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Publication numberUS3250564 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 10, 1966
Filing dateFeb 2, 1960
Priority dateFeb 2, 1960
Publication numberUS 3250564 A, US 3250564A, US-A-3250564, US3250564 A, US3250564A
InventorsStern Jan Peter, Mitchell Robert Morton
Original AssigneeJones & Co Inc R A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Display carrier
US 3250564 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

y 1966 J. P. STERN ETAL 3,250,564

DISPLAY CARRIER Filed Feb. 2, 1960 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 ATTORNEYS J. P. STERN ETAL May 10, 1966 DISPLAY CARRIER 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Feb. 2. 1960 INVENTORS Java Pez'fer Siern fifiabert Mararz Mfichew ATTOMJEKS y 1966 J. P. STERN ETAL 3,250,564

DISPLAY CARRIER Filed Feb. 2. 1960 4 SheetsSheet 4.

INVENTURS Jam Pefier Sfirn f Faber?) Mariam Mb'fickell WMMgM ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,256,564 DISPLAY CARRIER Jan Peter Stern, Yonkers, N.Y., and Robert Morton Mitchell, West Norwalk, Conn., assignors, by mesne assignments, to R. A. Jones and (10., Inc., Covington, Ky., a corporation of Kentucky Filed Feb. 2, 1960, Ser. No. 6,286 4 Claims. (Cl. 294-871) This application is a continuation-in-part of our earlier copending application Serial No. 737,077 which was filed May 22, 1958 and has matured into Patent No. 3,202,448.

This invention relates to a multiple container holder or carrying means of extreme simplicity, yet of effective and eflicien-t design. More particularly, the invention is directed to a container holder comprising a series of contiguous, open rings all lying within the same plane and secured together by means of an intervening web, which rings are provided with not only an efficient grasp ing means for the individual container, but are also provided with a surmounting ridge or flange permitting effective stacking of a plurality of packs of containers one upon the other, either in the same vertical plane or in interlocking, staggered relationship.

It is appreciated that in the past a multitude of designs have been proffered as effectuating the objectives and functions of the herein involved invention. However, prior art units directed toward the same achievements have generally been unsuccessful, particularly from a commercial viewpoint, for two basic reasons: on the one hand such designs, if effective at all, have been relatively complex, i.e., involving various forms of metallic clips, sliding members and other mechanical arrangements which are so complicated as to introduce into the manufacture thereof an element of excessive cost that destroys their practical appeal from a commercial standpoint. On the other hand, such past designs, if simplified to the extent that the cost factor renders the same appealing commercially, do notvattain that functional efficiency, involving relative ease of use, necessary for ordinary distributor and customer appeah Although suitable for other uses, the instant invention is primarily directed to a support or carrying means for such containers as beer cans. At the present time these products are "generally packed and distributed for sale in cardboard containers which, even under the most ideal manufacturing conditions, may cost the distributor a minimum of between four to six cents per holder. Produced in quantities of tens of thousands, and even at this relatively low per unit expense the over-all capital outlay of such items represents a substantial investment. Manifestly therefore, any improvement in the art must necessarily not only compete with this type of paper product but preferably be capable of a substantial reduction in cost, while at the same time maintaining the packaging effectiveness inherent in the more common form of paper container holder. Thus the holder must maintain a so-called six-pack in relatively rigid relationship for carrying purposes, and at the same time permit not only easy insertion of the container into the holder but rapid, easy removal thereof by the customer.

The instant invention achieves both of the desiderata generally referred to in the foregoing, i.e., low cost manufacture, consistent with ease of relatively rapid production thereof in substantial quantity; furthermore, the unit of this invention, despite its utter simplicity, does obtain the second fundamentalsecure retentionof the several containers, yet ease of withdrawal thereof from the holder by the individual consumer.

3,250,554 Patented May 10, 1966 is constructed with a unique bead engaging and locking edge that permits not only of ready insertion of the several containers into the carrier but enables the ultimate consumer to readily withdraw the individual containers one ata time from the pack in a manner easier than that involved with respect to the usual cardboard containers referred to, supra.

It is a further objective of the invention to provide a holder of the described type which not only, as just mentioned, securely maintains a series of containers in relatively rigid association with each other, but also permits a number of such so called six-packs (or other multiple units) to be securely stacked one upon the other in not only direct, superimposed relationship, but also in an interlocking, and even sturdier fashion. In the latter respect the series of packs can be stacked various ways, one of which is to criss-cross the packs so that the same can be interlocked with each other, thereby assuring that the entire stack of a number of containers, when placed in a store for display and sale, is not easily disturbed or knocked over.

Another object of the invention is to provide a container of the generally described type which confines the edge of the rim of the several containers, when the same are grasped together as a multiple unit, between approximately horizontal portions of the grasping means. In this aspect the unit of the invention differs from many prior art schemes which depend upon that less reliable form of retention between the vertical surfaces of the holding means. The manner of retention of this invention, furthermore, is more conducive to that all-important function-ease of insertion (either manually or by machine) as well as ease of withdrawal by the customer.

A further objective of the invention is the provision of a unit of this type wherein by reason of use of a series of adjacent, open, annular rings fitted with suitable rim engaging means, a maximum surface area of the individual container is not only open for display, but also,

It is accordingly a primary object of this invention to 7 provide a simplified six-pack container holder which for direct contact with refrigerated air. These features, inter alia, particularly distinguish over the current, popular method of carrier structure, of the cardboard type, where the individual containers are substantially enclosed, thereby necessitating display information to be printed upon the holder itself and thereby also, in substantially reducing the surface area open to refrigerated air requiring substantially more refrigeration time. Furthermore, in the instant invention, the open top thereof is available for the insertion of a suitable ring of advertising material which can be additionally utilized as a coaster when the individual containers are removed for use.

Also, it is the objective of this invention to provide a carrier of the nature referred to which, dependent upon the particular type of plastic material out of which it is fabricated, can be provided with individual score lines between the several retaining rings so that upon use by the consumer the latter can break the individual rings one from another while leaving the same engaged with the removed container, the ring itself, when inverted, then functioning as an effective coaster.

* With these general objectives and functions in mind, reference is now made to the following more particular description of the invention and to the illustration thereof in the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals designate like parts, and wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of several units comprising the invention in criss-crossed, stacked relationship With respect to each other;

FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the invention;

FIGURE 3 is a side elevation view of the invention;

FIGURE 4 is a bottom plan view of the invention;

FIGURE 5 is an enlarged section view, taken on the line 55 of FIGURE 2; and

FIGURE 6 is an enlarged section view taken on the line 66 of FIGURE 2.

Referring more particularly to these several views of our invention, it is seen that in FIGURE 1 the holder is generally indicated at 1. In the embodiment herein described such holder consists of a series of contiguous rings 2 which lie in the same plane and which are preformed and connected together with an intervening web 4, each of the rim grasping means of the ring formations 2 being adapted to retain an individual container 3. Since these rings are positioned closely adjacent to each other, 1.e., as closely as possible consistent with the formation of the grasping means to be described, it will appear that when the carrier is superimposed over a group of containers the latter are also closely adjacent to each other. When the unit is lifted by means of the finger holes 6 the several containers are suspended and, the lifting means being in the center of the holder, the series of containers will tend to converge in their lower portions so that each suppiorts the other and the entire unit becomes relatively rigi It is to be understood that the container holder of this invention may be made of various types of materials, but preferably of synthetic plastics such as polyethylene or polystyrene. In any event, such plastic materials can be formulated to be of various degrees ofresiliency, hardness, frangibility, etc. In the instant case, a certain amount of flexibility is desirable in order to facilitate the engagement of the skirt portion of the holding means with each of the container rings, i.e., that skirt portion must have suflicient resiliency to permit slipping under and gripping of the edges of the can during insertion of the latter and to permit also some movement in an opposite direction, enabling the removal of the individual containers.

