Title:
Fire Igniter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fire igniter uses a chemical reaction of two components, such as glycerin and powdered potassium permanganate, to create a flame. The glycerin may be contained within a crushable vial. The powder may be contained within a sleeve along with the vial, to form a fuel cell. The fuel cell may be contained within an outer cover. Flammable material may be contained with the fuel cell, and is ignited when the fuel cell is broken to create a flame. The fuel cell may alternatively be contained within a housing, which may be formed of a pair of housing sections that are releasably secured together to define an interior compartment. The housing sections are separable to enable the fuel cell to be removed from the compartment. Alternatively, the fuel cell may be contained within an actuable housing assembly that acts as both a package and an actuator.



Inventors:
Doyle, Alan T. (Brookfield, WI, US)
Kocen, Scott A. (Wauwatosa, WI, US)
Mayer, Bart (Fond du Lac, WI, US)
Micoley, Scott H. (Cedarburg, WI, US)
Wilke, Justin D. (Brookfield, WI, US)
Application Number:
14/035647
Publication Date:
03/27/2014
Filing Date:
09/24/2013
Assignee:
Hawk Manufacturing, Inc. (Brookfield, WI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
431/267
International Classes:
C06C9/00; C10L11/04; F23Q13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ZUBERI, RABEEUL I
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOYLE FREDRICKSON S.C. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A fire igniter, comprising an enclosure and two chemical components contained within the enclosure, wherein the chemical components are maintained separately from each other within the enclosure and are combinable together to produce a flame that ignites the flammable enclosure.

2. The fire igniter claim 1, wherein the chemical components comprise a liquid component and a solid component.

3. The fire igniter of claim 2, wherein the solid component comprises a powder.

4. The fire igniter of claim 2, wherein the liquid component is contained within a crushable vial.

5. The fire igniter of claim 2, wherein the liquid component comprises a quantity of glycerin contained within a crushable vial and the solid component comprises a quantity of potassium permanganate.

6. The fire igniter of claim 1, wherein the enclosure comprises a cover and a quantity of flammable material contained within an interior defined by the cover.

7. A fire igniter, comprising a flame-producing device including a pair of chemical components that are maintained separately from each other and that can be selectively mixed, wherein, when the chemical components are mixed, a chemical reaction results that provides a flame that can be used to start a fire.

8. The fire igniter of claim 7, wherein the flame-producing device comprises a liquid component contained within a crushable vial and a solid component maintained in close proximity to the vial.

9. The fire igniter of claim 8, wherein the vial and the solid component are contained within an enclosure.

10. The fire igniter of claim 9, further comprising a quantity of flammable material contained within the enclosure.

11. The fire igniter of claim 9, wherein the enclosure is contained within a housing assembly comprising an inner housing section and an outer housing section that cooperate to define and internal cavity within which the enclosure is contained.

12. The fire igniter of claim 10, wherein the inner housing section and the outer housing section are releasably secured together, and are manually separable in order to expose the internal cavity to gain access to the enclosure.

13. The fire igniter of claim 9, wherein the enclosure is contained within a housing, wherein the housing is movable between a disarmed position for enclosing the enclosure and maintaining the first component and the second component apart from each other, an armed position, and an actuating position in which the housing functions to cause the first and second component to mix, wherein mixing of the first and second components creates a flame.

14. The fire igniter claim 13, wherein the housing comprises a base and the cover, and engagement structure interposed between the base and the cover for guiding movement of the cover relative to the base between the disarmed position, the armed position, and actuating position.

15. The fire igniter of claim 14, movement of the housing to the actuating position causes the enclosure to rupture and thereby mix the first and second components together.

16. The fire igniter of claim 15, wherein the cover includes a striker arrangement that comes into contact with the enclosure when the cover is moved relative to the base to the actuating position.

17. A method of igniting a fire, comprising the acts of providing a package that contains two flammably reactive chemical components maintained separately from each other, and selectively mixing the chemical components together to produce a flame.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the two flammably reactive chemical components comprise a liquid component and a solid component, wherein the liquid component is contained within a vial and the solid component is located adjacent the vial. and wherein the act of selectively mixing the chemical components together is carried out by application of a force to the vial that breaks the vial and causes the liquid component to mix with the solid component.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE

This application claims priority in U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/705,263 filed Sep. 25, 2012 and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/788,955, filed Mar. 15, 2013, the entirety of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a fire igniter, and more particularly to a fire igniter capable of starting a fire without the need for a match, lighter, or other flame source.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Typically, a flame is required in order to start a fire. However, in some circumstances, such as wet conditions, it is difficult if not impossible to produce a flame using a match. Other flame sources, such as fueled lighters, can be forgotten, misplaced, or run out of fuel.

