Title:
Closable drinking container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drinking container in which a tube is movable between a closed sealing position and an open drinking position. The tube and the bottom of the container, when in the closed sealing position, are sealed by a closing element. The closing element, when in the open drinking position, uncovers the interior of the tube in such a way that liquid can be withdrawn from the receiving chamber via the tube.



Inventors:
Ronn, Thomas Von (Hamburg, DE)
Clemens, Birgit (Hamburg, DE)
Rathman, Harald (Berlin, DE)
Application Number:
10/993647
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
11/19/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/22
View Patent Images:
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20090057321COLLAPSIBLE BOTTLES AND METHODS OF USING SAMEMarch, 2009Hong et al.
20070138191Removable grip for handleJune, 2007Legreve
20090200323INSULATED SHEATH FOR FREEZER BAR TREATSAugust, 2009Nesbitt
20070125788Trash receptacle extensionJune, 2007Petner et al.
20080047963BOSS SYSTEMFebruary, 2008Wilson et al.
20090230127HOUSINGSeptember, 2009Oya et al.



Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP/HAK NY (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drinking container comprising: a cup-like element, which forms a receiving chamber and is firmly closable using a lid element and which has a bottom across from the lid element, a drinking unit being provided in the lid element, the drinking unit including a guide element situated in the lid element for receiving a tube, the lower end of which reaches down to the region of the bottom of the container, wherein the tube is movable between a closed sealing position and an open drinking position, tube and bottom in the closed sealing position being sealed by a closing element which in the open drinking position uncovers the interior of the tube such that liquid can be withdrawn from the receiving chamber via the tube.

2. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the closing element includes a depression provided in the bottom.

3. The drinking container as recited in claim 2, wherein the closing element further includes a lower seal at the lower end of the tube.

4. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein in the region of the passage through the lid element an upper seal is provided between the tube and guide element.

5. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the tube is movable from the open drinking position to the closed sealing position by a sliding motion.

6. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the tube can be moved from the open drinking position to the closed sealing position by a rotary motion.

7. The drinking container as recited in claim 6, wherein an external thread is provided on the tube and a corresponding internal thread is provided in the guide element.

8. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein between the guide element and the tube a holding arrangement is provided for sealing the tube in the open drinking position.

9. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the part of the tube that protrudes above the container is made of a flexible material.

10. The drinking container as recited in claim 2, wherein on the bottom adjacent to the depression a guide extending into the receiving chamber is provided.

11. The drinking container as recited in claim 2, wherein the depression is centered in the bottom and the drinking unit is correspondingly centered in the lid element.

12. The drinking container as recited in claim 2, wherein the depression is arranged eccentrically and near the periphery of the bottom and the drinking unit is correspondingly arranged eccentrically and near the periphery of the lid element.

13. The drinking container as recited in claim 2, wherein the bottom is formed such that it slopes downward to the depression.

14. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein in the upper region of the guide element a pressure-equalizing arrangement is provided, which in the closed sealing position is closed by the upper seal.

15. The drinking container as recited in claim 14, wherein the pressure-equalizing arrangement takes the form of a bore hole.

16. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein, by a surrounding jacket, the container takes the form of a thermal container.

17. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the tube features a suction nozzle in the region outside of the lid element.

18. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the suction nozzle takes the form of a handle for moving the tube.

19. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the drinking unit has a cover as a closure of the tube in the region outside of the lid element.

20. The drinking container as recited in claim 1, wherein the lid element has along its periphery an elastic and grip-providing rim element.

21. A combined drinking and closing arrangement, comprising the closing element and the drinking unit of a drinking container as recited in claim 1.

22. A method comprising the steps of: storing a liquid in a drinking container as recited in claim 1.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to drinking containers, and particularly to a closable drinking container.

BACKGROUND

Two different types of vessels that are known for containing drinks include transport containers and drinking containers. Transport containers are typically closable vessels, such as bottles, cans or casks, in which the drink is usually stored in larger quantities, and in which a drink can be safely transported. However, transport containers are not especially adapted for drinking directly from them. Drinking containers, by contrast, are usually vessels from which one can drink easily, but which are normally unsuitable for storing the drink for a longer period or for transporting the drink. Drinking containers are typically unsuitable for these purposes because these vessels are open. Liquid is easily spilled in transport or objects, e.g., small animals, etc., can undesirably enter the vessel.

Some vessels are known which combine aspects of both of these types of vessels. For instance, there are known transport containers which have been adapted to permit users to drink from them Likewise, there are known drinking containers which are designed to be closable in a more or less tight manner so as to allow for storage and transport of the drinks. Thus, for example, there are cups that can be closed using a snap-on lid made of plastic, the snap-on lid featuring a central opening, into which a straw can be inserted. Although these coverable cups offer a certain protection in transport, they are not closable in a completely tight manner. Thus, while the danger of spilling the liquid is indeed reduced, it nevertheless still exists, for example if the cup tips over. Furthermore, if carbonated drinks are poured into such a cup, the carbonated drinks quickly give off the dissolved carbon dioxide completely to the surrounding atmosphere. This occurs because these cups are not closed in a tight manner and thus a constant gas exchange with the surroundings is possible.

Further, there are bottles equipped with a screw cap or snap cap, in which there is an additional closable opening, which normally can be opened and closed again in a simple manner, for example by erecting and folding down or pulling up and pushing down a mouth piece. One disadvantage of these types of bottles is that they have to be turned upside down to be emptied completely. Drinking from such a bottle thus requires an unfavorable position of the head and is therefore uncomfortable compared to drinking from conventional drinking vessels.

Thus, conventional drinking vessels are either drinking containers with improved transport properties or transport containers with improved drinking properties, but not vessels suitable for transport or for the temporary storage of liquids which at the same time offer a good drinking comfort.

Thus, there is a need for a vessel which eliminates these disadvantages. Specifically, there is a need for a vessel that is sufficiently tight to prevent the drink from spilling if the container tips over and/or from losing dissolved carbon dioxide to excess when the drink is stored, while offering a high degree of drinking comfort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention, according to one embodiment thereof, relates to a container in which the tube is movable between a closed sealing position and an open drinking position. The tube and the bottom in the closed sealing position are sealed by a closing element, which in the open drinking position uncovers the interior of the tube in such a way that liquid can be withdrawn from the receiving chamber via the tube. Due to the fact that the tube may extend down to the bottom of the container, it is possible to withdraw liquid without having to tip the container. Withdrawal may occur for example by sucking at the end of the tube situated outside of the container.

The sealing at the lower end of the tube and of the drinking container offers the additional advantage that withdrawal using a conventional straw or suction tube is possible if the inner diameter of the tube is chosen in such a way that it is suitable for accommodating such drinking straws or suction tubes. This offers on the one hand an additional drinking comfort, while on the other hand such a construction allows different individuals to drink successively in a hygienic manner from the same drinking container by using different straws. In this regard, it can be especially advantageous if the interior space of the tube has a stop at its lower end, which prevents the straw from sliding completely into the drinking cup.

The term “cup-like element” as used herein includes all types or styles of vessels such as bottles or cans for example. According to one embodiment of the present invention, such vessels are constructed to be firmly closable using a lid element, the closing being optionally irreversible or reversible. A reversible joint according to the present invention is achieved, for example, via a screw, snap or bayonet joint. Furthermore, to provide leak-proof sealing of the drinking container with respect to the contained liquid, an additional sealing element may be provided in the joint between the lid element and the cup-like element. Moreover, the outside of the bottom of the vessel may have means for improving adhesion, for example in the form of a rubber ring embedded in the outside of the bottom, which prevent the cup from slipping or sliding when it is set down.

In one embodiment, the closing element of the drinking vessel includes a depression provided on the inside in the bottom, into which the tube engages in the closed sealing position. The improved form fit achieved by this receptacle results in an effective seal, which notably prevents the liquid from escaping.

Instead of a depression, a closing part may be provided at the bottom, which projects vertically from the bottom into the receiving chamber, whose inner diameter is adapted to the outer diameter of the tube and which thus equally acts as a guide of the lower section of the tube and as a bottom-side protuberance of the closing element.

It is especially desirable for the closing element to include a lower seal at the lower end of the tube. The already good sealing is thereby additionally improved in that possible irregularities in the bottom region or in the receptacle in the bottom region are evened out.

The drinking container described above is especially advantageous if an upper seal is provided in it in the region of the passage through the lid element between the tube and the guide element. Such a seal improves the sealing of the passage of the tube through the lid element in the closed sealing position.

Furthermore, it is advantageous if the tube of the drinking container can be moved by a sliding movement from the open drinking position to the closed sealing position. This allows for a simple transition from the open to the closed state, that is, simply by pressing down the tube, which results in a high degree of convenience in operating the container. According to this design, the drinking container can be opened by pulling up the tube.

