US 3559847 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Eugene E. Goodrich 819 S. Western Ave.. Park Ridge. 111. 60068  Appl. No. 714,607  Filed Mar. 20, 1968  Patented Feb. 2, 1971  COLLAPSIBLE SANITARY CONTAINER WITH RETRACTABLE SPOUT 3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl 222/107, 222/529, 229/41 [51 Int. Cl B6Sd 37/00  Field ofSearch .1 222/527, 529, 107.546. 562; 229/41A  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,892,788 l/1933 Schwartz 222/562 3.282.478 11/1966 Russell 222/546X Primary Examiner-Robert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Frederick R. Handren Attorney-Morse & Morsell ABSTRACT: A liquid container of flexible plastic material having a top with a central tentlike section having an apex from which a spout projects, said tentlike section being movable from an outwardly projecting condition to an inverted depressed condition to retract the spout, opposite sides of the container having oppositely disposed, upright fold lines connected by fold lines across the top and bottom, and the top and bottom also having intersecting fold lines to provide for collapse when empty, with the collapsed top and bottom having aligned peaks projecting toward one another, the outer portion of the spout being protected by a removable cap.
PATENTED FEB 2197! 3.559.847
INVENTOR ATTORNEYS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The container of the present invention. while suited for use with a variety of liquids, is particularly adapted for dairy use to provide a single service, throw-away type of milk container which may be used in restaurants, institutions and homes, and sold in stores, and for use with other beverages, carbonated and uncarbonated.
2. Description of the Prior Art Heretofore milk and other beverages have been delivered to stores, restaurants or homes either in the well-known glass bottles or cans or in the cardboard throw-away cartons. The most popular type of these cardboard milk cartons has a peaked top which prohibits stacking. In all of these prior art cartons there is danger of contamination from the fingers when the carton is being opened and, in addition, with the prior art cartons it is not convenient to drink directly from the carton unless a straw is furnished. Also, the conventional cardboard carton conceals the contents from view.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a sanitary collapsible container formed of flexible plastic material which is suitable for use in connnection with liquids such as milk, carbonated drinks, beverages, beer, and the like. It is also suitable for shipment in collapsed form with a powder, granule, or other liquid concentrate therein, which is adapted to provide a beverage or other substance when liquid is added thereto. While particularly useful in connection with food beverages, the improved container may also be used with liquids suitable for other purposes. The container is so constructed that it may be shipped by the manufacturer to the dairy or other user in compact collapsed condition to be opened out when filled with liquid.
A further object of the invention is to provide a container as above described which is provided with an elongated spout which makes it possible to drink directly from the container if desired, the construction being such that the spout may be retracted in a novel manner so that the top of the container is relatively flat for stacking when filled.
A further object of the invention is to provide a container in which the bottom is peaked upwardly, when in collapsed or partially opened condition, to aid in the distribution of powdered concentrates toward the lower periphery, and to provide for slopes which create improved mixing of liquid and powder during filling, said sloping portions minimizing the loss of carbonation when carbonated water is used as an additive or when the container is being filled with a carbonated beverage.
Other objects of the invention are to provide a sanitary container in which the drinking spout is protected by a novel cap from contamination from the place of filling to the ultimate consumer; in which the spout is designed for either automatic or manual filling; in which the spout is tapered for convenience in drinking; in which the spout eliminates the need for a straw or separate receptacle; in which the spout is designed for either manual or automatic capping; in which the spout, when in the retracted shipping condition, can be quickly extended by squeezing the filled container; in which the container opens automatically during the filling process; and which the container is formed of material which is transparent or translucent.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the accompanying drawings, in which the same reference numerals designate the same parts in all of the views:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a partially collapsed container, part of one side being broken away;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a filled container with the spout and central portion of the top in retracted position for shipping;
FIGv 3 IS a perspective view of a filled container showing the spout in extended condition for use;
F IG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view on a somewhat larger scale taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the filled container; and
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a modification showing the retractable spout feature applied to a round container.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now more particularly to the drawing, the container is formed of moldable plastic material having flexibility and strength but being relatively nonstretchable. Preferably high or low-density polyethylene or polypropylene. Other similar materials having suitable properties may be employed, such as any other plastic materials having similar properties and which are approved by the Food and Drug Association for Liquids.
The container. when filled as in FIGS. 2 or 3, includes sidewalls such as the sidewalls 10, 11, 12 and 13, a top wall designated generally by the numeral 14, and a bottom wall 15. It is preferred to employ an average wall thickness in the neighborhood of .030 of an inch. It is preferably formed by blow molding with the top having a central section 16 which is tentlike in form to project upwardly when in the condition of FIG. 3, or to be retracted inwardly when in the condition of FIG. 2, as will be hereinafter described.
THe container is also formed with fold lines, and it may be scored or of less thickness along the fold lines so that the container will readily adapt itself to the folded condition of FIG. 1. These fold lines include lines 17 and 18 directly opposite one another and midway of the width of the sides 11 and 13, respectively, which are interconnected at the top by a fold line 19 and at the bottom by a fold line 20 (FIG. 5). In addition, the bottom has crossing diagonal fold lines 21 and 22.
The top of the container differs from the bottom in that it has the tentlike formation 16 which is out of the plane of the major portion of the top, when the container is filled, being either above said plane as in FIG. 3 or below said plane as in FIG. 2. The top has diagonal fold lines 23 and 24 which extend into the central section 16. The retractable central section 16 flexes on lines 25, 26, 27 and 28.
