Title:
Drinking glass with a modular stem
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drinking glass has a cup and a base that are releasably coupled to a rod. A plurality of beads are placed on the rod and held between the cup and the base. The beads that are mounted on the rod may be different colors and shapes. By mixing the beads, different patterns are formed on the stem which may be purely ornamental or used for identification purposes.



Inventors:
Towery, Mark (San Francisco, CA, US)
Miller, Leslie (Saratoga, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/514412
Publication Date:
11/08/2007
Filing Date:
09/01/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G19/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DERGOSITS & NOAH LLP (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drinking glass comprising: a cup; a base; an elongated rod having a first end coupled to the cup and a second end coupled to the base; and a plurality of interchangeable ornamental beads that are substantially uniform in length and mounted around the elongated rod forming an identification pattern.

2. The drinking glass of claim 1 further comprising; a plurality of washers that are placed between the adjacent ornamental beads on the elongated rod.

3. The drinking glass of claim 2 wherein some of the plurality of washers have a torus shape.

4. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are spherical in shape.

5. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are spherical in shape.

6. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are cylindrical in shape.

7. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are cubic in shape.

8. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads have a conical surface.

9. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads have an elliptical surface.

10. The drinking glass of claim 1 wherein the plurality of ornamental beads comprises a first bead that is a first color and a second bead that is a second color.

11. A drinking glass comprising: a cup; a base; an elongated rod having a first end coupled to the cup and a second end coupled to the base; and a plurality of interchangeable ornamental beads that have center holes; wherein the elongated rod passes through the center holes in the plurality of ornamental beads and form an identification pattern.

12. The drinking glass of claim 11 further comprising; a plurality of washers that are placed between the adjacent ornamental beads on the elongated rod.

13. The drinking glass of claim 12 wherein some of the plurality of washers have a torus shape.

14. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are spherical in shape.

15. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are spherical in shape.

16. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are cylindrical in shape.

17. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads are cubic in shape.

18. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads have a conical surface.

19. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein some of the plurality of ornamental beads have an elliptical surface.

20. The drinking glass of claim 11 wherein the plurality of ornamental beads comprises a first bead that is a first color and a second bead that is a second color.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Drinking glasses have been in existence for many years. Various shapes of drinking glasses have been used for specific types of beverages. While water, sodas, milk and juice are typically poured into plain glasses that typically have a flat base and cylindrical body, wine is typically served in a wine glass. A wine glass is a type of glass stemware that is used to drink and taste wine from that has a specific shape. The wine glass has a circular base, a thin stem and a rounded cup having a thin lip. Blown glass is typically used to make the wine glasses and the opening of the cup is not wider than the widest portion of the cup. The shape of the cup is designed to concentrate the aroma or bouquet of the wine making it easier to distinguish the varietal's characteristics.

Many glasses that are designed for specific types of wines. Glasses for red wine are characterized by their rounder, wider cup, which gives the wine a chance the breath. Bordeaux glasses are tall with a wide cup for full bodied red wines such as Cabernet and Merlot. Burgundy glasses are larger than Bordeaux glasses with a larger bowl for more delicate wines such as Pinot Noir. White wine glasses are narrower than red wine glasses and champagne flutes are narrower than white wine glasses. White wines and champagnes are intended to be served chilled and these narrower glasses help to retain the cooler temperature. There are other glasses having shapes for port, sparkling wine, brandy, liqueur, cocktail and water.

A problem with wine glasses is that the glasses look identical and it is very easy to set a glass down and not be able to distinguish one glass from another. One method for identifying a wine glass has been the use of tags that each have a unique shape, markings or patterns. These tags may include a metal ring that fits around the stem of the glass. With these devices, a drinker can identify her glass by remembering the appearance of the stem tag. While the wine glass tags are useful, they must be removed before the glasses are washed and are easily lost once they are removed from the glasses.

