US 3402052 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
p 1968 R. J. WAL.KER 3,402,052
OPENABLE AND RECLOSEABLE CONTAINER Filed March 29, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 "Yeti:
INVENTOR. Ram-W7 J. Maxi? Sept. 17, 1968 R. J. WALKER OPENABLE AND RECLOSEABLE CONTAINER 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 29, 1967 FIG- 5 INVENTOR. Faaier Iii 41x5? strips.
United States atet O 3,402,052 ()PENABLE AND RECLOSABLE CONTAINER Robert J. Walker, 2942 Linden Ave, Berkeley, Calif. 94705 Filed Mar. 29, 1967, Ser. No. 626,777 11 Claims. (Cl. 9172) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An openable and recloseable container of relatively thin flexible sheet material, especially adapted for packaging of bread, has spaced apart strips of inelastic bendable material capable of assuming a set position and which are secured to opposite side walls. The strips extend generally longitudinally and their spacing is such that by twisting and untwisting the container about a longitudinal axis its mouth can be repeatedly closed and opened. In closed twisted position, a substantially airtight plug is formed by the tight intertwisting of the This invention relates to containers, and more particularly, to a container formed of light, flexible, thin sheet material provided with means enabling the container to be repeatedly opened for removal of contents and reclosed. The container hereof is particularly adapted as a so-called wrapper for the packing of bread, although it may be used for the packaging of other products, especially food products such as fruits, vegetables, candies, nuts, and other types of comestibles which are frequently packaged in plastic film material, such as polyolefin film. Containers of such type, for example in the packaging of bread, have been provided with a twist type end closure, as exemplified in the patent to Bremkamp, No. 3,l82,893, dated May 11, 1965.
However, with such type of closure, an additional tape or clip has heretofore been required to tie the twisted end of the package and maintain it closed. In the invention hereof, means is provided secured to the container side walls which inherently maintain the twisted end tightly sealed and closed, and which enables such end to be untwisted for removing contents from the container, and then reclosed by retwisting such end.
Summarizing the invention hereof, the opposite walls of a container of relatively thin flexible sheet material, have secured thereto spaced apart strips, advantageously relatively thin bands of inelastic, but bendable material which is capable of assuming a set position when bent. These strips extend generally longitudinally from adjacent an openable and recloseable end portion of the container which provides the container mouth, so that when the container is twisted circumferentially about a longitudinal axis extending generally in the direction of the strips, the mouth end of the container can be closed because of intertwistin g of the wall material with the strips.
When closed, the strips assume a fixed set position, thus maintaining the container mouth closed and forming a sealing plug at the mouth. The container can be readily opened by untwisting in a reverse direction; and the operation can be repeatedly performed to enable removal of contents and reclosing of the container until all of the contents have been removed.
The strips are spaced apart relatively closely so that in twisting the container mouth closed, pregathering of portions of the container walls between the strips is not required beforehand, which would otherwise be the case where the strips are widely spaced apart such as would occur if they were located only along opposite side edges of the container. The container is desirably of lighttransmitting plastic material, such as polyolefin film,
3,402,052 Patented fiept 17, 1968 which enables the contents within the container to be viewed by the customer observing the same; and since the strips are spaced apart, the contents of the container can still be viewed through the spacing between the strips.
From the preceding, it is seen that the invention has as its objects, among others, the provision of an improved openable and reclosable structure for a container which is operable merely by untwisting and retwisting the mouth of the container, which when twisted closed forms a sealing plug at the mouth, and is of simple and economical construction. Other objects of the invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description and accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of an embodiment of the container hereof, particularly adapted for the packaging of bread;
FIG. 2 is a transverse section taken in a plane indicated by the line 22 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a bread package formed by the container of FIG. 1, which thus serves as bread wrapper, and wherein an end portion of the container is shown closed;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary isometric view illustrating a modified conventional permanent end closure for the bread wrapper;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 2, illustrating closure means within gussets of the container; and
FIG. 6 is a transverse section taken in a plane indicated by line 66 in FIG. 3, illustrating the sealing effect obtained by formation of a plug when the container is twisted tightly closed.