The present invention provides a fire igniter that does not require a manually produced flame source in order to start a fire. The invention is particularly useful in emergency circumstances, or in wilderness or remote environments when it is desired to start a fire but a match, lighter, or other flame source is unavailable. It is understood, however, that the present invention may be used anytime it is desired to start a fire.

The subject matter disclosed herein relates to a fire igniter that uses a chemical reaction to provide a flame that can be used to start a fire. The fire igniter of the present invention uses two components which, when mixed together, result in rapid oxidation that provides a flame. The components may be surrounded by a flammable material that is ignited by the flame and burns for a period of time. When the fire igniter is surrounded by other flammable material, such as dry leaves, wood or the like, the flame is capable of igniting a fire.

The components may be packaged so as to maintain the components separate and from each other until needed. At that time, the components can be quickly mixed together so as to react with each other create a flame, and to thereby ignite adjacent flammable material, in one embodiment, the components consist of a liquid and a powder, which have chemical properties that enable them to rapidly oxidize when mixed together. Representatively, the liquid component may be glycerin and the powder component may be potassium permanganate. The liquid component may be contained within a vial, such as of the type that can be crushed in order to release its contents. The powder component may be contained within a sleeve along with the vial, so that the vial, powder component and sleeve together make up a fuel cell.

In one embodiment, the fuel cell may be contained within an outer cover, which assembles such components into a package. In turn, the package may be contained within a waterproof enclosure. In one embodiment, flammable material may be contained within the package along with the fuel cell, and the flammable material is ignited when the fuel cell is broken to mix the components together to create a flame.

In an alternate embodiment, the fuel cell may be contained within a protective housing, which may be formed of a pair of housing sections that are releasably secured together to define an interior compartment within which the fuel cell is contained. The housing sections are separable to enable the fuel cell to be removed from the interior compartment. Flammable material may be positioned around the fuel cell by the user after the fuel cell has been removed from the interior compartment. The flammable material is then ignited by the flame that results from the fuel cell being broken by the user.

In another embodiment, the fuel cell and flammable material may be contained within an actuable housing assembly that acts as both a package and an actuator. Representatively, the actuable housing assembly may be in the form of a base that receives the fuel cell and the flammable material, and a cover that is positioned over the base. The cover normally overlies the base in a closed position, in which the actuable housing formed by the cover and base is configured to protect the fuel cell. The cover can be moved relative to the base from the closed position to an armed position, which positions the cover over the fuel cell. The cover can thereafter be moved from the armed position to an actuating position, in which actuating structure associated with the cover comes into contact with the fuel cell to rupture the vial. This functions to mix the liquid and powdered components together, resulting in a flame that ignites flammable material. which may be positioned within the housing assembly or around it. The sleeve, base and cover may be formed of a material that can be consumed in combustion, such as a consumable plastic material. The cover and base include a number of vents that allow air flow to the interior of the housing during combustion.

These and other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and accompanying drawings, while indicating a representative embodiment of the present invention, are given by way of illustration and not of limitation. Many changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

Various exemplary embodiments of the subject matter disclosed herein are illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a view of a first embodiment of the fire igniter of the present invention, contained within a waterproof enclosure;

FIG. 2 is a view of the fire igniter of FIG. 1 with the waterproof enclosure removed;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view illustrating the components of the fire igniter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a partial isometric view of the fire igniter components as shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a partial isometric view illustrating the components of the fire igniter of FIG. 3 during assembly;

FIG. 6 is a view of the sleeve that contains the powder and the vial in the fire igniter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a view illustrating the powder and vial components contained within the sleeve in the fire igniter of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view showing the interior of the fire igniter of the present invention, with reference to line 8-8 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 9 is an isometric view of another embodiment of the fire igniter of the present invention, in which the fuel cell is contained within the interior of a housing formed by a pair of housing sections;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view of an outer housing section that forms the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a top plan view of the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 12-12 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a bottom plan view of the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 9;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 14-14 of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is across-sectional view taken along line 15-15 of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is an isometric view illustrating a fire igniter similar to the fire igniter of FIGS. 9-15, showing another embodiment of a housing formed of a pair of housing sections;

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of an outer housing section that forms the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a top plan view of the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 16;

FIG. 19 is a section view taken along line 19-19 of FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a bottom plan view of the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 16;

