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Publication numberUS3757983 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 11, 1973
Filing dateMar 24, 1971
Priority dateApr 25, 1969
Publication numberUS 3757983 A, US 3757983A, US-A-3757983, US3757983 A, US3757983A
InventorsCarthy D Mc
Original AssigneeCarthy D Mc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Disposable integral bottle and stacking cases
US 3757983 A
Abstract
A multiplicity of disposable plastic containers are structurally interconnected in a unitary, severable assemblage to form a package from which the containers can be selectively removed by a simple manual tearing action.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Waite States atent [191 McCarthy 51 Sept. 11, 1973 1 DISPOSABLE INTEGRAL BOTTLE AND STACKING CASES [76] Inventor: Donal Edward McCarthy, 9104 Chickawane Ct., Alexandria, Va.

[22] Filed: Mar. 24, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 127,704

Related U.S. Appllcation Data [62] Division of Ser. No. 819,343, April 25, 1969, Pat. No.

[52] US. Cl. 220/234, 206/56 AB, 215/10, 220/9 F, 220/23.6

[51] Int. Cl B6511 21/02, 365d 11/04 [58] Field of Search 220/234, 23.6, 23.8,

I I 220/9 F; 215/10; 206/56 AB [56] I References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3/1953 Stolte 215/10 3,120,319 2/1964 Buddrus 220/9 F UX I 3,295,710 1/1967 Marchant 220/238 3,389,825 6/1968 Whiteford 220/234 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,406,534 6/1965 France 215/10 330,424 7/1958 Switzerland 215/10 Primary ExaminerGeorge E. Lowrance v AttorneyMcCarthy, Depaoli, OBrien & Price 57 ABSTRACT A multiplicity of disposable plastic containers are structurally interconnected in a unitary, severable assemblage to form a package from which the containers can be selectively removed by a simple manual. tearing action.

2 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures Patented Sept. 11, 1973 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR DONAL E DWARD McCARTHY ATTORNEYS Patented Sept. 11, 1973 3,757,983

5 Sheets-Sheet 2 K it 41 E I 9 F2 8 INVENTOR DONAL EDWARD McCARTHY ATTORNEYS Patented Sept. 11, 1973 3,757,983

5 Sheets-Sheet 5 DONAL EDWARD MCCARTHY ATTORNEYS Patented Sept. 11, 1973 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 DONAL EDWARD McCARTHY ATTORNEYS Patented Sept. 11,1973 3,757,983

5 Sheets-Sheet b I 5 [5 mun M In H z i i Y u 3111;, 11 1:111: 11 1 i i k i {1 i l i l TY E I T? {"i g 1 g 51 i 3 "51 INVENTOR 5] 45 DONAL EDWARD MCCARTHY BY 56 55 57 31 AITORNhYS DISPOSABLE INTEGRAL BOTTLE AND STACKING CASES This is a division of U.S. Pat. application Ser. No. 819,343, filed Apr. 25, 1969, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,587,910.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to new and novel improvements in containers and particularly relates to disposable containers of the can or bottle variety. It especially relates to rigidly conjoined containers which form a mutually suporting and structurally inter-related unitary assemblage. This invention additionally relates to rigid packages of container-wall construction which are stackable and transportable with an added strap or handle means and which may be selectively ruptured into a plurality of components, each component comprising at least and usually only one of the containers.

2. Description of the Prior Art The broad concept of a disposable container and packing case, which are formed simultaneously and integrally from thermoplastic, is known in the art, such being disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,295,710, which shows a multiple container package having a plurality of individual containers, joined by integral connecters and arranged in a circular package configuration. The connecters are thin plastic strips which .are easily severed by twisting one container relative to adjacent containers. The package inherently loses its rigidity and structural identity when a single container is detached.

This concept provides a suitable six-pack type of container for a supermarket customer who maynot require further transportability and rigidity after detaching the first container. It is of no use for shipment to the supermarket unless packed in larger cases, however. It has no flexibility as to lateral dimensions; it is not vertically stackable; it lacks an insulation means; and it is not adapted to be selectively separated into subcombinations'of varying numbers of individual containers to meet the multifarious activities involved in warehousing, truck shipment, jobber handling, retail distribution, restaurant purchase, and individual home-use. purchase involvingv transportation and storageof various quantities for occasional use, parties, and picnics, for example.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The instant invention is intended to meet these needs by providing a package assemblage which comprises a plurality of containers which are arranged in a side-byside row pattern, the bottoms of all containers being in coplanar arrangement and the containers being rigidly conjoined, whereby the containers-are structurally inter-related into a unitary-assemblage which can be handled like any other package, the walls of the outer containers being the side walls of the package and the bottoms of the containers being the bottom of the package.

