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Cereal dispenser

Title: Cereal dispenser.
Abstract: Cereal Dispenser with a hollow main housing including a removable replaceable lid and a cereal exit port, a linear translation mechanism, a cereal lifting tray, a vibratory mechanism, a power source, an actuation switch, a tray lowering switch and an L shaped actuation arm. The linear translation mechanism causes the lifting tray to raise. The actuator arm is hinged to the housing just under the cereal exit port. The arm is capable of pushing on the actuation switch which causes the linear translation mechanism to activate thereby lifting the tray and causing cereal to exit. A preferred embodiment includes a removable and replaceable desiccant cartridge stored within the housing that can absorb excess moisture within the housing. ...

USPTO Applicaton #: #20060049207 - Class: 222196000 (USPTO) - Class 222 

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Related Patent Categories: Dispensing, Jarring And/or Vibrating
The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20060049207, Cereal dispenser.


[0001] Not Applicable


[0002] Not Applicable


[0003] Not Applicable


[0004] This invention relates generally to the field of food storage and dispensing containers and more specifically to a cereal dispenser.

[0005] Cereal for human consumption has become a favorite breakfast food for millions of people around the world. Much of the cereal purchased in local markets is packed in cardboard boxes. Some cereal can be purchased in bulk and transported in plastic bags. A typical cereal user stores the cereal boxes or bags in a kitchen cupboard and takes it out as needed. The user must then open the box, pour out a desired amount and replace the box.

[0006] Cereal boxes can occupy quite a bit of space in a standard kitchen cabinet. Also there is no way to easily determine how much cereal is left in a box unless the box is opened and its contents inspected.

[0007] Currently, several manufacturers have offered a cereal storage and dispensing device that employs gravity to help dispense cereal when a user turns a knob so that the cereal falls into a waiting bowl. Although these units do help to make cereal more accessible and help the user to want to eat more cereal because of its visible presence on a kitchen counter, a number of deficiencies still exist with regard to existing devices still exist. First, the gravity fed storage devices require that the cereal be stored at least six inches above the counter top and therefore make the storage housing excessively tall and bulky to the point of not fitting under a standard kitchen cupboard thereby making placement on a counter top less than ideal. Second, the present dispensing devices do not include a means for removing excess moisture from the storage compartment. Third, the existing dispensers require two hands to operate, one for holding the bowl and the other for turning the dispensing knob. Fourth, the act of turning the dispensing mechanism tends to grind and otherwise deform the cereal as it is dispensed. Finally, The each rotation of the dispensing knob releases a relatively small portion of cereal thereby making it necessary to turn the knob multiple times which is time consuming and further degrades the cereal being released.


[0008] The primary object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that stores a quantity of cereal and dispenses it automatically.

[0009] Another object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that is compact and can be easily stored on a standard kitchen counter top.

[0010] Another object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that stores cereal in an air tight manner.

[0011] A further object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that allows the user to dispense cereal using only one hand.

[0012] Yet another object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that can automatically dispense a portioned amount of cereal into a bowl.

[0013] Still yet another object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that keeps the contained cereal dry and free from excess moisture.

[0014] Another object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that is modular so that a plurality of dispensers can be connected together.

[0015] Another object of the invention is to provide a cereal dispenser that shows the user how much cereal remains in the storage compartment.

[0016] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following descriptions, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed.

[0017] In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, there is disclosed a Cereal Dispenser comprising: a hollow main housing including a removable replaceable lid and a cereal exit port, a linear translation mechanism, a cereal lifting tray, a vibratory mechanism, a power source, an actuation switch, a tray lowering switch an L shaped actuation arm, said linear translation mechanism causing said lifting tray to raise, said actuator arm hinged to said housing just under said cereal exit port, and said arm capable of pushing on said actuation switch which causes said linear translation mechanism to activate thereby lifting said tray.


[0018] The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments to the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspects of the invention may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate an understanding of the invention.

[0019] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention.

[0020] FIG. 2 is a side section view of the invention.

[0021] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the desiccant housing of the invention.

[0022] FIG. 4 is a partial side view of the invention in the process of dispensing cereal.

[0023] FIG. 5 is a top view of the invention.

