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Publication numberUS3193154 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication date6 Jul 1965
Filing date30 Mar 1962
Priority date17 May 1961
Also published asDE1432098A1
Publication numberUS 3193154 A, US 3193154A, US-A-3193154, US3193154 A, US3193154A
InventorsKarl Bross Helmut
Original AssigneeFrank T Johmann
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Closure means
US 3193154 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

- H. K. BROSS July 6, 1965 CLOSURE MEANS Filed March so, 1962' 4 SheetS- Sheet 1 I I. III I. II I FIG-3 HELMUT KARL BROSS INVENTOR FIG.-

FIG.

H. K. BROSS CLOSURE MEANS July 6, 1965 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 30, 1962 R O T N E V m S S O R B L R A K T U M L E H ATTORNEY y 6, 1965 H. K. BROSS 3,193,154

CLOSURE MEANS Filed March 30, 196 2 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 h HELMUT KARL BROSS INVENTOR BY TQMWW ATTORNEY July 6, 1965 Filed March 30, 1962 H. K. BROSS CLOSURE MEANS 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 HELMUT KARL BROSS INVENTOR BY TMTM ATTORNEY United States Patent Ofilice 3,193,154 Patented July 6, 1965 3,193,154 CLOSURE MEANS Helmut Karl Bross, Altenberg uber Numberg, Germany,

assignor of thirty-three and one-third percent to Frank T. Johmann, Berkeley Heights, NJ.

Filed Mar. 30, 1962, Ser. No. 183,849 Claims priority, application Germany, May 17, 1961, B 62,506; June 9, 1961, B 62,837 31 Claims. (Cl. 222207) This invention relates to closure means, and containers such as tubes and bottles having said closure means.

The closure means of the invention preferably include: (1) a discharge member or spout defining a discharge opening, (2) a valve member to open or close said discharge opening, and (3) releasable locking means to hold said members in one or more locked positions. The discharge member and valve member are relatively movable between an opened position and a closed position. This relative movement is preferably axial or longitudinal to the valve member, and can be obtained by means of an elastic or flexible wall portion. This elastic portion can be in the form of a thin flexible membrane, or diaphragm, or a bellows-like wall construction, etc.

In one form, the locking means will lock the discharge member and valve member in a locked-closed position. Thus, even thoughthe container has been previously opened, it can subsequently be locked-closed. In this locked-closed position, containers such as squeeze tubes or bottles can be carried in travel baggage without danger of accidental opening of the container.

In another form of the invention, the locking means can have a locked-opened position for readily discharging the contents of the container by simple pouring.

In still another form of the invention, the closure means can have an unlocked-closed position. In the unlockedclosed position, the closure means can be made responsive to pressure on the container wall itself, e.g. squeezing a plastic squeeze bottle, to open the closure means to discharge fluid. Upon subsequent release of said pressure, the closure means can automatically assume its unlockedclosed position. In yet another form of the invention, the closure means can have an unlocked-opened position. Here, the closure means is normally opened but can be manually locked-closed if desired. This unlocked closed position, and the unlocked-opened position, can be obtained by proper placement of the membrane or bellows like wall. Thus, the neutral or unstressed, i.e. relaxed, position of said membrane or bellows-like wall can be made to correspond with the unlocked-opened position of the closure means. Or, a stressed position of said membrane or bellows-like wall can be made to correspond with the unlocked-closed position of the closure means.

In another form of the invention, a suitable handle can be provided on the closure means or container to permit opening or closing with one hand.

The preceding, and other advantages and forms can be obtained by the present invention which will be better understood by reference to the following description and drawings, which include a preferred embodiment of my invention.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of a closure means of the invention in a locked-closed position.

FIGURE 2 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the embodiment of FIGURE 1 in a locked-opened position.

FIGURE 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 33 of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 4 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of

another closure means of the invention in a locked-closed position.

FIGURE 5 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the embodiment of FIGURE 4 in a unlocked-closed position.

FIGURE 6 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the embodiment of FIGURES 4 and 5 in a lockedopened position.

FIGURE 7 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the closure means of FIGURES 4 to 6 which has been opened by exerting pressure on a plastic squeeze bottle, but which absent said pressure would be in an unlockedclosed position of FIGURE 5.

FIGURE 8 is a longitudinal sectional view, taken along the lines 8-8 of FIGURE 11 and representing another closure means of the invention in a locked-closed position.

FIGURE 9 is a longitudinal view similar to that of FIGURE 8, but showing the closure means of FIGURE 8 in an unlocked-closed position.

FIGURE 10 is a longitudinal view similar to those of FIGURES 8 and 9, but showing the closure means of FIGURES 8 and 9 in a locked-opened position.

FIGURE 11 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 11-11 of FIGURE 8.

FIGURE 12 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of a modification of the closure means of FIGURES 8 to 11 applied to a squeeze tube, e.g. a metal toothpaste tube.

FIGURE 13 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of another closure means of the invention applied to a squeeze tube.

FIGURE 14 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 1414 of FIGURE 13.

FIGURE 15 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of a container embodying another closure means of the invention which is in a locked-closed position.

FIGURE 16 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the container of FIGURE 15 in a locked-opened position.

FIGURE 17 is a longitudinal view, partly in section of a modification of the container of FIGURES l5 and 16 in a locked-position.

FIGURE 18 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of another closure means of the invention in an unlockedopened position.

FIGURE 19 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the embodiment of FIGURE 18 in a locked-closed position.

FIGURE 20 is a longitudinal View, partly in section, of another container embodying a closure means of the invention in a locked-opened position.

FIGURE 21 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, I

of the container of FIGURE 20 in a locked-closed position.

FIGURE 22 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines 22-22 of FIGURE 20.

FIGURE 23 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of a dropping bottle embodying a closure means of the invention in an unlocked-closed position.

FIGURE 24 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of the embodiment of FIGURE 23 in an unlocked-opened position and upside-down in a discharging position.

