Title:
Sound minimizing apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sound minimizing housing with openings to permit air flow. The openings permit sound to escape from the sound minimizing housing, yet sound is minimized by providing for an overlapping arrangement between the cover and the base, by providing for a resilient pad formed of a plurality of tube pieces, and by providing for an isolation of the cover from the base such that sound transfer between the cover and base is minimized.



Inventors:
Van Beusekom, Thomas J. (Loretto, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/746728
Publication Date:
02/03/2005
Filing Date:
12/26/2003
Assignee:
VAN BEUSEKOM THOMAS J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F3/00; G10K11/16; (IPC1-7): A47F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GABLER, PHILIP F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAUGEN LAW FIRM (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A sound minimizing housing adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing minimizes sound generated by the noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing comprises: a) a base having a floor and base sidewalls; b) a cover having a ceiling and cover sidewalls, with the cover being swingably engaged to the base and having a closed position; and c) wherein when the cover is in the closed position each of the cover sidewalls inwardly overlaps a respective confronting base sidewall to create a tortuous path for escape of sound waves generated by the noise producing device.

2. The sound minimizing housing of claim 1, wherein the base sidewalls comprise front and rear base sidewalls and a pair of right and left base sidewalls, wherein the cover sidewalls comprises front and rear cover sidewalls and a pair of right and left cover sidewalls, and wherein when the cover is in the closed position: a) the front cover sidewall is tucked inwardly of, confronts, overlaps, and is spaced from, the front base sidewall; b) the rear cover sidewall is tucked inwardly of, confronts, overlaps, and is spaced from, the rear base sidewall; c) the right cover sidewall is tucked inwardly of, confronts, overlaps, and is spaced from, the right base sidewall; and d) the left cover sidewall is tucked inwardly of, confronts, overlaps, and is spaced from, the left base sidewall.

3. The sound minimizing housing of claim 1, and further comprising at least two openings in the sound minimizing housing, wherein said at least two openings are disposed generally across from each other such that air flows generally into one portion of the sound minimizing housing and out of another portion of the sound minimizing housing.

4. A sound minimizing housing adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing minimizes sound generated by the noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing comprises: a) a base having a floor and a sidewall; b) a cover, with the cover being swingably engaged to the base and having a closed position; and c) a sound minimizing pad adaptable for being disposed between at least one of i) the noise producing device and the floor and ii) the floor and a surface for supporting the sound minimizing housing, with the sound minimizing pad adaptable for engaging one of i) the noise producing device and ii) an exterior of the floor.

5. The sound minimizing housing of claim 4, wherein the sound minimizing pad comprises a plurality of tubular pieces.

6. The sound minimizing housing of claim 4, wherein the sound minimizing pad comprises a plurality of resilient pieces.

7. The sound minimizing housing of claim 4, wherein the sound minimizing pad comprises a plurality of tubular resilient pieces.

8. The sound minimizing housing of claim 4, wherein the sound minimizing pad comprises a plurality of tubular pieces, wherein each of the tubular pieces includes an axis, wherein each of the axis falls in one of two directions, with one of the directions being a plane in which a surface of the pad lies, and with the other of the directions being generally perpendicular to said plane.

9. The sound minimizing housing of claim 4, wherein the sound minimizing pad comprises a plurality of tubular pieces, wherein each of the tubular pieces includes an axis, with the axis of some of the tubular pieces being parallel to the axis of some of the other tubular pieces, and with the axis of some of the tubular pieces being at a right angle to the axis of some of the other tubular pieces.

10. The sound minimizing housing of claim 4, wherein the sound minimizing pad comprises a floor portion and a sidewall portion, with the floor portion confronting the floor of the base portion, and with the sidewall portion extending generally upright from the floor portion and confronting the sidewall of the base portion.

11. The sound minimizing housing of claim 10, and further comprising: a) at least two housing openings in the sound minimizing housing, wherein said at least two housing openings are disposed generally across from each other; b) a pad opening in the sidewall portion of the sound minimizing pad, with the pad opening confronting one of said at least two housing openings such that air flowing through the pad opening immediately flows through said one of said at least two housing openings; c) whereby air flows generally into one portion of the sound minimizing housing and out of another portion of the sound minimizing housing.

12. A sound minimizing housing adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing minimizes sound generated by the noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing comprises: a) a base having a floor; b) a cover, with the cover with the cover being swingably engaged to the base, with the cover having closed and open positions relative to the base; and c) wherein the base is isolated via an isolation arrangement from the cover in each of the closed and open positions.

13. The sound minimizing housing of claim 12, wherein the isolation arrangement includes an axis about which the cover is swingable relative to the base, and further includes first and second spacers on the axis, wherein each of the first and second spacers confronts respective sections of the cover and base in each of the open and closed positions, and wherein each of the first and second spacers spaces said respective sections from each other in each of the open and closed positions such that vibrations between said respective sections are minimized.

14. The sound minimizing housing of claim 13, wherein each of the first and second spacers comprises nylon.

15. The sound minimizing housing of claim 13, wherein each of the first and second spacers consist of a first material, and wherein each of the base and cover consist of a second material.

16. The sound minimizing housing of claim 12, wherein the isolation arrangement includes a resilient piece between the cover and the base, wherein the resilient piece confronts each of the cover and the base when the cover is in the closed position such that vibrations between the cover and base are minimized, and wherein the resilient piece is spaced from one of the cover and the base when the cover is in the open position.

