US 20070045219 A1
A moldable threaded closure system which includes a moldable closure formed with an annular sidewall forming a cylindrical member, threaded on one end and closed with a top surface on an opposing end. A receptacle, such as a recessed notch or slot, is formed so as to not extend beyond the plane of the top surface. The receptacle is configured to receive a common household item, such as a pencil, that acts as a lever to facilitate untightening and retightening of the closure relative to the container. The closure and the receptacle are easily moldable and allow containers with such closures to be stacked one on top of the other. In another embodiment of the invention, the receptacle is incorporated with a raised tab used to hang containers from a peg board type store display with one or more stops. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the receptacle is incorporated into the container.
1. A threaded closure for a container comprising:
a top surface closing one end of said annular sidewall and threaded on an opposing end; and
a receptacle formed in said top surface for receiving a common household item, said receptacle being configured to not extend above the plane of said top surface.
2. The threaded closure as recited in
3. The threaded closure as recited in
4. The threaded closure as recited in
5. A container system comprising:
a threaded closure;
a container having an annular sidewall and a bottom surface; and
a receptacle formed in the bottom surface of said container for receiving a common household item.
6. The container system as recited in
7. The container system as recited in
8. The container system as recited in
9. The container system as recited in
10. The container system as recited in
11. The container system as recited in
12. A closure for a threaded container, the closure comprising:
an annular sidewall forming a cylindrical structure;
a top surface closing one end of said cylindrical structure, an opposing end of said cylindrical member being threaded;
an extending tab extending outwardly and generally perpendicular to said top surface, said tab formed with an aperture; and
at least one stop disposed adjacent said tab which provides a bearing surface for a common household item received in said aperture.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a moldable closure for a container and more particularly to a moldable threaded closure that is configured to receive a common household item in order to facilitate untightening and retightening of the closure, the closure being formed in a configuration that is relatively sturdy and easy to mold and enables containers to be stacked on top of each other while reducing the risk of personal injury heretofore associated with closures.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Various types of closures are known for closing threaded containers. Such closures are known to be made primarily from molded plastic and include an annular side wall threaded on one end and a top surface closing an opposing end of the annular sidewall. In order to prevent leakage or spoilage of the contents of the container during storage, shipping and handling, such closures are normally tightened very tightly to form an air tight seal. To obtain a satisfactory seal, pressure is exerted on the rim of the threaded portion by the closure. This pressure creates friction between the closure and the container, which makes removal of the closure relatively difficult.
Such closures may be made as a conventional simple one piece threaded closure or, fitted with a tamper evident ring, or formed as a two-piece child resistant cap. Closures of this type are generally intended to be removed by gripping the closure and rotating it in a counter-clockwise direction relative to the container. Persons with reduced hand strength and dexterity, due to, for example, an arthritic condition, sickness, age, or an injury, often have difficulty untightening such closures. In particular, persons with such afflictions often do not have sufficient strength to grip the container and turn the closure to break the air tight seal formed during the closing process, allowing removal of the closure.
Some closures are even difficult to untighten for persons considered to have normal hand strength. For example, closures fitted with tamper evident rings, used on a large number of food and non-food products, require significant gripping and rotational force to break the seal with the container. Child resistant closures are also known to present challenges for persons with limited use of their hands or reduced strength. Once opened, such closures are seldom, if ever, replaced in a tight, sealed condition, thereby allowing containers with food items to spoil, prescription medications to lose their effectiveness and reducing their shelf life, or defeating the purpose of child resistant closures.
Deep profile threaded closures, typically used for liquid laundry products, are relatively large in size. The large size of such closures allows the cap to be attached in a very tightly, creating a good seal to prevent leakage while at the same time making it difficult for even a person with normal hand strength to open.
Opening closures used for vacuum packaged items are also very difficult for a person with normal hand strength to open because of the tight seal formed during the closing process to maintain the vacuum during storage and, having to overcome the suction from the vacuum acting to hold the cap tight to the container.
