CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/921,981, filed Dec. 30, 2013, (Dec. 30, 2013).
- STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
- THE NAMES OR PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT
- INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to bottle seals, and more particularly to secondary wine bottle seals, and still more particularly to a resilient wine bottle capsule that may be reused after the bottle has been uncorked.
2. Discussion of Related Art including information disclosed under 37 CFR §§1.97, 1.98
Wine bottles are the most well known of bottles sealed with corks, though several other products also employ cork seals, including olive oils, vinegars, beer, spirits, perfumes, and so forth. The industry standard for sealing wine bottles is to insert a standard or synthetic cork in the bottle mouth and then to provide a secondary seal with a bottle capsule, typically fabricated from tin, polylaminate, or polyvinyl chloride. Until the 1990s, capsules were generally made from lead. Wine producers have also used wax as a secondary seal, as this provides significant enhanced protection from inadvertent oxygen contact with the wine.
However, once a wine bottle has been opened, the quality of the wine quickly degrades due to exposure to oxygen. This is true for still wines, and even more true for sparkling wines, wherein the bubbles (carbonation in the form of dissolved carbon dioxide gas) are allowed to escape the solution and evaporate into the atmosphere, and if allowed to continue too long, the wine becomes flat, thereby diminishing a critical aspect of the sparkling wine experience.
While the very notion of leftover champagne is anathema to some, others consider it either reckless to drink too much or needlessly wasteful to pour a 1999 Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve down the drain. For the sake of this application only, we will assume that leftover champagne is at least a theoretical possibility.
To retard degradation of sparkling wines, consumers frequently either cut and reinsert the removed cork into the bottle and place it in a refrigerator, or they use a commercially available champagne stopper of one kind or another. Most prior art designs for such stoppers include a clamping element that engages the rim underneath the open mouth of the bottle. A plastic or food grade silicone element under a cap generally inserts in the mouth and articulating arms reach under and clasp the rim to retain the stopper and cap over the bottle mouth. Unfortunately, these stoppers are not particularly effective in preserving carbonation nor are they entirely safe, inasmuch as the release of the cap by disengaging the arms can convert the cap into a projectile.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Therefore there is as yet a need for an inexpensive and effective sparkling wine bottle closure system.
The present invention is a bottle closure that, in a preferred embodiment, includes a cap with a closed top and a cylindrical side, which together define an open portion. Disposed on an interior side of the cap, either integrally formed or tightly fitted as an insert, is a female threaded element. A complementary threaded collar having first and second clamping portions is also provided, the collar configured to encircle and clamp around a portion of a cylindrical bottle neck so as to form continuous male threads disposed on the exterior sides of the clamping portions. The continuous male threads are sized for threadable mating with the female threads of the cap.
Thus, when the threaded collar is installed on a bottle neck, either on a bare neck having no bottle collar or under a bottle collar on a bottle having a collar, the open portion of the cap is placed over the open mouth of the bottle and lowered so as to bring said female threaded element into threadable engagement with the continuous male threads of the threaded collar. The cap is then screwed down onto the threaded collar to provide a very secure bottle closure, capable of withstanding significant impact and internal pressure from dissolved gases in a contained beverage without being dislodged.
Other novel features which are characteristic of the invention, as to organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawing is for illustration and description only and is not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention. The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming part of this disclosure. The invention resides not in any one of these features taken alone, but rather in the particular combination of all of its structures for the functions specified.
The foregoing summary broadly sets out the more important features of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood, and so that the present contributions to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described in the detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.
Accordingly, before explaining the preferred embodiment of the disclosure in detail, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and the arrangements set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The inventive apparatus described herein is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways.
Also, it is to be understood that the terminology and phraseology employed herein are for descriptive purposes only, and not limitation. Where specific dimensional and material specifications have been included or omitted from the specification or the claims, or both, it is to be understood that the same are not to be incorporated into the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based may readily be used as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims are regarded as including such equivalent constructions as far as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Rather, the fundamental aspects of the invention, along with the various features and structures that characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the present invention, its advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated the preferred embodiment.
