Title:
Spring handle kettle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kettle includes a kettle body defining an interior chamber with a spout positioned on the kettle body. The spout has a pour opening in communication with the interior chamber. The kettle also features a handle having a leading end, a gripping portion and a leaf spring. The leaf spring includes a leading portion attached to the gripping portion and a trailing portion attached to the kettle body. A spout lid is pivotally attached to the kettle body so as to selectively cover the pour opening. The leading end of the handle is pivotally mounted to the spout lid at a position where the leaf spring urges the leading end of the handle in a direction away from the trailing portion of the leaf spring so that the spout lid covers the pour opening when the kettle is in a level position. The leading end of the handle travels towards the trailing portion of the spring when the kettle is moved towards a pouring position so that the spout lid is lifted from the pour opening and ultimately to an angle sufficient to clear the stream of liquid flowing from the spout when the kettle is inverted.



Inventors:
Lebowitz, Samuel (Shelter Island, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/900245
Publication Date:
03/12/2009
Filing Date:
09/11/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D47/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SHAVER, KEVIN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
R. Blake Johnston (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A kettle comprising: a. a kettle body defining an interior chamber; b. a spout positioned on the kettle body and having a pour opening in communication with the interior chamber; c. a handle having a leading end, a gripping portion and a leaf spring, said leaf spring including a leading portion attached to the gripping portion and a trailing portion attached to the kettle body; e. a spout lid removably covering the pour opening of the spout and pivotally attached to the kettle body; and f. said leading end of the handle pivotally mounted to the spout lid at a position where the leaf spring urges the leading end of the handle in a direction away from the trailing portion of the leaf spring so that the spout lid covers the pour opening when the kettle is in a level position, and the leading end of the handle travels towards the trailing portion of the spring so that the spout lid is lifted from the pour opening when the kettle is moved towards a pouring position.

2. The kettle of claim 1 further comprising a pivot mount attached to the kettle body, said pivot mount pivotally supporting the spout lid.

3. The kettle of claim 2 wherein the pivot mount includes a base portion and a pair of horizontally-spaced pivot arms with said spout lid pivotally mounted between the pivot arms.

4. The kettle of claim 3 wherein the spout lid includes an arm featuring a cam with said cam pivotally mounted between the pivot arms and pivotally mounted to the leading end of the handle.

5. The kettle of claim 4 further comprising a pivot tang attached to the leading end of the handle and wherein the cam features a pair of horizontally-spaced prongs with the pivot tang pivotally received between the prongs of the cam.

6. The kettle of claim 1 further comprising a ribbed sleeve covering the leaf spring.

7. The kettle of claim 6 wherein the ribbed sleeve is constructed of silicone.

8. The kettle of claim 1 wherein the leaf spring is constructed of steel.

9. The kettle of claim 1 wherein the spout lid includes a whistle housing.

10. The kettle of claim 9 wherein the spout lid includes an arm attached to the whistle housing on one end and a cam on an opposite end with said cam pivotally mounted to both the kettle body and the leading end of the handle.

11. The kettle of claim 1 further comprising a rear mounting bracket and a pair of clamping members and wherein the trailing portion of the leaf spring is secured to the kettle body by the rear mounting bracket and clamped between the pair of clamping members.

12. The kettle of claim 11 wherein the pair of clamping members are secured together by a clamp screw.

13. The kettle of claim 1 wherein the gripping portion of the handle is molded over the leading portion of the leaf spring.

14. A kettle comprising: a. a kettle body defining an interior chamber; b. a spout positioned on the kettle body and having a pour opening in communication with the interior chamber; c. a handle having a leading end, a gripping portion and a leaf spring, said leaf spring including a leading portion attached to the gripping portion and a trailing portion attached to the kettle body; e. a spout lid pivotally attached to the kettle body so as to selectively cover the pour opening of the spout; and f. said leading end of the handle pivotally mounted to the spout lid so that said spout lid covers the pour opening of the spout when the kettle is in a level position and said spout lid uncovers the pour opening when the kettle is moved towards a pouring position.

15. The kettle of claim 14 further comprising a pivot mount attached to the kettle body, said pivot mount pivotally supporting the spout lid.

16. The kettle of claim 15 wherein the pivot mount includes a base portion and a pair of horizontally-spaced pivot arms with said spout lid pivotally mounted between the pivot arms.

17. The kettle of claim 16 wherein the spout lid includes an arm featuring a cam with said cam is pivotally mounted between the pivot arms and pivotally mounted to the leading end of the handle.

18. The kettle of claim 17 further comprising a pivot tang attached to the leading end of the handle and wherein the cam features a pair of horizontally-spaced prongs with the pivot tang pivotally received between the prongs of the cam.

19. The kettle of claim 14 further comprising a ribbed sleeve covering the leaf spring.

20. The kettle of claim 19 wherein the ribbed sleeve is constructed of silicone.

21. The kettle of claim 14 wherein the leaf spring is constructed of steel.

22. The kettle of claim 14 wherein the spout lid includes a whistle housing.

23. The kettle of claim 22 wherein the spout lid includes an arm attached to the whistle housing on one end and a cam on an opposite end with said cam pivotally mounted to both the kettle body and the leading end of the handle.

