Title:
SYSTEM TO REMOVE AIR FROM A BAG
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This patent discloses a system to remove air from a bag. The bag may include a first sidewall and a second sidewall attached to the first sidewall at a first side, a second side, and a bottom. The first sidewall and the second sidewall may meet to form an opening and to form an interior. A valve may be positioned in the interior of the first sidewall and the second sidewall to form in the interior a first compartment having air and a second compartment. The valve may control an exchange of air between the first chamber and the second chamber. A foam sponge may be positioned in the second compartment. The foam sponge may draw air from the first chamber into the second chamber when the valve is open and the foam expands.



Inventors:
Roell III, Robert L. (Leonard Town, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/538317
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/29/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D30/22
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HELVEY, PETER N.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF KYLE FLETCHER (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system to remove air from a bag, the bag comprising: a first sidewall; a second sidewall attached to the first sidewall at a first side, a second side, and a bottom, where the first sidewall and the second sidewall meet to form an opening and to form an interior; a valve positioned in the interior of the first sidewall and the second sidewall to form in the interior a first compartment having air and a second compartment, where the valve is configured to control an exchange of air between the first chamber and the second chamber; and a foam sponge positioned in the second compartment, where the foam sponge is configured to draw air from the first chamber into the second chamber when the valve is open and the foam expands.

2. The bag of claim 1, where the foam sponge is configured to hold the air in the second chamber and the valve is configured to prevent the air from returning to the first chamber.

3. The bag of claim 1, where the bag is advertised as at least one of a storage bag, a freezer bag, a sandwich bag, and a snack bag.

4. The bag of claim 1, where the foam sponge is in a compressed state.

4. The bag of claim 1, where the second chamber forms a second chamber first sidewall and a second chamber second sidewall and where the foam sponge is configured to expand outward to press against the second chamber second sidewall and second chamber second sidewall.



5. The bag of claim 1, where a pressure within the second chamber is less than pressure outside of and adjacent to the second chamber.

5. The bag of claim 1, where the valve is a pop valve.



6. The bag of claim 5, where the pop valve includes an air flow path, a one way valve, a snap valve, and a heat seal area.

7. The bag of claim 6, where the snap valve is positioned within the heat seal area and the one way valve is positioned on top of the heat seal area in line with the air flow path.

8. The bag of claim 7, where the air flow path includes hard pieces that taper into supple ends, where the supple ends are configured to permit air to flow in a first direction but prevent air flow in a direction opposite to the first direction.

9. The bag of claim 1, where the valve is a lift valve, where the lift valve is configured to lift the first sidewall and second sidewall away from one another to aid in drawing air from the first chamber into the second chamber.

10. The bag of claim 9, where the lift valve includes a first gap, a second gap, and a channel positioned between the first gap and the second gap, where the lift valve further includes a first flap having a first flap first end and first flap second end and includes a second flap having a second flap first end and a second flap second end.

11. The bag of claim 10, where the first flap first end is attached to the first sidewall at a location within the lift valve and exterior to the channel, where the second flap first end is attached to the second sidewall at a location within the lift valve and exterior to the channel.

12. The bag of claim 1, where the foam sponge is impregnated with an antibacterial agent to minimize bacteria growth.

13. The bag of claim 1, where the valve is a first valve, the bag further comprising: a second valve between the first valve and the bottom, where the second valve is configured to control an exchange of air between the second chamber and an exterior to the second chamber.

14. The bag of claim 1, further comprising: a first zipper seal between the valve and the top and a second zipper seal between the valve and the bottom.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Endeavor

The information disclosed in this patent relates to removing gases such as air from a container. More particularly, the invention relates to removing air from a plastic bag food compartment to place the food under a vacuum for storage.

2. Background Information

Commercial food vacuum packing machines have been around since the 1940s. In 1984, the Tilia Corporation came out with the first home-style vacuum packer known as a nozzle or snorkel style to compete with the commercial chamber style machines. In 1990, designers came out with a channel style food vacuum packing machine to overcome some of the problems of the nozzle style. For the channel style, an open end of a storage bag made with specially designed plastic is laid into the channel, ensuring that a vacuum tube is positioned within the bag's opening. A top portion of channel style machine is brought down to close the channel on the bag opening. An electric pump draws air from the bag to create a vacuum and a heating element seals the bag.

