Title:
Container mount
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A beverage cup, used either as a tissue dispenser or for holding beverages, has a mount structure which provides flexible lateral extensions from the outside of the cup which engage with the structure of beverage holders in vehicles to hold the cups steady and retard their upward movement out of the holders when tissues are pulled out of them.



Inventors:
Galuten, Jerry H. (Riverdale, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/928814
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
08/27/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D71/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
EPPS, TODD MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jerry Galuten (Riverdale, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A self-holding cup structure, said structure comprising, in combination, a cup body having a bottom wall and an open top, and a retaining structure comprising at least one lateral extension from said cup body, said lateral extension being flexible in a direction transverse to the direction of its extension from said cup body.

2. A cup structure as in claim 1 in which said extension is located downwardly from said top at a position to cause said extension to engage a cup holder into which said cup has been inserted to retard the withdrawal of said cup from said cup holder.

3. A cup structure as in claim 2 in which said extension extends laterally by a distance sufficient to engage the structure of said cup holder when inserted into said cup holder to allow said insertion with the flexing of said extension.

4. A cup structure as in claim 1 in which said cup body is approximately cylindrical and said extension extends around a substantial portion of the circumference of said cup body.

5. A cup structure as in claim 1 including a plurality of said extensions extending circumferentially at least part-way around said cup body.

6. A cup structure as in claim 1 including a lid structure to fit onto said cup body at said top.

7. A cup structure as in claim 1 including a lid structure to fit onto said cup body at said top, said lid having a tissue-dispensing opening, and a quantity of tissues in said cup and adapted to be dispensed sequentially by being pulled through said opening.

8. A cup structure as in claim 1 in which at least the outermost end of said extension has at least one surface with a relatively high coefficient of friction.

9. A cup structure as in claim 8 in which said extension is made of a flexible thermoplastic with a coating of material having a relatively high coefficient of friction.

10. A tissue-dispensing container, said container comprising. a tissue-holding container shaped to fit into a receptacle in a vehicle, said container comprising a container body, a plurality of tissues in said container body, and a top for said container body, said top having a tissue dispensing opening through which said tissues can be pulled sequentially, a holding structure for holding said tissue-dispensing container in said receptacle while tissues are being pulled out through said opening, said holding structure comprising at least one transversely flexible extension extending outwardly from said container by a distance sufficient to cause said extension to flex when said container is inserted into said holder to engage the structure of said receptacle and retard the withdrawal of said container from said holder.

11. A container as in claim 10 in which said holding structure is selected from the group consisting of a flexible extension extending at least partially around said container body, a plurality of flexible extensions extending at least partially around said container body; a flexible flange extending at least partially around said body.

12. A container as in claim 10 in which said holding structure comprises a circular band with a plurality of flexible extensions extending transversely therefrom, said band encircling said container body and being secured thereto at a location spaced upwardly from the bottom of said container by a distance to ensure said extensions will engage the structure of said receptacle when said container is inserted therein.

13. A container as in claim 10 in which said extension is resilient and blade-like in shape, and has a slip-resistant surface at least adjacent its outermost end.

14. A container as in claim 13 in which said extension is made of a resilient, slip-resistant material.

15. A container as in claim 13 in which said extension is made of a thermoplastic material coated with a high-friction material at least at its outer extremity.

16. A container as in claim 15 in which said high-friction material is selected from the group consisting of an elastomer and a medium-adhesion contact adhesive.

Description:

This invention relates to container mounts, and particularly to mounts for beverage cups and tissue dispensers, particularly those used with holders in automobiles and other vehicles.

Tissue dispensers for use in vehicles have been proposed in the past. In particular, a dry tissue dispenser using a beverage-type cup for holding the tissues to be dispensed has been proposed. Such dispensers have various problems.

One such problem is that when each tissue is pulled out from he opening in the top of the container, there is a certain amount of friction and resistance which must be overcome, with the result that the container often lifts out of the beverage holder in which it rests. This is annoying, at best, and may be dangerous in that, if it is the driver who is withdrawing the tissue, he or she may be distracted from watching the road, and could become involved in an automobile accident.

One known proposal to alleviate this problem is to provide some bumps in the lower extremities of the outside of the beverage container holding the tissues so as to help wedge the cup into the cup holder in the vehicle.

This proposal has a serious problem in that the cup will wedge only into a holder of a specific size. Since there is no known standardized size for cup holders in automobiles, this proposed solution is inadequate because it will not work in a variety of different size cup holders in different brands and types of vehicles.

