Title:
Device For Use With Pastry Bags
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device with a body and a central opening through which the pastry bag may be inserted. The opening has at least one projection extending from a perimeter of the opening arranged to engage the bag. The device may include a sidewall, and may further include a flange extending from the sidewall. The device may also have slits separating a plurality of projections which extend from the perimeter of the opening. In further embodiments, the flange may be tilted or the sidewall may include support ribbing to increase peripheral rigidity of the device. A method of using the device with a pastry bag.



Inventors:
Day, Deanna Louise (Boston, NY, US)
Jalali, Rohit (Ridgeway, CA)
Fernandes, Gerard (Fort Erie, CA)
Vandewater, Jennifer Gail (Amherst, NY, US)
Tirone, Christopher Vincent (East Aurora, NY, US)
Guzdar, Dinshaw Adi (Buffalo, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/840092
Publication Date:
02/21/2008
Filing Date:
08/16/2007
Assignee:
RICH PRODUCTS CORPORATION (Buffalo, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
222/92, 222/107
International Classes:
B65D35/00; B65D35/28
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NICOLAS, FREDERICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HODGSON RUSS LLP (BUFFALO, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for controlling extrusion of a product from a bag having a filling end and a dispensing end, the device comprising: a body having first and second opposite sides and an opening therethrough for receiving the filling end of the bag; and at least one projection extending from the body into the opening, the projection frictionally engaging the bag; wherein the body and at least one projection close the filling end of the bag to prevent backflow and escape of product from the filling end, and are slidable along the bag in a direction toward the dispensing end to progressively reduce available volume of the bag.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the at least one projection is resiliently deflectable between a relaxed position wherein the projection is flush with the first and second sides of the body and an extended position wherein the projection is not flush with the first and second sides of the body.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the body has a circular disc shape.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the body and at least one projection are integrally formed of plastic.

5. The device of claim 2, wherein the at least one projection is a plurality of projections arranged about the opening.

6. The device of claim 5, wherein each of the plurality of projections converges to a point.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein the plurality of projections close the opening when each of the plurality of projections is in the relaxed position.

8. The device of claim 5, wherein the plurality of projections do not close the opening when each of the plurality of projections is in the relaxed position.

9. The device of claim 5, wherein the device further comprises a peripheral wall about the body.

10. The device of claim 9, wherein the peripheral wall has a support ribbing.

11. The device of claim 9, further comprising a circumferential flange extending from the peripheral wall.

12. A combination comprising: a conical pastry bag including a filling end and a dispensing end, the pastry bag containing product to be dispensed from the dispensing end; and a device including (i) a body having first and second opposite sides and an opening therethrough for receiving the filling end of the bag, and (ii) a plurality of resiliently deflectable projections extending from the body into the opening, the projections being deflected to an extended position by insertion of the filling end of the bag through the opening, wherein the plurality of projections exert a spring force on the bag to close the filling end and prevent backflow and escape of product from the filling end.

13. The combination of claim 12, wherein each of the plurality of projections converges toward a point, and the pointed projections engage the bag to inhibit motion of the device toward the filling end of the bag.

14. The combination of claim 12, wherein at least a portion of the body is formed of an insulating material for reducing heat transfer to the pastry bag and product therein.

15. A method of controlling the extrusion of product from a bag having a filling end and a dispensing end, the method comprising the steps of: a) providing a device comprising (i) a body having first and second opposite sides and an opening therethrough, and (ii) a plurality of resiliently deflectable projections extending from the body into the opening; b) inserting the filling end of the bag through the opening of the device, whereby the plurality of projections are deflected toward the filling end of the bag and exert a spring force on the bag to close the filling end and prevent backflow and escape of product from the filling end; c) sliding the device along the bag toward the dispensing end to pressurize the product within the bag; and d) applying pressure to the bag to extrude product through the dispensing end of the bag.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the step of applying pressure to the bag is performed manually.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the step of applying pressure to the bag is performed by only one hand of a user.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/837,987 filed on Aug. 16, 2006, which is incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains generally to hand-held devices used in the culinary arts for applying topping, icing, frosting, or the like, commonly referred to as pastry bags. Specifically, the present invention pertains to a device to assist in the use of pastry bags in the application of topping, icing or frosting.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention may be used to assist with dispensing viscous materials such as paste-like extrudable materials, extrudable foams, or the like. One area where the invention has particular application is the food industry. In the food industry, frostings, icing or pre-whipped toppings having a high viscosity are typically applied manually by means of a cone shaped flexible package, known as a pastry bag, containing the substance to be dispensed. The flexible packaging may be plastic, paper, fabric, or other suitable material. As an example, pre-whipped topping is typically supplied in a sealed pastry bag having a conical shape. The topping is supplied into the wider filling end of the pastry bag and the product is dispensed from the narrower dispensing end of the conical pastry bag. In the case of a sealed pastry bag, the dispensing end is typically opened by cutting with a pair of scissors. Other methods for opening the bag are also suitable. Once the flexible packaging is opened at the dispensing end, the product is dispensed by manually squeezing the sides of the packaging to force the product to exit through the opening. Typically, as the product is dispensed, the user must manually fold or twist the filling end of the bag to maintain the desired pressure on the product being dispensed to ensure even distribution of the product. The process of using a pastry bag, as described above, is not without drawbacks. The user must repeatedly twist or fold the filling end of the pastry bag in order to evenly dispense the product and to try to dispense all of the product from the bag. Repeated twisting or folding of the filling end of the bag may cause muscle fatigue or carpal tunnel syndrome in the user. Also, in order to dispense the desired amount of product, the user may need some skill in properly folding or twisting the filling end of the bag. Lastly, continued handling and twisting of the bag may promote heat transfer and shorten shelf life of the product. There is a need for a device that can solve these problems.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention meets the above-described need by providing a device that is applied to the filling end of a pastry bag. The device keeps the end of the bag tightly closed so there is no need to reconfigure the bag each time topping is applied. After each squeeze of the bag to dispense the topping, the user may slide the device down the empty portion of the bag thereby preventing the topping from flowing back into the empty portion of the pastry bag.

