US 3796813 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 12, 1974 R, l. KURLAND 3,79%,Mfi
CLOSURE CAP FOR A CONTAINER Filed Jan. 5, 1972 United States Patent O1 ice- 3,796,813 CLOSURE CAP FOR A CONTAINER Ronald Ira Kurland, Baltimore, Md. (3823 Kilburn Road, Randallstown, Md. 21133) Filed Jan. 5, 1972, Ser. No. 215,605 Int. Cl. A231 1/00 US. CI. 99-78 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Closure cap for a beverage container having a pocket portion. A beverage additiveis enclosed within the pocket by a film of soluble edible material. The film dissolves upon contact with the beverage releasing the additive into the beverage.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to closures for sealing containers or disposable cups made of paper or like material, and more particularly to a lid type closure having one or more pockets formed therein for holding an edible food additive.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART At the present time, most restaurants or eating establishments of the carry-out variety utilize disposable plastic or paper cups for beverages. These cups or containers are then covered with a plastic or paper cap to seal the beverage and provide for its transportation in an automobile or other like device to a remote location where it is consumed. The operator of this type of establishment must not only maintain an adequate inventory of cups and caps together with the beverage to be dispensed or sold, but he must also maintain an adequate inventory of additives for the beverage such as sugar, cream, beverage concentrates and the like. Larger bulk containers have proved to be unacceptable because of the great amount of waste and contamination resulting from the public use of bulk containers of cream or sugar. Recently, these materials have been prepackaged in small premeasured amounts, and the packages are given away with the beverage. Again there is a problem of waste since the public at large generally removes more packets than necessary, and the operator of the establishment must maintain an adequate inventory not only of the cups, caps and beverages, but also of the beverage additives.
A further problem is presented to the owners and operators of vending machines. Since the vending locations are generally remote from the operator, it is difiicult to tell when and if the supply of beverage additives has been exhausted. Furthermore, the remote location only adds to the problem of theft and waste of the beverage additives when they are placed in an open location without restriction as to their use. For this reason, many vending machines now carry separate containers and control networks to dispense a small amount of additive with the beverage upon the customers order. These machines are expensive and at times complex and troublesome because of the number of mechanical parts which must interact together.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a closure cap for a beverage container which contains therein a small amount of beverage additive. The beverage additive is sealed within the cap by means of a thin soluble and edible film of material. After the closure or cap is placed on the beverage container, the beverage within dissolves the film releasing the additive into the cup or container. This may be done with sugar or cream for coffee, with a beverage concentrate or flavor concentrate for fruit juice drinks or concentrate for soups.
It is another object of the invention to provide caps which may be placed for disposal as at remote and portable vending statio ns such as those used at football games, parades, rallies and the like. They may also be placed along side a standard beverage dispensing device, or placed insides a dispensing device whereby the purchaser receives a cap automatically with the beverage.
It is a further object of this invention to provide the lid closure with a liquid proof sealing means to completely enclose and seal the beverage Within the container. It is a further object of this invention to provide a pocket portion for a closure which will enclose an edible material such as sugar, powdered cream, synthetic cream substitute, or an admixture of the foregoing. This edible material is sealed in place within the pocket by means of an edible but soluble film of material selected from the group of gelatin, corn starch, polyvinyl alcohol, carboxyl methyl cellulose, or methyl cellulose.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to the various figures of the drawing, the closure or lid 11 is fitted to a beverage container 12 as illustrated in FIG. 4. This closure may seal to the beverage container by means of the upstanding annular wall member 13. The resilience of the interconnecting annular web 21 provides for a resilient seal to urge the side wall 13 against the head or upper end wall of the container, and thereby provide a liquid seal between the beverage container and the closure 11. An outer annular lip 16 provides strengthening and reinforcement for the lid or closure member 11, while providing a convenient and easy gripping member to remove the lid or closure when it is desired to consume the beverage.
Closure 11 has defined therein a .pocket portion 17 which is filled with an edible beverage additive 18. This beverage additive may be sugar or cream if the beverage to be consumed is coffee, sugar or an admixture of sugar and lemon concentrate if the beverage to be consumed is tea, a concentrated flavor packet if the beverage is to be a soft drink, or a mixture of flavoring and dehydrated fruit powder if the beverage is to be a fruit drink or suitable concentrate if the beverage is to be a soup. While FIG. 3 has illustrated the edible material 18 in a powdered form, it would also be possible to provide a solid cake of material in pocket portion 17. If the beverage is to be a soft drink, it would also be possible to provide an eflervescing compound in the concentrated flavoring so that when the tablet 18, or powder 18 is dispensed into the beverage, it is mixed thoroughly and quickly in the carbonated beverage.
This pocket portion can also be of a predetermined size so that it holds a premeasured quantity of material, for example one teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of granulated coffee, or a premeasured amount of powdered cream. The sizing of the pocket portion is determined solely by the type of food additive that is included within, and the sizes of the beverage container to which the cap is adapted to be fitted.
The powdered material 18, or the tablet 18, is secured in place within the pocket portion by means of a thin soluble and edible film 19 which is stretched across the pocket portion and completely encloses the material within. This film is water soluble and is dissolved when the closure cap is placed over a container 12 containing a liquid beverage. In the event a beverage container is only partially filled, it is only necessary to invert the container for a moment to wet the soluble film 19. It is also possible to break the powdered mixture or tablet out of its pocket by pressing firmly in the center of the dome portion of the pocket 17 as indicated by the arrow 20. Alternately, it is possible to use the beverage and the soluble nature of the film 19 together with pressure at point 20 to discharge the beverage additive into the beverage.