In greater detail and with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, although the container may assume varying forms, the construction illustrated is particularly adapted for the packaging of sliced bread. It comprises a tube of readily flexible thin sheet material. Desirably, the material is of light-transmitting plastic film so that contents within the package can be viewed. Polyolefin film, such as polyethylene or polypropylene, is widely employed for such purposes and is preferred. The container has opposite side walls 2 and longitudinally extending side edge gussets 3.
One end of the container is heat sealed along a band 4 to maintain such end closed. Extending generally longitudinally of each of the side walls 2 and forming part thereof are exposed spaced apart strips 6 secured to the outside surfaces of such side Walls. These strips are of inelastic but bendable material which are capable of assuming a set position when bent so that they may be intertwisted and remain so, but which may be readily untwisted. A strip 6 is adjacent each longitudinal or side edge 7 of the container with a plurality of intermediate strips therebetween.
Although the strips can be of metal wire or any other bendable, and settable material when bent, they are advantageously in the form of bands of thin metal foil, advantageously aluminum foil, adhesively bonded to the exterior surface of each side wall in the embodiment illustrated. The material of the container is conventional polyethylene bread wrapper film, usually about one mil (0.001 in.) in thickness; and the foil is also about one mil thick, although these dimensions are not particularly critical. Since the bands are on the exterior surfaces of the side walls of the container and have no overlying material adhered thereto, they can be readily and economically laminated to the film in a conventional manner.
Any suitable adhesive may be employed to bond the foil to the container walls such as any of the conventional pressure-sensitive adhesives. Hot melt adhesives may also be employed, such as of the type disclosed in US. Patent 3 No. 2,877,196, dated March 10, 1959, embodying a blend of petroleum wax, and a resinous copolymer of ethylene and vinyl-acetate wherein the polymerized vinyl-acetate content varies from about to 25% by weight of the copolymer.
Strips 6 are desirably uniformly spaced apart on each side wall; and as previously related the spacing therebetween is such that they can be twisted together and assume a set position without having to pregather by hand or mechanical means, any portions of the container material between the strips. If the spacing were too far apart, then, to eflect twisting of the container mouth closed, would require that fingers or mechanical equipment be employed to pregather the material between the strips; especially when the container material is very thin, such as plastic film.
Any suitable spacing which will obviate such pregathering can be employed, but desirably the spacing between the strips should be less than about 1% inches; particularly, for polyolefin film. The width of the bands is not too critical, but desirably they should not exceed a width of about 2 /2 inches depending on the width of the container. Otherwise, it may be too difficult to intertwist the same to form a closure.
FIG. 3 illustrates the container of FIG. 1 as a wrapper for sliced bread. It will be noted that the bread can be readily observed through the spaces between the bands. The mouth of the container is closed tightly, and sealed by manually or mechanically twisting the same circumferentially about a longitudinally extending axis; and it will be noted from FIG. 6 that when the mouth is twisted closed, the metal foil becomes intertwisted so tightly that it forms a set plug 9 which is substantially air-tight.
Tests have established that when air is blown into the container and it is immediately twisted closed before a substantial amount of air escapes, the container will remain blown up (balloon-like) for a day or more before air has escaped from the container; but such loss of air does not mean that the escape has been all through the plug, because the material of the container is not absolut ly air-tight over protracted periods. Tying of the mouth with tape or holding it closed with a clip need not be employed to maintain the twisted mouth tightly sealed. However, tape or a clip may be initially employed to preclude .accidential untwisting of the mouth during shipment of the package or handling thereof at the point of purchase.
When contents of the container are to be removed, such as bread slices, this can be readily accomplished by untwisting the month end portion. Then when a desired number of slices have been removed, the mouth can be tightly rescaled by retwisting the same. Since bands 6 extend substantially the entire length of the bread wrapper walls, the opening and rescaling of the wrapper can be repeatedly effected all the way along the length of the wrapper until all of the contents have been removed, thus maintaining the bread slices fresh.
