Title:
SIPHON DEVICE FOR REMOVING LIQUIDS FROM BOTANICAL CONTAINERS AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A siphon device facilitates the removal of liquids from botanical containers, without requiring the removal, destruction, or alteration of botanical materials that may be contained therein. The siphon device comprises a first segment of tubing, a second segment of tubing coupled to the first segment of tubing, and a bulb coupled to the second segment of tubing. Inlet and outlet openings in the first segment of tubing allow liquids to be drawn into and released out of the siphon device. A first end of the first segment of tubing may be inserted into a botanical container holding liquid, such as a vase, urn, bottle, etc. Squeezing of the bulb forces air out of the bulb. Releasing of the bulb causes liquid to be drawn up through the first end and out of a second end of the first segment of tubing, thereby removing the liquid from the botanical container. The second end may be positioned in a disposal area, such as a sink, bucket, etc., in order to collect the liquid removed from the botanical container.



Inventors:
Matzke, Andrea L. (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/551360
Publication Date:
07/17/2008
Filing Date:
10/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D37/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRICE, CRAIG JAMES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEISS & MOY, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A siphon device comprising, in combination: a first segment of tubing having a first end with an inlet opening and a second end with an outlet opening and defining an internal cavity therebetween, wherein the first end is adapted to be inserted in a container and the second end is adapted to be positioned proximate a disposal area; a second segment of tubing positioned substantially proximate the second end of the first segment of tubing and having a first end with a first opening and a second end with a second opening, wherein the first end is coupled to the first segment of tubing; and a bulb having a substantially spherical shape defining an internal cavity therein and having an opening with an overlap region, wherein the overlap region is coupled to the second end of the second segment of tubing.

2. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein a length of the first segment of tubing is substantially greater than a height of a container into which it may be inserted.

3. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein the container is one of a vase, urn, and bottle.

4. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein the disposal area is one of a sink and bucket.

5. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein the first segment of tubing and second segment of tubing comprise a one-piece assembly.

6. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein the second segment of tubing and bulb comprise a one-piece assembly.

7. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein the first segment of tubing, second segment of tubing and bulb comprise a one-piece assembly.

8. The siphon device of claim 1 wherein the bulb defines an internal cavity volume of substantially three ounces.

9. The siphon device of claim 1 further comprising a check valve located proximate an upper portion of the bulb, wherein the valve is adapted to regulate a flow of air into and out of the bulb.

10. The siphon device of claim 1 further comprising an air/water valve located proximate the overlap region, wherein the valve allows air to enter the second segment from the bulb while preventing water from exiting the second segment and entering the bulb.

11. The siphon device of claim 1 further comprising an on/off valve located proximate the outlet opening.

12. A siphon device comprising, in combination: a first segment of tubing having a first end with an inlet opening and a second end with an outlet opening and defining an internal cavity therebetween, wherein the first end is adapted to be inserted in one of a vase, urn, and bottle and the second end is adapted to be positioned proximate one of a sink and bucket, the first segment of tubing having a length that is substantially greater than a height of the container into which it may be inserted; a second segment of tubing positioned substantially proximate the second end of the first segment of tubing and having a first end with a first opening and a second end with a second opening, wherein the first end is coupled to the first segment of tubing; and a bulb having a substantially spherical shape defining an internal cavity therein with a volume of substantially three ounces, and having an opening with an overlap region, wherein the overlap region is coupled to the second end of the second segment of tubing.

13. The siphon device of claim 12 wherein the first segment of tubing and second segment of tubing comprise a one-piece assembly.

14. The siphon device of claim 12 wherein the second segment of tubing and bulb comprise a one-piece assembly.

15. The siphon device of claim 12 wherein the first segment of tubing, second segment of tubing and bulb comprise a one-piece assembly.

16. The siphon device of claim 12 further comprising a check valve located proximate an upper portion of the bulb, wherein the valve is adapted to regulate a flow of air into and out of the bulb.