Another problem with wine glasses is storage. Because the glasses have a wide cup and base but a thin stem, the wine glasses cannot be stored in a space efficient manner. Also, because each type of wine may require a specific type of cup it may be necessary to store a set of each shape of wine glass.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The inventive drinking glass includes cup, a stem and a base. The cup is preferably a blown glass bulb. The cup is attached to an upper fitting that is used to couple the cup to the stem. In an embodiment, the upper fitting is an inverted conical member that has a threaded bore. The upper surface of the upper fitting may be attached to the bottom of the cup with an adhesive or other fastener.

The base has a lower planar surface that allows the glass to sit upright when placed on a planar surface. The base is typically a circular member that has a lower fitting. The upper and lower fitting engages a rod that functions as the stem of the drinking glass. In an embodiment, the ends of the rod are threaded and engage corresponding internal threads in the upper and lower fittings.

A plurality of beads are placed around the rod. These beads can very in shape, color and finish. The beads may also be marked with patterns or alpha numeric characters. Because the rod is releasably fastened to the upper and lower fittings, the beads are interchangeable. The interchangeability of the beads allows the user to create glasses that are distinct and individually identifiable. Each of he glasses may have beads indicating the person using the glass. For example, users can create stems with beads to create monogram lettering for the guests. Alternatively, the beads may be color coded to indicate the guest or the type of beverage served in the glass.

In addition to the beads of the stem being interchangeable, the cup and base are also interchangeable. In an embodiment, the cup may be a wide Bordeaux shape, a thinner Burgundy shape, a conical cocktail shape, etc. The bases are typically circular in shape although any other shape that provides a planar base may also be used. Optional base shapes include squares, triangles, pentagons, etc. In an embodiment, a set of glasses may be a gift box that includes a single set of stems with a plurality of beads, cups and bases. The set may come with different beads and different shaped cups so that much of the same glass can be used to properly server a variety of beverages. The modular design also has the benefit of being storable in a compact manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross section of a red wine embodiment of the inventive drinking glass;

FIG. 2 is a cross section of a white wine embodiment of the inventive drinking glass;

FIG. 3 is a cross section of a martini embodiment of the inventive drinking glass;

FIGS. 4a through 4h are illustrations of different stem beads;

FIG. 5 is a cross section of an embodiment of the rod and base;

FIG. 6a illustrates a fork having a bead and rod handle;

FIG. 6b illustrates a knife having a bead and rod handle; and

FIG. 7 illustrates a tray having bead and rod handles.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIG. 1, the present invention is a modular wine glass that has separate cup 103, stem 107 and base 111. The cup 103 is a glass bulb that is preferably made from clear blown glass. The upper portion of the cup 103 has a circular opening with a thin rounded lip and a thin wall section. In FIG. 1, the cup 103 has a wide round cup that is intended for red wines.

An upper fitting 105 is a conical piece that is mounted to the bottom of the cup 103. The fitting 105 is preferably made of a metal which is easy to machine and conceals the bore 121. The upper fitting 105 may have a concave surface which is attached to the bottom of the cup 103. The fitting 105 may be attached to the cup 103 with an adhesive or via various other coupling methods including: threads, melting of the glass to fuse the cup to the fitting 105, fasteners, etc. In an embodiment, the upper fitting 105 may have a hollow interior and be attached to the cup 103 at the upper perimeter surface. The upper fitting 105 may be plated with a reflective or metallic material such as: silver, gold and chrome for enhanced appearance. The upper fitting 105 may alternatively have a translucent, transparent or painted finish. The bottom of the upper fitting 105 has a bore that may be tapped with internal threads. The bore 121 may be a hole that passes through the entire upper fitting 105. In other embodiments, the upper fitting is an insert that fits within a recess in the bottom of the cup 103. The fitting may be held within the recess with an adhesive.

The upper fitting 103 is coupled to an elongated rod 107 that is preferably made of an inert metal such as stainless steel. In an embodiment, the ends of the rod 107 are externally threaded to match the internal threads in the upper fitting 103. In all of the figures, the threads are shown as being formed on the outer diameter of the rod. It is also contemplated that the internal threads may be formed at the ends of the rod and the upper fitting may have an externally threaded piece that engages the internal threads of the rod. While the rod is described as having a circular cross section, it is also possible for the rod 107 to have any other cross sections such as: rectangular, square, triangular, etc.

