Title:
Symmetrically stackable bottle with vertical reinforcing aperture spanned by handle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stackable bottle is fully penetrated from a first side to an opposing side by an aperture, which is spanned by a handle. The bottle is balanced about this handle, making it easy to lift, carry, pour, or mount atop a water dispenser. Mutually engaging stacking contours, comprising raised and recessed regions, are incorporated into these two sides, so that the bottles may be conveniently stacked one atop the next. The pattern of stacking contours is inversely symmetrical about a longitudinal axis, so one or more bottles of a stack may be turned upside down without affecting stackability. The bottle looks the same whether upside-down or right-side-up; there is no difference between the top and bottom. The pattern of stacking contours is also inversely symmetrical about a latitudinal axis, so that one or more bottles of a stack may be rotated 180 degrees about a vertical axis without affecting stackability. The bottles feature a filling neck with closure means at one end, and an integrally molded standing base at the opposite end from said filling neck, so the bottle may be stood thereupon in an open state without spillage. The walls of the apertures become vertically aligned in a stack, enhancing stacking strength. These aperture walls, by their interconnection with each other, and with the first side and the opposing side, also add shear strength and structural integrity to the container. Bursting strength is also enhanced by the inclusion of this aperture, since the average effective structural circumference is reduced.



Inventors:
Selsam, Douglas Spriggs (Fullerton, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/045489
Publication Date:
06/20/2002
Filing Date:
11/06/2001
Assignee:
SELSAM DOUGLAS SPRIGGS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B21/06; A63B21/072; A63B23/04; B29C49/04; (IPC1-7): A63B21/06
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CASTELLANO, STEPHEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DOUGLAS SPRIGGS SELSAM (FULLERTON, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A stackable bottle, fully penetrated from a first side to an opposing side, by a walled aperture, said aperture being spanned by a handle, said bottle having mutually engaging stacking contours on said first side and said opposing side, wherein; Said contours are inversely symmetrical about a longitudinal axis so that any bottle of a stack may be flipped upside-down without affecting stackability.

2. The stackable bottle in claim 1, wherein; said contours are additionally inversely symmetrical about a latitudinal axis, when viewed from above, so that any bottle of a stack may be rotated 180 degrees about a vertical axis without affecting stackability.

3. The stackable bottle in claim 1 wherein said stacking contours comprise relatively raised regions and relatively recessed regions.

4. The stackable bottle in claim 2 wherein said stacking contours comprise relatively raised regions and relatively recessed regions.

5. The stackable bottle in claim 1 wherein said stacking contours comprise a substantially radial pattern of relatively raised regions and relatively recessed regions.

6. The stackable bottle in claim 2 wherein said stacking contours comprise a substantially radial pattern of relatively raised regions and relatively recessed regions.

7. The stackable bottle in claim 3 wherein said relatively raised regions comprise bumps and said relatively recessed regions comprise dimples.

8. The stackable bottle in claim 4 wherein said relatively raised regions comprise bumps and said relatively recessed regions comprise dimples.

9. The stackable bottle in claim 7 wherein said bumps and said dimples are substantially elongate.

10. The stackable bottle in claim 8 wherein said bumps and said dimples are substantially elongate.

11. The stackable bottle in claim 1, further comprising a filling neck at one end of said bottle.

12. The stackable bottle in claim 2, further comprising a filling neck at one end of said bottle.

13. The stackable bottle of claim 1, further comprising: two inner parting lines that circuit the midsection of said aperture, and run along the sides of the handle; an outer parting line that circuits the exterior of the bottle at its widest point, when viewed from above; whereby said bottle may be produced from a two-piece mold.

14. The stackable bottle of claim 2, further comprising: two inner parting lines that circuit the midsection of said aperture, and run along the sides of the handle; an outer parting line that circuits the exterior of the bottle at its widest point, when viewed from above; whereby said bottle may be produced from a two-piece mold.

