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Publication numberUS3165234 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 12, 1965
Filing dateFeb 20, 1961
Priority dateFeb 20, 1961
Publication numberUS 3165234 A, US 3165234A, US-A-3165234, US3165234 A, US3165234A
InventorsCharles S Conklin, John D Reeves
Original AssigneeLily Tulip Cup Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Plastic package cup dispenser
US 3165234 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Jan. 12, 1965 c. s. CONKLIN ETAL 3,165,234

PLASTIC PACKAGE CUP DISPENSER Filed Feb. 20, 1961 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 ,VK-N

' INVENTORS CHAQLE5 CON/(LIN. ByJoH/v .D. PEEI/ES.

MM QMK Jan. 12, 19 65 c. s. CONKLIN ETAL' 3,165,234

PLASTIC PACKAGE cuP DISPENSER Filed Feb. 20, 1961 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 IN V EN TORS. CHA PL 55 S CO/VKL. //V. {OHN D PEEVES,

c. s. CONKLIN ETAL 3,165,234

5 Sheets-Sheet 3 PLASTIC PACKAGE CUP DISPENSER Jan. 12, 1965 Filed Feb. 20, 1961 INVENTORS CHAELEJ J Co/v/a/N BY JOHN D REE v55 United States Patent 3,165,234 PLASHC PACKAGE CUP D @ENSER (Iharles S. Conkiin, Haworth, and dbl-in D. Reeves, Ramsey, Ni, assignors to Liiy-Tulip flip Corporation, New

York, N.Y., a corporation of Beiaware Filed Feb. 2d, 1961, her. No. 96,531 '7 Claims. Cl, 22l-3ll2.)

This invention relates to the packaging art generally, and more particularly to a combined disposable package for holding and dispensing cups, although certain features of the invention are useful for other purposes.

Heretofore, cartons made of paper board or the like have been used for packaging and dispensing cups but these were relatively expensive to make, were shipped in folded condition, and were time consuming to set up and to pack. Further difiiculties were presented in manipulating to adapt the cartons to dispense and the final package was not pleasing in appearance. Another disadvantage was that such cartons were opaque and hence the stack of cups and its depletion was not visible.

An object of the invention is to provide a preformed shape retaining package which may be readily nested for shipment while empty, which may be readily loaded with cups, and which serves to hold the cups for shipment and may be easily converted to a dispenser.

Another object is to provide an improved preformed shape retaining package which may be economically made and which may be readily opened for removal of the contents.

A further object is to provide a package of the character described which may be either transparent or translucent to display the cup stack therein.

Further objects and advantages of the invention will more fully appear from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings which show, by way of example, a present preferred embodiment of the invention.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, we provide in general a package comprising a blister type member having shape such as will provide a longitudinal open side to facilitate loading of cups therein, and a back of cardboard or the like stiff sheet material secured to the body member and serving to close the open side after the cups have been loaded therein. The body member incorporates features which facilitate individual separation of a stack of such bodies, as they would appear when shipped in nested condition after initial fabrication, and is advantageously made of relatively thin, transparent or translucent plastic material, of sutlicient stiifness to retain its preformed shape, which is thermoformed from sheet material, and which has heat sealing qualities such as will facilitate the sealing of the back member thereto. In its use as a cup dispenser, one end portion of the body member serves as the bottom end of the package when supported in dispensing position, and in accordance with a novel feature of the invention, provision is made to remove the bottom end portion of the body member in an extremely simple manner without disturbing the remainder of the package. Adjacent the bottom end portion there is provided cup supporting and stripping means which, in the preferred embodiment, is in the form of one or more inwardly projecting raised portions which provide cup retention grooves so that, upon removal of the bottom end portion, the cups may be individually removed successively from the lower end of the stack.

The invention consists of the novel features, arrangement and combination of parts embodied by way of example in the article hereinafter described as illustrating a present preferred form of the invention, and in the invention will be more particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

In order to more clearly disclose our invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a package in accordance with the present invention and illustrated in its embodiment as a package and dispenser for paper cups;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the package illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the package as seen in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional View taken along the line 44 of FIG. 1;

PEG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of the bottom end of the package of FIGS. 1 and 2 to show its construction in further detail;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of part of the package of FIGS. 1 and 2 and illustrating removal of the bottom end portion;

PEG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 showing the end entirely removed and the cups in dispensing position.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged side elevational view of a plurality of package body members in nested condition; and

PEG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 99 of FIG. 8.