Projecting from the center of the tentlike formation 16 is a spout 29 of substantial length, as shown more clearly in FIG. 4, the spout being molded integrally with the rest of the container of the same material. The upper portion of the spout is preferably tapered upwardly as at 30 for convenience in drinking, and at the bottom of the tapered portion is an annular shoulder 31 (see FIG. 4) beneath which the annular inwardlyprojecting flange 32 of a cap 33 may snap. The cap is preferably formed of similar plastic to the body, and has a recessed central portion 34 to fit snugly into the open upper end of the spout in the manner of a cork or of a plugged cap, thereby creating a positive seal inside the spout in addition to the seal of'external portions of the spout against the cap. The recessed central section is of a diameter to spread the upper portion of the spout against the inner surface of the outer peripheral walls of the cap to create a double seal. The cap may also be formed with finger tabs 35 which facilitate removal, the flexibility of the cap permitting its removal.
In use, the containers may be flattened in the manner shown in FIG. 1 and shipped to the dairy or other user in the flattened form. When in the flattened form the top triangular sections 36 and 37 and the bottom triangular sections 38 and 39 fold in to substantial parallelism with one another, while the top portions 40 and 41 and the bottom portions 42 and 43 buckle inwardly on the fold lines 19 and 20, as shown in FIG. 1. Thus the top inverts inwardly to provide an inner peak 44 (FIG. 1) and the bottominverts upwardly to provide an upwardly projecting peak 45.
If the container is to be used for a concentrate in powdered or granular form, such as concentrates for producing beverages, juices, soups, milk products, or the like, such powder is inserted in the container and it is thereafter capped.
The containers are then shipped to the store or user in the compact collapsed form. the user adding the water or other liquid additive directly into the container. In this case the upstanding peak 45 of the bottom, which provides sloping portions 46, serves to direct the liquid in a plurality of directions for thorough mixing with the powder or concentrate which has previously been directed by the sloping sides into the edge portions of the bottom. Where carbonated water is the additive, the flowing of this onto the inclined portions 46 of the bottom will reduce loss of carbonation. As the container is being filled with liquid it will automatically open out to the condition of FIG. 2.
If the containers are to be filled with liquid such as with milk at a dairy, they may be filled either manually, through the uncapped spouts, or the containers may be suspended from the spout shoulders 46 while they are being filled by machine. In any event, the filling process will serve to automatically open out the containers. Thereafter the spouts may be pushed inwardly to cause inversion of the central section 16 from the condition of FIG. 3 to the condition of FIG. 2. This results in retraction of the spout to a protected position where it cannot be injured during shipment. Furthermore, the filled containers may be stacked in layers, one on top of another, without interference from the spouts, FIG. 4 illustrating the retracted condition.
When the consumer receives the liquid-filled container, such as a milk container, the spout may be pulled from the condition of FIG. 2 to the condition of FIG. 3, or the spout may be extended by merely squeezing the filled container. This causes the central section 16 to pop out from the retracted condition of FIG. 2 to the upstanding condition of FIG. 3. Then, by manipulation of the tabs 35, the cap 33 is removed. The contents may then be drunk directly from the spout 29 with the mouth engaging the tapered portion 30 of the spout. If the contents is to be drunk from a glass or cup it is a simple matter to pour from the extended spout. The improved container is particularly suitable for individual milk servings in a restaurant as it eliminates the necessity of the restaurant serving a straw with the container, or furnishing a separate glass or cup.
The improved containers are also suitable for use in sizes convenient for home milk delivery, and the retractable spout feature makes it more compact for handling and storage. It is contemplated that the containers be furnished in many sizes, for example. from a 6-ounce size to a gallon size. The polyethylene or polypropylene is sufficiently translucent that the amount of liquid within is readily visible.
While the preferred embodiment is a rectangular container, it is obvious that features of the invention are applicable to containers of other shapes. For example, FIG. 6 illustrates a round container having a circular top wall 1 14 with a conical tentlike central section 116 carrying the capped spout 129. Just as in the principal form of the invention, the spout, when in the full line retracted position, may be moved to the outwardly projected dot and dash line position of FIG. 6, and such movement may, if desired, be responsive to squeezing pressure of the fingers on another portion of the flexible container to cause the conical section 116 and spout to pop out to the dot and dash line position.
Various other changes or modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention, and all of such changes are contemplated as may come within the scope of the claims.
l. A collapsible liquid container formed of strong, flexible material, said container having sidewalls and having a top and a bottom, the central portion of said top being tentlike in form and having an apex from which a spout projects and to which the center of the tentlike section is flexibly connected, the flexibility of the material permitting movement of the tentlike section from an outwardly projected position to an inverted, depressed position to retract the spout, opposite sides of the container having op ositely disposed, upright fold lines which are connected by fo d lines across the top and bottom, and the top and bottom having diagonal fold lines, to provide for collapse of the container when empty with the top and bottom collapsed inwardly into peaked formation.
2. A container as claimed in claim 1 in which the container is rectangular and has a rectangular top and bottom, in which the central section of the top is pyramidal in shape, in which the upright fold lines are midway of the width of opposite sides, and in which the top and bottom diagonal fold lines connect the corners of the top and bottom and are extensions of the corners of the pyramidal central section.
3. A container as claimed in claim 1 in which the material is molded plastic.