Title:
Devices for Physically Freezing Credit Cards
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for freezing a credit card includes a container having a cavity sized to receive the credit card. The device includes a stick including a member for coupling the credit card to the stick. The stick including the credit card is sized to be introduced into the cavity. Liquid is introduced into the cavity and the device is placed in a cold environment to allow the liquid to freeze about the stick and the credit card.



Inventors:
Starfeldt, Ross James (Bloomington, MN, US)
Turner, John Francis (Lino Lakes, MN, US)
Application Number:
11/534949
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
09/25/2006
Assignee:
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (Appleton, WI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/205
International Classes:
B65D85/48; B65D81/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050150803Stackable box and machine for packing such boxesJuly, 2005Marroncles
20090065376MEDICAL IMPLANT PACKAGEMarch, 2009Donahoe et al.
20050029156Customized medication organizerFebruary, 2005Girzaitis
20010040109Electronic device caseNovember, 2001Yaski et al.
20080311258Package For Lump Of Meat Having Void Within The Inside Thereof And Method For Production ThereofDecember, 2008Tanaka et al.
20030042163Cardboard box for containing and dispensing large quantities of wireMarch, 2003Cipriant
20020108876Film archival storage and preservation systemAugust, 2002Viggiani
20050211589Containment system for a dendritic objectSeptember, 2005Holzhaus II
20020125163Articles container for sculpturesSeptember, 2002Chou
20020157970Beverage flavor dispensing capOctober, 2002Carlson
2002008873609496964Positioning structure enabling blister-on-card packages to stand vertically in a packing boxJuly, 2002Liu



Primary Examiner:
PERREAULT, ANDREW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FITCH EVEN TABIN & FLANNERY, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for freezing a credit card, the device comprising: a container defining a cavity sized to receive the credit card; and a stick including a member for coupling the credit card to the stick; wherein the stick including the credit card is sized to be introduced into the cavity; and wherein liquid is introduced into the cavity and the device is placed in a cold environment to allow the liquid to freeze about the stick and the credit card.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the cavity of the container is shaped in the form of a frozen treat.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the member on the stick is a clip.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the clip includes a projection configured to engage the credit card.

5. The device of claim 1, further comprising a cover sized to be coupled to the container to close the cavity, the cover defining an aperture through which the stick extends.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the liquid is water.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein the container includes a plurality of walls that define the cavity, the walls being made of a rigid material.

8. A device for freezing a credit card, the device comprising: a container including a plurality of walls defining a cavity shaped in the form of a frozen treat, the cavity being sized to receive the credit card, and the walls being made of a rigid material; a stick including a first end and a second end, the stick including a clip for coupling the credit card to the stick; and a cover sized to be coupled to the container to close the cavity, the cover defining an aperture through which the stick extends; wherein the stick including the credit card is sized to be introduced into the cavity such that the first end contacts a bottom surface of the cavity and the second end extends out of the cover and beyond the container; and wherein water is introduced into the cavity and the device is placed in a cold environment to allow the water to freeze about the stick and the credit card.

9. The device of claim 8, wherein the clip includes a projection configured to engage the credit card.

10. A method for freezing a credit card, the method comprising: coupling the credit card to a stick; placing the stick in a container defining a cavity; filing the cavity with a liquid; placing the container in a cold environment; and allowing the liquid to freeze about the stick and the credit card.

11. The method of claim 10, further comprising: removing the container from the cold environment; allowing the liquid to thaw; and removing the credit card from the liquid.

12. The method of claim 10, further comprising pulling the stick to remove the stick, the frozen liquid, and the credit card from the container.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising: allowing the liquid to thaw; and removing the credit card from the liquid.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Debt can be a significant problem for many individuals. For example, an individual can use one or more credit cards to make purchases that place the individual in debt without the individual realizing the extent of the debt. The ease with which credit cards can be used may result in the individual making impulse purchases for which the individual later cannot afford to pay. These activities associated with credit card use can lead to significant financial strain on the individual and can, in severe cases, lead to bankruptcy if the debt cannot be repaid.

There are, however, significant advantages associated with the use of credit cards. For example, for many individuals, credit cards provide a convenient method for the payment for goods and services. Further, credit cards provide a method of payment for such transactions as online purchases, where the use of other payment methods such as cash or check is not convenient.

SUMMARY

Disclosed herein are devices that can be used to freeze one or more credit cards in liquid.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale.

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an example device for freezing credit cards.

FIG. 2 shows another perspective view of the device of FIG. 1 with the cover shown in exploded form and the container illustrated as semi-transparent to show the interior cavity.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the container and the stick of the device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the cover and the stick of the device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the container of the device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the stick of the device of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 shows another perspective view of the stick of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 shows an example method for using a device for freezing credit cards.

FIG. 9 shows an example method for removing a credit card from a device for freezing credit cards.

