(19)
(11)EP 3 064 096 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
07.09.2016 Bulletin 2016/36

(21)Application number: 16157982.6

(22)Date of filing:  01.03.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A47G 19/26(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(30)Priority: 02.03.2015 US 201514635359

(71)Applicant: Mertzel, Joelle
Porte Ranch, CA 91326 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Mertzel, Joelle
    Porte Ranch, CA 91326 (US)

(74)Representative: Gill Jennings & Every LLP 
The Broadgate Tower 20 Primrose Street
London EC2A 2ES
London EC2A 2ES (GB)

  


(54)BUTTER DISH WITH ROTATABLE LID


(57) A butter dish (10) having a rotatable lid (16,212) that opens to an obtuse angle to give wide access to butter (18,208) stored on a base (12) cover by the lid (16). The butter dish (10) includes the base (12), a rear wall (14) defining a rotational axis (68) located above the base (12) and toward the rear (46) of the base (12), and the lid (16)is mounted to the rear wall (14) and rotates between open and closed positions.




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a butter dish, and more particularly, to a butter dish with a rotatable lid that encloses butter on the dish when closed and provides enhanced access to the butter when opened.

[0002] Butter dishes are well known containers for sticks or blocks of butter. Typically, the butter dish includes a dish or plate for supporting the butter and a removable cover that is lifted off the dish to provide access to the butter. Several problems exist with such butter dishes including close spacing between the cover and the butter and handling of the cover once it is lifted off the plate. The close spacing means that the cover often comes into contact with the butter when moving away from the dish and/or when the cover is returned to the plate. This translates to greasy butter being deposited on the cover and then transferred to the region between the cover and the plate when the two are brought together again. Having butter between the cover and the plate ruins the quality of the seal of the cover to the plate.

[0003] Greasy butter may also be transferred to the countertop or table where the cover is set down during the process of removing a pat of butter and applying the butter to another item, such as a slice of bread. To avoid leaving greasy butter on a countertop a user often attempts to set the cover upside down on the countertop, but this is often difficult because a handle for the cover may be on top of the cover so that the cover is not stable and may fall to the floor and break. Also, handling of the cover is difficult because it is difficult to grab an upside down cover.

[0004] Another problem is that butter left between the cover and the plate softens if left at room temperature but will then fuse the cover to the plate when placed in a refrigerator. When next used the cover will be difficult to open or remove and may even be dangerous as a consumer struggles with the cover.

[0005] Another type of butter dish, one with a hinged or roll top, tends to be somewhat complicated structurally and limiting in that such dishes only open to 90° and thus they constrict access to the butter by a user using a butter spreader. With such a restricted opening butter may accidently be smeared on the closure, the lip of the plate or the stand.

[0006] Patents have been granted over the years on butter dishes, such as U.S. Patent D259,690 issued in 1981 to Fetzer for a design of a "Dish With Hinged Cover." The Fetzer patent purports to disclose a base, a curved back wall and a matching curved cover hinged to only open to 90°. Another such patent was granted to Schwartz, U.S. Patent D192,870 issued in 1962 purporting to show a dish and a removable cover.

[0007] The invention described below in detail addresses these and other deficiencies of the prior art. The features and advantages of the present invention will be explained in, or become apparent from, the following summary and description of the preferred embodiment considered together with the accompanying drawings.

[0008] In accordance with the present application, an advantageous method and apparatus are disclosed. The apparatus takes the form of a sleek and stylish butter dish that is easy to use, simply constructed and opens widely enough to avoid, when used, butter smearing parts of the butter dish. In addition to being stylish, easy to use and simply constructed, the butter dish disclosed herein is structurally robust, relatively inexpensive and provides easy access to the stored butter because the closure opens to more than 90°. The butter dish is also designed to be scaled up or down as a function of the shape of the block of butter to be enclosed or of the size of opening desired and yet, the butter dish is still relatively compact.

[0009] Briefly summarized, the present invention relates to a butter dish with a rotatable lid including a base having a bottom surface for supporting the butter dish on a support surface and a top planar surface spaced away from the bottom surface for supporting butter, a rear wall connected to the base for forming part of an enclosure and defining a rotational axis, the rotational axis being spaced from the top surface of the base and located near a rear of the base, and a lid connected to the rear wall and forming another part of the enclosure over the base and over any butter on the top planar surface of the base, the lid having a bottom edge and a rear opening with a rear edge, and the lid being constructed and dimensioned to be rotatable around the rotational axis between a first position where the rear edge of the lid cooperates with the rear wall to close the enclosure and the lower edge of the lid is supported by the top planar surface of the base, and a second position where the lower edge has rotated to an obtuse angle and the rear edge of the lid has rotated relative to the top planar surface of the base.

