Title:
Ice cream cone holding device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An ice cream cone holder includes a surface plate and fixes to the upper edge of a cup. The surface plate has a center section that holds an ice cream cone, an outer perimeter to secure the holder to the cup and openings within the surface plate to allow melted ice cream to flow to the bottom of the cup.



Inventors:
Pratt, Laura Vivian (Hopewell, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/974888
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Laura Vivian Pratt (7 Columbia Avenue, Hopewell, NJ, 08525-2002, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An ice cream cone holder, comprising: a surface plate fixable to the upper edge of a cup, the surface plate comprising: a center section formed to receive and support an ice cream cone therein; an outer perimeter capable of mating with the upper edge of a cup effective for securing the surface plate to the upper edge of a cup; and, at least one vent formed between the center section and outer perimeter of the surface plate for communicating the flow of melting ice cream, when the ice cream is positioned within the ice cream cone in the center section, to the bottom of the cup.

2. The holder of claim 1, wherein the surface plate center section forms a substantially circular opening.

3. The holder of claim 1, wherein the holder comprises a plastic composition.

4. The holder of claim 1, wherein the center section is raised above the horizontal level of the edge of the outer perimeter of the surface plate edges.

5. The holder of claim 4, wherein the center section is fixed at substantially the horizontal level of the edge of the outer perimeter of the surface plate.

6. The holder of claim 1, wherein the inner edges of the center section are formed downward to provide a smooth abutting edge to contact an ice cream cone.

7. The holder of claim 1, wherein the outer edges of the center section are formed downward to provide directional movement to melting ice cream to the bottom of the cup.

8. The holder of claim 1, wherein center section contains a detaching line effective to manually remove one or more sections of the surface plate to form the center section, one or more vents or combinations thereof.

9. The holder of claim 1, wherein the center section forms a substantially circular opening.

10. The holder of claim 9, wherein the substantially circular opening has a diameter of from about ¾ inches to about 1½ inches.

11. The holder of claim 1, wherein the holder forms raised edges along the circumference of the surface plate.

12. The holder of claim 1, wherein the surface plate has from about twenty percent to about eighty percent of non-vented area within the surface plate.

13. The holder of claim 1, wherein the at least one vent is positioned at a level below the edges of the center section.

14. The holder of claim 1, wherein the edges of the vents are sloped downward to provide directional movement to melting ice cream to the bottom of the cup.

15. The holder of claim 1, wherein the outer perimeter includes a cup lip seal effective for securing the surface plate onto the cup.

16. The holder of claim 1, wherein the surface plate affixes to a cup have a standard cup size selected from the group consisting of 12 oz, 16 oz and 24 oz.

17. An ice cream cone holding device, comprising: a surface plate fixable to the upper edge of a cup, the surface plate comprising a center section formed to receive and support an ice cream cone, an outer perimeter capable of mating with the upper edge of a cup for securing the surface plate to the upper edge of a cup, and at least one vent between the center section and outer perimeter of the surface plate for conducting the flow of melting ice cream; and, the cup, attached thereto, thereunder.

18. A method for retaining ice cream spillage, comprising the steps of: providing ice cream cone holder comprising a surface plate fixable to the upper edge of a cup, the surface plate comprising a center section formed to receive and support an ice cream cone therein, an outer perimeter capable of mating with the upper edge of a cup for securing the surface plate to the upper edge of a cup and at least one opening formed between the center section and outer perimeter of the surface plate effective for communicating the flow of melting ice cream, when the ice cream is positioned within the ice cream cone in the center section, to the bottom of the cup; fixing the holder onto a cup; and, placing an ice cream cone containing ice cream into the center section of the holder.

19. A retained ice cream spill product by the method of claim 18, further comprising the step of a person retaining the ice cream cone in the device while eating the ice cream for an amount of time permitting the ice cream to melt and fall within the bottom section of the cup.

20. The product of claim 19, wherein the person eating the ice cream is located within a vehicle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a device useful in holding ice cream cones. More particularly, the device of the present invention includes a removable lid fitted to a cup, with the lid formed to hold an ice cream containing cone. Most particularly, the cup lid supports the filled ice cream cone at the top of the cup while permitting spillage from the melting ice cream to become contained at the bottom of the cup.

