Title:
Bucket assembly for the storage of granular material
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bucket assembly for use in storing salt includes an outer canister, an inner pail, and a scoop. The outer canister defines an opening and an interior. The inner pail is removably disposed within the interior of the outer canister. The scoop is carried by one of the outer canister and inner pail. The scoop includes a handle and a main body defining a storage compartment.



Inventors:
Luthy, Carolyn (Mount Pleasant, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/978918
Publication Date:
05/01/2008
Filing Date:
10/30/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
239/652
International Classes:
B65D45/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
EDWARDS, BRETT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACMILLAN SOBANSKI & TODD, LLC (TOLEDO, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bucket assembly for use in storing salt, the assembly comprising: an outer canister defining an opening and an interior; an inner pail removably disposed within the interior of the outer canister; and a scoop carried by one of the outer canister and inner pail, the scoop has a main body defining a storage compartment.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the inner pail defines first and second compartments separate from one another.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein said second compartment is configured and dimensioned for supporting the scoop disposed therein.

4. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the inner pail includes a handle for lifting the inner pail from the interior of the outer canister.

5. The assembly of claim 4, wherein the handle is pivotally attached to the inner pail.

6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein the handle is formed in an arcuate shape defining ends which are pivotally attached to an upper rim of the inner pail.

7. The assembly of claim 1 further including a cover removably attached to the outer canister for covering the opening, thereby concealing the inner pail within the interior of the outer canister.

8. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the inner pail includes a sloped floor panel which is inclined relative to the horizontal.

9. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the scoop includes: a main body defining an interior compartment for the storage of granular material, the main body further defining an opening to the interior compartment; a handle attached to the main body; and a cover moveably attached to the body, the cover movable between a closed position generally covering the opening, and an open position to expose the interior compartment, wherein the cover includes a plurality of apertures formed therein for the dispensing of granular material therethrough when the cover is in its closed position.

10. The bucket assembly of claim 1, wherein the inner pail defines first and second compartments separate from one another such that the second compartment is configured and dimensioned for supporting the scoop disposed therein, and wherein the assembly further includes a cover removably attached to the outer canister for covering the opening of the outer canister, and wherein the inner pail includes a sloped floor panel which is inclined relative to the horizontal.

11. A scoop assembly for storing and dispensing granular material comprising: a main body defining an interior compartment for the storage of granular material, the main body further defining an opening to the interior compartment; a handle attached to the main body; and a cover moveably attached to the body, the cover movable between a closed position generally covering the opening, and an open position to expose the interior compartment, wherein the cover includes a plurality of apertures formed therein for the dispensing of granular material therethrough when the cover is in its closed position.

12. The assembly of claim 11, wherein the cover is pivotally attached to the main body.

13. The assembly of claim 11, wherein the cover is biased to its closed position.

14. The assembly of claim 11, wherein the scoop further includes a catch for selectively securing the cover to its closed position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/855,518, filed Oct. 31, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates in general to receptacles, and in particular to receptacles for the storage of granular material such as rock salt. Commonly, homes or businesses located in cold inclement climates dispense rock salt onto sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots for removing ice and snow from the ground surfaces. It is typical that a bag of salt is placed either on the porch or just inside or outside of an access door or front door for convenience. However, this bag of salt can be unsightly and is exposed to the elements as well as to children and animals. It is also common practice for a person to simply dig their hands in the salt and sprinkles it on the ground. This form of distribution is often uneven and the person's hands necessarily get unclean.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a bucket assembly for use in storing salt. The bucket assembly includes an outer canister, an inner pail, and a scoop. The outer canister defines an opening and an interior. The inner pail is removably disposed within the interior of the outer canister. The scoop is carried by one of the outer canister and inner pail. The scoop includes a handle and a main body defining a storage compartment. The scoop may also include a handle attached to the main body and a cover moveably attached to the body and movable between a closed position generally covering the opening, and an open position to expose the interior compartment. The scoop may include a plurality of apertures formed therein for the dispensing of granular material therethrough when the cover is in its closed position.