17. The siphon device of claim 12 further comprising an air/water valve located proximate the overlap region, wherein the valve allows air to enter the second segment from the bulb while preventing water from exiting the second segment and entering the bulb.

18. The siphon device of claim 12 further comprising an on/off valve located proximate the outlet opening.

19. A method for removing liquid from a botanical container comprising the steps of: providing a botanical container with liquid therein; providing a siphon device comprising, in combination: a first segment of tubing having a first end with an inlet opening and a second end with an outlet opening and defining an internal cavity therebetween, wherein the first end is adapted to be inserted in a container and the second end is adapted to be positioned proximate a disposal area; a second segment of tubing positioned substantially proximate the second end of the first segment of tubing and having a first end with a first opening and a second end with a second opening, wherein the first end is coupled to the first segment of tubing; and a bulb having a substantially spherical shape defining an internal cavity therein and having an opening with an overlap region, wherein the overlap region is coupled to the second end of the second segment of tubing; providing a disposal area; inserting the first end of the first segment of tubing into the botanical container; positioning the botanical container higher than the second end of the first segment of tubing; positioning the second end of the first segment of tubing proximate the disposal area; squeezing the bulb; partially releasing the bulb in order to draw the liquid up though the inlet opening and first end of the first segment of tubing; completely releasing the bulb once the liquid begins to flow downhill; and allowing the liquid to flow into the disposal area.

20. The method of claim 1 wherein the botanical container is one of a vase, urn, and bottle and the disposal area is one of a sink and bucket.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to siphon devices and, more particularly, to a siphon device that removes water and other liquids from containers, such as vases, urns, bottles, etc.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The practice of displaying botanical materials, such as freshly cut flowers, plants, foliage, herbs, grasses, etc. has been around for centuries. Such botanical materials are typically placed in containers of water for display, including, for example, vases, urns and bottles. In order to keep the botanical materials fresher longer, it is often recommended that the water in the container be changed frequently, typically once per day or every other day. Changing the water in relatively deep containers, especially vases, urns, and bottles, may be burdensome and awkward. In this regard, it may be necessary to first remove the botanical materials from the container. The water may then be emptied from the container, fresh water may then be added to the container, and the botanical materials replaced in the container. If the botanical materials are not removed from the container, a person would need to hold the botanical materials in place in some manner while the water is poured from the container. Further, if the water is being poured into a sink, for instance, it would be necessary to hold the container sufficiently above the sink so that the botanical materials are not crushed while the water is being poured out. These methods of removing water from the containers may result in the destruction and/or alteration of the arrangement of the botanical materials.

A need therefore exists for a device capable of removing liquid from botanical containers, such as vases, urns, bottles, etc., that does not require the removal of materials from the containers, that does not require a person to tip the container in order to pour liquid from the container, and that does not destroy and/or alter the arrangement of botanical materials within the container.

The present invention satisfies these needs and provides other, related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a siphon device for removing liquids from botanical containers is disclosed. The siphon device comprises, in combination: a first segment of tubing having a first end with an inlet opening and a second end with an outlet opening and defining an internal cavity therebetween, wherein the first end is adapted to be inserted in a container and the second end is adapted to be positioned proximate a disposal area; a second segment of tubing positioned substantially proximate the second end of the first segment of tubing and having a first end with a first opening and a second end with a second opening, wherein the first end is coupled to the first segment of tubing; and a bulb having a substantially spherical shape defining an internal cavity therein and having an opening with an overlap region, wherein the overlap region is coupled to the second end of the second segment of tubing.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, a siphon device for removing liquids from botanical containers is disclosed. The siphon device comprises, in combination: a first segment of tubing having a first end with an inlet opening and a second end with an outlet opening and defining an internal cavity therebetween, wherein the first end is adapted to be inserted in one of a vase, urn, and bottle and the second end is adapted to be positioned proximate one of a sink and bucket, the first segment of tubing having a length that is substantially greater than a height of the container into which it may be inserted; a second segment of tubing positioned substantially proximate the second end of the first segment of tubing and having a first end with a first opening and a second end with a second opening, wherein the first end is coupled to the first segment of tubing; and a bulb having a substantially spherical shape defining an internal cavity therein with a volume of substantially three ounces, and having an opening with an overlap region, wherein the overlap region is coupled to the second end of the second segment of tubing.

In accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention, a method for removing liquids from botanical containers is disclosed. The method comprises the steps of: providing a botanical container with liquid therein; providing a siphon device comprising, in combination: a first segment of tubing having a first end with an inlet opening and a second end with an outlet opening and defining an internal cavity therebetween, wherein the first end is adapted to be inserted in a container and the second end is adapted to be positioned proximate a disposal area; a second segment of tubing positioned substantially proximate the second end of the first segment of tubing and having a first end with a first opening and a second end with a second opening, wherein the first end is coupled to the first segment of tubing; and a bulb having a substantially spherical shape defining an internal cavity therein and having an opening with an overlap region, wherein the overlap region is coupled to the second end of the second segment of tubing; providing a disposal area; inserting the first end of the first segment of tubing into the botanical container; positioning the botanical container higher than the second end of the first segment of tubing; positioning the second end of the first segment of tubing proximate the disposal area; squeezing the bulb; partially releasing the bulb in order to draw the liquid up though the inlet opening and first end of the first segment of tubing; completely releasing the bulb once the liquid begins to flow downhill; and allowing the liquid to flow into the disposal area.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a siphon device, consistent with an embodiment of the present

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a siphon device, consistent with another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a side, cross-sectional view of a siphon device, consistent with a further embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring first to FIG. 1, an embodiment of a siphon device 10 consistent with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. The siphon device 10 is particularly useful for removing liquids from botanical containers, such as vases, urns, bottles, etc. The siphon device 10 comprises the following principal components: a first segment of tubing 12, a second segment of tubing 24 coupled to the first segment of tubing 12, and a bulb 30 coupled to the second segment of tubing 24.

In a preferred embodiment, the first segment of tubing 12, second segment of tubing 24, and bulb 30 comprise separate components. It may be possible for the first segment of tubing 12 and second segment of tubing 24 to form a one-piece assembly, if desired. It may also be possible for the second segment of tubing 24 and bulb 30 to comprise a one-piece assembly, if desired. It may further be possible for the first segment of tubing 12, second segment of tubing 24, and bulb 30 to form a one-piece assembly. Preferably, the first segment of tubing 12, second segment of tubing 24, and bulb 30 are composed of a flexible material, such as rubber or plastic. The first segment of tubing 12 and second segment of tubing 24 should be sufficiently rigid, however, such that each maintains its shape and does not collapse when inserted in a botanical container, as further discussed below.

The first segment of tubing 1, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, a first end 14 with an inlet opening 16 and a second end 18 with an outlet opening 20. The first segment of tubing 12 further includes an opening 22, adapted to receive the second segment of tubing 24. It is preferred that the opening 22 be positioned substantially proximate to the second end 18 of the first segment of tubing 12, as shown in the embodiment in FIG. 1. Preferably, the first segment of tubing 12 is of a length substantially longer than a height of a vase, urn, bottle, etc. into which it may be inserted. In this way, the first end 14 may be inserted in and reach the bottom of the vase, urn, bottle, etc., while the second end 18 may protrude from the vase, urn, bottle, etc. and into a disposal area, such as a sink, bucket, etc.

The second segment of tubing 24 includes a first end 26 with a first opening (not shown) and a second end 28 with a second opening (not shown). The first end 26 is adapted to be inserted in the opening 22 of the first segment of tubing 12. The second end 28 is adapted to be connected to the bulb 30, as discussed further below. It is preferred that the second segment of tubing 24 be coupled to the first segment of tubing 12 at a position that is substantially proximate to the second end 18 of the first segment of tubing 12. Preferably, the second segment of tubing 24 is of a length shorter than a length of the first segment of tubing 12.

The bulb 30 includes an opening 32 and an overlap region 34. The bulb 30 further includes an internal cavity (not shown) in which air may be contained. In a preferred embodiment, the bulb 30 defines an internal cavity volume of approximately 3 ounces. However, it may be desired to employ a bulb 30 in which the internal cavity consists of a different volume. Preferably, the bulb 30 is substantially spherically shaped, as shown in FIG. 1. However, it may be desired for the bulb 30 to take on some other shape, such as that of an oval, ellipse, egg-shape, etc. In a preferred embodiment, the opening 32 is adapted to receive the second end 28 of the second segment of tubing 24, with the overlap region 34 adapted to fit snugly around the second end 28, in order that air may not escape from either the bulb 30 or the second segment of tubing 24. In another embodiment (not shown), the bulb 30 may be configured such that the overlap region 34 is inserted into the second opening (not shown) proximate the second end 28 in the second segment of tubing 24, so long as a substantially tight fit is formed between the overlap region 34 and the second opening. The bulb 30 should be composed of a flexible material, such as rubber or plastic, that may compress when squeezed but then return to its original configuration when released.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, it may be desired to provide one or more valves, as herein described, to provide certain improvements to the functionality of the siphon device 10. For example, in one embodiment, it may be desired to provide a one-way check valve at the top of the bulb 30, which valve A will regulate the flow or air into and out of the bulb 30. This will permit multiple squeezes of the bulb 30, which will provide for improved suction.

Valve B is an airflow/water valve, which may be added to prevent water from entering the second segment of tubing 24 during operation, while permitting the passage of air therethrough. Valve C, which may be configured as a twist-activated, a flip open, or a snap open valve, may alternately seal and open outlet opening 20. When sealed, water may not pass through the outlet opening 20. Closing of the valve 3 allows a user to hold the prime, while a release of the valve C allows the siphon device 10 to be used for draining purposes as herein described.

Referring now to FIG. 2, another embodiment of a siphon device 100 consistent with an embodiment of the present invention is shown. As with the siphon device 10, the siphon device 100 is particularly useful for removing liquids from botanical containers, such as vases, urns, bottles, etc. The siphon device 100 comprises the following principal components: a first segment of tubing 112, a second segment of tubing 124 coupled to the first segment of tubing 112, and a bulb 130 coupled to the second segment of tubing 124.

In this embodiment, the second segment of tubing 124 and bulb 130 comprise a one-piece assembly. Preferably, the first segment of tubing 112, second segment of tubing 124, and bulb 130 are composed of a flexible material, such as rubber or plastic. The first segment of tubing 112 should be sufficiently rigid, however, such that it maintains its shape and does not collapse when inserted in a botanical container, as further discussed below.

The first segment of tubing 112, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, includes a first end 114 with an inlet opening 116 and a second end 118 with an outlet opening 120. The first segment of tubing 112 further includes an opening 122, adapted to receive the second segment of tubing 124. It is preferred that the opening 122 be positioned substantially proximate to the second end 118 of the first segment of tubing 112, as shown in the embodiment in FIG. 2. Preferably, the first segment of tubing 112 is of a length substantially longer than a height of a vase, urn, bottle, etc. into which it may be inserted. In this way, the first end 114 may be inserted in and reach the bottom of the vase, urn, bottle, etc., while the second end 118 may protrude from the vase, urn, bottle, etc. and into a disposal area, such as a sink, bucket, etc.

The second segment of tubing 124 includes a first end 126 with a first opening (not shown) and a second end 128 with a second opening (not shown). The first end 126 is adapted to be inserted in the opening 122 of the first segment of tubing 112. It is preferred that the second segment of tubing 124 be coupled to the first segment of tubing 112 at a position that is substantially proximate to the second end 118 of the first segment of tubing 112. Preferably, the second segment of tubing 124 is of a length shorter than a length of the first segment of tubing 112.

