Title:
Portable heating device having an illumination apparatus and use thereof
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable heating device, couplable to a combustible gas, comprising an illumination apparatus for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned. The heating device generally includes a coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; and a heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat. The illumination apparatus is preferably telescopically adjustable relative to the heating device and is couplable to a source of power, such as electrical energy, at least one battery, a combustible gas, etc., for illuminating the illumination apparatus.



Inventors:
Sords, Steven (Hunting Valley, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/066001
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
02/24/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
126/213
International Classes:
F24C3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BASICHAS, ALFRED
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Justin S. Rerko & Associates, LLC (Strongsville, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A portable heating device for generating and radiating heat therefrom comprising: coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat; and an illumination apparatus, associated with the heating device, for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned.

2. The portable heating device of claim 1 further comprising a first interface means adapted for interfacing with a first removable cylinder comprising propane gas.

3. The portable heating device of claim 2 further comprising a second interface means adapted for interfacing with a second removable cylinder comprising propane gas.

4. The portable heating device of claim 3 further comprising a third interface means adapted for interfacing with a third removable cylinder comprising propane gas.

5. The portable heating device of claim 1 further comprising a remote interface means adapted for interfacing the heating device with a remotely located cylinder comprising propane gas.

6. The portable heating device of claim 1, wherein the illumination apparatus comprises an illumination means adapted to receive a source of power and convert the received power into radiating illumination.

7. The portable heating device of claim 6, wherein the source of power is electric current.

8. The portable heating device of claim 6, wherein the source of power is at least one battery.

9. The portable heating device of claim 6, wherein the source of power is a combustible gas.

10. The portable heating device of claim 1, wherein the illumination apparatus is telescopically adjustable relative to the heating device.

11. The portable heating device of claim 10, wherein the illumination apparatus is removably associated with the heating device.

12. The portable heating device of claim 10 further comprising an oxygen depletion system adapted to measure an oxygen concentration level of an environment proximate to the heating device and to automatically deactivate the heating device in response to a measurement of a preselected oxygen concentration level.

13. The portable heating device of claim 1 further comprising a layer of isinglass associated therewith, wherein the isinglass is adapted to protect the heating means from wind-based disruption.

14. A portable heating device for generating and radiating heat therefrom comprising: coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat; and an illumination apparatus, associated with the heating device, for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned, and wherein the illumination apparatus comprises an illumination means adapted to receive a source of power and convert the received power into radiating illumination.

15. The portable heating device of claim 14 further comprising at least one of a first interface means adapted for interfacing with a first removable cylinder comprising propane gas, a second interface means adapted for interfacing with a second removable cylinder comprising propane gas and a third interface means adapted for interfacing with a third removable cylinder comprising propane gas.

16. The portable heating device of claim 14 further comprising a remote interface means adapted for interfacing the heating device with a remotely located cylinder comprising propane gas.

17. The portable heating device of claim 14, wherein the source of power is electric current.

18. The portable heating device of claim 14, wherein the source of power is at least one battery.

19. The portable heating device of claim 14, wherein the source of power is a combustible gas.

20. The portable heating device of claim 14, wherein the illumination apparatus is telescopically adjustable relative to the heating device.

21. The portable heating device of claim 20, wherein the illumination apparatus is removably associated with the heating device.

22. The portable heating device of claim 14 further comprising an oxygen depletion system adapted to measure an oxygen concentration level of an environment proximate to the heating device and to automatically deactivate the heating device in response to a measurement of a preselected oxygen concentration level.

23. The portable heating device of claim 14 further comprising a layer of isinglass associated therewith, wherein the isinglass is adapted to protect the heating means from wind-based disruption.

24. A portable heating device for generating and radiating heat therefrom comprising: coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat; and a telescopically adjustable illumination apparatus, associated with the heating device, for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned, and wherein the illumination apparatus comprises an illumination means adapted to receive a source of power and convert the received power into radiating illumination.

25. The portable heating device of claim 24 further comprising at least one of a first interface means adapted for interfacing with a first removable cylinder comprising propane gas, a second interface means adapted for interfacing with a second removable cylinder comprising propane gas and a third interface means adapted for interfacing with a third removable cylinder comprising propane gas.

26. The portable heating device of claim 24 further comprising a remote interface means adapted for interfacing the heating device with a remotely located cylinder comprising propane gas.

27. The portable heating device of claim 24, wherein the source of power is at least one of electric current, at least one battery, kerosene, and a combustible gas.