[0010] The invention also includes a method for making a butter dish including the steps of forming a base having a top surface and a spaced apart bottom surface, forming a rear wall extending from the top surface of the base, forming an axis of rotation on the back wall above the top surface of the base and near a rear of the base, and connecting a lid to be movable around the axis of rotation between a closed position where the lid rests upon the top surface of the base for forming an enclosure for butter on the top surface of the base and an open position where the lid rests on a support surface enabling easy access to the butter.

[0011] For the purpose of facilitating an understanding of the invention, the accompanying drawings and detailed description illustrate a preferred embodiment thereof, from which the invention, its structure, its construction and operation, its processes, and many related advantages may be readily understood and appreciated.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention illustrating the front and side of a butter dish apparatus in the closed position.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the rear and side of the closed butter dish shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an isometric view of the butter dish shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, but in an opened position and illustrating a block of butter and a butter spreader.

FIG. 4 is a reduced side elevation view of the closed butter dish shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, but including a butter spreader.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a base of the butter dish shown in FIGS. 1 - 4.

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the base shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a front elevation view of the base shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the base shown in FIGS. 5 - 7.

FIG. 9 is an isometric view of a rear wall of the butter dish shown in FIGS. 1 - 4.

FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of the rear wall shown in FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a rear elevation view of the rear wall shown in FIGS 9 and 10.

FIG. 12 is a side elevation view of a lid of the butter dish shown in FIGS. 1 - 4.

FIG. 13 is a bottom plan view of the lid shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a rear elevation view of the lid shown in FIGS. 12 and 13.

FIG. 15 is a flow diagram of a method for making the butter dish shown in FIGS. 1-4.



[0012] The following description is provided to enable those skilled in the art to make and use the described embodiment set forth in the best mode contemplated for carrying out the invention. Various modifications, equivalents, variations, and alternatives, however, will remain readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Any and all such modifications, variations, equivalents, and alternatives are intended to fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0013] Referring to FIGS. 1 - 4, there is illustrated a butter dish 10 with a rotatable cover, closure or lid. The butter dish 10 includes a stylized base, dish or plate 12, a rear wall 14 and a stylized rotatable lid 16. The butter dish 10 is shown in a first or closed position in FIGS. 1 and 2, and in a second or open position in FIG. 3, and where a block of butter 18 (shown in phantom lines) and a butter knife or spreader 20 are also shown.

[0014] The base 12, FIGS. 5 - 8, may have a generally oval shape in plan view (see FIG. 8) with a top surface 22 having a completely flat or planar region 24 for receiving butter and a front recessed region 26 for storing the butter spreader 20. The top surface 22 may also include two spaced apart slots 30, 32 positioned toward the rear of the top surface 22 for mounting the rear wall 14. Near the ends along the long dimension of the oval base 12 are two attached side grips or pads 34, 36 to facilitate holding and handling of the butter dish 10. Spaced a predetermined distance from the top surface 22 of the base 12 is a bottom surface in the form of an oval shaped rim 40. The rim 40 may include a non-skid surface or be covered by a non-skid element. The rim 40 is designed to support the butter dish 10 on a support surface 42 (shown in dotted lines), FIG. 4, such as a kitchen countertop or a table. As will be explained below, the dimension between the top and bottom surfaces 22, 40 is chosen along with other dimensions to ensure that the lid 16 opens to an obtuse angle regardless of the size of the block of butter enclosed in the butter dish. The recessed region 26 of the base may include a front lip portion 44 for restraining the butter spreader 20. The front lip 44 is located at an opposite end of the minor axis of the base from a base rear end 46.

[0015] In the alternative, the base 12 may have a different geometric shape in plan view, such as being more rectangular or square, or trapezoidal, or even circular or a blending of these or other shapes. The bottom rim 40 may also have a different geometric shape, such as a rectangle, a square or a circle, or simply a flat surface. Or, other shapes may be used as long as those shapes of the bottom surface of the base provide that the base and, therefore the butter dish, is stable when placed on the support surface. Also in the alternative, the top surface 22 may be coated, roughened or grooved to better restrain the butter from easily moving around the top surface, or a removable plate or butter holder may be used on the top surface, if desired. The top surface may also include a recessed region for the butter, if desired.

