Added-Function Funnels

August 19, 2008 By Peter

Have you ever wondered why it takes so long to come up with some inventions? The kind that make you go, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Why did it take so long to put wheels on luggage? Why did we have to go through so many seat-belt contraptions before we settled on the current, easy-pull, easy-stow version? Remember passive restraints?

The most recent example that strikes me this way is the dispensing measuring funnel.

Dispensing Measuring Funnel
It works like a measuring cup. Pour liquid into the funnel top while holding it over your target container. The funnel holds the liquid until you fill it with just the right amount. Then you turn the valve at the base of the funnel and voilà!

Let me quote the abstract of US patent no. 5228488 just for fun, or in case my description wasn’t clear enough.

A funnel including measurement indicia discernible in relation to the contents therein, such funnel having a lower neck portion with an aperture therein and a collar member rotatably positioned on the neck portion with an aperture defined therein, such collar member in a first mode misaligning such apertures to retain the contents in the funnel and in a second mode rotated to align such apertures, to release the contents of the funnel through a spout member affixed below the collar member.

Automatic Valve Funnel
Automatic Valve Funnel

Automatic Valve Funnel
Searching for a picture of this “where have you been all my life” invention, I found another interesting funnel with a different kind of valve. It stops filling an opaque container when it’s full, before the liquid comes gushing out. The diagram tells the whold story and links to a description, if you need one. It also explains how to make one.

Now when you run out of gas, and you’re filling up the container you have to carry back to your stalled car, you don’t have to worry about spilling distilled gold all over the asphalt.

Peter Lloyd writes Right Brain Workouts for IdeaConnection.



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