Referring now to the drawings in detail, and more particularly to FIGS. 14 thereof; there is shown a disposable combination package and dispenser for cups which utilizes the present inventive concept. The illustrated package, designated in general by reference numeral id, comprises a relatively stiff or rigid back member 11 which may conveniently be formed from a rectangular piece of cardboard, plastic, or plastic coated or impregnatcd cardboard, for example. Suitable means such as a hole 12 is provided along the longitudinal axis of the member it near its upper end so that the package may be suspended for use as a dispenser.

The completed package also comprises a preformed blister type body member 14 made of tough, relatively stiff, thin plastic material which is preferably transparent or translucent in nature, such as acetate or polystyrene or the like, and which lends itself to thermoforming from originally sheet form. The thickness of the body 14 will depend upon the material used and the size of the package but, in general, it is contemplated that the thickness will vary between .005" and .030, or such thickness as will provide a shape retaining body. In the present embodiment where the package is intended to hold and dispense cups C which have a lip diameter about 2 /2", and with polystyrene as the body member material, a wall thickness of the body member on the order of .010-015 has proven satisfactory. in the illustrated embodiment, the body 14 is generally semi-tubular or U-shaped in cross section, comprising a central curved intermediate portion 13 and oppositely disposed outwardly and down- Wardly tapered side portions 17 and 13, each of which terminates along its lower edge in an outwardly extending, reinforcing and stacking or nesting shoulder 15 having a marginal outwardly extending flange portion 16' which is secured as by adhesion, or heat scaling to the back member till after the body has been filled with paper cups.

' The flange 316 preferably extends to the upper end of the back member ll to reinforce the hole 12 and to the extreme edges Ma and 11b of the back member 11. The curved portion 13 has generally cylindrical shape, its cylindrical diameter and its vertical dimension, from the interior of the curved surface to the back member 11, being substantially equal to the diameter of the cups to be packaged and dispensed. The upper end of the body 14 is provided with an integrally formed top end 19 which tapers outwardly and downwardly from the curved portion 13 to adjacent the back member 11 where it terminates in the flange lid. Top end 19 merges with the side portions 17 and 18 and intermediate portion 13 of the body along a gradual curve, as best shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and serves to close that end of the completed package.

The lower end of the body 14 is provided with an integrally formed, preferably flat bottom end 29 having a juncture with curved portion 13 and side walls 17 and 18 along an edge 21 (FIG. 1) and tapered outwardly and downwardly from the lower end terminus of intermediate portion 13 to adjacent the back member 11 where it merges with the flange 16, except for cut or cut-out portions which form a tab, as will be described. Bottom end 25) serves as an integral cover member which closes the cup dispensing mouth portion of the package which, as shown in the drawings by numeral 14a, is at the lower end of the body 14 (FIG. 7).

Referring now to FIG. 5, it is shown that along a sector of the curved portion 13, which in the present embodimentis about 60, the edge 21 of the package includes a sharp corner portion 21a, which it is thought will increase stress concentration, but in any event will thereby facilitate the complete tearing off of the bottom end 24) when the package is opened as will be described. Such sharp corner portion 21a might extend the full length of the juncture 21, but it has been found preferable, in order to augment the overall strength of the package, to incorporate into juncture 21 the slightly rounded corner portions 21b which taper conically from the vicinity of the ends of the juncture near back member 11, whereat corner portions 2117 are rounded to about diameter to merge with the remainder of the juncture formed by sharp corner portion 21a.

As previously noted, the bottom end 20 of the body member 14 extends into and merges with the flat flange 16 so as to form that portion of the flange which is generally indicated in the drawings by the reference numeral 16 at the bottom of the package. To initiate a line of severance so as to facilitate removal of the bottom end 20 when opening the package, the flange portion 16 is cut longitudinally as at 23, from the bottom-most edge thereof to the vicinity of the transverse line of bend 20' of the bottom end 21 of the package. Such. cut 23 should 'be made along the zone of extension of the longitudinal line of juncture between side wall portions 17,18 and the stacking or nesting shoulder 15, and preferably should not extend all the way to the line of bend 26' since overextension of the line of cut 23 may cause a small opening to appear through the bottom of the package after sealing, which opening may be undesirable in view of sanitary or other requirements. Additionally, the flange portion 16' is preferably cut or notched appropriately to form a pull tab 22, as shown in the'drawings, to further facilitate opening of the package. It Will be noted that longitudinally extending flat portions of the flange 16' remain after the flange portion has been notched to form pull tab 22, which flat portions will be sealed to the back member 11 to further insure completely effective anchoring of body 14 to the. back member 11 in the completed package. It will also be noted that the bottom end 20 incorporates small, flat extension portions 15' to close the lower ends of the longitudinal recesses formed upon the provision of nesting shoulders 15. i