The object of this invention is to provide an integrally molded package consisting of rigidly conjoined containers.

Another object of this invention is to provide means for selectively rupturing the bonds between the containers in the areas of conjuncture.

An additional object is to provide self-aligning stacking means for a plurality of integrally molded packages.

A further object is to provide an integrally molded 5 package consisting of rigidly conjoined containers having tops and bottoms formed by coplanar top and bottom panels which are mutually parallel.

A still further object of this invention is to provide a package consisting of rigidly conjoined containers which are formed of differing thermoplastic materials.

In general, the package assemblage of this invention comprises a plurality of individual containers of identical geometrical form and shape, each container having a bottom, side walls, and a top and constituting an individual, self-sufficient, product-containing entity, the containers being conjoined in side-by-side fashion into a unitary package case having a geometrical shape constituted by the sum total of the shapes of the assembled and conjoined containers, the package case having a bottom, top, and sides, the bottom being continuous and being defined by the coplanar-arranged bottom walls of the conjoined containers, the top being defined by the coplanar-arranged tops of the containers, and the sides being constituted by the outermost containers in the assemblage, and means for conjoining these containers so that the side walls thereof are in connected and reinforcing relationship, this conjoining means being rupturable by manual power whereby a selected outermost container can be removed from the package case without impairing the rigidity of the package case and without damage to a side wall of a selected container.

The various embodiments vary as to conjoining means, severing means, stacking means, and container construction. Some embodiments comprise means for selective rupture of the bonds between adjacent containers. Other embodiments comprise the use of two thermoplastic materials for container construction.

In one embodiment of the invention, each can-type container has a flat bottom wall, side wall, and flat top,

the flat top and flat bottom being mutually parallel and formed of flat panels which are co-extensive with the side boundaries of the package. Another embodiment differs therefrom by having an inwardly tapered shoulder terminating in a neck portion instead of a flat top. In both embodiments, a plurality of the containers are formed in a rectangular spaced grouping with the containers being arranged in a s'ide-by-side row pattern, the bottom walls being coplanar and formed as a part of a flat bottom panel which has a planar shape corresponding to the overall geometrical shape of the package,- i.e., containers and packing case. A specific embodiment comprises a top panel which is formed parallel to and spaced from the bottom panel and aligned normal to the side walls of the containers. In the embodiment comprising can-type containers, the top panel defines the tops of the cans in the same way that the bottom panel defines the bottoms of the cans and of the bottletype containers. The cans or bottles may be adjacent or spaced apart by a relatively small distance, such as one fourth of an inch. The panels are formed with scored break-away lines, such lines extending in crossed relation longitudinally and transversely of the panels and between adjacent containers, whereby adjacent containers can be removed individually or in groups or subpackages by means of a manual movement.

In a further embodiment, the adjacent containers are placed in touching relationship and conjoined along the line of contact. This embodiment requires no top panel for adequate rigidity.

In an additional embodiment, one thermoplastic composition forms the inner wall of each container while another thermoplastic composition forms an encompassing skin on each container, the containers being integrally conjoined by the interadherence of the skin. The skin formations are capable of being severed by means of break-away lines or other severing means therein along the lines of contact between adjacent containers, such lines extending parallel to the longitudinal axes of the containers. In-a variation of this embodiment, one of the thermoplastic compositions is capable of forming each container with a multicellular plete the package assemblage.

inner or outer wall structure. In another variation thereof, the multicellular wall structure is on the outside of the container and fills the hypocycloidal voids therebetween.

In each of these embodiments, means are provided for selective rupturing of the conjoined containers. The embodiments in which the containers are spaced a small distance apart provide scored break-away lines in crossed relation longitudinally and transversely between adjoining containers in the top and bottom panels. The embodiments in which the containers are conjoined along the lines of contact of their adjacent sides provide severing means which are susceptible to. twisting motions of the containers relative to each other. The embodiments in which a multicellular composition fills the hypocycloidal voids need not have special severing means, but a severing means may be added for aesthetic reasons, comprising sheets of perforated paper or high-bulk paper, such as newsprint, extending transversely and longitudinally in crossed-relationship between adjacent walls of the containers.