17. The sound minimizing housing of claim 12, wherein the isolation arrangement comprises: a) an axis about which the cover is swingable relative to the base; b) first and second spacers on the axis, with each of the first and second spacers confronting respective sections of the cover and base and spacing said respective sections from each other such that vibrations between said respective sections are minimized; and c) a resilient piece between the cover and the base, wherein the resilient piece confronts each of the cover and the base when the cover is in the closed position such that vibrations between the cover and base are minimized.

18. The sound minimizing housing of claim 12, and further comprising at least two housing openings in the sound minimizing housing, wherein said at least two openings are disposed generally across from each other such that air flows generally into one portion of the sound minimizing housing and out of another portion of the sound minimizing housing.

19. A sound minimizing housing adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing minimizes sound generated by the noise producing device, wherein the sound minimizing housing comprises: a) a base having a floor and a base rear sidewall; b) a cover having a ceiling and a cover rear sidewall; and c) a hinge between the base and the cover such that the cover is swingable relative to the base, with the hinge having an axis and with the axis being spaced rearwardly of each of the base rear sidewall and cover rear sidewall such that the hinge is offset from each of the base rear sidewall and the cover rear sidewall.

20. The sound minimizing housing of claim 19, and further comprising at least two housing openings in the sound minimizing housing, wherein said at least two housing openings are disposed generally across from each other such that air flows generally into one portion of the sound minimizing housing and out of another portion of the sound minimizing housing.

21. The sound minimizing housing of claim 19, wherein the each of the base and cover is receptacle shaped and wherein each of the base and cover includes a perimeter, with the perimeters overlapping when the cover is in the closed position as the hinge is in an out of the way offset location.

Description:

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/490,471 filed Jul. 28, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for enclosing a noise producing device, particularly to such an apparatus where the apparatus requires openings that permit sound to escape, and specifically to such an apparatus where the device to be enclosed is a blender that is air cooled.

A blender is a noise producing device. Generally, louder blenders are better because louder blenders run faster and produce coffee coolers and smoothies more quickly.

Louder blenders, however, generate of course a relatively great amount of noise. While a customer may expect the blender noise upon walking into a coffee shop, bar or smoothie bar, relatively quiet dinner restaurants, libraries and book stores too make coffee coolers, fruit smoothies and ice cream drinks.

Another drawback to the more powerful and thus louder blender is the generation of heat. The blender's electric motor must be cooled. Most blender motors are air cooled in a positive manner, drawing air in and out with a fan mechanism.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of the cover having a perimeter that is tucked inside of the base when the cover is in a closed position to keep drippings inside of the housing, of the cover overlapping the base to minimize transfer of sound out of the base, and of the cover being spaced from the base to permit air flow between the base and the cover.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of a sound minimizing pad being disposed between the floor of the housing and the noise producing device, and of the sound minimizing pad being formed of a plurality of tubular pieces.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of a sound minimizing pad being disposed between the floor of the housing and the noise producing device, and of the sound minimizing pad having a floor and a sidewall to at least partially surround the noise producing device.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of the base being isolated from the cover via an isolation arrangement in each of the open and closed positions.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of the base being isolated from the cover via an isolation arrangement in each of the open and closed positions, of the isolation arrangement having an axis about which the cover and base and swingable relative to each other, and of the isolation arrangement having spacers on the axis and confronting sections of the base and cover in each of the open and closed positions such that vibrations between the respective sections are minimized.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of the base being isolated from the cover via an isolation arrangement in each of the open and closed positions, and of the isolation arrangement having at least one resilient piece between the cover and the base that confronts each of the cover and the base when the cover is in the closed position and that is spaced from one of the cover and the base when the cover is in the open position.

Another feature of the present invention is the provision in a sound minimizing housing having a base and a cover and being adaptable for containing therein a noise producing device, of an offset hinge swingably engaging the cover to the base, of the base having a rear sidewall, of the cover having a rear sidewall, and of the offset hinge being set rearwardly of the rear sidewalls such that the cover can be neatly tucked inside of the base such that, in turn, drippings stay inside of the housing.

An advantage of the present invention is the minimization of noise. Features that contribute to this advantage include the overlapping cover and base, the sound minimizing pad, and the isolation arrangement having the spacers on the rear hinge and the resilient pads where the front portion of the cover meets the base.

Another advantage of the present invention is the maximization of air flow. Features that contribute to this advantage include the spacings between the portions of the cover and base that overlap, the relatively large opening for the electrical cord for the noise producing device, and the opening in the resilient pad.

Another advantage of the present invention is, at the same time, minimizing noise and maximizing air flow.

Another advantage of the present invention is food cleanliness. The cover is tucked inside of the base such that food or beverage drippings stay in the housing instead of flowing down outside faces of the housing. Further, the housing is formed of plastics that are easy to wipe clean.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the housing, including the sound minimizing pad, are relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the housing is relatively easy to use. For example, the hinge may be tightened such that the cover can stay relatively immobile at any position to which it is swung.

IN THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the sound minimizing housing of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the sound minimizing apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the sound minimizing apparatus of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the right side of the sound minimizing housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the left side of the sound minimizing housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a side view of the left side of sound minimizing housing of FIG. 1 and shows the cover swung open to one of an infinite number of positions.

FIG. 7 is a top view of the sound minimizing housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a bottom view of the sound minimizing housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a side view of the left side of sound minimizing housing of FIG. 1 and shows, inside of the housing, a blender drawn in phantom.

FIG. 10 is a section view of the housing at lines 10-10 of FIG. 2 and shows a top view of the sound minimizing pad disposed inside of the housing.

FIG. 11 is a broken apart, detail view of a portion of the hinge of the housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the sound minimizing pad for the housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sound minimizing pad for the housing of FIG. 1.

FIG. 14 is a detail view of a resilient tube, a plurality of which make up the pads shown in FIGS. 12 and 13.

FIG. 15 shows a portion of the top surface of pad 20 of FIG. 12.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in FIG. 1, the present invention includes a sound minimizing apparatus 10 having a sound minimizing housing 12. Housing 12 includes a cover 14 and a base or body 16. The cover 14 is swingable via a hinge mechanism 18 engaged between the cover 14 and base 16. Cover 14 includes a handle 17. A sound minimizing pad 20, shown in FIG. 9, may be located in the housing 12, beneath a blender 22, also shown in FIG. 9. Housing 12 further includes an access lid 24 covering a tamper opening 25. The sound minimizing apparatus 10 may also include a tamper holder 26 fixed to a side of the housing 12.

More specifically, base 12 includes a floor portion 30, shown in FIG. 8. Floor portion 30 is generally rectangular or square and is apertured so as to include a relatively large central through opening 32 and six relatively small through openings 34 situated radially about the central opening 32. Openings 32, 34 provide for drainage of liquid, such as water, from housing 12 and further provide for the flow of air into and out of the housing 12. Openings 32, 34 are advantageously located immediately at the bottom portion of the blender 22 where the motor mechanism and motor cooling mechanism are disposed on the blender 22. Radially disposed openings 34 are advantageously disposed so as to direct air flow up or down the generally round sides of the blender 22.

Floor portion 30 has fixed thereto first and second front suction cups 36 for engaging a surface on which the housing 12 is placed. Suction cups 36 are disposed on the same side of the housing 12 as the handle 17, i.e. a frontwardly disposed portion of the housing 12. The engaging force of the resilient suction cups 36 keeps the front side of the housing 12, and therefore the housing 12 as a whole, engaged to the surface when the handle 17 is raised. Accordingly, the opening of the cover 14 is a one-hand operation. There is no need to use one hand to hold down or keep steady the base 16 and the other hand to lift up the cover 14 via the handle 17. Each of the suction cups 36 is disposed generally in a front corner section of the floor portion 30. Suction cups 36 are formed of an elastomeric or rubber material such that the housing 12, and such that vibrations of the housing 12, are minimized or isolated relative to the surface on which the housing 12 is located. Suction cups 36 may be fixed, such as by screws or adhesive, to the floor portion 30.

Floor portion 30 further has fixed thereto a pair of rear feet 38 disposed in rear corner sections. Each of the rear feet 38 is formed of a resilient antiskid material to minimize slippage of the housing 12 over the surface on which the housing 12 is disposed. The rear feet 38 are formed of an elastomeric or rubber material such that the housing 12, and such that vibrations of the housing 12, are minimized or isolated relative to the surface on which the housing 12 is located. Rear feet 38 may be fixed, such as by screws or adhesive, to the floor portion 30.

Base 16 further includes a front sidewall 40 extending upwardly from a front section of the floor portion 30. Front sidewall 40 is integral and one-piece with floor portion 30. A first section 42 of the front sidewall 40 is disposed at generally a right angle, or slightly obtuse angle, relative to the floor portion 30. A second section 44 of the front sidewall 40 extends generally outwardly and upwardly from the first section 42 and terminates at an upper laterally extending edge 46.

Base 16 further includes a rear sidewall 50, shown in FIG. 9, extending upwardly from a rear section of the floor portion 30. Rear sidewall 50 is integral and one-piece with floor portion 30 and front sidewall 40. Rear sidewall 50 extends at generally a right angle to floor portion 30. Rear sidewall 50 is greater in height than front sidewall 40, is preferably more than two times as high as front sidewall 40, and is more preferably more than three times as high as front sidewall 30. Rear sidewall 50 includes an upper laterally extending edge 52, shown in FIG. 9.

Rear sidewall 50 includes in a lower section an air flow opening 54, preferably about one and one-half inches in diameter. Noise producing devices such as blenders are positively cooled by fan mechanisms, and air flow opening 54 permits the intake of relatively cool air and/or the exhaust of relatively hot air. Opening 54 is also utilized for an electrical cord for noise producing device 22.

Floor portion 30, front sidewall 40 and rear sidewall 50 have right longitudinally extending edges 56 that extend in a common plane and left longitudinally extending edges 58 that extend in a common plane. The front sidewall portions of these edges are shown in FIG. 2.

Base 16 further includes a right sidewall 60 and a left sidewall 62. The sidewalls 60, 62 are affixed, such as by adhesive, to the respective right and left longitudinally extending edges 56, 58 of the floor portion 30, front sidewall 40 and rear sidewall 50. Such generally completes the construction of base 16. Base 16 takes generally the form of a receptacle. Sidewalls 60, 62 lie in planes that are generally parallel to each other.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 9, the right and left longitudinally extending edges 56, 58 are fixed within the perimeter of the sidewalls 60, 62. Such sidewall perimeter includes a lower edge 64 extending generally parallel to the floor portion 30, a front edge 66 extending obliquely of the lower edge 64, an upper, front, angled, reclining or downwardly extending edge 68 extending obliquely relative to edge 66, an upper, generally horizontal edge 70 extending generally parallel to edge 64, an upper, rear, angle, reclining or downwardly extending edge 72, and a rear edge 74 extending inwardly and downwardly back to edge 64. Each of the sidewalls 60, 62 includes an inner face 76 and an outer face 78.

Edge 64 is spaced from and runs generally parallel to the floor portion 30. Edge 66 is spaced from the front wall 40 and its two sections 42 and 44. Edges 70, 72 and 74 are spaced from rear wall 50, with edge 70 being disposed at a right angle to rear wall 50 and edges 72 and 74 being oblique relative to rear wall 50 so as to form an offset support portion for the hinge mechanism 18.