Instead of sealing the closed end of the wrapper by heat sealed band 4, as shown in FIG. 1, thus utilizing a preformed bag tube as the wrapper, the wrapper may be formed over the bread in a conventional manner from a sheet of bread wrapping material which is longitudinally sealed by conventional bread wrapping equipment. If desired, the strips may be exposed on the inside surfaces of the container. Also, conventional sealed end folds 11 and a conventional adhesively bonded end label 12 can be employed to seal the end of the wrapper opposite its mouth, as illustrated in FIG. 4. This can also be accomplished by such bread wrapping equipment.
If desired, a strip 6 may be adhered to the outside surface of each gusset fold within the gusset, as illustrated in FIG. 5. In such arrangement, all'wall portions of the container package will have such bands but it is only necessary that opposite wall portions be provided with such strips.
Although the invention is of particular applicability for the packaging of bread, or the like, it can, as previously indicated, be employed with other types of containers or wrappers of thin, flexible and twistable material. Use of the container for storage of comestibles to be placed in an ice box, for the packaging of sandwiches or other household packaging, is advantageous.
1. A container comprising relatively thin flexible sheet material having opposed walls and an openable and recloseable end portion providing a container mouth, spaced apart strips of inelastic but bendable material forming part of each of said walls and which are capable of assuming a set position when bent, said strips extending generally longitudinally from adjacent said end portion with a strip adjacent each longitudinal edge of said walls and with a plurality of strips between such edge strips, the spacing between said strips being such that said end portion when open can be closed to a set position by twisting the container walls about a longitudinal axis extending generally in the direction of said strips without first having to pregather portions of said walls between the strips, and said end portion can be opening by untwisting said walls about said axis.
2. The container of claim 1 in which the container is of plastic material.
3. The container of claim 1 in which the container material is light-transmitting through which contents within the container can be seen.
4. The container of claim 1 in which the container material is plastic film, and the strips are relatively thin metal foil bands adhesively bonded to a surface of said walls.
5. A bread package comprising the container of claim 1 in which the strips extend lengthwise the entire length of said walls.
6. The container of claim 1 in which the strips are relatively thin metal foil bands with the spacing therebetween less than about 1% inches.
7. The container of claim 1 which is provided with gusset folds at each edge of side walls, and a strip is adhered to the outside surface of each gusset fold within the gusset.
8. A closed food package comprising bread and a wrapper of relatively thin flexible sheet material having a plurality of spaced apart strips of inelastic but bendable material capable of assuming a set position secured to each of opposite walls of the wrapper between opposite edges of each wall and extending generally longitudinally from an end portion of the wrapper, said end portion of the wrapper being intertwisted with the strips which form asubstantially air-tight plug that can be opened by untwisting said end portion and again rescaled by retwisting said end portion.
9. The package of claim 7 wherein the wrapper is lighttransmitting and the strips are exposed bands of metal foil adhered to the surfaces of said side walls.
10. The package of claim 8 wherein the wrapper is plastic film and the bands extend substantially the entire length of said walls whereby the package can be repeatedly opened and resealed.
11. A container comprising relatively thin flexible sheet light-transmitting material through which contents within the container can be seen and having opposed walls and an openable and reclosable end portion providing a container mouth, spaced apart flat bands of inelastic but bendable metal foil adhesively bonded directly to each of said opposed walls and which are capable of assum ing a set position when bent, said bands forming a two-ply bag wall thickness with said walls along the length there of, and extending generally longitudinally from adjacent said container mouth end portion, with a band adjacent each longitudinal edge of each of said walls and with a plurality of bands between such edge bands, the spacing between said bands allowing contents within the container to be observed through the light-transmitting material in the spaces between the bands and being such that said end portion when open can be closed to a set position by twisting the container walls about a longitudinal axis extending generally in the direction of said bands without first having to pregather portions of the walls between said bands and be opened by untwisting said walls about said axis, and said bands extending substantially the entire length of said walls whereby opening and closing of the container can be repeatedly elfected substantially all the way along the length of the container until substantially all contents have been removed therefrom to thus maintain freshness of the contents.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 6/1900 Short 22965 4/1933 Royal 22965 8/1965 Pollack 229-65 7/1967 Koncak 22965 FOREIGN PATENTS 1/1960 France.
DAVID M. BOCKENEK, Primary Examiner.