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Publication numberUS3581925 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 1, 1971
Filing dateJun 9, 1969
Priority dateJun 9, 1969
Publication numberUS 3581925 A, US 3581925A, US-A-3581925, US3581925 A, US3581925A
InventorsThornton George M, Thornton Theodore Wayne
Original AssigneeThornton Mfg Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety latching ring for cylindrical containers
US 3581925 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] lnventors Theodore Wayne Thornton;

George M. Thornton. both of Salt Lake City, Utah [21] Appl. No. 831,494

[22} Filed June 9, 1969 [45] Patented June 1, 1971 [73] Assignee Thornton Manulacturing Company Salt Lake City, Utah [54] SAFETY LATCHING RING FOR CYLINDRICAL CONTAINERS 9 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.

[52] US. Cl 215/9, 215/95 [51] Int. Cl A6lj 1/00, 865d 55/02, B65d 41/08 [50] Field of Search 2l5/9,95, 97, 40

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,469,726 9/1969 Shack et a1. 215/9 3,482,723 12/1969 Esposito 215/9 Primary ExaminerGeorge T. Hall AttorneysMallinckrodt and Mallinckrodt, P. H.

Mallinckrodt, Philip A. Mallinckrodt and Kay S. Cornaby ABSTRACT: A latching ring for medicine vials and the like to prevent opening of such vials by young children. A ring is preferably molded from a plastic material for slipping onto a standard cylindrical vial from the bottom thereof to receive and latch the usual laterally projecting grasping tab of the standard snap-on cover for such a vial when either such cover or the vial is rotated in an appropriate direction relative to the other. Depression of a resiliently formed and difficult-of-access latching member, positioned in a tab-receiving enlargement of the ring, effects unlatching and permits rotation of either cap or ring in the opposite direction to release the ring from the cap and to enable the ring to drop down from the cap and permit normal opening of the vial.

PATENTEBJUN Han 3581.925

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The invention is in the general field of containers having removable closures and removable means for latching the closures in place.


Principal objectives of the invention were to provide for latching a removable closure to a container, e.g. a usual snapon cap to a usual cylindrical vial for medical pills, capsules, etc., by means of a separable device that is difficult for children--yet relatively easy for adults-to unlatch and remove and that can be satisfactorily molded as a wholly integral unit from one of the commercially available plastic materials.

State of the Art:

A special plastic vial with twist-on latching cap is presently available to pharmacists for packaging medical pills, capsules, etc., that should be kept away from children. Strong downward pressure must be exerted on the cap to unlatch it before it can be twisted off. The unique structural features of this special cap and vial combination are shown in Hedgewick U.S. Pat. No 3,344,942. However, children having the requirement strength can remove the cap without difficulty, thereby exposing the contents of the vial.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the invention, the usual plastic vial and snap-on cover can be employed for packaging products dangerous to children. It is only necessary for a pharmacist to stock a supply of the unique latching rings and to apply them as and when requested by customers. This is a great advantage, for only those customers requiring such protection need be bothered by the special inconvenience in opening the container. Moreover, the latching ring may be saved by the customer and used over and over again.

The latching ring is formed with a lower annular member whose inside diameter conforms closely to the outside diameter of the vial with which the ring isto be used, and with an upper annular member whose relatively greater inside diameter conforms closely to the outside diameter of the rim of the snap-on cap from which the grasping tab extends. An enlargement of the latching ring along a portion of its periphery provides a latch recess for receiving the grasping tab of the cap. Within such latch recess and below a top entry opening for the grasping tab is formed a resilient latch member controlling entry and exit of such tab into and out of a covered portion of the recess, which prevents dropping of the latching ring from its position about the cap.

Once the grasping tab of the cap has been inserted in the entry opening and either the cap or the vial rotated to place such tab in the covered portion of the recess, the latch member snaps int'olocking position across the entry end of. such covered portion of the recess and prevents rotation of the tab out of the locking position. Even though the vial can be rotated withinthe cap, the cap is firmly bound around the extended annular lip of the vial and cannot be removed therefrom.

