Title:
Swivel handle vessel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container or vessel with a joined, pivoting or swiveling handle and or bracket mechanism, which can be held conventionally or carried about with the handle in an up or down position and all positions in between, while the vessel and its contents remain level.



Inventors:
Rattay, Thomas Edward (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/181072
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
07/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MEYER UNKOVIC & SCOTT LLP (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A vessel comprising: a body; a pivotable handle for use in keeping level said vessel's content, said handle connected to said vessel at two connection points on opposite sides of said vessel and wherein said handle can pivot at said connection points to move up the side and over the top of said vessel.

2. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said handle is detachable.

3. The vessel of claim 1, also comprising a lid.

4. The vessel of claim 3, wherein said lid is detachable.

5. The vessel of claim 1, also comprising a handle stop to limit the downward movement of said handle.

6. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said body is selected from the group consisting of a double-walled body and a single-walled body.

7. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said body is a tapered, non-cylindrical shape having a smaller diameter at the top of said body and a larger diameter at the bottom of said body such that said handle does not sit flush against said body when said handle is in a downward position.

8. The vessel of claim 1, also comprising a locking mechanism to stop the pivoting of said handle.

9. The vessel of claim 8, wherein said locking mechanism is selected from the group consisting of a rocker-type mechanism, a sliding-type mechanism, and a spring-loaded mechanism.

10. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said handle is connected to said body at said connection points by at least one connection mechanism selected from the group consisting of expansion rivets, screws, close tolerance areas, pins, rings and posts, wire hooks, string, elastic straps and ring-grooved knobs, and ornamental buttons.

11. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said body is of a shape selected from the group consisting of a beer stein and a pitcher.

12. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said body is shaped like a pitcher and also comprising a swivel locking mechanism.

13. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said handle is detachable.

14. The vessel of claim 3, wherein said lid is a flip-open lid and wherein said handle is split to allow for clearance past said flip-open lid.

15. The vessel of claim 14, also comprising a handle stop consisting of a barrier on each side of said body.

16. The vessel of claim 1, wherein said connection points comprise cam-type mechanisms.

17. The vessel of claim 1, also comprising a slotted cavity in said vessel and wherein said handle is a knife-action handle connected to the side of said sheath of said vessel such that the dimensions of said sheath accommodate the radial, swivel motion of said knife-type handle into an up position from the down position.

18. The vessel of claim 1, also comprising a flip-open lid that pivots around an axel, which said axel is offset from one side of said vessel and which said lid is driven by the action of said handle on the opposite side of said vessel which said handle, rotating around said connection points on said vessel, transfers an equivalent motion to said lid, causing said lid to be fully open when said handle is in the down position, and causing said lid to be fully closed when said handle is in the up position.

19. The vessel of claim 18, wherein said axel is comprised of a material selected from the group consisting of wire and rail.

20. The vessel of claim 18, wherein the points at which said axel are connected to said handle are offset from said connection points.

21. The vessel of claim 1, wherein the lower portion of said body is of a shape and size to fit into a cup holder.

22. The vessel of claim 1, also comprising a logo on said body.

23. The vessel of claim 3, where said lid accommodates a straw.

24. A vessel with a pivotable handle for use in keeping said vessel's contents level, said handle connected to said vessel at two connection points on opposite sides of said vessel wherein said handle can pivot at said connection points to move up the side and over the top of said vessel.

25. The vessel of claim 24, wherein said handle is detachable.

26. The vessel of claim 24, also comprising a lid.

27. The vessel of claim 26, wherein said lid is detachable.

28. The vessel of claim 24, also comprising a handle stop to limit the downward movement of said handle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Generally, when one carries a liquid and/or solid in a container or vessel with a handle, the carrier must hold the vessel in a particular way at all times to ensure that the vessel's content do not spill. Often it is awkward or uncomfortable to carry the vessel in a static position for any length of time. Additionally, carrying a vessel in one position without changing the vessel's tilt requires concentration, which could otherwise be spent on other activities, such as walking while holding the vessel. The present invention aims to ease some of these burdens by allowing the vessel to move and to be carried in different positions while keeping the contents level. Additionally, the present invention allows one to comfortably drink from the vessel at any time, even with the handle or carrier attached.

