Title:
CONTAINER WITH INTEGRALLY-FORMED LEVELING MEMBER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A product container is configured with an integrally-formed means for facilitating the leveling of a product in a spoon or other measuring utensil as the spoon or measuring utensil is removed from the container. The product container permits the leveling means to be incorporated into a sidewall of the container or within the opening of the container. The product container provides the configuration of this type of structure while also allowing for unimpeded use of a sealing cover for use with the container to protect the container contents and to prevent inadvertent spillage of the container contents.



Inventors:
Miota, Nicholas J. (Elm Grove, WI, US)
Templeman, Joel E. (Waukesha, WI, US)
Application Number:
12/103752
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOSEPH S. HEINO, ESQ. (DAVIS & KUELTHAU, S.C. 111 E. KILBOURN SUITE 1400, MILWAUKEE, WI, 53202-6613, US)
Claims:
The details of the invention having been disclosed in accordance with the foregoing, we claim:

1. A product container comprising an integrally-formed means for leveling product held within the cup-like bowl of a measuring utensil as the measuring utensil is withdrawn from the container.

2. The product container of claim 1 wherein the product container comprises a container sidewall and wherein the leveling means is formed within the container sidewall.

3. The product container of claim 1 wherein the product container comprises a container opening and wherein the leveling means is formed within the container opening.

4. A product container comprising an integrally-formed member for leveling product held within the cup-like bowl of a measuring utensil as the measuring utensil is withdrawn from the container.

5. The product container of claim 4 wherein the product container comprises a container sidewall and wherein the leveling member is formed within the container sidewall.

6. The product container of claim 4 wherein the product container comprises a container opening and wherein the leveling member is formed within the container opening.

7. A product container having a sidewall that defines a container interior for holding a product within the container interior and an opening to the container interior for accessing the product held within the container interior, the container comprising an integrally-formed member for leveling product held within the cup-like bowl of a measuring utensil as the measuring utensil and the product contained within the utensil are withdrawn from the container.

8. The product container of claim 7 wherein the leveling member is formed within the container sidewall.

9. The product container of claim 8 wherein the leveling member comprises an upwardly-sloped surface that is integrally-formed within the container sidewall and a downwardly-sloped surface that is integrally-formed within the container sidewall, the upwardly-sloped surface and the downwardly-sloped surface terminating at a straight scrape edge, and each of the upwardly-sloped surface, the downwardly-sloped surface and the straight scrape edge extending or protruding into the container interior.

10. The product container of claim 8 wherein the leveling member comprises a straight scrape edge and wherein the cup-like bowl of a measuring utensil comprises a planar upper edge whereby excess product is removed as the upper edge is drawn across the straight scrape edge and the measuring utensil and the product contained within the utensil are withdrawn from the container.

11. The product container of claim 8 wherein the container is fabricated of a plastic material.

12. The product container of claim 8 wherein the container further comprises a cover securement means.

13. The product container of claim 7 wherein the leveling member is formed within the container opening.

14. The product container of claim 13 wherein the leveling member is formed as an inwardly-directed opening element that comprises a straight scrape edge at the container opening.

15. The product container of claim 13 wherein the cup-like bowl of a measuring utensil comprises a planar upper edge whereby excess product is removed as the upper edge is drawn across the straight scrape edge and the measuring utensil and the product contained within the utensil are withdrawn from the container.

16. The product container of claim 13 wherein the container is fabricated of a plastic material.

17. The product container of claim 13 wherein the container further comprises a cover securement means.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to containers that are used to hold or contain powdered or granular products. It also relates generally to leveling utensils, such as scoops, cups and spoons, of the type that are used to measure such products. More specifically, this invention relates to a product container that is configured with an integrally-formed leveling member.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Containers for holding powdered or granular products are well known in the art. The types of products that can be held by such containers are without limit. The types of containers used are equally varied in both size and shape and are fabricated from a wide variety of materials, including plastics. In order to keep the product within the container properly contained, such containers are most often provided with a cover and a means for sealing the cover to the container. In this fashion, the product within the container is protected from moisture, contamination, and the like, as well as inadvertent spillage of the product from the container when the container is tipped over from its normal upright position.

When removal of the product from the container is required, the cover is removed and the contents accessed by the consumer through an open mouth of the container, the mouth being most often disposed at or near the top of the container. Frequently, the consumer of the product must carefully measure and remove an incremental amount of the particular powdered or granular product from the container. This is typically accomplished by pouring an amount of the product into a measuring utensil, such as a scoop, a spoon, or measuring cup, for example, or by simply inserting the measuring utensil into the container and removing a quantity of the product with the utensil. When the consumer desires or is required to be somewhat precise in his or her measurement of the product, such as where the product is a staple food product that is to be added in a very specific quantity to other products in the preparation of a recipe, the consumer may also want to “level” the contents within the measuring utensil. In the case of a spoon, which is a utensil for measuring consisting of a small, shallow cup-like bowl with a handle, this is done by drawing a straight-edged object across the small, shallow cup-like bowl of the spoon to remove any excess product. To the extent that a scoop or other measuring utensil comprises the same type of cup-like bowl structure, the same action can be used.

