Title:
Drinking mug having an outer grip surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drinking mug including a rigid liquid container having a continuous side wall, a closed bottom and an open top. An outer sleeve is disposed around the side wall of the container. The outer sleeve includes a bottom portion that extends beyond the closed bottom of the container and that terminates at a bottom edge. A base member is held in contact with the bottom edge of the outer sleeve and spaced from the closed bottom of the container. A foam layer is disposed between the closed bottom of the container and the base member and extends between the outer sleeve and the side wall of the container.



Inventors:
Xue Bin, Jin (Zhongshan, CN)
Application Number:
11/282072
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
11/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D81/38
View Patent Images:
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20090223958OPEN POSITION COVER MOUNT FOR CONDUIT BODIESSeptember, 2009Pyron
20100050606UREA TANK ASSEMBLYMarch, 2010Fulks et al.



Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
AMSTER, ROTHSTEIN & EBENSTEIN LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drinking mug comprising: a rigid liquid container having a continuous side wall, a closed bottom and an open top; an outer sleeve disposed around the side wall of the container, the outer sleeve having a bottom portion that extends below the closed bottom of the container and that terminates in a bottom edge; a base member spaced from the closed bottom of the container and held in contact with the bottom edge of the outer sleeve; and a foam layer disposed between the closed bottom of the container and the base member and extending upwardly between the outer sleeve and the side wall of the container.

2. The drinking mug of claim 1, wherein the outer sleeve comprises: an insulating sleeve; and a grip sleeve circumferentially disposed around the insulating sleeve.

3. The drinking mug of claim 1, wherein the container is made of a material comprising stainless steel, plastic, ceramic or a combination thereof.

4. The drinking mug of claim 2, wherein the insulating sleeve is made of foamed plastic.

5. The drinking mug of claim 2, wherein the insulating sleeve is made of ethylvinylacetate (EVA).

6. The drinking mug of claim 2, wherein the grip sleeve is made of a material comprising fabric, paper, rubber, polyurethane, polyvinylchloride or a combination thereof.

7. The drinking mug of claim 2, wherein the grip sleeve is made of fabric.

8. The drinking mug of claim 1, wherein the base member is attached to the closed bottom of the container.

9. The drinking mug of claim 8, further comprising a fastener that attaches the base member to the closed bottom of the container, the fastener including: a fastening element disposed on the closed bottom of the container, the fastening element comprising a threaded bore; and a screw comprising a screw head and a threaded end, the threaded end extending through an opening in the base member and threadedly engaging the threaded bore of the fastening element.

10. The drinking mug of claim 1, further comprising a lid that removably covers the open top of the container.

11. The drinking mug of claim 1, wherein the container is substantially cylindrical.

12. A method of forming a drinking mug including a container having a closed bottom, an open top and a continuous side wall, the method comprising the steps of: forming an outer sleeve, the outer sleeve having a bottom portion that terminates in a bottom edge; inserting the container into the outer sleeve such that the bottom portion of the outer sleeve extends beyond the closed bottom of the container and a void is formed as partially defined by the closed bottom of the container and the bottom portion of the outer sleeve; forming a foam layer, the foam layer filling the void and extending upwardly between the outer sleeve and the container; and attaching a base member such that the base member is spaced from the closed bottom of the container and held in contact with the bottom edge of the outer sleeve.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the outer sleeve comprises an insulating sleeve and a grip sleeve disposed around the insulating sleeve, the step of forming an outer sleeve comprising: attaching opposite ends of a sheet of insulating material to one another to form the insulating sleeve; attaching opposite ends of a sheet of grip material to one another to form the grip sleeve; and inserting the insulating sleeve into the grip sleeve.

14. The method of claim 12, wherein the container is made of a material comprising stainless steel, plastic, ceramic or a combination thereof.

15. The method of claim 13, wherein the insulating sleeve is made of foamed plastic.

16. The method of claim 13, wherein the insulating sleeve is made of ethylvinylacetate (EVA).

17. The method of claim 13, wherein the grip sleeve is made of a material comprising fabric, paper, rubber, polyurethane, polyvinylchloride or a combination thereof.

18. The method of claim 13, wherein the grip sleeve is made of fabric.

19. The method of claim 13, further comprising a step of attaching the base member to the closed bottom of the container.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the step of attaching the base member to the closed bottom of the container comprises: inserting a threaded end of a screw into an opening formed in the base member; and engaging the threaded end of the screw with a threaded bore formed in a fastening element disposed on the closed bottom of the container.

21. The method of claim 12, wherein the step of forming the foam layer comprises in situ polymerization of two or more polymeric materials.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention is generally related to beverage containers, and more particularly to beverage containers that are designed to maintain the temperature of a held beverage.

BACKGROUND

Insulated drinking mugs are used as an everyday item because of their convenience to a user by virtue of their ability to store and maintain beverages at a relatively constant temperature. Because of their frequent use, it is preferable that mugs provide a soft and decorative outer surface. Thus, it is well known to provide mugs with a removable outer sleeve of foam-like material, with a decorative design printed on the outer sleeve. Since the outer sleeve is removable, it can be replaced with other outer sleeves with different designs.