FIGURE 25 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the lines 25-25 of FIGURE 23.

FIGURE 26 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of yet another closure means of the invention in a lockedclosed position.

FIGURE 27 is a longitudinal View, partly in section, of closure means of FIGURE 26 in a unlocked-closed position.

FIGURE 28 is a longitudinal view, partly in section.

of the closure means of FIGURES'26 and 27 in an opened position.

FIGURE 29 is a longitudinal view, partly in section, of

still another embodiment of the invention.

Reference is now'made to the embodiment of FIG- URES 1 to 3. The tubular movable'discharge member 1 is provided with a cap 2; closing its upper end. The conventional closed end tubular cap 2 is permanently removed, as by tearing or cutting with a knife or scissors, prior to ever'discharging liquid from the container A, e.g. a glass bottle. The disk-like handle or hand grip 4 extends outwardly from member 1 beyond the outer diameter of the screw cap 3, to thereby 'permitits easy grasp for one hand operation. The discharge member 1 is integrally connected to a tubular, internally. threaded, screw cap 3 through the fiat diaphragm or membrane wall 5. Cap 3, which constitutes the main body of the closure means, is a fixed part, that is, it does not move I during operation of the closure means. Within the annular recess 8, defined by the inner wall of screw cap 3,

is anchoredthe valve stem'foot or disk 7, having four I circumferentially spaced bores 6 provided for the passage of the fluid material.

The cylindrical valve stem 9 extends upwardly from the center of the valve stem foot 7, and terminates in the sealing cone 18. annularsnap-stop element 16 having a triangular crosssection. At'the interior wall of the discharge element 1,

The valve stem member 9 has the, 7

there are located four cam-like counter snap-stop elements 11, also having a triangular cross-section. Projecting inwardly from element 1, are four circumferentially spaced stopping elements 13, while located on valve stem 9 is the annular stopping element-'13;

In the locked-closed position of FIGURE 1, the snapstop elements 16 and 11 keep the discharge opening 15 of the closure means closed. Thus, the elasticity of the I dischargetube 1 at the wall portion 12 creates the closure pressure to maintain thewall defining annular discharge opening 15 in sealing abutment with cone,18 by means of the abutting slant surfaces of the elements 10 and 11.

To open the closure means from its locked-closed, fluid tight, position of FIGURE 1, handle 4 is pulled upwardly relative to the main body of the closure means,

i.e. screw cap 3 and glass jar A. This can be done with one hand by holding container A in one hand, and pressing upwardly on handle 4 with the thumb and forefinger of said hand. This upward pressing will cause snap-stop elements 11 to ride up and over the fixed snapstop element-10 since the slightly resilient or elastic plastic tubular member 1 will permitsuflicient outward distortion or bulging at wall portion 12 to permit elements 11 to move radially outwardly and then over the fixed snap* stop 10. Upon release ofthe upwardly. directed pressure on handle 4, the closure means will now assume the locked-opened position ofFlGURE 2. Here, thesnapstop elements 11 are now seated atop the snap-stop .e le-. ment 1!), and the entire tubular discharge member 1' is raised (relative to valve stem 9) sufiiciently through the flexibility of fiat membrane 5 to expose annular discharge opening 15. Nowif the entire assembly isturned upside down, fluid can flow from the screw top container A, through the circumferentially spaced apertures 6, past the members 13, 13', 1d and 11, through the annular space defined between stem 9 and member 1, past cone 18 and finally through discharge opening 15.

To returnthe closure meansback to itslocked-closed position of FIGURE. 1, the handle 4 is simply pushed downwardly relative to tubular screw cap 3 and con-L tainer'A.

. Engagement of stopping elements 13 and lfi'located on the discharge tube 1 and valve stem 9 respectively, pre-' vents the discharge tubell from being pulled too far" upwardly into the dischargetube assembly until the annular foot member 7; s'naps into and seats within the annular recess 8.- Thusythe closure means of the invention can be simply molded, e.g. injection'molded, in two pieces which are .readily assembled. The completed closure means assembly can then be simply threaded onto a container. Furthermore, the closure means of FIG- URES l to 3' has a wide variety of uses and is suitable for use on shaking bottles, e.g. hair tonic bottles, catsup bottles, etc.; dripping or dropping bottles, e.g. medicine bottles; collapsible tube's;- etc, no matter whether said bottles or tubes are madeof rigid material such as glass, or elastic plastic-material such as plastic squeeze bottles, etc.

"Referenceis'now made to the embodiment of FIG- URES '4to 7. Here, the discharge tube 1a has a portion of its wall in a bellows-like form to thereby define elastic portion 5a terminating in screw cap 3a. The bellows-like wall portion 5aprovides a good longitudinal mobility of discharge tube 1a relative to screw cap 3a. 'The' valve stem 9a has proximate its upper end frusto-conical portion 184:, which in turn terminates in cylindrical portion 20. The lower end of valve stem 9a is integral with foot member 7a seated in annular groove 8a in cap member 3a. A pair of annular stop members 10a and 19a position with snap-stop members 11a engaging the underside of lower annular member 1021 to thereby force the discharge opening 15a, down around cylindrical valve stem portion 2%) to seat against the frusto-conical portion 18a toigiv'e a good tight seal toprevent passage of liquid from attached container Aa.

