US 3696963 A
Easy-open container structure with enlarged opening for direct consumption of beverages or substantially full-opening for removal of container contents, and without the disadvantages of tear-strip openings, is provided. A snap-on, reclosable, closure with predetermined contouring of the outer diameter of the closure and a portion of the container provides a co-extensive surface for effective operation of tape means which exert maximum strength for sealing purposes and minimum strength for removal purposes.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Saunders [$4] TOOL-FREE HAND-OPENABLE CONTAINER  Inventor: William T. Saunders, Weirton, W.
 Assignee: National Steel Corporation  Filed: Dec. 11, 1969  App]. No.: 884,134
52 us. Cl. ..220/60 R, 220/42 A, 220/53,
229/51 AS 511 Int. Cl. ..B65d 43/10 58 Field of Search ..220/60 R, 53, 44 R, 42 A;
 References Cited 1 Oct. 10,1972
3,398,848 8/1968 Donovan ..220/60 A X 3,403,810 10/1968 Kehe ..220/53 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,092,013 11/1954 France ..220/60 R 471,] I9 8/[937 Great Britain ..220/60 R Primary Examiner-Joseph R. Leclair Assistant Examiner-James R. Garrett Attorneyfishanley and ONeil  ABSTRACT Easy-open container structure with enlarged opening for direct consumption of beverages or substantially full-opening for removal of container contents, and without the disadvantages of tear-strip openings, is
provided. A snap-on, reclosable, closure with UNITED STATES PATENTS predetermined contouring of the outer diameter of the closure and a portion of the container provides a co 742,325 10/1903 Hull ..220/60 R extensive surface for ff ti operation f tape means "5 yllhelm 2 1 98 which exert maximum strength for sealing purposes irany d t f a] I 3,334,776 8/1967 Ellis ..220/53 'mmmum remov purposes 3,344,945 IO/ I967 Bozek ..220/53 7 Claim, 4 Drawing figures 42 l w i e r I PATENTEUUBI 10 1912 FIGI 1 1 i 6 I i I0 i? Mi I INVENTOR WILUAM T. SAUNDERS BY 324% :LCD'QJ ATTORNEYS TOOL-FREE HAND-OPENABLE CONTAINER This invention is concerned with easy-open containers. More particularly, the invention is concerned with novel, easy-open, mug-type containers especially suited for direct consumption of food and beverages.
A number of shortcomings of conventional easyopen containers, i.e., with integral opening tool and scored tear segments, are surmounted by the present invention by making available a low cost and completely hand-openable container structure.
As is known, operation of tear-segment openers is not foolproof and it is difficult to complete opening and removal of contents when failure occurs. Such disadvantages are accentuated when handling semi-solid foods and this has limited usage of easy-open containers.
The primary objective of the present invention is to provide novel, easy-open, container structure which is more economical than prior art easy-open structures, which does not require an integral opener or any opening tool while providing effective sealing including sealing of pressure packs, which is reclosable, and which is better suited for direct consumption or removal of container contents than prior art, easy-open, tear-segmenttype containers. Other advantages of the invention will be discernible from a description of the specific embodiment shown in the accompanying drawings.
In these drawings:
FIG. 1 is a sectional view of container structure embodying the invention,
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of closure structure fonning part of the invention,
HQ 3 is an enlarged sectional view of a portion of container and closure structure embodying the invention, and
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of container structure embodying the invention.
Adaptation of the invention to drawn beverage containers, such as a convention l2 ounce carbonated beverage can, has significant advantages and the invention will be described in that environment. In the drawn beverage container of FIG. 1, container body structure includes an open end 12, a closed end 14, and sidewall 16. Closed end 14 comprises an endwall joined to the sidewall 16 by end seam 18.
The container body structure 10 includes a neck portion 19 at open end 12. The cross-sectional area at various locations along the neck portion 19, in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 20, is less than the cross-sectional area at plane 22 of the main body portion of the container.
