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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
COOLER WITH DRAWERS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1997/017582
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cooler incorporating sliding drawers behind a door for easy access to the contents of the cooler. The cooler may also incorporate removable trays in an upper portion of the container or the lid. A suspended cooling means is described for ease of changing and maximum access to items stored in the cooler. The cooler may find application as a picnic hamper or as a temporary storage device for medications that require cooling. For the latter application, locks are described for making the cooler secure.

Inventors:
DAVIES JOHN L (AU)
NEILSON RAY (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU1996/000718
Publication Date:
May 15, 1997
Filing Date:
November 08, 1996
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
RIDGIE DIDGE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD (AU)
DAVIES JOHN L (AU)
NEILSON RAY (AU)
International Classes:
A45C11/20; F25D3/08; F25D25/02; (IPC1-7): F25D23/08; F25D3/08; F25D23/04; F25D25/00; F25D25/02
Foreign References:
DE4213071A11993-10-28
US5100198A1992-03-31
US4194647A1980-03-25
US2893805A1959-07-07
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Claims:
CLAIM?
1. A cooler comprising : an insulated container having a bottom wall, a front wall, a back wall and two side walls; a lid adapted to sealable locate on the container opposite the bottom wall to form a closed container; one or more doors in one or more of the walls of the container, said door opening to a space within the container; one or more drawers slidably positioned within the space; and cooling means removably positioned within the cooler.
2. The cooler of claim 1 wherein said one or more drawers are slidably mounted behind the door such that access to said one or more drawers is obtained by opening the door and sliding the drawers out to an accessible position.
3. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising hinge means for hinged opening of said one or more doors.
4. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising hinge means for hinged opening of said one or more doors. 0.
5. The cooler of claim 1 wherein the cooling means is a refrigerant polymer.
6. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising suspension means for suspending the cooling means within the cooler .
7. The cooler of claim 6 wherein the suspension means 5 comprises hooks for seating in cavities formed on an inside of opposing walls of the insulated container.
8. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising one or more trays for locating in the top of the insulated container.
9. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising one or more trays o for locating in the lid of the insulated container.
10. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising locks fitted to the cooler for locking one or more of the said lid and said one or more doors.
11. The cooler of claim 1 further comprising handles on the outside of the side walls of the cooler.
12. The cooler of claim 11 further comprising locking means in said handles for securing the lid to the container.
Description:
TITLE COOLER WITH DRAWERS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a portable cooler and in particular to a versatile cooler incoφorating a side opening door enclosing a number of slide out trays. The portable cooler may incoφorate a number of optional features to adapt it for different applications.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Coolers (also known as ice-boxes or esky's) are well known and find popular usage throughout the world. In the most common embodiment the cooler comprises an open-topped box with a closable lid. The walls ofthe box and the lid are formed from insulating material. The nature of the insulating material takes a wide variety of forms. For example, the cooler may be made from solid polystyrene, from cavity metal filled with air or an insulating material or from a hard-wearing plastic such as polypropylene with a polystyrene filling.

The known types of coolers are of utilitarian design providing a basic container for the storage of produce and a source of cooling, such as ice. The containers are generally deep, at least with respect to some of the items stored within. This can cause difficulty when trying to access items that have been placed at the bottom of the cooler or that have worked their way to the bottom through movement. It is also difficult to organise items within existing known coolers.

Although there are examples in the prior art of coolers designed for particular applications these tend to be of novelty value rather than extending the versatility of the cooler. One example of a novelty cooler can be found in German Patent Number DE4213071 in the name of Mattulla. This patent application discloses a cool-box shaped like a toy house with a ridge roof. There are drawers within the cool-box which

can be pulled out or pushed in, and in which cartons and bottles can stand. The drawers are inserted in one end of the cool-box and ice packs are placed in the attic section of the cool-box.

Another example of a novelty cooler can be found in United 5 States Patent Number US5100198 in the name of Baltzell. This patent discloses a cooler in the form of a seat having a drawer mounted through the front wall. The puφose of the cooler is ostensibly for storage of food during a fishing expedition but it is designed primarily for novelty value having little or no cooling advantage over other cooler designs. l o One prior art cooler designed for practical application is that described in United States Patent Number US419647, in the name of Spurrier. This patent discloses a cooler chest having a main body with a lid and a can dispenser in one end. The can dispenser includes a drawer structure connected to the dispenser container and positioned adjacent an

15 access door assembly to dispense a drinks can. When the door is opened a can falls from the dispenser under the influence of gravity.

Although the prior art provides examples of novelty cooler designs there have been very few practical improvements over the basic cooler design.

20

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide a cooler with drawers offering practical storage advantages over known coolers, or at least to provide the public with a useful alternative to existing coolers.

25

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In one form, although it need not be the only or indeed the broadest form, the invention resides in a cooler comprising : an insulated container having a bottom wall, a front wall, a 3 o back wall and two side walls; a lid adapted to sealable locate on the container opposite

the bottom wall to form a closed container; one or more doors in one or more of the walls of the container, said door opening to a space within the container; one or more drawers slidably positioned within the space; 5 and cooling means removably positioned within the cooler.

The walls of the insulated container are preferably hollow and may be filled with an insulating material such as polystyrene.

In preference there is a single door in the front wall ofthe o cooler. There are preferably three drawers slidably mounted behind the door such that access to the drawers is obtained by opening the door and sliding the drawers out to an accessible position.

The cooling means is preferably a refrigerant polymer having practical cooling advantage compared to ice. A suitable product is 5 commercially available by the name Techni-lce ™ from Global National Australia Limited. The cooling means is preferably suspended within the cooler upon suspension means. The suspension means may suitably include hooks for seating in cavities formed on the inside of opposing walls of the container. 0 In an alternate form of the invention, the cooling means may be an active cooler such as a compressor and refrigerant or a Peltier effect solid state cooler. The cooler will incoφorate a power source in this form.