T o achieve the position of FIGURE 5, the tube 1a is simply pulled upwardly relative to screw cap 3a to thereby cause snap-stops, 11'a..to .ride out and overthe lower fixed snap-stop element-10a. This will slightly expand bellows-like 'wall portion 5a from its position in FIGURE 4. Since bellows-like portion 5a is understress in FIG- .URE 5 and attempting to contract back to its position of FIGURE .4, it will thereby maintain'snap-stop elements 11a seated against the topsidefof element 10a. in the position of FIGURE 5, the cylindrical portion 20 still seals discharge aperture'lSa and the closure means is now in an unlocked closed position. It tubular plastic squeeze container Aa is invertedto the position of FIGURE 7, and

pressure exerted'on its deformable walls in the direction of the arrows X and Y, the liquid 21 will be forced under a the squeeze pressure through apertures 6a, around elements llaand toward the discharge opening 15a. The

fluid 21, under'said squeezing pressure, will then press against the frusto-conical inner Wall 22 to thereby force said wall'22 longitudinally away from the cylindrical tip Ztlof the valve stem 9a by further expanding the elastic bellows-like Wall portion 5a. 'A stream of liquid 2-3. can now flow from the opened discharge opening 15a; Upon release of'said squeezing pressure, the bellows-like wall, portion .5a will automatically contractto againseat the inner wall 22 against the end of stem 9a upwardly relative to valve stem 9, during thefopening operation. On the other hand, the discharge element 1 as in FIGURE 5. It is thereby seen that'in the unlockedclosed position of FIGURE 5, this embodiment of the invention can be made responsive to pressure on its deformable container so as to give an automatic operation within the stroke range defined between the elements a and 10a positioned on valve stem 9a.

FIGURE 6 illustrates how the discharge element 1a can be pulled further outwardly, i.e. upwardly, to bring snap-stop elements 11a into engagement with snap-stop element 10a with the result that a locked-opened position is reached. The container Aa can then beturned over and its fluid contents simply poured from said container. It will also be apparent that by pushing discharge member 1a downwardly relative to screw cap 3a, that the closure means can be returned either to its position of FIGURE 5 or FIGURE 4.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIGURES 8 to 11, the tubular bellows-like membrane member 24, having the helical or spiral threads 25, is located between the screw cap member 3b and the upper portion of the discharge element 1b. In this embodiment, the discharge element 115 also serves as the handle. On the interior wall of discharge pipe lb, there is located a cam, or latch unit, 26 projecting inwardly, which is movable between the two thread-like cam protuberances 27 and 27 located on valve stem 9b. Members 27 and 27, defining the latch receiving unit have respectively thread surfaces 28 and 28', stop recesses 29 and 29', and longitudinally extending stopping edges 30 and 30', said stopping edges limiting the forward and backward screw movement. When the discharge element 1b is moved, i.e. rotated, to the left or to the right, said discharge element 1b will be screwed backward or forward so that the stop recess members 29 and 29' will secure the closed position or opened position, respectively the securing force being provided by the elasticity of the bellows-like portion 24. If the element 26 is allowed to move within a certain stroke between the slant surfaces 28 and 28, the closure means can be made to operate automatically in response to increased pressure within an attached container (not shown), e.g. increased pressure as created by squeezing a plastic squeeze bottle.

FIGURE 8 shows the closure means in a locked-closed position. In this position, the inwardly projecting cam member 26 is held within the recess 29, the bellows-like screw-thread-like portion 24 is somewhat contracted and in attempting to expand is urging member 26 upwardly into abut-ting and holding engagement within recess 29. The outer cylindrical portion 20b of stem member 9b projects through the discharge opening b so that the walls defining opening 15b seat against the conical portion 18b to give a liquid-tight seal. The position of FIGURE 8 thus constitutes the locked-closed position.

By grasping the tubular upper portion of discharge member 1b, and turning it in a counter-clock-wise direction (when viewed from the top) relative to screw cap 3b, the cam 26 will ride over lip 31 and out of engagement from within recess 26 and can be moved to the position of FIGURE 9. Said turning can also include a slight downward movement on said tubular discharge member lb to facilitate moving cam 26 out of recess 29.

In FIGURE 9, the bellows-like portion 24 is in a relaxed or unstressed position, cam 26 is disposed between the slanting surfaces 28 and 28, and end portion 20b just seals the discharge opening 1515. FIGURE 9, constitutes the unlocked-closed position of the closure means. Thus, if the closure means were attached to a container (not shown) having walls deformable under pressure, and said container was deformed when full of liquid, then the bellows-like portion 24 expands as pressure is exerted against the inner end wall 22b by the liquid to thereby axially move said wall 22]) away from the valve stem and 20b to open the closure means and permit the passage of liquid through discharge opening 15b. This operation is similar to that illustrated in more detail in FIGURE 7 except that discharge member 1b will twist when squeeze pressure is applied to an attached squeeze bottle and the bellows-like portion 24 expands.

By twisting the discharge tube member 1b further in a counter-clock-wise direction (when viewed from the top), The cam 26 will ride along the edge 28' into the recess 29. This will result in expanding the bellows-like portion 24, so that upon release of the twisting pressure, the cam 26 will seat in recess 29 and be held, or latched, in said recess under the urging of bellows-like portion 24 which now attempts to contract. FIGURE 10 therefore represents the locked-opened position of the closure means. It will be apparent that the closure means can be readily switched from the position of FIGURE 10, to the position of either FIGURE 8 or 9 by applying a clock-wise (when viewed from the top) twisting motion to discharge tube member 1b relative to screw cap 3b. This clock-wise twist ing will cause cam 26 to ride up and over the lip 31' to thereby move said cam 26 out of recess 29'.

By having the bellows portion 24 in the form of conical helical or screw threads as in FIGURES 8 to 11, it is seen that the discharge member lb can move both longitudinally, that is in the direction of the longitudinal axis of valve stem 9b, and can also partially rotate, thereby permitting the above-mentioned twisting movement.

FIGURE 12 shows a modification of the embodiment of FIGURES 8 to 11 in threaded engagement with a metallic tube container Ac, e.g. a permanently deformable conventional tooth paste tube made of non-resilient, soft, easily deformable metal. The closure means of FIGURE 12 differs from the embodiment of FIGURES 8 to 11 in having an annular handle 4c fixed to discharge member 10 which has its upper end shaped to define the counter conical bore 34 so that the projecting cylinder end 20c is in a more concealed position when in the locked-closed position of FIGURE 12. Also, the alternating inner and outer folds 250 of the bellows-like wall portion 240 are somewhat less pronounced than in the embodiment of FIG- URES 8 to 11.