[0016] Referring now to FIGS. 9 - 11, the rear wall 14 is shown in more detail. The rear wall 14 includes a rear panel 50 mounted to be generally vertical relative to the generally horizontal top surface 22 of the base 12, two short side panels 52, 54 and a short upper panel 56. The side panels 52, 54 are generally perpendicular to the rear panel 50. Connected to each side panel 52, 54 is an attachment leg 60, 62 which are dimensioned to be received by the slots 30, 32 located near the rear 46 of the base 12, such that the rear wall 14 is essentially permanently affixed to the base 12. Each side panel 52, 54 also includes a lower opening 64, 66 for defining an axis of rotation 68, FIGS. 9 and 13, in conjunction with the lid 16. The rotational axis 68 is positioned above the top surface 22 and near the rear 46 of the base 12. The side and upper panels 52, 54, 56 form a forward facing edge 69. The rear wall 14 cooperates with the lid 16 to form an enclosure for the butter 18 when the butter dish 10 is closed as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. When the butter dish 10 is opened, the rear wall 14 and the openings 64, 66 are located in a predetermined manner on the base 12 to provide a wide and deep space to enable a user to manipulate a butter spreader without unduly smearing butter on the lid, on the base or on the rear wall, and yet, the butter dish 10 is not overly large.

[0017] In the alternative, the rear wall may assume a somewhat different shape and may be formed, if the butter dish material is molded plastic, integral with the base.

[0018] The stylish lid 16, as seen in FIGS. 1 - 3, and 12 - 14, includes a front panel 70, left and right side panels 72, 74 and an upper panel 76, which blend smoothly with each other. The side panels 72, 74 are generally perpendicular to the front panel 70. The front and side panels 70, 72, 74 form a lower planar rim or edge 78, FIG. 14, that mates with the planar region 24, FIG. 5, of the top surface 22 of the base 12 when the lid is in a closed position. The top surface of the base and the front and side panels of the lid cover the butter on the planar region 24 of the base from five sides. The two side panels 72, 74 and the upper panel 76 form a rear rim, border or edge 80, FIG. 13, that defines a rear opening 82 of the lid 16. The rear edge 80 cooperates with the rear wall 14 to help close and cover the butter from a sixth side as shown in FIG. 2. Thus, a full enclosure is formed around the butter 18.

[0019] Extending from the rear edge 80 at each side panel 72, 74 are tabs 84, 86, and the tabs extend the lower edge 78 rearward as clearly shown in FIG. 12. Extending laterally from the tab 84, FIGS. 13 and 14, is a short shaft 88, and extending laterally from the tab 86 is a short shaft 90. The shafts 88, 90 are received by the openings 64, 66, FIG. 9, in the side panels 52, 54 of the rear wall 14 and complete the rotational axis 68 to enable the lid 16 to rotate between the closed position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and the opened position shown in FIG. 3.

[0020] The front panel 70 is smoothly curved upward from the lower edge 78, and the upper panel 76 is positioned obliquely or slanted downward from the top of the front panel 70 to the rear edge 80. Extending outward from the front panel 70 is a handle 92 to facilitate moving the lid between the open and closed positions. Extending rearward from the upper panel 76 and the rear edge 80 is a bumper 94 with an end portion 95. The bumper is preferably formed of resilient material and functions to limit the rotation of the lid and cushion contact of the lid with the support surface 42, FIG. 4. The lid is constructed and dimensioned, along with the base 12 and the rear wall 14, such that the front panel 70 of the lid and the rear edge 80 extending along the left and right side panels 72, 74 are curved and generally parallel to one another, and the rear edge 80 and the lower edge 78 rotate about identical or near identical angles.

[0021] In the alternative, the rear wall may mount shafts for receipt by openings in the lid, or fastener elements may be placed in aligned openings in both the rear wall and the lid. The shape of the lid may be more rounded or less so, and other products besides butter may be stored in the butter dish.

