US 20060285779 A1
A re-sealable bag has two sides when laid flat and a bottom and an open top. The bag is made of a flexible material and has at least two wires fixed to it. The wires extend in a direction between the top and the bottom. The wires are not parallel to each other or to the sides of the bag when they are on the same side of the bag.
1. A re-sealable bag having two parallel sides when laid flat, a bottom, and an open top, comprising a flexible material having at least two wires fixed thereto that extend in a direction between said top and said bottom, where said wires are not perpendicular to said sides and are non-parallel to each other and to said sides when they are on the same side of said bag.
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19. A re-sealable bag forming a rectangle when laid flat that has two parallel sides, a bottom, and an open top, comprising a flexible material having two non-parallel wires fixed to one side that extend in a direction between said top and said bottom, where said wires intersect about 3 to about 12 times and form a pattern of conjoined diamonds.
20. A re-sealable bag forming a rectangle when laid flat that has two parallel sides, a bottom, and an open top, comprising a flexible material having two parallel wires, one fixed to each side, where said wires extend in a direction between said top and said bottom.
This invention relates to a flexible bag that can be repeatedly opened and resealed. In particular, it relates to a bag that has at least two wires fixed to at least one side of a bag that are not parallel when they are on the same side of the bag.
Many dry, solid products, such as snack foods and cereal, are sold in flexible plastic bags. Since all of the product within the bag may not be used when the bag is initially opened, it is necessary to close and re-seal the bag. Sealing the bag helps to preserve the freshness of the product, prevents it from accidentally coming out of the bag, and prevents contaminants, insects, and vermin from going into the bag.
Bags may be manufactured with a variety of different types of seals. For example, some plastic bags have plastic zippers (Zip-Loc), where a protuberance on one side of the bag is pressed into a groove on the other side of the bag. While this provides a tight seal, it is sometimes difficult to line up the protuberance with the groove and it is difficult to seal the bag without using both hands.
Other bags are sealed with wire ties that are stuck at one spot to the neck of the bag or are supplied with the bag. To seal the bag, the neck is twisted, the tie is bent around the twisted neck, and the ends of the tie are twisted together. However, sometimes the tie can fall off the bag and become lost. Also, the tie is at a fixed location on the neck and cannot be easily moved down the neck as the bag is emptied. Thus, if the bag is almost empty it will still be sealed at the top of the bag, enclosing an unnecessary amount of air within the bag, which will make the product become stale faster.
Bags can also be sealed using clamps or clips that are separately purchased. These require rolling up or folding up the opening of the bag, then applying the clamp or clip to the folded portion. Alternatively, the neck of the bag can be twisted and several loops of a rubber band can be placed over the neck. However, clamps, clips, and rubber bands may not always be available, especially if the bag is opened at a remote location, such as on a hike or while camping. Also, when a clamp or clip is used, the bag cannot be sealed by twisting the neck, which may be a more desirable seal for some bags.
I have invented a re-sealable bag that is inexpensive and comes with a built-in seal. The seal consists of at least two wires that extend at least partly between the top and the bottom of the bag. The wires on any one side of the bag are not parallel (as they are, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,537,636), which keeps the bag rolled-up tightly across its entire width, not just at the positions of the wires. It is also easier to roll up the bag when the wires are not parallel because the wires do not form two bulky coils of wire as they do when they are parallel. Rather, the wires in the rolled-up bag are spread out across the bag.
The wires may be fixed along their entire length to the bag, so they cannot come off the bag or become lost. Also, they may be enclosed in plastic so that they do not come into contact with the contents of the bag. Unlike prior seals, the re-sealable bag of this invention is unique in that it can be sealed either by twisting the neck of the bag or by rolling up or folding up the neck.
While prior bags require several steps to seal, the bag of this invention can be more quickly sealed, in a single step. For example, bags sealed with ties require two twisting motions, one to twist the neck of the bag and the other to twist the tie, while the re-sealable bag of this invention can be sealed with only a single twist of the neck. Sealing the bag by rolling up or folding up the neck also requires only a single step and there is no need to search for and apply a clamp, clip, or rubber band. Unlike bags sealed with a tie stuck to the neck of the bag, the bag of this invention can be sealed anywhere along the length of the wires. Thus, if the bag is almost empty, the neck can be twisted near the bottom of the bag, or rolled up to the bottom of the bag, to exclude most of the air and preserve the contents for a longer time.
