Water cooler abstract
A shell for a water cooler has two side sections and a front section.
The side sections slide-connect with the front section and lock
in place at corner joints, thereby forming an essentially one-piece
shell. The shell may be economically fabricated with only two molds
(one for the side sections and one for the front section) and with
only the slide-connect step.
Water cooler claims
What is claimed is:
1. A shell for a domestic water cooler, which comprises:
(a) an elongate vertical front panel having left and right side
edge portions that are substantially parallel to each other,
(b) elongate left and right vertical side panels,
each of said side panels having front and rear edge portions that
are substantially parallel to each other, and
(c) first and second corner joints to connect said front edge portions
of said left and right side panels respectively to said left and
right side edge portions of said front panel to cause said front
panel and said side panels to be related to each other in U-shaped
relationship as viewed in a horizontal plane,
characterized in that said first corner joint is a slide joint
that requires said front edge portion of said left side panel to
slide longitudinally relative to said left edge portion of said
front panel for at least the great majority of the length of said
front panel in order to form said first corner joint, and
further characterized in that said second corner joint is a slide
joint that requires said front edge portion of said right side panel
to slide longitudinally relative to said right edge portion of said
front panel for at least the great majority of the length of said
front panel in order to form said second corner joint.
2. The shell as claimed in claim 1 in which each of said panels
is molded of synthetic resin.
3. The shell as claimed in claim 2 in which each of said panels
is injection molded.
4. The shell as claimed in claim 1 in which each of said first
and second corner joints is so constructed that said left and right
side panels are convergent relative to each other, in a direction
away from said front panel, after said first and second corner joints
have been made and before said shell has been mounted on the frame
of a water cooler, and in which said first and second corner joints
are also so constructed that movement of said side panels in directions
away from each other, during mounting of said shell on said frame,
causes said corner joints when viewed from the exterior of said
shell to appear to be more free of cracks than when said side panels
are in the above-stated convergent relationship to each other.
5. The shell as claimed in claim 1 in which said front panels
and said side panels have horizontal top edges, in which mounting
means are provided to secure said rear edge portions of said side
panels to the frame of a water cooler in parallel relationship to
each other and at the same elevation as each other, and in which
stop means are provided to prevent downward movement of said front
panel relative to said side panels, past a predetermined position,
while said side panels are secured by said mounting means to said
frame, said predetermined position being such that top edges of
said front panel and of said side panels are at the same elevation.
6. The shell as claimed in claim 1 in which mounting means are
provided to secure said rear edge portions of said side panels to
the frame of a water cooler in parallel relationship to each other.
7. The shell as claimed in claim 6 in which said mounting means
comprises rear walls or flanges at said rear edge portions of said
side panels, screw holes in said rear walls or flanges, and screws
to pass through said screw holes and secure said rear walls or flanges
to the frame of a water cooler.
8. The shell as claimed in claim 1 in which a water-cooler frame
is provided, and in which said shell is mounted on and combined
with said frame.
9. The shell as provided in claim 8 in which said shell is mounted
on said frame by mounting means provided at said rear edge portions
of said left and right side panels.
10. In a domestic water cooler, a shell assembly adapted to be
assembled with a water-cooler frame, said shell assembly comprising:
(a) a first panel,
(b) a second panel,
said first and second panels being adapted to be parts of a shell
of an assembled water cooler, and being adapted when thus parts
of the assembled water cooler to be in a predetermined angular relationship
to each other,
(c) first joint means provided at one edge of said first panel,
(d) second joint means provided at one edge of said second panel,
said first and second joint means being adapted to connect to each
other, to join said first and second panels together, when said
panels are at a second angular relationship to each other that is
substantially different from said predetermined angular relationship,
said first and second joint means having a crack therebetween that
separates said first panel from said second panel,
said first and second panels and said first and second joint means
being such that said crack is substantial in width when said panels
are at said second angular relationship, and is very small in width
when said panels are at said predetermined angular relationship,
whereby the panels when parts of the assembled water cooler are
simulative of a unitary shell.