The bulb 130 opens internally to the second segment of tubing 124. The bulb 130 includes an internal cavity (not shown) in which air may be contained. In a preferred embodiment, the bulb 130 defines an internal cavity volume of approximately 3 ounces. However, it may be desired to employ a bulb 130 in which the internal cavity consists of a different volume. Preferably, the bulb 130 is substantially spherically shaped, as shown in FIG. 2. However, it may be desired for the bulb 130 to take on some other shape, such as that of an oval, ellipse, egg-shape, etc. The bulb 130 should be composed of a flexible material, such as rubber or plastic, that may compress when squeezed but then return to its original configuration when released.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, it may be desired to provide one or more valves, as herein described, to provide certain improvements to the functionality of the siphon device 100. For example, in one embodiment, it may be desired to provide a one-way check valve A at the top of the bulb 130, which valve 1 will regulate the flow or air into and out of the bulb 130. This will permit multiple squeezes of the bulb 130, which will provide for improved suction.

Valve B is an air/water valve, which may be added to prevent water from entering the second segment of tubing 124 during operation, while permitting the passage of air therethrough. Valve C, which may be configured as a twist-activated, flip open or snap open valve, is an on/off valve that may alternately seal and open outlet opening 120. When sealed, water may not pass through the outlet opening 120. Closing of the valve 3 allows a user to hold the prime, while a release of the valve 3 allows the siphon device 10 to be used for draining purposes as herein described.

Statement of Operation

In order to use the siphon device 10 to remove liquid from a botanical container, a user would first insert the first end 14 of the first segment of tubing 12 of the siphon device 10 into a botanical container, such as a vase, urn, bottle, etc., so that the first end 14 and inlet opening 16 reach the bottom of the botanical container. The user would ensure that the botanical container is positioned higher than the second end 18 and outlet opening 20 of the first segment of tubing 12. The user would next position the second end 18 and outlet opening 20 of the first segment of tubing 12 proximate a disposal area, such as a sink, bucket, etc., so that the liquid to be drained from the botanical container may flow into the disposal area. The disposal area should be capable of collecting an amount of liquid to be drained from the botanical container. Next, a user would squeeze the bulb 30 in order to force air out of the internal cavity of the bulb 30. Finally, the user would begin to release the bulb 30. As the bulb 30 is partially released, the liquid in the botanical container will be drawn up through the inlet opening 16 and first end 14 of the first segment of tubing 12. Once the liquid begins to flow downhill, the bulb 30 may be completely released. At this stage, gravity should allow the liquid to flow through the first segment of tubing 12, through the second end 18 and out of the outlet opening 20, and into the disposal area, thereby removing the liquid from the botanical container.

In order to use the siphon device 100, a user would follow substantially the same steps as those used for the siphon device 10. In this regard, a user would first insert the first end 114 of the first segment of tubing 112 of the siphon device 100 into a botanical container, such as a vase, urn, bottle, etc., so that the first end 114 and inlet opening 116 reach the bottom of the botanical container. The user would ensure that the botanical container is positioned higher than the second end 118 and outlet opening 120 of the first segment of tubing 112. The user would next position the second end 118 and outlet opening 120 of the first segment of tubing 112 proximate a disposal area, such as a sink, bucket, etc., so that the liquid to be drained from the botanical container may flow into the disposal area. The disposal area should be capable of collecting an amount of liquid to be drained from the botanical container. Next, a user would squeeze the bulb 130 in order to force air out of the internal cavity of the bulb 130. Finally, the user would begin to release the bulb 130. As the bulb 130 is partially released, the liquid in the botanical container will be drawn up through the inlet opening 116 and first end 114 of the first segment of tubing 112. Once the liquid begins to flow downhill, the bulb 130 may be completely released. At this stage, gravity should allow the liquid to flow through the first segment of tubing 112, through the second end 118 and out of the outlet opening 120, and into the disposal area, thereby removing the liquid from the botanical container.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, while embodiments of the invention as herein described may be utilized with botanical containers, the invention may also be useable other vessels containing liquids, including for example aquariums, standing water in the home, garden or yard.





 
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