15. The stackable bottle of claim 13, wherein said outer parting line begins and ends at said filling neck.

16. The stackable bottle of claim 14, wherein said outer parting line begins and ends at said filling neck.

17. The stackable bottle of claim 11, further comprising a standing base opposite said filling neck.

18. The stackable bottle of claim 12, further comprising a standing base opposite said filling neck.

19. The stackable bottle of claim 1, further comprising a standing base at one end.

20. The stackable bottle of claim 2, further comprising a standing base at one end.

21. The stackable bottle of claim 1, wherein said stacking contours on said first side and said opposing side are substantially identical, so that the bottle looks substantially the same right-side-up as upside-down.

22. The stackable bottle of claim 2, wherein said stacking contours on said first side and said opposing side are substantially identical, so that the bottle looks substantially the same right-side-up as upside-down.

23. The stackable bottle in claim 3 wherein said relatively raised regions of said stacking contours comprise a pattern that provides sufficient support area, sufficiently distributed, forming a sufficient footprint, that the bottle may be supported solely thereupon in a stable manner when the bottle is laying upon a substantially flat surface in the stacking position.

24. The stackable bottle in claim 4 wherein said relatively raised regions of said stacking contours comprise a pattern that provides sufficient support area, sufficiently distributed, forming a sufficient footprint, that the bottle may be supported solely thereupon in a stable manner when the bottle is laying upon a substantially flat surface in the stacking position.

Description:

[0001] This patent application is a continuation in part of U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,364, issue date Nov. 6, 2001; U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/952,371, filing date Sep. 11 2001; and PCT Application No. PCT/US 01/42555, filing date Oct. 9, 2001.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Field of Invention

[0003] This invention is in the field of stackable bottles and jugs, and handhold containers for liquids.

[0004] 2. Prior Art

[0005] In U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,364 I disclose a stackable jug with a fully recessed handle, spanning a fully penetrating vertical central aperture. That invention represents the only known example of a stackable jug, having a fully recessed handle, that can be produced from a simple two-piece mold, with no extra steps in manufacturing. It is ideal for being blow-molded, and for use with bottled water dispensers. The container is fully penetrated from a first side to an opposing side by a walled aperture. It has mutually interlocking contours on these two opposing sides, allowing the container to be stacked with others of its kind. Being so stacked, the walled apertures of the containers are aligned in a substantially vertical direction, adding to the stacking strength of the containers: These vertically aligned inner walls contribute vertical compression strength. They also contribute shear strength, by their interconnection both with each other, and with the exterior sides onto which the aperture opens. In addition, by reducing the average effective structural circumference of the container, the fully penetrating aperture also enhances the bursting strength of the container. A stacked jug as delineated in that invention could be rotated 180 degrees about a vertical axis, and then still properly fit in the stack, although such was not specifically delineated in that patent. The particular lip-and-groove stacking contours of the top and bottom surfaces, used as an example in that patent, were mutually interlocking, but different, so that in the examples shown, there was a preferred “top” and “bottom” for stacking purposes. While any interlocking top and bottom surfaces, including identical interlocking top and bottom surfaces, are within the scope and claims of that patent, such identical top and bottom surfaces were not specifically delineated therein. Such identical contours would eliminate the sense of a top and bottom for stacking purposes, making the container the same whether right-side-up or upside-down, and allow the containers to be stacked without checking to be sure they are properly oriented.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention reveals identical top and bottom stacking contours for such a stackable bottle as originally disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,364. The idea is that a pattern is chosen for the interlocking contours of each surface that is an inverse mirror image of itself, from left to right, so that even a bottle that is flipped upside down will still stack atop one that is right-side-up, and vice versa. The advantage is that there is no top or bottom for stacking purposes, and the bottle looks the same when flipped 180 degrees upside-down, This means that the bottle is effectively the same whether right-side-up or upside-down, in other words, there is no difference between the top and bottom surfaces. If a pattern of stacking contours is chosen that is an inverse mirror image of itself from front to back as well, that retains the advantage of the previous invention, that the bottles also remain stackable when rotated 180 degrees about a vertical axis, meaning that the spouts of some bottles could project in the opposite direction from others, in the same stack. It is also important that any such pattern of stacking contours provide a sufficient footprint to support a stack of such containers in a stable manner when laying on a flat surface in a stacking orientation. Two examples of such patterns are given.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a top view of a bottle of the first embodiment, showing the inverse symmetry of the stacking contours, about both longitudinal and latitudinal axes.

