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Publication numberUS3232422 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 1, 1966
Filing dateDec 16, 1963
Priority dateDec 16, 1963
Publication numberUS 3232422 A, US 3232422A, US-A-3232422, US3232422 A, US3232422A
InventorsDaniel D Whyte
Original AssigneeIllinois Tool Works
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article carrier
US 3232422 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 1, 1966 D. D. WHYTE 3,232,422

ARTICLE CARR IER Filed Dec. 16, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. Daniel 0. Why! His Aff'y D. D. WHYTE ARTICLE CARRIER Feb. 1, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 16, 1963 INVENTOR. Dani Q Whyfe BY United States Patent 6 3,232,422 ARTICLE CARRHER Daniel D. Whyte, New York, N.Y., assignor to Illinois Tool Works Inc., (Ihicagc, IlL, a corporation or Delaware Filed Dec. 16, 1963, Ser. No. 330,887 14 Claims. (Cl. 296-56) This invention relates generally to a package device or article carried and, more particularly, to a receptacle or package means for holding and carrying containers such as cans, bottles, or the like.

It is known in the art to provide an unsupported sheet of resilient, stretchable plastic material with constricted openings to receive and hold containers inserted through the openings. The instant invention is concerned with improvements over such prior art devices in the provision of a relatively simple, yet strong and economically advantageous article carrier or receptacle having a novel structural arrangement.

One object of the present invention is to provide a novel article carrier which is more economical than prior art devices, and which uses a minimal amount of material without sacrificing the necessary strength characteristics for the intended packaging purposes.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an article carrier with minimum connecting sections between adjacent enclosures, and provide a more economical article carrier by reducing the amount of material for each carrier without subjecting the carrier to loss of strength.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a novel article carrier having a plurality of container gripping and retaining means which uniformly grip and retain articles or containers throughout their periphery.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a container carrier having a Wide range of elongation characteristics for accommodating a variety of container sizes without changing the size of the container carrier.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide the above-described container carrier with an integral handle means which uses a minimum of material, but is flexible so as to be stretchable to a size permitting manual carrying of the containers or articles.

Still a further object of the present invention is the provision of a chime protector for the above-described container carrier to prevent destruction or mutilation of the peripheral beads of the containers.

A still further object of the present invention is the provision of an encircling endless band means which is associated with the above-described container carrier to retain and hold the containers in assembled relation.

Other and further objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a carrier constructed in accordance with this invention as applied to a plurality of cans or the like;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the carrier;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the carrier of the present invention as associated with a novel handle means for manually carrying a plurality of cans or the like;

PKG. 4 is a perspective View of the carrier which is similar to FIG. 3, but showing another form of handle means;

HG. 5 is a plan view showing an interconnected series of carriers and handle means for the FIG. 3 device;

HS. 6 is a plan view showing another interconnected series of containers and handle means for the FIG. 4 device;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the carrier of the present invention as associated with the feature for protecting the peripheral beads of containers;

FIG. 8 is a fragmentary perspective view of the carrier of FIG. 7 as applied to a plurality of cans or the like;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another form of the carrier which is shown as being used for retaining a plurality of bottles;

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of the carrier used to retain the bottles in FIG. 9;

PEG. 11 is a plan view showing an interconnected series of FIG. 10 carriers during the manufacture thereof;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary elevational view, partly in section, showing a further modification of the invention as applied to a plurality of bottles; and

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the form of carrier shown in FIG. 12.

While this invention relates to and has application for articles or containers of almost all configurations and sizes, it will be described in connection with beverage containers, such as beer cans and soda pop bottles.

For the purpose of illustrating the present invention, attention is first directed to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings wherein there will be seen a container package 10 having a carrier 2!) for holding and retaining a plurality of cans 22.

The carrier 20 has in the past been made of a relatively flexible and deformable material such as polyethylene in order that enclosures of the carrier could be stretched over associated containers and resiliently grip them. The deformable, yet elastic polyethylene permits the container enclosures to lock beneath the uppermost can beads, and tightly grip the cans. As a result, the cans can not be readily withdrawn downwardly, although by a slight tilting or turning movement, or by a carnming action of the lowermost can beads relative to complementary enclosures, the cans can be readily withdrawn from the container enclosures.

