Title:
Bottle closure and cap assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clip permits a bottle-type container to be modified without requiring any reconfiguration of the basic bottle, eliminating both the need for an after market purchase and also the inconvenience of keeping track of the clip independently of the bottle. The cap or closure design includes an integrated clip in the cap. The cap is designed to fit on standard bottle constructions. The clip may be either an integrated feature of a reconfigured cap or may be an add-on adapted to be secured to an existing cap. Alternatively, the integrated clip is part of the cap mold or an add-on clip is frictionally mounted, sonic-welded or otherwise glued or secured to an existing cap design. The bottle container is not altered and may be manufactured, filled, labeled and process using existing equipment. The cap is then secured to the bottle with the integral clip, or the clip can be added as a downstream step after the bottle is closed and sealed. This permits the clip to be added to the original product at a minimum of expense to the manufacturer.



Inventors:
Robert II, Fadal E. (Seguin, TX, US)
Prosise, Roy (Cedar Park, TX, US)
Zumbuhl, Bruno (Evansville, IN, US)
Application Number:
09/731293
Publication Date:
06/06/2002
Filing Date:
12/06/2000
Assignee:
FADAL ROBERT E.
PROSISE ROY
ZUMBUHL BRUNO
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/269
International Classes:
A45F3/16; A45F5/00; B65D23/00; B65D23/10; B65D51/24; (IPC1-7): A45F3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRONIN, STEPHEN K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BEN D TOBOR (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
1. An integral clip and bottle cap assembly for a bottle having a neck and a body, including a first portion forming a bottle cap and a second portion depending from the cap and forming a clip, the clip having a first member for securing the clip to the cap and a second clip defining member having an outer end coacting with the body of the bottle.

2. The clip assembly of claim 1, wherein the cap is a closure cap.

3. The clip assembly of claim 1, wherein the cap is a dispenser cap.

4. The clip assembly of claim 3, wherein the dispenser cap is a push-pull dispenser cap.

5. The clip assembly of claim 3, wherein the dispenser cap is a threaded dispenser cap.

6. The clip assembly of claim 3, wherein the dispenser cap is a hinged dispenser cap.

7. The clip assembly of claim 1, wherein the second member is movable between a stowed position and an active position.

8. The clip assembly of claim 7, wherein there is further included a scored separation line between the first member and the second member for securing the second member in the stowed position relative to the first member, whereby the second member is separated from the first member along the separation line when it is moved to the active position.

9. The clip assembly of claim of claim 8, wherein there is further included a live hinge between the first member and the second member for permitting pivoting the second member relative to the first member when separated along the separation line.

10. The clip assembly of claim 8, wherein the separation line is a spiral line permitting peeling of the second member away from the first member.

11. The clip assembly of claim 8, further including a lock for locking the clip in place when it is in the locked position.

12. The clip assembly of claim 8, wherein the second member forms a T-handle when the clip is in the stowed position.

13. A clip assembly for a standard bottle container cap having an outer peripheral wall, comprising: a. A first member for securing the clip to the cap without interfering with the standard function of the cap; and b. A second member extending from the first member for defining the clip.

14. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the cap includes a flat top and the first member includes a flat base secured to the flat top.

15. The clip assembly of claim 14, the flat top of the cap further including a pair of posts for and the flat base further including a pair of post receptive holes.

16. The clip assembly of claim 15, wherein the base is snap fit onto the posts.

17. The clip assembly of claim 15, wherein the base is glued onto the posts.

18. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the cap includes a flat top having a single post and wherein the first member includes a flat base having a single post-receptive hole whereby the flat base is positioned on the flat top.

19. The clip assembly of claim 18, wherein the flat base is sonic welded to the flat top in the vicinity of the post.

20. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the first member comprises a ring secured about the outer peripheral wall of the container cap.

21. The clip assembly of claim 20, the cap including a peripheral channel for receiving the ring and an enlarged cap area above the channel, whereby the ring is snap fit over the enlarged cap area and into the channel.

22. The clip assembly of claim 20, wherein the first member includes a high friction interior surface and the clip is frictionally held on the outer peripheral wall of the cap.

23. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the cap is a flat closure cap.

24. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the cap is a dispensing cap.

25. The clip assembly of claim 24, wherein the dispensing cap is a push-pull dispensing cap.

26. The clip assembly of claim 24, wherein the dispensing cap is a threaded dispensing cap.

27. The clip assembly of claim 24, wherein the dispensing cap is a hinged, pivotable dispensing cap.

28. The clip assembly of claim 23, the flat top of the cap including a mounting post and the second member including a flat base, the flat base further including a mounting post receptive hole.

29. The clip assembly of claim 28, including a snap tab on the mounting post for securing the base to the cap.

30. The clip assembly of claim 28, including an adhesive means for securing the base to the cap in the area of the mounting post.

31. The clip assembly of claim 20, the cap further including a raised, reduced boss area forming the outer peripheral wall for receiving the ring.

32. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the first member is an integral portion of the cap.

33. The clip assembly of claim 13, further including a bottle having a cylindrical neck for receiving the cap and wherein the first member is a ring adapted to fit over the neck, whereby the clip assembly is secured in place by placing the cap on the neck with the clip assembly below the cap on the neck and in engagement with the bottle.

34. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member forms an elongated clip.

35. The clip assembly of claim 34, further including a bottle upon which the cap is placed and wherein the clip forms a gap between the bottle and the clip when the cap is secure on the bottle.

36. The clip assembly of claim 34, further including a bottle upon which the cap is placed, and wherein the clip forms a positive engagement with the bottle when the cap is secure on the bottle.

37. The clip assembly of claim 36, wherein the bottle includes a wall area adapted for positively engaging the clip.

38. The clip assembly of claim 37, wherein the clip includes an abutment adapted for positively engaging the clip.

39. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member defines a downwardly extending hook.

40. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member defines and upwardly extending hook.

41. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member defines an upwardly extending eyelet.

42. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member defines an outwardly extending eyelet.

43. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member includes an elongated inner leg and an elongated outer leg with a gap therebetween.

44. The clip assembly of claim 13, wherein the second member is movable between a stowed position and an active position.

45. The clip assembly of claim 44, wherein there is further included a scored separation line between the first member and the second member for securing the second member in the stowed position relative to the first member, whereby the second member is separated from the first member along the separation line when it is moved to the active position.

46. The clip assembly of claim 45, wherein there is further included a live hinge between the first member and the second member for permitting pivoting the second member relative to the first member when separated along the separation line.

47. The clip assembly of claim 45, wherein the separation line is a spiral line permitting peeling of the second member away from the first member.

48. The clip assembly of claim 45, further including a lock for locking the clip in place when it is in the locked position.

49. The clip assembly of claim 45, wherein the second member forms a T-handle when the clip is in the stowed position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] The subject invention is generally related to clips and hangers associated with bottles and containers. Particularly, the subject invention is related to mass packaged commercial containers and bottles such as sport drink bottles and the like. Specifically, the subject invention is directed to bottle closures or caps and clips associated with the same.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Closures comprise all sorts of devices including for example-flat cap closures such as those found on brown chemical bottles, sodas and vitamin bottles; foil adhesive closures to be peeled or punctured such as those found on juice containers and the like; dispensing closures such as those found on popular sport water bottles and sport drinks; retractable spouts having pivot handles to pull the spout from a recessed closed position to an open dispensing position; and the like. Dispensing closures and caps comprise screw-type, pull-push, hinged and various other configurations. The closures and of the prior art are generally designed with the primary purposes of sealing the container, retaining the seal when pressurized, and in many cases providing a convenient means for dispensing the contents without removing the cap. Often the term cap is used interchangeably for the term closure. These closures may or may not include various tamper evidence features.

