US 2506362 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 2, 1950 R.' HOFMANN 2,506,362
' cLOsURE uEuBER v Filed July' e, 194e il 2f if NM. /5
n 13g b a Patented May 2, 1950 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CLOSURE MEMBER Robert Hofmann, Los Angeles, Calif.
Application July 8, 1946, Serial N0. 682,091
12 claims. l
This invention relates to closure members for containers and more particularly to a closure member carrying a vacuum producing means for partially evacuating the container to eiect a seal thereby.
It has been heretofore proposed to seal sundry containers by atmospheric pressure, that is, by creating a partial vacuum within the container so that atmospheric pressure acting against the closure member of the container would hold the same in sealing engagement with a lip or the like formed about the mouth or opening of the container. Various means have been used to create the partial vacuum within the container and although a number of these previously used means have been successful they have been either complicated and costly to produce or where relatively simple in structure have been not entirely reliable and could not be re-used.
The means of the present invention for producing or creating the vacuum within the container is simple but yet eflicient and is carried by the closure member itself. As this means is carried by the closure member itself it cannot be lost or misplaced. Furthermore, the closure member and the vacuum creating means carried thereby are not expendable and can be used indeiinitely.
In the broadest aspects of the present invention the vacuum-producing means -comprises an extensible member for displacing a substantial volume of the air within the container. Thus when the extensible member contracts or returns to its normal position after the closure member is seated on the lip or dening edge of the mouth or opening of the container atmospheric pressure alone holds the closure member in sealing engagement with the lip.
The extensible member comprises a thin, pliant sheet of resilient, impervious material such as rubber. The periphery of the sheet is secured to the periphery of the closure member so as to enclose the lower or bottom face of the closure member and at least a part of the edge face of the latter. A plunger slidably carried by the closure member is normally held by the resilient sheet in anyelevated position relative to the closure member but is movable downwardly against the action of the resilient sheet to extend the latter and displace a volume of air from the container.
In the use of -the closure member of the present invention the plunger is depressed to extend the sheet, that is, to force it away from the lower face of the closure member. With the sheet in this position relative to the closure member the latter is now seated on the lip of the opening of the container and the plunger released. The resilient sheet will now urge the plunger upwardly to its normal position and as the extended sheet displaces a relatively large volume of air the resulting vacuum created by the return of the sheet is sufficient to eiTect a seal between the lip of the container and the closure member because of the diierential between internal and external pressures.
To break the seal it is only necessary to again force the plunger downwardly to extend the sheet a distance sufficient to compress the air remaining in the -container so as to equate the pressure of the air within the container and the pressure of the ambient atmosphere. As soon as the container differential pressure is zero the closure may be merely lifted from the container.
As the differential pressure produced by the partial vacuum within the container may be relatively large and thus render the compression of the air remaining within the container somewhat tedious, the present invention includes means for communicating the interior of the container to the atmosphere when it is desired to break the seal. This means may comprise a controllable vent or the like on the container but in the now preferred form of the invention this means comprises a spring-pressed valve normally closing a passage formed within the plunger and interconnecting the interior of Lthe container and the atmosphere. y
To facilitate operation of the valve, an actuator is carried by the plunger and is formed so as to be accessible to a user. The actuator preferably extends normally beyond the upper end of the plunger and is operated by a user merely placing a finger on the extending end and forcing it downwardly against the spring of the valve to open the latter. Thus, to gain access to the contents of the container after the seal has been effected, the valve actuator is merely depressed to destroy the vacuum within the container and the closure member removed from the same.
Another feature of the present invention lies in the fact that the air between the inner face of the sheet and the lower face of the closure member is at atmospheric pressure and this pressure urges the annular portion of the sheet adjacent the portion of the same serving as a gasket radially and outwardly against the inner wall of the container to further augment the seal.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing in which:
Figure 1 is a perspective view of the closure member of the present invention;
Figure 2 is a sectional view of one form of the closure member of the present invention showing the same closing the mouth of a container with the diaphragm extended, and the thickened portion thereof somewhat exaggerated to more clearly illustrate the same;
Figure 3 is a view similar to Figure 2 but showing the position of the diaphragm and plunger after the seal has been effected;
Figure 4 is a fragmentary, enlarged View of the valve assembly showing a portion of the plunger; and
Figure 5 is a View similar to Figure 3 lbut showing a modified form of the closure member.