In another advantageous refinement of the drinking container, the tube is moved from the open drinking position to the closed sealing position by a rotary motion. For opening and closing the vessel, therefore, the tube either remains at the plane of rotation or it is moved along the longitudinal axis of the tube by a screw motion. Opening the closure by moving the tube within the plane of rotation can be achieved for example in that by the rotary motion a hole provided in the lateral surface at the lower end of the tube, which in the closed position is completely sealed off relative to the receiving chamber by the depression in the bottom of the cup or by the guide receiving the lower end of the tube, is aligned with a recess in the bottom or in the guide receiving the tube. This creates a direct access from the interior of the container to the interior of the tube, through which the liquid contained in the drinking vessel can flow into the tube if by sucking at the outer end of the tube a vacuum pressure is created.

By contrast, an opening of the closure by a screw motion of the tube could be achieved for example in that in the screw motion the tube is lifted in the direction of the lid element, whereby the tube's lower end is lifted out of the depression in the bottom or out of the surrounding guide, so that the lower opening of the tube is at least partly uncovered. For this type of screw motion it is especially advantageous if an external screw thread is provided on the tube and a corresponding internal screw thread is provided in the guide element. It is likewise possible to provide a pin on the exterior of the tube and a spiral guide slit on the inside of the guide element to bring about the rotary motion.

Moreover, a holding means for holding the tube in the open drinking position is advantageously provided in the drinking container between the guide element and the tube, so that the tube due to this locking mechanism cannot unintentionally slide back into the closed sealing position.

Further, it is advantageous if the part of the tube that protrudes above the container is made of a flexible material. If this part is guided to the lips, this produces on the one hand a pleasant haptic impression, while on the other hand allowing for the position of the container to be decoupled from the precise orientation of the mouth; the tube can thus be guided comfortably to the mouth.

In another embodiment of the drinking container according to the present invention, a guide extending into the receiving chamber is provided at the bottom adjacent to the depression. The guide allows for the tube to be safely inserted into the depression in the bottom and thus improves the tightness of the closure arranged at the bottom of the cup by increasing the contact surface between the movable lower section of the tube element and the fixed cup-like element. This results on the one hand in an increase of the entire sealing surface and on the other hand also improves the guiding of the tube in the form fit.

Furthermore, it is possible to provide recesses in this guide, which in the closed position are likewise closed, but through which in the open position the liquid can reach the tube unobstructed, which improves the withdrawal of liquid from the cup. This may be achieved by the fact that the liquid is not forced exclusively to flow past the upper guide element, but that it can likewise pass through the recesses to the interior of the tube, which increases the flow cross-section for the continuing flow of liquid from the receiving chamber in the interior of the cup-like element into the tube. Thus, the suction resistance is reduced and the overall drinking comfort is increased.

In one advantageous embodiment, the depression is centered in the bottom and the drinking unit is correspondingly centered in the lid element. Alternatively, the depression may be arranged eccentrically and near the periphery of the bottom and the drinking unit is correspondingly arranged eccentrically and near the periphery of the lid element. This results in a particularly high drinking comfort since the drinking unit is particularly easily accessible. The eccentric arrangement also allows for last residues of liquid remaining in the container to be readily withdrawn by tilting the container.

In both specific embodiments, the feed-through of the tube through the lid element is arranged vertically. There are additional advantageous specific embodiments, in which the feed-through of the tube through the lid element is arranged at an angle, so that the depression in the bottom is not arranged vertically below the drinking unit in the lid element, but is rather offset relative to the latter.

In one embodiment, the bottom is formed such that it slopes downward to the depression, enabling the withdrawal of the final residue of the liquid remaining in the drinking container, which additionally improves the possibility for using the container.

In another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a pressure-equalizing arrangement in the upper region of the guide element, which is closed in the closed sealing position. This can occur for example through the upper seal. This equalizing arrangement on the one hand allows for the dissipation of excess pressure forming in the interior of the cup-like element above the liquid level due to the release of carbon dioxide during drinking, while on the other hand allowing for the dissipation of the vacuum pressure forming in the receiving chamber of the drinking container due to the quick withdrawal of liquid so as to avoid air bubbles from percolating through the liquid and reducing its carbonic acid content. In one advantageous embodiment, the pressure-equalizing arrangement takes the form of a bore hole, which represents an especially simple and thus cost-effective implementation of the pressure-equalization.

Furthermore, it is advantageous if the pressure-equalizing arrangement is formed in the interior of the container at the tube close to the start of the lid element or preferably above the volume delimited by the cup-like element, e.g., within the volume of the lid. This arrangement reduces the likelihood of liquid escaping when tilting the cup even if the cup is filled to a high level.

