Title:
Pail with integral graduations
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pail with integral graduations. The pail has a bottom, a top rim, and a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim. There is at least one integral graduation in the sidewall comprising a shelf extending circumferentially around at least a part of the sidewall.



Inventors:
Zephir, David E. (Westminster, MA, US)
Audet, Ronald M. (North Smithfield, RI, US)
Zephir, Edward W. (Leominster, MA, US)
Beauregard, Frederick J. (Northbridge, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/352583
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/13/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D90/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HICKS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brian M. Dingman, Esq. (Westborough, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pail with integral graduations, comprising: a bottom; a top rim; a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim; and at least one integral graduation in the sidewall comprising a shelf extending circumferentially around at least a part of the sidewall.

2. The pail of claim 1 comprising a plurality of integral graduations.

3. The pail of claim 2 wherein the graduations each comprise a shelf.

4. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves are essentially horizontal.

5. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves are vertically spaced from one another.

6. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves are vertically aligned with one another.

7. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves are separated vertically from one another by a short sidewall segment.

8. The pail of claim 7 wherein the short sidewall segments are essentially vertical.

9. The pail of claim 1 further comprising volume indications proximate the internal graduations.

10. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves are all located in the same portion of the sidewall.

11. The pail of claim 10 wherein the portion of the sidewall comprising the shelves is at a more shallow angle that is the rest of the sidewall.

12. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves extend out away from the center of the pail.

13. The pail of claim 1 further comprising a handle.

14. The pail of claim 1 further comprising a pour spout.

15. A pail with integral graduations, comprising: a bottom; a top rim; a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim; and a plurality of integral graduations in the sidewall, each graduation comprising an essentially horizontal shelf extending circumferentially around part of the sidewall, wherein the shelves are vertically spaced from one another.

16. A pail with integral graduations, comprising: a bottom; a top rim; a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim; a plurality of integral graduations in the sidewall, each graduation comprising an essentially horizontal shelf extending out away from the center of the pail and circumferentially around part of the sidewall, wherein the shelves are vertically aligned with one another and vertically separated from one another by short, essentially vertical sidewall segments; and volume indications proximate the internal graduations.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Provisional application Ser. No. 60/652,572, filed on Feb. 14, 2005.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a pail with visible permanent volume-indication features.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Plastic pails often include molded-in short horizontal line segments that indicate the volume. As these indications are relatively difficult to see from above, care must be taken in order to ascertain the current volume; often times the user must view the pail from the side in order to determine the current volume. U.S. Pat. No. 6,263,732 is one attempt to alleviate this problem.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a pail in which volume designations are clearly delineated.

This invention features a pail of any size, with one or more integral graduations. The pail is molded of an appropriate plastic material such as polypropylene-copolymer. The pail includes a bottom, and a top rim. A handle is typically also included. A sidewall connects the bottom and top rim. The circumferential shape of the pail can be as desired, such as circular, rectangular or another shape; the embodiment discloses a generally oval shape. There is at least one, and typically a number of, internal graduations integrally formed in the sidewall. These graduations may each comprise a shelf extending outwardly from the nominal sidewall location, and also extending at least partially along the sidewall circumference. These graduations provide an easy volume reference mark when viewed from above, through the open top of the pail. The graduations also create a unique stepped appearance to that portion of the sidewall.

The pail may have a number of integral graduations. Each graduation may comprise a shelf. The shelves may be essentially horizontal. The shelves may be vertically spaced from one another. The shelves may be vertically aligned with one another. The shelves may be separated vertically from one another by a short sidewall segment. The short sidewall segments may be essentially vertical. The shelves may all be located in the same portion of the sidewall. This portion of the sidewall comprising the shelves may be at a more shallow angle that is the rest of the sidewall. The pail of claim 1 wherein the shelves extend out away from the center of the pail.

The pail may include volume indications proximate the internal graduations. The pail may also include a handle and a pour spout.

Featured in another embodiment is a pail with integral graduations, comprising a bottom, a top rim, a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim, and a plurality of integral graduations in the sidewall, each graduation comprising an essentially horizontal shelf extending circumferentially around part of the sidewall, wherein the shelves are vertically spaced from one another.

Featured in yet another embodiment is a pail with integral graduations, comprising a bottom, a top rim, a sidewall connecting the bottom and the top rim, a plurality of integral graduations in the sidewall, each graduation comprising an essentially horizontal shelf extending out away from the center of the pail and circumferentially around part of the sidewall, wherein the shelves are vertically aligned with one another and vertically separated from one another by short, essentially vertical sidewall segments, and volume indications proximate the internal graduations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects, features and advantages will occur to those skilled in the art from the following description of the preferred embodiment and the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the preferred embodiment of the graduated pail according to this invention; and

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a slightly different embodiment of the inventive pail.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

One preferred embodiment of the pail is shown in FIG. 1. Pail 10 comprises bottom 14 and top rim 16. The shape of both the top and bottom in this preferred embodiment is generally oval, with the centers of the ovals offset slightly along their longitudinal axes as shown, so that the lip projects substantially farther out radially than does the bottom on the side of the pail having the integral graduations. The oval shape allows rectangular mop heads to fit easily into the pail (although the pail could also be round, rectangular, oblong or another shape). Pour spout 18 may be formed in lip 16, and handle 50 may be included.

In this embodiment, there are a plurality of graduations labeled 22, 24 . . . 46, each defined by a shelf, such as shelf 23, between adjacent essentially vertical segments, such as segments 22 and 24, of sidewall 12. In this case, the shelves are only in half 20 of sidewall 12. Another labeled shelf (47) is located between vertical sidewall segments 44 and 46. The shelves preferably extend outward from the nominal sidewall location essentially horizontally, and extend around a portion (in this case about half) of the circumference of the sidewall. However, neither the horizontal orientation of the shelves nor the extent of their circumferential extension are limitations of the invention. For example, the shelves could be at an angle between horizontal and vertical to create a more saw tooth shape to that portion of the sidewall. Also, the shelves could extend around a smaller portion or a larger portion, or indeed the entirety (see FIG. 2), of the circumference of the sidewall. In addition, there may only be one, two or a small number of shelves that define the graduations.

As the shelves project radially, they each radially expand the circumference of the pail at the shelf location. As a result, the sidewall in the area of the graduations is stepped, and defines a more shallow angle than the more vertical portion of the sidewall that does not comprise graduations. Again, this is not necessarily a limitation of the invention, as the entirety of the sidewall could be tapered at essentially the same angle to provide a more circumferentially regular shape. Also, the shelves could extend towards the center of the pail rather than away from it. As another alternative, the shelves need not be aligned vertically as shown in the drawings, but rather could extend a short circumferential distance and be spaced around the circumference of sidewall 12 such that they are not all vertically aligned.

One shelf 47a is shown in some detail in FIG. 2. Shelf 47a is located between more vertical sidewall segments or portions 44a and 46a. As pail 50 is filled with a material, when the height of the material reaches the level of shelf 47a, the volume would equal a particular level as indicated by markings on the sidewall (not shown in the drawings). For easy viewing from above as the pail is filled, such markings could be placed on the shelves themselves. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the shelves essentially disappear into simple lines in the portion of the sidewall below pour spout 18a, which maintains the essentially oval shape to the pail.

Although specific features of the invention are shown in some drawings and not others, this is for convenience only as some feature may be combined with any or all of the other features in accordance with the invention.

Other embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art and are within the following claims.