Title:
Serially attached bag dispenser with gripping orifice through which bags are dispensed and suspended
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bag dispenser including an enclosure having sidewalls for enclosing a plurality of serially connected bags. The dispenser has a gripping orifice in a sidewall of the enclosure through which a first bag extends, and through which a serially connected second bag extends at least partially. In operation, the gripping orifice grippingly engages the second bag, or the first bag, for holding the gripped bag in the gripping orifice and suspending the first bag from the gripping orifice. When the user is finished with the bag, it can be removed from the bags remaining in the enclosure, closed and discarded.



Inventors:
Butcher, Rebecca R. (Minford, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/433088
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K10/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20060102642Top-dispensing absorbent sheet dispenserMay, 2006Muntzing et al.
20090090735Novel Modular Vending Machine for Packaged GoodsApril, 2009Cooper et al.
20100025424Automatic screw feederFebruary, 2010Lin
20080035665Container Cover and Dispenser ThereforFebruary, 2008Edmunds
20050092753Trash bag dispenserMay, 2005Best
20040164087Storage container for tissue and the likeAugust, 2004Ishida
20080156612Article Dispensing MachineJuly, 2008Jimenez et al.
20040060944Theft deterring shelf aid dispensing deviceApril, 2004Gervasi



Primary Examiner:
RANDALL, JR., KELVIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KREMBLAS & FOSTER (REYNOLDSBURG, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A bag dispenser, comprising: (a) a first bag serially connected to a second bag; (b) an enclosure having sidewalls for enclosing at least part of one of the bags; and (c) a gripping orifice in one of the sidewalls of the enclosure through which the serially connected second bag extends, said gripping orifice grippingly engaging one of said bags in the gripping orifice with the first bag suspended from the gripping orifice.

2. The dispenser in accordance with claim 1, wherein the bag engaged in the gripping orifice is the second bag.

3. The dispenser in accordance with claim 1, wherein said orifice is at least one slit in a flexible material.

4. The dispenser in accordance with claim 1, wherein said orifice is a pair of rollers and ratchet mechanism.

5. The dispenser in accordance with claim 1, wherein said bags have a weld sealing said first bag.

6. The dispenser in accordance with claim 5, wherein said bags have a first lateral line of fracture in walls of the bag positioned a pre-determined distance from the weld of the second bag.

7. The dispenser in accordance with claim 6, wherein said bags have a second line of fracture in a first wall of the first bag forming a chamber for holding materials, wherein an edge of the second line of fracture joins to the first lateral line of fracture by a third, transverse line of fracture for forming a pair of flaps for tying together.

8. The dispenser in accordance with claim 7, wherein said bags are mounted in the enclosure in a serially connected, fan-fold orientation.

9. The dispenser in accordance with claim 7, wherein said bags are mounted in the enclosure in a serially connected, rolled orientation.

10. The dispenser in accordance with claim 1, further comprising mounting means for mounting the dispenser to a display surface.

11. A plurality of serially connected bags having at least two walls and a seal near a transition between a first bag and a second bag, the bags comprising: (a) a first, lateral line of fracture in walls positioned a pre-determined distance from the seal; and (b) a second line of fracture in a front wall of the first bag for forming an opening to a chamber for holding materials, wherein an edge of the line of fracture is joined to the first lateral line of fracture by a third, transverse line of fracture for forming a pair of flaps.

12. The bags in accordance with claim 11, wherein the seal is a weld.

13. The bags in accordance with claim 11, wherein the second line of fracture forms an opening upon fracture.

14. The bags in accordance with claim 11, wherein said bags are stored in a fan-fold orientation.

15. The bags in accordance with claim 11, wherein said bags are stored in a rolled orientation.

16. A method for using a bag dispenser, the method comprising: (a) mounting an enclosure having sidewalls to a display surface; (b) inserting a plurality of serially connected bags into the enclosure for dispensing; (c) extending a first bag that is serially connected to a second bag through a gripping orifice in a sidewall of the enclosure and through which the serially connected second bag extends at least partially, said gripping orifice grippingly engaging the second bag for holding the second bag in the gripping orifice and suspending the first bag from the second bag; (d) expanding a second line of fracture in a wall of the first bag forming an opening to a chamber for holding materials, wherein an edge of the second line of fracture is joined to a first, lateral line of fracture by a third, transverse line of fracture for forming a pair of flaps; (e) depositing materials into said chamber; (f) separating the first, lateral line of fracture from the second bag and separating the third, transverse line of fracture, forming a pair of flaps and tying the flaps together to close the bag; and (g) extending the second bag entirely through the gripping orifice and extending the serially connected third bag at least partially through the gripping orifice.