28. The portable heating device of claim 24, wherein the illumination apparatus is removably associated with the heating device.

29. The portable heating device of claim 24 further comprising an oxygen depletion system adapted to measure an oxygen concentration level of an environment proximate to the heating device and to automatically deactivate the heating device in response to a measurement of a preselected oxygen concentration level.

30. The portable heating device of claim 24 further comprising a layer of isinglass associated therewith, wherein the isinglass is adapted to protect the heating means from wind-based disruption.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a portable heating device. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a portable heating device having an illumination apparatus associated therewith.

BRIEF DISCUSSION OF THE RELATED ART

Portable heating devices, such as those capable of converting a combustible gas, such as liquid propane gas, into a radiant heat, are frequently employed for a plurality of applications. For example, portable heating devices are often used in connection with outdoor recreational activities, such as hunting, camping, etc., and in connection with domestic activities, wherein the device is used to heat a dwelling, such as a home, a cabin, a recreational vehicle, and the like. In general, portable heating devices are used to heat an environment that otherwise is unheated or in need of an auxiliary source of heat. Furthermore, portable heating devices typically couple to a combustible gas as an energy source for generating and radiating heat, and accordingly enjoy increased portability due to the elimination of the need for access to a conventional source of energy.

Portable heating devices, when used in connection with outdoor recreational activities, are often paired with a source of artificial illumination during nighttime activities. For example, campers often position a portable heating device in their tent for providing a source of heat and also position an artificial light, such as a kerosene-powered lantern, therein for providing a source of illumination. Accordingly, this conventional practice increases the burden on campers by requiring them to separately carry both the portable heating device and the source of artificial illumination. Similar complications are encountered in connection with other related activities, such as hunting, the use of a cabin, the use of a recreational vehicle, and the like.

Portable heating devices are also typically used as an emergency back-up measure for providing a source of heat in a situation in which a conventional source of heat is not available, such as during a temporary loss of electricity. Because conventional portable heating devices utilize a combustible gas as an energy source for the generation of heat, they do not require a ready source of electricity and accordingly are operable in emergency situations. Such emergency situations also present complications for illumination considerations, as the lack of electricity renders traditional illumination sources inoperable. Accordingly, individuals typically employ candles, flashlights, and the like to illuminate an area in emergency situations. However, these sources of illumination are often inadequate, as candles provide a limited amount of illumination and flashlights are operable only for a short period of time with a given set of batteries.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one example aspect, the present invention is directed to a portable heating device for generating and radiating heat therefrom. The portable heating device generally includes a coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; a heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat; and an illumination apparatus, associated with the heating device, for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned.

In connection with another example aspect, the present invention is directed to a portable heating device for generating and radiating heat therefrom. The heating device generally includes a coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; a heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat; and an illumination apparatus, associated with the heating device, for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned, and wherein the illumination apparatus comprises an illumination means adapted to receive a source of power and convert the received power into radiating illumination.

In connection with yet another example aspect, the present invention is directed to a portable heating device for generating and radiating heat therefrom. The heating device generally includes a coupling means adapted for coupling the heating device to a source of a combustible gas; a heating means, responsive to the coupling means, for converting the combustible gas into radiant heat; and a telescopically adjustable illumination apparatus, associated with the heating device, for illuminating an environment in which the heating device is positioned, and wherein the illumination apparatus comprises an illumination means adapted to receive a source of power and convert the received power into radiating illumination.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and a more thorough understanding of the present invention may be achieved by referring to the following description and claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 front perspective view of an example portable heating device having an illumination apparatus associated therewith, wherein the illumination apparatus is in an extended state, according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the portable heating device of FIG. 1, wherein the illumination apparatus is in an extended state;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the portable heating device of FIGS. 1 and 2, wherein the illumination apparatus is in a retracted state;

FIG. 4 is a rear perspective view of the portable heating device of FIGS. 1-3, wherein the illumination apparatus is in a retracted state;

FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of the portable heating device of FIGS. 1-4, wherein the illumination apparatus has been removed;

FIG. 6 is a rear plan view of the portable heating devices of FIGS. 1-5, wherein the illumination apparatus is in an extended state;

FIG. 7 is a side cut away view of the portable heating device of FIGS. 1-6, wherein the illumination apparatus is in a retracted state;

FIG. 8 is a side cut away view of the portable heating device of FIGS. 1-7, wherein the illumination apparatus is in an extended state; and

FIG. 9 is a side cut away view of an alternate example portable heating device having an alternate example illumination apparatus.

