US 3258192 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 28, 1966 J. F. KELTY CARTON Filed March 3, 1964.
United States Patent 3,258,192 CARTON John F. Kelty, Fort Wayne, Ind., assignor to Peter Eckrich & Sons, Inc., a corporation of Indiana Filed Mar. 3, 1964, Ser. No. 348,955 1 Claim. (Cl. 22939) This invention relates to cartons having a self-locking closure end and new features rendering the self-locking closure more readily openable. This invention further relates to a form of carton top closure especially useful on cartons intended for use in packaging foodstuffs and the like.
Cartons having a self-locking carton closure are useful in the packaging of foodstuffs. Such cartons may include the normal four interconnected vertical side walls of a hexahedral carton, a self-locking closure at one end, and a conventional four-flap closure at the other end. The conventional four-flap closure may be, for example, of the type formed by folding in two flaps from two opposing sides of the carton and folding thereover two flaps from the other two opposing sides of the carton, the latter two flaps extending approximately half-way across the carton and providing a narrow seam which may be taped to secure the carton closure closed. The self-locking carton closure at the other end of the carton may also be formed from four flaps. However, the flaps are so configurated to interlock with the closure in closed position to prevent opening of the package by force from within the package, e.g. the weight of the package of goods.
The interlock of flaps in a self-locking closure can best be exemplified with reference to the drawings, in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a carton using a self-locking top closure;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view showing the bottom of carton of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view showing the self-locking closure in open position for better illustration of the flaps which constitute the self-locking closure; and
FIGURES 4a through 4a are views from the top of the carton of FIGURES 1 through 3 at various stages in closing the self-locking closure.
As an example of one form of self-locking carton closure used in packaging foodstuffs, the closure can be a four flap closure such as illustrated in the figures. To close the carton a first flap is folded to closed position (FIGURE 4b); the two flaps laterally of the first flap are then also folded to closed position (FIGURE 4c) and the fourth flap, which opposes the first flap, is then folded to closed position over the second and third flaps and extends beneath the first flap to interlock against the lower surface of the first flap (FIGURE 4d) preventing opening of the closure by forces within the carton. The
Y first, second and third flaps, in closed position, form a slot configurated to receive a tongue on the fourth flap, the tongue providing the portion of the fourth flap which interlocks beneath the first flap. The first flap includes portions extending beneath each of the second and third flaps, the first flap having been folded into closed position prior to the second and third flaps. The interlock of the first flap beneath the second and third flaps completes an interlock of the flaps.
In one form of the self-locking closure which appears to be particularly acceptable for packaging food products, the tongue portion of the fourth flap is sufficiently long to interlock beneath the first flap but is also sufficiently short that when the fourth flap is folded into closed position, all four flaps may be depressed beyond closing position a sufficient amount to permit entry of the end of the tongue into the slot formed by the other three flaps without bending the fourth flap or tongue portion thereof.
Patented June 28, 1966 In such structure, the slot deforms to a larger configuration during depression of the flaps beyond closed position, resulting in even greater ease of entry of the tongue.
In the packaging of foodstuffs, it has been a practice to use a self-locking closure as the bottom closure of the carton. Accordingly, the self-locking closure is formed with the more conventional top closure still open, the carton is packed and the top closure is folded to closed position and taped. Thus, a conventional central taped seam closure is provided on the top of the carton and such provision, in itself, creates a disadvantageous structure. Even though the top of the carton may be printed with directions to turn the carton upside down and open from the self-locking closure end, it has been the conventional practice of the recipients of the goods packaged in such cartons to slit the tape along the seam of the top closure with a knife for gaining access to the contents. Such opening with a knife may damage vacuum packed protective film packages or envelopes containing meat products or the like, and may even damage foodstuffs within the carton or within envelopes packed in the carton, resulting in undue waste. Once the vacuum of a vacuum sealed envelope has been destroyed by cutting, the packaged product, e.g. sandwich meat or the like, is usually not saleable.
The practice of opening such cartons with a knife from the conventional closure end of the carton appears to result from two factors. First, the conventional closure end of the carton is disposed upward, i.e. as at the top of the carton and, second, the self-locking carton closures have not heretofore been particularly readily openable. It is often the case that the products within the carton are needed immediately and the person opening the carton does not have the time to reposition the carton to gain access to the self-locking closure on the carton bottom and then attempt to open the carton through the self-locking closure. It has been much easier to simply slit the top closure with a knife for gaining access.
The difiiculty in opening the conventional self-locking closure is inherent in its structure. Heretofore, the opening has been effected by inserting fingers between the first and fourth flaps, as identified above, within the slot through which the fourth flap tongue protrudes and jerking upwards on the first flap with a sharp motion. Force is thereby applied in the same general direction as force would be applied from the interior of the carton and, as pointed out above, the self-locking closure resists opening due to such forces. Often, the applied force for opening the self-locking closure is greatly dissipated in tearing of flaps, bending of flaps, and crimping of the tongue between ends of the slot as the first flap is pulled upward, the slot ends being defined as inwardly facing edges of a notch in the first flap. The slot ends bind against and crimp the tongue of the fourth flap as the first flap is bowed outward during the upward pulling thereof. The binding and crimping resists opening forces applied to the first flap. Also, where the carton is full of the packaged food product, it may be difficult to insert ones fingers between the first and fourth flaps to initiate the opening of the carton.
It is a general object of this invention to provide a new and useful carton opening feature of the character herein described.
Yet another object of this invention is to render a carton having a self-locking closure more readily openable without the use of a knife or the like.
In one form of the present invention, it is an object to provide opening means for a self-locking closure which may also be used to grip the carton for lifting the carton without opening.
Still another object of this invention is to incorporate a gripping surface or edge in the tongue flap of a self-locking carton closurewhile providing a weakened area for more readily opening .the carton.
Other objects will become apparent from the following description and the drawings which illustrate a form of self-locking closure including features of the present inyen-tion.
Although there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail one specific embodiment of the invention, .the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms. It is to be understood the present disclosure is an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiment illustrated.
Turning first to FIGURES 1-3 of the drawings, there is illustrated an exemplary form of the present invention embodied in a carton indicated generally by the reference numeral 11. Carton 11 is a hexahedral carton, as viewed in FIGURES 1 and 2, with both top and bottom closures in closed position. Carton 11 includes vertical interconnected side walls 12, 13, 14 and 15 and the top and bottom closures are indicated generally by reference numerals 16 and 17, respectively. The entire carton including the side walls and all flaps may be stamped from a common piece of corrugated cardboard or the like, with approp iate corner fold lines for defining interconnections of the carton sides and flap-s in conventional manner. Walls 12 and 13 are joined at a seam corner 13 by an overlapping flange 19 contiguous with wall 13 and facially secured by suitable adhesive to the interior of wall 12.
Bottom closure 17 is formed of four flaps 22, 23, 24 and 25, contiguous through fold lines with sides 12, 13, 14 and 15, respectively. The seam between flaps 22 and 24, is taped, e.g. by tape 26 which extends at its ends partially onto the sides 13 and 15.
The top closure 16 is formed from four top closure flaps 30, 31, 32 and 33. With the closure in closed position, as seen in FIGURE 1, flap 32 is the bottom-most flap. The next layer of flaps includes flaps 31 and 33 which are folded over flap 32. The fourth flap is fiap 30 which extends over flaps 31 and 33 and includes a tongue portion which extends beneath flap 32.
In using the carton as thus far described for packaging foodstuffs, sides 12 through 15 are disposed in a generally rectangular configuration as seen in FIGURES 3 and 4a. With bottom closure 17 still open, the flaps of top closure 16 are folded in the manner illustrated in FIGURES 4a through 4d to close the top closure. Accordingly, first flap 32 is folded to closed position (FIGURE 4b). Then flaps 31 and 33 are folded to closed position (FIGURE 4c). And finally flap 30 is folded beyond closed position and released for return to closed position to complete an interlock with the other flaps (FIGURE 4a).
Considering FIGURES 3, 4a and 4b, it will be noted that the first flap or flap 32 extends more than one-half way across the opening in the carton top at edge 35. An elongate notch in edge 35 defines an edge 36 recessed from edge 35 slightly beyond the center of the top opening in the form of carton illustrated. Notch 36 forms a major portion of a tongue receiving slot for receiving the tongue portion of flap 30 when folded to its closed position in FIGURE 4b or 4c.
As seen in FIGURES 3 and 4a, flap-s 31 and 33 are cut away along lines 37 and 38 to form edges identified by the same reference numerals. Each edge 37 is on the other side of the center line of the canton opening compared with edge 36 and each edge 37 will form a portion of the tongue receiving slot when folded to the position of FIGURE 40. Edge 38 is an angular edge eliminating projecting cardboard flap edges on the carton top closure which may become caught on the other packages or otherwise snagged or torn during handling.
Flap 30 is cut away along lines 41 and 42 to form edges also identified by reference numerals 41 and 42; between edges 41 is the tongue portion 43 of flap 30. In folding flap 30 from the position of FIGURE 4c to that of FIGURE 4d, the flap is folded over the top of flaps 31 through 33 and is then depressed downward against flaps 31 through 33, pushing flaps 31 through 33 beyond their closed positions to positions depressed slightly within the carton until tongue 43 enters the slot defined by edges 36 and 37. Pressure is then released on flap 30 and the resiliency of flaps 30 through 33 tends to cause the flaps to return to their closed positions, sufficient to engage tongue 43 with the interior surface of flap 32.
