US 3113693 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 10, 1963 M. B. STULL MULTI-POSITION SNAP CAP FOR CONTAINERS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 22, 1961 M mm 4 6 1 M 1 4. 5 5 1. J W 5 M 4. 0 k Y 5 6 4 0 w 6 0 g g j I H v 0 I. 11 5 rm 2 i J 4. 7M a 6 0 a z w o a 5 a, a z 2 Z W 9 z w z 0 J m F 1 INVENTOR. Morton B. StulL HEENT United States Patent 3,113,693 NIULTI-POSETI'ON SNAP CAP FOR CONTAINERS Morton 1B. Stnll, Shall Engraving Co., 221-223 Bahia Ava, Garfield, NJ. Filed .l'une 22, 1961, Ser. No. 118,950 12 Qlaims. (Cl. 220-60) This invention relates to small plastic caps and container closures, and more particularly to snap-type caps which are formed of resilient or flexible plastic substance and which are adapted to be used with relatively small bottles, vials, cans and like containers.
In recent years the snap-type resilient plastic closure has come into prominence and favor because of its convenience, economy and effectiveness. Such closures may be quickly opened and as quickly reclosed, and are in general not subject to the drawbacks of screw-type closures which require a mating or starting of the threads and further often involve multiple turns to tighten or loosen them, as well as having the disadvantages resulting from contamination of the threads and hardened or encrusted deposits thereon.
While in many respects the resilient snap-type plastic closure represents a considerable advance and improvement over the older, thread-type closure, it has also been subject to some slight disadvantages. One of the most important of these involves the necessity of satisfying both the packager or producer of the product, and also the consumer. For, as regards the closing and sealing requirements, each group has different standards and needs. The packager or producer is concerned with the matter of rough handling of the product, excessive temperatures and pressures built up in the can or container such as might occur from carrying or storage in a hot freight car or truck. On the other hand, when the product has been purchased and initially opened, the user or consumer is not concerned with the above factors which primarily involved the producer. Instead, leakage and evaporation are now delegated to a role of secondary importance. The likelihood of spillage which arises if the package is accidentally tilted or upset while in the consumers possession, is quite remote, and therefore the easy opening and reclosing of the container comes to the front and assumes a prime importance.
It is thus seen that the packager or producer requires a closure fitment or cap construction which will assure him of a perfect seal at all times, not only during shipping but also in handling, shelf-storage and when the consumer first carries the product to his home or place of use, this requirement involving a tight or exact coordination or sealing engagement between the cap body member on the one hand and the closure or stopper member on the other hand. Such tight engagement, while satisfying to the packager or producer, however, greatly interferes With the consumers satisfaction and convenience, for the reason that the latter after having obtained the product is now especially interested in an easy opening and reclosing of the container.
The above problems and disadvantages of prior resilient plastic snap-cap constructions have been solved and obviated by the present invention, and one object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved resilient snap-cap or closure construction which not only provides an effective and reliable seal initially, prior to the article being placed in use, but also makes it possible for the user to easily reclose and open the container any number of times, subsequent to its initial opening and use.
In accomplishing this, the invention provides a closure construction comprising essentially two main elements or components, an orifice member which is on or a part of the container and a removable resilient stopper member which is adapted to be carried by the orifice member 2 when the container is to be closed, and adapted to be removed from the orifice member when it is desired to dispense the contents of the container, the said components or portions being so arranged that the stopper member has several ditferent stoppering or closing positions on the orifice member. One such position effects a very tight and reliable seal which especially fulfills the requirements of the producer. This position is characterized by an increased diiliculty in removing the stopper member from the orifice member. The second position of the stopper member enables this component to be much more easily and quickly removed, with an absolute minimum degree or" diiilculty which now satisfies the requirements of the consumer or housewife, this position however being characterized by a less effective seal or closure of the container or orifice member. This less effective seal, however, is now readily permissible after the container has been initially opened and placed into use.