Some attempts have been made to develop beverage containers or vessel that keep their contents level. Once such attempt is U.S. Pat. No. 4,248,366 to Christiansen, which discloses a beverage container carrier with a sleeve-like casing and a flexible line formed in a loop. That arrangement does not accomplish the intention of the present invention because the flexible line and casing will not continuously level the vessel.

A further example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,850,479 to Bird, discloses a container carrier formed from a flat sheet of durable, flexible material. In a preferred embodiment, the container carrier includes four sets of concentric drinking cup carrying holes, each set of holes comprising a smaller hole dimensioned to fit around the circumference of the lower portion of a conventional drinking cup, and the larger hole dimensioned to fit around the circumference of the upper portion of said cup. This invention does not allow the contents of the cups to be drunk from unless a cup is first removed from the carrier. The present invention allows for immediate consumption or dispensing of the contents of the vessel.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,392 discloses a collapsible beverage container holder. The opening between two adjustable arms can be varied to accommodate a wide variety of beverage container sizes. A swivel bar is pivotally attached to a supporting structure by inserting hinge pins into hinge pinholes. This invention is for fixing a beverage container to a surface or a vehicle and is not intended for ambulating from place to place while grasping the container in hand.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,752,687 to Lynch discloses a cup holder that includes a ring-shaped supporting member, a cord with a proximal end fixedly attached to the supporting member, a hook attached to the distal end of the cord, and a pair of upper and lower anchoring pins attached to the supporting member at a position opposite the proximal end of the cord. A lid retainer is attached to the cord between the ends. A conventional mounting device attached to the supporting member attaches the cup holder to a vehicle, such as on the handlebar of a bicycle. This invention is intended to stabilize a beverage that is transported by a moving vehicle and the securing apparatus is not intended to be held by a hand to maintain the steady position of the cup.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,924,354 to Court, et al. discloses an infusion container having an interior for receiving a liquid to be infused and an infusible substance. Mounted to the container is a pivotal member, which cooperates with a baffle to define a region in the container, which receives the infusible substance. Both the pivotal member and baffle are adapted to permit passage of the infusing liquid, but not of the infusible substance. In use, the pivotal member can be pivoted through the interior by a moving handle, to lift the infusible substance out of the infusing liquid and halt the infusion process at the desired time. The pivoting feature of this invention is intended to enhance the infusion of the liquid, not to level the vessel or make the vessel portable, as is the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,655,261 to Horstmann discloses a tea/coffee pot that includes a pot body designed to be filled with a liquid, and a strainer body, which is arranged therein and is pivotable by way of a handling device between a submerged position and an emerged position. The strainer body includes at least one compartment for receiving an additional substance, such as tealeaves. The pivoting feature of this invention is intended to assist in the infusion of the liquid. The vessel is not intended to be a container to be drunk from as is the present invention.

A further example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,405,638, discloses a hot drink steeping pot that includes a jug, a strainer pivotally receivable in the jug, and a cover mounted on the jug, such that the strainer is enclosed. The swiveling element of this invention in no way enhances the leveling of the contents of the container while carrying the container, nor is the container designed to be drunk from as is the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,137,168 to Mothrath, et al. discloses a jug for storing hot beverages, which is furnished on the brim of its top side with a spout, which, together with the top side of the jug, can be covered by a lid. In the horizontal position of the jug, the topside is covered in the area of the spout by a flap movable around an axis of rotation. When the jug is tilted out of its horizontal position to assume its pouring position, the flap is lifted from the spout as a consequence of the force of gravity and/or by forces exerted by the beverage itself. The pivoting aspect of this invention is intended only to cause the opening and closing of a lid that covers a liquid, and for dispensing the contents into another vessel.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,339,978 to Coppier discloses a device for locking a cover on a kettle, wherein the kettle comprises a pot, a removable cover and a fixed handle. The device is designed for the cover to stay closed. The fixed handle of this invention is not designed to swivel, as is the handle of the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,346,070 to McSpadden discloses a portable food tray for supporting food and a drink container, which is adapted to be securely and comfortably held by one hand of the user. The nestable food tray is formed from a sheet material and has a generally flat surface portion and a cup-like portion for supporting a drink container. This invention does not include any consideration for maintaining the level of the contents of the vessel when it is perpendicular to the earth's horizon as the present invention does.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,305,033 to Azzam discloses a hand-held cuspidor with replaceable cup, having a base, which receives a replaceable cup. A holder engages on the base and retains the cup in the base. The holder has a handle for manual carrying. A pivoted cover swings from a closed position over the holder to an open position where the replaceable cup is available for expectoration. The pivoting feature of this invention is designed for the cover only and does not include any characteristic to keep the contents level.

