Title:
Playground tissue dispenser
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A facial tissue dispenser includes a first compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, and a lower supporting surface including an opening facilitating a serial dispensing of the facial tissues. A second compartment coupled to the first compartment provides a supply of trash bags. A connector coupled to an exterior surface of one of the first and second compartments supports one of the trash bags in a trash-receiving attitude. A supporting element supports the dispenser and trash bag at a convenient height for use by children.



Inventors:
Brookie, Anne L. (Carmel, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/653492
Publication Date:
07/17/2008
Filing Date:
01/16/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/34
International Classes:
B65H1/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RANDALL, JR., KELVIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL/Indianapolis (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A dispenser suitable for outdoor use comprising: a first compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, the first compartment having lower supporting surface including an opening facilitating a serial dispensing of the facial tissues, a second compartment coupled to the first compartment, the second compartment providing a supply of trash bags, a connector coupled to an exterior surface of one of the first and second compartments for supporting one of the trash bags in a trash-receiving attitude, and at least one supporting element for supporting the dispenser at a convenient height.

2. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the first compartment is generally rectangular in horizontal cross-section and includes a hinged member permitting access to the interior of the compartment for replenishing the supply of facial tissues.

3. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the second compartment includes a lower supporting surface including an opening facilitating a serial dispensing of the trash bags.

4. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the second compartment includes a removable top permitting access to the interior of the compartment for replenishing the supply of trash bags.

5. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the connector for supporting one of the trash bags comprises a karabiner clipped to a side of the first or second compartment.

6. The dispenser of claim 1 wherein the at least one supporting element comprises a pair of hooks protruding from a back surface of the dispenser.

7. The dispenser of claim 4 wherein the second compartment is generally cylindrical and a top of the second compartment is in the form of a dome.

8. The dispenser of claim 7 further comprising a second dome-like protrusion on a side of the second compartment.

9. The dispenser of claim 4 wherein the second compartment is generally cylindrical and a top of the second compartment is in the form of a cone.

10. The dispenser of claim 1 further comprising surface ornamentation providing a thematic unity between the first and second compartments.

11. A dispenser suitable for outdoor use comprising: a first generally rectangular compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, the first compartment having a lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the facial tissues, a second generally cylindrical compartment coupled to a side of the first compartment, the second compartment providing a supply of trash bags, the second compartment having a lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the trash bags, and a connector coupled to one of the first and second compartments for supporting one of the trash bags in a trash-receiving attitude.

12. The dispenser of claim 11 wherein the second compartment includes a removable top permitting access to the interior of the compartment for replenishing the supply of trash bags.

13. The dispenser of claim 12 wherein the removable top protrudes upwardly from the generally cylindrical second compartment.

14. The dispenser of claim 13 wherein the first compartment includes a hinged member permitting access to the interior of the compartment for replenishing the supply of facial tissues.

15. The dispenser of claim 14 wherein the connector for supporting one of the trash bags in a trash-receiving attitude comprises a karabiner clipped to a side of the first or second compartment.

16. A portable dispenser suitable for outdoor use comprising: a first rectangular compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, the first compartment having lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the facial tissues, a second compartment coupled to the first compartment, the second compartment having a removable top to receive a supply of trash bags and a lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the trash bags, and at least one hook protruding from a back surface of the dispenser for engagement with a support.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to dispensers of facial tissues, and particularly to dispensers that are specifically adapted for outdoor locations such as playgrounds, beaches, ball fields, and designed to adapt to a variety of theme presentations that may be inviting to children.

A variety of dispensers of facial tissues are known, generally intended for use in protected environments such as the interior of a home or office. Typical dispensers of facial tissues provide for a dispensing opening in an upper surface that facilitates the supply of one or two tissues on demand. Known facial tissue dispensers are often little more than a simple box suitably decorated to match a given décor of the room in which it is likely to be used. While vanity sets have been made that include both a tissue dispenser and a waste basket, the items are generally not coupled together when in use. Little thought has been given to the possibility of facial tissue dispensers designed for use in outdoor environments.

