Title:
Modular jar
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a modular jar having sections that may be selectively removed as contents are emptied. A base section includes a floor and a sidewall upwardly extending therefrom. The sidewall defines an open top at an upper end and includes an upper fastener. An extension section includes a sidewall that defines an open interior space and includes upper and lower ends. The extension section includes an upper fastener at the upper end and a lower fastener at the lower end. All upper fasteners have a configuration that is complementary to a configuration of all lower fasteners such that the extension section may be coupled to the base section or to another extension section. The modular jar includes a lid that may be removably coupled to an upper end of an extension section. The upper and lower fasteners may include complementary threads or twist lock elements.



Inventors:
Kee, Jason (Austin, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/484371
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
07/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D1/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
VOLZ, ELIZABETH J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ream Law Firm, L.L.C. (OTTAWA, KS, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is as follows:

1. A modular jar, comprising: a base section having a floor and a sidewall extending generally upwardly from said floor, said base section sidewall presenting upper and lower ends and defining an interior open area therebetween, said upper end of said base section sidewall having an upper fastener; an extension section having a sidewall presenting upper and lower ends and defining an interior open area therebetween, said upper end of said extension section sidewall having an upper fastener, said lower end of said extension section sidewall having a lower fastener; a lid having a lower fastener; and wherein all said upper fasteners are respectively complementary to all said lower fasteners.

2. The modular jar as in claim 1, wherein said upper fasteners and said lower fasteners are selected from the group consisting of threads and twist lock elements.

3. The modular jar as in claim 2, wherein said base section open area and said extension section open area define a continuous open area when said extension section lower fastener is coupled to said base section upper fastener.

4. The modular jar as in claim 3, wherein: said base section sidewall is a generally cylindrical shell; and said extension section sidewall is a generally cylindrical shell having a diameter substantially equal to a diameter of said generally cylindrical shell of said base section.

5. The modular jar as in claim 4, further comprising a seal at said upper end of said base section sidewall to selectively seal said base section to said extension section and said lid, respectively.

6. The modular jar as in claim 1, wherein said upper fasteners and said lower fasteners are threads.

7. The modular jar as in claim 1, wherein said upper fasteners are external threads and said lower fasteners are internal threads.

8. The modular jar as in claim 1, wherein said upper fasteners and said lower fasteners are twist lock elements.

9. The modular jar as in claim 1, further comprising a seal at said upper end of said base section sidewall to selectively seal said base section to said extension section and said lid, respectively.

10. The modular jar as in claim 9, wherein said seal is an o-ring.

11. The modular jar as in claim 1, wherein: said base section sidewall is a generally cylindrical shell; and said extension section sidewall is a generally cylindrical shell having a diameter substantially equal to a diameter of said generally cylindrical shell of said base section.

12. The modular jar as in claim 11, further comprising a seal at said upper end of said base section sidewall to selectively seal said base section to said extension section and said lid, respectively.

13. The modular jar as in claim 1, wherein said base section open area and said extension section open area define a continuous open area when said extension section lower fastener is coupled to said base section upper fastener.

14. The modular jar as in claim 13, wherein: said base section sidewall is a generally cylindrical shell; and said extension section sidewall is a generally cylindrical shell having a diameter substantially equal to a diameter of said generally cylindrical shell of said base section.

15. The modular jar as in claim 14, further comprising a seal at said upper end of said base section sidewall to selectively seal said base section to said extension section and said lid, respectively.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to containers and, more particularly, to modular jars that may be coupled together to form ajar of variable height. As contents from the combined jars are removed, the jars may be easily separated so that all of the contents therein may be conveniently removed.

Contents from the bottom of a storage container are often difficult to remove in that the sides of the container are too close together to enable a person to conveniently reach to the bottom. In such cases, the container must be tipped or even completely turned upside down to remove the final items. This action often results in the final items being unexpectedly or undesirably removed all at once.

Various containers for removing final items in a more controlled manner have been proposed in the art. Although assumably effective for their intended uses, the existing devices do not provide for a variable size container giving easy access to remaining items without the need for tipping or inversion of the container.

Therefore, it would be desirable to have a modular jar having a variable height and having sections that may be selectively removed as the contents are emptied so that all of the contents may be easily removed. Further, it would be desirable to have a modular jar having a base section, removable extension sections, and a lid that may be combined or removed as needed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, a modular jar according to the present invention includes a base section having a floor with a sidewall extending upwardly therefrom. The sidewall defines an open top with an upper fastener such that the base section defines an interior space in which to hold selected items, such as food items.

The modular jar also includes an extension section having a continuous side wall having upper and lower ends and defining an open space therebetween. The extension section includes an upper fastener at the upper and end and a lower fastener at the lower end. All of the upper fasteners have configurations that are complementary to configurations of all lower fasteners such that a lower section may be releasably coupled to the base section or to another extension section. The fasteners may be, for example, a twist lock or threads.

Therefore, a general object of this invention is to provide a modular jar having multiple sections that may be coupled together to hold items therein.

Another object of this invention is to provide a modular jar, as aforesaid, in which extension sections may be selectively removed as contents are removed so as to give convenient access to all items stored therein.

