US 3235117 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 15, 1966 s. 1. MASON, JR 3,235,117
PLASTIC CLOSURE FOR CONTAINERS Filed May '7, 1964 64, @5 25" FIG.
INVENTOR. l l I '4 m A STANLEY I. MASOALL/R, a 35 5V H/S Arraews s 42' C HARE/5, Mac/4, RUSSELL 6 KER/v United States Patent 3,235,117 PLASTIC CLOSURE FOR CONTAINERS Stanley 1. Mason, In, Fullerton, Califi, assignor to Hunt Foods and Industries, Inc., Fullerton, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Filed May 7, 1964, Ser. No. 365,650 3 Claims. (Cl. 215-99) My invention relates to closures for containers, usually of the jar or bottle type, useful in marketing and later dispensing foods or other products.
Many foods and other products should desirably be sold in sealed containers equipped with a closure adapted for later dispensing the product while providing a hermetic seal for the container between usesand until the product is completely dispensed. The initial sealing should be such that the purchaser knows the container has not previously been opened. Such a seal should be easily but not accidentally removable. Once the seal is removed or broken, subsequent closure of the container between uses should be by a cap member that will insure a positive hermetic seal for the contents. Such a cap member should be always handy, preferably attached to the container by an anchor portion of the closure. Its application and removal should involve a minimum of eifort. The invention provides a closure made of molded plastic material meeting these objectives.
A further objective is to provide a closure equipped with a tear means by which it can be separated into two elements, one remaining anchored to the container and the other forming a cap member useful as a reclosing element. A further objective is to interconnect these two elements by an outwardly-looping flexible handle means serving both as a handle for carrying the initially-closed container and also as a flexible connector for the cap member and the anchor element.
The invention provides a tear means which effects and insures a positive seal up to the time of intended use, yet which is easily torn or severed to separate the reclosing element from that portion of the closure to which it was previously anchored by the tear means. In this connection it is an object of the invention to provide a tear strip that is made of the same plastic material as the portions of the closure it connects, being joined integrally thereto by circular weakened portions of a thickness significantly less than the thickness of such portions. Two such weakened portions are preferably used, providing a tear strip which can be completely severed from the closure during the opening operation. It is an object to provide such a tear strip with a manually-graspable tab disposed sufliciently close to a flexible handle as to be protected from accidental breaking of the desired. seal.
It is a further feature of the invention to provide an internally-'tensioned closure that is shrunk on the container during the initial closing thereof to maintain a sleeve of the closure under longitudinal tension in a section thereof containing the tear strip, the portions adjacent thereto and the weakened interconnecting portions. In this way the tearing is made easier and some of the sealing pressure is relieved by the tearing. Such longitudinal tension makes it possible for the anchoring element and the recapping to separate slightly when the tension is relieved by the tearing.
It is an object of the invention to induce such internal tensions in the closure during the initial closing of the container, preferably by using materials for the container and the closure having diiferent thermal coetficients of expansion and employing such anchoring means as will induce tension in a selected portion of the closure upon change in temperature. Many foods and other products are placed in containers under high temperature, often a sterilizing temperature, and it is an object of the invention to apply a heated closure arranged to induce an internal tension therein upon cooling.
Another object is to avoid the usual threaded closures by providing a container having circular beads in spaced parallel planes and to provide a closure with corresponding inwardly-facing grooves receiving such beads. The lower bead-groove arrangement is made to act as an anchor for that portion of the closure which remains permanently on the container. The upper bead-groove arrangement is designed to provide for snap-off and snapon closing of the container by the relclosing element or cap member formed by removing the tear strip.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will be evident to those skilled in the art from. the following description of exemplary embodiments.
Referring to the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical container capped by the closure of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the upper portion of the container of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2 thereof; FIG. 3 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 2 showing the elements in their respective positions after the tear strip is removed;
FIG. 4 shows the top of the container when open and when the reclosing element is swung into a lateral position;
FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative structure for effecting a seal between the neck-traversing member and the outermost portion of the neck of the container; and
FIG. 6 shows a further alternative structure by which the neck of the container may be sealed.