[0022] In operation of the butter dish 10, a user places the butter dish on a conveniently located countertop or table, near a toaster for example, so that toast may be easily buttered. A stick or block of butter 18 is placed on the planar region 24 of the top surface 22 of the base 12 and the lid 16 is closed as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The base 12, the rear wall 14 and the mating lid 16 form an enclosure for the butter to enable the butter to remain out on a countertop or table for a week or more. It has been found that daily refrigeration of butter is not necessary and the butter may, in many cases, remain at room temperature until completely consumed. Storing the butter in typical household ambient conditions enables the butter within a short time to reach room temperature and be relatively soft to make spreading of the butter quite easy. Because the lid 16 opens beyond 90° a user will have little trouble handling the butter spreader 20 and avoiding the lower edge 78 of the lid 16 or other parts of the butter dish 10. If butter does not get smeared on the lower edge 78, the bottom edge of the lid will not stick to the top surface 22 of the base 12. Any excess butter remaining on the knife may be removed by wiping the knife against a front upper rim 69, FIG. 9, of the rear wall 14.

[0023] The preferred dimensions of the butter dish are as follows: the major dimension A, FIG. 5, of the oval base 12 is about 8.5 inches, and the minor dimension B is about 5.25 inches. The width C, FIG. 6, of the recess 26 in the base 12 is about 0.75 inches and the distance D from the recess 26 to the rear of the base 12 is about 4.15 inches. The height E, FIG. 10, from the rotational axis 68 to the top of the rear wall is about 1.8 inches. The height F, FIG. 12, of the lid 16 from the lower edge 78 is about 2.8 inches, the depth G of the upper panel 76 of the lid 16 is about 2.2 inches, the width H, FIG. 13 of the lid 16 is about 5.85 inches, the height I, FIG. 12, from the rotation axis 68 to the bumper 94 is about 1.9 inches, the distance J from the front panel 70 of the lid 16 to the rotational axis 68 is about 2.55 inches, the distance K from the front panel 70 of the lid to the end of the tab 86 is about 2.85 inches, the distance L, FIG. 10, from the rotational axis 68 to the rear panel 50 of the rear wall 14 is about 0.68 inches, and the distance M, FIG. 4, between the rotational axis 68 to the rear 46 of the base 12 is about 1.5 inches.

[0024] (The dimensions provided above are somewhat approximate even though some dimensions extend beyond two decimal places. This approximation is because the intersections of connecting panels are difficult to discern with curved corners are used as here, unlike for example, a sharp crease in a folded piece of paper. In addition, different materials will form intersections somewhat differently and different wall thicknesses will also affect the geometry of the intersections.) It is noted that the butter dish may be formed of any suitable plastic, metal, ceramic or porcelain, and may even be formed of coated paper.

[0025] Because of the dimensional structures set forth above, the angle of rotation N, FIG. 4, of the bumper 94 from the first position of the lid 16 shown in FIG. 4, to the second position of the lid where the bumper contacts the support surface 42 is about 110°, and is generally identical with the angle of rotation O of the lower edge 78 of the lid relative to the planar region 24 of the top surface 22 of the base 12 when the lid moves from the first position to the second position thereby providing for a larger opening to enable a user easy access to the butter 18. It is to be understood that altering the dimension or structure of the bumper 94 itself or relative to the rotational axis 68, and/or the dimension from the rotational axis 68 to the bottom rim 40 of the base 12 (roughly the same distance as to the support surface 42), or the depth dimension of the upper panel 76 of the lid, will alter the angle of rotation of the bumper and of the bottom edge of the lid. Therefore, different sized butter blocks or sticks may be easily accommodated by simple changes in those dimensions and still result in a wide 110° opening. Or in the alternative, the dimensions and structures may be changed should a larger opening be desired.

[0026] The plastic material for the butter dish 10 may be ABS, polycarbonate, a blend of ABS and polycarbonate or polypropylene. Soft components, such as the bumper 94, the side pads 34, 36 and the handle 92, may be formed from a thermoplastic elastomer that may be over-molded or molded separately and attached by stretching a part and mechanically interlocking the part with another part. According to Wikipedia butter sticks are commonly produced in two different configurations: the dominant shape east of the Rocky Mountains is the "Elgin" or Eastern-pack shape and is about 4.8 inches long and about 1.3 inches wide; west of the Rocky Mountains a different shape developed and it is referred to as the Western-pack, and these are about 3.1 inches long and about 1.5 inches wide.

[0027] It is noted that throughout this detailed description, words such as "upper," "lower," "front," "rear," "top" and "bottom," as well as similar positional terms, refer to portions or elements of the butter dish as they are viewed in the drawings relative to other portions, or in relationship to the positions of the apparatus as it will typically be deployed and moved during use, or to movements of elements based on the configurations illustrated.