Description:

(e) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to the field of dispensers for a sheet-like material and, more specifically, relates to a dispenser for serially attached bags, one of which remains attached to the subsequently-dispensed bag while it is able to contain items, such as debris.

2. Description of the Related Art

It has long been a concern of clean people to keep debris from cluttering up the space in which they live. Trash baskets and other receptacles perform well in most environments, but fail miserably in moving vehicles unless tethered to some part of the vehicle. Any sudden change in speed or direction normally sends a trash basket tumbling over, spilling its contents.

Many have attempted to use bags and other receptacles to contain debris in moving vehicles, but the devices often have many disadvantages. For example, bags must be fastened to or hung from a knob or other fixture in a vehicle, such as a car. This hinders the use of the knob or fixture from its intended purpose. Furthermore, such bags, when filled, often are inconvenient to replace. Therefore, they are discarded only after they are filled beyond capacity and a replacement has been found.

Others have put bags in a dispenser that allows many bags to be in easy reach so that the operator has ready access to another bag after a bag has become full and been discarded. However, the act of placing another bag in a position in which it can be used is a complex procedure.

Therefore, it is the object and feature of the invention to provide a bag dispenser that permits easy and sanitary removal of a full bag and placement of a new bag in a position to accept trash.

(f) BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention is a bag dispenser including an enclosure having sidewalls for enclosing a plurality of serially connected bags. The dispenser has a gripping orifice in a sidewall of the enclosure through which a first bag extends and through which a serially connected second bag extends, at least partially. In operation, the gripping orifice grippingly engages the second bag for holding the second bag in the gripping orifice and suspending the first bag from the second bag.

The method for using the bag dispenser includes a user mounting the enclosure to a display surface and inserting a plurality of serially connected bags into the enclosure for dispensing. The user extends a first bag through the gripping orifice and expands a second line of fracture in a sidewall of the first bag forming a chamber for holding materials. The user proceeds by depositing waste materials, such as used tissues and other in-car waste, or materials that the user wants to store, into the chamber. Once the bag is full and the user is ready to discard the bag, the user separates a first, lateral line of fracture from the second bag and separates a third, transverse line of fracture, forming a pair of flaps, and ties the flaps together to close the bag. The user can then pull the second bag through the gripping orifice and extend the serially connected third bag at least partially through the orifice, in preparation for use.

(g) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view in perspective illustrating an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view illustrating another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a view in perspective illustrating an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top view in perspective illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a schematic view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 2 in storage.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view illustrating an alternative embodiment of FIG. 2 in storage.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view illustrating an alternative embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 8 is a view in perspective illustrating an alternative embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 9 is a view in perspective illustrating an alternative embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a schematic view illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 1 in operation.

FIG. 11 is a schematic view illustrating an embodiment of FIG. 1.

In describing the preferred embodiment of the invention, which is illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention is limited to the specific term so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents, which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.

(h) DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A bag dispenser 10, illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, has an enclosure 12 with sidewalls for containing a plurality of serially connected bags 20. The preferred enclosure has a rectangular profile, but the enclosure 12 can be made in a variety of shapes, including but not limited to circular, oval, octagonal and square. As illustrated in FIG. 9, an alternative enclosure 212 has a triangular profile.

The enclosure 12 is preferably made from one or more of a variety of known, durable plastics, but it will be recognized by a person having ordinary skill in the art that many suitable alternative materials can be used to make the enclosure. For example, composites, wood, cardboard and metal can be used to make the enclosure. As illustrated in FIG. 9, the alternative enclosure 212 can be made of a lightweight aluminum.

