Title:
Ash tray movable between a sealed retracted position and an accessible extended postion
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cylindrical housing encloses a receptacle for receiving cigarette ashes. An actuator within the housing supports a mounting rim which may be moved between an extended position free of the housing, and a retracted position within the housing. The receptacle provides a peripheral flange configured and shaped for engagement with the mounting rim, so that the rim with the receptacle may be driven fully into the housing, and extended free of the housing. The receptacle may be lifted away from the rim for disposing of ashes and then later replaced onto the rim. When the receptacle is stored within the housing a door is closed to seal the housing so as to prevent smoke or ash from drifting out of the receptacle and into the room where the receptacle is located.



Inventors:
Kerns, Todd (Ontario, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/183117
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
07/15/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A24F19/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, PHU HOANG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT LAW & VENTURE GROUP, PLLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An ashtray apparatus comprising: a cylindrical housing defining an open front end and a closed back end; an ash receptacle for receiving cigarette ashes, and an actuator providing a mounting rim, the actuator fixedly mounted within the housing and fixtured for moving the mounting rim between an extended position free of the housing, and a retracted position within the housing; the receptacle providing a peripheral flange configured and shaped for engagement with the mounting rim, whereby, the rim with the receptacle may be driven fully into the housing, and whereby the rim with receptacle may be driven free of the housing so that the receptacle may be lifted away from the rim for disposing of ashes and then replaced onto the rim for further collection of ashes.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing provides a fastening means for mounting the housing under a horizontal surface wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing is parallel with the horizontal surface.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing provides a fastening means for mounting the housing to a vertical surface wherein a longitudinal axis of the housing is perpendicular to the vertical surface.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the receptacle has a pocket for receiving the ashes and the rim is attached to a further pocket for receiving a flame producing device.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the peripheral flange of the receptacle has a semicircular portion and a linear portion, the semicircular portion providing at least one recess for receiving a cigarette.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a hinged door, the door forced by an attached spring into a closed position covering and sealing the open front end of the housing when the receptacle is in the retracted position; the door forced into an open position by the receptacle as the receptacle moves into the extended position.

7. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising a table, the table providing the horizontal surface, the open front end of the housing positioned adjacent an edge of the table such that the receptacle is accessible when in the extended position.

8. The apparatus of claim 3 further comprising a wall, the wall providing the vertical surface, the wall further providing a slot for receiving the housing, the open front end of the housing adjacent to the vertical surface such that the receptacle is accessible when in the extended position.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Present Disclosure

This disclosure relates generally to cigarette and cigar ask trays and more specifically to an ash try that is automatic in operation and may withdraw so that the smell of smoke, smoldering butts and ash are prevented from becoming airborne.

2. Description of Related Art

Bruno et al., U.S. RE36106, discloses an ashtray with a base and a hinged lid. A filter in the lid accommodates filter replacement. An air duct in the lid enables a fan in the base to draw smoke through the filter and out of the base. The fan is operated in response to raising the lid to an upright position. The intake to the air duct is far enough from debris in the ashtray to preclude drawing the debris into the air duct. The lid tends to seal in odors when it is closed. An area in the base may also receive a filter in order to provide a compatibility with preexisting filters. Bird, U.S. Pat. No. 3,708,180, discloses a cigarette lighter for an automotive vehicle, and wherein when the cigarette lighter is pressed, the ashtray automatically slides outward into operational use. An auxiliary electric circuit is closed by the cigarette lighter to activate a solenoid that pushes out the ashtray, and a switch that opens the circuit when the ash tray is again pushed inward. Ritter, U.S. Pat. No. 6,523,544, discloses a fan-assisted ashtray including a hollow body having a lid for closing an open top. The device includes: a tray member for containing ash, a filter member located below the tray member, and an electric fan located below the filter member for drawing air and smoke into the filter member and for exhausting air to the exterior through a vent. Seiji, U.S. Pat. No. 4,852,932, discloses a container for use in a vehicle which includes a retainer, a box, a power source for driving the box and a driving force transmission. The power source is provided on a back portion of the box itself or a back portion of the retainer as viewed along the direction of movement of the box. In the device a dead space is effectively utilized as a location for the power source. Summers, U.S. Pat. No. 4,466,449, discloses a powered ashtray assembly for use in automobiles. It includes a movable assembly frame slidably mounted within an assembly housing. A manually operable switch selectively applies activating signals to a motor which drives a spline threaded to a fixed shaft. Activation of the motor causes the spline to be driven along the shaft so as to selectively extend and retract the assembly frame. The U.S. patent documents described in this paragraph are hereby incorporated by reference into the present description. The prior art fails to teach an ash try that is able to be retracted within a sealed enclosure after use. The present disclosure distinguishes over the prior art providing heretofore unknown advantages as described in the following summary.

SUMMARY

This disclosure teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below. A cylindrical housing encloses a receptacle for receiving cigarette ashes. An actuator within the housing supports a mounting rim which may be moved between an extended position free of the housing, and a retracted position within the housing. The receptacle provides a peripheral flange configured and shaped for engagement with the mounting rim, so that the rim with the receptacle may be driven fully into the housing, and extended free of the housing. The receptacle may be lifted away from the rim for disposing of ashes and then later replaced onto the rim. When the receptacle is stored within the housing a door is closed to seal the receptacle within its enclosure so as to prevent smoke or ash from drifting out of the receptacle and into the room where the receptacle is located. The apparatus may be mounted beneath a table so that it is out of sight when not in use but may extend outwardly from one edge of the table upon activation, and also may be mounted within any wall so that the receptacle is out of sight when not in use, but is made available as required by extending out of the wall upon activation.