[0028] The present invention also includes a method 200, FIG. 15, for making a butter dish including the steps of forming a base having a top surface and a spaced apart bottom surface 202, forming a rear wall extending from the top surface of the base 204, forming an axis of rotation on the back wall above the top surface of the base 206, and connecting a lid to be movable around the axis of rotation between a closed position where the lid rests upon the top surface of the base for forming an enclosure for butter on the top surface of the base and an opened position where the lid rests on a support surface enabling easy access to the butter 208. The method may also include the steps of forming two spaced apart openings in the rear wall for defining the axis of rotation 210, forming two spaced apart shafts on the lid 212, mounting the shafts of the lid in the openings in the back wall 214, and configuring the butter dish to enable rotation of the lid through about an angle of about 110°.

[0029] The butter dish 10 provides for a wide opening to ease access to the butter and prevent inadvertent smearing of the butter on the butter dish lid. The butter dish is also structured and dimensioned to easily alter the extent of the opening and/or adjust for different size butter sticks or blocks. The butter dish described in detail above is structurally robust but simply constructed, inexpensive to manufacture, compact and adapted to contain butter or other products of different dimensions.

[0030] From the foregoing, it can be seen that there has been provided features for an improved butter dish apparatus and a description of a method for making the butter dish. While a particular embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described in detail, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made, some of which having already been suggested above, without departing from the invention in its broader aspects. Therefore, the aim is to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. The matters set forth in the foregoing description and accompanying drawings are offered by way of illustration only and not as limitation. The actual scope of the invention is to be defined by the subsequent claims when viewed in their proper perspective based on the prior art.


Claims

1. A butter dish with a rotatable lid comprising:

a base having a bottom surface for supporting the butter dish on a support surface and a top planar surface spaced away from the bottom surface for supporting butter;

a rear wall connected to the base for forming part of an enclosure and defining a rotational axis, the rotational axis being spaced from the top surface of the base and located near a rear of the base; and

a lid connected to the rear wall and forming another part of the enclosure over the base and over any butter on the top planar surface of the base, the lid having a lower edge and a rear opening bordered by a rear edge, and the lid being constructed and dimensioned to be rotatable around the rotational axis between a first position where the rear edge of the lid cooperates with the rear wall to close the enclosure and the lower edge of the lid is supported by the top planar surface of the base and a second position where the lower edge has rotated to an obtuse angle and the rear edge of the lid has rotated relative to the top planar surface of the base.


 
2. The butter dish of claim 1, wherein:

the lid includes a bumper connected to the rear edge of the lid.


 
3. The butter dish of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein:

the lid includes a front panel, two side panels and a tab extending from each side panel, the tabs forming with the rear wall the rotational axis.


 
4. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the rear wall includes a rear panel, two side panels and an upper panel.


 
5. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the lid includes an upper panel adjacent and generally parallel to the upper panel of the rear wall when the lid in the first position.


 
6. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the rear wall includes openings for receiving shafts connected to the lid; and

the openings of the rear wall and the shafts of the lid define the rotational axis.


 
7. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the lid includes an upper panel and a front panel which meet at about 90°; and

the upper panel of the lid extends obliquely relative to the lower edge.


 
8. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the lid includes a front panel; and

the rear edge and the front panel of the lid are curved and generally parallel to one another.


 
9. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the base extends beyond the lid when the lid is in the first position and includes a recessed region.


 
10. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the lid includes a handle extending from a front panel of the lid.


 
11. The butter dish of claim 10, wherein:

the lid includes a bumper connected to the rear edge;

the lid includes the front panel, two side panels and a tab extending from each side panel and forming with the rear wall the rotational axis; and

the rear wall includes a rear panel, two side panels and an upper panel.


 
12. The butter dish of claim 11, wherein:

the lid includes an upper panel generally adjacent and parallel to the upper panel of the rear wall;

the rear wall includes openings for receiving shafts connected to the lid; and

the upper panel and the front panel of the lid meet at about 90° and the upper panel of the lid extends obliquely relative to the lower edge of the lid.


 
13. The butter dish of claim 12, wherein:

the front panel and the rear edge of the lid are curved and are generally parallel to one another; and

the base extends beyond the lid when in the closed position and includes a recessed region.


 
14. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, wherein:

the lower edge of the lid rotates about 110° between the first and second positions.


 
15. The butter dish of any of the preceding claims, including:

a spreader; and

a wiping rim on the rear wall.


 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description