In an additional embodiment, a plurality of the packages of this invention are stackable. For this purpose, the bottom panels have a peripheral overhanging skirt for packages made of short-necked cans. For packages made of bottles, the bottom walls of the containers in each package are formed with axially disposed recesses or cavities in which the tops or neck portions of the underlying containers in a lower package are nestingly receivable.

It is a basic concept of this'invention that the containers and conjoining means which form the novel package are simultaneously formed by injection molding of one' or more thermoplastic materials. However, the invention comprises the use of molds or jigs which become part of the finished package. For example, if perforated paper or high-bulk paper is used as the severing means in the areas of conjunctures, this paper is held in position as the thermoplastic material is injected and is left there when the molding is complete. As another example, a multicellular composition, such as foamed styrene or rigid polyurethene foam, may be molded as female molds in the voids and between the containers, with or without paper severing means, and the thermoplastic composition forming the wall of each container may then be molded within each hollow space formed by the multicellular molds, whereby the finished product is an integral unit of both compositions and of a severing means, if used.

This invention comprises the concept, known in the art, of simultaneous molding of all parts of the invention as a single, coherent, indivisible piece, except that where two or more plastics are to be used, the molding operation may be in two or more sequential stages. A preferred embodiment comprises the use of a multicel- Foamable polymeric materials are generally suitable for use as this multicellular plastic, such as the polymers and copolymers of olefinically unsaturated compounds and their derivatives, comprising polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene,vinyl resins, nylons, polycarbonates, polyhydroxyethers, phenolics, polyurethanes, and epoxies.

Foamed polystyrene and foamed polyurethane are preferred plastic materials for the multicellular inner or outer wall structure. Any conventional method of lam inating two plastic materials, using polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, and others known to the art, may be employed to obtain the structural dual walls of the package assemblage of this invention.

A preferred molding method is coextrusion, using such coextruded dual walls as ionomer/low-intensity polyethylene, polypropylene/polyethylene, polyethylene/ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, and ionomer/nylon. This coextruded dual wall may also be formed within a female mold formed of multicellular plastic material. The multicellular plastic preferably possesses a lower tensile strength than either of the plastics in the dual wall, as an inherent severing means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention may be more clearly understood and is fully described in the accompanying drawings showing some of the preferred embodiments.

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a rectangular bottletype container package of this invention in which the bottles are slightly spaced apart.

FIG. 2 is an elevation of a row of four bottles.

FIG. 3 is an elevation of a single bottle, partially cut away to show wall and panel construction.

FIG. 4 is a partial top view of a group of four bottles as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an elevation similar to FIG. 2 in which the bottles are conjoined along the lines of contact of their sides.

FIG. 6 is an elevation of the bottles shown in FIG. 5, partially cut away, to show the double construction with two thermoplastic materials and the line of conjoined contact.

FIG. 7 is a partial top view of a group of four conjoined bottles which show the flattened line of conjoined contact.

FIG. 8 is an elevation of a row of four'bottles, similar to FIG. 5.

FIG. 9 is an elevation of two of the bottles shown in I FIG. 8, partially cut away, to show the area of line-ofand the use of two thermoplastic materials of which the outer is multicellular.

FIG. 12 is an elevation of a two-layer, can-type package comprising four cans in each row, the necks of the bottom cans being nestingly received in recesses in the upper cans.

FIG. 13 is a partially sectioneddetailed view of the nesting means for two of the long-neck shoulder-type cans shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 14 is a partial top view of a group of the longneck, shoulder-type cans shown in FIGS. 12 and 13.

FIG. 15 is an elevation of a two-layer package comprising rows of four short-neck, flat-top cans which are nestingly stacked.

FIG. 16 is a partially sectioned, detailed elevation of two of the cans shown in FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is a two-layer elevation of two stacked rows of flat-topped cans having very short necks so that nesting means are not necessary and a side skirt on the bottom panel is the alignment means for the package.

FIG. 18 is a sectioned, detailed view of two of the cans shown in FIG. 17.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring specifically to the drawings, the package concept of this invention is shown clearly in FIG. 1. A bottle-type container 25 has a flat panel 51 which is a singlesheet and is the continuous coplanar bottom for all other containers in the package. Bottom panel 51 is molded integrally with side walls 31 and top panel 52 as shown clearly in FIG. 3. This bottle-type container also has shoulders 41 and a screw-type cap 46.

