US 3873738 A
A package for popping popcorn is provided which includes a formed metal pan with a flexible envelope folded over the top of the pan and secured to its rim so that the envelope can be easily unfolded and expanded upward by the force of corn popping in the pan while confining the popped corn in the tube, whereby the popped corn is accessible through an open end of the envelope. A cover member may also be secured to the pan over the flexible tube, and may include weakened lines therein for opening it prior to popping the corn in the pan.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Zoellr et a1.
1451 Mar. 25, 1975 [541 POPCORN POPPING PACKAGE 2.865.768 12/1958 Barnes e1 1111 426/11 1 3.054.680 9/1962 Menncn 426/111 Inventors: Richard J. Zoellel', Pittsburgh, Pd.; 3,140,034 wy m ul IIIIIIIIIII H H Frank Lalure Rlchmondt 3.421845 2/196) Dunn 426/11 1  Assignee: Aluminum Company f America, 3.782.976 1/1974 M21181 426/11 1 Pittsburgh, Pa. Prtmury Exammer-Frank W. Lutter Flled: 1973 Assistant ExaminerSteven L. Weinstein  APPL NO; 331,799 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-David W. Brownlee, Esq.
57 ABSTRACT  US. Cl 426/111, 229/3.5 MF, 229/43, 1
426 15 426/122 A package for popping popcorn IS PIOVIFlGd which 111'  In C] B65b 25/22 cludes a formed metal pan with a flexible envelope  Field H8 110 folded over the top of the pan and secured to its rim 476/107, MF 4337 574l so that the envelope can be easily unfolded and expanded upward by the force of corn popping in the  References Cited pan while confining the popped corn in the tube, whereby the popped corn is accessible through an UNITED STATES PATENTS open end of the envelope. A cover member may also 2,364.943 [2/1944 Brandt 229/57 X be secured to the pan over the flexible tube, and may 47 57111 include weakened lines therein for opening it prior to- O mse El. v I 2,819.976 1/1958 Hines .1 426/111 poppmg the Com m the 2.858.971) 11/1958 Barnes et 111. 229/315 MF 3 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures f t e; lh- /4 5O PATENTEDHARZSIHYS SHEET 1 [IF 4 POPCORN POPPING PACKAGE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION It is known to provide a popcorn package comprising a metal foil pan with kernels of popcorn therein and a flexible expandable cover over the pan for confining the corn during popping as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,425,845; 2,815,883; 3,140,034 and 2,673,806. It is further known to provide a removable paperboard cover member for such a package as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,054,680 among others. Although these packages have generally functioned well, it is desirable to provide a more convenient package in which corn can be popped. An expandable cover member for such a pan is disclosed in Application Ser. No. 331,798, and a cover for such package is disclosed in Application Ser. No. 33l,797, both of which applications being filed concurrently herewith on Feb. l2, 1973.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention provides a package for popcorn which includes a metal foil pan with a flexible envelope folded over the popcorn in the pan and secured to the rim of the pan with a cover member secured over the folded envelope. The cover member may have weakened lines in it for opening the cover so that the flexible envelope can unfold and expand upwardly when corn is popped in the pan.
Accordingly, an object of the invention is to provide an improved package in which popcorn can be popped and which gives ready access to the corn in the package after popping.
Another object of the invention is to provide a popcorn package with an expandable tube folded over the top thereof which can be easily unfolded by the force of corn popping in the package to give access to the popped corn through an open end of the envelope.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will be more fully understood and appreciated with reference to the following description and the drawings appended thereto wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an improved popcorn package of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view ofa flexible envelope for a popcorn package prior to folding the envelope for securement to a metal pan;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 2 showing partial folding of the envelope of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the envelope of FIG. 3 taken along line IVIV;
FIG. 5 is an elevational view similar to FIG. 4 illustrating further folding of the envelope;
FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view through the package of FIG. 1 taken along line VI'-VI on that Fig;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of an alternative form of a flexible envelope with a cover member assembled therewith;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 7 illustrating partial folding of the flexible envelope;
FIG. 9 is a partial cross-sectional view of a package of the invention with the alternative form of flexible envelope secured thereon;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a carrier for a package of the invention; and
FIG. 11 is an elevational view of a package after popcorn has been popped in the package.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1, a preferred embodiment of a package 10 of the invention is illustrated as comprising a formed metal pan or container 12 preferably made of aluminum 0.006 inch to 0.014 inch thick, a cover 14 secured over the pan and a carrier 16 attached to the pan. A flexible envelope, not visible in FIG. 1, is also secured on pan 12 under cover 14 as will be described. Although a rectangular pan and package have been selected for purposes of illustration, a package of the invention may also be round, hexagonal or any other convenient shape.
Referring to FIGS. 2-5, a flexible open-ended tube 18, preferably made of polyethylene, cellophane or other synthetic plastic material, is illustrated in a progressive folding sequence prior to assembly in a package of the invention. FIG. 2 shows the tube 18 formed into a tubular rectangular configuration with outwardly extending flanges 20 on its bottom edges for securement to a peripheral flange on a pan. The flexible tube 18 may be gusset folded as illustrated in FIG. 3 with opposite sides 13 and 15 thereof gusset folded inwardly in a manner similar to folding of a conventional paperbag. Such gusset folding involves tucking the two opposite sides 13 and 15 of the rectangular tube 18 inwardly so the other two sides 17 and 19 are drawn towards one another to form a flat vertical portion 21 extending upwardly from the base portion 23 of the tube. The flat upstanding portion of tube 18 is then transversely folded at its center and adjacent the base of the tube to form a substantially planar envelope for assembly with a cover member 14 and securement on a pan 12 as illustrated in FIG. 6.