[0008] FIG. 2 is an oblique side view of a bottle of the first embodiment, showing the top and bottom stacking contours and the substantially vertical walls of the aperture.

[0009] FIG. 3 is an oblique view from above of a bottle of the first embodiment, showing the stacking contours, the aperture and its substantially vertical walls, the handle spanning the midsection of the aperture at its narrowest part, and inner and outer parting lines.

[0010] FIG. 4 shows two stacks of bottles of the first embodiment, with another such bottle being flipped over above the stacks, from one stack to the other, showing that the bottles stack equally well when one is turned upside-down—and that the top arm bottom surfaces, while mutually interlocking, are also identical.

[0011] FIG. 5 shows two bottles of the first embodiment, stacked one atop the other, with the top bottle rotated 180 degrees about a vertical axis from the bottom one, showing that the bottles still stack even when turned around backwards.

[0012] FIG. 6 shows a bottle of the first embodiment mounted atop a water dispenser, with two stacks of bottles beside it, and another bottle standing upright on its standing base, with the filling neck pointed skyward.

[0013] FIG. 7 shows an oblique side view of the bottle of the second embodiment, illustrating the elongate bumps and dimples of this pattern of interlocking stacking contours, which has similar inverse mirror symmetry characteristics, from right to left, and from front to rear, to that of the first embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 8 Shows a stack of four bottles of the second embodiment, with another bottle floating at an oblique angle above the stack, and yet another bottle mounted atop a water dispenser.

LIST OF REFERENCE NUMBERS IN DRAWING FIGURES

[0015] 4. inner parting line (circuits narrowest midsection of aperture, runs alongside handle)

[0016] 5. outer parting line (circuits exterior of bottle at widest point as viewed from above)

[0017] 32. filling nozzle (could comprise any neck, mouth, or opening, may be threaded)

[0018] 34. closure means, such as a cap

[0019] 40. top surface of bottle (when laying in stacking position)

[0020] 42. aperture (vertically penetrates bottle when bottle is laying in stacking position)

[0021] 43. wall of aperture (substantially vertical when bottle is laying in stacking position)

[0022] 44. narrowest midsection of aperture (where handle and inner parting line are located)

[0023] 46. bottom surface of bottle (when laying in stacking position)

[0024] 50. handle (spans narrowest midsection of aperture)

[0025] 71. relatively raised region (part of pattern of interlocking stackable contours)

[0026] 73. pattern of interlocking stackable contours

[0027] 77. relatively recessed region (part of pattern of interlocking stackable contours)

[0028] 78. standing base (opposite filling nozzle)

[0029] 92. longitudinal axis (aligned with handle and filling nozzle)

[0030] 93. latitudinal axis (perpendicular to longitudinal axis)

[0031] 99. conventional water cooler or dispenser

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0032] 1. First Embodiment:

