Title:
NOVELTY ICE CUBE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A novelty ice cube includes a transparent or translucent hollow plastic housing in the shape of an ice cube, which defines an interior cavity. A light is disposed within the interior cavity. A power source is disposed within the interior cavity and provides power to the light. A translucent diffuser cap is disposed within the interior cavity and overlies the light. The housing with the light, power source and diffuser has a bulk density of greater than 0.675. The bulk density is achieved, without the use of fillers, by having selected thickened regions integrally formed in the housing.



Inventors:
Bryant, Bob (Victoria, CA)
Application Number:
12/249829
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/10/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F25D27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALI, MOHAMMAD M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS & BUJOLD, P.L.L.C. (112 PLEASANT STREET, CONCORD, NH, 03301, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A novelty ice cube, comprising: a transparent or translucent hollow plastic housing in the shape of an ice cube and defining an interior cavity; a light disposed within the interior cavity; a power source disposed within the interior cavity and providing power to the light; a translucent diffuser cap disposed within the interior cavity and overlying the light; the housing with the light, power source and diffuser having a bulk density in excess of 0.675, the bulk density being achieved, without the use of fillers, by having selected thickened regions integrally formed in the housing.

2. The novelty ice cube of claim 1, wherein the bulk density of not less than 0.675 and not more than 0.925.

3. The novelty ice cube of claim 2, wherein the bulk density is in a narrower preferred range of approximately 0.800 to approximately 0.900 to approximate the buoyancy of ice.

4. The novelty ice cube of claim 1, wherein the bulk density is greater than 1.000 to intentionally cause the housing to sink to a bottom of a liquid container.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/979,363, filed Oct. 11, 2007, the disclosure of which is hereby expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety, and priority from the filing date of which is hereby claimed under 35 U.S.C. § 119.

BACKGROUND

Novelty ice cubes made from polymer plastic are too light, and tend to float on top of the water. For this reason, a filler is used to adjust the buoyancy by increasing the weight; so that the novelty ice cube not only looks, but behaves like a real ice cube. An example a novelty ice cube that uses a filler to adjust buoyancy is U.S. Pat. No. 6,416,198 (Vanderschuit).

SUMMARY

This summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This summary is not intended to identify key features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

Accordingly, there is provided a novelty ice cube which includes a transparent or translucent hollow plastic housing in the shape of an ice cube, which defines an interior cavity. A light is disposed within the interior cavity. A power source is disposed within the interior cavity and provides power to the light. A translucent diffuser cap is disposed within the interior cavity and overlies the light. The housing with the light, power source and diffuser has a bulk density of greater than 0.675. The bulk density is achieved, without the use of fillers, by having selected thickened regions integrally formed in the housing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

The FIGURE is a side elevation view, in section, of a novelty ice cube.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The preferred embodiment, a novelty ice cube generally identified by reference numeral 10, will now be described with reference to the FIGURE.

Novelty ice cube 10 consists of a translucent hollow plastic housing 12 which is in the shape of an ice cube. Housing 12 defines an interior cavity 14. A light 16 consisting of several light emitting diodes 18 (LED) is disposed within interior cavity 14. A power source in the form of a battery 20 is also disposed within interior cavity 14 and provides power to light 16. It is preferred that either a manual switch 22 or a liquid activated switch be provided to selectively control when power is supplied from battery 20 to light 16. A translucent diffuser cap 24 is disposed within interior cavity 14. Diffuser cap 24 overlies and serves to “soften” the glare from light 16. As will be discussed below, housing 12 with the light 16, battery 20 and diffuser cap 24, has a bulk density of not less than 0.675 and not more than 0.925. This bulk density is achieved, without the use of fillers, by having selected thickened regions, designated by reference numeral 26, integrally formed in housing 12.

Cautionary Warnings:

It is difficult to mould thicker plastics for small items, such as imitation ice cubes, without distortions. This is a particular problem with imitation ice cubes, as they are lighted from the inside and all imperfections become magnified. In order to create the ice cubes, without distortions, the cooling time for each item had to be substantially increased. Whereas an ice cube with a cavity using filler can be produced in quantities of approximately 10,000 per day, production will have to reduced to allow increased time for cooling. If care is not taken in cooling the plastic, cracks will appear in the ice cubes, rendering them unusable and aesthetically unacceptable.

An exposed LED is very bright. With an imitation ice cube that uses filler, the brightness is not a problem, as the filler tends to diffuse or soften the light. A solution had to be developed for this problem. The solution was to place a translucent cap over the LED.

An imitation ice cube must behave like an ice cube. An imitation ice cube that rides high in the water, bobbing up and down like a cork is not realistic. Conversely, an imitation ice cube that sinks toward the bottom is also not realistic. The table below reflects a number of imitation ice cubes that were first “float” tested and then measured:

Floatation Table
EXTERNAL
CUBECUBEINTERIORBULK
FLOATATIONWEIGHTVOLUMEVOLUMEDENSITY
ATTITUDEGRAMSCC.CC.GMS/CC.
 1. Sinker42.84640.6782.511.053
 2. Imitator29.93836.0311.430.831
 3. Imitator29.94235.64211.090.840
 4. Imitator27.4638.3315.140.716
 5. Imitator39.88528.03911.680.786
 6. Imitator29.92134.68311.590.863
 7. Imitator27.55437.8515.140.716
 8. Imitator30.02138.41711.370.781
 9. Imitator30.13436.19611.990.833
10. Imitator29.82134.57711.330.862
11. Floater23.12540.71619.370.568
12. Floater23.10338.27119.570.604

From the above Floatation Table, it can be seen that the weight in grams, external cube volume and buoyancy cavity volume of each ice cube was determined. This enabled a calculation of cube bulk density to be made. The imitation ice cubes with a bulk density of less than 0.675 were determined to be too light and designated “floaters” that did not realistically resemble ice. It was determined that a range of 0.675 to 0.925 was a useful range if one was trying to imitate ice. The optimum range was determined to be approximately 0.800 to 0.900. During the course of experimenting, ice cubes with a bulk density of greater than 1.000 were designated “sinkers” However, it was determined that these “sinkers” provided a desirable effect under certain circumstances. For example, a number of sinkers at the bottom of a punch bowl created a desirable light effect within the contents of the punch bowl.

In this patent document, the word “comprising” is used in its non-limiting sense to mean that items following the word are included, but items not specifically mentioned are not excluded. A reference to an element by the indefinite article “a” does not exclude the possibility that more than one of the element is present, unless the context clearly requires that there be one and only one of the elements.

The following claims are to understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, and what can be obviously substituted. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that various adaptations and modifications of the described embodiments can be configured without departing from the scope of the claims. The illustrated embodiments have been set forth only as examples and should not be taken as limiting the invention. It is to be understood that, within the scope of the following claims, the invention may be practiced other than as specifically illustrated and described.

While illustrative embodiments have been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.