US 3278089 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 11, 1966 E. F. HEEKIN ETAL 3,273,039
SPOUT-TYPE CONTAINER CLOSURE Filed Dec. 21. 1960 FOB/E875. M55
F76. 5 22 wwawmm ATTORNEYS" United States Patent 3,278,089 SPOUT-TYPE CONTAINER CLOSURE Edward F. Heekin and Robert D. Wise, Cincinnati, Ohio,
assignors, by mesne assignments, to Continental Can Company, Inc., New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Dec. 21, 1960, Ser. No. 77,404 3 Claims. (Cl. 222-189) This invention relates to a spout-type container closure for disposition in an opening through a container wall, and embodying a removable tear-out diaphragm or shipping seal. It has been a primary object of the invention to provide such a closure or spout which is especially adapted for use with containers holding caustic draincleaning compounds or other caustic or corrosive granular solids, though it should be understood that the invention hereinafter described is by no means restricted to this particular field of use.
In the packaging of such compounds and other granular chemicals or substances, it has been heretofore known to provide the container with a dispensing spout incorporating both a removable inner diaphragm and a replaceable outer cap. The inner diaphragm normally serves as a shipping seal and is covered and protected by the outer cap, which provides a secondary seal, as well as providing a removable and replaceable closure means for use after the diaphragm has been removed.
Frequently, the spout structure is formed of a resiliently deformable or other plastic, as, for instance, polyethylene. It is customary to form the outer cap with a generally tapered annular sealing skirt or ring adapted to depend axially into the open mouth of the spout, with the tapered exterior surface of the skirt in wedging sealing engagement with the inner periphery of the mouth, to thereby protect the container contents from moisture and foreign substances after the primary seal or diaphragm has been removed. The presence of such a sealing skirt Within the mouth of the spout requires that the diaphragm be displaced inwardly from the mouth. Since the mouth is normally of relatively small diameter, this makes it difficult to manually grasp and remove the diaphragm preparatory to dispensing of the container contents. Thus, normally, it is usual either to utilize a suitable tool for puncturing or cutting away the diaphragm, or else to merely exert finger pressure on the seal of diaphragm to push it inwardly of the neck of the spout.
Such procedure is clearly undesirable in a container for caustic granular materials, for the) following reasons:
First, if the seal is merely punctured and not removed, the outflow of granular material is obstructed by the inturned edges of the seal around the puncture and, even if the seal is cut away and completely removed, the disposition of the seal or diaphragm within the spout involves inherent difficulty in grasping and removing this seal. Obviously, if it is attempted to insert the fingers into the spout to remove the seal, whether it is cut away or merely pushed into the spout neck, there arises danger of caustic burns through contact with the container contents. Also, if the seal is merely pressed into the spout neck and/or the container, and left there, it tends to be carried outwardly with the container contents, to thus obstruct the spout.
Even though the provision of a pull tab on the diaphragm has been suggested for applications wherein the diaphragm is at the level of the container mouth, such a tab becomes inaccessible when the diaphragm is displaced inwardly from the mouth of the spout. Furthermore, the inward displacement of its root or point of attachment to the diaphragm, and the resulting necessity for exerting merely an outward pull on the tab, for initiating and completing the tearing away of the diaphragm, normal- 3,278,089 Patented Oct. 11, 1966 1y requires an undue amount of force for initiating this tear-away action, even though the diaphragm be formed with conventional score lines or weakening lines for tearaway purposes. i
The present invention has been made with all of the foregoing considerations in mind. Thus, in accordance with an important aspect of the invention, the tear-out diaphragm of the spout is disposed inwardly thereof from the mouth of the spout and provided with a normally erect, but resiliently flexible, pull tab, which is maintained col lapsed or folded into the spout by the outer cap, but which, upon removal of the cap, is self-erecting to project itself outwardly through the mouth of the cap to a position wherein it projects substantially from the mouth of the spout with its free end generally centered. relatively thereto, so that it may be readily grasped and manipulated, without danger of caustic burns to the user, to completely remove the diaphragm. Moreover, the pull tab in its normal erected position projects, or extends, out of the mouth of the spout diagonally to the axis of the spout, so that application of the cap in a generally axial direction will automatically flex or fold the tab toward the diaphragm and into the) mouth of the spout.