[0024] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the lifting tray of the invention.


[0025] Detailed descriptions of the preferred embodiment are provided herein. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but rather as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed system, structure or manner.

[0026] Referring now to FIG. 1 we see a perspective view of the invention 100. A hollow housing 24 is topped by a removable replaceable lid 2. Lid 2 engages with the perimeter of housing 24 shown at area 30 in an air tight manner such as the inclusion of an O ring gasket 77 shown in FIG. 2. An additional gasket 7 can be seen in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4 at the perimeter of cereal exit port 8. An actuation arm 10 resides under a cereal port 8. When a user pushes a cereal bowl against the end 12 of hinged 84 actuation arm 10 as shown in FIG. 4, switch 14 is activated causing cereal 80 stored within the housing 24 to pour out into the bowl 82. Dotted line 98 also indicates the rotational arc of arm 10. Cereal port 8 includes a transparent window 6 so that the user can easily tell what type of cereal is contained within the housing 24. Transparent window 18 shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 also shows the user how much cereal is left inside housing 24. Recessed portions 20, 22 can interact with matching protrusions 21 as shown in top view in FIG. 5 so that a plurality of housings can be linked together. An extension tab 4 on lid 2 allows the user to open the lid 2. FIG. 2 shows a side section view of the present invention. A DC motor 44 is powered by power supply battery 46 residing in battery holder portion 48. Gear reduction assembly 56 transfers a rotational force to lead screw 52. Bushing 50 retains lead screw 52 at its lower end. A nut 54 is integrated into cereal lifting tray plate 38 and associated tray 36. Tray plate 38 rises as screw 52 turns clockwise and lowers as screw 52 turns counter clockwise. Tray 36 and tray plate 38 can be more clearly seen in FIG. 6. It should be noted that other standard linear translation means may be employed for the lifting and lowering of tray plate 38 such as belt drive, pneumatic drive or rack and pinion drive. Tray 36 is constructed of flexible material such as EVA and the top edge of tray 36 is frictionally engaged with the internal walls of housing 24 so that cereal can not fall below the tray 36 to the drive mechanism below. Cereal exits through opening 9 as plate 38 and tray 36 rise. To further urge the cereal out of port 8, 9 a DC motor 40 that has an off center weight 42 attached to its shaft is retained 43 under plate 38. When the user pushes his or her cereal bowl 82 onto actuator arm 10 at point 12, a momentary switch 14 is activated. This causes both the lead screw drive 44, 56, 52 and the vibration assembly 40. 42, 43 to activate resulting in cereal 80 exiting port 8 as shown in FIG. 4.

[0027] Reticulated wire pair 96 supplies power from battery 46 to motor 40 so that wire pair 96 can compress in an orderly way when lifting plate 38 is lowered. The lowering action is activated by pressing momentary switch 90. Referring back to FIG. 2 we see that a desiccant cartridge 34 is held in a cavity 32 just below cap 2. The cartridge 34 can be seen more clearly in FIG. 3 where desiccant material 64 is trapped within screened 60 housing 62. In the preferred embodiment, the desiccant material 64 is granular and is blue in color when dry and pink in color when moisture has been absorbed. When the user sees that the desiccant material 64 is pink, he or she can remove the cartridge and bake out the retained moisture in an oven. Another feature of the preferred embodiment includes a timing circuit 92 shown in FIG. 2 which is connected to potentiometer adjustment knob 16. Timing circuit is attached to motor 44 and controls the duration of operation of motor 44. In this way, a person can adjust control knob 16 so that the volume of cereal 80 exiting port 8 can be adjusted thereby creating portioned amounts of cereal exiting into bowl 82. This is particularly helpful to persons who want to control amounts of food eaten such as persons who are on a diet. Also shown in FIG. 2 is a crumb removal door 79 that can be removed and replaced by screws 83,85 or other similar retention means so that the user can remove any unwanted remains of cereal that may have found its way to the bottom of the unit. This operation would be performed when the device 100 is empty. Alternately, a removable door could be positioned at the very bottom of the unit. A gasket 81 seals the door 79 in an air tight manner.

[0028] While the invention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular form set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

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