It will be noted that the angular deviations 38 and 42 of flaps 30, 31 and 33, assist in permitting the folding of the flaps beyond their closed positions.
After forming the self-locking closure 16, the carton is turned over with closure 16 acting as the bottom during loading of foodstuffs or ackaged food products. The carton is loaded through the open closure 17. Flaps 23 and 24 are then folded to closed position and, thereafter, flaps 22 and 24 are folded to closed position; tape 26 is secured along the resulting seam between flaps 22 and 24.
A gripping means, in the form of finger holes 44 defining surfaces or edges for manual engagement, is provided in flap 30 for laterally withdrawing the flap in the direction of the pull arrow in FIGURE 4d. Pulling in the direction indicated disengages tongue 33 from the slot formed by edges 36 and 37.
As pointed out above, without the gripping means for flap 30 it was conventional to attempt insertion of fingers beneath edge 36 and pull upward to open the self-locking closure against the resistance of force resisting structures built into the closure for preventing accidental opening of the carton by weight of the ingredients within the carton. During such opening, the portion adjacent edges 35 and 36a of flap 32 bind against the interior surface of flaps 31 and 33 which, in turn, have portions which bind against the internal surface of flap 30.
Tongue 43 of flap 30 resists opening of flap 30 against the interior of flap 32. Normally the pulling or jerking action to open the closure results in mutilation or tearing of flap 32 after exertion of a substantial amount of force.
In the form of closure shown in figures, it is merely necessary to insert ones fingers in finger holes 44 and pull flap 30 from beneath flap 32, .the flexibility of the carton in genera-l normally permitting sufficient bending to withdrawn flap 30. The gripping means specifically described, e.g. in the form of holes, may also be considered as a means defining a weakened area across flap 30 for greater ease in opening flap 30. The weakened area is illustrated in phantom by reference numeral 45. During the pulling action for opening flap 30, flap 30 will tend to bend along the weakened zone or area 45, thus permitting ready withdrawal of the tongue portion 43 from beneath flap 32.
In the preferred from a carton shown, the self-looking closure is on the top of the carton so that it will be in up position ready for opening by the user of the packaged goods without repositioning the carton. Such convenience greatly reduces the tendency to reach for a knife and slit the carton since the carton may be easily opened without a knife.
Further, the gripping means 44 on flap 30 permits gripping of the carton for lifting the carton upward by the top thereof without opening the carton since the lifting force against fiap 30 would be absorbed by the general structure of the self-locking closure and the design thereof for resisting opening by interior forces, as specifically described above. Such liftability feature of the gripping means is provided because the closure requires a definite withdrawing lateral pull toward side 1.2 to open the package. The lifting feature is especially advantageous where the carton is not packed tight to the top so that fingers may be inserted to get a good lifting grip. However, for opening, it only necessary to engage the edges of holes 44 for the lateral pulling action and the carton may be packed fully to the top without materially inhibiting the opening action.
In the preferred form, the gripping means is provided as one or more holes, e.g. of round, sqware, elongated or other configuration, in flap 30 which also serve to define the weakened zone traversing the hole or holes. The use of such hole or holes as the gripping means may also permit easier refrigeration of the package contents.
It is apparent from the foregoing that I have provided a new and useful readily openalble carton closure which greatly reduces or even eliminates disadvantages formerly inherent in many self-locking carton closures as described hereinabove.
In a carton having a bottom Wall and side walls upstanding therefrom with selt locking closure flap means including a plurality of flaps foldable between an open position and a closed position, said flap means including a first flap having a tongue portion and other flaps defining a slot for receiving said tongue portion with said flap means in closed position, in said closed position said tongue portion being received in said slot and underlying said slot-forming other flaps and the remaining portion of said first flap overlying said other flap-s, the improvement in the closure comprising port means defining a handle portion in said first flap spaced from said tongue portion for applying lifting force to said closure flap means in a direction generally perpendicular to the closed flap means for lifting the carton while pressing said underlying tongue against said other fi-aps to lock said closure against opening during lifting, said handle portion defining a weakened zone across said one flap which is resistant to bending from said lifting force but weakened and of suflioient extent for bending under force applied through said handle means to said first flap in a direction generally parallel to the closed first flap and in a direction for withdrawing said tongue from said slot while bending said first flap in the weakened zone, and flap edges on said other flaps including an edge defining an opening through said other flaps in closed position underlying said port means and of an extent for unobstructed gripping into said port means and through said opening.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 289,790 112/1883 Wilcox 229-39 2,361,603 10/1944 Cohen et al. 229-39 2,713,965 7/1955 Acker 22939 2,803,393 8/1957 Toensmeier 22939 FOREIGN PATENTS 714,683 9/1954 Great Britain.
FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Primary Examiner.