2. Description of the Related Art

Melting ice cream can be problematic for individuals eating an ice cream cone, particularly when driving, or riding in, a car or other vehicle. Ice cream spillage from an ice cream cone is a common problem. This spillage problem becomes acute when the person eating ice cream is transporting the filled ice cream cone in a moving vehicle which may create a driving hazard.

There is a need in the art to provide a reliable and convenient device for minimizing the spillage of melting ice cream from a cone. The present invention addresses this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes an ice cream cone holder having a surface plate fixable to the upper edge of a cup, the surface plate has a center section formed to receive and support an ice cream cone and at least one vent between the center section and outer perimeter of the surface plate effective for conducting the flow of melting ice cream, when the ice cream is positioned within the ice cream cone in the center section, to the bottom of the cup.

The present invention also includes a device as described above supported by a cup thereunder.

Additionally, the present invention includes a method for retraining ice cream spillage from an ice cream cone having the steps of providing the above-described holder, placing the device onto a cup and placing an ice cream cone containing ice cream into the center section of the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates the ice cream holder of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a second embodiment of the ice cream holder of the present invention; and,

FIG. 3 illustrates a third embodiment of the ice cream holder of the present invention useful in combination with a coffee lid.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention includes a novel ice cream cone holder. This holder is useful in containing and retaining the spillage resulting from melting ice cream in the ice cream cone. The holder fits onto the top of a cup, and with placement of an ice cream cone therein, spillage from the ice cream cone falls into the supporting cup.

As seen in FIGS. 1-3, the ice cream cone holding device 10 of the present invention includes an ice cream holder 20 supported on a cup 50. Composition of the holder 20 and cup 50 may include any appropriate materials sufficiently resilient to support an ice cream cone 102 filled with ice cream 110, together 100. Preferred materials include plastic and/or cardboard materials, such as those materials commonly used in disposable coffee cups, e.g., polystyrene plastics, or coffee cup lids e.g., plastic. A plastic composition for the ice cream holder 20 is preferred. Typically, the holder 20 may be made in a manner similar to coffee cup lids by processing a thin, initially flat, planar sheet of thermoplastics material, such as through a vacuum forming or pressing process, whereby the material is raised to a temperature at which it is readily plastically deformable. The process displaces parts of the sheet material outside of the original plane of the sheet material. After deformation, the plastics material is cut away as a finished product. In one alternative embodiment, however, the holder 20 may be composed of a more permanent composition, e.g., ceramic, metal, or other durable materials useful in the products for food/drink containment or consumption.

The holder 20 includes a surface plate 22 forming an opening or center section 24 for placement of the ice cream cone 102 therein. The surface plate 22 is formed to receive and support the ice cream cone 100, such that the surface plate 22 preferably holds the ice cream cone 102 in a substantially vertical orientation in transit. The surface plate center section 24 is generally configured for use with a given ice cream cone 102 that generally includes a sufficient diameter to permit one or more sizes of ice cream cones 102 to be inserted therein. Preferably the ice cream cone 102 is inserted into the center section 24 with the center of gravity of the ice cream cone 102 effectively below the vertical level of the surface plate 22 allowing the ice cream cone 102 to be stable in the holder 20 while the ice cream holding device 10 is moved. Representative dimensions of the substantially circular opening include diameters of from about ½ inch or more, preferably ¾ inches to about 1½ inches, and most preferably a diameter of about 1 inch, and other like diameters for insertion of the ice cream cone 102. Oval diameters for waffle ice cream cones and the like may also be used, with appropriate diameters thereof. The inner edges of the center section 22 are preferably formed as smooth surfaces for contacting the inserted ice cream cone 102, preferably having a sloping, or downward orientated, surface to provide a smooth abutting edge to contact the ice cream cone 102.

As seen in FIG. 3, the center section 24 may be formed with a detaching line within the surface plate 22 effective to manually tear and remove material from the surface plate 22 and form the center section 24. As such, the holder 20 may have a multiple uses, which preferably include alternative uses as a coffee cup lid, e.g., a lid with a coffee sip spout 70 and air hole 72, and ice cream cone 102 holder within a single holder 20. In one preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the surface plate 22 is contoured to elevate the supported ice cream cone 102 at a higher level than the plane of the surface plate 22. In another preferred embodiment, the surface plate 22 is contoured to lower the supported ice cream cone 102 below the edges 22E of the surface plate 22. In one preferred embodiment, the holder 20 includes a circular center section 24 for receiving a sugar cone with a large detaching line outside of the center section 24 for detaching and inserting a larger oval waffle cone. Although not preferred, the formed center section 24 may include a solid extension, such as forming a plastic cone shape below the opening, to support the ice cream cone 100/102.

