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Publication numberUS2657998 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 3, 1953
Filing dateMay 4, 1950
Priority dateMay 4, 1950
Publication numberUS 2657998 A, US 2657998A, US-A-2657998, US2657998 A, US2657998A
InventorsPeters Leo
Original AssigneePeters Leo
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Soft plastic food package
US 2657998 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 3, 1953 L. PETERS 2,657,998

SOFT PLASTIC FOOD PACKAGE Filed May 4, 1956 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 N V EN TOR.

' ATTORMEYS.

L. PETERS SOFT PLASTIC FOOD PACKAGE Nov. 3, 1953 Filed May 4, 1950 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 mflwm,

ATTORNEYS.

Patented Nov. 3, 1953 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE SOFT PLASTIC FOOD PACKAGE Leo Peters, Evanston, 111.

Application May 4, 1950, Serial No. 160,048

Claims.

This invention relates to a mold pack for soft plastic foods. The invention is particularly useful in the packaging within a single retail-size package multiple table-service-size units of plastic foods which are soft at room temperatures and whose side and top surfaces are of shapes that cannot be nested or fitted to form a compact, tight, straight-edged, and all-around fiatsurfaced retail-size package. It will be understood that the invention may be applicable also to other uses.

The invention relates to a method of packaging which is particularly applicable to such soft plastic foods as butter, margarine, ice-cream, processed cheese, gelatin products, and other processed foods which can be filled into packages in a flowing or semi-fluid condition. For the purpose of clearness, the invention will be described herein mainly in connection with margarine and ice-cream, but it will be understood that the method is applicable to other soft plastic foods.

By the term retail-size package is meant such sizes as are normal for purchase by a consumer in a retail store. For example, the normal retail-size unit for margarine is a one-pound package. For ice-cream it is a pint, quart or gallon. By the terms table-service-size or table-size unit is meant such sizes as are normally served on a consumers table. For example, the normal table-size unit for margarine is a quarterpound, and to a small extent a half-pound. For ice-cream it is any unit less than a pint. A great deal of margarine and to a small extent ice-cream is sold in retail-size packages containing a multiple number of smaller table-size units. For example, one-pound packages of margarine frequently contain four quarter-pound units. It is these quarter-pound units which the consumer uses one at a time to place on saucer-size dishes for service on the table.

There are a number of foods of soft plastic consistencies at normal room temperatures that are or can be filled into packages in a flowing, viscous, or semi-fluid condition which, like icecream, firm up and take the shape formed by the package walls; or, like most margarine, are pre-molded and firmed-up to fit predetermined shaped packages. All these plastic foods remain relatively soft after packaging and can become misshapen under relatively slight pressures. As a result, it has been necessary to shape and package them in a manner which will protect their shape and merchantable appearance against the knocks and bumps that are encountered in shipment from the filling plant to final delivery on the consumers table.

For all practical purposes under todays methods of packaging, the softness of these plastic foods has precluded their being packaged in irregular, non-nesting, or non-fitting shapes except under prohibitive costs. Thus, for protection, as much as for any other reason, most of them, like margarine, have been packaged in table-size units of straight edges and surfaces which are fiat and shaped into squares, rectangles, and triangles; shapes which can be nested and fitted together in a manner which will protect them against mashing. Others, like ice-cream, seek their protection from heavy- Walled, bulk-type, circular or square retail-size packages made of glass or paper-board. Such packages do not use table-size units within the retail-size package and this necessitates consumers dipping or cutting out portions of food from the package for serving on the table. Such servings are by their nature misshapen and do not present a neat or orderly appearance on the table.

It is recognized among the trade in these foods that the salability of these products would be greatly enhanced if a practical method could be found for packaging and serving them in table-size units that would beautify the appearance and be neat-looking on the table. For example, attempts have been made to sell tablesize units of ice-cream (and it still is done in small special order quantities) in fancy shapes to resemble flowers, animals, stars, balls, etc., in commercial quantities, but to date no method of packaging has been available which was economical and at the same time would achieve the desired result.

Under presently known methods of packaging, there is no competitively practical way of packaging a multiple number of irregular, non-nesting, and non-fitting shaped table-size units of these soft plastic foods into a retail-size package which will prevent them from becoming mashed or dented in contact with each other or the package walls.

