US 3804282 A
A plastic container with an integral cover has a cap screw threaded to the cover. Manipulation of the cap causes the cover to be severed from the container body.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 1111 3,804,282 Komendowski Apr. 16, 1974 CONTAINER AND CAP CONSTRUCTION  References Cited  Inventor: Henry Komendowski, Evanston, Ill. ED STA ES PATENTS 3,730,372 5/1973 Komendowski 215/32  Asslgnee' g gg fif 3,419,172 12/1968 Lee 215/32  Filed: May 24, 1972 Primary Examiner-Donald F. Norton  APP N o 256 356 Attorney, Agent, or FirmDominik, Knechtel, Godula & Demeur Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser.:No. 200,489, Nov. 19,  ABSTRACT 1971' A plastic container with an integral cover has a cap screw threaded to the cover. Manipulation of the cap ..2153625,d2i 5,;3(2) Causes the cover to be severed from the container 58 Field of Search .1 215/32; 220/27 9 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTED HR 16 I974 SHEET 1 0F 3 FIG. 2
CONTAINER AND CAP CONSTRUCTION This application is a continuation-in-part of copending application, Ser. No. 200,489, filed Nov. 19, l97l, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,730,372.
This invention relates, in general, to improved plastic containers and, inparticular, to improved hermetically sealed plastic containers having a cap associated therewith which, upon being manipulated, is adapted to open the container. More particularly still, it relates to an improved hermetically sealed plastic container having a cap associated therewith which, upon being threadedly manipulated, is adapted to'open the container and, furthermore, is adapted to be formed into an implement such as a spoon, a fork or a knife for removing the contents from the container.
There presently are numerous different products packaged within hermetically sealed plastic containers. The plastics used for these containers are of various types, depending to some extent on the particular type of product packaged therein. In many cases, these plastics are extremely tough", in the sense that the plastic is not easily ruptured. Such afeature is extremely desirable since the likelihood of the plastic container being inadvertently damaged thus spilling or otherwise ruining the product is substantially eliminated. However, by the same token, this feature makes it relatively difficult to open the container to remove the product. Most commonly. the purchaser resorts to the use of a knife or other sharp instrument to cut an opening into the container. Many purchasers find this to be very objectionable, for one reason or another and thus avoid purchasing the product. Accordingly, it would be highly advantageous to have a plastic container which can be easily opened, without having to resort to use ofa knife or the like.
Recently, various different products such as puddings and the like have been packaged in containers as individual servings. In most instances, these individual servings are carriedfor lunch to schools or the office, where they are consumed. Presently, most of these containers are adapted to be easily opened in some fashion or another, but unless the product is a liquid which can be drunk from the container, a spoon or the like normally has'to be carried along with the container to remove the product for its consumption. Many times carrying an extra spoon, unless it is of the throw away variety, is a considerable inconvenience, for the spoon has to be washed and otherwise cared for.
In accordance with the present invention, a plastic container is provided and the latter can be of the type which is formed, filled and hermetically sealed, all in one continuous operation. Associated with the plastic container is a cap which, in its simplest form, is merely a cylindrical-shaped ring. The end closure on the plastic container and the cap both are threaded such that the cap can be threaded down onto the container, until it engages a shoulder on the container. Further threading of the cap onto the container forcibly severs the end closure from the container, thus providing an opening into it.
The cylindrical-shaped ring type cap also can be formed to provide an implement, such as, for example, a spoon, for removing a product from the container. In particular, the container is formed, filled and sealed in one continuous operation, and has a threaded end closure or cover on it which is adapted to be severed from the container when the cap-is simply threaded onto the container in the manner described above. When the end closure or cover is severed from the container, it is retained within the cap. Upon removing the cover from the cap, the cap is easily and' simply transformed into an implement which can be used to remove the product from the container.
The plastic container and its associated cap also can be formed to prevent'the cap from being intentionally or inadvertently removed from the container. Further still, the cap can be formed to retain the severed portion of the container, in a fashion such that the container can be reclosed. Several illustrative examples of containers and caps of these types are disclosed, and the construction and operation thereof will be apparent from the description below.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved molded plastic container which is adapted to be easily opened, without the need of any additional implements.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved hermetically sealed molded plastic container having a cap associated with it which, upon being threadedly manipulated, is adapted to open the container to permit the product to be removed therefrom.
