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Publication numberUS3834113 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date10 Sep 1974
Filing date30 Apr 1971
Priority date7 Apr 1969
Publication numberUS 3834113 A, US 3834113A, US-A-3834113, US3834113 A, US3834113A
InventorsHowe J, Markus J
Original AssigneeNabisco Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for forming toaster packages having pour spouts
US 3834113 A
Abstract
Packages having pour spouts for storing food and heating the food in a toaster including a top seal having the pour spout incorporated therein in order to permit formation of the pour spout after the packages are vented by tearing through the top seal to enable food to be poured from the packages. A method of forming the packages including folding a sheet of material upon itself to form a top margin, a bottom margin and a longitudinal seam, sealing the longitudinal seam, forming a bottom seal with the bottom margin, filling the package through the top margin with food, and forming a top seal with the pour spout by folding the top margin upon itself twice.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3 Unite States Patent 1191 1111 3,834,113 Howe et al. Sept. 10, 1974 METHOD FOR FORMING TOASTER 3,453,111 7/1969 Leasure et a1. 229/53 x PACKAGES HAVING POUR SPOUTS FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [75] Inventors: James Hwe; Jseph Markus 733,751 5/1966 Canada 93/35 s13 both of Long Island, NY.

[73] Assignee: Nabisco, Inc., New York, NY. Primary Examiner-Robert L. Spruill Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Christen & Sabol; Virgil [22] FIled. Apr. 30, 1971 'M L h I I 21 Appl. No.: 139,283 A a a. Related US. Application Data [57] ABSTRACT [62] Division of Ser. No. 813,911, May 7, 1969, Pat. No. Packages havmg P P F for Storms food and 3,663,239, heating the food In a toaster Including a top seal having the pour spout incorporated therein in order to [52] US. Cl. 53/ 14, 53/29, 93/35 M P t ormation of the pour spout after the packages [51] Int. Cl B65b 43/02 are vented y ring through the top seal to enable [58] Field of Search 53/14, 28, 29, 46; f t be pour d from the packages. A method of 93/35 R, 35 SB, 8 WA; 206/46 F; 229/62 forming the packages including folding a sheet of material upon itself to form a top margin, a bottom mar- [56] Reference Cited gin and a longitudinal seam, sealing the longitudinal UNITED STATES PATENTS seam, forming a bottom seal with the bottom margin, 1 029 784 6 1912 A l 93/35 SB filling the package through the top margin with food, 1 975 253 10/1934 0322511; 53/14 x and forming with t Pour Spout by folding 2:3l4:819 3/1943 Ewer 229/62 x the t0P margm upon "self 2,369,716 2/1945 CoghIll 229/62 X 1 Claim 40 Drawing Figures 1 I l 1 1 2 l8 1 r l I /1 I l 220 l 1 1 I l l l F'r 't PAIENTED SEP I 0 i974 SHEET 3 0F 6 PAIENTEBSEFI man SHEH 5 OF 6 .fq. if

Ff q. if

IIHHHWWHHHHI 503 METHOD roa FORMING TOASTER PACKAGES HAVING POUR sPoU'rs This application is a division of US. Pat. application Ser. No. 813,911, filed Apr. 7, 1969 and now US. Pat. No. 3,663,239.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention pertains to food packages and more particularly to convenience food packages having a pour spout for removing food after heating within the package.

Some dry foods, such as rice, flour, sugar etc., which are not adversely affected by exposure to air have been packaged for both storage and transportion in containers, such as cardboard boxes and paper bags, which provide protection from moisture and foreign matter. In the past foods that require protection from air have been either canned or, more recently, packaged in flexible containers that do not have the disadvantages of cans which are relatively heavy, bulky, rigid and of fixed shape.

With the advent and popularity of frozen foods, flexible packages have become more or less a necessity in that they permit maximum utilization of freezer space and the packaging of foods of varying shapes and sizes.

They also are more convenient to handle during preparation ahd heating. These advantages have made flexible containers popular for a wide variety of foods. However, flexible packages have not reached their full potential because they have not as yet efficiently eliminated the inconvenience of placing the package containing the food, on first removing the food from the package and placing it, in suitable cooking pots or pans, heating or cooking on a stove or in an oven and lines, cafeterias, hotels, motels, hospitals, drug stores,

department stores, vending machines, clubs, schools and the like since it it desired to serve food to large numbers of patrons or patients in a minumum of time with a minimum of effort and manpower.

The armed services are faced with similar problems where large numbers of people are served meals. The problems are further multiplied by the wide range of tastes of patrons or patients further increasing the size and number of cooking equipment to be used, the amount of clean-up time and effort needed and the amount of wasted food.

Similar problems, on a smaller scale, however, are faced in the home and the intensity of the problems varies with the size of the family. There is great interest for the housewife in eliminating or reducing food preparation and clean-up time and effort.

In small families or with persons living alone it is very difficult if not impossible to purchase food for preparation in single serving portions or even two or three portions. For such families or persons leftovers are inevitable. Elderly people and others who are concerned with their diet have difficulty in controlling the size of servings consistent with their dieting needs or objectives.

Members of most families have different likes and dislikes in foods, thus adding to the feeding problems of the housewife and potential waste because of leftovers and spoilage. Families having infants or small children who are'not able to consume the usual family menu repeatedly face the problem of leftovers and potential spoilage of baby foods. Busy families whose members have different schedules are on the increase in out way of life and present problems to the housewife in serving adequate nourishment to the family in appetizing form.

As an example, meats tend to be both the highest cost and most time consuming element of at-home meals. The housewife probably spends more time in preparing meats and in cleaning up after preparation of meats than any other food. Yet very little has been done to provide modern convenience and effective economy in the meat category. There is every indication of a great demand by the housewife as well as institutions, restaurants and other food servers for a high quality, precooked, portion-controlled, easily stored ready to heatand-eat packaged meat product as well as other food servings such as soups, sauces, gravies, vegetables, rice and all other kinds of cooked or heated table foods.

In the past packages have been designed with the object of both storing and cooking relatively small measured, portions of food therein. However, none of these packages have in practice proved adequate in eliminating or reducing the problems connected with food preparation while also providing a container that may be both economically formed and sufficiently rigid and sturdy to withstand the punishment concomitant with the pureying of food which includes handling by the producer, transporter and server.