A plurality of beads 131 are placed onto the rod 107. The beads 131 each have geometric shapes such as spheres, cubes, cones, etc. The beads 131 each have a hole that preferably runs through the center axis. The through holes may have a circular cross section but may also have cross sections that are different in shape. For example, if the rod 107 has a square cross section, the hole may have a corresponding square cross section. These corresponding shapes prevent the bead 131 from rotating when they are mounted on the rod 107.

The beads 131 may be made of glass or any other sold material such as metal, ceramic, plastic, etc. The beads 131 may be transparent, translucent or opaque depending upon the materials used. In some cases the beads 131 may be made with a combination of materials. For example, an external portion of a bead 131 may be made of a transparent glass while an internal portion surrounding the center hole may be an opaque material such as metal foil or the beads 131 may be marbles having opaque colored strands encased within the glass exterior.

In addition to the beads 131, a plurality of washers 127 may also be mounted on the rod 107. The washers 127 may be circular in shape and much smaller than the beads 131. The washers 127 may be mounted between the beads 131 and the upper fitting 105. Like the beads 131, the washers 127 may be made of various different colors, materials or combinations of materials such as glass, metal, ceramic, plastic, etc. Various finishes may also be applied to the beads 131 such as metal plating, burnishing, sand blasting, tumbling and other machined finishes. The washers 127 may be purely ornamental or they may allow for proper alignment of adjacent beads 131 that do not have planar surfaces and would otherwise not stack properly on the rod 107. The washers 127 may have be made of a compliant material which is compressible.

The base 111 is attached to a lower fitting 109 that is coupled to the bottom of the rod 107. The base 111 is preferably a circular structure that is made of clear glass. Alternatively, the base may be made of metal, ceramic, plastic, etc. The lower fitting 109 is conical in shape may be identical to the upper fitting 103 but inverted and attached to the base 111 with an adhesive or any other type of fastening mechanism. The lower fitting 109 as a bore that may be threaded to engage the lower end of the rod 107.

The stacked beads 131 should extend almost the entire length of the rod 107 while allowing the ends of the rod 107 to be coupled to the upper fitting 105 and the lower fitting 109. In an embodiment, the ends of the rod 107 and the upper and lower fittings 105, 109 are threaded. The stacked beads 131 and washers 127 on the rod 107 should be long enough so that they are compressed between the upper and lower fittings 105, 109. If the ends of the rod 107 are threaded, the beads 131 and washers 127 stacked on the rod 107 can be compressed by rotating the upper and lower fittings 105, 109 to reduce the space between the fittings 105, 109. In the assembled state, the rod 107 is in tension while the beads 131 and washers 127 are in compression between the upper fitting 105 and the lower fitting 109. Thus, it is the beads the support the weight of the cup 103 and any beverages held by the cup 103 rather than the rod 107.

FIG. 1 illustrates a red wine glass 103 that has beads 131 that each have a different shape with washers 127 placed between the beads 131. FIG. 2 illustrates a white wine glass 149 that as a set of spherical beads 131 that each have a different color. For example, the top bead 141 may be red, the second bead 143 may be green, the third bead 145 may be blue and the bottom bead 147 may be clear. Washers 127 may be placed between each of the beads. FIG. 3 illustrates a cocktail glass 159 that includes a plurality of beads 131 that are not separated by spacers. Thus, various different cups can be combined with the same base and stem.

FIGS. 4a through 4h each illustrate a different type of bead. FIG. 4a illustrates a cube shaped bead with the center hole running through two opposite side surface. FIG. 4b illustrates a cylindrical bead with the center hole running through the circular ends surface. FIG. 4c illustrates double ended cone. FIG. 4d illustrates a spherical bead. FIG. 4e illustrates an octahedron. FIG. 4f illustrates a cube with the center hole running through opposite corners. FIG. 4g illustrates a flattened circular bead. FIG. 4h illustrates an elongated circular bead. The illustrated beads represent a small number of examples of beads. It is contemplated that the beads can be made from any other geometric shape such tetrahedrons, dodecahedrons and icosahedrons.

