Title:
Water shedding designs for receptacle bottoms
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A design for water shedding receptacle bottoms is presented in this invention. For ease in understanding, the specific case of a water shedding mug is presented and described in detail. The mug is designed such that water will run off the bottom of the mug when it is inverted in a dishwasher. The design is comprised of a convex bottom, a series of raised curvilinear forms radiating outward from the center of the bottom of the mug, and an associated high point on each curvilinear form at or near the periphery of the inverted mug. The convex bottom and raised curvilinear forms to form flow channels through which water will flow via normal gravitational forces when the mug is inverted in a dishwasher.



Inventors:
Schur, Warren M. (Boston, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/008794
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
01/14/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard Bigelow (Mountaintop, PA, US)
Claims:
The following is claimed:

1. A drinking mug comprising an convex external bottom, at least four curvilinear forms radiating outward from the center of the external bottom outward toward the periphery, at least four flow channels formed by the curvilinear forms and said convex external bottom, and a high point at or near the periphery of each such curvilinear form that is slightly higher than the highest point of the inverted convex external bottom, that are so configured such that water runs off the bottom of the external periphery of the mug when the mug is inverted.

2. A drinking mug as in claim 1 where the external bottom of the mug is coated with a water repellent material to enhance the flow of water through the flow channels.

3. A drinking glass comprising an convex external bottom, at least four curvilinear forms radiating outward from the center of the external bottom outward toward the periphery, at least four flow channels formed by the curvilinear forms and said convex external bottom, and a high point at or near the periphery of each such curvilinear form that is slightly higher than the highest point of the inverted convex external bottom, that are so configured such that water runs off the bottom of the external periphery of the drinking glass when the glass is inverted.

4. A drinking glass as in claim 3 where the external bottom of the glass is coated with a water repellent material to enhance the flow of water through the flow channels.

5. A kitchen bowl comprising an convex external bottom, at least four curvilinear forms radiating outward from the center of the external bottom outward toward the periphery, at least four flow channels formed by the curvilinear forms and said convex external bottom, and a high point at or near the periphery of each such curvilinear form that is slightly higher than the highest point of the inverted convex external bottom, that are so configured such that water runs off the bottom of the external periphery of the kitchen bowl when the kitchen bowl is inverted.

6. A kitchen bowl as in claim 5 where the external bottom of the mug is coated with a water repellent material to enhance the flow of water through the flow channels.

Description:

Cross Reference To Related Applications

This Continuation Application claims priority to U.S. Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 11/290,345 filed on Nov. 30, 2005 which in turn claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/633,014 dated Dec. 3, 2004.

Federal Research Statement

None

Background of the Invention

This invention relates to the design of the bottoms of mugs, cups, bowls and other kitchen receptacles that facilitates the runoff of water from the dishwashing process. More specifically, the invention relates to the design of the bottoms of said mugs, cups, bowls and other kitchen receptacles such that water will automatically run off the bottom surface of said vessels when the vessel is inverted during or after the dishwashing process.

One of the more persistent problems associated with the dishwashing process, whether hand dishwashing or automatic dishwashing, is the presence of standing water in the concave surfaces of most mugs, cups, bowls and other kitchen receptacles, when any of the aforementioned items are inverted and placed on a rack in an automatic dishwasher or are inverted for drying after hand washing. When such items are removed from the dishwashing area and placed in cupboards or other areas of the kitchen before the water has had an opportunity to evaporate, the water may remain in the concave bottom of the items or it may spill out and cause dampness on other items or on surface areas. This can be a significant problem in that such surfaces with standing water can be fertile breeding grounds for germs, insects, mold and diseases attendant with these organisms. The health impacts of having such organisms near or even on surfaces that eventually find their way into the mouths of family members, hospital patients, dining hall patrons, or restaurant customers is obvious. Also, it is an annoyance and makes for extra work in the kitchen, as the handler of such items will generally take the trouble to empty the concave surface into the sink and then wipe it dry with a dishcloth or paper towel (which results in the consumption of additional paper towels).

The water shedding designs inherent in this invention provide mechanisms whereby virtually all water will automatically run off from the bottom surfaces of mugs, cups, bowls and other kitchen receptacles without any further action on the part of any person in the kitchen. The fact that water runs off automatically eliminates the extra work of disposing of the water and drying the surfaces with a dishcloth or paper towel, and provides a significant reduction in standing water in kitchens, thereby reducing the potential for the proliferation of mold and other infectious microbes in kitchens, cupboards, and other storage areas.

