BACKGROUND—FIELD OF INVENTION
This invention relates to a multiple purpose bag closure clip which will close plastic or paper bags of various sizes and a variety of unrelated uses with minor modifications in design. This gives the manufacturer/distributor, and ultimately the consumer, many choices as to non associated uses of the closure clip.
BACKGROUND—DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART
Grocery stores and supermarkets commonly supply consumers with polyethylene bags for holding produce. They also sell edible items such as cookies and crackers in paper bags. Such bags are also used by suppliers to provide a resealable container for other items, both edible and inedible.
Originally the bags were sealed by the supplier with staples or by heat. However, consumers objected since these were rather permanent in nature. The bags could only be opened by tearing, thereby damaging them and rendering them impossible to reseal. Thereafter, inventors created several types of devices in such a way as to leave them undamaged after they were opened by the consumer.
The two main closures presently used by stores are paper-covered wires and small flexible plastic clips. These closures are subject to breakage, easy to lose, require a lot of finger and hand manipulation often resulting in incomplete closure, are time consuming to use and create considerable frustration for the consumer. My invention eliminates these problems.
Commercial bakeries that specialize in selling bread and hot dog buns to grocery stores for resale use the small thin plastic clips because they are cheap and the bag closure procedure can be automated. In-store bakeries utilize paper-covered wire closures which cannot be automated.
The prior art which is closest to my invention is the small flexible plastic clips commonly used to close produce bags. They are similar in having an aperture and exerting sealing pressure on the bag neck. Also, they are of one piece. Thereafter the similarity ends.
1. The small clip is designed for automated application and temporary home use. My invention is designed for unlimited perpetual home use and is not adaptable to automated closure.
2. The small clip relies on thinness and flexibility to get closure plus a lot of finger manipulation. My invention depends on pushing the closure device onto the bag neck with the arm into the narrow holding area, with rigidity of the clip holding and sealing bag.
3. My invention allows pushing the clip into the narrow holding area of one aperture and looping the neck of the bag into the holding area of the other aperture for guaranteeing an air tight seal.
4. The small clip requires twisting the bag neck to get it through it's small aperture. My invention does not because of it's large gathering area and long holding area. The bag neck is pushed into the holding area and the clip is rotated perpendicularly to get closure.
5. My invention is not subject to breakage in contrast to small clips which are used.
6. For home use my invention is easier, faster and less frustrating to apply.
7. My invention is for multiple purpose use whereas the small flexible clips are not.
8. My invention can be stored on a hook or nail, the small clip cannot.
9. My invention is less subject to being lost because of its relatively large size.
10. The large apertures of my invention make it easier to apply than the small flexible plastic clips.
11. My invention can be made of metal as well as plastic.
12. My invention can be molded as well as punch pressed.
13. My invention can more easily be carried and removed from a pocket than the small flexible plastic clips.
14. My closure device can more readily be picked up from a flat surface.
15. The small clip cannot be used to close paper bags whereas my invention can.
Various inventions have been patented for home use, few of which are on the market. Most of these are multi-piece, rather complex closures. Most have limited use-life due to wear and breakage. They are multiple piece closures which are expensive to manufacture as they have to be molded rather than punch pressed with dies. They also require a lot of finger and wrist movement or strength. They have insufficient flat area, due to configuration or size, to print, label, advertise or write.
Several closure devices for snack foods, none are designed for multiple purposes: U.S. Pat. No. 4,414,717 (issued Nov. 15, 1983) is a three pronged, one piece closure device which requires molding in manufacturing. It is designed to close snack bags requiring separate lengths of prongs to close different sized bags. This device is not adaptable to polyethylene bag closure.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,921,601 (issued Jul. 13, 1999) is a multi-piece (three arms and a securing ring) device used to close snack bags. It is not adaptable to closing plastic bags.
A bar type closure device for plastic bags, U.S. Pat. No. 4,871,264 (issued Oct. 8, 1997) has two arms, a hinge and locking member. This device has many of the disadvantages enumerated previously.
A like invention, U.S. Pat. No. 5,379,489 (issued Jan. 10, 1995) assigned to Struckmeyer Corporation, Dallas, Tex. is apparently on the market today. It is a multi-piece bar-type closure.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,947,523 (issued Aug. 14, 1990) assigned to Edward Robbins, III has a finger hole, a handle member and a clasp. This again is a multi-piece closure, which must be molded, is expensive to manufacture and requires manipulation of the wrist and fingers in its use.
Several patented devices are spring loaded including U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,802,677; 4,356,600 and 4,803,799. Such spring loaded jaws or clamps require considerable manipulation and finger strength to use in closing and opening bags. They should be of various sizes to accommodate various sized bags in order to be attractive. They are expensive to manufacture.
Three inventions require twisting the neck of the bag for closure including: U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,473,796; 3,925,852 and 4,835,820. This is sometimes hard to do for people with infirmities such as arthritis or lack of finger strength.
I have seen the following advertisements for bag closure devices:
a. Hefty—Kitchen Close Pins—bar type closure with two bars, hinge and locking device. Also, scissors type spring clamps.
b. Twixit—same bar type closure and clamps.
c. Bedford—double wire closure with adhesive back, metallic wire ties, fold n close.
d. Kwik Lock—hand applied small clips like those presently used by grocery stores.
e. Voiss Imaginative Essentials—spring loaded clamp with clamp designed to look like human teeth.
f. Wa Da Ya Need Bag Clips—clamps with plastic spring and spring loaded magnetic clamp.
g. Bag clips and luggage tags—spring loaded clamps.
h. Froggy Bag Clips—spring loaded clamps that look like a frog head.
i. Happy Cookers—spring loaded clamps.
j. Lams Bag Clips—spring loaded clamp to seal pet food bags.
k. Can covers and bag clips—spring loaded clamps.
l. Interplanetary Pot Products—pet food bag clips.
m. Nelson Marketing—spring loaded clamp clips.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
The general idea was to invent a multiple purpose bag closure clip which:
Was of one piece, easy to use and store when not in use.
Was cheap to manufacture by punch pressing as well as molding.
Will replace the paper-covered and small thin plastic clips sold by grocery stores which are difficult, frustrating to use and require a lot of finger manipulation to use. They are often lost and most of the time do not result in complete bag closure. Sometimes consumers throw them away and fold the bag top under the bag contents to partially seal the bag.
Utilizes arm strength instead of manipulation and finger strength.
Has two different sized apertures so the clip could be used to close the bag neck whether it was large or small, paper or plastic and/or merely gathered versus being twisted.
Is intended to be a better home closure device than present home used: spring loaded multi-piece devices or bar type closure multi-piece bag closure devices.
Is intended to be a multiple use bag closure which, with slight modification in design, can also be used as a screwdriver, tab can opener, bottle cap opener and twist cap bottle opener which combines all of these functions into one household tool or novelty item. Also can be used as a clothespin or tube squeezer.
Provides a more environmentally friendly device which is not subject to breakage, does not wear out and is indestructible under normal use. It also can be made from recyclable plastics.
Has enough flat space to print, advertise, write or decorate. Without modification it can be used as a dog tag, key chain fob as well as tube squeezer and home made Christmas tree decorations.
The multiple purpose bag closure clip is user friendly.
Large enough to be seen.
Thick enough to be picked up easily off a flat surface and comfortable to grip.
Can be stored on a hook or nail when not in use.
Can be carried off premises in the pocket for any variety of reasons.
Minimizes time and motion in closing and opening bags or use as a clothespin.
Can be conveniently stored and can be carried in the pocket.
The multiple purpose closure clip saves the consumer money.
Accommodates different sized plastic and paper bag necks with one closure device instead of buying separate sizes of clamp or bar type closures.
Precludes buying separate tools for several other unrelated or multiple purposes.
Saves money by more through removal of tube contents.
Being of one piece and relatively small size it is cheaper to manufacture by punch pressing or molding than bar or clamp closures which should reflect in a lower price to consumers.
These clips can be temporarily used to preclude buying fragile, expensive Christmas tree decorations.
No replacement costs are necessary.
The invention in claim 1, 2 and 3 as a multiple purpose bag closure clip of which scope would include any modification of:
Number of finger holes, size of finger holes or design of finger holes.
Number and arrangement of aperture.
Design of holding area and/or its surface.
Design of the body surface.
Shape of body.
Number of uses.
Additional Objectives and Advantages
1. Can be made from plastic or light metal.
2. User-friendly for consumers who are physically impaired with arthritis, weakness or vision problems.
3. Provides an air tight seal to preserve quality and freshness.
4. Has sufficient flat surface for placement of advertising, labeling, printing, also writing if the surface is rough.
5. Consumers can develop a home code by writing, labeling and/or use of color to record the date of purchase, use deadline, product identification freezer and paper bags and order of use.
6. Can be made in a variety of colors.
7. The pear shape is attractive to consumers and is adaptable for consumers to make Christmas decorations.
8. The fact that the closure is almost indestructible results in low per use cost.
9. The finger hole allows easy storage on a hook or nail. Can be magnetized for storage on a metallic surface such as a refrigerator door.
10. Being of multiple use as a bag closure, screwdriver, tab can opener, bottle cap opener, tube squeezer, Christmas decoration, clothespin or letter opener by sharpening the tab can opener hook has the following advantages to the consumer:
a) Lowers initial cost of the several different tools.
b) Consumers have flexibility of use.
c) The clip is of small enough size to be carried in a pocket on and off the home premises.
d) Lowers per use cost of each function.
e) Has appeal as a novelty item.
f) The length of the clip provides additional leverage in being used as a screwdriver, tab can opener and bottle opener.
11. When used as a clothespin the bag closure device has the following advantages:
a) Being narrow provides more clothes drying area than wooden or plastic clips presently used.
b) With an aperture extending into the finger hole the clip can be stored on the clothesline for subsequent use which eliminates a lot of arm and back bending motions.
c) The bag closure device is of longer life than presently used clothespins which are mostly spring loaded and require a lot of finger strength to apply.
d) Multiple purpose clips require less storage space than presently used clothespins.
12. Light products can be stored on hooks or nails, for example crackers or cookies.
13. It is thick enough to be easily picked up from a flat surface.
14. Not only can the clip be used to recover more product from tubes but the partially emptied tube will be more attractive, whether the empty portion is rolled or left flat.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION—SEE FIG. 1
The multiple purpose bag closure clip has a flat, pear shaped body which is thick, rigid or semi-rigid with two apertures each consisting of a wide mouthed gathering area which tapers in to a narrow slit-like holding area. The clip has an index finger hole at the narrow end.
The bag neck is closed by pushing the closure clip onto the bag neck until it is in the narrow holding area for closure.