Some disadvantages of prior packages for both storing and cooking food are that such packageshave a considerable tendency to tear to permit air to enter and spoil the food. Also, prior packages have not been formed in such a manner as to facilitate handling without unduly damaging the package and because of their structure the venting of such packages for cooking or heating cannot be easily and precisely accomplished. The removal of food from the prior packages has been difficult and because of the fragile and easily tearable nature of the metallic foil used in the construction of such packages structural sturdiness has not heretofore been achieved. In addition, the prior packages have been designed for specific foods rather than having a universal design capable of containing a large variety of foods.

Another disadvantage of prior packages is that removal of fluent foods has been extremely difficult since the foods cannot be easily removed from the package by simply lifting them up out of the package due to there fluent nature and dumping the contents normally requires holding the sides or bottom of the package which are not designed for such handling. Furthermore, many food products must be accurately dispensed, such as soups, gravies and beverages, and the mess that results from dumping the contents from the package is undesirable. In order to remove fluent food products from prior packages it is necessary to either tear or cut the top ofi the package to permit dumping; however, this is undesirable for the reasons mentioned above and further because of the inconvenience and waste of time. Also the tearing of prior packages for removal of contents is imprecise and many times causes spilling and unappetizing servings.

' Pat. Nos. 2,609,301 to Lindsey, 2,633,284 to Moffett et al., 2,807,550 to Zarotschenzefi et 211., 2,881,078 to Oritt, 2,912,336 to Perino, 3,117,875 to'Burns et al., 3,132,029 to Beck, 3,185,372 to Gerraro, 3,322,319 to Sweeney et al., and 3,361,576 to Jacobsen disclose packages for storing food and cooking food in the packages in toaster; however, the packages disclosed in these patents all suffer from one or more of the above mentioned disadvantages. For instance, none of these patents disclose a package that is both compact and yet can be rendered readily accessible in a toaster. None of these patents have overcome the main problems concomitant to packages made of metallic foil, namely, its propensity for undesired tearing, puncturing and mutilation and, in practice, none have proved adequate in eliminating or reducing the problems mentioned above. Furthermore, none of these patents provide means for easy removal of fluent foods after heating. This is a serious problem and has been difficultto overcome in the past due to the characteristics of metallic foil described above even though much efiort has been directed towards solving this problem. Attempts to provide a pour spout in a metallic foil package have been unsuccessful due to the tendency of any protruding part of a package to be torn or mutilated during handling and storage.

Specifically, it is desirable to package foods such that conventional electric toasters can be utilized for cook-.

ing or heating and such that the portions of food therein are individualized.

The toaster is one of the most common, least expensive and probably least used appliances commercial home, commercial and institutional kitchens. Almost every kitchen has one or more. The toaster also is one of the easiest heating appliances to operate and maintain and very seldom requires cleaning. As such it provides an almost ideal implement of convenience in instant meal preparation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to food packages having pour spouts and methods for making same providing a practical system for storing an almost unlimitecl variety of cooked, partially cooked and uncooked foods in measured or controlled portions, such as individual servings, for prolonged periods of time while maintaining nutritional values and in a form which permits rapid and convenient preparation and serving with little or no loss of tastiness, flavor and freshness. Unlike most packaging systems currently in use, the invention provides unitary food packages containing measured or controlled portions which can be individual servings or low multiples of individual servings. The invention also admits of merchandising a wide variety of foods, for example, in combination packs of individual foods making up a balanced meal which can be fully prepared solely through theuse of any conventional toaster.

Illustrative of foods which can be packaged in accordance with the present invention are beef burgundy, beef stew, beef stroganoff, barbecued beef, meat balls, meat balls in spaghetti sauce, Swedish meat balls, mushrooms (with and without gravy), gravies (chicken, brown, beef etc.), sauces (white, hollandaise, barbecue, etc. stuffings (turkey, meat, bread, etc. cocktail franks, spaghetti sauce, spag Us with meatballs, shrimp- 4 fried rice, chicken chow mein, tamales, chicken a-la king, chicken fricassee, Manhattan clam chowder, New

England clam chowder, chili, ravioli, sloppy Joe, beef gravy, cream corn, sweet peas, chocolate fudge sauce, fried clams, clam sticks, shrimp marinara, sweet sausage and peppers, instant mashed potatoes, instant sweet potatoes, stuffing, rice, soup (dehydrated), coffee, baby foods, hot chocolate, cereals, scrambled eggs, tea, pet foods, hot gravies for pet foods, pie fillings, custards, toppings (chocolate, butterscotch, etc. desserts (puddings, etc.), vegetables (with and without sauces, butter, etc.).

While some of the food products listed above, such as various meats and fish, are not readily pourable, most of these food products are heated in a gravy; and the pour spouts in the packages of the present invention are utilized to pour off the gravy before serving, if desired, and similarly to pour off cooking fats and juices.

These foods, especially the meats, are preferably fully prepared, pre-cooked and frozen requiring only thawing and reheating prior to serving. In this connection it has been unexpectedly found that the toasting times and temperatures characteristic of conventional toasters are fully adequate for thawing and adequately reheating frozen foods to temperatures which are high enough for serving and eating. Foods that are amenable to storage without freezing or refrigeration, of course, need not be frozen or refrigerated but simply stored on the shelf in the packages of this invention. Cereals, dehydrated soups, hot chocolate powders, tea and other shelfstable foods fall into this category. Also, those foods which are of the instant type requiring only the addition of hot water and those foods which require only a small amount of cooking time need not be precooked. Cereals, rice, hot chocolate powders and tea fall into this category.

The present invention drastically reduces the time, effort and manpower needed for the preparation and serving of meals. It substantially eliminates the need for measuring out portions, since each package contains a controlled amount of food. It permits a wide range of selectivity for serving a wide variety of personal tastes at one sitting with almost no extra effort and in a minimum amount of time. It also permits more precise control of food intake without wastage for those concerned with diet and allows the preparation of single meals which are well balanced for those who live alone. It substantially eliminates left-overs and cuts clean-up time to a minimum. Cleaning of cooking equipment is obviated, since no pots and pans are used and the package after use is simply descarded. The only heating appliance used is the conventional toaster which, with a minimum'of care, is not dirtied. The present invention permits an ultimate of convenience in the preparation of full, well-balanced, appetizing means without any expenditures for expensive heating or cooking equipment.

