient amount of contact surface on the bottom hemisphere of said container wherein said contact surface within said bottle bays inhibits said container from rotating thus providing proper and stable axial orientation of said primary container and its contents.

12. The primary container of claim 1 wherein an elongated member dimensioned and oriented substantially in the position of the neck of a typical wine bottle is attached to the back of said primary container thus providing a handle for said primary container and additional contact surfaces for stable seating inside said bottle bays wherein making said primary container useable in a larger plurality of said commercially available wine storage refrigerators or said wine storage racks.

13. The primary container of claim 1 wherein a horizontally oriented board suitable for cutting and serving food can stably rest or be inserted into the bottom of the container volume of said primary container.

14. The primary container of claim 1 with integrated cutting and serving board of claim 13 with the space below said cutting board dimensioned and reserved for a moisture conduit, controller or reservoir.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application “Cheese storage unit for use in wine refrigerators/cellars” EFS ID 1748917, Application Number 60916336, Confirmation Number 9922 filed 2007 May 7 by the present inventor(s)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the storage and serving of food, especially cheese, and potentially the storage of other items that would benefit from being stored in a temperature and environment similar to those recommended for wine storage, such as those environments found in commercially available refrigerated wine storage units, wine cellars and wine storage rooms.

2. Prior Art

Prior art does not sufficiently address how to store cheese or other items in more optimal temperature conditions, maintain sufficient humidity to prevent drying, prevent foreign (non-cheese) odors from creating undesirable flavors, and prevent cheese odors from escaping the environment. Some prior art is too general and not tailored for this purpose for example, Food Storage Container or the Like (U.S. Pat. No. D282,809—Daenen; Robert H. C. M.—Mar. 10, 1982) addresses the issue of odor migration and, to some extent, loss of hydration. But they do not address the fact that quite often cheeses, butter and other items are more optimally stored in temperatures that range significantly below room temperature but above those temperatures customarily maintained in refrigeration units being used for the purpose of storing and preserving freshness of other foods. Even prior art specifically designed for cheese, while addressing issues of odor migration, dehydration and even slicing and serving cheese, do not address the temperature or enhanced humidity requirements of cheese storage. These include Storage and Serving Dish for Cheese (U.S. Pat. No. 4,385,554—Daenen; Robert H. C. M.—Mar. 27, 1981), Combined Storing and Slicing Device for a Stick of Butter or Margarine or The Like (U.S. Pat. No. 4,513,501—Lee; Jong S.—Feb. 14, 1983), Device for Slicing and Storing food such as Cheese and the Like (U.S. Pat. No. 4,697,488—Cole; Gregory B.—Mar. 4, 1985) Slicing and Storing Device (U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,083—Alonso; Modesto C.—May 19, 1987). While there is some prior art designed to address the specialized storage requirements of cheese they are too complex, large and costly thus making them impractical for use in the home. An example of this is Apparatus for Storing and Ventilating Cheeses (U.S. Pat. No. 4,566,377—van Buytene; Arie J.—Jun. 25, 1984)

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a container for storing and serving food, especially practical for cheese, and other items that would benefit from being stored in a temperature and environment similar to those recommended for wine. In particular cheese, depending on its variety, is, in essence, a living organic entity that can be damaged or whose flavor can be significantly diminished by storing it at the average food refrigeration temperature or in too warm an environment. The invention addresses food storage requirements including moderated refrigeration and enhanced humidity control while addressing odor migration thus maintaining the flavor and other characteristics of cheese and other temperature sensitive items. The invention does so by taking a novel approach in that it repurposes one or more of the wine bottle storage bays found in commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and the bottle bays of wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. By virtue of the container's size and contour the container will fit stably into the bottle bays in the vast majority of commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and in those bottle bays of wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. It will also rest stably on a flat surface such as a table or countertop thus facilitating the filling of the container, access to its contents and its use as a serving vessel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. is an isometric view from above of the single-bay container with its lid and inside-fitted cutting and serving board above.

FIG. 2. is an isometric view from below of the single-bay container with its lid and inside-fitted cutting and serving board above.

FIG. 3. is an isometric view from below of the single-bay container with its twistable footing not deployed.

FIG. 4. is an isometric view from below of the single-bay container with its twistable footing in its deployed position.

