Title:
Adjustable sandwich holder for sandwiches made with thin breads
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sandwich holder that includes an elongated strip having two opposite ends, i.e., a first end and a second end. The sandwich holder includes an intermediate portion between the two opposite ends. A slot is included, and that slot is generally adjacent to the first end of the elongated strip. At least two tabs are generally adjacent the second end of said holder, and each of these tabs are generally interlockable with the slot. These tabs are preferably of a generally triangular configuration. The sandwich holder includes edge portions, and these edge portions are disposed on two of the three sides of each of the triangular tabs. These edge portions are parallel with peripheral, lengthwise sides of the intermediate portion. The sandwich holder preferably has between three and seven tabs, but may have more or fewer tabs. The triangular tabs of the sandwich holder have a third side, and this third side has a greater length than the length of the slot.



Inventors:
Parthenis, Peter (Inverness, IL, US)
Application Number:
09/782551
Publication Date:
08/15/2002
Filing Date:
02/13/2001
Assignee:
PARTHENIS PETER
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
294/31.2, 229/938
International Classes:
A47G21/00; (IPC1-7): B65D63/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRAMER, DEAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DANIEL N. CHRISTUS, ESQ. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

What I claim is:



1. A adjustable sandwich holder, said sandwich holder comprising: an elongated strip having two opposite ends, a first end and a second end; an intermediate portion between the two opposite ends; a slot generally adjacent said first end of said elongated strip; and at least two tabs generally adjacent said second end of said holder, said tabs being interlockable with said slot.

2. The sandwich holder of claim 1, wherein said tabs are of a generally triangular configuration.

3. The sandwich holder of claim 2, including edge portions, wherein said edge portions are disposed on two of the sides of each of said triangular tabs, and wherein said edge portions are parallel with peripheral, lengthwise sides of said intermediate portion.

4. The sandwich holder of claim 2, wherein said sandwich holder has between three and seven tabs.

5. The sandwich holder of claim 3, wherein a third side of said tabs with said triangular configuration is of a greater length than the length of the slot.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Sandwich holders are common in the art. Patents describing such sandwich holders are utility U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,494,785, 4,509,674, 4,760,950, 5,421,508, 5,518,169, 5,875,894, and U.S. Pat. Des. Nos. 304,405, 314,887, 343,764, and 384,858.

[0002] Most of the sandwich holders shown in these patents are of the type which contain most of the sandwich. For example, the sandwich holder shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,494,785 is round and made of paperboard stock. It includes open cup-like ends that serve as handles to accommodate the insertion of a round sandwich, such as a hamburger. The structure of this patent is one of many structures that essentially comprises a box for containing most of the sandwich. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. Des. 314,887 and 343,764.

[0003] As a further example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,509,674 is directed to a pita sandwich holder. Two versions are disclosed. The first version holds one pita sandwich, while the second version holds two or more pita sandwiches. In each case, as may best be seen, for example, in FIG. 5, most of the pita P is held within the confines of the sandwich holder 83. The structure of this patent is one of many structures that essentially comprise flat panels that are formed into a thin, generally upright pocket for containing most of the sandwich. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,760,950, 5,421,508, 5,518,169, and Des. 304,405.

[0004] Miscellaneous designs include U.S. Pat. No. 5,875,894. This patent is directed to a sandwich holder including a decorative cloth outer cover and a plastic inner liner that maintains the freshness of a sandwich wrapped within this structure. The sandwich holder is washable, and thus reusable. A second miscellaneous design is shown in U.S. Pat. No. Des. 384,858.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The invention is a sandwich holder that includes an elongated strip having two opposite ends, i.e., a first end and a second end. The sandwich holder includes an intermediate portion between the two opposite ends. A slot is included, and that slot is generally adjacent to the first end of the elongated strip. At least two tabs are generally adjacent the second end of the holder, and each of these tabs are generally interlockable with the slot. These tabs are preferably of a generally triangular configuration. The sandwich holder includes edge portions, and these edge portions are disposed on two of the three sides of each of the triangular tabs. These edge portions are parallel with the peripheral, lengthwise sides of the intermediate portion. The sandwich holder preferably has between three and seven tabs, but may have more or fewer tabs. The triangular tabs of the sandwich holder have a third side, and this third side has a greater length than the length of the slot.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a plan view of the invention, using a paper or cardboard material.

[0007] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the invention of FIG. 1 being used to hold a whole sandwich.

[0008] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the invention of FIG. 1 being used to hold a half, small, or partially eaten sandwich.

[0009] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the invention of FIG. 1, showing a method of inserting the tabs into the slot.

[0010] FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing a second embodiment of the invention, otherwise identical to the first embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, but using a polymeric material in lieu of a paper or cardboard material.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0011] This invention may include many different embodiments. Preferred embodiments of the invention are described, but with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as but one example of the principles of the invention. It is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the illustrated embodiments.

[0012] As may be seen in the FIGURES, and especially FIG. 1, the invention is directed to a sandwich holder 10. As may best be seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, this sandwich holder 10 can be wrapped around a whole or partially eaten sandwich S to keep that sandwich S intact. This characteristic of the sandwich holder 10 of the invention is especially important in sandwiches made with flat pita breads or in sandwiches made with tortillas. When such flat pita breads or tortillas are curled around sandwich contents, such as gyros or other meats, the pita bread or tortilla tends to reassume its original, flat shape. This tendency can occur whether or not the sandwich is placed onto a table by its purchaser. The sandwich holder 10 keeps the pita bread or tortilla wrapped around the sandwich contents. In use, the sandwich holder 10 also keeps the hands of the user clean by helping to keep the hands isolated and away from meats, cheeses, vegetables, sauces, and other messy ingredients or condiments that are a part of the sandwich S.

[0013] The sandwich holder 10 may be made of any inexpensive, disposable material, such as a rigid paper, cardboard, or a relatively soft, elastic polymeric material. The material that is used should be sufficiently rugged so that it will withstand the rigors of use in the food service industry, while having sufficient flexibility so that it can be wrapped around the sandwich S that it is intended to hold.

[0014] In one preferred embodiment, the material should be stretchable or expandable. Particularly, the material should have the ability to be stretched considerably without breaking. In the preferred embodiment, one may use a piece of polymeric material having a thickness of about 0.5 to 1.0 millimeter. A specific polymer which would meet the requirements of this embodiment is polyvinyl chloride. An alternative acceptable polymer is high density polyethylene.

[0015] In a second preferred embodiment, the sandwich holder 10 may be formed of a heavy paper stock or a cardboard. As in the polymeric embodiment, the preferred thickness of the paper stock or cardboard will be between 0.5 and 1.0 millimeter. In this embodiment of the invention, the heavy paper stock or cardboard is not stretchable or expandable. Nevertheless, as will be explained below, the paper stock or cardboard will be a suitable material of the invention. In use, the flat paper or cardboard sandwich holder 10 of FIGS. 1-4 will be assembled in a slightly different manner than the flat polymeric sandwich holder of FIG. 5.

[0016] Paper or Cardboard Embodiment of FIGS. 1-4

[0017] FIGS. 1-4 show a paper or cardboard embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the sandwich holder 10 is formed of a generally elongated strip of paper or cardboard. This elongated strip has two opposite ends, i.e., a first end 12 and a second end 14. The sandwich holder 10 includes an intermediate portion 16 between the two opposite ends 12 and 14. This intermediate portion 16 is the narrowest part of the sandwich holder 10, being considerably narrower than the first end 12 or the tabs. As will be seen, this intermediate portion 16 is of sufficient length to roughly encircle an assembled sandwich S, such as a pita sandwich S. The assembled sandwich S, with the sandwich holder 10 encircling that sandwich S, is shown in FIGS. 2-4.

[0018] A slot 18 is included, and that slot is generally formed within or is adjacent to the first end 12 of the elongated strip. The slot 18 receives tabs that are adjacent the second end 14 of the sandwich holder 10.

[0019] In particularly, the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4 has at least two tabs that are generally adjacent to the second end 14 of the sandwich holder 10. The sandwich holder preferably has between three and seven tabs, but may have more or fewer tabs. In fact, this embodiment has seven tabs, the tabs 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32. Each of these tabs 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 are generally interlockable with the slot 18. The interlocking of the tabs to the slots is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. In FIG. 2, with a fully assembled sandwich S, more of the intermediate portion 16 is necessary to circumscribe the sandwich S, and one of the “outboard” tabs, tab 30, is interlocked with the slot 18.

[0020] In contrast, in FIG. 3, with a smaller sandwich or a partially eaten sandwich S, less of the intermediate portion 16 is necessary to circumscribe the sandwich S. Accordingly, one of the more “inboard” tabs, tab 24, is interlocked with the slot 18.

[0021] In this embodiment, the tabs 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 have what is termed a generally “triangular” configuration. For the purposes of the present invention, the generally “triangular” configuration of tabs 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 is shown in solid or dotted lines in FIG. 1. The generally “triangular” configuration of tab 20 is shown in solid lines in FIG. 1, while the generally “triangular” configurations of tabs 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32 are shown in a combination of solid and dotted lines.

[0022] As may best be seen in FIG. 1, this tab 20 includes three sides, an upper side 34, a lower side 36, and a base side 38. The upper sides 34 and lower sides 36 of the triangular tab 20 are truncated near their junction with the base side 38. As a result of this truncation, two edge portions, an upper edge portion 40 and a lower edge portion 42, are formed. Upper edge portion 40 connects the upper side 34 with the base side 38, while lower edge portion 42 connects the lower side 36 with the base side 38. Accordingly, these edge portions 40 and 42 are disposed on two of the three sides of tab 20, and similar edge portions are a part of each of the other triangular tabs. As may be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, these edge portions 40 and 42 are preferably parallel with the peripheral, lengthwise horizontal sides of the intermediate portion 16.

[0023] As noted above, the triangular tabs 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 of the sandwich holder 10 have a third or base side, like base side 38 of tab 20. This third side 38 has a greater length L1 than the length L2 of the slot 18. As may be seen in FIG. 2, as a result of L1 exceeding L2, the particular triangular tab 30 that engages slot 18 remains interlocked with slot 18. In other words, if the pita bread or tortilla of the sandwich attempts to assume its normal, flat position, because the base side of the triangular tab 30 is larger than the slot 18, the tab 30 would tend to resist disengagement from the slot 18.

[0024] Upper edge portion 40 and lower edge portion 42 result from a removal of the points of the tabs. But for this removal, these tabs would be truly triangular tabs. The resulting upper 40 and lower edge portions 42 effectively decrease the size of the tabs, and ease the insertion of those tabs through the slot 18. In the paper embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, as may be seen in FIG. 4, insertion of the tabs into the slot 18 may be effected by inserting the tip 44 of the sandwich holder 10 through the slot 18, at approximately the angle of attack shown in FIG. 4. This 20-30° angle of attack enables the tip 14 to enter the slot 18 without damage to or deformation of the tabs.

[0025] Polymeric Embodiment of FIG. 5

[0026] The embodiment of FIG. 5 is essentially identical to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, except that it is made from a polymeric material. Because of the difference in the materials of the two embodiments, insertion of the tabs into the slot 46 of this embodiment may be effected in one of two ways. First, as with the cardboard or paper embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, one may assemble the sandwich holder of FIG. 5 by inserting tip 48 through the slot 46, at the same angle shown in FIG. 4 for the paper embodiment.

[0027] Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, because of the flexibility of the polymer, one may instead assemble the sandwich holder of FIG. 5 by inserting the tip 48 of the sandwich holder through the slot 46 at a parallel, non-angular path of attack.

[0028] Specific embodiments have been illustrated and described. Numerous modifications are possible, which modifications do not significantly depart from the spirit of the invention. Protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying claims.