A problem with the nozzle or snorkel style of food vacuum sealer is that people leave food and debris in the pump and nozzle and generally do not clean their machines. In addition, a draw back of the channel style machine is it over heats very fast. As a result of the over heating, the machine is inconsistent with the amount of air drawn from the bag.

In general, vacuum packers or vacuum sealers have an electrically powered pump that pulls or moves air from the bag and, in the case of channel style machines, have a transformer that runs a heat-sealing bar to seal the bag. The minimum requirements for such machines to be considered a quality machine are ominous. They must have a large, powerful pump that pulls at least a 23 inches of mercury (hg) vacuum, they must have a solid heat bar of steel or aluminum for wet sealing, and they must have large transformers to allow enough electrical current to operate the heat bar to seal a wet bag at least 30 to 60 times in a row. More often than not, these requirements are prohibitively expensive and many vacuum sealers manufacturers take short cuts by producing cheaper machines that do not meet these requirements.

The home food storage industry is a billion dollar industry. The problem with the home-style vacuum sealer is that the whole industry is built on several faulty assumptions. First and foremost is that consumers need vacuum sealing devices that compete with commercial chamber style machines. People generally do not store the bulk of their food for months and years and thus do not need a 23+ hg vacuum within their storage bags. Selling consumers such an expensive, powerful machine to meet way beyond their needs is overkill and a waste of the consumer's money.

The second assumption is that consumers do not mind being required to purchase expensive bags made of plastic “specially formulated” for their particular machine. Consumers do resent being held captive to a particular brand by the requirement to purchase a particular bag for their machine. The third assumption is that consumers do not mind dedicating a disproportionate amount of their free time to storing their food for later consumption. Like other household chores, consumers want to spend as little time as possible storing their food.

Because of these and other problems, many consumers stop using their home-style vacuum sealer and store them in the garage next to their food dehydrator, food processor, and juicer. None the less, these consumers and those presently using their food sealers have demonstrated a desire to vacuum seal their food. There are many other consumers sitting on the sidelines who desire vacuum sealing for their food. All of these consumers are just waiting someone to come out with the right product that meets their needs.

Some inventors recognize the problem and have attempted solutions. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,839,582 (the '582 device) discloses a standard sandwich bag modified to include a manual pump positioned near the bag opening between two seals. As the consumer repeatedly squeezes the pump, air may be drawn from the storage compartment of the bag.

The '582 device is headed in the right direction. It is relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to use, and portable. However, a problem with the '582 device is that the amount of air drawn from the bag depends on the strength of the person squeezing the pump. Some people may not have the finger strength to draw out any air and others may be limited in what they can do. Thus, the amount of air drawn out is inconsistent from one consumer to the next. Another problem is that the amount of air drawn out is limited by the pump it self. A manual pump molded out of the same plastic as the bag cannot draw out enough air to form a decent vacuum and its ability to draw out air will decrease over time as the manual pump ages.

Inexpensive, quick and easy to use, portable, reusable, and consistently draws a vacuum over the life of the bag sufficient to meet the short time food storage needs of a consumer. These are what vacuum food storage consumer desire. A good portion of the billion-dollar food storage industry is there for the company who can best meet these need. Thus, what is needed is an apparatus and method to satisfy these and other needs.

SUMMARY

The food storage bag disclosed in this patent meets the needs of the vacuum food storage consumer. Essentially made of an assembly of a foam sponge with standard plastic in standard food storage sizes, the disclosed food storage bag is inexpensive, quick and easy to use, and is portable—you can take and use it anywhere. Valves enhance the reusability of the bag. Most importantly, the foam sponge used to draw air from the bag storage compartment may be designed to consistently draw a vacuum over the life of the bag sufficient to meet the food storage needs of a consumer.