Another problem is that when a beverage cup is used to hold beverages, and it is put into a beverage holder in a vehicle, sudden movement of the vehicle can cause unwanted tipping of the cup and spilling of its contents, especially if the cup is very tall.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a container mount structure which overcomes or alleviates the foregoing problems.

In particular, it is an object of the present invention to provide a container mount which is resistant to unwanted withdrawal from a cup holder in which it is sitting when the container is used to dispense tissues or the like.

It also is an object of the invention to provide a container mount which is resistant to tipping and is relatively simple and low cost to manufacture, easy to use, and reliable.

The foregoing objectives are met, in accordance with the present invention, by the provision of a container with a retainer structure comprising at least one lateral extension which is flexible and positioned to engage with the container holder in a vehicle when the container is inserted into the holder.

In a preferred embodiment, the retainer structure comprises a ring of extensions secured to the outside of the container. The extensions are flexible and extend around the container. When the container is inserted into the holder, the extensions engage the holder structure to impede the upward movement of the container.

In one specific embodiment of the invention, each of the extensions has a surface with a relatively high coefficient of friction so as to provide substantial frictional resistance to withdrawal of the cup from the holder. This is accomplished either by making the extensions of a material having a high-coefficient of friction, or by coating them with such a material.

A tissue dispenser utilizing the invention comprises a beverage cup with a retainer structure like that described above, and a snap-on lid with a hole which can be easily opened for the dispensing of tissues. The tissues are interfolded separate dry tissues in which the leading end of one tissue automatically pops up when the previous tissue is removed. Alternatively, the tissues can be dispensed from the center of a continuous roll from which each tissue is torn after having been pulled out of the container.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from or explained in the following description and drawings.

IN THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tissue dispensing container and beverage cup utilizing the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a portion of the structure shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the structure shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the cover for the container shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of the upper extension of the container shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a broken away, cross-sectional view taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a front elevation view, partially cross-sectional and partially schematic showing the container of FIG. 1 in use in a first type of beverage holder in a vehicle;

FIG. 8 is a front elevation view of the container of FIG. 1 in use in a different type of beverage holder in a vehicle;

FIG. 9 is a broken-away top plan view, partially schematic, of the structure of FIG. 2 with certain modifications; and

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The container 20 shown in FIGS. 1, 7 and 8 includes a cup body 22 having a bottom wall and an open top, with an upper extension 26 snap-fitted onto the upper rim of the beverage cup at 28. The upper extension 6 has a top wall 24 with a beveled edge 30 and a central opening 32 through which the upper end of a tissue 34 extends, ready to be removed.

In accordance with one feature of the invention, a retaining ring 36 is secured to the outside surface and bottom of the cup body 22.

The retaining ring 36 comprises a shallow cup with a bottom wall 39 (FIG. 2), and a side wall 38 with a plurality of extensions 40 extending from the upper edge of the side wall 38 at an angle of approximately 90° so that the extensions 40 extend outwardly from all around the circumference of the cup body 22. The cup is secured to the cup body 22, preferably by the use of contact adhesive or heat-welding to secure the bottom 39 to the bottom of the cup body 22.

Preferably, the cup body 22, extension 26, lid 28, and the retaining ring 36 all are made of a suitable thermoplastic material, such as PET. Each of the extensions 40 has rounded corners and is separated from its neighbors by a cut line.

Preferably, the extensions 40 are flexible in the vertical direction, as shown in FIG. 1, so that they will flex and exert resilient pressure on the inside surfaces of a cup holder such as that shown in FIG. 8 of the drawings when inserted in the holder, and also so that they will bend out of the way when the container 20 is inserted into or pulled out of a cup holder. The resilient pressure applied by the flexed extensions 40 to the side walls of a holder increases the resistance of the structure to being withdrawn from the cup holder so as to hold it in place while tissues are being pulled from the container 20.

Also, when the cup body 22 is used as a beverage container, the resilient pressure provided by the extensions 40 also will inhibit tipping of the container and spilling of the beverage.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the extension 26. The lower rim 28 has the usual groove around the edge which allows it to be snapped onto the upper rim of the cup body 22.

The top wall 24 has a central opening 32 defined by a scored line which defines a pull-out filler piece 42 with a pull-tab 44 (also see FIG. 6) which is bent upwardly as shown in FIG. 6 to allow one to insert a fingernail under the tab 44 and grasp it and pull upwardly to separate the piece 42 from the remainder of the lid to open the hole 32 when the dispenser is first used.

The extension unit 26, which also is shown in FIG. 5, extends the height and available volume of the usual beverage cup 22.

