US 3405832 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
' H. LUKESC H ETAL 3,405,832 I STOPPER FOR BOTTLES OR THE LIKE Oct. 15, 1968 Filed July 6, 1966 United States Patent 0.
3,405,832 STOPPER FOR BOTTLES OR THE LIKE Heinz Lukesch, Hamburg-Sasel, and Hans Krakowsxy, Hamburg, Germany, assignors to Hans Schwarzkopf, Hamburg-Altona, Germany Filed July 6, 1966, Ser. No. 563,273 Claims priority, application Germany, July 8, 1965, Sch 37,348 Claims. (Cl. 215-47) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE The present invention relates to improvements in stoppers or bungs which may be utilized for sealing of bottles, vials, flacons, flasks and similar relatively small receptacles for storage of cosmetics and other fiowable materials, especially for storage of flowable materials which contain alcohol and/or other volatile substances.
Flacons and similar relatively small bottles of glass or plastic are normally sealed by stoppers in the form of metallic or plastic caps which are provided with flaps to facilitate their detachment from the open end portion of the bottle. Such stoppers are often utilized in connection with bottles which contain a relatively small quantity of flowable material, i.e., a quantity which is just sufificient for a single use so that the stopper and the bottle can be discarded after a single application or other utilization of the contents. A serious drawback of such stoppers is that their detachment from the bottle requires the exertion of considerable force so that the user is often compelled to resort to pliers, knives, scissors or other tools which are likely to injure the fingers. Also, such stoppers cannot be reapplied if the user wishes to interrupt the utilization of the contents of a bottle or to save some of the contents for a later use.
In accordance with a more recent proposal, vials or fiacons consisting of synthetic plastic material are provided with integral stoppers or corks which are joined to the bottle neck by a relatively weak web of readily breakable material so that the user can open the bottle by breaking off the stopper. Such stoppers are unsatisfactory when the bottle is used for storage of fiowable materials containin alcohol or another volatile substance. It was found that the volatile substance will readily evaporate through a relatively thin web of synthetic plastic material, even at room temperature, so that the volume of the contents of such bottles decreases on prolonged storage and the stored material might not be satisfactory for use when the purchaser decides to break off the integral stopper. On the other hand, and if the web is made .too thick so that it prevents evaporation of volatile substances, the user must exert a very strong force or must resort to auxiliary tools in order to gain access to the contents.
Accordingly, it is an important object of the present invention to provide a very simple, inexpensive and lightweight stopper or cork which can be utilized as a means for sealing open end portions of vials, fiacons and similar 3,405,832 Patented Get. 15, 1968 relatively small receptacles, which can be applied to or detached from a receptacle by exertion of relatively small force, which can be readily manipulated by unskilled persons, which can be reapplied to a receptacle as often as desired, and which can provide a fluidtight seal in automatic response to proper connection with the open end portion of a receptacle.
Another object of the invention is to provide a stopper of the just outlined characteristics which can be utilized on receptacles for flowable materials containing alcohol or other volatile substances likely to penetrate through relatively thin layers of synthetic plastic material.
A further object of the invention is to provide a stopper which can be applied to or detached from a receptacle without necessitating the utilization of any tools.
A concomitant object of the invention is to provide a stopper which can properly seal mass-produced vials, flacons and analogous receptacles even if such receptacles are not finished with utmost precision.
Another object of the invention is to provide a receptacle which can be utilized in connection with the improved stopper.
Briefly stated, one feature of our present invention resides in the provision of a one-piece stopper or cork which can be utilized in connection with small bottles or analogous receptacles consisting of vitreous, metallic, plastic or other suitable material and having an open end portion provided with an annular internal face, an annular top face extending outwardly from the outer end of the internal face and a second annular face extending outwardly from the inner end of the internal face. The stopper comprises a handgrip portion and an elastic sealing portion which later comprises an annular sealing surface movable into abutment with the top face of the end portion, and a second annular surface which is spaced from the sealing surface and diverges conically outwardly. This second surface can be introduced through the internal face of the end portion and is then caused to bear against the second face because the distance between the two annular surfaces of the sealing portion is preferably less than the distance between the top face and the second face. Thus, the neck of the sealing portion which extends between the two annular surfaces is caused to expand or to stretch axial- 1y when the second surface abuts against the second face whereby the sealing surface is caused to bear against the top face of the end portion to thereby provide a fiuidtight seal between the stopper and the receptacle. The stopper can be inserted in response to axial pressure against its handgrip portion and is detachable from the receptacle in response to pressure transmitted to the handgrip portion in a direction substantially radially of the sealing portion. During the application of such radial pressure, the conical second surface of the sealing portion is compelled to enter the space surrounded by the internal face of the end portion and the stopper is then readily removable by exertion of a pull upon the handgrip portion.