In particular, this patent discloses a system to remove air from a bag. The bag may include a first sidewall and a second sidewall attached to the first sidewall at a first side, a second side, and a bottom. The first sidewall and the second sidewall may meet to form an opening and to form an interior. A valve may be positioned in the interior of the first sidewall and the second sidewall to form in the interior a first compartment having air and a second compartment. The valve may control an exchange of air between the first chamber and the second chamber. A foam sponge may be positioned in the second compartment. The foam sponge may draw air from the first chamber into the second chamber when the valve is open and the foam expands.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a storage bag 100;

FIG. 2 is a side view of bag 100 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan section view of a pop valve 700 in a bag 702;

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of air flow path 704;

FIG. 5 is a detailed view of one way valve 706 in relation to air flow path 704;

FIG. 6A is a side view of snap valve 708 illustrating a press point 720;

FIG. 6B is a side view of snap valve 708 after press point 720 has been pressed;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a bag 300;

FIG. 8 is a side view of bag 300 of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of bag 500; and

FIG. 10 is a plan view of bag 600.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a bag 100. FIG. 2 is a side view of bag 100 of FIG. 1. Preferably, bag 100 may be a household food bag, such as a storage bag, freezer bag, sandwich bag, or snack bag and may be advertised as such.

Bag 100 may include a first sidewall 102 and a second sidewall 104 (FIG. 2) connected to first sidewall 102 at particular locations. First sidewall 102 and second sidewall 104 may be largely transparent, similar to other household food bag. An overall plan view shape of bag 100 may be defined by a bottom 106, a first side 108, a second side 110, and a bag opening 112. Bottom 106, first side 108, and second side 110 each may be formed by heat sealing two sidewall materials residing parallel to each other and then cutting to define positions of bottom 106, first side 108, and second side 110.

Below bag opening 112 may be a recloseable zipper seal 114. Zipper seals may be typical in the household food bag industry. However, bag 100 need not include a seal below bag opening 112.

Between zipper seal 114 and bottom 106, bag 100 may be divided into a first chamber 116, a second chamber 118, and a valve 120 between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. First chamber 116 may be thought of as a storage compartment and second chamber 118 may be though of as a lower compartment 118. Valve 120 may control an exchange of air between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. When closed, valve 120 may prevent an exchange of pressure and fluid such as air between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. Moreover, when open, valve 120 may allow an exchange of pressure and fluid such as air between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118.

Within second chamber 118 may be a compressible material 122. Compressible material 122 may be any material that may be compressed under pressure and substantially may return to its original shape or position after removal of that pressure. A foam sponge is a typical household item familiar to most consumers that may return to its original shape after being compressed and thus may be a good choice for compressible material 122. As an elastic device that may return to its shape or position when pushed or pulled or pressed, a spring may be utilized as compressible material 122 as well, whether the spring may be made of plastic, metal, or some other material.

Food items such as marshmallows may include a compressible material that may return towards their original shape after being compressed and may be utilized as compressible material 122 in certain circumstance. Although a marshmallow appears to be solid it actually may be filled with many pockets. These pockets may be filled with air (much like a sponge) and may cause the marshmallow to return towards its original shape after being compressed. In general, other articles and/or materials may be utilized as a means to expand second chamber 118, where that means may be internal to second chamber 118.

Desirable characteristics of compressible material 122 include the ability of compressible material 122 to substantially or completely evacuate first chamber 116, cost, its ability to return to its original shape over multiple uses, and additional uses such as absorption even after bag 100 is discarded. Compressible material 122 may be made from hydrophilic polyester, polyether foams, and a combination of hydrophilic polyester and polyether foams.

In this embodiment, valve 120 may include a pop valve 124 positioned between a first heat seal 126 and a second heat seal 128. First heat seal 126, pop valve 124, and second heat seal 128 may extend from first side 108 to second side 110 to control the flow of fluid and thus pressure between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. Second chamber 118 further may be defined by a second chamber first sidewall 130 and a second chamber second sidewall 132.

During manufacturing, valve 120 may be closed and compressible material 122 may be assembled in second chamber 118 in a compressed state to press outward against second chamber first sidewall 130 and second chamber second sidewall 132. A reasonable amount of air also may be drawn from second chamber 118 so that a pressure within second chamber 118 may be less than the adjacent pressure outside of second chamber 118.

The pressure outside of second chamber 118 typically may be about one kilogram per square centimeter (14.7 pounds per square inch). However, bag 100 may be used in situations where the pressure outside of second chamber 118 may be other than that provided by earth's atmosphere. For example, bag 100 may be place in another bag having its own interior pressure.