The enclosure 12 has means for mounting the enclosure to a display surface. Preferably, the mounting means includes one element of conventional Velcro® hooks and loops material on the back of the enclosure 12 and the other element mounted to a vehicle dashboard, as shown in FIG. 10 with the enclosure 12 attached over it. The bag dispenser 10 can be mounted to a surface using any of many suitable mounting means, including magnets, tape, screws, nails, snaps, hooks or any other mounting means, including brackets mounted to the surface and into which the dispenser mounts. The bag dispenser 10 can be mounted to a variety of surfaces, not just vehicle dashboards. For example, the dispenser can be mounted to a desk, countertop, diaper changing table, refrigerator, sink, mirror, door, medical cabinet, cashier areas or other surfaces where a bag dispenser would be utilized.

The preferred enclosure 12 has at least one opening 16 for accepting the bags to be dispensed. The opening 16 is rectangular in shape, but can be any of a variety of shapes that can accept the bags 20. The preferred enclosure 12 has a removable lid 17 for covering the opening 16, as shown in FIG. 1. The lid 17 has a lip 18 with a shape similar to the opening 16, illustrated in FIG. 11, that seats against the edges of the opening 16 for keeping the lid 17 in place by friction while mounted in the opening 16. The lip 18 can be made of a variety of materials, but is preferably rubber. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 9, the enclosure 212 can have a hinged door 216 for accessing the interior of the enclosure and inserting the bags 20 for dispensing.

The enclosure 12 has a gripping orifice 14 in at least one sidewall of the enclosure 12. The gripping orifice 14, illustrated in FIG. 1, is a slit in a flexible material through which the bags 20 can be dispensed. The gripping orifice 14 is preferably made of a flexible rubber material, but any of a variety of materials can be used. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 8, the gripping orifice 114 can be a pair of transverse slits that form an opening like that which is used in a conventional baby wipes dispenser. In another alternative, illustrated in FIG. 9, the gripping orifice can be a narrow circular opening 214 in a sidewall of the enclosure that has opening edges that grip the bags, but does not use any flexible materials to make the gripping orifice. It will become apparent that any orifice through which bags can pass that also grippingly engages the bags to resist movement of the bag through the orifice will suffice, so long as the resistance is substantial enough to prevent the bags from being pulled out of the dispenser, but not so substantial that a person of average strength who tries to remove the bag is unable to do so. Thus, the gripping orifice can include a pair of parallel or substantially parallel plates.

In still another alternative, the gripping orifice used to dispense the bags 20 can include a conventional ratchet mechanism 314, shown in FIG. 7. The ratchet mechanism 314 has first and second rotatable members 310 and 312 mounted coaxially and with their outer surfaces seated near or against one another. The bags 316 extend between the members 310 and 312. One of the rotatable members has an arm 318 pivotably mounted and biased toward a plurality of teeth on the gear 320 that is mounted to the member 312. In operation, the gear rotates as resisted by the arm as the bag is dispensed from within the enclosure. Of course, any such mechanism that resists movement of the serially connected bags would suffice.

The following description relates to the first and second bags that are serially connected, and all of the bags in the series that are serially connected preferably have the same characteristics. These bags are used to refill the enclosure. The bags 20 used for dispensing from the enclosure 12 are serially connected to one another with the top of one bag 22 attached to the bottom of another bag 24 as shown in FIG. 2. Each bag has at least two sidewalls, one of which forms the front and another of which forms the back of the bag, and a seal 32 is formed near the transition between the first bag 22 and the second bag 24. The seal 32 is preferably a weld, but can be any suitable seal including an adhesive.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, there is a first, lateral line of fracture 30, preferably a line of perforations, in the sidewalls of the bags 20 a pre-determined distance from the seal 32 of the second bag 24. This line of fracture 30 separates the bag 22 from the bag 24. In addition, there is a second line of fracture 34 in the front sidewall only of the first bag 22 that, when opened as shown in FIG. 2, forms an opening leading to a chamber 36 within the bag 22 between the sidewalls for holding materials. An edge of the second line of fracture 34 is joined to the first lateral line of fracture 30 by a third, transverse line of fracture 38 through the front sidewall only, preferably a line of perforations, for forming a pair of flaps 37 and 39 for tying together as described below.