As shown in FIG. 11, each of the sidewalls 60, 62 includes an opening 80 for hinge mechanism 18. The opening 80 is formed in an upper rear ear portion or offset support portion of each of the sidewalls 60, 62. Formed coaxially with opening 80 is a spacer or washer receptacle 82, shown in FIG. 11. Receptacle 82 extends inwardly from the inner face 76 of each of the sidewalls 60, 62.

Left sidewall 62 includes a pair of through openings in which a pair of respective vertically spaced connectors 90 are affixed. Each of the connectors 90 includes a head 92 that is spaced from the outer face 78 of the left sidewall 62. The connectors 90 engage respective keyholes 94 of tamper holder 26, where each of the keyholes includes two openings that are in communication with each other. A lower keyhole opening is greater in size than an upper keyhole opening such that the tamper holder or other mechanism 26 is engaged to housing 12 by first matching the lower keyhole openings with the connectors 90 and then sliding the tamper holder downwardly such that the connectors engage the upper keyhole openings, with a disengagement of the tamper mechanism 26 proceeding in the reverse manner. As shown in FIG. 3, each of the connectors 90 further includes a spacer or isolator 96 intermediate the outer face 78 and tamper mechanism 26 so as to minimize the tamper holder 26 from acting as a speaker or amplifier for vibrations originating with the noise producing device housed by the housing 12.

Tamper holder 26 includes a body 100 in which the keyholes 94 are formed, an upper end 101 and a lower end 102. Upper end 101 includes opening 104 and lower end 102 includes opening 106. An upper end of the tamper is inserted through opening 104 and engaged by the upper end 101. A lower end of the tamper is inserted through opening 106 and is prevented from excessive wobble by the perimeter forming lower opening 106. Tamper holder 26 is one-piece and molded from plastic.

Cover 14 includes a ceiling portion 110. When cover 14 is engaged to the base 16, ceiling portion 110 lies in a plane generally parallel to a plane in which floor portion 30 lies. Ceiling portion 110 is generally rectangular or square and includes a central opening 112 coaxial with lower opening 32 and coaxial with an imaginary circle formed by openings 34. Opening 112 is further aligned with an upper opening of a noise producing device such as a blender such that ingredients can be added to the blender or such that a tamper can be inserted through opening 112 and thus further inserted into the blender. Opening 112 includes circular portions but is not circular for 360 degrees. Opening 112 includes a relatively wide slot portion 114 and a pair of relatively narrow slot portions 116. Slot portions 116 receive and locate pins 118. Pins 118 fix a hinge flap 120 to a lid 122. Other than slot portions 116 and 118, opening 112 is circular.

Lid 122 includes a circular portion 124 that has a size or diameter greater than opening 112 so as to prevent matter, such as matter being blended, from being thrown out of the housing 12 via the opening 112. Lid 112 includes a tab or handle 126 for opening and closing the lid 122. Between the lid 122 and ceiling portion 110 is a hinge 128 having hinge flap 120 and further having hinge flap 130. An axle 132 of the hinge 128 is pinched by a central pincher 134. Pincher 134 is operated by turning pin 136. When axle 132 is relatively tightly pinched by mechanism 134, the lid 122 can be maintained at a certain position relative to ceiling portion 110 such that lid 112 is relatively difficult to pivot by hand. When axle 132 is relatively loosely pinched by mechanism 134, lid 112 closes under the force of gravity alone. When axle 132 is pinched between such two extremes, the lid 122 can be pivoted by one hand to any position and the lid 122 then stays at such position when the hand releases the lid 122, whether such position is an fully opened position, a closed position, or a position between the fully opened and closed positions.

Cover 14 further includes a front sidewall 140 extending downwardly and obliquely relative to ceiling portion 110. Front sidewall 140 and ceiling portion 110 are integral and one-piece. Front sidewall 140 includes a pair of lip sections 142 extending inwardly and downwardly relative to a lower portion of the front sidewall 140. Lip sections 142 are generally the same width as second section 44 of front sidewall 40. Lip sections 142 are spaced from and confront second section 44 when the cover 14 is in a closed position so as to provide an overlap 143. Such a spacing is an air flow opening to permit air flow into and out of the housing 12. Lip sections 142 lie in a plane generally parallel to the plane in which second section 44 lies.

Front sidewall 140 of the cover 14 is of a length generally equal to the length of rear sidewall 50 of the base 16. Such contributes toward a structural and functional balance between the cover 14 and base 16. Such also contributes toward an aesthetic symmetry between the cover 14 and base 16.

Front sidewall 140 further includes a handle or handle portion 144 running outwardly and downwardly relative to a lower portion of front sidewall 140. Handle 144 is intermediate the lip sections 142. As shown in FIG. 2, intermediate the handle 144 and each of the lip sections 142 is an air flow opening 146. Engaged, such as with adhesive, to an underside of the handle 144 are a pair of resilient isolators or rubber or elastomeric pieces or bumpers or pads 148, located so as to engage the upper edge 46 of front sidewall 40 of base 16 when the cover 14 is in its closed position. Resilient bumpers 148 form a portion of an isolation arrangement between the base 16 and cover 14 to minimize one or both of the parts from acting like speakers or amplifiers for the sound generating device housed in housing 12. Bumpers 148 are preferably formed of a color to match the color of one or more of the cover 14 or base 16. If the cover 14 and/or base 16 is transparent or clear, bumpers 148 too may be transparent, clear or at least translucent.