In operation, food or other material may be paced in first chamber 116 and zipper seal 114 may be closed to create a substantially air tight first chamber 116. The pressure in first chamber 116 may be at the pressure surrounding first chamber 116. Pop valve 124 may be pressed or “popped” to cause an opening between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. Here, pop valve 124 may be said to be open.

With pop valve 124 open, air from first chamber 116 may rush into second chamber 116 to work towards equalizing the pressure between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. Additionally, compressible material 122 may expand outward to press against second chamber first sidewall 130 and second chamber second sidewall 132. The mechanical action of second chamber first sidewall 130 moving away from second chamber second sidewall 132 may aid in drawing additional air from first chamber 116 so that first chamber 116 may be at a lower pressure than second chamber 118. Thus, first chamber 116 may be at a vacuum relative to second chamber 118.

When the desired exchange of pressure between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118 may be reached, pop valve 124 may be pressed again to close the opening between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118.

Pop valve 124 may have characteristics similar to a tennis ball cut in half. A tennis ball half typically has a flat edge that leads inward to a cavity. This flat edge may provide a seal when placed against another surface. When the tennis ball half may be pressed, the flat edge may be deformed to break the seal between the tennis ball and the surface. When the tennis ball half may be released from being pressed, the tennis ball may return to it original shape to reestablish the seal between the tennis ball and the surface.

At this point, the contents of first chamber 116 may be under a desired vacuum seal. The ability of compressible material 122 to further draw an additional vacuum in first chamber 116 may be substantially exhausted. A significant advantage of this embodiment may be that compressible material 122 may be recompressed so that bag 100 may be reused to vacuum seal again.

To recompress compressible material 122, zipper seal 114 may be open and the contents of chamber 116 may be removed. A user may then place second chamber 118 between a flat surface and the palm of one hand. While pressing on pop valve 124 with the thumb of one hand, a user may push down on second chamber 118 and compressible material 122 to compress sponge. Air within second chamber 118 may then pass through pop valve 124 into first chamber 116 and out bag opening 112. While holding down compressible material 122, valve 124 may be pressed again to close the opening between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118 to seal second chamber 118. As the palm of the user may be removed from compressible material 122, sealed second chamber 118 may maintain compressible material 122 in a compressed state. Bag 100 now may be reused to vacuum seal other items.

FIG. 3 is a plan section view of a pop valve 700 in a bag 702. Pop valve 700 may include an air flow path 704, a one way valve 706, a snap valve 708, and a heat seal area 710. Snap valve 708 may be positioned within heat seal area 710 and one way valve 706 may be positioned on top of heat seal area 710 in line with air flow path 704.

FIG. 4 is a detailed view of air flow path 704. Air flow path 704 may include hard pieces 712 that may taper into supple ends 714. Supple ends 714 may permit air 716 to flow in a direction of arrow 718, but prevent air 716 to flow in a direction opposite to arrow 718. FIG. 5 is a detailed view of one way valve 706 in relation to air flow path 704. FIG. 6A is a side view of snap valve 708 illustrating a press point 720. FIG. 6B is a side view of snap valve 708 after press point 720 has been pressed. When one way valve 702 may be pressed, sponge 122 may pull air 716 through one way valve 706 and when one way valve 702 may be released, supple ends 714 of air flow path 704 may prevent air 716 from traveling from sponge 122 to first chamber 116. Importantly, one way valve 706 may provide a soothing, psychological effect to a user by its push button activation.

As noted above, valve 120 may prevent an exchange of pressure and fluid such as air between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118 when valve 120 may be closed. Moreover, valve 120 may allow an exchange of pressure and fluid such as air between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118 when valve 120 may be open. In general, valve 120 may be device to control the flow of a fluid between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118.

Valve 120 may have additional embodiments to control the flow of fluid and thus pressure between first chamber 116 and second chamber 118. For example, FIG. 7 is a plan view of a bag 300. FIG. 8 is a side view of bag 300 of FIG. 7. Features common between bag 100 of FIG. 1 and bag 300 of FIG. 7 and FIG. 8 may be identified with the same call out number.

In this embodiment, valve 120 may be formed by heat seals that define a first gap 302, a second gap 304, and a channel 306 positioned between first gap 302 and second gap 304 longitudinally in FIG. 7. First upper heat seal 308 and second upper heat seal 310 may define first gap 302 and first lower heat seal 312 and second lower heat seal 314 may define second gap 304. Each heat seal/gap combination may extend between first side 108 and second side 110 to define channel 306.

The area of channel 306 between first gap 302 and second gap 304 may be thought of as a lift valve 316. Lift valve 316 may include a first flap 318 having a first flap first end 320 and first flap second end 322 and a second flap 324 (FIG. 8) having a second flap first end 326 and a second flap second end 328.

First flap first end 320 may be attached to first sidewall 102 at a location within lift valve 316 and exterior to channel 306. First flap second end 322 may rest freely against an exterior of first sidewall 102 and be adapted to be raised as shown in FIG. 8. Similarly, second flap first end 326 may be attached to second sidewall 104 at a location within lift valve 316 and exterior to channel 306. Second flap second end 328 may rest freely against an exterior of second sidewall 104 and be adapted to be raised as shown in FIG. 8. First flap 318 and second flap 324 may be made of a material similar to the material of bag 100.

In operation, first flap second end 322 and second flap second end 328 each may be grasped between a thumb and index finger and pulled (lifted) away from each other. As first sidewall 102 and second sidewall 104 move away from one another within lift valve 316, air may be drawn from first chamber 116 into second chamber 118 by the action of compressible material 122. Lift valve 316 may be closed to seal second chamber 118 from first chamber by pushing first flap 318 and second flap 324 towards each other.

Similar to bag 100, bag 300 may be reused by recompressing compressible material 122. To recompress compressible material 122, zipper seal 114 may be open and the contents of chamber 116 may be removed. A user may then place second chamber 118 between a flat surface and the palm of one hand. A user then may push down on second chamber 118 and compressible material 122 to compress sponge. The now increased pressure within second chamber 118 may overcome the lift valve 316 seal provided by channel 306 to force air within second chamber 118 to pass through lift valve 124 into first chamber 116 and out bag opening 112. As the palm of the user may be removed from compressible material 122, the pressure within second chamber 118 decreases, which may cause lift valve 316 to close and sealed second chamber 118. Sealed second chamber 118 may maintain compressible material 122 in a compressed state. Bag 300 now may be reused to vacuum seal other items.

With compressible material 122 encapsulated within second chamber 118, there may be a potential for bacteria growth or the introduction of liquid fluids into second chamber 118. In one embodiment, compressible material 122 may be impregnated with an antibacterial agent to minimize bacteria growth. For example, compressible material 122 may contain alcohols, vinegars, chlorine, peroxides, aldehydes, and gaseous ethylene oxide and formaldehyde to act rapidly to destroy bacteria and quickly disappear without leaving an active residue behind. Compressible material 122 may contain bisphenols such as triclosan and hexachlorophene, anilides such as triclocarban, quaternary ammonium compounds such as benzalkonium chloride, cetrimide, and cetylpyridinium chloride where it may be desired to have a prolonged action of disinfecting. Prolonged action of disinfecting also may be achieved with biguanides, halophenols, heavy metals (silver compounds, mercury compounds), phenols, and cresols.

Compressible material 122 may be formulated or have additions to act as a moisture and water repellant to keep liquid fluids to the exterior of compressible material 122. These free moving liquids in second chamber 118 may be discharged while recompression compressible material 122.

The above embodiments for bag 100 and bag 300 permit a user to draw a vacuum in first chamber 116 by utilizing one compression and expansion cycle of compressible material 122. There may be circumstances where it may be desirable to utilize multiple compression and expansion cycles of compressible material 122. For example, multiple compression and expansion cycles of compressible material 122 may pull a larger vacuum within first chamber 116 than a single compression and expansion cycle.

FIG. 9 is a plan view of bag 500. Features common between bag 300 of FIG. 7 and bag 500 of FIG. 9 may be identified with the same call out number. Included with bag 500 may be a valve 502. Valve 502 may be located between lift valve 316 and bottom 106. As will be described, valve 502 may be used to draw a vacuum in first chamber 116 through multiple compression and expansion cycles of compressible material 122.

Valve 502 may include a first upper seal 504, a second upper seal 506, and a first gap 508 defined as an open space between first upper seal 504 and second upper seal 506. Valve 502 additionally may include a first lower seal 510, a second lower seal 512, and a second gap 514 defined as an open space between first lower seal 510 and second lower seal 512. Valve 502 may be viewed as a one-way valve and characterized by a distance 514 between gap 508 and gap 514. Lift valve 316 may be characterized by a distance 516 between first gap 302 and second gap 304.