The latch member is advantageously molded integrally with the remainder of the ring as a cantilever extending from an end of the latch recess, and is accessible through the top entry opening of the ring enlargement but only with difficulty due to the narrowness of such opening. The desired difficulty is preferably increased and the resilient action of the latch member enhanced, alongwith the provision of a limit stop member to prevent greater than necessary depression of the latch member, by locating the root of the cantilever well below the open top of the ring enlargement and by forming the adjacent portion of the cantilever as a depending, open loop succeeded by an upstanding knob portion that defines one end of the tabentry opening and is adapted to pushed down by the finger nail of a finger of the user in releasing the safety latching ring to permit the vial to be opened.

THE DRAWINGS A particular construction of latching ring for a usual type of medicine vial and snap-on cap is shown in the accompanying drawings as the best mode presently contemplated for carrying out the invention in actual practice.

In the drawings:

FIG. I is a pictorial view of the latching ring per se looking toward the inside of the latch recess;

FIG. 2, another pictorial view showing the latching ring encircling the vial intermediate the length thereof as it would appear while being moved into or away from its latching position encircling the .cap;

FIG. 3, a top plan view of the assembly shown in FIG. 2, but with the latching ring partially installed around the cap;

FIG. 4, a vertical semicircumferential section taken along the semicircular line 4-4 of FIG. 3, but showing the latching ring entirely in latching position;

FIG. 5, a similar but fragmentary view showing the finger nail of a finger of the user depressing the latch member while opening and showing the grasping tab of the cap partially free of the covered portion of the latch recess following the unlatching and during disengagement of the latching ring from the cap;

FIG. 6, a similar view showing the grasping tab of the cap entirely free, so that the latching ring can be dropped free of the cap and removed from the vial;

FIG. 7, a fragmentary vertical section taken along the line 7-7 ofFIG. 4; and

FIG. 8, a fragmentary view, similar to FIG. 6, but showing a depressed latch member resting against a latch stop.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT In the illustrated form of the invention, the latching ring 10 is molded as a wholly integral unit preferably from a suitable tough, flexible plastic material, such as an acrylic multipolymer, although it can be constructed from individual pieces, or from other materials having the requisite characteristics. It comprises an annular body having a lower annular member 11 and upper annular member 12. The inside diameter of the lower member 111 closely conforms to the outside diameter of the usual type of medicine vial l3 molded from a rigid plastic material with a rim 13a, FIG. 7, extending outwardly from the open end thereof to receive the usual type of snap-on cap 14. The inside diameter of the upper annular member 12 of the latching ring 10 closely conforms to the outside diameter of the bottom rim 14a of the cap when seated in its latched position to prevent the expansion of the cap 14 over the annular retaining rim 13a of the top of the vial 13, for example, if an attempt is made to pull the ring 10 and cap l4 off the vial 13. The inside diameter of annular ring 12 is tapered outwardlytoward the top to allow easy entrance of the cap into the ring. Projecting laterally outwardly from the cap, usually flush with its bottom rim, is the customary grasping tab 14b.

The entire cap 14 is usually molded from a flexible plastic material in the customary manner so it can be snapped on and off the annular retaining rim 13a of the vial 13. Such retaining rim need not be continuous.

An annular shoulder 15 between the member 11 and 12 of the ring 10 provides a seat for the bottom rim 14a of the cap when such ring is installed on vial 13 by slipping upwardly along the height of the vial from the bottom thereof as indicated in FIG. 2.

The latching ring I0 is enlarged outwardly along a portion of its periphery, as at 100, to provide a narrow latch recess 16 for tab 14b, and in succeeding portions of the length of the recess 16 are open at the top to provide an entry 19 for the tab and a limited access 20 to a latch member 21.

Latch member 21 is of cantilever formation and projects from the end wall 10b at point 21a of recess 16 that is opposite the entrance 18a to latch chamber 18, and controls entry and exit of tab 1412 into and out of latch chamber 18. The plastic material from which it is formed has a memory, i.e. sufficient resiliency to serve as a spring, so that, after being depressed from its normal latching position of FIGS. 1 and 4 to the positions of FIGS. 5 and 6, it returns automatically to normal latching position.

A portion of the length of latch member 21 adjacent to the point of attachment 21a is formed as an open loop 21b to enhance resiliency and to provide a limit stop controlling the extent to which the latch member can be depressed, it being realized that the bottom of latch recess 16 is preferably open to facilitate molding of the ring as a wholly integral unit.

