Motivation: I was tired of fumbling around in the cooler for beverages in the dark, especially when the cooler contained a number of different items or more than one person's stuff. I figured that there had to be a way to install a lid-activated light in a cooler.
Overview: In 1998 I went to the hardware store and purchased a small battery powered light, installed a pushbutton switch, and mounted it in a cooler in such a way that when the cooler was opened, the light would come on. It worked very well and my friends were impressed.

Since this was strictly a proof-of-concept design, there were some drawbacks. There was a slight loss in cooler capacity, the light I used was not marine-rated, and I had to be careful that nothing in the cooler would bang against the light. Still, that design lasted for two camping seasons and worked as expected.

Business Prospects: I am surprised that stores are not full of lighted coolers. Having a light in the cooler is superior to holding a flashlight in your hand or mouth and looking for stuff.

I researched this concept with the U.S. Patent Office and as expected a number of people have patented this idea at one time or another. The last time I checked the current U.S. Patent for this concept was held by:

Craig M. Bania of 74 Wickham La., Wallingford, VT 05773 and Daniel R. Blanchard, Sr. of 199 Mussey St., Rutland, VT 05701.

There are also patents for lighted tackle boxes, which would be a great benefit. It may be instructive to contact these gentlemen and find out why nobody was interested in producing this concept.

Below are a couple of drawings I made to illustrate the concept. I would expect that with current LED technology that the light unit might last for several years at normal usage rates.

 

Icon credits: Cooler - www.hauntedlane.com, tent - www.fs.fed.us, tailgating - www.kuh.com, camping - www.usatourism.com