FIG. 5. is an isometric view from above of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “bottle-contoured” wine rack.

FIG. 6. is an isometric view from below of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “bottle-contoured” type wine rack.

FIG. 7. is an isometric view from above of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “saw tooth” type wine rack.

FIG. 8. is an isometric view from below of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “saw tooth” type wine rack.

FIG. 9. is an isometric view from above of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “evenly spaced, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 10. is an isometric view from below of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “evenly spaced, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 11. is an isometric view from above of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “staggered, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 12. is an isometric view from below of the closed single-bay container seated stably in a “staggered, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 13. is an isometric view from above of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “bottle-contoured” type wine rack.

FIG. 14. is an isometric view from below of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “bottle-contoured” type wine rack.

FIG. 15. is an isometric view from above of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “saw tooth” type wine rack.

FIG. 16. is an isometric view from below of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “saw tooth” type wine rack.

FIG. 17. is an isometric view from above of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “evenly spaced, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 18. is an isometric view from below of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “evenly spaced, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 19. is an isometric view from above of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “staggered, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 20. is an isometric view from below of the closed dual-bay container seated stably in a “staggered, parallel member” type wine rack.

FIG. 21. is an isometric view from below of the single-bay container with a flattened bottom.

FIG. 22. is an isometric view from above of a simplified single-bay container with table stand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In FIGS. 1 and 2 the container is shown with a single bottom chamber 50 that is dimensioned to be essentially the size of an average wine bottle so that it will fit in most wine storage refrigerators and wine storage racks. Its bottom 51 is rounded to conform to the contours of the vast majority of racks found in commercially available wine refrigerators and wine storage racks. Inside the container 50 the rounded bottom 51 also can act as a moisture reservoir for enhanced hydration by adding water, a damp sponge, or other humidity controlling device. This space 51 can also act as reservoir for excess condensation. Above the rounded bottom 51 the container is squared-off 52 to maximize useable storage space within the container without interfering with the vast majority of wine racks.

The container lid 53 is fitted to close the container 50 and protect its contents. The top of the lid 53 is rounded 58 also to maximize useable storage space within the container without interfering with the next layer of racking in the vast majority of wine racks. In this case the bottom of the container 51 is ribbed 54 in order to provide friction between it 51 and the rack to keep the container 50 from turning upside down. The footings shown 55 not only provide additional rotational stability for the container 50 while it is seated in a wine rack, the footings 55 also keep the container 50 stable and prevent it from rolling over on a flat surface like a table or countertop. A specially sized and fitted board 57 provides a flat surface on which to store, cut and serve the cheese or other items. The board 57 also keeps the contents of the container away from the moisture reservoir in the bottom 51 of the container. The board 57 is dimensioned shorter than the container 50 allowing the user to room to reach in between the board 57 and the container 50 and lift the board 57 out.

The container 50 is also shown with a “bottle neck” handle 56 that is positioned and dimensioned similarly to where the neck of a wine bottle would appear with respect to its body. Besides providing a means for grasping and holding the container 50 with one hand the “bottle neck” handle also provides a means for seating the container 50 in wine racks that utilize the wine bottle neck for supporting the bottle as in the “saw-tooth” configured wine rack in wine racks in FIGS. 7, 8, 15 &16.

FIG. 3 shows a single-bay container with its twistable footing 59 not deployed. The twistable footing 59 when not deployed essentially conforms to the contour of the bottom so as not to interfere when the container 50 is maneuvered in and seated in a bottle bay of a wine rack. When the container 50 is removed from the wine rack and set atop a flat surface like a table or countertop the twistable footing 59 can be rotated (see FIG. 4) into a position that will further stabilize the container 50 and prevent it from rolling over.

FIGS. 5 through 20 show preferred embodiments of the container stably seated in the wine bottle bays in four general types of wine racking systems that comprise the vast majority of those found in commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and in wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. FIGS. 5 & 6 show the single-bay container 50 stably seated in a “bottle-contoured” type wine rack 61. FIGS. 7 & 8 show the single-bay container 50 stably seated in a “saw tooth” type wine rack 62. FIGS. 9 & 10 show the single-bay container 50 stably seated in an “evenly spaced parallel member” type wine rack 63. FIGS. 11 & 12 show the single-bay container 50 stably seated in a “staggered parallel member” type wine rack 64. Note that these types of “staggered parallel member” wine racks 64 have the bottle seated immediately adjacent to one and other while the “evenly spaced parallel member” type wine racks 63 have larger spaces between bottles allowing bottles to be seated in two opposing rows of bottles with their necks interleaved in the center.

