US 3243082 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 29, 1966 5. THOMPSON 3,243,082 V CUP CONTAINER AND DISPENSER Filed Sept. 28, 1964 INVENTOR.
STANLEY W. THOMPSON BY HIS HTTORNEYS. HARE/6, mac/4, RUSSELL & KERN United States Patent 3,243,082 CUP CONTAINER AND DISPENSER Stanley W. Thompson, Scottsdale, Ariz., assignor, by mesne assignments, to Thompson Industries Co., Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Filed Sept. 28, 1964, Ser. No. 399,747 2 Claims. (Cl. 221-302) This invention relates to a cup container and dispenser.
It is an object of this invention to provide a single bag which may be used for both containing and dispensing receptacles such as cups.
Another object of this invention is to provide a cup container and dispenser which is inexpensive to manufacture.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a cup container and dispenser which is disposable.
A further object is to provide a cup container and dispenser which completely encloses the cups to keep them clean and dust free.
Another object of the invention is to provide a cup container and dispenser which will dispense cups or containers of various shapes and sizes including those which have no lip portion surrounding the upper edge of each cup.
Briefly stated, the invention includes a flexible bag closed along all of its edges and containing a plurality of nested containers. Preferably, the upper edge of the bag is closed by a hanger which is adapted to mount the bag to a support. A resilient member such as a rubber band is provided and may be positioned so that it surrounds both the flexible bag and the bottom container. With the bag so disposed, it serves as a convenient container for the cups which are held therein. When it is desired to dispense the cups, the bag is pendulously suspended from a support by the hanger on the bag, and the bot-tom of the bag beneath the resilient band is torn oif and folded upwardly. Thus, the column of nested containers is held within the flexible bag by the resilient band which bears against the bag and the bottom container. To dispense the containers the user merely grasps the bottom container and pulls it downward until its upper edge is beneath the resilient band, at which time the container is free from the bag and the remainder of the containers. The next of the nested cups then becomes the bottom cup and is gripped by the resilient band in the same manner. Thus, the containers may be dispensed one after another until all of them have been utilized, and at this time the flexible bag may be removed from its support and either reused or disposed of.
The features of the invention which are believed novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference' to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing. The drawing merely shows and the description merely describes preferred embodiments of the present invention which are given by way of illustration and example.
In the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a cup container and dispenser of this invention before it has been prepared to dispense cups;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary elevation of a cup container and dispenser of this invention which has been prepared to dispense cups by removing and turning upward, the bottom portion of a bag;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 with a portion of the flexible bag and resilient band removed;
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the bottom cup just after it has been withdrawn from the dispenser;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 4 showing several nested containers held within a flexible bag by a resilient band.
The cup container and dispenser include a flexible bag 1, a hanger 3, a resilient band 5, and a plurality of nested containers or cups 7. The flexible bag is preferably elongated and is of such a size that the containers 7 may be easily inserted therein. The bag 1 is preferably constructed of thin sheets of transparent, flexible, plastic material such as polyethylene although other flexible wrappings may be used. The bag is preferably closed along all of its edges to keep the containers or cups 7 free from dirt, which might otherwise accumulate thereon. For example, the bag may be heat sealed along a lateral edge 9, another lateral edge 11, and also along a bottom edge 13 and may be closed along an upper edge 15 by the hanger 3 in a manner which is more fully described below. If desired, a score line or series of perforations 17 may be provided on the bag 1 at any suitable position beneath the resilient band 5. In the dispensing position, the bottom of the bag is torn off along the score line 17 to form an open end 18 which is turned up to form an upturned portion 21.
The hanger 3, which preferably comprises a layer or layers of flexible or semiflexible material such as paper, has a perforation 23 therethrough for attachment to a suitable support or hook. The hanger 3 is suitably secured to the upper edge 15 of the bag 1 by any suitable means such as stitches or staples, which also may serve to seal or close the upper edge 15. If desired, the hanger 3 may be formed from a single sheet of paper folded at its center and attached at its free ends to the upper edge 15 of the bag 1. The material of which the hanger 3 is constructed must be sufficiently strong to support the bag 1 and the nested cups 7 and may be provided with reinforcement, if desired, around the perforation 23 to guard against tearing of the hanger.
