US 3844437 A
A safety closure is provided comprising a container with a circular opening including rim portion and a neck portion extending therefrom to receive a closure and a cap having a rim engaging portion at an open end, at least one of the rim or rim engaging portion having a groove and the other of said portions having a projection to engage said groove, a circumferential rotation being required to move the projection through the groove and permit the rim engaging portion to move into the neck portion, the dimensions of the neck portion and closure rim portion being such as to permit said cap rim engagement portion to move a spaced distance from the rim portion prior to final seating of the cap. In a preferred form the neck portion is provided with a final threaded portion and an intermediate neck portion which has a diameter less than the diameter of the threads. The corresponding cap has a single threaded portion at the mouth thereof. In an even more preferred embodiment the two threaded portions on the container are threaded in different directions and the threaded portion of the cap comprises two superimposed threads. Alternatively bayonet type fittings can be employed and also the threaded portions can be inside the mouth of the closure rather than external.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 OConnor [451 Oct. 29, 1974 SAFETY CLOSURE James A. OConnor, PO. Box 827, Freeport, Bahamas  Filed: July 18, 1972  Appl. No.: 272,822
Primary Examiner-Donald F. Norton Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Ladas, Parry, Von Gehr, Goldsmith & Deschamps  ABSTRACT A safety closure is provided comprising a container with a circular opening including rim portion and a neck portion extending therefrom to receive a closure and a cap having a rim engaging portion at an open end, at least one of the rim or rim engaging portion having a groove and the other of said portions having a projection to engage said groove, a circumferential rotation being required to move the projection through the groove and permit the rim engaging portion to move into the neck portion, the dimensions of the neck portion and closure rim portion being such as to permit said cap rim engagement portion to move a spaced distance from the rim portion prior to final seating of the cap. In a preferred form the neck portion is provided with a final threaded portion and an intermediate neck portion which has a diameter less than the diameter of the threads. The corresponding cap has a single threaded portion at the mouth thereof. In an even more preferred embodiment the two threaded portions on the container are threaded in different directions and the threaded portion of the cap comprises two superimposed threads. Alternatively bayonet type fittings can be employed and also the threaded portions can be inside the mouth of the closure rather than external.
8 Claims, 6 Drawing, Figures Pmmmm 29 m4 3844.437
SAFETY CLOSURE FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to safety closures and particularly to a combination of container and closure cap.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART There is a considerable need for a safety closure which cannot readily be opened by children. Each year there are a large number of accidental poisoning of children by ingestion of the contents of containers which they have been able to open eitheraccidentally or deliberately. Various types of closure have been suggested but many of these require complex manufacturing steps and also provide a structure in which there is no removable cap so that the opening is frequently constricted. Also some of these safety closures require reasonable physical force to operate which can provide difficulty for elderly persons, for instance with arthritic conditions.
The most widely used general-purpose type of container at the present time is one in which there is a threaded neck portion about the rim with matching screw cap. This offers many practical advantages well known to those engaged in the manufacture, filling and use of such standard type of containers. Unfortunately, however, this standard receptacle is one of those most easily opened by even a young child to give access to the contents. Even a very young child may easily unscrew a bottle cap using fingers and teeth. It has been noted that it is almost impossible for a child to replace such a cap in its original position. The reasons are that twisting mostion by fingers and teeth haphazardly performed can result in the removal of the cap and no real purposefulness or coordination of movements is required. To replace the cap, however, requires a high degree of purposefulness and coordination of movement by both hands. The movements are controlled by visual and tactile impressions. Thus, to close, the cap must be squarely and accurately aligned with the bottle neck, one hand holding the bottle or container steadily; the cap must then be pressed downwards firmly and accurately while maintaining the proper alignment and preliminary movements made for engaging the screw threads of the bottle neck with those of the cap; then, with the container closure maintained in proper position and with the container held steadily, a rotational movement has to be imparted to the cap consistently in the proper direction of rotation (usually clockwise), until the closure is eventually firmly screwed down and mounted. These purposeful, highly coordinated and necessarily strictly sequential movements are much beyond the capacity of a child particularly a young child. Thus, the opening of acap by chance is relatively easy but closing it again is virtually impossible.
It would be desirable to take advantage of the known simplicity of the screw cap or closure which requires the manipulative skill of an adult but does not require additional physical strength beyond that required for the present containers.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a simple structure taking advantage of the manipulative skills required by the screw closure.
According to the present invention there is provided a safety closure comprising in a container section having a circular mouth or opening and around said mouth a rim portion and beyond the rim portion a neck portion to receive a cap; and in a cap having a closed end and a circular open end, a rim engaging portion at said open end, on one of said rim portions and said rim engaging portion a protuberance and in the other of said portions a groove to engage said protuberance, said groove requiring circumferential rotation of said cap in relation to said container portion to permit passage of said rim engaging portion past said rim portion to said neck portion, said neck permitting movement of said rim engaging portion to a spaced distance from said rim portion before final seating of the closure on the container in fixed relationship thereto.
In its simplest form the rim portion and the rim engaging portion would engage and after rotation and passage of the rim engaging portion past the rim portion the cap would be moved down the neck to a seated relationship. In this instance the neck portion could have the same diameter as the rim engaging portion and would depend on frictional engagement for final seating. It is clearly necessary that dimensions of some portion of the cap and some portion of the container be such as to provide for the necessary frictional engagement and to give a firm seating of the cap on the container.
In a preferred embodiment the neck portion would be of diameter less than the rim portion and the corresponding rim engaging portion so that on movement of the rim engaging portion onto the neck portion the cap would then be loose. This would then require considerable manipulative skill to align the rim engaging portion with the rim portion. The necessary seating could then be achieved by a second locking portion either on the neck spaced from the rim portion or inside the cap spaced from the rim engaging portion. In one of the most preferred embodiments of the invention there are provided two threaded portions one being the rim portion and the second a locking portion which is a second threaded portion spaced from said rim portion. These two threads can be of the same direction of threading or reverse direction of threading. In the latter case a corresponding threading on the rim engaging portion would be two superimposed threads. In this construction the cap could be unlocked from its seating on the locking portion by simple rotation but would then require considerable manipulative skill for the necessary alignment with the second threaded portion.
In a variation of this construction the locking portion could be internal in the cap at a spaced distance from the rim engaging portion and a single threaded portion could be provided as the rim portion on the container. Again after unscrewing to release from the first locking thread there would be a loose mounted cap which would require manipulative skill before it could be unscrewed from the second threaded engagement of the rim portion and rim engaging portion.
In these constructions the protuberance is of course the thread on one portion and the groove is the corresponding groove of the thread on the other portion.
In an alternative embodiment the protuberance can be one or more pins which engage with a thread or threads or complex groove or grooves. By appropriate alignment of the groove the circumferential rotation can require first a clockwise and then an anti-clockwise movement again requiring skill usually beyond that of the child. In such an instance false entries can be supplied around the portion on which the groove lies so that the child would find it difficult to properly align the pin in relation to the correct groove. An aligning mark could be provided which would be readily comprehensible to an adult though not to a young child.
The pin can engage a further locking portion in the form of a bayonet type construction for the final seating of the closure cap.
It is usually simpler to provide for a threading or a grooving of the outer surface of the container. The invention also provides, however, for a construction in which the threading or grooving is internal of the mouth of the container and a portion of the cap would then move internally of said mouth the construction otherwise being similar to that of the preferred embodiments.
These constructions of the invention are based on the concept of making the unscrewing of the cap just as difficult to perform as replacement of a cap after removal from a regular container. Safety closures of the present invention can be used for containers for medicinal substances but could equally be used for the transportation, packaging and storage of all noxious or potentially noxious substances, including, for example, household chemicals of all kinds, such as acids, alkalies, detergents, bleaches, varnishes, insecticides, garden chemicals, cleansing agents, cosmetic substances, including, for example, hair dyes, curlers, straighteners and indeed all substances whether wet or dry.
The container can be the traditional narrow mouth bottle or a simple cylindrical container and the term neck portion is not to be taken as implying that there is a portion of different diameter from the remainder of the container. The term merely defines a portion of the container in relation to the cap. The cap and container can be made of materials traditional for containers and, since they are basic ally simple in construction, they can be readily fabricated by standard industrial engineering procedures. No springs, valves, materials of specific elasticity or other unusual or complicated components are usually required in construction. Thus, the container and cap can be manufactured from glass, metals, plastics, ceramics and other materials commonly and regularly used in the construction of present containers and closures. The normal constructional features of closures can also be added including sealing rings, so that the cap when mounted on the container is tightly sealed thereto.
