Title:
Dinnerware including a transparent portion for displaying changeable decorations
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A piece of dinnerware can be readily adapted for use at a particular holiday or other occasion by providing a transparent window in the dinnerware and then placing an insert bearing a decoration specific to the relevant holiday or occasion behind the dinnerware so that the decoration on the insert is visible through the transparent window in the dinnerware. A holder on the underside of the dinnerware may be formed to hold the insert in place behind the dinnerware.



Inventors:
Scott, Sherri (Midway, UT, US)
Application Number:
09/749010
Publication Date:
06/27/2002
Filing Date:
12/26/2000
Assignee:
SCOTT SHERRI
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/02; (IPC1-7): A47G19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POLLARD, STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STEVEN L. NICHOLS (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A piece of dinnerware that can be used with an insert for providing decoration with said piece of dinnerware that can be changed and made specific to a particular holiday or other occasion or otherwise adapted to desires of a user; said piece of dinnerware comprising: a transparent window through which said decorated insert can be viewed; and a holder behind said transparent window for holding said decorated insert to said transparent window.

2. The piece of dinnerware of claim 1, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a dinner plate.

3. The piece of dinnerware of claim 1, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a bread or dessert plate.

4. The piece of dinnerware of claim 1, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a bowl.

5. A dinnerware system comprising: a piece of dinnerware having a transparent window therein; and at least one decorated insert disposed with said piece of dinnerware such that a decoration on said decorated insert is visible through said transparent window.

6. The dinnerware system of claim 5, further comprising a holder on said piece of dinnerware for holding said decorated insert in position with respect to said transparent window.

7. The dinnerware system of claim 5, wherein said at least one decorated insert comprises a plurality of decorated inserts each bearing different decorations for use with said piece of dinnerware.

8. The dinnerware system of claim 5, further comprising: one or more other pieces of dinnerware each having a transparent window therein; and one or more additional decorated inserts which are correspondingly viewed through said transparent window of said one or more other pieces of dinnerware.

9. The dinnerware system of claim 8, wherein all of said decorated inserts bear decorations that are different, but related by a common theme.

10. The dinnerware system of claim 5, further comprising a coaster bearing a decoration that corresponds to said decoration on said at least one insert.

11. The piece of dinnerware of claim 5, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a dinner plate.

12. The piece of dinnerware of claim 5, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a bread or dessert plate.

13. The piece of dinnerware of claim 5, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a bowl.

14. A method of adapting a dinnerware system for use at a particular holiday or occasion, said method comprising placing a decorated insert with a piece of dinnerware having a transparent window therein, such that a decoration on said decorated insert is visible through said transparent window.

15. The method of claim 14, further comprising holding said decorated insert in position with respect to said transparent window with a holder on said piece of dinnerware.

16. The method of claim 14, further comprising providing a plurality of decorated inserts each bearing different decorations for use with said piece of dinnerware.

17. The method of claim 14, further comprising making a place setting with piece of dinnerware and said insert, as well as with one or more other pieces of dinnerware having a transparent window therein; and one or more additional decorated inserts which are correspondingly viewed through said transparent window of said one or more other pieces of dinnerware.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein all of said decorated inserts bear decorations that are different, but related by a common theme.

19. The method of claim 14, further comprising disposing a coaster with said piece of dinnerware, said coaster bearing a decoration that corresponds to said decoration on said at least one insert.

20. The method of claim 14, wherein said piece of dinnerware is a dinner plate.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to the field of dinnerware, meaning dinner plates, bread plates, dessert plates, bowls, tumblers, glasses, silverware, and any other implements used in dining for any meal of the day. More particularly, the present invention relates to a novel piece of dinnerware that provides a transparent portion through which a decoration may be displayed. The decoration may be changed as desired by the user.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Throughout history and across many cultures, it has been traditional to conduct both business and entertainment while eating a meal. Dinner parties, business lunches, and the like provide an important forum for entertainment, socialization, and the conduct of business. Consequently, the atmosphere or ambiance created by the place and circumstances of a meal may be as important as the meal itself. For this reason, many restaurants and other eating establishments, as well as private dinner party hosts and hostesses, go to great lengths to provide the proper decoration and décor for a meal.

[0003] Dinnerware and other eating utensils used at the meal may be an important element in this ambiance. It will be readily known by those who work in this area that properly decorated and selected dinnerware and other eating utensils can add to the theme or ambiance of an occasion. In the past, however, accommodating the many holidays and other potential occasions at which a meal may be served has required a restaurant or private host to maintain many different sets of dinnerware in order to have a set appropriate to each and every possible occasion. This obviously entails a considerable expense in obtaining, maintaining, and storing multiple dinnerware sets and accompanying eating utensils. For example, a restauranteur may be obliged to obtain a first set of dinnerware decorated with a Christmas motif to be used at the Christmas Season, a second set of dinnerware decorated with a patriotic motif to be used on and around the 4th of July, and a third dinnerware set decorated with a Thanksgiving motif to be used on and around the Thanksgiving Season.

