Title:
Multi-Use Disposable Ashtray Cover Element
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A multi-use disposable ashtray cover element, comprising flexible fire retardant sheet material and an aperture bored in a central portion of said sheet material through which ash or a cigarette butt is depositable. The sheet material is foldable along the top edges of an underlying receptacle and a peripheral portion of the sheet material located outwardly from the top edges. The peripheral portion is engageable with a corresponding side wall of said receptacle. The ashtray cover element further comprises a preformed neck having walls extending downwardly from the aperture.



Inventors:
Cohen, Eli (Upper Yokneam, IL)
Application Number:
12/258027
Publication Date:
09/24/2009
Filing Date:
10/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A24F15/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MAYES, DIONNE WALLS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A multi-use disposable ashtray cover element, comprising flexible fire retardant sheet material and an aperture bored in a central portion of said sheet material through which ash or a cigarette butt is depositable, said sheet material being foldable along one or more top edges of an underlying receptacle and a peripheral portion of said sheet material located outwardly from said one or more top edges being engageable with a corresponding side wall of said receptacle.

2. The ashtray cover element of claim 1, further comprising a neck having walls extending downwardly from the aperture.

3. The ashtray cover element of claim 2, wherein the neck is preformed.

4. The ashtray cover element of claim 2, wherein the neck is tubular or conical.

5. The ashtray cover element of claim 1, further comprising one or more border elements extending perpendicularly from the sheet material, each of said border elements being foldable about a corresponding receptacle top edge and engageable with a corresponding receptacle side wall.

6. The ashtray cover element of claim 1, wherein a portion of the sheet material between a receptacle top edge and a neck is sloped.

7. The ashtray cover element of claim 1, wherein the sheet material has sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette placed thereon.

8. The ashtray cover element of claim 2, further comprising one or more border elements extending perpendicularly from the sheet material, each of said border elements being foldable about a corresponding receptacle top edge and engageable with a corresponding receptacle side wall.

9. The ashtray cover element of claim 3, further comprising one or more border elements extending perpendicularly from the sheet material, each of said border elements being foldable about a corresponding receptacle top edge and engageable with a corresponding receptacle side wall.

10. The ashtray cover element of claim 4, further comprising one or more border elements extending perpendicularly from the sheet material, each of said border elements being foldable about a corresponding receptacle top edge and engageable with a corresponding receptacle side wall.

11. The ashtray cover element of claim 2, wherein a portion of the sheet material between a receptacle top edge and the neck is sloped.

12. The ashtray cover element of claim 3, wherein a portion of the sheet material between a receptacle top edge and the neck is sloped.

13. The ashtray cover element of claim 4, wherein a portion of the sheet material between a receptacle top edge and the neck is sloped.

14. The ashtray cover element of claim 5, wherein a portion of the sheet material between a receptacle top edge and the neck is sloped.

15. The ashtray cover element of claim 2, wherein the sheet material has sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette placed thereon.

16. The ashtray cover element of claim 3, wherein the sheet material has sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette placed thereon.

17. The ashtray cover element of claim 4, wherein the sheet material has sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette placed thereon.

18. The ashtray cover element of claim 5, wherein the sheet material has sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette placed thereon.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a disposable ashtray cover. More particularly, the invention relates to a multi-use ashtray cover element for supporting burning cigarettes and through which finished cigarettes butts are deposited into an underlying receptacle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In recent times, a widespread objection exists to public smoking. Most governmental authorities have passed laws against smoking in public areas, and heavy fines are imposed on those that smoke in such areas and on publicly accessible establishments in which smoking is permitted. A suitable solution for the needs of both smokers and non-smokers is required. Non-smokers do not wish to be exposed to the smoke of cigarettes or to cigarette butts for health, odor and esthetic reasons. On the other hand, smokers that cannot smoke in public areas need disposable and portable ashtrays in order to smoke in many locations that are not harmful or bothersome to non-smokers. Thus, the most convenient smoking areas are generally outdoors or within one's home or vehicle. Vehicle located ashtrays are often very small and difficult to remove. Since a vehicle located ashtray is not readily portable, a smoker that leaves his vehicle in order to smoke outdoors tends not to bring the ashtray, and is therefore encouraged to discard the cigarette butts outdoors, thereby polluting the surroundings.

The prior art is replete with many portable ashtrays.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,595,103 discloses a cigarette ash receiver comprising a receptacle and a funnel shaped, removable ash and cigarette receiving cover fitted over the mouth of the receptacle. When a cigarette is placed or dropped on the cover, the lighted end of the cigarette will engage the wall of the cover opening, dissipating its heat and causing it to be extinguished, and the mouth end thereof extends upwardly from the cover.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,082,901 discloses an ashtray with a disposable receiver. The ashtray comprises a container and lid made of molded fireproof material. An empty carton is removably disposed within the container. The lid is funnel-like, with a tubular neck depending through an opening, so that ashes and butts may be delivered through the neck into the carton.

Since the container and cover are manufactured articles, the ashtray of each of these two publications is relatively expensive.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,990,983 discloses a disposable foldable cup holder ashtray formed from a single blank of fire retardant paper into a box shape that will fit into a vehicle cup holder. When the ashtray is full of cigarette butts, a top lid panel is folded over the top cavity, locked in place, and is safely disposed. The folding process is relatively time consuming and cannot be used for a receptacle of a significantly different shape.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a disposable ashtray cover that is engageable with the top edge of a plurality of differently shaped cigarette butt receptacles.

It is an additional object of the present invention to provide an inexpensive ashtray cover.

It is an additional object of the present invention to provide an ashtray cover that can be speedily and simply engaged to an underlying receptacle.

Other objects and advantages of present invention will appear as description proceeds.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a multi-use disposable ashtray cover element, comprising flexible fire retardant sheet material and an aperture bored in a central portion of said sheet material through which ash or a cigarette butt is depositable, said sheet material being foldable along one or more top edges of an underlying receptacle and a peripheral portion of said sheet material located outwardly from said one or more top edges being engageable with a corresponding side wall of said receptacle.

As referred to herein, the term “multi-use” means that the cover element can be engaged with many different types of receptacles, and furthermore, may be removed from a first receptacle and engaged with a second receptacle.

The ashtray cover element preferably further comprises a neck having walls extending downwardly from the aperture.

In one aspect, the neck is preformed.

In one aspect, the neck is tubular or conical.

In one aspect, the ashtray cover element further comprises one or more border elements extending perpendicularly from the sheet material, each of said border elements being foldable about a corresponding receptacle top edge and engageable with a corresponding receptacle side wall.

In one aspect, a portion of the sheet material between a receptacle top edge and the neck is sloped.

The sheet material has sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette placed thereon.

An ashtray comprising the ashtray cover element and a given receptacle can function like any other ashtray for extinguishing cigarettes and receiving cigarettes butts through the aperture. Both the cover element and the receptacle are preferably disposable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an ashtray cover element, according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an ashtray cover element, according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an ashtray produced from the cover element of FIG. 2 and a cup;

FIG. 4a is a perspective view of a folded cover element of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4b is a perspective view of a rectilinear receptacle to which is engaged the cover element of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a vertical cross sectional view of an ashtray produced with the receptacle of FIG. 4b;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an ashtray produced from the cover element of FIG. 2 and a triangular receptacle;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an ashtray produced from the cover element of FIG. 2 and a variably shaped receptacle;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of an ashtray cover element, according to another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the cover element of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is a flexible, multi-use ashtray cover that is engageable with the top edge and a side wall of a plurality of differently shaped cigarette butt receptacles. A disposable ashtray for outdoor and in-vehicle smoking is speedily produced when the ashtray coven is engaged with the top edge and side wall of a selected receptacle.