In parks, on playgrounds, at beaches, and at other recreational areas there is a general need for trash receptacles that is commonly satisfied by free standing trash cans. The trash receptacles are desirably placed at convenient locations close to areas where anticipated human activities are likely to generate trash. Typical public trash receptacles are often fixed in location so that should the focus of a given public activity move significantly, the proximity of the trash receptacle is significantly reduced, thus reducing the likelihood of use. Except in public restrooms, the availability of consumable supplies, particularly facial tissues, is often minimal at such recreational areas. There is often a need for a convenient source of such consumable supplies where children are actively involved in sports or other play activities. There is likewise a need of a convenient disposal of used consumables so that the environment of the play area does not become littered.

Combined dispensers of facial tissues with receptacles intended to received used tissues are known in the prior art. For example, Tumlinson, U.S. Pat. No. 6,863,192 discloses a facial tissue dispensing and disposing system which includes an expanding container having a dispensing opening on the top and a disposing opening on the bottom. A tissue clip enclosed in flaccid plastic with a cardboard floor is adhered to the underside of the dispensing opening. The clip is elevated and the side walls of the container are expanded by inserting used tissues in disposal openings in the bottom of the container. While such a dispenser might be conveniently used in a protected environment, the position of the tissue dispenser opening on the top surface of the dispenser detracts from the utility of such a dispenser in an outdoor environment that is subject to rain or other inclement weather. Additionally, the dispenser itself has no disclosed surface features that would encourage children to use supplies from such a dispenser.

A bathroom organizer assembly is disclosed in Peterson, U.S. Patent 6,997,322 for organizing bathroom toiletries such as tooth-brushes, combs, lotions, antibacterial soaps, facial tissue, barrettes, contact lens cases, and practically any other toiletry item. The assembly uses an enjoyable theme for the appropriate age group to encourage their usage. Storage and dispensing of items stored in the present invention simulates actions in the theme, to create a functional decoration. For example, the tissue holder assumes the shape of a building that has an opening in the top to permit the serial dispensing of facial tissues through the opening. While such a dispenser might be conveniently used in the protected environment of a bathroom, the position of the tissue dispenser opening on the top surface of the dispenser detracts from the utility of such a dispenser in an outdoor environment that is subject to rain or other inclement weather.

Despite the various features and benefits of the structures of the forgoing disclosures, there remains a need for a dispenser of facial tissues and other similar consumable supplies that is particularly adapted for outdoor use and is designed to engage children sufficiently to encourage the use and sanitary disposal of used consumables.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

These several needs may be satisfied by a facial tissue dispenser having a first compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, the first compartment having lower supporting surface including an opening facilitating a serial dispensing of the facial tissues. A second compartment can be coupled to the first compartment, the second compartment providing a supply of trash bags. A connector can be coupled to an exterior surface of one of the first and second compartments for supporting one of the trash bags in a trash-receiving attitude. At least one supporting element can be provided for supporting the dispenser at a convenient height.

These several needs may also be satisfied by a facial tissue dispenser having a first generally rectangular compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, the first compartment having a lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the facial tissues. A second generally cylindrical compartment can be coupled to a side of the first compartment to provide a supply of trash bags, the second compartment having a lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the trash bags. A connector can be coupled to one of the first and second compartments for supporting one of the trash bags in a trash-receiving attitude. A suitable support can be provided for supporting the dispenser at a convenient height.

These several needs may also be satisfied by a portable facial tissue dispenser suitable for outdoor use having a first rectangular compartment sized to receive a supply of facial tissues, the first compartment having lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the facial tissues. A second compartment can be coupled to the first compartment, the second compartment having a removable top to receive a supply of trash bags and a lower supporting surface including an opening permitting the dispensing of the trash bags. At least one hook can protrude from a back surface of the dispenser for temporary engagement with a support.