In addition to different colors, the beads may be marked with specific patterns, letters or numerals. The markings can be printed or permanently formed in the surface of the bead. For example, the beads may be embossed or the markings may be protrusions formed on the bead surface. The letters can be used to create monogram drinking glasses. Similarly, the beads can be numbered.

The appearance of the beads can be purely ornamental or used for identification of the glass. The ability to identify a wine glass is particularly useful during parties with a number of guests. Each guest may be given a glass with a specific set of beads the indicate the guests name or initials. Because the glass has a specific bead pattern, the guest will be able to set the glass down and then identify the glass from all other glasses.

The color and shape bead pattern on the stem may also allow for visual identification for a wine tasting party. While wine glasses with the same cup portion may be used to serve both Cabernets and Merlots, the stem pattern may allow guests to distinguish the Cabernets and Merlots. The stem bead pattern may also allow guests to distinguish various brands of a specific type of wine during a tasting comparison.

The interchangeably of the beads with regards to the color, shape and material allows for an infinite combination of appearances. In order to improve the interchangeability of the beads, the length of the beads may be uniform. This uniformity would allow a set number of beads to be placed on the rod with a proper fit between the upper and lower fittings. For example, all of the beads may be 0.75 inches long. Four stacked beads would always cover 3 inches of the rod regardless of shape and color. The rod may be about 3.50 inches long with threads on at least 0.25 inches on each end.

It is also possible to use beads that are multiples of the length of the normal bead. For example if a normal bead is 0.75 inches, a 1.5 inch long bead can be used to replace two normal sized beads. Similarly, a 2.25 inch long bead would replace three normal 0.75 inch beads. If the beads are not uniform in length, it may be possible to use washers to cover any spaces on the rod that are not covered by beads and hold the beads stationary on the rod.

The ability to change the cup portions of each glass allows for improved cleaning and storage. By disassembling the wine glasses, the components can be stored in a less space. For example after the wine has been consumed, the user can separate the cup portions prior to washing in a dishwasher. The drinking glasses consume much less storage space as disassembled components.

Although the connection between the rod and the upper and lower fittings has been illustrated as a threaded connection, various other connection mechanisms are possible. With reference to FIG. 5, the lower portion of an embodiment of the drinking glass is shown. In this embodiment, the lower end of the rod 559 has a rounded tip 561 and a groove 563. The base 565 includes a clip 567 that engages the groove 563 and locks the rod 559 to the base 565. In this embodiment, a compressible member 571 is placed on the rod 559 with the beads 151. The compressible member 571 may be a ring that is placed between the bottom bead 151 and the top of the base 565. In order to insert the rod 559 far enough for the clip 567 to engage the groove 563 the member 571 is compressed. The compressed member 571 holds the beads 151 stationary on the rod 559 and prevents the beads 151 from sliding on the rod 559. To release the rod 559 from the base 565, the clip 567 is moved out of the groove 563. With the rod 559 free, the member 571 expands and the beads 151 can be removed or replaced with other beads.

In addition to using the interchangeable beads for the stems of wine glasses, it is also possible to use the beads mounted on the rod as handles for various other objects. With reference to FIG. 6a, the bead 631 and rod 607 assembly are used as the handle of a fork 601. The fork 601 body is attached to the rod 607 which holds the beads 631. An end bead 611 may have a threaded bore that holds the beads 631 onto the rod 607. With reference to FIG. 6b, the bead 631 and rod 607 are used as the handle for a knife 603. Various other hand held utensils can be made using the described bead and rod handle assembly. In another embodiment, the beads and rod may be used as the handle for other items. FIG. 7 illustrates a tray 701 that has beads 731 mounted on rods 707 on opposite ends of the tray 701.

In the foregoing, an interchangeable system of beads used as the stem of a drinking glass or the handle of an object has been described. Although the present invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments, it will be evident that various modifications and changes may be made to these embodiments without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.