11. The domestic water cooler as claimed in claim 10 in which
said panels and said joint means are such that panel portions at
said crack pinch against each other for minimal crack width when
said panels are at said predetermined angular relationship.
12. The domestic water cooler as claimed in claim 10 in which
said first joint means and said second joint means are such that
they may be connected to each other only by movement of said first
and second panels relative to each other in a direction parallel
to said crack.
13. A water cooler shell, comprising:
(a) a front panel section,
(b) a right panel side section,
(c) a left panel side section, and
(d) first and second joint means to form joints between said front
panel section and each of said right and left panel side sections,
each of said first and second joint means comprising a tongue-in-groove
connection between said front panel section and one of said panel
each of said first and second joint means further comprising means
to prevent the tongue portion and the groove portion of said tongue-in-groove
connection from separating from each other, said means to prevent
separation including contacting regions, one of which is on said
front panel section, and the other of which is on said one of said
panel side sections, and both of which are not in said tongue-in-groove
14. The water cooler shell according to claim 13 in which said
contacting regions are spaced from said tongue-in-groove connection.
15. The water cooler shell according to claim 13 in which said
contacting regions include an elongate surface on said front panel
section and that is parallel to said tongue-in-groove connection,
and further include a surface of a flange on said one of said panel
side sections and that is parallel to said tongue-in-groove connection.
16. The water cooler shell according to claim 15 in which said
front panel section is injection-molded synthetic resin and has
an elongate front panel that connects at a corner region to a flange
that extends inwardly, said front panel section having means thereon,
on the same side of said panel as said flange, to form an elongate
surface parallel to said flange and that generally faces said flange,
in which said one of said panel side sections is injection-molded
synthetic resin and has an elongate side panel that has a groove-defining
portion at a forward edge of said side panel, and which defines
a groove to receive said flange when said one panel side section
is transverse to said front panel section, said one panel side section
having a flange that extends from said groove-defining portion to
said elongate surface and that cooperates with said elongate surface
to form said means to prevent said tongue and groove separation.
17. The water cooler shell according to claim 13 in which said
front panel section has a faucet alcove, and in which the interior
side wall of said alcove is one of said contacting regions.
18. The water cooler shell according to claim 15 in which said
front panel section has a faucet alcove, and in which the interior
side wall of said alcove is one of said elongate surface.
Water cooler description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The shells of domestic water coolers can be made in one piece,
by blow molding. However, blow molding has disadvantages, for example
in that the shell does not have the high-quality appearance that
characterizes a shell that is injection-molded.
There exist water cooler shells that are injection-molded and have
several pieces. These, however, are characterized by certain disadvantages,
including one or more of the following:
(1) Different parts of the top edge are not at the same elevation,
and do not assemble well with the cover.
(2) There are more pieces than desired, which do not assemble as
fast as desired.
(3) It is not possible or practical to remove and replace only
one of the pieces during refurbishing of the water cooler shell
after a period of use.
(4) The pieces do not--during assembly to the frame--have the characteristics
of one-piece shells. Instead, until there is final assembly to the
frame of the cooler, the shell components tend to move relative
to each other. This is at worst maddening, and at best inconvenient,
to the persons assembling the shell to the frame.
(5) The shell components do not always fit tightly relative to
the frame, but instead tend to move somewhat and therefore not create
the look and feel of a solid one-piece shell that has the cover
properly mounted and that is firmly anchored to the frame.
(6) There are often visible cracks between adjacent shell components,
which signal to the public that the shell is not one-piece.
Plural-piece shells for water coolers have advantages, for example,
the ability to be shipped unassembvled in small spaces. It is desired
to have a shell that has advantages of plural-piece shells but not
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In the present specification and claims, the cover is not treated
as being part of the "shell".
The present shell is capable of being--and very preferably is--injection-molded.
It has only three pieces, and is molded using only two molds in
the preferred embodiment. Thus, the front of the shell is made in
one mold and the two sides of the shell are made in the other mold.
The invention is such that the two sides (side sections or side
panels) readily slide-connect to opposite edges of the shell front
(front section of front panel). As soon as the sliding action is
completed, the shell sides snap-lock to the shell front, making
it difficult but (in the preferred form) not impossible to separate
one or the other (or both) of the sides from the front. The "lock"
prevents either side from moving upwardly relative to the front,
during final stages of assembly.