Referring again to the stacking of several of these units, and particularly to the criss-cross stacking which has been referred to, it will be seen that in FIGURE 1 three holders are utilized, here for six-packs, and here also generally indicated at A, B and C. The two lower units, B and C, are positioned alongside each other in what might be termed parallel relationship. However, the superimposed unit A, instead of being in vertical alignment with either unit B or C, is crossed at right angles with these latter two so that four of the cans 3, through the stacking means to be hereinafter described, engage four of the cans of unit C, and the remaining two cans of unit A are interlocked with two of the cans of unit B. In this example, although only a few of the units are illustrated, there is graphically demonstrated the manner by which a large number of such six-pack units may be so interlocked and thus rigidly stacked. With increasing height of the entire stack of same, it is obvious that the interlocking feature is conducive to rigidity of the over-all plurality of carrier packs.

In other words, the criss-crossing and its interlocking effect more securely renders the entire series rigid than would be the case were all such carriers in exactly vertical arrangement. It is also pointed out that in this respect the upwardly extending ridge or flange incorporated in each ring permits this type of operation, whereas in the ordinary and known type of carrier no such means is provided. In the latter such criss-crossing or any other manner of stacking lends no more rigidity to the entire plurality of stacked units than would be involved in simply stacking the same one above the other in relatively vertical alignment.

Thus, and viewing FIGURE 6, it is seen that each ring is provided with an upstanding edge or vertical flange 12, referred to above, which is formed integrally with the web 4 extending laterally inbetween each of the circular holder elements. The annular ring formed by the flange 12 is of an over-all diameter slightly less than or approximately equal to the diameter of the container rims -15 as shown in this same figure. Accordingly, when the holders are stacked one upon the other the rims or beads 15 of each container embrace this upstanding flange 12 and are retained thereby in relatively secure fashion for stacking purposes. The stacking rings or flanges 12 perform an additional and important function: that of reinforcing and lending rigidity to the entire holder structure. These, in conjunction with other reinforcing elements to be described, lend to the container holder that requisite stiffness (despite the inherent resiliency of the material used) to adequately and firmly support the plurality of containers in, e.g., a six-pack unit.

The grasping means for holding the upper edge or rim of each of the containers is also more graphically illustrated in FIGURE 6. Formed integrally with the web 4, such grasping means depends downwardly from the web, and comprises a depending flange extending below the .web and of course following-the circular configuration of each of the rings 2. This depending flange 20 terminates in a projection formed with outer and inner sides 27 and 28, respectively, the latter converging slightly as indicated in this figure. The side 27 thus flares outwardly a small amount and the inner side 28, to a somewhat greater degree, also flares outwardly. The projection 25 thus provides a retaining lip or skirt portion 30 that extends inwardly of the depending edge 20, which skirt is adapted to embrace the edge 15 of a given container, securely retaining the same in the groove 18 formed between the topmost portion thereof and the underneath surface 13 of the web 4. Thus the bead 15 of each container is embraced by this holding means in a secure fashion, but by reason of the formation of the projection 25 and the inherent resiliency of the material out of which the container holder is fabricated, that projection 25 is subject to a slight distortion, or at least distortion of a suflicient amount to readily enable insertion of the container beads within the referred to groove. This projection 25 is also inherently sufficiently distortable to permit easy removal of the container head from the stated groove by the user, it being understood that insertion is accomplished in one direction and removal of the container 1n the opposite direction.

As further descriptive of the stacking flange-bead retaining combination of the invention, it is seen that the bottom bead of an upper container is piloted into exact vertical alignment with the upper bead or rim of an underneath container; the relative positions of the groove 18 and flange are such as to automatically accomplish that function when several carriers are superimposed, or stacked. This holds true whether such stacking is done in crisscross fashion or not.

