US 3379334 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 23, 1968 M. S. YOUNG CONTAINER OPENING STRUCTURE Filed Nov; 2, 1965 MARVIN s. YOUNG ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,379,334 CONTAINER OPENING STRUCTURE Marvin S. Young, Tampa, Fla, assignor to National Steel Corporation, a corporation of Delaware Filed Nov. 2, 1965, Ser. No. 506,052 11 Claims. (Cl. 220-54) ABSTRACT UP THE DISCLOSURE Easy-open sheet metal container having a mushroomshaped lug for receiving a pronged opener. The lug is unitary with sheet metal of the container. A scoreline of reduced sheet metal thickness facilitates opening. The scoreline circumscribes the mushroom-shaped lug with at least a portion of the scoreline being contiguous to a perpendicular projection of flanged portions of the mushroom-shaped lug onto the container sheet metal. This structure provides for opening of a container with penetration of the container by the opener means or any portion of the sheet metal being removed to form the opening.
This invention is concerned with novel structure for quickly and easily opening sheet metal containers.
In the past, sheet metal containers have been opened by puncturing a portion of the container or by removing a tear strip with an opening key. Both methods have disadvantages. When puncturing a container, the opener contacts a portion of the contents of the container. For commercial establishment, vending machine, and similar uses, the hygienic problems created by such contact are obvious, since container openers are seldom, if ever, cleaned. On the other hand, tear strip-type openers are also not suitable for commercial uses, since working personnel will not open this type of container with their fingers. In brief, a sheet metal container which can be quickly and easily opened without puncturing or cutting, which is suitable for commercial and private use, and which can be fabricated economically, has not been available.
The present invention takes an entirely different ap proach from that taken by the prior art in providing an easy-open sheet metal container. The object is to open a container without a puncturing or cutting action, and no puncturing or cutting tool is required with the present invention. Rather, provision is made for separating a portion of the container wall from the container with much less effort than is required by the puncturing, cutting, or tear strip methods of the prior art. A specially shaped lug which protrudes from one surface of a sheet metal container is provided. The lug is located within a segment of sheet metal to be separated from the remainder of the container.
The specially shaped lug is formed from sheet metal of the container and is economical to manufacture. It does not interfere with other steps in manufacturing, such as fabricating of the container or processing steps in filling the container. Yet this specially shaped lug can be readily gripped for purposes of opening the container.
The present invention can be applied to any of the sheet metals commonly used for making containers, including sheet steel. The lug is unitary with metal forming parts of the container. That is, it is formed in sheet metal container stock. The lug has a mushroom-like configuration which can be readily gripped with a prong-type opener provided by the invention, yet, with the configuration taught, the container would not ordinarily be opened accidentally.
The accompanying drawings will be referred to for a more detailed and specific description of the invention, including other unique features and advantages. In these drawings:
3,379,334 Patented Apr. 23, 1968 FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a preferred embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the lines of 2-2 of FIG. 1;
' FIG. 3 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a hand opener forming part of the invention; and
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of the hand opener of FIG. 4 in working position.
FIG. 1 shows a pour opening embodiment of the invention with a unitary lug 7 centrally located in a can end.
Referring to FIG. 2, lug 7 has a mushroom-like configuration which projects from a surface of a sheet metal container. Lug 7 includes a head portion 9 and a shank portion 12, with head portion 9 being connected to and spaced from sheet metal blank 16 by shank portion 12. The head means 9 includes a flanged or shoulder portion 17 which extends radially outwardly with relation to the shank portion 12, so as to define a space between the sheet metal portion 16 and the shoulder portion 17. This space is further bounded by shank portion 12. A scoreline 18 circumscribes lug 7 and is located contiguous to a perpendicular projection of shoulder portion 17 on sheet metal blank 16.
The thickness of the sheet metal blank 16 is diminished at scoreline 18. For example, with steel plate, a residual metal thickness of .002 inch provides sufiicient strength to withstand pressures in processing beer and yet can be readily separated from a container end wall by use of a hand opener acting on lug 7.
Referring to FIG. 1, scoreline 18 circumscribes a portion of unitary lug 7 and then extends radially along close- 1y spaced, substantially parallel lines 21 and 22 toward the periphery of endwall 20. These lines flare outwardly at 24 and 26 to form a pour opening which terminates with sides 28 and 30 forming a spread V-configuration having its apex at 32. An obtuse interior angle 33, of to is formed by sides 28 and 30.
The novel spread V-configuration, as shown in FIG. 1, has distinct advantages over pour openings of the prior art which generally terminate either in a single radius of curvature or at a sharp point. Use of this spread V-configuration at the terminal end of the pour opening reduces the force required for final separation of scored segment 34, since metal at apex 32 need only be broken away from the remainder of the closure rather than metal along an elongated radius of curvature. Further, this advantage is obtained without substantially reducing the area of the pour opening.
FIG. 3 shows a full-opening endwall 36 with centrally located lug 37. Scoreline 38 circumscribes lug 37 and extends along substantially parallel closely spaced lines 40 and 42 in a radial direction toward the periphery of endwall 36. Scoreline 38 then extends circumferentially about the endwall to provide a full opening.
To open a container, a 2-prong fork-type opener is placed around lug 7. The prongs fit on opposite sides of shank portion 12 beneath the shoulder portion 17. The opener prongs can be inserted around lug 7 from any angle and an upward force on lug 7, applied through shoulder 17, will separate the scored segment from the sheet metal without penetration by the opener into the container.
FIG. 4 shows a typical hand opener which can have a size similar to that used for ordinary hand openers. Opener 44 includes a pronged end 46 and a handle end 48 connected by stem 50. The handle end 48 includes an aperture 52 which can be used for removing bottle caps. As indicated by this figure, the overall length of the opener 44 can be about the same as a conventional hand bottle cap remover.
Pronged end 46 includes a pair of prongs 54 and 56 which extend in closely spaced substantially parallel relationship defining a slot 58. The prongs are joined at are 60 to stem 50.
As shown in FIG. 5, shank 12 of lug 7 fits into space 58 between prongs 54 and 56. The shoulder portion 17 of lug 7 is of greater diameter than the distance between prongs 54 and 56, and a portion of the shoulder 17 overlaps each prong. Prongs 54 and 56 cross the scoreline 18 at one or more points, or are contiguous with the scoreline, dependent upon the approach angle.
A lifting force is applied on hand opener 44 to open the container. This lifting force may come initially from a leverage action, achieved by tilting opener 44 to one side with prong 54, prong 56, or metal at 60 acting as a fulcrum, causing initial opening of the container. A lifting action is then applied to pull the scored segment from the container. With a fixed opener, a lifting action only would ordinarily be applied, and a hand opener can be used in the same way if desired.
The unitary lug of the present invention may be formed from any of the conventional sheet metal container materials including sheet steel coated with a protective metal such as tin, zinc, aluminum, alloys such as aluminummanganese, or other protective coatings known in the art for coating steel. For an average beer can, the distance between the shoulder portion 17 and the top surface of blank 16 is ordinarily about 6 to 4 the shoulder will extend about l-f outwardly from the shank 12, and the diameter of shank 12 will be about A to The top surface of head portion 9 is shown as fiat in FIG. 2. A slightly convex or slightly concave configuration can also be used. When endwall mounted, the top surface of lug 7 should be below the chime of the container.
Other types of scoreline configurations than those shown can be used in the present invention. However, at least a portion of the scoreline should be contiguous to the unitary lug in order to concentrate lifting force applied to the lug on the scoreline. This invention has the advantage of permitting the scoreline to be formed after formation of the unitary lug, in which case the contiguous portion of the scoreline will be contiguous to a perpendicular projection of the lug shoulder onto the sheet metal blank.
The invention is also not limited to the specific hand opener shown. In a suitable pronged instrument, the space between the prongs is less than the diametral distance across the shoulder portion of the lug. The instrument can be either a hand opener or a fixed opener.
Other modifications can be made to the specific embodiments described, while relying on the basic teachings of the invention, therefore it is understood that the scope of the invention is to be determined from the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. Structure for opening a sheet metal container comprising a sheet metal blank having a unitary lug projecting from one surface, and
a scoreline of diminished metal thickness marking a sheet metal segment to be separated from the sheet metal blank when opening a container,
the unitary lug consisting of head means and shank means with the head means being spaced from the sheet metal blank not less than and connected to the sheet metal blank by the shank means and including shoulder means which extend radially outwardly from the shank means to define a space between the shoulder means and the sheet metal blank for receiving an opening tool, the scoreline being positioned on the sheet metal blank so that at least a portion of the scoreline is contiguous with a perpendicular projection of the soulder means onto the sheet metal blank.
2. The structure of claim 1 in which the sheet metal blank forms a circular configuration endwall for a container and the unitary lug is centrally located on the circular configuration endwall.
3. The structure of claim 1 in which the sheet metal blank consists of sheet steel plated with a protective metal.
4. The structure of claim 1 in which the head means and the shank means of the unitary lug have a substantially circular configuration in a plane substantially parallel to the remainder of the sheet metal blank.
5. The structure of claim 4 in which the shoulder means lies in a plane which is substantially parallel to the sheet metal blank and extends radially outwardly in all directions from the circular configuration of the shank.
6. The structure of claim 2 in which the scoreline circumscribes at least a portion of the unitary lug and extends radially outward toward a peripheral portion of the endwall to define a pour opening which terminates in a spread V-shaped configuration having an apex contiguous to the peripheral portion of the endwall, with sides of the spread V-shaped configuration meeting at the apex forming an obtuse interior angle.
7. The structure of claim 2 in which the scoreline circumscribes at least a portion of the unitary lug and extends radially toward a peripheral portion of the endwall and then extends circumferentially about the endwall to provide a full open end closure.
8. The structure of claim 1 in which the scoreline circumscribes a portion of the perpendicular projection of the shoulder means on the one surface of the sheet metal blank and then extends radially outwardly toward a pcripheral portion of the sheet metal blank in two closely spaced substantially parallel lines.
9. Container enclosure structure comprising a sheet metal blank,
lug means having a mushroom-like configuration projecting from the sheet metal blank, the lug means being formed from sheet metal in the blank and consisting of head means and shank means, the head means being connected to and spaced not less than from the sheet metal blank by the shank means and including a shoulder extending radially outwardly beyond peripheral portions of the shank means to define a space between the shoulder and the sheet metal blank for receiving an opening tool, and
a scoreline of diminished metal thickness formed in the sheet metal blank and outlining a segment of sheet metal to be separated from the sheet metal blank by an upward force being applied with the opening tool inserted between the shoulder and a perpendicular projection of the shoulder onto the sheet metal blank.
the lug means being located within the segment of sheet metal outlined by the scoreline and being contiguous to at least a portion of the scoreline.
10. In combination a sheet metal container,
a unitary lug projecting from one surface of the container, the unitary lug being formed from metal in the surface of the container and having a mushroomlike configuration with a head means connected to and spaced from the sheet metal surface by a shank means, the head means including an enlarged shoulder portion extending outwardly from the shank means and spaced from the sheet metal surface,
a scoreline of reduced metal thickness defining a segment of sheet metal to be separated from the container, the unitary lug being located within the segment of sheet metal to be separated from the container and contiguous to at least a portion of the scoreline, and
opener means for separating the sheet metal segment from the container, the opener means including a pronged end having a pair of prongs defining an opening therehetween, the prongs being adapted to fit on opposite sides of the shank means and between the shoulder means and the sheet metal surface so that a force on the opener in a direction away from the sheet metal surface will be exerted against the shoulder means.
an open slot therebetween, the prongs being adapted to fit on opposite sides of the shank means of the lug between the enlarged shoulder and the surface of the container, With a portion of the shoulder in overlapping relationship to each of the prongs.
References Cited 11. A device for opening a sheet metal container including a lug projecting from a surface of the container UNITED STATES PATENTS and located contiguous to a reduced metal thickness score- 10 gi g llne defining a segment of sheet metal to be separated 3:235:122 2/1966 UBlander from the container, the lug including a head means having an enlarged shoulder connected to and spaced from THERON E CONDON Primal Examiner the surface of the container by shank means, comprising y an opener including a pair of prongs extending in side- 15 G L, sis x min rby-side substantially coplanar relationship defining