The term cap designates that portion of the closure which seals the opening of the container providing that the cap has the necessary constructional features to engage and close the opening of the container. A wide variety of constructions are available.
In its preferred embodiments the locking portion tightly retains the cap in relation to the container and is therefore to be preferred over a simple final frictional engagement between cap and container, but the simple frictional construction can be used for certain types of material. In the preferred embodiment, however, the positive locking provides for a liquid tight, air and gas tight construction which is capable of withstanding changes in external and internal pressure and is rugged enough to bear the stresses normally experienced during transport or shipping even under the most adverse conditions. Thus, it can be used for storing and transitem which could be fitted to a container in an appropriate manner.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 represents a sectional view of a cap and external view of a container mouth with the cap separated therefrom.
FIG. 2 represents a variation in the construction of the cap.
FIG. 3 represents an alternative embodiment of the invention showing a different construction of rim portion and rim engaging portion. The cap is in crosssection and the container is shown in external view.
FIG. 3a shows a variation in the rim engaging portion of the container.
FIG. 4 is a variation in the construction of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 shows in cross-section an alternative embodiment with an internal construction with a portion of the cap fitting within the mouth of the container.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In FIG. 1 there is provided a container A and a cap B. This container has a narrow mouthed neck. Around the open end of the neck is a rim portion 1 which is provided with a thread. A second threaded locking portion 2 is spaced from the first threaded portion by an unthreaded neck portion 3. The threaded portions are dimensionally identical in all respects, having the same length, number and pitch of threads, and the same thread form, except one portion has a right hand (clockwise) and the other a left hand (counterclockwise) thread. A number of threads may be used, provided that they are the same in both instances and any thread form may be employed that is suitable for the material that is being used in the manufacture. The ridge of each thread forms a protuberance while the valley between thread ridges forms a groove.
The unthreaded portion 3 of the neck has the following characteristics: The external diameter is substantially and significantly less than the minor diameter of the threads in portions 1 and 2. The exact proportion will vary with the squatness or otherwise of the neck but a suitable difference of the two diameters will readily be appreciated by those skilled in the art in the light of the subsequent explanation. The length of the unthreaded portion between points 4 and 5 that is the distance between the two threaded portions, is substantially and significantly greater than the length of either threaded portion, that is the distance between points 4 and 6 or points 5 and 7. A suitable ratio would be 1% or 2 times or more the distance covered by either run of threads. An appropriate ratio can again be readily chosen in the light of the subsequent explanation.
In the matching screw cap B there is in the rim portion a threaded rim engaging portion 8 which contains the same number, length, pitch and form of thread as employed in the two threaded portions on the neck, i.e., portions 1 and 2. This threaded portion of the cap 8 comprises two such threads one a right hand and one a left hand thread superimposed upon one another. The overall internal depth of the screwcap between the open end 9 and the closed end must be such that the rim engaging portion 8 can pass beyond rim portion 1 onto neck portion 3 to a spaced distance before seating. When the cap is screwed down firmly in the second set of threads on the bottle, i.e., locking portion 2, the inner surface of the cap will lie in close opposition with the rim of the bottle neck to form a contact seal. At the closed end 10 there can be provided a paper or plastic or other suitable cap liner such as is commonly used with screw cap closures to ensure a perfect seal. The internal diameter of the internal screw cap between points 10 and 11 should be significantly and substantially greater than the major diameter of the screw threads in the bottle neck.
The superimposed right and left hand threads in the cap closure permits rotation of the cap in either direction to mesh with the appropriate set of threads as the rim portion engages said set of threads I or 2.
With the cap in the closed position on the neck of the container, i.e., with threaded portion 8 engaging threaded portion 2 opening the device is achieved as follows:
The cap is rotated in the appropriate direction and is thus freed from the lower locking portion 2 of threads on the neck. At this point it lies loosely over the unthreaded portion of the bottle neck. Because of the characteristic dimensions described above the cap is movable with complete freedom. Also because the external diameter of the unthreaded portion 3 is significantly and substantially less than the minor diameter of the threads I and 2 and also because the internal diameter between points 10 and 11 is significantly and substantially greater than the major diameter of those threads the cap will move freely from side to side and loosely in all directions. Thus, the cap can move upwards, downwards and side to side and rotationally. This looseness requires in addition to the reversal of direction of rotation a high degree of coordinated purposefulness and necessarily sequential movements for removal of the screw cap as will be found in placing a screw cap on the conventional container. Accordingly it is necessary deliberately to engage the threaded portion 8 with the upper threaded rim portion 1. Moreover to complete the removal will require a reversal of the direction of rotation of the cap.
