Title:
Insulator for a Beverage Container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposable insulator that can be wrapped around a chilled beverage container, or is capable of receiving and holding therein the chilled beverage container, for preventing the hands from becoming chilled includes a flexible, deformable, rectangular-shaped plastic member sized to encompass the beverage container and the plastic member having air-filled chambers dispersed therethrough so that the coldness of the chilled beverage container cannot be reach or be conducted to the hands. The insulator conforms to the various shapes of beverage containers, cans, cups and bottles, and can be cup-shaped so that the beverage container is able to be placed within the cup-shaped insulator.



Inventors:
Tavares, Griselda (Alameda, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/162016
Publication Date:
03/08/2007
Filing Date:
08/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WALKER, NED ANDREW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ethics Archery, LLC (Vale, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulator for a chilled beverage container, comprising: an elongated, rectangular-shaped member having: a pair of opposed outer surfaces; a pair of inner surfaces that are encased by the outer surfaces and face each other; a plurality of air-filled cavities formed between and bounded by the inner surfaces, the air-filled cavities distributed throughout the length of the rectangular-shaped member; a pair of oppositely disposed end portions; and the rectangular-shaped member capable of being fully wrapped around the beverage container so that the end portions overlap each other and the air-filled cavities provide an insulative capability so that a hand of an individual does not become chilled when gripping the rectangular-shaped member for holding and drinking from the beverage container.

2. An insulative device for a chilled beverage container, comprising: a unitary beverage holding member that includes a cylindrical cup-shaped portion, a floor, and a hollow so that the beverage container can be received within the hollow of the cup-shaped portion and supported by the floor; a plurality of air-filled cavities distributed throughout the cup-shaped portion and the floor with the air-filled cavities providing an insulative capability; and the unitary beverage holding member capable of receiving and holding the beverage container within the hollow of the cup-shaped portion so that a hand of an individual does not become chilled when the unitary beverage holding member is gripped by the individual's hand for holding and drinking from the chilled beverage container.

Description:

DESCRIPTION

The present invention pertains to insulators for containers, and more specifically pertains to a one-time use, flexible insulator for wrapping about chilled beverage containers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Devices and methods to insulate beverage containers that are carried about or transported are widely known and used in various settings that range from public events, venues and activities like athletic events, concerts, parades, and shopping to more personal settings like the morning and evening work commute or transporting children to their activities. Whether the liquid within the beverage container is hot or cold, such liquid needs insulated from the hands that hold the beverage container for reasons of both safety and convenience. Thus, hot coffee or chocolate common at fall football and soccer games, for example, is best held in insulative drink cups and containers that prevent one's hands from being burned while holding the cup or container. Specially designed insulative coffee mugs often accompany one's morning commute, and such mugs keep the coffee hot while at the same time allowing one to handle the mug without burning one's hands. On the other hand, there are occasions where it is desirable to have available cold or chilled liquid beverage containers. Such chilled beverage containers are especially desirable for outdoor summer activities like baseball games, concerts, and swimming activities. Yet even on sultry summer days, holding such chilled beverage containers for brief or extended periods of time can be uncomfortable, and, therefore some means to insulate the chilled beverage container from the individual's hands is desired. This is especially the case as many of these chilled beverage containers are chilled pop cans that are dispensed from vending machines and industrial-type coolers. Thus, the prior art discloses a wide variety of hot and cold insulative devices and methods.

The Johnson et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 4,741,176) discloses a beverage cooler that includes a cup into which a cylindrical insert having circumferentially disposed pouches filled with a coolant fluid to keep the beverage in the cup cooler for a longer period of time is disposed. A cover is placed over the open top of the cup to keep the beverage within the cup.

The Long et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 4,782,670) discloses a dual hot-cold maintenance container that includes a cylindrical insulator sleeve for disposition within a cup, and an inner receptacle having external baffles with the receptacle fitting within the sleeve so that thermal gel with hot and cold retention capabilities can circulate between the sleeve and the receptacle.

The Schirmer patent (U.S. Pat. No. 5,084,324) discloses a micro-bubble laminate that includes a heated thermoplastic film that is drawn through the perforations on a substrate thereby forming bubbles that are trapped by attaching a second thermoplastic layer to the thermoplastic film.

The Kamin et al. patent (U.S. Pat. No. 5,405,671) discloses insulation sheeting that includes opposed layers of sheeting having cavities therebetween with the cavities filled with liquid, and reflective particles dispersed throughout the liquid in each cavity.

The Mitchell patent (U.S. Pat. No. 6,223,551 B1) discloses an envelope for maintaining items such as drugs at an acceptable temperature for long durations and includes inner and outer envelopes forming a pouch and having cells interspersed throughout the envelopes with the cells being filled with a frozen liquid for keeping the item stored within the pouch at the desired temperature.

Nonetheless, despite the ingenuity of the above devices, there remains a need for an insulator that is lightweight, adaptable to various items, and is disposable after the liquid in the container has been consumed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprehends a lightweight insulator that is wrapped around a cold or chilled beverage container, such as a cup, can or bottle, for preventing one's hands from becoming chilled while holding the cold beverage container. The insulator is a disposable item intended for one-time use and then is to be discarded.