Fixed to bag 1 by means of adhesive tape 7 are at least two wires 8 that extend in a direction between top 4 and bottom 5. Preferably, exactly 2 wires are used as one wire is not adequate to form a good seal and more than 2 wires are usually unnecessary. Wires 8 may be fixed to the outside of the bag, as shown in
Wires 8 should be capable of being repeatedly bent and un-bent without breaking so that bag 1 can be repeatedly opened and re-sealed. Wires 8 should bend easily, with little force, and should hold the position they are bent to without springing back to the un-bent position. Wires having a gauge between about 20 to about 25 are usually suitable, with the heavier gauges being used for heavier bags. The preferred wire is 24 gauge floral wire (Hillman), which is used to support flower arrangements, as it works very well for most bag sizes. Steel wires are preferred, but wires made of other materials, such as copper, aluminum, alloys, etc. may also be used. The wires are preferably insulated or enclosed in plastic so that they cannot be contacted by users or by the contents of the bag.
Wires 8 may extend along the length of bag 1 from opening 4 at the top of the bag all the way to the bottom of the bag, as shown in
The bag may be sealed by rolling up the top of the bag, as shown in
For the pattern of conjoined diamonds shown in
Resealable bag 1 may be made in a variety of ways. For example, for a paper bag the wires may be embedded within the paper when the paper is manufactured or they may be bonded to the paper at a later stage by gluing, adhesive, or tape. For plastic bags that are two ply, the wires may be placed in between the plies. The wires can also be made with a low temperature insulation on them that can be heat bonded to a plastic bag. Other manufacturing methods will also no doubt occur to those skilled in the art.
The bags may be used for containing various solid food items, such as potato chips, pretzels, cereal, bread, pet food, sugar, and flour, as well as non-food items, such as mortar mix, fertilizer, potting soil, salt, etc. Since the wires effectively seal the bags, the bags will not normally have any other types of seals on them other than the wires.
The following example further illustrates this invention:
Two 24 gauge steel floral wires (Hillman) in various patterns were taped to the outside of plastic bags with 2 inch wide clear adhesive tape. A pattern of conjoined diamonds was made by hammering alternating rows of nails into a board, winding wires back and forth between the nails, and carefully removing the wires. The following table describes the various bags and patterns that were made and tested:
Bags Sealed by Rolling Up the Top
All of the bags maintained their shape and re-sealed after repeated openings and closings. The bags in samples 1 to 3 were filled with pretzels and the bags in sample 4 were filled with coffee. The bags were sealed by folding up the top, then they were unsealed and re-sealed again 30 times without the wires breaking or coming off the bag. The closed bags turned upside down, and shaken. The bags did not open and the contents of the bags did no come out of the bags despite the shaking.
Sample 1 and 2 bags were easily opened and closed with one hand, since the wires were placed closer together in the middle of the bags. However, sample 3, 4, and 7 bags required more effort to close, since the wires were widely spaced apart.
The bags in sample 1 to 4 minimized the exposure of the contents of the bags to atmospheric air and eliminated the need for a clip or any other external closure device. The sample 1 to 4 bags also decreased the rate at which food in the bags became stale in a humid environment.
The diamond pattern (sample 1 bags) was superior to all the other patterns as the diamond segments were easy to handle and fold. The diamond segments continually reinforced and complemented one another when the bags were closed and opened. This pattern produced the strongest seal in the center of the bag. The crossing wires of the bags in sample 1 reinforced one another throughout repeated use, which helped the wires to maintain their opened and closed positions. The parallel wires (sample 7) must work independently. The crossing wires (samples 1 and 4) and the nonparallel wires (samples 2 and 3) increased the surface area of the bag that is directly controlled by the wires, which in turn provided a superior seal. The parallel wires (sample 7) acted directly on only a very small portion of the bag. The bags with crossed wires (sample 1) were easier to close than the bags with parallel wires (sample 7), and opened much easier because the wires reinforced one another at the center of the bag. The bags with crossed wires (sample 1) folded much more easily, and the diamond segments were easy to handle. The samples were rated based on the quality of the seal and the ease of closing in the order: 1>2>4>3>7.
Bags Sealed by Twisting
The bags in samples 5 and 6 were each filled with a loaf of bread, sealed by twisting, then unsealed, and re-sealed 20 times without the wires breaking or coming off the bags. Sample 5 and 6 bags provided an air-tight seal which completely secured the contents from the external environment. In another test, empty bags filled with air were closed tightly, and left sitting. After forty-eight hours, the bags remained sealed and inflated with air. The bags in samples 5 and 6 also reduced the rate at which food within the bags became stale, especially in humid environment. Sample 5 and 6 bags maintained a seal even when the bags were hung by their twisted necks. The bags in samples 5 and 6 can be sealed in one third the time it takes to seal a bag with an external tie.