DETAILED DISCUSSION OF EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS

Disclosed according to the present invention are a portable heating device having an illumination apparatus associated therewith and uses thereof. The portable heating device is preferably a conventional portable heating device that utilizes a combustible gas, such as liquid propane gas, to generate and radiate heat, and is further adapted for use in any of a plurality of locations, such as in a garage, a barn, a cabin, a tent, a camper, a recreational vehicle, a hunting blind, an ice fishing shanty, an enclosed porch, a dwelling, and in connection with emergency situations, such as power outages, wherein the device of the present invention suitably provides both heat and illumination, especially illumination other than that typically provided as an incidental by-product of the generation of heat.

With reference to FIG. 1, illustrated is an example portable heating device 100 according to the present invention. In general, the portable heating device 100 includes a device body 102, a means adapted for generating and radiating heat, and an illumination apparatus 104 associated therewith, as each will be discussed hereinafter.

Turning to the Figures, the device body 102 of the portable heating device 100 preferably includes a casing 106, a front face 108 and a base member 110. With best reference to FIG. 2, the casing 106 preferably provides a substantial portion of upright wall portions of the device body 102 and itself generally includes a rear wall 112, a pair of spaced apart side walls 114, 116 and a top wall 118. The rear wall 112 and side walls 114, 116 are preferably disposed relative to each other in a generally continuous, ovoid manner according to which the rear wall 112 defines an arcuate rear vertical portion of the device body 102 and the side walls 114, 116 extend laterally therefrom also in an arcuate manner. Further, the side walls 114, 116 preferably extend arcuately past a middle axis of the body 102 and wrap around to define portions of a front surface of the body 102.

With reference to FIG. 1, the device body 102 casing 106 preferably also includes the top wall 118 that defines upper, generally horizontal portions, of the casing 106. The top wall 118 is preferably partially ovoid in shape, having a generally flat forward portion 119 and arcuate portions corresponding to the arcuate portions of the casing 106, preferably the arcuate portions of the rear wall 112 and the side walls 114, 116, and further is preferably continuous therewith. Turning to FIGS. 2 and 5, the top wall 118 also preferably includes a shoulder portion 122 disposed generally right angularly relative to the rear wall 112 and the side walls 114, 116. Even more preferably, the top wall 118 includes a concentrically reduced portion 120 disposed above the shoulder portion 122, preferably co-planar therewith, and associated with the shoulder portion 122 through a generally vertical connecting portion 124, aspects of all of which will be discussed hereinafter.

The device body 102 preferably also includes a handle 130 pivotally associated therewith for facilitating transport of the heating device 100, as best shown in FIG. 5. In a preferred embodiment, the handle 130 is an arcuate member corresponding in shape to the arcuate portions of the casing 106 and is pivotally associated with the top wall 118. Even more preferably, the handle 130 is pivotally associated with the top wall 118 vertical connecting portion 124. In this arrangement, the handle 130 pivots between a range of positions including an upright position for transport and a stowed position for storage in which the handle 130 is disposed along the shoulder portion 122 and the vertical connecting portion 124. It is to be appreciated that the handle 130 is an optional feature and may suitably be provided as any of a plurality of configurations, such as a rigid and immovable handle, a retractable handle, recessed handles fashioned in the casing 106, and the like.

With reference to FIGS. 1 and 5, the front portions of the side walls 114, 116 preferably extend to and are continuous with the concentrically reduced portion 120 of the top wall 118, thereby defining side wall 114, 116 upper portions 126, 128. The upper portions 126, 128 are preferably disposed at a generally right angle relationship relative to the shoulder portion 122, and accordingly define a lip-like member that restricts the pivotability of the handle 130 to a generally ninety degree range of movement.

The casing 106 suitably also includes a recessed portion 132 integrated therewith for accommodating the illumination apparatus 104, as will be more fully described hereinafter. With reference to FIGS. 2, 4 and 5, the recessed portion 132 is preferably an arcuately recessed portion associated with upper, rear portions of the casing 106. Even more preferably, the recessed portion 132 includes a base member 136 disposed at a general right angle relative to the casing 106 rear wall 112 and parallel to the top wall 118, and further extending inward, relative to the casing 106, from an approximate vertical midpoint of the rear wall 112. The recessed portion 132 preferably also includes a vertical wall 134, disposed in an arcuate semi-spherical manner and extending vertically relative to the base member 136. The vertical wall 134 preferably includes a first vertically terminal portion that is continuous with the top wall 118 and another vertically terminal portion that is continuous with the shoulder portion 122. The recessed portion 132 suitably also includes an aperture 138 fashioned in the base member 136, which aperture 138 suitably facilitates the association of the illumination apparatus 104 with the heating device 100, as will be more fully described hereinafter.