Vhile polyethylene has proved to be the best material heretofore known for this purpose, it has certain properties which the instant invention seeks to improve upon by design and substitution of material. Most of the present carriers are tailored from a product design and machine standpoint to apply to a given can diameter only since polyethylene is not flexible enough to encompass a wide variety of can diameters and function elfectively. Stretching such carriers and applying them to containers has also caused an elongation across the lines of flow or grain of the material due to the fact that the lines of how do not follow the shape of the carrier. The direction of the flow of the material in present carriers is generally linear since the polyethylene, after being extruded into sheet form, is then die cut to the particular shape of the carrier.

An ideal elastic article carrier should have the following characteristics: (1) high fiexibilit (2) good low temperature characteristics for retaining beer cans or orange juice cans while subjected to relatively cold or normal freezing temperatures; (3) excellent environmental stress cracking resistance, that is, resistance to the rupture of molecular bonds by external and internal stress; (4) good tensile strength; and (5) ability to deform while retaining a certain amount of resiliency in deformed condition.

It has been my experience that certain materials are peculiarly adaptable for use in the manufacture of article or container carriers, which possess the above-enumerated characteristics to a great degree. Such materials are of the class relating generally to copolymers of ethylene, and more particularly, to copolymers of ethylene with an alkyl ester of acrylic acid. Materials of this type are generally referred to in US. Patents Nos. 2,953,541 and 3 2,953,551, both dated September 20, 1960, the latter patent disclosing the process for manufacturing such materials. As described herein, the terms employed to define the material are to be considered in the sense as used and defined in the above-mentioned patents.

Referring now to the drawings for the novel structural arrangement of the carrier made of the above-described material, it is to be noted that the carrier 20 shown in FIG. 2 is provided with a plurality of container enclosures or gripping bands 26, adjacent ones of which are interconnected by thin, narrow connecting webs 23. The narrow integral connecting webs 28 join adjacent gripping bands or enclosures 26 at discrete points located substantially in quadrature relative to the enclosures. A carrier of this type with a plurality of minimum connecting sections is an important feature of the present invention, and is partially ascribed to a material from the ethylene copolymer class referred to above.

It has been found that such a material has elongation characteristics at least twice as great as its initially unstressed state. Carriers made from such material need not, therefore, be as large as presently existing carriers. The peripheral dimension of the container enclosures or gripping elements 26, and the overall configuration of the carrier have thus been substantially reduced in size over now known carriers. A consequent reduction in material thereby results in a beneficial lowering of the cost of manufacture of such containers.

A material of this type while being resilient, deformable, and elastic like polyethylene has further unobvious characteristics. When the carrier is deformed and elongated, it will have an increased tensile strength per unit cross-sectional area, and this is thought to be caused by the nature of the material and the manner in which the material is oriented within the specific container carrier as will be discussed in detail below. The resiliency and elasticity of such elongated carriers is also greatly enhanced by the molecular structure of the ethylene copolymer material, and the molecular orientation thereof.

In order to complement these characteristics of the material so that the carrier will be adapted to carry a plurality of containers, the carrier is provided with a novel structural arrangement as will presently appear. The novel placement of the thin integral connecting webs 28 :at specific locations relative to the substantially circular container enclosures 26 is another important feature of the present invention which aids in strengthening the carrier. When the carriers are manufactured, the molecules of the material will be oriented generally with the configuration of the carrier shown in FIG. 2 by forcing the ethylene copolymer material through a die of desired cross section or by the process of injection molding. The molecular orientation of the material will be substantially along the direction of travel of the material as it is forced through an extruding die or in an injection molding die so that the material will be aligned in the manner illustrated by the broken lines of FIG. 2. This orientation greatly strengthens the carriers since there will be no elongation across the lines of flow of the material when the container enclosures 26 are stretched, as would be the case of en extruded sheet of plastic material which is subsequently die cut as in present existing carriers.

When applied to containers, the circular or annular design of the individual container enclosures 26 of uniform cross section, with an oriented molecular arrangement, will cause a uniform cross-sectional deformation and elongation of individual container enclosures and prevent any formation of weakened areas. It is also to be noted that the dimensional extent of the narrow integral connecting webs 28 is substantially equal to a cross section of the enclosures which has the same width as the connecting webs so that the webs 28 will be deformed in substantially the same manner as the container enclosures 26.

