BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND PRIOR ART
This invention relates generally to candle redressing, i.e., eliminating the crater and removing the shoulder from a used candle, and specifically to apparatus for redressing a “free standing” type candle and forming a new candle from the melted wax of the redressed candle.
While originally candles were mainly used to provide illumination, present day candles are for the most part decorative, with the light generated being more for ambience than illumination. Consequently modem candles are available in a great variety of shapes, sizes and colors. As used herein the term free standing candle refers to a stick candle that is self supporting, i.e., that doesn't require a holder of some sort. Stick candles include elegant taper candles and the relatively large pillar candles, which are quite popular. Also popular are container candles in which the candle is burned in the same container in which it was made Container candles often are more expensive because of the container, which is generally made of glass. When a container candle is spent, the container, with wax residue and candle remains, are usually wastefully discarded. While the present invention is not directed to redressing container candles, it is useful in making new container candles.
Candles are generally infused with appropriate agents for emitting a pleasant aroma, especially during burning. During candle burning, a pool of molten wax forms around its wick. The pool grows larger and deepens, forming a crater, usually circumscribed by an irregularly shaped shoulder, resulting in a non uniform and unsightly candle top. Under ideal conditions, the candle top remains level as the candle burns and no shoulder forms as the pool of molten wax draws evenly from the entire top of the candle surface. However, in most instances, the pool deepens, drawing wax non uniformly from the top of the candle, resulting in an uneven shoulder and a sunken wick. The wick may become so deeply sunken that the flame is extinguished, making the candle very difficult to relight Very often the shoulder is breached with the result that melted wax spills down the side of the candle. The occurrence of any of these events significantly affects the candle's decorative characteristics and very often renders it unfit for continued burning. When these things are considered in conjunction with the fact that the candles are relatively expensive, it is not surprising that such candles are either rarely burned or need to be discarded after only a short period of use.
Special problem arise in connection with stick candles that need to be supported in a holder. Since stick candles and candle holders come in many sizes and bottom configurations, it is often difficult to securely fix a candle in a holder with the result that a dangerous situation can arise in which the candle may become loose, tilt, or even fall out of the holder. The present invention provides a technique and apparatus for altering the bottom of a candle to achieve a better fit with candlestick holder.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,964,563, issued Nov. 15, 2005 to M. Milicevich, describes a candle re-topping device that comprises a bowl-like vessel adapted to be filled with water and heated on a stove. The bowl includes a surface, upon which the candle to be re-topped is positioned with its shoulder adjacent the surface, for melting the shoulder wax. The melted wax is drained from the surface via a number of holes in the surface, with the melted wax flowing into the bowl and mixing with the water. At the conclusion, the re-topped candle is removed and the water and wax contents of the bowl discarded. Since the bowl becomes hot during the process, it is provided with a pair of handles, as well as a spout, for enabling safe discharge of its contents.
U.S. Pat. No. 5.988,446, issued Nov. 23, 1999 to J. Schitter, discloses a heated funnel for melting bits of candle wax and depositing the melted was in a container. A spool of wick material is conveniently mounted to the underside of the funnel. The redressing of candle tops is not disclosed nor discussed.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,078,945, issued Jan. 7, 1992 to D. Byron, discloses a combined candle holder and candle mold base. Dripping wax from a burning candle is directed to the base, in which a wick is supported, for forming a new candle. The bottom of the mold base is removable and the mold base may be coated with a release agent to facilitate removal of the newly formed candle. No external heating is disclosed nor discussed.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,412,670, issued Jul. 2, 2002 to Randmae et al., discloses a device for making candles from either pieces of old candles or from new candle wax. The unit is electrically heated to melt the wax which flows into a dispensing chamber that includes a manually operable valve arrangement for controlling flow of melted wax to a removable mold in the base of the device. The patent discusses using a wick support on the mold, or providing the mold with a post for forming a passage through which a wick is later threaded.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,998,922, issued Dec. 21, 1976 to T. Weiss and U.S. Pat. No. 6,471,899, issued Oct. 29, 2002 to Dalber et al., each disclose apparatus for forming wick holes during manufacture of a candle.
The above-mentioned '563 patent is directed to candle redressing, but not to a system for both redressing and forming a new candle from the resultant candle wax. The '945 patent does not discuss candle redressing but simply directs dripping wax from a burning candle to a mold for making a new candle. The '670 and the '446 patents relate to candle making devices for melting old candle pieces (or new candle wax) and directing the melted wax into candle molds. None of the references discloses or suggests a device for redressing used candles and using the melted wax for making a new candle.