A primary objective inherent in the above described apparatus and method of use is to provide advantages not taught by the prior art.

Another objective is to provide a cigarette ash tray that is easily hidden from view when not in use.

A further objective is to provide such an ash tray that may be activated by hand pressure to move between a retracted, out-of-sight, position, to a extended convenient position for the deposition of cigarette ashes.

A still further objective is to provide such an ash tray that may be lifted from its support to empty ashes deposited within it.

A still further objective is to provide such an ash try the is easily flush mounted under a table or through a slot in a wall.

A still further objective is to provide such an ash try that is sealed within a housing upon retraction.

Other features and advantages of the described apparatus and method of use will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the presently described apparatus and method of its use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate at least one of the best mode embodiments of the present apparatus and method of it use. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view the apparatus in a retracted condition;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are perspective views thereof in an extended condition with FIG. 3 showing an ash receptacle of the apparatus in a removed position;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view thereof showing the apparatus being positioned for attachment under a table;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view thereof showing the apparatus as mounted under the table;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view thereof showing the apparatus being positioned for attachment through a wall; and

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view thereof showing the apparatus as mounted on the wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The above described drawing figures illustrate the described apparatus and its method of use in at least one of its preferred, best mode embodiment, which is further defined in detail in the following description. Those having ordinary skill in the art may be able to make alterations and modifications what is described herein without departing from its spirit and scope. Therefore, it must be understood that what is illustrated is set forth only for the purposes of example and that it should not be taken as a limitation in the scope of the present apparatus and method of use.

An ashtray apparatus includes a cylindrical housing 10 defining an open front end 12, as shown in FIG. 6. An ash receptacle 20 for receiving cigarette ashes, is engaged with a mounting rim 30 which, in turn, is engaged with a linear actuator 40 (FIG. 5), fixedly mounted within the housing 10 and fixtured for moving the mounting rim 30 between an extended position 50 free of the housing 10 (FIG. 5), and a retracted position 60 (FIG. 6) within the housing 10. Arrow “A” in FIG. 1 shows the direction for extension, while arrow “B” in FIG. 2 shows the direction for retraction of the receptacle 20. The receptacle 20 provides a peripheral flange 22 configured and shaped for engagement with the mounting rim 30, as shown in FIG. 3, whereby, the rim 30 with the receptacle 20 may be driven fully into the housing 10, as shown in FIG. 1, or driven free of the housing 10 as shown in FIG. 2. When in the extended position the receptacle 20 may be lifted away from the rim 30, as shown by arrow “C” in FIG. 3, for disposing of ashes that it may have collected, and then replaced onto the rim 30 for further similar use.

The linear actuator 40 may be any spring actuated or electrically actuated device capable of driving the receptacle 20 between its terminal positions. Such linear actuators are well known in the prior art and several are described in the background section of this specification.

The use of the word “cigarette” herein shall also mean cigars and other smoking materials and igniting materials such as matches.

In one embodiment of the present apparatus as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the housing 10 provides a fastening means 14, preferably the opposing ears shown, for mounting the housing 10 to a bottom horizontal surface 72 of a table 70, wherein a longitudinal axis 15 of the housing 10 is parallel with the horizontal surface 72. Preferably, the open front end 12 of the housing 10 is positioned adjacent an edge 74 of the table 70 such that the receptacle 20 is accessible when in the extended position, as shown in FIG. 5, but is essentially invisible when retracted.

In another embodiment of the present apparatus, shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the fastening means 14 is positioned for mounting the housing 10 to a vertical surface 76 wherein the longitudinal axis 15 of the housing 10 is perpendicular to the vertical surface 76 of a wall. Such a wall preferably provides a slot 78 for receiving the housing 10, the open front end 12 of the housing 10 thereby placed adjacent to the vertical surface 76 such that the receptacle 20 is accessible when in the extended position and virtually invisible when retracted.

Preferably, the receptacle 20 has a pocket 24 for receiving the ashes and the rim 30 is mounted on a further pocket structure 32, best seen in FIG. 3, for receiving a flame producing device such as matches or a lighter (not shown).

Preferably, the receptacle 20 has a semicircular portion 26 and a linear portion 28; the semicircular portion providing at least one recess 25 for receiving a cigarette. Clearly, the semicircular portion 26 provides the best shape for placement of recess 25.

Preferably, a hinged door 80 is mounted on the enclosure 10 adjacent the open end 12. This door 80 is forced by attached thin spring strips 82 into a closed position (FIG. 1) and thereby covers the open front end 12 of the housing 10 when the receptacle 20 is in the retracted position. The door 80 is forced into an open position by the receptacle 20 as the receptacle moves from the retracted into the extended position, as shown in FIG. 2. The door 80 is tight fitting to the open front end 12 so as to seal the interior of the housing 10 when the door 80 is closed.

The enablements described in detail above are considered novel over the prior art of record and are considered critical to the operation of at least one aspect of the apparatus and its method of use and to the achievement of the above described objectives. The words used in this specification to describe the instant embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but to include by special definition in this specification: structure, material or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this specification as including more than one meaning, then its use must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the specification and by the word or words describing the element.

The definitions of the words or drawing elements described herein are meant to include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structure, material or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. In this sense it is therefore contemplated that an equivalent substitution of two or more elements may be made for any one of the elements described and its various embodiments or that a single element may be substituted for two or more elements in a claim.

Changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalents within the scope intended and its various embodiments. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements. This disclosure is thus meant to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted, and also what incorporates the essential ideas.

The scope of this description is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that each named inventor believes that the claimed subject matter is what is intended to be patented.