The invention is exemplified as applied to a container 10 having an outer tapered wall 11 above a base portion 12 forming the closed bottom of the container. The wall 11 converges upwardly to a shoulder 14 which forms the lower boundary of a lesser-diameter spout or hollow neck 15 of the container.
The neck 15 provides an outer circular face 16. At"v the upper end of the neck and forming the dispensing lip thereof is an upper bead 18. Intermediate the upper and lower ends of the neck is a lower head 19. These beads are in spaced parallel planes and protrude out-" wardly from the outer circular face 16 to provide coaxial outwardly-crested surfaces. In the preferred embodiment the lower head *19 is about half way up the neck 15, providing a lower portion of the face 16 of substantial height. For design or structural reasons the hollow neck 15 may taper upwardly as distinct from being cylindrical. The tapered neck offers many advantages but in some instances a cylindrical neck can be employed.
The sealing closure 22 of the invention is made of any Patenteol Feb. 15, 1966 trated in FIG. 2 the neck-traversing member 23 is a solid wall with an outwardly-flared annular sealing lip 25 molded thereon and depending from a lower face 26 of the wall.
The sleeve 24 is made up of an upper portion 30, a tear strip portion 31 and a lower anchor portion 32,. the
latter terminating in a skirt 33 ending immediately above the shoulder 14 when the closure is in place. The upper portion 30 of the sleeve provides an inwardly-facing snap groove 35 receiving the upper bead 18. The lower portion of this snap groove provides a shoulder forming a ring 36 which seats below the head 18 and is in such position as to compress and deform the annular sealing a lip 25 against the crest or top surface of the neck When the closure is in its initial sealing position shown in FIG. 2. Likewise the lower anchor portion 32 provides an inwardly-facing anchor groove 37 positioned to receive the lower bead 19. The lower portion of the anchor groove 37 provides a shoulder forming a ring 38 which seats below the head 19. It is desirable that the beads 18 and 19 be slightly further down on the neck 15 than are the grooves 35, 37 and their rings 36, 38 of the sleeve 24. This will induce a downward pressure on the closure holding the annular sealing lip tightly against the end of the neck in sealing relation, quite aside from the internal tensioning of the skirt to be described.
It is desirable that the sleeve 24 provide an inner surface 39 that conforms in shape to and embraces the outer circular face 16 of the neck 15. This is desirable both between the grooves 35, 37 and below the latter. If the lower portion 32 of the sleeve embraces the outer circular face 16 of the neck there will result an anchoring of the former supplementing the anchoring action provided by engagement of the head 19 and its groove 37.
The tear strip portion 31 is of the same plastic material as the upper and lower portions 36 and 32 of the sleeve 24-. It is joined integrally thereto by circular weakened portions of a thickness significantly less than the thickness of such upper and lower portions of the sleeve. These weakened portions are provided by molding or cutting circular grooves 49 and 41 in the outer surface of the sleeve 24, as shown in FIG. 2, in the inner surface 39 thereof or in both such surfaces. The remaining material at the bottom of such groove forms the aforesaid weakened portion of lesser thickness. The result is that the tear strip portion 31 becomes a tear strip 42 which if torn circumferentially will shear the weakened portions and divide the closure into two elements constituting respectively an anchor element, formed by the lower anchor portion 32 and its skirt 33, and a snap-off snap-on cap member, comprising the upper portion 39 of the sleeve and the neck-traversing member 23.
To facilitate pulling the tear strip 42 to separate the closure into its two parts it is desirable to mold the tear strip portion 31 with a tab 44 that is graspable between the thumb and first finger to initiate and complete the tearing of the weakened portions. Immediately adjacent one face of the tab 44 is a groove 45 forming therebeneath a weakened portion of reduced thickness as aforesaid but extending longitudinally of the sleeve 24 rather than circumferentially thereof. The tab 44 is pulled laterally in a direction away from the groove 4-5 to sever such weakened portion, thus interrupting the circumferential continuity of the tear strip portion 31 and applying lateral pressure to start the circumferential tearing of the material at the bottoms of the grooves 40 and 41. When the latter tearing is complete the tear strip 42 is discarded.