It follows that, very quickly, the shell has been pre-assembled
into a seemingly one-piece shell, having all the advantages thereof
in that it does not tend to partially or entirely become disassembled
when manipulated prior to or during the subsequent assembly to the
It is then merely necessary to take the seemingly one-piece shell
and mount it around the previously-assembled frame (and other internal
and/or rear components) of the cooler. The shell is then anchored
to the frame and the cover is mounted thereon.
The joints that connect the front edges of the sides to the side
edges of the front are, in accordance with one aspect of the invention,
not fully tight and crackfree during the assembly process. However,
the sides are pivoted relative to the front through small angles
during the final stages of the assembly to the frame, which is caused
to substantially or entirely eliminate all cracks between sides
and front and create the appearance of a one-piece shell.
The structure recited in the preceding paragraph relates not only
to the shell in its entirety but to the joints between the sides
and the front. Such joints also include means forming part of the
front to cause simple tongue-in-groove combinations to remain assembled.
Such means include, in the preferred form, side regions of the alcove
that contains the faucets.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an isometric view showing the present shell, in one of
the many decorative shapes it could have, assembled into a domestic
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal sectional view on line 2--2 of FIG. 1
and showing in phantom lines portions of the interior of a typical
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary elevational view illustrating the rear
edge region of one of the shell sides, as viewed from the right
in FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an interior fragmentary isometric view showing an upper
front portion of the shell and showing a joint region between a
side and the front of the shell, and also showing the corresponding
portion of a cover to be mounted over the shell;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal sectional view of
one of the front corners and corner joints of the shell, as viewed
from station 5--5 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal sectional view on
line 6--6 of FIG. 2 and showing in phantom line the position of
a side region prior to assembly of the shell with the frame;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary horizontal sectional view on
line 7--7 of FIG. 2; and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view on line 8--8 of
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring to FIG. 1 the domestic water cooler 10 has a synthetic
resin shell 11 over which is mounted a cover 12. A bottle 13 sits
on the cover in the conventional position.
Shell 11 is U-shaped in horizontal section, having a front section
15 (the base of the U) and two side sections 16 (the arms of the
Each side section 16 is symmetrical about a horizontal medial plane
(unshown). The front section 15 on the other hand, is symmetrical
about a vertical medial plane (unshown) which is parallel to the
main bodies of sides 16. Because of these symmetries, the showing
of only one front corner (as in FIGS. 2 and 4 for example) serves
also as a showing of the other front corner.
The front section 15 and the side sections 16 are injection-molded,
in the greatly preferred embodiment, and extend all the way from
the cover 12 to adjacent the floor on which the water cooler is
The frame and interior of the water cooler are indicated schematically
in phantom line in FIGS. 2 and 3. It is to be understood that the
frame provides a support to which the side sections 16 are anchored,
as indicated below. The frame is given the general reference numeral
17 and certain other components of the interior are indicated at
Proceeding to a description of front section 15 this comprises
a panel 20 that extends for substantially the full length of the
cooler, and that has a large alcove, recess, or depression 21 in
the upper portion thereof. Alcove 21 has side walls 22 (FIGS. 2
and 6) and a back wall 23 (FIG. 2), the latter being penetrated
by one or more faucets 24 that extend inwardly into interior components
18 of the water cooler.
As best shown in FIG. 6 the alcove side wall 22 is spaced away
from the side section 16 opposite thereto. At least at its region
which is relatively near the front of the shell 11 side wall 22
of the alcove is vertical.
