US 3739934 A
A tamper-proof bottle closure, the bottle being provided with a neck or other outlet having an external threading. Cooperating with the neck is an internally threaded screw cap, the cap having a radial slot occupied by a flexible strip, one end of which is anchored at the center of the cap, the other end having a dependent latching tooth which normally lies against the inner surface of the cap within a gap in the internal threading. The external threading on the neck is provided with a breach within which the latching tooth lies when the cap is fully closed, whereby unscrewing of the cap is prevented by the tooth. However, by lifting the strip to raise the tooth above the breach and simultaneously turning the cap, one may unscrew the cap from the bottle to obtain access to its contents.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Bruno June 19, i973 TAMPER-PROOF BOTTLE CLOSURE  Inventor: Leonard Bruno, Farmingdale, NY.
 Assignee: Shore Plastics, Inc., Freeport, NY. 22 Filedi Nov. 8, 1971  Appl. No.: 196,551
 US. Cl. 215/9, 215/44  Int. Cl. B65d 55/02  Field of Search 215/9, 44'
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,612,323 10/1971 Mahick 215/9 Primary Examiner-George T. Hall AttorneyMichael Ebert  ABSTRACT A tamper-proof bottle closure, the bottle being provided with a neck or other outlet having an external threading. Cooperating with the neck is an internally threaded screw cap, the cap having a radial slot occupied by a flexible strip, one end of which is anchored at the center of the cap, the other end having a dependent latching tooth which normally lies against the inner surface of the cap within a gap in the internal threading. The external threading on the neck is provided with a breach within which the latching tooth lies when the cap is fully closed, whereby unscrewing of the cap is prevented by the tooth. However, by lifting the strip to raise the tooth above the breach and simulta neously turning the cap, one may unscrew the cap from the bottle to obtain access to its contents.
5 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures TAMPER-PROOF BOTTLE CLOSURE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to safety closures for bottles or other containers, and more particularly to a tamper-proof screw-type closure whose appearance is virtually indistinguishable from a standard closure and which requires both hands to open.
In the typical American household, the medicine cabinet contains various drugs in small bottles and vials. Thus one may find bottles of aspirin, sleeping pills, cold treatment tablets and prescription pharmaceuticals. These drugs are reasonably safe when taken in their proper dosage by individuals for whom they are intended, but they may be toxic when swallowed indiscriminately by a small child.
The tendency of children to explore medicine cabi nets and other places where drugs are kept is notorious, and the fact that this may lead to fatal consequences is also a matter of common knowledge. It is for this reason that the recently enacted Poison Prevention Packaging Act calls for the establishment of federal packaging standards and empowers the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare to decide which products must be made to comply with these standards.
Though packaging standards have not yetbeen set, a variety of safety closures are already available on the market, all of which are designed to somewhat complicate the procedure involved in opening the closure. The conventional bottle closure is in the form of a screw-on or snap-on cap, so that to open the closure, one either unscrews or snaps off the cap. Safety closures are designed to block this operation unless one first operates a safety catch or other unlocking means.
Thus in one type of safety closure being presently marketed, the closure is opened by aligning an arrow on the closure with an arrow on the container, at which point the closure may be snapped off. In another type which is commercially available, a bead in the neck of the container must be matched with a notch on the closure. The main drawback of these closures is that a clever child may quickly succeed in learning how to operate the safety device.
Other forms of child-resistant safety closures make use of a cap within a cap arrangement, the closure "being removable by squeezing the outer cap to engage the inner cap. This type of safety closure is not too difficult for the knowing child to operate. In other instances, the safety closure makes use of pull tabs or other latching elements. One objection to this form of closure is that the tab is conspicuous, so that the childs attention is drawn thereto.
Moreover, present types of safety closures are operated with one hand. Though a child in the three-to-five year age bracket is usually poorly coordinated, he is still able, using one hand, to toy with existing safety closures and to succeed at times in actuating the safety mechanism. Hence existing safety closures do not afford a high measure of security.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In view of the foregoing, it is the main object of this invention to provide a tamper-proof closure for a bottle or other container, which closure can only be unlocked by the use of both hands, thereby affording a high measure of security.
necessary to open the closure, he would still have difficulty in doing so. But since the inquisitive child is not so informed, but can only hope to succeed by trial and error, his lack of information coupled with his rela tively poor coordination, renders the closure in accordance with the invention, virtually foolproof. On the other hand, authorized adults knowing how the closure may be unlatched, have no difficulty in this regard.
Also an object of the invention is to provide a tamper-proof closure whose plain appearance is quite similar to that of a conventional closure so that a child is not attracted to the means by which the closure may be unlocked.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide a safety closure of relatively simple and inexpensive design which may be mass produced at low cost.
Briefly stated, these objects are attained in a safety closure for a bottle or other container, the bottle being provided with a neck or other outlet having an external spiral threading. Cooperating with the neck is an internally threaded screw-type cap adapted to threadably engage the bottle neck. The cap is provided with a radial slot occupied by a flexible strip, one end of which is anchored at the center of the cap, the other end having a dependent latching tooth which normally lies against the inner surface of the cap within a gap in the internal threading.