Various aspects of this invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment, when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a bucket assembly in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a scoop for use with the bucket assembly.

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the scoop of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the scoop of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a rear elevational view of the scoop of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the bucket assembly taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the bucket assembly taken along lines 7-7 of FIG. 6.

FIGS. 8-11 are schematic top plan views illustrating alternate perimeter shapes for the bucket assembly.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIGS. 1, 6 and 7 a receptacle or bucket assembly 10, which is ideally suited for the storing of granular items, such as rock salt that is used to melt ice on steps, landings and walkways. Although the bucket assembly 10 may be used to store any type of material, the use of the bucket assembly 10 will be shown and described as being used for the storage of salt. However, it should be understood that the bucket assembly 10 is not limited to such use. As will be described below, the bucket assembly 10 may also include a dispensing tool or scoop 30 for manually dispensing and spreading the salt on the desired ground or surfaces.

The assembly 10 generally includes an outer canister 12 and an inner pail 14 for containing a supply of salt 15 (shown in FIG. 7) stored in the interior thereof. The outer canister 12 may further include a cover 16. The outer canister 12 with its cover 16 generally provides protection for the contents of the inner pail 14 and also to decoratively house the inner pail 14.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1, 6 and 7, the outer canister 12 includes a cylindrically shaped wall 34 and a generally horizontal bottom 36 defining an interior 37 therein. If desired, the outer canister 12 may include decorative features, such as the sculpted chamfered structure 38 formed at the lower portion of the cylindrically shaped wall 34. The outer canister 12 may include any other decorative ornaments attached thereto or formed therein. Although the illustrated embodiment of the outer canister 12 of FIGS. 1, 6 and 7 has a cylindrical shape, it should be understood that the outer canister 12 may have any suitable shape. For example, FIGS. 8-11 are schematic top plan views illustrating alternate perimeter shapes for the bucket assembly. More specifically, the outer canister 12 may have an elliptical perimeter shape 12′ as shown in FIG. 8 (see also broken lines 13 in FIG. 6), a square perimeter shape 12″ as shown in FIG. 9, a hexagonal (or other polygonal) perimeter shape 12″′ as shown in FIG. 10, or an elongated rectangular perimeter shape 12″″ as shown in FIG. 11. The outer canister 12 may be made of any suitable material, such as sheet metal or plastic.

The bucket assembly 10 may further include the optional cover 16 for protecting the contents of the inner pail 14 from the environment and also for aesthetically pleasing appearances. The cover 16 may be any suitable shape and may be made of any suitable material. In the embodiment shown, the cover 16 includes a flat planar top portion 40 and a cylindrically shaped wall 42 having a slightly larger diameter than the upper portion of the outer canister 12. The cover 16 also includes an optional handle 44. Although the handle 44 is shown as a knob, the handle can be any configuration. If desired, the cover 16 may also be pivotally attached to the outer canister 12 such that it is movable between a closed position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 7, and an open position to expose the interior 37 of the outer canister 12.

The embodiment of the inner pail 14 is shown having a cylindrical shape, but of course can have any suitable shape which fits within the interior of the canister 12. The inner pail 14 includes a cylindrical wall 50 and a bottom floor panel 52 to define a main storage compartment 54, such as for the storage of the salt 15. The floor panel 52 may be sloped relative to the horizontal or at an angle relative to an axis defined by the cylindrical wall. The sloped bottom floor panel 52 helps to locate the salt 15 in a corner portion 56 of the inner pail 14 for ease of scooping out a relatively small amount of remaining salt therein. The inner pail 14 also may include a handle 60 for ease in lifting the inner pail 14 from out of the outer canister 12. In the embodiment shown, the handle 60 is in the form of a wire and has an arcuate shape generally corresponding to the shape of an upper rim 63 of the inner pail 14. Ends 62 of the handle 60 are pivotally attached to the upper rim 63 of the inner pail 12 at a pivot P. The handle 60 is movable between a storage position generally positioned above the rim 63, as shown in FIG. 7, and a lifted position extending outwardly from the rim 63 for carrying and lifting the inner pail 14. The inner pail 14 may further include an auxiliary compartment 66 for the storage of a dispensing tool, such as the scoop 30. The auxiliary compartment 66 may be formed from a separate wall 68 bent and riveted 69 or otherwise attached to the inner surface of the wall 68 of the inner pail 14. Although not necessary, the auxiliary compartment 66 is separate from the main storage compartment 54 and may or may not have a closed bottom portion in communication with the storage compartment 54. As shown in FIG. 7, the auxiliary compartment 66 may extend below the sloped floor panel 52. If desired, the bottom portion of the auxiliary compartment 66 may have an opening exposed to the main storage compartment 54 such that any salt at the lower portions may pass therebetween. The auxiliary compartment 66 may also be formed such that it corresponds to the shape of portions of the scoop 30 to maximize the volume of the main compartment 54. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, the wall 68 of the auxiliary compartment 66 may include an inclined panel 69′ to narrow the width of the lower portion of the auxiliary compartment 66 which generally corresponds to the wedge shape of the end of the scoop 30.