Front section 15 has a horizontal top edge 28 (FIG. 4) that is
indented rearwardly or inwardly by a narrow ledge 29 (FIG. 5). Such
edge 28 and ledge 29 are, as described in detail below, respectively
caused to be in the same horizontal planes as the top edge 33 and
adjacent ledge 34 of each side section 16 reference being again
made to FIGS. 4 and 5. Furthermore, the extreme top edge 28 of front
section 15 is caused to register, at its ends, with the extreme
top edge 33 of each side section 16. Ledge 29 of front section 15
is caused to register, at its ends, with the ledge 34 of each side
section 16. The result is that the cover 12 fits substantially perfectly,
as described below, over top region of shell 11 substantially the
same as if the shell were a one-piece shell instead of a three-piece
At each of its edges, front section 15 has corners 36 that extend
around approximately 90.degree.. Reference is made to FIGS. 1 and
Starting just below the horizontal top ledge 28 and extending
vertically downwardly all the way down to the bottom of front section
15 at the edge of the corner, is an inwardly-extending narrow flange
37 (FIGS. 5-7). Flange 37 has a vertical face 38 that is generally
parallel to panel 20 of front section 15. Preferably provided on
face 38 near the corner where such face 38 meets the exterior surface
39 of corner 36 is a thin bead (not shown). By "thin"
it is meant that the dimension of the bead in a direction perpendicular
to face 38 is small.
Except for subsequently described stops, the remaining element
of front section 15 except for a ledge 41 at the bottom (FIG. 2)
that generally corresponds to ledge 29 at the top, is a flange 42
(FIG. 7). Such flange 42 extends vertically downwardly from the
bottom of each side wall 22 of alcove 21--forming a downwardly extending
extension of the portion of such side wall 22 that is relatively
near front panel 20.
Front section 15 and side sections 16 are (as above stated) very
preferably injection-molded, the presently preferred synthetic resin
The Side Sections 16
Each side section 16 has a large panel 45 at the top edge region
of which is the above-indicated horizontal ledge 34 and horizontal
top edge 33. A brace 46 (FIG. 4) is provided to increase rigidity,
there being such a brace both at the top and bottom edges of panel
At the forward edge of each panel 45 is joint means that cooperates
with joint means on front section 15 to form a joint therewith.
At the rear edge of each panel 45 is means to form a joint with
frame 17 of the water cooler. These joint means are separately described
At the front edge of panel 45 is a narrow vertical wall 47 (FIGS.
6 and 7) that extends inwardly at a substantially right angle to
panel 45. Wall 47 does not go all the way to the top (or the bottom)
of side section 16 terminating instead generally at the horizontal
plane of ledge 34 (FIG. 4). A vertical lip 48 extends upwardly from
ledge 34 (and brace 46), having the above-indicated top edge 33.
At the front end of lip 48 and "bent" at a right angle
thereto, is a thickened forward end portion 49 (FIG. 5). Such portion
49 has a forward face that is vertical and coplanar with the forward
vertical surface (face) of the narrow vertical wall 47. Such faces
are present at what is termed vertical crack 51 in reference to
FIGS. 1 and 5-7. The rearward face of the inwardly-extending flange
37 which is coplanar with the rearward face of corner 36 of front
section 15 forms the opposite wall of the crack 51.
The described narrow vertical wall 47 connects to a wall portion
54 (FIGS. 6 and 7) that extends forwardly for a distance sufficiently
great to receive the thickness of flange 37 on corner 36. Then,
further forwardly, there is formed an outwardly-extending wall portion
56 (FIGS. 6 and 7), the rearward surface of which is generally parallel
to the forward surface of wall 47. Wall portion 56 merges with an
acute-angle corner portion 57 which, in turn, merges with a flange
or wing 58 described below.
As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 flange 37 of corner portion 36 extends
into a groove defined by the interior walls or portions 47 54
56 and 57. This is caused to be not a tight fit but an easy one.
On the other hand, it is not so loose as to prevent or hinder the
couple action, or binding action, described below.
The sizes of the parts are caused to be such that flange 37 the
male element, extends into the groove until wall portion 54 (FIGS.
6 and 7) is engaged and/or until the outer corner of acute-angle
corner portion 57 is engaged by the inner surface of corner portion
The described flange (tongue)-and-groove joint portion is a major
part of the joint means between the forward corner of side section
16 and an outer corner of front section 15. The remaining major
portion consists of the flange or wing 58 and the elements that
cooperate with the outer end thereof, which outer end is preferably
somewhat bent (FIGS. 5-7) and is indicated by reference numeral
59. The flange or wing 58 extends outwardly from the groove portion
at the forward end of side section 16 at an obtuse angle, as illustrated,
which means that injection molding is made simple. The outer end
59 is "bent" so as to be generally perpendicular to the
elements with which it cooperates, and which are next indicated.