In the configuration shown, neck portion 19 includes open end 12 with a peripheral edge curl 24, sidewall segment 26, laterally extending ledge 28, and sidewall portion 30. Sidewall segment 26 is approximately equal in diameter to the outer diameter of edge curl 24. The laterally extending ledge 28 joins sidewall segment 26 to the sidewall portion 30. The latter extends longitudinally, in the direction of the closed end 14, from the outer periphery of laterally extending ledge 28.
It should be noted that opening l2 of container body structure 10 has a cross-sectional area in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis which covers a major portion of the maximum cross-sectional area as measured at plane 22. Ledge 28, which is longitudinally spaced toward the closed end l4 from peripheral edge 24, is of slightly larger cross-sectional area than the opening 12. Sidewall portion 30 extends from the laterally outward peripheral edge of the laterally extending ledge 28 in a direction parallel to the long axis toward the closed end 14 of the container body means. Additional contouring is not required in accordance with the invention and in other embodiments, such as food containers, sidewall portion 30 can comprise the full diameter portion of the container.
FIG. 2 shows a sectional view of an end closure lid 31 for the container body structure 10 of FIG. 1. Lid 3! includes endwall 32, sidewall 34, and an inwardly directed curl 36 at its open end. A resilient material liner, such as a plastisol liner 38, is mounted on the internal surface of the lid in position to contact peripheral edge 24 of the open end of the container body means 10.
The enlarged sectional view of FIG. 3 shows, in a radial plane, the container body structure 10 at open end 12 with the end closure lid 31 in closed and sealed position. Endwall 32 is in position closing the opening 12 of container body means. Plastisol liner 38 contacts the peripheral curl 24 of the opening 12. The lower peripheral edge of curl 36 of the end closure lid 31 is contiguous to ledge 28.
The cross-sectional configuration and cross-sectional area of lid sidewall 34 is substantially identical to the cross-sectional configuration and cross-sectional area of container sidewall portion 30. When the lid is in the closed position, a co-extensive surface is formed by lid sidewall 34 and the container sidewall portion 30. This co-extensive surface plays an important role in the high strength sealing provided by the invention.
The structure provides snap-on closure with the lid curl 36 snapping over curl 24 of opening 12. The snapon feature provides for reclosing of the container and for closure prior to sealing.
An important part of the invention is the provision of tape means for the maintenance of internal pressure during treatment of contents, such as during pasteurizing of beer. Part of the tape means is shown in F IG. 3. It should be noted that tape 42 extends along the co-extensive surface formed by lid sidewall 34 and container sidewall portion 30. Tab 44, on tape 42, is provided for easy peeling of the tape.
Pressure from within the container pressing upwardly on the lid 31, or any force tending to open the container, places tape 42 under tension. Because of the structure and configuration taught which provides the co-extensive surface described above, the tape and its adhesive are positioned to best withstand stresses tending to open the container prematurely. The adhesive tape exhibits its maximum strength to maintain the container sealed against any of the normal internal pressures encountered, about 50 pounds per square inch, and up to and higher than the maximum standard specification for beer and carbonated beverages of pounds per square inch. Yet for deliberate opening purposes the adhesive tape exhibits its lowest holding power and can be easily peeled.
As shown in FIG. 4, the tape-sealing means comprises at least two adhesive tapes, 42 and 46, with peeling tabs 44 and 48, respectively. The tapes should cross in angled relationship across the upper surface of the lid. The angled relationship is important for proper sealing and to facilitate opening. Removal of one tape, for example tape 42, will vent the container while tape 46 holds lid 31 to the container body means 10 to prevent blowing off of lid 31 and to permit gradual release of internal pressure. After the gradual equalization of pressures provided, the remaining tape 46 can then be removed without the loss of container contents commonly experienced when opening prior art carbonated beverage containers.
Container body structure 10 can be drawn from flat rolled steel coated with a protective metal, from sheet aluminum. or other suitable materials. When drawn from flat rolled steel coated with a protective metal, such as tin or chromium, thickness gage of 0.008 inch for sidewall 16 is satisfactory for carbonated beverage containers. Typically the range of flat rolled steel product would extend between 75 and l pounds per base box for most individual consumer containers. Thickness gages for aluminum or other sheet materials can be judged from these standards. Lighter or heavier thickness gage requirements would in general be dictated by the drawing process, strength requirements, handling requirements, and the like. With a conventional 12 ounce beverage container, the diameter at the maximum cross-sectional area portion of the container would be slightly in excess of two and a half inches. The opening 12 would have a diameter of approximately one and a half inches and the ledge 28 would have a diameter of approximately two-tenths of an inch larger than the opening 12. The radius of the curl 24 of the container body means and the curl 36 at the lower peripheral edge of lid 31 would each be approximately 0.05 inch. The over-all height of the container body structure would be slightly in excess of inches. This container can be draw-formed from conventional temper flat rolled steel. The container can also be fabricated from a plurality of pieces in which a neck portion is joined to a seamed sidewall, and an endwall is joined at the opposite end.
Suitable tapes for effecting sealing include nylon tapes, cellophane tapes, polyester tapes, or fiber-reinforced, e.g., acetate-fiber, tapes with a pressure-sensitive adhesive which will adhere readily to container structure. An important contribution of the invention is the positioning of the tape means to be placed under tension by internal pressure and thus best able to withstand opening stresses because of the direction and extent of the earlier described co-extension surface. Yet, the tape can be readily removed by peeling. The result is high-strength and complete sealing effected by the tape along the direction of its maximum strength with easy-open features being provided along the direction of minimum holding strength.
To maintain integrity of the contents until opened by a consumer, a paper seal, such as the familiar tax stamp used on alcoholic beverage bottles, can be placed across one or both of the tapes.
A typical plastisol material for gasket 38 comprises a vinyl chloride resin and a plasticizer. Other suitable resilient materials, such as low density polyethylene, polypropylene, and natural or synthetic rubber can be readily applied and used. The plastisol should be insoluble in the container contents and remain somewhat flexible after use.
One of the advantages to be noted is that after removal of the top closure, the mug-type configuration facilitates direct drinking or pouring from the container. The container opening 12 is sufficiently large that ice cubes or crushed ice can be added to the con tainer for chilling fluid contents. Other contents can be removed by insertion of a utensil. Also, the container can be used as a mug after consumption of contents.
The snap-on embodiment illustrated utilizes rounded curl 24 on the container body 10 and rounded curl 36 on the lid 31 to provide the necessary contact surface. The diameter at the outer periphery of curl 24 is slightly larger than the inner peripheral diameter of curl 36 with the resilience of lid sidewall 34 providing for snap-on closure. Other predetermined configurations or cross-sectional shapes can be used in place of the rounded curls shown to provide edge contact surfaces for snap-on closures. For example, received in cross section such edge shapes can have a rectilinear angular configuration with contact surfaces at the angle apex portions having the diarnetral relationship described above in relation to the rounded curls. Other configurations providing the necessary contact surfaces for providing snap-on closure can be utilized while talcing advantage of the contouring and tape sealing teachings of the invention.
In sealing a container the tape provides the force and holding power to effect sealing without requiring full circumferential contact by the tape between the closure and the container. in the embodiment shown, and preferred, the sidewall portion 30 forming part of the co-extensive tape-receiving surface is adjacent to the ledge 28 so that curl 36 contacts ledge 28 and the surfaces of lid sidewall 34 and container sidewall portion 30 provide not only a co-extensive but a substantially continuous surface as well. This continuous surface provides the greatest protection against accidental shearing of a tape since the tape is substantially completely in contact with lid and container sidewall surfaces over its entire length. However special outer configuration lids can be designed to permit, or require, placement of such container sidewall portion in spaced relationship from the laterally extending ledge 28 while still utilizing the teachings of the invention of providing a co-extensive surface permitting the tape means to exhibit its tensile strength in sealing a container.
Also the neck portion illustrated for use with a beverage container can be substantially reduced in utilizing the invention in making an aeasy-open jar-like container for peanut butter, and the like. In such an embodiment, the lid sidewall is substantially co-extensive with the full diameter container body sidewail. The opening provided by the present invention is substantially the same as that provided in the conventional full-open" screw-top, tear-strip, and tool-openable containers. But in addition the invention provides the mentioned advantages of economy, easy opening with no tool requirements, complete sealing of pressure and other packs, and reusable features without the sharp cutting edge problems of the tear-strip container.
Other configurations, materials, and modifications than those specifically set forth can be employed utilizing the above teachings without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.
What is claimed is: 1. An easy-open, mug-type, reclosable container comprising container body means having a longitudinal axis,
sidewall means, an easy-open end and a longitudinally opposed end,
the easy-open end defining an opening having a cross-sectional area in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis covering a major portion of but less than the maximum cross-sectional area of the container sidewall means in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis,
ledge means spaced longitudinally in a direction toward the longitudinally opposed end of the container body means from the peripheral edge defined by the easy-open end,
the ledge means extending laterally outwardly with respect to the longitudinal axis and having a maximum cross-sectional area in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis which is greater than that of the opening defined by the easy-open end,
the sidewall means extending from the laterally extending ledge means at its inner periphery toward the opening and extending at its outer periphery toward the longitudinally opposed end of the container means with at least a portion of the sidewall means having a cross-sectional area in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis which is substantially equal to the maximum crosssectional area of the laterally extending ledge at its outer periphery, and
lid means for closing the opening defined by the easy-open end of the container body means, the lid means having a closed end, open end, and a sidewall therebetween, the lid sidewall having a cross-section configuration and area in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis which is substantially identical to the cross-section configuration and area of the portion of the container sidewall means so as to form a substantially co-extensive surface with such portion of the container sidewall means,
the lid means comprising sheet metal having a predetermined edge configuration extending radially inwardly from the lid sidewall at its open end providing a contact surface for snap-on closure of the container body means, such contact surface having a cross-sectional dimension causing contact with the side wall means extending from the inner periphery of the ledge means when the lid means is in closed position the container body means comprising sheet metal defining at the peripheral edge of the easy-open end a predetermined configuration with the sheet metal turned radially inwardly toward the said longitudinal axis then curled radially outwardly to form a curled peripheral contact surface having a cross-sectional area in a plane perpendicular to the axis of the container body means substantially the same as the outer cross-sectional area of the sidewall means which extends from the inner periphery of the ledge means for removable snapon reception of the lid means, and
tape means for holding the lid means to the container body means so as to close the opening defined at the easy-open end of the con 'ner body means, the tape means comprising at east two elongated tapes crossing in angled relationship to each other across the closed end of the lid means and extending over such end along the substantially co-extensive surface defined by the lid sidewall and the portion of the container sidewall means so that force tending to remove the lid means places the tapes under tension along the co-extensive surface.
2. The container structure of claim 1 in which the lid means further includes a resilient liner on its inner surface for contacting the peripheral edge defined by the opening at the easy-open end of the container.
3. The container structure of claim 1 in which the predetermined configuration of the container body means comprises a rounded curl of sheet metal having an outer periphery of predetermined cross-sectional area.
4. The container structure of claim I in which the predetermined edge configuration of the lid means is contiguous to the laterally extending ledge when the lid means is in closed position.
5. The container structure of claim 1 in which the predetermined edge configuration of the lid means comprises a rounded curl of sheet metal providing the contact surface along its inner periphery.
6. The container structure of claim 1 in which the portion of the container sidewall means defining part of the co-extensive surface is adjacent to and extends from the outer periphery of the laterally extending ledge.
7. The container structure of claim I in which substantially the entire lid sidewall has a cross-sectional configuration and area in a plane perpendicular to the longitudinal axis which is substantially identical to cross-sectional configuration and area of the portion of the container sidewall means having a cross-sectional area substantially equal to the maximum cross-sectional area of the laterally extending ledge at its outer periphery.
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