Title:
Bottle assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bottle assembly includes an inner vessel and an outer vessel. The outer vessel is adapted for holding a liquid, and has an open mouth through which the liquid is poured. The inner vessel is received within the open mouth of the outer vessel, and is adapted for storing contents separate from the liquid contained in the outer vessel. The bottom wall of the inner vessel is adapted for being ruptured when the inner vessel is positioned within the open mouth of the outer vessel, such that contents stored in the inner vessel can mix with the liquid contained in the outer vessel without removing the inner vessel from the outer vessel.



Inventors:
Scarborough, Ella B. (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/378125
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
03/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/219
International Classes:
B65D25/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIDEI, DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Schwartz Law Firm, P.C. (Charlotte, NC, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A bottle assembly, comprising: (a) an outer vessel adapted for holding a liquid, and having an open mouth through which the liquid is poured; (b) an inner vessel received within the open mouth of said outer vessel, and adapted for storing contents separate from the liquid contained in said outer vessel; and (c) means for rupturing a bottom wall of said inner vessel when said inner vessel is positioned within the open mouth of said outer vessel, whereby contents stored in said inner vessel can mix with the liquid contained in said outer vessel without removing said inner vessel from said outer vessel.

2. A bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said outer vessel is formed of plastic.

3. A bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said outer vessel comprises a relatively narrow neck formed adjacent said mouth.

4. A bottle assembly according to claim 3, wherein said neck comprises an external screw thread.

5. A bottle assembly according to claim 4, and comprising a removable cap having an internal screw thread adapted for mating with the external thread of said neck.

6. A bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said inner vessel comprises an outwardly-extending annular flange adapted for sitting at the mouth of said outer vessel to suspend said inner vessel inside said outer vessel.

7. A bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said inner vessel comprises a flexible cover extending over an open top thereof, and adapted for being peeled away by a user to access the contents of said inner vessel.

8. A bottle assembly according to claim 7, wherein said cover has a pull tab adapted for being gripped by the user to remove the cover from said inner vessel.

9. A bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said inner vessel comprises a flexible spring cover extending over an open top thereof, and adapted for abrupt conversion from a convex to a concave condition relative to the open top.

10. A bottle assembly according to claim 1, wherein said means for rupturing the bottom wall of said inner vessel comprises a vertical plunger adapted for being actuated by said spring cover upon conversion from its convex to concave condition.

11. A bottle assembly, comprising: (a) an outer vessel adapted for holding a liquid, and having an open mouth through which the liquid is poured and a relatively narrow neck formed adjacent the open mouth; (b) an inner vessel received within the open mouth of said outer vessel and residing inside the outer vessel within an area of the relatively narrow neck, said inner vessel adapted for storing contents separate from the liquid contained in said outer vessel; (c) means for rupturing a bottom wall of said inner vessel when said inner vessel is positioned within the open mouth of said outer vessel, whereby contents stored in said inner vessel can mix with the liquid contained in said outer vessel without removing said inner vessel from said outer vessel; and (d) a removable cap adapted for covering the open mouth of said outer vessel.

12. A bottle assembly according to claim 11, wherein said outer vessel is formed of plastic.

13. A bottle assembly according to claim 11, wherein said inner vessel comprises an outwardly-extending annular flange adapted for sitting at the mouth of said outer vessel to suspend said inner vessel inside said outer vessel.

14. A bottle assembly according to claim 11, wherein said inner vessel comprises a flexible cover extending over an open top thereof, and adapted for being peeled away by a user to access the contents of said inner vessel.

15. A bottle assembly according to claim 14, wherein said cover has a pull tab adapted for being gripped by the user to remove the cover from said inner vessel.

16. A bottle assembly according to claim 11, wherein said inner vessel comprises a flexible spring cover extending over an open top thereof, and adapted for abrupt conversion from a convex to a concave condition relative to the open top.

17. A bottle assembly according to claim 16, wherein said means for rupturing the bottom wall of said inner vessel comprises a vertical plunger adapted for being actuated by said spring cover upon conversion from its convex to concave condition.