Ease of insertion and removal of the individual containers from each of the rings is assured by these two primary factors: Firstly, the skirts 30 do not extend around the entire periphery of each of the rings 2 but rather, are discontinuous or interrupted. Viewing the bottom plan of FIGURE 4, it is seen that the substantial circumference of each ring is provided with the described retaining edge or skirt 30, but that where the individual rings are contiguous to one another, there are open spaces lacking such a bead and presenting near the surface of the container only the web formation 4. Secondly, each of these retaining edge formations or skirts 30 is fabricated to extend downwardly a slight amount as indicated in FIGURE 6 where the deviation of the edge from a plane parallel to the lateral plane of the web may approximate 5. This deviation likewise greatly facilitates not only insertion of the containers within the rings, but to the same extent, removal thereof by the user.

Again, viewing the bottom plan view of FIGURE 4, it is seen that the projecting, retaining skirts 30 are here designated at 32- where they are formed integrally with a raised portion of the web, the latter constituting an area suitable for the two finger rings 6. Each opening 6 is provided with an upstanding edge 7, the latter also functioning as a stiffening element lending rigidity to the unit. The retaining flanges or skirts 32, although identical to the retaining flanges 30, comprise a smaller portion of the circumference of the ring 2. Such skirts 32 project from portions 60 which lie in approximately the same plane as the skirts 30.

Further rigidity is lent to each of the holder units, again referring to FIGURE 4, by rib members 50 which, as indicated therein, extend between those portions of the rings which are adjacent to each other and which, as stated in the foregoing, are not provided with the retention skirts 30 or 32. Additional rigidity is supplied by the interlocking, annular ridges 12.

Mention has been made in the foregoing of a grooved or weakened line in between the container rings which is indicated in FIGURE 2 as a score line 55. This is provided between the individual holders through the web portion by which they are connected so that individual receptacle holders may be broken off and, when inverted used as a coaster for the containers. It is obvious also that the same permits individual holders to be broken off to permit the Storekeeper to sell less than a full pack or to permit the buyer to use less than a full pack, or to permit the buyer to conserve space as the various containers are used. Hence, when suchscore lines are provided it is unnecessary, at the option of the user, to remove an individual can from the retaining ring for the latter may merely be separated from the rest of the rings by breaking the web portion through the scored sections. In this instance the container units may be fabricated of plastic material relatively more brittle in nature so that breakage is fatcilitated by the very frangible nature of the plastic utilized. When the ring formations are so used as coasters after severance from the holder in this manner, they are naturally inverted; hence the outwardly extending projection 25 will be disposed upwardly to form a slight groove between the same and the circumference of the container. This groove will serve to collect condensed moisture dripping from the container.

From the foregoing the manner of using the carrier of this invention should be obvious: the cans are inserted with the major proportion of the circumference of the rims thereof placed into the groove 18 of the edge 30, and then the smaller proportion of the rim is snapped into place behind the ledge 32. The spaced portions between the ledges 30 and 32 and between adjacent containers permit insertion and removal in the proper direction, removal being accomplished by merely snapping the edge of the container from the ledge 32 in an opposite direction to that by which the can is inserted. When individual containers are removed, such removal is well controlled for the distortable parts of-the holder are distorted in the right direction and removal allowed in the right direction. The finger holes in each of the units act to permit deflection of the material outwardly from the containers into the finger holes, thus further facilitating insertion and removal.

As pointed out above, retention of the container is accomplished by grasping the rims thereof between two horizontal surfaces, the 5 slant of the edges 30 and 32 permitting sufficient deflection to enable accommodation of rims of somewhat different sizes.

Each of the units are substantially reinforced, as they must be, having in mind the nature of the material out of which they are fabricated, by the rib members 50 which extend the length of the open spaces between the ledges 30 and 32, the intermediate portions 60 inbe-tween the quadrants formed by four cans, and by the vertical, interlocking edges 12. Reinforcement is also accomplished by the upwardly extended edges 7 of each of the finger holes.