Similarly, there is no commercially feasible method presently known or used for simultaneously forming a multiple number of irregular shaped table-size units of soft plastic foods and filling them into an equal number of compartments in a retail-size package. Retail-size icecream packages are today filled in a bulk condition with no table-size compartments within the packages. The small amount of ice-cream which is made up into table-size units is strictly a hand operation. Molds to shape such table-size units are filled by hand, and then after chilling the molds are quickly and temporarily warmed to loosen and remove the ice-cream. This also is done by hand, and then these units are handwrapped and hand-packed for shipment. Dry Ice or some other means is used to provide 10W freezing temperatures within the shipping container to prevent the molded units from becoming soft or melted. If this should happen, the icecream would lose its shape and be unacceptable to the customer.

Present methods for packaging margarine are also quite cumbersome and complicated. To package margarine it must be chilled, then molded into shape, then Wrapped, and finally cartoned. Present methods for shaping margarine can produce only straight-edged and flat-sided shapes and the wrapping and cartoning methods can handle only this kind of shapes.- Thus present-day commercial methods for packaging such foods as margarine and ice-cream are not only costly and cumbersome compared with the methods of my invention but also are confined within the limits of straight edges and flat sides for the range of shapes it is possible to use.

The present-day methods for packaging these soft plastic foods also have certain features which render them inconvenient for the consumer to handle. packages of ice-cream, all being packaged in bulk style, the consumer is constantly confronted with the problem of how to remove the ice-cream from the package and serve it in a neat, presentable condition without loss of product. In actual practice the table-size portions thus removed from the retail package are never uniform or neat in appearance and usually some product is wasted which clings to the crevices and corners of these packages. I

With margarine packages, the table siz'e units must be removed from the retail package, unwrapped by hand and thus making it almost impossible to avoid touching the roduct with the fingers, getting them reasy, and the margarine imprinted with finger marks. Also, the shapes used for margarine today usually do not properly fit the saucers on which they are placed. Instead of fitting into the base of the saucer, they usually extend up onto the saucer side. When diners attempt to remove portions for spreading on bread, they have difficulty doing so without upsetting the saucer or tipping it on dge. The operation remains a difficult one for the diner until enough of the margarine has been used so that the remaining portion is small enough to lie wholly and firmly within the base section of the saucer. I I 4 An object of the present invention is to provide a package and method of overcoming the above-mentioned disadvantages and serving the above-described needs. A further object is to provide a package which will protect non-nesting and non-fitting table-size units of soft plastic foods from crushing or denting while in transit from the packaging plant to th consumers table, while at the same time providing tablesize units of soft plastic foods whose side and top surfaces are of irregular shapes and which must thus be handled in such packages. A further object is to provide a package with irregularlyshaped compartments whose irregular lines follow the irregular shape of the contents and give the package great structural strength. A still further object is to provide a package shaped to serv as a form-fitting mold for table s'i'z'e units of soft plastic foods, the package containing a plurality of table size units of soft plastic foods whose side and top' surfaces are of irregular and non-fitting contours, while providing means for keeping such contours intact and preventing the leaking or running out of the contents even through the package is subjected to high room temperatures, etc. A still further object is to provide a package providing a plurality of separate irregularly shaped table-size compartments adapted to receive table-size units of soft plastic foods, while protecting the same from crushing For example, with the retail or denting, and holding such units in immovable, spaced relationship to each other and to the container walls. A still further object is to provide a package providing a plurality of molds for table-size units of soft plastic foods, the mold compartments being non-connecting throughout the depth, while at the same time providing means for preventing such units from losing their initial shapes during transit, and the compartments being so supported that the units within them do not press or push against one another during transit. A still further object is to provide a method of packaging soft plastic foods in a plurality of table-size units within a single retailsize package, while at the same time effecting the molding of the food units into irregularly shaped units by merely pouring the food product into the package compartments to effect a molding there of. appear as the specification proceeds.