18. A bottle assembly, comprising: (a) an outer vessel adapted for holding a liquid, and having an open mouth through which the liquid is poured and a relatively narrow neck formed adjacent the open mouth; (b) an inner vessel received within the open mouth of said outer vessel and comprising an outwardly-extending annular flange adapted for sitting at the mouth of said outer vessel to suspend said inner vessel inside said outer vessel in area of the relatively narrow neck, said inner vessel adapted for storing contents separate from the liquid contained in said outer vessel; (c) a flexible spring cover extending over an open top of said inner vessel and adapted for abrupt conversion from a convex to a concave condition relative to the open top; (d) a vertical plunger adapted for being actuated by said spring cover upon conversion from its convex to concave condition, such that upon actuation, said plunger ruptures a bottom wall of said inner vessel, whereby contents stored in said inner vessel can mix with the liquid contained in said outer vessel without removing said inner vessel from said outer vessel; and (e) a removable cap adapted for covering the open mouth of said outer vessel.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

This application relates to a bottle assembly. The invention utilizes multiple vessels to separately store contents which are subsequently either mixed together and consumed, or consumed one after the other. In the liquor industry, the invention offers a creative marketing strategy in the sale of alcoholic beverages by separately containing the liquor and mixer in a single, convenient assembly. The invention is also applicable for separately storing powder or syrup concentrates contained in the inner vessel, and intended for mixing with water contained in the outer vessel. For application to the pharmaceutical industry, the inner vessel may contain over-the-counter or prescription medicine intended to be taken with water or other beverage stored in the outer vessel. No other existing product offers the conveniences of the present assembly.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Therefore, it is an object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly which utilizes inner and outer vessels for separately storing contents in a single, convenient assembly.

It is another object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly which includes an inner vessel that is retained inside an outer vessel by a threaded cap, and which is readily removed from the outer vessel upon removal of the cap.

It is another object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly which includes an outer vessel that closely resembles a conventional 12 or 16 ounce plastic bottle.

It is another object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly which allows convenient mixing of contents stored in the inner and outer vessels.

It is another object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly wherein the inner and outer vessels are both sealed prior to use.

It is another object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly wherein the contents of the inner vessel are mixed with the contents of the outer vessel by inserting the contents of the inner vessel directly into the outer vessel.

It is another object of the invention to provide a bottle assembly which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

It is another object of the invention to provide a method for packaging an alcoholic beverage.

These and other objects of the present invention are achieved in the preferred embodiments disclosed below by providing a bottle assembly including an inner vessel and an outer vessel. The outer vessel is adapted for holding a liquid, and has an open mouth through which the liquid is poured. The inner vessel is received within the open mouth of the outer vessel, and is adapted for storing contents separate from the liquid contained in the outer vessel. Means are provided for rupturing a bottom wall of the inner vessel when the inner vessel is positioned within the open mouth of the outer vessel. Contents stored in the inner vessel can thereby mix with the liquid contained in the outer vessel without removing the inner vessel from the outer vessel.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the outer vessel is formed of plastic.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the outervessel has a relatively narrow neck formed adjacent the mouth.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the neck has an external screw thread.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the assembly includes a removable cap with an internal screw thread adapted for mating with the external thread of the neck.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the inner vessel has an outwardly-extending annular flange adapted for sitting at the mouth of the outer vessel to suspend the inner vessel inside the outer vessel.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the inner vessel has a flexible cover extending over an open top thereof, and adapted for being peeled away by a user to access the contents of the inner vessel.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the cover has a pull tab adapted for being gripped by the user to remove the cover from the inner vessel.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the inner vessel has a flexible spring cover extending over an open top thereof, and adapted for abrupt conversion from a convex to a concave condition relative to the open top.