Cover 14 further includes a rear sidewall 150 extending downwardly and generally at a right angle from ceiling portion 110. Rear sidewall 150 is integral and one-piece with ceiling portion 110 and with front sidewall 140. Rear sidewall 150 includes a lower laterally extending edge 152. When the cover 14 is in the closed position, lower edge 152 is disposed below laterally extending upper edge 52 of rear sidewall 50 of base 16 such that rear sidewall 150 of the cover 14 overlaps rear sidewall 50 of base 16 when the cover 14 is in the closed position. Such overlapping portions 153 confront and are spaced from each other to permit air flow therebetween and into and out of the housing 12 when the cover is in the closed position. Rear sidewall 150 of the cover 14 and rear sidewall 50 of base 16 lie in planes that are generally parallel to each other when the cover 14 is in the closed position.

Ceiling portion 110, front sidewall 140, and rear sidewall 150 include respective right and left hand longitudinally extending edges 154 and 156. A portion of each of such edges 154 and 156 is shown in FIG. 3.

Cover 14 further includes a right hand sidewall 160 and a left hand sidewall 162. Each of the sidewalls 160, 162 includes a lower, angled, reclining, downwardly extending edge 164, a front edge 166 extending at a generally right angle or slightly acute angle relative to edge 164, a front edge 168 extending obliquely and obtusely relative to edge 166, an upper edge 170 extending obliquely and obtusely relative to front edge 168, a rear hinge related edge 172 extending obliquely and obtusely relative to edge 170, a rear hinge related edge 174, a rear slot edge 176 best shown in FIG. 9, which in turn meets the lower edge 164. Such edges form a perimeter of each of the sidewalls 160 and 162.

Ceiling portion 110, front wall 140, and rear wall 150 are fixed, such as with adhesive, to and between sidewalls 160 and 162. The longitudinally extending edges 154 and 156 are flush with or within the perimeter of sidewalls 160 and 162. More particularly, edge 166 is flush with the outer face of lip sections 142. Edge 168 runs generally parallel to front wall 140, which is spaced or set back from edge 168. Edge 170 runs generally parallel to ceiling portion 110, which is spaced or set back from edge 170. Rear wall 150 is spaced from hinge related edges 172 and 174, and a portion of the outer face of rear wall 150 is flush with a front upright portion of slot edge 176.

Each of ceiling portion 110, front wall 140 and rear wall 150 includes a width slightly less than the width of floor portion 30, front wall 40, and rear wall 50 such that the cover 14 fits within the base 16. In other words, edge 164 of the cover 14 extends inwardly of and beyond edge 68 of the base 16 such that overlapping cover and base portions 178 and 180 are provided. Such overlapping portions 178 and 180 confront and are spaced from each other to permit air flow into and out of the housing 12. It can be appreciated that overlapping portion 178 (shown in FIG. 4) runs into overlapping portion 143 (shown in FIG. 9), which in turn runs into overlapping portion 180 (shown in FIG. 5), which in turn runs into overlapping portion 153 (shown in FIG. 9), which in turn runs into overlapping portion 178 (shown in FIG. 4) such that an overlap runs continuously about an upper portion of the base 16 and a lower portion of the cover 14 when the cover 14 is in the closed position. This overlap permits air to flow into and out of the housing 12. This overlap deadens noise because noise or sound waves cannot travel directly out of housing 12, but must take a tortuous path. This overlap retains spills from the noise producing device inside of the housing 12 because the cover overlap portion is within the base overlap portion.

Cover 14 further includes a hinge opening 182 formed in each of the sidewalls 160, 162 of the cover 14. Hinge opening 182 is shown in FIG. 11.

Cover 14 further includes the slot edge 176, as indicated above. This slot edge 176 forms a slot 184 that receives an upper portion of rear wall 50 of base 16 when the cover 14 is in the closed position. When the upper portion of the rear wall 50 is in the slot 184, it should be noted that the slot edge 176 is spaced from the rear wall 50 when the cover 14 is in the closed position such that there is no transmission of vibrations at such a location.

Cover 14 is in the form of a receptacle, albeit turned upside down. The ceiling portion 110, front wall 140 and rear wall 150 form the shape of a receptacle. Housing 12 is thus a housing formed from a first receptacle and a second receptacle, with the receptacles being swingably engaged to each other and isolated relative to each other, with the receptacles having perimeters that overlap by virtue of the hinge mechanism 18 being in an out of the way and offset position.

As indicated above, rear wall 50 of base 16 is about the same height as front wall 140 of the cover 14. Likewise, rear wall 150 of cover 14 is generally about the height of front wall 40 of base 16. Such also contributes toward a structural and functional balance between the cover 14 and the base 16 and an aesthetic look to the housing 12.

As shown in FIG. 9, hinge mechanism 18 is offset from the rear wall 50 of the base 16 and is also offset from the rear wall 150 of the cover 14. Such a structure removes the hinge mechanism 18 from the interior of the housing 12, where the interior of the housing 12 is defined by the receptacle shape of the cover 14 and the receptacle shape of the base 16. In other words, such a structure permits the continuous overlap from overlap 178 to overlap 143 to overlap 180 to overlap 153 and back to overlap 178 without a hinge mechanism, such as hinge mechanism 18, getting in the way of such continuous overlap. Such an offset is provided for by ear portions 186, 188 of respective sidewalls 60, 62 of base 16 and ear portions 190, 192 of respective sidewalls 160, 162 of cover 14. These ear portions 186, 188, 190, and 192 are defined by the portions of sidewalls 60, 62, 160, and 162 that extend rearwardly of rear wall 50 of base 16 and rear wall 150 of cover 14.