According to a preferred embodiment, the casing 106 is preferably a unitary member composed of its various components, including the rear wall 112, the side walls 114, 116, and the top wall 118. The casing 106 is preferably constructed from any suitably method and of any suitable material, such as an appropriate plastic, metal, steel, alloy, etc. Even more preferably, the casing 106 is constructed of a material displaying a high degree of thermal resistance.

The device body 102 preferably also includes the front face 108 for enabling the heat generated by the heating device 100 to escape and permeate into its external environment. With reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, the front face 108 is preferably disposed on the device body 102 opposite the rear wall 112 in a manner that it completes the vertical and upper portions of the body 102. The front face 108 suitably includes a vertical portion 140, an upper lip-like member 142, opposed, vertically oriented side edges 144, 146, and an orifice 152 therein. The vertical portion 140 preferably is an elongate and generally rectangular member having an arcuate configuration along its radial axis adapted to generally correspond to the arcuate configuration of the casing 106. The vertical portion 140 is preferably disposed in a size and configuration that enables it to associate with the casing 106 and complete the vertical portions thereof, as shown in FIG. 2.

The front face 108 suitably also includes the lip member 142, preferably a component integral therewith, disposed arcuately along an upper segment thereof and adapted to interface with top wall 118 flat forward portion 119 to complete the upper portions of the body 102. The lip member 142 suitably also cooperates with forward and side portions of the top wall 118 so as to continuously define the casing 106. The lip member 142 preferably includes extending along its lateral edge protruding flange-like members adapted to insert into complementary elongate receiving cavities disposed in the top wall 118 edges. The front face 108 additionally includes opposed, vertically oriented side edges 144, 146 adapted to interface with side edges of the casing 106 side walls 114, 116. The side edges 144, 146 preferably include extending therealong protruding flange-like members adapted to insert into complementary elongate receiving cavities disposed in the casing 106 side wall 114, 116 edges. Accordingly, the lip member 142 and the side edges 144, 146 suitably cooperate with the discontinuous portions of the casing 106 so as to circumferentially complete the same and to provide the casing 106 as a generally closed cavity.

The front face 108 suitably also includes the orifice 152 therein for enabling heat transfer communication between the means adapted for generating and radiating heat maintained in the casing 106 and the external environment of the casing 106. The orifice 152 is preferably disposed as a generally rectangular opening adapted to overlie various components of the means for generating and radiating heat, as will be more fully described hereinafter. The front face 108 preferably also includes a plurality of vents therein for providing fluidic communication for oxygen and other gases between the casing 106 and the external environment of the casing 106. As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the front face 108 preferably includes air inlet vents 156 for permitting the flow of, e.g., oxygen, from the external environment to the casing 106, preferably in a location where the oxygen can be harnessed by the means for generating and radiating heat. The air inlet vents 156 are preferably disposed as a plurality of openings fashioned in lower portions of the front face 108, preferably beneath the orifice 152. The front face 108 suitably also includes outlet and/or inlet vents 158 for enabling oxygen, heat and other gases to escape from and/or enter the casing 106. The outlet vents 158 are preferably disposed as a plurality of openings fashioned in upper portions of the front face 108, preferably above the orifice 152. As will be more fully described hereinafter, the heating means preferably is preferably continuously associated with the front face 108 orifice 152. Accordingly, the outlet vents 158 provide an additional means of escape for oxygen, heat and other gases that otherwise do not escape through the orifice 152.