[0004] Additionally, if the restauranteur desires to provide some variations in the decorations on the dinnerware as pertaining to a single holiday, that restauranteur must obtain, for example, multiple sets of dinnerware decorated with different Christmas motifs for use during the Christmas Season. While the restauranteur may be able to bear the expense of such attention to detail in his or her dinnerware due to the commercial strength of his or her establishment, those who entertain privately will be much less likely to have the means to afford and maintain such an array of dinnerware appropriate to various occasions. For this reason, the overwhelming majority of dinnerware, particularly fine china, sold currently bears some general decoration, which is not specific to any particular holiday or occasion.

[0005] Consequently, there is a need in the art for dinnerware that can readily be adapted to any and all special occasions so that a restauranteur or private host or hostess may readily provide dinnerware specific to the occasion without incurring the expense of obtaining and maintaining many differently decorated sets of dinnerware.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention meets the above-described needs and others. Specifically, the present invention provides dinnerware that can readily be adapted to any and all special occasions so that a restaurateur or private host or hostess may readily provide dinnerware specific to the occasion without incurring the expense of obtaining and maintaining many differently decorated sets of dinnerware.

[0007] Additional advantages and novel features of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows or may be learned by those skilled in the art through reading these materials or practicing the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be achieved through the means recited in the attached claims.

[0008] To achieve these stated and other objects, the present invention may be embodied and described as a piece of dinnerware that can be used with an insert for providing decoration with the piece of dinnerware, where that decoration can be changed and made specific to a particular holiday or other occasion. In a preferred embodiment, the piece of dinnerware includes a transparent window through which the decorated insert can be viewed; and a holder behind the transparent window for holding the decorated insert to the transparent window. The piece of dinnerware may be a dinner plate, a bread or dessert plate or a bowl.

[0009] The present invention also encompasses a dinnerware system including: a piece of dinnerware having a transparent window therein; and at least one decorated insert disposed with the piece of dinnerware such that a decoration on the decorated insert is visible through the transparent window. Preferably, a holder is also provided on the piece of dinnerware for holding the decorated insert in position with respect to the transparent window.

[0010] The decorated insert may be one of a set of decorated inserts, each bearing different decorations for use with the piece of dinnerware. With such a set of inserts, the system of the present invention may include one or more other pieces of dinnerware having transparent windows therein, with corresponding additional decorated inserts which are viewed through the transparent window of the additional pieces of dinnerware. All of the decorated inserts may bear decorations that are different, but related by a common theme. This place setting may also include a coaster bearing a decoration that corresponds to the decoration on the at least one insert. As before, the piece of dinnerware may be a dinner plate, a bread or desert plate or a bowl.

[0011] The present invention also encompasses the method of making and using the dinnerware and dinnerware system described above. For example, the present invention encompasses a method of adapting a dinnerware system for use at a particular holiday or occasion by placing a decorated insert with a piece of dinnerware having a transparent window therein, such that a decoration on the decorated insert is visible through the transparent window. The method of the present invention may also include holding the decorated insert in position with respect to the transparent window with a holder on the piece of dinnerware.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The accompanying drawings illustrate the preferred embodiments of the present invention and are a part of the specification. Together with the following description, the drawings demonstrate and explain the principles of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 1 is a top view of a dinner plate according to the principles of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the dinner plate illustrated in FIG. 1 according to the principles of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 3 is an illustration of an insert for use with the dinner plate of FIG. 1 according to the principles of the present invention.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a side view of the dinner plate and insert of FIGS. 1 and 3 showing how the insert is used with the dinner plate according to the principles of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a top view of the dinner plate of FIG. 1 being used with the insert of FIG. 3 according to the principles of the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 6 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention in which a dish or bowl is used with the insert of FIG. 3.

[0019] FIG. 7 illustrates a place setting according to the present invention including the dinner plate and insert of FIG. 5 with a matching coaster.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] The present invention addresses the problem of having dinnerware that is specifically decorated for various holidays and other occasions by provide dinnerware that holds and displays a decorated insert. The insert can bear any type of decoration, including a decoration specific to a particular holiday or other occasion. Moreover, the insert can be readily changed whenever desired in order to adapt the dinnerware to the event at which it is used. In addition to inserts that are decorated for a particular holiday or other occasion, the insert can also bear any other type of decoration, including, but not limited to, an image personalized for the user such as a photo of the user's family, home, etc.

[0021] As used herein, the term “dinnerware” will mean an eating plate, including dinner plates, bread plates, dessert plates, etc.; “dinnerware” will also refer to bowls, tumblers, glasses, silverware, and any other implements used in dining for any meal of the day.