To form a cover assembly, flanges 20 on the bottom of envelope 18 are inserted between the folded edge 22 of cover member 14 and may be permanently secured therein by means of an adhesive such as a thermosetting resin or the like. The assembly of the cover member 14 and envelope 18 can then be affixed to the peripheral edge of a pan 12 with popcorn 24 therein by folding an outer edge 26 of container flange 28 inward and downward against the marginal edges of the cover assembly. If desired, the marginal edges of the cover assembly can also be sealed between the marginal edges 26 and 28 of pan 12 with a thermoplastic or thermosetting resin.
A flexible tube for a package of the invention can also be spirally folded as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. To facilitate such spiral folding, tube 30 preferably has a plurality of longitudinal pleats formed on it. The marginal edge portions 32 of the pleated tube are folded inwardly and downwardly against the upper surface of the marginal edge portions of a cover 14 and may be adhesively bonded thereto. Tube 30 can then be twisted as illustrated in FIG. 8 and flattened against the cover member to form a cover assembly which can be affixed on a container flange 28 with a marginal edge 26 folded over the marginal edges of the cover assembly as illustrated in FIG. 9.
FIG. 10 shows a carrier 16 for a package of the invention in the form of a continuous wire formed into a rectangle 34 dimensioned to perimetrica'lly frame container 12 under its edge flange 28. Carrier 16 includes a first loop 36 for providing a handle for a package and a second loop 38 on the opposite side of the rectangle for securement over container flange 26 opposite the gripping handle. Handle loop 36 also has two hooks 40, one on either side, for securement over container flange 26 to assemble carrier 16 on a package, the pan 12 is positioned in rectangular loop 34 with loop 38 engaged over the peripheral flange of the package. Handle loop 36 is then pulled outwardly with respect to the package so that the small hooks 40 on the gripping handle clip over container flange 26 adjacent the handle. When so assembled, carrier 16 provides a convenient and secure means for gripping a package as when popping corn in the package.
Although handle 16 is securely attached on the package and will not be accidentally disengaged, it is possible to remove handle 16 from a package for assembly on another package if desired. This can be done by pulling handle loop 36 outwardly and downwardly so that hooks 40 on the handle pass downward over container flange 28. Container 12 can then be lifted out of loop 34 and the handle can be assembled on another container.
Cover member 14 is preferably made of paperboard or cardboard and has weakened lines or scores formed therein so that it can be easily opened for upward expansion of a tube member therethrough. In the embodiment selected for illustration, weakened lines 42 are formed in cover 14 and extendinwardly from the four corners of the cover, meeting at its center to form four substantially triangular sections 44, 46, 48, 50 in the cover. Lines 42 further define a tab 52 on triangular section 50 at the junction ofthe weakened lines. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 6, weakened lines 42 preferably comprise two parallel scores 54, 56 lines which are cut in opposite faces of a cover member and closely spaced along their length so that the web of material between the score lines can be ruptured to open the cover member. For triangular section 50 which includes tab 52, score lines 56 in the under surface of the cover are preferably spaced toward'the center of the section with respect to the score lines 54 in the upper surface of the cover so that this section can be opened first. The op posite triangular section preferably also has score lines 56 in the undersurface of the cover spaced toward the center of the section from score lines 54 in the upper surface of the cover as is illustrated in FIG. 1. This is not critical to the invention, however, since the sequence of opening the remaining three sections is not important.
With respect to tab 52, the weakened lines around the three sides of the tab are preferably cut through cover member 14 or are ruptured during fabrication of a package so that the tab can be easily gripped with ones fingers for pulling the tab to rupture the weakened line defining section 50. Cover member 14 may also have fold lines adjacent and parallel to container flange 26 to facilitate folding the section to a vertical position so that flexible tube 18 can expand upward between the cover section during popping. These fold lines can be formed by weakening the cover stock by means of a rolling dieor the like.
In using a package of the invention, cover member 14 is opened by lifting tab 52 to rupture the weakened lines along the edges of section 50 and folding the section to a vertical position. After section 50 has been opened the other three sections can be similarly opened by rupturing the weakened lines between the sections and folding these sections to a vertical position. The package can then be placed over a heat source so that the corn in the package will be popped. The force of corn popping in the package unfolds flexible tube 18 upwardly as is illustrated in FIG. 11. Preferably, tube 18 is dimensioned with respect to the charge of corn in a package so that the free end of tube 18 will be opened when all the corn is popped. However, it will be apparent that the free end of tube 18 may also remain partially closed when the corn is all popped. It is a simple matter to open the free end of the tube if the force of the popping corn does not fully open the tube.
It is therefore seen that improved package for popcorn is provided which includes an expandable tube secured over a pan in which the corn is popped wherein the force of the popping corn will expand the tubes to the point where its free end is either open or on the verge of opening so that the tube provides ready access to the corn. While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be understood that various changes in the construction may be made in the package without departing from the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A package for popcorn comprising a metal pan with a bottom wall and an upstanding side wall there around, kernels ofpopcorn in the pan and a flexible tubular envelope having open ends of approximately equal size with a peripheral edge portion on one end thereof secured to the side wall of the pan and the envelope extending freely therefrom providing a free end, with the envelope body folded inward over the popcorn in the pan to be expanded upward by the force of the kernels popping in the pan while confining the kernels under the envelope body, whereby the popped kernels of popcorn are accessible through the free end of the envelope.
2. A package as set forth in claim 1 in which said flexible open-ended envelope is made of synthetic plastic material.
3. A package as set forth in claim 1 which includes a paperboard cover member secured over said flexible envelope, said cover member having weakening lines therein for opening at least a central portion thereof.