The external threading of the bottle neck is provided with a breach, the latching tooth on the cap lying within the breach when the cap is fully closed, whereby turning of the cap to open the bottle is prevented by the tooth. However, by lifting the strip upwardly with one hand to raise the tooth above the breach and by simultaneously turning the cap with the other hand to unscrew the cap from the neck, one may then open the bottle.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING For a better understanding of the invention as well as other objects and further features thereof, reference is made to the following detailed description to be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a safety closure in accordance with the invention as applied to a bottle;
- FIG. 2 is an inside plan view of the closure cap;
FIG. 3 is a section of the cap taken in the plane indicated by line 33 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a section of the cap taken in the plane indicated by line 4-4 in FIG. I;
FIG. 5 is a separate sectional view of the latching strip included in the cap;
FIG. 6 diagrammatically illustrates the relationship of the latching tooth and the bottle thread;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a modified form of cap in accordance with the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE IINVENTION Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a safety clo' sure according to the invention, the closure being applied to a container in the form of a bottle having a neck-shaped opening 11 provided with an external threading 12, in a spiral formation. The closure is in the -form of a screw-type cap, generally designated by numeral 13, which when turned clockwise on the neck, closes the bottle and when turned counter-clockwise, opens the bottle.
Cap 13 is provided with a dished top wall 14, joined to a knurled cylindrical shell 15 having an internal threading 16 adapted to engage the external threading 12 on the bottle neck. A sealing washer 17 is placed against the undersurface of the top wall of the cap.
Formed in top wall 14 is a radial slot 14A which is occupied by a latching element 18 in the form of a flexible plastic strip, the inner end of which has a rivet 19 secured to the cap at the center thereof to anchor the strip. Projecting downwardly from a point adjacent the outer end of strip 18, is a latching tooth 20 which fits into a gap 21 formed in the internal threading 16. The thickness of the tooth is such that the outer surface thereof is flush with the peak of the internal threading.
The external threading 12 on neck 11 is provided with a breach 22, which is somewhat wider than the width of latching tooth 20. The position of the breach is such that tooth 20 lies therein when the cap is fully turned in. Though strip 18 extends to the periphery of cap 13, the tooth 20 is slightly displaced inwardly from the outer end of the strip to create a small lip 23. Below the lip, a thumb-shaped depression 24 is formed in shell 15 of the cap, so that one is able to place a finger tip therein to lift the strip 18 and thereby raise the tooth.
When tooth 20 is raised, it is retracted from both the gap and the breach and the threadings on the bottle neck and cap are unblocked. It then becomes possible to screw the cap on or off the bottle.
It will be seen in FIG. 6 that tooth 20 is provided on one side with an inclined cam surface 20A; hence when turning the cap clockwise, the cam surface intercepts thread 12 on the bottle neck and the tooth is then forced upwardly in gap 21 and out of the breach 22, so that one may continue to tighten the cap to a point where the raised tooth is again in line with the breach. Because it is spring-biased, the tooth drops into the breach.
When, therefore, one tries to unscrew the cap in the counter-clockwise direction, the vertical surface 223 of tooth 22 then strikes the end of thread 12 at the border of the breach, and no further movement is possible unless the tooth is pulled out of the breach.
Hence in order to unscrew the cap and obtain access to the contents of the bottle, one must raise strip 18 with the finger of one hand to lift the tooth and maintain the tooth in the lifted position while turning the cap counter-clockwise with the fingers of the other hand. This action, which requires manual movement in two directions, can be carried out without difficulty by an adult, but is beyond the ability of small children,
Since the top surface of the latching element conforms to that of the cap, one is not easily aware of its existence, so that the childs attention is not directed to this element when seeking to open the bottle.
The cap in FIG. 7 works on the same principles as that in FIG. 1, except that tooth 20, instead of being mounted on a flexible strip, projects from a small tab 24 receivable in a cut-out adjacent the periphery of the top cap. Since no spring action is involved in this arrangement, one must push the tab down in order to cause the tooth to occupy a blocking position. The only advantage of this arrangement over that in FIG. 1, is that it is somewhat less expensive to manufacture.
While there have been shown and described preferred embodiments of tamper-proof bottle closures in accordance with the invention, it will be appreciated that many changes and modifications may be made therein without, however, departing from the essential spirit of the invention.
1. A tamper-proof closure comprising:
A. a bottle or other container having an externally threaded neck having a breach in the threading, and
B. a screw-on cap provided with internal threading engageable with the neck threading, said internal threading having a gap therein occupied by a retractable tooth which lies within said breach when said cap is fully screwed on, said tooth having one edge blocking an unscrewing movement of said cap and another edge permitting a screwing movement of said cap, and means secured to said tooth to effect retraction thereof.
2. A closure as set forth in claim 1, wherein said means is constituted by a flexible strip occupying a radial notch in the top wall of said cap, one end of said strip being anchored to the center of said cap, the other end being secured to said tooth whereby when the strip is flexed upwardly, said tooth is retracted.
3. A closure as set forth in claim 1, wherein said means is formed by a lift-tab secured to said tooth and disposed within an opening adjacent the periphery of the top wall of the cap.
4. A closure as set forth in claim 1, further including a sealing washer disposed within the cap under the top wall thereof.
5. A closure as set forth in claim 2, wherein said tooth is slightly displaced inwardly from said other end of the strip to provide a lip to facilitate flexing the strip.