Generally, the edges 22E of the holder 20 include elevated circumferential ridges along the periphery of the surface plate 22 to contain an spillage of ice cream 110 on top of the surface plate 22. This edge 22E may possess a constant height above the surface plate 22 or, as detailed and shown in FIG. 3, may include variations in height, such as lower sections 32 to permit easier access to the ice cream cone 100 with an individual's fingers.

In addition to forming the center section 24, the surface plate 22 forms at least one vent or opening 26, preferably multiple vents 26 within the surface plate 22 in areas between the center section 24 and the outer perimeter of the surface plate 22, provided that the surface plate 22 retains its structural integrity to support the filled ice cream cone 100 within the center section 24. The vent 26 area includes any appropriate amount of material, such as from about twenty percent to about eighty percent of the area within the surface plate 22, to remain resilient enough to support the filled ice cream cone 100 in the center section 24. The formed vents 26 preferably surround the center section 24 intermittently. The vents 26 are preferably placed within a contoured lower level within the surface plate 22. Preferably, the edges of the vents 26 are formed in a downwardly sloping configuration to provide directional movement to melting ice cream to the bottom 52 of the cup 50. Additional ridges and/or deformations may be used within the surface plate 22 to provide directional movement to melting ice cream towards, and into, one or more vents 26 that passes the melted ice cream to the bottom of the cup 50. The vents 26 are preferably physically separate from the center section 24, but may be contiguous to the center section 24. Operationally, these vents 26 allow the flow of melted ice cream 110 from the top of the surface plate 22 to the bottom of the cup 50. With ice cream 110 positioned within the ice cream cone 102 that is retained in the center section 24, as the ice cream 110 melts, it flows to the top of the surface plate 22. As the melted ice cream reaches the top of the surface plate 22, it continues to flow through the vents 26 and into the cup 50.

The holder 20 preferably includes a surface plate 22 with an outer edge 30 that affixes or mates with the lip or outer edge of the supporting cup 50. Preferably this secures the holder 20 to the cup 50, fixing the holder 20 onto the cup 50 in a manner that prohibits the holder 20 from jarring loose without significant hand manipulation of the holder 20 and cup 50. Preferably the holder 20 22 affixes to the cup 50 having a standard cup size, e.g., coffee or soft drink paper or plastic cup sizes of 9 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz, 24 oz, and the like. In one embodiment, the holder 20 may include a cover that fits over the top of the holder 20, and supported ice cream cone 100, to protect the ice cream 110 during transit. The cover is generally-configured to lock around the outside of the edges 22E of the holder 20.

The cup 50 provides a base to support the holder 20 and filled ice cream cone 100 therein. Generally, once the holder 20 is placed onto and secured to the cup 50, the ice cream filled ice cream cone 100 is then inserted into the center section 24 of the holder 20. As the ice cream 110 melts, the resulting spill is minimized as the melted ice cream 110 falls through the openings 26 to the bottom section 52 of the cup 50 and retained within this confined location. This reduces the spillage, particularly for occupants/drivers of automobiles, motor boat operators, pedestrians, etc. Once the ice cream 110 and cone 102 are eaten, the surface plate 22 and supporting cup 50 are preferably discarded.

The present invention allows a person to eat an ice cream cone 100 while being engaged in some other activity, such as driving, reading, walking, etc. As such, melting ice cream 110 from the cone 100 does not provide a distracting occurrence for the person consuming the ice cream and cone while engaged in other preoccupying endeavors. When consuming the ice cream 110, a person may remove the ice cream cone 100 from the ice cream holding device 10 or retain the ice cream cone 100 in the ice cream holding device 10 while picking up the cup 50 to eat the ice cream 110.

The foregoing summary, description, examples and drawings of the invention are not intended to be limiting, but are only exemplary of the inventive features which are defined in the claims.





 
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