Title:
Apparatus To Hold And Stabilize Fast Food Containers In A Cylindrical Automobile Cup Holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adapter that holds and stabilizes a fast food container in a standard cylindrical automobile cup holder to prevent spilling of its contents. A typical fast food container would be one that holds French fried potatoes. It has a lower rigid cylindrical member and two flexible upper members that are mechanically biased to return to their original position when they are not holding the container. The lower member fits into the automobile cup holder, and the flexible members hold a larger sized container temporarily in a fixed position. The adapter permits the larger sized container to be conveniently inserted and removed.



Inventors:
Pastore, Mark (Suffern, NY, US)
Roland, Richard (Chester, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/709763
Publication Date:
10/21/2004
Filing Date:
05/27/2004
Assignee:
PASTORE MARK
ROLAND RICHARD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/703, 220/741, 224/926
International Classes:
B60N3/10; (IPC1-7): A47K1/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RAMIREZ, RAMON O
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STANLEY H. KREMEN (EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. An adapter for holding a fast food container in a standard cylindrical automobile cup holder to prevent spilling of its contents comprising: a) a lower member; and b) at least two flexible upper members, each being in an original position such that the distance between the upper members is smaller than the distance required to accommodate the fast food container.

2. The adapter of claim 1 wherein the lower member is a cylinder.

3. The adapter of claim 1 wherein the lower member is a conical section.

4. The adapter of claim 1 wherein the lower member is rigid.

5. The adapter of claim 1 wherein the lower member is not hollow.

6. The adapter of claim 1 wherein the lower member is hollow.

7. The adapter of claim 6 further comprising a plurality of protruding strips on the surface of the lower member for positionally stabilizing the adapter in the automobile cup holder or for reinforcing the lower member so as to provide rigidity.

8. The adapter of claim 7 wherein the protruding strips are tapered.

9. The adapter of claim 7 wherein the number of protruding strips is six.

10. The adapter of claim 1 wherein each flexible upper member is mechanically biased to return to its original position when not deformed.

11. The adapter of claim 1 wherein the number of flexible upper members is two.

12. The adapter of claim 1 wherein each flexible upper member is a section of a cylindrical surface.

13. An adapter for holding a fast food container in a standard cylindrical automobile cup holder to prevent spilling of its contents comprising: a) a means for fitting the adapter into the automobile cup holder; and b) a means for holding and stabilizing the fast food container.

14. The adapter of claim 13 wherein the fitting means is rigid.

15. The adapter of claim 14 wherein the fitting means is made rigid by reinforcing means.

16. The adapter of claim 13 wherein the holding means is flexible.

17. The adapter of claim 16 wherein the holding means expands from an original configuration to an expanded configuration to accommodate the fast food container upon insertion of the container.

18. The adapter of claim 17 wherein the holding means returns to its original configuration upon removal of the container.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] Cup holders in automobiles have existed for many years. Drivers and passengers have the need to place drinks in a receptacle while the car is in motion or when they need their hands free to perform other tasks. Initially, plastic cup holders were made to fit onto a car window. Although these portable holders performed their function well enough, the window location proved inconvenient. Eventually, most automobile manufacturers sold cars with built-in cup holders. These cup holders would also be used to hold other items such as eye glasses, loose change, etc. Placing a drink inside a cup holder keeps it in a fixed position while the car is in motion, thereby preventing the liquid from spilling out of the cup. An occupant of a vehicle can conveniently place a cup in the cup holder, remove the cup to drink some of its contents, and then replace the cup in the holder.