Bottles 25 are aligned in longitudinal rows 28 and transverse rows 29. Severing means, such as the score lines 53 in the top and bottom panels 51 and 52, can be used for selective separation of the bottle-type containers. The isolated container 25 at the left side of FIG. 1 has been removed from the package by movement in direction 30. Thebottles are spaced apart in a typical row 28 by distance 34, as shown in FIG. 2. Finger holesin top panel 52, as shown in FIG. 4, are a convenient means for carrying a subcombination package such as four to six bottles.

The integrally molded bottles shown in FIGS. l-4 create a package which is essentially rigid though capable of slight movement because of distance 34 between the bottles. FIGS. 5-11 show conjoined bottles which form a completely rigid package because no open areas 34 remain between adjacent bottles. The contacts 33 between cyclindrical containers are areas of conjuncture, as shown in FIG. 7, or lines of conjuncture, as shown in FIG. 10. I,

In FIGS. 5-7, the bottle-type containers 26a have a double-wall construction. The outer wall'3l is backed up by the inner wall 32 which may be of any suitable plastic material, usually a thermoplastic, and preferably one possessing desirable barrier properties, rigidity properties, flavor inertness properties, or clarity. In FIG. 7, the bottom panel 51, with its score lines 53, is clearly visible in the hypocycloidal void area there among.

In FIGS. 8-11, a similar row of bottle-type containers 26b of double-wall construction is shown in elevation and in section in which a multicellular plastic material is the inner layer. In the hypocycloidal void 50, shown in FIG. 10, the bottom panel 51 is visible with the score layer 35 which completely fills void 50 therewith so that its top surface is essentially a top panel 52.

The can-type containers shown in FIGS. 12-18 are usable in several distinctive embodiments of this invention. The shoulder-type cans 23 with the long necks 44, which are shown in FIGS. 12-14, are eminently suitable for secure nesting by means of recesses having the beveled edges 39 which match the load-bearing shoulders 42 of the cans 23 therebeneath in parallel relationship. As clearly shown in FIG. 13, recesses having the bottoms 38, the sides 36 and the bevels 39 form a rigid alignment means for keeping a plurality of stacked rows 28a, 28b in alignment. These shoulder-type cans 23 are conjoined along the lines of contact 33 and have the hypocycloidal voids 50 therebetween, if the cans 23 are cylindrical, which are covered by the bottom panel 51 for ease in molding and added rigidity. As shown in FIG. 13, the recess bottom 38 and the bevel 39 are the load-bearing areas for the upper row 28b of the cans 23 and the top of the cap 47, and theshoulder 42 are the load-bearing areas for the lower row 28a of the cans 23.

The flat-topped, medium-necked cans 22, which are shown in FIGS. 15 and 16, also are desirably nested in recesses having the bottoms 38 and the walls 36 which receive the can tops 47 in load-bearing and alignment relationship. The flexible tabs 40 project laterally and inwardly from the inner sides of the walls 36 to define an opening of larger diameter than the neck 44 and of smaller diameter than the top 47, so that the tops 47 can be snapped pastthe tabs 40 into nesting contact with the bottoms 38 of the recesses; yet the tabs 40 resist incidental shaking movements which might disengage the stacked rows of the cans 22, so that a plurality of stacked package cases are held in secure relationship. Y

The hypocycloidal voids.50 substantially vanish into corner voids if square or hexagonal containers are used in this invention. Cans of square, rectangular, trapezoidal, hexagonal, or like shape, whereby packing without wastage of space in void areas is possible, are preferred for this invention.

FIGS. 17 and 18 show the flat-topped, short-necked cans 24 which are desirably stacked by resting the bottom panels 51 squarely onto the tops 48. To prevent sidewise motion and toppling of the stacked cans 24, the bottom panels 51 are equipped with the skirts 56 at the edges thereof which projectdownwardly a distance greater than the combined length of the top 48 and the neck 45 and past the projecting edge 58 of the top panel 52. When the skirt 56 is on the bottom panel of a stacked package, the bottom edge 57 serves to contact the ground or a loading platform, for example, and support the weight of the package of the cans 24. "The top panel 52 may project no farther than the outer edges of the outside containers 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27. If so, the skirt 56 is aligningly juxtaposedto the outer edges 43 of the cans, as indicated in FIG. 17.