The film 19 is formed of a soluble, edible material such as gelatin, corn starch, polyvinyl alcohol, carboxy methyl cellulose, methyl cellulose or the like. It is understood that the term soluble is intended to include materials which are soluble in water at room temperature as well as those materials which are not water soluble at room temperature but which are soluble at the temperature of the beverage to be dispensed or sold in the container.
The film 19 may be secured to the closure cap by a variety of methods including friction, a heat seal or soluble adhesive. For instance as illustrated in FIG. 3, the film 19 can be secured to the closure cap by the frictional forces exerted upon a portion of the film 19 by the upstanding annular wall member 24 and upstanding side wall 26. Wall member 24 and side wall 26 are adjcent to each other and are joined at their upper ends by horizontal member or bight 27. The securing of the film 19 can be accomplished by means of a suitable die which would temporarily spread apart the walls 24 and 26, and force the film material therebetween. After this, the die would retract permitting the walls 24 and 26 to close and to frictionally engage the film material therebetween. As illustrated, wall members 24 and 26 in the preferred embodiment define a zig-zag annular configuration. Such a configuration provides increased holding ability to maintain the film material in position between the walls 24 and 26.
The size of the inner pocket portion, and the opening defined by the inner walls of the annular member 21 determine the amount of beverage additive to be carried within the pocket 17. This of course is variable depending upon the size of the container 12 that the closure cap is adapted to be fitted upon. It is also determined to some extent by the type of beverage additive that is supplied within the pocket portion 17 If the beverage additive constitutes the entire flavoring for the beverage, it will be of necessity sized much larger than a pocket portion which is sized to contain a beverage additive or condiment.
The lid member itself, including not only the annular portion 21, but also the pocket portion 17, is preferably molded from any suitable synthetic resin material, such as high impact polystyrene which has a relatively high temperature melting point. Since many of the beverages contained within container 12 will be at or near the boiling temperature when dispensed, the lid member must of necessity be formed from a material having a high temperature melting point. The temperature should also be suitable for molding in a high speed injection mold or stamping mold to provide a low cost inexpensive closure. Since the closure is intended and designed to hold food products, the lid material must also satisfy sanitary requirements imposed by local regulatory agencies.
While the invention described thus far has been intended for use at a portable vending stand or temporary vending stand, it would also be suitable for use in a vending machine wherein the vending machine would dispense the lid members 11 and an empty cup. After the empty cup has been filled with boiling water, the customer would then snap the closure member over the bev- Cir erage container 12, and invert once or twice rapidly and receive a drink or beverage having the proper flavoring. Alternately, the beverage container 12 could be filled with a carbonated liquid and the customer would then purchase the appropriate flavoring additive by selecting the appropriate lid member 11. This would greatly simplify the average vending machine since they require separate piping, solenoid valves and control mechanisms for each of the additives that is added to the base beverage.
While the invention has been illustrated as a lid member having a single unitary closure extending from side wall to side wall across the container, it is possible to construct a lid member having a plurality of pocket portions or a removable pocket portion.
While there have been described above what are presently believed to be the preferred forms of the invention, variations thereof will be obvious to those skilled in the art and all such changes and variations wall within the sphere of the invention and are intended to be covered by the generic terms in the appended claims, which are variably worded to that end.
. What is claimed is:
1. A closure for a container comprising '(a) an annular lid member, said annular lid member extending inwardly from the side walls of said container and defining an upstanding wall for cooperating with the upper end wall of said container to form a seal between said closure and said container,
(b) said annular lid member having two adjacent inner upstanding annular wall members, the latter being oined to each other at their upper ends by a horizontal member,
(c) said closure having within said two adjacent inner wall members a pocket portion, said pocket portion having enclosed therein an edible material,
((1) a film of soluble edible material affixed to said closure as defined in (e) to enclose and confine said edible material of (0) within said pocket portion,
(c) said film being affixed to said closure by being frlctionally engaged between said two adjacent inner upstanding annular wall members.
2. An enclosure for a container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said film of soluble edible material is selected from the group of gelatin, corn starch, polyvinyl alcohol, carboxy methyl cellulose, and methyl cellulose.
3. A closure for a container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said edible material is selected from the group of sugar, powdered cream, synthetic cream substitute, and an admixture thereof.
4. A closure for a container as claimed in claim 1 wherein said pocket portion defines an opening which opens into the upper end wall of said container, said portion defining a circular cavity with upstanding side walls for receiving said edible material.
5. The closure of claim 1 wherein said two adjacent inner upstanding annular wall members define a zig-zag annular configuration.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,326,363 6/1967 Bennett et al 220-23 3,418,140 12/1968 Fisher 99-78 2,062,897 12/1936 Michel et al. 99-78 2,766,796 10/1956 Tupper 220-23 3,225,915 12/1965 Wise 220-23 3,514,029 5/1970 Powell 20647 B 3,305,368 2/1967 Bourelle 206--47 A 2,824,010 2/ 1958 Pedersen 99171 JOSEPH SCOVRONEK, Primary Examiner S. B. DAVIS, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.
9917l B; 20647 B; 220-23; 426-132