In the past, persons experiencing problems untightening closures have used hand tools, special devices, or sought the assistance of another person to untighten closures from containers. In an attempt to solve these problems, various systems have been developed. For example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,094,567 and 2,804,225 disclose closures that are configured to enable common household objects to be used to facilitate untightening of the closure. In particular, the '567 patent discloses a closure that is configured to receive a knife as lever device to facilitate un-tightening of the closure. There are several problems with the use of a knife to untighten such a closure. First, the knife could slip out of engagement with the formation in the closure and cause personal injury. Secondly, the knife could be damaged. Thirdly, such closures are formed with upwardly projecting annular walls making such closures difficult to mold the annular walls with sufficient strength. Fourth, the upwardly projecting annular walls make stacking of containers with such closures on each other on store shelves difficult, if not impossible. Fifth, the upwardly extending annular walls are discontinuous and contain slots for receiving special tools. These slots create sharp edges which can also cause personal injury.
U.S. Pat. No. 2,804,225 discloses a closure that is configured to be struck with a blunt object to break the seal to facilitate un-tightening of the closure. There are several drawbacks with such a configuration as well. In particular, striking the closure with a blunt instrument may result in serious personal injury as well as to deform the closure thereby preventing it from being re-used.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,932,147; 2,408,233; 2,921,705; and 4,156,491 attempt to solve the problems mentioned above by providing closures that require the use of special tools to assist in opening the closure. Although the special tools are configured to prevent personal injury and damage to the closure, the tools may easily be lost or misplaced and can only be used on those closures especially made for that tool.
In order to overcome the necessity for special tools U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,433,380 and 4,469,235 disclose closures which include projections integrally formed with the closures. Although the projections provide relatively better gripping surfaces on the closures, there several problems with such a configuration. For example, the projections may not provide sufficient leverage for some users to untighten the closure. The projections may also cause problems associated with high speed automated machines for placing the closure on the container and tightening it. Such projections also make it difficult if not impossible to stack containers with such closures on top of each other on store shelves.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,731,512 also discloses a closure with several projections extending from the top. The projections are spaced apart so that a portion of the closure between the projections can be placed against a stationary item, such as an edge of a tabletop. Such a configuration allows the container to be gripped and rotated while the closure is prevented from rotating. Unfortunately, such a configuration will have the same problems as discussed above with closures formed with upwardly extending projections and may additionally cause damage to the table.
The patents disclosed above all disclose closure systems that are designed to facilitate un-tightening of closures. However as discussed above, there are various problems with each of the various types. Thus, there is a need for a closure system which facilitates un-tightening of a closure without the problems discussed above.
Briefly, the present invention relates to moldable threaded closure system which includes a moldable closure formed with an annular sidewall forming a cylindrical member, threaded on one end and closed with a top surface on an opposing end. A receptacle, such as a recessed notch or slot, is formed so as to not extend beyond the plane of the top surface. The receptacle is configured to receive a common household item, such as a pencil, that acts as a lever to facilitate untightening and retightening of the closure relative to the container. The closure and the receptacle are easily moldable and allow containers with such closures to be stacked one on top of the other. In another embodiment of the invention, the receptacle is incorporated with a raised tab used to hang containers from a peg board type store display with one or more stops. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the receptacle is incorporated into the container. All such embodiments facilitate untightening and retightening of such closures without the problems associated with the prior art.
These and other advantages of the present invention will be readily understood with reference to the following specifications and attached drawings wherein:
The present invention relates to a closure system which facilitates untightening and retightening of threaded closures used to close threaded containers. In accordance with an important aspect of the invention, the closure is formed with a receptacle that does not extend beyond the plane of a top surface of the closure. The receptacle is configured to receive common household items, such as pencils for leverage. Various embodiments of the invention are contemplated. In one embodiment, as illustrated in
As shown in
The embodiment illustrated in
Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. Thus, it is to be understood that, within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described above.