As shown in the drawings, the body member 14 towards its lower end, whereat the cups C will be dispensed, is provided with one or more inwardly projecting beads 24 serving both as cup retention means, supporting the cups as suspended when the bottom end 20 has been removed and the package is in use as a dispenser, and as a cup stripping means to facilitate removal of the cups one at a time from the dispenser foruse. It is preferred that two such beads 24 be incorporated to provide greater cup retention capability in the package, especially after a number of cups have been removed. The beads 24 also serve to reinforce and thereby stiffen the package, especially when formed integrally therewith in the form of arcuately extending grooves as provided by the invention.

It will be noted that one of the beads 24 (the lowermost, as shown in the drawings), when formed as a groove by the thermoforming process contemplated by the invention, is extended in arcuate direction through the longitudinally extending shoulders 15 and into the plane of the surrounding flange 16 of the package. From the open side of the body member 14, such extensions at either side of the cup recess will appear as raised portions 24a within the depressed form of the shoulders 15. At the upper end of the package a similar raised portion 24b is formed in each of the shoulders 15. These raised portions 24a, 24b facilitate the separation of successive individual body members 1 1 one from the other whenthey are in stacked, or nested condition, illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9, as they will normally be stored and/or shipped after initial fabrication. To efficiently relieve the suction and/ or other natural forces of adhesion which results upon separating respective body members from a nested stack, it has been found desirable to have the raised portions 24a and 24b staggered as between respectively adjacent bodies. For example, in alternate bodies the portions 24b are offset in a direction lengthwise of the body member from the position shown in FIG. 1 and the portions 24a are oifset from alignment with the lower bead 24 into alignment with the upper bead 24. It will be understood from FIGS. 8 and 9 that when a plurality of body members 14 are nested, each may easily be separated from the underlying body member since its staggered raised portions 24a and 24b will rest on the longitudinally extending nesting shoulders 15 of the underlying body member;

Further to aid the stacking and separation of the body members 1 5, it should be here disclosed that the longitudinally extending shoulders 15 are made sufliciently wide (in transverse direction of the package, and as opposed to the depth thereof) so that together they will oifset the normal amounts of bulging or deflection of the sidewall portions 17, 13 as will occur as a number of the bodies 14 are nested together; thereby assuring the spacing of the tapered sidewalls 17, 18 of one body from those of an adjacent body.

Moreover, the beads 2 -1 are useful in positioning a transversely extending and removable bottom end partition 26 of relatively stiflt material, such as cardboard, which under certain circumstances is inserted interiorly of the package, Within the internal groove formed between either a pair of beads 24 (as shown) or between the lower bead 24 and bottom end 20, and which is held snugly in place by the back member 11. In either position, the removable partition 26 is disposed between the lowermost cup of the nested stack C and the bottom end 26 of the package, and will be disposed across either the entire transverse area of the package thereat or perimetrically over a substantial portion of such area, as desired. In any event, the partition 26 will support the stack of cups C in spaced relation to the bottom end 20 and will thus prevent the stack from engaging the bottom end 2t during handling or shipment of the filled packages. This prevents damage to the bottom end 20 of the package under certain circumstances of manufacture which might exist for economy or other reasons.

For example, it has been found that where very thin plastic material is used, or when it is anticipated that the package will be subjected to rough handling or where the sharp corner 21a extends over a considerable portion of the juncture between the bottom, intermediate and sidewall portions of the package, as may sometimes be desirable, or under a combination of such circumstances, the sharp corner 21a may be comparatively weak to the extent that, upon shipping the completed package of cups, it will tend to rupture upon impact of the stack of cups C caused by normal shifting thereof within the package. Moreover, if such rupture does not occur, it has been found that where thin plastic material is used such impacting of the cups sometimes causes de- #3 formation of the bottom end 20. It is under such circumstances has have been described that it is desirable to include a partition 26, to be removed by the user upon opening the package in the intended manner.

