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Publication numberUS3610475 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 5, 1971
Filing dateSep 22, 1969
Priority dateSep 22, 1969
Publication numberUS 3610475 A, US 3610475A, US-A-3610475, US3610475 A, US3610475A
InventorsGach Peter P
Original AssigneeSunbeam Plastics Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Childproof replaceable overcap for an aerosol can
US 3610475 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Peter P. Gach Inventor Evansville, Ill.

App]. No. 859,708

Filed Sept. 22, 1969 Patented Oct. 5, 1971 Assignee Sunbeam Plastics Corporation Evansville, Ind.

CHILDPROOF REPLACEABLE OVERCAP FOR AN AEROSOL CAN 6 Claims, 15 Drawing Figs.

Primary ExaminerSamuel F. Coleman Assistant ExaminerDavid A. Scherbel Attorney-Owen & Owen ABSTRACT: A substantially tamperproof and childproof replaceable cover cap for an aerosol spray can or the like which has a central dispensing valve at one end with an annular collar surrounding the dispensing valve. The cap has an inverted, cup-shaped, outer wall and an inner concentric skirt. The lower edge of the inner skirt has an inwardly turned retaining lip adapted to engage beneath the collar of the can in order to retain the cap in place. A locking element which is manually movable between Open and Locked" positions is mounted in an opening in the cap and extends inwardly or downwardly to a position adjacent the outer surface of the inner skirt. The element has means on its inner or lower end which cooperate with the retaining lip on the inner skirt to reinforce the engagement of the retaining lip with the can collar in order to securely retain the cap in place when the element is in Locked" position and to provide for disengagement of the cap from the can collar and removal of the cap when the locking element is in "Open" position. The element may be sealed in Locked" position by a removable seal to prevent improper initial removal of the cap. Even after the cap has been initially removed and replaced, movement of the locking element to Locked" position prevents or makes difficult the removal of the cap by an infant or small child.

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CI-IILDPROOF REPLACEABLE OVERCAP FOR AN AEROSOL CAN BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Many products are packaged in aerosol pressurized containers for dispensing as sprays which are somewhat dangerous, particularly when accessible to small children. Many caps or covers for the valves of such containers have been suggested in order to prevent their being opened by small children but most of the structures suggested have been rather complicated and expensive to manufacture or to position on the caps during assembly of the caps on the pressurized cans.

In addition many suggestions have been made for caps for pressurized aerosol cans which would make it difficult if not impossible for a purchaser in a supermarket or the like to substitute a cap of a lower priced item for the cap on a higher priced item and thus to confuse the checkout clerk so as to obtain the higher priced item at the price of the lower priced item. Many of these caps have required fracturing a part of the cap in order to remove it from the container so that when a purchaser attempts to substitute one cap for the other the checkout clerk can tell at a glance that the cap has been substituted. Some of the prior art caps have required the use of accessories or tools in order to open them and this is somewhat inconvenient when a user wishes to discharge the content of the container but does not have the necessary tool readily available.

It is therefore an object of the instant invention to provide an overcap for an aerosol container which can readily be removed by an adult or an older child, but which will effectively inhibit the removal thereof by a small child.

It is another object of the instant invention to provide a relatively childproof overcap for an aerosol container which also is adapted to be sealed in closed position upon initial fllling in order to prevent the substitution of the cap of a lower priced material for the cap of a higher priced material by a dishonest purchaser.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary view, partly in elevation and with parts broken away, of the upper end of an aerosol container equipped with an overcap embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of an overcap embodying the invention;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along the line 3-3 of FIG. 1 and shown on an enlarged scale;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 but showing the locking mechanism in a different position;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along the line 77 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a view in perspective of a locking element as utilized in the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1-7 inclusive;

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 1 but illustrating a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 1 1 11 of FIG. 10 and shown on an enlarged scale;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken along the line 12-12 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along the line 13-l3 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 14 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view similar to FIG. 13 but showing the locking element in open position; and

FIG. 15 is a view in perspective and on an enlarged scale of the locking element utilized in this second embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 9-14 inclusive.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS A typical aerosol can generally indicated by the reference number 20 comprises a cylindrical body 21, a breast portion 22 and a valve generally indicated by the reference number 23 which comprises a feeding tube 24 (FIG. 3) and a dispensing nozzle 25. The valve 23 is held in the breast portion 22 by an annular sealing collar 26 which seals the can 20 and retains the valve 23 in the can 20.