The packages of the present invention are not only useful in the home but find extensive utilization in commerce in restaurants, hotels, clubs, cafeterias, vending machines, snack bars, lunch counters, food stands, in

hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools, colleges, in

the armed services, employees cafeterias, and in any kitchen whether private commercial or institutional.

Specifically it is an object of the present invention to construct a package including a pour spout for storing, heating and easily removing and serving food.

Another object of the present invention is to incorporate a pour spout in the top seal of a package for storing and heating food in a toaster.

A further object of the present invention is to form a pour spout in a package for storing and heating food by inverting a gusset in a side of the package.

The present invention has another object in that a package is formed with a top seal incorporating a pour spout that may be unfolded for pouring fluent foods from the package after heating.

Another object of the present invention to form a pour spout in a package for storing and heating food by folding a corner of a top margin and double folding the top margin to form a top seal whereby the package is vented by tearing through the top seal at the folded corner and the pour spout is formed by unfolding the folded corner portion of the top margin.

A further object of the present invention is to fold a pair of gusseted legs into the center of a package for storing and heating food and to double fold a marginal flap formed by folding the legs to provide a top seal for the package having a weakened venting channel comprising a gap between the folded legs whereby a pour spout is formed by unfolding one of the legs after the package is vented by tearing through the top seal at the venting channel.

The present invention has another object in that a package having a pour spout incorporated in its top seal has a squared bottom seal formed by slitting the bottom margin to form four flaps which are folded into the center of the package.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a method of. packaging foods including the formation of a pour spout for removal of the foods.

Some of the advantages of packages formed in accordance with the present invention are that pour spouts are incorporated in the top seal to permit removal of fluent foods without protruding flaps or edges to avoid accidental tearing or mutilation, that the top seals are double folded to resist tearing or mutilation during handling, that the packages are easily and precisely vented for proper heating of the contents, that the vents torn in the packages for heating are utilized to form and control the size of the pour spouts, that the bottom seals are formed in accordance with the food to be contained in the packages, that gussets are utilized to form the pour spouts to permit accurate dispensing of the food for serving, and that packages are economically formed from single sheets of material.

The present invention is generally characterized in a sealed package including a pour spout for storing food and heating the food by insertion into a toaster, formed of pilable, heat resistant, tearable, thermally conductive, nonporous sheet material, a top seal for the package having a top margin folded upon itself, and a gusset side for the package for inverting at the top margin to form the pour spout whereby the package may be vented by tearing through the top seal and the food may be removed from the package after heating through the pour spout formed in the space between the vent and the gusseted side of the package. The present invention is further characterized in a method of forming a package including a pour spout for storing food and heating the food in a toaster comprising folding a sheet of pliable, heat resistant, tearable, thermally conductive, non-porous material upon itself to form a longitudinal seam and top and bottom margins, sealing the longitudinal seam, forming a bottom seal with the bottom margin, inserting food through the top margin, and forming a top seal incorporating the pour spout by folding the top margin upon itself on a first fold line and folding the folded top margin upon itself on a second fold line.

i The apparatus shown and described in Griner patent US. Pat. No. 3,403,524 and the method shown and descirbed in Griner patent US. Pat. No. 3,403,033 with modification are available for the low-cost, automatic mass-production of filled food packages of the present invention. Also, the conveying, collecting and metering method and apparatus shown and described in Griner patent US. Pat. No. 3,402,803 with modification are available for handling and packing the filled food packages of this invention. It can be readily seen that the methods, apparatus and technology are available for producing, handling and packing the filled food packages of this invention at high rates of production and low cost.

Further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the description of the preferred embodiments as shown in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a package according to a first embodiment of the present invention in its filled condition.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the package of FIG. 1 in its pouring condition.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, broken view of sheet material utilized in the construction of packages according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a rear elevation of the partially formed package of FIG. 1 with the top and bottom margins in unfolded position.

FIG. 5 is a rear elevation of the package of FIG. 1 in condition to be filled, the bottom margin being in folded position.

FIG. 6 is a rear elevation of the package of FIG. 1 in its filled and closed condition with both top and bottom margins in folded positions. I

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken on lines 7-7 of FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the package of FIG. 1 in its filled and closed condition.

FIG. 9 is a front elevation of the package of FIG. 1 after venting.

FIG. 10 is a front elevation of the package of FIG. 1 in its open, pouring condition.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a package according to a second embodiment of the present invention in its filled condition.

FIG. 12 is a front elevation of the package of FIG. 1 1 after venting.

FIG. 13 is a front elevation of the package of FIG. 11 during formation of a pour spout showing part of the top margin in unfolded position.

FIG. 14 is a front elevation of the package of FIG. 1 l in its pouring condition showing the pour spout in extended, operative position.

FIG. is a rear elevation of the package of FIG. 11 in condition to be filled with its bottom margin sealed.

FIGS. 16 and 17 are rear elevations of the partially formed package of FIG. 1 1 showing the steps of closing the top of the package.

FIGS. 18, 19, 20 and 21 are broken rear elevational views of the package of FIG. 11 at different stages in its formation.

FIG. 22 is a fragmentary, side elevational viewtaken along lines 2222 of FIG. 16.

FIG. 23 is a plan view taken along lines 2323 of FIG. 18.

FIGS. 24, 25 and 26 are rear elevations of a partially formed package according to a third embodiment of the present invention at different stages of its formation.

FIG. 27 is a broken rear elevational view of the package according to the third embodiment of the present invention in its filled condition.

FIG. 28 is a broken rear elevational view of the package according'to the third embodiment of the present invention illustrating the condition of the package after venting.

FIG. 29 is a broken rear elevational view of the package according to the third embodiment of the present invention showing its condition at a stage during the formation of a pour spout.

FIG. 30 is a rear elevational view of the package ac cording to the third embodiment of the present invention in its pouring condition showing the pour spout in extended, operative condition.

FIG. 31 is a side elevational view of the package according to the third embodiment of the present invention in its filled and closed condition.

FIGS. 32, 33 and 34 are rear elevational views of a partially formed package according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention showing the package at different stages in its formation.

FIG. 35 is a bottom view taken along lines 3535 of FIG. 34.

FIG. 36 is a broken rear elevational view of the top of the package according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention illustrating one type of top seal for said package. 1

FIG. 37 is a broken rear elevational view of the top of the package according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention illustrating a second type of top seal for said package.

FIG. 38 is a broken rear elevational view of the package according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention having a top seal as shown in FIG. 36 in its pouring condition showing the pour spout in extended operative position.

FIG. 39 is a broken rear elevational view of the package according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention having a top seal as shown in FIG. 37 in its pouring condition showing its pour spout in extended operative position.

FIG. 40 is a perspective view of the package accord ing to the fourth embodiment of the present invention showing the package in its filled and closed condition.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS A first embodiment of a package 100 according to the present invention is illustrated in its filled condition for transportation and storage in FIG. 1 and in FIG. 2 in its pouring condition. Package 100 has a top seal 102 and a bottom seal 104, and a front panel 106 and a rear panel 108 are formed by folding a sheet of pliable, heat resistant, tearable, thermally conductive, non-porous material upon itself to form a longitudinal seam 110 along rear panel 108.

An example of a pliable, heat resistant, tearable, thermally conductive, non-porous material suitable for use with the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 3 and includes an outer layer 112 consisting of a coating of dark colored epoxy resin approximately one tenthousandth of an inch in thickness, bonded to an internal layer 114 of a coating of dielectric material having a thickness of approximately two ten-thousandths of an inch. The internal layer 114 is bonded to a base layer 1 16 of metallic foil having a thickness of approximately fifteen ten-thousandths of an inch, and base layer 116 is bonded to an inner layer 118 of heat sealable material approximately one ten-thousandth of an inch in thickness.

Especially preferred as the metallic foil is aluminum foil which can be used in thethickness given above or in thicker or thinner sizes as desired or required for specific applications. Stainless steel foil is also available and can. be used if desired. Substantially any heatconductive sheet material can be used as layer 116. For example, heat-resistant plastic films, such as Mylar, having thin coatings of vapor deposited metals are useful. Also, plastic films formed with substantial amounts of metallic particles dispersed throughout are useful.

The dielectric layer 114 is for the purpose of electrically insulating the package in the event of contact with the heating elements of the toaster. Substantially all thermosetting plastics and high heat-resistant thermoplastics in the absence of electrically-conductive additives are dielectrics or electrically insulative and any suitable thermosetting or high heat-resistant thermoplastic can be used. For example, epoxy resins similar to layer 112 can be used. Phenolic resins, melamineformaldehyde resins, urea-formaldehyde resins and polyester resins are examples of suitable resins that can be employed in making layer 114. 1

The inner heat-scalable layer 118 comprises a transparent, heat-activatable adhesive, for example, a thermoplastic material having softening temperatures above those temperatures usually encountered in an electric toaster, for example, above about 500F. The layer 118 is transparent so that the shiny, reflective inner surface of base layer 116 is preserved. High melting polyester resins, vinyl chloride resins, vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate resins, polyacrylic resins and the like can be employed. When thermoplastic materials are used in any of layers 112, 114 or 118, such materials should not melt or soften to any undesirable extent at temperatures normally encountered in toasters and preferably not below 500F.

Any type of lettering or designs such as labels, instructions, trademarks, etc. may be placed on the front and rear panels of the package. The outer layer 112 which, for example, may be formed of dark blue epoxy which is primarily heat-absorptive may be over-printed with various patterns of white which is primarily heatreflective to control heat absorption and distribution inside the package in accordance with the heating requirements of the food product contained in the pack age.

For example, in FIGS. 1 and 2 those portions above line 120 are of a dark color such as dark blue and those portions below line 120 are of a light color, such as white. Although heated air rises, a sizable proportion of heat escapes from the mouth of the toaster by radiation or convection currents such that temperatures in the lower portions of the conventional upright toaster tend to be considerably higher than temperatures near the mouth. The same considerations apply to horizontal toasters to the extent that temperatures deep within the toaster cavity tend to be much higher than the temperature near the mouth. In addition, the temperatures of the central portions of a toaster pack in a toaster tend to be high than those portions adjacent the side edges. In order to obtain as uniform a temperature as possible throughout the package for thepurpose of more uniform heating or cooking of the contained food, it is preferred that the primarily heat-reflective, e.g., white, pattern extend centrally upwardly from the bottom portion of at least one of the panels of the package as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The temperatures of the lower corner portions of the package also tend to build up because of proportionately greater surface area per local contained volume exposed to radiation and the higher temperatures and lower rates of heat loss in the depths of the toaster cavity. Thus, in order to maintain a more even temperature distribution in the lower corner areas, they too are preferably light colored, e.g., white, as illustratively shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The light, primarily heat-reflective areas which extend upwardly on the sides and in the center of the panel are preferably tapered upwardly as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 to correspond to the temperature gradient in the toaster cavity. The upwardly extending tapered, primarily heat-reflective areas can be truncated with primarily heat-absorptive areas, if desired, at any desired point to result in a higher temperature in the truncated areas.

Package 100 has a pour spout generally indicated at 122 and has gusseted sides 124 and 126 to permit expansion of the package to contain varying quantities of fluid substances.

A method of forming and using package 100 will be described with the aid of FIGS. 4 through 10. A sheet of material such as that described with respect to FIG. 3 is longitudinally folded .upon itself such that its lateral edges overlap along longitudinal seam 110 and its upper and lower edges are folded upon themselves to form a top margin 128 and a bottom margin 130, respectively. Bottom margin 130 and longitudinal seam 110 are sealed by applying heat and pressure thereto to activate inner layer 118 as shown in FIG. 4. During the folding of the sheet of material and before sealing of bottom margin 130 and longitudinal seam 110 gussets 124 and 126 are formed at the sides in any-conventional manner such that when viewed from the top package 100 will be as illustrated in FIG. 7. Bottom margin 130 is then folded in half upon itself toward rear panel 108 along a fold line 132 and then folded upon itself again against rear panel 108 along a fold line 134 after adhesive is applied thereto, if desired, such that the sealed portion is secured to rear. panel 108 of the package to form bottom seal 104 as shown in FIG. 5.

Package is now ready to be filled with whatever food is desired to be contained therein. Due to the fluent nature of the contents package 100 is filled through the top with the use of any type of conventional chute or supply mechanism which is inserted into the open top margin of the package; and, since the entire top margin is open, foods such as strips and patties of meat and fish may be inserted in the package along with cooking juices and gravies. After insertion of the food, top margin 128 is sealed by the application of heat and pressure thereto to activate inner layer 118. Top margin 128 is then folded upon itself along a fold line 136 and folded again upon itself along a fold line 138 to fonn top seal 102 such that package 100 is in its filled condition as shown in FIG. 6.

A hole 140 may be punched in top seal 102 simultaneously with the cutting of a tear notch 142 in the upper edge of the top seal 102 which coincides with fold line 138 by a simple stamping process with the realization that hole 140 and tear notch 136 may be cut into top margin 128 prior to folding to form top seal 102 if so desired. Hole 140 is aligned with the overlapping lateral edges of longitudinal seal 1 10 such that the extra layer of material at the seam may be utilized to provide additonal strength at the location of the hole. Tear notch 142 may be cut into top seal 102 at any position along the upper edge thereof dependent upon the desired flow rate during removal of the contents from the package and the size of the food particles contained in the package as will be explained hereinafter.

The double folded bottom seal 104 which is pressed against rear panel 108 provides a sturdy and tear resistant base for supporting the package in a heating device such as a toaster and allows no protrusions that might snag on heating elements in the toaster or during handling. Furthermore, the double fold provides the extremely efficient seam necessitated by the nature of the fluent contents of the package since most of the weight and pressure inside the package is exerted on the lower portion thereof.

Package 100 may be stored in any convenient area such as a closet or freezer either stacking the package on a shelf or by supporting the package on a rod extending through hole 140; and, when it is desired to serve the contents of package 100, the package is retrieved from storage by grasping top seal 102. The multi-layer thickness of top seal 102 permits the package to be handled by grapsing the top seal without the danger of tearing or multilation.

In order to heat the contents of the package, top seal 102 is firmly grasped by the server and torn at tear notch 142 with a twisting motion to provide a vent 144 for the package, as shown in FIG. 9, to permit vapor and steam to escape to the atmosphere during heating. The size of vent 144 may vary with desired cooking conditions; and, in order to assure proper venting a mark may be printed on front panel 106 to indicate where tearing should be stopped. In most cases, vent 144 will be torn just barely into the sealed pouch portion of the package and top seal 102 will be completely torn.

The vented package is inserted in the toaster and the toaster is energized for a predetermined amount of time to heat the contents of the package. After the toaster is deenergized the package is removed therefrom by grasping the top seal 102, and the contents of the package may be easily removed through pour spout through 23.

122. Pour spout 122 is formed by tearingtop seal 102 along a tear line 146 which normally coincides with the lower'edge of the top seal, as shown in FIG. 9. This tear is facilitated due to the fact that top seal 102 has a thickness fourv times greater than the thickness of the pouch portion of the package, and the tear will be in a substantially straight line.

()nce a portion of the top seal 102 is torn away from the package gusset 126 is inverted at 148, as shown in FIG. 10, to form pour spout 122, and the contents of the package may be easily removed by simply tilting the package to permit the contents to flow through pour spout 122 by gravityinto any suitable serving dish or plate. The double fold of top seal 102 provides sufficient strength to permit package 100 to be easily handled thereby to tilt the package for removal of the contents.

I If package100 contains an unpourable product, such as a hamburger pattie, after the juices have been poured off by spout 122 the remainder of top seal 102 may be torn from the pouch portion of the package to permit removal of the unpourable product.

Dehydrated foods may be heated in package 100 by forming pour spout 122 prior to insertion in the toaster such that water may be easily added to the package through the pourspout for heating by the toaster.

By preselecting the location of tear notch 142, the size of pour spout 122 can be controlled; and, accordingly, a large spout can be provided for packages containing products such as stew and a small spout can be having 218 and 220, respectively, at each side of the package. a

Bottom seal 204 is double folded and pressed against rear panel 206' in the same manner. as previously described with respect to bottom seal 104 in the formation of package 100. After bottom seal204'is formed 'gravies.

and rectangular portions are removed by cutting through top margins 214 in the front and back panels, package 200 is filled with food through the top with the use of any type of conventional chute or supply mechaage with its center line 232 approximately centered at provided for packages containing products such as bodiment any type of lettering or designs may be placed on the front and rear panels, andthe outer layer may be overprinted with patterns of white to control heat absorption and distribution inside the package. A pour spout generally indicated at 212 is integrally formed with top seal 202 and its use and formation will be described hereinafter with respect to FIGS. 12

In order to formpackage 200 a sheet of material is longitudinally folded upon itself such that its lateral edges overlap along longitudinal seam 210 and its upper and lower edges are folded upon themselves to form front and back top margins 214 and a bottom margin 216, respectively, as shown in FIG. 15. Bottom margin 216 and longitudinal seam 210 are sealed by apthe top of the package. Fold line226 is disposed-across gusset 220 trasverse to thelongitudinal axis of package 220, as best shown in FIGS..22 and 23. When the package isin its fiatened condition as shown in FIG. 15, fold lines 228 and 230 are disposed substantially parallel to each otherat an approximateangle of 45 to the side edges of package 200 on the rear and front panels, respectively. In folding leg 224 towards the center of the top end of the package, the fold lines 228 and 230 are caused to extend obliquely from the plane of the front and back panels'to form a top flap 234 and bottom flaps 235 and 237 which extend transversely from the front and rear panels as best shown in FIGS. 18 and 23. As best shown in FIG. 22, top flap 234 consists of the portions of leg 224 (including portions of both) front panel 206 and rear panel 208) extending above fold lines 228 and 230 as well as the portion of gusset 220 included in leg 224 extending above fold line 226.

Bottom flap 23S consists of the area of the front panel 206 which is bounded by fold lines 230and 240, a line drawn between the upper ends of said fold lines and a line drawn between the lower ends of said fold lines. Bottom flap 237 consists of the area of the rear panel 208 which is bounded by fold lines 228 and 238, a line drawn between the upper ends of said fold lines and alline drawn between the lower endsof said fold lines. Parts of the bottom flaps 235 and 237 are formed by folding leg 224 as explained above and the remaining parts are formed by folding leg 222 as described hereinafter.

Leg 222 is folded towards the center of the upper end of the package along fold lines 236, 238 and 240, as shown in FIG. 17, such that its portion of gusset 218 is opened and lies falt along the top of the package with its center line 242 approximately centered at the top of the package. Fold line 236 is disposed across gusset 218 transverse to the longitudinal axis of package 200, as best shown in FIG. 23. When the package is in its flattened condition, as shown in FIG. 15, fold lines 238 I and 248 are disposed substantially parallel to each other at an approximate angle of 45 to the side edges of package 200 on the rear and front panels, respectively. In folding of leg 222 towards the center of the top end of the package, the fold lines 238 and 240 are caused to extend obliquely from the plane of the front and back panels to form top flap 244 and the remaining parts of bottom flaps 235 and 237 which extend transversely from the front and rear panels, as best shown in FIGS. 18 and 23. Top flap 244 consists of the portions of leg 222 (including portions of both front panel 206 and rear panel 208) extending above fold lines 238 and 240 as well as the portion of gusset 218 included in leg 222 extending above fold line 236.

The length of each of legs 222 and 224 is preferably slightly less than half the width of the package such that after the legs are folded a gap 246 is provided between top flaps 234 and 244; however, bottom flaps 235 and 237 extend across the entire width of the package.

Flaps 234, 235, 237 and 244 are folded on center lines 232 and 242 so that bottom flaps 235 and 237 cover top flaps 234 and 244 to form a marginal flap extending vertically from the package, as shown in FIG. 19. The marginal flap is then folded upon itself toward rear panel 208 on a fold line 248 which is disposed between the upper and lower ends of the marginal flaps, and a coating of adhesive is applied to the surface of the fold, as shown in FIG. 20. Since bottom flaps 235 and 237 completely cover top flaps 234 and 244 a continuous surface is provided for sealing the package'and gap 246 is not exposed. The marginal flap is then folded upon itself toward rear panel 208 along a fold line 250 which is aligned with the lower end of fold lines 228 and 238 to complete top seal 202, as shown in FIG. 21.

Package 200 may be stored in any convenient are such as a closet or freezer, and when it is desired to serve the contents of package 200 the package is retrieved from storage by grasping top seal 202. The integral formation of top seal 202 and its multi-layer thickness permits the package to be handled by the top seal without the danger of tearing or mutilation.

In order to heat the contents of the package top seal 202 is firmly grasped by the server and torn directly down the center or otherline which may be marked by a dashed line printed on front panel 206 intermediate the side edges of the package, with a twisting motion to provide a vent 252 as shown in FIG. 12 to permit vapor and steam to escape to the atmosphere during venting.

When package 200 is vented at the center, vent 252 is aligned with gap 246 which forms a venting channel to facilitate tearing of the vent and to also provide a guide to assure that vent 252 is torn in a straight line. The length of vent 252 must be sufficient to completely tear through top seal 202 in order to permit the formation of pour spout 212 after heating; however, the size of vent 252 may be varied with desired cooking conditions. In order to assure proper venting a mark may be printed on front panel 206 to indicate where tearing should be stopped.

The vented package is inserted in the toaster and the toaster is energized for a predetermined amount of time to heat the contents of the package. After the toaster is deenergized, the package is removed there'- from by grasping top seal 202 and the contents of the package may be easily removed by means of pour spout 212 which is formed by unfolding the marginal flap of pour spout 212 by gravity into any suitable serving dish or plate. The multi-layer thickness of the top seal 202 provides sufficient strength to pennit package 200 to be handled thereby to tilt the package for removal of the contents. If package 200 contains an unpourable product such as a hamburger pattie, after the juices have been poured off by spout 212 both halves of top seal 202 may be torn from the pouch portion of the package to permit removal of the unpourable product.

Dehydrated foods may be heated in package 200 by forming pour spout 212 prior to insertion in the toaster such'that water may be easily added to the package through the pour spout for heating by the toaster.

Due to the simple construction of package 200 either side of the package may be utilized to form pour spout 212; and furthermore, the length of legs 222 and 224 may be varied in order to provide a smaller pour spout on one'side and a larger pour spout on the other side. This may be simply accomplished during the cutting of top margin 214 by making one leg larger than the other and since gap 246 will be displaced from the center of top margin 202, the package will be vented at an off center position thereby permitting either the selection ofthe larger or the smaller spout for removal of the contents of the package. No tear notch is required for venting of package 200 due to gap 246 being folded upon itself to form a weakened channel through top seal 202 without adversely affecting the sealing characteristics of the package. If it is desired to provide a hole in top seal 202 for storage of package 200 on a rod, flaps 234,235 and 244 may be double folded with smaller widths such that top seal 202 does not overlap the pouch portion, and a hole may be punched through the top seal without fear of ruining the sealing of the package. By folding top seal 202 to overlap the pouch portion of the package, the dimensions of the package may be reduced while retaining a maximum capacity.

In order to further facilitate insertion and removal of the package from the toaster, the first step in forming pour spout 212, as shown in FIG. 13, may be performeed after venting such that the unfolded flaps may be used as a handle to insert the package in the toaster and remove the package from the toaster if the heating of the contents does not require only a small vent.

A third embodiment of a package 300 according to the present invention is illustrated in its pouring condipart of top seal 202 as shown in FIG. 13, lifting out the tion in FIG. 30 and includes a top seal 302 and a bottom seal 304, and a front panel 306 and a rear panel 308 are formed by folding a sheet of material such as that described with respect to FIG. 3 upon itself to form a longitudinal seam 310 along rear panel 308. As discussed with respect to the first embodiment any type of lettering or designs may be placed on the front and rear panels, and the outer layer may be overprinted with patterns of white to control heat absorption and distribution inside the package. A pour spout generally indicated at 312 is integrally formed with top seal 302 and its use and formation will be described hereinafter with respect to FIGS. 24 through 29.

' In order to form package 300 a sheet of material is longitudinally folded upon itself such that its lateral edges overlap along longitudinal seam 310 and its upper and lower edges are folded upon themselves to form a top margin 314 and a bottom margin 316, re-

spectively, as shown in FIG. 24. Bottom margin 316 are sealed by applying heat to activate the inner layer of the and longitudinal seam 310 and pressure thereto material.

While the sides of package 300 are not illustrated as containing gussets, it is clear that gussets may be included therein, during the longitudinal folding of the sheet of material, if it is desired to provide a package of greater holding capacity and to increase the accuracy of the pour spout.

Bottom margin 316 is not folded upon itself as were the bottom margins of the first and second embodiments in order to illustrate that, due to the extremely sturdy, thick, tear resistant top seal 302, bottom margin 316 may be simply sealed without folds since all handling during transportation, storage and serving may be accomplished by grasping top seal 302.

After bottom seal 304 is formed package 300 is filled with food through the top with the use of any type of conventional chute or supply mechanism which is inserted into the top margin of the package; and, since the entire top margin is open, foods such as strips and patties of meat and fish may be inserted in the package along with cooking juices and gravies.

Top seal 302 is formed by applying heat and pressure to top margin 314 after the package is filled to activate the inner layer of the material and then folding one corner of top margin 314 toward front panel 306 along a fold line 318 disposed preferably at an angle of about 45 to the side edges of package 300, as shown in FIG. 25. Top margin 314 is then folded upon itself toward rear panel 308 on a line 320 as shown in FIG. 26 and then folded again upon itself toward rear panel 308 on a fold line 322 as shown in FIG. 27.

A hold 324 may be punched in top seal 302 simultaneously with the cutting of a tear notch 326 in the upper edge of the top seal 302 which coincides with fold line 322 by a simple stamping process with the realization that hole 324 and tear notch 326 may be cut 'into top margin 314 prior to folding to form top seal 302 if so' desired. Hole 324 is preferably aligned with the overlapping lateral edges of longitudinal seam 310 such that the extra layer of material at the seam may be utilized to provide additional strength at the location of the hole. Tear notch 326 may be disposed at any position between the side edge of the package at which the pour spout 312 is located and that part of top margin 314 which is disposed substantially longitudinally by folding on fold line 318, thus permitting control of the size of pour spout 312.

Package 300 may be stored in any convenient area such as a closet or freezer by either stacking the pack- Y age on a shelf or by supporting the package on a rod extending through hole 324; and, when it is desired to serve the contents of package 300, the package is retrieved from storage by grasping top seal 302. The multi-layer' thickness of top seal 302 permits the package to be handled by grasping the top seal without the danger of tearing or mutilation.

In order to heat the contents of the package, top seal 302 is firmly grasped by the server and torn at tear notch 326- with a twisting motion to provide a vent 328 for the package, as shown in FIG. 28, to permitvapor and steam to escape to the atmosphere during heating. The size of vent 328 may vary with desired cooking conditions; and, in order to assure proper venting a mark may be printed on front panel 306 to indicate where tearing should be stopped.

time to heat the contents of the package. After the toaster is deenergized the package is removed therefrom by grasping top seal 302, and pour spout 312 is formed as shown in FIGS. 29 and 30, by unfolding the small portion of top seal 302 which is severed during venting along fold lines 322 and 318. The closer vent 326 is to the longitudinal edge of the folded comer of top margin 314, the larger pour spout 312 will be. If gussets are formed in the sides of package 300, pour spout 312 will be formed with the inverted gusset as shown by dashed line 330 in FIG. 30.to provide a larger and more accurate pour spout.

The contents of package 300 may be easily removed by simply tilting the package to permit the contents to flow through pour spout 312 by gravity into any suitable serving dish or plate. The double fold of top seal 302 provides sufficient strength to permit package 300 to be handled thereby to tilt the package for removal of the contents.

If package 300 contains an unpourable product, such as a hamburger pattie, after the juices have been poured off by spout 312 top seal 302 may be torn from the pouch portion of the package topermit removal of the unpourable product.

Dehydrated foods may be heated in package 300 by forming pour spout 312 prior to insertion in the toaster such that water or other cooking fluids such as milk or frying fats and oils may be easily added to the package through the pour spout for heating by the toaster.

A fourth embodiment of a package 400 according to the present invention is shown in its filled condition for transportation and storage in FIG. 40 and includes a top margin 402 and a bottom margin 404. A front panel 406 and a rear panel 408 are formed by folding a sheet of material such as that described with respect to FIG. 3 upon itself to form a longitudinal seam 410 along rear panel 408. As discussed with respect to the first embodiment any type of lettering or designs may be placed on the front and rear panels, and the outer layer may be overprinted with patterns of white to control heat absorption and distribution inside the package.

In order to form package 400 a sheet of material is longitudinally folded upon itself such that its lateral edges overlap along longitudinal seam 410 and its upper and lower edges are folded upon themselves to form a top margin 412 and a bottom margin 414, respectively, as shown in FIG. 32. During the folding of the sheet of material and before or after sealing of longitudinal seam 410, gussets 416 and 418 are formed at the sides in any conventional manner to permit expani longitudinal axis of package 400 preferably to a depth of about two thirds the thickness of the package to form a front flap 424, a rear flap 426 and side flaps 428 and 430. Side flap 428 is folded towards the center of .the side edges of the package along a fold line 432 which is disposed along a side and transverse to the longitudinal axis of the package, as best shown in FIG. 35,

and along fold lines 434 and 436 which are disposed substantially parallel to each other on the front and rear panels, respectively, when the package is flattened as shown in FIGS. 32 and 33, at an approximate angle 17 of 45 to the side edges of the package and are connected with the upper ends of slits 422. Side flap 430 is folded towards the center of the side edges of the package along fold lines 438, 440 and 442 in a similar manner as previously described with respect to side flap 428, as shown in FIG. 33. In folding side flaps 428 and 430 as described above, those portions of side flaps 428 and 430 originally included in front panel 406 and rear panel 408, respectively, become disposed on front flap 424 and rear flap 426, respectively, and serve to greatly strength bottom seal 404 which is ultimately formed.