A further example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,708,273 to Grant, discloses a holder attachable to a person's belt that supports an open drink container in an upright position so that the container can be removed to consume its contents. In a preferred embodiment, the container is a wide-mouthed container with a removable lid and the holder has an upper retaining portion for reception of the container in a downward direction to a preselected position. A lower stop portion carried with the retaining portion engages the bottom of the container in the operative position thereof to support the weight of the container. An intermediate portion can also be provided between the retaining portion and the stop portion to press inwardly against the container and stabilize it against substantially lateral forces. This invention must be attached to the person's body to make use of its benefit. The present invention requires no apparatus to be attached to the body.

United States Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0067417 A1 to Sanders et al. reveals an anti-spill device for cup and lid used in conjunction with a disposable cup and lid combination for preventing spillage through a sip hole in the lid. The device includes a horizontally flexing member connected to the gripping member by a second retaining channel that is integrated into the gripping member. This invention requires a barrier to prevent spillage. The present invention prevents spillage by, among other things, the dual aspects of pivoting and gravity.

United States Patent Application Publication No. 2004/0113446 A1 to Avital discloses a carrier for open-topped beverage containers. A platform on which to place the beverage container is attached to a bracket and handle enabling the transport without spilling the contents. The drinking vessel is not attached to the platform, but is set upon its flat surface. This invention is for transporting beverages and is not intended for the raising of the beverage to drink from as is the present invention.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,446,830 to Ocic discloses a container with handle for storing and consuming liquids that is a double-purpose container for use in the food and beverages industry as a reusable, returnable receptacle for storing and transporting liquid or semi-liquid products. The container is a barrel-shaped hollow body of uniform wall thickness with a bottom on the lower side and an opening on the upper side. It is defined by the outer shell that is produced through rotation of the generatrix of the container around the central axis. The rotary symmetrical section of the outer shell features the hollow that forms handle. This invention maintains the contents of the vessel using a closure and does not allow for immediate dispensing without removing the closure.

Despite this prior art, a need exists for a container or vessel that keeps its contents level regardless of the angle at which the container is held, and at the same time allows for the contents of the vessel to be imbibed without any detachment from the holding device.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention includes a vessel comprising a body and a pivotable handle for use in keeping level the contents in the vessel. The vessel's handle connects to the vessel at two connection points on opposite sides of the vessel and the handle pivots at the connection points to move up the side and over the top of the vessel.

Another embodiment of the present invention discloses a vessel with a pivotable handle for use in keeping the contents in the vessel level. The handle connects to the vessel at two connection points on opposite sides of the vessel wherein the handle can pivot at the connection points to move up the side and over the top of the vessel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For the present invention to be easily understood and readily practiced, the invention will now be described, for the purposes of illustration and not limitation, in conjunction with the following figures, wherein:

FIG. 1A shows one embodiment of a vessel according to the present invention with a double-walled body and with the handle in a down position;

FIG. 1B shows the embodiment of FIG. 1A with the handle in an up position;

FIGS. 1C and 1D present views of the interior of the cup of FIGS. 1A and 1B respectively;

FIG. 2A illustrates an exploded view of one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2B illustrates one suggested fastening mechanism;

FIG. 3 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the present invention having connection mechanisms, and one embodiment of a locking mechanism;

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention with one embodiment of a lid and one embodiment of a locking mechanism;

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention of single-walled vessel having spacers, which cause the handle to stand away from the vessel and to swivel smoothly;

FIG. 6 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention with a tapering sidewall that expands from the top to the bottom;

FIG. 7 illustrates a vessel as in FIG. 5, with one embodiment of a spout and one embodiment of a handle with an embodiment of a locking mechanism;

FIG. 8 illustrates a vessel as in FIG. 7, and one embodiment of a detachable handle and with an embodiment of a locking mechanism;

FIG. 9 illustrates one embodiment of a stein-type vessel;

FIG. 10 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention with an embodiment of a hinged lid;

FIG. 11 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention having a cam-driven pivot that allows the handle to move further away from the vessel as the handle pivots upward;

FIGS. 12A and 12B illustrate one embodiment of an asymmetrical vessel according to the present invention with an internal sheath cavity, which allows a handle to be inserted and connected;

FIG. 13 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention with a swivel handle attached to the vessel at two opposing points;

FIG. 14 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention with a lid and an optional handle design; and

FIG. 15 illustrates a promotional drinking vessel with a logo.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a vessel (10) having a body (20) and a pivotable handle (30) for use in keeping the contents of the vessel (10) in the vessel (10) and level In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the handle (30) connects to the vessel (10) at two connection points (110), which are on opposite sides of the vessel (10). The handle (30) pivots at the connection points (110) to move up the side and over the top of the vessel (10).

One embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. The vessel (10) in FIG. 1 has a double-walled body (20) with an attached handle (30). The handle (30) attaches to the body (20) at two connection points (110), which are diametrically opposed to one another, thus allowing the handle (30) to move in an arc around the body (20) at the connection points (110). This arcing movement of the handle (30) enables the contents of the vessel (10) to remain level, regardless of the position of the handle (30). In the down position, the handle (30) can be used when tilting the vessel (10) toward the mouth. The tapered, non-cylindrical shape of the vessel (10), shown in FIG. 1 as having a smaller diameter at the top than at its widest point, enables a small gap between the vessel (10) and the handle (30) in the down position. FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the components of the same vessel (10) seen in FIG. 1.

References are made herein to the handle (30) being in an “up” or “down” position. Such references are for the sake of clarity only. A “down” position resembles something akin to the positions shown in FIGS. 1A and 1C. An “up” position resembles something akin to the positions shown in FIGS. 1B and 1D.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, one or more connection mechanisms (130) connect the handle (30) to the body (20) of the vessel (10). These connection mechanisms (130) may be any mechanism or device that allows the handle (30) to pivot around the body (20) of the vessel (10) at the connection points (110), including but not limited to expansion rivets, screws, close tolerance areas, pins, rings and posts, wire hooks, string, elastic straps and ring-grooved knobs, and/or ornamental buttons. Additionally, in one embodiment of the present invention, the connection mechanisms (130) comprise cam-type mechanisms.

FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of the present invention, comprising a single-walled vessel (10) with the connection points (110) that stand out from the body (20) to allow for clearance of the handle (30) as the handle (30) swivels into an up position around the vessel (10). These connection points (110) stand out from either the vessel (10) or the handle (30).

In one embodiment of the present invention, the handle (30) is detachable.

In some embodiments of the present invention, a handle stop (30) is used to limit the downward movement of the handle (120).

The body (20) of the preferred embodiment of the present invention may be any shape, size, composition, material, etc. The body (20) may be single-walled. For temperature sensitive vessels (10) the body (20) may be double-walled. In some embodiments of the present invention, the body (20) may have a tapered, non-cylindrical shape with a smaller diameter at the top of the body (20) and a larger diameter at the lower portion of the body (20). In this embodiment, the handle (30) does not sit flush against the body (20) when the handle (20) is in a down position.

In certain embodiments of the present invention, the vessel (10) also comprises a locking mechanism (60) to stop the pivoting of the handle (30) and to keep the handle (30) in one position. The locking mechanism (60) may be any mechanism or device that stops the movement of the handle (30), including but not limited to a rocker-type mechanism, a sliding-type mechanism, or spring-loaded mechanism.

FIG. 3 illustrates one possible embodiment with the additional feature of a locking mechanism (60), which gives the user of the vessel (10) the option of preventing the pivoting of the handle (30). By moving the locking mechanism (60), the handle (30) can be staid in a position that may be more conducive to drinking or pouring.

The present invention vessel (10) may be designed to accommodate almost any body (20) shape. It is anticipated though that mug, beer stein, pitcher, and pail shapes may be the most useful given the popularity of those shapes on vessels (10) currently on the market. FIG. 6 shows one embodiment of a commonly shaped beer stein vessel (10) with one version of handle (30) design, perhaps ceramic, compatible with the vessel (10). FIG. 7 shows a serving pitcher-like vessel (10) with a spout (90) and swivel handle (30) to allow for carrying. This embodiment incorporates a swivel locking mechanism (50) in the handle (30) to allow for pouring when desired. FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of a beer stein-type vessel (10) with an alternative, inverted handle (30).

A further embodiment of the present invention encompasses a vessel (10) having a body (20), a flip-open lid (70) and a handle (30) that is split to allow for clearance past the flip-open lid (70). This embodiment also may comprise a handle stop (120), which may consist of a barrier on each side of the body (20). One embodiment of the flip-open lid (70) vessel (10) is shown in FIG. 10.

