US 3239117 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 1966 D. E. LETCHWORTH 3,239,117
DEVICE FOR DISPENSING TEA BAGS OR THE LIKE Filed Sept. 11, 1964 F1 g E INVENTOR. DW/GHT A. LETCHWOAPTH El g B BY gw/ 4 W TORNEYS United States Patent M 3,239,117 DEVICE FOR DISPENSING TEA BAGS OR THE LIKE Dwight E. Letchworth, 484 37th St., Oakland, Calif. Filed Sept. 11, 1964, Ser. No. 395,775 4 Claims. (Cl. 225-32) The present invention relates generally to devices for dispensing packeted articles, and is more particularly directed to a device of this type which facilitates the ready dispensing of packets containing tea bags or the like from a merchandising package or other container in which the packets are stored.
Tea bags, as well as individual packets or bags of various other articles are typically provided in quantity in a box or similar merchandising container and stored therein until such time as they are to be consumed. Removal of one of the bags or packets from the container for consumption usually entails opening a lid of the container and reaching into the container to withdraw the bag, or
3,239,117 Patented Mar. 8, 1966 a tea bag, or the like. The container may be of plastic, wood, etc. and of a substantially permanent nature; however, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, as will be subsequently set forth in detail, the container is of paste board or equivalent low cost material and in the form of a merchandising box or package which would be thrown away after the contents have been consumed. In accordance with the particularly salient aspects of the invention, the packets are provided in serially connected form as successive elements of a continuous strip. The packet strip is folded in zig-zag fashion so as to provide a stack of interconnected superposed layers of packets, and such stack is freely disposed within the container. The container is provided with an opening through which an end of the packet strip may be withdrawn, and cutting edge means are carried by the container and adapted to packet therefrom, followed by closing the lid; It will be 1 therefore appreciated that the convenience aiforded by conventional container packaging arrangements in the removal of tea bags, etc., from the container is susceptible to substantial improvement.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a Another object of the invention is the provision of a container and packet packaging arrangement therefor by which the packets in serially connected strip form may be dispensed from the container and the individual packets severed from the remainder of the strip.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a packet dispensing device of the class described which may be embodied as a sealed merchandising box or equivalent package adaptable to packet dispensing service upon opening of same.
It is a further object of the invention to provide packet dispensing container of the character described having cutting means movable between an extended operable position for severing the packets from the serially connected strip thereof, and a retracted inoperable position fiat against the container wherein there is no danger of ones cutting themself on the cutting means.
The invention possesses other objects and features of advantage, some of which, with the foregoing, will be set forth in the following description of the preferred form of the invention which is illustrated in the drawing accompanying and forming part of the specification. It is to be understood, however, that variations in the showing made by the said drawing and description may be adopted within the scope of the invention as set forth in the claims.
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a device in accordance with the invention for dispensing packets containing tea bags or the like from a container.
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary sectional view taken at a longitudinal plane adjacent one side of the container of the device, and particularly illustrating the packet packaging arrangement thereof.
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary sectional view on an enlarged scale taken at line 33 of FIGURE 2, and illustrating details of the movable cutting blade means thereof.
FIGURE 4 is a view similar to FIGURE 1, of the device embodied as a sealed merchandising box prior to opening thereof to convert same to dispensing service.
Considering now the invention in some detail and referring to the illustrated form thereof in the drawing, there will be seen to be generally provided a container for holding a plurality of sealed packets each containing be operatively positioned for engagement of withdrawn portions of the strip therewith. Accordingly, when it is desired to remove a packet from the container, the strip is drawn through the container opening to a position wherein a connecting portion between adjacent packets is opposite the cutting edge means. The connecting portion is then engaged with the cutting edge means so as to sever the packet disposed in advance of the connecting portion from the remainder of the strip.
In the preferred embodiment of the dispensing device of the present invention, the container is provided in the form of a rectangualr box 11, which is closed on all sides as best shown in FIGURE 1. As noted previously, the box is preferably of pasteboard, or the like and intended as a merchandising package which would be disposed of when the contents have been consumed.
Within the box 11 there are disposed a plurality of sealed packets 12 containing tea bags 13 or the like. As mentioned hereinbefore, the packets are serially connected so as to form a continuous strip 14 with adjacent packets longitudinally of the strip having transverse connecting portions 16 therebetween. The plural package strip 14 may be formed, for example, from superposed layers 17, 18 of cellophane, plastic film, or the like, disposed on opposite sides of the tea bags 13. Longitudinal seals are provided between the layers 17, 18 at the marginal side edges thereof and transverse seals are provided at longitudinal intervals between respectively adjacent tea bags to thereby form the continuous strip of connected packets. The transverse seals of course define the connecting portions 16 of the strip. The strip is folded in zig-zag fashion, as shown in FIGURE 2, to provide superposed layers 19 of packets 12, with each layer preferably comprising two packets, stacked within the box 11. The folds of the strip are readily accomplished at the connecting portions 16.
In order that the strip 14 may be withdrawn from the box 11, same is arranged for the establishment of a slot 20 therein, comprising the opening of previous mention. The slot is provided in a wall 21 of the box which is transverse to the longitudinal axis of the strip disposed therein. The slot extends transversely across this wall and is preferably positioned at one end thereof such that one of the outermost layers 19 of the folded strip may be withdrawn directly through the slot without obstruction. The width of the slot is of course in excess of the height of the packets 12. The slot is best established upon the tearing off of a perforated tab portion 22 of the transverse box wall 21 adjacent one end thereof. In this regard, the tab portion is shown intact in FIGURE 4, and and it will be thus appreciated that the box 11 is in the form of a sealed package prior to its use for dispensing service. To convert the box for dispensing service, the tab portion is merely torn-off, thereby establishing the slot 20 through which the strip may be withdrawn to dispense the packets.