The novel features which are considered as characteristic of the invention are set forth in particular in the appended claims. The improved stopper itself, however, both as to its construction and the mode of utilizing the same, together with additional features and advantages thereof, will be best understood upon perusal of the following detailed description of a specific embodiment with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary axial section through the open end portion of a bottle and through a stopper which is constructed and configurated in accordance with our invention, the stopper being shown in an intermediate position during introduction of its sealing portion into the end portion of the bottle; and
FIG. 2 shows the structure of FIG. 1 but with the stopper in sealing position.
Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 shows a portion of a vital, fiacon or an analogous relatively small receptacle 1 having an open end portion 1a bounded by an inwardly inclined internal annular face 5 which diverges conically frornits inner end toward its outer end, an annular top face 3 which is preferably located in a plane making right angles with the axis of the end portion 1a and extends radially outwardly from the outer end of the internal face 5, and a second or outwardly inclined internal annular face 4 which diverges conically from the inner end of the conical internal face 5. The receptacle 1 is assumed to consist of synthetic plastic material which might but need not be slightly elastic. By resorting to a conventional blow-molding or analogous mass-producing operation, the faces 3, 4 and 5 of the end portion 1a can be readily finished with a degree of precision which is satisfactory for our purposes, i.e., for proper application of a novel stopper 2 which comprises a cylindrical or conical handgrip portion 2a and a specially configurated sealing portion 2b having a leading end. The portions 2a, 2b of the stopper 2 may but need not be hollow. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of our invention, at least the sealing portion 2b of the stopper consists of elastic synthetic plastic material, such as polyethylene.
The sealing portion 2b constitutes the important part of the stopper 2. This sealing portion has an annular sealing surface 6 which can be moved into sealing engagement with the top face 3 of the end portion 1a, a conically diverging, forwardly and outwardly inclined outer or second annular surface or face 7 which is axially spaced from the sealing surface 6 by a distance which at most equals the axial distance between the faces 3 and 4 (when the sealing portion 212 is allowed to return to unstressed condition), and a third or rearwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular surface or face 8 which diverges conically from the surface 7 toward the surface 6 and is surrounded by the internal face 5 when the sealing portion 2b assumes the sealing position shown in FIG. 2. The annular neck 9 of the sealing portion 2b which is surrounded by the conical surface 8 undergoes at least some axial expansion when the leading end 10 of the sealing portion 2b is introduced through the space surrounded by the internal face 5 so that the conical surface 7 bears against the conical face 4. Satisfactory results will be obtained if the face 4 is not conical but is located in a plane which is parallel to the plane of the top face 3.
In order to attach the stopper 2, the user introduces the leading end 10 into the interior of the end portion 1a and exerts finger pressure in the axial direction as indicated in FIG. 1 by an arrow C. Since the material of the sealing portion 2b is deformable, the leading end 10 can be readily forced through the internal face 5 and expands when the conical surface 7 comes into engagement with the conical face 4. Such engagement between the surface 7 and face 4 produces a wedging action, i.e., the neck 9 is subjected to axially directed expanding stresses and the sealing surface 6 is biased against the top face 3 to provide a highly satisfactory sealing action.
In order to detach the stopper, the user applies finger pressure against the handgrip portion 2a in the direction as indicated in FIG. 2 by an arrow D, i.e., substantially radially of the end portion 1a and sealing portion 2b, whereby the leading end 10 is forced to enter the space within the internal face 5 and the sealing portion 2b is expelled from the end portion 1a in response to expansion of its elastic material. If the pressure exerted in the direction of the arrow D was relatively small, the user will complete the separation of the stopper 2 by exerting a pull upon the handgrip portion 2a.
A very important advantage of the improved stopper is that the main sealing action takes place between the sealing surface 6 and the top face 3. Thus, evaporation of volatile ingredients is practically impossible as long as the wall thickness of the end portion la sufiices to prevent evaporation. The wall thickness of the neck 9 is preferably less than that of the remainder of the sealing portion 2b so that this neck can readily extend in response to engagement of the conical surface 7 with the conical face 4.
