US 3902621 A
A tamperproof cap structure, including a cap, a locking ring and a handle are provided for use with a bottle or similar container having one or more teeth fashioned adjacent a reduced bottleneck. The cap structure locking ring is provided with one or more pawls positioned to mate with the container neck teeth to prevent the cap from being unscrewed from the container. Frangible connectors which rigidly connect the locking ring and cap can be broken if sufficient unscrewing torque is applied to the cap; and the broken connectors and dropped ring provide visual evidence that tampering has at least been attempted. The ring is also provided with a handle which can be grasped to rip the ring away from the cap. Permanent distortion of handle S-members and breakage of the frangible handle web provide another indication of attempted tampering.
Description (Le texte OCR peut contenir des erreurs.)
United States Patent Hidding Sept. 2, 1975 TAMPERPROOF CLOSURE WITH GRIPPABLE HANDLE Inventor:
Walter E. Hidding, Rt. No. 2,
Aug. 5, 1974 Appl. No.: 494,554
 US. Cl. ..'215/252; 206/807; 215/7; 215/216; 215/254  Int. Cl. B65D 41/34; B65D 41/38  Field of Search 206/807; 215/7, 9, 216, 215/252, 254
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,414,420 1/1947 Sebell 215/252 3,310,191 3/1967 Kern et a1. 215/252 3,504,818 4/1970 Crisci et al.... 215/252 3,517,847 6/1970 Guala 215/256 3,737,064 6/1973 Patel et a1 215/7 3,809,271 5/1974 Stroud 215/9 3,837,518 9/1974 Gach 215/9 3,850,329 11/1974 Robinson 215/254 Primary ExaminerWilliam T. Dixson, .lr. Assistant Examiner-Bruce H. Bernstein Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Olson, Trexler, Wolters, Bushnell & Fosse, Ltd.
 ABSTRACT A tamperproof cap structure, including a cap, a locking ring and a handle are provided for use with a bottle or similar container having one or more teeth fashioned adjacent a reduced bottleneck. The cap structure locking ring is provided with one or more pawls positioned to mate with the container neck teeth to prevent the cap from being unscrewed from the containe r. Frangible connectors which rigidly connect the locking ring and cap can be broken if sufficient unscrewing torque is applied to the cap; and the broken connectors and dropped ring provide visual evidence thattampering has at least been attempted. The ring is also provided with a handle which can be grasped to rip the ring away from the cap. Permanent distortion of handle S-members and breakage of the frangible handle web provide another indication of attempted tampering.
12 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTED E 2191s sum 1 n5 2 Li n FIG.3
BACKGROUND or TJHE iNv NT oN" This invention relates generally to! bottle closures,
and more particularly qconcerns tamper-proof caps.
which positively indicate the results of mishandling or tampering, yet which can be easily used by even ineX- perienced personnel. I
Container closures previously have been offered which include screwon caps .and integral cap locking rings designed to prevent removal of the .cap from the container without damage to the-ring and thering-cap connection. Some of these'devices are disclosed in copending US. Patent application Ser. No. 437,778 filed Jan. 30, I974, and in Crisci et al US. 1. Pat. No. 3,540,818. In these devices, when the cap is unscrewed from the container, the locking ring is broken away from the cap. A visual indication of :at least attempted tampering or opening is thus provided.
Some container closures 'of this general type-have additionally included second or alternate means for disconnecting the locking ring'from the cap and the contamer/One such device is that disclosed in US. Pat..
No. 3,560,42810 Miller; there,.a.pull handle is'con.
nected to the locking ring to permit the ring to be par-" tially or completely ripped away from the cap and container.
It is the general object of the present invention to provide a novel bottle closure cap and associated lock-.
. 2 FIG..3 is a sectional view taken substantially in the planes of line 3 3 in no. 2;
FIG. 4 isa fragmentary top plan view showing the bottle and cap structure asth ey appear when the cap handle is being pulled to rupture portions of the cap structure in preparation for removal of the locking ring;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary top plan view similar to FIG. 4 but showing the cap structure as it appears when rupture of capiparts and relatively full extension of the cap handle has occurred;
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the cap structure and bottle similar to FIG. I but showing the cap structure as it appears after the handle has been extended and as the cap locking ring is being removed; and
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view showing details of the structure by which the cap and cap locking ring are formed and held together.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION While the invention will be described in connection with a preferred embodiment, itwill be understood that.
it is not intended to limitthe invention to this embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives; modifications and equivalents as may be included within the spiritand scope of the invention.