It will now be apparent that, with the unitary body member 14 positioned having its open side uppermost, a stack of nested cups C may be readily placed therein (along with the removable partition 26, if such is to be inserted) and the package may be closed by affixing the back member 1)). securely to the flange 16 of the body member. In this condition, the package of cups is ready for shipment.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, when it is desired to open the package to utilize the same as a cup dispenser, it is only necessary to lift the tab 22 and pull upon it, whereupon the body member material will begin to tear at both sides of the bottom end 29, the tears.

originating at points 2.3a (FIG. at opposite sides of the pull tab. The bottom end 20 is to be completely removed, and it will be found that the severing progresses following along or closely adjacent to the lines of juncture 2117 between the bottom end 2% and sidewalls 17, 13, and thence at the line of juncture with the bottom of the cylindrically shaped intermediate body portion 13 including the sector 21a, the sharp cornered configuration promoting complete and convenient severing of the bottom end 20.

it should be noted that while it is desirable for promoting a pleasing appearance in the opened package that the severance line follow along the entire line of juncture 21, useful results will still be obtained where the line of severance does not precisely follow along the lines of juncture 21b at the sidewall portions l7, 18, as might occur, for example, where the lines of out 23 have not been placed in exact register within the zones of extension of the junctures between the sidewalls and shoulder portions 15, or for other reasons. Under such circumstances, the severing will occur within the flat surface area and at either side of the bottom end 29, progressing in generally straight lines until such intercept the line of juncture 21, whereupon the line of severance will thereafter follow the juncture line 21. No difficulty will be experienced in completely severing bottom end 20, even at the very end of the severing operation when the line of severance becomes generally perpendicular with respect to the direction from whence the severing force is applied, as will occur by reason of the arcuate shape of the juncture line 21.

Either before or after the bottom end 20 has been removed, the package may be mounted, by means of the hole 12, in vertical position on a wall near a drinking fountain, for example, to be utilized as a very effective, and sanitary, dispenser for the cups therein contained. The partition 26 is removed (if such has been provided), whereupon the stack of cups will move downwardly until the rim of the lowermost cup engages the uppermost cup retention bead 24, the bottom of the lowermost cup projecting from the now opened lower end of the package in position to be individually stripped therefrom for use. The remaining cups in the stack are retained in supported position within the package by beads 24.

From the foregoing description it will be appreciated that the invention is not only useful in connection with a package for holding and dispensing cups, but also provides a simple and effective package construction which may be readily opened for removal of'the contents without the necessity of tearing off the back from the blister type body, or without otherwise generally destroying the package.

What is claimed is:

1. An article of commerce comprising an integrally formed generally U-shaped body member of relatively thin but stiff plastic material providing a longitudinally extending open side thereof, a stack of nested cups disposed within the hollow of said U-shaped body member, and a back member of relatively stiff material secured to said body member and closing said open side thereof, said body member including a top end portion closing one end of said body member, a cup dispensing mouth portion including cup dispensing bead means at the other end of. said body member, and a bottom end portion closing said cup dispensing mouth portion and having finger-engageable means adjacent said back member for grasping to sever said bottom end portion from said cup dispensing mouth portion, said bottom end portion merging with said cup dispensing mouth portion in a line of juncture which includes a sharply defined cornered portion extending along at least a length thereof which is opposite said finger-engageable means whereby said bottom end portion is readily severable from said dispensing mouth portion at least closely adjacent to the periphcry of said line of juncture and along the length of said cornered portion thereof.

2. An article of commerce according to claim 1, wherein said sharply defined cornered portion extends for only a portion of the length of said line of juncture, and said line of juncture further includes slightly rounded cornered portions extending from merger at the respective ends of said sharply defined cornered portion to adjacent said back member, said slightly rounded cornered portions each being conically tapered towards said sharply defined corner portion.