The closure member ci the present invention may be used with any container desired as long as the :same 'is ior'medfof a material, or so fabricated, as to permit the container to be hermetically sealed. To illustrate the present invention acorta'in'er IG is shown as formed with a suitable opening having a lip li circuinscribing and deli'ning 'the'same rrlhe closure member Vof the present invention comprises, in the 'form of the invention shown in Figures 1 through 4, Aa disc-like memberY i2 of somerigid material.` The member I2 should have a diameter, where rthe opening of the container is circular, greater than the diameter of the opening. The reason for the relative dimensions of the member `vIi and the opening of the container willbe hereinafter made apparent.
The peripheral or edge face of the member I2 :is Vric'rmegl 'with a groove for receiving a split ring 'I3 of Asome Vresilient material securing the peripheral portion of -a thin, pliant and resilient sheet 14, here Vshown as somewhat dome-shape in appearance, vto Ythe edge face of the member T2. rThe resilient sheet It completely encloses the lower faceof the member I2 and the peripheral edge portion extends laround the edge face of the vmei'nber I2 4as clearly yshown in Figures 2, 3, and `4. To hold the ring I3 in the groove, as well as to vtrio'nceal 4the ring, an escutcheon or shield I5 having 'a ldepending annular flange I5 is secured tolthe'top face of the member I2.
Ih'esheet I4 is formed of some resilient material uimpervious to air, such as rubber. The 'sheet forms an 'elastically deformable diaphragm extensible through actuation of a plunger Il fixed to the lower end of a rod Iii, slidably car- 'riedcent'rally'of the member I2. The rod carries at its upper end a knob i9 which may be forced downwardly by the thumb of one hand of a user as the fingers of the hand are engaging a iinger grip 72| preferably formed integral with the member'IZ.
To 'seal the container, the closure member is grasped by the 'thumb and lingers and the diaphragm I4 is extended by forcing the knob IS toward the closure member. The amount the diaphragm I4 is 'extended will depend in most part on the amount of the contents'of the container. The closure member, with the diaphragm still extended, is now placed on the lip I I of the container, after which the pressure exerted on the Vknob 19 is released. The resiliency of the material'of the diaphragm will tend toreturn the diaphragm to its normal position and urge the plunger and its 'actuating rod toward their Vrespective positions in which they are normally heldby the diaphragm.
The expanded diaphragm obviously displaces a volume of air within the container so that the contraction of the diaphragm creates or produces a partial vacuum within the container. As the air remaining in the container after contraction of the diaphragm is under a pressure considerably less than ambient pressure, the closure member will be tightly held against the seat formed by the lip Il by atmospheric pressure. No other means need be used `to lhold the closure member in position and the closure member will be held in position until the container differential pressure becomes Zero.
Although the pressure differential across the member I2 is zero, it should be noted than an annular portion of the diaphragm is, due to the pressure acting against the upper side of the diaphragm, clamped between the lower face of the member 'I2 and the seat formed by the lip Il. rhis portion of the diaphragm thus actsk as a 'gasket or packing fand insures a 'good seal between the closure member and the container. The diaphragm preferably is 'thickened 'as at 22 to provide a more efficient gasket, although it has been found that where the faying surfaces of the container Yand closure member are substaritally coplanar and free-'of irregularities it is not necessary to thicken the diaphragm.
The seal is Vfurther augmented by the 'atmos- `-pher-lc pressure of the air between the member lf2 and the diaphragm urging the latter radially 'and outwardly against Athe 'inner surface Y23 of the container adjacent nthe lip 1H, This feature is clearly illustrated in Figures 3 'and 5 of the drawing.
As atmospheric pressure will A'also be acting downwardly against the upper surface of the diaphragm and tending to resist A'contraetion of the diaphragm the resiliency of lthe material forming the diaphragm will robviously have Vto be such as to overcome this force. Care should be taken however lto insure that the material can bereadvily extended as otherwise it willjbe diicult to force the plunger downwardly'during the sealing operation.