Turning more specifically to FIG. I, a cap structure 10,is shown. Here, the cap structure 10 can be generally considered to include a cap portion 11, a locking ring 12, and a handle 13 all secured, directly or indirectly, to a container 14, which may take the form 'of a milk jug or similar object. It is contemplated that the illustrated cap 11, the locking ring 12 and the handle 13 will be originally formed as a single piece by injection molding or other known method from a suitable moval handle which can be easily used, even by persons 2 unfamiliar with such devices. A related object is to provide a container cap. locking ring and cap handle structure wherein tampering action's break parts of the bandle, thereby providing positive andirelatively dramatic resinousplastics material such as polyethylene or acrylonitrilewbutadiene-styrene. Kn'urling or vertical ribbing 15 is fashioned on the outside sidewall of the cap 11 as I an aid in transmitting full turning torque to the cap by visual evidence of tampering. Another relatedobject is Q 17 having formed thereon an external or male capto provide a tamperproof cap structurehaving a cap locking ring removal handle which folds out to accommodate full insertion of a human finger for easy, posi 'away from the cap.
Yet another object is to provide a cap structure of the described type which 'is inexpensive and relatively easy to manufacture.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent-upon reading the following detailed description and upon' reference to the drawings. Throughout the description, like reference numerals refer to like parts. v
.I3RIEF DESCRIPTION OF :TI-IE DRAWINGS no.1 is a side elevational view showing the bottletypecontainer and the novel closure cap, locking ring and handle; I i i FIG. 2 isa top plan view showing the bottle, the cap, the locking ring and the handle as they appear when aligned with a bottle collar for removal of the locking ring and handle from the bottle; l
a user. The container'bottle 'l-4 may also be formed of suitable resinous plastics material; and the bottle has a reduced neckportion 16 which includes an extension extension 17, a suitable number of triangular ratchet teeth 20 are fashioned. -While a single ratchet tooth may be employed, the illustrated preferred embodiment provides a number of such'teeth arranged in several spaced apart ratchet tooth sections, as seen particularly in FIG. 2. Below these teeth 20, a collar portion U 23extends radially outwardly. In the illustrated embodiment, this collar is interrupted by two diametrically opposed recesses 25 and 26. I
Tolock the cap structure 10 on the container 14, a number of circumferentiallly spaced, triangularly shaped pawls are provided! on the inside surface of .the locking ring 12, and arepositioned to extend radi -.ally inwardly so as to engage one or more of the container ratchet teeth 20.. When the cap structure'l0 is turned: clockwise, as shown in FIG. 2, to assemble the cap structure on the container the locking ring pawls I, 30 ride .over the container ratchet teeth 20. To facilitatethis overriding motion, the locking ring 12 includes that the bottle male thread 18 and the cap internal female thread 19 are formed with appropriately oriented mating helices so that clockwise motion of the cap screws or turns the cap 11 into closed assembly with the container bottle 14. Thus, initial attachment of the cap end to the bottle container 11 requires only a simple screw-down motion. However, counterclockwise, unscrewing retrograde motion of the cap structure 10 (once it has been assembled upon the bottle) causes the pawls 30 of the locking ring 12 to engage the bottle teeth this pawl-tooth engagement prevents more than a minor retrograde unscrewing motion without causing damage to the cap structure 10.
A connecting device couples the locking ring 12 to the cap ll, and transmits the cap-retaining action of the locking ring 12 to the cap 11. Here, this connecting means takes the form of individual, spaced connectors 33 which individually join the pawls 30 to an unknurled cap base, as illustrated particularly in FIG. 2. The con nectors 33 are oriented to extend outwardly in extended chordal relationship to the cap 11 between the cap and the larger-diameter locking ring 12. So oriented, the connectors 33 provide both frangible connections between the cap 11 and locking ring 23, and also define pivot points about which the pawls 30 can rock as they pass over the ratchet teeth 20 during screw-on assembly of the cap 10 and bottle 14. Conversely, the breakable connectors 33 hold the respective pawls 30 in engagement with the container teeth 20 when the cap 11 is turned in an unscrewing or opposite direction, and prevent the pawls 30 from riding out of engagement with the ratchet teeth 20 under such conditions.