3. An article of commerce comprising an integrally formed generally tJ-shaped body member of relatively thin but stiff plastic material providing a longitudinally extending open side thereof, a stack of nested cups disposed within the hollow of said U-shaped body member, a cup supporting partition member disposed within the hollow of said lJ-shaped body member, and a back member of relatively stiff material secured to said body memher and closing said open side thereof, said body member including a top end portion closing one end of said body member, a cup dispensing mouth portion including cup dispensing bead means at the other end of said body member, and a bottom end portion closing said cup dispensing mouth portion and having finger-engageable means adjacent said back member for grasping to sever said bottom end portion from said cup dispensing mouth portion, said bottom end portion merging with said cup dispensing mouth portion in a line of juncture which includes a sharply defined cornered portion disposed along atleast a length of said line of juncture which is opposite said finger-engageable means whereby said bottom end portion is readily severable from said dispensing mouth portion, and said cup supporting partition member being removably interposed between said stack of cups and said bottom end portion of the body member.

4. An article of commerce according to claim 3, wherein said cup dispensing bead means comprises two peripherally extending and inwardly projecting raised portions of said body member in longitudinally spaced apart relation to each other, and said cup supporting partition is disposed within the space between said two raised portions. 1

5. An article of relatively stiff plastic material com prising an integrally formed generally U-shaped body providing a longitudinally extending open side thereof, said body including a top end portion closng the transverse area at one end thereof, a bottom end portion closing the transverse area at the other end thereof, an outwardly projecting flange portion adjacent the periphery of said open side of the body including a longitudinally extending, generally depressed portion thereof along each of the respective lines of juncture between said flange portion and the U-shape of the body at the oppositely disposed longitudinal side edges of the latter, said de pressed portions being depressed in a direction from the surface of said flange portion with faces on said open side of the body and generally towards the hollow of the U-shape to thereby provide a longitudinally extending nesting shoulder along each side of the body,

in that one of said nesting shoulders which said terminal end thereby intercepts.

6. Two articles in nested condition with respect to each other, each article comprising an integrally formed generally U-shaped body member of relatively stiff material providing a longitudinally extending open side thereof,

said body member including a top end portion closing the transverse area at one end thereof, a bottom end portion closing the transverse area at the other end thereof, an outwardly projecting flange portion adjacent the periphery of said open side of the body member, and

at least one peripherally extending depressed bead portion adjacent to but spaced inwardly from said other end of the body member, said flange portion being generally depressed, in a direction from the surface thereof which faces on saidopen side of the body member and generally towards the hollow of the U-shape, to provide a longitudinally extending nesting shoulder along each of the oppositely disposed longitudinalside edges of the article, I

and said depressed head portion being depressed in direction inwardly of the U-shape and being extended at each terminal end thereof substantially to said surface of the flange portion to effectively provide a raised por- ..tion within the respective of said nesting shoulders which said terminal ends thereby intercept, and each of said nesting shoulders of saidarticle having along its length .another raised portion formed by an interruption of said respect to said respective other raised portions of the other of said articles.

7. Two articles according to claim '6 wherein said body member of each article comprises two such depressed bead portions adjacent to but spaced inwardly from said other end of the'body member, said two depressed bead portions being longitudinally spaced apart with respect to each other, only one of said two bead portions being extended at each of its terminal ends to said surface of the flange poition to effectively provide suchfirst said raised portion within the said respective nesting shoulders of the article, and'only the alternate one of said two bead portions of the other of said articles being so extended at each of its terminal ends.

References Cited in the file of this patent i V UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 19,422 Booth Jan. 15, 1935 D. 190,395 Robinson May-23, 1961 506,982 Diamond Oct. 17, 1893 1,977,759 Ford Oct..23, 1934 2,073,941 Lowen Mar. 16, 1937 1 2,335,914 Buttery Dec. 7, 1943 2,340,089 Vineburgh Jan. 25, 1944 2,760,630 Lakso Aug. 23, 1956 2,793,745 Cox May 28, 1957 2,861,404 Stratton Nov. 25, 1958 2,864,548 Zastrow Dec.. 16, 1958 2,892,538 Middleton et al. June 30, 1959 2,893,546 Kendall et al July 7, 1959 2,956,710 OConnor Oct. 18, 1960 3,074,540 Beich et al. Jan. 22, 1963 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,060,535

France Nov. 18, 1953

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Classifications
U.S. Classification221/302, 206/518, 229/927, 206/806, 220/270, 221/303, 206/217, 221/63, 206/499, 206/519, 206/469
International ClassificationA47F1/08
Cooperative ClassificationY10S229/927, A47F1/085, Y10S206/806
European ClassificationA47F1/08C