Various types of Wire or, if preferred, integral plastic handle means may be used with the carriers of the present invention. One type of integral handle means is shown in FIGS. 3-6. The handle means 30 of FIGS. 3 and 5, for example, is made of the same material as the carrier or receptacle 20, and is integrally associated at opposed peripheral portions of the receptacle with a pair of adjacent interconnected enclosures. The arrangement of the end portions 32 of the handle 30 with respect to the carrier is such that the handle 30 will have a tendency to rest atop the containers 22 to permit the stacking of a plurality of container packages 10 one atop the other. It is to be noted in FIG. 5 that a series of carriers 20 may be initially connected together at weakened portions 34 during the manufacture thereof, and may be severed thereafter when it is desired to apply an individual carrier to a plurality of containers or the like.

The handle means 30a shown in FIGS. 4 and 6 is similar to the ones just previously described except that the handle is integrally associated at each end of the receptacle with the peripheral margins of a pair of adjacent enclosures. Thus, end portions 32a of the handle 30a are connected to a larger area of material than end portions 32 of handle 30, and will result in a handle means having a strong integral connection with the carrier. The interconnected series of carriers shown in FIG. 6 illustrates the connection of adjacent carriers and handle means by weakened portions 3411.

A modified form of the carrier is shown in FIGS. 7-8 wherein carrier 20b has a plurality of chime or can head protectors 36b which span the inner peripheral margin of each individual container enclosure 26b. The chime or head protectors 36b will protect the beads of the containers against the formation of nicks or burrs if the containers are dropped or banged against a hard surface. Since the chime or head protectors 36b are integrally connected with the container enclosures 26b, they will be subsequently deformed when the container enclosures are stretched to fit over the containers.

In FIGS. 911, another form of the carrier is illustrated. This carrier is formed with an inner carrier portion which is encircled or bounded by a generally rectangular band portion 380. This particular carrier is shown in FIG. 9 as being associated with a plurality of soda pop bottles 22c, and is initially arranged in the manner shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. In these latter two figures, it will be observed that the endless band portion 380 is interconnected to the outer peripheral margins of container enclosures 260 at thin connecting portions 420. The inner carrier portion may be readily separated from the endless band 380 when the carrier is applied to the containers by a downward force which results in the severance of portions 420. The band 38c, as integrally formed with the inner carrier portion in encircling relation there to, has a peripheral length substantially less than that necessary to encompass the full side portions of the bottles 22c. Consequently, the band 38c is substantially stretched upon being torn off from the carrier 20c and moved down into encircling relation with respect to the bottles. The effect of this is to place the band 380 under tension to yieldably hold the bottles in firm parallel side engagement with each other. Hence, the bottles which are held together at their upper ends by the inner portion of the carrier, are constrained against diverging from each other at their lower ends by the tension in the endless band 38c.

To release the bottles from the carrier 200, the con straining band 380 is readily removed by manual force supplied to the tear tab 490, to tear the band apart along the series of perforations. The individual bottles can then be removed from the remainder of the carrier by a twisting or turning movement relative to the container enclosures 26c.

It is to be noted that the web connecting sections 280 are substantially elongated in this form of the invention. The individual container enclosures 26c need not be stretched to the extent required of the other forms since the enclosures will engage the neck portions of the bottles; however, they must be spaced apart a substantial distance to accommodate the lower bulging portions of the bottles shown here. The integral connecting webs 28c have thus been elongated in this form to accommodate bottles having the configuration shown.

FIGS. 12l3 show yet another form of the present invention wherein the carrier essentially comprises a pair of carrier portions 46d which are integrally connected at one end to a handle means 480'. Each of the carrier portions 46d is adapted to grasp one end of the container as shown in FIG. 12. This carrier form is especially useful with bottles having the shape of the bottles 22d since the container enclosures 26d of the container portions 46d will be able to accommodate either the neck or bulging lower end portion of the bottles due to the fact that material of which the container portions are made, as previously noted, has elongation characteristics at least twice as great as its initially unstressed state.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the carrier of the present invention can accommodate and hold a wide variety of container sizes due to the structural arrangement of the carrier, the material of which it is made, and the orientation of the material in the carrier. Furthermore, the carrier has a design of much smaller dimensional extent than those presently existing in the art, thus resulting in a reduced cost of manufacture.