The invention has further application to receptacles of all sizes that are susceptible to the standing water problem. For example, large industrial drums which are stored outside in either an upright or inverted position tend to accumulate rain water on the upper surface. This accumulated rain water leads to a more rapid onset of rust and deterioration of the drum. In addition, standing water on the drums presents a health hazard as it presents a significant mosquito breeding problem.

While the present invention is applicable to a wide variety of receptacles ranging from kitchen receptacles (such as mugs, glasses, and bowls) to large industrial drums, for ease in understanding, the invention is described in detail using a basic kitchen mug as an example. The attributes of the invention described in the kitchen mug example are applicable to all other types of receptacles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is a design of the bottoms of mugs, cups, bowls and other kitchen receptacles that facilitates the runoff of water from the dishwashing process. A possible second component might be water-shedding caps that can be placed on the inverted bottoms of mugs, cups, bowls and other kitchen receptacles that would ordinarily accumulate standing water in their concave bottoms.

Standing water inherent in the dishwashing process is at best an annoyance and a cause of extra work in the kitchen, and at worst a potential source of microbes that can accumulate in such standing water in the bottoms of such items. The standing water accumulates because many such items have concave bottoms, which collect water when the items are placed bottom-up in a dishwasher or dish drying rack.

Using the design of a coffee mug as an example, most mugs are designed such that the bottom of the mug is concave - that is, they curve inward from the bottom. This is not a problem when the mug is upright. However, when the mug is inverted, water will accumulate in the concave surface of the bottom of the mug. Most mugs are inverted and positioned on a rack when they are placed into a dishwasher. This combination of concave bottom design and inverted positioning in a dishwasher results in the accumulation of standing water from the dishwashing process.

The same type of standing water problem exists for bowls, pitchers, glasses, cups etc. Note that the problem does not exist for some other kitchen items including plates because these items are rarely placed into a dishwasher in such a position that they can accumulate standing water.

Many dishwashers have a drying cycle in order to ensure that all surfaces are dry upon completion of the entire dishwashing process. However, many people, in an effort to save energy, do not use this drying cycle. In addition, some mugs accumulate so much standing water that it can not all be dissipated by the drying cycle. The problem occurs when mugs are removed while still containing standing water. If a mug is turned right side up, water spills out onto whatever surface or other items are below, and a film of water remains on the bottom of the mug. If the mug is stored bottom-up, some or all of the water that accumulated in the concave surface will remain there, presenting a perfect opportunity for microbes and mold to form.

The design of the integral mug is such that the bottom of the mug is basically convex, so that water will readily run off the bottom when the mug is inverted. The basic convex surface is modified by molding onto it a number of raised? curvilinear forms radiating from the center and building up to rounded high points on or near the rim, each of which is slightly higher (when the mug is inverted) than the center of the bottom of the mug. The raised curvilinear forms are gently sloping and are further configured such that they effectively create “flow channels” through which water can flow to the periphery of the inverted mug and ultimately harmlessly over the side of the inverted mug. The forms are so configured such that no water will accumulate on the bottom of the mug if it is level or tilted to about 30 degrees on the dishwasher rack.

The high points on the periphery of the bottom of the inverted mug that are integral to the gently sloping curvilinear forms provide stability to the upright mug. When the mug is in the upright position, it rests on these high points. Each curvilinear form has a peripheral high point. The number of curvilinear forms and attendant high points will vary with the size of the mug, glass, bowl or other kitchen receptacle. The minimum amount of forms/high points is four for a small mug, glass, or bowl. As the mugs, glasses, or bowls become larger, the number of curvilinear forms and associated high points will concomitantly increase.

The number of these curvilinear forms will depend on the size of the mug or other vessel, with the simultaneous goal of effective water-shedding when the vessel is inverted and stability when the vessel is standing on its bottom. A normal coffee mug or drinking glass will have five or six forms. An oversize coffee or beer mug might have seven or eight forms, and large kitchen bowls might have eight or more.”