The insulator includes in a preferred embodiment a flexible, rectangular-shaped plastic member having opposed exterior surfaces that enclose therebetween a plurality of spaced-apart air-filled cavities. The plastic member can be wrapped around the beverage container, or, in an alternative embodiment, the insulator can be cup-shaped for placement therein of the chilled beverage container. The air-filled cavities provide the primary insulative capability for preventing conductance of the chill and coldness of the beverage container to the individual's hands.

It is an objective of the present invention to provide an insulator that can be wrapped around and conforms to the exterior surface of various types of chilled liquid containers such as cups, cans, bottles and holders.

It is another objective of the present invention to provide an insulator for chilled liquid containers that is lightweight and flexible and does not hinder the ability of the individual to hold the container.

It is yet another objective of the present invention to provide an insulator for a chilled liquid container that eliminates cold hands from holding an otherwise chilled or frozen beverage can or container.

It is still yet another objective of the present invention to provide an insulator for a chilled liquid container that can be easily and quickly wrapped around the container and then discarded after use.

Still yet another objective of the present invention is to provide an insulator for a chilled liquid container that eliminates the need to wrap napkins or paper towels around the container for holding the container while walking in a mall or along a sidewalk.

A still further objective of the present invention is to provide an insulator for a chilled liquid container that can be sold at any store, establishment or venue where cold or chilled beverages are sold.

These and other objects, features, and advantages will become apparent to one skilled in the art upon a perusal of the following detailed description read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figures and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the insulator of the present invention illustrating the wrapping of the insulator about a beverage container;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the insulator of the present invention illustrating the insulator having a cup shape to accommodate a substantial portion of the beverage container;

FIG. 3 is a sectioned elevational view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 1 illustrating the contiguous disposition of the insulator about the exterior surface of the beverage container;

FIG. 4 is a sectioned elevational view of the insulator first shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the air-filled chambers sandwiched between the layers of the insulator; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the insulator first shown in FIG. 1 illustrating the overlapping of the opposed end portions of the insulator for completing encompassing the beverage container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Illustrated in FIGS. 1-5 is lightweight insulator 10 for preventing one's hands from becoming chilled while holding a beverage container that has been chilled or maintained in a cold state. Such beverage containers can include frozen beverage containers or chilled soda cans dispensed from a vending machine. The beverage containers can also include containers maintained in a chilled, cold or frozen state and which are found in supermarket freezers and coolers. In providing an insulative device 10 that can be wrapped about the beverage container thereby preventing the hands from becoming chilled while holding such beverage containers, the consumption of the liquid held within the beverage container is made more enjoyable. The beverage container 12 of shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 is a representative container, as the insulative device 10 of the present invention can be used with a variety of beverage containers, cups, cans and bottles. The beverage container 12 of FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 includes a top or upper end 14 with an opening 16 formed thereon, a cylindrical body surface 18, and a bottom 20.

As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the insulative device 10 for preventing one's hands from becoming chilled while holding and gripping the chilled beverage container 12 includes an elongated, rectangular-shaped member 22 that has a sufficient length to wrap around and fully encompass the beverage container 12. The elongated, rectangular-shaped member 22 is lightweight and flexible for wrapping around and conforming to the external shape of the beverage container 12, and is preferably of a durable plastic composition. The rectangular-shaped member 22 includes opposed exterior or outer surfaces 24 and a pair of inner surfaces 26 that oppose each other. In addition, the rectangular-shaped member 22 includes opposed end portions 28 that will partially overlap each other, as shown in FIG. 5, when the device 10 is wrapped about the beverage container 12. The outer surfaces 24 and the inner surfaces 26 are commensurate in size and shape.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, encased or sandwiched between the inner surfaces 26 are a plurality of spaced-apart cavities or chambers 30. The cavities or chambers 30 are distributed throughout the length of the rectangular-shaped member 22, and are preferably filled with air for providing the device 10 with both insulative and cushioning capabilities. The air-filled chambers 30 may slightly bulge out toward one of the exterior surfaces 24 as illustrated in FIG. 4. The air-filled cavities 30 prevent the conductance of cold to the individual's hand when the individual holds the container 12 with the device 10 wrapped about the container 12. The air-filled cavities 30 also slightly cushion and comfort the grip of the hand against the device 10 by allowing the device 10 to slightly deform to accommodate the individual's hand—and especially the palm and fingers.

FIG. 2 illustrates an alternative design in the insulative device in so far as the device 32 of FIG. 2 includes a unitary beverage holding member having a cup shape with a floor 34 so that the beverage container 32 can be received within the hollow 36 of the cup-shaped portion 38 of the device and supported on upon the floor 34. The device 32 of FIG. 2 includes spaced-apart air-filled cavities 30 dispersed or distributed throughout the cup-shaped portion 38 and the floor 34. It should be noted that for reasons of convenience and cost, the device 10 and 32 of FIGS. 1-5 is designed for one-time use and then discarded.

While several preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, numerous modifications, alterations and variations are possible and practicable to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.