US 3612323 A
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United States Patent Inventor Dell M. Malick Route 1, Box 31 A, Santa Rosa, Tex. 78593 App]. No. 861,010
Filed Sept. 25, 1969 Patented Oct. 12, 19711 SAFETY CLOSURE 9 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.
Int. Cl A61j 1/00, 865d 55/02 Field of Search 215/9, 42,
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,417,893 12/1968 Lieberman 215/9 3,445,022 5/1969 Cilluffo 215/9 Primary Examiner-George T. Hall Attorney-Edward D. O'Brien ABSTRACT: The specification discloses so-called safety" closure and container neck constructions. A container neck as disclosed carries a ratchet or ratchetlike structure the closure disclosed carries a hinged lever which in turn carries a pawl structure. In a normal locked position of the closure the pawl structure engages the ratchet structure so that the closure cannot be removed from the container. The lever is capable of being moved to an unlocked position in which the pawl and ratchet structures are disengaged. In such an unlocked position the closure may be removed from the container neck.
PATENTED um 1 219m SHEEI NF 2 40 lNb EN T02 DELL M; MAL/CK FIG. 6.
By EDWARD D. OER/AN A TTOR/VEY SAFETY crosuaa BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The term safety closure" is commonly utilized to designate closures which are relatively difficult to remove from a container. Common closures such as threaded caps, snap on lids and the like which have been commonly used for many years are considered to present a potential health hazard since they can be opened by even comparatively young children. The safety-type closures which are presently known are constructed so that it is hoped that young children cannot satisfactorily open them.
A number of problems have been encountered with prior, known safety closures. One of these problems pertains to the cost of such closures. If they are not comparatively inexpensive so as to be comparable in cost to conventional nonsafety closures they cannot be widely adopted and used. Another problem which has been encountered in the safety closure field pertains to scaling. A safety closure to be acceptable must adequately seal the interior of a container, both to protect the contents of the container from contamination and also to revent leakage.
Another problem encountered in the safety closure fields pertains to the ease of use. Many of the individuals who have to open so-called safety closures do not have adequate physical strength to go through the manipulative operations required to open certain known types of safety closures even though they have the mental capacity to realize the sequence of steps necessary to open these closures. This is to be compared with the frequent physical capacity of a comparatively young child to perform the steps necessary to open a safety closure, but the lack of the mental capacity of such a child to realize the manipulative steps necessary to open such a closure.
The significance of this latter problem is considered to be more important than readily realized. Anelderly arthritic per son frequently has to gain access to the interior of a bottle of medicine. Such a person may know how to open a known type of safety closure but frequently will not have the physical strength necessary to do this.
If a safety" closure is to be acceptable for use it not only must be comparatively inexpensive so that its use is economically competitive. If a safety closure is to be acceptable it must not only satisfactorily seal a container. To be acceptable such a closure must also be of such a nature that a person who has to gain access to the interior of the container can easily open it.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An objective of the present invention is to provide new and improved safety closure and container neck constructions which meet the aforegoing and related criteria for commercial acceptance. Thus, objectives of the invention are to provide constructions of the type indicated: which are comparatively simple to manufacture at a nominal cost; which may be easily assembled together with a minimum of difficulty and a nominal cost; which satisfactorily seal; and which may be easily opened by individuals having less physical strength than normal individuals.
The invention also has a number of other more detailed, specific objectives as will appear from a detailed consideration of the remainder of this specification. One of these objectives is to provide safety closure and container neck construe tions of a so-called tamper proof" variety which may be easily assembled utilizing conventional capping equipment. The term tamper proof as used herein is intended to indicate that the closures are of such a nature as to indicate by visual inspection whether or not they have been previously opened. This is frequently considered important is protecting a customer against receiving a partially empty container of goods, container of adulterated goods or the like.
In accordance with this invention these and various related objectives are achieved by providing together in the combination of a closure having a top, a dependent skirt attached to the top and internal thread means within the skirt and of a container having a neck provided with a top edge, an external thread means, the neck supporting the closure so as to be attached to it by both of the thread means in such a manner that the skirt surrounds the neck and the top overlies the top edge of the neck the following new elements: engagement means on the neck, a lever means located on the skirt, a hinge means supporting the lever means so that it is moveable relative to the skirt and a holding means on the lever means for engaging the engagement means so as to prevent rotation of the closure relative to the neck when the lever means is in a locked position.
With this type of structure the lever means can be moved about the hinge means between such a locked position and an unlocked position in which the holding and engagement means are spaced from one another. In such an unlocked position the closure may be moved along the thread means in usual manner so as to be removed from the container neck. After being removed the closure can be replaced on the neck and the lever means can be returned to a locked position.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING With a combination closure and container construction as herein described many more details then are indicated in the preceding summary are significant to the acceptability and operation of the device.