Furthermore it is favorable if by virtue of a surrounding jacket the container is designed as a thermal container. This can be achieved, for example, if the cup-like element has a double wall design, it being especially favorable if the volume between the two walls of the jacket is evacuated.

It is also desirable if the tube has a suction nozzle in the area outside of the lid element. Such a suction nozzle facilitates the withdrawal of liquid even when no suction tube is inserted and thus improves the operating and use comfort of the drinking container.

In addition it is advantageous if the suction nozzle is formed as a handle for moving the tube. This facilitates an opening and closing of the closing arrangement, which in turn increases the comfort of use.

It is likewise advantageous if the drinking unit has a cover for closing the tube in the region outside of the lid element. Such a closing cap or a closing plug prevents contaminants from entering the tube from outside in the closed sealing position, while also preventing possible liquid residues, which may have remained in the tube following the closing of the container, from flowing out of the tube at the top. Such a cover is advantageously attached to the tube, to the cup element or to the lid element to ensure that it is ready at hand when needed.

Further, it is especially desirable if the lid element along its periphery has an elastic and grip-providing rim element. Advantageously, this rim element has a larger diameter than the maximum outer diameter of the cup-like element. Such a rim element may be made, for example, of caoutchouc, rubber, latex, foamed polyurethane or similar material. The rim element will on the one hand prevent damage to the vessel if it tips over due to the elastic recovery effect of the material projecting beyond the outer circumference of the cup. Furthermore, the rim element may facilitate a manual separation of the lid element from the cup-like element due to the grip-providing adhesive properties. A vessel having such a grip-providing rim element also lies especially well in hand and in turn increases the comfort of use.

The drinking/closing unit, according to one embodiment of the present invention, can also be distributed detached from a container, by being adapted to certain standardized vessel sizes for example. In such a case, a tight closure between the tube and the bottom can be achieved, for example, by a seal at the lower end of the tube, which in the closed sealing position attaches itself by suction to the bottom of the container to be used, or is pressed against the bottom of the container to be used, closing the tube in this manner.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the use of a drinking container as described above is proposed for storing a liquid, in particular a carbonated beverage. The use of this type of system makes it possible, while avoiding non-returnable drink packaging, to fill a carbonated drink into the drinking container according to the present invention and to store it so as to ensure that over a certain period, for example a car ride, the carbonic acid largely remains in the drink. Due to its multipart design, the vessel is also easy to clean, ensuring a repeated use.

Further advantages and uses may be evident from the exemplary embodiment, which is described in more detail below on the basis of the appended drawing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a longitudinal section of a drinking container according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 shows a longitudinal section of a drinking container according to one embodiment of the present invention. The drinking container may be employed for carbonated drinks, and/or for any liquid, due to the closability of the drinking container.

The drinking container shown in FIG. 1 includes a receiving chamber 1, which is formed by a cup element 2 and a lid element 3 arranged thereon. The lid element 3 is detachably joined to the cup element 2, e.g., by a screw thread (not shown), and is sealed by a cup seal 11. The lid element 3 has an opening. A drinking unit 4, 5 is mounted in this opening.

The drinking unit 4,5 is made up of a guide element 4, which is designed as integrated with the lid element, as well as a tube 5, which is movably arranged in the guide element. In the embodiment shown, the tube can be moved up and down within the tubular guide element 4 by a sliding motion. In one embodiment, guide element 4 employs several individual guide elements arranged parallel to tube 5, which are used as a receptacle for tube 5, preferably three, four, five or six such individual wing elements.

Instead of a vertical sliding motion, however, it is also possible to use a rotary motion for moving the tube 5 from the open drinking position to the closed sealing position. Such a rotary motion can occur within the plane of rotation. For example, a hole in the lateral surface of the tube 5, which in the open drinking position is lined up with a recess in the bottom or in the depression 7, is brought into a position in which it is sealed off by depression 7. The rotary motion, of course, can also be a spiral rotary motion, as a result of which tube 5 is lifted in the direction of lid element 3 or lowered in the direction of depression 7. For such a screw motion it is advantageous if tube 5 has an outer thread, which is accommodated by a corresponding inner thread, located either on the inner side of guide element 4 or on the inner side of depression 7. The movement of tube 5 from the open drinking position to the closed sealing position may require either one or several rotations of tube 5 around its longitudinal axis. Alternatively, this can be accomplished merely by a turn around a portion of a whole rotation. The latter is especially advantageous if it results in sealing the drinking vessel by pressing the lower end of tube 5 onto a lower seal 9 in the bottom of depression 7, lower seal 9 being disk-shaped in this case. In this particular arrangement it is moreover possible to design upper seal 10 to be likewise disk-shaped and to arrange it at the lower end of the protuberance of tube 5 designed as suction nozzle 8, so that the passageway of tube 5 through lid element 3 is sealed by pressing upper seal 10 onto the upper side of lid element 3. This may provide the advantage that tube 5 continues to run easily within guide element 4 and thus allows for the drinking container to be readily opened and closed since only a partial rotation of tube 5 is required for this purpose.