When 'it is desired to remove the closure member from the container to gain `access to the contents thereof, the plunger can be again depressed to force 4the diaphragm 'downwardly to compress the `air remaining in the container. It should nov.T be understood that the seal will be broken when the container differential pressure is re duced to zero, that is, theseal will be broken vw-hen the air remaining inthe container fis compressed to atmospheric pressure. When 'the differential pressure `becomes Zero the closure member may then Vbe merely 'lifted from the container by using the finger grip 2l as a handle or lifting knob.
To facilitate removal of the closure member, means are provided in the preferred form of the present invention for breaking the lseal effected by atmospheric pressure. This means may com prise a controllable vent formed in the wall of the container, but in the now preferred embodiment of the invention this means comprises a valve '24 controlling the flow of airthrougn a passageway 25 formed axially of Vthe .plunger rod i8. The passageway 25 leads from the knob le to a valve casing 2t housing the valve 524e. The casing is `preferably integral with the diaphragm and comprises essentially a substantially conical shaped mass of rub-ber having a `passageway V2l leading to the end of the passageway 25. The passageway 2l -is restricted intermediate the ends thereof and the valve 24 is normally held by a spring 28 against theseat formed by the restricted portion of the passageway 21. The valve 24 may be displaced from the seat through an elongate actuating member 29 longitudinally extending upwardly through the passageway to a Ipoint adjacent the top surface of the knob I9. The upper end of the member is preferably formed with an enlargement 3U forming an operating button.
It should now be seen that when it is desired to remove the closure member from the container it is only necessary for the user to depress the elongate actuating member Idownwardly to force the valve off its seat. The unseating of the valve opens the interior of the container to the atmosphere and air Will be forced into the container through the passageway 25 until the container differential pressure becomes zero. The closure member, as will now be understood, can be merely lifted from the container.
As previously mentioned, however, the seal may be broken by merely forcing the plunger and diaphragm downwardly into the container to cornpress the air remaining in the container to atmospheric pressure. The cost of the closure member can be greatly reduced by eliminating the valve 24 and its associated elements. This more economical form of the present invention is shown in Figure 5 wherein elements to be found in the form of the invention earlier described are identified .by like reference characters.
In this embodiment of the invention the plunger l1 is not fixed to the diaphragm and may as shown in Figure 5 be separated from the diaphragm in use after the seal has been effected. This is not true of the form of the invention shown in Figures 1 to 4 inclusive. This feature of the form of the invention shown in Figure 5 eliminates production and assembly steps necessary to form the first described form of the closure member of the present invention and results in lower production costs.
The closure member of the present invention in either embodiment thereof forms a simple, eiiicient, easy to operate means for partially evacuating a container to produce a container differential pressure sulcient to maintain the closure member in good sealing engagement with the lip or edge dening the opening of the container.
Although the now preferred embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described herein, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited thereto, for the same is susceptible to changes in form and detail within the scope of the appended claims.
1. A closure member :for hermetically sealing an opening in a container, including: a body member; elastically deformable, pliant means of substantially the same size and shape as said body member; means for securing the peripheral edge of said pliant means to the peripheral edge of said body member whereby said means depends therefrom into contact with the air in the main body of the container; means mounted intermediate said body member and said pliant means and movable relative to said body member; means for moving said last named means to deform said pliant means to effect displacement of air from said container sufficiently to create a partial vacuum within said container upon con-- traction of said pliant means whereby atmospheric pressure acting against said pliant means causes the peripheral portion of the same to her- 'l5 metically conform to the rim of said container and Iconcurrently hold said body member against the defining edge of said opening; said pliant means having a passage therethrough; valve means normally closing said passage; and means carried by said moving means for actuating said valve to open said passage to lead ambient air into said container when it is desired to remove said closure member to gain access to the interior of said container.
2. A device for closing and sealing an opening in a container comprising a body member adapted to be supported 4.by the rim of said opening; a thin, pliant, relatively flat diaphragm of resilient material impervious to air secured about its periphery to said body member-and enclosing at least the lower face thereof; and a plunger slidably carried by said body member for urging said diaphragm away from said `body member to displace a relatively large volume of air from saidy container equal to the volume of air between said extended diaphragm and said body member, the contraction of sai-d diaphragm when said plunger is released creating a partial vacuum within said container so that said diaphragm is held in sealing engagement with the rim of the opening in said container, the portion of said diaphragm pressurally urged against said defining edge being thicker than the body of the diaphragm and serving as a gasket to augment the seal.