Due to the fact that the leading end 10 of the sealing portion 2b resembles a hollow truncated cone, such leading end serves as a guide during introduction of the sealing portion into the end portion 1a and undegroes gradually increasing radial compression as it slides along the conical internal face 5 to move the conical surface 7 into engagement with the conical face 4. For proper connection of the stopper 2, the faces 3 and'S of the end portion 1a are calibrated so that their dimensions are within a predetermined range. Such calibration can be readily achieved in a blow mold. It is further to be noted that the improved stopper can be used in connection with receptacles wherein the internal face 5 has a constant diameter from end to end, as long as the surface 7 of the sealing portion 2b resembles a cone.
Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features which fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic and specific aspects of our contribution to the art.
What is claimed as new and desired to be protected by Letters Patent is:
1. The combination of a receptacle comprising an open end portion bounded by an inwardly inclined internal annular face having an outer end, an annular top face extending outwardly at said outer end, an inner end and an outwardly inclined internal annular face extending inwardly from said inner end, with a stopper comprising a handgrip portion and a sealing portion of elastic material receivable in said open end portion, said sealing portion having a leading end and being provided with a forwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular face having a rear end and a rearwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular face extending rearwardly from said rear end, said forwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular face of said sealing portion bearing against said outwardly inclined internal annular face of said open end portion when the latter receives said sealing portion, so that said rearwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular face of said sealing portion is biased against said inwardly inclined internal annular face of said open end portion of said receptacle, and an annular sealing surface provided on said sealing portion and movable into abutment with said top face when said rearwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular face of said sealing portion is biased against said inwardly inclined internal annular face of said open end portion of said receptacle.
2. A combination as set forth in claim 1, wherein at least the sealing portion of said stopper consists of polyethylene.
3. A combination as set forth in claim 1, wherein said top face is located in a plane which is substantially normal to the axis of said open end portion.
4. A combination as set forth in claim 1, wherein at least said sealing portion of the stopper is hollow.
5. A combination as defined in claim 1, wherein said rearwardly and outwardly inclined outer annular face has a terminal end remote from said rear end, said annular sealing surface extending outwardly from said terminal end, and wherein the spacing between said annular sealing surface and said outwardly inclined outer annular face at most equals the distance between said top face and said outwardly inclined internal annular face.
6. A combination as set forth in claim 1, wherein said sealing portion undergoes gradually increasing compression in response to advance of said outwardly inclined outer annular face along said inwardly inclined internal annular face and toward said outwardly inclined internal annular face.
7. A combination as set forth in claim 1, wherein said sealing portion comprises a neck bounded by said outwardly inclined outer annular face and surrounded by said inwardly inclined internal annular face when said outwardly inclined outer annular face engages said outwardly inclined internal annular face.
8. A combination as set forth in claim 7, wherein said sealing portion is hollow and wherein the wall thickness of said neck is less than the wall thickness of the remainder of said sealing portion.
9. The combination of a receptacle comprising an open end portion bounded by an annular internal face having an inner end and an outer end and diverging conically from said inner end toward said outer end, an annular top face extending outwardly at the outer end of said internal face, and a second annular face extending outwardly at the inner end of said internal face, with a stopper comprising a handgrip portion and a scaling portion of elastic material receivable in said open end portion, said sealing portion having an annular sealing surface movable into abutment with said top face, a second annular surface diverging conically outwardly and spaced from said sealing surface by a distance which at most equals the distance between said top face and said second face, and a third surface between said sealing surface and said second surface and diverging conically toward said sealing surface, said third surface being surrounded by said internal face and said second surface bearing against said second face when said open end portion receives said sealing portion so that said sealing surface is biased against said top face.
10. A combination as set forth in claim 9, wherein said second face diverges conically outwardly from the inner end of said internal face, and wherein said third surface is an outer surface of a neck provided 011 said sealing portion extending between said surfaces and being re ceived with at least some axial expansion within said internal face when said sealing surface and said second surface respectively abut against said top face and said second face.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 368,228 8/1887 Morehouse 215-52 2,783,909 3/1957 Roberts 215-47 X 2,914,207 11/1959 Moore 21547 JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner.