Title:
PORTABLE COOLER WITH BUILT-IN CUTTING AND SERVING BOARD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable cooler is provided that has a wet side and a dry side separated by a removable partition that can be used as a cutting or serving board. The partition slides within a pair of opposed vertical channels formed in the walls of the cooler. The partition comprises one or more slots for holding utensils.



Inventors:
Marganski, Christopher S. (Peotone, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/837601
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/13/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/528, 206/501
International Classes:
F25D3/08; B65D21/02; B65D25/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Clausen Miller P. C. (SUITE 1600, 10S. LASALLE STREET, CHICAGO, IL, 60603, US)
Claims:
I claim as my invention:

1. A cooler comprising: an outer container having a bottom, a lid, opposing front and rear walls, and a pair of opposing vertical sidewalls, the front and rear walls including means for holding a partition; and a partition removably secured within the outer container and extending between the front and rear walls to define first and second compartments; wherein the partition is adapted to be used as a cutting or serving board when removed from the outer container.

2. The cooler of claim 5 wherein the holding means comprises a pair of opposed vertical channels.

3. The cooler of claim 2 wherein the opposed vertical channels are integrally formed in the front and rear walls.

4. The cooler of claim 2 wherein the opposed vertical channels are affixed to the front and rear walls.

5. The cooler of claim 3 wherein the partition is sized to simultaneously fit in a sliding fashion within both vertical channels.

6. The cooler of claim 5 wherein the partition is made from a water-impermeable material.

7. The cooler of claim 6 wherein the partition is made from plastic.

8. The cooler of claim 5 wherein the partition comprises one or more slots disposed within the partition and configured to hold utensils.

9. The cooler of claim 8 wherein the one or more slots are formed into a top edge of the partition.

10. The cooler of claim 8 wherein the one or more slots are formed in a side edge of the partition and extend diagonally downward when the partition is installed within the outer container.

11. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising one or more stackable storage containers disposed within the second compartment of the outer container.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This patent relates to a portable cooler such as the kind used for picnics and other outdoor outings. More particularly, this patent relates to a portable, compartmented cooler having a built-in cutting and serving board.

2. Description of the Related Art

Portable compartmented coolers of the type used for picnics and other outdoor activities are well known. For instance, a number of patent references teach portable compartmented picnic type coolers, including U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,305,544 and 6,763,678 and published U.S. Patent Application Nos. 2002/0095974 and 2004/0262319. U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,528 teaches an adjustable partition for an ice chest that is secured by self-adhering guide bars. U.S. Pat. No. 5,975,334 and U.S. Published Patent Application No. 2002/0095947, teach picnic coolers having built in utensils.

However, none of the references teaches a portable picnic type cooler having a partition or divider that can be removed and used as a cutting and serving board. Thus is is an object of the invention to provide a cooler having a removable partition that can be used as a cutting and/or serving board.

Another object of the present invention to provide a portable cooler that has a cold, wet side and a dry side.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a cooler having stackable containers.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a cooler having a built in cutting and serving board that also can be used to store utensils.

Further and additional objects will appear from the description, accompanying drawings, and appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a portable cooler having a cold or wet side and a dry side separated by a removable partition that can be used as a cutting or serving board. The partition slides within a pair of opposed vertical channels formed in the walls of the cooler.

The partition comprises one or more slots for holding utensils. The slots may be vertical and formed into the top edge of the partition, or oriented horizontally or diagonally downward and formed into one or both of the side edges of the partition.

THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a portable cooler according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the portable cooler of FIG. 1 shown with the partition partially removed.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the portable cooler of FIG. 1 shown with the partition and cold side bin partially removed.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the portable cooler of FIG. 1 shown with the partition, cold side bin and one stackable container completely removed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While this invention may be embodied in many forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail one or more embodiments with the understanding that this disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the illustrated embodiments.

Turning to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 one embodiment of the present invention, a portable cooler 10 having a cold or wet side and a dry side. The main components of the cooler 10 include an outer container 12, one or more stackable storage containers 14 that rest inside the outer container 12 on the dry side, a partition 16 located within the outer container 12 that separates the wet and dry sides and helps secure the storage containers 14 in place, and an open topped bin 18 stored within the outer container 12 on the wet or cold side.

The outer container 12 has a bottom 22, a lid 24, opposing front and rear walls 26, 28, and a pair of opposing vertical sidewalls 30. The front, rear and side walls extend vertically upward from the bottom 22. The lid 24 is hingedly attached or otherwise affixed to the rear wall 28. Conventional gripping handles 31 extend outward from the side walls 30 for easier carrying.

The front and rear walls 26, 28 have an exterior side and an interior side. In an important aspect of the invention, the interior sides of the front and rear walls 26, 28 include a pair of opposed vertical channels 32 for holding the partition 16. Preferably the channels 32 are formed in the walls 26, 28 as an integral feature of the walls as shown in FIG. 4, although they may also be separate structures affixed to the walls.

The stackable containers 14 are conventional in design and comprise a body 36 and a fitted, water-tight lid 38. The stackable containers 14 may be used to hold items that are to be kept dry, such as sandwiches and the like. In the figures three stackable containers 14 are stacked on one side of the outer container 12. Preferably the bottom of each container 14 nests within the lid 38 of the container below it.

The partition 16 is sized to simultaneously fit in a sliding fashion within both opposing channels 32 formed in or attached to the front and rear walls 26, 28. The partition 16 is removably held in place by the channels 32, but can be extracted (removed) as shown in the figures by gripping the partition 16 near its top edge and lifting it up. In FIG. 1 the partition is completely lowered in place within the channels 32. FIGS. 2 and 3 show the partition 16 partially removed from the outer container 12, and in FIG. 4 the partition 16 is completely removed from the outer container 12, allowing easier access to the storage containers 14 stacked within the outer container 12.

When installed within the outer container 12 the partition 16 separates the inside of the outer container 12 into a first compartment, typically used to keep items cold by surrounding them with ice, and a second compartment for keeping items dry.

In another important aspect of the invention, the partition 16 is adapted to be used as a cutting and/or serving board when removed from the outer container 12. For this reason, the partition preferably is made from a water-impermeable material such as plastic, although it may be made from other materials as well, including but not limited to metal or wood.

In yet another important aspect of the invention, the partition 16 comprises one or more slots 40 disposed within the top portion of the partition 16 for holding utensils 42 (FIG. 2). Although the figures show two slots 40, any number of slots 40 may be disposed within in the partition 16. The slots 40 may be vertical and formed into the top edge 17 of the partition as shown in the figures, or they may be oriented horizontally or even diagonally downward and formed into the side edges of the partition 16. The slots 40 may be any suitable length and shape to allow insertion and removing of utensils.

In the illustrated embodiment the bin 18 is stored within the first, or wet, compartment and the stackable containers 14 are stored within the second, or dry, compartment. The bin 18 is rectilinear in shape and preferably does not have its own lid. The bin 18 may be filled with ice and items to be kept cold such as packaged drinks. The bin may have openings 34 disposed in its side walls for easier hand lifting.

It is understood that the embodiments of the invention described above are only particular examples which serve to illustrate the principles of the invention. Modifications and alternative embodiments of the invention are contemplated which do not depart from the scope of the invention as defined by the foregoing teachings and appended claims. It is intended that the claims cover all such modifications and alternative embodiments that fall within their scope.