Title:
Beverage container receptacle with active display
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention takes the form of various embodiments including: first, a receptacle for a beverage container with a temperature gauge affixed to the receptacle that takes and displays a temperature reading of the container in the receptacle; second, a receptacle for receiving a beverage container with a gauge affixed to the receptacle that registers movement of the beverage container within the receptacle; third, a receptacle for receiving a beverage container with an electrically powered device attached to the receptacle; and, fourth, a receptacle for receiving a beverage container with a gauge affixed to the receptacle that indicates whether the receptacle is level with a plane.



Inventors:
Oudekerk, Douglas R. (St. Paul, MN, US)
Lampe, John K. (St. Paul, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/338041
Publication Date:
08/31/2006
Filing Date:
01/24/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
JAGAN, MIRELLYS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John K. Lampe (St. Paul, MN, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An article of commerce comprising: (a) a receptacle defining a retention chamber configured and arranged to receive a beverage container; and (b) a temperature gauge affixed to the receptacle for sensing a temperature of a beverage container retained within the retention chamber and generating a perceptible signal representative of the sensed temperature of the beverage container.

2. An article of commerce comprising: (a) a receptacle defining a retention chamber configured and arranged to receive a beverage container; and (b) a gauge affixed to the receptacle for sensing the presence or absence of a beverage container within the retention chamber and generating a perceptible signal upon sensing at least one of (i) the presence of a beverage container, (ii) the absence of a beverage container, (iii) a change from the presence of a beverage container to the absence of a beverage container, (iv) a change from the absence of a beverage container to the presence of a beverage container.

3. An article of commerce comprising: (a) a receptacle defining a retention chamber configured and arranged to receive a beverage container; and (b) an electrically powered device attached to the receptacle for generating a perceptible signal based upon a sensed condition of the receptacle.

4. An article of commerce comprising: (a) a receptacle defining a retention chamber configured and arranged to receive a beverage container: and (b) a gauge affixed to the receptacle configured and arranged for sensing and reporting the pitch of the retention chamber relative to earth.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the perceptible signal is a mechanically generated visual signal.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the perceptible signal is a mechanically generated aural signal.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the retention chamber is of a size to receive a standard 12-ounce beverage can.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the retention chamber is of a size to receive a standard 750 milliliter wine bottle.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the temperature gauge includes indicia indicating a desired temperature range for consumption of at least one type of beverage.

10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the receptacle is insulated.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the temperature gauge is configured and arranged to physically contact a beverage container retained within the retention chamber for purposes of sensing the temperature of the beverage container.

12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the perceptible signal is activation of a visually perceptible light.

13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the perceptible signal is generation of an audible sound.

14. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the perceptible signal is generation of a vibratory movement.

15. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the perceptible signal is activation of a visually perceptible light.

16. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the perceptible signal is generation of an audible sound.

17. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the perceptible signal is generation of a vibratory movement.

18. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the perceptible signal is activation of a visually perceptible light.

19. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the perceptible signal is generation of an audible sound.

20. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the perceptible signal is generation of a vibratory movement.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Applications No. 60/722,921 filed Oct. 3, 2005, and No. 60/655,920 filed on Feb. 25, 2005.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to receptacles for beverage containers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The prior art contains many examples of beverage container receptacles. Many such receptacles act to insulate a beverage container. For example, “can coolers” insulate canned beverages to keep them cool. U.S. Pat. No. 6,206,223 to Wicker is an example of an insulated beverage receptacle intended to keep a beverage cool. Other receptacles, such as those commonly used for coffee and other hot liquids, are designed to insulate the hands of the drinker from the surface of a hot container.

The prior art suffers from certain shortcomings or limitations. The purpose of the present invention is to overcome the shortcomings or limitations in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to receptacles for beverage containers. Specifically, it relates to a receptacle for a beverage container with an active presentation using, for example, a visual display or sound that could be activated by various mechanisms.

In at least one embodiment the device consists of an insulated cylindrical receptacle with an open top and a gauge mechanism. As a beverage container such as a soda can is inserted into the receptacle, the gauge mechanism could cause a needle on the gauge to move. For example, the needle on the gauge could gradually move from registering “empty” to “full” as the can is inserted. Other embodiments could utilize, for example, temperature switches or senders, to activate a gauge, lights, sound chips, or other devices to create an active presentation. The receptacle could be used for various purposes including as a novelty device or as a means to indicate whether a beverage is at a desireable temperature.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

This invention encompasses embodiments with one or more of the following objects. The advantages and objects of this invention include:

The receptacle for a beverage container could be safe and convenient to use; could be packaged for easy storage, shipping, and opening by the user; could be easy and economical to manufacture; and could not damage structures to which it is attached, on which it is positioned, or with which it is used.