FIG. 21 is a section view taken along line 21-21 of FIG. 20;

FIG. 22 is a section view taken along line 22-22 of FIG. 21;

FIG. 23 is an assembled isometric view of another embodiment of the fire igniter of the present invention, in which the fuel cell is contained within an actuable housing assembly;

FIG. 24 is an exploded isometric view of the fire igniter of FIG. 23, showing the fuel cell and the components of the actuable housing assembly;

FIG. 25 is a top plan view of the assembled fire igniter of FIG. 23;

FIG. 26 is a side elevation view of the assembled fire igniter of FIG. 23;

FIG. 27 is an isometric view of the fuel cell incorporated in the fire igniter of FIG. 23;

FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view of the fuel cell of FIG. 27, with reference to line 28-28 of FIG. 27;

FIG. 29 is an isometric view illustrating the base forming a part of the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 23;

FIGS. 30a-30f comprise a set of orthogonal views of the base of FIG. 29;

FIG. 31 is an isometric view illustrating the cover forming a part of the housing of the fire igniter of FIG. 23;

FIGS. 32a-32f comprise a set of orthogonal views of the cover of FIG. 31; and

FIGS. 33-38 are isometric views showing the various positions of the cover relative to the base for the fire igniter of FIG. 23.

In describing embodiments of the invention which are illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention be limited to the specific terms so selected and it is understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The various features and advantageous details of the subject matter disclosed herein are explained more fully with reference to the non-limiting embodiments described in detail in the following description.

Referring to FIG. 1, a fire igniter 10 in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. FIG. 1 shows the fire igniter 10 contained within a sleeve, package or other enclosure shown at 12, which may be waterproof. In the illustrated embodiment, sleeve 12 is in the form of a small plastic bag with a zipper-type closure, although it is understood that any other type of waterproof enclosure may be employed. FIG. 2 illustrates fire igniter 10 and sleeve 12 separate from each other.

FIG. 3 illustrates the components of fire igniter 10, which generally consist of a chemically reactive flame-producing device 20, a quantity of flammable material 22, and a cover 24. Throughout the remainder of the specification, the flame-producing device 20 will be referred to as a fuel cell for convenience. In FIG. 3, cover 24 is illustrated with one of its ends removed, with flammable material 22 and fuel cell 20 removed from the interior of cover 24. Cover 24 may representatively be constructed of a cotton felt material, although it is understood that any other material may be employed. Flammable material 22 may be a cotton-based quilting material, although again it is understood that any other desired flammable material may be employed. In addition, it is understood that the separate flammable material 22 and cover 24 may be combined into a single component. In other words, fuel cell 20 may be contained within a cover 24 that is itself firmed of a flammable material, such that the separate flammable material 22 is not required.

FIG. 4 and FIG. 5 illustrate the manner in which the components of fire igniter 10 fit together. Cover 24 defines an interior 26 within which flammable material 22 and fuel cell 20 are received. Likewise, flammable material 22 defines a central passage or opening within which fuel cell 20 is received. In one form, the flammable material 22 may be wrapped about fuel cell 20.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate the components of fuel cell 20. As shown, the components of fuel cell 20 consist of a small bag or pouch 30 that encloses two chemical components which, when mixed together, rapidly oxidize to produce a flame. In the illustrated embodiment, the two chemical components are in the form of a liquid and a powder. Specifically, in the illustrated embodiment, the liquid component L may consist of a quantity of glycerin contained within a vial V and the powdered component P may consist of a quantity of potassium permanganate. It is understood, however, that any other suitable chemical components that react when mixed together to provide rapid oxidation to produce a flame may be employed.

In assembly, the powdered component P is placed within the bag 30 along with the vial V containing the liquid component L and the bag 30 is then sealed, such as using a zipper-type closure. As can be appreciated, the vial V functions to maintain the liquid component L and the powdered component P separate from each other within the interior of the bag 30. The bag 30 is then rolled around the vial V and the powdered component P, and maintained in a rolled configuration, such as using a strip of tape 32. It is understood, however, that the vial V and powdered component P may be placed within any other satisfactory type of sleeve or other package or enclosure that maintains the two components in close proximity to each other, as desired.

FIG. 8 illustrates a cross section of the assembled fire igniter 10. The vial V containing the liquid component L is generally in the center of the interior 26 defined by the cover 24. The powdered component P is located adjacent or in close proximity to exterior of the vial V within the bag 30 or other enclosure. The flammable material 22 surrounds the bag 30, and all of these components are contained within the cover 24.

When it is desired to use fire igniter 10 to start a fire, the user first gathers a quantity of flammable material, such as dry leaves, grass, twigs, straw or the like (commonly known as kindling), as well as larger flammable material such as branches or logs that will ultimately be burned. The user then withdraws fire igniter 10 from the package or other enclosure 12, and places it on a hard surface below the kindling. Any suitable object is then used to strike the fire igniter 10 with a force sufficient to break the vial V. For instance, the user may employ a rock, ax, hammer or the like, or may even step on the fire igniter, 10 using his or her shoe or boot. In any event, once the vial V is broken, the liquid component L is released from the interior of the vial V and mixes with the powdered component P. The mixing of the liquid component L and the powdered component P results in a chemical reaction that provides rapid oxidation and therefore produces a flame. The flame from the reaction of the two chemical components then ignites the flammable material 22 as well as the cover 24. The flames provided by the chemical reaction as well as burning of the flammable material 22 and cover 24 ignite the kindling surrounding the fire igniter 10 to start the fire.

FIGS. 9-15 illustrate an alternative embodiment of a fire igniter in accordance with the present invention, shown at 100. In this embodiment, the fire igniter 100 consists of a protective housing defining an interior within which the fuel cell is contained. The protective housing is formed of a first or outer housing section 102 in combination with a second or inner housing section 104. Together, outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 define a releasably engaged rigid protective cover within which the fuel cell is contained.

As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, outer housing section 104 is in generally cylindrical, including a side wall 106 and an end wall 108. If desired, the side wall 106 may be formed with a series of spaced apart ribs 110, which serve to impart rigidity to the structure of outer housing section 104. Side wall 106 is formed with a slight outward taper in a direction away from end wall 108, which facilitates insertion and removal of inner housing section 104 into and out of the passage defined by outer housing section 102. End wall 108 is formed with a pair of openings 112, which are adapted to receive a pair of tabs associated with inner housing section 104, in a manner to be explained. In addition, end wall 108 is formed with an inwardly extending annular protrusion 114 that forms a recess 116.

As shown in FIGS. 12-15, inner housing section 104 is also generally cylindrical, including a side wall 118 and an end wall 120, which cooperate to form a passage. When outer section 102 and inner section 104 are assembled together, the passage defined by side wall 118 and end wall 120 of inner section 104 is closed by end wall 108 of outer section 102, so as to define an internal cavity 122. Side wall 118 of inner housing section 106 is formed with a slight taper that matches the taper of outer section side wall 106, which is configured such that side wall 18 has a greater thickness adjacent end wall 120 than at its open outer end. With this construction, the increased thickness of side wall 118 at the closed end of inner section 104, in combination with end wail 104, increases the crush resistance of the protective housing of fire igniter 100 when subjected to a lateral crushing force. End wall 120 includes outwardly extending reinforcing structure, which may be in the form of a pair of orthogonally oriented walls 124. It is understood, however, that the outwardly extending reinforcing structure may have any other configuration as desired. The walls 124 provide the dual function of strengthening end wall 118 to provide resistance to an axially directed force applied to end wall 118 as well as a grip area to facilitate removal of inner housing section 104 from outer housing section 102 in preparation for use.

Outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 are formed with releasable engagement structure that releasably secures outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 together. Representatively, the releasable engagement structure may be in the form of a pair of engagement tabs 126 that extend from the outer end of inner housing section side wall 118. The engagement tabs 126 extend outwardly from the outer end of side wall 118, and are defined by slits located on either side of each tab 126 that extend inwardly from the outer end of side wall 118. The slits may be configured to engage ribs 127 that extend inwardly from the inner surface of inner section side wall 118, and which are configured to guide tabs 126 into openings 112 when inner housing section 104 is inserted into outer housing section 102. Each tab 126 defines a shoulder 128 that overlies the end surface of outer housing section side wall 106 when outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 are assembled together. The tabs 126 extend through openings 112 in outer housing section end wall 108. The inner tabs 126 are each formed with an inner curved surface 130 that provides clearance with respect to the adjacent facing surface of end wall 108, shown at 132, and which enables tabs 126 to be flexed inwardly together when tabs 126 are subjected to a lateral pinching force in which tabs 126 are manually moved toward each other. In addition, the curved surfaces of tabs 126 engage the adjacent facing surfaces 132 of end wall 108 when tabs 126 are flexed inwardly toward each other, to provide an axial separating force that assists in separating inner housing section 104 from outer housing section 102.

In addition to the protective housing defined by outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104, fire igniter 100 includes a fuel cell positioned within cavity 122. The fuel cell may be constructed as shown in connection with the embodiment of FIGS. 16-22 as set forth below, or may have any other satisfactory construction in which the liquid and powdered components are maintained separately from each other and can be mixed by rupturing or breaking the vial or other structure within which the liquid component is contained.

In use, a user first disengages outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 as set forth above, by application of a pinching or squeezing force to tabs 126 that moves shoulders 128 of tabs 126 inwardly out of alignment with the end of outer housing section side wall 106, to release engagement inner housing section 104 from outer housing section 102. The user then separates outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 and removes the fuel cell from cavity 122. The user then places the fuel cell on the area where a fire is to be ignited, which may be any desired hard surface such as the ground, a rock, etc. The user places flammable material such as kindling around the fuel cell and applies a sharp striking force, to rupture or crush the fuel cell vial and cause the liquid and powder components to mix and thereby produce a flame that ignites the surrounding kindling and start a fire.

FIGS. 16-22 illustrate another embodiment of a fire igniter in accordance with the present invention, shown at 200. Generally, fire igniter 200 is constructed similarly to fire igniter 100, including an outer housing section 202 constructed similarly to outer housing section 102 of fire igniter 100, in combination with an inner housing section 204 constructed similarly to inner housing section 104 of fire igniter 100. Generally, outer housing section 202 and inner housing section 204 are releasably engaged together in a manner similar to that described above in connection with outer housing section 102 and inner housing section 104 of fire igniter 100.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 16-22, fire igniter 200 includes a fuel cell 210 contained within the internal cavity, shown at 212, that is defined when outer housing section 202 and inner housing section 204 are secured together. Fuel cell 210 generally comprises an outer chamber 220 and an inner chamber 222. Representatively, outer chamber 220 contains a quantity of the powdered component and inner chamber 222 contains a quantity of the liquid component. Outer chamber 220 is generally formed between an outer fuel cell section 224, which is defined by a peripheral sidewall 226 in combination with an end wall 228, and an inner fuel cell section 230, which is defined by a peripheral sidewall 232 in combination with an integrally formed and wall 234 and a cap 236 secured to the opposite end of inner fuel cell section 230. In assembly, a quantity of the liquid component is placed into inner chamber 222 defined by sidewall 232 and end walls 234, and cap 236 is then engaged with the open end of inner fuel cell section 230 source to seal the liquid component therewithin. Cap 236 may be secured to the open end of inner fuel cell section 230 in any satisfactory manner, such as by adhesive, welding or the like. Representatively, cap 236 may include a peripheral lip that is received within a peripheral groove defined at the open end of inner fuel cell section 230. Thereafter, a quantity of the powdered component is placed within outer chamber 220 around inner fuel cell section 230. End wall 238 is then engaged with the open end of outer fuel cell section 224, so as to seal the powdered component therewithin. Again, and wall 228 may be secured to the open end of outer fuel cell section 224 in any satisfactory manner. such as by adhesive, welding or the like. Representatively, end wall 228 may include a peripheral lip that is received within a peripheral groove located at the open end of outer fuel cell section 224. In addition, end wall 228 may include a peripheral inwardly extending ring wall 240, which serves to receive and stabilize the adjacent end of inner fuel cell section 230. Similarly, the end wall of inner housing section 204 may include an inwardly extending ring wall 240 within which the opposite end of fuel cell 210 is received.

In use, a user first disengages outer housing section 202 and inner housing section 204 in a similar manner as set forth above with respect to fire igniter 100. The user then separates outer housing section 202 and inner housing section 204 and removes fuel cell 210 from cavity 212. The user then places fuel cell 210 on the area where a fire is to be ignited, which may be any desired hard surface such as the ground, a rock, etc. The user places flammable material such as kindling around fuel cell 210 and applies a sharp striking force to side wall 226 of fuel cell outer section 224. This functions to move side wall 226 inwardly in a forceful, impactful manner against inner fuel cell section sidewall 232, to rupture or crush the inner fuel cell section 230 and cause the liquid and powder components of fuel cell 210 to mix and thereby produce a flame that ignites the surrounding kindling and start a fire.