The front face 108 preferably also includes a grill-like member 154 associated therewith for preventing injury due to accidental contact with the heating means housed therebehind. The grill 154 preferably is composed of a plurality of interconnected thin, tubular elements, each of which cooperate in a fence-like manner to impede access to area behind the grill 154. The grill 154 is preferably constructed of a durable metal and is fixedly secured to the front face 108 through a plurality of holes 160 fashioned therein. Preferably, the grill 154 is of a size and configuration sufficient for enabling the grill 154 to substantially overlie the front face 108 orifice 152. Additionally, the grill 164 may include a layer of isinglass (not illustrated) associated therewith for protecting heating elements therebehind from disruption generated by wind and/or other gusts of gases. As known, isinglass is generally a layer of mica material that permits the passage of heat radiation therethrough, but otherwise impedes the flow of wind. Accordingly, its association with the grill 154 suitably enables heat to penetrate from the device 100 into its environment and provides a guard against wind interfering with normal operation of the device 100. The isinglass may be associated with the device 100 and/or grill 154 in any desired and appropriate manner, such as, for example, being removably associable with the grill 154 and/or device 100, being securely associated with the grill 154 and/or device 100, and the like.

The front face 108 is preferably constructed from any appropriate techniques and of any appropriate materials, such as appropriate, plastics, metals, alloys, etc., especially a material exhibiting a high degree of thermal resistance. Preferably, the front face 108 is a separate and distinct component relative to the casing 106 and is associated therewith subsequent to the construction and/or machining of the casing 106. Alternatively, the front face 108 and the casing 106 may suitably be a unitary construction, wherein the front face 108 and the casing 106 are integral components.

The device body 102 preferably also includes the base member 110 defining a portion of the body 102 that supports the device 100 and interfaces with a substrate upon which the device 100 is positioned. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 6, the base member 110 is preferably an ovoid member having a shape and configuration that generally mirrors the overall shape of the casing 106 and the front face 108 associated therewith. The base member 110 is preferably a cap-like member having a bottom face 162 and a circumferentially disposed vertical portion 164 extending therefrom, which vertical portion 164 is adapted to receive lower portions of the casing 106 and a bottom edge 148 of the front face 108 therein and/or therealong and provide a lower support for the device 100. Additionally, the base member 110 suitably includes features and/or structure thereon for increasing the frictional engagement between the bottom face 162 and the substrate upon which it is positioned, such as a plurality of rib-like protrusions 166, one or more feet (not shown), various corrugations, general adhesive, and the like.

As will be more fully described hereinafter, the base member 110 suitably provides a situs for the association of the various components of the heating means, as briefly shown in FIGS. 7-9. In a preferred embodiment, the heating means may suitably interface with one or more replaceable cylinders 200 containing a combustible gas, such as liquid propane gas, which, as known to one of ordinary skill, require various replacement. Accordingly, the base member 110 may suitably be associated with the casing body 102 in a detachable and removable manner to provide access to the cylinders maintained therein. The base member 110 may frictionally fit with the casing 106 and the front face 108 according to which the casing 106 and the front face 108 are suitably slid into the base member 110, which components remain in association until acted upon by a distracting force that separates the same. Alternatively, the base member 110 may suitably include a fastening member, such as a pivotally associated elastic clamp-like member, and the like, for removably associating the base member 110 with the casing 106 and the front face 108.

With reference to an alternate and preferred embodiment, the casing 106 suitably includes one or more apertures 202 for providing access to an inner cavity of the device 100 and the cylinders 200 therein. As best shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6, the casing 106 preferably includes an aperture 202 fashioned in each of the casing 106 side walls 114, 116 in a position for providing easy access to cylinders 200 maintained therein. Even more preferably, the device 100 includes panels 204 removably associable with the apertures 202 and for covering and sealing the same. The panels 204 are suitably removably associable with the apertures 202 through any appropriate fastening mechanism, such as a snap-lock, a pivoting hinge, and the like. Thus, in operation, a user removes the panel 204, thereby exposing the aperture 202 and providing access for either insertion of a cylinder 200 into the device 100 or removal of an empty cylinder 200 therefrom.

The portable heating device 100 suitably also includes a means adapted for generating and radiating heat. With reference to a preferred embodiment, the means is provided as a conventional device adapted to receive and convert a combustible gas, such as liquid propane gas, into radiant heat, the construction and components of which are known to one of ordinary skill in the art.

By way of example only and for the sake of illustration, the heating means suitably includes a source of combustible gas and a means for converting the gas into radiant heat. With reference to FIGS. 7-9, the source of gas is preferably provided as a cylinder 200 containing, e.g., a supply of liquid propane gas or other appropriate substance. In a preferred embodiment, the heating device 100 is adapted to receive and store at least one cylinder 200 in the body 102 in association with the means for converting the gas into radiant heat. More preferably, the heating device 100 is adapted to receive and store at least two cylinders 200 in the body 102. Even more preferably, the heating device 100 is adapted to receive and store at least three cylinders 200 in the body 102, especially wherein the third cylinder 200 provides a power source for powering the illumination apparatus 104. Alternatively, the device 100 may suitably include structure for associating the cylinder(s) 200 on or with an exterior surface of the device body 102. In connection with another embodiment, the heating device 100 may suitably include structure for coupling the device 100 with a remotely positioned cylinder, especially an oversized cylinder adapted to store a relatively larger quantity of propane. Accordingly, the device 100 may suitably be positioned in a room and be coupled through, for example, an elongate and flexible tubing to a cylinder positioned outside the room. Accordingly, the heating device 100 may suitably be positioned distal to the cylinder. For example, the cylinder can suitably be positioned outside a tent, a cabin, a dwelling structure, a garage, etc. and still provide gas to the heating device 100 through the elongate tubing. It is to be appreciated that the heating device 100 may be configured so as to both accommodate one or more cylinders 200 in its casing 106 and to be connected to a remotely positioned cylinder. Regardless of the configuration, the cylinder 200 is preferably a conventional cylinder 200, such as a one pound cylinder, a five pound cylinder, a twenty pound cylinder, and the like, containing gas under pressure therein and having a valve, actuation of which suitably releases the contents of the cylinder 200.

The heating device 100 preferably also includes the means for converting the gas into radiant heat. In a preferred exemplary embodiment, the means for converting the gas into radiant heat preferably includes a regulator assembly 172, a gas outlet 174, a venturi 176, a pilot 182 and a heat radiating surface 188, all of which suitably cooperate to convert the gas into radiant heat for heating the environment of the heating device 100. The regulator assembly 172 preferably includes known components for connecting to the proximal and/or remote cylinder(s) 200, accommodating the pressurization of the gas contained therein (i.e., preferably reducing the delivery pressure of the gas from the cylinder), and for transferring the gas to the gas outlet 174. The gas is suitably delivered via the regulator assembly 172 to the gas outlet 174, which then suitably directs the output of the gas into the venturi 176. The venturi 176 is preferably defined by a funnel-like mouth 178 that receives the gas and directs it into a venturi 176 cylindrical body 180. Preferably, the venturi 176 mouth 178 is positioned above the gas outlet 174 and the cylindrical body 180 extends from the mouth 178 upright and, preferably, slightly angularly offset. In general, as the gas is discharged from the gas outlet 174 into the venturi 176, a vacuum-like suction force is created that draws oxygen from the external environment into the venturi 176 through the air inlet vents 156 in the front face 108. Accordingly, the oxygen and gas mix and commingle in the venturi 176 in preparation for combustion. The oxygen and gas mixture travels upward through the venturi 176 cylindrical body 180 and approach the heat radiating surface 188. Once present at the heat radiating surface 188, the oxygen/gas mixture is preferably acted upon by the pilot 182, which is preferably ignited through its igniter 184; however, it is to be appreciated that any conventional means may be employed for igniting the pilot 182. Once the oxygen/gas mixture reaches the heat radiating surface 188 and interacts with the pilot 182, combustion occurs and is maintained as long as a supply of the oxygen/gas mixture is provided to the heat radiating surface. The heat radiating surface 188 is any suitable heat-resistant structure for allowing the radiation of heat outward, such as a burner tile, a multi-ply screen, and the like preferably containing a plurality of apertures that permit combustion of the oxygen/gas mixture as it passes therethrough. As previously mentioned, the heat radiating surface 188 is preferably disposed in the heating device 100 in positional communication with the front face 108 orifice 152 so that the heat generated from the combustion may suitably pass from the heating device 100 into its external environment. Additionally, the heat radiating surface 188 is preferably a rectangular body configured so as to fit in the front face 108 orifice 152.

The portable heating device 100 suitably also includes a user interface 210 (FIG. 1) for providing a user means for directing operation of the heating device 100. In a preferred embodiment, the user interface includes a knob, such as an ignition knob 212, rotatable through a plurality of settings such as, for example, OFF, IGNITE, ON, HIGH, LOW, and the like.

In connection with an example embodiment, the portable heating device 100 of the present invention may suitably include an oxygen depletion system that automatically deactivates the heating device 100 in response to a detection of low oxygen levels, which may be indicative of increased carbon monoxide levels. The oxygen depletion system may suitably include a thermocouple for sensing changes in oxygen levels and for cooperating with the device 100 to turn the same off in response to low oxygen levels. The thermocouple may optionally be associated with the pilot 182 and be adapted to monitor oxygen levels through observation of the temperature of the pilot flame, changes in which may suitably be indicative of changes in oxygen levels.

