US 3216562 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 9, 1965 H. A. LOCKWOOD EASY-OPEN CAPSULE Filed June 13. 1963 INVENTOR. ,F/d/f/ A Lockwoad' United States Patent 0 3,216,562 EASY-OPEN CAPSULE Harry A. Lockwood, DriAire Inc., 26 Fitch St, Westport, Conn. Filed June 13, 1963, Ser. No. 287,532 1 Claim. (Cl. 206-56) This invention relates to small capsules of the type intended to be physically opened for immediate removal of the contents thereof, as distinguished from capsules wherein the jackets are intentionally soluble and may be readily dissolved when subjected to the action of a liquid solution.
Heretofore, capsules adapted for use in the home have consisted of gelatin or plastic parts in the form of telescoping shells which when fitted together form a closed container for the desired substance. This type of capsule has a number of disadvantages. For one thing, it is subject to leakage of the contents when the latter are in finely powdered form. Further, the use of more than one part involves extra handling and more complicated filling and assembling machinery, together with larger inventories, critical tolerances, etc., all of which are reflected in a higher cost. Moreover, the breaking or opening of the capsule presents a problem to an inexperienced user, especially if such person is slightly clumsy or incapacitated.
The above drawbacks and disadvantages of prior capsules are obviated by the present invention, and one object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved capsule for containing powdered and like substances, which may be easily and quickly opened to extract the contents, even by an inexperienced or somewhat clumsy person.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved capsule as above set forth, which comprises but a single piece or component, thereby eliminating the handling of extra parts, the necessity for larger inventories, and also simplifying the filling and assembling equipment as well as eliminating the necessity for holding critical tolerances.
A further object of the invention is to provide a novel capsule construction in accordance with the foregoing, which is extremely economical to fabricate and produce.
An additional object of the invention is to provide an improved capsule as characterized, wherein leakage of the contents is held to an absolute minimum.
A feature of the invention resides in the provision of an improved capsule structure of the kind indicated, wherein the user may readily open or break the jacket to remove the contents by following only the simplest of directions, involving a natural bending action easily performed by the fingers.
Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of an improved capsule as outlined, wherein all of the contents may be quickly, completely removed without the slightest difficulty.
Still another feature of the invention resides in the provision of an improved capsule as above set forth, which is resistant to the efiects of moisture to a marked degree.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved method of making an easily opened capsule containing a substance intended to be removed for use.
Other features and advantages will hereinafter appear.
in the drawings accompanying this specification, similar characters of references are used to designate like components throughout the several views, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an improved capsule as provided by the invention.
FIG. 2 is a longitudinal or axial sectional view of the capsule of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a transverse section taken on the line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a transverse section taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the capsule after it has been bent in one direction to break it open.
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the capsule after it has been bent in the other direction and broken open.
Referring now specificially to the figures, the capsule 10 shown therein comprises a tubular body 12 having closed ends 14 and 16, the body being preferably formed of a suitable substance such as cellulose acetate plastic or other suitable acetate or plastic formulation, or any other material adaptable to this purpose.
The capsule 10 contains a substance which is to be removed for use, such substance being indicated at 18 and comprising either granular or powdered material, in either a coarse or fine state or condition. As an example of such a substance, the capsule It may contain a hair-dye powder, which as will be understood can be messy or cause damage, discoloration and the like upon leaking from the capsule. The cellulose acetate or other substance of the capsule is preferably of a non-deliquescent nature whereby the capsule body is substantially water tight. By use of a thin-walled construction for the capsule, it is especially frangible and easily opened if a cutting or similar tool is employed, or if the capsule is torn as by a powerful force.
In accordance with the present invention, the capsule 10 is so constituted and organized that it may be easily and quickly opened without tools, even by an inexperienced person and with the expenditure of relatively little force, such as may be readily applied by the fingers. Moreover, such easy opening of the capsule does not involve the use of multiple parts or components with their extra handling problem, nor complicated filling and assembling machinery, increased inventories, critical tolerances and the like which all reflect a higher fabrication cost. Instead, the present improved capsule comprises but a single piece or component which is extremely economical to fabricate and produce and which further normally prevents leakage of the contents to a marked degree.
The opening movement required to break apart the cap sule for removal of the contents thereof involves merely a natural bending action, which may be performed easily by the fingers even when the user is relatively unskilled or perhaps somewhat clumsy. Moreover, upon opening of the capsule the entire contents may be quickly and completely removed without difficulty.
In accomplishing the foregoing, the invention provides in the tubular body 12 of the capsule at least one transversely extending weakening score, by which the side wall is weakened to the extent that the body may be readily broken open by nominal finger pressures exerting a bending action. Such opening and bending actions are depicted in FIGS. 5 and 6. In FIG. 5, the presence of the transverse score or cut 20 provides a start for a transverse tear 22, by which the capsule is broken open at its center. Normally it is easier to effect such breaking open of the capsule by applying the bending force in a manner tending to separate the two abutting or adjoining edges of the score 20. Preferably the score 20 comprises a deep cut which extends entirely through the thickness of the wall, and such cut may extend for half of the circumference of the capsule body, as indicated in FIG. 4. As used herein, the term score is intended to signify either a very deep scratch in the outer surface of the capsule body 12, or else a complete cut extending entirely through the wall of the capsule body, and also intended to mean any equivalent weakening which might, for example, be effected by molding a narrow and deep semi-circular groove in the plastic wall.
