Title:
Beverage dispensing cooler
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The beverage dispensing cooler is a cooler for storing food, drinks, cans, beverages and the like which is divided into a plurality of tubes. Each tube has a slide handle therein which slides the containers outward for easy access via the front of the cooler.



Inventors:
Gadson, Glenn A. (Evans, GA, US)
Application Number:
12/583113
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
08/14/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/457.7, 62/457.5
International Classes:
F25D25/00; F25D3/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
ROJOHN III, CLAIRE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ken Buffington (Martinez, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A beverage dispensing cooler comprising: (a) a portable cooler chest; (b) a plurality of hollow generally cylindrical beverage tubes extending from the inside to the outside of said portable cooler chest to hold a plurality of beverage containers in an end-to-end relationship; (c) a means of dispensing beverage containers; whereby heat transfer from said portable cooler is minimized and the water or ice inside the said portable cooler chest does not come in contact with the said beverage containers.

2. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 1 wherein said portable cooler chest includes a food drawer tube integrally molded into said portable cooler chest.

3. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 2 wherein said food drawer tube encloses a food drawer whereby preventing the contents of said food drawer from contact with the ice or water inside said portable cooler chest.

4. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 3 wherein said food drawer is attached to a food drawer handle whereby said food drawer is accessible from outside said beverage dispensing cooler.

5. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 3 wherein said food drawer is completely removable, and also movable between a closed and open position.

6. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 1 wherein said beverage tubes are permanently sealed on the end inside the said portable cooler chest and open on the end outside the said portable cooler chest.

7. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 1 wherein said beverage tubes are provided with tube covers to seal the open ends outside the said portable cooler chest.

8. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 7 wherein said tube covers are selectably openable to insert or remove a beverage container from said beverage tube.

9. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 1 wherein said means of dispensing beverage containers includes at least one device selected from the group consisting of a slide handle, a front gripping tab, a rear holding tab, and a spring.

10. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 1 wherein said beverage tubes are liquid tight whereby the ice or water inside said portable cooler chest does not leak inside the said beverage tubes.

11. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 2 wherein said food drawer tube is liquid tight whereby the ice or water inside said portable cooler chest does not leak inside the said food drawer tube.

12. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 1 wherein said beverage tubes, said food drawer tube, and said portable cooler chest are thermally insulated.

13. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 7 wherein said tube covers are labeled whereby to identify the contents therein.

14. A method of minimizing heat transfer from a beverage cooler comprising: (a) providing a portable cooler chest; (b) providing a plurality of hollow generally cylindrical beverage tubes extending from the inside to the outside of said portable cooler chest to hold a plurality of beverage containers in an end-to-end relationship; (c) providing a means of dispensing beverage containers.

15. A beverage dispensing cooler comprising: (a) a portable cooler chest; (b) a plurality of hollow generally cylindrical beverage tubes extending from the inside to the outside of said portable cooler chest to hold a plurality of beverage containers in an end-to-end relationship; said beverage tubes having an open end at the outside of said cooler chest and a closed end at the inside of said cooler chest; (c) a food drawer movable between a closed position and open position and accessible from outside of said cooler chest; (d) a plurality of tube covers enclosing said beverage tubes at said open end at the outside of said cooler chest; said tube covers being selectably openable to insert or remove said beverage containers inside said beverage tubes.

16. The beverage dispensing cooler of claim 15 wherein said tube covers are labeled whereby to identify the contents therein.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/189,167 filed on Aug. 15, 2008 by the present inventor, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable.

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

The present invention relates to a beverage cooler and more particularly to a beverage cooler having a plurality of beverage tubes and means permitting access to each beverage tube individually. Additionally, the beverage cooler includes a removable food drawer which protects food items from moisture.

2. Prior Art

Relevant prior art includes:

U.S. Pat. No. 6,862,896March 2005Seidl
U.S. Pat. No. 6,109,059August 2000Lebrun
U.S. Pat. No. 6,062,411May 2000Garland, Jr.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,194,647March 1980Spurrier

Many types of cooler chests have been provided which include some means for cooling beverage cans and to dispense the cans once they are cooled. Although some of the prior art cooler chests and can dispensing structures have been met with some success, the prior art devices possess certain disadvantages. Some prior art cooler chests have beverage can dispensers such that the lid of the cooler chest must be opened to insert beverage cans into the chest and to remove the cooled cans. Further, certain prior art cooler chests and beverage can dispensers permit ice and water in the chest, which may be contaminated, to contact the beverage cans in the cooler compartment. Still other prior art cooler chests with can dispensers associated therewith are simply not convenient to use. Additionally, it is difficult to clean some of the prior art beverage can cooling chests and dispensers should the beverage can leak while in the cooler chest. Generally, the prior art has been directed to portable coolers with only a single beverage dispenser so that there is only one type of beverage in the dispenser or in the case of different beverages, there is guess work in selecting a particular beverage from the single beverage dispenser.