While the present invention is applicable to the making of small diameter stick candles, it is most advantageously useful in making large diameter pillar candles and container candles. Incorporating a wick, or a plurality of wicks, in these types of candles is often challenging. With a pillar candle, a wick hole, having a sealing washer, is generally provided in the bottom of the mold. The wick is threaded through the seal, a knot is tied under the mold and the other end of the wick is tied to a rod that bridges the mouth of the mold. Often the knot and seal washer fail to keep the melted wax from seeping out of the mold. Further, the bridged rod rarely maintains the wick taut during molding, resulting in a crooked wick that produces undesired deviations of the flame during burning. For a container candle, a wick hole is not provided. Rather a wick, generally prewaxed and having a metal disc fastened to one end, is carefully positioned in the center of the container while the wick is either attached to a bridged rod as described above, or in the case of a shorter candle, is carefully positioned to stand up from the metal disc by virtue of its own stiffness. In either situation, the process is somewhat difficult and time consuming.
In accordance with the invention, a heated wax melting surface supplies melted wax to a container that is placed under a drain. The container may be a releasable mold for the formation of a pillar candle that is removed from the mold after cooling or it may consist of a suitable, usually glass, vessel for the formation of a container candle. Alternatively, the container may simply collect the melted wax which is then poured into another candle mold or container.
This latter method is useful in making small “votive candles” or for filling a split mold to make a candle of novel shape.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
The principal object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for redressing used candles and forming a new candle from the melted wax.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel apparatus for forming a wick hole in a candle.
A further object of the invention is to provide novel apparatus for shaping the bottom of a small diameter stick candle.
A feature of the invention is the wax melting surface of the redressing bowl being angled slightly toward a drain to facilitate drainage of the melted wax.
Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of shaper means for shaping the bottom of a small diameter stick candle for better fitment to a candlestick holder.
Still another feature of the invention resides in the wall of the redressing bowl being angled away from vertical such that inadvertent contact by a candle will not result in a flat spot on the candle.
A further feature of the invention is in the provision of a barrier for keeping chunks of wax from clogging the drain.
A still further feature of the invention is in the provision of a wick pin holder for securing one or more vertically oriented pins as the melted wax flows into the container.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following description in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view of a candle redressing and candle forming apparatus showing the redresser bowl of the invention in cross section;
FIG. 2 is a partial top view of the wax melting surface of the redresser bowl illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial side view of the wax melting surface showing one version of a candle bottom shaping feature of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the candle container illustrating the wick pin holder arrangement of the invention; and
FIG. 5 is a side view of the candle container of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a partial top view of an alternate wax melting surface construction; and
FIG. 7 is a side view of FIG. 6 illustrating another version of the candle bottom shaping feature.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention comprises a method and apparatus for redressing a used candle and utilizing the melted wax therefrom to form a new candle. The used candle is held in an inverted position with its top in contact with a heated wax melting surface to melt the wax shoulder and to effectively eliminate the crater in the top of the candle. The melted wax is directed through a drain in the surface to a container for making a new candle. The melted wax in the container may either be poured into a candle mold for making a new candle or the container itself may be used as the candle mold.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a candle redresser 10 includes a pedestal bottom 12 having a shallow redressing bowl 14 supported thereon. Redressing bowl 14, having a surrounding wall 19, is fabricated of metal, or other suitable heat conductive material. Bowl 14 has a flat wax melting, surface 16 that is heated by an electrical heater 18 embedded in the bottom of bowl 14. A conventional electrical plug 20 couples household power to heater 18 via a switch 22 and wiring 24. An indicator light 26 is illuminated when switch 22 is turned on and supplying energy to heater 18. The wax melting surface 16 is preferably angled slightly towards a drain 35 that is formed adjacent the front side of wall 19. This angle “a” may be produced by providing a tilted top 13 for pedestal base 12, as shown, or by angling the wax melting surface itself. A container 50, with an open top and a closed bottom, is positioned beneath drain 35 for receiving melted wax from wax melting surface 16.
A candle 30, having a crater 32 and a shoulder 34 formed therein during prior usage, is held in an inverted position with its shoulder 34 against wax melting surface 16. Candle 30 is maintained in contact with wax melting surface 16 until shoulder 34 has been melted down to eliminate crater 32, thus forming a subsantially flat top. The candle may now be removed and the wick 38 pried free of the candle top which, after cooling, is restored to very nearly its original appearance.