FIGS. 23-38 illustrate another embodiment of a fire igniter in accordance with the present invention, shown generally at 310. Generally, fire igniter 310 comprises a housing 312 made up of a base 314 and a cover 316, in combination with a fuel cell 318 contained within the interior of housing 312. In a manner to be explained, housing 312 in a first configuration is adapted to enclose and protect fuel cell 318. In a second configuration, housing 312 is adapted to rupture fuel cell 318 to cause the contents of fuel cell 318 to mix together

Referring to FIGS. 27 and 28, fuel cell 318 contains components that, when mixed together, spontaneously combust to create a flame, as described previously. In the illustrated embodiment, fuel cell 318 includes an inner ampule 320 encased within an outer sleeve or barrel 322. The inner ampule 320 is in the form of a closed cylindrical vial that contains a quantity of a liquid component 324, which may be in the form of a liquid alkane such as glycerin. The outer barrel 322 is also in the form of a closed cylindrical vial that contains a quantity of a solid component 326, which may be in the form of a potassium permanganate powder. The solid component 326 is contained within the space between the outer wall of inner ampule 320 and the inner wall of outer barrel 322. The components 324 and 326 are selected from groups of chemical compounds that, when mixed, result in rapid oxidation and therefore combustion. While glycerin and potassium permanganate may be employed, it is contemplated that other chemical compounds with similar reactions may be employed. It is also contemplated that the components may be reversed, in that the solid component may be contained with inner ampule 320 and the liquid component may be contained within outer barrel 322. Representatively, the inner ampule 230 containing the liquid component 324 may be formed of a relatively brittle material such as glass. The outer barrel 322 may be formed of a relatively thin walled, deformable thermoplastic material.

Representatively, the liquid component may comprise a mixture of glycerin, alcohols and an acid. In one embodiment, the liquid component consists of 50% glycerin, 30% isopropyl alcohol, 15% methanol and 5% acetic acid. When the fuel cell is activated, the mixed organic acid and potassium permanganate generate heat through a simple acid/base reaction, which is relatively independent of the ambient temperature. The acid/base reaction generates sufficient energy to meet the activation energy requirements of the primary potassium permanganate/glycerin reaction. With this arrangement, the potassium permanganate/glycerin reaction is able to work relatively quickly at lower temperatures. The acid also reacts with the byproduct of the potassium permanganate/glycerin reaction, and is consumed by the fire generated by the main reaction of potassium permanganate and glycerin. The isopropyl alcohol and methanol ensure that the liquid component is able to maintain the liquid form and at low temperatures.

As shown in FIGS. 24, 29 and 30a-30e, the base 314 of housing 312 generally includes a bottom wall 328 and a side wall 330, which cooperate to define an internal cavity 332. The outer edge of bottom wall 328 extends outwardly past side wall 330, to define an annular shoulder 334 located outwardly of side wall 330 about the periphery of base 314. Within internal cavity 332, base 314 is provided with a pair of spaced apart divider walls 336. A pair of cradles 338 extend between the divider walls 336 where divider walls 336 meet side wall 330. Cradles 338 and internal divider walls 336 cooperate to define, a volume within which fuel cell 318 is received, and cradles 338 are configured to receive the ends of outer barrel 322 of fuel cell 318 to maintain the position of fuel cell 318 within internal cavity 332.

Side wall 330 of base 314 has a number of features that, as will be explained, cooperate with cover 316 for facilitating movement of cover 316 to various positions relative to base 314. In the illustrated embodiment, three sets of such features are provided about the periphery of side wall 330, although it is understood that fewer or more sets could be employed, as desired. One such set of features will be described in detail, with the understanding that the description relates equally to the remaining sets.

The noted features of side wall 330 include a U- or C-shaped guide slot 40 that defines a pair of parallel axial portions 342a, 342b that extend upwardly from shoulder 334, together with an arc portion 344 that extends between the upper ends of axial portions 342a, 342b. An axial guide slot 346 is located between axial portions 342a, 342b of guide slot 340. A detent protrusion 348 is located within guide slot 346 toward its lower end. A ramp 350 is spaced from axial portion 342b of guide slot 340, and includes an angled wall 352 terminating at a bottom edge 353. Side wall 330 further defines a number of divider sections 354, which are located between adjacent sets of features. Each divider section 354 includes a first edge 356 and a second edge 358. The first edge 356 of each divider section 354 is located adjacent the axial portion 342a of the guide slot 340 of the sets of features. The second edge 358 of each divider section 354 is located adjacent the ramp 350 of the next adjacent set of features. In this manner, each set of features is located between the first edge 356 of one of the divider sections 354 and the second edge 358 of the next adjacent divider section 354.