24. The kettle of claim 14 further comprising a rear mounting bracket and a pair of clamping members and wherein the trailing portion of the leaf spring is secured to the kettle body by the rear mounting bracket and clamped between the pair of clamping members.

25. The kettle of claim 24 wherein the pair of clamping members are secured together by a clamp screw.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to kettles of the type used to heat liquids and, more particularly, to a kettle with a spout closed by a lid which opens automatically due to the action of a spring handle when the kettle is rotated for pouring.

BACKGROUND

Kettles used for brewing coffee or simply heating hot water for tea, baths or for cooking have long been known in the art. The basic design of a kettle includes a kettle body for holding the water and a spout connected to the body. The spout is used for pouring hot water or other liquids out of the kettle and is sometimes used also to fill the actual kettle body. A whistle is typically located in a lid which removably covers the spout. The whistle produces an auditory alert when steam is present due to the liquid in the kettle body boiling. A kettle also typically features a handle for lifting and tilting the kettle for pouring the heated liquid into a cup or other receptacle.

Opening the spout lid with additional actions such as pressing a button or flipping a lever can be burdensome and awkward. In response, kettles allowing for automatic opening and closing of the spout lid with a simple rotation of the kettle handle have been developed.

Prior art automatic-opening kettles include kettles with handles pivotally connected by their trailing ends to the kettle bodies and by their leading ends to the kettle lids, which are also pivotally attached to the kettle bodies, to permit users to open the lids simply by lifting the kettles. With such kettles, the weights of the kettle bodies create pulling forces that open the spout lids as the elevated handles are held by users. Examples of such kettles include U.S. Pat. No. 1,486,802 to Royse, U.S. Pat. No. 2,624,493 to Porter, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,135,128 to Kuhn. A difficulty with the kettles of these patents, however, is that there is no controlled or gradual opening of the lids as the kettles are lifted by the handles. More specifically, the lids of these kettles fully open instantly when the kettles are lifted. This may result in heated liquid splashing out of the open spout, which is undesirable. In addition, such functionality makes controlled and gradual pouring of the liquid in the kettles difficult.

Another prior art kettle, which is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 6,006,959 to Naden et al., features an automatically opening spout lid pivotally connected to both the kettle body and the leading end of a handle. The handle is pivotally mounted to the kettle body by its middle portion. As a result, the handle can alternate between two distinct positions, with one position causing the spout lid to be open and a second position causing the spout lid to be closed.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,225,952 to Naden discloses a kettle featuring a handle having a fixed rear portion and a front portion having a trailing end that is pivotally attached to the fixed rear portion and a leading end that is pivotally attached to a linkage whereby the spout lid of the kettle is pivotally connected to the kettle body. As a result, the spout lid remains closed when the kettle is lifted by the front portion of the handle. The spout lid opens, however, when the kettle is tilted for pouring.

As with the prior art kettles described above, the kettles of the '959 patent and the '952 patent each also lack a gradual and controlled opening of the lid. In addition, the kettle of the '952 patent requires a spring to keep the spout lid closed when the kettle is resting on a surface. The combination of the spring and linkage of the '952 patent restricts the angle that the spout lid is permitted to pivot with respect to the kettle body when opening. This may result in hot liquid deflecting off of the open lid when the kettle is inverted so as to empty its liquid contents.

A need therefore exists for a kettle that permits automatic and gradual opening of the lid to allow for smoother and more controlled pouring with a reduced chance of hot liquid splashing from the kettle spout. There is also a need for a kettle with a spout lid that opens sufficiently to be clear of a stream of liquid flowing from the spout when the kettle is inverted.

The handle and lid opening arrangements of the above prior art kettles also result in their lids being open when the kettles are lifted and transported. It is desirable for the lid of a kettle to be closed when it is lifted and transported to prevent undesirable cooling of the liquid in the kettle body and, once again, to reduce splashing of liquid from the kettle spout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the kettle of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the kettle of FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2 with the kettle in a level position;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the kettle of FIG. 2 after being lifted and tilted into a pouring position;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the kettle of FIGS. 1 and 2 after being inverted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

An embodiment of the kettle of the invention is indicated in general at 100 in FIGS. 1 through 3. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the kettle. 100 features a spout 102 that is attached to a kettle body 104. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the spout defines a conduit 103 that communicates with an interior chamber 105 defined by the kettle body 104. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the upper end of the spout features a pour opening 107. While the spout and body are preferably formed from steel, other materials capable of withstanding high temperature liquids may be used instead.