3. A closure member for hermetically sealingv an opening in a container comprising a body member adapted to be supported by the rim of said opening; a pliant diaphragm of resilient material imperviousL to air substantially flat, means for securing the peripheral edge of said diaphragm to the peripheral edge portion of said body member; a plunger slidably carried by said body member for ideforming said diaphragm to effect displacement of air from said container sumcient to create a partial vacuum within said container upon contraction of said diaphragm whereby atmospheric pressure acting against said `diaphragm causes the vperipheral portion of 'the same to hermetically conform to the rim of said opening and concurrently hold said body member against said rim; said diaphragm having a passage therethrough coaxially aligned with a. passage extending longitudinally of said plunger;
a valve; resilient means for normally urging said valve to a position closing the passage through said diaphragm; and means carried within the passage of said plunger including means extending therefrom for actuating said valve to open the passage closed thereby.
4. A closure member for hermetically sealing an opening in a container comprising a lbody member adapted to be supported by the rim of said opening; a pliant diaphragm of resilient material impervious to air depending from said body member; a plunger slidably carried by said body member for deforming said diaphragm to eifect displacement of air from said container when said body member is closing the opening of the latter suhicient to create upon contraction of said diaphragm a partial vacuum within said container whereby atmospheric pressure acting against said diaphragm causes the peripheral portion of the same to hermetically conform to the surface of the wall of said container adjacent the opening therein and hold said closurey member across said opening; said diaphragm having a passage therethrough coaxially aligned with av .passage extending longitudinally of said plunger;
acostada af... valve; res-i1ient ..means: for normally: urging said Valve to a. positi'on closing.r the passage through` saldi diaphragm; an elongate rodcoaxially. carriedl` within the passagev of said plunger iorreciprocat ing= movement-5 relative thereto-fon moving said valve:l to open the passage through saidi diaphragm, the end of said'. rod extending-'beyond said plunger to. form.I anf operating member' fon movingy said rod against the: actionI of." said re` silient means.
5. A', devicefonclosing: and' sealing`v anY opening in.a.container comprising arigid body member; a; thin, substantially fiat, pliant diaphragm" of.' resilient; materialimpervious to air; means forse-- curingv the peripheral edge or said diaphragma about: the edge face ofisaid' body member. and. enclosing. the lower face thereof;4 an annularv portion` of said' diaphragm spaced inwardly.from'I the peripheral edge. thereof: beingl substantially thicker than the remainder.l of'said` diaphragm', A
said' thickened' portion having a diameter substantia'lly equal i to the diameter of: said l opening; andea .plunger'slidablycarried by said-'body vmemben'forurging said' diaphragm away from said body. member to' displace a. volume ofair. from' said containerV when saidclosure .member is 'posiu tioned across said' opening, the contraction of. saidl diaphragm when said plunger. is released creating a partial vacuum within said container whereby said thickened portion oflthe diaphragm is held by atmospheric pressure in sealing engage.; ment with the defining. edge ofthe opening. in said container.
6. A; closure memberrforf hermetically sealing.
an opening in a. container comprising: al rigida.: body member adapted to be supported by the'rinr:
of saidopeningya. relatively flat; elastically deformable pliant means. of substantially. the'. same:
size. and shapezasV said .body member; means-for,
securingthe peripheraledgef of said pliantmeans aroundthe peripheral edgeeof saidhody member; means movably interposed .between said body.`
member and said; pliant means and normally held by the llatterl adj acentthe lowerffa-ceof; said' body member; and means: foru-rgingsaid-last: named means away from saidv body;v member; to distend'said pliant means into-said container to'. displace a relative large volume ofY airtherefrom.
to create av pressure differential .acrossgsaidY-.pliant means, when said urging means is,released'alld':
said pliant .means contracts .to return :said mov ablefmeans tofits normal'position,` suicient tohermetically conform theperipheral l portion* of said .pliant meansY to the rimv -of said openingeand.A therebyv hold said` closure v member across the' opening of said container.