Succeeding portion 21b along the length of the cantilevered latch element 21 is an upstanding knob 2lcthat lies flush with or below the open top of latch recess 16 which provides the limited access 20, and beyond that is a latch portion 21d. It will be noted that knob 21cdefines one end of tabentry 19 and that latch portion 21d underlies such tabentry 19.

The latch member 21 need not have an open loop 21b for use as a limit stop. As shown in FlG. 8, the latch member 23 may comprise a simple bar having an upstanding knob 21c to aid in depressing the latch member 23 downwardly against a limit stop 24, such as a pin or a block. The limit stop 24 prevents the latch member 23 from being depressed below the latching ring, and thereby losing resiliency. Other such means may be employed for stopping the latch member 23, since a principal purpose is to protect the resiliency of the latch member 23.

In installing latching ring on a capped vial 13, as shown in FIG. 2, it is slipped upwardly of the vial from the bottom thereof and is positioned so that tab 14b of the cap enters entry 19 and depresses latch member 21. By then rotating the ring 10 with respect to the cap 14, tab 14b passes into latching chamber 18 by way of its now open entrance 18a; whereupon latch member 21 snaps back into its normal latching position of F IG. 4.

For opening the vial, it is necessary to remove latching ring 10 from cap 14. This is accomplished by depressing latch member 21 and by rotating either the ring or vial 13 to move tab 14b from latching chamber 18 to entry 19, as shown in FIG. 6. Latch member 21 is difficult of access in the narrow latching recess 16. A child cannot easily depress the latch member 21 and simultaneously rotate the vial 13, although an adult can do so by using the finger nail 220, FIG. 5, of one of his fingers 22 to engage knob 210.

Although the illustrations and foregoing detailed description relate to a specific form of the invention presently regarded as the best mode of carrying it out, various other constructions are possible.

We claim:

l. A latching ring for containers provided with closure caps having annular bottom rims and laterally projecting tabs, said ring comprising a lower annular member;

an upper annular member, whose inside diameter is greater than that of the lower annular member to provide a shoulder for engaging the bottom rim of the cap of a container of the type concerned;

an outward enlargement of the latching ring along a portion of the circumferential extent of said ring, defining a latch recess for receiving the tab of the closure cap, said recess having its top closed along a portion of its length and open along an adjacent portion of its length to define a tab-latching chamber, an entry for said tab, and limited access to a latch member;

a latch member within said latch recess and below said entry at the entrance to said tab-latching chamber;

resilient means normally maintaining said latch member in a position closing said entrance; and

means accessible to a user of the container through said limited access for depressing said latch member and thereby opening said entrance to the tab-latching chamber. 2. A latching ring as defined by claim 1, wherein the latch member is elongate and mounted as a cantilever at one end of the latch recess below the limited access and extending under the tab entry.

3. A latching ring as defined by claim 2, wherein the resilient means provides the cantilever mounting for the latch member.

4. A latching ring as defined by claim 3, wherein all the component parts are of a plastic material and are wholly integral one with the others.

5. A latching ring as defined by claim 4, wherein a portion of the length of the latch member adjacent the root of the cantilever is formed as an open loop.

6. A latching ring as defined by claim 5, wherein a portion of the length of the latch member underlying the limited access is formed as an upstanding knob that defines one end of the tab entry and is adapted to be pushed down by the finger nail of a finger of the user for unlatching the latching ring.

7. In combination, a container, a cap, and a latching ring, all as defined by claim 1.

8. The combination defined by claim 7, wherein the container is cylindrical with an open end and an outwardly projecting rim surrounding said open end; the cap is of snap-on latch means controlling said entry means; and means for operating said latch means, said operating means being difficult of access.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3850327 *Feb 5, 1973Nov 26, 1974Robinson EChild-proof container closure
US4519514 *Mar 20, 1984May 28, 1985Robert Linkletter Associates, Inc.Tamper resistant and tamper evident closures
US4619370 *Feb 20, 1985Oct 28, 1986Robert Linkletter Associates, Ltd.Tamper resistant and tamper evident closures
US8453873 *Jun 4, 2013Amcor LimitedClosure
US20060283874 *Sep 1, 2006Dec 21, 2006Tyco Healthcare Retail Services, AgContainer for dispensing plural wet wipe sheets or dry sanitary tissue sheets
U.S. Classification215/225
International ClassificationB65D50/04, B65D50/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D50/045
European ClassificationB65D50/04F