A pivot mount, indicated in general at 106 in FIGS. 1 and 2, is attached to the spout 102 and body 104 of the kettle. The pivot mount is preferably constructed from die cast stainless steel and is secured to the kettle body by and spout by mounting tab 109 (FIG. 2) and screw 111. As illustrated in FIG. 2, a tab-like rear mounting bracket 108 is attached to the kettle body at a position diametrically opposite to the spout 102. A fill opening 112 is positioned on the top of the kettle body between the pivot mount 106 and the rear mounting bracket 108. A cover 114 is removably positioned within the fill opening 112 of the kettle body.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the kettle also features a handle, indicated in general at 120, having a leading end 122 and a trailing end 124. As illustrated in FIG. 2, where the trailing end of the handle is indicated in general at 124, the trailing end of the handle includes a pair of clamping members 126a and 126b, the function of which will be explained below.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, a pivot tang 128 is secured to the leading end 122 of the handle. More specifically, the handle features a rigid gripping portion 132 that is preferably molded from nylon. Pivot tang is preferably constructed from stainless steel and is secured within gripping portion of the handle via over molding of the gripping portion. Other fastening arrangements may be used to attached the tang 128 within the gripping portion 132 of the handle. A leaf spring, illustrated at 134 in FIGS. 2 and 3, features a leading portion 136 and a trailing portion 138. The leading portion 136 of the spring is secured within the gripping portion 132 of the handle by over molding of the gripping portion. As with the tang 128, other arrangements may be used to attach the leading portion 136 of the leaf spring to the gripping portion 132. The leaf spring 134 is preferably constructed of steel. A ribbed sleeve 142, preferably constructed of silicone, is preferably molded over the middle portion of the leaf spring 134.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the trailing portion 138 of the leaf spring is secured and clamped to the rear mounting bracket 108 of the kettle by clamping members 126a and 126b and a pair of clamp screws 144a and 144b. Clamping members 126a and 126b are preferably constructed from die cast stainless steel.

A spout lid, indicated in general at 146 in FIGS. 1 and 2, has a whistle housing 148 and a whistle housing arm 152 having one end attached to the whistle housing. A whistle housing cam, indicated in general at 153 in FIG. 2, is positioned at the opposite end of the whistle housing arm. The whistle housing cam 153 of the whistle housing arm is bifurcated into a pair of horizontally-spaced prongs 154a and 154b. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the leading end of the pivot tang 128 is positioned between prongs 154a and 154b of the whistle housing cam via pin 156 so that the whistle housing arm 152 pivots with respect to the pivot tang 128. As is well known in the art, a whistle is positioned within the whistle housing 148 so that a audible indication is provided when steam exits the lid through opening 158 (FIG. 1).

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pivot support 106 features a base portion 162 and a pair of horizontally-spaced pivot arms 164a and 164b. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the cam end of the whistle housing arm is pivotally positioned between the pivot arms 164a and 164b by pin 168

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate the kettle resting on a generally horizontal surface (indicated at 172 in FIG. 2) so as to be generally level. When the kettle is in the level position illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the leaf spring 134 is under tension and continuously pushes forward on the pivot tang 128, that is, in a direction away from the trailing end 138 of the leaf spring. The direction of the spring force when the kettle is in the level position is illustrated by arrow 174 in FIG. 2. The whistle arm cam 153 converts this force to constant downward pressure of the whistle housing 148 on the spout, so that the pour opening of the spout remains covered by the spout lid. The strength of the leaf spring 134 is such that the spout lid covers the pour opening even after the kettle is lifted, as long as it is held generally level.

FIG. 3 illustrates the kettle 100 after a user has grasped the gripping portion 132 of the kettle handle, and lifted and rotated it into the pouring position. When the kettle is rotated to pour, the weight of the kettle body, and the liquid in the interior chamber of the kettle body, causes the spring to flex so that the pivot tang 128 travels in the direction of arrow 176, that is, towards the trailing portion 138 of the leaf spring. As a result, the whistle housing cam 153 pivots in the clockwise direction about pin 168 and the whistle housing 148 is lifted off of the spout 102 by whistle housing arm 152 so that the pour opening 107 is uncovered. As a result, liquid may be poured out of the spout.

FIG. 4 illustrates the kettle after the user has tilted the kettle further in the counter-clockwise direction, while continuing to grasp gripping portion 132 of the handle, so that the kettle is inverted. With kettle positioned in such an inverted orientation, the axis of the spout 102, which is illustrated by dashed line 182, is generally vertical so that the liquid remaining in the kettle may be poured out of the pour opening 107. As the kettle is tilted into the inverted orientation illustrated in FIG. 4, the whistle housing arm 152 travels further in the direction of arrow 184 of FIG. 4 so that the whistle housing 148 pivots further away from the spout 102 and spout opening 107. As a result, the liquid stream flowing from pour opening 107 does not encounter the whistle housing 148 so that undesirable splashing is avoided.

The kettle of the invention therefore provides for a gradual opening of the lid when the kettle is rotated. This is in contrast to the prior art kettles which feature spout lids that partially open immediately to a restricted angle when those prior art kettles are lifted. In addition, the kettle of the invention features a spout pour opening that remains covered by the spout lid when the kettle is in a level position, such as when resting on a surface or being carried in a generally horizontal, non-tilted orientation. The kettle of the invention also uses the variable deflection of the handle spring so that the spout lid opens to a position that fully clears the stream of flowing liquid when the kettle is inverted.

While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention, the scope of which is defined by the appended claims.





 
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