Although removable outer sleeves are suitable for decorative purposes, they do not provide any appreciable insulating properties to the mug, and ultimately provide only unwanted bulk and awkwardness to the final mug design. This is especially true since the removable sleeves are not completely fastened to the mugs such that the sleeves are free to slide and spin around the inner container as the user handles the mugs. Also, mugs must be designed with a handle member that does not interfere with removal and replacement of the sleeves. Such handles contribute to the instability and unsightliness of the mug design.

Accordingly, there is a need for an improved mug design including an outer sleeve that provides functional advantages, such as improved insulation, stability and gripping action, as well as decorative properties.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A drinking mug according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention includes a rigid liquid container having a continuous side wall, a closed bottom and an open top. An outer sleeve is disposed around the side wall of the container. The outer sleeve includes a bottom portion that extends below the closed bottom of the container and that terminates at a bottom edge. A base member is spaced from the closed bottom of the container and held in contact with the bottom edge of the outer sleeve. A foam layer is disposed between the closed bottom of the container and the base member and extends between the outer sleeve and the side wall of the container.

A method of forming a drinking mug according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, where the drinking mug includes a container having a closed bottom, an open top and a continuous side wall, includes the steps of: forming an outer sleeve, the outer sleeve having a bottom portion that terminates at a bottom edge; inserting the container into the outer sleeve such that the bottom portion of the outer sleeve extends below the closed bottom of the container and a void is formed as defined by the closed bottom of the container and the bottom portion of the outer sleeve; forming a foam layer, the foam layer filling the void and extending between the outer sleeve and the container; and attaching a base member such that the base member is spaced from the closed bottom of the container and held in contact with the bottom edge of the outer sleeve.

In at least one embodiment, the outer sleeve includes an insulating sleeve and a grip sleeve disposed around the insulating sleeve.

These and other features of this invention are described in, or are apparent from, the following detailed description of various exemplary embodiments of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various exemplary embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a partially exploded view of the mug according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a vertical cross sectional view of the mug of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 shows a step in assembling the mug of FIG. 1 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a drinking mug designed such that a user can easily grip the mug without the need for a handle portion. In exemplary embodiments of the invention, the drinking mug includes an outer layer that is suitably textured such that there is sufficient gripping friction between the user's hand and the mug when in use to preclude slippage therebetween. The outer layer is also preferably somewhat pliant such that the outer layer slightly deforms to the shape of the user's hand as the user applies gripping pressure around the mug. Exemplary embodiments of the inventive mug are explained in further detail below.

FIG. 1 is a partially exploded view of a drinking mug according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, generally designated by the reference numeral 1, and FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view of the drinking mug 1. The drinking mug 1 includes a liquid container, generally designated by the reference numeral 10, having a side wall 12, a closed bottom 14 and an open top 16. The container 10 is preferably made of a rigid, liquid impermeable material such as, for example, stainless steel, plastic or ceramic. The container 10 is preferably substantially cylindrical-shaped, an inverted truncated cone being illustrated, although it should be appreciated that the container 10 may be any other suitable shape, such as, for example, rectangular or triangular. An outer sleeve, generally designated by the reference numeral 20, is disposed around the container 10. The outer sleeve 20 extends downwardly beyond the closed bottom 14 of the container 10, and terminates at a bottom edge 22. The outer sleeve 20 also includes a top edge 24 that is preferably at least partially disposed under a folded portion 18 of the container 10 so that the top edge 24 is essentially clamped to the container 10.

As shown most clearly in FIG. 2, the outer sleeve 20 includes an inner insulating sleeve 26 and an outer grip sleeve 28. The insulating sleeve 26 is made of any suitable thermally insulating material, such as a foamed plastic material, for example, ethylvinylacetate (EVA) foam or Styrofoam, or a rubber material, for example, Neoprene. The outer grip sleeve 28 is preferably made of fabric, but may also be made of other materials such as paper, leather, imitation leather, polyurethane, polyvinylchloride (PVC) or rubber. The outer grip sleeve 28 is preferably textured, such as by using a thickly woven fabric, so as to provide an improved grip. In at least one embodiment, an outer coating 30 may be applied over the outer grip sleeve 28. The outer coating 30 is preferably clear and may be made of, for example, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or similar coating material, such as silicon.