A still further object is to provide an improved hermetically sealed molded plastic container having a cap associated with it which, upon being threadedly manipulated, is adapted to open the container to permit the product to be removed therefrom and which further is adapted to be formed into an implement such as a spoon, fork or knife for removing the product from the container.
Still another object is to provide an improved container and associated cap of the above-described type which can be stored and/or shipped as an integral unit.
A still further object is to provide an improved container and associated cap of the above-described type which is simple in construction and inexpensive.
Other objects of the invention will in partbe obvious and will in part appear hereinafter. 1
For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be had to the follow ing detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a cap exemplary of a cap of the type associated with the container of the present invention, with the manner in which the cap is formed into a spoon for removing the product from the container illustrated in phantom lines;
I FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the assembled container and its associated end cap, the same being partially sectionalized to illustrate the manner in which the cap is threadedly affixed to the container;
FIG. 3 is a plan view illustrating the container with its cover removed and with the cap formed into a spoon for removing the product from the container;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a cap formed in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 5 is a side plan view of the cap of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a plan view generally illustrating the manner in which the cap is formed into a spoon;
FIGS. 7 and 8 are partial sectional views illustrating various different hinge locking arrangements which can be used;
FIG. 9 is a partial plan view of a container with a cap threadedly affixed to it, the latter being sectionalized, exemplary of an embodiment of the invention wherein the cap is secured to the container against intentional or accidental removal;
FIG. 10 is a partial view of the container and cap of FIG. 9 showing an alternative construction for providing sealing means on them;
FIG. 11 is a view generally like FIG. 9, illustrating a container and cap exemplary of still another embodiment of the invention; and
FIGS. 12 and 13 are views generally like FIGS. 9 and 10, illustrating a container and cap exemplary of still another embodiment of the invention where the cap and the severed end closure can be used to reclose the container.
Similar reference characters refer to similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Referring now to the drawings, in FIG. 2 there is illustrated a container 10 which preferably is a plastic container which is formed, filled and sealed in one continuous operation. A cover or end closure 11 is integrally formed with the body portion 13 of the container, thereby hermetically sealing. the latter. The body portion 13 is provided with a flat shoulder 15, which shoulder 15 forms a seatfor the cylindrical-shaped side wall 18 of the cap 17, for reasons set forth more specifically below. From the shoulder 15, the body portion 13 tapers inwardly and upwardly to provide a weakened connection or undercut 14 between the body portion 13 and the cover 11. This weakened connection between the cover 11 and the body portion 13 permits the cover 11 to be separated from the body portion 13. In this respect, the container 10 can be formed and the weakened connection provided, in the manner and with the apparatus disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,597,793, issued Aug. 10, 1971. While it is preferred that the container 10 be of this type, it can, of course, be formed, filled and sealed in separate oeprations. The manner in which the container 10 is actually formed and filled is immaterial to the essence of the present invention.
Threads 12 are provided on the cover 11, and are formed to threadedly engage with corresponding threads on the cap 17 to secure the latter to the container l and in a fashion such as to permit the cap 17, upon being threadedly manipulated, to sever the cover 11 from the container.
The cap 17, in its simplest form, is a cylindricalshaped ring having a side wall 18 which is threaded on its interior, for threading engagement with the threads 12 on the cover 11. The diameter of the cylindricalshaped side wall 18 is such that the lower edge thereof seats on the shoulder 15 on the body portion 13 of the container 10.
The container and its associated cap 17 preferably are packaged for shipment or storage, as illustrated in FIG. 2, with the cap 17 threadedly engaged on the cover I]. When assembled in this fashion. the cover 11 is substantially protected against accidental severance from the body portion- 13.
To open the container 10, the cap I? simply is threadedly manipulated to screw it down onto the container 10, to abut its lower edge against the shoulder on the body portion [3. AS the cap 17 is continued to be threaded downwardly, the cover 11 is caused to be separated or severed from the body portion 13, at the weakened undercut portion or area 14 which extends annularly thereabout. The cover, upon being severed from the body portion 13, is retained within the cap 17. The top of the container 10 is opened, generally as illustrated in FIG. 3.