[0005] Over the years, containers having dispensing closures have become popular for drinks such as bottled water, sports drinks, fruit juices and the like. In many cases it has become desirable to be able to carry these drinks with the user as he/she participates in various activities such as walking, hiking, jogging, bike riding and the like. It is also desirable that the hands remain free during such “on the go” activities. Numerous configurations of clips and hangers for bottles and containers have been developed. Vinarsky U.S. Pat. No. 5,597,087 discloses a sport bottle having an integral clip manufactured directly into the bottle. Vinarsky U.S. Pat. No. 5,676,285 shows a hanger-clip accessory for a sports bottle. Stark U.S. Pat. No. 5,944,238 shows a beverage can holder having a clip. Walker U.S. Pat. No. DES 404,643 shows a bottle carrier clip accessory. Green U.S. Pat. No. 5,301,857, Hayashi U.S. Pat. No. 4,631,783, Markson U.S. Pat. No. 5,960,973, Thompson U.S. Pat. No. 4,273,246 and Arnold U.S. Pat. No. 5,573,152 each show bottle holders with a friction mount bottle holder. Edelman et al U.S. Pat. No. 3,304,039 discloses a replacement cap for a toothpaste tube having a hanger bracket for hanging the toothpaste tube in a toothbrush rack. More recently, AquaHook Company of Huntington Beach, Calif. has introduced a new Aqua-Clip hanger of the type comprising a friction mount bottle holder as disclosed in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. Nos. DES 404,643; 4,631,783; 5,301,857; 5,573,12 and 5,960,973.

[0006] There are three significant disadvantages present in the prior art configurations. Specifically, the devices are not economically adaptable into standard mass application bottling equipment (suitable only as an after market item), and/or the devices do not provide secure attachment means for “on the go” user requirements, and/or the devices require reconfiguration of the bottle itself.

[0007] After market designs, such as those that engage the neck of the bottle and others, are not economically adaptable into existing standard mass application bottling equipment due to several factors. These factors include the extra cost of manufacturing the additional device, physical limitations of the currently preferred materials, prohibitive investments in mass application equipment, the inefficiency of slower running bottling lines secondary to accommodating the new device, and interference with packaging/handling practices. Therefore, they require separate purchases and also require the user to keep track of the device independently of the container.

[0008] On the go devices, important as a central theme of the instant patent application, preclude hanger and bracket configurations. Hanger configurations such as 5,676,285 are not suited for suspension except to stationary objects. Bracket configurations such as 3,304,039 are not suited for attachment universally, but require a corresponding and exactly matching independent receptacle in order to function securely.

[0009] Finally, clip designs integral to the bottle itself require very costly reconfiguration of the basic bottle design, manufacture and material selection. This would require the bottle manufacturer to scrap or modify existing tooling and practices to a degree that the project would become practically and economically unfeasible.

[0010] With specific reference to Vinarsky U.S. Pat. No. 5,676,285 and Edelman U.S. Pat. No. 3,304039, it will be noted that both of these patents rely on a cap or closure with an addition that creates an attachment means. Vinarsky teaches a gravity dependent hook addition suitable for hanging bottles from stationary supports or brackets. It does not utilize the space between the clip and the bottle as an attachment area in a coacting relationship and would not be suitable for on-the-go sport bottles.

[0011] Edelman teaches a tab/slot bracket concept and requires a corresponding and mated slot to engage the tab cap addition. As with Vinarsky, this is not a coacting, on-the-go design.

[0012] These disadvantages have prevented widespread acceptance of the clips on sport drink type containers even though the concept is generally accepted as desirable.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0013] The subject invention is directed to bottle closure/clip designs that

[0014] 1) permit the clip to be mass applied economically as an integral component of the initial product offering,

[0015] 2) provide a secure attachment means for on the go user needs,

[0016] 3) do not require reconfiguration of the existing bottle.

