US 3394837 A
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July 30, 1968 D. R. HANSEN ET AL 3,394,837
CONTAINER OPENING MEANS Filed Sept. 6, 1966 2 Sheets-$heet 1 INVENTORS M05095 Far/way July 30, 1968 D. R. HANSEN ET AL 3,394,837
CONTAINER OPENING MEANS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Sept. 6. 1966 INVENTOR. Jawms 5 /4115 BY flan 4m 1. 6m!
' Affflf/VF/O' United States Patent 3,394,837 CONTAINER OPENING MEANS Douglas R. Hansen, P.O. Box 1041, and Donald L. Cook, P.O. Box 382, both of Santa Monica, Calif. 90406 Filed Sept. 6, 1966, Ser. No. 577,415 2 Claims. (Cl. 22054) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An improved aluminum container in which an integral housing is formed from a continuous side wall and an end wall, the housing having an opening therein. A separate closure member is secured to the housing across the opening to define a sealed enclosure. The housing has a scored portion defined by a continuous score therein spaced from the closure member, and a lifting tab is secured to the scored portion. Manipulation of the tabpermits the scored portion to be broken away from the housing to open the container.
Background of the invention Aluminum containers and container components have enjoyed widespread popularity in recent years due in large part to their desirable characteristics of light weight, formability, and chemical compatibility with many foods and other products being packaged. These known containers are typically of either twoor three-piece construction, being made up of a body or housing member, and one or several cover or closure members which are secured to the housing member after installation of the packaged product therein to form a sealed enclosure. The closure members are typically secured in place by auto matic packaging machinery of known design.
In an older style of metal container, whether aluminum or tin-plated steel, opening is accomplished by use of a conventional can opener to puncture and perhaps remove portions of the closure member. A- more recently marketed form of aluminum containers includes a tabwhich is secured to a scored portion of the closure member, and opening is accomplished by grasping the tab and tearing the scored portion away from the closure member. These containers have in common the traditional form of opening operation which involves penetration and separation of the closure member.
Incorporation of the opening surface in the closure member presents several problems to the packaging industry. First, the closure member is installed after the housing is filled with the product being packaged, and is typically handled by high-speed automatic machinery. Thin aluminum closure members, particularly those which are scored to define a tear line, are susceptible to bending and other structural damage, and jamming of packaging machinery can result from the handling of these deformed members.
Furthermore, opening the container at the closure member does not provide adequate access to certain kinds of products packaged therein. For example, a food product such as asparagus is awkard to remove from the end of a container since only the tips of the asparagus are accessible. Positioning of the scored tear line is also limited by the rigid seams which secure the closure member to the container. Finally, packaging designers have been limited in the creation of new and attractive containers by the location of the opening surface in the closure member.
The container of this invention is free of these difliculties and limitations of prior-art designs, and is adapted for loading and sealing by existing packaging machinery. Our container is esthetically appealing to the consumer, and provides a' broad range of design freedom to those concerned with both the artistic and the mechanical aspects of packaging.
Briefly stated, the improved container of this invention comprises an aluminum housing having a side wall and an end wall, the housing having an opening therein. A closure member is secured to the housing across the opening to define a sealed enclosure within the housing and closure member. The housing includes a scored portion separate from the closure member whereby the container can be opened by breaking away from the scored portion of the housing along the scoring. Preferably, the side wall and end wall of the housing are integral and seamless.
In one form, the container of this invention is formed whereby the side wall of the housing is generally cylindrical, and the end wall forms the top of the container. The scored portion is in the side wall, and the container further comprises a tab secured to the scored portion. In yet another form of the invention, the side wall is round and tapers to a narrow neck portion adjacent the end wall, and the scoring extends circumferentially around the neck portion.
In another form of the invention, the side wall is generally cylindrical, and the end wall forms the top of the container. The scoring extends circumferentially around the side wall and is spaced slightly from the end wall. The end wall is folded to extend peripherally beyond the side wall to form a lift ring.
In another alternative form, the second portion of the container is defined by a pair of spaced-apart, generally parallel scores around the periphery of the side wall, and a lift tab is secured to the scored portion. In one version of this form, the side wall is of generally rectangular crosssection and the scored portion is positioned substantially centrally in the side wall between the end wall and the closure member.
The invention will be described in detail with reference to the attached drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a cylindrical container formed according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is another type of cylindrical container in which a lift tab is integrally formed with a scored portion in the housing end Wall;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a container according to the invention in which the housing is of generally rectangular cross-section, and the scored portion extends peripherally around the housing;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of yet another form of the invention suitable for packaging products such as cigarettes;
FIG. 5 is a front elevation of a breakaway-top bottle formed according to the invention;
FIG. 6 is a front elevation of a generally cylindrical container having a folded end wall defining a lift ring; and
FIG. 7 is a front elevation of yet another form of the invention in which scoring extends helically around the housing side wall.
Referring to FIG. 1, a container 10, suitable for packaging products such as beer and soft drinks, includes an aluminum housing 11 which is integrally formed from a side wall 12 and an end wall 13. The side wall and end wall are integrally joined by an annular rim portion 14 which forms the periphery of the top of the container. Manufacturing techniques for producing this type of integral housing from thin aluminum sheet material are known, and need not be described in detail.
A closure member 15 is secured across the open lower end of housing 11, and is formed from a disc of aluminum or tin-coated steel, depending upon the chemical characteristics of the product to be packaged. The closure member is secured to housing 11 by a conventional double-seam joint 16 or any other conventional sealing means as commonly used in the canning industry. The closure member is of course secured to the housing after the product to be packaged is placed in the housing, and the housing and closure member cooperate to define a sealed enclosure for the product.
End wall 13, which defines the top of the container, includes a scored portion 18 defined by a closed, loopshaped score 19 extending from the center of the end wall toward annular rim portion 14. The scoring extends through a substantial part of the thickness of the end Wall, whereby the scored portion can be broken away from the end wall when it is desired to open the container. To assist in this operation, a lift tab 20, having a finger hole 21 therethrough, is secured to the center of the end wall in the scored portion by means such as a rivet 22. This type of riveted lift tab construction is known, and need not be described in detail.
To open the container, the lift tab is gripped and lifted away from the end wall to break away scored portion 18 along score 19. When a packaged liquid product is to be consumed directly from the container, annular rim portion 14 serves as a dam which prevents drops of the product from running down side wall 12, and is smooth and comfortable against the lips of the consumer.
Referring to FIG. 2, another form of a container 25 is generally similar to container 10 and includes a thin-wall aluminum housing 26 and a closure member 27 secured across the open lower end of the housing. In this form of the invention, a lift tab 28 is integrally formed with a scored portion 29 in the top of the housing. The container is opened by lifting tab 28 away from the housing to break away the scored portion along a score 30. As in container 10, housing 26 is integrally formed from a side wall 31 secured to an annular rim portion of an end wall 32, the end wall defining the top of the housing and container.
FIG. 3 shows a container 33 of a form especially suitable for packaging frozen foods and the like. Container 33 includes a one-piece, thin-wall aluminum housing 34 which is formed from a side wall 35 of substantially rectangular cross section, and an end wall 36 integrally formed with and secured across one end of the side wall. A closure member 37 is secured across the open end of housing 34 by a double-seam joint 38 as described above.
A pair of scores 39 are formed centrally around the periphery of side wall 35 about midway between the end wall and the closure member. A lift tab 40 is secured by a rivet 41 to a scored portion 42 of the housing between scores 39. A transverse score 43 extends between scores 39 under the lift tab.
Container 33 is opened by lifting tab 40 to break away scored portion 42 along scores 39 and 43. The lift tab is then moved around the periphery of the housing to tear away the full length of the scored portion whereby the housing separates into two pieces. This form of container is especially advantageous with frozen foods as the packaged food becomes readily accessible to the consumer when the housing is broken away about its midsection.
Another form of a container 47 according to the invention is shown in FIG. 4, and is especially suited for packaging of merchandise such as cigarettes. Container 47 includes a thin-wall aluminum housing 48 having a continuous side wall 49 of rectanglar cross section, and an end wall 50 integrally formed across the upper end of the side wall. A closure member 51 is secured across the open lower end of the side wall after the merchandise being packaged is installed in the housing. A scored portion 52 of the housing is defined by a continuous score 53 which extends across the end wall and around a portion of the periphery of the side wall. A lift tab 54 is secured to the scored portion by a rivet 55. This container is opened in the same fashion as described above by lifting tab 54 to tear away scored portion 52 along score 53.
FIG. 5 shows a container 58 having a thin-wall aluminum housing 59 formed as a bottle. The housing includes a side wall 60 and an end wall 61 integrally formed with and secured to the upper end of the side wall. The side wall is round in cross section, and tapers to a narrowed neck portion 62 adjacent the end wall. A score 63 extends peripherally around the narrowed neck portion. A closure member 64 is secured across the open lower end of the housing side wall after the container is filled.
Container 58 is opened by breaking away end wall 61 of the housing along score 63. This separation of the end wall from the side wall is accomplished by striking the end wall against a surface, or the end wall may be grasped securely and given a sharp snap to break away the housing along the score.
FIG. 6 shows another form of container 68 having a thin-wall aluminum housing 69 which includes a side wall 70 of generally cylindrical shape, and an end wall 71 integrally formed with and secured to the side wall. The end wall extends radially beyond the periphery of the side wall, and is folded back on itself to join the side wall whereby a lift ring 72 is defined at the top of the container. A continuous score 73 extends around the periphery of the side wall just below the lift ring. A closure member 74 is secured across the open lower end of the side wall after the container is filled. Container 68 is opened by gripping the housing by the side wall and pressing sharply upward with the thumbs on lift ring 72 to break away the housing along score 73.
FIG. 7 shows a container 78 of a form suitable for packaging solid or semisolid products such as dough for cookies and biscuits. Container 78 includes a thin-wall aluminum housing 79 formed from a generally cylindrical side wall 80 and an end wall 81 integrally formed with and secured to the upper end of the side wall. A closure member 82 is secured across the open lower end of the side wall after the container is filled. A continuous helical score 83 extends peripherally around the side wall toward end wall 81 and closure member 82. Container 78 is opened by gripping opposite ends of the side wall and twisting sharply in opposite directions to break away the side wall along score 83.
There have been described several forms of a container which includes a thin-Wall aluminum housing having a scored portion which is broken away from the housing to open the container. Variations and modifications of the specific described forms may suggest themselves to those skilled in the art, and it is intended that all such variations and modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims which define our invention.
1. An improved container for cigarettes and the like, comprising a hollow aluminum housing having a continuous side wall and a generally rectangular end wall secured at one end of the side wall, the side wall being formed to define a generally rectangular cross section, the side and end walls being integral and seamless, one corner of the housing having a scored portion defined by a continuous score which extends along both the side wall and the end wall; a separate and generally rectangular closure member secured to a second end of the side wall opposite the end wall to define a sealed enclosure within the housing and closure member; and a lifting tab secured to the scored portion.
2. The container defined in claim 1 in which the lifting tab is secured to the end wall of the housing.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1967 Stolle et al. 22()54 9/1967 Stolle et al. 220-54 Patent No. 3,394,837
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION July 30, 1968 Douglas R. Hansen et 211.
It is certified that error appears in the above identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 2, line 10, "away from the" should read away the line 29, "second" should read scored Signed and sealed this 13th day of January 1970.
WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR.
Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.
Commissioner of Patents Attesting Officer