US 3613955 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 2,004,018 6 1935 Strauss.... 222 83 3,162,329 12 1964 Gregory 222/182 3,402,855 9 1968 Schroederetal 222 83 Primary ExaminerRobert B. Reeves Assistant ExaminerThomas E. Kocovsky Attorneys-James C. Logomasini and M. J. Murphy  Inventor Richard B. Wetherell, Jr.
Tolland, Conn.  Appl. No. 841,819  Filed July 15, 1969  Patented Oct. 19, 1971  Assignee Monsanto Company St. Louis, Mo.
 COMPARTMENTALIZED CONTAINER PACKAGE 6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 222/83, 222/87, 222/91, 222/541, 222/142.5  1nt.Cl B671) 7/24  Field of Search 222/80, 83, 85, 87, 89, 91,145,136, 81, 86, 541, 142.5
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,003,562 6/1935 Stuart, 222/82 PATENTEDHBT 19 ml 3.613.955
INVENTOR. RICHARD B. WETHERELL JR.
BY 2 7 Q g ATTORNEY COMPARTMENTALIIZED CONTAINER PACKAGE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to a compartmentalized container package for storing, mixing and dispensing ingredients which must be segregated prior to use.
2. Description of the Prior Art A variety of compositions including certain cosmetics and hair dyes are unstable and must be used within a short time after mixing of the components. Because of the long period of time elapsing between packaging and use by the ultimate consumer, it is necessary to segregate certain active components from the remainder of the composition until the consumer is ready to use the mixed components. The components are then mixed by the consumer, either manually or by means of a closure mechanism. Plural container systems have been developed wherein individual fluids are packaged in separate containers. For example, one technique has evolved wherein a smaller container is inserted within a larger container and the contents of each container are maintained segregated by some form of seal. In certain of these dual container systems the inner container is sealed mechanically within the outer container by screw threads or the like, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,255,926. However, it has been found that these mechanical seals, unfortunately, have a tendency to either leak or dislodge accidentally.
A more recent attempt to overcome the leakage problem associated with mechanical seals has resulted in the use of a rupturable membrane such as shown in US. Pat. No. 3,402,855. Although, this system has resolved the problem to some extent, there still remains the tendency of these membranes to be accidentally torn or twisted loose during shipment and handling prior to use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Now there has been developed a new, improved device which resolves the problems described above by providing a unique means of supporting and securing a rupturable closure web. Leakage and premature mixing are thus prevented by a seal which is secure against twisting or tearing. In addition, this system provides a unique means of severing the web and inner container support means, which eliminates all intermixing hazards relating to the accidental displacement of the containers or their closures.
Accordingly, the main object of this invention is to provide an improved compartmentalized container package for holding dissimilar liquids segregated from each other until it is desired to mix them.
Another object of the invention is to provide more secure seals over the mouths of inner and outer containers in a dual container system to prevent leakage and intermixing.
An additional object of the present invention is to provide more secure, simpler, and more economical means for releasably supporting the inner container within the outer container.
Another object of this invention is to construct a means for releasably supporting an inner container within an outer container such that the support means will seal the mouth of the outer container.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a device wherein the outer container can be manufactured by conventional blow molding techniques, and the inner assembly, including the inner container and the entire releasable support and outer container sealing means, can be injection molded in one unit.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will in part be obvious and will in part appear hereafter.
These and other objects are attained by a compartmentalized container package for storing, mixing, and dispensing ingredients which must be segregated prior to dispensing, comprising:
a. an outer container having a mouth, said outer container having fastening means extending around said mouth;
b. an inner container shorter than and having a cross-sectional dimension less than that of the outer container, said inner container having a mouth and being adapted to fit in spaced relationship within the outer container;
0. means for releasably supporting said inner container in a spaced relationship within said outer container, said means for releasably supporting said inner container including a frangible bridge section connected to the inner container;
d. closure means extending across and in sealing engagement with the mouth of the inner container;
e. dispensing means engageable with said fastening means of the outer container; and
f. rupturing means associated with said dispensing means for severing said frangible bridge section to release said inner container within said outer container and to permit intermixing of the contents of the two containers by shaking the device prior to dispensing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In describing the preferred embodiments, reference will be made to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. l is a side view section of a preferred embodiment for a removable seal and support system in a compartmentalized container package;
FIG. 2 is a sectional view along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an exploded partial elevational view illustrating the operation of the device of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 4 and 5 are partial side view sections of alternative embodiments of a portion of the device; and
FIG. 6 is a partial side view section of a closure member with an integral liner.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS With reference to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. I a device comprising an inner container 10, an outer container 12, a dispensing cap 14, and a safety member 16.
The inner container 10 has a bottom wall 11, a generally cylindrical sidewall 18, and a circular mouth 9. The outer container 12 is wider and deeper than the inner container 10 and has a base 13, a generally cylindrical sidewall 24 extending upwardly from said base, a circular mouth 15, and a fastening means such as threads on neck 26.
Also provided as an integral part of the inner container 10 is a releasable support means, which includes a laterally extending surface 20 connected by a thin frangible bridge section 21 to the inner container sidewall 18 surrounding mouth 9 and a plug portion 22 extending downward from said laterally extending surface. The frangible bridge 21 is located between sidewall 18 and plug 22 and may be discontinuous as shown in FIG. 2. Alternatively, the bridge 21 may be continuous and of decreased thickness at the desired point of severance.
A closure means such as a flat rupturable web 28 seals the mouth 9 of the inner container 10, being secured to the laterally projecting surface 20 adhesively or by bending and crimping the web around the perimeter of the outer container neck 26.
Safety member 16 is shown fastened onto the outer container neck 26 in FIG. 1 and is used to protect the rupturable web 28 and prevent separation of the inner container 10 from the outer container 112 during shipment and handling prior to use because of the compressive contact between laterally extending surface 20 and the underside of safety member 16.
Dispensing screwcap M has an internally threaded cylindrical sidewall 33 adapted to cooperate with the threaded neck 26 of the outer container 12, and a delivery nozzle or spout 30 extending upward from an annular surface 32 of the cap. Cutters 34 and severing collar 36 extend downwardly from the annular surface 32. Cutters 34 overlie the rupturable web 28, and severing collar 36 overlies the frangible bridge 21 when cap 14 is in its uppermost position on neck 26. The cutters 34 and severing collar 36 must both terminate above the bottom end of the threaded portion of the cap to enable these elements to coact with the web 28 and the frangible bridge 21.
When the dispensing cap 14 is rotatably fastened on the outer container 12 it is desired that the downward torque force from the cutters 34 will rupture the web 28, and the downward torque force from the severing collar 36 will sever the frangible bridge section 21. The severing collar 36 must extend below the top end of the dispensing cap thread a minimum distance equal to the thickness of the frangible bridge section 21 to ensure that the frangible bridge will sever when the dispensing cap 14 is rotatably fastened to the outer container 12. The cutters 34 must extend below the severing collar 36 and the difference between their lengths must be at least equal to the thickness of the web 28 to ensure that the web 28 is ruptured prior to severing the frangible bridge 21. Otherwise, if the web 28 is not ruptured before the frangible portion 21 is severed, the inner container could be separated from the laterally extending surface and fall into the outer container 12 while the mouth 9 of the inner container is still sealed by the web 28 and thus prevent mixing of the contents of the two containers. Viewed from the side, the cutters 34 are triangular in shape and taper downward to a sharp cutting edge. The severing collar 36 and the cutters 34 are concentric about the axis of the dispensing cap 14, with the cutters lying within the severing collar. Although a sharp edge 37 is preferable for ease of separation, the severing collar may have a rounded edge. While a single cutter 34 and a single narrow severing projection can be used, it is preferable to have a plurality of cutters 34, e.g., from 3 to 6, and a peripherally continuous circular severing collar 36, since less turning and less pressure is required to rupture the web 28 and sever the frangible bridge 21. FIG. 1 shows four cutters 34 and a peripherally continuous circular severing collar 36.
The device is utilized by filling the inner container 10 and outer container 12 with different components. The inner container 10 is inserted into the outer container 12, either manually or by means of automated equipment, until the laterally extending surface 20 rests on the top of the outer container neck 26 and seals the space between the mouths of the two containers to prevent mixing of their contents. The plug portion 22, which is frictionally engaged with the inner surface of the outer container neck 26, prevents leakage of the outer container contents and restrains movement of the inner container with respect to the outer container. The web 28 is placed across the mouth of the inner container and secured, i.e., adhesively or by crimping, such that it is in sealing engagement with the laterally extending surface 20. The safety member 16 is threaded onto the neck 26 of the outer container to protect the web 28 and ensure a tight seal by preventing separation of the inner and outer containers. 1f the frangible bridge section 21 is perforated as shown in FIG. 2, the web 28 must extend over the perforations to seal the contents of the outer container.
When it is desired to mix the contents of the two containers, the safety member 16 is replaced by the dispensing screw cap 14. The sequential opening of the mouths of the inner 10 and outer 12 containers is accomplished by the downward rotation of the dispensing cap along threaded neck 26. The downward rotary motion of the cutters 34 ruptures the web 28 and completely shears said web along a circular path adjacent to the inner surface of the inner container wall 18 to permit discharge of the contents. As the cap 14 is further rotated the severing collar 36 forces down upon the top surface of the wall 18 of the inner container to sever the frangible bridge section 21. The inner container 10 then falls by gravity into the outer container 12. Shaking the device causes the liquids to be mixed together and the delivery spout or nozzle allows dispensing of the mixed liquids. The delivery spout 30 is preferably of the snip-off variety to enable vigorous shaking without spillage prior to opening the spout. Dispensing is achieved by compressing the sidewall 24 of the thermoplastic outer container 12 to force the contents through the delivery spout 30.
FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate alternative embodiments of the means for sealing the space between the mouths of the two containers and the means for supporting the inner container 10 within the outer container 12. In FIG. 4 the means for releasably supporting also seals the space between the mouths of the two containers and consists of a triangular shaped wedge 38 resting against the inner surface of the inwardly flaring portion of the neck 25 of the outer container. The wedge 38 is connected to the inner container wall 17 by a thin frangible bridge section 39. As in the preferred embodiment, the wedge 38 and the frangible bridge section 39 may be continuous or discontinuous. 1f the wedge 38 or frangible bridge 39 are discontinuous, the web 28 must extend over the discontinuities to seal the contents of the outer container.
in H0. 5, a generally flat peripheral surface 40 extends over the edge of the outer container neck 27 and is connected to the inner container wall 19 by a thin frangible bridge section 41. A resilient skirt 42 depends from the outer edge of the peripheral surface 40. FIG. 5 illustrates a cam means consisting of a protruding bead 44 on the outer surface of the neck 27 of the outer container and a cooperating depression 46 on the inner surface of the skirt 42. ln place of threads, a similar cam arrangement can be used to fasten a safety member or a dispensing cap to a protruding bead 48 on the outer neck 25 of the outer container, as illustrated in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 illustrates a particularly attractive alternative embodiment of a closure means to seal the mouth 9 of the inner container 10. A soft liner 29 is adhesively secured to the underside 51 of a closure member 50 and serves to seal the mouth 9 of the inner container 10 when the closure member 50 is fastened onto the threaded neck 26 of the outer container 12. The soft liner 29 may be sized such that it will also seal the contents of the outer container if the frangible bridge 21 is perforated. When it is desired to mix the contents, the closure member 50 is replaced by a modified dispensing cap which is generally similar in function to cap 14. The modified dispensing cap in this alternative embodiment has a severing collar 36 overlying and capable of severing the frangible bridge section 21 of the laterally projecting surface 20 in the manner generally described previously. However, since the soft liner 29 is integral with the closure member 50, the seal over the mouth 9 of the inner container 10 is opened merely by removing the closure member. In this simplified embodiment both the rupturable web 28 and the cutters 34 of the rupturing means are thus eliminated.
in general, the preferred materials which find particular use in this invention are thermoplastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyvinyl chloride. The resilient characteristics of polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene are especially suitable for use in the outer container when a squeeze discharge is desired. Polyvinyl chloride has been found to be an unusually effective material for the inner container since materials which are frequently packaged in this type of container system are generally corrosive to many of the more commonly used thermoplastics. The dispensing cap and safety member are also preferably of thermoplastic.
The present invention finds utility in compartmentalized container packages which must be secure against leakage and the premature mixing of their contents. The unique construction of a releasable support means as an integral part of the inner container of a dual container system enables one to fabricate the outer container by conventional blow molding techniques without any special consideration given to the manner in which the inner container is secured to and mounted within the outer container. This simplified design will result in reduced manufacture and assembly costs. Also, the rupturable web used to seal the contents of the containers is supported and secured in a manner which is safe against accidental twisting or tearing.
It will be understood that many variations and modifications of the embodiments herein described will be obvious to those skilled in the art and may be carried out without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. In a device for storing, mixing, and dispensing ingredients which must be segregated prior to use which includes an outer container having a mouth, fastening means extending around said mouth, an inner container shorter and narrower than that of the outer container, means for releasably supporting said inner container in spaced relationship within said outer container, closure means extending across and in sealing engagement with the mouth of the inner container, dispensing means engageable with and movable along said fastening means of the outer container having cutters overlying said closure means, the improvement wherein said releasable support means comprises a frangible bridge section as an integral part of the inner container bridging to the outer container and a circular collar on the dispensing means adapted to sever said frangible bridge section as the dispensing means is moved down along the fastening means of the outer container thereby releasing the inner container within the outer container to permit intermixing the contents of the two containers.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the means for releasably supporting said inner container in spaced relationship within said outer container serves to seal the portion of the mouth of the outer container exterior to the inner container and in cludes:
a. a laterally extending surface adapted to supportingly rest on the wall of the outer container when the inner container is inserted into the outer container, said frangible bridge section interconnecting the laterally extending surface with the inner container;
b. a plug portion integral with said laterally extending surface in sealing engagement with the inner wall of the outer container when said inner container is releasably supported within said outer container.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein the means for releasably supporting said inner container in spaced relationship within said outer container comprises a laterally extending surface terminating at its outer end in a downward projecting rim, and including locking means associated with a surface of said rim and a surface of the outer container wall, one of said rim and said outer container being formed of a resilient material, said locking means comprising a protruding bead on one of said surfaces and a cooperating depression in the other of said surfaces for receiving the head on deforming the resilient member.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein the frangible bridge section is perforated and the closure means comprises a rupturable web overlying the mouth of the inner container and the perforations in said frangible bridge, said web serving to seal the mouth of the inner container and the portion of the mouth of the outer container exterior to said inner container.
5. The device of claim 1 wherein said circular collar is continuous and said cutters extend downward from the inner surface thereof.
6. The device of claim 1 wherein the material of one of said inner and said outer containers is polyvinyl chloride.