Title:
Freezable container for a cooler
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A freezable container includes a base portion and may include a lid. The base portion may include a cold-retaining medium layer and be configured to be freezable to maintain a chilled environment for stored content. The freezable container may be configured to fit inside an insulated container such as a cooler.



Inventors:
Hull, Kenneth W. (Wooster, OH, US)
O'brien, Sean Michael (Wooster, OH, US)
Reber, Fred (Shreve, OH, US)
Sander, David R. (Wooster, OH, US)
Scherer, Thomas W. (Mansfield, OH, US)
Schneider, Stephanie Killion (Wooster, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/639994
Publication Date:
02/17/2005
Filing Date:
08/13/2003
Assignee:
HULL KENNETH W.
O'BRIEN SEAN MICHAEL
REBER FRED
SANDER DAVID R.
SCHERER THOMAS W.
SCHNEIDER STEPHANIE KILLION
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/20; B65D81/38; F25D3/06; (IPC1-7): B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LHYMN, EUGENE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARSHALL, GERSTEIN & BORUN LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A first enclosure removably disposed within a second enclosure, wherein the first enclosure includes: a lid; and a base portion operatively coupled to the lid, the base portion comprising a bottom portion integrally coupled to a sidewall portion wherein the bottom portion, sidewall portion, and lid together define a compartment, the base portion further comprising at least one layer formed from a cold-retaining medium adapted to be freezable.

2. The first enclosure according to claim 1 wherein the base portion comprises: a first peripheral layer composed of a polymer; a second peripheral layer composed of a polymer; a third layer composed of a cold-retaining medium disposed between the first and the second peripheral layers; and a bonding layer composed of an adhesive material disposed between the first and the second peripheral layers.

3. The first enclosure according to claim 1 wherein the base portion comprises: a first peripheral layer composed of a polymer; a second peripheral layer composed of a polymer; a bonding layer composed of an adhesive material disposed between the first and the second peripheral layers; a separate cold-retaining medium layer positioned adjacent to the first peripheral layer within the compartment.

4. The first enclosure according to claim 1 wherein the lid comprises: a first peripheral layer composed of a polymer; a second peripheral layer composed of a polymer; a third layer composed of a cold-retaining medium disposed between the first and the second peripheral layers; and a bonding layer composed of an adhesive material disposed between the first and the second peripheral layers.

5. The first enclosure of claim 2, wherein the first polymer layer is formed from a thermoplastic material.

6. A freezable enclosure comprising a lid and a base portion operatively coupled to the lid, the base portion comprising a bottom portion integrally coupled to a sidewall portion wherein the bottom portion, sidewall portion, and lid together define a compartment, the base portion further comprising at least one layer formed from a cold-retaining medium adapted to be freezable.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

It is known in the art to provide container trays that fit within an insulated container such as a cooler. Trays are generally rectangular or square-shaped with a hollow container region. In general, the trays are made out of a single layer of plastic or other material. Some trays lack a lid or a cover. Such trays do not always effectively separate their contents from the remainder of the insulated container, nor do the trays have insulating properties or keep their contents chilled.

It is also known in the art to provide container liners which provide insulation and structural support for a soft, flexible container. An example of such a liner is disclosed in Melk, U.S. Pat. No. 5,403,095. The liner provides an added degree of waterproofing and insulation. Liners in general, however, do not permit different levels of chilling of the contents, or organization of the contents, within a container.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In general, a freezable container in accordance with the teachings of the disclosure keeps its contents chilled or heated and separates the content from the insulated container into which the freezable container is placed. The freezable container has a base portion that may include a bottom wall and side walls, and a lid engaged to a side wall to cover the base portion. The lid may be attached to the side wall by a hinge or other means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a freezable container for an insulated cooler;

FIG. 2 depicts a side view of the freezable container;

FIG. 3 depicts a perspective view of the freezable container disposed within an insulated cooler;

FIG. 4a depicts a cross-sectional view along line 3 of FIG. 1 showing the walls of the freezable container being composed of multiple layers;

FIG. 4b depicts a cross-sectional view along line 3 of FIG. 1 showing the walls of the freezable container being composed of multiple layers and a flexible sealed bag composing one of the layers;

FIG. 5 depicts a perspective view of the freezable container having a hinged lid covering the interior of the freezable container; and

FIG. 6 depicts a perspective view of the freezable container having a separate lid designed to engage the freezable container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a freezable container 8 includes a base portion 10 and a lid 50. In particular, the base portion has side walls 20, a bottom wall 60, a bottom peripheral edge 30, an opening edge 40 upon which the lid 50 rests, and a hinge portion 70 that attaches the lid 50 to the base portion 10.