FIG. 10 shows a front view of another example stick of an example device for freezing credit cards.

FIG. 11 shows a side view of the stick of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 shows another front view of the stick of FIG. 10 including an example cover.

FIG. 13 shows another front view of the stick of FIG. 10 including an example credit card.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Example embodiments will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

As used herein, the phrase “credit card” (sometimes referred to as a “charge card”) means a device issued by a bank or business authorizing the holder to buy goods or services on credit. The phrase credit card encompasses cards sometimes referred to as “debit cards,” as well as any other similar financial devices. Typically, but not always, a credit card is a card that includes a magnetic strip.

Referring now to FIG. 1, an example device 100 is shown. Device 100 includes a container 110, a cover 130, and a stick 150. Device 100 can be used to freeze a credit card in a liquid, as described further below.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3, and 5, container 110 includes a plurality of sides, a top surface 112, and a bottom surface 117. Device 110 includes an opening 113 formed in top surface 112 that is in communication with a cavity 114 formed within container 110. Cavity 114 includes a bottom 115 and is formed as a fluid tight enclosure so that liquid can be retained therein. In one example, cavity 114 is shaped to generally form a mold so that liquid that is frozen within cavity 114 takes the form of a frozen treat on a stick. For example, bottom surface 117 is generally curved to form the contour of the frozen treat. Other shapes for cavity 114 can be used. For example, in one alternative embodiment, bottom surface 117 of cavity 114 can be shaped to form a flat surface.

In example embodiments, cavity 114 is sized to receive one or more credit cards. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, container 110 has a width 116 of approximately 6.9 cm, a depth 118 of approximately 4 cm, and a height 120 of approximately 11.6 cm. Cavity 114 formed within container has a width 122 of approximately 5.4 cm, and a height 123 of approximately 10.3 cm. Other shapes and sizes for container 110 can be used. For example, in alternative embodiments, container 110 can include more or fewer sides and can form cavities of different sizes and shapes. For example, in one alternative embodiment, cavity 114 can be made larger so that cavity 114 holds more liquid that takes longer to thaw when frozen, as described further below. In another alternative embodiment, cavity 114 can be made larger to accommodate more than one credit card.

In example embodiments, container 110 is made of a rigid or semi-rigid material so that cavity 114 maintains a specified shape, such as a frozen treat, and can hold a liquid. For example, in the embodiment shown, container 110 is made of a rigid plastic. In one embodiment, a metal such as aluminum is used to form container 110. Other materials, such as plastic (e.g., PVC) or glass, can also be used.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 4, cover 130 includes an aperture 132 extending through cover 130 to receive stick 150. In example embodiments, cover 130 includes a lower surface 136 sized to engage surface 112 of container 110 when cover 130 is coupled to container 110. In example embodiments, cover 130 spans opening 113 in surface 112 of container 110 to form a portion of the frozen treat form defined by cavity 114 when the liquid is frozen therein.

In some embodiments, cover 130 does not necessarily form a fluid tight seal with container 110 and/or stick 150. For example, in the illustrated embodiments, container 110 can be maintained in an upright position so that liquid within cavity 114 does not spill out of cavity 114. In alternative embodiments, cover 130 and aperture 132 can be sized to engage surface 112 of container 110 and stick 150. For example, in one alternative embodiment, lower surface 136 and/or aperture 132 can include one or more seals or gaskets to form fluid tight seals. In this manner, liquid contained with cavity 114 will not spill or leak out of cavity 114 when cover 130 is coupled to container 110 and container 110 is moved from an upright position.

In example embodiments, cover 130 is made of the same material as container 110. In other embodiments, cover 130 can be made of other materials as well.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-4, 6, and 7, stick 150 includes first and second ends 152, 154. When stick 150 is placed within cavity 114 of container 110, second end 154 of stick 150 contacts bottom 115 of cavity 114. In this position, first end 152 of stick 150 extends out of container 110 and beyond top surface 112.

For example, in the illustrated embodiment, stick 150 includes a height 156 of 13.9 cm so that first end 152 extends to a height 157 of 3.6 cm from top surface 112 of container 110 when positioned therein. Other shapes and sizes for stick 150 can be used. For example, in one alternative embodiment, stick 150 is sized to be completed retained within cavity 114 of container 110. In yet other embodiments, stick 150 can be formed as an integral part of cover 130.

In example embodiments, aperture 132 of cover 130 is positioned so that, when stick 150 extends through aperture 132, stick 150 is generally centered within cavity 114. In this manner, stick 150 (and the credit card attached thereto as described below) is centered within cavity 114 so that when liquid is introduced into cavity 114 and frozen, stick 150 is centered within the frozen liquid.

