Title:
Bottle closure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Closure means for providing a resealable closure for a bottle containing champagne, sparkling wines, or the like comprises a stopper for insertion into the neck of a bottle to close it; and retainer means secured to the neck of the bottle to be closed. The retainer means is pivotable between an open position in which the it does not engage the stopper and an operative position in which the retainer positively engages with the stopper so as to retain the stopper in the neck of the bottle. The stopper is preferably provided with engagement means such as a groove on at least one surface thereof external to the closed bottle. The retainer means in its operative position positively engages with the engagement means of the stopper so as resist movement of the retainer means relative to the stopper away from the operative position. The stopper, the retainer means or both are resilient so that it is necessary to deform the stopper, the retainer means or both in order to bring the retainer means into the operative position.



Inventors:
Waugh, James (Miami Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/901723
Publication Date:
03/19/2009
Filing Date:
09/18/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
215/386
International Classes:
B65D39/00; B65D39/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FLYNN THIEL BOUTELL & TANIS, P.C. (2026 RAMBLING ROAD, KALAMAZOO, MI, 49008-1631, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Closure means for providing a resealable closure for a bottle containing champagne, sparkling wines, or the like, said closure means comprising: a stopper for insertion into the neck of a bottle to close it; and retainer means secured, in use, to the neck of said bottle to be closed; said retainer means being pivotable between an open position in which said retainer does not engage said stopper and an operative position in which said retainer positively engages with said stopper so as to retain said stopper in the neck of the bottle.

2. The closure means set forth in claim 1 wherein: said stopper is provided with engagement means on at least one surface thereof external to said bottle when closed; said retainer means in its operative position positively engaging with said engagement means of said stopper so as to resist movement of said retainer means relative to said stopper away from said operative position.

3. The closure means set forth in claim 1 wherein: said stopper, said retainer means or both are resilient so that it is necessary to deform said stopper, said retainer means or both in order to bring said retainer means into said operative position.

4. The closure means set forth in claim 2 wherein: said stopper has an end surface which is remote from said bottle when said bottle is closed; and said engagement means comprises a groove formed in and extending across said end surface of said stopper.

5. The closure means set forth in claim 1 wherein: said retainer means is of generally U-shaped configuration having a pair of arms which extend from the neck of said bottle and a crosspiece extending between the ends of the arms at a location remote from said bottle so that, in use, said crosspiece engages with said stopper when said retainer means is in said operative position.

6. The closure means set forth in claim 5 wherein said crosspiece is rotatably mounted to said arms of said retainer means.

7. The closure means set forth in claim 6 wherein said crosspiece is a roller.

8. The closure means set forth in claim 1 wherein said closure means further comprises: a mounting means for securing to the neck of a bottle; and said retainer means is pivotably fixed to said mounting means.

9. The closure means set forth in claim 8 wherein said mounting means is annular in shape so as to extend, in use, wholly or partially around the neck of said bottle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an improved closure for bottles, in particular, to an improved closure for bottles intended to contain champagne, sparkling wines, or the like.

In conventional champagne bottles, the pressure exerted by the gas bubbles in the liquid means that the bottle cannot simply be closed by means of a conventional cork; rather, the cork must be retained by fixing it securely to the neck of the bottle. Traditionally, this has been achieved by means of a wire cage which fits over the cork and engages under an abutment moulded onto the neck of the bottle. The traditional wire cage/cork arrangement makes the opening of champagne bottles tricky and, more importantly, makes it impossible for a bottle to be re-sealed. Simply reinserting the cork is not possible because of the pressure within the bottle and so a variety of complex bottle closures which can be substituted for the cork have been proposed.

Generally, these have been used in place of the cork which originally closed the bottle and have been designed to co-operate with the abutment formed on the neck of the bottle. This has meant that where it has been necessary to re-seal a champagne bottle or the like it has been necessary to plan ahead to the extent necessary to make sure that an alternative closure is available when needed. Also, because many of the designs require a wedging action to engage the closure under the abutment, usually a moulded ring, on the neck of the bottle, a degree of manual strength and dexterity has been required when using many of the-alternative closures previously proposed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the invention there is provided closure means for providing a resealable closure for a bottle containing champagne, sparkling wines, beers, carbonated drinks or other liquids under pressure; the closure means comprising a stopper for insertion into the neck of a bottle to close it; and retainer means secured, in use, to the neck of the bottle to be closed so as to be pivotable between an open position in which the retainer does not engage the stopper and an operative position in which the retainer positively engages with the stopper so as to retain the stopper in the neck of the bottle. In a preferred embodiment, the stopper is provided with engagement means on at least one surface thereof external to the closed bottle, the retainer means in its operative position positively engaging with the engagement means of the stopper so as resist movement of the retainer means relative to the stopper away from the operative position. Further, the stopper, the retainer means or both may be resilient so that it is necessary to deform the stopper, the retainer means or both in order to bring the retainer means into the operative position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An embodiment of a bottle closure in accordance with the invention will now be described in detail, by way of example, with reference to the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a bottle fitted with a closure in accordance with the invention; and

FIG. 2 shows the bottle and closure of FIG. 1 with the retainer in an operative position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The bottle closure 10 of the invention comprises a stopper or cork 12 and a retainer 14.