When fabricated of plastic material which is readily breakable in nature, the score lines 55 permit the user to break off the individual containers without removal from the individual ring 2 so that, as explained above, such ring will function as a coaster.

While the invention primarily resides in the novel arrangement and combination of parts and in the details of construction described in the foregoing, it is to be understood that changes in the precise, preferred embodiment of the invention may be made within the scope of what is claimed herein without departing from the spirit thereof. The invention is susceptible of embodiment in many and various forms, one of which is herein illustrated; however, the structural details thereof may be varied to suit particular purposes and still remain within the inventive concept.

We claim:

1. A display carrier for containers comprising a plurality of circular container holders, said holders being of resilient material, an intermediate web of said material, said holders being supported by said web in the same plane, each of said holders having means for releasably retaining the rim of one of said containers, said holding means extending below said web and comprising a groove depending from said holder and formed between approxi mately parallel surfaces, said surfaces being approximately parallel to said web, the lowermost of said surfaces having an outwardly and downwardly extending, resilient projection adapted to flex for reception of said rim and upstanding flange means above said web integral with said holders and near the inner periphery thereof for interlocking said holders with the rims of superimposed containers.

2. A display carrier for containers comprising a plurality of circular container holders, said holders being of resilient material and interconnected in the same plane by an intermediate web of said material, each of said holders having means for releasably retaining the rim of one of said containers, said holding means extending below said web and comprising a groove depending from said holder, said groove having an upper surface parallel to said web and a lower surface disposed inwardly and downwardly at an angle of not more than 5, said lower surface hav ing an outwardly extending, resilient projection adapted to flex for reception of said rim, and upstanding flange means above said web integral with said holders and near the inner periphery thereof for interlocking said holders with the rims of superimposed containers.

3. A display carrier for containers comprising a plurality of circular container holders, said holders being of resilient, flexible material and interconnected in the same plane by an intermediate web of said material, each of said holders having means for releasably retaining the rim of one of said containers, said holding means extending below said web and comprising a rim receiving, peripheral groove depending from said holder and formed between approximately parallel surfaces, said groove opening toward the center of the area defined by said holders, the lowermost of said surfaces having an outwardly and downwardly extending, resilient projection adapted to flex for reception of said rim, said groove being interrupted and discontinuous around the rim thereof to facilitate the insertion and removal of the rim of a container therein, and upstanding flange means above said web integral with said holders and near the inner periphery thereof for interlocking said holders with the rims of superimposed containers.

4. A display carrier for containers having annular, beaded rims comprising at least six circular container holders, the adjacent of said holders being equally spaced from each other, an intermediate web supporting said holders in the same plane, each of said holders having means for releasably retaining said beaded rims, said retaining means comprising an annular element depending from each of said holders, said element having an interior groove comprising opposed surfaces approximately parallel with said plane, and interlocking means on each of I said holders comprising a circular flange extending upwardly from near the periphery of each of said holders and integral therewith, the exterior diameter of said circular flange being approximately equal to the interior diameter of said beaded rims, whereby the flanges of said holders are adapted to interfit within :the beaded rims of superimposed containersand in locking relationship therewith to interlock one carrier with another carrier in aligned, and in criss-cross, stacked relationship.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,939,719 12/1933 Nieholls 220-97 2,038,990 4/1936 Barr. 2,754,962 7/1956 Scrymgeour.

8 2,814,405 11/1957 Edwards 215 41 2,874,835 2/1959 Poupitch.

FOREIGN PATENTS 1,150,059 7/1957 France.

662,500 12/1951 Great Britain.

GERALD M. FORLENZA, Primary Examiner.

LEO QUACKENBUSH, JOSEPH S. SHANK, SAMUEL F COLEMAN, Examiners.

M. I. HILL, G. F. ABRAHAM, Assistant Examiners.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification294/87.2, 206/503, 206/151, 206/821, 24/288, 206/509
International ClassificationB65D71/50
Cooperative ClassificationB65D71/50, Y10S206/821
European ClassificationB65D71/50