At this time the cap member of the original closure remains fixed to the outer end of the neck 15 in the position shown in FIG. 3. It can be lifted from engagement with the upper head 18 by finger pressure applied to the periphery of the cap member. A lip 47 is desirably molded thereon to form a finger hold facilitating lifting of the cap member to open the container. The resiliency of the plastic material of the cap member is such as to permit this lifting over the upper bead 18 during opening and subsequent hermetic closing. The lip 47 may be formed around most or all of the periphery of the neckclosing portion 23 but is preferably localized at a position generally opposite the tab 44.
An outwardly-looping flexible handle St) preferably in terconnects the upper and lower portions 3% and 32; of the sleeve and thus connects the severed cap member to that portion of the sleeve which remains anchored on the containers. The handle 50 is also made sturdy enough to serve as a handle for carrying the filled container and its closure. This handle 5% may be made of the same material as the remainder of the closure and is desirably molded integrally therewith. In this event the attached cap member when unsnapped from the container will normally lie near the end of the neck i but can be displaced from this position by finger pressure applied to the cap member or to its connected handle. This displacement may be lateral or the cap member can be swung in the plane of the handle to its dotted-line position in FIG. 3 or even to its extended position shown in PEG. 4.
The upper end of the handle 50 is desirably connected to the top of the closure, preferably to the neck-traversing member 23 flush with the top thereof. The lower end of the handle St! is connected to the lower anchor portion 32 of the sleeve 24, preferably at the extreme bottom of its skirt 33. The latter point of connection is substantially below the level of the lower head 19 and its anchor groove 37'. Stresses induced by lifting the container are thus transmitted to the sleeve 24 a considerable distance below the bead 19 and its anchor groove 37 and will not tend to reduce the anchoring relation of these elements. Indeed if the lifting tends to separate from the outer circular face E6 of the neck 15 that portion of the skirt to which the handle is connected, such lifting will circumferentially stretch the bottom of the skirt and induce a larger anchoring pressure at a diametrically opposite position. Such relationships insure that lifting of the filled container by its closure will not release the latter and permit it to drop.
It is desirable that the position of the tab 44 be related to the position of the handle Etl. The tab is desirably positioned adjacent the handle, i.e. in the space within the handle or slightly beyond such space in a circumferential direction. The handle thus protects the tab 44 from being accidentally pulled or laterally displaced by contact with other objects.
The invention is adapted to close containers made of glass, plastic or other material. It is particularly suited to the closure of glass bottles or jars containing catsup, syrups, salad oils, dressings or other liquid or semisolid food products. Many of such products are bottled, canned or capped while at high temperature, often a sterilizing temperature. If the closure 22 is at elevated temperature and applied at this time to the heated container neck certain desirable tension forces can be induced in the sleeve 24. The aforesaid plastic materials have a substantially higher coefiicient of thermal expansion as com pared with the material of the container. Applying the closure at high temperature not only tends to soften it and permit it to slip more readily over the neck into the position shown in FIG. 2 but also allows the plastic material to shrink on the neck as these members cool. This shrinkage induces internal tensions in the sleeve 24 both circumferentially and longitudinally, the latter because of the aforesaid relationship between the beads 18, 1% and their respective grooves 35, 37 and rings as, 38.