The cork 12 may be formed at least in part of cork or of rubber so that the portion of the cork which engages in the bottle neck 15 makes a good, gastight seal. However, the crown 16 of the cork 12, that is, the face of the cork 12 remote from the bottle neck 15, must be of material sufficiently robust to engage with the retainer 14 without damage. For this reason, it is preferable to make the crown of 16 of the cork, at least, of moulded plastics material.

The crown 16 of the cork 12 is shaped to form engagement means 18; as shown in the drawings, the engagement means is a groove formed in a convex end surface at the crown 16 of the cork. However, provided that the engagement means 18 is able to provide a positive engagement between the cork 12 and retainer 14, in use, other shapes and configurations are possible. For example, the engagement means 18 on the cork 12 might be in the form of one or more depressions or recesses or, alternatively, the engagement means might be formed by one or more projections from the surface of the cork 12. Similarly, although the engagement means shown in the figures is formed on the end, crown surface of the cork, it will be appreciated that one or more engagement means might be formed on a circumferential surface of the portion of the cork 12 which protrudes from the end of the bottle when the cork is in place to close the bottle.

The retainer 14 is permanently fixed to the neck 15 of the bottle. For these purposes, it will be understood that ‘permanently’ means at all times during use rather than indicating that it cannot be removed if a user chooses to do so.

The retainer 14 is in the form of a U-shaped strap of metal or other material sufficiently rigid to maintain its shape and strong enough not to tear or break when pressure is exerted on it by the gas contained within the liquid in the bottle. The retainer 14 is secured to the bottle neck 15 by mounting means in the form of a ring or collar which is securely fixed around the neck 15 of the bottle. Alternatively, the retainer means 14 may be provided with pins or stub axles which project inwardly from the ends of the U-shaped strap and engage in recesses moulded into the neck 15 of the bottle. The retainer 14 can pivot freely about the axis defined by the points at which it is secured to the ring or collar.

The retainer 14 may be of uniform cross-section and unitary construction or, alternatively, as shown in the drawings, the cross-piece 17 may be in the form of a roller which extends between the two arms 19 of the ‘U’ shape and is pivotally mounted between the arms 19, so as to facilitate operation of the device. In either case, the crosspiece forming the bottom of the ‘U’ is configured to make a positive engagement with the engagement means 18 on the cork 12. As shown in the drawings, the crosspiece roller 17 is relatively deep and narrow so that it can engage firmly in the groove formed in the crown 16 of the cork 12.

In use, the bottle is sealed initially by inserting the cork 12 into the neck 15 of the bottle. The retainer 14, which may be snap-fitted onto the bottle neck 15 as part of the sealing process or which may have been assembled around the neck 15 of the bottle before it is filled, is then pivoted from the position shown in FIG. 1, in which it does not engage the cork 12, into the operative position of FIG. 2. As the retainer 14 is pivoted about the pins or stub shafts which secure it to the bottle neck 15, the crosspiece roller 19 comes into engagement with the crown 16 of the cork and then into engagement with the groove or engagement means 18 of the cork 12. The closure construction and materials of which the cork 12 and retainer 14 are made are such that one or both can deform sufficiently to allow the crosspiece of the retainer 14 to engage with the engagement means 18 of the cork 12. Thus the retainer 14, in its operative position, positively engages with the cork 12 so as to resist relative movement between the two. Preferably, the retainer 14 is arranged symmetrically with regard to the cork 12 when in the operative position so that the force exerted on it by the liquid in the bottle through the cork 12 is distributed evenly and there is no tendency for the retainer 14 to twist in such a way as to dislodge the retainer from engagement with the bottle neck 15.

When the cork 12 is to be removed, the retainer 14 is simply pivoted out of the operative position, into the position shown in FIG. 1, the resilience of the closure elements allowing the retainer 14 to be disengaged from the cork. This operation may be assisted by pivoting of the crosspiece roller 17 relative to the arms 19 of the retainer 14. If the bottle is to be resealed, the original cork 12 is simply reinserted and the retainer 14 moved back to the operative position in which it engages with the cork 12.

It will be appreciated that many variations on the particular construction shown in the drawings are possible.

For example, rather than being provided with pivot mountings in the form of pins/stub shafts which directly engage the neck 15 of the bottle, the retainer 14 may be pivotably mounted on a collar or ring which is secured to the neck of the bottle, possibly by engagement under the traditional ring-shaped abutment formed on the bottle neck 15. As mentioned above, many different forms of engagement means on the cork 12 are possible and their location may be such that they engage with the arms 19 rather than the cross-piece 17 of the retainer 14. It might also be possible or desirable in some circumstances to provide more than one retainer, each of which pivots over an edge of the cork rather than extending across it fully, as does the U-shaped retainer 14 in the drawings.

The bottle closure of the invention can in all its forms provide a neat, convenient means for closing and re-closing a bottle of the kind used to contain champagne, sparkling wines, beers and carbonated soft drinks. It avoids the need to provide a separate, alternative closure in cases where bottles are to be resealed.