After compressible material 122 has expanded from a compressed state and lift valve 316 closed, a user may press down compressible material 122 through second chamber 118. This may increase the pressure within second chamber 118. The pressure within second chamber 118 may seek out a path of least resistance. By keeping distance 514 than distance 516, a path of least resistance for the pressure within second chamber 118 may be through valve 502. Other techniques to help ensure that valve 502 offers lower resistance to pressure than lift valve 316 may be to have a width of upper gap 504 be smaller than a width of lower gap 304 or design the height of valve 502 as a function of the height of lift valve 316.

As user may press down compressible material 122 through second chamber 118, gas fluid and liquid fluid may exit from second chamber 118 through second gap 514. In addition, compressible material 122 may be compressed. With lift valve 316 closed, one-way valve 502 may prevent air from flowing back into second chamber 118 and thus keep compressible material 122 from expanding. Compressible material 122 now may be ready to increase the vacuum within first chamber 116. By pulling first flap 318 and second flap 328 away from each other, lift valve 316 may open and draw an additional vacuum in first chamber 116 by the suction created in second chamber 118.

It may be desirable to make compressible material 122 removable from bag 100 and bag 300. For example, a user may desire to clean compressible material 122 or replace compressible material 122 with a new compressible material 122. In addition, after a vacuum has been drawn in first chamber 116, compressible material 122 has no immediate application for that particular bag. Removing compressible material 122 from bag 100 while first chamber 116 may be under a vacuum may free up second chamber 118 for other uses, such as additional storage.

FIG. 10 may be a plan view of bag 600. Features common between bag 300 of FIG. 7 and bag 600 of FIG. 10 may be identified with the same call out number. Included with bag 600 may be first zipper seal 602 below a first bag opening 604 and a second zipper seal 606 above a second bag opening 608. In this embodiment, a user may perform multiple compression and expansion cycles of compressible material 122 to draw a vacuum in either first chamber 116 or second chamber 118.

After compressible material 122 has expanded from a compressed state and lift valve 316 closed, a user may open second zipper seal 606 to remove gas fluid and liquid fluid second chamber 118 through second bag opening 608. Compressible material 122 may be cleaned and placed back into second chamber 118. After compressing compressible material 122 with the palm of a hand, for example, second zipper seal 606 may be closed. With lift valve 316 closed, second zipper seal 606 may prevent air from flowing back into second chamber 118 and thus keep compressible material 122 from expanding. Compressible material 122 now may be ready to increase the vacuum within first chamber 116. By pulling first flap 318 and second flap 328 away from each other, lift valve 316 may open and draw an additional vacuum in first chamber 116 by the suction created in second chamber 118.

Over time through use, first chamber 116 may develop small leaks and not be as efficient as holding a vacuum. For example, certain foods have sharp edges and may aid in working one or more tiny holes within first chamber 116. Under such circumstances, first chamber 116 may not be able to hold a vacuum, but may be utilized to draw a vacuum. By placing compressible material 122 in first chamber 116 of bag 600 (FIG. 10) and storage material in second chamber 118, a vacuum may be draw within second chamber 118 as described above.

Another advantage of bag 600 may be that the containers and compressible material 122 may be sold separately. One compressible material 122 may service multiple bags 600. Thus, the cost of bags 600 without compressible material 122 may be the same as sandwich bags currently on the market. Moreover, with compressible material 122 being separate from bag 600, bags 600 may be marketed as having the same storage capacity as similarly sized sandwich bags currently on the market and have the additional feature of a vacuum seal.

Another advantage of bag 600 may be that a consumer may utilize their own sponge for compressible material 122. While such a sponge may not be as efficient as a sponge particularly designed for bag 600, such a sponge may meet the consumer's vacuum sealing needs and move away from the conventional vacuum sealing industry notion that a consumer must purchase expensive items made of plastic “specially formulated” for their particular machine.

Bag 100 and other bag embodiments (collectively “bag 100”) need not be a household food bag. Rather, bag as used in this patent may include any container where it may be desirable to inexpensively form a vacuum. For example, entomologist in the field collecting bugs may want to place the bugs in a rigid metal container and draw a vacuum to preserve the bugs for the long flight home to the museum. Tennis players may want to restore their tennis balls in a vacuum. Coffee lovers may want to keep their beans fresher by restoring them in a glass vacuum container. Each of these individuals may benefit from the present invention.

In general, first chamber 116 may be any container that functions to hold contents that eventually may be removed from the container. First chamber 116 may be a container configured to hold a particular article or set of articles or material. Moreover, first chamber 116 may be means in or by which goods (article or material) may be displayed, protected, packaged or arranged in a particular manner, to facilitate sale, transportation in commerce, use or storage. In addition to being a mercantile unit, s first chamber 116 may be a packet, compact, or case carried on the person of a user.

Second chamber 118 may be any container that may be deformable in such a way as to alter its volume. Additionally, second chamber 118 may be pleated to permit the footprint of second chamber 118 to shrink while maintaining the overall desired volume for second chamber 118.

Collectively, bag 100 may be though of as a package for articles or material surrounded by air that may be used with compressible material 122 cooperatively to make a vacuum sealed assemblage. The seals of bag 100 need not be heat seals. Rather, the seals may be any barrier whether or not formed by heat.

Bag 100 of the invention may be an inexpensive, quick and easy to use, portable way of vacuum sealing items. Bag 100 may be reusable in that compressible material 122 may be recompressed and set up to draw a vacuum. Because a vacuum may be drawn by a sponge compressible material 122 whose properties may be controlled by design, bag 100 may consistently draws a vacuum over the life of the bag sufficient to meet the food storage needs of a consumer.

The bag may be included in an improved line of food storage bags that may feature a one-way air valve incorporated into its design. The bag may help to keep food fresh and appetizing for a longer time period. In particular, the bag may be part of a newly designed line of food storage bags that may feature a clever way to remove excess air.

The bag may be similar in shape and design to an existing food storage bag and may feature a zipper-type seal. The bag may include a second chamber at the base that may house a pre-compressed sponge. This chamber may feature one-way air valves incorporated into its design. The compressed sponge may pull air into the second chamber, thus creating a vacuum in the chamber with food. For use, an individual may place food into the bag and seal the zipper-type closure. A button valve may be pressed to create an opening between the first and second chambers. The compressed sponge may then expand to pull air from the first chamber. The two chambers may then be sealed using the one-way valve.

With the bag, food products may be kept fresh in the refrigerator or freezer for a longer period of time. The bag may be rectangular and may measure eight inches high, seven inches long, and one inch wide.

The bag may fulfill the need for a way to remove unwanted air inside food storage bags. Appealing features of the bag may include its convenience, practicality, effectiveness, durability, ease of use, cost-savings, light weight, compact size, portability, and timesaving, and inviting design. Such a line of food storage bags may allow perishables to be stored more conveniently and safely in a refrigerator, freezer, and cooler. They may allow food to stay fresh for a longer period of time. The handy one-way valve and pre-compressed sponge may effectively evacuate air in the bag, which may prevent freezer burn or losing food freshness. In addition, foods may last longer in the refrigerator, freezer, or cooler while continuing to maintain purchase-date freshness.

In the refrigerator, everything from fruit to leftovers may be stored longer and free from staleness, mold, and refrigerator odors. The built-in valve may evacuate the air from the bag, thus increasing the storage space in the bag. The bag may prevent food spoilage and may allow a consumer to purchase larger quantities of food products to keep them fresh in an airtight storage container. This line of bags may prevent food wastage, which may save a consumer a considerable amount of money and may provide the user with better tasting food. In addition, this line of freezer bags may prevent a person from becoming ill due to food spoilage.

The bag may serve as a viable alternative to traditional methods of removing air from food storage bags, such as bulky pumps and heat sealers. The bag may be easy to use, effective, convenient, cost saving, timesaving, and reasonably priced. The bag may also be lightweight and compact to be easily stored when needed. As well as consumers, this product may be used in commercial establishments, such as restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.

The information disclosed herein is provided merely to illustrate principles and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the subject matter of the terms of the claims. The written specification and figures are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. Moreover, the principles disclosed may be applied to achieve the advantages described herein and to achieve other advantages or to satisfy other objectives, as well.