These elements that cooperate with wing 58/59 are, in the preferred
form of the invention, the above-indicated side wall 22 of alcove
21 (FIG. 6) and the vertical flange 42 that extends down from such
side wall of alcove 21 (FIG. 7). The dimensions are so chosen that
there is a sliding fit between the tip of wing 58/59 and the cooperating
outer side surfaces 61-62 (FIGS. 6 and 7) of wall 22 and flange
42. This slide fit is such as to keep the groove defined by elements
47 54 56 and 57 closely mated with flange or tongue 37 as shown
in FIGS. 6 and 7.
The relationships are such that the outer side surface of panel
45 of side section 16 merges generally with the outer surface 39
of corner 36 which corner 36 in turn merges with the outer surface
of front panel 20.
Proceeding next to a description of the joint means at the rear
edge of each side section 16 this comprises a narrow rear wall
or flange 64 (FIGS. 2-4) that is perpendicular to side panel 45.
It connects to the side panel at a corner 65 (FIG. 4). At its upper
(and its lower) end, rear wall or flange 64 has an edge, a lip,
and ledge corresponding to and connecting to those 33 48 and 34
Formed through relatively thick portions of rear wall or flange
64 are vertically spaced screw (or bolt) holes 66 two of which
are shown in FIG. 4. These are precisely located as by being formed
during the molding process. Screws 67 one of which is shown in
FIG. 3 extend through the holes 66 into screw holes associated
with the frame of the cooler as (for example) by being formed through
ears 68 only one of which is shown in FIG. 3.
It is emphasized that the frame 17 which sits on the floor, forms
the anchor or foundation for the shell. The screw holes (not shown)
in the frame 17 are located at predetermined elevations. The relationships
are such that when screws 67 are introduced through screw holes
66 in rear wall or flange 64 the rear walls 64 will be anchored
to the frame at predetermined elevations. The rear walls on both
sides of the cooler, that is to say on both sides of front section
15 are at the same elevations as each other.
Description of the Method (Operation) of the Parts As Thus Far
Let it be assumed that a frame and other interior components of
the cooler 10 have been assembled and are supported vertically on
the floor. Let it also be assumed that the two side sections 16
and front section 15 have been injection-molded and are ready to
be assembled (as is cover 12 described below).
It is an extremely simple and fast thing to assemble the front
corner portion of each side section 16 with a side corner portion
of front section 15. This is done one side section at a time, as
With front section 15 in any convenient position, for example,
vertical, the lower-front edge portion of a vertically-oriented
side section 16 is brought into proximity with an upper corner portion
of the front section. The side section 16 is caused to be substantially
perpendicular to the front section 15. Then, and referring to FIG.
6 the groove-forming portions 47 54 56 and 57 are mated with
flange 37 there being at this time only a few inches of overlapping
of the lower part of the side section relative to the upper part
of the front section.
It is emphasized that such mating is easy to do because the flange
or wing element 58/59 does not engage anything--the alcove and its
side wall 22 being far below the side section at this time because
the upper region of the alcove 21 is spaced far below the upper
edge of the front section. It is then a simple and easy matter to
move side section 16 downwardly while maintaining flange 38 in its
As soon as the lower edge of side section 16 reaches the elevation
of the upper part of alcove 21 and its side wall 22 (FIG. 6), tip
59 starts moving along the surface 61 of alcove wall 22. Accordingly,
from then on the mated relationship between flange 37 and the associated
groove-forming elements is automatically maintained by engagement
of the end of wing tip 59 with the side surface 61 of alcove wall
22. Side section 16 is quickly slid downwardly to a much lower elevation
at which the end of wing tip 59 engages surface 62 of flange 42
After the few seconds required to slide the lower corner of side
section 16 downwardly until surface 61 of alcove wall 22 is engaged,
the operator may very quickly slide side section 16 all the way
to the bottom so that it is registered with front section 15.