In accordance with a further important aspect of the invention, the diaphragm is normally connected to the inner wall of the spout along a weakening line or score line, which facilitates its tearing under the action of the tab. Due to the flexibility of the tab, initiation of the tearing action must be accomplished by straight, outward pull thereon, and without the benefit of leverage, such as is available where the tab is of rigid material. However, it has been found that the initiation of the tearing action may be greatly facilitated by the provision of a series of closely spaced perforations along the score line, or a continuation thereof, closely adjacent the root of the tab. Moreover, it has been found that such perforations serve the further useful function of venting the container to release any vapor pressure which might arise therein, without permitting rupture of the diaphragm.
It is a further feature of the invention to provide a closure spout incorporating the foregoing features, which may be readily molded as a unitary structure from a resiliently deformable plastic, such as polyethylene, by conventional processes.
The preferred exemplification of the invention is shown in the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 represents a plan view of the upper end of a conventional cylindrical container having the spout of the invention applied thereto and with the outer cap open;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary view similar to FIGURE 1, but with the outer cap closed;
FIGURE 3 represents a fragmentary diametrical cross section along the line 3-3 of FIGURE 1, but with the outer cap removed;
FIGURE 4 is a side elevation of the structure shown in FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view on the line 55 of FIGURE 2.
Referring now in detail to the accompanying drawings, the preferred embodiment of spout-type closure of the invention is shown in the several views in its application to the end closure of a usual cylindrical metal container or can, the base of the spout being suitably secured within the dispensing opening of the end closure, which opening is defined by the upwardly curled rim 12 of the container end 10. The spout 14 is of generally tubular construction and circular in cross section, having at its upper end an upwardly opening mouth 16, normally closed by the removable snap-on cap 18. The cap 18 is preferably of the captive type, secured to the base or collar 20 of the spout by means of an integral flexible band 22. The particular manner of securing the spout within the opening defined by the rim 12 of the container end is immaterial to the invention, though by way of exemplification, there is shown one practical manner of accomplishing this. In accordance with this, the lower end portion of the spout, which is of relatively large diameter, is provided with a depending annular pilot or plug portion 24, having a downwardly converging exterior conical surface 29. The lower end of the plug portion 24 is of somewhat smaller external diameter than the opening 12 to be readily received therein and to function as a pilot for guiding the rest of the plug into said opening. However, the maximum diameter of the plug portion 24 slightly exceeds the diameter of opening 12, and the plug portion is provided externally with an upwardly presented annular shoulder 26 adapted for locking engagement beneath the minimum diameter portion of the curled rim 12 defining the opening to prevent withdrawal of the plug portion 24 after the maximum diameter portion thereof has been forced through the opening. The resilient deformability of the closure spout material will readily permit this. It will be seen that the radially outwardly projecting collar 20 of the spout extends outwardly over the top of the beading 12 and carries 2. depending annular skirt 28, having its lower edge in abutting sealing engagement with the surface of the container end around the rim 12.
In the present embodiment, the opening or bore through the spout 14 is defined by the inner cylindrical surface 30 of the plug 24, and the upwardly converging surface 32, which acts as a funnel during inversion of the container, to direct the container contents into the relatively smaller diameter outer end portion 34 of the bore.
For the purpose of cooperating with the snap-on cap 18, the spout is formed externally adjacent its outer end portion with an annular rib or projection 36 of downwardly diverging conical shape, terminating at its lower end in a downwardly directed locking shoulder 38. The cap 18, in turn, is provided with a cylindrical skirt 41) adapted to encircle the rib 36 and formed interiorly with radially inwardly projecting circumferentially spaced lugs 42, arranged with their inner peripheries lying on a circle of normally smaller diameter than the maximum diameter of the circular rib 36. Thus, as the cap 18 is pressed down over the mouth 16 of the spout, the resiliently deformable material of which the cap is formed permits the lugs 42 to be cannned radially outwardly by the downwardly diverging surface 36, to then snap beneath the locking shoulder 38 as shown in FIGURE 5, and thus releasably secure the cap in its applied position.
Since the closure spout of the present invention is particularly intended and adapted for use on containers for caustic drain-cleaning elements, or the like, which react with water, it is particularly desirable that the cap 18 be capable of efiiciently sealing the mouth of the spout against entry of moisture, as well as other foreign substances. At the same time, it is desirable that the cap be capable of being released responsive to internal vapor pressure, all to the end that it might function as a safety valve in the event water should accidentally be admitted into the container, with-resulting creation of steam or evolution of gases.
For such sealing purposes, the cap 18 is shown as formed with a more-or-less conventional annular sealing skirt, or rib, 44 radially inwardly spaced from its outer skirt 40, and of downwardly converging conical exterior conformation, to function as a stopper in the mouth of the spout. However, the arrangement is preferably such that the sealing rib 44 and the relatively spaced lugs 42 jointly secure the cap in position over the spout with but a nominal gripping force, such as may be readily overcome by vapor pressure within the container considerably less than that required to rupture the container walls.
Disposed across the portion 34 of the spout bore is a diaphragm 46, which is preferably molded integrally with the remaining spout structure. This diaphragm 46 is shown in the form of a circular disc having its external periphery connected to the inner wall of the spout bore 34 along an annular score line or weakened zone 48, to facilitate tearing away and removal of the diaphragm when desired. Also, there may be provided an annular thickened zone or reinforcement 49 adjacent zone 48. To facilitate tearing away and removal of the diaphragm, there is provided a pull tab 50 of the same resiliently flexible polyethylene or other plastic material forming the rest of the spout structure. This tab 50 in its preferred form includes an integral reversely bent flat base 52, which is formed integrally with, cemented or otherwise fixedly secured to, the flat upper surface of the diaphragm 46 in such manner that the root of the tab 50 is positioned just inwardly of the weakened zone or score line 48. The tab 50 normally extends at an acute angle to its base 52 and to the plane of diaphragm 46, and preferably lies in a radial plane of the spout, so that its free end portion, which normally projects substantially outwardly through the mouth of the spout, is substantially centered with respect to the spout when in its normal erected or projected position, as shown in FIGURE 3. It is to be noted that the free end of the tab 50 extends beyond the axial center of the spout so as to assure the deflection thereof towards the interior of the spout and thereby avoid interference by the tab with the seating of the cap 18 on the spout. In such position, the free end of the tab may be readily grasped and pulled outwardly when desired to tear away the diaphragm 46 along the score line 48 and remove the diaphragm 46 completely from Within the spout. If desired, the tab 50 may be formed on its under or inner surface with a series of transverse ribs 53 to present a frictional gripping surface.
Since the inception of the tearing action will normally require a considerably greater pull on the tab 50 than will its subsequent continuation, it is desirable to facilitate such initiation or inception of the tearing. This is accomplished in the present invention by the provision of a multiplicity of relatively closely spaced perforations '54 along that portion of the weakened zone or score line 48 which extends immediately past the root of the pull tab 50, all as is best shown in FIGURE 1. Normally, these perforations 54 will be extremely small in size, preferably smaller than the grains of material in the container, to prevent inadvertent escape therethr-ough of the granular contents of the container. In addition to facilitating the inception of the tearing out of the diaphragm, such perforations function as venting means to permit escape of any vapor pressure which may accumulate within the interior of the container, without rupture of the diaphragm.
In the operation of the invention, it will be readily apparent that, when the outer cap 18 is applied over the mouth of the spout, as in FIGURES 4 and 5, it will (as an incident to its application) engage and bend or deflect downwardly the normally upwardly projecting pull tab 50, so that, as the cap is applied, the tab 50 moves or is folded downwardly from its position shown in FIGURE 3 to substantially the position shown in FIGURE 5. In this position, the folded or retracted tab is shown as being in engagement with the inner face of the cap 18 internally of the annular sealing skirt or rib 44 of the cap. As thus applied, the sealing engagement between the rib 44 and the mouth of the spout positively seals the spout against entry of moisture such as might penetrate to the contamer contents through the perforations 48 in the diaphragm.