The device has a body and a central opening through which the pastry bag may be inserted. The body has at least one resiliently deflectable projection extending from a perimeter of the opening and arranged to engage the bag. The device may include a sidewall, and may further include a flange extending from the sidewall. The device may also have slits separating a plurality of projections which extend from the perimeter of the opening. In other embodiments, the flange may be tilted relative to the sidewall, or the sidewall may include support ribbing to increase peripheral rigidity of the device.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a user-friendly device for use with a substance dispensing bag such as a pastry bag that reduces waste, time, and money.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device that allows a pastry bag to be operated with one hand while dispensing the substance contained therein.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a device that reduces stress on the hands and wrists of a user of a pastry bag.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciable from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention and from the accompanying drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature and mode of operation of the present invention will now be more fully described in the following detailed description of the invention taken with the accompanying drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a device formed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 1A is a cross-sectional view of the device depicted in FIG. 1 taken along line A-A of FIG. 1;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a device formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a device formed in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a device formed in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the device depicted in FIG. 1 in combination with a pastry bag;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing a device formed in accordance with a fifth embodiment of the present invention in combination with a pastry bag, illustrating a method of extruding product from the bag by a user;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the device shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the device depicted in FIG. 7 taken substantially along line B-B of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 a top plan view of the device depicted in FIG. 7, shown with projections thereof in an extended position;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of the device depicted in FIG. 9 taken substantially along line C-C of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view of a device formed in accordance with a sixth embodiment of the present invention similar to the fifth embodiment, however further comprising support ribbing;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of a device formed in accordance with a seventh embodiment of the present invention similar to the sixth embodiment, however having an angled flange; and

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of a device formed in accordance with an eighth embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Like drawing numbers on different figures identify identical or functionally similar structural features of the invention. The present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred aspects, but it should be appreciated that the invention as claimed is not limited to the disclosed aspects. The invention is not limited to the particular methodology, materials and modifications described and as such may, of course, vary. The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular aspects only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention.

The invention may be used on pastry bags for applying frosting, icing, pre-whipped topping, fillings, glazes, finishers or other products, in the food service industry. The pastry bags may be presealed or may be sealed or unsealed by the user. For simplicity, the invention will be described, by example, wherein pre-whipped topping is supplied in a sealed pastry bag having a conical shape. However, it should be appreciated that any substances having a paste-like consistency or viscosity could be used with the invention.

FIGS. 1-4 depict various embodiments of a device 10 of the present invention. The device 10 has a body 11 which may be a flexible plastic disc and may have a circular shape as shown in the figures. The body 11 may be one piece as shown. However, other shapes such as rectangle, triangle, polygon or the like are within the scope of the invention. Other suitable materials may also be used such as polymers, composites or the like.

An aperture or opening 12 may be located in the center of the body 11. Arranged along a perimeter of the opening 12 may be at least one projection 14 directed towards the center of the body 11. Various arrangements of projections 14 may be used as depicted in FIGS. 1-4. The projections 14 may also be partially formed by one or more slits 13 as depicted in FIG. 4. The projections 14, being preferably constructed from plastic, may be flexible.

The device 10 may be applied to a filling end 32 of a pastry bag 30 as depicted in FIG. 5. A typical pastry bag 30 is usually conical or cylindrical in shape and has a filling end 32 which may have a large opening into which pre-whipped topping or other product is placed. The product is generally of a paste-like consistency or has a similar viscosity. Opposite the filling end 32 is the dispensing end 34 which typically has an opening smaller than that of the opening in the filling end 32 of the pastry bag 30. The dispensing end 34 typically contains a nozzle 36 or other device for dispensing the product as desired. Typically, the product is loaded into the pastry bag 30 at the filling end 32. The filling end 32 may then be folded, twisted, or otherwise sealed to keep the product in the pastry bag 30.

The device 10 may be used by inserting the filling end 32 of the pastry bag 30 through the opening 12. The projections 14 deflect toward filling end 32 and exert a spring force on the bag to close the filling end 32, thereby preventing backflow and escape of product from the filling end. The portion of the bag which is passed through the opening 12 becomes the used portion 38 of the bag 30, where little or no topping is remaining. In other words, as the device 10 is moved along the bag 30 the used portion 38 is evacuated of product.