The region of flange 58/59 above alcove 21 (FIG. 4) is cantilevered
upwardly from lower regions of flange 58/59. This is a high-strength
relationship, especially since flange 58/59 is wide.
The process is repeated for both right and left side sections 16
relative to front section 15 to result in the U-sectioned shell
11 referred to in the first portion of this specification. The joints
between the arms (side sections) of the shell and the base (front
section) of the shell are complete but not in their final positions
as yet. This is because the angle of flange 37 (and other factors)
are so selected that after the described assembly of the arms and
base of the U have occurred, the side panels 45 are not parallel
to each other (solid lines in FIG. 6) but instead converge rearwardly
relative to each other (phantom lines shown in FIG. 6). In other
words, there is some degree of rearward convergence of side panels
45 towards each other in a direction away from front section 15.
Because the flanges or wings 58 are connected to side panel 45
they are in a position shown in phantom line in FIG. 6 and which
corresponds to the phantom-line positions of the side panels 45.
Because of stop or shelf structure described subsequently, the
side sections will not move up--relative to the front section--during
the following assembly steps.
The next step in the method is to mount the preassembled shell
relative to the frame. This is done by merely moving the side sections
in a rearward direction around the frame (and associated components)
so as to embrace it. The screws 67 are then inserted into the holes
66 (FIG. 3) and into the holes in the frame in order to anchor each
rear wall or flange 64 and, accordingly, both entire side sections
16 to the frame. Stated in another manner, the rear regions of side
sections 16 are anchored to the frame by means of the screws and
screw holes and associated flanges or walls 64. The front section
15 is not directly anchored to the frame but extends between the
forward corners of side sections 16 and keeps them rigidly spaced
apart from each other. In this connection, it is pointed out that
the faucets 24 (FIGS. 1 and 2) are connected to the interior of
the cooler but the faucets cannot be, and are not, counted upon
to secure the shell in the desired relationship to the frame.
During the described mounting operation, the side panels 15 (FIG.
6) inherently pivot away from each other through small angles, for
example, from the phantom-line position, shown in FIG. 6 to the
solid line position shown therein. This creates a pivot action,
or couple action, at each tongue-in-groove joint so that there is
pivoting about the inner region of each flange 37.
As a result of each of these couples, there is a close or pinching
action that occurs at each crack 51 which reduces to a minimum
the gap between the above-described opposing faces at each crack
51. The result is that the appearance of a solid one-piece shell
is created--there being very little or no space between the opposed
faces at each crack 51.
In the described very simple manner, therefore, there is caused
to be relative longitudinal sliding assembly of a side section to
a front section with relatively low friction, followed by pivotal
action (FIG. 6) which greatly increases friction (and narrows the
crack) by creating pinching or substantial contact at especially
the outer regions of the faces in crack 51. By "outer"
is meant, for example, the right region in FIG. 6.
Achieving Horizontal Alignment and Facilitating Shell Handling
The portions of the apparatus (and method) particularly adapted
to achieve horizontal alignment, that is to say, to cause the extreme
upper edges 28 and 33 of front section 15 and side sections 16 to
be at the same level, will now be described. Such portions of the
apparatus also serve to prevent the front from shifting down relative
to the sides--and the sides from shifting up relative to the front--during
and after assembly to the frame.
With certain desirable synthetic resin materials, there are somewhat
different amounts of shrinkage during different injection molding
runs, which means that the side sections 16 are not necessarily
the same lengths nor is the front section 15 necessarily the same
length as the side sections. Applicants have discovered a simple
solution for this, namely:
(1) firmly anchor the side sections 16 to the frame so that the
extreme top edges 33 of the side sections 16 are at the desired
known, identical elevation.
(2) "hang" front section 15 on both side sections 16
at a precise, known elevation relative to such side sections and
not necessarily relative to the frame.
It is pointed out that, for example, if one of the side sections
is somewhat longer than the other, the difference is made up at
the extreme bottom of the shell where it is not noticeable. The
top edge (33) of each side section is caused to be at the same elevation
as the top edge (33) of the other side section. Furthermore, the
"hanging" of the front section is such that top edge 28
of the front section is at precisely the same elevation as top edge
33 of each side section in substantially all instances, and even
despite vibration and other factors occurring during trucking of
the water coolers to the home or office where will they be used.