As indicated above, the cap 17 advantageously can be fon'ned to provide an implement for removing the product from the container. In such a case, the cap 17, as can be best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, is generally open at its top, but has a central portion thereof which is formed into the shape of the body portion of an implement, which in the illustrated embodiment is a spoon portion 19. This spoon portion 19 is integrally affixed to the side wall 18 by means of a bendable flange 20.
In packaging such a container 10 and cap 17 for shipment or storage, as illustrated in FIG. 2, the spoon portion 19 of the cap 17 preferably is folded to overly the top of the container 10. The cap 17 protects the cover 11 from accidental severance, and the spoon portion 19 does not add considerably to the overall height of the package, nor does it interfere with packing of the same into, for example, a shipping carton.
The container 10 is opened in the fashion described above, by threading the cap 17 down onto it to sever the cover 11. The cover 11 is retained within the cap 17, and is removed from the latter simply by threading it out of it. After removing the cover 11, the cylindrical-shaped side wall 18 of the cap 17 is squeezed to extend it into an oblong shape, generally as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, and the spoon portion 19 is bent or folded over at the flange portion 20 to form a spoonlike implement. As can be seen in FIG. 3, the latter then can be used to remove the product from the container 10. Upon emptying the container 10,.the entire package can be disposed of.
In FIGS. 4-6, there is illustrated another cap 30 which, like the cap 17, includes a cylindrical-shaped side wall 31 which is threaded on its interior, for
threading engagement with the threads 12 on the cover' 11. The diameter of the side wall 31 also is such that its lower edge seats on the shoulder 15 on the body portion 13 of the container 10. Like the cap 17, the cap 30 is generally open at its top, but has a central portion thereof which is formed into the shape of a spoon portion 32 and is integrally affixed to the side wall 31 by means of a flexible hinge 33.
The spoon portion 32 has an upstanding locking tab 34 which is correspondingly. formed to lockingly engage within a lockingslot 35 formed on the side wall 31, when the spoon portion 32 is folded over at the hinge 33. These interlocking means, that is, locking tab 34 and locking slot 35, can assume numerous different shapes and constructions, such as those illustrated more clearly in FIGS. 7 and 8. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, the side edges of the locking tab 34 can be beveled and the locking slot 35 correspondingly formed to snapactingly receive the locking tab 34, to retain the latter therein. Alternatively, the locking tab 34 and the locking slot can be formed with projecting snap tabs 36 and 37 which are snapactingly received with correspondingly formed locking cavities. Numerous other interlocking means likewise can be provided, to retain the spoon portion 32 in an open position, as illustrated in FIG. 6.
The cap 30 is manipulated in the same fashion to open the container 10 and, after removing the severed cover 11, the spoon portion 32 is folded over until the locking tab 34 interlocks within the locking slot 35. The side wall 31 then can be squeezed into an oval shape, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, to form a handle.
The caps 17 and 30 can be of metal or plastic, but if it is of plastic, a construction such as the one illustrated in FIGS. 4-6 is preferred. The reason for this is the fact that the hinge 33 (or may not have sufficient rigidity to provide a relatively sturdy implement, because of the resiliency of the plastic. By providing interlocking means thereon, this problem is overcome. Also, when the cap is of plastic, pairs of opposed notches 41 advantageously are provided in the side wall, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, to assist in squeezing and retaining the cap in an oval handle-shape configuration.
In the above-described embodiments, the body portion of the implement formed with the cover is integrally affixed to the side wall by means of a generally resilient hinge. It will be appreciated, however, that the hinge can be frangible so that the body portion can be severed from the side wall and used independently of the latter or, alternatively, the side wall and the body portion can be provided with interlocking means such as, for example, a tongue and groove coupling arrangement, for affixing them together to form the implement. Also, while the caps 17 and may find the greatest utility when used in combination with a container such as the container 10, that is, a container which also can be opened simply by manipulating the cap, it is apparent that the caps can be threadedly or otherwise affixed to or provided with any type of container, to provide an implement for removing the prod uct from the container. For example, the cap can be simply snap-fitted over one end of the container for shipment or storage, and once the container is opened, the cap can be formed into an implement in the described fashion.