The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above will become apparent when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a sparkling wine bottle in an unopened state, showing the inventive closure system poised for installation over the bottle mouth (i.e., its pouring spout or “finish”);
FIG. 1A is an exploded side view in elevation of the cap and the threaded insert;
FIG. 2 is an upper perspective view showing the threaded clamp installed on the bottle and the cap with threaded insert prepared for threaded installation thereon;
FIG. 3 is the same view showing the cap in the process of being threadably installed on the bottle with the threaded clamp already installed;
FIG. 4 is the same view with the bottle closure entirely installed;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view in elevation taken along section line 5-5 of FIG. 4; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 6 is a cross-section side view in elevation showing an alternative embodiment that includes a central plug.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 6, wherein like reference numerals refer to like components in the various views, there is illustrated therein a new and improved bottle closure, generally denominated 100 herein.
The bottle closure system includes a cap 12 with an enlarged rim 14 to facilitate gripping. A female element comprising a threaded insert 16 is either tightly fitted within the opening 18 in the cap or integrally formed therein. Accordingly, either the insert or the integrally formed threads comprise female threads 20 on an interior wall. The insert includes an interiorly disposed flange at its upper rim 22.
The bottle closure system next includes a male element comprising a threaded collar or clamp 24, which includes first and second semicircular portions 26, 28 joined on one end at a hinge 30 (e.g., a living hinge or other molded hinge) and selectively joined at another end by first and second clasp elements 32, 34. The clamp further includes male threads 36 for threadably mating with the female threads 20 of threaded insert 16, as well as an upper rim 38 and downwardly extending opposing tabs 40.
To install the bottle closure on a wine bottle 50, clamp 24 (of the male element) is opened and placed around the bottle neck 52 under collar 54, and the clasp elements approximated, such that upper rim 38 of clamp 24 engages the underside of the bottle collar 54. The cap 12 and female threaded insert 16 are then placed over the mouth of the bottle and brought into threadable engagement with clamp 24 and screwed down until the resilient underside 42 of cap 14 rests securely on the lip 56 of the bottle 50. When gently tightened, the closure cannot be dislodged from the bottle with the kinds of forces ordinarily imparted in handling bottles, even when the contents are under high pressure, such as when the contents include a carbonated beverage.
FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment 60 in which the underside 62 of the cap interior includes a central plug 64 adapted for insertion into a bottle mouth. This enhances the cap seal and also displaces and/or compresses at least a small volume of air or gas in the bottle.
The cap portion of the present invention is preferably fabricated from a resilient material, such as a pure gum rubber, synthetic rubber, or food grade silicone, and further preferably has a shore durometer of approximately Shore A-50 (+/−5 points) under the ASTM D2240 testing standard.
While the present invention is particularly well adapted for use in closing sparkling wines bottles, it is also contemplated for use in providing a closure for essentially any kind of beverage or liquid container with a cylindrical open top.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that in its most essential aspect, the present invention is a closure for securely resealing an opened beverage container, including a threaded male clamp for clamping onto a cylindrical bottle neck; and a threaded cap having female threads on an interior side for matable installation over said threaded male clamp. The clamp is adapted for installation on a bare neck, preferably immediately below a bottle collar. The threaded cap fits over the collar to threadably engage the clamp and thereby secures the cap over the mouth of the container.
The above disclosure is sufficient to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention, and provides the best mode of practicing the invention presently contemplated by the inventor. While there is provided herein a full and complete disclosure of the preferred embodiments of this invention, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction, dimensional relationships, and operation shown and described. Various modifications, alternative constructions, changes and equivalents will readily occur to those skilled in the art and may be employed, as suitable, without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. Such changes might involve alternative materials, components, structural arrangements, sizes, shapes, forms, functions, operational features or the like.
While the present invention has been described as adapted for use as a sparkling wine bottle closure system, it will be appreciated from the foregoing that the instant invention may be adapted through sizing to fit any of a number of containers to convert a cylindrical non-screw top type container into a screw top container. A desirable, though not imperative feature of such a container is that it have a collar under which the clamp can be installed so as to ensure an extremely secure closure. However, even a bottle without a collar in its finish could be closed with the bottle closure of the present invention through a friction grip alone.
Therefore, the above description and illustrations should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.