[0017] The basic concept of the subject invention is the reconfiguration of the closure design to include an integrated clip in the closure. The terms closure and cap are used interchangeably throughout this disclosure and should not be considered to be limiting. The closure may be designed to fit on standard bottle constructions and standard application machinery. The clip may be either an integral feature of a closure, an integral feature of a reconfigured closure or may be an add-on, adapted to be secured to an existing or reconfigured closure. In the preferred embodiments the integrated clip is part of the closure mold. The add-on clip is frictionally mounted, threaded, sonic-welded or otherwise glued or secured to a closure design. A significant advantage to these designs is that the bottle container is not altered and may be manufactured, filled, labeled and processed using existing equipment. The cap is then secured to the bottle with the integral clip, or the clip can be added as a downstream step after the bottle is closed and sealed. This permits the option of adding the clip to the original product at a minimum of expense to the manufacturer. It is important to preserve this sequence in order to assure that such clips can be applied in a standard bottle-manufacturing fill-line using standard bottling equipment with little modification. It is also important that the clip be of a configuration permitting the use of industry standard high-speed in-line and/or chuck-automated cappers.

[0018] In the preferred embodiments of the instant invention the clip is mounted directly on the cap as part of the initial mold either fully activated or including a live hinge. Live hinges allow the clip to be stowed in such a fashion as to be out of the way for bottle processing, capping, packaging and storage, only to be activated when the clip is placed in use. Stowed clips in this fashion can also provide a handle feature to the closure for easier handling.

[0019] In alternative embodiments, the clip can be as a separate mounted piece that is friction, snapped, welded, glued, threaded, and so forth on the closure separately.

[0020] In another embodiment the clip may be held in place between the cap and the bottle. The clip is versatile in design and may be used in connection with snap-caps, threaded caps, dispensing caps, flat caps and the like.

[0021] The clip itself can be any of a plurality of numerous desirable configurations depending upon intended application. It can include a friction-clip for securing the bottle tightly to a belt or article of clothing. It can be open, permitting the clip to bottle to hang over a handle bar or the like. It can be of a hook configuration, or can contain an eyelet for hanging on a hook or similar mounting mechanism. The clip can have various shapes and geometry aiding attachment, serving as advertising space or relaying information of one sort or the other.

[0022] It is, therefore, an object and feature of the subject invention to provide a bottle clip for use in connection with bottle and sport-drink containers and the like.

[0023] It is a further object and feature of the subject invention to provide a clip that can be installed on a standard container in a standard assembly line/filler system with a minimum of modification to the assembly process.

[0024] It is a further and object of this invention to provide a secure clip attachment means for on the go user needs.

[0025] It is also an object and feature of the invention to provide a clip that can be adapted to a standard container without modification of the container.

[0026] It is an additional object and feature of the invention to provide a clip that can be stowed for shipping and storage and later activated when placed in use.

[0027] Other objects and features of the invention will be readily apparent from the accompanying drawing and detailed description of the preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a simple add-on clip.

[0029] FIG. 2 is a fragmentary view illustrating the clip of FIG. 1 mounted on a flat cap with the cap secured to a bottle container.

[0030] FIG. 3 is a top view of a clip similar to the clip of FIG. 1.

[0031] FIG. 4 is a side view of the clip of FIG. 3 as installed on a flat cap by friction mount.

[0032] FIGS. 5 and 6 correspond to FIGS. 3 and 4 showing an alternative snap-mounted clip on a flat cap.

[0033] FIGS. 7 and 8 correspond to FIGS. 3 and 4 showing an alternative glue- or weld-mounted clip on a flat cap.

[0034] FIG. 9 shows the clip of FIGS. 1-3 mounted on a mounting boss provided on a flat cap.

[0035] FIG. 10 is similar to FIG. 9 and shows the clip of FIGS. 1-3 mounted on a dispensing cap.

[0036] FIG. 11 is an exploded perspective view shown a snap-mounted clip and a cap with a customized clip-retaining socket.

[0037] FIG. 12 is a top view of the assembly of FIG. 11.

[0038] FIG. 13 is a side view of the assembly of FIG. 11.

[0039] FIG. 14 is a view of a ring clip adapted to be placed directly on the neck of a bottle.

[0040] FIGS. 15 and 15A are illustrations of the clip of FIG. 14 as held in place on the bottle by the cap when the cap is secured to the bottle.

[0041] FIGS. 16-23 are illustrations of combinations of various clip configurations with various cap configurations.

[0042] FIG. 24 is a side view of the cap, clip and bottle assembly showing the clip and bottle relationship with a small gap between the clip and the bottle wall.