Preferably, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings by one embodiment of the invention, the improved closure construction involves not only a resilient stopper member but also a resilient cap body member adapted to be affixed to the neck of a container, and further is of the type known as a captive closure, inasmuch as the stopper member is permanently secured to the cap body member by a relatively long, thin flexible web which permits the required positioning of the stopper portion for closing or sealing the container while at the same time holding it captive during those intervals when the container is open and being placed in use. However, the invention is not limited to such captive closures as shown in this one embodiment, since it has utility as well in connection with closure constructions of the non-captive type and also constructions wherein the orifice member comprises the container mouth or neck itself.
Another object or" the invention is to provide a novel and improved flexible plastic closure construction as above set forth, wherein the initial, tight and effective seal between the stopper and cap body portions may be readily re-established at any time that this is desired, regardless of the extent to which the product has been placed in use and/or the container opened and reclosed.
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel closure construction with multi-position stopper as characterized, wherein the initial opening of the container is purposely made difiicult not only by an increased detent efiect but also from an operational standpoint, thereby to discourage curious or playful persons from effecting an unauthorized opening of the container.
A still further object of the invention is to provide an improved resilient plastic closure construction in accordance with the foregoing, which is extremely simple in its structure, reliable and effective in operation at all times, and economical to produce and fabricate.
A feature of the invention resides in the provision of a novel cap construction as characterized, wherein the easily opened condition of the cap may still be characterized by an effective seal without adversely effecting the ease of removal or reclosing.
Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of an improved rnulti-position cap construction which is extremely compact and of small size, and wherein the space required by the stopper portion in occupying either of the two sealing or closing positions, is held to a minimum.
Other features and advantages will hereinafter appear.
In the drawings accompanying this specification, similar characters of reference are used to designate like components and portions throughout the several views, in which:
FIG. 1 is an axial sectional View of an improved polyethylene snap cap having two different closed positions as provided by the invention, mounted on a metal container or can. The stopper portion or member of the cap is shown in the very tightly sealed position, ready for shipping, handling, shelf storage, and for carrying by the consumer to his home.
FIG. 2 is an axial sectional view similar to that of FIG. 1, but showing the stopper member in a second lightly retained sealing position, hereinafter also termed the consumer position.
FIG. 3 is an axial sectional view of a multi-position snap cap construction in tightly closed condition as provided by the invention, illustrating a modification thereof wherein the orifice portion comprises the container neck and wherein the finger-engageable opening means is purposely made difiicult to operate, thereby to discourage unauthorized opening of the container.
FIG. 4 is an axial sectional view of the structure of FIG. 3, but showing the stopper member in raised, easilyopened position.
Considering first FIGS. 1 and 2, there is illustrated a resilient multi-posit-ion cap construction comprising a single molded resilient piece constituted essentially of a cap body portion or member It also hereinafter referred to as an orifice member, and a cooperable closure or stopper portion or member 12. In this embodiment, as shown, the body and stopper members It and 12 are integrally joined by a thin flexible connecting web 14, by which the stopper member is held captive on the body member during those periods that the cap construction is opened and the container contents are being dispensed.
The container, indicated at 16, is shown as comprising a thin-walled metal vessel having a top wall I?) provided with a discharge opening, surrounding which there is an annular bead or rolled edge 2'2), disposed in a shallow recess or depression 22 which is normally centrally located in the top wall 18.
The cap body member comprises a generally cylindrical wall or barrel 24- having attachment means at its lower end, comprising an annular external bead or shoulder 26 and a sloping or tapered bottom outer edge 28, the latter forming a sharp exterior shoulder 39. Be tween which shoulder 30 and the bead 26 there exists an annular groove 32 to accommodate the rolled edge or bead 29 of the container. While a particular type of fastening means as above described is illustrated herein, it will be understood that any other suitable or appropriate fastening device may be used, in connection with either metal containers or cans, bottles, vials, etc., including cooperable screw threads on the body portion It) and the container. In the latter case it is of course desirable that the cap body portion 10 be permanently retained on the container, and this may be accomplished in various ways, as by use of a suitable adhesive, by an interlocking shoulder construction or the like. Inasmuch as the fastening means between the cap body portion and the container form no part of the present invention, further details of the same are not given herein.