[0002] However, even though automobiles now have built-in cup holders, drivers are not as fortunate with preventing spillage of other types of fast foods. For example, French fried potatoes are most often sold in containers that are not cylindrical. These containers have openings larger than standard drinking cups so as to enable people to easily insert their fingers. They often have a larger volume than standard drinking cups so as to accommodate a standard number of fries. They are designed to lie flat on restaurant trays so that diners may conveniently remove a small number of fries until the entire portion is consumed. These larger sized containers are more suited to holding this type of food than standard sized cylindrical drinking cups. Unfortunately, when these containers are placed on the passenger seat so that a driver may eat while driving, the potatoes often spill out of them onto the seats or even onto the floor. Therefore, it would be useful to have an adapter that would permit these larger sized or differently shaped fast food containers to fit in a standard automobile cup holder and maintain them in an upright position to prevent spilling of their contents. This is the objective of the present invention.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0003] The present invention is an adapter that accomplishes the above mentioned objective. It comprises a lower rigid cylindrical member and two flexible upper members that are mechanically biased to return to their original position when they are not deformed therefrom. The cylindrical member fits into the automobile cup holder, and the flexible members hold a larger sized container temporarily in a fixed position. It permits the larger sized container to be conveniently inserted and removed. It is preferably manufactured as a single unit either from plastic, paper, or metal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0004] FIG. 1 shows the two-dimensional projection views for the present invention.

[0005] FIG. 1(a) represents a top plan view thereof. This view is identical to the bottom plan view thereof.

[0006] FIG. 1(b) represents a left-side elevational view thereof. This view is identical to the right-side elevational view thereof.

[0007] FIG. 1(c) represents a front elevational view thereof. This view is identical to the rear elevational view thereof.

[0008] FIG. 2 shows an isometric view of the present invention as seen from the front.

[0009] FIG. 3 shows a magnification of FIG. 1(e) representing a bottom plan view.

[0010] FIG. 4 shows a magnification of either FIG. 1(b) or FIG. 1(d) representing a side elevational view.

[0011] FIG. 5 shows an isometric view of the present invention as seen from either side with a fries container inserted therein and being held in place.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0012] The present invention can best be understood by referring to FIG. 2. FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the preferred embodiment of the apparatus represented by the various views in FIG. 1 as viewed from the front. In the preferred embodiment, the apparatus 1 comprises a lower rigid cylindrical member 2 and two flexible upper members 5. It may comprise more than two flexible upper members if desired. The diameter of the cylindrical lower member is chosen so that it may fit conveniently into a standard automobile cup holder. Cylindrical member 2 is preferably hollow, but it may be solid. If hollow, member 2 is a shell encompassing cylindrical volume 3. In other embodiments, the lower member may be a conical section having a varying diameter so that the apparatus can fit into cylindrical cup holders of different sizes.

[0013] In the preferred embodiment, the flexible upper members are sections of a cylindrical shell having the same diameter as the lower member. In order to provide flexibility, portions of the cylindrical surfaces of these upper members are cut away to provide the shape shown in the figures. In other embodiments, the section diameter of the upper members may be either smaller or larger than that of the lower members. In fact, they need not be cylindrical sections at all.

[0014] If the entire apparatus 1 were to be fabricated as a cylindrical shell and then shaped as in FIG. 2, then lower member 2 might be expected to be as flexible as upper members 5. In order to maintain stability in the automobile cup holder so that the apparatus does not move about when placed therein, a plurality of protruding strips 4 is placed on the outer surface of the lower member 2. These protruding strips also contribute to the rigidity of the lower member.

[0015] FIG. 3 shows a magnification of the top plan view of FIG. 1(a). In FIG. 3, six protruding strips 4 are shown on the outer surface of lower member 2. FIG. 4 shows a magnification of either side view shown in FIG. 1(b). In FIG. 4, it can be seen that the protruding strips 4 are positioned only on the surface of lower member 2 and not on the surfaces of upper members 5. Also, the protruding strips are shown in the figure as being tapered (i.e., having less material at the top of member 2 than at the bottom). Tapering of the protruding strips is present in the preferred embodiment, but it is not necessary.

[0016] Finally, FIG. 5 shows an isometric view of the present invention as seen from either side with a fries container 6 inserted therein and being held in place by flexible upper members 5.