The invention is illustrated in a single embodiment by the accompanying drawings, in which- Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a package embodying my invention and shown filled with a plastic food; Fig. 2, a view similar to Fig. i but showing a cover partly removed; Fig. 3, a transverse sectional view, the section being taken as indicated at lin 3-3 of Fig. 1; Fig. i a perspective view showing the package with the cover removed and in position for receiving the molten plastic food from a filling machine; Fig. 5, a perspective view showing the removal of the contents of one of the compartments or cells of the package; and Fig. 6, a perspective View showing the container, liner and cover structures in separated relation.

In the illustration given, [0- designates a container which may be formed or molded from wood-pulp or other suitable material to provide.

separate compartments or cells H. 12 designates a liner sheet formed of plastic, foil, or other suitable materials. The sheet I 2 has a horizontal sheet portion i3 and depending cup portions 14 received within the compartments or cells I I. As shown more clearly in Fig. 6, the sheet 12 may be lowered to rest upon the horizontal portion l5 of the container 1 0 and with the cup portions i4 being received within the compartments H provided by the cell walls "5.

A cover sheet I? is provided. In the illustrationgiven in Fig. 3, the sheet I! is illustrated as a thermo-plastic cover which is secured to the thermo-plastic sheet l2 as by heat-sealing at the points l8. It will he understood, however, that the liner l2 and the cover I! may be formed of the same oi different materials and may be sealed together about the separate compartments or cells or along the peripheral edges of the sheets l2 and I! as desired, and by any suitable means, such as rubber adhesives and other forms of bonding materials.

In one mode of practicing the invention, the container l0 may be provided with the liner sheet l2 and the structure so assembled passed under a filling machine having a filling vessel [9 pro-' vided with a plurality of depending filler tubes 20 for supplying the plastic food in fluid or molten condition to the separate compartments. After the several compartments have received their measured quantities of the plastic food, the cover I7 is placed into position and sealed at the desired points to the liner sheet I2. The molten food material assumes the irregular curvatures provided by the cell walls It, as illustrated best in Fig. 5, and upon cooling becomes rigid or semi- Other specific objects and advantages will rigid, so that upon the removal of the food unit from a cell, as illustrated in Fig. 5, the unit, as designated by the numeral 2|, has an irregular contour which conforms to the irregular curvatures of the cell walls l6.

As indicated in Fig. 5, the molded table-size unit 2| may thus be formed so as to fit snugly within the central portion of a saucer 22, thus being served more effectively and attractively.

The container l0, while very effectively formed from molded pulp-wood, may also be formed of other suitable materials which provide suflicient rigidity to protect the food units from being dented or deformed during transit, while at the same time providing protective surfaces for the contents of the package. Various types of paper, cardboard, metal foils, plastic and other materials may be used for the purpose. I prefer that the container be formed of material which gives to the package suficient rigidity so that the cells or compartments are effective as molds in supporting the flexible liner and the food units therein, while at the same time protecting the food units during transit. At the same time, I prefer that the material be somewhat bendable or deformable with a slight spring to it so as to assist in the removal of the plastic food units from the container.

The liner i2 and the cover I! are preferably formed Of moisture-proof and grease-proof materials, such as plastic or thermo-plastic sheetings, including, for example, vinyl, chloride-acetate copolymers, rubber hydrochloride, vinylidene chloride, polyethylene, polyamides, and various modifications of these resins as are well-known in the art. One may also use vegetable parchments, metal foils, such as, for example, tin or aluminum foils, and a variety of other films or sheets with or without coatings commonly employed therewith, and depending upon the conditions which are presented by the particular food to be packaged.

The liner I2 may be attached by adhesive or other means to the container H1 or allowed to lie loosely within the cells. I find that the liner serves to strengthen the molded pulp-wood and prevents any leakage of the contents even if the pulp-wood should break or crack.

A package for soft plastic foods formed of these materials is sturdy, moisture-proof, greaseproof, and easy to use. The extremely wide ranges of shapes in which the compartments of this kind of package can be made is unique in the packaging field. This Wide range and the sturdiness of the material enables the package itself to shape soft plastic foods into almost any desirable shape. The molded pulp-wood backing for the liner and contents provides a firm and permanent shape for the contents, permitting them to be packaged and transported through the channels of trade without any disfigurement. It should be understood that the package may be formed either with the base side of the table-size units lying in the same plane surface or arranged perpendicularly.