In the second embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 2, container A and cap B are substantially similar and the same numerals will be used for the corresponding portions. In this embodiment the threads of both sections 1 and 2 rotate in the same direction usually clockwise. Correspondingly, section 8' of the cap has a single thread. Thus, in this instance removal of the cap does not require changing direction of the rotation. In the cap there is a modification of the upper construction and there is a constricted internal diameter at the closed end so that the distance between points I2 and 13 corresponds to the major diameter of the threads on portion 1 and the distance between points 12 and 14 corresponds to the length of the threaded rim portion 1 on the neck the distance between points 4 and 6. In this closed position the upper portion of the cap will fit more tightly about the upper bank of threads to give additional rigidity of the closed cap, where deemed desirable.
As an alternative construction for the cap a threaded locking portion can be provided between 12 and 14 to engage the threaded portion 1 when it reaches that point in the cap. This provides a very tight fitting between the mouth and the internal portion of the cap. In such a construction the threaded portion 2 could be omitted from the neck.
In these constructions the internal diameter of the cap and the diameter of the unthreaded portion could correspond to the appropriate diameter of the screw threads so that on passage of the :rim engaging portion 8 past the threaded rim portion 1 there would be a sliding frictional engagement. In such a construction it might be possible to omit the lower threaded portion or locking portion 2 and depend on the frictional engagement which could be reinforced by a slight widening of the diameter of the unthreaded portion, at an appropriate distance from rim portion 1 to permit rim engaging portion 8 to move a spaced distance therefrom before seating. In such an instance, however, the seating of the cap would merely be by friction and this might not be appropriate for all materials. Also, the engagement of threaded rim engaging portion 8 with threaded rim portion 1 would not require such great manipulative skill since the cap would not be loose on the neck and this would probably not be preferred in most instances.
In the construction of FIG. 3 a substantially similar general construction for container A" and cap B" is followed except that the rim engaging portion 21 has a protuberance a pin 22. This engages with the rim portion 23 by a groove 24. This groove can be of such a configuration that it requires rotation of the cap in various directions of rotation to maneuver the pin 22 through the groove 24. The rim engaging portion 23 is then followed by a portion of reduced diameter 25 and then a locking portion 26 with a bayonet groove 27 to lock the pin 22. As in the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2 the internal configuration of the cap and the dimensions of the narrow portion 25 are such as to provide for a loose fitting of the rim engaging portion in relation to the neck between the rim portion and the locking portion. The operation of this embodiment would require unlocking of the pin 22 from the bayonet configuration 27, alignment of the pin 22 with the groove 24 and then rotation of the cap so as to guide the pin through the groove 24. The alignment of the pin would be rendered more difficult by reason of the loose mounting resulting from the narrow portion 25 and the greater internal diameter of cap Bi. As in the first embodiment the lower locking portion 26 could be omitted and the neck portion 25 could be of substantially similar diameter, allowing for the necessity for accommodating pin 22, so that a frictional fit is achieved. Although the embodiment is shown with only one pin 22, clearly two pins could be supplied on diametrically opposed sides of the rim portion or more pins appropriately symmetrically positioned around the rim portion. In FIG. 3a an alternative construction for the lower portion of the rim portion 23 is shown in which a series of teeth 27 delineate closed grooves 28 so that it is more difficult to align the pin 22 with the correct groove 24. In such a construction the external cap could be provided with an alignment marking corresponding to an appropriate marking on the container so that an adult would be able to manipulate readily the alignment of the cap in relation to the container.
In FIG. 4 an alternative construction to FIG. 3 is shown in which rim portion 30 on container A' has a pin 31. This pin 3I then engages the rim engaging portion 32 on the cap B' by means of the groove 33 which requires the same manipulative skill to move the pin through the groove. The locking of the cap to the neck can be achieved by a locking portion 34 of narrower diameter to the remainder of the cap said locking portion 34 having a bayonet groove 35 to engage the pin 31. In this instance it is not necessary to have a lower engagement portion 37 except that this helps in providing for a more secure fitting of the cap to the container.
