Title:
Container having a permanently attached lid
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There is disclosed a container (10) including a receptacle (12) having an opening (18) and a lid (11) for closing the opening. The container further includes a link (13) which permanently attaches the lid to the receptacle. The link is configured to enable the lid to move between a position in which the lid seals the opening and a position in which the lid is underneath the receptacle and engaged with a ridge (19) extending about the periphery of the base (15) of the receptacle.



Inventors:
Meyer, Christian (Orange, AU)
Meyer, Margaret (Orange, AU)
Application Number:
10/051629
Publication Date:
08/08/2002
Filing Date:
01/18/2002
Assignee:
MEYER CHRISTIAN
MEYER MARGARET
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/375, 220/843
International Classes:
B65D21/02; B65D43/02; B65D55/16; (IPC1-7): B65D43/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SMALLEY, JAMES N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Egbert Law Offices, PLLC (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A container including: a receptacle defining a receptacle interior, the receptacle having a base with a surface facing into the interior and an opposite surface, and having an opening spaced from the base; a lid configured to seal said opening; and a link permanently attaching the lid to the receptacle and configured to enable the lid to move between a closure position in which the lid seals the opening and a support position in which the lid is engaged with said opposite surface of the base for supporting the receptacle.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein each of the receptacle and the lid projecting tab having a hole defined therein, the link passing through the holes.

3. The container of claim 1, wherein the link is in the form of a loop.

4. The container of claim 3, wherein the loop is elliptical.

5. The container of claim 1, wherein the base defines a base ridge and the lid defines a ridge-engagement groove which is complementary with the base ridge, for receiving the base ridge when the lid is in said support position.

6. The container of claim 1, wherein the lid defines a lid ridge and said base defines a ridge-engagement groove which is complementary with the lid ridge, for receiving the lid ridge when the lid in said support position.

7. The container of claim 1, adapted to be supported on a container supporting surface and wherein: the base has at least one support-engaging face for engaging said supporting surface at first spaced positions when the lid is not in said support position; and the lid has at least one support-engaging face for engaging said supporting surface at second spaced positions when the lid is in said support position, wherein the second spaced positions are more widely spaced than said first spaced positions, thereby more stably to support the container when the lid is in said support position.

8. The container of claim 1, wherein the receptacle includes a ridge-like rim defining the opening, and the lid defines a sealing groove which is complementary with the rim for receiving the rim to seal the opening when the lid is in said closure position.

Description:

RELATED U.S. APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO MICROFICHE APPENDIX

[0003] Not applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The following invention relates to a container having a permanently attached lid.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0005] It is known to store food in a plastics container including a receptacle and a snap-on lid. The lid seals to the receptacle to keep food therein fresh. A problem with such a container is that the lid is often lost rendering the container useless for the purpose of maintaining the freshness of food.

[0006] Another known container has a hinged lid. However such a container is not practical for heating food in a microwave oven as the lid must be removed to allow the container to vent during the cooking process. An open lid of such a container might strike the roof walls or door of a microwave oven, preventing proper rotation of the container on a turntable of the oven during the cooking process.

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to overcome or substantially ameliorate one or more of the disadvantages of the prior art and/or, more generally, to provide an improved container.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] According to the invention there is provided a container including:

[0009] a receptacle defining a receptacle interior, the receptacle having a base with a surface facing into the interior and an opposite surface, and having an opening spaced from the base;

[0010] a lid configured to seal the opening; and

[0011] a link permanently attaching the lid to the receptacle and configured to enable the lid to move between a closure position in which the lid seals the opening and a support position in which the lid is engaged with the opposite surface of the base for supporting the receptacle.

[0012] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each of the receptacle and the lid has a projecting tab having a hole defined therein, the link passing through the holes.

[0013] In a preferred embodiment, the link is in the form of a loop. Preferably, the loop is elliptical.

[0014] In one preferred embodiment, the base defines a base ridge and the lid defines a ridge-engagement groove which is complementary with the base ridge, for receiving the base ridge when the lid is in the support position. In another preferred embodiment, the lid defines a lid ridge and the base defines a ridge-engagement groove which is complementary with the lid ridge, for receiving the lid ridge when the lid in the support position.

[0015] In a preferred embodiment, the container is adapted to be supported on a container supporting surface and the base has at least one support-engaging face for engaging the supporting surface at first spaced positions when the lid is not in the support position; and the lid has at least one support-engaging face for engaging the supporting surface at second spaced positions when the lid is in the support position, and the second spaced positions are more widely spaced than the first spaced positions, thereby more stably to support the container when the lid is in the support position.

[0016] In a preferred embodiment, the receptacle includes a ridge-like rim defining the opening, and the lid defines a sealing groove which is complementary with the rim for receiving the rim to seal the opening when the lid is in the closure position.

[0017] A container according to embodiments of the invention can be used to store food or other articles with the advantage that the risk of the container's lid becoming lost is minimized. The lid can also be removed from the opening, placed under the receptacle, and engaged therewith. This yields the further advantage that the receptacle is stably supported on the lid, for example when the container is used in a microwave oven to heat food.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0019] FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a container having a receptacle and a lid attached thereto;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-sectional elevational view of the container of FIG. 1;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective view of the container of FIG. 1 with its receptacle supported on, and engaged with, the lid; and

[0022] FIG. 4 is a schematic partly cross-sectional elevational view, shown partly cut-away, of the container of FIGS. 1 to 3 showing the lid adjacent to, but parted from, the base of the receptacle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0023] In the accompanying drawings there is shown schematically a container 10 having a lid 11, a receptacle 12 and a link 13 (shown in broken-chain lines in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4). The receptacle 12 has an interior 14. The lid 11 and the receptacle 12 are fabricated from moulded plastics material. However, in other embodiment, the components could be made from metal or other suitable materials, depending on the intended application of the container. The receptacle 12 has a base 15 and walls 16 extending from the base and terminating in a ridge-like rim 17 which defines an opening 18. In the embodiment shown, the opening 18 is generally rectangular, although in other embodiments it could be square, oval shaped, circular or of any other suitable shape.

[0024] The base 15 of the receptacle 12 has a downwardly projecting ridge 19 extending about the periphery of the base.

[0025] Projecting laterally from the receptacle 12 adjacent the rim 17 is a tab 20 having a hole 21 therethrough.

[0026] The lid 11 includes, in its under-surface, a sealing groove 22 which is complementary with the rim 17 of the receptacle 12, and configured to receive the rim as a snap-fit to seal the opening 18.

[0027] The lid 11 also includes, at its upper side, a ridge-engagement groove 23 which is complementary with the ridge 19 and which extends along a continuous path about the lid. The groove 23 is configured to receive the ridge 19 as a snap-fit, in the configuration shown in FIG. 3.

[0028] The lid 11 also includes a tab 24 which has a hole 25 therethrough.

[0029] The link 133, which passes through the holes 21 and 25, is made, in different embodiments, of moulded or extruded plastics material, rubber, fibrous material or any other suitable material capable of being formed as a link. In this regard, the word “link” is not limited to a closed loop of the type shown, but might, in other embodiments be a straight piece passing through both holes 21 and 25 and having enlarged ends preventing the link being removed through the holes. In the preferred embodiment, the link 13 is elliptical as shown. The link may be formed from a length of material attached end-to-end to form a loop, the ends being joined by heat bonding, glueing, inter-locking or by other means.

[0030] In use, the receptacle 12 can hold food or other articles and the lid 11 can be snap-engaged with the receptacle to cover the opening 18 thus sealing the opening and the interior 14. Thus the position of the lid 11 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 may be considered as the lid's “closure” position. It will be noted that the tabs 20 and 24 are in close proximity to each other with the holes 21 and 25 aligning with each other when the lid 11 is in this position.

[0031] The lid 11 can be removed from the opening 18 but not detached entirely from the receptacle 12 due to the presence of the link 13. The longer axis of the ellipse of the link 13 is large enough to enable the lid 11 to be moved between the “closure” position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and a position as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 in which the lid is disposed under the receptacle 12. This may be considered as the lid's “support” position. When the lid 11 is moved into the “support” position, the receptacle 12 can then be pressed onto the lid 11, such that the ridge 19 snaps into engagement in the groove 23.

[0032] It will be appreciated that where the container 10 is in this configuration (i.e. with the lid 11 in its support position), the container can, for example, be placed on the turntable of a microwave oven. The lid 11, by being disposed under the receptacle 12, will support the receptacle (hence the term “support′ position”) and will provide minimal obstruction, if any, within the confined space of the oven, as the turntable rotates.

[0033] It will also be appreciated that while the larger axis of the ellipse of the link 13 is large enough to permit the lid 11 to be moved between its “closure” and “support” positions, the smaller axis of the ellipse is sufficiently small for the link to be largely non-obstructive.

[0034] To enable easy washing of the receptacle 12 and the lid 11, the lid can be parted from the receptacle, while still being connected to the receptacle by the link 13. Then, both the receptacle and the lid can be placed face-down in a dishwasher, or opened at an angle to each other, preferably substantially face-down in a dishwasher. The permanent connection of the lid 11 to the receptacle 12 by the link 13 is advantageous as it prevents the lid and receptacle being completely separated during the washing process. During manual washing and drying, the link 13 enables the receptacle 12 and the lid 11 to be placed substantially face-down, or at an angle to each other, on a dish rack without becoming detached from each other.

[0035] The lid 11 includes faces 26 for engaging a support surface (such as a microwave oven turntable) on which the container 10 is supported, these faces being more widely spaced than corresponding faces 27 constituted by the lower extremities of the ridge 19. Thus, when the lid 11 is its “support” position, it provides more stable support for the receptacle 12 than would be the case if the lid were not in its “support” position—that is, if the receptacle were directly supported on the support surface rather than on the lid. This feature makes the container 10 particularly suitable for uses such as in a microwave oven, where stable support of the container during rotation of the microwave oven's turntable is desirable.

[0036] It should be appreciated that the invention, being defiried by the claims, is not limited to the embodiments described, but extends to modifications and alterations thereto as would be understood by those skilled in the art. For example, rather than having sealing groove 22 and ridge-engagement groove 23 at opposite faces of lid 11, these grooves could both be at the same face thereof.