The open mouth of most containers of the type mentioned above is round so as to functionally cooperate with a screw-on type of cover. Accordingly, the edge of such open mouth is arcuate or curved in shape. This arc-like or curved edge does not provide a suitable edge for leveling the product held within the utensil as described above, thus requiring the use of the separate straight-edged object to accomplish the precise measurement as previously mentioned.

In the view of this inventor, it would be desirable to provide a product container that would be configured with an integrally-formed means for facilitating the leveling of a product in a measuring utensil as the utensil, together with the product held within it, is removed from the container. It would also be desirable to provide such a product container that provides this type of structure while accommodating virtually any shape of container as well as any sort of sealing cover that would be used with the container. It would also be desirable to provide such a product container that can be used to hold any sort of powdered or granulated product as may be desired or required. Finally, it would be desirable to provide such a product container that can be fabricated by using conventional, high-volume and high-quality fabrication and production techniques, as well as being fabricated from a wide range of materials, including polymerization products or plastics, and most notably using blow-molded plastic production methods.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and useful product container that is configured with an integrally-formed means for facilitating the leveling of a product in a measuring utensil having a cup-like bowl as the cup-like bowl of the utensil, together with a quantity of product contained within the cup-like bowl, is removed or withdrawn from the container. It is another object of the present invention to provide such a product container that can be fabricated from a wide range of materials, including polymerization products or plastics, and in virtually any shape or size. It is still another object to provide such a product container that permits configuration of this type of structure while accommodating a sealing cover for the container. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide such a product container that can be used to hold any sort of powdered or granulated product as may be desired or required. It is still another object to provide such a product container that can be fabricated by using conventional, high-volume and high-quality fabrication and production techniques. It is yet another object to provide such a product container that can be made using plastic blow-molding technology.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The device of the present invention has obtained these objects. It provides for a product container that is configured with an integrally-formed means for facilitating the leveling of an amount of a product held within the cup-like bowl of a spoon or other measuring utensil as the spoon or utensil drawn from the container and removed. The product container of the present invention permits the leveling means to be incorporated into a sidewall of the container or, alternatively, within the opening of the container. The product container of the present invention also permits the configuration of this type of structure and allows for unimpeded use of a sealing cover for use with the container to protect the container contents and to prevent inadvertent spillage of the container contents. The product container of the present invention can also be used to hold any sort of powdered or granulated product as may be desired or required by the manufacturer or consumer. The product container is capable of fabrication by using conventional, high-volume and high-quality production techniques, and especially using conventional plastic blow-molding technology, and in virtually any shape or size as may be desired or required for any particular product or application.

The foregoing and other features of the container of the present invention will be apparent from the detailed description that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a first preferred embodiment of a container constructed in accordance with the present invention

FIG. 2 is a right side elevational view of the container shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectioned elevational view of the container similar to that shown in FIG. 2 and taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the container shown in FIGS. 1 through 3.

FIG. 5 is a top and side perspective view of the container shown in FIGS. 1 through 4.

FIG. 6 is a front, top and right side perspective view of a second preferred embodiment of a container constructed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a right side elevational view of the container shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a front elevational view of the container shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectioned elevational view of the container similar to that shown in FIG. 7 and taken along line 9-9 of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings in detail wherein like numbers represent like elements throughout, FIG. 1 illustrates a front elevational view of a first preferred embodiment of a container, generally identified 10, as it would be constructed in accordance with the present invention. FIGS. 2 through 5 illustrate alternative views of this container 10. As shown, the container 10 includes a cylindrically-shaped and continuous sidewall 12 and floor 14 that define a container interior 16. See FIG. 2. The container interior 16 is configured to hold a product 2 within the container 10. Although shown in a particular shape and proportion, it is to be understood that the container 10 that is constructed in accordance with the present invention is not limited to the particular configuration shown, such not being a limitation of the present invention. Similarly, size of the container 10 is not a limitation of the present invention either.

The product 2, of either a powdered or granulated nature, that is held within the container 10 is accessed by the consumer by means of the container opening 18. Here again, the particular type of product 2 and its physical form is not a limitation of the present invention. The container 10 of the present invention can be used with virtually any type of product that is held within such a container and that lends itself to precise measuring as desired or required by the consumer or user. The opening 18 is provided with means for securing a cover (not shown) to the container 10 at the peripheral edge 20 of the container opening 18. Such securement means may be comprised of a screw-on/screw-off lid, a snap-fitting lid, or any other type of like means, the particular type of securement means not being a limitation of the present invention.