By way of explanation, if that intermediate portion of the sleeve 24 between the grooves 35 and 37 shrinks more on cooling than the corresponding length of the neck 15 such intermediate portion will be placed under longitudinal tension as a result of the anchor means provided by engagement of the head 19 in its anchor groove 37, and if desired by physical embracement of the skirt 33 against the outer circular face 316 of the neck, as a result of the cooling and initial sizing of the elements. The anchor means at the top of the neck, formed by the upper bead, 18, the snap groove 35 and the engagement between the annular sealing lip 25 and the outer end of the neck, will also aid in the development of temperature-induced longitudinal tensions in such intermediate portion of the sleeve 24. The weakened portions of the sleeve should be of sufficient strength to withstand these tensions. 0n the other hand the longitudinal tension maintained in the intermediate portion of the sleeve 24 makes pulling of the tear strip 42 easier. If sufiicient tension is developed in this intermediate portion of the sleeve it will be found that the severed elements of the closure are slightly further apart after the tear strip is removed than they were before. Also the distance between the lower face 26 of the neck-traversing member 23 and the top surface of the neck 15 may slightly increase upon such severance, as suggested by comparison of FIGS. 2 and 3. The annular sealing lip 25 will deform to remain in engagement with such top surface of the neck 15 during such motion.
Other means may be employed in addition to or supplementary to the annular sealing lip 25 for insuring a tight fit between the neck-traversing member 23 and the neck 15 of the container. FIG. 5 shows a neck-traversing member 23 having a depending plug portion 60 sized to fit snugly in a mouth 61 of the container neck 15. The inner wall of this mouth may be flared upwardly at a slight angle as shown or may be substantially cylindrical. The shape of the snap groove 35' will desirably conform to the periphery of the upper bead 18'. When the tear strip 42' is removed the resulting cap member can be snapped off and on the neck 15' as aforesaid. Likewise in this embodiment of the invention the closure can be tensioned by cooling as previously described.
A further alternative is shown in FIG. 6. Here the neck-traversing member 23" is molded to provide a shallow cavity 64 in which is frictionally held a sealing disc 65 made of metal foil backed by cork or other resilient material. The foil of this disc will :be' held pressurally against the top surface of the container neck by the aforesaid forces both before and after pulling the tear strip 42". The snap groove 35" will here conform to the contour of the upper bead of the neck, providing the snapoff snap-on action previously described.
Various changes and modifications will be evident to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description of exemplary embodiments and are within the scope of the appended claims.
1. A closure of molded plastic material for a container having a hollow neck with upper and lower coaxial circular outwardly-crested beads in axially spaced parallel planes, said closure comprising a top neck-traversing member, a sleeve depending therefrom having an upper portion and a lower anchor portion joined integrally by a circumferentially-extending tear strip extending completely around said sleeve, said tear strip being formed of the same plastic material as said upper and lower portions and being joined integrally thereto on opposite sides thereof by circular weakened portions of a thickness significantly less than the thickness of said upper and lower portions, said upper portion being integral with said neck-traversing member and forming therewith a snap-off snap-on cap member for said neck, said upper portion being completely severable from said lower anchor portion of said sleeve upon complete tearing away of said tear strip, said cap member providing an inwardlyfacing snap groove receiving said upper head, said lower anchor portion of said sleeve providing an, inwardlyfacing anchor groove receiving said lower head; a manually-graspable tab attached to said tear strip; and an outwardly-looping flexible handle formed of plastic material having its ends respectively integral with said cap member and said lower anchor portion of said sleeve, said handle serving as a handle for said closure and said container and as a flexible connector for said cap memher and said anchor portion upon severance thereof resulting from tearing away of said tear strip.
2. A closure as defined in claim 1 in which said tab is circumferentially positioned closely adjacent the plane of said outwardly-looping handle.
3. A closure as defined in claim 1 in which said outwardly-looping handle provides a finger-receiving space, and in which said tab extends outwardly from said sleeve into said finger-receiving space.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,894,654 7/ 1959 Lohrer 215-99 2,958,439 11/1960 Yochem 220-38.5
3,113,693 12/ 1964 Stull 220-38.5
FOREIGN PATENTS 1,164,846 10/ 1958 France.
THE-RON E. CON-DON, Primary Examiner. FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Examiner.