At its upper edge or end the cap body member It has a reduced throat 36 provided with an internal annular sealing surface 33 which is engageable with a cooperable sealing element of the closure member 12 as will be hereinafter brought out. The body member It) at its upper end also has an external annular sealing and detent bead 49, as well as an anti-drip detent bead or lip 42 located above the sealing bead 4t and spaced therefrom by an annular groove 44- The anti-drip lip 42 is shown as being purposely of smaller diameter than the detent and sealing bead it; so as to have a lesser detent action, to be later explained. An inwardly sloping top edge surface 46 is disposed above the inner sealing surface 38, as shown.
The stopper member 12 comprises a cup-shaped structure having a holder portion in the form of an annular or cylindrical side wall 48, and said member also has a ransverse top wall 5t these being integrally joined by a circular or annular connector portion 52 as shown. Within the stopper member 12 there is an annular, combined sealing and detent bead 54 and a secondary detent bead S5 of lesser mass or thickness; depending from the transverse top wall 59 is an annular sealing skirt 56 having a sloping lower outer surface 58 providing a tapered bottom edge 60.
The depending skirt 56 is adapted to be received within the reduced throat 36 or" the body member 16, and to have a tight sealing engagement with the inner annular sealing surface 33 of such throat at the time that the stopper member 12 is carried by the body 10.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with the present invention, the stopper member 12 may occupy either of two closing or sealing positions on the cap body member iii. In FIG. 1 the stopper 12 is shown as occupying a tightly sealing position which is characterized by a more difilcult opening or removal operation being required on the part of the consumer, whereas in FIG. 2 the stopper portion 12 is shown as occupying a raised but still sealing position (also herein called a consumer position) from which it may be easily and quickly removed by the consumer to unstopper the cap.
t will be observed from FIG. I that when the stopper portion 32 is in the tightly sealed position, the detent and sealing beads 40 and 54 are in engagement with each other, with the bead 54 being disposed below the bead an and slightly spaced from the external surface 64 of the body member It In addition to a seal being effected at this point, a sturdy detent action is had which requires appreciable force in order to remove the stopper portion 12 from the body 10. Additionally, an effective seal is established by the depending skirt 56, in engaging the internal sealing surface 38.
In FIG. 2 the cap stopper portion 12 is shown in a slightly raised position as compared with FIG. 1, wherein the detent and sealing bead 54 is opposite the annular groove 44 located above the sealing and detent bead 40 and the thin detent head 55 is engageable with the bead 4%? to lightly retain the stopper portion on the body. Removal of the stopper portion 12 from such position may be easily and quickly effected by the consumer, since the detent head 55 is of lesser thickness than the bead 54, and has a larger diameter whereby it more readily yields to the removing force.
For the consumer position shown in FIG. 2 the depending skirt 56 continues to effect a seal by its engagement with the inner surface 38. It will be evident that when the stopper portion i2 is removed from the position of FIG. 2, the connecting web 14 will retain it on the cap body portion It) to prevent the stopper from becoming displaced.
The depending sealing skirt 56 not only has an important sealing function but also constitutes an effective and desirable guide means, inasmuch as the sloping outer lower surface 58 thereof becomes engaged with the reduced throat portion 36 of the body 10 and provides a guide when the stopper 12 is being replaced. The stopper portion 12 has a finger engageable tab 61, to facilitate removal of the stopper portion by the consumer.
Another embodiment of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. This embodiment diifers from that of FIGS. 1 and 2 in a number of respects. For one thing, the orifice member in FIGS. 3 and 4 is constituted of the bottle or container neck itself, rather than of a separate piece. Also, with the closure construction of FIGS. 3 and 4 a greater degree of intentional difiiculty is experienced in opening the container initially, thereby to discourage to the maximum extent such opening by an unauthorized person.