The receptacle for a beverage container could be made of various sizes and shapes for different applications. For example, the receptacle could preferably be of a size that could receive a beverage can or bottle of the kinds sold in the United States and other countries.

The receptacle for a beverage container could be made of one or a combination of materials (both natural or synthetic) including plastics, foams, metals, cellulose based materials, woven or nonwoven fabrics, glass, or ceramic.

The receptacle for a beverage container could be made using various manufacturing techniques including various kinds of molding techniques such as injection, blow, dip, and compression molding; various kinds of forming techniques including vacuum forming, stamping, extruding, or fabricating; and various joining techniques including mechanical techniques such as sewing or chemical techniques such as adhesives.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate a perceptible signal. As utilized herein, including the claims, the phrase “perceptible signal” means any and all means of communication capable of conveying information to a human, including specifically, but not exclusively audible signals (e.g., a beep or tune), olfactory signals (e.g., emission of a scent), tactile signals (e.g., vibration), visual signals (e.g., gauge or color change), and multimedia signals (e.g., tone with vibration).

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate a perceptible signal when a beverage container is moved within the receptacle such as when the beverage container is inserted or removed from the receptacle. For example, by inserting a beverage container into the receptacle, the perceptible signal could change in various ways such as: the reading on a gauge could change from “empty” to “full”; a warning light could become illuminated, a sound chip could emit a sound; or a vibrator could be activated.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate a perceptible signal that could change when the content of the beverage container changes in some way. For example, a change in the temperature or level of the liquid could causes the perceptible signal to change in various ways such as: a gauge could indicate a change in the temperature of the liquid or the level of the liquid; a warning light could flash; a buzzer could sound; or a vibrator could be activated.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate one or more active perceptible signals. Such perceptible signals could include one of or combinations of the following: multiple gauges, multiple lights, multiple sound chips, or multiple forms of motion such as vibration.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate an active perceptible signal that could operate with electric current and use components such as: batteries, lights, switches such as temperature or pressure switches, senders for providing continuous readings, chips (including sound, light, or motion chips), etc.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate an active perceptible signal that could employ various mechanical devices such as levers, pulleys, gears, or springs.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate an active perceptible signal that could employ a combination of mechanical components and components that operate with electric current.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate an active perceptible signal that could be for utilitarian purposes such as indicating the temperature or the level of a liquid in a beverage container, for humorous or decorative purposes such as changing a message or changing an image, or for combinations of utilitarian or decorative purposes.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate an active perceptible signal that could be used for various effects. Those effects could include: resembling gauges or displays such as fuel or temperature gauges or warning or display lights for motor vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, etc.; sound effects associated with those devices such as the sound of an engine; and motion effects that might include the vibration associated with a revving engine or air movement.

The receptacle for a beverage container could generate an active perceptible signal that could be used for various effects and could also accomplish other objectives such as insulating a beverage; insulating things such as a human hand from a beverage container; or providing a means of holding a beverage containers.

The receptacle for a beverage container could employ various auxiliary devices to enhance a presentation such as lights for illumination.

Devices contemplated by this invention could be suitable for many purposes. Only some of those uses are discussed in this specification. Many other uses are contemplated within the scope of this invention.

The above summary of the present invention is not intended to describe each illustrated embodiment, object, advantage, or use of the present invention. The figures and the detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify these embodiments

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments of the invention in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A is a perspective, exploded view of one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 1B is a side, cut-away view of the invention shown in FIG. 1A.

FIG. 1C is a front, elevation view of the invention shown in FIG. 1A with a beverage can partially inserted into the invention.

FIG. 1D is a front, elevation view of the invention shown in FIG. 1A with a beverage can fully inserted into the invention.

FIG. 2A is a side, cut-away view of a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3A is a side, cut-away view of a third embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4A is a side, cut-away view of a fourth embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4B is a front view of the invention shown in FIG. 4A.