When used as a tissue dispenser, the container 20 can dispense the tissues from a supply of individual tissues 34 stacked with the long dimensions of the tissues extending vertically, as it is indicated by the dashed lines within the container in FIG. 7. The tissues can be stacked in a known manner so that the withdrawal of one tissue 34 automatically pulls the leading end of the next tissue up through the opening 32 to make it ready to be grasped.

Alternatively, as is shown in FIG. 8, tissues can be stored in roll form with the individual tissues being dispensed from the center of the roll and torn off with a sideways movement or a slight upward pull to remove one tissue and bring the end of the tissue strip outwardly through the hole, ready to be gripped when another tissue is needed.

FIG. 7 illustrates one example 46 of a cup holder which is used in some automobiles. It is a simple flat plate with a circular hole through it which is of a diameter such that the cup body 22 stops with about one-quarter of the cup body extending above the holder 46.

When the container 20 is inserted downwardly through the hole in the holder 46, the extensions 40 flex upwardly and move past the edges of the opening, and then spring back to their horizontal position, as shown in FIG. 7, as the container moves downwardly.

When it is desired to withdraw a tissue 34 from the container 20, the extensions 40 will bear against the under-side of the holder 46 to retard the upward movement of the container out of the holder 46.

FIG. 8 shows the container 20 inserted into another type of cup holder used in some automobiles. The cup holder in this case includes a cylindrical or slightly tapered cup-shaped recess 50 in a console 52 or similar structure.

The extensions 40 are made long enough so that they flex upwardly, as shown in FIG. 8, when the container 20 is inserted into the recess 50. Since the extensions 40 are relatively stiff but flexible, the flexed extensions 40 apply considerable pressure to the side walls of the recess 50 so as to retard withdrawal of the container 20 from the cup holder 50 under the relatively light lifting force exerted by the pulling of a tissue from the container.

Preferably, the retainer structure 36 is molded. Using PET, a material thickness of 15 mils has been found to be sufficient to provide suitably stiff but flexible elastic structure for the extensions 40. The material stiffness can be varied as needed.

The diameter of the cup holder recesses 50 will vary somewhat from one type of automobile (or other vehicle) to another.

If the diameter of the cup holder is smaller than that shown in FIG. 8, then the extensions 40 merely flex more and are bent upwardly more than shown in FIG. 8.

The inside walls of some cup holders 50 may be so hard and smooth that the bare plastic extensions 40 might not supply enough retardation to the container. In this case, the tips of the extensions 40 can be dipped into a bath of elastomeric coating material like that used to coat the handles of pliers and other hand tools by inserting them into the liquid and letting the coating dry. The coating preferably is located mostly towards the outer extremities of the extensions 40, up to a line 54 shown in FIG. 9.

FIG. 10 is a cross-section taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9, and shows the coating 56 thus formed. The coating 56 has a relatively high coefficient of friction so as to increase the retarding force tending to hold the container in the cup holder.

Alternatively, the material of which the retaining structure 36 is made has a high coefficient of friction, so that a separate coating step is not needed in the method of manufacturing the retaining structure.

It should be understood that the extensions 40 can have a number of different configurations. For example, the extensions 40 are shown separated from one another by cut lines. This allows the extensions to slide over the edges of adjacent extensions when they are bent upwardly or downwardly at a substantial angle. However, if the material of which the retaining structure 36 is made is sufficiently elastically compressible (such as if an elastomeric material is used) the extensions 40 can take the shape of a simple flange whose outlines are shown at 58 in FIG. 9.

If even greater retarding effect is needed or desired, the coating 56 can be a coating of medium-adhesion contact adhesive material, similar to that used on so-called “sticky tabs”. The adhesive grips firmly but releases completely from the surface it adheres to and leaves no residue.

It should be understood that the retarding force provided by the restraining ring 36 only need be large enough to oppose the relatively weak pulling force used in withdrawing a tissue from the container. When it is desired to remove the container from the holder, a stronger pull will easily remove it.

In a specific example of the preferred embodiment of the invention, the cup body 22 had a height of approximately five and one-half inches, and the extension 26 a height of approximately two inches. The cup body diameter at the top was approximately three and one-half inches, and the diameter at the bottom was approximately two and three-quarter inches.

In the restraining structure, the cup had a height of approximately one-half inch and a diameter of 2.75 inches, and was slightly tapered to match the taper of the cup onto which it fits, as it is shown in FIG. 3.

The length of each of the extensions 40 was approximately 0.42 inches, with a material thickness of 15 mils.

When the container 20 is a beverage container, it should be understood that the extension 26 normally is not used, and that a beverage top would be attached to the upper rim of the cup body 22.

The above description of the invention is intended to be illustrative and not limiting. Various changes or modifications in the embodiments described may occur to those skilled in the art. These can be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.