It will be noted, of course, that the diaphragm 46 is located beneath the lower or inner edge extremity of the sealing skirt 44, and thus is spaced substantially inwardly of the mouth of the spout. In the event of any excess vapor pressure within the container, same is free to pass through the diaphragm perforations 48 without rupture of the diaphragm as above mentioned. The grip of the cap is such that it will be blown off of the mouth responsive to an internal vapor pressure less than that required to rupture the container. In normal use the cap may be manually removed by upward finger pressure beneath its push-off tab 45. The diaphragm 46 serves as an effective shipping seal and will positively prevent removal of or tampering with the container contents without rupture of the seal. When it is desired to open the container to commence use of its contents, the cap 18 is first removed in obvious manner, whereupon the resiliently downwardly folded pull tab 50 beneath the cap will immediately spring outwardly by its own resiliency through the mouth of the spout to the position shown in FIGURE 3. In this position, it may be readily grasped and pulled outwardly to tear away the diaphragm 46 and effect its complete removal from the spout, all without the necessity for the insertion of the users fingers into the spout or container. The inception of the tearing away of the diaphragm will obviously be facilitated by the line of dual functioning perforations and vents 54 as aforementioned.
As has been indicated earlier, the invention is by no means restricted to use with granular solids, but may be readily adapted for use with liquids, simply by omitting the perforations 54. In such case, the weakened tear line 16 will be continuous and imperforate. Also in such event, the lugs 42 may be extended and interconnected to provide a continuous annular seal when engaged beneath the locking shoulder 38.
In this application, there is shown and described only the preferred exemplification of the invention simply by way of illustration of the preferred mode of carrying out the invention. However, it will be readily apparent that the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and that its several details may be modified in various ways, all without departing from the invention as defined in the accompanying claims.
Having thus described our invention, we claim:
1. In a spout-type container closure, generally tubular pouring spout of resiliently flexible material formed with a bore terminating in a mouth opening through the outer end of the spout, a closure diaphragm spaced inwardly of the spout from said mouth opening and extending in a radial plane across said bore, said diaphragm being integral with and constituting a homogeneous portion of the material forming the spout, said diaphragm being peripherally connected with the inner wall of said bore along a weakened tear line spaced inwardly of the spout from its mouth, a resiliently flexible pull tab having a root portion connected with said diaphragm closely adjacent said wall and said weakened tear line, said tab, except for its root portion, being disconnected from said wall and said diaphragm, and having a free end normally projecting outwardly through and beyond the mouth of the spout, and being normally disposed at an angle to said diaphragm and being disposed for resilient flexing toward said radial plane of said diaphragm into the mouth of the spout, said angle being an acute angle materially less than degrees and said tab extending over the medial portion of said diaphragm with the free end of said tab extending beyond the axial center of the spout to facilitate and assure the movement of said tab towards the interior of said spout when said tab is deflected towards the plane of said diaphragm, the resiliency of the tab, upon being released, causing it to resume its normal position with its free end outward of and beyond the mouth of the spout.
2. The combination of elements defined in claim 1 wherein said tab root portion includes an integral reversely bent flat base overlying said diaphragm.
3. A spout-type closure as defined in claim 1, in which said weakened zone includes a line of perforations extending between the root of said pull tab and a relatively adjacent portion of said inner bore wall to thus both provide for the venting of an associated container and facilitate initiation of the removal of said diaphragm, the major portion of said weakened zone being imperforate to afford relatively greater resistance to accidental tearing.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,128,948 2/1915 Chellis 222- 541 X 2,094,600 10/1937 Hothersal 22053 X 2,333,587 11/1943 Salfisberg.
2,565,699 8/1951 Rieke 222529 2,661,128 12/1953 Rieke 222541 X 2,723,060 11/1955 Rieke 222-541 X 2,774,523 12/1956 Rieke 222--541 X 2,832,515 4/1958 Barradas 222-54l X 2,898,018 8/1959 Borah 222530 X 2,911,664 11/1959 Zecchini 15-539 X 2,932,436 4/1960 Dobbins 222541 FOREIGN PATENTS 286,708 3/ 1953 Switzerland.
RAPHAEL M. LUPO, Primary Examiner.
LOUIS J. DEMBO, Examiner.