US 3813000 A
A can end has a weakened tear strip therein with a plastic retainer affixed thereto. The retainer is swingably affixed to the center of the can and is likewise permanently attached to a pull ring tear strip opener. When the pull ring opener is operated to remove the tear strip from the can end, both the tear strip and the pull ring remain attached to the plastic retainer and are swingable out of the way of the opened can end but are retained on the can end in said out-of-the-way location.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 11 Underwood  May 28, 1974 1 CAN END CONSTRUCTION I  Inventor: Ralph E. Underwood, 8830 s.w.
68th St., Miami, Fla. 33156 22 Filed: Apr. 24, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 246,820
 US. Cl. 220/54, 222/541  Int. Cl B65d 17/24  Field of Search 220/54, 27, 48; 222/541  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1969 Nicholson 220/54 5 1973 Silver 220/54 Primary Examiner-George T. Hall "Attorney, Agent, or FirmL0we, Kikjer, Kircher  ABSTRACT A can end has a weakened tear strip therein with a plastic retainer affixed thereto. The retainer is swingably affixed to the center of the can and is likewise permanently attached to a pull ring tear strip opener.
When the pull ring opener is operated to remove the tear strip from the can end, both the tear strip and the pull ring remain attached to the.pla stic retainer and are swingable out of the way of the opened can end but are retained on the can end in said out-of-the-way location.
6 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures CAN END CONSTRUCTION BACKGROUND AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF I THE INVENTION Beverage cans commonly contain a weakened tear strip area with a pull ring opener attached thereto. The common operation is for a user intending to drink or otherwise empty the contents from the can to grasp the pull ring by the thumb and forefinger and manipulate same in such a manner so as to remove the tear strip along the scored or weakened lines in the can end. Ordinarily, the user then throws away or otherwise discards the combined elements which include the pull ring and tear strip.
Since the edges of the tear strip are sharp, the tear strip and pull ring combination present a considerable hazard when carelessly discarded on campsites, playgrounds and public accommodations including picnic areas and the like. Also, the unsightliness of the pull ring and tear strip components when removed from the can end generally disfigure and can substantially reduce the aesthetic appearance of many indoor and outdoor public accommodations. The damage done to wildlife in and around lakes and streams by the sharp tear strip-pull ring combination is as readily apparent as is the obvious need to ecologically clean up the total environment. Since the beverage cans may be re-cycled and are more easily disposed of than the tear strip'elements, the subject invention relates to a can end construction which will eliminate the separate discarding of the pull ring and tear strip from the can itself.
The invention relates to a can having a weakened tear strip therein with a plastic retainer affixed thereto. The retainer is swingably affixed to the center of the can and is likewise permanently attached to a pull ring tear strip opener. When the pull ring opener is operated to remove the tear strip from the can end, both the tear strip and the pull ring remain attached to the plasticretainer and are swingable out of the way of the opened can end but are retained on the can end in said out-ofthe-way location.
An object of the invention is to provide a uniquely constructed can end that permits retention of the can end opening elements in'an out-of-the-way location after said can end has been opened for the purpose of emptying the contents therefrom.
Another object of the invention is to provide a can end construction of the character described that reduces any tendency to litter by the discarding of the tear strip-pull ring can end opening elements. It is a feature of the object that'a substantial amount of potentially ecologically harmful litter is permanently attached to the more easily and often disposed of can type container thereby forestalling the usual human tendency to carelessly throw away the tear strip-pull ring combination of a beverage can.
A further object of the invention is to provide a can end having a uniquely constructed means for opening same which will include a swingably mounted plastic retainer having both the tear strip and a pull ring tab attached thereto. It is a feature of the invention that the tear strip and pull ring are attached to the can end and may be swung to an unobtrusive and out-of-the-way place while the beverage in the can is either consumed directly therefrom or poured to another receptacle. In this manner, the entire empty can including tear strippull ring are simultaneously disposed of.
Another object of the invention is to provide a unique can end construction which is inexpensive to manufacture and which is simple to open yet operable in a manner to retain the components heretofore disposed of in a separate fashion from the can itself.
Other and further objects of the invention, together with the features of novelty appurtenant thereto, will appear in the course of the following description.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION FIG. I is a top plan view of an unopened can end having the tear-strip, plastic retainer and pull ring combination thereon;
FIG. 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, however the above combination in the can end opened position; and
FIG. 3 is a section view taken generally along the line 33 of FIG. 1 in the direction of the arrows.
Turning now more particularly to the drawings, reference numeral 10 generally represents a can utilizing subject invention. The upper end portion of the can will usually include therim or flange extremity II and will generally circumscribe the can end 12 In any event, can 10 is of the conventional type which usually contains beer or carbonated soda drinks. The central portion of the upper can end 12 has rivet 13 located therein. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the can end portion 12 is weakened along the lines indicated by the numeral 14 so as to define a tear strip area which opens the can end 12 when removed for dispensing purposes.
A plastic strip 15 will be bonded or otherwise affixed to the tear strip 14a and will be attached to the can end 12 by a rivet-like structure 13. This plastic strip may be thought of as atear strip retainer and will be of sufficient size to substantially overlie the entire tear strip area in that it will extend past the outer end extremity (nearest the can rim 11 as shown in FIG. 2) of the weakened opening defining lines 14. In this manner, the potentially sharp edges of the tear strip are protected when the can end is opened as will be described.