It is a feature of the invention that these connectors 33 provide one indication of bottle tampering, as well as acting as cap-ring force transmitters. When it is desired to gain access to the contents of the container 14, the cap 11 is grasped and rotated in a counterclockwise unscrewing direction, as can be envisioned from FIG. 2. This motion causes the bottle thread 18 and cap thread 19 to cooperate in slightly unseating the cap II from the bottle 14. However, rotation of the cap 11 in this unscrewing counterclockwise direction brings the pawls 30 into engagement with the bottle teeth 20. Upon application of sufficient unscrewing torque to the cap ll,'at least some of the connectors 33 are broken, and the ring 12 may partially or completely drop away from the cap 11 to rest around the bottleneck. These damaged connectors 33 and the dropped position of the ring 12 provides one indication that the container has been opened. After opening, the ring 12 may be fully stripped away from the container and removed, if desired. The cap 11 is, of course, used as a reclosure device.
In accordance with the invention, the, tamperproof cap is provided with structure which permits the ring 12 to be ripped away from the cap 11 in a quick and easy manner by even inexperienced users. Further, the novel cap structure provides a second or alternate indication of at least attempted container tampering or opening. To this end, the ring l2'terminates in two spaced apart ends 36 and 37 which are located on the ring circumference with respect to the pawls 30 so as to be aligned on opposite sides of the-container collar recess 25, as illustrated particularly in FIG. 2. At each ring end 36 and 37 there is fashioned a deformable, reversely bent S-member 38 and 39, respectively. in the illustrated embodiment, each S-member can be considered to originate in a radially outwardly extended curve 41 or 42, respectively, and to terminate in a reversely bent inwardly extended folded curve 43 or 44, respectively. An arcuate pull tab member 45 extends between the S-members, and here has generally the same dimensional appearance and cross-sectional shape as the 5- members 38 and 39.
It is a feature of the invention that the S-members 38 and 39 and handle 13 are encouraged to lie in the same plane as a bottom surface 46 of the ring 12. To this end, a thin, frangible flashing member 47 can be formed in the plane of the ring bottom surface 46 to interconnect the ring 12 and one curved 43 and 44 of each S- member 38 and 39, respectively. This frangible flashing is broken when the handle 13 is pulled as illustrated in FIG. 5.
Extending between the S-members 38 and 39 and the pull tab 45 is a frangible web member 48. In the illustrated embodiment, this frangible web member 48 is formed in the shape of letters spelling out the word pull, thus providing directions for use of the device to an inexperienced user. It is within the purview of the invention that fanciful designs or alternate words could also be formed within this frangible web member.
When the S-members 38 and 39, the pull tab 45, the I flashing member 47 and the frangible web 48 are arranged as illustrated, the entire handle 13 is stored in a compact, neat fashion adjacent the container neck Sequential reference to FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 will show the method by which the cap 11 is freed for removal from the container 14. First, as illustrated in FIG. 4, the pull tab member 45 is grasped, and then is pulled in a direction generally radially outwardly from the cap 11. This action breaks any flashing member 47 which may be present and the frangible member 48, and may permanently deform the S-members 38 and 39-as shown in FIG. 5. It is a feature of the invention that the damage to at least the frangible member 48 is highly visible and the permanent torsional deformation of the S- members 38 and 39 is also apparent. This visible damage signals any subsequent observer that attempted or actual container tampering or opening has occurred.
In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, the S-members 38 and 39 are formed with sufficient cross-sectional area and are otherwise of sufficient strength to be torsionally and tensionally stronger than the connectors 33, thereby encouraging breakage of the connectors 33 and not the S-members or pull tab when continued pulling effort is applied to the handle 13. Thus, breakage of the frangible member 48 and any flashing members 47 occurs with some extension of the pull tab 45, and breakage of the ring connectors 33 occurs as further extensive effort is applied to the handle 13. After the handle 13 is extended a sufficient distance, as illustrated in FIG. 6, it can be pulled up and over the cap 11 to rip away the ring 12 from the cap 11 and the container 14 to present a neat container ap pearance. To assist and encourage this, the container collar recess 25 located adjacent the handle 13 permits the user to slip his finger within the S-members 38 and 39 and the pull tab 45, to more easily pull the lock ring 12 and handle'l3 away from the cap 10 and container 14.
As indicated above, it is another feature of the invention that the handle 13 lies in a plane substantially coplanar with the bottom surface 46 of the ring 12, as illustrated in FIG. 3. The connectors 33, however, lie in a plane adjacent the top of the ring 12, thereby permitting a torsional or camming force to be applied to the connectors to increase the ease with which they are broken, as can be envisioned by reference to FIG. 6.
It will be apparent from the foregoing description that there has been provided a tamperproof closure that is of particular advantage in both use and manufacture. The drawings and the foregoing description are therefore not intended to represent the only form of the invention in regard to the details of its construction and manner of use. Changes in form and the proportion of parts, as well as the substitution of equivalents, are contemplated as circumstancesmay suggest or render expedient; and although specific terms have been employed, they are intended in generic and descriptive senses only and not for the purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being delineated by the following claims.
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. A tamperproof cap for use with a container having a threaded neck portion and at least one external tooth, said cap comprising: an internally threaded cap body; an interrupted tamperproof ring having a plurality of circumferentially spaced, radially inwardly extending, triangularly shaped pawls for locking engagement with said container tooth in a first direction of rotation; breakable connector means coupling said ring to said cap body, said connector means being joined to said pawls for holding one of said pawls in engagement with said container tooth, the interrupted ring terminating in two spaced apart ends; and a handle attached to the ring adjacent the interrupted ring ends, the handle including a deformable, reversely bent S-member attached to each ring end, mounted radially outwardly of the ring, and terminating in a free end, a pull tab member extending between the S-member free ends, and a frangible web member extending between at least one S-member and the pull tab, whereby the frangible member is permanently and visibly broken and at least one S-member is permanently and visibly deformed when the pull-tab is pulled with more than a minimum force.
2. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 wherein said S-members are torsionally and tensionally stronger than the frangible members, thereby encouraging breakage of the frangible members and deformation of the S-members when the pull tab is pulled with more than a minimal force.
3. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 wherein said S-members are torsionally and tensionally stronger than any of said connector means thereby encouraging breakage of the connector means when continued pulling effort is applied to the handle in excess of a minimal force.
4. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 wherein said frangible web member extends between and is connected to both S-members and said pull tab.
5. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 wherein said frangible member is formed to provide directions for use to a handle puller.
6. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 wherein said S-members are each attached to a respective ring end, lie adjacent said ring, and extend away from the opposite ring end and opposite S-member to compactly configure the handle.
7. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 wherein said handle member lies in a plane adjacent a bottom surface of said ring, and wherein said connector means lie in a plane adjacent the top of said ring.
8. A tamperproof cap according to claim 7 wherein said cap body is provided with an unknurled annular base, and wherein said connector means extend between said base and said pawls.
9. A tamperproof cap according to claim 1 including frangible means interconnecting one bend of said S- member and said ring, said frangible member operating to encourage said S-member to lie in a plane substantially coplanar with the bottom of said ring and being breakable when said pull-tab is pulled with more than said minimum force.
10. A tamperproof cap for use with a container having a threaded neck portion, a radially extended collar portion below the neck portion, the collar radial extension being interrupted by at least one recess, and at least one external container tooth located in a predetermined position on said container, said cap comprising: an internally threaded cap body; an interrupted tamperproof ring having a radially inwardly extending, triangularly shaped pawl for locking engagement with said container tooth in a first direction of rotation and riding over said container tooth in a second, opposite direction of rotation, said pawl being spaced apart from said ring interruption by a predetermined amount to locate said ring interruption adjacent said container collar recess, breakable connector means coupling said ring to said cap body, said connector means being joined to said pawl for holding, said pawl in engagement with said container tooth whereby to insure breaking of said connector means and releasing said ring from said cap body upon rotation of said cap in said first direction, the interrupted ring terminating in two spaced apart ends, and a deformable, partially frangible handle attached to the ring radially outwardly of and adjacent the interrupted ring ends and located adjacent said container collar recess when said pawl engages said container tooth.
11. A tamperproof cap according to claim 10 wherein the handle includes: a deformable, reversely bent S-member attached to each ring end, mounted radially outwardly of the ring, and terminating in a free end; a pull tab member extending between the S- member free ends; and a frangible web member extending between at least one S-member and the pull tab, whereby the frangible member is permanently and visibly broken and at least one S-member is permanently and visibly deformed when the pull-tab is pulled with more than a minimum force.
12. A tamperproof cap according to claim 11 including frangible means interconnecting one bend of said S-member and said ring and lying in a plane substantially coplanar with the bottom of said ring and said S- member.
Citations de brevets