US 3217954 A
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2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 29, 1964 F'IG.2
Nov. 16, 1965 J. B. GRANT ETAL 3,217,954
DISPENSING CONTAINER FOR PACKAGE STRIPS Filed July 29, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 United States Patent 3,217,954 DISPENSING CQNTAINER FOR PACKAGE STRIPS John Barrett Grant, Greenwich, and Garry Thomas Higgins, Cos Cob, Conn, assignors to Richardson-Mental Ina, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed July 29, 1964, Ser. No. 385,846 9 Claims. (Cl. 225-32) This invention relates in general to a container for packaging, shipping and dispensing a package strip of the type that has commodity-containing compartments spaced longitudinally thereof and is severable between said compartments so that the compartments can be separated from the strip individually or in groups, as desired. In a preferred embodiment, the present invention relates to a onepiece homogeneously integral dispensing closure or top for such containers which can be economically molded or formed from plastic material.
Package strips of the type contemplated for use in this invention generally include two layers of flexible packaging material such as cellophane or metal foil, sealed together along their longitudinal edges and transversely to form compartments between the layers in which the commodity such as tablets, powders, liquids, pastes or the like is enclosed. Generally the strips or layers of packaging material are weakened in lines transverse of the strip, for example by scoring, to facilitate separation of the individual strip packages or compartments. The strip can be pulled longitudinally through the dispensing opening of the dispensing container and one or more compartments can be severed by forcing the weakened edge against a series of teeth or a cutting edge protruding upwardly of the dispensing container top.
An object of this invention is to provide a dispensing container for package strips which provides for easy and quick removal of the package strip, which holds the package to prevent automatic or accidental movement thereof out of or back into the container, and which is economical to manufacture and assemble.
Another object of this invention is to provide a homogeneously integral dispensing closure for such containers which can be easily and economically molded and subsequently attached to a container and which provides novel and reliable dispensing means for package strips.
Other objects, advantages and results of the invention will be brought out in the following description with the accompanying drawings in which identical numerals refer to identical parts and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a dispensing container in accordance with this invention with a coiled line showing the package strip and its direction of movement out of the dispenser;
FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the dispensing container of FIG. 1 showing the top teeth and folded or coiled prod uct strip carrying tablets;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of dispensing container of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal vertical section of the upper portion of the container taken in the plane of the line 4-4 of FIG. 3 showing a product strip being cut by the dispensing closure teeth;
FIG. 5 is a longitudinal vertical section of the container of FIG. 4 with a product protuberance of the package strip yieldingly held within the dispensing opening of the closure;
FIG. 6 is a partial transverse horizontal section taken in the plane of the line 6-6 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a partial transverse vertical section taken in the plane of the line 7-7 of FIG. 4.
Referring now to the drawings, container 10 is rectangular and comprises a bottom wall 11, side walls 12 and 3,217,954 Patented Nov. 16, 1965 l4, and end walls 16 and 18. A dispensing closure about the container top has side walls 22 and 24, end walls 26 and 28, a top panel 32, upwardly projecting teeth 34, a horizontal ledge 35 and resilient tongue 36. The dispensing closure is frictionally held in place by cooperation of its walls with those of the container. The dispensing closure is homogeneously integral and preferably molded from a plastic material such as high impact polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene and the like. The midsection of side walls 22 and 24 rise gradually above end wall 23 of the dispensing closure after which they become substantially horizontal and then dip toward wall 26. The top panel 32 joins side walls 22 and 24 over a portion of their length and extends from end wall 28 up to the dipping portion of the side walls toward end 26. The edges of top panel 32 toward end 26 have an outwardly flanged inverted U-shaped configuration. The smooth, substantially horizontal ledge 35 is inwardly of teeth 34. The ledge 35 is spaced vertically below and horizontally away from the opposed edges of panel 32 and defines a dispensing opening therebetween which is partially obstructed by tongue 36 projecting into a portion of the dispensing opening area. The base of tongue 36 is homogeneously integral with ledge 35. The tip of tongue 36 dips downwardly and has a smooth reinforcing bead about its edge. Tongue 36 is also spaced vertically below and horizontally away from the opposing edges of panel 32. From the plan views it can be seen that the edges of the tongue and ledge and the opposed edges of panel 32 have a horizontal component therebetween so that there is no overlapping of the opposed edges and the distance therebetween forms a dispensing slot 37 having the outline of an inverted outwardly flanged U or that of a bell with an outwardly flanged base. The distance between these opposed edges of the slot have both a vertical and a horizontal component. These opposed edges of the slot are substantially smooth. The horizontal component of the slot or dispensing space between the end of the tongue and the opposed edges of panel 32 is greater than that of the horizontal component of opposed edges at the side of the tongue or between the ledge 35 and panel 32. This facilitates dispensing of strips containing pills and the like which are equidistant the longitudinal edges of product strip 40. The tip of tongue 36 as well as the apex of the inverted U opening in panel 32 are equidistant from the side walls 22 and 24 of the closure. The dispensing closure is easily fitted over the top of the container.
A primary advantage of the construction of the dispensing closure of this invention is in the absence of any spaced overlap in the vertical plane of opposed edges of the dispensing opening 37. This construction permits molding of the dispensing closure by a simple two piece male and female mold and does not require a side action mold. This permits economical manufacture of the closure. Also, the positioning of the teeth upwardly at one end of the closure gives much the same advantages. Further, a larger number of mold cavities can be provided in a mold than would be the case if a side action mold was required.
Another primary advantage in the dispensing closure construction of this invention is that the product protuberances on the product strip are raised upwardly above the edges of panel 32 as they pass over the tongue 36 due to the resilience of the tongue. This prevents backward movement of the strip into the container since the product protuberances would abut against these edges.
Package strip 40 comprises a top membrane 46 and a bottom membrane 48 of flexible packaging material such as cellophane, rubber, hydrochloride or metal foil, sealed together along the longitudinal edges and transversely to form protruding compartments 42 between the membrane layers in which a commodity such as tablets 44 is enclosed.
The operation of the dispensing container of this invention probably will be understood from the foregoing, but it might be pointed out that the package strip will be first of all within the container as shown in the drawings. The leading end of the package strip will be pulled outwardly over tongue 36 and ledge 35 through slot 37 and over teeth 34. In passing through slot 37, the top and bottom sides of the strip are pressed against the ledge and tongue and opposing edges of the top panel. This is particularly the case when a strip protuberance passes through dispensing slot 37 and the tongue 36 is yieldingly flexed inwardly of the container top. As the strip protuberance moves out of the dispensing slot, it is raised upwardly due to the resilience of the tongue. A suflficient amount of friction is encountered by the strip as it passes through the dispensing slot or opening 37 to prevent automatic or accidental movement thereof out of the container. In addition to friction encountered by the product strip and its product protuberances in moving out of the container, movement of the strip back into the container is hindered due to the abutting relationship of the raised product protuberances with the edges of the top panel 32. The strip is cut by being forced against the teeth of the dispensing closure.
Having now described the invention in specific detail and exemplified the manner in which it may be carried into practice, it will be readily understood that any number of variations, applications, modifications, and extensions of the principles involved may be made without departing from its spirit and scope. Illustratively, the dispensing closure can be stamped out of sheet steel or other materials which can provide a resilient tongue which can be flexed downwardly as the product protuberance is squeezed between the tongue and the top panel 32 and then spring upwardly to its original position. The upward movement of the tongue raises the product protuberance slightly above the top panel 32.
1. A closure comprising, in combination, a ledge having a forward end and a back end, said forward end having a cutting edge projecting upwardly therefrom, said ledge back end having a tongue intermediate to its sides, said tongue projecting away from said forward ledge end, a panel having a forward end, the edges of said panel end defining a rearwardly extending pocket intermediate its sides, said tongue being below but extending within the area of said pocket, said panel edges spaced horizontally away and vertically above the opposed edges of said ledge and tongue, the horizontal space between the forward panel end edges and the opposed edges of the ledge and tongue providing a dispensing opening therebetween having the general outline of an inverted U, and means for holding said ledge and panel in fixed relationship to each other.
2. A dispensing closure having side walls, a front wall and a rear wall, a cover across said side walls and rear wall extending partially to the front wall the front edges of said cover defining a rearwardly extending pocket intermediate the sides thereof, a cutting edge extending upwardly from the front wall, a substantially flat inward ledge attached to the front wall between the said side walls, a flexible tongue attached to said ledge intermediate the sides thereof, said ledge and tongue extending inwardly of said front wall toward the rear wall, said tongue having substantially the same outline as the cover pocket and extending rearwardly under the area defined 'by said pocket, the edges of the ledge and tongue away from the front wall being spaced horizontally away and vertically below the front edges of said cover to provide a dispensing opening therebetween having the general outline of an outwardly flanged bell.
