Title:
Pocket-held container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A molded plastic container with a living hinge has a first flat round side and a second domed round side which fold together to form a container having a maximum edge dimension that is less than one-half its maximum center dimension. A thumb tab facilitates opening of the container to access the articles or material contained therein. The domed side fits comfortably in the user's hand and in her/his hip pocket.



Inventors:
Seliga, Gordon J. (North East, PA, US)
Kownacki, Charles D. (Erie, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/025711
Publication Date:
06/19/2003
Filing Date:
12/19/2001
Assignee:
SELIGA GORDON J.
KOWNACKI CHARLES D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A24F23/00; A45C11/00; A45D40/22; (IPC1-7): A45C11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHARD K THOMSON, ATTORNEY (Kerrville, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A pocket-held container comprising a) a first round side with a first lateral wall that is flat with a first peripheral wall portion extending upwardly there from, said first peripheral wall portion having a first height h1 which has a first maximum diameter d1; b) a second round side with a second lateral wall that is dome shaped with a second peripheral wall portion extending upwardly there from, said second peripheral wall portion having a second height h2 which has a second maximum diameter d2 equal to said first maximum diameter d1; c) a second peripheral wall portion associated with one of said first and second peripheral walls having a third height h3 and a third maximum diameter d3, said third maximum diameter d3 being less than said first and second maximum diameters (d1 and d2) and telescoping with said other of said second and first peripheral walls to seal a peripheral portion of said container; c) a living hinge integral with a section of each of said first and second peripheral wall portions interconnecting said first round side with said second round side and permitting said first and second round sides to be folded toward one another to form a closed container that has a first maximum edge thickness t1 that is less than half of a second maximum center thickness t2; whereby said closed container fits comfortably within the pocket of its owner causing significantly less bulging of the pocket's fabric.

2. The pocket-held container of claim 1 further comprising a first indentation in said first peripheral wall portion and a second indentation in said second peripheral wall portion which coincides with said first indentation in said first peripheral wall portion, a third indentation in said third peripheral wall portion, at least a section of each of said first and third indentations telescoping and frictionally engaging to secure said container in a closed position.

3. The pocket-held container of claim 2 further comprising a finger tab associated with one of said first and second indentations to facilitate opening of said container, said finger tab having a first lateral edge which protrudes outwardly from said first and second indentations in said first and second peripheral wall portions for manual engagement.

4. The pocket-held container of claim 3 wherein said first lateral edge protrudes a distance less than a depth of said first and second indentations.

5. The pocket-held container of claim 1 wherein said first maximum thickness t1 is 40% of said second maximum thickness t2.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is directed to a container for articles or material. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a container which more comfortably fits in an owner's hand and pocket.

[0002] The pocket held container may be used to transport virtually anything its owner wants to secure in her/his pocket or pocketbook: candy, change, keys, orthodontic retainers. The container was, however, originally designed as a carrier for chopped tobacco products more commonly known as snuff/chewing tobacco. Snuff typically comes in a short cylindrical can that is carried in a hip pocket or breast pocket of the user. When carried in the hip pocket, the container is a nuisance, poking the user in her/his backside and eventually stretching the fabric to produce a tell-tale circle on the pocket's outer surface. Further, the can is typically two pieces, making its opening, removal of a serving of tobacco, and refastening of the lid, a “three-handed” proposition.

[0003] The improved plastic molded container of the present invention addresses the problems with the prior art. The container has a first round face with a lateral wall that is flat and a second round face with a dome-shaped wall, the second round face being connected by a living hinge to the first face. The living hinge remedies the problems associated with handling two piece cans. At least one of the two faces is equipped with a tab to facilitate opening of the container. More preferably, each face is equipped with a short tab which permits a thumb and forefinger to produce a twisting motion which opens the container. The maximum vertical dimension at the outer edge of the container is less than one-half the maximum dimension in the center. This container, being marketed under the trademark COMFORT CAN, fits comfortably in the palm of the hand as well as fitting more easily into one's pocket.

