Title:
APPARATUS FOR SUPPORTING WATER BOTTLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Apparatus for supporting water bottles including a support hub including first and second support faces axially spaced from and generally parallel to one another, and a plurality of support ribs radially extending from and spaced about a periphery of the support hub, the support ribs including support portions that extend axially beyond both the first and second support faces, such that when a water bottle is placed on either of the first and second support faces, the support portions are outwards of and support an external periphery of the water bottle.



Inventors:
Vishnevsky, Itzhak (Kfar Hess, IL)
Application Number:
11/845809
Publication Date:
03/05/2009
Filing Date:
08/28/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B73/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RODDEN, JOSHUA E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David Klein (REHOVOT, IL)
Claims:
1. Apparatus comprising: a support hub comprising first and second support faces axially spaced from and generally parallel to one another; and a plurality of support ribs radially extending from and spaced about a periphery of said support hub, said support ribs comprising support portions that extend axially beyond both the first and second support faces, and further comprising a water bottle placed on either of said first and second support faces, wherein said support portions are outwards of and support an external periphery of the water bottle.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein junctions of said support portions with said support hub are curved.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the support portion that extends axially beyond the first support face is wider than the support portion that extends axially beyond the second support face.

4. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of said first and second support faces is formed with an aperture for receiving therein a neck of a water bottle.

5. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein an advertisement is disposed on a visible portion of said support hub.

6. Apparatus comprising: a support hub comprising horizontal first and second support faces axially spaced from and generally parrallel to one another; and a plurality of vertical support ribs radially extending from and spaces about a periphery of said support hub, said vertical support ribs comprising support portions that extend vertically axially beyond both the first and second support faces, and further comprising a water bottle places horizontally on and supported by one of said first and second support gfaces, wherein an outer periphery of said water bottle is placed between and touches said vertical support ribs.

7. The apparatus according to claim 1 further comprising another water bottle placed on a floor, said support hub being placed on top of said other water bottle.

8. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a stack of water bottles and a plurality of said support hubs, wherein each of the water bottles is supported by one of said support hubs, and wherein for each of the water bottles, said support portions are outwards of and support an external periphery of the water bottle.

9. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of said first and second support faces is formed with an aperture, and a neck of said water bottle is received in said aperture.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to plastic drinking-water bottles, and particularly to apparatus for supporting (e.g., vertical stacking) such water bottles.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Drinking water is readily available in plastic refillable and non-refillable containers or bottles (“container” and “bottle” being used interchangeably throughout the specification and claims). For example, water (mineral, drinking, table, tab) may be bottled in 3- and 5-gallon returnable and refillable bottles (other sizes may also be available) or non-returnable bottles. The bottles used to be made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), but today the vast majority of such water bottles are made of polycarbonate (PC). Other materials, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), are also used.

Water bottles are often stacked in a lying position (horizontal) in metal wire frames. Such frames tend to be expensive to make. Blackhawk Molding (120 West Interstate Road Addison, Ill. 60101 US) manufactures a plastic divider under the brand name AQUASTAKKA (seen at http://www.blackhawkmolding.dom/aquastakka.aspx) that can be used to stack two 5 gallon water bottles one on top of the other.

The AQUASTAKKA suffers from a disadvantage in that it does not fully support the upper bottle. As a result, the upper water bottle can be easily toppled off the lower water bottle by inadvertently bumping against the upper water bottle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention seeks to provide improved apparatus for supporting water bottles, such as vertically stacking one on top of the other, as is described more in detail hereinbelow.

There is thus provided in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention apparatus for supporting water bottles including a support hub including first and second support faces axially spaced from and generally parallel to one another, and a plurality of support ribs radially extending from and spaced about a periphery of the support hub, the support ribs including support portions that extend axially beyond both the first and second support faces, such that when a water bottle is placed on either of the first and second support faces, the support portions are outwards of and support an external periphery of the water bottle.

The apparatus of the invention may have different non-limiting features. For example, junctions of the support portions with the support hub may be curved. The support portion that extends axially beyond the first support face may be wider than the support portion that extends axially beyond the second support face.

Each of the first and second support faces is formed with an aperture for receiving therein a neck of a water bottle. An advertisement can be disposed on a visible portion of the support hub.

The water bottle can be placed on and supported by one of the first and second support faces. For example, a first water bottle can be placed on a floor, the support hub can be placed on top of the first water bottle, and a second water bottle can be placed on top of the support hub supported by one of the first and second support faces.

In general, the invention enables making a stack of water bottles with a plurality of the support hubs, wherein each of the water bottles is supported by one of the support hubs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a simplified pictorial illustration of apparatus for supporting water bottles, constructed and operative in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a simplified pictorial illustration of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with a water bottle placed neck down thereupon;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are simplified pictorial illustrations of using the apparatus of FIG. 1 to stack water bottles one on top of the other, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a simplified pictorial illustration of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with a water bottle placed horizontally thereupon.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Reference is now made to FIG. 1, which illustrates apparatus 10 for supporting water bottles, constructed and operative in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

Apparatus 10 may include a support hub 12 that has first and second support faces 14 and 16, respectively, axially spaced from and generally parallel to one another. A plurality of support ribs 18 radially extend from and are spaced about a periphery of support hub 12. Support ribs 18 include support portions 20 that extend axially beyond both first and second support faces 14 and 16. As seen in FIGS. 2, 3A and 3B, when a water bottle 22 is placed on either of the first and second support faces 14 and 16, the support portions 20 are outwards of and support an external periphery of water bottle 22 (and water bottle 24 in FIGS. 3A and 3B). FIG. 4 illustrates water bottle 22 placed horizontally upon apparatus 10, wherein support portions 20 support a different portion of the external periphery of water bottle 22.

As seen in FIG. 1, junctions 26 of support portions 20 with support hub 12 may be curved. The support portion 20 that extends axially beyond the first support face 14 may be wider than the support portion 20 that extends axially beyond the second support face 16. Both first and second support faces 14 and 16 may be formed with an aperture 28 for receiving therein a neck of a water bottle 22 or 24.

Apparatus 10 may be manufactured from a sturdy plastic, preferably as least as hard as or harder than the plastic of the water bottle. An advertisement 30 can be disposed on a visible portion of support hub 12. The advertisement 30 can be integrally molded with support hub 12 or can be glued thereon, printed thereon, engraved thereon or otherwise formed thereon.

The water bottle can be placed on and supported by one of the first and second support faces 14 and 16. For example, as seen in FIG. 3A, a first water bottle 22 can be placed on a floor, the support hub 12 can be placed on top of the first water bottle 22, and a second water bottle 24 can be placed on top of the support hub 12 supported by one of the first and second support faces 14 and 16. As seen in FIG. 3B, the invention enables making a stack of water bottles with a plurality of the support hubs, wherein each of the water bottles is supported by one of the support hubs.

Reference is made again to FIG. 1. As another option, apparatus 10 can be used to support a water dispenser 30 (shown in dashed lines) onto which a water bottle (not shown) may be placed neck down. The water dispenser 30, as is known in the art, may be connected to a source of electricity and has a spigot for dispensing cold or hot water from the water bottle.

It is appreciated that various features of the invention which are, for clarity, described in the contexts of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination.