US 3334775 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1957 G. s. KLEIN ETAL 3,334,775
GATED CAN LID Filed Feb. 23, 1965 INVENTORS Gerald B. Klein Kennefh EHarper ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,334,775 GATED CAN LID Gerald B. Klein, 1891 Mabel 80229, and Kenneth E.
Harper, 5831 Taft 80215, both of Denver, Colo., assignors to said Klein and said Harper, jointly Filed Feb. 23, 1965, Ser. No. 434,234
' 7 Claims. (Cl. 220-48) This invention relates to openings in the lids of liquidcontaining cans, and more particularly to pre-formed lid constructions for cans which permit the cans to be opened without the use of can openers. The prepared opening in a can lid will be hereinafter called an aperture, the structure which initially covers this aperture will be called a gate, and the invention set forth herein will be generally referred to as a gated can lid.
There has been a continuing demand for better means for opening beer cans and similar liquid-containing cans. There has especially been a demand for a lid construction on a beer can which may be opened without the use of a can opener, and several types of lids have been developed which may be opened in this manner. A more successful type embodies a scored gate outline in the surface of the can lid and a supplemental lever attached to the gate portion to facilitate breaking the gate portion loose and lifting it from the lid. Another type provides an individual gate construction which is adapted to be placed underneath a pre-formed aperture in the can lid and sealed in position with a suitable resin cement such as the type commonly known as Plastisol. While the first mentioned type is in common use, it is limited to aluminum lids and lids of similar soft metal wherein the gate may be easily torn loose from the lid at the score marks. The extent of scoring is critical, and if too deep, the lids of the gate is apt to pop open and if not deep enough, it may be difficult to remove. A further disadvantage of this first type mentioned lies'in the fact that once the lid is removed from the can, it can present a hazard, for example, a lid carelessly thrown on a sandy beach can cause a severe cut should a barefoot individual step upon it. The other type may also be used with steel lids and is generally satisfactory, but it is too expensive for large-quantity production.
The present invention is an outgrowth of a need to provide a further improved gated can lid of a more simplified formthan the types now available and which avoids certain obvious disadvantages, such as those above mentioned. The invention comprises, in essence, a gated can lid of a unitary construction wherein an indrawn, underfolded portion of the can lid defines a smooth edged aperture, with the underlying lid portion constituting a gate separable from the lid at a score cut at the underfold.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel and improved gated can lid, wherein the gate underlies the lid aperture to securely close the lid at all times before it is opened, especially against pressure within the can, and is adapted to be opened by pressing inwardly into the can to either remain hingedly attached to the lid or to separate therefrom to fall into the can, and in either event to provide a further safety feature of eliminating a' small piece of sharpedge metal of a size which is apt to be carelessly thrown away to later constitute a stepon hazard or the like.
Other objects of the invention are to provide a novel and improved gated can lid: wherein the aperture may assume any selected form to facilitate the pouring of liquids from the can; wherein the gate underlying the aperture may be opened by simply pressing it inwardly by finger pressure; and, wherein the aperture then presents a smooth, rounded edge incapable of cutting the openers fingers when the can is being opened, or his lips should he drink from the can.
Further objects of the invention are to provide a novel and improved gated can lid which: is a compact, neatappearing, easy-to-open, easy-to-sanitize unit; is of a unitary construction capable of being manufactured by ordinary drawing and shaping procedures using either aluminum or steel plate material; and, which may be manu factured at a lowest possible unit cost with either steel or aluminum.
With the foregoing and other objects in view, all of which more fully appear, our invention comprises certain constructions, combinations and arrangements of parts and elements, as hereinafter described, defined in the appended claims and illustrated in preferred embodiment in the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIGURE 1 is an isometric view of a can having a gate formed in the lid thereof, and constructed according to the principles of the invention.
FIGURE 2 is a top, plan view of the can, illustrated at FIG. 1, with dotted lines showing an edge portion hidden from view.
FIGURE 3 is a transverse, sectional detail of the top portion of the can as taken from the indicated line 3-3 at FIG. 2, but on an enlarged scale, with the outline of the individuals thumb pressing against the lid to open the gate portion, and with broken lines indicating the movement of the gate into the can when it is opened.
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary, sectional detail as taken from the indicated line 4-4 at FIG. 3, but on a greatly enlarged scale.
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary, sectional detail, similar to FIG. 4, but showing an alternate mode of scoring the gate to permit it to separate from the body of the lid.
FIGURE 6 is an underside view of the lid illustrated at FIG. 2, but on a reduced scale.
FIGURE 7 is a plan view of the lid, similar to FIG. 2, but on a reduced scale and illustrating another form of aperture which may be embodied in the invention.
Referring more particularly to the drawing, FIG. 1 illustrates a metal can C having a cylindrical wall 10 enclosed by a fiat, circular bottom lid 11 and a top lid 12. The edges of these lids join withthe respective ends of the wall 10 by conventional folded interconnecting seams 13. In using the improved gated lid, it is contemplated that the wall 10 and the bottom lid 11 will be conventional members and hence, need not be further described. The
top lid 12, wherein the improved gate structure G is located, is likewise conventional in its general form and in the manner in which it is connected to the edge of the cylindrical wall by a seam 13.
The gate structure G is positioned in the fiat portion of the lid 12 and includes an aperture 20 through the surface of the lid. This aperture is normally closed by the gate panel 21 which is slightly larger than the aperture and which underlies the aperture, as will be hereinafter described. This aperture may be of any form, for example, it may be circular; however, an elongated aperture is preferable. The aperture 20 illustrated in the drawing extends across a major portion of the can lid, symmetrical to a diameter, as along the indicated line 33 at FIG. 2, and such line of symmetry may be called the primary axis of the aperture.
It is contemplated that a liquid may be poured from one end of this opening as the can is tipped in the direction of that end, and that the other end of the opening will constitute a venting portion for access of air into the can as it is being poured. Therefore, the opening is preferably Wider at a pouring end 22 and narrower at a venting end 23, as illustrated. It is also generally smooth and rounded in its form, with each end fairing into the other end by straight intermediate reaches 24, as in the construction illustrated at FIG. 2, or by inwardly opposing curved portions 25, as illustrated at FIG. 7.
The aperture 20 and the underlying gate panel 21 are formed from the same blank of metal constituting the can lid 12 by a sequence of drawing operations. Such operations are conventional and consist generally in the steps of drawing the sheet metal portion constituting the gate panel inwardly, first, to a fiat-bottom, cup-like member, then enlarging the bottom area of this member and returning it to a position adjacent to the aperture, with the wall portion of the initially-formed cup being folded outwardly and underneath the aperture edge and finally against and between the surfaces of the gate and lid to constitute a spacer strip about the edge where the enlarged gate panel underlaps the aperture.
The finally folded structure, illustrated in section at FIGS. 4 and 5, provides for a l80-degree fold edge 26 completely about the aperture 20, and with the fold 2 3 merging into the narrow spacer strip 27 underneath the can lid about the edge of the aperture. This spacer strip 27 terminates as a second ISO-degree folded edge 23 to merge into the peripheral edge of the gate panel which underlays the aperture. It is to be noted that the structure shown at FIGS. 4 and 5, while being illustrative of the final construction, is distorted somewhat because the folds 26 and 28 will actually be tightly crushed by the final movements of the drawing and forming machinery.
To render the gate panel 21 easily separable from the can lid, it is scored at its peripheral edge at, or adjacent to, the ISO-degree fold 28 by a comparatively deep, continuous score cut. A wide-angle score 29 may be cut at the fold itself, as in the manner illustrated at FIG. 4, or a narrower score 30 may be cut in the fiat portion panel surface adjacent to the tangent point of the merging fold 28, as in the manner illustrated at FIG. 5. Either score cut may be made with conventional apparatus, and it is to be noted that either type of score will be located underneath the edge of the aperture 20 which is formed by the fold 26. A resulting safety feature is manifest, for in using this can, the smooth, rounded edge fold 26 about the aperture will be the only :portion touched, as when the gate panel is being pushed out of the opening by a users fingers, or when the user is drinking out of the can. In either situation, the user cannot cut himself. The sharp jagged edge, which is formed along the score cut whenever metal is torn at a score line, is completely within the can and out of the way from possible contact.
The depth to which the score line 29, or 30, may be cut will depend upon the type of metal used in forming the can lid and the manner in which the can is to be opened. The gate panel 21 will be pushed downwardly and into the can to open the gate, and it is contemplated that the force required to do this will be only a moderate finger pressure. It is also contemplated that the pushing in of the gate panel will commence at one end of the aperture and proceed along the aperture to the other end, rather than by a comparatively sudden snapping action where the entire lid would drop into the can, such being important where a beer can is opened to prevent foaming of the beer.
The strength of the neck-like portion 31 of the metal joining the gate panel 21 to the ISO-degree fold 28 of the lid structure will depend upon the depth of the cut 29, or 30. Such may be best determined experimentally because in the operation of forming cuts 29, or 3t), the metal neck 31 will work-harden and also embrittle to some extent. It is contemplated that this metal neck will be very narrow when a steel lid is used and somewhat wider when an aluminum lid is used. In either case, the depth of the cut 29, or 30, may be varied at different locations along the course of the cut about the panel periphery. For example, where it is desired to commence opening the panel at the base of the pouring end 22, the depth of the cut at that portion may practically sever the panel 21 from the spacer strip fold and render the metal neck 31 very weak at that portion so that the panel may be disconnected by a moderate downward push. However, once the end of the panel 21 is disconnected from the spacer strip fold 28, the remainder may be severed by a tearing or shearing action to separate the neck 31 along the straight reach 24, for this requires considerably less force, and the thickness of the metal neck 31 is not critical. Finally, if it is desired for the gate panel to remain connected to the underside of the can lid after it is opened, the depth of the score cut 29, or 30, at the opposite vented end 23 of the aperture may be reduced to the point where the thickness of the metal neck 31 is substantial, and the gate panel may be bent downwardly and out of the way at this end, but it will not normally be severed from the lid. When so constructed, the thicker metal neck portion constitutes a hinge 32, as illustrated.
at FIG. 6, which permits the gate to be swung downwardly and out of the way when the aperture is completely opened. This provides a further safety feature because the sharp-edged, severed gate panel 21 cannot be easily removed from the can and thrown about to constitute a step-on hazard.
It is also contemplated that the score cut 29, or 30, may be so deep as to sever the gate panel 21 from the lid about a substantial portion of the periphery of the panel or to such an extent that only the neck structure 31 remain to hold the lid in place until the can is ready for use. Where the score cut'does not extend through the metal sheet at any point, it is necessary to modify the can structure to protect from leakage of the contents of the can. When so formed, the can lid is finished and used precisely the same as an unformed lid, such as the bottom lid 11. However, where the score cut will extend completely through the metal sheet at any point about the gate panel, it is desirable to provide a sealing means within the can.
Any suitable varnish-like resin may be used as a sealing means, and a resin compound of a type referred to as Plastisol is commercially used for this sealing. Plastisols are liquid dispersions of vinyl-type resins. They may be coated on various materials and then converted into tough, resilient solids by curing at approximately 350 F. A small amount of this material, covering the underside of the gate structure and portions of the lid, is adequate to provide a seal 33, which not only prevents leakage through a severed score 29, or 30, but also'helps hold the gate panel 21 in place when it is completely severed from the lid. Other modes of sealing the scores 29 and 30 are also possible, is formed in the lid, but before it is finally treated, the scores may be filled with soft solder to facilitate holding the gate panels in position and to render them leak proof.
FIG. 7 is illustrative of one of several alternate arrangements possible with the aforedescribed structure. The FIG. 7 structure provides for an enlarged pouring end 22a and an enlarged end 230 to be separated by opposing incurved intermediate portions 25 of the can lid.
A further modification, not specifically illustrated in the drawing, is possible by providing interruptions in the score line, such as that illustrated at 32, but at selected positions along the score line to permit certain portions of the gate panel 21 to be severed and folded inwardly from the lid. For example, a portion of the gate panel 21 might be folded inwardly from each end of the slot to provide a specific pouring portion and a venting portion, with the section of the gate panel 21 between these portions remaining in position.
It is obvious that those skilled in the art can build and devise other alternate and equivalent constructions which are also within the spirit and scope of our invention. Hence, we desire that our protection be limited, not by the constructions illustrated and described, but only by the proper scope of the appended claims.
1. A gated can lid comprising a unitary structure short, weak portions of for example, after the gate structure formed by drawing and shaping a flat sheet metal canlid member to provide an aperture in the surface of the member and a gate panel underneath the aperture adapted to normally close it, and in an arrangement wherein the surface of the lid is underfolded about the edge of the aperture as a ISO-degree outward underfold to form a narrow spacer strip at the underside of the lid about the edge of the aperture, wherein the metal sheet is thence infolded about the outer edge of the spacer strip as a l80-degree inward underfold to merge into the metal sheet portion constituting said gate panel, and a score cut about the edge of the gate panel adjacent to the said 180-degree inward underfold adapted to permit the gate panel to be severed from the spacer strip.
2. In the organization defined in claim 1, wherein said aperture is elongate and symmetrical about a primary axis in the elongated direction.
3. In the organization set forth in claim 1, wherein said score cut is varied in extent to provide easy separation of the gate panel from the spacer strip at one end of the aperture and to prevent easy separation of the gate panel from the spacer strip at the other end of the aperture,
whereby it may be folded into a can without being disconnected from the lid.
4. In the organization set forth in claim 1, wherein the score cut extends completely through the metal sheet and means adapted to normally hold the gate panel in position against the spacer strip and to seal the score cut from leaks.
5. In the organization set forth in claim 1, wherein the score cut extends completely through portions of the metal sheet and means adapted to seal the score cut at such portions from leaks.
6. A gated can lid having a normally closed opening therein, formed by drawing and shaping flat sheet material constituting the lid and including an aperture in the surface of the lid, a gate panel formed by drawing and enlarging the metal sheet portion within the aperture and offsetting this gate panel from the plane of the metal sheet to normally underlay the same about the edge of the aperture, a spacer strip between the sheet and the gate panel having its inner edge interconnecting with the aperture edge and its outer edge interconnecting with the peripheral edge of the gate panel, and a score line about the peripheral edge of the gate panel adapted to permit the gate panel to be severed from the spacer strip.
7. In the can lid defined in claim 6, interruptions in the score line about the can lid to permit selected portions of the panel to be severed from the spacer strip but to remain connected to the spacer strip at the interrupted points.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,147,004 2/1939 Wark et a1. 220-47 3,186,583 6/1965 Zuudel 22048 3,223,277 12/1965 Zuudel 22048 THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
G. T. HALL, Assistant Examiner.