According to a preferred embodiment, the portable heating device 100 of the present invention suitably also includes the illumination apparatus 104 associated therewith for illuminating the environment in which the portable heating device 100 is positioned. FIG. 1 illustrates a particularly preferred embodiment of the illumination apparatus 104, wherein the illumination apparatus 104 is adapted to couple to a propane cylinder 200 and generate illumination through harnessing the propane. However, as will be more fully described hereinafter, the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably couple to any source of power sufficient for generating illumination.

As best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the illumination apparatus 104 preferably includes a lantern member 220 couplable to the propane cylinder 200. The lantern 220 is preferably a conventionally available lantern 220 having appropriate structure for being removably associated with a cylinder 200 and for converting propane into illumination, such as a lantern 220 available from Coleman™ generally under the name 1 Mantle Compact, and described in U.S. Des. Pat. No. D448,518, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. As known, the lantern 220 generally includes a cylinder 200 engaging portion 222, an illuminating member 224, a shield 226, and an illumination regulator 230. The engaging portion 222 preferably includes appropriate structure for mating the lantern 220 to the cylinder 200 propane outlet and valve and for delivering the propane to the lantern 220 illuminating member 224, which member is adapted to convert propane into illumination, as known by one of ordinary skill in the art. The lantern 220 preferably also includes the shield 226, which is generally provided as a light bulb-like transparent encasing around the illuminating member 224 for preventing accidental contact with components, especially elevated temperature components, maintained therein. The illumination regulator 230 is preferably provided as a rotatable knob-like member adapted to selectably regulate the amount of propane being delivered to the illuminating member 224 and thereby influence the extent of illumination provided by the lantern 220.

Thus, in one aspect, the configuration of the illumination apparatus 104 including a propane cylinder 200 provides a means for associating a third cylinder 200 with the device 100. The inclusion of a third cylinder may suitably be beneficial in connection with extended uses of the heating device 100, wherein the third cylinder may be transferred from use with the illumination apparatus 104 for use with powering the heating device 100.

The illumination apparatus 104 is preferably associated with the device body 102 in any appropriate configuration and orientation. FIGS. 1-5 illustrate a preferred embodiment of the configuration and orientation of the illumination apparatus 104, relative to the device body 102, according to which the illumination apparatus 104 telescopes between an extended position (FIGS. 1, 2, 6 and 8) and a retracted position (FIGS. 3, 4 and 7). Returning to FIG. 2, the recessed portion 132 of the body 102 is preferably configured to receive the illumination apparatus 104 therein in both the extended and retracted positions. More specifically, the aperture 138 of the recessed portion 132 is adapted to receive the illumination apparatus 104, preferably the cylinder 200 thereof, therein when the illumination apparatus 104 is in a retracted state. The heating device 100 may suitably also include other structure for engaging the illumination apparatus 104, such as an elongate cylindrical cavity, preferably having a longitudinal axis generally parallel with the overall longitudinal axis of the device 100, generally disposed within the body 102 and below the recessed portion 132 base 136, and preferably having an opening defined by the recessed portion 132 aperture 138. Accordingly, the illumination apparatus 104 preferably telescopes along the aperture 138 from a retracted position in which illumination apparatus 104 cylinder 200 is stored within the cylindrical cavity and an extended position in which the lantern 220 is maintained in a position distal to the heating device 100.

Turning to FIGS. 5 and 6, the heating device 100 may include various structure for supporting the illumination apparatus 104 in an extended state. In a preferred embodiment, the device 100 includes a manually adjustable protruding member 240 associated with the recessed portion 132 and adapted for supporting the illumination apparatus 104 thereon. More preferably, the protruding member 240 is slidably adjustable between an extended state (FIG. 8), in which the member 240 operates as a substrate upon which a bottom portion of the cylinder 200 may rest, and a stored state (FIG. 7), in which the protruding member 240 is maintained in proximity to the recessed portion 132 for enabling the lantern 220 to be maintained in the recessed portion 132. In a preferred embodiment, the protruding member 240, the recessed portion 132, and the handle 130 cooperate to support and secure the illumination apparatus 104 in an extended state, as best shown in FIG. 8. Accordingly, the illumination apparatus 104 cylinder 200 rests upon the protruding member 240 and is prevented from engaging in undesired lateral movement by engagement of the cylinder 200 with the recessed portion 132 and the handle 130 thereon. Despite disclosure of the projecting member 240, it is to be appreciated that the device 100 may suitably include any appropriate structure, such as a ratcheting and release mechanism, for maintaining the illumination apparatus 104 in an extended state.