An advantage of this method of packaging is its ability to carry brand and product identification right onto the consumers table. For example, in cheese there is a range Of flavors from mild to sharp. It is impossible at present for the consumer to tell simply by looking at a bare piece of cheese on the table just what its flavor is. With our packaging, however, the letter M for mild and S for sharp could be molded in several places on the cheeses themselves. or the entire word Mild or "Sharp" could be molded by the package on such cheeses and these identifying letters carried right onto the consumers table in a manner which will enable him to identify without any hesitation precisely the kind of cheese being served.

The grease and moisture-proof materials lining the inside of the table-size compartments keeps these soft plastic foods from drying out and spoiling and the oils and moisture present in these foods from leaking out and disfiguring the package. The lining also enables the food to be quickly removed simply by inverting the package and permitting the weight of the contents to release it from confinement within the table-size compartments. If the food sticks to the compartment walls, gentle pressure can be applied on the pulp-wood side of the package to force the contents out, or a slight flexing of the package will also loosen the contents.

The package described may be filled and sealed in a minimum of time and at low expense, the package itself providing a plurality of separate molds for the contents and providing table-size units which may be removed by the consumer separately as they are needed. In referring herein to the top side or base side, I mean those sides which are at the top or at the base of the table-size units after they have been removed from the package and are resting with the figured or molded side up and the flat side down 'as a base. It will be understood, however, that the present invention is applicable for the production of table-size units of any desired shapes or contours. Through the use of the package, and as illustrated best in Figs. 4 and 5, the packaging of a multiple number of table-size units of a soft plastic food, making up a single retail-size package, is accomplished in a single operation which heretofore was performed as the three separate steps of molding, wrapping and cartoning. On the other hand, when the product is removed from the refrigerator by the consumer, the retail-size package remain effective for securely housing in sealed relation all of the table-size units excepting one or more of such units which are removed by the consumer for immediate use. All of this is accomplished without either the manufacturer or the consumer bringing their hands into contact with the plastic food.

The consumer, after drawing back the cover I! of a single cell may, upon inverting the package, cause the solidified table-size unit 2| to be dislodged from the cell and cell liner, as illustrated in Fig. 5. Such removal is facilitated by flexing the container ill or, if desired, by pressing upon the cell wall i5 as illustrated in Fig. 5. The package provides a support for the food unit 21, enabling it to be supported and discharged at a point exactly over the saucer or dish and in the desired position therein.

It will be recognized that the soft plastic foods of the type described are clinging foods which tend to seal themselves to the package wall or liner with a suction-force and when the liner, etc., is separated from the food, it tends to create a vacuum in some areas during the separation and when separated, sizeable chunks of the food material remain attached to the liner. This characteristic can be expected to defeat any attempt to mold such a product in a container and to remove the molded product intact and without deformation or mutilation. By providing a package of the structure described in which the container is formed of a molded pulp-wood or paperboard or similar material, a flexing container is provided which, while being sufiiciently rigid to produce the molded form desired, nevertheless flexes and such flexing enables the liner to be peeled away from the molded walls, with a rolling or waving or rippling action, so that the molded product is separated without deformation or mutilation, and the product retains its mold lines intact.

In the flexing operation, where channels alon the sides of the molded product are opened so as to break any vacuum that would otherwise be created within the compartments, the liner is stripped or peeled away little by little from the product so that the molded food product, when the container is inverted and flexed, will fall from the mold with the mold lines unbroken. Thus an embossed or engraved soft food product is delivered from the package in selected small-size units.

While in the foregoing specification I have set forth a specific structure in considerable detail, for the purpose of illustrating an embodiment of the invention, it will be understood that such details of structure may be varied widely by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of my invention.

I claim:

1. A soft, plastic food package, comprising a resilient container formed sufliciently rigid to hold its shape but being manipulable in the hands for flexing local regions thereof, said container having side walls provided with channels extending from the lower portion of the container upwardly to the upper portion thereof, a high tensile strength liner of plastic material lying within and bonded to said container, and a plastic food molded by and substantially filling a portion of said container and conforming to the contour of the walls of said container and said liner, said liner conforming throughout to the channeled walls of said container so that the flexing of said walls produces a rippling of said liner relative to said walls and said plastic food, whereby upon inversion of said container and the local flexing of said walls with a rolling action, said channels are narrowed and widened to peel away the liner from the food body in said channels and admit air therebetween for releasing the food body with the mold lines thereof unbroken.