Yet another object of this invention is to provide a modular jar, as aforesaid, in which removal of jar sections is quick, easy, and user-friendly.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a modular jar, as aforesaid, that is easy and economical to manufacture.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein is set forth by way of illustration and example, embodiments of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1a is a perspective view of a modular jar according to one embodiment of the present invention, shown in a separated configuration;

FIG. 1b is another perspective view of the modular jar as in FIG. 1a, shown in a coupled configuration;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the modular jar as in FIG. 1b;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a modular jar according to another embodiment of the present invention, in use with a base section and lid and illustrating use of a twist lock fastener configuration;

FIG. 4a is a top view of the modular jar as in FIG. 3;

FIG. 4b is a perspective view of the modular jar as in FIG. 3 in use with a base section, extension section, and lid;

FIG. 4c is a sectional view of the modular jar taken along line 4c-4c of FIG. 4a; and

FIG. 4d is an isolated view on an enlarged scale taken from FIG. 4c.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A modular jar 100 according to the present invention will now be described in detail with reference to FIGS. 1a through 4d of the accompanying drawings. More particularly, a modular jar 100 according to the current invention includes a base section 110, an extension section 120, and a lid 130.

The base section 110 has a sidewall 112 that extends generally upwardly from a floor 111. As best shown in FIGS. 2 and 4c, the base section sidewall 112 presents upper and lower ends 112a, 112b and defines an interior open area 115 therebetween. The upper end 112a of the base section sidewall 112 includes an upper fastener 150 which may be, for example, threads 150a (FIGS. 1a, 2, and 4d) or twist lock elements 150b (FIG. 3). While the threads 150a are shown as external threads, they may alternately be internal threads.

The extension section 120 includes a sidewall 122 that presents upper and lower ends 122a, 122b and defines an interior open area 125 therebetween. The upper end 122a of the extension section sidewall 122 has another upper fastener 150 which may be, for example, threads 150a (FIGS. 1a, 2, and 4d) or twist lock elements 150b (FIG. 3) as described above. The lower end 122b of the extension section sidewall 122 has a lower fastener 155 which may be, for example, threads 155a (FIGS. 1a, 2, and 4d) or twist lock elements. All of the upper fasteners 150 are respectively complementary to all of the lower fasteners 155. In other words, if the upper fasteners 150 are external threads 150a, for example, then the lower fasteners 155 are complementary internal threads 155a.

The lid 130 is sized to selectively cover the base section 110 and the extension section 120, respectively, and has a lower fastener 155. The lower fastener 155 may be, for example, threads 155a (FIGS. 2, and 4d) or twist lock elements as described above.

As shown throughout the drawings, the base section sidewall 112 may be a generally cylindrical shell and the extension section sidewall 122 may be a generally cylindrical shell that has a diameter substantially equal to a diameter of the generally cylindrical shell of the base section 110. Alternately, the base section sidewall 112 and/or the extension section sidewall 122 may respectively be rectangular, hexagonal, octagonal, or another regularly or irregularly shaped shell.

FIG. 4d shows that a seal 140 may be situated at the upper end 112a of the base section sidewall 112 to selectively seal the base section 110 to the extension section 120 and the lid 130, respectively, as described below. Though the seal 140 in FIG. 4d is an o-ring, other types of seals may alternately or additionally be used.

In use, the extension section 120 may be coupled to the base section 110 by mating the upper fastener 150 of the base section 110 with the lower fastener 155 of the extension section 120 (FIGS. 1b and 1b through 4d). In other words, the base section threads 150a may be coupled with the extension section threads 155a or the twist lock elements 150b of the base section 110 may be coupled with the twist lock elements of the extension section 120. When the extension section lower fastener 155 is coupled to the base section upper fastener 150, the base section open area 115 and the extension section open area 125 may define a continuous open area, as shown in FIG. 4c. The seal 140 may aid in making the connection between the base section 110 and the extension section 120 air-tight and/or water-tight. The lid 130 may be coupled to the extension section 120 (FIGS. 1b, 4b, and 4c) by mating the upper fastener 150 of the extension section 120 with the lower fastener 155 of the lid 130. In other words, the extension section threads 150a may be coupled with the lid threads 155a or the twist lock elements 150b of the extension section 120 may be coupled with the twist lock elements of the lid 130. Though only one extension section 120 is shown throughout the drawings, two or more extension sections may be coupled together to form a larger composite extension section 120.

The lid 130 may be selectively separated from the extension section 120 (i.e., by uncoupling the upper and lower fasteners 150, 155) to access contents in the extension section open area 125 and the base section open area 115. Once the contents of the extension section open area 125 have been removed, the extension section 120 may be separated from the base section 110 (i.e., by uncoupling the upper and lower fasteners 150, 155). The contents of the base section open area 115 may be more easily accessed after the extension section 120 is removed. To cover the base section open area 115 after the extension section 120 has been removed, the lid 130 may be coupled to the base section 110 (FIG. 3). More particularly, the upper fastener 150 of the base section 110 may be coupled with the lower fastener 155 of the lid 130 as generally discussed above.

It is understood that while certain forms of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims and allowable functional equivalents thereof.