An overcap embodying the invention is generally indicated by the reference number 27 and comprises an outer inverted, cup-shaped, outer wall 28 and an inner concentric skirt 29. At the lower edge of the skirt 29 there is located an inwardly turned retaining lip 30 (see also FIG. 6) which is of such size as to be frictionally engaged beneath the collar 26 when the overcap 27 is in place on the can 20. The lip 30 may comprise several segments or may be substantially continuous around the periphery of the skirt 29, being illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, for example, as having two segments 30a and 30b. The circumferential extent of the rib segments 30a and 30b or a lengthier lip 30 is determined by the degree of resistance to removal of the overcap 20 which is desired to be provided in the particular arrangement.

In this first embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-8 inclusive, the overcap 20 comprises a rotatable locking element generally indicated by the reference number 31 and shown in perspective in FIG. 8. The locking element 31 has a generally cylindrical body 32 which fits rotatably in a well 33 formed in the overcap 20 between the outer wall 28 and the skirt 29. The well 33 comprises two arcuate sidewalls 34 and 35 each of which has a shoulder 36 near its upper end. The lower edge of the skirt 29 has a segmental opening 37 at its lower forward edge which extends between the intersection of the sidewalls 34 and 35 with the skirt 29. The upper portion of the outer wall 28 of the overcap is angularly recessed to form a flared opening 38 into the upper outer portion of the well 33. The body 32 of the locking element 31 is similarly relieved to form a flat 39 that blends with the flared opening 38.

At its upper end, the locking element 31 has an enlarged, serrated head 40 of a diameter such that it fits into the recess formed by the shoulders 36 in the well 33. The flared opening 38 in the outer wall 28 and the flat 39 of the element 31 cooperate to provide a space beneath the front portion of the head 40 into which a users finger may be inserted to provide easy access to the surface of the head 40 for the purpose of rotating the element 31.

The element 31 extends downwardly through the well 33 to a distance such that a radially protruding lug 41 on the lower end thereof extends beneaththe collar 26 when the locking element 31 is in the position illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. This means (lug 41) on the lower or inner end of the locking element 31 cooperates with the retaining lips 30a and 30b to reinforce the engagement of the retaining lips 30a and 30b with the collar in order to securely retain the overcap 20 in place when the locking element 31 is in the position of FIGS. 3 and 4, which may be denominated the Locked position. The locking element 31 may have a raised arrow 42 on its upper surface and an L may be molded or otherwise indicated on the top surface of the overcap 20 so that when the arrow 42 aligns with the L, it shows to the user that the locking element 3] is in Locked" position as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings. I

Rotation of the locking element 31 from the position illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 to the position illustrated in FIG. 5 swings the lug 41 out from beneath the collar 26 whereupon the overcap 27 may be tilted upwardly and backwardly as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3 to remove it off of the can 20.

The locking element 31 also has two small, radially extending catches 43 (see particularly FIGS. 7 and 8) which are so located as to snap beneath the lower edges of the sidewalls 34 and 35 of the well 33 when the locking element 31 is thrust downwardly into the well 33 at the time of the initial assembly of the locking element 31 in the overcap 20 prior to the positioning to the overcap 27 on the can 20. An 0" is also molded or otherwise formed on the top of the cap 27 in position so that when the locking element 31 is rotated to Open" position, the arrow 42 is pointed at the letter O, as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2.

The rotatable locking element 31 has a vertically extending rib 44 on its back surface, just below the flat 39, which protrudes radially a slight distance beyond the cylindrical surface of itsbody 32 and is engageable alternately in either of two vertical slots 45 and 46 molded in the outer wall 28 and the wall 35 of the well 33, as best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The engagement of the rib 44 in the slots 45 and 46 serves to detent the rotary locking element 31 either in its Open" position (FIG. 5) or its Locked position (FIG. 4).

If desired, a sealing strip 47 may be removably adhered both to the center portion of the top of the overcap 27 and to the top surface of the head 40 of the rotary locking element 31 when the overcap 27 is first placed on the can to indicate to the initial purchaser of the product that the cap has never been opened or removed from the can. This also precludes the improper removal of the overcap 27 from the can which might be done by an unscrupulous purchaser seeking to replace it with the cap of a cheaper commodity.