Stick 150 includes clip 170 coupled thereto. Clip 170 is configured to couple one or more credit cards to stick 150 (see, for example, FIG. 11). Clip 170 includes a first end 172 that is coupled to stick 150. In alternative embodiments, clip 170 can be molded as part of stick 150. Clip 170 includes a second free end 174 with a projection 176 formed thereon. See FIG. 7. A space between projection 176 and stick 150 is sized to be less than the thickness of a credit card. When the credit card is placed between clip 170 and stick 150, projection 176 engages the credit card and second end 174 of clip 170 bows slightly away from stick 150 so that the credit card is coupled to stick 150 by clip 170.

In example embodiments, stick 150 and clip 170 are made of a plastic material. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, stick 150 and clip 170 are made of the same material as that of container 110 and cover 130. Other materials, such as metal and/or wood materials, can be used.

Referring now to FIG. 8, an example method 200 for using device 100 is as follows. Initially, at operation 210, a credit card is attached to the stick. For example, the credit card is positioned between the clip and the stick so that the credit card is coupled to the stick. Next, at operation 212, the stick is placed into the cavity of the container. Next, at operation 214, the cavity of the container is filled with a liquid. Next, at operation 216, the cover is placed on the container. Next, at operation 218, the device is placed in a cold environment, such as the freezer, so that the liquid becomes frozen about the credit card.

Once frozen, the credit card is positioned in the middle of the frozen liquid so that the frozen liquid minimizes access to the credit card. For example, the individual cannot easily access the credit card within the frozen liquid. In this manner, hasty or impulse purchases cannot easily be made using the credit card when the credit card is frozen in the liquid.

Method 200 can be altered as desired. For example, the cavity can be filled with liquid before the stick and the credit card are placed within the cavity of the container. In another embodiment, the cover can be coupled to the stick before the stick is placed within the cavity of the container.

Referring now to FIG. 9, an example method 250 for removing the credit card from device 110 is shown. At operation 252, the cover is removed from the container. Next, at operation 254, the stick is pulled out of the cavity of the container. For example, the portion of the stick extending out of the container can be grasped and pulled to pull the stick out of the container. Because the liquid is frozen about the stick, the frozen liquid and the credit card that is frozen therein are also pulled out of the cavity when the stick is removed. Next, at operation 256, the frozen liquid is allowed to thaw. The credit card is removed from the stick at operation 257. Finally, at operation 258, once the liquid is thawed, the credit card can be removed from the stick and used.

In alternative embodiments, the cover need not be removed before the stick is pulled out of the container. In yet other embodiments, the stick need not be pulled out of the container. Instead, the device can simply be moved to a warmer environment so that the frozen liquid thaws so that the credit card can be accessed.

The time that it takes from the frozen liquid to thaw can be advantageous in that it allows the individual to consider any purchases as the frozen liquid thaws. In this manner, impulse purchasing decisions are minimized, while still allowing the individual to maintain a credit card to take advantage of its benefits.

In example embodiments, the liquid that is poured into the cavity and frozen is water. In alternative embodiments, other liquids can be used. For example, liquids such as fruit juices and sodas can be used. In the embodiments shown, liquids that will freeze and will not damage the credit cards are selected. In addition, semi-transparent liquids such as water can be used so that the credit card is visible once the credit card is frozen in the liquid.

Referring now to FIGS. 10-13, an alternative embodiment of a clip 370 is shown. Clip 370 is similar to clip 170 described above, except that a first end 372 that is coupled to stick 150 is positioned adjacent to second end 154 of clip 150 (rather than first end 152). A second end 374 of clip 370 is spaced apart from stick 150 so that a credit card 410 can be positioned between stick 150 and clip 370. The space between stick 150 and clip 370 is sized so that an interference fit is created when credit card 410 is placed therein.

In yet other embodiments, other methods can be used to couple the credit card to the stick. For example, in another embodiment, an adhesive is used to couple the credit card to the stick. In another embodiment, a band such as a rubber band is used to couple the credit card to the stick. Other configurations are possible.

In yet another alternative embodiment, the stick need not be used to hold the credit card. Instead, one or more structures can be provided within the cavity of the container to hold the credit card in place generally within the center of the cavity.

In alternative embodiments, a sheath can be placed around the credit card before the credit card is attached to the stick to protect the credit card from the liquid. In one example, the sheath is made of a plastic that is at least semi-transparent. In this manner, once the credit card is frozen within the liquid and the frozen liquid is removed from the container, the credit card can be seen through the frozen liquid and the sheath (assuming that the liquid that is used is at least semi-transparent, such as water). In another alternative embodiment, the sheath can be partially or fully opaque so that the credit card cannot be seen through the sheath.

The various embodiments described above are provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed to limiting. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize various modifications and changes that may be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the true spirit and scope of the disclosure or the following claims.





 
Previous Patent: MEDICAL PACKAGING

Next Patent: Packaging method and apparatus