All of the cups are preferably substantially identical. The cups 7 including a bottom cup 25 and a next to the bottom cup 27 are preferably frusto conical tofacilitate stacking and nesting thereof. All of the cups are preferably made from a rigid plastic or foam plastic such as polystyrene; however, other materials having suflicien-t rigidity to withstand the external pressure exerted by the resilient band 5 may be used. It should be noted that the dispenser of the instant invention does not require that each cup have a laterally extending lip surrounding its upper edge. Accordingly, each cup has a substantially smooth upper external wall surface.
Any band having sufficient resilience to support the entire column of nested cups may be used for the resilient means 5. A rubber or elastic band whose unstressed diameter is less than the diameter of the cup at its upper edge has been found particularly suited for use in this invention. The resilient band 5 may be either a separate element or may be integral with the bag 1. When the bag 1 is serving only as a container for the cups 7, 25, 27, the resilient band 5 may be secured to the bag at any suitable place and in any suitable manner. However, when it is desired to use the bag 1 as a dispenser, as well as a container for the cups, the resilient band 5 should surround the upper portion of the bottom cup or the upper portion of the cup which is next to the bottom cup. If the band 5 surrounds the cup which is next to the bottom, it is presupposed that the bottom cup will be taken from the dispenser as soon as the bottom portion of the bag 17 is removed.
In utilizing the present invention, a cup container and dispenser as shown in FIG. 1 may be suitably hooked to a support by the perforation 23 in the hanger 3. The bottom of the bag 1 is then removed by tearing along the scored line 17 and the remaining portion of the bag 3,243,082 Patented Mar. 29, 1966 downward movement of the bottom cup 25 is resisted by' the resilient band which is camrned outwardly to a greater diameter by the conical walls of the bottom cup. As the bottom cup is pulled downwardly, the other cups in the column move downwardly a corresponding distance through the action of gravity and the frictional force between the walls of the nested cups. As this downward movement continues, the upper edge of the bottom cup 25 will become closely adjacent the resilient band 5, and, at this time, the next to the bottom cup 27 has also moved downward to assume a position substantially where the bottom cup was before the dispensing action had begun. As the upper edge of the bottom cup 25 moves beneath the band 5, the band will snap against the next to the bottom cup 27. At this time, the bottom cup 25 will have been dispensed and the remainder of the nested cups moved downward so that the next to the bottom cup 27 is now ready for dispensing as shown in FIG. 4. When all of the cups 7 have been dispensed from the bag 1, the bag may be refilled with cups and used again or, as it is very inexpensive, may be disposed of.
Several modifications of the specific embodiment disclosed herein will readily become apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art. For example, the perforation 23 on the hanger 3 may be replaced by other suitable means for attaching the cup container and dispenser to a support such as a hook or a strip of adhesive. The dispenser may also be used to dispense containers other than the frusto conical cups illustrated.
Although exemplary embodiments of the invention have been disclosed, it will be understood that other applications of the invention are possible and that the embodiments disclosed may be subjected to various changes, modifications, and substitutions without necessarily departing from the spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A cup container and dispenser comprising:
an elongated, transparent, flexible, polyethylene bag, said bag being heat sealed along its lower and side edges;
a plurality of nested, plastic, frusto conical cups loosely fitted in said bag;
a hanger integral with and closing the upper end of said bag, said hanger having a perforation therethrough for securing same to a support and thereby suspending the bag in a vertical position; and
a rubber band in engagement with and surrounding said bag at the lower end thereof and holding a generally circumferential portion of the bag in tight engagernent with the side wall of the bottom one of said cups, said bag being scored along a line below said rubber band to permit opening of the lower end of the bag at said line thereby exposing said bottom cup and permitting a removal of the bottom cup by a downward pull thereon sufiicient to expand the rubber band to a diameter great enough to pass the largest portion of the cup, and the rubber band elastically returning to a lesser diameter to hold the next-to-bottom cup within the bag.
2. A cup container and dispenser according to claim 1 wherein:
a portion of said bag extends below the rubber band and is above said scored line;
said bag portion being foldable upwardly over the rubber band and part of the bag to retain the rubber band in proper position on the bag.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,340,089 1/1944 Vineburgh 22163 2,340,090 1/ 1944 Vinebur-gh 22163 2,349,074 5/1944 Butterman 2213 10 2,804,236 8/1957 Piazze 221-307 3,006,503 10/1961 ONeil 221307 3,187,478 6/1965 Kirpatrick 22l-307 LOUIS J. DEMBO, Primary Examiner.
WALTER SOBIN, Examiner.