[0004] Other features, advantages and characteristics of the present invention will become apparent after a reading of the following specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] The preferred embodiment(s) of the present invention are set forth in the drawings, like items bearing like reference numerals and in which

[0006] FIG. 1 is a front view of a first embodiment of the container of the present invention;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a back view of the first embodiment;

[0008] FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the first embodiment shown in the open position;

[0009] FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the first embodiment shown in the open position; and

[0010] FIG. 5 is a side view of the first embodiment shown in the open position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

[0011] A first embodiment of the pocket-held container products is shown in FIGS. 1-5 generally at 20. Snuff container 20, marketed under the trademark COMFORT CAN, includes a first round side 22 with a flat lateral wall 24 and a first peripheral wall portion 26 projecting upward from the outer edge of lateral wall 24. Peripheral wall portion 26 has a first height h, and a first maximum diameter d1 with an indentation 28 formed therein on a front portion 27 thereof.

[0012] A second round side 32 has a domed lateral wall 34 and a second peripheral wall portion 36 projecting upward from the outer edge of lateral wall 34. Second peripheral wall portion 36 has a second height h2 and a second maximum diameter d2 equal to first maximum diameter d1. In this embodiment, second peripheral wall portion 36 has a third peripheral wall portion 37 attached thereto. It will be appreciated that third peripheral wall portion 37 could be adjunct to first peripheral wall portion 26. Third peripheral wall portion 37 has a third height h3 and a maximum diameter d3 that is less than that of first (d1) and second (d2) lateral wall portions such that wall portion 37 can telescope into first peripheral wall portion 26. Third height h3 is equal to or less than or equal to first height h1.

[0013] A second indentation 38 is formed in maximum diameter d2 at a position on second lateral wall portion 36 to correspond to the position of first indentation 28 in first lateral wall portion 26. A third indentation 39 is formed in third peripheral wall portion 37 and frictionally engages first indentation 28 to retain snuff container 20 in a closed configuration. Living hinge 40 is formed integrally with first lateral wall portion 26 and second lateral wall portion 36 to permit second side 32 to fold toward and away from first side 22. A first finger tab 42F is formed in first indentation 28 which has an edge 44 that does not protrude beyond maximum diameter d1 of first round side 22, that is, the lateral extent of tab 42F is less than the depth of indentation 28. A second finger tab 42D is formed in second indentation 38 and is laterally offset from first tab 42L such that the user may, while holding container 20 with the domed wall 34 in the palm of one hand, engage first (42F) and second (42D) tabs with thumb and forefinger, respectively, with a twisting motion that will pop the container 20 open.

[0014] The dome shape of lateral wall 34 is shaped such that the first thickness t1 (FIG. 2) is less than half the maximum thickness t2 at the center of snuff container 20 and, more preferably is 40% of the center height. Snuff container 20 fits comfortably in a hip pocket without distressing the fabric as previous cans did. Further, the dome shape fits comfortably in the user's hand.

[0015] To use container 20 of the present invention, domed side 32 is placed in the palm of one hand. The thumb of the opposite hand engages first tab 42F and the forefinger tab 42D and slight twisting pressure exerted to open container 20. Whatever the owner wishes to place in the can may be placed in the domed side 34 and the container closed. If the owner wishes to transfer the contents of a snuff can to the container 20, the dome-shaped side 32 is placed over an open side of a can containing the product to be transferred, the assembly inverted dumping the snuff into domed side 32 of container 20. First side 22 is then pivoted toward second side 32 by means of living hinge 40 so that third lateral wall portion 37 telescopes into first lateral wall portion 26 sealing a peripheral portion of container 20. Third indentation 39 frictionally engages first indentation 28 to secure the container 20 closed.

[0016] Various changes, alternatives and modifications will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art following a reading of the foregoing specification. It is intended that all such changes, alternatives and modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims be considered part of the present invention.