As shown in FIG. 11, hinge mechanism 18 includes a threaded pin 194 having rigidly fixed thereon handle or star wheel knob 196, which is integral, one-piece and coaxial with extender or spacer 198 extending inwardly relative to handle 196. Handle 196 and spacer 198 are formed of plastic. Axially confronting the distal end of spacer 198 is a metal lock washer or lock 200 spinnable on pin 194. Axially confronting the lock washer 200 is a plastic washer or locator or bushing 202 spinnable on pin 194. Locator 202 includes a first portion 204 that confronts lock washer 200 and includes a diameter greater in diameter than opening 182 in cover 14. Locator 202 includes a second portion 206 that has a diameter substantially equal to or slightly less than the diameter of opening 182 such that locator 202 may somewhat spin in opening 182 and at the same time space pin 194 from surfaces that form opening 182. Locator 202 confronts sidewall 160 (or 162) that in turn confront a nylon washer or spacer 208 having an opening 210 with a diameter slightly larger than the diameter of pin 194 such that a turning of pin 194 does not turn nylon washer 208. The outside diameter of nylon washer 208 is substantially equal to or slightly less than the outside diameter of receptacle or seat 82 formed in sidewall 60 (or sidewall 160) such that the nylon washer 208 is seated in seat 82. Nylon washer 208 thus axially confronts sidewall 60 (or sidewall 160), which in turn confronts a washer or locator or bushing 212 spinnable on pin 194. Plastic locator 212 includes a first portion 214 that has a diameter substantially equal to or slightly less than opening 80 so as to, with locator 202, hold pin 194 in opening 80 and spacing the pin 194 from surfaces forming the opening 80. Locator 214 has a second portion 216 with a diameter greater than opening 80. This second portion 216 confronts sidewall 60 (or sidewall 160) and further confronts a lock nut or lock 218 that threadingly cooperates with pin 194.

As shown in FIG. 11, base 16 is isolated from cover 14 via nylon washer or isolator 208. Isolator 208 is formed of a material (nylon) different from the material (an impact resistant plastic) of the cover 14 and base 16. The use of a spacer such as a nylon washer 208 is a first feature that minimizes transmission of vibrations between the cover 14 and base 16. The use of a spacer formed of a material different from the material of the cover 14 and base 16 is a second feature that minimizes transmission of vibrations between cover 14 and base 16. A third feature that minimizes transmission of vibrations between cover 14 and base 16 is isolating the hinge, i.e. pin 194, from each of the cover 14 and base 16. Pin 194 is isolated from each of the cover 14 and base 16 via isolators 202, 208, and 212 (i.e., the locator 202, the nylon washer 208, and the locator 212).

Hinge mechanism 18 is a friction hinge mechanism. In other words, by tightening and loosening lock washer 218 relative to pincher or spacer 198, the axial friction between pincher 198, lock washer 202, locator 202, cover 14, nylon washer 208, base 16, locator 212, and lock nut 218 is relatively tightened and loosened. When the hinge mechanism 18 is relatively loose, the cover 14 falls under the influence of gravity onto base 16. When the hinge mechanism 18 is relatively tight, cover 14 is locked to base 16 where a swinging of cover 14 relative to base 16 may take a relatively great manual effort, the force of which may overcome the force of the suction provided by suction cups 36 on a smooth flat metal, plastic or glass surface. Between such two extremes is a hinge position where cover 14 can be swung from a closed position to an open position by hand and where, at such open position, the hand is removed and the cover 14 remains at such an open position without a further tightening of the hinge mechanism 18.

Sound minimizing pad 20 is best shown in FIG. 12. Sound minimizing pad 20 is generally square and is of a size generally equal to the size of floor portion 30 of base 16 such that, when placed on floor portion 30, sound minimizing pad 20 is bounded by front wall 40, rear wall 50 and sidewalls 60, 62 such that lateral and longitudinal movement of the sound minimizing pad 20 is minimized. Sound minimizing pad 20 thereby provides a non-slip base for noise producing device 22. Bottom surface 220 of pad 20 is generally coplanar with top surface 222 of pad 20. Top surface 222 is customized for the particular noise producing device 22 such that pad 20 includes two rear circular seats 224 for rear legs of the device 22 and two front circular seats 226 for front legs of device 22. Front circular seats 226 are in communication with an elongate slot or groove 228 running from one side of pad 20 to the other side. Elongate slot 228 receives an elongate downwardly protruding lip of noise producing device 22. With the customized pad 20 having customized impressions 224, 226 and 228, noise producing device 22 remains in its standard upright position where the device 22 is spaced from each of the cover 14 and base 16 and from the walls, floor and ceiling of the cover 14 and base 16.

To further ensure such a spacing from the walls, floor and ceiling of the cover 14 and base 16, a sound minimizing pad may have sidewalls itself, as shown by sound minimizing pad 230 of FIG. 13. Pad 230 includes a floor 232 formed and sized like pad 20 except that floor 232 does not include impression 228. Pad 230 further includes a pair of sidewalls 234, 236 and a rear wall 238. Sidewall 234 confronts sidewall 60 of base 16. Sidewall 236 confronts sidewall 62 of base 16. Rear wall 238 confronts rear wall 50 of base 16. Sidewalls 234, 236 include upper tapering respective edges 240, 242 such that the size of pad 230 can be maximized without interfering with the lower edges 164 of sidewalls 160, 162 of cover 14 that extend into base 16. Rear wall 238 includes an opening 244 that is adjacent to and cooperates with opening 54 in rear wall 50 of base 16 for air intake and exhaust.

If desired, floor 232, sidewalls 234, 236 and rear wall 238 may be formed integrally and be of one-piece. If desired, pad 230 may include a front wall extending between the front edges of sidewalls 234, 236 and/or exclude rear wall 238. If desired, pad 230 may include openings in the floor 232 to further provide for air intake and exhaust and to cooperate with openings 32 and 34 of floor portion 30 of base 16.

