US 3142409 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 28, 1964 B. H. ROSS CONTAINER AND COVER Filed March 15, 1962 R m m m BU DD H. ROSS m Afforney United States Patent 3,142,409 CONTAINER AND COVER Budd H. Ross, 970 SW. Cedar Hills Blvd., Portland 25, Greg. Filed Mar. 15, 1962, Ser. No. 179,918 6 Claims. (Cl. 22024.5)
This invention relates to improvements in the construction of containers and covers therefor.
Most sealed containers present a problem of removing the cover. In most cases a special tool is required, such as a can opener, or a winding key to remove a strip of metal from the top of the can. If the container is made of glass, it is often difficult to remove the cover without the danger of fracturing portions of the container and getting some glass fragments into the contents. Another objection to most covers is that they are not adapted for use after the container has been opened. In some cases the sealed cover is not intended for subsequent use, and a secondary removable cover must be supplied. In other cases the sealed cover is intended to be reusable, but is frequently so damaged in breaking the seal that it is unsuitable for re-use. All such examples present an inconvenience to the user, particularly in connection with products which are normally consumed gradually over a period of time and deteriorate when left uncovered, such as coffee, salted nuts, and the, like. Previous attempts to provide re-usable covers have involved forms of construction which are both expensive and complicated to manufacture.
Objectsyof the present invention are, therefore, to provide a container with a sealed cover which is readily removable without tools, to provide a cover in which the seal may be broken by a sharp blow with the hand, to provide a cover which will function as a canister cover after its seal has been broken, to provide a re-usable cover for conventional containers, and to provide an improved construction of the type described which is simple and inexpensive to manufacture and suitable for containers and covers of different materials.
The container may be made of any suitable material, such as sheet metal, glass, earthenware, or plastic. The cover may be made of any stiff and springy material, such as sheet metal or a stiff plastic. The top portion of the container is provided with an internal shoulder to seat the cover. The cover is arched upward and dimensioned to fit tightly around its periphery against an internal wall of the container, rising from the outer edge of the shoulder. In order to effect a seal around this peripheral joint, the sealing area of the container may be coated with a layer of resilient plastic material to operate as a gasket.
The seal is broken by merely pressing downward or striking a downward blow against the center of the arched cover. This causes the arch to reverse with a snap action, giving the cover a downward bow in the center. When this occurs the inner edge of the container shoulder provides a fulcrum which lifts the peripheral edge of the cover out of engagement with its seal, leaving the cover resting loosely on the shoulder. A central depression and surrounding convolutions in the material of the cover provide the necessary resilience and a hand grip for lifting the cover out of the container. When the cover is inverted the central depression becomes a boss providing a handle for using the cover as a canister cover. The peripheral edge of the cover then rests loosely on the container shoulder so that the cover may be freely lifted off the container for canister use.
The invention will be better understood and the foregoing and other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated on the accom- 3,142,409 Patented July 28, 1964 panying drawing. Various changes may be made, however, in the details of construction, and all such modifications Within the scope of the appended claims are included in the invention.
In the drawing:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view, in section, of the invention showing the container and cover structure with the cover in its normal sealed position;
FIGURE 2 is a similar view showing the center of the cover depressed to break the seal;
FIGURE 3 is a similar view showing the cover inverted for use of the container as a canister.
The container and cover may be made of various materials as previously explained, and, by way of example, FIGURE 1 shows both members made of sheet metal as the parts would be made, for instance, to serve as a coffee can. The container 10 is preferably cylindrical with a bottom, not shown, and a side wall 11. The upper portion of the side wall is deflected inwardly at 14 to provide a horizontal shoulder 15 having an inner edge 16. The outer edge of this shoulder connects with a short vertical or near vertical wall 17 which is surmounted by a flaringtop rim portion 18. The inside. surface of the standing wall portion 17 is coated with a suitable plastic such as neoprene to form a seal ring 19.
The cover 20 has a central depression 21 which forms a boss or knob on its underside. Surrounding the central depression 21 are circular convolutions forming an upstanding ridge 22 and a second depression 23, preferably of less depth than the central depression 21. The cover in sealed condition is arched or dished upwardly in the center as shown in FIGURE 1, whereby there is a conical section 24 extending from the depression 23 to the peripheral edge. The peripheral edge of the cover is preferably flanged upward at 25 to a height approximating the height of the container wall portion 17. The conical portion 24 is preferably stiffened with radial depressions 26 which form ridges or ribs on the underside of the cover.
The cover is initially formed in the downwardly dished shape shown in FIGURE 2. In this condition the cover fits readily and even somewhat loosely within the upstanding seal wall 17 and seal 19 of the container. The lidding machine may apply the cover with a vacuum cup type of holder engaging the cover on its smooth surface between circular depression 23 and radial depressions 26. When the contents are to be packed under reduced internal gas pressure, the air within the container may be partially evacuated by an annular suction connection surrounding the vacuum holder for the cover and equipped with a peripheral skirt to seal against the top edge of the rim 18 of the container. Then, when the vacuum cup holding the cover is raised relative to said annular suction connection, the remaining gas pressure in the container will snap the cover into its upwardly arched position shown in FIGURE 1. In order to obtain this reversal of shape, the peripheral edge portion of the cover is held down against shoulder 15 while the center of the cover is lifted upward. When a high vacuum is desired in the container, some other lifting means may be employed such as a magnet or an expandable tool engaged in central depression 21. In order to afford a locking engagement with such a tool, the side wall of depression 21 may be sloped, if desired.
It is a characteristic of such reversible dished discs that the upward arched reversed position in FIGURE 1 does not extend as high above the plane of its peripheral edge 25 as the originally formed inverted arch extends below this plane in FIGURE 2. As the center part of the cover passes above the plane of its peripheral edge 25, its diameter decreases slightly but remains larger than its original diameter in its FIGURE 2 condition. The diameter of the cover and the amount of dish are such as to maintain a radial squeeze or press fit against the resilient plastic sealing ring 19 when the cover is in its upper position shown in FIGURE 1. The resilience of sealing ring 19 and of ridge 22 and depression 23 permits the cover to reverse its shape in this manner without losing its peripheral seal at the sealing ring 19. This provides an airtight seal between the cover and container.
If the contents of the container are packed under reduced pressure, the arch of the cover prevents it from collapsing inward, the can being filled so that its contents allow a small free space under the cover. Atmospheric pressure on top of the cover tends to flatten it out and enhance the effectiveness of the peripheral seal, but the sealing action does not depend upon a vacuum or reduced pressure in the can. The present seal is fully effective when atmospheric pressure exists within the can. The upstanding rim 18 is higher than the highest part of the cover, so that when other cans or flat articles are placed on top of the can, or when the can is inverted, the cover is not pushed in.
In order to remove the cover it is necessary only to press it in, preferably by striking a sharp blow with the hand against its raised center portion around the depression 21. This causes the cover to snap back into its original downwardly dished shape as shown in FIG- URE 2, the convolutions of material at 22 and 23 providing resilience for the snap action in both directions. When the cover thus changes shape, the inner edge 16 of shoulder 15 forms a fulcrum with a high mechanical advantage to pry the peripheral edge 25 loose from its frictional engagement with the sealing ring 19. In other words, as the center of the cover snaps downward, the edge portion 25 snaps upward in slightly reduced diameter and free of the seal. The cover is then loose and may be freely lifted off the can by placing the fingers in the depressions 21 and 23 and grasping the ridge 22.
Upon inverting the cover it may then be used as a canister cover as shown in FIGURE 3. The central depression 21 provides a convenient knob for grasping the cover, and the peripheral flange 25 inclines inwardly to form a conical surface with sufiicient taper for guiding the edge of the cover within the upstanding wall portion 17 so that it will seat on the shoulder 10. In this condition the cover does not necessarily frictionally engage the sealing ring 19 but is slightly contracted in diameter so that it rests somewhat loosely on the shoulder 10 and is freely removable. Thus, the container and cover may be used as a canister while the original contents are being consumed, or for other purposes.
Having now described my invention and in what manner the same may be used, what I claim as new and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. A reversible snap acting cover for a container comprising a normally downwardly dished circular diaphragm having a central depression therein, said cover being adapted to be snapped over center into an upwardly arched shape of sufiiciently increased diameter to bind the cover in the container, said cover being releasable from the container by the application of downward pressure to the center of the cover to return it to its original downwardly dished shape, said cover in said original shape being invertible to form a loosely fitting canister cover, said central depression forming an upstanding knob for the canister cover.
2. A cover as defined in claim 1, including an upstanding flange around the periphery of the cover, a circular corrugation surrounding said central depression to impart additional resilience for said change in shape, and radial stiflening corrugations spaced between said flange and said circular corrugation.
3. A cover as defined in claim 2, said central depression having a sloping side wall to facilitate lifting the cover with either side of the cover uppermost.
4. A container comprising a peripheral side wall, a shoulder on said side wall projecting inwardly below the upper edge of the side wall, a cover comprising a normally downwardly dished diaphragm, said cover being adapted to be snapped over center into an upwardly arched shape of sufficiently increased diameter to engage and bind against said side wall above said shoulder, said cover being releasable by downward pressure on its center restoring the cover to its original downwardly dished shape, the inner edge of said shoulder then forming a fulcrum to lift and swing the peripheral edge of the cover out of binding engagement with said side wall.
5. A container and cover as defined in claim 4, said side wall extending above the top of the cover in its upwardly arched position.
6. A container and cover as defined in claim 4, said cover in said original shape seating loosely on said shoulder in inverted position as a canister cover, said cover having a central depression forming a knob for the canister cover when the cover is inverted.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,013,254 Riney Sept. 3, 1935 2,330,742 Poupitch Sept. 28, 1943 2,671,574 Wolfe Mar. 9, 1954 3,048,297 Elliott et al. Aug. 7, 1962