Considering now the cutting edge means provided to facilitate severing of packets 12 from the remainder of the strip 14, such means preferably comprises a band 23 with a serrated cutting edge 24 mounted upon the box 11 to extend transversely across the wall 21 of the box opposite end thereof from slot 20. In this regard, the band 23 is preferably of U-shaped configuration. including parallel spaced side legs 25 and right angularly interconnecting web 26. The side legs 25 are mounted upon the box for slidable translation longitudinally thereof, the web extending transversely of the wall 21. The band is longitudinally translatable between an inactive position wherein the web is flush with the box wall, as shown in FIGURE 4, and an operable position wherein the web is longitudinally spaced therefrom, as shown in FIGURES l-3. The serrated edge 24 is provided at the distal edge of the web 26 with respect to slot 20. Moreover, the distance between the serrated edge 24 and the slot 20 is preferably selected to correspond to the distance between successive connecting portions 16 of the stri 12. Consequently, when the band is disposed in operable position with the web spaced from the wall of the box, the end of the strip 14 may be withdrawn from the slot 20 and led between the web and box wall. necting portion 16 of the strip bends over the'slot edge, a leading connecting portion is positioned adjacent the serrated cutting edge 24, by virtue of the above noted dimensional relationship. Now, if the leading connecting portion is engagably bent about the cutting edge, a binding action occurs which holds the strip fast as the leading connecting portion is torn across the cutting edge to thus sever a packet in advance thereof from the remainder of the strip.
The translatable mounting of the band 23 is preferably facilitated by a pair of slots 27 provided in wall 21 parallel adjacent the opposite side edges thereof. In addition, the opposite sides of the box are each provided with a pair of longitudinally spaced slots 28, 29 parallel to slots 27 and in alignment therewith. The side legs 25 of the band 23 respectively extend through the aligned sets of slots 27, 28, 29 in slidable relation thereto with portions of the side legs between slots 28, 29 being exteriorly of the box side walls. The free ends of the side legs 24 are formed with inwardly reentrance hook portions 31 which engage the edges of slots 29, as shown in FIGURE 3, when the band is translated outwardly to its operable position. The portions 31 thus function as stops for determining the operable position of. the band.
There is thus provided by the present invention, a packet dispensing device which is preferably initially in the form of a merchandising box 11 including the tab portion 22, and having the band 23 in retracted position, as shown in FIGURE 4. The box in this form would be purchased at a grocery store, or the like. When it is desired to remove the packets 12 from the box, the tab portion 22 is torn off to thereby establish the slot 20. The strip 14 is withdrawn through the slot and the band 23 is translated to its operable position spacing the web 26 from the box wall 21 and exposing the cutting edge 24. The strip is led between the band and box wall to a position wherein one of the connecting portions 16 between the packets is adjacent the cutting edge. The connecting When a trailing conportion is then torn across the cutting edge to sever a packet from the remainder of the strip.
What is claimed is:
1. A packet dispensing device comprising a container, means including said container for defining an opening in a wall thereof, a continuous strip of interconnected packets, said strip folded in zig-zag fashion and disposed within said container, and cutting means carried by said container at said wall thereof in position for severing engagement with connecting portions of said strip between said packets when said strip is withdrawn through said opening, said cutting means extending transversely of said Wall and being translatable between a position flush with said wall and a position spaced therefrom, the distance between said opening and said cutting means being equal to the distance between successive connecting portion of said strip.
2. A packet dispensing device comprising a rectangular box having a transverse wall including means for defining a transverse slot adjacent one end thereof, a continuous strip of interconnected packets, said strip folded in zig zag fashion to define superposed layers longitudinally disposed within said box, and a U-shaped band having parallel spaced side legs and an interconnecting web, said side legs mounted for slidable translation longitudinally of said box adjacent said transverse wall with said web extending transversely thereof, said web having its distal edge with respect to said slot serrated, said band positioned such that the distance between the serrated edge of said web and said slot is equal to the distance between successive connecting portions of said strip.
3. A packet dispensing device according to claim 2, further defined by said transverse wall having a pair of band receiving slots respectively parallel adjacent the opposite side legs thereof and opposite side walls of said box each having a pair of longitudinally spaced band receiving slots parallel to and in alignment with said band receiving slots of said transverse wall, said side legs of said band respectively extending through aligned sets of said band receiving slots, said side legs having inwardly reentrant hook portions at their free ends.
4. A packet dispensing device according to claim 2, wherein said means for defining a transverse slot in said transverse wall comprises a perforated tab portion of said transverse wall extending transversely thereacross adjacent an end thereof.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,235,110 4/1915 Hall 22548 X 1,267,071 5/1918 Hardy 22589 X 1,400,619 12/1921 Marcue 22532 2,678,777 5/1954 Donkin 225-89 X 3,165,249 1/1965 Peck 22125 X FOREIGN PATENTS 891,776 12/ 1943 France.
WILLIAM W. DYER, JR., Primary Examiner.
I. M. MEISTER, Assistant Examiner.