FIG. 1 illustrates a plan view of a multi-use ashtray cover element, which is generally indicated by numeral 5, according to one embodiment of the invention. Cover element 5 is made of flexible fire retardant or fire proof sheet material 4, such as heavy-duty aluminum foil, yet which has a sufficiently high material strength to support a cigarette or a cigarettes butt placed thereon. Sheet material 4 may be configured in any suitable fashion, e.g. with a square perimeter 20 as shown and with a central aperture 7 through which ash and cigarette butts may be deposited. A weak line 2 may be provided in sheet material 4, to allow a tubular neck 3 to be formed between weak line 2 and aperture 7. When the central sheet material between weak line 2 and aperture 7 is planar during distribution to consumers, neck 3 is generally formed by cutting a portion of the central sheet material. It will therefore be appreciated that sheet material 4 can be suitably folded so as to be engaged to the top edge of an underlying receptacle, regardless of its shape and size, forming a disposable ashtray. After being folded, a portion of sheet material 4 is generally also engaged with a side wall of the receptacle. If so desired, excess sheet material may be cut and discarded. The sheet material internal to the receptacle top edge may be horizontal, or may be arranged to slope towards neck 3. Neck 3 can be positioned in any desired region of the receptacle, not necessarily in the center thereof, depending on the way sheet material 4 was folded.

FIG. 2 illustrates an ashtray cover element 6 which is made from sheet material 4 having a curvilinear perimeter 21 and is produced with a pre-folded neck 8, sloping inwardly from weak line 2 to aperture 7.

FIG. 3 illustrates an ashtray 10 which is produced by engaging a cover element 6 with the top edge 12 and side wall 19 of an underlying receptacle 15 for ash and cigarette butts. The open top of receptacle 15 is covered and sealed by cover element 6. Receptacle 15 can be a commercially available cup or any other selected article. Cigarette 17, which is disposed at an inclination substantially equal to that of cover element portion 9 surrounding neck 8, is shown to be supported by top edge 12 of receptacle 15 such that the lighted end thereof is directed towards neck 8. The ash and the cigarette butt will therefore be able to be deposited into receptacle 15 via neck 8.

As shown in FIGS. 4a-b, the same cover element 6 can be used to cover the open top of a rectilinear receptacle 18 to produce an ashtray 23. Cover element 6 is folded along top edge 26 of receptacle 18, resulting in a plurality of peripheral regions 24 outwardly from a corresponding folded line 25. Peripheral regions 24 can then be engaged with, or secured to, corresponding side walls 27 of receptacle 18. A vertical cross section of ashtray 23 is shown in FIG. 5. Sloped portion 9 of cover element 6 extends from top edge 26 of receptacle 18 to neck 8. Neck 8 may have tubular walls as shown, or may have conically shaped walls as shown in FIG. 2. The sloped configuration of portion 9 is adapted to support cigarettes.

Similarly, cover element 6 can be engaged with the top edges of a triangular receptacle 20 to produce ashtray 30 as shown in FIG. 6, or with the top edges of a variably shaped receptacle 33, e.g. one that has both straight side walls 36 and curved side walls 37, to produce ashtray 35 as shown in FIG. 7. Cover element 5 or 6 may be removed from a receptacle 20 and be engaged with a receptacle 33.

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate another embodiment of a cover element 40 which is provided with a plurality of border elements, e.g. border elements 42, 43 and 44, which are perpendicular to sheet material 45. The border elements may be circular, as shown, or may be configured in any other desired fashion. One of border elements may be placed in abutting relation with a top edge of the receptacle, while a border element disposed outwardly from the border element placed in abutting relation with the receptacle top edge may be folded and placed in engagement with the receptacle side wall. A border element placed in engagement with a receptacle side wall seals the top edges of the receptacle, minimizing the escape of smoke from the interior of the receptacle. Neck 8 is located inwardly with respect to the border elements and depends downwardly from sheet material 45. Cover element 40 may be engaged with any desired receptacle, such as receptacle 15 of FIG. 3, receptacle 18 of FIG. 4b, receptacle 20 of FIG. 6, or receptacle 33 of FIG. 7.

While some embodiments of the invention have been described by way of illustration, it will be apparent that the invention can be carried into practice with many notifications, variations and adaptations, and with the use of numerous equivalents or alternative solution that are within the scope of persons skilled in the art, without departing from the spirit of the invention or exceeding the scope of the claims.