FIGURES 13 and 14 represent another embodiment of the invention in a locked-closed position. Here, the valve stem 9d has a foot portion 7d, having apertures 6d, anchored in the collapsible container Ad. Container Ad can be molded of plastic in a single piece including the spiral bellows-like portion 24d, the discharge tube or nozzle portion 1d, and the snap-stop elements 11d. Then, the integral valve stem unit including valve stem 9d, snap-stop elements 10d and 10d, and the conical-like foot portion 7d terminating in the tubular side walls 32, can be inserted into the tube Ad through the lower open end of said tube and held in place by frictional engagement of side walls 32 with the adjacent wall of tube Ad. The tube Ad can then be filled with liquid, e.g. sun-tan lotion, or paste, e.g. tooth paste, and then sealed shut at its lower end 33. The operation of the closure means is similar to that of FIG- URES 4 to 7, except that discharge portion 1d will tend to twist somewhat as the snap-stop lid is shifted longitudil nally relative to snap-stops 10d and 10d to obtain the unlocked-closed position and the locked-opened position,

Turning now to FIGURES 15 and 16, the embodiment represented therein comprises the plastic bottle Ae having top wall 34, and bottom wall 35 which functions as the flexible diaphragm. Valve stem 9e is fixed to bottom wall .35. Handle 38 is fixed to the bottom of wall 35. The tubular discharge member 1e has an external annular recess 36 which snap-s into the round opening 37 defined by 7 top wall 34 after the container has been filled. The discharge member le may be made of a slightly flexible plastic material and is equipped with pull-push handle 4e and snap-stop elements lie. The valve stem 9e has snapstop elements like and 10a near its upper end.

FIGURE 15 shows the container in a locked-closed position with snap stops lle engaging the lower snap-stop element '10s on the valve stem 9e. To achieve the lockedopened position of FIGURE 16, the handle 4e and the bottom handle 38 are each manually grasped in different hands and pulled apart. This will result in moving valve stem 9e axially of the spout 1e so that snap-stop elements He will snap over the snap-stop elements 10c and 10a to 7 the position of FIGURE 16. In comparing FIGURE 15 and FIGURE 16 it will be seen that thelower bottom wall 35' serves as the diaphragm or membrane element to'provide the axial movement of valve stem 9e relative to-the fixed side walls of the container Ae and discharge or spout In FIGURE 20, the completed assembly is in an opened position for pouring where frictional engagement of ribs member 12. Upon pressing the handles 4e and 38 toward each other, the container Ae can be returnedlto its lockeda closed position of FIGURE 15 Also, the handles 4e and 38 can be manipulated to position snap-stop element-s 11c between snap-stop elements lde and lite, so that elements 45 against valve stem 9h hold the bellows-like portion 24h expanded and discharge opening 15h removed from contactwith valve ste1n=9h. By grasping the upper part of container Ah and pushing it toward handleAh, the bellows-like portion 24h 'is partly collapsed'and annular discharge opening 1511 is broughtinto encircling position 11c seat on the top side of element lite to therebyrobt'ain 7 an unlocked-closed position corresponding'to the relative positions of the snap-stop elements in FIGURE 5. If the container Ae of FIGURES 15 and 16 is positioned into suchan unlocked-closed position, then of course it-ca'n be made to open in response to squeezing pressure .on the container sidewalls 3?.

FIGURE 17 represents amodification of' the embodi-v me-nt of FIGURES 15 and 16 in which the valve stem 9f is formed integral with the container A) and comprises a partly hollow conical member extending upwardly from the bottom of the container. This type of construction can be produced of plastic by combined injection and blow molding techniques. In the embodiment of FIGURE 17, the membrane function can be served by the upper container wall 34 since the conical stem portion 93, due to its shape, will'be less elastic and capable of flexing than the container top 34. Of course, depending upon the specific wall, or both walls can function'as the flexiblemembrane in devices of the type of FIGURES 15 and 17.

In the embodiment of FIGURES 18 and 19, the valve stem member fig includes the reduced diameter or thin portion 4 1 defining conical sunface 42, at its front, i.e. upper,

end right behind the outermost conical end 43. The cylindrical portion 41 has a diameter slightly larger than that around the upper part of valve stem 9h, slightly expanding discharge opening 15h to fitover the slightly larger diameter valve stem'9h to thereby obtain a liquid-tight seal.

' The ribs 45 maintain the container in the locked-closed closure means including the fixed or main bodvor screw cap portion 3i, and the upwardly extending bellows portion 241'. Bellows portion 251i. resembles a screw thread by consisting of. a continuous spiral or helical bellowslike wall. The bellows position 241' terminates in a fairly I rigid, thick-wallfrustroiconical like discharge portion 11,

, design and wall thickness, either the'top Wall, or bottom of the discharge opening 15g. When the slightly resilient V V discharge element 1g is moved backwardly, from the position of FIGURE 18 to the position of FIGURE 19, the discharge opening 15g will radiallyexpandand'slide over the cylindrical portion 41 with the result that the opening 15g will be kept closed under radially elastic force as the discharge opening 15g attempts to contract back .to its unexpanded posit-ion of FIGURE 18. This radially elastic force is independent of, and larger than, the elastic force of bellows-like membrane 24g. r

T-hus, FIGURE 18 shows the closure means in its unlocked-opened. position with bell-ows-likewall 24g in a re-' laxed or unstressed position. FIGURE 19, onthebther hand, shows the closure means in a locked-closed position where the encircling gripping force of radially expanded annular discharge opening 15g against thevalve stem upper portion 41 is sufiicient to resistthe expanding presincluding the outwardly extending annular disk or handle 4i. Thefrustro-conical'portion 1i terminates in the discharge nozzle 53. The interior of the frustro-conical position 1i defines the annular shoulder 54 having the verticaledge 55 and the lateral edge 56. The interior of the nozzle portion 53defines the annular small diam eter borei57 terminating in the discharge opening 151'. The valve stem means includethe laterally extending disk-like tootvportion 71 having four circumferentially disposed, equally-spaced apertures 61', with the main valve sure of the contracted bellows-like Wall portion Zdg. By

pulling the discharge memberlg upwardly relative to stem.

member 9g, the-closure means can be readily moved from I the position of FIGURE 19 to that of FIGURE 18.

