Title:
Combination cup and tray for automotive cup holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tray apparatus for simultaneously holding food and beverage items while held in an automotive cup holder is disclosed. The apparatus has a left side tray, a right side tray and a container section. The container section is configured to firmly hold a beverage cup while also fitting firmly inside the cup holders commonly used inside cars, trucks or any other moving vehicle such as boats, planes, and heavy moving equipment.



Inventors:
Hudson, James K. (Dallas, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/795256
Publication Date:
10/25/2001
Filing Date:
02/26/2001
Assignee:
HUDSON JAMES K.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/23.87, 220/574, 220/575
International Classes:
A47G23/02; B60N3/00; B60N3/10; (IPC1-7): A47G19/06; A47G23/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LUONG, SHIAN TINH NHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUDOLF O. SIEGESMUND (DALLAS, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A tray apparatus comprising: a left tray having a left recessed cavity; a right tray having a right recessed cavity; a container section having a top, a bottom and a recessed cavity adapted for receiving a beverage cup; wherein said left tray, said right tray and said container section are of unitary construction; wherein said left tray extends outwardly from said container section at approximately right angles; and wherein said right tray extends outwardly from said container section at approximately right angles.

2. The tray apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a left first node and a right first node affixed to said outer surface of said container section and to said left tray bottom and to said right tray bottom.

3. The tray apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a second node affixed to an inner surface of said container section.

Description:

[0001] This application claims priority from Provisional Application 60/186179 filed Mar. 1, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The proliferation of drive-in fast food outlets results in many people purchasing food at a drive-thru and then driving without having a place to put the food and beverages they just purchased. Moreover, the driver may have to look away from the road while trying to retrieve his or her food. The present invention is directed to a specialty tray to alleviate the problems described as well as to provide other unique features. Thus, it is an object of present invention to provide a tray for receiving both food and a beverage vessel in a non-top heavy fashion. It is also an object of the present invention to provide a tray that is left hand or right hand reversible and that is balanced regardless of orientation. It is also an object to create a disposable product.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] A tray apparatus for simultaneously holding food and beverage items while held in an automotive cup holder is disclosed. The apparatus has a left side tray, a right side tray and a container section. The container section is configured to firmly hold a beverage cup while also fitting firmly inside the cup holders commonly used inside cars, trucks or any other moving vehicle such as boats, planes, and heavy moving equipment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] For a better understanding of this invention, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0005] FIG. 1 shows a front perspective view of a the tray apparatus;

[0006] FIG. 2 is a top view thereof;

[0007] FIG. 3 is a front view thereof, the opposite side being a mirror image thereof,

[0008] FIG. 4 is a right top perspective view of a first alternate tray apparatus;

[0009] FIG. 5 is a bottom perspective view of a second alternate tray apparatus; and

[0010] FIG. 6 is a top front perspective view of a third alternate tray apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0011] Referring FIG. 1 through FIG. 3, tray apparatus 100 is shown for simultaneously holding food (not shown) and a beverage vessel (not shown). Tray apparatus 100 is formed of unitary construction and has left side tray 40, right side tray 50 and container section 30. Left side tray 40 extends outwardly from container section 30 at an approximate ninety degree angle. Right side tray 50 extends outwardly from container section 30 at an approximate ninety degree angle. Container section 30 has top 18, bottom 36, inside surface 32, outside surface 31 and cut out section 34. Left side tray 40 has left side tray top surface 17 and inner wall 20 that form a recessed cavity for receiving food. Right side tray 50 has right side tray top surface 15 and right side tray inner wall 22 that form a recessed cavity for receiving food. Right side tray 50 has right side edge 12. Tray apparatus has front edge 14 and rear edge 16. Container section 30 is adapted to receive a beverage vessel, such as a cup, glass or mug, and is typically about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The exact diameter of container section 4 may be in a range of diameters sufficient to receive typical vessel diameters, such as a tapered cup diameter at a point midway up the height of the tapered cup. Container section 30 is generally circular or conical in shape. Cut out section 34 has an opening for receiving a beverage vessel (not shown). Container section 30 is positioned between left side tray 40 and right side tray 50. Left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 may be generally square or, alternatively may be circular in shape. Left side tray inner wall 20 and right side tray inner wall 22 have an optional tapered recess that approximates the taper of an article of food so that an edge of an article of food (not shown) will rest on the optional tapered recess during turning movements of the vehicle. The width of left side tray 40 and the width of right side tray 50 may be from about 3 inches to about 8 inches. The length of left side tray 40 and the length of right side tray 50 may be from about 3 inches to about 8 inches. In the preferred embodiment, left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 have a length and a width of about 5 inches so that a typical fast food item would fit into either left side tray 40 or right side tray 50.