3. A homogeneously integral dispensing closure having side walls, a front wall and a rear wall, a cover across said side walls and rear wall extending partially to the front wall, the front edges of said cover defining an inverted U outwardly flanged at its two ends, a cutting edge extending upwardly from the front wall, a substantially horizontal ledge across said side walls and front wall extending toward the front edges of said cover, a flexible tongue extending from the rear edges of said ledge toward the rear wall, said ledge and tongue spaced below and horizontally away the opposed front edges of said cover with said tongue extending within the area of the inverted U outline of said cover, the tip of said tongue turned downwardly and having a rounded leading edge.
4. A dispensing container for a flexible package strip that has commodity-containing compartments forming protuberances spaced longitudinally thereof and is severable between said compartments which comprises a con tainer for holding a supply of said strip material and a substantially rectangular dispensing closure on said container having a front side and a rear side, said closure having an inverted U shaped dispensing opening through its top, a ledge having a rearwardly extending flexible tongue on the forward side of said opening, said tongue extending into the area of the opening, a series of teeth on said front side projecting upwardly therefrom adjacent to the ledge, the edges on the rear side of said opening spaced vertically above and horizontally away from the opposed edges of said ledge and tongue and providing an unobstructed angular dispensing slot in the vertical plane.
5. The dispensing container of claim 4 wherein the dispensing closure is homogeneously integral.
6. A package including a thin, flexible continuous package strip folded into a plurality of layers and including a plurality of commodity-containing compartments forming protuberances spaced apart longitudinally of the strip and a container having a bottom wall, side walls and end walls providing a chamber in which said folded package strip is enclosed, a panel across the side walls and one of the end walls on the top of said container providing a first partial cover for the container, upwardly projecting teeth adjacent the top of the other end wall, a smooth ledge extending inwardly of said teeth providing a second partial cover for the container, said ledge terminating in a downwardly flexible tongue extending partially toward the opposite end wall, the tip of said tongue turned downwardly and having a bead about its leading edge, said first cover having raised edges opposite the ledge edges and tongue spaced vertically above and horizontally away therefrom and providing an angular dispensing opening between opposed edges having the outline of an outwardly flanged bell, said strip fitting within said dipsensing opening with the protuberances pressed between said tongue and first cover and flexing said tongue downwardly on being drawn longitudinally through the opening, said tongue urging the protuberances upwardly and so raising the protuberances above the panel as they clear the dispensing opening.
7. A package of claim 6 wherein the horizontal component of the distance between the tip end of the tongue and the opposing edge of the opening is greater than the distance between the sides of the tongue and their opposing edges.
8. A dispensing closure of unitary one-piece construction for dispensing strip packaged items in combination with a container holding strip packaged items, said dispensing closure being characterized by having a substantially flat top arranged in two sections, said sections being spaced apart vertically by a distance approximately equal to that of the thickness of the item in the strip package, the uppermost section having side walls and one end wall adapted to engage said container and being bounded on the fourth side by an edge transversing the two side walls, said edge inwardly extending from the side walls for a short distance and then extending to- Ward the end Wall to provide a pocket of approximately the same shape as the packaged item but slightly larger in diameter, the second of said top sections having two side walls merging with the two side walls of the upper section of the top and one end wall engaging the fourth side of said container, the innermost surface of said lower top section extending inwardly from said side walls and having a flexible tongue, said tongue being of approximately the same shape but smaller in size than the pocket formed in the upper section of said closure top but being smaller in dimension and terminating in a downwardly extending smooth end, the said upper flat section having no part thereof overlapping any portion of the said lower section.
9. A dispensing closure of one piece unitary construction having a top arranged in two sections, sides connecting the two sections, a front end and a rear end, said front end having an upwardly projecting cutting edge, said first section having a top panel across said sides and spaced horizontally away from said cutting edge, said second section having a ledge across said sides adjacent to and inwardly of said front end, the ledge terminating in a downwardly flexible tongue extending toward said back end, the opposed edges of said first panel 6 spaced vertically above and horizontally away from the opposed edges of the ledge and tongue, the edges of said top panel opposite the tongue providing a pocket, said tongue extending below but within the area of said pocket, said opposed edges providing an unobstructed slot therebetween in the vertical plane.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,324,028 7/ 1943 Rossi 225-52 X 2,587,928 3/1952 Tuck et al 221--25 X 2,771,214 11/1956 Lefebvre 221 X 2,825,452 3/1958 Klein 225-52 X 2,984,397 5/1961 Gillam 225--53 X 3,001,643 9/1961 OMeara et a1 221-25 X 3,002,668 10/1961 Castelli 22552 3,115,989 12/1963 Strang 221--25 3,144,184 8/1964 Yerkes 225-63 X 3,173,728 3/1965 Sheer 22170 X WILLIAM W. DYER, JR., Primary Examiner.
DONALD L. MAXSON, ANDREW R. JUHASZ,