The concept of the invention could be extended to a convex shaped cap that is placed snuggly over the bottom of a mug, cup, bowl or other kitchen receptacle. The cap can be constructed of any material that is impervious to water and able to withstand the water temperature and drying temperatures in a dishwasher, including, but not limited to plastic, rubber, and neoprene.

The concept of the invention can further be extended to other types of receptacles such as industrial drums, garbage cans, and other containers which may be stored outside in either an upright or inverted position. Rain water often accumulates on the exposed upper surfaces of these receptacles thereby leading to a more rapid onset of rust while at the same time presenting a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other organisms. The invention can manifest itself in the manufacture of integral water shedding upper and/or lower surfaces of these drums, cans, and other containers or it can manifest itself as a convex shaped cap (as discussed above) for these receptacles.

A further enhancement of the instant invention entails coating the bottom of the various receptacles with a thin layer of silicon, Teflon, or other similar coating that will enhance the flow of water from the inverted surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a side view of the water shedding mug featuring the convex bottom with the convex bottom, raised curvilinear forms, and high points.

FIG. 2 shows an exploded view of the water shedding mug.

FIG. 3 shows a bottom view of the water shedding mug including five (5) curvilinear forms, flow channels and high points.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the water shedding mug.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to water shedding designs for the bottoms of receptacles such as mugs, cups, bowls, drinking glasses, etc. In order to aid the understanding of the invention, the specific case of a mug is used to demonstrate the features and uniqueness of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, a side view of a mug 10 is shown. With the exception of the bottom of the mug, the mug is just like other mugs found on the market. The uniquely designed bottom of the mug is comprised of a convex bottom 20 which slopes gently from the center of the bottom of the mug to the periphery. Arising from the convex surface are gently sloping curvilinear forms that radiate from the center of the bottom of the inverted mug towards the periphery. High points 30 on the curvilinear forms at or near the periphery of the mug provide stability when the mug is in the upright position.

The water shedding attribute of the instant design can be enhanced by affixing a layer of silicon, Teflon, or similar material to the convex bottom 20 of the mug. The silicon or Teflon minimizes the adhesive forces of the water to the bottom of the mug thereby enhancing the flow of water through the flow channels 40.

Referring to FIG. 2, an exploded view of the water shedding mug 10 is presented. This view clearly shows the convex bottom 20 of the mug. It also clearly shows how the curvilinear forms are configured to form high points 30 on the periphery of the mug. There are at least four curvilinear forms and associated high points 30 inherent in the design and they are positioned equidistant around the periphery of the mug. This FIG. 2 shows five high points 30 which provide stability for the mug. Furthermore, the high points should generally be configured such that they are slightly above the highest point of the convex bottom when the mug is inverted in order to enhance stability.

Referring to FIG. 3, a bottom view of the water shedding mug is presented. This view clearly shows the flow channels 40 formed by the convex bottom 20 and the curvilinear forms. The design of the water shedding mug allows any water that would otherwise be trapped in many traditional or standard mugs when inverted in a dishwasher to flow down the flow channels 40 and eventually down the sides of the inverted water shedding mug 10 and eventually down the side of the mug and finally off the mug altogether.

Referring to FIG. 4, a perspective view of the water shedding mug 10 is shown. This view presents another view of how the flow channels 40 are formed by the convex bottom 20 and curvilinear forms and associated high points 30. This view also shows how the bottoms 45 of the high points can be leveled off in order to enhance the stability of the mug 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-4 illustrate one preferred embodiment of the water shedding designs for receptacle bottoms of the present invention—more specifically, a mug. It can be appreciated that the various aspects of this invention can be slightly modified and combined in various ways while still achieving the basic benefits encompassed within the scope and spirit of the present invention. The essential components of the invention are: 1) the convex bottom 20 of the receptacle, 2) four or more curvilinear forms radiating from the center of the inverted mug and associated high points 30 around the periphery of the bottom of the receptacle, and 3) flow channels 40 formed by the convex bottom and the curvilinear forms. These basic components are embodied in the preferred mode as shown in FIGS. 1-4.

The high points 30 as shown in FIGS. 1-4 are somewhat rounded in order to preclude sharp edges that may more easily break under the strain of frequent handling. Five high points 30 are shown in the preferred embodiment in order to optimize the delicate balance between stability of the upright mug 10 and sufficient width of the flow channels 40 to effect nearly complete run off of water from the bottom of the receptacle.