[0043] FIG. 25 is a side view of the cap, clip and bottle assembly showing the clip and bottle relationship wherein the basic bottle design provides a contact point.

[0044] FIG. 26 is a side view of the cap, clip and bottle assembly showing the clip and bottle relationship wherein the clip has been modified to provide a contact point.

[0045] FIG. 27 is a side view of the cap, clip and bottle assembly showing the clip and bottle relationship wherein the clip includes and integral slot.

[0046] FIGS. 28-35 illustrate a flat, stowable clip wherein FIGS. 28-31 show the clip in the stowed position and FIGS. 32-35 show the clip in the activated position.

[0047] FIGS. 36-41 illustrate an alternative of a stowable clip.

[0048] FIG. 42 illustrates the formation of a T-handle formed by the stowable clip of FIGS. 28-41.

[0049] FIGS. 43-45 illustrate a peel-down clip configuration.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0050] In the preferred embodiments of the invention, the clip is mounted directly on the cap as part of the initial mold either fully activated or including a live hinge. Alternative, any of the embodiments may be mounted on a cap as a separate manufacturing step. All of the embodiments shown and described here are adaptable to either method of manufacture, with the cap being referred to as the first member of the assembly and the clip being referred to as the second member of the assembly, whether initially molded as part of the cap configuration or later added. In embodiments where the cap is after added as a separate, mounted member, the second member may be friction-held, snapped onto a mounting post, welded, glued or otherwise mounted on the cap or first member. Where live hinges are part of the design (see in particular FIGS. 28-45), the hinge allows the clip to be stowed in such a manner as to be out of the way for processing, capping, packaging and storage, only to be activated when the clip is placed in use. The stowed clip also forms a suitable T-handle for the capped bottle for easier handling and display.

[0051] The simplest configuration of the clip is the friction or snap-mounted clip 10 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The clip 10 includes a ring 12 adapted to fit on the periphery of the cap 18 (FIG. 2). A ridge 14 may be provided on the interior wall of the ring 12 to provide a tighter fit, where desired. The clip member 16 is an integral curvilinear extension or tab that can take on a variety of shapes depending on the specific application and as will further explained herein. As more clearly shown in FIG. 2, the cap 20 is a flat cap with a beveled channel 22 beneath the cap top 24. The ring 12 of the cap 10 is forced over the cap to 24 and is received in the beveled channel 22 above the threaded portion 20 of the cap 18. The cap is adapted to be thread mounted on a typical container or bottle 26.

[0052] A modification of the clip of FIGS. 1 and 2 is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In this embodiment the clip 28 includes ring 30 with a knurled or grooved inner surface 32. The clip is friction mounted on the knurled or grooved outer surface 34 of the cap 28, as shown in FIG. 4. As in the clip of FIGS. 1 and 2, the clip member is the curvilinear extension 36.

[0053] An additional modification is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. As there shown, the cap 38 includes a pair of posts 40 and 42 each having a protruding tab 43. The clip 44 includes a flat base 45 adapted to rest on the top of the flat cap 38. The base 45 includes a pair of holes 46 and 48 adapted to receive the respective posts 40 and 43 and to be snapped over the tabs 43 for securing the clip 44 to the cap 38.

[0054] Another embodiment of the clip is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, wherein the cap 38 includes a single post 52 and the clip 50 includes a flat base 45 having a single post-receptive hole 54. After the clip is placed on the cap the post and base are secured to on another as shown at 56, using a sonic weld or an adhesive glue or the like.

[0055] FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate an embodiment similar to that shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, wherein the cap 60 includes a raised, reduced boss 62 for accommodating the ring 70 of the clip 66. The inner surface 72 of the ring may be modified to increase the friction grip, or the ring may be glued or welded to the cap as previously described. A flat cap is shown in FIG. 9. A push-pull dispenser member 64 has been added to the cap of FIG. 10.

[0056] A tab-mounted clip 73 is shown in FIGS. 11-13. In this embodiment the cap 74 is modified to include a receptacle 76 for receiving the mounting tab 78 of the clip. The clip tab is snap fit into the receptacle.