2. A soft, plastic food package, comprising a tapered container formed from resilient but shape-holding material and being bendable for flexing local areas, said container having a bottom wall and generally vertical side Walls, the side walls of said container having channels therein extending from the lower portion of the container upwardly to the upper portion for forming designs in the final molded product, a liner of high tensile strength plastic material at least partially bonded to the inside surfaces of the side walls of said container and lying within the channel portions thereof so that the flexing of said walls produces a rippling of said liner, a soft plastic food body filling at least a portion of said compartment and conforming closely to the contour of said walls and said liner, said channel portions of said container being spreadable under the local flexing of the container walls to break the vacuum within the container and to release the liner from the molded food product, whereby upon the inversion and flexing of said container said molded product will fall from the mold with the mold lines thereof unbroken.

3. A soft, plastic food package, comprising a tapered container of resilient material which is substantially rigid to maintain its shape under the weight of a plastic food content but being resiliently bendable in local areas thereof, said container providing a compartment which enlarges progressively from the bottom thereof to the top thereof and has side walls having design grooves therein providing channels extending from the lower to the upper portion thereof, a liner of flexible grease-proof and substantially non-stretchable material lining the inside of said container and secured to the walls thereof, a soft, plastic food filling a portion of said container and adhering to side walls of the container in a molded relation thereto, a flat cover sealed about the top of said container for confining said food body Within said container, said container, upon the removal of the cover and inversion thereof and upon the local flexing of the side walls of said container, opening said channels to break the vacuum within the compartment, enabling said molded food product to be peeled away from said liner and to fall therefrom with the mold lines unbroken.

4. A soft, plastic food package, comprising a container providing a tapered food-receiving compartment having flexible, resilient walls formed of woodpulp, a liner of thin, flexible plastic film disposed within said compartment and conforming to the shape of the walls thereof, said liner being attached to said container so that flexing of the container walls produces a rippling of said liner, and a soft, plastic food body within said compartment liner conforming to the shape of said compartment and clinging to said liner, whereby said food body can be released from said compartment by manually flexing the walls of said compartment to ripple said liner and thereby overcome the suction holding said food body within said liner.

5. A soft, plastic food package, comprising a molded pulpwood containerv providing a tapered food-receiving compartment, said container being sufiiciently rigid to hold its shape but being manipulable in the hands for flexing the walls thereof, a liner of thin, flexible thermoplastic film disposed within said compartment and con forming to the shape of the walls thereof, said liner being bonded to said container and arranged within said compartment so that the flexing of said container walls produces a rippling of said liner, and a soft, plastic food body within said compartment liner conforming to the shape of said compartment and clinging to said liner, whereby said food body can be released from said compartment by manually flexing the walls of said compartment to ripple said liner and thereby overcome the suction holding said food body within said liner.

LEO PETERS.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 927,396 Adams July 6, 1909 1,576,088 Bunz Mar. 9, 1926 1,888,178 MacElphone Nov. 15, 1932 2,012,529 Eldredge Aug. 27, 1935 2,019,552 Watts Nov. 5, 1935 2,09 ,126 Speer Aug. 24, 1937 2,134,908 Copeman Nov. 1, 1938 2,162,162 Murguiondo June 13, 1939 2,317,067 Knaust Apr. 21, 1943 2,358,924 Guyer Sept. 26, 1944 2,501,570 Larsen Mar. 21, 1950

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2688557 *Apr 24, 1951Sep 7, 1954Leo PetersSoft plastic food package
US2764280 *Feb 2, 1954Sep 25, 1956Carper Oswald VShirt protector
US2770547 *Aug 16, 1954Nov 13, 1956Leo PetersSoft plastic food package
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Classifications
U.S. Classification426/119, 206/526, 426/124, 220/62.13, 220/62.22
International ClassificationB65D85/72, B65D77/10, B65D77/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65D85/72, B65D2577/2025
European ClassificationB65D85/72