The packages of this invention, whether made up of flat-topped cans, shoulder-type cans, or bottles, are capable of withstanding handling and shipment in reasonably large sizes, as, for example, handling with fork-lift trucks. When split apart along selected scorelines to obtain subcombination packages such as l2-packs, a simple strap means may be used for manual transportation or finger-holds 59 may be employed for carrying with one or two hands. For use in special commercial circumstances, such as in vending machines, cafeteria lines, and grocery stores, for example, the containers of this invention can be severed row-by-row along score lines 53 or by use of such other severing means as are provided to obtain a typical row 28 which may be of The novel concepts and structures of this invention may be varied in many ways, but the boundaries of the invention are defined in the accompanying claims and should be solely construed therewith.

What is claimed is:

1. An integral stacking and transporting container package assemblage molded from plastic and comprising a plurality of individual containers of identical geometrical form and shape, each container having a bottom, side walls, and top and constituting an individual, self-sufficient, product-containing entity said containers in which the walls thereof are formed of two plastic materials as inner and outer walls and said containers abut and are conjoined along the lines of contact and being disposed in parallel spaced apart, side-by-side fashion into an integral package case having a geometrical shape constituted by the sum total of the shapes of the assembled and spacedly conjoined containers, said package assemblage having a bottom, top, and sides, said bottom being a flat sheet that constitutes the bottom wall for each of the conjoined containers and having peripheral edges extending laterally beyond the outermost containers, said outermost containers defining the sides of said package assemblage, said top being in the form of a flat sheet disposed parallel with and spaced upwardly from the bottom sheet and of a geometrical shape and size identical thereto and being disposed below the tops of the containers and integral therewith in a manner to encompass the containers below their tops, said top and bottom sheet constituting a means for conjoining said containers so that the containers are in rigid, connected and and reinforcing relationship, and said top and bottom sheets having score lines provided in vertical alignment thereon and constituting means rupturable by manual power whereby a selected outermost container or group thereof can be removed from the package case without impairing the rigidity of the package case and without damage to a side wall of the selected container.

2. The package assemblage of claim 1 in which a mu]- ticellular material forms the outer wall of said container and fills all voids between adjacent containers.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4228908 *Nov 8, 1978Oct 21, 1980Tweeton Timothy JBaby bottle carrier
US4798133 *Jun 13, 1986Jan 17, 1989Johnson William N HPackage and container for eggs
US5080826 *Jul 24, 1989Jan 14, 1992The Clorox CompanyStable fragranced bleaching composition
US5227366 *Dec 31, 1991Jul 13, 1993The Clorox CompanyMitigation of stress-cracking in fragranced bleach-containing bottles
US5244106 *Dec 5, 1991Sep 14, 1993Takacs Peter SBottle incorporating cap holder
US5477977 *May 5, 1994Dec 26, 1995Reynolds Metals CompanyThin-walled can having a nestable/stackable bottom support ring
US5652034 *Sep 30, 1991Jul 29, 1997Ppg Industries, Inc.Barrier properties for polymeric containers
US6659300 *Sep 4, 2001Dec 9, 2003Schmalbach-Lubeca AgContainer having square and round attributes
US7658296Sep 7, 2007Feb 9, 2010Dixie Consumer Products LlcSealable portion cups and lids therefor
US7802695Sep 7, 2007Sep 28, 2010Dixie Consumer Products LlcLidded container with linear brim segments and medial sealing beads
US8887912 *Aug 5, 2011Nov 18, 2014Becton, Dickinson And CompanyLiving hinge needle assembly for medicament delivery device
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US20070289936 *Jun 15, 2006Dec 20, 2007Owens-Illinois Closure Inc.Dispensing closure, package and method of manufacture
US20070295721 *Sep 7, 2007Dec 27, 2007Dixie Consumer Products LlcSealable portion cups and lids therefor
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US20110089135 *Oct 18, 2010Apr 21, 2011Simon John BLaser modified plastic container
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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/23.4, 220/62.22, 220/902, 206/427, 206/509, 220/23.6, 215/10
International ClassificationB65D1/30, B65D21/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/0231, Y10S220/902, B65D1/30
European ClassificationB65D21/02E12B, B65D1/30