[0057] FIG. 14 shows a ring clip 80, which is an open ring, adapted to be placed directly on the neck 86 of a bottle container 84. As shown in FIGS. 15 and 15A, the opening 82 of ring 90 fits over the neck 86 of the bottle 84. The upper expanded top 88 of the bottle forms a base for the ring and the clip is held in place by a modified threaded cap 860 with an expanded base 86″. The embodiment of FIG. 15A includes a ring adapted to be placed over the neck 89′ and collar 89 of the bottle 85. The collar 89 of the bottle forms a base or seat for the ring and clip held in place by the cap 89″.

[0058] FIGS. 16-23 show various integrally molded clips on a cap 90. As shown in the drawings the cap 90 may be a push-pull dispenser cap (FIGS. 16, 17 and 22), a threaded dispenser cap (FIGS. 18 and 23), a hinged dispenser cap (FIG. 19), a flat closure cap (FIGS. 20 and 21) or other configuration. The clip can be any of a variety of configurations. Examples are the standards clip 92, 94 95 and 96 (FIGS. 16, 18, 19 and 20, respectively).

[0059] Once assembled on the bottle the clip can function in a variety of ways. As shown in FIG. 24, the standard clip 100 mounted on the cap 102 is designed to provide a small gap 106 between the clip and the bottle 104. In the embodiment of FIG. 25, the same clip is in contact with a protruding rib 110 on the bottle 108 to provide a closed friction fit. In the embodiment of FIG. 26, the clip 100 includes a raised button or post 112 for engaging the bottle 104 to provide the closed friction fit. In FIG. 27, the clip 114 includes an inner leg 116 and an outer leg 118 for providing an elongated gap 120 between the legs to provide an open clip that is fully functional without relying on any portion of the bottle 104.

[0060] FIGS. 28-42 illustrate an integral clip that may be stowed during shipping and storage and moved to an active position during use. The clip 128 may be snap fit or secured to a standard cap 130 or may be integrally molded therein. As shown in FIGS. 28-31, the clip 128 is initially in a flat planar configuration, and is in alignment with the bottom of the cap. With specific reference to FIG. 30, it will be noted that the clip includes a base 129 with an integral inner ring hole 134 adapted to fit over the cap. A separation line 135 is provided between the outer ring 137 and the inner ring. When the clip is after mounted on the cap, as opposed to being integrally molded, it may be desirable to provide a mounting tab 136 on the base 129. The outer extending tabs 138 and 140 are useful in maneuvering the clip from the stowed position of FIGS. 28-31 to the active position of FIGS. 32-35. In order to move the clip from the stowed to the active position, the clip is pulled downward as shown in FIG. 32 and separated along the separation line 135. The live hinge area 136 allows the clip to be lifted by holding the clip between tabs 138 and 140.

[0061] Once the clip is in the downward, active mode of FIG. 35, it is further pivoted as shown in FIG. 40, and locked in place to form a clip. As shown in FIGS. 36-41, the live hinge 150 is extended to permit the clip to pivot as shown in FIG. 39. The clip can also dropped down under the cap as shown in FIG. 40. Locking tab 152 can be inserted into the groove 154 provided on the base for securing the clip in place. Alternative, and as shown in FIG. 41, the tab 152 can be engaged directly on the cap 130.

[0062] As shown in FIG. 42, the stowed clip forms a convenient T-handle when installed on a typical bottle container 131.

[0063] An alternative embodiment of a stowable tab is illustrated in FIGS. 43-45. This is a peelable clip 162 and include an inner ring 164 for securing the tab to the cap 160. An outer ring 165 is connected to the inner ring 164 by a scored separation line 166. As shown in FIG. 45, the clip is moved to the active position by peeling it along the separation line 166 and bending it to the desired position.

[0064] While certain features and embodiments have been described in detail herein, it will be understood that the subject invention includes all enhancements and modifications within the scope and spirit of the following claims.

[0065] The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape, materials, components, circuit elements, wiring connections and contacts, as well as in the details of the illustrated circuitry and construction and method of operation may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.