Finally in H6. an embodiment is shown in which the cap D engages with an internal portion of the container C. In this case the rim portion of the container is an internal threading 41 and the cap comprises an outer shell 42 with an internal construction or finger to extend inside the container mouth and comprising a threaded rim engaging portion 43, a portion of narrower diameter 44 and a threaded locking portion 45. The container 46 has a neck portion to receive the rim engaging portion 43 and said neck portion 46 is preferably of greater diameter than the external diameter of the threadings of the portions 43 and 45. Appropriate construction of the shell 42 on the closure will allow a loose fitting of the cap when the threaded portion 41 lies in the narrow portion 44, if such a loose fitting is desired.
As in the other embodiments when the cap is securely mounted the threaded locking portion 45 on the closure engages with the threaded portion 41 on the container. Unscrewing to release the cap allows the rim portion 41 to pass into narrower portion 44. The relationship of the internal diameter of rim portion 41 to the unthreaded portion 44 together with the outer shell 42 allows the cap to be loose in relation to the neck requiring alignment skill to align threaded portion 41 with threaded rim engaging portion 43 for final removal of the closure. In this embodiment also one could replace the threaded portions 41, 43 and 45 by appropriate pin and groove constructions such as is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4.
The conception of the safety closure and its many applications is not limited to the specific embodiments as shown and variations therefrom may be made within the scope of the accompanying claims without sacrificing its chief advantages and protection to the broadest extent the prior art allows.
1. A safety closure comprising:
a container having:
a circular rim portion;
a cap receiving neck portion extending therefrom of diameter less than the smallest diameter of the rim portion; and
a cap having an open end and a closed end and comprising:
a circular rim engaging portion at said open end;
an internal portion of diameter greater than the rim engaging portion; and
a seating and locking portion at one of:
a. the opposed end of the neck to the rim portion,
b. the closed end of the cap;
one of said rim portion and rim engaging portion having at least one protuberance thereon and the other of said portions having at least one groove therein, said groove requiring seating of said protuberance therein and circumferential rotation of said cap in relation to said container to move said protuberance along said groove and permit passage of said rim engaging portion past said rim portion;
the seating and locking portion having a protuberance or groove to match the rim portion or rim engaging portion and to engage therewith and requiring circumferential rotation to lock and seat said cap on said container;
said cap receiving neck portion and said internal cap portion being of sufficient length to allow said rim engaging portion to move a spaced distance beyond said rim portion before engagement of said locking portion, and the respective diameters of said portions being sufficient to permit said cap to be loose on said neck to provide free movement in all directions when said rim engaging portion is within said cap receiving neck portion.
2. A closure according to claim 1, wherein said rim portion is a threaded portion, said locking portion is a threaded portion of similar dimensions and is separated from the rim portion by the cap receiving neck portion and said rim engaging portion is a matching threaded portion.
3. A safety closure according to claim 2, wherein the threaded rim portion and the threaded locking portion have different directions of thread and the threaded rim engaging portion comprises two superimposed threads to match the two threads of the rim portion and locking portion.
4. A safety closure according to claim 2, wherein the threaded rim portion, threaded rim engaging portion and threaded locking portion are of the same direction of thread and the rim engaging portion is a corresponding thread to the threaded portions.
5. A safety closure according to claim 2, wherein the closed end of the cap is provided with a portion of narrower diameter corresponding to the external diameter of the rim portion.
6. A closure according to claim 1, wherein said protuberance comprises at least one pin and said groove is shaped to require change in direction of rotation as the pin moves along the groove.
7. A safety closure according to claim 6, wherein a locking portion is provided on said cap or said neck portion which contains a bayonet fitting groove to engage and lock said pin.
8. A safety closure according to claim 6, wherein around the portion containing said groove there are provided closed grooves.
' flwmm STATES P A'EENT @FFECE "CERTIFECATE @F CURRECTEQN Patent No. BQBhh hET Dated October 29, 19711 Inventofls) Jamus A. O'Gonnor It is certified that error appears in the above-idntified patent and that wid'Let tem Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
On the fmtroducizmw page the information on the Inventor should read:
' [767 Inventor: James A. OGormor, b7? Harbor Drive North,
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida 33535 -Signed and sealed this 38th day of February 1975.
C. MARSHALL DANN RUTH C; MASON Comismoner 0f Patents Attesting Officer and Trademarks