In connection with yet another preferred embodiment, the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably be separable from the heating device 100 and positioned in any desired location and/or employed as a hand-held lantern-like flashlight for illuminating an area of interest. Thus, the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably remain associated with the heating device 100 and telescope between the extended and retracted states, and may suitably also be dissociated from the heating device 100 and employed remotely to the heating device 100 as desired. Additionally, the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably include any appropriate structure, such as a hook-like member, for suspending the apparatus 100 from an elevated support, such as from the roof of a cabin and/or tent, generally for increasing the extent of illumination provided by the apparatus 104.

Despite the foregoing discussion of the illumination apparatus 104 as a device adapted for converting propane into illumination, it is to be appreciated that the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably be provided as any illumination device. In connection with an example embodiment, the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably be provided as a flashlight-like member having an elongate cylindrical body member, a transparent terminal cover, a means adapted for providing illumination, and a source of power for the means adapted for providing illumination. The means adapted for providing illumination is preferably provided as a conventional light bulb, such as an incandescent light bulb, a fluorescent light bulb, a tungsten light bulb, a metal halide bulb, and the like, and is suitably removably associated, for replacement, with the body. The cover is preferably transparent along the entirety of its composition, thereby enabling the light bulb to multidirectionally emanate illumination upward and along a generally three hundred and sixty degree arc of illumination. The source of power is preferably any source of power, such as electric, electrochemical, gas, kerosene and the like. With reference to an example embodiment, the source of power is electric current and the heating device 100 suitably includes a power cord adapted to couple with an electric outlet, such as a wall outlet, and provide the current to the light bulb for powering the same. With reference to another example embodiment, the source of power is one or more batteries. The flashlight-like member is particularly amenable to use with the preferred heating device 100 of the present invention, in that the flashlight may suitably be maintained in a retracted state, according to which the cylindrical body thereof is disposed in the aperture 138, in an extended state, according to which the cylindrical body is supported atop an appropriate structure, such as the projecting member 240, and/or be removably associated with the device 100 and usable as a hand-held illumination apparatus 104.

In connection with yet another example embodiment and FIG. 9, the illumination apparatus 104 may suitably be provided as a small hand held flashlight having a body 250, an arcuate handle 252 associated therewith, an illuminating means 254, and a base 256. The flashlight is preferably a self-powered flashlight, such as one adapted to secure and utilize one or more batteries in driving the illuminating means. The heating device 100 may suitably be adapted to removably associate the example illumination apparatus 104 of FIG. 9 therewith. For example, the recessed portion 132 base 136 is suitably adapted operate as a substrate and maintained the illumination apparatus 104 base 256 thereon. The recessed portion 132 also cooperates with the handle 130 to secure the illumination apparatus 104 in position. Accordingly, the illumination apparatus 104 is removably associable with the device 100 as previously described with the alternate example apparatus 104.

In connection with an example, the heating device 100 and/or one or more components thereof may suitably include a radio associated therewith. In one embodiment, the radio may suitably be associated directly with the illumination apparatus 104, preferably an embodiment in which the illumination apparatus 104 is powered by one or more batteries. In another embodiment, the radio may suitably be associated with the device 100 body 102 in any appropriate location. Additionally, the radio may suitably be associated with a manually rotatable electricity generator for providing a source of electrical power for driving the radio, which may suitably be especially advantageous in emergency situations wherein a source of electricity and/or propane may be depleted. The generator may suitably also be configured so as to deliver electrical power to the illumination apparatus 104.

Despite the foregoing discussion of the illumination apparatus 104, it is to be appreciated that the present invention is not to be limited to the particular shape and structure as depicted in the Figures. Namely, the present invention is generally directed to the concept of a portable heating device 100 having an illumination apparatus associated therewith. Thus, in one aspect, the illumination apparatus may suitably be provided as an illumination panel fixedly secured to the heating device 100 and adapted to couple with any of an electricity, electrochemical and/or gaseous source of power.

Although the invention has been described with regard to certain preferred example embodiments, it is to be understood that the present disclosure has been made by way of example only, and that improvements, changes and modifications in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Such improvements, changes and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be covered by the scope of the appended claims.





 
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