Referring now to FIG. 9 of the drawings, there is illustrated still another container 50 having a cover 51 on the end of its body portion. Threads 52 are formed on the cover 51, for threading engagement with the threads of the cap 60. A weakened undercut 53 again is provided on the coverSl, to permit the latter to be severed from the container, in the fashion described below. The container 50 also has an annular shoulder 54 against which the cap 60 is forcibly engaged to sever the cover 51. At least one ratchet tooth 55 is formed on the top wall 56 of the cover 51 on the container, for reasons set forth more specifically below. Also, the container 50 can have a neck portion 57 having an annular groove 58 therein for receiving sealing means, such as the O-ring gasket 59, for sealing the interior of the cap 60. The latter may be provided for use in those cases where the cover 51 is sterilized, prior to threadedly affixing the cap 60 to the container. Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 10, the neck portion of the container can be provided witha flat shoulder 110, against which the lower edge of the cap seats. This lower edge, in such a case. can have a sealing gasket cavity 111 formed in it, for receiving therein sealing means, such as the O-ring gasket 113. Additional sealing means, such as an adhesive tape or the illustrated heat shrink plastic band 114, can be secured to the container and the cap to seal the exposed juncture between them. Such sealing means would also be tamper-proof and, if removed or broken, would provide an immediate indication that the sterile seal on the container has been broken. Other types of sealing gaskets and the like also can be used, as dictated by various different applications.
The cap 60, in this case, includes a side wall 61 and a top wall 62 which has a ratchet tooth 63 formed thereon for cooperative engagement with the ratchet tooth 55 on the cover 51. The side wall 61 of the cap 60 is threaded for engagement with the threads 52 on the cover 51. A reduced diameter portion of the side wall 61 of the cap 60 forms an annular shoulder or ledge 64 which will abuttingly engage the annular shoulder 54 of the container.
The cap 60 is threadedly engaged on the container 50 and, in threading the cap down onto the container, the ratchet teeth 55 and 63 will lockingly engage, as illustrated, to prevent the cap 60 from being removed from the container 50, so that the cap 60 cannot be intentionally or inadvertently removed from the container 50 prior to opening it.
The container 50 is opened to permit the product therein to be removed, by threading the cap 60 onto it, in the fashion described above. As the cap 60 is threaded onto the container 50, the annular shoulder or ledge 64 in the side wall 61 of the cap engages the annular shoulder 54 on the cover 51 and, as the cap is continued to be threaded down, the cover 51 is severed from the container, at the weakened undercut 53.
In FIG. 11, there is illustrated still anothercontainer having a cover 71 formed thereon for sealing the open end of the-container. The cover 71 has threads 72 on it for threading engagement with corresponding threads in the cap 80. The cover 71 of the container 70 includes an end closure 73 which is integrally affixed to it at the juncture point of a weakened undercut 75 in the cover 71. The end closure 73 has an annular rib 74 on it which is of a substantially larger diameter. A ratchet tooth 76 is provided on the top wall 77 of the end closure 73.
The cap 80, in this case, has a side wall 81 and a top wall 82, with a ratchet tooth 83 formed on the latter to cooperatively engage with the ratchet tooth 76 on the container 70, to prevent the cap from being intentionally or inadvertently removed. An annular groove 84 is provided in the side wall 81 of the cap 80, for receiving therein the annular rib 74 on the end closure 73.
To open the container 70, the cap 80 is threaded onto the container, and as the cap 80 is threaded downwardly, the end closure 73 is severed from the cover 71, at the weakened undercut 75. In this case, the respective edges of the annular rib 74 and the annular groove 84 form shoulders against which the cap 80 bears to forcibly sever the end closure 73.
In FIGS. 12 and 13, another container is disclosed having a cover 91 thereon which is terminated by means of an end closure 92. The cover 91 has threads 95 provided on it for threading engagement with corresponding threads in the cap 100. The end closure 92 is integrally affixed to the cover 91 at a weakened undercut 93, and an annular rib 104 of a substantially larger diameter is provided on the end closure 92.