FIG. 14 shows a resilient tube 250. A plurality of such tubes or tube pieces 250 make up pad 20 of FIG. 12 and make up the pad 230 of FIG. 13, including the floor 232, sidewalls 234 and 236, and rear wall 238. Tube 250 includes an endless sidewall 252, a through opening 254, an axis 256, and annular ends 258. Tube 250 is formed of a rubber or elastomeric material such that after tube 250 is pinched, tube 250 is biased to resiliently return to its original unpinched position. Tube 250 is preferably about one to about ten millimeters in length and height, more preferably about two to about eight millimeters in length and height, and more preferably about three to about seven millimeters in length and height.

FIG. 15 shows how the plurality of tube pieces 250 are fixed, such as with adhesive or a melting operation, to each other. Preferably, the axis 256 of some of the tube pieces 250 are set at a right angle relative to the axis of some of the other tube pieces 250, with the axis 256 of some of the tubes pieces 250 being parallel to the axis 256 of some of the other tube pieces 250. More preferably, as shown in FIG. 15, the axis of each of the tube pieces 250 is either 1) at a right angle to generally planar surface 222 or 2) parallel to generally planar surface 222. If desired, tube pieces 250 may be randomly oriented in pads 20 and 230.

When set in and making up pad 20 or pad 230, each of the tube pieces 250 may be in a generally cylindrical form, a pinched flat form where portions of sidewall 252 run parallel to each other, or in a form between the cylindrical and flat forms. Preferably, the tube piece 250 is not pinched in the axial direction where annular ends 258 are pinched toward each other.

Each of the tube pieces 250 is a separate individual chamber in which sounds or sound waves or vibrations are trapped or deadened or absorbed or isolated or redirected. Each of the tube pieces 250 is preferably formed of a polymer, more preferably from a polymer foam, and most preferably of porous expanded polypropylene (PEPP or PEPP foam).

Noise producing device 22 is preferably a blender 22. Blender 22 may include a portion 260 housing a fan mechanism for cooling a motor of the blender 22, a portion 262 for housing a motor for driving one or more blades or mixers, a portion 264 in which solids and/or liquids are blended, a cap 266, and a lid 268. Lid 268 and/or cap 266 provide access to portion 264 in which material is blended, and lid 268 confronts tamper opening 25.

In operation, housing 12 is placed in its closed position on a relatively smooth countertop surface such that suction cups 36 grab and hold onto the surface under the weight of the housing 12. In its closed position, cover 14 rests on and is spaced from the base 16 via bumpers 148. Then the cover 14 swung open via the handle 144 to a selected open position where, upon the hand releasing the handle 144, the cover 14 remains by virtue of the friction hinge mechanism 18. The noise producing device 22 is then placed in the housing 12 on pad 20, with an electrical cord for device 22 being inserted through opening 54 (and pad opening 244 if pad 230 is utilized). Food solids and/or food liquids may then be placed in the blender 22, while the cover 14 is in an open position, with the cover 14 subsequently being closed as the blender 22 is turned on. Or the cover 14 may be immediately swung to the closed position and food solids and/or food liquids may be inserted into blender 22 via tamper opening 25, with the cover 14 then being turned on by slightly lifting up the cover 14 to insert a hand to turn a switch to turn on the blender 22, whereupon the cover 14 is returned to its closed position.

During the blending and noise producing operation, air is taken in and exhausted from the blender 22 via the spacing provided by the continuous overlapping portions 178, 143, 180 and 153, via rear opening 54, via openings 146, via floor openings 32 and 34, and, if the pad 230 is used, via pad opening 244. Further a slight opening may be provided by slot 114 of tamper opening 25. Air flow in the housing 12 is therefore cross air flow, in one portion of the housing 12 and out of another portion of the housing 12. With many blenders, the blender fan configuration is such that air is taken in through the continuous overlapping portions 178, 143, 180 and 153 and exhausted out of rear opening 54.

During the blending and noise producing operation, noise is dampened by housing 12 by virtue of 1) the continuous overlapping portions 178, 143, 180 and 153 so as to provide a tortuous path for sound waves and 2) the isolation arrangement that includes 2a) the bumpers 148 and hinge mechanism 18 so as to isolate the cover 14 from the base 16 and 2b) one of the pads 20 and 230 so as to isolate the noise producing device 22 from the base 16 and the housing 12 as a whole.

During the blending and noise producing operation, the access lid 24 may be opened and the lid 268 of the blender 22 may be opened such that the inside of the blender 22 is accessible for operations such as tamper operations.

During the blending and noise producing operation, the cover 14 may be opened and swung to a certain position. With the isolation arrangement, vibrations in the cover 14 are minimized and the cover 14 remains open, unpersuaded by the vibrations to settle back to the closed position.

During the blending and noise producing operation, if material spills or is thrown from lid 268 or cover 266 of blender 22, the tucked in and overlapping cover 14 prevents such spilled or thrown material from being further spilled or thrown to an exterior portion of the housing 12.

After the blending and noise producing operation, the cover 14 may be swung open and the blender 22 turned off. Portion 264 (with portions 266 and 268) of the blender 22 may be removed and the blended material may be poured into individual serving cups or receptacles. Portion 264 then may be rinsed or cleaned and set back onto portion 262 for another blending operation.

After the blending and noise producing operation, the cover 14 may be swung open and the blender 22 turned off. The blender 22 may be removed as a whole and the housing 12 may be washed as a whole, with or without one of the pads 20 or 230. After a rinsing operation, the housing 12 may be dried in either an open position or in a closed position.