The specific examples of the invention as herein shown and described are to be understood as being illustrative only. Various changes in structure will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art and will be understood as forming a part of this invention insofar as they fall Within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A receptacle made from a stretchable plastic material having elongation characteristics at least twice as great as its initially unstretched state for retaining a plurality or" containers or the like, comprising a plurality of peripherally continuous container enclosures with narrow integral connecting Webs joining adjacent enclosures at discrete points located in quadrature relative to said enclosures for carrying the containers in side-by-side parallel relation, said peripherally continuous container enclosures being substantially uniform in cross-section throughout their extent, said plastic material being resilient, deformable, and elastic and having a molecular orientation aligned with the shape of said enclosures to strengthen the gripping action of said enclosures on said containers and provide a uniform cross-sectional deformation of said enclosures, the internal dimension of said enclosures having a peripheral measurement substantially less than the periphery of a corresponding container with which it is to be associated, said enclosures and connecting webs adapted to be deformed for the reception of containers within said enclosures and for resiliently gripping said containers toresist withdrawal thereof.

2. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein the peripherally continuous container enclosures are configured to the shape of annular rings for accommodating containers of a corresponding annular configuration.

3. The receptacle as defined by claim 1 wherein the discrete points located in quadrature are arranged approximately 90 distant from each other.

4. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein the narrow integral connecting webs joining adjacent enclo sures have a dimensional extent substantially equal to a cross-section of said enclosures having the same Width as said connecting webs.

5. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein the peripheral measurement of a container is at least twice the internal peripheral measurement of an enclosure prior to deformation.

6. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein the 6 plastic material is an ethylene alkyl acrylate copolymer.

7. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein a manual gripping means is integrally associated at each end of the receptacle with the peripheral margins of a pair of adjacent enclosures which define part of the outer peripheral extent of said receptacle along opposed marginal portions thereof, said manual gripping means being made of the same material as the receptacle and adapted to be deformed to provide a manual gripping portion.

8. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein a manual gripping means is integrally associated at opposed peripheral portions of said receptacle with a pair of adjacent interconnected enclosures, said manual gripping means being made of the same material as the receptacle and adapted to be deformed to provide a manual gripping portion.

9. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein each enclosure is provided with a chime protector-extending across the internal periphery of said compartments.

10. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein an endless constraining band is formed integral with said receptacle in encircling relationship there to and is made of the same material as said receptacle, said receptacle and said constraining b and being initially connected together by weak connections integral with the receptacle and band and serving to initially hold the receptacle and band together while at the same time being easily ruptured to facilitate downward movement of the band relative to the carrier into a container embracing position below the receptacle.

11. The receptacle as defined in claim 1 wherein a plurality of receptacles are joined together in connected series by weakened portions.

12. A receptacle made from a stretchable plastic material having elongation characteristics at least twice as great as its initially unstretched state for retaining a plurality of containers or the like comprising a pair of spaced container carriers each being provided with a plurality of peripherally continuous container enclosures having narrow integral connecting webs joining adjacent enclosures at discrete points distant from each other for carrying the containers in side-by-side parallel relation, said peripherally continuous container enclosures being substantially uniform in cross-section throughout their extent, said plastic material being resilient, deformable, and elastic and having a molecular orientation aligned with the shape of said enclosures to strengthen the gripping action of said enclosures on said containers and provide a uniform cross-sectional deformation of said enclosures, the internal dimension of said enclosures having a peripheral measurement substantially less than the periphery of a corresponding container with which it is to be associated, said enclosures and connecting webs adapted to be deformed for the reception of containers within aligned enclosures of said container carriers and for resiliently gripping said containers to resist withdrawal thereof, and manual gripping means integral-1y associated with each of said container carriers for lifting the receptacle.

13. A receptacle made from a stretchable plastic material having elongation characteristics at least twice as great as its initially unstretched state for retaining a plurality of containers or the like, comprising a plurality of annular container enclosures with narrow integral connecting webs joining adjacent enclosures at discrete points located approximately 90 distant from each other for carrying the containers in side-by-side parallel relation, said annular container enclosures being substantially uniform in cross-section throughout their extent, said plastic material being resilient, deformable, and elastic and having a molecular orientation aligned with the annular configuration of said enclosures to define a plurality of substantially annular molecular chains for each enclosure whereby to strengthen the gripping action of said enclosures on said containers and provide a uniform crosssectional deformation of said enclosures, the internal dimension of said enclosures having a peripheral measurement substantially less than the periphery of a corresponding container with which it is to be associated, said enclosures and connecting webs adapted to be deformed for the reception of containers within said enclosures and for resiliently gripping said containers to resist withdrawal thereof, and manual gripping means associated with said interconnected enclosures for lifting the reoeptacle.