The versatility of the cooler may be further enhanced by 5 providing one or more trays in the top of the container or in the lid. The tray may be adapted to contain cutlery so that the cooler incoφorates the features of a picnic hamper.

The door and lid of the cooler may be lockable. A lockable door and lid will make the cooler secure for the transport or temporary o storage of drugs or samples requiring cooling.

Handles may conveniently be provided on the outside of the

side walls of the cooler and may incoφorate locking means for securing the lid to the container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS To assist in further understanding the invention reference will be made to the following drawings in which :

FIG 1 is an isometric view of a preferred embodiment of a cooler with drawers;

FIG 2 is a cut-away front view of the cooler of FIG 1. FIG 3 is a cut-away end view of the cooler of FIG 1 ; and

FIG 4 is a front view of a cooler with a lockable door.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring now to the drawings in detail, there is shown in the figures a cooler, generally indicated as 1 , comprising an insulated container 2 having a hollow wall structure. The container 2 includes a bottom wall 3, a front wall 4, a back wall 5 and two side walls 6,7. A lid 8 is adapted to sealable locate on the container 2 opposite the bottom wall 3 to form a closed container. Hinges 9 join the lid 8 and container 2. There is a door 10 in the front wall 4 of the container 2 which is hinged at a lower part 11 (as shown particularly in FIG 3) to open to a space 12 within the container 2. In the preferred embodiment shown the door hinge 13 is a conventional projection and socket arrangement. Other hinge arrangements, such as the butt hinge, indicated as 9, joining the container and lid, would also suffice.

Three drawers 14, 15 and 16 are located within the space 12 so as to be accessible behind the door 10. The top two drawers 15 and 16 slide on frames 17, 18 supported within the container 2. The bottom drawer 14 slides on the bottom wall 3 of the container 2. The frames 17, 18 comprise rails, such as 19, supported by uprights, such as 20. In the preferred embodiment the uprights are moulded on the inside of the front

4 and back 5 walls. The frames may also be moulded as independent components which are suspended within the container.

While reference has been made throughout the above description to the drawers sliding laterally on a frame, it will be 5 appreciated that this is for convenience and an arrangement wherein the drawers slide rotationally on a pivot would also meet the object of the invention.

The inside of the container 2 is kept cool by a refrigerant polymer 21 suspended on suspension means 22. Suspension means 22 o includes hooks, such as 23, which seat in cavities 24 moulded on the inside of an upper part of opposing walls 4, 5 ofthe container. There are a plurality of pairs of cavities allowing spacing of the refrigerant polymer throughout the container 2. The preferred embodiment includes three refrigerant polymer suspensions. The refrigerant polymers are easily 5 removed so that additional matter can be placed within the container beside the drawers. Suspension means also facilitates easy exchange of the cooling means for colder cooling means when required.

To provide good insulation between the inside of the container and ambient temperature, the walls have a hollow structure, as o seen most clearly in FIG 2 and FIG 3. The preferred embodiment is illustrated as an air filled structure although the cavity 25 in the container walls and the cavity 26 in the lid could be filled with an insulating material such as polystyrene. The door 10 also has a hollow structure with the cavity 27 being filled with air, polystyrene or some other insulating 5 material.

To ensure proper insulation of the container 2 the upper surface of the walls ofthe container form a rim 28 which engages a reciprocal rim 29 on the lid 8. The door 10 seals against the front wall 4 for effective insulation. o Trays 30 are positionable in the lid 8. The trays 30 are an optional extra to extend the versatility of the cooler as a picnic hamper.

The trays 30 are held in place by resiliently deflectable pins 31. Alternatively the trays may flex around the pins. The edges of the trays 30 are also resiliently deflectable so that the trays can be positioned in the lid by application of sufficient pressure to temporarily deflect the pins and edges. Similarly, the trays are removable by pulling them from engagement with the pins.

Handles 32 are provided on side walls 6, 7 of the container 2 to assist in lifting and carrying the cooler Un a further embodiment (not shown) the handles 32 can double as latches to secure the lid 8 to the container 2.

In uses where security is important, the door 10 may incoφorate a lock 33 as shown specifically in FIG 4. The lock may take a variety of well known forms. The lid may also incoφorate a similar lock to make the cooler completely secure. 5 It will be appreciated that the cooler may find a variety of applications in which materials need to be kept cool while being transported between locations. For example, the cooler may be used as a picnic hamper in which cutlery and crockery is stored in the trays in the lid, food is stored in the drawers and drinks are stored in the space 34 o adjacent the drawers 14, 15 and 16. The cooler may also be used for transporting medical materials such as serum or blood. Small containers can be conveniently stored in the drawers while larger containers can be stored in the adjoining space.

In an alternate embodiment, the cooler stores saleable 5 items, such as confectionary. In this case the door is conveniently made of a transparent material, such as glass, for display puφoses.

If more effective cooling is required the cooling means may be a compressor and refrigerant. Compact refrigeration systems are known in the prior art. A Peltier effect, solid state cooling element may o also be used for active cooling. In both cases a power source is required for active cooling. The power supply can be incoφorated in the space 34

in the cooler or may be provided externally.

The cooler may also be used for keeping material warm. The refrigerant polymer can be heated by placing in a microwave oven or soaking in hot water. Active heating may also be employed using the 5 power source described above.

The preferred embodiments described herein are intended to illustrate the principles of the invention, but not to limit its scope. Other embodiments and variations to the preferred embodiments may be evident to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from l o the spirit and scope of the invention.