[0022] Using the drawings, the preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be explained. FIG. 1 illustrates a top view of a piece of dinnerware, a dinner plate (100), according to the principles of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 1, the dinner plate (100) includes a central window (102) with is transparent. The transparent central window (102) is surrounded by an outer portion (101) which need not be transparent and may bear some decoration or coloring.

[0023] The dinner plate (100), or other dinnerware according to the principles of the present invention, can be made from a wide variety of materials. In a preferred embodiment, the dinner plate (100) is made of glass. Consequently, the central window (102) is clear glass and, therefore, transparent, while the outer portion (101) may be glass bearing any form of decoration or coloring. Alternatively, the dinner plate (100), or other dinnerware according to the principles of the present invention, can be made from plastic material.

[0024] FIG. 2 illustrates a view of the bottom or underside of the dinner plate (100) illustrated in FIG. 1. As shown in FIG. 2, the underside of the dinner plate (100) preferably includes a holder (103). The holder (103) is preferably an annular ridge extending from the underside of the dinner plate (100). The holder (103) may be formed integrally with the dinner plate (100) or may be attached to the plate (100). The holder (103) may completely surround, and be coextensive with, the transparent window (102), but is not necessarily so.

[0025] FIG. 3 illustrates a number of inserts (104) according to the present invention. The inserts (104) are preferably disc-shaped and may be made from a wide variety of materials, including, but not limited to, glass, plastic, wood, wood laminates, plastic laminates and composites, paper, cardboard, vinyl, etc. Each of the inserts (104) bears a decoration (105). As shown in FIG. 3, the decorations (105) are preferably of a wide variety, some of which are suited to represent a particular holiday or other occasion.

[0026] As shown in FIG. 4, any and each of the inserts (104) shown in FIG. 3 can be placed in the holder (103) of the dinner plate (100). The decoration (105) on the insert (104) then becomes visible through the central window (102) of the dinner plate (100). Consequently, the dinner plate (100) is thereby adapted to provide a decoration appropriate to the holiday or occasion then being celebrated.

[0027] The insert (104) may be sized so that it is frictionally held in the holder (103) when inserted. In such a case, the back of the insert (104) may include a handle, e.g., a ring or tab (110), that can be grasped to pull the insert (104) and extract the insert (104) from the holder (103). Preferably, the ring or tab (110) is attached or formed on the insert (104) such that it can lay flat against the insert (104) when the insert (104) and dinner plate (100) are in a place setting. If a ring (110) is used it may be preferably sized to accommodate a finger or fingers with which the insert (104) can be extracted from the holder (103).

[0028] FIG. 5 illustrates the dinner plate (100) of the present invention with an insert (104) placed in the holder on the rear of the plate (100). Through the central window (102), the decoration (105) on the insert (104) is visible and may appear to be part of the dinner plate (100). By replacing the insert (104) with an insert of appropriate decoration, the plate (100) can be readily adapted to contribute to the ambience of a meal at any specific occasion.

[0029] FIG. 6 illustrates a bowl or dish (200) according to the principles of the present invention. As will be apparent to those of skill in the art, the principles of the present invention need not apply only to a dinner plate, but can apply to most any piece of dinnerware, including, but not limited to, bread plates, dessert plates, dishes, bowls, tumblers, glasses, etc. FIG. 6 confirms this by illustrating a dish or bowl (200) that has been provided with a holder (103) on the bottom thereof to accommodate an insert (104) which will then be visible through a transparent window in the bottom of the bowl (200).

[0030] FIG. 7 illustrates a further embodiment of the present invention that extends the principles of the present invention to an entire place setting. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, a dinner plate, bread plate, dessert plate, soup bowl, etc. may be incorporated into a single place setting, where each of the various pieces of dinnerware incorporates a matching insert in a holder on that piece of dinnerware according to the principles of the present invention. Alternatively, the inserts in the various pieces of dinnerware may not match or be identical, but may be related by a common holiday or other theme.

[0031] Other elements of the place setting may also bear decorations matching or coordinated with the decoration on the insert or inserts. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, a coaster (300) bearing a decoration (105) may be included in the place setting. In the example of FIG. 7, the coaster (300) bears a decoration (105) that is identical to that used on the insert (104) in the dinner plate (100). However, the coaster (300) could instead bear a different decoration that is related to the decoration on the insert (104) by a common holiday or other theme.

[0032] In addition to the foregoing, the insert (104), and possibly, other dinnerware, such a set of matching coasters, can be decoratively displayed when not in use. A holder for supporting the inserts (104) in a highly visible fashion may be used to display to the inserts, etc.. Additionally, the inserts (104) can be used as placemats with dinnerware that is not specifically adapted, as described herein, to display the decoration on the insert.

[0033] The preceding description has been presented only to illustrate and describe the invention. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to any precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching.

[0034] The preferred embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and its practical application. The preceding description is intended to enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the following claims.