Such details will be apparent from a consideration of the accompanying drawing in conjunction with the remainder of this specification. In the drawing:
FIG. I is an isometric view of a presently preferred embodiment or form of a closure and container combination of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a partial cross-sectional view taken at line 2-2 of FIG. ll;
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view taken at line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4i is a partial cross-sectional view corresponding to FIG. 3 showing a lever part of the closure illustrated in a locked position after its initial use;
FIG. 5 is a partial crosssectional view taken along a curved plain as indicated by the line 5-5 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along a curved plain as indicated by the line 6-6 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 7 is an isometric view corresponding to FIG. ll of another embodiment or form of a closure and container combination of this invention;
FIG. 8 is a partial cross-sectional view taken at line 3-3 of FIG. 7; and
FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view taken at line 9-9 of FIG. b.
It will be realized that the accompanying drawing is primarily intended for explanatory purposes. It is contemplated that various changes will be made in the constructions illustrated in adapting these constructions in accordance with specific packaging needs and/or in accordance with specific manufacturing requirements. Such changes may be easily made on the basis of the disclosure of the drawing and in this specification through the exercise of routine design and/or engineering skill.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS In FIG. 11 of the drawing there is shown a safety" closure 10 and container neck 12 constructed in accordance with this invention. The neck 12 forms a part of a conventional container 114; it is of the usual cylindrical construction; it has a top edge 16 and projecting thread means 118. The particular thread means 18 illustrated are partial threads. It is to be understood that equivalents such as a continuous thread may be substituted for the particular thread means illustrated.
The closure 10 includes a top 20 which is integrally formed with a dependent skirt 22 having a knurled exterior surface 24. This skirt 22 preferably extends above the top 20 so as to provide a projecting flangelike lip or wall 26 extending above the top 20. The skirt 22 includes internal thread means 28 corresponding to the thread means 18. The thread means 18 are adapted to coact with the thread means 28 in order to secure the closure upon the neck 12 in an established manner. The top preferably includes a dependent sealing means or ring 30 which is adapted to engage and form a seal against the tip edge 16 when the closure 10 is in place upon the neck 12. Various known conventional sealing rings may be substituted for the precise type of sealing ring 30 illustrated.
The skirt 22 preferably includes an elongated lever means or lever 32 which extends along the length of the skirt 22. This lever 32 is preferably initially joined to the remainder of the skirt 22 along both of its sides by thin membranes 34 when the closure 10 is manufactured. These membranes 34 may be regarded as tear flanges or tear flange means since they are sufficiently thin to be weak enough to be easily severed upon movement of the lever 32 about a hinge 36 joining the intersurface of the lever 32 to the top 20.
This hinge 36 may be easily constructed by forming the portion of the top 20 defining it of a slightly reduced cross-sectional area sufficient in thickness to permit bending without tearing. This construction is designed so that the lever 32 may be rotated about the hinge 36 by pressure being applied to its top end 38 or to its lower end 40 so as to move it to an unlocked position as indicated in phantom as a finger hold as shown.
The normal position of the lever 32 as illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 of the drawing may be referred to as a locked position. This is because in this position thin, resilient pawls 42 extending from the lever 32 engage ratchet teeth 44 located in a continuous ring around the exterior of the neck 12 adjacent to the top edge 16. These teeth 44 and the pawls 42 extend axially of the neck 12. This position is to be contrasted with an unlocked position of the lever 32 in which the pawls 42 are spaced from the teeth 44. The significance of these two positions will be apparent from a consideration of the assembly and use of the closure 10.
In use the skirt 22 of the closure 10 is engaged by the chuck of a capping machine or by the hand so that the lever 32 cannot rotate. The closure 10 is then assembled on the neck 12 in a conventional manner. During such assembly the inherent flexibility or resiliency of the pawls 42 will enable them to snap over the teeth 44 until the closure 10 is torqued down during engagement of the thread means 18 and 28 to a sufficient extent so that the sealing ring 30 forms an effective seal. At this point the pawls 42 will be' engaged with individual teeth 44 so as to prevent rotation of the closure 10 off of the neck 12.
When it is desired to open the container 14 pressure may be applied to either or both ends of the lever 32 so as to cause severing of the membranes 34. Such pressure can be applied by hand and/or through the use of an manipulative tool. As a result of such pressure the lever 32 will move to an unlocked position as indicated in FIG. 2 of the drawing. This will break the membranes 34, making it apparent that the closure 10 has been used. In such a position the pawls 42 are disengaged from the teeth 44. As a result of such disengagement the closure 10 may readily be removed from the neck 12 by rotation in the conventional manner.
The closure 10 may be reapplied to the neck 12 in the same manner with the lever 32 in this unlocked position. Once the closure 10 has been reassembled upon the neck 12 after such initial use the lever 32 may be rotated back to a closed locked position as indicated in FIG. 4. In order to assume the position in FIG. 4 normally the lever 32 will have to be snapped past the remnants of the membranes 34 so as to be held as indicated in FIG. 4 by adjacent portions of the skirt 22. Since these remnants of the membranes 34 serve this function they may be termed friction means." Because of the inherent resiliency of the pawls 42 a position as shown in FIG. 4 is possible. Thereafter the closure 10 may be removed in the manner described.
From this description it will be realized that the operative character of the present invention is predicated upon the physical properties of the material used in forming the closure 10. This closure is an integral unit formed out of a known polyolefin polymer. The necessary physical properties for a closure 10 are possessed by materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene such as are commonly known to be useful in closures of various types such as two-piece dispensing closures. Such polyolefins may be easily formed to a configuration as shown for the closure 10 through known injection molding techniques.
In FIG. 7, 8 and 9 of the drawing there is shown a modified closure 50 of the present invention which is exceedingly similar to the closure 10. For convenience of designation those parts of the closures l0 and 50 which are the same or substantially the same are not separately identified herein and are designated in the remainder of this specification and in the drawing by the primes of the numerals previously used to designate such parts.
The closure 50 omits the wall 26 used in the closure 10 and thus employs a skirt 22' which terminates flush with the top 20'. The closure 50 also omits the membrane 34 used with the closure 10 and utilizes a single pawl 42' instead of the pawls 42 previously described. The lever 32 in the closure 50 may include a small extending tab 52 designed to facilitate manual rotation of the lever 32' about the hinge 36. A finger hold corresponding to the lower end 40 may be used instead of the tab 52.
Because of the manner in which the closure 50 is constructed the lever 32' may be molded so as to extend outwardly from the remainder of the closure 50 more or less in line with the top 20'. Also the skirt 22 may be molded so as to include shoulders 54 enabling a distinct pop through" or snap through type action to be achieved which will firmly hold the lever 32' in a locked position as indicated in FIG. 9 when the lever 32' is rotated to such a position. In serving in this manner the shoulders 54 serve as a friction means holding the lever 32' in a closed or locked position.
The operation of the closure 50 in all other respects identical to the operation of the closure 10. The closure 50 does not provide a visual indication as to whether or not this closure has been opened such as is possessed by the closure It). This is because the closure 50 omits the membranes 34 used in the closure 10. The tab 52 may, if desired, be used with the closure 10.
When the thread means 18 and 18' in the closures l0 and 50 are a series of closely spaced partial threads the ends of these partial threads will be closely enough located so as to serve as ratchet teeth. If such partial threads are used, the pawls 42 and 42' can be extended so as to engage them as they engage the teeth 44 and 44'. If this structure is used, there is no need to employ separate ratchet teeth 44 and 44', since the thread means 18 and 18' serve as such teeth. This type of structure is not preferred because such thread means are normally spaced so as to be operative a sufficient distance apart so that the pawls 42 and 42 cannot be locked to prevent movement in any position they might be in.
1. In the combination of a closure and a container neck, said closure having a top, a dependent skirt attached to said top and internal thread means for securing said skirt to said neck within said skirt, said neck having a top edge, an external thread means, said closure being normally positioned on said neck in a closed position in which said thread means on said neck and said skirt are engaged, the improvement which comprises:
a moveable member located on said skirt so as to be exposed to the interior of said skirt, pivoting means permitting movement of said moveable member relative to the remainder of said closure connecting said moveable member to said closure,
cooperating means on said moveable member and said neck for locking said closure against movement with respect to said neck,
said moveable member being capable of being moved with respect to said closure so as to space said cooperating means on said moveable member from said cooperating means on said neck so that said closure may be twisted so as to disengage said thread means on said closure and said neck so that said closure can be removed from said neck and membrane means initially connecting said moveable member with said skirt for indicating if said moveable member has been moved with respect to said skirt, said membrane means being capable of being broken upon movement of said moveable member. 2. A combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
said cooperating means on said neck comprise engagement means formed integrally with said neck and said cooperating means on said moveable member comprise holding means for engaging said engagement means so as to prevent rotation of said closure. 3. The combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim 2 wherein:
said engagement means comprises a ring of ratchet teeth located around the exterior of said neck, said holding means comprises pawl means for engaging said ratchet teeth located on said moveable member. 4. The combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim 3 wherein:
said pawl means are resilient and are capable of snapping past individual ratchet teeth on said neck as said closure is located in said closed position on said neck. 5. The combination of a closure and container neck as claimed in claim ll including:
tab means for facilitating movement of said moveable member located on said moveable member so as to extend therefrom. 6. The combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim 11 including:
friction means located on said skirt adjacent to said moveable member for holding said moveable member after the initial use of said closure so that said cooperating means are in engagement with one another so as to lock said closure against movement with respect to said neck. 7. The combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim 6 wherein:
said friction means comprise shoulders, said moveable member being capable of being snapped past said shoulders in securing said cooperating means together. 8. The combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim ll wherein:
said cooperating means on said neck comprises a ring of ratchet teeth located around the exterior of said neck, said cooperating means on said moveable member comprises a resilient pawl means for engaging said ratchet teeth located on said moveable member, said moveable member is a lever means attached by said hinge means to the remainder of said closure, and including friction means located on said skirt adjacent to said moveable member for holding said moveable member after the initial use of said closure so that said cooperating means are in engagement with one another so as to lock said closure against movement with respect to said neck, and wherein said closure including said moveable member, said hinge means and said cooperating means on said moveable member is an integral unit formed of a polyolefin polymer, said pivoting means permitting movement comprises a hinge means. 9. The combination of a closure and a container neck as claimed in claim 1 wherein:
said pivoting means permitting movement comprises a hinge means.