One feature of the present invention is the potential use of recycled plastic bags that can be supplied to the interior of the second compartment on an occasional basis. Another feature of the present invention is the potential use of any of a variety of playful thematic exteriors designed to appeal to and engage young children to use and appropriately dispose of facial tissues at outdoor locations such as playgrounds and ball fields. Another feature of the present invention is the potential construction of the dispenser with light weight yet weather resistant materials that will facilitate the portability of the dispenser from and to inside storage.

Other features of the present invention and the corresponding advantages of those features will become apparent from the following discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, exemplifying the best mode of practicing the present invention, which is illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a playground tissue dispenser embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another playground tissue dispenser embodying the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of yet another playground tissue dispenser embodying the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of a playground tissue dispenser similar to that of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an end view of the playground tissue dispenser of FIG. 1, with the end opened.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A facial tissue dispenser 10 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 1 to have a first compartment 12 having the appearance of a barn, the first compartment being sized to receive a supply of facial tissues 14, one of which is projecting from an opening in the bottom 16 of the compartment. The first compartment 12 has a top 18 that is preferably water resistant to protect the contents thereof. The first compartment 12 is further defined by a front surface 20 and an end surface 22 that can be coupled together by hinges 24 so that either the front surface 20 or the end surface 22 can be opened to permit access to the interior of the compartment 12. The first compartment 12 can be further defined by a back surface 26 that can project vertically above the top 18, and can include one or more supporting elements 28 shown to be in the form of hooks that can be used to support the dispenser 10 at a convenient height on a fence, stand, or other convenient structure. The first compartment 12 is completed by an end surface 30 located opposite the end surface 22.

The facial tissue dispenser 10 also has a second compartment 32 that is fixed to the end surface 30. The second compartment 32 has the appearance of a silo and includes a generally cylindrical sidewall 34 and a dome top 36 that can be removable from the sidewall 34 to permit the placement of materials, preferably trash bags such as recycled plastic grocery bags 38, within the compartment 32. The compartment 32 is further defined by a lower supporting surface 40 that can include an opening 42 facilitating a serial dispensing of the bags 38. A connector 44, which can be in the form of a karabiner or other clip, can be coupled to an exterior surface of one of the first and second compartments 12 or 32 for supporting one of the bags 38 in a trash-receiving attitude as shown in FIG. 1. The first and second compartments 12 and 32 taken together define a playful agricultural theme designed to appeal to and engage young children to use and appropriately dispose of the facial tissues 14 at outdoor locations such as playgrounds and ball fields.

A second facial tissue dispenser 10 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 2 to have a first compartment 12 having the appearance of a gantry and a second compartment 32 having the appearance of a rocket ship. Again, the first compartment being sized to receive a supply of facial tissues 14, one of which is projecting from an opening in the bottom 16 of the compartment. The first compartment 12 has a top 18 that is preferably water resistant to protect the contents thereof. The first compartment 12 is further defined by the end surfaces 22 and 30 that are located on opposite ends of the compartment 12. The first compartment also has a front surface 20 that is coupled to the top 18 by hinges 24 so that either the front surface 20 or the top 18 can be opened to permit access to the interior of the compartment 12. The first compartment 12 can be further defined by a back surface 26 that can project vertically above the top 18, and can include one or more supporting elements 28 that can be used to support the dispenser 10 at a convenient height on a fence, stand, or other convenient structure. While the supporting elements 28 are shown to be hooks, other hardware elements could be used.