According to another preferred embodiment of the invention, the means for rupturing the bottom wall of the inner vessel includes a vertical plunger adapted for being actuated by the spring cover upon conversion from its convex to concave condition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some of the objects of the invention have been set forth above. Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear as the description proceeds when taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the bottle assembly according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view of the bottle assembly;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of the bottle assembly with the top shown in partial cross-section;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of the bottle assembly with the top shown in partial cross-section, and prior to actuation of the spring cover and plunger;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of the bottle assembly with the top shown in partial cross-section, and showing the bottom wall of the inner vessel ruptured after actuation of the spring cover and plunger;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the innervessel illustrating the perforated bottom wall; and

FIGS. 7, 8, and 9 are sequential views demonstrating the process for removing the inner vessel from the outer vessel, and accessing the contents of the inner vessel.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT AND BEST MODE

Referring now specifically to the drawings, a bottle assembly according to the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1, and shown generally at reference numeral 10. The bottle assembly 10 is especially applicable for separately storing contents which are intended to be either mixed together immediately prior to use, or consumed by the user one after the other. The contents are provided in inner and outer vessels 11 and 12, respectively. In one application, for example, the inner vessel 11 contains one to two ounces of liquor with the outer vessel 12 containing a non-alcoholic mixer. In a further application, the inner vessel 11 may contain a flavored powder or syrup concentrate adapted for mixing with water contained in the outer vessel 12. In yet another application, the inner vessel may 11 contain a pharmaceutical, such as aspirin, while the outer vessel 12 contains a beverage, such as water. Preferably, the outer vessel 12 resembles a conventional plastic beverage bottle having a relatively large body 14, a relatively narrow threaded neck 15, and an open mouth 16 through which the beverage is poured. A removable, internally-threaded cap 18 mates with the threaded neck 15 to cover the open mouth 16 of the outer vessel 12 prior to use.

As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the inner vessel 11 is stored inside the outer vessel 12, and includes a slightly tapered body 21 and an outwardly-extending annular flange 22. The vessel flange 22 sits at the mouth 16 of the outer vessel 12, as shown in FIG. 3, and supports the inner vessel 11 in a suspended condition inside the outer vessel 12 in an area of the neck 15. A peel-away, normally convex, flexible spring cover 24 is located over the open top of the inner vessel 11, and has an integrally-formed peripheral flange 24A releasably sealed to the vessel flange 22 using, for example, a light contact adhesive. The cover 24 preserves the contents of the inner vessel 11 prior to use, and preferably has a pull tab 25 which is designed to be gripped by the user for easy removal. When assembled as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the cover flange 24A is closely engaged by the threaded cap 18 which retains the inner vessel 11 and further seals the contents of the outer vessel 12 during shipping.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 4, 5, and 6, an elongated, rigid, vertical plunger 26 is attached to an underside of the spring cover 24. The plunger 26 preferably depends vertically from a center point of the spring cover 24. A round foot 27 is formed at the free end of the plunger, and normally resides directly adjacent a perforated paper bottom 28 of the inner vessel 11, as indicated in FIGS. 3 and 4. The user actuates the plunger 26 by depressing the spring cover 24 causing the spring cover 24 to convert abruptly from its normally convex condition, shown in FIG. 4 to a concave condition shown in FIG. 5. This movement causes the foot 27 of the plunger 26 to break through the paper bottom 28 of the inner vessel 11. Preferably, the bottom wall 28 ruptures at pre-cut radial perforation lines 29 (FIG. 6) forming an opening 30 which allows either liquid or dry contents (e.g., powder or tablet) of the inner vessel 11 to conveniently mix with that of the outer vessel 12. After rupturing the bottom wall 28 of the inner vessel 11, the cap 18 may be reapplied to the outer vessel 12 and the bottle assembly 10 shaken to thoroughly mix the contents together. In this case, contents mixing is achieved without ever separating the inner 11 and outer vessels 12. Before drinking the mixed contents, the emptied inner vessel 11 is removed and discarded.

In an alternative application of the present bottle assembly 10, demonstrated in FIGS. 7, 8, and 9, the inner vessel 11 may first be removed from the outer vessel 12 to access contents of the inner vessel 11. The inner vessel 11 is removed by first unscrewing the cap 18 from the threaded neck 15. The inner vessel 11 is then lifted from the outer vessel 12, and the contents of the inner vessel 11 accessed by peeling away the cover 24 using the pull tab 25. Once uncovered, the contents of the inner vessel 11 may be poured directly into the outer vessel 12 for mixing, or may be consumed by the user before or after drinking the contents of the outer vessel 12.

A bottle assembly is described above. Various details of the invention may be changed without departing from its scope. Furthermore, the foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and best mode for practicing the invention are provided for the purpose of illustration only and not for the purpose of limitation-the invention being defined by the claims.