14. A receptacle made from a stretchable plastic material having elongation characteristics at least twice as great as its initially unstretched state for retaining a plurality of containers or the like comprising a plurality of annular container enclosures with narrow integral connecting webs joining adjacent enclosures at discrete points located approximately 90 distant from each other for carrying the containers in side-by-side parallel relation, said annular container enclosures being substantially uniform in cross-section throughout their extent, the dimensional extent of said narrow integral connecting webs being substantially equal to a cross-section of said enclosures having the same width as said connecting webs, said plastic material being resilient, deformable, and elastie and having a molecular orientation aligned with the annular configuration of said enclosures to define a plurality of substantially annular molecular chains for each enclosure whereby to strengthen the gripping action of said enclosures on said containers and provide a uniform cross-sectional deformation of said enclosures, the internal dimension of said enclosures having a peripheral measurement substantially less than the periphcry of a corresponding container with which it is to be associated, said enclosures and connecting webs adapted to be deformed for the reception of containers within said enclosures and for resiliently gripping said containers to resist withdrawal thereof, and manual gripping means associated with said interconnected enclosures for lifting the receptacle.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,199,144 4/1940 Tegarty 264-328 2,814,405 11/1957 Edwards 21599 X 3,186,544 6/1965 Curry et al. 20665 THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.

MARTHA L. RICE, Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3307321 *Jul 30, 1964Mar 7, 1967Illinois Tool WorksArticle carrier and method of applying it to a plurality of containers
US3330408 *Dec 16, 1964Jul 11, 1967Illinois Tool WorksCarrier package
US3486672 *Feb 5, 1968Dec 30, 1969Esopi Aldo JSki-and-pole carrier
US3608949 *Jul 22, 1969Sep 28, 1971Illinois Tool WorksContainer carrier
US3711145 *Jul 9, 1971Jan 16, 1973Illinois Tool WorksContainer carrier package
US3737069 *Jul 15, 1970Jun 5, 1973Illinois Tool WorksContainer carrier with integral handle loop
US3930578 *Apr 22, 1974Jan 6, 1976Stein Richard JContainer package
US4024950 *Jun 21, 1976May 24, 1977Adolph Coors CompanyMulti-container package
US4033457 *Jun 14, 1976Jul 5, 1977Illinois Tool Works Inc.Reel-windable container carrier stock
US4084296 *Aug 4, 1975Apr 18, 1978Textron Inc.Method of manufacture of oriented slide fastening element
US4219117 *Apr 18, 1979Aug 26, 1980Illinois Tool Works Inc.Multipackaging device
US4330058 *Jun 13, 1980May 18, 1982Illinois Tool Works Inc.Container carrier preform strip
US4471987 *Oct 25, 1982Sep 18, 1984Gerald EricksonBottle carrier
US4487312 *Mar 10, 1983Dec 11, 1984Owens-Illinois, Inc.Package for carrying two multicontainer packs
US4544194 *Jun 11, 1984Oct 1, 1985Owens-Illinois, Inc.Plural bottle carrier
US4582215 *Jan 11, 1985Apr 15, 1986The Coca-Cola CompanyContainer carrier
US4793647 *Nov 2, 1987Dec 27, 1988Marvin Claire CCup caddy
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US5161710 *Aug 26, 1991Nov 10, 1992Vaughan's Seed CompanyContainer with integrally formed handle
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US5788301 *Nov 13, 1996Aug 4, 1998Illinois Tool Works Inc.One-piece folded top lift carrier
US6969098Jul 3, 2002Nov 29, 2005Illinois Tool Works Inc.Non-elevating handle for center lift carrier
DE3102514A1 *Jan 27, 1981Dec 3, 1981Illinois Tool Works"behaelterpackung aus mehreren einheiten"
EP0284349A2 *Mar 22, 1988Sep 28, 1988Illinois Tool Works Inc.Carrier devices and packages of containers
EP2117956A1 *Jan 11, 2008Nov 18, 2009Illinois Tool Works Inc.Flexible container carrier
WO2012052312A1 *Oct 10, 2011Apr 26, 2012Krones AgMethod for fitting a carrying handle, and application head for implementing the method
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/150, 206/820, D09/752, 294/87.2, 206/428
International ClassificationB65D71/50
Cooperative ClassificationB65D71/504, Y10S206/82
European ClassificationB65D71/50D