Title:
ATTACHABLE ABSORBENT BEVERAGE COASTER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An container-attachable beverage container coaster with a container attachment member dynamically attached to the coaster base for engagement with beverage container bottom surfaces of varying sizes and contours.



Inventors:
Phillips, Brian (San Antonio, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/277752
Publication Date:
10/04/2007
Filing Date:
03/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B91/00
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Primary Examiner:
MCDUFFIE, MICHAEL D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVID G. HENRY (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An beverage container coaster comprising: a base member having a collecting surface face and an oppositely facing resting surface face; a dynamic support member attached to said base member; beverage container attachment means attached to said dynamic support member; said dynamic support member and said beverage container attachment means being oriented for engagement by said container attachment means with a bottom surface of a beverage container when juxtaposed with said collecting surface face of said base member.

2. The beverage container coaster of claim 1 further comprising an absorbency member juxtaposed with said collecting surface face of said base member.

3. The beverage container coaster of claim 1 wherein said dynamic support member is constructed of an elastic material and overlies an orifice formed in said base member which opens to said collecting surface face and said resting surface face of said base member.

4. The beverage container of claim 1 wherein said beverage container attachment means is a suction cup.

5. The beverage container of claim 3 wherein said beverage container attachment means is a suction cup.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to coasters for beverage containers. More specifically, the present invention relates to an attachable beverage coaster that absorbs condensation and other moisture from beverage and is adapted to be removably attached to the bottom surface of a beverage container.

2. Background Information

Condensation formed on beverage containers (bottles, cans, glasses, etc.) in which cold beverages reside represents a problem which ranges from mere annoyance to near calamity, depending on the surrounding circumstances.

If cold condensate falls on one's leg while drinking lemon aide in the Summer, while wearing shorts—that is an annoyance. However, if a party guest sits a “sweating” glass on the hosts late 19th Century Steinway grand piano, the annoyance can quickly become a thousands of dollars problem, with a possible ended friendship. Of course, circumstances span the difference between such extremes.

A primary problem with presently available coaster designs has to do with the balance of convenience and self-discipline. At present, coasters, even if particularly effective (such as the latest generation of clay-based coasters), are not particularly convenient for use, particularly in such circumstances as when a user is mobile (such as during a party).

Many a party or dinner guest has damaged a host's fine furniture when the coaster initially provided was left at a roving guest's prior location. Particularly if such a guest is not accustomed to using a coaster (perhaps they live in an environment devoid of fine wood furniture, for example), it is far too easy to simply forget to use it.

The solution to the above problems would appear to lie in having a design of a coaster which somehow attaches to a beverage container and “follows” it about. The present inventor found that any apparent such approaches were wholly unworkable.

Were all beverage containers of the same size and shape (particularly with respect to their bottom contours), the problem might be somewhat simple—simply provide some means by which a coaster could either attach by some adhesive means, or by some mechanical clamp-like approach. However, beverage containers vary greatly in size, bottom contours, etc. Furthermore, if one provides attachment means without accounting for bottom diameter, etc. (a flat coaster with a suction cup in the middle, etc.), the coaster (using present design approaches) is either ineffective as a coaster (moisture simply runs off the side) and/or it will not stay reliably attached to the beverage container.

More specifically, the present inventor has determined that a mechanical engagement approach to attaching a coaster to a beverage container is wholly impracticable. That which will effectively attach to a glass or can of one size or contour will not effectively do so with a very different container. As mentioned, a flat disk without a raised margin, whatever the attachment scheme, is not effective as a coaster (or, if it is effective [one of the clay-based coasters], it is too heavy for remaining attached through use of the only, remotely viable option for use in that context—a small suction cup). A delimited coaster (one with a raised edge) which is large enough to accommodate a wide array of beverage container bottom diameters and contain collected condensate, sill does will not effectively attach to containers of varying contours (such as when one container's bottom is concave, while another is flat). If, for example, one designs a delimited coaster with a suction cup for attachment to a glass with a concave bottom surface (such that the suction cup is raised relative to the collecting surface sufficiently to “reach” the glass' bottom), to attempt use of the same coaster on a flat-bottomed glass will have that glass teetering on the suction cup without support by such collecting surface, as well as defeating the essential purpose of the coaster in the first place.

