Title:
Retractable dividers for round prepared food containers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The aforementioned dividing mechanism provides optional separation of goods such as prepared food products. The default position of these dividers, aligned with the perimeter, provides the ability to stack the adjoining bucket for convenient storage and allows containment of a large amount of a single product. The active position, extended at the option of the user, creates compartments in which to segregate different products or variations.



Inventors:
Snyder II, Mark Edward (Virginia Beach, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/202368
Publication Date:
03/04/2010
Filing Date:
09/01/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45C11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POON, ROBERT
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark Edward Snyder II (Virginia Beach, VA, US)
Claims:
1. Built-in retractable dividers allow for optional product separation in bucket-style containers.

2. When product separation is not desirable, dividing mechanism may remain in default (open) position to maximize containment area and to allow stacking for efficient storage and transportation of multiple containers.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are currently many cylindrical containers available in which to store, transport, and serve prepared foods and snacks. Such bucket-style configurations may have dividers to provide separation among varying products, or operate as a tub for a larger quantity of an identical product. The use of a separable divider insert creates sanitation concerns in that such inserts come into direct contact with food after potentially immeasurable handling, especially in a self-service environment. Attached, fixed dividers do not allow the option of a single, large containment area thereby necessitating inventories of two separate product types.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The retractable dividing mechanism described herein will allow a bucket of a single design to operate as a single or multi-chambered container, depending on the user's immediate need. This eliminates the sanitation concerns involved with divider inserts that come into direct contact with food after handling. Additionally, food merchants need only purchase a single design to meet the needs of both divided and non-divided bucket-styled containers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. This represents a single leaf, which will create a single divider within the bucket. Key features are as follows:

a. The triangular section is to be attached to the interior of the bucket. The leaf will fold inwardly along the line adjacent to the right of section a. The angle allows the leaf to pass evenly across the bottom of the bucket while maintaining an even height at the top of the container.

b. This line represents a cut in the leaf in which tab c of a separate leaf will be inserted when in the closed position.

c. Tab c will be inserted into cut b when the dividing mechanism is in the closed position.

FIG. 2A. This shows a bucket used to store and/or to serve prepared foods in the open or default position, allowing for the containment of a large amount of a single product. While the bucket itself is not the point of interest, it is to depict how the three leaves will appear when not in use.

FIG. 2B. This demonstrates the same bucket in the closed or active position used when separation of differing products such as food is desired. The triple-leaf configuration creates three compartments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention itself is the dividing mechanism that, at the user's option, will allow for the separation of multiple products. The bucket housing the dividers is not the focus as the described design may be used in conjunction with any existing bucket-style consumable container.

A set of three identical leaves are required to create the three separated chambers. Each rectangular leaf has a tab on one side that will lock into the slit of the adjacent leaf when dividers are required. A diagonal crease allowing inward folding allows the bottom of the leaf to pass evenly along the bottom of the bucket while moving from the single-chambered to the multiple chambered configurations. The angle of the fold line must be congruent to the angle formed by the wall and floor of the container. The material may be either a rigid, food grade wax-coated paper or plastic, depending on the material used in the construction of the housing bucket.

The triangular section adjacent to the fold line is fastened with glue to the interior wall of the container, with the entire leaf arcing against the wall when in default position. Each of the three leaves are fastened in identical fashion, spaced evenly.

When dividing is required, the user will open each leaf toward the center of the bucket along the diagonal fold line, and fasten each tab into the slit of the adjacent leaf. The tab-slit fastener will provide sufficient support for the leaves to remain in place when filling the bucket with the desired product.