Thus, the rotary locking element 31 has a means (i.e., the lug 41) on its inner or lower end which cooperates with the retaining lips 30a and 30b to reinforce the engagement of those retaining lips 30a and 30b with the collar 26 of the can thus to securely retain the overcap 27 in place on the can 20 when the rotary locking element 31 is in Locked" position. Similarly, when the rotary locking element 31 is rotated to the Open" position of FIG. 5, the disengagement of the means (lug) 41 from beneath the collar 26 provides for easy removal of the overcap 27 from the can to permit the actuation of the dispensing valve 25. The engagement of the rib 44 in the two cooperating slots 45 and 46 provides for accurate positioning of the rotary locking element 31 in either its Open" or Locked" positions; and, also, because the rib 44 protrudes radially beyond the surface of the body 32, when the rotary locking element 31 is rotated between its two positions, the rib 44 must wedge the outer wall 28 or the sidewall slightly outwardly in order to disengage from the respective one of the two slots 45 and 46. This provides resistance to the rotation of the locking element 31 and thus further inhibits its rotation by a small child. This renders the locking element 31 an effective means for preventing the removal of the overcap 27 by a small infant and thus reduces the danger to such a small infant which might result if that infant were able to remove the overcap 27 and actuate the dispensing valve 25 A second embodiment of the instant invention is illustrated in FIGS. 915 inclusive. A pressurized can, generally indicated by the reference number 50, has a body 51, a breast portion 52 and a valve 53 which comprises a supply tube 54 and a spray nozzle 55. The valve 53 is retained at the upper center portion of the breast portion 52 by a crimped over, annular collar 56.

An overcap embodying the invention is generally indicated by the reference number 57 and comprises an outer, inverted cup-shaped wall 58 and an inner, concentric, depending skirt 59 which extends downwardly to a level just beneath the under shoulder of the collar 56 when the overcap 57 is in position on the can 50. An inwardly directed lip 60 is formed on the lower end of the skirt 59 at such location and of such size as to be adapted to snap beneath the lower shoulder of the collar 56 in order to retain the overcap 57 on the can 50.

A locking element 61 (see particularly FIGS. 13-15) has an elongated body 62 which fits into a vertical well 63 that is formed between the outer side of the skirt 59 and the inner side of the outer wall 58 of the cap 57 and by a pair of sidewalls 64 and 65 which extend between the skirt 59 and the outer wall 58. Near the upper ends of the sidewalls 64 and 65 they are stepped in order to form shoulders 66. Intermediate the junctions of the sidewalls 64 and 65 and the inner skirt 60, the inner skirt 60 has a narrow vertically extending slot 67. At the outer, upper side of the overcap 57, opposite the slot 67,

the overcap has a flared opening 68 and the front side of the locking element 62 has a flat 69 which aligns with the flared opening 68. The locking element 61 has a head 70 at its upper end which fits into the recess fomted by the shoulders 66 when the locking element 70 is in Locked position as illustrated in FIGS. 11-13 inclusive. The extra space beneath the head 70 provided by the flared opening 68 and the flap 69 allow a users finger to be inserted beneath the edge of the head 70 in order to move the locking element 61 from the lower, Locked" position of FIG. 13 to the upper, 0pen position of FIG. 14. A vertical rib 71 at the rear edge of the locking element 61 slides in the vertical slot 67 in order to guide the locking element 61 during vertical movement.

In this embodiment of the invention, the retaining lip 60 at the lower end of the inner skirt 59 is continuous except for the short gap provided by the slot 67 and, by reason of the slot 67 extending from the bottom of the skirt 59 almost to the top, the lower portion of the skirt 69 is quite flexible and can readily be expanded as illustrated in FIG. 14 when a user desires to lift the overcap 57 off of the can 50. The locking element 61 has means at its lower inner end which cooperate with the retaining rib 60 in order to reinforce the engagement of the retaining rib 60 with the collar 56 when the locking element 61 is in Locked" position. These means comprise a pair of radially protruding lugs 72 formed at the lower end and on opposite sides of the slot 67 and which extend outwardly from the lower edge of the skirt 59. The lugs 72 are engageable between a pair of opposed wedging surfaces 73 formed at the lower inner edges of two vertically extending webs 74 of the locking element 61. As can best be seen by comparison of FIGS. 13 and 14, whenthe locking element 61 is in its upper, Open position, the wedging surfaces 73 are above the level of the lugs 72 and the lower end of the inner skirt 59 may easily be expanded pulling the retaining lip 60 up and around the can collar 56. Conversely, when the locking element 61 is in its inner or lower, Locked" position, as illustrated in FIG. 13, the wedging surfaces 73 squeeze the two lugs 72 toward each other, clamping the lower edge of the inner skirt 59 around the collar 56 and reinforcing the engagement of the retaining lip 60 beneath the collar 56.