Bottom wall 328 of base 314 includes a series of arcuate slots 360, as well as a series of openings, 362 located between the facing ends of the slots 360.

Referring to FIGS. 31 and 32e, cover 316 of housing 312 generally defines a top wall 364 and a depending side wall 366, A number of sets of vents 368 are formed in top wall 364 and side wall 366, to establish between the interior and exterior of housing 312. In addition, cover 316 includes features that cooperate with the features of base 314 described above, for guiding movement of cover 316 to its various positions relative to base 314. As is the case with base 314, cover 316 has three sets of such features, although fewer or more could be employed as desired. Again, one such set of features will be described in detail, with the understanding that the description applies equally to the remaining sets.

The noted features of cover 316 include an inwardly extending guide protrusion 370 and an inwardly extending tab 372. Guide protrusion 370 and tab 372 are spaced apart from each other a distance that corresponds to the distance between each axial portion 342a of one of guide slots 340 and the adjacent guide slot 346, which also corresponds to the distance between each axial portion 342b and the adjacent ramp 352. Tab 372 defines an angled wall 374 that terminates in an upper edge 376. Guide protrusion 370 is located in line with a recess 371 in side wall 366, and which extends into top wall 364 to form an opening in top wall 364. Similarly, 372 is located in line with the recess 373 in side wall 366, and which extends partially into top wall 364 to form an opening in top wall 364. The top wall openings defined by recesses 371, 373 provide the dual function of facilitating airflow into the interior of cover 316 as well as providing tooling clearance, such as during an injection molding operation.

In addition, cover 316 includes a number of striker tabs 378 that extend downwardly from top wall 364. In the illustrated embodiment, cover 316 is provided with two striker tabs 378, although it is understood that a single striker tab or any additional number of striker tabs may be employed. Striker tabs 378 are oriented parallel to each other and at an angle relative to a radius of cover 316.

The components of fire igniter 310 are first assembled together to create a compact, safe structure for packaging, shipment, storage and transport. In use, the components of tire igniter 310 can be operated to ignite fuel cell 318 to start a fire.

To assemble fire igniter 310, fuel cell 318 is positioned within the internal cavity 332 of base 314 such that is ends are received within cradles 338. Combustible material is placed into the void areas of base 314 around fuel cell 318, as well as between divider walls 336 and sidewall 330, if desired. The combustible material may be of any satisfactory type, such as a cotton-based quilting material, wood shavings, a wax and wood mixture, etc.

Cover 316 is then positioned over the assembled base 314 and fuel cell 318, such that each guide protrusions 370 is aligned with one of guide slot axial portions 342a, and the adjacent tab 372 is aligned with the adjacent guide slot 346. Cover 316 is then moved into engagement with base 314, such that the guide protrusions 370 move downwardly within guide slot axial portions 342a, and tabs 370 to move downwardly within guide slots 346. During such downward movement of cover 316 on to base 314, tabs 370 encounter detent protrusions 348, which resist downward movement of cover 316. Upon application of sufficient pressure to cover 316, tabs 370 can be moved over detent protrusions 348 to continue downward movement of cover 316 onto base 314 until the lower edge of cover sidewall 366 comes into contact with shoulder 334 of base bottom wall 328. During such downward movement of cover 316, striker tabs 378 our advanced into the spaces on either side of fuel cell 318, between fuel cell 318 and the adjacent divider walls 336. When cover 316 attains this position, as shown in FIG. 33, housing 312 forms a secure package that is configured to protect fuel cell 318, and prevent it from accidentally being ruptured. In the event cover 16 is moved away from this closed position, tabs 370 come into contact with detent protrusions 348, to ensure that cover 316 is not inadvertently removed from base 314.