At one point along the upper portion of the sidewall 12 of the container 10, an integrally-formed and inwardly-directed sidewall element 22 is illustrated. See FIGS. 1 and 3. This structure comprises an integrally-formed leveling means or member of the container 10 in accordance with the present invention. The inwardly-directed sidewall element 22 comprises an upwardly-sloped surface 24 and a downwardly-sloped surface 26, the upwardly-sloped surface 24 and the downwardly-sloped surface 26 terminating at a straight scrape edge 28. See FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, in particular. The downwardly-sloped surface 26 could also be a flat and substantially horizontal surface within the scope of the present invention. A downwardly-sloped surface 26 is preferred primarily to prevent product 2 from resting on the surface 26, which product 2 could fall back onto and into a utensil as will be apparent later in this detailed description. Similarly, the upwardly-sloped surface 24 could also be a flat and substantially horizontal surface within the scope of the present invention. An upwardly-sloped surface 24 is preferred primarily for purposes of fabrication. Each of the upwardly-sloped surface 24, the downwardly-sloped surface 26 and the scrape edge 28 extend or protrude into the interior 16 of the container 10. In application, the consumer uses this scrape edge 28 to level product 2 that is held within a cup-like bowl 8 of a spoon or other measuring utensil 4 as the substantially planar upper edge 6 of the cup-like bowl 8 of the spoon or other measuring utensil 4 is drawn across the scrape edge 28. As this is done, excess product 2 is spilled back into the other remaining contents of the container 10 and a level spoonful of the product 2 is removed from the container 10, thereby minimizing wastage of the product 2.

Referring now to FIG. 6, it illustrates a perspective view of a second preferred embodiment of a container, generally identified 30, as it would also be constructed in accordance with the present invention. FIGS. 7 through 9 illustrate other views of this container 30. As shown, the container 30 includes a generally square-shaped and continuous sidewall 32 and floor 34 that define a container interior 36. See FIG. 9. The container interior 36 is configured to hold a product 2 within the container 30 as well. Here again, the particular type of product 2 and its physical form is not a limitation of the present invention. Although shown in a particular proportion, it is again to be understood that the container 30 that is constructed in accordance with the present invention is not limited to the particular configuration or proportions shown, neither being a limitation of the present invention. Similarly, size of the container 30 is not a limitation of the present invention as well.

The product 2 within the container 30 is accessed by the consumer by means of the container opening 38. See FIG. 6. The opening 38 is provided with means for rotatably securing a cover (not shown) to the container 30 at the peripheral edge 40 of the container opening 38. Again, the particular type of securement means is not a limitation of this invention.

At one point along the container opening 38 of the container 30, an integrally-formed and inwardly-directed opening element 42 is illustrated. Again, see FIG. 6. The inwardly-directed opening element 42 comprises a straight scrape edge 48 at the opening 38. In application, the consumer uses this scrape edge 48 to level product 2 that is held within the cup-like bowl 8 of a spoon or other measuring utensil 4 as the upper edge 6 of the cup-like bowl 8 of the spoon or other measuring utensil 4 is drawn across the scrape edge 48. As this is done, the excess product 2 is spilled back into the other remaining contents of the container 30 thereby minimizing wastage of the product 2 as well. While the scrape edge 48 can be viewed as a straight line that is projected between two points along the opening 38 of the container 30, it is to be understood that these two points could lie at virtually any points along the opening 38 and still come within the scope of the present invention as long that the remaining portion of the opening 38 provides the user with adequate clearance to insert and withdrawn the cup-like bowl 8 of a spoon or other measuring utensil 4, together with product 2.

It is to be understood that either container 10, 30 as described above could be configured in either the cylindrically-shaped or the square-shaped format as shown, or in any other unique exterior profile. That is, either container 10, 30 could be configured in some other format without deviating from the scope of the present invention. Furthermore, either container 10, 30 could include an integrally formed sidewall member 22 or a member 42 that is disposed at the opening of the respective container, also without deviating from the scope of the present invention.

It is also to be understood that either container 10, 30 as described above, or any similar container that incorporates the novel features in accordance with the teachings of this invention can be fabricated using conventional plastic material and plastic blow-molding fabrication techniques. The precise method of fabrication is not a limitation of the present invention. Further, the precise type of polymerization product or plastic material used, its performance characteristics and its other fabrication expediencies, including the addition of other substances to improve performance, enhance appearance and/or reduce cost, among other are in no way limiting of the present invention.

Based upon the foregoing, it will be seen that there has been provided a new and useful product container that is configured with an integrally-formed means for facilitating the leveling of a product held within a spoon or other measuring utensil as the spoon or measuring utensil is drawn and removed from the container. This product container permits the configuration of this type of structure and also accommodates a sealing cover for use with the container to protect the container contents and to prevent inadvertent spillage of the container contents. This novel product container can also be used to hold any sort of powdered or granulated product as may be desired or required by the manufacturer or by the consumer. The product container of the present invention is further capable of being fabricated by using conventional, high-volume and high-quality production techniques, and especially using conventional plastic blow-molding technology.