I A pull ring or tab is generally indicated by the numeral '16 and is shaped somewhat in the form of a figure 8. The open part of the ring is identified by the numeral 16a and will occupy the solid line position shown in FIG. 1 when the can is in its unopened state. The end (16b) opposite the ring end will be riveted to the combined can end and plastic strip, 14a and 15 respectively, by the rivet-like structure 17 which extends through the center of the closed'portion 16b.
As can be seen in the various views, the closed or riveted end portion 16b of the pull tab 16 has a horseshoe shaped opening 18 defined therein which almost circumscribes the upper end portion of rivet 17. A suitable notch or dimple (not shown) will be defined in the pull tab portion 16b adjacent the upper (as shown in FIG. I) periphery of the rivet 17 and will accommodate the raised projection 19 therein to locate the pull tab structure 16 for proper operation with respect to the tear strip and the can end. Since ring or tab 16 may swivel about the rivet 17 the projection 19 will properly and easily orient the pull tab with respect to the weakened lines 14 thereby assuring that the tear strip resistance to shear is minimized when it is desirable to open the can. I
In addition to the projection and dimple combination (19) the plastic strip or retainer 15 may be provided with clips 20 on either side ofa vertical line through the diameter of the ring end 160 of the pull tab 16 (as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2). These clips will operate to resiliently engage the pull ring end and further maintain the tab in the properly oriented position as well as providing a means for re-locating the pull tab once the can end has been opened. As shown in FIG. 3, the retainer clips are comprised of two upright resilient plastic projections which have a space defined between each pair of plastic projections. When it is desired to position the pull ring end 16a with respect to the retainer strip 15, the ring end 16a is merely forced down on the can end so that the upright plastic clip projections separate and resiliently engage the ring to retain same in close proximity to the can end.
As will be seen, a recessed area 21 is located diametrically opposite the tear strip 14a for purposes of locating the combined tear strip, plastic retainer and pull tab when the can end is opened.
in operation, an unopened can is substantially that shown in FIGS. 1 and 3 with the pull tab 16 being properly oriented with respect to the weakened can end lines 14a defining the tear strip area. When it is desired to open the can end, the pull ring 164 of the tab 16 is easily engaged by the thumb and forefinger of the user and is lifted upwardly thereby forcing the pull tab end portion, identified by the numeral 16c, downwardly and effecting a can end pierce at the near rim extremity of the weakened lines of 14. Stated another way, since. the rivet l7 fixedly locates the piercing end 16b of the pull tab and since the substantially horseshoe shaped opening or slot 18 ends near the piercing end 16c, the upward movement of the ring end 160 fulcrums the pull tab 16 about the rivet structure and forces the piercing end 160 to rupture or pierce the can end as described. Once the piercing has been accomplished, the ring 16a is easily pulled in a direction to completethe tearing of the tear strip from the can end and the accomplishment of the can opening.
With the above described operation, it is clear that the tear strip, the plastic retainer, and the pull tab are still retained on the can end by the presence of rivet 13. Since the rivet l3 locates the plastic retainer strip for pivotal movement on the can end, it is a simple matter to rotate the pull ring 16a until the combined attached components are in the solid line position shown in FIG. 2 within the recessed area 21. At this time, if the clips 20 have been provided, the pull ring end 16a may be forced downwardly to once again be engaged within the clips. The tear strip, retainer strip, and pull tab are maintained on the can end in an unobtrusive and clearly out-of-the-way position so that an individual may drink directly from the can or pour the contents into glasses etc. without in any way encumbering either operation.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the structure.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations.
As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawing is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
Having thus described my invention, 1 claim:
1. A can end comprising a surface having a weakened area defining a severable tear strip therein,
means attached to said tear strip for facilitating the effective removal of said tear strip from said can end surface, the use of which results in the exposure of an unobstructed orifice, and
means for retaining and moving said tear strip after said opening is formed in said can end surface, the retaining and moving means including a flexible material, said flexible material being attached to said tear strip area and to said tear strip removal means on the outer surface of said can end, and means for attaching said flexible material to said can end surface, said last mentioned means operable to retain said flexible material, said tear strip "area and said tear strip removal means on said can end surface area in a plane generally parallel thereto after said opening has been formed in said can end surface.
2. The combination as in claim 1 wherein said tear strip removing means includes a pull ring, means for attaching said pull ring to said tear strip area, said pull ring operable to effect the piercing of said can end surface adjacent portion of said tear strip and the removal of said tear strip area from said can end surface.
3. The combination as in claim 2 wherein said means for attaching said flexible material to said can end includes a rivet, said rivet being located in the approximate center of said can end surface, said rivet extending through said tear strip and said can end surface and operable to swingably affix said flexible material to said can end surface.
4. A combination as in claim 3 wherein said can end includes a second rivet, said second rivet interconnecting said tear strip, said flexible material, and said pull ring, said second rivet and said flexible material thereby cooperating with said first rivet to retain said tear strip and said pull ring on said can end surface after said opening has been formed.
5. The combination as in claim 4 including means for releasably maintaining said pull ring adjacent said flexible material.
6. The combination as in claim 1 wherein said tear strip removing means includes a pull ring, means for attaching said pull ring to said tear strip area, said pull ring operable to effect the piercing of said can end surface adjacent portion of said tear strip and the removal of said tear strip area from said can end surface and means for releasably maintaining said pull ring adjacent said flexible material.