At the upper end of tube S outside of the container, a suction nozzle 8 in the form of a handle is attached, through which liquid can be sucked from the container on the one hand, and by which the tube can be moved on the other.

FIG. 1 shows the container in the open drinking position. Tube 5 is located in receiving chamber 1, namely in such a position above a depression 7 that liquid from receiving chamber 1 can enter unimpeded into tube 5 and can be withdrawn by sucking through tube 5. The bottom is formed to slope downward to depression 7. A holding arrangement 12 ensures that tube 5 remains in the open drinking position and does not inadvertently slide down into the container and thus into the closed sealing position. The holding arrangement shown in FIG. 1 is moreover ring-shaped and adapted for locking so as to seal a possible gap between guide element 4 and tube 5 of the drinking unit in the open drinking position and thereby to prevent liquid from escaping through this gap.

A pressure-equalizing arrangement 14 in the form of a bore hole on the one hand compensates for the vacuum pressure created in the receiving chamber by sucking on tube 5, while on the other hand ensuring that carbon dioxide escaping from a carbonated drink can easily escape from the container. Placing bore hole 14 in the guide just below lid element 3 ensures that only gas and no liquid escapes; that is, a foaming over is avoided.

The present invention may also provide for a multi-stage opening of the drinking container in that, during opening, pressure-equalizing arrangement 14 already allows for pressure to be compensated before closing element (7, 9), starting from the closed sealing position, has reached the open drinking position and the drinking opening is uncovered. Thus the drinking container can be brought into the open drinking position without there being a danger that a pressure equalization occurs between receiving chamber 1 and the surroundings of the drinking container via tube 5, which would result in a hydraulic discharge of liquid from tube 5.

For reducing an excess pressure in receiving chamber 1 of the drinking container, which forms in the closed sealing position when the container is filled with carbonated drinks, pressure-equalizing arrangement 14 can also be provided in the form of a pressure relief valve, which opens when a certain maximum pressure in receiving chamber 1 or a pressure difference between receiving chamber 1 and the surroundings of the drinking container is exceeded and thus allows for a pressure equalization between receiving chamber 1 and the surroundings. A pressure relief valve of this type may also be designed as a separate device in the drinking container, for example as a valve element in cup-like element 2 or in lid element 3, or for instance as a burst ring in a separate refinement of cup seal 11.

By a downward sliding or pushing motion at handle 8, tube 5 is brought from the open drinking position into the closed sealing position. A guide 13 ensures in the process that tube 5 slides securely into a depression 7 formed in bottom 6 of cup-like element 2. For additional sealing, tube 5 is equipped at its lower end, which engages into depression 7, with a lower seal 9. In the region of lid element 3, tube 5 is sealed off from guide element 4 by an upper seal 10. Upper seal 10 at the same time seals off pressure-equalizing arrangement 14. The container is now in the closed sealing position, in which it is protected against drink leakage in case it is shaken or tipped over. Upper seal 10 moreover can be additionally adapted as a holding arrangement to ensure that tube 5 due to this locking point cannot unintentionally slide from the closed sealing position to the open drinking position.

If tube 5 is again moved upward by a sliding motion into the open drinking position, upper seal 10 first uncovers bore hole 14, thus allowing an excess pressure, which has possibly built up in the container, to escape through bore hole 14, before the tube reaches the final open drinking position and is locked in this position by holding means 12. This prevents liquid from squirting out through tube 5 due to the excess pressure when opening.

For additional safety and handling comfort, the container is fitted with an elastic rim element 15 made of rubber, on account of which the cup lies especially well in hand and is also protected against damage if tipped over. For improved thermal insulation, the cup element is surrounded by a jacket 17. On its outward facing bottom, this jacket features a rubber ring 16 for improved anti-slip properties.





 
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