7; A` closure meinberforhermetically.- sealing anopening in a containerv comprising: arigidbody`-member-adapted to be supported by` therim vof -said opening; a relativelyflat i pliantdiaphragm of resilientl material impervious tofair; meansior securing the peripheraledge-osaiddiaphragmaround the peripheral edge ofsaid.
body member; aplunger slidably mounted onsaid bodymember` forlongitudinal movement and. moyabletodistend. said diaphragm into -said (con-A tainer todisplace a .relatively large. percentage.
of the`A air. therefrom,whereuponrelease ofthe.Y permits the diaphragm to contractand plunger return to its normal; position thereby.. creating. a partial vacuum Within said container, the resulting pressure diierential across said di`a..
phragm forcingthe Iperipheral edgeportion contiguous tosaid rimv against and-aroundthe same to hermetically seal saidpcontainer; and holdthe' body member tothe same:
8. fn closure member for. hermeticallylf sealing. an. opening, in atv container` comprisingz' aari'gdi body; member of; -adiameter larger. than the? diameterV` of.. said opening; a relatively fiati: thin membrane ofrresilient material impervious toar peripherallyisecuredf to said .body member' and enclosing ati least the' lower face thereof jf and"Y a plunger slidably carried' by. said.' body member and normally held in an elevated position by said. membrane;Y depression of said plunger distendingf said. membrane into' said container to displace arelatively large volume of'lair therefrom, theE contraction of'- sad'- membrane upon 2releaseofV said plunger elevatingY the same and creating apartial Vacumnwitliin said container; whereby said membrane is @urged by the higher atmospheric' pressure against and aroundthe' lip of A:saidoperringT to hermetically seal the same:
9L A closure member for sealingan opening-in' a container comprising: a" rigidibodylmemberofw a size-larger than` said opening and adapt'edto. be supported upon the-rim of' said opening; a: substantially flatsheet of'resilient material of' a'Y size and shape substantially that'`- of" said body member; means for' securing` the peripheral edge of saidfslieet to the peripheralv edgeofsaid"b'ody' 1 opening;
ingly into the` air: held. V.by saidcontainer,V whereby.l to create, upon return Iof said sheet to its normalposition. adjacent the lowerA face of said.' body member, .la partialvacuum withinsaid lcontainer .producing-apressure differential across saidfsheet ardequateltocforcethe periphery of sa-idsheetinto hermetic contact with theinteriorj otthe.-rin1.of` said opening.
11. A closure member for closing and-sealing anA opening. in .acontainen comprising; arigid body member. of afsize larger.. than said-vy opening.
adapted to. be supported.. upon.the.rimof said opening; Y a. thin,. pliant, substantially flatA diaphragm of resilient.materialimpervious. togair securedabout its. periphery. to saidfrigdbody member, iand normally v held by,v` its own resiliency.
adjacent the-.lower face of said,body member;. i and a .plunger slidably carriedbyfsaid.bodymember for urgingsaid diaphragm away from the lower face of said body memberto displace a relatively` large Volumepf air. fromsaid container.
when said bodymember is positionedlacross said opening the contraction of 'said diaphragm when said plunger is. releasedarrdfthe diaphragm .returns .t'o its, normal position vadjacent said lower.Y face of the 4rigid bodyY member .creating a partial. vacuum within said container whereby Ithev pe;
rph'eral 'edge portion of said'diaphragm is held.r
by atmospheric pressure in sealing engagement with the defining edge of the opening in said container.
12. A closure member for closing and sealing an opening in a container comprising: a, rigid body member of -a size larger than said opening adapted to be supported upon the rim o-f said opening; a thin, pliant, `substantially flat diaphragm of resilient material impervious to air secured about its periphery to said rigid body member, and normally held by its own resiliency adjacent the lower face of said body member; a plunger slidably carried by said body member and normally held in an elevated position relative to said body member by said diaphragm; and means carried by the upper face of said body member adapted to be engaged by the ngers fof one hand of a user as the thumb of the hand depresses said plunger to urge said diaphragm away from the lower' face of said body member to displace a relatively large REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 429,579 Oliver et al. June 3, 1890 1,946,872 Muhleisen Feb. 13, 1934 2,212,804 Wynings Aug. 27, 1940