A candle bottom shaper means in the form of a well 40 is formed in wax melting surface 16 around drain 35. The well 40, having slightly outwardly tapered sides, is used to size and shape the bottom of a small diameter stick candle in order to match differing sized candle holders, as discussed previously. To aid in shaping the candle, the front section of wall 19 includes a small arcuate section 19a, that generally follows the contour of a small diameter stick candle, for providing clearance for the upper portion of the candle. It will be appreciated that well 40 may also be used to simply soften the bottom of a stick candle to produce a very secure fit within a candle holder.
A shallow gutter 41, formed along the front of wax melting surface 16, empties into shaper well 40 to provide efficient drainage of the melted wax on surface 16. A removable barrier 36 is provided for preventing chunks of solid wax from clogging drain 35. Barrier 36 is constructed of plastic, or other suitable material of low heat conductance, and is shaped as shown so that it may be hung over arcuate portion 19a of wall 19 during candle redressing and removed to enable candle bottom shaping, as described.
A multi legged wick pin holder 60 is positioned on the top of container 50 and supports a wick pin 65 in a vertical position in container 50 while melted wax is delivered thereto. As will be described below in more detail, wick pin holder 60 straddles the top of container 50 with each leg being serrated or stepped on its underside for easy centering. A handle 56 and a pouring spout 58 are incorporated to enable container 50 to be used for pouring melted wax into a separate candle mold, if desired.
The melted wax obtained by redressing candle 30 flows into container 50. Additional wax may be added to container 50 by redressing other candles or by melting pieces of wax, whether from old candles or from new candle wax, on the wax melting surface 16. (New candles of interesting color designs may be readily formed by selection of appropriately colored pieces of wax or old candles.) When the melted wax has cooled sufficiently to solidify in container 50, wick pin 65 is withdrawn, leaving a smooth central hole in which a pre waxed wick may be readily inserted and trimmed, as discussed above. It should be noted that, as the wax in container 50 cools, it shrinks away from the walls of container 50, thus allowing easy removal of the new candle. The initial lighting of the wick in the newly formed candle will produce a pool of melted wax at the base of the flame which draws into and fuses the wick in the wick hole. The wick holder 60 can also be used as a bridged rod, described above, to support wick material directly in making a candle.
As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, outwardly angled wall 19 of redresser bowl 14 has a generally square periphery. The angle of deviation of wall 19 from vertical is indicated by “b”. Preferably the base of wall 19 is smoothly contoured into the wax melting surface 16. The angled feature of the wall precludes flat spots being formed in the candle as a result of the candle being inadvertently brought into contact with the wall during redressing.
The size and shape of container 50 is a matter of creative choice and any suitable candle mold for the formation of plain or artistically shaped candles may be substituted therefor. In this connection, those skilled in the art will readily perceive that the candle redresser of the invention may be advantageously used to form container candles, i.e., wax-filled glass or other suitable vessels that may be fitted with one or more wicks, with container 50 being used to collect the melted wax for pouring into other suitable candle molds (not shown) as desired. For these candles, and especially for container candles, the wick pin holder 60 of the invention may be used to good advantage by forming one or more wick holes in a newly formed container candle.
Reference to FIGS. 4 and 5 more clearly illustrates the wick pin holder 60 of the invention where container 50 is used as a new candle mold. Wick pin holder 60 is of cruciform construction with four legs 61a-61d. An aperture 63 in the center of the cruciform supports wick pin 65 vertically in container 50, with the bottom of the pin close to the base of the container. The undersides of the legs 61a-61d are stepped or serrated, as indicated at 62, to aid in positioning of the holder over containers of differing diameters. It will also be seen that other apertures 63′, 63″ and 63′″ are located about the holder 60 for holding multiple wick pins, indicated in dashed lines. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the configuration shown is merely illustrative of a multi wick pin arrangement and others will readily come to mind. Wick pin holder 60 is preferably of plastic construction, with the wick pins being metallic. It has been found that the metallic wick pins readily release when the melted wax has solidified, leaving nicely formed wick holes for the introduction of pre waxed wicks, as discussed above.
FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate another version of the invention with a redresser bowl 14′ having a wax melting surface consisting of three flat surfaces 43, 44 and 46, all angling toward drain 35. Additionally, a candle bottom shaper means is provided in the form of a small arcuate section 45 in wall 19′ of redresser bowl 14′. Arcuate section 45 is similar to well 40 (FIG. 3) and against the sides of which the bottom of a small diameter stick candle may be rotated for sizing and shaping as previously discussed.
What has been described is a novel candle redresser that incorporates the functions of redressing the top of a used candle and forming a new candle from the melted wax removed by the redressing. It is recognized that numerous changes to the described embodiment of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from its true spirit and scope. The invention is to be limited only as defined in the claims.