The assembly 10 further includes the optional scoop 30 illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 5. The scoop 30 includes a main body 80 defining an opening 81 and an interior compartment 82 for the storage of the rock salt. An elongated handle 83 extends from the body 80. The handle 83 can be attached to the body 80 by any suitable manner such as by brackets 85 attached to the body 80 by rivets 91. The main body 80 has a wedge shape but, of course, can have any suitable shape. A cover 84 is pivotally mounted on the main body 80 at a hinge 86. The cover 84 is movable between a closed position generally covering the opening 81, and an open position (as shown by broken lines 87 in FIG. 2) to expose the interior compartment 82. The cover 84 may include a thumb lever 90 for easily moving the cover 84 between the closed and open positions. A tension or coil spring 92 may be included to bias the cover 84 to its closed position. The cover 84 may optionally include a plurality of apertures 94 formed therethrough, the reason for which will be explained below. The cover 84 may also include a catch 98 to assist in maintaining the cover 84 in its closed position. The catch 98 can simply be a hooked portion formed at the end of the cover 84 for resiliently engaging with an edge 99 of the body 80 or can be a latch mechanism.

In operation, the bucket assembly 10 may be stored inside or outside of the home or place of business. The outer canister 12 helps protect the floor from stains caused by the salt. Salt 15 can then be added to main storage compartment 54 of the inner pail 14. When it is desirable to access and dispense the salt 15, the cover 16 is lifted and the inner pail 14 can then be manually removed from the interior of the outer canister 12 via the handle 60. The inner pail 14 can then be taken to an area for the application of salt or, alternatively, left in the outer canister 12. The scoop 30 is removed from the auxiliary compartment 66. If the compartment 82 of the scoop 30 does not contain enough salt, the cover 84 is moved to its open position and salt is manually scooped into the compartment 84 of the scoop 30. This can be accomplished by simply moving the scoop 30 through the volume of salt 15 in the inner pail 14 when the cover is opened. After the cover 84 is closed, the salt can be dispended through the apertures 94 by shaking the scoop 30 as necessary to propel the salt granules through the apertures 94. The cover 84 can be configured to alter the size, number and location of the apertures 94 as desired. Alternatively, the cover 84 may be moved to its open position to release more salt. The scoop 30 can then be reloaded with salt as necessary. After use, the scoop 30 may be returned to the auxiliary compartment 66 and the inner pail 14 returned to the outer canister 12 without having to worry about loose salt discoloring the floors.

Although the scoop 30 is shown and described as being carried or stored in the auxiliary compartment 66 of the inner pail 14, it should be understood that the scoop 30 may be carried by the outer canister 12, such as for example, if the inner pail 14 and the outer canister 12 are configured to form a gap therebetween for holding the scoop 30. Alternatively, the cover 16 may be configured with a compartment or hook such that the outer canister 12 and/or cover 16 carry the scoop 30.

In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the principle and mode of operation of this invention have been explained and illustrated in its preferred embodiment. However, it must be understood that this invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically explained and illustrated without departing from its spirit or scope.