The cap has a side wall 101 and a top wall 102 which has an opening 103 therein for receiving therethrough the end closure 92 on the container 90. An annular groove 104 is provided in the side wall 101, for
7 receiving therein the annular rib 94 on the end closure 92.
As in the case of the container 70 and cap 80, the respective edges of the annular rib 94 and the annular groove 104 provide the shoulders against which the cap 100 bears as it is threaded onto the container, to sever the end closure 92 therefrom. In this case, the arrangement is such that the end closure 92 is retained within the cap 100, as illustrated in FIG. 13, so that the cap 100 and the retained end closure 92 can be used to reclose the container 90. The manner in which the container 90 is reclosed is generally illustrated in phantom, in FIG. 13.
From the above description, it can be seen that in each case a container is provided which can be easily opened, simply by threadingly manipulating the cap associated with it, to thread the latter onto the container. in several of the embodiments, the cap can be secured to the container in a fashion such as to secure the same against accidental or unintentional removal, prior to the time that it is actually desired to open the container to dispense the products therfrom. Also, in still another embodiment of the invention, the end closure of the cover on the container is adapted to be severed and retained within the cap so that the cap and the severed end closure can be used to reclose the container. In addition, a further embodiment is disclosed in which the cap can have a portion of an implement for removing a product from the container integrally formed with it in a fashion such that the cap can be fashioned into, for example, a spoon.
it will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, among those made apparent from the preceding description, are efficiently attained and certain changes may be made in the above article. Accordingly, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Now that the invention has been described, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:
l. A hermetically sealed plastic container having a body portion and a cover integrally formed therewith, a cap threadedly engaged with said cover and operable to sever said cover from said containerwhen said cap is threaded down on said container to thereby open said container, said container and said cap being formed with shoulders which are engageable with one another as said cap is threaded down onto said container, said cap when said shoulders are engaged exerting a force on said cover to sever it from said container, said cap further comprising a top wall, said top wall of said cap and said cover have cooperative locking means thereon which are engaged when said cap is affixed to said cover on said container, said cooperative locking means securing said cap on said container against accidental or intentional removal.
2. The plastic container and cap of claim 1, wherein said cooperative locking means comprise at least one ratchet tooth on each said top wall of said cap and said cover.
3. A hermetically sealed plastic container having a body portion and a cover integrally formed therewith, a cap threadedly engaged with said cover and operable to sever said cover from said container when said cap is threaded down on said container to thereby open said container, said container and said cap being formed with shoulders which are engageable with one another as said cap is threaded down onto said container,said cap when said shoulders are engaged exerting a force on said cover to sever it from said container, said container further including a neck portion, an annular groove in one of said neck portion and the side wall of said cap, a sealing gasket disposed within said annular groove for effectively sealing said cover within said cap.
4. The plastic container and cap of claim 3, wherein said neck portion has said annular groove formed in it, said cap having a portion of its side wall extending beyond said annular groove and engaged by the sealing gasket disposed therein to effectively seal said cover within said cap.
5. The plastic container and cap of claim 3, wherein said neck portion terminates with a flat shoulder against which the lower edge of the side wall of said cap seats, said lower edge of said side wall of said cap having a sealing gasket cavity therein for receiving said sealing gasket, whereby said cover is effectively sealed within said cap when the lower edge of its side wall is seated on said flat shoulder.
6. The plastic container and cap of claim 3, further including sealing means disposed about said cap and said container effectively sealing the juncture between said cap and container.
7. The plastic container and cap of claim 6, wherein said sealing means comprises a heat shrink plastic band.
8. A hermetically sealed plastic container having a body portion and a cover integrally formed therewith, a cap threadedly engaged with said cover and operable to sever said cover from said container when said cap is threaded down on said container to thereby open said container, said cover having an end closure integrallyformed therewith, said end closure having an annular extending rib thereon, said cap having an annular groove formed in it for receiving therein said annular rib on said end closure, the respective edges of said annular groove and rib forming shoulders which engage with one another when said cap is threaded onto said container to exert a force on said end closure to sever it from said container.
9. The plastic container and cap of claim 8, wherein said end closure is retained within said cap when severed from said container by the engagement of said annular rib within said annular groove in said cap.