Accordingly, a need exists for a cooler that does not possess the limitations stated above. In particular, a need exists for a cooler that allows easy access to a specific beverage. Additionally, this cooler should provide ready access to the beverages or food items stored in the cooler.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a beverage dispenser which satisfies all the foregoing needs. The cooler lid does not have to be opened each time to retrieve a drink, so the ice lasts longer. The user does not have to dig his hand through cold ice searching for his desired drink. The drinks are easily identified by the labels mounted on the side. Drinks are easy to load without having to encapsulate in ice and the ice remains clean for use in cups for those who like ice in their drinks. Food items can be placed in removable food drawer which protects food items from moisture.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the drawings in which like reference numbers represent corresponding parts throughout:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a preferred embodiment of the beverage dispensing cooler.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the beverage dispensing cooler.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the beverage dispensing cooler.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following description includes the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the invention. This description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims. Reference is made to FIGS. 1-3, which shows the beverage dispensing cooler 10 in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

The beverage dispensing cooler 10 consists of an upper lid 20, portable cooler chest 30, beverage tubes 40, food drawer tube 55, tube covers 65 and tube labels 70. The beverage tubes 40 are off set such that in the specific example shown in the figures, there are four upper beverage tubes 40 and two lower beverage tubes 40. This arrangement allows the ice or other cooling medium to completely surround the beverage tubes 40. The individual beverages or drinks snuggly fit into the beverage tubes 40 and are easily accessible from outside of the beverage dispensing cooler 10 without opening the upper lid 20. Each beverage tube 40 is covered with a tube cover 65. Each tube cover 65 is provided with a unique tube label 70 that is customized by the user to indicate which beverage is stored inside a specific beverage tube 40. Each tube cover 65 is provided with sufficient insulation material 25 to maximize cooling inside the cooler 10. The beverage tubes 40 are typically surrounded by ice for maximum cooling. A removable food drawer 50 can be pulled open with a drawer handle 60 to store food items. The food drawer 50 can accommodate sandwiches, lunch meats and the like in a way that will keep them cold without allowing moisture to penetrate and damage the food items.

Drinks can be easily retrieved or loaded by flipping open tube cover 65 and pulling the slide handle 80. Each slide handle 80 is provided with a front gripping tab 90 and a rear holding tab 95. The front gripping tab 90 allows the user to slide the beverages forward and out of the beverage tube 40. The rear holding tab 95 serves as a catch to allow the drinks to be pulled from the beverage tube 40 without any beverages slipping off the slide handle 80. There is a slide handle 80 for each beverage tube 40. One end of each beverage tube 40 is permanently enclosed while the other end of the beverage tube 40 is for easy drink access. A label 70 is located on each tube cover 65 on each beverage tube 40 in order to know exactly what drink is inside each tube 40. Typically, each beverage tube 40 is long enough to hold at least three canned beverages or drinks.

Tubes 40 are nearly perfectly sized to fit canned drinks or bottled water. The close fit of the drinks within the tubes 40 allow for best cooling of the drinks just as if they were submerged directly in ice. The tubes 40 are flexible in length in order to hold more beverage containers. The removable food drawer 50 is enclosed in a rectangular shaped food drawer tube 55 which is molded as an integral part of the portable cooler chest 30.

Operation of the invention involves the user opening the upper lid 20 and filling the portable cooler chest 30 with ice or other refrigerant. After the upper lid 20 is replaced, the user flips up the selected tube cover 65 and pulls out the slide handle 80 by pulling the front gripping tab 90. The user places the beverage cans on the slide handle 80 and pushes the slide handle 80 into the beverage tube 40 for cooling. The user flips down the tube cover 65 until the beverages are ready for consumption. This process may be repeated until all the beverage tubes 40 are completely filled to capacity. When a specific beverage is selected for consumption, the user identifies the beverage from the tube labels 70 thereby eliminating any guess work in removing a beverage. The user flips up the selected tube cover 65 and pulls out his beverage with the front gripping tab 90 of the slide handle.

The beverage dispensing cooler 10 may be constructed from traditional materials used to fabricate coolers and ice chests. These materials include PVC, fiberglass, plastics and the like. The rectangular food drawer tube 55 and circular beverage tubes 40 are fabricated as an integral part of the portable cooler chest 30. The tubes 40 are sized to match the standard size canned drinks or bottled water. The tubes 40 are provided in different diameters and lengths to accommodate larger beverage containers. The beverage dispensing cooler 10 can be designed in large and small sizes for different applications.

Many variations of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art. Some variations include the cooler dimensions; and the number and size of the beverage tubes 40 and food drawer tube 55. Other variations include the mechanism by which the beverages are ejected from the beverage tubes 40; for example, a spring pushing the beverage out of the tube as opposed to pulling the slide handle 80. All such variations are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the invention. Although some embodiments are shown to include certain features, the applicant specifically contemplates that any feature disclosed herein may be used together or in combination with any other feature on any embodiment of the invention. It is also contemplated that any feature may be specifically excluded from any embodiment of an invention.