When it is desired to employ fire igniter 310 to start a fire, the user grasps cover 316 and moves it away from the closed position described above, to separate the lower edge of cover side wall 366 from shoulder 334. When tabs 370 come into contact with detent protrusions 348, as shown in FIG. 34, the user must exert additional outward force on cover 316 to move tabs 370 past detent protrusions 348. As noted above, this prevents cover 316 from being inadvertently removed. During such movement of cover 16, guide protrusions 370 move upwardly within axial portions 342a of guide slots 340. When each guide protrusion 370 reaches the upper end of its respective guide slot axial portion 342a, as shown in FIG. 35, engagement of each guide protrusion 370 with the edge of guide slot 340 at the intersection of the guide slot axial portion 342a and the guide slot arc portion 344 resists further upward movement of cover 316. When cover 316 is in this position, the striker tabs 378 are lifted out of the spaces between the fuel cell 318 and the divider walls 336. The user then rotates cover 316 relative to base 314, which is guided by movement of guide protrusions 370 in arc portions 344 of guide slots 340. Rotation of cover 316 is stopped when guide protrusions 370 contact the edge of guide slot 340 at the intersection of the guide slot arc portion 344 and the axial portion 342b, as shown in FIG. 36. In addition, tab 372 comes into contact with second edge 358 of the adjacent divider section 354, which also functions to stop rotation of cover 316. In this position of cover 316, tab 372 is positioned over ramp 350. When cover 316 is in this position, fire igniter 310 is armed in that the striker tabs 378 are located over the fuel cell 318 and one additional movement will move striker tabs 378 into contact with fuel cell 318. In this position, the striker tabs 378 are spaced inwardly from the ends of fuel cell 318, and are oriented at an angle relative to the longitudinal axis of fuel cell 318. From the armed position of FIG. 36, the user can return fire igniter 310 to a disarmed position. If desired simply by reversing the steps described above, either to the intermediate raised position of cover 316 as shown in FIG. 35 or to the fully closed position as shown in FIG. 33.

When the user has positioned cover 316 in the armed position of FIG. 36 and wishes to start a fire, the user applies a downward force on cover 316 in a manner similar to that described above, to advance the lower edge of cover sidewall 366 toward shoulder 334 of base 314. Such downward movement of cover 316 is guided by movement of guide protrusions 370 within axial portions 342b of guide slots 340.

As cover 316 is advanced onto base 314 as described, striker tabs 378 come into contact with outer barrel 322 of fuel cell 318, as shown in FIG. 37. This causes outer barrel 322 to deform inwardly and exert pressure on inner ampoule 320 which, as noted above, is formed of a brittle materials such as a this glass. Inner ampoule 320 is thus ruptured, which causes its liquid component 324 to mix with the solid component 326, contained within outer barrel 322. Alternatively, striker tabs 378 may be configured to cut through the material of outer barrel 322 so as to directly contact and rupture inner ampoule 320. In either event, the mixing of liquid component 324 with solid component 326 initiates a chemical reaction that causes rapid oxidation resulting in a flame. The flammable material contained within the void areas of base 314 is ignited by the flame, which is supplied with air through the vents 368 of cover 316 along with the openings in line with guide protrusions 370 and tabs 372. Outer barrel 322 is formed of a burnable plastic material, as are base 314 and cover 316. As a result, virtually the entirety of fire igniter 310 is consumed by the flame initiated by the chemical reaction caused by the mixed liquid component 324 and solid component 326. Flammable material positioned around fire igniter 310 is thus ignited by the flame, to start a fire.

During downward movement of cover 316 toward base 314 as described above, each tab 372 is advanced along the angled wall 352 of one of the ramps 350, and snaps over the bottom end of the angled wall 352 when cover 316 is moved to its fully closed position, as shown in FIG. 38. Each tab 372 then faces and engages the bottom edge 353 of the ramp 350, which prevents subsequent upward movement of cover 316 away from base 314. Accordingly, once fire igniter 310 has been actuated as described, the cover 316 and base 314 remain engaged with each other with the ruptured fuel cell 318 contained within the interior of housing 312 defined by cover 316 and base 314. This enables a user to move the fire igniter 310 after actuation, if necessary, while ensuring that the components of fire igniter 310 stay together.

It can thus be appreciated that the unique construction of the housing 312 of fire igniter 310 enables fire igniter 310 to be safely assembled and packaged, ensuring that fuel cell 318 is not inadvertently ruptured. Housing 312 is formed of material having sufficient strength and thickness to resist inward deformation of top wall 364, and provides a strong, secure package. The unique construction of housing 312 also enables it to be moved first to an armed position before fuel-cell 318 is ruptured, and to be returned to the disarmed position if desired.

While a representative embodiment of the present invention is shown and described, it is contemplated that the invention also encompasses other types of packages that are normally closed for packaging, shipping and transport, and that can be socially moved to an armed position and then actuated.

It should be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and arrangements of the components set forth herein. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Variations and modifications of the foregoing are within the scope of the present invention. It also being understood that the invention disclosed and defined herein extends to all alternative combinations of two or more of the individual features mentioned or evident from the text and/or drawings. All of these different combinations constitute various alternative aspects of the present invention. The embodiments described herein explain the best modes known for practicing the invention and will enable others skilled in the art to utilize the invention.