As in the earlier embodiment of the invention, the locking element 61 has a pair of catches 75 at its lower end which snap beneath the lower edges of the sidewalls 64 and 65 in order to retain the locking element 61 in place in the well 63.

If desired, suitable legends such as Lift to Open" and Push to Lock may be engraved, molded or otherwise imprinted on the upper surface of the overcap 57 adjacent the upper end of the locking element 61 in order to instruct the user as to how the overcap 57 may be removed.

As in the case of the earlier embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 1-8, inclusive, this second embodiment of the invention also may be provided with an initial seal comprising a strip 75 of suitable, preferably self-adhering and tough material, which extends over at least part of the top of the locking element 61 and a part of the top of the overcap 57 and downwardly to cross the flared opening 68 and the flat 69 in order to prevent the locking element 61 from being moved to upper, Open" position without that fact being visible to a checkout clerk in a market. The purchaser immediately can tell whether or not the overcap 57 has been removed at the time original selection of the can equipped with an overcap manufactured according to this embodiment of the invention.

1 claim:

1. A substantially tamperproof and childproof replaceable cap for an aerosol can, said can having a centrally located dispensing valve at one end and a collar surrounding the base of said valve, said cap comprising an inverted cup-shaped body having a tubular skirt and an inner, depending skirt adapted to enclose the valve, an inwardly directed lip at the lower end of said inner skirt that is engageable with such collar for resiliently retaining said cap on said can, a pair of vertical, generally radial, arcuate walls extending between said skirts and defining a well having an open top, a manually operable locking element mounted in said well, the upper end of said locking element protruding through the open top of said well and the inner end of said locking element extending inwardly adjacent the lower end of said inner skirt, said locking element being movable between a closed" position and an open position, and means on the inner end of said locking element cooperating with at least a portion of said inner skirt for firmly retaining said cap on said can when said locking element is in closed" position.

2. A cap according to claim 1 in which the skirt has a segmental opening at its lower edge and the locking member has a portion that is inserted through such opening underneath the collar on the can when the member is in closed position.

3. A cap according to claim 1 in which the skirt has a segmental opening at its lower edge, the locking element is rotatably mounted in the cap and the means at the inner end of said locking member is a radially protruding lug whereby rotating said member to closed" position swings said lug beneath the collar on the can for retaining the cap thereon and rotating said member to open position removes said lug from beneath said collar.

4. A cap according to claim 1 in which the lip on the lower end of said skirt is loosely engaged with the can collar and the locking element has means on its inner end for more tightly engaging said lip with said collar when said locking element is in closed" position.

5. A cap according to claim 1 in which the skirt is slotted at its lower edge and the locking element has means engaging said skirt adjacent such slot for squeezing the sides of such slot together when said locking member is in closed" position thereby to reduce the circumference of the lip on said skirt and to more tightly engage said lip beneath the collar on said can.

6. A substantially tamperproof and childproof replaceable cap for an aerosol can, said can having a centrally located dispensing valve at one end and a collar surrounding the base of said valve; said cap comprising an inverted cup-shaped body having a tubular skirt and an inner, depending skirt adapted to enclose the valve, an inwardly directed lip at the lower end of said inner skirt that is engageable with said collar for resiliently retaining said cap on said can, a pair of vertical. generally radial walls extending between said skirts and defining a wall having an open top, a manually operable locking element mounted in said well, the upper end of said locking element protruding through the open top of said well and the inner end of said locking element extending inwardly adjacent the lower end of said inner skirt, said locking element being movable between a closed position and an open position, and means on the inner and of said locking element cooperating with at least a portion of said inner skirt for lessening the resilient retaining force of said inner skirt in engagement with such collar when said locking element is in open position.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3804286 *Apr 8, 1971Apr 16, 1974Imp Plastics IncClosure
US5918758 *Mar 28, 1995Jul 6, 1999Bgf Health Care Products Ltd.Containers
US6082572 *Jan 31, 1997Jul 4, 2000Bgf Health Care Products Ltd.Security container with locking lid
US6655607 *Mar 30, 2001Dec 2, 2003Eduardo VazquezSpray can adaptor
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/182, 220/315
International ClassificationB65D83/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/40
European ClassificationB65D83/40