FIG. 5A is a front, elevation view of a fifth embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6A is a side, cut-away view of a sixth embodiment of the invention.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

  • 100 receptacle for beverage container
  • 101 beverage container
  • 102 gauge
  • 103 bezel
  • 104 crystal
  • 105 needle
  • 106 faceplate
  • 107 shaft
  • 108 pulley
  • 109 cord
  • 110 coiled spring
  • 111 lever
  • 112 outside wall of receptacle
  • 114 receiving chamber of receptacle
  • 117 downward direction
  • 120 opening in top of beverage container
  • 121 bottom of beverage container
  • 200 receptacle for beverage container
  • 202 gauge
  • 203 bezel
  • 204 crystal
  • 205 needle
  • 206 faceplate
  • 212 outside wall of receptacle
  • 214 receiving chamber of receptacle
  • 220 opening in top of beverage container
  • 221 bottom of beverage container
  • 225 temperature sender
  • 226 contact
  • 227 connection
  • 300 receptacle for beverage container
  • 301 beverage container
  • 302 gauge
  • 303 bezel
  • 304 crystal
  • 305 needle
  • 306 faceplate
  • 310 gauge mechanism
  • 312 outside wall of receptacle
  • 314 receiving chamber of receptacle
  • 320 opening in top of receptacle
  • 321 bottom of receptacle
  • 330 contact
  • 400 receptacle for beverage container
  • 401 beverage container
  • 402 gauge
  • 403 bezel
  • 404 crystal
  • 405 needle
  • 406 faceplate
  • 410 gauge mechanism
  • 412 outside wall of receptacle
  • 414 receiving chamber of receptacle
  • 420 opening in top of receptacle
  • 421 bottom of receptacle
  • 430 contact
  • 431 temperature range markings
  • 500 receptacle for beverage container
  • 501 beverage container
  • 502 gauge
  • 503 bezel
  • 505 needle
  • 506 faceplate
  • 512 outside wall of receptacle
  • 514 receiving chamber of receptacle
  • 520 opening in top of receptacle
  • 521 bottom of receptacle
  • 538 indicator light
  • 600 receptacle for beverage container
  • 602 gauge
  • 603 bezel
  • 604 crystal
  • 612 outside wall of receptacle
  • 614 receiving chamber of receptacle
  • 620 opening in top of receptacle
  • 621 bottom of receptacle
  • 635 level indicator
  • 636 liquid
  • 637 bottom of level indicator

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

First Embodiment

FIGS. 1A to 1D show a receptacle 100 for a beverage container 101 according to a first embodiment of the invention. The receptacle 100 has an outside wall 112 and a bottom 121 defining a receiving chamber 114 with an open top 120. A gauge 102 is provided on the receptacle 100. The gauge 102 in this embodiment preferably includes a bezel 103, crystal 104, needle 105 and faceplate 106 so as to resemble a gauge for a motor vehicle (measuring, for example, fuel level, fuel pressure, oil pressure or water temperature). FIG. 1C shows a beverage container 101 partially inserted into the receptacle 100. The needle 105 as shown in FIG. 1C is at a first position. FIG. 1D shows a beverage container 101 fully inserted into the receptacle 100. The needle 105 is at a second position. By moving the beverage container 101 in a downward direction 117 from a first position as shown in FIG. 1C to a second position as shown in FIG. 1D, the needle 105 could move to a second position as shown in FIG. 1D.

FIGS. 1A and 1B show the construction of the gauge 102 and how the needle 105 could move from the positions shown in FIGS. 1C and 1D. The gauge 102 is constructed such that a force exerted in a downward direction 117 on the lever 111 causes the needle 105 to move. As the lever 111 moves downward, it pulls on the cord 109 and rotates the pulley 108. As the pulley 108 rotates, the shaft 107 also rotates, thereby moving the needle 105. When the lever 111 reaches a second position as represented by the ghost image of the lever 111 in FIG. 1B, the needle 105 could reach the position shown in FIG. 1D. If the downward 117 directed force is released, the spring 110 could return the lever 111 to its first position as shown in FIG. 1B and the needle 105 to its first position.

Second Embodiment

FIG. 2A shows a second embodiment of a receptacle 200 for a beverage container 201. As with the first embodiment, the receptacle 200 has an outside wall 212 and a bottom 221 defining a receiving chamber 214 with an open top 220. A gauge 202 is provided on the receptacle 200. The gauge 202 preferably including a bezel 203, crystal 204, needle 205 and faceplate 206. The receptacle 200 could generally resemble the receptacle 100 shown in relation to FIGS. 1A to 1D with differences such as the following. The receptacle 200 could have a gauge 202 that registers changes in temperature. For example, the gauge 202 could incorporate a temperature sender 225 (or a temperature switch), powered, for example, by a battery (not indicated), that could provide continuous temperature readings to the gauge 202. A contact 226 could be located near the bottom of the receptacle 200 with a connection 227 to the sender 225. The contact 226 could touch the wall of a beverage container (not shown) in the receptacle 200. By having the contact 226 located near the bottom 221 of the receptacle 200, the gauge 202 could approximate the temperature of any liquid in the beverage container until the container is nearly empty (not shown). Various lights such as warning lights, chips including sound chips, or vibrators could also be operated using such a switch or sender (not shown).

Third Embodiment

FIG. 3A shows a receptacle 300 for a beverage container 301 according to the third embodiment of the invention. As with the first and second embodiments, the receptacle 300 has an outside wall 312 and a bottom 321 defining a receiving chamber 314 with an open top 320. A gauge 302 is provided on the receptacle 300. The gauge 302 preferably including a bezel 303, crystal 304, needle 305 and faceplate 306. The gauge 302 in this embodiment can resemble a gauge for a motor vehicle, for example, a temperature gauge.

The gauge 302 can have a non-electronic gauge mechanism 310 similar to those used for inexpensive air temperature gauges. The gauge 302 can have a contact 330 that contacts the beverage container 301. The contact 330 can be connected directly or indirectly to the gauge mechanism 310 in order to speed transmission of heat or cold to shorten the response time of the gauge mechanism 310 to temperature changes.

Fourth Embodiment

FIGS. 4A and 4B shows receptacle 400 for a beverage container 401 according to the fourth embodiment. As with the first, second and third embodiments, the receptacle 400 has an outside wall 412 and a bottom 421 defining a receiving chamber 414 with an open top 420. A gauge 402 is provided on the receptacle 400. The gauge 402 preferably including a bezel 403, crystal 404, needle 405 and faceplate 406. The receptacle 400 could generally resemble the receptacle 300 shown in relation to FIGS. 3A with differences such as the following. The receptacle 400 itself can be shorter. Such a receptacle 400 can be specifically designed for holding a wine bottle, for example. The contact 430 is operably connected to the needle 405 by a gauge mechanism 410 and can be spring loaded (not shown) to allow the contact 430 to come in contact with wine bottles of different shapes (not shown) such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Hoch wine bottles. In addition, a receptacle 400 could be made to accommodate larger wine bottles such as a liter bottle (1 liter), a Magnum (1.5 liters), a Jeroboam (3,000 ml), a Methuselah (6 liters), a Salmanazar (9 liters), a Balthazar (12 liters) and a Nabuchadnezzar (15 liters)

The faceplate 406 of the gauge 402, as shown in FIG. 4B can have different temperature range markings 431. The temperature range markings 431 can indicate the desired temperature at which different wines or other beverages should be served.

Fifth Embodiment

FIG. 5A shows a receptacle 500 for a beverage container 501 according to the fifth embodiment. As with the first, second, third and fourth embodiments, the receptacle 500 has an outside wall 512 and a bottom 521 defining a receiving chamber 514 with an open top 520. A gauge 502 is provided on the receptacle 500. The gauge 502 preferably includes a bezel 503, needle 505 and faceplate 506. The receptacle 500 could generally resemble the receptacle 300 shown in relation to FIGS. 3A with differences such as the following. The receptacle 500 can have an indicator light 538 on the faceplate 506. The indicator light 538 can be powered, for example, by a battery (not shown) housed in the gauge 502. The indicator light 538 can come on under various conditions. For example, the indicator light 538 can come on when the temperature of the beverage container 501 reaches a certain temperature.

Sixth Embodiment

FIG. 6A shows receptacle 600 for a beverage container (not shown) according to the sixth embodiment. As with the first through fifth embodiments, the receptacle 600 has an outside wall 612 and a bottom 621 defining a receiving chamber 614 with an open top 620. A gauge 602 is provided on the receptacle 600. The gauge 602 preferably covered with a bezel 603 and a crystal 604. The receptacle 600 can generally resemble the receptacle 300 shown in relation to FIGS. 3A with differences such as the following. The receptacle 600 can have a gauge 602 with a level indicator 635. The level indicator 635 can be disc shaped and can rotate inside the gauge 602. The level indicator 635 can float in a liquid 636 (such as oil) and can be weighted at its bottom edge 637. As the can is tipped (not shown) from an upright position, the level indicator 635 can rotate (not shown). The level indicator 635 can rotate back to level when the receptacle 600 is returned to an upright position.

Modifications

The present invention should not be considered limited to the particular examples described above, but rather should be understood to cover all aspects of the invention as fairly set out in the claims arising from this application. For example, while suitable sizes, materials, packaging and the like have been disclosed in the above discussion, it should be appreciated that these are provided by way of example and not of limitation as a number of other sizes, materials, fasteners, and so forth may be used without departing from the invention. Various modifications as well as numerous structures to which the present invention may be applicable will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art to which the present invention is directed upon review of the present specifications. The claims which arise from this application are intended to cover such modifications and structures.