FIGS. 13 through 20 shows a “dual bay” container 150 with its attached secondary (continuous or separate) container section 151 dimensioned similarly to the primary container that overlaps into the next bottle bay. Not only does this secondary container section 151 provide more storage area it also provides stability for the container both in the rack and on the countertop. Note that in this case the bottom of the secondary container section 152 has been made with an elliptical profile. With this narrower footing 152 it fits stably in a greater variety of wine racks.

FIGS. 13 & 14 show the dual-bay container 150 stably seated in a “bottle-contoured” type wine rack 61. FIGS. 15 & 16 show the dual-bay container 150 stably seated in a “saw tooth” type wine rack 62. FIGS. 17 & 18 show the dual-bay container 150 stably seated in an “evenly spaced parallel member” type wine rack 63. FIGS. 19 & 20 show the dual-bay container 150 stably seated in a “staggered parallel member” type wine rack 64. Note that these types of “staggered parallel member” wine racks 64 have the bottle seated immediately adjacent to one and other while the “evenly spaced parallel member” type wine racks 63 have larger space between bottles allowing bottles to be seated in two opposing rows of bottles with their necks interleaved in the center. The secondary container section 151 made with an elliptical profile bottom 152 solves the problem of having bottles in different racks that are different distances apart.

FIG. 21 shows the container 50 with a partially flattened bottom 70 to be used in lieu of or in combination with footings 55 like those in FIG. 1 to further enhance the stability of the container 50 on a flat surface such as a table or countertop.

FIG. 22 shows a simplified version of the single bay container 80 with lid 81 and separate serving/presentation stand 82 for use on a flat surface such as a tabletop or countertop.

CONCLUSIONS AND RAMIFICATIONS

Thus the reader will see the invention is an excellent container for storing and serving food, especially practical for cheese, and other items that would benefit from being stored in a temperature and environment similar to those recommended for wine. The invention addresses food storage requirements including moderated refrigeration and enhanced humidity control while addressing odor migration thus maintaining the flavor and other characteristics of cheese and other temperature sensitive items. The invention does so by taking a novel approach in that it repurposes one or more of the wine bottle storage bays found in commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and the bottle bays of wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. By virtue of the container's size and contour the container will fit stably into the bottle bays in the vast majority of commercially available refrigerated wine storage units and in those bottle bays of wine storage racks found in wine cellars and wine storage rooms. It will also rest stably on a flat surface such as a table or countertop thus facilitating the filling of the container, access to its contents and its use as a serving vessel.

While the above description contains many detailed specifics, these should not be construed as limitations on the invention but rather as examples of several preferred embodiments thereof. Many other variations are possible. For example, the above specifications have shown examples of containers that span one or two wine bottle bays, but these containers could be designed to occupy three or more wine bottle bays if needed. Since many wine racks can hold two horizontal rows, front and back, on the same rack, it follows that the container can be dimensioned longer, up to two bottle lengths or more, in order to take advantage of the deeper wine racks. The invention can also be enhanced, adapted, compartmentalized and fitted to hold a plurality of other temperature sensitive foods, scientific samples, chemical items or virtually any small item that would benefit from being stored in a modified or moderated refrigerated environment. The footing arrangements shown that allow the container to remain stable on a flat surface are by no means exhaustive. As such, variations of stabilizing elements could include among many a single horizontal stabilizing member in a variety of positions or a removable set of footings or even a tabletop cradle for the container. Furthermore the ribbed friction surface on the bottom of the container could be substituted with a raised-dot surface or any number of raised or indented patterns providing frictional resistance to changes in axial orientation. The handle depicted in the preferred embodiments can be enlarged or streamlined or an additional handle or handles can be added. Also there is a great potential for variation in the types of materials used to make the container including but not limited too, glass, ceramics, wood and plastics. It follows that there is also great potential for variation in the types of lids and means of securing those lids to the container including but not limited too, hinged lids, self-sealing and snap-on lids, and sliding covers.





 
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