To achieve precise hanging of the front section 15 on the two side
sections 16 stops or shelves 71 are integrally molded on front
section 15--reference being made to FIGS. 5 and 8.
As best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 stops 71 (shelves 71) have several
characteristics. One is that they are located in the notches that
are above the upper ends of wings (flanges) 58 and are below the
upper edges 28 when the side sections and front section are in assembled
relationship. Another is that the elevations of the horizontal lower
surfaces of the stops, such surfaces being numbered 72 in FIG. 8
are precisely determined in such manner that when such surfaces
72 rest on the horizontal upper edges of wings (flanges) 58 the
upper edge 28 of the front section is at the same elevation as the
upper edges 33 of the side sections. Furthermore, very preferably,
the stops or shelves are not so large that it is not possible to
bend wings 58 from beneath them in order to disassemble one side
section 16 from the front section 15 while the shell is mounted
on the frame (except that such one side section 16 is unscrewed)
so that the side section may be removed without removing the front
or the other side section. This facilitates refurbishing when the
cooler is refurbished after a period of use.
During the initial sliding assembly of each side section with the
front section, flange 58 rubs along a protuberant forward edge 73
(FIG. 5) of stop 71. This, however, does not interfere with slide
assembly because of the substantial and cantilevered length of flange
58/59 that projects upwardly above the wall of the alcove. As soon
as the upper end of flange 58/59 moves down below surface 72 of
stop 71 the flange 58/59 snaps outwardly to its position below
stop 71 which positively prevents upward movement of the side sections--and
downward movement of the front section, during and after assembly.
One benefit is that the assembled three sections act as one during
assembly with the frame, thus facilitating assembly.
As a last step in the assembly method described above, the operator
forces front section 15 down until it is sure that the lower surfaces
72 of stops 71 at both front corners of front section 15 are seated
on the horizontal upper surfaces of flanges or wings 58 (FIGS. 5
and 8). Gravity and friction will thereafter assure that the engaged
relationship between stops 71 and the upper ends of wings 58 is
maintained. For example, if the cooler is on a truck traveling a
long distance over not-smooth roads to the end user, the jiggling
causes any "loose" element to move downwardly. However,
front section 15 cannot jiggle downwardly because it is effectively
prevented from so doing by the engaged relationship between stops
71 and the upper ends of wings 58.
The Cover and Its Mounting
As illustrated in FIG. 4 each side section has a lip 48 extending
vertically between the top edge 33 and the ledge 34. Also, front
section 15 has a lip 74 that extends vertically between the above-described
top edge 28 and the ledge 29 of the front section. Because of the
principles described above, and including the stop portion or shelf
71 the lip 48/74 and top edges 28/33 all cooperate in a continuous
manner substantially as if the shell were a one-piece molding instead
of a three-piece assembly. The cover 12 next described, therefore
fits perfectly on the rim elements.
Referring next to the cover 12 it has the usual central neck and
opening for the water bottle 13 (FIG. 1), the neck being numbered
76 and the opening 77. The top wall 78 of cover 12 extends outwardly
from opening 77 to a substantially rectangular side wall 79. Each
side wall 79 has at its lower edge a downwardly-extending exterior
lip 81 that is shaped identically to the above-described lip 48/74
except that it is somewhat larger and therefore fits outwardly thereover
in telescoping relationship. Bottom edge 82 is provided on such
element 81 and can seat on the described ledge 29/34 of the shell.
Accordingly, it is merely necessary to set the cover 12 on the
upper edge of the shell, with bottom edge 82 on ledge 29/34. This
operation is facilitated by the presence of guides and securing
elements 83 (FIG. 4) provided in the cover 12.
It is pointed out that the cover 12 like the remaining elements,
is preferably injection-molded of the desired synthetic resin.
The foregoing detailed description is to be clearly understood
as given by way of illustration and example only, the spirit and
scope of this invention being limited solely by the appended claims.