After the blending and noise producing operation, the housing 12 may be stored in a closed position with mold growth being minimized because of the air ports in the housing 12, including the air ports provided by the overlapping portions 178, 143, 180 and 153, the rear wall opening 54, and the floor openings 32 and 34.

The pad 20 or 230 may be formed of PEPP (porous expanded polypropylene). Pads 20 and 230 stop any resonating, absorb sounds and vibrations, and isolate the noise generating device 22 from the housing 12. PEPP is preferable over polyurethane foam and rubber pads.

An upper surface of pad 20 or 230 preferably closely confronts the lower surface of the noise producing device 22 such that a relatively great amount of surface area on the bottom portion of the blender confronts an upper surface of the pad 20 or 230. It is preferred that the blender 22 sits down closely on pad 20 or 230 but that spacing still exists between the bottom surface of the noise producing device and the upper surface of the pad 20 or 230 so as to provide for circulation of air. Noise dampening is enhanced with such a customized seat, yet circulation and cooling are maintained.

Noise producing device 22 may be a coffee grinder.

Housing 12 is a sound enclosure having air circulation ports, where efforts to minimize sound are compromised by the need for air circulation. A sound proof housing may be made, yet such sound proof housing most probably has no ports for air circulation.

With hinge mechanism 18, cover 14 can be opened to an infinite number of positions such that cover 14 can be raised up a millimeter, opened a millimeter short of the fully open position, or to any position therebetween.

With hinge mechanism 18, the cover 14 can slam shut under the influence of gravity (which is not preferred), the cover 14 can be extremely hard to open and close (which is not preferred), and the cover 14 can be raised with a one hand operation and left at exactly such raised position (which is preferred for safety) without doing anything further and without tightening the hinge mechanism such that the cover 14 does not slam shut. In other words, the hinge mechanism 18 can be adjusted to an infinite number of degrees of force. The nylon washer 208 is one feature that provides for such an adjustment.

It should be noted that hinge mechanism 18 is on a horizontal axis such that cover 14 is raised upwardly. This is a right or left hand operation, unlike a refrigerator door that, because of its vertical hinge, is limited to either a left handed operation or a right handed operation.

Cover 14 and base 16 is formed of an impact resistant plastic such as acrylic, impact modified acrylic, or polycarbonate. Cover 14 and base 16 are formed of a material certified for food contact. Pad 20 or 230 can be easily washed and cleaned.

Cover 14 and base 16 may be transparent, translucent, clear, or color tinted. Bumpers 148 may match the color or clearness of the cover 14 and base 16.

Tube pieces 250 may operate by redirecting sound or by stopping a bouncing of sound. Further, instead of providing opening 244 in pad 230, rear wall 238 may be removed such that pad 230 includes only the floor 232 and the sidewalls 234 and 236.

Blenders produce noise. Such noise is then amplified by prior art housings that enclose the blender. The present invention provides no amplification and dampens the noise.

The present invention is easily broken down into its parts. The hinge mechanism 18 can be readily taken apart so that the cover 14 can be removed from the base 16. The pad 20 or 230 can be removed from the base 16. Hinge mechanism 128 can be screwed out. Suction cups 36 and feet 38 can be unscrewed. Tamper holder 26 can be easily removed and connectors 92 can be screwed out of base 16.

Housing 12 is a portable housing. Housing 12 may weigh between about ten and twelve pounds.

Engagement of blender 22 is ensured in the housing 12 because the pad 20 (or 230) is customized to the bottom portion of the blender, thereby minimizing lateral and longitudinal movement of the blender 22 relative to pad 20 (or 230), and because lateral and longitudinal movement of the pad 20 (or 230) relative to housing 12 is minimized by edges of the pad 20 (or 230) abutting the sidewalls 60, 62, rear wall 50 and front wall 40 of base 16.

Housing 12 may be about 15 to about 25 inches high, about eight to about twelve inches in width and about 12 to about 16 inches in depth.

It should be noted that a portion of surface 174 is a hinge stop that makes contact with an upper portion of rear sidewall 50 when the cover 14 is swung to the fully open position. Such portion of surface 174 acts as a positive stop to prevent a tip over of the cover 14 or a tip over of the sound minimizing apparatus 10 as a whole.

It should further be noted that the interior height of the housing or apparatus 10 in the closed position is specific to certain brands and models of noise producing apparatus such that when the cover 14 is in the closed position, the top cover 268 of the liquid/solids container 264 is prevented from disengagement from the container 264, thus preventing accidental spillage of the contents of the canister or container 264.

It should be further noted, as shown in phantom in FIG. 3, that a pad 20′ may be positioned between the apparatus 10 and a surface on which the apparatus 10 rests. More specifically, pad 20′ is identical to pad 20, except that pad 20′ is located outside, rather than inside, apparatus 10, except that the specific cutouts, such as cutouts 224, 226 and 228 of pad 20, may be different so as to accommodate feet 36 and 38, and except that the length and/or width of pad 20′ may differ. Via cutouts, one or more feet 36, 38 may extend through pad 20′. Or such cutouts may be formed in, but not extend through, pad 20′ so as to receive and engage one or more feet 36, 38. Pad 20′ is preferably of sufficient thickness such that the weight of apparatus 10 is engaged upon pad 20′ for absorbing vibrations. Pad 20′ may have a length and/or width less than, equal to, or greater than floor 30 of apparatus 10. Apparatus 10 may include pad 20′, as shown in FIG. 3, as well as pad 20, shown in FIG. 9. Still further, pad 230, shown in FIG. 13, may be positioned inside and/or outside of apparatus 10.