STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
- CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
Research and development of this invention and Application have not been federally sponsored, and no rights are given under any Federal program.
- REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to take-out beverage drink containers, in general, and to the purchase of containers of hot coffee or tea “to-go”, in particular.
2. Description of the Related Art
As is well known and understood, when purchasing a hot beverage, one is provided with a cup which holds its contents, and with a plastic lid to cover the opening of the cup. Although some lids prevent access to the hot beverage within unless the lid is first removed from the cup, most of the lids used today allow the sipping or drinking of the beverage through a slotted opening in the cover while still on the cup. While different constructions are available, for the most part all of them utilize lids with cut-outs intended for the user to break a tab on the lid, and to then fold it back in allowing the beverage to be consumed.
As will be readily appreciated, however, sipping or drinking from the cup is very difficult to do while walking; also, while driving, as the vehicle bumps along the road surface, or traverses hills or valleys. Where the coffee or tea is still very hot, the spillage which results is well able to cause burns on one's body, along with the associated pain involved. Whether the beverage is hot or cold, furthermore, the spillage soils the clothing, or the interior of the vehicle where the drinking is being done. But, even if the drinker is being exceedingly careful so as not to spill the contents on his/her body or on the interior of a vehicle, such folding back of the tab allows its contents to cool over time. Although some lids are constructed to have a mechanism which allows the tab to be bent back and locked into a space provided on the top of the cup lid, experience has shown that to be a cumbersome and complicated task for having to repeatedly bend back the tab to take a sip, and then return it to position to be locked on the cup lid.
Investigation has shown that one of the most popular cup lids is that described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,569. Available on drinking cups from such establishment as Starbucks, experience has shown that any movement while drinking from its opening causes spillage to occur while such motion continues; closing its opening, or adjusting its size is not possible so that the greater the motion producing activity, the greater spillage that results. At the same time, its drink opening allows the coffee or other hot liquid contents to cool just due to exposure to the ambient air.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
As will be become clear from the following description, the safety cup lid of this invention both allows the drinker to avoid spilling the contents while walking or driving, while keeping the coffee or tea hotter for a longer period of time. As will also become clear, the safety cup lid of the invention represents a modification of the drinking cup lid of the U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,569.
As will seen from the description below, the safety cup lid of the present invention continues to include an annular mounting portion for engaging the lip of the cup, an annular side wall extending upwardly from the mounting portion, and a top wall having a drink opening formed in it. The top wall of the lid—like the lid of U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,569—has a recess formed in it adjacent to the drink opening so as to accommodate the upper lip of the user. In accordance with the teachings of the present invention, a pair of oppositely positioned annular tracks extend upwardly from inside and outside segments of the sidewall in capturing a panel door slidable about the circumference of the lid from left to right in covering all, or any portion of the drink opening. A pair of “stops” limit the extent of motion, in keeping the door between the two oppositely positioned tracks.
While the closure lid of the invention is suitable for use with both hot and cold beverage drink containers, it will be appreciated to be especially useful in consuming hot coffee or tea. To ensure optimum operation and minimize even further any possibility of spillage, the panel door is configured to fit beneath portions of the upwardly extending tracks in allowing the door to be slid forward and back by finger pressure. The “stops” thereby limit the movement of the panel door, which, because of the capturing tracks, can expose all, or any portion, of the drink opening.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In use, then, one's finger slides the panel door to expose the opening that desired amount to allow the hot coffee or tea beverage to be sipped or drunk. The finger then slides the door to close the opening, in preventing possible accidental spillage, while serving to close-off the container from the elements. This retains the warmth of the beverage for an increased time than characterizes the prior art constructions available today, and particularly that of U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,569.
These and other features of the present invention will be more clearly understood from a consideration of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGS. 1-3 are views helpful in an understanding of the construction of the closure lid of the invention and the advantages it affords;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view of the closure lid; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the panel door helpful in an understanding of the advantages which follow from the invention.
As with the lid of U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,569, the safety closure lid of the present invention may be used with cups of various kinds, being particularly suitable for use with disposable carry-out container cups made of Styrofoam or paper. Such cups typically include a generally circular upper lip or rim with a bead formed around it.
The lid of this invention 10 provides a cover for such cup to inhibit spillage and reduce heat transfer between the beverage and the surrounding atmosphere. In particular, the lid 10 is secured in place on the cup by an annular mounting portion 12 which engages the rim or lip of the cup. A preformed opening 14 is provided to enable drinking from the cup without removal of the lid 10, in known manner.
As with the lid of U.S. Pat. No. 4,589,569, the drink opening 14 is positioned so that one may drink from the opening 14 without contacting the bottom edge 16 of the lid 10 with one's lower lip. To effectuate this, the lid 10 includes an annular side wall 18 extending upwardly from the bottom edge 16 and a top wall 20 extending across the top of the lid. Such top wall 20 is of a generally circular periphery, and adjoins inside and outside edges 21, 23 of the side wall 18, with the drink opening 14 being formed through the top wall 20 between the two edges. A recess 24 is also shown in the top wall 20 adjacent the drink opening 14 to accommodate the upper lip of the user. As will be appreciated, this enables one drinking from the cup to seal the mouth against the lid 10 by the drink opening 14. In this respect, a pair of vent holes 26 in the top wall 20 enables air to flow into the cup as the user drinks, in facilitating the flow of liquid out through the opening 14. One such vent hole is shown at the recess 24 of the top wall 20.
However, as the opening 14 is always “open”, spillage can occur when drinking while walking or traveling in a motor vehicle. At the same time, because of the always “open” nature of the opening 14, a degree of cooling to the beverage results just from exposure to the ambient air. But, in accordance with the present invention, a pair of oppositely positioned annular tracks 28, 29 extend upwardly from the inside and outside edges 21, 23 of the side wall 18 respectively, and a panel door 32 is fitted over the drink opening 14. As shown in the top views of the lid 10 in FIGS. 2 and 3—and in the sectional view of FIG. 4—, the panel door 32 is configured to slide about the periphery of the top wall 20 between the two oppositely positioned tracks 28, 29. A finger pressure applied at the top surface 34 of the panel door 32 is all that it takes to slide the door over the drink opening 14, to close the opening “off” as in FIG. 2, or “open” as in FIG. 3. A pair of bosses 36 in the top wall 20 serve as “stops” to limit the extent of movement of the panel door 32. The panel door 32 includes skirts or wing sections 38 on either side of the top surface 34 which fit beneath the tracks 28, 29 which hold the panel door on the top wall 20.
In such manner, the drink opening 14 can be closed to prevent spillage when moving about, and to retain the contents of the cup as hot as possible, for as long as possible. When it is desired to drink from the opening, the panel door 32 is slid either left or right of the drink opening 14 to expose all of the opening (as in FIG. 3), or any percentage of it as may be desired. Control over the amount of beverage that can be sipped at any one time is thus made available. By fitting the wing sections 38 beneath the overlying tracks 28, 29, the panel door 32 not only slides along the top wall 20, but is protected from falling off at the same time. In this embodiment, the closure lid 10 may be constructed of a plastic composition, of material substantially different from the beverage drink container it covers. Alternatively, the lid may be composed of the same material as the container, be it plastic or otherwise.
While there has been described what is considered to be preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the teachings herein. For at least such reason, therefore, resort should be had to the claims appended hereto for a true understanding of the invention.