The second compartment 32 of the second facial tissue dispenser 10 also includes a generally cylindrical sidewall 34. Triangular fins 33 can be added along with a conical top 46 to provide the second compartment 32 with the appearance of a rocket ship. The conical top 46 can be removable from the sidewall 34 to permit trash bags to be placed in the second compartment 32, particularly recycled plastic grocery bags 38 that are advantageously colored red or orange. The compartment 32 is defined by a lower supporting surface 40 that can include an opening 42 facilitating a serial dispensing of the bags 38 that simulates the flame from the lower end of the rocket. Again a connector 44 can be coupled to an exterior surface of one of the first and second compartments 12 or 32 for supporting one of the bags 38 in a trash-receiving attitude as shown in FIG. 2. The first and second compartments 12 and 32 taken together define a playful space oriented theme designed to appeal to and engage young children to use and appropriately dispose of the facial tissues 14 at outdoor locations.

A third facial tissue dispenser 10 of the present invention is shown in FIG. 3 to have a first compartment 12 sized to receive a supply of facial tissues 14, the compartment 12 having the appearance of a dog house. The first compartment 12 has a top 18, a front surface 20 and an end surface 22. The front surface 20 and an end surface 22 that can be coupled together by hinges 24 so that either the front surface 20 or the end surface 22 can be opened to permit access to the interior of the compartment 12. The end surface can also include a window 48 that can be used to check on the supply of facial tissues 14 within the first compartment 12. The first compartment 12 can be further defined by a back surface 26 that can project vertically above the top 18, and can include one or more supporting elements 28 that can be used to support the dispenser 10 at a convenient height on a fence, stand, or other convenient structure. The first compartment 12 is completed by an end surface 30 located opposite the end surface 22 and a bottom 16 that includes a dispensing opening for the facial tissues 14.

The third facial tissue dispenser 10 shown in FIG. 3 also has a second compartment 32 that is fixed to the end surface 30. The second compartment 32 has the appearance of a fire hydrant and includes a generally cylindrical sidewall 34 and a dome top 36 that can be removable from the sidewall 34 to permit the placement of materials, preferably trash bags such as recycled plastic grocery bags 38, within the compartment 32. The sidewall 34 of the second compartment 32 can have additional decorative elements such as a second dome-like protrusion 50 to reinforce the dog house—fire hydrant theme of the dispenser 10 designed to appeal to and engage young children to use and appropriately dispose of the facial tissues 14 at outdoor locations. As in the first and second embodiments, a connector 44 can be coupled to an exterior surface of one of the first and second compartments 12 or 32 for supporting one of the bags 38 in a trash-receiving attitude as shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of a playground tissue dispenser 10 similar to that shown in FIG. 1, but is intended to illustrate in principal the bottom structure of all of the tissue dispensers 10 of the present invention. The bottom 16 of the first compartment 12 is shown to be generally rectangular in horizontal cross-section and include a central opening 52 facilitating a serial dispensing of the facial tissues 14 from the first compartment. The bottom of the second compartment 32 is further defined by a lower supporting surface 40 that can include an opening 42, which may include radial slots 54, facilitating a serial dispensing of the bags 38. It is to be noted that the back surface 26 of the dispensing container 10 shown in FIG. 4 extends behind the second compartment 32 as well as the first compartment 12. The second compartment 32 can be secured to both the first compartment 12 and to the back surface element 26 to provide greater support for the dispenser 10 as a whole.

FIG. 5 is an end view of the playground tissue dispenser 10 of FIG. 1, with the end surface 22 of the first compartment 12 opened to reveal the generally rectangular interior suitable for receiving a conventional container 56 from which the facial tissues 14 are being dispensed. The bottom 16 is seen to be situated above the lowermost edges of the back surface element 26, end surfaces 22 and 30, and front surface element 20 so that the facial tissues 14 protruding through the opening 52 are protected somewhat from being scattered by any wind, or dampened by any moisture such as rain. While FIG. 5 shows the dispenser 10 to contain only a single container 56 of facial tissues 14, it will be appreciated that a second container 56 could be included merely by changing the relative vertical dimension of the dispenser 10. A fastener 58 is also shown that fastens end surface 30 of the first compartment 12 to second compartment 32.

While these features have been disclosed in connection with the illustrated preferred embodiment, other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art that come within the spirit of the invention as defined in the following claims.