In accordance with the invention, to facilitate the breaking openof the capsule without respect to the direction in which the bending force is applied, a second score or cut '24 is provided, such second score being preferably on the opposite side of the capsule and being longitudinally or axially oifset somewhat from the first score 20. Thus, if a user applies a bending force opposite to that effecting the break as depicted in FIG. 5, the capsule will just as readily break open by Virtue of the presence of the second score 24, as illustrated in FIG. 6. In this figure, the irregular tear 26 in the capsule wall has been made easy to effect, by virtue of the presence of the score or cut 24 as will be readily understood. Thus, following the showing of FIG. 6, when a bending moment is applied to break the capsule in said manner, the granular or powdered contents 18 of the capsule will fall out under the action of gravity. The action as illustrated in FIG. 6 is somewhat akin to the removing of the contents of a raw egg as commonly practiced by the housewife. In such instance, however, the shell is often cracked on the sharp edge of a bowl. In the present case, this of course is not necessary but instead the user rnerely applies a bending force somewhat akin to the handling of the egg after the cracking thereof. Thus, the emptying of the capsule into a receptacle bears a similarity to the natural action one would expect to use in breaking open an egg. However, in the present instance the two end portions of the capsule are firmly grasped by the fingers in such a manner that these will not be contacted by the powdered substance 1:8 which is being emptied. Accordingly, it is a simple matter to avoid soiling of the fingers and/or soiling of adjoining objects in proceeding to open the capsule 10 of the type provided by the invention.
While in FIGS. 5 and 6 two ideal conditions have been illustrated inasmuch as the bending forces are applied to separate the abutting cut edges of the scores or cuts in the most expeditious manner, it will be understood that the weakening means as provided by the invention will function substantially equally as well even though the bending forces are applied in other than the ideal manner shown. For, considering the showings of FIGS. 3 and 4, if the bending forces are applied horizontally instead of in the ideal vertical directions, it is still possible to easily fracture and open the capsule by virtue of the relatively low strength of the plastic walls and the disposition of the opposite cuts 20, 24. I have found that it is only necessary to provide a transversely extending score or cut in such a manner that the abutting edges or cut edges tend to separate when a bending force is applied. In consequence, there is easily initiated the necessary tearing of the remaining intact portions of the walls, in order for the capsule to be opened, and such tearing may be readily effected upon a proper weakening of the walls as illustrated in the drawings by way of example.
Even though the scores or cuts 20, 24 are made entirely through the side walls, the action of the substance may be such that upon removal of the cutting tool, the cut edges will remain firmly in engagement with each other, this being due to a memory effect of the material.
The scoring or cutting may be done by use of a suitable sharp blade, as for example a razor blade or the equivalent. Or, as already mentioned above, the score may be molded in the side wall of the capsule, or heat-formed in such wall by suitable equipment.
In the method of fabricating the capsule 10, continuous lengths of extruded plastic tubing may be utilized as the basic stock. By a known operation wall sections may be pinched to provide the end closures. This can be done by several procedures. For example, from a continuous indefinite length of extruded tubing, short sections may be out having approximately the desired capsule length. Thereafter one end of each short section may be spun or otherwise closed, and the resultant rceptacle thus formed filled with the desired powdered or granulated filler. The other end of the tubing section is then spun or otherwise closed, this procedure being already known in the art. Or, successive pinching and filling of long lengths of tubing may be done, with severing as the filling and pinching proceed or else at a later time. After completion of a capsule in any of the above manners, or else during or prior to any of the above operations, the scores or cuts 20, 24 are made, utilizing a thin sharp blade in a suitable piece of equipment. The cuting is done while the capsule body is being held or supported, and is carried out in such a manner that there is little if any formation of heat, thereby preventing any fusing or flowing of the material of the capsule when this is plastic. Upon removal of the cutting blade, the cut edges will tightly press against each other due to the memory action of the substance, thereby preventing leakage of the powdered material 18, even though this be of extremely fine mesh.
It will now be seen from the foregoing that I have provided a novel and improved capsule type container having desirable features and advantages. The capsule is entirely of one piece and does not involve critical tolerances or fits. Moreover, it is extremely economical to fabricate and produce, and may be readily broken open upon the application of a suitable bending force, by virtue of the weakened wall portions. However, in spite of the scores forming such portions, (which may extend completely through the wall thickness) the capsule will not lose its contents or leak, even though the contained material is finely powdered. "Upon the capsule being broken open, the contents may be readily completely removed with little difiiculty.
Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claim, and portions of the improvement may be used without others.
As a new article of manufacture, a frangible and easily opened elongate capsule comprising, in combination:
(a) a tubular body having closed ends,
'(b) said body further having a transversely extending weakening score in a side wall intermediate its ends, which enables the body to be readily broken by the application of a bending force,
(c) said body having an additional transversely extending weakening score in the side wall adjacent the first score, to further facilitate the breaking,
(d) said additional score being on the opposite side of the capsule, and being axially offset from the first score,
(c) said scores extending each for substantially onehalf of the circumference of the body,
(f) said body containing a dry particulate substance,
(g) said body breaking along either weakening score when a bending movement is applied to it, said particulate substance being dispensed through the aperture created by the break.
(References on following page) References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Willis et a1. 215-32 Hadfield 206-632 Davis 20663.2
Inglis 206-56 Greenwood 22951 OSullivan 21532 Rado 222107 X Duifey 20656 Koones 20656 Shand 21532 FOREIGN PATENTS France. France. Germany. Italy. Switzerland.