As seen in FIG. 3, the freezable container 8 may be disposed within a larger container such as an insulated cooler 100. The freezable container 8 is preferably sufficiently large so that while it is disposed within the insulated cooler 100, a pair of opposing side walls 20 rests adjacent to a pair of opposing wall surfaces 110 of the insulated cooler 100 to reduce unintended shifting of the freezable container 8. In addition, the bottom wall 60 of the freezable container 8 may rest upon a bottom surface 120 of the insulated cooler 100.

FIGS. 4a and 4b show cross-sectional view of the base portion 10 of the freezable container 8 having the side walls 20 and the bottom wall 60. In particular, the side walls 20 and the bottom wall 60 may be composed of four distinct layers. The first layer, an outer surface 80, may form the exterior of the base portion 10. An inner surface 92 may form the interior of the base portion 10. Both the outer surface 80 and the inner surface 92 may be composed of a thermoplastic material, such as a polycarbonate or polyethylene terephthalate. As shown in FIG. 4a, a cold-retaining medium layer 88 may be disposed adjacent to the inner surface 92. The cold-retaining medium layer 88 may be configured to be frozen and remain cold for an extended duration of time, or may also be heated in a microwave.

The cold-retaining medium layer 88 may be composed of a liquid such as a water/glycol mixture. The layer 88 may also be a gel such as the compound commonly known as “Blue Ice” or a similar mixture. Such a medium is more commonly found in reusable cold compresses and permits the compresses to be repeatedly frozen or heated. Alternatively, as seen in FIG. 4b, if the layer 88 is composed of a gel, the gel may be encased within a flexible sealed bag 98 that may be composed of a polymer. This bag 98 would form the cold-retaining medium layer 88. The cold-retaining medium layer 88 may serve to keep an interior cavity 96 of the freezable container 8 in a chilled or heated state. A tie layer 84, composed of an adhesive that secures the cold-retaining medium layer 88 with the outer surface 80, may be disposed between the cold-retaining medium layer 88 and the outer surface 80.

Alternatively, the flexible sealed bag 98, rather than being encased within the base portion 10, may be separate from the remainder of the base portion 10 and may be placed upon the inner surface 92 to rest within the interior of base portion 10. The bag 98 may be cooled or heated and subsequently disposed within the base portion 10. Contents stored in the freezable container 8 may be placed within the bag 98, upon the bag 98, adjacent to the bag 98, or below the bag 98.

As best seen in FIG. 5, the freezable container 8 may have a lid 50 attached to the base portion 10 along a hinge portion 70. Similarly to the base portion 10, the lid 50 may also be composed of four distinct layers: an outer surface 80, an inner surface 92, a cold-retaining medium layer 88 disposed adjacent to the inner surface 92, and a tie layer 84 disposed between the cold-retaining medium layer 88 and the outer surface 80. The hinge portion 70 may engage the lid 50 so as to permanently attach the lid 50 to the base portion 10 (i.e., a live hinge configuration). Alternatively, the hinge portion 70 may be formed so as to allow the lid 50 to disengage the hinge portion 70 and detach from the base portion 10 for easier cleaning of the base portion 10 and the lid 50. As a further alternative, the lid 50 may be a completely separate component.

Alternatively, FIG. 6 shows a freezable container 8 that lacks a hinge portion. The lid 55 is unattached but may engage the base portion 10 by resting upon the opening edge 40 of the base portion 10.

The foregoing detailed description has been given for clearness of understanding only and no unnecessary limitations should be understood therefrom, as modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, the disclosure is applicable to freezable containers made from other materials, such as, for example, metal.