FIG. 8 shows another embodiment that is similar to FIG. 7, but with the added feature of a detachable handle (30). With respect to the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the handle (30) is detachable when in the up position. This feature might be practical for the purpose of packaging multiple nested vessels (10) with the handles (30) packed separately or inside of the nested vessels (10). This feature may also be practical when cleaning the vessel (10) and the handle (30).

Another embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 13, of the present invention comprises a vessel (10) having a flip-open lid (70) that pivots around an axel (140), which is offset from one side of the vessel (10) and driven by the action of the handle (30) on the opposite side of the vessel (10). The handle (30) rotates around the connection points (110) on the vessel (10) and transfers an equivalent motion to the lid (70). This action causes the lid (70) to be fully open when the handle (30) is in the down position, and causes the lid (70) to be fully closed when the handle (30) is in the up position. The axel (140) may be made of any material including but not limited to wire or rail. In some embodiments of the present invention, the points at which the axel (140) are connected to the handle (30) are offset from the connection points (110).

The present invention vessel (10) may have an endless number of design, shape, size, composition, decorative, etc. possibilities. The alternatives disclosed herein are meant to be illustrative and not exhaustive. For example, for one embodiment of the present invention, the lower portion of the body (20) is of a shape and size to fit into a cup holder. Additionally, in one embodiment of the present invention, the body (20) may be decorated in a variety of ways and/or may bear a logo on it. Similarly, the lid (70) may be designed to have a lip or to accommodate a straw.

In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, a lid (70) covers the vessel (10). In some embodiments, the lid (70) may be detachable or it may be attached to the vessel (10) by any means of attachment including but not limited to a hinge- or swivel-type mechanism. FIG. 4 illustrates one possible embodiment having a lid (70). FIG. 4 also depicts an embodiment with a locking mechanism (60).

As previously indicated, many embodiments of the present invention will accomplish its intended purpose. Handles (30) can be designed to rotate about the connection points (110) using simple circular pivots, hinged pivots or slotted, expandable pivots. The connection points (110) may be built out from the vessel (10) to accommodate a vessel (10) shape that gets wider, narrower, straight, or irregularly shaped from bottom to top. A variety of vessel (10), handle (30), and connection points (110) designs, rendered in various shapes and materials, including but not limited to plastic, glass, ceramic, acrylic, pewter, stainless steel, composites, wood, natural and man-made materials, etc., can be employed to achieve the functionality described. Vessels (10) may have optional lids (70) of many varieties. Vessels (10) may have spouts (90), handles (30) can be designed to be detachable. Vessels (10), handles (30) and lids (70) may be molded, labeled or colored for promotional intentions using logos, lettering, embossing, engraving, color schemes, demographic and age-group targeted, etc.

FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment similar to FIG. 10, with an added feature of cam-type connection points (110). Posts or “buttons” attached, or molded as parts of the vessel (10), in positions such that the curvature toward the ends of the handles' (30) connection points (110) will cause the handle (30) to be closer to the vessel (10) in the down position, but, as the handle (30) rotates the up position, the combination of the posts or “buttons”, the curvature of the connection points (110) of the vessel (10), and the slots in the handle (30) which terminate as a fulcrum at the connection points (110), allow the handle (30) to move farther away from the vessel (10) and clear the flip-open lid (70).

FIG. 12 illustrates an embodiment of a vessel (10) that uses a slotted cavity or sheath in one side of it, together with a knife-action handle (30) that is connected at a point inside the sheath of the vessel (10). The dimensions of the slot or sheath accommodate the radial, swivel motion of the knife-type handle (30) into an up position from the down position. The irregular shape of the vessel (10) is designed to add volume capacity to the side of the vessel (10) that has the sheath, compensating for the vessel (10) capacity taken up by incorporating the sheath.

FIG. 14 is an embodiment of a vessel (10) that incorporates another design variation of the handle (30). This design considers the bottom of the vessel (10) to be fit into a holder.

FIG. 15 is an embodiment similar to FIG. 14, depicting a promotional beverage vessel (10) with a swivel handle (30) and straw-accommodating lid (70).

The above-provided discussion of various embodiments of the present invention is intended to be an illustrative, but not exhaustive, list of possible embodiments. It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that other embodiments are possible and are included within the scope of this invention.