Next, front flap 424 is folded towards the center of the package over side flaps 428 and 430 along a fold line 444, and rear flap 426 is folded towards the center of the package over side flaps 428 and 430 and front flap 424, as shown in FIGS. 34 and 35. Adhesive may be coated on front flap 424 and rear flap 426 prior to folding, and a pressure block may be inserted through the opening in top margin 412 to hold side flaps 428 and 430, front flap 424 and rear flap 426 while pressure is applied from the outside to provide airtight bottom seal 404.

After bottom seal 404 is formed package 400 is filled with food through the top with the use of any type of conventional chute or supply mechanism which is inserted into the open top margin of the package; and, since the entire top margin is open, foods such as strips and patties of meat and fish may be inserted in the package along with cooking juices and gravies.

Top seal 402 may be formed by any of the methods described with respect to the first, second and third embodiments of the present invention; and, accordingly, top seal 402 shown in FIG. 36 is formed in thesame manner as top seal 302 of package 300. Top seal 402 shown in FIG. 37 is formed in the same manner as top seal 102 of package 100.

In order to serve the contents of package 400, it is retrieved from storage such as in a closet or freezer, and the top seal is vented in the manner described above with respect to the various top seals of packages 100, 200 and 300. After venting, package 400 is inserted in the toaster, and bottom seal 404 provides an extremely stable base to support the package in an upright position. The squared configuration of bottom seal 404 permits a greater amount of the contents of the package to be exposed to the heat in the inner most confines of the toaster to provide extremely efficient heating. Furthermore, there are no protrusions or flaps associated with bottom seal 404 and, therefore, package 400 is not apt to be snagged by the toaster.

After heating, package 400 is removed from the toaster and the contents are removed in the same manner as described with respect to the associated top seal of packages 100, 200 or 300 depending on the particular form of top seal used. As an example, FIG. 38 illustrates a pour spout 450 similar to pour spout 312 of package 300 formed from top seal 402 as shown in FIG. 36. As another example, FIG. 39 illustrates a pour spout 451 similar to pour spout 122 of package 100 formed from top seal 402 shown in FIG. 37.

The dimensions of packages 100, 200, 300 and 400 should be less than those of the heating compartment of conventional household toasters; however, the dimensions of these packages are determined by the particular heating appliances in which they are desired to be heated, and consequently, packages according to Various features of the embodiments of the present invention may be combined with other features of other embodiments in order to provide a package having dimensional stability in accordance with the foods to be contained therein; and having a pour spout to provide simple and accurate removal of the contents. For instance, when the contents of the package are entirely liquid such as soups, gravies or beverages a long narrow pour spout having a center line such as that provided by packages 200 and 300 will be desirable; however, for foods such as stew a spout such as that included in package would be best suited for removal of the contents.

Similarly, the weight of the contents of the package can be utilized to determine the type of bottom seal to be utilized with the package. With the bottom seal of package 400 being utilized for heavier and bulkier contents and the bottom seal of package 300 being utilized for lighter and slimmer contents.

The use of a gusset in at least one side of the packages of the present invention permits expansion of the side walls to permit the packages to hold greater amounts of food and fluids without deforming the package. This is especially important for toaster packages since the physical dimensions of the packages are limited by the toaster heating compartment. The gussets also greatly decrease spillage due to their formation of a well defined pour spout. Packages 100, 200, 300 and 400 may be formed without gussetted sides with the realization that the advantages attendant the use of gussets will not be obtained.

What is claimed is:

1. A method of forming a package including a pour spout for storing food and heating the food in a toaster comprising;

a. folding a sheet of pliable, heat resistant, tearable, thermally conductive, non-porous material upon itself to form a longitudinal seam, a top margin, a bottom margin, a first side having a first gusset with a center line and a second side having a second gusset with a center line;

b. sealing said longitudinal seam;

c. forming a bottom seal with said bottom margin;

(1. inserting food through said top margin; and

e. forming a top seal incorporating said pour spout by i. cutting said top margin to provide a first leg adjacent said first side including said first gusset and a second leg-adjacent said first side including said first gusset,

ii. folding said first leg into the center of the package to form a first flap,

iii. folding said second into the center of the package to form a second flap,

iv. folding said first flap on the center line of said first gusset, vi. folding said top margin upon itself on a first fold line and vii. folding said folded top margin upon itself on a second fold line.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,834,113 a d September 10, 1974 Inventor(s) James H. Rowe and Joseph Markus It is'certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

In the heading on page 1,. change the first joint inventor's last name from "Howe" to --Rowe--.

Signed and sealed this 5th day of November 197A.

(SEAL) Attest:

McCOY M. GIBSON JR. C. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents PC4050 (10459) USCOMM-DC 60376-P6D Q 45, GOVERNMENT 'RINT'NG OFFICE 2 I969 0-368-35.

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US5525363 *12 Sep 199411 Jun 1996Kraft Foods, Inc.Hermetic peelable seal between two fastener strips attached to inner surface of upper wall; simplification, sealing
US5826985 *10 Jul 199527 Oct 1998Olin CorporationChild-resistant tear-open synthetic resin bag
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US6807795 *19 Dec 200126 Oct 2004Burford Corp.Perforated flap with dual seals
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US691338720 Nov 20025 Jul 2005Sargento Foods, Inc.Resealable bag for filling with food product (s) and method
US708678220 Nov 20028 Aug 2006Sargento Foods, Inc.Resealable bag for filling with food products and method
US716588720 Nov 200223 Jan 2007Sargento Foods, Inc.Resealable bag for filling with food product(s) and method
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Classifications
U.S. Classification53/410, 53/412, 53/452, 493/200, 493/213
International ClassificationB65D81/34, B65D75/52, B65D75/58
Cooperative ClassificationB65D75/5805, B65D81/3492, B65D75/5816
European ClassificationB65D75/58D, B65D81/34T, B65D75/58B