Projections 14 may converge toward a point, such that the projections engage bag 30 to inhibit movement of device 10 toward filling end 32.

Topping or product is dispensed from the dispensing end 34 of the pastry bag 30 in the direction of the arrow indicated by reference number 35 by a user 33 squeezing the pastry bag as depicted in FIG. 6. The device 10 and, more specifically, projections 14 prevent the topping from moving in the direction of arrow 39 into the used portion 38. The device 10 thereby acts in similar fashion to a check valve or non return valve. Also, as the topping is dispensed, the user may slide the device 10 down the used portion 38 of the pastry bag 30 in a direction towards the nozzle 36 so as to apply even pressure to the topping being dispensed. The device 10 keeps pressure on the topping in the pastry bag 30 and does not allow the topping to flow back in the direction of the arrow indicated by reference number 39 into the used portion 38 of the pastry bag 30 when the bag is squeezed. In addition, moving the device 10 down the used portion 38 of the pastry bag 30 advantageously allows for complete, or almost complete evacuation of the product from the pastry bag 30. There may be a seal located at the filling end 32 of the bag 30, but the seal may break during normal use and the device 10 prevents product from leaking out of the filling end 32.

As previously mentioned, it is customary for a user to repeatedly twist or fold the filling end 32 of the pastry bag 30 in order to evenly dispense the product. However, this is not necessary when employing device 10. The invention allows for complete or almost complete evacuation of the bag, thereby saving money. The invention may also reduce muscle fatigue and incidences of carpal tunnel syndrome as the user no longer needs to repeatedly twist the filling end of the bag in order to dispense the product.

It is also customary for two-handed operation of the bag, whereby one hand is used to hold the twisted or folded filling end 32 and the other hand is used to dispense the product. The invention allows for one-handed dispensing of product. The invention also allows a user who is less skilled in using a pastry bag to dispense the desired amount of product.

Furthermore, the invention may provide the product in the bag to have a longer shelf life by reducing heat transfer and surface area of the product that is exposed to the environment. Heat transfer is reduced because the user does not have to repeatedly handle (twist) the filling end of the bag thereby reducing the surface area of the product that is exposed to the environment when keeping pressure applied to the product to be dispensed. The invention thereby saves time, money, energy and needless stress to the hands of a user.

FIGS. 7-13 depict additional embodiments of a device 20 of the present invention having a body 21. The body 21 may be a flexible plastic disc and may be circular as shown in the figures. However, other shapes such as rectangle, triangle, polygon or the like are within the scope of the invention. Other suitable materials may also be used such as polymers, composites or the like.

An opening 22 may be provided through body 21. Arranged along a perimeter of the opening 22 may be at least one projection 24 directed towards the center of the body 21. As previously discussed in relation to the device 10, various arrangements of projections 24 may be used in the device 20. Projections may also be partially formed by one or more slits 23. The device 20 may further include a sidewall 25 and a flange 26 extending from the sidewall 25. The sidewall 25 and the flange 26 provide for better support of the device 20 when arranged on a bag 30. In the embodiments of FIGS. 7-13, a plurality of projections 24 may completely close opening 22 when the projections are in their undeflected relaxed position.

FIGS. 7-8 depict the device 20 in a relaxed, closed position wherein the projections 24 touch edge to edge. FIGS. 9-10 depict the device 20 in an open position where projections 24 are flexed in a common direction away from the body 21. Projections 24, being preferably constructed from plastic, may be flexible and resiliently engage a bag and function in the same fashion as the device 10 shown in FIGS. 5-6.

The device 20 may further include a support ribbing 40 on the sidewall 25 as depicted in FIG. 11. The support ribbing 40 may further improve peripheral rigidity of the device 20. To further improve peripheral rigidity and provide for a more comfortable interaction with a user, the flange 42 may be angled as depicted in FIG. 12 in contrast to the straight flange 26 depicted in FIG. 8.

Turning to FIG. 13, another embodiment of the invention includes a device 100 that may be constructed of a relatively thin plastic material. The device 100 may be round or circular as shown in the figure or may be constructed in other shapes such as a rectangle, triangle, polygon or the like. The shape, thickness, and materials of construction for disc device 100 may be similar to those for device 10 described above. The device 100 may have a body 111, an opening 112, one or more projections 114 extending into the opening 112, and may or may not have one or more slits 113. A flexible flange 116 of material may be disposed around the body 111. The flange 116 may be made of a material that is thinner and more flexible than the body 111. The material may take other shapes such as the shape of the hand of the user and may be constructed of a material having insulating properties to advantageously inhibit heat transfer between the hand of the user and the product, which may have a deleterious impact on the product. The flange 116 can be arranged so as to provide a contoured engagement with a pastry bag.

Thus, it is seen that the objects of the present invention are efficiently obtained, although modifications and changes to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, which modifications are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed. It also is understood that the foregoing description is illustrative of the present invention and should not be considered as limiting. Therefore, other embodiments of the present invention are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.