It would greatly advance the utility of available coasters to provide a design which: (1) facilitates a coaster's “following” a beverage container about, with no required effort on the user's part, beyond initial attachment; (2) provides effective function as a coaster; and (3) is suitable for use with beverage containers of a wide breadth of size and bottom contours.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved beverage container coaster.

It is another object to provide an improved beverage container coaster which is more effectively attachable to beverage containers of varying sizes and contours than coasters of presently available designs.

It is another object to provide an improved beverage container coaster which is more effectively attachable to beverage containers of varying sizes and contours than coasters of presently available designs, and which, in doing so, still provides superior utility as a beverage container coaster.

The present invention provides a design for a beverage container coaster which satisfied all of the stated objects, and in doing so, provides a coaster design which is superior to all known designs, at least in view of the deficiencies of present designs as are described above.

The design of the present invention involves a coaster base member which is, essentially, a receptacle for collecting condensate (a collecting surface with a raised margin thereabout). The preferred embodiment includes an absorbent material or constituent component for “soaking up” the condensate which collects in the base member. Also in the preferred embodiment, this absorbent member is disposable and interchangeable.

The coaster of the present design attaches to beverage containers through use of a suction cup which (most importantly) is dynamically mounted relative to the coaster's base member. This ensures that the coaster's suction cup can readily be made to “reach” and engage the central portion of beverage containers' respective bottom surfaces, almost without regard to the over-all contour of the container's bottom surface (flat, concave, recessed with a surrounding flange, etc.), while the beverage container remains safely supported by the collecting surface of the coaster base member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 represents a perspective view of a coaster of the present invention.

FIG. 2 represents an exploded view of the coaster of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, the improved beverage container coaster of the present invention is identified generally by the reference number 10.

Coaster 1 includes, in its basic embodiment, beverage container attachment means 12 (a suction cup in the preferred embodiment), an absorbency member 14 (replaceable blotter paper, slotted for exchange as shown, or a permanent absorbency material, such as clay or cork), a base member 16 with a collecting surface face (top surface) and a resting surface face (bottom surface), optional non-skid feet 18 (or, in the alternative, a non-skid surface—not separately shown), and a dynamic support member 20.

The last component—dynamic support member 20—in the context of the over-all coaster design embodies the primary advance in the present design over all known existing coaster designs. Dynamic support member 20 is, in the preferred embodiment, an elastic, rubber-like membrane which is attached to the resting surface face (the bottom surface) of base member 16. Dynamic support member 20 overlies orifice 22 which passes wholly through base member 16. Container attachment means 12 is, in turn, attached to dynamic support member 20.

The advantages of attaching suction cup 12 to dynamic support member 20 lies in the fact that, when coaster 10 is to be engaged with a beverage container (not shown), a user, if necessary, simply pushes against the dynamic support member 20, from the bottom, resting surface face side of coaster 10, once the beverage container is juxtaposed to absorbency member 14, on the collecting surface face of base member 16, and effects a secure engagement with the beverage container. In the case of use with a substantially flat-bottomed beverage container, perhaps no user action is necessary at all, other than simply placing the beverage containe (glass, can, etc.) atop coaster 10. However, in the case of a concave or recessed, flat-bottomed container, the user may need to urge suction cup 12 toward the beverage container's bottom surface to secure the attachment.

Notably, in either case, the bottom margin of the container remains juxtaposed with (and, when in ordinary use, supported by the upper surface of the absorbency member 14 or collecting surface face of base member 16. Were suction cup 12 to be statically attached to base member 16, it could either be positioned for secure engagement with a flat-bottomed beverage container, or for a container with some form of recessed central bottom surface, but not both. For example, if configured for only the former, suction cup 12 would not “reach” the bottom surface of a beverage container with a recessed central bottom surface. If configured for the latter, a flat-bottomed beverage container would teeter perilously unsupported by the surrounding surfaces of coaster 10.

While the depicted embodiment of the present invention includes non-skid feet 18, with dynamic support member 20 being a separate component, an alternative, lesser-preferred embodiment may involve replacing feet 18 with a non-skid, planer sheet, the functionality of which might be merged with that of dynamic support member 20.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon the reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.