[0033] FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 The stackable bottle is fully penetrated by a walled aperture 42, from a top side 40 to a bottom side 46. The words top and bottom here refer to the bottle laying in its stacking position. The aperture 42 is spanned at its narrowest midsection 44 by a hollow handle 50, about which the container is substantially balanced, making it easier to carry, pour, mount atop a water dispenser, and manipulate in general. Two inner parting lines 4 each form a closed loop, circuiting this rmidsection, and running along the sides of the handle. An outer parting line 5 circuits the exterior surface of the bottle at its widest point when viewed from above, beginning and ending at the filling nozzle. Due to the fully penetrating aperture, the location of these parting lines, the location of the handle, and proper draft angles, this stackable container with fully recessed handle can be produced from a two-piece mold, unlike other stackable bottles with recessed handles. The inner walls 43 of the aperture are aligned in a substantially vertical direction, thereby adding to stacking strength. Their interconnection with each other, and with the top and bottom surfaces, also adds shear strength, to prevent a rolling type of deformation. Inclusion of the aperture also lowers the average effective radius of the container, enhancing bursting strength. The handle, spanning the aperture, serves to even further structurally interconnect the various regions of the bottle, further adding to overall structural integrity. A filling nozzle 32 with closure means 34, in this case a simple cap, projects from one end, and a standing base 78, upon which the bottle may be stood in an open state without spillage, is molded into the opposite end. The top surface 40, and the bottom surface 46, each have an identical pattern of interlocking stacking contours 73, comprising relatively raised regions 71, and relatively recessed regions 77, (roughly analogous to the raised lip 41, and indented groove 47 of U.S. Pat. No. 6,312,364). This pattern of contours 73 is inversely symmetrical about a longitudinal axis 92, (FIG. 1) so that the bottle may be flipped 180 degrees about its longitudinal axis (turned upside down) with no difference in stacking qualities. (FIG. 4) In other words, the bottle looks the same when turned upside down as when right side up. The type of pattern chosen is also inversely symmetrical about a latitudinal axis 93, (FIG. 1) so that the bottle may also be rotated 180 about a vertical axis, (FIG. 5) without affecting overall stackability. This perfectly balanced bottle, then, may be flipped 180 degrees about either a horizontal or a vertical axis, and the convenience of easy stackability is maintained. It is also ideal for being mounted atop a conventional drinking water cooler or dispenser 99. (FIG. 6) Being perfectly balanced about the centrally located handle, this stackable bottle is easy to carry, lift, pour, or mount upon a dispenser, with torques about the user's hand being minimized due to this balanced configuration. The relatively raised regions 71 of the pattern of stacking contours 73 comprise a pattern that provides sufficient support area, sufficiently distributed, forming a sufficient footprint, that the bottle may be supported solely thereupon in a stable manner when laying upon a substantially flat surface in the stacking position. This stackable shape may be easily produced by the technique of blowmolding, from a two-piece mold, requiring no extra manufacturing steps.

[0034] 2. Second Embodiment:

[0035] (FIG. 7) The second embodiment is similar to the first, having a pattern of stacking contours 73 that is inversely symmetrical about a longitudinal axis and inversely symmetrical about a latitudinal axis, so that the container can still be stacked one atop the next even when flipped upside-down, or when rotated 180 degrees about a vertical axis. In this embodiment the relatively raised regions 71 are elongate bumps, and the relatively recessed regions 77 are corresponding elongate dimples, or grooves. As in the previous embodiment, there is no difference between the bottom and top stacking contours 73. That is, the bottle looks and stacks the same, even when flipped upside down. There is really no difference between the top and bottom. Like the previous embodiment, this bottle is ideal for being mounted atop a conventional water dispenser or cooler 99. (FIG. 8) The balanced configuration, and ease of access to the centrally located handle, make this stackable bottle far easier to handle than prior art containers, and easier to load atop such a dispenser. The fact that they can be stacked in a multiplicity of orientations adds to the convenience, for everyone from the molder, to the packager, to the consumer. As in the previous embodiment, the relatively raised regions 71 of the pattern of stacking contours 73 comprise a pattern that provides sufficient support area, sufficiently distributed, forming a sufficient footprint, that the bottle may be supported solely thereupon in a stable manner when laying upon a substantially flat surface in the stacking position. This stackable shape may be easily produced by the technique of blowmolding, from a two-piece mold, requiring no extra manufacturing steps.

[0036] These two embodiments are exemplary only, a myriad of other specific configurations of interlocking stacking contours, exhibiting the proper inverse symmetry to permit stacking in multiple configurations and orientations as described herein, and having a sufficient footprint to support a stack in a stable manner, are possible within the scope of the present invention. Versions of such interlocking contours may also be chosen on the basis that they are aesthetically pleasing.