FIG. 3 illustrates the closure construction in the tightly closed and fully sealed position, whereas FIG. 4 illustrates the closure construction after it has been initially opened and then reclosed to the position wherein subse quent opening of the container may be easily effected.
As shown, the closure construction comprises an orifice member 64 which is constituted as the neck or discharge portion of a container 66 having. a usual type of radially outwardly projecting shoulder 68. The neck portion or orifice member 64 has a discharge passage or bore 70 through which the contents of the container pass during the dispensing thereof.
Disposed on the outside of the container neck 64 and extending circumferentially thereof is a sloping detent and sealing bead or shoulder structure 72, having an upper sloping or tapering lead-in surface 74 following a gradual angle, and a sharp-angled lower detent surface 76.
The stopper member of the closure construction is indicated generally by the numeral 78, such member having a transverse top wall 31 an annular or cylindrical side wall 82, and at its bottom edge a radially outwardly projecting finger-engageable abutment means or tab 34 located above the container shoulder 68. The stopper member 78 has two annular, internal beads arranged for engagement with the detent and sealing bead 72, as shown. Intermediate the top and bottom ends of the stopper member 78 there is an annular sealing and detent bead 88 which has appreciable mass and is provided with sloping top and bottom walls 90 and 92 respectively. Along the lower peripheral edge of the stopper member '78 there is a second detent bead 94 of smaller size and mass, having a larger internal diameter as compared with the detent and sealing bead 38.
Referring to FIG. 3, when the stopper member 78 is in the tightly sealing and tightly held position shown, the detent and sealing beads 72 and 38 are in engagement with each other, with the latter bead disposed below the detent bead '72. For such position of the stopper member 78 it will be observed that the tab 84 is closely juxtaposed to the shoulder 68 of the container 66, and accordingly it is virtually impossible for a person to insert his finger between such tab and shoulder in an effort to raise and dislodge the stopper portion 78. Thus, there has been provided a structural means for making op erationally difiicult the initial removal of the stopper member or portion 78. However, after such stopper portion 78 has been initially removed and thereafter replaced, which initial removal may be readily accomplished by a suitable blunt instrument such as a blade, screwdriver, bottle opener or the like, it will occupy the position shown in FIG. 4 wherein the detent and sealing bead 83 is now disengaged from the cooperable head 72 and instead the smaller detent head 94 becomes engaged with the bead 72. It will be observed that the lifter tab 84 is now appreciably spaced from the shoulder 68 of the container, whereby it will readily accommodate the finger of a user, thereby to enable the stopper member 78 to be readily removed from the container neck. Further, by virtue of the larger diameter and smaller mass of the detent head 94 as compared with the internal detent bead 88, less resistance is encountered for removal of the stopper member 78 whereby the net result is an easy and quick removal of such member by the consumer, whenever desired.
In replacing the stopper member 78 it is merely necessary to place it on the bottle neck portion 64 and force it downward slightly, merely a distance suflicient to cause the lower detent bead 94 to bypass the detent and sealing bead 72 so that the position of FIG. 4 is attained.
Further, in accordance with the present invention, in conjunction with the upper sloping surface 90 of the internal detent head 88, the top edge of the container neck portion 64 is given a slope as indicated at 98. This is of advantage where granular material is being dispensed, with the stopper cap member 78 used as a measuring device. For, any residual granules remaining in the stopper member when it is replaced on the container neck will, by virtue of the aligned sloping surfaces 99 and 98 (as seen in FIG. 4), be replaced in the container, for subsequent use.
It will now be understood from the foregoing that I have provided a novel and improved, advantageous resilient plastic snapcap and closure construction which obviates the disadvantages of prior caps in that it meets the requirements of both the packager or producer on the one hand and the consumer on the other hand, namely the provision of a tight and effective, reliable seal prior to the product being placed in use, and the easy removal and replacement of the stopper after its initial removal and the initial use of the product. The closure construction is seen to be extremely simple, and economical to fabricate and produce. In actual use it has been found to admirably meet the various requirements above stated. With the construction of FIGS. 3 and 4 added difi'iculty is bad in initially removing the stopper portion of the closure construction from an operational standpoint, in addition to the tight detent action. Accordingly, there is discouraged to the maximum extent any unauthorized opening of container, while at the same time the easy subsequent opening is not interfered with. Moreover, in the construction of FIGS. 3 and 4 one of the cooperable closure members, namely the orifice member comprising the neck 64 is constituted as part of the container itself, whereby the cap construction is constituted wholly of the single stopper member 78 which is now cooperable with the container neck. As a consequence, the cost of the closure construction is correspondingly reduced.
Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claims, and portions of the improvements may be used without others.
1. A two-positive closure construction comprising an orifice member having a discharge opening through which the contents of a container may pass; a stopper member having a holder portion engageable with said orifice member to movably mount the stopper thereon and hold the same in either of two different vertical positions on the orifice member; means on said stopper member, engageable with the orifice member to effect a closing of the discharge opening of the latter when the stopper member is in either of the said two different vertical positions; and cooperable yieldable snap-detent means on said orifice and stopper members, for yieldably holding the stopper member in either of the said two different predetermined orifice-closing positions on the orifice member, said means efiecting a stronger snap-detent action for one position than for the other, both of the said snap-detent means being constituted to enable the stopper member to be completely, readily removed from the orifice member by a simple pull action for the purpose of completely uncovering the discharge opening of the orifice member to pass the container contents.
2. A closure construction as in claim 1, in which the stopper member for said one position is more completely, deeply carried by the orifice member, in which the stopper member has a depending guide means cooperable with the said orifice member to aid in positioning the stopper member on the orifice member, said guide means comprising an annular skirt receivable in the orifice member to efiect a seal therewith.
3. A closure construction as in claim 1, in which the means for efiecting a closing of the discharge opening comprises a depending skirt on the stopper member, adapted to be received in the discharge opening of said orifice member to eifect the seal therewith.
4. A closure construction as in claim 1, in which the orifice member has a lateral radially outwardly projecting shoulder disposed beyond one end of the stopper member, and in which the stopper member has radially outwardly protruding finger-engageable means located above the shoulder of the orifice member, to facilitate lifting and removing it from the orifice member, said engageable means being closely juxtaposed to the shoulder 7 of the orifice member when the stopper member is in the strong-detent position whereby a finger cannot be conveniently interposed between the engageable means and shoulder to effect such lifting.
5. A closure construction as in claim 4, in which the engageable means is spaced an appreciable distance from the shoulder when the stopper member is in the weaker detent position, to enable a fiinger to be conveniently interposed between said engageable means and shoulder.
6. A closure construction as in claim 5, in which the orifice member comprises the neck portion of a container, and in which the shoulder of the orifice member comprises a shoulder of the container disposed below the neck portion.
7. A multi-position closure construction comprising an orifice member having a discharge opening through which the contents of a container may pass; a stopper member having a holder portion engageable with said orifice member to movably mount the stopper thereon; and cooperable yieldable detent means on said orifice and stopper members, for yieldably holding the stopper member in either of two different orifice-closing positions on the orifice member, said means effecting a stronger detent action for one position than for the other, said cooperable detent means comprising a pair of spaced projections on one member and a cooperable single projection on the other member.
8. A closure construction as in claim 7, in which the stopper member has the spaced projections.
9. A closure construction as in claim 7, in which the spaced projections comprise two annular detent beads one of which is of different diameter from the other.
10. A closure construction as in claim 9 in which the two annular detent beads are carried by the stopper member.
11. A closure construction as in claim 10, in which the orifice member has a reduced throat, and in which the stopper member has a depending skirt adapted to be received in said throat to efiect a seal therewith.
12. A closure construction as in claim 10, in which the orifice member has a reduced throat with inner and outer diameters smaller than the remainder of the orifice membet, at the outer end of which throat there is an antidrip bead having a maximum diameter less than the diameters of the beads of the stopper members.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,877,918 Gardner Mar. 17, 1959 2,907,489 Taylor Oct. 6, 1959 2,937,781 Leach May 24, 1960