The mug 1 also includes a base member, generally designated by the reference numeral 40, having a bottom wall 42 and a cylindrical side wall 44 extending upwardly from the bottom wall 42. As shown in FIG. 2, when the mug 1 is fully assembled, the bottom edge 22 of the outer sleeve 20 is held in contact with the bottom wall 42 of the base member 40. In at least one embodiment, the bottom edge 22 of the outer sleeve 20 is held in contact with the bottom wall 42 of the base member 40 by a threaded screw, generally designated by the reference numeral 32, that mates with a fastener element 34 disposed on the bottom surface of the closed bottom 14 of the container 10. The fastener element 34 may be attached to the closed bottom 14 of the container 10 by any suitable means, such as by welding, gluing or riveting. Alternatively, the fastener element 34 and the container 10 may be unitary, integral, of one piece and formed in the same process. As shown in FIG. 2, the fastener element 34 includes a threaded bore 36 that threadedly engages with the threaded end of the screw 32. An opening 46 is formed in the bottom wall 42 of the base member 40 through which the threaded end of the screw 32 may be passed for insertion into the threaded bore 36.

The mug 1 also includes a somewhat pliant foam layer, generally designated by the reference numeral 50, disposed between the closed bottom 14 of the container 10 and the bottom wall 42 of the base member 40 and extending upwardly between the side wall 12 of the container 10 and the outer sleeve 20. The foam layer 50 provides additional insulation to the mug 1 as well as structural support for the area below the container 10.

The mug may further include a lid, generally designated by the reference numeral 60, that covers the open top 16 of the container 10. As shown in FIG. 2, the lid 60 preferably includes an outwardly flanged portion 62 and a narrower base portion 64 below the flanged portion 62. The base portion 64 includes a plurality of outwardly projecting ribs 66. When the lid 60 is fully inserted into the open top 16 of the container 10, the tight contact between the ribs 66 and the side wall 12 as well as the tight contact between the flange portion 62 and the top surface of the side wall 12 provide a seal to prevent escape of liquid from the container 10 under ordinary circumstances. The lid 60 is merely exemplary, and any other lid design may be useable with the present invention.

In exemplary embodiments of the invention, the mug 1 may also include a pad member (not shown) placed on the bottom of the base member 40 to cover the head of the screw 32. Alternatively, the head of the screw 32 may be counter-sunk so that it does not protrude from the bottom of the base member 40.

In a method of assembling the mug 1 according to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the outer sleeve 20 is formed separately from the container 10, and then the container 10 is inserted into the sleeve 20. In particular, a sheet of material used to form the insulating sleeve 26, such as a sheet of EVA, is first cut to an appropriate size and then rolled up to form a sleeve. The two extremities of the sheet are then sealed together with, for example, adhesive. The grip sleeve 28 is made in a similar fashion. In particular, a sheet of material used to form the grip sleeve 28, such as a sheet of fabric, is cut to an appropriate size, rolled up and then the two extremities of the sheet are sealed together. The insulating sleeve 26 is then inserted into the grip sleeve 28 to form the outer sleeve 20.

As shown in FIG. 3, the container 10 is then inserted into the outer sleeve 20, with the bottom edge 22 of the outer sleeve 20 extending below the closed bottom 14 of the container 10 so as to form a void, generally designated by the reference numeral 70, defined by the closed bottom 14 of the container 10 and the lower portion of the outer sleeve 20. In this assembly step, the outer sleeve 20 is also placed around the container 10 such that an upper portion 19 of the container 10 extends above the top edge 16 of the outer sleeve 20. This allows clearance for the upper portion 19 of the container 10 to be then folded downwards to form the folded portion 18 (shown in phantom line in FIG. 3), which essentially clamps the outer sleeve 20 in place, as previously described. Alternatively, the folded portion 18 of the container 10 may be formed before the outer sleeve 20 is placed around the container 10. The folded portion 18 may be formed by, for example, placing the container 10 on a mandrel and then folding the upper portion of the container 10 back. The folded portion 18 may also be formed by a reverse draw performed during known drawing methods of forming the container 10.

The foam layer 50 is then inserted to fill in the void 70 and gaps between the container 10 and the outer sleeve 20. In an embodiment of the invention, the foam layer 50 is formed by in situ polymerization of two or more polymeric materials, such as, for example, polymeric isocyanate and a polyurethane material, to form Styrofoam. The formation of the foam layer 50 creates a slight vacuum between the container 10 and the outer sleeve 20, thereby contributing to the insulating properties of the mug 1. Alternatively, the foam layer 50 may be pre-formed as a solid foam insert, such as by molding or by cutting the foam insert out of a solid foam piece. The base member 40 is then attached to the closed bottom 14 of the container 10 using the threaded screw 32, as discussed above. It should be appreciated that a separate fastening system, such as the above-described combination of the screw 32 and fastener element 34, is not necessary. For example, if the container 10 is made of plastic, the base member 40 may be simply held in place by the glue action of the foam layer 50.

In preferred embodiments of the invention, the outer grip sleeve 28 may include a decorative design, such as a sport team logo or a cartoon character. The outer grip sleeve 28 may also be specially molded or textured to provide indentations and/or protrusions for decorative purposes as well as to provide improved grip.

Now that the preferred embodiments have been shown and described in detail, various modifications and improvements thereon will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the spirit and scope of the present invention is to be construed broadly and be limited only by the appended claims, and not by the foregoing specification.