[0012] In the preferred embodiment, inner surface 32 of container section 30 is generally circular; however, inner surface 32 may be configured in a plurality of evenly angled straight edges, such as an octagon. Tray apparatus 100 may be made of a rigid material such as china, fine china, thermo-set plastic, heat-resistant glass, glass, thermoplastic, blown plastic, styrofoam, polystyrene, cardboard, plastic-coated cardboard, metal, stainless steel, silverware, aluminum, or any other material used for tableware or disposable products.

[0013] Bottom 36 of container section 30 provides a base for tray apparatus 100. During use, container section 30 is placed firmly inside of a cup holder (not shown) commonly used inside cars, trucks, and/or any other moving vehicle including boats, planes, and heavy equipment. Tray apparatus 100 has left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 extending outward from container section 30. An extended horizontal surface is provided by left side tray upper surface 17 on which to place food to the left of container section 30. Right tray upper surface 15 provides an extended horizontal surface on which to place food to the right of container section 30. Because left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 mirror each other, tray apparatus 100 is reversible from left to right and right to left.

[0014] FIG. 4 shows a top perspective view of first alternate tray 200 showing first alternate right side tray 60. First alternate tray 200 has first alternate inner wall 62 having a generally oval shape and curvilinear structure at the end. First alternate inner wall 62 is tapered and has flat rim 65.

[0015] FIG. 5 shows second alternate tray apparatus 300. Second alternate tray apparatus 300 has right first optional node 72, left first optional node 74, and second optional node 80. Right first optional node 72 and left first optional node 74 are located on opposite sides of container section 30 of second alternate tray apparatus 300. Right first optional node 72 supports right side tray 50 and is connected to right side tray bottom 28 and to container outer surface 31. Left first optional node 74 supports left side tray 40 and is connected to left side tray bottom 27 and to container section outer surface 31. Second optional node 80 projects from inner surface 32 of container section 30 to aid in separation of the beverage vessel from container section 30.

[0016] FIG. 6 shows third alternate tray apparatus 400. Third alternate tray apparatus 400 has lip 80 and second lip 82 affixed to the container section 30 so that one or more napkins may be held by lip 80 and second lip 82.

[0017] Numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. For example, a further alternative embodiment of tray apparatus 100 may lower the two food depressions in left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 to a point below the top of container section 30, thereby making the two food depressions closer to the bottom of the cylindrical flat bottomed container depression formed by container section 30, and making the cylindrical flat bottomed container depression formed by container section 30 extend above the rim of the food depressions, providing increased stability for a cup or beverage vessel. Another alternative embodiment of tray apparatus 100 has left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 detachable. A further alternate embodiment of tray apparatus 100 has left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 moveable so that they may be folded up or down. Another alternate embodiment of tray apparatus 100 has left side tray 40 and right side tray 50 moveable so that they may be folded sideways. A final alternative embodiment of tray apparatus 100 has one food tray (either left side tray 40 or right side tray 50) attached to container section 30 and held in place by the firm fit of container section 30 inside the cup holders commonly used inside cars, trucks, and/or any other moving vehicle including boats, planes, and heavy moving equipment.