FIGURES l8 and 19 also illustrate a simple two piece construction where the valve stem unit is simply threadedly attached at 44 to the discharge member unit, and the screw cap 33 is integral with valve stem 9g and valve stem foot 7g which defines apertures 6g.

In the embodiment of FIGURES 20 to 22, the tubular container unit Ah includes the discharge portion 1h which defines the radially elastic discharge opening 15h, the bellows or membrane portion 2411, the handle portion 4h, and

four circumferentially spaced ribs or inwardly projecting portions 45. The valve stem unit'includes slightly'tapered valve stem 9h and the annular foot portion 7h in threaded engagement at 46 with the handle portion 4h. 417A, blind bore 47 can be provided, extending partly through the closed position. partly expanded position so that it is attempting to constem R1 extending upwardly from the center of the foot portion 7i. Four ribs 58, extend upwardly from the foot portion 7i and outwardly from the center valve stem 9i at 90 angles from each other. Each of said ribs 58 is formed with anotch defining a transverse edge 59 and a longitudinally extending edge 60. The upper portion of valve stem 9i 'is tapered inwardly to define a sealing conical-like surface 181?. Extending upwardly from conical portion 18iinto the annular bore 57, is the cylindrical extension 201' whose end is slightly tapered inwardly to define a second conical-like tip 61.

In construction, the entire assembly consists of three parts, namely: (1) the container unit Ai including portions 48 to 52, (2) the discharge tube unit including portions'and members 1133i, 41', 151', 241', and 54 to 57, and '62; and (3 )'-.the valve stem unit including portions and members 61', 71', 9i, 18i, 201', and 58m 61. Each of said three unitsis preferablymolded of plastic. The threads 52 are in' the form of a double thread, so that each helical thread '52, has the'same pitch as the bellows-like thread 24d. In this way, the discharge tube unit can be injection molded as a single integral unit, and then unscrewed from the threaded core .of the mold.

FIGURE 23shows the closure means in an unlocked- The bellows-like portion 24i is in a tract thereby urging the discharge tube wall defining discharge openinglSi into abutting, but sealing engagement, with the sealing tip 61.' In this unlocked-closed position, the containeriis fluid tight so as not to spill if accidentally knocked over, and at the same time, the liquid contents are notsubject tovapor losses, etc.. In FIGURE 24,'the unlocked-closed containerAi of FIGURE 23 hasbeen inverted and its diaphragm flexible bottom 48 has been depressed 'whereby thebellows-like wall 24i becomes expanded to lift the discharge opening 15i; away" from abutting engagement'w'ith valve stemend 61. The depression of diaphragm bottom wall 48 also exerts pressure on any fluid, for example ink or medicine, in the container Ai so as to force fluid through the discharge opening 15i. Because the cylindrical valve stem portion 201 is still concentrically within the straight tubular bore 57, thereby leaving only a very small annular fluid passageway, and because of the small annular discharge opening 151, the fluid can only slowly pass through the discharge opening 151, a drop at a time. This dropping action is particularly desirable in applications such as medicine bottles, drawing ink bottles, oil dispensers, etc. When the desired amount of liquid has been discharged, manual pressure is relieved from the diaphragm 48, which will return to its unflexed position, as air is drawn into container Az' through opening 151, and the bellows-like portion 24i will contract to again seat the annular wall defining discharge opening 151' against valve stem conical end 61. The container then can be returned to its right-side-up position and will again be in the position of FIGURE 23.

When traveling, or shipping, or when not in immediate use, the closure means can be locked-closed from its unlocked-opened position of FIGURE 23, by simply manually pushing the handle 41 downwardly. This will move the discharge tube 1i longitudinally downwardly relative to valve stem 91', causing the bellows-like wall 24i to contract and the vertical annular surface 55 to come into frictional engagement with valve stem vertical surfaces 59. The extent of this relative downward movement is limited by stopping edge 56 engaging the stopping edges 60. At the same time, the discharge opening 151 will be forced to radially expand by the conical tip 61 and will be pulled down and around the valve stem cylindrical portion 20i to thereby give a fluid-tight seal. Also, the conical portion 62 will seat against the complementary conical wall portion 18i to thereby give a second fluid-tight seal.

The closure means can be subsequently released from its locked-closed position just described, by pulling up wardly on the handle 4i relative to the container Az, so as to return the device to its unlocked-closed position of FIGURE 23.

Another embodiment of my invention is illustrated in FIGURES 26 to 28. This embodiment avoids having the outer or upper end of the valve stem project through the discharge opening in the locked-closed position as occurs in several of the embodiments thus far described. This projection of the valve stem is sometimes undesirable because of appearance, or since the valve stem end may be coated with container contents, etc. Specifically, the screw cap 3 has discharge tube 1 including the lower weaker bellows-like portion 24 and the upper stronger bellows-like portion 24 disposed on either side of handle 4 FIGURE 26 shows the closure in a locked-closed position with snap-stops 11 engaged against the underside of the snap-stop j disposed on valve stem 9 The outer or upper end 20 of the valve stem 9 seats in closing relation against discharge opening By pulling handle 4 upwardly, the closure means can be shifted to the position of FIGURE 27 which represents the unlocked-closed position. The weaker bellows portion 24 has thereby been expanded, and by attempting to contract, maintains snap-stop 11 seated atop snap-stop 143 The upper stronger bellows 24] has contracted somewhat from its position of FIGURE 26 so as to still maintain discharge opening 15j in abutting sealing engagement with valve stem end Assume that the closure means is mounted on a squeeze bottle (not shown) and the squeeze bottle is squeezed. Then the closure means can assume the unlocked-opened position of FIGURE 28 where the squeeze pressure (transmitted through a fiuidnot shown) causes the upper end of discharge member 1 to lift off of valve stem end 20 thereby exposing discharge opening 15j for emission of liquid. In FIGURE 28, it will be noted that weak bellows 24 is considerably expanded, while strong bellows 24 has become slightly contracted as it has assumed its natural unstressed position. Upon releasing the squeeze pressure, the closure means will again assume the position of FIGURE 27. It will be apparent that upon pressing handle 4i downwardly, the closure means can be readily returned again to the position of FIGURE 26.

Another embodiment of my invention is illustrated in FIGURE 29. The discharge tube 1k has the discharge opening 15k at its upper end, while its lower end terminates in the disk-like, flexible wall or diaphram 5k, whose outer circumferential portion forms the annular beads 63 and 64. The valve stem unit includes four equally spaced, radially extending ribs 58k, having notches defining vertical sides 59k. The upper end of said valve stem unit defines the conical portion 20k, while its lower portion is defined by the perforated foot portion 7k terminating in the tubular screw cap or body prtion 3k. The body portion 3k includes suitable annular beads and recesses for snap engagement with matching complementary beads 63 and 64 of the member 1k. The inner wall of the fixed part or screw cap portion 3k defines screw threads shown in threaded engagement with a squeeze bottle Ak. This closure assembly thus represents a two piece unit, exclusive of container Ak, each of which units is readily molded and subsequently assembled together.

The closure means of FIGURE 29 is shown in its unlocked-closed position where it is responsive to pressure exerted on the deformable walls of squeeze bottle Ak. To lock the closure means in its locked-closed position, the discharge tube 1k can be grasped and pushed downwardly towards bottle Ak in order to force the discharge opening 15k onto the valve stem 9k, thereby radially expanding said discharge opening. Also, additional locking force will be obtained by frictional engagement of the annular side 55k with the sides 5% of the ribs 58k. Subsequent pulling of the discharge tube 1k upwardly from its locked-closed position will again obtain the unlockedclosed position.

Conclusions The closure means of the invention can be made broadly applicable to containers, including bottles, jars, tubes, etc. of all types. By making the closure means capable of locking in a locked-closed position, containers equipped with the closure means of this invention can be shipped, or carried in travel baggage, without danger of unintentional opening. By making the closure means capable of locking in a locked-open position, it can be used with dropping bottles, shaking bottles, squeeze bottles, etc. By making the closure means capable of assuming an unlocked-closed position, it is possible to make closure means-open and close automatically in response to pressure on a deformable container, e.g. a plastic squeeze bottle or a metal toothpaste tube. However, it is also possible to make closure means which do not have an unlocked-closed position, so that the invention can be used, not only on containers having a deformable wall, but also on containers having rigid walls such as glass bottles. If the closure means is equipped with a suitable handle, the closure means can in many instances be operated with one hand.

The closure means of the invention can be simply made, and frequently only two parts are required. In the embodiment of FIGURE 17 or FIGURES 20 to 22, where the container has a flexible wall, one of said parts can be the container body and only a single additional part is needed.

The invention also makes it possible to provide closure means having a locked-opened position and an unlockedclosed position. Such closure means, or containers, can be used on standing bottles and tubes which are not ordinarily carried in travel baggage, unless some other locking means are provided.

In a particularly simple embodiment of the present in- 'ally elastic. The. point of the valve stem, which maybe cylindrical, is slid into this radially elastic opening in order to provide a locked-closed position. In the opened position, the opening of the discharge member can-be held' at a suitable distance from the point of the valve stem, by the flexible wall or membrane in its normal relaxed or unstressed position. 7

Also, the closure means of the invention are economical, can be supplied with the container in place of an ordinary cap, or can be built into the container as a permanent part thereof. The opening and closing can be accomplished without removing any parts so there isno possibility of temporaryrnisplacing or losing the closure parts, as frequently happens with conventional screw caps. The closure means can be made self-sealing or selfclosing, which is particularly desirable in the case of volatile liquids, for example, perfumes, toilet water, etc.,

where conservation of the liquid is important. Also, the

closure means of the invention can result in very tight seals to reduce evaporation to a minimum, while :at the same time they can be simply close the closure means.

I claim: y

1. Closure means for containers comprising a fixed part, a discharge member defining a discharge opening, a valve member adapted for closing said discharge opening, both of said'members being connected to said fixed part,'at least one of said members being a movable member con nected to said fixed part through afiexible wall having one end fixed to said fixed'part' and its other end fixed to said movable member, saidmovable member upon flexing of. said flexible wall being longitudinally movable relative tosaid fixed part and'said otherjmember between:

manipulated to open or discharge 'member extending upwardly from said main body and having an upper end defining. a discharge opening,.a valvestem member extending upwardly within said discharge member and having a lower portion fixed to said main body and an upper portion terminating in an upper end proximate said discharge opening, a flexible wall portion having one end fixed to said main, body and its other endfixed to said discharge member whereby said upper end of said discharge member and said upper end of said valve stem member are longitudinally movable relativeto one another, said flexible, wall portion normally urging the upper portion of said valve stem member into closing engagement with the upper. end of said discharge member to thereby close said'discharge opening, and releasable'locking means in addition to said'flexible wall portion to hold saiddischarge member and said valve stem'member locked in closing engagement.

'7. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said locking means includes said upper end of said discharge member, and said upper portion of said valve stem member,'said upper end'of said discharge member being elastic whereby said discharge opening can be'radially expanded and said upper end of said discharge member can engage and encircle said upper portion .of said'valve stem me m- 'ber.

8. Closure means acording to claim 6, wherein said locking means comprise a first stop on the interior of said dischargev member and .a second stop on said valve stem member, said stops being engageable with one another to hold said members in said closing engagement.

7 9." Closure means according to claim 8, wherein said first stop projectsinwardly from said discharge member and said second stop projects outwardly from said valve stem member, both of said stops being snap-stop elements (1) a closed position wherein said valve member fcloses 7 said discharge opening, and (2) an opened position where-' with a threaded container neck, said movablemember is said discharge'mernber, and said flexible'wallrurges said discharge member towards; said closed position.. 7 Q

4., Closure means according. to claim 1, wherein said fixed part is a screw cap .adapted'for threaded connection with a threaded container neck, said movable member is said discharge member, and said flexible wall-urges said discharge membertowards said opened position. 1 t

5. A container comprising in combination: a discharge unit defining a discharge opening, a valve. unit adapted for sealing engagement with said discharge unit to close said discharge opening, one of said unitsbeing fixed relative to a wall of said container, and the other of said wherein, said having tapered upper and lower sides for engagement with one another and for over-riding one another when longitudinally displaced relative one another.

10.'Closure means accordingto claim 9, wherein a third snap-stop element having tapered upper and lower sides is provided onsaid valve stem member and is longitudinally spaced above said second snap-stop element, said firstsnap-stop element being also engageable with said third snap-stoplelement to define a locked-opened position whereby said upper end of said discharge member is held longitudinally displacedrelative .to said upper portion of said valve: stem member and said discharge opening is held removed fromsaid upper end of said valve stem'member.

'11.'Clo'sure.means according to claim 8, wherein said stops are frictionally engageable with one another.

12; Closure means according to claim 6,wherein said .iflexible wall portion'permits relative rotary movement of said members,'an d whereinsaid' locking means includes a latch unit and a latch receiving unit, one of said units be ng fixed to said valve stem member, and the other of said units being fixed to. said discharge member, said latch receiving unit. defining a helical-like groove having an upper edge and a'loweredge, said upper edge defining units being attached to said container through a flexible I a container will to permit said units to'move relative one another between a'closed position wherein said valve-unit is in sealing'engagement with said discharge unit to close said discharge opening, and an. opened positionwherein said valveunit is removed from said sealing engagement.

with said discharge unit. toexpose said discharge opening, said flexible wall. urging said units to one of said a first notch, said lower edge defining a second notch, said first and second notches being circumferentially and longitudinally spaced relative one another," said latch unit being engageable within one of said notches to lock said members in closing engagement, said latchunit being engageable within the other of said notches to lock said members ,in an opened position wherein said discharge opening is held away from closing engagement with said 7 valve'stemmember, said latch unit being held within said positions, and releasable locking means defined by said I 7 units to lock saidmembers in at least one of said positions.

16,--. rsm an s me h n m bq a t b l helical-like, groove outside of said notches toobtain an unlocked-closed position wherein said valve stem member is in abutting engagement with said discharge member 'to close said discharge opening.

13 Closure means according to claim 6, including nonlockmg stop means for limiting the maximumlongitudinal relative movement of said members to prevent destruction of said flexible wall portion.

14. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said flexible wall portion is a bellows-like tubular portion defined by said tubular discharge member.

15. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said main body is a screw cap having upper and lower ends and wherein said flexible wall portion is a flat elastic disc joining said discharge member to said upper end of said screw cap.

16. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said main body is a container, and said flexible wall portion is defined by said container.

17. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said flexible wall portion is a bellows-like frustro-conical tubular portion including a plurality of bellows-like folds spirally extending inwardly and upwardly from said main body portion.

18. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein a handle extends transversely from said discharge member for manually longitudinally moving said discharge member relative to said valve stem member.

19. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said main body is a tubular screw cap; said main body, said tubular discharge member and said flexible wall portion are integral; and said lower portion of said valve stem member includes a perforated disk engaged within said tubular screw cap.

20. Closure means according to claim 6, wherein said main body is a tubular screw cap having an outer rim defining an annular bead, wherein said main body and valve stem member are integral, and said tubular discharge member terminates at its lower end in a transversely extending disk, said disk having an outer rim defining an annular recess, said annular bead being engaged within said annular recess.

21. Closure means comprising a main body, a tubular discharge member extending upwardly from said main body and having an upper end defining a discharge opening, a valve stem member extending upwardly within said said discharge member and having a lower end fixed to said main body and an upper end proximate said discharge opening, a flexible wall portion having one end fixed to said main body and its other end fixed to said discharge member thereby integrally connecting said main body and said discharge member whereby the upper end of said discharge member can be longitudinally moved relative to said main body and said upper end of said valve stem member by flexing said flexible wall portion, and releasable locking means defined by said discharge member and said valve stem member whereby said members can be locked open whereby said upper end of said valve stem member is held away from closing said dis charge opening.

22. A squeeze container for fluid or pasty contents having a deformable wall whereby said deformable Wall can be squeezed to exert pressure on the container contents, having closure means comprising, a discharge means having an outer portion defining a discharge opening, and a valve means for sealing engagement with said discharge means to close said discharge opening against the passage of said container contents, a flexible Wall having one end fixed to said discharge means and its other end fixed relative to said valve means, said outer portion and said valve means being automatically longitudinally movable relative to one another by flexing of said flexible wall in response to the application of squeezing pressure to said container contents between: (1) a closed position wherein said valve means seals said discharge opening to prevent passage of container contents, and (2) an opened position wherein said discharge opening is opened for the passage of container contents, said outer portion and said valve means being automatically movable by flexing of said flexible wall from said opened position to said closed position in response to the release of said squeezing pressure, and manually actuated locking means for locking said discharge means and valve means in a lockedclosed position against said squeezing pressure.

23. A squeeze container according to claim 22, wherein said container wall is permanently deformable.

24. A squeeze container according to claim 22 wherein said container wall is elastically deformable.

25. A dropping bottle comprising a container having a flexible wall, a screw cap in threaded engagement with said container, a discharge member defining an annular passageway terminating in an annular discharge opening, an expandable tubular bellows-like wall portion having one end fixed to said cap and the outer end fixed to said discharge member, a valve stem member having a perforated disk-like foot portion fixed to said screw cap and a cylindrical stem portion extending upwardly from said foot portion into said annular passageway concentric therewith to define a constricted annular passageway, ribs radially extending from said valve stem portion and frictionally engageable with said discharge member, said discharge member being longitudinally movable downwardly relative to said valve stem member whereby said cylindrical stem portion projects through said discharge opening in closing relationship thereto and said discharge member is frictionally engaged with said ribs to thereby define a locked-closed position to prevent passage of liquid through said discharge opening upon flexing said flexible Wall of said container, said discharge member being longitudinally movable upwardly relative to said valve stem member from said locked-closed position to an unlocked-closed position wherein the outer end of said cylindrical stem portion is in abutting engagement with said discharge member to close said discharge opening and said discharge member is disengaged from frictional engagement with said ribs, whereby said bellows-like wall portion can be longitudinally expanded upon deforming said flexible Wall to thereby lift said discharge opening away from said outer cylindrical stem portion to permit the dropwise passage of fluid through said discharge opening. 1

26. Closure means comprising a main body; a tubular discharge member extending upwardly from said main body and having an upper end defining a discharge opening; a first, relatively strong, bellows-like upper wall portion having one end fixed to said main body and its other end fixed to said discharge member; a second, relatively weak, bellows-like lower wall portion defined by said discharge member; a valve stem member extending upwardly within said discharge member and having a lower portion fixed to said main body and an upper portion terminating in an upper end proximate said discharge opening; .a first snap-stop fixed to the interior of said discharge member between said first and second bellows-like wall portions; a second snap-stop having upper and lower sides, and fixed to said valve stem member proximate said first snap-stop; said closure means being shiftable between: (1) a locked-closed position wherein said first snap-stop engages the lower side of said second snap-stop and the upper end of said valve stem member abuts against the upper end of said discharge member to close said discharge opening, (2) an unlocked-closed position wherein said first snap-stop engages the upper side of said second snap-stop, said second bellows-like wall portion is expanded but said first bellows-like wall portion is contracted whereby the upper end of said valve stem member still abuts against the upper end of said discharge member to close said discharge opening, and (3) an unlocked-opened position wherein said first bellows-like wall portion has contracted to an unstressed position and the second bellows-like wall portion has been further expanded whereby said first snap-stop is raised above the upper side of said second snap-stop and the upper end of said discharge member has been raised away from abutting contact with the upper end of said valve stem member to thereby expose said discharge opening.

V 15 27. A closure means Consisting of two 'singlemolded pieces, one piece including a tubular basej defining an a charge member defininga radially elastic discharge openexternal annular recess and internal threads for engagement with a threaded neckcontainer, a perforated disc extending across the boreof said tubular base'and a valve stem extending upwardly from the centerof said disc, said valve stem defining a sealing tip and below ing at its outerend which is'srnaller than the upper portion of said valve stem, a flexible wall having'an outer circumference fixed to said base and defining an inner circumference fixed to said dischargemember, said sealing tip being in sealing engagement with said discharge mem- 7 her to'close said discharge opening, to define an unlockedsaid tip radially projecting ribs, each of saidribs defining a vertical locking side and a stop, and the other piece including an annular rim having a flange in snap engagement within said external annular recess of said first piece,'a flexible diaphragm extending transversely inwardly from said base and terminating in a tubular-discharge member extending upwardly from said diaphragm l and around said valve stem, said discharge member.

defining a radially elastic discharge opening at its upper end and internal vertical si-des beloWsaid upper end, said pieces being so positioned that in the unlocked-closed position of said closure means-said sealing tip is in sealing engagement with 'said discharge member to close said discharge opening, said discharge member upon flexing of said diaphragm being longitudinally movable downwardly so that its internal vertical sides are forced down'upon and into frictional engagement with 'said vertical locking sides of said ribs until engaged by said stops aslsaid closure tip extends into andradiallyex pands'such discharge opening to thereby lock-closed said closure means.

closed position of said Closure means, said discharge member being longitudinally movable downwardly relative to said valve stem by flexing said flexible wall whereby said sealing tip is forced through said discharge opening to radially expand said opening onto said upper 1 portion :of said valve stem to thereby loclecl'osed said closure means. a I v I 36. A squeeze bottle in combination with said closure means of claim 29, said discharge member being longi tudinally movable upwardly awayv from said sealing tip when in said unlocked-closed position to thereby expose said discharge opening upon the exertion of squeeze pressure on saidsqueeze bottle. a

- 31. Closure means according to claim 6,. wherein said main body is a screw cap internally threaded'to define 28. A squeeze type container in threaded combination with the internal threads of the cl-osure'means of claim 27. s a l 29. A closure means including a'tubulanbase adapted for engagement with a container, a perforated disc extending across the bore of'said tubular base, a valve stems extending upwardly from the center of said-dise and having an upper portion terminating in a sealingtip, a dis- 2,107,106 2/38 Crook 222-529 X 2,831,620; 4/58 Schlicksupp 222'-529 X 2,908,423 10/59 Bross -2 222-213 2,998,902 9/61 Thomaset a1. 222--499 3,063,601 11/62 Hertz, 222-215 X LOUIS J. 'DEMBO, Primary Examiner;

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Classifications
U.S. Classification222/207, 222/213, 222/529, 222/499
International ClassificationB65D47/04, B65D47/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65D47/2081
European ClassificationB65D47/20E4B