As defined within, a “line of fracture” is a structure that causes the material to fracture upon the application of a force, and can include a thinned area in the material, a composition change in the material, perforations, a slit or opening in the material, or a releasable adhesive material among others known by those skilled in the art. “Serially connected” is defined as connected in a series, where the bags have a connection between each adjacent bag that can be broken by the force of an average person pulling on one of the serially connected bags, such as the suspended bag.

The bags 20 are preferably stored within the enclosure 12 in a fan-fold orientation 300 relative to one another, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. However, the bags can be stored in a variety of orientations, including rolled as shown by the roll of bags 400 in FIG. 6. Alternatively, the bags 20 can be stored in the enclosure 12, stacked and attached to one another by a pressure adhesive, such as used in Post-IT® flag dispensers. The bags 20 can be stored within a plastic envelope that is inserted into the enclosure 12 with the bags therein to keep the bags in the fan-fold orientation and for easy insertion into the enclosure, like a conventional travel tissue packet.

A user who wants to use the preferred bag dispenser 10 begins by mounting the enclosure 12 to a surface, for example a vehicle dashboard, as shown in FIG. 10. The user can insert the serially connected bags 20 for dispensing prior to mounting the enclosure or after mounting the enclosure. The user extends the first bag 22 that is serially connected to the second bag 24 through the gripping orifice 14 in the sidewall of the enclosure 12. When the first bag 22 is extended completely through the gripping orifice, the serially connected second bag 24 extends at least partially through the gripping orifice 14, and the gripping orifice 14 grippingly engages the second bag 24 for holding the second bag 24 in the gripping orifice and suspending the first bag 22 from the second bag 24, allowing the chamber to be opened. It is possible to grip the first bag 22 in the gripping orifice to hold the bags in place during use, but it is preferred for the gripping orifice to hold the second bag 24.

An embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 3, where the bag 122 has four sidewalls. The front sidewall is fractured along the second line of fracture 134 to open the sidewall of the first bag 122 and gain access to the chamber 136 for holding materials. The user, throughout the course of using the bag within the vehicle, deposits materials into the chamber. The line of fracture is strong enough to hold the second bag and first bag together, but can be separated when it is desired.

The materials in this instance are preferably trash or debris that is found in a vehicle. However, the materials inserted into the chamber can include anything that can fit into the chamber. For example, if the bag dispenser 10 is used in a school setting, the bags 20 could hold candy, pencils or other supplies. Other types of materials can include medical supplies or waste, office supplies, cans, envelopes, beauty supplies, photographs, or foodstuffs. This is just a representative list of materials that can be inserted into the bags and is not intended to be all-inclusive or limiting.

Once the first bag 22 is filled, the user separates the first bag from the second bag 24 by tearing the front and back sidewalls along the first lateral line of fracture 30. Once the bags are separated, the user fractures the front sidewall along the third, transverse line of fracture 38, forming a pair of flaps 37 and 39 that can be tied together to close the bag 22. The user next extends the second bag 24 completely through the gripping orifice 14 until the serially connected third bag 26 extends at least partially through the orifice 14, thereby placing the second bag 24 in a position to be filled.

One advantage to using this bag dispenser is that at least part of a subsequently used, serially connected bags remains partially within the gripping orifice during use of the attached bag. The second bag thus suspends the first bag from the enclosure during use, enabling the dispenser to be both a bag dispenser and a bag holder. Users conventionally have to remove bags from an enclosure and attach them to another area before use. Furthermore, the bag dispenser of the invention can be mounted to almost any surface and could be integrated into almost any surface in which a bag dispenser is utilized or necessary, especially areas where space is at a premium.

While certain preferred embodiments of the present invention have been disclosed in detail, it is to be understood that various modifications may be adopted without departing from the spirit of the invention or scope of the following claims.